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D-Tales #1: Mr. Toad Among Hidden Disney Tributes on the Streets of America at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

D-Tales #1: Mr. Toad Among Hidden Disney Tributes on the Streets of America at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

On an unassuming corner in the Streets of America area of Disney’s Hollywood Studios sits a display case, passed by thousands of people every day who don’t give it a second glance.

It turns out they are glancing over some of the finest examples of those famous Disney details, in this case taking the form of subtle tributes and inside jokes.


Video: D-Tales #1: Mr. Toad Hidden Disney Tributes at Disney’s Hollywood Studios


The window in question is labeled Susie’s Speed Shop, and it’s filled with automotive knick-knacks. One photograph near the top shows an antique car in front of a garage labeled WED Motors. WED is not only Walter Elias Disney’s initials, but also the name of the company he founded to build Disneyland–it would later be renamed Walt Disney Imagineering.

Stacks of oilcans display the “brands” Clyde, Peet and Holloway, which turn out to be names associated with Disney history. Bill Peet was an artist involved with every Walt-era animated feature, and Sterling Holloway was a prolific voice actor whose credits include the original voice of Winnie the Pooh. But Clyde might be harder to decipher initially – after all, it’s a common name – unless you figure out how all these names are related.

It turns out that the “Susie” for whom this window display is named comes from Susie The Little Blue Coupe, a 1952 Disney animated short. For proof, look no further than Susie’s silhouette, complete with a distinctive nose shape, in the window display. This one short is the key to understanding the names honored here. Sterling Holloway was a voice actor in the cartoon, which was directed by Clyde Geronimi. Though usually an artist, Bill Peet was the writer of this particular short.

Bill Peet is mentioned a second time in the display case, this time as “Bill Pete” on a nearby trophy.

A second trophy mentions the STOLPORT DRAG STRIP L.B.V., a reference full of Disney secrets. L.B.V. stands for Lake Buena Vista, the generic name for the Walt Disney World area. A STOLport is a type of airport designed for Short Take-Off and Landing (STOL) operations–in other words, a shorter than usual single runway. Walt Disney World has a STOLport, normally hidden from public view. Since runways are straight, it would make an idea drag strip!

A third trophy for the “Hot Rod – Best in Show” has a familiar-looking car at the top: it’s from Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, a fondly-remembered dark ride from Fantasyland in the Magic Kingdom, later replaced by the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.

These inside jokes and tributes are some of the best examples of those famous Disney details designed to immerse the visitor fully, but in this case, done with a sly wink to history.


About Kevin Yee

After working for 15 years at Disneyland, Kevin moved to the East Coast, where he has been a weekly visitor of Walt Disney World since 2004. Kevin is the author of Walt Disney World Hidden History (second edition). This book tracks Disney “hidden history” — remnants of former attractions and tributes to Imagineers as well as other Disney officials — hiding in plain sight in the parks. The second edition of the book has now been released with 164 new entries, almost doubling the amount of remnants and tributes discussed.

Whether tribute or remnant, each item discussed starts with something visible in today’s parks; the idea is that this is something you could visit and see with your own eyes, and then appreciate the historical thinking behind it. For the first time, this edition now includes a photo of every item discussed so you’ll know what to look for.

The Kindle version costs $6.99. (You can also read a Kindle book on PC or Mac even without a Kindle device – the software itself is free.)


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Topics: Disney, Disney's California Adventure, Disneyland Resort, Entertainment, Theme ParksTags: ,

Oswald the Lucky Rabbit made his meet and greet debut at Disney California Adventure today in front of a small crowd of excited fans.

After first appearing in a recent annual passholder event, Oswald is now making daily appearances at the Disneyland Resort on Buena Vista Street, not far from the gas station-themed store named after him.

The Confluence Covers was there when Oswald first appeared in the park, sharing video with us.

Here’s a look back at Oswald’s cavalcade from the annual passholder event a couple weeks ago:

Oswald first appeared as a theme park character back in April 2014 in Tokyo Disneyland, but the character himself has been around since 1927, predating Mickey Mouse.


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Topics: Entertainment, Special Events, Theme Parks, Universal Orlando, Universal Studios FloridaTags: , , , ,

Late tonight and with very little warning, Universal Orlando launched a new component to Halloween Horror Nights 2014 called The Compound.

After a brief 8 minute countdown, HHNCompound.com revealed a recording from a mysterious voice indicating The Compound is a group banding together to survive the impending horrors. With “weeks” to prepare, web site visitors are encouraged to join.

A chained lock and key prevent access.

The code RECON was delivered by reversing the recording, shared by fans via hashtag #HHNCompound on Twitter, revealing upcoming activities that are part of The Compound.

The Compound will include a “Survivor Meet-up” for up to 30 fans to participate in on Saturday, September 27 from 2-6 PM EDT.

It will include deserts from chefs at Hard Rock Hotel, Syfy Faceoff contestant David “Doc” O’Connell, an HHN make-up artist, and a lights-on tour of the “Halloween” house, including Mike Aiello.

Meet-up attendees will be chosen in a number of ways in the coming week ahead, none particularly clear at the moment, described on the web site.

Once Halloween Horror Nights begins on September 19, fans will take photos at specific locations in the park. A guide will be posted online as well.

From there, new “recon missions” will take place every single night of the event.

This has the makings of becoming this year’s version of Legendary Truth, a long-running experience that has engaged fans in and outside of the park with a story-driven narrative and special activities.


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Topics: Disney, Disneyland, Disneyland Resort, Entertainment, Special Events, Theme ParksTags: ,

As Halloween Time begins at Disneyland, Jack Skellington once again descends upon The Haunted Mansion, making it over into Haunted Mansion Holiday.

This year’s version is largely the same as 2013, featuring the same projection upgrades and other special effects. But for 2014 there is a spooky new zombie gingerbread house in the ballroom.

The full experience can be seen in the ride through video below, courtesy of Shawn Marshall at The Confluence Covers.


Video: FULL Haunted Mansion Holiday 2014 ride through at Disneyland


Video: Zombie gingerbread house in Haunted Mansion Holiday 2014 at Disneyland




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“Frozen” ride announced for Walt Disney World in 2016 to replace Maelstrom at Epcot, “Frozen” Christmas also revealed

“Frozen” ride announced for Walt Disney World in 2016 to replace Maelstrom at Epcot, “Frozen” Christmas also revealed

Frozen” is returning to Epcot in a big way.

After much rumor and speculation, today Walt Disney World has announced and confirmed that a new “Frozen” ride is officially coming.

“I’m pleased to say that we’re starting construction at Walt Disney World Resort on a brand new ‘Frozen’ attraction at the Norway Pavilion in Epcot,” wrote Tom Staggs on the Disney Parks Blog. “The new attraction, which replaces Maelstrom, will take our guests to Arendelle and immerse them in many of their favorite moments and music from the film.”

Also included will be a new meet-and-greet for Anna and Elsa in Norway.

The last day of operation for Maelstrom is Oct. 5, 2014. The new “Frozen” attraction is expected to be completed by early 2016. The Norway pavilion will remain open in the meantime.

In addition, starting November 5 for this holiday season, “Frozen” characters will also be part of Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party as Queen Elsa will ice over Cinderella Castle every night. Anna, Elsa, Kristoff, and Olaf will join “Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade.”

The parade is offered during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, select nights Nov. 7-Dec. 19, 2014 and presented daily Dec. 20-31, 2014.

The “Frozen Summer Fun” event has also been extended at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Florida. The “Frozen” sing-along show will continue and Wandering Oaken’s Trading Post will relocate closer to that show. A new play area with real snow will also be featured.

It certainly won’t be the first time “Frozen” characters have been prominently featured in a Disney park. Olaf currently sits atop a cottage at Disneyland in California as Anna and Elsa meet and greet inside:

Meet-and-greets for the “Frozen” sisters have been equally popular at Walt Disney World, first appearing in Epcot’s Norway pavilion, later moving to the Magic Kingdom to accommodate the high demand.

But none of that will compare to the excitement and hype that will surely surround the upcoming “Frozen” ride. This time Disney will prepare Epcot properly for “Frozen” fever.

The Maelstrom boat ride in Epcot’s Norway pavilion has been a long-standing favorite for many Disney fans, repeatedly going “back, back, over the falls.”

But despite some Disney fans proclaiming that adding the hit animated film to Epcot’s World Showcase ruins its original intent and theme, “Frozen” fans will no doubt flock to the park as soon as it opens for a chance to sail through Arendelle for the first time in forever.


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