Saturday, August 27, 2011

Disney Castle Parks: Disneyland

Let me say this up front: I hate the "Disney Parks" homogenization of the 11 current Disney theme parks. Each park is unique and different...even the five Magic Kingdom, castle style parks have their own personality and vibe.  By creating that "One Disney" umbrella term for all the parks, it has done nothing but help to water down the special magic that each park has unto itself.

Don't get me wrong, I still have my personal favorites, as I am sure most of you do, as well, but favorite or not, I still enjoy each and every park on its own merits.

I can also enjoy that which is similar, as well.  I am not so jaded as to also understand and appreciate similarities.  By my way of thinking, there are three distinct classification of Disney Parks: Castle Parks, Studio Parks, and Unique Second Gates (some of which were immediate hits; some that need to grow into their success)

My way of simultaneously celebrating the similarities/differences of the Castle Parks will be this "Disney Castle Park" series.  We start with the original, Disneyland, which is my favorite for obvious reasons... I am from Anaheim myself, I grew up with it, I worked there, I helped lower the drawbridge during the 1983 New Fantasyland dedication, Walt built this one...
Disneyland's Castle

Sunday, August 21, 2011

it's a small world (9 & 10) SUN-day

So this is the final post of this 5-part series and I have a lot to say about these two images.

First off, a bit of history.  North America/USA played host to the first three versions of this attraction (New York World's Fair '64, Disneyland '66, Magic Kingdom '71), so as the host region trying to be a good host, there was never a strong North American presence in the ride other than perhaps the minimal North Pole, Canadian Mountie, totem pole, and Finale appearances.

In 1998, I had my first International Small World experience in France.  Since the States where no longer the host, an entire North American segment featuring Broadway, Hollywood, and American West (cowboys & indians) were totally new to me and I loved it. The addition of this part attraction to the recent update of the Anaheim version is not as appreciated. (I prefer being gracious hosts, and I really miss the original Oceania area).  So below is the "newer" North American Sun.

The final Sun in this set is the Finale Sun.  The Finale, featuring elements from the entire attraction, thus the entire world, are dressed in attire that matches what was worn in the regional areas of the attraction, but in various shades of White (with soft Blues and Yellows).  The Finale room also features a sibling Moon.  During the Small World Holiday overlay, the Sun is replaced with a Christmas style ornament, appropriate for the holiday theming.  For a few years, the Finale Sun was not returned to its original location during the off-holiday season, but since its major rehab, the happy Finale Sun shines brightly over the attractions exit flume.
[Top] North America [Bottom] Finale

View the entire Small World  SUN Series
by clicking the "Small World" link on the right,
or by following the link [here]

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Disneyland Sign 2000s

Last in a Series of Five
A new Century brought a new Disneyland and a new Disneyland Sign.  Because of multiple parking locations, including the new Mickey & Friends Parking Structure, and the expansion to "Resort" status due to the new Disney California Adventure, Downtown Disney, and Disney's Grand Californian, a single Sign would no longer be as relative or important.

(FYI. I am focusing my design on the pedestrian sign, located off Harbor Blvd, as it sits near where the previous signs once stood)

Also, this new sign is less of a photographic icon than the previous versions, so it becomes harder to find image references and proper time frames for each variation.  Updates, corrections and reference images are welcome anytime.

Disneyland Sign, 2000-2001
Sadly, with the Resort status upgrade, the classic Disneyland font was removed from the newest Disneyland sign.

Disneyland Sign, 2001-2003
 With the opening of California Adventure, the sign became Orange County orange.

Disneyland Sign, 2004-2007
Thankfully, the font was returned to the classic style, just as the Park headed into it's "Golden" 50th Anniversary, during 2004-2005.  For 2006-2007, the 24 month "Year of a Million Dreams" logo was included.

Disneyland Sign, circa 2008(?)
The Park and Sign were dressed up with giant purple leaves, for a short period of time, however I can't pinpoint the exact time frame.

Disneyland Sign, 2009
For the "What Will You Celebrate" campaign in 2009, the sign got a balloon and confetti makeover.

UPDATE:  Monday, October 10, 2011

Disneyland Sign, 2011
Unveiled in October 2011 was this newest version.  No confetti or balloons and a slight color alteration to both the posts and banner.

(Images are for historic illustration purposes only) 

View the entire Disneyland Sign Series
by clicking the "Marquee" link on the right,
or by following the link [here]

Sunday, August 14, 2011

it's a small world (7 & 8) SUN-day

The next two comprise my favorite pair.  The South/Latin America Sun is animated by the rotating yellow exterior sunbeams that spin behind the orange clay colored sunbeams.  The South Seas/Pacific Islander Sun is compelling to me because of the unique character of the face and it's lack of symmetry (sum beams only shine down, towards the ground)

[Top] South America [Bottom] South Seas

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Disneyland Sign 1990s

Fourth in a Series of Five
During October 1989, there were a couple days in which guests to Disneyland were greeted by TWO Disneyland Marquees.  A new digital version was installed, and the classic (my favorite) was then dismantled.
Disneyland Sign, 1989-1999
This sign, was electronic, and could display many messages in rotation... as well as simple animated graphics.  This sign greeted guest for nearly all of the 90's, until construction of Disney California Adventure moved the parking entry to the Mickey & Friends Parking Structure on the furthest region of the property.

(Images are for historic illustration purposes only) 

View the entire Disneyland Sign Series
by clicking the "Marquee" link on the right,
or by following the link [here]

Monday, August 8, 2011

Map Monday: Disneyland 1955 vs 2005

I have scoured dozens of maps, overhead photos, video, technical drawings and anything else I could find on Disneyland history in order to re-create the park layout as it changed over the years and decades.  Personally, I find it fascinating to know how the park evolved and why certain things are where they are.

I have a background in digital mapping and in graphic design, and so I have combined the two skills to create the maps on this blog.  While I acknowledge the drawing I present is not a precise representation, I have used my mapping skills to be significantly close.

**Click on the image to see full size**
Disneyland Map, 1955 with 2005 reference overlay

Be sure to follow the Railroad tracks around the outside of the park--today's entrance to Critter Country is yesterday's train path.  Notice how the Submarine Lagoon is different than the original Phantom Boat lagoon.

Really cool things I have found:
  • Find the Dominguez Palm.  It has been on this property since the 1896. It was originally behind today's Haunted Mansion show building (see Holidayland on map) and moved to a spot in Adventureland during the original park construction, where it remains today.
  • The Indian Trading Post (built 1956) is still there today in Critter Country, despite all the significant changes to the area of the Park.
  • The Rocks between Big Thunder Trail & Big Thunder Ranch are the same ones built in 1956 for Rainbow Ridge attractions, particularly the Mine Train.
  • The only two DL&SF Railroad Stations, at Main Street and Frontierland, each had their own engine & passenger cars and each completed a round-trip trip without stopping at the other station---that is why both stations have a passing lane, so they could skip the station that was not on their day's route.
  • Every time the Railroad expanded near Adventureland, the Jungle Cruise added a new scene.  Elephant Bathing Pool, African Savannah, and Hippos were all additions to the original cruise.
  • The big gate across from Small World, between Storybookland and Fantasyland Theatre opens to a space that was once the route the railroad used to travel.  Follow the gates due east across Small World Mall toward the Monorail, and you'll find the Monorail used to run parallel to the former railroad tracks for several yards.
  • All the bodies of water are interconnected, in two groupings.  Tomorrowland to Fantasyland were one combination.  Main Street (Castle & Plaza Hub), to Adventureland, Jungle Cruise, leading to Rivers of America.  I believe there still is some inter-connectivity, but it is no longer as visible as it was in the early years.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

it's a small world (5 & 6) SUN-day

Next in the series, we venture to Asia.  In my opinion, this is the most clever...and certainly the most 3 dimensional of all the Suns.  I know that I always seem to notice this Sun, but I also seem to always not notice it at the same time.

Below is the most ingenious Sun... Africa.  It combines the blue-green shade of the Sun as seen through the heavy leaves found in jungle Africa, with the distorted rings of heat rising from the sands of desert Africa.

[Top] Asia [Bottom] Africa

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Disneyland Sign (late 70s &) 1980s

Third in a Series of Five
Sometime after the 1976 "America on Parade" celebration, the Marquee flags disappeared forever.
Disneyland Sign, late 70s
 The familiar subtitle was finally a regular part of the sign...The Happiest Place on Earth.  (But less happy, with no flags...)

Disneyland Sign, circa 1985
The 30th Birthday Celebrations brought a new slogan...  The Best Has Just Begun.

Disneyland Sign, circa 1989
Before it was finally removed forever, the last version of the Sign that Walt built returned to The Happiest Place On Earth... but still no flags!


(Images are for historic illustration purposes only) 

View the entire Disneyland Sign Series
by clicking the "Marquee" link on the right,
or by following the link [here]