Behind the wheel…Glamour Tram

Animations are just part of this Glamour Tram experience… but, a big part!

They look challenging–we can talk about them all day–but it’s time for my class to experience this magic and mayhem!

We’ll practice with a fully loaded tram…of mannequins! Each anatomically correct, some dressed, some not. A few of the male ones are a bit battle-worn. They stare at each driver candidate in our mirrors as we see them over are shoulder. Often, the Special Effects Dept. uses these same props in battle scenes involving pyro.

Sand bags also are loaded inside the tram to establish the weight needed for proper tram handling. Dennis wants each driver to position each “passenger” in an upright position before releasing the air brakes and wheel chocks.


Dennis believes that having our smiling fake audience still upright at the end of a practice tour proves we know what’s expected of us. In other words, if all your passengers are crooked or lying on the floor as you pop open the safety gates at the end of the tour, you may need to practice more!

Below… my guests…from all walks of life.

mannequin photos from hollywood - Google Search IMG_7079IMG_7080



Tour Guide mannequin…above…Remember, you want her sitting up at the end of the tour, not laying down…as per our training instructions…

I want to be the first in my class to drive this contraption, and I raise my hand excitedly! My tram group includes Ted, the model, Big John, the low-rider, and Dick, a Vietnam vet. Dennis will instruct us while Cliff teaches the others, smoking the whole time I’m sure.

I’m first out on the Tram route this morning. Dennis will tell us where to drive. I know this place like the back of my hand, but everyone else must learn how to get around the enormous back lot.

We start before the actual tour opens so we can focus on the animations before tourists arrive.

We begin exiting the Tram garage, which is in the shadow of World Wide’s music theater. It’s a superb venue where top music acts perform regularly.

A strategically placed traffic signal hidden in some bushes flashes a green-light telling me to proceed. The Glamour Tram slowly turns towards a Space Ship just off the main road.


It is the “Galactic Encounter” animation. The Glamour Tram is the only motorized vehicle that moves independent of a track. Everything else is controlled under the guidance of the parks animation department.

The giant space ship door seals us inside and a Galactic encounter plays out before our eyes. Once inside this spaceship, the driver then can become a tourist for the duration of this show.  Evil Cylons vs. the guests on the Glamour Tram! My guests fail to react, naturally, since they’re all stuffed, but this scene erupts violently into a laser battle unlike any on earth. Our only escape is for the tram operator to hastily steer this craft.


Everyone cheers as the Glamour Tram lives to fight another day. We are rolling now, I have my first animation under my belt as all my passengers look on.

Down the hill we go…stay tuned!

Written and lived by Donnie Norden…page 4.







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