Thursday, May 31, 2007

Devine Mickey

I've always been a fan of hunting for Hidden Mickeys. This one is my particular favorite, found on one of the outdoor staircases at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. What I love about this one is that it isn't just the usual three circles, but an actual profile of Mickey's face, hidden amongst the leaves.

Can you find it?

Monday, May 28, 2007

Hanging Around

Animal Kingdom is full of gorgeous artwork that covers almost every inch of the buildings. This particularly fun lizard can be found hanging around Pizzafari. This unexpected little guy is not only a great design element, it also functions as a lantern.

Imperfect Goats

While perhaps one of the more well-known "secrets" of Walt Disney World, the five-legged goat on the Contemporary's large Grand Canyon Concourse mural has always been one of my favorites. During my first time staying at the hotel, I spent our entire vacation intensely searching for it, only to find it on the last day simply by looking up as we were leaving the monorail.

The infamous goat pays homage to the hotel's Native American roots. Certain Native American cultures believe that nothing humans create is entirely perfect, and thus will deliberately place flaws in their artwork, which they consider to be a path for the Spirit. The extra appendage makes the hotel imperfect, thus showing that yes, even Disney can make mistakes.

Friday, May 25, 2007

The Wonderful World of Trash Cans

The theme parks aren't the only places to be on the receiving end of some wonderfully themed trash cans - many of the resorts have some great designs as well.

The Polynesian's trash cans feature its Tiki mascot and thanks you for throwing away your trash in true Hawaiian style.

The trash cans at Fort Wilderness get in touch with their pioneer roots.

Help keep the Conch Flats clean when you stay at Old Key West.

I promised I would only stick to the classic "Push" style design, but I think this one from Animal Kingdom Lodge is close enough to warrant its inclusion.

I have always loved the BoardWalk's classic postcard logo.

The trash cans at Caribbean Beach have a true tropical flair.

I think this one is pretty self-explanatory...

The All-Star Resorts share one basic design.

And to finish up our tour of Walt Disney World trash cans, we end with Disney Quest's Hurricane Mickey design.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Lions and Tigers and Trash Cans - Oh my!

Today we'll look at the diverse trash cans of Animal Kingdom. Whereas the other 3 parks usually have a single design for a large area of the park, the trash cans of Animal Kingdom show more color and design variation.

This intricate Tree of Life design, for example, comes in four different colors: blue (shown here), white, pink, and tan. I love this particular image for all of the animals that make up the Tree. It is quite detailed and the more you look at it the more you see.

The fun trash cans over at Rafiki's Planet Watch all come in this day-glo yellow, but feature an ostrich (shown here), giraffe, ram, or kangaroo.

The Asia trash can comes in both tan and green.

Dino-Rama's trash cans are fun and fit in well.

The trash can of Camp Minnie-Mickey has a nice Arts and Crafts design to it.

And we'll finish up with the understated, but still very effective design found in the village of Harambe.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Lights, Camera, Trash Cans!

It's another day, and time to visit Disney/MGM Studios for a glimpse on the trash cans found there.

We'll start off with the generic trash can design found along Hollywood Boulevard and Sunset Boulevard.

This design is found throughout the majority of the park, including the Animation Courtyard, Backlot, and near Star Tours.

The Tower of Terror has one of my favorite trash can designs - it has a weathered metal look that blends perfectly with the overall theme of the attraction.

During the Christmas season, the Streets of America get a special themed trash can in honor of the Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights.

And finally, this is the trash can found in the parking lot, and while the design itself is nothing special, I liked the fortuitous bit of Disney magic in the background.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Worldly Trash Cans

We continue this week's tour of Disney World trash cans with a trip to Epcot.

There's the generic Future World design...

...and its World Showcase counterpart.

But there are also some very interesting trash cans found in specific areas of the park.

The Seas with Nemo and Friends, for instance, was given a brand new design upon the opening of the new ride.

The wonderfully retro design for the Wonders of Life pavilion is rarely seen nowadays.

France has its own unique design, which cleverly asks guests to throw away their waste in both English and French.

Epcot has its own talking trash can found inside the Electric Umbrella.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Trashy Kingdom

So I have an unusual fondness for Walt Disney World trash cans. It all started last year while I was wandering the Magic Kingdom. On a whim, I started walking around seeing how many different trash cans I could find. Now, over 110 photos laters, it's turned into an obsession. I thought I'd spend this week exploring the different trash cans around property, and pointing out my favorites. We'll start at the Magic Kingdom.

This particularly unusual design is only found around Cinderella Castle. It's the standard "push" style found throughout property, but it has been given a "hat" which blends in nicely with the Medieval atmosphere.

The brooms from Fantasia are given a country flair to promote the cleaniness of Mickey's Toontown Fair.

Nowadays, this ornate trash can from the Diamond Horseshoe is rarely seen by the public.

And of course, here's everybody's favorite mobile talking trash can - Push!

Friday, May 18, 2007

A Contemporary Tower

Although I never got to experience the 1964-65 World's Fair in Flushing Meadow, it has always fascinated me. One of my favorite things that Disney created for the Fair was the Tower of the Four Winds.

Designed for the entrance to "it's a small world," it stood 120 feet high and weighed 200,000 pounds. It was a working mobile, and featured 52 parts that, when caught by the wind, moved over 100 elements, such as a carousel with animals native to countries around the world. It was designed by Rolly Crump, a man with a richly diverse history with the Disney Company.

The Tower was well-received by the Fair-goers. It became a famous meeting point for groups and families, and could be seen from all over. Unfortunately, when the Fair closed, the Tower was unceremoniously cut up for scrap and allegedly thrown into the river. At an estimated cost of $80,000, it was just deemed too expensive to move back to Disneyland with the rest of the attractions.

Although the Tower of the Four Winds is gone, its memory lives on in quite an unexpected place. Tucked in by the elevators on the Grand Canyon Concourse (fourth floor) of the Contemporary Resort is a wonderful model of the Tower. It is not the most glamorous location for such a piece of Disney history, but it is still a nice inclusion, especially with its close proximity to the large murals designed by Mary Blair.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

There's a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow

Once Upon a Toy at Downtown Disney is 16,000 square feet of fun. Full of great toys and games, it's a nice place to feel like a kid again. But one of my favorite aspects of this store is not found inside, but rather the window displays that are found along the outside of the store.

Like any window display you would find at a store, the ones at Once Upon a Toy serve to advertise the merchandise found within. But what makes these windows so unique is the fact that they are not simple, straight-forward assemblages of board games and plush. Instead, the products themselves are used to make up clever scenes of Walt Disney World.

My personal favorite window is the one featuring those amazing puppets of Epcot's Tapestry of Nations parade (granted, since this store opened in 2002 it is more likely a depiction of the Tapestry of Dreams). Aside from the Celebration section of IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth, this is one of the last places that you can see remnants of this wonderful parade. The puppets are created from pieces of classic board games like Chutes and Ladders, Scrabble, Sorry, and Trivial Pursuit. Even Spaceship Earth is included, fashioned from Monopoly boards.

The windows are clever marketing ploys that do not scream "Buy Me!" but rather evoke the fun and enjoyment that can be found inside.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

A Nightly Burnoff

As anyone who knows me well can tell you, I am a huge fan of the Inferno Barge - the floating platform used to burn over 400 gallons of propane in a fantastic display during the Chaos section of IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth.

So much of a fan (read: geek) that I even went and designed a t-shirt:
Yet my favorite thing about the Inferno Barge is not what takes place during the show, but what happens afterwards. Roughly 75 minutes after the last firework has shone its light over the lagoon and the guests are making their way to their buses and cars, the Inferno Barge puts on a show of its own: the Burnoff.

The Burnoff occurs out of necessity: it is during this time that the excess propane is burned off in one gigantic fireball to allow for the Barge's safe return backstage. Originally, the Burnoff occurred without warning, as just another "post-show cleanup" event. Yet at this time of night, there are still guests in the park (mostly those leaving the restaurants). There was an incident of a woman calling 911 after witnessing the Burnoff thinking Epcot was under an attack. After that, an announcement was made over the speakers to warn guests that what they were about to see was both intentional and controlled.

In usual Disney fashion however, they take a normal event to a new level and actually have a countdown, in New Year's Eve fashion, to the explosion.

Next time you're in the park, you might want to find yourself around the lagoon to watch this fun event. It's worth the wait.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

A Disney Subway

To start, I'm going to head over to the Streets of America at Disney/MGM Studios. The Imagineers have done an incredible job of recreating a bustling Manhattan street, right down to the ever-present noise of honking taxi cabs.

As someone who has a quite strange love of the New York subway system (I wrote my thesis on the ceramic tile decorating the stations), I was quite pleased to find a subway station in the middle of the Studios.

It's incredibly accurate, as anyone who has been to New York can see. Yet, at first I was struck by the fact that the W and D lines do not run together, nor do they stop at 18th Street (and as pointed out to me, the D should in fact be orange and white). Then I caught myself, and realized that it is in fact one of the most clever tributes to the man behind all of the magic
that I have ever seen.


Welcome to "If We Can Dream It..."

I have held a lifelong fascination for those overlooked and under appreciated "treasures" found around Walt Disney World. It is those details that sets the Disney parks apart, and makes them special. It all adds to that magical world that is created once you step foot on property.

It is through this that I came to form this blog - a place to share and discuss those little gems that usually go unnoticed by the average guest who is in a rush to get to the next big attraction.

I hope you enjoy your time here, and please feel free to leave a comment your own favorite details found around Walt Disney World.