When 30 Rock left our screens in 2013, it left behind a legacy of outstanding writing, peerless comedic performances and a truly insane list of fake companies offering everything from alligator repellent, to ninja restaurants and rocketship coffins. So I decided to combine my dual passions of graphic design and esoteric television references to bring some of these companies to life.
Drinking and Disney Parks are two things that just seems to go beautifully together, whether it's drinking around the world at World Showcase, or enjoying a cocktail at Trader Sam's. I decided to create a series of labels for Disney park-themed alcohol, covering a variety of aesthetics - from Victorian apothecary bottles, traditional English beer mats, and elegant Art Deco lettering.
You can buy all of the designs as prints, shirts, bags and phone cases at my shop: www.society6.com/robyeo
The issue of Intellectual Property, or IP in the parks is, In the immortal words of Bill Nye The Science Guy, a hot topic with lots of questions. More often than not, if the subject is raised, it’s used critically with a hatred usually reserved for the words “screens” or “upcharge Event”.
On a theoretical level, IP in Themed Entertainment refers to basing a ride on an existing property, rather than creating a story from scratch. While people may associate classic Disneyland with attractions like Pirates of the Caribbean, Haunted Mansion and Adventures Thru Inner Space, the idea of basing rides on existing properties is as old as Disneyland itself; from the obvious Fantasyland dark rides based on animated classics, to Adventureland itself (originally True-Life Adventureland to tie into the iconic Disney documentary series).
In its early years, Tomorrowland lacked any IP attractions (or attractions in general!), which was part of the reason Walt commissioned “Man and the Moon” a 1955 episode of the Disneyland TV show, exploring man’s fascination with the moon. It culminated in a sci-fi dramatization of what a moon landing would look like – inspiring a whole generation to start looking skyward and making space exploration a tangible goal.
The issue becomes more controversial when a non-Disney IP is being brought into the park. This happened for the first time in the late eighties when Imagineers realised that with a string of flops, Disneyland was in danger of becoming irrelevant and losing the interest of children and young adults. After seeing the massive popularity of Star Wars, a deal was stuck with George Lucas to combine his beloved sci-fi world with state-of-the-art simulator technology. The announcement sparked outrage among park fans that a non-Disney property would breach Disneyland’s hallowed berm, but the quality and success of the new ride soon won naysayers over.
The Star Wars IP was critical in not only the popularity and experience of the ride, but also its longevity – it didn’t take long for competitors to acquire simulators, but without the name recognition and emotional connection brought by Star Wars, the imitators faded quickly away.
Later, when the idea of turning the frenetic excitement of the Indiana Jones series into an attraction emerged, Imagineers were challenged with the question of, “can’t we just do our own version and not pay all that money to license the name?”. Tony Baxter succinctly demonstrated how powerful the IP was by mocking up a poster for the “Kentucky Buck Adventure”: even if the attraction was exactly the same, without the emotion and associations guests have for those films and their whip-wielding hero, an imitation would just fall flat.
In the past decade, IP has exploded in the parks under Bob Iger’s shopping spree of studios; Now Pixar, Lucasfilm and Marvel, and all their associated superheroes, Jedi, dashing archaeologists and talking fish/toys/bugs/cars jostle for space in the parks. Bringing these characters into the parks is neither inherently a good or bad thing, it’s all about the execution.
In my opinion, for an IP-based attraction to be a successful addition to the parks, it requires two things:
Firstly is placement– an attraction may be fine in isolation, but if it doesn’t connect with the theming of the area or park in which it sits, it will always feel “off” and will never reach that topmost level of quality and immersion. The Indiana Jones Adventure fits seamlessly into Adventureland both visually and toneally. An update to the Jungle Cruise queue loop tied both attractions to the same time period and location, merging the old and the new beautifully.
Frozen Ever After however remains an uneasy addition to World Showcase. While many critics were won over when the construction walls came down, revealing levels of detail and theming that can only be created by Walt Disney Imagineering firing on all cylinders, the fairytale story would have been more at home in Fantasyland than World Showcase, which has always been a celebration of real places and real people.
Secondly is the ride experience; chiefly, are you an observer, or a participant? The so-called “book report” rides which slavishly follow the movie’s plot fail to have the impact of a ride where you are the hero and the catalyst for events. Radiator Springs Racers is an example of this done right – while you do follow the main story beats from Cars, you are literally in the driving seat, from arriving in town for the big race, tractor-tipping with Mater, then sprucing up your ride before squaring off with another car in a thrilling cross-country race.
Compare that to Ariel’s Undersea Adventure where you observe the events of the film, with no interaction or role in the events. You end up with a charming ride for die-hard Little Mermaid fans and young children, but the experience doesn’t have the same emotional resonance, or sense of accomplishment you get from winning your race, or escaping the cursed temple, or safely delivering your rebel spy.
When handled well, utilising a beloved IP with rich characters, settings and stories is like adding a Nitrous tank to your car. When you’re not being immersed, and transported to another world, it’s just slapping a Rolls Royce bumper sticker on your old clunker.
The backstory to Downtown Disney's infamous Pleasure island was conveyed through elusive plaques, erected by the diligent but unreliable "Pleasure island Histerical Society" and posted at the entrance to each building. Here they are, recreated in their entirety, read tales of sentient robots, physics-defying locomotives and even extraterrestrials!
For my recent post about EPCOT's VIP Lounges I reached out the the pavilions' former sponsors for more information. The Press team at Kodak were kind enough to send these pictures of the Imagination Pavilion from their archives, which I've never seen before.
So get a tissue handy as you gently weep for Magic Journeys, Captain EO, Honey I Shrunk The Audience and Dreamfinder.
Used with permission from Kodak.
I have a fascination with Disney parks, particularly extinct attractions. The Wonders of Life pavilion is especially interesting to me because it’s tantalisingly still there for the most part, albeit under buckets of white paint.
For me it was an oddball time capsule of the 1990s, with vibrant colours, oversized toy-block constructions and an overarching “Midway of Life” carnival aesthetic you could browse while Yanni music played in the background.
I wanted to create a design that celebrated all of the pavilion’s offerings, from the E-Ticket Body Wars ride, right down to the Wonder Cycles and the quirky exhibits of the Sensory Funhouse. Not only that, but do it in a style that fit the feel and time period it inhabited.
This led me to the placemat activity sheets I’d see at McDonalds birthday parties as a kid, so merging all these elements became a complete nostalgia kick. Plus it was a lot of fun coming up with a Cranium Command themed word jumble and a Body Wars maze.
The colour scheme was based on Sussman & Prejza’s early work for Euro Disney in 1992; Deborah Sussman’s work on the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games had a huge impact on 90’s graphic design, and her iconic geometric confetti makes an appearance on the placemat also.
I started with a lot of research; old Disney park maps, 90’s food packaging, McDonald’s placemats as well as photos of the pavilion.
I then did some exploratory sketches of a Wonder Cycle, the oversized headphones of Audio Antics and a sketch of a young batter at Coach’s Corner. Then using a photo overlooking the whole pavilions, I started drawing up a rough map, working out where each exhibit, tree and lamppost stood.
From this rough sketch I did a more detailed drawing to get all of the elements in, which I then scanned and began tracing on Illustrator; tracing, especially on such a detailed design is extremely time consuming and fiddly. At this point I played around with the peripheral elements, and added a maze, word jumble and other details.
Finally, I had a black and white line drawing which was ready for colour; this was surprisingly hard to get right – too blocky and you lost the details, too elaborate and it looks messy. After about three iterations I was happy with the look.
I’m really happy with the finished piece, it accomplished what I set out to do: create a record of all of the pavilions offerings in a fun format, and designed to look like it was printed in 1993 for a lunch tray at the Pure & Simple snack bar.
Ever since I first heard of Epcot’s VIP Lounges, they have fascinated me; it’s like finding out you have a secret room in the back of your closet.
Even people who know Epcot inside and out may never realise that right under their noses, behind a nondescript door, lie secret areas waiting to be explored. But why were they built, who are they for, and what do they look like?
When Epcot was first being built, getting sponsors onboard was critical to help underwrite the massive cost, so to sweeten the deal, each sponsor was promised their own private lounge, hidden within their respective pavilions. These would be luxurious suites where executives could relax, entertain clients and have their own private clubs on Disney property.
Over the years, some have been abandoned, some remain as time capsules of the 80’s, one has been demolished entirely and the lucky few still with sponsors have been updated with cool features to impress their guests.
Here’s an overview of all of the lounges in Future World, past and present:
Base21 - Spaceship Earth (Siemens)
Base21 is accessed from a door in Project Tomorrow. A doorway leads to a small room where you can enter a secret PIN. Once entered, the room glows green, a frosted glass door on the far side turns transparent and opens, leading to a lobby with an elevator, display case and stairway.
On the second floor is a reception in the Explorers Lounge, featuring an interactive TV, a “Magic Mirror” featuring augmented reality technology that overlays costumes over your reflection.
The whole facility is controlled by smart technology, allowing you to customise the lighting via tablets and screens.
Around the corner is the main room, known as the “Observatory” which overlooks Innoventions Plaza, this large room has drop down projectors and a corner bar.
Further around the corner is the Innovation Lab – a conference room, and further still is a VIP entrance to board Spaceship Earth.
Who can get in?
Base21 is open to Siemens employees, families and clients (Monday-Friday 9-4, Saturday 9-1). it is also open to “Give Kids The World” families.
Where to get a peek
From Innoventions Plaza, you can look at the rear of Spaceship Earth and see the Observatory’s windows. Some nights you can even see the coloured lights of its ceiling.
For an overview of the lounge, click here to see a video from the designers.
For a detailed trip report, visit Disney Every Day's Blog
Exxon Lounge – Universe of Energy
The entrance is by an exterior door, to the right of the building between two of the coloured panels.
Like the other lounges, you would enter via a reception, this then lead to a lounge where you could grab a drink and watch the pre-show on a private screen.
There was also a countdown clock to next show, when it reached zero, you were invited to board the moving theatre cars before the general public.
Compared to others, the lounge was quite humble, there was a TV and refreshments, but there was also an upstairs area where you could view the primeval world diorama, along with some meeting rooms and a kitchinette.
Who can get in?
The lounge used to be available only to Exxon employees and their guests. But since they dropped their sponsorship in 1996, the lounge is used as offices, so is only open to cast members.
Where to get a peek
You can still see the door, to the right side of the Universe of Energy building
Screenshots from Universe of Energy - Martins Complete Ultimate Tribute
Wonders Retreat - Wonders of Life (MetLife)
The lounge is accessed through the rear of Frontiers of Medicine, where you would swipe a card and according to guest reports the doors would open "like Star Trek".
On the first floor there was a funfair themed reception room, from there you’d follow a corridor to an elevator which was covered in mirrors.
The elevator opens out into a large lounge with windows overlooking the entire pavilion. In the centre was a large circus tent, in a corner was a tent-themed bar.
At the far side of the room was a theatre which showed films, including “The Making of Me”
The final room was carousel themed, with a panoramic painting of horses around the outside and a large round table in the centre.
Once you were done relaxing, you could go back downstairs and skip the queue for Body Wars.
However, nowadays much of the lounge has been painted white to be a blank canvas for events.
Who can get in?
The reception area has been open to Chase cardholders in previous Food & Wine Festivals
The lounge itself is available to hire for special functions, and has been used for various Disney dining events too
Where to get a peek
You can see the lounge’s windows above the old entrance to Cranium Command, and Frontiers of Medicine.
To see a fun exploration or the lounge, click here.
To see the lounge now, visit the Disney Events page
GE Executive Club – Horizons
The GE Executive Club was accessed by a door on the right hand side of the pavilion, from there, you entered a red-carpeted reception area with white leather sofas. In the middle of the room was the receptionist who would check your badge, and to the left of the desk was a corridor lit in purple, allowing guests to skip the Horizons queue and board between the load and unload areas. To the right of the desk was an elevator.
On the 2nd floor there were meeting rooms, a kitchen area, and a hostess station where you could organise travel and entertainment, there was even GE merchandise for sale. Multiple people fondly reported that the lounge also served amazing tangerine candy for those too young to enjoy the bar.
In a sunken lounge area, a round sofa faced a large screen hooked up to a camera on the roof. Using a control panel, you could pan and scan over Future World West, leading to some mischief from less than chivalrous executives scanning girls across the park.
Visiting dignitaries included Michael Jackson and Ronald Regan, the camera on the roof proved useful for the Secret Service to keep an eye on the park.
Who can get in?
When Horizons was open, the lounge was open to GE Employees and Clients, but now the building has been demolished.
HP Red Planet Room - Mission: Space
The entrance is to the left of Mission:Space’s entrance. You follow a short corridor to a door which then leads to a hallway with an elevator.
Upstairs there is a kitchen which serves free drinks, computer with internet, and a secret “Postcards From Space” booth hidden behind a TV
There’s also a projection-based tabletop game called Hover Race
One side overlooks the gravity wheel from the queue, the other side overlooks the Advanced Training Labs
Down a hallway, there’s a map where visitors pin their hometowns along with pictures of their trips.
Like the other lounges, this too has a hallway, allowing VIPs to board the ride without queueing.
Who can get in?
The lounge is open to HP employees (Monday-Friday 9-5), and is also open to Make-A-Wish Children and their families. You can visit as a guest if you take The Undiscovered Future World tour
Where to get a peek
If you look up in the first Mission:Space queue room, opposite the gravity, you can see the lounge through the windows.
For a detailed photo report of the lounge, read Disney Every Day's trip report.
GM Lounge - Test Track
You enter right of the main entrance at a door market with a “GM” plaque, from there you follow a long corridor to an elevator which your ride to the 3rd floor.
Once inside you can get a view of Test Track, with windows overlooking the first descent and weather tests.
In the main lounge area, a large window faces out over Future World East.
By the reception desk there are the Test track car design terminals, along with free drinks.
The lounge also has a large conference room and offices for GM personnel, there is a also a VIP boarding area, allowing guests to skip the queue.
Who can get in?
The lounge is open to current and retired General Motors employees (Monday-Friday 9-5)
Where to get a peek
You can see the lounge’s windows above Test Track’s entrance, on the 3rd floor.
For a detailed trip report click here
Kodak Lounge - Imagination Pavilion
Entry was via a ramp on the outside at the rear of the Imagination pavilion, past the exit of Captain EO.
According to an old Kodak website:
GET VIP TREATMENT - Kodak shareholders enjoy the hospitality of our VIP Lounge at the Journey Into Imagination Pavilion in Epcot Center® at Walt Disney World® in Orlando, FL. While complimentary soft drinks, coffee and Florida orange juice are served, our Kodak staff will answer your questions and help you make lunch and dinner reservations, reserve golf tee times, and even escort you to a viewing of the 3-D movie, "Honey, I Shrunk the Audience," with no waiting, no line.
Compared to some of the other lounges, Kodak’s was a modest affair, with comfy sofas, a conference room and access to Honey, I Shrunk The Audience, via the preshow.
Who can get in?
Originally the lounge was for Kodak Employees and shareholders, but now it is used as an office for Future World East Attractions management
Where to get a peek
The lounge’s 3-panel-window is visible from the monorail, at the back of the Imagination pavilion.
Kraft/Nestle Lounge - The Land
The lounge is accessed via the elevator nearest Living With The Land, where you have to press the buttons in a particular sequence to reach the 3rd floor. On leaving the elevator, you follow a short walkway decorated with benches and folk art, with windows overlooking the pavilion. At the end of the hall was a reception desk where you’d check in, after that you would follow the curve of the building to a lounge area on the other side.
When it was still in use, the lounge has refreshments as well as stunning views over the desert and farm scenes of Living With The Land, there was also the Simba Conference Room and other offices. Most recently it was used in the early 2000s as a VIP lounge for Annual Passholders.
Who can get in?
The lounge was originally used by Kraft executives when they would visit during their sponsorship of The Land pavilion. It is now used as a training classroom for new Disney Cast members at Epcot, as well as a break area for cast members working at the Garden Grill.
Where to get a peek
The lounge and walkway is visible above the Garden Grill, and also from the desert and farmhouse scenes of Living With The Land.
For some less-than-official sneaking around the closed lounge, here's a cool video to check out
Living Seas Salon - The Seas with Nemo and Friends (United Technologies)
The entrance door is just to the left of the Coral Reef Restaurant’s entrance, outside is a camera where you would show your United Technology pass. Inside was a reception area where you could enter a conference room or take an elevator upstairs. The elevator features a similar artwork to The Living Seas former queue. Exiting the elevator, you enter a small area with benches and restrooms with a long ramp to enter them main salon.
The lounge was the most lavish in all of Walt Disney World; with the main feature being stunning views of the Living Seas’ aquarium through all the windows. The lounge has luxurious wood panelling and maritime-themed art as well as the famous clear piano, still in use today
The lounge serves refreshments, has a bar and shares a kitchen with the Coral Reef Restaurant. There is also a conference room with a table rumoured to be carved from a single trunk of hardwood at a cost of $35,000!
VIPs also enjoyed a secret entrance to the Water Rotunda, where they could enter Sea Base Alpha
Notable visitors include President George HW Bush!
Who Can Get in?
The salon was formerly open to United Technologies employees, and used for meetings until 1991 when they ended their sponsorship. It is now available for special functions such as wedding receptions.
Where to get a peek
You can visit as a guest if you take The Undiscovered Future World tour
Visit the Disney Events Group page for more photos and hire details.
In addition to these lounges, there are man more scattered around Walt Disney World, from The Loft at Norway to the Indy Speedway lounge, which I'll cover in future posts.
Disney Blogger and all around expert Suzanna Otis was a massive help getting information on the Wonders Retreat, you can visit her site at www.zannaland.com
Epcot Guru Joshua Harris helped with some background information on the lounges too. If you haven't already, check out his ongoing project of preserving and celebrating Epcot at www.epcotlegacy.com
Disney Every Day's blog posts on the open lounges were a massive help in capturing small details.
Finally, Ed's Disney blueprints were a massive help in working out how everything was laid out. You can see his library of blueprints here.
When Imagineers approached Disneyland Paris' Tomorrowland, they had a chance to start totally afresh. The same stark, white, googie Tomorrowland existed in Disneyland, Magic Kingdom and Tokyo Disneyland, and all of them struggled to live up with the "Tomorrow" part of their names. The fact is, we're progressing all the time, which means a continuous shifting of goalposts, and a huge amount of cost to keep updating the attractions and environment.
This challenge to find a solution that wouldn't date itself quickly, fed into the other driving forces of the park; firstly, there was a fear that the French would reject outright a mere clone of Disneyland - the epitome of American entertainment plonked next to Paris, the global capital of art and culture. Secondly, then-CEO Michael Eisner was looking to build a legacy for himself, encouraging designers to create an insanely detailed, beautiful, rich and unique environment, and a flagship for all Disney Parks.
All of these factors led to the creation of Discoveryland - a land that would celebrate the future, as seen from the past, with a major Jules Verne influence. At a casual glance, the land appears uniform in it's bronze and neon aesthetic, but if you dig a little deeper, you'll see that each area has its own style and together represent the history of the future.
The Orbitron - The Renaissance
Standing at the entrance to Discoveryland is The Orbitron which takes its design cues from Renaissance artists and inventors, especially Leonardo Da Vinci. The design takes its inspiration from early astrological devices, such as the orrery which demonstrated planetary orbits, and armillary spheres which are 3D representations of the heavens. The Orbitron's patent also references a prop (Aughra's Orrery, below, second from right) from the 1982 film The Dark Crystal as inspiration.
Space Mountain, The Nautilus, Hyperion Cafe - Victorian Science Fiction
As this is Disneyland Paris, it's only logical that the lion's share of Discoveryland pays tribute to France's greatest science fiction author, Jules Verne. Firstly, these landmarks are all lifted from his novels: Space Mountain is based on From The Earth To The Moon, Les Mystères du Nautilus features the iconic submarine from 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea (the Nautilus' design is based on its appearance in the 1954 Disney live-action adaptation). Finally the Hyperion Cafe resembles an airship hangar, with the Hyperion ship from moored out front. This is based on a little-know Disney film from the 70's called The Island At The Top Of The World. The film was set in the 1900's so the ship and its Victorian-inspired interior fit in perfectly.
Nowadays this combination of sophisticated technology in a Victorian setting is far more commonplace, and is referred to as Steampunk, but back in the 90's this term was unknown.
Le Visionarium - Art Deco (1920s, 30s, 40s)
Back towards the entrance of Discoveryland, Le Visionarium (currently Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast) shows the future, as seen from the 20s and 30s. The iconic pylons call to mind the 30's design icon - The Pan Pacific Auditorium and the classic art deco sunbursts, such as those inside the lobby of The Empire State building.
Autopia - Raygun Gothic (1950s, 60s)
Autopia celebrates the future as seen from the 1950s and 60s; back then science marched on at an astonishing rate, with corporations promising even more wonders to come - atomic microwaves, flying cars and jetpacks. This setting is reminiscent of such classic science fiction as The Jetsons , Lost In Space, as well as publications like Popular Mechanics. Autopia also reflects the commercialisation of the mid-century as you drive past futuristic billboards.
Star Tours - Modern Sci-Fi (1970s, 80's)
Finally, at the back of Discoveryland Star Tours represents the present of futurism. The building and surrounding shops show the minimalist, modular, industrial, futuristic vision of not only the Star Wars series, but also films such as Alien and The Fifth Element.
Thanks to @CafeFantasia for additional information about The Orbitron's origins.
Time travel is a vital part of the Disney Parks DNA; the magic comes from leaving today and being transported into the worlds of yesterday, tomorrow and fantasy.
While most rides are set in a different place and time, this list will cover attractions which take place in multiple time periods.
5. Carousel of Progress
Time travel was essential to the concept of Carousel of Progress, right from its roots as Edison Square; after all, how do you show progress without having another time period to compare it to? Here, our starting point is the late 1800s, in the pre-electrical age where it takes a week to travel across the country and only five hours to do the laundry! Moving to the 20’s, the family home is now a jungle of wiring with a host of labour-saving devices, when they’re not blowing fuses that is. By the fabulous 40’s there are dishwashers, televisions and the dawn of leisure time, and the final scene shows the home of the future, which nowadays looks less 2044 and more 1994…
Ironically, the World’s Fair version from 1964 would have aged better: as the show ended, an escalator appeared which would whisk the audience to a model of ‘Progress City’ – a sleek, glowing city that would be the perfect place to work, live and play. The show took guests from the tough old days of toil, to the hope for a future where technology had solved our problems and a “Great Big, Beautiful Tomorrow” was just a dream away.
Trivia: A Red Ryder BB Gun is amongst the gifts in the Christmas scene in the 1994 version, a nod to the narrator, Jean Shepherd’s role in A Christmas Story.
Thanks to the invention of the Time Rover, you can go back to see live dinosaurs, rather than just their dusty bones. However, thanks to reckless palaeontologist Dr Seeker, what is supposed to be a relaxing tour of the early Cretacious period becomes a terrifying race through a prehistoric jungle, just as the earth-shattering asteroid is about to strike.
Time travel was inevitable in Dinoland USA; Imagineers needed an exciting way to teach guests about dinosaurs, and museum exhibits just weren’t going to cut it. By pairing a time travel story line with Enhanced Motion Vehicles, what could have been the dullest part of the Animal Kingdom, became it’s most thrilling E-Ticket attraction.
- The ride was originally called “Countdown To Extinction” but was changed in 2000 to tie-in with the Disney animated film.
- Effects which have since been deactivated include: a mother Cearadactylus swooping at your car, Compsognathus leaping across the ride track and laser net “capturing” the Iguanadon.
- The alarm before you travel back in time is Security detecting the fact that Seeker has altered your time travel coordinates.
3. Ellen's Energy Adventure
Ellen’s Energy Adventure opened in 1996 as an update of it’s predecessor “The Universe of Energy” which had suffered from a reputation for being dry and uninteresting to children. The revamped ride follows Ellen DeGeneres as she dreams about competing with her college-rival-turned-energy-scientist on Jeopardy. With all the questions about energy, Ellen turns to her neighbour Bill Nye the Science Guy for help; he takes her back to the birth of the universe, through the age of the dinosaurs, all the way up to the present, showing where energy comes from, where it will come from and how we can use it more wisely.
Besides the hilarious script, which is a given for a ride helmed by Ellen DeGeneres, this is one hell of a multimedia presentation: from the 5-screened preshow you move into an auditorium where the floor spins to face an enormous screen showing the birth of the universe, before the theatre splits into self-driving cars. You drive through dioramas filled with animatronics, witnessing the rise and fall of the dinosaurs, before a radio broadcast covers the ice age and the rise of humans. On a massive 210ft screen, a comic montage swiftly tracks humans from discovering fire, to agriculture, to the growth of cities, to the present. Ellen and Bill reappear to look at fossil fuels, solar, hydroelectric and even atomic power, before returning to the first theatre, where Ellen uses her newly-acquired knowledge to win Jeopardy.
This attraction has always stood out to me for its humour, visuals, the surprises around every turn, not to mention, dinosaurs!
- This is the longest ride at Walt Disney World!
- Sadly www.energynightmare.game is not a real website
- The attraction was called “Ellen’s Energy Crisis” but was quickly altered to sound less threatening.
2. The Timekeeper
The Timekeeper started life in Disneyland Paris before being replicated in Magic Kingdom’s Tomorrowland, taking up residence in the “Tomorrowland Metropolis Science Center” where Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor now stands.
The film revolved around two robots, the brilliant scientist The Timekeeper (voiced by Robin Williams) and his assistant Nine-Eye (Rhea Pearlman). Nine-Eye would be sent back in time, and thanks to her cameras, we could see her travels on the Circlevision screen.
After a disastrous start encountering dinosaurs and medieval warriors, then crashing Mona Lisa sitting for her portrait and a Mozart recital, Nine-Eye finally emerges at the 1900 Exposition in Paris where she witnesses a meeting between Jules Verne and H.G. Wells.
Trying to bring Nine-Eye to the present, Timekeeper inadvertently brings Verne as well, who marvels at the possibility of time travel and begs to see the future, to which Timekeeper agrees. The author is sent across Europe, races a Formula 1 car, rides a hot air balloon and a bobsled, ventures into space and deep undersea before being returned to his present. As a finale, Timekeeper transports Nine-Eye to the year 2189, where Verne and Wells appear in their own time machine explaining “In the future, anything is possible”.
This attraction was the first to use the Circlevision format to tell a story, rather than simply show landscape footage, and the 360 screens created an uncannily immersive experience, leaving you holding onto the lean rails for dear life. Not to mention the hilarious, and often improvised dialogue of Robin Williams. Out of all the time-travel rides, this was hands-down the most breathtaking.
Trivia: The film features a flyover of Neuschwanstein Castle which was the inspiration for both Sleeping Beauty’s Castle and Cinderella Castle.
1. Spaceship Earth
Spaceship Earth has always been the cornerstone of Epcot; originally showing the past, present and future of human communication, the same scenes now show how each generation has invented the future for the next. What makes Spaceship Earth the ultimate time travel ride is firstly its expansiveness; from our caveman ancestors learning to hunt as a team on cave walls, to Guttenburg inventing the printing press, ending in a future of flying cars and green technology, the ride covers the entirety of mankind’s time on earth. These scenes are brought to life not only by amazing sets and audio-animatronics, but a breathtaking score, cave paintings that spring to life, and most famously, the burning smell of the sacking of Rome, every sense is captivated and draws you into the story.
Trivia: The graffiti seen in the Burning Rome scene is an exact replica of graffiti that was found in the ruins in Pompeii.
The scene opens on a modern kitchen, Father is seated on a barstool at a kitchen island, surrounded by state of the art appliances, his dog Buster sits in a dog bed by his side.
Well, there’s not long now until the start of our famous New Years Eve party, and I can already tell it’s going to be a great 2016. Everything’s gone green now – the house is powered by solar panels on the roof, all our garbage gets recycled so there’s no waste, and even the car is electric – and it drives itself! Sure makes road trips easier! And our appliances have gotten a whole lot smarter too, the thermostat makes sure the house is nice and cool before we get home, and the refrigerator knows we’re out of milk before I do! Refrigerator, how are we doing for milk?
MILK STATUS: 0.8 GALLONS
SOY MILK STATUS: LOW
ALMOND MILK STATUS-
Sleep mode! Whew, if only they could invent a machine to create some peace and quiet!
GRANDMA (Unseen voice)
Hawaii was beautiful! They had this buffet – your grandfather must have put on ten pounds!
Thanks to the wonder of HD video calling, it’s like our relatives are always here. And believe me, it’s like they’re always here.
The left room illuminates to show Patricia skyping with Grandma in their Office.
GRANDMA (On computer screen)
And here’s your grandfather and I parasailing, and here’s us rock climbing, oh and this is a video of us hula dancing! You and that boyfriend of yours should give it a go, what’s his name? Don?
David, Grandma. And maybe we can try it on our honeymoon next Summer.
The internet has totally revolutionized our lives, now it’s easier than ever to stay in touch and share the important things.
And here’s a picture of Fluffy napping in my slipper.
…and the not so important things.
I heard that, young man!
Left room dims.
Sorry Mom! Anyhoo, we’re all glued to our phones now, myself included, but these things are extraordinary! With the touch of a button, I can order groceries, book plane tickets -
Check your football scores in the middle of dinner with my parents….
Right room illuminates, revealing Mother in the living room, hanging decorations with Jimmy.
I was checking my work email!
Don’t lie John, you’re bad at it. (she laughs) I need your help getting everything ready for tonight; I need to tell everyone to come over at 8.
Father picks up his phone and presses some buttons.
I need a reminder to take the appetisers out of the oven at 7:30
Father presses more buttons.
And Buster needs to be taken for a walk.
Father looks at his phone and hesitates.
Well I guess there isn’t an app for that yet, how about we do it the old fashioned way, boy?
Well, here’s a to a new year, I can’t imagine what they’re gonna think of next!
There’s a great, big beautiful tomorrow,
Shining at the end of every day,
There’s a great, big beautiful tomorrow,
And tomorrow is just a dream away,
Man has a dream and that’s the start,
He follows his dream with mind and heart
And when it becomes a reality,
It’s a dream come true for you and me,
So there’s a great, big beautiful tomorrow,
Shining at the end of every day,
There’s a great, big beautiful tomorrow,
Just a dream away!
A Disney park has to have a premise; that premise can be narrow or broad, but it must exist in order to give context to the attractions and experiences held within.
From the Animal Kingdom’s simple but powerful remit to celebrate animals and the environment we share with them, to the expansive promise of Disneyland to whisk you from the mundane present to the remarkable worlds of yesterday, tomorrow and fantasy, each park has its own “mission statement”, to steer the design and purpose of everything, from the e-Ticket attractions to the napkin designs.
When Disney-MGM Studios first opened in 1989, its premise was to lift the curtain of moviemaking and show you first-hand every facet of how films were made, from props, to special effects, to stunts and costume making. Each of these educational experiences were brought to life though storytelling and thrills, giving them greater substance than your average them park ride.
These ‘edutainment‘ experiences were augmented by thrill rides, themed either as “live” productions (e.g. Star Tours) or exciting experiences within the setting of ‘the Hollywood that never was and always will be (e.g. Rock n’ Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror).
There are myriad reasons why this faux-studio tour approach declined; the 90’s saw the dawn of DVDs and their special features, ever-more sophisticated computers ushered in an industry-wide move from models and matte-paintings to 3D environments and digital composing, and finally Michael Eisner’s dream of founding a fully-working studio at the park never materialised.
This seismic shift in the film industry left the studios struggling for relevance; demonstrations of green screen and miniatures looked increasingly quaint and a change was needed to keep guests interested.
This is where the tricky subject of the park’s premise comes back into play – if the park is no longer a working studios, and you’re not learning about filmmaking, what is the park about?
Pixar Place was a major new addition to the park in 2008, bringing the hugely popular Midway Mania (as well as huge crowds) with it – but it’s relationship to the park and its identity became even more tangential: the park is about filmmaking, Pixar makes films, one of these films was Toy Story. The staggering amount of Frozen-themed additions, including Frozen Sing-Along Celebration, Wondering Oaken’s Outpost and Frozen Summer Fun had little to do with the park’s theme besides “This park is about films, Frozen is a film”.
With the announcement of a Star Wars and Toy Story-themed lands, Disney have officially changed the park’s mission statement, which is now to “put you in your favourite movies”, and a new name for the park is expected to follow.
My concern about this is, it isn’t so much a mission statement as an axiom for all Disney parks – whether you’re flying to Neverland on Peter Pan’s Flight, or finding Nemo at The Living Seas, Disney Parks have always been about making those stories real and letting you experience them.
Having an overarching theme isn’t just to keep the Imagineering geeks happy, it is what makes your experience of a Disney park greater than the sum of its parts, and holds this collection of experiences together. It’s like having a Chinese Restaurant that serves quesadillas and pizza – individually, these are all great dishes, but altogether it’s a confusing mess of clashing ideas.
I have confidence that this is being taken care of by people who care, but currently I feel that without a change, Disney’s Hollywood Studios risks being “the park with Tower of Terror and the Star Wars bit” rather than its own, unique experience.