Episode 35: Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and Disney-MGM Studios

Welcome back to Beyond the Berm, where you are just in time for Episode 35!

To start things off, Matt talked about the upcoming Seven Dwarfs Mine Train ride at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, wondering if it will be open in time for his trip and how it will affect his FastPass+ plans. Are you looking forward to this latest addition to the Magic Kingdom? Let us know!

Update: Tom Staggs announced this morning that the Mine Train will open May 28, just in time for Matt’s trip! Make those FastPass changes now, Matt! Some other stuff was announced this morning, too. Maybe we should have waited to record our podcast until after their press event. Oh well, more to talk about next time!

Next, Steve reminisced about the early days of the Disney-MGM Studios, now known as Disney’s Hollywood Studios, which opened 25 years ago on May 1, 1989. In case you missed it, Steve posted some photos from those early days over at Burnsland.com, and here is another post of old photos, too.

After that, we rambled on about all sorts of minor topics: longest you have waited for a ride, to drive or to fly, RunDisney events, and much more. Listen in to see what all we covered. And what is the longest that you have ever waited for a Disney attraction? We want to know!

Listen in for all the fun of Beyond the Berm Episode 35!

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Star Wars Pictures In and Out of the Parks

With Disney’s acquisition of Lucasfilm, there are plenty of exciting opportunities to bring the saga of the Jedis vs. the Siths to the parks.  Disney began this even before the Lucasfilm purchase when it worked with George Lucas to bring Star Tours to the Disneyland, and later, the Disney-MGM Studios (now Disney’s Hollywood Studios).  The addition of the Jedi Training Academy at both parks continues this presence.

Below are a few of my favorite Star Wars-related photos that I’ve taken both inside the Disney theme parks and beyond the berm (click to see larger-sized images):

While I got my first — and only — fix of Star Tours at Disneyland, the full-sized AT-AT and Snowspeeder at Disney-MGM Studios is a much cooler entry point to the attraction than the simple spaceport terminal of Disneyland.

If the Jedi Training Academy had existed when I was young enough to participate in it, I think I would have been there at every performance hoping to get picked.  Can’t think of many things much cooler than taking on a Sith Lord and the opportunity for kids to wield a lightsaber and do a mock battle with Darth Vader or Darth Maul, pictured above, is a nice Star Wars-themed addition to the theme parks.

Steve mentioned going to see a Star Wars-related exhibit where he saw a model of the Landspeeder with a Six Million Dollar Man action figure.  Not sure if it was the same exhibit that I went to, partially because I don’t remember any Six Million Dollar Men on display, but at the California Science Center in Los Angeles, I had the opportunity to go to the “Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination” exhibit where this full-sized model of Luke’s transport was available for viewing.

One of my first Star Wars action figures was Luke Skywalker in his X-Wing Pilot outfit.  I’d also receive a Battle-Damaged X-Wing Fighter some time later.  Rather than my Kenner toy, this is a picture of Luke and R2D2 in an X-Wing on display at the aforementioned “Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination” exhibit.

We’re used to seeing C3P0 in his golden skin — or blasted apart in pieces in The Empire Strikes Back — but it was cool to be able to see him without his outer layer at the science exhibit.

One of the coolest displays at the science museum was one that featured Darth Vader’s mask.  By looking through the back of the glass case, you could literally see through the eyes of the Sith Lord himself.  All those spindles and circuitry doesn’t look that comfortable though.

And, finally, the United States Post Office had a promotion with Star Wars, which resulted in several mailboxes decorated like R2D2.  We were lucky enough to have one installed here in Burbank and I had to pull over to take a picture when I saw it.

With all the possibilities of more Star Wars stuff coming to the Disney theme parks, I’m looking forward to having the opportunity to get even more pictures of two of my favorite brands.