Whats up with the sword and the stone at the Magic Kingdom? The ads show kids pulling the sword out of the stone but it always seems solid whenever I touch it.
Once upon a time, way back in the 1990s, there was actually a “Sword in the Stone Ceremony”, where Merlin chose a child from the crowd to pull the sword out of the stone (usually after having several larger, more beefed up adults try and fail) and that child was given a medallion and a certificate and named Ruler of the Realm for the day.
While the show started at Disneyland in 1983, the version at the Magic Kingdom officially opened ten years later, and ended with a final performance August 15, 2006.
According to Wade Sampson, staff writer at MousePlanet.com, and author of Confessions of a Walt Disney World Merlin, “officially – the fact that Merlin’s show negatively impacted the flow into the new Mickey’s PhilharMagic attraction was the reason for the decade long show being canceled. Unofficially, it saved a lot of operating cost, not only for the character, but the support technician and equipment and the attention to the wig and costume of a character who only appeared at the Magic Kingdom.”
If you want to know how the show worked and the sword was “removed”, read on. If you want to save the magic, don’t!
In Confessions of a Walt Disney World Merlin, Sampson interviews Disney historian Jim Korkis. In addition to being a facilitator and animation instructor for the Disney Institute, a co-ordinator for College and International Programs, and a writer and researcher for special Disney Design Group projects, Jim was a “friend” of Merlin at the Magic Kingdom in 1995. He shares the following info on how the show ran:
"The tech guy was stationed up above Sir Mickey’s shop with a small electronic box to play the sound cues and hit the release for the sword to go up and down. He also had a folding chair and a small umbrella like one from a patio table. As part of my training, I climbed the ladder up to the location to see that he could not see me very well, so it was important to stick to the script. When I responded to the mysterious Voice In the Sky [which was provided by the tech guy], I purposely looked the opposite way so that guests had no hint exactly where he was. The sword only came up halfway because you didn’t want a guest pulling out a full heavy sword and wielding it around and then having the challenge of trying to reset it."
If you’d like to read the script for the ceremony, check out the article.
Today’s Theme: The Magic Kingdom
I can’t wait to get there! I’ve already informed my family that I’ll be standing in line to meet princess and if they don’t want to wait with me, they’re free to go on rides or whatever while I wait.
Disney’s working with Starbucks to install 5-7 little stands around the parks now. The first one will be around California Adventure June 2012, I believe… They’ll have the usual frapps and then of course some Disney signatures.
— You’re absolutely right vintagehaarts. According to the official Disney Blog, the Starbucks locations inside the parks will most often be integrated into existing restaurants and cafes, in order to fit the theme of their surroundings. The cafés will serve Starbucks items, including coffee and espresso beverages, Frappuccino® blended beverages, and signature breakfast sandwiches and pastries. Guests also will have their choice of Disney favorites, including signature sandwiches and other items, as well as delicious desserts and sweet treats.
The finale of Fantasmic usually has all of the Disney characters on the riverboat, which makes its round in front of the rock facade. Right as it turns the corner behind the set, all the characters have to immediately return inside the boat so they avoid the firework fallout. However, the actress playing Ariel is actually belted to her seat for safety, and due to her costume, she cannot return inside the boat. Instead, she is covered with a fireproof blanket! If you are seated towards the very far left of the stadium, you can see her get covered as the boat heads backstage.
— Thank you to my anonymous tipster for this fact ;)
Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster accelerates from 0 to 57 miles per hour in 2.8 seconds (making this the second-fastest attraction at the Walt Disney World Resort, behind only Test Track) and reaces a max spead of 65 mph.
All cast members at The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror wear a costume that resembles that of a 1930s bellhop, and is the most expensive costume in any park in the world.
The queue for the new Star Tours: The Adventure Continues is populated with Audio-Animatronic characters, including C-3PO and R2-D2, that interact with one another and to guests. Also visible in line is Captain Rex from the original attraction, who, in accordance with the timeline of the rides, hadn’t been used yet, is defective, and is being sent back to a factory to be fixed. He will occasionally have a power surge and deliver a line from the first Star Tours.
On The Great Movie Ride at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, scenes from movies released by all major film studios are represented in the film montage, with one notable exception; there is no reference to any motion pictures released by Universal Studios(whose parent company operates the rival Universal Orlando Resort nearby).
Disneyland’s Fantasmic costs approx. $75,000 per showing. Walt Disney World’s version costs aprox. $45,000 per showing.
Fantasmic originated at Disneyland in 1992 after Disneyland’s entertainment department was asked to create a nighttime spectacular involving water and fireworks to invigorate the space in front of the Rivers of America. Disneyland Entertainment employed the resources of Walt Disney Feature Animation and Walt Disney Imagineering as collaborators. Much of the area around the Rivers of America needed to be reworked, including terracing the walkways to accommodate viewing and modifying part of Tom Sawyer Island so that it could act as a stage for much of the show’s live action.