Disneyland 2018 vs Disneyland 2022 – introduction

In the not-too-distant future (but probably not next Sunday, A.D.), I plan to write out my thoughts about the Disneyland of 2022 versus the pre-COVID Disneyland of 2018. For those that go all the time, the changes are incremental. Stay away a few years, and the changes are huge.

From the introduction to mobile ordering, to the need for using a phone for “everything” (even getting to view World of Color at DCA), a current visit to Disneyland is vastly different than one just a few years ago.

And I don’t expect to even discuss price increases, since anyone old enough knows this is not a new thing, and we’ve talked about them for decades.

More to come…

So that casino at Walt Disney World is finally happening?

Click-bait headlines are exclaiming that a casino is coming to Walt Disney World. Whether this is accurate or not isn’t important, but it did bring back memories of something my father told me long ago.

My dad was taken to Disneyland shortly after it first opened in 1955. In the 1970s, he took me to Disneyland and Magic Kingdom. Because of that, I can say there was a time when I had visited every Disney park in the entire world!

But I digress.

In the days before the Internet, Disney rumors were far more sparse. You really didn’t know anything unless you read it in a book, or you knew someone who knew anything. And, somewhere, my dad had “learned” that the space-age Contemporary Resort had been built to have a casino. Disney, doing a casino? That will never happen.

I grew up in Houston, and after I got my first computer modem (kids, ask your parents), I started frequenting the bulletin board systems (BBS) in town. One of the users was a guy who had worked at Magic Kingdom for a number of years doing behind the scenes stuff.

I exchanged many messages with him, asking him all kinds of questions. “What do the Presidents look like up close?” “How does xxxx work?” He explained things to me that I wouldn’t be able to confirm until a decade later after I got access to Internet (news groups like alt.disney.disneyland and rec.arts.disneyparks and, later, personal home pages on the World Wide Web).

One story he told me had to do with Madam Leota in the Haunted Mansion. I expect I knew it was a projection, but he told me something about air being blown to keep dust out from in front of the projection (true?), and that the lens was special with edges to keep the sides in better focus or something. A decade later, I think it was the Persistence of Vision magazine that contained some of this same information. I bet if I did some web searches right now I could find out if either of those sources were correct.

But not everything he told me was correct. Or, if it was, it never amounted to anything. He mentioned they had been wanting to do a similar Madame Leota effect for 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, except it would be to project a giant octopus or something. I don’t remember anything else, except the term “angel hair” was part of it — to this day, I still don’t really know what that meant. I envisioned it as some kind of substance you could fill a glass sphere with and project on.

None of this is important, of course, but he, too, had heard about a casino at the Contemporary.

Over the years, Disney has made steps to fight against casinos coming to the area. There’s really no reason to believe Disney would ever do anything like a casino.

But then Pleasure Island happened, and none of us ever expected Disney to compete against Church Street Station by opening up a whole bunch of night clubs!

All of this to say that … if it does come to pass, at least we can change this crazy unsubstantiated and unlikely rumor from CLEARLY FALSE to OH I GUESS ITS TRUE. Even if one has nothing to do with the other.

Until next time…

The time(s) Disney changed the lyrics to the Pirates of the Carribean theme song

Updates:

  • Added Google screen shot for ”stand up me hearties yo ho” version.
  • Added YouTube video of that version.
  • Updated title. Will there be more versions found?

ADVISORY: This article uses the ”r“ word, mostly so search engines can find it in case anyone else stumbles upon this topic.

While researching something completely unrelated, I ended up exploring some old internet newsgroup messages. (You see, kids, before there was a World Wide Web, Disney fans used text and things called ”news groups” to communicate with each other.)

I stumbled across a 1997 posting about the breaking news that Disneyland was going to be changing Pirates of the Caribbean. This was followed by a comment wondering if they were going to remove the word ”rape” from the Yo Ho theme song, too. As a kid who visited Disneyland and Magic Kingdom in the 1970s, I also grew up thinking there was a line in that song that used that word. As an adult, I had assumed Disney must have edited out that inappropriate verse.

It wasn’t until years later when fans had access to full source audio and scans of he original sheet music that we could confirm that there never was such a line in the original song. All such memories were false. Seeing others, back in the mid-1990s, make references to it let me know that at least I wasn’t alone in mishearing a song lyric.

But I digress.

In that discussion, someone pointed out that this word never appeared in the theme song, but that Disney had removed ”drink up me hearties, yo ho!” from a CD release of the theme song.

Some quick research led me to the album: Music From the Parks, 1996. I had this album on cassette. It contained remakes of Disney theme park songs done by other artists. Read more about it here:

https://disney.fandom.com/wiki/Disney%27s_Music_from_the_Park

The track listing as as follows:

  • “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah” – Patti Austin
  • “Yo Ho (A Pirate’s Life for Me)” – The Pointer Sisters
  • “It’s a Small World/When You Wish Upon a Star Medley” – Etta James
  • “The Ballad of Davy Crockett” –  Tim Curry
  • “Grim Grinning Ghosts” – Barenaked Ladies
  • “Hakuna Matata Medley” – The Rembrandts
  • “Circle of Life/Can You Feel the Love Tonight Medley” – Richard Page
  • “SpectroMagic Medley (Instrumental)” – David Benoit
  • “A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes” – Linda Ronstadt
  • “Part of Your World” – Olivia Newton-John
  • “Mickey Mouse March/Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah Medley (Instrumental)” – The Disney Big Band
  • “When You Wish Upon a Star” – Take 6
  • “Remember the Magic (Theme Song) – Brian McKnight
  • “IllumiNations 25” – The Disney Big Band

…and while researching this, I learned there was a bonus track on the CD I never heard. I only had it on cassette. (And still do, somewhere.)

I bought this album specifically because it had remakes of the Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean theme songs. About the only other thing on the album that stands out in my mind to this day is the Davy Crocket song sung in Rocky Horror Picture Show style by Tim Curry. It’s quite the hoot! (“Davy …. David, Crocket… King of the …*wild* frontier…”)

I found The Pointer Sister’s version of Yo Ho on YouTube, and sure enough, the song had been re-arranged and omitted ”Drink up me hearties, yo ho”:

Since this was around the same time decisions were being made to alter the ride, it does make me wonder if the changes in these lyrics were done for a similar reason — or maybe they just decided to change the song for artistic reasons, leaving out the one line all of us know even if we cannot remember the versus. (Typing that out now, that would seem to be a very odd decision, if so.)

The original:

Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate’s life for me.
We pillage plunder, we rifle and loot.
Drink up me ‘earties, yo ho.
We kidnap and ravage and don’t give a hoot.
Drink up me ‘earties, yo ho.

The Pointer Sisters version:

Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate’s life for me.
Yo ho, yo YO, a pirate’s life for me.
We pillage plunder, we rifle and loot.
We kidnap and ravage and don’t give a hoot.

The same pattern follows through the rest of the song.

If I ever noticed this at the time, I forgot that I noticed. But I think that I didn’t. At that time, we did not have access to full versions of these soundtracks. I remember being quite happy at discovering one could pull of some audio files from the Walt Disney World Explorer CD-ROM and get some instrumental background snippets that had never been released publicly before.

So, while the R word never appeared in the original song, a Disney remake of the song did alter the lyrics to remove lines about drinking.

The more you know…

Stand up me hearties, yo ho?

And further proving you can’t really trust what a search engine chooses for you as the best possible answer, look at what Google brings up for the lyrics:

Stand up me hearties, yo ho?

There must be some Disney Kids album that has a censored version of the song on it… I guess.

Update: Jonas Brothers, Disney Mania 4. https://youtu.be/ywUujyCsNZE

Lost Island Theme Park – beyond expectations in Waterloo, Iowa.

In summer of 2022, America got a new theme park: Lost Island Themepark (as they spell it, without a space). This park is an addition to the well-established Lost Island Waterpark in Waterloo, Iowa.

The Lost Island water park is highly rated (at least according to USA Today, which has ranked it Top 10 in the country for several years in a row). It currently sits in the #2 position:

https://www.10best.com/interests/explore/10-best-outdoor-water-parks-us-readers-choice-awards-2022/

The theme park has high standards to live up to.

We visited Lost Island and were stunned at how deep the lore and theming of the park goes. It practically has its own language, with most rides, shops and eateries having names we couldn’t pronounce (and, unfortunately, couldn’t remember).

The park is divided up in to “realms,” representing Fire, Earth, Water, Air and Spirit. The layout is wonderfully reminiscent of World Showcase at Epcot, with an entrance area that leads off in both directions as it circles a small central body of water.

Instead of a “Main Street,” there is a huge open plaza. Down at the end, across the water is their “castle” — a large Ferris wheel called “Alzanu’s Eye.” It is perfectly framed as you approach the ticket booths from the parking lot.

Each area has a restroom and a food location. There are two indoor sit-down food spots, one drink stand (with adult beverages and snacks) and the others are smaller snack stands (all but one with shaded seating beside it).

Knowing where you are in the park is quite easy — the light posts are different in each realm, as is the color scheme and even walkway details. You will see giant green leaves in the Earth area, and blue waves in the Water area. You can find steampunk gears and cogs in the paths of the Air realm, and animal tracks in the Spirit realm.

Theming here is well beyond that of a Six Flags style park, and on par with what you’d expect at SeaWorld Orlando. While it doesn’t compare to the fully immersive environments of Disneyland or Islands of Adventure, fans of theme and detail will find plenty to keep them entertained if they decided to go down the rabbit hole of exploring Lost Island lore. (How many Tamariki statues are there, again?)

Most of the rides are standard theme park flat rides, though only a few (such as the bumper cars) seemed generic. All the rest all themed versions to match the realm they are in. For example, a children’s spinning ride themed to a giant fish, representing the Water realm of the park, next to a mini Space Shot type ride, with a fire theme to represent that realm.

Two of the rides have indoor queues and preshows. One, a standard Space Shot style drop tower, has a decorated queue with a video preshow before boarding. You cannot see the loading area from outside — it was enclosed, similar to how Doctor Doom’s Fearfall is at Universal’s Islands of Adventure.)

The other is a 4-D motion base shooting dark ride which featured a themed queue, video preshow, and animatronic preshow. The ride itself goes through physical sets with projector and real targets to shoot at, along with mist, wind and fire effects. During video sequences, the vehicle motion base is active making it feel like a motion simulator (think Spider-Man at Islands of Adventure). Fans of dark rides will be very surprised at how good this one is.

There is even a phone app that will award you with badges and achievements as you visit different areas of the park. There is much here to learn about and discuss.

As time permits, a full review of the park will be added, along with over 1000 photos taken during the visit. A nearly-full 360-video tour of the park may also be shared, depending on how well the video turned out.

To be continued…

See: www.thelostisland.com

New videos on YouTube…

I bought my first digital camera in 1996 and began taking photos at theme parks. A few years later, I bought a Digital8 (digital) camcorder. I have begun the process of posting old raw footage taken starting in 2000 at Disneyland. The new YouTube channel is:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC3s32BjC-kCdyBCFgC156cw

I have also begun the process of upscaling this old pre-HD video into higher quality. I will be trying to post a new video each week, when time permits.

I have many hours of video to go through from the 2000 and 2001 trips, including lots of footage from things like Rocket Rods, Country Bears, Aladdins Oasis (the show that was there after, not the restaurant), Superstar Limo and many other items that live on today only in Yesterland.

It’s going to be a fun year.

Here’s one to get you started… It is a ride on the Sun Wheel at Disney’s California Adventure, recorded just ten days after the park opened to the public. As time allows, I will be reposting these old videos in much quality formats.

Until then…

ABC Soap Opera Bistro in 2001

One of my New Year’s resolutions for 2022 is to import all my old Disney vacation videos and share the interesting ones. I have begun experimenting with enhancing the old Digital8 footage using A.I. software to increase the resolution and details. This really messes up much of it, but as you can see from the side-by-side screen shots below, its not too terrible.

It should be quite an interesting project. I have hundreds of hours of footage to sort through.

More to come…

The Park Hopping video archives…

As I have mentioned (many times), I purchased my first digital camera in 1996. This was followed by my first digital video camcorder in 1999. It recorded digitally on 8mm video tapes. Over the years, I recorded hundreds of tapes at theme parks and Renaissance festivals. This was followed by an upgrade to an HD camcorder that used DV tapes (which I have dozens and dozens of those), then a jump to camcorders that used memory cards.

All the memory card footage is backed up to hard drives, but very little of the Digital8 and DV tapes exist anywhere other than those tapes. Hopefully my old camcorders still work, and the tapes can still be read, because I would like to begin the process of importing them for editing and sharing.

Stay tuned… This will be a huge project for 2022.

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