Friday, August 29, 2008

A Tale of Three Poohs

I am going to try to keep the commentary to a minimum today and let the following photos speak for themselves. These photos are of the exact same scene from three different versions of the same ride. (See my post from yesterday for shots of the attraction's facade and queue in Tokyo.)


Anaheim: Painted plywood set. Limited-motion fiberglass Pooh figure.



Orlando: More painted plywood. Same limited-motion Pooh figure as Anaheim.


Tokyo: FULLY audio-animatronic Pooh.....talks, turns head, moves arms, raises eyebrows, winks and blinks.....covered with a "fur" coat. The surrounding set is FULLY three-dimensional....the entire room! Oh, and there is the scent of honey in the air.

I know what you are thinking and I've asked the same question. The answer is money.

Happy Labor Day Weekend everyone! Be safe!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Tokyo Pooh!

This is the facade for "Pooh's Hunny Hunt" at Tokyo Disneyland. This attraction occupies the former site of their Fantasyland Skyway station. Tokyo's Skyway closed in 1998 and Pooh opened in it's place in 2001. This is a very popular attraction in Japan and on their busiest days, Fastpasses for it can be gone by mid-day. In fact, the line just to get a Fastpass has been known at times to extend around into Tomorrowland and they will even place a cast member at the end of the line with a sign designating that it is only a line to GET a Fastpass.

The "giant book" theme continues on the inside of the building.

The queue weaves in and around over-sized storybook pages.

These are the ride vehicles. There is not a visible track.....the vehicles "slide" or "glide" along on the floor. They enter the attraction three at a time and will stop briefly throughout the ride while the action unfolds around them. At times they will spin, bounce and even go backwards. This is truly an amazing ride system......AND an amazing ride!

Tomorrow, we will examine one particular scene from inside this wonderful attraction and compare it with photos of the exact same scene from it's sister attractions in Anaheim and Orlando. Brace yourself.....it isn't going to be pretty.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Bunny, Bubbles and Beeeeulah!




Tokyo Disneyland's Country Bear Jamboree is located in Westernland. They have two separate theaters that are usually operating simultaneously, and Tokyo rotates ALL THREE versions of the show throughout the year. They will run the "Christmas Special/Jingle Bell Jamboree" for the holidays, then switch to the original version of the show after New Year's, and then switch again to "Vacation Hoedown" when summertime comes. I LOVE that they do this! Once Anaheim switched to the "Vacation Hoedown" version back in the mid 1980's, we never saw the original version again.....they would only switch back and forth between the Christmas and Vacation Hoedown versions and then ultimately, they gutted the building for a great big pile of Pooh. Sorry, pun intended.



"All the guys that turn me on, turn me down......"

"Jing-a'ling, Jing-a'ling, Jing-a'ling-a'ling......"



"The West Coast has the sunshine and the bears all get so tan....."

Okay, "Vacation Hoedown" was always my least favorite of the three shows. It just seemed to lack the heart of the other two, but it was still a hundred times better than Anaheim's Pooh ride. Shame on you Disney! Shame, shame, shame!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Br'er Owl and Br'er Weasel



I don't know if this owl actually has a name or not, but he can be seen inside Tokyo Disneyland's Splash Mt., talking to the guests that are waiting in line. I use the word "inside", because as I mentioned in yesterday's post, most of the queue for Splash Mt. is located indoors. I have a theory about this owl. I think that he....or at least his "head", could be the old sidekick of Eagle Sam's from America Sings at Disneyland. It looks like the right size and shape....I just don't have anything to back up this theory.



For my second photo, we have the weasels from Tokyo's Splash Mt. I had been told by someone that all of Tokyo's weasels were from the America Sings attraction in Anaheim because Anaheim's Splash Mt. doesn't have weasels, but after recently riding Splash Mountain in Anaheim and seeing that it does contain weasels, I am now thinking this probably isn't the case. Almost all of the America Sings characters were reused in Anaheim's Splash Mt. and then they were later recreated for Florida's and Tokyo's versions. If anyone knows of any of the original America Sings audio-animatronics that made it into Florida or Tokyo's Splash Mountains, I would love to hear from you! I still think that the owl in the queue at Tokyo Disneyland is Eagle Sam's sidekick, but that is just my own unconfirmed, unofficial, "probably wrong" theory!



Just for fun, I have scanned a "NOT A FASTPASS" ticket for Tokyo Disneyland's Splash Mt. just to show the artwork since it is different than Disneyland's or Walt Disney World's. Notice at the very bottom of the ticket, that Tokyo's Fastpass system will actually tell you what attraction you already hold a Fastpass for.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Critter Country

Tokyo Disneyland's Critter Country is located between Westernland and Fantasyland. It only contains two attractions, Splash Mountain and the Beaver Brothers Explorer Canoes. Almost all of Critter Country is "mountain". The mountain structure for Splash Mountain curves around and takes up two whole sides of the entire land. Most of the queue for the attraction is located deep inside the mountain and there is a large counter service restaurant and dining room that is located inside as well.

The Western River Railroad travels on a trestle that runs between Westernland and Critter Country.

Above are figures of Br'er Fox, Br'er Bear and Br'er Rabbit that stand in Critter Country. Below is the sign for Splash Mountain.

Tomorrow, I will post a couple photos of Audio-Animatronic figures from the queue and from the attraction itself.

Friday, August 22, 2008

More Pirates!


"Blackbeard's Portrait Deck" used to be located next to the exit of Tokyo Disneyland's Pirates of the Caribbean. Guests used to be able to dress in costume and pose with a pirate for a photo that they could purchase afterwards. This portrait studio closed last year and the "Pirates" merchandise shop that was next door expanded into it's space. I hope this isn't a sign that Tokyo DL will eventually become like the Disney parks here in the United States. Unfortunately, Disneyland and Walt Disney World have already turned areas like this into just more retail space (the Penny Arcade in DL and the Main St. Cinema in WDW are just two examples).



Blackbeard's Portrait Deck was located just beyond the Blue Bayou restaurant, in the pink colored building.



A "live" Captain Jack Sparrow character has been available for photo-ops and autographs ever since his character was added to the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction in 2007.


Thursday, August 21, 2008

Pirates!


Tokyo Disneyland's Pirates of the Caribbean is located in Adventureland in a "New Orleans Square" type of setting. The exterior is almost an exact copy of the original Disneyland version. Notice the original signage in the photo above. The photo below shows what the sign looks like today. The sign was changed when the attraction was updated in 2007 and characters from the Pirates of the Caribbean movies were added.

Below is a shot of the "New Orleans" section of Adventureland at Christmastime when the balconies were decorated for the holidays.

These are the cast member costumes for Pirates of the Caribbean in Tokyo. Do Anaheim's employees wear anything similar to this anymore? I know they never had these jackets, but they used to wear lace up shirts and striped socks. I don't think I've seen those costumes for a long time. Now they probably just wear the same costumes as they do at the front gate or in parking control. Oooh, there's that negativity about Anaheim again! Oh let's face it, the park in Anaheim is just a very faint shadow of what it once was. The Japanese now "do Disney" better than we do. There, I said it and I will probably say it again, but I will no longer aplogize for saying it.

Tokyo Disneyland ROCKS!

***Post Update: 9-7-08*** I paid a visit to Disneyland this evening and I made a point to go on Pirates of the Caribbean and check out the cast member costumes. I am happy to say that they were still wearing lace up shirts and striped socks. They did not however, have the headscarves or fancy coats. My negative comment above came from the fact that over the years, they have been slowly making the park costumes more and more generic. I will do a post sometime in the future to show just how elaborate and detailed all the employee costumes are at Tokyo Disneyland.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

World Bazaar

This is Tokyo Disneyland's World Bazaar. It's called World Bazaar because it was originally going to be themed to different countries from around the world. That concept was later dropped and replaced with the classic Disneyland "Main St." theme, but the name "World Bazaar" was never changed. The original concept came from early plans by Walt Disney to have an "International Street" at Disneyland. That street was going to run parallel to Main St. and would have been accessed off of the east side of Disneyland's Town Square, approximately where the gate opens for park parades.

The roof over World Bazaar is made up of 3,000 panes of glass. It provides guests with protection from the elements, since Tokyo gets a pretty fair amount of rainfall. The photo above shows Center St. which crosses World Bazaar from east to west. Disneyland in Anaheim has a Center St. that crosses it's Main St. in the same fashion, but it is very short with "dead ends" on both sides. In Tokyo, this street actually leads somewhere. If you turn left, you can go directly into Adventureland without having to go through the Plaza. If you turn right, you can go directly into Tomorrowland. This extra access greatly improves the flow of traffic.

Notice the "flat curbs". This also improves traffic flow and cuts down on the number of guest "accidents".

Monday, August 18, 2008

Cascade Peak And Marmots



I forgot to mention in my "Just Around The River Bend" post from two days ago, that Tokyo Disneyland has their own version of Cascade Peak. I am not sure if their peak actually has a name, but it's sits on the bank of the river where the Mark Twain Steamboat and the Canoes pass by, giving passengers a close up view of it's waterfall and it's audio-animatronic wildlife. At it's peak is a family of birds (hawks?) The mother is feeding the baby while the father watches overhead. Further down on the rocks and to the left of the waterfall, you will see a group of marmots (look closely). They pop up and down randomly from behind the rocks while making noises. These are very similar to the marmots that pop up out of the wrecked mine train that sits along the shores of the Rivers of America at Disneyland in Anaheim (where Cascade Peak used to stand).


Below is a close up of some marmots from the same general area along the Westernland River, but these are only visible while riding the Western River Railroad.


Incidentally, the old Nature's Wonderland Mine Train attraction at Disneyland included a group of marmots along it's route for years.

What's all this talk about marmots? What IS a marmot, do you ask? Well, wikipedia states that "Marmots are generally large ground squirrels......however the groundhog is also properly called a marmot" and that they "typically live in burrows, and hibernate there through the winter". It goes on to say that "most marmots are highly social, and use loud whistles to communicate with one another, especially when alarmed. This would explain why the old Nature's Wonderland guide would say that the marmots must be "whistling at all you pretty gals, I can't say I blame 'em". It may have been a sexist remark, but at least it was accurate information about the little critters. What's that? You say you want to know even MORE about marmots? Well wikipedia also states that "some historians suggest that marmots, rather than rats, were the primary carriers of the Bubonic plague during several historic outbreaks. Through this they are credited with a death toll of over a billion, making them second only to the malarial mosquito as a killer of humans." Hmmm, fascinating!

Fort Sam Clemens

* For more photos of Tokyo Disneyland's Fort Sam Clemens, see my posting from August 8, 2008 or click here: Fort Samuel Clemens.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Just Around The River Bend......


Let's take a ride on Tokyo Disneyland's Mark Twain Steamboat. In the photo above, it's sitting at the dock in Westernland, boarding passengers. The orange and black bunting was for Halloween. Tokyo Disneyland decorates Westernland, Fantasyland, Toontown, and World Bazaar (Main St.) for Halloween and has been doing this for years. Anaheim only started decorating for Halloween a couple years ago and the decorations are minimal compared to what Tokyo Disneyland does. I'm trying not to make every post of mine into an Anaheim bashing post, but it is so difficult.....especially when I am trying to point out how the parks are similar and how they are different. Anyway, back to the Mark Twain. Let's take a look at some of the sites we will see while cruising the Westernland River. As we start out, we can see Tom Sawyer Island on the right side of the boat.


The view above is of Castle Rock and Barrel Bridge. The rockwork has been done in a shade that matches Big Thunder Mountain.


Just around the bend we see an Indian village.......


The scene above is reminiscent of Anahiem's "boy and dog" scene.

Also visible from the Mark Twain is the burning cabin...which still "burns." To see a photo of the burning cabin, check out a previous post by clicking here: Tokyo's Burning Cabin.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Buzz'd In Tokyo

Just across the way from Tokyo Disneyland's Space Mountain, is Buzz Lightyear's Astro Blasters. This attraction replaced their Circle Vision theater the same way that Anaheim's and Paris' did. I do enjoy this attraction, but it's a shame that the only remaining Disney Circle Vision theaters are located at Epcot. I miss the 1967 version of "America The Beautiful"!!!! I still can't believe that Disney actually brought it back for one last year before converting the theater into Rocket Rods queue. I guess they do something right once in a while (I mean bringing America The Beautiful back, NOT the part about converting it into Rocket Rods queue). Oh, but I digress. This is Tokyo and they do just about EVERYTHING right.

Take a look at those Fastpass machines. And take a gander at the cast member costumes. Check out those crazy saucer shaped caps!

The photo below is of a photo-op found near the entrance to Tomorrowland. The Little Green Man with his back to us is holding a camera, while the others are posing for him. Oooooooooooooooh!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Miscellaneous Photos


Captain Hook's Pirate Ship and Skull Rock at Disneyland Paris:


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Treehouse on Tom Sawyer Island at Disneyland (Anaheim) - April 2016:



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Sears fashions from 1973:



Return to Space Mountain

Today we will be taking a second look at Tokyo's Space Mountain. Walt Disney once said that you need a "weenie" to beckon people and draw them into an area. For Tokyo Disneyland's Tomorrowland, Space Mountain is the "weenie". Tokyo still has the old Rocket Jet platform (see my posting from July 30, 2008), but that attraction sits more or less in the same spot as Anaheim's Matterhorn. This is what I like about going to the other "Disneylands". Having grown up with Disneyland in Anaheim, I could probably find my way around it blindfolded, but going to another Disney Park is like going to an "alternate universe Disneyland". Everything is a little different and unpredictable.

The photo above was taken from the top of the Rocket Jet platform (actually called the "Star Jets" in Tokyo). The lights on the left are on The Grand Circuit Raceway sign (Autopia) and the building on the right is the Tomorrowland Terrace.

This shot above was taken right before entering the attraction. The signage was updated last year along with the ride itself. The sign that used to be in it's place was the red chunky plastic block letters that Anaheim used to have. I wish I had taken a picture of those! You don't always think about taking a picture of something until it's gone!