Monday, October 31, 2011

Disney's OmniMover System

Doom Buggy is the show name for Disney's OmniMover system (used in their Haunted Mansion attraction). It was initially developed for the "Adventures in Inner Space" attraction. Disney World's Haunted Mansion has 160 cars with a guest capacity of 3,200 guests per hour.

The Omnimover is an amusement ride system used for Disney theme park attractions. Roger Broggie and Bert Brundage developed the system for WED Enterprises, which patented Omnimover in April 1968. The term was coined by Imagineer Bob Gurr and is a portmanteau of OmniRange and PeopleMover. 

Click Here to read an Exclusive Interview with Bob Gurr talking about the creation of the Haunted Mansion Omnimovers, People Mover, Monorail, small world boats and more! 

 Current attraction series using the Omnimover system

    * Haunted Mansion Series
          o Disneyland
          o Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World
          o Tokyo Disneyland
          o Disneyland Paris

    * Buzz Lightyear Astro Blaster Series
          o Disneyland
          o Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World
          o Tokyo Disneyland
          o Disneyland Paris
          o Hong Kong Disneyland

    * Boo Blasters on Boo Hill (Kings Island)

    * Hershey's Chocolate World Great American Chocolate Tour

Current individual attractions using the Omnimover system

    * Spaceship Earth

    * The Seas with Nemo & Friends System recycled from a previous attraction
          o EPCOT at Walt Disney World

Omnimover attractions no longer in operation

This list includes all Omnimover attractions that have been permanently removed and not recycled.

    * Disneyland
          o Adventure Thru Inner Space (replaced with Star Tours in 1987)

    * Epcot (Walt Disney World Resort)
          o World of Motion (replaced with Test Track in 1999)
          o Horizons (replaced with Mission: SPACE in 2003. Homages to Horizons can be found in both Mission: SPACE and in the Magic Kingdom's newly refurbished Space Mountain.)

--Two Omnimover systems have been in continuous use since their debut but have featured different attractions.

    * Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin at Tomorrowland in the Magic Kingdom uses the Omnimover ride system of two former attractions. The first attraction to occupy this space was If You Had Wings, which was sponsored by Eastern Airlines from 1972 to 1987, when they dropped sponsorship. The ride then was known as If You Could Fly until closing in January 1989. Six months later, the old ride system was reused as If You Had Wings was transformed into Delta Dreamflight, which was sponsored by Delta Air Lines until 1996. The ride vehicles were reprogrammed in 1989 to alter their viewing direction. In 1996, the ride became known as Take Flight, and closed on January 9, 1998. Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin uses the very Omnimover ride system of If You Had Wings/Delta Dreamflight, except for having new third generation vehicles that can be rotated by the riders to any angle to shoot at various targets. Space Ranger Spin also uses two of the speed tunnels from If You Had Wings.

Although Journey Into Imagination with Figment in Epcot is now an Omnimover basis track it was once all Omnimover (this was back when the Dream finder was still part of the attraction).

    * The Seas with Nemo & Friends previously was home to The Living Seas, which utilized a different attraction theme as well as a different Omnimover vehicle design.

 Click Here to read "Limbo: Loading the Doom Buggies" at


Friday, October 28, 2011

The Walt Disney World Wardrobe

Walt Disney World has the largest working wardrobe on Earth with more than 1.5 million operational garments in use and over 7,000 different garment types. In addition there are over 2 million pieces of entertainment costumes. (That's a lot of dry cleaning!)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Original Magic Kingdom's "E ticket" Attractions

The original eight "E ticket" attractions at WDW’s Magic Kingdom were Space Mountain, Pirates of the Caribbean, Haunted Mansion, Country Bear Jamboree, Hall of Presidents, Jungle Cruise, It’s a Small World, and 20,000 Leagues under the Sea.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Original Monorail Track at Walt Disney World

WDW's original monorail track ran in a loop directly through the concourse of the Contemporary Resort, to the Polynesian Resort, the Magic Kingdom gate & the Ticket & Transportation Center. In 1982 the monorail was extended with a four mile run to Epcot, including a scenic loop through Future World.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.

Walt Disney personally selected Richard Fleischer (son of his old competitor in animation, Max Fleischer) to direct the live-action film 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Disney Symphonic Legacy

Today, back in 2009, the Walt Disney Concert Hall hosts an event called The Disney Symphonic Legacy - a program featuring, for the first time ever at the Hall, Disney music. It also marks the Disney Hall debut of longtime Hollywood Bowl Orchestra conductor John Mauceri.

Here is a glimpse of the WD Concert Hall:

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Dumbo premieres at the Broadway Theater in New York City

October 23, 1941

Disney's 4th animated feature film, Dumbo (directed by Ben Sharpsteen) world premieres at the Broadway Theater in New York City. Walt Disney, his wife Lillian, and a handful of his staff are in attendance. The 64-minute film, released by RKO Pictures, will win the Oscar for Best Score for a Musical Film and "Baby Mine" (the song that plays during Dumbo's visit to his mother's cell) will be nominated for Best Song.

"It's like 64 minutes, and it's so concise in its storytelling. I learned a lot from it, as a student at CalArts and a young animator at Disney."
-Pixar's John Lasseter on Dumbo

Like Dopey in Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs, Dumbo never utters a single word!

Animator Bill Tytla, known for his sinister characterization of Pinocchio's Stromboli, was the key animator for Dumbo. He based the character's childlike expressions and earnestness on those of his son, Peter.

"What's the matter with his ears? I don't see nothin' wrong with 'em. I think they're cute."
- Dumbo's Timothy Q. Mouse (voiced by Edward Brophy)

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Walt Disney World's STOLport in Action [Oct. 22, 1971]

Down in Florida, inaugural service to Walt Disney World's own airport STOLport, by both Shawnee and Executive airlines, begin. The occasion is marked by a lunche on ceremony, with the state of Florida presenting Disney with STOLport license No. 1. A group of local and state politicians and officials are on hand, as well as executives from the airlines. Disney announces that STOL service will commence with around 26 flights daily.
A single airstrip located not too far from the Contemporary Resort, the Lake Buena Vista STOLport, consists of a 2000-foot runway (and plans for a terminal building). Disney has high hopes for the service. (Unfortunately by December 1972, the idea of affordable short-range air routes became completely impractical and STOLport closed.)

A rare picture of the Lake Buena Vista STOLport in action, 1971

Friday, October 21, 2011

Pirates of the Caribbean or The Western River Expedition?

Pirates of the Caribbean was never intended to be part of Disney World out of fear that it would not be exotic enough to Floridians, due to its geographic proximity to the real Caribbean. Instead, planners intended to build a ride called the Western River Expedition. Designed by Marc Davis, it would've featured Audio-Animatronic cowboys, banditos and Native Indians.

Western River Expedition was an Audio-Animatronic delight with dozens of new AA figures, and certainly as many as in Pirates of Caribbean. Just like in POTC Marc Davis designed scenes where humour was always present. Potential scenes included:

A stage coach robbery

Banditos where even their horses had bandanas across their faces!

An Indian (Native American) rain dance that causes it to rain

Other gag scenes with desert animals, cactus, buffaloes, bear...

A western town called Dry Gulch with scenes showing a cowboy on horseback on the roof of the town's saloon - and 10 characters, including a bartender ( who is trying to shoot the cowboy and his mount off the roof ), saloon girls, and other cowboys hooting and hollering, and more...

...And a waterfall-drop finale.

Click Here to read this entire article (How Marc Davis Legendary Attraction was Almost Built at Disneyland Paris) at the amazing Disney & More blog!

Click Here to read "Thunder Mesa & The Western River Expedition" at Widen your World!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

From the Earth to the Moon

From the Earth to the Moon, the Space Mountain attraction in Disneyland Paris, was built by coaster designers Vekoma 
(who also designed Rock 'n' Roller Coaster).

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The only DisneyQuest in the world

Florida's Downtown Disney Westside is currently the home to the only DisneyQuest in the world

 DisneyQuest Chicago closed in September 2001

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

King Louie from Disney's The Jungle Book

King Louie (the orangutan voiced by Louis Prima) was one of the characters created especially for Disney's The Jungle Book, for he doesn't appear in Rudyard Kipling's original story.

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Walt Disney World's Asian Resort

In the early 1970s, Disney World had plans to build a Thai style hotel called the Asian Resort. It was to be built about midway between the Magic Kingdom and the Polynesian Resort on the monorail line ... in a spot now occupied by the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa!

Disney's Asian Resort was to be a Disney-owned Deluxe resort to be located at Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, Florida that originally would have began operation in 1974. It was going to be themed after Thialand and located on Seven Seas Lagoon. Due to the 1973 Oil Embargo, the resort, along with Disney's Venetian Resort and Disney's Persian Resort  were never built. Since the opening of Walt Disney World, there has been an empty square plot of land available for its use. There was even a road created, Asian Way, which later became Floridian Way.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Lion King Impact on popular culture

Because of its popularity, The Lion King has been referenced in a variety of media.

For instance, the animated TV series The Simpsons spoofed the film in the episode "'Round Springfield". Toward the end of the episode, the ghost of Mufasa appears in the clouds with Bleeding Gums Murphy (who had died earlier that episode) and Darth Vader, and James Earl Jones (who voiced both Mufasa and Darth Vader) says, "This is CNN. You must avenge my death, Kimba... dah, I mean Simba," a reference to the Lion King/Kimba the White Lion controversy.

Simba and Nala's escapade to the elephant graveyard was mentioned in a Season 2 episode of House.

Disney also frequently referenced The Lion King in its own films and shows. For example, in the Disney-released, Pixar-produced 1995 computer animated film Toy Story, the song "Hakuna Matata" can be heard playing in Andy's car during the film's climax.

Pumbaa made a cameo in Aladdin and the King of Thieves (1996), and Hercules (1997) paid homage to both The Lion King and the Nemean lion: Scar's skin is worn by the title character while he is posing for a painting on a Greek vase.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Animal Kingdom's Tree of Life

Animal Kingdom's Tree of Life has hundreds of intricately carved animal images.

Ten artists and three Imagineers worked full-time for 18 months to create the animal carvings on it!

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