Thursday, April 24, 2008

Disney World - part 4

Most of my week at Disney World was spent in the Magic Kingdom. We made a couple of short trips to Disney Studios, a brief, voyage to Epcot that was aborted by two kids who were overtired, and never made it to Animal Kingdom at all.

I took few pictures in Epcot, and much fewer at Disney Studios. Having lived in Los Angeles for a few years with quite a bit of time spent on studio lots, Disney Studios wasn't much of a thrill for me. Both my wife and I were a bit unnerved by how accurately the theme park replicated actual Los Angeles. It was easy to recognize the appropraited architecture from the real buildings they were modeled on, but the whole thing had a somewhat false, sterile feel like one of those Twilight Zone episodes where the astronauts land in their hometown on earth, only to sense something isn't quite right about it.

Having said that, my favorite restaurant was located at Disney Studios, just around the corner from "Star Tours." This was the Sci-Fi Dine In Theater. Set inside a large building, lighted and dressed to give the impression of nighttime, (which to me is one of Disney's most succesful attraction endeavors best experienced in the Pirates of the Caribbean ride and in the Mexico part of Epcot's international pavilion) the restaurant is set up to create the illusion that you are at a drive-in movie theater. A large screen along the back wall shows trailers to 50s science fiction movies, drive-in concession stand and intermission clips, and appropraite cartoons. The tables are installed infront of the seats in reduced scale replicas of 1950s convertible automobiles equipped with drive-in speakers. There are even candy apple painted "flying saucer" picnic tables at the rear of the restaurant. It was a great experience. It even had great, high quality napkins as seen here.

if I ever get the urge to open a restaurant, I'm going to completely rip this place off.

Now for the final pictures in this series, though some others will be posted for this year's 30 Days of Halloween in October.

From top to bottom:

Two views of the Sci-Fi Dine In Theater as well as one of its napkins.

My favorite place in the Magic Kingdom, the Haunted Mansion, as seen from Tom Sawyer Island.

Mickey Mouse, as he appears in the nightly parade.

One of the monorails about to pull into the Contemporary Hotel.

An iconic scene from the Jungle Cruise.

The Pinocchio statue by the "Partners" statue of Walt and Mickey.

A steer skeleton surrounded by rattlesnakes as seen from the "Roy O. Disney" train as it passed through Frontierland.

A framed map seen in the railroad themed lounge of the Wilderness Lodge Villa.

A Pirates of the Caribbean statue at Downtown Disney.

Another iconic scene from the Jungle Cruise.

Rear view of the Wilderness Lodge. The amazing thing about the hotels is that in spite of the fact that thousands of people were staying there at once, you rarely saw more than a few people at a time. i rarely encountered anyone while waiting for the elevator, walking the hallways, or the walkway linking the Villa to the main Lodge. It was also very quiet. It made for a much more relaxing vacation.

The Dapper Dans crooning.

One of the enormous murals inside the Contemporary Hotel.

A scene from It's a Small World.

The framed art hanging up on the wall of my hotel room bathroom.

An actual heron, not an animatronic one. Accustomed to the sparrows and occassional sea gulls which inhabit the parking lots of fast food places, it was a bit jarring to discover that along with the occassional sparrow, Disney World's avian beggars included grackles, mallard ducks, and the more exotic herons, and ibises.

The mallards were a big hit with children. I was constantly overhearing parents lamenting that after all of the expense and trouble of bringing their kids to Disney World that their kids' favorite thing was the ducks.

An artificial owl inside Harper's Mill. The inside of the mill was in part decorated to resemble "The Old Mill" Silly Symphony cartoon, including a nesting blue bird in the rotating gears of the mill.

A scene from the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad roller coaster ride photographed from the "Roy O. Disney" train as it passed by.

Chernobog, the devil from "Fantasia" as he appears in the nightly parade.


Anonymous said...

It's funny hearing your thoughts on the local wildlife that happens into the park. This past summer I went down to Epcot with my wife, sister, and father and I heard many parents with the same lament after a witnessing a few rabbits in a small courtyard in the middle of the park. It was weird and exciting to see them inside the park like that, but I have to agree that the kids seemed way more enthused with them than the park itself...

Todd Franklin said...

Glad to hear the Sci-Fi Dine In Theater is still there. I saw that the first time in '94 and it was one of my favorite things there. I saved one of those napkins too and I think they're and still look the same.