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Entries in Magic Kingdom (23)

Saturday
Apr032010

Atop Cinderella Castle

 
A few years back I would occasionally be asked to go to the top of Cinderella Castle to check on and/or photograph something.  As you can imagine, the views are amazing.  I felt like that guy in old videos on top of a tower during park construction taking time-lapse and still photography.  How cool of a job that would have been.

A vew to the north from just above Cinderella's Royal Table.

I had assumed in earlier years that there was a nice little elevator to the top of the tallest spire with a room for Tinkerbell to relax in until the fireworks.  Of course the spire is far too narrow for any such thing.  There is however an elevator that goes to what is now the Castle Suite, which was then a small office and small storage space.  From there a door leads to one level of rooftop on the east side of the castle facing Tomorrowland.   Metal ladders bolted to the ground and walls lead you from one level of rooftop to the next.   


A small wooden door at the base of the tallest spire opens to a tall narrow shaft with another metal ladder leading to the top of the spire.  Harnesses are required if you wish to ascend to the highest point of the castle.  At the top of the very tall ladder is a wooden door which opens to a small wooden platform hardly large enough for two people to sit on.


It's great to sit up there and take in the views.  You can see for miles.  It was a joy to see the Magic Kingdom and distant Epcot all at the same time. 

Saturday
Feb062010

ABANDONED DISNEY: MK Fantasyland Skyway Tower

Ahhh the Skyway.  There was something about seeing the Magic Kingdom (or Disneyland) from the air.  There is something magical about spitting on the heads of tourists below.  There was something about large industrial-looking metal poles in the middle of a charming European storybook village.  But like many things we grew up loving, Disney pulled the plug on this exciting attraction/mode of transportation.  You'll often hear, "It's because someone died.  That's why they closed it."  Sorry, but death is not enough for Disney to shut something down.  (Doesn't Mission:Space kill someone once a week?).  Attractions that "don't affect attendance" and ones that give guests a view of dirty rooftops that cost money to clean... that's a different story.

 

Hi there, Dopey.  Don't you just love when a cool ride gets turned into a character meet-and-greet?  (20.000 Leagues Under the Sea queue).  Or stroller parking? The Skyway to Tomorrowland ended up being both.  Only thing left, a gift shop.  There's got to be a way to take iconic, world-changing, multimillion dollar, works-of-art attractions and turn them each into an all-in-one  toddler playground/character meet/gift shop/stroller parking lot/boring touch screen exhibit/cement walkway.  Just a thought.

 






What's with all the cables?  The lower right photo has a power box with "SNOW" written on it.  Snow, as in Snow White?  Snow White's Scary Adventure is a hundred yards away.  I have no clue.

 

NOTE:  Do not attempt to enter the Skyway tower without permission.  These images and video were taken 2-3 years ago with permission.   I do not know the current state of the tower, nor have I been back since.

Saturday
Dec122009

How to Put Tomorrow Back into Tomorrowland  

Article submitted by -Joe Stitt 

UPDATE: Joe has started his own blog, My Park, My Rides.  Check it out.

“A vista into a world of wondrous ideas, signifying man’s achievements….a step into the future, with predictions of constructive things to come. Tomorrow offers new frontiers in science, adventure, and ideals: The Atomic Age, the challenge of outer space, and the hope for a peaceful and unified world.”

-Walt Disney
July 17, 1955 


      That was the dedication given by Walt himself to Disneyland’s Tomorrowland. When compared to what we have today in Disney World, it makes me wonder how things could go so terribly wrong. To me, Tomorrowland as we have it today is one of most inexcusable offenses committed by WDI in the Magic Kingdom; second only to the unholy mess in the Enchanted Tiki Room. But unlike their poor tropical friends, I believe the citizens of Tomorrowland can rebuild their city of tomorrow to regain its former glory.

      Step one in the rebuilding phase is a complete overhaul of its crown jewel, Space Mountain. While this little refurbishment the Suits allowed is nice, in order for it to become great again a whole new Space Mountain is needed. The improvements should include new cars with the much longed-for onboard speaker system, a brand new track to reduce the roughness of the ride, and a new lift hill, pre-show, and post-show to totally bring the ride out of the 1980s and reflect a more advanced view of space and space travel. During this construction time, the Tomorrowland Transit Authority can also receive some TLC. The story on the ride can be greatly improved by updating the scenes you pass through on the ride. A more creative view of the other TTA lines can be presented based on upcoming transportation systems.  Some cars that are more pleasing to the eye wouldn’t hurt either since the current trains are pretty bland. These improvements would be a step in the right direction, but they aren’t the only rides pleading for help in Tomorrowland.

      One of Walt’s favorite attractions, the Carrousel of Progress, has been allowed to slowly fade into oblivion. To me, this is unacceptable.  Yes there is a bit of a nostalgic factor to this beloved attraction, but that does not mean that it doesn’t have a solid story. It is quite possibly one of the greatest audio-animatronics shows ever created. I believe this show can be brought back to life with more life-like audio-animatronics and an updated last scene. Somewhere around 2050 should be a good estimate. Even though it would a big jump story-wise, I believe people could let that slide since it would provide a glimpse into their own future. Next, we head from a small suburban home to the headquarters of Star Command.

      While I don’t believe any Pixar or other name-brand characters belong in Tomorrowland, I believe Buzz Lightyear can be an exception to that rule. Even though characters should be in Fantasyland, he gives the little kids a fun adventure in our world of tomorrow. But like every other attraction, a little touch of paint and some new effects couldn’t hurt it.  Now if only Buzz can stay, that means we say goodbye to Stitch and our Monsters Inc. friends.

      Let’s start with re-modeling the Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor. First of all, the Tomorrowland Interplanetary Convention Center needs to be brought back. I always liked the way it fit in the Tomorrowland storyline. As far as the new attraction to go in the convention center goes, you can’t fantasize about the future without time travel, can you? I picture a galaxy-wide convention on time travel, where we as Tomorrowland citizens are allowed to be the lucky test subjects for a new time travel vehicle. Instead of traveling one minute into the future as planned, a malfunction occurs, and we are taken on a journey through some of the greatest milestones in science. Our trip would end with a scenic view of Tomorrowland in the year 3000. And since this would be a simulator type ride, it would be possible to update the movie every few years to keep the experience fresh. This takes care of one problem, but we still have that fury little troublemaker across the street.

      As if Stitch wasn’t stuffed down our throats enough by Disney, he even got his own attraction in Tomorrowland. I don’t necessarily have a problem with Stitch being in Tomorrowland as much as I just feel like the ride was a poor effort by the Imagineers; they simply shoe-horned Stitch into a pre-existing attraction that was already successful. I believe that some more thrill needs to be put into Tomorrowland. Even better, what if we were able to put some education back into the parks? The attraction I picture for this area involves the most popular innovation of our time, the Internet. I know Tomorrowland is supposed to be based on future innovations, but not only is the Internet a new frontier, it is also growing and constantly changing. The ride would be a wild mouse style spinning rollercoaster that took guests on a high-speed adventure on the information superhighway. The pre-show could slowly take guests inside a computer, through the circuits and hard drives, and eventually to their destination of the Ethernet cable. The post show would provide the newest information on the Internet. It would showcase the newest innovations and have interactive games that taught lessons on how the internet works and how to properly use it. Done well, I believe it could be a new E-Ticket for Tomorrowland.

      All of these changes are just a start. There is so much that could be done with the extra space available, the vacant Tomorrowland stages, and even the scenery in the area. However, I believe that this would be a step in the right direction on the long road to rebuilding Tomorrowland. The important thing to remember is that there is always room for change in Tomorrowland. It should be a headquarters for innovative new rides and a breeding ground for new ideas.  A beloved extinct attraction said it best, “If we can dream it, then we can do it”.

-Joe Stitt