Apparently Disneyland is staffed and attended entirely by talking robot animals, because they're all over YouTube sharing the inner secrets of what it's like to be a cast member.
Like this one, which is true of Fantasmic at DL and almost any parade or show other than Fantasmic at WDW. Normally I'm not a fan of these text-to-speech videos, but for this one, I'll make an exception.
Have a magical evening indeed.
Stupid talking robot animals. (What? I'm allowed.)
Ever since my recent week-long switch with my cousin Harold at Disneyland, people have been asking me, "Disco Yeti, how does Disneyland compare to Walt Disney World?"
Well, that's a big question.
For starters, Disneyland is way smaller. It's like the scale model of the Magic Kingdom that they built before building the real thing. Like, when I stepped onto Main Street, the very first thing out of my mouth was, "Whoa, who stole the castle?" Remember when WDW turned Cinderella Castle into a cake just to screw with people's vacation photos? Well it looks like someone turned Disneyland's castle into its Hot Wheels equivalent. Seriously, the thing is like three inches high. I don't know who Cinderella had to kill, but Aurora totally got stiffed on this one.
And yet, even with their pea-sized castle, Disneyland managed to fit a whole walkthrough attraction in there. (At WDW, of course, it's the restaurant that costs more than you can afford and was booked before you were born.) So props to them.
WDW has more parks, but DL stuffs more attractions per square foot into the 1 1/2 parks that they have. Fantasyland at DL, for instance, has all of WDW's dark rides plus Alice, Mr. Toad, Pinocchio, Storybook Land, and the "Why Disneyland is Better" Smug Superiority Spin, which you have to be a California resident to ride.
I'll have to write a separate blog entry about all the ride differences, because there are a lot and I don't feel like writing about all of them right now. Of course, if you ask West Coast Disney geeks what really separates the parks, they'll quickly spout lines about how Disneyland is the original, and it's where you can walk in Walt's footsteps. And it's true. People walk around Disneyland going, "Walt stood right here! Walt stepped on this brick! Walt used this toilet!" And so on. Most of the time, you don't even have time to ride any rides, because you're too busy trying to figure out if Walt breathed the air molecules floating around you at that moment. That, and the line for Matterhorn Bobsleds is about 5 hours long with no Fastpass.
Speaking of which, the relative sizes of the land areas mean that your park experiences are very different. WDW has more room to keep different land themes separate from one another, even if they seem totally unsure what the themes are half the time. (Remind me again why there are present-day monsters in Tomorrowland?) Meanwhile, at Disneyland, you can see the Matterhorn from Main Street. Or from, like, an In & Out burger joint down the street.
Space can be a disadvantage, though. At WDW, getting from one park to another is like a cross-country bus ride, unless you're riding the monorail, in which case you're pretty much guaranteed to get stuck halfway between stops, with some line about playful spooks interrupting your tour or mantengan-ing alejado from the puertas or whatever. At DL, going from one park to the other only requires walking across the courtyard. (But then, why would you want to, really? Going to Disney's California Adventure is like going to Disney's Hollywood Studios. It's what you do because you've already done everything else and there's one ride there you want to ride. Not to worry, though. They've redecorated some things and they're adding a Cars Land. Now don't you want to go?)
A lot of the differences between Disneyland and WDW have to do with their different target audiences. WDW brings in a lot of families and overseas visitors on once-in-a-blue-moon vacations. At DL, something like 90% of their attendees are local Annual Passholders with snarky blogs about Disney. And yes, that means that they're all losers (because really, what non-loser would bother to write a snarky Disney blog?), but they do keep DL motivated to constantly improve and do fun seasonal things like Haunted Mansion Holiday. Meanwhile, WDW tends to, um..
Well, I don't want to say "slack off," but... actually, yes. Yes I do.
For instance, Disneyland has this awesome animation building. (Okay, yes, it's at DCA. There are good things at DCA. Grumble, grumble.) The lobby is a spectacular room full of screens that play music and scenes from classic Disney animated films, reminding you all over again why you love Disney.
One of the rooms here is the Beast's library. This room is so cool, I can't even be snarky about it. It uses all kinds of cool effects to simulate a magic painting, the floating rose, and a roaring fire, all of which transforms magically from day to night every few minutes to represent the Beast's own transformation.
In this room are magic books that show you what kind of Disney character you are.
And nearby is Ursula's Grotto, where you can perform as Disney characters. My disco strobe light makes it hard for me to get a good picture of what it looks like in person, but here's a taste:
So, of course, the folks at Team Disney Orlando saw this awesome, immersive theming and worked hard to create these totally unique experiences for their animation building's guests as well. Here's what they came up with:
I'm. Not. Even. Kidding.
(The worst part? They didn't even change the software, so when Lumiere tells you to look up to see the camera—because that's where it is in Disneyland—TDO just put in an arrow telling you to look back down again. And I'm not even making this up.)
"The wood paneling? Oh that's our theme. We want visitors to DHS to experience the thrill of what it would be like to visit a half-baked amusement park. It's supposed to compete with Universal."
Al Lutz, eat your heart out.
I hope everyone enjoyed T-Day this week. I know I did.
By "T-Day," I mean, of course, Tangled Day, the U.S. opening of Disney's new film Tangled.
In case you weren't aware, Tangled is Disney's newest princess movie. It used to be called Rapunzel Unbraided, but they changed the name to appeal to boys.
See, "Tangled" is a much more masculine word than "unbraided." Guys see "tangled" and instantly think of things we love, like power tool extension cords. Or Christmas tree lights. As a guy, I never would have made the connection between that and girls brushing their long hair. You're so sneaky, Disney.
To underscore that Tangled is really for boys, the first trailer gave Rapunzel only one line. That's good, because if there's anything guys won't stand for, it's movies about girls. Especially ones where they talk. (In guy land it's much preferred for ladies not to say a word.) In fact, no one wants to go see movies about girls, so if you want to trick people into seeing them, you have to keep their girl names out of the titles and their girl voices out of the trailer. Just look at what a flop The Little Mermaid was.
(Heh heh... "flop." I did that totally by accident. You know... like a fish. Eh? Eh? No?)
However, in spite of all this brilliant guy-centric marketing on Disney's part, I still wasn't planning to see Tangled, primarily because the commercials made it look like some kind of pathetic Shrek-wannabe. (Attention, animation studios of the world: We liked Shrek because it was new and different. Copying its style doesn't make your movie cool.)
But then this week, I was hanging out with some of the other WDW animatronics for Thanksgiving, and Abraham Lincoln was talking about how much he wanted us to go see it, and really, who can say no to Abraham Lincoln?
So we had a private backstage screening—Disney animatronics only. Of course, in my current condition, I had to watch from the "motionless animatronics"-accessible section, which is right in the very front, so you have to strain your neck looking up at the screen. And then people kept yelling at me because my strobe was flashing in their eyes and they thought I was texting during the movie. (It's not my fault, guys; the imagineers never told me how to turn it off.) There were other annoyances, too; Mark Twain kept making comments through the whole movie, and Brer Rabbit would not sit still. Somehow I still enjoyed it, though.
I'm not going to be snarky about the movie itself, even though, as Ben Franklin pointed out, "Flynn Rider" totally sounds like a porn star name. (I don't know how he knows that.) But the truth is, the movie is actually really good. Some critics are calling it Disney's best since Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King, and I don't disagree. (I also don't heed rules about double negatives.)
It's definitely the most compelling story Disney's had to tell in a long time. (Sorry, Tiana.) It's got humor, style, and heart, and it proves that there really is a God, because the songs are hilariously composed by Alan Menken, who scored classics like The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, and Aladdin, and not by Randy Newman, who... is Randy Newman. (Sorry again, Tiana.) So yeah, go see it. You'll thank me.
Of course, if Tangled proves to be more popular than their last princess movie, it won't have anything to do with Menken's catchy songs, the well-written characters, or the compelling story. Nope. It will all be because of 3D CGI animation with boys in the trailer.
So just keep cranking out movies with those two things, Disney, and every film you make will be instantly popular.
You know, like Meet the Robinsons.