Dreaming of Disney

June 27th, 2008

Like many Australians of my generation, I grew up watching the Wonderful World of Disney on Sunday nights which introduced me to Disneyland. This was compulsory viewing – unless that pixie got it wrong! She would start hopping around the four lands: Fantasyland, Tomorrowland, Adventureland and Frontierland. I would sit with fingers crossed, willing her to land on Fantasyland or Tomorrowland but I swear that wench landed on Frontierland far more often then any others – grrrr – cowboys and men with dead things on their heads! Adventureland was tolerable – the problem with Disney, as most fans would know, they have no qualms in killing off favourite animals, live or characters!

I also grew up watching the Mickey Mouse Club, (the second lot not the first lot- I’m not that old!), Mouse Factory, Duck Tails, Tail Spin etc

I desparately wanted to be a Mouseketeer and would leap out from shopping aisles or telegraph poles and say “Beth” with a great cheesy grin followed by a time-step ! ( age has tempered my enthusiasm)

In 1976 my Dsis went to Disneyland and brought me back two porcelain figurines: Mickey and Minnie. They have a wind up on the bottom, turn around and play M-I-C-K-E-Y and A spoonful of sugar, respectively, and they have held pride of place in my life ever since. Wherever I moved they came too and were displayed prominently. I still remember her description of the Haunted Mansion – the lift, the doom buggies, how you look over the balcony at the dancers and the mystery behind how they make the ghost sit next to you!

So I dreamed of visiting DL myself and never considered it within my reach for many years until “Make-a-wish” granted my then 12 year old DS his wish and sent us to DL in 2005. I cried walking in the gates, I cried on every ride and we all howled as we walked out of the gates on the last night. But as we walked through the tunnel and under the railway for the last time I promised them we would come back and in October I am fulfilling my promise!

Listen to Walt Disney’s dedication of Disneyland 1955:



Best Ride

June 26th, 2008

I read a lot of Disney websites – and I mean A LOT.  And I always see forum threads that ask questions like “What is the best park to visit?” or “Which is the best ride in Disneyland?” stuff like that.  I bet you could go right now to your top five Disney website forums and find a similar question on at least two of them in a very short amount of time.  It is a recurring theme.

So what is the best ride when you go to Disneyland?” – I know the answer.

But let’s have a look at some of the ones that aren’t quite number 1.

Indiana Jones – one of the greatest theme park rides around.  It is modern storytelling with special effects and no expense spared.

Space Mountain – innovative indoor roller coaster with a wonderful soundtrack and space visuals – IMHO better than WDW’s original.

Tea Cups – a Wonderful World of Disney TV show classic – who doesn’t get nostalgic for those evenings in the 1970’s watching the opening of that show when you are in the parks spinning in those cups?

Monorail – as above! An iconic ride made even more famous by TV.

It’s a Small World – so many of us lampoon it, but every time we visit, we ride it!

Pirates – Brilliant, storytelling genius.

Haunted Mansion – another classic attraction with special effects that look as good today as they did when most of them debuted in the late 1960’s.

So, these are some of the losers, and there are many more I didn’t list.  But the best ride when going to Disneyland is…

…the bus trip from LAX down Interstate 5 to Harbor Blvd.  Seeing those Disney signs as you get closer to the resort and the anticipation of the next few days/weeks ahead.  The knowledge that you are about to step out of reality, leaving your normal life of paying bills, cooking dinner, driving to work, picking up the dry cleaning, and all those day to day tasks behind.  It is the promise of fantasy, adventure, excitement, thrills and happiness – that is the best ride.

Trip Countdown

June 25th, 2008

Well as all the regular forum members know my sister (Dsis), my 2 sons (DS15 and DS12) and myself are heading “home” in 12 weeks and 3 days. (My husband DH is staying home to feed the cat but I’m sure he is thinking he made a big mistake in deciding not to go)

First stop LAX Holiday Inn to catch our breath for 1 night (Dsis thinks she might squeeze an LA tour in, sans homes of the stars, as it’s been 30 years since she stepped foot in the US, whereas we saw enough to last us 30 years in 2005) then off to Orlando.

Then we have 7 nights in Disney All Star Music, 4 nights Disney Wonder cruise to the Bahamas, 3 nights in Cocoa Beach, back to WDW for 7 nights at the Polynesian (2nd mortgage required) over to LAX (via Chicago – like flying from Sydney to Perth via Darwin!) with 3 nights in Anaheim.

Will I be Disneyed-out? I don’t think so!

Upcoming posts:

* ADRs

* American airlines

* Space Shuttle launch

The obsessions

June 23rd, 2008

Whenever Della and I travel to a Disney park, Della always tends to return with some obsession.

In May 2005, after returning from the 50th Anniversary kick off in Anaheim, it was pins.  She picked up the pin obsession while over there and after our return, she discovered the wonder of buying pins from Ebay.  She would scour the Internet, determine the auction cut off times, log on at the last minute and continue bouts of bidding, followed by frantic presses of the refresh icon on her web browser, waiting to win, or God-forbid, waiting to be out-bid.

In March 2006 after we returned from Hong Kong, she was still interested in pins, but we were instantly distracted by news of the Down Under Disneyana Club’s world Disney tour in September, so no general obsession set in – other than counting down six months to the holiday.

But our return from the Disney round the world tour bought an odd obsession – Pal Mickey.  We enjoyed PM while we were in Walt Disney World Florida, but I didn’t expect to be badgered on a daily basis about him when we returned…”can’t you get him to talk” , “I want to hear his trivia again” , “You’re good with computers, can’t you do something?” – No Della, sorry – that was one obsession I couldn’t help!  Mind you, when his batteries went flat and Mickey began shuddering and talking gibberish in front of Della causing her a minor panic attack – I did have to laugh!

So what about the return from Tokyo this year?  Well, the current obsession is all about Duffy.  “Who is Duffy?” you ask?  Duffy is a teddy bear character from Tokyo Disneysea.  He was originally sold in WDW as “The Disney Bear” and came in different colours.  He wasn’t that successful there, so he was handed over to Japan where he is available in a traditional teddy bear brown colour.  I have to admit, Duffy is a really nice bear and was supposedly a gift from Minnie to Mickey to accompany him on his journeys around the world.  In Japan, he has become a cultural phenomena. They release new clothes for him at Disneysea each month, and Duffy owners take him to the park on every visit.  When two Duffys meet in the park, the owners make sure they greet each other!  Now that we are back in Australia – Duffy is Della’s latest obsession.  I’m being dragged around Build-a-Bear Shops in search of new clothes, and sent on missions to obscure Japanese websites – using Google language tools to determine whether they ship items such as bear shoes to Australia.

As for me, I don’t get post-holiday Disney obsessions.  Sure, I spend hundreds of hours on the internet viewing You Tube videos and reading website forums about the parks I just returned from.  I painstakingly plot the route of my holiday on Google Earth.  I bought around 15 Disney books on Amazon when I returned from Anaheim.  And next week, I’m planning on purchasing eight Tokyo Disney Resort CDs from HMV Japan (which will go nicely with the 15 I purchased over there, plus a few more I borrowed since I returned) .

You see, I’m quite normal – I don’t have any post-holiday obsessions…do I?

Disney Life

June 22nd, 2008

About two minutes ago, I purchased tickets to High School Musical – Live on Stage, a production that will be held in Sydney this December and January.  In two weeks time, I’ll be off to Homebush Bay to see Disney on Ice, Mickey and Minnie’s Amazing Journey.  Last night I went and saw the latest Narnia movie – a Disney production.  A couple of weeks ago, I bought a new home theatre system – my first Bluray movie? Disney’s Enchanted.  Two months ago, I returned from an overseas holiday – to Tokyo Disney Resort.  Tomorrow, I’ll be back at work, wearing a Disney Mickey Mouse watch, a Disney branded business shirt, and a Disney tie.  I’ll also be listening to Disney songs on my mp3 player on the train.

So what does this all mean?  Am I a slave to corporate brain washing?  I like to think not.  I’m a fairly smart guy who is generally cynical about the modern world (especially advertising).  I’d like to think that I haven’t been suckered in.

On the other hand, in my work, I get to see a lot of the bad side of human nature.  So every now and then, it is comforting to glance at my watch and see Mickey’s face looking back, or watch a film that places an emphasis on human values, or visit a place on the other side of the planet where everyone is smiling, or see a show that makes you laugh or sing.  There’s nothing wrong in any of that is there?  Am I sucker?  I like to think not.

First post

June 22nd, 2008

My first step into Disney blogging!