"We are so excited to bring this interview to you. Sam and Shawn had the amazing opportunity to sit down with Gina Rock . Gina is the longest flying Tinkerbell at Disneyland . For 21 years would travel from the top of the Matterhorn (160 feet in the air ) During the nighttime fireworks at the Happiest Place on Earth. Join us as Gina takes on the journey of her exciting career . From the Circus to Disneyland and now her great work in Emergency Management. Sit back relax and look high above the sky over Disneyland as we bring you Gina (Tinkerbell) Rock. Thank you for the continued support for our shows and as always , We hope you enjoy the view from Walt's Apartment."
This unique podcast focuses on wrestling. The host, Tony Merino, was once employed by Ringling Brothers, just like Gina. He was a part of the elephant crew, which is Gina's favorite animal. Gina was in the elephant act with Gunther Geble Williams while she was at Ringling Brothers. What we didn't know about Gina is that she was friends with some famous wrestlers, like "Rowdy" Roddy Piper, Jay York, and even Andy Kaufman. Listen to this one-of-a-kind interview to learn more about it.
"This week, we’re thinking Tink! You may have thought you knew all there was to know about Tinker Bell, but Mousetalgia dives in and considers the flight of everyone’s favorite fairy by looking at some interesting angles. First, we talk to aerialist Gina Rock, who flew across the sky in Disneyland as the fireworks lit up the night. Gina talks about her background as a gymnast, and the experience of portraying the famous pixie in her nightly ritual in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle. We also talk to Klay Hall, the director of Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure, on helping Disney relaunch Neverland for a new generation. Hall talks about developing Tink as a story editor for the 2008 Tinker Bell feature film, developing Pixie Hollow for Disneyland Park, and helping to guide the franchise as DisneyToon Studios launched the Disney Fairies, reimagining Tinker Bell for today’s audiences while keeping her roots as one of Disney’s most enduring and beloved characters. Plus – Kristen Carr checks in with a Mousetalgia FastPass… and more."
Mousetalgia is one of the top Disney podcasts out there and Gina was so excited to be interviewed by them. To listen to just Gina's part, skip ahead to the 25-minute mark.
Gina had the pleasure of being interviewed by Professional Mechanical Engineer Chris Chipman and his wife Sarah on their podcast Creating Geeks. She was able to talk more about her time in the circus with this interview than she has on previous ones.
Click to listen, or you can look up "The Chippa Made This" on your podcast app. Chris has several podcasts that share the same channel name.
Gina was interviewed on a different type of podcast. This podcast is The Civil Engineering Podcast. Gina talks about how she went from gymnastics to being an aerialist in the circus, flying high over Disneyland, and then into Public Assistance/FEMA as a Program Delivery Manager for Jacobs where she met and works with multiple types of engineers. She started with Hurricane Katrina in 2005. You need to listen to hear the whole story.
Gina did her first interview with me at the end of 2015. My article was published in the Disneyana Fan Club Newsletter for April/May 2016.
The article was re-published on www.DisneyScoop.com in January 2019 with more photos added in and some updated information.
You can click to download the newsletter further down.
"We have a very special guest on the show today. Gina Rock is the longest flying Tinker Bell in Disney history and on todays show, Gina shares what it was like flying as Tinker Bell from 1983-2005 at Disneyland.This amazing lady who first started out in the circus riding elephants and swinging from a trapeze will take us on an adventure full of pixie dust and special memories all this week on Disney with Daddy & Daughter."
The Sweep Spot podcast is hosted by two past Cast Members of Disneyland who were custodians with a combined 24 years experience. They were working in the park the whole time Gina was flying as Tink. Lynn Barron and Ken Pellman both co-wrote the book "Cleaning The Kingdom." Check out the book HERE.
This episode was from December 9, 2017.
"On The Sweep Spot we welcomed Gina Rock who was Tinker Bell and flew above Disneyland from 1983 to 2005 plus a trip report and more."
Gina Rock (Geospatial Intelligence Graduate Certificate) has more than a decade of disaster response experience, and, over that time, has been deployed to 32 disaster declarations serving victims of flooding, hurricanes, tornadoes, landslides, ice storms and wind driven rain.
“During my deployments, I had to travel extensively to reach victims affected by these disasters, and if it were not for our current GPS systems, and available mapping tools I would not have been efficient with time management,” Rock said. After Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas, Gina was deployed to Beaumont, Texas, where she is training new site inspectors to assess damage to parks, roads, city hall, schools, fire stations, historical landmarks, bridges, hospitals, culverts and the removal of debris.”
Gina was interviewed on the "Skywalking Through Neverland" podcast in November 2017 by Richard and Sarah Woloski.
Here are there show notes: " Ever wonder what it’s like to soar over Sleeping Beauty Castle while fireworks boom all around you? To be the symbol of Disneyland’s magic gliding across the sky? Gina Rock IS Tinker Bell. Specifically the longest flying Tinker Bell in Disneyland history, from 1983-2005. We are delighted to welcome her as our guest, and her stories are almost unbelievable. Hold on, was she the first…Jedi Tink?? **gasp** "
In July 2017, I had the second edition of my book published. It is about Disneyland and all of its history. It contains over 3,700 fun facts and over 750 photos. Inside on page 430 I wrote a mini biography about Gina. If you would like your own copy of this 700 page book, just visit my website.
I am the co-host of Magic Behind The Ears podcast and was able to co-interview Gina on our show with Jerry Cornell, the producer of the Theme Parkology documentary DVDs (themeparkology.com).
We interviewed her in November 2016, but didn't actually get the episode up until April 2017.
There certainly seem to be a lot of Tinker Bell fans and I've written about live action Disney Tinker Bells several times in the past. Here is the story of the fourth Tinker Bell to fly over Disneyland: Gina Rock, who did so for over twenty years and retired just as the new fireworks show, "Remember: Dreams Come True," at Disneyland began for the celebration of the 50th birthday.
Like many specialty performers, Gina Rock has had a long and varied career from dangling from a high-wire motorcycle to being hung from the neck as a human "clanger" on the Liberty Bell in the bi-centennial edition of the Ringling Brothers circus to being turned into an ostrich in a Hollywood magic show.
Rock was the daughter of a physics engineer named Robert and his wife Bernice who was content to be a homemaker. It was during gymnastics practice at her high school in the 1970s that legendary Hollywood stuntman Bob Yerkes spotted Rock tumbling and invited her to train in his back yard, a dangerous area designed to train stunt people and keep them in top shape.
Currently in his Seventies, Yerkes has doubled for celebrities like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bob Hoskins as well as performing very dangerous stunts and being a stunt coordinator and advisor on films like "Batman Forever" and "Problem Child".
While practicing in Yerkes' backyard, the high school senior met a man from the Shrine Circus who was working on a motorcycle act. He suggested she slide down a high wire dangling by her neck. After mastering the trick, she was invited to join the circus in Texas as an aerialist. Her parents instantly hated the idea but it didn't prevent her from joining the circus and learning first hand the hard life of a circus performer, especially one who did not come from a circus family.
One night a fellow performer told her about a special Ringling Brothers Circus audition and he drove her 250 miles to the audition. She was signed on to be a showgirl/aerial ballerina for the 1976-77 bicentennial tour.
For two years, she performed with Ringling and then spent another three years on the flying trapeze at the Circus-Circus casino in Reno, Nevada.
Eventually, Rock returned to her home in the San Fernando Valley where she married a trapeze artist she met in Yerkes' backyard. In need of work, she recalled her grad night at Disneyland when she first saw Tinkerbell fly and had thought: "Oh, my God. I want that job."
Rock knew that Tinker Bell's nightly flight had been sidelined when her landing tower had been torn down to
build the new Fantasyland in 1983. Being petite herself and with a love of flying, Rock called to see if Disneyland had plans to bring back Tinker Bell's flight.
As luck would have it, auditions to find a new pixie were under way at that very moment. Rock auditioned and got the job. At twenty-seven years old, she would be Disneyland's fourth flying sprite. The previous flying Tinks were Tiny Kline, Mimi Zerbini (who only performed one summer), and Judy Kaye who like Rock all had previous circus experience.
The only stipulation from the Disney Company was that she not get pregnant. "Two weeks after they put that wand in my hand ...," Rock laughed without finishing the thought. She flew through that first summer anyhow in the early stages of pregnancy, with no one the wiser. (In fact, she flew two summers as Tink while she was pregnant.)
On a typical night, Rock disguised herself in a coat and hat to make her way through the park to the Matterhorn. There she rode an elevator five flights, then climbed five sets of stairs. At the top, two men took wind readings. If it was safe to fly, they hooked her to a trolley wire and then basically threw her off the Matterhorn.
"It was like launching a rocket," she said, "What I would do is close my eyes right before I flew. On top of the Matterhorn, especially on a full-moon night, it was so beautiful. I would listen to the story, and become the character"
With a spotlight on her, Rock traveled 13 miles per hour, as high as 160 feet above the park for two football fields. Her actual shift lasted about 23 seconds, depending on the wind. She passed over Sleeping Beauty's castle, slipping into a landing tower at Thunder Mountain and sneaking back to her car.
"She's supposed to be a light," Rock says of Tink. "She's really not supposed to be a person." Said Rock who won't reveal how much she was paid for her short flight. "That's part of the mystery of Tinker bell."
In the second summer, Rock brought her sister-in-law in as a backup. About eight years ago another woman was hired to share the flights.
Rock was given an opportunity to audition for the new fireworks show with a more intricate flight pattern for Tinker Bell. However, now 48 years old, she felt it was finally time to hang up the wings and wand and chose not to audition despite pangs of regret.
"I mean, 21 years was a beautiful run," she said. "The whole first part of my life was like living a `Quantum Leap' episode. Like living in a dream."
Currently, she is writing a motivational book for children that encourages them to follow their wildest dreams. "I'm the kid who read all the books and I wanted to live in those books. I didn't want to keep reading. I wanted to jump into it," stated Gina who hopes her book will inspire a new generation to soar like Tinker Bell in the night sky while fireworks frame their silhouettes.
By Author Jim Korkis (photo from Yesterland)