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Showing posts from 2015

Christmas in Town Square

My one and only visit to Disney World Florida was at Christmas time.  It was one of the best holidays of my life but one thing that surprised us was that Christmas Day is one of the Magic Kingdom's busiest times of year.  We had, naively, thought that most Americans would be at home celebrating Christmas with their families and that the park would really only have foreign tourists such as ourselves.  How wrong we were.

It's been a while since I've written for this blog and as Christmas approaches I've been enjoying listening to various Disney Christmas-related soundtracks including various parades and firework shows.  I thought, over the next couple of weeks I'd post some thoughts about these things.

First up is a look at the 2015 decorations for the Town Square at Disney World.  As you can see in the video above, it's all fairly traditional (just as it should be) with holly, ribbons, garlands, wreaths, baubles and tinsel.  In the centre of Town Square is an enor…

Main Street USA - Disneyland Paris: Liberty and Discovery Arcades

Interspersed between my film-focussed reviews I also plan to include attractions and other miscellaneous items from across the parks and the wider world of Disney which are not necessarily associated with Disney films.

For the first of these occasional items I have chosen to look at one of the first attractions visitors to Disneyland Park in Paris can experience: the Liberty and Discovery Arcades.

Both of these are found in the Main Street USA area of the park and run parallel to the left and right of the 'main street' itself.  They are a result of plans to make Main Street more suitable for the less clement climate of Paris compared to Florida and California.  Dispensing with an idea for a covered Main Street these two walkways were created which run behind the Main Street shops on both sides.  Liberty Arcarde also provides the start of a 'cut-through' to Frontierland which proves very useful for avoiding crowds.

Liberty Arcade is themed around the Statue of Liberty.  En…

Dumbo's Circus

I had intended to watch and review the TV spin off from Dumbo - Dumbo's Circus.  However, I managed to get through half an episode before the bizarre performances, terrible CSO, odd model sets and annoying characters forced me to give up.

This is not a series which ever made it to the UK and frankly, I can see why.  It is abysmal!

Dumbo Miscellaneous

For such an iconic character, the one thing missing from the world of Dumbo is a character meet and greet around the parks.  However, at a Disneyland fireworks display around 2009, Dumbo was seen to fly around the castle (as seen in the image above).  Videos of the show suggest this was quite an awesome sight.  He seems to be a moving puppet (I'm assuming there isn't anyone inside him).


Dumbo also features in a number of Disney computer games.  He is a 'summon' in the Kingdom Hearts series of role play games (a character who the player 'summons' to aid them in battle) and also features in a segment of Disney's Villain's Revenge game.  This is slightly odd because, as I pointed out in my review of the film, there is no real clear villain in Dumbo.   In the game, the Ringmaster - the closest the film gets to a traditional villain - is forcing Dumbo to perform in his circus in a much more sadistic way than is ever presented in the film.  The player has to r…

Lambert the Sheepish Lion

The fun thing about this marathon of Disney movies and attractions is that it has lead to me discovering all sorts of odd little pieces of ephemera I had no idea about - the Seven Wise Dwarves war cartoon; the Figaro spin-offs and now this, a 'spiritual sequel' to Dumbo featuring the character of Mr Stork.

Why 'spiritual sequel'?  Lambert, the Sheepish Lion is a Disney short about Mr Stork accidentally delivering a lion cub to a flock of sheep.  The cub grows up, mocked by the other lambs only to prove himself worthy of their respect when he grows up.

The parallels with Dumbo are plain.  First of all is the arrival of Mr Stork, voiced again by Sterling Holloway.  He arrives with a bag of lambs instructing them to each find a ewe to be their mother.  One ewe, though, is left without a lamb; just like Mrs Jumbo in Dumbo being without her baby when Mr Stork arrives later than the other storks at the beginning of the film.  Mr Stork then finds Lambert, the lion cub, at the b…

Casey Jnr - Le Petit Train du Cirque

Along with the Flying Elephant ride, Dumbo has also given rise to another attraction, the Casey Jnr Circus Train ride.  The Casey Jnr attraction, however, only features at two Disney parks: California and Paris.  

Both attractions feature a colourful recreation of Casey Jnr travelling around a track which weaves around another attraction: the Storybook Canal Boats (or Le Pays des Contes de Fées as it is called in Paris).  The Casey Jnr song and sound effects play as you travel around a gentle track, over bridges and through tunnels (in the California version).  It also affords guests a different perspective on the miniature scenes on the Canal Boats ride.  In California they include Agrabah, Pinocchio's village and Arendelle (I'll cover these locations in more detail when covering the Canal Boats ride).  In Paris, scenes include the Emerald City, Ancient Greece and the Sword in the Stone.

In Paris, the attraction is also closer to being a rollercoaster, albeit a very gentle chil…

Dumbo the Flying Elephant

Dumbo, the film, has given birth to possibly the most famous Disney theme park ride of them all - Dumbo, the Flying Elephant.  It is a ride which is seen at all the Disney parks (and in many other theme parks, just without the 'Dumbo' theming - but often still with flying elephants).

The iterations at Disneyland Paris and California are practically identical.  They have a beautiful clockwork theming with decorations which include images of Mr Stork.  Timothy Mouse sits atop the ride.  Water cascades below the ride and each Dumbo, with ears outstretched, has a different coloured seat.  These seats take 2 people although you could probably squeeze an adult and 2 small children in.  Most rides see one parent with one child in each Dumbo.  The theming around the rides are, unsurprisingly, circus-like with the queue lines under circus tent-style roofs.


The version of the Dumbo ride at Disneyland Tokyo is a far more simplistic take with none of the clockwork theming and Timothy Mouse …

Dumbo

A Disney Tale: A baby elephant is delivered to a circus elephant.  The baby, nicknamed Dumbo, has huge ears and is mocked by the other circus elephants and visitors to the circus.  When his mother tries to defendhim, she is separated from Dumbo and imprisoned.  Dumbo ends up working with the clowns but, after a drunken night with his new friend Timothy Mouse, Dumbo discovers he can fly with the aid of his massive ears.  At the circus, he becomes a sensation and is reunited with his mother.


Disney Heroine: Dumbo lacks significant human characters so the role of Disney Heroine for this film really falls to Dumbo's mother, Mrs Jumbo.  Her actions protecting Dumbo from the mean children at the circus are the catalyst for many of the film's later events.  The sorrow she feels when imprisoned in solitary confinement and separated from her only child is palpable as is her joy when reunited and travelling in the Jumbo family's private carriage at the back of Casey Jnr.  Interesting…

Kinect Fantasia: Music Evolved

Fantasia doesn't contribute any elements to the Disneyland Adventures game but has featured in its very own game: Fantasia - Music Evolved.

I downloaded the demo after getting a Kinect and to be honest, won't be buying the full game.  

The connection with Fantasia is fairly superficial.  The menu screen echoes the silhouette dark blue background seen between each animated sequence with the player taking the place of the conductor.  


Yensid, the sorcerer, also appears within the game.  However, the music the player 'conducts' in various levels covers a huge range from classical to modern pop and none of the sequences from the original film are reflected in any of the levels.

The interface itself wasn't very easy to use either.

Not one to buy.

Kinect Disneyland Adventures

We've recently got hold of a Kinect for our Xbox and along with it a copy of the Disneyland Adventures game.

The game allows players to explore a highly-detailed virtual version of Disneyland California.  You can meet a huge array of characters, who send you on a variety of quests to find objects around the park.  You get magic items which release coins and secrets around the park and on top of this there are loads of games based on various rides such as Space Mountain and Pirates of the Caribbean which involve swooping, throwing, dancing and hiding!

To begin with I'm going to look at the Snow White and Pinocchio elements.
Snow White stands by the Snow White Grotto and Wishing Well (so I've finally visited it, if only virtually).  I've yet to actually accept her quest so I don't know what she sends the player off to do.


 Pinocchio stands near the Flying Dumbo ride and sends the player on a quest for Toffee Apples.  When you have retrieved 5 apples from around Fantasyl…

Fantasia Gardens Miniature Golf

For such a significant entry into the Disney film canon, Fantasia hasn't a huge presence at any of the Disney theme parks.  One notable attraction though is the Fantasia Gardens Miniature Golf at the Garden Pavilions.  

It looks beautiful.  There are 18 holes themed around various segments from Fantasia, namely: Toccata and Fugue, The Nutcracker Suite, Pastoral Symphony, Dance of the Hours and, naturally, The Sorcerer's Apprentice.  There are statues, topiary and floorings reflecting each piece of animation.  There are various twists and turns to each of the holes and they involve music and water effects which are triggered by the golf balls.  It's apparently open all day and into the night but is very popular of an evening with waiting times of over an hour to play!  I can imagine it is a popular destination for people leaving the parks during the day for something different to do of an evening so can well believe the advice in one video I found suggesting you get there ea…

Fantasia: Deleted Scenes

As mentioned in my review of Fantasia, one of Walt Disney's original ideas was to re-release the film on a regular basis with various new sequences swopped in.  This never happened but I did find details about a bunch of sequences which had been planned.  Here's a link to Disney wiki (rather than just have me rewrite it all - the pictures included are very interesting).  I particular like the look of the Adventures in a Perambulator - the point of view of a baby in its pram.

There was also one sequence which was intended for inclusion in the original Fantasia, set to the piece of music Clair de Lune.


It is horrendously dull.  The music is unmemorable and the animation accompanying it equally so.  It involves two egrets flying around a dark, watery, bayou.  Hardly anything happens and visually it is very uninteresting.  The bayou is very dark and little detail is included.  There are repeated shots of the moon mirrored in the water and of the egrets swooping around.  It is easy t…

Fantasia

A Disney Tale: As you will probably know, Fantasia is not a film with a plot.  It was designed to be a concert feature: a series of music pieces with accompanying animation.  The segments include: an abstract piece to Toccata and Fugue; a Greek myth-inspired animation set to the Pastoral Symphony; fairies assisting nature to the soundtrack of the Nutcracker Suite; hippos, crocodiles, ostriches and elephants dancing to the Dance of the Hours; a terrifying visit to Bare Mountain; the evolution of dinosaurs set to the Rite of Spring and, of course, the classic Mickey Mouse animation - The Sorcerer's Apprentice.


Disney Heroines: Although there is no 'Disney Princess' as such, in this feature, there are numerous female characters, mostlyof a magical nature; fairies and centaurs for example.  It's interesting to note how the fairies in the Nutcracker Suite segment are using their magic to assist nature in a similar way to how the Tinker Bell films show fairies ha…

Figaro

When researching Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs various spin-offs, I found a bizarre short cartoon called Seven Wise Dwarfs which promoted an aspect of the Canadian war effort during the Second World War.

Looking into Pinocchio, I found another spin-off I had no knowledge of - a series of short cartoon's featuring Figaro the cat.  I find it odd that Disney decided to take the character of Figaro out of the film and place him in his own series of shorts; particularly as he is suddenly living in 'modern' times and is the pet of Minnie Mouse!  But apparently, Figaro was extremely popular with audiences and these cartoons were the result.

Figaro's first cartoon is called Figaro and Cleo and, as the title tells you, also features Cleo the goldfish from Pinocchio.  This film was released in 1943.  Further films followed with more or less one a year until 1949.

Figaro and Cleo is a very Tom and Jerry-esque affair.  It even has a character extremely similar to the controversial …

Pinocchio Miscellaneous

Pinocchio also appears in two other attractions at Disney parks.


Firstly the film has a large presence in Disneyland California's Storybook Land Canal Boats.  The beginning of the ride sees boats pass through the mouth of Monstro the Whale (possibly why this isn't a feature of the dark ride) and then on to see various miniature scenes of Disney films, one of which is Geppetto's village.


I will review Storybook Land Canal Boats - and its Disneyland Paris equivalent - in more detail in the future as it is a ride themed around a number of different films rather than being Pinocchio-centric.

I do like the idea of travelling through Monstro's mouth, though (in Paris it is the opening to the Cave of Wonders instead).

Pinocchio also has a presence in Fantasmic! with both Pinocchio and Monstro the Whale appearing at various points in all three versions of the show (at Walt Disney Hollywood Studios; Disneyland California and Tokyo DisneySea).


I have seen the Hollywood Studios versi…