Sunday, November 23, 2008

Frontierland WDW Railroad Station Signs

The Walt Disney World Railroad is a time honored tradition; each of the stations, as well as the engines, are unique and entertaining. The Frontierland Station, in our opinion at 'Photos from the Parks', is the very best of the bunch. And, the signage geeks that we are, here are some photos which celebrate this area's attention to detail.

As you exit the WDW Railroad at the Frontierland Station, the first sign that greets you is the one shown above. Don't forget to linger at the exit to take in the backside of Splash Mountain and to peek into the Stationmaster's shed.

On your way down the hill, be sure to stop and look up towards the station. This station, while not nearly as famous as the Disneyland Frontierland Station, has its own charms, including the rain barrels.

At the bottom of the walk down from the Frontierland platform a series of additional signs meets you; these are some of the best in the park.

These phtographs were taken by the author in November, 2008.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Splash Mountain Gems

Walt Disney World's Splash Mountain is a treat for the eyes and ears and, on a hot day, a welcome break from the Florida sun. While many have debated the merits of the WDW attraction compared to its older sibling located in Disneyland, most agree the Frontierland version offers a few extra perks.

More interesting to your author is the fact that each of the US attractions fails to tell the backstory as well as the version in Tokyo Disneyland. Additionally, our polite friends in Japan went the extra mile to reduce the 'splash'. Anway, there's much more to Splash Mountain than Song of the South, just read Jasper P. Woodchuck's riveting journalism to get up to speed. Chances are, you've never heard the story of Rickety Raccoon and the Beaver Brothers.

Here at Photos from the Parks the editorial staff is first, and foremost, a big fan of signage at the Parks followed closely by a fascination for queues; Splash Mountain doesn't fail on either of those two criteria. The queue is massive, perhaps the largest in the Magic Kingdom, and the signs are beautiful as seen below.

There are a few shots we really enjoyed; today's post features most of them. The image below is one of the best from a color perspective as the sky is just right compared to the red clay and green grass - the bird houses are a great touch by the Imagineers, too.

Hope you enjoyed the two day Splash Mountain reverie; these photographs were taken by the author in November, 2007. Hey; I think it's time to go to the Parks again!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Splash Mountain Saturday

Sometimes, a picture is worth a thousand words. If so, then we've spared many, many words today on your behalf. Here's a WDW Splash Mountain flood all our own; come back tomorrow for a few we think really stand out from the crowd.

These photographs were taken by the author in November, 2007.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Country Bear Jamboree

A longstanding tradition in our combined household is a visit to Bear Country, or, as we do in WDW, a visit to Frontierland to see Henry, Wendell, and the gang at the Country Bear Jamboree. Originally a concept for Walt's Mineral King Ski Resort, the bears were placed under the steady hand of Marc Davis and became the first attraction to debut in WDW and then copied for Disneyland. The attraction proved so popular in Florida that Imagineering designed two identical theaters for Bear County in Disneyland; each theater was an identical copy and could be operated in tandem to swallow up huge numbers of guests. Alas, Bear Country is no longer but the bears continue to show day in an day out in Frontierland, as seen below.

As the 'Imagineering Field Guide to the Magic Kingdom' points out, making the bears 'look' alive through audio-animatronics proved to be a challenge Imagineering could best. The theater at WDW allows guests to watch less than 20 ft. away (front row, center) and let's admit each and every one of us has watched, mesmerized, as Trixie's wineglass sloshes back and forth during performances.

The show, for those of you unfamiliar with the Bears, is a collection of short musical interludes separated by punny banter between the show's host, Henry (voiced by the ever present Pete Renaday), his sidekick, Wendell, and the show's permanent guests, Buff, max, and Melvin. The house band, 'The Five Bear Rugs', seen above, are supplemented by Gomer, on the piano.

As corny as they can be, the following musical numbers grace the stage and quickly become stuck in your head, never to be removed:

"Pianjo"- Gomer and Henry
"Bear Band Serenade" - The Five Bear Rugs, Gomer and Henry
"Fractured Folk Song" - Henry and Wendell
"My Woman Ain't Pretty (But She Don't Swear None)" - Liver Lips McGrowl
"Mama, Don't Whip Little Buford" - Henry and Wendell
"Tears Will Be the Chaser For My Wine" - Trixie
"Pretty Little Devilish Mary" - The Five Bear Rugs
"How Long Will My Baby Be Gone" - Terrence
"All the Guys That Turn Me On Turn Me Down"- The Sun Bonnets
"If Ya Can't Bite, Don't Growl" - Ernest
"Heart, We Did All That We Could" - Teddi Barra
"Blood on the Saddle" - Big Al
"The Ballad of Davy Crockett" - Henry and Sammy
"Ole Slew Foot"- Cast (minus Ernest and Trixie)
"Come Again" - Henry, Sammy, Max, Buff, and Melvin

Ah; "we wrote these lyrics, and we also wrote the words" pretty much sums up what you're in store for, I can tell you that. The Country Bear Jamboree also has a place in Disney history as the first audio-animatronic attraction to have 'seasonal' shows. The Country Bear Christmas Special and Country Bear Vacation Hoedown started in 1984 and 1986, respectively and, while they're no longer with us, no one can forget the image of Big Al dressed as a New Year's baby.

While the bears aren't nearly as popular as they once were, they continue to serve as an important hallmark in the development of Disney attractions and have a fierce following. The WDW theater recently received an upgraded sound system and the bears themselves were spruced up a bit. For those of us who are rabid fans (yes, the puns are just as bad in the show as they are in this post), the bears continue to delight and if I could act out one attraction in the flesh, this would be it. Next time you visit Bear Country in Disneyland, be sure to view the remnants of the Bear theater and listen for ol' Rufus snoring next to Splash Mountain.

These photographs were taken in November, 2007.

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