NOTE: This post was originally written a few years ago.
I was working for a startup tech company in Silicon Valley when 9/11 happened. I remember going to the lobby of the hotel I was staying at and the front desk clerk saying “I hope you weren’t flying out today.” I was not, and I had no idea why she said that.
After the hotel shuttle dropped me off at work, I learned of what was going on. I spent my work day distracted as I kept an eye on news websites. Many must have been doing the same, as “big” news sites were reverting to very sparse, simple web pages to keep up with the traffic.
And even though Disneyland and Walt Disney World were far away from the attacks, the parks closed — something they rarely did. If you tried to go to the official websites, you saw the following:
It took years for tourism to recover. Hotels closed. Disney projects were canceled. But recover it did, and here we are, almost twenty years later, with some of the busiest parks and largest expansions those parks have ever seen.
Today, as we “Never Forget,” I hope all continue to move forward.
Haunted Mansion, not to be confused with The Haunted Mansion (2003), opened in theaters today. Since most of the movie is set in the mansion, product placement was not as easy to do. Watch for verbal references to:
Zillow – there really is a Zillow listing for this mansion, a very clever movie tie in.
Amazon – though perhaps just a joke…
CVS – This one was blatant. The medium brings out a notepad and says that she got it at CVS.
COSTCO – I forget where this was mentioned.
Burger King – a Burger King fry bag is passed around in a car, and references are made to its contents.
What others did you notice? Please leave a comment and I will update the list.
After an initial attempt to sell tickets on July 6th, ticket sells resumed on July 11th. A short time before the selling queue opened at 9 a.m. PST, folks were able to join a holding queue which was (so we are told) going to randomly insert us in the actual ticket queue.
I was there before 9 a.m., and remained in the queue until just after 8 p.m. PST when all tickets were sold out.
During the day, the screen would update as certain days became “limited” or sold out. I took screenshots every time I noticed a change, and if there is interest, I’ll write a post that shows which dates sold out first.
It was quite the waste of a day. And this, my friends, is the same company that folks are saying is in financial trouble because Indy is only the 12th highest grossing film in the world, currently.
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.
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:
“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.)
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:
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
I returned to visiting Disneyland in December 1995. I was then an annual pass holder every year except for the dark times (after the great tech layoffs following 9/11) through the late 2000s.
Disneyland used to do a yearly Annual Passholder Party. It was a hard ticket event that gave pass holders special access in the evening to presentations, entertainment and food. The last one was 23 years ago today on March 14, 1997. I thought it might be fun to look back on the event through my ancient digital photos.
Getting there is half the fun
I travelled for work, and just happened to be in Irvine, California the week this event was held. I had no ticket, but my local friend Steve roamed the lines asked if anyone had an extra ticket. Thanks to Steve and some random nice guy I was able to experience the event. (I used to have a picture of him, but it seems to have been lost to time.)
The new New Tomorrowland was under construction, so there were many displays set up showing things to come.
This one shows the paint job that Innoventions would soon have.
It was on this night that the made the building rotate (to great applause) for the first time since it America Sings was inside. I highly suspect they practiced this before they tried to power it up in front of annual pass holders.
The PeopleMover had been shut down for a few years, but its high speed replacement, Rocket Rods, would soon be operating. This was a map of the track layout.
The next resort…
And of course, with Disneyland soon to be the Disneyland Resort featuring a new theme park, Disney’s California Adventure, there was concept art on hand about changes coming to the resort area.
And check out this “now” and “later” image showing the yucky run down strip mall look that surrounded Disneyland … and the lush tourist district it would soon be transformed into:
Won’t you let me take you on a Disney cruise?
The Disney Cruise lines was also represented, showing off a model of an upcoming cruise ship.
Animal Kingdom: coming soon!
There was also a new Florida Disney theme park opening — the first new U.S. park since Disney/MGM Studios opened nine years earlier. Animal Kingdom was represented with a display of concept art.
The transformation of Epcot’s World of Motion into Test Track also got some concept art.
Imagineers standing by…
This is where I got to meet some imagineers for the first time. I had my photo taken with Bruce Gordon and Tony Baxter, though I don’t believe I had any idea who either of them were at the time.
Outside of Tomorrowland, the walkway between New Orleans Square and the Rivers of America was taken over by food booths. You could buy samples of all kinds of food items from the different lands of the parks. Back then, the prices were very reasonable!
This was also the first night we got to see a sneak preview of the upcoming Light Magic parade… but I will save that for a second part.
I thought I had many more photos from this night, but it appears they may have been lost with some hard drive failures I have had over the years. Stay in school kids, and backup often.
Until next time…
P.S. The photos in this article were all 640×480 low resolution images from my Epson PhotoPC camera. They have been upscaled using software as an experiment. What do you think? I think they look like Instagram filters. . .
When I bought my first digital camera in 1996, the specs were quite impressive. My Epson PhotoPC could take a picture large enough to fill my entire PC’s VGA-resolution screen – 640×480! Of course, on dial-up modems, you would never put pictures of that size on a website, so I often used the half-size 320×240 images online (or smaller).
But today, icons for phone apps are larger than 640×480. My huge 1996 pictures now look like postage stamps.
But technology always finds a way, and I am experimenting with some modern image processing that uses artificial intelligence to try to figure out what was supposed to be in the photo, and make it larger.
Here is an example… This is a 1996 photo from Disneyland:
And here is the same photo, reprocessed to be double the resolution:
If you viewed the original at double size and compared it with the reprocessed photo, you could see quite a difference. But in small sizes in this article, it just looks a tad sharper. Zooming in on the people in the canoe shows there wasn’t enough detail for the AI to do much. It gives them a weird artistic filtered look.
Let’s see if we can show them side-by-side. You can click on these to see them full size.
The question I have for you today is … should I reprocess the photos I share in these articles? Or just use the original 1996 versions as-is?
As an early adopter of digital cameras (my first was purchased in 1996), I am no stranger to adopting new tech before the rest of the world decides it’s useful.
In the early 2000s, I became fascinated with panoramic photography. I learned about special mirrors that let a camera take 360 panoramic photos with just one shot. Around 2005 I purchased a SurroundPhoto attachment and a Nokia camera specifically to use for this purpose. Here is what an image looked like:
If you’ve ever looked at the files that come out of a modern RICOH Theta VR camera, you will find this image a bit familiar.
Using special software, this weird image could be flattened out into a panorama:
I had already created a virtual tour of Disneyland by taking four pictures in each spot (facing north, south, west and east) and linking them all together as web pages with a custom program I wrote. I wanted to do the next version using 360 panorama VR-style photos.
Someday maybe I will.
I had also gotten my first digital camcorder in 1999 and was recording everything I was allowed to during my Disney trips. I have hundreds of tapes rotting away in storage. Some of them are in 3-D thanks to learning about the NuView camcorder attachment:
This odd device attached to the front of any pre-HD camcorder and used a special lens system to record what a left and right eye would see as separate scan lines in the old video signal.
I took this with me on a few trips and recorded a few hours of 3-D video, which I could later convert to red/blue anaglyph. I made copies of my 3-D home movies available on DVD (because I also was an early adopter of a machine that could burn DVDs). It’s hard to believe that burning DVDs was a big deal. (Somewhere I still have tons of the paper red/blue 3-D glasses.)
After that, I was an early adopter of HD video (even though I wouldn’t own an HD TV until years later). I still have many tapes I have yet to even look at.
Someday maybe I will.
And as far as “real” VR goes, I did get to play Dactyl Nightmare, the first consumer VR experience, at a Dave and Buster’s near Dallas back around 1993 or so. I then saw a demonstration of VR at Epcot in 1995, then got to play DisneyVR at the Tomorrowland Starcade at Disneyland in 1996.
Yet somehow I missed adopting VR at home, beyond playing with a “put your phone in this thing” Google cardboard device.
When I returned to Disneyland in December 1995, there were some thing I had “just” missed (like the PeopleMover and Skyway, that had closed a few years earlier). But, some things were still there, though they would close soon after.
One such thing was the Circle-Vision theater, showing a special presentation of America the Beautiful, which was supervised by Walt Disney himself.
For the kids at home, this was where the Buzz Lightyear ride is today. You can learn more at Yesterland.com or read the writeup at the Wikipedia.
My ancient digital camera did not do well indoors without using a flash. But, since there aren’t that many photos of this online, I thought I’d share what I have.
Yep. Glorious low resolution, low quality digital photos from 1996! Above was the pre-show area, leading in to the main CircleVision theater. Below I will share the other photos I took that visit — all of equal quality.
After this theater closed, it eventually would re-open and be used as part of the queue for the Rocket Rods. They created a new Circle-Vision film for it, which features some clips from other CircleVision films (on all screens) as well as clips from Disney’s TV series segments on transportation (including clips of Walt Disney). It was nice to be in a Circle-Vision theater at Disneyland again, even if it was just something you passed through while waiting for a ride.
Walt Disney World had Circle-Vision theaters at Epcot‘s World Showcase (and still does) and Magic Kingdom‘s Tomorrowland (Timekeeper, gone and replaced by the Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor).
Disneyland no long has any theater, as the building was redone to become Buzz Lightyear and the Circle-Vision screens were removed.
At least I got to see the “end” of Circle-Vision at Disneyland — the original theme park that pioneered this type of presentation. It’s one of the things I have never seen anywhere else (though surely someone else has made them).
Here is a real quick one… It recently dawned on me that someone could probably dedicate a whole series of articles to how admission to the Disney theme parks has changed over the years. Up until the 1990s, this would have only been a discussion about coupon books versus single and multi-day general admission tickets. Since then, however, there have been a number of changes to how admission is handled.
I will just contribute two photos taken in 1996 of how you used to get in to the Magic Kingdom in Florida.
First, notice the orange area in the following photo:
At that time, admission was a paper-plastic type ticket with a magnetic strip on it. At the turnstile you would insert that ticket into the orange slot and it would scan and allow (or deny) you access to the park.
Here is what my ticket, an annual pass, looked like in 1996:
And here is the front artwork:
Yes, my Walt Disney World annual pass was just a piece of plastic-paper with my name on it.
At the time, I thought this was quite cheesy compared to how Disneyland did theirs. They had an actual plastic ID card with a photo on it, and no magnetic strip that could become demagnetized. Here is the Disneyland pass from the same year:
And here is the back, promoting the recently opened Indiana Jones Adventure attraction:
Quite a difference in quality! In those years, it was said that Disneyland visitors were 70% locals from Southern California, while Walt Disney World was about 70% out-of-state tourists. I guess Disney just had more “regulars” to make feel special when they spent so much money on an annual pass. (After all, a one day pass to Disneyland in 1996 has just seen its price jacked up to $34!)
I never had a day pass to Disneyland, so I don’t know what they used for single day tickets at the time.
I recently found all of my Disneyland and Walt Disney World passes I’ve had since 1995. In a future post, I’ll do a photo essay showing the changes over the years.
One more thing before I go… The backside of the Magic Kingdom turnstile in 1996: