Monday, October 22, 2012

3 Reasons Why An Iron Man Attraction Will Be Great For Disneyland

When I read a year ago that Disney bought Marvel for $4 billion dollars, I knew sooner rather than later that a Marvel type of ride was going to make its way into the DLR. We first saw signs of this when more Marvel merchandise was making its way into the parks. Iron Man toys here, Thor hammer there; Disney was making use of their purchase as fast as possible and why not? If you spent $4 billion dollars on something, wouldn't you want to get as much use out of it as fast as possible?

Then we got the news this past week that Innoventions is going to be replaced by an Iron Man type of attraction. I was upset when I first read about the news but then I thought about it and this could turn into something very special and bring a lot of great opportunities to Disneyland. Here are 3 reasons why an Iron Man will make a great addition to Disneyland.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

EPCOT Center Opening Day Guide Map From October 1, 1982

At the time I am preparing this update it is about 24 hours until my flight to Walt Disney World for Epcot's 30th birthday. The weekend will be filled with friends, memories, and the chance to purchase mass quantities of merchandise based on beloved attractions that were destroyed. Today I present to you the map that was given to EPCOT Center visitors 30 years ago on October 1, 1982.

 The graphics used on the cover are pretty amazing. No doubt a very 80s design but the classic Epcot and Walt Disney World logos are timeless, in my opinion. To give you a size comparison, this map is about an inch taller than a standard CD case.

The top shows a nice map with stylized renditions of the World Showcase and Future World pavilions. It's interesting that Horizons is present on the map while The Living Seas is not. I'm guessing it's because Horizons had started construction in 1982 (and opened in 1983), while The Living Seas did not open until 1986. The bottom page has an interesting feature, a dial! You can spin the little red tab on the right and the text will change to show you the name, what's inside the pavilion, and its location. It's amazing to think that this complex feature was built in to a free map!
The next page features detailed descriptions on the various Future World pavilions, including dining dining and shopping. Journey Into Imagination is included even though it wouldn't open until March 1983 due to delays with the ride system. It's worth mentioning that every single attraction on this page has been removed. The exceptions are Universe of Energy and Spaceship Earth, which have been completely changed.
Attraction, dining, and merchandise information about World Showcase. Morocco and Norway are not present because they were added in 1984 and 1988.
The map of Walt Disney World as it appeared in 1982. Two theme parks, four hotels, and one water park were all the World had to offer back then.
As usual, Kodak was the sponsor of the EPCOT Center maps. Sponsoring this one must have cost them some serious coin!

That's all for now. Sorry for the extended hiatus this blog has been on. Back in June I started working at and that's been taking up most of my time and creative energy.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Disney-MGM Studios Map from December 1999

Matt over at Studios Central loves Disney's Hollywood Studios. He loves it so much that he does something called International Hollywood Studios Awareness Week every year. I contributed a couple of posts last year, and those ended up being my only Disney Hollywood Studios posts of the year (sorry Matt). So now I'm back again with another vintage map.

 The cover is dedicated to the Studios biggest draw during the holiday season, the Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights. Notice the nice director Mickey at the top.

Inside we find the newest attractions the Studios has to offer. The Rock 'n' Roller Coaster, which opened in July of 1999. Fantasmic which was just over a year old at this point (Fantasmic at Disney-MGM Studios opened in October of 1999 while Disneyland's opened in May 1992). Also seen is the now extinct Bear in the Big Blue House Live on Stage. To the right is some nice information on the Osborne Lights.

Lots of the usual theme park information on this page.

Show times. 4 of the 7 shows/parades on this page are now extinct. Hunback of Notre Dame, Doug Live, and Bear in the Big Blue House Live on Stage are all long gone. Notice the character greetings section at the bottom. I think they left out the "S" in the "Toy Story Friend" line.

(click to enlarge)

Nice looking map with a surprising number differences to the current Disney's Hollywood Studios. Near the top you can see the residential street section of the backlot tour which is now completely removed (Lights, Motors, Action Stunt Show now sits in its place). Residential Street was the former home of the Osborne Lights. It was moved the the Streets of America (formerly New York Street) after the Residential Street was removed. The center of the park shows the area now currently occupied by the Sorcerers Hat. A large Christmas tree is in its place. Behind the Chinese Theater you can see Mickey Avenue, the street that now is home to Pixar Place and Toy Story Midway Mania.

The back of the map shows the usual Kodak disposable cameras. Surprisingly guide maps still advertise Kodak disposable cameras on the back! Even more amazing is I still see people using them in the parks! 

That's it for my contribution of International Studios Awareness.  Tip of the hat to Matt for scheduling it during the week when every Disney blog on the internet has its focus on Disney California Adventure's new Cars Land ;)

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Cars Land HD Video - Radiator Springs Racers Full Ride Through

I had a chance to preview Cars Land this weekend. Overall it was amazing, the level detail is like nothing I've ever seen before. If you don't see yourself making it out to Disney California Adventure any time soon go ahead and watch my video of a full ride through of the land's marquee attraction, Radiator Springs Racers.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Looking back at Disneyland's Matterhorn

Disneyland's Matterhorn is less than a month away from finishing up an extensive 6 month refurbishment where it saw its station rebuilt, new bobsleds, and a beautiful new paint job.

This concept art comes from the Art of Disneyland book released a few years ago. The story goes that Walt wanted a copy of the Matterhorn in Disneyland after he visited Switzerland to visit the set of Third Man on the Mountain. The Matterhorn also fulfilled a practical need. It hid the gigantic center support structure that the Skyway used.

Construction began in early 1958, just three years after the park opened. Before the Matterhorn was constructed the area was just an unused grassy hill and the previously mentioned support column for the Skyway attraction.

The construction schedule is even more amazing considering that The Submarine Voyage and the Monorail where constructed along with and opened on the same day as the Matterhorn. 

From the time the ride opened up until a major refurbishment in 1978 riders could see exposed steel beams inside the mountain. In 1978 the ice caverns and abdominal snow men that are still seen today.

 As you can see from this picture and the one above, the original paint scheme of the mountain was much darker than it has been the last decade. 

The Matterhorn as seen from Fantasyland in the 1960s.

This picture is from a friend's family vacation in the early 1980s. You can see the white/light grey color scheme. 

 At some point in the mid 1990s, a weathervane, aircraft warning light and security camera were added to the top of the mountain.

At the beginning of 2012 the Matterhorn started another extensive refurbishment. Some of the changes include a rebuilt load/unload station, its third revision of bobselds, and a new paint job. Seen here from Fantasyland. The new paint is meant to reflect the attractions earlier color scheme. It looks great!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Trip Report: Oui Oui! Disneyland Paris Part 2

Accueillir à nouveau! I hope you all enjoyed part 1 of my Disneyland Paris trip. Here is part 2 of my fantastic adventure. Here is just a quick recap: my girlfriend and I took a 3-month European adventure and our first stop, for an entire month, was Paris. We went to Disneyland Paris on a wet and cold day, which is why the crowd wasn't a factor. This was great because my girlfriend and I could take our time and enjoy  the sites of the park. 

Monday, May 7, 2012

Trip Report: Ulala! Disneyland Paris Part 1

Bonjor tout le monde! Guy asked me to share my Disneyland Paris experience and I was more than happy to do so. I decided to take a 3-month trip through Europe, after teaching English in Korea for 1-year. I took this amazing trip with my girlfriend and it was an experience I will never forget. For the first month, we rented an apartment in Paris and lived like a Parisian. Since we were going to be in Paris for an entire month, we both decided to take a day trip to Disneyland Paris. We didn't visit Walt Disney Studios because we really had no interest in going. Our Disneyland Paris adventure took place on a wet and cold January 24th.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Trip Report: D23 Day at The Walt Disney Studios and Archives Part 2

The next part of the tour brought us to the Frank G Wells Building. Home of the Walt Disney Archives!

The lobby has various Disney theme park, film and animation artifacts in the lobby behind glass cases. 

We were brought in to the Walt Disney Archives where we met the director Becky Cline. 

She showed us some interesting items like the first Disneyland admission ticket, the first Disneyland parking pass, and the first Disneyland ticket book. She pointed out that the first Disneyland ticket book had no E tickets, because there were no E-ticket rides back then!

Becky then brought out some priceless items from Steamboat Willy. The original script (hand written by Walt Disney and kept in his desk until he died), and an actual animation cell from the film. It was amazing seeing these in items real life.

We were also shown one of Walt Disney's Academy Award statues. Each person in the tour group had a chance to take a picture with the statue. 

There were hundreds of other amazing items on display in the archives. To see the rest of them be sure to visit the complete set of pictures from this trip report on my flickr page.

On display in the archives, the first Mickey Mouse watch.

I've heard urban legends about this statue. This is the original Disney service award statue. Supposedly it was banned because Tinker Bell is in a suggestive position. The newer version of the statue features Tinker Bell in her more traditional flying pose.  

Back in the lobby of the Frank G Wells Building, the model used for the filming of Captain EO.

A head from the classic EPCOT Center attraction World of Motion. 

An Atommobile from the queue of the classic Disneyland attraction Adventure Thru Inner Space.

The final part of the tour took place in Legends Plaza where Disney legends are immortalized on bronze plaques. Seen here is a jumbo sized version of the statue that each Disney legend recieves when they are inducted. 

The statue is full of beautiful details. 

Disney Legends plaques show the inductee's name and what they were famous for. Legends that passed away before the program started are inducted posthumously and recieve plaques without their hand prints. 

 The Legends Plaza features the statue of Roy O Disney and Mini Mouse also found at Magic Kingdom.

At the end of the plaza is the Partners statue found in Disney theme parks around the world. The difference being you can walk up to this one for pictures or to just admire the details. 

The logo on Walt's tie is from Smoke Tree Rance, a resort where he spent many vacations. 

Looking up at the Michael D Eisner Building. After the visit to Legends Plaza the group was brought back to the Studio Shop where we were given one last chance to shop for gifts.

Was the tour worth the $60 price tag? Yes, if you are a Disney fan with any sort of appreciation for the history of the company. If you are only a fan of Disney theme parks, this tour probably isn't for you, as the mentions of the theme parks are minimal. The two and a half hour length of the tour my discourage some people but time flew by, especially during the visit to the archives which felt slightly rushed. 

These were just some of my pictures of my visit to the Walt Disney Studios and Archives. To see every single picture from my visit please visit my Flickr page.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Trip Report: D23 Day at The Walt Disney Studios and Archives Part 1

This past weekend I went on a tour of the Walt Disney Studios and Walt Disney Archives. D23 holds tours of the studios a few weekends out of the year so I purchased tickets for my wife and I. The tour was not free, costing $60 per a person (D23 membership is also required).

The tour contained a ton of information about the lot and the various films that have been made there so I won't go over every part of the tour. 

Shown above is one of the entrances to the lot. The tour begins in the Hyperion Bungalow, the first building constructed on the lot back in 1940. Before the tour started there was a small selection of D23 merchandise to purchase. There were some nice items but most of them are overpriced (like the Treasures of the Walt Disney Archives book for $50!).

  The Studio Store was open to tour attendees. It features some really nice decorations but the items offered can be found in any standard Disney Store in any mall (Marvel toys, princess merchandiser, etc). There was a small section of nice Walt Disney Studios exclusive merchandise.

An example of some of the great decorations found in the Studio Store. 

Across from the Studio Store you can see Saint Joseph Medical Center. Walt Disney died here.

Our tour guide (I believe his name was Alex) was absolutely wonderful. I've heard good things about all of the D23 tour guides so far. 

 The first stop on the tour is the famous Pluto's Corner at corner of Dopey Drive and Mickey Ave. As you can see from picture above, the studio lot is very well manicured and peaceful looking.

My wife and I at Pluto's Corner.

We walked by (but not in to) the studio's theater where television pilots and films are screened to employees.I love the archway! The architectural style around the lot has a timeless feeling. It hasn't changed much since the studio was built!

Across from the theater is the original Animation Building where the most of the Disney animated films from Dumbo to The Great Mouse Detective were made. We did get to walk through the main hall of the building but no pictures were aloud. The walls have original artwork and placards explaining the animation process. 

Like I said before, the studio grounds are beautiful. There are benches and shade everywhere. I wish I worked on a campus this nice!

As we entered the Animation Building guide said that he wanted to introduce us to a special friend. His "friend" spoke to us in a familiar voice, Donald Duck! THE voice actor for Donal Duck, Tony Anselmo, ran in to our tour group. How cool is that? He even signed the above pictures for everyone in the group. Tony is the official Disney voice actor for Donald Duck and he was trained by the original Donald voice actor, Clarence Nash.

At that point we passed by the Michael D Eisner Building. I'll get to that later in the trip report.

 The Ink & Paint building. This building and the animation building are connected via an underground tunnel. This was so the animators didn't have to take their drawings outside when they were ready for the ink and paint process. 

The third floor corner office of the building across from Ink & Paint it the location of Walt's former office. It currently contains offices for regular use. Walt's actual offices (known as his "working office" and "casual office") were documented and have been recreated and displayed in various places over the years. Once of the offices is currently displayed in One Man's Dream at the Disney Hollywood Studios in Walt Disney World. The other will be on display when the D23 exhibit opens at the Reagan Library this summer.

The Cutting Buidling (guess what was done here). 

Stages B and C is where voice work is done. The current production taking place is the next Tinker Bell movie.

The massive Stage 1 and 2 is where films that require large sound stages are made. One of the most famous ones being Mary Poppins (stage 2). Stage 1 is the building where the decks for the Mark Twain Riverboat was constructed when Disneyland was being built.

This the Walt Disney Studios water tower. The tour guide says it is no longer being used to hold water.

The studio lot used to have a series of building facades that can be used for outdoor filming. Almost all of the facades have been torn down as the studio expanded. This corner is the last remaining block of building facades on the lot. 

 That is it for part 1 of my Walt Disney Studios tour trip report. The next installment will be the tour of the Walt Disney Archives!