Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Disneyland - Some Thoughts

I miss Burl Ives.
And the days when you could step out of the heat and into "America Sings."
Remind me again why they took out the attraction?
Don't get me wrong, "Innoventions" is deeply compelling.
So is the Museum of Ceramic Art.
And the Gallup New Mexico Center for the Development of Motel Management.
And the San Bernardino County Water Treatment Symposium.
The songs and colorful characters of America Sings were always a pleasant experience.
Kids today have nothing like it in the Park.
Winnie the Pooh?
Buzz Lightyear?
Man. There's not even a Country Bear Jamboree this side of Florida.
(Insert wistful sighing noise here).


back at the helm, I remember pushing the throttle gently as my boat chugged along the dock.
I would stare out from my launch at the guests waiting in the queue.
"Oh, Hi! Hey check out my boat!!!
It was WAY more crowded when I left!
Ladies, your wait is over.
Your dreamboat has arrived.
Hey, why the long faces?
You were expecting Clark Gable? Douglas Fairbanks?"
Coasting to the loading dock, I pull the boat into reverse and slip the throttle back to neutral.
The doorways line up with the dock load areas.


(Pause and stare).

"Get in."

(stare some more as guests start to file into the boat).

"Look at you guys.
What? You been at a theme park all day?
Larry (at rear load), I thought I ordered LIVE bait!

(Stare some more at guests).

Sir, let me ask you something,
when you got up today did you say to yourself: Disneyland. Jungle Cruise. Gotta do it!?

(Pause, sighing heavily)

Me too.

(Stare blankly over mic at the guests, raise left eyebrow).

Keep 'em coming, Larry.
Slide all the way forward, ladies.
Forward, ladies.
My! How we in the Jungle enjoy forward ladies!
But that's another long story and I don't want to go into just now.
Looks like Larry and Dave are almost through overloading our boat.
Nice work, fellas.
Remember: a full boat is not just a sign of this attraction's popularity,
it also gives me much more bargaining power with the local natives.
Speaking of which, let me take a quick "head" count.
Okay, 47 and a half.
Looks like we are ready to launch.
Just a friendly reminder before we leave, the Jungle Cruise is not responsible for any lost personal items such as purses, cameras, children or in-laws.
You folks enter the Jungle at your own risk.
away we go.



You'll never see those people back there again.


Oh, my, where are my manners?
My name is Mike, and I'll be your captain, tour guide and fearless leader until things get even the slightest bit dangerous or uncomfortable.
Please keep your hands, arms, feet, legs and in-laws inside the boat at all times.
Watch your children.
First of all, chances are good they're watching YOU!
And secondly, it's literally a Jungle out here.
Most of the plants along the banks are known to actively feed on small children.
But look at the colorful flowers!

I believe you folks know your way in the spiel from here...

Have a wonderful day!


Thursday, February 23, 2012

Disneyland - "Hello Everyone..."

"Hello everyone! Welcome aboard the Disneyland Railroad," boomed the familiar baritone voice.
The smell of hot steam and burning brakes wafted past as we pulled out of the station.
I never worked the trains during my stints at the Park, but knew a good deal of folks who had held this position.
The world in front of us clicked steadily by as we rolled through the outskirts of Adventureland.
This shady part of the train's grand circle tour was breezy and cool.
Children seated in the front row of the passenger car peered out over the railing, their eyes tracking the scenery.
The wooden bench felt incredibly smooth.
The rythmic motion instantly instilled a calm humour.
Closing my eyes, I listened to the sounds around me.
I thought how this attraction is another one of the "time portals" the Park has in its arsenal.
Riding the train today feels almost exactly the same as my first trip as a child.
Or as an energy-filled teenager.
A twenty-something college student.
A newlywed.
An uncle.
A dad.
A semi-beat up middle-ager with chronic Disneyland-itis.
Some of the scenery along the way has changed, but the long train, the colorful canopies, the smells, the swaying of the cars---pretty much identical.
Honestly, if there were ever a time portal, I think a steam train would be the vehicle through which it would be entered.
Perhaps that is why a steam train has been the choice of authors of books from "The Polar Express" to "Harry Potter" as a means of transporting characters to distant, magical and fictional places.
Even the "Twilight Zone" employed this device in one of Rod Serling's (and my own) favorite episodes, "A Stop At Willoughby." Check it out for yourself if you've never had the pleasure of seeing the episode: http://www.tv-links.eu/tv-shows/The-Twilight-Zone_9038/season_1/episode_30/ and also a snippet for flavor is below:

Wouldn't it be something to step on the train today and step off at the Frontierland Station in say 1979 or 1983, or any other date since July 17, 1955 for that matter?
Today's wacky world got you down?
Head on over to the Main Street station.

If you need me, I'll be over in Adventureland in 1986.
I'm thinking, summer-ish.
See you there!

P.S., You will also find a "Willoughby" reference as you exit the "Tower of Terror" over at that "other" Park over in Disneyland's old parking lot.


Monday, February 13, 2012

Disneyland - Jolly Holiday - Photos From Last Thursday's Visit

Today we pop by the Park for a view of some updated locations and an out of the way pathway.
We begin at the new Jolly Holiday food service location on Main Street.
Uploaded from the Photobucket iPad App
These plucky fellows adorn the main windows. "Order what you will, there'll be no bill...it's com-pli-men-ta-reee!"
Uploaded from the Photobucket iPad App

Here is the interior:

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPad App

A view of the front porch, looking out onto the Plaza and Hub:
Uploaded from the Photobucket iPad App
"I'd know that 'sill-you-wet' anywhere...Mary Poppins!"
Uploaded from the Photobucket iPad App
Further down Main Street we see there is still construction at the Carnation Cafe and Blue Ribbon Bakery:
Uploaded from the Photobucket iPad App
And an out of the way locale on the far western edge of the Park in the area now known as Critter Country. Below we see a walkway under the Hungry Bear Restaurant and its back stairway, which are falling into decay it appears. No one seems to use the back porch seating upstairs either.
Uploaded from the Photobucket iPad App
Uploaded from the Photobucket iPad App
Uploaded from the Photobucket iPad App
Uploaded from the Photobucket iPad App
A view of the Rivers of America from this path under the Hungry Bear.
Uploaded from the Photobucket iPad App
The Matterhorn is getting a facelift. The picture below seems to be missing a Skyway, no?
Uploaded from the Photobucket iPad App
Trust me, the old Fantasyland Skyway station is still up there, waiting:
Uploaded from the Photobucket iPad App
And the archway below leads from Snow White's Grotto to Fantasyland (and vice versa).
Uploaded from the Photobucket iPad App
More Matterhorn rehab (as seen from the Hub)...
Uploaded from the Photobucket iPad App
Finally, we will close with a view of Main Street on a crystal clear day (last Thursday), with its flowers aglow.
Uploaded from the Photobucket iPad App
I hope you've enjoyed today's slices from around the Park. Many happy returns to each of you!


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Disneyland - Oh Dear, Mike's Got An Ipad2!

Kids, Mike here. Blogging from Starbucks somewhere in Orange County (Fullerton-ish).
Jungle fans are in trouble.
I've got a new Ipad2 and I'm not afraid to use it.
Perhaps posts will increase precipitously.
You have been warned.

Is it just me, or...

...could you go for a noseful of Pirates of the Caribbean watery cavern smell?

...is the new "Facial hair is okay" policy adopted by the Disney folks kindofa heartbreaker?

...have you encountered one or two pretty good Jungle skippers in your recent trips to the Park? Must be something in the water...

...does a Hearthstone Lounge Bloody Mary sound good right about now? I can see the droplets of condensation forming around the outside of the glass as I type this! Extra spicy, please, James!

...would a front row deck chair on the bow of the Mark Twain be a nice thing to have under you? Ah, watch New Orleans Square slide slowly by you. Be sure to wave at the folks along the shore! Cue the steam whistle blast. One more for good measure. Now the bell: Ding! Ding! "Bowman, cast off bow lines...!"

...are you overdue for a trip to the Park, too?

...do you find that work really seems to get in the way between trips to the Park? Sheesh!

...are these venti iced coffees wickedly good around 10:50 a.m.? Or 5:50 a.m., or 10:30 p.m. for that matter? The first step towards a cure is admitting you have a problem. Hello, I'm Mike and I am a caffeine addict...and I do not wish to quit.

...does Trader Sam look like he's lost some weight? I hear he's switched over to a vegetarian diet, and we all know vegetarians just don't have much meat on them...

...is a return of the Peoplemover now embarrasingly long overdue? Um...hello...the track is pretty much still there (a little Rocket Rods leftover demolition and, boom, we're in business...come on! WED still has the old blueprints somewhere, I'm sure!)

...have an amazingly high number of this blog's hopes and wishes for the Park actually come to pass over the past few years? (Lincoln's back, they've put in a food service location at the Plaza Pavilion, the Park is immaculate, Plaza Gardens has big bands with regularity, the Skyway is again floating high above Fantasyland...okay, 4 out of 5 isn't bad). That's the kind of pull we have here at Jungle is "101"...

...do a few of you out there in Internet Land wish you still had the mouse on your name tag and the name tag on your costume? Move it up, Skip! How many here? Right this way, stay on the outside of the boat and head all the way up to the front by the skipper!

I love you people!