Archive for April, 2012

Disneyland Tour: Balloons

Monday, April 30th, 2012

Disneyland Tour: Balloons

In the early days of the park, simple, non-buoyant balloons attached to sticks were available. Hot-air balloons were tested, but found to be impractical and short-lived. These paved the way for hydrogen-filled balloons, the horrible, tragic, fiery result of which needs not be described here (but led to the park’s restrictive smoking policies and the sudden elimination of Tomorrowland’s Wonders of Tissue Paper exhibit).

The next innovation — also doomed to failure — was the transparent balloon. In these innocent times, it was thought that there was nothing wrong with rendering balloons transparent by fitting them with small, tube-powered x-ray emitters. This had the added bonus of making guests with balloons look like glowing skeletons when on any of Fantasyland’s dark rides. Although many guests discovered hidden cancers and self-diagnosed serious injuries using these amusing toys, they were eventually banned by federal law.

Disneyland Tour: Balloons

The famous “Mickey Mouse” balloons have been a staple of the park for decades. Other shapes have been tested over the years (including the popular Baloo balloons in the 1960s).

Balloons at Disneyland are currently $7 apiece, $14 for two, $21 for three, etc., with the volume discount continuing in this manner up to a maximum of 60 balloons (the maximum number a cast member can carry at one time without legally being classified as a flotation device).

One strange balloon-related practice — “Carling” — arose (no pun intended) after the release of Pixar’s film Up. Someone who wants to Carl approaches a castmember selling balloons and purchases their entire stock. The balloons are then released en masse, with the results often filmed and posted on YouTube or other social networking sites. Because of the high cost of purchasing an entire lot of balloons, several Disney fans have crowd-funded their Carling projects on Kickstarter, sending videos of the hilarity (including crowd reactions) to those who donated.

The related practice of buying a large number of balloons and attaching them to the belt of a very annoying small child is impolite, frowned upon, and a felony.

An interesting aside: the Up-inspired idea of buying a bunch of balloons and giving them away to nobody is where the phrase “giving up” came from.

Coming up next: Picnic area

Matterhorn changes

Monday, April 30th, 2012

Global warming at Disneyland

On the left is a photo of the Matterhorn from two years ago. On the right, a photo of the Matterhorn taken over this past weekend. The difference is striking, isn’t it? The snow levels on the Matterhorn have never been this low.

“It’s global warming,” says fictional Disneyland spokescastmember April Frost. “You can see the effects all over the park. Water levels are down, rain levels are down, and over Christmas what little snow we got on Main Street was so anemic it clumped together like soap suds. Why, did you know that in Florida’s Magic Kingdom a few years ago the submarine attraction evaporated all together? We’re doing our best to avoid a similar tragedy in California, and it makes us feel mighty guilty for using pure, black, unfiltered coal to run the Disneyland Railroad, Mark Twain, and Autopia for so many years.”

SBCW mini movie

Sunday, April 29th, 2012

Wow! The response to our first mini movie was so overwhelming that we went back to the park and did another — this time of the Sleeping Beauty Castle Walkthrough. We have to admit, experiencing the attraction this way is much less crowded, takes less time, and is much more thrilling!

Sleeping Beauty Castle Walkthroughmini movie

PLOTSI mini movie

Sunday, April 29th, 2012

At Disneyland today, we thought it would be nice to do a little something for those of who you enjoy the park but are not able to visit it as much as you would like. To that end, we visited Pirate’s Lair on Tom Sawyer Island, walked around it, took a photograph every eight steps (or so), and stitched the thing together into an endless-loop animation. It’s a pretty big file, so if you have a slow connection or are secretly the target of government internet surveillance, it may take a minute to load.

Pirate's Lair on Tom Sawyer Island mini movie

That was a lot more convenient than visiting Disneyland and running around PLOTSI infinitely, now wasn’t it? Let us know in the comments what you enjoyed most seeing on your tour!

Swing protest!

Friday, April 27th, 2012

We will be visiting Disneyland this Sunday to pay one last visit to Carnation Plaza Gardens and Rest Area before it’s scheduled April 30 implosion and subsequent conversion to what an eight-year-old boy of our acquaintance referred to as, “a cootie-filled girlie land with a tiara.” (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.)

Although we have no problem with Disneyland changing with the times, we will be sad to see Carnation Plaza go. But even when it has been replaced, we will still treasure our memories of the amazing times we had there. Who could forget:

  • Passing through on the way to Frontierland.
  • Sitting in a chair because our feet hurt.
  • Accidentally following a path there when we thought we were heading for the side entrance to Fantasyland.
  • Imagining that something was happening on the stage.

Admittedly, there are those who are more upset about this change than we are. A group of swing dancers who enjoy visiting Carnation Plaza when swinging swing bands are there playing swing music has been vocally protesting the situation, claiming that, “Carnation Plaza just won’t be the same after it’s changed.” Even though Disneyland insists that the regularly scheduled swing-dancing parties will continue (after a brief period during which, due to construction, they will be held in the picnic area outside the main entrance), not everyone is convinced.

Rumor has it that a mass protest is scheduled for April 29th, on which passively resistant swing dancers will fasten themselves to chairs and candy-striped awnings by the chains dangling from their zoot suits. We attempted to find out more about this protest, but our Google searches for “swingers,” “looking for swingers,” “interested in swinging,” and “swingers chaining themselves to things” were less than helpful (and, frankly, rather disturbing).

That aside, if you are planning to be at Disneyland this Sunday, let us know so that we can take your picture by the secret bathroom in CPG (as all Disneyphiles call it) for potential posting on this site. If you are not able to make it, send us your secret CPG bathroom photos, which we will be collecting for a loving tribute.

Disneyland Tour: Wait times

Thursday, April 26th, 2012

Disneyland Tour: Wait times

Near the end of Main Street is a handy display board on which Disneyland displays the wait times management has scheduled for selected popular attractions around the park. When attendance levels are high, wait times are increased to help pull guests out of busy walkways and into attractions, reducing park congestion.

Note that this photo was taken during Disneyland’s experiment with a “Breakfast with Buzz” breakfast-bar buffet in the Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters attraction. The event was canceled after just two days due to the mess, inconvenience, complaints about being rushed to finish eating before the end of the ride, indigestion, plate breakage, an unusually high toy-related lead content in the eggs, and poor tipping.

Coming up next: Balloons

Disneyland Tour: Plaza Pavilion

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

Disneyland Tour: Plaza Pavilion

All of the photos for the Disneyland Tour were taken on the same day for the sake of historical accuracy and the convenience of our readers. But little did we know when we took the photos that before the project’s projected end date (which will be reached when we come to the photo of Disneyland’s exit on March 12, 2046) Disneyland would go and change things, making some of our photos more nostalgic than informative.

Such is the case with the Plaza Pavilion. At the time this photo was taken, this location was used for the processing of Disneyland annual passes and the taking of photos for said passes, but today they not only don’t do that here, they no longer put photos on passes at all (due to new rules created as part of Disney’s pixel-conservation program).

This former restaurant isn’t even a former restaurant anymore, as it has (if rumors are to be believed) been refurbished into some kind of eatery with a theme based on some Disney film or another. We don’t know what film it is, and frankly we don’t care because they’ve completely ruined the staccato flow of our Disneyland photo tour, and so far as we were concerned the Plaza Pavilion annual-pass processing center was practically perfect in every way.

Making our failure complete, the last we checked the couple in the photo wasn’t standing outside the building anymore either.


Coming up next: Wait times


Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

The Disneynature film Chimpanzee opened last Friday to rave reviews from primatologists, zookeepers, and banana fanciers across the country. Chimpanzee tells the story of “Oscar the Grouch” — a young chimpanzee who is “grouchy” because a Jaguar ate his mom. It is a beautifully filmed and inspirational movie, culminating in a brilliant, tear-jerking surprise ending involving the (spoiler alert) Statue of Liberty.

Disneynature will continue it’s string of animal documentaries next year with Elephant, which — for budgetary reasons — is being filmed entirely at San Diego Zoo Safari Park (in the tradition of television’s classic Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom, filmed entirely in California’s Lion Country Safari. Note that Elephant replaces the previously announced Poodles, which was canceled due to difficulties with finding significant quantities of the title animal in the wild.

Disney character math

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

During a recent covert nighttime sneak around Disney studios, we discovered the master character database computer on which is detailed in great detail the details of every Disney character since the beginning of time. Each character’s file is crammed full of facts, which the computer uses to generate a mathematical representation of the character that can be used when evaluating proposed new projects. While playing around with these models, we discovered that they obey all the standard mathematical rules. For example, Sleeping Beauty (from the film of the same name) minus Beauty (from the first half of the name of the film with her name) equals Sleepy (from the seven dwarfs) — or, in math terms, “Sleeping Beauty – Beauty = Sleepy,” just as you might expect.

Some additional mathematical investigation revealed the following equations, some of which are quite revealing.

  • Thumper + Mad Hatter = Roger Rabbit
  • Br’er Rabbit – Uncle Remus = Rabbit
  • Donald Duck x (Minnie Mouse / Mickey Mouse) = Daisy Duck
  • Buzz Lightyear – Tron = Pleakley
  • Maleficent – Headless Horseman = Madame Leota
  • Timon – Flower = Piglet
  • Prince of Persia + Lt. Robin Crusoe, U.S.N. = John Carter
  • Baloo + Stinky Pete the Prospector  = Lots-O’-Huggin’ Bear
  • (The Queen of Hearts – Lady) x Baby Herman = The King of Hearts
  • Flynn Rider – Rapunzel + Jasmine = Aladdin
  • Daniel Boone + Meeko = Davy Crockett
  • Herbie + The Caterpillar = Fillmore
  • Bullseye + Goofy = Horace Horsecollar
  • The Reluctant Dragon + Heffalump = Figment
  • (Tweedledum + Tweedledee) x Flik = Tuck and Roll
  • (King Triton / Tarzan) x (Cinderella + Prince Charming) = The Little Mermaid
  • Cheshire Cat x (King Louie – Terk) = Thomas O’Malley
  • Yen Sid x Ichabod Crane = Merlin
  • Andy Davis x the Big Bad Wolf = Sid Phillips
  • Monstro + Alameda Slim = Willie the Operatic Whale
  • (Huey + Dewey + Louie) x Tinker Bell = Flora + Fauna + Merryweather
  • Carl Fredricksen + (the Seven Dwarfs x Tinker Bell) = Darby O’Gill
  • Shere Khan + Psycho the Weasel = Tigger
  • Kaa + Prince John = Sir Hiss
  • Captain Jack Sparrow + Ursula = Davy Jones
  • Lightning McQueen – Mr. Incredible = Benny the Cab
  • Geppetto + Grandmother Willow = Pinocchio
  • Aladar + Boo = Rex the Dinosaur
  • Peter Pan + Grumpy = Carl Fredricksen
  • WALL-E – Squeeze Toy Alien = Maximilian
  • Lumière x Wall-E = Luxo Jr.
  • Donald Duck x Cogsworth = Gyro Gearloose
  • Beast + Eeyore = Big Al
  • Jungle Cruise Skipper + the Blue Fairy = Genie
  • Tour Guide Barbie – Snow White = Jessica Rabbit
  • Mickey Mouse – The Happiest Millionaire = Oswald the Lucky Rabbit
  • Queen Clarisse Renaldi + Fairy Godmother = Mary Poppins
  • Hercules x (Dory – Cleo) = Kronk
  • (Cobra Bubbles – Hercules) x (Abominable Snowman – Dopey) = Frozone
  • Tantor x Magic Carpet = Dumbo
  • Oogie Boogie x Edna Mode = Roz
  • Captain Nemo + the Crocodile = Captain Hook
  • Willie the Giant + Stitch = Chernabog
  • Christopher Robin + Hades = Little Hans
  • Robin Hood x (Jessie – Alice) = Woodie
  • (Am + Si) x Flounder = Flotsam + Jetsam
  • The Apple Dumpling Gang x (the One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band – Swiss Family Robinson) = Newsies
  • Kim Possible – Inspector Gadget = Hannah Montana
  • Chip and Dale + Inspector Gadget = G-Force
  • Yzma + (101 Dalmations x Old Yeller) = Cruella de Vil
  • (Kanga + Roo) / Rabbit = (Mrs. Potts + Chip) / Lumière
  • The Rocketeer – Shang = Condorman
  • Mufasa x (Nemo / Marlin) = Simba
  • Mufasa + Zeus = Aslan
  • Tarzan – Hercules = Mowgli
  • Scrooge McDuck – The Million Dollar Duck = Donald Duck
  • Pacha x (Hopper / Jiminy Cricket) + Inspector Gadget = Syndrome
  • Gopher x Syndrome = The Underminer
  • (Elliott the Dragon – Jiminy Cricket) x Scar + Violet Parr = Randall Boggs
  • Abu + Esmeralda of Main Street = Rafiki
  • Flounder x Judge Doom = Bruce
  • Beverly Hills Chihuahua + The Rocketeer + Gyro Gearloose = Bolt
  • Snow White’s Prince + (Zorro – José Carioca) = Prince Philip
  • Zazu x Jafar = Iago
  • Andy’s Mom + the Absent-Minded Professor = Elastigirl
  • (Basil of Baker Street – Bernard) + The Swedish Chef = Remy
  • Bambi + Bambi’s Mom + Gaston = Bambi + Gaston

If you are well versed in Disney character math and would like to add some of your own equations in the comments, please feel free to do so. If you think you have spotted an inaccuracy in this list, you are wrong. It has been verified by math.

Disneyland Tour: Penny Arcade faux entrance

Thursday, April 19th, 2012

Disneyland Tour: Penny Arcade faux entrance

Why does the side entrance to the Candy Palace look like the entrance to a penny arcade? There are two reasons. First, because only people with money are attracted to an arcade, and Disneyland’s marketing department loves it when the park’s stores are filled with people who have money. And second, because people who are tricked into a candy store are less likely to say “Wait! This isn’t a penny arcade!” and more likely to say “Hey! Candy!”

This may sound cold, calculating, and unmagically marketing centered, but in reality it’s something that Disneyland has been doing from day one. The next time you visit the park, notice just how many examples there are of “bait and switch” tactics employed. For example:

  • Almost nothing in the Tiki Room is actually enchanted.
  • The Pirates are from Anaheim, not the Carri bean.
  • We’re supposed to believe that the Pooh ride is an “attraction?” Really?

Nothing negative is implied by these revelations, of course. All these minor deceptions are designed to enhance the guest experience in one way or another. If they leave you feeling a little uneasy, though, just remember that the Haunted Mansion really is haunted, Toontown is officially a California town, and the Matterhorn is, in fact, 100% matter.

Coming up next: Plaza Pavilion