Tuesday, May 31, 2011

April 1977, Pt. 3



If yesterday's menu from The Riverbelle Terrace didn't appeal to you and you thought you'd try The French Market...well, back in April 1977, you'd be S.O.L.

Having the message of closure come from Mickey Mouse should help keep the profanities to a minimum.



Here’s how the entrance looks today:



Heading back towards The Blue Bayou (hope you made a reservation!), we can get a good clear look at their menu.



Here’s a shot of the menu from August 1976; prices have gone up 25¢ on each entree, except for The Monte Cristo (15¢) and the two salads, which stayed the same (what a value—must have been a good year for farmers!).



Today’s lunch menu: one less item, and obviously higher prices. Say it isn't so, Mickey!



An exterior shot of the Bayou; high prices or not, it's still a Disneyland Dining fave for me!



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Monday, May 30, 2011

April 1977, Pt. 2



A little bit of then & now, with April 1977 as the baseline. Continuing with the series I introduced last week, we begin with a little area near the Coke Corner outdoor seating section. The rounded-top doors have been changed in the 30+ years between photos.



Over at the former Upjohn Pharmacy, the items in the window signify that it has been changed to the New Century Timepieces (back in 1972).



I just had to zoom in to check out the merchandise!





Today, this window is part of the Fortuosity Shop.



Over in Frontierland, you'll find it interesting to compare the menu items (and the prices!) between 1977 and 2011 for The Riverbelle Terrace.







And the current incarnation of this sign:



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Sunday, May 29, 2011

Snow White Evolution: Opening Day vs. Now



The July 17, 1955 Grand Opening Day of Disneyland was a huge event with live coast-to-coast coverage by ABC-TV. To make sure that all went smoothly, rehearsals were held for both the technical and performance personnel...even as the painters and construction workers were putting the finishing touches on the park itself.

This photo, as can be told by the sparse amount of people on the sidewalk (primarily family and friends of Disney staffers working on the opening event), is from the dress rehearsal of the big opening day parade, held several hours before the live telecast.

Pictured is a float from the Fantasyland section of the parade, featuring Snow White. The "Fairest One Of All" holds court atop a tiered float, and in attendance, naturally, are the Seven Dwarfs (though only Grumpy, Sneezy, Bashful, Dopey and Doc are visible from this angle). The slatted steps of the float allowed both ventilation and vision for the float's driver, and atop the floral canopy can be seen a miniature of Disneyland's signature structure, Sleeping Beauty Castle.

The costumes for Snow White and the dwarfs, like many of those seen throughout the opening day festivities, had been borrowed by Walt from the Ice Capades, a touring ice skating entertainment who had featured Disney themed production numbers in their shows (with Disney's participation). Here’s a previously published photos of the Disney Ice Capades stars in their semi-primitive looking costumes:



Following Snow White in the parade is a Conestoga wagon and riders representing Frontierland.

Eventually, Snow White evolved back into the form that we all know and love from the original 1937 animated feature. Here's an assorted collection of shots of her in the park.

From July 1968:



June 1970:



November 1970:



July 1972:



August 1972:



This June 1979 shot shows her wearing her wedding day finery:



1979:



A treasured photo from my 40th birthday:



Here’s what our beloved heroine looks like if you catch her in the park today:



And the real gal herself:



Which one do you prefer? Follow my Daveland updates on Twitter. See more vintage & current Disneyland photos at my regular website.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Screen Gem Saturdays: The Incredible Mae West



Mae West was a classic broke-the-mold kind of star during the 1930's and 40's. She pushed the boundaries of sexuality on both the stage and the silver screen. Without Mae, there would be no Madonna. One of her most famous roles was Miss Flower Belle Lee in the 1940 comedy, "My Little Chickadee," starring W.C. Fields. Some of her famous double entendres are featured in this movie:

Judge: Are you trying to show contempt for this court?
Flower Belle: No... I'm doin' my best to hide it!

***

Wayne Carter: Spring is the time for love.
Flower Belle Lee: What's the matter with the rest of the year?

In the 1950s, with her film career in the pits, Mae took her act to Vegas. Singing while surrounded by bodybuilders, Mae continued to become an even bigger caricature of her former self. Mae was not a small woman, but with the right costumes, stances, and vocal magic, Mae looked like a voluptuous Amazon. Blonde bombshell Jayne Mansfield met and later married one of West's muscle men, a former Mr. Universe, Mickey Hargitay.







Mae's final film, "Sextette" (1978), was her last movie and released two years before her passing (at age 87). It's a wacky star-filled swan song for West, who looks more like something out of Madame Tussaud's than anything that is living and breathing.



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Friday, May 27, 2011

DCA Trip Report & Little Mermaid Preview



I was VERY excited to be able to attend the Cast Member preview for the new Little Mermaid attraction at DCA. The marketing mavens have been churning the spin machine like the tilt-a-whirl at a carnival. It seems that almost daily fascinating little tidbits have been released about this new dark ride that would blow the imaginations of guests.

Can you imagine what a Debbie-Downer this sign was when I saw it? Besides having it suck that I couldn't take interior photos, it also made me wonder what they were hiding or afraid of, as interior videos and photos released directly from Disney seemed to exist in abundance; not like there were many surprises to be seen.



Catching my breath from the panic of actually riding an attraction without staring through the lens, I snapped a few exterior shots and one of the interior mural:







And the new attraction poster that has been created for it (big ol' thumbs up for this!):



As for the ride itself...I was less than blown away. To get your expectations on the proper level, think of these dark rides: Monsters, Inc., or Pinocchio's Daring Adventure. Visually, Ariel's Undersea Adventure is stunning. The audio experience is great, too (how could you go wrong with the music from "The Little Mermaid"?), and I even enjoyed riding in the clamshell (MUCH smoother than the clunky ones at WDW). So what's missing? The "wow" factor. After riding it, I turned to Stacy and said, "Do you feel like you missed anything or have a burning desire to ride it again?" Both of us sadly said "no." Younger kids will LOVE it; adults will enjoy it as well, but I just don't see a huge enticement to ride it repeatedly like the Haunted Mansion or POTC.

The attempt to make the rider feel immersed in the water fails; the lighting doesn't achieve the watery effect, and Ariel's hair floating "up" just looks silly, as the wiggle in the 3D material used for it isn't enough to look as if it is weightless. Overall technically, this new dark ride is truly impressive, but without exciting visual scenes, all the technical artifice in the world can't wow. The best scene is the one with Ursula, and the only one that comes closest to having the magical effect of a classic attraction like "Peter Pan" in Fantasyland.

The exterior looks magical at night; the exterior design and lighting definitely elevates the look of DCA's landscape .











Over at Cars Land, work continues to progress steadily:











This handy dandy diagram shows the layout of this exciting new land:



Tantalizing glimpses of the new entrance are barely visible behind the tarps:



That's it for today...hope you all can enjoy the 3-day weekend!

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