Posts Tagged ‘Disneyland’

Rediscovered Transcript Reveals Original Spielberg/Disneyland Connection

by on April 16, 2013

Photos by Seth Kubersky

It's no secret that legendary film director Steven Spielberg is a life-long theme park afficiando. As a long-time consultant to Universal Studios, rides based on movies he has created or produced (including classics like ET, Back to the Future, Jaws, Men in Black, and Jurassic Park) have been hits in Orlando, California, and Japan. Spielberg is also known to be a fan of classic Disney films; he had composer John Williams include the melody “When You Wish Upon a Star” in his Close Encounters of the Third Kind score, and his film A.I. is essentially an explicit update of Pinnoccio.

But few fans realize how far back Spielberg's fascination with theme park rides — specifically Disneyland dark rides and E-tickets — goes. Thanks to a fascinating 35-year-old story conference transcript, we have a first-hand account of the lauded filmmaker's pro-Disney fanaticism.

The minutes of this momentous meeting, recorded over a week in late January 1978, document the moment when Spielberg, together with pal George Lucas and screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan, brainstormed the basic backstory of Indiana Jones, and solidified the script outline that would eventually become 1981's Raiders of the Lost Ark. Originally leaked on an Internet film site in 2009 as scan of a grainy photocopy, the document has recently resurfaced as a searchable PDF. These newly accessible transcripts reveal the creative energy that birthed this iconic screen hero, and give insight into these award-winning artists' working methods.

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Farewell to Main Street Favorites: Disneyland’s Market House and Voices of Liberty Say Goodbye

by on April 11, 2013

They say that April showers bring May flowers, but this month a different kind of precipitation may be misting up Disneyland’s Main Street, U.S.A. I’m certain that I’m not the only Disney devotee who is shedding a tear over the loss of two favorite front-of-park attractions. One, a legendary retail outlet that had remained largely untouched for decades; the other, a relatively recent entertainment import from Epcot.

First and foremost, Disneyland’s Market House will close on April 15 for its transformation into a franchised Starbucks Coffee outlet, similar to the Fiddler, Fifer & Practical Cafe that opened in DCA last summer. The rehabbed location, like the one across the Esplanade, is expected to be hugely popular with guests seeking their familiar Starbucks fix. But we would be remiss not to mark the passing of one of Main Street’s best-loved locations.

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Enchanted Tiki Room 50th Anniversary Event Tickets Now On Sale

by on April 8, 2013

Are you a devoted fan of Disneyland’s original Audio-Animatronics attraction, home to dozens of frolicking feathered friends (and the delectable Dole Whip)? Then you’re going to want to dig deep any pony up for passes to the Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room 50th Anniversary Event, scheduled for June 28-29 at the Disneyland Hotel exhibit hall.

Event admission starts at $85 per person for the “Jose package,” which includes admission to the event store, silent auctions and trading opportunities, and a presentation featuring Disney Legends Rolly Crump and Bob Gurr. For an additional $185, you can meet popular retro artist SHAG at an evening cocktail reception.

The real reason people pay big bucks to attend these merchandise events is the opportunity to spend even more on exclusive and limited-edition souvenirs. A “random selection process” is used to distribute purchase opportunities among registrants for rare items, while other “open edition” artwork may be available online and in resort stores after the event.

Tickets are limited and can be purchased now online. If similar past events for the Haunted Mansion are any indication, you’ll want to order your tickets now if you plan on attending. Here is the complete event itinerary:

June 28, 2013 (5pm – 9pm)

  • Early Registration (including pick-up of Random Selection Process Merchandise)
  • Event Store
  • Trading Area

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Where Do You Nap at the Disneyland Resort?

by on April 3, 2013

photos by Seth Kubersky

As every experienced theme park commando knows, the Unofficial Guide’s number one tip for visiting Disneyland on a busy day (like during 2013’s spring break season) is “arrive early, arrive early, arrive early.” But the flip side is our paradoxical suggestion to stay late during extended operating hours, in order to take advantage of evening entertainment and shorter attraction lines.

Following both recommendations can result in spending a solid 16+ hours inside the park, if you enter at 8am and depart at midnight (a standard peak-season operating schedule). If that sounds more like a death march than a vacation to you, you’re not alone. That leads us to our most frequently overlooked essential epigram of touring intelligence: take a nap! A few minutes (or hours) of shut-eye in the middle of the afternoon will not only re-energize you for the evening, but also offer an escape from the worst wait times of the day. By the way, this advice is just as crucial for adults as it is for children. Even if you never take a nap at home, take the time for a lie-down any day you spend over 8 hours touring. Trust me, you’ll thank us!

Unlike the sprawling Walt Disney World, Disneyland Resort is compact and easily accessible from numerous off-site hotels, making it easy for many guests to walk from the park gates to their rooms in less time than it take to retrieve a vehicle from the parking garage. If you are staying on property or within a short stroll of Disneyland, there’s absolutely no excuse not to take a mid-day rest in your room.

However, there are still plenty of visitors who can’t or won’t leave the Disneyland Resort and return again later that day. When you need to recharge, but don’t want to walk off property, where do you go? If you can’t retreat to your room, there are still some quiet corners amid the resort’s chaos where you can catnap. For starters, here are four of my favorite spots to sneak forty winks around the Disneyland Resort.

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Photo Gallery: Disneyland Resort In Spring Bloom

by on April 1, 2013

All photos by Seth Kubersky

Right now at Walt Disney World, the 20th annual Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival is in full swing, attracting tourists from far and wide to admire the park’s painstakingly pruned foliage. But while this Orlando attraction may get the lion’s share of agricultural attention, Disney’s left coast parks don’t need a special occasion to shine in the shrubbery department.

With the spring season officially started (as of the vernal equinox on March 20), it’s appropriate for us to take a moment to stop smell the roses… along with the irises, violets, sunflowers, and other assorted horticultural spectacles seeded around the Disneyland Resort. For today’s photo gallery, I’ve selected a variety of snaps that I took last month during an Anaheim research expedition, highlighting the vibrant colors and rich textures you can currently find in flowerbeds around the Happiest Place on Earth.

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DCA’s Disney Junior Show Reopens with New Characters

by on March 25, 2013

Unless you visit the Disneyland Resort with toddlers in tow, the Disney Junior — Live On Stage! show in Disney California Adventure’s Hollywood Land probably isn’t one of your top in-park destinations. But if you have pint-sized patrons of the popular Disney Junior series in your household, you know that the network’s cartoon characters are like rock stars to the pre-school set.

After many weeks of refurbishment, DCA’s Disney Junior show reopened on Friday, March 22, with the same refreshed production that previously premiered at Walt Disney World’s Hollywood Studios park. This latest version retains the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse framing segments and Jake and the Neverland Pirates vignette, while replacing the Handy Mandy and Little Einsteins sequences with new scenes inspired by Sophia the First and Doc McStuffins. As before, the show uses a mix of live actors and rod puppets manipulated from beneath the stage.

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Opa! A Celebration of Greece Coming this May to Disneyland Resort

by on March 20, 2013

Image copyright Disney

Between the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival and its newly expanded Flower & Garden Festival, it seems like Walt Disney World gets to have all the fun where cultural celebrations are concerned. But last week the Disneyland Resort announced that it would soon be getting some international excitement of its own.

For the weekend of May 25-27 (10am to 6pm daily), Opa! A Celebration of Greece will bring authentic Greek music, dance, art, food, history, and more to both parks at the Disneyland Resort. Activities will take place in both “it’s a small world” Mall in Disneyland park and Paradise Gardens in Disney California Adventure park.

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5 Ways to Start Your Day In Disneyland Park

by on March 14, 2013

Moments before rope drop at Disneyland Park (all photos by Seth Kubersky)

If you’ve been following us at Touring Plans for a while, you already know the first and most important step on any Disneyland itinerary: arrive at the front gate early (at least 40 minutes before opening during busy seasons) with your tickets in hand.

But what do you do first once you’re through the turnstiles? People have their own traditions for where to head first at the Happiest Place on Earth. Here are five of my favorite ways to kick off my day at Disneyland Park.

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“Making of Fantasy Faire” Presentation for Disneyland Passholders on March 14

by on March 11, 2013

Photo copyright Disney

The brand-new Fantasy Faire at Disneyland Park doesn’t open to the public until tomorrow (March 12), but annual Passholders like our own Guy Selga Jr. have already been inside the princess-centric expansion adjacent to Sleeping Beauty Castle.

If you’re a Passholder who can’t get enough of Fantasy Faire, a free presentation and panel discussion will be held on Thursday, March 14, in Disneyland’s Main Street Opera House. Show Director Christopher Utley and Walt Disney Imagineering Creative Director Michel den Dulk will share “fascinating” details on the new mini-land’s design and construction, and answer audience questions.

Registration for Thursday’s 6pm show begins that morning at 11:30am at the Opera House, and must be done in person by all participating Passholders. Space is limited, so arrive early to register if you’re intent on attending.

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Annual Passholder Previews for Disneyland’s Fantasy Faire This Week

by on March 4, 2013

All photos copyright Disney

Construction is nearing completion on Disneyland Park’s new Fantasy Faire, the princess meet & greet complex that is replacing the classic Carnation Plaza Gardens. The new area, which controversially extends Fantasyland’s theming into the central hub for the first time, officially opens to the public on March 12.

If you are an annual Passholder, you can get a sneak peek of this expansion on March 7, 8, 9. The preview events will be held between noon and 6pm on those three days, with Passholders limited to designated two-hour entry windows.

Passholders wishing to attend must register in person on the day of the event, beginning at 10:30am in Fronteirland. For more details, see Disney’s official instructions here.

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