JOHN WILCOCK: Sneaking Pot into Disneyland with Shel Silverstein

Mort Gerberg shares this memory of his encounter with John and Shel Silverstein outside the gates of Disneyland in 1966. From John Wilcock, New York Years.

Superstar Limo: The story of Disney's "worst attraction ever"

We can all take some comfort that even Disney, with all its money and creative resources, can fail.

Take for instance, Disney's epic failure, a long-gone ride called Superstar Limo. The dark ride, that was once in California Adventure's Hollywood Pictures Backlot area, took guests in a sparkly purple limousine through a distorted version of Hollywood and Los Angeles. It was open just under a year and was later (and as you'll see in the video, hilariously) repurposed as the Monsters, Inc. ride.

Kevin Perjurer of the YouTube channel Defunctland describes it as their "worst attraction ever" and offers this critical history of it. His video is 20 minutes long but worth a watch, as his research goes deep and this "Superstar Limo" truly has to be seen to be believed. Be sure to stay to the end to see the reactions of the cast of The Drew Carey Show and Rosie O'Donnell when they all took a whirl in it together.

Also, in case you're curious, here's a look at the ride without commentary:

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Disney has unveiled rainbow mouse ears in time for Pride

June is Pride month and Disney has already rolled out rainbow mouse ears, with a depiction of Mickey's gloves in a hand-heart, in their U.S. parks. I spotted this pair, which is officially called the "Mickey Mouse Rainbow Love" hat, in Disneyland a couple of weeks ago for $17.99.

I bet these ears, along with the rainbow products like trading pins and lanyard pulls, will be a big hit come early October for Gay Days.

photo by me Read the rest

Miniature 3D-printed Disney trash cans

A longtime friend and I first bonded years ago over something funny. We discovered that we both had a history of photographing trash cans at Disney Parks. (I mean, c'mon, they're all in theme.)

So I had to laugh when I was at Disneyland recently and spotted their ("Authentic" and "Original") trash can highlighter set modeled after five of the park's trash cans: Main Street USA, Frontierland, Tomorrowland, Adventureland, and Fantasyland.

When I got home, I fell into a Disney-trash-can rabbit hole and came across these 1:18 scale, 3D-printed Disney trash cans. They're the creation of Chris of Etsy shop, TheNewHobbyist. He currently has nine different designs and is willing to work with you to make a custom one of your favorite Disney trash can. Because, let's be honest, who doesn't have a favorite Disney trash can? Each one costs $25.

Adventureland

Contemporary Resort

Previously: Monorail socks, "Pirate Water" and other fragrances inspired by Disney resorts Read the rest

"Pirate Water" and other fragrances inspired by Disney resorts

We've seen Disneyland-scented candles before but now there are new contenders in the category of "Things that smell like something you'd find in a Disney resort."

While the Magic Candle Company in Kissimmee, Florida is not affiliated with Disney in any official way, they have made an entire line of candles, wax melts, and spray-on room fragrances that smell like something you'd find in a Disney park.

I think the funniest one is this "Pirate Water" which is scented like the "musty, damp smell" of a familiar "dark water ride" (ie. the Bromine-filled waters of the Pirates of the Caribbean ride).

Take a whiff down memory lane with their other (completely unofficial and unsanctioned) scents like: Pinocchio's Village (a "powerful aroma of pistachio nuts, almond, honey, heliotrope, and rich, creamy vanilla custard"), Churro ("cinnamon, sugar and hints of bergamot and creamy dark chocolate"), and the Pineapple Float (they write, "'Dole' out a smile every time you smell our Pineapple Float fragrance").

There's also something called Walt's Office which is the "warm and spicy aroma of cured pipe tobacco."

Prices are $7.95 for wax melts, $18.95 for the room sprays, and between $15.95 and $28.95 for the candles.

The Magic Candle Company

Thanks, Frank! Read the rest

Drone footage of Disneyland's Star Wars: Galaxy Edge in construction

A drone captured this aerial peek of Disneyland's Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge (aka "Star Wars land") as it stood at the beginning of last month. I was just at the park this past weekend with my daughter and we caught glimpses of its construction while riding Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. As you'll see, the future planet of Batuu is ginormous (14 acres in total).

The Disney Parks Blog reports:

At Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, guests will be transported to the planet of Batuu, a remote outpost on the galaxy’s edge that was once a busy crossroads along the old sub-lightspeed trade routes. Here, guests will find themselves in the middle of the action at two attractions that take detail and immersion to the next level: one that lets guests take the controls of Millennium Falcon on a customized secret mission, and an epic Star Wars adventure that puts guests in the middle of a climactic battle between the First Order and the Resistance.

As you can see in this video, which Bob Iger shared this morning during the 2018 Annual Meeting of Shareholders, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is shaping up to be one of the most detailed and immersive lands ever created in Disney Parks history.

Star Wars: Galaxy Edge is also being built at Disney's Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World. The lands are estimated to cost $1B each and both are set to open in 2019. Yahoo!

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Disneyland announces a date for removal of sex-slave trafficking scene from the Pirates of the Caribbean ride

The Pirates of the Caribbean was the last ride Walt Disney personally supervised; it has undergone many replications and revisions over the years, but last year Disneyland Paris removed the "Buy a Bride" scene, in which we are treated to a lighthearted human trafficking auction in which captured women are auctioned to pirates as "brides." Read the rest

Tikiphiles: Disneyland to add 'The Tropical Hideway' to Adventureland

Adios, Aladdin...

My friend Otto von Stroheim (who, with his wife Baby Doe, host Tiki Oasis, the world's largest tiki festival) shared some cool Disneyland news on Sunday:

Polynesian Pop is alive and healthy and growing and this is another sign of the future of Tiki Style: Disneyland has invested in Tiki and is installing another new Tiki section (after the HUGE success of Trader Sam's bars in Anaheim and Orlando)

The official announcement came Thursday on the Disney Parks Blog:

Calling all adventurers! There will soon be a new area of Adventureland to explore at Disneyland park.

The former Aladdin’s Oasis will soon be transformed to The Tropical Hideaway! This new experience will soon appear along the tropical shores nestled between the Jungle Cruise and “Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room.” This one-of-a-kind destination will be a popular rest stop for Adventureland locals and weary explorers alike. Guests will be able to rub elbows with their favorite skippers in an exotic traders’ market, featuring all of the sights, sounds and flavors of the tropics

TimeOut Los Angeles reported on the surprise announcement (calling it "a simple but effective Adventureland bomb") and dug a little deeper into the the history of Polynesian Pop at that location in the Anaheim park:

Sporting a name that's likely a nod to the adjacent Tiki Room’s theme song—“Welcome to our tropical hideaway, you lucky people, you”—the Tropical Hideaway will sit on the former grounds of Disney’s long-running restaurant, Tahitian Terrace, a Polynesian-inspired eatery that stood from 1962 to 1993 before transforming into a theater for a former Aladdin live show.

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Monorail socks

I'm fresh back from Florida where my daughter and I stopped in Orlando to for a side trip to Walt Disney World and the Disney Springs shopping complex. At the latter, I spotted these monorail socks. Now, I rarely see Disney merch that I really like but I kind of went nuts for these.

If you'd like to slip your feet into some futuristic transportation too, you can get yourself a pair at the online Disney Store for $13.99. Read the rest

Disneyland to offer 'After Dark' events in 2018, starting with a 'Throwback Nite'

Starting on January 18, Disneyland will be offering a series of after-hours events called Disneyland After Dark.

The first one is called "Throwback Nite" and it taps into early Disney nostalgia:

Step back in time to the ‘50s and ‘60s for a taste of the classic after-dark experience at Disneyland. Come dressed in your best to enjoy the Happiest Place on Earth under a million twinkling lights, swinging to the tune of the bands and enjoying your favorite rides in the cool moonlight ‘till the clock strikes 1 a.m.!

Original attraction posters of Disneyland experiences from yesteryear welcome you as you commemorate the evening with special photo locations... Live music and dancing bring the bygone era to life throughout the park, and the sky lights up with an exclusive showing of “Fantasy in The Sky” fireworks. Guests will receive a commemorative lanyard and a vintage-inspired park map that will highlight the special experiences taking place throughout the evening.

It sounds to me like a nighttime, sanctioned version of the popular Dapper Day, ie. it sounds like fun!

Tickets go on sale at Disneyland.com to the general public on December 7 and on November 30 for annual passholders of the resort. Read the rest

Disneyland: the most infectious place on Earth

Disneyland has shutdown two airconditioning cooling towers due to infecting a number of guests with Legionnaires' disease.

Via the LA Times:

Disneyland has shut down two bacteria-contaminated cooling towers after Orange County health officials discovered several cases of Legionnaires’ disease in people who had visited the Anaheim theme park, authorities said.

The 12 cases of the bacteria-caused illness were discovered about three weeks ago among people who had spent time in Anaheim and included nine people who had visited Disneyland Park in September before developing the illness, according to the Orange County Health Care Agency. Their ages ranged from 52 to 94.

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LA Times barred from press-screenings of Disney movies after reporting on corporate welfare in Anaheim

After running Daniel Miller's long, excellent features about the many ways in which Disney has manipulated the local politics of Anaheim (home of Disneyland) to extract huge subsidies from the cash-strapped city, the company retaliated by barring its film critic from future press screenings of its films, a move that the company confirmed, calling the coverage "unfair." Read the rest

Disney's exclusive Club 33 to open in four new locations

A few years ago, I was invited for a bartending demo at 1901 Lounge, California's Adventure Club 33 counterpart. It was cool but I still dream of knocking Club 33 off my bucket list.

Well, acccording to the Orlando Sentinel, my chances for getting in are increasing, though I will have to travel to Florida. The news outlet is reporting that four new "versions of the high-end establishment will open in each of the four WDW (Walt Disney World) theme parks by this fall." Those four parks being the Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney's Animal Kingdom, and Disney's Hollywood Studios.

The Sentinel article continues:

Disney has not revealed the price structure for Florida’s Club 33s, although a spokeswoman says one fee will cover all four clubs. The “if you have to ask, you can’t afford it” adage springs to mind.

Disney also has not shared where in the parks its new “limited membership clubs” will be or their themes. They might not mirror the California version; we’re not even sure that the ones in Florida will include restaurants.

photo by Sam Howzit 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

Disneyland: The first two kids to go through the gates on opening day (1955)

On July 18, 1955, Michael Schwartner convinced his family to go to the general public's opening day of Disneyland, instead of golfing in Mexico. He was just seven years old at the time and he remembers it was crowded and hot waiting to get into the brand new park. He and his 5-year old cousin Christine Vess (now Kristina Graef) wanted to get in the shade and see everything that was going on, so they nudged their way to the front.

While playing around at the turnstiles, a Disney rep plucked them out of the crowd and invited to them to "do a thing." The two children spent the next hour getting photos with Walt Disney himself.

The Orange County Register reports that:

Disney took the children by the hands, and they posed for pictures in front of the Mickey Mouse floral display. Then he invited the family aboard the Santa Fe & Disneyland Railroad for a tour of the new park. The family sat in front, listening to Disney describe his $17 million park in detail.

Both children received lifetime passes to the park. Read the rest

This man has visited Disneyland 2,000 days in a row

Jeff Reitz of Huntington Beach, California has visited Disneyland 2,000 days in a row and he has no plans to stop. Why? It makes him happy. From ABC7:

Reitz, an Air Force veteran, credits the parks with giving him something to look forward to each day, noting that he enjoys hearing the music as he enters, interacting with the friendly park cast members, and watching the park guests having a good time. He also enjoys the shows and attractions, including one of his favorites, the Matterhorn Bobsleds adventure.

(via NextDraft)

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The Disneyland Encyclopedia covers pretty much everything

I read pretty much every Disneyland history and fact book I find. Chris Strodder's The Disneyland Encyclopedia: The Unofficial, Unauthorized, and Unprecedented History of Every Land, Attraction, Restaurant, Shop, and Major Event in the Original Magic Kingdom lives up to its massive title.

A simple alphabetical listing of just about every First through Fifth order-of-interest item in the park. Everything from the amazing history of the Golden Horseshoe Review to fun facts about a tobacco shop that disappeared 27 years ago lies between the covers of this book. These are truly encyclopedia style entries and are chock full of facts with less emphasis on story telling. I think it'd be a great book to have at the park.

I did a cover-to-cover read through of this at home. I'd prefer to have it electronically on my phone via Kindle to look at while in the park. Go e-version if you can.

The Disneyland Encyclopedia: The Unofficial, Unauthorized, and Unprecedented History of Every Land, Attraction, Restaurant, Shop, and Major Event in the Original Magic Kingdom via Amazon Read the rest

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