Tag Archives: disney fan

Once Upon A Disney Memory – Skyway!

Walt’s Basement article written by Arthur Vassar. What memories do you have of this?

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Once Upon A Disney Memory – Skyway!
 
by Arthur E. Vassar
 

The time was 1956… less than a year after the opening of Disneyland (which would see the parks overall number of visitors during that year coming in at over three and a half million) and Walt Disney was looking for ways to enhance the guests experiences at his park. This would be the year that “D” Tickets were introduced, and the first expansion would include an island in the middle of the Rivers of America (Tom Sawyer Island), Indian Village and War Canoes, Rainbow Caverns Mine Train, Storybookland Canal Boats, Astro-Jets and the first aerial tramway of its kind built in the United States, better know to Disney fans as the Skyway.

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This gondola lift attraction was opened at Disneyland on June 23, 1956. Walt had seen these lifts on many of his trips to Europe and decided that his park should have one as a way to get guests from one part of the park to another. This was Walt at his best, seeing it as another new form of transportation… just like its successors the Peoplemover and the Monorail. It also gave guests a chance to get a birds eye view of the park. It was built by Von Roll Ltd. of Bern, Switzerland. They were originally made with sidechairs for ski resorts, but since they were going to be used at Disneyland the Imagineers designed the bucket gondolas used when the attraction first opened. The Skyway was set up between Fantasyland and Tomorrowland. Originally tickets were one way (Skyway to Tomorrowland and Skyway to Fantasyland) and a short-lived round trip ticket. The stations as all things Disneyland matched their locations. Fantasyland station was designed to look like a Swiss chalet, while Tomorrowland station was given the futuristic treatment.

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People loved the opportunity to take a break from walking around the parks, and getting to see what was going on from above. Disneyland’s next major expansion came in 1959 when they added the Monorail, Motor Boat Cruise, Submarine Voyage and the Matterhorn. But what would happen to the Skyway? The Matterhorn was slated to be built right where the center cable tower was. In a brilliant move, the Imagineers built the Matterhorn to accommodate the Skyway, complete with openings for the two cable runs. The mechanical parts were now hidden in the mountain.

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When 1965 rolled around guests entering Disneyland were in for a change. The familiar bucket gondolas were replaced with rectangular ones. In 1971 when Walt Disney World opened, guests were greeted with many familiar attractions including the Skyway. There was a third location for the Skyway when Tokyo Disneyland opened on April 15, 1983. Getting back to the original Skyway, the mid-1980s Fantasyland renovations did cause the Fantasyland station to be closed for a time, and the round-trip returned to the Tomorrowland station during the work.

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The 1990s saw the end of all three versions of the Skyway. First to go was the Disneyland Skyway on November 9, 1994. According to reports it was due to stress cracks in the Matterhorn roller battery supports and overall metal fatigue of the attraction. When the word came out that the Skyway was closing fans rushed to the park to get in their last rides. If you visit the park now, the only visible reference to the Skyway is the old Fantasyland station. It is still there hidden amongst the trees, but slated to be demolished soon due to pests and a weakened structure.

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Next was the Tokyo Disneyland Skyway that closed on November 3, 1998. The Fantasyland station was removed to make way for a new attraction (Pooh’s Hunny Hunt) and the Tomorrowland station was re-purposed as a candy store. Lastly, Magic Kingdom Skyway ceased operation on November 10, 1999. The stations stayed around for some time, but in the summer of 2009 the Tomorrowland station was demolished. After a life as a stroller parking area, the Fantasyland station was demolished to make way for a Tangled themed restroom structure in 2012.

But is this the end of the Skyway story? For the Disney parks the answer is yes, but there are still many examples of the Von Roll aeriel tram still in operation around the world. The best known (and closest to Disneyland) are the The San Diego Zoo Skyfari and SeaWorld Bayside Skyride. They also still exist in three state fairgrounds (Minnesota, Oklahoma, and Washington) and international locations from Israel to Germany to Indonesia. The Skyride at Cedar Point in Ohio was built in 1961, using some of the Disney blueprints for its drive and tension systems, and is still fully operational to this day. The attraction has also spawned many fan groups around the world and individuals who create their own model versions of the Skyway. Here is a video made by a friend of mine who creates marvelous gondolas and has a fully operational Skyway in his backyard. So you see… the Skyway may be gone from the skies of the Disney parks, but they are definitely not forgotten!

Arthur E. Vassar – Theme Park Music Fan, W.D. Family Museum Volunteer

Reside in the Haunted Mansion?

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by Mztressofallevil

 

Everyone in my family (other than those that live in my house, that is) thinks I am a bit mad. I would LOVE to live in the Haunted Mansion at Walt Disney World.

Ever since I was a young girl I have been amused and fascinated by the 999 Happy Haunts and their not-so-humble abode. They always tell you that there is “room for one more” and ask for volunteers, so why not? I VOLUNTEER, DISNEY!

In all seriousness, the details of the mansion are something that scores of Disney fans adore and cherish. Just traveling through the mansion is a feast for the senses. You feel the chill of the breeze regardless of the weather outside, and you can sense the “spirits” all around you without fearing the “other side”. It is a grim grinning great time for all ages.

You begin in the all-time favorite, the Stretching Room, complete with the hilarious portraits and the introduction to our “Ghost Host”.

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Just a bit later, after you find your way out of the room with no windows and no doors, you can see much from the comfort of your Doombuggy. These images are intentionally out of order, however, for I don’t want to spoil it if you have not yet ventured into the mansion yourself.

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Lots of stairs. That could get confusing if one leaves a Doombuggy. I will wait for a better departure point.

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Definitely leaving this lid intact as long as possible.

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Ah, here we go! The Ballroom banquet. What’s for dinner?

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Of course, I don’t think I could party on the chandelier above the table. Heights are not my thing. But party on, chandelier dudes!

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The Singing Busts. I can carry a tune- oh they just have to let me join in.

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Madame Leota presiding over her seance.Lots of musical instruments in that room. Maybe she will let me play one?

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The Attic and a portrait of Constance with one of her unlucky husbands, all of whom met with an early demise courtesy of an axe.

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Constance! I am sure we would get on fabulously- after all, we could have lots of girl talk and I am not taking anything with sharp edges with me.

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Ezra, Gus, and Phineas. Now why are they always trying to hitch a ride away from the mansion? Ah, the grass really is always greener I suppose.

Which is YOUR favorite room in the Haunted Mansion?
Would YOU join the 999 Happy Haunts as I would? (Or is my family right- am I batty?)

Shall we plan a weekend?

Walt’s Basement: Seven Years Young

Seven years. Wow. Already?

My kids were tiny, and one of them wasn’t even in school yet when I started this site way back in 2006. Now one is in college and the youngest is in Middle School. I have told the story so many times, but I started this place as a haven for Disney fans who want something MORE– something extra special without fear of being ridiculed or made fun of, edited, or treated unfairly.

Walt’s Basement Disney Forum (www.walts-basement.com) is a site that truly cares about it’s staff and it’s members, on and offline. It matters not if you are active now or were active in 2007, you are part of our online family and we welcome you when you are able to spend time with us. We miss you when you go and celebrate when you stay. We send you pixie dust when things are not going so good for you, and we shout for joy when you share good news with us. EVERYONE, regardless of where they come from or what they do for a living, matters here- as we are all united by our love of all things Disney.

Recently, I was told that someone asked another party about our site and another person told them not to bother- that we took a lot of time to participate on our site- that they could just join the Facebook Groups or follow us or other Disney things through social media, and that we weren’t worth the effort that it takes. Now I think that people would expect me to be hurt by this, or even get angry, but you know what I did? I laughed. It is obvious to me that anyone who has ever been involved- really involved- with our site knows that it is WELL worth the effort. We have done so much good together. Our members, Mods and Board Members have joined forces to brighten so many faces with smiles by mailing packages and goodies. We have provided coats for children who could not afford them in the cold weather, and school supplies for an entire special education classroom. We have furnished families with toys for their children to unwrap on Christmas morning, and even meals for Thanksgiving dinners. Donations to food pantries in different communities have been given by Walt’s Basement, and I happen to recall many of our members bonding together to raise funds for a very special little girl to get a specially made therapy bike, too. There are so many things we have done…..and so many things we have yet to do. We care for our online family!

No, we are not just social media, thank goodness. We do take more than a couple of sentences to get involved and get to know one another, which is a pretty rare thing these days. And when we do take that precious time to get to know someone, we invest in them and accept them as part of our group here. Before too long, I bet they even get slipped a Mickey in their mailbox (and yes, that is a very good thing). Heck, they could even get Blitzed (again, a good thing!).

Many of us have been around since the pilot year of WB, and some have only been around for a few months, but we are all united in the mission that we are trying to accomplish and have set out to since day one- to spread as much Disney magic as possible. So thank you to all of you for sharing in the dream- my dream- for WB and our dream for Disney magic. I could not have done this without you and I am forever grateful to each of you that have stood by me (and my family) through the past seven years and the growth and development of this amazing site. I can not wait to see what the future holds.

– MZTRESSOFALLEVIL

When and how did Walt’s Basement first reach you or make an impact on you? Share your story with us, and if you haven’t joined us yet- sign up today so you can share your story with us on our next Anniversary, because I know you will have one before long.

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Meet Walt’s Basement’s Disney Forum Ambassadors

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Walt’s Basement Disney Forum Currently has four (4)

Ambassadors:

Duffy, Winnie The Pooh, Piglet, and Mickey Mouse!

Each Basementeer (Forum member) may request that one of the
Ambassadors visit them for a period of two (2) weeks, before sending
them on to another Basementeer.


While an Ambassador is visiting you and your family, you should take
lots of pictures and post them on their travel page so we can all see
what travels / adventures they have been on.

All four (4) Walt’s Basement Ambassadors have a Smartphone Pet ID

Tag with GPS.  These tags will help locate where the Ambassadors are,
if necessary.


Walt’s Basement Ambassador Introductions:

Duffy The Disney Bear:
My first adventures began on November 6, 2010, at Walt’s Basement
Grand Gathering, at Disneyland.  I have had some great adventures
and met some wonderful Basementeers.  I am adventurous and love to
travel, make new friends, and a very good listener / companion.  My
goal is to bring some happiness, some luck, and some love to all
Basementeers.

I love to go Geocaching and have a Geocache Trackable Travel Bug.

To sign up to be my host, click HERE.

To follow along on all my Travels / Adventures, click HERE.

Winnie The Pooh:


“Oh, bother”, my name is Winnie the Pooh and I am one of Walt’s
Basement newest Ambassadors.  I am always looking for a “smackeral
of hunny” and there is usually a “rumbly in my tumbly”.  Being one of
the newest Ambassadors I have not done a lot of traveling and it would
be an honor to meet you and your family and see the sights where you
live.

To sign up to be my host, click HERE.

To follow along on all my Travels / Adventures, click HERE.

Piglet:


My name is Piglet and I am the smallest Ambassador.  I would love to
come and visit with you and your family.  I love to travel, “I musn’t f – f
– f – fear!”, and share with everyone all the places I have been to.  Some
of the places I have visited are: Disneyland, Walt Disney World, and I
have even been on a Disney cruise.


I discovered a new hobby called Geocaching and have a Geocache
Trackable Travel Bug.

To sign up to be my host, click HERE.

To follow along on all my Travels / Adventures, click HERE.

Mickey Mouse:


“Oh, boy!” Mickey Mouse here and I am Walt’s Basement newest
Ambassador.  So far I have been able to visit a few families and have
already made some new friends here on Walt’s Basement.  Traveling is
one of my favorite things to do.  I am a pretty good photographer also.
Minnie says I take too many pictures, but I disagree.  “Gosh, meeting
and visiting you would be swell!”


To sign up to be my host, click HERE.

To follow along on all my Travels / Adventures, click HERE.

Disney D23 Expo: Ask For Something Weird

What are YOUR thoughts about D23? Are you going to attend? Wish you were attending?

For The Record

Preview image for this weekend’s big expo released by Marvel and Disney.

This weekend’s heavily anticipated Disney D23 Expo event is mostly anticipated for the potential of Star Wars: Episode VII news, but it would be foolish to ignore Marvel and Pixar, who no doubt have big things up their sleeves as well. It is the former who have released a promo image for the event, simply saying “Ask for something WEIRD”.

What this is alluding to is uncertain, but the official line says that if you ask you will “get your first look at an all-new project coming from Marvel and Disney!”

The most popular possibility would be a much sought after Doctor Strange announcement, with weird obviously a synonym for strange. Fans have been clamouring for a Strange film ever since Marvel Studios opened its doors, and it is heavily rumoured to be part of the Phase…

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Just another day at Disneyland (Oh, and new Fantasy Faire stuff, too!)

Joanna Volavka

Disneyland castle in spring

A couple of weeks ago, Disneyland opened a new section of Fantasyland called Fantasy Faire. It’s basically a small annex beside Aurora’s Castle, but it adds an outdoor stage where they do short live-action plays about five times a day, and a Royal Hall where you get to meet princesses.

Disneyland Figaro

We didn’t have a particular plan to go, just sort of decided last minute (and hey, it’s only about an hour and a half away, so why not?), so last Tuesday we drove up and spent the day.

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The flowers are blooming everywhere because it’s spring (even in the desert there are flowers, but I’ll get photos of that later this week), and Disneyland looked colorful and happy. Plus it was still the week before spring break, so no lines!

Disneyland Fantasy Faire

Of course we had to check out the new section, and the princess line was surprisingly short, so we…

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Makes you walk a little taller….

Deborah's Disney Diaries

TIMG_1188he American Adventure, as I have said, is a terrific show in America in Epcot. During the Christmas season, there were wonderful carolers, but this show is so entertaining, multiple visits are encouraged.  Dr. Benjamin Franklin and Samuel Clemens( AKA Mark Twain), tell the story of America. Prior to entering the auditorium, one enters a escalator where all the flags that created America to the present one we are familiar with in present day.IMG_1197 Listening to the narrator as well as the conversation between Dr. Franklin and Clemens, one sits a little taller in your chair, and leaving you walk a little taller.

IMG_1196This little critter just made me smile. He or She simply deposited themselves near this family outside the American Adventure Auditorium was made it quite known of their presence, and didn’t seem to be at all bothered or shy about what they wanted. Since this is

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