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Keane's September/October 2012 "This Is Too Good To Pass Up" Trip Report - Part 7


The text of this trip report was posted to the Usenet group rec.arts.disney.parks on October 21, 2012. This is an expanded version with pictures. If you are reading this someplace else than rec.arts.disney.parks, or on my site keanespics.com, it was copied without my permission.

Me in Oz
Weez off ta see da Wizard, da wondaful Wiza davoz...
Who: Me, Keane. Disney Junkie and obviously a glutton for punishment...
     Mom, aka "Miss Marie". Mobility impaired. Memory impaired, too.
     Jenny. Fellow Disney Junkie, and du...kind enough to help.
     Karen. My GPS. (A Garmin nuvi 1390)
What: An opportunistic trip to Walt Disney World.
Where: Walt Disney World, Art of Animation Resort, Little Mermaid Room.
Why: D23's Epcot 30th Anniversary Celebration, D23's 2012 Sip & Scream, and a dinner in Great Movie Ride.
When: September 29 thru October 6, 2012

All Disclaimers from Part 1 still apply.
Thank you.

Day 5, Tuesday, Oct. 2 (continued)
D23's Super Scream event, Disney's Hollywood Studios

Back to resort, get ready for tonight. Two main things on the agenda tonight. A backstage tour of Costuming, and dinner in Great Movie Ride.

All right, I have a confession here. We actually dressed up for the event. I knew Jenny had a flapper dress from one of her dance recitals, so I assembled a gangster outfit. I am from Chicago after all. And since dinner was going to be in the Gangster scene, the plan seemed to come together. I could really go all out and spend a lot of money, or I could go cheesy. Cheesy wins. I think I succeeded. Complete with an inflatable Thompson machine gun and the most phallic cigar I could find. You know, sometimes a cigar really is a cigar.

You blow up the machine gun the same way you'd blow up a beach ball, but the clever manufacturer (which I assume is in China) fails to pierce the plastic under the valve, so I have a hard time blowing up my machine gun. This seems to amuse Jenny.

The costume really is a costume, and doesn't even have real pockets. I am wearing shorts under the pants, just to be able to carry my wallet, extra battery and memory card. I have the best Fedora $7.50 can buy, with a 100 Years Of Magic ribbon as a hat band. Unwilling to put on a real shirt at Disney World, I have on a DCA polo shirt, and a Jack Skellington tie.

Jenny has on her flapper outfit, black gloves and is wearing real shoes. Even I won't go that far...

At 5:15, we're going to leave for DHS, and it's raining. Gee, who'da guessed? A second after thinking about walking to the bus stop, we're headed for the car. We get to DHS, and talk to the CM in the parking lot directing traffic, who looks in the car and sees we're not exactly your normal guests. Probably not wanting to deal with abnormal guests, he allows us to pass and we park in the AAA Diamond area. It is still raining, so I rummage around in the car, and impress Jenny by coming up with my collapsible Mickey umbrella.

Knowing what Kidagain and Debbie look like now, we run into them in the rain as they're leaving DHS. We could have run into them a half dozen times before today and not known it... Of course, we look our most dapper at the moment.

We are at the flagpole around 5:30, and there's no one there yet. Feeling stupid just standing in the rain, we move over by the transportation building which at least has an overhang. We area soon joined by a couple of others in Disney-like outfits (who I assume were Ariel and Gaston, maybe it was an Eric), a couple of Jedi, and soon enough some guy with a red flashlight appears. Always follow the guys with the red flashlights. Heh.

We board a bus, and get our names checked off a list, and are asked which resort we're returning to. None. We drove. That was easy.

D23's Super Scream Event
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Prop Shop Reception

They fill three buses to standing room only, and we're off. Well, 45 minutes later we're off. Some, not being able to pre-register on Saturday, are registering for the event now. In the rain. Jenny knows not how much line time I've saved us by pre-registering on Saturday.

We're in the parking lot of DHS. How far can the bus ride be, right? It's like this 5 mile drive out of the parking lots, completely around DHS and through the back entrance, which is not too far from the Backlot Tours tram turnaround before you enter the costuming tunnel. We're told we're going to get bag checked. Good luck. There's no way security could get through to the back of the bus. So a security guy rides with us, and checks bags as we get off the bus. I'm clean. I only have a machine gun and a cigar.

We are split into two groups. The first group, which Jenny and I are in, are taken into the Prop Shop, where there's some crackers and cheese and some beverages. I believe we were in the building just South of Toy Story Midway Mania.

We're allowed access to a couple of rooms, with props and artifacts from by-gone days. Jenny and I discuss what we'd steal, but I've got no clue where I'd put one of those Tapestry of Nation puppets. Steve Clark and Debbie Carlos welcomed everyone, and said we were free to roam anywhere within the two rooms. After taking all the photos, and am later able to pin down a D23 guy and extract some information, like the fact Buzzy is still in the theater in Wonders of Life; and talk about the Disney artifacts they grab and who they grab it from. There are some things that they just can't get because the prop might be used in show again, or the owners just won't give them up. Imagineering comes to mind. :-)

Most of the artifacts here were just... props. Backgrounds to make things more festive at different events. A huge anchor was a prop at a Disney Cruise line opening. Various Pixar and Disney characters dot the room. It was nice seeing the Tapestry of Nation puppets again, and to talk with some of the CM's, who are still as enthusiastic about the company as are the fans. The rooms we're in are actually two of the rooms used in the old backstage walking tours.

Anyway, it's an interesting 30-45 minutes and we are exited and follow the guys with the red flashlights a short distance across the street to Costuming. We are all about to go in when we are stopped and the other half of the Super Scream guests start streaming out to go to the Prop Shop like a bunch of clowns coming out a Tex Avery cartoon car. An evil queen here, a pirate there, a couple of pretty tall munchkins, some princesses, Alice, Minnie...

The Prop Shop
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Costuming Backstage Tour

Once we enter Costuming, we are split up into groups of about 10 to 12, and aren't allowed to take any pictures. sniff. Backstage, a bane to photographers. They have some really cool stuff, like vacuum table material cutters, cad-cam programs that automatically resize the patterns for different sizes and layout on a given piece of material, and 3D scanners to scan the exact size costume they need for a person. You know those skin tight dresses for the princesses? Those dresses are custom made for *that* person. Many of the elite Disney character costumes are. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Our tour guide is CM Joe. He's a manager of... something. You know those brain cells. He was very good about being serious to the queen of hearts, a gangster, a couple of flappers and Humphrey Bogart. We're walked back to the first area you see on the Backlot Tours tram when you enter the costuming tunnel, Cutting and Sewing.

There are a good number of people still working, and we find out they're volunteers who were willing to shift their hours so the place wouldn't look dead and empty when we went through. A very nice gesture on their part, I think. There are some areas that work 24 hours, but generally it's a one shift operation. They have both a computer controlled vacuum cutting table (Laser? Probably.) and traditional methods of cutting cloth from patterns drawn out by a 60" (maybe it was a 72") plotter. There are probably a dozen sewing machines, some are special types that I couldn't remember even if I knew the trade. Then he asks if there are any questions.

You've all been there. You're a foreigner in a sea of computer geeks, or financial geeks, or automotive geeks or... Disney geeks, and they start talking in a language you don't understand. Well, Jenny says she has an unusual question, and asks something about seams or sizing or something that pretty much sailed over my head. I look over at Bogart, and he doesn't get it either. One other lady did. But Joe's face lit up. One sewing geek to another. It probably made Joe's day.

Jenny has about 50 questions, and pretty much sets Joe up for the rest of the tour. Millenary, felting, and other ancient, archaic arts are brought up and Joe discusses it through the rest of the tour. How they hide zippers and seams, or how they find the cloth they need for a particular job.

We move from cutting and sewing to view some artwork and other things in the area where they do embroidery, and discuss what they do here, and what they do elsewhere. Most patches, for instance are made elsewhere, but they have done a few. They do a lot of costumes for other parks and resorts. This is a big operation. We pass a coffee machine with real coffee. No Nes.. Nesc... that other stuff here...

We stop by the place that does the final assembly, and the fact they have a storage system much like a dry cleaner. Some of the tags are generic uniforms, others have specific names of CM's on them, which are the custom outfits for those specific characters.

Completely isolated from the other parts of the building is the cad-cam area which has a huge plotter to draw out patterns to be cut, or they can just send the file to the cutting table. In another area, we take a look at some preliminary patterns and mock-ups, just to give the people they're making the costume for an idea of what it will look like. Pants with no waist, only legs. We even see some finished pieces of fairly elaborate costumes ready to ship.

We pass a couple of black booths, and are told they're the 3D fitting system to custom fit costumes to people. It's done in seconds, and it takes longer for the person to get into the outfit that's scanned.

We're led to the lobby, which is themed, and the only place we can take pictures. He describes some of the problems when reducing the size of a costume, since the material doesn't always want to behave the same when made smaller.

All in all, it's pretty interesting experience. It also pretty much says that if DHS expands, costuming will probably remain here. It would be pretty hard to move.

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Lucasfilm put R2D2 and C2PO in The Well of Souls, so Disney did too! And would this be a hidden Mickey?

Dinner in Great Movie Ride

We're told it's time to leave, and we exit costuming onto a wet and soon to be raining street. I'm not exactly sure what the holdup is, but we are held up for about 15 minutes, at which time we follow the guys with red flashlights, and pop on-stage next to One Man's Dream, and cross Mickey Avenue to The Great Movie Ride.

We get the whole experience, and go through the queue to the pre-show where the trailers are playing, and enter the loading area, only we don't get on vehicles, we go down the stairs, and are met by the D23 cast in Haunted Mansion duds. Excellent. We have drinks and appetizers in Singing in the Rain/Mary Poppins.

Dinner in Great Movie Ride, Reception
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Dinner is in Gangster/Cowboy. I don't remember the exact names (it was too dark for food porn), but the meal consisted of BBQ Short Ribs (shredded with a fork), some form of mahi-mahi, green beans with mushrooms, smoked potatoes au gratin, corn bread, and a very good chicken corn chowder.

One of the D23 guys in HM dress sat next to me, and it pretty cool that the D23 reps are so available. We get around to discussing D23, and I tell him while the events at WDW have been outstanding, Fanniversary is probably the smartest move they've made. Turns out he's Justin Arthur, one of the Disney archivists, who's hosted several of the second series of Fanniversary events. He agrees, the fans have been great everywhere he's gone. (He did the one in Seattle...) I really like talking to these guys, after all, you never know if something you say might influence a decision in later years. ;-)

The gangster section was entertained by a piano player and... a gangster and flapper. Hmmm... The Cowboy section was entertained by the Frontierland band (you know, those three guys walking the line before a parade) and a roaming CM giving everyone a hard time...

Dinner in Great Movie Ride, Dinner
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After dinner, it was a slow walk through New Joisey (or maybe it was Alien), then The Well of Souls (with Mickey, Donald, C3P0 and R2D2), Horror, Tarzan and Casablanca (with Humphrey Bogart... and Humphrey Bogart), then dessert in Oz.

Dinner in Great Movie Ride
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Ah, dessert. Dark Forest Chocolate Decadence Raspberry Gel, Wicked Witch Pistachio Cannoli, Auntie Em Apple Cake, Yellow Brick Caramel Milk Cake, Ruby Strawberry Panna Cotta, complete with Glenda the Good Witch of the North. No, she was a real person, one of the actors that move around the crowd...

I was able to get a picture starting on the yellow brick road before the manager came and shooed us away from climbing on the sets.

It was topped off by the management bringing the Oz set to life, complete with an appearance by the Wicked Witch. (See the Video Index for video of the closing scene.)

We moved on through Emerald City, and I got a picture, something I could never get in a moving vehicle. We gathered in the final room for the closing movie just like on the ride. The Millennium Falcon blasts off into hyperspace, the doors open, we applauded our tour guide as much as we do the evening, and walk up the stairs and out the exit doors.

Now that's the way to do The Great Movie Ride.

Dinner in Great Movie Ride, Dessert in Oz
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Bathrooms were a bit of a problem, like there weren't any. If you had to use the facilities, a CM (with a red flashlight) accompanied you to the door of the bathroom, to make sure you didn't get lost, I guess. Okay, so it just might be interesting to check out TSMM after hours. The nearest bathroom is in American Idol. It's both weird and cool being in an empty park.

As we exit, I take pictures of the mostly deserted park, and we walk out the front gates. My car was 100 feet beyond the buses we would take, and with the parking lot and roads mostly deserted, we were back at the resort in minutes. Without the walk from the bus stop.

Disney Hollywood Studios
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I'm asleep about midnight. Way past my bedtime. But it was a very good day.
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End Sept 2012 Trip Report - Part 7.

Jump to: Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6 Part 7 Part 8 Part 9 Part 10

  • 11/08/2012 - Page Added
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