As part of the The Congressional Privacy Caucus, Representative Markey (D- Mass.) has sent a letter to Bob Iger, CEO of the Disney corporation to ask several pointed questions about privacy concerns relating to the new MagicBand and MyMagic+ systems. Disney had intended to begin rolling out these systems in the coming months – rumors say as early as February for select resort locations – and was gaining publicity for the innovative data collection and park experience customization systems in the media, in particular the New York Times.
The New York Times articles is cited several times in the letter from Markey to Iger as a basis for the questions the caucus is asking. Technically the caucus is not a formal committee and has no subpoena power, but Disney is expected to respond with at least minimal answers to quell public worry over their systems.
The full letter, in PDF form, can be found here: http://markey.house.gov/sites/markey.house.gov/files/documents/Letter%20–%20Disney%20–%201-24-13.pdf
Snow Globes used to be one of the most popular vacation souvenirs at the Walt Disney World Resort. Then there was the TSA and the ban on liquids in carry-on luggage. This killed snow globe sales within Walt Disney World, though some guests do choose to either risk their snow globe being broken in checked luggage or have it shipped to their home at a somewhat costly markup.
Today, that changes!
TSA allows small snow globes in carry-on luggage when packed in a passenger’s plastic 3-1-1 bag: Snow globes that appear to contain less than 3.4 ounces (approximately tennis-ball size) will be permitted if the entire snow globe, including the base, is able to fit in the same one clear, plastic, quart-sized, re-sealable bag as a passenger’s other liquids.
Now it’s a matter or snow globe size. Those huge honking ones are not likely to be approved anytime soon, but this is a step in the right direction. No more snow globes in TSA trashcans at checkpoints and no more paying for shipping charges that often cost just as much as the snow globe itself.
We hear that Disney already clearing out shelf space on Main Street USA in preparation of the coming snow globe harvest over the holidays. And a side note – you can actually buy the snow globe of the castle pictured above from Amazon.
Have you heard? It’s only been a few months and the Disneyland Resort is already back to their old tricks when it comes to California Adventure. The elaborately decorated windows of the shops of Buena Vista Street have been stuffed to the gills with generic DisneyParks merchandise in an attempt to increase sales. MiceAge has all the gory details of the abandonment of the intricate design work being tossed aside. So much for the turn around in mindset with the relaunch of the park…
Remember the press release that said things like this:
At the newly expanded Disney California Adventure Park, it now begins on Buena Vista Street, a nostalgic look at Los Angeles as it may have appeared to Walt Disney in the 1920s and ’30s when he first arrived in California.
Buena Vista Street welcomes guests to a very specific “Disney California Adventure,” the adventure of a young Walt Disney stepping off the train from Kansas City and into 1920s Los Angeles, the beginning of a wonderful, inspirational period of his life. The dynamic themed environment transports guests to another era, along this boulevard of dreams.
“One of the main things we’re trying to do with Buena Vista Street is create an emotional connection for guests when they walk in,” explained Lisa Girolami, senior show producer and director, Walt Disney Imagineering. “We want people to take in the architecture and the color and the ornamentation, to know where they are and what time it is. The whole street comes alive to put you right there in the steps of Walt when he first stepped off the train in California, with all the optimism and opportunity he felt was there for him at the time.”
Now why did this resound so soundly in the first place with the Disney fan community when they said it? And why did it seem like a good idea anyways? The merchandise department doesn’t seem to think it’s a tried and true tested method to sell merchandise – that’s for sure. Perhaps because it’s a return to core values. I present Exhibit A – the Merchandise Cast Member Training Guide from EPCOT Center circa 1982.
It essentially highlights all of the same core values that Disney tried to bring back with Buena Vista Street. All those little details that makes the parks special, that have been discarded over the years in the unrelenting pursuit of the almighty dollar. No, it’s not enough to make some money, they want to make the most money in the shortest period of time and that means stuffing windows with obvious that same merchandise that can be found all over the park. It’s why shop names are no longer related to the merchandise they sell – they actually used to be related – and heaven forbid they change the name if they change what the store sells. That would require spending money on new signs and decor. Read the guide – you’ll see just how far from the ideals they have strayed. Remember, we don’t hold Disney to any lofty high standards but their own.
Each new Cars Land attraction offers a transfer option for guests in wheelchairs or electric convenience vehicles. Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree includes two, specially designed ride vehicles with side doors that open for transfers, and Luigi’s Flying Tires features an alternate loading area with an accessible ramp.
The flagship attraction in Cars Land, Radiator Springs Racers, has an alternate, accessible loading area separate from the main track, and a second, accessible location for viewing attraction photos. Guests with mobility disabilities now have access to more than 30 attractions in Disney California Adventure park. To view a complete listing of accessible attractions at the Disneyland Resort click here for a PDF listing.
So the Poster Art of the Disney Parks book is said to have rolled out in the stateside theme parks – Disneyland and Walt Disney World – at the end of May. We haven’t been able to find a copy and apparently getting your hands on it hasn’t been easy for most other park-goers either.
Good news though, the book will be released on Amazon on September 4th and is being offered on a pre-order sale. Typically the book is sold in the parks for $40, but you can pre-order it from Amazon for $25.08 right now. We recommend pre-ordering now to lock in the lower price – especially since it has been so hard to actually pick up in the parks.
Disney really went all out with the high quality photos for Radiator Springs Racers. Go make yourself a nice desktop background with one of these beauties – but first, some ride factoids:
Radiator Springs Racers: A leisurely, scenic tour of Ornament Valley turns into an all-out race for the Piston Cup as guests race side-by-side through the mountain range, around Willy’s Butte and past the plunging waterfall, Radiator Falls – all familiar sights to fans of the movie.
- The ride vehicles come in eight colors, each with its own personality.
- Each six-passenger convertible features a male or female face, with different details in the eyes and lips. The gender of a car is determined by color.
- Guests board cars for a scenic road trip, meandering through the countryside and the town of Radiator Springs. After a stop at Luigi’s Casa Della Tires or Ramone’s House of Body Art, guests and their cars get some final racing tips from Doc Hudson.
- When the race begins, racers split onto parallel tracks, zooming nose-to-nose through the desert landscape. Part of the thrills: Guests will never know who is going to win.
- New to Radiator Springs is Taillight Caverns, which Disney Imagineers conceived as a stunning finish to the dramatic race.
- The attraction covers nearly six acres – the largest attraction by acreage at the Disneyland Resort.
- The “Cars” movie composer, Jonathan Sacks, composed the attraction score.
- Each vehicle will travel approximately 36,000 miles per year.
- This is a Disney FASTPASS attraction.
- Minimum height requirement: 40 inches
Yeah, sex is determined by color. That’s umm.. special. On to the stunning photography! As always, click to make unreasonably large.
Ok, at this point we’re trying to consolidate news items together to save everyone on the mailing from feeling spammed when they wake up in the morning (you can sign up over to the right if you’re not already on it!)
Luigi’s Flying Tires: At Luigi’s Casa Della Tires, “Cars” characters Luigi and Guido play host to a “Festival of the Flying Tires.” When the music starts, tires float and dance in the grand tradition of a celebration that first started in Luigi’s hometown of Carsoli, Italy.
- Guests board vehicles that look like oversized Fettuccini-brand tires, accommodating up to two adults and one child, or one adult and two children.
- Luigi gives a countdown “Uno for the money, due for the show, tre to get ready and quattro to go!” and drops the flag for the “Festival of the Flying Tires.”
- Gliding along, guests shift their body weight to guide the direction of the vehicle, bumping into other tires as they float across Luigi’s 8,000-square-foot Italian garden and tire storage yard.
- Guests may work as a team to guide their tire and, for extra fun, try to catch one of the inflatable balls scattered throughout the attraction.
- It takes 6,714 air vents to keep the tires floating ever so slightly above the ground – approximately two inches.
- The voice of award-winning actor Tony Shalhoub, who voiced Luigi in the movie, is heard throughout the attraction.
- Nostalgic Disneyland fans will recognize the attraction as a descendant of the Flying Saucers attraction, which operated in Tomorrowland from 1961 to 1966.
- Minimum height requirement: 32 inches
Earlier when someone has said “Italian beach balls” we were like “What?” but now it makes sense. And do you see those topiary? Very awesome. And despite all the nay saying, we have to admit the folks do look like they’re having fun, though we have been in publicity photos for attractions ourselves and can attest to how carefully controlled and staged they are. Wonder how long they were holding that ball..?
The hub caps on a wall are a bit of a shame. Didn’t we just get rid of a giant hubcap with getting rid of the sun icon? Plus – “Cars Land.” This is akin to having femurs on your wall for decoration. Eww.
Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree: Everyone’s favorite tow truck, Mater, has corralled a herd of runaway baby tractors in his junkyard. Guests are invited to an old-fashioned “tow-si-do” in Mater’s salvage yard as they ride trailers hitched to the baby tractors.
- Larry the Cable Guy (the voice of Mater from “Cars”) recorded seven original songs for the attraction, backed by favorite Disneyland park performers Billy Hill & the Hillbillies.
- Mater’s songs are played on his own special jukebox, made of rusty oil drums, hubcaps, car hoods, horns, mufflers and other auto parts he has collected along the road.
- None of the 22 tractors in Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree are the same. Like the individual cows in a herd, the tractors all have different markings, mouths and eye colors. They have one thing in common: They all love to dance.
- The baby tractors are new characters inspired by the movie and created especially for Cars Land.
- License plates on the baby tractors have letters that represent initials and birthdays of key contributors to the Cars Land project from Walt Disney Imagineering and Pixar Animation Studios.
- Minimum height requirement: 32 inches
It does look like there’s a decent amount of thematic work going on at Mater’s little “tow-si-do” attraction. Certainly more than over at Luigi’s. At the same time, still not entirely sold on the concept overall – going to have to see it in person. Rust is often seen as an excuse to never repaint things in a theme park environment. We’ll see how well it holds up over time.
The information, they just keep throwing it at us! Be very thankful we’re sparing you the fluffy “it’s a boulevard of dreams” nonsense that Disney tried to include with this actual information. We obviously can’t hold it all back so we’ll clip the interesting bits and pass them on to you. The information, it flows like a flood of electronic babble.. Here’s the complete list of detailed descriptions of every single thing on Buena Vista Street:
Buena Vista Street Landmarks
- The new entry turnstiles of Disney California Adventure are inspired by the Pan-Pacific Auditorium. The Pan-Pacific was designed by architect Welton Becket. Disney is said to have consulted his friend Becket when he was planning Disneyland in the 1950s. Becket told Walt he already had all the talent he needed at the Disney Studios. That talent was the creative team that became Walt Disney Imagineering.
- Entering the turnstiles, guests find themselves in Buena Vista Plaza, a town square with a flag pole, a stop for the Red Car Trolley, and Oswald’s gas station. Passing through the town square, guests walk under Hyperion Bridge (the Disneyland Resort Monorail track), modeled on the concrete Glendale-Hyperion Avenue bridge near Walt Disney’s early Hyperion Animation Studios.
- Past Hyperion Bridge and into the central entry plaza, which leads into the eight themed lands of Disney California Adventure, guests will find Carthay Circle Theatre, inspired by the motion picture palace where “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” premiered in 1937. It’s the home of the Carthay Circle Restaurant and Lounge.
- The Carthay Circle Theatre stands 89 feet 6 inches to the top of the cupola spire. It is approximately a ¾ scale to the original Carthay Circle Theatre building. In comparison, Sleeping Beauty Castle stands 77-feet high, with a design that makes it appear taller through forced perspective.
- The central plaza is also home to “Storytellers,” a statue of Walt Disney with Mickey Mouse. Placed at street level and less monumental than the “Partners” statue in Disneyland, “Storytellers” depicts Walt Disney as a humble, optimistic young man, dreaming of achievements to come, standing alongside Mickey Mouse.
A New Attraction – Red Car Trolley
- Inspired by, and lovingly modeled on the historic Pacific Electric Railway system which operated in Southern California from 1901 through 1961, the Red Car Trolley runs through Buena Vista Street and into Hollywood Land, making multiple stops until it arrives at the Hollywood Tower Hotel, aka The Twilight Zone™ Tower of Terror.
- The red cars of the Red Car Trolley are modeled on two Pacific Electric Railway designs, representing different eras of the system’s history. The attraction evokes the original Red Car line with large windows all the way around the cars, a distinctive single headlight in the center of the front panel, and even overhead “catenary” electrical lines (all part of the show).
- The Red Car Trolley makes four stops. Trolley car conductors, in uniforms evoking the ’20s time period, call the stops, toot the trolley whistle and entertain guests with historical tales of Buena Vista Street.
Shopping On Buena Vista Street
- Oswald’s stands in Buena Vista Plaza, just inside the Disney California Adventure turnstiles. The name might have prompted a young Walt Disney to name his early cartoon success, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. Oswald’s is actually a shop selling sundry “road trip” vacation necessities: travel mugs, sunscreen, hats and more.
- On the east side of the central plaza is Los Feliz Five & Dime, themed to a vintage five-and-dime or variety store. The Los Feliz area of Los Angeles is near the site where Walt Disney’s Hyperion studios were built. Los Feliz Five & Dime offers t-shirts, fleece, hats, figurines, souvenirs and more.
- Big Top Toys features innovative and interactive toys, games and plush inspired by such Disney characters as Tinker Bell, Disney Princesses, Phineas & Ferb and Duffy the Bear. The shop is a nod to the Disney animated film “Dumbo,” which provides much of the inspiration and the background music.
- Elias & Co. is the largest shopping location on Buena Vista Street and pays tribute to the opulent art deco style department stores of yesteryear, selling apparel, watches, handbags, accessories and more. The Canadian-born Elias Disney was Walt Disney’s father, and Elias was Walt Disney’s middle name.
- Kingswell Camera Shop, on the west side of Buena Vista Plaza, is headquarters for Disney’s PhotoPass, where guests can pick up their photos taken by Disney’s roving photographers. The shop also sells memory cards, cameras, film, batteries, frames and photo albums. Kingswell Avenue was the site of an early Disney animation studio.
- Julius Katz & Sons carries a variety of home décor and seasonal merchandise including kitchen gadgets, dinnerware, hand towels and aprons. “Julius Katz” was inspired by Julius the Cat, an animated cat who joined the live-action Alice in Disney’s silent “Alice in Cartoonland” shorts of the 1920s.
- Atwater Ink & Paint is a Hollywood-style market house selling coffee, tea and other delectable treats to enjoy or take home. The name refers to the Atwater Village district of Los Angeles, a regular haunt of animators in the early days of the Disney Studio.
- Trolley Treats offers packaged candy as well as signature items from the Disney candy kitchen: hand-pulled taffy, gourmet marshmallows, caramel apples, toffee, dipped strawberries and more. Some are made on the spot by Disney candy makers. Another treat is in the window – a display of Rock Candy Mountain, an attraction designed for Disneyland park but never built.
Dining Along Buena Vista Street
Upstairs at Carthay Circle Theatre is the Carthay Circle Restaurant, one of the premiere dining locations at the Disneyland Resort, with a menu of hors d’oeuvres, salads, soups, California specialty entrees and desserts. Downstairs is the Carthay Circle Lounge, which serves appetizers, wine, craft beer and specialty drinks.
- Fiddler, Fifer & Practical Café is a diner-style, quick-service restaurant serving soups, salads, sandwiches and beverages, including Starbucks coffee. Guests enjoy a pleasant view of Carthay Circle from the picture window. The café name references the names of the Three Little Pigs in the award-winning Silly Symphonies cartoon.
- Clarabelle’s Hand-Scooped Ice Cream is a soda fountain and ice cream shop whose name might have inspired the name of one of Mickey Mouse’s friends, Clarabelle Cow.
- Mortimer’s Market offers whole and cut fruits, bottled water, juices and soft drinks. (Mortimer is the name Walt Disney originally gave his new creation in 1928; he later changed it to Mickey.)
Entertainment on Buena Vista Street
”The Red Car News Boys” roll into town on shiny Red Car Trolleys, singing “California, Here I Come!” and other fun tunes from the 1920s and ’30s. The News Boys also deliver the latest “headlines,” in the Buena Vista Daily Bugle.
- The citizens of Buena Vista Street – a cast of L.A./Hollywood “characters” out of the 1920s and ’30s – interact with guests, creating impromptu laughs, smiles and memories.
- The musical group Five & Dime adds all that jazz to Carthay Circle “On the Sunny Side of the Street.” This ensemble of friends and relations, led by a vivacious singer named Dime, has travelled Route 66 all the way from Chicago in hopes of making it big. Like everyone who comes to Buena Vista Street, great things await them just around the corner.
So.. this is a weird little thing they’re doing out at Disney California Adventure…
The idea of going with traffic cones was of course from the film so it wasn’t a huge stretch.. but oh yes.. they went all crazy with it. Disney’s release states:
The Cozy Cone Motel in Cars Land is inspired by the quirky “wigwam” motels along Route 66 with each of the five teepees offering tasty cone-themed treats including chili “cone” queso.
Oh, but that is not all. Take a look at the photos. They actually label the building things like “Popcone” and “Ice Cream Cone” and “Cone Queso.” Really, what would DCA be without awful puns?
It’s actually sort of quaint and it does have some greenery. We were worried the whole Cars Land was shaping up to be a bit too concrete looking at first. So that’s a nice touch. And after all – who doesn’t love food in a cone? Yes, you can click to giant size the photo of the chili cone carne too.
We don’t get to cover much of what goes on over at the Disneyland resort in California, but occasionally something comes along and we get a snippet of the excitement. In this case, it’s a fun montage of film segments produced to showcase what’s been going on behind the scenes to make the whole makeover of California Adventure come together. It gives a nice sense of perspective to the perspective to the projective, as well as some glances into the attractions we haven’t seen otherwise. Enjoy.