It’s not often that I see something Disney-related that surprises me, but this most certainly did. More at this link
Posts tagged ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’
When you ask, sometimes you really do receive. After putting out another call to my fellow university staffers, I found my next interview via her brother-in-law. I met Rosemary Milsap, and her delightful son, at a local coffee shop one brisk but gorgeous day last year. She spent almost 2 hours with me discussing her time with Disney. I learned that we lived in Southern California at same time, living through some earthquakes and the 1992 riots.
Rosemary teaches drama at a local high school (she taught Broadway actor Tituss Burgess!). She shared stories and photos from when she was one of the performers in the first version of Fantasmic back in 1992 at Disneyland in California, plus some great insight into being a Disney performer and what goes in to the audition process. As always, I can’t thank her enough for her time. Enjoy.
Tell is about yourself:
I’m Rosemary Milsap, 41, from Augusta, GA. I’ve been in Athens since 1993. I graduated from the University of Georgia in 1991 with a degree in Art History. I since gotten my Masters in social science education. In high school, I decided I wanted to be on Broadway and I’ve always loved the theater.
Let’s talk Disney, tell us some of your favorite things about the parks:
Disney’s Animal Kingdom is my favorite park and Space Mountain for a ride. I loved “Snow White” as a child and “The Lion King” and “Pirates of the Caribbean” now.
Do you have a favorite Disney souvenir?
My Seven Dwarfs figurines. My son has a stuffed Mickey that I love, and I regularly wore a baseball cap I got there for many years. I still have it.
And finally, a favorite Disney food/treat?
This sounds a little strange maybe, but the gluten-free chicken fingers I got at the Columbia Harbour House in the Magic Kingdom. During our first trip to Walt Disney World, I discovered that if you ask, many of the Disney chefs can and will accommodate a variety of food allergies.(Ed’s Note: During my last trip to WDW, I watched a chef at the Rose and Crown discuss cooking options with a family whose child had more than a few food allergies, including preparing the meal with separate cookware. He never batted an eye at the request.)
Did you ever see a celebrity in the parks?
I don’t recall seeing any, but there were always rumors that a celeb was watching the show (We couldn’t tell as each audience was up to 3,000 people). We performed for a couple of media events when we first opened the show, and we were told we might perform for Micheal Jackson’s birthday. Sometimes, he would rent the park for the night. Memory evades me, but I believe it never happened, if it did he was not present.
How long did you work at Disney?
1992 (almost the whole year)
What did you do?
I was a performer in the original cast of the outdoor show Fantasmic at Disneyland; I played a flower petal in the Jungle Book section, a pirate in the Peter Pan section and Doc in the finale section, all within a 1/2 hour show. It was a rush, three times a night. After I saw Fantasmic at Hollywood Studios, I know that some of the lineup has since changed–now it’s Lion King instead of Jungle Book and Pocahontas instead of Peter Pan.
How did you get the part(s)?
My husband and I were living in North Hollywood in Los Angeles and I needed a job. I saw an ad in the paper for a casting call and it looked like fun. At the time, I thought it was a parade audition. During many of our visits to Disneyland, I’d watch the parade and think, “I can do that.” So, I did.
There were hundreds of people auditioning in a giant sound stage in Orange County, we were there for over 6 hours. Another girl and I were two of the last people to audition. When they called us, we had learned a short dance piece, we both froze in place. They allowed us to start over, which seemed strange considering how fast they were eliminating people. I’ve always thought that if one of us hadn’t froze, they would have asked the other to leave, but as we both did, they started again. They wanted to see how we moved, and grouped us by height. Nothing happened that night, then I got call-back, went in and did more movement. Again nothing. Then, I got a third call, and I was getting a little annoyed, but a girlfriend encouraged me to go down and do it. I did and I was one of the last ones to get a part.
The characters were based on height, and I’m around 5’6”, and Doc is the tallest dwarf, so I was aiming for that. But 5’5” was the cut-off, so when it came to me, I got as short as I could.
We all signed six-month performer contracts. We got to pick our schedule, and I only worked on the weekends since I had a day-job up in Pasadena.
After my six months were up, I signed another contract. But about two months in, my husband and I decided to move back to Georgia, and Disney was very gracious to allow to get out of the contract. I was there around eight months.
Tell us your favorite memory of working there?
Spending nights in the park during the months of rehearsal leading up to the show. In the beginning, we rehearsed on a sound stage, then we moved to park. They were rewriting and adjusting the show as we went based on how the performers moved and how fast they could get around during costume changes. The were VERY concerned about the dragon fire, [pyrotechnics and lifts] and making sure we were all safe. The Mickey at the end that rises to strike the final blow shoots up out of the ground like a rocket. These were all untested gags, and we worked very hard to get it right. We found out that so much gas was used for the fire gags that the gas level in Anaheim actually lowered all at once during a show. I was always worried about the ducks in the river.
Once we moved to the park, we worked from midnight until 8 a.m. We had to camp on Tom Sayer Island, which I found amazing. Here we were in this large city, sleeping outside and were perfectly safe. I had a great time. We brought sleeping bags and backpacks. Most performers weren’t allowed to have anything personal inside the park, but since we were there all night and couldn’t leave, we were allowed. I think most people brought books and cards. I played a lot of cards on that island.
Our costumes included a wet suit, sweat suit and t-shirt. We had to wear the sweats and t-shirt on the river crossing to the paddle-boat where we got in costume. The costumes were at the whim of the wind, that’s when my flower petal suit became a strapped-on 7’ sail. It could literally pick you up if you didn’t hang on or lean the right way. The huge water fountains in which they projected video clips would spray you on a windy evening and you would be quite wet (thus the wet suits we all wore). When we were done with one part of the show, we would have to literally run to the next location to get ready for the next section. It was always interesting (but usually fun) running in the dark on and off boats and across the obstacles of Tom Sawyer island! We got pretty good at it after a few good spills and pile ups.
Tell us about a challenging day or event you encountered and what happened:
The LA riots. The whole city was on curfew and it was unclear whether I was expected to report to work or not, but I was scared to drive past dark as that would be breaking curfew for LA county. Finally, I found out they had to cancel the show. I can’t remember how many days we had curfew, but those going to work were allowed to venture out after a day or two.
What was the most interesting event while you were on the clock?
We would have long waits when we were still in rehearsals before the show opened. Often it would be a couple of hours before you were needed again. Since it was the middle of the night, we would sleep in our sleeping bags, or play cards, or talk, but a few times we made up ridiculous games that involved silly charades just to pass the time. All very juvenile. The whole cast was very friendly and fun. A group of us had a sleep over a couple of times. We just enjoyed hanging out, but we all came from different directions up to 2 hours away, so hanging out beyond work wasn’t really feasible.
Tell us something no one knows about Disney:
I always felt a bit like Disney was ‘big brother.” They dictated hair styles for men and women with specifics for every ethnicity and hair type. Of course talent didn’t wear any jewelry, but sales persons were given specific instructions on where and what type of jewelry one can have on (rings, earrings, necklaces). It makes sense from an image standpoint, but it always seemed intrusive. One of the stunt guys for the “Peter Pan section wore a wig so well, that none of us knew he had long hair underneath until they got mad at him and he yelled that he quit and pulled off his wig!
Would you go back?
For a season or two, sure!
Did it help your future career?
I teach theatre, there must be some connection there…..
What, if anything, did you learn from Disney?
Walt Disney was a GENIUS! He really was a visionary.
Are you still in contact with Disney co-workers?
No; I should look them up on Facebook!
What advice would you give to a guest visiting the parks from the perspective of a cast member?
See the shows, they really are good. It’s also fun to imagine what the person underneath the costume looks like and what gender they are (adults only, don’t spoil the magic for the kids)
If you could change anything about Disney, what would it be?
How many guests they will allow in the park at one time. Too many on holidays.
Are you glad you worked there?
Thanks again to Rosemary, and to you dear readers for continuing to follow these interviews.
Friends, I’ve gotten a scoop on the new Pirates of the Caribbean movie! I’m so excited to be able to share this new info with you. I, for one, am super excited to see this on the big screen.
Here’s the synopsis:
Produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, written by Terry Rossio and again directed by Rob Marshall, Pirates of the Caribbean: Skull and Bones is the fifth installment of the hit film franchise based on the Disney Parks’ attraction of the same name.
In addition to returning stars Johnny Depp, Geoffrey Rush, Penelope Cruz and Kevin McNally, Skull and Bones will introduce Jason Statham as pirate Odhran Paidear, captain of the Crimson Lass. Paidear, who has sailed under both Sparrow and Barbossa, has been fighting on the side of the Irish in its conflict with England and is now interrupting East Indian Trading Company traffic from England to the Northeast U.S., sailing with a crew of escaped criminals, who took over their captors on the voyage to Australia.
Dijmon Hounsou joins the film as African pirate Dechontee Tamba, Captain of the Kamaria Obi. Crewed with African men rescued from slave ships on the high seas, Tamba continues to chase slave ships, and send them to the depths.
The film will revolve around all 4 captains sailing to a river in the mid-Atlantic portion of America called the Little Dagger to search for a buried treasure called the “Devil’s Breath,” a piece of Viking history said to allow the owner control of the winds. Each captain has their reasons for wanting the treasure, but it will bring them all together in ways they could never dream of. And leave them changed forever.
Pirates of the Caribbean: Skull and Bones will take the audience from Africa to Ireland to New Orleans to the U.S. Eastern seaboard and introduce them to native Americans, Irish banshees and a very strange voodoo witch-doctor.
Expect to see Captain Jack search for an antidote to the voodoo doll Angelica still holds, Barbosa to follow Jack for the Black Pearl and all to join together to fight the East India Trading Company for control of the seven seas.
In a recent interview in Europe, Bruckheimer tells fans to “…sit down and hold on, this will be the most epic and exciting ‘Pirates’ film of them all. We’re excited to have Jason and Djimon join the cast. And we’re all looking forward to getting back out on the water to have another adventure with Jack, Barbossa, Gibbs and the rest of the cast and crew.”
Ok everyone, that’s it! Excited? I am. Expected release is Summer of 2013, with filming beginning on the West coast of Africa later this month.
Dear readers, I apologize for the delay. Clearly my day-job got too busy for me to keep up. I’m discovering in the Disney blogosphere, you miss a day, you miss a lot. I see bloggers tweeting about posts several times a day, sometimes with something new, sometimes repeating old news or posts. Frankly, I have a hard time wading through it all. Always, my goal was to talk about some interesting Disney news and facts, interview some former cast members and see where it went. And whereas I’ve meet some amazing people and even gotten some work out of it, I question why bothering to do it. Am I doing anything special or different to share my love of the Disney Parks? Should I be? Or should I even worry about it? Time will tell and will dictate the direction. In the meantime, I’ll continue posting stuff I find interesting and fun to read, I hope you continue to follow along…
On with the show!
And some fresh Disney tattoos:
More to come!!
We lead off with this year’s Stars Wars Weekends poster.
I don’t post a lot about new Vinylmations, but this new set is astounding. It’s the Vinylmations Bento Box, complete with ginger, wasabi and chopsticks. More here.
New Summer movie toys were previewed over the weekend, including Cars 2 and POTC. More here.
Pirate Brands has introduced a line of products to tie-in with the new POTC movie. Proceeds go to the Boys and Girls Clubs of America.
I stumbled onto these beautiful Disney shots on Flickr. More here.
Behind the Scenes of the first TMNT movie with Jim Henson. Henson’s workshop designed the animatronic heads.
From this week’s Post Secret.
And today’s Disney tattoo:
Some fun and interesting tidbits from around the internets:
A fantastic interview with a current Magic Kingdom custodian, Kevin. Jeff Heimbuch does a great job.
And a new X-Men: First Class trailer with new footage here. Great footage so far, am interested in hearing Banshee’s scream however. Havoc, always my fav X-Man, looks cool.
And some more Disney tattoos. More info here:
Did you know you and your children can meet many Disney characters face-to-face at Walt Disney World? Of course you do. Do you know where they are? Maybe not.
One of the more surprising things about my recent trip to the Walt Disney World resorts in February was the number of character meet-and-greets in all 4 parks. My family and I have been 4 times since 2006, one trip to Disneyland, and when I lived in Southern California, we went to Disneyland at least once a month. I can honestly say I never saw the number of characters interacting with park goers be as many as in 2011.
I can speculate as to why, but firmly believe that John Lasseter’s overseeing of the Disney Parks has a lot to do with it. When I first took my daughter to Walt Disney World in 2006, the only characters we saw were either at the EPCOT Character meet, during early Magic Hours at the Magic Kingdom, or at the Character meals. During all my trips to Disneyland, I can only remember one Character interaction: Captain Hook and Smee on Thanksgiving morning when the park was EMPTY.
Flash forward to 2011. In addition to the regular cast of characters at Hollywood Studios, which are very approachable by the way, we got to see Mike and Sully from Monsters, Inc. and Minnie Mouse in a nurses uniform filming something in front of the Brown Derby. Plus, Handy Manny at the Animation Courtyard. At EPCOT two hours after opening, we ran into both Stitch and Daisy Duck, with very short lines, at the front of the park. The EPCOT Meet-and-Greet indoor area was full with all the top-tier names.
Magic Kingdom saw Pluto, Chip and Dale, Fairy Godmother, the Evil Stepmother and Step sisters, Mary Poppins at the Carousal IN THE MIDDLE OF THE DAY. Tigger and Pooh. Peter Pan, alone, and with no line. Woody and Jessie together, Capt. Jack, Jasmine, Frontier Donald, Buzz Lightyear and Future Chip and Dale. But the most surprising of all was Mickey and Minnie at Splash Mountain AND Space Mountain for over 4 hours! Both days we were in the park. This is in addition to the Celebration parade with a revolving cast, including the Mad Hatter, Baloo, Mr. Incredible, Mickey, Goofy and Mike Wazowski, plus the Castle show. And the talking trash can in Tomorrowland.
At Animal Kingdom, Goofy was outside at the gates, then inside Dinoland with Pluto. Flik, who I’ve never seen before, in between Africa and Asia, Lilo and Stitch near the Lion King and all the spots at Camp Minnie Mickey were full. We saw both Brother Bear, from, um, ‘Brother Bear’ and Terk from Tarzan.
So all in all, a great experience. My guess is that cast members are swapping out turns so the characters are in the parks longer. There was a noticeable size difference in Stitch at Animal Kingdom from when he went in for his pineapple juice to his return.
As far as I know, all the characters will give autographs. And of course Disney just happens to sell autograph books with your favorite characters on them. But, I saw two things that I highly recommend. First, a pillowcase and a permanent marker. We got one of these for our daughter’s 7th birthday slumber party. All the kids signed it. It’s STILL on her bed, long after the gifts have been forgotten. Second, a large, blank Vinylmation. I saw this in someone’s window at POP Century with about 10 autographs, I almost knocked on the door to congratulate them on such a fabulous idea. This year, my little girl used her ‘Up’ Adventure Book (just like Ellie!) and some of the characters drew little doodles. Squee!
Now, how to find them. For the most part, they were out in the open, if a little tucked off to one side. Mickey and Minnie were well off the beaten path, next to the rest rooms at Splash Mountain and in between the rest rooms and Space Mountain in Tomorrowland. Fairy Godmother was behind Cinderella’s fountain in Fantasyland, where as Peter Pan was next to Philharmagic.
Just announced today, Disney will offer FastPasses to meet Mickey in the Magic Kingdom this spring in side the referbed Exposition Hall area just inside the park.
There are some also some phone apps to help you find them, but I think you’ll do better taking your time in the parks, talking to cast members (they really are nice) walking those paths you’ve never been on before. As I like to say, to get the most from a Disney resort, you’ve got to get Just Off Main Street 🙂