Thursday, October 30, 2014

Club 33 and New Orleans Square



I finally got the chance to see the changes to New Orleans Square for myself. The current view (above) of Club 33 from Café Orleans vs. the previous view (below). While it's all a matter of personal taste, this particular blogger is really not crazy about this version.



The original assortment of shops, restaurants, and façades seemed well executed and tastefully decorated. Due to space constraints, the additions to Club 33 have caused Imagineers to shoehorn a number of elements in that look…well, shoehorned in. This is what people often refer to as a "re-muddle."



I can't help but think that even though there is a lack of real estate to work with that there couldn't have been a much more tasteful solution. One that still took you to a different place and time. Not one that looks like it had been decorated by a salesperson at Home Depot or Michael's Craft Store.



One of the worst offenses is this ostentatious entrance to Club 33.



What was once a not-so-secret secret that casually blended into the background is not visible to all who walk by.



Here's what was there previously:



I believe this little grate on the door is an actual antique or a recasting of one, as I own one myself.



The doorbell doesn't quite mesh with the antique grate. It is a somewhat modern take on Art Nouveau:



These poorly executed stained "glass" (aka acrylic) doors also hurt. Nothing vintage or charming about them. Again…I am expressing a matter of taste. I am sure there are those out there who love these (BESIDES the people who designed them).





Meanwhile, changes to the Royal Court are occurring. Not enough progress to know what the Imagineers have in mind here.



What it formerly looked like:



What do you think of the "new" New Orleans Square?

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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Back to the Blue Bayou



Not having been to the park for quite some time, I had a real hankering for a Blue Bayou lunch. When it comes to atmosphere, this place is hard to beat. I noticed that the partitions in the waiting area had been removed.

The interior is just the same; cozy, intimate, and peaceful.



This time, my hand was steady enough to capture a panoramic view of the entire restaurant:



Love the little gazebo detail on the far left:



We were fortunate enough to get a water-side table, giving us views of the bayou:



and the guests who float gently by in their Pirates of the Caribbean boats:



I'd love to get lanterns like these; have always thought they were so cool:



My pork chop was tasty; very juicy and flavorful…and looked much better than this pitiful photo shows!



Last one for today is another table side shot, showing the gent in the rocking chair. I can hear the banjo strumming now...



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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Back to Big Thunder Mountain



Even though I am glad the tradition of "Picture Spots" has remained, it's still a little jarring to see the name Nikon instead of Kodak. The lovely view of Big Thunder Mountain makes for a great photo, regardless of the sponsor!



Tons of props make the line queue a breeze; hard to get bored here if you have any kind of thirst for visual detail.



SO glad that Rainbow Ridge survived the refurb; even though nobody lives here, it's great to see the buildings!



The dinosaur bones also remain; wouldn't it be cool if the Mine Train actually went THROUGH a gigantic dinosaur skeleton?!?



Just another previously unnoticed queue detail.



The first time I rode BTMRR after the refurb, I was placed in the middle of the train, which kind of sucked for photos. This time I requested the front, which also has its pros and cons. No people in front of you, but the cab blocks the center of most photos.



I was hoping to get a decent shot of the bats, but alas, it turned out too dark. I did get a few semi-decent shots of the Rainbow Caverns tribute:





I love the uphill climb of the Mine Train with the overhead spray:





And then the wild ride begins:



a bit blurry, but what can you expect? It's a friggin' roller coaster!





This attraction has some of the best artificial rock work, making for some really great shots against the deep blue sky.



Watch out for the snakes!



My favorite animal on the attraction:



Two more howling coyotes. You don't notice it as you are zipping through, but the photo shows their less-than-hidden base track.



And now it's time for a little fireworks, thus adding to the reason for dynamite being in the goat's mouth:



Uh oh…



Looks like it's gonna' blow!







The smoke and fire are impressive, but I still feel that the ride needs more of a "BOOM"!!



Love this view of Rainbow Ridge from the top:



…as you continue your quick descent back to the loading area.





If only my shutter speed had been set a bit quicker!



And now we can breathe, as the Mine Train slows down, passing by Rainbow Ridge:











Those prices aren't too bad!



Hope you enjoyed your virtual trip on BTMRR!

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