Monday, November 25, 2013

The Ghostbusters 2 Reference Hidden Inside Disney California Adventure

Citizen Cane, The Godfather, Casablanca, and Gone With the Wind. Ghostbusters 2 is undoubtedly near the top of the list when you think of the greatest films of all time. Walt Disney Imagineering recognizes this and paid tribute to this cinematic masterpiece inside Julius Katz & Sons on Buena Vista Street inside Disney California Adventure.

A small tag attached to a vintage toaster is where you will find this reference.
Let's zoom in for a closer look.
"Number one Christmas boutique gift item"
This is an actual quote from Peter Venkman (Bill Murray) in the movie. Can't remember the scene? Watch the clip below. Venkman says it around the 0:56 mark.

So there you go. Now you can go to sleep at night knowing that a quote from Ghostbusters 2 is a part of a Disney theme park.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Main Street Electrical Parade VHS Case Review

First off you have to love the old Disney VHS cases. If you're like me and you grew up in the VHS era, Disney tapes were as much of a part of your childhood as breathing was. Sure, this isn't a classic Disney movie but it is a classic Disneyland and Walt Disney World parade. Arguably the most popular Disney parade in history. This tape was sold in 1996 as part of the Farewell Season. I've posted several items from the Farewell Season promotion which you can see here

I do have doubles of this tape for some reason. I'm not sure why my grandma (who didn't make much money) would buy two Main Street Electrical parade VHS tapes, but I guess she thought that these would be a valuable collectors item some day. Or perhaps she had the foresight to know that some day her beloved grandson would blog about his Disney collection on the internet. Either way I probably have more copies of this tape than any normal should.

My second copy is brand new, in it's original seal and still has the price tag. $20.00!!?! This tape was only 25 minutes long. That's $0.80 per a minute! I do like the distribution notice "Distributed by Disneyland, a Division of The Walt Disney Company."

Take a look at that beauty. The great thing about VHS tapes was that their covers were huge so they could fit a lot of art on the front and back. Disney really went all out with this one. The gigantic Main Street Electrical Parade logo on the front would make any DVD case tremble in fear. But the VHS clamshell says, "No bring it on. Give me your biggest logo and I will handle it with ease."

They could have just gone with the giant logo but Disney actually put a good chunk of the parade on the front and back cover. This was a good move. I'm also glad they used a staged publicity photo instead of just show a still from the video or something. Using a photo as a background instead of a solid color makes the cover much more dynamic.

I mean really. Just look at how that photo wraps around the front, spine, and back. So good!

Wow, that description. It's really hammering home that you will never see this parade again and you NEED this VHS tape. Every line in that description is good. "Catch the spark after dark at Disneyland Park" "And hear the energy of its legendary melody one last time" "It's unforgettable after-dark magic that will glow in your heart long after the last float has disappeared." Wow. Earlier I said I was curious as to why my grandma would buy two of these. Now I see why. She must have read that description and gotten just as pumped as I am right now!
Opening up the case you see it's similar to the standard giant clam shell that most children's tapes of the era. I remember most other clam shells being white but making this one black was a good move. It wouldn't have matched with the color of the cover or jived with the fact that it's a night time parade.

Take a look at the tape label. It's no frills, which is to be expected. My copy has a pleasant aged look to the label sticker. 

Overall this a great VHS Case. I'm proud to have two of them in my collection. Both are displayed prominently on the Disney shelf in my house. If you are a MSEP fan this is a must have for your collection. Just glancing at ebay I see multiple copies for under $10! How could you not pick up one for that price!?

I'm Back

I can't believe I've let this blog go without an update for almost 8 months. I know no one on this planet wakes up in the morning and says "I hope updates today!" But I would like to think that my posts add a sliver of enjoyment for the few minutes it takes to read them. The lack of posts was partly due to the typical abandoned Disney internet blog excuse. That excuse is lack of time to actually make blog posts. It is true that I have less time to blog now, but it's not like I'm a super busy important person (I am, in fact, none of those things). 

The biggest reason why I have only done 2 posts in the last 12 months is that all my creative energy is required for my job. I am a full time researcher/blogger for Part of this job requires me to do multiple blog posts and YouTube videos each week. Basically, anything entertaining or informative that comes out of my brain needs to go in to my work. I am not a entertaining or informative person, so you can see why work gets about 95% of what I write about (the other 5% being my personal twitter). I started working for them in June, 2012 and I've loved almost every minute of it. They pay me to visit and write about Disney. It's a dream job and I wake up every day in shock of how lucky I am.

The thing about being paid to blog about Disney is that your posts usually have to have mass appeal. None of the TouringPlans readers will care if write about a Fantasmic cassette tape from 1992. But they will care if I tell them what attractions are going to be closed on their next visit and how it will affect their touring of the parks. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. But here's the thing, I really like blogging about obscure Disney things. That's why I decided I have to find a way to make AngryAP work again. I have an itch, every time I look at anything from my collection of Disney items I think "I'd love to blog about this!" 

So that's where I'm at. I can't not update this blog anymore, it's calling to me. I'll hopefully be updating at least twice a month. Also, I'm going to move away from reviewing old maps and vintage pictures. Those kind of posts made up the bulk of what I did at the beginning of this blog's life and I'm ready to try something new. Anyway, thanks for reading. I hope you enjoy the new posts! They will start right now with my Main Street Electrical Parade VHS Tape Case Review!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Disney's California Adventure Concept Art From 1996

After WESTCOT Center and Port Disney were canceled (which other better websites have thoroughly documented) Disney unveiled Disney's California Adventure as the second gate to Disneyland. The following illustration was printed in the Long Beach Press Telegram in 1996. It shows one of the earliest pieces of concept art of the new park released to the public. Being so early in the park's development there are a ton of differences from what ended up being built in 2001.
Unfortunately the quality of this image isn't that great, being a scan of a 17 year old newspaper. But you can click to enlarge. Since the artwork is conveniently numbered I'll go down the list and talk about each one. 

1. Disney's California Adventure
This is pointing to the plaza of the park. It's interesting that there is a spire present on this concept art. A spire was part of the park icon in almost all of the WESTCOT art (seen here). The golden spire was ment to symbolize "California sunshine." Ok... Not present is the C A L I F O R N I A letters at the entrance of the park, actually the entire post card look is missing from the front of the park (seen here). It's hard to tell exactly what the entrance gate does look like but I assume that this is still the period of time where it was modeled after an amalgamation of California's famous missions. At some point I had concept art of that but I can't find it at the moment. 

2. Hollywood
I notice three major things about the Hollywood area of the park. First is it looks like the Hyperion Theater (or whatever they called it at the time) is right next to the park entrance. It is known that originally Disney planned to use this theater for a theme park show as well as a concert venue that could be entered from outside the park and without park admission. Next, take a look at the structure on the right that looks like the the famous Theme Building from the Los Angeles International Airport. The rumor is that this housed the planned version of the Superstar Limo roller coaster. Think Rockin' Roller Coaster from Disney's Hollywood Studios. Finally, in the middle of the picture notice the sorcerer's hat from Fantasia. This marked the location of the Animation Building, which did end up on the DCA's opening day roster.

3. Golden California
Grizzly River Run and its bear shaped mountain was on the DCA opening day roster but if you look here you can see an earlier version of bear icon. A giant grizzly head with a water fall coming out of its mouth! That would have been so cool! Also at this point in time Grizzly River Run was not a raft ride but a log flume. The bottom of the image shows what looks like a warehouse district. This could possibly be the San Francisco area of the park, or an early version of the Pacific Wharf that we see in the park today. The two large buildings in the top right corner are what I assume to be Soarin' Over California.

 4. Surf and Beach
This area obviously became Paradise Pier but it is extremely different from the one that ended up in the park.  The surf and beach theme represented California's beach communities. The gigantic building on the right is probably home to Golden Dreams when it was more than just the simple movie that opened with the park. Originally this was planned to be an audio/visual/animatronic extravaganza in the same vein as American Adventure from Epcot. Besides the lighthouse located next to the lagoon it's hard to tell what else was planned for this area.

5. The Disney Resort Plaza
This is basically what we got. A transportation plaza. Next!

6.The Grand Californian
The Grand Californian Hotel sits in the same spot geographically on this illustration as it does in real life but there are a few differences. The literature included with this art says "Disney's first hotel inside a theme park; 750-room [it opened with 1019 rooms] luxury hotel will include a monorail stop." Obviously, the Grand Californian never got its monorail station.

7 & 8. The Disneyland Hotel and The Disneyland Center
Even in this early concept art the original Disneyland Hotel structures and bungalows were slated for destruction. Only the three main towers and courtyard remain. The Disneyland Center is a concept from the WESTCOT days. It was eventually dubbed Downtown Disney. It's interesting to see the The Disneyland Center was placed along side Disneyland Drive/West Street and not it's current configuration of going from the Disneyland Hotel to the Grand Californian Hotel. 

The Long Beach Press Telegram also reported that California Adventure would break ground in 1997 (which is true), the park opening would be in 2001 (also true), the cost would be $1.4 Billion (true again), and the projected attendance would be 7 million annually (not quite, it ended up being estimated at around 5 million).

Friday, January 11, 2013

A Salute to Kodak Guide Map Ads!

It's almost unbelievable but Kodak has ended its sponsorship of various Disney attractions, lands, picture spots, and most importantly guide maps. The partnership dates back to when Disneyland opened in 1955. Lets take a look back at the various Kodak ads that have appeared in Disney guide maps over the years.

First up is this EPCOT Center map from 1982. This is probably the most elaborate guide map ever produced. In side the map there is a wheel that can be turned to reveal more information on the particular EPCOT pavilion you are interested in. On the back of the map the same wheel shows different information about various Kodak products. This must have cost Kodak a bundle to give out for free! But that's fine, Kodak's stock price in 1982 was $86 a share.

This map from late 1986 Disneyland map prominently features the Kodak logo on the front of the cover. The rear cover features a dual advertisement for Captain EO (a Kodak-sponsored attraction), and the their new Kodacolor VR-G 100 and 200 films. Both of which were introduced in 1986. The Kodak stock price at the end of 1986 was $69 a share.

EPCOT Center's 1992 guide map took a minimalist approach in the Kodak ad. They are used the "Show Your True Colors" slogan which they used for a number of years. Also referenced at the bottom of the ad is the Camera Center which is still located in the park under Spaceship Earth. Kodak shares ended 1992 at $40.50. Notice a trend?

Even Euro Disneyland got in on the Kodak action with this ad also from 1992. The ad features one of Kodak's disposable cameras. I think I would die if I ever got a picture as good as the one in this ad. A kid following Donald Duck while 3 baby ducks follow her. Incredible.

Kodak spent the late 90s advertising their new Advantix film. It can be found on the backs of various guide maps published in during this time, the example shown here is the Epcot 1997 from December. This was also the time when sections of pages in the guide maps were dedicated to photography tips provided by the company (seen here). Speaking of the late 90s, the Eastman Kodak company actually saw their stock prices raise during this time before again tumbling in the 2000s. The stock prices at the end of the decade were $60.56 (1997), $72 (1998), and $66.25 (1999).

This ad is also from 1997 but I wanted to mention it because it was used for a number of years in the Disneyland guides.

As the 2000s came and went the Kodak company was losing money almost every year. In early 2012 the company announced they were filing for bankruptcy. One of the world's most valuable and recognizable brands have been reduced to nothing. Seen here is the last Disneyland and DCA guide maps sponsored by Kodak. These were available during the 2012 holiday season.
Seen here is the first Disneyland guide map not sponsored by Kodak. The current maps are unsponsored and feature a Disney Photopass ad on the back.

Kodak's sponsorship has now faded to Yesterland. The company no longer sponsors any attractions (such as Bug's Land, Captain EO, Honey I Shrunk the Audience, It's Tough to be a Bug, Muppet Vision 3D, as well as many others). Its Kodak Photo Spots will soon disappear from Disneyland and Walt Disney World. Kodak may not have always been the guide map sponsor (another company that failed to adapt to the modern age, Polaroid, sponsored the maps in the 70s) but they are definitely the one the will be remembered. Here's to you Kodak!