Back To Back!

When I last posted, I mentioned that I would be going on the newest attraction on the Disneyland Resort property, the oft-misnamed Toy Story Midway Mania! (their exclamation point; I would have used more)…as MiceAge is eager to remind you, the promoting of this attraction has been met with some confusion not only as to what the ride is called (most print materials call it ‘Toy Story Mania!’, but the marquee on the ride itself says ‘Toy Story Midway Mania!’), but even as to where the ride is located (most ads use the iconic Disneyland logo with ‘resort’ in really small letters, and very few use the name Disney’s California Adventure, where the ride really is)…

No matter what you call it or where you think it is, it’s a fantastically enjoyable ride…sort of a mixture of the interactivity of ‘Buzz Lightyear’s Astro Blasters’ and, well, nothing else you’ve ever experienced, Toy Story Midway Mania is a masterful feat of technology and classic Disney fun…it’s also incredibly undermarketed as far as merchandise goes…at the end of your ride, you are awarded with virtual ‘prizes’ in the forms of google-eyed animals, but the critters are only available for purchase as a set of pins, not plushes…and what child wouldn’t want their very own ‘Boardwalk Barker Mr. Potato Head’?…

Day 364 – August 12th, 2008 What are you looking at, ya hockey puck?

Yes, the technology of the ride is just too much to keep inside the building, as the wildly impressive Mr. Potato Head welcomes guests into the queue line…though the voice clips are canned (and provided by Rickles!), the figure can recognize people in the crowd to offer different sayings (like, “Yes, you in the white shirt!”)…he can also tip his hat, pull out his ear and put it back (usually)…

As you can tell, Project 365 has come to a close…it’s been a neat way to go through the year, but I’m happy to say that I won’t be doing it again this coming year (for a number of reasons; one big one I’ll get to later)…perhaps I’ll go through all of my pictures and do a breakdown of how many of my pictures were of certain things (like concerts, food, me, etc.)…until then, you can take a look at all of my Project 365 pictures here

It’s only fitting that I was back in the Magic Kingdom on the final day of Project 365…I mention before how I found it funny that it took a whole year of picture-taking for me to figure out all the different settings on my camera (impending irony alert!!)…while few picture will be as good as the best picture I’ve ever taken, I think this last picture is a good, modest wrap-up to a year in my life in photos…

Day 365 – August 13th, 2008 Disneyland is the star, everything else is in the supporting role.

That’s the model of Disneyland as it looked when it opened in July of 1955…the model stands in the Main Street opera house, which is also the home to countless other items from the parks history, like concept drawings and models of attractions and even some of the old ticket books…and so ends a year.

But that end is not the end, of course, as the day after that was my birthday…we took a tour of the Warner Brothers studio lot, which was fascinating…we went onto working sets and entire streets that were façades, and an older woman in our group slipped and fell inside of one of the large sets that wasn’t really a building so much as it was a few concrete blocks and walls inside a giant wooden shell…that particular façade was used for exterior shots of Miss Hannigan’s orphanage in a version of ‘Annie’, which led Mom, Dad and I to make horrible ‘Annie’- and falling down-related quips…good thing my people don’t have a Hell, otherwise I think I’d be ruling it by now…

The rest of the tour took us to a few soundstages, including the set of a new TV show called ‘The Mentalist’, which appears to be nothing more than ‘Psych’ played as a drama…it was neat to see all the detail on everything, and how walls and rooms just stop wherever the camera would never see…they also have a little museum with props and costumes from the studio’s long history…

For dinner, we met up with my cousin/dentist Karin and went to the legendary Trader Vic’s lounge…we went there to visit a few years ago, and the lounge has since moved to a smaller location in the same hotel…while it wasn’t as campy as the old location, it was still very enjoyable…I had my very first cocktail, too; a world-famous Trader Vic’s Mai Tai…of course, they claim to have invented it, and that’s good enough for me…the drink itself wasn’t so good, but it wasn’t horrible…I don’t see myself becoming much of a drinker…then again, I don’t see myself becoming much of a driver, either!…

We spent the last two days of our vacation in the Parks, where we got to ride on the historic Lilly Belle car on the Disneyland Railroad…once reserved for Mrs. Disney herself (as well as her VIP friends), the recently-restored car gives a tour of Disneyland just like the train it’s conntected to, but offers so much more…first of all, you need a special pass to get on (which you can simply ask for, but you may have to wait a while)…once on, you can admire the sights and sounds of the park from the comfort of upholstered seats, admire the interior decorating (picked out by Mrs. Disney), and there are usually a few Disney family photos adorning the walls and end tables (for some reason, they weren’t there when we rode)…it was a wonderful experience…you can read more about the Lilly Belle, as well as all of Disneyland’s rich railroad history, here

As luck would have it, two days after Project 365 ends, my camera dies…unlike us, it didn’t survive Splash Mountain…it might just be a problem with the battery, but I’m looking to get a new camera soon, at least by next Friday for the Sonic Youth (!!!!) show…

On Saturday, we got to ride on a new addition to Disneyland’s fleet of transportation vehicles, the Mark VII Monorail “Red”…the thing is gorgeous, but anything is better than the DreamCloud-wrapped Mark V Monorail that’s been making rounds all alone as the Mark VII’s are still testing…it was neat to ride in it, as it’s often taken out of service when the weather gets too hot…y’see, the new design doesn’t allow for much airflow into the non-air-conditioned cabins, and that can be a bit on the unbearable side in the California sun…two more Mark VII’s, “Blue” and “Orange” should be testing soon, and there’s a chance that a fourth, “Purple,” will round out the new set…

Coming back home involved a lot of sitting around at LAX, but at least I got my review of the new Dandy Warhols album done (I’ll post that soon)…

That’s it for now…whew!
E.

Lyric of the Time:
They’re peeling off the bandages
I’m wincing in the light
The nurse is looking anxious
And she’s quivering in fright
I’m looking through Gary Gilmore’s eyes

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~ by E. on August 20, 2008.

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