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Fun Find Friday!

By Brent Dodge

 

November 17, 2017

Location: Studio Backlot, Disney California Adventure

The Collector, also known as Taneleer Tivan,is the  owner of the Tivan Collection, aka home of the Guardians of the Galaxy Mission: Breakout attraction. The Collector is the original member of the Elders of the Universe, a group of the final members of a race that finds obsession with various tasks. In Tivan's case, it's an obsession with collecting various items throughout the galaxy.

In the newest chapter of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Thor and Hulk battle it out before the Grandmaster. The Grandmaster has an obsession with gaming, and much like the Collector, he is a member of the Elders of the Universe. So what does this have to do with anything?

Inside the Collector's exhibit at Disney California adventure, guests can find the following painting:

Guardians of the Galaxy Mission Breakout

Here guests can see that The Collector and the Grandmaster have participated in a game of some sort and the Grandmaster, who specializes in gaming, appears to have lost to the Collector. Just one more way to show the connections between various characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe while in the theme parks!

 

November 10, 2017

Location: Studio Backlot, Disney California Adventure

Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout is home to the Tivan Collection, the personal collection by The Collector of items from around the galaxy from the Guardian of the Galaxy films. While a lot of items in the collection may seem odd and strange to visitors, there are a few artifacts here that are very familiar to Disney park fans. Today we will be taking a look at one of these items.

After passing through the Collector's personal office, guests enter into the loading chamber for the elevator lifts that will bring guests to see the rarest item of them all, The Guardians of the Galaxy! While here, however, a few surprises are in store.

In preparation for Disneyland's 60th anniversary, the park received several upgrades around the resort. Included in these upgrades was the replacement of the yeti on the Matterhorn Bobsled attraction. The former yeti, lovingly known as Harrold, was replaced by a more terrifying beast to keep up with the times.

While it would appear that Harrold was lost forever to some, The Collector stumbled across this tossed aside beast and has decided to have him take up residency within his collection. Harrold can be found on a balcony halfway through the boarding area of the attraction!

Harrold the yeti

 

November 3, 2017

Originally published April 12, 2013

Location: Muppet Vision 3-D, Disney's Hollywood Studios

This past Monday Disney lost one of its most beloved Disney Legends, Annette Funicello. Annette was one of the original stars of the Mickey Mouse Club, handpicked by Walt himself, who would eventually go on to a successful singing and acting career. From singing Tall Paul to starring in The Monkey's Uncle, Annette had a truly memorable career with Disney.

To show their love for Annette, Imagineers added a detail to the preshow area of Muppet Vision 3-D when the attraction first opened. While we've gone into a lot of detail about this amazingly detailed area, I think it'd only be appropriate to focus on this object right here in Annette's memory:

Annette Full of Jello (Annette Funicello)

Just after passing through the hallway and entering the room, this net can be found almost immediately to your left. So what is it exactly? Well, those orange and green cubes are blocks of Jello. I know, pretty random, but this is the Muppets we are talking about here. So what on earth does this mean? Well, since it is the Muppets it's a clever play on words. This is indeed a net full of Jello, a very close name to Annette Funicello!

 

October 27, 2017

Location: Echo Lake, Disney's Hollywood Studios

Disney's Hollywood Studios has been going through some drastic changes over the past few years. In early 2015, the Sorcerer's Hat disappeared, later that year the Magic of Disney Animation closed. Shortly after that the Studio Backlot Tour closed followed by Lights, Motors, Action and the Streets of America. And in the middle of all of it, in 2015, the original park icon, The Earful Tower, disappeared.

While a lot of these items may be gone forever, their spirit still lives on over at the ABC Commissary. Just above the order area is a giant mural of Disney's Hollywood Studios before the Sorcerer's Hat even made it's way to the park in 2001!

ABC Commissary

Upon the mural, guests can still find the entrance of the Magic of Disney Animation sign along with the Earful Tower off in the distance!

Magic of Disney Animation

Earful Tower

Just goes to show that not everything at Disney disappears forever!

 

October 20, 2017

Location: Fantasyland, Disneyland Paris

Unlike the American Disney parks, Disneyland Paris has a slower moving vibe around it. In place of multiple attractions where guests board ride vehicles, guests explore walk through attractions that take guests on trips through Captain Nemo's submarine, Aladdin, or a maze in Wonderland. Due to these slower moving experiences, it makes sense that a slow moving animal can be found hidden upon Sleeping Beauty Castle.

Crawling up the Castle turrets, guests can find little golden balls decorating the side. While at first they appear to be simply little balls, upon further inspection it's the animal that best symbolizes the pace of the park:

Disneyland Paris castle

That's right! A group of snails can be found slowly and silently ascending the castle!

 

October 13, 2017

Location: Sunset Boulevard, Disney's Hollywood Studios

It's Friday the 13th which means it's time for a trip over to the Hollywood Tower Hotel!

AAA has always given awards to hotels and resorts around the country a coveted 5 Star Award for exceptional service. While many hotels have strived to reach this coveted award, the Hollywood Tower Hotel, home of the Tower of Terror, strived for a little more.

While in the lobby of the Hollywood Tower Hotel, take a look at the wall behind the concierge desk. Upon the wall guests can find the following plaque hanging there:

AAA 13 Diamond Award

While difficult to see, AAA awarded the Hollywood Tower Hotel with a special unprecedented 13 Star Award to commemorate the 13 stories that guests plunge during their visit!

 

October 6, 2017

Location: Grand Avenue, Disney's Hollywood Studios

This past week the Baseline Tap House, along with Grand Avenue, opened up at Disney's Hollywood Studios. The new section of the park has taken over the former area known as Streets of America. While Streets of America may be gone, there are still some references to the previous area that are still found in the area.

One of the most beloved shops in Disney's Hollywood Studios, The Writer's Stop, has been replaced by the Tap House, but the Writer's Stop lives on in a simple detail found upon the shelves.

The Base Line Tap House is meant to represent the inside of a printing press shop, so due to this, scattered throughout the store are various items that one may find in a printing press. On the shelves are a total of ten letters scattered around revealing a nice nod:

Base Line Tap House

Writer's Stop

Tap House

If you read all the letteres from left to right you can see that it reads Writer's Stop. Not only that, but the letters found here are the actual letters from the sign from the old shop!

 

September 29, 2017

Location: Adventureland, Magic Kingdom

While guests enter into Walt Disney World's Pirates of the Caribbean attraction, they will pass underneath the following sign at the entrance:

Castillo del Morro

When the attraction first opened up in 1973, the name written here was simply El Castillo, which translated from Spanish means The Castle, a fitting name due to the fact that the fortress that Pirates of the Caribbean is housed in looks reminiscent of of a castle. The name of the fort would eventually be renamed to the Castillo del Morro due to the influence that the Castillo San Felipe del Morro in San Juan, Puerto Rico had for the design of the attractin's exterior.

Underneath the Castillo del Morro section of the sign, guests can find the date MDCXLIII A.D. While originally the Roman Numerals found here were a representatation of 1973, the year Pirates of the Caribbean opened in Walt Disney World,, the reference here is actually to 1643, the year that the actual fort in San Juan was established!

 

September 22, 2017

Location: All-Star Sports

The All-Star Resorts are often overlooked by most guests as cheap and gimmicky resorts that may not have as much backstory as the rest of the resorts found throughout Walt Disney World property. While that may be true at times, there are some details found within these resorts that are often overlooked by guests even though the details are larger than life.

In the Football section of All-Star Sports, guests can walk through a football field that has various plays laid out upon the large field. While the play may result in a a touchdown, it's the pennants that circle the section that lead us into today's fun Find Friday.

While the Baseball section of the resort's pennants focus solely on Major League Baseball teams, the Football section does not feature a single team from the National Football League. Instead, guests can find team names for college teams such as Bulldogs, Boilermakers, and my personal favorite, Badgers.

While that seems like a nice little detail, there's two notable teams from the state of Florida that are missing: the Florida Gators and the Florida State Seminoles. So how can Disney reference so many college teams without paying tribute to the biggest rivalry in the state of Florida?

As mentioned earlier, sometimes details are larger than life and staring at us without us knowing it. The two giant football helmets are painted in Orange and Blue and Garnet and Gold, aka the school colors for Florida and Florida State!

Florida Gators

Floirda State Seminoles

 

September 15, 2017

Location: Future World, Epcot

Spaceship Earth is one of the most iconic attractions found throughout Walt Disney Word with several details just waiting to be discovered. While we could go on and on about  the audio-animatronics in the attraction (that'll be for another time), today we are going to be looking at a detail found towards the end of the ascent in the attraction.

While guests begin to get closer to modern forms of communication like Newpapers, movie theaters, and television, there's a detail found on the right hand side of the attraction that may be overlooked on your first and second or twentieth ride through. The detail can be found in the radio scene:

Spaceship Earth radio

While the scene seems very simple with not a lot of detail, the item that needs to be given the attention here is the microphone in front of the radio announcer. Here we can see that the radio station is WDI. While this isn't a nod to an actual radio station, it is a nod to the creators behind Disney parks around the world: Walt Disney Imagineering!

 

September 8, 2017

Location: Discovery Island, Disney's Animal Kingdom

Pizzafari is one of the most detailed restaurants on Disney property. Every room has a unique theme while focusing on special details throughout the rooms that most people may never notice. The detail we will be looking at today isn't just a detail that most guests miss out on, but a detail that an Imagineer overlooked as well!

The largest dining room in the restaurant is the upside down room. All of the animals painted upon the walls and found scattered throughout the room are hanging upside down in some way with the exception of one animal (which will be a whole different Fun Find Friday). Today, we will be taking a look at the back portion of this room where an Imagineer started a detail that was never finished.

Upon the wall guests can find a row of opossums hanging from a tree. While at first nothing seems to be odd about the picture, but at closer look, you may notice something wrong with the third opossum from the right:

Pizzafari opossum

No, not the one with the body. The third opossum over is missing! Here you can just find a tail hanging from a tree with a missing body!

 

September 1, 2017

Location: Main Street, USA, Disneyland Paris

While in Disneyland Paris one wouldn't expect to find too many references to one of the most American films Disney ever created, however Main Street, USA still pays tribute to all things American including a very slight nod to the walt Disney live action film, "Pollyanna."

Within the gift shops on the right side of the street there are various department signs hanging from the ceiling. While most of these feature items like clothing, children, toys, among other things. In the second section of stores on the right hand side, about half way down, guests can find the following sign:

Harrington's Disneyland Paris

The sign reads Harrington's, and if you recall in Pollyanna, that was the name of the Glad Town that Pollyanna came to and slowly changed the lives of everyone who lived there.

 

August 25, 2017

Location: Mickey's toontown, Disneyland

It's no question that Mickey Mouse is a pretty big deal. Throughout the past 89 years he has touched the lives of millions in his short films, feature length films, theme park appearances, television appearances, and much more. The mouse has really done it all throughout the years. And what better way to celebrate his achievements, than by walking around Mickey's House in Disneyland's Toontown?

Scattered throughout the house guests are treated to numerous fun finds, but today we are going to be taking a look at this detail found on a shelf in Mickey's living room:

Mickey's House

The certificate of merit reads: "Awarded to Mickey Mouse for excellence in Alpine Climbing" and is dated July 25, 1936. Next to the certificate is a picture of Mickey climbing up a mountain. The picture is from the classic Mickey Mouse short, Alpine Climbers. The short cartoon debuted on, you guessed it, July 25, 1936!

Another detail to pay attention to is the name of the mayor of Toontown. While most characters mentioned around Toontown are familiar to guests, the mayor is a new character made specifically for the land. Her name? Anna Mation

 

August 18, 2017

Location: Hollywood Boulevard, Disney's Hollywood Studios

This past Sunday Ellen's Energy Adventure and The Great Movie Ride closed up for good. While the two beloved attractions may be gone, that's not going to stop us from sharing some amazing details in both attractions! This week we will be taking a  look at a detail in the Alien scene of The Great Movie Ride that was often overlooked by guests.

While first entering the spaceship Nostromo, there are multiple computer screens on the lower left hand corner. While some of these just feature nonsense numbers and letters, the first one looks a little like this:

Nostromo Disney's Hollowood Studios

The middle paragraph reads "The Nostromo welcomes all aliens visiting today from the Glendale Galaxy. We hope you have a pleasant stay with us." This is a nod to the fact that Walt Disney Imagineering is located in Glendale, California!

 

August 11, 2017

Location: Hollywood Boulevard, Disney's Hollywood Studios

With The Great Movie Ride closing up in only two days, today we are going to be taking a look at a fun find found in front of the classic attraction. In order to get into this fun find, we need to take a look at a brief history of how the attraction came into being.

The idea for a movie making pavilion was first proposed for one of the empty locations in Future World over in Epcot with the main attraction focusing around a Great Movie Ride that took guests into some of the most classic scenes in American cinema. It was quickly decided that the idea was igger than just an individual pavilion, but had the legs for an entire theme park.

So the idea took off quickly and Disney began to search high and low for various activities that they could do to give guests a completely immersive Hollywood experience while still remaining in Florida. Film production began on multiple films and television shows, animators began to work on films like Mulan, Brother Bear, and Lilo and Stitch, and attractions began to be thought up of that would give guests the ideas of how a film truly was made.

There was just something missing though, and that was the actual celebrities. Sure, guests were meant to be the star of their own story, but Disney wanted to bring actual stars to the guests to feel like they truly were in Hollywood.

It was decided that in front of The Great Movie Ride, handprints would be placed out front mimicing the handprints found in front of the actual Chinese Theater in Hollywood which the exterior of The Great Movie Ride was mirrored after.

Disney brought out some of their biggest stars like Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Dick Van Dyke, some of their biggest collaborators like George Lucas and Jim Henson, and then of course, some true Hollywood legends. Most of these ceremonies were held in front of actual guests so they could truly get a feel for what Hollywood was all about. I know, I know. What's the Fun Find? Today's Fun Find takes a look at one square which has a very unique background to it:

Audrey Hepburn handprins

April 29, 1989, just days before Disney-MGM Studios opened to the public, several celebrities were invited to have their handprints placed in front of the attraction so guests visiting on opening day woul d have handprints already set in stone to give the theater a feeling of having been around for ages already up to that point.

Audrey Hepburn, who was best known for films like Roman Holiday, My Fair Lady, and Breakfast at Tiffany's began to choke up while making her mark in cement. When she was asked why she was getting so emotional she let the press know that throughout her entire career, she had never been selected to have her handprints placed in actual Hollywood and that being honored at Disney-MGM Studios was like having a dream come true for her.

Quickly the actual Graumann's Chinese theater got hold of the story and apologized to her for being overlooked and they quickly insisted that she come out to have her handprints immortalized in front of their theater. She responded by politely declining stating that her handprints were at Disney and that would always be good enough for her.

 

August 4, 2017

Location: Future World, Epcot

In the Fall of 1999, the entrance of Epcot received the brand new addition known as Leave a Legacy. From 19999 until 2007, guests could purchase a tile that allowed their face to remain at the entrance of Epcot for at least ten years:

Leave a Legacy NSYNC

While looking through the tiles, you can find numerous guests that have visited the parks throughout the years, but one thing most people overlook is the fact that sometimes celebrities visit the parks as well. On the fourth row up in section F on the front right section of the Leave a Legacy, guests can find the five members of the Orlando, Florida based band NSYNC. The band was still together when the Leave a Legacy originally debuted and the five members still stand together here in Epcot:

Leave a Legacy Epcot NSYNC

 

July 28, 2017

Location: Future World East, Epcot

When I first started this website, it coincided with my book which takes a look at the Disney animated film references found throughout the Walt Disney World. The website would allow me the chance to update new references to films that I may have missed while doing research in 2009. For years I have often wished I hadn't missed an obvious reference in the original draft, but I've been wanting to write about it for quite some time.

The reference can be found at the Universe of Energy's Ellen Energy's Adventure. With the attraction closing in less than three weeks, it's time that we finally take a look at this missing reference.

The most exciting portion of the attraction is when guests have a chance to go through a giant diorama featuring multiple dinosaurs. While several of the influences come from the Grand Canyon Concourse on the Disneyland railroad, one specific scene is taken from the 1940 classic, Fantasia!

During the Rite of Spring portion of the film, viewers watch the struggles that dinosaurs would have gone through including the battle between a Stegosaurus and Tyrannosaurus Rex. Luckily for people visitng Epcot, they have had a chance to witness this famous battle for the past 35 years here at the Universe of Energy!

Ellen's Energy Adventure dinosaur scene

Ellen's energy Adventure will be closing for good on August 13, 2017. Make sure to check it out before it's gone for good!

 

July 21, 2017

Location: Adventureland, Magic Kingdom

At times connections between the parks and movies are extremely obvious, like Dumbo the Flying Elephant presenting Dumbo from the classic film. Then there are other references that aren't even meant to represent a film, but due to both the film and the attraction taking inspiration from the same sources, happy coincidences occur. Today we are going to be talking about one of these happy occurrences.

While recently at Walt Disney's Enchanted Tiki Room I took a look at a nearby Tiki statue and was shocked to see a detail that would have meant little to me this time last year:

Enchanted Tiki Room

In addition to the Enchanted Tiki Room being inspired by the islands of Hawaii, the 2016 hit Disney film, Moana, was also inspired by the islands. During the film, Moana is given the task of returning the heart of Te Fiti to its rightful location. Along the way she meets up with Maui who stole the heart in the first place and the two take on the task together while singing some catchy tunes.

The heart of Te Fiti was an already existing shape found in Hawaiian culture and clearly the animators for Moana were not the first ones to take inspiration from the shape. As you can see, the stomach of the tiki god here also features this shape and has for 45 years before it made its debut in Moana!

Heart of Te Fiti

 

July 14, 2017

Location: Pandora, Disney's Animal Kingdom

We are once again returning to Pandora - the World of Avatar this week to take a look at an often overlooked detail in the exit of Avatar Flight of Passage. While guests travel the first portion of the queue, they enter into a cave featuring multiple hand prints and cave drawings in one of the earliest documentations of the Na'vi residents on Pandora. Amongst these Na'vi handprints are the handprints of humans as well as they began to visit the planet

After leaving the initial cave area, the handprints become less scattered and not as present as they are in the first room. Once guests are leaving the attraction, however, there are three handprints that can be found on the bottom wall on the right hand side in the long corridor that leads back to the land of Pandora. What's different about these three handprints are the initials that accompany each one:

Avatar

So who are the the owners of these three handprints? They actually don't symbolize characters from the film, but the creators of Pandora (both on screen and in the park). The JR stands for Joe Rohde, who is an Imagineer that not only helped design the land, he was the main creator for both Pandora and the entire park that is Disney's Animal Kingdom. The JC and JL belong to the two main filmmakers for the Avatar film, James Cameron and Jon Landau!

 

July 7, 2017

Location: Pandora, Disney's Animal Kingdom

Since Disney's Animal Kingdom opened in 1998, there has been a weird phenomenon occurring at Disney parks and it revolves around the evolution of the restroom. Prior to Disney's Animal Kingdom, the theming of the restrooms was practically non-existent and a restroom was just a restroom.

In the past 19 years though, the restrooms around Disney have started to help tell the story found around the land in some way or another and the restrooms in Pandora follow suit with their very own storyline.

Outside of the restrooms located near the entrance to Pandora guests can find the following sign on the building out front:

Pandora decontaimnation

Since the Mo'ara Valley was once inhabited by humans trying to retrieve the energy source precious to the Navi, there are remnants of the culture they left behind scattered all around. The sign outside of the restroom shows that the building that now houses the restroom was at one point a decontamination station.  To take it a step further, the sign even subtly hints that the stalls found within the restroom were at one point decon stalls that would allow guests to get rid of waste they may have caught while exploring the planet. Subtle? Due to the majority of guests passing by the sign without paying attention, it's surprisingly subtle while also being in your face about the new purpose of the decontamination center!

 

June 30, 2017

Location: Frontierland

The first attraction guests come across in Frontierland is the often overlooked Frontierland Shootin' Arcade. Here guests have the opportunity to shoot 97 different targets that, when shot, interact in various ways. Some of them result in items moving, owls hooting, and tombstones creaking. the most popular target is the sign in the middle of the room, which when shot, turns into a For Sale sign from the usual sign instructing guests that the name of the town is Boothill.

Frontierland Shootin Arcade

But why Boothill? While most people associate it with Tombstone, Arizona  where the cemetery in the legendary town is known as Boothill Cemetery, that's actually only partially true.

Boothill is actually a common phrase for graveyards in the 1800s  where men would be buried with their boots on after losing in gunfights within various towns. So next time you are in Frontierland, stop by and pay respect to those men who just weren't quick enough on the draw.

 

June 23, 2017

Location: Tomorrowland, Magic Kingdom

Beginning in the late 1920s until the success of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, the Walt Disney Studios was located on Hyperion Avenue. Throughout the years, Disney has paid homage to the studio where the classic Disney characters, along with the first full length feature animated film was created throughout their parks. Today's Fun Find takes us into the queue of Space Mountain for one of these references.

Space Mountain

While in line for Space Mountain, guests can find several maps on the left wall featuring maps of various galaxies. The second map along the wall  The second map along the wall features the Titan Stations - Sector Two. While most of the locations found here represent names that would appear in a galaxy far, far away, pay special attention to the location on the map on the far right:

Hyperion Resort

That's right! This spot in the galaxy is home to the Disney's Hyperion Resort, a nice little nod to Hyperion Avenue in an attraction that opened forty years after Disney earned money for their new studio in Burbank!

 

 

June 16, 2017

Location: Carsland, Disney California Adventure

Today the third film in the Cars franchise will be released so naturally we will be taking a look at a Fun Find in Carsland, the California Adventure land dedicated solely to the very first Cars film.During the credits of the original Cars film, there is a great scene where Mack arrives at a drive in movie theater. In honor of that drive in theater, today's Fun Find Friday will take a look at a nod to a live action Disney film found within the land.

While waiting for Luigi's Rollicking Roadsters, guests can find a bulletin board filled with several memorabilia items placed upon it. While most of these items focus around racing stars in the Cars world, there is a movie poster for a Disney live action film that is set inside the world of Cars. The film? 20,000 Leaks Under the Sea (a play on words for 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea):

20,000 Leaks Under the Sea

 

June 9, 2017

Location: Contemporary

The monorail offers up some of the most unique views found throughout the Walt Disney World resort whether it's sailing by Spaceship Earth or traveling through the Contemporary. One monorail loop features a very unique view that can only be seen from that specific monorail loop. For guests traveling upon the Magic Kingdom Express loop from the Ticket and Transportation Center to the Magic Kingdom, guests can find a statue of Mickey that is difficult to see from anywhere else.

Just before entering the Contemporary, take a look at the building on the right hand side to find Mickey sitting on the ledge in metal form:

Hidden Mickey at Contemporary

If this Mickey seems familiar, it should to guests who have explored the grounds of the Contemporary! After exiting the lobby of the resort through the back door, guests can find a perfect photo opportunity of Mickey Mouse sitting on a pair of Mickey ears! The metal design is exactly the same as the one found sitting on the building!

Mickey at Contemporary

 

June 2, 2017

Location: Panodra - The World of Avatar, Disney's Animal Kingdom

Pandora - The World of Avatar at first seems like an odd addition to Disney's Animal Kingdom, however the idea of conservation is found throughout the entire land. During Avatar, the RDA, a mining company, travels to the moon of Pandora to claim a precious energy source that can only be found on the moon. As the conflict between the Na'vi people and the humans conclude, the RDA has put quite a dent on the landscape of the moon from their destruction.

Scattered throughout the land of Pandora, guests can find various items that the RDA had built or brought and left behind on the far away moon. As time went by, these various man made items slowly became one with the land itself, which brings us to this week's Fun Find Friday! Just after entering the land through the main entrance, guests can find the river on their right-hand side which originally called Camp Minnie-Mickey home:

Pandora

Hidden within the woods is a small little mound which helps showcase the way that the moon of Pandora has begun to reclaim it's land from the devastation that the RDA brought to it. Hidden here is a helicopter which is beginning to be reclaimed by the landscape as the plants begin to overtake it:

Pandora helicopter

This isn't the only spot in the land where the planet is beginning to overcome the destruction that was brought to the moon, but that will be saved for another week!

 

May 26, 2017

Location: Winter, Disney's Winter Summerland Miniature Golf

The Winter Summerland Miniature golf course and Blizzard Beach have always gone hand in hand with one another. And due to the fact that Blizzard Beach is a water park, it only makes sense that their would be some sort of extended relation between Winter Summerland and Typhoon Lagoon. The relationship between the two takes a unique turn on hole 16 on the Winter side.

Disney's Winter Summerland

Just last year at Disney's Typhoon Lagoon, guests had the opportunity to swim with sharks in a shark reef. If you take a look at the mantel on the chimney you can find a sign:

Winter Summerland
"Going snorkeling at Shark Reef. Be back soon... I hope. "Santa Jaws"

Obviously this reference doesn't exactly work anymore with the closure of the Shark Reef, but hopefully the sign will stay for years to come as a nice tribute to the former Typhoon Lagoon attraction!

 

May 19, 2017

Location: Pandora - The World of Avatar, Disney's Animal Kingdom

With Pandora - The World of Avatar being only 8 days away from opening, previews have been in full swing and I've been lucky enough to explore this fantastic new land. While there are so many details to be discovered throughout the land, today we are going to take a look at a detail which takes us to the most important aspect of any Disney park.

Pongu Pongu

In the back corner of the land, guests can find the snack stand feature in the picture above, Pongu Pongu. While most of the details here look thrown together, we all know that some of the items here have a deeper meaning. Today we are takin a look at the little orange and black tags hanging from the ceiling. At first glance it doesn't seem like anything special, but upon closer inspection, one may notice that there are faces upon them:

Pongu Pongu Imagineers

So who are these people? As stated earlier, this is about the most important aspect of any Disney project. And that of course, is the Imagineers. The faces found on these tags are the Imagineer team that brought the world of Pandora to life!

 

May 12, 2017

Location: Main Street, USA, Magic Kingdom

Tinker Bell has had several homes in the Magic Kingdom over the past 10 years. She could first be found in a drawer in the old shop Tinker Bell's Treasures. She then was found as a character who flew throughout Tinker Bell's Treasures. She eventually made her way to Mikcey's Toontown Fair followed by Adventureland, and currently can be found in the Town Square Theater on Main Street, USA. Just before meeting Tink, guests can find this larger than life teacup that's upside down:

Tinker Bell meet and greet

On the bottom of the cup (which is actually sticking up) reads
"Honorable Barrie
Bone China
England
Emerine-Rapport-Davis 1906
Kensington Gardens"

Tinker Berll Meet and Greet

The honorable Barrie is a ference to Author Sir James Barrie who was the author of Peter Pan. The stories of Peter Pan were inspired by Sir Barrie after he met some neighborhood boys. He wrote about their adventures which stemmed from Kensington Gardens in England! The story of Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens was originally found in a story written by James Barrie called The Little White Bird, which was the precursor for Tinker Bell!

 

May 5, 2017

Location: Frontierland, Magic Kingdom

A few years ago we took a look at the barrel  found near the exit of Peter Pan's Flight which honors a Lost Boy who is named Richard Le Pere, Jr. Amazingly enough, this "Lost Boy" also has a reference to him near the exit of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad:

Fronterialdn Crate

Here we can see that according to the crate here in Frontierland, Richard Le Pere Jr. is the Fire chief, but is there a hidden meaning behind his name being here? Of course there is! Richard Le Pere Jr. is a very real person with a very real connection to the Walt Disney World Resort. As time goes on, the crate here will switch as time goes by due to one very specific circumstance: who the fire chief of Reddy Creek Fire Department is.

that's right! Richard Le Pere, Jr. is the actual fire chief of Walt Disney World's fire department. Hidden inside the crate is an actual fire hose that the actual fire department can use in case of a dire situation. Just another clever way to disguise a modern day tool in a setting where that modern appliance wouldn't be found.

 

April 28, 2017

Location: Frontierland, Magic Kingdom

This week we are traveling back into the queue for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. Over the years we have discovered various references to the 1975 Disney live action classic, The Apple Dumpling Gang. In the film, Theodore Ogelvie and Amos Tucker are a pair of bumbling crooks that team up with a group of children while going on adventures in the Wild West. While in the queue line, guests will come across the following sign:

Hard Times Cafe

While the sign doesn't necessarily scream The Apple Dumpling Gang, there are two things mentioned on the sign which reference the film. The most obvious line is at the bottom of the sign stating to "Try the Apple Dumplings - a Specialty of the house!" The least obvious is at the top of the sign, where the advertisment states that when in Quake City, guests should stop by the Hard Times Cafe. Quake City is the main location for the film where Theodore and Amos join forces.

 

 

April 21, 2017 (Originally published May 24, 2013)

Location: Backlot, Disney's Hollywood Studios

Throughout the years Disney has created some of the most memorable characters for audiences to love. From Mickey Mouse to the Genie to Tiana and Zazu, each character has a distinct personality of their own for fans to fall in love with in their own unique way. The same is true for the Disney parks. Several characters have made their way into the parks for guests to fall in love with all over again. Unlike the Disney films where people can watch their favorite characters over and over again, at times the characters within the parks will have their attraction close down for good, which unfortunately brings an end to their career as well.

Back in 1987, Star Tours debuted in Disneyland as a huge crowd pleaser. Due to its popularity it eventually made a home at Disney-MGM Studios in December of 1989. While the attraction wasn't as advanced as its current form, guests were treated to the lovable rookie pilot, Captain RX-24 or Rex for short (he's sure it's your first flight and it's his too).

Rex, voiced by Pee-wee Herman himself, Paul Reubens, took guests on a journey to the moon of Endor. Along the way guests wound up in an asteroid field and joined the Rebel Alliance's attack upon the Death Star. While he did nearly kill every guest aboard, the knuckleheaded droid did eventually return his passengers safely.

When Star Tours went under a major refurb to introduce Star Tours 2.0 many guests began to speculate if Captain Rex would be returning for the new attraction. Then the news came: this attraction would be taking place between Episodes III and IV of the Star Wars Saga, which also meant before the original Star Tours attraction. This caused one slight problem: Captain Rex makes it very clear that it is his first flight. This unfortunately meant RX-24 would not be returning to the newly refurbished attraction. So what happened to Captain Rex?

Next time you are in the queue, take a look to your left just after entering the baggage room to see the following image:

Rex from Star tours

Here you can find Captain Rex with a sign which reads, "Defective!" Due to this storyline taking place before the original Star Tours Imagineers decided to incorporate Rex by showing that he had the potential to possibly be our pilot for this trip on Star Tours, but there were still a few things that needed to be worked out so we ended up with ACE.

 

April 14, 2017

Location: Main Street, USA, Disneyland Paris

Two days ago, Disneyland Paris celebrated it's 25th anniversary since it first opened up (as Euro Disney). Keeping the tradition that began with Disneyland, Paris' park also has a Main Street, USA which features a massive storm known as The Emporium. Within the shop, guests can buy various souvenirs scattered within some Fun Finds just waiting to be discovered.

Behind two of the counters are murals depicting two other emporiums found throughout the world. One of these murals depicts the original Emporium featured in Disneyland:

Disneyland Paris Emporium

Throughout most of the park there are tributes to Walt Disney and his impact of dreaming up Disneyland leading to the eventual creating of Disneyland Paris. The dedication plaque in Town Square is almost verbatim to Walt's opening speech in Disneyland in 1955, there's a street dedicated to Walt and Roy and the Studios park next door, and then there's the nod to Walt in the mural here.

As you can see in the picture above, the Disneyland Emporium apparently opened in 1855, 100 years prior to the park's actual opening, while the proprietor found here is Walt Disney himself!

Disneyland Paris Emporium Walt Disney

 

April 7, 2017

Location: Frontierland, Disneyland Paris Park

 With Disneyland Paris having it's 25th anniversary this coming up week, it only seems appropriate to visit one of my favorite attractions at the park: The Phantom Manor! Unlike the typical Haunted Mansion attraction guests know in the U.S. Disney parks, Disneyland Paris' focuses on a slightly different storyline while still focusing on the idea of a mansion. This time around, however, the story focuses around a phantom who will forever haunt the house until the end of times in order to make sure that the bride will never achieve her happiness of being with her true love.

While there are some differences in the attraction compared to the Haunted Mansion we all know and love, there are several spots throughout the attraction that allows guests to see the similarities between the two attractions separated by the Atlantic. Today's Fun Find is going to take a look at a sign that is similar, yet different, which sits outside the attraction:

Phantom manor sign

While there are some similarities to the Haunted Mansion sign, one of the most interesting differences on this sign compared to the ones found in the United States is the line found on the bottom of the plaque: "Non Omnis Moriar." The phrase, which is Latin, refers directly to the Phantom himself: "Not everything dies."

Make sure to join us next week as we take another look at a fun find in Disneyland Paris in honor of it's 25th anniversary!

 

March 31, 2017

Location: Dinoland, USA, Disney's Animal Kingdom

Throughout the years I've mentioned several times about how I love the intricate storyline found throughout Dinoland, USA. There are multiple characters found throughout the land in the form of documents scattered throughout the land and nearly every visit to the land I discover a new detail hiding under my nose. Today's takes us to the Boneyard near this dinosaur:

Boneyard

Actually, it takes us behind the dinosaur to the very first step. Upon the step I stumbled across some carvings into the cement., at first glance it appears to be someone who has vandalized the park in a subtle way, but upon closer inspection, I saw the following:

Boneyad

On here we can see the name Sam Gonzales along with '76. In addition to that is a R+A +Sam's name.This helps answer a few questions we've always had about Dinoland, USA, but also opens up a new one. Sam Gonzales' name is found throughout the area and in addition to being one of the researchers of the area, but he's also the computer brain of the area as well.

One of the big questions that has always been asked about the land is when the researchers we are with first made appearances around Dinoland, USA.We know from the story that the Boneyard was founded in 1948 while the Dino Institute was created in 1978. Thanks to tis new discovery we now know that they were there in 1976 at least.

The question is,, who is A and M? Around the land are more references to other characters, however, for this week's Fun Find Friday, the mystery stops here and will be looked into more in a future Fun Find Friday!

 

March 24, 2017

Location: Frontierland, Magic Kingdom

While researching my upcoming book, A Closer Look: At the Magic Kingdom's Frontierland, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that Pecos Bill's Tall Tale Inn and Cafe has two nods to my birthday, March 24th! The two pieces of "official" paper can be found behind the toppings bar near the window closest to Splash Mountain:

Pecos Bill  Pecos Bill

The first sheet of paper is a Warrant of Authority giving Pecos Bill himself, whose current occupation is Defender of the Defenseless entitlement of the role Provisional Captaincy. the day which this honor was bestowed was the 24th day of March in 1894.

The second sheet of paper gives Widowmaker, the horse of Pecos Bill, the opportunity to join the Ranger Force of the State of Texas. Widowmaker also joined Pecos Bill in the prestigious role on the 24th day of March in 1894!

 

March 17, 2017

Location: Frontierland, Magic Kingdom

Just past Aunt Polly�s on Tom Sawyer Island is Catfish Cove. During The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Tom has to whitewash a fence as a punishment by his Aunt Polly. While he whitewashes, another schoolboy named Ben Rogers begins to poke fun at him for doing the dastardly chore. Tom convinces Ben that he�s actually doing it for fun. Eventually Tom convinces Ben, along with other boys that show up, to do his work for him and to give him items in turn to whitewash the fence.

At Catfish Cove, guests can find a half whitewashed fence along with Huck�s name written down and a words stating that Tom loves Becky, a reference to Becky Thatcher who Tom has a crush on in the novel. Prior to the change from Fastpass to Fastpass+ in 2013, paintbrushes were scattered throughout the island to connect the whitewashing aspect of the novel to the attraction. If a guest found one of the paintbrushes, they would find instructions explaining that the guest should return their paintbrush to a cast member and receive a paper Fastpass in return. Much like Tom�s friends trading their valuable items to Tom in order to whitewash, Cast Members would be trading a valued item for a whitewashing session of their own. I guess they never read the novel!

Tom Sawyer Island

March 10, 2017

Location: Frontierland, Magic Kingdom

In 1975, Disney released a live action film starring Don Knotts and Tim Conway called The Apple Dumpling Gang. In the film, the two are bumbling bank robbers who befriend a group of children and thus form The Apple Dumpling Gang. While guests walk through the line for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad they can find multiple references to the classic live action film, but one of the posters pays special tribute to the actors in the film:

Apple Dumpling Gang

During the film, Don Knotts plays the role of Theodore Ogelvie while Tim Conway plays Amos Tucker. Underneath each character's profile is a description of each actor right now to their age when the film was released (Don Knotts being  51 years old and Tim Conway being 42!

 

March 3, 2017

Location: Adventureland, Disneyland Paris

A few weeks ago we took a look at the entrance of Adventureland in Disneyland Paris to discover the connection it had to the True Life Adventure films:

Disneyland Paris

There is a detail hidden in the picture above, however, that we didn't touch. Notice that small circle in the bottom right corner? Most people that walk by probably think it's just some sort of clever design to add a little more life to the mosaic found here, but in reality it's a signature!

In the past we've talked about how rare it is for Disney Imagineers to be able to leave their mark in the parks by signing their artwork. There have been exceptions that have been cleverly done like the mosaic found in front of The Land pavilion at Epcot or the mosaic found inside Cinderella Castle (must be a mosaic thing). Unlike previous signatures though, this one is a little more unique:

Adventureland Disneyland Paris 

The circle consists of three letters offering up the signature to the entire Imagineer team at WDI, or Walt Disney Imagineering!

 

February 24, 2017

Location: Muppets Courtyard, Disney's Hollywood Studios

This week we are heading back to the relatively new Pizzarizzo restaurant in the Muppets Courtyard. On the second floor of the restaurant is a reception area which is set up to look like a reception hall for a wedding. Prior to entering, guests will see this sin next to the door:

Pizzarizzo

In 1984, the Muppets starred in their third full length feature film, Muppets Take Manhatten. The film follows the characters as they achieve their greatest dream of landing a show on Broadway. With all of their dreams coming true, Kermit and Miss Piggy decide that it's probably time for the two of them to finally get married. There's just one problem. Kermit is hit by a car, gets amnesia, and due to the fact that he doesn't wear clothes, has no type of identification on him.

Kermit gets into an advertising agency where he tells the staff that his name is Phil. He then learns that the people who work at the agency are named Gil, Jill, Lill, Will, and Bill. Kermit, under the name Phil, becomes quite the ad man by making slogans like "Ocean Breeze Soap will make you clean." Eventually Kermit regains his memories, performs on Broadway, and marries Miss Piggy.

So while looking at the board, we see the line "Somebody Got Married!" which is a reference to the final song in the film, "Somebody's Getting Married." Underneath that we see that the wedding is for Gil and Lill who are the daughters of Will and Jill and son of Phil and Bill. This is obviously referencing Kermit's time as an advertising guru.  The final line shows that the band playing at the wedding is the Electric Mayem, which is the name of the band that is part of the Muppets starring Dr. Teeth!

 

Past Fun Find Fridays

Magic Kingdom

Main Street, USA
     - Now Casting
     - Let's try and stay on task
     - Music Lessons?
     - The Proprietor of the Emporium
     - Playlist
     - Sharing the Magic
     - The Vandals of Main Street
     - Walt's Tie Tack
     - When did this open?
Adventureland
     - Check Mate
     - Sweet Transition
     - Marci Daviso
     - A non-American flag?
     - A Pirate's Life for Ye
     - The Pirate and the Parrot
     - Looking for movie gold!
     - Shipping Crates
     - What's it taste like?
     - Walk through of the Treehouse
     - Walt's Organ
Frontierland
     - Apple Dumpling Gang Rides Again
     - Banjo
     - Butterfly in the sky...
     - Harper's Mill
     - Hidden Tinkerbell
     - Hey Chief
     - I wonder what happened to Rosita...
     - King of the Mississippi
     - Old Mill
     - Perry the Platypus' skull
     - Planet Hollywood of the West
     - Professor Isobar
     - Texas John Slaughter
     - The Sky's the Limit
     - Walt's Grandfather
     - Western River Expedition
     - What's in a name?
     - Young Love
Liberty Square
     - Busted
     - Don't go Coffin
     - Fourth of July
     - Gholishly good party
     - A Good Book
     - Grandpa Marc
     - How many lives does he get?
     - I wouldn't step there...
     - Interlocking Hands
     - Keeping it in the Family
     - Madame Leota in human form
     - Organ Donor
     - Poor Richard
     - Shipping Out
     - Shot Heard Round the World
     - Smooth transition
     - Staying Grounded
     - Two you must sea
Fantasyland
     - A Giant Surprise!
     - A Crowning Achievement
     - At the Stroke of 12
     - Family Crests
     - Firehouse Five Plus Two
     - Get the point?
     - Get Frozen
     - Hidden Mary Blair
     - Higgitus, whattigus?
     - Jaq and Gus
     - Jousting for attention
     - Just one golden sun?
     - Lasseter Point
     - Make it Pink!
     - Map it out
     - My Way or the Skyway
     - Nautilus
     - Oh Deer
     - Return of Snow White
     - Snow White walk through
     - Steamboat Willie
     - Waking up Tinker Bell
Storybook Circus
     - What's your sign?
     - H2 oh Yeah!
     - Talk about your baggage
     - That's just plane crazy!
     - Firehouse Five...
Mickey's Toontown Fair
     - Punny Book
Tomorrowland
     - 1401 - The Sequel!
     - Delta Dreamflight
     - Gears
     - Gone, but not Forgotten
     - Mary Poppins in Tomorrowland?!?!
     - Roger, Roger!
     - Schwartz
     - Stitch's Great Translation
     - Translate?
     - Want to grab a drink?
     - A Wonderful Place
Parades
      - A Hidden Walt?
      - Don't look in the eyes!
      - A Jack of all Trades
      - It's Really Not So Scary

Epcot

Future World
     - Carousel of Progress in Spaceship Earth
     - Cutting Edge or go with the flow?

     - Oh! There you are!
     - History lesson
     - Light of the (Future) World
Future World East
     - The Car of the Future!
     - Full Moon
     - Getting ahead
     - World of Motion
     - Finding FDR
Future World West

     - The Center of the World
     - Dig a Little Deeper
     - Doors for the Imagination
     - Figment's Autograph
     - Hidden Epcot
     - Honey, I Called the Figment
     - In the big long line, you're gonna go explore!
     - The Living Seas Logo
     - Pig Latin?
     - Are you Brave enough?
Mexico
     - Hidden Character
Norway
      - Back, Back, Over the Falls
      - The Denmark Pavilion?
      - Grete Waitz
American Adventure
     - It's Story time!

     - Stationary, but Amazing
     - A Tribute to Dad
Morocco
     - A Towering achievement!

France
     - Tale as Old as Time...

United Kingdom
     - What's in a Name?
     - Write place, Write Time

Disney's Hollywood Studios

Animation Courtyard
     - A New Hope

     - And at last you see the light
     - C3P0's arm
     - Thanks for the Memories!
     - Lost Lost Boy
     - Minnie Mouse posters
     - More Minnie Mouse posters
Backlot
     - The Original Star Tours
     - The Rocketeer
     - World of Motion
Echo Lake
     - Don't Pull the Rope
     - Gertie the Dinosaur
     - Holly Vermont
     - Indy's Tank
     - Is the Empire here?
     - It's a Wonderful Crate
     - Paynefully Punny

     - What a pane!
     - Who is the Rocketeer?
     - Writing on the Wall
     - You are the star!
     - You've Got Mail
Hollywood Boulevard
     - Happy Valentine's Day

     - Johnny Fedora and Alice Bluebonnet
     - What's in a name?
Pixar Place
     - Decoding the Message
    
- Stuck on fun finds, and they are stuck on me
Muppets Courtyard
    
- Out of this world!
     - Rat Pizza
Streets of America
     - A Net Full of Jello

     - Bella Notte
     - Characters of Star Tours
     - Do you have the time?
     - It's time to light the lights...
     - Learn some Elf Control
     - The Lights Awaken
    
- Mighty Microscope
     - Once Upon A Time...
    
- This is Captain Rex from the cockpit.
     - This news is looking Up
     - Wait for it
     - Walt's Subway Experience
     - Where are you Buzz?
Sunset Boulevard
    
- Break in case of Emergency
     - Don't be sad!
     - Don't turn your back on us!
     - Down at the car wash
     - Drop on by!
     - Game On!
     - Listen up
     - Red Car
     - Special Delivery for Mr. Serling!

     - To Serve Man
     - Walt's First Car

Disney's Animal Kingdom

Discovery Island
      - The creator of the Tree of Life
      - Sit back and relax
      - Trunk Space
      - The Tree of Life?
Camp Minnie-Mickey
        - Grandmother Willow
Africa
         - Bench meaning
         - Cattle Call
         - Hidden Baloo
        - Jaclose? No, Jafar
        - Joe Rohde
        - Nahtazu
         - Not too shabby!
         - Swahili Mickey
        - Tape it up
        - Translation, please!
Rafiki's Planet Watch
        - Talk about your truck space
Asia
         - Over where the sun Shrines
         - Tiger in the Rough
         - Where do I need to go?
Dinoland, USA
         - Another Day, another Dollar
         - Hold the Mustard
         - License and Registration
         - Translation please!
         - Parking is how much!?!?
         - Dinosaurs and Superheroes?
         - Need some travel advice?
         - One to Grow On
         - Wait, is that a map?
         - Water Tower
Everywhere
         - A Dragon! A Dragon! I swear I saw a Dragon!
         - Players of the Game
         - Parking Lot Celebration

Downtown Disney/Disney Springs

Marketplace
     - Board?
     - Check it out you blockhead!
     - Country Bears
     - Don't huff and puff
     - Goofy's Periodic Table of Elements
     - Max out the fun!
     - Pablo the Penguin
     - Paint with all the colors...
Pleasure Island
     - Not just a walkway!
     - Are those train cars?
The Landing
     - Captain Rex
     - Empress Lilly
     - Kungaloosh Passport
     - Lighter Up!
    
- Reggie
     - Staff of Ra
     - Walt's Dream
Town Center
     - A History Lesson
West Side
     - That's a Mouth Full!
D-Street
     - Who is the fairest one of all?

Resorts

All-Star Sports
     - Batter up?
     - Hidden Steve
Beach and Yacht Club
     - Keep your drawers on!
     - This one won't life you up
Boardwalk
     - Bakery Proprietor
Contemporary
     - Five Legged Goat
     - Watch out!
Fort Wilderness and Campground
     - Doc Terminus!
Grand Floridian Villas
     - Martin Short's other cameo
     - Mary Poppins in the lobby
     - Mary Poppins in the rooms
Polynesian
     - Uh-Oa
Pop Century
     - Don't Juke
     - Looking at Pops
     - Strike!
Port Orleans Riverside
     - Steamboat Willie
Art of Animation
     - Gadgets and Gizmos and Honey
     - A famous Picture?
     - Another Famous Painting?
     - Are you on the level?
Saratoga Springs
     - All opposed, say neigh
Wilderness Lodge
     - Flowers and Trees
     - Hidden Humphrey the Bear

Walt Disney World

Everywhere
     - 1401
     - Mohave Oil Company
     - Mr. Lonely
     - Nothing's Impossible
     - Plane Crazy
     - Safety begins with ye
     - South Seas Club
     - Stairs to Where?
     - Transportation Cards
     - What's in a Name?

Disneyland
Main Street, USA
     - Coke Corner
     - Walt's Apartment
Adventureland
     - Is that a leprechaun?
     - Obi-Wan?
     - Trashin' the Camp
Frontierland
     - King of the Wild Frontier
New Orleans Square
    - Bunch of Bone Heads
    - Come Sail Away
    - Mary Poppins Table
    - Shipping
     - Stationary, but Amazing
     - Strange Markings
     - Walt and Roy
Fantasyland
     - Aurora's Birthday Cake
     - Clopin's Music Box
Toontown
     - Don't Pass(port) this up!
     - Laugh-O-Gram
     - Mickey Statue
     - Package for Mr. Giant
Tomorrowland
     - Get me a drink
Parade
     - Sing like the birdies sing

Disney California Adventure
Buena Vista Street
     - Dick Tracy Lives!
     - Is that you Ub?
     - Nine Old Men
A Bug's Land
     - Four Leaf Clover
Carsland
     - Driving Range
     - "Eye" Spy
     - Knick Knack
     - Return of 1401
     - Buzz Lightyear to the Rescue

Disneyland Hotel
Frontier Tower
     - Mickey Crockett

Disneyland Paris

Disneyland Paris Park
Adventureland
     - True Life Adventure

Frontierland
     - The Phantom of the Manor
Fantasyland
     - Fireplace
     - Sept Nains

Walt Disney Studios Park
Toon Studio
     - Bob's Fish Mart

Disney Village
     - Step right up and come on in...


Disney Cruise Line

Disney Magic
     - Captain Jack's private island
     - Smooth Transition
     - Sorcerer Mickey?
Disney Fantasy
     - Don't walk all over me!


Walt Disney Studios

Lot
     - Crossroads of the World











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