Time Travelling to Disneyworld

I’ve been on leave from work this week, which has meant I’ve been looking for fun travel-substitutes to do while in lockdown. And my main activity has been a time-travelling visit to Disneyworld.

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What does that mean? It means, I’m watching ride-through videos from Disneyland Florida and the EPCOT Center. But the catch is, I’m only watching vintage videos from rides which are either no longer in operation, or have changed substantially from their original conception.

If this is something you’d like to do too, I’ve compiled a little tour of the best ride-throughs I’ve been able to find (will update if I can find better), plus some useful documentaries and sites on the history of Disney theme parks that I’ve picked up along the way.

Disneyworld

20,000 Leagues Under The Sea

Snow White’s Scary Adventure

Mr Toad’s Wild Ride (this one’s USP was that you get a slightly different ride on each track, unlike other dual-track rides; the linked video goes through each multiple times).

America Sings

Original Space Mountain post-show, The Home of Future Living (straight ride-through here) (compilation here)

EPCOT Center

Journey Into Imagination

Captain EO

Horizons (straight ride-through, with a little bit of documentary footage; ride-through without the documentary, but lower quality, here)

Horizons (extended ride-through complied from multiple sources)

Universe of Energy (straight ride-through; poor visibility warning but this is literally the only copy of the original version of the pre-show and ride I could find)

Universe of Energy (extended ride-through complied from multiple sources)

Kitchen Kabaret

El Rio del Tiempo

Maelstrom

And to conclude your day, the IllumiNations fireworks show from 1991….

 

Background Stuff

Martin’s Tributes to Universe of Energy and Horizons (with background and history as well as ride-throughs)

The Mesa Verde Times (behind the scenes on Horizons)

Defunctland

 
Now, go stand in a shower with the heat on full blast, eating an overpriced hot dog and drinking a Pepsi, and buy a T-shirt with mouse ears or the CommuniCore on it or a stuffed toy of Figment, and your visit to Florida in the 1980s will be complete.

Haw Par Villa, Singapore: A Photoessay

I go to Singapore to teach at least once a year, which is good, because I like Singapore. And one of the most amazing things in Singapore is Haw Par Villa. Which, because it largely defies description, I’m going to show you in pictures rather than telling a funny story.

What most people know about Haw Par Villa, if they know anything at all about it, is its famous set of dioramas depicting the Seven Hells of Buddhist folklore. And yes, you certainly can see the damned facing horrible forms of punishment:

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Which, apparently, their victims can watch before going on to their own judgment, which seems rather schadenfreude-heavy to me:
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But that’s, if anything, the most conventional part of the park. For one thing, the park was set up by the people who invented (or packaged and marketed, anyway) Tiger Balm, and one can occasionally run into the ghosts of Tiger Balm mascots past:
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Or a pitched battle between the rats and the rabbits, no, I don’t know either.

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Or scenes from Chinese legends, some recognisable, some less so (even to people in the relevant culture; Malay Chinese friends I’ve asked have struggled to explain some of these).IMG_0552IMG_0567

(this one’s from Journey to the West: Pigsy at his most terrifying)IMG_0639

(According to the plaque, this one depicts the Seven Lucky Gods doing battle with Neptune, who must have wandered in from some other mythological canon)IMG_0667

Then there’s the anthropomorphic animals, similarly ranging from the cute to the disturbing:

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OK, mostly the disturbing.IMG_0610

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There are also more conventionally represented animals, albeit, one suspects, rendered by a sculptor who’s never actually seen one:
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Along with some really quite beautiful gods and heroes

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And, finally, you can take a trip round the monuments of the world!IMG_0668

If you’re in Singapore and want to visit for yourself, here’s a map. There’s way more than I could put in a single blog post, so do go see it.