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The MiceChat Round-Up is the place to go for the latest in Disney and other theme park news and discussion. Today we have a preview of the new Transformers ride in Singapore, which is a nearly identical version to what we are getting in Hollywood later next year, a Disneyland Christmas photo essay and a tale of tiny turret lost, plus a tour of China. We even stop by a Dutch garden in Japan, note how someone other than Disney made a dream come true, and how one very talented MiceChatter made it to the stage of DisneyWorld's American Idol show. It's all here, all now, in the MiceChat round up. ~ CakvalaSC


Micechat Round-Up

The Muppets - MiceChat Reviews
And now to answer that age old question, are you a muppet of a man or a man of a Muppet? (I still haven't figured that out for myself yet.) Check out what other MiceChatters thought about the newest Muppet movie!

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One of the things I like best about covering Disneyland is that rarely does a day go by that I don't learn something new about it. With all the unofficial blogs and now the company itself publishing all sorts of new and historical content on an almost daily basis nowadays you'd think there was not much left that hadn't been discussed or discovered.

But leave it to Michael Sandstrom though to rediscover a long lost architectural detail on Sleeping Beauty Castle that serves to underline the care and quality of the design work that went into it.

Our search begins among the many early renderings and photos of Sleeping Beauty's castle. Imagineer Herb Ryman's concept art gives us the first clue. Note the yellow arrow..

Already during construction a tree obscures the view...

The castle's finished, but that blocked view remains...

See how much larger the castle looks in the postcard above than it currently looks today?

Is this the only vintage photo of it?

Disney park enthusiasts are familiar with many tales about this landmark, such as how the top was turned backwards from its original design (which was looking too much like a copy of a real castle in Europe), or that it was named for the title character of a movie which would not be released for four years after the castle was built.

There are stories of it being home to ferrel cats, and that real gold was used on the tips of it’s spires, and how the walkthrough attraction inside was closed to public access for years when it was perceived as a terrorist target. All strange yet true. But who knew that some of it had gone missing from public view? (And no, not just that time David Copperfield made it all disappear on TV.)

A publicity photo from when the park celebrated it's 50th shows the turret was still hidden.

Recently Disney announced plans to transform a quiet corner west of the castle, home of the long-standing bandstand. The area has been a blandly quiet transitional space towards Frontierland for quite sometime now, but it was once busy serving ice cream and burgers and styled similar to Main Street. It literally swings on many an evening and hosts all kinds of young performers on most afternoons. Disney has said they intend to retain some aspects of the area as it is also turned into an annex of the castle to accommodate princess meet and greets. Fans were reassured that the evening swing dancing in this location would continue by Parks head Tom Staggs at the D23 Expo last August.

Princesses aren’t new to this area, they have long hung out in this corner of the park, often blocking the pathways and bridges leading there, so giving them a proper place to stand and greet their fans isn’t a bad idea. The trick is how to retain the subtle, lovely parts of the park while opening them up to greater use. That's not going to be easy.

The arrow in this case more or less indicates where the turret may be located.

The designs that have been shared publicly show the area which is now home to many tall trees will be transformed into more castle facade for royal purposes. Disneyland heavily relies upon trees to screen out, or frame in, numerous elements of its overall design; more so in recent years as the park and the outside world have grown up and intruded upon carefully crafted illusions from all angles.

At the same time, Disneyland has been losing big trees to the ravages of time. Forrested segments of the park are getting noticeably thinner behind Frontierland and Fantasyland and inbetween the two lands; lots of backstage buildings are currently visible that used to be hidden behind landscaping.

Perhaps most notable is the huge Fantasyland Theater tent in the back of the park which can now been seen from Main Street - looking as though it is a plastic part of the iconic castle. Losing more trees would be a shame and further degrade the beauty and transitions within the park.

Which brings us back to the the missing turret from Disneyland's castle. The planted berm on the west side serves an important function to counter-balance the spires of the castle, as do the gardens (enhanced by Snow White’s wishing well and fountain; the work of John Hench).

Sure, snacks now, but soon Princessess will take over. Castle is towards the right.

It’s certainly true that the current façade (the back side of Rancho del Zocalo on the Plaza Gardens side) is nothing to lament losing. It replaced a more Victorian looking pavilion many years ago and is so dull that it hardly belongs in Disneyland anyway. Extending Fantasyland architecturally out to this location would be an improvement. It just needs to be done well and kept in scale to the rest of the area to preserve the peaceful nature of the castle forecourt area.

Here's the fun part...if done right, perhaps we can even regain a glimpse of the long lost turret of Disneyland castle!  You see, Walt had it out there all along...it’s just gotten lost under all those nice trees.

There it is!

The castle is quite small, but it was definitely designed to look bigger. However, changes over the years have reduced the effect drastically...including receding wraparound walls which can no longer be seen, tapering away from the sides...but they are still there!

The MicroSoft/Bing Map site gives us a Bird's-eye view of the little lost turret from behind and above.

Who knew there was so much more to the castle? (which could have been added by Tony Baxter’s team during the 1983 Fantasyland project, but I don’t think so. It will be fun to learn more from your reader comments). But here it is....

A little light pruning at the lower sight lines and more of the original castle can awaken once again. If they can keep most of the trees but expand and push the landscaping back toward the little lost turret, then the castle will appear to have grown in size and compliment the new princess meet and greet area as well.

It is my hope that they will restore the castle wall, reveal the little lost turret, and enhance the beauty of Disneyland Park.

Thanks Michael! - Al

Got a question for Al or any of the MiceAge columnists?
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Your question may be featured in a future MiceChat Round-Up,
but keep in mind due to the volume of mail received he may not be able to personally respond.

Aulani Trip

We recently had the opportunity to visit Disney's new Aulani Resort and Spa on Oahu and found it to be amazing. What's more, we were able to work a special deal and are offering a trip to this new resort at up to 40% off the regular rate. This is going to be an affordable chance to enjoy this resort along with all of the other things Oahu has to offer. This trip will take place June 23-30, 2012, and we have locked in PHENOMENAL deals on rooms of all sizes (even ocean view!). Come feel the ocean breeze with your MiceChat friends. Take tours, luau, snorkel and experience Hawaii as you never have before.

Visit the MiceChat Aulani discussion via this link for more information.

This coming weekend promises to be a memorable one, with the annual Christmas Candlelight Procession on Main Street USA. Until then, we have a few phenomenal photos from around the Disneyland Resort to enjoy. Then we ask about an iconic Disneyland Restaurant, that now resides in Yesterland. ~ Aladdin

Micechat Round-Up

Photos From the Brickers' First Disneyland Christmas Expedition
WDWFigment has returned with magical photos from around the Disneyland Resort! Keep checking back as he will be adding more photos through the holiday season!

Did you ever?
Tragic wants to know if you ever ate at one of the most iconic restaurants at Disneyland. Unfortunately, this restaurant became part of Yesterland decades ago, but we would like to hear your memories of this part of Neverland!

The A/V Room

Sarah's MiceChatter video returns this week...

Also Matt, a.k.a. infaMOUSEproject has his latest cHATBOX up...

MAGIC 24.7

MAGIC 24.7 has unveiled a phone number where listeners can call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and request a song, send out a dedication, or leave a station comment. The MAGICLINE is equipped with voicemail, so feel free to leave a message for us, and you may hear it on the air! Call (424) 270-1955. Long distance charges may apply!

We add a couple of new tracks every week!

We’re working on finishing up our iPhone/iPad/iTouch App for MAGIC 24.7! Soon you’ll be able to interact with our station on your favorite devices from Apple. We’re hoping to launch it very soon - so stay tuned!

Every Monday to Friday between 6-9 am Pacific, we give you your MiceChat.com Newscast. Coming soon, you’ll be able to get a full recap of news from your favorite site.

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Walt Disney World
Hopefully everyone who celebrated Thanksgiving this past weekend had a wonderful celebration and scored some great Black Friday and/or Cyber Monday deals. This week we have questions about the Tower of Terror and restaurants, a look at Disney's Animal Kingdom, and much more! Take a look and see what the Walt Disney World forums have to share this week. ~yoyoflamingo

What Orlando theme park addition are you most excited for?
From Despicable Me to Avatar, with Fantasyland, mini golf, and Harry Potter thrown in, which addition are you most looking forward to in the future?

Tower of Terror Question
Is that....? A simple game of speculation: Is Amy Adams in the preshow movie to the attraction?

How often do reservations for restaurants open up?
Before panicking when calling the Disney Dining line and hearing there are no openings for where and when you want to eat, take a look at this thread so you can rest assured there is still hope, even the day of!

Micechat Round-Up

My Day at Animal Kingdom - Photo Heavy TR!
For those of us who can't get enough of SummerinFL's trip reports, here is one of the gorgeous Animal Kingdom. Come take a stroll through the park on a very busy day!

Disney Business

Rare early Walt Disney drawing up for auction in Reno
WildForMrToad brings us news that an autographed drawing by Walt Disney from circa 1920 is up for auction in Reno. Got a few extra bucks laying around? So what would you pay for a pre-Mickey Mouse drawing by the man himself?

Where should the next DVC Resort be at?
Now that Aulani is open, where would you like to see the next DVC Resort? toonaspie has made some suggestions and invites you to join in and share your ideas.

Off Shore Parks

Reflections of my Recent Visit
Breaking from the typical trip report, Supermatt70 with a detailed account of his recent trip to the Tokyo Disney Resort. There are great pictures and information, so be sure to take a look.

Micechat Round-Up

China Trip Report: Beijing-Shanghai 2011
SirEdge is on a study tour in Beijing and Shanghai. With not speaking Chinese, he has taken to trying to find traces of Disney in these cities.

Other Parks and Destinations
Universal Studios dominates the discussions this week, but we also have a look at a Dutch theme park--in Japan! ~ Trekkie Dad

Micechat Round-Up

Dutch Garden Theme Park In Japan
Ride Warrior gives us a look at this theme park tucked away in Nagasaki Prefecture.

Transformers: USS
Living in Singapore, Disneyland95 had the opportunity to ride the newly finished Transformers ride at Universal Studios there. Watch out Hollywood!

Woody Woodpecker Film in Works = New Attraction for Universal Parks?
Could a successful run of a feature length Woody Woodpecker film result in a new ride at Universal Studios? Freakazoid112 hopes so.

The Story of how a Family's Dream Came True...and it's NOT by Disney
New member Bongo, a regular visitor to Universal Studios Hollywood, escorts a family of first timers around the park.


Think they'll ever put The Wonderful World of Disney back on?
With the popularity of World of Color in DCA, do you think Disney classic TV programming will ever return?

Does the Prospect of Classic Disney (etc) Films Being Re-Released In 3D Excite You?
Are you interested in seeing your favorite past Disney animated films back on the big screen in 3D format?


Micechat Round-Up

Micechat Round up
11/29: What if they pick you?
Kevin goes backstage at Disney World’s American Idol show, plus he has another great book out!

Micechat Round up
Magic Kindom Holiday Wishes, SeaWorld and Busch Gardens Christmas
The Orlando Parks were busy doing their best to serve up a healthy helping of holiday cheer over Thanksgiving weekend. This week, we take a look at Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party in the Magic Kingdom, to see exactly why they charge extra for something which has always been included at no additional charge at Disneyland. We then continue our look Busch Gardens holiday decorations as well as the Sea World festivities. And that's not all, we'll also take a side trip to the Gaylord Palms hotel for their annual ICE! display.

Micechat Round up
11/28: Changes in the Caribbean and Constructing Cars
The big Thanksgiving holiday crowds have passed and Disneyland enters a brief period of relatively light weekday crowds before winter break crowds hit the Resort later this month. This weekend will also see bigger crowds, especially in the evenings at Disneyland as the park hosts its extremely popular Candlelight Processional event. Back in New Orleans Square, the Pirates of the Caribbean has reopened after a lengthy refurbishment and brings some minor changes that will help with the guest experience for those visiting the attraction in a wheelchair. Over at Disney California Adventure, progress continues to be made at the 12-acre Cars Land project, including last week's installation of a new windmill prop.

Micechat Round up
11/27: Diabetic Dining on the Disney Dream
We've just indulged in that grand American tradition of feasting on Thanksgiving turkey. Our pants may still be feeling a bit snug, which gets us thinking about our recent Micechat trip on the Disney Dream. We all worry about the amount of food we’ll eat on a cruise and not be able to fit in our clothing as we waddle off the ship, but it doesn’t have to be like this.

Micechat Round up
11/26: It’s A Very Disney Christmas at WDW and Tokyo Disneyland
We have a holiday packed Weekend Update today. We start out with a report from Walt Disney World courtesy of Denise Preskitt. She moves all around the resort covering the holiday finery at the hotels and the parks. Roger55 is back with more of his spectacular report from the Tokyo Disneyland Resort. This encyclopedic report on the Christmas decorations at TDR even extends to the train station!  As promised last week, we have some more vintage Disneyland post cards from DisneylandPostcards.net. Finally, The Disneylander returns with photos from his epic life chapter in South Korea.

Micechat Round up
11/25: Pirates Return to Disneyland, Cars Land Comes Together, Knott’s Xmas and More
We hope your Thanksgiving was a good one and that your Black Friday brings you lots of great deals. Talking about great deals, we have another huge In The Parks update for you today . Pirates of the Caribbean finally returned to Disneyland a few hours after opening yesterday, and we were on the first boat over the falls. There are some changes, but not many. We'll also check on the progress of Cars Land and Buena Vista Street in Disney California Adventure. But we don't stop there. Let's take a taste of Christmas at Knott's, mosey through Magic Mountain, then sail through SeaWorld San Diego to see how merry and bright everything is this year.

Micechat Round up
11/25: Disney Goes Hawaiian
Werner Weiss of Yesterland has been following the progress of Disney's Aulani hotel in Hawaii since it was just a design concept.  In a long series of articles, we've watched Aulani come together from a bare piece of earth on a secluded bay to the tropical oasis it is today.  One of Werner's readers recently visited Aulani and shares the following photos and thoughts with us.

Micechat Round up
11/24: From The Shelves of Samland
Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at MiceChat.  We hope your holiday is a safe and happy one.  As the Christmas shopping rush begins tomorrow, Samland thought you'd appreciate some affordable Disney gift book reviews.  We've got something traditional, something fun, something dirty and something delicious for you.

Micechat Round up
11/23: Electrifying Look Behind The Scenes at Epcot’s Test Track
From The Mouth Of The Mouse is here with another fun Cast Member story. Speaking with us today is Sarah, a former employee of Epcot and Animal Kingdom. She has some fantastic behind-the-scenes stories to share with us. Trust me when I say you will never look at Test Track the same way ever again!  Let's just say it's electrifying.

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The MiceEars Crew and MiceChat News Club put a lot of time and effort into making these Round-Ups happen. Here are the members:

Your Editors: Dustysage, Fishbulb and CakvalaSC

The MiceEars Crew: Demigod, Aladdin, elly, pezz lightyear, Yoyoflamingo, Tinkermonkey, Pineapplewhipaddict, KnittingKnerd, Trekkie Dad, DLandFansAZ ,RegionsBeyond, HKDLFAN and Disney Wrassler!

The MiceChat News Team: sir clinksalot, ALIASd, Disneytim, OogieBoogie.

The MiceEars Crew can be e-mailed at: [email protected]
Please keep in mind they may not be able to respond to each note personally.

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