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April 11, 2014

Happy (Early) 50th Anniversary, "it's a small world!"

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On April 10th, Disney Parks celebrated (a few days early,) the 50th anniversary of "it's a small world's" debut at the 1964 New York's World Fair. As a part of the event, Richard Sherman, who with his brother Robert Sherman composed the song "It's A Small World," led a sing-along cavalcade of it down Main Street USA.

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[Fun fact: With all the parks world-wide, the Sun never sets on "It's A Small World"--the tune is always playing in one of the rides around the clock.]

Imagineer Kim Irvine, Art Director for Disneyland Park, Walt Disney Imagineering, was also on hand for the festivities. She oversaw the 2008 refurbishment of the ride at Disneyland that saw the addition of established character dolls and the North American room.

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Some quotes from Disney Cast Members past and present concerning "it's a small world:"

Kim Irvine: "I think that when adults enter Disneyland, they feel like kids again...Everyone is happy together. Strangers smile at one another. And that is what 'it's a small world' represents. It makes us feel good."

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Alice Davis, Disney Legend and Imagineering Costume Designer for "it's a small world:" "I asked Walt how much I could spend and he looked at me and cocked his eyebrow, like he did sometimes, and said, 'We don't think like that here. I want you to do whatever it takes to make these look like dolls every woman in the world would want to have.'"

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Bruce Vaughn, Chief Creative Executive, Walt Disney Imagineering: "'it's a small world' is an attraction about global harmony, celebrating the beauty of people coming together. Its enduring song is literally the soundtrack to the ideals of peace, unity and friendship, while the colorful cast of international dolls captures the essence of childlike wonder and optimism."

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Richard Sherman: "When Robert and I sat down to write this song, we were given very explicit instructions: A simple song that would convey the message that we have a very small world to live on, we all have the same problems, the same joys, the same sorrows--we share these things. Let's learn how to live together, respect each other and give each other room to just get along. Those were our instructions; Walt gave them to us directly, and so we were very, very moved by those thoughts."

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Good Morning America celebrated with this video segment on the history of the attraction, including a big, world-wide sing-a-long of the famous song.

Disney Parks has also posted the video of the Google+ Hangout Richard Sherman did that day, which took place in front of iasw. It's on the long side, but Richard Sherman is always worth it.

Of course, while we acknowledge the 50th anniversary of it's a small world, we also commemorate the other attractions that also debuted at the World's Fair on April 22, 1964: "Progressland," aka "Walt Disney's Carousel of Progress;" "Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln;" and the Primeval World diorama from "Ford Magic Skyway."

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Here's to 50 more turns around the sun with all these wonderful attractions!

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Check out our Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom Celebration Blog!

More information about the anniversary events can be found at SmallWorld50.com

May 28, 2013

Mickey and the Magical Map

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On May 25th, Fantasyland Theatre (née Videopolis) debuted a new live show, "Mickey and the Magical Map." At a preview for the media, Disneyland President Michael Colglazier made an appearance to introduce it.

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Mickey, apparently in the middle of his preparations to go onstage as the show's star, joined him in welcoming everyone.

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The background for all the numbers is made up of an innovative LED screen which features nearly 1 million pixels and 35,000 square inches. It moves in sections, on wagons that weigh more than 9,000 lbs each.

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Without giving too much away...The story begins with the Sorcerer Yen Sid (perhaps familiar from the Epic Mickey games) directing his Mapmakers to paint a map able to transport dreamers to all the places they imagine.

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Video of the entire show:

[SPOILERS follow for those concerned about such things.]

The ensemble proceeds to carry out his wishes, to the tune of the original song, "Journey of the Imagination."

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To his dismay, Mickey is apparently unqualified to help out with this project, having not yet finished his apprenticeship and gotten his degree in mapmaking.

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Left to his own devices, however, he manages to find an unfinished spot on the map, and decides painting it in would be a good proof of his abilities. Unfortunately the spot has other ideas and he finds the process a little more involved than it initially appeared. In pursuit of Spot he ends up entering the map and getting carried away to different worlds of classic Disney films.

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The first stop is The Jungle Book, where King Louie performs "I Wan'na Be Like you," with the ensemble cast.

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Next, a highlight of the show presents three Princesses in sequence: Pocahontas, singing "Just Around the Riverbend..."

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...Mulan, performing "Reflection..."

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...And Rapunzel singing "I See the Light," with Flynn Rider.

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They end up all singing their different songs together. The map plays a nice role in differentiating the numbers as each section morphs in turn, into a background suitable for each respective princess.

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The spot isn't finished with Mickey yet, by a long shot, and the next stop is "Under the Sea," with Sebastian and guys in bubbles.

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In retrospect, I'm not really sure why the bubble guys aren't asphyxiating, since you have to figure their heads are completely covered in latex.

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Eventually Mickey comes to the realization that not only are all who wander not lost, but not all who are not painted really want to be painted. Happily accepting the status quo, Mickey and Spot scoot off for one more adventure with "Hawaiian Roller Coaster Ride," from Lilo and Stitch.

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Sorcerer Yen Sid returns to congratulate his apprentice on learning the lesson that just as there are no bounds to our imagination, the map can never be finished as long as there are new dreams left in the world.

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Mickey graduates from his apprenticeship and is given his choice of anywhere the magic will take him. He chooses...New Orleans? Well, that's as magical as any, I guess. Princess Tiana and her showboat make an appearance to the tune of "Dig a Little Deeper."

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To end the show, Mickey appears back out of the map and closes with a reprise of "Journey of the Imagination," with the usual blast of confetti streamers.

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Afterwards, we were treated to a brief Q&A with Kevin Eld, Head of WDI Creative Entertainment, and Michael Jung, Theatrical Development Executive, WDI Creative Entertainment.

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For the most part, they spoke of how glad they were to be able to utilize the theater to tell more stories, now that the Princesses have relocated to the new Fantasy Faire area. The process of choosing musical numbers was multifactorial, including the criteria that the songs well articulate the heart of the story--that imagination can take you anywhere. Songs were mostly kept upbeat, to better deal with the open-air theater's ambient audio.

Although the nature of the show seems to lend itself to changing different numbers, possibly to support new films ("Frozen?") and remain relevant, the team assured us that the current incarnation would likely stay around for awhile.

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Laura also interviewed Executive Producer Doug McIntyre:

The show is certainly entertaining, with a plethora of energetic singing and dancing. The screens are used inventively with Mickey's transition from outside to inside the map handled particularly well, although the subsequent interstitial bits combining animated Mickey with live-action Mickey seem a little rough to me.

As a whole, the show reminded me a great deal of some of the newer shows Disney has recently unveiled on the cruise ships. "Wishes" in particular has the same heavy use of the video screens as background, and also includes "I Wan'na Be Like You," "Reflection," and "Hawaiian Roller Coaster Ride," as well as different songs from the movies "Tangled" and "The Little Mermaid." The production values look good and the songs are mostly your classic Disney standards...so whether or not you find the saga of Mickey and the Unpainted Spot compelling, the musical numbers are pretty solid entertainment.

"Mickey and the Magical Map," runs 22 minutes long, and is scheduled to run five times a day throughout the summer.

March 7, 2013

Fantasy Faire: Here Come the Girls!

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On March 12th, Disneyland's latest addition will open to the public: Fantasy Faire.

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Taking the place of the former Carnation Plaza Gardens on the West side of the Hub, Fantasy Faire represents a small village attached to the castle. As a tribute to the structure it replaced, a crest with the plaza initials is found on one of the buildings.

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The main structures awaiting the visiting guest are a stage venue, the Royal Theatre, and an area for princess encounters, the Royal Hall.

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At the Royal Hall, a bevy of royals awaits you.

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The princesses in situ will change periodically, with Belle and Snow White joining the lineup as space and time allow.

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Over across the square, the Royal Theatre presents two different shows a day: Beauty and the Beast, and Tangled.

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The shows are actually much more extensively produced than you'd expect if you've seen the recent Magic Kingdom attraction Enchanted Tales with Belle--even including a live pianist, Sir Samuel.

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Far from being just a rote retelling of the familiar stories, they have more of a minstrel show quality about them with virtually all roles portrayed by the two main performers Mr. Smythe and Mr. Jones.

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Done in a style similar to that of The Reduced Shakespeare Company, the two actors are joined by the heroine (and sometimes the hero) of the piece and combine their knowledge of theatrical representation with her knowledge of her own story to tell the tale.

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Fast-paced, with pop culture references to everything from Wizard of Oz to the Twilight Zone to the 1960's Batman series, the shows are entertaining and appropriate for all ages.

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(Spoiler alert: Everyone deserving of it lives Happily Ever After.)

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Here is some more inexpertly shot video by me, of some of the musical numbers from Tangled.

Out in the square, the architecture is intended to mirror the quasi-European Hodge-podge of the 1980's Fantasyland, with a few focal features:

An animated Figaro, from Pinocchio;

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A crank music box inspired by Hunchback of Notre Dame;

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And a "Tangled" maypole in the center, which will show Rapunzel's hair magically lighting up at night.

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Should your visit with royalty inspire a desire for a new wardrobe, there is always the gift shop to peruse.

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Within, you'll find everything a young girl needs to be a princess, assuming she provides her own stout heart and quick wit.

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For people less enthused about cosplay, they can always take up the challenge to make the association between all the props on display and the movies they each reference (hint: As far as I know, the winged lion is just a winged lion.)

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The cuckoo clock inside is stopped at a very particular time: 3:12, which is, of course, Fantasy Faire's opening date.

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Hungry? Belle's Dad Maurice has you covered with a wagon that sells sweet and savory twisted (tangled?) pastries and the regulation specialty drink Boysen Apple Freeze.

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I myself had the cheddar garlic bagel twist. By and large, I think if you enjoy the cheddar pretzels you might get at Wetzel's Pretzels, there's no reason to think you wouldn't enjoy this. The freeze was perfectly fine as well, although pretty sweet from my standpoint.

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To give us even more insight into the making of Fantasy Faire, here are some thoughts from some of the creative folks that brought it into being:

In short, this is a carefully constructed area designed to provide people with increased access to some of the Disney princesses. Clearly a lot of care has been put into a lot of details which many will no doubt find delightful. There is, of course, a distinct population that was very attached to Carnation Gardens and the swing dancing that used to occur there--for them, the floor of the Royal Theatre looks to be unchanged from before, with removable benches and carpets laid down for each show. Consequently, the option does exist for them to reinstate the swing dancing/concerts there should the management decide to do so, but for now, the plans remain to keep it in Downtown Disney while Fantasy Faire establishes itself.

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Annual Passholder previews take place this week, March 7-9, and Fantasy Faire opens to the general public March 12.

February 1, 2013

Disneyland Fantasy Faire Preview

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The new Disneyland Fantasy Faire, where guests can meet, interact, and learn the stories of the Disney princesses, is under construction in the former Carnation Plaza Gardens area of Disneyland. I had the opportunity to preview the new area, which is scheduled to open on March 12, 2013.

Fantasy Faire is located at the end of Main Street between Frontierland and Sleeping Beauty Castle. As you can see in these photos there is still quite a bit of work to be done before opening, but the basic structures are there. This is the exterior of Royal Hall; the Princess meet-and-greet area is inside. The unfinished pedestal in front will be the location of the Tangled Tower sculpture. Rapunzel's hair will appear to be wrapped around it, and at night her hair will light up with twinkling lights.

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There's also some fun elements, like Figaro (Gepetto's cat) sleeping in a window, and occasionally waking to interact with a bird, and Clopin's Music Box, a mechanical contraption where guests can turn the crank and watch a scene from The Hunchback of Notre Dame come to life.

Inside Royal Hall are several areas where guests will be able to meet some of the Disney princesses. (There's no Fastpass for this - just get in line and wait your turn.)

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In the video below,Michel Den Dulk, Creative Director, Walt Disney Imagineering spoke to us about Fantasy Faire and some of the design elements, while Show Director Christopher Utley gave us some details on the shows that will take place in the Royal Theater.

There will be two different shows in the Royal Theater, telling the stories of Rapunzel and Belle. Disney describes the show as "Renaissance vaudeville" featuring a pair of storytellers: Mr. Smythe and Mr. Jones. They play most of the parts, joined by Rapunzel or Belle. After the show the princess will remain for a time to greet guests. The shows are 15-20 minutes long. There will be six shows per day, three for each princess.

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Disneyland Fantasy Faire Preview

The Fairytale Treasures shop will offer princess dresses and other accessories.

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There's a food cart called Maurice's Treats - with food items inspired by the inventions of Belle's father Maurice.

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There are bread twists, like cheddar cheese garlic and strawberry almond cream (those shown below are samples and not full-size). I tried the cheddar cheese-garlic and it was very good. These will be served hot to order.

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There's also a signature drink - Boysen Apple Freeze (A play on poison apple...) I had a sample of this...It's similar to the Red's Apple Freeze served at the Cozy Cones and the Le Fou's Brew served at Gaston's Tavern, but I have to say this is my favorite of the three - I really enjoyed the apple-berry flavor. I could do without the foam on the top, though - I don't think that really adds anything. It is available in a souvenir princess or Gaston cup, or in a regular cup.

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Disneyland Fantasy Faire Preview

We also heard some more details about Mickey and the Magical Map - the new show opening in the Fantasyland Theater this summer.

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Michael Jung, Vice President, Theatrical Development, Walt Disney Imagineering describes the show in this video clip.

It really sounds interesting - in addition to newer characters like Tiana and Rapunzel it will also feature some of the characters we don't see in the parks very often these days, like Pocahontas, Mulan, and King Louie. (Pocahontas and Mulan arguably have some of the best "Princess" songs ever, which will be included in the production.)

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March 27, 2010

D23's First Anniversary Party at Disneyland

On March 10, 2010, D23 celebrated its one year anniversary with an after-hours party in Fantasyland, exclusive for D23 members. Jeanine Yamanaka attended this event and shares this report.

The party started at 8:45pm, after the park closed to regular guests at 8pm. After checking in and receiving both a wristband and an envelope (which contained a welcome letter from Steven Clark and a press release on the recently announced 2011 Expo and the 2010 Destination D event), guests were escorted down Main Street to the hub. There, we were held at rope drop until Walt's original Disneyland opening speech was played, and a voiceover announced the start of the party, accompanied by fireworks shot off from the castle.

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As the crowd mobbed across the drawbridge to the castle, people on the sides were able to see that various Disney dignitaries were waving and lining the path. People in the middle were probably trying not to get crushed in the stampede.

The area open to us was largely bounded by the border of Frontierland on one side, and the Small World arcade on the other. Although I didn't realize it at the time, Tomorrowland was also apparently open, with Captain EO running. All along the walkways were spaced decorative tables full of creatively-named desserts and coffee/water dispensers.

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A cash bar was also available to those interested in imbibing, which led to some...interesting rides. (Overheard of people lurching into the Storybook Land Canal Boats: "Where are the churros?!")

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On the walkway to "it's a small world", there were photo opportunities with two vehicles: Walt's original electric runabout, and the car used to transport the Honorary VoluntEARs in the parade cavalcade. Mickey, in his D23 bandleader outfit, alternately came out to pose with people as well, and generated the longest lines of the night. Right in front of IASW was parked Cinderella and her pumpkin coach as well.

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For those who had only a passing interest in vehicular photography, there were also a plethora of characters interspersed around the area. Koda the bear alternated with the Country Bear Jamboree representatives, and Alice and the Mad Hatter, Pinocchio and Jiminy Cricket, and the Evil Hag from Snow White all hung around outside their respective rides.

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Virtually all the rides in Fantasyland except the carousel were open and running with relatively little wait. Most people seemed to concentrate on the photo opportunities and the meet-and-greets.

It was also advertised that as part of the evening, a number of Disney legends would be in attendance. Unfortunately, this part was a little awkward, as it was never really clarified what they would be doing there, or where they would be doing it. Initially, all the special guests were corralled in the Village Haus Restaurant for media interviews, and then were let out little by little as the night progressed. Another area around Dumbo was also cordoned off for media so it ended up being a little tricky to try to time it right, to be around when the celebrity you were interested in became available.

One thing that would have made it easier, is if they had given out lists of the luminaries that attended, maybe with pictures. As it was, there was no way to really distinguish them unless you knew them on sight (harder in the dim lighting they put on at night.) An easier task with more prominent characters like Tony Baxter and Richard Sherman, but more challenging with some of the less identifiable stars. Another issue was that they were all constantly being taken away to meet with more and varied media, so there was no assurance that by the time you got to the head of the line, they'd still be there. When they were available, however, all the celebrities seemed very welcoming and showed real fortitude by standing out in the cold for hours signing autographs and taking photos.

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Disney Legend Bob Gurr and Steven Clark, Head of D23

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Kathryn Beaumont, Voice of Alice

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Disney Legend Bill Farmer, Voice of Goofy

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Margaret Kerry, model for Tinker Bell

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Terri Hardin, Puppeteer in Captain EO

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Dave Smith, Disney Archivist

The party ended at midnight, and everyone was encouraged to exit out towards Main Street where some of the characters had been relocated to say goodbye and draw people out. As we exited the park, we were given an oversized commemorative 1st Anniversary pin, with the D23 start date and the party date printed on it.

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On the whole, it was a fun event, although a little pricey at $65. I would have preferred a more formal structure to the handling of the celebrity guests, but that probably would have involved using an actual venue which would doubtless have increased the price...so, something to hope for, at "Destination D," later this year.

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July 7, 2009

Disneyland - Virtual Sleeping Beauty Castle Walkthrough

The Sleeping Beauty Castle Walkthrough at Disneyland, which opened late last year, requires guests to climb stairs and navigate some rather twisty, narrow passageways. ("A twisty maze of passages, all alike" for those of you who remember Adventure!) But it's a problem for those with limited mobility.

Disney offers a virtual experience for those who are unable (or don't wish) to climb around inside the castle. I was able to experience this on a couple of visits this year and I was very pleasantly surprised - there's a few things I like better about the virtual experience than the real thing!

The virtual experience takes place in a room in the castle (where one of the shops used to be). There's a tapestry on the wall, a bench to sit on (though as you can see in the pictures below on my first visit this was some nice "throne" type chairs and not a metal bench), and a display case of Sleeping Beauty knick-knacks. There's also a magic mirror...

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As the virtual experience begins, this mirror transforms into a high-definition television screen. The trip through the Castle Walk through starts at the entrance as a narrator begins to tell the story of Sleeping Beauty. There's some musical accompaniment, also. (And there are captions on the display itself, though I found those distracting.)

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The virtual trip provides visuals of the entire attraction, including going up the steps and through the passageways (which are, fortunately, not really all alike!). It stops at each of the scenes inside, and shows you the entire scene including any special effects there might be. I thought it was a lot easier to see those on the screen than it was in the attraction!

It also visits the Corridor of Goons and allows the viewer to see those effects (and some of those weren't working in the real walkthrough that I did afterwards).

As they all "live happily ever after" the Magic Mirror closes and the virtual experience comes to an end.

I thought the narration was a really nice touch - though the entire video isn't narrated - mostly at the beginning and at the end.

The entire virtual experience takes about seven-and-a-half minutes. It starts to repeat within a minute or so.

Looking up at the ceiling, written on the beams were the gifts from the three Good Fairies.

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I haven't seen any Cast Members monitoring the room when I've been there - the door was open and anyone could come and go as they pleased - the video was set to auto-repeat once it finished.

February 6, 2009

"it's a small world" Returns to Disneyland

The "it's a small world" attraction at Disneyland underwent a long rehab
in 2008 - it closed in January and didn't reopen until November. When it
did reopen, it was in the holiday configuration, so some of the changes
were not yet in place. The most controversial change seemed to be the
proposed addition of Disney characters to the attraction - a lot of Disney
fans were very vocal in their opposition to that idea..

After the holidays, the attraction went into rehab again, the holiday
overlay was removed, and the remaining changes were put into place. Today
the attraction was open to members of the media and to Annual
Passholders (the attraction opens to the public on Friday, February
6.). As a representative of AllEars® I was invited to do a ride-through
of the attraction with Imagineer Kim Irvine, which was quite an
honor!

But before the ride-through with Kim Irvine I was able to ride
twice, and get some idea of what the updated attraction was like.
Up front I have to tell you that I'm not a huge fan of "it's a small
world" - That Song really gets to me, and I can usually only stand
it in it's holiday configuration (though I love the holiday edition!).
So it's probably been almost 10 years since I was in the non-holiday
version.

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I was very impressed with the new attraction. It looks just gorgeous -
lots of vibrant colors, and the lighting is much improved. And the
characters? They aren't in-your-face at all - they have taken
characters who fit into the various scenes (like Cinderella in
France, Mulan in China, Simba in Africa), and given them the same
stylized "small world" look. For the most part, if you didn't know
they were new, you wouldn't know they hadn't been there all along.
I actually had a hard time finding them all, and only found two of
them because other people told me where to look. I think that part
of the fun of the new attraction is going to be trying to find the
characters - I think that's something that will appeal to kids and
adults - I know I had fun with it. It would be nice if Disney would
hand out a list, though.

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The other big change is the addition of the "Spirit of America"
scene. It's a western scene with a farm on one side, and hills
with some cowboys and Native Americans on the other side, Woody and
Jessie from Toy Story make an appearance as well. The scene was
based on original concept art by Mary Blair.

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The soundtrack has been augmented with short snippets of themes from
Disney movies, such as "A Whole New World" from Aladdin. This is very
subtle, and I have to admit that I never could hear them, even though I
knew they were there.

I will have more on the ride-through with Kim Irvine after I have a
chance to listen to my audio recording - with That Song playing at a fairly
high volume it was hard to hear her sometimes. It was interesting to
hear what she has to say.

There are supposed to be 29 characters in the ride - here are the ones
that I found. Let me know if you think I got any wrong.

UK:
Peter Pan and Tinker Bell
Alice in Wonderland and the White Rabbit

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France:
Cinderella, Jacques, and Gus

Italy:
Pinocchio

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Middle East:
Aladdin, Jasmine, and Abu - and I think the Flying Carpet should count
as a character.

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China:
Mulan, Mushu, and Mushu kite

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Africa:
Simba, Pumbaa and Timon (I really like how they used the same hot pink
and purple color for Pumbaa that they use on the hippo in the same scene.)

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Mexico:
Donald, Panchito and Jose Carioca (Donald is the only member of the Fab
Five to appear)

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Under the Sea:
Ariel and Flounder (Ariel sings That Song as a solo)

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Down Under:
Dory and Nemo

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Hawaii:
Lilo and Stitch

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Spirit of America:
Jessie, Woody and Bullseye

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That's 29...does that mean I got them all? That's not counting the
flying carpet, and I'm not sure if the Mushu kite counts or not.

***Friday morning update:

AllEars reader Carol tells me that I missed Jiminy Cricket, who is in the Italy scene with Pinocchio. We think that he is just barely visible in the upper right hand corner of the Pinocchio photo posted further up. Thanks, Carol!

December 9, 2008

Sleeping Beauty’s Walk-Through Awakens Again

Jeanine Yamanaka toured the newly reopened Sleeping Beauty Castle Walk-through and shares this description and photos.

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The Sleeping Beauty Castle Walk-Through, dormant since October 7, 2001, has reopened at Disneyland with some shiny new effects, and artwork more in keeping with the Eyvind Earle style of the movie.

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For those who remember the old walk-through, some things are fairly familiar, such as the storybook pages that narrate you through the Sleeping Beauty tale.

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These pages are essentially unchanged from the previous versions, although nice and vivid with newness.

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The bulk of the walk-through is basically passing through dimly-lit corridors and staircases to reach 10 different tableaus illustrating various scenes from the movie. While the last version had three-dimensional dolls enacting the parts (a little like Barbie Aurora!) this retooling opts for a more animation-cel-like appearance.

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The movement in most of the windows is largely due to an effect which seems similar to the Pepper's Ghost illusion used in the Haunted Mansion. Photos are a little tricky with the combination of the darkness and the reflective glass and the 100 people in back of you waiting impatiently to see what's going on.

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The passageways are pretty narrow and twisty, so people unable to navigate them or the couple of stairways are apparently able to view the whole thing from a special room on the ground floor of the Castle.

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A significant amount of excavation was done in restoring the attraction, which had been revised in the 1970's to include more movement and dimensionality, but which lacked the characteristic Earle "look" that permeated the film.

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One of the things found during the refurbishment was the original Corridor of Goons effect. Previously, for a short time, there were doors where you could look through the keyholes and see Maleficent's henchmen - henchthings - marching around. Unfortunately, the amount of time it encouraged people to spend there created a logjam that slowed down traffic through the attraction enough where the whole thing was eventually boarded over.

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In the new attraction, however, you may see something of them once more.

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This diorama has an impressive metamorphosis effect that takes a little while to cycle through-in general, each window requires stopping and watching for awhile to see all the changes that occur.

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But it all ends happily ever after...Or does it? A last intimation that the reports of Maleficent's death have been greatly exaggerated, may leave you with a mild "sense of foreboding".

The attraction, while certainly not an "E" ticket, or even a "C" ticket, is very well done and worth a look, even just for the fun of clambering around inside the Castle. Lines stretched around the side and almost to the front of the Castle on opening day, but moved fairly steadily. Once inside, it took approximately 30 minutes to complete.

May 5, 2008

Back from Disneyland - A Few Observations

I'm just back from a short overnight trip to Disneyland - we went up to attend Taste - the final signature event of this year's Food and Wine Festival. Taste was fun - I'll have more information and pictures up later.

We stayed at the Paradise Pier - the last time I stayed there was almost 11 years ago, when it was still called the Pan-Pacific. We had a room with a view of the Paradise Pier area of DCA - it was really pretty at night:

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And in the early morning:

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It also gave us quite an interesting perspective for viewing the Pixar Play Parade, which has changed (again) from what I saw a couple of weeks ago, as I reported in this blog entry. Lightning McQueen and Mater were back at the beginning and end of the parade. And the stilt-walking chefs of Ratatouille also returned - though there were only three of them.

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From the room we could see many of the floats on the parade route

The biggest change, though, is the return of the "bug's life" parade unit - Heimlich and his many parts plus the float. The float was modified significantly - only the front part with Flik and Atta on the swing is there now. It looks a little odd when you compare it with the size of the floats for all of the other units.

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Even with the "bug's life" float back, the weird Toy Story Tinker Toy creature is still part of the parade (but don't get me wrong, I think it looks pretty cool):

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The acrobats have not returned to the Toy Story float - it's still just the monkeys hanging on the bar.

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A while ago I talked about the Prince Caspian Pre-Parade that was coming to Disneyland at the end of April, and I had a chance to see that. I didn't notice any swooning females, but Caspian looked pretty good. And the horse was quite beautiful, and BIG.

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He had quite an entourage - the banner bearers in front, the standard bearers, plus the courtier leading the horse - but it was his final attendant who cracked me up - The Royal Pooper Scooper. :-)

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During Magic Morning I had a chance to get a close look at Jingles, the lead horse on the King Arthur Carrousel, which was dedicated to Julie Andrews last month. If you look closely you can see Mary Poppins' umbrella on the rump. Her initials, JA, the number 50, and Mary Poppins' boots and flying silhouette are on the saddle. It's really beautiful - so detailed!

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The sparkling/chasing lights that are on the floral Mickey at the entrance to Disneyland cooperated with me a lot better than they did when I was there with Lisa Berton back in March - this time the light show was running almost continuously. It's more impressive in person when you can watch the lights as they move and twinkle, but hopefully you get the idea.

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And now that I'm back from Disneyland I'm leaving for Disney World, where I'm planning to blog live this week. A little bonus trip for me - but I'll be writing more about that in my next blog entry.

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About Fantasyland

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to Salute to All Things Disney but Mostly Disneyland in the Fantasyland category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

Fantasmic! is the previous category.

Frontierland is the next category.

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