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.