home > columns > cast member experience > Steve Simmons - Character Stories
 Steve Simmons


Here are several short (and true) stories concerning some of the characters seen around Disneyland.

The Seven Dwarfs - I was told that whenever the dwarfs walked around, that they were supposed to walk in a line with Doc in front and Dopey bringing up the rear. The dwarfs were never supposed to "go around" something, but go in as straight a line as possible. Well, I was standing out in front of Tomorrowland one day when I heard the dwarfs come on stage. I noticed your typical Japanese tourist, loaded with cameras, who also spotted the dwarfs and immediately began to line up a "photo opportunity". The guest positioned himself directly in front of the oncoming line of dwarfs and began adjusting his camera. He was looking through the viewfinder, trying to focus as the dwarfs approached. He continued to play with his camera, looking up and saying something in Japanese until finally, one by one, each of the dwarfs actually walked over him. The funny thing was that as they did, he was actually laughing (or was that Bashful I heard?).

Baloo and King Louie - There was this one Sunday at Plaza Gardens. It was quite crowded, as usual and, being around lunchtime, most of the tables were occupied. As I am cleaning up, a gentleman comes up and informs me that he has a group of 30 people and he asks if I could "clear an area" so that all of them can eat together. I politely informed him that we didn't ask other guests to move just to accommodate this large group. He went and asked a few other CM's in the area with the same results. Finally, getting nowhere he took matters into his own hand and actually began to get people to move for him (I should add that he was rather rude in the manner in which he did this). Well, I was a little steamed and walked off stage to head to the break area to get away from it when I ran into Baloo and King Louie coming over to the area. Baloo (yes, the same Jim who was involved with the "topless" dancing and other events) asked me what had upset me. I told him of the rude guest and how he had made others move for his group. Jim asked me to point out the group, which I did. He then informed me that he would take over from there.

Now, Sunday's were a little special for the Disneyland Marching Band as 80 year old V.C. Walker, the original band leader took the bandstand for some classical music. I should mention that most of the band members weren't so thrilled with Sundays and V.C.'s choice of music, but usually the characters who showed up on Sunday, did so without any supervision, so sometimes things got …. Well…read on.

So the band concert starts and V.C. is leading the Disneyland Marching Band when from backstage out comes Baloo and King Louie. Both characters weave their way through the tables full of guests until they are in the middle of the area where this large group of people is sitting (the group that forced everyone else to move, remember?) Baloo turns to King Louie and shouts "Hey, There's a Fly on your nose! Don't worry. I'll get it off!" and proceeds to slap King Louie in the head. King Louie responds by delivering a blow of his own. The two of them begin "fighting". Baloo reaches back and grabs a chair from underneath a guest (ah, he picked the gentleman who instigated all the moves) and pulls the chair out to toss at King Louie. The guest ends up on the ground. King Louie is using anything he can get his hands onto, including food from several tables, some chairs, a small hat. It becomes a small war. It was amazing though that the only area that the two of them damaged just happened to be tables from the people in the large group. As quickly as it started, King Louie and Baloo jumped up and headed off stage. While heading off, Baloo fell (no really, he did!) and King Louie, seeing Baloo lying on his "face" immediately ran and jumped on top of Baloo. The two of them began making movements that can only be described as "non-Disney". Mowgli shows up at this moment and closes the gate, so that the guests cannot see the two "mating" characters. However, that doesn't stop some of the kids from climbing on the fence. However, Mowgli puts a stop to this as he jumps on top of the fence and yells "What the (non-Disney word) are you little (another non-Disney word) doing?" "Get away and let the animals do their thing!" And with that all three disappear into the backstage. Again, as in the previous story, it is amazing that all the guests (including those who's lunch was destroyed) all enjoyed what had happened and there were no complaints by anyone. (I think that the only one who was perhaps upset was V.C. because all the attention was taken away from the band and focused on the characters).

Brer Bear - It was another weekend, and Jim is at it again. This time, on Saturday, I find him at the Café Orleans waltzing between the tables wearing one of the waitresses' aprons (which is obviously very very small). Bear is actually seating people and waiting on them. He did this for at least an hour to the amusement of guests and CM's alike. The next day I found Jim backstage near New Orleans Square again. Today, however, Jim has taken a large red bandana and tied it around Brer Bear's face so that it covers the nose and mouth (like a villain from an old western). He has found a clarinet and a cap gun and has fixed the clarinet to the cap gun so that it looks like a cartoon gun. He now dons the costume and heads on stage. I followed him as he wandered through each of the stores in New Orleans Square "robbing" each of the stores! He is drawing a crowd as he weaves his way from store to store. His journey takes him through the aisles of the French Market and he approaches the small bandstand where, none other than Pete Lofthouse and his Second Story men are playing (remember them from the topless event at the Plaza Gardens?) Well, Bear approaches the band and holds them at gunpoint for several minutes, while the audience is roaring. Suddenly, hearing a distant whistle, Bear climbs over the small fence and heads up towards the railroad station. He gets past the crowd and actually straddles the rails as a train slowly appears from the tunnel. The engineer, seeing Bear standing on the tracks, is blowing his whistle as he brings the train to a stop. He leans out of the cab and yells, "What the heck are you doing?" to which Brer Bear replies "I'm robbing the train, what does it look like!" At that point the engineer and other CM's working the station are now also doubled over in laughter. As Brer Bear is standing on the tracks, a security person sneaks up behind Bear and shoves his walkie talkie antenna into Bears back, as if it was a gun. Bear immediately drops his "gun" and security "apprehends" Bear and leads him off stage to the applause of all around. After several minutes of searching I found both Bear and the security person enjoying a cold drink downstairs near the employee restaurant. Jim (Brer Bear) was exhausted from being in costume for nearly an hour without a break but he said it was worth it to pull of what he had just done.

Back to previous page


Important Notes

All opinions expressed on this page are those of the author and not necessarily those of the disneygeek or of this site.