Archive for March, 2008

Airplane Attraction Test Fails

Monday, March 10th, 2008

At Disney Imagineering Testing Center in Burbank, California, a test of the proposed Goofy’s Airport attraction ended prematurely. The attraction was built around real, small-scale airplanes that young visitors would be able to “pilot” themselves, much in the way they drive cars in the Autopia. To prevent the aircraft from taking to the air, they would be run not on solid ground, but on a moving conveyor belt that would move backward to precisely counter the aircraft’s forward motion.

Unfortunately, during the first test of the new system, the aircraft took off at full speed and flew directly into the side of the testing building, destroying the airplane and its robot pilot and starting a small fire.

“It makes no sense — the plane just shouldn’t have taken off,” said nearly unemployed Imagineer Dusty Physics. “When we tried it with an Autopia car it worked fine. The car just stayed in place no matter how fast we ran the engine. Maybe we need to increase the speed of the conveyor when using an airplane. I just don’t know. It’s supernatural or something.”

Remember to Forget Daylight Saving Time!

Sunday, March 9th, 2008

Remember that, although today marks the start of daylight saving time, you don’t need to worry about it if you are visiting Walt Disney World. WDW is its own county and does not recognize daylight saving time (because it’s “decidedly unmagical”). So if you set your watch ahead, remember that all parks and attractions will be open an hour earlier than posted times, but if you don’t reset your watch, remember that the rest of the state closes an hour earlier than posted times. (Or the other way around — we have trouble keeping it straight.)

And if you’re one of those people who has to call WDW dining as soon as they open this morning to make princess dining reservations, just call a couple of hours early and keep speed-dialing the number. That way, no matter how the whole daylight saving time thing works for you, you’re bound to be calling at the right time at some point.

Revised Hall of Presidents

Friday, March 7th, 2008

According to an article on the Mike Molehill Web site, WDW’s Hall of Presidents is in for a few changes. First, the animatronic figure of the current President will no longer speak. Apparently, management is afraid that Hillary Clinton might win the Presidency, and they are afraid that a robotic Clinton might be too much for younger visitors to take.

More importantly, the show is going to be shortened and updated to make it more “hip” while retaining its educational nature. The Hall of Presidents: Under New Government will show what happens when Presidents of America’s past are confronted by Disney cartoon royalty such as King Louie and Prince John. It’ll be a singing, dancing, comparison of monarchy and democracy! (And be sure to stay until the crowd leaves so you can hear Zachary Taylor, just as the curtain closes, complain that the Tiki Room is “for the birds”!)

DL Segway

Thursday, March 6th, 2008

Recently, Disneyland reopened the Segway experience within the park’s Innoventions attraction. “This is in no way a reaction to the recent, rapidly dismissed lawsuit in which some of our treasured handicapped guests sued to be allowed to bring their Segways into Walt Disney World,” said Disney’s supposed ADA-Compliance Officer Abel Bodied. “And just to prove the point, people in wheelchairs are not being allowed to operate Segways in the new attraction.”

“it’s a small response”

Thursday, March 6th, 2008

Furor over changes to Disneyland’s “it’s a small world” attraction have not gone unnoticed at Imagineering headquarters. This morning, we are going to say we received this e-mail from Penny Pincher, a supposed Imagineering insider:

Recent controversy regarding updates to Disneyland’s “it’s a small world” attraction has blown all out of proportion, largely because it ignores several important facts. The first, and most important, is simple accounting.

Disney measures the value of an attraction by its CPG, or “Cost Per Guest.” An attraction’s daily CPG is calculated by averaging the annual operating and maintenance cost of the attraction and dividing by the number of guests who experienced the attraction on a given day. For example, the Main Street fire engine costs, on average, $800/day to operate, so on a day when it transports 480 guests its CPG is $1.67 (which seems high, until you remember that the fire engine is often removed from attraction service to respond to emergencies all over the Disneyland Resort.) Indiana Jones is an expensive attraction but handles many guests, so its CPG is $.27. The Pooh attraction’s CPG is $143.95.

What about “it’s a small world”? Everyone agrees that this attraction is underperforming. Its queue almost never reaches the hub any more. In researching this response, I stood outside the attraction all day yesterday and noted that not a single guest entered “it’s a small world” — so when we calculate its CPG we have to divide by zero and get infinity, making it the most expensive-to-operate attraction in the park. Granted, the attraction was closed yesterday for refurbishment, but my point stands.

I also want to address many of the unsubstantiated rumors being circulated about the refurbishment. It’s not true that the attraction is being updated with characters from the upcoming “it’s a small world” movie. Those changes will be part of a 2011 refurbishment. It is not true that a scene with a hatchet-wielding bride is being added. That idea was cut (for budgetary reasons) more than a week ago. It’s not true that the attraction is getting a recorded soundtrack. The “it’s a small world” song will continue to be sung live by an off-stage chorus of children, just as it has always been.

One thing that nobody has mentioned is that an interactive element is being added to the attraction. When “iasw” reopens later this year, every seat in every boat will have its own studio-quality corded microphone so guests can sing along with the children of the world! Guests will be encouraged to sing in their native language, and the resulting chorus will be broadcast from speakers on the outside of the attraction for the enjoyment of all.

In closing, I want to point out to all of you who are whining about “iasw” being of historical value that Walt Disney himself had nothing good to say about the attraction. At least not recently. So, please, stop the whining and let us get back to work.

“it’s a small disaster”

Wednesday, March 5th, 2008

A recent post at the Fanatical Imagineering Blog discusses secret insider details of the current “it’s a small world” refurbishment and how horribly, earth-shatteringly devastating they will be to true Disneyland fans. A few of the items that fans are most riot-inspiringly mad about:

  1. Replacement of the original Mary “no relation to the former prime minister of England” Blair’s designs with “something more Pixarish.”
  2. Replacement of many children with Disney characters (because Disney is finding it very expensive to maintain its trademark of the images of all the children of the world)
  3. Destruction of the New Guinea rain forest scene, apparently to make room for a cattle-grazing scene.
  4. Insertion of a scene heavy-handedly celebrating American imperialism and capitalism (including, as a nod to what has been lost, a female character carrying an alligator-skin purse that looks disturbingly similar to the alligator that used to be in the rain forest).
  5. Reworking of a number of figure so that they are more topical (a tech support child in India, a starving child making Wal-Mart clothes in China, iPods on all the American kids, Mexican children trying to run across the border between scenes, etc.)
  6. A new soundtrack performed by the cast of High School Musical.
  7. Draining and replacing of all the water to get rid of any of that dirty old “water from the four corners of the earth” left over from Walt’s time.

Fanatical Imagineering believes that a protest is in order. They suggest that any true Disney fans who don’t want to see this beloved attraction horribly mutilated should get their own children (under age eight) together, box them up, and overnight-mail them to Imagineering headquarters in Burbank. “Maybe if Imagineering management remembers what it’s like to have a bunch of wonderful children around,” the site’s Webmaster supposedly said, “they’ll have a change of heart. If nothing else, it’ll get the kids out of the house for a couple of days.”

Disney’s Night Kingdom

Wednesday, March 5th, 2008

Rumors abound about Walt Disney World’s fifth park, Disney’s Night Kingdom. At this point, we don’t have a whole lot of information. All that we know for sure is that it will only be open after dark, it won’t have any lights, and it will share the same space as WDW’s Magic Kingdom.

According to one fan on a highly respected Disney fan message board, “It’s just going to be the Magic Kingdom with all the lights out, except that the lights will be on inside Space Mountain. Expect lots of cool surprises, like accidentally getting run into by other guests and not knowing when it’s okay to board the teacups because you can’t see them.”

More details will be made available as soon as they are made available — we promise!

Fastpass Fakes

Tuesday, March 4th, 2008

Apparently, Disneyland and Walt Disney World are having quite a bit of trouble with counterfeit FASTPASSes. A number of new procedures are now in effect to stem the use of these harmful fakes (such as testing individual FASTPASSes with ultraviolet light to make sure that they are authentic and violently ejecting counterfeiters from the park onto a nearby highway), but just to be safe you should know how to tell a real FASTPASS from a fake one.For example, your FASTPASS may be a fake if:

  • You bought it from a sleazy looking guy in a trench coat instead of obtaining it from a FASTPASS machine.
  • The bar code spells “gotcha” in binary
  • The attraction it’s for closed in the ’90s
  • It’s printed on recycled Go Network promotional material
  • The type looks hand drawn
  • It says Knotts Berry Farm at the top

Montana Makeover Mania

Monday, March 3rd, 2008

Beginning February 24, Hannah Montana-inspired makeovers became available at WDW’s Downtown Disney Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique. Reservations for the makeovers quickly sold out, with many parents complaining that scalpers snapped them up before real customers ever had a chance to purchase them.

One mother was almost hysterical that she had to pay $200 for daughter’s “The Full Montana” makeover, complaining that scalpers had driven the price so high that she could barely afford it, until she realized that $200 was, in fact, the makeover’s normal list price.