Monthly Archives: April 2012

Mickey’s Fun Wheel

Over at the Mouse-Next-Door, Mickey’s Fun Wheel is the giant ferris wheel that looks over Paradise Pier. It’s awesome.

This picture was actually taken from the Zephyr, but I'm including it here because I didn't take a full-on picture for the Fun Wheel post. Oops.

As you can see, it’s pretty much all kinds of awesome colors at night.

Mickey’s Fun Wheel has two options for your riding pleasure: Brave and Wimp Swinging and Non-Swinging gondolas. The non-swinging gondolas are attached to the wheel like a normal ferris wheel seat would be (and spellcheck keeps wanting me to type Ferris. As in Save Ferris? I mean the movie, but isn’t the band originally from Orange County?) (UPDATE: A sharp-eyed reader confirmed that the ferris wheel is named after its inventor, George Washington Gale Ferris, Jr., therefore is indeed properly written Ferris wheel) .  The swinging gondolas swing. It’s hard to tell from these pictures because I didn’t really get any good close-ups of the swinging, but they are on an oval-shaped rail (also attached to the wheel) and the car can then swing back and forth as the wheel turns.

It’s pretty darned terrifying.

And the gondolas have barf bags in them, so seriously, not for the faint of heart or the faint of stomach.

Do I need to say that we chose the non-swinging ones? Fortunately you get to pick before you get in line.

Brave or wimp?

The Fun Wheel slowly goes up, up, up

Kind of looks like a roller coaster from this shot

Oh, also, the gondolas are completely enclosed, so nobody throws anything out of them.

Theo loves this ride

The Fun Wheel gives you the best views of the park.

Like this fuzzy picture of Cars Land

Paradise Pier has some of the best lighting I’ve ever seen.

Shiny!

You really go very, very high. Like you know when you’re even or above the giant roller coaster, that’s high.

California Screamin'

You can even see our house from up there.

Kind of.

It's in this direction

And that’s the crowd for World of Color at the bottom.

Go on the Fun Wheel. It may seem like meh, it’s a (save) ferris wheel, but once you get up there, the views are breathtaking.

Tarzan’s Treehouse

AAAAAHhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

Yep, that’s the Tarzan call. You’ll just have to say it in your head with me.

Good job.

Now over in Adventureland is Tarzan’s Treehouse.

Cleverly distinguishable by this sign and also the fact that it's a giant tree.

 

Up to this point I’ve been avoiding Tarzan’s Treehouse because taking a stubborn 3-year-old up and down those steps pretty much sounds like hell to me. Fortunately I got to meet up with my friends Ingrid and Rachel and the three of us decided to go for it.

Yeah, it's big

 

I’ve never actually been in Tarzan’s Treehouse. Shocking, I know, but that’s the whole point of MYWTM.

I have, however, seen the Swiss Family Treehouse, which is what Tarzan’s Treehouse was before Tarzan moved in. Poor Robinson family–displaced AGAIN!

Once you go up the initial stairs of Tarzan’s Treehouse, you cross a bridge to get to Tarzan’s Treehouse.

That's because Tarzan's Treehouse is actually two trees

 

Now the best thing about the Swiss Family Treehouse was the elaborate irrigation system they had. Just like in the movie, there were these buckets and a paddle wheel and little channels for the water to run through.

Tarzan, on the other hand, had no running water. So much for that upstairs master bathroom. Bummer.

Once you get to the second tree, there are books telling the story of Tarzan.

They're actually written by Jane, the hostess with the mostess, who invites everyone in to take a look around. However, you'll have to use the bathroom in New Orleans Square or the entrance of Adventureland if you have to go

"Many years ago, a young family enjoyed their life here until the fateful night of Sabors attack"

 

Uh-oh, Disney. Sabor is the name of the leopard. His attack is therefore possessive. Which means that it should read “Sabor’s attack.” Oops.

Anyway, you don’t want to get into that because here is Sabor and he’s pretty much going to eat you.

OMG!!!!!

 

Exit Tarzan’s family, enter Kala the gorilla.

Adoption is a wonderful way to make a family 🙂

 

Kala and Tarzan make a very cute pair.

It's like they're watching television or something, except it's a magic mirror? Confession time: I haven't actually seen the movie

 

Here’s a picture of something that I took from the top of the treehouse. It’s kind of a bummer because when it was the Swiss Family Treehouse, you actually knew what everything was.

Hmmmmmmm

 

Kala was a great mom, apparently. What are your happy memories?

My happy memories of my life, or my happy memories of the movie?

 

Enter Jane and our first look at grown-up Tarzan.

He's kind of a stud, but I'm not a fan of his hair

 

There’s also some kind of magic canvas that draws Tarzan by itself. I’m sure this has some kind of meaning from the movie, and I’m sure one of my sharp-eyed readers will be able to tell me what it is.

It's cool and everything

 

Then Jane talks about teaching Tarzan to be human, and Tarzan teaching her all about the apes.

Who got the better deal here?

 

And then it’s time to leave.

Down, down, down

 

Jane sums it all up by saying they all live happily amongst the trees and take a look around, make yourself at home.

What did I say? Hostess with the mostess!

 

The book says “You may make a discovery of your own.” No kidding.

OMG, it's a dead person! Definitely did not see that one coming.

 

Down on the ground there are two “rooms.” The Robinsons used them for the kitchen and library, but it’s hard to tell what Tarzan and Jane use them for. There is a bamboo microphone-looking thing that says “Yell in here,” but my friend Rachel tried it and didn’t really get anything out of it. Maybe a crude intercom?

Can you hear me now? Can you hear me now?

 

Tarzan’s Treehouse is a fun little Adventureland detour if you’ve got some time on your hands and don’t mind the stairs. However, it’s not as good as its predecessor. Maybe one day Tarzan and Jane will figure out running water.

 

Pirates of the Caribbean

Yo ho, yo ho, it’s time to ride a classic!

Over in New Orleans Square, get ready to enter the Bayou and see a lively band of pirates! Except for the dead pirates, who are not lively but who you will also see.

Pirates was the last ride that Walt helped design, and it opened shortly after his death in 1967. I mean the ride opened in 1967. Walt actually died in 1966. Just to clarify for the purists in the crowd.

You enter the queue under a bridge.

Here there be pirates! Arrrrr!!!

 

When it’s crowded, both sides are open. I personally think the right-hand side is shorter, although I have no substantial evidence to back that up.

Pirates is housed in a lovely antebellum manor that I didn’t take pictures of on this particular visit because it was under construction, so I’ll post those later.

You go through a couple of switchbacks in the courtyard of the manor here:

Not crowded. It was a good day.

 

And the Pirates queue has another one of my favorite things–in line drinking fountains!

They're even all fancy and stuff

 

I think my attraction to water fountains came from when I worked at a summer camp way up high in the mountains where you could get dehydrated in like 3 seconds, and we always told the kids to stop and take 2 drinks from the water fountain whenever we passed one. I no longer am in this habit (can you imagine how long it would take to get through an airport???) but I do feel compelled to do it at Disneyland. Go figure.

When you enter the building, you see an appealing little island with an opinionated bird, the Jolly Roger, and a map.

Also some treasure

 

Decorating the walls are portraits of various pirates and lords.

Like Sir Henry, for example

 

You board your boat and are strongly admonished to not take flash pictures. And really people, when they say “no flash photography,” please don’t use your flash! It drives me bonkers! And ruins the effect for everyone else!

Also, since I wasn’t using my flash, the picture quality in this post from here on out is going to get sketchy.

But such is the price you pay for not using your flash. Don’t worry about crappy pictures–live in the moment!

First you gently glide through a bayou with the Blue Bayou restaurant on your right-hand side.

This is the only restaurant at Disneyland that I have ever been turned away from for not having a reservation, so make a reservation

 

The Blue Bayou is a very cool place to eat, especially if you request a waterside table. You may have to wait for it, but it’s really charming.

Anyway, you also pass various items one might find in a bayou

Like this boat

 

Now I’m sure you’ve noticed that this is all quite dark. That’s because it’s simulated nighttime. Well, here’s where Shelby goes all dorky on you and admits something embarrassing–for years I thought this was just open to the night sky. In my defense, for many years growing up, my family only went to Disneyland at night, when my dad’s company sponsored a corporate night. Pirates was one of the rides we always made sure to go on.

I figured out it was inside NOT because I rode it during the daytime, but because I rode it in the rain. Specifically, it was POURING, and we got on the ride and I thought “Oh, it stopped raining!” and then when it was over I looked outside and it was still pouring and then (and only then) did it occur to me to look up and see that I was still inside the building.

Heh.

Anyway, once you leave the bayou, you hear the rushing of water and get a very stern warning from this dude:

Dead men tell no tales. Women too.

 

And then there’s a drop.

It’s not a big drop, but it’s a surprising drop if you don’t know it’s coming. Also you can get a little splashed on landing so cover your camera lens and glasses.

Also there’s another drop. This one comes as quite the surprise to people who are used to the Disney World version of Pirates, which only has one. So consider yourself warned.

First you enter the scenes with the dead pirates, like these guys who didn’t make it very far off the beach.

Also, judging by the size of the skeletons, pirates back then were very short

 

You move along through scenes of pirate recreation, except they’re dead pirates and dead men tell no tales.

Checkmate!

 

There’s the pirate treasure, but what good is it if you’re dead?

Yes, at one point in my life I DID believe this treasure was real

 

And having been warned of your future should you continue on your pirate-y path of plundering and pillage, you move through the magic mist. In the past it was just Davy Jones who talked to you on the mist, but now it’s both Davy and Blackbeard. Its actually really awesome because the moving and talking image is projected directly on the mist, which you then go under. The effect looks like this:

Blackbeard

AAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

Both Davy Jones and Blackbeard are like “Dude, there’s a pirate’s curse, but go for it if you want to” and of course you want to because you’re on a boat and what else are you going to do?

So you get thrust into the middle of a battle between a pirate ship and a fortress. At this point they’re playing the theme from the first Pirates movie, which is totally awesome because it’s a great song. Up to that point you’ve been yo-ho-ing.

Ya lily-livered something something!

 

The drunken pirates have taken over! They’re trying to drown this guy:

I know it's hard to tell, but there's a guy being raised and lowered into the well

 

Captain Jack Sparrow is hiding around here. Can you spot him?

You can also buy a bride, if you’re in the market for a bride

This is seriously not PC

 

Oh! I think I see Captain Jack!

The dog does, at least

 

You go past a couple more slovenly drunks before you realize that the town is on fire.

This can't be good.

 

You then come to one of the most iconic scenes of the ride:

Seriously, the dog is my favorite character in this entire ride

 

And despite the danger, the pirates are still shooting at each other.

Can you find the hidden Mickey?

 

And just before you leave the building (much like Elvis), it appears that Captain Jack Sparrow has indeed found the pirate treasure himself!

Voiced by Johnny Depp himself

 

Here’s another view. Really, I think this part is the best audio-animatronic in the entire park.

Yo ho, yo ho

 

And then you come back to ground level and float on by the island you saw going in.

Hello, land lubbers!

 

I absolutely love Pirates of the Caribbean. It’s definitely a must-do at Disneyland.

Mobile Magic

Smartphone users, this one’s for you!

Ever wish there was an app to tell you how long wait times are and when you can expect to find a character meet and greet and what’s the deal with the weather? One that would track you inside the parks and give you location-specific information? That’s free?

Well, my friends, it exists. If you do have a smartphone, you can download Disney Parks’ official app, Mobile Magic.

In order to give you a look at Mobile Magic in action, I took a series of pictures of my phone. Be prepared for some high-quality photography here.

It's all official looking and everything!

Once the app is loaded and running, you can choose from a variety of things you’d like to know about.

A map? Who needs a map?

Even the weather!

I checked this out right after I got off of Big Thunder. I wanted to see how long the wait was for Haunted Mansion before I schlepped my lazy self all the way over there. Mobile Magic pinpointed my location.

Right here in Frontierland

The Haunted Mansion was at the bottom of the list of attractions within the vicinity. On that screen it says that the wait is 5 minutes, but I wanted to see what the Haunted Mansion screen itself looked like.

It looks like this!

There’s a brief description of the attraction in case you don’t know what it is, and again, the wait time. 5 minutes was indeed accurate!

If you’re character hunting, the character feature might come in handy too.

How cute is that?

If you’ve got a smartphone on Verizon, I highly recommend Mobile Magic!

If you’re not on Verizon, you can also use your smartphone to access the Disney Parks mobile website, which will give you the same information, but not in such a cute and handy app.

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