With the 20th anniversary of Pocahontas this month I just wanted to write about some of my experiences of the world premiere for the film.
Back in June of 2005 I worked as a Castmember at the Disney Store in Rockaway NJ. I enjoyed working at the store, because at the time I got my Disney fix as well as some free tickets to the Disney Parks. But luckily because of my college class schedule I was fortunate enough to be asked to participate in the Premiere in the Park event for Pocahontas on June 10th and 11th in New York City.
It is funny to think back 20 years and remembering things like they were yesterday. I remember being in awe of the setup for the premier. They had 4 giant screens to watch the film and in the middle they had a stage with an orchestra which played music before the show. This truly was an event like no other. I remember on June 10th we had our training to work the Pocahontas souvenir gift store. Unfortunately I don’t remember what was on sale. Afterwards we got to see the movie in its entirety. It was so exiting watching the movie before everyone else got to see it and just taking in the whole experience of what was around us was what made it special.
On June 11th I remember it was a chaotic day preparing for the craziness that was to ensue during the showing of the film. Seeing 100 thousand people fill into the park was something I could never forget. You seeing a sea of people in front of you is something you don’t see every day. Before the film started to play I had to run backstage to hit the bathroom. This next 10 or so minutes was the craziness and some of the most exciting moments of my young life. Before I get into the details that was to come I should state that we were told not to ask celebs for autographs or anything like that. Well as I was walking towards the bathrooms I bumped right into Macaulay Culkin, who at the time was a pretty big deal. We both apologized to one another. After that I headed into the bathroom. As I am about to step up to the urinal on my right, Roy E Disney steps up and to my left Jon Secada. This moment was totally crazy. I said hello to Jon Secada first and then Roy. Yes I said “Hi Roy” I ended up speaking with him for a few minutes and even shook his hand after we both washed our hands. He thanked me for working the event and asked how sales were going. I thanked him and his family for all the joy that his family has brought to so many lives. He was such a nice guy and a moment I will never forget. (Just wish I had a damn picture)
After walking back to the stand that I was working I ran into Rudy Giuliani the former Mayor of NYC and his family. I was asked to escort his son to the souvenir stand along with the security team. Once I got back to work I got to meet Michael Eisner for about 3 seconds and got on with my duties. Once the movie ended the stand got really crazy. I was asked to stop selling merchandise and work security for the flow of people leaving the premiere.
During this time I had people offering me $100’s of dollars for the shirt I was wearing. It was crazy to think that people wanted to buy the shirt of my back because of the historic event that took place that June night in Central Park.