Posts Tagged ‘Indiana Jones Adventure’

SATURDAY SIX: Six Reasons This Walt Disney World Annual Passholder Can’t Wait To Get Back To Disneyland

by on August 8, 2015

This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at Six Reasons This Walt Disney World Annual Passholder Can’t Wait To Get Back To Disneyland. Over the course of the SATURDAY SIX’s award winning run we have done many articles on how much we love the Walt Disney World attractions, restaurants, and resorts. However, over the years we have been told constantly how great the Disneyland Resort is, even despite TripAdvisor recently ranking Disney’s Hollywood Studios higher than Disneyland (which surprisingly was not an April Fool’s Day prank.) With all the apotheosizing about these parks we figured that we’d have to get to the bottom of this, so we bought crack staff photographer Brandon Glover a first class plane ticket to California. Because Brandon is from Titusville, Florida, this was literally like an episode of the Beverly Hillbillies. What would this Walt Disney World Annual Passholder for well over a decade…a man who would lay down in front of a tank for EPCOT…think of the park That Walt Built? The answer may surprise you. So sit back, sip on a mint julep, and let’s begin our countdown starting with…

# 6 – Dining Inside the Parks Is Better

When contemplating where to find the best food during a WDW vacation, the most likely conclusion will be to choose a restaurant in World Showcase or one of the many resort locations across the property. For the seasoned WDW veteran, quick service options are usually bypassed for something of better quality. Most quick service locations serve similar fare to their counterparts located around the parks, which many find to be less than stellar across the board. One thing I was looking forward to in Disneyland was trying the variety of quick service foods, of which I’ve heard nothing but stellar reviews. Right from the get go, this proved to be a wonderful truth. Not only was the food appetizing and delicious, but I was amazed at the variety of options available: Flo’s V8 Cafe features a Chicken Tamale breakfast and the biscuits and gravy from the River Belle Terrace provided a salivating reminder of home. Love New Orleans Style food? The French Market had a bit of Cajun flavor to spice up our night. 


Monte Cristo sandwich at the Blue Bayou. (photo by Brandon Glover)


There are themed snacks and then there are themed snacks. This is the latter. (photo by Brandon Glover)

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Review of Disneyland Single Rider Lines

by on June 26, 2014

Matterhorn Bobsleds Single Rider Pass

Matterhorn Bobsleds Single Rider Pass

Single rider lines at Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure park can be a very effective way to save time in your touring day at Disneyland Resort. Additionally, they offer another perspective of your favorite attractions through their designated queues. Being a single rider usually means you are placed with another group of guests, which can also lead to fun conversations and even potential new friends with a shared interest in Disney parks. Single rider lines are currently available at the following Disneyland Resort attractions:

  • California Screamin’
  • Goofy’s Sky School
  • Grizzly River Run
  • Indiana Jones Adventure
  • Radiator Springs Racers
  • Soarin’ Over California
  • Splash Mountain

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Southern California’s Top Five Dark Ride Illusions

by on September 17, 2013

Images copyright Disney

Recently, Disneyland’s Indiana Jones Adventure was unexpectedly upgraded with digital projection mapping effects that bring the opening scene’s Mara statue to life in a dynamic new way. The “plussing” of the attraction was somewhat controversial online due to the replacement of the original accompanying audio track (which was never voiced by James Earl Jones, contrary to urban legend), but the Internet buzz shouldn’t overshadow how welcome it is that Imagineering is still improving an eighteen year old E-Ticket.

That brings up the importance of the special effect, or “illusion,” in the art of the dark ride. (For the purposes of this post, “dark ride” refers to attractions where guests travel in a vehicle through a series of largely indoor environments that feature scenery and visual effects.) Dark rides predate Disneyland but were perfected by the Mouse; while a few competitors can now go toe-to-toe with Disney’s attractions in the awe-inspiring technology department, the Anaheim resort still houses the world’s greatest collection of ride-through theatrical illusions, featuring some “wow” moments that still draw gasps generations after their invention.

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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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Last Week at Disneyland Resort (12/2/2012 – 12/8/2012)

by on December 10, 2012

All photos copyright Disney

Walt Disney World was on the receiving end of the theme park world's attention last week, thanks to the opening of New Fantasyland. But that doesn't mean WDW's West Coast older brother took the week off. Candlelight ceremonies and the return of a long-absent archeologist were highlights of one of the final moderately-attended periods before the Christmas crowds come.

Crowd Calendar

Quietest Day: Monday 12/3 was a 2 out of 10 at the resort, with 2.1 at Disneyland, and 1.9 at DCA.

Busiest Day: Friday 12/7 was a 7 out of 10 at the resort, with a 6.2 at Disneyland, and 6.9 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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Indiana Jones Adventure Refurb: 5 Things Disneyland Hopefully Refurbished (and 5 They Hopefully Didn’t)

by on December 5, 2012

Image copyright Disney

In the wake of recent refurbishments such as the Matterhorn Bobsleds and Storybook Land, we’ve largely grown accustomed to detailed information on adjustments being made to attractions long before they reopen. But one of Disneyland’s signature E-Tickets has been under wraps for a quarter of a year, and we have little solid evidence of what’s been going on inside in advance of its imminent return.

The Indiana Jones Adventure has been one of the most popular and critically-praised thrills at Disneyland Park since its debut in 1995. But even its most die-hard fans will admit that it has almost always been in need of major repairs. I rank it among my top 5 favorite attractions anywhere, but I’ve never experienced it with every effect working as intended.

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Last Week at Disneyland Resort (10/7/2012 – 10/13/2012)

by on October 16, 2012

All photos copyright Disney

The spooky seasonal spirit is in full swing at the Disneyland Resort, thanks to thrice-weekly Halloween parties in Disneyland Park. Keep an eye out for special snacks and souvenirs offered around the parks until the end of the month, and enjoy the lighter crowds on non-party weekdays.

Crowd Calendar

Quietest Day: Tuesday 10/9 was a 3 out 10 at the resort, with crowds at 1.6 out of 10 at Disneyland, and 7.6 at DCA.

Busiest Day: Sunday 10/7 was a 9 out of 10 at the resort, with a 7.7 out of 10 in Disneyland, and 9.5 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 (8/26/2012 – 9/1/2012)

by on September 3, 2012

All photos copyright Disney

The end of August equals the start of the slow September season at Disneyland. Crowds should be minimal for the next couple weeks, at least until the special Halloween events kick off on the 14th.

Crowd Calendar

Quietest Day: Tuesday 8/28 was a 2 out of 10 at the resort, with DCA crowds at 2.7 and Disneyland Park at only 1.2.

Busiest Day: Saturday 9/1 was a 5 out of 10 at the resort, with DCA crowds at 3 and Disneyland Park at 5.

Subscribe to the Disneyland Crowd Calendar for details on predicted crowds for the next 30 days.

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This Month at Disneyland Resort: September 2012

by on September 1, 2012

All photos copyright Disney.

The summer tourists have gone home, and the local kids are back in school, making September a spectacular time to visit the Disneyland Resort if you desire short lines. Mid-week visitors can expect the smallest crowds seen since before the June relaunch of Disney California Adventure. Beware, however, that seasonal installations and long-delayed refurbishments will result in several favorite Disneyland attractions being declared off-limits over the next month. Be sure to check the refurbishment list when planning a visit to the parks, so that you aren’t unpleasantly surprised upon arrival.

Crowd Calendar

Quietest Day: Most Mondays through Thursdays this month sport wait times in the bottom third of the year. The day after Labor Day is traditionally dead quiet, with Tuesday 8/30 predicted at only 1.1 out of 10 at Disneyland, and 1.8 at DCA.

Busiest Day: Saturdays and Sundays will be moderately busy once the Halloween decor is in full effect. Saturday 9/22 should hit a predicted peak of 6.3 out of 10 in Disneyland, and 6.6 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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Top 5 Attraction Queues at Disneyland Park

by on May 14, 2012

Disneyland Park is widely praised for having the highest density of highly-themed attractions of any American amusement enterprise. But one area in which the original Magic Kingdom falls behind some of its younger siblings is in the theming of its queue lines.

Back in Walt’s day, the “switchback” queue was an innovation, encouraging face-to-face interaction between strangers waiting in line. Today, with many guests engrossed in their digital devices, people need something more enticing that other humans to hold their interest. Hence, the highly-detailed holding area, filled with scenic elements and effects engineered to import the backstory information riders need to fully enjoy their imminent adventure.

Currently, the world’s top themed queue environments can generally found in Disney parks outside of Anaheim, such as Expedition Everest at WDW’s Animal Kingdom, or Journey to the Center of the Earth at Tokyo’s DisneySea. And while this article only touches on the original Disneyland Resort gate, Radiator Springs Races may make that list once cars Land at Disney California Adventure opens in June. But the Happiest Place on Earth can still lay claim to a few top-flight queues.

Here is my personal top 5 favorite pre-attraction areas inside Disneyland Park. Please add your own nominees to the comments below!


5. The Haunted Mansion

The Haunted Mansion was the last attraction Walt had direct input on, and is justly regarded as an essential example of the Disneyland experience. The Omnimover ride vehicles and elaborate ghostly effects inside the ride certainly are a big element of that, but the attraction’s brilliance begins long before you board your Doombuggy. After entering the Southern Gothic mansion’s front gate, you’ll pass a pet cemetary filled with witty monuments to departed furry friends. Upon crossing the threshold, you’ll enter the infamous “Stretching Room,” and encounter your “Ghost Host” (voiced by the immortal Paul Frees). And there’s still the corridor of transforming paintings and seemingly-shifting statues to traverse before your voyage into the netherworld really begins. As a bonus, during the Halloween and Christmas holidays the exterior and interior are adorned with decor inspired by Tim Burton’s A Nightmare Before Christmas.


4. The Disneyland Story presenting Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln

Since this theater presentation is rarely full, most guests see it without having to wait more than a few minutes in its Main Street lobby. But it would be a mistake to miss the mini-museum that makes up this attraction’s pre-show, and not only because it it blissfully air-conditioned. Start by examining the exhibits dedicated to the development of Disneyland, especially the lovingly-detailed model of the park as it looked on opening day. The retrospective video starring Steve Martin and Donald Duck shown here was originally created for the park’s 50th anniversary in 2005, but is still well worth watching in full, with a wealth of historical footage. Next, move on to the inner pre-show room, home to a stunning scale model of the White House (made by hand, based on the original blueprints) and maquette miniatures of the Spirit statues found in Epcot’s American Adventure. Finally, a second video fills you in on the origins of the Mr. Lincoln show, and Walt’s personal interest in Honest Abe. By the time they enter the main theater, patrons who have seen all the pre-show has to offer will have a much fuller understanding of the historical importance of this still-impressive patriotic performance.


3. Roger Rabbit’s Cartoon Spin

Based on a film franchise that the Disney corporation seems to have largely forgotten, Cartoon Spin is a hybrid between Mr. Toad and the Mad Tea Party that doesn’t have a lot of fans among Unofficial Guide reviewers. There are some nifty effects, and it’s certainly more detailed than some of the classic Disneyland dark rides. But some of us feel that it falls short because the spinning makes for a chaotic, incoherent experience. Still, one strong suit everyone can agree on is the elaborately detailed queue line. A tour of the seamy side streets of Toontown, visitors get to see a landmarks like the Ink & Paint club (knock on the door for an interactive surprise) and a Dip-making facility. Roger Rabbit’s queue is often overloaded, and its Fastpasses are disconnected from the rest of the park, so I often skip the line when I ride, which is a shame.


2. Star Tours: The Adventures Continue

The original Star Tours queue was among the first with first-class theming, featuring an authentic-feeling Star Wars spaceport complete with animatronics of C-3PO and R2-D2. When Imagineering refreshed the ride in 2011, they upgraded the already-amazing queue as well. A razor-sharp hi-def screen in the initial room now broadcasts a steady stream of saga references, and a pair of wisecracking security robots in the second room spout side-splitting inside jokes about Lucas and Disney characters. Even the pre-boarding safety video was beefed up (some dodgy CGI aside) with some droid-based humor. (Classic Star Tours fans, fear not for the original pre-show’s distinctively coiffed narrator; she and her hair can still be glimpsed in the new film.) Best of all, when you use Fastpass at this attraction (a must on busy days) you still get to experience all the same sights as the standby line.

1. The Indiana Jones Adventure

This one wasn’t even close. More than a decade an a half after its debut, Disneyland’s Indiana Jones attraction still has no real competition for the “best queue” crown on the West Coast (though Universal Studios Hollywood’s new Transformers ride is making a run for it). Only Unversal Orlando’s Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey has truly surpassed Indy effort in completely immersing guests in a complete world before they board. The journey from Adventureland into the Temple of the Forbidden Eye feels like an epic (and lengthy) adventure in of itself. Born of the necessity to get guests beyond the park’s berm and into the former parking lot where Indy’s show building was constructed, the extensive line effectively builds anticipation for the groundbreaking ride at the end. Treacherous tunnels, decorated with dangers such as spiked celings and realistic-looking bat guano, sport interactive elements that (when working) will prompt surprised smiles; just be sure ignore any “don’t touch” signage. There are even ancient codes on the walls that you can learn to decipher. Frequent guests will often use the single rider option to board quicker, skipping the queue, but this is one line that every theme park fan needs to wait in at least once.

All photos copyright Disney.