Last-modified: June 1, 1997
Keywords: Disneyland, amusement-park, Disney, FAQ, California
This document is copyright (c) 1997 by Al Lutz, alw...@aol.com Please
refer to the copyright paragraph in Part One for details.
HUNCHBACK FESTIVAL OF FOOLS SHOW
This is a brand new 22 minute extravaganza that utilizes the former Big
Thunder Ranch area located between Frontierland and Fantasyland behind the
Big Thunder ride. A huge and very busy cast (bigger than any show I've
seen at the park before) compete for your attention all over a large,
almost distracting, semi-circular set. The basic premise is that Clopin
(King of the Gypsies) tells you the story of the Hunchback, and all the
celebrants on the stages around you (the performers) volunteer for the
parts. The stage is gigantic - and its shape encourages action all over it
with Quasi on ropes swinging back and forth or sliding down poles from
some of the multi leveled platforms - some as high as four stories. The
action also takes place in the audience area with dancers at ground level
and on tops of carts that are wheeled back and forth between the main set
and the center stage area. Set dressing / changing consists of large
wooden panels or drapes being pulled open or over walls. Confetti cannons
are used liberally.
The song / production numbers ["The Bells of Notre Dame" "Out There" and
"Topsy Turvey" a short "Hellfire"] take up the bulk of the show's time
with spectacular staging. Because of this the rest of the movie's plot is
then shoehorned into the last 7 minutes of the performance. As is typical
with any DL show - everyone works very hard and is very talented.
All of the music and the singing chorus of the show is on tape - some, but
not all of the lead performances are live. Since Quasi can not sing
because his costume - four singers are assigned to shadow him during the
"Out There" number. They sing for him as he swings around the set - it
does work well as a theatrical device. The music arrangements are top-
notch as we've come to expect on the DL shows. (It's a much more briskly
conducted version of the score than the film's soundtrack.)
There are some problems - mainly having to do with the incredible amount
of confusion 50 or so performers can engender while rushing around this
huge set. The biggest is a dramatic device that is introduced by Clopin at
the beginning, where he tells you that you will see people running all
over the stage with red flags - which will be waved near where you should
be focusing your attention to hear the story. I don't know about you - but
anytime you have to tell folks where the play is - you're in trouble I
would think. A few times it seems the flag wavers couldn't make it over to
the action quick enough - confusing things a bit.
Also this is the second show [after Pocahontas's missing Meeko and Flit]
where the comic sidekicks that are so prominent in the film are not
represented. Hugo, Victor and Laverne are nowhere to be seen. Just try and
explain that to a six year old. Another major problem develops when the
show ends. Because they funnel everyone though the gift shop area - which
when people begin to browse and shop - it slows down the exiting. This was
just plain stupid - accommodations should have been made to provide a
swifter exit, and word is that DL is suffering from excessive shoplifting
WARNING! If for some reason you decide to brave a show during the
afternoon in the heat, make sure YOU ARE SLATHERED WITH SUNBLOCK AND HAVE
A HAT. Once you get into the show THERE IS NOT A SPECK OF SHADE TO PROTECT
YOU IN THE ENRIRE VIEWING AREA - so again MAKE SURE YOU ARE PREPARED. It's
a brutal way to treat an audience, let's hope they come up with at least
some kind of shade material that can be strung over the area. (As of this
date DL had re-scheduled the shows to begin starting at about 3 PM because
of the avalanche of complaints they had received about this problem.)
Here's what you have to deal with: 30 minutes before show time you and
about 2,000 other people are herded from the line in the walkway into a
holding pen area - where upon you will then be told how the seating for
the show works. Cast Members pair up and try to explain that different
color flags that you will see being waved once you enter the show area
indicate what kind of seating there is.
No matter how loud they shout - how many flags they hold up - or how many
diagrams they thrust in the air - trust me you will not understand a word
they are saying. Since they are not amplified - plus someone got the
brilliant idea that they had to affect an accent - mostly English, what
that has to do with France I have no idea - you will not be able to know
what to do.
Basically this is what they are trying to communicate to you: There are
three ways to see this event. 1) Sitting on a semi circular series of
benches facing the center structure looking towards the half circle of the
stage, 2) Sitting on the ground right at the base of the stage with the
center structure and then the benches across from you, or 3) Standing.
If you sit on the benches, in particular in the center area facing the
center tower head on and NOT at an angle, everything happens in front of
you with some show action to your sides. In the other two areas, the show
surrounds you somewhat - but you will be at a viewing disadvantage during
some moments in the performance.
The standing areas behind the benches across from the stage may probably
be the best way to view this show for now. When you get accommodated
vendors come out and sell you drinks - and the CM's try to get the
audience spirit up with making everyone do the wave or have sections out-
shout each other until the show starts.
Overall, the Hunchback "Festival of Fools" is enthusiastically performed
and very well done - Disneyland should be commended for trying something
this major and elaborate, and the cast certainly deserves major bows for
the hard work they put into it. When they make the viewing conditions more
civilized for the audience, they will have outdone themselves again.
JOHN FROST fros...@aol.com posted his own extensive guide to the show
online in the Disney Usenet Newsgroups, and at his new Harbor Club 1313
website, he offers some terrific detailed advice, much more than I can
possibly squeeze into this guide: http://members.aol.com/frost1313/
THE SPIRIT OF POCAHONTAS SHOW
This show replaced Beauty and the Beast Live at the FANTASYLAND STAGE
(formerly Videopolis). This show did NOT impress me - and it probably has
to do with the fact that "Pocahontas" as a movie is just a much tougher
challenge than something like "Beast" to create a half-hour theme park
extravaganza out of. Since my initial review DL has steadily improved it,
but I think it's still much too arty and stylized for children especially,
as they end-up getting quite restless. (Meeko and Flit, who keep them
entertained in the film, are not represented on stage -- although you may
be able to find Meeko out as a walk-around in the general show area.)
There is a long prelude before the show starts with a simulated moonrise
and forest effects as the audience gets settled, and then there is a very
VERY long overture before the actual show starts up.
Basically an elder storyteller recounts the Pocahontas legend to his
tribe, and they, through the use of primitive props, (silver masks
represent the British for example) act out the story. The exception of
course is that Pocahontas and John Smith "magically" appear to perform.
The performers and dancers (the woman performing Pocahontas especially)
are quite good and there's lots of bouncy and running type choreography.
(Want to get an eerie feeling? Listen to everyone sing along word by word
to the songs. - Ahhh the Disney promotion machine at its finest!) As
always with any DL show, the sets, costumes, and clever effects with
trapdoors and wind-blown leaves are all top-notch. The recorded musical
score improves upon the film's since it's more briskly and brightly
conducted. Make an effort to see this show at night since the lighting
adds a lot to it. As it probably won't run anywhere near as long as
"Beauty & the Beast" did, you may want to catch this show soon.
Susan Paulukonis spaul...@ets.org was kind enough to offer the
following additional thoughts on this show: "The Pocahontas show is
wonderful if you are a preschool through preadolescent child, especially a
girl. My 3 year old daughter and the other girls around us were
enthralled, despite the 45 minute wait and seats in almost the back row.
It sounds like they've made changes for the better since then, which we
adults will appreciate, but besides meeting Mickey in person, I don't
think there was a better event in 2 full days of DL for my daughter."
TIPS: On busy days people are waiting up to an hour before show time to
get a seat during the day - with the only performance that's not brutally
crowded being the last one of the night. Your best bet to get a seat
without waiting for hours in the sun is to get in line for the last show
just as the previous show gets out.
Make sure you get a pass from the CM's guarding the entrances and exits of
the show if you decide to get something from the snack bar or use the
restroom. This will insure you can get back in and to your seat.
WARNING: There have been some show cancellations due to performers getting
injured while dancing on the very steeply raked stage. Since DL has not
been announcing cancellations until just before show time, a wait in line
may end up being a total waste of time for you. Keep this in mind if time
is tight during your visit.
16) PARADES & FIREWORKS
THE HERCULES VICTORY CELEBRATION
This is a "performance" parade, stopping several times on the route
between Fantasyland and Main St. to perform. If you want to see a complete
show, rather than the parade just walking by, position yourself in any of
these three areas, which are pretty standard for optimal views no matter
what the procession:
A) MAIN ST. PLAZA: Anywhere in the plaza across from the train station.
(The parade wraps around you here!)
B) MAIN ST. ITSELF: In the middle, where Carnation and Disney Clothiers
are across from each other.
C) THE HUB IN THE CENTER OF THE PARK: Across from the Tomorrowland plaza
These are the best locations of course, so get your viewing spots an hour
before parade time. If the temperature goes past 85, due to heat
exhaustion the performers may face, (and the fact that the floats may
start sinking into the hot asphalt), only the B & C areas will get
FANTASY IN THE SKY FIREWORKS with TINKERBELL
Shows are performed nightly begininng Jun. 20th, and run until Labor Day.
(There isalso a midnight show on New Year's Eve, and shows are enhanced
for several days before and on the 4th of July.) "Tinkerbell" has returned
for Summer performances to start things off, flying down from the
Matterhorn to a shack located up in the trees between Fantasyland and BIG
THUNDER MTN. A new computerized DISNEY LIGHTS show joins the fireworks
over the skies of DL which adds to the experience, they then repeat
soundlessly a few times over the course of the rest of the evening.
There are four really great viewing locations, (listed here in order of
preference) depending on how you want to deal with the crowds:
A) FANTASMIC!: The show either starts about 10 minutes before or after the
first show. The fireworks appear above BIG THUNDER MTN. to your right, and
you get to hear the music on the FANTASMIC! sound system. If you look
closely in the trees between the Matterhorn and BIG THUNDER MTN., you can
see Tink fly across. (Note TIP above.)
B) FANTASYLAND: While the masses clog Main St., you can view the show in
relatively un-crowded conditions by sitting in the table area located
between DUMBO and CASEY JR'S CIRCUS TRAIN behind the Carousel, 60 to 45
minutes before show time. Here is also the best location for getting an up
close view of Tink as she flies right over the Carousel from the
MATTERHORN, upon which you'll then turn around to look over at the back of
the park for the fireworks.
C) MAIN ST. USA: This has to be the most crowded location, due to the fact
the nighttime parade ends here, and people want to relive those few
opening and ending moments of the "Wonderful World of Color" TV show by
watching the fireworks over the Castle. If you want to brave the crowds,
best viewing spot is in the middle of the street right between the PLAZA
INN and PLAZA PAVILION restaurants, moving back and forth until you have a
clear view of the Matterhorn. You will also be optimally positioned to see
the new DISNEY LIGHTS show from here.
D) BIG THUNDER RANCH / FESTIVAL OF FOOLS STAGE AREA: If there is a 9 PM
Hunchback show, and the fireworks are on time - CM's will allow you to
stay in this area and see the fireworks go off right over your head. A
wonderfully un-crowded area with bench seating, this is a great viewing
alternative, (they even have thoughtfully piped in the music). The loud
explosions - because they are launched almost directly over your head -
add to the fun.
TIP: Robert Pinsky rpi...@msmail2.hac.com made the following very wise
suggestion about loud fireworks scaring the younger ones - "After the
parade, my little boy and I run to the Plaza Inn. We enter through the
exit door and sit in the north facing solarium and watch the fireworks
over the castle. I think he's afraid of the loud sounds, not the fireworks
themselves. I guess I'm the only one that has ever thought of going there
because the room is always empty during fireworks time."
THOSE LITTLE DETAILS THAT MAKE DL SO SPECIAL...
17) DON'T MISS / DON'T BOTHER
Some of the most charming places and things in the park always seem to get
missed when you try and do everything at once. Here are some nifty things
you may want to look or listen for on your visit:
MAIN STREET USA
WALT'S MINIATURE TRAIN ENGINE AND CABOOSE, which he built and ran in his
backyard home are on exhibit at the Train Station. There is also an aerial
map of DL with little lights that is used to show where the trains are on
the track around the park. The photo dates back quite a few years and is
fascinating if you want to know more about how the park is actually laid
The GREAT MOMENTS WITH MR. LINCOLN lobby hosts THE WALT DISNEY STORY
exhibit where you can see Walt's original offices from Burbank and lots of
neat momentos. Also in the lobby look for the Owl from "So Dear To My
Heart" do a brief presentation on Walt Disney's "True-Life Adventures"
series of films. Many children delight in this simple presentation - which
runs just before the widescreen film discussing the work that went into
the Mr. Lincoln exhibit at the other end of the lobby.
The MAIN STREET CINEMA offers five Mickey silents, along with STEAMBOAT
Where the CONE SHOP and Lockers are located, look up at the windows and
listen. You'll hear someone getting their tooth extracted at the dentist;
a child being "taught" how to play the piano ("OUCH") at the piano
teacher's; at the Hotel Marceline (named after Walt's home town) you'll
hear someone gargling, or being told to turn his "musical cylinder
machine" off, and at the Detective's Office you'll hear a gumshoe snoring.
At the MARKET HOUSE shop look for the old-fashioned crank telephones on
the wall and listen in to a 1890's party line.
While waiting in line for the JUNGLE CRUISE, look for an animated cobra
and hornbill in the rafters of the second story queue area. Listen
carefully to the radio which is blaring 30's & 40's music and news about
Dr. Indy Jones' amazing discoveries at the temple of Mara next door.
There is a great STEELBAND which performs most weekends / holidays and
during the Summer (sometimes alternating with a terrific 40's Brass Band)
on top of the Tropical Imports shop, which is part of the new JUNGLE
CRUISE two-story wait area.
The BAZAAR shops across the way now include two animated arcade-like
attractions, a Robin Williams-sounding light-up / smoke-emitting lamp and
a shrunken head medical advisor. They require 50 cents to operate.
The TRUCK parked at the entrance of the INDY ride is the actual one that
was used in the famous chase (where Indy gets thrown out the windshield)
in the first movie. Look for the initials (in the Mara code of course) of
all the Imagineers who worked on the new INDY ride in the obelisk room,
down the corridor as you enter the temple. Of note are the late Frank
Wells initials, which are at the right hand side of the wall next to the
exit door. Down the corridor from this room you will see a statue with an
inscription above it, when decoded it says "Earthly Riches," and the face
intentionally resembles Walt, down to the mustache.
You can set off the "drop" ceiling in INDY'S spike room by pushing lightly
on the bamboo pole holding the ceiling up. Further on in the Indy queue,
in the large circular room before you enter the movie area, yank on the
rope coming out of the well for some neat sound effects.
Look for MICKEY on the cover of the Life Magazine which is on the desk in
the office cage after the movie room. The cage itself is constructed from
a crate, which still bears the ID number of the one that contained the ark
of the covenant which you see getting wheeled away in the final few
seconds of the first Indy movie.
NEW ORLEANS SQUARE
THE DISNEY GALLERY, (enter via a stairway above the PIRATES OF THE
CARIBBEAN) is a wonderful spot to enjoy a relaxing moment in the hustle
and bustle of DL. Exhibits include DL Paris models and renderings; an
"Indiana Jones" exhibit with models & artwork; and a permanent display
about the creation of DL. The patio there is a wonderful place to sit down
and relax, and the balcony, (where you can reserve seating for Fantasmic
viewing / dessert buffet) offers a great view of the park.
Listen to the clicks coming from the TRAIN STATION TELEGRAPH in New
Orleans Square / Frontierland, it's Walt's DL opening day address that's
being transmitted. To the right of the train station platform - there is a
small walkway which leads to a viewing area for the DL RAILROAD engine.
(There is also a similar viewing area in Tomorrowland.) Younger guests
will especially enjoy this up-close look at the real steam engines - and
don't be surprised if the train engineers take a few moments to chat and
give you a special toot on the whistle.
At night the HAUNTED MANSION has a spooky dim light moving around inside
past the second story windows. Also take a few moments to read the very
wry tombstones in the pet cemetery, located to the left of the building as
you approach it. One contains a grammatical error, can you spot it? The
horse drawn hearse outside once carried famous Mormon leader Brigham Young
to his final resting place.
Take a quiet break on the patio around and behind FOWLER'S HARBOR which is
where they dock the COLUMBIA or the MARK TWAIN across from SPLASH MTN..
The pathway behind lets you look down to where the logs come out from the
drop at SPLASH.
Next time you ride BIG THUNDER MTN. listen for the dialog coming from the
bar in the little Western town, RAINBOW RIDGE, located above the ride next
to the Mexican food place.
The JUMPING FISH have returned occasionally to the lake across the
bridge from where BIG THUNDER rolls by in the path between Frontierland
and Fantasyland. I know this is kind of dumb to note - but if you only saw
how much e-mail I get on this...
DL now allows weddings to take place in the park, you can see them
sometimes in the grassy areas to the left or right of the castle as
you approach it from the center hub. You don't want to know what it
costs trust me.
LET IT SNOW, LET IT SNOW, LET IT SNOW: SNOW WHITE'S WISHING WELL (to the
right of the Castle as you face it) echoes Snow's voice as she sings "I'm
Wishing" just like in the movie. The song repeats every few minutes. (The
tracks were newly re-recorded for Snow White's 50th Anniversary re-release
by the original Snow, the late Adriana Caselotti.) Any money thrown into
the well (as well as any similar locations in the park) goes to children's
Look above the entrance of SNOW WHITE'S SCARY ADVENTURES in Fantasyland.
After a few moments the curtains in the window will part, and you'll see
the EVIL QUEEN glare out at you, again just like in the movie.
Below the queen's window at SNOW WHITE there is a BRASS STORYBOOK ON A
PEDESTAL featuring a magic wishing apple. Touch the apple and you'll hear
one of several different laughs or cackles from the witch.
In the castle forecourt (just before you go over the bridge to enter it
from the hub) look for the giant compass markings in the cement, and look
down below the "S" (South) marker to find the plaque marking the spot
where the 40th Anniversary DL TIME CASTLE is buried.
The exact center of DL as originally built is marked by a BRASS SPIKE HEAD
embedded in the ground right as you walk into the entrance of SLEEPING
BEAUTY CASTLE. In the courtyard you can also see a new brass sculpture of
Princess Aurora and Prince Phillip from SLEEPING BEAUTY.
Between the PETER PAN entrance and exit there is a second story window,
where if you listen carefully, you can hear Wendy and Peter Pan discussing
their trip to Neverland.
The SLEEPING BEAUTY WALK-THOUGH is accessed via a door next the Castle
pass-thru beside the TINKERBELL'S TOY SHOP. Go up the steps into and
through and then out the other side of the castle to see animated dioramas
from "Sleeping Beauty." Make sure to turn the turnstile an extra couple of
times on your way out so the Disney folks think more people are going
through it and won't try to close it down again. (Thanks for the
suggestion Rich & Carol Koster! And thank YOU CM extraordinaire Roberta
Brubaker for caring enough to organize the campaign to save this.)
At IT'S A SMALL WORLD the clock tower has a mechanical doll parade every
In the first ice room you go through in the MATTERHORN look for a crate
and a pick-ax, recently added during the last rehab. On the crate it says
"Wells Expedition," this is another tribute to the late Disney exec. Frank
TOONTOWN has talking manhole covers and mailboxes near the ROGER RABBIT
ride. Most doorbell buttons activate a sound or animation effect when you
push them. Try and open the door at the POWER COMPANY. Shocking!
In Minnie's house look for a copy of JESSICA'S SECRET catalog (a take-off
of the "Victoria's Secret" catalog) on the arm of the chair in the front
room, and in the kitchen look at the bookshelf on the right of the exit
door for the book "Elvis, What Happened?"
At GOOFY'S GAS STATION look for the drinking fountains labeled GOOFY
WATER. While you get a refreshing drink listen to the little gremlins in
the drain, and at night marvel at the multi-colored lighted water that
Did you know the original CircleVision America the Beautiful film has
returned for a short (until Spring) engagement? Before this theater gets
zapped forever to become an integral part of the new Rocket Rods ride that
replaces the People Mover. WD Imagineering thought it would be nice to
salute this departing attraction with the original film that played here
when the park opened. Catch it before it becomes an addition to Werner's
charming "Yesterland" site.
In SPACE MOUNTAIN look for TVs in the dark queue area right next to the
ride. (Identical to WDW's Space Mtn.) The video loop on them features a
channel hopping host showing you some very funny stuff being broadcast
around the Galaxy. Segments include Charles Fleischer (the voice of Roger
Rabbit) as a used satellite salesman, PNN (Pan-Galactic News Network, a
CNN take-off) with quick news-bites utilizing old campy sci-fi footage -
look for some stuff from "The Black Hole," "Robo-cize," a FedEx ad (they
sponsor the ride) and my favorite: "The Blast-Off Channel." A new surround
sound high seat-back system has also been installed in SPACE MTN.
utilizing a new Dick Dale surf guitar soundtrack, the familiar melody used
as the basis for this is actually classical composer St. Saens' "Aquarium"
from the "Carnival of the Animals."
In STAR TOURS look quickly to the lower right hand side of the screen as
your Starspeeder takes its first major dip after going the wrong way, and
you'll see a replica of the MIGHTY MICROSCOPE which used to "shrink" you
in the old Monsanto ADVENTURES THRU INNER SPACE attraction, which STAR
TOURS replaced. And yes, that is PEE WEE HERMAN (Paul Rubens) doing the
voice of the first-time droid pilot - and GEORGE LUCAS ducking as your
Starspeeder careens back into port at the end of your ride.
To the right of the Tomorrowland train station platform - there is small
walkway (just like in Frontierland) which leads to a viewing area for the
DL RAILROAD engine. [Currently closed due to construction, but reopening
soon] Again, younger guests will especially enjoy this up-close look at
the real steam engines - and don't be surprised if the train engineers
take a few moments to chat and give you a special toot on the whistle.
In the MAIN LOBBY building, the entrance to the GRAND BALLROOM is flanked
by two photo walls. One features photos of DL and Walt as the park was
built and expanded, the other wall has a great collection of celebrity
visitor photos over the years. Walk around the corner to the left into the
next hall and see a wonderful Disney memorabilia wall collage. Across from
this is a reproduction of the original DL concept map that Walt used to
sell the park on TV. Also all throughout the various hotel lobbies concept
sketches and art for the attractions in DL are on exhibit.
The FANTASY WATERS show at the hotel is pretty tame, but if you're tired
and need a break, it can be a nice way to get away from the day's
whirlwind. 7 & 8 PM nightly. (This show will be removed soon in the
upcoming renovation and construction for the new resort.)
On some weekends, Summer and holiday periods a very entertaining brass
group THE BELLHOPS shuttle around the hotel in a golf cart and put on a
Sometimes you can also catch a DISNEY WEDDING in progress at the hotel,
which you can view from a distance if you remain quiet. Seeing the bride
arrive in the horse-drawn crystal Cinderella carriage is simply amazing
for two reasons - the amount of money this must have cost, and just how
radiant the bride is stepping out of the carriage. Check the events guide
posted near each hotel elevator for any events that are planned for that
Listed as "events," the weekday SWORD IN THE STONE and daily FLAG RETREAT
Ceremonies don't amount to much.
SWORD involves a Merlin character selecting a few kids from the crowd to
yank on said item in front of the Carousel in Fantasyland, upon which one
is able to and is then "crowned" king and given a medallion. Strictly
camcorder fodder for Daddy.
The FLAG RETREAT involves two security people taking down the American
flag in the Main St. Plaza and folding it while taped music plays, and
then marching off. If you're in the area and curious about either, fine,
but don't go out of your way.
GETTING THE MOST OUT OF WHAT YOU SPEND ON...
FOOD at DL varies by the season, but you always have a choice of just
about anything your heart desires - or could clog its arteries with!
Although this guide can't possibly cover all the bases in this short a
space, here's a quick overview to help you out in choosing a place to eat.
MKC members and Deluxe Annual Passholders also get certain discounts, see
below for further info. on this and other money-saving tips. (BTW, thanks
to Lani Teshima-Miller tes...@uhunix.uhcc.Hawaii.Edu for suggesting the
addition of this section.)
TIP: Plan your unreserved eating times for 30 to 45 minutes before the
meal "crunch" to avoid waiting in line. Peak times are: Noon to 1:30 PM
and 6 to 8 PM. Try to start lunch no later than 11:15 AM, and try to begin
dinner no later than 5:15 PM.
Served at the Plaza Inn starting whenever the park is open at 9 AM (or
earlier) to 10:45 AM. There are no reservations, and this is buffeteria
service. First come, first served. The Plaza Inn is located facing the hub
between Main St. & Tomorrowland. Children are given a balloon (unless they
order a la carte), but please note that Mickey and Minnie do not appear
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