The concept of a Disney theme park having its own outdoor shopping, dining and entertainment hub located just outside the park gates was pioneered by the opening, in 1975, of the Lake Buena Vista Shopping Village in Walt Disney World. Following some name changes over the years, we now know it better as Disney Springs.
To this day Disney Springs is going strong in continuing to provide a specialized location for Walt Disney World guests to unwind, eat and drink, watch a movie and shop once they walk out of the Magic Kingdom and other theme parks in the complex.
And like any commercial hub, the lineup of its establishments changes every so often. Starting this month, there will be three new specialty shops making their home in Disney Springs. Here’s a list of them:
Disney Tails – opening at the Disney Springs Marketplace Co-op on October 12; will sell Disney a variety of character costumes for dogs and other canine accessories like leashes and collars
Lovepop – will open later in October also at the Marketplace Co-op; will feature hand-assembled 3D-sculptured cards; the firm already has a number of major media licensing partnerships such as for the Beatles and Jurassic World
The Art of Disney Presents Greg McCullough – replacing Little Miss Matched; this is a limited-time shop offering original prints and pieces from the celebrated artist that opens from November 3 to January 1, 2019; McCullough can be seen by shoppers at work in the store every day except Mondays from early afternoon to early evening
Finally, though not a new shop, the Basin store’s renovation is almost done, and it will reopen sometime this fall.
Sometimes there’s nothing wrong with repetition, more so if you can at least do minor tweaks to make it individual enough from its original and be good at presenting it. Take for instance this volume from the second series of Disney Sing-Along Songs, featuring another trip through a Disney park.
Yes, we covered it not long ago in the song list for volume “Disneyland Fun”. This time however, the volume takes its presenters (and the viewers) to the then-recently opened Euro Disney, now called Disneyland Paris. Like its predecessor, this features some songs already found in past volumes, but this time with visuals of various Disney characters (mascots and costumes) having fun in Disneyland Paris.
Well, here comes the list:
Whistle While You Work (from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs)
Step in Time (from Mary Poppins)
I’m Walkin’ Right Down the Middle of Main Street U.S.A. (music from Walt Disney World and Disneyland)
Following the Leader (from Peter Pan; Donald Duck in “Disneyland Fun” version replaced by Peter Pan)
Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah (from Song of the South; fast-paced pop version)
How D’Ye Do and Shake Hands (from Alice in Wonderland)
The Unbirthday Song (from Alice in Wonderland)
Rumbly in My Tumbly (from Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree)
Pecos Bill (from Melody Time)
It’s a Small World (music from Walt Disney World and Disneyland)
Grim Grinning Ghosts (music from The Haunted Mansion; Captain Hook in “Disneyland Fun” version replaced by Jafar and Iago)
The Character Parade (from Walt Disney World and Disneyland)
We’re now more than halfway through our listing tour of all rail transportation amenities to be found in Disney theme parks and resorts around the world. Next in line to be featured (albeit a tad out of place chronologically with our previous article on Disneyland Paris) is Tokyo Disney Resort.
Beginning with the first Disney theme park in Asia with Tokyo Disneyland, Tokyo Disney Resort under Japan’s Oriental Land Company is now comprised of two parks and a shopping complex. Here’s a rundown on what sorts of rail transport and attractions you can expect to ride while enjoying your visit.
Western River Railroad – steam locomotive opened in April 1983; while an actual train, its track is a closed loop and has only one station within Tokyo Disneyland, making it a ride attraction rather than a way to get from one point to another
Jolly Trolley – electrical-powered trolley in Toontown; opened in 1996 and – similar to its big brother in Disneyland Resort – has also closed down, this one in 2009
Disney Resort Line – opened in July 2001, this monorail is the quick way to get to and from Tokyo Disney Resort; can be reached by rail transfer from Maihama Station and stops at the Resort Gateway Station
DisneySea Electric Railway – opened in September 2001 along with TDR’s second theme park, Tokyo DisneySea; an electric locomotive powered via a classic third-rail method, this train connects the Port Discovery and American Waterfront themed areas
Every Disney theme park all over the world tries to have many things in common with each other so that the experience of being a guest can have similarities across them. One way Disney parks are uniform is that they all have rail transport as part of the park facilities.
Having looked at the rail travel options and attractions for the big two Disney parks in the US, now we’re going to take a look at what Disneyland Paris has to offer in that regard. The selection is rather sparse actually, but it’s all memorable with the previous ride lists:
Marne-la-Vallée – Chessy Station – train station opened 1992, servicing commutes to and from Disneyland Paris; has rail lines for both regular commuter trains RER and the famous French TGV high-speed locomotives
Disneyland Railroad (Paris) – a steam train for transport within the park premises like its brothers in California and Florida; original name Euro Disneyland Railroad upon its opening in 1992, and that name’s initials (EDRR) remain on the rail facilities even after the rebranding
Horse-drawn Streetcars – also opened April 1992 like the rail transports above, these classic animal-powered tramways on Paris’ Main Street USA are unique in being separate facilities from the oldie motor vehicles in the themed area, whereas in Disneyland and Disney World they are a joint attraction
Last week we began the first of a new series of Disney lists, enumerating the various picturesquely iconic means of rail transport on all Disney theme parks and resorts, starting with Disneyland in Anaheim. They range from classical steam-powered trains, gas or electric-powered locomotives, and even some older horse-drawn streetcars.
This update, we’ll look at the rail transport options on the other side of the continent, at Walt Disney World in Florida. Being the East Coast counterpart to Disneyland at its inception, the rides tend to be copies of each other. Here’s a list of those Disney World rail transports.
All of these rides were launched in October 1 of the year 1971, except two.
Walt Disney World Monorail System – an electric monorail line serving The Magic Kingdom and EPCOT; with its daily passenger estimate of 150,000 it’s considered one of the busiest monorail transportations in the whole world, probably because you don’t need to purchase anything to board and ride
Walt Disney World Railroad – four real steam locomotives operate here, originally manufactured from 1916-1928 by Pennsylvania’s Baldwin Locomotive Works (1825-1956); they were being operated by Mexico’s Ferrocarriles Unidos de Yucatán and called “Bulls of Fire” when they were bought by the Disney Company for Disney World in 1969
Main Street Tramway – similar to the one in Disneyland Park, streetcars pulled by working horses
Fort Wilderness Railroad – once part of Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground, four replica steam-powered trains started operating 1974; complaints of bad track design and engine noise made it unpopular; it closed 1980, the only WDW rail transport to shut down
Wildlife Express Train – where Disneyland’s Red Car Trolley is a modern electric tram designed like a retro streetcar, the Wildlife Express Train in Disney’s Animal Kingdom is a 1998 diesel-powered locomotive dressed up like a weather-beaten steamer, created by UK-based leisure ride manufacturers Severn Lamb
It’s no secret that the many theme parks under the Disney banner in the US and the rest of the world are a haven of opportunity for job-seekers. And they certainly encourage potential employees to sign up, because working at a Disney theme park can be perhaps the most labor-intensive and yet equally fulfilling job experience one can ever have.
Some former employees (called “cast members”) of various Disney theme parks have been asked about it, and they’ve since provided opinions on what they perceived as the best jobs one can land on the work force for Disney Parks and Resorts.
Electrician – most of the time they only need fixing some simple electrical problems, never major; the only exception is assisting in the occasional attraction renovation, but that also gives a sense of accomplishment
Museum staff – there’s a future-tech museum called Innoventions at EPCOT (and formerly Disneyland), full of nice gadget and scientific displays; as a primarily indoor job, employees here solemn have time to wander around the park, but it helps keep the mystique
Lifeguard – primarily for the resorts and water parks at Walt Disney World; has one of the top base pay rates for Disney theme park cast members, and also gets a lot of respect from guests
Outdoor vendor – for the benefits of guests too busy to sit down at a restaurant; vendors tend to get shifted to various locations around the park so they’re not stuck in one place (good in a different way from “museum staff” above)
Club 33 staff – the series of mysterious private clubs at various Disney theme parks, where corporate sponsors, company VIPs, and lucky adult members can come in for a nice meal (and in Disneyland Park, a drink of liquor); food servers at Club 33’s often get epic customer tips on top of their sweet salaries
Jungle Cruise “skipper” – the nominal captain and speaking host for guests on the Jungle Cruise rides (available in four Disney theme parks worldwide); best suited for comfortable conversational speakers
“Red triangle” ride attendant – operators and aides at the rides and attractions with potential hazards for pregnant or health-problem guests, are sure to get paid more; but with great pay also comes great responsibility
Character attendant – the uniformed guy who acts like an “agent” for the “Face characters” portraying the Disney film and animation stars; they arrange the meet-and-greets, answers questions and keeps the line of kids wanting to meet Buzz Lightyear (for instance) from becoming unruly
Face character – the pinnacle of sorts in a Disney theme park cast member’s career; when you’re dressed and acting as a Disney character, you’re bound to be pseudo-worshipped by the children; best roles are (naturally) the Disney Princesses
While the second series of the Disney’s Sing-Along Songs home video series started off with a volume focused on a movie in the Disney Animated Canon – The Little Mermaid – some of the volumes that came after were specials featuring something else Disney, particularly theme parks like the now-Disneyland Park, California.
Speaking of which, Disneyland Park (back when it was just Disneyland and the only theme park in its area, not a complex) is the setting for this volume of Sing-Along Songs. The featured songs themselves are a mix of some never-used numbers and repeats from past volumes. Here’s the list:
Whistle While You Work (featured in volume “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah”)
Step in Time (new, from 1964’s Mary Poppins)
I’m Walkin’ Right Down the Middle of Main Street U.S.A. (song for Main Street U.S.A. at Walt Disney World and Disneyland)
Following the Leader (featured in volume “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah”)
The Great Outdoors (song for Country Bear Jamboree at [formerly] Disneyland, Magic Kingdom and Tokyo)
Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah (Song of the South, from first volume of same name)
Rumbly in My Tumbly (new, from 1966’s Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree)
It’s a Small World (featured in volume “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah”)
Making Memories (Sherman Brothers song featured in 3D film Magic Journeys shown at Disney theme parks)
Grim Grinning Ghosts (song for The Haunted Mansion attraction)
The Character Parade (song for parades at Walt Disney World and Disneyland)
Walt Disney himself once said, “In one way or another I have always loved trains.” That love was shown in his insistence that Disneyland, when it opened in 1955, would have rail transportation of as many sorts as can fit. His company carried that on with every successive theme park.
Today, every Disney theme park has at least one type of rail transport that serves either within the park premises or as a transportation link bringing guests to the park’s entrance. From horse-drawn trams, to steam locomotives, to the first pioneering designs of electric trains and their contemporary descendants, Disney has them all and more.
Here’s a list of all the rail transportation accommodations to be found at Disneyland Park.
Disneyland Railroad (July 17, 1955) – a steam locomotive
Main Street Tramway (July 17- 1955) – horse-driven streetcars at Main Street, USA
Casey Jr. Circus Train (July 17, 1955) – based on the train character from Dumbo, a miniature gasoline train designed to look like a steamer
Disney Monorail System (June 14, 1959) – the first US monorail electrical train system
Red Car Trolley (June 15, 2012) – electrical tram dressed up to look like heritage streetcar, including ornamental overhead electric wires
Mine Train Through Nature’s Wonderland (1956-1977) – originally the Rainbow Caverns Mine Train; electrical but designed to look steam-powered; replaced by the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (a mine roller coaster)
Viewliner Train of Tomorrow (1957-1958) – gasoline-powered locomotive; replaced by the Disney Monorail System
Jolly Trolley (1993-2003) – diesel-powered trolley transport within Mickey’s Toontown; remains as a static display after closure
Disney theme parks try their best to live up to their reputation as the Happiest Places on Earth, but reality does tend to sour some of the experience. One of these examples is in the long lines for some of the most popular attractions in the parks, which can result in up to five hours’ waiting without benefits like FastPass.
Fortunately Disney is aware of this; and while there’s no magical solution to long lines, they can try to make the wait bearable. With input from two of their branches, Imagineering and Interactive, Disney introduced the Play Disney Parks app.
This app works inside all Disney parks and enables users to play various fun minigames, these depending on which attraction or themed area in general they’re currently located. Play Disney Parks has trivia quizzes and achievements for players to unlock, making lines for rides and events not so boring.
Here’s a sampling list of all minigames available to the Play Disney Parks app, and in what attraction/themed area of which Disney theme park they might be available to play in.
Playset Party – at Toy Story Mania in Disney California Adventure, Disneyland or Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World
Off to Neverland – at Peter Pan’s Flight in Disneyland Park or The Magic Kingdom of Disney World
Rocket Race – at Space Mountain in Disneyland Park or The Magic Kingdom of Disney World
Andy’s Board Game Blast – at Slinky Dog Dash coaster in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World
Toy Story Midway – within Toy Story Land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World
The magic of Disney in the real world isn’t just confined to its terrestrial theme parks. They also travel the seas, on special cruise ships where Disney characters accompany the passengers on their voyages. From their terminal in Port Canaveral, Florida, Disney Cruise Line charts the usual cruise routes but with the addition of having an exclusive port of call down in the Bahamas, the private island of Castaway Cay.
Here we have a list of the cruise ships currently operating under the Disney Cruise Lines, along with pertinent information.
Disney Magic – launched 1998 with Roy Disney’s daughter Patricia as godmother; carries 2,400 passengers and has had the most number of homeport changes in the fleet
Disney Wonder – launched 1999 with Tinker Bell as “godmother”; also has a 2,400 passenger capacity and has transferred homeports several times, though not as much as Disney Magic
Disney Dream – launched 2011 with actress Jennifer Hudson as godmother; bigger than its older brothers, can carry up to 4,000 passengers
Disney Fantasy – launched 2012 with music artist Mariah Carey as godmother; of the same ship type and capabilities as Disney Dream; both of these latter ships have only ever had Port Canaveral as their home