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Jul 23 14

Tower of Terror Turns 20!

by Rod Wheaton

Tower of Terror

My hands down, all time favorite ride in WDW, The Tower of Terror, turned 20 yesterday… Maybe it’s growing up watching the twilight zone on TV, and hearing Rod Serling’s scary voice set up one scary story after another huddled around the glow of the TV screen in the dark.  Whatever it was, Disney got it right.  To this day it is still one of the most popular attractions in all Walt Disney World and is also one of the tallest, at 199 feet tall it literally towers over the park.

According to the official Disney parks blog, imagineers worked hard to get the flavor of the “Twilight Zone” for the ride.   According to sources, they watched all episodes of the entire series and incorporated many themes props and elements from the series in the construction of the attraction.  They even brought in Rod Serling’s widow to judge the best voice actor to complete the Rod Serling monologue that is part of the preshow.

In the 20 years it has been dropping guests down the elevator shaft, it’s popularity has not diminished.  There is now even a running event based around it, the twilight zone Tower of terror 10 miler.

What do you think of the twilight zone Tower of terror? Is it one of your favorites?  If you could change one thing about it, what would it be?

Jul 16 14

Best Hidden Pixar Easter Eggs in California Adventure’s Carsland By Guest Blogger Jamie Hecker

by Rod Wheaton

20130609-124619.jpgDisney’s California Adventure, The Walt Disney Company’s sixth North American gate, sits across the esplanade from Disneyland, the granddaddy of all Disney theme parks. DCA, as it’s colloquially known, recently went through some minor and major changes. It rebranded itself as Disney California Adventure, simply dropping the possessive apostrophe, and underwent a $1.1 billion expansion with Cars Land serving as the centerpiece.

Pixar’s 2006 hit Cars and its fictitious town of Radiator Springs serves as the inspiration. Disney’s Imagineers did a magnificent job in creating Radiator Springs Racers, a much-needed E ticket attraction for DCA. Beyond that, the entire scale and scope of Cars Land feels genuinely lifted from the film, high praise given that it was CGI-animated. Even the lone stoplight in Cars Land, appropriately enough next to Flo’s V8 Cafe, blinks slower every third time.

Cars Land details are large and small, high and low. if you’re a veteran of Pixar films and personnel, two special treats can be found in here.

John Lasseter, writer and director of Cars, also directed Toy Story which was Pixar’s first smash hit, thanks in large part to the antics of a certain Star Command character. The Cozy Cone Motel section of Cars Land features five distinctive orange construction cone-like buildings that offer churros and other treats. In the middle is a faux building that serves as the motel office, into which you can only peak through the wide windows. On a desk are several shelves that contain small, medium and large orange cones, keeping with the overall theme. Under one is a half-visible Buzz Lightyear figure, recreating his pose from Toy Story Two’s famous street crossing scene.

Another notable Pixar founder is Ed Catmull, the scientific mind behind Pixar’s CGI wizardry. Appropriately enough, there’s a simple tribute to him in Cars Land. In one of the many storefronts is a neon sign that reads Catmull Oil, named after him. Makes you wonder if it’s a direct competitor to Rust-eze or Dinoco?

If you love Walt Disney World, then you owe it to yourself to make the trip to Anaheim to walk in Walt’s park, and spend a day or two in Cars Land and the rest of Disney’s California Adventure!


About the Author:

Jamie has been a life-long fan of Disney, and is passing on that love to his sons.  He and his family visit Orlando annually, and are always looking forward to the next trip!  When not in Orlando, he resides in Northern Virginia with his beautiful wife Suzanne, two boys and four cats.  You can read more of his “Hidden Disney” musings at


Jul 15 14

Princess Half Marathon Tix Go on Sale Today!

by Rod Wheaton

imageIf you are interested in running the Walt Disney World Princess Half Marathon, don’t forget that tickets go on sale today!  If you are thinking about running it, post your name in the comment section below! Hope to see you!

Jul 11 14

Guest loses tips of two fingers on Pirates of the Caribbean

by Rod Wheaton

image“Aye, matey, there be rough waters ahead!”

A Walt Disney World cast reportedly lost the tips of his ring and pinky fingers of his right hand on the popular ride “Pirates of the Caribbean”.   He was taken to a local hospital for treatment. The ride was closed reportedly for over five hours until it was deemed safe and reopened.

Okay, everybody, let’s say it together: “Please keep your arms,  hands, legs and feet inside the vehicle at all times”!


- Rod Wheaton

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