August 22nd, 2001 - I've decided to give these old pages a new home. The content is old, but perhaps it is still useful.
The Tower of Terror is back with an enhanced ride program which takes you up and down the shaft many more times, overall (in my opinion) reducing the feeling of dropping but greatly adding to the length of the ride. Sounds also seem to have been enhanced.
The big news is, of course, the addition of the Rock 'n' Roller Coaster featuring music by Aerosmith. The building in themed to a (cheap) and boring recording studio -- G-FORCE RECORDS. After going through the lobby you enter a recording studio. Listen close to the doors and you can hear guitars, drums, etc., as if bands are actually in the room doing recording. There are a few displays (on of amplifiers and the other of tape/record/CD players) with amusing notes on the history of the items by folks such as Cass Ette and Mike Rophone. (sp?) Soon you enter the studio where Aerosmith is recording. Strangly, they seem to be rerecording "Walk This Way" (one of my favorite tunes) and you look through a glass window in a full studio with instruments all set up. Across the room you see a "window" looking into the control booth where the band is (by way of high resolution projection). The manager barges end, saying they need to get across town to their gig, and the next thing you know everyone has back stage passes and a special stretch limo (fast!) has been ordered to take us all to the show.
This coaster is fully indoors and features three inversions. The launch system uses, apparently, linear induction to catapolt the coaster from 0 to 60 in under 3 seconds. The ride is mostly in the dark as light up (blacklight) flat displays of California landmarks appear. A loud soundtrack featuring hits by Aerosmith edited together. There are five different cars, themed like a stretch limo, each with a different sound track. Car #4 (identified by the license plate) has a bit of original music at the end where Aerosmith sing "Love in a Roller Coaster" at the end.
Upon exiting at an area that seems like an upscale parking area at a hotel, you are greeted by a large screen of concert footage of Aerosmith endlessly thanking the screaming audience. The gift shop is stocked with TONS of items from drum sticks and guitar picks on up to shirts and jackets with the logo. Great stuff! Well done!
More later...October 1998 Disney/MGM Studios Infobits
The Disney Studios was closing at 7:30 p.m. which is also when the new Fantasmic show started. I rushed over to see if I could make it and 15 minutes until that time the tram driver informed us the show was full, but a 9:30 p.m. performance would be held and the park would stay open for two more hours! WOW! Unfortunately, the confusion was apparent an most of the park was closing. Star Tours, The Great Movie Ride, and Tower of Terror were the only rides open, and most of the shops closed except a few food places. After taking in a few rides, and noticing that Ellen's Buy the Book was now Disney's Buy the Book, I went to see how the Fantasmic line was going. 9000 folks can fit in the theater, standing and sitting. Yikes!
While over there (the crowds were MASSIVE letting out from the 7:30 performance) I got to take a sneak peak at the massive ride building for the upcoming Rock and Roller Coaster. This thing was HUGE! We are talking one MAJOR indoor coaster here. It is expected to open next year, and features a storyline of a rock act excaping in a strech limo. The coaster features a loop and linear induction to launch it from 0 to 60 with no lift chain. Neat! I can't wait for this. On-board sound is also supposed to happen. This sounds alot like the Space Mountain at Disneyland Paris to me.
Anyway, we all stoon in line and at about 9:15 they informed us the show would not happen -- technical problems. Many were verbal at how upset they were but I wasn't. This was unadvertised and just a lucky bonus. If nothing else, we got to hang out in the park and ride a few things hours after their posted closing. I didn't feel mad and, in fact, even filed a written compliment with Guest Services. They did a great job trying to calm the few-dozen folks who showed up trying to complain about not getting something they were not promised :-) Give it a rest, folks. It's a new show and if 9000 people want to see it before you, show up earlier next time. I am as dissapointed as anyone else to not get to see it at 7:30, but that's life.
Oh, one odd thing! More than 20 wandering street vendors took care of folks in lines selling popcorn, soda, caramel corn in collector's buckets, glow swords (ugh), glow neclaces, and even ... BEER! That's different. A juggler and stilt-walker were even on hand to entertain us. Thanks, Disney! Good show.
I should mention that many folks did have special invitation cards for a 9:30 showing, which was apparently for cast members only. The park decided to let us normal folks in too -- it seems alot of cast members were complaining with Guest Services too. Oh well.
Earlier this year, I reported on some changes at D/MGM such as the Coca Cola mist generators and new sounds coming from windows around New York Street. It turns out MGM has been busy doing even more slight updates to the street areas. Many fire hydrants now squirt water, turning them into a nice cool-down spot for the kiddies. Also, at Star Tours I noticed a few things which I think may not be new, but might not have been working previously. The AT-AT outside the Star Tours queue fires off mist and emits laser sounds every so often, and at night the Ewok village is illuminated with sounds coming from it. How long has it been this way? This seems familiar, but I don't recall the AT-AT firing like it does now (though I am sure it did and I never saw it when it was working). Anyone know?
The studio tour still ends with a walk-thru of sets from 101 Dalmations, but the sound stages are now the home for the new Mortal Kombat television show. Disney certainly has changed. Just a few years ago, Mortal Kombat was getting all kinds of flak due to the violent nature of it all. Now, it is something you go see at Disney World.
Look for pictures at my FTP photo archive site from today as well as more posted Saturday and Sunday night, then a new batch the following weekend. Follow the link into WDW and then NEW to find them.
Wow, they've been busy at MGM! All the construction walls that were up during my last visit are gone now. The former "looney bin" at the exit of the Backstage Tram Tour is now a Goosebumps area. All the cartoon sound effects boxes now play spooky noises, and all the souvineers are halloween-type stuff (masks and the like). Also, nearby was a Goosebumps stage show next to a "fun house" created just for the event.
On the tram tour itself, after residential street where the "used car lot" used to be they now feature props from George of the Jungle and the theme song plays as you pass. Some vehicles from Starship Troopers have been added to the boneyard.
Over on Sunset Boulevard there is a Planet Hollywood merchandise shop now. And, the Indianna Jones stunt show features the original ending again where the German mechanic gets "chopped" by the airplane (he is engulfed in smoke and dissappears into a trap door as the plane passed over him). For some reason, this ending has been missing since 94-95. I was very glad to see it back - having him just get shot and fall down wasn't quite as exciting.
Oh, we also got to eat at the Sci-Fi Drive In finally. Very neat place, and the cast members there really have fun with some of the clips they must no doubt see over and over and over.
More updates if I think of anything else I noticed...