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Posts tagged “Disneyland

Day #64 – A Photo A Day 2013

More fun with Tangled FX!

This is the “mountains” of the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad ride at Disneyland as seen from the queue during the nightly fireworks show.

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad Edit

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad Edit

This pic obviously doesn’t have any fireworks, but the sky was filled with all sorts of smoke from them and it made for a strange hue when I took the picture.

I ran it through three different effects in Tangled FX and also let it color boost and WOW the effect was crazy! It almost looks like lava or something! I’m so in love with Tangled FX!

Day #6 – A Photo A Day 2013

Another day today where I didn’t take a pic – HIGHLY unusual for me and definitely something that I do NOT want to get into the habit of doing!

So, today’s pic will be one of my favorites from the past month… taken on the first day of mine and Chris’ honeymoon at Disneyland during the first week of December.

Tomorrowland has always been one of my favorite spots, so it was natural that we went there first on our arrival. There have been many improvements to that area in the not so distant past, but I do believe there is room for improvement.

There just aren’t enough rides or attractions there anymore in my opinion, but that opinion may be tainted since I’m not a little kid and I love thrill rides. Of course I love Star Tours – The Adventure Continues and Space Mountain (one of my absolute favorites at Disneyland!) – oh and don’t forget Buzz Lightyear’s Astro Blasters, which I ride over and over and over again and I love it more each time.

However, there is a lack of interesting things to see there these days and every time that I pass by the Innoventions building I can’t help but wonder why they even keep it going. When that building housed America Sings it seemed like a much more interesting attraction than the current out-dated technology how housed in Innoventions.

To be fair, back in May 2012 when we visited Disneyland, they were still doing construction on the Innoventions Dream Home and on this trip I did not go in to see what it was all about. I just wasn’t interested. I know it’s a home of tomorrow, but it seems out of place in Disneyland despite what Walt did with Disney World and his futuristic housing there.

Personally, I’d like to see some sort of Tron attraction! (yes, I DID like the Tron hall on the People Mover!)

But, I digress… on to today’s picture!

Space Mountain - December 3, 2012

Space Mountain – December 3, 2012

The first ride of our honeymoon was Space Mountain! It was a stormy day that day, but we certainly didn’t mind – we’re used to a little rain since we’re from the Great Northwest! Personally, I love some dramatic looking clouds, so the stormy weather set up the perfect shot for two of my favorite things – clouds and Space Mountain.

iPhone Photo App Review Series

Disneyland's Matterhorn Heavily Modified

Okay, I admit it… I am a photography app junkie. I am always looking for a new app ESPECIALLY if it’s free – I know what I like when it comes to photo manipulation, so I don’t want to shell out $1.99 – $10.00 each time I want to try a new app on a whim.

Many developers make new apps available for free for a short time at the beginning of release to entice people to try it – sometimes these are full versions off the app and sometimes they are a scaled-down version.

This seems like a great way to market your product and get people hooked into buying the full version – it’s worked for me a few times!

One of the free apps that I have been using the most lately is Filtermania 2. I first downloaded it in September, just before my wedding so it’s only been in the past month or so that I’ve really put it through it’s paces.

I’m in the process of writing a full review of the app, but for now I am going to share this pic, because I’m so happy with how it turned out – a little taste, if you will, of what I’ll be showing you in the next few days:

Disneyland's Matterhorn Heavily Modified

Disneyland’s Matterhorn Heavily Modified

Just wait until I show you what the picture started out as! Is this a view of Disneyland’s Matterhorn or are we in The Alps?! I’ll show you how this pic originally looked vs. this edit – Filtermania 2 is pretty user friendly, and I think it delivers stunning results.

First review is coming soon!

Indiana Jones Ride Renovation

Temple of Mara

One of the primary things that Chris and I were excited about in regard to our trip to Disneyland last week was the opportunity to ride the

Indiana Jones Adventure: The Temple of the
Forbidden Eye
ride – I knew that it had been scheduled for renovation, something it greatly needed after 17 years of operation.

Not that the ride was not fun anymore, but there were certain elements that were, well, just plain worn out looking, or non-existent.

Instead of heading straight over to Indy, we ended up going to Space Mountain first, and then got sucked into Star Tours: The Adventure Continues (my thoughts on that ride will be in another post)

It was late in the day before we moseyed over to Adventureland to ride Indy.

Through the Adventureland gate we went, our excitement reflected in our quick steps, shining eyes and goofy grins… around the bend, we’re almost there! GREAT SCOTTS! NOOOOOOOOOO! A large temporary barrier was spanning the whole of the queue courtyard entrance, with a sign saying that it was temporarily closed! Tears began to well in our eyes as it dawned on us that this may very well be the first Disneyland trip we have taken together WITH NO INDY!!!

With stunned disbelief, we looked at each other in that horrific moment. NO INDY! This can’t be! It won’t be a proper visit to Disneyland without our beloved Indy!!!!
Chris was the first to shake himself out of his shock induced paralysis… he whipped out his phone, and before you could say “Bob’s your uncle”, he had found a ray of hope, glimmering through the high-res screen of his iPhone…

“Oh!” he said… “Indy will be opening on Friday, according to a few sources on Google”. I gave a hoot of happiness and said “are you sure?” Chris showed several sources – I then declared Friday to be “Indiana Jones Day”, determined to ride the thing as many times as possible to make up for almost a whole week of not being able to ride.

Tuesday, Wednesday… then Thursday… it was Indy Day Eve! We consulted Google once more to see if any info had changed – people were still saying Friday, so we kept our hopes up.

Thursday night back at the hotel, we discussed our game plan for the next day… “No early entry for Disneyland tomorrow, so we sleep in a little, grab breakfast and then head straight to Indy.” Upon waking on Friday morning we greeted each other with wide toothed grins and exclaimed “INDY TODAY!”

Take shower, brush teeth, quick makeup – I was ready in 15 minutes. Off to breakfast! We had a hearty breakfast at the Rainforest Café there in Downtown Disney and discussed how the day would go. Chris brought up a very good point – “What if it doesn’t open?”. I looked at him incredulously – “Nah. It’s been closed for 4 long months. Unless something went very wrong with the mechanics of the ride itself during renovation, they have to open it… right?” My confident opinion that it would be open just took a mighty blow, and my steadfast belief that we would get to ride that day suddenly started to waver a bit.

We finished breakfast, and gingerly headed toward the front entrance… through the security check – there is the courtyard! The lines to get in the gates weren’t too long, and soon we were speeding toward Adventureland, and INDY!

Through Adventureland, rounded that last bend in the path and NO! There are cast members out front of the ride queue saying that they “don’t know if anyone will get to ride today” – the barriers were down, and some people had lined up anyway. Chris and I also got in line and stayed for about 5 minutes until their insistent chatter of most likely not being open finally drove us away.

We decided to go to Tomorrowland to ride Space Mountain and Star Tours, and then decided to head back to Adventureland to take a peek…

There was a small line, and it was MOVING! A small “whoop!” of excitement escaped my lips and I grabbed Chris’ hand as we swiftly moved forward…. We get to ride! Then, horror of horrors, the man and his son in front of us were stopped. OH NO! In my head, I could hear Darth Vader Shouting NOOOOO!

The sweet cast member closing off the line explained that they were only letting a limited number of people on as they were still testing the ride.

Chris and I decided to stick it out, as did around 30 other people. They moved the line over against the retaining wall to the right of the queue entrance, where many of us promptly plopped our behinds down and whipped out our various mobile devices, hoping beyond hope that they would deem us worthy of being more than willing passengers on the next test run.

5 minutes pass… then 10… a nice cast member came over and struck up a conversation with us, started because of the “Just Married” buttons that we were sporting on our sweatshirts. (they gave them to us at check in at the Grand Californian when they learned why we were staying for the week) We spoke of weddings and college, San Francisco and Indy movies. Like most cast members she was very pleasant, but this lady was beyond nice – she was super fun to talk to! For the life of me I can’t remember her name… only that it was unusual and ended in ly, and I remember thinking that it was an interesting name to stick an “ly” at the end of.

After 5-10 minutes of chatting, she excused herself, explaining that she needed to “go get an update”. Quickly she walked away, and less than a minute returned to talk to us more… this time, she said that she loved chatting with us, and felt badly that we had waited in line so long… that’s when she handed us one of the go-to-the-head-of-the-line passes that they give you if you’re stuck on a ride and it breaks down. She explained that the pass was good for most rides in the Disneyland Park (darn! No good for the new Radiator Springs Raceway in the new Cars Land in California Adventure – oh well, still happy to receive this!) With a wink, she said “Not sure when we will get to let you guys on. Enjoy your pass!” Within 2 minutes, they opened up the queue, and I’m estimating roughly that 50 of us happy guests were escorted inside!

Chris and I were one of the first groups to get into one of the cars.

The air was electric with excitement! As we were boarding, I noticed there were some big wigs standing about taking note of how things were going, no doubt assessing how things were working now that the ride had a complete overhaul.

We were on our way! Into the Chamber of Destiny we go… which door would we be lead through? Ah! The Fountain of Eternal Youth! Through the chamber, around the corner and into the awesome ride that we have come to love so well!

We ended our ride with cheers all around our vehicle – as we stepped out, we noticed the big wigs smiling and even a few were laughing… we made sure to thank a few on our way out, and they heartily thanked us for riding!

On our way down the exit halls, Chris and I were talking about the changes to the ride when suddenly I realized that he had stopped talking and had this HUGE grin – apparently I was talking so rapidly in my excitement that I had rattled on for a couple of minutes! SO MUCH had been improved and I was really stoked about that.

There were SO many things improved! Here is a list of things that I noticed:

  • Queue line railings have all been replaced. Well, MOST. There were a few that you could tell were older (ones that I had noticed were replaced on our last visit in May of this year) but they were recent replacements anyway.
  • The “support” pole in the spike room has been fixed! It no longer has a permanent bend, and you no longer have to yank on it with all your strength to activate the dropping ceiling.
  • All of the murals in the queue have a fresh coat of paint. That must have taken FOREVER to touch up, since they were all hand-painted to begin with!
  • The scrims have all been repainted, and are much more vivid than they have been in years. Mara’s glowing/flashing eyes at the end of the first chamber halls have been fixed – they also have fog coming out of them again like they used to.
  • All of the lightning effects as you head toward Indy in the Tunnel of Torment have been improved, and it looks SO AWESOME! More lightning, and it’s brighter. I’m guessing they are using LED’s to backlight those now, but I don’t have confirmation.
  • The mist at the Gate of Doom where Indy is at the end of the Tunnel of Torment is back! Also, the green light emanating from behind the gates is brighter.
  • Everything that has black light reactive paint has been re-painted – everything glows properly again! Also, paint/effects in general have all been touched up or re-painted.
  • The Mummy Chamber looks awesome again! The skeletons and mummies that pop out at you really are popping out again, instead of barely going half way.
  • The puffs of air in the Bug Room work again.
  • The Pit has a better lava effect and the proper amount of thick steam (fog) hanging about again.
  • Also…. FIRE! The pyrotechnics in The Pit as well in Mara’s eye are back! Not having those for several years really took away from the ride experience in my opinion.
  • The Snake Temple room looks grand again, and the Cobra actually dives at you once more. Also, his fangs are popping down/out toward the front of his mouth instead of being stuck to the roof of his mouth like they were for so long
  • The bridge over The Pit has been widened on each side – not long before we rode, a cast member told us to watch for that. They explained that they had to make it compliant with California State laws so that if the ride broke down and there was a vehicle on the bridge, guests could easily and safely be evacuated. The bridge widening is not going to be evident unless you’ve ridden the ride many times before the renovation, and you’re looking for it. It didn’t add to or take away from the experience.
  • The Skull Room back lighting is better, and the scrim of the ghost/skeleton to the right of the backside of Mara and above you has been touched up and is much brighter.
  • The Rat Cave fog effect has been fixed.
  • The Dart Room paint effects look eerily improved! New paint, and I SWEAR that I don’t remember a glowing chamber door to the right at the very entrance of the room. Is that new, or do I just not remember it? The puffs of air that are to resemble darts whizzing at your head are working properly again, and they puff so hard that it blows your hair!
  • The Rolling Boulder effect has been greatly improved, largely due to the ball actually rolling again (which it had not done for a VERY long time), and also the improved lighting effects really added to it.

We were VERY happy with the renovations! It seems that there was a lot of love and care  given to the renovation of this beloved ride, and it really does show!

Chris and I rode it several times more that day and evening, and did we get sick of it? No way! We were so happy that we were able to see all of those wonderful improvements, and so thankful to get to experience the ride on the last day of our honeymoon. Perfect way to end our trip!