Sunday, 31 July 2016

Requiem for a Tower

We have undoubtedly all heard the news by now: at the San Diego Comic Con, Disney announced that the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at Disney California Adventure will become a Guardians of the Galaxy ride in 2017.

When the rumours first broke, I immediately shot it down as too ridiculous to take seriously... that Disney would never be so foolish as to take down DCA's best, headlining attraction with its own fanbase and brisk merchandising... but apparently nothing is impossible for Disney. It was also very wise of Disney to confirm these rumours at the SDCC, in the Guardians of the Galaxy panel, and not the D23 Expo. I'll never quite forget the footage from several years ago when the Fantasy Faire was announced at the Expo, and the only applause was for the affirmation that swing dancing would be retained in the bandstand (which ended up being a falsehood). At SDCC, surrounded by Marvel fans, this undoubtedly went over better than it would have at D23. More likely than not, surrounded by Disney fans who love Disney enough to attend an expensive official Disney convention, they would have been booed off the stage.

Twilight Zone Tower of Terror was not only my favourite attraction in Disney California Adventure, but constituted my only substantive reason for going into that theme park at all. Other attractions are appealing once you are through its gates, and they have done so much to improve the park, but it was the Tower of Terror that made me want to cross the Esplanade to begin with. In fact, no Disney attraction won me over in quite the way that Tower of Terror did.

Saturday, 30 July 2016

Cory and Ashley on Confessions of a DisNerd!

If you are not reading the blog Confessions of a DisNerd, you really ought to. After a few different iterations, its author Craig has really hit on a neat idea: profiles of Disney fans. It is Confessions of a DisNerd, after all, so why not have the confessions of Disney nerds?

This week, Ashley and I were the nerds in question! We've shared bits and pieces of our fairy tale story with you here at Yesterday, Tomorrow, and Fantasy, but if you want the full synopsis, head over to Confessions of a DisNerd!

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

The Wilderness Lodges of Glacier - Part 2

Glacier Park Lodge, built in 1913, was joined by the magnificent Many Glacier Hotel in 1915. It is situated on the picturesque Swiftcurrent Lake, directly opposite the stunning Grinnell Point, named in honour of George Bird Grinnell. Louis Hill, head of Great Northern, deliberately chose the spot for its symmetrical qualities. Many visitors consider this region the true heart of Glacier. From the hotel, trails fan out to the feet of glaciers, to flowering valleys teeming with grizzly bears, and to lakes covered year round with floes of ice.

The hotel itself was built in a style similar to that of Glacier Park Lodge, which was itself inspired by the Forestry Building of the 1905 Lewis and Clark Exposition in Portland, Oregon. That building featured an interior  colonnade of 48' high logs to architecturally recall the majesty of the Pacific Northwest coastal rainforest. Because no trees of such immensity grow in the vicinity of the Rocky Mountains, Great Northern was forced to import the Douglas Firs necessary to build the lobbies of Glacier Park and Many Glaciers.

Historic photo of the interior of the Forestry Building,
Lewis and Clark Exposition of 1905.

Many Glacier Hotel with Grinnell Point in the background.

Grinnell Point and Swiftcurrent Lake.

The lakefront side of Many Glacier Hotel.

Many Glacier's lobby from below. 

Many Glacier's lobby from above.

Many Glacier's beautifully restored restaurant.

A red jammer bus outside the Many Glacier Hotel.

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

The Wilderness Lodges of Glacier - Part 1

"Far away in northwestern Montana, hidden from view by clustering mountain peaks, lies an unmapped corner—the Crown of the Continent."
These words, penned in 1901 by famed naturalist George Bird Grinnell, introduced the world to the natural majesty of the area known today as the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park. It is comprised of two national parks in two countries - Waterton Lakes National Park in Canada and Glacier National Park in the United States - linked by their ecosystem, geology, cultural history and scenic beauty.

St. Mary's Lake, Glacier National Park.

Upper Waterton Lake, Waterton Lakes National Park.

Saturday, 9 July 2016

Walt's Era - Part 4: Post-War Recovery (1947-1950)

The Second World War ended in 1945, freeing Disney up from the pressures that bogged the company down. Animators returned home from the war, the US military vacated the studios, and global markets opened back up. Nevertheless, these were still trying financial times for Walt and his crew.

Through the remainder of the Forties, Disney opted against trying anything too ambitious. Animators geared back up to doing full feature films by a couple of "package films" consisting of two half-hour shorts, directors continued pushing further into the realm of live-action, and the first True-Life Adventure slipped in, culminating in the company's grand return to fairy tale feature films with Cinderella. Beyond feature films, Donald Duck's star was eclipsing Mickey Mouse: in 1947 alone, only one Mickey short was produced against the eight starring Donald and four starring Pluto. In 1949 and 1950, no Mickey shorts were made at all. Things were pretty even between the two before the war, until it came time for Donald to be enlisted in the army. People could relate to the exaggerated caricature of Donald in a way that they could not relate to the affable Mickey anymore.

Overall, the stage was being set for a new "Golden Age" to emerge in the Fifties. In this batch of films, we see Disney once more trying to find its footing, preparing for great things to come.