Walt Disney's Enchanted Tiki Room 50th Anniversary Recap - Part 2
Part 1 of my event recap can be found here.
The 2nd and final day of the Enchanted Tiki Room 50th Anniversary Event was finally underway! On this day I would attend the autograph signing, auction and memory panel with Disney legends Bob Gurr and Rolly Crump. Later that night I'd return for the final event: the SHAG cocktail party!
I arrived earlier than my scheduled autograph session time and, since there wasn't a line, I was allowed to go in and have my items signed. I was so excited to walk into the ballroom and see all the artists chatting with guests. They were all super friendly and took the time to not only autograph pieces - but also draw pictures into the sketch books we'd received in our goodie bags the night before. I didn't bring my sketch book because the rules about what would be signed were pretty clear and I thought they would be strictly adhered to. Not the case! The artists were really cool and since there were never any crowds, they signed everything. I was bummed I played by the rules.
BUT, I wasn't bummed for very long at all because I met SHAG. Finally! He is my most fave and I'd been looking forward to meeting him forever. I showed him my tattoo of one his pieces and he loved it! He actually asked me if he could take a picture of the tattoo. That was pretty damn awesome; I couldn't wait to let my tattoo artist know that it was SHAG approved.
I absolutely fell in love with the artwork created by Jeremy Fulton for this event, and I was really looking forward to meeting him. He's been working at Disneyland since he was 17 (both his parents had worked there as well) and at a very young age became an imagineer. He is so very talented, and the fact that he created a piece for this event that I could also have at home was a sweet bonus! I love his Haunted Mansion work, and now I have a Tiki Room piece as well!
Next I met the artist behind the PokitPals collection, Robert Olszewski. His miniatures are stunning works of art and I was so looking forward to meeting him and having him sign the card that came with my piece since I didn't think the actual miniature tiki room model was big enough for him to sign. He and I chatted for a really long time. He told me about his younger years as a painter and how he was a teacher for many years before he decided to make miniatures and work on his art full-time. He was inspired by his wife, and hearing him talk about her was so endearing. He is truly such a nice man, and during our conversation we discussed life choices and taking risks. He had really good advice for me: Do what you love. It is OK to do what you love. It seems so simple...yet so complicated when I analyze exactly how to put this into practice. At any rate, we spoke for so long that when we finally got around to the autograph I explained to him that I didn't bring the tiki hut he designed because I didn't think it was big enough for him to sign. He laughed and told me he signs all his miniatures. No matter how tiny the piece is, he can write even smaller. At that moment we asked a Cast Member if I could leave the event & go back to my hotel room to collect my piece for Robert to sign. He was such a sweetheart - he wanted to sign it for me as much as I wanted it signed! The Cast Member sent me on my way and 30 minutes later I was able to get back into the autograph area to have Robert sign the tiki. Below is the inscription on the lid of my tiki. I will forever treasure this and our conversation!
After leaving the signing room I stopped to look at the pin auctions and fell in love with this board. I almost...ALMOST entered a bid, but I knew I'd be spending beyond my means and I walked away as fast as I could.
I made my way towards the larger ballroom to take a break, enjoy my Dole treats and do a little people watching. Lots of folks were doing the same, many were pin trading, some were in line taking photos with Stitch! The area was decorated nicely in a fun tropical, Tiki theme. It was really neat to see all the gents in their swanky tiki shirts.
Earlier that morning I caught the second half of the panel discussion with Disney legends Bob Gurr and Rolly Crump. It was SO good I had to go back and see it from the beginning. What a treat! Bob and Rolly are fantastic story tellers. One of the things that really caught my attention: the Tiki Room was created in 90 days. From concept to inception - that team worked with Walt to create groundbreaking animatronics and models in 90 days! "Walt always had our back. If we needed something to get our work done - he gave it to us. We had all the tools. Now everything takes years." Such a huge statement and testament to Walt's leadership and vision.