Sunday, October 04, 2009


19 new photos

The most recent shuttle mission, STS 128 brought back a special passenger from the International Space Station, none other than Buzz Lightyear!

In celebration, Disney announced a ticker-tape parade at the Magic Kingdom for Friday, October 4, 2009. Joining the Toy Story and ISS star would be the original Buzz, one of the 12 men to actually walk on the moon, Buzz Aldrin!

I made note to be there!

Additionally, the real Buzz- okay, the human one- would be doing a book signing after the parade, in Town Square Exposition Hall, so I took a spot in front of that for the parade, ready to jump to the line as soon as I had seen Buzz & Buzz pass by in the parade. But I then spotted a better location for shooting photos, so moved to the sidewalk across from the train station.

The CM's provided some entertainment for the kids during the wait for the parade- people tend to grab a spot for Disney parades up to two hours before they start- and here are a bunch trying that insidious device, mastered by so few, the hula-hoop.

I heard the applause and cheering start from around the corner and got ready and then it was there! I was very pleased to see Buzz was riding in a Camaro!

Then the other Buzz, all on his own, driving behind him! A marching band finished it off.

As wonderful as it was, it certainly was not the 'parade' I was expecting! A two-car drive-by??? If I'd had any idea, I would have video'd instead of still'd!

I headed over to the line at Exposition Hall for the book signing. It was 2:55pm and the signing was to start at 4pm! The line was already out the door, down the long side ramp, and out on the sidewalk to near the front of the building! It was hot and brilliant sunshine, and the longest line I have ever waited in for anything!

The man in front of me was wearing a great NASA print shirt- and I commented and we and a couple of others spent the rest of the time in conversation. He was Jim, and he works at NASA in an education program for kids called Inspire during the week, and at Disney during the weekends. I quizzed him about the education program thinking of a young future scientist son of a friend in Maine I know from the net.

I was carrying three prints of photos of a sculpture I did about the Apollo 11 mission, centered about the picture of Buzz on the moon, as a gift for Buzz, and a second copy of one hoping he might sign it for me- although when I read the announcement it did say that he would not sign anything other than his book- bought there that day. But I talked to a CM and she said it would be okay to ask... In any case, my main thing was to simply meet this hero and to present him with my gift.

Despite the hot penetrating sun- some folks passed around some sunscreen which I passed on- everyone was in good spirits, and the man in front of me even let me go ahead of him to make my conversation with Jim more convenient.

Eventually, we moved through the doors into the building and its welcome cooler temps, and there across the room sat Buzz at a table, signing books. The CM's were running things, and it was more like an assembly line than a meet and greet, and we were instructed to have our book open to a certain page and to lay it down facing him as we approached the desk. There were a lot of people to get through so it had to be this way, but I am not sure if Buzz even saw anyone- just sign, new book, sign, new book...

There were at least two CM's who were taking your camera before you approached and would take a shot of you standing in front of the desk as Buzz signed- it had been announced that Buzz would not be posing with anyone- and if he had, gosh, we would still be there!

When my turn came, noting the high speed process, I quickly laid my book down, and beside it, out of the way of his moving hand, the portfolio with the pictures for him, stated these were a gift for him, and asked if he would sign my picture of him, got a grunt and immediately withdrew that request, and told him how much I admired him and how I had grown up watching him and his fellow heroes do what they did. We shook hands- something I don't think he was doing either. In any case, it was a good moment for me!

After, I talked to Jim and the CM who had shot his picture had had her thumb over the lens!!! But despite his pleas, he was not allowed a re-do. He told me the name of his website, and as sure as I am that I remember it right I couldn't find it, but I did get the picture with him and did pass on the web site to my friend in Maine.

As I said, longest line I have ever waited in at Disney: when I left it was about 4:50, and the line was still down the ramp and out to the sidewalk.



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