September 30, 2012
Disney Tourist Blog's tribute, so be sure to check it out if you haven't already. The above scene is certainly well-documented, but the world can't have enough chickens, so here's my shot of the ruckus.
World of Motion was an incredibly good-natured adventure the whole family truly could experience together. It also had the catchy theme song, "It's Fun to be Free." Long before our trip, I'd memorized that song via the great original Music of Disneyland, Walt Disney World and Epcot Center CD (odd title, considering Epcot is part of WDW). Based on the song alone, World of Motion was a "Must-See" on that first trip, and it did not disappoint.
More WDW 1993 coming soon.
September 29, 2012
And right next door, you can see the now-gone towers of the Maliboomer ride, which was supposed to resemble a gigantic test-of-strength mallet game. For some strange reason, that end of Paradise Pier had a "giant" theme going on, as it also hosted the giant hamburger UFO at the long-gone McDonald's Burger Invasion (barely visible on the left there).
Appearances aside, the problem with Orange Stinger was that it contained a circular swing ride, and the ride's views were mostly blocked by the surrounding orange peel. The experience felt like spinning around inside a dockside warehouse.
Maliboomer was a fun, scary ride, but it looked tacky and too modern for the Pier's theme.
In 2012's DCA, Orange Stinger has become the open-air Silly Symphony Swings and the Maliboomer's given way to...some planters. The removal of both original structures has greatly improved the believability of Paradise Pier's old-time boardwalk atmosphere.
September 28, 2012
The remodeling turned the mountain's interior (which previously had been one big open space with minimally-decorated beams, stairs and framework) into a maze of artificial ice caverns. The original single bobsleds were redesigned and coupled into two-car trains.
Best of all, the Abominable Snowman (unofficially dubbed "Harold") moved in, turning the unique roller coaster into a full-fledged Fantasyland adventure.
The footprint, with it's cartoon-like stylization, perfectly captures the spirit of the mountain's sole inhabitant (there are three abominable snowman figures on the ride, but they all represent the same guy pursuing you down the mountain). Unlike the Yeti in Animal Kingdom, which was designed to appear as much like a realistic beast as possible, Harold looks like a monster from a storybook -- a really good, scary storybook.
If fact, he'd look right at home stomping around Fantasyland looking fierce and reluctantly signing autographs. Come to think of it, why hasn't he ever appeared as a walk-around character?
September 27, 2012
We've discussed before which resort's Splash Mountain we find superior (Spoiler: It's WDW's). More focused storytelling was one factor that swung the vote.
I wish we'd spent more time in the Magic Kingdom back in '93. In our defense, though, this group of Disneyland regulars just couldn't stay away from Epcot for more than half a day!
More from 1993 WDW soon!
September 26, 2012
Kingdom Hearts game world into Fantasyland. Here's another perfect park-game matchup: Disney's Animal Kingdom and World of Warcraft's new online realm, Pandaria. This is not to be confused, of course, with Avatar's Pandora.
This early in the morning, nearly everyone's in Cars Land, leaving Paradise Pier full of wide open walkways and very short lines. In true Anaheim weather fashion, those clouds will soon give way to blue skies and bright sunshine -- just in time for corn dogs!
September 25, 2012
When our touring brought us to the Wonders of Life Pavilion, I expected Body Wars to be my favorite attraction there. I enjoyed the simulator, and nearly passed up the pavilion's second-biggest star, Cranium Command -- then I remembered a friend back home had recommended it.
I'm forever grateful for my friend's advice; Cranium Command turned out to be the single best, funniest and most ingenious show I've ever seen in any Disney park, and one of my top three favorite attractions in all of Walt Disney World.
This fast-paced masterpiece intro was directed by Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise, who became superstar animation directors with their very next film, Beauty and the Beast.
The General's banter continued as guests entered the main theater ("Are you waiting for your mamas to seat you?!?") It didn't take long for guests to realize the theater represented the inside of a boy's head, with forward screens functioning as the eyes. Cranium Commando Buzzy, now in audioanimatronic form, tried to guide his assigned human through a disastrous day while managing and directing the heart, stomach, left/right brain, adrenal gland and bladder, played by 80's-90's era celebrities such as George Wendt, Jon Lovitz, Charles Grodin, Bobcat Goldthwait and Dana Carvey, all providing frantic input via video screens.
Everything worked, and the show flew by with the intensity of a great ride. The comedy was brilliant, and both stories -- Buzzy's quest to be a good brain pilot and the human boy's extremely bad day at school -- all came together (via surprisingly kind advice from General Knowledge) for a completely satisfying, uplifting conclusion. I saw the show a half-dozen times during our trip, and the audience cheered loudly at the conclusion each time.
Essentially, Cranium Command presented an entire feature film's worth of plot, characterization and comedy within its 17 minute running time, staged in a unique and ingenious theater. It's a pity the show couldn't remain in Epcot forever. The one element that wouldn't age well -- the celebrity cameos -- could have easily been swapped out with new guest stars. The story itself was timeless.
I vote for Cranium Command as the best non-ride Disney park attraction of all time. Any other Buzzy & Knowledge fans out there?
September 24, 2012
The simple, quiet fun of seeing Disneyland after closing, if only for a wonderful few minutes, makes staying past midnight worthwhile despite aching feet and heavy eyelids.
I think a lot of life-long Disney fans get hooked during quiet moments like this.
September 22, 2012
Why is a Disneyland-centric website posting this? Well, I just found all the photos from Mouse Troop's 1993 Walt Disney World trip. I think fans on both coasts might enjoy some views of World of Motion, Cranium Command, the original Journey Into Imagination and a lot of other wonderful attractions as they existed back then.
Look for Walt Disney World 1993 popping up a couple of times a week on Mouse Troop. These photos bring back some incredible memories for us; we hope you'll enjoy them.
By the way, of the two Mr. Toad tracks, the one with the farm, the weasels and the cops was my favorite.
Guests descend a steep metal staircase to take a seat below water level in one of Disneyland's famous submarines to view the aquatic world through a porthole. As the cabin lights dim, the vehicle leaves the dock, cruising smoothly through the spectacular flora and fauna of the outdoor lagoon. The sights here are all solid, physical fabrications -- basic but effective. This section of the journey plays out very much like the start of the original 1959 ride, with a few Finding Nemo touches blended in to ease the transition from naturalistic sealife to fantasy world.
The subs pass through a waterfall into the indoor section of the ride, and everything quickly gets more colorful, more story-driven and more animated. Nemo has swum off on an adventure, and you give chase with Marlin and Dory through encounters with other characters from the Pixar film, including sea turtles, sharks, jellyfish, scary angler fish and whales.
Some fans bemoan the change, claiming the original ride was much better. I say it's all a matter of taste. The old version was a classic 1950's/1960's-style Disney adventure with fairly impressive mechanical effects, including mermaids, toppling stone columns and a lovable sea serpent. You could see the strings and rods, but it was still fun. The new ride--once inside the show building--relies heavily on high-def animation, trading huge sets for a more intimate, character-driven experience. It's funny, colorful and spectacular. As cute as the whale finale is, however, I think if they brought back the old sea serpent near the ending (not just the serpent tribute the Imagineers included in the rockwork), both camps would be satisfied.
A classic reborn for a new generation, the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage blends old and new into a fun, beautiful adventure. It's not the most thrilling ride in the park, but the subs themselves make the experience unique. Well worth checking out if the wait is twenty minutes or less.
WARNINGS: You will be spending about fifteen minutes--possibly longer--sitting in a tightly-packed, dark chamber, though air jets beneath each porthole help keep it from feeling claustrophobic. One particular scene may frighten small children.
September 21, 2012
Mater, fresh from a half hour of meetin' n' greetin', rumbles out of Cars Land along Cross Street under the watchful eye of his bodyguard entourage. He looks like he's aiming for a ride on Tower of Terror.
Actually, he'll soon take a right turn backstage. Although Tow Mater and Lightning McQueen usually enter and exit Cars Land by driving past Radiator Springs Racers, that ride's overflow queue can turn the road into a tight squeeze for automoblies. On those busiest days, the car celebs vamoose along this less-congested detour.
September 20, 2012
We named him Blarg the Magnificent.
Fortunately, once the ride resumed, we had a smooth, Nemo-full adventure with everything working perfectly...until the end, when something else happened just shy of the docks and we had to wait another fifteen minutes. We got to listen to "Beyond the Sea" over and over again.
Bottom line: even though this ate up our "Extra Magic Hour" morning, we all disembarked in a good mood. If we must get stuck somewhere, may it always be in a submarine at Disneyland rather than out in freeway traffic in the "normal" world.
September 19, 2012
Although I, personally, loved being flung across the bench seat and playing who's-scrunching-who with my co-rider as the trailers swung wildly around the course, I can see how some riders might appreciate a slightly more comfortable experience.
I'll miss this ride's original slip-slidey benches, but the thrill provided by the trailers' intense whipping motions remains intact. The amusement industry describes non-coaster thrill rides like the Jamboree and the Mad Tea Party (and Tilt-a-Whirls and Scramblers) as "flat rides." Mater's Junkyard Jamboree remains the funniest and most thrilling flat ride in the Disney park lineup.
September 18, 2012
Peter Pan's Flight has been a favorite of Disneyland guests since 1955, and its popularity shows no sign of waning. Early morning arrival is the only reliable way to catch this classic ride without a hefty wait; guests flock to the flying pirate ships right up until park closing, no matter how late.
For many, including myself, no trip to Disneyland is complete without a flight through this masterpiece.
September 17, 2012
Today's weekly episode finds our podcast crew in hot water at Disneyland. This is actually an above-average day for these three.
|Click to enlarge|
Disney California Adventure received a lot of well-deserved criticism when it first opened in 2001, but nearly everyone agreed that Grizzly River Run was a first-rate attraction. For years, it stood as an oasis of great theming and landscaping, showing just how beautiful the rest of DCA could be with a proper budget.
It took eleven years, but the rest of the park has finally caught up.
September 16, 2012
As a tribute to the Mine Train Through Nature's Wonderland (removed to make way for Big Thunder), this beautiful old MTTNW locomotive was set up as though wrecked in a rockslide along one of the original ride's stretches of railroad track.
Little mechanized marmots (a species of ground squirrel) would pop up among the rocks in the mine cars, referencing a gag from the old ride.
The mine train tribute was removed during the recent refurbishment of Rivers of America, as new scenery was put in place to truly turn the river into a tour of America's greatest waterways.
September 15, 2012
We're about ten minutes from boarding, looking back along the Single Rider line (an RS Racers fan's best friend!) That's the Fast Pass queue to the left, with the Standby multitude offscreen on the other side of the water tower. All three queues are wheelchair accessible, and all three serenade guests with a soundtrack of the quirkiest, most wonderful old-time songs (all relating to cars) we've ever heard.
I've scanned that rock wall on the right time and time again for Hidden Mickeys. No luck.
September 14, 2012
You'll be seeing a lot more of him inside the attraction, as he appears five times during the ride itself...although sometimes he's not quite "all there."
But beware. Just like in the animated classic, he has ulterior motives here; he loves any chance he can get to tick off the Queen of Hearts!
September 13, 2012
And...of course, that's the correct yellow-on-black color scheme for 1960's California license plates.
Okay, I'll stop talking now.
September 12, 2012
September 11, 2012
With one simple silhouette, the artist perfectly captures the spirit of the ride, the character, the Disney film (The Adventures of Ichabod & Mr. Toad) and even the source material, The Wind in the Willows. Most of the tale's riverbank citizens resent the intrusion of noisy machines into their peaceful lives, but J. Thadeus Toad eagerly grabs hold of new thrills and takes off, merrily on his way with no thought of consequences.
Either this vane wistfully represents the passing of a simpler era...
Or it's just a great prop on the only ride that turns a train collision and trip to hell into a jolly good time.
September 10, 2012
I love both the California and Florida Haunted Mansions. Although the rides are mostly identical, each has its own touches. If pressed, I'd say the Walt Disney World Haunted Mansion gives a slightly superior experience. The exterior looks more foreboding, and the ride includes a couple of brief, wonderful scenes not found in Disneyland.
Yet there are elements of Disneyland's HM that I prefer. I like entering through the front of the building. I like the fact that the stretching room floor goes down here, as opposed to the ceiling rising in Florida -- it just feels creepier knowing you're descending away from the "living" world. I like walking through the hall of paintings.
And, of course, I grew up with this version and it will always feel like "my" Haunted Mansion. I'm sure Walt Disney World fans feel the same way about their awesome mansion ride.
September 9, 2012
It's fun to take family and friends into this life-size hidden-picture puzzle for the first time (everyone seems to want to try the Chili Cone Queso) and watch their reaction as they focus on the unfolding layers of cone detail. They tend to say things like, "I...don't...believe...this..." Usually it's accompanied by a big smile. It helps if they like the color orange.
Considering the huge popularity of the Cone Drinking Cups, I wouldn't be surprised if Disney eventually adds a (cone-shaped) souvenir stand to the grounds, offering more (cone-shaped) wares. Personally, I'd love to buy one of those planters near the windows.
September 7, 2012
Could anything feel more wonderfully "Main Street" than watching these terrific singers? How about watching them sing "It's a Small World?" How about watching them sing "It's a Small World" while doing the robot and playing the Deagan Organ Chimes?
And now I wish Disneyland actually sold Deagan Organ Chimes, with a first lesson provided by the Dapper Dans. I can picture families and fan groups really getting into the idea -- imagine the musical possibilities for next year's Dapper Day!
Although I loved the added color, I won't miss the beach toys; they distracted nearly every rider into treating the ride like a goofy dodgeball game. Battle-crazed guests tend to ignore the most wondrous part of the whole experience: you're flying!
Okay -- technically, you're hovering...or floating...but it's still amazing. Some online critics feel this mellow non-thrill ride's not worth waiting in line for, but I disagree. Luigi's Flying Tires gives you a chance to pilot your own private hovercraft. When you get your tire scooting across the floor, it feels like surfing on air -- and I can't get that sensation from any other ride on Earth. It's a true one-of-a-kind, magical experience.
September 6, 2012
My family witnessed a little scene while waiting in line. A nervous little girl asked her father, "What's going to happen on this ride?"
"Happen?" snapped the Dad, confused by the question. "Yer gonna see Pinocchio!" The girl was not reassured; clearly, she (unlike her pop) knew the story.
Yes, folks, "Yer gonna see Pinocchio." Yer also gonna get locked in a cage by Stromboli, stumble down Tobacco Row, watch kids turn into donkeys, nearly get shoved into a crate, and get attacked by Monstro the Whale, all while Jiminy Cricket yells, "Look out!" and "You're going the wrong way!"
I love this ride, but -- similar to what happens with Snow White's Scary Adventures -- parents should remember that Disney dark rides reflect their source material quite well, and Pinocchio's journey is loaded with villains, threats and narrow escapes. Just as with all good films and rides, the happy ending must be earned.
September 5, 2012
Sheriff's old, but he's not slow.
In a tribute to the old Burma-Shave poetry signs that once dotted Route 66, Cars Land includes short poems for guests to discover if they enter or exit Carburetor County via the Pacific Wharf route. The signs replicate the originals' white-on-red color scheme and six-sign sequence.
These nostalgic ads are, of course, presented by Lightning McQueen's official sponsor, Rust-eze Medicated Bumper Ointment.
If I'm not mistaken, these verses also appear in the Cars wing of Walt Disney World's new Art of Animation Resort.
September 4, 2012
While the Florida version of the ride uses its queue to make guests feel they've shrunk to toy size, California's Midway Mania queue enlarges the Toy Story world to blend in with an early-twentieth-century boardwalk.
On both coasts, riders are treated to one of the most amazing interactive adventures in theme park history.
September 3, 2012
It's time we embrace the nearly-huggable modest height of SBC. Not only is it charming, but there's not an inch of wasted space; that structure houses five dark rides and a walk-through attraction. It's the workhorse of make-believe palaces.
Florida's castle is grand. California's is flat-out adorable. Both are awesome.
September 2, 2012
We're hopping back to 2005 this time, just to sit at the Hungry Bear Restaurant and watch the Mark Twain chug by in its Fiftieth Birthday finery.
September 1, 2012
Of all the lands in Disneyland, Toontown seems to be the one designed specifically to cut a great silhouette against the blue Southern California sky.