Feb. 03, 2013 | 10:55 a.m.
Is Super Bowl Sunday the least busy day to visit the Happiest Place on Earth? According to persistent online chatter and practically anyone with a Disney annual pass that doesn’t black out on weekends (sorry Southern California passholders, this doesn’t include you), the day of the Big Game is regarded by many Mickey-ophiles as an all-day extension of magic morning hours — shorter lines for marquee rides. (Magic morning hours are a perk for Disney hotel guests who on certain days are permitted into the parks early, usually an hour before the public.) Of course, as anyone who has ever covered Disney can tell you, the gatekeepers of information at the Magic Kingdom are about as likely to disclose daily attendance figures as they are to sponsor a mixed-martial arts fight between Cinderella and Goofy. (Actually, that sounds more entertaining than […]
June 15, 2012 | 8:06 p.m.
Steps away from the honking traffic jam of humanity crushing into the grand opening of Cars Land on Friday, Disneyland quietly welcomed back one of its icons – the Matterhorn Bobsleds. The Swiss-Alps themed ride was the park’s first roller coaster in 1959 and has been undergoing much-needed minor repairs and refurbishment during the last six months. The most notable alteration is completely cosmetic, and instantly recognizable – the mountain simply looks better, much brighter and sharper. Despite global warming, more snow has fallen over the venerable Matterhorn. It pops, and frankly, is a considerable improvement over its former battered and worn appearance. Extra snowflakes and frost won’t be the only change visible on the peak’s ridges. After a lengthy absence from the park, real mountain climbers return to the 147-foot mountain and will begin scaling the slopes that separate Tomorrowland and Fantasyland (just as the […]
Dec. 09, 2011 | 3:06 p.m.
Walt Disney was born 110 years ago this week and, if someone decided to build a Mount Rushmore for Hollywood next to Griffith Observatory, we all take it for granted that he would be in granite. Disney the brand is among the strongest in the world but Disney the man has a more elusive legacy. We invited filmmaker Jon Favreau (the “Iron Man” movies, “Elf,” “Cowboys & Aliens”) to share his thoughts on that legacy. Favreau has been in a Disney state of mind recently — he’s doing research for a project called ”Magic Kingdom,” a fantasy set within the confines of the Anaheim theme park – but, as he writes, Disney has been in his dreams since he was a child. I was born in 1966, the year Walt Disney passed away. He would’ve been 110 this week. I’m too young to have had […]
Dec. 06, 2011 | 10:26 a.m.
It was 110 years ago this week that Walter Elias Disney was born on the west side of Chicago. He would go on to become a titan in American popular culture, a man whose name became a global brand name of highest order. There have been many, many things written about Disney through the decades: about his heritage and life trajectory; his collaborations both famous and unexpected; his business acumen; his politics and prejudices; and, most often, his legacy and proper place in history. Sometimes, though, we connect best with history by studying the lines of its face and trying to peer into the eyes of the past. With that in mind, we bring the above photo gallery, which shows snapshots of a life marked by big gambles and truly rare vision. Be sure to click the “CAPTIONS ON”option to see the photos, which are also courtesy of D23. […]
Sept. 21, 2011 | 6:39 a.m.
When James Cameron’s “Avatar” hit theaters in 2009, many moviegoers were so dazzled by the lush, 3-D world of the alien moon Pandora that they wanted to step right inside. Now the Walt Disney Co. is aiming to offer that kind of experience to its theme park patrons. Disney’s Imagineers are working with Cameron, his producing partner Jon Landau and studio 20th Century Fox to bring the fantasy world from “Avatar” to its theme parks, beginning with a multi-attraction themed land at the Animal Kingdom park in Orlando, Fla. Though the attraction is still in its earliest development stages, Cameron has clear ideas about what he’d like any Pandoran land to include, which he shared in an interview on Tuesday. “I definitely want to do a flight attraction of some kind,” the director said, citing the “Soarin’ Over California” flying […]
May 27, 2011 | 9:06 a.m.
We took you to Disneyland for opening day of the renovated and relaunched “Star Tours” ride and we sat down with Anthony Daniels to discuss the years of planning that went into the project. Now, thanks to frequent Hero Complex contributor Jay West, here’s some video of the ride itself. RECENT AND RELATED Star Tours: Disneyland brings the Force Anthony Daniels on C-3PO’s role in new ride ‘Star Tours’ flashback: The rapping C-3PO of 1987 Did Lucas change cinema with prequel trilogy? “Empire” director Kershner, remembered “Star Wars” brings Force to Legoland “Phantom Menace” on the way in 3-D Seth Green: Lucas wants to be silly “Clone Wars” characters show their age Kurtz: Toy sales took Lucas to dark side VIDEO: Ford and Hamill on “Today” show, 1980
May 20, 2011 | 7:53 p.m.
So much of Disneyland looks to the past – the frontier rides, the crafted quaintness of Main Street USA, the vintage characters strolling the grounds — but with Star Tours, the newly refurbished thrill ride based on the “Star Wars” universe, there may be a message from the future of amusement parks. After 14 years in the daydream stage, the long-rumored and oft-delayed remake of the Star Tours attraction is a reality. The ride – which mixes 3-D images, a mechanically created wild ride and the novel idea of variable experiences (the ride is actually 54 different adventures that are chosen randomly) — met some of the public on Friday with a special limited opening and will make its full premiere on June 3. Fans lined up at 3:20 a.m. to get a chance to be the first on the […]
May 08, 2011 | 2:17 p.m.
After decades of dark excess, Keith Richards seems wildly out of place at family-friendly Disneyland, but on Saturday, there he was, a rock ‘n’ roll exile on Main Street USA. “No one is more surprised by all of it than me,” the Rolling Stones guitarist said with a wink. “I never expected to work for the Disney organization for a while. I’m still shocked, but, hey, it’s all good fun.” Richards first got on board for a cameo in the 2007 film ”Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End“ – he played the scoundrel father, Capt. William Teague, to a scoundrel son, Capt. Jack Sparrow. Sparrow is, of course, portrayed by Johnny Depp, whom Richards describes as a ”blood on blood” friend, and it’s quite apparent they have a jolly good time playing pirate together. “If Johnny says he wants to do something, well, it doesn’t take much to get me to […]
April 07, 2011 | 10:28 a.m.
The new and improved Star Tours attraction at Disneyland and Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Florida will be a force to be reckoned with, including 54 “truly amazing” variations that give riders an ever-changing experience, according to Anthony Daniels, the actor who portrayed C-3PO in the “Star Wars” films and revisits the role for the theme-park attraction. Star Tours: The Adventures Continue is the name of the reimagined attraction, and Daniels put an emphasis on the plural: “It’s adventures, not adventure.” It speaks to the variable nature of a ride that will take visitors through different landscapes and scenarios in the Jedi universe — be it the frozen tundra of Hoth, the gleaming spires of Coruscant or the unfinished innards of a still-under-construction Death Star space station. Work is still underway on both attractions, which have been billed as state of […]