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Disneyland, August 5, 1981

9 Jan

How do we decide what pictures to take? How do we know what images we most want to capture? How can we possibly imagine what we’re going to want to look at a decade or so later?

I had a bad day. I needed a little magic. So, after chatting awhile tonight with my BFF Lisa (and Eric, and Dan, and Matt, and a buncha other Disney geeks . . . ), I went and dug up the pictures from the one time Lisa and I went to Disneyland together: August 5, 1981. I know for sure that was the day because I still have the ticket! Hard to believe it cost only $8.00, in 1981 dollars even.

I have the strangest assortment of pictures from that day, and only one of them has any of my friends in it: Lisa’s posing with her brother Peter, and a family friend Ginger. Lisa and I were still in our early teens, but she looks for all the world like Peter and Ginger’s mom, posing proudly with her beautiful kids in front of skull rock.

I’ve got the de rigeur picture of the castle, but it’s an odd jumble of people, much more the feeling of the moment than the actual architecture or theming.

I’ve got a picture of Space Mountain’s entrance, nothing to write home about but there it is. I remember riding it with Peter, screaming lines from Star Wars as we whizzed around in the dark, standing by Red Five! Come in, Gold Leader!

I’ve got a picture that I think I took from the Peoplemover, perhaps when it had broken down for a while and Lisa and I thought we’d try to lead the multinational group of tourists in a rousing rendition of The Rainbow Connection. Ah, the days when not only the Peoplemover existed, but was chock full o’ riders!

And finally I find a picture of Astro Orbiter, not as nice as the one my Dad took circa 1976, but still there, steady and solid. (If you click on the link and look at the larger version on Flickr, you can even make out the green Peoplemover sign, looking a lot like the California highways.)

I can’t imagine these are the only pictures I took that day, but it would seem they’re the only ones that survived the years of moving, of being too cool and disaffected for Disneyland memories, of life’s predictable and absurd chaos. But somehow, tonight they’re enough.

Disneyland Vacation, Circa 1976

16 Aug

When my parents packed up our red Volkswagen bus and drove us down to Anaheim, they could not possibly have known that 31 years later I’d be blogging about it. But man, I wish they could have . . . maybe they would have saved that awesome Mickey Mouse shirt I’m wearing!

I’ve uploaded a handful of photos from that trip to Flickr, including a shot of Tomorrowland Plaza that we think was taken from the Skyway. Or maybe Astro Orbiter? Also, we’re not entirely sure these photos were taken in 1976, so if any Disney geeks out there can confirm or deny that year based on details from the photos, please do.

I love these old pictures of Disneyland, and will admit to the narcissistic joy of seeing my cute little 1970s self, complete with coke-bottle glasses. But the truly embarrassing moment? Realizing that this is also the trip I talked about a couple months back on Mouse Guest Weekly, where I hid in terror through the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, terrified from that long first drop (which admittedly is much scarier in Anaheim than Orlando). Given how spooked I was, I thought I’d been 5 or 6 on that trip! But no, based on some family details in the photos I’ve got to be at least 8, but probably closer to 10.

Ahh, the Skyway, the Peoplemover! I shall never grow tired of the tomorrow we dreamed about yesterday.

Thoughts on Meet the Robinsons (Including a Hidden Mickey!)

30 Mar

Heading out to see “Meet the Robinsons?” Watch for a hidden Mickey! Shortly after you meet Uncle Art, he’ll be timing Uncle Gaston being shot out of a cannon against a locomotive. Notice the shape of the timer Art pulls out!

And by the way, if you’re a Disney Visa holder, you probably want to go take the MTR trivia quiz, and see if you win a free CD. They Might Be Giants have a cover of There’s A Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow on the Meet the Robinsons Soundtrack, but much to my dismay you don’t get to hear it in the film.

MouseExtra has some good commentary today on reviews for the film. I’m inclined to agree with Dave that there will be a real divide between those who see the film in 3D, and those who don’t. If you’re going to see it at all, you need to see it in digital 3D. Plus, that means you get to see the 1953 Donald Duck cartoon Working for Peanuts in its original 3D — for this Disney geek, that alone was worth the price of admission.

I know the thrill of seeing the PeopleMover transporting citizens through the city of tomorrow will eventually wear off. And when I think back more critically on Meet the Robinsons, once the jet lag and caffeine overdose from this week’s business trip have worn off, I have a hunch it’s not gonna hold up real well. But ya know, I might just go see it again this weekend, have an extra sip of Kool-Aid and try not to let my critical mind spoil the fun too soon.

Tomorrowland Transit Authority vs. Spaceship Earth

16 Oct is continuing its Walt Disney World attraction tournament, and this week one of the matches we’re asked to vote on is the Tomorrowland Transit Authority vs. Spaceship Earth.This nostalgic fan was sent into a tizzy by the decision. Two attractions from the retro-future! How can you compare the two? The TTA is a close cousin to the Peoplemover, a now-extinct Disneyland attraction which once stood for the future of transportation, and which played a significant role in the public transit scheme for the city that never was to be, the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow (EPCoT, not to be confused with Epcot). How can I possibly compare that to Spaceship Earth, one of the world’s largest geodesic domes (though not truly a sphere), and of course the symbol of Epcot, the symbolic heir of the experimental prototype community?

In the end, I had to vote for the TTA. Nostalgia dictated that I vote with my heart. But I’m betting it’ll be Spaceship Earth in a landslide.

Bring Back the Peoplemover to Disneyland!

12 Oct

Looking for a litmus test, to prove whether you’re a real Disney freak or just a casual fan? Well, how do you feel about the Peoplemover, formerly of the Disneyland park? If you miss it, chances are good you just might be a freak. (Like, oh, yours truly.) If you ride the Tomorrowland Transit Authority at Walt Disney World and find yourself referring to it as the WEDWay Peoplemover, there’s probably little hope for you, but you’re not alone. is there for you. Enjoy the videos, enrich your knowledge with the history, sign the petition.

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