Disney blog postings
|Earliest: May 30, 2003||Latest: April 24, 2017||Total: 83|
|December 5, 2016|
The Tomorrowland Speedway is the opportunity for kids to show that they can drive a car. You can experience the glory of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway as you drive your own Indy 500-type race car on a guided track to the victory flag.
Guests need to be 32" to be a rider on the Speedway, and 54" to be able to reach the pedal. Children under the age of 12 months should not ride. Expectant mothers should not ride.
Tomorrowland Speedway Fast Facts
- Opened: October 1, 1971 (Walt Disney World Opening Day)
- Ride length: 4 minutes, 45 seconds
- Track Length: 2,112 feet ( 644 Meters) about 7 football fields long!
- Max Speed: 7 Miles per Hour (11 Kilometers per hour)
- Typical Ride Wait time: 20 - 30 minutes
- Inclement Weather: First ride to close at any sign of rain.
- The Speedway is not a bumper car ride.
- Each car has a spring front and rear bumper to prevent damages to the cars
- The line for the speedway snakes across a pedestrian bridge to the ride?s loading areas. For a shorter wait, turn right on the bridge and head to the first loading area rather than continuing to the second one.
- There are six cars lined up on each side of the loading area.
- The Victory Circle is the left of the pit area. You'll see a red car in the circle. Car #22 is the winning car.
- There are 33 cars on the Speedway
- There are five turns and one overpass on the Speedway.
- After you go under the tunnel if you look to the left you can see Cinderella Castle.
- You'll see a mirror on the left as you exit the tunnel. It's to help the cast member on the bridge see what's going on in the tunnel.
- The half-way point is just before you go over the bridge, you'll see a cast member there.
- The announcer voice you hear is Tom Carnegie - a longtime announcer at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway
- Disney doesn't want users to bump cars with large yellow signs and repeated messages just before the finish line.
|November 28, 2016|
Pop Century All Star Resort
On our next trip to DisneyWorld we will be staying at the Pop Century All Star resort. This will be our first time staying at this popular resort. In 2015, we did stay at the nearby Art of Animation Resort.
A brief description of Pop Century Resort From Disney's Website:
Experience the unforgettable fads of the 1950s through the 1990s all over again. From yo-yos and Play-Doh(R) to Rubik's Cube(R) and rollerblades, this Resort hotel salutes the timeless fashions, catch phrases, toys, and dances that captivated the world through the decades.
Here's some things that I learned about the resort.
A map of where Pop Century is on the Disney Property:
Some Fun Facts about the Pop Century Resort
First opened December 14, 2003.
Food Court name is "Everything Pop"
There are three pools for guest to select from: Hippy Dippy Pool, Bowling Pool and Computer Pool
Guest should bring their own towels to the pool as towels are not available at the pools.
Petals Pool Bar is available at the Hippy Dippy Pool for Mix drinks, beer, wine, and soda.
From late October 2016 through early January 2017 the Computer Pool at Disney's Pop Century Resort will be closed for refurbishment. Beginning early January, the Hippy Dippy Pool will be unavailable. The Bowling Pool will remain open for your enjoyment. The Computer Pool will reopen on January 3, 2017.
Resort rooms will undergo a "hard goods" refurbishment starting October 16; the refurbishment will run through much of 2017. (It don't hurt to ask for a quiet room when checking in!)
Pool Gallon Facts
|Hippy Dippy Pool||Main Pool||235,613|
|Bowling Pool||50's Pool||144,352|
|Computer Pool||80's 90's Pool||(not disclosed!)|
Disney Bus Transportation Times
On Average the bus runs about every 20 minutes.
Hidden Mickey's from the AllEars Newsletter
Inside the Pop Century gift shop, near the exit to the bus stop, check the wall behind the cash registers to spot round gift boxes that form a classic Mickey. The image appears twice in faux package-locker windows. One image is in the second window from the top of the second column of windows from the right side. The other is in the third window from the left on the top row.
Two black classic Mickeys are on the keyboard of the huge computer outside near the Computer Pool. Both are on the lower row of keys. One is the second key from the left and the other is the second key from the right. (More obvious decorative classic Mickeys are in the computer monitor's screensaver.)
Subscribe to the AllEars Newsletter to learn all the latest disney news.
|November 21, 2016|
The Spaceship Earth is a large Geodesic Dome at the main entrance of Epcot theme park and one of the most recognizable landmarks on Disney property. The Spaceship earth ride gives guest a quick history lesson on communications. The ride takes you through 40,000 years of communications.Many of this tips/tricks came from various internet sources that I have collected over the years, including hiddenmickeys.org and various Disney Unix sites.
Fun Facts about the Geodesic Dome
- The Spaceship Earth Geodesic Dome is 180 feet taking up 2,200,00 cubic feet of space the outer surface is composed of 954 triangular panels and
- weighs 155 million pounds.
- The Spaceship Earth Geodesic Dome isn't the world largest, that honor goes to a pair of Industrial buildings in Northern Mexico 732 ft long and 260 ft wide. Fukuoka Dome in Fukuoka Japan is the largest single structure Geodesic Dome: 709 ft. Spaceship Earth doesn't even appear in the top ten largest Geodesic Dome structures list.
- It took 2 years to build Spaceship Earth.
- The Prism Fountain behind the turnstiles is actually run-off water from Spaceship Earth.
- Spaceship Earth has special panels in it the suck in the water when it rains so that it does not drip on guests.
- Hidden within the panels covering the Geosphere are 17 perfect five-pointed stars
- One of the coolest places in FutureWorld is under Spaceship Earth. It's shape and the shops to either side create a venturi that causes the slightest breeze to accelerate. (Not a good place to have an open umbrella!)
- If Spaceship Earth were a golf ball, the person using it to play golf would be approximately 1.2 miles tall to be in proper scale!
Fun Facts about Spaceship Earth
- Spaceship Earth is the most popular attraction in the world. More people pass through the ride every year than any other attraction.
- The tour of Spaceship Earth takes 15 mins.
- The term "Spaceship Earth" was originally coined by Buckminster Fuller, in his 1969 book, "An Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth." Buckminister Fuller also invented the concept of the Geodesic Sphere, which is the type of structure that the "Spaceship Earth" ride is housed in. (The books makes for a great read before you visit the park.)
- When Space Ship Earth originally opened, all the cars had to be replaced due to a bad design. Each night they would take several cars out of the ride and replace them with refurbished ones. This took some time to complete. In fact, it was so bad that the mechanism that turns the cars around on top of the ride wasn't working and they had a cast member physically turning each car around. You can still see a cast member at the top of the Spaceship Earth ride.
- Most of the male audio-animatronics in Spaceship Earth are former presidents. When the Hall of Presidents was first made, they made detailed molds for the faces of the presidents. Then when Spaceship Earth was built, they used the same molds and put different hair, costumes, make-up, etc. to create the different characters.
- The vehicle audio system is an infrared system beamed to the vehicles as they pass by the transmitters.
- The ride is now narrated by Dame Judi Dench, at one time it was narrated by Walter Cronkite (19864 - 1994).
- In the scene where the teenage boy is communicating with the girl: if you listen carefully, you'll notice that the boy is speaking in English and hearing the girl in English. The girl is speaking in Japanese and hearing the boy in Japanese as well.
- At the end of the Spaceship Earth Ride while traveling backward, right before passing the city landscape and passing underneath the fiber optic wires that are overhead, there are several scenes showing people communicating via video phone at remote locations. The more distant part of these images are produced by the classic "peppers ghost effect", what is being reflected is really one story above you to your left as you are coming down.
- Originally sponsored by the Bell Systems, then in 1984 it was sponsored by AT&T (After the breakup of baby bell)
- Since 2005, Spaceship Earth has been sponsored by Siemens.
- Ride closed early 1986 and reopened on May 26, 1986, after the first major renovation. This is when Walter Cronkite became the official navigator. The last major renovation was in 2008 during the fourth major update.
- Spaceship Earth celebrated 30 years on October 1st, 2012.
There are a lot of Hidden Mickeys around here. Here are some known ones:
- On the mural at the entrance, there is a mammoth. At the top right of the picture, Mickey's face is in sideways profile along the top of the mammoth's back.
- On the left side of the car you pass the scene with the monks transcribing documents. The second monk is sleeping. If you look back as you pass him you can see an ink blot in the shape of Mickey in the upper right-hand part of the document.
- When the car is moving through the Renaissance period, there is an artist to your left painting a still-life of some grapes. All the grapes are outlined in black, except a cluster of three, which are outlined in white, making a clear Mickey head.
- We want to point out the window behind Mona Lisa in the Renaissance section has a lot of big and small circles in it. Every now and then they form perfect Mickeys.
- Alarm clock (on the dresser) in the teenage boy's bedroom, you can see a hidden Mickey
|November 14, 2016|
Indiana Jones Stunt Spectator
There are Internet rumors that the Indiana Jones Stunt spectator will soon be closing. I would highly recommend visiting the attraction, if it is open during your visit. (I'll update this post on when it does officially close.)
The Indiana Jones Stunt Spectator is a live theater-type attraction. Disney guest have the opportunity to see/learn how stuntman work in action. The show features loud noise and fire effects. The show re-creates several of the popular scenes from the "Raiders of the lost Ark" movie. The show is located in Disney Studios near Echo Lake.
Disney's official description
- When you arrive at the park, check out the show schedule and plan to arrive at least a 1/2 hour before the show to get good seats. (Arrive earlier if you have a large party.)
- The ride rarely shuts down due to inclement weather.
- There is a special entrance for wheelchair guests and their family.
- Best seats are the lower ones in the center row. When you enter the theater it looks like the left seats are the best, but the main stage moves and the center seats are the best location for most of the show.
- The earlier you arrive the best chances you have for being selected to be part of the show.
- The show does start suddenly and Jones appears unexpectedly.
- The first stunt show occurred on August 25, 1989.
- The show was originally was planned for 5 years, but kept getting extended due to popularity.
- The stunt theater holds 2,000 people and will fill capacity
- The show last about 25 minutes.
- The Indiana Jones Show is the only place in all of Disney theme park properties that get to wear their own clothes.
- The golden idol is an exact replica of the one from "Raiders of the Lost Ark." There is no Mickey face on the golden idol.
- The spears in the Indiana Jones Show come straight up. As where in the movie they came from the sides.
- The floor spears in the Indiana Jones show are activated by pads on the ground that the stuntman steps on to bring them up. Yes, they can hurt someone. Since the Stuntman controls the spears, they will know when and where they will appear.
- The giant rolling ball weighs a heavy 440 pounds.
- The first act moving sets weigh around 100 tons making them the heaviest moving sets in history.
Need a Movie Idea?
The Raiders of the Lost Ark would be a good movie to watch on the airplane as you travel to Orlando. This way some of the famous scenes and characters are fresh in your mind.
|November 7, 2016|
When I put together my personal Disney travel books, I worked hard on putting together a very simple cover.
My last trip to Disney was the first one where I didn't print out a book simply because I found that in the previous trip I hardly used any information that I gathered. I felt it wasn't worth wasting my time printing and binding the book.
The book usually contains a centered graphic and the date on the bottom right. I'll usually have some text under the graphic with some theme of the trip. Some examples:
- Halloween Vacation
- Memorial Day Weekend
- Birthday Celebration
I wanted to be creative and use a Disney font for the book cover. When I started the whole book idea it was well the internet wasn't structured good - for example, today there are whole sites that are dedicated to free fonts and clip art. I resorted to fonts that people posted in AOL forums.
The most common font face that I used in my covers was the Haunted Mansion Font.
Ravenscroft was inspired by the lettering used around Disney's Haunted Mansion attractions. The characters were drawn by Kronos (TombSweetTomb.com) and together they put them into a font filled with alternate letters, logos, and dingbats.
It appears that tombsweetomb.com has gone to the Internet Graveyard as the site doesn't appear anymore.
This is the original file that I download back in 2001. You can download similar fonts from other websites, but why not get the original? This version has special characters: Wallpaper and the Disney park logo. Complete information is included in the Zip file.
Quick Cheat Sheet Guide
The hidden fonts are hard to find on a Macintosh. Here's a quick guide to accessing some of the hidden extras in the Ravenscroft font:
The next time your at DisneyWorld look around and see what creative fonts people use. The Disney Imagineers spend a lot of time creating the perfect font for that attraction/place.
|October 31, 2016|
Haunted Mansion really Haunted?
Is the Haunted Mansion in Disney World really Haunted. - Yes!
Cast members will talk about how the Haunted Mansion ride will mysteriously shut down. Anytime the ride has a malfunction they are required to record the incident. That would be an interesting log to review to see if there are any particular patterns that have cause ride stoppage.
I have been in the Haunted Mansion a couple of times where as something odd would happen. I have ridden on the ride many times to know the difference between a ride stoppage and when it feels that something doesn't seem right.
Broken Stretching Room
One time I was in the stretching room and all activity stopped after the lighting went off. It was completely dark and silent. About 15 seconds later the lights would go on, and then the main door open.
The cast member was quick to get everyone out of the room. I looked back and saw him talking on the radio. That particular stretching room wasn't used again for the remaining part of the day.
I have been in the Haunted Mansion enough times to experience a Doom Buggies stoppage. The stoppage is usually done to help a guest load or unload.
I actually look forward to the stoppage, as I'll try to get a good picture of the library or the graveyard. The ride moves too quickly to get the camera to take a nice night shot. However, I usually get stuck in a weird place - such as the area before the hallway or exiting the attic. I don't get an opportunity to take a cool Haunted Mansion ride photo.
Something different happened on the ride in November 2015. The ride came to a complete stop right before the Doom Buggy exits the graveyard. This was a longer stoppage than normal, as the cast member kept announcing over the speaker system that they were looking into the issue. I had plenty of time to get some pictures.
The total stoppage was roughly 2 minutes. While in the graveyard, I could see people taking flash pictures.
Taking Haunted Mansion Ride Photos
If you want to take decent ride photos you need the right opportunity and the right equipment. Using a cell phone camera is not your best option.
Good camera settings
If you have a DSLR or a Bridge, here are some suggested camera settings for various areas of the Haunted Mansion. This is based on successful pictures that other people have taken.
|Place||Aperture||Exposure Time||ISO||Focal Length|
|Dinning Room||f/1.4||1/60||3200||30 mm|
The iPhone 7, the latest and greatest has these as max settings:
|iPhone 7||f/2.2||Exposure Control||24mm|
The Nixon D7100 seems to be the most popular camera that has captured the best photos
|October 24, 2016|
Prior to October 1, 2014, if you wanted a Haunted Mansion souvenir in the Magic Kingdom you would have to look for the Mme Leota cart. Seems like a strange name for a cart, I wonder who came up with that?
Here's a couple of pictures of the cart taken in 2000 and 2005.
Haunted Mansion Cart in 1999
The cart at night showing some of the merchandise in 2005.
The cart had very limited stock. There were a couple of shirt designs, some keychains, and pins. The variety on the Disney.com store was much better.
New Memento Mori Store
The Memento Mori store is a significant improvement from the cart store. The store replaced the old Yankee Store which was closed down for few months for a complete refurbishment.
You can see what the area looked like while they were transferring the building to be the new Haunted Mansion Store.
I remember being in the Yankee Store and was never impressed with the merchandise. They did have Colonial Memorabilia, which fit in the land that it was in. I thought the store would be better near the Hall of Presidents.
Special Haunted Mansion Merchandise
There's a lot of exclusive merchandise that Disney added to the store. Merchandise rotate all the time, so it's never the same place. When you go in, simply ask a cast member of any new inventory or popular things.
Exclusive to the Haunted Mansion store is the spirit souvenir photo. This is your chance to transform your face to a skull. Much like the portrait gallery inside the Haunted Mansion. Currently cost $20, for the photo and basic frame. I haven't done this as I don't know where I would hang the picture.
There are a few premium merchandise - desktop and wall accessories which are very cool. You can always have these shipped to your house - that way you don't have to worry about bringing it home. It's worth the extra shipping fee.
I like the coffee mug collection that they have. I am always on the lookout for some updated Haunted Mansion mug design. This is the place to get a Haunted Mansion shirt for the little Haunted Mansion fans too!
Shopping Tip: If you see something interesting, get it. I saw some cool mugs, and I waited until the end of the day to get them - only to find out they sold them all out! I went back to the store a couple of days later and they still didn't have the mugs.
Disney Special Effects
While walking around the store, pay attention to your surroundings. There're all sorts of special effects such as object in mirrors, or special lighting that Disney Imagineers added to make the store special.
It's a fun store to visit before or after going on the Haunted Mansion ride.
Construction of the Memento Mori in early 2014
Merchandise at Other Attractions
The Haunted Mansion is one of the few original attractions that doesn't make you walk through the store at the end of the ride. A great example is the Pirates of the Caribbean or the Pooh Ride.
While the Haunted Mansion store is long overdue, there are many other original 1970 Disney attractions that do not have any stores related to the attraction:
- Small World
- Peter Pan
- Hall of Presidents
- Jungle Cruise
- Tiki Room
- Carousel of Progress
Many of the Fantasyland attractions have merchandise in the "big top." If you're looking for merchandise related to your favorite ride ask a cast member for the ride.
|October 17, 2016|
Extinct Attractions Haunted Mansion
As an avid Haunted Mansion fan, I get excited going to Disney and riding the Haunted Mansion. In the early 1990s, I would bring a cassette recorder with me to record some of the sounds in the Haunted Mansion. The purpose of capturing the sounds was a way to remember the trip.
Favorite Clip ChallengesA couple my favorite sounds:
"Welcome Foolish Mortals to the Haunted Mansion"
This is very hard to capture because you have to be in the stretching room as soon as the doors open. In addition, to get the best quality of sound you need to know which speaker the audio is coming from and most importantly have a quiet room.
"Our library is well-stocked with priceless first editions. Only ghost stories, of course. And marble busts of the greatest ghost writers the literary world has ever known. They have all retired here, to the Haunted Mansion."
"Actually, we have 999 happy haunts here, but there's room for 1000. Any volunteers, hmmm? If you should decide to join us, final arrangements may be made at the end of the tour...."
This can be tricky to capture because the sound quality isn't the same in all the doom buggies. For some reason, some of the doom buggies speakers would fail just before you get to the library. You end up hearing the ghost host from nearby doom buggies.
I like this clip because this track is only played in Disney World as the Haunted Mansion in Disneyland doesn't have a library.
Extinct Attraction Club to the Rescue
Around the turn of the century, Haunted Mansion fans could have gotten a CD copy of individual sounds from Extinct Attractions. According to the sales pitch, the audio clips were pulled from the same audio used in the Haunted Mansion. The quality of sound was worth the price.
Extinct Attractions was created as a resource for people to share old home movies of attractions that are no longer at Disney. Guest could purchase DVDs and relive such rides as Tiki Room and Carousel of Progress.
I purchased my audio collection in 2006. Today I still listen to the audio around Halloween or just before heading on my next Disney vacation.
The 3 CD collection has 71 tracks including: HM Virtual Audio Tour, Foyer Music (Stereo), Four 1969 Radio Spots, Stretch & Portrait Hall (Ghost Host), Load Area Wolf Howl, Bells, DoomBuggy Load (Ghost Host), Hall Clock Loop, Madame Leota (Final), Ghost Host With Organ, Pistols, Ballroom (Stereo), Attic Heart Beat & Screams, Attic Scream 1, Heartbeat (Isolated), Caretaker's Dog, Cats, Chanting Ghosts, Bones & Flute (Isolated, Stereo), Deaf Guy, Singing Busts Tracks, Ghost Host Goodbye (Stereo), Exit Crypt Music, Little Leota_ Hurry Back, Come Back, Grim Grinning Ghosts, Otherworldly Music.
The Foyer and Ballroom music tracks are great as background music when you need to drown out the background of an open office.
Extinct Attractions Club Takedown
When it seems too good to be true...
Disney sued the Extinct Attractions Club in 2010 and as a result completely shut down their sales pipeline. This could explain why I haven't gotten any emails since May 25, 2010. In the prior email the subject was "Extinct Attraction Extinct?" There were a couple of issues not related to the take-down by Disney.
Disney Lawyers has imposed the owner, David O?Neal, a Million dollar fine if he used any Disney materials for future sales. According to various internet sites, prior to the shutdown, he was shipping nearly 1,800 DVDs a week.
Initially David justified his sales as portions of the sales went to help the homeless around Anaheim. Evidently, he got greedy and Disney caught on and shut down the mail order business.
Today, the Extinct Attractions Club is still operating, but they no longer selling any merchandise. They appear to still comply with Disney lawyers.
Occasionally you?ll find some CDs or DVDs on eBay from Disney fans selling their personal collection. If you do see the Haunted Mansion CD/DVD collection, I would highly recommend getting it.
If you're looking for a legal version of the Haunted Mansion Soundtrack, check out the "Haunted Mansion souvenir soundtracks" Soundtrack. You?ll find some ride audio walkthrough.
The Disney CDs doesn't include the individual clips that were in the Extinct Attractions Club. Maybe some day they will offer it? Perhaps on the 50th-anniversary audio collection.
The walk through audio quality is still better than if you were to personally record the media for yourself. Certainly can't go wrong.
You can pick up the CD at Memento Mori (Haunted Mansion store in the Magic Kingdom).
Extinct Attraction Media
Warning to anyone that purchased any media from Extinct Attractions.
None of the extinct attractions videos were ever manufactured on pressed DVDs as they were always done on regular DVD media. This is true for the CD collection too. This means that they may lose quality over time, much faster than pressed media would.
Since you can?t get a replacement for your media should anything happen to it. You should back up your CD or DVD collection. The easiest way to do backup the CD collection is to ?Mix-Rip-Burn? the CD via iTunes.
|October 10, 2016|
Disney Park Full Day Closures
Since opening in 1971, Walt Disney World has only been closed three times, all in anticipation of hurricanes. It was also evacuated in a brisk 30 minutes on 9/11, but the parks were not closed beforehand.
Disney was opening every day for 10,211 days. At this rate it won't be until September 22, 2044, when Disney will beat their consecutive day record.
The following is the list of hurricane's that closed Walt Disney World:
- Hurricane Floyd September 15, 1999
- Hurricane Frances September 4, 2004 and September 5, 2004
- Hurricane Jeanne September 26, 2004
- Hurricane Matthew October 7, 2016
|October 3, 2016|
Disney Caribbean Beach Resort
On our next trip to Walt Disney World we have the opportunity to stay at the Caribbean Beach Resort. Since we have never stayed at the resort before I decided to do some investigation.
We have been told that the main pool, Old Port Royale, will be closed during our stay. This is an important factor to consider since we have scheduled a down day during our Disney vacation.
Here's a quick summary of the resort:
About the Caribbean Beach Resort
- The resort first opened on October 1, 1988, and has gone under many refurbish stages over the years.
- This is the second largest resort, in terms of property size, on Disney Property.
- This is the only resort that has a resort shuttle buses to get around.
- The resort is 4.1 miles from Epcot and 2 miles from Disney's Hollywood Studios. It's considered to be one of the Epcot properties.
- There is a 1.5-mile running trail around the park. (Run around twice to practice the 5K!)
- Preferred Rooms put you close to food court and main pool, but not next to building with the lobby and Magical Express pickup
- The 300 Sq Ft. rooms at the resort are smaller than Port Orleans.
- National Average Hotel room size is about 325 square feet.
- Most of the rooms are theme after Finding Nemo.
- There are limited number of Pirates theme rooms in the Trinidad South Village and these are a premium.
- Most rooms beds are Queen beds, whereas at Port Orleans most of the beds are Kings.
- The further you are away from the Custom House the cheaper the room rate, and the longer the walk to your room after a long day at the park.
Pools and Amenities
- There are six heated pools located throughout the village.
- The biggest pool, Old Port Royale, features waterfalls, slides and canons.
- There are beaches around the resort, just stay away from the water.
- The Goombay Games Arcade has lots of high tech games.
- There are various playgrounds within each of the seven villages.
Chart of Hotel Acres
I put together a chart of the five largest hotel properties in Disney World. This shows you which resorts are taking up the most property:
Download the resort Map so that you know where things are on the property. This also comes in handy when you're planning your trip, past hotel experience taught us that you're better off being near the DisneyWord Bus stop.
After a long day, you don't want to be bouncing between buses or walking a long way to get to your room. This is especially noteworthy if you have young kids and a stroller.