Disney blog postings
|Earliest: May 30, 2003||Latest: December 11, 2017||Total: 116|
|July 24, 2017|
Five Things to Do in the Magic Kingdom City Hall
At the beginning of Main Street USA, is Magic Kingdom city hall. This is a place where you can find Disney guest services. I often see long lines and wonder what are all the things that people waiting for. So, I decided to do some research and find out all the things that people can do at the Walt Disney World City Hall.
Get Disney Buttons
Celebrating your First Visit? Anniversary? Birthday? Get a button at City Hall and let everyone know that you are celebrating. You can find some of the buttons near the door as you approach City Hall. There?s no need to wait in line.
Upgrade your Multi-day pass
Want to say an extra day? Make changes to your Multi-day passes? Convert a regular pass to a park hopper pass? This is the place to get it done.
Cash from ATM
Get Cash from the ATM for tips and snacks. Don?t forget to get some change for the Penny and Quarter machines!
Lost something? Find it Here
Did you lose your wallet? Lens Cap? Sun Glasses? Come over and see if it?s in the lost and found. Make sure to give them a detail description of your item.
Special Ride Assistance
Do you need Guidemaps in German, Japanese, Spanish and Portuguese? How about Translation Devices for attractions? There?s even a transcript of some rides.
Note: Back in the early 1990s, I remember going and getting the Haunted Mansion transcript. You can?t take it home, but it?s pretty cool to have available.
|July 17, 2017|
Jedi Training - Disney Studios
On our trip to Disney Studios this year, we took our daughter to be part of the Jedi Training.
What is Jedi Training
Jedi Knights have assembled Force-sensitive children from throughout the galaxy to test their abilities. Under the tutelage of the Jedi, the recruits learn how to use the Force - and their wit - to wield lightsabers. Now that the Empire has driven the Jedi to the distant corners of the galaxy, the training must proceed in secret at ancient Jedi temples.
Things that we LearnedGeneral information
- Anyone can participate in Jedi Training, it is a first come first serve basis.
- Your best opportunity to get a good time is to arrive at the park at least 45 mins before the park opens.
- The Jedi training may get canceled due to inclement weather.
- While waiting in line, your best to the wait on the left turnstiles
- You need to go to the area near the Indiana Jones for registration.
- While waiting in line, confirm the registration location.
- The Jedi needs to be present when signing up a registration time. Keep that in mind when rushing to register after the park opens.
- I found it easier to carry my daughter than to have her walk fast.
- Make sure to have a couple of times in mind. I suggest doing it early in the day that way you don't have to work around the time in the park.
- Before meeting Darth Vader, the training cadets have to line up at the place of registration.
- They will get their outfits and sit and wait for everyone to show up.
- Plan to arrive a few minutes before the suggested time.
- They then will march over to Star Tours area for some training and then the big battle
- Hot Tip: You are best to split the party and have some people waiting at the Star Tours area stage. While it?s cute to watch the kids march over, you're better off having a better position at the battle. (This is a lesson learned as other people did this and we missed out on great shots.)
- There are two stage platforms where the trainees will be practicing. There?s no way to know which one they will be on.
- You best bet is to stand in the middle of the two platforms.
- The children will spend some time with some basic life saber maneuvers.
- There will be several people coming out before Darth Vader. When it?s his turn to come out, they make sure everyone knows.
- The battle with Darth Vader will be quick. Each child will be able to fight him.
- There are about 3-4 moves that they will perform against Darth Vader
- A Disney Photographer will be there to take pictures.
- After the battle the children will get reunited with their parents.
- The children do not get to keep the lifesaver that they used in the battle.
There are some merchants that sell Life Sabers around the Star Tours ride. Some of these look exactly like the ones that were used in the Jedi training.
While the children might be excited to get one. Just think of how you plan on getting that home. Earlier this year I blogged about the successful experience we had with getting it home.
|July 10, 2017|
Epcot Inventor's Circle
Walking around Epcot many sidewalks you may miss some inspired designs. For example, near "The Land" is an Invention circle celebrating some of the most important inventions.
The Inventor's Circle was placed in 1998 and highlights the great achievements, breakthroughs, and exploration that the human race has accomplished. The circle is broken up into five categories:
- Prehistoric Era
- Middle Ages
- Renaissance Period
- Industrial Revolution
- 20th Century
The last "greatest" human race accomplishment is the World Wide Web - more specifically Tim Berners-Lee contribution. Time Berners-Lee came up with the idea of the hypertext protocol which allowed computers to talk to each other.
Powerful Quote by Tim Berners-Lee:
The Web as I envisaged it, we have not seen it yet. The future is still so much bigger than the past.
Shoulder of Giants
Read more about the sidewalk design in the Main Street Gazette. Ryan P. Wilson does a great job in describing the Inventor's circle. The story was posted in July 2009 and the information is very relevant today.
Where is it?
The Inventor's Circle is on the ground as you walk from the Epcot Character Spot to The Land showcase. Look on the ground and you'll see a large star surrounded by the five categories. The location isn't mentioned on the park map. If your unable to find it, ask a cast member.
Are there any inventions/discoveries that should be included?
|July 3, 2017|
Palm Parlor in Disneyland
In Disneyland, on Main Street USA, is a shop called Palm Parlor. Like many stores on Main Street, it's not a real store. It's just a facade to what's really on the other side of the wall.
What makes this place stand out from the rest is that its the only place on Main Street that has a porch. It's the only place to have a chair. It's a great place to watch the Main Street parades.
What's with the Name?
The Official name of the shop is Fargo's Palm Parlor. The first name isn't so easy to see as your walking by the shop.
On April 29, 2009, Roland "Rolly" Crump became the assistant to the Palm Reader. You can see his name in one of the second-story windows. Roland was a key player in helping Walt make Disneyland become a reality. He was instrumental in getting the designs in the Haunted Mansion, it's a small world and the Enchanted Tiki Room.
His name was chosen to be the assistant because he wanted the Haunted Mansion to be a walk-through type of experience. He envisioned a "Museum of the Weird." That's why he got the Palm reader honor.
The photos that I have doesn't include the window since it was taken before the window was put in.
Can you go in?
The store door doesn't actually open. On the opposite side is Silhouette Studio. When you're in the store you can see people sitting in the rocking chair.
This is a great place for people watching. You can watch families walking down Main Street excited about their day in Disneyland. There are seats here for five people.
Unfortunately this isn't a great location to watch the fireworks as you don't have a good view of the castle.
Finding the Palm Parlor
The Fargo's Palm Parlor is only on the Main Street in Disneyland. It's located about 2/3 of the way down the street on your right as you walk in from the main entrance. Your best chances of getting a seat is early in the morning.
The next time you walk down Main Street USA, walk slower and pay attention to the details.
|June 26, 2017|
Distance to Disney
Here's something fun to do while on your next trip: Take a picture of your favorite spot and then use the GPS information to get the distance to your home. Use that information to make a custom sign for your room or playground space.
The whole purpose of doing this task is to have an accurate sign.
Step 1: Taking a Picture
Find a location that you want to mark, here are a few suggestions:
- The Entrance to the Magic Kingdom - (Latitude: 28*24'58.32"N, Longitude: 81*34'51.96"W)
- Middle of Main Street USA - (28.4176, -81.5813)
- Cinderella Castle (Latitude: 28* 25' 10.17" N, Longitude: 81* 34' 52.482" W)
- Haunted Mansion Entrance - (Latitude: 28* 25' 11.94" N, Longitude: 81* 34' 58.092" W)
- Spaceship Earth at Epcot - (Latitude: 28* 22' 33.882" N, Longitude: 81* 32' 57.57" W)
- The American Experience - (28.369651,-81.5488103)
- By your Favorite Celebrity at the Mann's Theater at Disney Studios (28.3571, -81.5605)
Using your smartphone take a picture of the spot. That's all you need to do while you're there, the rest can be done when you get home.
When you're at home, make sure to take a picture where the sign will be hung. You can use the GPS from that photo as the destination point.
Understanding GPS Basics
What's the difference between 28.376, -81.549 and "Latitude: 28* 22' 33.882" N, Longitude: 81* 32' 57.57" W"?
|Compass Direction with Degree/Min/Sec||Latitude: 28* 22' 33.882" N, Longitude: 81* 32' 57.57" W|
|Signed Decimal degrees without compass direction, where negative indicates west/south||28.376, -81.549|
You can find more on Geographic coordinate conversion - Wikipedia page.
Step 2: Getting the Location from your Play space to Disney
Here's how to find the GPS location of a photo on the iPhone.
You will need to download the photo from the iPhone, as there isn't a way to get the GPS coordinates numbers that you need for this project. You can download the photo to Apple's Photo App, or use Google Photos.
Getting the GPS information on a photo in Photos
You can't get the detail GPS numbers in Apple Photos. Apple will only show you the map where the picture was taken. That doesn't help us. So we need to export the picture and use the View Info from the Finder.
- Open up Photos App
- Find the Image that you took in Step #1
- Export the Image to the Desktop (Note: Drag and Drop doesn't copy the location information!)
- Make sure to select the Location Information on the Export
- Select the image and then Command-I to open up the Image Info
- Expand the 'More Info' in the Info dialog and you should see the Latitude and Longitude information.
- Copy that information down.
Note: To get the Compass Direction, open up the image in Preview and the type Command-I
Repeat the above steps with your destination image. (You should have a couple of points)
Getting the GPS information on a photo in Google Photos
- Open up Google Photos.
- Find the Image that you took in Step #1
- Click on the Photo
- Click on the 'i' on the top right of the page. (or press the 'i' key)
- You should see some coordinates on the right panel, such as " 28.42, -81.583"
Repeat the above steps with your destination image. (You should have a couple of points)
Step 3: Calculating the distance
You do have choices when it comes to calculating the distance. These should all give you the same results:
The Coordinate Distance Calculator on Jeff Boulter's site is a good place to calculate the distance between two points.
The National Hurricane Center Latitude/Longitude Distance Calculator is another good source.
Step 4: Get your sign!
You have a lot of choices. Check out the various sellers on Etsy.
|June 19, 2017|
Leave a Legacy at Epcot
The Leave a Legacy program allowed more than 550,000 Guests to purchase personalized tiles on the monoliths outside Epcot between 1999 and 2007. The entire program was discontinued in June 2007.
People would pay $35 for one person or $38 for two people to be on the tile. This means that Disney made between $19,250,000 and $20,900,000 from the tiles.
Everyone has to walk by the stones when they enter the park. The stones are located between the entrance and Spaceship Earth.
Every SpaceShip Earth picture taken from the entrance shows pictures of the Leave a Legacy tiles:
This is what the tiles look like up close:
Ten More 10 Years
Disney has guaranteed that the titles will be up for 20 years. Since the last photo was sold in 2007, it means that the tiles will not be coming down until June 2027.
Since there are still plenty of spots open, should Disney reopen the program with only a ten-year guarantee? Would you sign up for the program if they announced one last shot at getting on the tiles?
|June 12, 2017|
Prince Charming Regal Carrousel 2.0
Back in January I blogged about the Cinderella's Horse at the Prince Charming Regal Carrousel. At the time of the post, I didn't have good pictures of Cinderella's horse.
After that post, I got an opportunity to ride Cinderella's Horse at the Prince Charming Regal Carrousel. This is pretty tricky to do since you have to be one of the first people in line and know exactly where the horse is.
This is a side picture of Cinderella's Horse:
What to look for:
- Cinderella's Horse is in the second row of horses
- The horse on the outside appears to have a shield, perhaps a guard horse?
- Cinderella's Horse is the only horse with a row of flowers in the front. (See original Blog entry)
- There are jewels on the side of the horse.
- The saddle is dark red with a blue middle
- The horse has a bow in the tail
Prince Charming Horse
Near a Cinderella's horse is Prince Charming's horse.
What to look for
- Red Saddle with a green middle
- There is a horse that is closer, but that might also be a guard's horse.
|June 5, 2017|
Disney Rapid-Fill Mugs
You can purchase special refillable mugs at the Disney World resorts. These mugs are call ?Rapid Fill? and they have a chip which allows you to refill the mugs for the length of your stay.
The mugs are included with all Disney Dining plans, otherwise, it cost $17.99.
The mugs can handle hot and cold drinks. In the morning, I would put some ice in the mug and make my own ice coffee.
Fun Facts on the Mug
I did a simple water test on the mug and got these measurements:
- 1/3 a cup at the first line deep in the mug.
- 12 oz at the first rim
- 15 oz at the second internal rim
- 16 oz at the very top (hold it steady!)
What is that 1/3 line for?
I believe the first mark is for the cream/sugar line before putting in the coffee. Simply put enough cream to the 1/3 mark then add your sugar amount.
There?s no special drink that meets the 1/3 cup. A shot is 1oz which is equivalent to .12 cup. The 1/3 of a cup is just about 2.7 US fluid ounces.
I don?t think it?s worth buying the mug for a short term stay (Weekend or long weekend stay). Currently, you can?t refill in the park, other than using them to fill up water from the fountains. So if your going to spend a lot of time in the park, doesn't seem to be worth it.
When we traveled to Disney, we would refill the mugs at the end of the day with Ice Tea, Sprite or Orange Soda.
|May 29, 2017|
Mr. Toad Wild Ride Statue
On September 7, 1998, Mr. Toad's Wild Ride was closed in the Magic Kingdom. The ride was removed to make room for The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.
When Disney announced the ride closer, it was met with some protest. The ride was one of the original rides that open with the Magic Kingdom. Some Disney fans actually protested in front of Main Street.
Pet Cemetery Attraction
Disney took down the statue of Mr. Toad and put it in the Pet Cemetery at the Haunted Mansion.
The pet cemetery is located on your left as you walk out of the Haunted Mansion. It's on the hill right before the exit gate.
Mr. Toad Statue is located in the back left of the cemetery. It may be hard to see standing directly in front of the cemetery. This is because the back of the cemetery is in the shade.
I found that stepping to the right and looking to the back left gives you a clear view.
Still in Disneyland
You can still ride on Mr. Toads wild ride in Disneyland. There has been no decision on closing it in Disneyland.
The ride is pretty much the same ride that Walt Disney envisioned when Disneyland opened. It was shut down in 1983 for a "technology" update.
Mr. Toads Statue
If you do go on the ride, check out the Mr. Toad Statue in the window in the waiting line. Originally he held a cigarette in his hand. At the time, using cigarettes wasn't considered a "bad" thing.
The cigarette was removed in the early 1980s. You can still see the fingers in a cigarette holding formation.
|May 22, 2017|
Haunted Mansion Statues Inspiration?
Google, Microsoft, and Facebook are all in the technology rush to build superior facial recognition technology.
There's a lot at stake for each company as they can offer businesses and governments a lot of value. For example, using facial technology police departments can identify witnesses to a crime.
Google/Shutterfly and Facebook can use the technology to match like photos together. So if a consumer tag a face as their mother, the businesses can create Mothers day promotions using photos that match.
I upload all my iPhone pictures to Google photos. It's a good way to backup photos. In addition, the search criteria are awesome. I can search for "pink house" and instantly I'll see all the photos that contain a pink house.
When you enter search functionality, you'll see some face thumbnail images the ability to see photo using facial recognition. It's a cool feature to see where else I took people photos.
Interesting Side Effect
On a recent trip to Disney World, I took some pictures of the statues in the waiting queue at the Haunted Mansion. It's a very popular photo spot for kids. There are five statues in a semi-circle.
A few months after the trip, I noticed that Google Photos did a facial recognition on one of the twins. I was surprised to find some photos that I took in the Massachusetts State House matched up to one of the Twin statues.
Apparently Google thinks that the Lafayette statue in the Massachusetts Statehouse is the same face as the one at the Haunted Mansion. Was Lafayette the inspiration for one of the twins?
What do you think? Are they the same? Is Google correct to tag them as related? Did Disney Imagineers use Lafayette as an inspiration for the statue?