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Theme Park Trivia Archives

October 28, 2013

Magic Kingdom's Adventureland Trivia

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 2008 and was accurate at the time of publication.

Q: Do you know why Adventureland is located on the west side of the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World?

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A: It's because Adventureland is located on the west side of Disneyland in Anaheim. When planning the Magic Kingdom, Imagineers used Disneyland's layout as a starting point when designing their new park.

Q: Do you know why Adventureland is located on the west side of Disneyland?

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A: Original plans called for the "True Life Adventures" (later to become the Adventureland) to be located on the east side of the park between Main Street and "World of Tomorrow" (later to become Tomorrowland). This can be seen in an early concept drawing by Herb Ryman.

Herb Ryman Concept Drawing Disneyland

But while surveying the orange groves that would eventually become Disneyland, planners found a windbreak of giant eucalyptus trees that had been planted around the turn of the century. Ironically, these trees helped determine the location of Main Street as it was decided that they would make a nice backdrop behind City Hall and help delineate between "civilization" and the "jungles of the world." Thus, Adventureland was moved to its current location on the west side of the park.

These trees, now over a hundred years old, are clearly visible in an early Disneyland postcard and are still visible today.


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October 14, 2013

Muppet*Vision 3-D Trivia

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

My next bit of theme park trivia involves the Muppet*Vision 3-D attraction at Disney's Hollywood Studios.


Muppet*Vision 3-D


The moment you enter the building, look to your right. You will see a ticket window.


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Hanging in the window is a sign that says "Back in 5 minutes key is under mat."


Muppet*Vision 3-D


Walk around the turnstile and look for a mat (the turnstile hides it). If you lift the mat up, sure enough, you'll find a key - just like the sign says.


Muppet*Vision 3-D


When you enter the preshow area, take a look around. This area is full of gags and jokes. I know that this attraction has one of the best pre-shows at Disney World, but you've seen it before. Investigate a little. You'll be glad you did.

One of the all time best jokes is hanging from the ceiling of this room.


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What is that? You ask.

It looks like some kind of webbing holding, could it be gelatin?

No, it's not webbing, it's a net holding cubes of gelatin.

But what kind of gelatin? Possibly a name brand, like Jello.

So we have a net holding Jello.

A net holding Jello.

No" That's not right... How about,

A net full of Jello.

A net full of Jello.

If you still haven't got the joke, say it out loud.

A net full of Jello.

If you still don't get it, scroll down.


Muppet*Vision 3-D

Annette Funicello


October 1, 2013

Disney Quiz - 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 2010 and was accurate at the time of publication.

Here are the answers to yesterday's quiz. I hope you got them all right!


1. On what day did Disneyland open?

July 17, 1955

Between 10-15 thousand opening day tickets had been made available to the press and invited guests, but between counterfeit tickets and gate crashers, it's estimated that twice that number actually attended the park on opening day.


Opening Day at Disneyland



2. What is considered to be the first AudioAnimatronics attraction?

The Enchanted Tiki Room

Opening on June 23, 1963 this attraction had 225 AudioAnimatronics performers directed by a fourteen-channel magnetic tape feeding one hundred separate speakers and controlling 438 separate actions.


Walt and Jose in the Tiki Room



3. The Jungle Cruise was inspired in part by what series of short subject documentaries?

True Life Adventures (specifically The African Lion)

Produced between 1948 and 1960, True Life Adventures covered a wide range of nature-related topics and won numerous Academy Awards.


The African Lion Movie Poster



4. What two World Showcase pavilions were not present at Epcot's opening (October 1, 1982) and were added in later years?

Morocco and Norway

Morocco opened on September 7, 1984. King Hassan II sent Moroccan artisans to design and create the many mosaics seen in this pavilion.


Morocco Pavilion


Norway had a soft opening on May 6, 1988. A month later an official opening was attended by Crown Prince Harald in a ceremony that was broadcast live to Norway.


Norway Pavilion



5. What was the first foreign Disney Park to open?

Tokyo Disneyland

Opening on April 15, 1983, Tokyo Disneyland is owned and operated by the Oriental Land Company which pays licensing fees and royalties to the Walt Disney Company.


Tokyo Disneyland



6. What was the first commercially released cartoon to be produced in the full-color three-strip Technicolor process?

Flowers and Trees

Flowers and Trees was already in production as a black and white cartoon when Walt Disney was introduced to Technicolor's three-strip process. Walt was so impressed that he had the black and white footage scrapped, and had the short redone in color.


Flowers and Trees Movie Poster



7. On what day did Walt Disney World open?

October 1, 1971

However, the official dedication was held on October 25th. This gave the company time to work out any problems before a formal opening was presented to the press and the rest of the world.


Magic Kingdom



8. What was Walt Disney's first full-length animated motion picture?

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

In 2007, the American Film Institute ranked Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs 34th in its list of the 100 greatest American films of all time.


Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Movie Poster



9. Who played Davey Crockett?

Fess Parker

Davy Crockett was the first miniseries in the history of television. Its five episodes aired on the Disneyland TV show in 1954 and 1955. The first three episodes were later edited together and shown in theaters under the name of Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier.


Fess Parker as Davy Crockett



10. What was the first attraction to open after Walt Disney's death?

Pirates of the Caribbean (Disneyland)

Pirates of the Caribbean was the last attraction that Walt personally supervised during its design and much of its construction. It opened three months after his death on March 18 1967.


Pirates of the Caribbean



11. What Disney animated short was the first to be created using the multi-plane camera?

The Old Mill

The Old Mill won the 1937 Academy Award for Best Short Subjects: Cartoons.

Disney's multi-plane camera, invented by William Garity, uses up to seven layers of artwork and is shot using an overhead movable camera.


The Old Mill



12. What was Walt's brother Roy's middle initial?

O

Roy Oliver Disney was Walt's older brother (June 24, 1893 - December 20, 1971) and co-founder of what is now The Walt Disney Company. Roy's son, Roy Edward Disney, also played a pivotal role in the company as a longtime senior executive.


Roy O. Disney



13. What was the name of the cartoon character that Walt lost the rights to in the spring of 1928?

Oswald the Lucky Rabbit

In February 2006, Disney CEO Bob Iger secured the rights to the original 26 Oswald cartoons created by Disney. The remaining Oswald cartoons still belong to Universal.


Oswald the Lucky Rabbit



14. What was Walt's wife's first name?

Lillian

Lillian Marie Bounds was working at the Disney Studio in the "ink and paint" department when she met Walt. They were married in 1925. After Walt's death, she married John L. Truyens in May 1969. John died in February 1981. Lillian suffered a stroke on December 15, 1997, 31 years to the day after Walt's death. She died the following morning at aged 98.


Walt, Lillian, and Mickey Mouse



15. What four attractions did Disney design for the New York World's Fair?

"it's a small world" - sponsored by UNICEF and Pepsi
Progressland (later to be known as Carousel of Progress) -- sponsored by General Electric
Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln - sponsored by the State of Illinois
The Magic Skyway - sponsored by the Ford Motor Company


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16. What attraction at Disney's Hollywood Studios was originally planned for Epcot?

The Great Movie Ride

The Great Movie Ride was being developed as a Future World pavilion to cover the topic of entertainment. But when Michael Eisner became CEO of the Walt Disney Company in 1985, he proposed an entirely new park devoted to entertainment with The Great Movie Ride as its premier attraction and the idea for the Disney/MGM Studios was born.


The Great Movie Ride



17. What did Professor Brainard invent?

Flubber

The movie The Absent-Minded Professor opened in 1961 and featured a scatter-brained professor creating a substance that defied gravity. The movie was both a critical and financial success and spawned a sequel, Son of Flubber in 1963.


The Absent-Minded Professor



18. What Disney movie was the first commercial film released in multi-channel (stereo) sound?

Fantasia

Fantasia was the third full-length animated film produced by Disney (following Snow White and Pinocchio). The film was not a commercial success during its initial release and left the company strapped for funds. In an effort to save money and recoup losses, Disney next produced Dumbo, a much shorter movie and by comparison to Fantasia, a simple to animate film. Despite Fantasia's initial commercial failure, subsequent releases more than made up for any losses and today the movie is considered a classic. A sequel, Fantasia 2000, opened on December 17, 1999.


Fantasia Movie Poster



19. What was the first science fiction film produced by Walt Disney Pictures?

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

Opening in 1954, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea starred Kirk Douglas, James Mason, Paul Lukas, and Peter Lorre. When Disneyland was being constructed, cash was short and Tomorrowland was lacking in rides. In an effort to add attractions to this land, the props from the movie were displayed in an exhibit by the same name and entertained guests from 1955 to 1966.


20,000 Leagues Under the Sea Movie Poster



20. Where did President Nixon say "I am not a crook?"

Disney's Contemporary Resort

Speaking before 400 Associated Press managing editors, Nixon defended his record in the Watergate scandal. This proved to be a defining moment in his presidency and the beginning of the end.


Contemporary Resort



Bonus Question. The following movies were set at what fictitious university, The Absent Minded Professor, Son of Flubber, The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes, Now You See Him, Now You Don't, and The Strongest Man in the World?

Medfield College

Interestingly, two other college-themed movies, The Misadventures of Merlin Jones, and its sequel, The Monkey's Uncle were set in Midvale College.

September 30, 2013

Disney Quiz - 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 2010 and was accurate at the time of publication.

Disney Quiz 101

I have created another Disney quiz for you -- but this time, there are no pictures. I titled it "Disney Quiz 101" because in my circle of friends, these are easy questions. In other words "Beginning Disney." So grab a pencil and paper and get ready for twenty questions and one bonus brain-teaser. Tomorrow I'll post the answers.

Once again, do not send me your answers. This quiz is for your amusement only. No winner will be announced and no prizes awarded.

Good luck.,


1. On what day did Disneyland open?

2. What is considered to be the first AudioAnimatronics attraction?

3. The Jungle Cruise was inspired in part by what series of short subject documentaries?

4. What two World Showcase pavilions were not present at Epcot's opening (October 1, 1982) and were added in later years?

5. What was the first foreign Disney Park to open?

6. What was the first commercially released cartoon to be produced in the full-color three-strip Technicolor process?

7. On what day did Walt Disney World open?

8. What was Walt Disney's first full-length animated motion picture?

9. Who played Davey Crockett?

10. What was the first attraction to open after Walt Disney's death?

11. What Disney animated short was the first to be created using the multi-plane camera?

12. What was Walt's brother Roy's middle initial?

13. What was the name of the cartoon character that Walt lost the rights to in the spring of 1928?

14. What was Walt's wife's first name?

15. What four attractions did Disney design for the New York World's Fair?

16. What attraction at Disney's Hollywood Studios was originally planned for Epcot?

17. What did Professor Brainard invent?

18. What Disney movie was the first commercial film released in multi-channel (stereo) sound?

19. What was the first science fiction film produced by Walt Disney Pictures?

20. Where did President Nixon say "I am not a crook?"

Bonus Question. The following movies were set at what fictitious university, The Absent Minded Professor, Son of Flubber, The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes, Now You See Him, Now You Don't, and The Strongest Man in the World?

September 17, 2013

Which Picture Doesn't Belong - 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 2010 and was accurate at the time of publication.

Here are the answers to yesterday's quiz. Remember, you might have come up with an equally good answer - something I didn't think about.

Once again, DO NOT send me your answers. No winners will be announced and there are no prizes to win. This is strictly for your amusement.


A: Picture 3 is an AudioAnimatronics animal on the Jungle Cruise. The others are of real animals on Kilimanjaro Safaris.


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B: Pictures 2, 3, and 4 were all opening day countries in Epcot (October 1, 1982). Norway (Picture 1) didn't open until June 1988.


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C: Although all of these rides are extremely similar to one another, the attractions in Florida, Tokyo, and California are all named Haunted Mansion. Picture 4 is of Phantom Manor in Paris, a different name.


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D: Picture 1 is of the All Star Sports Resort, a budget accommodation. The other pictures are of the Yacht, Polynesian, and Contemporary, all deluxe resorts.


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E: Horizons in Picture 1 no longer exists. Tower of Terror, Dinosaur, and Carousel of Progress are all still going strong.


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F: Although all four rides depicted spin, Pictures 1, 2, and 3 fly while the Teacups in Picture 4 stays on the ground. However, Picture 3, Triceratop Spin is in the Animal Kingdom while the other three are all in the Magic Kingdom. So both 3 and 4 are correct. (But I was going for 4).


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G: Although all of the pictures are of cars, Picture 2 of a Main Street Vehicle is the only one that doesn't run on a track.


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H: All of the pictures were taken at Downtown Disney, but Picture 4 was the only one taken at the Westside. The other three were taken at the Marketplace.


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I: Only Picture 2, the General Joe Potter is a real boat.


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J: Although all of the pictures depict attractions that no longer exist, only Picture 4, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea was located in Fantasyland, the other three were in Tomorrowland.


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K: Picture 3 of the Main Street Train Station is the only picture that can still be duplicated today. Mickey's Sorcerer's Hat obscures the Chinese Theater in Picture 1. Bay Lake Tower now stands next to the Contemporary, making Picture 3 impossible. And Mickey's Hand was removed from Picture 4.


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L: Picture 3 is at Disneyland. Pictures 1, 2, and 4 are at the Magic Kingdom at Disney World.


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M: The castle in Picture 3 is named Cinderella Castle. The castles in Pictures 1, 2, and 4 are all Sleeping Beauty Castle.


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N: Attraction poster Number 1 is from Disneyland, California. All the others are from the Magic Kingdom in Florida.


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O: Picture 2 of Goofy's House is at Disneyland, California. All the others are from the Magic Kingdom in Florida.


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P: That's Typhoon Lagoon in Picture 1 while the rest were all taken at Blizzard Beach.


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Q: Picture 3 is the odd picture. All the other attractions have Cast Members narrating your adventure.


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R: Picture 2 of the Liberty Tree in the Magic Kingdom is the only real tree.


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S: Picture 4 is of the Hong Kong Jungle Cruise and this scene only exists at this park. The others are all at the Magic Kingdom in Florida.


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T: Picture 3 is at Disney's California Adventure while the other three are all at Disney's Hollywood Studios.


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U: Picture 3 was taken in the Horizons attraction. Pictures 1, 2, and 4 were taken in the World of Motion attraction.


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V: The gorilla in Picture 1 was taken on the Pangani Jungle Exploration Trail. The Komodo dragon, taper, and tiger were taken on the Maharaja Jungle Trek. I realize that the Komodo dragon is a reptile and the other three are mammals, but I thought that was too easy.


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W: Picture 2 is of African Outpost at Epcot's World Showcase. The other three were taken at Harambe in the Africa section of the Animal Kingdom.


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X: Picture 1 is of the Seattle monorail. Picture 2 is the Tokyo Disney Resort monorail. Picture 3 is the Disneyland Resort monorail. And Picture 4 is of the Walt Disney World monorail.


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Y: Picture 4 was taken at the All Star Sports Resort. The other three were taken at the Pop Century Resort.


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Z: Picture 2 no longer exists in Dinoland USA at the Animal Kingdom. This dinosaur was removed to make room for Aladar.


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September 16, 2013

Which Picture Doesn't Belong - 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 2010 and was accurate at the time of publication.

I've got another quiz for you. In each picture are four smaller pictures. Three of them belong to a grouping, but one doesn't for some reason. It's your job to figure out which picture is out of place and why.

In my explanations, I will refer to the pictures as follows.


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It is possible that you'll come up with an answer different than mine, but equally valid.

For the most part, the pictures are of Walt Disney World. However, when I've included pictures from other parks, I felt that a person familiar enough with Florida could still figure out the misplaced picture.

DO NOT send me your answers. No winners will be announced and there are no prizes to win. This is strictly for your amusement. Tomorrow I'll post my answers. So grab a piece of paper and letter it A through Z.

Good luck.


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September 3, 2013

Signs at Walt Disney World - 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 2010 and was accurate at the time of publication.

Here are the answers to yesterday's quiz. Some of these were pretty hard. I would say that anyone who got twenty or more correct is a Disney Detail Expert.


A - Epcot - American Adventure


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B - Animal Kingdom - Africa


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C - Magic Kingdom - Tomorrowland - Near Space Mountain


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D - Epcot - Odyssey Restaurant


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E - Studio - Animation Courtyard


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F - Studio - Near Studio Backlot Tour


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G - Epcot - United Kingdom


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H - Animal Kingdom - Discovery Island - Pizzafari


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I - Magic Kingdom - Adventureland - Pirates of the Caribbean


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J - Animal Kingdom - Camp Minnie-Mickey


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K - Epcot - China Pavilion


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L - Studio - Hollywood Blvd.


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M - Magic Kingdom - Main Street - Near First Aid


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N - Animal Kingdom - Chester & Hester's Dinorama


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O - Epcot - Morocco Pavilion


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P - Epcot - Future World


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Q - Animal Kingdom - Asia - Near Expedition Everst


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R - Magic Kingdom - Tom Sawyer Island


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S - Magic Kingdom - Tomorrowland - Near the Noodle Station


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T - Studio - Hollywood Brown Derby


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U - Magic Kingdom - Main Street - Tony's Townsquare Café


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V - Studio - Halfway down Sunset Blvd.


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W - Epcot - Norway Pavilion


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X - Animal Kingdom - Walkway between Africa and Asia


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Y - Magic Kingdom - Fantasyland - Near Peter Pan


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Z - Studio - Rock 'N' Roller Coaster.


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September 2, 2013

Signs at Walt Disney World - 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 2010 and was accurate at the time of publication.

I recently wrote two blog series, one about Benches and one about Lampposts. My objective was to get people to notice that Disney puts thought and detail into everything they do. These blogs were well received. In fact, I even inspired one family to pick their own topic, ceilings, and they paid attention to this aspect of design throughout their journeys.

I received a number of comments from you, thanking me for opening up your eyes to the "little things." But there was one underlying theme in your remarks. You kept saying, "I've never noticed this before." So I decided to create a quiz to see just how observant you really are. But I didn't want to make it too difficult so I picked a subject matter that everyone is familiar with - Restroom Signs. Nature calls on us all while at Disney World and we MUST look for these signs in order to take care of business. So this quiz should be a snap for you all. (Yeah, right.)

Get a piece of paper and letter it A-Z. Then take a look at the pictures below and write down where you think the sign is located. I've only included the four theme parks in this quiz.

DO NOT SEND ME YOUR ANSWERS.

There are no prizes to win, no awards to be given out. This quiz is simply for your amusement. The answers will appear in tomorrow's blog.

By the way, if you enjoy this quiz, the Photography Bloggers post a new "Where in the World" photo every week to challenge your Disney knowledge.

Good luck!


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Check back tomorrow for the answers.




July 8, 2013

Disney Name Tags

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.

When I worked at Disneyland and was conducting Orientation (Traditions) classes for new hires, I would start the training session by telling my pupils that everyone in the company goes by their first name. This rule applied to the lowly guy who picked up horse poop along the parade route all the way up to the CEO, which was Donn Tatum at the time. The only exceptions to this rule were Mr. Toad, Mr. Smee, and Mr. Lincoln.

When I worked at Club 33, I often came in contact with company executives - and I was expected to call them by their first name. Saying "Good morning Mr. Tatum" was a no no.

The reason for this policy is simple. Walt wanted his cast members to treat the "customers" (a banned word at Disney) like they were "guests" in their own home. He wanted a casual informality at Disneyland. Everybody is friends at a Disney theme park. He also wanted the cast members to know that all of their jobs were important when it comes to creating the "show." It doesn't matter if you wash dishes backstage or conduct VIP tours for heads of state; everyone's efforts are needed, important, and valued. Being on a first name basis with all was a leveling tool.

To promote this first-name policy, everyone in the company wears a name tag. It's considered part of your costume. Even backstage, where guests never go, everyone sports their name.

I always liked this policy. First, I'm horrible with names and it made it a lot simpler for me when I was getting to know a new cast member. Also, this informality made it easier for me to talk to my boss. Calling your supervisor by his or her first name helps break down barriers. And finally, from the guest's point of view, this casualness creates a relaxed atmosphere. When a guest sees your name tag, they're far more willing to strike up a conversation with you because you seem more approachable.

Here's what my name tag looked like in 1971. Pretty boring.


Disneyland Name Tag


At Club 33 my name tag was a little more elaborate. They still use this same design today.


Club 33 Name Tag


And here's what the Walt Disney World name tags looked like in 1971. Once again, pretty boring by today's standards.


Origianl WDW Name Tag


The first real change came to the name tags in 1976. In honor of the bicentennial, Disney was promoting a new pageant, America on Parade, and decided to use the name tags as a marketing tool. After that, it became common place to advertise the latest happening on these plastic wonders.


America on Parade Name Tag


Nowadays, name tags display a city (or college for those on the College Program). Each cast member is allowed to select a "home town" when they're hired and can change this location at any time. The city selected doesn't have to be where they were born or where they last lived, but simply a place that holds significance for them.

Here is the current name tag being used at Walt Disney World. Notice it promotes the "Where Dreams Come True" ad campaign.


WDW Current Name Tag


Something I wish had been around when I worked at Disneyland was the "Earning My Ears" ribbon.


Earning My Ears Ribbon


This wonderful piece of trimming attached to a name tag immediately tells the world that the cast member doesn't have all the answers, that he or she is still in a learning mode. And it's not just worn by new hires. When someone transfers from one job to another, they once again don this announcement. The amount of time this ribbon is worn varies depending on the complexity of the job.

Besides giving the cast member a little breathing room while they learn their new role, it's also an excellent conversation starter. I know whenever I see this ribbon, I take extra time with the cast member and ask them questions like, "How's it going?" "Are you overwhelmed?" Stuff like that.

Another pin you might see, although not on a name tag, is the Disney Trainer pin. The cast members who wear this badge are designated instructors in a certain discipline and have completed classes in a given field.


Disney Trainer Pin


After a cast member completes a year of employment, they are given a Service Award pin that they may place on the right side of their name tag. After that, they receive a new pin after completing segments of 5 years. Below are pictures of 1 through 40 years.

Service Anniversary Pins

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Cast members are not required to wear their Service Anniversary pins. So just because you don't see one, don't assume that you're dealing with a newbie. They might have worked at Disney World for years.

There is one other embellishment that you might spot on the left side of some cast member's name tags. This is called the "Partners" pin and it designates that this individual has won the "Partners In Excellence" award.


Partners In Excellence Pin


The Partners In Excellence award celebrates those cast members, both onstage and off, who exemplify the Disney spirit. The recipients of this award must achieve and sustain excellent job performance as measured by three criteria: Guest Satisfaction, Cast Excellence, and Business Results.

To be eligible for this award a cast member must have worked for the company a minimum of three years. Then they must be recommended by a fellow cast member or their supervisor. Once a year, all of these recommendations are reviewed and a portion of these are actually accepted and the cast member is informed that he or she has been nominated to receive the award. The nominations are then reviewed again and a select few receive the Lifetime Achievement Award called Partners In Excellence.

In 2007, 3,816 people were recommended. Of that, 2,934 were nominated and 515 actually won. When you consider that Disney World employs over 60,000 people, it is an honor to receive this award.

The Disney name tag has a lot of tradition behind it. It indicates much more than just a person's moniker. It means that an individual understands what the "Disney-way" is all about and they will do their best to make sure you enjoy yourself while visiting.


April 22, 2013

Disney Hodgepodge Two

Jack Spence Masthead


Today's article contains another collection of unrelated odds and ends. Enjoy.


So You Want to be an Imagineer


Over the years, I have received a number of letters from readers asking me for advice on how to become an Imagineer. First, I am not, nor have I ever been an Imagineer. Therefore, I cannot share any personal insight with you. But I do know several current and former Imagineers and I can impart some of what they've shared with me. So here goes.

First and foremost, STAY IN SCHOOL. Get a college degree. It would be helpful if the degree was in a field you'd like to pursue in life, but any degree is better than no degree. Without a college degree, your chances of becoming an Imagineer today are practically nil unless you have a VERY unique talent that Disney finds essential.

Computer skills are very helpful.

Imagineering is not a training ground. Everyone that is hired into these positions either has had some applicable prior experience elsewhere or comes with their own sought-after skill set.

Disney has its own unique business philosophy and its own way of doing things. This is not always compatible with everyone. Many become frustrated when they find Disney's philosophies not matching their own.

Disney likes to promote from within. The four Imagineers I know all worked at Disneyland with me in the 1970's. This put them in the right place at the right time. Epcot and Tokyo Disneyland were in the works and the Imagineering department was expanding. These individuals all had marketable skills and came into contact with people who could help them. Like so many jobs in the real world, it's who you know that gets you promoted. That's not to say that you must work at Disneyland or Walt Disney World to become an Imagineer, but it can't hurt either.

So how did these ordinary cast members prepare to be Imagineers? Joe (not his real name) took creative writing in school. He even wrote a book and had it published. My friend Jim (also not his real name) studied film and animation. For a class project, Jim created a one-minute, hand-drawn animated piece (this was long before computer animation). Joe and Jim were both able to graphically display their talents to their Disneyland supervisors and then at interviews to become Imagineers.

The vast majority of Imagineering positions are located in Southern California. Is this where you want to live?

Okay, this next part is VERY important.

Many of us have been to D23 conventions and seen Imagineers onstage, telling us all about their dream jobs. They laugh, joke, tell stories, and make us believe that every moment at work is magical. And I'm sure they have a lot of fun on the job. But they also work very hard and often, very long hours - sometimes in the middle of the night when testing a new ride, shop, or restaurant.

I would bet that most of you who dream of becoming an Imagineer imagine yourself as a show designer. You picture yourself planning the next, fantastic attraction slated to "wow" millions with your creativity. But this segment of the department is just a small part of the total team. Most Imagineers are unsung heroes. These include audio engineers, graphic designers, and lighting technicians just to name a few. One of my Imagineer friends was an Inventory Coordinator. He was charged with creating a tracking system that would handle and identify the shipping of all Disney-provided items and their movement from the West Coast to East Coast. Jessie (once again, not his real name) loved this job and excelled at it. But Jessie's Imagineering job was behind-the-scenes. You would never see an Inventory Manager at a D23 convention, laughing and joking with the audience.

I am in no way trying to discourage any of you from becoming an Imagineer. This is a fantastic dream - one worth working for. I just want to make sure you have realistic expectations. It's like those who want to be a professional actor. If you make it, you're on top of the world. But it's best to have a backup plan as well.

Best of luck to all of you.


Dirt & Water


Because of new "green" regulations, Disney cannot fill in (decrease in size) any portion of a lake, creek, or canal on their property without creating an equal area of new water someplace else. For example, construction of the new Grand Floridian DVC created the need to extend usable land out into Seven Seas Lagoon.


Grand Floridian DVC Construction


To compensate for this encroachment, engineers increased the size of Bay Lake in an area located between the Contemporary and Wilderness Lodge Resorts. Take a look.


Excavating Bay Lake


It's All in the Details


As we know, Disney Imagineers are the "Kings of Detailing." Storytelling is everything to them, right down to the tiniest element. But sometimes details pop up in the most unusual spots. Take for instance the construction wall that currently circles the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Ride found in Fantasyland.

An 8'x4' piece of plywood is pretty boring. So Disney spruces things up with some simple flourishes suitable to the surroundings. Now instead of calling this wall ugly, we can call it acceptable.


Construction Wall


Disney surprised me with the construction of this new attraction. Normally, they don't want the public to see any "behind the scenes" work when building a new ride or attraction. But in this case, they have created a couple of peek holes in the construction wall and given them a "Seven Dwarfs" theme. In the pictures below, we find ourselves at the entrance of a boarded-up mine. Between the slats we get a glimpse of what's taking place on the other side of this fence.


Peek Hole

Peek Hole

Construction


I think what I have to share next shows great creativity on the Imagineers' part.

Three large "billboards" have been placed along the construction wall, each near a Fantasyland attraction.


Billboard


The billboard near Dumbo features Sneezy about to sneeze. Dopey is aggravating the matter by holding Dumbo's magic feather beneath Sneezy's nose.


Sneezy about to sneeze


Across from the Mad Tea Party we see Happy and Grumpy painting the roses red.


Painting The Roses Red


And finally near The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh we find Sleepy and Dopey enjoying some hunny.


Enjoying Hunny


I love the amount of work that Disney went to just to make a temporary wall more attractive. My hat's off to you.


White Powder Alert


The following is not a joke. This is true.

We all love our vacations at Disney World and the other Disney resorts around the world. We treasure our time in the parks and hotels. And when our holiday comes to an end, we desperately wish we could stay a few days longer. The moment we get home, we start planning our next trip to these magical places.

Many of us secretly wish we could live at Walt Disney World if there was just some way to swing it. I know I've fantasized that I discover my parents had purchased land in Central Florida years before Disney began buying property here. And by some quirk of fate, Disney missed this parcel and now I'm the legal owner of the ground beneath Thunder Mountain or Spaceship Earth. This of course would give me great bargaining power. I could leverage this situation to my advantage. I could demand that Disney convert the suite in Cinderella Castle into my own, personal home. Or I could take up permanent residence in a suite at the Grand Floridian. It's a wonderful fantasy, but of course, this isn't going to happen. Sigh.

But wait, there is still the lottery. I could play Power Ball and win $200M. This would allow me to buy my way into permanent residency at WDW. But alas, Disney has this covered. Disney limits the amount of DVC points any one individual can buy. And even if you bought points for all your family members to cover a full year, Disney requires guests change rooms after several weeks. The same is true with a standard hotel room. Disney caps length of stays. They do this because they don't want the ultra-rich to take up permanent residency at one of their resorts. (I'm dismissing Golden Oak in my fantasy because technically, it has been de-annexed from Disney.)

So I guess my dream of living at WDW is never going to happen. But wait, there is another way -- and numerous individuals have already tried this - and here's how.

Warning, if you're queasy about the topic of death, stop reading now.

Many people, more than you would think, request that their loved ones bring their cremated ashes to WDW. Some ask to be sprinkled in the flowerbeds of their favorite resort, but a more popular final destination is Bay Lake. Family members rent a pontoon boat, sail to a quiet spot and hold a private memorial. After warm words are spoken, the loved one's remains are sprinkled over the water before a cast member riding in a Boston Whaler gets too near and puts a stop to the proceedings.

Of course, this is illegal. WDW is private property. You can't be depositing your loved one in Reedy Creek without Disney's consent - and they're not going to grant it. If you get caught, you're going to get in trouble.

The Haunted Mansion is a favorite attraction of many. It's a Disney classic. For most of us, it's a "must see" on every vacation. We never tire of the stretch room, the ballroom scene, and the singing busts.

The Haunted Mansion is also a favorite spot for those looking for a place to deposit their loved one's ashes. After all, the attraction is all about death and the afterlife. And if you pay attention, the Ghost Host practically begs you to come and stay here with the following lines:

"There are several prominent ghosts who have retired here from creepy old crypts all over the world. Actually, we have 999 happy haunts here, but there is room for a thousand. Any volunteers?

"White Powder Alert" is the term cast members use when it's discovered that someone has dumped their dear departed Uncle Hezekiah's ashes in the Haunted Mansion graveyard or some other location along the attraction's route. Guests figure there is already so much fake dust in the Haunted Mansion that no one will notice a little extra.

Remember folks, EVERY ride at WDW is monitored with cameras. Cast members are constantly watching you. You can't be misbehaving when riding on a Disney attraction. You especially can't be dumping your loved one over London on the Peter Pan attraction or in the burning of Rome scene in Spaceship Earth.

So what happens when a "White Powder Alert" is called? First, the attraction is evacuated of guests and closed. Then, cast members arrive dressed in protective clothing with vacuum cleaners and unceremoniously suck Uncle Hezekiah's ashes into a bag for later disposal. And even if you were able to conceal your activities from the cameras, all attractions are routinely cleaned. One way or another, Uncle Hezekiah is going to end up in a Hoover and eventually a landfill.

Of course, this is hardly what Uncle Hezekiah had in mind when he asked his family to scatter his ashes in the Haunted Mansion. But this is the reality of the situation. So folks, if it's your dream to spend eternity with Madam Leota and the gang, think again. It ain't gonna happen.



January 7, 2013

Is it the Disneyland Resort or WDW? -- A Quiz - Questions

Jack Spence Masthead

Today's quiz will test your knowledge of the two American Disney resorts. The game is really quite simple. I will show you a picture and you will have to determine if it was taken at the Disneyland Resort or at Walt Disney World. That's all there is to it.

Since you have a 50-50 chance on each question, I expect you to get at least half of them correct. But try to do better than that. Try to figure out "why" the subject matter belongs to one resort and not the other.

Like all of my quizzes, no winner will be announced and no prizes awarded. The answers will appear in tomorrow's column.

Good luck!


1. Let's start with this picture of Schweitzer Falls. Is it located at Disneyland or the Magic Kingdom?


Schweitzer Falls


2. While riding Thunder Mountain we see the remains of a dinosaur. At which park is this petrified monster located?


Thunder Mountain Dinosaur


3. While we're on the subject of dinosaurs, where can these fellows be found, Disneyland or Epcot?


Dinosaurs


4. Here we have Mr. Potato Head. What do you think, Disney's Hollywood Studios or Disney California Adventure?


Mr. Potato Head


5. Where do you think Lightning McQueen was touring about on this fine day?


Lightning McQueen


6. Who do you think this judge is sentencing for grievous wrongdoings?


Judge


7. Prince Eric lives bicoastal. Where can we find this home of his?


Prince Eric Castle


8. The Rivers of America plays home to both the Mark Twain and the Liberty Belle. Which do we have here?


Riverboat


9. While circling the Rivers of America, we come across a tribe of Native Americans. Do the people in the next picture call Anaheim or Orlando home?


Native Americans


10. Which park do we find this sign advertising the Hollywood Tower Hotel?


Tower of Terror Sign


11. Here we have the Cozy Cone Motel located in Radiator Springs. But which Radiator Springs?


Cozy Cone Motel


12. Where is this restaurant that is bathed in perpetual nightfall?


Cozy Cone Motel


13. Where can these lovely hula dancers be found?


Hula Dancer


14. Here we have a picture of me ready to blast off on Space Mountain. At what park was I taking this journey?


Space Mountain


15. Here we see me riding Splash Mountain. Once again, at what park am I taking this journey?


Splash Mountain


16. This is a back alley I'd rather not find myself in after dark. So which resort offers this less than friendly venue?


Back Alley


17. At what pet cemetery can we find this dearly departed pig?


Rosie


18. Obviously, this next picture was taken on "it's a small world." This picture offers a blatant clue as to which park it is located in, Disneyland or the Magic Kingdom. Which is it?


it's a small world


19. Where can you play this carnival game?


Carnival Game


20. Where can we find this vehicle?


Tractor



March 5, 2012

Gay Days

Gay Days at Walt Disney World will be here again before we know it, so I thought I would give you a history of how this annual event got started. As I so often do, I'll begin my story at Disneyland.

In the 1960's and 70's, the Disney Company regularly rented Disneyland to corporations and organizations for a "Private Party" to be held in the evening after the park closed to regular paying guests. These "parties" were very much like "Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party" or "Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party," in that it required a separate ticket to attend. But unlike MVMCP & MNSSHP, the company or organization renting the park was responsible for selling the tickets rather than Disney. In addition, they would have to guarantee at least seven thousand people would attend the event. These parties usually took place in the off season when Disneyland closed at 6pm. After a quick turnaround, Disneyland would reopen at 7pm or 8pm for party guests and remain open until 1am. These party tickets were generally cheaper than regular admission so many Southern Californians would wait for their company's night for their annual trip to Disneyland. In addition, ticket books were not required at these events so guests could ride the Matterhorn repeatedly without worrying about running out of "E" coupons.

Many organizations had standing reservations and year after year, their group would attend in a certain month. When I was a kid, my stepfather was in the military. Every year we attended Navy Night sometime in the dead of winter. I can still remember seeing my breath in the night sky as I drove my Autopia car in Tomorrowland - thrilled to be at Disneyland.

To give you an interesting example of one private party, Elizabeth Taylor rented Fantasyland for her 60th birthday for just herself and a few thousand of her closest friends.

When I started working at Disneyland, I of course was scheduled to work many of these private parties. It was interesting to learn that various groups would behave differently from one another or had different needs. For example, working at the Blue Bayou Restaurant, we knew that one pot of coffee was all we needed on Mormon Night.

In 1978 (or 1979), a number of gay individuals in Southern California decided that they wanted to rent Disneyland for an evening - just like any other group. However, they had a two-fold problem. First, they knew that the Disney organization would never allow homosexuals to hold a private party at Disneyland. And second, they needed an organization to represent their group. (You need to remember, in the 1970s, there were very few openly gay organizations.) To solve their problem, leaders of the community created the Greater Los Angeles Restaurant and Bar Association. This was a loose alliance of gay bars and restaurants located in Los Angeles and Orange Counties.

With their organization in place, the leaders of the association approached Disney and requested a party date - never mentioning that their group had anything to do with gays. A minimum attendance was guaranteed and contracts signed.

A couple of weeks before the big night, Disney found out that the Greater Los Angeles Restaurant and Bar Association was a group of gay bars and restaurants. They tried to cancel the party, but legal action was threatened and Disney knew they didn't have a leg to stand on and backed down. When the big night arrived, Disney had extra supervision and security available to handle the perceived behavioral infractions that the night promised to bring. However, these precautions were not needed. The group behaved no better or worse than any other company or organization who rented the park. It was just another, uneventful private party. However, one interesting oddity was reported by the waitresses at the Blue Bayou Restaurant. They said that no other group tipped as well.

Even though the party went off without a hitch, Disney was not happy having "deviants" rent their park. The next day, Disney handed out a letter of apology to every cast member who had worked the party. In the letter, management stated deep regret for subjecting their cast members to such unacceptable working conditions and promised that nothing like this would ever happen again.

The following year, The Greater Los Angeles Restaurant and Bar Association once again approached Disney about renting the park for an evening. They were flatly turned down. However, Knott's Berry Farm and Magic Mountain (now Six Flags Magic Mountain) were more than happy to rent their parks to gays and continued doing so for a number of years.

In 1980, Andrew Exler and his date Shawn Elliott were fast dancing in Tomorrowland at Disneyland. Two security guards witnessed the gentlemen and approached them on the dance floor. One guard said, "This is a family park -- there's no room for alternative life styles. Two men can't dance together, this is our policy." The second guard said, "We make our own rules -- this is a private park." When the two men continued to dance, they were taken to Disneyland's security office and eventually asked to leave the park for the rest of the evening. Exler subsequently sued Disney and the case languished in the courts for four years. In May 1984, a superior court judge ruled that Exler's civil rights had been violated and ordered Disney to abolish their ban on same sex dancing and pay attorney fees amounting to $25,000. Disney did pay the attorney fees, but maintained that the lawsuit was not a class action suit, thus, would only apply to Exler and Elliott. No other gays would be allowed to dance at Disneyland. On August 14, 1985 Disneyland quietly reversed their 28-year-old policy that prohibited partners of the same sex from dancing together in the park. However, this apparently didn't include slow dancing.

In late 1987, three UCLA students were told, "touch dancing is reserved for heterosexual couples only." In response, they filed a lawsuit against Disney citing another civil rights violation. However, before the case ever made it to the courts, Disney reassessed the situation and backed down.

In 1984, Michael Eisner became CEO of The Walt Disney Company. At that time, Eisner named Jeffrey Katzenberg to head Disney's motion picture divisions. Shortly after arriving, it was brought to Katzenberg's attention that Disney was the only major movie studio to deny domestic partner benefits to its employees. Realizing that the company was losing talented people to the competition because of this policy, Katzenberg was instrumental in rescinding it. On January 1, 1986, Disney began offering full benefits to the domestic partners of its employees.

In 1991, Doug Swallow and some of his Orlando friends decided to get a group together to visit the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World. They picked the first Saturday in June. The idea was promoted at gay venues around the city and people were asked to wear red shirts so fellow attendees could recognize one another. It's estimated that 1,000 to 1,500 showed up. The event was successful enough that another Gay Days was planned for the following year - once again, the first Saturday in June.

For the second Gay Days, Disney issued a memo to cast members instructing them to disavow any knowledge of the event.

In 1994, Disney posted signs at ticket booths and near the main gate informing guests that there was a gay and lesbian gathering at the Magic Kingdom. However, the signs went on to say "Walt Disney World is open to everyone. We do not discriminate on any basis."

Disney received a lot of flak for these signs. It was pointed out to management that they would never dream of posting similar signs if another minority were to visit the park in mass. The signs did not reappear in 1995. However, for several years thereafter Disney distributed flyers to their hotel rooms informing guests that the Magic Kingdom would be very busy on that day and perhaps they might want to visit another park. Gay Days was not mentioned as the reason.

Disney also started providing their Guest Relations cast members with prepared statements to calm homophobic guests. In essence, the statements said that Walt Disney World is open to everyone and they do not discriminate against anyone. In some cases, Disney would swap out a 1-day ticket to the Magic Kingdom for another park for irate guests.

It is estimated that 50,000 participants visited the Magic Kingdom for Gay Days in 1995.

In 1997, Disney rented Typhoon Lagoon to the event organizers for an after-hours party - a tradition that continues to this day. In that same year, the Southern Baptist voted to boycott Disney because of Gay Days and Disney's domestic partner benefits. The boycott had little to no effect on the company and was rescinded in 2005.

In 1998, the City of Orlando flew rainbow flags downtown to welcome visitors. And in 2002, Gay Days is referred to specifically in welcome letters from the Orlando mayor and Orange County chairman.

Today, Gay Days attracts over 150,000 visitors to the Orlando area for the week-long celebration. Besides special days at the Disney parks, over forty events are held in and around Orlando and it's estimated that more than $100 million is pumped into the local economy. Website GayDayS.com is now on the Orlando/Orange County Convention and Visitors Bureau membership roster and part of VISIT FLORIDA, the state tourism agency.

The Disney theme park days for 2012 are as follows:

Thursday, May 31 - Disney's Animal Kingdom
Friday, June 1 - Disney's Hollywood Studios
Saturday, June 2 - Magic Kingdom
Sunday, June 3 - Epcot

Saturday, October 6 - Disneyland
Sunday, October 7 - Disney's California Adventure

For more information, visit www.GayDayS.com and www.gaydaysanaheim.com

In response to a rash of suicides among bullied gay teenagers, columnist Dan Savage and his husband Terry Miller began an internet-based project entitled, "It Gets Better." They requested that gay adults create videos, telling lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth that things will get better as they grow older and to hang in there -- their lives have value. And if they are being bullied, let someone know.

Disney has joined the fight against gay bullying and created a video featuring cast members from across the company.



To view the official "It Gets Better" website, click here.

All bullying must stop!



July 27, 2010

Quiz - Costumes and their Attractions - Answers

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.


Disney Costume



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


Disney Costume



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?


Disney Costume



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


Disney Costume



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


Disney Costume



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.


Disney Costume



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


Disney Costume



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.


Disney Costume



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


Disney Costume



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


Disney Costume



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


Disney Costume



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.


Disney Costume



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


Disney Costume



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


Disney Costume



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.


Disney Costume



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


Disney Costume



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.


Disney Costume



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


Disney Costume



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


Disney Costume



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


Disney Costume



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


Disney Costume



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.


Disney Costume



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.


Disney Costume



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


Disney Costume



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


Disney Costume



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


Disney Costume



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


Disney Costume



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


Disney Costume



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.


Disney Costume



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


Disney Costume



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


Disney Costume



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


Disney Costume



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.


Disney Costume



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.


Disney Costume



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.


Disney Costume



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


Disney Costume



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


Disney Costume



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


Disney Costume



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.


Disney Costume



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.


Disney Costume



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


Disney Costume



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


Disney Costume



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


Disney Costume



July 26, 2010

Quiz - Costumes and their Attractions - Questions

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.



Disney Costume



Disney Costume



Disney Costume



Disney Costume



Disney Costume



Disney Costume



Disney Costume



Disney Costume



Disney Costume



Disney Costume



Disney Costume



Disney Costume



Disney Costume



Disney Costume



Disney Costume



Disney Costume



Disney Costume



Disney Costume



Disney Costume



Disney Costume



Disney Costume



Disney Costume



Disney Costume



Disney Costume



Disney Costume



Disney Costume



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July 19, 2010

It's Disney Theme Parks Quiz Time -- Answers

Here are the answers to yesterday's quiz. I hope you got them all right.



This first picture was taken at Hong Kong Disneyland. This fountain is outside of the park in a "crossroads" location. Guests arriving by bus, train, and walking from the hotels meet at this location before entering Hong Kong Disneyland. Long term plans include a second park that will also radiate off from this fountain.


Hong Kong Disneyland



This picture was taken in Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom. It is of the old Skyway terminal that closed on November 9, 1999.


Magic Kingdom



The Bountiful Valley Farm building houses "It's Tough to be a Bug" at Disney's California Adventure. It is located in "a bugs land."


Disney's California Adventure



Walt Disney Studios Paris is where you'll find this recreation of the Partners Statue. This picture looks into the Production Courtyard section of the park.


Walt Disney Studios Paris



Picture Number 5 was taken at Tokyo DisneySea. We're in Mediterranean Harbor looking at Fortress Explorations and Mount Prometheus.


Tokyo DisneySea



The Columbia Sailing Ship is unique to Disneyland. This full sized recreation of the first American ship to circumnavigate the globe was christened on June 4, 1958 and follows the same 12 minute journey as its sister ship, the Mark Twain.


Disneyland



Picture 7 was taken at Epcot between Innoventions East and West. Beneath this awning is a Tip Board, Information Desk, and Pin Trading Station.


Epcot



Here we are at Disney's Animal Kingdom in Chester and Hester's DinoRama. Typical of the era depicted in this land, "novelty architecture" was brought into play with the creation of a large yellow dinosaur (concreteasaurus) to entice tourist to the area.


Disney's Animal Kingdom



"Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage" can be experienced in Tomorrowland at Disneyland. The original attraction was sponsored by General Dynamics and opened in 1959. It closed almost 39 years later on September 9, 1998. The attraction was dormant until a cute little clown fish brought new life to this tired ride and it reopened on June 11, 2007.


Disneyland



Across from Disneyland we find ourselves at Disney's California Adventure in the Golden State area looking up at the park's icon, Grizzly Peak. Rising 100 feet, this landmark can be seen from many vantage points around the park.


Disney's California Adventure



This next picture was taken at Tokyo Disneyland in Tomorrowland. The building houses Star Tours and the second-story walkway takes exiting guest to the Pan Galactic Pizza Port.


Tokyo Disneyland



At Disney's Hollywood Studios in the Echo Lake district we find Dinosaur Gertie's Ice Cream of Extinction. This "California Crazy" architecture pays tribute to "Gertie the Dinosaur," one of the first animated stars of note.


Disney's Hollywood Studios



This quiet courtyard can be found in the United Kingdom Pavilion at Epcot. Eight different architectural styles were used in this pavilion. Among them, Tudor, Georgian, and Victorian.


Epcot



In Liberty Square at the Magic Kingdom we find the Liberty Bell. Cast from the same mold as the original, this bell was created for the Walt Disney World Resort in 1989. Circling the bell are the flags of the original thirteen colonies. Near the base of each flagpole is a brass plate with the date that the state ratified the Constitution.


Magic Kingdom



The castles at Disneyland and Hong Kong Disneyland are almost identical. But it's easy to tell them apart. Hong Kong Disneyland is the only park to be situated up against rolling hills, giving this park a distinctive backdrop.


Hong Kong Disneyland



In Fantasyland at Disneyland, we find Monstro the Whale swallowing boats on their way to Storybook Land. This attraction takes guests by miniature homes of some of Disney's most beloved classics. All of the boats on this attraction are named after female Disney characters except for Flower, the male skunk from Bambi.


Disneyland



In Tomorrowland at Disneyland Paris, we find the airship Hyperion. For you movie buffs, Disney released a film in 1974 titled "The Island at the Top of the World." The movie starred Donald Sinden as Sir Anthony Ross who hires Professor Ivarsson, played by David Hartman, to help him locate his missing son somewhere in the arctic. The airship Hyperion was their means of transportation to this remote area. A counter-service restaurant is located inside this building.


Disneyland Paris



This soundstage can be found at Walt Disney Studios Paris in the Toon Studio area. Showing in this theater is "Animagique" where puppets and "live" Disney characters tell a story similar to Mickey's Philharmagic.


Walt Disney Studios Paris



Also in Toon Studio at Walt Disney Studios Paris is "Cars Quatre Roues Rallye." Set in the small town of Radiator Springs, this attraction is themed to look like a gas/service station of years past. Similar to the Tea Cup rides in the Magic Kingdom-type parks, guests spin around while traveling in a figure-eight pattern, narrowly missing other cars.


Walt Disney Studios Paris



World Bazaar at Tokyo Disneyland is the only Main Street to be covered.


Tokyo Disneyland



This next picture was taken in the Africa section of Disney's Animal Kingdom. The buildings here contain Tusker House, a buffet-style restaurant.


Disney's Animal Kingdom



One of my favorite spots at Epcot, and probably a favorite of many of you, is the Boulangerie Patisserie located in the France Pavilion. What better place is there to indulge in such decadence?


Epcot



Years before Los Angeles was famous for its freeways, it boasted the largest mass transit system in the world, the Pacific Electric Railway. Locals affectionately called the trolleys either the P.E. or the Big Red Car. The system spanned southern California with over 1,100 miles a track that ran between Riverside, San Bernardino, Orange, and Los Angeles Counties.

These vestiges from the past are fondly remembered on Sunset Boulevard at Disney's Hollywood Studios.

Disney's Hollywood Studios



The Starliner Diner is a counter service restaurant found in Tomorrowland at Hong Kong Disneyland. Unlike other Tomorrowlands around the world, this land takes on a "toy" quality that is enduring and charming.


Hong Kong Disneyland



Here we are in Fantasyland, Disneyland Paris. When the Imagineers began their plans for Sleeping Beauty Castle, they were keenly aware that the surrounding countryside was full of "genuine" castles. They realized that Europeans could easily be blasé with their design unless they came up with something truly magical. And that they did. Paris' Sleeping Beauty Castle is arguably the most beautiful of any of the Disney structures. It's absolutely stunning and can transform even the most cynical adult back to childhood.


Disneyland Paris



Phantom Manor (The Haunted Mansion) is located in Frontierland at Disneyland Paris. Similar versions of this attraction appear in New Orleans Square at Disneyland, Liberty Square at the Magic Kingdom, and Fantasyland at Tokyo Disneyland. And the latest version of this attraction is being built in a new land called Mystic Point at Hong Kong Disneyland.


Disneyland Paris



The Western River Railroad is unique among its steam train cousins in the other Disney parks in that it doesn't circle the perimeter of Tokyo Disneyland. You see, if it did, its track length combined with multiple stations would have classified it as "public transportation" under Japanese law and it would have fallen under government jurisdiction. This of course was unacceptable to Disney and some other solution needed to be reached. And that solution was a railroad that runs only through Adventureland and Frontierland and only has one station.


Tokyo Disneyland



One of the most recent additions to Tokyo DisneySea is the Tower of Terror. Located in the American Waterfront section of the park, this tower varies in several ways from its cousins in other Disney parks. In Paris and California, the exterior of the buildings have a Spanish motif while in Florida the building has a Moroccan flavor. The Tower in Tokyo is built of red brick and has a gothic feel. Another change to the Tokyo attraction was necessitated because the Japanese are not familiar with the Twilight Zone television series. To remedy this, the Imagineers came up with a completely new storyline.


Tokyo DisneySea



Taste Pilot's Grill is located in the Golden State section of Disney's California Adventure. This restaurant pays homage to the brave individuals that tested early aircraft and eventually, broke the sound barrier.


Disney's California Adventure



This pyramid is located in the Lost River Delta section of Tokyo DisneySea. Within its chambers is the "Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Crystal Skull" attraction. This ride is very similar to the "Temple of the Forbidden Eye" attraction at Disneyland.


Tokyo DisneySea



Back in Adventureland at the Magic Kingdom, we find Pirates of the Caribbean. This scaled down cousin of its California counterpart opened on December 15, 1973.


Magic Kingdom



The entrance to Asia in Disney's Animal Kingdom is marked by a crumbling statue that once guarded this area.


Disney's Animal Kingdom



This final picture was taken on San Fransisco Street at Disney's Hollywood Studios.


Disney's Hollywood Studios



So there you have it. I hope you did well.



July 18, 2010

It’s Disney Theme Park Quiz Time - Questions

It's time to pull out your thinking caps again. I have another Disney quiz for you. This time, you have to name at which of the eleven Disney Parks the picture was taken. Now I realize that most of you have not been to all of the parks around the world, so I'm going to try and make this quiz as easy as I can. In all cases, I have taken either an iconic picture or a shot that can only be taken in one, specific park. For example, I would NOT take a picture of New Orleans Square and expect you to figure out if it's at Disneyland or Tokyo Disneyland.

Here is a list of the eleven parks:

Disneyland
Disney's California Adventure
Magic Kingdom
Epcot
Disney's Hollywood Studios
Disney's Animal Kingdom
Tokyo Disneyland
Tokyo DisneySea
Disneyland Paris
Walt Disney Studios Paris
Hong Kong Disneyland

I have included three shots from each park for a total of 33 pictures. You can use this information to help narrow down your search.

For an added challenge, you might try to name the "land" or "area" of the park the picture was taken.

Do not send me your answers. This quiz is for your enjoyment only. I will post the answers tomorrow. Good luck.


Disney Around the World



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Disney Around the World


May 24, 2010

Which Picture Doesn't Belong #2 - The Answers

Here are the answers to yesterday's quiz. Remember, you might have come up with an equally good answer - something I didn't think about.

Once again, DO NOT send me your answers. No winners will be announced and there are no prizes to win. This is strictly for your amusement.



A: Picture 1 was taken at the Winter-Summerland Miniature Golf Course. The other pictures were taken at Blizzard Beach.


AA%20Wrong%20Picture.jpg



B: Although all of the tiles were designed by Mary Blair, Picture 3 was taken of the long-gone mural in Disneyland's Tomorrowland. The others were taken at the Contemporary Resort.


BB%20Wrong%20Picture.jpg



C: Picture 2 was taken at the Grand Californian at the Disneyland Resort. Pictures 1, 3, and 4 were taken at the Wilderness Lodge at Walt Disney World.


CC%20Wrong%20Picture.jpg



D: While all the pictures feature characters from the movie Fantasia, Picture 1 was taken in Fantasyland at Hong Kong Disneyland while the others were taken at the Fantasia Miniature Golf Course at Walt Disney World.


DD%20Wrong%20Picture.jpg



E: Although the architecture is very similar between the Grand Floridian Resort and the Disneyland Hotel at Hong Kong Disneyland, there are differences. Picture 4 was taken at Hong Kong.


EE%20Wrong%20Picture.jpg



F: Picture 3 is a model of a carousel found at the Boardwalk Resort. The other three are all real carousels found within Disney parks.


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G: Picture 2 was taken in Adventureland. Pictures 1, 3, and 4 were taken at the Polynesian Resort.


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H: Picture 4 was taken on the Gran Fiesta Tour attraction in the Mexico Pavilion at Epcot. The other three pictures were taken on "it's a small world."


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I: Picture 1 was taken in Fantasyland in the Magic Kingdom while Pictures 2, 3, and 4 were taken in the Germany Pavilion at Epcot.


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J: Although all of the pictures are of Pirates of the Caribbean, only Picture 1 exists at the Magic Kingdom in Florida. The other three are not in the Magic Kingdom, but at Disneyland and Tokyo Disneyland.


JJ%20Wrong%20Picture.jpg



K: Picture 2 was taken at the Italy Pavilion in Epcot. Pictures 1, 3, and 4 were taken at various locations around Disney's Hollywood Studios.


KK%20Wrong%20Picture.jpg



L: Picture 2 was taken in the Oasis at the Animal Kingdom. The other three were taken on Tom Sawyer Island in the Magic Kingdom.


LL%20Wrong%20Picture.jpg



M: The monorail in Picture 3 is at Walt Disney World. The other three were taken at Disneyland.


MM%20Wrong%20Picture.jpg



N: Picture 4 is not a Disney Vacation Club Resort. All the others are.


NN%20Wrong%20Picture.jpg



O: Picture 3 was taken in Fantasyland at Disneyland Paris. Pictures 1, 2, and 4 were taken in Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom in Florida.


OO%20Wrong%20Picture.jpg



P: Picture 3 was the logo for Future World. Picture 1 (The Land), 2 (Spaceship Earth), and 4 (Imagination) were the logos for individual pavilions within Future World.


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Q: Picture 1 is in the stretch room at Phantom Manor in Paris. The other three are from the other Haunted Mansions around the world.


QQ%20Wrong%20Picture.jpg



R: Pictures 1, 3, and 4 are of the Yacht Club Resort at Walt Disney World. Picture 2 is of the Newport Bay Club at Disneyland Paris.


RR%20Wrong%20Picture.jpg



S: Picture 1 was taken at the All Star Resort. Pictures 2, 3, and 4 were taken at ESPN's Wild World of Sports.


SS%20Wrong%20Picture.jpg



T: Picture 3 is of the Liberty Belle at the Magic Kingdom (one smoke stack). The other pictures are of the Mark Twain at Disneyland (two smoke stacks).


TT%20Wrong%20Picture.jpg



U: The restaurants in Pictures 1, 2, and 3 are located in resorts while Picture 4 is located in a theme park (Magic Kingdom). Also, Picture 4 is the only counter service restaurant. All of the others are table service.


UU%20Wrong%20Picture.jpg



V: There are two equally good answers to this picture. Both Picture 3 & Picture 4 are out of place depending on how you look at it. Picture 3 because it is the only scene that still exists today and Picture 4 because it was taken at Disneyland while the others were taken at Epcot. In case you don't recognize the photos, here goes. Picture 1 was taken in the World of Motion Pavilion. Picture 2 was taken in the Horizons Pavilion. Picture 3 was taken in Spaceship Earth. And Picture 4 was taken in the Mission to Mars attraction.


VV%20Wrong%20Picture.jpg



W: Picture 1 was taken on the Epcot monorail line. The others were taken on the Resort monorail line.


WW%20Wrong%20Picture.jpg



X: Picture 2 was taken at Disney's Hollywood Studios near the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular Show. The other three were taken at the Magic Kingdom in Adventureland.


XX%20Wrong%20Picture.jpg



Y: Although they are all boats that transport guests to and from theme parks, only the vessel in Picture 3 travels the waterways of Epcot and Disney's Hollywood Studios. The other three traverse Bay Lake and Seven Seas Lagoon.


YY%20Wrong%20Picture.jpg



Z: Pictures 2, 3, and 4 were taken at Disney's Hollywood Studios. Picture 1 was taken in the American Waterfront of Tokyo DisneySea at the Twilight Tower of Terror.


ZZ%20Wrong%20Picture.jpg




May 23, 2010

Which Picture Doesn't Belong #2 - The Quiz

I've got another quiz for you. In each picture are four smaller pictures. Three of them belong to a grouping, but one doesn't for some reason. It's your job to figure out which picture is out of place and why.

In my explanations, I will refer to the pictures as follows.


1%20Doesn%27t%20Belong.jpg


For the most part, the pictures are of Walt Disney World. However, when I've included pictures from other parks, I felt that a person familiar enough with Florida could still figure out the misplaced picture. It is possible that you'll come up with an answer different than mine, but equally valid.

DO NOT send me your answers. No winners will be announced and there are no prizes to win. This is strictly for your amusement.

Tomorrow I'll post the answers. So grab a piece of paper and letter it A through Z.

Good luck.


AA%20Wrong%20Picture.jpg



BB%20Wrong%20Picture.jpg



CC%20Wrong%20Picture.jpg



DD%20Wrong%20Picture.jpg



EE%20Wrong%20Picture.jpg



FF%20Wrong%20Picture.jpg



GG%20Wrong%20Picture.jpg



HH%20Wrong%20Picture.jpg



II%20Wrong%20Picture.jpg



JJ%20Wrong%20Picture.jpg



KK%20Wrong%20Picture.jpg



LL%20Wrong%20Picture.jpg



MM%20Wrong%20Picture.jpg



NN%20Wrong%20Picture.jpg



OO%20Wrong%20Picture.jpg



PP%20Wrong%20Picture.jpg



QQ%20Wrong%20Picture.jpg



RR%20Wrong%20Picture.jpg



SS%20Wrong%20Picture.jpg



TT%20Wrong%20Picture.jpg



UU%20Wrong%20Picture.jpg



VV%20Wrong%20Picture.jpg



WW%20Wrong%20Picture.jpg



XX%20Wrong%20Picture.jpg



YY%20Wrong%20Picture.jpg



ZZ%20Wrong%20Picture.jpg



Check back tomorrow for the answers.



May 14, 2010

Disney Steam Trains - Part Four - Tokyo, Paris & Hong Kong

In this final blog about Disney steam trains I'll be discussing the Tokyo, Paris, and Hong Kong parks.

Tokyo Disneyland

The Western River Railroad is unique among its steam train cousins in the other Disney parks in that it doesn't circle the perimeter of Tokyo Disneyland. You see, if it did, its track length combined with multiple stations would have classified it as "public transportation" under Japanese law and it would have fallen under different government regulations. This of course was unacceptable to Disney and some other solution needed to be reached. And that solution was a railroad that runs only through Adventureland and Westernland (Frontierland) and only has one station.

For those of us thoroughly familiar with Disneyland and Walt Disney World, you might think that you're going to be cheated on this shorter steam train loop (5,283 feet). But nothing could be further from the truth. In my opinion, it's the best as it affords it's passengers with the most sights along the journey.

You board the train in Adventureland from a second story station. The lower level is used for the queue of the Jungle Cruise. When you depart, you're in a bamboo forest. Soon a clearing comes into view and you can look down onto the Jungle Cruise attraction. You can even see the boats passing by. The glimpse is short, but adequate.


Adventureland Train Station

Jungle Cruise as seen from the Steam Train


As the train continues its journey, you pass by a western train station. This is strictly for show as the train does not stop here. From the station you venture deeper into the woods and see familiar sights like moose, deer, and the "cabin on fire." You also pass by several Native American encampments. Eventually you leave the forest and you're now riding along the banks of the Rivers of America. Tom Sawyer Island is to your right and Splash Mountain is ahead of you.


Wilderness Train Station

Native American Village


At this point you travel across a very long trestle as it skirts Critter Country and then enters a section of Westernland. For a long section of track, guests can walk under the trestle as the train passes overhead. This is one of the most beautiful spots in Tokyo Disneyland.


Train on Trestle next to Splash Mountain


The train then passes by a substantial section of Thunder Mountain. You can see the runaway mine cars race by and a large number of dinosaur bones scattered about. Your train is traveling in and out of rock formations during this section of the ride until if finally enters a deep tunnel. Here guests are treated to Primeval World - a copy of the one at Disneyland. Once again, Audioanimatronic dinosaurs delight guests as they pass by.

It's a very nice transition between Thunder Mountain and Primeval World. First you see the bleached bones of these ancient creatures strewn around parched wasteland. Then you see the actual beasts. When you emerge from the other end of the tunnel, you're back at the Adventureland Station.


Thunder Mountain

Primeval World


All four locomotives used at Tokyo Disneyland were built from scratch in Japan. They were modeled after the Denver & Rio Grande Railway 2-4-0 Montezuma designed and built by Baldwin. Each train has a different color scheme and was named after an American River: Mississippi, Rio Grande, Missouri, and Colorado.

Guests ride in forward-facing excursion cars similar to those used at Walt Disney World. The one noticeable difference to the layman's eye, these trains have small doors (hard-plastic flaps) at each bench. They swing inward and provide a little extra safety so young ones won't fall out.

Disneyland Paris

In my opinion, Disneyland Paris is the most beautiful of the five Magic Kingdoms. Disney pulled out all the stops when creating this park and their attention to detail shows. Even though I vote Tokyo's steam train as my favorite, Disneyland Paris is a VERY close second - and for the same reason. You see more sights on these two lines than you do on the other three.

Shortly after leaving an elaborate Main Street Station, you enter the Grand Canyon Diorama, a copy of the one found at Disneyland California. Once again, you hear the music of Grofe as a full day of the Canyon unfolds as you pass by.


Grand Canyon Diorama


Emerging from the tunnel, you travel past mud pots and geysers. Then a section of the Rivers of America comes into view. Here you can see the Mark Twain and the Molly Brown sail by with Big Thunder Mountain (an island in the middle of the river) towering in the background. Eventually you pull into the Frontierland Station.


Rivers of America

Frontierland Train Station


As your journey continues, you see Woody's Roundup Village before crossing over into Adventureland. The next sight you see is Indiana Jones and the Temple of Peril to be followed by a grassy meadow and then a tunnel. Inside the tunnel you can catch a glimpse of the Pirates of the Caribbean (similar to seeing Splash Mountain at Disney World). When you emerge from the tunnel, you're in Fantasyland.


Fantasyland Station


As you skirt the edges of Fantasyland, you see Alice's Curious Labyrinth and Mad Hatter's Tea Party before crossing a trestle. You then pass in front of "it's a small world" in the same manner that you do in Disneyland, California. A few chugs later and you're at the Discoveryland (Tomorrowland) Station.


Small World

Discoveryland Station


From Discoveryland you are afforded views of Star Tours, Space Mountain, and a small section of the Autopia. After 7,150 feet of track, you're back at Main Street Station.


Space Mountain

Main Street Station


Disneyland California and Disneyland Paris are the only two parks to have four stations.

Disneyland Paris has four trains, all build from the ground up. They would be mechanically the same as Disneyland's C.K. Holliday, but each engine and accompanying cars would be given its own identity and color scheme.

No. 1 - G. Washington - This engine is the most ornate of the four. It features numerous American eagles and portraits of Washington and Marquis de Lafayette who served under Washington in the American Revolution. The cars it pulls are named Mt. Vernon, Boston, Philadelphia, Yorktown, and Valley Forge.

No. 2 - Cyrus Kurtz Holliday - This engine honors Disneyland's C.K. Holliday and has a lavish look befitting of turn-of-the-century Main Street. The cars it pulls are the Coney Island, Atlantic City, Chesapeake, Long Island, and Niagara Falls.

No. 3 - W.F. Cody - Complete with deer antlers on the front of the train, this locomotive honors Buffalo Bill and the Wild West. Behind it you'll find cars named Silverton, Durango, Denver, Wichita, and Cheyenne.

No. 4 - Eureka - This engine honors the part trains played in expanding our nation to the Pacific Ocean. Its passenger cars are named San Francisco, Los Angeles, Monterey, San Diego, and Sacramento.

The rolling stock for Disneyland Paris is also unique in that the cars are better enclosed due to the variations in weather and they feature an interesting seating pattern. Instead of forward or side facing benches, these trains use a "U" shaped or "booth" configuration. Each car is divided into six sections and within each section you'll find a "U" shaped bench with one portion facing forward, another facing sideways, and one backwards. The idea was to give everyone a better view. Personally, I found this configuration a little cramped. When sitting in a "corner" seat, your legs and knees are pressed against those of your fellow passengers.


Paris Passenger Car


Hong Kong Disneyland

Like its four predecessors, Hong Kong Disneyland has trains. However, these are powered by diesel, not steam. In addition, this park has the fewest engines and passenger cars.

As you might expect, one of the stations is located at the beginning of Main Street. Modeled after the one in Disneyland California, this station is modest compared to Disney World and Paris, but it still packs a lot of charm.


Main Street Station

Main Street Station


The second station is at the other side of the park in Fantasyland. This station has a toy-like circus feel about it. It's flanked by manicured grassy knolls and dotted with topiary. Its design complements the nearby Dumbo attraction and Fantasia Gardens.


Fantasyland Station


The railroad has three engines, the Walter E. Disney, the Roy O. Disney, and the Frank G. Wells, but only two are used at a time. Their departures and arrivals are coordinated so that when one train leaves Main Street, the other is leaving Fantasyland. The total route is just shy of 5,000 feet, making it the shortest of the five steam trains worldwide.

The rolling stock is named for locations that played an important part in Walt's life. One set of cars are named Anaheim, Burbank, Glendale, Los Angeles, and California. The second set is named Chicago, Marceline, Kansas City, Hollywood, and Orlando. Each train holds approximately 250 passengers on long benches that face sideways, rather than forward.


Orlando Passenger Car


As the entire west side of Hong Kong Disneyland is occupied by Adventureland, jungle sights and sounds dominate the first half of your journey. Along the way you can see Tarzan's Treehouse, sections of the Jungle Cruise, and various audioanimatronic birds and animals interspersed among the trees.


Jungle Cruise as seen from the Train


After leaving the Fantasyland Station, you are able to see a few glimpses of the Mad Hatter Tea Cups and the Festival of Fools restaurant before entering Tomorrowland. In Tomorrowland, the train travels next to a portion of the Autopia highway giving delight to those driving the little electric cars. As you approach the Buzz Lightyear attraction, the 3-eyed, green space men from the movie Toy Story pop up and down and wave from the rooftop as you pass by.


Autopia and Steam Train

Tomorrowland as seen from the Steam Train

Little Green Men


Well there you have it, five very different, yet very similar steam trains. Trains that helped build Disneyland and four more fantastic parks. Next time you ride any of these marvels, remember, you're riding on one of Walt's greatest loves.


May 13, 2010

Disney Steam Trains - Part Three - Walt Disney World

In this blog I'll be discussing the steam trains of Disney World's Magic Kingdom.

Roger Broggie, who was responsible for building much of Disneyland's railroad, was put in charge of Walt Disney World's transportation system. Since everyone knows that Florida is flat, it came as a surprise to Broggie when he discovered that his trains around the Magic Kingdom would have to deal with a 2% grade. His solution, buy larger locomotives than those used at Disneyland. Not only would they be more powerful and negotiate the grade better, they could also pull longer trains, thus increasing capacity.

Steam engines first appeared on the Yucatan peninsula in 1875. For years, these work-horses hauled supplies in and out of this isolated region. In the early to mid 1960's, the Mexican government was busy replacing many of these engines to diesel-electric locomotives. Once an engine was replaced, its tired remains were hauled off to a holding area to rust in the elements. With this knowledge in hand, Broggie and Earl Vilmer headed to Mexico with a directive to buy four engines for the Magic Kingdom.

The first two locomotives selected were identical 1925 Baldwin 4-6-0 "Ten Wheelers." For 40 years these two engines had carried Agave sisalense (sisal hemp), a local crop to the dock at Progreso.

The next engine chosen was a Baldwin "Mogul"-type 2-6-0 built in 1928. And finally, a Baldwin "American"-type 4-4-0 built in 1916. An agreement with the Mexican government called for Disney to pay $8,000 each for the four locomotives.

As Broggie and Vilmer were concluding the deal, another engine caught there eye. Perched on a platform in the middle of a small park was a 2-6-0 Mogul built by the Pittsburgh Locomotive Works in 1902. When they asked the Mexican officials if it was for sale they were told that they could have it for $750 if they would haul it away. So an unexpected fifth locomotive was added to their collection.

Restoration of the engines was to take place at a Tampa shipyard. It was Disney's desire to give as much work as possible to Florida businesses to help strengthen their ties with the community. Initial plans called for the five locomotives to be floated across the Gulf of Mexico on a huge Mississippi-type barge. But upon further investigation, it was determined that it would be cheaper to send them by rail, even though the journey was over 2,000 miles.

When restoration began, the machinist found that the engines were in worse condition than originally thought. In fact, the fifth locomotive, the one found in the park, presented so many challenges that it was eventually sold.

The tenders were completely useless and everything except their trucks were discarded and then rebuilt. One engine's frame was broken in half and required a master welder to put it back together. The boilers on all four engines needed to be replaced with new ones and the wood and steel cabs were exchanged with new designs created by the Imagineers in Glendale.

Remembering the trouble Disneyland had with the loading and unloading of the original passenger cars and how the newer Narragansett-style open air cars solved this problem, it was decided that a similar "excursion car" would be used at Disney World. The passenger cars would be 40 feet long, have 15 benches, and carry 75 guests. Twenty coaches were built from the ground up at the same Tampa shipyard where the engine restoration was taking place. In the end, the team completed their project under budget and ahead of schedule.


Narragansett-style open air cars


The four trains are named as follows:

No. 1 - Walter E. Disney - This was one of the twin 4-6-0 "Ten-Wheelers and the tallest of the four. It's painted red and pulls red cars.

No. 2 - Lilly Belle - This was the 2-6-0 Mogul-type engine. It's painted green and pulls green cars.

No. 3 - Roger E. Broggie - This was the other "Ten Wheeler" and is painted green and pulls yellow cars.

No. 4 - Roy O. Disney - This was the 4-4-0 "American"-type engine. The engine is painted red and it pulls blue cars.

At night, all four engines are stored behind the Magic Kingdom in an interesting roundhouse. The ground floor houses the steam trains and the upper level houses eight of the eleven monorails.

Like Disneyland, when the Magic Kingdom opened it only had two stations, one on Main Street and the other in Frontierland. But unlike Disneyland, one train never passed another while sitting in a station. A third station was added between Fantasyland and Tomorrowland in 1988 when Mickey's Birthday Land (now Mickey's Toontown Fair) was erected. A trip around the Magic Kingdom, including stops, takes approximately 20 minutes, covering 7,809 feet, the longest of the Disney trains, at an average speed of 10-12 miles per hour.

When Splash Mountain was built, it became necessary to remove the "stand alone" Frontierland station to make way for the new attraction. When completed, a new station had been incorporated into the overall design of Splash Mountain and the train now ran through the ride, affording guests a view of some of the "goings on."


Old Frontierland Train Station

New Frontierland Train Station


The Walt Disney World Railroad does have a feature unique among the five worldwide steam train loops. After leaving Thunder Mountain, it crosses a large, truss bridge that sits atop a turntable. When necessary, the track can be pivoted out of the way and provide boat access between the Rivers of America and the Seven Seas Lagoon.


Rotating Bridge


Behind Fantasyland the train runs along a canal. In the early years, guests occasionally could spot an alligator swimming slowly or sunning itself along the banks. But for a long time now, Disney captures any gator that ventures too close to public areas and relocates it to a more secluded area.

I'm sure you've all heard the train blow its whistle while riding the rails. Well these toots aren't for the guest's benefit, even though they do add enjoyment to the ride. They're actually used as warning and signaling devices. Here is a list of the whistles and their meaning:

" One Short - Attention
" Two Short - Forward Movement
" Three Short - Reverse Movement
" One Long, One Short - Approaching Station
" One Long, Two Short - Crew spotted along track. (Also used as a general greeting)
" Two Long, One Short, One Long - Public Crossing ahead.
" Two Long, One Short - Meeting Point (Junction)
" One Long - Stop Immediately / Emergency stop.
" Four Long - Train in distress - let's hope we never hear this one!

There was another steam train system at Walt Disney World. It was used to transport guests around Fort Wilderness and ran from 1973 to 1977. Click here to learn more.

Check back tomorrow for my final steam train blog where I'll be discussiong the Tokyo, Paris, and Hong Kong parks.


May 12, 2010

Disney Steam Trains - Part Two - Disneyland

In this blog I'll finish the story of how Walt's love for steam trains played an important part in the creation of Disneyland.

As Walt's dreams grew, so did the size of his Disneyland railroad. Scaled down replicas simply wouldn't do in his new park. He searched several locations for existing locomotives, but ultimately decided to build his own, using his existing plans from the Lilly Belle. He ordered a large machine shop to be built at the studio behind the Ink & Paint department and construction was completed within 90 days. A staff was assembled and designs started to take shape. With the exception of the wheels and boilers, which were purchased from outside companies, the rest of the locomotive would be built at the studio and completed on-site at Disneyland.

After much tinkering, a 5/8th scale of actual size was ultimately decided on for the rolling stock and engines. To accommodate an engineer and fireman, the cab of the engines would be designed at 3/4th scale.

Reducing standard gauge track by 5/8th brings it to roughly 36 inches. This is the same width as American narrow gauge track. When running a full scale narrow gauge train on narrow gauge track, the engine and cars look oversized. But when reduced to 5/8th scale, they look appropriate to the tracks they're riding on.

Contrary to popular belief, Main Street at Disneyland was NOT built to 5/8th scale to match the trains. Various scales were used throughout the park to promote forced perspective, giving the buildings a feeling that they are taller than they actually are. Besides the trains, the only structures at Disneyland that are built to 5/8th scale are the horseless carriages and the Mark Twain riverboat.

Initial research indicated that three trains would be needed to handle the crowds, but with the $11 million budget already bursting at its seams, Walt decided to only build two trains for the time being. When additional funds became available, a third train would be added. It was also at this time that Walt decided to construct the railroad with his own money and he owned the trains through WED (Walter Elias Disney), the design arm of the company.

Except for minor differences, Engine No. 1 was almost identical to the Lilly Belle. In an effort to add variety to the park, Engine No. 2 was tweaked. Although identical mechanically, the smoke stack, pilot, headlamp, cab roof, and color scheme were changed.

When completed, the engines cost $40,511 each and their tenders $5,010 each. The passenger train's six cars cost $93,332 and the freight train's cars cost $55,691 for a grand total of $240,065.

On June 17, 1955, exactly one month before Disneyland opened, Walt took Engine No. 2 out for its first run. Even though the track did not yet circle the entire park, Walt was in his glory running his new engine and stopping for publicity photo ops with his pal Mickey Mouse. With a tremendous amount of work still on the horizon for Disneyland, Walt commented, "At least we'll have the railroad operating on opening day."


Riding the rails before Disneyland opened


When Disneyland opened on July 17, 1955, general admission was $1 for adults, 50¢ for children, and parking was 25¢. Ticket books had not yet been envisioned and each attraction required a separate ticket to be purchase for cash at various kiosks located around the park. The train cost 50¢ for adults and 35¢ for children to ride. Ticket books were introduced in October of that year and featured A, B, and C coupons - of which the railroad was a "C." In 1956 the "D" ticket was introduced and in 1959 the "E" ticket came into being where the Santa Fe & Disneyland Railroad remained for many years.


E Ticket


The Santa Fe Railway Company was one of the original lessees (now participants) and paid $50,000 per year to have their name displayed on the trains, posters, trestles, tickets, and other railroad related items. In addition, Walt agreed to name train No. 1 the C. K. Holliday for the Santa Fe founder and train No. 2 Edward P. Ripley for the line's first president when the company reorganized in 1895.

In the beginning, there were two different types of rolling stock for the Disney trains, the passenger cars and the freight cars. The passenger cars worked well enough, but the freight train consisted of three cattle cars, two gondolas, and a caboose. Those relegated to the cattle cars complained that they felt like, well, cattle and weren't happy with their place on the train. And besides that, it was difficult to see anything as the opening between the car's slats was only four inches wide. It didn't take long to realize that something needed to be done and the cattle cars were eventually reworked to afford better viewing.


Cattle Cars


With attendance booming, it became evident that a third engine would be needed sooner, rather than later. But this time, instead of building an engine from the ground up, the Disney team decided to buy an old engine and refurbish it. After some scouting, they found an 1894 Baldwin locomotive that had once hauled sugar cane to and from New Orleans. It was in dreadful shape, but had potential. Negotiations began and a price of $1,200 was eventually agreed upon.

After much work, the new engine began service on March 28, 1958. The final cost was $37,061 for its purchase and restoration, far below the $100K that it would have cost to build an engine from scratch. The No. 3 engine was named Fred Gurley after the chairman of the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway Company.

The loading and unloading of the passenger train was slow and time consuming as there were only doors at the front and back of each coach. For the Fred Gurley, a Narragansett-style open air coach was designed by Bob Gurr. The train would feature forward facing seats and each seat could be accessed directly from the station platform, facilitating a much faster loading process. In addition, the new design allowed for 325 guests compared to 268 held by the passenger train.

Have you ever wondered why there are two sets of tracks in front of the Disneyland Main Street Station?


Two Sets of Tracks


When Disneyland opened, there were only two stations, Main Street and Frontierland. One train would make a complete circle around the park without stopping, beginning at the Main Street Station. The other train would circle the park starting from the Frontierland station. Because of this, there needed to be a second set of tracks at each station so one train could pass the other while circling the park. By 1958 this practice was ended when the Fred Gurley joined the two original engines and the Fantasyland and Tomorrowland stations opened.

The section of track between Tomorrowland and Main Street passed backstage areas so a wooden tunnel was constructed to conceal this from the guests. To improve this boring section of track, Walt ordered a new show piece for his train, the Grand Canyon. A diorama painted on a seamless piece of canvas measuring 306 feet long and 34 feet wide depicted this natural wonder. Now instead of a boring tunnel, guests are treated to a depiction of an entire day at the Grand Canyon from daybreak to sunset, complete with thunderstorm. Grofe's Grand Canyon Suite can be heard from onboard speakers. This new addition cost $367,814 and opened March 21, 1958.


Grand Canyon Opening


It was determined that a fourth engine was needed so that the other three could occasionally be taken off line for maintenance. Once again, a scouting team found an old locomotive, this time a Baldwin 0-4-0T that was built in 1925 and hauled sand to builders in the Northwest. It was purchased for $2,000 and shipped to the studio for refurbishment. Named the Ernest S. March after the current president of the Santa Fe Company, engine No. 4 went into service on July 25, 1959.

The Ford Motor Company approached Walt in 1963 and asked him to create an attraction for the upcoming 1964 New York World's Fair. Walt agreed and when completed, the ride allowed guests to travel back in time aboard a Ford convertible and witness cavemen and dinosaurs as never seen before. Audioanimatronics were used on a grand scale and guests were impressed beyond belief. When the fair closed in 1966, Walt packed up the dinosaur section of the attraction, shipped it to Disneyland, and added a second diorama to his railroad. Only this time, it would not be stagnant as the Grand Canyon diorama was. Like the World's Fair, guests were amazed by the movement of these prehistoric monsters. Disney movie buffs might recognize many of the scenes as they were modeled after the "Rite of Spring" segment of Fantasia.


Primeval World

Fantasia


As WED Enterprises grew more and more entwined with the studio, Walt decided to sell the design portion of the company, now known as Imagineering, back to the studio in January 1965. However, he retained the rights to his name, the steam trains, the monorails, and his apartment over the Fire Station on Main Street. A new company was created to manage these assets and named Retlaw (Walter spelled backwards). The family owned the trains for many years until they finally sold them back to the studio in 1982 for 818,461 shares of Disney stock.

In 1999, the Disney Company purchased its fifth steam locomotive from the Cedar Point Amusement Park and in 2004 it entered service at Disneyland. Engine No. 5, was named Ward Kimball in honor of the man responsible for getting Walt hooked on model railroading.

Check back tomorrow when I discuss the steam trains of the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World.


May 11, 2010

Disney Steam Trains - Part One - Disneyland

Sometime ago, this article appeared in the AllEars® Newsletter (Part 1 and Part 2). Since not all of you receive this weekly publication, I thought I'd rerun it as a blog and add a few pictures. Enjoy.

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What is to follow is a brief history about Walt's passion for steam trains and how this loved helped build Disneyland and four other theme parks around the world.

Before I start this article, I want to say that the vast majority of the information I present here is from the book "Walt Disney's Railroad Story" by Michael Broggie. This is an excellent book, not just for railroad buffs, but for anyone interested in the history of Disney theme parks. What I offer below just barely scratches the surface of what this remarkable book has to offer. I would highly recommend purchasing it and it's sold on Amazon. Click here.

We've all seen the television interview of Walt Disney, describing how the idea of Disneyland came to him. He recalls a day when he was sitting on a park bench, watching his daughters ride the merry-go-round, and thinking to himself that there should be someplace created where children and parents can play together.


Walt talking about Disneyland


This is a charming story, told by a charming man, and its telling has delighted viewers for years. But this is also the simplified account of how Disneyland came into being. As lovely as this legend is, there is far more behind the birth of Disneyland than this one defining moment - and steam trains played an essential part in the building of the Happiest Place on Earth.

From his earliest memories, Ward Kimball (an animator at the Disney Studios) had a passion for trains. In 1938, he and his wife Betty purchased a full-sized 1881 narrow-gauge Baldwin steam locomotive from the Nevada Central Railroad and spent a number of years restoring it to its former glory. He ran his prize in his own backyard.


Ward Kimball Steam Train


In 1945, Ward was hosting a "steam-up" party for the local Live Steamers club and invited his boss, Walt Disney, to be the guest engineer for the event. Ward recounts that he never saw Walt smile more broadly than the moment when he pulled the throttle and the engine emerged from the roundhouse. By the time the party ended, Walt was hooked and railroading was in his veins.

In 1948, Walt discovered that another of his animators, Ollie Johnson, was also a railroad buff and was building a 1/12 scale live steam locomotive to be run in his backyard. Walt was fascinated with the idea and when the engine was completed, he visited Ollie's home numerous times to play with this intriguing new toy. As Walt's interest continued to grow, he searched for others involved in the hobby and after many inquiries eventually made the decision to build his own backyard railroad.

Of course, if he was going to build a locomotive, rolling stock, and tracks to run it on, he would need a suitable backyard. So on June 1, 1949, Walt and his wife Lilly bought five acres of land in Holmby Hills, a stylish subdivision located between Bel Air and Beverly Hills.

Next, Walt turned to master draftsman, Eddie Sargeant, to help him develop a track layout for his new railroad. After several weeks of planning, Eddie came up with a design that squeezed 2,615 feet of track and 11 switches onto the property. Besides encompassing most of the back yard, Walt insisted that the train run completely around the house. At 1/8th scale, that was equivalent to eight miles of track.

Lillian Disney was a good sport, but she had her limits. She had selected a large section of the property for her flower beds and she did not want her husband's trains to run through the middle of this area. To appease his wife, Walt had a gag legal contract drawn up between himself, Lilly, and his two daughters, Diane and Sharon, giving him legal ownership and control of the railroad. And as an incentive for her to sign, Walt agreed to build a 90 foot tunnel under her proposed garden. With a sigh, Lilly acquiesced, put pen to paper, and the Carolwood Pacific Railroad was born.

Now that the right-of-way was secure, Walt needed to start construction on his locomotive. As modern and European engines did not appeal to him, he decided on a more ornate locomotive, the type that were used to build America. After much research he selected the Central Pacific 4-4-0 No. 173 for his prototype. This engine was in service primarily in Northern California between 1864 and 1909.

Just like with his company, Walt wanted to be involved in every aspect of his new hobby. Roger Broggie was a precision machinist at the studio, and under his watchful eye, Walt studied blueprints and learned how to operate machine tools. Over the months to come, Walt worked side by side with the studio mechanics and built a working locomotive completely from scratch. Nothing on it had been purchased "pre-built." To honor his ever tolerant wife, Walt named his new engine the Lilly Belle. The total cost for his locomotive, rolling stock, and backyard layout came to $50,000. That's roughly $450,000 in today's dollars.


Walt's Backyard Train


Walt normally insisted that his personal life be kept private. But word of his fantastic train layout spread and the Carolwood Pacific was the cover story for several railroad enthusiast periodicals. He even allowed Look magazine to write a feature article and photograph his backyard layout. These stories only fanned the flames of public interest and letters started to flow into the studio, asking for permission to visit his estate and the Carolwood Pacific Railroad.

With the public's interest in his train growing, Walt started to think about putting some kind of scale model train on the studio backlot for visitors to ride on the weekends. As his ideas grew, he thought about developing the land next to the studio and turning it into some sort of entertainment park. He remembered Ward Kimball's full-scale narrow-gauge railroad and the idea of owning his own "real" train took root.

In the winter of 1951, famed illustrator and railroad enthusiast, Harper Goff was in London to purchase two 1/8 scale steam locomotives for his own layout. However, when he arrived at the shop, the clerk informed him that they had just recently been purchased by a famous American named Walt Disney. Dejected, Harper searched for Disney and found that he was staying at a nearby hotel. He arranged a meeting and desperately tried to convince Walt to sell him one of the engines. Walt declined, but invited Harper to dinner. As the evening progressed and the admiration between them grew, Walt shared his ideas for a park to be named "Walt Disney's America." Harper was intrigued and by the time dinner was over, he had joined Walt's exclusive team to help design The Secret Project.

Interestingly, the two engines that Walt had snatched from under Harper Goff's nose were badly damaged while being shipped home. Despite efforts by the studio mechanics to save them, they never did become operational.

At the same time, storyboard illustrator Ken Anderson was working on another project. He was given the task of developing 24 miniature scenes depicting American folklore. Walt wanted Ken to study the technique of Norman Rockwell as he felt this artist had a flare for storytelling and his illustrations appealed to Walt's Midwestern upbringing and humor.

A 1/8th scale mock-up of "Granny Kincaid's cabin" was completed and Walt planned to display this tableau and the others on a specially designed train. This traveling show would stop at railroad stations around the country and school children would be invited to experience a three-dimensional history lesson. Walt was very proud of this idea and was excited to show off his first prototype. Granny's cabin can be seen in the One Man's Dream attraction at Disney's Hollywood Studios.


Granny Kincaid's Cabin


But Roger Broggie did not share Walt's enthusiasm. He explained to Walt that the miniature scenes would be expensive to create and maintain. Also, the operation of a full scale train would be expensive and the show's capacity would be limited due to the narrow passageways in train cars. Bottom line, it would be very difficult to make money with this project.

Never one to give up on a good idea, Walt started to rethink the concept. Instead of displaying the miniatures on a train, why not create some sort of "Opera House" and share his tableaux with the guests that visited his studio.

In the spring of 1953 an incident happened that shook Walt greatly. It was a Sunday afternoon and as usual, Walt's backyard was full of invited friends and business associates. A guest engineer was at the throttle of the Lilly Belle and took a curve too fast. The train tipped over and broke the whistle off of the engine, releasing a jet of high pressure, invisible steam. One of the passengers, a five year old girl, was unhurt by the derailment, but she ran through the jet of steam and received painful, although not serious, burns on her legs.

Walt was greatly upset by the incident. The idea that this little girl, or anyone else, could be hurt by something he had created was too much for him to bear. The next morning he had Roger Broggie drive out to his house, pick up the Lilly Belle, and store it at the studio. The rolling stock was put into the 90 foot tunnel for safekeeping and he halted work on a second engine that was under construction. Bob Gurr recalls that Walt would occasionally visit his beloved Lilly Belle and always touch it affectionately.

Even after this jolting incident, Walt was still interested in building a small park next to his studio and opening it to paid guests on the weekends. His plans called for a safer Carolwood Pacific Railroad to be part of his project. Harper Goff and Eddie Sargeant created plans for a 16 acre park that would include a 1/8th scale railroad, a circus tent, carousel, old west town with riverboat, Victorian village and picnic area.


Plans for Studio Park


But the land Disney wanted to develop was next to the Los Angeles River (a flood control channel) and the soon to be built Ventura Freeway. Fighting "City Hall" to obtain the needed permits to utilize this land proved daunting and eventually, Disney gave up. And by this time, his imagination had outgrown the 16 acres next to his studio.

The search was now on for a large piece of flat land, big enough to hold Walt's ever increasing ideas. Eventually, a spot was found in Anaheim and negotiations began with 17 families who owned contiguous parcels of land. In the end, Disney acquired 160 acres on which to build his new park Disneylandia, later to become Disneyland. Initial projections suggested that Disneyland would cost $11 million to build and first-year attendance would be between 2.5 - 3 million.


Disneyland Under Construction


Even for a company the size of Disney, $11 million was a lot of money in 1953, so Walt turned to his financially savvy brother Roy for help. Roy immediately went to work and started negotiating with some New York investors. On Thursday, September 24, Roy received word that the investors wanted to meet with him the following week. Knowing that visual representations help sell a product, Roy told his brother that he needed some sort of rendering of Disneyland to present at his meetings. Since most of the ideas for the park were scribbled on scraps of paper and still in the minds of Walt and a select few, Walt called a friend and former employee of his, Herb Ryman.

Herbert "Herb" Dickens Ryman had previously worked with Walt on such projects as Pinocchio, Dumbo, and Fantasia. He was known for his talent in oils, pen & ink sketches, and especially watercolors. He had also been employed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and 20th Century Fox and worked on a number of their movies.

After much cajoling, Herb finally agreed to draw the first interpretation of Disneyland. Herb listened carefully as Marvin Davis, Dick Irvine, and Walt explained their ideas. Eventually, Marvin and Dick removed themselves from the meeting and Herb and Walt spent the entire weekend alone, creating an overview drawing of Disneyland. At the entrance to the park was a Victorian train station with tracks that completely circled the many lands of Disneyland.


Herb Ryman Disneyland Drawing


Roy took Herb Ryman's rendering to New York and met with executives of NBC and CBS. Both companies were interested in Disney films, but had no desire to invest in such a risky venture as a theme park. Then Roy turned his attention to the fledgling ABC network. After much persistence, Roy convinced Leonard Goldenson, head of the network, to invest $500,000 in the park plus loan guarantees for $4.5 million. In return, Disney gave ABC a 35% interest in Disneyland and agreed to produce a weekly one-hour television show.

On October 27, 1954, the "Disneyland" show premiered with Walt as its host. This made him a national celebrity and allowed him to "advertise" his new park as each episode revolved around one of the "lands" to be built at Disneyland. Both new footage and old movies and cartoons were used in production. The show was an instant success and ABC achieved top ratings. In 1960, Disney was able to buy back ABC's 35% ownership of Disneyland and in 1996, Disney purchased ABC outright.


TV Guide Featuring Disneyland


To help promote Disneyland, the Lilly Belle was taken out of moth balls and returned to Walt's home. A number of Live Steamer club members and Kirk Douglas' family were invited to spend an afternoon playing with the Carolwood Pacific Railroad. The afternoon was casually filmed and some of the footage was eventually shown on one of the "Disneyland" television shows.

With financing secured, Walt announced that his new park would open in July, 1955. Ground breaking occurred in August 1954, which only allowed an eleven month window for construction. Since this article is primarily about Walt and his trains, I'm going to concentrate on that aspect of the building of Disneyland.

Check back tomorrow for Part Two where I'll complete the Disneyland story. In Part Three I'll discuss the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World. And I'll finish everything up in Part Four when I talk about Tokyo, Paris, and Hong Kong.


May 7, 2010

Disney Quiz 102 - Answers

Disney Quiz 2

It's time for another Disney quiz. However this time, the questions are somewhat difficult so I'm making this a multiple choice test. I'm also going to throw in some trick questions so be on your guard.

Once again, please do not send me your answers. This quiz is strictly for your amusement and no winners will be announced or prizes awarded.

1. When Walt Disney World first opened, it was often stated as being roughly the same size as what American city?

A. San Francisco
B. Manhattan
C. Orlando
D. Anaheim
E. None of the above

Answer: A - San Francisco

When Walt Disney World opened, the Disney Company owned approximately 47 square miles of land. The city of San Francisco has a land area of 46.7 square miles. Disney World was also touted to be roughly twice the size of the island of Manhattan (23 square miles), but that's not what the question asked.

Over the last several years, Disney has sold some of its land and now owns approximately 40 square miles.


San Francisco



2. What was Walt Disney's middle name?

A. Elijah
B. Eli
C. Elias
D. Ellenshaw
E. None of the above

Answer: C -- Elias

Walter Elias Disney was born on December 5, 1901 to Elias Disney and Flora Call Disney.


Walter Elias Disney



3. The Mark Twain Riverboat at Disneyland and the Liberty Belle Riverboat at the Magic Kingdom circle what land mass?

A. Huck Finn's Island
B. Tom Sawyer's Island
C. Harper's Island
D. Frontierland Island
E. None of the above

Answer: E - None of the above

I told you there were going to be trick questions. This one was so seemingly easy it should have rung alarm bells in your head. The name of the land mass is "Tom Sawyer Island." It is NOT "possessive" as so many people make it. To all of you who got this one right, give yourself a gold star!


Tom Sawyer Island



4. Who was the original narrator for Spaceship Earth

A. Judi Dench
B. Vic Perrin
C. Walter Cronkite
D. Jeremy Irons
E. None of the above

Answer: B - Vic Perrin

Vic Perrin was an American actor and voice artist. He is best remembered as the "Control Voice" in the original version of the TV series The Outer Limits. Vic was followed by Walter Cronkite in May 1986. Jeremy Irons took over in August 1994. And Judi Dench, the current narrator, started hosting this attraction in February 2008.


Vic Perrin



5. When did the Disney/MGM Studios open?

A. April 12, 1992
B. April 15, 1983
C. May 1, 1989
D. October 1, 1982
E. None of the above

Answer: C - May 1, 1989


Disney/MGM Studios


April 12, 1992 - Disneyland Paris
April 15, 1983 - Tokyo Disneyland
October 1, 1982 - EPCOT Center



6. Who is the voice of the "Ghost Host" in the Haunted Mansion (American parks)?

A. Thurl Ravenscroft
B. Rex Allen
C. X Atencio
D. Paul Frees
E. None of the above

Answer: D - Paul Frees

Frees was also the voice of Professor Ludwig Von Drake and several of the buccaneers in the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction. He's also appeared in numerous Disney movies including The Shaggy Dog, The Absent-Minded Professor, and The Monkey's Uncle.


Paul Frees


Thurl Ravenscroft (voice of Tony the Tiger) is a Disney Legend and can be heard in many Disney attractions. He's Buff in Country Bear Jamboree, the lead vocalist of the singing busts in the Haunted Mansion, and Fritz, the German-accented parrot in the Tiki Room.

Rex Allen was the voice of the original Father in the Carousel of Progress attraction (New York World's Fair and Disneyland) and now voices the Grandfather in the current version of this attraction.

Among his many Disney accomplishments, X Atencio co-wrote the song "Grim Grinning Ghosts".



7. Which is NOT the name of a steam train engine at the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World?

A. Walter E. Disney
B. Roy O. Disney
C. Roger E. Broggie
D. Fred Gurley
E. All of the above ARE steam train names at the Magic Kingdom

Answer: D - Fred Gurley

The Fred Gurley is the name of a steam train at Disneyland in California. The missing name from the list is the Lilly Belle, a 2-6-0 Mogul-type engine named in honor of Walt's wife Lillian.


Fred Gurley



8. What television network helped finance the building of Disneyland?

A. ABC
B. CBS
C. NBC
D. All of the above
E. None of the above

Answer: A - ABC

Roy Disney went to New York and met with executives of NBC and CBS. Both companies were interested in Disney films, but had no desire to invest in such a risky venture as a theme park. Then Roy turned his attention to the fledgling ABC network. After much persistence, Roy convinced Leonard Goldenson, head of the network, to invest $500,000 in the park plus loan guarantees for $4.5 million. In return, Disney gave ABC a 35% interest in Disneyland and agreed to produce a weekly one-hour television show. In 1960, Disney was able to buy back ABC's 35% ownership of Disneyland and in 1996, Disney purchased ABC outright.


ABC Logo



9. What were the names of Disney's two daughters?

A. Diane and Sharon
B. Lillian and Daisy
C. Lilly and Alice
D. Diane and Alice
E. None of the above

Answer: A - Diane and Sharon

Diane Marie Disney was born on December 18, 1933. Her husband, Ron Miller, became president of Walt Disney Productions in 1980 and CEO in 1983. In 1984 he was ousted by Roy E. Disney, Stanley Gold, and Sid Bass. Michael Eisner took over the reins at that time. On October 1, 2009, the Disney Family Museum opened at the Presidio of San Francisco and was co-founded by Diane Disney Miller.

Sharon Mae Disney was born on December 31, 1936 and died on February 16, 1993. It was not made public until after Sharon's death that she had been adopted.


Diane, Sharon, and Walt



10. We all know that Donald Duck's nephew's names are Huey, Dewey, and Louie. But what are Daisy Duck's niece's names?

A. Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather
B. Andrina, Arista, and Attina
C. April, May, and June
D. Prissy, Giggles, and Catty
E. None of the above

Answer: C - April, May, and June


April, May, and June


Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather are the three Good Fairies in Sleeping Beauty.
Andrina, Arista, and Attina are three of Ariel's sisters in The Little Mermaid.
Prissy, Giggles, and Catty are three of the elephants in Dumbo.



11. In what Disney movie do we travel to the Isle of Naboombu?

A. Lt. Robin Crusoe, U.S.N.
B. Bedknobs and Broomsticks
C. Blackbeard's Ghost
D. Swiss Family Robinson
E. None of the above

Answer: B - Bedknobs and Broomsticks

The Isle of Naboombu was featured in the animated portion of Bedknobs and Broomsticks. The cast of characters travel to this magical world in search of the Star of Astoroth to learn the magical words "Treguna, Mekoides, Trecorum Satis Dee."


Bedknobs and Broomsticks



12. What does the name Epcot stand for today?

A. Every Person Comes Out Tired
B. Experimental Prototype Community Of Tomorrow
C. Experimental Prototype City of Tomorrow
D. Every Paycheck Comes On Thursday
E. None of the above

Answer: E - None of the above

This was another trick question. When the park opened, it was officially named EPCOT Center - EPCOT being written in all capital letters and was an acronym for "Experimental Prototype Community Of Tomorrow" (Answer "B"). In 1994 the park was renamed Epcot 94 and EPCOT (all caps) was changed to Epcot (upper and lowercase letters) signifying it was no longer an acronym. The following year the name was changed to Epcot 95. In 1996, the year was dropped and the name became just Epcot. Today, Epcot is only the name of a park.

Guests might find some validity in Answer "A" and cast members can relate to Answer "D."


Epcot Logos



13. What is the prince's name in the movie Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs?

A. Prince Charming
B. Prince Phillip
C. Prince Eric
D. Prince John
E. None of the above

Answer: E - None of the above.

The leading man in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs had a very small role and was never given an actual name. He is simply referred to as the Prince.


The Prince from Snow Whtie


Prince Charming was in Cinderella.
Prince Phillip was in Sleeping Beauty
Prince Eric was in The Little Mermaid
Prince John was in Robin Hood



14. Who is the current CEO of the Walt Disney Company?

A. Michael Eisner
B. Robert Iger
C. Jay Rasulo
D. Thomas O. Staggs
E. None of the above

Answer: B - Robert Iger

Bob Iger is the sixth CEO in The Walt Disney Company's 86-year history and was appointed to this post on October 1, 2005 after the company's board of directors elected him to succeed Michael Eisner in March, 2005.


Bob Iger


Jay Rasulo is the Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer.

Thomas O. Staggs is Chairman, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts.



15. We all know that Walt was the original voice of Mickey Mouse. But who was the original voice of Donald Duck?

A. Mel Blanc
B. Cliff Edwards
C. J. Pat O'Malley
D. Clarence Nash
E. None of the above

Answer: D - Clarence Nash

Nash voiced Donald for 50 years in over 120 shorts and films. Animator Tony Anselmo trained under Nash and took over as Donald's voice after Nash died in 1985.


Clarence Nash and Donald Duck.jpg


The only voice Mel Blanc did for Disney was as Uncle Orville and a pet bird in the Carousel of Progress.

Cliff Edwards was the original voice for Jiminy Cricket and his haunting rendition of When You Wish Upon a Star plays in every Disney fan's head.

Among his many Disney connections, J. Pat O'Malley acted on the Spin and Marty TV show and was the voice of Colonel Hathi in The Jungle Book.



16. What is the name of the castle at the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World?

A. Cinderella's Castle
B. Sleeping Beauty's Castle
C. Belle's Castle
D. Snow White's Castle
E. None of the above

Answer: E - None of the above

Just like Question 3, this was a trick question. The castle's name is Cinderella Castle - not possessive. Mind you, the restaurant inside is called Cinderella's (possessive) Royal Table and the merry-go-round is Cinderella's (possessive) Golden Carousel. But the castle is named after the Princess; it doesn't necessarily belong to her.


Cinderella Castle



17. What is the last line spoken in the Carousel of Progress before the family breaks into song.

A. (Mother) Maybe sometime in the new century your father will learn how to talk to our oven.
B. (Son) Don't worry dad. Someday, everything is going to be so automated you won't ever have to cook another Christmas turkey again.
C. (Father) But hey. As long as we're all here and happy and together for the holidays, who cares if I burned our Christmas turkey?
D. (Daughter) Who knows? We've got a whole new century waiting for us out there.
E. None of the above.

Answer: B -- The son speaks his line then the dog barks.

The song "There's A Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow" was written by the Sherman Brothers and was used at the New York World's Fair and at Disneyland. When COP was moved to the Magic Kingdom, General Electric wanted a new, more up-to-date song and "The Best Time of Your Life," also written by the Sherman brothers, was introduced. In 1994, "There's A Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow" returned as the attraction's theme song.


Carousel of Progress



18. Ben Franklin begins The American Adventure by speaking what opening line?

A. America did not exist.
B. We built America and the process made us Americans.
C. Excuse me Mr. Twain.
D. Mr. Twain, pride is one of our national passions.
E. None of the above.

Answer: A - America did not exist.

Ben Franklin opens the show by speaking to the audience while Mark Twain snoozes nearby. The American Adventure Theater holds 1,024 people and the show is a little over 28 minutes in length.


Ben Franklin and Mark Twain



19. Where is the "Happiest place on earth?"

A. Disneyland
B. The Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World
C. Disneyland Paris
D. Hong Kong Disneyland
E. All of the above

Answer: A - Disneyland

The word "happiest" is a superlative. There can only be ONE "Happiest place on earth" - which is Disneyland. However, for years, people have been calling the other parks, especially the Magic Kingdom in Florida, by this designation. Recently, in an effort to give the Magic Kingdom its own identity, the Imagineers came up with "The most magical place on earth" for the Florida Magic Kingdom.


Disneyland the Happiest Place on Earth



20. Who played Zorro in the Disney TV series of the same name?

A. Leslie Nielsen
B. Tim Considine
C. Jimmie Dodd
D. Guy Williams
E. None of the above

Answer: D - Guy Williams

Guy Williams played the title role of Zorro in 78 episodes over two seasons (1957-1959). He also played Professor John Robinson in the TV show "Lost in Space" for three seasons (1965-1968).


Guy Williams


Leslie Nielsen played American Revolutionary War hero Francis Marion in the Disney television series "Swamp Fox." The series was not a success and only eight episodes were produced. Coincidentally, Tim Considine was also in this series as Marion's nephew Gabe.

Tim Considine played Spin in the Disney TV serial Spin and Marty (1955-1957).

Jimmie Dodd hosted the original Mickey Mouse Club (1955-1959).



May 6, 2010

Disney Quiz 102 - Questions

It's time for another Disney quiz. However this time, the questions are somewhat difficult so I'm making this a multiple choice test. I'm also going to throw in some trick questions so be on your guard.

Once again, please do not send me your answers. This quiz is strictly for your amusement and no winners will be announced or prizes awarded.

1. When Walt Disney World first opened, it was often stated as being roughly the same size as what American city?

A. San Francisco
B. Manhattan
C. Orlando
D. Anaheim
E. None of the above



2. What was Walt Disney's middle name?

A. Elijah
B. Eli
C. Elias
D. Ellenshaw
E. None of the above



3. The Mark Twain Riverboat at Disneyland and the Liberty Belle Riverboat at the Magic Kingdom circle what land mass?

A. Huck Finn's Island
B. Tom Sawyer's Island
C. Harper's Island
D. Frontierland Island
E. None of the above



4. Who was the original narrator for Spaceship Earth

A. Judi Dench
B. Vic Perrin
C. Walter Cronkite
D. Jeremy Irons
E. None of the above



5. When did the Disney/MGM Studios open?

A. April 12, 1992
B. April 15, 1983
C. May 1, 1989
D. October 1, 1982
E. None of the above



6. Who is the voice of the "Ghost Host" in the Haunted Mansion (American parks)?

A. Thurl Ravenscroft
B. Rex Allen
C. X Atencio
D. Paul Frees
E. None of the above



7. Which is NOT the name of a steam train engine at the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World?

A. Walter E. Disney
B. Roy O. Disney
C. Roger E. Broggie
D. Fred Gurley
E. All of the above ARE steam train names at the Magic Kingdom



8. What television network helped finance the building of Disneyland?

A. ABC
B. CBS
C. NBC
D. All of the above
E. None of the above



9. What were the names of Disney's two daughters?

A. Diane and Sharon
B. Lillian and Daisy
C. Lilly and Alice
D. Diane and Alice
E. None of the above



10. We all know that Donald Duck's nephew's names are Huey, Dewey, and Louie. But what are Daisy Duck's niece's names?

A. Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather
B. Andrina, Arista, and Attina
C. April, May, and June
D. Prissy, Giggles, and Catty
E. None of the above



11. In what Disney movie do we travel to the Isle of Naboombu?

A. Lt. Robin Crusoe, U.S.N.
B. Bedknobs and Broomsticks
C. Blackbeard's Ghost
D. Swiss Family Robinson
E. None of the above



12. What does the name Epcot stand for today?

A. Every Person Comes Out Tired
B. Experimental Prototype Community Of Tomorrow
C. Experimental Prototype City of Tomorrow
D. Every Paycheck Comes On Thursday
E. None of the above



13. What is the prince's name in the movie Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs?

A. Prince Charming
B. Prince Phillip
C. Prince Eric
D. Prince John
E. None of the above



14. Who is the current CEO of the Walt Disney Company?

A. Michael Eisner
B. Robert Iger
C. Jay Rasulo
D. Thomas O. Staggs
E. None of the above


15. We all know that Walt was the original voice of Mickey Mouse. But who was the original voice of Donald Duck?

A. Mel Blanc
B. Cliff Edwards
C. J. Pat O'Malley
D. Clarence Nash
E. None of the above


16. What is the name of the castle at the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World?

A. Cinderella's Castle
B. Sleeping Beauty's Castle
C. Belle's Castle
D. Snow White's Castle
E. None of the above


17. What is the last line spoken in the Carousel of Progress before the family breaks into song.

A. (Mother) Maybe sometime in the new century your father will learn how to talk to our oven.
B. (Son) Don't worry dad. Someday, everything is going to be so automated you won't ever have to cook another Christmas turkey again.
C. (Father) But hey. As long as we're all here and happy and together for the holidays, who cares if I burned our Christmas turkey?
D. (Daughter) Who knows? We've got a whole new century waiting for us out there.
E. None of the above.


18. Ben Franklin begins The American Adventure by speaking what opening line?

A. America did not exist.
B. We built America and the process made us Americans.
C. Excuse me Mr. Twain.
D. Mr. Twain, pride is one of our national passions.
E. None of the above.


19. Where is the "Happiest place on earth?"

A. Disneyland
B. The Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World
C. Disneyland Paris
D. Hong Kong Disneyland
E. All of the above


20. Who played Zorro in the Disney TV series of the same name?

A. Leslie Nielsen
B. Tim Considine
C. Jimmie Dodd
D. Guy Williams
E. None of the above



April 21, 2010

Disney Quiz 101 -- Answers

Here are the answers to yesterday's quiz. I hope you got them all right!


1. On what day did Disneyland open?

July 17, 1955

Between 10-15 thousand opening day tickets had been made available to the press and invited guests, but between counterfeit tickets and gate crashers, it's estimated that twice that number actually attended the park on opening day.


Opening Day at Disneyland



2. What is considered to be the first AudioAnimatronics attraction?

The Enchanted Tiki Room

Opening on June 23, 1963 this attraction had 225 AudioAnimatronics performers directed by a fourteen-channel magnetic tape feeding one hundred separate speakers and controlling 438 separate actions.


Walt and Jose in the Tiki Room



3. The Jungle Cruise was inspired in part by what series of short subject documentaries?

True Life Adventures (specifically The African Lion)

Produced between 1948 and 1960, True Life Adventures covered a wide range of nature-related topics and won numerous Academy Awards.


The African Lion Movie Poster



4. What two World Showcase pavilions were not present at Epcot's opening (October 1, 1982) and were added in later years?

Morocco and Norway

Morocco opened on September 7, 1984. King Hassan II sent Moroccan artisans to design and create the many mosaics seen in this pavilion.


Morocco Pavilion


Norway had a soft opening on May 6, 1988. A month later an official opening was attended by Crown Prince Harald in a ceremony that was broadcast live to Norway.


Norway Pavilion



5. What was the first foreign Disney Park to open?

Tokyo Disneyland

Opening on April 15, 1983, Tokyo Disneyland is owned and operated by the Oriental Land Company which pays licensing fees and royalties to the Walt Disney Company.


Tokyo Disneyland



6. What was the first commercially released cartoon to be produced in the full-color three-strip Technicolor process?

Flowers and Trees

Flowers and Trees was already in production as a black and white cartoon when Walt Disney was introduced to Technicolor's three-strip process. Walt was so impressed that he had the black and white footage scrapped, and had the short redone in color.


Flowers and Trees Movie Poster



7. On what day did Walt Disney World open?

October 1, 1971

However, the official dedication was held on October 25th. This gave the company time to work out any problems before a formal opening was presented to the press and the rest of the world.


Magic Kingdom



8. What was Walt Disney's first full-length animated motion picture?

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

In 2007, the American Film Institute ranked Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs 34th in its list of the 100 greatest American films of all time.


Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Movie Poster



9. Who played Davey Crockett?

Fess Parker

Davy Crockett was the first miniseries in the history of television. Its five episodes aired on the Disneyland TV show in 1954 and 1955. The first three episodes were later edited together and shown in theaters under the name of Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier.


Fess Parker as Davy Crockett



10. What was the first attraction to open after Walt Disney's death?

Pirates of the Caribbean (Disneyland)

Pirates of the Caribbean was the last attraction that Walt personally supervised during its design and much of its construction. It opened three months after his death on March 18 1967.


Pirates of the Caribbean



11. What Disney animated short was the first to be created using the multi-plane camera?

The Old Mill

The Old Mill won the 1937 Academy Award for Best Short Subjects: Cartoons.

Disney's multi-plane camera, invented by William Garity, uses up to seven layers of artwork and is shot using an overhead movable camera.


The Old Mill



12. What was Walt's brother Roy's middle initial?

O

Roy Oliver Disney was Walt's older brother (June 24, 1893 - December 20, 1971) and co-founder of what is now The Walt Disney Company. Roy's son, Roy Edward Disney, also played a pivotal role in the company as a longtime senior executive.


Roy O. Disney



13. What was the name of the cartoon character that Walt lost the rights to in the spring of 1928?

Oswald the Lucky Rabbit

In February 2006, Disney CEO Bob Iger secured the rights to the original 26 Oswald cartoons created by Disney. The remaining Oswald cartoons still belong to Universal.


Oswald the Lucky Rabbit



14. What was Walt's wife's first name?

Lillian

Lillian Marie Bounds was working at the Disney Studio in the "ink and paint" department when she met Walt. They were married in 1925. After Walt's death, she married John L. Truyens in May 1969. John died in February 1981. Lillian suffered a stroke on December 15, 1997, 31 years to the day after Walt's death. She died the following morning at aged 98.


Walt, Lillian, and Mickey Mouse



15. What four attractions did Disney design for the New York World's Fair?

"it's a small world" - sponsored by UNICEF and Pepsi
Progressland (later to be known as Carousel of Progress) -- sponsored by General Electric
Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln - sponsored by the State of Illinois
The Magic Skyway - sponsored by the Ford Motor Company


Disney%20Quiz%20101%2015.jpg



16. What attraction at Disney's Hollywood Studios was originally planned for Epcot?

The Great Movie Ride

The Great Movie Ride was being developed as a Future World pavilion to cover the topic of entertainment. But when Michael Eisner became CEO of the Walt Disney Company in 1985, he proposed an entirely new park devoted to entertainment with The Great Movie Ride as its premier attraction and the idea for the Disney/MGM Studios was born.


The Great Movie Ride



17. What did Professor Brainard invent?

Flubber

The movie The Absent-Minded Professor opened in 1961 and featured a scatter-brained professor creating a substance that defied gravity. The movie was both a critical and financial success and spawned a sequel, Son of Flubber in 1963.


The Absent-Minded Professor



18. What Disney movie was the first commercial film released in multi-channel (stereo) sound?

Fantasia

Fantasia was the third full-length animated film produced by Disney (following Snow White and Pinocchio). The film was not a commercial success during its initial release and left the company strapped for funds. In an effort to save money and recoup losses, Disney next produced Dumbo, a much shorter movie and by comparison to Fantasia, a simple to animate film. Despite Fantasia's initial commercial failure, subsequent releases more than made up for any losses and today the movie is considered a classic. A sequel, Fantasia 2000, opened on December 17, 1999.


Fantasia Movie Poster



19. What was the first science fiction film produced by Walt Disney Pictures?

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

Opening in 1954, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea starred Kirk Douglas, James Mason, Paul Lukas, and Peter Lorre. When Disneyland was being constructed, cash was short and Tomorrowland was lacking in rides. In an effort to add attractions to this land, the props from the movie were displayed in an exhibit by the same name and entertained guests from 1955 to 1966.


20,000 Leagues Under the Sea Movie Poster



20. Where did President Nixon say "I am not a crook?"

Disney's Contemporary Resort

Speaking before 400 Associated Press managing editors, Nixon defended his record in the Watergate scandal. This proved to be a defining moment in his presidency and the beginning of the end.


Contemporary Resort



Bonus Question. The following movies were set at what fictitious university, The Absent Minded Professor, Son of Flubber, The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes, Now You See Him, Now You Don't, and The Strongest Man in the World?

Medfield College

Interestingly, two other college-themed movies, The Misadventures of Merlin Jones, and its sequel, The Monkey's Uncle were set in Midvale College.

April 20, 2010

Disney Quiz 101 -- Questions

Disney Quiz 101

I have created another Disney quiz for you -- but this time, there are no pictures. I titled it "Disney Quiz 101" because in my circle of friends, these are easy questions. In other words "Beginning Disney." So grab a pencil and paper and get ready for twenty questions and one bonus brain-teaser. Tomorrow I'll post the answers.

Once again, do not send me your answers. This quiz is for your amusement only. No winner will be announced and no prizes awarded.

Good luck.,


1. On what day did Disneyland open?

2. What is considered to be the first AudioAnimatronics attraction?

3. The Jungle Cruise was inspired in part by what series of short subject documentaries?

4. What two World Showcase pavilions were not present at Epcot's opening (October 1, 1982) and were added in later years?

5. What was the first foreign Disney Park to open?

6. What was the first commercially released cartoon to be produced in the full-color three-strip Technicolor process?

7. On what day did Walt Disney World open?

8. What was Walt Disney's first full-length animated motion picture?

9. Who played Davey Crockett?

10. What was the first attraction to open after Walt Disney's death?

11. What Disney animated short was the first to be created using the multi-plane camera?

12. What was Walt's brother Roy's middle initial?

13. What was the name of the cartoon character that Walt lost the rights to in the spring of 1928?

14. What was Walt's wife's first name?

15. What four attractions did Disney design for the New York World's Fair?

16. What attraction at Disney's Hollywood Studios was originally planned for Epcot?

17. What did Professor Brainard invent?

18. What Disney movie was the first commercial film released in multi-channel (stereo) sound?

19. What was the first science fiction film produced by Walt Disney Pictures?

20. Where did President Nixon say "I am not a crook?"

Bonus Question. The following movies were set at what fictitious university, The Absent Minded Professor, Son of Flubber, The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes, Now You See Him, Now You Don't, and The Strongest Man in the World?

April 17, 2009

Owen Pope and Main Street USA


While looking for interesting bits of trivia in the Magic Kingdom to share with you, I recently came across a Main Street window that brought back an old memory of mine. This window isn't located high above your head on a second story pane, but rather on the side of the Car Barn. The Car Barn is located between the Fire Station and the Emporium and houses the trolley cars and horses being used that day in the park.


Car Barn Main Street

Car Barn Main Street Window


The name on the window that jogged my memory was Owen Pope.


Owen Pope Main Street Window

Owen Pope Main Street Window


Because I used to work at Disneyland, I knew the story of Owen Pope. But I thought he was strictly a California icon and I wondered why he'd have a place of honor here in Florida, so I did a little research.

In 1951, Walt hired Harper Goff to begin drawing up plans for the little park he was visualizing being built on the Studio grounds in Burbank. Walt also hired horse trainer Owen Pope and his wife Dolly. He wanted the couple to begin training horses for the western section of his new park. Being close to the livestock was necessary for the amount of training that was to ensue so the Pope's moved into a trailer on the Studio lot. Besides teaching horses and mules how to behave, they also helped build wagons and coaches for the new park.

As plans for Walt's dream changed and grew, the location of his park moved from the Studio to Anaheim. Eventually the Popes needed to move to Anaheim as well to be near the horses.

Before construction began on Disneyland, something had to be done with the houses that belonged to the former owners of the land. Walt told the Popes they could choose any one of them to live in. Their selection was soon moved to a ten acre area behind what would eventually become Fantasyland. This area was known as the Pony Farm and at one time, the Pope's cared for as many as 220 animals. The Popes are also the only people to actually ever live at Disneyland. Walt may have had an apartment above the Fire Station, but he never lived there. This honor belongs to the Popes alone.

The Popes continued working and living at Disneyland until 1971. It was at this time that they moved to Florida to help open the Magic Kingdom. They created the Tri Circle D Ranch at Fort Wilderness where it still stands today. They retired in 1975 and it's due to their efforts here in Florida that they earned a window at the Magic Kingdom - and it is appropriately located on the Car Barn.


Owen%20Pope%2007.jpg


But why did this window bring back memories for me? I started working at Disneyland the same year Owen and Dolly left for Florida. I never met them and I worked at Disneyland for several years before I even learned of their existence. What is to follow is a personal story that I'm not sure will be of any interest to you, but for me it's a walk down memory lane.

After I had worked at Disneyland for four years, I interviewed for, and was selected to be, a University Leader. This is a high honor as only those Cast Members who exemplify the true Disney spirit are chosen. A University Leader serves for six months and is responsible for instructing new-hires in the Disney ways. We taught them the proper lingo - things like "costume" not "uniform" and "cast member" not "employee." We taught them about grooming. We taught them about Disney history.

Today, this class is one-day in length and is called Traditions. But in my day, it was a two-day session and it was called Orientation. The first day was spent in a classroom and the second day was out in the park. It's the second day that I'm writing about now.

The morning would begin at the Flag Pole in Town Square. I would read the inscription plaque to twenty to thirty new-hires and try to instill the reverence it deserves. Then we would tour the park as I pointed out such things as the "draw concept" and "forced perspective." But most importantly, I pointed out each and every restroom. Believe me, this is one of the most commonly asked questions of any cast member.

Around noon we arrived at Bear Country and I arranged lunch for my group. Then we headed backstage and my new cast members began to learn how the magic is created. I took them to the carpentry shop and the props division. I showed them the molds and rubber that were used to create the elephants in the Jungle Cruise. As the tour continued, we moved further and further backstage. Eventually we were all the way at the back of Disneyland, behind Fantasyland and entered a classroom in the general vicinity of Owen Pope's home.

Before I go any further, I need to give you a little Disney history. Walt was very proud of his audioanimatronic figures and often touted their abilities on his weekly television show. In one segment he demonstrates how a prototype of a Tiki Room bird can be controlled with a joystick. Eventually, this prototype (pictured on the right) found its way to Disneyland and was used during Orientation sessions.


Owen%20Pope%2006.jpg


After I got my class seated and settled down, I would present Jose. Then I would demonstrate how he could turn his head, breathe, ruffle his feathers, and talk. After my demonstration, I would select someone from the class to give it a try. It always made me feel special that I was allowed to handle this valuable piece of Disney history and touch something that Walt himself had used to promote Disneyland.

After the audioanimatronic demonstration I would turn out the lights and turn on a projector (that's right, a projector, not a VCR). For the next 15 minutes the class would watch some awe-inspiring Disney motivational movie. It was during this time that I could escape for a few moments and relax.

Okay, here comes the good part"

Outside of Owen and Dolly's house were two old oak trees. Stretched between them was a hammock. For a few minutes each Sunday afternoon, I would recline beneath a canopy of leaves and contemplate how cool it was to be in The Happiest Place on Earth, in a way very few others have ever experienced it. Millions have visited Disneyland, but only a handful of people ever laid in this hammock and enjoyed the park as I have.

The Pope's home still exists today. It currently houses offices for the Pony Farm and can be seen on several of the backstage tours offered at Disneyland. I have no idea if the hammock still exists. Obviously if it does, it's been replaced several times over the years.

So that, my friends, is why I chose to tell you about the Owen Pope window on Main Street.

March 16, 2009

Muppet*Vision 3-D Trivia

My next bit of theme park trivia involves the Muppet*Vision 3-D attraction at Disney's Hollywood Studios.


Muppet*Vision 3-D


The moment you enter the building, look to your right. You will see a ticket window.


Muppet*Vision 3-D


Hanging in the window is a sign that says "Back in 5 minutes key is under mat."


Muppet*Vision 3-D


Walk around the turnstile and look for a mat (the turnstile hides it). If you lift the mat up, sure enough, you'll find a key - just like the sign says.


Muppet*Vision 3-D


When you enter the preshow area, take a look around. This area is full of gags and jokes. I know that this attraction has one of the best pre-shows at Disney World, but you've seen it before. Investigate a little. You'll be glad you did.

One of the all time best jokes is hanging from the ceiling of this room.


Muppet*Vision 3-D


What is that? You ask.

It looks like some kind of webbing holding, could it be gelatin?

No, it's not webbing, it's a net holding cubes of gelatin.

But what kind of gelatin? Possibly a name brand, like Jello.

So we have a net holding Jello.

A net holding Jello.

No" That's not right... How about,

A net full of Jello.

A net full of Jello.

If you still haven't got the joke, say it out loud.

A net full of Jello.

If you still don't get it, scroll down.


Muppet*Vision 3-D

Annette Funicello

March 11, 2009

Tinker Bell’s Fairy Treasures

This next Disney detail is aimed more at the little ones - or at least the parents of little ones.

Check out Tinker Bell's Fairy Treasures shop in Fantasyland of the Magic Kingdom.


Tinker Bell's Fairy Treasures shop


On the sales counter near the entrance is a bell. Children are encouraged to ring this bell and loudly call out Tinkerbell's name.


Tinker Bell's Fairy Treasures shop


When they do, a tinkling sound can be heard and tiny lights dance in the overhead plants and flowers. (My camera didn't capture the lights.)


Tinker Bell's Fairy Treasures shop


A moment later, Tinkerbell flies into view within a storage cabinet located behind the counter. Her appearance is brief, but it brings excitement to children.


Tinker Bell's Fairy Treasures shop

Tinker Bell's Fairy Treasures shop


This isn't one of Disney's most elaborate effects or shows, but it's cute. And I'm sure the younger set will believe in fairies after seeing Tink appear.

Remember - you can see Tinker Bell and other fairies in Pixie Hallow in the Magic Kingdom.

March 7, 2009

Mr. Toad and the Haunted Mansion

After publishing my Everest Shrine and Cool Wash blogs, I received a number of requests for similar bits of information. It seems you all love this type of Disney trivia. I'm not sure I can deliver, but I'll do my best. This next item isn't so much a "hidden but obvious" detail. It's just sort of a "hidden" detail.

When the Mr. Toad attraction closed to make room for the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, the Imagineers wanted to give J. Thaddeus a proper burial. They thought, "What better place than the pet cemetery perched on the hill next to the exit of the Haunted Mansion." (If I had to guess, I bet many of you didn't even know there was a pet cemetery here.)


Mr.%20Toad%20HM%20Blog%2001.jpg

Mr.%20Toad%20HM%20Blog%2002.jpg


Anyway, if you look all the way to the back left corner of the burial ground you can see a grave marker in the shape of this famous croaker.


Mr.%20Toad%20HM%20Blog%2003.jpg


While we're in the general area, let's take a look at the benches that line this brick wall. These seats are unique to the Haunted Mansion and if you look closely, you can see menacing hound's heads on the arms and legs. Look even closer and you can see that their eyes are red. Spooky.


Mr.%20Toad%20HM%20Blog%2004.jpg

Mr.%20Toad%20HM%20Blog%2005.jpg

Mr.%20Toad%20HM%20Blog%2006.jpg


Legend has it that a number of years ago, a teenage girl was sitting on one of these benches painting her fingernails. She noticed the hounds and decided to paint their eyes red, the color of the polish she was using. Months later, when it came time for the benches to be repainted, the Imagineers liked the red eyes and decided to keep them.

Now I want to tell you, this is a legend. I have absolutely no proof to back up this story. Also, I'm not giving anyone permission to deface Disney property. But it does make for a good tale.

And now for the sad news" While talking with a Haunted Mansion cast member I was informed that these benches are being retired. In fact, two have already been removed and it's only a matter of time before the others are gone too.

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About Theme Park Trivia

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to The “World” According to Jack in the Theme Park Trivia category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

The Little Things is the previous category.

Tokyo Disney is the next category.

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