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LA Times Travel on Toy Story Mania

18 Jun

I have been staying relatively spoiler-free for the new Toy Story Mania attraction at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, but coudn’t resist reading Brady MacDonald’s piece on beating John Lassiter on the sister attraction at Disney’s California Adventure. It even includes info on an Easter Egg, which I’ll bring along to Orlando tomorrow (along with a host of others I found on the interweb, since Google is my friend).

Mouse Planet staff writer Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix showed me the secret to unleashing a shower of 2,000-point balloons in the Bo Peep dart-toss game. The trick: shoot four of the five balloons in each of the hovering clouds before popping the fifth and final balloons at the same time as your partner. Teamwork triggers similar bonus-point deluges in the Green Army Men game and the Saloon scene.

I know the lines for this attraction will be insane, I do not care a whit, I can hardly wait!

Tokyo Disneyland Trip Report at AllEarsNet

3 May

JeanineY, a guest blogger at AllEarsNet, wrote recently about her trip to Tokyo Disneyland Resort. She’s got great pictures and descriptions of DisneySea, which I especially enjoyed since I missed that park when I was at Tokyo Disneyland.

I laughed out loud reading her description of the flight to Japan (presumably from somewhere in the continental US):

On a 12+ hour flight in coach, the evolution of attitude goes like this:

Hour 1: Well this isn’t bad! We left on time and everything! The grand adventure has begun!
Hour 2: There isn’t much space in these seats, is there? Well at least the meal was…included.
Hour 6: If this guy in back of me shakes my chair one more time, I am turning my vent full blast towards him. Also, I can’t feel my feet anymore.
Hour 10: We will grow old and die on this plane.

For some reason, one of my fondest memories of the flights to and from Japan was the Cup of Noodles that the flight attendants brought around for breakfast. (The worst memory, on the other hand, was hitting 3 hours worth of severe turbulence on the flight home, and watching the horizon disappear above and below my window as we rocked back and forth. The more experienced trans-Pacific travelers seated around me snored all the way through.)

I was totally envious reading JeanineY’s description of the DisneySea show, The Legend of Mythica, which clearly must be seen:

The only thing you can imagine is that someone decided to throw everything anyone might like to see in a show together into one glorious spectacular. There’s singing, dancing, characters, floats, fire effect, water effects, drumming, jet skis, kites, fireworks, and more. There must be a phenomenal number of CMs working on this one show, and it all goes to form an extravaganza that’s unlikely to be matched in any US park.

I did read recently in Blue Sky Disney that there’s a super-cool show planned for Disney’s California Adventure, in Anaheim. I doubt it’ll be quite as cool as The Legend of Mythica, but it sounds pretty nifty nonetheless:

Did you know how much of the Pier will actually be used for these fountains [for the new show]? Most have said that it will just be in front of Mickey’s Fun Wheel. No, no…

Try the entire water area of the Pier. That big. Really. When the PP goes down next year to be drained so that construction can begin on the new extended area and the placement of the water and lighting system is put in it will be extensive. This will have some form of fountain display all across the whole of the area. It’s no wonder that the area around Ariel’s Grotto is talked about being enclosed. Guest will get drenched sitting out under those exposed canopies. The WOC show will be very intimate for audiences. As well as that, when the displays and water jets are shooting up into the air, expect to see a very familiar Disney character floating in the Pier as he’ll be part of the festivities. Mickey Mouse? Nope. Donald Duck? Nooooo. Ariel? No, but technically she’ll be there(more on that in a minute).


A giant Variation of the demon from “Night On Bald Mountain” will inhabit the PP show if everything goes as planed.

Back to Tokyo . . . I have to wholeheartedly agree with JeanineY about how fabulous the Winnie the Pooh attraction is at Tokyo Disneyland. I’m not a big Pooh fan, so I could have easily just walked by this one, but I’m glad I didn’t.

Pooh is deservedly one of the most popular rides in Tokyo Disneyland because of its unique trackless ride system which has you skittering around in honeypots seemingly at random–first spinning around in circles, next appearing to crash into other pots, then zooming up to a woozle (or a hefflelump?) to get smoke blown at you. It’s a great ride and puts the Anaheim Disneyland version to shame.

I desperately want to get back to Tokyo, and not just for Disneyland! I want to wander the streets of Harajuku again, maybe pick up a few copies of the Gothic and Lolita Bible. I want to hop on the Shinkansen down to Kyoto, go back to Arashiyama Monkey Park. I want to see some of the Tokyo neighborhoods I missed, like Akihabara, where the electronics stores reign supreme and you can have lunch served to you by cosplay wait staff. And yes of course, I want another spin on that Winnie the Pooh ride, another picture of my dear son in front of the Castle, another chance to hear Rex pilot the Star Speeder 3000 in Japanese.

Toy Story Mania Madness! Buckets, Potato Head!

9 Apr

StudiosCentral has pictures of souvenir popcorn buckets themed to the upcoming Toy Story Mania atraction, and apparently destined for distribution at all of the Disney Parks. Waaah, I can hardly wait! I am a total sucker for Toy Story swag. Plus, as an avid reader of icanhascheezburger, I have a certain attachment to bukkits.

Plus, The Disney Blog has some cool YouTube videos of Mr Potato Head, currently entertaining Guests at Disney’s California Adventure. I started to watch one of them . . . and then resisted the urge. I am trying trying trying to stay reasonably spoiler-free!

Toy Story Mania Mania!

3 Feb

I’ve got a fever . . . and there’s no amount of cowbell that’s gonna help. I’ve got Toy Story Mania mania!

This week’s WDW Today Episode 363 helped a little bit, and now this morning I see that WDW News Today has some info about both TSM and the expected opening dates for the Pixar Place section of Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

The attraction’s expected to open the second week of June on both coasts, so (if life circumstances permit) I’m likely to either head down to Orlando for a Star Wars Weekend late in June, or make a trip out to Anaheim later in the summer, perhaps for Bat Day at the Fun Park, otherwise known as Goth Day. Bat Day hasn’t announced a date yet, but their web site promises that “The Year of a Million Screams will begin Fall 2008,” making me think that perhaps they’ll be holding the event too late for me, since my travel schedule is largely dictated by the school vacation calendar. Either way, I just love it when my geeky interests collide. Goths at Disney! R2D2 meets Mickey! Yay!

Three Cheers for Disney Nurses!

28 Jan has a nice little piece this week about the nurses at Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure in Anaheim. It’s not just the first-aid stations that people like me have relied upon for band-aids and blister treatment . . . it’s being among the first responders to any type of medical emergency.

On high attendance days or during parades and fireworks, several nurses are staged in high-impact areas to ensure a prompt response. “Our medical centers are open 24/7 just like hospitals,” Talamantes says.

Nurses work staggered throughout the day and into the evening hours to ensure optimal response during peak times. All of their medical equipment, response bags, AEDs, and O2 tanks are checked and restocked throughout the day.

“On any given day we can be considered a small city based on the number of people in the parks, Talamantes says.

So, three cheers for the nurses!

Toy Story 1, 2, 3 in 3D

27 Jan

Can you tell I’m catching up on my reading this morning? Yeah, I thought you could.

Blue Sky Disney has the scoop on release dates for the Toy Story movies in 3D, including both previous Toy Story films and the upcoming three-quel:

“Toy Story” on October 2nd, 2009.

“Toy Story 2” on February 12th, 2010.

“Toy Story 3” on June 18th, 2010.

Nice synergies, people . . . the 3D attraction Toy Story Mania opens summer 2008 at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disney’s California Adventure, followed by more Toy Story than you can shake a stick at in the subsequent two summers.

Count me in.

Toy Story Mania Opening June 2008 Confirmed, Almost?

13 Jan

I’ve been watching for announcements of a Toy Story Mania opening date, and haven’t found anything official yet. But reading the fine print in the Disney Dream CMO contest rule, I noticed this among the events the CMO must attend:

It is currently anticipated that the Grand Prize Winner would be required to attend the Toy Story Mania Press Event at Disney’s California Adventure from 6/11/08-6/13/08

This would seem to give some weight to the rumor I’ve seen elsewhere (like LaughingPlace) that the attraction will open in June at DCA. I don’t see a similar press event listed for the CMO to attend at the Disney’s Hollywood Studios version of the attraction.

Your Souvenir Guide on Disney’s California Adventure Redesign

18 Oct

Your Souvenir Guide has posted his list of five things at Disney’s California Adventure that he hopes will remain untouched in the upcoming major redesign. One of his favorites?

Ariel’s Grotto Bar. It has a great view of Paradise Pier — which actually looks pretty spectacular at dusk — and they serve a potent highball. My friends and I call it “Ariel’s Blotto.” Oh, to be part of that world right now.

Note: The downstairs restaurant serves a “character dinner,” populated by Disney’s tiara klatch, that will make you feel if you’re not three-to-nine-years old or in the immediate company of a three-to-nine-year old. By theby, since when is Mary Poppins a princess? Oh, P.L. Travers would have so called polite British bullshit on that.

I’ve only eaten once at Ariel’s, and at the time the resident characters were Ariel and some of the Fab Five. Sounds like they turned it into something more generically princess, which is too bad.

Your Souvenir Guide is one of the cattier Disney blogs out there, and I mean that in a very good way. It’s a relatively new blog, written by an “aging Disneyland hipster.” I hope we’ll be seeing more from the him in coming months, especially as the DCA redesign moves into full swing.

$1B Investment Announced for California Adventure

17 Oct

The Wall Street Journal has now reported what BlueSkyDisney readers already knew: Disney’s California Adventure is getting $1 billion in upgrades and redesigns:

Just as Main Street harks back to Walt Disney’s hometown of Marceline, Mo., in the early 1900s, California Adventure’s new entrance will trace the footsteps of Walt Disney from when he arrived in Los Angeles in the 1920s, these people say. Similar to Disneyland’s iconic castle, the redesigned park will feature a replica of Hollywood’s former Carthay Circle theater, where Walt Disney premiered the movie “Snow White” in 1937.

The new-look park also will be expanded by around 12 acres and will bulk up its attractions, with a heavy emphasis on animated movies created by Pixar, including “Cars” and “Toy Story.”

I’m guessing that Toy Story ride is the already-under-contstruction Toy Story Mania . . . anybody know different?

Not everything’s changing, though:

It is still unclear what will happen to the name, as the company sees appeal in the words “Disney,” “California” and “Adventure,” these people say. But there is a big risk in leaving it the same. That said, some unusual relics will be left untouched for now, including the tortilla-making factory and a bread-baking demonstration. A person familiar with the plan says the Golden State area isn’t considered as thematically out-of-place as others in the new plan and won’t be changed in the near-term.

The Golden State area is lovely and relaxing, so I’m glad they’re not planning to mess with it much.

While there’s a lot of Pixar in this plan, there’s a lot of Walt too, and even a new Little Mermaid ride. Still, I expect the Pixarization-bashing to begin in 5, 4, 3, 2 . . .

Blue Sky Disney on Main St Electrical Parade

30 Sep

Honor Hunter has a great blog post comparing and contrasting the Electrical Parades at Disney’s California Adventure and Tokyo Disneyland:

Well, it’s called “Tokyo Disneyland Electrical Parade: Dream Lights” and it has the basic setup that ours has… only the rides are, uhem… here we go again. They’re more detailed. If you’ve ever got a chance to see EP’s floats in daylight you’d understand how ugly and plain they are. Yes, they have provided countless children, young and old much joy… but I’d like to see them update the floats. Maybe add a new one or two… like TDL. They’ve got several new floats they’ve added to the older, but extremely detailed other ones. The new floats are Pixar floats, mostly from Nemo and Monsters, but are beautiful to watch. Another thing that the parade at TDL has is the music is synced to the lights. So many floats have the lights flashing to the music… which can be quite striking. The Cinderella float is amazing as you watch her gown dance to the music and change colors right before your eyes. The technology shows what WDI can do if given the green-light and greenbacks to go with it. While our snail can barely move his head, the one in Tokyo can blink his eyes and have facial expressions that create quite a dramatic affect.

Check out the image and video links he provides . . . it’s all I can do to resist booking that airfare now.

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