Wednesday, May 11, 2016

What to do During Construction

We're only a couple months into the extended closures of the Disneyland Railroad and the Rivers of America due to Star Wars Land construction. How are you holding up? If you haven't been to the parks yet or if you've been avoiding old favorites so you don't miss them too much, we're here today to tell you all the fun you can have during the closures!

Up Close and Personal with Trains

The Main Street and New Orleans Square stations are both open with trains parked in front and there's plenty to do! You can:

• Talk to the engineers and ask any questions

• Take awesome up close pictures of the trains

• Peek inside the Lilly Belle car (at Main Street Station)

• Cross the tracks (at New Orleans Square) to get a great look at the station building you otherwise never get to see

• Do puzzles with Cast Members! (They were set up at New Orleans Square last time I looked and they just work on big Disney puzzles in a shady spot)

• Have a mini photo shoot. Disney photographers are there and ready to take lots of pics of you and your family

Explore the Mark Twain

The Columbia might be gone for now, but the Mark Twain is docked at the front of the Rivers of America and is just waiting to be explored!

• Listen to live music! There is a jazz band set up in the stage area on the second floor. Go hang out and listen. 

• Watch old Disneyland footage on a TV set up in the little room behind the jazz band area. 

• Relax!!!!! There are tables and chairs set up everywhere. Bring some coffee or a snack, have a seat, and enjoy what may be the only relaxing moment of a fast paced day. 
Pro tip: Get the ice cream nachos from the nearby Golden Horseshoe to eat while you enjoy a table overlooking the water. Perfection! 

Sneak a Peak at the Construction!

Ok, there's not much to see right now besides big piles of dirt, but you can catch a glimpse at the Star Wars Land progress from these locations:

• The roof of the Mickey and Friends parking structure has an unblocked view. I'd suggest bringing a big zoom lens for your camera, though, if you really want to be able to see. 

• The top of the second hill in thunder mountain backs up o the construction zone. Take a look to the left (instead of the goat to your right) and you'll have a closer look at trucks pushing the dirt around. 

• Peek through fences and gates to get an even closer look. Watch out though. Cast members frown on this one!

Monday, May 9, 2016

Disneyland Mysteries

Disneyland is full of little details that you're likely to miss if you're not looking carefully. Over my many (many, many, many) visits, I've noticed a lot of little things that I couldn't quite explain. How many of these mysterious spots have you seen?

1. Mr. Peavidy at Starbucks

I was waiting for my very necessary coffee in the Market House on Main Street before the park opened one day, and as I waited I wandered around to take some pictures of the cute decorations I really hadn't paid any attention to since the coffee shop was rethemed when it became Starbucks. As I started to take a picture of one of the old "Party Line" phones, I noticed the door next to it. "Mr. Peavidy, Bookseller." I couldn't get it out of my head. Who in the world is Mr. Peavidy? Thanks to Laughing Place, I got my answer! The backstory is that Mr. Peavidy is a retired teacher who's now opened a coffee shop with a "Book Rest" area for relaxing and reading. I really love how so many places in the park have detailed back stories that are never even told. They're just left for us to find and discover!

Fun Fact: Along with the party line phone, you can also find the old pot bellied stove and checkers table from the original Market House!

2. New Orleans Square Archway

Have you ever noticed this little bricked up archway in New Orleans Square? It has the year 1764 on it and absolutely no explanation! 

Rumor has it that this is part of an old backstory about the pirate Jean Lafitte that would have tied the Pirates of the Caribbean, Haunted Mansion, and Tom Sawyer's Island all together. You might recognize his name from the Lafitte's Landing sign above the Pirate's loading/unloading area. The rumors say that the Mansion would have been owned by Lafitte and that this archway would have led to some kind of tunnel under the Rivers of America and over to his lost, sunken pirate ship at the island. 

Unfortunately, this idea was abandoned and all were left with is this strange, out of place archway. 

3. Spider in the Haunted Mansion

While we're already thinking about New Orleans Square, lets talk about the Haunted Mansion! When you're in the big ballroom "swinging wake" scene, you may have noticed a spider that sits on the past pane of glass that you look through. If you look carefully at it, the spider's "web" is actually broken glass! The story goes that, back in the day, a kid with a BB gun shot at the glass. The panes go from ceiling to floor and would be unbelievably difficult to remove, so Disney opted to just cover the broken bit with a spider!

4. The Brick Wall on Main Street

Photo Credit: Dutchess of Disneyland

Have you ever noticed this wall near the lockers on Main Street? At first glance it's just a brick wall. But when you really look at it, there are different types of bricks and styles of masonry. Legend has it that this was the "test wall" when Disneyland was being built that imagineers used to help them decide how bricks in the park should look. The most mysterious part is why the wall is still there! What do you think? The most popular theory is that they ran out of time to tear it down, but at this point they've had 60 years!

5. The Alien's Score

Our last mystery for today is the one that bothers me the most. I've been Googling this nonstop and haven't found any kind of answer! The alien's score in this picture in line for Buzz Lightyear's Astro Blasters is clearly a date. What's the significance of February 4, 1964. It's the release date for Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree, but that doesn't have anything to do with Toy Story or that spot in Disneyland. I'm starting to think its the birthday of one of the Imagineers who worked on the ride, but I really have no proof. Anyone know???