Saturday, October 31, 2009

There's No Turning Back. . .

Happy Halloween from the PFTP staff. As they say, "Hurry back. Hurry ba-aack."

This photograph was taken by the author in February 2009.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Tangaroa Terrace

On the list of Walt Disney World 'shuttered treasures' is the Tangaroa Terrace restaurant, located on the grounds of Disney's Polynesian Resort. Tangaroa Terrace was the original home of the beloved banana stuffed French Toast, a staple of many a guests' culinary memories of the restaurant and the resort. Recreated (but never fully replicated) at the Kona Cafe and elsewhere, Tonga Toast surely serves as one of the Walt Disney World Resort's culinary conerstones.

Tangaroa Terrace opened in 1978 as part of the first expansion of this popular property. (This expansion also brought with it the official name change from the Polynesian Village Resort Hotel and a new longhouse.) The restaurant originally offered a B/L/D menu and featured a large seating area. Stringers on the PFTP staff fondly remember visits to this eating establishment (second only to memories of the Empress Lilly) and another correspondent particularly remembers an overly welcoming Goofy CM at one nosh who practially tackled him. (Editors note: We suspect this happened at Papeete Bay Verandah instead, which became 'Ohana in 1995. What, Papette Bay Verandah is too hard for you to spit out? Perish the thought. We think the French Colonial influence is what didn't sit well in the stomachs of many.)

As the pressure for open seats ebbed and flowed throughout the Magic Kingdom so did the fortunes of Tangaroa Terrace. It's location is somewhat unique in that it's not part of the Great Ceremonial House and occupied the same building as the arcade and the Never Land Club. In 1996 the restaurant closed and while some say it was used from time to time for 'special events' just as many say the current condition of the facility does not lend credence to that statement. The exterior, though, is a treat - especially at night - and deserves a momement or two of your camera lens if you find yourself out at night.

These photographs were taken by the author in March, 2008.

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Sunday, October 25, 2009

20, 22, 24, 26

** Updated information from FoxxFur in the comments section, below.**

One of PFTP's more unusual obsessions deals with capturing each and every 'street' address we can find in the parks. New Orleans Square in Disneyland Park and Liberty Square in Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom are two of the best places to scratch that particular itch and here are the residences at 20, 22, 24, and 26 'Liberty Square'. I'm all in favor of WDW expanding the Cinderella Castle suite concept to DVC memberships at the below locations; what do you think?

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

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Atomic Walls

As part of Disneyland's 1967 New Tomorrowland refurbishment, two iconic mural pairings became fixtures in the park. The better known pair are the Mary Blair murals which appeared above CircleVision/America the Beautiful and Adventure Through Inner Space. These works, known as 'The Spirit of Creative Energies Among Children', have quite a history; one lasted twenty years, the other nearly thirty and the two have been the subject of many hotly contested debates along with other Mary Blair contributions to the parks. While you can still see a Blair mural inside WDW's Contemporary Resort, her murals in Disneyland's 1967 New Tomorrowland have been covered over and eclipsed, longevity wise, by two sculpted wall murals at the entrance of Tomorrowland.

These murals, made of sculpted metal, are the lesser documented of the mural pairings. While they certainly look more in keeping with the land of tomorrow with their sleek exoskeletons and depictions of atomic particles, the two yield little information on the web and in printed material.

These 40ft. by 44ft. pieces are prominently featured and hard to miss as as they stand guard over two anchor attractions at the entrance, Star Tours and Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters, and are visible enough that one is drawn into the Disneyland Park guidemap. That said, these slient, shiny sentinels soldier on, largely invisible.

The normally capable PFTP staff located just one piece of concept art that included the 'atomic walls'; this rendering penned by John Hench is all we found. The color rendering appeared in Randy Bright's Disneyland: An Inside Story and a black and white also exists but we don't have a source material reference. However, we could not locate any Herb Ryman sketches or renderings. Does anyone know if such an item exists? (Did Dorothea Redmond and/or Sam McKim ever work on Tomorrowland ideas? Inquiring minds want to know.)

Furthermore, who offered the inspiration for these pieces? As the 1967 New Tomorrowland prominently featured Adventure Though Inner Space (at least one snowflake is highlighted as linked to here on the ATIS Mighty Microscope website) it's logical to assume this wonderful attraction had something to do with the walls but that analogy falls short when you consider the Circarama/CircleVision/Circle-Vision 360 Theatre sponsored by American Motors/Bell Telephone/AT&T/PSA/American Airlines (now just Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters thank goodness), had a matching wall in front of it.

Was the idea just in keeping with the times and the incredible impact science had on the US during the space race years and the Monsanto sponsorship or was it merely whimsy?

The first two photographs were taken by the author in February 2009. All other images and photographs are copyrighted by Disney, all linked to images are property of their respective owners.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Fort Wilderness Marina

Although the Walt Disney World Resort celebrated its 38th birthday last week, the Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground remains 37 years young for another few weeks and celebrates its 38th in November. The PFTP staff have visited Fort Wilderness many times en-route to the Hoop-De-Doo Revue, Tri-Circle-D Ranch and Farm, playground areas, and more, and certain members of our staff grew up staying at this resort as often as twice a year.

Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground is filled with hidden treasures and offers guests an experience unlike any other at WDW. Although the site has lost guest favorites such as River Country, the Fort Wilderness Railroad, Discovery Island and others, it retains gems such as the Fort Wilderness Marina.

The marina is situated at the north edge of the resort and in addition to offering transportation to and from the Magic Kingdom the marina provides a range of rental craft (pontoon boats, water mice, canoes, kayaks, sailboats) fishing excursions, and bike rentals. Parasailing, water skiing, and wakeboarding are also available in conjunction with Sammy Duvall's.

Just as other areas of the WDW Resort, the Fort Wilderness Marina takes on an added dimension of beauty at twilight. The motor launch across Bay Lake to the Magic Kingdom is beautiful at any time of day but is a real treat in the time between sunset and dark as unique photo opportunities exist for taking shots of the Contemporary Resort and panoramic views of the Fort Wilderness Lodge. That said, plenty of picture taking opportunities present themselves at the marina proper.

A walk towards the motor launch area yields a stunning view and serves to remind guests just how large the WDW is. Busy during the daylight hours, the marina calms a bit towards the end of the day and is a great place to visit to see some of the original portions of the WDW Resort.

As an added bonus, a map of what appears to be the original site can be found here - just look at the bottom right to see the old Fort Wilderness Railroad line and Discovery Island. Happy 38th, Fort Wilderness Marina and best wishes for many more.

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

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Tilt-Shift Images Revisited

The new Disney Parks blog has exploded on the scene with lots of appreciative readers and the PFTP staff are among them. While Disney certainly took its time on the social media front, they've hit a home run with their new site. A week ago the editors posted an entry on a 'model day' in WDW's Magic Kingdom complete with a video made from a compilation of tilt-shift images. This wonderful montage reminded us of our own post on tilt-shift images from Disneyland and we placed a comment on the Disney Parks blog asking what lenses they used (comment number 26) to make the video. Lo and behold they took our question to heart and today's Disney Parks blog responded with an explanation of the Nikon lenses they used.

Tilt-shift is a rather complex process for the amateur photographer but if you like the style you can make your own via this website, TiltShiftMaker. Simply upload your own photos, manipulate the images, and download them. When you choose an image to upload to the site, it's best to use one with a clearly defined foreground and background and a wide depth of field.

Here are some images from the site, images taken in the Walt Disney World Resort from a number of locations.

These photos were taken by the author from 2006 - 2008 and manipulated via in October 2009.