An Afternoon At The Griffith Park Merry-Go-Round
Today's D23 Days of Christmas gift is a virtual tour of a very special D23 event! Last weekend, D23 Members were invited by the owners of the Griffith Park Merry-Go-Round and Los Angeles City Councilman Tom LaBonge to be part of a unique event honoring the late Diane Disney Miller: the dedication of a bench in her honor at the merry-go-round. The Griffith Park Merry-Go-Round and the benches that surround it play an integral role in the oft-told story of the origination of Walt's idea for Disneyland. As Walt sat and watched his daughters enjoy ride after ride, he longed for a place where the whole family could enjoy attractions together.
It was a special afternoon, indeed. Diane's husband Ron Miller, as well as several of their children and grandchildren were in attendance as the bench was unveiled, and friends of Diane shared stories of their time with her and her love of the merry-go-round. Disney Legends Tony Baxter and Bob Gurr even came to speak and enjoy a ride! The day was capped off with cookies and hot apple cider, plus some holiday carols and a rendition of "When You Wish Upon A Star" from the MeloD23 choir.
Take a look at the video above and the photos below to see more from the event!
The merry-go-round horses got all dressed up for the holidays! The merry-go-round itself is almost 90 years old, and was built by the Spillman Engineering Company in 1926.
"Walt, Diane, & Sharon—They Loved The Carousel"
The MeloD23 choir brought musical holiday cheer with classic Christmas carols.
Merry-go-round owners Rosemary West and Julio Gosdinski thank the crowd for coming.
Disney Legends Tony Baxter and Bob Gurr fondly recalled their time with Diane and memories of the merry-go-round.
Diane Disney Miller's daughters proudly watch their father, Ron Miller, address the crowd.
Councilman Tom LaBonge presents Ron Miller with a commendation from the city of Los Angeles.
D23 Director of Marketing Kristin Rodack thanks the D23 Members in attendance, and raffles off a few prizes for the members who came to two D23 events in one day—shopping at Mickey's of Glendale and the bench dedication!
Councilman LaBonge turns the tables on D23 Members—he's taking a photo of them from the podium!
The Disney family takes a seat on the bench honoring their mother and grandmother for the first time.
Two lucky D23 Members snap a selfie with Disney Legend Tony Baxter!
Disney Legend Bob Gurr takes a spin on the merry-go-round with one of the coveted gold rings that merry-go-round riders used to compete for.
A D23 Member lined up for cookies and hot cider with a very little Disney fan in tow.
After the festivities, it's time to ride! D23 Members got to take a ride on the merry-go-round that Walt and his daughters loved so much.