Friday, September 5, 2008

Fantasmic! Friday! Part 2!

To follow up last week's Fantasmic! Friday! here are some scans of the May 22, 1992 Disneyland Line Cast Member newsletter just for You. Yes, You!

Did you know that the black cauldron used in Fantasmic! is The Black Cauldron? Now you do!

Please note that the cover is not a picture of Fantasmic!, it's actually a mock up that was created for publicity images. This model set was also used for the television commercial seen at the end of this clip.

Anyway, here are the scans:

Who's good; who's evil? You decide!

More excitement elsewhere in the park!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Fantasmic! Friday!

Today is the very first Fantasmic! Friday! I don't know about you, but I think an exclamation point should be added to all Disneyland attractions. Omnibus! Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln! Mark Twain Riverboat! Davey Crockett Explorer Canoes! It might just send hourly ride counts through the roof!

Did you know that before Fantasmic! was Fantasmic!, it was Imagination? Now you do!

Here is an article from the February 12, 1992 Disneyland Line detailing the Fantasmic! marketing tour that was about to kick off. Disneyland was still big on big balloons in 1992. 1990 had given us the big balloons of Party Gras (or was it Party Gras!); 1991 followed with Surprise! Celebration over at WDW. Even Tokyo Disneyland got in on the act with a big balloon parade. Big balloons have apparantly gone the way of car giveaways and gift machines-just ask Ursula.

Yes, remember Ursula? She was Fantasmic!'s very own big balloon.

Anyway, enough with the suspense:

And as a special bonus (although not as cool as this bonus):

Poor Fantasy Waters. They didn't last long after Fantasmic debuted. Perhaps they should have changed the name to Fantasy Waters!!! Because if one exclamation point is good, three must be best!!!

Next week I'll have more Fantasmic! for you. It's already pre-posted and everything!

Monday, August 25, 2008

What would you do with...

...500 Indiana Jones AT&T phone cards?

This creation was found in the Indiana Jones Guest Control office one morning!

I count 20 stories!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Will the Real "Voice of Disneyland" Please Stand?

In April 2007 a tempest in a teapot was formed over an obituary in the LA Daily news. The problem was that most people were under the impression that the "Voice of Disneyland", Jack Wagner, had died back in 1995. So more than a few people were perplexed as to how Earl Raymond Jackson was also the Voice of Disneyland:

A memorial service will be Sunday for Earl Raymond Jackson, dubbed "the voice of Disneyland," who died April 30. He was 72. He moved with family to California in 1967, working in the Entertainment Division at Disneyland. After producing and announcing many live shows, including the premier of Disneyland on Parade, Jackson was dubbed "the voice of Disneyland" by Walt Disney.

Survivors include Patricia Jackson, his wife of 49 years; daughters Beverly and Catherine; son David; and four grandchildren. A memorial service will be at 2 p.m. Sunday at Pickwick Gardens, 1001 Riverside Drive Burbank. Memorial contributions may be sent to the HealthCare Foundation at Glendale Adventist Medical Center.

Well it turns out that Jack Wagner was not the voice of Disneyland after all according to an issue of the Disneyland Line announcing Jack Wagner's retirement in 1992! Don't believe me?

So it turns out that Jack Wagner was the Voice of Disney and Earl
Jackson was the Voice of Disneyland.

Saturday, August 16, 2008


Today's post comes to you from lovely Willowick Golf Course in Santa Ana. What does Willowick have to do with Disneyland? It almost was Disneyland!

Buzz Price narrowed potential locations down to four sites, including Willowick. The Santa Ana location lost out to Anaheim for several reasons, but the closeness of the freeway to Anaheim no doubt helped.

The Santa Ana line of the Pacific Electric Railway ran right next Willowick until about 1950. Willowick is at the Santa Ana Gun Club station.

The right-of-way for the railroad is still clearly visible from the air. The Santa Ana River forms another border.

The city of Garden Grove has proposed building a Hard Rock Theme Park on the site; Santa Ana has proposed a soccer stadium. My guess is the neighbors want neither!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Disneyland State Fair Part 2

More stickers for you to enjoy. Some of the character line art that was used for these stickers was pretty good. I am particularly fond of Mount Disney for South Dakota (the only state that had more than one character). I wonder if Washington DC had a sticker?

Saturday, August 9, 2008

State Fair Sunday Part One

Where's Bonnie Appetite?

State Fair at Disneyland was one of three seasonal park-wide special events that were held in the late 1980's. The other events were Blast to the Past and Circus Fantasy.

State Fair was first held in the Fall of 1987. Here are some scans of the Disneyland Line Employee Newletter from 9/24/08 (click the scan to read).

Selected merchandise locations distributed bumper stickers to guests of their home state for State Fair '88 (or was it '87?). Here are some scans of five of them:

Purists were most offended by the carnival atmosphere exuded by the midway games on the Plaza and Small World Mall, the Ferris Wheel on the Hub planter, and another Ferris Wheel at the Disneyland Railroad Main Street Station (the Railroad was closed for Splash Mountain construction). My confession is that I sort of liked State Fair. Please don't shoot me.

Next time the Phantom Blot is going to take Sleeping Beauty Castle. No really. It's going to disappear completely. Before your very eyes.

Friday, August 8, 2008

The Spirit of Controversy Among Children

Anybody that would be reading this blog probably recalls the Mary Blair Tomorrowland tile murals at Disneyland with fondness. The two murals were installed as a part of New Tomorrowland in 1967. The larger south mural was covered up as part of the construction for Star Tours in 1985/1986; the north mural survived until 1997.

Lesser known facts about the murals:

Their title was "The Spirit of Creative Energies Among Children".

The north mural was themed to communication.

The south mural was themed to energy.

According to Yesterland the murals were not damaged when they were covered, but I have memories of steel beams being planted in the south mural when it was being covered and several openings were cut in the lower right-hand corner for doors.

The lower left hand corner of the south mural was the controversy referred to in the title of this post! The circle on the left is signed by Mary Blair; the triangle contained the first names of other artists.

So what was the controversy? Allow Marty Sklar to explain it in his own words:

(click on the picture to read)

The scans are from the February 19, 1976 Disneyland Line Employee Newsletter.

Does anybody know the current status of Free Enterprise?

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Mr. Lincoln has a Heart Attack

From the October 29, 1975 Disneyland Line employee newsletter:

Mr. Lincoln is recuperating at Anaheim Memorial Hospital. He has respectfully request that no flowers be sent due to his allergies, but plants are welcome as are get well wishes.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The Original Utilidor

Well, since nobody cared about going through the looking glass or visit the Darby O'Gill ride, I guess we'll just go down the rabbit hole!

The Utilidors under the Magic Kingdom at WDW are well known, but fewer people know about the original Utilidor, the Tomorrowland Tunnel at Disneyland.

The tunnel runs from the back of Alpine Gardens to a backstage area next to Innvoventions and provides access to the central core of Innoventions, the Terrace Stage, the Terrace trash compactor, the Tomorrowland Terrace basement, storage and, of course, Alpine Gardens.

For a number of years plans to build a branch to the Lunching Pad were considered but, ironically, a tunnel wasn't built until after the Lunching Pad was closed. And the tunnel that was built (for the Rocket Rods Queue) didn't even connect to the Tomorrowland Tunnel. I wonder what the Rocket Rods tunnel is used for now?

Various conduits run the length of the tunnel to provide water, electricity and telephone service to Tomorrowland. Oh yeah, and Coke Syrup! There are two huge stainless steel tanks behind Innoventions that are used to store Coke Syrup for Coke Terrace via a tube that runs through the tunnel.

Edit: Jason requested a picture of the Tomorrowland Tunnel, so here it is:

I slay me. Stolen without permission from another website:

This view would be looking towards Fantasyland and I think this was taken near the freight elevator behind Innoventions. It was pretty common for water to pool on the floor of the tunnel at various points. Tomorrowland Terrace had a golf cart that the receiving crew would use to carry stuff. I believe rolling pallet jacks were also used. If you look closely you can see guard rails to protect the piping from bad golf cart drivers!

It's hard to identify anything because of the small size of the picture, but I think the stairs to Innoventions are on the left just in front of the puddle.

The tunnel has at least one bend and maybe two.

The tunnel was also used by Custodial to haul trash from the Tomorrowland Terrace trash compactor.

The original intention may have been to extend the tunnel at some point in the future since after the Tomorrowland Terrace the tunnel has no real purpose (I only recall some fenced off rooms containing machines of some sort).

Monday, June 30, 2008

Project THOR

Today, faithful readers, we will venture outside the berm and over the Cajon pass to Las Vegas and the other MGM theme park, MGM Grand Adventures. This short-lived theme park
(1994-2000) at the MGM Grand Hotel offered just a handful of rides, but probably the most unique was Deep Earth Exploration.

Deep Earth Exploration was different in that for the first time a simulator was combined with a travelling ride vehicle. Riders experienced a projected movie similar to Star Tours, but the side windows would open several times to reveal actual show scenery that corresponded to the movie. Imagineers who rode this ride were so impressed that they immediately set out to take the idea of a travelling simulator to the next level.

Project THOR (Travelling Hydraulic Operated Ride?) was thus conceived and less than two years later was born as the Indiana Jones Adventure at Disneyland.

For those of you that have been on Dinosaur at Animal Kingdom and Indiana Jones that had a sense of deja vu that you couldn't explain...maybe it was the fact that Indy and Countdown have an identical track layout! But it's not very obvious since the rooms that the vehicles travel through are completely different. For example, on Indy we get to vote for our destiny, but in Florida they don't get to vote. pictures. I'll let you know if I find my pictures of MGM Grand Adventures. You know, now that I think about it the park wasn't very grand or adventurous, but you can still say thanks to Mr. K next time you ride Indy.

Now it's time to choose your own adventure; would you prefer to go through the looking glass or go on the Darby O'Gill ride? Cast your vote because, unlike the Indiana Jones Adventure, your vote will truly make a difference.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

The Original Puppetmaster

Hello once again faithful readers...both of you. I have a special treat for you today.

Who was the original puppeteer in Fantasyland? It certainly wasn't Stromboli. He didn't show up until 1984. And am I the only one who wonders why Stromboli's wagon doesn't sell puppets??? Maybe it's part of the terms of his probation!

It turns out that the original puppetmaster was Bob Mills. The following is a wonderful article from 1991 that was published in the Disneyland Line employee newsletter. I wish every Disneyland Line could be this informational!

A feel that a couple of points should be clarified or updated:

Bob has since retired from his career as a makeup artist according to IMDB; hopefully he is in good health and the retirement was his choice and not the undertaker's.

The article mentions that Bob worked at Children's Fairyland in Oakland prior to coming to Disneyland. Another early Disneylander, Dorothy Manes, was hired from there also. Based on what other information I've found (thanks Progressland!) she was still working at Disneyland in 1970 and presumably retired prior to 1975 since she isn't listed as a Club 55 member in park literature from that year. I'm not sure, but I think she was the youth group coordinator. She passed away in 1984.

I wish I could tell you more, but that's all Walt wrote.

Next time: What does the Indiana Jones Adventure have to do with Las Vegas and Norse Mythology?

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

A Close Encounter...

...of the Tomorrowland Kind.

Circles of Excellence was a program that was launched at the park in 1991-ish. One of the outcomes was a proliferation of departmental newsletters such as this one:

These may have been the orginal (but definitely in the first few years) Grad Nite Blast Offs. The intent was to allow Grad Niters that had come from far off places to come into the park early to relieve some of the crowding at the main entrance and to get food (and maybe a ride or two). The original Blast Offs were probably held at The Space Place. Mmmm...Cottage Fries...

Put on your thinking caps--this one is no piece of cake:

Monday, June 23, 2008

Instantaneous Capacity Study

Not a very exciting title for a first post, but this schedule reminder is the first concrete evidence I have of planning for the "Second Gate". Imagineering had been planning a second gate at least as early as 1988 (which is when I attended a presentation by Imagineer, Jeff Kurtii, where the idea was mentioned as an upcoming project).

The Second Gate was probably intended to be Westcot at the time of this study, but I think that the plans were still top secret in July of 1992. The information collected from the study was intended to be used to determine capacities of food and merchandise locations at the Second Gate.

So what is an "Instantaneous Capacity Study"? My memory is a little fuzzy but I think it was basically a report of how many people were at each particular location at various times throughout the day. For example, my assignment might have been New Orleans Square Restaurants. At set times I would be responsible for counting the number of people waiting in line at the French Market, sitting on the French Market patio, using the New Orleans restrooms, and inside Marche aux Fleurs.

I can only guess that Paul Pressler and friends didn't use these studies for planning DCA, based on the number of restaurants that were shuttered in the early days of that park.

Next time we'll visit the original Stromboli and catch a puppet show in Fantasyland.