Monday Topics: Looking Back at Disney – The Back Side

W E E K     F O U R

LOOKING BACK AT DISNEY

Our friends over at Love Our Crazy Life have asked some of their blogging friends (like me) to participate in a Blogging Challenge. So for four weeks in April, on every Monday morning, I will be covering a different Disney-related topic. You can click the link above to find all of the other participants and their entries. Enjoy!

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The Back Side

I struggled with this topic, so it was fortunate for me that it came last in the series! I thought of doing a comparison of Disney then and now, but that would take too much time. I thought of doing a pictorial of me in 1972 at Walt Disney World versus me in modern times. But I have too few images for such a post. So what to do?

Why not do the unexpected, or inexplicable? So welcome to my post that looks at the back side of Disney!

Back Side of Sleeping Beauty Castle (Disneyland model)

Disney Legend and Imagineer Herb Ryman designed Disneyland’s iconic Sleeping Beauty Castle. Now, the infamous story of how this castle got turned around may be apocryphal, or it may be true, but it certainly is entertaining. Herb says:

“One thing that he (Walt) insisted upon was that there be a very, very conspicuous castle, because the castle is going to be the symbol of this whole place. Fred Joerger had done a beautiful model of this castle. When I saw it I said, ‘I don’t like it.’ So I took a look at the castle model, grabbed a hold of the upper portion of the model, and turned it around so that the back of the upper portion now faced the front. ‘Dick said, ‘Now, Herbie, quit playing with it. Put it back. He said ‘Walt’s going to be here any minute, and Walt won’t like it. Turn it around. Put it back.’”

But time ran out and Walt saw the altered version. And loved it! So the whole thing was built around the wrong way. So when you visit Disneyland and take a picture of the front of the castle, your picture will turn out backwards!

Back Side of Water (Jungle Cruise)

I’m constantly amazed at how many times Disney is able to get us excited about simple and common things. Millions of us take pictures of trash cans just because they are color-coded to the Land they are in. Many of us enjoy a bus ride, even though we have to wait too long to get on one and they take forever to get anywhere!

And then there is the back side of water.

A simple gag line from a corny attraction has caused more cameras to click and more people to groan than any other naturally occurring substance in the World!

Back Side of Disney Cruise Ships (Disney Wonder)

Each of the ships in the Disney Cruise Line have a distinctive character tableau attached to the back. Historically, most sailing ships would stick a figure on the front, such as Pirate ships. But Disney just had to be different!

They are almost impossible to see from the ship themselves, so take your pictures before you board. I guess Disney just wants to give those ocean-going tailgaters something to look at!

Back Side of Disney Clothing (Mickey T-shirt)

OK, that’s just rude! But I’m sure Mickey is just being playful as he takes a backwards peek at us. There are many different designs in this theme, showing us the back of characters instead of just another view of the more familiar fronts.

But be careful: You may not know if you’re coming or going when wearing one of these!

And there you have my look back at the back side of Disney. I wonder who else would have thought of this angle for Looking Back at Disney?!

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Top Five Disney Theme Park Weather Conditions

You’ve spent months planning the perfect Disney vacation. You’ve accounted for every possible contingency. You’ve packed enough stuff to outfit an expedition to the real Mount Everest. You’ve psyched your entire family into a Disney-induced preoccupation.

And now you’ve arrived at your chosen Disney destination. And there’s weather.

Do not despair! I have compiled a complete list of Disney Weather Conditions along with What-to-do-about-it ideas. So without further ado, and before this post is called on account of weather, let’s start with:

CONDITION NUMBER FIVE

COLD & RAINY

Tut, tut, it looks like rain! Nothing says ‘fun’ like riding an attraction in a deluge of Biblical proportions. We like riding Splash Mountain or the Grizzly Bear Rapids to get wet, but Autopia or The Magic Carpets of Aladdin? Not so much.

Here’s what to do: Do not leave the park! Everyone else will, so this is the perfect time to do indoor attractions that usually have long lines. Also, it’s a great time to shop because the stores will be less crowded, and the Cast Members will be able to give you better attention. Grab a bite at that busy restaurant that you can never get reservations for.

In short, continue to have fun. Oh, and wear a Mickey Poncho!

CONDITION NUMBER FOUR

ANYBODY’S GUESS

Those who live in Florida have a saying: Don’t like the weather? Wait a few minutes, it’ll change! Remember earlier when I said you planned for every contingency, and packed everything you’d need? Well, that’s great. But if you get up in the morning and it’s sunny, so you wear shorts and a t-shirt with no coat, but two hours later it’s cloudy and windy with a wee nip in the air, followed by one of Florida’s famous downpours, followed minutes later by scorching temperatures, you quickly realize that this weather condition isn’t much better than a full rainy day!

Here’s what to do: Watch the skies. Sometimes the weather is merciful and gives a few moments warning of what it has planned. Learn to roll with the punches and deploy that famous sense of humor of yours. You have one of those, right? It won’t help!

CONDITION NUMBER THREE

WINDY

Hang onto your Mickey Ears because it’s about to get blustery! This isn’t one of the worst weather conditions you can face at Disney, but it does present some challenges. You may want to rent a locker and stow the hats and other loose articles. Do up the coats. And get ready to acquire a taste for dust!

The main problem with this weather condition is that some rides may be shut down, such as Characters in Flight in Disney Springs.

Here’s what to do: Just keep having fun and try to make a game of dodging debris.

CONDITION NUMBER TWO

CLOUDY

Now we’re getting closer to the ideal weather conditions for a perfect Disney vacation! When the day is overcast, but not raining, usually the temperatures are moderate. The sun isn’t beating down on you and the blonde-haired person in your party isn’t a bright red yet.

Here’s what to do: Go on as many of the slower outdoor rides that you can. Driving with the top down (the cars, not yours) on The Tomorrowland Speedway for example is much more enjoyable without depleted-ozone induced cosmic rays killing you! It may also be the time to rent that watercraft and get out on the Seven Seas Lagoon. If it’s windy too, don’t rent a sail boat or you may end up in another State!

CONDITION NUMBER ONE

HOT & SUNNY

Ding! Turn me over, I think I’m done. California and Florida can get pretty hot when the sun shines in the middle of Summer. So you may think that this would be the worst time to be at a Disney park, right? Wrong!

Here’s what to do: You can use the heat for an excuse to scarf down a dozen Mickey Bars. You can ride a water-based attraction and get soaked. No problem, you will be dry by the time you get to the next attraction. If all else fails, you should be able to talk your family into some pool time back at the Resort. And trust me, you’ll quickly learn how to bathe in a drinking fountain.

Also, bright sunny days provide the best conditions for taking awesome photographs!

Sure, you’re going to suffer. But enjoy the sun while it lasts. Remember, you’ll be back at work in the middle of Winter before you know it!

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So there you have it, my Top Five list of weather conditions that you may encounter at a Disney park. And maybe I’ll see you there some day. I’ll be the one shaking my fist at the sky and screaming ‘WHY’ over and over again!

Magical Blogorail: Secret Disney Obsessions – Transportation

Welcome to this month’s Blogorail Red Loop. Today we are sharing some of our secret Disney obsessions.


So what is it with men and transportation? If it has wheels and moves, we’re all over it! I never miss a chance to ride the Tomorrowland Speedway/Autopia cars, even though I can’t breathe while doing so.

Me and Autopia

DL Hotel: I’ll even drive indoors!

I use snuggling with my wife as an excuse to ride the PeopleMover, although technically it doesn’t have wheels, but it does move! For more on my obsession with this form of Disney transportation, and many other Disney ride vehicles, just click the link.

I also love the vintage vehicles on Main Street.

Disneyland Vehicles

DL: Up or down?

I even prefer to drive to Walt Disney World instead of flying! Let’s face it, I’m hooked on Disney transportation!

But I think I come by this obsession honestly as I share it, not only with every other man on the planet, but also with Walt Disney himself. After all, who do you think put all of those wheeled wonders in the parks?

Disneyland Tram

DL: I even love riding the trams!

But my top two transportation-related Disney obsessions are the trains and monorails, both at Disneyland and Walt Disney World.

Train at Frontierland Station

WDW: Frontierland Station, as seen from Splash Mountain queue

Casey Jr.

DL: Casey Jr. chugging around the track

There’s nothing like the sound of a real steam locomotive! And when it travels along a scenic route such as in a Disney park, one can’t help but love the trip.

In contrast, there is also nothing quite like gliding silently along the cement beam of the monorial!

WDW Monorial Purple

WDW: Monorail Purple in Epcot

Disneyland Monorail Red

DL: Monorail Red traveling over Finding Nemo subs

Maybe it’s the extreme difference in technologies between the steam engine and the monorail that makes riding these forms of transportation so special for me. Leave it to Walt Disney to include the nostalgic right alongside the modern!

Before I conclude this post, I should confess one final transportation-related obsession:

Disney bus

WDW: I even like riding the buses!

For more secret Disney obsessions, check out the other great posts from the Blogorail!


Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail Red | Secret Disney Obsessions Loop:

Top Five Cheap Things to Do at Disney Parks

To start, obviously there are a lot more than five things to do at a Disney park or resort. Duh! So why this list?

I’m going to share five CHEAP things to do that don’t involve waiting in long lines, and in most cases, don’t require a theme park admission. Interested? Then let’s begin:

Number Five

Sit & Relax

WDW & DL

Sit & Relax

Yup, I’m starting with this. No matter where you are at Disney, there is always something of interest going on. So while you rest your tired feet, you can enjoy the beautiful scenery, people watch or interact with Cast Members, or… eat a Mickey Bar!

OK, now let’s get more serious:

Number Four

Take a Boat Ride

WDW only

Boat Ride

This is only possible at Walt Disney World as it has many waterways to offer. The main system is the Seven Seas Lagoon in front of The Magic Kingdom. You can get from the parking areas to The Magic Kingdom using the Ferry, or board a smaller craft and access many of the resorts that dot the shores.

World Showcase Lagoon in Epcot is also a good place to ply the waters. You can get to Downtown Disney (Disney Springs) using the Friendship Taxis found there.

For detailed explanations and maps showing all available routes, please visit the post entitled Disney World Boat Transportation System at exploringwdw.com

Number Three

Rent a Bicycle

WDW only

Bike Ride

Two wheels or four, you can’t go wrong with a little exercise and fun with friends. You can rent the above bikes in two, four or six-passenger versions. These can take you along the banks of the Sassagoula River to Disney’s Boardwalk area and more!

Two-wheeled versions can be rented at many resorts including Disney’s Fort Wilderness Campground and Resort. For details about this option, visit Disney’s official page entitled, appropriately, Bike Rentals.

And while we have mentioned Fort Wilderness, you can also enjoy a ride in one of these horse-drawn numbers:

Horse & Carriage Ride

Just in case you’d rather trade pedal-power for horsepower! But if you’d rather park your keister in a more modern conveyance, let’s get back to our official list:

Number Two

Ride the Monorail

WDW & DL

Monorail Inside

There are two main monorail lines. Both leave from the Transportation and Ticket Center (TTC). The Epcot Monorail and the Express Monorail originate at the TTC and offer express round-trip service to Epcot and Magic Kingdom park.

At Walt Disney World, you can travel around Epcot and see the sights before you get off, thus getting a preview of the park and your bearings. The Express Monorail will take you around the resorts closest to The Magic Kingdom.

Again, for a fuller explanation, and a map showing all of the routes, visit Disney’s official page entitled Resort Monorail.

You can also ride the original monorail at Disneyland, which again takes you around the park for an eye-in-the-sky peek at the park. And you can still ride in the front with the Pilot, which you can no longer do at Walt Disney World. Another difference is that you don’t need to pay theme park admission to ride at the World, but you do to ride in the Land.

Number One

Enjoy some Streetmosphere

WDW & DL

Streetmosphere 1

In both parks it’s everywhere! From performance troupes, to bands, to buskers and more, Disney supplies many a distraction to entertain you when you’re on your way from here to there!

What I have pictured above and below is a Dating Game set-up from Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Streetmosphere 2          Streetmosphere 3

So there you have it my Disney friends. Five things you can do at Disney without waiting in a long line-up, and mostly without paying theme park admission.

Did I miss something you like to do on the cheap? Let us all know in the comments section below!

Book Review: The Magic of Disneyland & Walt Disney World

I love finding books about Disney and the Disney parks. But this book I passed over several times before I finally broke down and bought it. The reason I didn’t buy it the first time I saw it was that it was in deplorable condition! In fact, it had been a library book but had been stamped  DISCARD no less than three times.

However, the photographs from Disneyland and Walt Disney World along with film stills were so good, and large, that I shelled out the $3.00 CAN and took it home.

And here it is, in all its ragged glory:

Magic of Parks Book 002

Magic of Parks Book 003                    Magic of Parks Book 005

Left: Back Cover / Right: Front Cover, no sleeve

Valerie Childs has released a few different titles about the parks with this one coming out in 1979. After several pages of history on Walt Disney and the parks, she gets right into the meat of the book, which is the beautiful pictures. But first:

Magic of Parks Book 006

Can you find your pre-’79 favorite character?

Now let’s see some of the double-fold pages:

Magic of Parks Book 007

WDW: Title Pages

Magic of Parks Book 008

WDW: A memorable meeting with Mickey, Minnie, and Goofy

Magic of Parks Book 009

DL: Admiral Joe Fowler next to Liberty Square

Magic of Parks Book 010

WDW: Rainbow-colored balloons

Magic of Parks Book 011

WDW: Empress Lilly Riverboat on Lake Buena Vista

Magic of Parks Book 012

DL: It’s a Small World attraction

Magic of Parks Book 013

DL: Captain Hook’s Pirate Ship and The Skyway

Magic of Parks Book 014

WDW: Main Street and Cinderella Castle at night

Magic of Parks Book 015

DL: Rocket Ships in Tomorrowland

Magic of Parks Book 016

WDW: Mickey Mouse tees off on the 12th Hole

Magic of Parks Book 017

WDW: The Polynesian Village Resort Hotel

Magic of Parks Book 018

A final ‘tee-hee’ from Tigger!

I’m glad I finally broke down and bought this book, despite its condition. You can still get copies of this book on Amazon, mostly used, but some new hardcover copies as well. Most of the copies I’ve seen were from 1980 or later, so likely are second printings.

I’d give this book a 5 out of 5 Stars simply because of its beauty and that it achieves what it set out to do, that of being a giant picture book for adults! But kids can look at it too.