Thursday, January 29, 2015

Yo Ho Yo Ho, Pt. 2

Welcome back to pt. 2 of my January 2015 trip through the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction at Disneyland. We begin at the battle involving the Wicked Wench!

I love the smokey smell in this seemingly HUUUUUGE area. You feel like you are drifting through the middle of the ocean, with canon fire volleying overhead.

Unlike other ride throughs, I pretty much stuck to the scenery on my side of the boat, rather than frantically attempting to shoot each side. That can really get exhausting. Typically, I sit on the left side of the boat because the Wench Auction is my very favorite scene. No, I am not into the selling of women, but I do think the Red-Headed gal is a hoot and a half. She stands out against the homely maidens lined up before her.

The Auctioneer is probably one of my very favorite animatronics; his movements are so fluid and his face is the epitome of Marc Davis' style.

No donkey was visible in this tableau of three minstrels and their howling dog. Hopefully the donkey was just getting cleaned up backstage.

The Hat Thief was doing his best to balance the stack on his head; always good to see him in this attraction. Of all the figures, he seems to be absent the most.

A semi-decent shot of the hairy-legged pirate. He always brings a smile to my face.

They may be boring compared to the other scenes, but nevertheless I decided to take some shots of the collapsing structures and burning embers that are between the jail and dueling pistol scenes.

Another character that bears the hallmarks of Marc Davis' style.

It's not easy catching this pirate's pistol when it fires!

Last and in my opinion the very least…

Sure, it looks like Johnny Depp, but this scene is still a snoozer.

A closeup of the crest hanging on the back wall:

My apologies to the scenery on the RIGHT side of the boat, since they pretty much got the shaft in this post.

See more Daveland vintage & current Disneyland Pirates of the Caribbean photos at my main website…ALL 4 PAGES!

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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Yo ho yo ho, Pt. 1

Come join me for my gajillionth ride upon the Pirates of the Caribbean at Disneyland! It was a beautiful sunny day, as can be seen from the crow's nest of Tarzan's Treehouse, facing the exterior of the attraction building.

Here's a completely different viewpoint of the façade, looking up from the depths of the line queue:

Commemorating the attraction's 30th anniversary back in 1997, this plaque/fountain has always been a favorite of mine:

Everyone now and then I attempt to update shots from my collection; it had been about 2 years since I'd taken any of the portraits in the line queue. Sir Francis Verney got his refresh on this particular visit.

A group shot before we boarded our boats:

Hard to believe I had never shot this orange curtained window in the queue before:

The blue lighting of the bayou gets me every time:

The Jolly Roger is the perfect warning before the boat dips down into the audio animatronic magic of the attraction:

More of my favorite blue lighting, this time illuminating the caverns and waterfalls of the grotto:

Turning the corner I did my best for a closeup of the Marc Davis painting:

I have always wanted to crawl out of the boat to get a look at what the Captain is reading through his magnifying glass. Fortunately, good sense (what little I have) has prevented me from doing so.

I love the way the cool lighting of the grotto frames the warm gold tones of the Captain's Treasure:

Anyone care to tally up the riches on view here?

See more Daveland vintage & current Disneyland Pirates of the Caribbean photos at my main website…ALL 4 PAGES!

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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Big Thunder Thrills

Discovering new details at Disneyland, no matter how insignificant, typically adds a jolt of excitement for me. I was surprised to notice the back of this sign, which shows four bullet holes and a yellowed playing card. Not sure where it fits into the scheme of things, but it gave me something to do with my camera as we entered the line queue for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. Wonder what's in the box shown below?

The Panhandle Hotel is one of the few buildings in Rainbow Ridge that I cannot find a counterpart for from the original Nature's Wonderland attraction that was located in this spot before BTMRR took over.

I've always admired this one's bone structure; I think a career in modeling could be in the cards.

A few shots of the Rainbow Caverns tribute area; still couldn't get a decent shot of the bats. Drat!

I was able to capture a few of the critters along the way, like these possums hanging from the trees:

and a howling coyote:

and two snakes:

even up close, they look impressive. You can almost hear that tail rattling!

A shot of the goat through the cab is cool…

but looks even better with the frame of a tighter crop:

The explosive moment of the grand finale:

A few final shots from our mine train's rapid descent:

I wonder which one does better on Yelp; the Panhandle or the El Dorado?

See more Daveland vintage & current Disneyland Big Thunder Mountain photos at my main website.

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Monday, January 26, 2015

Lunch at the Bayou

When my friend Stacy invited me to join her and the family at Disneyland to take photos of her dad's 65th birthday celebration, she sealed the deal with lunch invitations at the Blue Bayou. It was the equivalent of waving catnip in front of a feline; I was powerless to say "no."

There's something about this restaurant's nighttime-during-the-day atmosphere that weaves a magic spell over me. I lose track of time and find myself gawking over the plastic lanterns above. Wouldn't you love to sneak up these stairs and take photos from the balcony? These are the thoughts that go through my head.

If the lights were up, I am sure the faux plantation façade and phony wisteria would lose much of their luster to me.

Instead, I feel like I'm back in the south at an outdoor restaurant with the sounds of frogs and crickets fading into the background.

A set table awaiting the next group of guests.

My one gripe with the Blue Bayou is about what the food has become. The sourdough-style rolls that had a delicious crunchy crust have been replaced with a selection of breads that taste like they came from the grocery store…and not a good one. My favorite wedge salad with the yummy vinaigrette, blue cheese, and bits of andouille sausage has been replaced with a mess of shredded…who knows what. The once southern-style menu has been Andrew Sutton-fied.

The recipe for the Tesoro Island Chicken Breast seems to have also undergone a metamorphosis: "Pan-seared with Boursin Cheese Mashed Potatoes, Sautéed Spinach, and Fennel Confit with Roasted Shallot Reduction." Fancy-fancy sounding, but again, on the plate, it just looks a little bit like a mess. It tasted ok, but nothing that would make me rush back.

I reached over to take a shot of Stacy's Monte Cristo Sandwich. What was once my favorite item at the Bayou has been changed beyond recognition.

I get it; eating food that is deep fried is not good for you. However, I can eat healthy at home; no need to spend $27 for this somewhat bland version of what I used to love. Compare with what it used to look like in 2005; oh that golden deep-fried crust. My arteries are clogging just thinking about it. And for those who are crying tears for the health of children and adults everywhere, take care of it in your own kitchen. Nothing wrong with moderation and a little cheat every now and then. But then again, this is Disney. They have to be middle-of-the-road and not offend the moral minority.

After your meal, don't forget to use the restroom; it is probably the nicest one in the park!

See more Daveland vintage & current Disneyland Blue Bayou Restaurant photos at my main website.

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