The Geektastics » Mickey Ears of Holding A safe space to geek out! Wed, 19 Mar 2014 03:33:31 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Mickey Ears of Holding: I Bet You Didn’t Know Disney… /2013/07/20/mickey-ears-of-holding-i-bet-you-didnt-know-disney/ /2013/07/20/mickey-ears-of-holding-i-bet-you-didnt-know-disney/#comments Sat, 20 Jul 2013 15:00:16 +0000 /?p=1826 Mickey Ears of Holding

Disney has  lot of stuff that is marketed to be right out in front. Sometimes, though, there are little-known hidden Disney gems.


(c) Disney

El Capitan Theater and Disney’s Soda Fountain and Studio Store – Disney owns the El Capitan Theater located in downtown Hollywood in California. This small-ish theater is always decorated to the nines, premieres and shows only Disney films, often has a secondary side event (kids play area, art gallery, movie props, etc.) that coordinate with what is showing, and special events.  Disney also owns the ice cream soda fountain next door. Not only is the food and ice cream great, but the small store there sells a few things I haven’t seen anywhere else.




(c) Disney

Character Calls – You can get a Disney character to call your child up on their birthday for free! How cool is that?!  You can set the phone number, select a character from the available list, and select the time.




(c) Rhianna Ulrich 2011

(c) Rhianna Ulrich 2011

Harmony Barber Shop – You can get a haircut right off of Mainstreet USA at DisneyWorld in Florida!  The barbers there pay special care and attention to children going in for their very first haircuts!



(c) Rhianna Ulrich 2008

(c) Rhianna Ulrich 2008

Baked Potato Stand – There is a baked potato and corn stand at Disney World in the Magic Kingdom. I am not sure why no one believes me, but it is one of the best places to stop for a hot and filling snack/meal.




(c) Disney

Disney Mickey Mouse Flip Book – This new tool lets you play with animation, learn how it works, and create your own animated clip! Check it out, I had fun playing with it for hours!




Do you have any hidden Mickey gems? Share them below!

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Mickey Ears of Holding: You Should Have Skipped That /2013/05/01/mickey-ears-of-holding-you-should-have-skipped-that/ /2013/05/01/mickey-ears-of-holding-you-should-have-skipped-that/#comments Wed, 01 May 2013 13:50:05 +0000 /?p=1785 Mickey Ears of Holding

Last month you caught my post on this you shouldn’t miss at Disney World or Disneyland. This post covers things that you SHOULD miss, at least in my opinion.  These are locations or events or attractions that either have a higher expectation than could ever possibly be met, are overpriced and not worth the cost, or are just plain boring and lackluster. Let’s take a look at my list…

(c) -Jamian-

Voyage of the Little Mermaid – This wonky show is featured at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Disney World.  I guess, if you were to just watch this show, and ONLY this show, offered at Disney World, it would be okay.  The problem is going from Festival of the Lion King, Finding Nemo the Musical, Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular, and the Lights Motor Action Extreme Stunt Show you KNOW they can put on a great show at Disney. These shows are amazing, exciting, and engaging to the audience – all things that Voyage of the Little Mermaid lacks. The audience watches parts of the actual Little Mermaid movie on the screen (instead of actors acting it out), wonky story cuts due to time, and about two seconds worth of lasers in the air…all are lackluster.  Your better bet is to do something else with your time.

(c) isayx3

Monsters, Inc. Mike & Sully to the Rescue! – Maybe this location is cursed because the old attraction at this location, Superstar Limo, seems to have a better story line but suffered from so many breakdowns and lack of attendance that it shut down.  Monsters, Inc. Mike & Sully to the Rescue! is a boring ride through of the Monsters, Inc. movie story.  You take your ride vehicle Taxi through a dark ride version of Monsters, Inc. at a less innovative and less exciting pace than if you had just stayed home and watched the movie.  The one piece of “awesome” technology is supposed to be the TV screen within the ride vehicle, which shows occasional news report clips as you “race” through Monstropolis to catch Boo, the runaway human toddler.  All these screens manage to do, though, is take away your attention from bleh audio animatronics that line the ride track. This attraction opened up in 2006 and, in my opinion, is a fail of a ride created by the Imagineers. It is such a disappointment, especially considering the lack of imagination involved. Who hasn’t seen Monsters, Inc. and thought “OMG that door scene would me the COOLEST ride!?” In contrast, two years later, Toy Story Midway Mania! opened and is AMAZING. Please route your ride schedule from Monsters, Inc. Mike & Sully to the Rescue! over to Toy Story Midway Mania! It is so good, you’ll want to go twice!


The Rainforest Cafe – Okay, technically the Rainforest Cafe isn’t Disney. BUT, in my defense, it is so close to Disneyland (located in their Downtown Disney Area), and to Disney World (located right outside the front gates at the Animal Kingdom) that many visitors assume it is a Disney restaurant even though it is not.  What it IS is a pile of expensive crap. You definitely are paying out the ear for their interesting surroundings, which can be fun for kids, but are definitely not up to the stuff you can see within Disney.  The price is shockingly high for lackluster food.  Save your money and try an actual Disney restaurant or save the money and do fast food. Its worth the skip!

(c) MKCP 1985

Cinderella’s Royal TableCinderella’s Royal Table is billed as an awesome restaurant at Disney World’s Magic Kingdom for both kids, and romantic adults – even offering an Engagement Package to help pop the question!  What it actually is is a two hour test of patience as you are forced to deal with other people’s kids, The Fairy Godmother and mice costumed characters walking around trying to be engaging, and an okay meal.  You also get a free photo with Cinderella. Meh.  As far as it’s billing for the budding princess 4 year old? Sure, I can see it. What I can’t see is spending so much on a meal that you wont, as a parent, be able to enjoy anyway as you try to wrangle an over excited daughter and stuff.  Better to save the money and hit up the princess photo options throughout the park and get a meal without the distractions.  If you are in a budding romance looking to Disney to help get engaged, a honeymooner (like we were), or just looking for a romantic atmosphere this won’t be it.  Try looking elsewhere in the park  or one of the nearby hotels (like Narcoosee’s at the Grand Floridian) for a less bothersome and insane meal.

(c) Lemonbalm Tea

Hot Tea – This sounds silly, I know…skipping hot tea? Weird.  The thing is, though, I got nailed for a $5+ charge when I ordered hot tea at the Tutto Italia restaurant in Italy at EPCOT. For $5, plus change, I got a single tea bag and some hot water, which, in my opinion was outrageous.  This can be easily remedied, though, because hot water is FREE; so you can either bring your own teabags or buy a box of Twinings over in one of the United Kingdom shops, which is what I did.  For $6, plus change, for the Twining box of tea bags I was able to enjoy tea the rest of my trip without being charged since hot water was free.

Although I stumbled upon this money saving tip on my own, you can check out for additional money saving park tips (for example: “In the resort food courts… you can buy two slices of bread (white or wheat) for .69 plus tax. Peanut butter is about .50, and in some food courts it’s free because there are packets of it with the condiments. Jelly can be obtained for free because it’s a condiment. So for around a dollar or less, you can make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.”)  You don’t have to be a miser to survive Disney, but if you can save money in one area it leaves it free to spend elsewhere…likes extra trips to the Ghirardelli Soda Fountain!

(c) Disney Food Blog

Dinner at the Plaza Inn – The Plaza Inn at Disneyland never ceases to underwhelm me.  I have never been impressed with it’s offerings, which is highly controversial among my own family of friends, some who swear by their fried chicken. Knowing it’s cost and taste, I would rather go around the corner at Disneyland and get an epic corn dog, and you should to!


The Word on the Street:

I put up an informal poll/request asking my Facebook universe friends what their ‘skip’ Disney items were. Here is the rundown of their personal suggestions on things not to miss:

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Mickey Ears of Holding: You Shouldn’t Have Skipped That /2013/04/10/mickey-ears-of-holding-you-probably-shouldnt-have-skipped-that/ /2013/04/10/mickey-ears-of-holding-you-probably-shouldnt-have-skipped-that/#comments Wed, 10 Apr 2013 12:00:46 +0000 /?p=1783 Mickey Ears of Holding

There are a lot of AWESOME things at both Disney World and Disneyland, and some of those things can be easily disregarded as skip-able, or things visitors never know about. Here is my list of the top things you should NOT skip during your visit!

(c) Walt Disney World Entertainment

(c) Walt Disney World Entertainment

(c) partyhare

Off Kilter and Billy Hill and the Hillbillies – One is at EPCOT at Disney World and the other performs at Disneyland but both are shows you shouldn’t miss! When visiting Canada at EPCOT plan out your day to hit one of the Off Kilter shows which feature rock music, bag pipes, and guys in kilts!  Billy Hill and the Hillbillies play in Frontierland at Disneyland and are a rootin’ tootin’ foot stompin’ hilarious good time.  The Billy Hillybilly show is very interactive and great for both adults and kids. Off Kilter isn’t very interactive, but has some great tunes – their music is great. So great, in fact, that I have bought their CDs (which are available in one of the EPCOT stores).

aoa037177SMALLCalifornia Adventure Animation BuildingThe Animation building at Disney’s California Adventure has got to be one of my top locations at the Disneyland Resorts to visit.  The courtyard inside is STUNNING and a great place to sit and rest while being surrounded by an amazing tribute to the animated Disney and Pixar films.  The visuals and music are really amazing; really really!  There is a small side room that showcases recent animated film releases, one specific movie (including concept drawings), and has a large Zoetrope. I included a video of the Zoetrope in action below (as well as a video of the courtyard). Also inside the Animation Building is Turtle Talk with Crush (check out a video here!), which is a great (and fairly new) attraction and not one to miss.  There is a “class” type offerings in the building under ‘Animation Academy’. I’ll be honest and let you know that I haven’t done it.  The Sorcerer’s Workshop features interactive exhibits that are alright, but not great. Again, the real stand out is the lobby and the Zoetrope and both make it well worth the visit.



(c) The Independent Mom

The Ghirardelli Soda Fountain and Chocolate Shop – First, let me say that I came upon this gem during my last trip to Disney World and visited three times in five days – THAT’S how yummy this place was! I would have gone daily if I could have! For a review, check out the Disney Food Blog.  I don’t know how better to sell this place other than: Ice Cream and Ghirardelli.  I may not be the hugest Ghirardelli chocolate fan, but they have an AWESOME butterscotch sundae and I really wish they would sell their butterscotch sauce somewhere (they had none in their store attached to the Fountain and none on their online store. Very sad.) Supposedly the Disneyland Resort has one now, yay!

Disney'd Out (c) Rhianna Ulrich 2011

Disney’d Out
(c) Rhianna Ulrich 2011

A Day of Rest – It happens to the best of us…we get Disney’d Out. It’s that wall: money flying out the door, kids crying, lines, lots of walking, stress, fastpass schedules, did we remember exactly when that lunch reservation was for, I forgot the camera at the hotel, waiting for the bus, where is my ticket, the baby needs a nap, hungry, overtired, over excited, etc. etc. etc. All park goers have been there. That’s why you should include in your plans (especially for a Disney World vacation) a ‘rest day’ in the middle of your vacation.  Having that down time is such a relief.  Attempt not to plan anything on your rest day, except maybe dinner reservations. Your day off is a perfect day to make a dinner reservation for at one of the Disney Hotels (I suggest Ohana’s!).  Sleep in, check out the pool and sunbathe, play a leisurely round of mini-golf, catch a movie, wander slowly through Downtown Disney/Disney Disney District, and just enjoy a moment to ‘breathe!’


Disney Hotels – Whether you decide to stay on property or not, the Disney Hotels are Imagineering masterpieces.  Many are worth a walk through of the lobby and other areas, some are worth also visiting the pools, and some also have stellar restaurants.  Here are some of my favorites: The Grand Californian Hotel and Spa, Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter, Animal Kingdom Lodge, Polynesian Resort, The Grand Floridian, and The Wilderness Lodge.  The Wilderness Lodge is easily my favorite because I adore the decor and the Whispering Canyon Cafe is one of my favorite restaurants.  I am looking forward to checking out the new Animation Resort at Disney World next time I visit.

(c) Down for Disney

Haunted Mansion Holiday – Disneyland is awesome. How awesome? So awesome it dedicates 3 months of the year to The Nightmare Before Christmas.  Very awesome!  Disneyland shuts down the regular Haunted Mansion for about two weeks and retrofits it with a Nightmare Before Christmas overlay/theme that runs from October until early January (to cover both Halloween and Christmas).  The decor in the stretch room changes, the line queue is updated with a new look, and even the soundtrack to the ride is different – all on top of the actual RIDE itself getting the temporary decor update. It is EXTREMELY awesome, especially if you are a fan of the movie.  I really wish Disney would expand this event into Disney World.

Test Track Line Queue (c) Epcot Center Media

Line Queues – I’ll be honest, I don’t like ride’s that have negative G’s on them – which pretty much knocks out every roller coaster. I won’t ride them. I don’t find them fun. I am that lady screaming as if she is dying of terror, not screaming out of exhilarating fun. That means I miss a chunk of what Disney has to offer, but it’s a price I am OK paying in return for missing out on a ride full of absolute panic and horror. But, I can say that Disney still lets me enjoy a small piece of their roller coasters through their line queues (and the People Mover, which I have discussed in a previous post). Especially for Disney World, where the Imagineers had Disneyland to use as a guinea pig as well as more development, time was spent designing engaging, beautiful, and sometimes interactive line queues. For example…. the Tower of Terror is never a ride I would even consider attempting, but their line queue is GREAT. Styled after the old Twilight Zone TV series, the ride and queue are done in a fun throwback horror design. Even if you don’t want to ride, you can always take the ‘wuss exit’ before EVERY ride’s actual vehicle loading. Here is what you would be missing if you didn’t go through the queue:


(c) Maybe Someday

(c) unknown :(

(c) Disney and More


(c) Disney Day by Day

(c) Disney Tourist Blog

(c) Mickey News

(c) disneyshawn

(c) Disney and more

The Word on the Street:

I put up an informal poll/request asking my Facebook universe friends what their ‘do not skip’ Disney items were. Here is the rundown of their personal suggestions on things not to miss:

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Mickey Ears of Holding: Disney World, Why Would You Close That?! /2013/04/05/mickey-ears-of-holding-disney-world-why-would-you-close-that/ /2013/04/05/mickey-ears-of-holding-disney-world-why-would-you-close-that/#comments Fri, 05 Apr 2013 15:00:00 +0000 /?p=1766 Mickey Ears of Holding

Part II: Walt Disney World, Florida

Although I live and breathe Disney Parks as much as possible, there the occasional disappointing moments when I hear of a certain ride, event, restaurant, location, etc. that has closed down. Change is inevitable, and I acknowledge that Disney has to change with the times, but there are certain closings that have just broken my heart that I will no longer get to experience them, and future generations will never get to experience them first hand. So, here are my top 4 closed attractions from Disney World.

      1. (c) Entertainment Designer

        The top attraction I was disappointed to see leave Disney World is the Enchanted Tiki Room.  Actually, disappointed is understating my feelings on this.  HORRIBLY DISGUSTED AND LET DOWN would be better.  Technically, one could argue that this attraction is still there. And, I guess, you may possibly have a point. The Enchanted Tiki Room: Under New Management is Disney’s crap attempt to turn a classic and beloved attraction into a flaming pile of poop.  They succeeded with flying colors! Oh, wait, you mean they actually were trying to improve it? So that more people would go see it?  Well, in that case, Disney – you failed. Epically failed. The new attraction is a loud mouth, wretched display of how NOT to re-vamp a ride (that didn’t need re-vamping in the first place). I have no idea how/why this project was approved.  Pairing the wisdom of Zazu (the bird from the Lion King) with the craptastic smart-mouthed un-family-friendly and annoying Iago (the bird from Aladdin), the new version starts off with the classic Enchanted Tiki Room, but then takes a sharp turn into a WTF attraction that left me wanting to never EVER return.  Don’t believe me – check it out for yourself: Enchanted Tiki Room Under New Management on YouTube.  This version ran from 1998 until 2011. It has since been replaced with it’s original version (with some sound and technological upgrades, and small edits). So, I guess Disney can get a few things right, it just might take awhile for them to get the message.

      2. (c) Horizons

        I have geeky kid memories of the Horizons attraction at EPCOT. Reminiscing about this ride gives me happy thoughts of being with my family and the excitement of being able to ‘choose my way home.’ That’s right – this super advanced attraction that ran from 1983 until 1999 featured an omnimover that took visitors through old fashioned visions of what the future might look like, then a look through “modern” late 80′s technology, and then through a “modern” vision of what the future may look like.  The end enticed riders to use the buttons on the omnimover to select one of three options to return home.

        The only Disney attraction at the time with multiple endings, Horizons then allowed riders to select which path they wanted to take back to the FuturePort: from the space station Brava Centauri (depicting space colonization), from the desert farm of Mesa Verde (depicting arid-zone agriculture), or from the Sea Castle research base (depicting ocean colonization). (Wikipedia: Horizons)

      3. (c)

        Superstar Television was a show featured at MGM Studios, now called Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and was audience-interactive. My dad, who is pretty darn tall, was chosen for this show, and I have epic memories of him participating in the moon landing vignette where his character provided the cue cards for Armstrong the [insinuated] sound-staged fake moon landing.

        Here, guests could re-enact famous scenes from television history. Using chroma-key technology, the on-stage guests would be shown on TV monitors in the theatre appearing opposite famous celebrities. For example, a female guest would play Ethel Mertz alongside Lucille Ball’s Lucy Ricardo in the famous candy factory scene from I Love Lucy. In another example, a guest would appear on the set of The Tonight Show being interviewed by Johnny Carson.  (Wikipedia: Former Attractions)

        It was a crazy amount of fun, especially for the selected audience members and their families. This is one audience participation show I wish they would bring back. I know, without a doubt, my mother-in-law would LOVE to participate in the Lucy segment!!

      4. (c) Big Florida Country

        Sometimes, Disneyland gets it right over Disney World (for example: keeping the original Enchanted Tiki Room). Sometimes, though, each park has to remove an attraction they deem dismissible in place of a new attraction. In Disneyland, they chose to get rid of the Country Bear Jamboree to make a home for The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. A very sad decision. In Walt Disney World, it was choosing to get rid of Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride to make a home from The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.  Despite a huge protest by fans, Disney World closed the ride in 1998.  For reference, Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride was one of the very few remaining attractions that existed since the park opened in 1955.  In my opinion, it’s not a great ride. As a matter of fact, it’s is a bit weird. Based upon a non-popular Disney film, it is the only ride in all of Disney history (and future, I would imagine) that features the rider going to hell at the very end. Very weird, and not the most kid-friendly of ideas. The reason this makes the list, though, is the fact that this was one of only a few original remaining attractions.  If we constantly decide to replace every old attraction with new ones, we will completely miss the part of the magic of Disney that lies in it’s roots, it’s history.  So, although you can visit Mr Toad at Disneyland, I still vote to remove Winnie the Pooh (which, again, is a completely disappointing ride) and bring back the Toad!

The ultimate top horrific honor of WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?! WHY DID YOU CLOSE THAT, for all Disney Parks, goes to Disney World for getting rid of Pleasure Island – more specifically

the Adventurers Club

(c) unknown :(

Pleasure Island opened in 1989 and was marketed to adults: a central location, with one entrance fee, where adults could go at night (without their kids) and have some fun at multiple dance clubs and comedy clubs. The clubs included:

  • 8TRAX – a 70′s/80′s disco club
  • The Adventurer’s Club – a 9030′s British explorer themed comedy club
  • BET Soundstage – a rap/hip-hop/R&B dance club
  • Comedy Warehouse – an improve comedy club
  • Mannequins Dance Palace – a techno dance club
  • Motion – a top hits dance club
  • Wildhorse Saloon – a country music club
  • Rock ‘n’ Roll Beach Club – a live rock themed dance club

It was a rollicking good time. It really was.  Sadly, I only made it there twice as an (over 21) adult. Once for my bachelorette party and once on my honeymoon. Pleasure Island closed in 2008, marking then end of a Disney themed area marketed to adults – who, let’s admit it, are bombarded with kid stuff throughout the day and (in my opinion) welcomed a chance to get out for the night alone.

My favorite of all the clubs was the Adventurer’s Club, a comedy club that featured live shows, performers, drinks, and laughs. I believe that it also has one of the largest fan followings, falling just below Haunted Mansion and Mr. Toad fans.

It was styled after a private club for world travelers and explorers and was set in 1937. The walls of the club were covered with artifacts and photographs from various explorations. The Adventurers Club featured animatronics, puppets, and a cast of adventurers who performed in shows and improvisational comedy while mingling with the club’s patrons. Shows and conversation were often laced with innuendo, and the patrons might have been welcomed as guests, given fictitious names and “recognized” as fellow adventurers, or simply referred to as “drunks”. (Wikiepdia: Adventurers Club)

(c) AT

(c) Geoff Carter

(c) trypnotic

(c) Themerica

Some days you eat the bear, some days the bear eats you, and some days Disney craps on your legacy and shuts you down. Kungaloosh, my fellow adventurer’s!  May our travels lead us to the same hoopla one day!


Interested in seeing what my top 5 attraction closures were for Disneyland? Check out this post!

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Mickey Ears of Holding: Disneyland, Why Would You Close That?! /2013/03/20/mickey-ears-of-holding-disneyland-why-would-you-close-that/ /2013/03/20/mickey-ears-of-holding-disneyland-why-would-you-close-that/#comments Wed, 20 Mar 2013 15:49:21 +0000 /?p=1737 Mickey Ears of Holding

Although I live and breathe Disney Parks as much as possible, there the occasional disappointing moments when I hear of a certain ride, event, restaurant, location, etc. that has closed down.  Change is inevitable, and I acknowledge that Disney has to change with the times, but there are certain closings that have just broken my heart that I will no longer get to experience them, and future generations will never get to experience them first hand. So, here are my top 6 closed attractions from the Disneyland Resort.

  1. (c) Inside the Magic

    The Saturday night Jump, Jive, Boogie Swing Parties at the Carnation Plaza Gardens were a small, but enjoyable, highlight of any Saturday Disneyland trip.  Every Saturday night for decades the Carnation Plaza off of Main Street was turned into a dance floor with live swing music. The unpublished, but popular, event drew many local Southern California swing dancers and they were a pure joy to watch dance!  They worked their butts off!! But it also draws those who are new to dancing, and (of course) kids.  This is where the real joy comes in – watching families dance with their kids, or watching the seasoned Swingers teach the random passer-by how to shake it.  I never once saw anyone without a smile on their face.  Hearing that the event was closing was sad; it was one of those small golden touches that help make every Disney Park magic.  Before I moved from Southern California out to Colorado my husband and I were lucky enough to enjoy annual passes to Disneyland, and whenever we were there on a Saturday we would join the crowd at the Jump, Jive, Boogie Swing Party.  One of our favorite sites was an old couple who, I swear, were ALWAYS there. In their 80′s, they could dance the pants off of the younger generation and it always made my heart smile to see such an obviously still-smitten couple out having a great time.  I will never know if they made it to the last night the event was open (I hope they did!), but I do know that I’ll never forget them and how much I hope my husband and I will still be rockin’ out together (and putting a younger generation to stamina shame) like they did. April 28th, 2012 was the last night Disney hosted the event. I will never get the chance to take my daughter swing dancing off of Main Street.

  2. (c) AllEars.Net

    I am a fan of the People Mover: a somewhat slow, leisurely ride that went through Tomorrowland at Disneyland.  I enjoy it a lot because the track runs through a few rides where you can get a different viewpoint of a few beloved attractions within Tomorrowland like Space Mountain.  For people like me, who cannot stand the feeling of negative g-forces, riding roller coasters isn’t an option. So, getting to see parts of Space Mountain is such a neat thing to experience via the People Mover. Now, you may notice that I’m not using past tense in my description. This is because that, although they removed this attraction at Disneyland, they still have it at Disney World. So, I still get my People Mover fix (actually, it’s called the Tomorrowland Transit Authority People Mover at the Magic Kingdom in Disney World).  The People Mover at Disneyland was replaced with a faster and more edgy ride. That attraction brings me to #3…

  3. (c) Jeffery’s

    In an attempt to re-vamp an old ride, the People Mover, in to an inciting ride for new generations, Disney utilized the support system of the old Disneyland People Mover and turned it into the Rocket Rods.  It was short lived. And that’s “short lived” as in 2 years (1998 to 2000) which is insanely short for an attraction.  The ride was actually pretty cool, in my opinion. I only had a chance to ride it a few times, but it was a ride I looked forward to going on. It was the same premise as the People Mover: a chance to travel through different parts of Tomorrowland and see different attractions from a unique point of view.  The Rocket Rods moved through Star Tours, Space Mountain, Innoventions, and a few other rides.  The biggest difference was that it went fast in a few parts, which I really enjoyed (I love fast, I just don’t love drops). It was definitely a “need for speed” fix for me and I was bummed to find out had closed, but I will admit that it seemed to be broken/down more often than it was ride-able.

    There are a number of reasons that led to the closure of the Rocket Rods (Wikipedia: Rocket Rods)

    • The Rocket Rods completed the course of the 16-minute PeopleMover in only about 3 minutes. Because the Rocket Rods project was not given a large enough budget to bank the track’s curves, the Rocket Rods had to slow down substantially to maneuver most of the turns.
    • The support structure and track originally built for the PeopleMover was not meant to be used for a high speed attraction and began to weaken.
    • The constant changes in speed caused the vehicles’ on-board computer systems to fail, shutting down the entire attraction. The attraction broke down at least once a day, causing queues of up to three hours. It was not uncommon for guests to receive rain check passes to ride on another day.
  4. (c) Mouse Planet

    I discovered the Disney Gallery late – as in I-had-already-graduated-college-late.  Which, for me, is pretty late to discover something new (and cool) at Disneyland.  The Disney Gallery was located right above Pirates of the Caribbean. You know that double rounded staircase that leads up to a door (one staircase on each side – it frames the entrance to the Pirates of the Caribbean line queue)? That door led to the Disney Gallery. I think a lot of people didn’t know about it because it really never looked like a door that was open/available to the public. Even I thought that until someone (who I can’t remember now, but whomever you are – thank you!) actually led me up there themselves.  Then, though, I was completely wowed!  I should note, I am an artist. I love art. I love Disney. So, it is not surprising that I fell head-over-heels in LOVE with the Disney Gallery.  The Disney Gallery showcased original artwork from different Disney attractions (rides, hotels, stores, etc. – anything that had to do with Imagineering) as well as other artists who’s work tied into Disney’s themes and characters.  The exhibits rotated often. There wasn’t one time I visited and saw the same exhibits twice.  It was an amazing space – an original location that Walt Disney had designed to entertain slightly larger intimate family events for himself and other distinguished guests. In 2007 Disney closed the gallery and turned the space into the Disneyland Dream Suite – a special two-bedroom suite where one-night stays were given away, at random, during Disney’s Year of a Million Dreams (which ended in 2008). As to how one stays there now? According to Everything Mouse:

    The only way that you can stay in the Disneyland Dream Suite is to win it as a prize. Disney does randomly give out nights at the suite (we always have our fingers crossed of course but not a lucky winner yet). But if you want to have a chance of winning a night in the Disneyland Dream Suite there are sometimes sweepstakes to enter.

    In other words, don’t hold your breath.  Although photos and reports of the suite look really cool, I’d rather have my gallery back where anyone could go an see amazing behind-the-scenes Imagineering artwork to discover how attractions were developed, conceptualized, storyboarded, and dreamed.

  5. (c) Christopher Lingren

    Going to Disneyland, or any Disney Park, during the holidays is a magical experience. The decor is amazing and it really seems like guests are filled with extra holiday cheer.  One of the great Disneyland holiday events was the altering of the Country Bear Jamboree into their holiday version. It was so much fun, and even as an adult I would seek it out if I was visiting Disneyland during the holiday season. That’s not to say their regular show wasn’t fun – it is. But, I really enjoy their holiday version. I am happy to report that the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World still has the Country Bear Jamboree. But, if you are hoping to take yourself and your kids for a rootin’ tootin’ good time in Disneyland, you’ll be out of luck – it was converted to the lack-luster Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh dark ride in 2003.

  6. (c) Mouse Planet

    Among the neat attractions within California Adventure is a theater that features a live stage show.  This theater featured a shorter version of the Broadway musical Blast! called The Power of Blast in 2002.  This was an amazingly fun, energetic, and engaging show. My husband and I were able to go see it three times before it closed down in 2003.  Sadly, it was another very short lived attraction. I have an inkling as to why they replaced it (it has hosted the Disney’s Aladdin: A Musical Spectacular since they ended The Power of Blast), and I understand why they would rather promote a Disney branded show, but the Blast show was just so amazing: a great mix of performance with band music.

    Blast!‘s instrumentation is exclusively brass and percussion, a nod to the show’s roots in the drum and bugle corps activity. Blast!‘s performers use trumpets, flugelhorns, mellophones, baritone horns, tubas, trombones…(Wikipedia: Blast!)

Keep an eye out for my top closure-disappointments in Walt Disney World post!  Until then, join me in reminiscing on the “good ol’ days.”

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