Posts Tagged ‘Big Thunder Mountain’

SATURDAY SIX Looks At Six MORE Theme Park Related Comic Books

by on October 22, 2016

This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at Six MORE Theme Park Related Comic Books. Last year the SATURDAY SIX had an in-depth investigative report on the Six BEST Theme Park Related Comic Books. This is an issue – pardon the pun – that is near and dear to our hearts as it combines two of our favorite hobbies: theme parks and comic books. The Walt Disney characters we know and love have been in comic books going back all the way to 1940, and currently there are three different publishers putting out Disney comic books. The first is Disney itself, through the the Marvel Comics brand. With the Disney Kingdoms imprint, Marvel is releasing stories inspired by Disney Parks and Resorts characters and attractions such as Figment and Seekers of the Weird. The second is Joe Books, who have the license for movie adaptations such as Zootopia, along with new books featuring the characters of Frozen, Finding Dory, and Pirates of the Caribbean. The third is IDW Publishing, who have the license for the Disney comic book titles – like Uncle Scrooge and Walt Disney’s Comics – that have gone back for decades.

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Grizzly River Run themed covers.

In the past year IDW has released variant covers that have put a spotlight on several of our favorite theme park attractions such as The Haunted Mansion, Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, and Dumbo. These covers are absolutely amazing and done by artists such as Andrea FrecceroDerek Charm, John Loter, and James Silvani. We are going to spotlight these variant covers throughout the article because we love them so much, but the SATURDAY SIX itself is going to look at comic books – some over twenty years old, some not even twenty days old – whose stories have dealt with theme parks directly. So sit back, relax, and let’s begin our countdown starting with…

 # 6 – The Enchanted Tiki Room

tikiroomcomicDisney announced the Enchanted Tiki Room comic book earlier this summer during the San Diego Comic Con. This came as a shocker to me personally, but I couldn’t have been happier hearing the news. A comic book based on one of my favorite attractions at the Magic Kingdom, and I only could have been more surprised if it was a series about the Peoplemover.

The first issue just hit the stands in early October, and it shows that the world famous macaws and other birds that make up the Enchanted Tiki Room are just one part of a large story. Set on a mysterious island in the Pacific, we are told that each week a group of humans are flown to the island and end up having their lives changed forever by what they experience. If that sounds like the plot to a certain ’80s TV show, you’re not wrong (the issue even has a reference to it.)

For theme park fans, the star of the show is of course the Enchanted Tiki Room itself along with the talkative macaws José, Fritz, Pierre, and Michael. We do get to see the Tiki Room in all its glory, and some fun interactions with the birds, but for the most part the issue is centered around the characters visiting the island (including a mysterious one at the very end.) There are several “Easter Eggs” throughout the issue for Tiki Room fanatics like myself, and even an appearance by a certain Little Orange Bird from the nearby Sunshine Tree Terrace in Adventureland.

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Our favorite macaws backstage. Note the reference to Fantasy Island.

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A brief glimpse of what it is like for Your Humble Author when he makes his monthly trips to the Disney Outlet Store and must do battle with the eBay pirates and scalpers.

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Dumbo!

# 5 – Captain EO

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Next we are going to step into the Way Back machine and head on over to 1987, when the comic book adaptation of Captain EO was released. Readers of this fine blog know that Captain EO is another one of all our time favorite attractions, however despite the STUNNING art by Tom Yeates, this is not one of our favorite theme park related comic books? Why, because – like the attraction itself – it’s in 3-D. The comic book industry has been trying to do 3-D comic books for who knows how long and, with rare exceptions, it just doesn’t work. Or maybe a better description is that it just doesn’t work as well as you’d want it to. You have to read the comics with those goofy cardboard glasses with each eye looking at a slightly different picture through either the red or blue lens. Because of the constraints the artists have to work in, you’re generally not getting a true comic book experience with detailed backgrounds, etc.

Outside of the 3-D, the Captain EO comic book is great. A lot of the times comic book adaptations of live action films can fall flat because the artist can’t nail down the likenesses of the actors or actresses, but Yeates kills it here. His Michael Jackson is perfect and is just as good with every other character. It is a straight up adaptation of the film, but of course you are missing one of the actual biggest strengths of the movie, the songs. Turns out there’s a big difference between hearing the king of pop Michael Jackson singing We Are Here To Save The World or It’s Just Another Part of Me and just seeing the words printed on a page. Who knew?

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If you thought 3-D in movies was insufferable, it ain’t got nothing on the comics version.

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SATURDAY SIX Looks at Our Favorite Shows That Went to Disney World (part 2)

by on May 28, 2016

To read part one of this grand adventure, which included a look a Boy Meets World, Step by Step, and Sabrina: The Teenage Witch, CLICK HERE.

Without further ado…

# 3 – Family Matters “We’re Going to Disney World”

Season 6, episodes 22 and 23

“Carl, I never told you this, but when your father was on his death bed he said to me, ‘I have only one regret. I never got to take little Carl to Disney World.’ Then he died”

“Wait a minute, Carl’s father’s died before that place was ever built.”

“Quiet, you want to go there, don’t you?” – Estelle and Harriet Winslow trying to convince Carl to go to WDW

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Family Matters

Now this is one for the books.

By season six of Family Matters the show had completely transformed from a “working man’s version of the Cosby Show” into The Steve Urkel Show, for good or for bad. This episode started off with Steve Urkel coming into the Winslow household proclaiming that he was a finalist for the “national inventor’s contest” sponsored by “Amateur Innovation Weekly.” Watching these older shows make will make you appreciate how much better the reboots like Girls Meets World and Fuller House really are. Anyway, because Urkel was a finalist he was able to take as many people as he wanted with him to Florida. You just got to go with these things.

Our first stop was Disney’s Wilderness Lodge. Again, the resort was never mentioned by name but we did get to see several exterior shots and the gorgeous lobby. Then we were off to Innoventions in EPCOT, where Urkel’s “transformation” machine turned him from geeky Urkel to “cool” Stephan. Urkel’s assistant liked him better as Stephan, so she sabotaged the machine, keeping him stuck as Stephan until a replacement part could be flown in. The judges said they would reconvene in three days to decide a winner to the contest.

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Wilderness Lodge!

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Wilderness Lodge lobby.

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Innoventions!

One subplot of the show revolved around Carl Winslow. He had no interest in going to Disney World at first (until the incredible line from his grandmother that is quoted at the top), and even once he arrived still had very little “pixie dust.” However all that changed as soon as he walked through the turnstiles of the Magic Kingdom. Soon Carl was in love with Disney so much that he was ready to quit his job in Chicago and move the entire family to Florida.

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Carl meets the characters on Main Street USA.

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Seth Kubersky’s Best Week Ever November 26, 2015: Magic Kingdom Thanksgiving Week Crowds

by on November 26, 2015

Ok theme park fans, it’s time to talk turkey! If you want to have the Best Week Ever at Walt Disney World, common wisdom says that the Thanksgiving holiday isn’t the most stress-free time to visit in terms of attendance. In fact, the last week of November can be one of Orlando’s busiest seasons, right behind Christmas Week and Spring Break. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t have a great time in the parks this week, as long as you go in armed with some advice from your friends at Touring Plans, plus a whole lot of patience. To prove the point, I recently spent an afternoon elbow-to-elbow with Magic Kingdom Thanksgiving Week crowds to bring you this turkey day travelogue. Hopefully you won’t find it too fowl!

 

Violating the first rule of holiday touring, I showed up at the Magic Kingdom not at rope drop, but at high noon, just as park attendance should be reaching its peak. Much to my surprise, I was parked not in outer Siberia, but in the Zurg section of the Villains lot, right night to medical parking. From here I could walk to the TTC as easily as taking the tram, a nice treat on a busy day.

 

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Fun Facts for Your Next Disney World Vacation

by on April 26, 2015

Castle Concept Art

Castle Concept Art

Do you crave Disney knowledge? Do you spend way too much time online scanning sites for Disney facts and secrets? Is your bookshelf crammed with Disney Imagineering books and guidebooks? If so, then we’re probably kindred spirits because I’m guilty of all the above! I absolutely love discovering new facts about my favorite place on earth that I can use or see for myself when planning my next Disney World trip. So indulge me, if you will, as I share with you some of my favorite fun facts for your next Disney World Vacation.

Did you know that…

12. Splash Mountain and Pirates of the Caribbean are Neighbors? Even though the Magic Kingdom’s Pirates of the Caribbean is in Adventureland and Splash Mountain is in Frontierland, things looks a little different backstage than they do when you’re in the park. When backstage, which means behind the scenes, these two water attractions are located next to each other! The layout of the park from inside is a little deceptive; but since both attractions require high volumes of water, it only makes sense to have them located next door. Pretty cool, right?

Look at the Golions!

Look at the Golions!

11. There’s More Than One Beast at the Beast’s Castle? The Disney Animators used different animals to create the Beast we know from Disney’s Beauty and the Beast film. In fact, the Beast is a mixture of buffalo, lion, wolf, bear, and more! But outside of the Be Our Guest Restaurant at the Magic Kingdom’s New Fantasyland, there is another beast that’s also a combo of different animals. It’s a Golion! Guarding either side of the castle doors are two stone beasts that Disney invented just for this area; and as they are a combination of both goats and lions, Imagineers decided to name them Golions! Source: Fun Facts: New Fantasyland

10. The Eiffel Tower at Epcot’s France Pavilion is Historically Accurate? Have you ever paid much attention to the Eiffel Tower at Epcot’s France Pavilion? If so, you may have noticed that the tower looks a little different than those photos you see of the one in France and for a really cool reason. You see, the real Eiffel Tower has changed color since it was first constructed in 1887 due to aging and weathering; but since Epcot’s France Pavilion is meant to represent France as it was in the past, the Eiffel Tower we see is beige, just like how it would’ve been in its early years. Talk about attention to detail! Still not impressed? To be even more historically accurate, Imagineers used the blueprints of the original Eiffel Tower when constructing their own.  Source: AllEars.net

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SATURDAY SIX: The Six Best Attractions at Walt Disney World According to Our All-Star Panel

by on February 28, 2015

This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at the Six Best Attractions at Walt Disney World. Hot off the heels of our All Star Panel getting together and voting for the Six Best Attractions at the Universal Orlando Resort, it was only natural to take a look across the street and get to the bottom, once and for all, of what the six best attractions at Walt Disney World were. But this is The World after all. The Vacation Kingdom. The most popular theme park resort on Earth. So naturally we had to go big. We contacted 25 experts for Universal? Well we’re getting 50 for Disney! And after negotiations that took so long that Disney could have taken down two Sorcerer’s Hats in the same time, we finally heard back from some of the most well known names in the Disney Universe. An all star, blue ribbon panel made up of members from some of the best Disney podcasts (Disney Hipsters, WDW Today, Radio Harambe, and the Mighty Men of Mouse), the most amazing Disney photographers (including Tom Bricker, Morgan Crutchfield, Brandon Glover, and Dirk Wallen), the greatest Disney bloggers/authors (Epcot Explorer, Sam Gennaway, FoxxFur, and Jim Hill), the nicest Disney fans we know (Scarlett Litton, Daisy Lauren, and Drunk At Disney), the meanest Disney fans we know (Tom Corless and Josh Humphrey), legitimate members of the Theme Park Media Elite (Orlando Sentinel’s Dewayne Bevil, Attraction Magazine‘s Banks Lee and Matt Roseboom), and the only guy in the entire world who admits to liking Disney’s Hollywood Studios (Matt Hochberg).

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SATURDAY SIX staff tabulating votes.

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Maureen Deal of Autism at the Parks? Here. Gary Bruckner, creator of the Frost Bitten Rum Cider at the Dolphin’s Todd English bluezoo? Here. Fan Favorite Disney Twitter accounts? How about Mearn, Mark Diba, and Adam Roth. Not to mention both Jenn and Tim Tracker! They’re ALL HERE, and many more.

The Criteria: Each of the 50 experts voted on what they consider to be the six best attractions at the Walt Disney World Resort. These attractions could be any ride, show, nighttime spectacular, or parade currently in Walt Disney World (including the water parks.) Anything that was holiday exclusive – such as the Boo to You! parade, Happy HalloWishes, or the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights – were not eligible. Each attraction listed would be awarded ONE point, except for the attraction that the voter ranked in his #1 spot – that received TWO points. The votes were then sent to a top secret location in Florida and counted no less than 22 times. (We’ve had some problems in the past. We can’t apologize enough, Mr. Gore.) The results are in, and we now proudly present….

The DEFINITIVE GUIDE to the SIX BEST ATTRACTIONS at Walt Disney World.

# 6 – Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (12 points)

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Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. (photo by Tom Bricker)

Laurel Stewart (TouringPlans Disney Cruise Queen) – Opening Date – 1980: Big Thunder has it all – story, visual puns, theming, great effects… a bluegrass soundtrack. It’s not as great a coaster from a technical standpoint as Expedition Everest (Yeti aside, which it turns out, was a mechanical overreach on Disney’s part) or Rock ‘n’ Roller coaster. And it’s not a thrill ride by any means – there are more intense coasters all over Orlando. But this one is Disney at its best. It anchors Frontierland in a way that I don’t think Disney has come close to in years with the exception of Everest in Animal Kingdom’s Asia, which I think is its successor (and my would-have-been number one pick except that the ride is way too short). Because it opened in 1980, I never had to worry about the height requirement and was able to ride it from the start. Which I did, because I LOVE ROLLER COASTERS. On the other hand, my younger brother may have been tricked onto it when I told him it was “just a train ride, like the one at Main Street.” Suffice it to say, I have plenty of nostalgia for Big Thunder and love it just as much today as 35 years ago. And if you don’t take my word for it, take it from the French. Big Thunder Mountain is by far the most popular attraction at Disneyland Paris. And the French are never wrong. Just ask Jerry Lewis.

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Top Five Ways to End Your Day at Disneyland Park

by on April 25, 2013

Fireworks Over Sleeping Beauty CastleIn recent weeks, I’ve shared some my favorite ways to begin my day at Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure, as well as top picks for finishing a DCA visit, and even places to pause at mid-day around the Resort.

Today, I’m concluding this series with a look at the best options for ending your evening at Disneyland Park. While Disneyland is magical at any time of day, there is something particularly special about those final hours before closing at the original Magic Kingdom. Any one of the following activities (or combination thereof) should guarantee a fitting finale to your day at the Happiest Place on Earth.

Fireworks and Fantasmic!

No one does explosive spectaculars better than Disney, and there is no better one-two punch among theme park pageants than Disneyland’s fireworks and Fantasmic! Whether the show is Remeber…Dreams Come True, Magical, or one of the special seasonal displays, Disneyland’s pyrotechnics are not-to-be-missed. And Disneyland’s Fantasmic! is the ultimate assemblage of animated characters, action stunts, and enormous animatronics. On nights when both shows are performed,first watch the fireworks from the hub near Frontierland, the head immediately towards the river for a seat. Alternatively, stake out a spot early for Fantasmic and you’ll still have a fine view of the overhead sky bursts (though not effects on the castle or Tinker Bell’s flight).

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This Month at Disneyland Resort: January 2013

by on January 1, 2013

All images copyright Disney

Happy New Year! 2012 saw some of the most substantial expansions in the history of the Disneyland Resort; with nothing on the scale of DCA’s reimagination on the horizon, 2013 can be seen as somewhat of a transitional year for the resort. Even so, there are a parade of updates, temporary additions, and notable refurbishments on their way in the coming months. As the signs of the holiday season swiftly disappear over the next week (shortly followed by the heavy crowds), look for some “limited time magic” to light up a historic Frontierland venue.

Crowd Calendar

Quietest Day: Weekdays after mid-month should see some of the slowest crowds of the year. Thursday 1/17 is predicted to be a 1 out of 10 at the resort, with 1.2 at Disneyland, and 2.8 at DCA.

Busiest Day: The Tinkerbell Half-Marathon over Martin Luther King Jr. Day Weekend will bring the biggest crowds since New Year. Sunday 1/20 should be a 10 out of 10 at the resort, with a 9.8 at Disneyland, and 8.1 at DCA.

Subscribe to the Touring Plans Disneyland Crowd Calendar for full details on predicted attendance for the next 30 days.

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Last Week at Disneyland Resort (12/9/2012 – 12/15/2012)

by on December 17, 2012

All photos copyright Disney

Looking to take a quiet stroll around the Disneyland Resort to check out the Christmas decor? Better get there quickly, because the busiest season the Anaheim resort has seen in years is rapidly approaching with the winter solstice! And while you're add it, be sure to take a spin on the “wildest ride in the wilderness” while you still can…

Crowd Calendar

Quietest Day: Tuesday 12/11 was a 3 out of 10 at the resort, with 2.6 at Disneyland, and 2.0 at DCA.

Busiest Day: Saturday 12/15 was an 8 out of 10 at the resort, with a 8.1 at Disneyland, and 5.0 at DCA.

Subscribe to the Touring Plans Disneyland Crowd Calendar for full details on predicted attendance for the next 30 days.

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Last Week at Disneyland Resort (11/4/2012 – 11/10/2012)

by on November 12, 2012

All photos copyright Disney

Thanksgiving is still a couple of weeks away, but Christmas cheer is already felt in full effect around the Disneyland Resort. This week is a wonderful time to experience the parks' famous seasonal decor without having to fight the massive holiday crowds that will soon arrive.

Crowd Calendar

Quietest Day: Monday 11/5 was a 1 out of 10 at the resort, with a 1.1 at Disneyland, and 1.1 at DCA.

Busiest Day: Saturday 11/10 was a 8 out of 10 at the resort, with a 7.7 at Disneyland, and 3.4 at DCA.

Subscribe to the Touring Plans Disneyland Crowd Calendar for full details on predicted attendance for the next 30 days.

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The Lovable Livestock of Disneyland’s Big Thunder Ranch

by on August 22, 2012

It's been a little over a month since my last visit to Disneyland, and I'm currently suffering serious withdrawal from my fuzzy friends. No, I'm not talking about the man-sized mice mascots, as much as I love Mickey and his menagerie. It is the actual animal inhabitants of Disneyland that I miss the most.

Many repeat resort visitors have an attraction that they insist on experiencing on every single visit to Disneyland. Some guests don't consider a Disney day done until they've taken a trip on Space Mountain or Peter Pan's Flight. My wife won't leave the park without at least one visit to the Enchanted Tiki Room, and I'm personally partial to a day-ending adventure with Indiana Jones. But if there is one place that I find myself more often than any other, it has to be the Big Thunder Ranch.

This hidden treasure of Frontierland, tucked along the path to Disneyland, doesn't receive the foot traffic or popular acclaim of its similarly named neighbor, the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. Most people who stumble into it are probably hungry for barbecue at the adjoining open-air eatery, or hunting for Billy Hill and the Hillbillies at their summer home on the Festival Arena stage.

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