Disney Legend X Atencio
Photography / Disney Photography -
At Walt Disney Imagineering (WDI), Alice Estes Davis was the original “designing woman.” Married to Disney Legend Marc Davis, she enjoyed a fashionable Disney career of her own, designing and dressing animated figures for such beloved Disneyland attractions as it’s a small world and Pirates of the Caribbean. As Alice recalled with a gleam in her eye, “I went from sweet little children to dirty old men over night.”
Born in Escalon, California, in 1929, she received a scholarship to attend Chouinard Art Institute, the renowned training ground for Disney artists, from the Long Beach Art Association in 1947. There, she met future husband, Marc, who served as an instructor at Chouinard for more than 17 years.
Alice launched her career designing women’s lingerie and undergarments for the Beverly Vogue & Lingerie House in Los Angeles and was quickly promoted to head designer. As her career progressed, she designed two lines of fashion lingerie and earned a reputation as an expert pattern maker and authority on uses of fabrics.
One day, she received a call from her former art instructor and future husband, Marc. He needed a costume designed and created for Helene Stanley to wear for some live-action reference footage being filmed to inspire his animation of the lead character Briar Rose in Sleeping Beauty.
Alice recalled, “Marc wanted to see how the skirt worked in live dance steps, and that was my first job at Disney.” That job led Alice to design costumes for Disney’s live-action motion picture Toby Tyler.
In 1963, Walt Disney recruited Alice to contribute her skill to the attraction it’s a small world for the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair. Collaborating with art designer and Disney Legend Mary Blair, Alice researched, designed, and supervised the creation of more than 150 highly detailed costumes for the Audio-Animatronics® children of the world.
During this time, Alice also formulated costuming procedures, set up a manufacturing base, and developed quality control refurbishing techniques, which established the standards for three-dimensional characters in rides and shows created by WDI.
In 1965, she translated the pirates’ attire from Marc’s original drawings of the shiver-me-timbers cast and crew into clothing designs and patterns for all of the costumes featured in Pirates of the Caribbean. Two years later, when the attraction opened at Disneyland, guests were dazzled by the animated figures and their colorful, textured pirate-wear. Later, Alice contributed to General Electric’s Carousel of Progress and the Flight to the Moonattractions.
Married in June 1956, Alice and Marc enjoyed a Disney fairy-tale-romance-come-true for 44 years until Marc’s death in 2000. Alice has continued to consult for the Company, and remains a frequent face at Disneyland events. She was honored with a window on Main Street, U.S.A. at Disneyland—next to her husband’s window—on May 10, 2012.
The Disneyland Monorail System
(originally named the Disneyland ALWEGMonorail System) is an attraction and transportation system at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California, United States. It was the first daily operating monorailin the Western Hemisphere, and the first in the United States.
Walt Disney originally envisioned the monorail as a practical form of public transport for the future. However, the monorail came about during a time when America's—and particularly Los Angeles'—obsession with the automobile was increasing, and monorails in the United States came to be associated only with Disney's theme parks, with the exception of Seattle's monorail.
The job of building the monorail was originally assigned to the Standard Carriage Works of East Los Angeles, but in late 1958, Walt Disney, pressured for time, moved it to his Burbank studios. Disney designer Bob Gurr then headed a Disney team that designed and manufactured the cars, chassis, suspension and propulsion systems, thus completing the Red Mk 1 just in time for the re-dedication of Tomorrowland.
The Disneyland Monorail System (originally, the Disneyland ALWEG Monorail) opened on June 14, 1959, as a sightseeing attraction in Tomorrowland in Disneyland. The Mark I trains (Red and Blue) consisted of three cars each. In 1961 it became a true transportation system when Tomorrowland station was lengthened to accommodate the debut of the four-car Mark II and the additional new Yellow train, the track was extended 2½ miles outside the park and a second platform was constructed - the Disneyland Hotel station. In 1968 Mark III Monorail Green joined the fleet and both platforms were lengthened for the arrival of the more streamlined and efficient five car Mark III monorail train conversions.
From Hotel Station there were two trips above Disneyland available aboard the monorail, a quick tour and general admission. Guests wishing to embark upon a vista-dome view of the park including a leisurely layover in Tomorrowland within the tail-cone could purchase an exclusive round-trip tour ticket at Hotel Station and save the expense of general admission to Disneyland. Nose and tailcone door latches were independent from the main door release button. A simple dial indicator above the tail-cone compartment door could be turned to one of three positions - General admission guests, round-trip only guests, and mixed. Hostess attendants at Tomorrowland Station would check the dial position and open the door for general admission guests. If general admission guests boarded the tail-cone in Tomorrowland, the dial would be set to mixed, then all mixed tail-cone guests disembarked at the hotel.
By the early 1980s, the Mark III trains were showing their age and the wear of years. In 1985, Disneyland began phasing out the Mark III trains one by one. The older trains were stripped to the chassis and rebuilt as Mark V trains. The Mark III Green went first, to become the Mark V Purple followed by the Mark III Yellow becoming the Mark V Orange. The Mark III Blue remained blue (albeit a lighter shade) and the last was Red, remaining Red. The notable difference was the loss of the bubble-top driver's area in favor of a streamlined "Learjet" look similar to the Mark IV trains at the Walt Disney World Resort. The new trains also sported closed passenger compartments (with windows that could be opened) and pneumatic doors. Following the 1985 Disney World monorail fire, a safety handrail was added along the spine of the train, as well as emergency fire exit hatches leading to the roof. The attraction's name remained the "Disneyland Monorail System", as it had been painted on the Mark III trains' skirts. The Mark V trains were built by Ride & Show Engineering, Inc., incorporating bodies that were produced by Messerschmitt-Bolkow-Blohm of Germany. Purple first made her appearance for testing in Autumn of 1986 and began regular operations a few months later. Orange was delivered in late Summer of 1987, followed by Blue in early 1988. The oldest train, Red, was also the last to be removed from the line for refurbishment in the Spring of 1988.
Mark V Monorail Blue travels over the former Submarine Voyage in 2002.
The beamway path was re-aligned into the Eeyore section of the parking lot in 1994 to accommodate the construction of the Indiana Jones Adventure show building. The trains were fitted with new electrical pick-up shoes and tail view cameras enabling two-train point-to-point shuttle service where the first arriving train was disembarked, moved along empty to just beyond the station, the second train arrived, disembarked, embarked and dispatched so the first train could be loaded and dispatched for the return. In 1999, the monorail began lengthy periods of closures due to construction of the Disney California Adventure theme park, which the monorail beamway passed through which had formerly been the parking lot. Although the beamway's route was not altered, a significant amount of construction was done around the existing beamway, and much of the terrain under the beamway's support columns was regraded, necessitating the closures. Additionally, the Disneyland Hotel Station and all of its nearby hotel structures were completely demolished and a new station built in the same location. General admission was required to board at the Downtown Disney station. Downtown Disney Station is treated as a second gate into Disneyland Park, so a general admission passport or valid annual pass must be presented to ride the monorail and the tail-cone tour is no longer offered.
The system resumed limited shuttle operations in 2000, when the Downtown Disney Station became operational, but a significant portion of the beamway was still unusable due to construction. In 2001 the monorail resumed full capacity forward direction circuit operations, passing through Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa as well as showcasing the new park.
A Disneyland Monorail sports a new look in honor of the return of the subs.
In 2004, Monorail Orange was removed from the line and taken to Walt Disney Imagineering in Glendale to be reverse engineered. Monorail Blue was removed in September 2006 for rebuilding. The Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage show building was extended into the lagoon beneath the monorail which closed from August 21 through late December 2006 to prepare for the 2007 opening of Nemo.
The refurbishment from Mark V to Mark VII was done one train at a time. There was no Mark VI at Disneyland, as Mark VI are used on the Walt Disney World Monorail System. The first Mark VII train, Monorail Red, arrived at Disneyland on December 20, 2007. It was originally expected to be in service by the end of February 2008, but due to design change issues, it did not begin serving park guests until July 3, 2008. Mark VII Blue arrived on-site on April 10, 2008, began daytime riderless testing on August 1, 2008, and began guest service on September 16, 2008. Monorail Mark VII Orange arrived on-site on August 14, 2008, began riderless testing in March 2009, and began guest service on April 7, 2009. The entire Mark VII Monorail fleet consists of three trains - Red, Blue, and Orange.
Monorail Blue as "Mandy Monorail" at the Tomorrowland Monorail Station in June 2012
In May 2012, the monorails received new decals depicting eyes and a mouth covering and below the front windows, to tie in with the opening of the Cars Land section of Disney California Adventure. Each train was given a new name and unique narration, depicting the trains as if they were in the Cars film universe. Monorail Red became Manny Monorail, Monorail Blue became Mandy Monorail, and Monorail Orange became Mona Monorail. By the end of January 2013, the decals had been removed and the trains were running with standard narration.
Betty Taylor graced the stage of Disneyland’s popular Golden Horseshoe Revue. She made famous the role of Slue Foot Sue, the spunky leader of a troupe of western dance hall girls. Betty became the darling of nearly 10 million guests, who, over the years, visited the saloon to see the world’s longest-running stage show. In the nearly 45,000 performances in which she appeared, the charming, vivacious blonde never lost her girlish enthusiasm for playing the role of Pecos Bill’s sweetheart. As former Disneyland magic shop cast member, comedian Steve Martin, wrote in Betty’s autograph book, “How come I’m the only one who grows old around here?”
Born on October 7, 1919, in Seattle, Washington, Betty began taking dance lessons at age three. By the age of 12, she appeared in her first professional stage production in Vancouver, British Colombia. At 14, she sang and danced in nightclubs across the country, and, by 18, she led her own band—Betty and Her Beaus. The group, which included 16 male musicians, appeared regularly at the Trianon Ballroom in Seattle.
She went on to perform with a western radio show, “Sons of the Pioneers,” and traveled with big band leaders Les Brown, Henry Bussey, and Red Nichols. She even played a six-week stint in Las Vegas with “old blue eyes” himself, Frank Sinatra.
In 1956, while living in Los Angeles, Betty was about to hit the road playing drums for a musical group when she heard about auditions for a singing-and-hoofing job in Walt Disney’s new theme park. She threw her garter into the ring, so to speak, and was hired as Slue Foot Sue. She later described the role as “not a hard character, but rather like a Mae West or a Kitty on the vintage television series Gunsmoke.”
On occasion, Betty and the 10-member Revue troupe performed outside of the Park. In 1968, for instance, they took their act on a USO tour of Greenland and Newfoundland, and, two years later, performed for President Richard Nixon and his family in the White House. Walt Disney personally asked Betty to perform a variation of her Golden Horseshoe routine on national television, with comedian Ed Wynn, in an episode of Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color.
Betty retired from the Golden Horseshoe Revue in 1987. She continued to appear at special events, such as “Walt Disney’s Wild West;” this retrospective of Walt’s vision of the American West was showcased at the Gene Autry Museum of Western Heritage in Los Angeles in 1995.
Betty Taylor passed away at home on June 4, 2011, just one day after her fellow Golden Horseshoe alumnus and Disney Legend, Wally Boag.