Archive for October, 2013

Billy ghosts gaff

Thursday, October 31st, 2013

Here’s a neat addition to Halloweentime at Disneyland this year — a special “haunted” version of Billy Hill and the Hillbillies!

Billy Hill and the Haunted Hillbillies

The “Ghost Billys” effect makes use of a very large-scale “Pepper’s ghost” effect (similar to the ballroom scene in the Haunted Mansion and, outside Disneyland, in Knott’s Berry Farm’s Mystery Lodge where clever reflections are used to make it appear that the show is playing to a large audience). The trick involves a gigantic angled pane of perfectly clear glass and requires the Billys to do the entire show lying on their backs in a pit below stage level.

Tiny details

Monday, October 28th, 2013

One of the things we love most about Disneyland is the little details. In the new Fantasy Faire area, we noticed this for the first time on our last visit:

Rapunzel tower

Off in the distance, behind the Royal Theater, it’s Rapunzel’s tower peeking over the top of the canopy! This is such a lovely bit of statuary that we immediately went to City Hall and requested that it be moved somewhere to make it more centrally visible, but even if Disney keeps it where it is it’s a delightful treat when discovered!

The first annual Disneyland Jingle Cruise is coming!

Friday, October 25th, 2013

This year, for the first time ever, Disneyland will be doing a holiday overlay of the world-famous Jungle Cruise. The “Jingle Cruise” will have many Christmas-themed show elements, including:

  • Christmas songs playing in the queue (“I Sank Three Ships,” “The Little Skipper Boy,” “Winter Jungleland,” “Tarzan Got Run Over by a Reindeer,” “I Saw Monkeys Kissing Santa Claus”)
  • Seasonally renamed boats (Figgy Pudding, Secret Santa, Jingle Belle, The Caganer)
  • Skippers dressed in itchy hand-made sweaters.
  • Peppermint-scented jungle water.
  • Jungle mist replaced by Christmist.
  • Temple ruins covered in twinkly lights.
  • Giant nutcracker Ganesha.
  • Elephant squirts trunkfulls of eggnog at boat.
  • Gorilla with gun collecting for the Salvation Army.
  • All giraffes draped in tinsel.
  • Over in a corner somewhere there’s a toucan with a dreidel.
  • Bamboo forest painted with red and white stripes.
  • Charging hippo chased away with traditional British Christmas cracker.
  • Beautiful bows on all human skulls.
  • Hungry piranha replaced by flailing, drowning elves.

The attraction’s script has also been rewritten for the holidays. Some highlights:

  • “There are usually three king cobras here: one with gold, one with frankincense, and — you’d better look in the water for the third, he likes to hang out with the myrrh-maids.”
  • “This waterfall was named Summer because it’s fed by a mountain spring named for winter, giving us what we call Winter Spring Summer Falls.”
  • “Here’s a unique sight — an enormous African elephant dressed for the season in a Santa Claus outfit. And on the right, another unique sight — an enormous African elephant dressed for the season in a Santa Claus outfit.”
  • “And that, dear friends, is why a zebra should never bring a lion fruitcake.”
  • “On the first day of Christmas my rhino gave to me, explorers in a dead tree.”
  • “Look out! The natives I gave spears to are regifting!”
  • “And now the moment you’ve all been waiting for — the back side of Winter!”
  • “The python has hung out mistletoe, but don’t be fooled — he wants a hug, not a kiss.”
  • “I see that poor Trader Sam’s Christmas budget is still shrinking.”
  • “There’s the dock up ahead, so make like a Christmas gift and prepare to be returned.”

Why we hate the new Disneyland Starbucks

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013

We at Disneylies are very much of the “Disneyland should never, ever change anything for any reason” camp, to the point that we’re still irritated that most of the castmembers we remember from our childhood are no longer working in the park. For this reason, we are particularly miffed about the recent conversion of Market House (comfy, friendly, free coffee refills) into a Starbucks (vocabulary-offending, inhumanly corporate, possibly a branch of the Illuminati).

Starbucks window

First and foremost, Starbucks just doesn’t mesh well with Disneyland’s theme. In fact, Starbuck himself isn’t even a Disney character (he’s owned by MCA/Universal, and changing him into a woman to try and capture the “princess” market does nothing to change that).

Second and foremost, expanding the Market House destroyed much of its charm. Sure the checkerboard is still there, but nobody can play a decent game with their hands shaking after a triple espresso, and setting up the old iron stove to spit out steam and foam robbed it of much of its charm.

Worst of all is what they, third and foremost, did with the “party line” telephones:

Party line phone line

Look at the enormous queue — parallel to the coffee queue — that was built just for the party line phone! The whole concept of a line for the party line phone line robs the experience of spontaneity, and the fact that they had it roped off when we visited (because no castmember was available to check that children met the new minimum-height requirement for listening to the phone) added insult to injury.

Day of the Dead

Monday, October 21st, 2013

We always enjoy Disneyland’s annual Day of the Dead displays (and strongly wish they’d bring back that Ducktales of the Dead event they had some years back). This year’s display, featuring a traditional self-referential fractal skeleton, is particularly nice.

Day of the Dead

Disney has announced that this year, because of it’s company-wide “healthy eating” initiative, all traditional sugar skulls sold in the Disneyland Resort will either be made out of organic honey (frozen solid so they maintain their shape until ready to eat), hand-carved cauliflower, or low-calorie Splenda.

Obsessed with War

Friday, October 18th, 2013

When the Disneyana shop was mercilessly vaporized for the sake of a populist caffeine purveyor, its facade was reworked into the semblance of a small-town antiquarian bookstore. “The Book Rest” is a lovely addition to Main Street, U.S.A., but we have some questions regarding the choice of books on display in the store’s window.

The books with titles we can read include:

  • A Tale of Two Cities (a classic)
  • Jane Eyre (another classic)
  • Eve Curie (never heard of it, but the author’s a classic)
  • Power in America (probably a biography of Edison)
  • Wuthering Heights (a classic)
  • Library of World Poetry (a collection of classics)
  • History of Art (Art who? We’re not sure)
  • Daniel Boone and His Animal Friends (anything about animals is fine)
  • Moby Dick (the book that inspired the opera-singing Disney character)

No problem so far. Then there are two copies of each of these books:

  • Gone with the Wind (two seems a bit much — you’d think Disney would shy away from this material, what with Song of the South and all)
  • Classic Wharf Rats: Their Hideouts (wait — what? Is this some kind of bizarre “hidden Mickey?”)

It gets a little more out of control with three copies each of:

  • King Henry VIII (weird choice, but okay)
  • Treasure Island (with maybe a fourth copy in the back, this is a Disney classic and probably the most appropriate book here)

And, finally, the display just goes completely overboard with seventeen copies of:

  • War and Peace

Let us say that again in italics with an exclamation point at the end: seventeen copies of War and Peace!

Here, with the W&P circled (click to enlarge), is just one of the store’s two windows:

War and Peace and The Book Rest

Why this book? Is it the basis for an upcoming animated feature? Did they have a bunch of it lying around in their garage? Could it be some kind of veiled threat? If you have any idea why the Imagineers who decorated these windows were so obsessed with War and Peace, please let us know in the comments.

Autograph mania hits a new low

Thursday, October 17th, 2013

When we were young, characters wandered the streets of Disneyland with the same happy, care-free abundance that rodents wandered the streets of London before it was learned that they spread the plague. True, the analogy suffers because we like Disneyland characters but dislike plague rats, but the point stands.

All of this changed when guests realized that characters would politely sign autographs for those who requested them. Today, characters are often mobbed to the point of inaccessibility by autograph seekers, and the line to wave a pen at Peter Pan might be an hour long (or half that if FASTPASS is available).

Not long ago at the park, we witnessed a scene that made us realize that the autograph situation had completely lost control:

Ariel asks Aurora for his autograph at Disneyland

Yes, you can believe your eyes: Ariel is asking Aurora for her autograph.

Why, you ask, would a princess need another princess’ autograph? Particularly a princess who lives beneath the ocean and therefore can’t take an autograph book home without it becoming instantly waterlogged? And if this bizarre perturbation of roles is allowed, what next? Guests performing safety inspections? Shops staffed entirely by feral cats? Disneyland executives actually seen in the park? The mind boggles.

Please forward, Facebook, tweet, post, re-post, Instragram, Spotify, blog, pin, e-mail, link to, and share this photo as much as possible. We hope that, should it gain enough publicity, we will be able to get an official statement from Disney of their policy on character-to-character autographing interactions.

Five-Legged Goat

Sunday, October 13th, 2013

On our most recent trip to Disneyland, we noticed that the park was showcasing its famous “five-legged goat” for Halloween. Nice to see it back!

Disneyland's five-legged goat