Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Thesaurus 1 Year Anniversary

One year ago today the "modern" Disneyland Resort Thesaurus was born, as I input and slightly revised some older materials into the MultiTes software. At that time it had around 1,900 terms. As I write this, there are now 31,335 terms.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Encyclopedia Organization

While reading a book over the weekend (Everything Is Miscellaneous, since you asked), I got to thinking about the best way to organize the Disneyland encyclopedia. (Recall that the encyclopedia is the first volume of the Disneyland Compendium, which will have other types of reference material.) Now, you may wonder why this is even a concern at all. Encyclopedias have only one order--alphabetical. Start with A Ticket, continue through Festival Mexico and Ralke Company, and end with Zorro Day. Nothing simpler, right?

Alphabetical ordering is essentially random. Sometimes things are grouped together that make sense, but just as often these proximate relationships don't mean anything. To take a few sequential terms from the thesaurus:

Chessir, Leeds
Chester Drawer's
Chevron Hospitality Room
Chicago Railroad Fair
chicken (food)

For the past couple of days I have contemplated organizing the encyclopedia conceptually, just as the thesaurus is. That is, you might find a linear organization pattern like this (very rough):

Disneyland Resort
- Disneyland Park
-- Main Street, U.S.A.
--- Town Square
---- Opera House
-- Tomorrowland
--- Tomorrowland Entrance
--- Cicarama, U.S.A.
--- Circle-Vision 360
--- World Premiere Circle-Vision
--- Rocket Rods
--- Buzz Lightyear Astro-Blasters

There are a number of things to consider here, and paramount must be useability. I think if we do go a conceptual route (like that above or something else), we'd also have an alphabetical index of terms. We would need clear headers on each page, so you know where you are in the structure; together with that, we would need to provide conceptual outlines at the beginning of each chapter or section. The geographic section would be the longest, but there would be sections for other entities, like the organizational structure of the Resort, or types of entertainment events (and, of course, entries for the events themselves, like individual parades and shows).

We wouldn't necessarily escape alphabetization entirely. We would have to decide how to sort within each category. With a small land like Adventureland, is it worthwhile to try to group entries next to each other (like entries for the Tahitian Terrace and Aladdin's Oasis, then terms related to the Jungle Cruise, then the Indiana Jones Adventure, then the Swiss Family Treehouse and Tarzan's Treehouse) or would it look effectively random? (We would not be lumping Tahitian Terrace and Aladdin's Oasis together, just placing the entries next to each other.) Whatever we do, we want to make sure that readers can find what they're looking for. If we try out a conceptual structure and it hides the information, we may stick with alphabetization.

What do all of you think? I realize you may not be able to answer the question without a sample, but do you see any problems off the bat with such an organization? Do you love the alphabet so much that you wouldn't purchase a book which scorned it? What sort of encyclopedia organization would work best for you?

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

A Minor Milestone

I have just finished extracting information from my fiftieth Disneyland Line. Depending on the length and content, each one may take from twenty minutes to several hours to get through. It partly depends on how many terms I can wring out of each issue. Lists of Cast Members celebrating service anniversaries, for example, is cognitively easy but takes some time to add the details--particularly for Cast Member names new to the thesaurus. Other times I get organizational information (such as a department name or a role I haven't seen before) and I spend time trying to figure out how it all fits together. Often, however, I can't figure it out to my satisfaction and just wait until I have more information to figure out the hierarchy. Anyway, I figure I have about 2,000 more to go... which would sound more manageable if that were all I had to research!

Disney's California Adventure Pre-Opening

I don't have too many photos of Disney's California Adventure; it never seemed as photogenic to me, and there just wasn't much I felt I had to photograph.

However, I did make a special trip to the Park on January 31, 2001, just a little over a week before it opened to the public. As I recall, this was the final day of non-operation for the Park, and the second-to-last day it's been closed to Guests (September 11, 2001, being the other). I wasn't sure of the propriety of taking photos, so I don't have too many, and they're remarkably uninteresting. And, aside from a few trucks visible, who's to say these weren't taken on a regular attendance day at the Park??

So, while they're not quite like Stuff from the Park's pre-opening photos of Disneyland, they are... well, they are here!

Actually, I have a whole bunch of panoramas I stitched together from my frequent visits to the observation platform outside the DCA Preview Center. A future post!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

New Orleans Square: A Land or...?

While recently looking through one of the Sunday bonuses posted at Vintage Disneyland Tickets, I took note of the way the publication talked about New Orleans Square. It's unquestionably regarded as one of the "lands" today, but its status seemed a little more uncertain at first.

The Summer 1966 Disney News says, "Together, New Orleans Square and Pirates of the Caribbean are virtually a new 'land'--the largest attraction in Disneyland." Well, which is it? One big attraction or a land? Was it heresy to have a new land that didn't have land in its name? (For that matter, was Holidayland a land proper?) The issue sometimes also refers to it as "the New Orleans Square," which sounds a little funny to our ears because we've accepted New Orleans Square as its own proper noun.

I looked to newspaper coverage to see what it was called on opening. The following advertisement should put to rest any doubt what Disney considered the area in July 1966:

The July 25 Long Beach Press-Telegram called it a "2.7-acre parcel of Americana." The Pasadena Star-News of the same date said it was part of Walt's plan "to develop the theme of Americana." The article concludes by noting, "Disney said his next 'land' to be developed will be the Territory of the Gadsden Purchase." Of course! The Territory of the Gadsden Purchase...