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December 1, 2014

2014 Inaugural Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon

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2014 Inaugural Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon

The Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon Weekend was held at Disneyland November 14-16. This is a new runDisney event, which of course means it has the "I" word, Inaugural, associated with it. :-) All events sold out very quickly, but Lee and I were able to register for the half marathon.

This was the third event in what has been a very busy week for us. We ran the Wine and Dine Half Marathon last Saturday night (you can read more about that HERE), then went on a four-night Disney cruise. We flew back to San Diego on Friday, went home, repacked our bags, and drove to Disneyland that night. It was a long day, but it was nice to have all day on Saturday at Disneyland, rather than driving on Saturday and not being able to check into our hotel until the afternoon.

The events for the weekend included the Health and Fitness Expo on Friday and Saturday, the Super Heroes 5K and Kids Races on Saturday, and the Half Marathon on Sunday. We didn't arrive in time to go to the Expo on Friday night (which was one reason we chose not to register for the 5K), so we went on Saturday, around 11:30. We intentionally did not go at opening, since we'd heard what the crowds were like the day before in the merchandise area. At least this time they had a system, with a queue and cast members controlling access to the area (unlike for the Inaugural Dumbo Double Dare in 2013), but still, the lines were long on Friday morning. And, unfortunately, some of the merchandise sold out on Friday morning. I don't know why Disney seems to have so much trouble ordering sufficient merchandise. But it's pretty disappointing to be a registered participant in the race, and not have a chance to purchase items. There's no reason for shirts to be limited editions. I really wish runDisney would allow registered runners to pre-order merchandise other than pins. But that's another topic.

Anyway...The Expo was held at the Disneyland Hotel's Convention Center, like all of the other Disneyland race expos. Packet pickup was a breeze - we had printed our waivers in advance (which is highly recommended - saves a lot of time), and I walked right up to the counter to pick up my number - no line at all!

2014 Inaugural Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon

As they did for Wine and Dine, there were photographers in the packet pickup area to photograph those who were going for their Coast-to-Coast medal. This didn't affect us this time but it still was not clear at all that this was something that Coast-to-Coast participants needed to do. The volunteers who give out the Coast-to-Coast wristbands need to be given better directions on this. It was in the race program - but who reads the race program in advance on-line, much less takes the time to read the printed version at the Expo?

2014 Inaugural Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon

They had some fun banners posted outside the hall.

2014 Inaugural Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon

The shirt pickup was upstairs in the Expo area - that was also a very fast process. I like the shirt fabric. It's the same softer, lighter weight fabric they have been using for other race shirts this year. The design is also nice, and I'm still very happy with the women's cut. Though these are long-sleeve shirts and the sleeves are too long.

2014 Inaugural Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon


The Expo seemed pretty small to me - not that many vendors, which meant that it felt less crowded and easier to get around. Though it wasn't really that busy when we were there. The vendors that I expected were there, and I couldn't tell you who was "missing".

2014 Inaugural Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon

There were no lines at the merchandise area when we got there - I think that really the only busy time was Friday morning. As I mentioned before, some of the merchandise was already sold out, but there was still a pretty good selection remaining, including the "I Did It" shirts, though it looked like they were running low on some of the sizes. There was a unisex version and a women's version. They were cotton this time and not tech shirts. That has received some mixed responses. I personally like the cotton shirts, but others prefer the tech shirts.

2014 Inaugural Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon

2014 Inaugural Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon

2014 Inaugural Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon

We spent the rest of the day visiting with friends who were also running the half marathon and getting a first look at all of the holiday decorations in the parks. And as usual we ended our day with our traditional pre-race favorite meal: four cheese ravioli from Boardwalk Pizza & Pasta.

One advantage to our travel schedule is that we were on east coast time. So getting up for a race that starts at 5:30 Pacific time isn't that bad when your body thinks it's 8:30. :-) We went to bed at 8:45 on Saturday night and set a wakeup call for 3:45 a.m. That's pretty close to a full night's sleep! And I know I've said it before but I LOVE the races at Disneyland because we can walk to the start line instead of taking a bus, so there's no reason to get there insanely early.

No rain in the forecast for this race (for which we were very grateful, after last weekend's rainy Wine and Dine run), and in fact the conditions looked really good, with temperatures of 55-64 predicted for the race itself. We arrived at the pre-race area about 4:40. This was a relatively small race, with only about 12,000 registered. (There were 10,449 official finishers.) The pre-race area was not crowded at all, and there weren't even any lines for the porta-potties!

Lee and I had both dressed in costume. He put together a really nice Hawkeye costume, and even carried a bow for the entire race. There weren't very many Hawkeyes in the race, so he got lots of compliments! I did a "Princess Captain America Winter Soldier" look - but there were hundreds of Captain Americas. :-) Lots of Thors, Hulks, and Iron Men, also, not so many Black Widows. Also lots of Supermen, Wonder Women, Batmen and Robins, and Spidermen. I did not see very many runners dressed as traditional Disney characters in this race.

2014 Inaugural Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon

The race started on time - we even had some fireworks at the start, which is unusual for a race at Disneyland. Lee and I were running with our friend Eddie - both Eddie and Lee were in higher corrals, but they came back to Corral D to run with me. As in the Disneyland half marathon, they sent A and B together, then C and D together, then E and F. Those were the smaller corrals. The larger corrals went off individually. As usual, the runners were pretty bunched together at the start, but we started to spread out after about 3/4 of a mile.

2014 Inaugural Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon
2014 Inaugural Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon

The Avengers Half Marathon is a new course. When I first looked at it I was surprised (and disappointed) to see that we would be out of the parks and off Disney property before we even reached mile 3. By way of comparison, the Disneyland half leaves Disney property just before mile 4, and for the Tinker Bell half it's almost mile 6! Upon leaving the parks the Disneyland half heads basically east, Tinker Bell heads north, and this course went south, then east. About mile 6.5 it turns north again on the Santa Ana River Trail for a couple of miles, exiting at Angel Stadium. From there on it's very similar to the Disneyland half, though it takes a loop around some of the off-site hotels near the park to add a little more distance. The last 1.1 miles of the race is identical to the Disneyland half, and it finishes in the traditional place near the Disneyland hotel.

The course map is HERE.

The first park was DCA, and we entered near "a bug's land" and then ran by Luigi's Flying Tires, and turned right to run through Radiator Springs, then left towards Paradise Pier. Lightning McQueen and D.J. were in Radiator Springs. The photo op for Thor was positioned in front of Blue Sky Cellar, and had a very long line. We did not do the traditional loop around Paradise Bay, which really shortened our time in DCA. But even so I was surprised that the World of Color fountains weren't running, nor was the Fun Wheel lit.

2014 Inaugural Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon

We turned right at the Little Mermaid and ran by Redwood Creek, where I saw Dug and Russell. Then we passed Grizzly River Run, and turned left just before Soarin'. Hawkeye was there, and had a relatively short line. Since Lee was dressed as Hawkeye we had to stop. Though the line seemed relatively short, it still took over 5 minutes.

2014 Inaugural Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon

We ran out of DCA and entered the backstage area of Disneyland near the Indiana Jones attraction, then ran into Disneyland itself by Splash Mountain. There were a number of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents (dressed in dark suits) cheering us on. The course took us along the Rivers of America past the Haunted Mansion and Pirates. We saw Black Widow in front of The Golden Horseshoe, but that was the longest line we'd seen and we didn't stop.

2014 Inaugural Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon


We ran past Big Thunder Mountain and the mile 2 sign, and into Fantasyland.

2014 Inaugural Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs were on the Carrousel, though they were far enough away that it was hard to pose with them.

2014 Inaugural Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon

2014 Inaugural Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon

We ran through the castle, which is all covered in its seasonal icicle lights and snow. I do have to say that one very special thing about this race was getting the opportunity to run through the parks when they were decorated for the holidays, though we weren't able to take full advantage of that since we never ran by "it's a small world".

2014 Inaugural Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon

As we ran down Main Street Mickey and Minnie were near the Plaza Inn. Surprisingly they were not dressed in any kind of special costume! I expected some kind of superhero outfit, or at least their runner outfits. Very disappointing. Captain America was near Town Square, and had a huge line - nope, not stopping for that.

From there it was under the train station and out of the park, into the Esplanade, and then left through the shuttle bus/tram area, and out to Harbor Blvd. Done with the parks and we were less than 3 miles into the race. Bummer.

2014 Inaugural Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon

Once we started south on Harbor, we really started to notice the wind. The Santa Ana winds had kicked up, and though at that point it was coming from our left, we could still really feel it. After we ran south on Harbor for about a mile we turned left on Chapman Avenue, and right into the wind. It was blowing leaves and dirt around, especially when the wind gusted, and the going was much more difficult when we were running into the wind. After not quite a mile we turned south into the Christ Cathedral complex (I remember it as the Crystal Cathedral), and that was a huge relief, since we were no longer heading straight into the wind.

2014 Inaugural Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon

The wind really took its toll on the mile markers - starting at mile 3, almost none of them were intact for the rest of the race. Several had blown over completely, and others had just the framework left. Wow.

2014 Inaugural Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon

2014 Inaugural Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon

I was wearing a cape, and depending on the wind direction it was either flowing beautifully or trying to strangle me. :-)

2014 Inaugural Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon

The wind was also a big issue for the volunteers at the water stops, since it was strong enough to blow the tables over! At some locations the tables had been taken down and volunteers were simply pouring water into the cups and handing them out as fast as they could. So it was a difficult day for the volunteers, also.

At about mild 6.5 we went down onto the Santa Ana River Trail. There was a really great mural on the wall!

2014 Inaugural Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon

But it was very windy down there, with lots of dust, even though the trail is paved. We even saw a big tumbleweed that was getting blown along. Eddie and I had given Lee a bad time about wearing his sunglasses because it was dark when we started, but we were wishing we had glasses to help keep the dust out of our eyes.

2014 Inaugural Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon

As part of the on-course entertainment Disney had put a call out for volunteers including Costumers (the more authentic, the better), military vehicles and re-enactors to go with them, and veterans.

2014 Inaugural Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon

The Costumers were placed along the Trail. I thought this was a little bit of an odd choice because it was somewhat narrow, but for morale purposes it was a wonderful location for them. They were really terrific - for one thing they looked amazing! So many different and really well-crafted costumes!

2014 Inaugural Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon

And they were also very enthusiastic, offering plenty of cheers and smiles and high-fives and encouragement. We were really happy to see them, and they made us forget the dust and the wind for a little while.

2014 Inaugural Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon

At about mile 8 we exited the trail and went into the parking lot at Angel Stadium, and then into the stadium itself.

2014 Inaugural Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon

No boy and girl scouts this time, but there were a couple of bands and flag teams, and some other groups in the stands to cheer for us.

2014 Inaugural Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon

After we left the stadium we ran by the other group of volunteers - those with military vehicles, period uniforms, and veterans in uniform. This was another wonderful group of people, and we also appreciated their support so much!

2014 Inaugural Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon
2014 Inaugural Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon

From that point on we were mostly running with the wind at our backs, and that helped, though the gusts were strong enough that I felt like I was going to get blown off my feet several times. Very odd feeling.

2014 Inaugural Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon

The last 4+ miles back to Disneyland were pretty similar to what we've experienced in the past on the Disneyland half marathon course. Lots of cheerleaders and high school bands to cheer us on. Finally at mile 11 we again saw a mile marker sign that was still standing! Mile 12 was completely gone - replaced by a cast member announcing that we were at mile 12. The mile 13 sign was surrounded by people, and it was ok. But that's when Lee decided to sprint, and I had to beat him to the finish line, so there's no photo of it. :-)

2014 Inaugural Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon

2014 Inaugural Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon

My time was 2:42:27. I was kind of surprised it wasn't better, because we didn't stop for that many photos. But the wind made for a very challenging and tiring run - it was a pretty tough day. That said, I'll still take the wind over the rain we had for the Wine and Dine Half Marathon.

2014 Inaugural Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon

The medal is very nice - it's a spinner.

2014 Inaugural Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon

As usual we received the typical runDisney MRE box at the end. Someone (hello, Lori!) asked me recently why I object so much to the boxes. I couldn't put it into words at the time, but in thinking about it I realized that it's largely because here I've been out doing something healthy, running a race, and at the end I get a box that's filled with a bunch of processed food. That just doesn't seem right - it's almost insulting. Disney could do so much better, and in fact other races, that don't charge nearly so much money, do a whole lot better when it comes to post-race refreshments.

2014 Inaugural Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon

The windy conditions continued to affect things even in the finish area. The photo backdrops used by the official race photographers were missing, and most of the tents in the finish area had to be taken down. The awards ceremony was canceled, and runners were encouraged to leave the area fairly quickly. We didn't really have any reason to linger, so we headed back to our hotel.

2014 Inaugural Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon

Because of the wind, I'm not entirely sure what I thought about this race, especially the course. I expected to enjoy the Santa Ana River Trail part a lot, but because of the dust, that area was pretty unpleasant. Obviously that's not Disney's fault since they do not control the weather - not yet, at least. :-)

But they do control the park time, and I'm definitely not a fan of the very limited park time. That aspect of the course was very disappointing. But even so, there were a lot of things that I liked about this course. It was nice to see some different parts of Orange County. In the Disneyland half, I don't really like the tour of the Anaheim industrial park, so I found this course to be an improvement since it gave us a look at some business and residential areas instead. If it weren't for the lack of park time I would choose the Avengers course over the Disneyland course, but the Tinker Bell course is still my overall favorite.

The other area where I see a lot of room for improvement in future Avengers races is the characters. The lines for the characters were so long - you pretty much had to choose which one character you were going to stand in line for. I can't think of any really good way to deal with that, but one thing that I would've loved to have seen was some of the Disney characters in Avengers costumes. They do that with the Star Wars characters - why couldn't they do it with Marvel characters? Or why not bring out the Disney super heroes, like The Incredibles and Frozone? And Rapunzel, Mulan, and Merida are pretty bada$$ princesses.

Other than merchandise, I didn't really experience any issues that I associate with this being an inaugural race. Disneyland has done this before, and they have learned from previous race experiences and made improvements over the years (well, other than the runDisney MREs...).

The volunteers were terrific, and I'm sure it was a more difficult day for them than it would usually be. I really enjoyed the Costumers and the vehicles and all of those in uniform - thank you to all of you for coming out to support us, and a special thank you to the veterans for your service to our country!

We will probably run this race again next year and hope for more typical November conditions. It really is a great time of year for a race weekend, given our usual weather at this time of year.

Thanks for reading, and thank you to all of you who have taken the time to tell me how much you enjoy my running blogs - that means a lot to me. I'm especially humbled by those who have told me that my blogs have inspired them to go out and participate in a Disney race! Good for you, and congratulations on your achievements.


December 13, 2014

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 12/06/14

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Contributing photographer Jason of disneygeek.com sends us these photos from his trip to the parks on Saturday, December 6, 2014.

This weekend is Candlelight weekend at Disneyland. Unlike Walt Disney World, here on the West Coast the Candlelight Processional is still in Town Square and only runs for two nights (4 shows total). This posting takes a look at the Candlelight set-up and Ceremony.

As soon as you enter the park you can see evidence of the event with temporary barriers up on the Main Street Train Station.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 12/06/14

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 12/06/14

Town Square is partially set up this morning. The rest of the chairs will be brought in later in the afternoon.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 12/06/14

A quick walk around the area.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 12/06/14

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 12/06/14

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 12/06/14

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 12/06/14

Jumping ahead now from the early morning until around 4:30, an hour before the Candlelight was to begin. The line for guests with tickets to the Candlelight.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 12/06/14

Found a spot near the Opera House about 45 minutes before show time.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 12/06/14

A CM doing a check at the podium.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 12/06/14

The orchestra began the processional.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 12/06/14

The procession making its way through Town Square to the stage.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 12/06/14

Almost filled in and ready to go.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 12/06/14

The Disney Cast Member choir

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 12/06/14

Showtime!

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 12/06/14

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 12/06/14

The narrator this year, Beau Bridges

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 12/06/14

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 12/06/14

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 12/06/14

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 12/06/14

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 12/06/14

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 12/06/14

A video clip featuring some of Angels We Have Heard on High & What Child Is This?


Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 12/06/14

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 12/06/14

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 12/06/14

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 12/06/14

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 12/06/14

A video clip of Silent Night.


Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 12/06/14

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 12/06/14

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 12/06/14

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 12/06/14

Later in the evening I passed through Town Square just as the second Candlelight of the evening was getting underway. Here is the opposite view, from the City Hall side.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 12/06/14

A quick look at the stage from this side.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 12/06/14


Hope you enjoyed this highlight tour of the Disneyland Resort. For additional photos and details from this trip you can check out the full Disneyland Update I posted on my site, http://disneygeek.com Also be sure to follow me on twitter @disneygeekcom for pictures from the parks.



December 19, 2014

D23 Destination D: Attraction Rewind, Day 1

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DESTINATION D MAGIC BAND WINNERS: Jeff Finger , Chuck Strom and Claude Herbert! Send Deb your address via the Contact Us Form: http://allears.net/forms/feedback.htm


On November 22-23, D23 held its big annual event at the Contemporary Resort in Walt Disney World, "Destination D: Attraction Rewind."

D23 Destination D Attraction Rewind Program

The emphasis on Saturday's schedule was an exploration of the 1964-65 New York World's Fair--a landmark in Disney history due to the four exhibits Disney presented there, all marvels of themed attraction innovation.

(No photography or recording was permitted during the presentations. All photos thereof are courtesy of D23.)

Early Construction at the 1964-65 World's Fair

To start us off, Historian Bill Cotter gave us a general overview in his presentation "Welcome to the World's Fair."

Worlds Fair Historian Bill Cotter

Displaying only a portion of his extensive (22,000!) collection of World's Fair photos (located online at http://www.worldsfairphotos.com/) Cotter took us on a whirlwind tour of the construction and layout of the Fair. Some of the futuristic developments the fair introduced: Phone booths, touch-tone phones, computers, carbon-free copies, and Bel-Gem waffles.

Next up were Disney Legends Marty Sklar and Bob Gurr generally discussing the Disney contributions in "Walt Disney--A Giant at the New York World's Fair."

Disney Legends Marty Sklar and Bob Gurr

With the easy familiarity born of all their cumulative years of Disney service, Sklar and Gurr shared many of their memories developing and experiencing the Fair attractions with Walt and the other classic Imagineers. Two notes they made of Walt's forethought: He had contracts drawn up to take possession of all the attractions he built after the fair for Disneyland (ending a six-year stagnant period;) and the month the Fair opened was the same month he began quietly purchasing land in Florida.

Walt Disney's its a small world New York Worlds Fair

Because neither Sklar or Gurr worked extensively on "it's a small world," video segments were played with Disney Legends Richard Sherman and Rolly Crump talking about their contributions on that attraction.

Photos of its a small world from the World's Fair

Interview with Disney Legends Bob Gurr and Marty Sklar

After a short break, Historian Stacia Martin shared with us "Disney Music Magic at the New York World's Fair."

Disney Historian Stacia Martin

Martin played a number of musical selections for us, including some of the impressive orchestral scores Buddy Baker came up with for Mr. Lincoln and Carousel, proof-of-concept recordings for the iasw roundelay, and George Bruns' many and varied musical adaptations for the Ford queue, as played by the Autoparts Harmonic.

Autoparts Harmonic Photo

The first of the Disney Fair pavilions discussed was "Great Moments With Mr. Lincoln," with 2007 Disney Ambassador and Historian Michael Kelley and Imagineer Jack Gladish.

Michael Kelley and Jack Gladish

Interview with Imagineer Jack Gladish

The two went back over the history of Audio-Animatronic development from the Buddy Ebsen "Dancing Man" footage to the problems making forehead plastic crinkle when Lincoln moved his eyebrows. (Oddly enough, no thought at all was apparently given to this when Gary Sinese taped his "Mission: Space" footage right after botox.)

Artist Rendering of Mr. Lincoln

The initial presentation of the Lincoln figure was so impressive, the Illinois Commission was able to convince Robert Moses, Head of the World's Fair Corporation, to pitch in money for it--the only financial support he gave to any exhibitor--just so he could have the pavilion in the Fair.

After lunch we reconvened to hear Bill Cotter and Bob Gurr return to the stage to talk about Walt, cars, and dinosaurs in "Ford's Magic Skyway."

Bill Cotter and Bob Gurr

Sadly, this is the one ride that did not make it back to Disneyland, as Walt apparently deemed the ride system too large to take back and fit into the park. Consequently, his contracts for the Skyway were written for him to be able to take the dinosaurs and a few other small pieces, and leave the rest.

Fords Magic Skyway at New York World's Fair

The presentation ended with a video ride through reconstruction which is the closest any of us will get to riding Ford's Magic Skyway today.

[For more concept pictures on this ride, I refer you back to a blog I wrote on the 2010 Destination D, when we were still allowed to take photos: http://land.allears.net/blogs/lauragilbreath/2010/10/destination_d_day_1_pm.html]

Marty Sklar then returned as well, to talk with Imagineer Gary Landrum about the making of "Carousel of Progress."

Marty Sklar and Gary Landrum

The two went through a brief history of the attraction, detailing its proposed origin for the unrealized Edison Square, then its first life in Progressland, and again, to its subsequent existence in Disneyland's Tomorrowland.

Carousel of Progress

Carousel of Progress

Tim O'Day, standing in for an absent Alice Davis, had a chat with Disney Legend and assistant manager of the Disney World's Fair projects, Bill Sullivan about "it's a small world," and some of the Imagineers that worked on it.

Marc Davis, Walt Disney, and Mary Blair

Artist Rendering its a small world

Interview with Disney Legend Bill "Sully" Sullivan, Worlds Fair Historian Bill Cotter and Imagineer Gary Landrum

Next up was Walt Disney Archives Director Becky Cline, who gave us a fascinating look at some proposed projects that did not come to fruition in "Lost on the Way to the World's Fair." The highlight was a presentation of the script and concept art (long misattributed to the Tiki Room,) for a theater show pitched for the Coke Pavilion, entitled "Legends of the Enchanted Island."

Legends of the Enchanted Island

The first day of Destination D presentations then closed out with "Tomorrowland's" Supervising Art Director Ramsey Avery, discussing the work that was done for the film to reconstruct parts of the World's Fair in "A Sneak Peak at Disney's Tomorrowland."

Ramsey Avery

While they did show some footage just for the Destination D event, you can get a quick glimpse of some of their work in the recently released trailer:

SPECIAL BONUS:

Here's how you can win a special Destination D Magic Band! Simply leave a comment below about Destination D Attraction Rewind OR leave a comment on one of the videos posted in this blog between now and midnight December 24, 2014. We will pick a comment at random for the Magic Band!

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...And that was just the first day! More from the second day of Destination D: Attraction Rewind, to come!

December 22, 2014

D23 Destination D: Attraction Rewind, Day 2

jeaninebanner.jpg

DESTINATION D MAGIC BAND WINNERS: Jeff Finger , Chuck Strom and Claude Herbert! Send Deb your address via the Contact Us Form: http://allears.net/forms/feedback.htm


On November 22-23, D23 held its big annual event at the Contemporary Resort in Walt Disney World, "Destination D: Attraction Rewind."

Day 1 emphasized the contributions Walt Disney made to the 1964-65 New York World's Fair, which I outlined here: http://land.allears.net/blogs/lauragilbreath/2014/12/d23_destination_d_attraction_r.html Day 2 was focused on attractions, and references to attractions, which have either been removed from the parks, or never made it to fruition.

(No photography or recording was permitted during the presentations. All photos thereof are courtesy of D23.)

The morning started off with a bonus showing of the 1982 3-D film shown at both the Imagination Pavilion in EPCOT and the Magic Eye Theater in Disneyland, "Magic Journeys." From the crowd reaction, it was evident that this long-departed visualization of a child's imagination still has its devoted adherents.

Our second surprise of the day was a virtual ride-through of the never-realized "Enchanted Snow Palace" attraction. The short film took us on a tour of the incredibly charming Marc Davis concept art, set to a score that Buddy Baker had created for it, produced by Jeff Crawford.

Marc Davis' Enchanted Snow Palace

The first presentation of the day was "Disneyland: Fond Memories of the Past," featuring the ever-charming Historian Stacia Martin and Walt Disney Archives Director Becky Cline sharing their recollections of Disneyland attractions that are no more.

Walt Disney Archives Director Becky Cline

Disney Historian and Artist Stacia Martin

Among the many fondly remembered landmarks was the Skull Rock waterfall formation that overlooked the Pirate Ship Restaurant in Disneyland's original Fantasyland. They were sadly lost in the tradeoff for a less-crowded layout in the 1983 New Fantasyland construction.

Skull Rock at Disneyland

Tomorrowland has seen its share of changes as well, with one of the more notable losses being "Adventure Thru Inner Space."

Adventures Through Inner Space

Opened in 1967 as part of "New Tomorrowland," it continued to shrink guests through its Mighty Microscope until its closure in 1986 to make way for "Star Tours."

Interview with Stacia Martin and Becky Cline:


After a short break, programming resumed with Imagineer Jason Grandt moderating a panel of Disney Legends Tony Baxter and Charlie Ridgeway on memories of past Walt Disney World this time, in "Widen Your World."

Imagineer Jason Grandt, Disney Legend Tony Baxter, Disney Legend Charlie Ridgeway

The three reminisced about some of their favorite retired WDW attractions including the Mickey Mouse Revue--once situated where "Mickey's Philharmagic" is today.

Mickey Mouse Revue

This animatronic-heavy show was the only attraction that was actually relocated to Tokyo Disneyland rather than recreated. It was replaced in 2009 there for "Mickey's Philharmagic," as well.

Another perennial favorite was the Eastern Airline-sponsored "If You Had Wings."

If You Had Wings

Fondly remembered as a free ride, in an era where most attractions cost a ticket for entry, the whirlwind tour of Eastern Airlines destinations closed in 1987, at the current site of "Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin."


Interview with Disney Legend Charlie Ridgeway:



Next up, Jason Grandt returned to the stage with fellow Imagineer Wyatt Winter to talk about "Retro Rewind References"--the little easter eggs they've included in present-day attractions, that call back to their extinct brethren.

Imagineer Jason Grandt

In the Town Square Theater, Mickey is shown to have mail on which all the stamps reference past attractions, while the recently-redone queue of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad features references to "The Apple Dumpling Gang," "Those Calloways," and Discovery Bay's Jason Chandler.

Imagineer Wyatt Winter

Interview with Imagineers Jason Grandt and Wyatt Winter:


After the lunch break, Tony Baxter returned to deliver what was the highlight of the weekend for many, "The Discovery Bay Chronicles."

Disney Legend Tony Baxter

This was an in-depth look at a land (and then a separate theme park) concept conceived by Baxter and developed with Disney Legend Harper Goff. Set on the California coast in the 1800's, Discovery Bay would have been loosely tied in with the soon-to-be-released Disney movie "The Island at the Top of the World." With a heavy steampunk aesthetic, and visually anchored by the dirigible "Hyperion," from the movie, the land would have encompassed an E-Ticket flight on the Hyperion, dining experiences on the Nautilus, a fireworks themed shooting gallery, and much much more.

Artist Rendering Discovery Bay

A trailer was even produced and shown to the D23 audience for a companion TV series "The Discovery Bay Chronicles," starring Peter Renaday as Discovery Bay founder Jason Chandler. This series would have served to give backstory on the new land, while building audience anticipation for it, as Walt did on TV for the opening of Disneyland.

The concept was so compelling, Baxter was told to work it up as a separate gate altogether for Disneyland. Unfortunately, as work went forward on it, "Island at the Top of the World" opened and sadly underperformed at the box office, causing Disney management to lose all confidence in the idea.

Aspects of the land still exist here and there, however--the dirigible and Nautilus both make an appearance at Discoveryland in Disneyland Paris; The Firework Factory became a restaurant in Pleasure Island; Tokyo DisneySea has Mysterious Island, which has a marked steampunk motif; and a gallery of illusions, "Professor Marvel's Gallery," evolved into Journey into Imagination.

Professor Marvel's Gallery

Interview with Tony Baxter:


After this extensive glimpse at an amazing land concept, we then got to see Imagineers Dave Minichiello and Pam Rawlins tackle the unenviable task of following Baxter with "An Evolution of Make Believe Made Real," going over the development of the new Magic Kingdom attraction, the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.

Imagineers Dave Minichiello and Pam Rawlings

They made a point of showing the great effort that went into making many of the details in the ride match the original 1937 film. It was obviously a labor of love and it was not at all their fault that they were by then facing a roomful of people resentful about not being able to ride a dirigible.

The final presentation of the weekend came from the very funny Disney Legend Ron Logan, who was responsible for creating, casting, and producing all live entertainment products for The Walt Disney Company during his tenure.

Disney Legend Ron Logan

In "That Was Entertainment!" he went through some of the trials and tribulations involved in a handful of past spectacles he developed, including "Skyleidoscope," "The EPCOT Dare Devil Circus Spectacular," "Light Magic," and "Spectromagic."

Epcot Entertainment

Interview with Disney Legend Ron Logan

In between presentations, our host for the weekend, D23"ēs Marketing Director Kristan Rodack, introduced mini-segments which usually introduced additional experiences open to Destination D guests. In "Computer Central Reboot," iPads were set up in another room with the original World Key games and videos to simulate going to Communicore at EPCOT back in the day. In a look forward, Rodack and Carl Allen from Disney Parks introduced a new "Show Your Disney Side" app that can transform your photos into your favorite Disney characters.

Kristin Rodack and Carl Allen Show Your Disney Side

A small exhibit of related items from the Archives was on display as well, in "Treasure of the Walt Disney Archives."

Disney Archives Exhibit

Disney Archives Exhibit

On one of the days, a working Mold-A-Rama machine was set up and guests could watch it running while it churned out plastic figurines.

Mold-A-Rama machine

On the whole, and having been to all the Destination D's D23 has produced so far, I would say that I thought this one had the best programming to date (I am biased however, because the 1964-65 NYWF has always been my top destination for when we develop time travel.) The speakers were great and the concept art ride-through videos they've begun to develop for a lot of these unrealized/retired attractions are a wonderful way to experience something that does not physically exist.

Destination D: Attraction Rewind showcased some of the best the Disney Parks has historically offered. Looking back at all the amazing experiences they've developed, from Magic Skyway, to If You Had Wings, to Discovery Bay, to Skyleidoscope, there is an ambition and an optimism and a joyfulness that pervades all of them. Given how often we find those qualities missing in present day times, inside and outside the parks, it's a wonderful gift to be able to revisit and appreciate them all over again.

SPECIAL BONUS:

Here's how you can win a special Destination D Magic Band! Simply leave a comment below about Destination D Attraction Rewind OR leave a comment on one of the videos posted in this blog between now and midnight December 22, 2014. We will pick a comment at random for the Magic Band!

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December 24, 2014

Into the Woods: Press Conference with the Cast

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"I wish...
More than anything...
More than life...
More than jewels...
More than the moon..."
--Prologue: "Into the Woods"

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For Christmas this year, Rob Marshall and Walt Disney Studios are giving the cinema-going public "Into the Woods."

In preparation for opening, the studio held a screening and press conference with some of the the film's star-studded cast, costume designer, and director.

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(No posed photos or video were allowed during the course of the roundtable discussions. Audio selections from the Q&A follow.)

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WARNING: SPOILERS THROUGHOUT ALL THE INTERVIEWS. PLAY AUDIO AT YOUR OWN RISK

First up was the hilarious duo of Tracy (Jack's Mother) Ullman, and Christine (Stepmother) Baranski.

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Next was Costume Designer Colleen Atwood.

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We were then joined by Director Rob Marshall.

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The morning ended with three of the film's stars, Emily (The Baker's Wife) Blunt, Anna (Cinderella) Kendrick, and James (The Baker) Corden.

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"Into the Woods," rated PG, will be released in theaters December 25, 2014.

December 25, 2014

Review: Into the Woods

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"Into the woods to get the thing
That makes it worth the journeying.
Into the woods to see the King--
To sell the cow--
To make the potion...
To go to the Festival--!
Into the woods!
Into the woods!
Into the woods,
Then out of the woods...
And home before dark!"

--Prologue: Into the Woods

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"Into the Woods," Rob Marshall's filmic adaptation of Stephen Sondheim's classic stage musical of the same name, is an amalgamation of fairy tales, both old and new, put under a contemporary scrutiny.

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The story revolves largely around the unnamed "Baker" and "Baker's Wife" whose desperate wish for a child drives them to enter the eponymous Woods to gather potion ingredients for their neighbor, the Witch. They learn that, as a result of a wrong the Baker's father did to the Witch, she cursed his household with sterility--a curse that can only be lifted if the couple can make the potion for the Witch by the end of the Blue Moon in three days time.

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Also entering into the Woods to achieve their aims, are Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, and Jack the Giant Killer.Their stories play out pretty much as you might expect, and by the end of the first half, all that was wrong is now put right, with everyone who deserved it, destined to live Happy Ever After...

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...Or at least until the second act, in which we learn that real life is rarely as simple or pat as that in fairy tales.

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"Into the Woods" faces the always-interesting challenge of translating a stage play into a film--a medium very different in what it showcases well and what it does not. The intimacy of the close-up and realism of location shooting require a different sort of storytelling than that of the Broadway stage, and some of the changes made reflect that. The bulk of the musical numbers survive into the film with the ones eliminated referencing character traits or story details that didn't make the screenplay. As an example, the song "No More," resolving the issues between the Baker and his Father in the play, becomes less necessary when the character of the Father was largely removed. One of my personal favorites, "Maybe They're Magic," from the first half, may have been taken out in an attempt to make the Baker's Wife less morally ambiguous, although there is then less foreshadowing for some of her more questionable decisions later in the story.

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The cast does an admirable job with the score, which is as challenging as a Sondheim score usually is. The songs seem sung a little slower than in the original soundtrack, however that might be more for increasing the clarity for the audience than a lack of musical adroitness. Meryl Streep is the star, and even if you have not quite forgiven her for dissing Walt Disney earlier this year, there is no denying that she possesses the part of the Witch with a vengeance. Johnny Depp as the Wolf manages to make a big impression with a relatively small part, and somehow seems less creepy in an outfit one moviegoer described as "part wolf and part pimp," than he did as Willy Wonka.

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Child roles are always problematic, and the parts of Red Riding Hood and Jack can sometimes be played gratingly irritating, but Lilla Crawford and Daniel Huttlestone do a phenomenal job of making the parts likeable and understandable. Crawford in particular gives Red a nice element of pragmatism that is mirrored in all the other female characters of the story, as opposed to the generally less effective male characters.

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If there's one number you're going to remember, however, it's likely to be Chris (Cinderella's Prince) Pine and Billy (Rapunzel's Prince) Magnussen's "Agony," in which the narcissistic, shallow princes bewail the unusual and novel (for them) tortures of not immediately getting what they want. Tearing up the scenery like male models in an Old Spice commercial, they do a hilarious performance that makes the elimination of the second act reprise a crime.

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The main flaw of "Into the Woods" the film, is probably the same flaw of "Into the Woods" the play, which is the mildly unsettled second act. The first half, following the traditional fairy tale molds, has a nice traditional storytelling arc that wraps up all the problems neatly. The second half shows the rapid unraveling of those ends, as "happy ever after" is shown to be largely an illusion. In one sense, the film is a victim of its more visually straightforward nature, as a confrontation with a giant, dealt with more or less off-stage in the original, must be shown and proves to be somewhat puzzling as to how it would practically work. There has also always been some incongruity present in the end, as in the big finale "No One is Alone," the cast sings about how "witches can be right/giants can be good..." but apparently it's ok to kill them anyway?

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People who study such things note that in fairy tales, the Woods represents a place of metamorphosis--an unknown territory where people enter on the road to maturation, to discover what they want and who they want to be. All the characters of "Into the Woods" walk in with clearly defined wishes and goals and emerge triumphant at the half-way point. But what happens after? Real Life doesn't just stop after you reach a high-water mark--it keeps marching along, messy and unclear and ambiguous, and perhaps it's fitting after all, that the film's ending is equally inconclusive.

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Ultimately, there are many different messages that can be taken away from "Into the Woods:" "You can't get what you want until you know what you want;" "being nice and good is not the same as being right;" "all people are connected on some level;" "wishes come true, not free." Perhaps the most practical one I took away was "don't live next door to a witch."

"Into the Woods" is rated PG. It stars Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt, James Corden, Anna Kendrick, Chris Pine, Daniel Huttlestone, Tracey Ullman, Christine Baranski, Lilla Crawford, and Johnny Depp.

"Into the woods, each time you go,
There's more to learn of what you know.
Into the woods, but not too slow--"

Directed by Rob Marshall and produced by John DeLuca, Rob Marshall, Marc Platt, and Callum McDougal. Screenplay by James Lapine. Based on the musical by Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine, Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim.

"Into the woods to mind the Wolf,
To heed the Witch,
To honor the Giant...
To go to the Festival!
Into the woods,
Into the woods,
Into the woods,
Then out of the woods--
And happy ever after!"

The film enters general release on December 25, 2014.

"I wish..."

December 28, 2014

Arendelle Added to Storybook Land at Disneyland

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Contributing photographer Jason of disneygeek.com sends us these photos from his trip to the parks on Friday, December 19, 2014. This posting will focus on the Frozen additions to the parks. Frozen Fun officially starts January 7, but a preview of the offerings was scheduled to start on December 20. As of Friday only one piece was ready to go and that was the Arendelle addition to Storybook Land. The rest of the offerings were still being worked on at the time of Jason's trip.

Hollywood Land at Disney California Adventure will be the epicenter for Frozen Fun. The archways leading to the Backlot area have been repainted blue.

Arendelle Added to Storybook Land at Disneyland

Some blue around the stage, but not many other visible changes. The House of Cards signage is still up though.

Arendelle Added to Storybook Land at Disneyland

The lights have been swapped out and are all blue and white now.

Arendelle Added to Storybook Land at Disneyland

The Drink Me bar has a new color scheme. No new name visible yet.

Arendelle Added to Storybook Land at Disneyland

The Muppets signage has been removed and the sing along sign installed.

Arendelle Added to Storybook Land at Disneyland

The other archway has been painted the same and crews are working on the entrance walkway.

Arendelle Added to Storybook Land at Disneyland

A sign on Stage 17 for Olaf's Snow Fest!

Arendelle Added to Storybook Land at Disneyland
Stopped by the Animation Building next. The Character Close-Up signage has snow flakes now in preparation for the Frozen sisters to move in. (This area opened up on Saturday morning).
Arendelle Added to Storybook Land at Disneyland

The Grotto area is closed off. Wonder if Frozen is taking over there too?

Arendelle Added to Storybook Land at Disneyland

Olaf has been added to the Animation Academy sign.

Arendelle Added to Storybook Land at Disneyland

Back outside you can see the Prop shop is being converted into the Trading Post.

Arendelle Added to Storybook Land at Disneyland

A check of the Muppets queue. Still some Muppet props and signage out.

Arendelle Added to Storybook Land at Disneyland

Further down the queue the props have been removed.

Arendelle Added to Storybook Land at Disneyland

Now a quick look from the Monorail.

Arendelle Added to Storybook Land at Disneyland

Arendelle Added to Storybook Land at Disneyland


The kingdom of Arendelle from Frozen has replaced the Old Mill scene in Storybook Land. Here are some pictures from Casey Jr.

Arendelle Added to Storybook Land at Disneyland

Arendelle Added to Storybook Land at Disneyland

Off to the right is the Wandering Oaken's Trading Post

Arendelle Added to Storybook Land at Disneyland

A closer look (better pictures from the boat in a few pages)

Arendelle Added to Storybook Land at Disneyland


Now for a water level view from the Storybook Land Canal Boats.

Arendelle Added to Storybook Land at Disneyland

Approaching Arendelle from Frozen

Arendelle Added to Storybook Land at Disneyland
The ice castle

Arendelle Added to Storybook Land at Disneyland

Arendelle Added to Storybook Land at Disneyland

Arendelle Added to Storybook Land at Disneyland

Wandering Oaken's Trading Post

Arendelle Added to Storybook Land at Disneyland


Work continues on the Frozen Fun area after dark.

Arendelle Added to Storybook Land at Disneyland

In Off the Page one wall is now all Frozen.

Arendelle Added to Storybook Land at Disneyland


Hope you enjoyed this highlight tour looking at the Frozen additions to the Disneyland Resort. We'll have more in the coming weeks.

For additional photos and details from this trip you can check out the full Disneyland Update I posted on my site, http://disneygeek.com Also be sure to follow me on twitter @disneygeekcom for pictures from the parks.



December 29, 2014

Animal Kingdom - Walt Disney World Construction Update

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Contributing photographer Jason of disneygeek.com sends us these photos.

In December I spent at week on the East Coast at Walt Disney World. If you follow my regular posts from Disneyland you know I enjoy looking at what changed and is changing around the parks. AllEars asked me to share some of the construction pictures I took as I explored Walt Disney World. This four-post series will look at Animal Kingdom, Magic Kingdom, Disney Springs, and the Polynesian Village Resort and feature a subset of my pictures. If you would like to view more from this trip here is my trip summary with links. This part takes a look at the projects at Disney's Animal Kingdom.

Approaching the park you can see a couple of cranes above the tree line where work on the Avatar area is progressing.

Animal Kingdom at WDW Construction Update

As the bus pulls in you get a glimpse of the construction. Not much is visible yet.

Animal Kingdom at WDW Construction Update

Walls are up on Discovery Island as work is done to widen the walkways.

Animal Kingdom at WDW Construction Update

The old line board is gone and the area is open now.

Animal Kingdom at WDW Construction Update

Out in Africa, Harambe is expanding. Not much is visible from this area. (This is taken from near the pretzel stand.)

Animal Kingdom at WDW Construction Update

A closer look reveals little.

Animal Kingdom at WDW Construction Update

This wall is at the end of the walkway past the Harambe Theatre, by the restrooms. Beyond it will be a walkway to the Avatar area.

Animal Kingdom at WDW Construction Update

Near Pizzafari on the former walkway to Camp Minnie-Mickey, another wall blocks the Avatar project.

Animal Kingdom at WDW Construction Update

You can read more about the AVATAR land project and see some artists' renderings HERE.

Between Flame Tree BBQ and Dinoland there's a project under way, too.

Animal Kingdom at WDW Construction Update

Earth is being moved around to create a viewing area for the Rivers of Light show.

Animal Kingdom at WDW Construction Update

Walls are up around most of the lagoon. This stretch is between the Theater in the Wild and Dinoland.

Animal Kingdom at WDW Construction Update

Some of the wall/tarp is more festive near Expedition Everest

Animal Kingdom at WDW Construction Update

Animal Kingdom at WDW Construction Update

Animal Kingdom at WDW Construction Update

A general renovation under way in the gibbons habitat in Asia.

Animal Kingdom at WDW Construction Update

Animal Kingdom at WDW Construction Update

A better look at the Rivers of Light work from the Flame Tree dining area.

Animal Kingdom at WDW Construction Update

Animal Kingdom at WDW Construction Update

Animal Kingdom at WDW Construction Update

A couple days later, new trees in the Harambe expansion.

Animal Kingdom at WDW Construction Update

A look at the project from the Wildlife Express

Animal Kingdom at WDW Construction Update

Animal Kingdom at WDW Construction Update

Animal Kingdom at WDW Construction Update

Pangani Forest Trail had the aviary and hippo area blocked off. This wall is at the outlook.

Animal Kingdom at WDW Construction Update

The Harambe expansion from the bridge.

Animal Kingdom at WDW Construction Update

A better shot of the wall from the other day, without the rain.

Animal Kingdom at WDW Construction Update

To close out, several shots of the Rivers of Light project:

Animal Kingdom at WDW Construction Update

Animal Kingdom at WDW Construction Update

Animal Kingdom at WDW Construction Update

Animal Kingdom at WDW Construction Update

Animal Kingdom at WDW Construction Update

Not much is known yet about the Rivers of Light show, but you can read a little about it and see some concept art HERE.


Hope you enjoyed this look at Disney's Animal Kingdom. For additional photos and details from this trip you can check out the full Trip Update I posted on my site, http://disneygeek.com Also be sure to follow me on twitter @disneygeekcom for pictures from the parks.



December 30, 2014

The Polynesian Village at Walt Disney World Construction Update

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Contributing photographer Jason of disneygeek.com sends us these photos.

In December I spent at week on the East Coast at Walt Disney World. If you follow my regular posts from Disneyland you know I enjoy looking at what changed and is changing around the parks. AllEars asked me to share some of the construction pictures I took as I explored Walt Disney World. This four-post series will look at Animal Kingdom, Magic Kingdom, Disney Springs, and the Polynesian Village Resort and feature a subset of my pictures. If you would like to view more from this trip here is my trip summary with links.

This part takes a look at the projects at the Polynesian Village Resort.

The lobby area was behind curtains at the time (it opened a few days after I left).

Polynesian Village at WDW Construction Update

A preview of the lobby and new light fixture, thanks to a curtain that was askew.

Polynesian Village at WDW Construction Update

Work continues on the longhouses to convert the rooms to DVC units.

Polynesian Village at WDW Construction Update

The rock work for the volcano at the pool is being redone.

Polynesian Village at WDW Construction Update

Polynesian Village at WDW Construction Update

A look at the Disney Vacation Club Bungalows from the dock.

Polynesian Village at WDW Construction Update

The beach area has turned into a work yard.

Polynesian Village at WDW Construction Update


A small section of beach was open for resort guests between the DVC and the pool projects.

Polynesian Village at WDW Construction Update

A closer look at a bungalow.

Polynesian Village at WDW Construction Update

Hanging chairs were being installed on the patio.

Polynesian Village at WDW Construction Update

Trees being planting on the peninsula that the bungalows surround.

Polynesian Village at WDW Construction Update

Polynesian Village at WDW Construction Update

I guessed that this is a spa/hot tub off of the master bedroom. The other patio door could be the family room.

Polynesian Village at WDW Construction Update

Polynesian Village at WDW Construction Update

A look at the bungalows from a launch heading to the Magic Kingdom.

Polynesian Village at WDW Construction Update

A look from the Magic Kingdom ferry boat.

Polynesian Village at WDW Construction Update

Polynesian Village at WDW Construction Update

Polynesian Village at WDW Construction Update

Polynesian Village at WDW Construction Update

You can read more about the new bungalow units and see some concept artwork HERE.


Hope you enjoyed this look at the Magic Kingdom. For additional photos and details from this trip you can check out the full Trip Update I posted on my site, http://disneygeek.com Also be sure to follow me on twitter @disneygeekcom for pictures from the parks.


December 31, 2014

Disney Springs Walt Disney World Construction Update

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Contributing photographer Jason of disneygeek.com sends us these photos.

In December I spent at week on the East Coast at Walt Disney World. If you follow my regular posts from Disneyland you know I enjoy looking at what changed and is changing around the parks. AllEars asked me to share some of the construction pictures I took as I explored Walt Disney World. This four-post series will look at Animal Kingdom, Magic Kingdom, Disney Springs, and the Polynesian Village Resort and feature a subset of my pictures. If you would like to view more from this trip here is my trip summary with links.

This part takes a look at the projects at Downtown Disney, which is transforming into Disney Springs.

A look at the new causeway from near the Rainforest Cafe:

Disney Springs Walt Disney World Construction Update

Disney Springs Walt Disney World Construction Update

A new dock/deck that extends out in the lake near Ghirardelli.

Disney Springs Walt Disney World Construction Update

Looking back toward where I took the first couple pictures.

Disney Springs Walt Disney World Construction Update

This section of the causeway looks complete

Disney Springs Walt Disney World Construction Update

Taken from near the LEGO store

Disney Springs Walt Disney World Construction Update

A closer look at the bridge element in the middle.

Disney Springs Walt Disney World Construction Update

The railings are being installed.

Disney Springs Walt Disney World Construction Update

The Boathouse is taking shape.

Disney Springs Walt Disney World Construction Update

(Here's the press release on what the Boathouse will be.)

The restroom building has Disney Springs signage

Disney Springs Walt Disney World Construction Update

Disney Springs Walt Disney World Construction Update

Concept art on the wall for the Boathouse

Disney Springs Walt Disney World Construction Update

A closer look at the Boathouse

Disney Springs Walt Disney World Construction Update

Next door the Hanger

Disney Springs Walt Disney World Construction Update

A dock extending from the Boathouse

Disney Springs Walt Disney World Construction Update

The Boathouse

Disney Springs Walt Disney World Construction Update

A small performance space between the Boathouse and Hanger

Disney Springs Walt Disney World Construction Update

The Pleasure Island signage has been replaced with Springs Bottling Co.

Disney Springs Walt Disney World Construction Update

A Disney Springs lamp post

Disney Springs Walt Disney World Construction Update

The water under the bridge connecting Pleasure Island and the West Side and extending to Planet Hollywood has been drained for a project.

Disney Springs Walt Disney World Construction Update

The high line section near Starbucks is new since my last trip (which was in April)

Disney Springs Walt Disney World Construction Update

The Boathouse and Hanger from a distance.

Disney Springs Walt Disney World Construction Update

Another section of high line going in near Splitsville

Disney Springs Walt Disney World Construction Update

In the background you can see the new parking structure

Disney Springs Walt Disney World Construction Update

A better view taking from near Cirque du Soleil

Disney Springs Walt Disney World Construction Update

Here you can see a bridge connecting the second floor of the garage to Downtown Disney so guests will not have to cross the street below.

Disney Springs Walt Disney World Construction Update

In the distance the ramps that will feed cars directly into and out of the garage from an I4 exit passing over Buena Vista Blvd are taking shape.

Disney Springs Walt Disney World Construction Update

Disney Springs Walt Disney World Construction Update

Looking across the lake from the West Side

Disney Springs Walt Disney World Construction Update

The Hanger

Disney Springs Walt Disney World Construction Update

The Boathouse

Disney Springs Walt Disney World Construction Update

Disney Springs Walt Disney World Construction Update

The Food Truck Park has opened since my last visit. Today two trucks only.

Disney Springs Walt Disney World Construction Update

A high line section by the Food Truck Park

Disney Springs Walt Disney World Construction Update

Concept art on the wall near Planet Hollywood.

Disney Springs Walt Disney World Construction Update

Disney Springs Walt Disney World Construction Update

A large structure that will be the pedestrian entrance to the garage taking shape between Planet Hollywood and the theaters.

Disney Springs Walt Disney World Construction Update

But for now you can walk through the construction walls to reach it.

Disney Springs Walt Disney World Construction Update

Part of the structure is open for guests to use now.

Disney Springs Walt Disney World Construction Update

Eventually this will be a road that goes between the structure and Disney Springs. For now though its a wide walkway.

Disney Springs Walt Disney World Construction Update

The bridge from the garage to entrance structure.

Disney Springs Walt Disney World Construction Update

The first floor of the garage features escalators and elevators to reach the upper floors

Disney Springs Walt Disney World Construction Update

Of course I had to go up and check it out. (Who else flies cross-country to visit a parking structure?)

Disney Springs Walt Disney World Construction Update

A look at the cars parked on the first level.

Disney Springs Walt Disney World Construction Update

The second floor. To the left a bank of elevators.

Disney Springs Walt Disney World Construction Update

The entrance structure. Looks like it will have escalators, stairs, and elevators.

Disney Springs Walt Disney World Construction Update

A typical parking row, notice the sensors above.

Disney Springs Walt Disney World Construction Update

A closer look. Once operational these will indicate if there is a car in the spot or not. So you can tell be glancing down an aisle if there are open spots.

Disney Springs Walt Disney World Construction Update

A look out to the former parking lot area. It is closed and used for construction parking only. A second parking structure will be built here soon.

Disney Springs Walt Disney World Construction Update

A closer look.

Disney Springs Walt Disney World Construction Update

Hope you enjoyed this look at Disney Springs. For additional photos and details from this trip you can check out the full Trip Update I posted on my site, http://disneygeek.com Also be sure to follow me on twitter @disneygeekcom for pictures from the parks.



Return to Blog Central

About December 2014

This page contains all entries posted to Salute to All Things Disney but Mostly Disneyland in December 2014. They are listed from oldest to newest.

November 2014 is the previous archive.

January 2015 is the next archive.

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