Welcome back to another Photo Update.
So how were the holidays? Didja' get to see family? Friends? Travel?
How were the roads?
Since you haven't heard from me in over
a month, you could say that it got
more than a little distracting around the Casa De Daddy(and Mrs)B.
That and Disneyland had another one of
attendance-record-blowing Christmas seasons, and the one place I pretty
much didn't WANT to be, was at the parks (if you can believe that).
But here it is the beginning of January
(well ok, the middle of January now) and some
new twists to a couple existing rides (and greatly diminished attendance) pretty much
demanded that I pop on over to visit the place.
Want to see?
In case you don't watch much ABC television (or DIsney channel) , there's a new promotion going on at the DIsneyland resort:
I however, visited just shy of a week later,
and the kiddies were back in school and frankly, the big excitement
was done (and the negative reviews were being posted all over the internet). Apparantly, some folks were
expecting more than a new soundtrack on both rides, and some flashing lights inside Space Mountain.
I am not sure why. It's been pretty well
reported that it's a change in soundtrack only since the beginning
of the announcements last year.
The soundtrack (& lighting) changes
will be in place through almost the end of April, so I wonder if these
signs will be up that long. They generally change every few weeks (once the 50th was over) I'll keep you
posted for any changes, of course.
After making my way past the former East
German guards at the "security checkpoint" I pretty much
was able to waltz right into Disneyland.
Look who was there to greet me!
The new red banners on either side of the castle entrance are an interesting choice.
The last vestiges of the 50th are disappearing
finally (and may have at the time of this writing already gone) and
I'm speaking of the Gold lamposts along Main Street.
The 50th officially ended at the end of
September last year, but the last changes were not made until after
the holidays because of the timing of getting "Nightmare" Haunted Mansion and Holiday "Small World" up
as well as getting all of the Halloween and then Christmas decorating done.
Currently the castle itself is behind tarps
and construction fences for a refurb that
will include removing all the gold accents. That is too bad. I think it added a lot to the
castle and should have been a permanent addition to commemorate it's age.
I'll have photos in my next update.
Well, I rode "Rockin' Space Mountain" several times that day. The wait time was
never more than 20 min, and that included walking through that monsterous queue.
I brought my trusty old Digital 8 camcorder
with me so that Visionsfantastic will have the full video on our site.
If you'd like to see a smaller "preview" video for now, click here.
It's about 10 megabytes, but should stream
so it will start a little bit after Windows Media Player opens.
(depending on your connection)
The full sized video will be posted on
our site in a day or so. Be sure to register to become a member
(it's free!) and then surf over to our Space Mountain Page in the Tomorrowland area of our site
to check out the ride and the lights (also some good pictures there of Space Mountain).
(click here to be taken to the member page with the full size video... (you must be logged in)
What did I think of the changes?
I liked them.
You regular readers know that I'm not a
rah-rah "I drank the kool-aid" Disney fan. I find plenty that the company
messes up, or things I see or hear about that just plain leave me scratching my head wondering "why on earth
did they do that?", and I'm not afraid to say it here.
But I like the change. Sure, there are
some caveats, but I think overall it's a positive temporary change. I liked
the song used was a remake of a Stevie Wonder classic, so an old "I hate modern music" fogey like me still felt
like I was rocking out. I liked the lights and sound. I liked the announcer "Uncle Joe Benson" from local rock station KLOS
at the beginning. I liked how the lights were timed to the beat of the music.
Back where I grew up, in Kennebunkport, Maine, there's a local amusement park called "Funtown U.S.A.". in the
70's they added a plain old "scrambler" type ride inside a large inflatable vinyl building and used only
blacklight and projections of weird things (think original Star Trek series effects) on the walls and cranked, and I mean
CRANKED ELO's "Fire On High" (from the "Face The Music" album) during the ride.
They called it the "Astrosphere". It was the rockinest thing I ever heard until my first Doobie Brothers Concert in 1978.
To my knowledge, it's still there in Saco, Maine.
This Space Mountain version takes me back some 30 years to that ride.
The projections on Space Mountain's walls
are video, but still a little on the cheese side.
the music is LOUD and well, rockin'.
"Space Mountain" usually leaves me fairly queasy. With the addition to all the flashing and blinking lights, I can
see the track better, and the motion sickness never kicks in. I rode it three times that morning, and was just fine.
Now the caveats:
There is NO resemblance to 'blasting through outer space" or "Rockin' the Universe" as the announcer says at the end of
the ride. So all the working up to being in a space station is for nothing. I mean, Space Mountain never really felt like you were
in a rocket ship or anything, but with the disco-ball starry lights swirling around you, one could suspend disbelief long enough
to imagine an out of control rocket ride through the space-time continuum. With "Rockin", that is completely gone.
Also, as I said, the projections on the
wall are cheesy.
Overall, I give it 2 thumbs up.
Maybe I'll remember to get some pictures
of the changed signage next time. I got focused on taking video, I
forgot to shoot any still photos in that area.
But with a little work, you can still get the idea....
Yes, the lagoon is partly filled up.
It was reported that as they started to fill up the lagoon with water again,
the Matterhorn shifted several feet to the west.
Turns out all those internet Urban Legends were right!
The pressure and weight of the water in the lagoon actually does help keep the Matterhorn level!
There will be some delay until they can
figure THAT one out!
I was kidding.
You can pick up your jaw from the floor.
Here's what has been actually reported to have happened.
Someone got the plumbing schematic wrong
and capped off a pipe that shouldn't have been capped off. So when the
water filtration system was turned on, a brand new lagoon started forming near the Autopia exit! Supposedly, the
underground electrical room for the Monorail's elevator was completely flooded for some time before this was discovered.
What'd they do, hire Lucy and Ethel to
do the plumbing?
There's going to be some 'splaining to do to a certain project manager/imagineer.
Still reeling from that "Matterhorn shifting" thing?
Flowers are usually a safe thing to photograph.
They don't have meetings about flowers.
I was pretty surprised to see that "Small World Holiday" was still up and running.
Not this year, I guess.
Makes a pretty cool desktop, too.
As I was heading over to Disney's California
Adventure Park to catch the "Rockin California Screamin'"
Goofy was meeting folks in Town Square.
So I rode "Rockin' California Screamin'"
three times (thanks to fastpass for that third time as it was
getting late for me to get back home).
You can see the preview video by clicking
Again, you'll see a full size, full quality version of the ride by going to www.visionsfantastic.com 's
section of the "Paradise Pier" page dedicated to "California Screamin' " in the next day or so.
(again, you have to register to get that 640x480 video).
click here to be taken to the member page with the full size video... (you must be logged in)
So, How was Rockin' California Screamin?
Let me say that I did NOT recognize the song, and it didn't really mesh with the ups and downs of the ride at all.
Since this ride is outdoors, there's no flashing lights or anything, so really it's not that great.
It's more of a typical Chili Peppers song
(as far as I can tell), so that really left me pretty cold.
Remember, I said that I'm an old fogey "I hate modern music" kind of guy. I haven't been able to stand
what passes for popular music since the days that "Nervana" first broke through.
I'm no fan of the original music for "California
Screamin' ", but I'd rather have it than "Rockin"s soundtrack.
A question I've been asked...
"Is the "rockin" promotion worth making a special trip to Disneyland?"
Well, I'd say if you're not coming from
too far, and if you're a fan of the park at all, yes it's worth a trip.
Heck, I drove about half an hour and it was worth my trip.
Coming from the San.Francisco Bay area
or from Phoenix (or closer)?
If you're a fan, yes I'd say it's worth a special trip. Any further than that, I really don't think
it's worth the trip especially to see the rides. If you're coming for a visit anyway,
by all means, they are a must see (and experience), but not really worth a trip just themselves.
This is no "Indiana Jones" or "Splash Mountain"
opening folks, and it hasn't been promoted that way. Save the
special trip (and days off) for the Submarine Launch come June (that pesky plumbing problem caused quite
Watch the videos of the 'rockin' rides to decide for yourself.
I think you'll decide that "California
Screamin " really tips the balance in the favor of just staying home, unless
you're a big
Disneyland fan anyway and absolutely must see it.
So with that part of my trip completed,
I packed the video camera in my bag and made my way out of the park.
Substituting the still camera for the video, of course.
Now comes the worst part of Disneyland Resort when it's a low attendance day:
It's like that awkward time after you've
finished your dinner at a restaurant and you're waiting for the
person to come back with your check... and then you have to wait for them to come back with the
credit card slip for you to sign. What could have been a really excellent meal with really good service
suddenly starts to feel a little sour when you have to wait 20 minutes to get the heck out of the restaurant!
I know first impressions are important, but last impressions are important too!
Well, enough grousing and griping. I'm
going to pack it in and say
"g'bye" for now. I hope to visit the park again this week, but
I need to get a resume together for money reasons (my family
likes to eat!). So we'll see how much time is left for important stuff
like trips to the happiest place on earth!
I hope I see you there!
and as always:
Canon EOS 350D Digital Rebel XT
Canon 580EX speedlight flash,
and whatever lenses I could get my hands on.
I also use a Moose
warming/polarizing filter on many of my shots.
and yes dear, I still use both cameras!
not a paid product endorsement
in any way, simply letting you know the equipment I have paid for
and use and really, really appreciate!
nothin' this time