Friday, November 20, 2015

Watch Me Play Old Disney Video Games On YouTube

Once a week until the end of 2015, for no reason in particular, I am uploading a "Let's Play" video of classic Disney video games of the 8, 16, and 32-bit eras. What is a Let's Play video? It's a video where someone plays a video games and talks over it. Yes I'm serious, that's all it is. There's been some real turds in the Disney video game library but there have also been a handful of genuinely  great titles. I'm four weeks in to this, so here I'll show you what I have done so far:

Week 1: Disney's Adventures in the Magic Kingdom (NES)

This is one of my most beloved games from my childhood. Running around in a virtual Magic Kingdom/Disneyland hybrid and riding levels based on my favorite rides was intoxicating to my young Disney-obsessed brain. Unfortunately the game doesn't hold up well, and maybe it was never even that good to begin with. I can't rip on this game too much because it still has some fun parts and there was nothing like this back in 1990.

Week 2: Disney's Aladdin (Sega Genesis)

Unlike Adventures in the Magic Kingdom, Aladdin holds up extremely well. It's still a lot of fun to play and its colorful and detailed graphics are a joy to look at. This was actually my first Sega Genesis game I ever received, and I still have my original copy my grandma gave me for Christmas in 1993.

Week 3: Beauty and the Beast (SNES)

For week 3 I decided to change it up and play a Disney game that I had never even played before. Maybe this wasn't a good idea because Beauty and the Beast was brutally hard and I couldn't even make it out of the first level. This game's bad controls, hard difficulty, and muddy graphics make me think this will end up being one of the worst games I play during this series of videos.

Week 4: Chip 'n' Dale Rescue Rangers (NES)

After Beauty and the Beast I needed to get back on track and play a good Disney game. I picked Chip 'N' Dale Rescue Rangers because I remember enjoy it as a kid. I was worried that it would be an Adventures in the Magic Kingdom situation where it was better in my memories but I'm happy to say that Rescue Rangers is still a very enjoyable game. In all these videos I give the disclaimer that I am not actually good at retro video games, even though I've been playing them my whole life. As previous videos in this series showed, I die over and over, but I'm happy to say in this one I was able to get pretty far in to that game. 

There's what I have so far, be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel or keep an eye on this website to see any future videos.  

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Guy's Disney Vlog - Port Disney in Long Beach California

When news of Port Disney first broke in 1991 I was excited. I'm talking can't-stand-still-jumping-up-and-down level of excited. The thought of a Disney theme park in my home town was too much for my 8 year old brain to comprehend. Sure, it was a short 20 minute drive to Disneyland from Long Beach, and I still went to the park almost every week, but this one was going to be ours. It was huge news in Long Beach. Our local paper, Long Beach Press Telegram, covered it frequently. To make a long story short, the project fell apart after a few years. Heartbreaking. It still hurts. Michael Crawford has the go-to article about Port Disney. Jim Hill also has a couple of posts about it. I still live in the area and recently I was the purposed site of Port Disney, which brings us to today's Disney Vlog:

Monday, July 13, 2015

Five Random Disney Theme Park Postcards - Part 2

Back in January of 2014 I posted 5 random Disney postcards that I picked up from a shop near a place where Rolly Crump was doing a signing of the Seekers of the Weird comic book. Fast forward to June of 2015 and I was at the same comic shop (Beach Ball Comics) for a signing of the Big Thunder and Figment comic books. This time it was another Disney Legend's turn to sign, Tony Baxter! Besides the singing of the comic, I took the opportunity to visit the same local shop to pick up another group of $1 post cards.

Postcards are pretty much the perfect collectible for Disney ephemera hunters like me. They're cheap, easy to display, easy to store, and they're usually pretty. I again limited myself to only 5 cards, somehow. 

Postcard #1 - Tomorrowland 1998
I'm starting to see less and less Tomorrowland '98 items show up on collector shows and on Ebay. Not that any of it is valuable or limited, but that so much of it is plentiful and low in cost that I suspect people have stopped trying to sell it. The reason I bought this card was because I thought it would be strange to have a piece of  Tomorrowland '98 merchandise signed by Tony Baxter. This will make a great conversation piece to no one. 

Postcard #2 - Used Disneyland Paris Postcard
This may look like a standard boring old postcard from Disneyland Paris but the real reason I got this was because it was actually used by random strangers that I do not know to send to their friends back home. 

Henry and Brenda were eager to tell their friends that they were having "lots of fun" and it was "very cold here." Fascinating stuff. I doubt Henry and Brenda would appreciate the card that they took time out of their busy vacation to send their friends back home ended up in the hands of a disgusting Disney blogger, but that's the risk you take when sending a postcard. 

Postcard #3 - Disney's California Adventure Opening Year Postcard
 Here we go, this postcard is more in the flavor of this blog. This card is from the opening year of Disney's California Adventure, and it TOTALLY looks like it. Oy! Major bonus points for the postcard including a limousine Superstar Limo.

Postcard #4 - Disney's Animal Kingdom
This card is undated but I have to assume it's from either the early years of Animal Kingdom, or maybe even pre-opening. This card gets bonus points for having one extinct attraction (Discovery River Boats), and a renamed attraction (Countdown to Extinction). The back of the card says "A New Species of Theme Park." I really like the artwork featured on this card and I was surprised that I've never seen it used anywhere else. 

Postcard #5 - Mid 90s Disneyland Hotel
There's a lot to love about this postcard but my favorite has to be the appearance from Earforce One. That balloon had a mythical status when I was a kid. I would constantly see it in Disney commercials and print advertisements but never in real life. I wonder what ever happened to that thing.

Bonus Postcard - tffrd and Bianca at New York Deli at DisneySea
I didn't obtain this postcard at the same shop as the others but it's too good not to share. Here we see Bianca and Bernard looking into the window at New York Deli in DisneySea. Those mice are hardcore fiending over those cured meats in the window and I don't blame them one bit.

Speaking of Bernard, I met him at DisneySea last month! That's all the postcards for this time. I'll pick up some more next time I'm in the area. Maybe it won't be a year and a half this time. 

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Quick Recap Of My 2015 Tokyo Disneyland Trip

I'm back from a trip to Tokyo which included 5 days at Tokyo Disney Resort. Unfortunately I do not have time to write up a lengthy trip report like I did back in October, but I did want to write some quick bullet points and share my pictures.

  • We visited Tokyo Disneyland at an interesting time of the year, it was as the Easter celebration was coming to an end, and the summer celebration was still about a month off. A small 2-week promotion called "Tanabata Days" started about halfway through our trip. Tanabata is a wishing festival in Japan. As usual, Wikipedia explains it much better than I ever will.
  • Speaking of Easter, TDR really goes all out with their Easter stuff. They had a great parade, not just some little cavalcade, but a major parade with huge floats and tons of dancers. There was also a ton of special food and merchandise as well as other seasonal shows.
  • This trip was our last chance to see Tokyo Disneyland before it starts a major expansion later this year, which includes closing, moving, and reopening their version of 'it's a small world,' the closure of the Star Jets, as well as many other changes to their Fantasyland and Tomorrowland. Our friends at TDR Explorer have more information on the expansion. This expansion should modernize TDL's Fantasyland and give it a much larger footprint, kind of like the Magic Kingdom's new Fantasyland, but bigger. 
  • DisneySea is still just as grand and spectacular as it was during our first trip. Besides the rides, it's an easy park to just hang out and relax in. I'd kill to have that be my local park.
  • Also at DisneySea, StormRider will close soon to make way for a new Finding Nemo attraction. I'm not a fan of StormRider, or Port Discovery in general, but I made it a point to ride it several times. I grew to appreciate Port Discovery, and especially Aquatopia, more but I still can't get with StormRider. It falls flat with me in so many ways, including it not being very much fun, a theme I don't care about, and overall it's just not interesting. I'm not saying the Nemo ride (which will basically be an overlay that uses the same building, ride vehicle, etc) will fix any of that, but at least it'll be new. You can't see it, but I'm shrugging right now.
  • The kindness of our friends in Tokyo that we finally got to meet in person was wonderful and I'll never forget how nice they were. My friends and I met up with several people, and others would stop us just to say hello. Thank you to all of you!
  • The response from my friends on social media was also overwhelming. It was a pleasure having everyone follow along and I appreciate every comment, like, favorite, and retweet!
I also uploaded a video of my Tokyo Disney Resort merchandise hail:

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Euro Disneyland Announcement Brochure From 1986

In late 1985 Disney signed a deal with the French government to build a new Disney theme park in Marne-la-Vallée, France. Planning for the park started in 1984 with multiple locations being considered, including spot in Spain. This Euro Disneyland Announcement Brochure From 1986 was the first brochure released by Disney announcing the development of the park. What's most interesting is seeing how many changes occurred between the time this pamphlet was produced in 1986 and when the park opened in 1992.

The cover features Herb Ryman's iconic painting of Walt Disney World's Cinderella Castle from 1967. Also seen at the bottom is a simple and obviously temporary logo for the park. In this brochure you'll see there is zero original art for Euro Disneyland, only art reused from Disneyland, Walt Disney World, and Tokyo Disneyland. My guess is that Disney either had no art ready to release to the public (remember, this is less than a year after a location had been selected).

The top of the page features another one of Herbert Ryman's incredible paintings, this one being Tokyo Disneyland's central plaza. The text below promises the usual Disney amenities like shopping, recreational activities, and a Magic Kingdom-style theme park.

Even more Tokyo Disneyland art is at the top of this page with World Bazaar, the New Orleans section of Adventureland, and Rivers of America. Here you can see that at one point they were planning to have Main Street covered in a glass canopy, exactly like Tokyo Disneyland. Tony Baxter has said in interviews that the canopy would have been too expensive and he preferred to use the money elsewhere. As you can see in the paragraph on the right, New Orleans Square was once a planned land for Euro Disneyland. I've never read anything to indicate that New Orleans Square got past the early stages of planning. To this day most of the land where it was supposed to go sits sparsly populated with vegetation and a few buildings. This area of the park has been rumored for years to be home to the still unbuilt Splash Mountain.

Here we see some art Jungle Cruise, Disneyland New Fantasyland from 1983, and Disneyland Tomorrowland art from the early 60s. The Adventureland and Fantasyland descriptions make them sound identical to their American and Tokyo counterparts. However Discoveryland sounds very different than what ended up getting built in the park. It sounds like the Imagineers had not yet implemented the Jules Verne retro-future Discoveryland and instead were originally planning a more traditional Tomorrowland. A bit of text I wanted to point out here is the sentence describing an unbuilt ride with "a realistic ride through tumbling rapids or a careening bobsled run through snowy passes." 

The three paintings at the top of this page represent the different resort hotels Euro Disneyland would offer upon completion. The image on the right is of the Persian Resort, a hotel planned but never built at Walt Disney World. The top image shows WDW's Polynesian Village Resort, while the one on the right is art for yet another unbuilt WDW hotel, the Venetian Resort. I've asked a few Euro Disney experts I know and they told me none of these resorts were ever actually planned for the park. The second text column mentions Fort Wilderness, which ended up being called Disney's Davy Crockett Ranch. The camping aspect never came to be, but some of the recreational activities are still offered today. In the third column you can see a water park that was planned called "Splash," which sounds like Walt Disney World's River Country, but with a cover. This also was never built.

I hope you enjoy this look at the early stages of Euro Disneyland. It's interesting that this brochure makes it look like the park was going to be very similar to Tokyo Disneyland, with the addition of Walt Disney World-style resort hotels. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Guy's Disney Vlog - March Vintage Disney Items Haul

Today I share some of the vintage Disney theme park items I picked up at the Disneyana show last month.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Indiana Jones Adventure 1995 Ephemera Blowout Post

Indiana Jones Adventure 20 YEARS OLD tomorrow (or today if you count the media day). TWENTY. It's crazy to think that arguably the best Disney attraction in the world is now two decades old when it seems like just yesterday I was standing in a 5 hour line to experience it. Before I move on i'll share my personal experiences with the opening of this ride. 1995 was my second year of having an annual pass to Disneyland. My friend Roger and I would get dropped off after school by his mom multiple times a week. Usually we would just enjoy a few dozen rides on the PeopleMover, Star Tours, Haunted Mansion, and maybe a few showings of Country Bear Jamboree. When Indiana Jones Adventure was nearing completion our park habits changed dramatically. I would beg to be taken to Disneyland every day in hopes that we would catch a soft opening of the new ride. Roger's wonderful mother have either appreciated or feared our insanity because once homework was finished we were taken to the park a lot during January and February of 1995. Roger and I would camp out in front of Indiana Jones Adventure and wait for hours at a time. Keep in mind there were no cellphones back then and a Game Boy was too big to fit in our pockets. When we were hungry we would eat at Bangle Barbecue, this was back when $10 bucks would get you 2 skewers, a pretzel, and a drink now a single skewer is like $5). Anyway, in early February the construction walls came down and cast members were stationed in front of the ride. It was getting real. Our persistence paid off and Indiana Jones Adventure finally soft opened during one February afternoon. Unfortunately I don't recall the exact date, Wikipedia says it soft opened March 3, 1995 but that date is 100% baloney (although I do think the media preview was that day). I even have proof but I'll get to that later. Roger and I must have ridden Indiana Jones Adventure 20 times that day. There was no wait so we just kept going on over and over and over (this was polar opposite of the 5 hour line on opening day). Our 12 year-old minds could not comprehend how incredible the ride was. Now, 20 years later, the ride is better than ever. It got some fantastic enhancements a couple of years ago in the form of new projection effects on Mara and a top to bottom refurbishment that made the entire attraction look brand new. Now on to the ephemera!

My annual pass from 1995. This was back when they switched the AP designs every year.

These are the three designs of the famous decoder cards that were passed out to every person in line for Indiana Jones Adventure. With these cards you could unscramble the writing on the walls inside the attraction's queue. 

For the first 41 days in 1995, Disneyland gave away one of these collector cards to everyone who entered the park. Each day would have a different year with an attraction that opened during that year. on the 41st day the 1995/Indiana Jones Adventure Card was given to park guests.

Here's a bit of an oddity. This is Disneyland's park map for 1995, but it's stamped with the 40th anniversary postmark. On July 17, 1995 guests could bring whatever they wanted (seriously anything) to Disneyland and pay for a stamp. After the stamp was put on the item Disney would then apply a special postmark with the date and 40th anniversary logo.

I wish I had an actual copy of this but for some reason my grandma only had a photocopy in her collection. This is the letter announcing the annual passholder preview dates for Indiana Jones Adventure. For only $12 you could ride Indiana Jones Adventure for 5 HOURS. Obviously I attended this event even though at this point I had ridden it at least 50 times. Notice my grandma highlighted "buffeteria" and "table-service location" on this flyer. Let's just say she really enjoyed her food and probably thought far ahead of what she wanted to eat that night.

As you can see this is unfortunately another photocopy. One time I had the chance to obtain a real version but the guy wanted $15, screw that. Anyway, this is the facts sheet handed out during the media event. I want to point out a couple interesting bullet points. "60 pounds of rubble can fall inside the temple every 18 seconds." This is referring to the infamous falling rock effect, aka the ice machine. The idea was that brown-colored ice would fall at a certain point of the ride (just as the jeep enters "the big room" for the first time). It was a very impressive effect but rumors spread that it was difficult to maintain and broke down constantly. Personally I saw this effect work less than 10 times during the soft opening period. I've heard that it was turned off shortly after opening. "The adventure will never be the same twice, with nearly 160,000 possible combinations of show programming." This bullet point was brought up in nearly every article and interview when the ride opened. Maybe I'm wrong but I never noticed much difference in rides. Sure there's a few slight things, like when you first see Indy he sometimes says "Watch out, there's big steps ahead" and sometimes he doesn't, but overall I think they exaggerated this one a bit. 

This is from the March 4, 1995 issue of Long Beach Press Telegram. If you're looking for an Indiana Jones Adventure tattoo I strongly suggest you get that one.

This last bit of ephemera is from the Los Angeles Times in 1995. It talks about how local theme parks are relying heavily on attractions based on movies. 

Happy birthday Indiana Jones Adventure!