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Weekend Update

Weekend Update: Vintage Small World, New Zealand, Germany, Hong Kong Disneyland

Rating: 2 votes, 5.00 average.
by , 02-06-2009 at 10:23 PM
At the Weekend Update we work hard to provide you with a weekend getaway of sorts, a chance to travel the world vicariously with photo reports from our many talented contributors. Just as you don't visit a Disney park every single weekend, the Weekend Update takes pride in bringing you photos from around the real world, not just the Disney world.

This week we zigzag around the globe. We're starting a multi-chaptered photo report from New Zealand with Ian Parkinson this week. Then we're off to Germany with MickeyMaxx's third installment of German Holiday. Hong Kong Disneyland follows with a double-barreled report from TDLFAN and ChrisFL. Plus we begin and end the Update this week with some great vintage postcard images. The first set of cards is from yours truly and the last set of cards is from our regular contributor darkfairycthulu.

There's a lot of excitement this week about the It's A Small World refresh at Disneyland. I thought this would be a good time to share these images from a postcard folder that I brought home from Disneyland many years ago:

It's A Small World

If you're out of the loop on the It's a Small World buzz,
check out Fishbulb's photo-filled report HERE.

(Caution: contains absolutely fabulous spoilers!)

You may remember the wonderful Adriatic Adventure photo feature that we ran last year. Ian Parkinson is back with some beautiful images from his recent trip to New Zealand. We'll be sharing his trip with you over the next few weeks.

Christchurch, New Zealand

Christchurch is the largest city in the South Island of New Zealand, and the country's second-largest urban area. It is midway down the South Island's east coast, just north of Banks Peninsula which itself, since 2006, lies within the formal limits of Christchurch.

At the center of the city is Cathedral Square, surrounding the Anglican cathedral, Christ Church. The area around this square and within the "four avenues" of Christchurch (Bealey Avenue, Fitzgerald Avenue, Moorhouse Avenue and Deans Avenue) is considered the central business district of the city. The central city also has a number of residential areas, including Inner City East, Inner City West, Avon Loop, Moa & Victoria.

Cathedral Square is a popular destination and hosts attractions such as the speakers' corner made famous by the Wizard of New Zealand, Ian Brackenbury Channell, and evangelist Ray Comfort. The central city includes the pedestrianized Cashel Street as Christchurch's urban mall. At one end of the mall stands the Bridge Of Remembrance; at the other end the amphitheatre known as the Hack Circle.


After resting two days for the Christmas holiday, we soon found ourselves hitting the road in the twin Jeeps of Mike and Pam, headed for the Alpine ski village of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, near the Austrian border. Our trip would actually take us in and out of Austria very briefly on the way to our destination.

In consideration of our love of Disney, our hosts planned a side trip on the way, to the castle that is reputed to be the inspiration for Sleeping Beauty Castle in Disneyland, Neuschwanstein Castle. Much of the drive was through snow covered mountain towns, making our time on the road even more picturesque.

In fairly short order, we arrived at the village of Hohenschwangau below the castle. It was our intention to tour the castle, but it was snowing and very icy, so the busses could not make it to the top. Open air, horse drawn carts were able to scale the mountain, but the line to board was long and the weather brutal. We opted to enjoy the view from the valley and explore the little shops for souvenirs.

The view from the valley (with a 280mm lens). King Ludwig began building his dream home in 1869.

There were huge crowds, and it looked like this restaurant was scaled to accommodate them.

Directly behind the shops, was another imposing structure, Schloss Hohenschwangau. This was the childhood home of King Ludwig.

Back on the road, we soon arrived in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, an unbelievably picturesque village, which was the site of the 1936 Winter Olympics, and one of the most visited vacation towns in Bavaria.

Our hotel was built in 1542, and was originally a Post House.

The room where we had an extensive buffet breakfast every morning.

The rooms were not what one would find in an American hotel, but the beds were comfortable, the room was large, the shower and the enormous tub were the best ever, and 500 years of history were all around us. Note our hand-hewn walls and ceiling.

The view from our room.

Our hotel was located on a quaint, quiet pedestrian street. Nearly every building was adorned with extensive artwork. From architectural elements that made the buildings look more imposing, to plant and floral designs that brightened them up, and many, many large paintings of people enjoying life.

Some scenes around our neighborhood.

Little Louie's Bavaria?

The detail on the top of our hotel, refers back to the building's origins as a Post House. The German Pony Express?

The site of our first evening's meal in town.

And the tippy top of a ski lift on the back side of a mountain.

This was a very hard town to leave. We felt like we were not just in a foreign country, but were transported to a different era.

TDLFAN is back with a report on his trip to Hong Kong Disneyland and their Chinese New Year (of the Ox) Celebration.

Hong Kong Disneyland
Hong Kong, China

Arriving at HKDL bright and early.

Special Chinese new year decor over Main Entrance.

More special decor at Mickey's Flower face.

"Here you Leave Today..."

Very colorful Town Square.

Pluto and Goofy greet and meet with guests.

Main Street USA decor.

HKDL was packed with guests during the new year holidays.

Sleeping Beauty Castle is decorated for the occasion.

The HKDL version of "High School Musical" show packs them in.

Decor at Hub.

Decor in Adventureland.

Decor in Fantasyland.

It's a Small World.

Small World's finale.

Chinese Dragon dance in Adventureland.

Mickey greets and meets guests in his Home, which is totally decorated for to celebrate the new year of the Ox.

The Chinese New Year Main St. Celebration gets underway as Minnie leads the procession, amidst dragon, fish and clouds that dance and beautifully dressed dancers...

Mickey plays the traditional drum announcing the coming of the new year.

We come to a Goofy ending for our most excellent visit to Hong Kong Disneyland. Happy Chinese New Year everyone!!

We're lucky to have another report from Hong Kong Disneyland from MiceChatter ChrisFL.

First some notes, this is not a full report as I did not experience every attraction. I would have liked to, but I was with 2 friends from the local area and we started at about 1PM, with Chinese New Year crowds to contend with. Also, after my wonderful experience in HK, I am definitely planning a return trip in the near future!

In a way, I enjoyed the fact that the park was busy, albeit very cold (to a Floridian who's been in baking hot Manila for several weeks). It was about 50 degrees with a bad wind chill. The crowds made it seem more like a real park experience I think than if I would have gone on a slow day with no one around. I did find it interesting that my HK friends I was with noted that most of the people they saw were mainlanders, not sure how she knew besides the language, but I trusted her judgement.

There have been many discussions about HKDL being "small", and to me, seeing the park, it is a bit of a misnomer. Although size-wise it may in fact be smaller than some of the other Disneyland parks, it does not feel small, but it does feel incomplete. In other words, it has enough space to immerse you in an area without feeling like you're right next to another land.


Tomorrowland Astro Orbiter

We received special envelopes with these gold "Coins" for the new year:

Adventureland is very good, however it's also the one with IMO the most glaring lack of attractions. There's plenty of great immersive theming, but not much to back it up with. You're going on an Adventure, but only a treehouse, jungle cruise and a stage show to satisfy you. It's not enough. A Pirates or Indy attraction is really needed here, or even a tiki room done properly could help. The jungle cruise was fun, but other than the new scene at the end, I wasn’t overly impressed by it. It seems like it should have more since it does seem to cover a larger area. The skipper (English speaking) was also a disappointment, not very funny and a bit boring.

Nightfall at Hong Kong Disneyland

Here's another trip down memory lane provided through vintage postcard images from darkfairycthulu.

"The world-famous dining place of San Juan where the traditional and delightful Puertorican dish "El Pescador" is prepared tableside. It is a delicate mixture of Lobster, Shrimp, Pork, Ham, Shallots, Mushrooms, Tomato and Aromatic Herbs-all served over Spanish Rice-A Gourmet Delight!"

"Purveyors of fine foods and spirits. Including the area's finest and most complete "SALAD BAR". Lunch from $2.50. Dinner from $3.50"

"One of Santa's Reindeer poses with Santa, his elves, storybook characters and animals in front of the always frozen North pole. Even the hottest summer day does not affect the pole." North Pole, Colorado."

Santa’s Workshop/North Pole is a Christmas themed family amusement park that has been in existence since 1956. Christmas music fills the air as visitors browse through the village. At the center of Santa’s Workshop is the North Pole, an ice-covered pole that never melts. Surrounding the North Pole are a variety of gift shops, each with their own unique selection of toys & gifts. Of course, the highlight of everyone’s visit is a trip to Santa’s House to greet the jolly old elf himself.
"BOB BRIGGS' "WEE PACKET" Lower County Road and Depot Street. Dennisport, Cape Cod. Specializing in Sea Food. A meal or a snack-eat it here or take it home. "You Name it-Wee Packet". Home of the Cape Scallop."

Yep, the Wee Packet is still there:

Welcome to the Wee Packet Restaurant, a local favorite for over 58 years that strives to provide its customers with quality food, good service, served at the right price. Come join us for breakfast, lunch or dinner and try some of our signature items such as full Irish breakfast, Homemade corned beef hash, Angus Burgers, fish-n-chips, or a fresh lobster roll. The best-fried clams on Cape Cod. Be sure to try the chowder.
"Pinnacle Peak towers behind the SWEET TOOTH SALOON and EMPORIUM. Enjoy your favorite beverage at the Sweet Tooth with a western tang. Listen and dance to your favorite western music on weekends. Souvenirs of the old west, film, and ofther gifts may be purchased at the Emporium."

Could this be the site of the Sweet Tooth Bar? [LINK]

"CAN -CAN girls perform in the GOLDEN NUGGET SALOON in the authentic WESTERN TOWN. Action SHOOT-OUTS on the streets are also favorites among the 10 big ATTRACTIONS at one admission price. PORPOISE SHOWS, DEER PARK, GARDENS and INDIAN VILLAGE." Floridaland, Sarasota

Floridaland, which opened in December, 1964 in Osprey (near Venice), seemed to be a theme park searching for a theme. Colorful tropical birds decorated the entrance, suggesting possibly a Florida theme, yet the main attraction inside was a western town. The various attractions offered suggest a scattergun approach, as if they tried to capture the main part of other successful Florida attractions along with some of their business.

Can-can Saloon Show Shoot outs in the street entertained the kids, while the requisite saloon show, complete with can-can dancers, held Dad's interest. But note the somewhat makeshift appearance of the small stage -- Floridaland's budget is beginning to show.

Train/Tram And every park has got to have a train -- even if it's really just a trackless tram dressed up to look like one. Here the theming is literally only skin deep. (Apparently there was also a real, tracked, live steam train there, but it was owned by a contractor, not the park.)

Jumping Dolphin And what western town is complete without its... porpoise show? Here Floridaland jumped back to the Florida theme. Note the small, ground level lagoon and platform. Compaired to the Miami Seaquarium or Saint Petersburg Aquatarium's large porpoise show stadiums, their budget is once again showing.

Petting Zoo Animal attractions and petting zoos are also always popular, so, naturally, Floridaland had its petting zoo and "Goat Island".

"Water Bug. RIVERVIEW. Chicago's Famous Amusement Park. Rides-Attractions-Large Picnic Groves-Ample Parking-Ideal for Family Outings."

Riverview Amusement Park had a lasting impact on the city of Chicago. Most importantly, it allowed people of different ethnic, racial, and socioeconomic backgrounds to interact with each other in an otherwise ethnically segregated city. During its 64 years in existence it was said to entertain over 200,000,000 people. It played important roles during Prohibition, the Depression, World War II, and the baby boom of the fifties and sixties. Helen FitzMaurice says in The Chicago Tribune, "Riverview, like a fading Viennese beauty, held on to her air of old world charm, even when time and the electronic age so ruthlessly forced their way upon her. I am glad that those who were responsible retired her before every vestige of her charm was gone." Even if Riverview and its impact are sorely missed by Chicagoans, its closing was sadly appropriate. In the age of "The Raging Bull" and "The Viper," "The Bobs" and "The Chute-the-Chutes" would seem out of place and belonging to another age. As society looks for more daring risks, technology must follow. Despite being in the shadow of the increasingly technological aspects of today’s amusement park entertainment, Riverview will stand out in many peoples’ memories for the good times they had there and in Chicago’s history for its important social impact on the city.

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

Visit these MiceChat columns each week:

Andy Castro's Dateline Disneyland

David DarkBeer Michael's 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:

Jack Hollywood 1939 Wixom
Denise nbodyhome Preskitt
sir clinksalot
Abominable Snowman
A very special thank you to to our wonderful guest photographers Ian Parkinson and ChrisFL for sharing their vision with us and darkfairycthulu for sharing some vintage postcard images with us.
Your Editor - Rixter

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Updated 02-10-2009 at 06:06 PM by Weekend Update



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  1. DragonFire FURY's Avatar
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    Hey I live there!
    Well same country anyway.

    Small world, eh?

    I hope you went/go to Napier! Beautiful city.
  2. Ian P's Avatar
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    I did go to Napier, those photos will appear in later weeks.
  3. atemylunch's Avatar
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    SWEET TOOTH SALOON and EMPORIUM, is not in Tucson. That's in Scottsdale, AZ and is known as the Pinnacle Peak Patio. Those buildings are still there(I've sat at those benches). If you ever have a chance to go there be sure to wear a tie you don't like.
  4. WheresMickey's Avatar
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    Great pictures!
  5. Eagleman's Avatar
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    Neat pictures....
    I enjoy Real Germany how they have paintings on there shops and other buildings a old world look....
    Also enjoy Old post cards ,even I never been there...
    One thing I do not understand what's the BIG DEAL
    about NEW! It's A Small World at Disneyland
    I think Disney did a good job cleaning old ride that needed work on for long time....and added Disney type old toy figurs to it , does not hurt or take away!

  6. mousercise's Avatar
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    Wonderful update
  7. Disneykin Kid's Avatar
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    I like the HKDL Mickey Floral Face better than DL's, actually I like the very original DL face the best, but HKDL's is at least better than the one DL has presently. Also I noticed that HKDL Main St has the original building that housed the Global Van Lines lockers in DL. I liked that better before DL changed the store fronts to add more merchandise. I can understand that they want to make the facades more 'store-like', but somehow I always thought the style didn't match the rest of the original Main St.
  8. Disneykin Kid's Avatar
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    Another question that I hope someone will answer - are the face characters like the princesses in HKDL and Tokyo Disney caucasian or asian?
  9. Bryce05's Avatar
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    Loved the Hong Kong updates - looks like they really go all-out with the street entertainment.
    And always love seeing other peoples photos of my hometown (Christchurch).
  10. MasterGracey's Avatar
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    Outstanding update this week!

    The Hong Kong Disneyland photos were especially great!

    Thanks for all the hard work!
  11. Gregmh48's Avatar
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    Those were all great pictures! Once of the vintage It's a Small World Postcards refers to Tower Bridge and London Bridge!
  12. pussnboots's Avatar
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    Once of the vintage It's a Small World Postcards refers to Tower Bridge [as] London Bridge!
    So did Fergie, haha. She later claimed the song was not about London Bridge specifically, but about a London bridge. Maybe Disney would have said that as well.

    Anyway, great update as always. Some globetrotters around here.
  13. aussiedave's Avatar
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    New Zealand really is a beautiful place, I was born there... South of Christchurch (Queenstown) has some of the best skiing in the world.. Its almost a shame you were there in summer!!!! great photos, Makes me miss home
  14. TDLFAN's Avatar
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    [quote=Disneykin Kid]
    Another question that I hope someone will answer - are the face characters like the princesses in HKDL and Tokyo Disney caucasian or asian?[/quote]
    All face characters in Hong Kong and Tokyo are played by caucasian performers, who hail from USA, Australia and possibly other areas. The only exception to this rule may be the Mulan character, who I have seen being played by female of probable asian, philippino or latino ethnicity. You should also know that in the very beginning when Tokyo Disneyland opened, some face characters were played by japanese CMs.. but that quickly changed. However, most recently.. in the Cinderellabration Castle show, it was very apparent that the Prince Charming's father, the King, was being played by a japanese or asian male.. but due to the heavy makeup and fake beard, it was hard to tell, unless you looked closely. Hope that information helps.
  15. StrikeYerColors's Avatar
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    christchurch seems very nice. my parents and brother are actually about to move there for a whole year (we're originally from northern california)

    love the pics of the little german town. and also the postcard of harbor blvd. oh, to have seen anaheim when it was flat and green and empty, to have lived in southern california when it used to be a beautiful garden state!
  16. Goover's Avatar
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    The pic of the king's dream home teased my mind as i was slowly scrolling down.

    I was expecting to see sleeping beauty's castle right there on the mountain Lol....
  17. aduecey's Avatar
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    Postcard Junkie should headline the Weekend update! It's my favorite part atleast!
  18. Cactushugr's Avatar
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    Pinnacle Peak Patio - I used to horseback ride there and now it's surrounded by McMansions. Ah, sprawl.
  19. wdwnut4life's Avatar
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    fab pics!!! glad 2 c all versions of IASW
  20. sir clinksalot's Avatar
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    Amazing stuff as always.
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