Setting Course for the Disneyland System: Birthday Episode II page 3

Discussion in 'Disneyland Trip Reports' started by Sleepless Knight, Jul 14, 2012.

  1. Sleepless Knight

    Sleepless Knight <font color=darkorchid>Jedi Knight Seeking His Jed

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    Chapter 4: An Evening at the Walt Disney Studios

    Well one great thing about going to the El Capitan is that you wind up on their mailing list. And while L.A. is too far away for me to simply go to a movie down there, when you're on the El Capitan mailing list you find about what movies are showing there. And so one day in October 2009, I got something in the mail advertising the Ultimate Disney Experience. As part of the celebration of the return of hand drawn animation with The Princess and the Frog, Disney would be holding advance screenings of The Princess and the Frog at The Walt Disney Studios open to the public. So yes, once again I get to visit the Walt Disney Studios and see a new movie there.

    Since the dates worked wonderfully around my traditional December trip, I decided to extend it out a day this year and see the movie at the Studios. But what's even better is that I would get to see the studios at Christmas time.

    Decorations

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    Just in case I get lost on the way to check in, these frog prints show me the way.

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    Almost to the welcome center. Stay on target. Stay on target.

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    Sadly, this trip will not include a visit to SQUIRREL!!!!

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    Avast there, ye scurvy scum. . .

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    A different statue from Narnia. I saw the Mr. Tumnus one during my first visit as well as the actual wardrobe.

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    Up next: After the movie. . .
     
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  3. Karenann*

    Karenann* Wishing upon a Star...

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    That's just how I feel...the weight of the world coming off my shoulders -carefree!
     
  4. Sleepless Knight

    Sleepless Knight <font color=darkorchid>Jedi Knight Seeking His Jed

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    For me that moment almost always happens as I walk through underneath the train station and see the sign about leaving the world of today behind.
     
  5. KCmike

    KCmike Never have fallen asleep on any

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    I think I in the minority here but I really liked Princess and the Frog. I thought the colors were gorgeous and the music was very catchy and entertaining.
     
  6. Sleepless Knight

    Sleepless Knight <font color=darkorchid>Jedi Knight Seeking His Jed

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    I really liked the movie too. I easily place it in my top 20 of Disney animated films. And I would place Ray the firefly in my top 10 of animated supporting characters.
     
  7. nancy drew

    nancy drew Registered

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    I agree, Mike. I liked Princess and the Frog a lot. It was a *Disney* movie, not a Pixar movie (nothing wrong with Pixar at all, don't get me wrong) and it had that distinctly Disney feel to it. I don't know if that makes sense to anyone else, but it makes sense to me ;).
     
  8. Sleepless Knight

    Sleepless Knight <font color=darkorchid>Jedi Knight Seeking His Jed

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    Makes sense to me. The movies from the two companies feel different, though at the same time I absolutely believe that Pixar has made a lot of movies just like Walt and the Nine Old Men used to make them.

    I think Pixar feels more "modern" while Disney is more "timeless." But to defend Pixar, their movies feel modern without being dated.
     
  9. nancy drew

    nancy drew Registered

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    I agree on all points. Pixar movies are not dated, and reach people of all ages. I could probably spend a lot of time discussing the strengths of each company over a glass or two of wine. That is a conversation that would only be interesting to a small handful of people on this planet, though. :cool2:
     
  10. Sleepless Knight

    Sleepless Knight <font color=darkorchid>Jedi Knight Seeking His Jed

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    I think that's what message boards are for. So that those of us who could discuss these things for hours on end have a place to do so without driving our other friends crazy.
     
  11. NStramler

    NStramler Mouseketeer

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    Love the report so far... you are a wonderful writer..... I also am in love with the "Mouse"....
     
  12. Sleepless Knight

    Sleepless Knight <font color=darkorchid>Jedi Knight Seeking His Jed

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    Thank you. As much as I joke about parents being careful what they expose their young children to, I'm glad that mine chose Disney and Star Wars. Speaking of which, here's a random shot celebrating both.

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  13. Sleepless Knight

    Sleepless Knight <font color=darkorchid>Jedi Knight Seeking His Jed

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    Chapter 5: The Ultimate Disney Experience Part 1

    From the Welcome Center, we were escorted to the Fantasia Theater right across from the original Animation Building which I covered in my earlier TR about the Walt Disney Studios. We had to check our cameras and phones back at the Welcome Center, so I couldn't take pictures. Inside the lobby of the Fantasia Theater were some nice moquettes and such from Fantasia. Walt's animators believe that if Fantasia had been a commercial success when first released it would have altered animation forever. I love the film and was thrilled when Disney finally released it on blu-ray back in 2010. It was about time. Sadly, it seemed like they put it back into the vault within weeks.

    Once inside the theater, I took my seat and enjoyed the organist playing a variety of Disney classics similar to what they do at the El Capitan before showing a movie. Since it's been so long since this moment, I'll dispense with a lengthy review of the film. Suffice it to say, I enjoyed The Princess and the Frog. It was a lot of fun. I have some theories about why it didn't succeed at the box office, but those involve assorted mistakes made by the company over the years.

    Now it's time to move on to the determining factor in why I chose to spend nearly $50 to see a movie mere days before its theatrical release. Disney billed this as the Ultimate Disney Experience and held a similar event in New York city, but I don't think the New York event could match the historic location of the Walt Disney Studios. After getting my camera and phone back, I went to the stage where the event was held and began what was billed as the Ultimate Disney Experience.

    What makes this the Ultimate Disney Experience? For me it was the opportunity to have another opportunity to be at the Walt Disney Studios and see so many artifacts from the Disney Archives. I loved seeing historical artifacts, props, models, and cels from some of my all-time favorite films and movies that I've yet to see.

    For those of you who have watched the bonus material on Sleeping Beauty, you've likely seen the reference footage used by the animators of Helene Stanley dancing as Briar Rose in the forest. Alice Davis designed that costume and later married animator Marc Davis whom she met at Disney. Alice would go on to do the costumes for Pirates of the Carribean and It's a Small World and she and Marc helped inspire Carl and Ellie in Up. In fact, the scene where Carl is going down the stairs is straight out of the Davis' home.

    Here's one of the reference costumes animators used for Tiana in The Princess and the Frog.

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    So much early animation legend in this one display case. These are the gamechangers.

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    Do you remember the 50s when Emperor Claudius died?

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    (Bonus points to anyone who can name that reference)

    Here's a closer look at some of the items from what is easily the most important decade in Disney parks history, but there were also some great films in the 1950s as well. Or as I can still quote from a beloved childhood bedtime story, "Lady was the mother and Tramp was the father. . .

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    20,000 Leagues Under the Sea is a tremendous achievement. The visual effects still hold up today.

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    You didn't think I could resist taking a picture of what I believe to be the most beautiful animated film of all time now did you?

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    Dead men tell no tales. . .

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    A costume from the movie that started the pirate craze.

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    More from Narnia

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    Enchanted still makes me laugh. I love how Disney poked gentle fun at their own history and put an amalgamation of their classic leading ladies in our world today.

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    New Orleans themed decor on the soundstage.

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    Still haven't seen this movie, but the prop is cool anyways.

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    Next up was a 20-30 minute tour of the Walt Disney Studios given by Disneyland tour guides. They were very excited about this as for many of them it was a chance to see the studios for themselves.

    I didn't take many pictures in the animation building as I'd already seen it before. It's still cool and there are plenty of pictures in my earlier trip report if you want to see them.

    Pinocchio, in my opinion, may be the second most beautiful animated film ever.

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    The Lion King. Enough said.

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    Concept art from The Princess and the Frog.

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    As the foundation of Disney animation, the 7 Dwarfs hold up the Team Disney building, where the company officers have their offices today. I love the Santa hat on Dopey.

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    You may remember from my earlier Studios visit that the Disney Legends statue contains a hidden Gus from Cinderella.

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    The two who started it all. In this case Walt and Mickey face the Team Disney building. And those with offices in the Team Disney building had better pay attention to that legacy.

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  14. Sleepless Knight

    Sleepless Knight <font color=darkorchid>Jedi Knight Seeking His Jed

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    Like Christopher Nolan with Batman movies and JJ Abrams with Star Trek, I've decided to reboot this trip report. Hopefully my efforts will be as successful as theirs were. That I will leave for you the reader to decide.

    Everybody neat and pretty? Then on with the show.
     
  15. DisneyMomma81

    DisneyMomma81 DIS Veteran

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    Well...

    Where's the show??
     
  16. DisneyMarvelStarWars

    DisneyMarvelStarWars Mouseketeer

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    Thank you for sharing these beautiful stories.
     
  17. aidensmom31

    aidensmom31 Obsessed Disney Fan

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    I love Sleeping Beauty too!!! My all time fave.

    And I would just die to go to Walt Disney studios and see all the history!!!
     
  18. Sleepless Knight

    Sleepless Knight <font color=darkorchid>Jedi Knight Seeking His Jed

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    You're welcome. I believe the moments like these make Disneyland special. I feel fortunate to have seen them.

    Even all these years later, I still cannot quite believe that I got to see the Walt Disney Studios.
     
  19. Sleepless Knight

    Sleepless Knight <font color=darkorchid>Jedi Knight Seeking His Jed

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    Begun the show has. And seeing as you're from northern Utah, you should recognize my jacket. Brigham Young University Class of 2000.

    The Happiest Birthday on Earth: Episode II

    So now let's set our wayback machine to a new date. Namely February 2009.

    As you may remember from prior reports that I am an accountant, like my father before me. This also means that trips to Disneyland don't happen in tax season even if my birthday falls in February. I was fully prepared that my dream visit on my birthday in February 2008 that featured a visit to the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank a couple of days later would be a one time deal and I was fine with that. But before tax season really picked up, I decided to take a one day trip to Disneyland before my annual pass expired.

    I mentioned this in passing to my mother and she asked why I wasn't going down on my birthday for the free admission or birthday gift card promotion on your birthday that Disneyland was offering in 2009. I replied that it was tax season, to which she turned to my dad (also my boss) and told him that she thought I should go. After all, how often does Disney give you a birthday present like that? When my dad didn't protest, I asked if that would be okay with him. After all since my birthday fell on a Friday in mid February, it wasn't too busy yet. Since I had proven the year before that I would put in the work necessary, my dad agreed and my one day quick trip became a 2 day birthday visit. Huzzah!!!

    One thing to understand about me. For whatever reason, I've never really been a big birthday person. One year in college my roommates couldn't believe it when they found out at the end of the day that it had been my birthday. But somehow that all changes at Disneyland. I don't really know why. So on the morning of February 13, 2009, I spend my second consecutive birthday in the Happiest Place on Earth where my first thrilling and exciting stop is: City Hall.

    Why City Hall do you ask? First I need to get my birthday button and birthday fun card. And second I've decided that I want to see Princess Aurora on my birthday. City Hall is friendly as always, even making mouse ear balloons next to my name. However, they did give me a piece of information that I didn't want. The only place to see Princess Aurora in the parks today is the dreaded Princess Fantasy Faire or as I like to call it, Disney Princess Russian Roulette. Why does this meet and greet drive me mad? Because I really only want to see one princess and the line for this meet and greet can get really long, really fast and may well end up with my turn coming to find that there are 3 random princesses, none of whom are famous for having hair of golden sunshine.

    So with that news, I proceed to Fantasyland where I decide that my first attraction of the day will be the Sleeping Beauty Castle Walkthrough. Yes, I'm going to spend that precious morning ride time in an attraction that will not have a line for the entire day. But it's my birthday, and I really want to see the recently reopened walkthrough in all its glory. And now comes the moment of decision. Do I play Disney Princess Russian Roulette which will open in just a few minutes? I head over to the area and find that just a few minutes before opening, the line remains short. Figuring that I don't have much to lose, I opt to get in line. Worst case scenario, I'll only lose 15-20 minutes if my turn comes and Aurora isn't there.

    In just a few minutes, the cast members arrive and we begin the walk to the queue. The princesses will be coming soon. The buzz and excitement all around me build. People cannot wait to see the princesses. Younglings bounce off the walls and chains that form the queue. Autograph books. Check. Pens ready and full of ink. Check. Wait, we don't have an autograph book? Quick, let's send dad in the Batmobile to the nearest gift shop to get one. And then we come to me. All by myself, I wait, hoping that my wait ends happily. It is during this wait, that I overhear a story that sums up why I really wish Disneyland would end the insanity of Disney Princess Russian Roulette.

    A family behind me has once again entered into the breach. Many days have they spent in Disneyland. And their daughter wants one thing. See Cinderella she must. And so this family has tried. Oh how they've tried. They went to the Princess Fantasy Faire on the first day. No such luck. Again on the second day they try. And again they fail. They even have lunch at Ariel's Grotto. And guess who isn't there? So they again play Disney Princess Russian Roulette. And again they lose. You can hear the frustration in their voices. It's reached a point where the princesses recognize this little girl because they've seen her. A lot. And still no Cinderella. This is their last day and this little girl's last chance. As they inch closer to the start of the line, they send a scout to see what he can find out. The cast members, as usual, give their "it's a surprise" answer. You know, sometimes I hate that answer. But then the scout catches a glimpse. He comes back to report that there's al girl in a yellow dress, a blue dress, and a pink dress.

    The excitement level in this area has now really gone through the roof. There are audible sighs of relief, muttered statements of "finally," and one very excited little girl. As for me I'm hopeful that the sighting of a girl in a pink dress means that Aurora will be there. And finally after 15-20 minutes, my turn comes. I turn the corner and there she is. The Princess Aurora. Upon seeing my button she wishes me a happy birthday. And upon seeing my shirt, she comments that she remembers when they took that portrait of her and comments that she's been trying to get Merryweather to change her dress back to blue, but Flora won't let her. I laugh and tell her that I agree with Merryweather. Aurora then teaches me to stand like a Prince. The Force is with me on my birthday.

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    Dear Disney, please watch Sleeping Beauty again. Aurora's dress is blue far more often than it's pink. Stop toying with the magic of such a fun ending by never showing her in blue.

    Having seen Princess Aurora, I see no need to remain any longer at the Princess Fantasy Faire. Somebody else can have their turn now. I've seen the one princess I really wanted to see. Attractions wait for me to ride them. There's a birthday fun card with my name written on it. And a free character photo in California Adventure on account of my Disney Visa. I head over there and it's Pluto. Yea! Pluto makes my top 10 Disney character list.

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    But on this day, one surprise remains. Rain. I reach a point where I head back to my hotel to change into dry clothes and put my camera away. But this rain is not a bad thing. The park is virtually empty. On a Friday night. I literally ride Splash Mountain all by myself 2 times in a row. And then I score a walk up reservation to the Blue Bayou where I will be eating for the first time.

    The next day brings sunnier weather for which I'm quite happy. And it's now time to see the chipmunks, for whom I have very exciting news. Chip and Dale have made a habit out of examining my pins each time they see me. And each time, they scold me for not having a pin of them on my lanyard. I temporary placate them with a truthful explanation that I don't want to lose the pin of them as ewoks banging on a stormtrooper helmet. But since my last meeting with my favorite trouble making ewoks, I have procured a pin of them for my lanyard. But before the moment of truth arrives, we have a problem. Chip and Dale start to fight with each other. This is awesome! Why in the world would I say that Chip and Dale fighting with each other is awesome? Because this means that I'm meeting Chip and Dale. These are not people wearing costumes of chipmunks. Oh no, they really are Chip and Dale. This is how Chip and Dale behave.

    The cast member tries to get them to behave, but behaving and Chip and Dale don't always go together so the fight continues.

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    Having had their fun, Chip and Dale decide I can now meet them.

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    And sure enough, they begin their examination of my lanyard and lo and behold, there near the bottom are the greatest chipmunks in the world. Dressed as ewoks banging on a stormtrooper helmet.

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    Why Bolt? Because Rhino is part hamster, 1/16th wolverine, and 1000% beAWESOME!!!! And yes, there's a little bit or maybe a whole lot of me in that character. Made the movie he did.

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    Two of my favorite places in all Disneyland.

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    And for the last moment of the day, it's time to see Mickey. I missed getting a picture with him yesterday on account of leaving my camera in my hotel. No trip to Disneyland is complete without seeing the mouse that started it all.

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    So while one trip comes to an end, the other is just a few parsecs away. And it will be a dream come true. If I can survive tax season, it's time to lay in a course for the Orlando system and Star Wars Weekends 2009.
     
  20. KCmike

    KCmike Never have fallen asleep on any

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    Nice to see an update. I'm on board once again.
     
  21. Sleepless Knight

    Sleepless Knight <font color=darkorchid>Jedi Knight Seeking His Jed

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    Finished writing the next installment of my trip report I have. Once ready the pictures are, an update we will see.:yoda:
     

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