Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Guy's Disney Vlog - March Vintage Disney Items Haul

Today I share some of the vintage Disney theme park items I picked up at the Disneyana show last month.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Indiana Jones Adventure 1995 Ephemera Blowout Post

Indiana Jones Adventure 20 YEARS OLD tomorrow (or today if you count the media day). TWENTY. It's crazy to think that arguably the best Disney attraction in the world is now two decades old when it seems like just yesterday I was standing in a 5 hour line to experience it. Before I move on i'll share my personal experiences with the opening of this ride. 1995 was my second year of having an annual pass to Disneyland. My friend Roger and I would get dropped off after school by his mom multiple times a week. Usually we would just enjoy a few dozen rides on the PeopleMover, Star Tours, Haunted Mansion, and maybe a few showings of Country Bear Jamboree. When Indiana Jones Adventure was nearing completion our park habits changed dramatically. I would beg to be taken to Disneyland every day in hopes that we would catch a soft opening of the new ride. Roger's wonderful mother have either appreciated or feared our insanity because once homework was finished we were taken to the park a lot during January and February of 1995. Roger and I would camp out in front of Indiana Jones Adventure and wait for hours at a time. Keep in mind there were no cellphones back then and a Game Boy was too big to fit in our pockets. When we were hungry we would eat at Bangle Barbecue, this was back when $10 bucks would get you 2 skewers, a pretzel, and a drink now a single skewer is like $5). Anyway, in early February the construction walls came down and cast members were stationed in front of the ride. It was getting real. Our persistence paid off and Indiana Jones Adventure finally soft opened during one February afternoon. Unfortunately I don't recall the exact date, Wikipedia says it soft opened March 3, 1995 but that date is 100% baloney (although I do think the media preview was that day). I even have proof but I'll get to that later. Roger and I must have ridden Indiana Jones Adventure 20 times that day. There was no wait so we just kept going on over and over and over (this was polar opposite of the 5 hour line on opening day). Our 12 year-old minds could not comprehend how incredible the ride was. Now, 20 years later, the ride is better than ever. It got some fantastic enhancements a couple of years ago in the form of new projection effects on Mara and a top to bottom refurbishment that made the entire attraction look brand new. Now on to the ephemera!

My annual pass from 1995. This was back when they switched the AP designs every year.

These are the three designs of the famous decoder cards that were passed out to every person in line for Indiana Jones Adventure. With these cards you could unscramble the writing on the walls inside the attraction's queue. 

For the first 41 days in 1995, Disneyland gave away one of these collector cards to everyone who entered the park. Each day would have a different year with an attraction that opened during that year. on the 41st day the 1995/Indiana Jones Adventure Card was given to park guests.

Here's a bit of an oddity. This is Disneyland's park map for 1995, but it's stamped with the 40th anniversary postmark. On July 17, 1995 guests could bring whatever they wanted (seriously anything) to Disneyland and pay for a stamp. After the stamp was put on the item Disney would then apply a special postmark with the date and 40th anniversary logo.

I wish I had an actual copy of this but for some reason my grandma only had a photocopy in her collection. This is the letter announcing the annual passholder preview dates for Indiana Jones Adventure. For only $12 you could ride Indiana Jones Adventure for 5 HOURS. Obviously I attended this event even though at this point I had ridden it at least 50 times. Notice my grandma highlighted "buffeteria" and "table-service location" on this flyer. Let's just say she really enjoyed her food and probably thought far ahead of what she wanted to eat that night.

As you can see this is unfortunately another photocopy. One time I had the chance to obtain a real version but the guy wanted $15, screw that. Anyway, this is the facts sheet handed out during the media event. I want to point out a couple interesting bullet points. "60 pounds of rubble can fall inside the temple every 18 seconds." This is referring to the infamous falling rock effect, aka the ice machine. The idea was that brown-colored ice would fall at a certain point of the ride (just as the jeep enters "the big room" for the first time). It was a very impressive effect but rumors spread that it was difficult to maintain and broke down constantly. Personally I saw this effect work less than 10 times during the soft opening period. I've heard that it was turned off shortly after opening. "The adventure will never be the same twice, with nearly 160,000 possible combinations of show programming." This bullet point was brought up in nearly every article and interview when the ride opened. Maybe I'm wrong but I never noticed much difference in rides. Sure there's a few slight things, like when you first see Indy he sometimes says "Watch out, there's big steps ahead" and sometimes he doesn't, but overall I think they exaggerated this one a bit. 

This is from the March 4, 1995 issue of Long Beach Press Telegram. If you're looking for an Indiana Jones Adventure tattoo I strongly suggest you get that one.

This last bit of ephemera is from the Los Angeles Times in 1995. It talks about how local theme parks are relying heavily on attractions based on movies. 

Happy birthday Indiana Jones Adventure!

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Guy's Disney Vlog #15 - Tokyo DisneySea Souvenir Map Review

Another Disney Vlog, this time a review of this Tokyo DisneySea Souvenir Map that I found in a dusty corner in Mickey's of Glendale a few years back.


Thursday, November 20, 2014

Guy's Disney Vlog #14 - My Disneyland and Walt Disney World Shirt Collection

It's not enough for nerds like me to just be fans of something, we need to show the world that we love things via clothing. Hats, shoes, watches, whatever. Most of the shirts for sale on any given day in the theme parks range from just ok to god awful. Luckily Disney makes more than enough shirts that nostalgic suckers like me enjoy and are willing to drop buckets of cash on. In today's Disney vlog I share my collection of Disneyland and Walt Disney World shirts.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea Trip Report - October 2014 Part 3

Tokyo DisneySea - Mount Prometheus
Today I'm continuing my Tokyo Disney Resort trip report with my visit to Tokyo DisneySea. Please read my Tokyo Disneyland trip reports before continuing:

Tokyo Disneyland Trip Report - October 2014 - Part 1
Tokyo Disneyland Trip Report - October 2014 - Part 2

There's no room for debate, Tokyo DisneySea is the most beautiful Disney theme park on the planet. I mentioned this in my Tokyo Disney Resort Observations post on TouringPlans and I will say it again here: It’s hard not to be hyperbolic when talking about Tokyo DisneySea. It’s amazing, incredible, and jaw dropping, any superlative you can think of applies to DisneySea. As you enter the park you are instantly hit with this fact. You walk through a plaza with a sculpture of the earth known as the Aquasphere. It's a large model of the earth that represents all of mankind living together on our "water planet." After entering through a breezeway you get you first glimpse of Mount Prometheus, it's a fantastic entrance experience.

Four dumb americans going to DisneySea during a typhoon
Four dumb Americans going to a theme park during a typhoon.
Before I get to my first full day in the park I'll talk about our a short trip we made the night before. You see, as I mentioned in my previous post, Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea are known for their crowds, Massive amounts of people fill both parks almost every day of the year which can cause long waits for food and rides. So when we found out a typhoon was rolling in on the night we got back from Osaka we knew a trip to DisneySea was something we should consider. During typhoons the trains in Tokyo can have limited service or shut down completely so the locals leave the parks to make sure they can get home. This meant that we had DisneySea to ourselves that night. We purchased ponchos from our hotel gift shop and then made our way to the front gate of DisneySea to buy our Starlight Pass, which is a ticket that can only be purchased after 6 PM at a reduced price. 

Sure, we could have sat in out hotel room and stayed dry but at this point in our trip to Japan we had been in town for 4 or 5 days and had done Tokyo Disneyland a few times and visited Osaka to sight see and go to Universal Studios Japan. My anticipation to see DisneySea was killing me so it was great to finally see this park that is so highly revered among fans worldwide. 

Tokyo DisneySea - Indiana Jones Adventure On-ride Photo
Unfortunately I don't have many pictures from that first night, I didnt want to bring a camera and risk it getting damaged in the rain. But thanks to the low crowds we got our own car on Indiana Jones Adventure which produced this great on-ride photo.

Curry from Casbah in Tokyo DisneySea
We also at Casbah Food Court at the recommendation of Tom and Sarah. Who knew theme park curry could be this good?

Tokyo DisneySea black gyoza dog
We also tried the Black Goyza Dog which is a famous snack at Tokyo DisneySea. I've heard that the line for the gyoza dog can sometimes be an hour long. So ProTip, if you want to try it without waiting in line just go during a typhoon. It was bland but overall not bad.
Indiana Jones Adventure queue at Tokyo DisneySea
The line for Indiana Jones Adventure can get very long so we took advantage while we could. See the picture above? That queue would normally be packed with people but we were the only ones. Besides the queue the ride is pretty much the same as its American counterpart. There's a few changes here and there, like in Disneyland's version where there's a projection effect of rats falling off of a branch, in Tokyo there is a stone idol that blows a fireball in your face. I wouldn't say DisneySea's is better, I like some parts of Anaheim's and some parts of Tokyo's.

Skeletons on Indiana Jones Adventure
Even the Skeleton Friends get to ride! I talk more about these guys later.

We had a 4 hours in the park the night before and were ready for our first full day at Tokyo DisneySea. We could see Mount Prometheus from the monorail station at our hotel so I again found my anticipation building!

Tokyo DisneySea- Canal

Like I said in my last trip report post, rope drop is no joke. Thousands of people running to their first attraction, just like in Tokyo Disneyland, but in this case they are all running to Toy Story Mania. It's only a couple of years old at DisneySea so it's still very popular with guests. Luckily this means it's easier to get to the other attractions for people like us who have no plans to ride Toy Story Mania.

Tokyo DisneySea - Mediterranean Harbor

Tokyo DisneSea - Journey to the Center of the Earth entrance
Our rope drop plan was to have a "runner" go and retrieve Tower of Terror FastPasses and then meet everyone else at Journey to the Center of the Earth. This ended up working perfectly, we got an early return time for ToT and had a minimal wait on Journey.

Journey to the Center of the Earth had a good level of mystery to it, sure everyone knows it's in a giant volcano, and the ride vehicles look like a steampunk version of a Test Track car. But other than that I didn't really know much about the ride. I knew from pictures that at some point you encounter a giant lava monster but wow seeing it in person was very impressive.

I never was able to get a good picture of the lava monster but here's a video I took with my cellphone. 

Details in Journey to the Center of the Earth at Tokyo DisneySea

One of my favorite details I saw on my entire trip was this in the Journey to the Center of the Earth queue. It's a drinking fountain but one of the bowls has some dried lava in it. Zoom in on the picture and you can see there's even a little water spout in stuck on the side of the lava. So creative! It's a minor detail but it's one of the thousands of little things that make DisneySea so great.
Pumpkin Churro at Tokyo DisneySea
Later we found cart selling pumpkin churros so you know I had to have it. I think I ended up buying every pumpkin snack we ran in to. So good.

American Waterfront Donald Duck (Tokyo DisneySea)
The Disney characters have land-specific costumes for each land in DisneySea. Here's American Waterfront Donald Duck.

Tokyo DisneySea - McDucks Department Store

Speaking of American Waterfront, this ended up being one of my favorite lands in Tokyo DisneySea. It's themed after a turn of the century waterfront town. One of my favorite aspects of it was that almost every building had a really nice interior to explore. Pictured above is McDuck's Department Store.

Tokyo DisneySea - McDuck's Department Store

McDuck's Department Store's decorations are lavish but then next door is McDuck's Pawn Shop.

Tokyo DisneySea - McDuck's Pawn Shop
 The pawn shop is run down and dingy. The upscale department store and the drab pawn shop go great together and are faithful to the Scrooge McDuck character.

Tokyo DisneySea Electric RailwayAnd now on to the meat and potatoes of American Waterfront, IT'S FILLED TO THE BRIM WITH TRANSPORTATION RIDES!!! Above is the DisneySea Electric Railway. It's a trolley that takes you from American Waterfront to Discovery Bay. The views are to die for.

Tokyo DisneySea - Big City Vehicle
American Waterfront also has a fleet of vehicles known as Big City Vehicles. Anyone who knows me knows that I love Main Street transportation vehicles at Disneyland and Magic Kingdom, so you better believe that I was freaking out when I saw them at DisneySea.

Tokyo DisneySea - Big City Vehicles
People seem to really enjoy them!

Tokyo DisneySea - Big City Vehicles

Transportation attractions are not only fun to ride, but they add a lot to the environment. Plus they're nice to look at.

Oswald hoodie

American Waterfront is also home to a store that stocks a ton of exclusive Oswald merchandise. I wanted this hoodie SO BAD. But unfortunately it was not in my size. I wear a Large in American and this was labeled "3L" which was their biggest. I assume that's their version of XXXL but it still didn't fit me.

Big Band Beat lottery tickets

At this point we needed to try our luck at the Big Band Beat ticket lottery. Tom and Sarah had been hyping this show up quite a bit so it was on my must see list. I'll talk more about that later. Anyway the lottery is actually a pretty cool system. You make your way to a location and scan your ticket, then a slot machine-style animation comes on screen and it tells you if you "won" a seat or not. A stand by line is also available but Tokyo Disney guests line up hours before almost any show. Luckily we won and had our seats locked in for the 5th performance of the night.

Tokyo DisneySea panoramic
With our Big Band Beat tickets locked in it was time to make our way back to American Waterfront and get some food. I'll cover that and a whole lot more in the next chapter of this trip report!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Tokyo Disneyland Trip Report - October 2014 - Part 2

Tokyo Disneyland Tomorrowland
If you missed it, please see part 1 of this trip report.

After lunch we headed over to Space Mountain to use our Fastpasses we obtained earlier. The Space Mountain structure is interesting in Tokyo Disneyland because the entrance is like Disneyland's version where you have to go up to a second level to get inside the mountain. There is no Magic Eye Theater under Space Mountain in Tokyo, you just have to go up a speed ramp (like they had in Disneyland from Space Mountain's opening until 1997 when it was removed).

Tokyo Disneyland - Space Mountain
As for the ride itself, the layout is an exact copy of Disneyland's. The only differences are the loading area has a slightly different theme (it's more alien-ie, if that makes sense), and there is no on-ride audio. The on-ride audio in Disneyland's version definitely adds a lot to the experience but it was cool to ride it the old fashioned way in Tokyo.

Tokyo Disneyland - Happiness is Here
A bit later we were walking through the hub and saw thousands of people sitting and waiting for the parade. Parades are a huge deal in Tokyo Disneyland but we hadn't planned to view any of them. I looked at the entertainment guide for the day and saw that the parade was about to start in about 10 minutes, and we saw some pretty good seats available, so we grabbed them to see what all the fuss was about. I'm glad we did, I got to see up close how much joy the parades bring the visitors to the park. I saw a ton of people clapping and singing along, and waving, one recurring thing I kept seeing during the trip was how much Japanese people love to wave. Look at that picture above, notice how everyone is sitting and therefor everyone can see? Sitting is required when watching a parade at Tokyo Disneyland. It makes for a great parade viewing experience, why can't the other parks do this?

Tokyo Disneyland - Happiness is Here
Tokyo Disneyland's parade is called "Happiness is Here" and it was added last year for the park's 30th anniversary. It's a typical Disney park parade with a ton of characters, dancers, and a ridiculously catchy theme song that we were singing for the rest of the trip. An impressive aspect of this parade was the huge size of some of the parade floats. I'm not a parade person but I did enjoy Happiness is Here, especially after seeing the reaction from the crowd.

Tokyo Disneyland popcorn bucket
With a parade out of the way I decided it was time to continue the Tokyo Disneyland experience by trying a box of one of their famous flavored popcorns. Popcorn is huge in Tokyo Disney Resort, we saw lines of over 30 minutes in length at each popcorn stand. Many people have the very cool, but very expensive, themed popcorn buckets (which I forgot to take a picture of, oops), but those can be as much as $20. I had to desire to lug on of those buckets across the pacific ocean so we got a standard box of popcorn for about $4.

Tokyo Disneyland popcorn flavors
This is the list of all the special popcorn flavors in Tokyo Disneyland, DisneySea has a few different ones. The first flavor we tried was curry which was quite good, and ended up being my wife's favorite. I personally enjoyed the Honey popcorn, but even then it didn't blow me away. I was expecting an explosion of whatever flavor the popcorn was advertised as, but instead the taste was more subtle. But don't get me wrong, it was nice having a bunch of options.
Pirates of the Caribbean in Tokyo Disneyland
Pirates of the Caribbean is one of those Disney rides that is so familiar to me. I've been on it hundreds of times back home at Disneyland (and a few dozen on the unfortunate version in Magic Kingdom), but it was great to experience Tokyo's Pirates. All the praise I gave Haunted Mansion in the last trip report can also be applied to TDL's Pirates of the Caribbean. Everything was crisp and well maintained, animatronics had fluid motion and looked great, and the sound was crystal clear. I should also point out that Tokyo's PotC has the same entrance facade as the original at Disneyland, but it's missing the bridge that was added in the 80s, it's also missing the stairs that lead up to what is currently the Dream Suite in Disneyland (formerly the Disneyland Gallery). It's a cool little throwback for long time Disneyland visitors.

Tokyo Disneyland - Cinderella Castle as seen from World Bazaar
At this point in the day the lines were long and all Fastpass tickets had been distributed so we opted to slow down a bit a take and walk around the park. World Bazaar has always been one of those strange Tokyo Disneyland oddities to me, I mean a covered Main Street is just so weird. But it makes a surprising amount of sense when seeing it in person. I never noticed until Tom pointed it out but the roof looks like the old Exhibition structures from the old World's Fairs (like the International Exhibition of 1876 section of American Adventure at Epcot). It just works really well.

Tokyo Disneyland - Mark Twain and Splash Mountain
We headed over to the Rivers of America to take a sunset ride aboard the Mark Twain riverboat. Tokyo's Mark Twain is pretty much an exact copy of the one in Disneyland, which is fine because it's a beautiful ship. Rides like the Mark Twain (and railroads and Main Street Vehicles) are what I think the quintessential Disney experiences are in any park. Things like boats and trains are why Walt wanted to build the parks in the first place so I consider them a must ride.

Tokyo Disneyland - On the Mark Twain
Tokyo Disneyland's Rivers of America does not disappoint. There was plenty of beautiful scenery to take in, and like RoA in other Disney parks, it makes you feel like you're in a different world.

Tokyo Disneyland - Burning Cabin
And they still have a burning cabin! That's been missing from Disneyland and Magic Kingdom for years, it was great to see that again.

Tokyo DIsneyland - Splash Mountain
Coming back around the river we got a great look at the Western River Railroad and Splash Mountain. Westernland is one of the most beautiful lands in all of Tokyo Disney.

Tokyo Disneyland - Seafood Stew
Time for dinner, like I mentioned in the first part of this trip report, lines for quick service restaurants were all over 30 minutes. Just by chance we walked by a little spot called The Gazebo and saw that they had seafood stew in a breadcone. The stew had a thick rich and creamy base with shrimp and scallops. Very good, but due to its size it’s definitely more of a snack than a full meal.

A photo posted by Guy Selga (@guyselga) on
Also at The Gazebo was this delicious Pumpkin Custard dessert. The cone part is chewy and a bit sweet, and it’s topped with a creampuff, marshmallow, and a chunk of dried pumpkin. The real star of the show is the pumpkin custard that fills the bottom part of the cone. Overall, a great dessert.

Enchanted Tiki Room Aloha E Komo Mai
Our last stop of the night ended up being *long title incoming* The Enchanted Tiki Room: Aloha E Komo Mai. Unfortunately this ended up being the only dud of the trip.

Enchanted Tiki Room with Stitch
Basically Stitch is the boss of the Tiki Room, or is mistaken as the boss of the Tiki Room. I couldn't get a clear idea of the show because it was in Japanese. Listening in English also did not make it any more clear and didn't make me enjoy it any more or less. The Stitch animatronic is impressive but the songs fell flat with me.

Tokyo Disneyland - Halloween floral
That ended our first day in Tokyo Disneyland. Overall it's a great park with a lot of familiar rides as well as some great new ones.

Tokyo Disney Resort - Hilton Tokyo Bay
Before I end this part of the trip report I wanted to mention the great room we had at Hilton Tokyo Bay. We booked one of the standard "Celebrio" rooms.

Tokyo Disney Resort - Hilton Tokyo Bay
The room was large, a little bit bigger than a standard room at a deluxe Walt Disney World hotel.

Tokyo Disney Resort - Hilton Tokyo Bay
The bathroom also had plenty of room and a great shower.

Looking out at Tokyo Bay
Our view of Tokyo Bay. Overall this was a great hotel, and was less than half the cost of the official Disney hotels. The one complaint we had was that there was only 5 power outlets in the entire room. This was fine with 2 people but when we were splitting the room with Tom and Sarah we had a severe shortage of outlets with everyone trying to charge their phones, mobile wifi routers, and portable chargers. Otherwise Hilton Tokyo Bay was great and we will definitely stay there again in the future.

That's it for this time. In the next installment I will talk about my first trip to Tokyo DisneySea! See you later this week!