Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Inside the Disney Studios in Burbank

A long, long time ago, back around 1996, I got to meet a Disney Legend. I mean, I really, honest to goodness got to meet and spend time with him. Who? Mr. John Hench. To say that I was thrilled is a major understatement.

I am embarrassed to admit this but I know y'all will understand...When I was introduced to Mr. Hench, I started to thank him for helping Walt build Disneyland. My voice cracked, my eyes welled up with tears and he blushed. I made him feel uncomfortable! I was mortified! I quickly regained my composure, apologized and explained to him that Disneyland meant more to me than just a place to go and ride on rides. He nodded and said he understood and then he said, "Call me John". I just about fell over, LOL. He then motioned for me to come over to his desk and he asked me if I wanted to see some color samples for Angel Stadium. He said that was one of his current projects. Of course, I said yes and for the next 15 minutes there we were, standing next to each other at his work table, elbow to elbow, while he picked up various color samples and explained that even though the colors looked similar, they reacted differently to the sunlight and that was something that he had to consider when choosing his final color scheme.

After that, he asked me if I went to the Park a lot. "Oh yes, as often as I can." He smiled and looked intently at me then said, "You believe in Disney magic, don't you?" I sheepishly nodded in agreement. "Good, keep on believing. That's what keeps me going!"

I could not believe my ears. I could not believe that I was standing in his office. I could not believe that he was talking to ME!!!! Oh how I wish I had a camera with me. At that point, John asked if I would like a tour of the studio and of course I said yes. He said he would have his secretary take us around. I thanked him for his time and before he called his secretary, he asked if I would like to take a photo with him. I informed him that I had indeed brought my camera but was told at the reception desk that I had to leave it in the car. Luckily, my sister had a little disposable camera in her purse!

This is me with John...

This is me and my sister with John. After snapping these pics, Sandy, his secretary, proceeded to take us all through the studio, in and out of sound stages, recording booths, courtyards, was incredible. I asked her if Tony Baxter had an office at the studio and she said, "Would you like to see it? Maybe we can catch him!"

I almost fainted, LOL. We went into the Imagineering Department and although no one was there, it was an awesome experience to see their offices, their desks and Disney characters all over the place! It was too much - my eyes and brain were on fire trying to take it all in.

Then Sandy said that John had planned to meet up with us for lunch at the commissary but he couldn't make it. However, lunch was on him! When we got our lunch and sat down, I noticed that everyone kept looking at us. I didn't say anything, just kept eating but I finally had to ask because it was very obvious that people were staring. So I said to Sandy, "This is going to sound strange but I swear people are staring at us." She laughed and said, "Oh, that's because they are wondering who is sitting at John's table! They probably think you are a VIP!" I started cracking funny is that?

After lunch we walked to the castmember store. At that time, it was located a few steps from the commissary. You will never believe what I saw... PeopleMover vehicles!!! At least six of them and they were being used for outdoor dining!!! Had I known, I would have requested to have lunch in one of those!

We went into the store and looked at all the amazing things there. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to purchase anything but it was fun to look. We walked to Sandy's office and she graciously allowed us to take a picture next to the awesome photo of Walt and John that you see behind her.

This is Sandy, and unfortunately, I can't remember her last name. If anyone out there knows her, tell her that I will never forget that visit!


Debbie V. said...

Great story :)

Snow White Archive said...

Hanging out with John Hench and having lunch at his table...what a wonderful experience. This must truly be a special memory for you. Thanks for sharing your Disney Studio story with us Connie.

Major Pepperidge said...

Wow, Connie, how have you not blogged about this before?! What an awesome story, and an amazing life experience. I know one other person who had a chance to meet John Hench, and she also said that he was very approachable and ready to chat.

Unknown said...

What a nice heartfelt story! You were so blessed to have that experience!