Sunday, July 31, 2011

EPCOT Center Construction Pictures

From Disney's worst to their best, the stunning EPCOT Center.

This amazing model was built to show the near-final design of EPCOT Center. It's too bad that this was probably scrapped after the project was complete. I'd love to get a close up look at it!

An overhead shot of the construction site with land prep in process. 

 As you can see, Spaceship Earth's geodesic sphere is almost ready for it's skin to be installed.

A person working on the green house for Living with the Land.

This view of Spaceship Earth was taken from World Showcase. The structure under construction on the right is the building for the Mexico pavilion.  

Another aerial view of Spaceship Earth, to the right you can see the left corner of Universe of Energy under construction. Look at all of the cars in the parking lot!
 Bonus pic: Walt Disney presenting his vision of EPCOT to the world in 1966.

Another bonus pic: Animatronics under construction for EPCOT Center.

More of my posts on classic EPCOT Center:

1983 Walt Disney World Photos From Unique Vantage Points

EPCOT Center Guide Map from 1991

Friday, July 29, 2011

Disney's California Adventure Cast Member Preview Map

Lord help me, today I'm taking a look at the Disney's California Adventure cast member preview map. The CM preview occurred a little less than a month before the official opening. Let me start out by saying that every negative thing you have ever heard about the original DCA was absolutely true. Just by looking at this map you can see how much of a joke this park was in it's early years.

The original entrance (which was supposed to resemble walking in to a postcard) is seen here in nice looking concept art. Unfortunately the postcard idea ONLY looked good in hand drawn artwork. Hardly any guests understood that that's what they were supposed to be walking in to. Fast forward to 2012 and this entrance will look completely different with the completion of the beautiful Buena Vista Street.

The top right has a letter from the most hated (by both fans and cast members) Disneyland president in the history of the company thanking them for all their hard work to make the park possible. Fittingly above the bland thank you note is the terribly corporate Disneyland Resort logo that was thankfully only used for a couple of years before they came to their senses and switched back to the classic logo. Also seen is all of the long gone entertainment options Steps in Time (now Aladdin musical), Eureka parade, and Get a Grip which was a Disney Hollywood Studios style "streetmosphere" performance. Also notice the resort map on the bottom right with the Timon parking lot where Cars Land is now being built. 

Making the most of your day at DCA.

(click to enlarge)
Looking at the opening year map, it's almost unbelievable that the park opened with this roster of attractions. Think about this, DCA opened in 2001 with the same amount of attractions as Disneyland had when it opened in 1955

Seen in the middle of the park is the worst Disney theme park land ever. Bountiful Vally Farm where there is only two attraction. One of them was an attraction so minor that they didn't even bother to put it on the map. I'm talking about the chance to climb in to the cab of a real tractor! The interesting thing about Bountiful Vally Farm is that this was one of Michael Eisner's personal favorite things about the park. It's no coincidence that this area was completely eradicated for the parks billion dollar makeover.

The cockiness of Disney during this period is now legendary. Before the parked opened LA Times ran an article titled The Most Jam-Packed Theme Park on Earth? The company estimated 7 million people would attend in the first year, the real attendance was far from that. This is an actual quote from company "That there will be days when California Adventure will have to turn patrons away, particularly in the first weeks after the park opens, during spring break and again in the summer."

These days, even though the park is only half way through it's billion dollar makeover, it's almost a completely different park than it was a decade ago. Disney deserves major respect for fixing it.

The back page of this guide map really bugs me. Take a look at the picture of the Orange Stinger. It may look normal at first but take a closer look and you can see it is heavily photo-shopped. There where never palm trees in front of it, and it didn't have the textured orange skin like in the picture. The Orange Stinger looked so crappy in real life that they had to photo-shop the image more than Playboy to even use it in the guide map. That sums DCA 1.0 right there. 
The amazing thing is is that DCA is not Disney's worse theme park ever. That honor belongs to the Walt Disney Studios park in Paris.

This article is mostly negative and I don't want to seem like a cranky bitter fanboy so I'll leave with a positive note. The blueberry pie shakes from Sam Andreas Shakes were delicious and I will miss it.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

More Disneyland Pictures From 1965

The Mark II Monorail glides by the Matterhorn under the much missed mountain climbers.
 The classic Alice in Wonderland Attraction. Unfortunately this same shot looks much different these days due to the "temporary" safety tarp/scaffolding that was added last year.

Another thing you wont see anymore, the Jungle Cruise skippers firing directly at the hippos. Also take a look at the beautiful original paint job on the boat.

The all time classic Great Moments with Mr Lincoln as it appeared in 1965. 

Disneyland's City Hall doesn't look much different these days. What you don't see in the 1965 picture compared to 2011 is a line out the door of angry customers complaining about such unheard of things like "long lines" and "crowds"

If there's one thing I love its pictures of old people enjoying Disneyland.

One more of another elderly couple having the time of their lives in Walt's park.

The Disneyland band marches down a packed Main Street with a horse drawn carriage hot on their tail.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Disneyland Guide Map From Late 1986

On Monday I posted the Disneyland Today pamphlet from 1986 and today I bring you the guide map that went with it! To give you some historical context with this map it is from when Captain EO had just premiered and earlier in the year Star Tours had opened. Over on the west side of the park Bear Country was transforming as into Critter Country as very early site work on Splash Mountain had started. Certainly an exciting time to be a Disneyland fan! On a personal note, this was the time of my first ever Disneyland visit! I was three years old at the time.
The cover shows all of the fab five greeting you. The railroad engine shown on the cover (The Ernest S. Marsh) is currently not in service but is expected to return from extensive maintenance in 2012.
 Take a look at the other half of the picture of the train. How did they fit that giant Pooh costumed character in there? One thing I noticed that I've never seen before is the inclusion of the Senior Fun Passport. It was a ticket option for guests 60 and over valid Monday to Friday during the Summer months.
The park was jammed packed full of live entertainment and classic attractions back in 1986. Classics like the Swiss Family Tree House and Sky Way were still around and all of Tomorrowland was filled with operating attractions. America Sings, Peoplemover, Rocket Jets, Circle-Vision, Submarine Voyage and Mission to Mars were all in operation. I wish I could go back there right now!
 The information page is filled with everything you could possibly want to know about your day in the park.
 This was back when the guide maps had multiple pages dedicated to each land. Every single shop, attraction, and food location gets a mention. Even churro carts! Take a look at the lady in pink and her fancy hat!
 Main Street needed four whole pages to fit all of it's offerings! Notice the picture of the hub, pre partners statue.
Notice the original style of the Jungle Cruise boats were still in use!
 New Orleans Square has always been one of the most beautiful and highly themed areas of the park. And it's exclusive to Disneyland!
 Bear Country when it featured the Country Bear Jamboree and... not much else. Notice The Sun Bonnet Trio bears and Melvin are all decked out in their Summer attire because it is Summer time and that means the Country Bear Vacation Hoedown was playing! It's too bad this fantastic show is only playing in the Magic Kingdom now and they only offer the regular show and not the Christmas or Summer versions. (and yes, I'm aware the show plays in Tokyo Disneyland too but it's not in English!)
 The newest attraction in Frontierland at this time was Big Thunder Rance.
 Fantasyland was probably still glimmering from it's "New Fantasyland" remodel which was just three years old at the time. The Fantasyland Autopia, Videopolis, and the Motor Boat Cruise were still in operation.
 Tomorrowland has been somewhat of a mess for over a decade now but back in 1986 it was still in excellent shape. As I said before, America Sings, Peoplemover, Rocket Jets, Circle-Vision, Submarine Voyage and Mission to Mars were all in operation. Mission to Mars was not a headliner attraction by any means but it always hurts to see an actual attraction replaced by a restaurant. Not even a good restaurant but a crappy pizza place! America Sings was two years away from closing at this point (before it would sit unused for over a decade...). Did you know that America Sings required an E-Ticket!?
 The always great Kodak picture tips and the old couple from earlier in the guide make another appearance!
The back of the guide shows a Kodak advertisement featuring the brand new (and my all time favorite) Captain EO attraction!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Disneyland Today Guide From July 1986

The Disneyland Today flyers were a lot more beefy back in the 80s. The current Today flyers are flimsy single pieces of paper, but most of the information they offer are still the same. This Disneyland Today comes from July 28 to August 3 1986.

The cover features a great image of Mickey Mouse leading the Disneyland band in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle.
The interesting items to note on this page are the two passports that haven't been sold in decades. The Summer Night Passport which offered entrance to the park AFTER 5 PM for the Summer months. Not a bad deal at all considering it was only $50 and the park was regularly opened till midnight or later! The other one is the very strange Three-Season Passport which offered unlimited entrance during May, September, and January. The guide says these months are "when the crowds are down" Times have certainly changed! Those months are packed these days!

1986 continued the Gift Giver Extrodinare Machine promotion that was started the previous year during the 30th anniversary celebration. This promotion was supposedly created by Jack Lindquist himself and proved to be one of the parks most popular promotions of all time. It's amazing that Disneyland gave away free cars and airline tickets (and park tickets, food merchandise, and much more) every day for well over a year and a half!

Look at all the great entertainment offered during the summer of 1986! There was no shortage of non-attractions things to do. There were 4 parades scheduled for that day! Whens the last time you saw that. Also seen is a packed schedule at the Plaza Gardens and Tomorrowland Terrace. Plus the long extinct Sword in the Stone ceremony, Great Gold Mystery of Bear Country (which, correct me if I'm wrong, was only offered one summer), Bear Country How-Down, and the much missed Tahitian Terrace. Take special note that the legendary Golden Horseshoe Revue was still around in 1986. It is my biggest Disney regret that I never got to experience this show.

The final page featured an add for the classic 80s movie Flight of the Navigator!

Friday's post will feature the guide map that came with this so be sure to check back!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Happy 56th Birthday Disneyland!

My favorite place in the world turns 56 today. Happy birthday Disneyland!

Speaking of birthdays, in 1995 Disneyland had a spectacular 40th birthday that included the opening of one of it's crown jewels, the Indiana Jones Adventure. On Disneyland's actual birth date there was a re-dedication ceremony, time capsule ceremony, and merchandising event. One of the special offerings that day was the chance to have any item stamped with a 40th birthday postmark. I chose to have the birthday hats they were giving out stamped.

Friday, July 15, 2011

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

Before I start today's update I have to thank "the Disney Blog" for linking to us in their July 6th update, and the always amazing "Imagineering Disney" blog for re-tweeting some of our updates and linking to us in the side bar of their website. Also hello and thank you for the Twitter shout outs to two very entertaining French Disney blogs (covering Disneyland Paris among the other Disney parks around the world) Disney in Distress and Le Parc-O-Rama, be sure to give them a visit!

Lets get away from the parks for a second take a look at some amazingly 80's items from the 1988 Disney Spring/Summer Catalog.

This cover is great but doesn't scream 1980's yet. It also shows what a frugal guy Mickey is. He has all the money in the world but will still stop and pick wild flowers for him and Minnie's picnic date.

 Before we move on lets take a look at the top right corner of the cover. Only Disney could have gotten away charging TWO DOLLARS for 23 page catalog!

#9 Mickey Brass Outdoor Faucet
Price $34.95
You don't really see many licensed outdoor faucets these days (and believe me I've looked).

#8 Mickey Mouse Cutting Board
Price $24.95
This probably makes the most sense out of any Disney product ever. I'm shocked they still don't sell these things.

#7 and #6 Mickey Mouse AM Radio and Mickey Mouse Calculator
Price $12.95 and $11.95
Look at that Mickey AM radio! It's genius! But notice it just says AM, not AM/FM. What kid, even in the 80's, would ever listen to AM radio? 
True story about myself: I used to stay up late and listen to Coast to Coast AM using a Mickey radio similar to this when I was a kid and then proceed to have nightmares about all aliens Art Bell would talk about.

#5 Disney Home Videos (in VHS and BETA)
I remember VHS tapes being expensive when I was a kid, but take a look at the price for the Winnie the Pooh set. $59.95! Keep in mind Disney released this theatrically as one complete movie. Also seen are the tapes that every single kid I knew had, the Disney Sing Along Songs tapes. Back in my day this was the only way to see footage from the theme parks in your home so I must have watched the video with Pirates of the Caribbean on it 1000 times.

#4 and #3 Aerobic Wear and Mousercise Record or Tape
Price $16.95-$18.95 and $7.95
Back in the 80's it was mandatory that everyone who worked out must do while looking like a total fool. That's where this aerobic wear comes in. As for the Mousercise record I was trying to figure out what in the world kind of music could they include on that. It turns out you can view the infomercial on YouTube. BUT WAIT, it turns out that Disney kept this franchise going in recent years. It also can be found on YouTube.

#2 and #1 Cool Mickey towel and kiddie pool
Price $17.95 and $28.95
On the 80's-ness scale of 1 to 10, that towel is an 11. As for the pool take a look at the boats on the side. It says Jungle Cruise!

That's it for the 1988 Spring/Summer catalog, I'll be back on Sunday for a special Disneyland 56th birthday update!