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Weekend Update

Signs of Halloween; Universal Studios Singapore; Sanibel Island; Golden Gate Bridge

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by , 09-10-2010 at 09:26 PM



Hey everybody! Are you ready to go around the world in just a few minutes with the Weekend Update? First stop is Walt Disney World in Florida where Denise nbodyhome Preskitt shows us the first signs of Halloween at the parks. She also participated in the D23 Never Ending Story... oops, I mean the "really, really, we promise that this is the final FINAL trip to Endor" event.

We're glad to have our international parks expert TDLFAN on board this week with the first of a multi-part report on Universal Studios Singapore. As usual with TDLFAN's reports, this park is familiar looking yet eerily different.

SummerInFL is well known to Weekend Update readers for her Florida side trips, and this week she takes us to Sanibel Island. Picturesque and quaint, Sanibel Island is quintessential classic Florida.

sir clinksalot spent his birthday weekend in the Bay Area and has more of photos of the "City by the Bay" (plus photos of the bridge that goes over the bay).

We finish up this week with the ever popular post cards from DisneylandPostcards.net.

Have a great weekend. Thanks for joining us.





Denise nbodyhome Preskitt finds signs of Halloween popping up around Walt Disney World


The Magic Kingdom has been adding Halloween decorations, including the pumpkins in the front of the park:



My favorite pumpkins:



Mickey's Toontown Fair also has decorated again this year:







And the Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party treat trail is also nearly fully decorated with it's usual Alice in Wonderland theme:




Dumbo reflected in another Dumbo:




Fantasyland construction:




The top of Space Mountain with clouds in the background:




Walt Disney World Railroad train:



Heading past Space Mountain:




The Astro Orbitor reflected in water:




Wedding pavilion with the Polynesian Resort in the background:




Star Tours, which closed down this week:




We went to the D23 Final Flight, which was the last rides on Star Tours until it reopens newly re-imagined.


Stormtrooper sitting in our ride vehicle:




Stormtrooper:




Uh-oh!







Cast members pose:




Stormtroopers with Barry of D23:







Lining up at the end of the night for one last photo:



Video from our ride (we had 3 Stormtroopers):




More photos! More video! More coverage at Mousesteps.com!





TDLFAN is back with a multi-part report on Universal Studios Singapore



The lovely little monorail you see above is the Sentosa Express. Guests bound for Sentosa Island catch this to travel over to the island. You can also drive into Sentosa, or take public busses, or even ride a lovely gondola on a cable that's about 30 stories in height. Below, you see Sentosa's main gate entrance.. as seen from the monorail.


The first of 3 stops on the Sentosa monorail is Waterfront Station, seen below.. This is where we'll get off.

Once off the monorail, we are on Sentosa Resort.. featuring several upcales hotels, an ultra modern shopping mall galeria, casino, a cirque-style theater... and our destination for today...

...TDLFAN welcomes you to UNIVERSAL STUDIOS SINGAPORE!

Above is the quintessential Universal gate and revolving globe, that welcomes guests to all Universal Studios parks world wide.
Below are the ticket booths... so step in line and get your Studio pass for today.

Here are the current passport prices... keep in mind these are posted in Singapore dollars.. The exchange rate? One US$1 equals about $1.18 singapore $.

With tickets in hand.. we proceed under the Sentosa monorail beam (see the bottom of the red monorail in transit here?) to access Universal Singapore's main entrance.

Universal team members man the turnstyles in lovely retro usher uniforms.. There is no safety bag checks or delays.. we enter the park rather quickly and with no hassles as opposed to being the case with the Disney parks worldwide?

Once inside the gates, a glass wall encloses the experience that is to come.. We arrive in.....

...HOLLYWOOD!!! USS' Hollywood area features one attraction, 7 shops, and 3 restaurants, which we will explore this week.

So... grab your guide map and keep up. Lots to do and not enough time.

TDLFAN loved the POPS! Popcorn and churros wagon!

But first.. a quick stop by Guest Services to pick up our meal and merchandise discount vouchers included in the price of admission.

Next to Guest Services, the Annual Passport processing office can be found.

Continuing down Hollywood, on the left side.. the first shop we encounter is the Universal Studios Store, the biggest shop in the park, featuring souvenirs from all of the park's areas and attractions.

Inside the Universal Studios Store.

Going further into Hollywood, we look back at the main entrance and this is what we see.. the iconic Hollywood sign above the main gate.

On the right side of the street, the Celebrity Cafe & Bakery offers coffees, sweets and other desserts and food items.. Yummy!

Inside the Celebrity Cafe.. very stylish atmosphere.

The Darkroom offers a wide variety of camera accessories and other related services.

Further down, next to the Universal Studios Store, we find the Hollywood China Bistro. Here, the menu includes traditional chinese favorite and some western fare as well.. in a most elegant ambiance. Note the Pin cart on the left? Yes folks, they have Pin trading here as well... just like the DL parks (except TDR of course).

When you enter the China Bistro, we are greeted by this beautiful gold dragon, above the welcoming lobby.

The China Bistro's main dining area also features a 'show kitchen' seen on the far right below.

The China Bistro also has a full service bar.

Team Members seem to enjoy welcoming guests into the park. Lovely smiles!!! DLP and WDW CM's please take notice.

TDLFAN thought the electronic signs in this area are quite nice, with gold statues of hollywood related workers.. like camera man above.

Superstar Candies.. offer a varierty of candies and sweets for everyone's enjoyment. They also sell micechat's official snack here: Pokki. Yay!!!

Again, the Hollywood China Bistro sits proudly at the corner of Hollywood street.

Next to the Superstar Candies shop, the Pantages Hollywood Theater can be found. This is the only show/attraction found here.. the theater currently hosts the "Universal Monster Rock Show" daily. On weekend, when the park opens late for their "Hollywood Under the Stars" evening crowd, the theater also plays family friendly films currently found in theaters world wide. This is an added incentive for guests buying the Hollywood Nights pass, where guests can enjoy the park from 7pm till 10pm on fridays and saturdays.. plus catch a special fireworks lagoon show.

This lovely artdeco piece below can be seen in the grand lobby of the Pantages Theater.

The Universal Monsters are transformed into rock stars and put on a rock and rolling show!!!

The Brown Derby is located next to the Pantages.. and offers hats and other bling bling accessories.

Inside the Brown Derby.. a sparkling glass/crystals hanging decorates the store.

TDLFAN loves the little touches that make this Hollywood area so charming.. just like the one found at Universal Studios Japan. Touches like this fountain by the building do add up to the ambiance. Notice here the Walk of Fame stars on the sidewalk.

It would not be Universal without some of their most popular characters.. Woody Woodpecker, Frankenstein, and some of the stars of the movie "Madagascar" hang out in this area for meets and greets.

When guests arrive at the lagoon end of Hollywood, they are greeted by this lovely tribute statue in a most enjoyable open air park setting. The Statue pays tribute to film makers... with a director and actors, at work.

If you stand in front of that^^ staue and look back, this below is what you see... Hollywood Blvd in all it's glory.

Next to the Hollywood park, you can stop for a burger break at Mel's Drive-In.

Inside Mel's, a nice jukebox, with spinning 45 discs plays oh those wonderful songs from the 50's...

Outside Mel's, a small stage is the spot for some cool Doo-wop and 50's style musical shows... the Mel's lovely servers serve more than food.. They sing and dance, and they are lovely gals..

Those cool California kids also put on a great show, and TDLFAN thought the nerdy guy was very very HOT!

Of course.. all this excitement so early in the day gave TDLFAN the hungries.. so a burger and fries with soda came in pretty handy. There is also a limited edition Mel's tee available for a small nominal add-on charge for those guests who purchase a combo meal.. The tee has the Mel's logo on the backside and reads "Universal Studios Singapore Grand Opening 2010" on the sleeve.

Having explored most of what Hollywood had to offer, it was time to move on.. so this sign came in handy.. Which way to go next? Hmmmm......

Looking left... we see the Madagascar area just begging to be visited...

We'll be back with more Universal Studios Singapore next week!





SummerInFL treats to another classic Florida daytrip:


Some friends invited us to Sanibel Island last Saturday with claims that the water was as beautiful as the Bahamas. So 3 hours later (3.5 from WDW) we arrived to beautiful white sandy beaches but unfortunately, no blue water. However, with a little exploration and much humor, we made the most of our day and enjoyed ourselves.

Welcome to Sanibel Island.com!









One of the things I liked were the bike trails that looped around the entire island!

It's definitely a place that encourages walking and parking is rather sparce, so bring some comfortable shoes!



However, if you like searching the ocean floor, there were plenty of sanddollars to see. Just don't hold onto them too long or they will turn your fingers yellow!



For dinner, we stopped at an unusual restaurant that promised artery clogging goodness. With a name like Cheeburger, Cheeburger (no, that's not a typo), we were not disappointed.

With comic craziness and standee fun, we suddenly found ourselves humming along to some golden oldies and popping the heartburn medicine.

Even the drinks were served in old mason jars.

Elvis!!







In the same plaza, there were eclectic stores scattered through out, one with some retro candy that were too memorable to pass up.

If you are looking for a less populated area, with some history and a wildlife sanctuary, then Sanibel Island is your reprieve from the popular tourist beaches on the West Coast. Just remember to bring your walking shoes!






Here's more of sir clinksalot's big trip to California's Bay Area


San Francisco

Heading into San Francisco from Oakland on the Bay Bridge

The next morning our day started at the Walt Disney Family museum to use the free parking before heading out to tour the city.

First stop, the Golden Gate Bridge

Truly breathtaking

Walking the bridge

Don't throw any missiles off the bridge

Approaching the first tower

My son and I on the Golden Gate Bridge

The City as seen from the bridge, you can see the sun starting to peek out.



Alcatraz

Fort Point as seen from the bridge

Getting closer to the first tower

The column contains many plaques regarding the construction and engineering of the bridge



Looking up at the tower is very disorienting

The bridge as seen from Fort Point

Next week we will visit Lombard Street and Pier 39








Disneyland's First Photographic Postcards

Our thanks go out to Ken Eslick of the Disneyland Postcard Reference Guide. Ken's collection of Disneyland postcards is second to none. One could literally spend an entire day, perusing his site, studying the details of the park as years went by. Those of us who remember "way back when", can delight in being reminded of long-gone details of Walt's park we remember from our youth. Do yourself the favor of setting aside a quiet day to treat yourself to this most special corner of the web!


From Ken's site:
Sold in the Park between 1956 and 1957, these color images were the first photographs of Disneyland to appear on postcards. They were produced in Plastichrome by Colourpicture Publishers, Inc. of Boston, Massachusetts and distributed by American Souvenir, Inc. (ASI), or at least for some of the time. All of the postcards were available with the ASI logo and were copyrighted Walt Disney Productions.














































































Looking for up-to-date reports from Disneyland
including photos, gossip, park schedules and more?


Visit these MiceChat columns each week:

Every Monday: Dateline Disneyland

Every Friday: In the Parks





And that brings us to the end of another week. Our photographers have just enough time to reload their cameras before we see you all again next weekend. Thank you to all of our wonderful readers, and as always, a huge thank you to our amazing team of global photographers, spies, and gossips:

Denise nbodyhome Preskitt (mousesteps.com)
SummerInFL (summerinfl.smugmug.com)
sir clinksalot
MickeyMaxx
CaptPhoebus
Ian Parkinson and Richard Williams
BigPigletFan
Abominable Snowman
Fishbulb
PhotoMatt
Jack Hollywood 1939 Wixom
Ken Eslick (DisneylandPostcards.net)
ichigopara (TokyoDisneySweets)

Your Editor - Rixter

Our thanks to our special contributor this week TDLFAN.







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Updated 09-12-2010 at 07:46 AM by sir clinksalot

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Comments

  1. Ian P's Avatar
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    Big does not equal better, big leads to obese!
    Obese is NOT better.
  2. nbodyhome's Avatar
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    Universal Singapore gives a great discount to seniors (I just noticed that on the sign). Still over 20 years away for me, but something to remember.
  3. KingEric's Avatar
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    Ok... First Denise GREAT photos as always! You rock! TDLFAN USS looks amazing, I can't wait to see more! SummerInFl I am dying to go explore Sanibel Island now! Sir Clinksalot great photos of the Bay area... Talk about amazing old photographs via postcards... what an awesome update!
  4. Mac Daddy's Avatar
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    Thanks for the great photos, everyone!

    BTW - The clown in that post card looks frightening. If I saw something like that in Fantasyland as an ADULT I would run screaming back up Main Street. Just sayin...
  5. TDLFAN's Avatar
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    The DL postcards are amazing time capsules. Love those. The park looked so bare back then... The photo of the gazeebo in particular.. doesn't even look like DL park at all!!! Thanks!!
  6. BC_DisneyGeek's Avatar
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    Thanks as always to the contributors, and to Rixter for editing!

    Looking forward to more of Universal Singapore.
  7. snow white lover's Avatar
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    I love those old pics of disneyland!
  8. Kimura's Avatar
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    Universal Studios Singapore looks incredible. I was at Universal Hollywood yesterday. That place looks like a dump compared to their new Singapore park. The Hollywood park is long overdue for a renovation.
  9. DisWedWay's Avatar
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    I have friends who worked on Universal Singapore. All it needs now is some Disney Paint themeing and ageing magic on that architecture.
  10. LittleSquirt's Avatar
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    wow. frontierland in all its glory.
  11. Barbossa's Avatar
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    Great update! Thanks!
  12. Timekeeper's Avatar
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    I loved the photos of old Disneyland, it almost seems that the pictures could almost move...anyway, TDLFAN, I am so waiting for the rest of your USS pictures with anticipation!


    Timekeeper
  13. Disneykin Kid's Avatar
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    Thanks for sharing, it's funny how the old postcards make Disneyland look so old, when in fact it was brand new! Maybe it's the photo technology of the day versus today? Star Tours, I wonder if they'll keep the Endor theme outside, it would be a shame to lose the AT-AT. Singapore Uni - I only hope that DCA's Hollywood will look that nice!
  14. bayouguy's Avatar
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    Disneyland gained a great botanical garden throughout the years. But loss lots of grassy areas along the way too. All the photos were great.
  15. jcruise86's Avatar
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    Great photo-articles! Thank you!

    We started going to Sanibel every year in 1972, and then spent a day at WDW afterwards. Sanibel had two small hotels back then, I think.

    The Disneyland post cards make me wish I could time travel back to the 50s, but they also make me appreciate trees, which have made the park much more beautiful as they've grown, even though Disneyland is 55 years old. Disney does a great job of maintaining original park!
  16. davewasbaloo's Avatar
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    Good stuff here. TDLFAN - I am interested to see Sentosa through your eyes, especially as I have heard little good about the new USS. Looks like the paint work is ropey in places and there is already a fluroescent light bunt out. Hmmmm. Look forward to the rest.