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Subject: [FAQ/DL] D-I-G: The Disneyland Information Guide 4/7

This article was archived around: 11 Jun 1997 03:24:28 GMT

All FAQs in Directory: disney-faq/disneyland
All FAQs posted in: rec.arts.disney.parks, alt.disney.disneyland
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Disneyland theme park in Anaheim, California
Archive-name: disney-faq/disneyland/part4 Last-modified: June 1, 1997 Posting-frequency: Monthly Keywords: Disneyland, amusement-park, Disney, FAQ, California -------------------------------------------------------------------------- This document is copyright (c) 1997 by Al Lutz, alweho@aol.com Please refer to the copyright paragraph in Part One for details. -------------------------------------------------------------------------- HUNCHBACK FESTIVAL OF FOOLS SHOW This is a brand new 22 minute extravaganza that utilizes the former Big Thunder Ranch area located between Frontierland and Fantasyland behind the Big Thunder ride. A huge and very busy cast (bigger than any show I've seen at the park before) compete for your attention all over a large, almost distracting, semi-circular set. The basic premise is that Clopin (King of the Gypsies) tells you the story of the Hunchback, and all the celebrants on the stages around you (the performers) volunteer for the parts. The stage is gigantic - and its shape encourages action all over it with Quasi on ropes swinging back and forth or sliding down poles from some of the multi leveled platforms - some as high as four stories. The action also takes place in the audience area with dancers at ground level and on tops of carts that are wheeled back and forth between the main set and the center stage area. Set dressing / changing consists of large wooden panels or drapes being pulled open or over walls. Confetti cannons are used liberally. The song / production numbers ["The Bells of Notre Dame" "Out There" and "Topsy Turvey" a short "Hellfire"] take up the bulk of the show's time with spectacular staging. Because of this the rest of the movie's plot is then shoehorned into the last 7 minutes of the performance. As is typical with any DL show - everyone works very hard and is very talented. All of the music and the singing chorus of the show is on tape - some, but not all of the lead performances are live. Since Quasi can not sing because his costume - four singers are assigned to shadow him during the "Out There" number. They sing for him as he swings around the set - it does work well as a theatrical device. The music arrangements are top- notch as we've come to expect on the DL shows. (It's a much more briskly conducted version of the score than the film's soundtrack.) There are some problems - mainly having to do with the incredible amount of confusion 50 or so performers can engender while rushing around this huge set. The biggest is a dramatic device that is introduced by Clopin at the beginning, where he tells you that you will see people running all over the stage with red flags - which will be waved near where you should be focusing your attention to hear the story. I don't know about you - but anytime you have to tell folks where the play is - you're in trouble I would think. A few times it seems the flag wavers couldn't make it over to the action quick enough - confusing things a bit. Also this is the second show [after Pocahontas's missing Meeko and Flit] where the comic sidekicks that are so prominent in the film are not represented. Hugo, Victor and Laverne are nowhere to be seen. Just try and explain that to a six year old. Another major problem develops when the show ends. Because they funnel everyone though the gift shop area - which when people begin to browse and shop - it slows down the exiting. This was just plain stupid - accommodations should have been made to provide a swifter exit, and word is that DL is suffering from excessive shoplifting here. WARNING! If for some reason you decide to brave a show during the afternoon in the heat, make sure YOU ARE SLATHERED WITH SUNBLOCK AND HAVE A HAT. Once you get into the show THERE IS NOT A SPECK OF SHADE TO PROTECT YOU IN THE ENRIRE VIEWING AREA - so again MAKE SURE YOU ARE PREPARED. It's a brutal way to treat an audience, let's hope they come up with at least some kind of shade material that can be strung over the area. (As of this date DL had re-scheduled the shows to begin starting at about 3 PM because of the avalanche of complaints they had received about this problem.) Here's what you have to deal with: 30 minutes before show time you and about 2,000 other people are herded from the line in the walkway into a holding pen area - where upon you will then be told how the seating for the show works. Cast Members pair up and try to explain that different color flags that you will see being waved once you enter the show area indicate what kind of seating there is. No matter how loud they shout - how many flags they hold up - or how many diagrams they thrust in the air - trust me you will not understand a word they are saying. Since they are not amplified - plus someone got the brilliant idea that they had to affect an accent - mostly English, what that has to do with France I have no idea - you will not be able to know what to do. Basically this is what they are trying to communicate to you: There are three ways to see this event. 1) Sitting on a semi circular series of benches facing the center structure looking towards the half circle of the stage, 2) Sitting on the ground right at the base of the stage with the center structure and then the benches across from you, or 3) Standing. If you sit on the benches, in particular in the center area facing the center tower head on and NOT at an angle, everything happens in front of you with some show action to your sides. In the other two areas, the show surrounds you somewhat - but you will be at a viewing disadvantage during some moments in the performance. The standing areas behind the benches across from the stage may probably be the best way to view this show for now. When you get accommodated vendors come out and sell you drinks - and the CM's try to get the audience spirit up with making everyone do the wave or have sections out- shout each other until the show starts. Overall, the Hunchback "Festival of Fools" is enthusiastically performed and very well done - Disneyland should be commended for trying something this major and elaborate, and the cast certainly deserves major bows for the hard work they put into it. When they make the viewing conditions more civilized for the audience, they will have outdone themselves again. JOHN FROST frost1313@aol.com posted his own extensive guide to the show online in the Disney Usenet Newsgroups, and at his new Harbor Club 1313 website, he offers some terrific detailed advice, much more than I can possibly squeeze into this guide: http://members.aol.com/frost1313/ THE SPIRIT OF POCAHONTAS SHOW This show replaced Beauty and the Beast Live at the FANTASYLAND STAGE (formerly Videopolis). This show did NOT impress me - and it probably has to do with the fact that "Pocahontas" as a movie is just a much tougher challenge than something like "Beast" to create a half-hour theme park extravaganza out of. Since my initial review DL has steadily improved it, but I think it's still much too arty and stylized for children especially, as they end-up getting quite restless. (Meeko and Flit, who keep them entertained in the film, are not represented on stage -- although you may be able to find Meeko out as a walk-around in the general show area.) There is a long prelude before the show starts with a simulated moonrise and forest effects as the audience gets settled, and then there is a very VERY long overture before the actual show starts up. Basically an elder storyteller recounts the Pocahontas legend to his tribe, and they, through the use of primitive props, (silver masks represent the British for example) act out the story. The exception of course is that Pocahontas and John Smith "magically" appear to perform. The performers and dancers (the woman performing Pocahontas especially) are quite good and there's lots of bouncy and running type choreography. (Want to get an eerie feeling? Listen to everyone sing along word by word to the songs. - Ahhh the Disney promotion machine at its finest!) As always with any DL show, the sets, costumes, and clever effects with trapdoors and wind-blown leaves are all top-notch. The recorded musical score improves upon the film's since it's more briskly and brightly conducted. Make an effort to see this show at night since the lighting adds a lot to it. As it probably won't run anywhere near as long as "Beauty & the Beast" did, you may want to catch this show soon. Susan Paulukonis spaulukonis@ets.org was kind enough to offer the following additional thoughts on this show: "The Pocahontas show is wonderful if you are a preschool through preadolescent child, especially a girl. My 3 year old daughter and the other girls around us were enthralled, despite the 45 minute wait and seats in almost the back row. It sounds like they've made changes for the better since then, which we adults will appreciate, but besides meeting Mickey in person, I don't think there was a better event in 2 full days of DL for my daughter." TIPS: On busy days people are waiting up to an hour before show time to get a seat during the day - with the only performance that's not brutally crowded being the last one of the night. Your best bet to get a seat without waiting for hours in the sun is to get in line for the last show just as the previous show gets out. Make sure you get a pass from the CM's guarding the entrances and exits of the show if you decide to get something from the snack bar or use the restroom. This will insure you can get back in and to your seat. WARNING: There have been some show cancellations due to performers getting injured while dancing on the very steeply raked stage. Since DL has not been announcing cancellations until just before show time, a wait in line may end up being a total waste of time for you. Keep this in mind if time is tight during your visit. --------------------------------- 16) PARADES & FIREWORKS --------------------------------- THE HERCULES VICTORY CELEBRATION This is a "performance" parade, stopping several times on the route between Fantasyland and Main St. to perform. If you want to see a complete show, rather than the parade just walking by, position yourself in any of these three areas, which are pretty standard for optimal views no matter what the procession: A) MAIN ST. PLAZA: Anywhere in the plaza across from the train station. (The parade wraps around you here!) B) MAIN ST. ITSELF: In the middle, where Carnation and Disney Clothiers are across from each other. C) THE HUB IN THE CENTER OF THE PARK: Across from the Tomorrowland plaza entrance. These are the best locations of course, so get your viewing spots an hour before parade time. If the temperature goes past 85, due to heat exhaustion the performers may face, (and the fact that the floats may start sinking into the hot asphalt), only the B & C areas will get complete performances. FANTASY IN THE SKY FIREWORKS with TINKERBELL Shows are performed nightly begininng Jun. 20th, and run until Labor Day. (There isalso a midnight show on New Year's Eve, and shows are enhanced for several days before and on the 4th of July.) "Tinkerbell" has returned for Summer performances to start things off, flying down from the Matterhorn to a shack located up in the trees between Fantasyland and BIG THUNDER MTN. A new computerized DISNEY LIGHTS show joins the fireworks over the skies of DL which adds to the experience, they then repeat soundlessly a few times over the course of the rest of the evening. There are four really great viewing locations, (listed here in order of preference) depending on how you want to deal with the crowds: A) FANTASMIC!: The show either starts about 10 minutes before or after the first show. The fireworks appear above BIG THUNDER MTN. to your right, and you get to hear the music on the FANTASMIC! sound system. If you look closely in the trees between the Matterhorn and BIG THUNDER MTN., you can see Tink fly across. (Note TIP above.) B) FANTASYLAND: While the masses clog Main St., you can view the show in relatively un-crowded conditions by sitting in the table area located between DUMBO and CASEY JR'S CIRCUS TRAIN behind the Carousel, 60 to 45 minutes before show time. Here is also the best location for getting an up close view of Tink as she flies right over the Carousel from the MATTERHORN, upon which you'll then turn around to look over at the back of the park for the fireworks. C) MAIN ST. USA: This has to be the most crowded location, due to the fact the nighttime parade ends here, and people want to relive those few opening and ending moments of the "Wonderful World of Color" TV show by watching the fireworks over the Castle. If you want to brave the crowds, best viewing spot is in the middle of the street right between the PLAZA INN and PLAZA PAVILION restaurants, moving back and forth until you have a clear view of the Matterhorn. You will also be optimally positioned to see the new DISNEY LIGHTS show from here. D) BIG THUNDER RANCH / FESTIVAL OF FOOLS STAGE AREA: If there is a 9 PM Hunchback show, and the fireworks are on time - CM's will allow you to stay in this area and see the fireworks go off right over your head. A wonderfully un-crowded area with bench seating, this is a great viewing alternative, (they even have thoughtfully piped in the music). The loud explosions - because they are launched almost directly over your head - add to the fun. TIP: Robert Pinsky rpinsky@msmail2.hac.com made the following very wise suggestion about loud fireworks scaring the younger ones - "After the parade, my little boy and I run to the Plaza Inn. We enter through the exit door and sit in the north facing solarium and watch the fireworks over the castle. I think he's afraid of the loud sounds, not the fireworks themselves. I guess I'm the only one that has ever thought of going there because the room is always empty during fireworks time." THOSE LITTLE DETAILS THAT MAKE DL SO SPECIAL... --------------------------------------- 17) DON'T MISS / DON'T BOTHER --------------------------------------- DON'T MISS: Some of the most charming places and things in the park always seem to get missed when you try and do everything at once. Here are some nifty things you may want to look or listen for on your visit: MAIN STREET USA WALT'S MINIATURE TRAIN ENGINE AND CABOOSE, which he built and ran in his backyard home are on exhibit at the Train Station. There is also an aerial map of DL with little lights that is used to show where the trains are on the track around the park. The photo dates back quite a few years and is fascinating if you want to know more about how the park is actually laid out. The GREAT MOMENTS WITH MR. LINCOLN lobby hosts THE WALT DISNEY STORY exhibit where you can see Walt's original offices from Burbank and lots of neat momentos. Also in the lobby look for the Owl from "So Dear To My Heart" do a brief presentation on Walt Disney's "True-Life Adventures" series of films. Many children delight in this simple presentation - which runs just before the widescreen film discussing the work that went into the Mr. Lincoln exhibit at the other end of the lobby. The MAIN STREET CINEMA offers five Mickey silents, along with STEAMBOAT WILLIE. Where the CONE SHOP and Lockers are located, look up at the windows and listen. You'll hear someone getting their tooth extracted at the dentist; a child being "taught" how to play the piano ("OUCH") at the piano teacher's; at the Hotel Marceline (named after Walt's home town) you'll hear someone gargling, or being told to turn his "musical cylinder machine" off, and at the Detective's Office you'll hear a gumshoe snoring. At the MARKET HOUSE shop look for the old-fashioned crank telephones on the wall and listen in to a 1890's party line. ADVENTURELAND While waiting in line for the JUNGLE CRUISE, look for an animated cobra and hornbill in the rafters of the second story queue area. Listen carefully to the radio which is blaring 30's & 40's music and news about Dr. Indy Jones' amazing discoveries at the temple of Mara next door. There is a great STEELBAND which performs most weekends / holidays and during the Summer (sometimes alternating with a terrific 40's Brass Band) on top of the Tropical Imports shop, which is part of the new JUNGLE CRUISE two-story wait area. The BAZAAR shops across the way now include two animated arcade-like attractions, a Robin Williams-sounding light-up / smoke-emitting lamp and a shrunken head medical advisor. They require 50 cents to operate. The TRUCK parked at the entrance of the INDY ride is the actual one that was used in the famous chase (where Indy gets thrown out the windshield) in the first movie. Look for the initials (in the Mara code of course) of all the Imagineers who worked on the new INDY ride in the obelisk room, down the corridor as you enter the temple. Of note are the late Frank Wells initials, which are at the right hand side of the wall next to the exit door. Down the corridor from this room you will see a statue with an inscription above it, when decoded it says "Earthly Riches," and the face intentionally resembles Walt, down to the mustache. You can set off the "drop" ceiling in INDY'S spike room by pushing lightly on the bamboo pole holding the ceiling up. Further on in the Indy queue, in the large circular room before you enter the movie area, yank on the rope coming out of the well for some neat sound effects. Look for MICKEY on the cover of the Life Magazine which is on the desk in the office cage after the movie room. The cage itself is constructed from a crate, which still bears the ID number of the one that contained the ark of the covenant which you see getting wheeled away in the final few seconds of the first Indy movie. NEW ORLEANS SQUARE THE DISNEY GALLERY, (enter via a stairway above the PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN) is a wonderful spot to enjoy a relaxing moment in the hustle and bustle of DL. Exhibits include DL Paris models and renderings; an "Indiana Jones" exhibit with models & artwork; and a permanent display about the creation of DL. The patio there is a wonderful place to sit down and relax, and the balcony, (where you can reserve seating for Fantasmic viewing / dessert buffet) offers a great view of the park. Listen to the clicks coming from the TRAIN STATION TELEGRAPH in New Orleans Square / Frontierland, it's Walt's DL opening day address that's being transmitted. To the right of the train station platform - there is a small walkway which leads to a viewing area for the DL RAILROAD engine. (There is also a similar viewing area in Tomorrowland.) Younger guests will especially enjoy this up-close look at the real steam engines - and don't be surprised if the train engineers take a few moments to chat and give you a special toot on the whistle. At night the HAUNTED MANSION has a spooky dim light moving around inside past the second story windows. Also take a few moments to read the very wry tombstones in the pet cemetery, located to the left of the building as you approach it. One contains a grammatical error, can you spot it? The horse drawn hearse outside once carried famous Mormon leader Brigham Young to his final resting place. Take a quiet break on the patio around and behind FOWLER'S HARBOR which is where they dock the COLUMBIA or the MARK TWAIN across from SPLASH MTN.. The pathway behind lets you look down to where the logs come out from the drop at SPLASH. FRONTIERLAND Next time you ride BIG THUNDER MTN. listen for the dialog coming from the bar in the little Western town, RAINBOW RIDGE, located above the ride next to the Mexican food place. The JUMPING FISH have returned occasionally to the lake across the bridge from where BIG THUNDER rolls by in the path between Frontierland and Fantasyland. I know this is kind of dumb to note - but if you only saw how much e-mail I get on this... FANTASYLAND DL now allows weddings to take place in the park, you can see them sometimes in the grassy areas to the left or right of the castle as you approach it from the center hub. You don't want to know what it costs trust me. LET IT SNOW, LET IT SNOW, LET IT SNOW: SNOW WHITE'S WISHING WELL (to the right of the Castle as you face it) echoes Snow's voice as she sings "I'm Wishing" just like in the movie. The song repeats every few minutes. (The tracks were newly re-recorded for Snow White's 50th Anniversary re-release by the original Snow, the late Adriana Caselotti.) Any money thrown into the well (as well as any similar locations in the park) goes to children's charities. Look above the entrance of SNOW WHITE'S SCARY ADVENTURES in Fantasyland. After a few moments the curtains in the window will part, and you'll see the EVIL QUEEN glare out at you, again just like in the movie. Below the queen's window at SNOW WHITE there is a BRASS STORYBOOK ON A PEDESTAL featuring a magic wishing apple. Touch the apple and you'll hear one of several different laughs or cackles from the witch. In the castle forecourt (just before you go over the bridge to enter it from the hub) look for the giant compass markings in the cement, and look down below the "S" (South) marker to find the plaque marking the spot where the 40th Anniversary DL TIME CASTLE is buried. The exact center of DL as originally built is marked by a BRASS SPIKE HEAD embedded in the ground right as you walk into the entrance of SLEEPING BEAUTY CASTLE. In the courtyard you can also see a new brass sculpture of Princess Aurora and Prince Phillip from SLEEPING BEAUTY. Between the PETER PAN entrance and exit there is a second story window, where if you listen carefully, you can hear Wendy and Peter Pan discussing their trip to Neverland. The SLEEPING BEAUTY WALK-THOUGH is accessed via a door next the Castle pass-thru beside the TINKERBELL'S TOY SHOP. Go up the steps into and through and then out the other side of the castle to see animated dioramas from "Sleeping Beauty." Make sure to turn the turnstile an extra couple of times on your way out so the Disney folks think more people are going through it and won't try to close it down again. (Thanks for the suggestion Rich & Carol Koster! And thank YOU CM extraordinaire Roberta Brubaker for caring enough to organize the campaign to save this.) At IT'S A SMALL WORLD the clock tower has a mechanical doll parade every quarter hour. In the first ice room you go through in the MATTERHORN look for a crate and a pick-ax, recently added during the last rehab. On the crate it says "Wells Expedition," this is another tribute to the late Disney exec. Frank Wells. MICKEY'S TOONTOWN TOONTOWN has talking manhole covers and mailboxes near the ROGER RABBIT ride. Most doorbell buttons activate a sound or animation effect when you push them. Try and open the door at the POWER COMPANY. Shocking! In Minnie's house look for a copy of JESSICA'S SECRET catalog (a take-off of the "Victoria's Secret" catalog) on the arm of the chair in the front room, and in the kitchen look at the bookshelf on the right of the exit door for the book "Elvis, What Happened?" At GOOFY'S GAS STATION look for the drinking fountains labeled GOOFY WATER. While you get a refreshing drink listen to the little gremlins in the drain, and at night marvel at the multi-colored lighted water that spouts out. TOMORROWLAND Did you know the original CircleVision America the Beautiful film has returned for a short (until Spring) engagement? Before this theater gets zapped forever to become an integral part of the new Rocket Rods ride that replaces the People Mover. WD Imagineering thought it would be nice to salute this departing attraction with the original film that played here when the park opened. Catch it before it becomes an addition to Werner's charming "Yesterland" site. In SPACE MOUNTAIN look for TVs in the dark queue area right next to the ride. (Identical to WDW's Space Mtn.) The video loop on them features a channel hopping host showing you some very funny stuff being broadcast around the Galaxy. Segments include Charles Fleischer (the voice of Roger Rabbit) as a used satellite salesman, PNN (Pan-Galactic News Network, a CNN take-off) with quick news-bites utilizing old campy sci-fi footage - look for some stuff from "The Black Hole," "Robo-cize," a FedEx ad (they sponsor the ride) and my favorite: "The Blast-Off Channel." A new surround sound high seat-back system has also been installed in SPACE MTN. utilizing a new Dick Dale surf guitar soundtrack, the familiar melody used as the basis for this is actually classical composer St. Saens' "Aquarium" from the "Carnival of the Animals." In STAR TOURS look quickly to the lower right hand side of the screen as your Starspeeder takes its first major dip after going the wrong way, and you'll see a replica of the MIGHTY MICROSCOPE which used to "shrink" you in the old Monsanto ADVENTURES THRU INNER SPACE attraction, which STAR TOURS replaced. And yes, that is PEE WEE HERMAN (Paul Rubens) doing the voice of the first-time droid pilot - and GEORGE LUCAS ducking as your Starspeeder careens back into port at the end of your ride. To the right of the Tomorrowland train station platform - there is small walkway (just like in Frontierland) which leads to a viewing area for the DL RAILROAD engine. [Currently closed due to construction, but reopening soon] Again, younger guests will especially enjoy this up-close look at the real steam engines - and don't be surprised if the train engineers take a few moments to chat and give you a special toot on the whistle. DL HOTEL In the MAIN LOBBY building, the entrance to the GRAND BALLROOM is flanked by two photo walls. One features photos of DL and Walt as the park was built and expanded, the other wall has a great collection of celebrity visitor photos over the years. Walk around the corner to the left into the next hall and see a wonderful Disney memorabilia wall collage. Across from this is a reproduction of the original DL concept map that Walt used to sell the park on TV. Also all throughout the various hotel lobbies concept sketches and art for the attractions in DL are on exhibit. The FANTASY WATERS show at the hotel is pretty tame, but if you're tired and need a break, it can be a nice way to get away from the day's whirlwind. 7 & 8 PM nightly. (This show will be removed soon in the upcoming renovation and construction for the new resort.) On some weekends, Summer and holiday periods a very entertaining brass group THE BELLHOPS shuttle around the hotel in a golf cart and put on a charming show. Sometimes you can also catch a DISNEY WEDDING in progress at the hotel, which you can view from a distance if you remain quiet. Seeing the bride arrive in the horse-drawn crystal Cinderella carriage is simply amazing for two reasons - the amount of money this must have cost, and just how radiant the bride is stepping out of the carriage. Check the events guide posted near each hotel elevator for any events that are planned for that day. DON'T BOTHER: Listed as "events," the weekday SWORD IN THE STONE and daily FLAG RETREAT Ceremonies don't amount to much. SWORD involves a Merlin character selecting a few kids from the crowd to yank on said item in front of the Carousel in Fantasyland, upon which one is able to and is then "crowned" king and given a medallion. Strictly camcorder fodder for Daddy. The FLAG RETREAT involves two security people taking down the American flag in the Main St. Plaza and folding it while taped music plays, and then marching off. If you're in the area and curious about either, fine, but don't go out of your way. GETTING THE MOST OUT OF WHAT YOU SPEND ON... ------------------ 18) FOOD ------------------ FOOD at DL varies by the season, but you always have a choice of just about anything your heart desires - or could clog its arteries with! Although this guide can't possibly cover all the bases in this short a space, here's a quick overview to help you out in choosing a place to eat. MKC members and Deluxe Annual Passholders also get certain discounts, see below for further info. on this and other money-saving tips. (BTW, thanks to Lani Teshima-Miller teshima@uhunix.uhcc.Hawaii.Edu for suggesting the addition of this section.) TIP: Plan your unreserved eating times for 30 to 45 minutes before the meal "crunch" to avoid waiting in line. Peak times are: Noon to 1:30 PM and 6 to 8 PM. Try to start lunch no later than 11:15 AM, and try to begin dinner no later than 5:15 PM. CHARACTER BREAKFAST: Served at the Plaza Inn starting whenever the park is open at 9 AM (or earlier) to 10:45 AM. There are no reservations, and this is buffeteria service. First come, first served. The Plaza Inn is located facing the hub between Main St. & Tomorrowland. Children are given a balloon (unless they order a la carte), but please note that Mickey and Minnie do not appear here. ----- END [FAQ/DL] D-I-G: The Disneyland Information Guide 4/7 -----