Saturday, July 5, 2008

Day 8-9: En Route to Acapulco

Off we go!

We had a couple of sea days. One of these featured another guest speaker, Don "Ducky" Williams. Don had a dream when he was a kid of working for Disney. In fact, when he was 10, he sent a letter to Walt himself asking if there was any openings and to keep him in mind. He actually received a polite reply from Walt explaining that they had no openings for aspiring 10 year old artists, but to keep them in mind later. Don explained that of all his collection, this was his most prized possession.

Don went into the banking business, as a teller, then a bank manager. He loved to doodle. Every Christmas, he'd put up some of his drawings in his office. This caught the attention of a local news reporter, one of his clients, who did a feature story on him.

Many people convinced him to send his work to Disney, and after much prodding, he finally did. They sat on somebody's desk for months, untouched. His contact liked his work, and asked him to send more. Every week, Don would create 100-150 works, and mail them down to Walt Disney World. He'd work his 40 hours in the banking business, then come home and draw.

Eventually, he decided he would need to move to Florida in order to work at Disney. He said he would get any job he could at the Walt Disney Company, and maybe he could work his way in. He got a job waiting tables at a nearby hotel, visiting the Disney HR group daily to ask about jobs. Finally, he found something, and it turned out to be a park caricature artist! He took the position. Instead of mailing the 100-150 works of art each week, he could hand deliver them to his contact. Finally they eliminated the caricature artists. He was looking for something else when a position opened for an artist.

The guy who he was to interview with was in the office right next to the contact he had been sending all his art to! So when they wanted to see some samples, they had about 10,000 works to check out.

Don began working on a 30-day trial position, and just kinda stayed around. He did artworks of Mickey, Donald (his favorite), Goofy, Minnie, and all the other characters. In addition, he learned how to draw portraits of Walt, and other real-type pictures. He has now been with the Walt Disney Company for over 30 years.

Don explains his story over a 60 minute session, and while telling his story draws some characters on a sketch pad. His sketches are raffled off (for free) at the end of the session. During the session, he sketched out 26 characters. I was one number away from getting one! There are some on ebay... but I don't need one that bad. :o)

Dinner was the Prince and Princess menu. The signature dessert was the glass slipper. The evening show was "Twice Charmed" which I've seen before, and I skipped.

Day 9 was so eventful that I only have pictures of the dinner menu! Looking back, I don't think I even did anything this day. Must have been nice. :o) Dinner was the Master Chef menu:

The show was new, it was called "The Art of the Story." It was really neat. I managed to snap some pictures later on deck 10. The picture on the right is the adults only area, with pool, two hot tubs, bar, and coffee shop in the back.

Thanks for stopping by at! I'll have more pictures and trip report from Acapulco, Puerto Vallarta, and Cabo San Lucas before the final leg to Los Angeles!

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