Archive for October, 2011

Little Mermaid (part 3)

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

Finishing off our tour of DCA’s Little Mermaid attraction…

Kiss the girl

The “Kiss the Girl” scene is nicely done but very inappropriate. Major organizations (such as No Contact Before Marriage and the Defense Against Cooties Foundation) agree that explicit depictions of smooching may border on life scarring for children below voting age.

Creepy shadows

The actual kiss is depicted in silhouette form. A bit of trivia: this gigantic animated silhouette was cut from a single piece of black construction paper by the nice lady who makes silhouettes on Main Street.


In the back, there’s a little reference to Syndrome from The Incredibles. What’s up with that?

King Triton

Ariel’s dad, Neptune, is totally ripped. This kind of idealized body image is what gives feelings of inadequacy to so many adolescent mermen.

Married mermaid

The final wedding scene is cute, but the prince shows his lack of thespian experience by always looking right at the camera.

Mystery boxes

There’s a mysterious cabinet visible near the end of the attraction. If we are interpreting the markings correctly, this is a storage space for both the original manuscript of The Little Mermaid and Hans Christian Andersen’s head.

Mermaid treasure!

As you exit, notice the sea chest with the gigantic lock. It’s obviously full of treasure, but they don’t let guests have any. This is grossly unfair — teasing, really — and it left a bit of a sour taste in our mouth, which was unfortunate as the attraction had otherwise been so nice. (Also notice the attraction’s final hidden Mickey. Seriously — enough already!)

Little Mermaid (part 2)

Tuesday, October 18th, 2011

Infinite seashells

The attraction has only fifteen vehicles, but they are made to look like many more through the clever use of mirrors.


The attraction is narrated by a creepy, beady-eyed musical bird for some reason. Nobody we interviewed for the compilation of facts within this expose was able to tell us why (largely because they were too busy looking at is as if we were insane).

Water entrance

The attraction vehicles turn around and slip below the waves, complements of a special effect that, while brilliantly executed, is crammed with far too many tiny little hidden Mickeys for our taste.

Mermaid with purse

As you descend into the sea, Arial can be seen overhead, accompanied by what appears to be a chambered nautilus and carrying a purse to help remind little princesses of their responsibility to accessorize.

Mermaid treasure house

Within Ariel’s undersea lair can be seen many of her treasures (forks, ruined books, jugs full of seawater), cleverly scavenged from among the many survivor-less shipwrecks that have drifted down to her domain.


In the “under the sea” room, Sebastian the crab faces a row of electric eels and, with his little baton, conducts electricity.

Psycho mermaid hair

In the grand showroom, Ariel sings, dances, and sports a hairdo modeled after the shell of the fly-specked cerith.

Kissing a swan

Why is this fish kissing the front half of an old, barnacle-covered swan statue? We don’t know.


Ursula, the villain in this little tableau, is introduced in a dark, spooky scene in which she is depicted as being larger than the water-covered video globe of the Earth. We don’t understand this either.

Tomorrow, the exciting climax to this thrilling adventure!

Little Mermaid (part 1)

Monday, October 17th, 2011

Now that the queue for the Little Mermaid attraction at DCA is finally averaging less than two hours, we thought it would be nice to make a little photo tour of the attraction for those of you who have neither been to the park recently nor seen any of the other photo tours, videos, or detailed reviews copiously available online and in travel guides, AAA publications, and Disney-fan magazines.

Little Mermaid entrance

The entrance to the attraction is very attractive, although here and there we could see a little room for additional quality control.

Mermaid tile

Within the entrance is a mosaic floor in which scenes from the film have been created entirely with natural sea-sourced materials, such as seaweed, shells, and bits of the Titanic.

Center of DCA

Here’s a little bit of trivia for you, this marker embedded in the ground at the attraction’s entrance marks the exact, precise, geographic center of Disney California Adventure.

Hidden Mickey

Within the show building, we immediately spotted this lamp, which serves as a hint of the one problem this attraction has — too darned many hidden Mickeys. Sure, we love hidden Mickeys as much as the next guy so long as the next guy isn’t Michael Eisner, but in this attraction they are just ubiquitous.

Weird shape

The level of detail in the queue is incredible, although we can’t quite understand why the rails are decorated with these little cacti.

Radioactive mermaid

As the vehicle boarding area approaches, there is a large mural decorated with this lovely painting of Arial, the Little Mermaid herself. As a subtle environmental message, the LM’s mermaid face glows gently, to help make riders aware of the problems caused by dumping radioactive materials into the planet’s oceans.

Coming tomorrow — the actual attraction!

Occupy Main Street

Tuesday, October 11th, 2011

Even though this is generally a great time of year to go to Disneyland, crowd levels toward the front of the park have been consistently high, largely due to the ongoing Occupy Main Street protests that we have all been reading so much about. Protesters set up a tent city in the Plaza Gardens area every morning (after getting their Star Tours FASTPASSes), moving it only at park closing, and crowd the area area around the flagpole throughout the day, making speeches and displaying protest signs (“When do I get my dream?”, “We are the 10% (of guests who have annual passes),” “People, not princesses,” “An arm, a leg, a churro,” etc.) to passing guests.

Occupy Main Street
Photo: A princess who prefers to remain anonymous but who stands with the protestors and tries to raise awareness of the Disnification of the continent of Africa (shown here sideways).

It is not clear what the protesters want. Some are angered by ever-increasing novelty snack prices. Some feel that Disney California Adventure’s gate price is artificially high, that Disney refused to admit he park’s problems because their theme park division was “too big to fail,” and that those who visited in the park’s early years when it had few big attractions were unfairly subsidizing its growth. A few still seem to be under the impression that they need to speak out against a scheduled removal of Mr. Lincoln, want the sexism returned to Pirates, or are angry that you can no longer go to the front of attraction lines by renting a wheelchair.

But the majority seem to be pushing for Disney to give more attention and praise to “the little guy,” not just in the parks, but in their films. Said Hipster Burns, a self-appointed spokes protester, “On a cartoon like Beauty and the Beast, there are lead animators who just handled a single character, but there are other animators responsible for whole crowds of background characters and animals. Why don’t the minor characters get the love and attention the big characters do? It’s the same in the parks. There is so much that is designed to appeal to children, but look around — there are far more adults here than children, and we’re the ones paying for everything. Why can’t the kids sit at the exit and wait while we go on an attraction once in a while? Where’s the parade for us?”

Said protestor Chrissie Bathless, “Look at the princesses, living in castles. Sleeping Beauty got an awesome new walkthrough installed in her castle not too long ago, but why? Because she’s beautiful and rich? What about the toons, the characters that really do the heavy lifting for Disney. These are the men and women and others who get whacked in the head for laughs while the princesses sing and get waited on by forest creatures. But look at Toontown — it’s a mess! The attraction count has actually gone down since it opened, fun stuff keeps getting removed and not replaced — I’m even starting to think the hills aren’t real. But is Disneyland doing something about it? No — they’ve announced that they’re building a whole new area just for princesses. As if they need it!”

There have been a few minor incidents related to the protests. There were multiple complaints of protestors crowding or vandalizing restaurant restrooms, but this was solved by pointing out to them that there are restrooms all-the-heck over the place in the park. Bad blood was also stirred up when a splinter Occupy New Orleans Square group noticed that a group of Club 33 patrons were standing on a balcony, drinking champagne, and laughing down at the poor, lower-status guests who had to visit the park sober.

If you have been to the park recently and photographed the protests, please send them to us along of your report of the action. We will post updates as they become necessary.

Steve Jobs

Wednesday, October 5th, 2011

At, we hate being serious, but this is one of those times where we have no choice.

Steve Jobs was an amazing man and an inspiration in a great many areas of our lives. He did so much in so little time. We will miss him immeasurably.

We’re going to go queue up a Pixar film on our iPad and have a little smile with our cry.

Clear skies at DCA

Wednesday, October 5th, 2011

Clear skies at DCA

Just wanted to share this incredible view from DCA. On our recent visit, the sky was so clear that for the first time ever we could actually see the mountains in the distance!

DCA’s new entrance

Tuesday, October 4th, 2011

DCA's new entrance

We finally got to see the new entrance to Disney California Adventure, and think it is an incredible tribute to the entrance to Disney Hollywood Studios in Florida.

Seeing the new entrance also helped us understand why the park’s name was changed from Disney’s California Adventure to Disney California Adventure — there is no possible way that the “‘s” could have fit on the marque. Seriously, it would have been crammed up against the “C” and just looked terrible. Good decision, Disney!

Carnation Plaza

Monday, October 3rd, 2011

On our recent visit to Disneyland, we stopped by Carnation Plaza Gardens, which Disney recently announced would be plowed under and replaced by a new area dedicated to princesses.

After a great amount of soul searching, we have decided that this is a horrible, horrible idea that amounts to bringing Walt Disney back from the grave just to plunge a fist into his chest and rip out his beating heart, put a tiara on it, and make it stand in line for an hour to get the Little Mermaid’s autograph.

To substantiate our position, we offer as assistance this photograph, which we took during the day at a randomly chosen moment:

Carnation Plaza

Click on the picture to see it even bigger.

We’ll wait while you do that.


Okay, good.

Do you notice what we noticed? That’s right — Carnation Plaza Gardens is exactly, precisely perfect just the way it is. Look at the picture: There is literally nothing in the picture that is the reason this beloved, pristine, uncluttered area should be destroyed.

Agree? Ignorantly disagree? Let us know in the comments.

Line marker card

Sunday, October 2nd, 2011

On our recent visit to Disneyland, we were identified in line for an attraction by cast members as true, devoted, professional cast-member wannabees who could be trusted with important, park-critical tasks and handed this card:

Line marker card

We’re not really sure what it means, but it made us feel really important. Until someone took it from us. Which made us sad.

A pumpkin on Main Street

Saturday, October 1st, 2011

A pumpkin on Main Street

Pumpkins like these line Disneyland’s Main Street as part of the Halloweentime celebration. They’re nice and all, but did you know that they are more than just jolly seasonal decorations?

Each and every Main Street pumpkin is a caricature of a prominent person from Disneyland’s past, placed as a tribute to their contribution. It is considered a great honor to receive a “pumpkin on Main Street,” and every September Disneyland has a little ceremony in which new “pumpkinheads” are inducted.

Guests aren’t expected to recognize all the faces (although X. Atencio, Mary Blair, Wally Boag, and Carl “Cubby” O’Brien are pretty obvious in the above photo), but a handy guide is available at no charge at City Hall.