Friday June 10

Although we've only been home a few weeks after our pin trading trip to New Jersey, it seems like forever since we've been away.  Perhaps that's because we've really been looking forward to Dayton Disneyana.  Carol loves shopping for Disney collectibles and I enjoy the seminars and speakers.


This year they've lined up a terrific slate of speakers!


Carol, our son Rob and I pulled away at 6:10 a.m. and made a quick coffee stop at Tim Horton's.  When we pulled up at the Thousand Islands Bridge border crossing there was not another car in sight.  Nice!  After about two questions we were waved through and carried on, southbound on Interstate 81.


We normally travel through Ontario across the north side of Lake Ontario and Lake Erie but this time we decided to take the southerly route to Dayton via New York and Pennsylvania; returning  home through Ontario.


We turned onto Interstate 90 westbound at Syracuse New York and by 10:00 a.m. we were at Clarence, just outside Buffalo, filling up with gas.


The south shore of Lake Erie is a pleasant drive; vineyards along both sides of the highway reminded me of Ontario's foremost wine region, The Niagara Peninsula, about 25 miles away on the north shore of the lake.


At noon we pulled off in Erie Pennsylvania and had a bite of lunch at Chic-Fil-A.  We don't have this chain in Canada and we enjoy them so it's a treat when we find one along the way!


We needed a flag for the Mickey lamp post I made for the charity auction so we made a quick stop at the nearby Christmas Tree Shop.  We were back on the road, flag in hand, at 1:00 p.m.

We crossed the Ohio State Line at 1:15 and just outside Cleveland we left I-90 and took I-271 and I-71 to Columbus.  We refuelled just north of Columbus at 3:30 and soon came to our one and only slowdown of the day.  The beltway around Columbus, I-270, slowed to about 40 mph for a seven mile stretch, then we zoomed back up to 75 mph for the rest of the trip.


It was 5:30 when we left I-70 and pulled up to the Holiday Inn at Fairborn, a suburb of Dayton.

I rested for a few minutes after a long drive while Carol got us all unpacked and settled for the weekend!  Then it was time to go and meet some of our playmates.


The event chair, Anita, was busy with last minute arrangements outside the ballroom, but she took a minute to invite the three of us to dinner with the panel of guest speakers.

Margaret Kerry with Anita in the background

Tom Nabbe and his wife Janice

Wow, it was great.  Jim Hill moderated and Terri Hardin a former Disney Imagineer dazzled us with her stories.  She started her career as a puppeteer and worked with Jim Henson and the Muppets, worked with Michael Jackson in Captain EO, and worked on a variety of rides and attractions in the Disney Parks.


Terri's message was similar to Walt Disney’s “If you can dream it, you can do it!”  but Terri added that you have to have passion for your dream and you have to fight for it.

Jim Hill and Terri Hardin


Terri certainly displayed passion in her presentation and held us all spellbound for over an hour.  She was so vibrant and so animated that it was tough to get a clear picture.  She just wouldn't keep still long enough!


What a great night!


Carol went pin trading until 11:00 - I crashed much earlier.

Saturday June 11

Carol was signed up as an "Early Bird" so we had to get a quick start in the morning!  The collectible sale opens to the public at 10:00 a.m. but Carol and Rob were two of the fifty people who paid $25.00 to get in 90 minutes early.


I wanted to get a few pictures before the rabid shoppers got started so we made sure we got to the ballroom by 8:00 a.m.

Carol picked up a plate that friends Bob and Latosha had found for her a few days earlier while I roamed the room snapping pictures.

There is always a fantastic variety of quality merchandise for sale and the vendors come from far and wide!

Charles and Bonnie, vendors from Florida


Gary and Gary from Missouri had some nice Orange Bird merchandise

Vendors Latosha and Bob from Mentor Ohio were eagerly awaiting the Early Birds

Erin Morehouse doesn't look all that eager to greet the shoppers . . . but she wasn't really as frightened as she looks.  Erin and her husband Robby traveled from California to sell at Dayton Disneyana.

Club members spent hours packing goody bags for the "Early Birds"

Here are Carol and Rob with their early entry goody bags


These "keeners" were the first in line

Theme Park Connection brought this security guard from Florida

While the Early Birds waited patiently outside the ballroom they were entertained by club member Mary who pole-danced with the Mickey lamp post I donated for the auction!

Finally it was 8:30 and the doors opened.  The shoppers rushed in and took full advantage of their 90 minute pre-sale.  Carol and Rob had their buying pretty much finished by 10:00 a.m.

Once the doors opened for everyone at 10:00 a.m. it got quite crowded

Tom Nabbe and his wife Janice were on hand all day meeting fans, answering questions and autographing books and photos.

The first seminar speaker, at noon, was well-known Disney insider Jim Hill who spoke about the new live action version of the Jungle Book movie.  His fascinating story began by describing how Disney acquired and produced the original animated version and then contrasted that process with the newer version.


This is what I enjoy at sessions like Dayton Disneyana.  I like to hear about the history behind the successes and failures, the triumphs and the duds.


Jim Hill has some amazing contacts in the Disney organization and he brings a wealth of knowledge and a keen insight to the table when he speaks.

Between seminars I joined Carol for a few minutes in the pin trading room.  Things were hopping, there were a lot of traders this year!

The next speaker was a genuine Disney Legend . . . and being a Disney Legend is a big deal!  The Disney Legend Award is a hall of fame program that recognizes individuals who have made an extraordinary and integral contribution to The Walt Disney Company.  They have been selected since 1987 by a select committee of senior Disney executives.  There are fewer than 300 Disney Legends and our speaker Tom Nabbe is one of them!  It's an exclusive group indeed!


He told the story of his varied career at Disney . . . and it was fascinating.  Tom began selling newspapers outside the Harbor Gate to Disneyland in 1955.  The image below is a montage of slides from Tom's PowerPoint presentation.  In the upper left slide you see newsboy Tom standing outside that Harbor Gate, flanked by Milton Berle and Jerry Lewis.  By 1957 young Tom had persuaded Walt Disney to hire him to portray Tom Sawyer on the newly opened Tom Sawyer Island.  The lower left slide shows Tom, in his Tom Sawyer persona, sitting with Walt and the final slide shows scenes from his Disney Legends presentation in 2005.

The final seminar of the day featured Margaret Kerry, a dancer and actress who was the live action model for Tinker Bell together with Terri Harden.  Their panel discussion was moderated by Jim Hill.

Margaret Kerry talked extensively about her career before and after Disney.  She has worked with an astounding number of stars.  She described meeting Walt, auditioning for him and winning the role!  Margaret is an amazingly bright, charming and witty 87 year-old dynamo.

In her Friday night presentation Terri Hardin focused on fighting for your dream with passion and Saturday afternoon she told us how she fought for her dream.  As a young woman she had a passion for puppeteering and her drive took her to Jim Henson Studios where, at about 20 years of age, she landed a job in the Muppets show.  She had us in stitches as she described working puppets from under a couch, under the floor, in some of the dustiest and dirtiest spots you can imagine.


She spoke about Michael Jackson who became her good friend on the set of Captain EO.


It was Terri's other passion, sculpting, that eventually took her to Disney where she worked as an Imagineer.


The seminars wrapped up at 4:00 p.m. - just in time for the costume contest!

The contestants paraded through the ballroom, between the vendors tables and then assembled in the seminar theatre where they were judged by an expert panel.  The happy winners are pictured to the right!

After dinner Saturday night Jim Hill acted as moderator once again as Tom Nabbe and Margaret Kerry spoke to the assembled group.


Tom grew too old for the Tom Sawyer role within a few years and moved on to other areas in the corporation.  He moved first to the Jungle Cruise but it was just the beginning.  He spent many years working in the Parks and Attractions Division before moving into Distribution Services.  His career spanned 48 years, beginning as a newsboy, hired by Walt Disney himself, and he retired as a senior executive.

Margaret spoke of her film career and we were all simple amazed.  She began as a four year old child actress in the "Our Gang" comedies.  You might also remember them as "The Little Rascals".

She worked with Bobby Driscoll, Andy Griffith, Eddie Cantor, the Three Stooges and so many others . . . what an amazing career.  I can't wait to read her book which should be published in the next few months!

Terri Hardin won a Tsum-Tsum in the raffle draw and it brought out the puppeteer in her once again.  You simply wouldn't believe what a talented puppeteer can do with a Tsum-Tsum.  It was hillarious!

Then it was time for the final event of the evening, the charity auction.  There were some great items, including a Star Wars print signed by the artist, Shag.  It sold for $200.00

The Mickey lamp was sold last and the bidding was intense.  It finally sold for $215.00 and the auction raised a grand total of $710 for Ronald McDonald House and Give Kids The World!

After the auction Rob took a minute to have Margaret Kerry autograph the Tinker Bell print he won in a draw and I had a chat with Tom Nabbe.


We decided that there was no better way to end a perfect day than with a cold adult beverage!


Just Rob and I, hoisting a cold one with a real Disney Legend.  How cool is that?'


This legend even has a window on Main Street!

Sunday June 12

We enjoyed a more leisurely start on Sunday.


The ballroom full of vendors didn't open until 10:00 a.m. so we slept a bit later and then had breakfast in the hotel restaurant.  Soon after we arrived Tom and Janice Nabbe were seated at the table right beside us and we chatted with them throughout our meal.


We left the restaurant just before 10:00; it was time for Tom and Janice to get to work, for Carol to get some more browsing done and for me to snap a few more pictures.  Along the way I bumped into Margaret Kerry and had a shot taken with her.


Author Nicole Newport with her book "Disney Magic From A to Z"


Tom Nabbe with his book "From Disneyland's Tom Sawyer to Disney Legend"

Terri Hardin and Nicole Newport


Terri Hardin's Disneyland Diamond Anniversary Sculpture

 A Limited Edition of 200

The vendors were busy again on Sunday morning.  That's when a lot of bargain hunters come out looking for deals . . . and there are usually some deals to be found.  Many of the vendors would rather discount the collectibles a bit and sell them than pack them up and take them home again!


I spotted into Carol in front of the Theme Park Connection display; she waved me over, handed me a "Piece of Disney Movies" pin she's been trying to find for years and said, "Buy this right now and wish me Happy Birthday."  So I did.  Birthday shopping is now all done!  Bonus!

I bought a copy of Tom Nabbe's book and he autographed a picture of himself sitting with Walt Disney as part of the deal.  My Disney collection isn't quite as extensive as Carol's but it's growing!

Just after 11:00 a.m. Carol said, "I'm ready to go!"  That caught me by surprise, we had planned to get away between 12:00 and 1:00 p.m.  But, she and Rob had both done enough shopping and pin trading, so we did a quick walk around the auditorium saying some goodbyes, hopped in the car and pulled away at 11:30 to begin the long drive home.


Our original plan had been to follow I-75 north to Detroit and cross the border there but we had heard so much from others about all the construction and delays on I-75 that we decided to return home the same way we came.  It turned out to be a wise choice.  There was very little traffic and we made excellent time.


We made a couple of stops along the way to stretch our legs, had a quick lunch at Wendy's, fuelled the car twice and skipped dinner altogether.  We crossed the Canadian border at 9:30, picked up the dogs at Carol's mother's house and were back home just after 10:00 p.m. - more than an hour sooner than my best estimate.


At one point during our north-easterly trip home I asked Rob, "Are you familiar with the theory of Six Degrees of Separation?"


"Yes," he replied, "Like in that old movie, we are all connected to each other by a maximum of six steps."


According to Wikipedia, "Six degrees of separation is the theory that everyone and everything is six or fewer steps away, by way of introduction, from any other person in the world, so that a chain of "a friend of a friend" statements can be made to connect any two people in a maximum of six steps."  Like Rob, you probably remember the 1993 movie starring Stockard Channing, Will Smith and Donald Sutherland.


"Exactly," I replied to Rob, "So that means when we sat and had a cold one with Tom Nabbe last night we were only one degree removed from Walt Disney."


He mulled that over for a few seconds then said, "When we spoke with Terri Hardin we were one degree away from Jim Henson and Michael Jackson . . . and when we chatted with Margaret Kerry we were one degree removed from Andy Griffin and The Three Stooges.  It really is a small world isn't it?"


I think that's the best thing I'm taking home from Dayton Disneyana!

What did the collectors bring home?


Everything you see pictured on the right was free.  It came in a goody bag, was a gift from a vendor or it was a door prize.

Rob's purchases are on the left.

His favourite item?  The Tinker Bell print signed by Margaret Kerry, pictured above.

Carol was delighted with the pins, plate, figurines, coin, buttons and Vinylmations she brought home.

Also included in her goodies are the two books I picked up, Tom Nabbe's new book "From Disneyland's Tom Sawyer to Disney Legend" and "Disney Magic From A to Z" by Nicole Newport.

It was a wonderful weekend and the organizers, all volunteers, should be congratulated.  Anita Schaengold and her committee always do an excellent job.  Attendance was higher than ever this year and I'm sure all the attendees enjoyed the results of their hard work and dedication!