Gail Solomon is a dedicated community worker who volunteered at Grady Hospital’s newborn intensive care unit and the March of Dimes’ Better Infant Births and served as the first woman chairman of the March of Dimes metro Atlanta chapter. She ushered at the Fox Theatre for years and has volunteered at the Georgia Aquarium for a decade. Solomon chairs a quarterly blood drive at Congregation Ahavath Achim, where she also started Mature Active Adult Community for women and men aged 65 and older.
Solomon purchased Guidelines-Atlanta and started American Sightseeing Atlanta, which became what is believed to be Atlanta’s top daily tour company. She sat on the executive committee of the Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau and The Carter Center Board of Councilors. Later, she became executive services manager at the Georgia Dome, then worked for Sam Massell as administrative assistant until he retired as president of the Buckhead Coalition. She presently loves her role as premium seating hostess in the Mercedes-Benz Club at the new stadium.
Meanwhile, Solomon assembled an extensive entertaining, and often nostalgia-inducing collection of objects that feature Mickey Mouse and other iconic Disney characters.
Solomon became a Disney fan as a child in Texas, watching the original Mickey Mouse Club and classic Disney movies, including “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” “Cinderella,” and “Pinocchio.”
After moving to Atlanta in the mid-1960s, she joined an investment club, and when the stocks were divided at the end of the year, she succeeded in acquiring the Disney stock. She soon became a collector. Solomon jokes, “I wanted to support Disney however I could, so that my stock would grow!” It’s a labor of love, with Disney objects displayed throughout her home, including subgroups of Mickey-and-Minnie items, clothing, and family Disney marathon medals.
The Solomon family visited Disney World many times and Solomon and her husband brought their first two grandchildren on a family Disney cruise. “It was our most bonding family trip. I got my first Disney snow globe, Cinderella, on a trip to Disney World, and my large collection of Disney snow globes are some of my favorite and most unusual possessions. Over the years I have created a red-walled all-Disney kitchen, with a Mickey Mouse paper towel holder, canister set, linens, chandelier, toaster, clock, waffle maker, utensils, dinnerware, even sponges. On the wall are valuable Disney-themed, numbered plates, some of them musical.”
Solomon’s grandchildren call her their Disney Grandma. When she finds something unique made by Disney, it is displayed in its “rightful home,” examples being the set of PEZ Disney characters, a Mickey evening bag, complete Disney character Beanie Baby collection, rare snow globes and several Chanukah menorot, plus a Chanukah snow globe.
Occasionally, Solomon’s Disney devotion has been rewarded. She elaborates: “I was at a pearl jewelry show and found a necklace featuring Mickey Mouse’s face with pearls hanging from it. I told the seller how excited I was to find the necklace. When I paid him with a Mickey Mouse check, he insisted on gifting me with the necklace. He said, ‘You really do love the mouse!’
“My late husband knew how much I adore Disney, and he surprised me with a trip to Disney World to welcome the new millennium. In Epcot, we added our picture to the Leave a Legacy wall, which has pictures of guests who visited the park on New Year’s Eve 1999,” she said.
“I was with my marathon-runner daughter Caren at her first Disney Marathon; soon after that my son Danny joined her, and Caren’s young children subsequently participated in the kids’ races. My favorite ride at Disney World is It’s a Small World, the message of which is so important today. Externally, people may look different and have different beliefs, but we are very much alike inside. I think Disney World is the happiest place on earth, and it is my favorite vacation spot. One day, I hope to spend a summer there as a greeter in the Magic Kingdom.”
- Chana Shapiro
- Gail Solomon
- Grady Hospital
- Fox Theatre
- Georgia Aquarium
- Congregation Ahavath Achim
- Mature Active Adult Community
- Mercedes-Benz Stadium
- Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau
- The Carter Center Board of Councilors
- Georgia Dome
- Sam Massell
- Mickey Mouse
- Snow White
- Beanie Baby