Neil Young’s star was taking off just as Walt Disney’s was setting. Young was touring Canada as a solo artist in 1965. In 1966, he formed the “Mynah Birds” with Rick James, which was signed to Motown. The group had problems when James was arrested for being AWOL from the U.S. Military. Still, Young went to Los Angeles where he formed the highly successful Buffalo Springfield in the same year. It was also the year Walt Disney, the creator of Mickey Mouse, died.
Neil Young’s Invention
Ben Young, Neil’s son, has cerebral palsy. Growing up, Neil wanted to be able to connect with his son, so he built a 700-foot model train track. He then designed a controller that Ben could use to control the trains. In 1995, Lionel Trains was threatened with bankruptcy. Neil put together an investment group and bought the company, so he could continue his experiments with model trains. The company emerged from bankruptcy in 2008.
Mickey Mouse Hand Car
Flashback to May of 1934, and the great depression has taken the life out of the Lionel. It’s facing bankruptcy but goes into receivership. Two months later, Disney’s marketing genius Kay Kamen comes to Lionel with a plan because he believes in the company. Lionel could make and sell a windup Mickey Mouse Hand Car. They do, and by Christmas, Lionel had paid off its debts, and by January, it was out of receivership.
While Walt Disney had a love trains in common with Neil Young, the connection Neil shares with Mickey Mouse is they both saved the same model train company from bankruptcy.
Lessons of Creativity
Neil Young is in the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame. His creativity comes out in his music, but that didn’t stop him from dabbling in something new. He wanted to share his love of trains with his son. He saw a need and figured out how to fill it. Neil Young was no dabbler in trains though; he had been playing with them since he was five. It was Kay Kamen’s belief in Lionel that led him to offer the company the opportunity to turn their fortunes around. The company said yes to the offer. “Yes” is often the most powerful word.
Everyone loves Fantsmic! Water, video projected on water, fire, fireworks, special effects, magic, and a catchy tune make this one of the most popular attractions at Disneyland. Even after more than 25 years, people stake out their seats early and cause traffic problems on the Rivers of America to see Mickey’s imagination run wild as he faces off against some of Disney’s scariest villains.
More colorful than years before, Fantasmic! 2018 features
new segments and a tighter script (especially the Jack Sparrow segment). While
Mickey and the Sword of Truth no longer face Maleficent in dragon form (instead,
he vanquishes her as the sorcerer’s apprentice), the whole show is
well-produced and choreographed.
The best seats in the house (of the mouse) aren’t necessarily
in the front at the edge of the Rivers of America where spectators are likely
to get wet. Instead, the River Belle Terrace offers an elevated view above the
crowds and away from the water. This dining package includes a lanyard and a
menu full of great food to choose from. Better, you don’t have to stake out
your seats because you’ve reserved them far in advance.
The corn chowder is spicy, warm, and tasty. It hits the
right spot during a cool winter evening in Frontierland, and it fills the belly
and soul with goodness. The tater tots are spiced to be addictive. (As someone
who isn’t a huge tater tot fan, I couldn’t get enough of them and found myself
popping them in my mouth even after I was full.) The beef brisket was good,
too. The showstopper, however, was the Maleficent dessert: chocolate and spice
in a raspberry sauce makes it amazing.
The tables may be a little wobbly, and the seating area doesn’t have any heating elements, but the views are positively Fantasmic! And Early show viewers can stay to see the fireworks form the comfort of their table on the River Belle Terrace. Check out my Disneyland page.
We talked about Mickey Mouse, his place in cinematic history and what he has meant to the success of companies and stars. But the most exciting part of the evening was that we drew Mickey Mouse. The following two photos are included because one shows the Mickey Mice… Mouses… drawings better and the other two show the faces of the students better. Be sure to check out the lesson plan for more info on Mickey Mouse!