BOOM chaka lakka lakka lakka...BOOM BOOM chaka lakka lakka lakka...

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 those barn-burning
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:

signage brought to you by West Coast Choppers
I mentioned it in my last update (here) and sure enough "Rockin' Space Mountain" and
"Rockin' California Screamin'" (notice the lack of G's... ) debuted on January 3rd. Even though this date was
in the middle of the week, because school was still out over most of the state attendance records
were shattered for the day. Disneyland closed it's gates early that afternoon due to fire codes.

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 posters at the Tram loading area for the "Mickey & Friends parking structure" pretty much
say about as much as what's been changed.


Even though Southern California is in the middle of a cold snap (as is much of the country), I thought this
sign did a great job of making the rollercoaster seem like Sly and The Family Stone's
"Hot Fun In The Summertime" should be the soundtrack for the ride. Just feels sunny and warm, doesn't it?

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.


Of course, mini banners MUST be posted at every lampost in Downtown Disney.
Too bad they didn't plan it better so that the two halves of the Mickey Speaker actually matched up.
Maybe they "meant to do that", but the "Disneyland" cut in half on the left banner is bad show, in my opinion.
(admittedly, a nit-picky thing, but just the kind of thing that bothers me).

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!

Notice the pretty blue dress and bow to match the "Year Of A Million Dreams" theme at the park.
I guess after the matching outfits for the 50th, they've decided to continue the idea. In the case of the
almost "ho-hum, so what" response to Disney's latest promotion, they could use every little bit of help they
can get. But I wonder if many people notice, since most people reportedly aren't noticing that there's even
a giveaway/promotion going on at all.


Saying "Hello" to the Partners... as I usually do.
It's also usually a pretty good gauge of how busy the park is at any given moment
by how many people are hanging around this area and in front of the castle.

The new red banners on either side of the castle entrance are an interesting choice.


Thanks, Walt.
We miss you.


Hiya' Mickey!

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.

Reminds me I need to make a trip to Lowes.
Here's one that been painted, but missing the bulb.


Sort of an "after and before"  instead of a "before and after" but, that's
the mood I'm in today.

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.


I miss the Tinkerbells on the top the most...
This is the lampost on Main Street itself that used to have the big ugly bowls
on them for flowers (hopefully those bowls were trashed). Notice the hole
in the post where the bowl or the crossmember attached.

Oh Kay...
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 that
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.

Here's a shot of the newly opened area for the Monorail and "Finding Nemo" submarine ride.
The exit for "Autopia" is on the right.


Should probably say 'Ride brought to you by Disney-Pixar's John Lassetter.
This is the entrance to the Subs. Like the new sign?


There's only one speed ramp left in the park now... anyone remember where?
Here's the EXIT for the Monorail (where the speed ramp going UP to the monorail used to be). To the right
is the pathway to the Elevator going up to the monorail.


You must loofa
You don't often see a wheelchair sign in anything other than blue.
interesting choice to deviate from the internationally recognized color.
I've never noticed how often DIsney deviates from the standard color before... I'll have to keep my eyes open.


I got some palms just like this at the Chino flea market for $15
Landscaping hadn't planted the foliage yet. If only I had parked closer to the exits...
I like the rockwork theme carried over from the lagoon itself.


Disney got smart and put up a screen that folks can sort of look through, but doesn't require any vent holes for
wind that folks can stick their cameras through. This will cut down on the availability of many of the submarine
lagoon shots you see here and elsewhere on the 'net.

But with a little work, you can still get the idea....


Just wait til next time... bwah ha ha haaa
I expect I can do better than this, but for this update, here are some shots of the lagoon.


Notice how close the Monorail will come to the top of that extended show building that has been built.
We'll take a closer look in a couple shots.


Of course, there's always this angle, and the angle from Innoventions.
You may not get much in the way of detail, but get a pretty decent overall idea of how progress is coming.

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!

uh, hello?

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.


If they'd just do something with that &@$# peoplemover track!
Anyway, here we see the exit opening for the extended show building underneath the monorail tracks.
(notice what appears to be a lifesaver ring at the exit).

Still reeling from that "Matterhorn shifting" thing?


It's a very colorful lagoon now.
I noticed a little roadway up on top of that rockwork.


Mount Wannahockaloogie?
Here's a close up of it. Seems to go right up to a big hole (that may be just me).
You might also notice the perfectly formed ridge over the exit to the show building tunnel... ready for a waterfall
I think... much like the waterfall where the subs enter the show building.


Enough conjecture and supposition.
Here's a shot of some flowers.

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.

I swear this ride used to get the old Disney construction wall treatment the day after the season ended.

Not this year, I guess.


Even the wreaths were still up around the Small World Mall.


Kinda' glows

This is really a very pretty picture on your desktop
I can't grow 'em.
I love 'em though, even though I've killed off more than my fair share.

Makes a pretty cool desktop, too.


There's a lot of work still being done around the old motoboat cruise area.
I suppose it has to do with the Submarine ride, but it sure would be nice to put something in that area again.



With the terrible cold spell we've had here, many orange crops are ruined, to the tune of millions of dollars
in losses (I hear more than a billion dollars). Who knows if these fruit are still hanging on this tree now.

As I was heading over to Disney's California Adventure Park to catch the "Rockin California Screamin'"
Goofy was meeting folks in Town Square.

Is that an ASCOT he's wearing???!!!
Wearing HIS "Year Of A Million dreams" blue, I see.


I took this picture over by the San Francisco side of the Winery in Disney's California Adventure.
About the only time shooting a picture of a flower can be a little dangerous...


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 here.
Again, you'll see a full size, full quality version of the ride by going to '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
the delay!).

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.

Hey, do you like the new Logo in the corner?
Thar be roiling waters ahead, matey!


Don't worry, I've got some duct tape.
Oh great, something else has sprung a leak!.

Now comes the worst part of Disneyland Resort when it's a low attendance day:


There really oughta be a better transportation system to get to the garage
Waiting for a parking lot tram.
Seriously. I waited 20 minutes for a tram.
I understand Disney doesn't want to staff for low attendance days, but TWENTY MINUTES between trams?
It was actually like 22 minutes, but I'm giving DIsney the benefit of the doubt.

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!

<end rant>

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!

until then:

God bless,
and as always:

Love uP!

let me know what you think!

Camera Info
 I shot these photos using an
8 megapixel
Canon EOS 350D Digital Rebel XT
with a
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