Disneyland Days Gone By – WIF Almanac

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Disney Theme Park

Attractions That

No Longer Exist

Walt Disney opened Disneyland in 1955, and since then, the corporation has only grown its park locations all over the world. Over 20 million people visit each of these locations every single year. So, it only makes sense that in order to keep these Disney fans coming back, improvements need to be made to the park rides and attractions. Here are 10 attractions that simply did not make the cut.

10. Videopolis

When you think of Disneyland, you probably don’t think about nightclubs. During the 1980s, Michael Eisner, the CEO of Disneyland decided that he wanted attractions that would appeal to local teenagers. At the time, season passes were only $40 all year, or $35 during summer break, with a student ID. This meant that local teens could visit Disneyland every night of the year to dance to music videos and live bands. There was even a TV show on The Disney Channel showcasing Videopolis. They also hosted a televised event called Disneyland’s Summer Vacation Party, where Disney mascots danced in the audience with the teens while listening to the very ’80s bands, Oingo Boingo, ELO.

This teen dream came crashing down, when a 15-year-old died from getting shot in the parking lot of Disneyland in 1987. For years, Studio K at Knott’s Berry Farms in Anaheim, California hosted dances every night, and it was a go-to place for high school kids, since admission was free. Disneyland quickly became designated as the place for “rich kids” to go clubbing, since it cost $40 to get in. With inflation, that is closer to $92 today, which most parents could not afford.  Local gangs decided to wait out in these parking lots, because it’s safe to guess that they were selling them something to help enhance their Disney experience, if you know what I mean. Disneyland quickly realized that this nightclub didn’t exactly align with their family values, and decided to end Videopolis in 1989. Today, the theater is used for family-friendly performances.

9. The Great Movie Ride

This ride was a collaboration between Disney and Turney Classic Movies at Disney World in Orlando, Florida that began in 2015, and expired in 2017. Guests sat in a car that was guided through sets that were made to look like classic movies like Singin’ in the RainThe Wizard of OzThe Public Enemy, and Raiders of the Lost Ark. They were all complete with their own animatronic “actors” that play out famous scenes. Audience members sat in a moving car for 18 minutes.

While the ride was iconic, the movies that were included may have been unknown to young children who were visiting Disney World. Surely, Turner Classic Movies was hoping to entice people to tune in to watch these classics, but maybe they didn’t get the views they were hoping for. The attraction is being replaced with Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway, which combines an animated film and real-life changing sets. It truly does look like it will be stunning, and it is officially scheduled to premiere in 2018.

8. The Peoplemover and the Rocket Rods

In the 1960s, Tomorrowland was a showcase of how Disney Imagineers saw the future. One ride that guests absolutely loved was called The Peoplemover. Slow-moving cars go along tracks that are built throughout all of Tomorrowland. The ride never stopped, and people got on and off so efficiently, that there were never a very long line.

When they revamped the look of the Tomorrowland park, they decided that the Peoplemover just wasn’t “cool” enough for their new style in Disney World Orlando. They kept the old tracks, and added a new ride called The Rocket Rods. Each rocket-shaped vehicle could only take a few people at a time. The ride sped up, and then slowed down at every turn. Wait times in line were nearly two hours long, and guests were very underwhelmed by the entire experience.

Not only was the concept a bust, but only a few weeks after opening the ride, it had to be shut down for three months of repairs.  Even when it reopened again, the ride needed to be shut down for repairs at least once a day, and the concrete tracks supporting the ride were beginning to crumble. In the year 2000, the ride closed down completely, but the tracks are still there, gathering dust.

7. America Sings

In order to celebrate the upcoming Bicentennial 200-year anniversary of The United States, Disneyland opened the attraction America Sings in 1974. It was a musical show set on a rotating stage. Animatronic animals moved along with a recording of songs from American history. Once the song was done, the stage would move, and new animatronics would appear.

After only a few months of the attraction’s existence, a young woman named Deborah Gail Stone was working at Disneyland part-time as a hostess. She leaned back in her chair while the rotating stage was changing, and it crushed her head. Deborah’s family tried to sue Disneyland for their daughter’s death, but they lost the lawsuit, because leaning back in her chair was against safety procedure. The attraction continued for over 10 years, but since it was really meant to celebrate the Bicentennial, there was no need to keep the creepy robot party going for so long. It eventually shut down in 1988, and it was never reopened.

6. Superstar Limo

The ride Superstar Limo put park guests in the position of being the hottest new Hollywood star. A moving car begins at the Los Angeles Airport, and makes its way through famous locations, past some caricatures of famous movie stars like Whoopi Goldberg, Cher, and Tim Allen, and ends at The Chinese Theater.  The artistic style looked more like scene out of Who Framed Roger Rabbit? than a Disney park ride.

It opened at Disney’s California Adventure in 2001, and while some people enjoyed it, the majority of guests were confused. Some people were downright offended, specifically because the ride actually recommends getting tattoos, which is understandable troubling for some parents. In fact, Superstar Limo got such a negative reaction from local newspapers and park guests, that it was closed down after less than a year.

5. Maelstrom

The Maelstrom ride took guests on a viking ship, floating past characters from Norwegian folk tales and legends, including a three-headed troll, a sea dragon, and…polar bears? It ends with guests walking around an indoor replica of a Norwegian fishing village. There is a 5-minute long movie at the end called The Spirit of Norway, which gave an overview of what life in Norway was like.

It opened in 1988, and lasted until 2013, when Disney released the plans to rehabilitate it into Frozen Ever After. Considering that the locations in the movie Frozen were inspired by Norway, the boat and the surrounding theme did not need to be changed very much. The Fishing village became the town square of Arendelle. Guests still board a boat, only this time, they see animatronic characters from the Frozen movies. The technology used in both rides is relatively the same, but the guests are far happier with Frozen Ever After than they were with Maelstrom.

4. Body Wars

There was a section of Disney World’s Epcot called Wonders of Life pavilion that was built to educate people on the human body, and encourage health and fitness. It was completely sponsored by MetLife Insurance, who paid to have their company’s name plastered everywhere.The most popular attraction in The Wonder of Life was Body Wars.

Guests were “shrunk down” inside of a ship, which moved as they watched a film about a group of scientists exploring the inner workings of the human body. The film was directed by Leonard Nimoy, the actor who played Spock in the original Star Trek series. So, it’s no wonder why it was successful.  While there were plenty of other things to do at the Wonders of Life pavilion, Body Wars was by far one of the go-to attractions in Epcot in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

When Disney lost their partnership with MetLife, the attraction slowly began to lose more and more of its sections, due to the major budget cuts. Eventually, the Pavilion was converter for the annual Food and Wine Festival.

3. Submarine Voyage

In the 1950s, submarines were still a very new technology, and the public was fascinated by them. So, it only made sense when Walt Disney wanted to include Submarine Voyage in Tomorrowland. During the 1960s, they even hired local teenage girls to swim around as live mermaids. The mermaids were obviously the most popular part of the attraction. According to former park employees, people would throw money out to the mermaids as tips, and one time, a young man from the Navy jumped into the water so he could swim out to their tanning rock to hang out with the mermaid girls. Security eventually had to fish him out, of course.

The park eventually realized there were multiple safety issues with the mermaids, including the fact that many girls say they could feel themselves getting sucked into the propellers. They were no longer part of the experience in 1967. The ride lasted until 1998, when it was eventually shut down. In 2007, it was reimagined as the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage.

2. Alien Encounter

The “ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter” – or Alien Encounter for short – was an attraction in Walt Disney World park in Orlando, Florida. The storyline of the attraction surrounded an alien corporation called X-S Tech. The ride used air, lights, and surround sound in the seats to scare guests into believing that an alien monster had escaped inside of the room.

Adults and teenagers loved this ride, and it gained a true cult following of fans who revisited the ride every year. However, it made many parents angry, because they believed it was far too scary for kids. The ride ran from 1995 to 2003, until it was shut down, and reimagined as Stitch’s Great Escape.

1. Big Thunder Ranch

At Big Thunder Ranch, the most exciting thing you would find was… a cow. Yes, a cow. Its name was “Micky Moo”, because of the Micky-mouse shaped patches on its fur. The attraction was built in 1986 as a Western-style petting zoo and Barbecue restaurant. There was an old fashioned blacksmith demonstration, but beyond that, there wasn’t much to do at Big Thunder Ranch.

In 1998, the space was renovated into The Hunchback of Notre Dame: Festival of Fools. Strangely enough, they brought Big Thunder Ranch back in 2004, only this time, characters from the not-so-popular Disney movie Home on the Range was incorporated, so at least the second time around, it made a little more sense. However, it was closed down a second time in 2016 to make way for Star Wars Land. Which, we can all agree, is probably going to be a slightly more popular attraction.


Disneyland Days Gone By –

WIF Almanac

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #313

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #313

Chapter Eighteen

LOOKING DOWN

…Call me Walt, call me Disney, call me Dizzy, and just don’t call me late for breakfast…

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“Why thank you for your kind words, Mr. Disney, but I’m just a backward Southern girl.” A pretentiously shy Carolyn Hanes-Ford senses some form of amorous advance by THE Walt Disney. He has been gushing effusively about Lyn’s work on the movie, The Day the Earth Stood Still and further claims to have read nearly everything Lyn has penned. Had he not been able to name titles and themes, this chain smoking Hollywood playboy would be a prime candidate for a casting couch expert; ‘I could send your career through the stratosphere, baby.’ Perhaps she was mistaking schmoozing for seduction.

“Backward? Mrs. Ford… please! My people tell me that you are one of the leading experts on Image result for tomorrowland disney 1950'sunidentified flying objects. That is why I invited you and… Your friend… where is the dashing Mr. Ford?”

“I believe you could find him at your TWA Rocket to the Moon exhibit in Tomorrowland. Knowing him like I do, he is trying to fly that thing.”

“It is not interactive,” injects the amused animator.

“That makes no difference to him.”

“Well okay,” he concedes. “Disneyland is all his… may I call you Carolyn?”

“Please do, Walt.” Familiarity abounds.

Call me Walt, call me Disney, call me Dizzy, and just don’t call me late for breakfast.

Lyn would not be calling him for breakfast anytime soon, but that last long draw on his Pall Mall cigarette had that ‘Thank you for a great night, sweetie’ feel to it.

Getting back to my original reason for inviting you here… I’m talking about my memoirs and you writing them. You seem to be just the person to tell my story; the perfect combinations of grounded core values and wonderfully open imagination.”


Alpha Omega M.D.

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Walt Disney Mickey Mouse Partners by Jennifer Hickey

Episode #313


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Contents 5-2016

You got GOLD, welcome to the United States! – WABAC to California

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"Where is the WABAC Machine going to take us this time, Mr. Peabody?

“Where is the WABAC Machine going to take us this time, Mr. Peabody?

“Set the WABAC for 1850 California Sherman My Boy…oh and do you remember where I put my pick-ax?”

 

September 9, 1850: California Becomes 31st American State

california

You got GOLD, welcome to the United States!

On September 9, 1850, in the middle of the California Gold Rush, California was admitted to the Union as the 31st state of the United States.  The second largest state at the time until the admission of Alaska, when it fell to third, California is currently the most populous US state and has claim to many other reasons why it might be the greatest state.

Look what we started……

The state that gave us Disneyland, Knotts Berry Farm, the politicians Ronald Reagan, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Richard Nixon, California also gives us world class wines and Rice-a-Roni, the San Francisco treat.

California is also blessed with mountains, beaches, an incredibly scenic highway, Beverly Hills, surfer dudes and Valley girls.

Speaking of politicians, Californians even re-elected their former governor Jerry Brown back into office in 2011 after he had previously served as governor from 1975 to 1983, an incredible 28 years between terms!  When it comes to electing public figures, Californians seem to have a special place in their hearts for actors and elected B-movie actor Ronald Reagan as governor before he went on to win the race for the White House.  In recent years, California has become more and more left in its leanings, although in 2003 voters ousted the Democratic governor Gray Davis and inserted former body builder and action film hero Arnold “The Austrian Oak” Schwarzenegger in his place.  Arnold, often beset by claims of sexual harassment, turned out to have fathered a child out of wedlock with his maid, which put an end to all remaining political aspirations.  When compared to Richard Nixon, however, former Senator from California and disgraced President of the United States, Arnold does not look that bad.  Other performers have also been elected to office, with Sonny Bono and Clint Eastwood among them.

In terms of sports, California boasts an incredible array of professional teams: including 3 NFL teams; 5 major league baseball teams; 4 NBA teams and 1 WNBA basketball team; 3 NHL teams; and 3 pro soccer teams.  College sports is also big business there, with major schools being UCLA and USC.

California is the agricultural leader of the the US, and produces half of the nation’s fruit.  The US used to get its pistachios from Iran, but after the 1979 unpleasantness, Californian producers provided this service.

The Golden State is also home to many major US military installations.

In one statistic not to be proud of, though, it is also home to one third of all Americans on welfare!

Caucasians (whites) make up 57% of the population and Mexicans 31%.  Obviously Spanish is the second most spoken language in California, but can you guess the third most spoken language?  It is Tagalog, the native language of the Philippines.

Los Angeles has replaced Chicago as the second largest American city and together with Hollywood and San Francisco is renowned for its colorful characters.

 

You got GOLD, welcome to the United States! – WABAC to California

The Happiest Place on Earth

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The Happiest Place on Earth

“We leave a Disney park reassured. We have opened our eyes to the world of the possible. We have experienced the better world. And by the way, we have fun while we were being entertained, and “reassured.” 
― Martin A. Sklar
Walt Disney Company

“Disneyland will never be completed. It will continue to grow as long as there is imagination left in the world.”

― Walt Disney Company

“Here is the world of imagination, hopes, and dreams. In this timeless land of enchantment, the age of chivalry, magic and make-believe are reborn – and fairy tales come true. Fantasyland is dedicated to the young-in-heart, to those who that when you wish upon a star, your dreams come true.” 

Mickey Mouse gives some people Disney spells. — A Pun for the Intelligent Kid Inside Everyone

“Fantasy and reality often overlap.”

― Walt Disney

 

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