Saturday, May 28, 2011

Time to be Moving Along...

Just wanted to let you know that I've taken up residence in a new location on the Internet.

More Disney-related info (and beyond) can be found at my new blog "Adventure Venranda":

Thanks to everyone who came by.  Hope to see you sometime at the Veranda.

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- Chris

Sunday, March 27, 2011

From the Shoebox - World of Motion / GM Pamphlet (1985)

Today I'd like to share something I pulled out of my of my shoebox 'o Disney ephemera:

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This was a free pamphlet I picked up at EPCOT Center's World of Motion pavilion. According the the copyright, I must have picked it up sometime around 1985.

Appealing as the cover page is, what I really dig are the images inside:

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You know, as much as I miss the wonderful "World of Motion" AA attraction...

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I think I have more discrete memories of two of the shows from the "Transcenter" post-show area: "Bird and the Robot", and "The Water Engine":

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And now, a word from our pavilion sponsor, GM:

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Oh, and are you wondering about the "free offer inside"? Well, the answer lies on the back page, which includes a postage-paid card via which you could request your "GM Family Vacation Guidebook" (Only one guidebook per household. Offer limited to licensed drivers):

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Until next time,

- Chris

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Back to the Future

Sometimes I wonder what it would be like if Tomorrowland still tried to inspire us the way Walt Disney described back in 1955:

"A vista into a world of wondrous ideas, signifying man's achievements.... A step into the future with predictions of constructive things to come. Tomorrow offers new frontiers in science, adventure, and ideals, the atomic age, the challenge of outer space and the hope for a peaceful and unified world."

For example, what if we had an Tomrrowland Speedway (or Autopia) that was home to a fleet of electric vehicles with wireless recharging built into the track?

Disneyland uses a form of this technology today in their submarines.  Nissan is reportedly thinking along these lines already:

"Nissan has reportedly developed a wireless charging system that uses technology similar to that found in electric toothbrushes, called inductive charging... The company even has hopes of embedding these devices in roadways one day so the cars could charge on the fly as they drive by."

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The 1955 WED vision for Tomorrowland had it's share of challenges, and delivered an uneven guest experience.  But for all it's shortcomings ("Hey, kids!  Let's check out the Hall of Aluminum Fame!"), it did give the world some iconic and inspirational experiences (I still remember sinking in to my seat at WDW's "Flight to the Moon").

What if the company which bear's Walt Disney's name decided to show a new generation of guests a World of Tomorrow that is perhaps just a dream away?

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Just sayin'

Until next time,

- Chris

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Disney Gallery - "Day One Disneyland"

The Disney Gallery is one of those quiet places which make Disneyland special. Although I never got to experience the gallery in its original home in New Orleans Square, I'm glad that it (eventually) found a new location in the old bank building (next to the Opera House on Main Street, U.S.A).

The gallery exhibits are changed periodically.  The last time I was in Disneyland I was fortunate enough to catch one called: Day One Disneyland - Original Inspirations for "The Happiest Place on Earth":

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"... Disneyland was planned, designed and built in less than two years.  ...Such Disney Legends as Herb Ryman, Sam McKim, Harper Goff, and Marvin Davis were churning out amazingly evocative renderings at a breakneck pace.

...This exhibit looks at that prolifically creative time in Disneyland history, showcasing early ideas, concepts and visions that led to the creation of 'The Happiest Place on Earth' and the way it was envisioned (but not necessarily built) for Opening Day, July 17, 1955."  

This exhibit was a real treat for fans of early Disneyland concept art.  Concept art gives us a chance to step back in time, offering hints and insights into the creative process, and in some cases lets us peek into Elseworlds that might have been.

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I thought it might be fun to go through my Disney bookshelf when I got home to see how many of the images I could find reproduced therein. 

[A] - The Art of Disneyland by Jeff Kurtti and Bruce Gordon. 2006, ISBN: 1423104595
[B] - The Architecture of Reassurance: Designing the Disney Theme Parks. Karal Ann Maulding. 1998, ISBN: 2080136399
[C] -The Imagineering Field Guide to Disneyland by Alex Wright and The Imagineers. 2008, ISBN: 1423109759

Check out for reviews of these and other great Disney books.

Here's the results of what I've found so far.  If you happen to have any of the above titles on your bookshelf, then feel free to play along at home:

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Top - Castle Courtyard.  Herb Ryman ([C] pg 81)
Middle - Dumbo.  Bruce Bushman, 1954. ([A] pg 86, [C] pg 83)
Middle - Mad Tea Party.  Bruce Bushman ([C] pg 95)
Middle - Fantasyland Concepts.  Bruce Bushman ([C] pg 91)
Bottom -Fantasyland (??)

Day One Disneyland  5
Sleeping Beauty Castle comes to Anaheim.  Herb Ryman, 1955 ([A] pg 73)

Day One Disneyland  6
Top - Sleeping Beauty Castle Courtyard.  Herb Ryman ([C] pg 80) 
Middle - Fantasyland Concepts (??) 
Bottom - Snow White Facade, Eyvind Earle. 1954 ([B] pg 75)

Day One Disneyland  3
Top - Frontierland Entrance. Bruce Bushman, 1954 ([A] pg 35, [B] pg 71)
Bottom - Mark Twain concept.  Stan Parkhouse ([C] pg 50)

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Top - Jungle Cruise (??) 
Bottom - Jungle Cruise dock and Adventureland (??) 

Top - Indian Village(??)
Bottom - Frontierland (??) 

This little "scavenger hunt" was a lot of fun, and it reminded me of some Disney books I need to dive back into.  Thanks for coming along.

As you can see, I wasn't able to track down all of the images (although I would swear I've seen them before).  If anyone can help me find a reference I would appreciate a comment.

- Chris

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Walking in the Park with Rolly Crump

Back in December I was delighted to discover "A Walk in the Park with Rolly Crump" - an audio tour of Disneyland led by Imagineer and Disney Legend Roland "Rolly" Crump.

Rolly had a hand in iconic Disneyland attractions such as It's a Small World, Walt Disney's Enchanted Tiki Room, and The Haunted Mansion. He has also been honored with a window on Disneyland's Main Street:

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I bought a copy of the tour in late December, but saved it listen to when I spent solo day in Disneyland a couple of weeks ago.

Having heard Rolly's interview on WEDway Radio, my expectations were pretty high, and I am pleased to report I was not disappointed. Given his background, it should come as no surprise that Rolly is also an excellent storyteller. Although there is some overlap with material I have heard before, I learned plenty. Most of all, it was a rare treat to feel like I was being given a personal tour by someone who clearly loved Disneyland and played a direct role in shaping it in ways both big and small.

The recording itself is professionally produced, and makes for an enjoyable experience even when listened to among the ambient noise of park. I think it can be enjoyed on it's own, but if you have the chance I would recommend listening to it in Disneyland as intended.

The tour is fifty minutes of recorded audio. It begins outside the Main Street train station, and meanders from there, with clearly identified places where the listener should pause and proceed to a different area of the park. This format allows the listener to proceed a his or her own pace, and encourages you to slow down to take in many of the small details which make Disneyland special.

Although the tour does not explicitly enter any attractions, there are obvious spots where the audio can be paused long enough to enjoy some of the featured attractions, and in some cases Rolly gives you specific details to look for while inside.

I would suggest allocating at least 90-120 minutes for the walking tour (more if you plan to visit attractions along the way).

My only wish is that there were more material like this. Rolly himself says he has many more stories to tell. Perhaps if this tour proves to be sufficiently popular we might get more (Please !! ??).

In summary - "A Walk in the Park" with Rolly Crump is highly recommended. I would consider it a bargain at twice the price. While it will be enjoyed most by Disney geeks, I think the material can be enjoyed by anyone who is willing to slow down and learn a little more about "The Happiest Place on Earth".

You can purchase the audio tour (and hear a free sample) here.

You can read more about Rolly over at Progress City, U.S.A. and also at WEDway Radio. You should also listen to his interview on WEDway Radio Episode 50.

Oh - and make sure to wave "Hi" to Rolly the next time you're in Disneyland:

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