Archive for the ‘Disney’ Category

Counting Down While Waiting in Line [Part 4]

Like death and taxes, waiting line at Disneyland is inevitable. Fortunately for us, the venerable theme park has turned the mathematical inevitably of waiting in line into an art form. It’s because of this thoughtful design that some queues rival the main attraction in areas such as story, interactivity and atmosphere. Let’s take a few moments and bask in the glory of Disney Imagineering as we explore the Top Five Places to Wait in Line at the Disneyland Resort.

Number 2: Enchanted Tiki Room

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qXZnsM6UIq0[/youtube]

Here you can enjoy Disneyland’s first audio-animatronic attraction inside “the Tiki, Tiki, Tiki, Tiki Room.” This 45 year old classic revue is widely regarded as one of the must-see attractions when visiting the Park. Inside, you’ll be serenaded by birds, actual tiki carvings and flowers (that croon). Of course, the whole event is delightfully retro and capped off by a freak tropical downpour. It’s a nice diversion from the heat and a tropical blast from the past.

Why It’s In the Top Five: The ETR doesn’t follow the traditional idea many of us have about waiting in line and that is one of the attraction’s biggest assets. It’s like the full sail luxury cruise of queues. It’s shaded, highly themed, features an animatronic pre-show (with audio, fire, water and lighted effects), offers delicious tropical snacks from inside the queue and features it’s own private restrooms for those waiting to get in. Those flaming tiki torches beckon you inside and once you’re there, you’ll find an educational film about Dole pineapple followed by a pleasant animatronic presentation letting you know what all these God’s and Goddess represent. How may queues can you name that let you sit and eat frozen treats in the shade while you wait in line? How many queues have their own private restroom? How many queues are so delightfully retro-chic? None, that’s how many. The Enchanted Tiki Room is nearly perfect; which is why these birds singing words land at Number 2.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y3-lS4mxmN8[/youtube]

Why It’s Not Number One: While it is almost as good as it gets, the make-shift ADA compliance issues and lack of stroller parking can sometimes overwhelm the queueing area. Also, they occasionally close the attraction and its patio during the evening fireworks/fantasmic chaos. This queue is especially charming after dark but trying to actually get to the Enchanted Tiki Room from the hub during this time is virtually impossible.

Don’t forget to check out our Number 3 pick for the Top Five Places to Wait in Line at the Disneyland Resort.

Counting Down While Waiting in Line [Part 3]

Like death and taxes, waiting line at Disneyland is inevitable. Fortunately for us, the venerable theme park has turned the mathematical inevitably of waiting in line into an art form. It’s because of this thoughtful design that some queues rival the main attraction in areas such as story, interactivity and atmosphere. Let’s take a few moments and bask in the glory of Disney Imagineering as we explore the Top Five Places to Wait in Line at the Disneyland Resort.

Number 3: Star Tours

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HxqqOyj0Psw[/youtube]

Here you will blast off on a Star Tours express shuttle to the forrest moon of Endor. It should be a leisurely trip an out of this world intergalactic adventure that “turns into a heart-pounding warp-speed odyssey from the brilliant minds of George Lucas and the Disney Imagineers”. Yeah. That about covers it.

Why It’s In the Top Five: It’s a spaceport! From the moment you walk through the entrance to Star Tours (and even before that) you are completely immersed in a Star-Warsian spaceport, complete with departing flights all over the galaxy. Keep your eyes peeled for advertisements for transit to other exotic destinations on the huge video display as you enter. Never before seen and classic beloved robot characters make audio-animatronic appearances along the way, not to mention the full-scale replicas of the Star Speeder you will soon be boarding. The liberal use of these animatronics are what really brings the Star Tours spaceport to life. The pre-boarding safety video is both amusing and appropriate to the theme – let’s face it, it’s worth the price of admission just to see that lady’s awesome teapot hair. Even the overflow queue is (mostly) indoors, air conditioned and features animatronics as well. Lots of famous robots, total immersion and intergalactic hijinks, securely dock this queue at Number 3.

Why It’s Not Number One: There are a three reasons. 1) That aforementioned overflow queue? It’s still a massive and unruly serpentine that even high pressure chillers and hydraulic animatronic space aliens can’t save. After five minutes in here you’ll be longing for the wide open spaces. 2) The exit queue is an unmitigated disaster – both boring and significantly unappealing due to an unmistakeable K-Mart atmosphere. 3) While it is an astounding place to wait in line, there are still greener pastures to graze in.

Trivia: Are you ready for Star Tours 2.0? The new upgraded Star Tours may premiere as soon as 2011!

Don’t Forget to check out our Number 4 pick for the Top Five Places to Wait in Line at the Disneyland Resort.

Counting Down While Waiting in Line [Part 2]

Like death and taxes, waiting line at Disneyland is inevitable. Fortunately for us, the venerable theme park has turned the mathematical inevitably of waiting in line into an art form. It’s because of this thoughtful design that some queues rival the main attraction in areas such as story, interactivity and atmosphere. Let’s take a few moments and bask in the glory of Disney Imagineering as we explore the Top Five Places to Wait in Line at the Disneyland Resort.

Number 4: Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PsNrdWiqa5A[/youtube]

Here you can jump behind the wheel of Benny the run-away cab, as he spins through the real animated world of Roger Rabbit. It’s the Mad Tea Party on steroids, because you control the spinning steering wheel as you whirl through this highly themed (in 365 degrees no less) attraction. What’s fun, depending on how you feel about spinning in circles while moving backward and forward, is that no two trips through the attraction are exactly the same. Watch out for Judge Doom and keep your eyes peeled for the super sultry Jessica Rabbit (she’s not bad, she’s just drawn that way).

Why It’s In the Top Five: Roger Rabbit is arguably one of the most underrated and wholly overlooked great attractions inside Disneyland. Unique to the California park and quietly tucked away inside of Mickey’s Toon Town, it’s the ride many people forget is even there. It’s a shame really, because once inside those cartoony front doors, riders are treated to a unique walking tour of Toon Town. This isn’t your Mother’s Oldsmobile though, it’s dark, seedy and crime-ridden. Speakeasies, criminals and back alleys are the main focus – not to mention a vile and mysterious boiler room bubbling over with “dip”. Your journey’s just getting started by the time you hop into that crazy cab and head off spinning toward adventure. Lots of tightly packed twists and turns mixed with a full sensory overload of sights and sounds bring this queue in at Number 4.

Why It’s Not Number One: Roger Rabbit should be higher on the list – thematically it rivals our number one pick. It also has the distinction of having a line that is almost better than the ride itself. However, the attraction’s (and the queue’s) biggest flaw is, once the line hits daylight, tragedy strikes. Having to wait in a boring, shadeless, loud, stroller-laden, child-infested, hotter-than-the-gates-of-hell overflow queue exacerbated by the unnecessary use of Fastpass will pretty much ruin your weekend. Rule of thumb, if the line is out the front door, that’s your cue to avoid the queue.

Trivia: Is there a Roger Rabbit Sequel in the works? Also, did you ever wonder why this ride wasn’t cloned to other Disney parks around the world? This may have something to do with it.

Don’t Forget to check out our Number 5 pick for the Top Five Places to Wait in Line at the Disneyland Resort.

Counting Down While Waiting in Line [Part 1]

Like death and taxes, waiting line at Disneyland is inevitable. Fortunately for us, the venerable theme park has turned the mathematical inevitably of waiting in line into an art form. Oh they have laid some math on us to be sure, as Fastpass comes to mind. Let’s ignore Fastpass for a few moments and bask in the glory of Disney Imagineering shall we? It’s because of this thoughtful design that some queues rival the main attraction in areas such as story, interactivity and atmosphere.

Without further ado, let’s count down the Top Five Places to Wait in Line at the Disneyland Resort.

Number 5: The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AO1AXYJ94Gw[/youtube]

Here you can check into the glamorous (and strangely vacant) Hollywood Tower Hotel. The ride-experience begins once you enter the lobby of the infamous hotel. Take a look around and explore the mysteries of what happened on the tragic night when lightning struck an elevator full of hotel guests and plummeted thirteen stories deep into [queue theme music] The Twilight Zone.

Why It’s In the Top Five: The queue here is magnificent. There is a grandeur that seems to wither as you pass through increasingly smaller and smaller interior spaces until you end up in the bowels of the hotel. The place looks like everyone left in a hurry, gee I wonder why? Baggage, cocktails and personal affects are placed throughout, as if people fled in such a haste they didn’t have the time to collect their belongings. At the midpoint, there is a chilling (and occasionally unintentionally funny) television presentation in the Library to enlighten you about the horrific events which unfolded here in the past. The final space, a dank and disturbing boiler room that creaks, howls and moans as you wind your way to the final destination, really sets the tone for the ride to follow. Lots of heavy atmosphere and some clever storytelling help this queue land firmly at Number 5.

Why It’s Not Number One: For starters, it relies too heavily on the use of a video presentation to tell its story. A good queue makes any video/film seem holistically part of the story. In this setting it seems jokey and out of place. Even more upsetting is the overflow queue, which snakes outside the lobby of the hotel into a dreary and endless serpentine located conspicuously in the direct sun. On a hot busy day, you’ll beg to be flung into the fifth dimension, simply because it’s air conditioned.

Coming up next: Number 4 on our list of the Top Five Places to Wait in Line at the Disneyland Resort.

Are Disney Hotel Workers Headed For a Strike?

Nobody attracts controversy like the Mouse.

It would seem at the very least, the hotel workers really don’t like the offer made by Disney to Unite Here 11 (the union representing the people who clean rooms, wash dishes and wait tables at the Resort hotels). The members of the Unite Here 11 union rejected the theme park’s most recent offer of a revised healthcare plan by a whopping 92%.

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What this means in the grand scheme of things is we could see an nasty repeat of the 1984 strike where nearly 1800 angry Disneyland Cast Members staged an ugly scene for 22 unpleasant days. I remember what it was like with the media coverage back in the eighties, but can you imagine how the media would pounce all over a strike in these modern times? It’d be like a 24-hour media circus.

[poll=26]

Orange County China

No, I am not talking about flatware.

Whilst scouring the world wide web for ideas to post about Orange County (after all, these little gems I write don’t just land on my desk you know), I stumbled across this newish housing development called Orange County. The twist is, it’s located in China. Apparently the obsession with Western culture doesn’t just end with Disneyland, but also extends to Disneyland’s home in the real Orange County California. Some genius created a housing development that looks and feels just like living in Orange County — South County to be exact. I’ll leave you to ponder that for just a moment.

OCChina.jpg

At least I assume it’s based on California as there are eight different Orange Counties sprinkled throughout the United States (who knew). You can view some articles and magnificent photos by clicking here, here or here. They have ridiculous pointless guarded gates, just like we do. All the homes have a remarkable sameness about them, just like ours do. They park Hummers in their driveway, just like we do. And if you look at some of these pictures, you’d be hard pressed to distinguish this Chinese OC from an Irving Company development.

What I find stunning about this is, the part of culture they seem to be obsessed with. We have so many other distinct American communities to use as inspiration that don’t look like Woodburry or Portola or Mariner Square. Wouldn’t they do better to copy Colonial Williamsburg or row houses in Boston or even the log cabins of the Northwest, rather than the stucco familiarity of our planned communities? Eh. Maybe not.

DCA Gets Its Own Digital Home

Well, it was only a matter of time before Disneyland’s younger (brattier) sibling, Disney’s California Adventure, got it’s very own web site. Sort of. While www.disneyscaliforniaadventure.com may be the domain, it’s actually the brand spankin’ new home to the online version of the park’s Blue Sky Cellar.

For the uninitiated, the cellar once housed a cute (if not benign) short film call Seasons of the Vine. While the film was fine and actually pretty interesting the first time around, it didn’t have a high repeatability factor. So this seemed the perfect spot to house the new ‘preview center’ for the massive billion dollar DCA remodel/expasnion/reinvention currently underway. It wasn’t long before Blue Sky Cellar, an Imagineering wine cellar if you will, moved into the space and showcased the dazzling things that awaited Guests in the future.

DCA.jpg

This online version is really quite nifty too. It’s got a plethora of specs, pictures, artists concepts and models all for your perusing. It covers what is currently happening as the park is “transformed with brand new attractions, spectacular new entertainment, more Disney Characters and more magic than ever before” [There words not mine – but the description is pretty accurate]. Go check it out!

More Trouble in Orange County East

Oy vey. With my recent post about this guy in Orange County West, several people have commented to me in person that they fear male teachers now more than ever. This most recent (and extremely unfortunate) incident in Orange County Florida, involving a man accused of touching a 13-year-old boy through his swim suit in a Disney water park’s wave pool, highlights the complete moronic behavior of our nation’s parents.

The Orlando Sentinel article is littered with concerned parents who are suddenly going to be keeping a watchful eye on their teenage boys – never letting them out of their sight. Le sigh. Okay, here we go again, I am going to remind everyone that the “vast majority of children who are molested are abused by someone in their own household”. So if you are concerned that some man might do something awful to your son, you may want to start by keeping an eye on your husband. Shocking? Not really.

If you take your kids to Huntington Beach for the day or any private/public OC pool, I agree that you should always keep a watchful eye on them. Not because all men near water should be feared but because your child has an exponentially greater chance of drowning than being inappropriately groped. If you’re really so God damned concerned about their virtue and safety you would be well served to learn CPR so you can actually be of real assistance in case the most common occurrence involving water emergencies should arise.

/end rant

M-O-N-O-R-A-I-L

Well, sir, there’s nothing on earth like a genuine, bona fide, electrified, six-car monorail! What’d I say? Monorail!!

monorail.jpg

OK, folks do we want buses or do we want a monorail? Well the city is gunning for an “elevated system“ to take us to their new transit hub, so our choices are “light-rail buses that would run under a guidewire, automated people-mover cars or a monorail similar to the one at Disneyland”.

I swear it’s Springfield’s only choice! Throw up your hands and raise your voice! Monorail!

Actually, truth be told, I support a people mover system. They are inexpensive to build, easy to maintain, efficient, safe and never break down. Still I’ll take a monorail too – anything to alleviate the nightmarish traffic that currently clogs the arteries of the resort district.

The Happiest (Octo)Mom on Earth

octomom_disneyland.jpg

At least she didn’t bring the entire brood to the Mouse House and instead hit up Disneyland with just one of the fourteen children she popped out. Can you imagine when they are all old enough to enjoy the world’s most famous theme park? That is one stroller-jam no one will be able to circumnavigate [via Perez Hilton].

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