Disney Parks

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Re: Disney Parks

Postby James » April 9th, 2015, 8:23 am

GeorgeC wrote:...Honestly, you DO NOT want to go to these parks June-August or November/December/Christmas or springbreak ... That's when they get swamped with people! Lines are longer, you have to wait more...


George is on the money. Plan around the crowds if you're able to. We're pulling the kids out of school the first week of December when the crowds are gone from Thanksgiving and not yet there for Christmas.

Meg wrote:Were you planning on staying on or off property, James?


We are. We almost always stay on property because it's just so convenient and it's fun to not leave the spell of the Disney magic! But the last time we went we found an amazing deal on a two bedroom condo type resort ($90 a night) that was too good to pass up. This time we decided to try one of Disney's value resorts because we've never stayed in one before (we try not to repeat Disney hotels so we can see more of them) and the prices are good at the time we're going.

Randall wrote:Funny, George and I just missed living in Orlando at the came time. I left in Feb. 1999, and he came later that year...


We've got a Florida reunion here! Though I was in Tampa and gone well before you guys got there. I lived there in the mid-1980s.

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Re: Disney Parks

Postby droosan » April 9th, 2015, 10:41 am

I went to high school and college in rural north Florida (Lake City, Tallahassee) from the mid-1980s through the early-1990s.

My younger brother interned at Walt Disney World for a year, mostly as a conductor on the Magic Kingdom Railroad. While there, he tried-out for an opening to work as a 'walk-around' Tigger/Goofy (the suits fit the same-sized person), and was accepted .. until they found out he was just an intern, and not a fully-fledged 'Disney Cast Member'.

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Re: Disney Parks

Postby EricJ » April 9th, 2015, 11:43 am

droosan wrote:My younger brother interned at Walt Disney World for a year, mostly as a conductor on the Magic Kingdom Railroad. While there, he tried-out for an opening to work as a 'walk-around' Tigger/Goofy (the suits fit the same-sized person), and was accepted .. until they found out he was just an intern, and not a fully-fledged 'Disney Cast Member'.


FWIU, you have to intern a year doing the low-level jobs (stores, restaurants, maintenance, ride-lines) before you're qualified to audition for a speaking or suit part in the next year. High priorities on training employees on the "spirit" of the company.

And yes, holidays and summer are so crowded with travel, the good deals are all in the "off" seasons, when the resort rates are lower.
I usually go in off-Spring and Fall, when the weather can be mild, and maybe cool in the evenings. (Although last trip, I caught three days of rain, took shelter in heavily air-conditioned rides, and came down with a cold. Which was sort of what I'd gone to Florida to get away from.)

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Re: Disney Parks

Postby GeorgeC » April 9th, 2015, 11:44 am

Randall wrote:I agree--- not much real culture in Orlando. It was hard to even find a used book store. And no local theatre that I recall, just stuff like Medieval Feast. It's really a tourist town.

************************************

I went to MegaCon a couple of times--- met George Perez for the first time, and got Moldoff and Nodell to both sign All Star Archives Vol. 1! Very cool. (I wish I'd seen Lampert!!!!) Mrs. Moldoff was not a Nodell fan--- and said so loudly enough for Mr. Nodell to hear her! I do have a signed Sprang book (World's Finest Archives Vol. 1), but I never met him. (I did also got Mark Waid and Gil Kane to sign their Flash hardcover.) The show I really loved is defunct now: the F/X Collectibles Supershow, where I met Julie Newmar and others.

Anyhoo.... back to the Parks talk...



<SIGH>

I missed getting signatures and talking to a bunch of the old guys that I really wanted to talk with = Gil Kane, Jack Kirby, Julius Schwartz, Carmine Infantino, John Broome, etc. Most of them are dead now!

(You'll never see Steve Ditko at anything like a comic con. You'd be lucky to bump into in NYC -- that if he's even still living! Very reclusive. They had a strange documentary about him a couple of years back done by a Spider-Man who was working for the BBC. At the end, he did get a meeting with Ditko but it was off-camera. Strange piece of film... I wish I COULD waste a company/corporation account trying to meet my idols! :lol: )

I have met George Perez 3 times at cons (Chicago Comic Con 1 time and MegaCon 2x)... He was never anything but nice! Oh, and I personally think he's one of the best comic book artists there ever was in the US. He would be in my all-time top 10... and he would definitely be the most significant continuing comic artist since the 1970s. The last thing I have new from him is JLA/Avengers and that really is the same artist who did Crisis on Infinite Earths, Wonder Woman, and New Teen Titans in the 1980s.

A lot of his contemporaries have NOT aged well and some of them are notorious for being grumps in public (and online). One-who-shall-not-be-named was so bad that I don't know if the cons stopped inviting him or he had to stop going because he really damaged his reputation among fans with his behavior. (He was a great artist, that guy, but, did he NOT know how to behave around most fans! He should NEVER have gotten Internet access! Man, did his ego get the better of him --- and I don't think the guy's learned from that in over 20 years!) I have never seen Perez act that way around the fans. Nope! Struck me as fairly nice, decent guy.

Funny thing about Sprang... He NEVER appreciated until much later how popular his Batman was. For him, he said the prestige assignment was working on Superman back in the day. Superman -- the character who is genuinely remembered by the public-at-large only because of the Christopher Reeve movies and not much else! (Batman is much, much more popular now! It never struck me just how much more popular he was until the past decade-and-a-half... Absolutely not contest there!) Just goes to show, you never know what you're going to be remembered for! I think he would have been tickled pink by Batman: The Brave & The Bold... That is a huge Valentine's Day card if I ever saw one!
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Re: Disney Parks

Postby EricJ » April 9th, 2015, 2:00 pm

Randall wrote:Many people don't realize just how economical it can be to stay in the Park. Many people are eager to check out condo deals in Kissimmee (and are very proud of themselves for being so clever), but staying in the Park can be a great deal, too. The All Star resorts were under $100/night when we visited (even in my home town, staying in a downtown hotel can easily cost twice as much), and even staying at the Caribbean Beach resort like we did was not much more.
And some resorts (like CB) have inexpensive food courts, e.g. a nice plate of lasagna and some bread & veggies for under 8 bucks ain't bad at all. Or you can get a nice sandwich for just a few dollars there.


On the last trip, since I wouldn't be doing as many of the rides, decided to make it a "dining tour" and took the promotional Dining Plan with CB. (Since the plan would be insanely expensive by itself, it was more of a short-term savings to pay full price for the resort.)
The food courts at the resort hotels, including CB, are surprisingly good at delivering the basics, and the counter services at the park have some surprisingly good options...Only the truly devoted know about the sprouts-and-hummus sandwich at Columbia Harbour House.
(As part of the Dining motif, I'd picked up some Disney-character themed cookbooks, got the characters to sign them, and managed to surprise Tiana with her own gumbo and beignets recipes.)

The ease of the new Magic Band technology makes it too much of a temptation to toss off meals and purchases without thinking, but once you get hooked on strategizing the "virtual vacation" through the reservation website, by seeing what openings for the Mine Train or Be Our Guest pop up from day to day, I can't remember how anyone so compulsive-obsessed about their travel-plans like me ever survived without it. :D

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Re: Disney Parks

Postby droosan » April 14th, 2015, 7:12 am

I've always looked upon Disney's California Adventure park as a strange 'franken-mash' of bits of the Florida M-G-M park (Tower of Terror, Muppets 3-D) with some ill-advised 'Cali-themed' attractions (a 'paparazzi' ride? really..? :roll: ) and a few genuinely fun experiences (particularly Soaring Over California, the steam-catapult Mickey Mouse coaster and the river rapids).

In the early days of the DCA park, the central area was set-up like a permanent State Fair .. in much the same vein as the Epcot Center's World Showcase is a permanent World's Fair; there was a thoroughly-generic midway (with non-descript fairground rides and 'try your luck'-style games) and booths selling fruit and wines from California's central valleys. This section of the park has given way, bit-by-bit, to a variety of 'Disney-trademarked' attractions.

Several of the earliest such attractions were Pixar-themed: there was A Bug's Life garden (and the It's Tough to Be A Bug 3-D experience), A Toy Story dark-ride/fairground game, and eventually also a 'Cars Land' area.

With the recent addition of the Ariel's Undersea Adventure dark ride & restaurant, however -- IMHO -- Disney missed out on a golden opportunity to re-brand the DCA park and make it special. :|


I think Disney's California Adventure should have stuck strictly with the Pixar theme, and been renamed Pixar Land.


As it is, Pixar-themed elements have begun popping-up in Disneyland in recent years, as well .. such as a "Pizza Planet" pavilion in Tomorrow Land. So, both of its California parks now have a mixture of Disney & Pixar-themed attractions.

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Re: Disney Parks

Postby EricJ » April 14th, 2015, 10:24 am

droosan wrote:I've always looked upon Disney's California Adventure park as a strange 'franken-mash' of bits of the Florida M-G-M park (Tower of Terror, Muppets 3-D) with some ill-advised 'Cali-themed' attractions (a 'paparazzi' ride? really..? :roll: ) and a few genuinely fun experiences (particularly Soaring Over California, the steam-catapult Mickey Mouse coaster and the river rapids).
With the recent addition of the Ariel's Undersea Adventure dark ride & restaurant, however -- IMHO -- Disney missed out on a golden opportunity to re-brand the DCA park and make it special. :|


The original California theming was a disaster (the "paparazzi" ride in the Hollywood section has long since been retired into a Monsters Inc. ride), but much of it was originally salvaged from concept art for the Disney America we didn't get in Virginia:
Condor Flats was originally Victory Airfield, the farm was originally Bountiful Farms, Grizzly River Rapids was originally a Native Indian ride, and the midway rides were originally State Fair USA.

With the addition of Buena Vista Street, Iger's new idea was theming it to events from Walt's past, from his first arrival in Hollywood, and the Carthay Circle Theater as a restaurant, to the Silly Symphonies-themed rides on the midway, but putting in the Ariel ride, just because they wanted one after the disk, seems to have thrown a wrench into that.

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Re: Disney Parks

Postby GeorgeC » April 15th, 2015, 12:47 am

droosan wrote:I've always looked upon Disney's California Adventure park as a strange 'franken-mash' of bits of the Florida M-G-M park (Tower of Terror, Muppets 3-D) with some ill-advised 'Cali-themed' attractions (a 'paparazzi' ride? really..? :roll: ) and a few genuinely fun experiences (particularly Soaring Over California, the steam-catapult Mickey Mouse coaster and the river rapids).



One of my figure drawing teachers, who WAS a Disney animator (clean-up artist), once told a story about John Hench who was one the principal designers/Disney Imagineers of the original Disney theme parks.

Hench lived to see the California Adventure Park built. He summed up his opinion of the park (design) to another guy like this -- "I liked it better when it was a parking lot!"


Getting back to the Florida Disney/MGM park... The Tower of Terror/Twilight Zone ride is my favorite version of what they called 'The Demon Drop' at Cedar Point (Sandusky, Ohio). The advantage of the Disney version of the ride is that the cars are dropped into darkness and ride-goers have NO REFERENCE points while they fall in the dark! That is way freakier to me than being able to see the ground as you fall. I still liked the ride!
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Re: Disney Parks

Postby Vernadyn » April 15th, 2015, 4:49 am

GeorgeC wrote:Getting back to the Florida Disney/MGM park... The Tower of Terror/Twilight Zone ride is my favorite version of what they called 'The Demon Drop' at Cedar Point (Sandusky, Ohio).


The Tower of Terror in California Adventure is definitely not as great as the one in Florida. There's no "5th dimension" and the drop sequence is the same each time.

I've been to the Disneyland Resort at least twice a year for the past 10+ years, but my first of two visits to Disney World was about two years ago. I've written some rambling blog posts about my experience at WDW, but what struck me most was how huge it was. You can't just walk the equivalent of a city block to the next park like you can in Anaheim. I ended up liking Epcot the best out of the four parks and found much to enjoy in Animal Kingdom and the Studios. The Magic Kingdom came across as a tepid Disneyland replica to me. The park seemed oddly empty (in terms of attractions) compared to Disneyland and most of the rides were inferior to the West Coast versions. Their Haunted Mansion is better, and I did like the PeopleMover (or whatever it's called), but Pirates and Small World were a joke, and Space Mountain was pretty much Matterhorn in the dark. Sadly, Splash Mountain was closed for rehab both times I went, so I can't compare that.

One thing I don't like about WDW in general is the new Fastpass+ system and how limiting it is compared to the old system still used at Disneyland. (We didn't need to use it, as it turned out). Pop Century was pretty much the only onsite hotel in our budget for both trips, but as all we did there was sleep, we were happy with it. We never had to wait more than ten minutes for a bus either. (We had dinner at the Polynesian one night, and on the way out, we waited more than half an hour for ANY bus to arrive before saying "Screw it" and walking to the Transportation and Ticket Center…which is what I suspect many people do anyway.)

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Re: Disney Parks

Postby James » March 29th, 2016, 8:12 pm

Just saw an interesting article on Reddit about WDW on 9/11 an put it up on the front page. It's not new but I'd never seen it and thought other park fans might want to check it out too.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jim-hill/ ... 52645.html

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Re: Disney Parks

Postby Ben » March 30th, 2016, 4:10 am

Eric's post here has been deleted for being dumb on one level and insensitive on another.

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Re: Disney Parks

Postby EricJ » March 30th, 2016, 1:12 pm

Well, it is true, if we knew then that Al-Qaeda only went after the WTC as a cheap "symbol of American business capitalism pouring oil dollars into the Saudis", because they were only after the Saudi royals to begin with, we could have visited Disneyland with no fears whatsoever...But we didn't know that.

What's worse is that Boston forever lost its best top-of-the-skyscraper viewing spot because of the same "What if we're the next famous icon that bad people want to blow up because they don't like us?" security fears of the day.

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Re: Disney Parks

Postby droosan » May 22nd, 2017, 12:48 am

I revisited Disneyland & California Adventure earlier this week, for the first time in many years. There is some obvious construction going on at the moment on Tom Sawyer Island, which I presume will be the home of the upcoming Star Wars Land.

However, not content to wait that long, it seems Disney has rechristened Space Mountain as HyperSpace Mountain -- which is now fully a Star Wars-themed ride, both in the queue and the coaster itself. Granted, this probably happened a while back .. but I just learned of it on this trip, and I was mildly disappointed with it; this ride has always been among the park's most popular -- for decades -- without the Star Wars branding. I'm kinda hoping they change it back, after Star Wars Land opens. :|

Another ride which changed significantly since my last visit was the Submarines, which are now a Finding Nemo-themed attraction. While the first half is largely the same (with occasional underwater animatronics, and lots of obscuring bubbles), the second half of the journey is now mostly an underwater dark-ride, with progressive scenes of projected-video animations of the characters, rather than animatronics. I didn't mind the changes to this ride, as much; the last time I'd been on it, it was definitely showing its age .. and I'd always kinda preferred the similar -- but 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea-themed -- ride at Disney World, anyhow.

I also noted changes in A Small World -- where traditional Disney characters have been inserted among the children, in their appropriate lands (Peter Pan & Alice in England, Lilo & Stitch in Polynesia, Donald & the Three Caballeros in South America, etc). However, all are faithfully portrayed in Mary Blair's style .. and they're generally sprinkled around like 'easter eggs', rather than the focal point of any scene .. so, it works. :)

Ariel's Undersea Adventure -- The Little Mermaid-themed dark ride in California Adventure -- had been 'under construction' during my last visit. I was very pleased with how this turned out! :) The animatronics are among the most expressive I've seen .. and some of the small touches -- like the 'underwater plunge' effect which accompanies your clamshell's entrance to the ride -- are simple, but effective. The ride is a little bit short, IMO (I really wish Ariel's sisters were featured in there, somewhere!) .. but it loads & unloads fast; there is rarely a long wait, from what I observed.

The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror is now a Guardians of The Galaxy-themed ride. It isn't open yet, but it's visible from much of DCA park, in all its gaudy glory. It's clad in a colorful array of mismatched sci-fi pipes and panels; some of which have a mirror finish, and seem to 'glow' at the right angle/time of day.

DCA is also home to the Pixar Play! Parade, which is a pretty impressive celebration of everything Pixar, mixing animatronics, walkarounds, dancers & acrobats with one of those songs that takes a while to get out of your head. :mrgreen:

As I'd mentioned over in the Cars thread, though .. it was Cars Land which (very unexpectedly, for me!) stole the show. I wasn't expecting it to be anywhere as interesting or fun as it is.

If Star Wars Land can reach those same heights .. it should be pretty amazing.

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Re: Disney Parks

Postby Ben » May 22nd, 2017, 4:32 pm

There's been a ton of changes to Disneyland since I went first in 1998 and then in 2008 with the AV gang from this site.

Not that I'm trying to go every ten years, but we're planning another trip for 2018 (although whether it happens or not is open for debate!) since I wanted to catch all the changes but wait until SW Land is up and running.

The Leagues submarine ride was certainly showing its age in '98, it being the "lamest" of everything according to others in my party (even if I was pleased to have seen it as close to as originally was), but I really liked the Nemo changes when we saw it again in '08. Sounds like they have expanded the Pixar area at DCA quite a bit, although hopefully Toy Story Mania is still there; I loved that!

The other plan is that we finally make it to Disney World in 2018 instead, having been to California twice but - gasp! - never Florida (some in the family have done that twice, I've been waiting until I can really do it right and well), so that might be on the cards instead. But right now I'm putting together the mother of all home theaters and that's sucking up major holiday moolah at the moment, so maybe even 2018 is optimistic!

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Re: Disney Parks

Postby droosan » May 23rd, 2017, 8:13 am

Toy Story Mania is still at DCA .. but it was 'out-of-commission' during my visit, last week. :( At least I can look forward to seeing it next time I go!

The Indiana Jones ride at Disneyland was likewise closed -- but had a sign out front saying "The Adventure Continues: Spring 2017." Luck of the draw, I guess..!