Your Souvenir Guide

Disneyland Ex Machina

Guest Day on the MMC

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DISNEY

Those Darn Cats!, the only Disney podcast that you’ll ever need to pour into your delicate ears, recently had me as a guest. Little old me! Can you believe it?

Now, by “recently,” I mean that it went up last night, and by “had me as a guest,” I mean that Jenn and Lisa humored me as I stammered nervously through a 40-minute Skype call, fighting back a hangover and forgetting some 70% of what I intended to say. I even forgot the name of my favorite Disney’s California Adventure attraction, the dreamy Soarin’ Over California, for ten to fifteen torturous seconds.

Next time I’ll be better prepared. Maybe I’ll even write something down beforehand.

Gaffes aside, I enjoyed our chat thoroughly. Jenn and Lisa keep Disney bl-gs whose tone is very much in line with mine — Broke Hoedown and My Life on the WDW D List, respectively — and it was all kinds of fun to geek out for a while. Few of my friends and associates know how deep my Disneyland jones goes, and it’s not often that I get to babble about My Weird Theme Park Thing. And oh mai oui, I babbled. Like a god-dammed brook. Babble babble.

Anyway, the podcast is here. I’m unlikely to listen to it again — I hate the sound of my recorded voice, always have — but you ought to give it a listen. Once again, I thank Jenn and Lisa for having me as a guest, and I hope it won’t be the last time they do. Plus, I hope my mom and my sister forgive me for not giving them a shout-out, as I did my dad. And I hope that you, savage reader, fully understands that I was hung over. Six Negronis, virtually no food. I make my Fun Land wherever I can, sweetheart.

“OH YEAH … EXPLAINING MY POSITION.” If you’ve found me through the podcast, welcome. Before you proceed any further, please read the disclaimer on the “About” page — the one about dirty words.

For your convenience, here are my positions on Disneyland and DCA:

1. Favorite Disneyland attractions, present day: Pirates of the Caribbean, Space Mountain, Haunted Mansion, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, The Temple of the Forbidden Eye, The Enchanted Tiki Room, it’s a small world and the Disneyland Railroad. These are a must for every visit, and I’ll enjoy them all even if it takes me all day to do it.

2. Favorite DCA attractions: Soarin’ Over California, Disney Animation, the Sun Wheel, California Screamin’, the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. I haven’t rode Toy Story Midway Mania yet.

3. My position on the it’s a small world redux: Opposed to the removal of the Rainforest Scene; ambivalent to the addition of Disney’s animated characters. I’ll wait. I’ll see.

4. On the money: Admission prices are fair. Food prices are not. The Cast Members are underpaid. Outdoor vending is fine, in moderation. So-called “merchandise events” are tacky and may end up killing the Park. Locals shouldn’t get admission discounts.

5. Management: The “nebulous cloud of idiot” I refer to in the podcast doesn’t refer to people, but to bureaucracy and red tape. I don’t think accountants should be castigated for doing their jobs. I think upper management should be castigated for fostering an environment where everyone feels like they need to cover their asses to stay employed. Also, I stole the phrase “nebulous cloud of idiot” from Tristan Farnon, who’d probably kick my junk into orbit if he knew where and how I was using it.

BEAUTY, EH? The big news out of Disneyland this past birthday week actually was kind of big: The Sleeping Beauty Diorama is coming back. The walk-through attraction was closed in 2001 under mysterious circumstances — some say post 9-11 fears, but most say the Mouse was too cheap to make the attraction ADA-compliant — but the upcoming release of “Sleeping Beauty” on Blu-Ray has apparently stirred Burbank’s financial and creative will.

According to Disney’s press release:

The crafting of the 1957 walkthrough show fell to Walt Disney Imagineer Ken Anderson and animation art director and color stylist Eyvind Earle, credited with giving the motion picture “Sleeping Beauty” the distinctive and colorful look of storybook illustrations in medieval style. An entirely new look appeared in 1977 when the attraction’s redesign featured miniature dioramas, including moving figurines similar to the window displays in the shops on Main Street, U.S.A.

When the attraction is unveiled later this year, the “show” will differ from the dioramas of the 1980s and ‘90s, returning to the unique style of the original 1957 show and motion picture. Enhanced with new scenes and special effects magic, the re-Imagineered attraction will employ technology not available in the 1950s to represent scenes from the story of Sleeping Beauty, including the magic of good fairies Flora, Fauna and Merryweather, and the more sinister spells of the evil Maleficent.

They had me at “we’re bringing back Eyvind Earle.” Look at the picture at the top of this article. Not only is it a stunning representation of the six-Negroni party I attended last week, but it’s a breathtakingly beautiful piece of art. The promise of seeing Earle’s distinctive work at Disneyland again is exciting indeed.

By the way, Imagineering figured out the ADA angle: They’re creating a “virtual walk-through” — probably a home theater kind of deal, like the one they made for the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage. It will be located in one of the former castle shop spaces.

I will repeat that: Disneyland is closing retail space to expand an attraction. If I close my eyes and hold my breath, I can pretend that the 1990s never happened.

YOU GOT NO REGARD FOR “THE MIDDLEMAN.” And by God, you ought to. The Javier Grillo-Marxuach show mixes the best parts of “The X-Files,” “Get Smart,” “Doctor Who,” “The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai,” “Moonlighting” and even “Igby Goes Down” into the smoothest, creamiest, punchiest, most est-iest comic sci-fi concoction you’ve ever ingested. Don’t believe it? Read what I wrote about the show in my other crappy bl-g. That’ll show you.

I’ve no idea why Disney chose to dump their best new show since “Pushing Daisies” into the tweeny ghetto of ABC Family, but it’s there now and it needs your eyeballs to stay there. Get a free taste of the show here, and then start watching it Monday nights at 10. Don’t risk the wrath of Ida.

Comments

comments

4 Comments

  1. Thanks again for being on the show with us! It was great having you as a guest expert. I hope you'll be willing to come back again!

    And man…Disneyland reducing retail space to expand an attraction. It gives a girl hope.

  2. i am so redy to tun up and down the sleeping beauty castle again.
    and i thought it said something about edna (mode) there at the end… but i guess i read that wrong…

    🙂

  3. Very well-written post – and yes, I get it! Great job!

  4. Geoff,

    I found your site and it is good to encounter another kindred spirit. Anyone who links to a tiki cocktail blog can't be all that bad!

    I'm at jungleis101.blogspot.com and am a former Cast Member whose life remains largely defined by my early years exposure to Disneyland.

    I will be stopping by often and I've linked your blog to my site, too!

    mike

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