Thursday, November 27, 2008

Some Crappy Mansion Pics

How is that for the title of a post? Doesn't it make you want to move right along to something else on the internet? Well, I must say that I always try very hard to use only quality pics in my posts, but I am trying to do a photo tour of the holiday version of Tokyo's Haunted Mansion, and unfortunately some of my pics just aren't that great....but I thought I would post them anyway rather than skip certain parts of the attraction. That said, here we go......

In my last post we looked at the exterior of Tokyo's Mansion. Now we will take a look on the inside. Upon entering into the foyer, guests get a view of this changing portrait above a fireplace. In the non-holiday version, this would be a portrait of a man (I believe it's Master Gracey....I'm not an expert on the attraction's back just never really mattered to me, I guess). In the holiday version, it is a portrait of Jack Skellington. As the narration plays, snowflakes begin to fall and he slowly changes from Jack Skellington into his alter ego, "Sandy Claws".

Next comes the stretching room. As an interesting side note, Tokyo's Mansion is like Florida's in that the building that houses the attraction is not on the other side of railroad tracks. Since this eliminates the need to lower guests below ground level, all the stretching effects are done from above. The floor does not lower like an elevator and there is no seam or crack to step over when entering the stretching room...the floor inside is continuous with the floor out in the foyer. As for the visuals in this room, they are pretty much identical to Anaheim's mansion for both the holiday and non-holiday versions (For Mansion diehards however, the wallpaper is a different color!).

Next comes the loading room. The loading setup is pretty much identical to Florida's. There are no changing portraits, and no busts that turn and watch you walk by like in Anaheim's Mansion. On the other side of the loading area is a wall and three huge urns. For the holiday version, "pumpkin snowmen" are placed on top of these urns along with wreaths, garlands and strings of orange lights.

In my next post, we will board a Doombuggy and take a look at more shots of the Mansion's interior.
I want to wish everyone a very happy and safe Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Haunted Mansion Holiday Nightmare

This is Tokyo Disneyland's holiday version of the Haunted Mansion. Their Mansion's exterior is very similar to Walt Disney World's. However, Walt Disney World does not do the holiday conversion on their attraction....not yet, anyway.

Below, is the clock that shows the standby wait time....and yes, it is showing a wait time of over one hundred minutes. The "Nightmare" version of Mansion is very popular in Tokyo. (Note the Christmas tree-shaped pumpkin vine behind the clock.)

The brick structure behind this scarecrow is not a part of the Mansion itself. It is actually next to the Mansion and is part of a crypt-themed area of the queue.

There are two "pumpkin snowmen" located just outside the entrance to the Mansion (one on either side of the queue.) Does anyone know if Anaheim has these snowmen in front of their Mansion? I know they have the pumpkin scarecrow.....I just don't remember the pumpkin snowmen.

My next several posts are going to cover the interior of the Haunted Mansion Holiday Nightmare, including full "ride-thru" coverage! To see the next installment, click on the "Newer Post" link below.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Even More Monsters

These are the last of my Monsters Inc. attraction pics from Tokyo. The photos from my post on Thursday, November 13th (the post before last) showed these same areas under construction. Those pics were shot over the top of a hedge that was being used as sort of a construction wall. That same hedge can be seen in these photos, but these pics were taken two days later and now the hedge has been moved up closer to the building, revealing brand spanking new landscaping, paint and light fixtures.

Mmmmm, can't you just smell the new paint? Maybe I'm weird, but I like it when you go on a new ride and it still has that "new" smell. Unfortunately, it doesn't last very long.
Below is a patio that is on the side of the building. This is the same patio seen in the post before last that was still under construction. Again, note the railings that have a "pointy teeth" pattern. This patio was being used as a smoking area when this photo was taken.

This attraction is not scheduled to open until April of 2009.

Monday, November 17, 2008

More Monsters

Here are some more photos of Tokyo Disneyland's future attraction, "Monsters Inc. - Ride and Go Seek!". The photo below shows some construction work on the side of the building. I had to shoot this photo from second level of the Star Tours exit. They had covered up the opening that would normally allow guests to look down into this area with a wall, but they didn't cover it all the way...only about six feet up, so I was able to take the photo below the same way I took the shots from my last raising my camera above my head and shooting blindly. Note the attraction posters covered up with tape and plastic.

Two days later, this area was completely open to guests and I was able to walk right up to these posters and photograph them better.

The next shot is of the attraction's Fastpass distribution area. It pretty much looked finished and ready to go.....except for the covers over the machines.

Here's a close-up shot of the Fastpass sign.

And the last pic for today is a shot of the sign for the attraction's merchandise shop.
I do have to say that I will rarely find anything to criticize when it comes to the Tokyo Disney parks, but I do just have this to say about the building's exterior paint job.....what is with the Disney Imagineers' love affair with this color? We saw it in Anaheim's new Tomorrowland of 1998, then again on the exterior of The Tower of Terror attractions in both California Adventure and the Walt Disney Studio Park in Paris. Now it turns up in Tokyo's Tomorrowland, when every other building in that land is painted in shades of gray, blue or white. I really don't get it.

And while I am already criticizing, I have one more complaint. What does Monsters Inc. have to do with Tomorrowland? I realize that the Imagineers have pretty much thrown themeing out the window completely....otherwise we would not have a Finding Nemo attraction in Tomorrowland in Anaheim, or Monsters Inc. attractions in Walt Disney World's Tomorowland and California Adventure's Hollywood Backlot. However, I always thought that when it came to Tokyo, they didn't mess around. After all, the Tokyo parks are not owned by Disney. Disney does still have some control in what the Japanese do and Disney still designs the new attractions for them, but the Japanese always seem to demand the best and don't seem to worry about cost as much as Disney does when it comes to their parks in the U.S.

I am hoping that when this ride opens, comparing it to Anaheim's Monsters Inc. attraction will be like comparing Tokyo's Winnie the Pooh attraction to Anaheim's......meaning, that it blows the other one completely out of the water. Then all will be forgiven as far as it's exterior color scheme and location. Okay, rant over.

My next post will include one last set of photos of the exterior of this attraction.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Monsters Inc. - Ride & Go Seek!

In an earlier post, I mentioned how Tokyo Disneyland had torn down their "Meet The World" attraction, which was an attraction that was unique to their park. Over the past two years, they have been building "Monsters Inc. - Ride & Go Seek" in it's place. This new attraction is now scheduled to open in April of 2009. It is usually difficult to find detailed information about future attractions for Tokyo Disneyland, but the only thing that I know for sure is that riders will be given flashlights and will be trying to locate various hidden monsters throughout the attraction. Back in August, I did post a photo of the concept art that used to hang on the attraction's construction wall. It gives a small clue as to what the ride might be like. That artwork can be seen here: Monsters Inc. Artwork

Well, the construction wall is now down and this is what the attraction's exterior looked like two weeks ago. They had actually replaced the wooden construction wall with boxed green hedges. I held my camera as high as I could above my head....and the hedges, and shot the next three photos.

A sign above the doors on the far right in the photo above, said "Monsters Inc. Company Store". This will obviously be the Monsters Inc. attraction exit through the obligatory Monsters Inc. merchandise store.

In the photo above, the doors on the left are for the "standby" line, the doors in the middle are for the "fastpass" line and the doors on the right said "exit". These exit doors are right next to the store, so I am assuming they will be for those guests that choose to bypass the store.

This patio area looks like it might be used for the queue. Two days after these photos were taken, this area was finished and open to the public and it was being used as a smoking area, at least for now. Is it just me or does it seem like the railings around these planters are supposed to be mimicking pointy monster teeth?

The shot above was taken from the second story of the Star Tours exit. Underneath the blank "M" in the foreground are the words "presented by" and then there is another blank panel below that.
I will post some more exterior photos including shots taken two days after these, when all the hedges were moved up against the doors and the outside construction was finished.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Animals, Pirates, A Witch & A Wooden Boy.

Oh yeah, and Snow White is here today too. Here are a few more photos of Halloween costumes from Tokyo Disneyland. Even though I have many, many more pics like these, of almost every Disney character that you can think of, I think I will wrap the costume themed posts up soon and move on to other subjects . In the meantime.....the theme today is "pairs". I saw all sorts of odd groupings of Disney characters in the park (like Daisy Duck and Pinocchio!) simply because the people wearing the costumes were together, but some of the guests had coordinated their costumes and done something from the same movie.

Jack Sparrow and Elizabeth
Pinocchio and Gideon
Snow White and The Wicked Witch
Lady and The Tramp
Timon and The White Rabbit
Okay, actually I don't know who these last two are. Can someone please identify them for me? Are they from Japanese Anime, perhaps? The yellow character had some darker colored spots on it's back and the white one had a full red cape with the letter "H" in yellow. It also had beady red eyes. If they aren't Disney characters, then I'm surprised they were allowed in the park. The official guidelines stated that "Guests in costumes other than Disney character costumes will not be admitted. Characters must be from a Disney film or an attraction in the park." If someone knows who these two are supposed to be, please let me know!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Attack Of The Pixar People!

Even though it is November and Halloween is over, we are still taking a look at some of the costumes that the guests wore to Tokyo Disneyland during the last week of October.

Friday's theme was Sleeping Beauty. Yesterday's theme was Alice In Wonderland. Today, I have chosen a Pixar theme. Below is your typical "Bug's Life" Family.

Take a look at "Mini-Pluto" behind "Mr. Incredible" in the photo below.

Here's Mike, but Sully was nowhere to be found.

The photo below shows two of my personal favorites out of all the costumes I saw on my trip. These were both custom-made costumes. It's interesting to note that Wall-E had not yet been released in Japan. It will not be released there until next month. The parks also did not have any Wall-E merchandise, but there was some to be found at the Disney Store in Ikspiari which is Tokyo's version of Downtown Disney.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Alice, Alice, Everywhere!

Out of all the Halloween costumes I saw last week in Tokyo, the most popular character was definitely Alice In Wonderland.

Identical Alices

Pensive Alice

Long Sleeved Alice

Brunette Alice

Friday, November 7, 2008

Which Witch?

Anyone remember that game? I think Milton Bradley made it. You dropped a metal ball down the chimney to try to take out fellow players in various rooms of the house. ANYWAY....I'm back from Tokyo, but still fighting jetlag. It usually hits me pretty hard, so I might be a little "punchy", but here we go with a new post and some brand-spanking new pics taken just last week. As for the title of this post, I know Maleficent wasn't a witch. She was a fairy. An evil fairy. A very evil fairy. I mentioned in my last post that adults are allowed to wear costumes into Tokyo Disneyland the last week of October. Well, you might look at the photo below and think that the Maleficent on the right is an official park character and that the one on the left is a park guest in costume. They are actually both park guests.

Princess Aurora below, is also a park guest. I haven't shown many park characters in my posts, but just as a side note.....the "face" characters (meaning any of them that show their own faces and aren't wearing a character "head") that walk around the park or are in the shows and parades, are not Asian. Most of them are Americans, hired here in the states and sent overseas to live and work for a contracted amount of time. I just wanted to clear that up because I am often asked if Snow White, Cinderella, Alice, etc., at Tokyo Disneyland are Japanese.

I'm not sure why Merryweather, Flora and Fauna had white dresses, but I shouldn't criticize because they were very impressive costumes.