Monday, May 30, 2011

After Action

Today, for the first time since 2002 or before, and definitely the first time as a Guest, I took the Welcome to Disneyland Tour. I had no idea what the tour was like now, but they were in need of (free) Guests to do the Performance Assessment for the Guide, and I really stumbled into it, so I figured, "What the heck?" (I also got several Disney's FASTPASSES, one of which allowed me to go on Splash Mountain, so I have no complaints.) On Saturday in a box newly released from storage I found a couple of After Action Reports from some of my last "Walk in Walt's Footsteps" t0urs. I hadn't seen these in many years and had forgotten they even existed. They display my trademark irreverence; I hope they give you a a little sense of the Tour program!

August 9, 2002:

September 2, 2002 (I indicate it's my last tour, because I had dropped to CT and was not sure I'd be coming back):

Friday, May 27, 2011

Imagineer at Work

Or is this Imagineer at play? Regardless, the topic of this post is not Bob Gurr making his Gurrtinis (aww...). This is about how Bob created a camera mount for my car so I could document my road trips.

In January 2005 I got a Canon G6, with the intent to use it to take in-motion photos on my solo road trips. I described my requirements to Bob ("I need to take pictures while I'm driving!") and he told me to come on up and he'd take a look. I took him up on this offer on January 14, 2005.

I put the convertible top down so Bob could take a look and work his magic:

He didn't need to look for too long before deciding that he could create a mount for a camera bracket that would screw into where the passenger sun visor had been. It's been in my trunk these past six years; occasionally a passenger will comment on its absence, but you never know when you're going to need to get away on a road trip. He also gave me a black duvatine cloth to place on the dashboard to minimize reflection on the passenger side of the windshield. Here's Bob doing the honors of removing the visor:

And then he went to work in his garage:

Here is how it appears in the car. The camera hangs upside down, with the infrared sensor pointed to the driver, so I can use a wireless remote to snap the photographs. A thin metal rod (not pictured) wedges between the bottom of the camera and the forward roof for additional stability:

And here is Bob posing with it yesterday (his own camera is standing in for my G6):

Since that January day I have driven across the country six times and have taken well over 100,000 road photos with it. (I should make Bob see them all!) Here are just a few from the collection:

January 2, 2006, Nevada, US-50 E, east of Austin

January 4, 2006, Colorado, CO-14 N, just north of US-40

January 22, 2009, California, US-101 N, Golden Gate Bridge

January 26, 2009, California, CA-190 E, approaching Death Valley National Park

May 20, 2010, Montana, US-89 S, south of Livingston

Oh, and after I had been driving around with this mount and bracket for a year, Bob casually tells me that the duvatine cloth was left over from his work on King Kong for Universal Studios and the camera bracket had been at the Walt Disney Studios and came from Ub Iwerks.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

You Can't Go Home Again

No, I'm not feeling nostalgic for the Golden Gateway or Disney's California Adventure. On Saturday I brought back several boxes from storage and this photo happened to be in one of them. I understand that tonight Guest Relations Cast Members are taking their Cast photo in front of The Little Mermaid, so it seemed appropriate to post.

But a different event this afternoon left me a little dumbstruck. I recently (Monday) posted this photo on Facebook:

I took this photo of my broken D Pin on August 2, 2002 and like to caption it, "The day the magic died." These new D Pins were not as well-made as the previous Guide/Host pins and this seemed to be a frequent occurrence (but was the first time it had ever happened to me). I have been informed that broken Tink arms are not an uncommon occurrence at the present time. Anyway, I posted this on Monday. Today as I left work and had my day perk up a bit (for reasons beyond the end of the workday), I prepared to put the convertible top down. I looked in the back seat to be sure that I had no loose paper...and spied that very Tinker Bell arm. I was a bit speechless. I feel like I had seen it a few days ago and not known what it was; after all, it's just a lightweight gold cylinder. Until I found it this afternoon I was sure I had given it back with my broken pin. Although I haven't come to grips with the physical reality that would cause this to happen, it must have fallen out of one of the Saturday boxes. The alternative is that it has been rolling around in my car for the past nine years.

Even if it just found its way into my car on Saturday, I'm still flummoxed that I would feel compelled to post the vest photo only two days before I again found the wand. The last two weeks have been pretty amazing for me, so I feel as if it's a sign of some sort. I hope one of you can tell me what it means!

Monday, May 23, 2011

On Nomenclature of the New Attractions

Summer is almost here and June 3 will see the first simultaneous opening of new attractions at Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure. As my blog's name would suggest, I have a keen interest in the nomenclature used in the new attraction names--not for any grand purpose, but just because I like details.

First up for review is the new Star Tours. It has colloquially been referred to as "Star Tours 2.0," but I doubt that was ever given much consideration as a serious attraction title (unless each seat were to be equipped with tools to interact with the social media elements of Web 2.0). I always place greatest weight on what the attraction marquee says, because I figure that with the costs involved and the intended longevity that those signs will have had the greatest vetting. This is the marquee as it appeared on May 12:

That is:



You can also see this in the attraction poster artwork posted on the Disney Parks Blog:

In regular usage, however, the line break will not work, so the attraction's official nomenclature renders it as "Star Tours—The Adventures Continue" (that is, with an em dash in place of the line break). That's how it appears in the latest guide map:

Notice that "Adventures" is plural. This presumably refers to the multiple destinations involved in the new attractions. If you're not paying attention, however, it can easily become "The Adventure Continues," as happened on all the temporary pre-opening signs, like this one:

But, I think most of us know that for all practical purposes it will just be known as "Star Tours," and "The Adventures Continue" will only be a useful tagline to differentiate it from the original for, say, a thesaurus. The new signage at the Disney's FASTPASS distribution area doesn't even include the tagline:

Bottom line: If you include the tagline, make sure "Adventures" is plural, rather than "Continue." Incidentally, these are the other Disneyland entities that have used the em dash through the years (almost exclusively in the past decade):
  • Club Buzz—Lightyear's Above the Rest
  • Minnie & Friends—Breakfast in the Park
  • Playhouse Disney—Live on Stage
  • Snow White—An Enchanting New Musical
  • Walt Disney—A Legacy for the Future
Meanwhile, over at Disney California Adventure, the stylistic choice for The Little Mermaid is unique in Disneyland Resort history. The official nomenclature renders the attraction's full title as "The Little Mermaid~Ariel's Undersea Adventure." Yes, that's a tilde separating the title from the tagline, as seen below in the latest guide map:

The attraction's marquee was finally unveiled this past week:

Again, the attraction's signage makes use of vertical space, so the tilde is not present:

I was initially put off by the use of a tilde in the attraction name. I assume it was used in place of the em dash to suggest a wave. However, I warmed to the idea after I realized that a tilde has been in place for all of Disneyland's history right there in Town Square:

This is the only entity in the Disneyland Resort's history to use a tilde in its title. (The above example being just a separator on the signage and not part of the official nomenclature.) It will be interesting to see whether "Ariel's Undersea Adventure" fares any better than "The Adventures Continue." I expect it will last longer, but for practical reasons the attraction will just be referred to as "The Little Mermaid."

My interest in this matter, however, will end up with the opening of Trader Sam's...

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Yeah, I've Been to Disneyland a Few Times

For example, during September 1997-June 1998 I went 130 times. In going through storage yesterday, I recovered my high school agenda for that time, which helpfully recorded each visit. (I trust you can figure out my system.)

September 4 was the first day of school. I recall going to see the final performance of The Spirit of Pocahontas (I still have a bag of confetti from it--maybe I'll shoot it out of a cannon when The Disneyland Compendium is finished); that night we had a power outage and I had to finish my algebra homework by candlelight. The first full week of September the Astro Orbitor started to appear at the Tomorrowland entrance. September 28 marked the first of 26 consecutive Sundays that I visited Disneyland (during which I frequently attended the alt.disney.disneyland meetups at the Goofy statue in the Hub). October 2 was the first day I regularly started taking a video camera to Disneyland. On one of those October Thursdays Dave Smith came down to the Park to talk to Guest Relations and Walt Disney Story Cast Members about Walt's offices and I recall walking around the Park with him.

November 25 I attended (as a regular Guest) the "it's a small world" holiday lighting ceremony; November 27 my sister and I made a quick trip to Disneyland on Thanksgiving morning to ride the attraction for the first time. This was probably the first Christmas Day I visited Disneyland. Note my excitement on December 30 in having driven to Disneyland for the first time.

January 18 I went to Club 33; in my driver license photo taken on January 20 I wore a Club 33 pin on the neck line of my t-shirt (a photo just replaced this year, where I am now sporting a Kevin and Jody Adventureland shirt). Immediately following my passing my driving test, Disneyland closed the Parking Lot.

March 12 was the day I met Bruce Gordon. I made good use of Spring Break in April to document New Tomorrowland construction. The minimum day on April 30 allowed me to get to Disneyland earlier than usual, where I ran into Tony Baxter (leading to a chain of events that got me into the Moonliner media event).

Some of those May days I skipped school(!). The absence of school on May 1 was fortuitous. My dad was on the Orange County Business Council with Paul Pressler; the Council had a meeting at the Disneyland Pacific Hotel, so I was able to get my New Tomorrowland press kit signed by Paul and then head over to watch the Moonliner be placed upright for the first time (I have a ton of photos of this event). May 4 was the Moonliner media event. May 18 I was home studying for my AP US History test when I learned that all the construction walls were down, so I had to head to the Park. May 21 was the New Tomorrowland media day (see yesterday's post). May 22 was the opening of the New Tomorrowland. I assume I visited on both May 24 and 31 (possibly realizing, after coloring it in for the 24th that I would also need to visit on the 31st!).

I also apparently, for the first month or two, kept track of what I got with each visit to Redd Rockett's Pizza Port. (I have many, so many, receipts from Pizza Port.) You can see that my first time eating there was March 15 (during Cast previews, through helpful friends at the Walt Disney Story). March 21 I was the first paying customer at the restaurant with a Celestial Caesar Salad and a Coke. Most times I got pizza, though, until one of my Cast Member friends there turned me on to the Chicken Fusili, which I have been getting almost exclusively since the summer of 1998.

I hope you've enjoyed your trip back through my sophomore year of high school. You're now morally obligated to post your own high school planners!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

A Selection of Images from New Tomorrowland Media Day

I have previously blogged about some of my experiences with the New Tomorrowland. Today is the thirteenth anniversary of the Media Day. I actually went to school that day and didn't acquire my credential with help from Bruce Gordon until late in the day, after the events were through. The following are most of my images from that day. I probably also shot some Hi-8 video that day, but that will have to wait for another time.

The first is the newly repainted Starcade (they were still finishing this and The Star Trader up in the previous week):

I do not believe there were any children at Media Day:

This might be the nicest of the bunch; Tomorrowland almost seems welcoming and exciting!:

Various broadcasting tables were set up around the land:

Mickey on the Astro Orbitor:

Fresh and new:

This was only the second day I had ever been on the second level of the Carousel Theater (the first being May 1, 1998, when Bruce escorted me up there). I took a few shots:

The Premiere Shop interior (oddly, I did not take any photos of the Disneyland Forever kiosks):

Tomorrowland Rapid Transit logo from Rocket Rods exit into Premiere Shop:

Why so cartoony?:

This photo is noteworthy for including a Rocket Rod on the track above the Autopia:

I couldn't stay away from snapping other second level photos in the fading sunlight:

At this time the Innoventions interior was still a mystery:

Since the media had largely gone home, it was just me going through the Rocket Rods queue again and again:

Finally, a few taken while waiting to "blast off":

I've been busy lately with a number of activities, some of which will hopefully be useful long-term to my Disneyland research. I finished scanning my APS film photos from 1996-1998 (and discovered two rolls that need to be finished so they can finally be developed!). Once I match up dates with the photos I'll be in a better position to use them here and at Drop In Again Sometime. I've begun the task of organizing my 10,000 Disneyland photos from the past year. I also, of course, continue to visit Disneyland so that 2011 can be the best documented year in the thesaurus!