Saturday, 27 September 2014


Today was a strange day.

In recent years I have taken to looking up refurb schedules for while I'm in town and deliberately making sure that I do everything that's about to go into refurb because these days you never know quite what state it will come out in. So it was yesterday when I watched The Enchanted Tiki Room and rode the Walt Disney World Railroad.

Today, though, wasn't about visiting attractions about to go into refurb. It was about visiting an attraction that has been through many refurbs and finally saw its last guests today. The Backlot Tour.

Today was the last time that I would get to ride those red trams. Unlike a few people I know, I never worked the attraction but I have a lot of memories of it and in many ways it has had a huge influence on my life and decisions that I have made. Maybe that seems overly deep to have that kind of relationship with a theme park attraction but nonetheless that is my bond with the Backlot.

I watched the water tank and remembered getting drenched with water while wearing rubber boots that you had to try to stretch over your trainers. In that same tank years later I would also watch one of my friends release a water tank onto another.

I walked through the prop house, saw the Binford Tools logo and thought of Tim the Tool-man Taylor. I boarded the tram that used to have the live spiel. Drove past the Earful Tower that used to wear a Santa Hat, past the planes that used to be Pearl Harbor props not characters from an animated movie, past the costume house I once walked into, past the boneyard that was twice the size, past the stunt show that covered up Residential Street, looked down New York Street that used to have an archway, and exited past the old AFI exhibit.

The Backlot Tour today was a shell of its former existence. I thought I would feel sad today. I didn't. Instead I was just full of nostalgia for what once was. The Backlot Tour belongs in Disney-MGM Studios not Disney's Hollywood Studios. Sleep well my old friend and thank you.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Disney's Hollywood Studios

Thursday, 18 July 2013

6 Things I Can Believe Still Exist at Disney World

I know, I know these days my blog posting doesn't happen anywhere near as much as it used to or should but today I bring you a new post to read while you enjoy the summer sunshine or unbearable heat depending on your outlook.

Recently, (and by recently I mean 5 mins ago) I read a blog post entitled 6 Things I Can't Believe Still Exist at Walt Disney World that was posted over at and it made me kinda mad so here's my version...

Disney park fans are regularly up in arms about changes that happen across Disney Properties around the world. Most of the anger seems to be directed at WDW more than the others. Sometimes it's justified, sometimes it isn't and its certainly true that an entire generation of fans has now missed out on some of the classic attractions such as 20k, the skyway, and Mr Toad (although I don't think anyone's missing out on smelling oranges seeing as they use the effect in Soarin').

Yes, Disney closed a classic attraction last summer. Snow White's dark ride had one of my favourite hidden mickey's and I will miss spotting the dwarf with the mouse ears but you know what, if I REALLY want to ride it I can spend my money going to Disneyland Paris instead (yeah...I still prefer visiting WDW).

To be clear I LOVED Horizons and 20,000 leagues under the sea. I love technology so both really appealed to me as a kid. I could choose my future and see the craziest of sea creatures that no one else on this planet would get to see. Have you ever looked back at photos of those attractions? Because let me tell you, as awesome as they were back in the early 90s they would look pretty terrible now, just like the video calling sequences in spaceship earth would look terrible and dated if they were still there. I actually think the bigger crime with both attractions was how long it took to close them. 20k had this long drawn out shut down where it was constantly in refurb and horizons was shut down long before mission space replaced it. That always felt like a bigger crime to me.

Sure they could close American Idol but space there is relatively limited and personally I'd prefer avoiding another sorcerer's hat eyesore in the middle of the park. Carousel of Progress...touch that at your peril! In my opinion there are 4 attractions that should always exist in some form at Disney Parks because they are important to history and nostalgia: Small World, President Lincoln's Speech, TTA ride vehicles and yes, Carousel of Progress. The 4 attractions created or developed from attractions created for the 1964 World's Fair. As for the Universe of Energy, in this world energy is the one thing that we will always use and its important that kids and adults learn its value, sure the thing needs updating but the pavilion itself needs to stay. Plus getting to see Dinosaurs where they're not trying to eat you or are in skeletal form....still cool!

Lets move on to those 6 things shall we...

Film and Camera Stores

Have you ever been in these? They sell camera accessories, batteries,cases,etc, DVDs and offer recharging services. You know what else lives in them? Disney's Photopass and there always seems to be a queue whenever I go in them. So am I surprised that they still exist? Not really, no.


Yes, most of the world does carry around a cellphone but suppose your party splits up and the battery dies because you've been busy taking photos or playing Angry Birds in the queue or whatever. When you've got a quarter in your pocket you might be quite grateful for those payphones. Phone books, as ridiculous as they might seem with the amount of paper they require do still exist and while we might not use paper encyclopaedias as much I should think there are very few people that have been online that have not used Wikipedia at some point which, last time I checked, is an encyclopaedia even if it does only exist online.

The Electrical Water Pageant

I always consider this one of WDW's hidden gems for so many reasons, not least of which is that you can see it nearly 24 hours a day. But it only runs at nighttime. True, but its also one of the few backstage things that Disney don't hide away. Next time you're on the monorail between the Grand Floridian and Magic Kingdom look away from the Polynesian and down a little canal you'll see the floats. I used to love seeing them as a kid because it was backstage stuff that didn't ruin the magic. During the day you can't see Poseidon or the turtle or the sea serpent so the illusion isn't ruined but you still get to see a little glimpse of how the magic is made. Everyone I've ever taken to see the water pageant has loved it so yes, it may be from the 1970s but Disney's longest running parade has still got it.

Half the Games at Disney Quest

Now I've never actually done the sums but I'm pretty sure that if you added up all the games in the indoor theme park that only a handful of them are the virtual jungle cruises and mighty ducks pinball slams of this world but that's beside the point. This was actually the one section where I was in agreement with the author. This place is dated. It became dated about 3 years after it opened. I find the VR games extremely uncomfortable due to a combination of 3D and the heavy headwear and a lot of the other stuff feels unresponsive. The arcade stuff is pretty awesome though ummm hello GIANT TETRIS! I actually laughed when I was there a few months ago because half the arcade games were based on phone apps, temple run, angry birds, fruit ninja and so on and I think we discussed at the time that we could just play that stuff on our phones. The problem is that I don't really know what can be done with Disney Quest. The whole place really needs gutting and being redone but that won't change the fact that technology is continuously evolving and in a few years it will become outdated again. Have you ever been in there at the weekend or when it's raining? That place is packed, so it's hard to imagine it disappearing anytime soon.

That Pop Art Store in Downtown Disney

Remember when it was a guitar store? Now that always seemed odd to me. I can imagine tourists buying art and having it shipped home but, as much as I love guitars, I could never really imagine people doing the same with them. The fact is that no business is going to stay open unless they're taking more money than they're spending in rent/bills/etc so people must be buying stuff. The place isn't causing anyone any offence or having a negative influence. It's a nice looking store. I think it's quite a rude jump to start suggesting it must have mafia connections because why would anyone buy art while they're in WDW. I think many vacationers have access to a lot more money than people realise. Case in point - the infamous South American tour groups. Along with the regular complaints about other tourists finding them annoying and loud they are also known for carrying around large quantities of cash. Now when I was 15 I considered myself lucky to be carrying around 20 bucks let alone hundreds of dollars while on vacation. I'm not saying they're the ones buying the art from that store but it just wouldn't surprise me if there are plenty of adults doing the same that would happily buy art from there. As for the other stores I've always enjoyed looking in them because they're something different and are really there to add to the atmosphere of the place.


Funnily enough, before the age of the smartphone I never really saw the point of postcards. As a kid you don't tend to know your friends addresses and they always felt a bit "look where I am and you're not". Plus when home is abroad they'd usually arrive well after you'd got back home and if they didn't it was because you written them 5 mins after arriving and didn't have anything interesting to say. Now I'm older and wiser and we live in a world where post has become this magical entity (mostly due to some owls and JK Rowling). Let me tell you if you write a postcard from Disney and get it stamped at City Hall it goes from being a novelty piece of cardboard to something magical. Over the last 2 years I've sent dozens of postcards to my friends from wherever I happen to be in the world. It's not about where I am or what I'm doing, it's about sharing the moment and making someone smile. Long live Postcards!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Saturday, 1 June 2013

June 1st 2010 - 3 years on

3 years ago today my life changed.

Since I was a kid all I ever wanted was to work for Disney. It's probably the same dream that a lot of kids have. This time 3 years ago that dream was hours away from coming true.

I was sat on a plane heading to Washington DC in a state of nervous excitement at the prospect of finally getting to do what I'd always dreamed of: making people happy as part of Uncle Walt's incredible company.


There is no doubt in my mind that a big part of who I am right now, in this moment, is because of that summer, the job I did, the people I met, the friends I made and the family that extended.


The amazing thing is that I know I'm not alone in thinking that. There are very few days when I don't see a post from someone reflecting on that summer or talking about something that's happened because of that summer. Careers, relationships, marriages have all come about because of a few months spent working for a mouse.


It's incredible to reflect back.

I'd never been to Star Wars Weekends.



I'd never met Tinkerbell.


I'd never been to Hogwarts.


I'd never had a graduation ceremony.


I'd never eaten a chocolate moose.


I'd never had the top score at Fantasia Gardens.


I'd never attempted to eat a Kitchen Sink.


I'd never met some of the best friends in the entire world - June 7th Forever.

This week is a week of celebration for so many parts of my life and June 1st is the day that kicks it all off. A day forever highlighted in my timeline.


Friday, 26 April 2013

24 Hours of Disney News

So this has been a busy 24 hours of announcements for WDW. I mean, why announce one thing when you can announce loads. Here's a rundown...

Magic Kingdom is going to be open for 24 hours on May 24th. Bit of a repeat of February 29th from last year and once again I won't be there to enjoy the fun. Would I spend the full 24 hours in a Disney Park? Probably not. If money was no concern I'd probably book a room at the Contemporary or the Polynesian, be at MK for park opening and stay until after lunch, then hit the hotel for a nap and head back into the park for dinner and stay until park closing.

Star Wars Day - May the 4th Be With You. It's like a teaser for Star Wars Weekends which begins later in the month. Actually I always wondered why they didn't schedule SWW to coincide with May 4th so I think it's kinda cool that they're doing this. Plus the idea of getting to ride Star Tours with the Disney characters is amazing. It would be like re-enacting the safety video from the original.

Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade. FINALLY MK gets a new parade. It feels like Celebrate a Dream Come True has been around forever so it'll be great to have a refresh. It's not going to arrive until Spring 2014 but still...NEW PARADE!!! Now we need a new evening parade and some new fireworks and it will be sorted!

Disney Magic Refurb. The Disney Magic is getting some love and the Marvel Superheroes are going to be visiting. Speaking of Marvel Superheroes, this week the rights to Daredevil (one of my favs) passed back to Marvel opening up the possibility of a movie refresh which would be AMAZING.

Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend adds 10K and Glass Slipper Challenge. Obviously my athletic self is excited about this....errr...not really but I'm sure there are people that are and if I was going to do a 10K Disney would be the place I'd want to do it.

FastPass testing for MK Parades. The viewing area is apparently going to be in the centre of Town Square, which makes sense. It's the easiest place to block off without disrupting traffic flow. As for being able to get FPs for parades I'm not sure.

Other recent news includes the Monsterail, DAK's 15th Birthday, Joffrey's Coffee replacing Nescafe (sadface because I love the Nescafe Hot Chocolate), a new restaurant over in Morocco, Conewiches arriving at DTD, and Disney Springs.

New videos will be coming just as soon as I find some time to edit them together.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Friday, 1 March 2013

Another way to get in touch

This is just a very quick update to say that there's now a whole new way of getting in contact with Suzie's Disney Adventure...via email! The address is so if you have any questions, comments or suggestions about what you'd like to see on here then let me know!

Thursday, 17 January 2013

New Developments

Hello wonderful readers, I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season, a good new year and that 2013 has been treating you well so far.

In the wake of various announcements and happenings around the world, I thought I'd take this opportunity to write another post.

During my last trip to WDW there were three official openings that were all crammed into one day. Deciding that opening day was not the time to visit all three I took the opportunity to experience them in previews to avoid too much craziness and for reasons that I shall reveal shortly that was probably the best decision all round.

So let's kick off with New Fantasyland, because honestly, that was by far the thing I was most excited about. While I was there they were filming segments for the Disney Parks Christmas Parade featuring the kids from Modern Family.

24 Nov 2012 10:28

I can't say I watch the show, in fact at the time I thought it was just the one kid but I've since found out there were three. So while people were taking photos of people with cameras we headed into Belle's Cottage for what is, by far, the most elaborate character meet and greet that I've ever experienced. Now I'm not going to spoil any magic (although there are plenty of youtube videos online if you really want to see what happens) but the interior of the cottage completely blew my mind. The level of detail and storytelling is truly astounding and it was so nice to get to learn a little more about Belle's background and upbringing. Case in point.. the following painting which I loved.

24 Nov 2012 10:39

Next up Gaston's Tavern, home to pork shanks, cinnamon buns and LeFou's Brew.

24 Nov 2012 11:22

24 Nov 2012 11:07

I'm told the cinnamon bun was delicious and for me LeFou's Brew was so much more enjoyable than butterbeer. This isn't a Disney bias, it's an apple juice bias. The frozen apple juice with a hint of marshmallow and topped with mango foam is certainly special, and the souvenir cup, while somewhat plasticky does feature a hidden mickey.

24 Nov 2012 10:44

I much prefer the taste of an apple juice based drink to a cream soda one, although while I'm talking about it frozen butterbeer DEFINITELY tastes better than the unfrozen kind. I didn't try a pork shank although they smelt pretty good. It's the downside to visiting at 10am, you've already had breakfast but it's way to early for lunch!
Once again lots of lovely detail, the imagineers have definitely excelled themselves with the design of New Fantasyland. The Tavern genuinely feels like it's been lifted straight out of the movie.

24 Nov 2012 11:09

For any of  you hoping to hear about the Be Our Guest Restaurant, I'm afraid that this post will disappoint you. There was so much going on that I feel I'll have to dedicate an entire post to it so look for that soon. In the meantime here's the castle in all it's loveliness (and close up!).

24 Nov 2012 11:41

Let's move on to the other castle that is new to the Magic Kingdom: Prince Eric's. Now I'm a big fan of The Little Mermaid, so I was really excited to see the new ride and the exteriors certainly didn't disappoint.

24 Nov 2012 11:25

24 Nov 2012 11:23

In fact they are quite breathtaking, and the exit queue even features one of the most elaborate hidden Mickey's I have ever seen in my life. I haven't uploaded the photo yet but believe me, when you see it your mind will be blown!

24 Nov 2012 11:25

After walking through such wonderful exteriors and rock work, the ride proved to be a little on the disappointing side. It was good, and certainly Ursula was quite something in person, but there were things about it that just left me sad. it almost looked unfinished. My friend, who had never been to WDW before was genuinely surprised when I told her that technically the ride hadn't even opened yet. She thought it was from the 1970s. It seems like such a shame to spend so much time on some parts and then leave other sections feeling so backwards.

Opening Day featured many a Disney celebrity, including Jodi Benson (voice of Ariel), Paige O'Hara, Jordin Sparks (who I'm told helped dedicate a cruise ship) and everyone's favourite Once Upon a Time star Ginnifer Goodwin.

Opening of New Fantasyland

I've got to say I love how the powers that be keep inviting Ms Goodwin to events because she always comes across as a huge fan of the parks, to the point where she apparently tried to negotiate a membership to Club 33 as part of her OUAT contract.

Opening of New Fantasyland

Confession time. Despite owning an "I was there" opening day T-shirt I wasn't there. I spent 9 months planning to be there and then the morning of work up with the most horrendous stomach flu. I'm told that at some point I was crawling along on my hands and knees, waving a camera at my friend, telling her to go on without me. So off she went to buy merchandise and take photos and if you ask me she did a pretty good job.

Opening of New Fantasyland

The other two new attractions, I'm afraid, are without photos. Test Track has been significantly reimagined although continues to use the same track. The only way I can describe it is that the whole thing has been Tronified. The queue is a huge improvement over what was there before and I really liked the interactivity of designing your own car. I think a bit more cast member guidance would have been helpful because it wasn't always obvious what was going on, and the ride unfortunately didn't interact with our design, but we still got to play around with it in the post show which was pretty cool.

When we went to the new Captain Jack Sparrow attraction I was expecting it to be more like it's Narnian predecessors, it was similar in that it was a walkthrough attraction but it was much better than them. In fact it was probably one of the best uses of technology in an attraction that I've seen for a while. No spoilers but if you're a fan of Mr Depp then I'd head over there.

Before I go I'll just finish by talking about something that isn't new, in fact it is original, but it's been so long since I was able to see it all up close that I stopped and took some pictures. If you've never walked through Cinderella Castle and get the opportunity then I highly recommend it because it features some beautiful mosaics that feature Cinderella's transformation from cinder girl to princess. I'll let the photos do the talking. Look out for more posts about New Fantasyland and Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party soon!

24 Nov 2012 10:21

24 Nov 2012 10:21

24 Nov 2012 10:21

24 Nov 2012 10:21

24 Nov 2012 10:21

Oh and if anyone from Imagineering or New Fantasyland is reading this, please, please, PLEASE can someone remove the ridiculous portrait of Phil Holmes from the new merchandise location. It's not even funny to the few who know who he is. Please, invite an original proprietor for the store, have Cogsworth run it or something.

24 Nov 2012 12:13