See behind the scenes of Disneyland's massive holiday decor system

In this video, Disney shows what it takes to deck the Disneyland Resort's halls by bringing us inside the warehouse where they store all of their holiday decorations. Mark Apepe, the lead of this impressive production, hosts this behind-the-scenes peep and shares that they use an estimated 2,000 feet of garland and 80,000 ornaments for the "Main Street package" alone.

The Disney Parks Blog adds to his numbers:

The exterior of Main Street, U.S.A., features approximately 220 garlands that measure more than four miles long, with approximately 80 wreaths and 120 bows bringing the season to life on this charming street.

It takes nearly three dozen cast members 35 days to install the glittering façade of “it’s a small world” Holiday and nearly 18 days to decorate the holiday attraction’s dazzling interior.

The Disneyland Christmas tree stands 60-feet tall on Main Street, U.S.A. and features 1,500 Victorian-inspired ornaments with 100 oversized faux candles.

Sleeping Beauty’s Winter Castle shimmers during the day and is illuminated each night with more than 126,000 twinkling LED lights, sparkling “icicles” and shimmering snow-capped turrets.

A 50-foot Christmas tree adorns Carthay Circle to help guests get in the holiday spirit. The tree and surrounding buildings are decorated with vintage-style ornaments in keeping with the theme of Buena Vista Street, inspired by Los Angeles as it appeared when Walt Disney arrived in the 1920s.

Like I said, impressive.

(Hey wait, are those rubber chickens dressed in Santa suits at the 1:18 mark?) Read the rest

A shrewd guess about the Haunted Mansion's mysterious Squeaky Door Ghost

One of the most exciting elements of Imagineer Christopher Merritt's astounding, essential Marc Davis in His Own Words -- a two-volume set of one of Disney's most storied Imagineers, whose contributions to the Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean and other rides cannot be overstated -- was the revelation that there was a fully prototyped ghost for the Haunted Mansion that appears to have never been put into production. Read the rest

Disney made clever Haunted Mansion stretching room merch

Foolish mortals, Disney's latest Haunted Mansion merchandise is to die for.

In 1969, the Haunted Mansion opened at Disneyland and now, fifty years later, they've pulled out all the stops to make us pull out our wallet. From special light-up Grim Grinning Ghosts Mouse ears to two insane artist-made guitars (and everything in between), there are plenty of opportunities to drop some cash at the Resort right now. On my recent trip there, I tried to capture every single Haunted Mansion-related product and store display I could find (I won't share them all here but, if you're curious, I've posted some in Flickr.)

Today I want to share with you a couple of items that really caught my eye. The first being these long striped socks featuring the stretching room portraits. So good!

My one complaint with them is that they are printed using dye sublimation which means they are polyester, and polyester makes for stinky socks. Because of that, I didn't buy them even though I really wanted to. Luckily, I soon found a way to itch my "stretching room portrait merch" scratch. In a Main Street, U.S.A. store, I found this small double-sided pouch ($19.99) which unzippers to not only show the entirety of the portraits but to make the bag bigger too. How clever! And, as you can see, it has the same art as the socks.

I did buy one of those, and my sweetie had to have this door knocker.

Hey, while you're here, watch this fun video about the history of the Haunted Mansion. Read the rest

Disneyland's Blue Bayou restaurant lights up their menus

Let there be light!

Known for its dark atmosphere, Disneyland's Blue Bayou restaurant (the one you see from the Pirates of the Caribbean ride) has finally added tiny lights to their menus. So, next time you dine there, you can keep your cell phone where it belongs and order food without its assistance. To turn on the lights, lift up the menu's main cover and on the right-hand side there will be a small, hard flap with a button. Press that button and voila!

Now, I don't know how long they've been part of the menu. My last visit was in early 2018 and I didn't see the lights then. A little internet research shows that the lights have been there at least since October 2018 and that in 2016 the park experimented with menus that lit up from behind.

Also, getting Blue Bayou reservations can be tough unless you plan way ahead of time. But I was able to get in at the last-minute with the Disneyland app. I was also able to snag a late-night reservation to Oga's Cantina in Galaxy's Edge through the app.

photo by Rusty Blazenhoff Read the rest

Hi-rez, open-licensed recreation of the 1968 Disneyland souvenir map

Boing Boing reader Pink Frankenstein is behind this stunning, high-resolution recreation of the 1968 Disneyland souvenir map, which he's generously licensed CC 0 (there's also a 700 DPI, 3.5GB Photoshop master file). Pink Frankenstein adds, "Any idea who the original artist is?" Read the rest

Disneyland: A visit to Trader Sam's Enchanted Tiki Bar

Plus a look at some of its swell merch.

Hey hey, I'm fresh back from a short two-day excursion to Disneyland. I have a bunch of stuff to share with you but I'm going to start with my visit to Trader Sam's Enchanted Tiki Bar, that little cocktail oasis behind the pool at the Disneyland Hotel. And, if you haven't been, it really is small. Read the rest

In Etch A Sketch: Haunted Mansion stretching room portraits

Tightrope Girl took 18 hours and the widow Constance Hatchaway took 13 hours

If you've ever tried to draw anything on an ordinary Etch A Sketch toy, you know it takes some mad skills to be able to do what "etch artist" Kevin E. Davis has accomplished with these four Haunted Mansion stretching room portraits. The series is part of his Disneyland Project which also includes absolutely incredible Etch A Sketch drawings of Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge, the treasure room of the Pirates of the Caribbean, the exterior of It's a Small World, and more!

Each of these took 13 hours to complete

Because he has a family and life outside of work, Kevin can only create his art during his lunch hour. So one drawing can take months to complete.

And, in case you think they are faked in some way, head to his Instagram feed for "making of" photos and videos. These are the real deal, folks. In fact, he's so good that he evens adds hidden Easter eggs, like his initials, in the finished pieces.

Take a look at these timelapse videos he created:

Read the rest

Disneyland Evil Queen slays it

There are actors and then there are people who really get into a role and make it theirs! This Evil Queen at Disneyland is definitely in the latter category. Watch her play around as her big, bad, narcissistic, villainous self with guests of the park.

Here are longer videos of the Queen from Fatima Lakhani, a YouTuber who specializes in "character interactions":

screenshot via GMA Read the rest

Marc Davis in His Own Words: Imagineering the Disney Theme Parks

[[Imagineer Chris Merritt (previously) was the protege of the Disney legend Marc Davis, the character designer whose work defined the look of such classic attractions as Pirates of the Caribbean and the Haunted Mansion. Merritt has written seminal books on southern California's themed attractions, including Knott's Berry Farm and Pacific Ocean Park.

[[His latest book, Marc Davis in His Own Words: Imagineering the Disney Theme Parks, is his magnum opus: a gorgeous, two-volume, slipcased set on the life, philosophy, reminisces, career, and designs of Marc Davis, incorporating many never-seen rarities from Davis's own collection, as well as the Disney archives. Chris was kind enough to supply us with this excerpt from Chapter Nine, which tells the backstory of my beloved Haunted Mansion, largely through transcribed, verbatim quotes from Davis himself. -Cory]] Read the rest

"The Stab": a forgotten nearly-was Haunted Mansion changing portrait

The queue area at the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland features a row of changing portraits wherein paintings everyday scenes are revealed as sinister and haunted (originally the effect was done with crossfading slide-projectors; now it's done with an amazing, crisp electroluminiscent effect). Read the rest

SHAG designed Enchanted Tiki Room mouse ears for Disneyland

Swoon...!

Look what SHAG whipped up (that's a reference to the Dole Whip, btw) for Disneyland: Enchanted Tiki Room mouse ears. Since early July, Disney has been releasing a series of Mickey Mouse ear hats and Minnie Mouse ear headbands designed by notable celebrities, designers, and artists. Photos of the other designs and their release dates can be found on the Disney Parks Blog.

He writes:

I’ll be signing these and other exclusive Disney products at D23 on Saturday, August 24 from 2:00 to 3:30 pm at Talent Central in the Anaheim Convention Center. These limited edition Enchanted Tiki Room Mouse Ears are part of Disney’s Designer Collection, featuring ear hats by Betsey Johnson, Vera Wang, Heidi Klum and other celebrity artists and designers. Mine are debuting at D23 and will be available at Disneyland and Disney World on August 28.

Skip through the images to see the back of the ears:

View this post on Instagram

I’ll be signing these and other exclusive Disney products at D23 on Saturday, August 24 from 2:00 to 3:30 pm at Talent Central in the Anaheim Convention Center. These limited edition Enchanted Tiki Room Mouse Ears are part of Disney’s Designer Collection, featuring ear hats by Betsey Johnson, Vera Wang, Heidi Klum and other celebrity artists and designers. Mine are debuting at D23 and will be available at Disneyland and Disney World on August 28. @disneyd23 #enchantedtikiears #enchantedtikiroomears #enchantedtikiroom #waltdisneysenchantedtikiroom

A post shared by Josh Agle (@theartistshag) on Aug 20, 2019 at 5:22pm PDT

As you're probably aware, this is just one of the many groovy products he's designed for them over the years. Read the rest

Recently unearthed home movie of Disneyland from 1956

In 1955, Disneyland opened. In early 1956, Sherman W. Carter, Jr. took his family to the park and shot this home movie. The video was just uploaded to YouTube on July 1 by a family friend.

Disney Parks Blog:

The first part takes place in Frontierland, one of areas of Disneyland that has changed the most over the years. And yet there are many familiar sights as well. The park looks almost unrecognizable with so many of the trees and foliage still essentially saplings. Today it’s a veritable forest in the middle of Anaheim.

Be sure to pause the video at 0:21 where you can see three Jungle Cruise boats docked in Fowler’s Harbor, currently home to the Harbour Galley restaurant. I knew the water systems for the Rivers of America and Jungle Cruise were connected, but were you ever able to sail from one to the other in the past? We later see The Jungle Cruise with no water in the moat, so this likely just temporary storage.

Some other fun highlights to keep an eye out for; watch at 1:05 for a glimpse of the old gun fight skit atop the Golden Horseshoe Saloon. Then right after that, the Jungle Cruise with no water in the moat. Just a few wonderful shots of Tomorrowland right at the end too.

Read the rest

Children's Fairyland, the mid-century storybook theme park that inspired Walt Disney and where Frank Oz got his start

Oakland, California is home to a real gem of a storybook theme park. Located next to Lake Merritt, Children's Fairyland has been delighting families of young children since 1950. As the story goes, Walt Disney himself visited Fairyland in 1955 and soon after built Disneyland, incorporating ideas he learned at the park. He also hired Fairyland's first director, as well as one of its puppeteers, to work at his new amusement park in Anaheim.

While Disney's parks went the commercial route, Fairyland turned into a nonprofit after many years of being managed by the city. It remains the charming, lakeside mid-century park where no adult is allowed in the park without a child** and no child is allowed without an adult.

How do I know all of this? Well, I'm excited to share that I've started working with Fairyland. When I first moved to the Bay Area in the mid-1990s, I lived across the street from Lake Merritt and, as a childless young person, I often wondered what was going behind the giant (Old Lady in the) shoe. I remember devising ways to get in, eventually waiting until I had a baby to pass through its gates for the first time. When my daughter (who's now a teenager) was little, she and I visited many times together. Believe me when I say that it's a great thrill for me to be on the "inside" of this Bay Area institution.

Bert, Fairyland Master Puppeteer Lewis Mahlmann, and Frank Oz in August of 1970. Read the rest

Ahead of new Star Wars land, Disneyland raises pass prices by up to 25%

For years, Disneyland annual passes, parking fees and single-day-tickets have seen above-inflation price-hikes, but this year's will take the cost of the no-blackout-day "Premier Pass" (good for Disneyland and Walt Disney World, in Florida) to $1,949, up 23.4% from last year, a firm push away from the idea of Disneyland as a "locals park" for casual visits and into the kind of place that most local families could only visit on very special occasions. Read the rest

Deadly Disneyland Legionnaire's outbreak blamed on this weird source

An outbreak of Legionnaires' disease that killed one person and sickened 22 near Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California last year may have been caused by an unexpected source. Read the rest

Disneyland's laundry used "gamification" as an "electronic whip," leading to worker stress and injuries

A non-negotiable feature of Disneyland's 2008 contract with Unite Local 11 -- which represents the laundry workers who clean linens from the resort's hotels and restaurants -- was a new "work-tracking" system that used "gamification" to display realtime signals about each worker's productivity on public leaderboards, colorcoded with the slowest workers' names in red, as well as color-coding indicators on individual machines to indicate whether they were underperforming. Read the rest

Disney theme parks have a serious problem with cremain-scattering

If you ever hear an announcement on a Disneyland or Walt Disney World PA calling for a "HEPA cleanup" it means that someone has just dumped a dead person's ashes in a ride. Again. Read the rest

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