Sayre Wiseman is the executive producer of all three new Disneyland shows; the Paint the Night Parade, Disneyland Forever Fireworks, and World of Color- Celebrate! Previously, she launched the Disneyland 50th Anniversary, Soundsational Parade, World of Color, Festival of Fantasy Parade in Walt Disney World, and Disney Dreams in Disneyland Paris. She also served as the Director of Ceremonies for the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics. It is estimated that the shows she produced are seen by 150,000-200,000 people around the world everyday.
This is an incredibly insightful interview into the role of a producer at Walt Disney Imagineering. Sayre Wiseman was a delight to talk to and provided incredible stories from her years of working for the Walt Disney Company.
Click The Play Button Below to Listen:
In this episode you will hear:
How Sayre Wiseman got started working for Disney
What is her favorite show that she has produced
How she was involved with the 50th Anniversary Celebration
What the process is for creating a new parade, fireworks show, or spectacular
Who is the group they call the Vampire Crew
Her favorite moment from her career working for Disney
How they choose which characters will appear in parades and shows
The best spots to watch the new night time shows at Disneyland
Who are the best type of creative people to work with
How shows come to life during the graveyard shift rehearsals and programming sessions
We are just getting ready to release our new book, Disneyland Secrets. This book will feature the stories behind the details throughout Disneyland park.
This week’s Disneyland Secret comes from Mickey’s Toontown. In Mickey Mouse’s house, inside of a glass case, you can find Mickey’s passport. This passport has the names of the five locations of Disney parks around the world. They are Anaheim, Orlando, Hong Kong, Paris, and Tokyo. Each is dated with their opening day. No stamp has yet been added for the opening of Shanghai Disneyland. I wonder if the Imagineers will remember to add a Shanghai stamp when the park opens next Spring?
Special Thanks to You:
Thank you for the support of the Disney Dose podcast and constant requests for new episodes. I really do produce the show just for you. As I get ready to roll out even more episodes, be sure you are subscribed to the podcast either on iTunes, Stitcher Radio, or through our newsletter.
This summer I will be releasing my new book Disneyland Secrets on July 1st. You may remember my old ebook that we sold on the site. This new book is 3x times the length with new secrets.
As we are getting ready for the launch, I am inviting 100 readers to join our new Disney Dose Founders Club. This club is a peer group of readers and Disneyland fans that are excited to get an advanced copy of the book, while helping us get ready for the launch. This group is the most exclusive of our community, filled with members who are highly engaged and dedicated readers.
Disney Dose Founder’s Club Member Benefits:
As a member of the Founder’s Club you will receive these exclusive benefits.
A complimentary, electronic copy of the new book in advance of our July 1st publication date. Including versions for the Nook, Kindle, PDF, or iPad.
Exclusive access to our private Disney Dose Founder’s Club Facebook group.
Exclusive gift for club members.
Discounts and other early offers for future Disney Dose products that are in the works.
Founder’s Club Member Requirements:
Write a brief review on Amazon or on another online retailer website
Help spread the word during our launch in any way that you can, online or through word of mouth
Most importantly, be a Disneyland enthusiast who is excited by the secrets of the Disneyland Resort.
Apply to Join the Disney Dose Founder’s Club
The application period has now ended. Those who were accepted will be notified shortly.
I really look forward to having all of you onboard and can’t wait to talk to you within our private Facebook group.
Now, here is a video of the second song titled the “Disneyland Anniversary Song.” The melody was lifted from a song that Richard and Robert Sherman wrote together fifty years ago for the Disneyland 10th Anniversary. You may remember it as the song with the dancing cake in front of the castle from the Disneyland television show.
The song will be performed by the Disneyland Dapper Dans daily. I am quite happy about the prominence of Richard Sherman’s music in the new offerings and the return to Disneyland’s roots. I am just as excited about the mixture of the classic Main Street Electrical Parade “Baroque Hoedown” theme music’s inclusion in the new Paint the Night parade.
Disney’s new movie Tomorrowland is released this weekend. The movie celebrates the optimistic spirit of Walt Disney embodying his quote,”many of the things that seems impossible now, will become realities tomorrow.”
In our world where we are constantly blasted with negative messages and the doomsday speech, Disney’s new movie Tomorrowland proves that we control our own destinies and that the future of our world is not set in stone, and depends on our choices. Through the power of optimism and faith in the possibility of a good future, nothing is inevitable. The movie paints a picture of hope for the future and does so in a fun, adventurous way.
Director Brad Bird crafts a clever story that could be fit into the categories of adventure, love, or history, but really turns out to be a combination of all three used beautifully to convey this message of optimism. This hodgepodge of archetypes comes together to tell the story of a young teenage girl who believes in the good of the world and in doing so, saves it.
The most incredible piece of the Tomorrowland film is the world that Brad Bird has dreamt up. This separate dimension is filled with dazzling advances in technology that seem to be inspired by Walt Disney’s vision of Epcot Center. Incredible towers soar into the sky, people fly by on jetpacks, and all transportation has been replaced with a type of hover monorail. This world was breathtaking on the Imax screen where we watched the film. During our press preview, there was an overall collective gasp through the crowd the first time that the beautiful city was revealed. These breathtaking visuals make this one of the few movies of recent memory that would be really enhanced with an Imax viewing of Tomorrowland.
Over the last few months I have been avoiding the previews of Tomorrowland like the plague as I attempted to keep the movie a secret. This was a fantastic choice, as the mystique of the story added to the entire experience. So, if you are sold on the movie: STOP watching previews so that the movie will surprise you as much as it surprised me.
Are you excited for the new movie? Do you intend on seeing Disney’s Tomorrowland?
Once you do see the movie, I would love to have you add your opinion in the comments below or in an email message. There are some amazing, Disney-related, plot points I would love to discuss, but that is for another article once everyone has seen the movie.
The Disneyland Hatbox ghost is back in the attraction and we have video of the new Audio-Animatronic. Rachel (@disneyland_secrets on Instagram) was in the parks for us and has captured the first video of the new ghost figure.
The Hatbox ghost is a long standing Disney parks tradition. During the first couple days of operation for the mansion the figure could be found in the attic scene. Then, he was removed due to broken effects. The legend of the hatbox ghost has grown and now Disneyland has returned the figure to the attraction for the 60th Anniversary. Click here for more on the Hatbox ghost.
Take a look at the video we captured below:
Share this video with someone who loves the Haunted Mansion.
The Disneyland 60th Anniversary kicks off this month on May 22nd. Leading up to that date we have the return of multiple classic attractions after refurbishments and the debut of three new night time shows.
On this episode of the Disney Dose podcast, we discuss the new offerings, new shows and the recently refreshed attractions. Most importantly, Casey and I dig into what is the best way to experience all of the new night time entertainment.
This is a jam-packed episode that you won’t want to miss if you plan on visiting Disneyland during the 60th Anniversary.
Click The Play Button Below to Listen:
In this episode you will hear:
What the refurbishments in the Matterhorn, Haunted Mansion, and Peter Pan entail
Casey Starnes, this week’s wonderful guest, has a great website called DLRPrepSchool which promises to help plan your Disneyland vacation. Be sure to take a look at her site and send her an email if you have difficulty planning your trip. In the episode we also mention her article describing the most Unique Aspects and Details of Disneyland. Be sure to give it a read.
Special Thanks to You:
Thank you for all of the support for the Disney Dose podcast and the requests for shows during our long hiatus. I have had a lot on my plate as I prepare tons of incredible surprises for this summer on Disney Dose. Let me know what you like or don’t like about the show by leaving a review on iTunes. Have a show suggestion or Disneyland secret to share? [email protected] Dose.com
Disneyland Forever Kiss Goodnight Song By Richard Sherman
The video below was captured during testing. The audio for the show was played throughout the park and could be heard from the Esplanade Area that was still open to guests. Watch the video below for footage of the fireworks and listen for the new song from Richard Sherman starting at the 7:55 mark.
You will also hear snippets of Soarin’ Over California and “Fantasmic!,” which are both played in the Esplanade area throughout the day and are NOT part of the fireworks show.
Today we will go behind the scenes on Main Street USA in Disneyland. First things first, turn on the Main Street USA background music….did you turn it on? Then you are ready to go.
Every guest that enters Disneyland walks down this entrance street. But, it is so much more than just a walkway to the rides. Main Street USA is like the opening scene to your favorite movie. By the time you walk through the quaint middle America town, you are ready for all else Disneyland has in store for you.
[yellowbox]Special Bonus: Get a list of our top secret places in Disneyland. Get the list here. [/yellowbox]
I love Main Street USA. When I think of this magical small town, I can smell buttery popcorn and want to start humming “Sunday Clothes.” That’s why I decided to start my series of posts diving into the secrets of each land here on Main Street. So, what are we waiting for? Here are some of my favorite secrets of Disneyland Main Street USA.
#6. Not based on Marceline, Missouri
Walt Disney added Main Street USA to the plans of Disneyland because he wanted a land that would not only represent his hometown, but the hometown of every one of his guests.
Because Walt Disney was the dreamer behind the entire park, many credit his hometown of Marceline, Missouri as the inspiration for Main Street USA. While this small town where Walt Disney spent his boyhood years may have inspired him to add the area to his plans for the park, it was another small town that inspired the final iteration of Main Street.
Disneyland City Hall is modeled after the Fort Collins County Courthouse.
#5. Perfection of the Light Bulbs
One of the lightbulbs at the corner of the Coca Cola Refreshment Corner at the top of Main Street is painted half white, half red.
The story goes that Walt Disney was walking through the park one day and saw two white bulbs next to each other. Walt called a painter over and had him paint half of the white bulb red to correct the pattern.
Either the bulb has never burned out, or the bulb changer comes with a can of paint as the alternating scheme of red and white remains to this day.
#4. The gas lamps along Main Street are over 200 years old
These street lamps were purchased from cities all across the US including Baltimore, Saint Louis, and Philadelphia. The Disney company purchased a majority of these lamps as scrap metal at a price of $1 a pound.
#3. Real French Cannons
The cannons surrounding the Disneyland flag pole are authentic French cannons from the 1800s. These cannons were never fired, but their presence in Town Square adds a note of authenticity to the area. Many public parks across the country feature tributes to their fallen soldiers. These cannons act as a tribute to all service men.
#2. Flag Pole or Light Post?
The black base of the Disneyland flag pole is the broken piece of a light post from Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles.
This photo of the Disneyland flag retreat comes from the site My Crazy Loves.
Set Decorator Emile Kuri was driving home from Walt Disney Imagineering one day and saw that one of the light poles had had been knocked over in a car accident. He bought the base of the pole as scrap metal for $5 and it became the base of the Disneyland flag pole.
#1. Fire Wagon Used to Be an Attraction
The Disneyland fire wagon can still be seen today parked inside of the Disneyland firehouse. This beautiful shot is by Tours Departing Daily.
The fire wagon that sits inside of the Disneyland Firehouse was an opening day attraction. The wagon was pulled by two horses up and down Main Street until it was taken out of commission in 1960.
Well that’s all of the stories that we have time for today. This summer I am publishing my very first book featuring the stories and secrets of Disneyland. The book will highlight stories from each land of the park.
Jonathan Freeman, the original voice of Jafar in the Disney’s classic movie, Aladdin, joins us on the Disney Dose podcast this week. We discuss his breathtaking 25+ years voicing the character and his current role as Jafar in the theater production of Aladdin on Broadway.
This episode is filled with Disney Animation history and enlightening stories from Jonathan. He even reads lines from Frozen’s Olaf in Jafar’s voice!. You won’t want to miss this engaging and sometimes hilarious episode of this Disney Dose podcast.
Click The Play Button Below to Listen:
In this episode you will hear:
How Jonathan got the part of Jafar
What he did to develop the character
What it was like to record the scenes at Jafar
How the character and the character of Iago evolved over production
Which other texts and versions inspired the Disney version of Jafar
How Jonathan is able to continue voicing the character after so many years
What caused Aladdin to make it’s way from off-off-off Broadway to Broadway
How playing Jafar has changed Jonathan’s life
And so much more…
For more from Jonathan Freeman
Jonathan Freeman performs every night on stage in the incredible theatrical production of Aladdin on Broadway. Of course, you can also find his voice anywhere that you find Jafar. For some of his credits as the character, check out his IMDB page.
I produce and edit the Disney Dose podcast every week for you, the Disney fan. Thanks for all of your support that I receive each time a new show goes live. The incredible responses you send my way are so gratifying. If you enjoy the show, please leave a review on iTunes. To share your comments on the show, you can send me an email: GAVIN @ Disney Dose .com
Disneyland can be a very crowded place at certain peak times of year. During these Disneyland peak seasons, the afternoons are usually the most crowded. I put together this list of things to do in the busy Disneyland afternoons during these peak seasons.
During a recent trip during the Christmas holidays, the parks hit capacity on multiple days with the front gates to Disneyland park completely closed. Disney California Adventure never reaches capacity and always remains open as a place for guests to visit while Disneyland gates are closed.
Side Note: The Disneyland management team closes the front gates in order to maintain a better guest experience and still have some attractions with manageable waits. There is a myth that the fire department closes the gates because of fire hazard, and while this is taken into consideration, it is a special management team, not the fire department, that make the final decision.
When Disneyland is Crowded, Do These Things:
Below are our top ten things to do at Disneyland when the crowds have gotten too long.
1. Watch the Disneyland Parade
During most peak season days at Disneyland, the parade runs twice. I personally believe that the parades are an essential part of any day at Disneyland. You can listen to the full history of the Disneyland parades in our dedicated podcast episodes here: part 1, part 2, and part 3.
Read more about Drizella, Anastasia, and their Mother here.
My favorite spots to watch are either in front of the Alice in Wonderland restrooms or the Main Street firehouse. For the Alice in Wonderland spot, arriving early is required. This area of the parade route is roped off about 15 minutes before the parade begins.
For the firehouse spot, locate little brown plugs in the ground. These plugs are the base for the poles and rope that close off the sitting area. Sit anywhere in front of these brown plugs and you will be inside a fantastic viewing area that will eventually be roped off before the parade begins.
The Disneyland Fire House is my recommended place if you plan on exiting the park after viewing the parade. Where do you like to sit when watching?
2. Take Advantage of Single Rider Lines
Many of the larger attractions have Single Rider lines, that are usually much shorter than the regular standby line. The Single Rider line is used to fill in empty seats and splits up parties. The attractions in Disneyland that include Single Rider are the Matterhorn, Splash Mountain, and Indiana Jones. The single rider attractions in Disney California Adventure are Soarin’ Over California, California Screamin’, Radiator Springs Racers, Goofy’s Sky School, and Grizzly River Run.
I highly recommend Mickey and the Magical Map and Aladdin. During our recent trip, we saw both shows twice. Wow! I love to the jokes in Aladdin and the musical talent of the cast of Mickey and the Magical is incredible. This is the perfect way to spend a busy afternoon in Disneyland.
For Aladdin get seats in the Orchestra seating area on the left hand side when facing the stage in the second or third row. Being this close to the action makes the show even more special. For Mickey and the Magical Map, don’t worry about which row you are in, just sit in the middle section for the best view of the screen and stage.
4. Take a Cruise on a Boat on the Rivers of America
Both the Columbia Sailing ship and the Mark Twain Riverboat are great long attractions that have very short waits. For the Mark Twain, ask a Cast Member before you board if you can be the captain of the boat for that time around the river. The captain of each voyage receives a pilot’s certificate to commemorate their experience steering the Mark Twain.
Take a barge over to Tom Sawyer Island. This is a perfect place to let kids run around and let off some steam. During the busy hours of the park, this is a fantastic place to get some walking in without feeling like a fish in a sardine can in the walk ways.
The least known boat attraction on the river are the Davy Crockett Explorer Canoes. These canoes can be boarded from Critter Country in front of the Hungry Bear Restaurant. Recently I rode the canoes for the first time, completing my checklist of every Disneyland attraction.
5. Have a Disneyland Snack
Sometime after lunch I get very hungry for good snack. Are you the same way? Around this time I like to stop and eat one of my top three favorite Disneyland snacks. Another one of my favorites that isn’t included on the list linked are the Mickey Mouse Beignets that are sold at the Mint Julep bar.
During the holiday season they add unique flavors including gingerbread and pumpkin. I personally like the regular beignet more than the pumpkin. This is actually quite strange as pumpkin flavored foods are some of my favorites.
After getting your Mickey Mouse beignet, take a seat in this French Market courtyard and listen to a set of music from the Royal Street Bachelors. Their music is so relaxing and includes a range of songs.
6. Hop on the Disneyland Railroad
The Disneyland Railroad operates all four trains during the busy seasons and weekends, so the wait between trains is likely less than five minutes in the afternoons and early evenings.
There can be long lines to board the trains, especially in New Orleans Square. But, even with a line, you will usually only have to wait 10-15 minutes to board.
7. Shop Until You Drop in Downtown Disney
During this busy time of afternoon, this is a perfect time to head out of the parks to the Downtown Disney district where you will find all kinds of souvenirs as well as clothing. World of Disney is the perfect place to get some shopping in. This store is your hometown Disney Store on steroids times two.
Recently a huge new Starbucks was added to Downtown Disney that makes a great place to sit down if you don’t want to walk all the way back to your hotel.
This show was brought back to Disneyland after the New York World’s Fair and can now be found in the Disneyland Opera House. Disney Imagineering has created multiple iterations of the Abraham Lincoln Audio-Animatronic figure. The current figure is the most advanced human Audio-Animatronic figure in a Disney theme park.
9. Meet the People of Buena Vista Street
When the Walt Disney Imagineering created Buena Vista Street, the new entrance to Disney California Adventure, their goal was to create a beautifully themed environment to welcome guests into the park. Part of this immersive environment is the Red Car Trolley and Citizens of Buena Vista Street.
Next time you are walking into Disney California Adventure don’t rush through Buena Vista Street, take a moment and meet the different characters. These “citizens” of Buena Vista Street are very dedicated to their individual roles and quite pleasing to talk to.
10. Draw a Character in the Disney California Adventure Animation Building
The Animation Building in Disney California Adventure is a perfect place to spend a busy Disneyland afternoon. Inside the building you will find the Animation Academy where a Cast Member will teach you how to draw a classic Disney character or one from the latest hit films. For a great souvenir, ask the teacher at the end of the class for the drawing they drew in front of the class.
Finally you could just take a break from Disneyland in the afternoon.
During our recent four day trip to the parks we were evenly split. Two days we stayed out in the afternoons, enjoying the parades and experiencing some of the attractions. On the other two days we TOOK a break. My biggest suggestion when planning a Disneyland vacation is to give 3-5 days in the parks to give you more time and allow you time to rest. These late afternoons are crazy crowded in the parks, and sometimes the best thing to do is to leave for a while. Go back to your hotel and swim in the pool or take a nap.
Not only will you miss the big crowds, but you will also be much more prepared to stay later into the night.
These are my highly recommended activities for those busy afternoons at Disneyland. What do you like to do to avoid crowds?
From the opening of the park until 1982, Disneyland used tiered tickets or lettered “coupons” for admission into individual attractions. When the coupon system was replaced with Disneyland day passports, there were still thousands of unused lettered coupons in circulation.
Typically guests would exhaust all of their “E Tickets,” but often returned home with unused A and B Coupons they expected to use on their next trip to the park. These are the tickets that are most often found in the back of desk drawers or stuffed into old boxes.
Redeem Disneyland Ticket Books and Coupons For Face Value
Disneyland Public Relations has confirmed that coupons still in tact and unused can be redeemed at Disneyland ticket booths for their face value at the time of sale. Guests exchanging these tickets can put their value towards the purchase of a new ticket or a Disneyland annual pass. But, this won’t amount to very much, as the most expensive ticket ever sold was only 95 cents.
Coupons and Ticket Books are sold constantly on eBay. If you are looking to get the best value for your old tickets, sell them online. But, personally, I recommend saving them as a keepsake from the incredible times you had while visiting Disneyland in its early days.
For more information on purchasing Disneyland tickets today, I highly recommend checking out Park Savers, our recommended Disneyland ticket reseller. This agency is approved by the Disney company and works with Disney and Expedia to ensure the lowest prices. For more information on Disneyland ticket discounts and avoiding scams, check out our info page. (Park Savers is an affiliate of Disney Dose.)
The new Cinderella is a fantastic retelling of the classic fairytale that closely resembles the animated version, while still adding more depth and beauty to the story than ever before.
Here are the top nine reasons that you should go see the new version of Disney’s Cinderella.
9 Reasons to See Cinderella
Incredible World is Believable
The visual designers did a wonderful job creating a world of fantasy that doesn’t look too computerized. There is nothing worse than being immersed in a beautiful story and then being yanked out of it by poor computer graphics. This is not the case in Cinderella.
Sweeping long shots are combined with rich set design to create a fairytale world that looks so real we could almost step from the theater onto the dirt road.
Casting is Well Done
Each actor was perfectly cast to enhance the story. Lily James as Cinderella brings a sense of innocence and place to the character. Richard Madden helped to add character to the usually dull Prince Charming.
The real win was the acting by Cate Blanchett who played the Evil Step-Mother, Lady Tremaine, absolutely wonderfully.
Follows the Script With Some Differences
Fans of the original animated classic will really enjoy this new version. The script for the new movie is based on the 1634 story of Cendrillon by Charles Perrault.
As the animated movie and this new version share the same source material, a majority of scenes are very similar, but the new live action film is able to go more in depth on certain pieces from the original story.
Cinderella Back Story Revealed
One of the plot points that was expanded upon is how Ella became Cinderella and how she lost her mother, father, and servant friends. We finally have the entire picture painted for us that explains how the beautiful blonde girl ends up sleeping by the fire, talking to mice, while serving her step mother and step sisters.
With the added details about Cinderella’s backstory came new details of why the stepmother is just so evil. For the first time, we don’t just see the way things are, we see WHY things are the way they are.
“Have Courage and Be Kind”
Throughout the new film, Ella reminds herself of the words her mother taught her. This saying is “have courage, and be kind.” This is the driving slogan for Ella’s continued happiness throughout the film and provides a string that nicely connects the story.
When the prince first meets Ella, she isn’t in a beautiful ball gown. Ella is running away from her step family in her dirtiest work clothes and has ashes all over her face. I think it is safe to say that the prince doesn’t fall in love with her specifically for her beauty.
The director successfully used this interaction to add depth to the love that Prince Charming finds for Cinderella. He loves her for her sayings of “have courage and be kind” and for her attitude.
Good for the entire family
The entire family can see this film. This is a welcome break from all of the swear word filled bloody films that seem to constantly fill the theater. Here we have the perfect amount of magic mixed with the “happily ever after” feeling to create a movie everyone will enjoy. The only caution is the deathbed scene with Cinderella’s mother
Costumes Appreciated Even By the Fashionless
Being a young guy, I don’t consider myself to know fashion. But, even I can tell you that I was wowed by the incredible costumes used throughout film whether it was the dress of the evil stepmother or the live action version of the incredible blue ball gown worn by Cinderella. A recent article by Babes in Disneyland has me even more interested in the costumes.
I’m making today a perfect day for you! The new song from the Frozen Fever short that debuted before Cinderella is now stuck in my head. This short was a nice trip back into Arendelle that lasted just long enough to get everyone excited for Frozen 2, which was recently announced.
My one personal quip was the use of Helena Bonham Carter as the fairy godmother. I would have preferred someone who was more grandmotherly and resembled the character from the original film a little more. Aside from this small criticism (back seat directing, if you will) there is very little for me to complain about.
Final Thoughts: 4/5
In the next coming years we should expect to see even more of this type of retelling of classics from Disney and other studios. This version of Cinderella was a fantastic dusting off of the source material, and if that is the plan for all of the upcoming retellings of classics, I am quite excited indeed.
You should see this movie if you enjoy the classic Disney animated films, want a magical escape for a couple of hours, or would like a change of pace from the blood-filled flicks that seem to constantly fill the theaters.
I am very happy to have seen Cinderella and recommend the film.
In honor of the 20th anniversary of the Indiana Jones Adventure in Disneyland, I have a story from composer Richard Bellis. He arranged the music for many of the greatest attractions throughout Disneyland including Indiana Jones Adventure, Star Tours, and Tower of Terror.
This is the fascinating story of how the music of the Indiana Jones attraction came to be so perfectly synched with every movement of the ride vehicles and each moving piece of the attraction.
Arranging Music for Indiana Jones Adventure Disneyland
It’s 4:00 a.m., I just got off work and I’m driving home. I’m bruised, nauseous and generally beaten up. Have I taken a second job as a nightclub bouncer to supplement my earnings as a composer? No, I have just come from the most violent spotting session of my life.
It was midnight when we arrived at “The Happiest Place On Earth.” Ed Kalnins, Adam Fields and me – Team Bellis – The “A” Team (for “A”nal retentive). Here we were to attack the inevitable slew of problems that crop up in the course of embracing the bleeding edge of technology. We are honorary Imagineers, consultants to Walt Disney Imagineering, the organization that creates all the rides and attractions for Disneyland, Walt Disney World, Disneyland Resort Paris and Tokyo Disneyland.
The Indiana Jones ride was nearing completion. I was brought on board four months prior and since then had been involved in creative meetings, researching cues from John Williams’ original scores, producing demos, riding prototypes and visiting the actual site for walks-through. The ride was the newest venture into simulator technology. It is essentially a motion base (a la Star Tours) mounted on what can only be described as a slot car track. The motion base is disguised as a desert terrain vehicle with three rows of seats, each row holding four passengers (or victims). One of the exciting musical features of this ride is that each row is equipped with five speakers used solely for music playback. This means that each rider has his/her own stereo pair. Because of the layout of the five speakers is left channel, right channel, left, right, left, some people will have a reversed stereo image but hey, when you’re being tossed around who cares what side the violins are on? Another first for this kind of high-tech roller coaster ride is that the music is scored, like a film, to recognize every important bounce, bump, and bang. In order to facilitate this, we had to “spot” the ride.
The first attempt at spotting was to make a videotape using a camera lashed to the vehicle and SMPTE code burned in. While this was of some help in putting together rough timings, it lacked two important features. First, you could not really get a sense of the vehicle bucking and pitching around. You could see it but not feel it. Second, these rides continue to be tweaked up until, and beyond, the date they are opened to the public. The videotape, consequently, became outdated within days of its creation. So, we selected a spotting deadline, backed in from the recording session. We would actually go on the ride with stopwatches akimbo and time the individual cues that would make up the continuous score.
We had broken the ride into about 10 cues. All cues had long tails in order to accommodate changing the moment that the next incoming cue would start. This would allow us a minimum amount of slip and slide (a few frames at most) with which to accommodate future tweaking. There were to be two versions of the ride, which meant that about four cues had to be timed twice, once in the “A” scenario and once in the “B”. This then meant that we had 14 cues to time. Being the “anals” that we are, we knew we should time each one at least twice. Then came the proverbial fly in the ointment.
We were informed that the vehicles were incapable of reversing direction and that we would have to complete the full ride each time. Okay, so we had 28 timings (14 cues timed twice) and two stopwatches, two pencils and two legal pads. It stands to reason that if Ed and Adam time alternate cues while I sit between them and conduct starts and stops we should be done in four trips or so. Four rides at just over three minutes per ride, dare I utter the words that fill composers’ hearts with overwhelming fear? Sure. “How long could it take?”
“Go,” I confidently say as we start into the darkness. Darkness?! Okay, next time around we bring flashlights. We ascend the first ramp moving closer to Mara, the huge godhead with smoke emanating from her eyes. Adam is taking notes and squinting at his stopwatch.Ed is waiting for the turn to the left as we pass Mara. Here it comes…Lurch!! The legal pad jumps a foot off his lap but he manages to catch it. That’s the good news. The bad news is that he didn’t start his watch. All right, forget that one, we’ll get the skeletons in the catacombs next. “Get ready…go!” Adam, who manages to start his watch, is frantically holding on to the stopwatch with one hand and the legal pad with the other, unable to write as we blaze through the catacombs. “Remember these times!” he shouts, “18 seconds, 22 seconds, 25 and a half.” We jolt to a slowdown. Whew! Uncontrollable laughter, during which we miss the next timing. “All right, let’s get the next one, here it comes…” the vehicle suddenly stops dead. This is not supposed to happen. Oh well, we’ll chalk this first trip up to experience. Let’s just get back to the start and try again. Fifteen minutes later we’re still sitting in the middle of a suspension bridge while engineers are inspecting the track. They’d obviously done this before. They had flashlights.
By the 22nd time around, we were getting good. Good and bruised. The only thing that went wrong on our last trip was that my cell phone came loose from my belt and bounced several times on the floor, causing me to miss a downbeat. Had we known that night how much digital editing was in our future, we would have gone home after the eighth or ninth trip chanting: “We’ll fix it in the editing.”
What followed, of course, made the agony of the spotting session worth it. An 86-piece orchestra for an afternoon at Todd AO, playing what seemed like a medley of John Williams’ chase cues. I think that at the end of the four-hour session, the string players felt much like we did after the spotting session.
The final step after mixing was to sample the cues, lash a keyboard (from which to trigger the samples) onto the vehicle and attempt to play each sample (cue) at the appropriate start mark as again, we encouraged the onset of chronic whiplash.
While working for Walt Disney Imagineering is always mentally and technically challenging, it is the physical demands put on me as composer that make me a regular at the gym. The rigors of writing music for the Tower of Terror, Alien Encounter, Star Tours and Indiana Jones Adventure makes one remember with tranquil affection The Hall of Presidents.
The themed Sleeping Beauty Castle tarps were removed today, and now the castle is in full view. We have photos of the new color scheme for the castle. Danielle, the author of the fantastic Tales of a Disneyland Cast Member, has photos for us to share.
Here is the castle before the tarps went up:
Now, here are the photos of Sleeping Beauty Castle after the tarps came down today. The biggest difference can be seen in the paint that is a browner color compared to the more pinkish color seen above.
The castle will have many more decorations added for the 60th anniversary based on the concept artwork that was previously released. Think of this version of the castle as the base for all of the upcoming decorations.
Join me for an exploration of the history behind the partners statue that features Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse. While the public story is that the partners statue was simply added to honor Walt Disney, the Imagineers had an ulterior motive.
Disney Historian Jim Korkis and I trace the tale of this partners statue from the very beginning when Walt Disney declared that “statues are for dead people,” through the many iterations of the statue design, all the way up to the rededication ceremony that was blessed by a bird sent from Walt Disney in heaven.
So, sit back, relax, and enjoy this week’s episode of the Disney Dose podcast.
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More From Disney Historian Jim Korkis
Jim Korkis is the Disney Historian responsible for seven incredible books featuring many of the untold stories from the Walt Disney company. Jim first began his work as a historian at the age of 12 years old when he looked up the names of the animators from the credits of the Disney feature films in his hometown Burbank phone book. He had the chance to sit down with numerous Disney legends who were more than willing to share their stories. That was the beginning of Jim’s journey to share the stories behind the Disney magic that we all know and love.
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Both Disneyland and Walt Disney World prices went up on Sunday February 22, 2015. This price hike comes less than a year after the most recent jump(last was May 2014). But, you still have time to get your tickets through our recommended Disneyland-approved third party ticket reseller at the 2014 Disneyland prices. See full information below.
The Disneyland prices increases are as follows:
One-day, no park hopper ticket for adults increase from $96 to $99
One day, no park hopper ticket for kids increase from $90 to $93
Premium Annual Passports (pass with no block out dates) increase from $699 to $779
Deluxe Annual Passports (some blackout dates) increase from $519 to $549
So Cal Select Annual Passports (see black out calendar here) increase from $289 to $299
So Cal Annual Passport that was previously removed last May, is still available for renewal for those who have had the pass. The renewal price is $389
The parking add on is no longer available. Parking is still included for Premium Annual Passholders
How to Avoid the Disneyland Price Hike
Tickets can still be purchased at the old prices through many of the third parties that sell tickets. These include grocery stores and online discount ticket brokers.
My #1 recommended ticket reseller is Park Savers. This wonderful team offers a steep discount on park tickets on top of the savings you will have if you get your tickets NOW to lock in on the current price before the increase. Currently tickets can be purchased all the way up to November 2015 through their website here. Their prices will go up sometime in the next 3-7 days. So, get your discount Disneyland tickets now!
During my most recent trip to Disneyland we saved $80 in total by using this fantastic company. Check out their website, and if you have any questions, the great team at Park Savers will be able to help you out tremendously.
ParkSavers does sponsor Disney Dose, but we never welcome sponsors that we don’t test and fully recommend ourselves. ParkSavers provides fantastic service and the best prices that I know of for Disneyland tickets.
For annual passholders who would like to renew their pass that expires some time in 2015, you can purchase a voucher on the official Disney website. At this point I would reach out to AP services for full information on locking in this lower price.
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Why a Price Increase Now?
This price hike comes at a time when Disneyland has announced new fireworks, World of Color, Parade, and Castle Decorations for the 60th Anniversary of the park. The price increases over the last couple of years have not helped to deter visitors. In fact, Disneyland and Walt Disney World attendance is up 7 percent for the first quarter of the Disney financial year. This is record breaking.
Overall this price increase could be a good thing for the parks. I still don’t understand why they haven’t created fluctuating ticket prices that vary depending on the time of year and day of the week. These tickets would help to keep Disneyland less crowded on the busiest days and increase attendance on the slowest. That’s my solution for the Disneyland crowds? What’s yours?
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Disney officially announced earlier today that the Mad T Party would return to the backlot section of Disney California Adventure on May 22nd. The announcement comes after the dance party was transformed into the Frozen themed “Freeze the Night! Family Dance Party.”
The Frozen party has been popular with the family demographic, but has failed to draw the loyal crowds that flocked to Mad T Party nightly.
When the last set of the Mad T Party was played in November, the group announced that they would return in May. Disney will be delivering on this promise.
Both the Disneyland Castle and Carthay Circle Theater will be draped in diamonds in honor of the Disneyland 60th Anniversary starting May 22nd. Both will feature flourishing diamond touches and large medallion Ds gracing their fronts. The entire resort will feature Disneyland Diamond Celebration themed decor and banners in the Disneyland shades of blue.
The peaks of both structures will be adorned in large diamond fixtures.
Steve Davison, the head of spectaculars and entertainment for Walt Disney Imagineering described the overlays as, “dazzling.”
The castle was decorated in a similar way during the 50th anniversary when crowns and golden flourishes were added to celebrate.
The event has officially announced the long-rumored Paint the Night parade for Disneyland. Currently a version of the Disney Paint the Night parade is running in Hong Kong Disneyland.
The parade will be a variation of the Hong Kong version and will combine new LED technology with classic Disney music to create a new type of Main Street Electrical Parade. The parade will have 76 performers.
The new fireworks show, Disneyland Forever, will be an all new type of show that will feature, “sparkling pyrotechnics, immersive projections, and other effects that transform Disneyland park right before your eyes!” The new show will incorporate pyrotechnics and projection mapping on all of Main Street and other key areas in the park. Disney Legend Richard Sherman wrote a new song for the fireworks titled “Kiss Goodnight.” The new anthem for the show is “Live the Magic.”
At the end of the media event, the projection mapping for Main Street was presented. These projections will be used in the new fireworks show.
The video looks incredible. This new show will move the action off the castle and out across all parts of the park. Listen for the new song that will be featured in the fireworks.
Finally, a new version of the popular World of Color will debut in Disney California Adventure. The new show will be called “World of Color – Celebrate! The Wonderful World of Walt Disney” and will feature the history of Walt Disney and Disneyland. Mickey Mouse will be our host for our adventure through Walt Disney’s Imagination. The show will bring to life the history of the park with lasers, fountains, historic footage, and a stirring musical score.
Update May 21st: All three shows have debuted. Disney CEO Bob Iger spoke before the premiere of the three shows. Listen to his speech in the video below.
Take a look at the complete videos of the shows below: