Sunday, 22 June 2008

Disney World in 3D on Google Earth

Earlier this month Disney and Google Earth unveiled there 3d mapping of the Walt Disney World resort. By downloading the latest version of Google Earth you can now view any of Disney Worlds 4 theme parks and 22 resort hotels in 3d.

You can now fly down main street or around any other part of the resort looking at anything from shops to snack stands and rides. Find a ride that you want to know more about simply click and more specific information becomes available.

Whilst looking around you will also find links to blogs and YouTube videos and information on everything from the minimum rider height for attractions to restaurant menus.

Friday, 13 June 2008

Big Thunder Mountain in Disneyland Paris

The Disneyland Paris version of Big Thunder Mountain railroad is the only version of this popular ride to be largely located on an island within the Rivers of the Far West. The Big Thunder Mountain ride format is in every one of the Disneyland parks and despite the fact that the first Big Thunder Mountain ride opened at Disneyland on September 2, 1979 these rides continue to be extremely popular and queues are often one of the longest in the park.

As is the Disney way the themeing of Big Thunder Mountain at Disneyland Paris is second to none. Although the ride itself would probably not be classed as a big thrill rollercoaster as it contains no loops, rolls or inversions, the themeing and attention to detail create a ride experience that a huge variety of people can enjoy. The ride itself is interesting and visually pleasing enough to entertain big ride enthusiasts whilst still being tame enough for younger kids or people who are experiencing a rollercoaster for the first time.

Props and objects contained within the ride, station and queuing area were collected from around the world with a large number of them being genuine articles rather than props specially made for the ride. Although the bulk of the ride is situated on an island the station and queuing area are on the banks of the Rivers of the Far West this means that the first and last section of the ride are through twisting tunnels beneath the lake, this feature being exclusive to Big Thunder Mountain at Disneyland Paris.

Interesting Fact

22,700 Litres of paint were used to give the Big Thunder Mountain its American West, sun scorched, appearance.

Geeky Stuff

Grand opening at Disneyland Paris: April 12, 1992
Type: Steel Mine Train
Designers: Walt Disney Imagineering
Manufacturer: Vekoma
Track Length: 4921' 3"
Height: 72' 2"
Speed: 40.4mph
Drop: 39ft
Ride Duration: 3:56
Trains /
Capacity: 6 trains with 5 cars per train, 2424 riders per hour

Sunday, 8 June 2008

Why Build Disneyland in France?

Disneyland Paris opened on 12th April 1992 2 ½ years after construction of the site began. After much hype and expected transport chaos opening day saw less than 50000 guests attend the park, lets face it that must have been disappointing. Since then the sorcerers apprentice has had to pull more than one financial rabbit out of the hat to keep the mouse house up and running but 16 years on and with the addition of the Walt Disney Studios park things look a little brighter. Guest numbers are up, they are spending more money and there is more to do. Average room occupancy at the Disneyland Paris resort hotels is around 87% and judging from my most recent stay I would say that business seems good.

So with the benefit of hind sight plonking Disneyland in the middle of France seems an obvious choice but was it always that simple. Back in the days when Disneyland Paris or ‘Euro Disney’ was still only lead in an imagineers pencil it must have seemed to most that the obvious place to put it would be in the subtropical climate of Spain, there the park could closely emulate the feel of it's American counterparts and almost guarantee great weather for your Disney vacation. So it came as quite a surprise when Marne-la-Vallée, 32km east of Paris with its, how shall we put it, ' changeable’ climate was chosen, after all who wants stand and watch the mid afternoon Disney parade when it’s freezing cold and pouring with rain, its just not Disney.

Luckily the powers that be could see beyond the small matter of the weather and instead focused on who would visit the resort and how they would get there, with this in mind the middle of France was a no brainier.
Marne-la-Vallée was chosen because of its close proximity to Paris and its easily accessible location within Europe. This location was estimated to be no more than a four-hour drive for 68 million people and no more than a two-hour flight for 300 million more, that’s a lot of potential customers. With the subsequent opening of the channel tunnel in 1994 and the introduction of a direct Eurostar service from London’s St Pancras station to Disneyland Paris I can get from my home in southern England to the gates of Disneyland Paris within 4 1/2 hours.

Saturday, 7 June 2008

Welcome to Disney Hot Spot

In this blog I hope to share my interest in some of the less obvious, more technical, painstakingly detailed, and incredibly imaginative work that goes on behind the Disney magic that everyone sees.

Everyone knows that Disney has made some great films, everyone knows the characters and everyone knows that Disney can create great theme parks but when your walking through one of these theme parks how much notice do you really take of what’s around you and how much work, effort and time has gone in to creating what you see and hear. Everything is there by design, and for a reason, and it usually has a story behind it.