Archive for the ‘Landmarks’ Category

Counting Down While Waiting in Line [Part 5]

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 look at the Best Place to Wait in Line at the Disneyland Resort.

Number 1: Indiana Jones Adventure

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YpDenNlG39g[/youtube]

Here you can step back in time to the year 1935 and experience an exotic tourist destination in remote India, called The Temple of the Forbidden Eye. A world of riches can be yours but you must not look into the eyes of the Idol Mara. Once you hop in the specially equipped Jeep, it isn’t long before your doomed expedition is sent on a fright filled journey inside the temple with famed archeologist Indiana Jones. Hey, if you see a giant bolder coming at you while you’re in there, be sure to duck!

Why It’s Number One: Let’s face it, anyone who’s been to Disneyland knew this had to be the choice for Number One. This is the line to beat and the Imagineers really set the bar high. Even the outdoor overflow queue is awesome. It’s mostly shaded, heavily decorated, immersively themed and in general it makes you feel like you are wandering through a serpentine in the lost jungle. Once you get up the front steps to the temple you can expect to encounter sacrificial rooms, extinct lava flows, booby traps, hidden sub-chambers and more. Best of all the whole thing is interactive and huge! If a sign advises you not to pull or touch or push or lean – that’s your cue to do just the opposite! Be sure and watch the old news reels playing inside to see what may become of you on your voyage. There’s also a secret hidden code throughout the queue; written on the walls in a long-forgotten language. I can’t tell you what it says but I can say it may or may not be an advertisement for AT&T. If you make it through the line unscathed then be prepared for a ride like no other! Oh and remember… real rewards await those who choose wisely.

Room For Improvement: While this may be the best place in Disneyland the entire world to wait in line, there is still room for improvement. First of all, it’s time to just remove the Fastpass altogether. The current setup yields it almost useless and completely unnecessary. Second, those Imagineers need to come up with some cleverly located real estate for stroller parking and waiting family members. The entrance to this ride often looks like a refugee camp. Finally, as with all the attractions in Adventureland, you almost can’t even find the entrance to this attraction – this may be on purpose but it doesn’t mean I have to like it. Many guests have a devilish time simply finding the damned standby entrance, let alone finding their own asses with two hands and a map.

Don’t forget to check out our Number 2 pick for the Top Five Places to Wait in Line at the Disneyland Resort.

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.

In Case You Missed It

Bob’s Big Boy is now open for business in Orange! We went last night; wait time: 30 minutes.

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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.

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.

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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.

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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!

The Happiest (Octo)Mom on Earth

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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].

Big Waves Coming To Orange County Beaches This Weekend

Thanks to a storm in Tahiti, this weekend will be a great time for surfers. South facing beaches in LA and Orange Counties are expected to have 8-10 foot swells. This translates to LARGE waves. In some spots, the surf will be well overhead (approx 6+ feet). This weekend is the U.S. Open of Surfing in Huntington Beach. You can bet these guys and gals will take full advantage of this swell. If you’e never seen pro surfers shred it up in person before, this would be a great weekend to do so.

If you’re not a surfer however, this may be a crap weekend to be at the beach. Sure the temperatures will be high, but the lifeguards will most likely be keeping people out of the water as best as they can. With large waves comes strong rip currents. Weaker swimmers can easily get knocked over by a wave and then sucked out to sea very quickly. The lifeguards will have their hands full this weekend.

New This Halloween at Disneyland

A new attraction offering this fall during Halloween Time at the Disneyland Resort is a little something called Space Mountain: Ghost Galaxy.

Here’s the art for for the Hong Kong version of the ride overlay:

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Ok. Discuss.

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