August 29, 2018

Expedition Everest Fan

Recognize the shirt? Not one week after our return home from our incredible Walt Disney World vacation, my daughter sends me this photo of my grandson wearing the Expedition Everest T-shirt I bought him as a gift for conquering the mountain with me! He loved it, rode it twice and became of fan of my favorite Florida attraction. (I know, I'm working on Day Six of my trip report. It's getting closer.) 

There's something about this photograph that touches me deeply. Maybe it is just the sweet guy he is and the fine young man he is becoming.

August 28, 2018

The Disney Who Paints

Ever heard of Jethro Disney? He's the Disney who paints, and from what I'm told, is a relative of Walt himself. This painting above is called "Equally Yoked" and it sits on the wall in the home of friends of mine. She told me the story herself and how it came to be. Does anyone else out there know more about Jethro?

August 27, 2018

Hugging the Tree Planter

We hit quite a sale on trees today. Five Aspens and one Maple later, we were home. Our youngest son decided to bless us by digging the holes for them and planting them. What a gift! In the last few winters, we've list several older established trees due to heavy snowstorms. We figured it was time to begin adding trees or we'd soon end up with a barren back yard!

August 24, 2018

Theme Park Commando: Disneyland Resort in One Day- Two Parks, 26 Attractions

The date: July 5, 2018. I had one day to do both parks in California. What could I get out of Disneyland and California Adventure when I had 16 hours total? Would I be able to ride the new / revised attractions I wanted (Pixar Pier and Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout!), check out the progress on Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge and all the changes in Frontierland and still have a great time? The answer is "Yes!"  

What did I accomplish? 26 Attractions and One evening parade in Two parks with two sit down meals and two stops for beverage breaks. Oh yeah- 18 of these attractions were "E Tickets"!

How did I accomplish it?
  • One Day, Two Park Ticket bought in advance
  • Single Rider Lines
  • Getting to the Parks Before Opening
  • MaxPass
  • Mobile Ordering for dinner
  • Staying until (almost) closing time

Here's how it played out and my review on the new-ish Pixar Pier, the re-Imagined Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, and an analysis of the Disneyland Resort.

Strategically, since California Adventure has far fewer attractions than it's older sibling and the two that were recently re-Imagined, I knew this had to be my first stop. 


Take a closer look.
Love of the parks draws people together.

I queued up at the gates at 7:00am that Thursday morning. My plan was to go Friday, but I had woken up at 5:00am, and it was one of those days that going back to sleep just wasn't going to happen. Good reminder that plans change- and I ended up very thankful as Friday, it turned out to be over 110 degrees! 

We were let into the park at 7:30am, and as I guessed, we were able to go only so far into the park. This meant I had the chance to take my time, take a long look at Buena Vista Street and the mess of area that is Hollywoodland.




It's not always a better park atmosphere in Florida.

After being at Walt Disney World and spending our last day at the Studios just four weeks earlier, let me say that I find Buena Vista Street a much more rewarding "first act" than I do Hollywood Blvd. Sure, it's shorter in length and built on a smaller scale, but it's done right: layers of detail, interesting buildings, and lush vegetation with an abundance of trees. All this creates a place to relax and soak it in. Having the Red Car Trolleys as an actual attraction is a plus. As one who often criticizes the suits for often cutting budgets and bringing guests less than great experiences, I'll be the first to admit they gave the Imagineers ample funds to build a great and welcoming area!


Hello Walt!

This makes Hollywoodland look all the worse with its remnant of DCA 1.0 and a less than cohesive blend into the immediate areas around the new hub of the park. Standing in line at the end of the street waiting to be released to ride Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout provided a clear reminder how much this portion of the park needs a remake. Be the changes Marvel inspired or not, for now, it's poorly lackluster. 

Full confession mode: I got very excited once we were allowed to get in line for the Guardians ride. It wasn't entirely new, but it was the closest thing I'd experience this trip to a brand new attraction. The building itself is just plain ugly, although I find it much better looking at night. Regardless of its convoluted backstory, it does not fit into the area in which its placed. 


Reminded me of that Michael Jackson statue
that was floated down those European rivers. 

Directed by the cast member to walk the entire length of the queue, I saw that the garden area was clearly a spot where it would have been better to rip the entire thing out and start new. 


Hollywoodland's (Rip Ride) Rocket

There's been many reports on this Bob Chapek demanded revision pushed into the hands of Imagineer Joe Rohde. I won't recap it, but as a big fan of the original Twilight Zone Tower of Terror... wait for it... I found the Guardians version to be lighthearted, fun, and rather well done under the circumstances. As much as the garden area is ineffective, the lobby seems to work, and the much talked about Rocket Audio-Animatronic is excellent! This truly unexpected surprise works well in the context of the story. The actual on-ride experience is as fun as always, but you never really forget you're watching a movie. 

The attraction's stronger than what I expected it to be, but the whole Marvel land expansion had better be much, much better than the rumored shooting attraction set in a California business complex. 

My rental car was much more fun!

I snagged a Fast Pass for Incredicoaster, but left Hollywoodland directly for a ride on Luigi's Rollickin' Roadsters before using the single rider line for Radiator Springs Racers.  For the record, Mater's a better "B Ticket" attraction than either the Flying Tires or the Roadsters. Not surprisingly, Cars Land's centerpiece experience is still the stronger addition to Disney's West Coast resort since the Indiana Jones Adventure. 

Same great ride- poor overlay.

So, I guess it's time for an objective look at Pixar Pier and the Incredicoaster. That's hard to do as I have never been a fan of Paradise Pier or the entire concept of a carnival as part of a Disney theme park. 

I guess we're stuck with this carnival.

As an Armchair Imagineer, after the very successful relaunch of California Adventure and the great reception to Buena Vista Street and Cars Land, I'd have let the guests come for a year and then close down the Pier for a major retheme / rehaul. The suits waited longer to do this, but I'd say the project was a failure.

Using MaxPass, I walked to the pier. Screamin' / Incredicoaster remains a great ride. Really a rush- and I still love it. After their theming rework, it now includes a quickly done cover story that removes the continuity of thrill as you're interrupted by dialogue on the lift hills and the visuals of baby Jack Jacks on sticks. (WHO approved that???) 

Other areas seem improved (the main entrance to Pixar Pier and the band shell), ignored (the coaster still needs a paint job and the Fun Wheel needs a real roof over the queue), or made much worse (the chicken stand is a disaster). Part of my frustration with the carnival land is there's no where to get away from the crush of the crowd because in contrast to other parts of the park, the pathways are narrow here and there's no side streets or charming nooks. It really is like a carnival midway in the worst sense of the word. Including no shade- and for such a long stretch of walkway through the park. 

The new paint scheme doesn't help matters at all. Any sense of sophistication established with the Hotel del Coronado vibe that was there after the first refurb has been traded for a garish, in your face, circus look. In other words, it's been dumbed down to the lowest level in order to sell more merchandise to the kids.  May I ask, "What does California have to do with that?" Ugh.

 Nicely done change!

On my way to see the new-to-me Grizzly Peak Airfield (aka Condor Flats), I jumped into a two minute line for Little Mermaid. Quickly, the interior of California's version is easily superior to that of the attraction in Florida's Magic Kingdom. Enough said.

As a fan of the original Condor Flats, I found the Imagineers did an excellent job bringing the airfield out of the barren desert and into the forested mountains. See, they can do it right when they are allowed to do so.

                           
Note to the Pixar Pier Imagineers:
It's the little details that enhance the theme,
not slapping the characters on every available surface.

Wandering around, the area felt as if it were entirely brand new. This was an unexpected and very pleasant surprise. I enjoyed the new Soarin' film for what it was, but I would certainly be open to having both films available for a ride. (MaxPass again.) Walking out of the area on my way to Disneyland, I noticed how well the new entrance to the area transitioned from the Carthay Circle. It just felt right. (Six rides, including three "E Tickets" so far.) I'd return for Paint the Night later in the evening.


Where is the castle?

By 10:30am, I was standing in front of the Bengal BBQ waiting for my delicious but expensive Kalua Pork Sandwich. More than enough for two- but I was so hungry as I hadn't eaten since being up at 5, it went down easily. Let me back track a bit.

Walking into Walt's park felt like going home. BUT I have to admit to my Florida friends reading this, the castle is small. Charming, yes, but from Main Street, it just about disappears from sight. Remember, I'd just come from the Magic Kingdom one month before this visit. It all feels warm and cozy but more like a cottage than a mansion with a blazing fire a la Beauty and the Beast.


It's cute but it's no Crystal Palace. 

After regaining my energy with food, drink and some time in the shade, it was time for some attractions. Just then I realized just how jam packed the park is with one great adventure after another. 

I also quickly remembered how small the walkways were. Not just in Adventureland but all through the park. This contributes to the intimacy of the park, but all day long, this fact alone made me question the sanity of park executives. Who decided to bring in Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge here instead of biting the bullet and Imagineering that third park? The place s going to be crushed with people, and my bet is that the guest satisfaction levels will drop. 

Because this article is about doing so many rides in one full day, I'm going to give it to you in list form below. If you want to read my humble observations about the park changes- and why my next visit will be Walt Disney World instead of California, continue reading after the list. Here goes...


Apple screenshot
ending at 11:34pm on July 5.

Disneyland:  

Disneyland Railroad
Columbia
BTMRR (3) (Two Max Pass, one regular line)
Pirates (2)
Haunted Mansion
Indiana Jones Adventure (single rider)
Space Mountain (single rider)
Jungle Cruise (MaxPass)
It's A Small World
Main Street Cinema
Enchanted Tiki Room
Matterhorn Bobsleds (single rider)
Disney Gallery
Tarzan's Treehouse
Roger Rabbit (MaxPass)

Disney California Adventure:

Luigi's Rollicking Roadsters 
Paint the Night
Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout
RSR(2) (single rider)
Incredicoaster (MaxPass)
Little Mermaid
Soarin' Around the World (MaxPass)
Grizzly River Run (single rider)


Thanks for reading on! Let's pick up on some thoughts about those park changes.


Toontown needs to stay.

Disneyland is still an amazing place where you can feel the spirit of Walt. I find it in the more intimate scale of things; the sweet and gentle innocence of a more simple Fantasyland, and a park size that feels like an experiment and not the guaranteed success of those parks which came afterwards. Yet, although  you can sense the years given how lush the park is with full grown trees, there's  buildings that need to be demolished in Tomorrowland and other changes neededDisneyland is a park in transition.




Photos of a re-Imagined Frontierland 
and its Rivers of America.

At the very top of my Disneyland must-see list was the total transformation of the Rivers of America in preparation for the Star Wars invasion. To shorten the river was a mistake in my opinion, but in execution, I found it to be a unexpected success. I rode the train, sailed aboard the Columbia and walked around every pathway leading to and from the Galaxy's Edge taking photograph after photograph of the changes. The cruise seemed only slightly shorter from a time perspective, but it was noticeable we weren't traveling as fast as we used to. The trip was far more interesting with all the activity and set pieces on the riverbanks. Once the trees really grow in, it will be even better- and all the new waterfalls are great. Additional water features are always a win as far as I'm concerned. Aside from the lost opportunity of traveling on the train through a sparkling new version of Rainbow Caverns, I'm a happy man. New sights. New sounds. New excitement. 

After thoroughly checking out all the changes, the heat won me over. I'm not ashamed to say it, but I walked into Starbucks on Main Street and ordered three drinks: an iced Vanilla Latte, a Very Strawberry Frappuccino (it wasn't), and a big cup of cold water. The small nook back in the library area was my home for the next half hour as I recharged my cel phone as well as my stamina. 

Refreshed and ready to go again, I popped into the surprisingly busy Main Street Cinema for a short bit, surveyed the changes in the Disney Gallery, and then I jumped on board the train at the Main Street Station for a grand circle tour. Then it was back to a couple of my favorites.

Beautiful and serene mansion on the outside...

My list of must do adventures continued with the (happily) classic version of the Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean, two of my most loved attractions ever. 

The queue for the ride through the gardens was hot but beautiful. The magnolias were in bloom, and the lengthier wait (20 minutes) gave me a chance to really look around and enjoy it all. I had just seen the classic version of the mansion in Florida and was so happy to do so without the Nightmare Before Christmas overlay. I am usually in Southern California in October these days, so it has been close to a decade since I've seen this beloved classic in its original mode. The famous Hat Box Ghost was well done and no more startling than the new Constance in the attic. Although the eerie attraction was in top condition, I found the actual trip through the mansion was better in Florida. There. I said it. It's not always better in California. Usually, but not always.

A Fast Pass casualty.

Pirates could do without the politically correct changes, and it needs a better queue than the one that blocks Adventureland from the rest of New Orleans Square. The attraction was in top shape. Gone was that mist screen and the filmed images. Good choice. The pirate / skeleton with octopus was well done and a nice surprise. I also noticed some island soldiers on top of the fortress fighting against Captain Barbossa. Are they new? And are they from World of Motion at Epcot? The revised auction scene is much better here than in Florida, but it's still doesn't make sense. Pirates auctioning what they've stolen? Interesting choice. 

One quick and sweet story. My second ride through Pirates, I sat in my row behind a family that was probably from Brazil based on the Portuguese they spoke. It was easy to tell it was their first trip. In contrast, the family behind me spoke a mix of English and Spanish, and they had two little kids who probably hadn't been on the ride before. 

At every turn as we cruised along, I heard the Brazilian family ooh and ahh and saw faces of amazement as they looked right and left. When we were going up the waterfall at the end of the ride, they made an audible and unified sigh of disappointment. I thought they were going to applaud. Their faces spoke of amazement and wonder over what had just been witnessed. The local Hispanic family was behind me, but I could hear from their conversation and the giggles that the younger kids loved the thrills and sights and their parents enjoyed taking them on what was probably their first ride. 

Both these families reminded me of how right Walt was to build a lengthy and impressive family ride that wasn't a coaster but still had thrills all could enjoy- and to do it with a terrific mix of technology and good old fashioned showmanship including the iconic theme song. For so many reasons, Pirates remains the ultimate statement of Disney Imagineering excellence even 50 years after its debut. This exemplifies the ongoing power of Disneyland. 


Tomorrowland needs a full rehaul!
It's the embarrassment of all of Disneyland. 


Single rider options and MaxPass really helped me get some great "E Ticket" rides under my belt in very little time. Big Thunder, Splash Mountain, Indiana Jones, and even Space Mountain were a breeze. The ride in the white-coned shaped mountain was incredibly smooth and sharp, and I was on in less than 5 minutes. (By the way, Launch Bay is just a glorified museum and home to some meet and greets.) The daylight ride through the wilderness was fun, but two rides in a row at night with only three or four minutes wait -and with fireworks going off the first time- solidified the status of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad: It is my favorite roller coaster in both of the California parks. I never tire of riding it! The thrills are there, and the setting and execution of the ride are top notch. We loved it in Florida (if only it had been a part of Thunder Mesa and it's unbuilt Western River Expedition), it's an amazing attraction in Paris, and back home in California, it remains a family favorite. 

Loved my visit to the Enchanted Tiki Room!

Ditto for my journey on the Disneyland Railroad-
and the Jungle Cruise. 


After a few more attractions, it was time to head back to California Adventure for a wrap up tour before capping the night off back at Disneyland. Last minute, I decided to swap my MaxPass for Grizzly River Run so I could ride Big Thunder at night. It was a smart choice as I waited about 15 minutes for the single rider line to reopen and found myself on the very wet side of a spinning raft in less than two minutes once it did. By this point, the line was almost two hours long for GRR if you didn't go single rider! Count that in as a concession to the heat and the fact there are relatively few attractions here.

I took time for a short dinner stop and used digital ordering to get a quick meal at the Lucky Fortune Cookery. Bypassing at least 15 families in line at dinnertime, I had my hot and very tasty chicken bowl in less than 5 minutes. Yum! This has become one of my go-to places in California Adventure as I loved to eat on the Wharf and people watch. 


Getting ready for the sun to go down 
over the Cadillac Range.

Finishing my tasty meal, I made a beeline for Radiator Springs Racers, with the single rider line taking about 30 minutes. The full queue was in use for the regular line, and Fast Passes were gone for the rest of the evening. 

Walking through Cars Land is such a satisfying experience! Perhaps its just that it shows the Imagineers still have what it takes. I walked the back way past the revamped Tower attraction. It looks much better in the evening. I did not ride it again, as I wanted to hit Paint the Night before heading back to Disneyland, and my timing was close. 



Electrical Parade Take Two.

I stood on the park entrance side of the Carthay Circle, enjoyed the very bright parade and moved as fast as I could from the park over to Disneyland. Just had to meet my Fast Pass time at Big Thunder. 

As I quickly headed out, I surveyed the park. Buena Vista Street is short but perfectly sets the mood, walking in or walking out. With Marvel on its way, I'm skeptical they can pull off the great sense of atmosphere they created when they brought Buena Vista Street and Cars Land to life. It needed the transformation, but now it seems as if they may ruin it. California Adventure is a park in transition once again- and from what I saw this trip, this isn't necessarily a move in the right direction.



Fantasyland at night is charming!

Back to Walt's park to wrap it up. So, I was late getting to my Fast Pass appointment, missing the ending time by ten minutes due to the evening shows and the very thick crowds being it was July 5th. The good natured cast members understood and let me on for two quick rides in succession. Backtracking a bit, I then walked around the river bend, glancing at Pirates and Mansion from a distance and took a quick walk through Adventureland for a few quick photos and went back the way I came.

Moving quickly down the frontier trail into the beautifully lit Fantasyland village for It's A Small World, the ride reopened just moments after I arrived. Yes, I'm a grown man, but I love this ride. Even though I'm all too aware of my shortcomings and definitely sinful (but forgiven) nature, I regain just a bit of childlike innocence every time I ride. 

I was just beat by this point as it was after 11pm. I could have struggled with the crowds, walked through Tomorrowland and taken that MaxPass for Buzz, but I was whipped. Heading back to the castle, I saw Mr. Toad had no line, so I jumped in. About three riders from the front, the cars stopped and maintenance came in, signaling it really was my time to go home.

Hot but happy.

There you have it! Almost 16 full hours in the parks, and I had an amazing day! More than enough new photographs and stories to tell for awhile. Now with the news that the 4th hotel is being delayed, the Disneyland Resort remains in transition. Downtown Disney feels disrupted while California Adventure is clearly remaking itself one again. Yet for all its faults, Disneyland is still the undisputed theme park king of the Golden State. One thing is certain- I know I'll be back, but I'll give things a few years to settle down.

(Photographs copyright Mark Taft.)

August 23, 2018

What?!? Zendaya to Play Ariel in The Little Mermaid?

If the rumors are true, actress and singer Zendaya has been offered the part of Ariel in the live action remake of the classic The Little Mermaid. What are those in charge thinking? Can she really play the part? I mean, Hello! Yes! Absolutely! Hers was a relative star turn in the musical The Greatest Showman, holding her own with Zac Efron and Hugh Jackman. Perfect casting as far as I'm concerned. 

Do I care that she's a woman of color? No. The most qualified person should always play the part. Does an actor have to be straight to play a straight guy? No- and it happens all the time. An actress doesn't have to be "conventionally" gay and be a "gay looking" lesbian to play the new Batwoman either. Or does she? 

Time to grow up, people. Why do we twist the truth when it is to our advantage but cry "Foul!" when the same truth results in something we don't like? I guess the agenda gets revealed and the ends must justify the means. Pure hypocrisy. 

Sorry, Ruby Rose. Seems your strongest fans and advocates have turned against you.

August 22, 2018

Two Parks, One Day, 26 Attractions- Coming Soon!

Very strategic planning and stamina worked as I hoped it would! My goal was a new family record, and I hit it. On Thursday, a very busy July 5th no less, I conquered both Disneyland and California Adventure and enjoyed 26 attractions, one parade, two sit down meals, and more. How did I do it? Details and a full trip report on the state of Disney's Anaheim resort coming this Friday.

(Photograph copyright Mark Taft.)

August 21, 2018

Notable and Quotable: Oswald Chambers


"The New Testament notices things that do not seem worthy of notice by our standards. “Blessed are the poor in spirit….” This literally means, “Blessed are the paupers.” Paupers are remarkably commonplace! The preaching of today tends to point out a person’s strength of will or the beauty of his character— things that are easily noticed. The statement we so often hear, “Make a decision for Jesus Christ,” places the emphasis on something our Lord never trusted. He never asks us to decide for Him, but to yield to Him— something very different. 

At the foundation of Jesus Christ’s kingdom is the genuine loveliness of those who are commonplace. I am truly blessed in my poverty. If I have no strength of will and a nature without worth or excellence, then Jesus says to me, “Blessed are you, because it is through your poverty that you can enter My kingdom.” I cannot enter His kingdom by virtue of my goodness— I can only enter it as an absolute pauper."

The great Scottish preacher Oswald Chambers wrote these words over a hundred years ago. Yielding to Jesus is something that is so hard for me to do! I want to give Him all my strengths for His use, ask forgiveness for being weak, but do I really want to yield my life to what He desires? I read this today and was struck by its sheer simplicity. I had to share it! It's so easy to say we believe. Easy to say we'd give up our life for His truth, yet it's so hard to live out every day as He leads. God help me!

August 20, 2018

Take Off Delayed

With the best of intentions, a guy can still get delayed! I often write these blog articles in advance of them being published, but under the current workload, there will be a delay. Still pondering the death of Aretha Franklin and how to put her legacy into words, continuing to write my posts on the last two days of our trip to Walt Disney World, how I accomplished a day of 26 attractions at the Disneyland resort, and put into words some personal transformation that's happening. Sorry for the delay, and I hope these are worth the wait.

August 19, 2018

Sunday in Paradise


These are for my wife. Time for just one more coconut and gin concoction for me (so delicious!) and a mojito for you. Oh yeah, some Kalua Pig Pizza for both of us. Probably our best vacation ever...

August 18, 2018

For Mature Adults Only

F&S% Love! That's what the tattoo on his head says. But you gotta read the writing on the facebook post to get the full intent...

August 17, 2018

Old Frontierland Map

Ever since my recent visit to Disneyland, I've been on quite the kick of how wonderful Frontierland is! (Yes, I'm still working on that trip report. Almost done- it's worth the wait.) 

The revised Rivers of America made me take a fresh look. But it also made me think about the past when the Wild West really lived up to its Disneyland opening day experience. So, take a look at this souvenir book map from my 1957 Disneyland guide. 

This early Frontierland looks like Davy Crockett's world come to life. What a great place to explore! I couldn't have been the only one as I bet young future Imagineers and cartoonists were inspired by the old The Mine Train Thru Nature's Wonderland and its Rainbow Caverns. Think about the design of Carsland's Radiator Springs Racers. (If you've ridden it, you know what I'm referring to. If not, I won't spoil it.)

Exploring caves, the authentic Indian village, the fort on Tom Sawyer Island or the whole western landscape by mule or train made for quite a day of adventures! I loved paddling a canoe or taking a cruise on the river. (Still do!)

I'll quote myself from an earlier post here: "There was something very hands on about the place, be it shooting rifles, searching for the perfect coonskin hat, or hanging on to the ropes while crossing those pesky barrel and suspension bridges of Tom Sawyer Island. Nowadays, hands on tends to mean "hands on the controller" as Toy Story Midway Mania and Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin take prominence at the Disney parks. Sure, those rides are fun, and the parks need this kind of variety, but the simple pleasures of simpler times also have their place. Yet, these kind of smaller attractions are no longer built. With their absence, we are also missing a part of homespun Americana and the opportunity to embrace our own imagination."

Other parks beyond the castle ones should think about what these old school attractions could bring. Tokyo Disney Sea has its fortress explorations, and it is well beloved. Animal Kingdom's Pandora would have been a perfect place for an island to explore. Maybe the next expansion to the area will do just that. Here's hoping!

(Art copyright The Walt Disney Company.)

August 16, 2018

KC in B&W

An absolutely huge photo of Karen Carpenter taken for her solo album sessions. Thanks to a friend over at the A&M Corner, this scan is of a photo found inside a hard to find music book called "Carpenters Complete Music Book" Volume One. 

Much like her solo album that was planned for release in 1980 (but never saw the light of day until 1996), the photo is contemporary and fresh. Not a hint of the sugary sweetness critics accused the duo of producing. (Let's be real- "Superstar" and "Rainy Days and Mondays" and "Goodbye to Love"- among others- are sugary sweet?) Her new producer Phil Ramone gave listeners a solo disc which forced Karen to be seen in a new light- and Karen's stylist succeeded in her job as well, allowing us to view her as an individual and not automatically part of a duo. 

A&M Records and even friend and supporter and co-owner Herb Alpert really didn't know what to do with the record. It was just too different. Even too sexual in places. (And Karen helped choose those songs.) The disc was certainly too off-putting to the execs that were used to banking on the Carpenters bringing in the bucks to fund other acts. So in the vault it sat for years. 

Eventually a single was released when the Carpenters Lovelines album came out. They selected the superb If I Had You to promote it. Years after her death, the song climbed up the Adult Contemporary charts on Billboard, proving had it been released when she intended, the disc would have been well received. The collection is full of great but different than you'd expect songs including a near duet with Chicago's Peter Cetera on a tune called Making Love in the Afternoon and a terrific remake of Paul Simon's iconic Still Crazy After All These Years, which takes on new meaning now that Karen's passed on.

Find the disc and ignore the bastardized cover based on the originally planned art and photo. The music inside is a complex gem much like the artist herself. 

August 15, 2018

Retro United Airlines Tiki Room Poster

This Enchanted Tiki Room attraction poster is an older one that features United Airlines. The stylistic approach reminds me of the ancient Hawaiian fabric prints that you find all over. Of course, the classic original Disneyland logo is pretty darn cool as well.

(Art copyright The Walt Disney Company.)

August 14, 2018

Horizons Poster and Century 3

Vintage EPCOT Center is certainly popular these days! Even the park itself is still selling 35th anniversary merchandise and they keep pumping out anything that seems its original or retro as long as the cash rolls in.

Here's one of the few attraction posters for EPCOT Center. A rough draft for one when the pavilion was planned to be named "Century 3". Certainly is eye catching!


(Art copyright The Walt Disney Company.)

August 13, 2018

Australia was Coming to World Showcase

Australia for EPCOT Center's World Showcase was on the map and in the model! Long ago, unfortunately. As you can tell, the Sydney Opera House would have made a great waterside landmark. But it never came to be, nor did that contemporary looking building that was a version of the American Adventure. If you notice, there's a few other pavilions that are there, including one that eventually showed up in an entirely different location. 

Nice Opera House!

Brazil is coming- and you can see the original model here. But honestly, since EPCOT Center was my favorite Disney Florida park, I continue to love looking at would could have been! I have tons of concept art and more on the blog. Renderings for unbuilt attractions and more. Concepts for Spain, Venezuela, Philippines, Israel, Equatorial Africa and more. (Did you know there were once plans for a Netherlands showcase? Or was that for a different project altogether? That piece is coming later this month or so.)

I just love World Showcase- always have! From the opening of the park, it was just the perfect addition, perfect counterpoint, to the glitzy technological charms of Future World. More to come!

(Art copyright The Walt Disney Company.)

August 12, 2018

Retro Magic Kingdom- 20, 000 Leagues Under The Sea

A charming photograph for a lazy Sunday afternoon! On occasion we post photographs that show a retro or vintage Disneyland. These help preserve the past and remind us of all the changes the park has endured as well as its rich history. 

But as you can tell by looking at the photo above, Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom offers retro photographs all its own. That park has changed as well! Here's a great skyway show showing Dumbo right next to 20000 Leagues Under the Sea Submarine Voyage. The bright red cabins contrast nicely to the blues of the sparkling lagoon where, just across the way, the two tracked Mr. Toad's Wild Ride made its home. 

(Photograph copyright FUNaticsTV!)

August 11, 2018

Imagineering Tribute to Robin Williams

The late great Robin Williams. What a talented individual! Here he is as Timekeeper, the title character for the Disney attraction. This really is a beautiful tribute, a lovely Imagineering piece of art by the wonderful Tim Delaney


Robin as Timekeeper in poster form.

All this in preparation for the charming Magic Kingdom attraction at Walt Disney World and another version in Disneyland Paris. It certainly took the 360 Circle-Vision film (and time travel) to a new height in presentation.

The Audio-Animatronics version.

There's a soulfulness, a kindness, and a sweet gentleness so perfectly captured in this portrait / concept art. Robin's been gone four years now. I just can't believe it. Thank you, Tim, for your work.


(Art copyright The Walt Disney Company.)