30 November 2009

A mystery to be honored

The lines for Kali River Rapids in Disney’s Animal Kingdom are not what they once were, and more often than not many of the queue rooms are bypassed. The beautiful visuals, culture, and history presented inside is also overlooked as a casualty. Included in these quickly passed through sections is a small temple showcasing some of the oldest and greatest morality tales on record.The Jataka Tales, dating back to 3000 B.C., were created to instill the reader with a sense of enjoyment found from reading but also to leave the reader with a bit of guidance as to how their lives should be lived. Both of these traits can be found in morality tales throughout the world. This set of stories, which number over five-hundred, form an important piece in the fabric of Buddhist literature. The tales present Buddha in various previous incarnations, both in animal or human forms.The small temple found along the road to Kali River Rapids obviously does not have the room include all five-hundred and forty-seven stories in the temple’s design. However, eight of the Jataka Tales are presented along the two tiered ceiling of the building. The eight morality tales presented each give a snapshot of their story, the name, and a synopsis of the parable.

Below are the Jataka Tales as they are presented in Kali River Rapids queue.

The Swan with the Golden FeatherA father returns as a swan whose gift is a golden feather each day.

The Banyan DeerOne deer is offered each day to stop the slaughter of the hunt. The King of the deer sacrifices himself, and his compassion teachers the human King to care for all living things.

The Monkey KingA ruler desires the fruit from the monkey’s tree.

The Fearless Lion and the Brave ElephantThe lion and the elephant hear the frightened cries of the merchants. Bravery kills the great beasts, their compassion a mystery to be honored forever.

The Tortoise and the GeeseThe tortoise must close his mouth for the geese to carry him.

The Jackal and the IguanaThe iguana teases the jackal, for only the foolish pretend to be kings.

The Hare’s SacrificeThe compassionate hare offers himself so a beggar can eat.

The Monkey and the CrocodileThe Hungry crocodile tries to catch the monkey by offering to take him across the river.

29 November 2009

Getting Ready for the Show

We often discuss how exciting the late 1970s and early 1980s were for Walt Disney World with the forthcoming EPCOT Center, but that time period was also just as exciting for the Disney Company for another reason. Aside from opening their first non-Disneyland type park in EPCOT Center, they were also opening their first park outside of the United States, Tokyo Disneyland. With preparations for two parks commencing simultaneously, it’s no wonder there was so much excitement around the word Disney at the time.

In the March 27, 1981 issue of Eyes and Ears, the publication showed just a glimpse into what it was like preparing the two massive projects in the article Getting Ready for the Show. Following the handiwork of WED Show Production, the piece is a fascinating look into the world of attraction creation. While the article, seen below, is short, the photographs of the diligent men and women of WED Show Production are worth more than a thousand words.
There’s not one, but two major projects in progress at WED Show Production in the North Service Area. This group of hard-working cast members, part of WED Enterprises in California, is busily putting together the many elements which make up our special type of show for both EPCOT Center and Tokyo Disneyland.

The four audio-animatronic shows for Tokyo Disneyland that WED Show Production is responsible for are The Country Bear Jamboree, It’s a Small World, The Jungle Cruise, and The Haunted Mansion. This group is putting the figurines together, outfitting them with costumes, and preparing many of the props for these attractions, with some of the articles already being crated up for the trip to Tokyo!

Although the major work for the pavilions at EPCOT Center probably begin a little later in the year, evidence of some of the project WED Show Production is responsible for can already be found. This group will produce everything for the Mexico Pavilion as well as the Energy Pavilion. The Tree Fabrication Department will be responsible for all the trees and foliage for the Transportation Pavilion, the Land Pavilion, and the African Pavilion.

So the ‘Count-Down’ has begun … only 18 months remain before the opening of EPCOT Center. But the folks at WED Show Production are keeping up with the pace!

28 November 2009

Got Photograph. Lost Phillips.

When scrutinizing how an attraction best relays its theme to guests, more often than not the conversation begins and ends with the level of detail provided in the queue. The now shuttered Adventurers Club never had an actual queue, but venturing room to room throughout the establishment finds layer upon layer of story that could make even the most thorough attraction queue green with envy.The tales of Merriweather Pleasure’s exploits and adventures have been told far and wide, but photographs of the expeditions and his cohorts excursions could only be found within the Adventurers Club. On one bulletin board featuring a map of Asia, a hotbed of adventuring in the early part of the 20th Century, several photographs can be seen from various journeys. While the inscription on each photograph does not present the entire account of their adventures, they do give us a glimpse into the world of adventuring and make guests wonder what happened next.

Quotes from these photographs include a truck stuck in deep sand stating, “ So Merriweather! As you can see the automobile will never replace the camel as a vehicle of expedition. I told you so. – P. Mercury,” as well as a vessel of the sea being toss and turned by turbulent waters with the note, “Got photograph. Lost Phillips. More Later, Louis.”

These types of photographs, found throughout the Adventurers Club are just one of the innumerable elements that made the club one of the most immersive experiences on Walt Disney World property. Personally, I just wonder what ever happened to poor Phillips?

27 November 2009

The food of generosity

Today is the beginning of the Holiday shopping season. And although a lot of money will be exchanged over the coming weeks, it is important to remember what the holidays are all about. I spoke yesterday about what I am thankful for, but today we’ll feature another character who is just as thankful as I am.

The first set of windows along the Town Square and Main Street sides of the Emporium have long been known for their moving pictures, or glimpses into the worlds of the most recent animated feature or iconic film scenes. This year as Main Street U.S.A. began to glow with the candle-lit wreaths and holly-jolly feelings were being felt all about, the windows were transformed to tell the tale of Mickey’s Christmas Carol, complete with a panel scripting each scene!

Just as Scrooge peered in upon that sliver of his life from long ago, let us pause to take a moment to reflect on this timeless telling of the classic carol.

26 November 2009

Never lose sight

I have a lot to be thankful for this year. In a year in which the world was reminded just how fragile our financial situations can be at times, I have been presented with more and more opportunities. From having my first articles published in an honest-to-goodness magazine, to the ability to share with podcast listeners, and even a lot of interesting work that has been going on behind the scenes of the Gazette. I have slowly, but meticulously been transforming my passion and happy place into a dream come true.

And yet, all the joy that I find in the day to day work isn’t what today is all about. It is about the people who choose to spend parts and pieces of their lives with us. It is about family, and friends, and friends who are as close to us as family. Each day I discover new friends the world over, people who share a common interest with me, but this common interest is only just the beginning. I have a father who made the magic of Walt Disney World real for me, a mother who showed me stories that still bring a tear to my eyes, cousins and aunts and uncles who continue to fan the flames of what I know and can do, and a cornucopia of dear friends to work and play with on many new adventures. My friends, specifically Greg and Glenn, could tell you how awful I am at keeping in contact with them. And while this is a massive flaw that I am working on, I hope they, and all of my friends know that they each have a special place in my heart.

Before we go any further, I should pause to speak to the one person that I am most thankful for, my wife. Aileen knew what she was in for when we first started dating and, while she could have never imagined the breadth to which this passion would unfold, she went ahead and married me regardless. She is my backbone that continual pushes me to make my ever-evolving dreams come true, she is the person I reach out to when I feel I have lost focus, she is the person who endures the late and lonely nights while I plug away at projects, she offers support and guidance and a swift kick when I need one. Without Aileen’s constant measured touch, none of this would be possible.

Then, of course, there is you the reader of this publication. Your kind words and comments have fueled what would otherwise be the simple ravings and an enthralled man. You are the ones who make the magic leap from the page, making it real for all the world to see. Thank you for your continued support and the time you take daily to check up on the happenings at this publication. As the editor of the Main Street Gazette, I am thankful for and humbled by your generosity.

I hope each and every one of you have a day filled with all the warmth your heart can carry. Happy Thanksgiving!

25 November 2009

Rolling Symphony

We talked earlier this week about words and their power and place within the parks of Walt Disney World, but words are just as powerful no matter where they are found. Say, for instance, on a miniature golf course. While Fantasia Gardens may putt around with the theme of music and animation, it is the words here that could make or break your game and spirit.

Comprised of two 18-hole miniature courses, Fantasia Gardens has offers a challenge to every level of golfer. While the Gardens Course may play to the whimsy inherent in the feature Fantasia, the Fairways Course is composed of holes that play with the science and art of the music included in the film. However, both courses use wordplay, an element rarely used throughout Fantasia, to give players a glimpse into the future of the holes and how they should be played.The Gardens Course use the motion of words in poetry to move the game along and pass along clever hints. Just as the course’s design is more serious in nature than the Gardens Course, so too are the clues that are presented along the Fairways Course. Not surprisingly, however, both courses contain a fair amount of wit and riddles to uncover while you plot your next putt. Let’s play through and see what each hole has to offer.
Gardens Course: Hole 1 – Tocatta and Fugue
Our musical game
has just begun
And here comes
treble for everyone
Up to the top
the ball must run
For any hope of
a hole-in one

Gardens Course: Hole 2 – Tocatta and Fugue
The notes upon the
staff you see
May seem quite
lovely musically
But now, as you
begin to play
You'll see they may
get in your way

Gardens Course: Hole 3 – Tocatta and Fugue
Before our little
fugue concludes
The music swells and
changes mood
Avoid the rests and
you will hear
Chimes a ringing
sweet and clear

Gardens Course: Hole 4 – The Nutcracker Suite
Spring is here
and just beyond
Blossoms float
upon the pond
The open bud should
be your goal
Its dainty petals
surround the hole

Gardens Course: Hole 5 – The Nutcracker Suite
These lively mushrooms
circle 'round
White one is hopping
up and down
At the feet of
little hop low
Is where you want
the ball to go

Gardens Course: Hole 6 – The Nutcracker Suite
As winter arrives,
the fairies create
A frost covered pond
where they can skate
Their path on the left is
where it should roll
Then watch as it waltzes
down to the hole

Gardens Course: Hole 7 – The Nutcracker Suite
And so this musical
suite we close
Amidst the flurry
of winter snows
Weather the storm
where snowflakes fall
Or easily putt
around them all

Gardens Course: Hole 8 – The Pastoral Symphony
Within mount olympus
the opus unfolds
And what mythological
creatures it holds!
When putting the ball
be careful to go
Straight through the pillars,
to the caverns below

Gardens Course: Hole 9 – The Pastoral Symphony
The impish faun
loves to tease
As he plays his
pipe with ease
So if you can putt
straight and true
Perhaps he'll play
a tune for you

Gardens Course: Hole 10 – The Pastoral Symphony
In all of the land there’s no
one more raucous
Than the fell here,
the infamous Bacchus
He’s poured you a path that
you simply putt up
Hit it just right and it
spills to the cup

Gardens Course: Hole 11 – Dance of the Hours
You will notice
in a glance
These graceful ladies
love to dance
This bird ballet
is lovely, but
They may distract you
as you putt

Gardens Course: Hole 12 – Dances of the Hours
And here, the dance
grows even greater
Enter now:
Ben Ali Gator
With hippo high,
he strains beneath
Now simply putt
between his teeth

Gardens Course: Hole 13 – Dance of the Hours
After they dance
their amusing duet
Hyacinth hippo will
now pirouette
Carefully watch as she
spins here for you
Time it just right and the
ball will go through

Gardens Course: Hole 14 – Dance of the Hours
Twilight brings a
mood of romance
The perfect time for
an elephant dance
So while she strikes
this beautiful pose
Aim for the path
beneath her toes

Gardens Course: Hole 15 – Dance of the Hours
Before we can finish
this silly ballet
This fanciful fountain
is ready to spray
So keep an eye out
for each little jet
They're hopping and hoping
to get the ball wet

Gardens Course: Hole 16 – The Sorcerer's Apprentice
Mickey's in trouble for
casting a spell
Meant to assist him
in filling the well
Now armies of brooms
with a water supply
Are ready to douse
anything that goes by

Gardens Course: Hole 17 – The Sorcerer's Apprentice
When Mickey is dreaming
he's brave and he's brash
Conducting the stars
and creating a splash
From high on a cliff,
he's on top of it all
He'll show you his stuff
when you're putting the ball

Gardens Course: Hole 18 – The Sorcerer's Apprentice
The wave has grown bigger
with magic it stirs
When up from the bottom,
a whirlpool occurs
A putt to the left will
spin it, and then
We hope you'll return here
again and again!

Fairways Course: Hole 1 – Rolling Symphony
Brave the ups and downs of this hold and your score will be off to a melodious start

Fairways Course: Hole 2 – Chernabog's Revenge
Carefully choose your line on this hole or you could end up with a night on one of these four Bald Mountains

Fairways Course: Hole 3 – Pastoral Simplicity
Like a Beethoven symphony, this hole looks easy but in fact is very difficult to play

Fairways Course: Hole 4 – The Nutcracker
A precise and well-aimed first shot will make this nutcracker sweet

Fairways Course: Hole 5 – Ave Maria
You'll be saying a few of these if you end up in the large sand trap to the right

Fairways Course: Hole 6 – The Legend of Yen Sid
You don't need to be a sorcerer's apprentice to ace this hole but it sure would help

Fairways Course: Hole 7 – Ballet of the Bunkers
Ben Ali Gator - You're ball will have to twist and turn like that dancing gator to avoid this trio of traps.

Fairways Course: Hole 8 – Zeus' Thunderbolt
Mere mortals will be at the mercy of this mythological predicament

Fairways Course: Hole 9 – Bacchus' Corner
The green is just a stone's throw from the tee, but this can be a very sobering hole for the careless

Fairways Course: Hole 10 – Dance of the Crown
The key to this hole is to step lightly and gracefully down the middle of the fairway

Fairways Course: Hole 11 – Skeleton Dance
This hole can be downright ghoulish if you fail to dance around that large sand trap on the right of the fairway

Fairways Course: Hole 12 – The Rite of Spring
That's exactly where you want to stay on this rambling hole of prehistoric import

Fairways Course: Hole 13 – Pegasus
You'll have to wing it on this hole to avoid those nasty bunkers on the right and left

Fairways Course: Hole 14 – Brooding Brudus
Like the centaur from the Pastoral Symphony, you'll do a slow burn if you end up all wet and lonely on this one

Fairways Course: Hole 15 – Ostrich Island
The trick here is to make like a plumed ballet dancer from Dance of the Hours and get Upanova the bridge

Fairways Course: Hole 16 – Rock'n'Roller
This hole will make you want to roll over Beethoven and tell Tchaikovsky the news

Fairways Course: Hole 17 – Hippo Bend
The weighty issues on this hole are avoiding the large trap on the right and staying out of the water

Fairways Course: Hole 18 – The Grand Finale
Here's your chance to finish your symphony of strokes with a flourish. Bravo! Encore, encore

24 November 2009

Hi diddle de dee

While the menu may have changed over the years, Pinocchio Village Haus, in the middle of all of Fantasyland’s action, has become an iconic cornerstone for the land. With views that include overlooks of Fantasyland and the launch of it’s a small world, the interior of the Haus stands out more than the grub offered for a quick meal.

Room by room the inner sections of the restaurant present moments gleamed from Pinocchio’s story while not telling the entire tale in sequential order. Instead, the each space takes its cues from a specific character in the story and their interactions with Pinocchio. One of the more clever touches is Cleo’s inclusion in glass as if still at home in her fishbowl.

As a preschool teacher the simple phonics and storytelling strings presented in each room add an interactive element for those wishing to entertain the young children while they wait for the meal.

For the rest of the story, let’s go ahead and visually look into the rest of the rooms and d├ęcor in one of the most expansive Photo Safaris we’ve ever embarked on.