by Nathan Stout (of AccordingToWhim.com)
As I sit here in a internet viewing loop (aka, many tabs opened with way too many sub-pages, sub-topics, and blogs opened) and I have a certain sense of loss.
I am an armchair Disneyphile. Specifically the theme parks. I live here in Texas (no where near any Disney parks) and I have only been a few times to Disneyland and Walt Disney World, and all the times I have been has been in my young and older adult-hood. One of the main reasons with my fascination with Disney parks is their age. These parks have been around for a long time now and have accumulated a certain amount of historic aura about them. Although the parks continue to change and grow, certain aspects have not changed since Walt and his people designed them more than 59 years ago.
One of the great aspects of the interwebs is the cataloging of stuff. With Disney parks many changes there is always a website out there to show you what once ‘was’. I love that shit. I’d stop right here and give you a great rundown of some of my favorite ‘lost’ Disney attraction sites but I am not cause you will get caught in a loop of your own with this blog sitting forlornly in the background NOT getting read. (I’ll add those links after the rest of this stuff).
I still haven’t gotten to the reason why I have this sense of loss… hold on to yer britches, you impatient pups.
So thanks to affordability of video equipment over the last three decades we have all these videos (and pictures) of Disney attractions that no longer exist (this would be a very small part of my sense of loss). I have some footage myself of the Horizons ride at Walt Disney World that I took just before it closed. You can spend hours looking this type of stuff up since there is so much of it out there. Walt Disney spent some MAJOR money on his parks and that resulted in tons of material from it’s production.
This brings me to the next step in my journey to my sense of loss. One group of characters who have a lot of this lost and behind the scenes material are a couple of guys who go by the names Chief and Hoot. I spent a while reading and watching the stuff these two put out there but I still don’t have much in the way of backstory on them. They were teens that ride jumped and filmed it. That is to say they would get on a ride at the end of an operating day when it was mostly deserted (like Horizons) and get out of their moving car and explore inside the ride building. Of course this is highly dangerous and no telling if they ever got busted at the time but it is entertaining. These guys were best friends and did some crazy shit. Not only did they ride jump but they also gobbled up anything Disney. They recorded (audio/video/photo) anything and everything they could while in the parks. I am not sure when their shenanigans started but it seemed to be in the late 80’s early 90’s. To me, they represent the first real Disney Parkphiles that existed (since it is such a common thing now-a-days). It appears that one or both got jobs at Disney and the fun continued but in a more ‘all-access’ way.
I discovered that just a few months ago Chief died of cancer at age 45. Even though I don’t know these guys personally I feel a real sense of loss. These two guys (to me) were ‘living the dream’ and to be torn apart like that is devastating.
I look back and think to myself ‘what have I done?’. I know these guys didn’t cure AIDS or got to the moon but what they did do together means a lot of a lot of people. Chris and I are in the same sort of friendship. We have attempted to do more than just hang out together, we have tried to be creative and do some cool shit. It completes my sense of loss. What do we have? What have we done? It’s the sort of thing that can get you drinking heavily or getting off your ass and doing some memorable stuff.
Now with my personal reflections over, have you asked yourself that question? Deep shit.
Now let’s lighten the mood!
- Mesa Verde Times (Hoot and Chief’s blog)
- Yesterland (my favorite lost attraction site)
- Walt Dated
- Lost Epcot
- Widen Your World
- Daveland Blog (early Disney)