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!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Friday Grab Bag - Disneyland School Fun Days 1992 Ticket, Disney'sAmerica Pin and More

I hope everyone enjoyed my latest Walt Disney World trip report. It's fun to sit down and relive a WDW vacation, maybe I'll start doing some Disneyland trip reports every now and then. For now I will be getting back in to the bread and butter of this blog, Disneyland and Walt Disney World nostalgia. For this post I thought I'd put up a few things haven't fit it to any other post so far.
First up is this Disneyland School Fun Days ticket from 1992. I tried to research any information on what School Fun Days were but it doesn't look like there is any thing out there. As far as the ticket goes it's pretty bland looking compared to most other Disneyland tickets, but it does the job.

The back shows the price of the ticket being $17 which was a good discount at the time. The standard 1 day ticket in 1992 was $27.50. Very big thanks to my friend Dave for sending this in. The same Dave who sent in pics of his amazing Haunted Mansion shadow boxes.

Next up is this envelope that Disneyland has been using for decades. I don't know exactly when they started using it but it has been for as long as I can remember. When I was younger my grandma used to buy Disney Dollars and they would give it to her in the same envelope (this was in the late '80s). The envelope pictured was given to me in 2010 when I renewed my annual pass. I've always loved how beautifully simple and old school it is. And notice it doesn't use the generic "Disneyland Park" or "Disneyland Resort" logos. Just "Disneyland" like it should be.

The last item in the grab bag is the only piece of Disney's America merchandise that I own. For those of you that don't know about Disney's America, it was a purposed American history-themed park that Disney was planning on opening in Virgina. It was canceled because people absurdly thought Disney was going to desecrate sacred battlegrounds. It's laughable that people were so up in arms about this considering that the same area that Disney wanted to buy is now populated with strip malls and motels. Way to go Virginia! You can read more about Disney's America on Wikipedia and Jim Hill's website. By the way, don't feel to bad that Disney's America didn't get built, most of the ideas were reused for the original Disney's California Adventure. Anyway, back to the pin. I am not a Disney pin collector but I do have a few. I thought this was interesting and cheap enough for me to buy.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Walt Disney World Halloween 2011 Trip Report Part 3

Final part of my Walt Disney World Halloween 2011 trip report. Click here for part 1 and click here for part 2.
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Day 3 of the trip started out in Animal Kingdom. We got lucky with some perfect weather while at Animal Kingdom. The crowed levels were low too but we didn't end up staying very long.
We had heard good things about Flame Tree and we weren't disappointed.
The best thing about Flame Tree Barbecue was the seating area with it's amazing views.
Because all I think about is food  stopped by Flame Tree Barbecue before doing anything else. I was impressed by the quality of the food but not the price ($8 for a pork sandwich!).
Animal Kingdom has no shortage of amazing little details. I see something new every time I visit. So beautiful.
THIS is the view from a quick service restaurant!
I constantly get fastpasses and then forget I have them. As we were exiting Dinosaur I noticed I had to FPs for Indiana Jones Adventure. Ooops!

Great show. Uncomfortable seats.
Taking some time to relax.
We left Animal Kingdom at 3 PM to go to Magic Kingdom to get a few re-rides in. As the crowds started to increase we did something that we had never had a chance to do in MK (but have done several times at Disneyland). We got some popcorn and sat down to relax and just people watch for a bit. This is one of the most under rated things to do in a Disney theme park. Later that night we returned to Epcot for Dinner and Illuminations.
Uh oh!
Day 4 we woke up to a sight that I'm sure most WDW fans know and hate to see. The Magical Express envelope with your return information. Whenever you see this you know your vacation is almost over!
Tower of Terror
Before spending a full day at Epcot we went to Hollywood Studios to ride Tower of Terror a few times and meet up for a bit with Matt from Studios Central. Also experienced during this portion of the trip was me, yet again, spending way too much time in One Mans Dream.
A fun little gag near the Monster's Inc meet and greet. Human Relations and Inhuman Relations.
This shows that duct tape can fix anything. Even covering up the original name to a theme park.
Also seen in the Studios. This shirt that clearly shows Disneyland but says Magic Kingdom on it... Come on.
As we were leaving we noticed something that was very cool to see. At the end of the street one of the streetmosphere characters is directing a bunch of people doing a synchronized dance. It was impressive because it went from the entrance of the park all the way down to where the sorcerer's hat is.
Reflections of China (we were the only ones in the theater)
After spending a few hours at the Studios we jumped on one of the friendship boats to Epcot (which offer great views of the Boardwalk and Yacht/Beach Club resorts, and is very relaxing). I won't go over everything we did in Epcot but I did make it a point to see Reflections of China because Jennifer and I had never seen it before (it was great!).
A place where some interesting history took place.
I also wanted to show Jennifer where some morbid history had taken place. Did you know that the Journey into Imagination bathroom was the location to one of the most grisly deaths in Disney theme park history? Here is the info from Wikipedia:
"On September 12, 1992, a 37-year old man entered EPCOT Center after park closing and brandished a shotgun at three security guards, demanding to see his ex-girlfriend who worked at the park. He fired four blasts at the guards and took two of them hostage in a restroom near the Journey Into Imagination pavilion. As Orange County sheriff's deputies surrounded the area, the intruder released his hostages and emerged from the restroom with the shotgun held to his chest. After exchanging words with deputies, he put the gun to his head and fired. The man was pronounced dead on arrival at the Orlando Regional Medical Center. Investigators attributed his actions to a recent breakup with his long-time girlfriend."
Riding on an empty Monorail from Epcot to the TTC.
Who doesn't love Ohana!?
After a productive day at Epcot we took the Monorail over to the TTC and then the Polynesian. Maybe i'm just a huge hopeless Disney nerd but these days I get more excited when going to the Poly or Contemporary than I do when going on rides. The best part was that we arrived to the Poly earlier than we needed to so while waiting for our 9:35 PM dinner reservation we sat on the beach and watched the Electric Water Pageant. It was truly a great night.
I eat like an absolute fool at Ohana!
Jennifer shows a bit more constraint at Ohana. She only asks for a couple of chunks of meat from each skewer. Silly girl.
The best part about the ride back to the airport is the video.
After a very uncomfortable Monorail and bus ride back to the hotel I requested a late check out. Sometimes this works and sometimes it does not. This time, to my surprise, the person at the counter asked "What time would you like to check out?" I didn't want to push my luck and just said noon. The next day we killed time in Downtown Disney until our Magical Express pick up time. At 7 PM we headed back home to Los Angeles after another great WDW trip.

That's it for my Halloween trip report (sorry it was more food than anything else). Thanks for reading! I will return to normal posting on Friday.