Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Years Eve at Disneyland 1958 and year in review

This picture was taken in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland's first New Years Eve party (which was a extra ticket event! Even in Walt's time they had those!). The event welcomed 7,500 guests. It is hard to believe that Disneyland now fills to a capacity of over  60,000 people for the current New Years Eve events.

I started this blog in April of this year and since then it has received over 20,000 hits. It's been my absolute pleasure sharing my Disney collection with you. Thankfully I have so much more to show you in 2012. I don't plan on slowing down! I will resume regular posting on Tuesday January 2nd 2012. Until then I wanted to share some of my favorite posts from 2011.

What's inside this old Disneyland photo album? 

I've visited Disneyland at least once a month since I was a kid but for some reason I don't have many pictures of my family in the parks. In this post I put up the few that I did have.

1996 Walt Disney World Vacation Brochure

I love the pure cheesy-ness of these old vacation brochures. They also offer a great look on how some beloved extinct attractions were marketed when they were still around.

My Disneyland Club 33 Trip Report 

In June of 2011 I was lucky enough to attend a dinner and lunch at Disneyland's legendary Club 33. These are my pictures and trip report.

Disney MGM Studios Pictures From 1995 

This collection of vintage Disney-MGM Studios features this Star Tours publicity image which could be one of the greatest Disney images of all time.

Walt Disney World picture book from 1972

I can't get enough of vintage Disney souvenir books!

Revisiting Disneyland Afternoon Avenue

I take you back to the temporary land built for Disney Afternoon. For some reason this ended being one of the most popular entries on the blog.

Remembering EPCOT Center's CommuniCore

I've posted about vintage EPCOT Center more than anything else on this blog. The reason for that is because it is awesome.

The Worst Retro Walt Disney World Trip Report Ever!

Pictures and report from my first trip to Walt Disney World in July 1996. I call this the worst retro trip report ever because I was a terrible photographer and I didn't take any pictures of the classic attractions, including my beloved Horizons... I suck.

9 Amazingly 80's Items From The 1988 Disney Spring/Summer Catalog

The items in this catalog are pure 80s gold. My favorite is the "Mousercise" aerobic gear.

The Apollo 11 Moon Landing, Live From Disneyland In 1969

My favorite post because it combines my love for Disneyland and the history of maned space flight. This rare photo shows hundreds of Disneyland guests watching the Apollo 11 moon landing on the Tomorrowland stage (Around where Space Mountain now sits). Imagine being at Disneyland when something so significant in human history took place!

That will do it for 2011. There are many more great posts that you can see in the blog's archives.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

"Galactic Gifts From Tomorrowland" From Disney News Magazine Spring 1992

I previously posted an article from the Spring 1992 issue of Disney News about the creation of Fantasmic! This time in the spirit of the lucrative holiday gift giving season I am revisiting the same issue to bring you "Galactic Gifts From Tomorrowland!"

As you can see our tour guides for these Galactic Gifts will be the three totally far out dudes featured in the middle of the page. They are all sporting the amazing satin Star Tours jackets the were formally sold in the Star Trader. The bottom picture shows items that haven't been found in Disneyland for years, but can still be found in museum gift shops around the country.

The middle picture conjures up a lot of feelings of nostalgia for me. I have vivid memories of riding the Peoplemover and getting an up close look at that replica X-Wing. I love the hanger door above it. It looks like it could open at any moment and that X-Wing could take off to go blow up some Tie Fighters. I really miss the Star Tours era themeing of that shop. It matched perfectly with the ride and it was filled with great Star Tours and Captain EO merchandise. The X-Wing was used in there from 1987 to around 1997 when the shop closed to be remodeled along with the rest of New Tomorrowland. From 1997 to 2010 the X-Wing was moved to the vacated second floor of the Starcade (which is still empty to this day) and hung from the ceiling for some reason. The only way to get a good look at it was from the queue for Space Mountain. In 2010 the Star Trader was remodeled again to give it a strange retro-future airport look and the X-Wing was again relocated back in to the shop.

The top middle shows the outside of the Star Trader as seen when the photograph was taken. The building still looks vary similar aside from various different color schemes over the years. That same Star Trader sign and neon Mickey Mouse are still up there. The Premiere Shop is located where the Star Tours 2 Fastpass machines are now located. The shop was removed during the New Tomorrowland remodel in 1997. In it's last few years in operation I remember mostly sports memorabilia being sold here, especially from the Disney owned Anaheim Angels and Anaheim Mighty Ducks. Not very futuristic but if it happened today  you know the Disney internet community would have a heart attack!

 Here is a bonus ad from the same magazine. The parade shown here is called Surprise! which ran at Magic Kingdom for 32 months! Before heading to WDW it was originally seen at Disneyland for it's 35 Years of Magic promotion and it still is arguably one of the park's most popular parades ever.
This ad is for the Disneyland Hotel and shows stylized art of the hotel's "Marina" phase.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Star Wars Star Tours Starspeeder 1000 Playset Review

I'll get back to Disney theme park ephemera next week but for now I want to review the new Star Tours Starspeeder 1000 playset that was just released this week. It is available only at Star Traders in Disneyland and Tatooine Traders at Disney's Hollywood Studios in Walt Disney World.  
Update: Cherylp3 on Twitter has informed me that it can also be ordered through Walt Disney World's mail order service. Thanks Cheryl!

 The box has plenty of windows to get a good look at the Starspeeder before you buy.

The back of the box gives an overview of the toy's features and the story behind it.

The first thing I noticed after unboxing the toy was how sturdy the Starspeeder feels. This is not a cheap hunk of plastic. It's also massive, 19 inches in length and 7 inches tall.

 A cool feature is the lights that are in several different places. After triggering one of the 4 buttons on the back, the lights on the front of the Starspeeder will light up along with one of the many voice overs. The lights on the tips of the laser canons go off with the appropriate sounds and the lights on the roof of the cabin turn on when the doors are opened.

R2-D2 is included and can be pushed in to trigger his "whistle" sound effect. R2-D2 is removable and can be replaced by any of the standard size driods from the Hasbro Star Wars toy line.

The roof of the Starspeeder can be removed to expose the ship's cabin. Like the rest of the playset the inside is surprisingly detailed (especially for a toy under $200 that is exclusively sold in only 2 theme parks). The seats in the Starspeeder can also fit standard Kenner/Hasbro Star Wars action figures like the ones shown above. They even get little seat belts!

 The inside front of the Starspeeder has a similar design to the ride vehicle seen in Disneyland and Disney's Hollywood Studios. The captain's seat can be swiveled or removed completely. The playset comes with cards that can be slid in to place in front of the cockpit shield. The cards show  the different destinations found on the actual Star Tours ride.

 Both sides of the Starspeeder feature doors that open with buttons found on the rear. As the doors open the famous Star Tours chime plays and the cabin lights turn on.

Like I said before the entire Starspeeder is highly detailed. I haven't purchased a toy in a very long time but I assume modern toys still come without stickers pre-attached. The Starspeeder comes with all stickers already attached. The only thing you really have to do is take it out of the box and then it's ready to go.

A small latch opens up behind R2-D2 to reveal the camera droid seen on the ride.
This is the new Starspeeder 1000 compared to the old Starspeeder 3000 toy that was sold up until the opening of Star Tours 2. As you can see the the new one finally does this amazing vehicle justice. 

Another comparison. When I was a kid I was obsessed with Disneyland ride vehicles and I had always hoped they would make a proper toy or model of the Starspeeder. It only took them 25 years but we finally have one! If you're a kid that loves Star Wars or a grown man with money to throw away on crap you don't need then you will love this toy. The price isn't too offensive for the size and feature set, before tax it is $54.95, or $47.37 after premium annual pass discount.

 It's play time!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Pictures of Vintage Epcot Center Attractions, But Mostly Horizons

Epcot is about to enter it's 30 year of operation and unlike any other Disney theme park on the planet it has almost all of it's opening day attractions completely removed or significantly altered. These are only a few of those classic attractions.

 Horizons is my all time favorite Disney attraction. It's hard to believe it has been closed for almost 13 years! The death machine Mission: Space now occupies Horizon's land. For the record, Horizons did not of barf bags in the ride like Mission: Space currently does. 

This scene was part of the "Looking back at tomorrow" part of the ride.

"Easy living." In this scene the rider visits the futuristic city of Nova Cite. One of the best parts about Horizons was its great narrators. The cool part is you actually got to see animatronic representations of the two narrators living in their home. The grandfather is playing on some sort of Jetsons space instrument (while the dog that looks suspiciously like Rover from Carrousel of Progress). The grandmother on the right is talking to their daughter who is "doing wonders out there on one of those desert farms."

 You have no idea how hard I had to fight myself from making this an all Horizons post. I need to use my Horizons pictures sparingly as they are a precious resource. Anyway, this is from the old Wonders of Life pavilion. They were known as the Wonder Cycles. You sat on a exercise bike and the screen would display a video of different locations and kept track of how many calories you were burning.  These are of the few things I vividly remember from my first trip to WDW back in July of 1996. I think the reason why I remember them so well is because two of the three locations you could pedal through were things in Southern California, aka where I live. Those two videos being the Rose Parade and Disneyland!

Cranium Command was also located inside the Wonders of Life pavilion. Unfortunatly this ride was doomed from the start because it relied heavily on the use of early 90's celebrities such as Bobcat Goldthwait, Jon Lovitz, and Hans and Franz from Saturday Night Live.... 

 This was taken in the post show for World of Motion, known as TransCenter. Guests could sit in the newest GM model cars and view other car related exhibits.

More of my vintage EPCOT Center posts:

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Vintage Christmas At Disneyland Pictures

Thanksgiving is over and that means we can officially start the Christmas season (unless your Disney, where Christmas starts the week after Halloween). Lets take a look at these vintage Disneyland Christmas pictures.

 Before Disneyland went all out and made Sleeping Beauty Castle covered in snow, the Christmas decorations were much more simple. This picture simple yet beautiful Christmas decorations of the past.

 Up until 2008, Disneyland would get real trees for town square. This resulted in the entire area being filled with the aroma of fresh pine!

This picture from the early '80s show the toy solders marching near the castle. Speaking of the castle, you can kind of see the original color scheme, before it's current fairy tale pink and blue.

Disneyland's Candlelight Processional is amazing and if you are any sort of Disney fan you must see it at least once. The massive choir marches down Main Street before entering the bleachers set up in front of the train station in town square. Which brings me to the next picture:

Very little has changed with the set up of Candlelight Processional, but you can see why. It looks absolutely stunning. Epcot has a version of Candlelight Processional too, and I admit that I have never seen it in person (only video), but it doesn't seem as impressive. The Epcot version of the show is held in the outdoor America Gardens Theater across from American Adventure. Understandably Disney has milked this very popular event more and more over the years with expensive dinner packages in both Disneyland and Epcot.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Disneyland Guide Map From November 1996

Let's get in to our time machines and travel back to the magical year of 1996. Bill Clinton was president of the United States. The number one movie of the year was Independence Day, and the most popular song in the world was Wannabe by Spice Girls. Meanwhile at Disneyland, the Indiana Jones Adventure celebrated it's first birthday while the park was busy promoting the Disney's newest animated movie, The Hunchback of Notre Dame. 

Unfortunately 1996 also marked the end of the Main Street Electrical Parade's run at Disneyland (it would return 5 years later to Disney's California Adventure and run till 2010 when it was sent to Magic Kingdom). It's also interesting to note that three temporary, but very popular, movie promotions were all still running in the park years after they were supposed to end. I'm talking about The Spirit of Pocahontas stage show, and the epic Lion King Celebration Parade (at this point the Lion King parade had been running for 2 years!).

The characters are all available in their usual spots. I would like to point out that the spot where guests could meet with Pecos Goofy and Chip 'n Dale is now a ODV cart that sells turkey legs. That's progress dear!

I don't really know why I even include pages like this in my posts. I'm sure if I didn't someone would complain about the maps not being complete and how it ruined their day. So here it is. I wouldn't follow this information today because I doubt you could still go to any of the places listed to cash your checks.

(click to enlarge)

This is the map of Disneyland 1996. I've gone over the changes the park has gone through many times in previous map posts and I would do it again but I'm preparing this on a night before a work shift that starts at 4 AM... One thing I do want to point out is the ad on the far left that shows Disneyland's offerings for Thanksgiving. While I was growing up I knew Disneyland did Thanksgiving dinners but I don't think very many people went. These days they are extremely popular in both Disneyland and World. I love how Meeko is absolutely fiending for that turkey.

I love the vacation Mickey lounging on the box of that camera. I was one of those stupid kids that was influenced by what cartoon characters were on the boxes of products so I no doubt would have bought that.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Disney Game Review: Adventures in the Magic Kingdom for NES!

I've been wanting to do post about this game ever since I started this blog and now I finally did! This is one of the most beloved of games of my childhood (like I'm sure it is for many other Disneyland/World obsessed kids!). It's Disney Adventures in the Magic Kingdom for the Nintendo Entertainment System!

The front of the box is shown above. First things first the game is called Adventures in the Magic Kingdom, and shows Cinderella castle on the cover. This is where it's relation to Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom ends. The actual in-game map is based off of Disneyland, minus the Matterhorn.

The back of the game box goes over the premise of the game and lists the different attractions that are playable in game. You really have no idea how big of a deal this game was when I was a kid. It was released in 1990, I was 7 years old at the time and a full blown Disneyland addict. I first experienced this game Disneyland's Videopolis when Capcom (the game's publisher) had it on display with their other Disney licensed games, such as Duck Tails, Rescue Rangers, and Darkwing Duck. Those other games are classics but I fell in love instantly Adventures because it was a chance to relive these amazing rides in the comfort of my own home! Of coarse this is ridiculous because the levels in the game are very loosely based on the attractions they are named after. I didn't care. I was a unapologetically fully brain washed Disney kid.

The actual game cart. Yes, this is the same one I owned as a kid. Let's pop this bad boy in!

The title screen shows Disneyland's Sleeping Beauty castle and title art. Being an insane fanboy with OCD, it has always drove me crazy that the art for the Adventures in the Magic Kingdom text does not match the one on the cover. But whatever, I've learned to live it.

After naming your character (a child with a cowboy hat...) you are shown a screen with dialog between Mickey, Donald, and Goofy. This one screen sets up the entire story for the game. It's parade time but Mickey can't find the key to the "Enchanted Castle" (I know...). This means that you must reach the end of each attraction and obtain keys for Mickey.

You start out in town square of Main Street USA. Just like in real life you must make your way down Main Street and walk through the hub to access the different lands.

Lets start off with the Adventureland/Frontierland/New Orleans Square area. Obviously the in game map is not very detailed. But the general location of the attractions is the same. Unfortunately the iconic building exteriors for Pirates of the Caribbean and Haunted Mansion are not recreated in the game. 
The Pirates of the Caribbean level.

The Haunted Mansion level. As you can see by the above screen shots the HM and POTC levels are very similar. Both levels are side scrolling (like Super Mario Bros, but crappy) that require you to reach the end of the level. In the HM level the enemies are zombies and ghost, in POTC the enemies are Pirates (duh). To defeat them you must hit them with you candle. You only have a limited number of candles and there aren't very many extras found in the level. I should also mention that this game features zero songs from the Disney theme parks or even movies for that matter. All songs are original compositions for the game.

Moving up past the Haunted Mansion you can see the Rivers of America and Big Thunder Mountain. 

The Big Thunder Mountain level is not only hard but it is also cheap (a lethal combination in the NES days of gaming). Your goal in this level is to reach one of four stations at the end of the level that has the "goal" sign on it. The problem is that everyone is trying to stop you from reaching this goal. Your train is constantly moving, there are no breaks! Also, as you are screaming down the tracks there are boulders, rails, and dead ends that constantly pop up and kill you. I forgot to mention this before but in each level you are only allowed to be hit three times before you die have to start over. This game is not easy!

Over in Fantasyland the only building to make it in is It's a Small World. Unfortunately this attraction is not playable. I would have love to seen tiny ethnic dolls attacking you as you try to make it to the end of the level but for whatever reason they did not include this in the game. Bummer.

Down a little further from Fantasyland you'll find the Autopia level. This level is bland compared to the other levels but it's the same basic idea. This time you are in a Autopia car and your goal is to drive to the end of the level. 

This level is also the easiest of the six. The only real hazard is falling in to the water, that will kill you instantly.

The last of the six levels (last for the sake of this review, you are able to play the levels in any order you please) is Space Mountain. 

This level plays similar to the "quick time events" found in most games of today. As you are flying through space one of the directional arrows will appear in the console at the bottom of the screen and the player must quickly press that arrow in order to advance. A enemy space ship or asteroid will also appear where the player must press the A or B buttons. After three misses the level is over and you must re-start. 

The final key must be obtained through a series of trivia questions. If you are even moderate Disney fan you should have no problem getting through them. After obtaining all the keys Mickey is then able to open the "Enchanted Castle" (ugh...) and start the parade.

That's all for this review. I hate to say it, but the game has not aged very well. But it's still a classic! It's worth having in your Disney collection for the box art alone!