November 17, 2017

WEDWAY Peoplemover Attraction Poster for Florida

Disney attraction posters. Who doesn't love them? Certainly they are a hit as many people create their own. Some good, some bad, some great (like those created by Greg Maletic). 

Here's an official one created by Disney Imagineering for the Magic Kingdom's beloved and enduring WEDWAY Peoplemover. It's a family favorite. An attraction that's a must do several times on every visit to Walt Disney World's Tomorrowland. Long lost at Disneyland and the envy of fans of classic Walt Disney inspired Imagineering. You know, the era from opening of his magical park in 1955 to his very unfortunate passing approximately ten years later. The era of Pirates of the Caribbean, New Tomorrowland, It's A Small World, Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, and so much more. 

Folks viewing the Insights blog love my Disneyland Attraction poster series! But until I can get it together and do one for Walt's Florida kingdom, here's a retro look at a great attraction and a pretty good poster as well!

(Art copyright The Walt Disney Company.)

November 16, 2017

Unseen Karen Carpenter

Given she had short a short life, Karen Carpenter was constantly at the end of a photographer's camera. Here's a photo I had never seen before from Norman Seeff, a man known for his more rock and roll clientele. 

The year was 1981, and she and her brother Richard Carpenter were nearing completion on their new album, Made in America. The beloved duo had not had a non-Christmas album since 1977, so their public seemed to be ready for something new. The disc was better received over in the U.K. and in Japan than it was at home, but the first single Touch Me When We're Dancing was a pretty solid return to the charts, making the Top Twenty for four weeks. 

This photo and others in similar clothing from the session didn't make the cut. But they were used for the 1989 release of Lovelines, coming on the heels of the Karen Carpenter Story. In two years, A&M Records will celebrate the 50th anniversary of Carpenters first release, Offering (later renamed Ticket to Ride). Maybe we'll see more unseen Karen then. And hear more unheard recordings as well. Until then, the new Vinyl Collection presents the major Carpenters releases in album form. A treat for collectors.

(Photograph copyright Norman Seeff.)

November 14, 2017

An Early Promotional Map of EuroDisneyland

Announcing EuroDisneyland! Here's the theme park map from an early promotional brochure. Make sure you enlarge it to get a picture of what the great Imagineering team led by Tony Baxter had in mind. 

There are marked differences between what was initially proposed and what came to fruition years later. Do you see a new route for the railroad? A Roaring 20's themed Main Street U.S.A.? A new elevated transportation system within the park? How about a French version of the famous Jungle Cruise? Yes, it's all there and more. Even with the cuts from the Board and Michael Eisner, it's still the most beautiful Magic Kingdom ever!

(Art copyright The Walt Disney Company.)

November 13, 2017

As Time Goes By

Happy birthday to our eldest son, now with a family of his own. Time goes by so, so fast- and this Dad couldn't be prouder!

(Photograph copyright Mark Taft.)

November 10, 2017

Ahoy Mateys!

Don't let the diminutive size of this piece of Imagineering concept art fool you! The original Disneyland Submarine Voyage was huge on mystery, thrills, mermaids, and fun. 

Tomorrowland premiered this fan favorite attraction in 1959, proving again Walt Disney's words that Disneyland would never be completed. Guests couldn't get enough of this incredible one of a kind experience. 

The voyage through Liquid Space, with or without a little clownfish attached to it, remains thanks to Tony Baxter. It's still something that cannot be experienced in any other Disney park. (Their were plans for something more here, a journey to the lost city of Atlantis- rare concept art here- but the suits opted for the cheaper in the moment character attraction instead.)

The subs were also an opening day attraction at Walt Disney World, but the Magic Kingdom in Florida removed their beautiful 20K Leagues Under the Sea voyage and left it as an Ariel meet and greet - or just left it empty- for years. Eventually the space was filled in and New Fantasyland took hold. The stunning ships were destroyed aside from one found in the Bahamas as a snorkeling prop on Disney's private island for those cruising the beautiful teal waters.

Guests can ride a submarine at Tokyo Disney Sea, but it isn't a real water filled adventure. Dry show sets are made to look real through the power of Imagineering skill. Nearby, the journey with the popular little clownfish is also dry- a simulator attraction that's enhanced by some in cabin effects. It's still not the real thing.

On the other side of the world at Disneyland Paris, the steampunk ship known as the Nautilus is open for exploration, but in reality, the painted concrete vessel of Jules Verne's Captain Nemo goes absolutely nowhere.  

(Art copyright The Walt Disney Company.)

November 9, 2017

Elliott Yamin's Time

Just when I'm ready to give up on this guy, I run across a song that is just so good that it gives me hope for his career. Elliott Yamin was my pick for Season Three's American Idol winner. It wasn't to be. But the guy's got talent. Yes, I wish he would record his version of A House is Not a Home, but that's another story. 

Give a listen to the new As Time Goes By. So good! 

If you're in a throwback kind of mood, here's his audition tape for Moody's Mood for Love, a very difficult song sung effortlessly.

November 8, 2017

Party On

Just a bit of a party. But it does have some of the cutest kids at it ever. Don't you think?

(Photograph copyright Mark Taft.)

November 7, 2017

Tokyo's World Bazaar in Living Color

Here's Tokyo Disneyland's incredible World Bazaar in its original design. The concept art is stunning, and the end result just as good. The Disney Imagineers really hit a home run with this. And it was just the beginning with more to come. Tokyo Disney Sea just cemented the resort as being the one fans just have to see.

One more thing - yes, it's 100% true. Yesterday, my good friend and fellow blogger Len Yokoyama took off for a week of fun at the Tokyo Disney Resort. When he returns, expect detailed trip reports from the parks and tons of his amazing photos. The only thing better would be traveling with him!

(Art copyright The Walt Disney Company.)

November 3, 2017

Kevin Spacey Deserves to Die

Kevin Spacey, star of television's House of Cards, was forced to show his own hand. Allegations from other male actors came into the light about their sexual abuse at the hands of Mr. Spacey. More and more stories come up about him preying on minors as well as adults. Coming out as gay at the same time did not make things any better. His decision to seek help is only the beginning, but he will not be able to run away from the pain he has caused others as well as himself. He has to live with that. So does Harvey Weinstein and a host of others. 

As with many people whose crimes are heinous, Kevin may even contemplate suicide. It's a way out many take, including those cowardly attackers who steal innocent lives in New York, Las Vegas, and way too many other places. Perhaps due to abuse, his victims have thought about it as well.

There's just something even more evil when crimes are committed against children. Straight or gay or in between, pedophiles deserve the deepest parts of Hell as far as I'm concerned.

I remember seeing him in a film years ago and sensing he was a creep. I was right. What Mr. Spacey did to those young men is inexcusable. It's totally evil, but it's also human. Our dire human state is one of intense selfishness and brokenness. The Bible calls it sin- and we are all corrupted by it and the choices we have made.  

God's laws designed because of His love to protect us and protect each other. When you break them, nothing good comes from it, and pain is the result. I'd have to learn the hard way, and so do you. We all do. 

Ever spoken against doing and saying these things but chose to follow through anyway?  If so, welcome to the club called humanity, a club for broken and lost people. A club for hypocrites trying to find their way. And a club for everyone who tries get their needs met in ways that hurt others. We're all in it. 

Let's be honest- just because you know the truth doesn't mean you always choose to live it. I know I don't. And I would bet you don't either. Sometimes we are swept away by desire and do the wrong things. Some of us even make it a regular pattern in our life and try to justify it away. 

Truth is, in God's eyes we are all sinners and deserve death. But by God's goodness and His great Love for us, He chose to send Jesus to earth to die for the sins of all men- so that those who would choose to believe in Him, that he died and rose again, would not be destined to life in Hell forever, but would instead live with Him in Heaven for all eternity. We've got to choose to walk His way and turn around from our evil choices. Is it tough? Damn right it is! But there's no other way. God knew we couldn't pay the price on our own by being perfect, so He sent his Son because of his love- making it clear He is the only way to eternal life in Heaven. 

So, yes, Kevin Spacey deserves to die. So do you, and so do I.  Thank God, Jesus paid the price for our sins. Through Him, we can all have a fresh start. What will Kevin do now that his life is falling apart? You get to make the decision or not to follow Christ and walk life out following him, in spite of your sin, your life, your mistakes. I made mine. Hope and peace and a future was the result of my choice. What is your choice and what will be the result of it?

November 2, 2017

Goodbye California Screamin'- Hello Incredicoaster!

Here's your first look at the new-ish Pixar Pier- the really awful but ultimately unavoidable transformation of the better than it was but still not great Paradise Pier. Just when the park was getting more cohesive, somebody from headquarters forces Imagineering to come up with this. Glad they left the Mickey head.

Screamin' goes goodbye in January, and the Incredicoaster launches in Summer of 2018- just in time for chapter two of the Incredibles story. One of my favorite Pixar movies, but the transformation is unnecessary. At least the coaster will finally be painted.

Hopefully the attractions from A Bug's Land will make it over before the area is destroyed to make room for Marvel

Lastly, I'm glad this is happening in place of the Disneyland Resort "gaining" its own Toy Story Land. That would be much worse.

More transformation information on the Disney Parks blog.

(Art copyright The Walt Disney Company.)

Island Song

One of my prettiest shots from our recent trip. As I was praying today, this verse came into my mind from the prophet Isaiah in the Old Testament: "Let them give glory to the Lord and proclaim his praise in the islands." It's chapter 42:12 - a not so subtle reminder that all who are created by God should be telling of His Goodness, His Power and His Love. 

(Photograph copyright Mark Taft.)

November 1, 2017

The Sign Says It All

A picture is worth more than a thousand words, but I'll give you about a hundred...

A couple of weeks ago, I uploaded High Sierra software for my Mac, a system upgrade that promised better and faster everything. What I ended up with was a paperweight. 

Corrupting my discs and keeping my system in a perpetual state of not being able to power up. (My discs were apparently already corrupted and unable to back up what I had- without me knowing it.) The techs at the Apple store, who are really great, could do nothing but wipe my hard drive clean but couldn't access my files. Of course, I had to start over, recreating my digital world, including a huge project that was not backed up as it was only three days of work. 

I don't think there should be much delay in newer articles, but I currently am short on time. So please be patient with me. I'll be back soon with all the things you love to read on the blog. In the meantime, God bless you.

October 31, 2017

Rare Photo of Disney World's Haunted Mansion

A rare look at Walt Disney World's Haunted Mansion circa 1971. This is a promotional sheet from Imagineering giving the viewer the perfect look at the iconic Magic Kingdom attraction as well as the canoes plying the Rivers of America. The beautiful and unique Liberty Square has never been duplicated in any other castle park, creating a lovely backdrop for the old abandoned mansion. The beauty inside the mansion, however, is more of the otherworld variety. It's a beauty that's drawn in unsuspecting visitors for over 45 years now.

(Photograph copyright The Walt Disney Company.)

October 30, 2017

Happy Birthday and Aloha

Happy Birthday to my wonderful wife! How you ever ended up with someone like me, I will never know. Actually, I do. Our Lord Jesus brought you to me, and me to you, for His purposes and for our blessing while on this earth. I love you more than you'll ever know- and certainly more than I find myself telling you...

October 28, 2017

Miracles from Molecules Indeed

Isn't this a beauty? Perhaps you've seen this in person or maybe you weren't fortunate enough to personally ride Disneyland's iconic attraction Adventure Thru Inner Space. And this great piece of concept art is only a look at the exit platform of the journey. Yes, the exit. Hard to believe. (Click on it in order to see it in a very, very large size.)

With no question, Tomorrowland 1967 was the best incarnation of the land. 

Everything before- and certainly everything after- pales in comparison to what Walt Disney and his Imagineers put together. As with Pirates of the Caribbean, the genius didn't get to see this at opening. Individual attractions may have been terrific since, thinking Space Mountain here, but the sum of the whole was never better than what guests found in the Spring of '67. Toss in the eye catching Peoplemover and the Carousel of Progress, and you've got the core of an incredible land on the move. 

Perhaps when Star Tours goes by the wayside after Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge opens, the suits can let the space it occupies revert to something far better- by looking backward as they look forward.

(Art copyright The Walt Disney Company.) 

October 27, 2017


Stop the bullying! Just Stop. Please. All kinds of bullying. On line and in person. I'm sick of it, aren't you? In all its forms. Isn't it amazing, for example, what people will say on face book that they would never say in person? That's one reason I left it.

Look at the news, but look beyond as well. It's not just Harvey Weinstein and sexual abusers like him. Bullying takes many forms as well. It happens in schools, offices, playgrounds, boardrooms, churches, locker rooms, on the highways, and in the White House. Some bullies are straight up aggressive like our current president, and some are passive aggressive, shaming people instead of using intimidation. Like our previous one president. When bullies group together, it's even worse. Just take a close look at your favorite political action group. Or sports team. Or executive board. Take a very close look. See what I mean?

Now look even closer. Some bullies are like you, and some are like me. Every size, shape, color, philosophy and persuasion. Open bigots to liberal-minded folks. It's the human condition to not only prefer ourselves above others but to make sure that we self-promote - and to make sure our desires and preferences are satisfied. 

Physical and verbal intimidation are only two forms of this kind of abuse. Sexual intimidation another. Ridicule, innuendo, and being snarky are other forms of abuse and bullying. Abuse of power from the boardroom to the bedroom and everywhere in between. The list goes on and on because sin runs deep within us. More than we admit, more than we realize, and more than I acknowledge within me. God have mercy on us all.

(Think about this- the most powerful person to ever grace the earth was its humblest resident. You know who I'm talking about.)