Last Friday, some friends and I gathered to go on an annual ride of Winnie the Pooh. It is hard to believe that it has been 5 years since that fateful day in April 2003 when we all gathered for juice boxes and muffins and hugs from Cynthia Harriss and we threw open the gates to welcome guests. Daniel, Tara, Rachelle, Leslie, and I were all on the opening crew and we went to take a photo in a Pooh ride vehicle to retake the photo that Tara, Rachelle, Leslie and I took the last night of pre-opening training. When Tara gives me the new photo I will post a comparison here.
Upon reflection, Pooh testing and opening were a pivotal point in my life both professionally and personally. It was the first time that I was exposed to the whole “Imagineering” aspect of Disneyland and also what it takes to put together a new ride at a major theme park. Needless to say, I was hooked. I enjoyed the collaborative process it took to get something on this scale done. I enjoyed the networked relationships that I would build (and in some cases maintain to this day). It stings a little bit that Pooh is not the runaway successful and popular attraction we all wanted it to be back in those cool winter mornings cycling beehives and listening to the queue music. Surprisingly though, despite all the naysayers, it does maintain a huge popularity with children. I would go on to be fortunate to be involved with two more attraction openings all because of my experiences opening Pooh.
On the personal level, this is when everything changed. It was weird moving away from everything I knew in the valley to Orange County. I was thankful for the fact my commute shrunk considerably. I do think that I made the right decision back then, and I am happy how things have developed over the last 5 years. Sure there have been many bumps, peaks, and valleys, but nothing that was not insurmountable.
I always find it interesting that April/May/October tend to be pivotal months for me. This year I am working on a final presentation which will in a way determine my career path for the foreseeable future. I just hope that it will be full of more experiences like January-April 2003.
Happy Birthday the Many Adventures, and Thank You.
The views and opinions expressed on this post are mine and do not necessarily represent or reflect those of The Walt Disney Company.