Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Return of Mr. Lincoln and a Mini Trip Report

I’m going to try and contain myself, but I really can’t go on enough about what an amazing return Mr. Lincoln has made to the Opera House at Disneyland, USA.

This “refurbishment” of Mr. Lincoln is remarkable in many ways. First, it’s the most true to the original show I’ve seen since 1968. From Paul Frees’ stunning narration to Mr. Lincoln standing up from his chair and giving me goose-bumps, it’s all there. The classy treatment of the pre show area was unexpected and more than welcome by this Disneyland and Mr. Lincoln fan. The technical updates to the Audio Anamatinic Abe would make Walt proud indeed; I bet he’s say, “Fix up the rest of the old ones too would ya”.

This is how the Opera House looked on Thursday, lets not get into how upset I was that it was not open. I spoke to two WED guys and they said it would be closed all day but open for certain on Friday. I also saw Tony Baxter rushing into the Opera House at about 8:30am, moments later I heard the sound track playing inside!

All better on Friday. There was a decent crowd inside; the theater was ½ to ¾ full during each of the three shows I watched.

The preshow area looks so nice, hopefully someone with a better camera can get some interior shots, my camera can’t handle the lighting (which is stellar). This model of the capital is made from marble; at least I think that’s what it said.

This looks much nicer in person.

“To the Bat-Poles Robin”!

A few landscape painting are on the south wall, nice touch.

There is a “Spirits of America” theme throughout the preshow area and the exit area, both well done and tasteful.

Again, my $39 digital camera is very confused with the multi thousand dollar lighting in the preshow area, but you get the idea – this Spirits Case is magnificent.

Here’s a few of the “Spirit” sculptures; Disney either spent some serious $$$ or these are great plaster props.

Tony Baxter’s ticket case had a few updated tickets but was oddly missing a Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln ticket? I fixed that problem for my photo, but Tony, I’ve got several versions of Mr. Lincoln tickets, I’d be glad to donate them all to the case, seriously.

Look who’s hanging out just outside the preshow area. I wonder how much they would sell for on eBay?

No photos of Abe himself, camera's are not allowed in the theater. I will be honest with my readers; I brought my video camera with me with the intent of taping the show, it never occurred to me you couldn’t film it. I think its better that way, first, it kept everyone’s attention on the show and second, you need to just go see this show for yourself.

The exit area has been redone in the “Spirit” theme, I like it.

I over heard at least half a dozen guests laugh out loud about Miley Cyrus being grouped with Elvis and Michael Jackson (Did you hear Captain EO is coming back in February 2010!!!)

Let’s take a quick look around the park. Nice sky, this is actually Thursday, not Friday.

Also Thursday, I wanted to get this show with mimium people (not possible Friday) to compare it to the 1977 photo from a recent post on Stuff From the Park - it looks pretty much the same.

The rest of the photos are from Friday. In a recent Magazine Monday post we saw Uncle Sam in the Penny Arcade in 1966, looks like he is still there.

Is 300 good?

This vintage scale and I have become good friends, he gets a dime on each trip and keeps me honest.

This is the reason we are taking a quick look around the park. The more I see the park on the slow days the less I can tolerate days like this.

Tiana’s Showboat show was excellent, well, the last 2 minutes anyway.

The Main Street Cinema is about to close for a refurbishment.

There are at least three different colors of paint under the many layers. Why does this fascinate me?

More paint layers of History. I bet you could find old photos and “date the paint”.

As I was leaving I noticed a sudden “presence” of security as I neared town square, they were casual, yet many more of them than usual. Then I see these folks standing right in front of the Emporium passing out papers? At first I just walked by and noticed they only handled papers to guests who showed an interest, so I went back and said “I’ll take one”. It’s a flyer that looks like it’s from Disney about H1N1, but its not, its some union stuff and has a web link to a non-friendly Disney site? I was pretty amazed Disney lets this happen or were they about to stop it? There were at least three people in the area doing this; you can see one more in my photo. I’ll listen to any grievance you have, but doing it from the steps of the Emporium on Main Street at Disneyland USA is not cool. I'm not going to post the flyer, if you want a copy contact me.

Someone asked recently if the canons in Town Square are from France, I’d say “Yes”.

Wow, what a beautiful horse.

Nice original attraction posters surround the Opera House.

Some amazing winter day we had here in Anaheim, it must have been a frigid 80 degrees. You could tell the folks from out of town, they're the ones in jackets.

You know it’s getting packed when they put up this sign, last time I saw that was on July 17th.

In the area between the security tents and the trams you now have the Venice Beach Boardwalk, I guess that’s some California Adventure for you!

How about a few quick videos? Here's some close ups of the turn styles at the Main Street Cinema.

The Disneyland Band not getting the respect they should!

Very catchy tune and what an amazing sound system the river has!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Trip Report - November 17, 2009

Time for a sort-of Holiday Trip Report. You wont find tons of splashy holiday photos here, there’s plenty of that to be found elsewhere on the Internet. Although this post starts off my separate “Trip Report” blog, it’s really kind of short and simple. It was an amazingly beautiful day Tuesday; perfect weather, low crowds and lots to see.

One reason I took less photos on this trip was a new feature available thru your Verizon Cell phone. This application gives you all sorts of information. Interactive park map with "you are here" feature, attraction wait times, fast past return times, show/parade times and locations and lots of "guest services" type of information.

I believe they just started this system recently, in fact, no one I spoke to at the park was even aware of it. Basically, you text “magic” to “2777”, accept the one day free demo (otherwise it’s a one time fee of $9.99) and this little application loads to your phone. I know the i-phone has something like this for WDW, but this is new for Verizon and Disneyland.

Does it work? Well, YES! Here’s the wait time and fast pass return info for Space Mountain shown on my cell phone.

Yup, it matched the sign perfectly.

The Astro Orbitor was spot on too as was Star Tours. This could come in real handy on busy days. Now if you could actually obtain the fast pass via the cell phone, that would cool!

The system is new, but shouldn’t they have integrated it with the sign at the hub? The nice CM at the sign was calling all the attractions to get their current wait times. I showed him I already had all the times on my cell phone and had in fact just verified several of them to be correct. At first I could tell he thought I was nuts. But as he asked me what I thought the times were and they DID correspond to the calls he was making, he then asked me about Space Mountain and wrote down the times I gave him - I saved him a phone call!!!

Ok, now for a few photos from around the park. Gleaming poinsettias’ at town square.

80+ degrees at 11am, somehow even with Christmas tunes blasting it didn’t feel much like the Holidays. And I do mean blasting, the music and announcements were noticeably loud, I even overheard a CM joking that they couldn’t hear it…

There was a small guided tour parked right in front of the flag pole blocking my picture taking so I just hung out by them till they moved over enough so I could get my photo.

1955 switch plate alert! This wall switch in the Market House has got to be original. My 1958 track house has similar original switch plates in the garage. I didn’t flip it, but you know it must go “CLICK”.

10:30am and Main Street was pretty dead. For it being the Holiday’s it sure was peaceful.

On a recent post (link) I wondered out loud why the porch on the Stage Door Café was removed and smoothed over. Folks commented that it was due to trips, falls, ADA and liability. All this makes sense, but the Stage Door Café is really the exception in Frontierland.

As you can see, the raised porch still surrounds the entire Golden Horseshoe, which I would bet gets more guests than the Stage Door Café with its slimy burgers and mystery chicken chunks.

The main sidewalk in Frontierland is still raised and looks pretty darn authentic.

Even the shooting gallery and Trading post have slightly elevated porches. Maybe the Stage Door Café had its trip prone porch removed because people might be holding trays of food and drinks? Whatever the reason, it sure looked better before.

Fantasyland wasn't too crowded at all (of course Peter Pan was packed). I’m not sure what this nice lady was supposed to be doing, she was just smiling at everyone as they passed by.

Casey Jr. should be re-opened as you read this. My favorite little ticket booth was getting some last minute touch ups.

The paint they use is really cool, it seems to coat the wood like liquid rubber and honestly, it smells great when it’s drying.

Three fences was all alone, no one in sight. I love this spot, I’m claiming it as my own little corner of Disneyland.

The less interesting less photographed side of the Matterhorn.

In the last two years this guy is the only person I ever see driving the fire engine.

The flowers at the hub were not as exciting as usual, maybe its because it was summer hot and these are winter styled flowers?

The blazing sun looks like its faded the red on these poinsettias’.

The fire truck driver gets all the fun!

Spot on and beautiful Mary Poppins. Her accent and the way she carried herself (with no handlers or Burt present) was impeccable. I got a photo with her, but I’m not sharing it.

Mickey Mouse leads the band just one day before his 81st birthday.

Leaving the park around 1pm it did seem to be getting a bit crowded at town square, but the rest of the park was still pretty light and the lines outside to get in were minimal.

And last up, here’s a 1964 photo of Main Street Station from Algo Magazine from last Magazine Monday (link).

The 1964 photo is at a weird angle, but you get the idea in this 2009 photo.