Saturday, March 8, 2008

Disney & Vegas

The Blog Wore Tennis Shoes has put it's shoes back on! I spent the better part of a week in Las Vegas and an additional week laying on the sofa after slipping on the ice in my driveway and falling flat on my back (Chevy Chase style). So anyhow, my plan was to come back from Las Vegas with a few Disney related posts that would stand out from the normal "hey, look at this old thing I've saved" post. Unfortunately, that didn't happen. I was planning on photographing the heck out of the unique Disney Store in the Caesars Palace shops that I visited five years ago. However, after walking all over that mall and checking a mall directory, I discovered that Mickey has packed up his things and closed up shop. It's a shame because the Vegas Disney Store not only sold some exclusive Las Vegas/Disney merchandise, the space was had a fun Roman Times theme that played in with the rest of the Caesars Palace resort.

Another spot I was planning on milking a blog post out of was the New York, New York Casino and Resort. This expansive property recreates the sights and sounds of The Big Apple very effectively. The exterior of the hotel captures the iconic New York City skyline in a stylistic manor similar to many of Epcot's World Showcase pavilions. The interior shops, casino and hotel lobby are reminiscent of the Streets of America backlot at the Hollywood Studios theme park. This is where I planned to be clever and snap pictures of all kinds of details and jokes like the ones found everytime you blink your eye at a Disney theme park. As much as New York, New York is detailed and feels authentic everything seems to serve a purpose. Shops and eateries aren't named with cute little puns, and the details on the buildings didn't seem to point to any kind of story being told. Signs advertise real businesses or services and building windows were dressed with little more than a lamp or a couple of books. The overall effect is pretty good, but it just doesn't work on that second level that a Disney park connoisseur has come to expect.

There are some similarities between Sin City and a Disney theme park. Some of these are probably borrowed from studying the various effective ways Disney seperates tourists from their money and the methods Disney entertains and handles larger crowds of people, while I'm sure some of my comparisons are just grabbing at straws or at least coincidences.

There's a Gift Shop for Everything At the MGM Grand they have a Lion Habitat in the casino with a few live lions on display. They also have a gift shop half the size of the attraction selling merchandise to commemorate your 50 second encounter with two lions behind a sheet of glass. At the Flamingo casino, singer Toni Braxton performs every night in a theatre that is not too far from a whole store (about the size of a 7-11) that sells nothing but Toni Braxton stuff. Who's paying top dollar to see Toni Braxton, is my first question and second, Who needs a Toni Braxton store?!? (Bonus Disney Connection: Toni Braxton once played Belle in Beauty and the Beast on Broadway.) Just about every show and attraction on the Las Vegas strip has a gift shop and/or merchandise.

3-D and 4-D Movies One of the most charming and unknown attractions on the Las Vegas Strip in a 3-D movie at M&M's World called "I Lost My M in Vegas". This movie uses similar tricks to the ones used in "Honey, I Shrunk the Audience" as you follow M&M's Red and Yellow on a wild and wacky adventure. Before the movie, guests make their way through a very elaborate queue that, due to it's smaller size, manages to pull off a few gags that Disney couldn't do in their lines. There's even automatic doors at the end of the queue. In Vegas, there are also ride simulators galore, some of them using 3-D glasses. Star Trek is represented at the Las Vegas Hilton, the Luxor has a King Tut themed ride, Spongebob is currently taking up residence at the Excalibur, and you can ride along with Marvin the Martian at Circus Circus. And that's just a short list.

Overpriced Soft Drinks Three bucks for a 20 oz. Coke!?! Disney World must have their drinks shipped in from Vegas!

Monorail! Who doesn't love a good monorail system? Vegas' looks an awful lot like the Disneyland/Disney World monorails, except they they've sold the entire inside and out to advertising. The Vegas monorail was put in in 2004 and runs the length of the strip from the MGM Grand up to the Sahara. It's the first fully-automated, driverless urban transportation system, and that would have impressed Walt himself! There's even a distinct recorded announcer that guides you along your journey, who cracks jokes including making a few comparisons to the Disney monorails. more Disney & Vegas thing: You may remember a comedy special that aired on The Disney Channel a long time ago called "Who's In Charge Here? The Ronn Lucas Special". Ronn's a ventriloquist with a cast of crazy puppets and his special ran on The Disney Channel for several years. Ronn Lucas performs every afternoon at 3:00pm at the Luxor. I was lucky enough to catch his show and it was fantastic. He even talked Disney into letting him release the old TV special on DVD, which he sells after the show. Now that's a rare DVD for your collection!
Thanks for checking back in with The Blog Wore Tennis Shoes and keep checking back in for more new stuff on a regular basis!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I paid to see Toni. She's the sexiest performer in Vegas.