A lot has happened in the past seven days. So much that it’s left me a bit dizzy, trying to keep track of it all. Which is exactly why I need to keep doing just that. Just so I can remember where we are. So we can take a collective step back and see the big picture. The entire map if you will.
Since our last recap, Mom agreed to sit down for an interview with me. It was so much fun! She talked about Grandpa being like a big kid in many ways, always dreaming, telling stories, not worrying one bit about responsibilities. Mom and I shared a moment when we realized that the same bedtime story Grandpa used to tell her as a kid was the same story he used to tell me! We enjoyed recalling some interesting details together about this dream world Grandpa dreamt up.
Then the following day, this happened:
Folks who ordered their chili with “a side of pinto beans to go” got a free can of chili. If they were hungry, it might’ve been a bit disappointing. But if they had an appetite for knowledge, I’m sure they walked away very satisfied, because inside the can was a message from the society – a note about “recruiting tactics.” And apparently there was more than one message, as by my count, people reported finding five different notes! It sounds like this society was recruiting only the best and the brightest in many disciplines from around the globe. I wonder: have these cans been there since the 60’s? (If so, probably a good thing there was no chili inside!)
The Carousel at Griffith Park in Los Angeles also appeared on the map.
Walt used to take his own daughters there before he started creating carousels of his own. The map of Walt’s Haunts also included a picture of a horse with a ribbon, and on that ribbon were the words: RIDE THE LAST DARK HORSE. Our fellow optimists found a dark horse near the center of the carousel, which had a leather belt stamped with seemingly random letters. If you wrapped this belt around the pole, the letters on the belt lined up to spell out this message:
SOCIETY MEMBERS – WE EACH PLAY A ROLE IN BUILDING TOMORROW – REMEMBER OUR GOAL TO FORGE A BRIGHTER PATH FOR THE FUTURE & KEEP THE WORLD GOING ROUND
It seems to be a reminder for members of the society, to keep them on the right path, so to speak. I wonder if the Carousel was a place where they met regularly? Maybe this was the real reason that Walt was on the bench that day?
Which takes us to our next stop on Wallace’s map: Le Grand Courtyard. After being led into Club 33 (!!), some of you discovered glassware, each with its own set of initials.
Debra was the first to post whom the initials belong to:
AME = Amelia Mary Earhart
JGV = Jules Gabriel Verne
SLC = Samuel Leghorns Clemens (Mark Twain)
TAE = Thomas Alva Edison
AGE = August Gustav Eiffel
HGW = H.G. Wells
NT = Nicola Tesla
And last but not least, WED = Walter Elias Disney
Ricky first posted on the blog that he believed these were all members of the rumored secret society that we all have been discussing. It looks like this society had some pretty illustrious roots!
Along with the “Red Barn” where Walt tinkered with model trains and came up with big ideas, many of you visited the “Combine Car” and found a poster of the Santa Fe & Disneyland Railroad. A note on Wallace’s map revealed a “flash photo opportunity inside.” And when you took a flash photo of the poster inside, “New Orleans Square” and a telegraph sign magically appeared on the poster.
Upon seeing that, a number of you trekked back to Disneyland to record the telegraph message at New Orleans Square, and Ricky deciphered it:
“Welcome society members of 1966 and our new inductee RDB.”
Is RDB referring to Ray Bradbury? Was he part of this society as well? Before this was all discovered, I didn’t even realize he knew Walt Disney! Can you imagine hanging out with that group of brilliant minds?
And then yesterday! The last stop on Wallace’s map – the Bench.
What an incredible journey from meeting Wallace (I’m so jealous!) to going into Walt’s apartment. We are still tracking down what it all means, but I feel like we are getting closer to understanding that something very big was going on. And it wasn’t just Walt and the Imagineers – it seems like they were part of some society that stretched across the globe. For quite some time. But how can we confirm that? What was it they were all working on? And how in the world did grandpa fit in? It’s almost like we need to find someone who had an inside scoop.
This is so much fun to uncover with all of you, my fellow optimists. I feel like we are on the verge of putting it all together.