Tuesday, February 3, 2009

On vacation...in Cuba

When Walt Disney suffered a nervous breakdown in 1931, his doctor suggested a vacation to get away from the pressures of running the Studio. On his doctor's advice, Walt planned a cruise to Seattle with Lillian, followed by visits with his parents in Oregon and his wife's relatives in Idaho. The couple changed their minds and instead booked a trip to Hawaii.

The excursion to Hawaii was canceled as well. Instead, the two booked a trip that included stops in St. Louis, a voyage down the Mississippi on a riverboat, a stopover in Florida, then on to Cuba before returning home via the Panama Canal.

When faced with the disappointment of not being able to sail down
the mighty Mississippi (riverboats no longer plied her waters), the couple instead trained to Washington, D.C., where they stayed for several days, before heading to Florida and then Cuba. While in Cuba the Disney's stayed at the Hotel Nacional.

The above photo, which I imagine was taken at the Nacional, appeared in the February 29, 1932, Hamilton Daily News. The original headline and caption read:

Here's Looking At You!

Even when Walter Disney, creator of Mickey Mouse comics published in The Daily News starting today, tries to take a vacation, he can't get away from the entertaining little rodent. He's shown in the picture...in Havana, resting from the labors of inventing new adventures for Mickey, who has penetrated the barriers of all languages to become world famous.

Well, the above picture sort of appeared in the paper...with one minor variation. Seems the "entertaining little rodent" made the trip as well. This is the image that actually appeared in print:

UPDATE February 5th:

Thanks to my friend Gunnar Andreassen, who located and shared with me the manifest for the SS
California, the luxury cruise ship Walt and Lillian sailed on from Cuba to Los Angeles. The manifest, which lists Walt and Lillian as passengers, indicates California departed Havana on November 3, 1931 and arrived in the Port of Los Angeles on November 14th.

I have also been able to locate two images of the California. The first shows her in Havana Harbor, while the second shows her in one of the locks in the Panama Canal.

1 comment:

Mark Sonntag said...

I have an original print of this, it's interesting to have a story go with it.