Posts Tagged ‘Haunted Mansion’

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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The Magic, The Memories, and Merch! August 2016 Photo Report of the Disney Outlet Store

by on August 31, 2016

MMM positiveWelcome to the latest edition of The Magic, The Memories, and Merch! the longest running monthly look at the Disney Outlet Stores in Orlando.

The Disney Outlets: the true final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Testa, beginning year four of our five-year mission: to explore strange old stores, to seek out weird merchandise and ugly vinylmation, to boldly buy what no MagicBand has bought before.

We actually have a big surprise this month at the end of this fine blog, but we do have to start off with a little theme park news. Universal soft opened an E-Ticket restaurant – the Toothsome Chocolate Emporium & Savory Feast Kitchen (imagine a T-Rex Cafe for adults except the food is actually good) – and was promptly sued by someone claiming the restaurant was their idea. Some are claiming this is the most frivolous lawsuit against Universal since 2013, when the landmark case of Burgan vs. Comcast unjustly ruled that just because I said, “they should build more Harry Potter” after visiting Hogsmeade Village, I wasn’t responsible for the creation of Diagon Alley. I blame my lawyer.

Now while all of you were tweeting your thoughts on Disney changing the “obscene hand gesture” in Rock n Roller Coaster (warning, NSFW!) Outlet Intern Julia Mascardo and I were hard at work to bring you the quality Outlet coverage you expect deserve!

Enough jibber jabber! Who is ready to hit the Outlets? Remember that clicking on any picture will open a full size version of it (don’t say we didn’t warn you.)

Prices were SLASHED this month on Tsum Tsums, marking them down to an unheard of $0.99. This of course brought out the merch jerks in droves, filling up their baskets with Tsums to flip.

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The infamous Mother Gothel Tsum Tsum (I think.)

I honestly thought we had seen every single piece of merchandise made for the Disneyland 60th Anniversary and yet more and more just keep coming to Outlets. Here is a Dapper Mickey photo clip Frame. Originally $14.95, now $7.99.

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Thank you Disneyland annual passholders, for not buying a single piece of merchandise and making me go through it all. Yes, I’m looking in your direction Tom Bricker, Guy Selga, and Matt Gottula.

Disneyland 60th iPhone 6 case on left. Originally $39.95, now $14.99. On the right is a Minnie Mouse one where the character is stuck on the case. Has a lot of thickness. Originally $39.95, now just $7.99.

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iPhone cases.

Some houses have “fine china” but we theme park fans know what our favorite dinnerware is. The smaller Disneyland 60th plate was originally $17.95, now $7.99. The larger one was originally $21.95, now $9.99.

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If author extraordinaire Seth Kubersky ever gets married, I volunteer for the Ashkenazi tradition to break these plates (and as many more as they’ll let me.)

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SATURDAY SIX: Six Reasons We LOVE the Magic Kingdom

by on July 23, 2016

This week’s SATURDAY SIX looks at Reasons We LOVE the Magic Kingdom. As you know, this July we’re celebrating Walt Disney World here on the SATURDAY SIX. At the beginning of the month we began our journey at Animal Kingdom, which now takes on new life at night. We then made our way over to Hollywood Studios, a park currently going through some growing pains but still has some of the best experiences in all of WDW. Last week? The one and only EPCOT, a theme park like no other across the globe. Today we are going to finish up by heading into the park which was the centerpiece of Walt Disney’s “Florida Project,” the Magic Kingdom.

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The partners statue at the Magic Kingdom. (photo by Brandon Glover)

There are not enough superlatives for Disneyland out in California, but with Florida came the “blessing of size” which allowed Walt (and the Disney company) to fix problems they would never be able to in Anaheim. For example, driving to Disneyland is much like driving to the Universal Orlando Resort in Florida, in that you can see the park from the road. With the Magic Kingdom, Disney created a theme park where the very entrance to the park is an experience, slowly revealing itself to guests in a truly magical way. Opening in 1971, the Magic Kingdom quickly became the most popular theme park in the world, and retains that title to this very day. What makes it so great? Well, today we’re gonna look at six of our favorite things inside this truly special park. So, sit back, relax in one of the rocking chairs on Tom Sawyer Island, and let’s start our countdown with…

# 6 – Festival of Fantasy

Even with heated competition from Universal and many other parks from around the world, there are still areas which Disney parks are completely untouchable. One of those areas is parades, and one of the best parades at any Disney park is the Magic Kingdom’s Festival of FantasyWith elaborate floats, stunning costumes, an original score, and filled with many of our favorite Disney characters, this is a parade worth waiting for. The backstory of the parade is that each of the units were built by the citizens of Fantasyland. It’s fascinating just looking at all the details on each float and how they seem to be designed from an era long ago. The music has that true Disney Difference, with Brave and Maleficent sections being standouts, and the amount of characters involved in the parade is staggering.  From Anna and Elsa to Mickey and Minnie and almost everyone in-between, Festival of Fantasy has something for everyone.

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The impressive fire breathing Maleficent. Sorry Gringotts, but this dragon also moves. (photo by Brandon Glover)

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Tinker Bell doing her best impersonation of a theme park blogger receiving constructive criticism. (photo by Brandon Glover)

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In Festival of Fantasy, Merida gets her chance to shine! (photo by Brandon Glover)

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The Ghost Post Box: Part III

by on June 8, 2016

Welcome to part three of the Ghost Post mystery box series, reviewing the contents of Disney Merchandise’s Haunted Mansion puzzle subscription. To catch up with where we are, you’ll want to take a quick peek at Ghost Post Part 1 and Part 2.

The third Ghost Post box retains the now-familiar format. The only differences to the external carton are that this box is labeled for “N.E. Plott,” while the others were addressed to “M.T. Graves” and “I.M. Mortal,” and the back of the box had, as I predicted, a drawing of the roofline of the mansion, thus completing the picture.

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Opening the box, we agin see a few displayed artifacts and an envelope.

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The Magic, The Memories, and Merch! May 2016 Photo Report of the Disney Outlet Store

by on May 31, 2016

MMM positiveWelcome to the latest edition of The Magic, The Memories, and Merch! the longest running monthly look at the Disney Outlet Stores in Orlando. It was a pretty big month for the theme park world, especially for one of our favorite parks: Animal Kingdom. For AK it was the best of times and the worst of times as the new restaurant Tiffins opened, and has drawn rave reviews across the board. Meanwhile, Jungle Book: Alive with Magic – the quickly produced show which is replacing the delayed Rivers of Light nighttime spectacular – is getting reviews so bad that even the theme park media who won’t say anything negative are having a hard time coming up with qualifiers to avoid saying this show has major issues. Meanwhile over in Disney Springs; the Town Center opened with Sprinkles Bakery and the Disney run D-Luxe Burgers is getting a big thumbs up from us. Also open? The Lime parking garage, making the area –  which was once the absolute worst place on property to park at  – now the best. Let’s not forget the next time you are in the BoardWalk area to check out the incredible new ice cream shop Ample Hills Creamery. Not only is there an ice cream flavor exclusive to WDW with Sally Sells Sea Shells (orange marshmallow ice cream with chocolate sea shells mixed in) , but we can highly recommend the Ooey Gooey Butter Cake and Peppermint Pattie as well. 

Now while all of you were out at Disney World with Chewbacca Mom, Outlet Intern Julia Mascardo and I were hard at work to bring you the quality Outlet coverage you expect deserve!

Enough jibber jabber! Who is ready to hit the Outlets? Remember that clicking on any picture will open a full size version of it (don’t say we didn’t warn you).

I’ve been searching a long time for the very worst example of Disney Vinlmation and this month I think I finally think I found my holy grail with this one featuring Mike Wazowski. Originally $12.95, now $3.99

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If he had two eye’s he’d probably poke one out so as not to see this.

Speaking of Vinylmations, here is a a two pack featuring Marvel characters. Each comes with Loki along with another character. There is no one in the theme park community who loves Marvel more than I (I’ve been a comic book collector for much longer than I have been going to theme parks) but because of the standard Mickey Mouse mold these look a little too goofy for me. Originally $24.95 EACH, these were marked down to $6.99. I just realized that if you were going to collect these, the best case scenario is that you’ll end up with 16 Lokis and that’s the one character you can’t trade because everyone else will have him too.

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Marvel.

Here are two of the characters from the Attractionistas line, which pretty much crosses Barbie with Monster High dolls. Each of the characters is based around an attraction and these two are for Space Mountain and Jungle Cruise. I think it’s a neat idea. I’d love to see GI Joe style action figures created for attractions. I’d be all over that. Originally $24.95, now $9.99.

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Attractionistas.

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The Ghost Post Box: Part II

by on May 16, 2016

Foolish mortals who are regular Touring Plans blog readers may remember that about a month ago I reported on a new subscription box service themed to Disney’s Haunted Mansion attraction, The Ghost Post. The second of the three-box series arrived this week.

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Box #2 arrived in similar packaging to the first box. The only real differences were in the box side panels. The “Final Arrangements” notice (on an inside flap) was different; one was marked by M.T. Graves and one by I.M. Mortal. I get the puns, but I have not yet found any relationship of these markings to the Ghost Post game.

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Additionally, the back side of the cartons had different drawings, clearly elements of a house. I’d be shocked if Box #3 didn’t have the roof on the house on it.

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I’ve Been Visited by the Ghost Post — What’s in the Box

by on April 11, 2016

Disney groupies (*raises hand*) may recall that about a month ago Disney launched a mysterious website, the “Ghost Relations Department.”

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The site initially advertised a limited edition (of 999,ha!) Haunted Mansion-related subscription box service. Details were sketchy, but the gist was that for the low low price of $199 you would get some sort of box filled with unspecified Haunted Mansion stuff, monthly for three months. The box promised to hold objects and artifacts related to the Mansion, as well as interactive element, and an unfolding mystery story. Potential purchasers were told that in order to have full access to the interactive elements, they would need to have an iPhone. (All the 999 subscriptions were claimed. The page below originally included a link to purchase on the Disney Store website, but the link is now gone.)

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Because I have an unnatural compulsion to open my wallet for all things Disney, I bought this subscription service, not really knowing what I’d be getting.

Since I didn’t know exactly what I should be expecting or when it would arrive, I was a bit perplexed when a plain cardboard box showed up on my doorstep this weekend. There was no Disney return address or other source markings on the outer carton.

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But as soon as I opened the box and saw the faux steamer trunk printing inside, I remembered what I had ordered.

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SATURDAY SIX: Six “Easter Eggs” in the Magic Kingdom

by on February 20, 2016

This week’s SATURDAY SIX looks at Six “Easter Eggs” in the Magic Kingdom. Yes, we love the awesome rides, the incredible resorts, and the mouth watering restaurants at WDW, but the more trips we take the more we appreciate all the little details throughout The World. While most guests know of Hidden Mickeys, there are many other Easter eggs to discover, many of which are hidden are in plain sight. Today we are going to look at some of our favorite “Easter eggs” at the Magic Kingdom, so sit back, keep your head on a swivel, and let’s begin our countdown starting with…

# 6 – Mr. Toad in The Haunted Mansion

Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, an opening day ride at the Magic Kingdom that entertained guests in Fantasyland until 1998, was the first Disney attraction to have a failed online petition trying to save it. Since then, almost every single attraction that Disney and Universal have closed to make something new has garnered some sort of online support. There was even an outpouring of support for the Sorcerer’s Hat at DHS, an item which – at best – could be called an eyesore.

There are many of us who still miss Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, and thankfully there still are a couple of references to Mr. Toad still at the Magic Kingdom today. One of these is located at The Haunted Mansion, and can be seen as you exit the building. There is a small pet cemetery on your left, and if you look towards the back, you’ll see a gravestone for Mr. Toad.

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The Pet Cemetary outside The Haunted Mansion. (photo by Brandon Glover)

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Mr. Toad. (photo by Brandon Glover)

Recommended supplements: The Unofficial Guide’s Disney Dish podcast with Jim Hill and Len Testa. Episode 92: The Save Mr. Toad Protests. To listen, click HERE.

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The Magic, The Memories, and Merch! January 2016 Photo Report of the Disney Outlet Store

by on January 31, 2016

MMM positiveWelcome to the latest edition of The Magic, The Memories, and Merch! the longest running monthly look at the Disney Outlet Stores in Orlando. The new year has started off exactly where the old one left us: with Walt Disney World closing attractions. It has been a pretty cool month though, including a cool Star Wars runDisney race out in California (and Star Wars fans owe it to themselves to watch a great parody of Undercover Boss featuring Kylo Ren). Erin Foster took us inside Vanellope’s on the Disney Dream, and for those who don’t know, this is a complete Wreck-It-Ralph themed sweet shop (pinch us, we’re dreaming). And Guy Selga introduced us to Four Glorious New Ways to Kill Time at Disneyland, including the am I dreaming this, or is this real Jungle Cruise Skipper School. 2016 is shaping up to be an incredible year.

Now while all of you were off taking your kids to see Donald Trump, Outlet Intern Julia Mascardo and I were hard at work to bring you the quality Outlet coverage you expect deserve!

Enough jibber jabber! Who is ready to hit the Outlets? Remember that clicking on any picture will open a full size version of it (don’t say we didn’t warn you).

The first item this month made my heart grow three sizes (after double checking, that enlargement of the heart was actually due to eating the Pop-Tart Sandwich at Pop Century). Behold the Luigi’s Flying Tires hat! Anyone who has visited the Disney Dump has seen the remnants of this attraction, which opened with the debut of Cars Land in the summer of 2012 and was already closed by the ending of February 2015. Believe it or not, despite only being open for only 976 days, Luigi’s doesn’t even rank in the Top Five of Short Lived Disney Attractions. Originally $24.95, this baby could be sitting on your head for just $6.99. VIVA LA DISNEY OUTLETS!

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After seeing this, I know how Indiana Jones felt seeing the Fertility Idol.  (photo by Julia Mascardo)

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Tsum Tsums returned this month! However it was mostly the ones we have seen in the past (including all seven of the dwarfs), but one that was new was this crying duck. I had literally no idea who this was, but found out it was the Ugly Duckling from a quick scene in Lilo & Stitch. That’s what we call a deep dive, and I love it. I actually dropped Loot Crate this month and started up the Disney Tsum Tsum Monthly Subscription Program, so starting in February I too will annoy you with unboxing videos (although my last one didn’t go so well).

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Ugly Duckling Tsum.

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Ugly Duckling sequence from Lilo & Stitch.

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The Magic, The Memories, and Merch! December 2015 Photo Report of the Disney Outlet Store

by on December 31, 2015

MMM positiveWelcome to the latest edition of The Magic, The Memories, and Merch! the longest running monthly look at the Disney Outlet Stores in Orlando. In fact, with this edition of MMM Your Humble Author is completing the greatest month in the history of theme park blogging. In December we had the 25 Drinks of Christmas countdown (featuring the Nautilus at Grog Grotto, Deathly Hallows at WWOHP, Candy Apple Cotton-Tini at T-Rex Cafe and more), SATURDAY SIXES on the best souvenir cups at WDW along with Indiana Jones references in Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar, our annual IN MEMORIAM – Six Things We Lost From the Theme Park World, and the inaugural 12 Days of a Theme Park Christmas. Of course readers of this fine column will enjoy Six Gifts Santa Can Bring BACK to the North Pole (AKA The Best of the Disney Outlet Stores 2015)

Now while all of you were out buying the wrong gift for your loved ones, Outlet Intern Julia Mascardo and I were hard at work to bring you the Outlet coverage you expect deserve!

Enough jibber jabber! Who is ready to hit the Outlets? Remember that clicking on any picture will open a full size version of it (don’t say we didn’t warn you)

We are going to start off this month’s report with a story so uplifting that, if it was made into a movie, it could only star Kirk Cameron. When the Disney Outlet Store off of International Drive was shut down in June for a “refurbishment,” we were told it would be closed for three months and reopen in September. Well, September came and went and it still wasn’t open. October came and went and it still wasn’t open. November came and went and it still wasn’t open

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I made many trips past this closed Outlet Store during the Summer and Fall, not unlike Ralphie Parker hoping to find his Little Orphan Annie Decoder Ring in the mail.

A funny thing happened in early December. I had bought tickets to go to a private event in Diagon Alley at the Universal Orlando Resort, which is close to the International Drive Outlets. I walked by the Disney Outlet, and found it still closed, but this time there was a sign on the door…

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Wait, is that a sign on the door?!

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