Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Pearl Bailey At Disneyland!

Pearl's Here! Showcased on Disneyland's all new "Rivers of America" floating stage! This was before the hideous and permanent Fantasmic stage existed. The floating stage was smaller and floated out in front of the Old Mill on Tom Sawyer Island. This ad ran in the L.A. Times on Wednesday, November 24th, 1976 and was advertising the park's entertainment for Thanksgiving weekend.

In addition to Pearl Bailey, we have the big band sounds led by Louie Bellson, Les Brown and Teddy Buckner. Over in Tomorrowland, there's Papa Doo Run Run and Sunshine Balloon! And this is all at regular admission prices! Don't forget that Disneyland is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays!

Let's flash forward now to 1981. Disney's "The Fox and the Hound" is released that year and Pearl Bailey provides the voice of the character Big Mama. And THEN, that summer...she's back! Back at Disneyland and back on the Rivers of America floating stage! I saw her at Disneyland that summer. She came out and did a set of songs including "The Best Of Friends," from "The Fox and the Hound." She was wonderful. I have a whole series of photos from that day (looks like I will have to do another vintage trip report!) but out of all the photos I took, I wish I had taken just one photo of Pearl Bailey performing on that stage, but alas I did not!

And in case you were wondering what's on the reverse side of this vintage Disneyland's an ad for another Southern California attraction!

I loved Busch Gardens in Van Nuys and still miss it to this very day!

I want to wish everyone a very happy Thanksgiving!!!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thanksgiving Weekend at Disneyland - 1984

Today we have an L.A. Times Disneyland advertisement for Thanksgiving Weekend of 1984. Matthew Wilder was appearing at the park! This was one year after his song "Break My Stride" reached #5 on the Billboard chart. Turns out the song that's listed in the ad, "Bouncing Off The Wall" only hit #52 on the chart. Maybe that's why I don't remember that one. I was wondering what he's been up to since then, so I Googled him. Turns out he has been a record producer for artists such as Christina Aguilera, Kelly Clarkson and No Doubt (he produced their album, "Tragic Kingdom") He was also the singing voice of Ling in the Disney film, "Mulan" and was nominated for an Academy Award for his collaboration on the film's original music score!

Oh yeah, and the Dazz Band and New Edition were also at the park. I've never heard of that Dazz Band song that's mentioned in the advertisement either. Their biggest hit was the Grammy winning song, "Let It Whip," which hit #5 on the Billboard chart and #1 on the R & B chart. And just FYI.....New Edition's "Cool It Now" reached #4 on the Billboard chart and #1 on the R & B charts.

Making it's debut at the park that year, was the Country Bear Jamboree Christmas show and there was also a new film in the Circle Vision Theater. Check out this post over at Vintage Disneyland Tickets for the park brochure from that same Thanksgiving weekend. It includes ticket prices and additional entertainment information!

Friday, November 20, 2009

A Disneyland Trip Report from 1982 - Part 2

This is a continuation of my last post , which was a vintage Disneyland trip report from November of 1982. During that visit, my friend Tonya and I rode the Skyway to get a sneak peak at the new construction (and sadly, the demolition) of Fantasyland. The Skyway at that point was "round trip." That meant they weren't letting guests off at the Fantsyland station. When the Skyway gondolas entered the station, you had to stay inside the vehicle and the cast members would push you around the curved section of track and back onto the cable in order to send you back over to Tomorrowland.

The view at this time was spectacular....or horrific, depending on your outlook. I really didn't have too much of a problem with the "New Fantasyland," EXCEPT for the fact that Captain Hook's Pirate Ship and Skull Rock had to be sacrificed in the process. I think they both should have stayed at any cost and that Dumbo could have been relocated somewhere else. After all, Dumbo was originally supposed to be relocated to where Videopolis/The Fantasyland Theater ended up being built. It was going to be part of a "Dumbo/Circus" themed area that would have been an entirely new land for the park. But as usual, plans change when it comes to future attractions at the Magic Kingdom.

Oh, but I digress. Let's begin our 1982 round trip excursion on the Skyway! You won't see any aerial shots of Tomorrowland here. This is back in the days of film, so I saved every remaining shot I had for the Fantasyland portion of the ride. First up, is a view of the Alice In Wonderland attraction. It would not be opening in 1983 with the rest of the New Fantasyland. It's reopening would have to wait one more year.

Sniff, sniff.....bye, bye Pirate Ship!

Bye, bye Skull Rock....okay, now I'm just getting mad all over again!

The west wing of the castle was shut down for rehab first (just after the Christmas season of 1981/82), while Mr. Toad and Peter Pan remained open. That's why the Snow White & Pinocchio side of Fantasyland is so much further along in these next two photos. I remember that the east wing's construction went much would be completed by May of 1983. Again, these photos were taken in November of 1982.

Here's a pic of the Village Haus Restaurant under construction. Big Thunder Mountain used to tower over least until the pine trees grew taller.

I have many more photos of the New Fantasyland construction. Some were taken earlier than this visit and some later. During that time period, we always had to ride the Skyway to check on the construction progress. I will post more of these construction photos in the future!

Friday, November 13, 2009

A Disneyland Trip Report From 1982 - Part 1

Well it's November and you know what that means....Mickey turns another year older on the 18th! He's a Scorpio! Let's go back to the early 80's when his birthday used to be the cause for a month-long celebration at the park. That's right, it's Mickey's Month at Disneyland!

You met my friend "Alvin" (or at least his reflection in the window of the Candy Palace) during my vintage trip report from November, 1980 (link). Now it's November of 1982 and my friend "Tonya" is going with me on this trip. My friend Alvin and I were still going to the park together...I was lucky enough to have two fellow Disneyland-obsessed friends to go to the park with. In fact, I'm still good friends to this day with both Alvin and Tonya!

So anyway, it's November 1982 and when we first arrive at the park, we find that they are handing something out to all guests at the entrance. Hey, it's Mickey's birthday, but WE get the gifts...lucky us! The gift is a spongy bath mitt in the shape of Mickey. It has now been stored in a box in the dark for 27 years, but somehow the color faded around the edges anyway. How does that happen?

While we're at the main gate, we better pick up the entertainment brochure for the day. Hmmm, I don't want to miss the birthday parade. And how about that Mickey's Birthday Lunch at the Space Place? Maybe we should eat over there since someday that will be turned into the entrance and Fast Pass area for Space Mountain.

Now we're in the Plaza and there's a huge birthday cake sitting in the center planter (Mickey, Walt...are you under there?) Hey, where are all the people?

That cake is making me hungry. Let's head on over to the Space Place in Tomorrowland for that birthday lunch. Looks like the Mousketeers are going to be back on the Space Stage once again. We've seen their reunion show before (see the link above for my 1980 trip report), so maybe we'll just skip the show this time. I love the openness of the Space Stage area though. Too bad they had to wall it all in and put a ceiling over it. It ruined the whole feel of the original Space Mountain complex.

Well, the meal has been served, along with a piece of birthday cake and here comes our free birthday with the price of the lunch, that is. Suzy (or is it Perla?) from Cinderella is helping the cast member hand out the balloons.

Here comes the guest of honor, Mickey himself! Let's all sing happy birthday to him!

Oh, and here's the birthday hat that was included with the meal. I think I'll save mine for a few years. Well, at least 27 years. Okay, maybe longer!

Now let's go check out the birthday parade.

By the way, I wish Disneyland would sell the parade soundtracks for ALL of their parades like Tokyo Disneyland does!

Hey Mickey, you turned around....and Minnie, you're blocking your face! Don't you hate it when that happens? Oh well!

Look, the American Egg House is still open with outdoor patio dining! Why isn't this space still a restaurant today?

Well, that's it for today, but how about a "part two" to this vintage trip report? A "part two" where Tonya and I board the Skyway in Tomorrowland for a ROUND TRIP ride over Fantasyland to view the demolition and construction for the all "new" Fantasyland. Stay tuned!

POST UPDATE: For part two of this trip report, click here.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

More EPCOT in Anaheim

In my last post , I included photos of some figures from EPCOT's World of Motion attraction that found their way to both Disneyland and Disney's California Adventure. Let's take another look at those figures as well as some of the others that made the long trek from Orlando to Anaheim.

Here again, is the sea serpent from World of Motion's "Christopher Columbus scene."

He is surrounded by other props in the Hollywood Backlot area. With the upcoming changes planned for DCA, I wonder if these items will be staying?

I've been reviewing old attraction footage trying to figure out if these other props are from WOM as well. I haven't come to a definitive conclusion yet. Maybe I need to see some better footage!

Here are the pirate, the horse and the goat from Pirates of the Caribbean that were mentioned in my last post. All three of these figures were originally from WOM. I wonder where they are now?

And just a few feet to the right of these figures, was a pig from WOM that used to sit next to the "gluttonous pirate" in the chase scene. Notice the pirate's belly sticking out under his sash...that was a 1997 addition. Thank goodness they covered it back up when Jack Sparrow was added to the attraction in 2006. And that cat that used to rise up on a platform from inside the barrel was just plain ridiculous!

Here's the partner of the pirate that was seen pulling on the rope in my last post. (He can also be seen in the background of this photo.) This squatting figure was originally from the Assyrian scene in WOM, where he was attempting to get a seated Zebra to stand up.

I hope everyone enjoyed this peek at some old EPCOT remnants. My next post is going to be another vintage trip report from Disneyland in the 1980's. Get your time machines ready!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

EPCOT In Anaheim

Once upon a time in EPCOT, there was an attraction called World of Motion. It was housed in a large wheel shaped building and was a 15 minute Omnimover ride through the largest assembly of Audio-Animatronics ever produced in Disney history....188 figures in total.

The attraction was similar to Spaceship Earth, but instead of tracing man's achievements in communication, World of Motion traced the development of transportation from man's earliest forms of mobility, up to present times (and even hinted at some possible future methods.)

Another difference between this attraction and Spaceship Earth was that most of the scenes in World of Motion were infused with humor. Here's one of the scenes from the attraction showing an encounter between Christopher Columbus and a sea serpent during his search for the New World.

Unfortunately, after entertaining guests for 14 years, World of Motion closed in 1996 and was eventually replaced by Test Track. So what happened to all those set pieces and figures? Well, a small number of them went on to have a life after WOM. The sea serpent from the Christopher Columbus scene can actually be found today in Anaheim, at Disney's California Adventure. I'm wondering how many people right now are saying, "Where in the heck?" Well, he is hidden behind the buildings on the north side of the Hollywood Backlot, just next to the Hollywood Backlot Stage. He's surrounded by some wooden barriers that have "Props Dept." stenciled on them, as well as a few other props such as some Roman columns and a Chinese rickshaw. I haven't yet been able to confirm whether or not these are also from World of Motion, but I would tend to believe that they are. Maybe someone out there can say for sure.
Here's the sea serpent in his new home.

Now let's go back to EPCOT. Does this figure from World of Motion look familiar? He should. He resided in Disneyland's Pirates of the Caribbean from 1997 to 2006. He was one of the two pirates right before the chain lift that were trying to make off with a heavy load of treasure.

Below, is a photo from Daveland (used here with permission) showing how this figure appeared at Disneyland. His partner that was bent over in a rather unflattering position while trying to help lift the load, was also from World of Motion.

There were other figures that were taken from World of Motion and installed in Pirates of the Caribbean during it's 1997 redo, but I need to find some photos of them in order to show the comparisons. These figures included the pirate from the "chase scene" that was trying to keep a basket of fruit away from a horse and a goat (both from WOM as well) and the pig that used to sit next to "the pooped pirate/gluttonous pirate" in that same scene. If anyone has photos of any of these World of Motion figures from either Orlando or Anaheim and would like to share them, please let me know!
***Post Update*** Click here for my next post: More EPCOT In Anaheim to see more figures from WOM that ended up in Anaheim's Pirates of the Caribbean.