Monthly Archives: September 2011

Cruise Preview

We are back home, safe and sound, and had an amazing time. There’s so much to tell you but so much to do before I can even think about taking the time to blog (I know, you’ll be shocked to hear that on my priority list, blogging is not at the top). But I will show you a couple of teaser pictures and…

I love you guys, and you know what that means? Shhhhhhh–GIVEAWAYS! That’s right! I even paid for the stuff this time! So you’ll definitely want to stay tuned, especially if you like to *ahem* collect or trade small items with pokey things on the back ;).

Goofy gives this picture a big thumbs-up!

The dapper young man gets ready for formal night

Everyone in their finest!

MYWTM Classic: Character Pictures At The Mouse-In-Law

Another classic post while I’m cruisin’. I love this post because Theo is so little! It’s amazing how much he’s grown just since February.

Originally posted February 25

Character pictures are awesome. I have long loved them. They can be tough to get at times, like this time at Disneyland, but the characters are so great. And right off the bat, one big difference we noticed between Disneyland and the Mouse-In-Law is that at WDW, the characters are everywhere and are always out. At Disneyland, probably because it’s smaller, the characters generally appear and disappear on a schedule I am too lazy to figure out. At the Mouse-In-Law, you can’t swing a cat without hitting a character. Which was pretty cool.

Not that you should be swinging at cat at any theme park. Disney does have a kennel for that.

One thing I particularly love about the Disney characters is how good they are with scared children. I mean, I kinda get where the kids are coming from, meeting a mute giant anthropomorphic animal-type thing with an oversized head in an exaggerated expression of joy. When you’re like 2 feet tall, I get it. And there certainly are kids who burst out in tears at the approach of a character, which can be almost as frustrating as getting that ever-elusive Santa picture.

But the characters are great at approaching in a non-threatening way. I’ve got some wonderful pictures of Theo’s first meeting with Mickey last year along those lines. If the kids don’t want a hug or to get close, the character will offer a high-five, or sometimes just hold out their hand for the kid to touch or look at or sniff if the kid happens to be a dog. We had a fantastic experience with Donald Duck along those lines that I will show you in just a second.

First I want to say that pictures at Epcot were perfect because Mickey and friends were in a single room and there was an inside line with tv’s showing cartoons. Awesome. This was where we took our character pictures.

So for Donald, we sent Theo on his own and he was kind of freaked out. Upon approaching Donald, Theo decided that clearly the next logical move would be to give Donald a huggive Donald a high five, get near Donald in any way,   sit down on the ground somewhat near Donald. Rather than going over to Theo and looming over him like some kind of freakishly large oddly-attired duck, Donald simply sat down on the ground too.

Have a seat on the ground? Don't mind if I do!

Theo was a fan, and thus willing to entertain the idea of the giant-thing-on-tv-that-just-came-to-life-OMG-is-it-a-zombie? sitting near him.

The ground's pretty comfortable, isn't it?

And then we got a simply darling picture.

Donald is my friend! And he likes to sit on the ground just like me!

We then coaxed Theo into actually making contact with Donald and giving him a high-five. Actually, Theo learned from his swimming teacher that a “high-five” is a two-step procedure with an open-handed slap following by a fist bump accompanied by a “BOOYAH!” He is now very confused when he gives someone a high-five and then sticks out his fist and they don’t pound it. He’s not quite sure why most people aren’t familiar with proper high-five technique.

Theo is trying to give Donald a fist bump. Donald continues with the "slap me five" completely unawares

Following the positive Donald experience, Theo was ready for the Ultimate Cute with Minnie.

MINNIEEEEEEEE!!!!!

Prior to both Minnie and Donald, we attempted to take the family picture thing. The lighting was a little odd with Pluto here.

It's technicolor Pluto

And there’s also the unfortunate timing shots. Despite what it looks like, I can assure you that Kevin is not stoned in this picture.

Say Nope to Dope and Ugh to Drugs!

Once again, we didn’t have an autograph book, so I’ll have to do that here at home.

Classic MYWTM: Mickey’s House

Way in the back of the park past Small World is a little land called Toontown. Toontown is the home of the classic Disney characters (Mickey, et al.) as well as the lamest ride in the whole park, Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin.

But that’s not what this is about.

Mickey and Minnie also have their homes there. Did I know this? No I did not. But we met up with my cousin Tracy and her two kids, Addison and Luke, over in Toontown and they wanted to go see Mickey’s house, so there ya go.

Mickey’s house is a walkthrough which culminates in Mickey’s Movie Barn and photo opportunity. Mickey is supposed “filming” in said barn.

I find this rather dubious, given the last time a new Mickey cartoon showed up

Like the rest of Toontown, Mickey’s house is chock-full of massively oversized stuff that is pretty impervious to small children.

Upon entering, you see a staircase, which goes to a closed door and I can only assume Mickey’s bedroom. I let go of Theo’s hand as I took the picture, and then he decided to try to climb the stairs, and I realized…

OMG, I’m one of THOSE parents.

You know the ones. The ones who let their children run all over the place smearing their grubby little peanut-butter-and-jelly hands on Disney property or elsewhere.

(as an aside, we were in the Museum of Modern Art in New York one time and some little kid ran up to Picasso’s Three Musicians and slapped his hand on it. Right on the picture! The docent had stepped away from the picture briefly and there goes that kid. There was this huge collective gasp from everyone in the gallery including us, and what did the parents do? That’s right! Nothing!)

( So I hereby assure you that after the stairs incident, I did not let Theo go anywhere else he wasn’t supposed to. Really.)

(Hey Shelby, can we get back to Disneyland? Okay.)

Mere moments before Theo marched up the stairs and plopped himself down.

Fortunately, he didn’t make it past the Pluto gate. On the wall behind the stairs was a very charming picture of Walt and Mickey.

I wonder how much this would go for on the black market

In the next room, both Tracy and I were trying to take pictures. As anyone with children can tell you, it’s a statistical impossibility to take a picture of multiple children and have them all looking at the camera at the same time. Most of our pictures look like this.

"Theo, look at the camera! Smile Addie! Look over here, Luke! Over here, Theo! Over here! Say Cheeeeeeese!"

So it was pretty much a personal victory to get this shot, despite the fact that two out of the three look rather disgruntled.

Luke and Theo look like they're in time-out

Theo thought he was going to like the oversized chair, but the pattern displeased him.

This is so gauche. Mickey needs a new designer.

He was also mesmerized by the television showing real cartoons.

"They're heeerrreee." "Don't go into the light, Carol Anne!"

Mickey doesn’t do a lot of cooking.

That giant thing is a dishwasher, but where's the oven?

But he does have a garden.

Mickey only eats organic. How else do you think he lived this long?

While we all know that the proper place for a dog is inside the house cuddled up in the human’s bed while they sleep on the couch or floor, Pluto does have some pretty nice digs outside.

If this were my dog, that bone would be gone before it even hit the food bowl

Mickey also has some chickens. They were cooped up when we saw them, but I’m going to assume that they get access to the fresh air and sunlight and plenty of exercise, and are entirely grain-fed.

Mickey would never abuse his chickens, people!

It was somewhere around this point that I left Theo in the care of Tracy so I could take a few more pictures unencumbered. I returned to find her holding Theo’s hand and yelling, “Luke! Addison! Luke! Addison!” She turned to me and said, “Don’t worry–I didn’t lose your child, but I lost both of mine.”

We did find Addie in time to take a picture of some sort of painting accident scene.

I'm not really sure what happened here

Then you are funneled outside, except it isn’t actually outside because it’s all enclosed. It’s like some kind of secret bunker where you can move from room to room while the air raid sirens blare. Except that it’s above ground and it’s Mickey’s house at Disneyland.

You are supposed to go to his barn where he’s “filming a movie.”

Riiiiiiiiiiight.

I'm not sure I entirely believe this.

We peeked into the “barn” but there was no equipment like I saw when I was almost on Oprah. There was a big zig zagging line and a large screen showing Mickey cartoons after which you get to meet Mickey and get a picture. However, at that point the kids were antsy (and we were still missing one of them) so we decided to pass.

So, that’s Mickey’s house and the Mickey meet and greet in Toontown!

Disneyland in 1973, Part 2: Maps

Now that we’ve got our General Information in Part 1, it’s time to move to our park maps! Yes, maps plural. Since the booklet is so small, they broke down each land to give it its own page.

Ah, Main Street, U.S.A.

We start our tour at the turn of the century on sunny Main Street. Down in the bottom left, there’s the shape of the whole park with Main Street shaded in. And it’s all color coded for your convenience!

Interesting thing about Main Streets are the side street names. A little over halfway up you can see two diagonal streets. The one on the right is E. Center Street and on the left is, predictably, W. Center Street. The Main Street Cone Shop (doesn’t look like it existed in 1973) is actually on E. Center, as are the lockers and fruit cart. W. Center has the bathrooms at the end–that means that W. Center Street is now the outdoor seating for Carnation Cafe. It will be interesting to see how that turns out once the refurb is done next year, but I find it very doubtful that it will ever return back to being a street. Up at the top you see East and West Plaza Streets. Over on the corner of E. Plaza and Main you can find the information booth about other SoCal attractions.

Of note, the Market House (same location as now) was considered a “Free Show and Exhibit.” You might remember it as being the coffee store with the questionable Pinocchio chocolate candies. I do wonder what they were showing/exhibiting in there. All bunched up together south of W. Center Street are several interesting shops: Glassblower (a real glass blower), Hurricane Lamp Shop, Story Book Shop (oh, how I wish this still existed!!!), Candle Shop, Elgin New Century Clock Shop, and a Flower Market. None of these exist anymore except that I believe the clock shop is now the watch shop. I’d love to have seen the glass blower as well.

Adventureland

Holy mackeral, what is that giant winding river taking up almost all of Adventureland??? That’s the Jungle Cruise. I never pictured it as very big in my head, but of course it was the main attraction of Adventureland before Indiana Jones encroached on its space (and also took over part of the parking lot).

The little people waving on top of the treehouse are adorable, but I particularly love the “Big Game Shooting Gallery.” I can only assume you shot at now endangered big game targets. I bet that one was quietly shut down. You can also shop at the Guatemalan Weavers in here too. Go figure.

Also, there’s something called the Sunkist “I Presume” (just like that, quotes theirs) and I had to look at the back of the book to see that it served fresh orange juice (no suprise there), lemonade, donuts, coffee, and jungle juleps. I believe the “I Presume” part was a Sunkist marketing phrase. I just have to wonder what a jungle julep is, and I sure wish I could try one because it sounds good.

New Orleans Square

Of course New Orleans Square’s biggest attraction is the Pirates of the Caribbean ride with the Blue Bayou restaurant inside. I’ve only eaten there twice–once on my birthday and once when a friend came down and let me join her reservation, back in 2007 or so.

Missing from this map, as it’s also missing from today’s map, is Club 33. Haven’t gotten in there yet, but if you know a hookup, lemme know.

Also there is the Haunted Mansion. The best part of New Orleans Square is that it’s still almost exactly like this now. The stores have changed but it looks like nothing has really been added or subtracted.

Critter Country--I mean Bear Country

Bear Country got a name change when it added something more than bears–namely Splash Mountain. Although apparently the Davy Crockett’s Explorer Canoes are a part of Bear Country (I personally would have placed them more in New Orleans Square, but obviously nobody asked me). Also back there is the “Teddi Barra Swingin Arcade” which sounds very cute. And of course, the beloved Country Bear Jamboree. I have such good memories of this attraction and Theo in particular LOVED it at the Mouse-in-Law. Now it houses the weirdo Winnie the Pooh ride, although a couple of the singing head trophies from the Jamboree can still be seen in Winnie the Pooh.

The whole park

While nowadays you just have the giant foldout map, I think there’s something kind of cute about a color-coded guide to the park. I mean really, the park isn’t THAT big or hard to get around. Particularly because, most notably on this map, there are no guides to the actual walking paths between lands. So you can have several pages of maps and still just wander around from one land to another. I do love the instructions when you exit the parking lot onto West Street–go left then left for San Diego, go right then right for Los Angeles. And incidentally, anyone non-local know what that section of West Street is now called?

I’ll just give it away–it’s Disneyland Drive and Downtown Disney now goes right over it.

Frontierland

Continuing on our clockwise trip around the magic kingdom, we now hit Frontierland. Here you’ll find the regular shooting gallery–the one that still actually exists today, as well as the various boats on the Rivers of America. And also the one ride I wish I’d been on–the Pack Mules. E ticket indeed! I wanna ride a mule at Disneyland! Also of note over here is a print shop, now gone but I wish it weren’t. And if you’re hungry you can swing by the “Casa de Fritos” which of course involves “Mexican food specialties, combination plates, and Fritos.” I don’t know why that cracks me up, but I feel like I need to throw a Cinco de Mayo party and invite people over to my “Casa de Fritos.” What do you think?

Fantasyland

Coming to you in alarmingly neon pink, we have Fantasyland! If you’re looking for attractions, Fantasyland is the place to go, since it’s chock-full of them. The awesome thing about Fantasyland is that out of 16 attractions, 12 are just like they were then, and the Fantasyland Theater still exists except in the form of the Princess Fantasy Faire (which is moving, did I mention that?). The only two attractions that are well and truly gone are the Motor Boat Cruise and my beloved Skyway. The Fantasyland Autopia is now joined together with the Tomorrowland Autopia making it one giant Autoporiffic attraction.

There’s aso a glassblower shop here (two of them? Not fair!) as well as “Merlin’s Magic Shop” which would be insanely awesome, if it still existed. In its place is currently the Heraldry Shoppe. The scale and perspective here is particularly weird, as it looks like the Tea Cups are directly north of the Carrousel when in fact, it is off to the right and hidden a bit.

Also, that tinted pink picture on the bottom is supposed to be a family in the teacups looking happy, but the one guy totally looks like he’s going to hurl.

Tomorrowland

Finally we conclude our tour with Tomorrowland. I had originally expected to find Tomorrowland stuffed to the gills with E ticket rides, but in fact over half are D tickets and only two are E tickets. Go figure. This is the classic Tomorrowland, and I believe out of all the lands, the one where the most attractions have been either moved or removed. Tomorrowland attractions in 1973:

Adventures Thru Inner Space (removed)
PeopleMover (removed, standing sadly vacant)
Rocket Jets (moved and renamed Astro Orbitor)
Flight to the Moon (removed)
Skyway to Fantasyland (removed)
Santa Fe & Disneyland Railroad (unchanged)
Tomorrowland Autopia (combined with Fantasyland Autopia)
Submarine Voyage (changed to Finding Nemo)
Disneyland Alweg Monorail System (unchanged)

Interesting! Also, much like today, there was a very limited number of places to eat and shop. And Circlevision, the only ride that actually made me puke, was a  free show.

And those are your maps of Disneyland 1973!

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