Your Souvenir Guide

Disneyland Ex Machina

Category: Disneyland News (page 1 of 4)

The Magic of Disney, Now Search-Engine Optimized

There are things I could do to make Your Souvenir Guide more popular. No, no, you don’t need to spare my feelings; I know that no one is reading this. Even the sub-culture of Disney theme park geeks (er, “enthusiasts”) at which this editorial is squarely aimed rarely interacts with Your Souvenir Guide, even when I say something pointlessly inflammatory. (The Disney Cruise Line is floating bullshit.) There are myriad ways to promote a blog, and I should be doing them. I should create a YSG page on Facebook. I should post more often than bi-annually. And I should optimize this content for maximum exposure in search engine results.

This latter process is called “search-engine optimization”—SEO for short—and it’s killing English as you know it. I don’t fully understand SEO, but I do know that it requires the writer to use keywords in places that keywords wouldn’t usually go. If you want people to find your unofficial Disneyland theme park blog, you need to use that phrase as often as possible. Under the terms of SEO, the new headline for this entry would be:

Unofficial Disneyland theme park blog: Disney applies SEO practices to its theme parks

I’d need to put “unofficial Disneyland theme park blog” in the first sentence of the piece, as well. SEO isn’t an art, it’s a science, and not even a noble science, like distilling gin or playing “Angry Birds.” SEO is rude, crude and in yo’ face. And I’m far behind the times in not adopting it, seeing as Disney has been using something like to name all its new attractions over the past few years.

Consider. Until recently, Disney could name its attractions however it wanted, without regard for the thematic source; a dark ride based on Who Framed Roger Rabbit? could be called  Roger Rabbit’s Toon Car Spin, and a dark ride based on a Toy Story character could be called Buzz Lightyear’s Astro Blasters. It was enough to use the name of the character in the attraction name; the kids could figure out the rest.

Recently, though, Disney has been leaving nothing to chance. They’ve begun to stick the name of the source material right at the front of the attraction name. If they feel there’s more to be said—if “Monsters Inc.” doesn’t fully describe the experience of an attraction—they add a clumsy subtitle.

Toy Story Midway Mania

Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor

The Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Undersea Adventure

Monsters Inc. Ride and Go Seek

Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage

Monsters Inc. Mike and Sully to the Rescue!

Now, I’m just a freelance journalist untrained in the Imagineering arts, but it seems to me that with but a couple of exceptions, very few of those names make sense if you haven’t seen the movies they’re based on. (Believe it or not, there are still people on this planet who have never seen a Pixar film. Yeah. I know, right?) I could get worked up about this, or I could offer my help — and that’s what I intend to do, right now. I won’t tell Disney how to fix these attraction names to make them more attractive to the ear, but I will optimize every other attraction in the Parks so these new attractions don’t stand out as much. Here’s are a few examples of the SEO modifications I’ve conceived thus far:

Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs Scary Adventures

Finding Nemo: Themed Science Exhibit with Aquarium

Star Wars The Clone Wars Episode 3.5: Star Tours 2

Song of the South Splash Mountain (please visit

Pirates of the Caribbean: Captain Jack Sparrow Shows Up Three Times

Ratatouille France

Toy Story: Toy Story Midway Mania!

Next week, I’ll explain how every bathroom at Disney’s theme parks could be improved with the addition of character photo locations. I swear, this stuff comes to me in dreams.

Yooouuu asked for it.

DCA Logo
Via the Disney Parks Blog:

"Did you notice the fun, new logo for Disney California Adventure park in the spot? It’s so new that if you touch the screen, you just might get paint on your fingers. What do you think of the TV spot and new logo?"

It's um, wow. It's not, er, good. It sure as hell doesn't look like the insignia for a billion-dollar theme park. I appreciate that we're going through a transitional phase right now and that we're not entirely sure what this park is going to be once it emerges from (de)construction walls, but I do know this: The name of the park looks downright weird without that possessive apostrophe-S, to say nothing of the grammatical foul being committed in broad daylight. (Turning into Jim Hill, are we?) And the word you want to emphasize in that phrase probably isn't "California."

That aside, I love everything else Disney is doing with the park. World of Color looks to be suitably epic, the official blog coverage of the park remodel has been exemplary, and the new stuff going up in Paradise Pier is sexy like whoa. I look forward to seeing it all this autumn, maybe, after the passholes have cleared off.

In personal news: The reason I haven't posted here is because Monkey Goggles and other sites have consumed every last morsel of my time, and because you've got Disney's blog and the likes of the fabulous Progress City U.S.A. blog to keep you in powdered sugar and wonderment. That said, I may make some more posts here in the coming weeks. I'm gettin' back to that place where I feel it.

Ah, but I have been writing about Disney

We change the picture by observing it

I've posted a number of Disney-related pieces over the past few weeks. It's only that none have them have been posted here, where a Disney fan might have read them (or might not have, judging by my stats). Today in The Spellout, my Seattle-based bargain entertainment bl-g, I have a short review of "Walt & El Grupo," Ted Thomas' documentary film of Walt Disney's 1941 goodwill trip to Argentina, Brazil and Chile. Yesterday in Monkey Goggles — a literary site from Archie McPhee, the novelties company that brought you the Yodelling Pickle and the Fuzzy Pink Skull (for girls!) — I wrote about "Captain EO," and why I think we'll never see it in a Disney theme park again. Also in Monkey Goggles: I reviewed the "Walt Disney and the 1964 World's Fair" CD set, cracked wise about Disney's acquistion of Marvel, and wrote an homage to the late, great ABC Family show "The Middleman." Collect all five!

Regarding that “it’s a small world” revamp

It's a Stitch World After All

I, um, I kinda love it.

I finally had my chance to experience the new, enhanced it’s a small world three weeks ago, during a crowded spring break visit that saw the line for the venerable boat ride swell to nearly 40 minutes. Every set has been repainted, redressed and re-lit, the audio has been sweetened — and in a controversial move, Disney has added doll versions of some of its characters to the mix. Yes, that’s Lilo and Stitch riding that wild surf. The dolls are created in the Mary Blair style (and in the case of older characters like Alice and Cinderella, some are created directly from Blair’s character sketches), and to my eyes, they belong. I’m learning that I’m alone in feeling this way, but whatevs.

Funniest thing. Almost halfway through IASW’s 13 minute running time I was stricken with an unfamiliar feeling, which I recognized after a few moments of reflection as delight. I haven’t felt anything but polite respect for IASW for years now, but in monkeying with the ride, Imagineering has found and pushed the buttons I’d forgotten I ever had to begin with. Even my father, who rode the original IASW at the 1964 New York World’s Fair and has had literally decades to grow tired of it, was impressed by the refurb and favororably compared this most recent ride to his first.

The thing about it’s a small world that most people, even some hardcore Disney freaks, don’t seem to get is that IASW stands completely alone among Disney attractions. There are no thrills, and there is no real story. But there is a magic to it that other Disney attractions don’t have: We love it, or love to hate it, because of its otherness. We identify it as one of Disney’s finest accomplishments because only Disney could have created it. It’s not a ride; it’s a float-through art gallery. Looking at it through that lens, it’s little wonder that that it’s a small world is so polarizing, and no wonder at all that I should be so happy to see it restored. Now, when I experience Disneyland’s it’s a small world, as if I’m seeing it created before my eyes.

S. C. Jones draws the line at “Disneyland Week”

On the Cusp of Jonah by Sean Jones
Here’s a right pretty thing: My friend S.C. Jones, an illustrator with a distinctive line and a mind that more often than not strays into the bizarre, is creating a series of Disneyland illustrations in anticipation of a family trip to Anaheim. He’s posting them in his Facebook group, “Sarcasm Nightly,” here – a fresh one every day. Be sure to check out his other illustrations, as well – they honor subjects of equal social importance, from pandimensionality to Falco.

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