Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Captain EO Tribute - February 23, 2010

It was a banner day at Disneyland yesterday. Captain EO made his return to the Magic Eye Theater in Tomorrowland and I was able to catch the first showing to the public. Last December Mr. Lincoln made his triumphant return and now Michael Jackson is back at the helm again as Captain EO. Things are certainly looking up at Disneyland!

The show itself was better than I remembered. Yes the special effects are dated, even with the new 70mm print you can see how they are done. However, the sound system is OUTSTANDING – WOW, it never sounded like that before. Looking at this thru the lens of 2010 and with Michael’s passing last year adds a whole new dimension to this attraction.

I arrived at 8:30 to a medium sized crowd, nothing near as crowded as a summer or weekend day. Do you suppose my blogger credentials could get me a media pass? I say that jokingly, but come to think of it, maybe I should write the PR department and see what they can do?

Media and special guests were hanging out on the west side of the Main Gate.

Lots of camera’s and lights everywhere, I felt like a celebrity – until they had me sign a waiver that said I get paid nothing for appearing on film – darn!

There were about 200 people in front of me; some had been there since the night before! There were at least another 200 people behind me by the time we were let thru the gates at 9:30, a ½ hour before the park opened for regular guests.

Disneyland crowd control did a nice job of keeping 400+ people together as we walked up Main Street on our way to see the Captain.

This guy had two people holding the ladder and he still looked like he wanted to get down ASAP!

This way please, don’t even think of sneaking off and hanging out with the “Magic Mornings” guests.

It was nice to see so much activity in the middle of Tomorrowland – I predict this area will see some large crowds over the next few months.

Great new sign out front. It seemed to fit the old Honey I Shrunk the Audience exterior colors better in person, but not so much in this photo.

Last Thursday the former theater occupant still had their poster behind this glass. I read online that EO’s return is permanent, can anyone confirm that?

Hello Lawyers.

Blurry – sorry, but the crowd was moving fast behind me, no time to stop!

The preshow area was more packed than its been in 20 years, which is the last time I saw this show. The buzz and energy were amazing, I’m not big Michael Jackson fan, but it was exciting to be there.

Now for a few short videos, not the show itself, they requested camera’s be turned off and amazingly everyone seemed to comply. You can see great version of EO on YouTube; HD version (link), HD Version in 3D (link).

Once inside the theater the energy in the room was amazing, every seat was full and there were about 50 press people along the sides. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but this was very uplifting. Michael sure has a passionate and caring fan base. No one was rude or out of line, everyone clapped and whistled, a banner day indeed.

Whoops, I think this sign is left over from the previous tenant. Near the exit I had an incredible meeting with a very cool Disneyland Imagineering person (actually it was THE Disneyland Imagineering person) - a double “banner day”!

And in the unrelated and amazing news department, the Gullywhumper Keelboat will be returning the Rivers of America in a few months (link). You won’t be able to sail in her, but she is getting fixed up (you heard it here months ago!!!) and she will be floating properly and parked in front of the settlers (Mike Finks?) cabin on Tom Sawyers Island. It's triple “banner day” at Disneyland! Oh, this photo is not the Gullywhumper, I couldn’t find her, but as you can see the Rafts and Canoes are safe and sound.

Lastly, the guide maps look have the same cover from January, but the map itself has been updated.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Trip Report - February 18, 2010

Today’s trip report is slightly different than the usual report; the River is still closed for refurbishment so no pretty River photos and the park had an overall weird mood. There was a reason for the weird mood, you’ll see a little bit of that later in this post.

Also something a little different; I took a few videos with my new Droid cell phone (powered by Goggle’s android operating system). The videos in this post are really just tests so please excuse my amateur movements. The extra cool part about the Droid is once you film the video you can post it directly to YouTube with just a couple clicks!

The “It’s the time of your life” opening song is so contrived is sticky and wet, yet I catch myself singing right along with it!

Boy I thought we were done with these? Somehow they don’t seem as bad the second time around, but let’s hope it’s their last run.

The Main Street Cinema has reopened. Looks like they got a new floor and the vintage turnstiles got some much need paint (link).

I am so NOT into the whole Hidden Mickey thing, talk about contrived… But heck, by pure coincidence I found one in the Cinema! Hey, is that gum stuck under the step? GROSS!

Over at the recently reopened Starcade we find a new floor. I really liked the old orange tiles better (link). This new floor is, well, cheap!

The old orange tiles (link) were at least real inlaid tiles, with grout and everything. The new floor is just the stick on squares you can buy at Home Depot!

I’d like to say at least it looks good, but dang, that color is so 1998 Tomorrowland! My guess is that this is temporary (sort of) just for the expected crowds for EO’s return. Ultimately they really need to do something with this space!

Interestingly they DID replace the blue tiles (link) on the cashiers cage with nice new two-tone grey tiles, why didn’t’ they tile the floor in the same material?

Just outside of the Starcade exit (the one that lets out near the Space Mt. exit) there is a new “high-tech” floor covering; it looks like steel plates covered in some kind of vinyl coating, it actually looks and feels pretty cool!

Ceiling repair work in underway on the second story of the Starcade. Maybe this means they are planning something for this unused area? I do love that Mural.

This is one of the reasons the mood was weird at the park. At 9am when the park opened virtually all the “E” ticket rides were closed – these kids were not happy.

The Tomorrowland cross has developed a crack in its plaster; let’s hope that’s not a sign…

Excellent news about Three Fences; its no longer the designated smoking area (link)!

The smoking area has been moved over slightly, basically at the entrance to the old Fantasyland Autopia. It’s a smaller amount of space which is fine by me, one step closer to removing it all together.

Since Fantasia Gardens is no longer the smoker’s zone, it has been reconfigured with more sit down tables, it looks great.

Another little video, boy was it quiet over there. Ok, you might here me humming to It’s a small World; please don’t hold it against me.

The Matterhorn is closed for Refurbishment; I hear they might be getting new seat belts similar to the ones On Indian Jones Adventure. They sign department sure does a great job, these signs really stand out.

The Mighty Matterhorn looks just a majestic with or without riders.

This attraction sure has a neat facade, too bad it rates last in Daveland’s current poll of favorite dark rides.

These little Mini-Mouse balloons were attached to strollers all over the place – were they free? I like the simple nature of them.

The Frontierland entrance bridge has been replaced and looks good.

Upon closer inspection they new bridge is actually made from Fiberglass. I wish it was real, but it is pretty convincing and I can see why they would want something that lasts. In this picture the real wood doesn’t look nearly as cool as the fake wood.

The surrounding waterway has been completely redone, this looks like it should last a while!

It must have been Seeing Eye dog day, I saw lots of dogs. Can I make one of those harnesses and bring my two dogs to Disneyland? That would interesting.

Indiana Jones was still not operating by 10am, torches and pitch forks are about to appear.

When the “E” tickets are closed this is what happens to the Jungle Cruise line. The line wasn’t that long this summer!

The castle looks great minus all the Holiday garb.

What a life!

Thumper says “What’s that smell”?

Oh, that’s the cause of the smell. Paging Trinidad.

Lots of pretty flowers around the hub, low crowds still, what a great day.

This little area of grass in the southwest park of the hub is one of my favorite spots. I’m surprised they never put anything there, it’s a rather large chunk of grass that’s been kept plain – please leave it this way.

I included this poorly framed picture just because I wanted to show what a great smile the driver always has, what a great guy.

Hey, that’s the exact kind of coffee mug I use and its displayed in the Emporium windows, nice!

My Omnibus photo means it time to leave the park.

As I was leaving the Disneyland Band was playing and Alice & hatter where messing around with them. How are they going to reconcile the sweet Blue dress Alice with the new Alice & Mad Hatter from the Tim Burtons Movie? My guess is they will ignore the new characters all together. P.s. The movie looks neat; I can’t wait to see it.