Boing Boing 

Taxonomy of theme park narrative gimmicks


Foxxfur has published "The Theme Park Trope List," a first approximation attempt to summarize the narrative gimmicks used in theme park attractions to move the action along, for example, "the book report ride," which "shows exactly the same events which occurred in the source film in the same order."

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Hilarious, bawdy princess rap battles

Youtube sensation Whitney Avalon has a brilliant new entry to her amazing Rap Battles series: a rude, hilarious battle between Belle and Cinderella, starring Buffy's Sarah Michelle Gellar.

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Zombies in Disney World

Mari Mancusi has brought "Razor Girl," her out-of-print, post-apocalyptic novel about zombies and Walt Disney World, back as a free ebook under a new title: Tomorrowland.

Philip K Dick on Disneyland, reality and science fiction (1978)


Here's an excellent, rambling PKD riff on the relationship of Disneyland to science fiction (and Episcopalianism) and what is, and is not, real.

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The Art of the Disney Golden Books — Drawings, interviews and photographs from the archives

The Art of the Disney Golden Books is more than a beautiful book of illustrated artwork. It’s a history lesson for Disney fans and a love letter to the men and women who created some of the studio’s most beloved characters.

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Charles Addams, uncredited co-creator of the Haunted Mansion


Ken Anderson, Marc Davis and the other Imagineers who created Disney's Haunted Mansion were clearly influenced by Charles "Addams Family" Addams's cartoons, but until I read this amazing post on Long Forgotten, I had no idea how much influence he exerted on them.

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Watch Beachbot make large-scale sand drawings

Disney Research teamed with ETH Zürich students to create Beachbot, a robot that creates pre-programmed sand drawing.

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The Haunted Mansion was almost the Tiki Room


Another outstanding photo-essay on the Long Forgotten Haunted Mansion blog shows how many of the original Rolly Crump concepts for a walk-through Haunted Mansion at Disneyland eventually made their way into the Enchanted Tiki Room, with effects based on Cocteau's 1946 movie La Belle et la Bête.

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Musical time-machine to Walt Disney World in the late 1970s


The amazing Foxxfur has spent 3.5 years assembling a new installment in her "Musical Souvenir of Walt Disney World" series, pulling together audio rarities from WDW in the late 1970s to create a six-hour soundscape that faithfully recreates the incidental music, cast member spiels, and ride narration from one of the golden ages of Disney themeparks.

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Western fairy tale characters as traditional Korean characters


Korean games illustrator Na Young Wu has an amazing series of illustrations called "Korean Western Fairy Tales," in which she redesigns familiar characters from western fairy tales (including several that have been adapted by Disney) and remakes them as traditional Korean characters.

Na Young Wu is a character illustration artist for games, and in what she calls her "Korean Western Fairy Tale" series, she uses her talents to reimagine familiar characters. Sometimes she uses the color palettes from Disney films, but in other pieces, she focuses on putting her own spin on the stories. You can see more of her Eastern-Western fairy tale illustrations on Twitter—and if you somehow still haven't enough of Frozen, she has her own take on Elsa on her blog.

Western Fairytales Get A Korean Makeover In Gorgeous Illustrations [Lauren Davis/IO9]

Ayn Rand reviews children's movies

The New Yorker's "Ayn Rand Reviews Children’s Movies" is less funny than it should be (most of the jokes are pretty obvious), but it's not bad.

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The strange history of Disney's cyber-psychedelic "Computers Are People Too"

The cult favorite documentary was produced to promote Tron's release, featuring a trippy plot and the strangest computer graphics this side of SIGGRAPH -- and it quickly became a staple of the LA club scene as visual accompaniment for whatever was floating your boat that night.

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Haunted Mansion tightrope girl figurine

The golden age of Haunted Mansion merch continues to ripen, with this stretch gallery Tightrope Girl (AKA "Ballerina and Alligator"): $95 from the Disney Store. It's already sold out, but expect it on Ebay soon. (via Super Punch)

Haunted Mansion leg sleeve tattoo


Redditor Buddytattoo posted these outstanding shots of an in-progress leg-sleeve Haunted Mansion tattoo, created by Tattoo Charlie's in Louisville, KY.

Long-forgotten plans for a Haunted Mansion boat-ride


From the Long Forgotten blog, a characteristically excellent and thorough going-over of the aborted plan to build the Haunted Mansion as a boat ride-through, much like Pirates of the Caribbean (which may have cannibalized some of the aborted watery Mansion plans).

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Baked Potauntaun

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Ewok vs. Mogwai

B3TP-JYIUAAMUbr I'm obsessed with Ewoks, so I had to share this awesome illustration that Black Mudpuppy posted on Twitter.

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Be terrified: new Grimm's Fairy Tales book

It's no secret that the Disney-fied versions of fairy tales that we grew up with in modern times pale in comparison to the originals, told by the likes of Hans Christian Andersen and the Brothers Grimm.

The originals were often dark and gruesome cautionary tales that taught children about the dangers of the world. Now, for the first time, an English translation of the first edition of the original tales as told by the Brothers Grimm has been published by Princeton University Press. Even the cover of this book is scary!

Phish's concept concert based on Disney's "Chilling, Thrilling Sounds of the Haunted House"

For Halloween, rock group Phish traditionally creates a 'musical costume' by covering a classic album from music history. This year, the band created a new set of music based around the 1964 Disneyland album Chilling, Thrilling Sounds of the Haunted House. Interesting set of music with a cool stage design, the band uses the original narration and inspiration for the songs."

It makes for quite a concept album, to rival Kilroy Was Here and 2112.

What "the worst ride in Disney World" teaches us about media strategy


Foxxfurr's latest article on Disney theme park history is yet another amazing and insightful read that uses the tenth anniversary of Stitch's Great Escape ("the worst ride in Disney World") as a jumping-off point to show how the history of theme-parks, animation, the elusive 5-12 year old boy market, and the entertainment business all influenced one another.

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Olaf costume hoodie


Frozen's Olaf the snowman was the funniest animated character I've seen in years, and now there's a women's costume hoodie that'll let you (possibly) fool your friends into thinking that you're him.

Vintage toys: Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Thumper, and... Idiot?

idiot

The 1949 Airboy comic has an ad for 5 puppets: Mickey, Minnie, Donald, and Thumper... and Idiot. We'll assume Idiot is not a Disney-licensed character, though he looks a bit like their Hunchback. The same firm also sold Halloween masks:

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Haunted Mansion leggings


These Disney Haunted Mansion wallpaper leggings are a limited edition, and sell for $80. (Thanks, Alice!)

Please, Disney: put back John's grandad's Haunted Mansion tombstone


John Frost writes, "It's been 46 years of happy haunts at Disneyland's Haunted Mansion, an attraction both Cory and I share a certain affinity for; when the attraction first opened, the exterior queue featured a small graveyard full of tombstones with humorous epitaphs."

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Nerdy steering-wheel covers


Oklahoma City's Beau Fleurs sells a remarkable variety of steering-wheel covers, each adorned with a hellokittyish hair-bow (pictured here: the Marvel comics edition, $25).

(via Geeky Merch)

Buzz Lightyear cited in legal brief


From a motion related to the Speedy Trial Act: "The government cannot simply fail or refuse to respond to a motion and toll the Act 'to infinity and beyond.'"

Mickthulhu Mouse


A tee from the Neatorama shop: $20.

Medievalists on Disney's middle ages

A fascinating new scholarly essay collection, The Disney Middle Ages: A Fairy-Tale and Fantasy Past, looks at Disney's portrayal of the middle ages and reflects on how these are inextricably linked to other Disney settings, from Tomorrowland to Frontierland, and how the "Americanized" medieval narrative has played out over the decades.

John McChesney-Young sent me a great review of the book by Yale historian Paul Freedman, which is in the current issue of The Medieval Review (but not yet in its online archive):

Fantasyland is the home of neo-medieval stories, especially of princesses and their accoutrements; it has been gendered female. Adventureland, Frontierland and Tomorrowland incline towards a male audience, or at least they did in their heyday. Changing public perceptions have meant that the Old West as a setting for the making of rugged American character runs up against an appreciation of the fate of Native Americans, while with the fading allure of pre-internet "Gee Whiz" technology, Tomorrowland has been partially reinvented as "Retroland," a kind of self-mocking "Jetsons" take on what we once thought the future would look like (p. 69).

Fantasyland remains the core of the Disney imagination, and it is lightly dusted with medieval fairy-sparkle. It can't really call to mind even a first-order artificial nineteenth-century romantic Middle Ages, because that would interfere with the goal of presenting Disney's modern world as "the happiest place on earth," a happiness that is more goal-oriented and, one might say, middle-class values-centered than escapist or expressive of discontent with the present. The pastness of Disney's fantasies is tempered and in effect denied by anti-elitist, can-do characters. Amy Foster in "Futuristic Medievalism" shows how the medieval past is shaped by American anti-elitism and the promise of technology. Unidentified Flying Oddball was a 1979 reworking of Mark Twain's A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court in which a NASA engineer is transported to Camelot. Not only does he amaze the court with his scientific knowledge and gadgetry, his "regular guy" nature is paramount. He treats peasants, servants and King Arthur alike, for example. Bob Gossedge, in an essay devoted to the 1963 animation of The Sword in the Stone, points out that young "Wart," the future King Arthur, is the only principal character in that film with an American accent. Merlin, in a cultivated English voice, instructs Wart that he needs to get "these medieval ideas out of your head--clear the way for new ideas: knowledge of man's fabulous discoveries in the centuries ahead" (pp. 127-128). One sees similarities in the all-American rendering of underdog heroes like Zorro in the 1957-1959 television series or Remy in Ratatouille (2007). Disney's principal characters tend to be resourceful Americans (whatever their putative nationality) stuck in a past that is attractively fantastic, but irritatingly hierarchical and behind-the-times.

Disney's egalitarianism is about universal opportunity, not economic equality. It amounts to what Foster (p. 164) refers to as "sentimental populism" based on Horatio Alger, not Marx. Anyone can be a princess, anyone can cook (in the non-medieval Ratatouille). The mistreated Snow White and Cinderella are eventually exalted and not only does "happily ever after happen every day," but it happens to anyone receptive to the Disney message or "magic."

The Disney Middle Ages: A Fairy-Tale and Fantasy Past [Pugh and Aronstein, eds]

(Thanks, John!)

Phantom Manor stretch portrait/princess mashups


That Disney Lover's created a set of Haunted Mansion stretch gallery portrait mashups featuring the paintings from Disneyland Paris's Phantom Manor (originals here) and characters from Disney animated features; the Ariel/Ursula one is inspired.

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First-ever Disneyland ticket


Mikayakatnt posted this image of the first Disneyland gate-ticket ever sold, from opening day, July 17, 1955.

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