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Friday, September 10, 2010

Pretty Good Sure as You're Born

Today, I thought that I would talk about one of my favorite attractions at the Magic Kingdom, Splash Mountain.

Splash Mountain, like most other Disney rides, originated at Disneyland. The ride opened on July 17, 1989 in California. Three years later on October 2, 1992, the Magic Kingdom Found it's laughing place in Frontierland. Of course, to do this, the land had to go through many drastic changes. The before and after pictures are shocking, it is hard to even recognize the old Frontierland compared to today. The funny thing is, the ride isn't even set in the old west. It is set in the deep south, which I guess you could say is a frontier of another kind.

The 11 minute long ride culminates in a 52 foot plunge into Br'er Rabbits Brier Patch. Most people have been on the ride several times, have seen all the great animatronics (including a multi-million dollar one of a hopping Br'er Rabbit) mostly taken from the defunct show, America sings. However, most people do not know the fantastic story behind the ride.

Br'er Rabbit is tired of the monotony of his home and decides to take off. Along the way, two rascally villains follow him, hoping to get something good to eat. Several times they catch him, and each time Br'er Rabbit uses his brains to get out of the trouble. When it looks like Br'er Rabbit is about to meet his doom, he convinces Br'er Fox to throw him down the mountain into the Brier patch to kill him and get back at him for all the times he made a fool of him. So, not knowing that the Rabbit lives in the patch, Br'er Fox flings him down the mountain. The ride ends in the final scene with a 40 foot tall showboat welcoming Br'er Rabbit back home to the toon of Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah, and Br'er Rabbit telling everyone that passes by that there is no place like home.

So, where did this story come from? Most of us have seen that music video of Zip-a-Dee-Do-Dah where animated birds and animals come to life and sing Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah with several children with an old man following behind trying to catch up. What most of us have not seen is the movie that this was taken from. Well, this clip came from the best Disney movie that was never released, Song of the South. Song of the South tells about the tradition of stories and song in the Deep south narrated by Uncle Remus himself. Uncle Remus was replaced by Br'er Frog in order to keep out any racial context. This movie was not released though due to 'racial context', although it is not that bad. I encourage everyone reading this to take an hour and a half to google the movie and watch it online. It is a fine movie with a lot of soul.

Anyway, so there you have it. Splash Mountain, one of the most popular rides at the Magic Kingdom, which almost no one knows the story behind.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Fantasmic!

Hey everybody! Recently I have been thinking a lot about one of my favorite shows in the whole wide world ever, Fantasmic! So I thought, what better way to start my blog off than on this fantastic show!

Fantasmic! is arguably the best show on the Disney World property. It has been there since October 15, 1998 when it replaced the fireworks spectacular, Sorcery in the Sky. However, this is not where this show began. To see that, we have to go back to the root of all Disney parks, Disneyland.

Fantasmic opened at Disneyland on May 13, 1992 on the Rivers of America. It was a technologically amazing show using mostly equipment (rafts, location, etc.) that was being used for another purpose in the daytime. However, many things that were already there had to be reworked, such as the location on Tom Sawyer's Island. Well, this show obviously became a hit, and when MGM in Florida needed a new show, the choice was obvious.

When the show was duplicated in Florida, several things changed. First of all, in California, whenever pre-show work was done during the day time, anyone could see it. This is an extreme breach in the Disney laws. Also, there were capacity and crowd control problems since the show happens right there on the river. This was easily fixed with a state of the art amphitheater created specifically for Fantasmic! Thus the Hollywood Hills Amphitheater was born. This theater contains a 60 foot mountain littered with trap doors, elevator lifts, and special effects to make this complicated show run.

Several scenes of the show also changed in the process. Disney CEO at the time, Michael Eisner, wanted to incorporate some of Disney's newer movies into the show, so new scenes were added in the movie montage, and the Peter Pan sequence in California was added. Also, the Pinocchio puppets were replaced by puppet animals from the Lion King.

Another notable difference is the inclusion of several more villains. Jaffar plays a large and crucial part in the MGM/DHS incarnation of the show, where in California he is almost non-existent. Ursula's rendition of poor unfortunate souls was sacrificed in order to include a wider cast of Disney villains.

All of these changes resulted in the fantastic show that we know and love today. Some people have seen both Fantasmic! shows and often debate about which Fantasmic! is better. Well, here is how they stack up in the numbers:

Disney's Hollywood Studios:
Capacity-10,000
Show Length-26-27 minutes
Cost per show-approx. 25,000

Disneyland:
Capacity-10,000
Show Length-22 minutes
Cost per show-approx 30,000

If, like me, you have not seen both versions of the show, I highly recommend that you go to YouTube and watch it. The two shows vary in some sections, but more often, you will be reminded of a similar show closer to home. Now, just don't base your judgement off of a video because there is nothing like actually being there.

The one thing that I dislike about this show is it's infrequency. I have missed out on seeing it several times due to Disney cutting back the shows to twice a week. Now I understand that this is to save money, but I also understand that when Fantasmic! is showing, Mickey's nightmare isn't even close to the one you will experience while trying to find a seat. In my opinion, this was a bad Idea on Disney's part but that is just me.

Anyway, Fantasmic! is an amazing show that should be seen on ALL trips to the World. I'll see you next time and remember, keep it magical!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Hello, Everyone!

Hello anyone who has decided to read this blog. As I am just getting started, I have no idea what to expect from this...

Anyway, as you may have expected, my favorite thing in the whole wide world is Disney. I enjoy researching Disney, listening about Disney, Reading about Disney, etc. One of the things I haven't tried is blogging about Disney. I am hoping that this will be an enjoyable experience for both me and you!

So, what am I going to write about? Any and all things Disney. Now, I will be the first to say I do not know everything about Disney, so I am hoping that this will be a learning experience for me. I am sure that there are some of you that know a whole lot more about Disney than I do, and that is a good thing. Please let me know if I am wrong or if you would like to expand on the topic by commenting.

So...here goes nothing. I am not going to promise anything, and I won't be able to put out a daily blog, however, I will try to get one out once a week. I may be more frequent than that, but I may be less frequent than that every once in a while. So, bear with me. Enjoy, and keep it magical!