Partners Statue

Every Disneyland guest who heads from Main Street USA to the castle passes by a central garden, right in the hub of the street. But not many stop to appreciate this garden, and the hidden gem within it: the Partners Statue.

PartnersStatue1The Partner’s Statue debuted in Disneyland in 1993 as part of a celebration of Mickey’s birthday. Disney legend Blaine Gibson designed the statue, taking inspiration for Walt’s likeness from a bust he sculpted in the 60’s, and taking inspiration for Mickey from Fantastia. The statue is larger than life, standing at 6’5 (though Walt was only 5’10). Walt and Mickey stand at the heart of Main Street USA, proudly watching guests enjoy the happiest place on earth.

The plaque below the statue reads: “I think most of all what I want Disneyland to be is a happy place…where parents and children can have fun, together” –Walt Disney

PartnersStatue2California Adventure also has its own Partners Statue, called the “Storytellers Statue”, which marked the official opening of the new California Adventure in 2012. This statue is focused on Walt’s beginnings in Hollywood and all the adventures that lay ahead. Its plaque reads:

“It was July 1923. I packed all of my worldly goods – a pair of trousers, a checkered coat, a lot of drawing materials and the last of the fairy tale reels we had made – in a kind of frayed cardboard suitcase. And with that wonderful audacity of youth, I went to Hollywood, arriving there with just forty dollars. It was a big day the day I got on that Santa Fe California Limited. I was just free and happy!”

Next time you’re walking through Main Street USA or Buena Vista Street, take a moment to appreciate the Partners Statues. As an added bonus, both statues are in great locations for family photos!

General Electric Carousel Of Progress

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LOCATION

Tomorrowland – When entering from Main Street USA, guests followed the main path to the center of Tomorrowland. The Carousel of Progress sat right in the middle of the path, in the building that now houses Innoventions.

CONCEPT

In Disneyland’s first few years of operation, Walt and his Imagineers were interested in expanding Main Street USA as part of a partnership with General Electric. The team envisioned two new districts, International Street and Edison Square. Edison Square would showcase GE technology and appliances, with electrical shows and displays of GE’s development over the years. But the technology available for Edison Square was not advanced enough for the show Disney envisioned, so the Edison Square project eventually stalled.

However, Disney and GE were still very interested in building a partnership. After helping Disney develop a show for the 1964-1965 World’s Fair in New York, Walt pitched an idea for a new show in Disneyland that would showcase GE technology. This show debuted at the World’s Fair as “Progressland”, and was met with overwhelming popularity. GE and Disney immediately began plans to bring the show to Disneyland, and the General Electric Carousel of Progress opened in the park in 1967.

EXPERIENCE

The Carousel of progress had six different scenes, each depicting the development of technology in the American household. The opening and closing scenes were not as detailed as the middle scenes, since they played as guests loaded and offloaded from the theater.

The first intermediate scene, set on Valentine’s Day in the early 20th century, shows a family using technology of the time, which included gas lamps and a gramophone. The next scene, a 1920’s 4th of July, showed major changes, including a radio and electric appliances. The third scene, Halloween in the 1940’s, had even more modern appliances ranging from a television to a dishwasher. And the final scene, the modern day (which was the late 60’s-early 70’s), had a color television and up-to-date land line phone.

Each scene on the carousel served as both a nostalgic look at the past and a reminder of how quickly technology has developed. Guests left the ride with a new appreciation for the amazing power of technology and how that technology impacts the American household.

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CLOSURE – September 9, 1973

By the 1970s, the popularity of the carousel steadily declined. Most of the visitors to the attraction had already seen the show multiple times, and new audiences were just not coming. To stir up new interest, GE and Disney decided to move the show to Walt Disney World in Florida, and the Carousel had its last Disneyland show in 1973.

TRIVIA

The modern day scene in Walt Disney World has been updated regularly to keep up with changing technology. Today, it includes a high-definition television, video games, and voice-activated appliances.

The General Electric Carousel of Progress has its own theme song: “There’s A Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow”.

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PhotoPass

When you’re visiting the park, you may want to have a nice photo taken by a Disneyland photographer at one of the park’s landmarks. In order to make this process as easy and efficient as possible, Disneyland has a system to help you keep track of your photos: PhotoPass.

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A PhotoPass is a free card guests receive upon having a photo taken by a Disneyland photographer. If you have an annual pass, your pass doubles as a permanent PhotoPass. Every photographer in the park uses the PhotoPass system, so that every photo you take is accessible from one card!

HOW DOES PHOTOPASS WORK?

Once you receive your PhotoPass, you now have a kind of memory card that will hold all of the photos you have taken during your trip. Hand your pass to each photographer you encounter, and they will scan the card so that your photos can all be found in one spot. When you want to purchase a photo or browse the ones you’ve taken, you can head to a PhotoPass center (Main Street USA or Buena Vista Street) to check out your pictures. You can also access your photos on DisneyPhotoPass.com up to 30 days after your visit.

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The text reads:

  1. SMILE: Keep and reuse this pass to get photos taken in any park.
  2. VIEW: Visit a Disney PhotoPass center or go to DisneyPhotoPass.com and enter the ID number below during registration.
  3. SHOP: Share your photos and order your favorites prints or get them all on Disney’s PhotoCD. Plus create keepsakes using your own photos!

WHERE CAN I FIND PHOTOGRAPHERS?

Disneyland photographers are scattered throughout both parks, and you will usually find one in each land. The photographers generally wear khaki and blue vests, so they are easy to find. There are almost always photographers in the Nikon Family Photo Spots (more detailed post coming soon!) and at Disneyland’s most famous landmarks, like in front of the castle or along Paradise Pier. If you are having trouble finding a photographer during your visit, ask a cast member at one the PhotoPass centers for assistance.

PHOTOPASS+

If you’re really enthusiastic about taking lots of family photos, you may want to look into PhotoPass+. For $70-100, your PhotoPass comes with a bunch of added features, including:

  • Photographer and attraction photos taken in the park
  • Dining photos from participating locations
  • Limited license agreement that allows you to print photos
  • A cd with all of the photos from your trip

You can purchase PhotoPass+ online or in the park. If you have already taken photos on a standard PhotoPass and would like to upgrade during your stay, you will not lose the photos you have already taken!

OTHER INFO

You can hold onto your PhotoPass after your trip, but the photos will no longer be available if they are not claimed within 30 days. I personally would not keep my PhotoPass after a trip, since they hand you a new one each time you visit the park.

For more information about PhotoPass, PhotoPass+, and other Disney photography services, visit: https://disneyland.disney.go.com/guest-services/photo-pass-service/

Country Bear Jamboree

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LOCATION

Critter Country – When guests entered Critter Country through the main pathway, they would find the Country Bear Jamboree on the left, across from Splash Mountain. This area now houses The Many Adventures of Winnie The Pooh.

CONCEPT

The Country Bear Jamboree was a zany concert show featuring a large cast of bears and their various animal friends. The show, which opened in Walt Disney World in 1971, immediately became a fan favorite in the park. Imagineers wanted to recreate the show in Disneyland, and to celebrate its opening, created a completely new land: “Bear Country”, which had previously been part of Frontierland. After a year of construction, Bear Country and its accompanying Jamboree opened to the public in 1972.

EXPERIENCE

Guests began their stay with the bears in the stage lobby, a large room with show photos and a carpeted entrance to the theater. The lobby was lined with oddly shaped doors, each perfectly sized for the different stars of the show. Once guests took their seats in the theater, master of Ceremonies Henry greeted the audience and invited them to enjoy the jamboree. The show featured a number of different songs, performed by the bears and their friends, and ended with an ensemble song encouraging the audience to come and visit again.

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CLOSURE – September 9, 2001

Though the Country Bear Jamboree was an instant hit in Walt Disney World, the attraction never saw the same success in Disneyland. The theater’s somewhat isolated location in the corner of Disneyland meant less foot traffic than its Florida counterpart, and the show also had to compete with Splash Mountain for the limited audience. The Country Bear Jamboree’s increasing competition ultimately led to its downfall.

By the late 90’s, Winnie the Pooh gained major traction as a popular Disney franchise, and Imagineers wanted to increase its presence in Disneyland. But unlike the other Disney parks, Disneyland has little room for expansion. So Imagineers searched for a place to add Pooh, and Critter Country (its name changed from “Bear Country” with the opening of Splash Mountain) was the best fit. The Country Bear Jamboree held its final performance in 2001, and The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh opened two years later.

TRIVIA

Three of the show’s stars are still hiding in Critter Country. Next time you ride Winnie the Pooh, turn around just as you enter the “Hunny Heaven” room, turn around and look up above the door. If you pay close attention, you’ll see Melvin, Buff, and Max!

Like its counterpart in Florida, the Disneyland version of the Country Bear Jamboree had a special holiday show every year.

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Jolly Trolley

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LOCATION

Mickey’s Toontown – After entering under the bridge, guests found the Jolly Trolley station on the left, in the very center of downtown Toontown.

CONCEPT

The Jolly Trolley was Toontown’s form of transit, like a majorly scaled down Disneyland Railroad. The slow trolley took visitors on a non-stop circuit of Toontown, with exuberant music accompanying the ride.

EXPERIENCE

The Trolley tour began at the central station, in front of City Hall. Since the trolley had only one stop, guests waited in the center aisle, along the main street, before loading onto the trolley. The cars, Toontown’s version of San Francisco’s trolley cars, circled around Toontown every few minutes, offering guests the chance to ride over multiple times throughout the day. During the trip, guests had panoramic views of Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin, downtown Toontown, Mickey’s House, Minnie’s House, Chip and Dale’s Treehouse, Gadget’s Go Coaster, Donald Duck’s Boat, and Goofy’s House. After completing the circuit, visitors returned to the Trolley station in the center of Toontown.

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CLOSURE – December 31st, 2003

Even with its status as a fan favorite attraction in Toontown, the Jolly Trolley was more trouble than it was worth. Because it’s circuit traveled on the land’s main walkway, the large trolleys became safety hazards for all of the big families visiting Toontown. The trolleys were also very slow, and most guests could maneuver the land on foot much faster than on Toontown’s trolley line. So in 2003, the Jolly Trolley closed for good, leaving one stationary car at the station as a family photo spot.

TRIVIA

The track is still in place in Toontown, so you can walk the Trolley circuit on foot if you want to experience it.

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Hobbyland

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LOCATION

Tomorrowland – When guests entered Tomorrowland from Main Street USA, they would find Hobbyland on the right of the large rocket ship, in the area that is now an open patio between Space Mountain and Innoventions.

CONCEPT

Hobbyland was a walkthrough area in Tomorrowland with various booths and activities for guests of all ages. After opening in September 1955, this land-within-a-land gave visitors to build and purchase scientific model kits, from dinosaurs to airplanes to everything in between. Children and adults alike could explore the various booths in Hobbyland, and this open area offered a break from the fast-paced or more intense ride experiences in the rest of the land.

EXPERIENCE

Guests visiting Hobbyland were free to explore the booths and pool at their own pace. Hobbyland had a small pool, which hosted periodic model ship races. In between shows, guests could explore different booths, which had family activities or merchandise available for purchase. Tired guests often took a break in Hobbyland’s large seating area, which had a central view of the heart of Tomorrowland.

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CLOSURE – January 1, 1966

Though it had been operating since 1955, Hobbyland never gained traction as a popular destination in Tomorrowland. Guests often breezed by this area in favor of the larger rides, and its central location actually made it a bit of a nuisance for guests trying to navigate the chaos of this area. By 1966, Hobbyland was out of place in the fast-paced, technologically advanced Tomorrowland, and the attraction finally closed once and for all.

TRIVIA

Hobbyland had its own watchtower, where cast members could monitor the attraction and fly the model airplanes that circled the Hobbyland pool.

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While You Wait

BASIC INFO

App Name: While You Wait

Company Name: Brett Rounsaville

App Price: $1.99

Free version: No

WhileYouWait1HOW IT WORKS

While You Wait is a scavenger hunt app that challenges park guests to find hidden details as they wait in line. To play, select the land you’re visiting, and flip through the clue photos to find different items. If you get really stuck, you can use hints to help you find the locations of each photo. Once you’ve found a scavenger hunt item, you can check it off and mark your progress.

As an added bonus, each land has an “Around the Land” list, not specific to any line. So if you want to check out details of a certain land when you aren’t in line, this feature can show you all that each land has to offer!

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MY RATING – ★★★☆☆

If you’re bored in line or have some downtime in the park, this app is fairly entertaining. It’s most useful for keeping little ones busy in line, and can give you something to do if you opt out of bigger rides and are waiting for the rest of your group to finish. However, the app is fairly limited, as it does not include any of California Adventure. For groups with little kids, or for guests with some downtime, this app is a fun way to pass the time.

APP USE & TIPS

The app also has a “park wide” feature, where you can spin a wheel to generate random scavenger items to find. These are mostly related to different guests, with items like “kid with an ice cream cone” or “fanny pack”.

There’s also a map feature, which has a birds eye view of the park and has options to highlight restaurants, bathrooms, and shopping. However, I’ve never been able to use this feature without the app crashing, or if it does open, none of the restaurants in the park appear on the map.

Lots To Do In Line

BASIC INFO

App Name: Lots To Do In Line

Company Name: Frantic Goose Applications

App Price: $5.99

Free version: Yes

LotsToDoInLine1HOW IT WORKS

Lots To Do In Line is an interactive app that makes the worst part of visiting Disneyland, waiting in lines, part of the fun. You can select the specific line you are waiting in, and answer trivia questions or find scavenger hunt items in your respective area. Players can also compete for points, allotted for questions answered correctly, number of scavenger items found, or general park knowledge. Once you’ve completed a question, the app marks your progress, and you can move through the different questions at your own pace. Whether you’re waiting in one of the longer lines, like Indiana Jones, or in a quicker one, like Jumpin’ Jellyfish, Lots To Do In Line will keep you entertained and teach you a little trivia while you wait.

LotsToDoInLine2MY RATING – ★★★★☆

Lots To Do In Line is a great app for entertaining yourself while still enjoying all the Disneyland waiting areas have to offer. The trivia, quiz questions, and scavenger items are all relevant not just to the land/ride you are waiting in, but the specific rooms in each line. This app teaches you fun facts about each ride and points out cool details you might otherwise overlook.

That being said, this app is really expensive, and some of the trivia/quiz questions are a little bit tedious. It’s biggest problem, though, is that it’s a little outdated. “Golden State” and the “Hollywood Pictures Backlot” now have different names (Condor Flats/Grizzly Peak/Pacific Wharf and Hollywood Land), but the rides themselves within these lists are up to date. But in spite of these minor errors, the app has a lot to offer and is fun to use on your own or with a group. If you want a fun Disney-themed activity while you wait in line, this app is a great resource.

APP USE & TIPS

You can have up to four players participate in the trivia. To name your players, tap “Info”, and then “Edit Visits”.

On the info page, you can keep track of how many rides/attractions you have visited throughout the day.

Don’t forget the scavenger hunt feature! You can check off different things you see in the park, including pin traders, pirate flags, and weather vanes.

Disneyland Menus

BASIC INFO

App Name: Disneyland Menus

Company Name: Flora’s Secret

App Price: $0.99

Free version: No

DisneylandMenus1HOW IT WORKS

Disneyland Menus is an easy-to-use app that offers breakdowns of Disneyland and California Adventure dining options, sorted by land. You can look at breakfast, lunch/dinner, or snack menus for the various restaurants in each land, and see prices for the different meal options.

DisneylandMenus2MY RATING – ★☆☆☆☆

While the premise of this app is great, it does not deliver on its promises. The interface is simple to navigate, but the menus themselves have a plain text formatting that makes them difficult to read. Some of the listed menu items don’t include prices, and the kids and adults menus are a little jumbled together and hard to separate. But the app’s biggest problem is that it’s out of date; none of the menus have been updated since 2011. Most, if not all, of the restaurant menus have changed, and California Adventure has been completely redone, so some of the lands on the menu don’t even exist anymore. There are also no listings for any of the Downtown Disney restaurants, and the menu list is missing some of Disneyland’s restaurants altogether. If you’re looking for an app that provides menu breakdowns at the resort, save your money and look elsewhere.

APP USE & TIPS

This app doesn’t work; I don’t have any tips for it!

City Hall & Guest Relations Lobbies

Disneyland can be a little overwhelming at times, and you may find yourself looking for some extra guidance during your trip. Whether you are looking for show times, need dining reservations, or are looking for disability assistance, the guest relations lobbies scattered throughout the resort are there to help.

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The biggest guest relations center in the resort is City Hall on Main Street USA. Here, you can find anything from maps in different languages to pins marking special occasions. Outside of the Disneyland gate and the California Adventure gate, you can find smaller guest relations lobbies, which offer the same services. California Adventure also has a guest relations lobby on Buena Vista Street, tucked behind the gas station.

City Hall and the Guest Relations Lobbies offer the following services:

  • Guide Maps in multiple languages
  • Ride/Attraction translators in multiple languages
  • Show and parade times for the day
  • Ride/Attraction closures or breakdown updates
  • Disability Services (more detailed post coming soon!)
  • Reservations/Tickets for Disney Dining (more detailed post coming soon!), tours, hotels, or park ticket upgrades
  • Lost guest assistance
  • Foreign currency exchange
  • General assistance

If you have any questions during your trip, you can find support at City Hall or the Guest Relations Lobbies. And even if you don’t have too many questions, get a button at City Hall (they’re free!) and check out the building; it’s a Main Street classic with tons of detail.