Choreographing Disneyland's opening, Trip Report and more

by MouseStation Crew, staff writer

MouseStation 418 - Choreographing Disneyland's opening, Trip Report and more

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Show run time 0:37:03

On today's show, Steven Ng talks to Miriam Nelson (choreographer of Disneyland's opening), Mark gives a trip report of his most recent visit to Walt Disney World and more

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Featurette: Miriam Nelson

Steven Ng chatted with Miriam Nelson, who choreographed Disneyland's grand opening day.

Miriam choreographed the opening of Disneyland, the Disney on Parade show, and the original Golden Horseshoe Review. She discussed some of the close calls that they experienced with putting on some of the numbers for Disneyland's televised grand opening.

She's friends with Marge Champion, and they visit each other cross-country regularly. Miriam shared some stories about her work in Hollywood.

For more about the Disney on Parade traveling show, you can check out Jeff Kober's three-part series on MousePlanet. You can read it here:

For more information on the museum, visit Miriam's website buy her book on Amazon.

Our thanks to Miriam Nelson for taking the time to sit with Steven Ng, and to Steven for bringing us the interview.

Trip Report

Mark talked a bit about his last trip, and noted that he's headed back down to Walt Disney World today for a big press event that we'll talk about next time.

It was the first time that Mark and his family had been to Walt Disney World during the Christmas week peak season. He expected crowds to be worse than they were.

Even though they got a late start, in about 11 hours in the Magic Kingdom they got in 11 attractions, the fireworks, the Main Street Electrical Parade and a couple of relatively lengthy meals. They also managed to do well at Disney's Hollywood Studios and Epcot.

The thing that got to him the most was the cold. They had highs in the 50s and lows in the 30s.

He and his family looked forward to watching Illuminations with the holiday tag, waiting with anticipation for the big barrage of shells during the tag, but the pyrotechnic portion of the show was halted just before the tag due to high winds. After changing plans to be in Epcot again the next night, the weather was too cold for his wife and son to stay for the show, and they settled for watching it over the building across the way from their balcony at Saratoga Springs Resort.

Mark misstated the year in his memory in the show; the year that he, his brother and his stepbrother were at Walt Disney World in parkas was January 1983.

Mark talked about how they tailored their dining choices during the trip to correspond with their traditional meals during Christmas while visiting his wife's parents.

Listener Feedback

Chris Henry wrote to ask Mark to pass along the address of an online petition that he had created to ask Disney to bring the a capella group Four 4 a Dollar to Disney's Hollywood Studios. You can find it here.

Mark noted that he recently signed an online petition about Southwest Airlines' latest changes to its Rapid Rewards program and had a bit of a rant about one of the changes.

Mary Tesch sent in three—count 'em—three emails.

First, she explained why she and her family had never eaten at Casey's prior to their most recent trip.

Next, she asked for suggestions on where near Disneyland (outside the parks) she should take her son for his 12th birthday when they're out for the D23 Expo. Mark and Mike asked for your help, if you're a Disneyland regular. Let us know your thoughts.

Finally, she asked what new things Mark and his family tried on their latest trip. Mark noted that they did things that were new to his wife and son, but not to him. He expects to do more new things the next time that he's back down on a research trip.

Calvin Dolsay wrote in asking about the names of the members of the Voices of Liberty. Mark noted that they probably don't list the names on the group's website because the members can change every year. He also noted that the members of the Voices of Liberty who have joined the Dapper Dans on Main Street U.S.A. at the Magic Kingdom have had to leave the Voices to join the Dans.

The Voices of Liberty, with Dirk Donahue conducting and Tiffany Coburn on the right, perform in Victorian garb in this photo from 2005. Photo by Mark Goldhaber.

Long-time Voices conductor Kevin Miles left to join the Dans a number of years ago. You can see a little about his work with the barbershop group Platinum here, though the group is not currently performing. Dirk Donahue, who took over conducting duties after Kevin left, recently left the voices to join a different group of Dans. You can listen to Mark's interview with Dirk on Episode 77 here, and find Dirk on Facebook here. Tiffany Coburn has released a couple of albums, and you can find her on MySpace here.

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Thanks to our announcer, Andrew Rich.

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