Monday, June 27, 2011

Amazing Pirates of the Caribbean Concept Art

Disneyland's Pirates of the Caribbean is a masterpiece and arguably the best theme park attraction ever made. Just as stunning is the concept art made in the attraction's development phase.

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The bride auction scene.

The classic art style of Marc Davis.

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Concept art for the Blue Bayou restaurant as seen from the beginning of Pirates of the Caribbean.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Remembering EPCOT Center's CommuniCore

EPCOT Center's CommuniCore (short for Community Core) was the original version of what we know now as Innoventions
This picture is from shortly after the park opened. It looks much better than it does today.

The Astuter Computer Review will forever hold the honor of being the first attraction ever removed from Epcot. This was before my time but most of the old timers acknowledge this as one of the worst Disney attractions ever (Superstar Limo would like to have a word with you). The theme song was written by the legendary Sherman Brothers, but it's surprisingly terrible. Click here to download it (right click > save as).

The blue robot in this picture was called SMRT-1. Guests could ask him questions and then he would respond. The two children in this picture look VERY excited don't they?

This game was called Taxi Driver. The game taught people about fuel consumption and conservation.  It was found at the Energy Exchange.

The Electronic Forum's News Center is where guests could stay up-to-date with news from around the world. I'm sure the phones at this station did a great job of spreading germs to thousands of people every day.

I don't have much info on this exhibit. From what I can gather is that the various parts were animated and it represented the evolution of communication.

The "Fountain of Information"

This globe sat at the entrance to Travel Port and displayed pictures from countries around the world.

At the Travel Port stations guests could select a country and find out information and statistics.

In early 1994, CommuniCore closed forever and was replaced by Innoventions. It lost its timeless logo, got a splash of new ugly lime green paint, and some hideous decorations. 

Monday, June 20, 2011

Revisiting EPCOT Center's Future World in 1983

EPCOT Center was stunning back in the early 80s. This was before bulky outdoor vending carts and DVC Kiosks littered the grounds of the park. All pictures in this post were scanned from the book "Walt Disney World: A Pictorial Souvenir" from 1983!

The entrance plaza. The current version of this area is a definite downgrade.

Universe of Energy. It's easy to forget just how large this building is until you see it in pictures like this. 

The primeval diorama from Universe of Energy.

World of Motion. Notice above the queue you can clearly see the GM corporate lounge. It's hard to believe that GM has remained the sponsor for this pavilion (now Test Track) for almost 30 years!

 The famous "world's first traffic jam" scene from World of Motion.

A couple of well-dressed gentlemen (they look like rich Texas oil tycoons to me) take a look at one of the GM exhibits in the post-show.

The exterior of The Land pavilion looking beautiful at sunset.

Kitchen Kabaret

Here's one for you Imagination fans. This page of the book was too good to break up in to separate pictures.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Disney MGM Studios Pictures From 1995

Continuing Studios Central's "Hollywood Studios Awareness Week" I have some great pictures from the Studios circa 1996.

Before I get started, a very special thanks to Studios Central for linking the update I did on Monday.

The iconic water tower and the TRUE icon of the Studios.

The Chinese Theater. Before that giant stupid hat was constructed.
A great overhead shot of Crescent Lake.

The entrance. Beautiful and classic.

Remember when Disney thought Dick Tracy was going to be their new mega franchise?

This could be the greatest Star Tours publicity photo every produced. It's so much like my dreams that it's scary.

 This picture is hilariously staged but it is still amazing.

The extinct attraction Superstar Television. This will always stand out as one of the best parts of my first trip to Walt Disney World back in 1996. It was so much fun! The audience interaction was classic.

I will end this post with a picture shamelessly reused from a previous update to this blog.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Disney MGM Studios Guide Map from 1996

Today I'm taking a look at a Disney-MGM Studios (now known as Disney's Hollywood Studios) guide map from 1996 in honor of Studios Central's "DHS Awareness Week." I've never hidden the fact that the Studios is one of my least favorite Disney theme parks, but back then there were some cool attractions to be found! This map is from my first visit to Walt Disney World back in 1996. 

The front features the brand new show "Hunchback of Notre Dame A Musical Adventure." Walt Disney World and Disneyland got a Hunchback show to promote the new film. Unfortunately just like the movie neither of them were very good and didn't last long. 

This page features a look at what you could experience if you had chosen to go to a better theme parks that day, I'm kidding. The most popular attraction at Epcot at the time was Body Wars, and the Magic Kingdom's newest attraction was the amazing ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter. Sadly both of these fine attractions have been closed for years.

Another page of extinct attractions. Hunchback, Toy Story Parade, and Sorcery in the Sky are all in Yester-Studios. Fantasmic opened 2 years after this map was printed and replaced Sorcery in the Sky. It's too bad because WDW's Fantasmic is absolutely awful but Sorcery in the Sky was pretty good!
The thing that sticks out on this page is the Employment Information. I can't remember the last time Disney put this information in a guide map.
The Studios were a bit different in 1996. Residential Street was still part of the tram tour. It was knocked down a few years ago for the awful Lights Motors Action Stunt Show. Notice the strange "Ace Ventura Pet Detective" show on the map. Yes, a Disney theme park actually had a Ace Ventura show. 

One of the coolest thing I remember about my trip in '96 was the walk through tour of the Animation studio. During the tour you could see actual Disney artist working on actual Disney feature animated films. Amazing. In 1996 Disney still thought they could make the whole "real working studio" thing work. But it didn't, at all. Movie companies are located in Hollywood and they soon realized there was no reason to pay the extra cost to send hundreds of crew members 3000 miles away from home to make a movie.

I do have positive things to say about this park. One, it is home to arguably the best ride in Walt Disney World, Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. And two, Disney's Hollywood Studios has always had good dining options.

It's easy to picture the fun!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Club 33 Keepsakes

Club 33 does have some lovely free items you can take home to remember your trip.

After you arrive at the park and check in at the guest relations window located outside of Disney California Adventure you will be given your complimentary 1-day park hopper.

You will then be given an information card that lists the club's various polices.

This cocktail napkin is given to you when you order a drink from the bar.

This napkin is located inside of the bathroom. I took a few for keepsakes. 
 
Each person is given their own mint when the bill arrives.

This pen is also sent with the bill. You can keep it it for free and feel free to ask for extra ones for the other members in your party.
This one you do have to pay for. It is located inside the merchandise cabinet near the bathroom and cost $20. 

ProTip: Disneyland hat embroidery locations will not embroider these mouse ears.

Monday, June 6, 2011

My Disneyland Club 33 Trip Report

Recently I was fortunate enough to experience Disneyland's exclusive Club 33 for lunch and dinner. Being a life long Disneyland fan I have always hoped I would someday get a chance to eat their and thanks to my wonderful cousin and a new friend I met on my most recent WDW trip I was able to attend twice in the same week. This week on the blog I will share pictures of Club 33, it's food, and some of the little trinkets that go along with attending. 
This first thing you do as you arrive at the Club 33 entrance (located to the right of the Blue Bayou entrance) is ring the doorbell. A Club 33 cast member will the open the door and ask you for the name your reservation is under. 

After waiting a short amount of time in the lobby the receptionist will tell you and your party when you can go up to the actual restaurant. You may take the stairs or use the lift. 




At this point you will be sat in one of two dining rooms. For lunch we were brought through the main dinging room. For dinner we sat in the trophy room.




To get to the main dining room you must walk through the bar. This area is also home to the lunch buffet during the day and extra seating at night. Rare and original concept art for Pirates of the Caribbean can be found on the walls.


The main dining room.
When you sit at the table you'll find your starter plate. This is taken away when your food arrives.
Jaana takes a look at the menu
This shot shows my reaction to the prices...
 All of us chose the chateaubriand
My wife is a big time steak lover so she destroyed that bad boy.

The most amazing part of lunch was the dessert buffet! It was so good!








Some day and night shots from the balcony.




For dinner we sat in the trophy room. The waitress told us most of the original animal heads have been removed at this point. She also said Walt wanted this room to be a "guy's room" where men could come and drink and smoke cigars.
The famous animatronic vulture.
Probably the only place you will find Mickey. The coffee cup.

 Our amazing lunch waiter, Robert.
My wife and I on the balcony with the awesome Club 33 mouse ears.
 The dinner menu.
 Fess Parker Club 33 Wine.
For dinner I had the Ahi Tuna. Also delicious!
My dinner appetizer was the AMAZING crab cake.
 The back of the plate.
My dinner dessert, cheese cake, bananas foster, and banana milk shake.

Overall it was an amazing couple of trips. It is very expensive (our lunch bill was $500 for 4 people) but worth doing at least once especially if you appreciate the mystique of the club. The dress code was not as enforced as I expected, during lunch there where people in t-shirts and jeans. The customer service is absolutely amazing.