Exciting New DVD For Disney And Rail Fans: The Favorite – Retlaw Combine 101

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Exciting New DVD For Disney And Rail Fans: The Favorite – Retlaw Combine 101

When Walter Disney was a boy in Kansas City he worked aboard the passenger trains as a news butcher, selling newspapers, candy, and the like. He kept his supplies in the baggage compartment, and visited with train crews while sitting on trunks or barrels or mailbags.

It has often been said that Walt didn’t build a railroad because he built Disneyland; he built Disneyland so he could have a railroad. Indeed the railroad was originally operated as a separate company with separately paid employees. He carefully oversaw the design and construction of the railroad equipment, and he made sure that the passenger train (designated “Retlaw 1”) included a Combine car as the first car behind the steam engine. This car combined two functions, having both a passenger area, and a baggage area. Combine No. 101 was said to be his Favorite car on the railroad.

Main Street Station was and still is the first Disneyland building visitors see when they arrive at the gates. Hearing the steam whistles and seeing the trains rumble overhead as you walked toward the tunnels is the dramatic welcome most visitors will never forget.

In the 1950’s and 60’s visitors wanting to ride closest to the engine would head straight for the Combine. A fortunate few could ride in the baggage compartment itself. Decorations included wooden steamer trunks and bright red gunpowder kegs. Watching the comparatively open park roll by through the large open baggage door would have been a thrill, as every cast member stopped what they were doing to turn and wave at the train.

After having been inaccessible to the public for nearly 40 years, it created a sensation in the world of Disneyland Railroad enthusiasts to learn that the Combine was coming out of private storage to be restored for public display by the Carolwood Pacific Historical Society. Then an even greater excitement came when it was announced that the car would not only be on static display, but that for the first time in decades it would run on the rails again, united with four of the original Retlaw 1 coaches at the Pacific Coast RR in Santa Margarita, California.

Guests enjoyed a truly red carpet weekend.

  • Riding aboard private Vistadomes behind Amtrak
  • Lectures from Disney Legends and current animators and Imagineers
  • A lively auction of memorabilia from the parks and personal collections
  • A catered lunch in the historic Mission Asistencia, the oldest standing building in California.
  • A chance to meet and mingle with numerous past and present Disney and Pixar artists.
  • The privilege of being the first passengers to ride in this famous car in decades (And the only ones ever to ride in it outside Disneyland).

Early in the morning, the air was cool and crisp. The mood was electric. Everyone waited next to the track in anticipation. As the train first crested the hill and The Favorite came into view with its fresh paint and pinstriping, the crowd erupted in applause. Throughout the day guests were speechless as childhood memories of riding the Disneyland railroad came back to life. Some were near tears as they appreciated the importance of the Combine to Disney history.

Robinson & Associates was honored to be invited to create the documentary of this historic event. It is a joy to bring viewers along for the ride during this historic event.

Special Features

Michael Broggie

Michael’s father Roger was the original Imagineer. Michael learned about trains at Walt’s knee, and he literally wrote the book about Walt Disney’s love of trains. [Walt Disney’s Railroad Story]

Bob Gurr (Disney Legend)

Was one of the early Imagineers and designed “almost everything that had wheels”, including the Monorail, Autopia, the Submarine and the later Disneyland Railroad passenger cars. He also goes into detail about the little known Viewliner, which was always intended to be a temporary train ride (1957-1959)

Floyd Norman (Disney Legend)

Discusses his time at Disney studios and how much railroading was a prominent part of the culture.

Terri Hardin (Imagineer alumnus)

Discusses the depth and the energy of the Carolwood Pacific Historical Society and fans of Disney railroading.

Tim LaGaly (Restoration specialist)

He and his crew not only restored the Combine, they were awarded the contract to restore prestigious Lilly Belle parlor car, which still operates for VIPs at Disneyland. Tim speaks at length about the work that went into bringing both these cars into better-than-new condition.

Sean Bautista (Restoration specialist)

Explains the work involved in restoring DLRR Coach #105.

Combine Timeline

  • 1955 Disneyland opens with Walt making his grand entry on Retlaw 1. Very early the need to load and unload passengers more quickly became clear.
  • 1958 The Grand Canyon Diorama opened, passengers wished for a better view and seats facing sideways.
  • 1960’s After the newer passenger cars were built, the Retlaw 1 train set was relegated largely to rainy days and fill-in running.
  • 1974 Placed in permanent storage in the back of the roundhouse
  • 1992 Sold to Bill Norred
  • 2010 Acquired by Carolwood Foundation, restored for display in Griffith Park.

To Purchase

$29.95 (plus S/H)   http://grandscales.com/giftshop/2giftindex.html   530-527-0141

Robinson & Associates, PO Box 8953, Red Bluff, CA 96080

Official Carolwood Site – http://www.carolwood.org/retlaw1.html

  • Review of Disneyland: Sunrise to Sunrise, by Tom Bricker (chipandco.com)
  • Special Event – D23′s Disneyland Off the Map (chipandco.com)
Exciting New DVD For Disney And Rail Fans: The Favorite – Retlaw Combine 101

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Chip is the owner, editor, and writer of Chip and Company. When he is not writing about Disney News or Planning Tips, you will find him counting down the days to his next Disney Vacation.
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