Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Disney Animated Movie Representation at the Disney Parks: Part 4

31. Pocahontas

Pocahontas, while still a reasonably popular film, it wasn't anything compared to The Lion King, Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, or The Little Mermaid. I'm not sure why Pocahontas never really caught on in general. Perhaps the historical background grounded somewhat in reality (forget about Grandmother Willow) threw some kids off. That being said, Pocahontas still makes a quite a few appearances at the Disney Parks. She is present, along with Meeko and Flit, in Hong Kong Disneyland's It's a Small World, which marks the movie's only appearance on a ride. I think a Pocahontas ride would actually be kind of cool! Maybe a log flume kind of ride? I know you have Splash Mountain, but you could not have it be a thrill ride. More like Gran Feista with the Three Caballeros. Pocahontas characters have made appearances in many shows throughout the years, most notably Fantasmic! at Hollywood Studios, World of Color at California Adventure, and the now defunct Pocahontas and her Forest Friends, which ran from 1998 to 2008 at Disney's Animal Kingdom. Pocahontas is a popular meet and greet character, along with Meeko, at each of the Disney Parks.

32. The Hunchback of Notre Dame

Now, if Pocahontas paled in comparison to the earlier 90's films, then Hunchback was almost eclipsed. It is by far one of the best Disney has ever made, but a Victor Hugo adaption for children? Not a great sell, and there's not a Princess in sight, so Hunchback hasn't seen as much love at the Disney Parks as some of its contemporaries. Characters from Hunchback, namely Frollo, Quasimodo, Esmerelda, Pheobus, and Clopin are very rare meet and greet characters around the parks, though Frollo is seen the most. The characters are notably more present in Disneyland Paris, seeing as that's where the movie takes place. Hunchback was another movie that had its own Broadway-type show, this time at Hollywood Studios, from 1996 to 2002. Quasimodo can be seen in the Disney Dreams show at Disneyland Paris singing Out There, and Clopin has his own restaurant, Clopin's Festival of Foods, at Hong Kong Disneyland. That's about it for Hunchback, which admittedly has more representation than Bambi or Fox and the Hound, but still not too much compared to other films.

33. Hercules

Hercules is admittedly my favorite Disney film, and if I had my way, they'd have a whole area dedicated to the movie. That's never going to happen, because Hercules is somehow unpopular. I had no idea until a few years ago, but Hercules has a lot of detractors. Some people really hate this movie, and that really puzzles me. That lack of appreciation for a classic Disney film has led to yet another under-representation at the Disney Parks. Hercules had its own parade at Hollywood Studios in 1997 when the movie came out, but unfortunately that sort of exposure wasn't going to last. Today, Hercules, Hades, Pain, Panic, and Megara are meet and greet characters, though only rarely. Hades perhaps has the most exposure, like Frollo and the other villains just because they have shows and events planned around them. It's good to be a villain! Besides a little representation at Fantasmic!, Hercules is sadly vacant from the parks. From what I've read online, people really want to see this movie at the parks. It's not super popular still, but there is a sizable group of people who would love to see an attraction dedicated to our favorite Greek mythological character.

34. Mulan

Mulan, while not being a terribly popular film, still contains a movie about woman protagonist that isn't a Princess, but is still part of the Princess line-up. Not sure what the requirements are for this club, but they are sort of weird. Mulan is a popular meet-and-greet character at each Disney Park, though she is seen more at Disney World than anywhere else. Interestingly, she almost always in her bridal outfit from the beginning of the film, and only appears as Ping rarely. I can understand this from a Princess point of view, but almost all the film has her dressed as Ping. At least they have Ping at the park, mostly with Shang or Mushu. Mulan and Mushu also make an appearance (on a kite) in It's a Small World in Hong Kong Disneyland and Disneyland. Mulan also had its own parade in 1998 to help commemorate the film. Characters from Mulan help throw a party for the Lunar New Year Celebration for all of Disney's Chinese, Vietnamese, and Korean visitors. Mulan herself is present at anything having to do with Princesses, so you won't have to look far in the park to find her.

35. Tarzan

Tarzan appears to be a film that would benefit greatly from there being a whole park dedicated to the jungle and animals, but these days you can only meet Tarzan, Jane, and maybe Terk at Animal Kingdom. The park used to have a show called Tarzan Rocks!, which ran from 1999 to 2006, but it was replaced by Finding Nemo: The Musical. Wait a minute...Finding Nemo wasn't a musical! What's going on here? The biggest representation Tarzan has at the Parks is Tarzan's Treehouse, which exists at Disneyland and Hong Kong Disneyland. While the Hong Kong version was new in 2005, Tarzan's Treehouse replaced The Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse in Disneyland. People were none too happy about this replacement, but today people appear to have gotten over it. Many of the older live-action movie representations have gone the way of the dodo at the parks, including Swiss Family Robinson, and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Luckily for guests, The Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse can still be visited at Disney World, Disneyland Paris, and Tokyo Disneyland. The attraction is basically the same; you walk through the treehouse and glance at various scenes from the movie.

36. Fantasia 2000

Not counting any Sorcerer's Apprentice appearances at the Parks, Fantasia 2000 has a few representations at the Parks. The Spring Sprite from The Firebird Suite appears in two different places, the first at World of Color at California Adventure, and in the Jubilation parade at Tokyo Disneyland. Yo Yo Flamingo and the other Flamingos appeared at Disneyland's Parade of the Stars, which ran from 2000 to 2004. The whales from the Pines of Rome segment even made an appearance as a float in Disneyland's 45 Years of Magic Parade. Perhaps the biggest representation the movie has is at the All-Star Movies Resort at Disney World, where one whole section is dedicated to Fantasia and Fantasia 2000. You can see characters from The Steadfast Tin Soldier, Pines of Rome, and Donald and Daisy from Pomp and Circumstance.

37. Dinosaur

I've looked all over and can only find one solitary representation for this movie, but by having its own ride, its head and shoulders more in your face than other Disney films. Dinosaur has its own dark ride, named...wait for it...Dinosaur. Yup, they got rid of the original name of the ride, Countdown to Extinction, which was a way cooler name, to just Dinosaur. Bleh. I barely remember riding this, and to this day I can't remember which version it was. I'm pretty sure it was Countdown to Extinction, but I could be wrong. The dark ride is a lot more interactive than the traditional dark rides of Disney, more like the Indiana Jones dark rides at Disneyland and DisneySea in Tokyo. The ride used to be more intense and scary, if you couldn't tell by the name, but Disney decided to tone it down for the kiddies who wanted something like the movie. Changes included getting rid of the Styracosaurus statue in front of the ride and replacing it with a statue of Aladar, toning down the scary soundtrack, and making the ride itself less intense. The change has led to many adult riders considering it a kids ride now. This isn't that unusual for Disney, since they've toned down such rides like Snow White's Scary Adventure, or even gotten rid of one altogether like ExtraTERRORestrail: Alien Encounter (more on this one later). Dinosaur, from what I can remember, wasn't a very good movie, and I get that this movie fits with the ride that was there before, but it really doesn't deserve its own ride, when so many other worthy movies don't have one.

38. Emperor's New Groove

Emperor's New Groove is the funniest Disney film ever made, and that isn't up for discussion. It's definitely one of my favorites, and the best of the 2000's in my opinion. I think there is a lot of opportunity for this movie in the parks, but I don't think its popular enough. The closest thing this movie has to a ride is Raging Spirits, a roller coaster at DisneySea Tokyo. While not themed on the movie, the architecture is based off of Kuzco's Incan kingdom. Kuzco, Kronk, and Yzma were all meet and greet characters for a little while after the movie premiered, but have since either been retired or are extremely rare. Kuzco's human form made its debut at Disneyland Paris in 2013 as part of the Disney Dreamers Everywhere! events. His Llama form, along with Yzma and Kronk were even brought back out for the event. The only other representation I could find was Kronk hosting the interactive paint station section in the post-show area of The Magic of Disney Animation at Hollywood Studios. I remember going to The Magic of Disney Animation in 2000 and seeing a whole section of the tour dedicated to the production of this movie. We even got to see a small clip of the film. I'm sure they do this with every new film, but for some reason that memory sticks with me.

39. Atlantis: The Lost Empire

Atlantis didn't do well at the box office, and that didn't translate into a ride or much representation at the Parks. Disney was planning to have a submarine ride, named Atlantis Expedition, that would be a lot like the Submarine Voyage ride. Once the movie bombed, Disney scrapped the idea and instead made the wise decision of making into a Finding Nemo ride. Milo and Kida both appeared at the various parks in the early days of its release, but were quickly retired. They came back inexplicably to Disneyland Paris's Discoveryland section. Milo and Kida also could be seen on a float in the Disney Stars and Motor Cars parade that only lasted less than a year at Hollywood Studios.

40. Lilo and Stitch

Lilo and Stitch is probably the most represented at the Disney Parks of all the 2000's films. Stitch is a very bankable character and is seen all over the various Parks. The rest of the characters aren't seen as much, so hope you like Stitch! Lilo does make a few appearances, namely in Disneyland Paris' Stars 'n' Cars parade, and in the shows Fantasmic! and World of Color. Both Lilo and Stitch are in Disneyland and Hong Kong Disneyland's It's a Small World. Stitch has his own ride, though it has almost unanimously been voted the worst ride in all of Disney: Stitch's Great Escape! in Walt Disney World. The ride replaced ExtraTERRORestrial: Alien Encounter, which was considered by many to be the scariest ride at any of the Disney Parks. You were strapped in while the ride made it seem like the alien was roaming around the room scaring everyone. People loved the ride, but some complained it was far too scary for kids, and for some, Disney equals kid-friendly. When Lilo and Stitch came out in 2002, Disney decided this was a perfect opportunity to give one of their recent movies a ride. In 2004, the ride opened, and people hated it! Same kind of ride, but its just Stitch burping chili dog in your face. I'll admit that I've never ridden any incarnation of this ride. I was far too scared to ride the Alien ride, even though I was probably too old to be at the time. Tower of Terror was another ride I was just terrified far too late in life. To my credit, I have always hated drop rides, so it wasn't really the theming as much as the drop. If people hate this ride so much, why doesn't Disney get rid of it? Probably the biggest reason is merchandising. The ride empties right into a gift shop and that shop sells tons of Stitch merch. As long as kids want a plush of a lovable blue alien, that ride will still be around. Stitch has another ride, this time in Tokyo Disneyland, called The Enchanted Tiki Room: Stitch Presents Aloha e Komo Mai! I had actually never heard of this version of The Enchanted Tiki Room, but I'll have to watch a video of it. Stitch Encounter at Hong Kong Disneyland and Stitch Live! at Disneyland Paris is a show a lot like Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor. You sit in a theater, and though it's a video on the screen, it interacts with audience participation. I've experienced Laugh Floor, and it's really cool, so I can only assume these are about the same. Stitch is all over the place, so if you like the character, then you'll be happy no matter which Disney Park you decide to go to. The only other one I can think of is the huge statue on top of World of Disney at the Disney Boardwalk at Disney World. The reason I remember this one so fondly is because it spits water at you, just like the camel at the Magic Carpets.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Disney Animated Movie Representation at the Disney Parks: Part 3

21. The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh/Winnie the Pooh (2011)

OK, so I decided to combine these two movies, even though they are far apart in terms of release dates. Both movies contain the same characters, so there's no point to covering them twice. Winnie the Pooh is one of the more popular Disney characters and the Disney Parks tend to give him and the other characters a lot of love. Disney apparently found that they didn't have a big enough representation for Winnie the Pooh at the Magic Kingdom, so they destroyed Mr. Toad's Wild Ride to make way for The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. Less distressing is the fact that the Winnie the Pooh ride took over Country Bear Jamboree in Disneyland. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy the Country Bear Jamboree, but it doesn't affect me as much since the only park I visit is Disney World. The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh is a dark ride that follows the 1977 movie's plot, with a little added nod to Mr. Toad in the Disney World version. The ride can also be found at Hong Kong Disneyland. Winnie the Pooh is the second most requested character meet and greet at the Disney Parks (the first being Mickey), proving his staying power in the parks. Tigger, Eeyore, and sometimes Piglet can also be seen wandering the parks. Another dark ride based on Winnie the Pooh can be found at Tokyo Disneyland, this time called Pooh's Hunny Hunt. Pooh's Hunny Hunt operates on a trackless ride system and has much more advanced audio-animitronics than the ones in The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. Opened in 2000, it remains one of the most popular rides at Tokyo Disneyland. Disneyland Paris has a show dedicated to the bear, called Winnie the Pooh and Friends, Too! Pooh's popularity also finds him in various parades, finale shows, and inside many of the shops inside the parks.

22. The Rescuers/Rescuers Down Under

The Rescuers was a popular film at the time of its release, but that hasn't translated to many appearances at the Disney parks. Its sequel, which I decided to combine, even though they have some different characters, Rescuers Down Under has almost no representation at the parks. Bernard and Bianca are meet and greet characters at Tokyo Disneyland. They, along with Evinrude and Orville have appeared at one point or another as meet and greet characters at Disney World and Disneyland, though they have all since disappeared completely. Orville used to host a pre-show at Disneyland's World Premiere Circle-Vision film, "All Because Man Wanted to Fly". The only representation I could find for Rescuers Down Under was its soundtrack being played at the Fountain of Nations in Epcot. At least its something! I'm actually a little surprised that Jake wasn't at lease a meet and greet character back in the early 90's, though the movie was basically snuffed out by being sandwiched between The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast.

23. The Fox and the Hound

Sadly there is no representation for The Fox and the Hound at the Disney Parks. Disney was planning on putting a Fox and the Hound dark ride in Disneyland inside Critter Country, but the idea apparently didn't pan out. That, or the movie wasn't popular enough to warrant a ride.You can find vinylmation figures of Tod and Copper at the park stores and some plushes, but that is about as close as Disney will get to representing Fox and the Hound at its parks.

24. The Black Cauldron

During the release of The Black Cauldron in 1985, Taran and Princess Eilonwy were walk-around characters, though disappeared soon after. Gurgi had his own fast service restaurant when the film released called Gurgi's Munchings and Crunchings, though its name was changed in 1993. The last appearance by a Black Cauldron character was the Horned King at Cinderella Castle Mystery Tour in Tokyo Disneyland. Guests would walkthrough the castle and at the end face off against the Horned King, with one guest uttering the magic words to defeat him. The attraction unfortunately closed in 2006, thus killing the last representation that The Black Cauldron had in the Disney Parks. I don't really blame them, The Black Cauldron was one of Disney's biggest flops, and if a movie doesn't do well, it won't be represented at the parks, because its all about popularity and characters that will make Disney money. The Black Cauldron doesn't make money, it's just loved by the few who like to see something different from Disney.

25.  The Great Mouse Detective

The Great Mouse Detective is another Disney gem that doesn't get the respect it deserves. In typical Disney fashion, they have decided to completely bury this film at the parks, only allowing Basil and Ratigan to appear as walk-around characters for the 80's before retiring them. I know, not popular, not profitable, so unfortunately you won't see any representation for this film anywhere.

26. Oliver & Company

Oliver & Company is another one that was represented at the parks for a short time after the film was released, but has since disappeared. The film even had a float in one of Disney World's parades to help promote the film in 1988. Dodger, Georgette, Tito, Oliver, and Jenny were all walk-around characters in the various parks until the mid-90's. The funny thing is that the characters made an appearance at Hong Kong Disneyland's opening in 2005.





27. The Little Mermaid

OK, so this is where the representation will go way back up again. The Little Mermaid was the beginning of Disney's Renaissance, and has remained a very popular film, especially with little girls. Ariel in her mermaid form is a difficult meet and greet, seeing as she can't exactly walk around, so Disney World and Tokyo DisneySea have Ariel's Grotto, where guests can visit with the mermaid and get pictures taken with her. In her human form she is at various princess meet and greets at Disneyland, Hong Kong Disneyland, and Disneyland Paris. Ariel can also be seen at various live shows, such as Fantasmic!, Voyage of the Little Mermaid, and Mermaid Lagoon Theater. Ariel also makes cameos in Peter Pan's Flight among the other mermaids, and in It's a Small World at Disneyland and Hong Kong Disneyland. Ariel also makes an apperance in animated form in Mickey's PhilharMagic. The Little Mermaid has its own dark ride called The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Undersea Adventure at Disney California Adventure. Ariel, Ursula, Flounder, and Sebastian can be found all over the place at the Disney Parks, and it would take many pages to list them all, but I just wanted to hit the main ones.

28. Beauty and the Beast

Belle is a meet and greet character at all the parks, mostly part of the princess meet and greets. Belle and Beast can also be seen in the various Disney parades, inside shops, live shows, and just about anywhere else you can think of. This is another incredibly popular Princess movie, and Disney loves to push it at the parks. Belle can be seen at Disneyland's Fantasy Faire telling the story of Beauty and the Beast with the help of Lumiere, Mr. Smythe, and Mr. Jones. Beauty and the Beast: Live is a shortened Broadway version of Beauty and the Beast at Disney's Hollywood Studios in Disney World. Beast makes appearances around the parks, mostly in meet and greets, but also in live shows and parades. All the characters can be seen in New Fantasyland in the Magic Kingdom, where there is a little corner dedicated to the movie. There's the Be Our Guest restaurant, Gaston's Tavern, Bonjour! Village Gifts, and even Beast's Castle set against a mountain.

29. Aladdin

Aladdin has its own ride, The Magic Carpet's of Aladdin, a ride that exists in Disney World, Disneyland Paris, and Tokyo Disneyland. It is the same ride as Dumbo the Flying Elephant, so you know exactly what to expect. There's also a camel in front of the ride that every once in a while will spit water at guests passing by. Aladdin and Jasmine are meet-able characters at each of the parks and remain quite popular. Genie, Abu, and Jafar also makes appearances, though not as much as the two main characters. Aladdin can be seen in It's a Small World in Disneyland and Hong Kong Disneyland. Aladdin has a Broadway-style show at Disney California Adventure which is, like Beauty and the Beast, a shortened version. Jafar makes appearances more during Halloween and at the various villain celebrations in the parks.

30. The Lion King

The Lion King also gets a lot of love at the parks, even more with Disney's Animal Kingdom. The main attractions are Festival of The Lion King, a live Broadway show using puppetry, which takes place at Animal Kingdom and Hong Kong Disneyland, and Circle of Life: An Environmental Fable, a short video about the dangers of pollution and not protecting our Earth. A former attraction that was pretty popular was The Legend of the Lion King, which told the story of The Lion King, but was all audio-animitronic. It was replaced by Mickey's PhilharMagic in 2002, which also includes characters from The Lion King. Timon and Pumbaa have their own restaurant called the Hakuna Matata Restaurant at Disneyland Paris. The Lion King has no meet and greets, instead having the characters in live shows and parades. Most of The Lion King's representation comes from Animal Kingdom, where there is heavy merchandising for all its characters.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Disney Animated Movie Representation at the Disney Parks: Part 2

11. Cinderella

Cinderella happens to have one of the biggest representations at any of the parks, due to the fact that her castle is the main icon at the Magic Kingdom and Tokyo Disneyland. The castle is a tad misleading, as it is much shorter than you think. When viewed from afar, it appears to be a tall majestic building, but when you get closer, you realize it's only about 189 feet high. It's still a big building, don't get me wrong, a full 100 feet higher than Sleeping Beauty's Castle at Disneyland. The Disney Imagineers used forced perspective to give the building the illusion of being bigger and grander from afar. As the castle gets higher, the smaller its proportions are. Pretty cool, right? There's not much to do inside the castle, at least for visitors. Cinderella's Royal Table, Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, the Cinderella Castle Suite, and of course the mosiacs inside the archway leading through the castle are all there is. Sorry, no running through the halls pretending to be Cinderella. As you can expect, Cinderella's Royal Table is one of the more expensive places to eat at Disney, though the kids have a chance to meet and greet with various Disney Princesses. The Cinderella Castle Suite is a luxury room reserved for contest winners. The room was first meant for Walt Disney himself, but it was left unfinished after his death in 1966. It was finally opened as a luxury room in 2007. Cinderella is a staple throughout all the Disney Parks, showing up as a character, and being seen in most shops. Her voice can also be heard during the Stitch's Great Escape! ride.

12. Alice in Wonderland

Alice in Wonderland has two major rides in the Disney Parks. Alice in Wonderland is a dark ride that appears at Disneyland, and like many of the other movie dark rides goes through the general plot of the movie. It is interesting how many of Disneyland's rides didn't make it over to Disney World. It's good for Disney that they don't copy it completely, otherwise there would be no reason to visit Disneyland. The other major ride is the Mad Tea Party, though it goes by different names in each of its incarnations. It is one of the rare rides that appears at every single Disney Park in the world, and like Dumbo the Flying Elephant, it's a pretty simple ride. You sit in a teacup and it spins around in circles while the ride as a whole spins. You've ridden this type of ride many other times at other parks, but the fact that its at Disney makes it fun. I'm not down on either Dumbo or the Mad Tea Party; they are wonderful rides that are fun for kids and offer more excitement than many of the dark rides. The various characters of Alice and Wonderland can be seen around the parks and haven't lost their appeal after all these years.

13. Peter Pan

Peter Pan has probably one of the most popular rides in all of the Disney Parks: Peter Pan's Flight. It's just another dark ride going through the plot of the film, but for some reason it's just so cool! Try to ride it without a Fastpass, I dare you. Peter Pan's Flight is at every park except for Hong Kong Disneyland. Peter Pan and its characters are still immensely popular to this day, so it isn't rare to see the characters walking around the park. The Art of Animation attraction once had a short called Back to Neverland, which saw Robin Williams being turned into an animated lost boy who explores Neverland with Peter and the gang. Peter Pan and the other characters can also be seen in Dream Along with Mickey at the Magic Kingdom, and Mickey's PhilharMagic at the Magic Kingdom, Tokyo Disneyland and Hong Kong Disneyland.

14. Lady and the Tramp

Lady and the Tramp is one with only a couple representations in the park. You can see Tramp and Lady at the Pop Century Resort in the 1950's area (that's where my wife and I stayed), and at Tony's Town Square Restaurant at Disney World's Magic Kingdom. You can see various items inside shops, but unfortunately Lady and the Tramp isn't one of the movies that Disney seems to care too much about having in the parks.

15. Sleeping Beauty

Sleeping Beauty also has her own castle, but in Disneyland, Disneyland Paris, and Hong Kong Disneyland. The Disneyland version is, of course, the oldest of the castles and also employs forced perception to look taller. The castle had a lot of wasted space in the upper floors, so Walt challenged the Imagineers to create something special for the guests. Visitors were allowed to walk through the upper area of the castle, which housed dioramas that depicted the story of Sleeping Beauty. The walkthrough abruptly ended in 2001, which many think has to do with the September 11th attacks (I guess it has a lot of unlit and un-monitered hallways). The walkthrough opened once again in 2008, with much more features, so Disney probably wanted to just give it a face-lift. Other than the castles, Sleeping Beauty and the other characters from the movie, namely Maleficent, make regular appearances around the park.

16. One Hundred and One Dalmatians

Surprisingly, there isn't a lot of love for One Hundred and One Dalmatians at the Disney Parks. Cruella De Vil's character can be seen at meet and greets at the various parks, though more often at Disneyland Paris. She also makes appearances during Halloween. Pongo and Perdita make an appearance at Disney's All-Star Movies Resort, and Pongo is a main part of the Sorcerer's of the Magic Kingdom interactive game in Disney World.



17. The Sword in the Stone

The literal sword in the stone makes an appearance at every single park in front of their carousels. While not on the map as an attraction, the sword is actually part of a show. Each day, Merlin picks a child to try and pull the sword out of the stone. Each kid becomes the ruler of Fantasyland after pulling the sword out. A fun inclusion for The Sword in the Stone, though that's where it ends. Turns out that it's not a very popular Disney film.

18. The Jungle Book

The Jungle Book surprisingly has very little representation at the parks. You can see Baloo and King Louie walking around Animal Kingdom, and an over-sized statue of Baloo at Disney's Pop Century Resort at Disney World. Hong Kong Disneyland has a cameo of Baloo and Mowgli inside their version of It's a Small World, but that's about it. The movie is also represented in the various shops, but not very prominently. Animal Kingdom once had a show based around The Jungle Book when the park opened in 1998, but it was replaced by a Tarzan show after only a year of operation. I feel like there is a lot of opportunity, especially in Animal Kingdom, to have a ride based on The Jungle Book, or some sort of presentation. Besides The Lion King, it's arguably Disney most well loved animal-centric story.

19. The Aristocats

Marie appears to be the favorite of all the cats, as she is a meet-able character at Disney World and Tokyo Disney World. Toulouse and Berloiz eventually became meet-able characters in 2013. Marie also has a ton of merchandise in the stores, but nothing close to Frozen levels. Marie can also be found in It's a Small World in Hong Kong Disneyland. No love for Thomas O'Malley or Duchess it seems.

20. Robin Hood

Robin Hood is pretty rare in the parks. As you can tell, the representation for the last couple of movies hasn't been the greatest. It really doesn't get better until The Little Mermaid, so get used to it. Robin Hood himself is a very seldom character to meet and greet at both Disneyland and Disney World. They do, however, dust him and Friar Tuck, Prince John, and the Sheriff of Nottingham off for special "Long Lost Friends Weeks". I'm guessing that's where they take all the characters that they don't use anymore and let them wander around the parks, hoping a child will notice them.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Disney Animated Movie Representation at the Disney Parks: Part 1

Have you ever noticed that some Disney movies are just not represented at the Disney Theme Parks? The Princess movies seem to get all the love when it comes to representation, but while there are some Disney Animated movies that are not present anymore, there are more than you think at the parks. I'm going to go through all the Disney Animated Canon plus Pixar, to see what movies Disney still likes in their parks. There are a ton of instances of characters around the park, so I'm not going to get all of them, so deal with it!

1. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

While it may be the oldest full length animated feature, it has one of the newest attractions at Disney World. Seven Dwarfs Mine Train opened in 2014 along with the rest of New Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom. The roller coaster takes the place that was left vacant after Snow White's Scary Adventures was closed to make room for the Princess Fairytale Hall. Snow White's Scary Adventures continues to operate at Disneyland, Tokyo Disneyland, and Disneyland Paris. Scary Adventures is a dark ride that tells the story of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, though it was a lot scarier than many patrons thought it would be. It was eventually re-done in 1994 to tone it down, including adding Snow White herself to the ride. Walt Disney wanted riders to feel that they were themselves Snow White, which is why she wasn't in the ride to begin with. Though it has been toned down, it continues to be a favorite at the various Disney Parks.

2. Pinocchio

Pinocchio has a dark ride of his own, called Pinocchio's Daring Journey. Another ride that goes through the events of the movie, you can find it at Disneyland, Disneyland Paris, and Tokyo Disneyland. You can spot Monstro at the very beginning of the Storybook Land Canal Boats. Boat riders travel right through Monstro's open mouth! Pinocchio has his own dining establishment, named Pinocchio's Village Haus. Probably the most unique and unusual Pinocchio representation was Pleasure Island. Yes, unfortunately this area of Disney World is no longer with us, but it is fondly remembered as a place that parents could go to have a good time away from their children. It had comedy clubs, restaurants, a short-lived roller rink, and my personal favorite: The Adventurer's Club. I had only been in there once when I as a teenager, but I remembered the decor inside to be really cool. We didn't stay long enough to see any of the shows inside. Over the years, people stopped going to Pleasure Island, mostly because Disney had opened many other shops and restaurants close by and people with kids had to walk through Pleasure Island to get to them. Turns out kids are a drag in a place meant only for adults. It has since been shut down and rebranded as Disney Springs. It now has shops and restaurants, with the old clubs still standing vacant.

3. Fantasia

Fantasia is helped out a lot by the fact that the Sorcerer's Apprentice is included in the movie and has become an iconic part of Mickey's character. The most noticeable Fantasia representation was the Sorcerer's Hat at Hollywood Studios at Disney World. The hat was added for the 2000 celebration and stayed there until just recently. The hat has been met with both repulsion and admiration. The hat was set squarely in front of the "Mann's Chinese Theater" facade that housed The Great Movie Ride, which made it almost impossible to get a decent shot of the theater, but also kind of ruined the view in general. Other's didn't mind its placement and were disappointing to hear that Disney was deciding to tear it down. I honestly don't care either way. I went the year it was put up and I remember loving it, so I guess if you're a kid and you grow up with it, then you might miss it. Fantasia's representation has been downgraded to just a miniature golf park at Disney World. Chernabog, besides Mickey from The Sorcerer's Apprentice, is very popular in general at the parks, turning up mostly during Halloween.

4. Dumbo

Dumbo's most famous representation is Dumbo the Flying Elephant. The attraction is a lot like many carnival rides: it has you go around and up and down and that's about it. It's a simple ride, but it's still popular. It was one of the original rides at Disneyland, so you can't really blame Disney for coming up with a pretty generic ride. Dumbo's representation has expanded thanks to New Fantasyland. It now has Storybook Circus, which is a whole area dedicated to the circus, in the vein of Dumbo. The area includes Dumbo the Flying Elephant and Casey Jr, Splash and Soak Station. Kids can ride Casey Jr, at Disneyland and Disneyland Paris. At Disneyland it is a slow train ride that takes you around the park. At Disneyland Paris, it is more of a roller coaster.

5. Bambi

It turns out that Bambi is not represented well at the Disney parks. Bambi has no dark ride, no restaurant, no shop, and no area dedicated to it. You can surely see Bambi, Thumper, or Flower in the park somewhere, though there aren't any permanent fixtures featuring the young prince. If you need your Bambi fix, you'll have to look hard in one of the many Disney shops. I can understand why they never made a ride, though. You can't exactly have a very exciting ride based on Bambi, and a dark ride going through the story would inevitably have to deal with Bambi's mother being shot, so that's a no-go. Actually, that might be a very entertaining ride, so get on it, Disney!

6. Saludos Amigos/The Three Caballeros

I'm counting these movies together since they share the same characters. Donald, Jose Carioca and Panchito Pistoles (Panchito is only in The Three Caballeros), show up in three different places at the Disney Parks. Most notable is a newer attraction at EPCOT in the Mexico pavilion, Gran Fiesta Tour starring The Three Caballeros. Gran Feista began in 2007, taking over El Rio Del Tiempo's spot in the back-left area inside of the Mexico pavilion. The ride hasn't changed too much from the original, it's just The Three Caballeros tacked onto the videos. It's not a bad ride, it's just not as peaceful as it used to be, in my opinion. People have been pretty upset about Frozen going into the Norway pavilion, but Mexico is the first area that let the Disney animated movies in. The Three Caballeros can also be seen at the pool at Disney's All Star Music Resort, and even have a cameo appearance in Disneyland's It's a Small World After All.

7. Make Mine Music

The "Package Films" of the 1940's have something going for them in one regard, in that there are so many shorts in each film that there's a good possibility of seeing them in the parks. What's not helping them is the fact that only about three or four shorts from the package films are popular. Peter and the Wolf can be seen at the Disneyland Paris version of the Storybook Land Canal Boats. Casey at the Bat is used for a restaurant, namely Casey's Corner at the Magic Kingdom, specializing in hot dogs and the like. Willie the Whale can also be seen in the queue at Mickey's Philharmagic at the Magic Kingdom, Toyko Disneyland and Hong Kong Disneyland.

8. Fun and Fancy Free

Fun and Fancy Free is really just Mickey and the Beanstalk and Bongo the Bear. Fun and Fancy Free doesn't have much representation at the parks. Apparently Bongo and Lulubelle were present at both American parks up until the 1990's. The pair can be seen along with some of the bears from Country Bear Jamboree in The Muppets go to Walt Disney World. The pair have been missing in action since. The only current representation is Willie the Giant at Sir Mickey's shop at Disney World. The whole shop is based off of Mickey and the Beanstalk, with the beanstalk twining throughout the store and Willie peaking in while lifting the roof.

9. Melody Time

Melody Time, though it has many segments, only has one representation at the Disney parks, and that's Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn & Cafe at the Magic Kingdom in Disney World. Blame it on the Samba has Donald and Jose, but I'm not counting that towards Melody Time, since they are more closely associated with The Three Caballeros and Saludos Amigos.


10. The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad

This is where things get sad. Yes, I'm speaking of the fact that Mr. Toad's Wild Ride is no longer at Disney World. Sure, it's still at Disneyland, but I don't want to go all the way to California to ride it again! Mr. Toad's Wild Ride is a dark ride that focuses less on the whole featurette, but instead Mr. Toad's motor mania and subsequent punishment. It was an awesome ride, and I'm still disappointed that they decided to do away with it in favor of a Winnie the Pooh dark ride. Toad is still all over the Magic Kingdom, making a cameo in the Winnie the Pooh ride, his statue occupying a space in the Haunted Mansion pet cemetery, and as part of the Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom interactive game. Mr. Toad can also be found at Disneyland Paris in the Storybook Land Canal Boats, and the Toad Hall Restaurant. The Headless Horseman, like Chernabog from Fantasia, doesn't have any permanent fixtures in the parks, but shows up most often during Halloween and in the various Disney shops.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

My Favorite Scary Stories

For someone who likes scary things, I am very far behind on my scary stories. I haven't read most of Stephen King's massive library, and most horror from the last forty years has gone completely under my radar. I keep telling myself that I can read horror stories outside of October, but it just doesn't happen. A lot of these picks are from stories I've read in just the last few years, but some are from my childhood.  These are in no particular order. These are just ten of the stories that I really enjoy or have scared me at one time or another.


1. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley.

I'll just say that I was pleasantly surprised that this story was so much different from the Universal classic film. This monster, or "Adam," talks and even waxes philosophically with his beleaguered inventor. The monster was not accepted by Frankenstein, so he goes about completely ruining his life. This book is deep and has some of the most disturbing lines from any book.


2. The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

This book was quickly adapted into a pretty decent horror movie in 1963, and was later remade in 1999, shortened to The Haunting. Spoiler Alert: It's not so good. Stick to the first one, or this book. The book deals with a paranormal investigator who brings a bunch of psychics into the house to discover its secrets. The book relies more on subtle terror, and makes you wonder whether there is actually any paranormal activity going on, or if Eleanor, the main character, is just imagining it because she's a crazy person.


3, "The Lottery" by Shirley Jackson

This ones a short story, and by far one of the most famous scary short stories of all time. The story involves a sleepy town in 1940's America that takes part in a ritual known as "the lottery." I won't spoil it for those who haven't read it, but rest assured that you will be uneasy by the end. Shirley Jackson's short story was included in a 1948 issue of the New Yorker and quickly became the most infamous story they have ever run.


4. And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

There are several other titles for this book, but they aren't exactly politically correct. More of a murder mystery than a horror book, but it's got the perfect mood and setting. Ten seemingly random people are invited to a remote island off the coast of England and are all accused of past hidden crimes through a gramophone found inside a large mansion on the island. Mystery and murder ensue! A classic, to be sure.


5. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

The Graveyard Book is the newest book on this list, and is probably my favorite. Yes, it's a young adult book, but it's near perfect in my book. Gaiman has a knack for spookier tales (Coraline, Sandman, and The Ocean at the End of the Lane), and this is his best. Partly modeled after The Jungle Books, the book follows Nobody Owens, a young boy who is taken up by ghosts in a graveyard after his family is murdered by the deadly order known as the Jack of All Trades. Spooky, touching, and heartbreaking all in one spectacular story. I can't recommend this book more. I listen to it every year for Halloween (it's narrated by Gaiman himself).


6. "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" by Washington Irving

A short story penned in 1820 as a part of The Sketch Book, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow is undoubtedly Irving's most famous story. In this early American classic, the lanky and stork-like school teacher, Ichabod Crane, becomes entangled in a battle for a rich, young woman's heart. Crane ultimately meets a mysterious end, though the reader is left to decide whether it was from the legendary "Headless Horseman, " or Crane's nemesis, Brom Bones. I do enjoy the book, but I do feel that the various film adaptations help bring the story to life.


7. "The Willows" by Algernon Blackwood

Considered by H.P. Lovecraft to be the finest supernatural tale in English literature, "The Willows" tells the story of two men traveling down the Dunabe river, all the time being stalked by a powerful and otherworldly force of nature. This short story is heavy on dread and unease. This is probably the most effective story in terms of freaking me out.


8. "The Veldt" by Ray Bradbury

Ray Bradbury has many short stories that deal with horror and the unknown, but his best is "The Veldt". Bradbury was famously disgusted by modern technology, as evidenced by Fahrenheit 451, and this story is no different. A family lives in a futuristic home where the children have a virtual reality room that projects images telepathically from their mind and project it into the room. The parents become concerned that the room is raising the children and attempt to separate them from it, but find out that perhaps the room is full of more reality than they thought.


9. "A Good Man is Hard to Find" by Flannery O'Connor


I had to read this in a literature class in college, and judging by the title, thought it was going to be a bore. Instead, it's a story about a family who winds up running into a serial killer and his band. It's a fascinating story, and proves once and for all that you should never take your grandmother with you on long trips. Less of a scary story, and more of a surprising, though-provoking evaluation of the human condition.


10. "The Green Ribbon" by Alvin Schwartz

This story has been around for many, many years, but my first encounter was from the children's book, In a Dark, Dark Room and other Scary Stories. There's a young girl that always wears a green ribbon around her neck. She meets a nice boy who asks her about the ribbon, but she refuses to tell him why she wears it. They eventually fall in love and get married, and again he asks, and again she refuses. They grow old together, and when she is on her deathbed, he asks her a final time and she finally tells him that he can remove the green ribbon. Then her head falls off. Yup. This scared the crap out of me when I was young, and is honestly still pretty unnerving.