theme parks

They found the Moby Dick!

Remember my mild obsession with submerged animatronics (and animatronics in general?) Well it experienced a resurgence a few weeks ago when I learned via Twitter that the remnants of Moby Dick, one of the most terrifying submerged animatronics ever made, were lost ages ago and never found.

Some FASCINATING stuff on that Twitter thread about the Moby Dick whale of Pleasure Island. (not my own lost Pleasure Island, a different one.) Can you imagine seeing it in action and up close?!

Anyway (possibly as a result of that tweet?) someone got hold of an underwater drone and they FOUND IT! Found proof that it’s still in the original lake! Check it out.

Hmmm maybe someone should write a book about this, the relentless hunt for a white whale. Anyone got a good idea for a title?

Exploring an abandoned theme park!

Pleasure Island at Cleethorpes has been closed since 2016, a fact that depresses me slightly since I loved it as a kid. So while in the area last week me and Dave stopped and took some pictures of its ruins.

Don’t worry, we didn’t actually go in! It’s covered in barbed wire, more bafflingly there’s a trench built all the way around it, and there’s a security dog too.

There he is!

So we just got as close to the fence as possible and stuck the camera through increasingly tricky gaps.

Here’s the fairytale-like entrance to the park, not such a fairytale anymore.

Broken things everywhere.

Some castles left to rot behind barbed wire.

Who even smashed these windows?

The remains of one of the rides I remember best from Pleasure Island, the water side. It used to stand a bit taller.

A few misc buildings round the back, and a warning message.

RIP, Pleasure Island. Here it is in happier times.

Vintage Disneyworld: 1994 UK promotional video!

Slowly I’m going through all my family’s old VHS tapes and here’s a good one! A 1994 promo video from the UK airline Unijet, showing off all that Disneyworld and Florida had to offer to Brits.

Features footage of some now-defunct attractions including Pleasure Island, River Country, Spectromagic, and the Honey I Shrunk the Kids Movie Set Adventure (my favourite when I was a kid.) Oh, and a robot Bill Clinton.

Fun fact: For YEARS I assumed this goddamn video was the cause of my annoying-but-far-from-debilitating submechanophobia. I definitely remember that as a child I saw a clip of the Universial Studios Jaws ride and it terrified me no end. I always thought it was on this video… But why would a Disney promo video be promoting the competition? (Even in the Florida montage at the end I don’t think there’s any Universal Studios stuff!) So hmmm, maybe I’ll stumble upon that damn shark in a different video one day.

Vintage Disneyland: DLP in 2001!

Poor old Disneyland Paris, it was always the underdog of the Disney parks, insofar that anything pulling in millions per year can be an underdog. It’s considered the worst of the Disneys. But it’s not, I promise you it’s not! It has its own French flavour and I really love it.

And here’s what it looked like in 2001…

I’m a big fan of animatronics and DLP hosts two terrific ones: the Dragon and the Giant Squid. If you have submechanophobia like me, try not to think too hard about how the squid is cleaned and maintained, mmkay?


A lesser-known animatronic in the park is this guy, the crocodile which sits outside of the Rainforest Cafe. He was still there as of 2017!




Here’s some shots of the parade through the Magic Kingdom. This was before the Studios part of the park opened, so no parades there.


But there was only one year to go until it DID open, so you could still see the entry gates and the water tower, you just couldn’t go in.


This is the Main Street Electrical Parade, which I’m sure looked MUCH better in real life. Sadly it exists no more, at least not in Paris. :(


And lastly… There’s no photos of me in here because I was hideous-looking in 2001, acne and puberty hit bad, so please enjoy this picture of the castle which I luckily am not in.

Vintage Disneyworld ’99: Esmeralda

Esmeralda was always my favourite of the Disney women. She wasn’t a princess but I didn’t care. (This was before Disney really started pushing the ‘princess’ thing anyway.) She doesn’t appear in the Disneyland parks anymore ever from what I can tell. Disney just kinda quietly ignores their version of Hunchback of Notre Dame, probably because… well… if you’ve seen it you’ll know.

But then I found this old Disney autograph book in a drawer and in it was-

This was kinda interesting to me even though I could not remember meeting either of them AT ALL. (I was still a pretty young kid after all.) And also there was no date on the autograph book because children don’t think to date things! So those autographs could’ve been either from 1996 (when HOND actually came out) or 1999. But I have SO FEW MEMORIES of going to Disneyworld in 1996! That’s what the photos are for, to remind me, but honestly I kinda look at them and a lot of the time there isn’t any memory attached.

But a week or two ago I found this tiny little keyring photo album thingy, all the way from the late 90s. You could print out tiny little versions of photos (or get your parents to do so) and store them in a photo album so small you could carry it around with you on your bag or keys. Yeah… that’s what we all did before phones.

So I flipped through the teeny keyring album a couple of times. It was all pictures from our trip in 1999, which I do remember a bit better. And after looking more closely suddenly I realised there was one photo hidden behind another. I pulled it out and…

There was an Esmeralda in Disneyworld in 1999! I don’t know if she was the one who gave me the autograph or if that was a different ’96 Esmeralda, but hey she hung on for a few years in the park after Hunchback of Notre Dame came out and before Disney got cold feet about the contents of the film!

Thank you past me for hiding that photo away where I’d probably have never found it, ya dick.

Vintage Disneyworld: 1999 edition

Hey remember all my posts of photos from when my family went to Disneyworld in 1996? Well we went in 1999 as well (I was a spoiled kid) and only recently have I uncovered photos from that. There’s not nearly as many (I figure the rest will show up eventually) and they’re pretty small images but, wanna see?

Animal Kingdom would have just opened at this point I think. It was about a year old when this photo was taken!

I imagine I was probably pretty fascinated by the dinosaurs scattered around Animal Kingdom. I seem to remember the movie Dinosaur was being advertised in the park a lot and there was at least one “Dinosaur” themed ride? Alas, I fear it didn’t stand the test of time.

On the cable cars again! Those things must’ve been popular. So I guess the body of water on the right is the submarine lake with the submarines long gone.

Tomorrowland as viewed from the cable cars. I remember the racing car ride there but couldn’t say with any certainty what it was called.

The castle, presumably also viewed from the cable cars since there’s no crowds getting in the way.

Space Mountain, ditto. Is now a good time to point out I find the Disneyworld Space Mountain design so terribly dull? Feast your eyes instead on the Disneyland Paris one. It’s a WORK OF ART.

Oh but this is Spectromagic and that was also a work of art!

Right here is a blurry dolphin and my 13-year-old self wrote on the photo that this was at Epcot, they had dolphins at Epcot? Oh wait they did! And still do! I also gather animal rights activists aren’t happy about it and well, fair enough.

Elsewhere in Epcot, who’s this guy? This would have been at Innoventions, which was closed for good and reduced to rubble just last year, aww man. Oh here’s a video of him! I think his name is Starnac. Wonder where he is now.

Ah here is The Electric Umbrella! That name stuck in my mind for ages for some reason.

This is IllumiNations which took place over the Epcot lake! Also hooray, 90s cameras had evolved to be able to take pictures of fireworks at that point.

Minnie Mouse! Oh my GOD you can see my training bra under my shirt in this picture.

An AT-AT! That must be the building Star Tours was in?


Curiously the only Disneyworld ’99 snaps I do have in high definition are ones from Typhoon Lagoon. Here’s the Typhoon Lagoon boat!

In fact WAIT I have a picture of that boat from ’96 as well! So here’s the two side-by-side.

And that’s about it! (I really hope I find the rest some day though.)

You can repost the pictures of the attractions here, but please don’t repost any pictures with people in them!

Disneyland’s Splash Mountain To Be Reimagined With ‘Princess And The Frog’ Theme — Deadline

Splash Mountain, one of the mainstay rides at Disneyland whose theme was based on the Uncle Remus Br’er Rabbit story from Disney’s controversial 1946 film Song of the South, will be reimagined based on the animated film The Princess and the Frog. The news comes amid growing calls to change the ride’s theme in the…

Disneyland’s Splash Mountain To Be Reimagined With ‘Princess And The Frog’ Theme — Deadline

Eyyy! I have never actually been on Splash Mountain, only viewed it from a distance, but I’m really happy Disney is doing this. Tiana and TPATF have long been ignored by the theme park people.

I know from just a quick glance online that people are already complaining about this and I view their motives with extreme suspicion, as I have seen the original ride on a video and apart from the drop at the end it is utterly, utterly boring.

Two of my favourite things!

Those two favourite things being 1) The Terrifyingly Good Engineering Work That Goes Into The Disney Parks and 2) The Concept of Submechanophobia, Which I Definitely Have, But Viewed Safely From Behind A Computer Screen.

I am interested to know that the Disney submarine ride triggered submechanophobia in some people! But for me it was always that damn Jaws ride, an entire theme park away from the Magic Kingdom and now sadly departed. Can’t blame Disney for that one. I can blame them from not taking better care of their Nautiluses, Giant Squids and Sea Serpents though. Dammit Disney.

That Disneyparks parade fire

Hey remember when the Maleficent float caught fire in the Disneyworld parade a few years back? Today I was arsing about on the Internet with nothing to do and I found a closeup video of it.

And I must give A MASSIVE SHOUT-OUT to the poor actor playing Prince Philip and his wonderful facial expressions here.

“Hi kids! Don’t worry about what all those people opposite are looking at and I won’t either.”

“oh god it’s really close behind me isn’t it”

“keep it together man, keep it together”

“OH FUCKING HELL THE FUCKING DRAGON IS ON FIRE”

“Uh should I… do something? In… in character?”

“Yeah you know what I’m not paid enough for this”

“Oh crap I forgot to smile! THAT’S WAY WORSE! Crap crap crap crap!”

“Okay stay calm dude you can salvage this with a cape-flip. philip out.”