Archive for the ‘Disney’s Hollywood Studios’ Tag

WDW Report: March 9   Leave a comment

Trip Report Covering Epcot and Studios, But Mostly Epcot

EPCOT:

Flower and Garden is now open. This year’s entrance display is rather lackluster compared to last year’s impressive Fantasia display. Really none of the displays this year were anything special. All of them -save the Monsters University set (which, by the way, were some of the best ones this year)- were reused pieces from the last years’ fests. I know that’s typical of Flower and Garden, but I’ve seen these same topiaries for years. Worse yet, many of them (especially the entrance ones) seem thrown in last minute without any real theme or thought.

The Festival is celebrating it’s 20th anniversary this year. I can’t help but think the candle and cake are homages to the Castle Cake from WDW’s 25th.

Still painting Mission Space

It’s that time of year when Wonders of Life re-opens! Too bad it’s only Festival Center. It’s looking a little less 80s in there. The work they’ve been putting into it seems to make it a little less awkward and tacky. The trees and planters look a little more lush and permanent. The stages don’t look re-used. There are still a lot of curtain walls and awkward areas, of course.

Flowers! Gardens! Festivals!

Here’s all the butterflies! It’s too early for the garden (now themed to the fairies) to be covered with the butterflies.

Dadgumn! It’s everyone’s favorite! TOW-PIARY MATER! The placement of the Cars topiaries makes sense by Test Track, but there isn’t much space. Mater is a popular character and everyone was clamoring to get a picture with/of him. The walkway is too small for that.

Peter Pan hides on the roofs of the UK Pavilion. This is really clever, but hard to notice. There’s nothing drawing your eye up there, making him easy to miss.

Walls are up at Norway. As you readers know, the waterfall has been off for months now and the water turned green. Assumingly this wall and tarp is up while they fix everything.

STUDIOS:

There’s a new Cadillac parked out in front of the Great Movie Ride.

We always love it when they leave cars out- especially pretty old ones. They add life to the seemingly vacant areas.

Rockin’ Roller Coaster’s iconic guitar is being painted. Also, I finally rode Rockin’ Roller Coaster for the first time. Absolutely loved it.

 

What do you guys think about Flower and Garden this year? How about that new car? Feel the need to make fun of me for waiting this long before going on Coaster? Leave your comments below!

Big Red Signs   4 comments

A few weeks ago, I attempted to make a videocast. Though it received great feedback from test audiences, I didn’t feel happy with my work, and it was not publicly published. I don’t expect to be trying it again anytime soon.
So, I’ve decided that instead of  running a videocast,  the topic the ‘cast would have discussed will become a segment here on the blog.  In it, I will pick a random graphic, design, sign, or whatever from the Parks and babble on about it.

This week’s design I’m going to discuss is the Red Car billboard at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. It can be seen directly above Mickey’s of Hollywood on Hollywood Blvd (that’s the first shop on the left hand side of the entrance). This sign advertises the iconic Pacific Electric Red Cars, “The World’s Largest Interurban Electric Railway System”. The sign features a 600-Series Red Car, painted in a bright red with golden ‘butterfly wings’, just like the ones that used to run through Los Angeles. These cars are also featured in the film “Who Framed Rodger Rabbit” and Trolley 717 over at DCA. Or that stupid wannabe Red Car pin stand near Tower of Terror.

Speaking of Trolley 717, this graphic from the billboard was actually used on the construction walls while tracks were installed in the then Hollywood Pictures Backlot. Minor changes were made to the sign for the walls. The Pacific Electric Emblem was changed to one for the “Red Car Trolley” (As the logos are identical other than name), the trolley’s stops and destinations were altered to reflect the DCA stops, and the bottom tag announced that the cars were “Arriving soon to Buena Vista Street and Hollywoodland!”

During Red Car construction in DCA

I’ve always really liked this sign. Well, I’ve always liked trolleys, so…That isn’t a surprise. I enjoy that kind of 1920’s/30’s kind of thing.  Once I heard DCA was to get trolleys, I liked the sign even more. I’d often point it out to my parents and say “Look! That’s going to be at DCA!”  But, overall, the graphic is great. It lends a big hand to help set the setting. The glorified Holloywood we always see in the movies (such as Who Framed Rodger Rabbit) tend to have a Red Car much like the one advertised. My only issue with the sign is that you can’t actually ride Red Cars at the Studios (unless you jumped onto the pin stand).

Hope you’ve enjoyed this article. Liked it? Got a graphic you’d like me to talk about? Leave a comment! Thanks for reading!

WDW Trip Report for April 28 and 29   Leave a comment

Time for another WDW Trip Report! This week, we’ll look at Magic Kingdom and Studios. 

Well...It looked better in person than it did in pictures. Still not liking it though,

He's heeeeerrreeee.....Surprised he didn't replace the poster next to him (Snow White)

Yes. I got a cup. And a citrus swirl.

Over at Big Thunder...It looks like new rockwork was put up (The yellow bits)?

Audio Animatronics have been placed back in the ride.

Skyway demolition will create a new path and reconfigured queue at Mansion.

Over in Fantasyland, the Skyway is gone. That was a HUGE plot of land.

Rumours indicate this could become a new Tangled Meet and Play experience.

Over at Peter Pan, modifications to the queue entrance has begun. As well, they were not using the part that is rumored to become the interactive area, even with the line pouring well out past the fatpass machines.

Castle walls: really big and tall. Awful close to the construction walls, too. I was sure there was one girder passing over the walls!

So tall!

This used to be Dumbo....Oh well.

At Circus, the blue tent is nearly done! Red just has the one that will cover it's opening left.

I see a train...!

Choo-choo!

And speaking of choo-choo, the new watertower and paint on the electrical box look fantastic!

Space Mountain video: Informing you of the dangers of 90's fashion.
I hate how they never updated this video. It's so bad....

Studios:

An empty queue! Great for photos, bad for the ride...

Nooo! G2-9T was feeling a little sick... His lights were still on, but he was static. Please fix him, he's my favourite character. UPDATE- He was working the following morning. Regardless, this shouldn't happen.

Speaking of static things that need fixing, the gangster car in Great Movie Ride has been parked (instead of zooming out) for months.

The ever-awesome One Man's Dream

That’s this month’s report. Sadly, I broke my camera on Space Mountain….shattered by screen. Have no idea if I’ll be able to replace it. May have to revert to my old Olympus for awhile. So if picture quality goes down, you’ll know why.
In the meantime, you can follow me on Twitter and Facebook!

WDW Report: Nov. 23-25   Leave a comment

Turkey Day Tourist-Filled Turmoil!

With stops at Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom, and Studios.

Let’s start this report at the Magic Kingdom, where Christmas has begun!

Christmas! (At Day)

Christmas! (At Night)

SotMK work. These are windows on the side of Uptown Jewlers

And then some tarps around the buildings across from it.

Last month, I reported that planets weren't spinning. Now, they've been removed. Hope they come back soon.

Looks like the new spinner is in place. Either that, or it's that 'centrepeice' they moved in not too long ago.

Naked tents! This whole area looks HUGE, by the way.

The new Cheshire Cafe looks really nice.

Much quieter colour sceme. I like that.

Epcot

They've Santa-hatted the giant chaser at MouseGear!

All 3 new cars were out at Test Track

2 of them were right behind one another! Get used to sights like this after the refurb.

This is why I love Epcot. Wide, open, grassy spaces. Ahh.

New curtain in the SSE desent....Yea....The lights are 10 times brighter than the others. It's kinda weird, and therefore newsworthy.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Awesome new shirt for sale at Dinosaur. It's great to see Seeker get his own merch! (only avalible in kid sizes)

The It's Tough To Be A Bug fastpass machines had Fastpasses for Festival of the Lion King

 Studios

Just going to talk about the Dancing Lights. There’s a new light tent, and it’s quite impressive when dancing. Here’s a video of it.

This is it when it isn't dancing.

I also wanted to mention a few more things:

  • I got a new season pass this trip (thanks mom and dad). This new pass has RFID built into it. Yup, RFID is beginning to make its way into the parks. You can tell it’s RFID because of this new little logo in the corner, and how much thicker it is compared to regular/older tickets. This new one is about as thick as 3 old tickets.

See the little Mickey with the waves?

  • After seeing how great Disneyland looks for the holidays, I was kinda let down going into the Magic Kingdom. I mean, I know what they decorate and how they decorate over here, but…its a letdown. Main Street is festooned, has it’s own Christmas loop (so does Liberty Square, but it’s it’s old loop), and so much more. Meanwhile, the other lands have a bit of garland around some of the light posts, and poinsettias. That’s it. I really wish that the Magic Kingdom would go all out with the decorating!
    I was even more disappointed at DAK, where there were a few wreathes at the entrance with it’s tree, and nothing more. No special music, hardly any decor. It’s just kinda a disappointment.
  • Turns out that Duffy TV show they promised us wasn’t forgotten. Yup, plays every night on resort TV at 7. Couldn’t resist to see what it was all about. It was noting more than a slide show of images out of that Duffy story book with a narrator reading it. Weird story, too. In the end, everyone is jealous of Mickey’s Duffy, so Minnie has to begin manufacturing them.
    Oh, and I saw this picture of Duffy. Go ahead and guess what my first thoughts after seeing it were…

Well, that’s this month. Thanks for joining me! Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter! See ya real soon!

WDW Report: October 15-16   Leave a comment

Fantasyland,Future World Pavilions aplenty, Florida skies? That’s this month’s report!

Ready for another fun-filled WDW report? So am I! So let’s dive right in!

Looks like Main Street's got some tarps again.

Astro Orbitor is open, but there is no planet motion due to last week's fire.

Walls up in Tomorrowland

TTA leg bases are being touched up.

Enchated Grove is still behind tarps.

New walls up in Fantasyland. They recently removed a planter from here (it was the last to leave, in fact), so I've no idea what this is.

This tower way up here is under tarps.

Workers are working on Dumbo. The tent has been enclosed.

The trees previously blocking much of our view into the Expansion have been removed.The reason for this probably has a lot to do with the number of trucks that were driving close to the walls. Sounded and smelled like trucks, plus, you could even see them. This probably has to do with them beginning work on the pedestrian areas for the expansion. Trucks can’t drive on that.

Anyway, Without the trees, you really get to look at how vast this expansion is. Mermaid looks amazing, B&tB is immense.  I’m really excited.

Panoramic

Swiss Family Treehouse is covered entirely by tarps.

EPCOT

Now let's go to Epcot, where SSE is very dirty.

New tip board is new. Twitter intergration is no more (They must have downgraded to iOS4)

I’m not going to talk about Food and Wine. Everyone else is covering it, and I only had 2 dishes (Fried Greek Cheese, Baklava).

I'm now addicted to this stuff. I'm not sure why....

I finally got to ride in the new car! This is the 2nd new car. I didn't see the first one out.

It sounds and rides great! Just one small problem with it….

The screen is already broken.

The Seas tank looks okay.

Saltwater takes a toll on these things.

In The Land, a Haloween display fills this usualy dead space. Nice addition!

At Imagination, the Simon lights (which didn't work this time!) now have instructions next to them, since most people had no clue what they were.

Stepping tones has removed the weird baby pictures, and replaced them with generic clip art instruments.

New vinyl display features Dreamfinder and Figment....

Speaking of Imagination, I counted at least 5 glass tiles that were 100% brown from dirt. PLEASE clean them soon.

Canada now has themed tarps, and the laser covered during the day.

Before we leave Epcot, I also want to mention that:
1- I saw Monorail Peach. Looks like a faded gold colour. Weird. Didn’t ride, but I hear it runs smoothly.
2- Noticed that the Epcot parking tram may have switched load/unload direction. Guests were loading on the driver’s side. If I recall, they used to board the passenger side.

STUDIOS

Look who's moved in front of the Studios: McQueen and Mater from Flower and Garden.

All of the Narnia thing references have been removed.

Oops, forgot some.

Florida sunsets are remarkable.

Carthay Circle!

That concludes this months report! Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter.
I’d also like to apologize for my lacking of posts. School has put time constraints on me. I’m trying my best!

WDW Update: Spet 10-11   1 comment

The Parks During The 9/11 Weekend

Hi everyone! Back from my trip down to the World with a few pictures/updates and a video to share.

Starting at the Magic Kingdom:

Believe it or not, I only visited the park for an hour this trip. Wow.

The tarps are gone from the entrance tunnel. The 'Memories' banners are MIA.

 

Casey's is closed.

 

Swiss Family Treehouse is under referbishment. The entire area of covered with tarp fences.

 

The maps have been updated to include Tikerbelle's Nook and Walt Disney's Enchanted Tiki Room

 

Now, to Epcot:

Repaving the parking lot

 

Oh, so they are there. Cool. I want one.

But now, let’s get into the park.

Haha, this still hasn't been fixed!?

The Epcot tip board/time board is being replaced by a new HD screen.

The Simon game thingie in the Imageworks was working. I played a few times. It's pretty cool.

New car is so cool. I went 5 times in a row (single rider line=walk on!), and didn't get it. Though it was the car ahead of me a few times.

Canada is currently being painted. The gap in the tarps is for the IllumiNations laser.

 

And now, to Studios.

New to me (even though I saw it last month): Gift shop next to Anaheim Produce?

 

Backlot Tour is closed. Why bother?

 

And to end this report, I’ve a video of what happened on Muppets.

People have been complaining about Splash Mountain for months now, and mentioning a few effects missing from Muppets. But when I walked into Muppets on Saturday, I was greeted not only by a static Penguin Orchestra, but also by a static Statler and Waldorf out in the open. It was very depressing to see.

Once the show began, the Penguins still didn’t retract. Their smoke effects were MIA, as were most of the fireworks. But worst of all, Bean’s curtain didn’t open but halfway. Poor Bean was pushing against the half-opened curtain trying to talk to Kermit.

I’ve never come out of Muppets frowning. Then this happened. Disney, please. Get in there and fix the show.

 

That’s all for this week. Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter and to listen to the D-History Podcast. See ya next time!

Star Tours Conspiracy Theory   1 comment

Alright, let’s start with me saying: No, this article will not become some huge Star Wars nerd canon-questioning article. Anyone can follow on it (though I may throw in some Star Wars jargon).

Star Tours: The Adventures Continue has a very interesting storyline. Last time I was there, I really listened to everything going on. By flight 3 of that evening, I had cooked up that there is a larger story at play. Is it just bad luck that 3PO was the captain AND we were perused by the Empire? Or perhaps that was the plan?….

Let’s start with some backstory/setting up:

It has been a long time since the end of the Clone Wars, and the evil Sith Lord Darth Vader continues to tighten his grip on the Empire as the galaxy moves closer to the brink of a great civil war. A new intergalactic spaceline, Star Tours, seeks to preserve unrestricted intergalactic travel in this age of tyranny. Freedom fighter Captain Raymus Antilles has assigned two droids, See-Threepio and Artoo-Detoo, to help launch the spaceline, fueling Imperial suspicion that Star Tours is part of the Rebel Alliance. Star Tours is about to open its first intergalactic space terminal in the Earth System as rumors of a fearsome weapon of mass destruction dash all hope for peace and freedom in the galaxy…

In Star Tours: The Adventures Continue, announcements are heard overhead in the queue, warning that there may be Rebel spies in the area. Remember at this time, the Rebel Alliance was new, and the Empire was ruled by The Sith.

R2-D2 and C-3PO are donated to Star Tours by Captain Antilles of Alderaan, a peaceful planet. Though officially neutral, Alderaan was the home of numerous Rebel officials and warriors,
including one of the Alliance’s founders (and close friend of Antilles, and 3PO and R2’s owner). Perhaps R2-D2 and C-3PO are part of the Rebel Alliance? Well, R2, at least. 3PO never seems to know what’s happening. After all, he had his memory wiped of everything that happened before serving under the Organa family. Perhaps R2 knows more, and because he cannot ‘talk’ he is more likely to stay quiet (plus, R2 is loyal).

Prior to boarding the Starspeeder, the Binary Motivator begins to act up, causing C-3PO to come and fix it. Once the proper captain AC-38 (Ace) has departed the ship (which is set to depart in a few minutes), he is called over by someone off-screen. At this point, the door shuts behind 3PO, locking him in. Unknown to him, it’s time to depart. Ace had not returned.

Once the flight takes off, 3PO proclaims that he cannot fly the ship, he shouldn’t fly the ship, and for R2 to stop the ship. This doesn’t work, and the speeder continues flying. Suddenly, the Empire stops the ship, and finds that a Rebel spy had been placed in it! Though ordered to hand them over, 3PO attempts to fly away, and R2 even pulls out the ship’s laser cannons as defense.

Eventually, it is discovered that the spy was planted in the ship by a Rebel and is to be transported to a safe location to deliver important information that could bring an end to the Empire. R2 jumps the ship to lightspeed (3PO has basically lost control of the ship). The spy is delivered, and the Rebels are happy.

So Here’s My Thought:

3PO was put in the ship on purpose. Ace was lured away from the ship, and was prevented from returning to it. R2 knew the whole time. All of the Rebels knew that this was the flight to protect.

Why do I think this?

  • 3PO was put in the ship on purpose:
  1. Ace would have been the responsible captain and allowed the Empire to capture the spy.
  2. By putting 3PO in the ship, Star Tours could not be found guilty of aiding the Rebels because 3PO was not the proper captain. Had Ace attempted to evade the Empire, Star Tours would have gotten in trouble for allowing their pilot droid to disobey the Empire.
  3. 3PO had no idea how to fly the ship. With R2 the reliable droid in charge, there would be no worries. Having R2 serve as the navigator droid furthers beliefs that this was planned. Any other astromech droid may not have responded the same way R2 had.
  • Ace was lured away from the ship, and was prevented from returning to it:
  1. Pretty self-explanatory. He was a responsible pilot droid, and would have made it back in time. He wouldn’t have just left his ship in the hands of 3PO, either.
  • R2 knew the whole time:
  1. In the queue, R2 is repairing the ship. Who’s to say he didn’t ‘accidentally’ cause some malfunction of the Binary Motivator?
  2. R2 refuses to land the ship when he knows good and well that 3PO is inside, and pretty much takes control of it.
  3. R2 brings out the guns when confronted by the Empire.This act of retaliation shows that R2 is fighting to keep this Rebel alive and safe.
  4. R2 jumps to hyperspace without permission, multiple times.
  5. Who knows where this Starspeeder was headed, anyway? Who says it would be going to wherever the spy needed to be? This one was R2’s, so it shouldn’t matter. Cordinates were to be sent to R2 regardless.
  • All of the Rebels knew that this was the flight to protect:
    1. Why would a Gungan just say “Hey, yousa need to go here for the spy!” before we even identify ourselves? Didn’t those Vulture Droids just ask us to identify ourselves 10 seconds ago? Obviously this was planned, and all the Rebels in the area of wherever the spy was set to land were informed of the flight number (which was probably set a long time ago, as the Navigation Droid’s ID is on each Starspeeder).

How would the Rebel who sends a transmission know where we were, and who we were? They obviously didn’t just send out a message to all Star Tours flights. They had to know it was this one.

I’ll even go as far as to say that the poor Mouse Droid that plummets to his death during the pre-show was in on it. Perhaps he was part of the Rebel Alliance, and carried the message of the plan to one of the other crew members. His falling would call for re-programming on his navigation circuits, or even crush him. That would lead to memory wipping, leaving no trace of a Rebel message.

So is it just luck that the Empire was there the same day as a Rebel spy who just so happened to jump into a ship with the wrong captain? No way. This was all an elaborate plan by the Rebels. Or, as Ackbar would say, “It’s A Trap!”

Another Note:

Though not a conspiracy, I’d like to submit one more of my inferences. There are multiple Starspeeder 1000s. Each has a different paint scheme, a different flight branding (Dantooine Transit, Bespin Direct, Air Alderaan, etc.). Whether or not these are Star Tours’ ships is still up for debate, but I believe that these may be related to the Endor Express of later years. Star Tours obviously visits many locations throughout the galaxy, so why just focus on Endor? Even the fact that it was referred to as “The Endor Express” and not “Star Tours” would further this assumption.

‘Course, I could be wrong, and those ships belong to other companies. Then again, why would they belong to other companies and be parked in a Star Tours terminal? There are Star Tours ads everywhere, and none for these other brands. Hrm.

But yep, that’s what I’ve got to say this week. May the Force be with you!