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Modern Mouse Radio #108: A Haunted Mansion Documentary

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Josh is joined by James Carter from the Creepy Kingdom podcast this week to talk about his newest venture, a full length documentary about the Haunted Mansion attraction and it’s loyal and unique fan base. James has just started filming and will be looking to put out the film at the beginning of next year. He is on the show to promote and gain some buzz around the project.

If you are interested in donating to the film’s Kickstarter, make sure to do so as there are some great perks involved. Also be sure to check out FoolishMortalsDoc.com for all of the news around the film!

 

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Disneyland Planning: Halloween Season

Want to know how to have the perfect Autumn day at Disneyland? Erika brings you her trip planning guide to having a great morning at the park during Halloween time

Erika Jenko
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Modern Mouse News: The Muppets and Star Wars Land

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Stories Discussed This Week
Hatbox Ghost Reappears in Disneyland
Disney buys Carousel Inn Near Disneyland
Peter Pan Not Opening Until July at Disneyland
Indiana Jones Bar Coming to Disney Springs
Star Wars Themed Lounge at Hollywood Studios
New Flex Space Theater Coming to Hollywood Studios
Animal Kingdom’s Camel Parade?
Tokyo Disney bringing Frozen to Parks
Avengers has 2nd Best Box Office Opening Ever!
The Muppets Return to TV this Fall
Disney Infinity 3.0 Announced
D23 Expo to have Disneyland Exhibit and Big Arena Shows

 

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Modern Mouse Radio #78: Armchair Imagineers w/ Big Fat Panda

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We return to our signature series, Armchair Imagineers, this week with guest John Saccheri aka Big Fat Panda. Before the guys get into discussing this weeks Imagineering topic, they get to know John and we hear about how he got into Disney and when he first visitid Walt Disney World. We talk about the origins of the Big Fat Panda name and the highlights that he has had from doing his show on YouTube, including an appearance by Keith! We also get into a few discussions about Trader Sams’ Grog Grotto, being a Disney YouTuber, and meeting some cool people while making his dreams come true.

Then we get into the bulk of the ideas. Armchair Imagineering is a fake way for us to get creative and think of some great additions to the parks. Since John is from the Walt Disney World area, we stick with that area. Everyone was given the challenge to come up with a new parade and stick it into one of the theme parks, water parks, or Downtown Disney. There is no monetary ceiling. Since we are just playing, no limits were put onto anyone except that this parade had to make sense and fit into one of the parks.

We start off with Keith who brings up Disney’s Theatrical Productions. Being from New York, Keith has seen several of the shows and would like to see a parade showcasing some of the numbers from these Broadway shows including The Lion King, The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, and Mary Poppins. He’s been on a high from seeing Newsies so he would like to see it at the tale end of his parade in a big closing number!

John brings the idea of a fully themed Haunted Mansion nighttime parade at Liberty Square. We can see the mansion off in the distance as Madame Leota, Master Gracey, and even the portraits come to life. Floats, music, and projections all get brought up to celebrate one of Walt Disney’s crowning achievements and the last attraction he himself worked on.

Josh brings back up the idea of a Broadway style production taking over Disney’s Streets of America. Josh doesn’t focus just on the Disney productions but classic Broadway as well. He brings in show numbers from Annie and Little Shop of Horrors as well as Aladdin and Newsies. Using the street atmosphere is key for Josh as we see people opening up windows and doors to sing songs and dancing on rooftops.

We want to thank John for joining the show this week. Be sure to check out his website (www.BigFatPanda.com) as well as his YouTube and Twitter pages!

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Top 5: Disneyland Stories You Didn’t Know

The Disneyland park are filled with details and with this being Disneyland’s 60th anniversary, those details now span decades and the stories behind the narrative of the parks gets jumbled. I’m here now to tell you the stories behind or of some Disneyland attractions that you probably don’t know. The Disney Archives is full of information about imagineers and cast members, lost attraction concept artwork, attractions that never got built, and much more, but so much of that information is kept away from the public eye. So here are my top 5 Disneyland stories you didn’t know.

 

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#5-Fantasyland Dark Rides. When Disneyland originally opened, the dark rides in Fantasyland never included their main protagonists. Why is that? Walt Disney’s idea of riding through his stories was to put the park guest in the role of Alice or Peter Pan or Snow White. So if you rode Alice in Wonderland, you’d see all of the characters except for Alice because you were the one playing that part. Guests were confused, but the attractions stayed the way they were until 1983’s remodel of Fantasyland into a European village. Then animatronic figures were added to attractions and the attractions became retellings of the stories rather than putting guests into the story itself.

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#4-Storybook Land Canal Boats. Walt’s plans for a miniature village and boat ride precedes Disneyland. In fact, the original amusement park plans thought up by Walt was to have a small lot across from the studio where you’d ride or walk through a miniature city. As plans expanded into a larger Disneyland in Anaheim, Walt thought up “Lilliputian Land” a section of the park with a miniature city. Again the concept was changed into just a single attraction within Disneyland. Prior to Storybook Land, the attraction was called Canal Boats Around the World and featured miniature versions of major landmarks. The attraction only lasted two months after the park opened in 1955 due to boat motors constantly breaking down and the lack of anything beyond dirt around the miniatures. The attraction reopened in June 1956 as Storybook Land Canal Boats. (Read More About It Here!)

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#3-Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. If you’ve been to Disneyland, I’m sure you’ve taken a ride on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, but did you know Imagineers have a backstory to this roller coaster? The story goes that in the late 1800s, miners struck gold at Thunder Mountain and the town quickly got bigger with nearly everyone digging and blasting their way in but the mountain was sacred ground to the Native Americans that once lived there. A natural disaster came, caused by upset spirits, and the town was abandoned. Later the trains were found running the track on their own, possibly possessed by the spirits of the mountain, so the area became a tourist destination allowing tourists to ride in possessed trains. Weird right?

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#2-Matterhorn Bobsleds. When Walt had a moat constructed around Sleeping Beauty Castle, he had the dirt piled up just across from the castle and just left it there. The giant pile of dirt was seen by opening day guests. Not knowing what to do with it, the dirt just sat there. The area was rarely used or travelled and by 1956 it had become the park’s makeout spot. Walt hated that this dirt mound wasn’t being used and that teens had turned it into some sort of lovers lane. After a trip to Switzerland, Walt himself decided that the large pile of dirt would be turned into a tobagan ride in a Swiss mountain. The new technology of the wild mouse coaster, a small one/two person vehicle on a steel track, fit the imagery Walt wanted to convey. So the dirt mountain was hollowed out and became The Matterhorn Bobsleds attraction.

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#1-Haunted Mansion. The Haunted Mansion is buried in mystery. There isn’t one exact storyline to fit the attraction. Instead cast members tend to tell multiple stories to explain the happenings within the mansion. My favorite version of the storyline is this: Master Gracey,  a fisherman and the mansion’s owner, was recently married, but the woman he married had killed many of her rich husbands. To save the master, Madame Leota, who also loves Gracey, kills his new wife.  Unfortunately his grief overpowers him and instead of falling for Leota, he hangs himself. This leaves the bride, Gracey, and Leota to haunt the mansion forever along with the others buried in the graveyard.  Again, there are multiple stories, and this isn’t a story I would relay to children riding the attraction for the first time, but it loosely fits what happens. (Read More About It Here!)

Any stories you’d like to share? Leave a comment below and let me know what kind of back story you have! I’d love to hear it.

Josh Taylor
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Modern Mouse Radio #66: Scary Ghost Stories from Disney Parks

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Angie Returns to the show to talk about ghosts and spooky places at Disney Parks. The first time she was on the show we talked weird stories of the Disney Parks but because it’s October, we thought it would be great to bring back this segment in a spookier way. Enjoy this weeks episode!

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Modern Mouse News: Drones, Dead Mau5, and a New Start

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Stories Discussed This Week
Disney Bringing Drones
Disneyland 99c Mobile Photos
Tokyo’s New Jungle Cruise
On-Ride Videos w/ My Magic+ Memory Maker
Oswald Coming to Disney’s California Adventure
Festival of Masters Cancelled
Haunted Mansion Themed Shop at WDW
ABC’s Frozen Special
Big Hero 6 Publishing Problems
Dead Mau5 vs. Mickey Mouse
Disney Mom’s Panel Roundup
NY Comic Con featuring Big Hero 6/Tomorrowland

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Disney Trip Planning: Disneyland May 2014 Trip Report Part 2 – A Magical Day at Disneyland Park

Read Part 1 of the Trip Report HERE!

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ALL ABOARD!

I have to say before anything that we kept catching spontaneous shows throughout the day including Mary and Burt with the Marching Band and Mickey & Friends with the Marching Band and Alice and the Hatter playing musical chairs with kids. This is something you don’t really get in WDW, but it was definitely a highlight!

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Our first priority was to redeem our voucher for our Photopass+ that I prepurchased (a Disney Trip Planning post on this is to come soon, but for now here’s a tid bit on it: we bought it 14 days before our vacation, so it cost us $70 instead of $100, and it basically gave us “free” digital downloads of any attraction photos and Photopass photos we got during the trip. You HAVE to redeem the voucher to get a Photopass card with a unique code on it that allows you to download the photos later). Instead of going straight to the Photopass kiosk, though, we wanted to get some “magic” in, and decided to hop aboard the Disneyland Railroad!

Never having gone to Disneyland, I KNEW about the fact that the NY 1964 World’s Fair Dinosaur exhibit was on the Railroad, but I purposely avoided seeking out any videos of the actual experience. I have to say I was very impressed. The scale of not only the full bodied dinosaurs (unlike the top 1/2 of a torso ones you see on Dinosaur in Animal Kingdom) and the huge-ness of the actual scenery surrounding them was jaw dropping! I loved it and tried to imagine myself in the shoes of someone experiencing something of this nature for the first time ever back in 1964! I am so glad this exhibit still exsists and that it’s found a home in an unlikely place. (Also, I was very scared entering the tunnel that the attraction was in because I didn’t know what to expect, but there was nothing scary about it!) I’ve never ridden the WDW Railroad for transportation purposes, I’ve always considered it as an attraction in itself, so the Disneyland Railroad definitely beats it in that aspect!Disneyland-4

We were dropped off back on Main St. so that we could head over to the Photopass kiosk to turn in our Photopass+ voucher and receive our card with the unique code that lets you access your Photopass photos online! To find the building, just walk all the way down Main St and when you get to the end of shopping strip on the right side (right before The Plaza), you will see the entrance to the Photopass photo shop! The door is at an angle because it is on the corner of the building. The cast members in there were great and chatty! I love positive Cast Member experiences! Looking around the inside was interesting. They still sell a few disposable film cameras, but the store actually used to be the old Kodak store where you could buy all you photo supply needs while on vacation, including batteries, cameras, and film. Obviously times have changed and everything has gone digital, so the store became a Photopass location where you can walk up to touch screens and edit and print your photos that are taken by a Photopass photographer and stored online for you to access with a special code (but, it’s for a heafty fee)!

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Anyway… I wanted our first attraction to be the Haunted Mansion, but we also wanted to take things easy so things changed around here and there. Indiana Jones was scheduled to be closed for a refurbishment until the day we were getting on the plane to leave, so we were hoping there would be an early opening of the attraction, so that’s the first thing we checked as we walked over to New Orleans Sq. I was amazed by the themeing, even though some of the facades were covered in tarps (mind you, Disney uses tarps that look just like the buildings they are covering). I had my mind set on getting a caricature done of Josh and me as my souviner for the trip and spotted a great location between the Pirates/Haunted Mansion shops and crystal shop. They also had beautiful scenery paintings of the area for sale at the cart. As far as pricing goes, it was $32 per person for a caricature (even in the same painting) for a front view. They also had options for portraits and profile views (the side views were a little cheaper).

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I have to say the exterior of the Haunted Mansion building in Disneyland is much more believable (not sure if I’m using the best word for that) than the one at WDW. I just feel like the WDW Haunted Mansion looks like a house that was built in order to serve as a Haunted House attraction (it actually looks a lot like the 1962 early concept sketches of the exteror that Ken Anderson drew up that Walt rejected!). The Disneyland version not only fits the themeing of the land it sit in (an Antebelum style home), but it actually looks like a mansion that someone with quite a bit of money lived in a while back. The Disneyland version felt to me the better of the two if you are considering Walt’s original vision (not saying that I know what Walt wanted or what he might approve or disapprove of) but he is quoted saying “We’ll take care of the outside, and the ghosts will take care of the inside.” As far as the hitchhiking ghost refurb at WDW goes, the interior of the actual Doom Buggy ride through is superior there, as well as the stretching portrait effect since they aren’t working around an actual moving elevator, but I prefer the long hallway walkthrough in Disneyland and loading area.

Highlights of the daytime have to include all of the firsts I experienced like my first Mint Julipe (Tip: give the mint some time to spread its flavor throughout the drink), walking around the park and seeing all the themeing, the immersion Disneyland’s Fantasyland gives you as opposed to the WDW version (not including New Fantasyland), riding Disneyland’s version of Space Mountain which, by the way, made me never want to do Space Mountain at WDW again! And some of the laughs we shared: Josh getting a nasty surprise when leaning in to take a picture of the cheetah on Tarzan’s Treehouse, trying on silly ear hats, beating Josh on Buzz Lightyear’s Astro Blasters, and laughing together at all of the jokes during the Tangled and Beauty and the Beast Shows at the Royal Theater (MUST SEES!)

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One thing that was really useful was bringing a small backpack to keep everything in like a brita water bottle, jacket (which I stupidly dropped off at the hotel), camera, souvenirs, maps, phones, etc.

Next up, nighttime in Disneyland Park on our first day!

Disney Trip Planning: Disneyland May 2014 Trip Report Part 3 – A Magical Night at Disneyland Park

Angie Carreiro
Angie.Carreiro@gmail.com
http://www.Twitter.com/ModernMouseAng
Disneyland May 2014 Trip Report
Disney Fairy Tale Weddings Planning Journal

New T-shirt: Haunted Mansion – Hitchhiking Ghosts!

Any readers/watchers/listeners probably know I just LOVE everything about the Haunted Mansion! Well, we finally made a shirt about it over at our Zazzle shop! So, check it out!

Men’s:

http://www.zazzle.com/haunted_mansion_hitchhiking_ghosts_t_shirt-235208070124703222

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Women’s:

Purple Version: 

http://www.zazzle.com/haunted_mansion_hitchhiking_ghosts_t_shirt-235671972216090206

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Grey (cheaper) Version:

http://www.zazzle.com/haunted_mansion_hitchhiking_ghosts_t_shirt-235865555006731932

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Let us know what you think and if you’d like us to post the shirt in any other styles or colors!

-The Modern Mouse Crew!

Modern Mouse Radio #49: Armchair Imagineers w/ Michele Atwood

New Hotels for WDW!

New Hotels for WDW!


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Josh and Keith are joined by Michele Atwood from Main Street Mouse to do some Armchair Imagineering. We discuss her love for Disney and how her growing site and fan community got started. We then proceed to dream up some great hotel ideas for Walt Disney World. Enjoy this show!

If you’d like to see more from Michele, visit http://www.TheMainStreetMouse.com,
http://www.Twitter.com/MainStreetMouse,
and http://www.Facebook.com/TheMainStreetMouse!

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