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November 2013 Archives

November 11, 2013

Magic Kingdom Skyway

Jack Spence is on a leave of absence until 2014. This is a reprint of a blog he wrote several years ago. This blog originally ran in 2009 and was accurate at the time of publication.

The first Disney Skyway opened at Disneyland on June 23, 1956. Walt was so taken by this mode of transportation that he signed an agreement to purchase this attraction from the Von Roll, Ltd. Company without giving any consideration as to where this ride would be located in his park. But Walt thought of the Skyway as more than just a ride. He thought of it as another mode of transportation that could be used to carry people across large parking lots and shopping centers. He wanted to use Disneyland to showcase this idea.

There is a legend that says that part of Walt's inspiration for Disney World came to him while riding the Disneyland Skyway. From the lofty height of sixty feet, he could see outside the park and onto the rush-hour traffic of the Santa Ana Freeway that skirted his property. He knew then that he needed more land so he could shield any future project from the outside world.

There were three Disney Skyways in total, the second opening at the Magic Kingdom on October 1, 1971 (opening day) and the third at Tokyo Disneyland on April 15, 1983 (also on opening day). All three offered one-way rides between Fantasyland and Tomorrowland. The Magic Kingdom's version had the distinction of being the only one that made a turn in the middle of the journey.

It is often reported, incorrectly, that the Magic Kingdom closed the Skyway due to the death of a custodial cast member working on the attraction. Although it is true that Raymond Barlow was accidentally killed while cleaning a narrow Skyway platform, this had nothing to do with the decision to shutter the ride. Disneyland and Tokyo Disneyland had both closed their versions of this attraction before this death occurred. The decision to close all of the Skyways was strictly economical. These attractions were old and expensive to run and maintain. Also, they had low capacities. This made it harder and harder to justify on a "dollar spent per guest ride" basis. Combine this with the constant problem of teenagers spitting and throwing things on the guests below and it's not hard to understand why Disney said "Enough." The Magic Kingdom Skyway closed on November 9, 1999.

The Skyway was a perennial favorite of many people. Even though the line was often long, it was worth the wait once we were airborne and looking down on the many sights below. As you passed other gondolas, you would smile and wave to its passengers. And when you could see the terminus station come into view, you grew sad because you new your flight was almost over.

I have dug through my photo collection and pulled out my Skyway pictures. Please note, some of these pictures are old and of dubious quality. I have also included a video I took in October, 1986. It was shot using one of those old, large, "carry-on-your-shoulder" video cameras of the early 1980's. For many years, this film sat deteriorating on VHS tape until I finally copied it to a DVD. When I electronically extracted it from the DVD so I could share it with you, I lost additional quality. So please forgive this video.


The Fantasyland Station had a Swiss chalet design and yodeling could often be heard in the queue. (1983)


Fantasyland Skyway Station


Leaving the station. (1972)


Fantasyland Skyway

Fantasyland Skyway


Here we see the Columbia Harbour House. (1989)


Fantasyland Skyway


The Mad Tea Party is the the lower left of the picture. (1972)


Fantasyland Skyway


Cinderella's Golden Carousel is dead ahead. (1983)


Fantasyland Skyway

Fantasyland Skyway


Looking back at the Peter Pan attraction. (1989)


Fantasyland Skyway


Down below is Pinocchio Village Haus. (1975)


Fantasyland Skyway


Here is a very old Dumbo attraction -- before a major refurbishment. (1983)


Fantasyland Skyway


An newer Dumbo and the 20,000 Leagues Lagoon. (1989)


Fantasyland Skyway


20,000 Leagues Under the Sea loading area. (1989)


Fantasyland Skyway


The Nautilus. (1983)


Fantasyland Skyway


Tomorrowland Terrace. (1972)


Tomorrowland Skyway


Tomorrowland Terrace and Cinderella Castle. (1972)


Tomorrowland Skyway


Grand Prix Raceway. (1975)


Tomorrowland Skyway

Tomorrowland Skyway


WEDway People Mover and Contemporary Hotel. (1983)


Tomorrowland Skyway


Tomorrowland Transit Authority (TTA) and the Skyway. (1994-95)


Tomorrowland Skyway


Space Mountain and the Contemporary Hotel. (1975)


Tomorrowland Skyway


TTA and Astro Orbiter. (1994-95)


Tomorrowland Skyway


Tomorrowland Skyway Station. (1989)


Tomorrowland Skyway Station


Here's my video of the Skyway shot in October, 1986.


November 25, 2013

Quiz - Costumes and their Attractions - Questions

Jack Spence is on a leave of absence until 2014. This is a reprint of a blog he wrote several years ago. This blog originally ran in July, 2010 and was accurate at the time of publication.

It's time for another quiz. This one is geared to those of you who frequent the Walt Disney World parks.

As you know, I'm always preaching that you should pay attention to the details. Well today's quiz deals with a "detail" that is in plain sight, the cast members' costumes. This is something that all of you have seen dozens of times but probably never noticed. Today I'm going to test just how well you really pay attention. All of the cast members depicted here work on an attraction at one of the four Walt Disney World parks (Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney's Hollywood Studios, and Disney's Animal Kingdom). An attraction can be a ride, show, or exhibit. None of these costumes represent merchandise or restaurant locations unless there is overlap. Your job, guess the attraction.

I do not know any of these wonderful cast members and my selection process was pretty simple. I arrived each day at 9am at one of the four theme parks. Then I made a mad dash to each attraction and asked the first cast member I saw if I could take their picture for a quiz I was preparing. I want to take this time to thank all of these helpful people who agreed to pose for me. You're great!

Once again, please don't send me your answers. There are no prizes to win or winners to be announced. This is strictly for your amusement.



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November 26, 2013

Quiz - Costumes and their Attractions - Answers

Jack Spence is on a leave of absence until 2014. This is a reprint of a blog he wrote several years ago. This blog originally ran in July, 2010 and was accurate at the time of publication.

Here are the answers to yesterday's quiz. I hope you did well. Once again, please don't send me your answers. There are no prizes to win or winners to be announced. This is strictly for your amusement.



1. This picture was taken at the American Adventure in Epcot. However, this same costume can be seen at the Hall of Presidents attraction at the Magic Kingdom.


Disney Costume



2. This gentleman works at One Man's Dream at Disney's Hollywood Studios.


Disney Costume



3. This charming lady answers animal questions on the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail at Disney's Animal Kingdom.


Disney Costume



4. Need to cool off? See this gentleman for a ride on Splash Mountain at the Magic Kingdom.


Disney Costume



5. These hostesses can assist you at the Seas with Nemo and Friends at Epcot.


Disney Costume



6. This handsome pair introduce guests to their home country in the Canada Pavilion at Epcot.


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7. These ladies can be found at any of the attractions or games at Chester & Hester's Dinorama.


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8. If you didn't get this next one right, well, I don't know what to say. This somber soul works at the Haunted Mansion in the Magic Kingdom.


Disney Costume



9. In the mood for some thrills? This guy can direct you to the Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show at Disney's Hollywood Studios.


Disney Costume



10. Do you want the "Green" less intense experience or the "Orange" more intense experience on Mission: Space at Epcot?


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11. This guy can help you meet some trolls on Maelstrom in the Norway Pavilion at Epcot.


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12. This pair can direct you to your room at the Tower of Terror at Disney's Hollywood Studios.


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13. Need to get across town quick? This friendly guy can whisk you around Los Angeles by helping you board Rock 'N' Roller Coaster at Disney's Hollywood Studios.


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14. Who knew this smiling face could be capable of such swashbuckling adventures at Pirates of the Caribbean at the Magic Kingdom.


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15. Here we have a sherpa to help you through the Himalayan Mountains and Expedition Everest at Disney's Animal Kingdom.


Disney Costume



16. This gentleman can act as engineer on the Wildlife Express Train at Disney's Animal Kingdom.


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17. For a trip back to prehistoric times to see a Dinosaur, see this smiling gal at Disney's Animal Kingdom.


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18. This young man might usher you to your seat to see the Impressions de France film in the France Pavilion at Epcot.


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19. These explorers often skipper a boat on the Jungle Cruise at the Magic Kingdom.


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20. If a vacation to the moon of Endor sounds like the perfect getaway, see this smiling face for a Star Tours vacation at Disney's Hollywood Studios.


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21. If hanggliding is more to your liking, this gentleman can help you at the Soarin' attraction at Epcot in the Land Pavilion.


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22. Piloting a raft to Tom Sawyer Island is always fun at the Magic Kingdom.


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23. Do you have talent? Maybe this guy can help you discover your stage presence at The American Idol Experience at Disney's Hollywood Studios.


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24. Captain EO has returned to Epcot at the Imagination Pavilion and this young lady is ready to show you the King of Pop.


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25. Honey, I Shrunk the Kids Movie Set is where this gal will assist you with giant ants and towering blades of grass at Disney's Hollywood Studios.


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26. All of the cast members in Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom sport this Alpine costume.


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27. This usherette can be found at the Great Movie Ride at Disney's Hollywood Studios.


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28. This gal is good friends with Kermit and Miss Piggy at Muppet*Vision 3D at Disney's Hollywood Studios.


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29. Bad guys watch out. Kim Possible is here to save the day at Epcot.


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30. Disney's newest theme park can be found in China. This lovely lady can be found in the China Pavilion in Epcot welcoming guests to the Reflections of China 360 movie.


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31. The Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular and the Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage show share this costume at Disney's Hollywood Studios. It's almost identical to the American Idol costume except cast members are allowed to wear short pants and here it's missing a distinctive American Idol patch.


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32. All of the attractions in Tomorrowland at the Magic Kingdom share this costume except for the Tomorrowland Speedway.


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33. At the Land Pavilion at Epcot, the Living with the Land attraction and the Circle of Life movie share this costume.


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34. At Disney's Hollywood Studios you'll find this costume at the Voyage of the Little Mermaid and Playhouse Disney shows.


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35. This charming hostess helps guests board the Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros at the Mexico Pavilion in Epcot.


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36. Ellen's Energy Adventure at Epcot is where this smiling hostess can be found.


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37. The costume for Kilimanjaro Safaris at Disney's Animal Kingdom is almost identical to the costume worn on the Jungle Cruise at the Magic Kingdom. The difference lies in a Kilimanjaro Safaris patch on the sleeve and a large belt buckle.


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38. Go white-water rafting on Kali River Rapids at Disney's Animal Kingdom with this intrepid guide.


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39. Journey Into Imagination with Figment and this lab-coated technician at Epcot.


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40. Put a new car through its paces with this happy driver at Test Track at Epcot.


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41. Unless you want to wait in a long line, you better have a FastPass to ride Toy Story Midway Mania at Disney's Hollywood Studios.


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42. This smiling guy can help you on Swiss Family Treehouse, The Magic Carpets of Aladdin, and The Enchanted Tiki Room Under New Management at the Magic Kingdom.


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43. One of the most popular shows at Walt Disney World is Festival of the Lion King at Disney's Animal Kingdom and this camp counsilor can help you find a seat.


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44. All of the cast members at Innoventions East and West wear the same costume except for a patch that identifies their particular exhibit.


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45. Although this picture was taken at the Liberty Square Riverboat landing in the Magic Kingdom, the same costume is worn by those running the Walt Disney World Railroad. The only difference is their hat and tie. In the warmer, summer months, they're allowed to go without these accoutrements


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46. Take a journey back in time aboard Spaceship Earth at Epcot.


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47. This patriotic gentleman was seen in front of Hall of Presidents at the Magic Kingdom. But he could have just as easily been seen at the American Adventure in Epcot as they share the same costume.


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48. It's Tough to be a Bug at Disney's Animal Kingdom is where this cast member hangs out. If you take a closer look a the costume, you can see creepy-crawlers make up the design.


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49. Big Thunder Mountain Railway at the Magic Kingdom is where you'll find this smiling cast member.


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50. Here we have a trio of auto experts who help drivers big and small at the Tomorrowland Speedway in the Magic Kingdom.


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51. If you like tigers, this cast member will point them out to you on the Maharaja Jungle Trek at Disney's Animal Kingdom.


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About November 2013

This page contains all entries posted to The “World” According to Jack in November 2013. They are listed from oldest to newest.

October 2013 is the previous archive.

December 2013 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.