Disney blog postings

Disney Postings

Earliest: May 30, 2003Latest: October 16, 2017Total: 108

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.

Mr Toad Statue

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.

The Toad Disneyland

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.

Google Photos

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?

Disney Statues

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?

May 15, 2017

Star Wars Theme Land Park

In February, Disney announced that the Star Wars Theme Land park in Disneyland and Disney World will be open sometime in 2019. Construction at both parks are well underway.

Disney haven't given any specific dates, probably in case they need to change the schedule dues to unexpected construction delays.

ConstructionConstruction was busy at Disney Studios in February 2017.

What is known is that a new Star Wars Movie is set to open on Memorial Day weekend - May 25, 2019. That's when Episode IX directed by Colin Trevorrow will be released. Colin directed the hit Jurassic World movie. (Jurassic World 2 opens June 22, 2018)

My guess is that they would wait until the summer of 2019 (Third fiscal quarter) to open the new theme land. The new park would help with some of the slower summer business. It would help Disney work out the kinks so that things would be busy during the November/December peak periods.

Haunted Mansion 50th Anniversary

August 2019 will mark the 50th Anniversary of the Haunted Mansion. Expect a huge celebration as Disney with the 25th and 40th anniversary. I would suspect that they wouldn't want to open the Star Wars Theme Land during that celebration.

New Land New Hotel

Oh, and there are rumors that a "Starship" Luxury resort might be coming to the Disney Property. The hotel would look like some spaceship. Apple new headquarters would be a good place to start the design process.

Apple Headquarters
Apple Cupertino, CA headquarters could be an inspiration to Disney new "Starship" hotel.

Don't Plan Your Trip - Yet!

If you are planning a trip to see the new Star Wars Theme Land Park, you might be better off waiting until 2020. As the park will certainly be busy with everyone wanting to see the new ride.

Remember the excitement over the Frozen Ride at Epcot?

Star Wars Movie Schedule

  • December 15, 2017 - Star Wars: Episode VIII - The Last Jedi
  • May 25, 2018 - Star Wars: Han Solo
  • May 25, 2019 - Star Wars: Episode IX
  • 2020 - Star Wars (Scheduled but nothing more has been released.)

It will be exciting to see what Disney comes up with!

May 8, 2017

Disney Dollar

Last summer, Disney announced that it will no longer be issuing new Disney Dollars. They are pushing for people to use Disney Gift Cards. As of May 13, 2016 you could no longer purchase Disney Dollars.

Disney hadn't announced if/when they will officially stop accepting Disney Dollars in the parks. There are no expiration date on the Disney Dollars, so bills that already have been purchased still can be used.

For now, most people will just hold on to their Disney Dollars as a collector's item.

History of Disney Dollars

Disney first sold Disney Dollars on May 5, 1987 in Disneyland and then in DisneyWorld on October 5th. On the first day of sale, Disneyland sold $60,000 worth of Disney Dollars.

Had Disney not canceled the Disney Dollar last year, this past weekend would have been the 30th Anniversary of the first one sold.

Each Disney Dollar has the Scrooge McDuck's signature as Treasurer.

Disney Dollars the Collectable

Did you know that some Disney Dollars have a high value for collectors?

For example: the "Disney Dollars 2000" a $10 Donald Very Rare D Series is one of the rarest there is. At one time that particular Disney Dollar was going for $1,500 on eBay.

If you have any Disney Dollars in your collection, check out eBay to see if it's valuable.

May 1, 2017

Bippity Boppity Boutique

The Bippity Boppity Boutique is a fun place where little girls can get transformed into a princess and boys can get transformed into pirates. It's a fun experience for the kids to get a royal treatment.

There a Bippity Boppity Boutique in the Castle in the Magic Kingdom and in Disney Springs.

We took our daughter to the Bippity Boppity Boutique in the Magic Kingdom in January 2015 and January 2017. However, we notice a few things different on our second visit and will not be going back.

Castle Package

The two times that we have gone, we gave our daughter the "top of the line" Castle Package. This package has changed a bit:

Castle Styles

Basically printed copies of the final transformation is no longer included. If you have the Photo Package, you get all the photos that were taken on the chair and in the photo studio.

Hair Style

We noticed that the hair doesn't get as much attention that it use to getting.

Check out the differences of the hair. Both photos were taken within minutes after getting out of the Bippity Boppity Boutique"

Bippity Hair Style

We noticed that they didn't spray enough to hold the hair, and we got a lot less pixie dust. We actually had to go back to get more spray put in. When we first had it done, it lasted a couple of days. It had nothing to do with the rides that we went on since we went on the same rides post transformation.

Quick Turn Around

We notice that the complete process was much quicker this time than last time. I didn't run a stop watched, but I looked back at pictures that I took and was able to calculate the duration of the makeover.

Disney Timer

I am not sure if Disney is more efficient or if they are cutting back the time so that they could get more appointments in per day.

Last Visit

We won't be going back to the Bippity Boppity Boutique. We were impressed with our first visit, but the second visit clearly didn't show the "fantastic attention to detail" that Disney is well known.

April 24, 2017

Tom Sawyer Island

Here's some information about Tom Sawyer Island from the Explorer Map on the Island:

Mark Twain was born Samuel Clemens in 1835, in Florida, Missouri. He is up not too far away in the small town of Hannibal. From there he would raft over to islands in the Mississippi and watch as majestic steamboats paddled by. As a young man, he became a riverboat pilot, listening for the leadsman to sing out "Mark Twain" which indicated the river measure two fathoms deep, making it safe to proceed. As a writer, his two most famous creations, Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, sprang from his boyish memories of life on the Mississippi. All the names on the island can be found in the literary classic Huckleberry Finn.

Places You may encounter

  • Tom's Landing - How you arrive and depart the island
  • Old Scratch's Mystery Mine
  • Potter's Mill
  • Huck's Landing
  • Indian Joe's Cave
  • Superstition Bridge
  • Pappy's Fishing Pier
  • Rifles Roost
  • River Pirate Ridge
  • Indian Territory - Only visible from the steam boat.
  • Fort Langhorn - Guard House, Horse Stable, Checker's Board
  • Secret Escape from Fort
  • Poor Old Jim's Shack
  • Barrel Bridge
  • Fidgety Ledge
  • Smuggler's Cove
  • Aunt Polly's - Only Snack bar on the Island
  • Catfish Cove -
  • Harper's Mill - Don't scare the bird in Harper's Mill!
  • Scavenger's Fort -Highest point on the Island. A play area for children ages 2-12 years old.
  • Privy's

TomSawyerIsland.jpg
Click on image for a larger version.

Miscellaneous Information

  • Opened in 1973, two years after the park opened.
  • It's about a minute and a half raft ride to get to the island.
  • The main fort was called Fort Sam Clemens until 1996 when it was changed to Fort Langhorn to help promote the "Tom and Huck" movie.
  • Island Closes at Dusk
  • Aunt Polly's Dockside Inn hasn't been open in a while. There's rumors that it may open during peak seasons.

Fort Langhorn

A replication of an early frontier fort. Here children can have fun exploring various features of the fort.

  • Gun Gallery - where you can pretend to shoot passengers from a boat that appears to threaten the fort.
  • Blacksmith Shop - where you can hear horses and other farm animals.
  • Guard House - See what the guards are doing to keep the place in shape.
  • Fort Escape - Escape the fort via the rear exit.
  • Checkers Table - Take a break and play a game of checkers.

Fort Langhorn View

Barrel Bridge

To get from Fort Langhorn to Aunt Polly's you should use the Barrel Bridge. This is a fun crossing where you try to keep your balance as you cross some oak barrels to get to the other side. Just be careful. You won't fall in the water as the ropes are there to keep your balance.

There is a "rest stop" between bridges. This is a great location to get pictures of the Haunted Mansion. Listen carefully you should be able to hear the howling dogs coming from the mansion.

Barrel Bridge has a one-way crossing. You are crossing correctly if the Haunted Mansion is on your left side as you cross the bridge.

There is a "the other Way" if you want to avoid the barrels.

Caves of Tom Sawyer Island

There are three caves on the island. They are pretty dark. If someone in your party is scared of the dark, then it's best to avoid the caves. You can bring a small flashlight if you want. You don't need to use the caves to get from point A to point B. You can still get to the other side of the cave via walking.

Typical Length of Stay

Depending on what people are doing on the island, you could be on the island for about a 1/2 hour.

A quick walk around the island and various caves should take about 15 minutes.

April 17, 2017

Norway Pavilion

The week?s Disney Blog is about the Norway Pavilion at Epcot.

Did you know that the Norway Pavilion is the newest country to the showcase. It was added in 1988, six years after Epcot opened.

There are three reasons that you should visit the Norway Pavilion:

  • Frozen ever after ride
  • Royal Sommerhus - Only place in Disney where you can Meet Anna and Elsa
  • Akershus Royal Banquet Hall (Where you can meet several princesses)

Frozen Ever After Ride

Frozen Ever After Ride

On June 21, 2016, one of the most anticipated rides to open in Disney was the Frozen Ever After Ride. On this ride, you get to experience some of the music from the Frozen movie.

Wait times on this ride can be from 30 - 45 minutes. Disney did a good job of decorating the waiting area to entertain the guests. You certainly feel that your in Norway in the Winter by the time you get on the ride.

The water-type ride is fun, you get to see many of the famous characters of the Frozen movie. The ride does have a drop and you may get a little wet, but this is Disney - so you won?t get soaked. It?s a fun ride to see all the latest special animatronics technology.

My six-year-old daughter loves it. She was very excited to go on the ride and wanted to ride it multiple times afterward. Which we did when we saw that the wait time was shorter.

Fast Pass is a must for this ride!

Royal Sommerhus

Sommerhus

Next to the Frozen Ever After Ride is the Royal Sommerhus where you can meet Anna and Elsa. You can get pictures with them and even interact with the characters.

The wait time was a bit long here. The is some decoration around the Royal Sommerhus Cabin which showcases some family pictures in the cabin.

Once you get to meet the characters, you see Anna first and then Elsa. They are both in the same room. There is a Disney Photographer that is available to take your Disney Memory Maker photos. They will also help take group pictures with a regular camera.

Unfortunately you can?t get a picture of the two of them together.

Akershus Royal Banquet Hall

At the Akershus Royal Banquet Hall you can enjoy Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner with many Disney Storybook Princesses.

The following princesses are available in the hall

  • Snow White
  • Cinderella
  • Belle
  • Princess Aurora
  • Ariel

There is some dancing that happens every once in a while, where the children can dance along with their favorite princess.

Lunch and Dinner is served as a Family style. Reservations are recommended.

April 10, 2017

Gravestones at the Haunted Mansion

Just before you enter the Haunted Mansion in DisneyWorld, you will see a fictional graveyard.

In the graveyard are 13 regular headstones. (How appropriate!) There are two honorable mention gravestones.

The graveyard starts over by the interactive waiting queue and finishes right up to you get inside the Mansion. The best view of the graveyard is to be on the left of the line.

Haunted Gravestones

Epithets List

Here's a list of all the epithets that you can see, in the order that they appear:

  • Dear Departed Brother Dave - He Chased a Bear into a Cave
  • In Memorium Uncle Myall - Here you'll lie for quite a while
  • Good Friend Gordon - Now you've cross the river Jordon
  • The Lady of the Opera Our Haunting Harriet - Searched for a tune but never could carry it
  • Here Lies a Man Names Martin - The lights went out on this old spartan
  • Dearest Dorothea
  • Master Gracy Laid to Rest - No mourning Please at his request - Farewell
  • Rest in Peace Cousin Huet - We all know you didn't do it
  • Here rests Wathel R. Bender - He rode to glory on a fender Peaceful rest
  • Here Lies Good Old Fred - A great big rock fell on his head R.I.P
  • At Peaceful Rest Lies Bother Claude - Planted here beneath this sod
  • RIP Mister Swell - The Victim of a dirty duel Peaceful Rest
  • Dear Sweet Leota. Beloved by all in regions beyond now, but having a ball

Many of the original tombstones we a tribute to some of the architect and designers of the Haunted Manions. Check out WDWRadio.com for additional details.

H M Waiting Area

Interactive Gravestone

The "Dear Sweet Leota" gravestone has some motion. About every sixty seconds the head will slightly pop out and the eyes will open for five seconds and then close and the head goes back to normal position.

This happens rain or shine. I have stood in line during some serious downpour and have seen the motion from the tombstone.

Honorable Mention

If you were a major contributor to the Haunted Mansion creation, you may get your own gravestone. Kind of like a Hall of Fame:

  • In Memory of Our Patriarch Dear Departed Grandpa Marc
  • Requiescat Francis Xavier - No Time off for good behavior R.I.P.

Wikipedia description of Marc Davis - "as a prominent American artist and animator for Walt Disney Studios. He was one of Disney's Nine Old Men, the famed core animators of Disney animated films, and was revered for his knowledge and understanding of visual aesthetics." He did a lot of the design work for the Haunted Manion. Marc Died January 12, 2000.

Legendary Imagineer Francis Xavier "X" Atencio helped develop the Haunted Mansion story line, wrote the theme song's lyrics, and helped come up with the tombstone inscriptions. Still alive!

Memorable Tombs

The "Dear Old Fred" is easy to remember because it's an easy rhyme. It's also the grave you most likely see while waiting for the doors to open.

The "Sweet Leota" is memorable because it's the only headstone that has any interaction.

Future Gravestone?

maynard
Maynard at the Haunted Mansion in 2000.

Will Maynard be memorialized with gravestones at the Haunted Mansion?

Many fans at Haunted Mansion in Disneyland feel Maynard makes the ride special. In the early days of the Internet, many Haunted Mansion sites talked about him and some sites posted his working schedule.

I wasn't able to find any new information about the whereabouts of Maynard the famous Ghost Host of the Haunted Mansion in Disneyland.

Also surprised that there isn't anything for Thurl Ravenscroft, who's voice you hear as you travel along the Haunted Mansion ride.

April 3, 2017

Be Our Guest Restaurant

In Fantasyland in the Magic Kingdom, there is a very popular restaurant called "Be Our Guest." If you're planning a trip to the Magic Kingdom, this is one place that you should plan to stop at.

The main theme of the restaurant is based on the original "Beauty and the Beast" movie.

Fun Facts about the "Be Our Guest" Restaurant

  • Officially opened on November 19, 2012 - week's before the official opening of the New Fantasyland
  • Offers Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
  • License to serve 500 guests - one of the largest dining rooms in the Magic Kingdom!
  • Average cost per meal is $20
  • Accepts the Disney Dining plan and only counts as 1 meal point.
  • The only place in Disney where you can meet "the Beast" from "Beauty and the Beast"
  • You will need eat in the dining room to see the Beast. (Similar to other Character dining experiences.)
  • The Beast will not sign any autographs.
  • There is a known Hidden Mickey in each of the dining rooms.

Be Our Guest

Main Ballroom

The Main Ballroom is the large room you see when you walk into the restaurant. Disney does a great job to make it feel like your eating in a castle. As you walk in the Main Ballroom you can see a large window where snow is endlessly falling. It's a very cool effect, and you can almost feel the cold air blowing in.

The nice thing about eating in the Ballroom is that it's fairly quiet. While eating you don't hear a lot of people talking.

West Wing room

The thunderstorm erupts every time a rose petal falls to the ground. When the thunderstorm hits, immediately look at the Beast painting in the room, it changes very quickly. If you eat in the room, make sure to sit so that you can see the painting.

This room is darker than all the other dining rooms. A lot of people come into this room to see the rose and the picture. If your sitting near them then you may encounter people walking by your table.

Rose Gallery

This room contains various paintings from the movie. In the center of the room is a large chandelier with a stained glass center that carries out the rose motif from the film. The Beast will usually come out of this room before heading to the meet and greet area.

These room lights are the brightest of all the rooms.

Dinner is the Best Option

In our experience, we have found that the dinner service to be the best. We did eat at the lunch service and didn't really get a good feeling of the place. That is because lunch is quick service meals. You basically order your meal when you make reservations. It's a good way to get a fast meal in the park, but you miss out on what makes the "Be Our Guest" restaurant special.

There's no particular favorite meal that we have had, the choices are excellent and the food has always been very good. You certainly don't feel like you're at a theme park while you are in the restaurant.

As you leave, don't forget to take a group picture in front of the stain glass window. There's usually a cast member walking around that would be happy to take your group photo.

March 27, 2017

Penny Machine in DisneyWorld

The Penny Machine at Walt Disney World is a very popular place to get a custom souvenir. You can find them scattered all over the parks and hotels. In some gift shops, you can buy penny and quarter holders. However you can find some pretty creative ones on Etsy.

The key to having a good quality press is using the right penny. The best penny to get is one that's dated between 1962 and 1982. Those pennies have the most copper which will help produce an excellent design.

Penny Machine

Things we learned on a previous trip

  • You are not likely going to find old pennies at the parks. You best bet it to look through your change drawer at home. Surely you have a stack of pennies someplace in your home.
  • Its going to take a while to find the pennies, so the early you start the better.
  • We found using a magnifying glass help with some of the pennies since the dates can be hard to read.
  • Depending how serious a penny collector you are having 30-40 pennies would be ideal.
  • You can spend time cleaning the pennies, however, we have not discovered any difference in pressing quality.
  • The quality of the machine plate can make a difference in how clear an impression that is made. So if the penny doesn't look good, it's probably the machine.
  • You can use an M&M mini container to carry the pennies. You can prep up the Penny Machine amount ( 2 Quarters and a Penny) that way you know when you reach the daily quota. It will make visiting each machine a pleasurable experience. Instead of spending a few minutes fumbling for change, you can just get the next set out of the M&M container.

Frozen Ride

At the end of the Frozen Ride you walk through the souvenir store with lots of goodies. In the store is one of the parks newest a penny machines. This machine actually doesn't take pennies and you can use your credit card to get 5 pennies.

Just be careful of this machine and read the instructions. It took a couple of tries for us to get it to work and I am pretty sure that we got charged extra.

It's pretty cool that it's automatic but I think that it loses the appeal for kids since they like to crank their own souvenir. (At least the younger ones try.)