Friday, December 30, 2011

A look back at 40 years of Disney. Part 6

Good morning!  Our trip today takes us back to the "hub" in the Magic Kingdom for a picture that truly displays the changes in the park over 40 years.

As you can see to the right we are looking from the bridge to Tomorrowland.  The first thing people seem to notice in the picture is the mysterious castle wall in the background.  We are looking across the lagoon and we can see the serpent topiary, and the bridge to Tomorrowland that also leads into Mickey's Toontown.  To the right is Cosmic Ray's and Auntie Gravy's restaurant. But what has changed since then?
I took this from the pathway that leads from the ice cream parlor through the Tomorrowland Terrace and into Tomorrowland instead of from the same bridge because of some changes that have been made that I wanted to include in the shot.  In my shot you can see the bridge from which the original picture was taken, but amazingly, the serpent is here as well.  Disney has added a new pathway between the two bridges and moved the Serpent as part of that process.  Not only has the serpent been moved, but he also started swimming in the opposite direction. :D
Regarding that castle wall, If you look closely, you will find that the wall is the BACK of the Fantasyland area.  In the past 40 years the trees have grown up nicely and provided a shady area to walk from Fantasyland to Tomorrowland and the wall have become hidden behind those trees.  For a better idea of how that wall has been hidden I took this picture of the the rear wall of Fantasyland with the cupola that is visible at the far right of the original picture.  As you can see the original wall is still there, but the trees have blocked the view of the amazing detail that is put into this park.

I want to thank all the people that took the time to read through the series, and the Cast Members at Magic Kingdom for the all assistance I received with the project.  Especially the two young ladies at the City Hall who helped me mark out on a map where all the shots were taken.  I only wish I had remembered to write your names down so I could credit you properly for your assistance. (Update: One of them commented below so I can now say publicly "Thanks Katey!")

If you haven't been there before, go soon.  If you have been there, go again.  If you are there right now, wht are you doing reading this?  If you are going soon, TAKE ME!

I will leave you with a picture from my previous trip that is, to me, the symbol of the entire Walt Disney World property. Let this be the last post for the year, and a symbol of the possibilities of the new year.


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A look back at 40 years of Disney. Part 5

Round 5 begins now.

This time we focus on only Fantasy Land.  This is the home of many famous, and infamous, attractions such as the Dumbo ride and also It's a Small World.  Although Dumbo has been a beloved ride since it opened with the park, It's a Small World has mixed reception.  Some find the never ending tune to be part of the charm, but others find that same tune to be akin to a drill boring deep into their heads.  Personally I love the ride and made it a point to ride it again during this last trip while the Mrs. sat outside and watched the fireworks overhead.

In the previous post about the Liberty Square I mentioned that you could see the peak of the Fantasy Faire over the roofs in the Square.  In this photo to the right you ca see that same attraction which is no more. At least not in the form it once had previously.  This is now the store attached to Mickey's Philharmagic.
To the right you will see one of the few pictures of my attendance in 1971.  As you can see I was much younger 40 years ago.  No, that is not me in the yellow shirt, I am the one peeking over the edge of the dumbo car. :P

The nice man sitting with me is my grandfather and this is one of my favorite photos of him.  He is still with us, and Look forward to many years to come with him. Who knows, perhaps I can get hiim on that ride again?

As you can see the ride looks much as it does now, and if you have been there recently you will remember that the ride is still as popular as ever.  Fortunately the new Fantasyland expansion will double the amount of seats by giving us two Dumbos to ride instead of the single that exists at this time.

Just to keep with the process of the pictures I did have my picture taken in a Dumbo to show how time has changed.  However, we chose to do it in the stationary display outside the ride since it would mean taking seats away from kids excited kids to get that picture otherwise.

As I noted they are currently working on expanding the Fantasyland area, doubling the overall size and adding a large amount of new rides, shopping, and dining options.  Here are a few pictures of the edge of the area and how it looks now.

I hope to be able to visit in the coming year and update on the results of their efforts.

Next stop, and the last in the series, will be a return to the center of the Magic Kingdom for a few shots that will truly show the changes to the park over the last 40 years.  See you then!


Monday, December 26, 2011

A look back at 40 years of Disney. Part 4

And here goes round four!  The boxers are out of their corners and circling, looking for a opportunity to open up this round. Wait, wrong round.  Sorry about that.

This time we head into Adventure Land and Frontier Land.  I know we talked about Fantasy Land this round, but it will have to wait one more post.

Instead we will visit one of the most famous, and clearly the most campy, attractions in Adventure Land.  No, we are not talking about Pirates of the Carribean, we are talking about the Jungle Cruise.  Yes, that "2 week cruise" down the rivers of the world filled with adventure and bad jokes.  The one we all submit ourselves to every trip even the jokes are always bad and the hippos always attack.  One big change is the fact that the guides now only fire the weapons to scare off the audio-animatronic beasts instead of firing the pistol at them as they once did.  The old encampment is still over run by gorillas, but now they are the stars from Disney's animated feature Tarzan.  The elephant are still in their perpetual and unending bath, but they are starting to show the water lines on their hides from all that soaking.  I would look like a shriveled up prune by now.

After passing under the water fall you pass the ancient ruins of a eastern temple, and this is where our picture  comes in.  As you can see from the original they have always had the vines on the face, but apparently the jungle foilage changes over the years.  That palm tree has grown quite a bit and far more rocks have fallen and cluttered the steps, although I am not really sure where the rocks came from as there is nothing above there to have created the rubble. ;)  I should mention that this shot was incredibly hard as you only see this for a brief moment, and you don't have a lot of time to focus and set the shot before the scene passes you by.  I had to ride the ride twice to this this one picture. The jokes didn't change at all. *shudder*  

So now we are off to Frontier Land.  At least the entry to Frontier Land.  this gate is still here 40 years later, and it is located just off Liberty Square.   It's amazing how little has changed in 40 years other than the trees have grown quite high. The fort in the foreground has not changed much at all.  However, there are a few things that really stand out. There has been a change to the building in the rear of the picture, and it seems that the skull on the top of the sign has grown a few more points in the last 40 years.

Well that and the trash cans have been replaced with counter space for the Disney Vacation Club brochures.  It also appears that the buildings to the right rear are now under going some renovation as the temporary walls are in place so we can't see what they look like at this point.

Speaking of renovation, in the next blog post I PROMISE to finally get to Fantasy Land.  This location is the subect of a massive construction project that is sure to make us all happy.

See you then!

-- TT

Friday, December 23, 2011

A look back at 40 years of Disney. Part 3

Welcome back to part three of my series on the Magic Kingdom 40 years later.  Today we are going to hang a left and go into Liberty Square.

One thing that quickly pops out when looking at the old photo and the new photo is the degree of development they have added on the right side.  They have taken out the grass and put in a sitting and stroller parking area for the Haunted Mansion attraction.  The trees have been allowed to grow  and grow they have.  It also appears that they have removed a lot of the pavers that were in front of where the steamboat now docks.  You can see approximately where the grass was with the light colored path to the right in the new picture.

You can see the Liberty Tavern clearly in the original picture (building on the right), but with the trees have grown in and hide it a bit more.  Also, the peak of the old Fantasy Faire tent is just showing over the buildings of Liberty Square, unusual since Disney goes to great length normally to hide the each area from view.  The tent is now gone, but we will get to that later.

The last big change  The minutemen no longer parade in this area. To see them you now have to go to Epcot and visit the America pavilion.

Now lets take a look at part of a classic, and one of the original, attractions at Magic Kingdom... the Haunted Mansion.
This is one of our favorite rides and with the updated technology the hitchhiking ghosts are much more interactive then they were previously.  But that is not the subject of our photo.  Our photo is all about the gravestone for Blackbeard's wives.  Located after you exit the attraction building but well back before the exit from the area, you can walk up the exit to get to the gravestone, but where is the fun in that?
The amazing part about this picture is that although there is a bit more weathering, there isn't a lot of change on the "stone". But then this IS Disney and that would be the point.  One interesting note was that the bushes finally grew in behind the wall and shaded this place nicely.

I had a great time trying to get these pictures taken, but I really do like Liberty Square

Next up is a quick trip to Frontier Land and then off to Fantasy Land


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A look back at 40 years of Disney. Part 2

Welcome back to the blog. In the previous post we looked the the entrance to the Magic Kingdom and how it looked then and now.

This time we look at the end of Main Street. I have 3 photos of this one place in the park. More than almost any other place in the park (We'll get to the place with the most shortly).

The first picture is looking back down the long corridor called Main Street.  The first obvious change is the new fence on the right where Disney has put in a status board giving guests an idea of which attractions are busiest and which ones they could get on quickly.  I should have given you a picture of that board as it has one glaring issue.  They forgot to post the length of the line waiting to get a Dole Whip at Aloha Isle. The amazing thing is that the signs on the quick service restaurant called Casey's have not changed in 40 years. The trees have grown but there are no longer trees on Main Street itself.

Next up is the building across the street Casey's.  In the original picture to the right you see Mickey walking (something you don't see happen in parades much these days) in the parade, and there is a building in the background that is hard to make out.  It took me most of the day to figure out where this was until I looked again at the previous picture and realized that the building on the left side of the picture was the same one in this parade picture, the Borden Ice Cream Parlor.  40 years late it's still an ice cream parlor, but now it is sponsored by Edy's Grand Ice Cream.  The building has not changed much, and as luck would have it, as I was taking pictures a parade started. 

I now had a chance to capture the building with Mickey Mouse. Unfortunately I couldn't get to the same spot that the original was taken.  As you can see the building is very much the same as it was then, only the sponsor's signs have changed.  People still stop to to watch the parade, but on this day no one is sitting

The only thing missing from the parade that went by that day?  The dwarves of old that were captured in this picture.

Look forward to more in the next post when we journey into Liberty Square.

See you then.


Monday, December 19, 2011

A look back at 40 years of Disney. Part 1

First an apology for missing my regular Wednesday post. I needed time to get this post completed.  Now that that is out of the way, let's get to the post that so many have been anxiously awaiting.

Several months ago Disney celebrated the 40th Anniversary of the opening of the Magic Kingdom park at Walt Disney World (WDW).  This park was the crowning achievement of the great man who created that simple mouse who now rules over so many Mousejunkies around the world.  Today WDW covers 47 square miles of Florida landscape and is one of the most popular vacation destinations in the world.

My first experience with the most magical place in the world was in early in 1972, at least that is what the pictures that have come into my possession recently.  About the same time that WDW celebrated their anniversary my mother gave me a stack of pictures from from that vacation.  The dates on the pictures indicate that they were developed in March of 1972, six months after the opening of the Magic Kingdom.  I stuck upon an idea as I looked at this pictures, Interestingly enough, I also had a trip scheduled to go to WDW and would have a chance to see all these places in the pictures from the view point of 40 years later.

Due to the number of photos and the size required to display these photos, I will have to do this in several posts over the next week. We will start with the entrance to the park and Main Street in this post, and I will move around the park with the remaining pictures.

To the left is a picture taken of the back of the Main Street railroad station.  Since I was going back at Christmas time I could not get a picture that was from the same location.  However, if you click on the photos you can see a few things that have changes.  They have reduced the amount of landscaping surrounding the flagpole, the trees have been kept trimmed and some even have been replaced, even the roof color has changed somewhat.

This picture is the Gulf Hospitality House where guests could go to get travel information in Florida and get other assistance from the castmembers inside.  As you can see with the associated picture to the right the building is now the theater and the location for character meet-and-greets with the Disney Princesses and Mickey and Minnie.

Although there are many changes, especially the name of the building, there are still a lot of similarities to the original building.. However, there are new lanterns out front, in addition to the original lanterns, and there are now queue time indicators for the meet-and-greets.

That is it for this segment. In the next segment we will be looking back down Main Street and also at the old Borden Ice Cream Parlor.

See you then!

-- TT

Friday, December 16, 2011

A Dunedin Christmas tradition

I have family in the Tampa, FL area, specifically Dunedin and Clearwater, and we recently went to visit them.  While there we took a tour of the downtown area and found that they have a really fun tradition there.  Every Christmas the city rents out the light posts to the local community to raise money for charity, and the person/company/organization that rents the post gets to decorate that post however they wish.

We took a few pictures of the various and most interesting posts we saw and here they are for your reading enjoyment.  Our favorite was the Flamingo pole to the above right, but the people obviously enjoy this tradition.  There are several other traditions regarding this sleepy little community on the west side of Tampa, but we will save those for another day.  A time when bitter midwest cold is shilling us all to the bone and we really need that reminder of what it means to be warm.  (almost sounds like something I need to do tomorrow!)

Stay warm and if you like comment below about your Christmas traditions.

-- TT

Monday, December 12, 2011

Random Picture - 7

Since I have just returned from vacation and need to get my posts in order, I thought I would post another random photo from my archives.

This sunset was taken several years ago and I love the way the cloud is silhouetted against the setting sun, and the birds that are frolicking as well.  The golden clouds at the top contrast well and it always reminds me that even at the end of the day all ends well.


Friday, December 9, 2011

Really Santa?

I have a neighbor that decorates every year for Christmas and he does it big.

The other night we caught a sight that was unbelieveable.  Santa and Frosty on the porch partying hard.  It's sad that the fat man has not only decided to do this when I am sure he is needed up north to get things ready for the end of the month.  But then he drags Frosty in this and does it all publicly.

Even worse is the way we found them the next morning.  As you can see, then are clearly hungover and out of control.

Sad, just plain sad.


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Stinson goes Christmas

One of the parks that I enjoy visiting is Stinson park in midtown Omaha.  they recently decorated the park for the holidays, and I took the opportunity to get some HDR photos of the decorations.  I apologize for some of the focus issues, it is tough to do this on my phone.



Monday, December 5, 2011

100th Entry!!

This is my 100th post since starting this blog.  Not sure what all I want to say here, but I am just amazed that it has come this quickly.

For the few readers that I have already, Thanks for being here.

For all the readers that will eventually read these someday, maybe.  Thanks for coming.

-- TT

Friday, December 2, 2011

A sign of the future

While playing with the HDR app on my phone I found this cocoon on the side of a pillar at a client site.  The look of this cocoon really looks amazing and it really reminds me of the fact that the seasons are changing and that life is as well.

I wonder what this will become once it is done with it's change in life?


Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Almost as old as me and looking better than me..

Last month (October) was the 40th anniversary for Walt Disney World (WDW), specifically the Magic Kingdom. The first time I visited that magical place (it is also known as "The Most Magical Place on Earth") about 5 months after they opened. ( I have the pictures to prove it.)  It was started by a man with a dream and that dream continues many years later.

Now almost 40 years later I am preparing to make another visit.  This is not my second visit by any measure, but I don't think it is my 40th either.  I have visited numerous times over the years, and I always look forward to each trip with them same amount of excitement a child has when Santa is about visit.  It is a place that I can relax and not be a consultant or an responsible adult, at least for a little while.

The second best place to visit is, of course,  EPCOT. Built with a view to the future, it now highlights the technology of today and what we can do for the future.  A place to see what is, and what will be.  Also a place to travel the world all in one day.  You can visit the likes of Japan, Germany, Norway, Mexico, England, Canada and interact with people who are from those same countries.

This post was simply to remind us of the past and the future and to always be a child at heart.


Monday, November 28, 2011

The beauty of fall...

A friend of mine introduced me to a new app for my Android based phone called HDR Camera+.  The technology involved is called HDR (High Dynamic Imaging) and it basically allows the camera to see things the same way our eyes do instead of the normal under/over exposure that a camera perceives.

With that in mind let's take a look at a picture I recently took outside a clients building.  This was taken at about 8AM. and sadly, the next days these trees were pretty much bare thanks to the wind and rain.

If you have a smart phone, I would recommend this app so you can take some of the best photos yet.  I will be posting a few others over the next few weeks as well.


Friday, November 25, 2011

So much for that theory

The other day my wife and I had to return a can of paint that we had purchased at WalMart and while we were there we decided to check on the Santa hats they had since my current hat were in pretty bad shape.

We didn't find a good hat, but we did pick up a few other sundries.  As we were checking out I noticed that we were at checkout 20, and it happened to be the express "lane".  Intestingly enough, express was 20 items or less... on checkout 20. Hmmm, I wonder if 19 was express as well, but only 19 items or less?

Nope.  It's just a plain old ordinary checkout.  Nothing express here.

But that leads to another thought.  Express is 20 items?!?  In most places I visit, the express lane is 12 items or less.  I am assuming that this is because the average item count for a persons order is not that large.  If that is true, then what does this say about an express lane that is for 20 or less?


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Whatever happened to equality of the sexes?

Through the years I have heard all about how women have it rough and that they want equal treatment.  They demand equal treatment then want special treatment at the same time.  I have always worked to treat my fellow female employee with respect and as an equal and yet I still hear about equality.

I believed this. But then I was onsite at a customers site and realized that we have been lied to as men.  A kind young lady, who shall remain nameless as I am sure the legions of women will want to take retribution upon this traitor, brought to me evidence of the true state of affairs.  Proof that we men really are actually getting the short end of the stick.

She brought me a picture she took while in the women's bathroom, a place so mysterious that men shudder at the thought of entering that distant and strange land.  A picture that will surely put a crack in the steely front women present when discussing equality.  Something that defines the true equality in this world.

The truth is that they have a couch in there but the men's room has only this lowly plastic chair.

And they have Charmin, too!

So much for equality, huh?