Starling Travel

July 20, 2015

Disneyland’s 60th Anniversary Celebration

Filed under: Amusement Parks — Laura Moncur @ 11:19 am

Disneyland 60th AnniversaryDisneyland is 60 years old. I was there for its 25th anniversary and then again for its 50th anniversary. I can hardly believe ten more years have passed.

Here is the website talking about all of Disney’s celebrations for the anniversary.

At their Tenth Anniversary, they made a Wonderful World of Disney. They talked about the new features and there is even a cameo of Mary Blair talking about her design for It’s A Small World.

They are going all out on their nightly fireworks. Here is a video of the complete fireworks show for the 60th Anniversary.

Disneyland is one of my favorite vacation spots and it has been a couple of years since I’ve been there. I guess I really should go. I’d hate to miss the 60th when I’ve been to two of the other huge celebrations.

March 5, 2015

Legoland RVs

When we went to Legoland last year, I snapped some shots of the RVs that they had built in their Legoland towns.

Legoland RVs from Starling Travel

Legoland RVs from Starling Travel

Legoland RVs from Starling Travel

Legoland RVs from Starling Travel

LEGO Friends 3184 Adventure Camper at Amazon.comIf you would like to make some campers like this with Legos, they have made some sets:

We might not be able to own the RV of our dreams, but we can build one from Legos!

February 23, 2015

Star Wars Day At Sea on the Disney Cruise Line

Filed under: Amusement Parks,Cruises — Laura Moncur @ 8:00 am

Chewbacca on Disney Cruise Lines from Starling TravelI haven’t been this excited to go on a cruise in a long time. I usually can’t defend the expense of a cruise when it is so inexpensive for us to hitch up the camper and go, but this one sounds awesome! Disney Cruise Lines is adding a Star Wars Day to some of their cruises!

Star Wars Day at Sea will be available only aboard the Disney Fantasy on select Western Caribbean sailings, January through April in 2016. Star Wars Day at Sea will take place during cruises departing on the following dates:

  • January 9
  • January 23
  • February 6
  • February 20
  • March 5
  • March 19
  • April 2
  • April 16

The Star Wars Day at Sea is a one-day extravaganza during your cruise. For the rest of your voyage, you’ll enjoy the jam-packed itinerary of excitement and adventure you can only get from a Disney Cruise Line sailing. From Broadway-style shows and innovative dining, to a fun-filled visit to the private island paradise of Castaway Cay!

Star Wars Day on Disney Cruise Lines from Starling Travel

I wish they were doing this a few years ago when my boy was young enough to really love it. We took him to Disneyland when he was eleven and he was picked to do the Jedi Training Academy. It was the highlight of our trip.

Jedi Training Academy from Starling Travel

He waited for an hour and a half in the sun in order to be front and center so he could get picked. We kept asking if he wanted to ride Buzz Lightyear or Star Tours and he just stubbornly waited so he could be in the front when the Jedi comes out and chooses the padwans. Fortunately, he got chosen and we loved it. Hopefully, they’ll have something that awesome on the cruises. It is on the list of activities.

I’ve wanted to try a Disney Cruise for a long time, so this just might be the best thing to get me there. I wonder if they choose 46 year old padwans…

February 6, 2014

Overcrowded Disneyland 2010

Filed under: Amusement Parks,California,Places To Visit — Laura Moncur @ 1:16 pm

Right after Christmas in 2010, we took a trip to Disneyland with my sister and her husband.

It was unpleasant.

There were so many people that they LITERALLY stopped letting anyone in. I snapped this photo in front of New Orleans Square, just trying to get past the Haunted Mansion. Click to see it full-sized.

Overcrowded Disneyland 2010 from Starling Travel

We had reservations at the Blue Bayou for an early dinner, but Dan had to work earlier in the day, so he didn’t try to come in until about 3pm, but they wouldn’t let him in. It took us multiple calls to the restaurant just to get him into the park so we could have our dinner.

At the same time, we couldn’t get on any rides. Mike and I rode the Pooh Bear ride (twice) and that was all we did that day. EVERYTHING was so packed that we could barely walk through the park without a crush of the crowd all around us.

Whatever that number is that makes them stop letting people into the park, it’s WAY too high. I have been to Disneyland since, but I will never again go right after Christmas. It was a miserable experience and a WASTE of money.

December 3, 2013

Horizons Ride at Epcot Center

Filed under: Amusement Parks — Laura Moncur @ 10:00 am

I’ve never been to Epcot Center. Living on the west side of the country, Disneyland is so much easier to visit, but how I wish I had been able to see this ride, Horizons:

With its look at the History of Tomorrow, it was a look forward AND backward. Just like PaleoFuture, it was looking at what our dreams used to be. If only they hadn’t added their current dreams for the future, it would have been a timeless ride that didn’t need to be retired. Well, that and the marshland sinkhole that threatened to topple its roof. It was eventually replaced with Mission: Space.

I really miss the excitement for the future that Walt Disney had and I wish there was a way to revive that. Sure, predictions like flying cars and jet packs never came true, but isn’t dreaming for something and not getting it better than never trying at all?

November 13, 2013

Confessions of a Disney Employee

Filed under: Amusement Parks — Laura Moncur @ 1:54 pm

I LOVE these cute little animated videos from a guy who used to work at Disneyland Studios in Orlando Florida. You can see all the videos here:

Such an interesting insight into the amusement parks!

October 31, 2013

The Haunted Mansion Backstage

Filed under: Amusement Parks,Florida,Places To Visit — Laura Moncur @ 10:00 am

In honor of Halloween, I found these photos of the Haunted Mansion in Disneyworld with the lights on at Haunted Mansion Backstage. Here is their description:

Not exactly backstage, but here’s a cool lights-on peek near the end of the Graveyard scene after a ride stop and evacuation at the WDW Mansion. Every time I ride the Mansion I wish for this to happen to me! Ride stops, eventually lights come on and a CM has to escort us out. Please! 🙂

I’ve never once thought that I might be on the ride and they would have to turn it off, turn on the lights and escort me out. I have sat for five minutes while we have been “unexpectedly delayed by spirits,” but I had no idea that I might have a chance to walk through a fully lit Haunted Mansion to get out.

Haunted Mansion Backstage

Haunted Mansion Backstage

Haunted Mansion Backstage

Haunted Mansion Backstage

Haunted Mansion Backstage

Haunted Mansion Backstage

Haunted Mansion Backstage

Via: WIL WHEATON dot TUMBLR, hauntedmansionbackstage: Not exactly backstage,…

September 23, 2013

Haunted Mansion’s Nightmare Before Christmas 13th Anniversary

Filed under: Amusement Parks — Laura Moncur @ 8:05 am

Here is a video that talks about the Nightmare Before Christmas overlay that they do at The Haunted Mansion in Disneyland.

Halloween and Christmas are a great time to go to Disneyland, but be warned, the crowds are HUGE at Christmas time. If you want to see this aspect of the Haunted Mansion, GO NOW! It’s so much better than when the park is packed with people at Christmas.

Via: Haunted Mansion Backstage | Disney Parks recently released a video celebrating…

Update 09-24-13

Here is another video describing a new feature of the WDW Haunted Mansion and their hitchhiking ghosts.

I want to see this so bad that I think we’ll be driving for four days straight just to get to the other side of the country and go to Disney World.

August 28, 2013

Why The Disneyland Skyway Ride Was Closed

Filed under: Amusement Parks — Laura Moncur @ 8:59 am

I always wondered why the Disneyland Skyway ride was closed. Here is the explanation from Disneyland Guru. (via: WIL WHEATON dot TUMBLR)

Defunct Disneyland Skyway Ride from Starling Travel

The Skyway was closed because it was expensive to maintain, had higher costs than many other attractions, required a minimum of four castmembers at each end, and had very limited passenger per hour numbers. Access issues were also considered, as there was no real alternative for making this attraction ADA compliant.

I’m not buying it. The reason why the Skyway was closed is because it wasn’t USEFUL. It was a tad ironic that Tomorrowland had so many rides devoted to transportation that didn’t actually TRANSPORT you anywhere. It was ALWAYS faster to walk to Fantasyland than to take the Skyway to it. You’ll see why when you look at this map from Disney Stuff.

Magic Kingdom Map Skyway Highlighted from Starling Travel

It takes you a long distance. It LOOKS like it’s a useful ride, but when you just finished riding Mission to Mars and want to go on Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, it’s actually EASIER and FASTER to just walk there. The Skyway ride entrance was tucked into the back corner of Tomorrowland that took you as long to walk to as it did to walk around the Matterhorn into Fantasyland.

I find it interesting that the things that didn’t work at Disneyland actually WORK at other amusement parks. Take for instance, the Skyride at Lagoon in Utah.

Lagoon Skyride from becre8tv at Flickr

The Skyride is obviously styled after the Disneyland ride, but it is insanely useful. Tired parents can suggest the Skyride to their excited kids and get all the way across the park and REST while doing it. I’ve highlighted the route of the Skyride on the Lagoon map.

Lagoon Park Map Skyride Highlighted from Starling Travel

As you can see, the utility of the Skyride is indisputable and that’s why it still runs today, outliving its inspiration by decades.

The lack of utility is also what killed the People Movers at Disneyland. They never actually MOVED PEOPLE. They took you on a slow crawl through Tomorrowland, where you were to marvel at OTHER rides.

People Mover Route from Starling Travel

When Disneyland tried to put an exciting ride on the People Mover tracks with Rocket Rods, it was actually a fun ride. Unfortunately, the tracks couldn’t handle the physical stresses and they had to shut it down within a year.

Walt Disney was trying to showcase the methods of transportation for the future, but sadly, didn’t actually use them to TRANSPORT people, which is something the tired families visiting Disneyland NEED. The only vestige of this part of Tomorrowland is the Monorail, which is incredibly useful. At present, it takes you from Disneyland to Downtown Disney and the Disneyland Hotel.

Ironically, he did use the methods of transportation of the PAST to transport people in his original design for the park. The Disneyland Railroad provides the same utility as the Lagoon Skyride does. When parents are tired, but the kids want to run to the next section of the park, they can load the kids on the train and get from Frontierland to Fantasyland, Toontown, or Main Street, all while resting. Nostalgia aside, the Disneyland Railroad is a highly useful ride, which is why it’s still in operation today.

In the end, the Skyway ride was retired because of it’s lack of utility. It wasn’t about cast members. It wasn’t about ADA compliance. It wasn’t about low passenger per hour rates. It was about the fact that it was further to WALK to the Skyway entrance than it was to just walk to Fantasyland. Even so, I still miss being able to slowly ride through the Matterhorn and hover over the Teacups.

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May 23, 2013

Chippewa Lake Park: A Defunct Amusement Park

Filed under: Amusement Parks,Ohio,Places To Visit — Laura Moncur @ 10:00 am

I saw these pictures on Motion Burns The Mood, but they had labeled them, “Abandoned Amusement Park in New Orleans.” After some sleuthing, I finally found where this abandoned amusement park really was: Chippewa Lake Park in Ohio.

Abandoned Amusement Park from Starling Travel

Abandoned Amusement Park from Starling Travel

Here is a documentary exploring the park and comparing its abandoned decay to the beauty of its past.

There is something about a defunct amusement park that seems so appealing to me. I feel as if I could ride the rides all day long with no other people in line in front of me. Logically, I know that I couldn’t go on any of the rides, but still, I want to visit an abandoned amusement park, if only to FEEL as if I had it all to myself. It seems to appeal to the hermit side of me, wanting to create a place of fun just for myself, like Michael Jackson did with Neverland Ranch.

Unfortunately, you can’t visit the abandoned site of Chippewa Lake Park anymore. In 2009, it was demolished.

If you want to learn more, here are some more links:

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