Disney will pivot Epcot away from its "sponsored content" model

Epcot Center (now "Epcot") is a weird stepchild among Disney themeparks; it started as a kind of ghastly parody of Walt Disney's plan to build a totally controlled domed company town on the enormous tract of central Florida land that is Walt Disney World, and became a cash-cow-oriented park whose radical break with themepark design norms was a blessing and a curse. Read the rest

Detailed guide to Disneyland line-planning for a age of lengthening queues

The core advice for minimizing wait time at Disneyland is to focus on off-peak hours (in the morning right after "rope-drop," in the evening before the park closes), but within that envelope, how should you prioritize your riding? Read the rest

Here's what a Disney Pirates ride looks like, without the sex-slave auction

Ricky from Inside the Magic writes, "The updated redhead/'wench' auction scene in Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean ride has debuted (along with a killer new Captain Barbossa animatronic). The infamous redhead character now has a gun and is no longer being lusted after, instead helping to run an auction for treasure. The controversial changes have appeared first at Disneyland Paris, with the US versions to follow next year." Read the rest

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea maintenance checklist

This document has it all: a neat quantization of the qualitative; a tale told in a single bureaucratic leaf that implies a whole hidden universe of night-scurrying morlocks who tend the magic under the harsh glare of floodlights on the third shift; a fine sheet slid in the nearly imperceptible crack between consensus hallucination and objective reality. (via JWZ) Read the rest

3D print your own Haunted Mansion sign

On Thingiverse, Gentlegiant's beautiful, faithful model of the Haunted Mansion front-gate sign to 3D print at any size or remix into your other designs. Read the rest

Up for auction: the never-seen original 1957 Haunted Mansion prospectus

Heritage Auctions is selling off a super-rare original 1957 prospectus for the Haunted Mansion, prepared by Ken Anderson as a first approximation of what Disneyland's "spook house" might be. Read the rest

Disney World's Hall of Presidents Trumpbot will speak after all

Disney has denied rumors that the Trumpbot in Disney World's Hall of the Presidents would not have a speaking role due to a combination of the president's toxic reputation, Disney employees' animus for him, and Trump's own unwillingness to schedule a recording session. Read the rest

Super-rare Disney theme-park merch on auction

Haunted Mansion superfan Jeff "Chef Mayhem" Baham sent me a link to the Van Eaton Galleries Disneyland auction, which closes on June 25 -- as with other Van Eaton auctions, this one is a trove of super-rare, drool-inspiring old merch, props and handicrafts. Read the rest

Disney's Hall of Presidents show reportedly rolled back so Trumpbot won't get a speaking role

For decades, new US presidents were welcomed to Walt Disney World's Hall of Presidents with a robot carved in their honor, and which would deliver a short, recorded speech voiced by the incoming POTUS himself -- but the idea of a talking Trumpbot is so repugnant that the entire show is reportedly being rolled back to an earlier version (nominally to shorten it), eliminating the speaking roles of everyone except Lincolnbot and Washingtonbot. Read the rest

The Haunted Mansion Ghost Post wins a Themed Entertainment Award!

When I wrote about the Haunted Mansion loot crates ("Ghost Post") last March, what I couldn't say was that I was a writer on the project, penning the radio scripts, newspapers, letters, and associated gubbins and scraps that went along with the three boxes of custom-made props and merch, tying them together into a series of puzzles that the boxes' 999 owners solved together over the internet. Read the rest

Disney is mooting an overnight Star Wars LARP resort

Disney is contemplating opening a luxury Star Wars themed resort next to the Hollywood Studios park at Disney World, which could feature multi-day live-action role-playing games that run overnight, with guests staying all night in the park to interact with costumed characters and automated elements (droids, etc) to game out scenarios. Read the rest

Japan's "Weird Hotel," staffed by robots, in a Japanese theme-park

The Henn Na Hotel ("weird hotel") is staffed by robots: the Japanese-speaking check-in clerk is a vicious robot dinosaur, while the English-speaking one is humanoid; a robot arm stores and retrieves personal items from the guest lockers, and a chatbot serves as concierge. Read the rest

Haunting photographs of Nara Dreamland, a rotting Japanese theme park

We love and celebrate the people who sneak into derelict themeparks and photograph their ruins! Beijing, Orlando, Sichuan, South Carolina, Japan, Berlin, New Orleans, even Walt Disney World! Read the rest

Disney wants to build an "aerial tramway" between the Disney World parks

Disney's "skybuckets" are fondly remembered as the best place in the themepark to do some sneaky kissin', but they were also a magnet for antisocial behavior, from smoking weed to spitting on people to jumping out of them -- and they proved lethal to park maintenance crews. Read the rest

Disneyland's show-buildings induce charming glitches in Google Earth

Dan Howland writes, "Screengrabs that made me laugh from Google (Happiest Place on) Earth. It does pretty well with conventional architecture, but it freaked out on the Haunted Mansion's cupola and chimblies, and Dumbo just looks like a Jello salad."

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"Bring Back Weird Epcot" and other unofficial retro Disney World tees

Foxxfur, proprietress of the outstanding Passport to Dreams Old and New Disney themepark design critique blog (previously) has opened a t-shirt store featuring designs celebrating the lost, lamented design-flourishes that lurked in the corners of early Walt Disney World: the crowning glory of the store is this Bring Back Weird Epcot tee that really tells it like it is. Read the rest

FAA okays use of semi-autonomous drones for Disneyland and Disney World fireworks displays

John Frost writes, "I know Boing Boing has covered Disney's patent to use flying drones in the parks. Here's the latest update, the FAA recently approved the use of drones in the parks at night. It's only a four-year permit and Disney isn't waiting around. The Mouse House just posted a teaser video for a new holiday show at Disney Springs, the dining and entertainment complex at Walt Disney World, that will begin later this month." Read the rest

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