Tuesday, 27 February 2018

A Whole Mini-land based off of Indiana Jones?

Go back to before Captain EO, before Star Tours, before the Indiana Jones Adventure. Disneyland was without any Lucasfilm property attractions were barely even being planned or thought of. The early 1980’s. This was when we saw a lot of plans for attractions changing in Disneyland. One of the biggest ones is known as the Indiana Jones and the Lost Expedition. I mean look at that concept art!! 

Original Indiana Jones and the Lost Expedition Concept Art
Indiana Jones and the Lost Expedition can be best described as a whole Indiana Jones pavilion. It was a large area of land that would be themed completely around the Indiana Jones IP. I know there is a lot here so we will break it down as we don’t have much for this area except this one picture and an aerial map.

Jungle Cruise in IJLE

Starting on the left side of this image you can see a boat ride. Not sure what that is? It’s the Jungle Cruise! At the time, they were planning to expand the Jungle Cruise into this new, large show building. It would go through or around the river temple, some boobie traps set by the temple people, and then a rocky gorge before ending back on their original track.

Mine Train Track in ILJE
Near the bottom of the image, you can see a mine train-like track. This would be the first main attraction for this building. In other pieces of art talking about this attraction, it is only described as an “Ore car attraction”. Based off of this concept art and descriptions however it seems like it’d be a runaway mine train coaster similar to the one you can see in the second Indiana Jones movie, the Temple of Doom.

Indiana Jones Adventure in ILJE

On the right side of this concept art, you can see what appears to a jeep. And that is exactly the case. The other main attraction that can only be accessed through this building was a jeep expedition ride. This ride was going to be very similar to The Indiana Jones Adventure that you see now in Disneyland just much longer as it features an outdoor part. Think Skull Island: Reign of Kong at Universal Orlando.

Disneyland Railroad through ILJE
The fourth attraction that could be found within this building can be slightly seen at the top of the image. Yes, that is the Disneyland Railroad! Much like Splash Mountain does currently, it was planned that you could see into this building from the Disneyland Railroad.

Now I know what you are thinking. How was all of this supposed to fit together and in that area between the Jungle Cruise and Pirates of the Caribbean? Well luckily, that is the only other piece of evidence we have for this experience.

Full Aerial Map of the Expansion

    I actually find this elevation map a lot more helpful for describing what is going on than the one piece of concept art. We will start with how you get back to the attraction. Because of the size of it, the entrance area would be a bit different than how it is now.

Entrance to the Area

 To get to the area, you’d have to go down and around the Swiss Family Treehouse, now Tarzan’s Treehouse. It’s still similar to how it is currently, just because there are two attractions down there with this design you have to go deeper into the jungle.

Jeep Car Attraction

The Jeep Car attraction started at the bronze building and is elevated as the jeeps go over the walking path to get there as well as a waterfall that can be seen from the Jungle Cruise. After weaving through more trees the jeeps hit the river temple. That is where the transition is to lead to go indoors. Once inside, however, we have no real idea what it would have looked like. Based off of the concept art I would say it would be fairly similar to the Indiana Jones Adventure that we have now. As you can see, there was even a plan to have the classic rolling ball still!

Ore Car Attraction

    Moving on to the Ore Car attraction, it seems like a fairly short attraction. After walking up the hill to the attraction building you go almost straight inside of the building to what appears to do a few figure 8’s around a volcano before heading out again. Again, we don’t have a lot on what this attraction would have looked like but I’m guessing it would have been fairly fast and would have been an E-ticket attraction as well.

Jungle Cruise Path Through IJLE

Now on to the two attractions that go into the building but are outside attractions. First up is the Jungle Cruise. As you can see it appears that there is a plane in the river leading the boats towards the River Temple where the Jungle Cruise then goes into the show building and then exits into a Rocky Gorge and a trestle bridge holding the Disneyland Railroad. After going under this bridge, the Jungle Cruise goes back on its regular path. I wonder if the skippers would still tell jokes while trying to avoid the dangers of the traps.

Railroad Path Through ILJE

    Lastly, the railroad. As mentioned with the Jungle Cruise the railroad will go over the river on a trestle bridge before entering the building. Based off of the art, the railroad would be near the top of the building looking down into the attraction. After exiting the building, the railroad would most likely enter a tunnel behind Pirates of the Caribbean like you see currently.

    So why didn’t this happen? There are believed to be two main reasons for it not being built. The first reason is the price of it. The Indiana Jones Adventure was believed to have cost about $100 million at opening due to the demolition of the Eeyore Parking lot, R&D, and construction. And that is just for one attraction, you can see how that entire pavilion would have easily cost over $150 million in the blink of an eye. The other main reason it wasn’t built was competition. It was being designed at the same time as Splash Mountain. Splash Mountain’s lead Imagineer was Tony Baxter. And to summarise Disney parks over the decades where Tony Baxter was an Imagineer, don’t compete with Tony. You will lose every time. Splash Mountain had many advantages over the Indiana Jones pavilion such as the price was estimated to be about a third of the cost compared to Indiana Jones, Bear Country needed a new thrill ride, it gave Disneyland the water ride they were missing, and it meant they were able to re-use Audio-Animatronics from the recently closed America Sings. Because of these four reasons, Splash Mountain ended up winning this battle and opened in 1989. 6 years later, the Indiana Jones Adventure opened in 1995. With lead Imagineer, Tony Baxter. Classic Tony.

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The Indiana Jones Attraction Disneyland Got

    Just because we lost this pavilion though doesn’t mean it is gone forever. In Disneyland Paris, they have Indiana Jones and the Temple of Peril which is an Indiana Jones roller-coaster ride. Eerily similar to the Ore Cart attraction planned. They also have enough space left around this ride to add in more attractions… Potentially the rest of the Lost Expedition? The closest we have to the full Lost Expedition can be found at Tokyo DisneySea in the Lost River Delta area. There, they have the exact replica of the Indiana Jones Adventure and the exact replica of the Disneyland roller coaster side-by-side! Sure, they aren’t under the same roof, but they are a lot closer than any other park we have.

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Lost River Delta in Tokyo DisneySea

I think this whole pavilion would have been so cool to see in real life but I can see why it didn’t happen as I am also a big fan of Splash Mountain. 

The History of Snow White's Scary Adventures

                Before I start this post, I want to talk about the book I read that inspired the post. The book is called 3500: An Autistic Boy's Ten-Year Romance with Snow White. It is a book about a nine-year-old autistic boy that took a trip to Walt Disney World and after taking a ride on Snow White’s Scary Adventure, it really changed his life. While reading this book, it really reminded me how interesting the history of Snow White Attractions in Disney World is.

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Facade for Snow White's Scary Adventures

                Like most history posts, you have to start at the beginning. And this one is no different. Magic Kingdom opened on October 1st, 1971 with a Snow White attraction known as Snow White’s Adventure. This attraction was designed a bit different than most movie attractions are. This attraction was designed that you were to take the role as Snow White. It confused a lot of guests as not only did you not see Snow White anywhere but you also see the witch seven times in the attraction.  It was a much scarier and darker version of the Disneyland version that already seemed scary enough. Also, unlike the Disneyland version, this attraction had no music, just the witch’s loud laugh. It featured scary vultures, a dark forest, and a mine where the witch tries to kill you multiple times. This version lasted relatively long as it stayed open until October 1994, 23 years.

Around Christmas of the same year, the new version of the ride opened as Snow White’s Scary Adventure. This version saw a few changes including the removal of a witch, the addition of Snow White and increase of ride capacity. It also was a bit less frightening but Disney still added the Scary part to the title as another warning. Music was also added in at this renovation. But it was added in a bit of an unconventional way. The audio that was added was straight from the movie. Usually, when a new ride is added the audio comes from it being re-created but due to trying to keep the renovation short they decided to use the movie audio instead.

                Now let’s fast forward 15 years. We hit 2009 and there are a lot of rumours going around about Fantasyland getting a new updated as Disney needs a way to compete with The Wizarding World of Harry Potter opening in 2010. Some say that the Snow White attraction is safe, others say that the Snow White attraction will be gone. Although there was nothing official announced from Disney, the rumours were getting stronger and stronger and a lot of them were pretty believable. Then we hit the D23 Expo where there was a pretty big announcement done by Jay Rasulo of Disney Parks and Resorts.
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Original New Fantasyland Concept Art
                This was pretty exciting at the time as this was going to be a huge expansion. And at this time, Snow White was safe! The expansion was going Northeast of where Snow White’s Scary Adventures is. But I know what you are thinking. This is not the Fantasyland that we got. There is no Country Chateau to meet Cinderella, or interact with her; there is no Sleeping Beauty Cottage to celebrate her Sweet 16, and there is definitely no Pixie Hollow area. So what happened? When announced, people were worried that the new Fantasyland was too princess orientated.  Due to this, Disney announced an updated look to new Fantasyland in early 2011. There are two notable changes here. The first being that the Pixie Hollow area in the back of the concept art was replaced by what we now know as Storybook Circus. The other change was the addition of the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and the removal of all the princess cottages in favour of one central location. This is where we saw the end of Snow White’s Scary Adventure. The central location that Disney decided was where Snow White currently was.

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New Fantasyland Concept Art in 2012

                Just because we lost Snow White’s Scary Adventure doesn’t mean we lost Snow White entirely, however. when Princess Fairytale Hall opened in September of 2013, Snow White could be occasionally found in there. Then there is the Seven Dwarfs mine train ride. The technological advances with this attraction were unreal. It was designed that the train cars would sway with the turns of the ride. It also saw the revival of some of the Audio-animatronics with the Vultures as well as some of the dwarfs in the final cottage scene. I went on fairly soon to when it opened in late 2014 and I absolutely loved it. Because of how soon it was after opening the line was quite long always so we only went on it a couple of times when we had fastpasses or right when the park opened. I absolutely love the mine scene of the attraction as I think the projection is incredible and I love the sounds in there.
                I loved Snow White’s Scary Adventure as I still even go on it in Disneyland. I think it is a bit rough that it was lost for just a meet and greet. While the Meet and Greet is incredible, I just think that space could have been used for something better. And of course, I absolutely love the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train!

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

New show from Goren!

Goren1818 (known for his castmember post) has started working on a new show on YouTube called "Behind the Mouse". I am quite excited to see what comes from it but here is the first video! It's about Disneyland's opening day!

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Shanghai Disneyland News

Today there was a new Press Release from Disney about Shanghai Disneyland and there was some exciting things announced! The first thing announced is that the park will open on June 16 2016! That is 155 days away when writing this. To keep track there is a countdown timer on the right hand side. The press release also covered a few more aspects as well as releasing a few photos of the park.

Picture of how the Enchanted Storybook Castle currently looks

  • Shanghai Disneyland Park
From the press release and other information see we know that there will be six lands in the park. Some lands will be familiar like: Fantasyland and Tomorrowland while other lands will be brand new like: Adventure Isle and Treasure Cove. There will be the similar rides from other parks like Peter Pan's flight or Pirates of the Caribbean while also having new rides like TRON Lightcycle Power Run or Roarin' Rapids.
  • Disneyland Hotel & Toy Story Hotel
Shanghai Disneyland will open with only two resort hotels. The Disneyland Hotel will be more themed to look like mansion while the Toy Story Hotel is designed to immerse you into the world of Toy Story.

Disneyland Hotel
Toy Story Hotel

  • Downtown Disney
Disneytown is the name of the Shanghai version of Downtown Disney. There will be a lot of similarities between this version and most other ones but one large difference is that Disneytown will have a Grand Theatre. In the Grand Theatre there will be the first ever production of the Broadway version of The Lion King in Mandarin! There will be a World of Disney store in Disneytown as well but focused more toward Shanghai Disneyland exclusive merchandise.
  • Wishing Star Park
Different from any other park, Shanghai Disneyland will include something call a Wishing Star Park. The Wishing Star Park will be a 40-hectare area that has a walking path going around a large oval lake. Along the way you will run into beautiful gardens. This would be a perfect place to go watch the sunset or the fireworks if you wanted more distance. 

That is all that is known right now but there will be more updates as we find out more!

Friday, 17 April 2015

Cast Member Issued Pins

Goren1818 signing on for another post! This time I will be adding to the blog's newest genre: Pin Trading. This portion of the site is sponsored by Pintradingdb.com. Check it out! It's a great site. Anyway, my main collection consists of cast member issued pins. What is a cast member pin you ask? A cast member issued pin is a pin issued by the park to the cast member. These are usually worn with the cast member's costume. Cast member issued pins are not to be confused with hidden mickeys or cast exclusives. There are a few kinds of cast member issued pins. The kind I have the most of are cast member service pins. For every 5 years a cast member works, they get a pin. These pins go all the way up to the 45 year pin! SOMEONE HAD TO WORK FOR DISNEY FOR 45 YEARS!

Cast member service pins

45 year pin
Fun Fact: For the 25th year pin there was a pin of Tinkerbell bent over. It was soon banned for being revealing. You can find that pin below.
Booty Tinkerbell pin
Another category of these pins are attraction costume pins. These pins are worn as part of a cast member's costume for a specific attraction. For example, the monorail badge!
Monorail Badge

The last category contains my holy grail pins! The infamous D-pins. These pins are shaped like a D for Disneyland. They are very rare and are only worn by tour guides, hosts, or ambassadors.

Well that sums up this week! I hope I inspired you all to go out and create your own unique pin collection! That's all folks. This is Goren1818 signing off.

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Intro to Disney Pin Trading

Intro to Pin Trading
by ryan from ptdb

  • Edition sizes
    • OE - open edition (no limit to production amount)
    • LR - limited release (lot limited, but is retired after a time)
    • LE - limited edition size (will always have a number, generally 100 to 3000)
  • Places/Sources
    • DSF/DSSH - disney soda fountain/disney studio store hollywood
    • WDI - Walt Disney Imagineering - glendale, ca
    • DLR/DCA/WDW - disneyland resort/disney california adventure/walt disney world
    • DLRP - disneyland resort paris
    • DA - disney auctions, an online source of the fanciest pins that stopped existing many years ago.
    • ds.com - disneystore.com
    • dsuk - disney store uk
  • Databases
    • pp - pinpics.com
    • ptdb - pintradingdb.com
  • BT - beloved tales series (from DSSH)
  • PTD - pin traders delight series (from DSSH)
  • Grail - your most wanted, hardest to find pin.  Try not to throw the term around too much unless you are talking about pins that cost over $250 and/or only change hands once every few years or less.
  • Shark - someone who routinely tries to trade/sell/buy unfair deals, often using dishonesty
  • Scrapper - originally a term to describe a pin that didn't make quality assurance but was illegally sold on the market.  The term is often thrown around to describe any unauthorized pin such as overruns and counterfeits.

Don't feed the counterfeiters
  • Any "pin lot" you find on ebay or amazon with phrases like "100% tradeable" are 100% fake.
  • Most cast member lanyards are full of fakes.  This is because people buy those 100% tradeable lots and trade them to the cms for real ones.  The problem is so widespread that finding a cm with a real pin is truly rare.
Pretty Much Never Buy Anything From Disney
  • Just about any pin of value would have had people lining up to get it and sell out instantly.
  • If you want anything OE, you can get it aftermarket at less money than disney sells it for.

What should I collect?
  • How much can you spend every month?  Set your goals and expectations on that.
    • $1000 a month or more can get you just about anything you want, if you are patient.
    • $20 or so a month you can go after a pretty collection of oe pins.
  • Where do you live?
    • Socal, preferably near hollywood: pin trading easy mode.
    • Near WDW or Paris: a little helpful
    • Anywhere else: expect to pay aftermarket for everything, with the rare exception of a good website release.
  • What do you like?
    • What are your favorite movies/characters?  Note that some will be more expensive than others.  The more obscure your collection, the easier time you will have.
  • Never be a completist
    • They make a lot of ugly pins, and if you NEED every pin of whatever you collect, you're gonna pay a lot of money for ugly pins and encourage them to keep making ugly pins.
  • Wear a Lanyard
    • Your lanyard should let other traders know what you collect.  The pins should not be so expensive or hard to find that you would be upset if you lost them.  Even with the best pin backs, they do fall off sometimes.
How Do I Store/Display My pins?
  • Lanyard
    • Metal plunger backs are the way to go with a lanyard.  You can get them on eBay.  Mickey backs are awful about letting go, and the ratchet ones Disney sells can damage your pin posts.
  • Trader Books
    • Foam style page pin books work pretty well.  New ones are very expensive.  Used ones can usually be found for pretty cheap.
    • Binders with baseball card pages work well for pins that you want to leave on card.  The ones Disney sells are too thick.  Just get actual baseball card ones.  They also make similar pages with up to 20 sleeves per page instead of 9, for "coin collecting."  It is good to poke the posts through the pages to help prevent tampering and theft.
  • At home
    • You can just use a simple cork board
    • Your local craft store has several options for pin display
      • Painting canvases are a nice option, since you can poke through them and secure the pins with mickey backs.

Where do the good new pins come from?
  • Disney studio store in hollywood usually releases 2 sets of pins a month
    • Pin Trader Delight sundae is the only pin you can get any day at any time that is always a decent trader
  • WDI, in glendale, has been releasing high quality pins recently.  You have to be a castmember or have one bring you to get in though, unless you go to the D23 membership events which are maybe twice a year.
  • The parks: 
    • Weekly new pins release at the parks.  They usually are higher in edition size and less wanted, so less valuable.  Sometimes they release something popular though.
  • The websites:
    • Sometimes disneystore.com, and the european counterpart, get good, low edition, tradeable pins.
Is There a List of All the Pins?
  • pinpics.com is the biggest, oldest pin database.
  • pintradingdb.com is the newest, coolest pin database.  It has more advanced and useful stats, a chatroom, and a trade auction system.
  • Disclosure: the developer of ptdb wrote this.
Should I trade or buy?
  • Almost always just buy what you want.
  • If you are after high end pins, you will find that some pins are not for sale.  In that case you will need to collect a collection of high end traders.
  • Trading is also a fun social thing, so keeping a collection of traders is also useful for this.
For goodness sake, don't be the jerk who drives prices up.
  • A pin's value is however much the highest bidder bids.  It is so important that buyers be responsible about not overpaying, because that affects the entire community.  A great rule to try and follow is Never Pay the Most Anyone Has Paid for Something.
What's a Pin Worth?
  • It's not perfect, but the most common method of valuation is to check recent ebay completed listings.  This can also be compared with the LOWEST available ebay price.
Where Can I Buy/Sell/Trade pins?
  • eBay has the most, but most people avoid it if there are other ways of finding it.  eBay charges sellers about 10% of sale, so expect it to cost 10% more there or more.  As long as you use paypal as goods to pay, you have pretty much the same protection.
  • Facebook has many groups for buy/sell/trade.
  • Many people buy/sell/trade on instagram, but I don't recommend it.  Communication on that interface is difficult and frustrating.
What is some trade etiquette?
  • First try to agree on the value of the pins you are both interested in.  Be respectful, some people use different types of valuation.  There will be times when you just can't agree, but that doesn't mean you can't still be friends.
  • The most important thing is to be consistent in your values.  Don't overvalue your pins and undervalue their pins.  You will run into people who do this.  Respectfully avoid them.

How Can I Avoid Being Scammed?
  • NEVER send paypal as gift to friends and family!  Unless they are friends or family and you are ok losing your money if something goes wrong.  Sometimes people with good feedback decide to scam everyone and leave forever.  You never know what someone, even with good feedback, will do in the case of something like mail errors.  The rule is the seller is responsible for the delivery to the buyer.  Seller has to replace/refund if lost in mail.  Not all sellers know or honor this.
  • You have 45 days to file a claim with paypal for something you paid for as goods.  Don't let that expire if they didn't send.
  • For trading, there really is no protection.  You are both trusting eachother.  On facebook, see if you have any mutual friends and if someone can vouch for them.  Ask them where they have feedback.  You can ask mods of larger groups for any outstanding warrants on a person.  ALWAYS get delivery confirmation, and if it's high value, get signature for the extra couple bucks.
  • For selling, you can also get scammed when the buyer says they didn't receive your shipment.  Follow the same precautions for trading.
What to Do When You Are Scammed
  • Tell a parent or grown up you trust.  Tell the mod/admins of whatever platform you arranged the purchase/trade/sale.  They may be able to resolve it, and if not, they will spread the word so the person can't scam others.
How Do I Mail A Pin?

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

The Be Our Guest Restaurant

As you may know by know I was in Walt Disney World at the end of January. While there we did everything including going to the Be Our Guest Restaurant which opened with the new Fantasyland expansion. The theme is that you are in Beast's Castle for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Once you enter the castle there are three rooms in which you can eat at. The Ballroom, the Gallery and the West Wing. In the Grand Ballroom there is a full wall of glass that simulates snowing like seen in the movie. In the Gallery you see all the books as well as the Beast and Belle dancing. In the elusive West Wing however you can see the damage of the beast as well as the cursed rose.

The Grand Ballroom

When I was there in January we weren't able to go for dinner as reservations were gone the instant they were available. We were however able to go onto a site to book Be Our Guest for lunch. There is a site that you have to know a Cast Member to get the URL and you book food up to 28 days in advanced so you don't have to wait in line when you get there. This is a huge advantage as the line found outside for lunch is long from first thing in the morning until lunch is no longer available.

The view from the outside the line. The entrance is at the rocks in the background.

As you can see, the line adds up quite fast so the URL is quite beneficial! Unfortunately this URL is no longer available as it was a test run. Now it is all fastpasses. I would have shared the URL with you if it was still available.

This is just the beginning of this experience! Once you go to the site and order your food you then wait for that day to come! When it's your slotted time for lunch you get to go along the left side of the bridge skipping the line! You then enter the castle and pay the guards for the meal you ordered online. This is where it gets exciting!

Once you pay they tell you to sit in whichever of the three rooms you want to sit in and the food will be brought to you. These seemed a bit confusing as we weren't given a table placard and it was even more confusing as my family had messed up and we were two orders but sat at the same table. We thought that it was maybe possible so we found a table right a long the wall in the Grand Ballroom (which is my favourite room of the three). It was pretty neat as the food runners all had their individual carts they were pushing around instead of trays making it cleaner due to no spills. 

The food cart

Now wait! It sounds pretty amazing right now right? WRONG! It gets even better! The cart pushers that have your food know exactly where you are sitting! How you may ask? Magic!

(No it isn't really magic. That is what they say however. The way it is actually done is through RFID scanners under the table, the same scanners used for fastpasses. The magicband is scanned so that the food runners know what table everyone is sitting at so that they can bring the food to the right table without an error. Once I figured it out it was a pretty genius move I must say but it was shocking when they first brought the food out.)

All in all the Be Our Guest restraunt is one of the things I remember about the trip the most and is now my 2nd favourite restaurant in WDW surpassing the Biergarten.

Until next time!!