31 October 2010

Disney This Week - 31 October 2010

HAPPY HALLOWEEN dedicated readers! Here are some spooktacular stories I was able to scare up for your weekend reading!

Melissa Loflin explores one of my favorite hideaways on Makin’ Memories, Tom Sawyer Island.

Over at The Disney Food Blog, AJ grabs a meal at one of my favorite quick service locations, Anandapur Local Foods.

The Disney Parks Blog discusses a truly wonderful initiative in a piece by Kathleen Prihoda that details the second lives of Walt Disney World toiletries.

Fiona Doyle and DF’82 have discovered something eggtraordinaire at Tokyo Disneyland.

Michael Crawford has a brief exploration of the life and times of James MacArthur, otherwise known as Fritz, at Progress City, U.S.A.

The Disney Obsession turns back the clock when Greg Grimsley prepares Duchess Potatoes from the Empress Lilly.

Imagineering Disney has a great photo retrospective detailing Liberty Square as it was then and is now.

The parade of gags in the queue of Muppet 3D is covered by a Studios Central series offered up by Matt Hochberg.

George Taylor delves deep into some vintage screen captures from Walt Disney World’s Tencennial on Imaginerding.

At Noah Fine Art Blog, Noah has unveiled the extremely limited TRON Legacy Vinylmation he has been working on.

29 October 2010

Private investigations

When Disney-MGM Studios opened in 1989, Mickey and the gang were present, but the real stars of the new show would come from more recent properties. Throughout the park references and glimpses of The Rocketeer, Dick Tracy, and especially Roger Rabbit could be found. These days, aside from a couple of hand prints in front of the Great Movie Ride, the trio has mostly vanished from the face of the Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Then again, looking up into a second floor window around Echo Lake, and maybe Roger Rabbit hasn’t gone too far away.The gruff gumshoe from Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Eddie Valiant, still maintains an office above the Hollywood and Vine restaurant. From the appearance of the windows, Roger hasn’t ventured too far away from his pal either.

The cutout of Roger breaking through the window refers to a gag from the film. In the film, however, Roger doesn’t bolt through the window belonging to Valiant, but instead through the office window of Maroon Studios’ head, R. K. Maroon. Still, it’s nice to see that Roger hasn’t lost his sense of comedic exits.

28 October 2010

The pumpkin patch

In just a few days princesses and pirates, super-heroines and witches, and even cowboys and astronauts will overrun neighborhoods everywhere in search of the most tempting treasure of them all, candy. The time honored tradition of being able to tell which houses carry the sweet treats is simple, if there is a jack-o’-lantern on the porch, there is candy to be confiscated.

Inside the Magic Kingdom, cleverly designed jack-o’-lanterns adorn the buildings of Main Street U.S.A., each playing upon the theme of its host house. Among the one-hundred and eighty-two plump pumpkins this year are hot dogs on the balcony of Casey’s Corner and spotted pups watching over the fire station. Perhaps the most notable, if not actually grown, of the smiling squashes are the collection found just before entering under the train station tunnels, in the patch sprouting out of the Mickey planter.

If you’re looking for a last minute carving design for your jack-o’-lantern, I’m sure these fellows could help you scare up an idea!

27 October 2010

Hand-crafted caramel treats

Our tour of the 2010 Epcot International Food and Wine Festival has been derailed by Halloween. More to the point, it has been thrown off course by new snacks available in Germany. Karamell-Küche opened with the festival, and added a new sweetshop to the already bulging list of bakeries, confectioneries, and ice-cream parlors.The primary focus of Karamell-Küche, however, is what sets it apart from its saccharine siblings, a dedication to the decadence known as caramel. Opening the doors of the caramel cave, guests are immediately met with a wall of warm sugar that sends the salivary glands into overdrive and tickles the nostrils. The shelves are lined with more Werther’s Original products than I thought existed in the natural world, and not one that I wouldn’t mind sampling myself, but the real draw here is the confectioner’s case.Everything from apples and strawberries, to marshmallows and popcorn have been given a caramel bath in the rich, gooey Werther’s Original caramel. The on-site creation and decoration can be quite the distraction, and well worth a few minutes of spectatorship. Trying to decide between the covered apples, fantastic fudge, blissful brownies and bars, cookies, and cupcakes is a daunting decision. For my first bite of Karamell-Küche, I went the traditional route and purchased one of the hand crafted caramels. While the gourmet caramels can be outfitted with extras, such as pecans, marshmallows, and various forms of chocolate, I chose to stick with the unembellished original in order to give the caramel my undivided attention.I was not disappointed. While the prices at Karamell-Küche may seem a bit steep for a single caramel, the considerable weight and quality of the gourmet caramels makes these sweets a steal. The caramels should not be devoured in two bites, although they could be, as the lush, thick and toasted flavors of the caramel will be washed away by the realization that the mouth has become a gluey, gooey nightmare. The smaller the bite, the more delicious the experience.Karamell-Küche may be new to the Walt Disney World foodie scene, but its traditions and craftsmanship make the establishment feel as if it has been a staple for many years. The caramel delights of this treat factory place it alongside the Main Street Confectionery and Sweet Spells, right where it should be.

26 October 2010

Yesteryear comes to life

One of the joys of visiting Walt Disney World during its first few decades were the guide books available to walk guests through attractions, shows, dining, and shopping options. These pamphlets not only included a double page map of the park, but they also included full pages dedicated to lands or pavilions of a park. Each exploration included blurbs about the variety of experiences available in the area, photographs, and easy to read directional map. Perhaps the most memorable section of the maps, at least in my own memory, is the clever use of characters and slogans for each land in the Magic Kingdom.

Shere Khan and Mickey in safari gear perched above the phrase ‘Adventures In Far-Off Lands,’ tell the tale of Adventureland, while Huey, Dewey, and Louie, dressed in Native American outfits, startled a cowboy garbed Goofy in a Liberty Square and Frontierland model that claims ‘Colonial History And Frontier Fun.’ This use of classic characters and imaginative wordplay served to beckon guests in and left a lasting impression.

The thick guide books harkens back to a simpler day when a ride aboard a runaway mine train was all that was needed to make or break a successful visit to Walt Disney World. Huh, I guess guide books and guide maps may have changed over the years, but that simplistic feeling of joy can still be found in Walt Disney World.

25 October 2010

Very scary fun

When it came to convoy entertainment, I grew up in a somewhat unique situation. Spending my youth in a small town in Florida, parades were reserved for Christmas and the Fourth of July, while at Walt Disney World you could count on a procession to march past in the early afternoon and again after the sun had set. Despite the fact that the hometown floats were not as ornate as those sliding down Main Street U.S.A., they did have something the pieces at the Magic Kingdom didn’t have, candy canes and other sweets. Moving to the present day, there is a parade that carries pageantry and candy hand-in-hand and is a must see, Mickey’s Boo-to-You Halloween Parade.

The candy, the standard selection that can be found on all the treat trails during Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, is doled out as a part of the final portion of the parade which represents Goofy’s Candy Co. It’s a sweet way to end the entertaining procession, but not the entire reason to view the parade.

The individual floats from Boo-to-You are not the usual conduits for moving characters through the throngs of guests. From beginning to end, the parade plays upon autumn themes: using a park gazebo, a tree flush with burnt orange leaves, tombstones, farms, and villainous lairs. They are some of the finest floats in the fleet of parade works, and by using the consistent fall theme it allows for ordinary characters, such as Minnie, Donald, and the gang from the Hundred Acre Wood, to don their favorite costume and come out and play. Of course, it’s the characters that you normally do not see that garner the most attention.

Headlining Boo-to-You is none other than the Headless Horseman, complete with a jack-o’-lantern head in his hand riding upon his midnight mount. A pirate flotilla includes Jack Sparrow, excuse me, Captain Jack Sparrow and Captain Hector Barbossa. When the grim grinning ghosts of the Haunted Mansion whisk past, their ghoulish gang begins with the Caretaker, followed by a troupe of gravediggers, but the real pageantry of this segment comes from the ballroom dancers, with graceful dances and opulent outfits that have become tattered and sullied since their passing. My personal favorite, being the boy who never grew up myself, is the collection of Lost Boys accompanying Wendy and Peter Pan ahead of Captain Hook and the Jolly Roger.

The Boo-to-You Halloween Parade is one of the most complete entertainment experiences ever put on wheels, at Walt Disney World or anywhere in the wider world. It has a broad theme that is interpreted and executed on the highest level by each individual float, a contagious tune that will stay with guests longer than their haul of sweets, and, when you come right down to it, is just plain fun!

24 October 2010

Disney This Week - 24 October 2010

Jamie Collins cracks the condiment code of Dinosaur at Only WDW.

Suzannah DiMarzio takes a moment to share some precious memories of her Disney dad with us. She also alerts ZannaLand readers to new scratch ‘n sniff Soarin’ shirts.

Greg Grimsley also has something to say about the father-child bond this week, as he flashes back to Disney-MGM Studios on The Disney Obsession.

Over at The Disney Food Blog, AJ discovers giant gummy bears in Germany. Let the hilarity ensue!

Studios Central offers up some great comparisons when Matt Hochberg examines the real world inspirations for the Hollywood Tower Hotel.

George Taylor pulls from the Imaginerding library to present the connection between Walt and flying.

The history of carrousels, especially the Prince Charming Regal Carrousel, is uncovered by Gene Duncan and the Disney Parks Blog.

Just in time for Halloween, Fiona Doyle unearths a couple of tombstones from Boot Hill in Disneyland Paris on DF’82.

DisneyShawn excavates some Indiana Jones entertainment in Disneyland, Shawn Slater even finds a way to become part of the action.

Skipper Mike heads across a different river when he reminisces about his time spent of Tom Sawyer Island. You can read the Jungle is “101” articles here: Part I and Part II.

Progress City U.S.A. scribe, Michael Crawford, tours through Walt Disney World’s use of electric vehicles in 1979.

22 October 2010

82' tall pinnacle

There are rare moments throughout a tour of Walt Disney World, when the beauty of a scene is marveled at, but the tale behind the astonishing sight goes unnoticed or explored. One such scene presents itself in the Grand Canyon Fireplace, climbing through the lobby of the Wilderness Lodge. While the vivid colors of the mighty eighty-two foot column are awe-inspiring, the story of the fireplace is just as remarkable.The Grand Canyon Fireplace, as the name implies, mirrors the rock and fossil-filled layers of the Grand Canyon. With bands of rock dating back almost two billion years, it is well worth the time to explore the intricacies of each layer of the fireplace. From the second floor lobby all the way through the seventh floor, the individual layers are peppered with remnants from their respective eras, from trilobite traces, to clam and coral remnant, and even a cephalopod or two, dating back to long before the dawn of the dinosaurs. The colorful strata of rock run the gamut from hardened ash in the Vishnu Scist, to limestone, sandstone, shale, and even basalt, to name just a few.

While the fossils, rockwork and echoes from earlier ages in the Grand Canyon Fireplace are only representative of the true layers found in the national treasure that is the Grand Canyon, the Wilderness Lodge features a number of displays that are a treasure trove of relics, remains, and rocks. Displays near the fireplace appear on each level of the resort showcase collections of fossils geological era information for the inquisitive. While the fossils themselves have not been removed from the Grand Canyon, they are accurate to the paleontological genus.

While sometimes a hearth is just a hearth and a rock is just a rock, often times, especially in Walt Disney World, there is almost always more to the narrative. In the case of the Wilderness Lodge’s Grand Canyon Fireplace, the history and mystery of planet earth is locked away within its towering layers, just waiting to be discovered.

21 October 2010

Boo to you and you and you and you

Halloween is just around the corner, which means it is time to start putting the finishing touches on their trick or treat and party costumes. So grab your scarves, scar make-up, and wigs and… What’s that, you don’t have a costume picked out yet?!?!

Lucky for you, situated around the Hub of the Magic Kingdom are a few big name characters in their top tier costumes captured in statue form. This autumn you can take note of the items needed to create the perfect princess, mighty musketeer, or jolly jester with Goofy, Minnie, Pluto, and Donald.

20 October 2010

Delicious discoveries - Belgium

Our tour of the 2010 Epcot International Food and Wine Festival continues this week, as we approach the halfway point of the event. We’ve sampled a few savory dishes in the past couple of weeks, so it’s time to succumb to the desire for dessert, or at the very least something sweet. Dropping by another novice participant of the food fair, Belgium, the Freshly Baked Waffle with Berry Compote and Whipped Cream seems to be the perfect bill of fare.

Starting with the toppings and working our way down, the whipped cream is a nice compliment to the waffle and compote. It isn’t anything overly special, but it a well placed component to the dish. The berry compote has the right combination of berry sections and syrup, tangy and sweet, and is portioned well enough that every bite of waffle is accented with compote.

The substantive element of this dish is, obviously, the waffle. There is no question that this breakfast bread is prepared fresh and served warm. With a light, airy texture and a hint of spice, the Belgium waffle is a chewy pillow of scrumptiousness.
Also available in Belgium, for those seeking something a bit more substantial, are the Steamed Mussels with Roasted Garlic Cream. A healthy potion of perfectly steamed mussels, with a sauce that is a dish unto itself, and a side of bread to sop up the remaining roasted garlic cream will hit the spot as the festival continues further into fall and the weather takes on a chill.

Whether searching for breakfast to start your tour of the 2010 Epcot International Food and Wine Festival, a midday mussel break, or something sweet to cap off your evening, the Belgium kiosk has what you are looking for.

19 October 2010

The star's touch

Most guests who visited Disney-MGM Studios, now Disney’s Hollywood Studios, in the early years remember that several feature length animation projects, including Lilo & Stitch, Mulan and Brother Bear. However, recalled with less frequency are the other television and film productions that shot at the functional Florida studio.

Shows such as Wheel of Fortune, Adventures in Wonderland, Thunder in Paradise, Let’s Make a Deal, and the All-New Mickey Mouse Club all filmed on the lot. One of the game shows to call Disney-MGM Studios home on a more permanent status was Ed McMahon’s Star Search. From 1992 through at least the 1994 season, the show was filmed at the studio’s Soundstage 2.

Plans called for the show to move from Los Angeles to Walt Disney World for Star Search’s tenth season. In its first year in Florida the production schedule called for the taping of 156 shows, with five half hour episodes being filmed for weekdays and an hour-long weekend edition. The talent search showcase would uncover talents likes Beth Hart, Lizé, and Britney Spears, who would stick around Disney-MGM Studios to film the All-New Mickey Mouse Club, also known as MMC.

Stepping back to 1992, Ed McMahon was so excited about his new digs that he even helped set up the advertising campaign at Disney-MGM Studios!

18 October 2010

When she smiled

When thinking about art in Walt Disney World, aside from the gorgeous architecture and design found throughout the resort itself, common thoughts lean towards figurines, lithographs, and other collectibles. Tucked away in various corners are art forms that also take considerable craftsmanship that are often overlooked. Today we’ll look at one such form that requires a significant amount of skill, paper silhouettes.

The construction of each silhouette demands considerable hand-eye coordination and an eye for individual details. The process requires the guest to sit still, in profile, for several minutes while the artisan carefully trims an outline of the guest’s face from a folded over piece of dark paper. From a single completed silhouette a second outline, and subsequent profiles beyond, can be crafted into a single image. By folding a single sheet of paper over two silhouettes are created, allowing for the selection of the best looking profile. A completed print of a couple or pair of children takes no longer than fifteen minutes, but creates a tangible memory that will last a lifetime, and the option of having it framed on site ensures it returns home in pristine condition.

The artists who compose these wonderful keepsakes do not beckon guests to come and view their wares, nor do they boast about the substantial amount of precision work that they possess. From their quiet, tucked-away corners of Walt Disney World, the silhouette craftspeople create affordable artwork that deserves a place alongside the finest figurines to be found in The Art of Disney. Although, the quiet nature of the art is essential to its charm.

17 October 2010

Disney This Week - 17 October 2010

Greg Grimsley turns back the dials on the time machine at The Disney Obsession when he takes a look back at the early days of the Adventurers Club.

Over at ZannaLand, Suzannah DiMarzio finds some astronomical historical art well above sea level in the Top of the World Lounge.

Melissa Loflin highlights a few profound words found in Fantasyland that I have been living by for Makin’ Memories readers.

On the Disney Parks Blog, Tom Fitzgerald showcases some of the work done by C-3PO, otherwise known as Anthony Daniels, with a Starspeeder 1000 for the new Star Tours adventures.

AJ continues to dig up some creepy, creamy Halloween snacks for the hungry readers of The Disney Food Blog.

The gastronomic expert of Eating (and Drinking) around the World, Andy Jackson, serves up the first course of his look at the Food and Wine Classic at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin resorts.

Matt Palm catches the rhythm of the ‘80s at the Eat to the Beat, part of the International Food and Wine Festival, for The Daily Disney.

Imagineering Disney contributor, Fritz, unearths the intersection of EPCOT Center and Disneyland.

15 October 2010

Prevent the loss of native species

Lake Victoria, the second largest freshwater lake in the world, partially resides within three countries in Africa: Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda. Prior to 1954, over ninety percent of the lake fish population was comprised of several hundred species of a fish known as cichlids. In 1954, however, Nile perch were introduced to the freshwater lake due to the popularity of their consumption. Since then, the perch, which can grow to four feet long and over 200 pounds, have driven the populations of cichlids to the brink of extinction.In Harambe’s Pangani Forest Exploration Trail School and Sanctuary, found deep in the wilds of Africa in Disney’s Animal Kingdom, a host of Victorian Rock Cichlids is thriving in waters free from the intrusion of the Nile perch. Ninety-nine percent of the cichlids in the world are found in Lake Victoria, but in order to preserve and expand to dwindling populations international conservation efforts have led to the selection of other sites where the cichlids could swell their numbers. The transparent habitat found along the Pangani trail is one such site, and allows researchers and guests alike to study the resurgence of this disappearing species.

While the Nile perch may be a popular protein source throughout the remainder of the globe, the cichlids are a staple of the fishing communities that surround Lake Victoria. With propagation and conservation programs like the one found in Harambe the damage to local ecosystems can be repaired and replenished.

14 October 2010

Chemistry of growing things

The Harvest Theater opened as part of The Land pavilion of EPCOT Center in 1982. Originally, it featured the environmental awareness film, Symbiosis. Symbiosis ran in the theater until 1995, when segments from the original film were spliced into a new production entitled Circle of Life: An Environmental Fable, which featured the comedic trio of Simba, Timon, and Pumbaa from The Lion King. Through two major renovations to the pavilion and sponsorship changes, the queue for the Harvest Theater has remained as one of the sole untouched aspects of The Land Pavilion.

Most guests inhabit the queue without noticing the carpet that comprises the walls of the Harvest Theater waiting area. They are busy plotting their next trek across the park or discussing what to eat for lunch. Occasionally, they may notice the walls they are leaning upon and make a statement about being dated, but the walls are not only a fine piece of Epcot history, they also explore the process of plant growth. From winds sweeping seeds across open spaces to germination, and on to a full fledged plant sending out its own seeds, the cycle is repeated perpetually through the room and in the larger world beyond.

13 October 2010

Delicious discoveries - Singapore

Continuing our tour of the culinary delights from the fifteenth installment of the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival, today we are stopping over at another newcomer to the event, Singapore. Although it is not technically Singapore’s first visit to the event, they were participants in the 2005 incarnation of the festival, their menu has been entirely redesigned for this year’s event soiree.

I sampled the Coconut-Braised Beef Rendang with Jasmine Rice. Traditionally, there are two types of Rendang, a dried form with can last several months and is bestowed upon honored guests and a wet form which does not last as long. Both versions, however, are prepared for celebratory community events, so it is fitting that it makes its festival debut during the International Food and Wine’s fifteenth anniversary.

The meal itself consists of beef sections that have been cooked extremely slow, locking in the seasonings and making the meat fork tender. The coconut infused meat and fragrant rice have a remarkable interplay that makes the mouth water. The rich spices and unique preparation technique make this dish a must try for fans of curried dishes, while not being too daring for those with a less adventurous palate.

It should be mentioned, that my wife appraised the Shrimp Cake with Singapore Noodle Salad and found it to be simply delicious. I couldn’t get much more out of her, other than the fact that she wanted to go back for a second portion.

12 October 2010

Easily putt around them all

Since the first putt was stroked in 1996, Fantasia Gardens has been a showering, giggle-inducing diversion to guests young and old alike. The underestimated popularity of miniature golf, expected attendance during its first week of operation was 800 to 950 putters per day, well over the 400 to 600 estimated guests, spawned the creation of other courses down the road at Winter Summerland.

In the planning stages concepts such as Roger Rabbit, Alice in Wonderland and Storybook Land were discussed, but in the end, the idyllic scenes set by Fantasia won out. The story of Fantasia Gardens was broken down into five distinct stories (with a quick nod to Night On Bald Mountain): Toccata and Fugue, The Nutcracker Suite, The Pastoral Symphony, Dance of the Hours, and The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. With the muted backdrop of a garden Fantasia segments such as Rite of Spring found themselves on the outside looking in, as a tromping dinosaur appearing near a pirouetting ostrich could have made for an uncomfortable disconnect.

With the gardens selected, an appropriate weenie could be sought out. Fittingly, the home of mighty Zeus was selected. Mount Olympus complete with a columned palace draw the eyes of passerbys and golfers alike. Unfortunately, the home of Zeus, perched atop Olympus, vanished several years ago, but the spirit of the mountain still remains.

I feel like it is time for me to head out and pick up my putter, so I’ll leave you today with this concept illustration of Fantasia Gardens, which comes pretty close to the course that can be played today.

11 October 2010

A dream come true

There are plenty of dreams to be realized throughout Walt Disney World. To name just a few, your dreams could come true while watching your child experience a nighttime spectacular like Wishes for the very first time, their first meeting with Mickey, or a pirate hat that causes a complete transformation, taking your spouse to see La Nouba, giving them that one of a kind view of the savannah when they wake up, or that one perfect meal at Flying Fish that they have been dying for. Some dreams are easy to acquire and occasionally they are driven by astounding Cast Members creating an extra special moment, seemingly out of thin air. There are times, however, when to capture your dreams you have to take a more proactive stance.

Now, I’m not saying you need to bowl through small children in order to be the first person to greet Mickey Mouse in the Judge’s Tent, but sometimes you don’t know what you can do without asking. For instance, I knew a boy who was in love with all the vehicles of the Magic Kingdom, but the whistle of the Liberty Belle beckoned him in like no other. It was his dream to pilot that ship down the Rivers of America from high atop the deck. It took that boy twenty-some-odd years to work up the courage to ask the Captain of the ship, but those few moments up there, and being able to blow that horn turned me back into that seven year old again.

That same boy also had a dream of fighting alongside his heroes, Luke Skywalker and Indiana Jones. By now, you all know of my adventures in being an extra in the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular. There isn’t a trip that goes by that I don’t at least attempt to get myself on that trap door so I can cheer on Indy and throw fake uppercuts into the air, as if I were coaching the weathered archeologist. To take on that role means I have to leave my serious self outside of the turnstiles and make a fool of myself in order to be selected, but it is well worth the potential embarrassment if I get to share a scene with my hero one more time.

We all have dreams, and we all hope to bring a little extra spark to our trips to Walt Disney World. Sometimes we stumble into a bit of magic, sometimes it finds us, and sometimes we have to be the ones who have to work to make our wishes come true. If there is something you’ve always wanted to do at Walt Disney World, go ahead and ask. The worst that could happen is that you are told ‘no,’ but then again you could find yourself living your own personal dreams.

10 October 2010

Disney This Week - 10 October 2010

Disney Every Day scribe, Amanda Tinney, takes readers to the little seen HP Lounge in Mission: SPACE.

Matt Hochberg discusses the fifth dimension of the Tower of Terror and my favorite episode of The Twilight Zone at Studios Central.

The Disney Parks Blog contributor, Heather Hust Rivera, invites guests to rez in to ElecTRONica.

Melissa Loflin captures one of the great hidden story elements in Walt Disney World on Makin’ Memories, the pirates locked in an eternal stalemate.

Michael Crawford explores attraction concepts that never made it off the page at Progress City U.S.A.

The Disney Food Blog shrinks AJ down this week, as she explores the International Food and Wine Festival miniature booths found along the train tracks of Germany.

Suzannah DiMarzio goes off Disney for a moment to discuss a topic that needs to be addressed, domestic abuse. Head on over to ZannaLand to find out what you can do.

08 October 2010

A maintenance service elevator

The Hollywood Tower Hotel, more commonly known as The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, is filled with enough eerie atmosphere to keep you glancing over your shoulders and peering around corners. Throughout the lobby, library, and boiler room there are many suggestions that you have crossed over into another realm, but the indications don’t end there, they follow the unknowing guests right into their maintenance service elevators.

As with all elevators, the Hollywood Tower Hotel’s service elevators have been inspected and certified to travel. In the case of the Tower of Terror’s fleet of elevators, however, they have a peculiar permit that entitles them to travel directly beyond the fifth dimension into The Twilight Zone. The Permit of Operation was certified on October 31, 1939, by an inspector named Cadwallader, with the permit number 10259.

In the story of the Hollywood Tower Hotel, it was on the very day that the elevators were examined, October 31, 1939, that the unfortunate incident occurred that shepherded several hotel guests and the elevator they were traveling in into the Twilight Zone. This could be overlooked as coincidence, except for the inspector’s name, Cadwallader.

The singular name, like Prince or Madonna, signifies a level of importance mere mortals do not possess, and Cadwallader is no exception. In The Twilight Zone episode entitled Escape Clause Cadwallader is the name employed by the Devil, a stylish name befitting his self-stylized pomp, who has come to offer a hypochondriac a chance at immortality. Escape Clause aired as the sixth episode of The Twilight Zone on November 6 in ‘59.

The numbers 59 sound familiar? They should, they turned up at the end of the service elevator’s permit number. While 11659 would seem more appropriate for the episode in which Cadwallader appeared, the Hollywood Tower Hotel owes more to The Twilight Zone than just a single episode. The State ID Number of 1-259 pays homage to the entire series by alluding to the series premiere, which occurred on October 2, 1959.

The Haunted Mansion may be filled with ‘wall to wall creeps, and hot and cold running chills,’ but the Hollywood Tower Hotel has more than enough hair-raising features to frighten guests straight into The Twilight Zone.

07 October 2010

Round trip super skyway tour

The retro-future view of Tomorrowland is filled with gears, over-sized bolts, sleek landmarks, and stylish curves. At night, the town of tomorrow is hoping, due in part to the LED and neon lighting that permeates the landscape. During the day, however, the metallic structures speak for themselves. Housing some of the most beloved attractions in the Magic Kingdom, obtaining photographs of the various structures in Tomorrowland can be a daunting task with the throngs of guests clogging the avenues. Of course, there is at least one way to capture images from all over the area with relative ease.

The opportunity for taking such pictures presents itself along the super skyway, the Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover. From the action on the Speedway to the intricate machine-like details that hold the city together, the bird’s eye view of the PeopleMover affords photographers to catch a glimpse of construction, crowds, and feature that could otherwise be difficult to capture or utterly unattainable.