February 28, 2013
The bad news: It's in the Muppetvision 3-D theater, which means no Muppets during this preview event. This isn't a good swap. In fact, replacing a genuine major park attraction with an advertisement seems like a shoddy way to treat guests. While waiting for this preview, I witnessed several families complaining to the cast members about the missing Muppets and turning away from the "special event" in disappointment.
As for the preview itself...
February 27, 2013
The Walrus has tagged along, so the Fish Heads & Crumbs comic, which would normally appear today, will return next week. Normal posting resumes tomorrow, even if I'm stuffed to the gills with Apple Freeze and Chili Cone Queso!
February 26, 2013
Fillmore's Taste-In is probably the least-visited home in Cars Land, mainly because there's not much to do there except purchase fruit and bottled liquids. Personal appearances by Fillmore and Sarge could turned this into a must-visit property.
Still, it's a kick at night with its swirly psychedelic lighting. Back in the 70's, I owned a little gizmo called the Fantastic Plastic Light Machine (as did nearly every other teen in the U.S.), which would instantly flood one's room with a similar color scheme. Where's my Dark Side of the Moon LP?
February 25, 2013
Inside the shop, things get a bit more whimsical. It seems Sarge has realized that human customers are more inclined to choose die-cast miniatures and plush Maters over his usual stock of military surplus. If you look around while toy shopping, however, you might notice some stashed-away items from his store's original inventory, including an enormous pair of night-vision goggles.
February 24, 2013
Pluto's just one of many, many great little details most guests only notice once they've slowed down after rushing from ride to ride for half the day. When folks finally start relaxing and looking around at Disneyland, that's when the park's charms truly come into focus.
February 23, 2013
I can't wait for the June release of Disney Infinity (the company's highly-anticipated answer to Activision's mega-hit Skylanders franchise) and its recently-announced first expansion set, Cars. Here's another shot:
the latest game trailer highlight a few of the potentially "infinite" user-created mash-up scenarios in the game's Toy Box Mode, which will also give players the ability to design their own race courses for use by all Infinity characters.
February 22, 2013
I love the cars, the dark ride adventure, the race course, the music, the rockwork...and the fact that all those beautiful cacti are real.
Plus, of all the great rides at Disneyland Resort, this one's the most enjoyable to watch -- and you can watch it from a table at Flo's while eating breakfast, lunch or dinner. Or all three; on a future visit, I hope to spend an entire leisurely day in Radiator Spings, riding, eating, shopping and relaxing while listening to the town's amazing song playlist.
February 21, 2013
Back in 2007, my family and I got just one prize out of that deal, but it was a good one: Dream Fastpasses for our group.
These were plastic cards with detachable tabs, which served as all-day Fastpasses for each Fastpass-enabled ride at Disneyland: Big Thunder Mt. Railroad, Indiana Jones Adventure, Splash Mountain, Roger Rabbit's Car Toon Spin, Space Mountain, Buzz Lightyear and Autopia. Valid only for the day of issue, the pass could only be used once on each ride, as a cast member would snap off the appropriate tab as you entered.
Not a bad way to save a few hours of waiting time, these great little bonuses remain my family's best memory of The Year of a Million Dreams...which, you may recall, actually lasted 27 months.
February 20, 2013
Every day at Disneyland, that act of selflessness is carried out over and over again. It's kind of inspiring.
February 19, 2013
Disneyland Resort regulars have come to know this Esplanade as a wonderful transition zone where Monorails zip past and great Disney instrumental music plays nonstop.
For any park fans who have never been to Disneyland Resort (or at least not since DCA was built), this is a quick visual demonstration that, yes, Disneyland and Disney California Adventure really are that close to each other. It gives park-hopping new meaning; I'm sure someone in better shape than me could literally hop on one foot from one park to the other...or travel by pogo stick.
Now that DCA is finally a fantastic park, this area generates a unique, surreal atmopshere in the morning as guests line up at the opposing turnstyles, glancing over their shoulders and wishing they could somehow enter both parks simultaneously.
During the recent holiday season's busiest days, the lines for the two parks met in the middle.
February 18, 2013
Tarzan didn't live in a treehouse in the film (except briefly as an infant). Filmgoers mainly know this place as the spot where Tarzan's parents were killed. In fact, the killer is actually right there in the treehouse in one of the story scenes.
Tarzan's a terrific and beautifully crafted film, but it hasn't "stuck" in the public consciousness as memorably as other Disney movies -- at least for the time being. The treehouse needs new tenants.
Adam and Andrew at The Disney Hipster Blog recently posted about the lack of a Jungle Book presence in Walt Disney World's Adventureland. Looking at Disneyland's similar under-utilization of a very popular and enduring set of characters, I think Mowgli, Baloo, Bagheera, Col. Hathi, King Louie, Kaa the Python, Shere Kahn and four harmonizing vultures would make awesome tenants for the Robinson's old digs.
Mowgli spent even less time in a treehouse (none) than Tarzan, but it wouldn't matter. Guests would line up for a Jungle Book encounter of any kind. And the music would be fantastic.
February 17, 2013
To the right, you can see two of Small World's semi-controversial recent additions, Simba and Pumbaa (eating a grub). I actually like the addition of the Disney characters; they add another level of fun to the ride (character-spotting) without taking the spotlight away from the original cast...much.
As I mentioned in Part One of this little series, the animals provide most of the fun and humor on It's a Small World. I really think many of the folks who claim to be "creeped out" by all the singing child dolls simply aren't paying enough attention to the ride's charming and hilarious wildlife.
February 16, 2013
February 15, 2013
Fans of the movie can just stand in the street a moment and stare at the amazingly accurate details all over the front. My favorite element -- and it's a feature found all over Cars Land -- is the car-sized front entry.
February 14, 2013
Before I start nit-picking, I'd like to make one thing clear: Treasure Planet, Disney's sci-fi/fantasy retelling of Treasure Island, is a beautiful, entertaining film and well worth watching. It contains some of the best animated "acting" ever to appear on screen, and much of its imagery is unforgettable. It's the only family-friendly film one could reasonably file under "Steam-Punk," and it's got more imagination on display in any given five seconds of footage than most of todays sci-fi films have in their entire running length.
There are, however, good reasons the movie didn't connect with a wider audience in its theatrical run.
February 13, 2013
Aston Walrus looks forward to park train trips as a chance to relax and reflect. But he lives in a comic strip, so things rarely work out that way...
February 12, 2013
It's a Small World has become the butt of many jokes and snarky comments. Even by Disney standards, it can seem overly saccharine and a bit eerie to some folks. To those guests, I say, "Pay more attention to the animals!" That's where you find the ride's humor and best designs. If you don't like the smug singing child dolls, don't look at 'em. Small World bursts at the seams with delightful stylized wildlife, and that's the element that makes this ride such a joy for me.
We'll feature more of Small World's animal stars from time to time in the coming weeks. When it came to picking a kick-off species to get things started, all thoughts went immediately to the giraffe herd.
We can tell these are all female giraffes, because apparently only females get the tufts of fur atop their ossicones. Males go bald there. See what you learn at Mouse Troop?
February 11, 2013
February 10, 2013
The little rest zone is perfectly placed just between the normal crowd flow in and out of the ride, so you can usually count on finding an unoccupied bench while relaxing...or gearing up to take another spin on the Racers (remember...Single Rider Line)!
February 9, 2013
Beast played along like a big, genial goof as Belle called out things like, "Beast says, 'Cover your eyes!'" and, "Beast says, 'Stand on one foot!'"
It would have been awesome if the game had ended with "Beast says, 'GET OUTTA MY CASTLE!!!!'" -- and then have Beast chase everyone around...but that didn't happen.
Next to the Fab Five, Belle and Beast are my favorite park characters. I'm certainly glad they let Beast stay Beast, instead of Mr. Learned-His-Lesson-Prince from the end of the film. If they had went with the human dude, everyone in the parks would be saying, "There's Belle and...some guy..."
February 8, 2013
I still miss the fun of approaching the park from the front, but I must admit that the new entry route through Downtown Disney is growing on me. It really is a beautiful and lively creation, and it actually provides a smooth transition from the real world to the fantasy realms of Disneyland and Disney California Adventure.
And it definitely provides a more enjoyable walk at night than the old parking lot ever did.
VALENTINE SEASON FUN -- Be sure to check out This Happy Place Blog, a truly terrific site where Estelle Hallick is presenting the Disney Love Meter -- a series in which different writers present their thoughts on some classic Disney couples. I feel very honored to have been invited to contribute, and my look at Johnnie Fedora and Alice Bluebonnet can be found there right now. I can't wait to see the rest of the entries!
February 7, 2013
City Hall is your one-stop helpful spot to ask a question, pick up a show schedule, find a lost parent...
February 6, 2013
|Must...get..to...hotel...(I knew I'd find a use for this photo someday!)|
For locals, it's not quite such a big deal; they just postpone for a week or two. They might even use the parks as their own comfort-food takeout service. Cue the walrus...oh, wait, he can't leave his house today...
February 5, 2013
If your family's anything like mine, you've passed underneath this sign while in the middle of an agreement (or friendly argument) about which ride to hit first. For my group, it's Space Mountain nine times out of ten.
February 4, 2013
I've always enjoyed the way the building provides a smooth transition from reality (well, Disneyland reality) into the ride's animated fantasy world. The queue winds through the convincingly real-looking barn setting while written quotes from the Br'er Rabbit tales foreshadow the adventure up ahead. Before guests know it, they've stepped from the barn into the "underground" rabbit burrow tunnel leading to the loading platform.
From that point on, it's a world of singing geese, evil plots, bees, laughing places and scary drops. The getting-soaked finale actually draws you more completely into the story; it's the price you pay for escaping the fox's lair!
Tony Baxter, the genius and magician behind Splash Mountian, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Star Tours, The Indiana Jones Adventure, Disneyland's New Fantasyland and much, much more recently announced that he's moving from full-time Imagineering to more of a consulting and mentoring role. Tony, thank you for all the great memories, fun, thrills and true magic you've given the world. You have worked wonders and delighted and inspired millions of people. You are amazing.
February 3, 2013
A combination of live action and animation, the film is a wild hodgepodge of fact and fantasy as it presents a very Willy Wonka-like tour of various departments of the Walt Disney Studios, climaxing with the debut of the offbeat and very funny title story. Along the road to Walt's screening room, you'll laugh, groan, and say "What the --" a lot. And --a warning here -- you'll wince at a couple of unfortunate culturally insensitive moments. Speaking for myself, there are two specific seconds of film I wouldn't mind seeing removed.
Most of the movie, however, is a fascinating trip back through time to see how Walt Disney publicly presented his studio to the American public in June of 1941. It's not one of Disney's greatest films, but it contains many terrific moments, and the Dragon short is a mini-classic.
February 2, 2013
Without a doubt, the frequent comings and goings of Mater and Lightning add a huge amount of extra atmosphere and fun to Cars Land. Red the Fire Engine and DJ the boombox car are currently the only other full-size vehicles who drive along the streets (both of 'em) of Radiator Springs.
I hope future plans for Cars Land include having more of the citizens show up to greet the crowds. Seeing Sheriff, Doc, Sally, Filmore, Sarge, Ramone, Flo, Luigi, or Lizzie show up randomly would be fantastic. Of course, it would make it even more difficult for fans to tear themselves away from Radiator Springs to see the rest of DCA!
February 1, 2013
My favorite is this lonely little guy, still hanging around hoping for another role in an animated feature. He's still ticked off about the live-action Nicolas Cage film.
That surreal lamp post seems to have escaped from the Roger Rabbit ride.