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Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Canada’s Wonderland reopening update; Wonderland celebrates 40th anniversary; Walt Disney World’s 50th.

UPDATE: Canada’s Wonderland is reopening on July 5 for Season Passholders and July 7 for All Guests - Tickets & Reservations Available Now

Learn more about our park safety protocols and reservation requirements, and buy your tickets now. All the details are here at these links:

https://www.canadaswonderland.com

https://www.canadaswonderland.com/welcoming-you-back

  (Previous feature story below)

  By Jim Fox

   It’s ironic that Walt Disney – the mastermind behind Mickey Mouse — was afraid of mice.

   Disney spent his life imagining a “magical dream” come true of creating theme parks as “happy places” for families to visit.

   They’ll be blowing out the candles on Oct. 1 to mark 50 years since the opening of Walt Disney World in Florida.

Mickey and Minnie Mouse will welcome guests in their new EARidescent costumes.       
   There will also be theme park memories for the 40th anniversary of Canada’s Wonderland, in Vaughan, north of Toronto, on May 31.

   Walt closely supervised the development of Disneyland in California in1955 while his brother Roy took over to complete Walt Disney World as a tribute to Walt after his death in 1966.

   The dream was to create an innovative “destination resort” that would appeal to all ages.

   Soon after it opened, my wife Barbara and I honeymooned in Florida to see what all the hype was about.

   We were dazzled by this it’s-not-your-Coney Island-style amusement park beyond the Mad Tea Party giant spinning cups’ ride and the Jungle Cruise.


 
A passport cost just $5.75 for the opening of Walt Disney World. (Jim Fox photo)

   It wasn’t pricey then with general admission at $3.50 and for us almost adults $5.75for admission, 11 park adventures and monorail rides and all transportation.

   The opening featured the Magic Kingdom park and the Contemporary Resort, Polynesian Village and Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground as well as two golf courses.

   Within the kingdom were Fantasy, Tomorrow, Frontier and Adventure l ands along with Liberty Square and Main Street businesses and souvenir outlets.

   Now the resort still has the four theme parks, two water parks, an expansive shopping and dining complex, 27 themed resort hotels and two more golf courses.

   One of the most endearing attractions from the start at Walt Disney World has been It’s a Small World.”

   Legendary attractions include “It’s a Small World” where boats cruise past a “jubilant chorus” of life-sized costumed child dolls from around the globe.

   There’s also EPCOT, the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow, a pet project of Walt’s that combines Future World and World Showcase.


 
Special anniversary lights will make Spaceship Earth resemble a starry night at Walt Disney World.

   Its pavilions highlight the customs and food of 11 countries including Canada.

   Over the years, added were the Disney-MGM Studios, Pleasure Island nightclub-themed park with theatres, Typhoon Lagoon water playground, Animal Kingdom zoo and Disney Vacation Club time-share accommodations.

   Disney liked to say it’s “the happiest place on earth,” and, yes kids, you can bring your parents.

   To find out more: disneyworld.disney.go.com/en_CA

   Wonderful, wonderful

   Canada’s Wonderland gave the country its first major roller-coaster-and-thrills theme park.

  

The retro wooden Mighty Canadian Minebuster was one of the five original coasters when Canada’s Wonderland opened.
 Now marking its 40th anniversary, there were 30 rides that first year and it remains Canada’s largest theme park.

   It now has 17 coasters, making it one of the top three destinations of its kind in the world.

   Five of the coasters were operating when the park opened: Dragon Fyre, Ghoster Coaster, Mighty Canadian Minebuster, Thunder Run and Wilde Beast.

   Minebuster was one of three wooden coasters and remained in service for 29 years.

   It was modelled after Shooting Star, a coaster at the smaller Coney Island amusement park in Cincinnati.


Crowds turned out on the 1981 opening day at Canada's Wonderland.

For kids, there was Happy Land of Hanna-Barbera and the tamer Ghoster Coaster, a junior wooden ride, and now there’s Planet Snoopy and KidZville.

   The Kingswood Music Theatre debuted in 1983, Splash Works in 1982 and in 1997, Drop Tower, later renamed Scream Zone.

   Its star attraction is Yukon Striker, featuring a 90-degree drop into an underwater tunnel and called the world’s longest, tallest and fastest dive coaster at 130km/h.

   The park now has more than 200 attractions including 77 rides and Splash Works. canadaswonderland.com

    Zoom, Zoom

    It’s tough to plan a celebration when you’re stuck in the middle of a pandemic.

   But the shows must go on and if not there in person, Walt Disney World and Canada’s Wonderland have numerous virtual visits and videos online on YouTube and elsewhere of events in their parks.

   There are also numerous roller coaster videos on social media as the white-knuckle thrill seekers wait to get back into the parks.

   Disney’s event is called the “World’s Most Magical Celebration,” and runs for 18 months.

  

  For the 20th anniversary, there was a carnival of Disney characters at a street party. 

 Events named so far include Cinderella’s Castle decorated with ornaments, a special anniversary crest and gold bunting. At night, the castle will appear to be covered in pixie dust.

   Mickey and Minnie’s costumes will feature varying shades of EARidescent purple and teal fabric.

   Each park icon will become a “Beacon of Magic” as they receive a new look via projection technology for the occasion.

   At night, the Tree of Life will appear to be covered with glimmering fireflies and “special new touches” will come to Hollywood Studios’ Tower of Terror.

   EPCOT will have new lights that will shine across the reflective panels of Spaceship Earth, “connecting to one another in a symbol of optimism resembling stars in a nighttime sky.” The iconic structure’s permanent new lighting will continue beyond the celebration as a defining feature of the park.

The super-fast and scary Yukon Striker brought the latest in coaster thrills to Wonderland.

   Canada’s Wonderland had wanted to mark the anniversary with a new attraction, Mountain Bay Cliffs, where visitors can experience the exhilaration of cliff jumping from a variety of heights into the water below.

   There was also to be the Beagle Brigade Airfield, a plane ride for kids, but no further special events have been announced.

-30-

Jim Fox can be reached at onetanktrips@hotmail.com

For more One-Tank Trips: http://1tanktrips.blogspot.ca  


 

Monday, May 10, 2021

The Canadian/U.S. Border Conundrum/Double Standard

 by William L. Seavey Author, AmeriCanada?  Cross Border Connections and the Possibilities for Our 'One Big Town' (Amazon)

My wife, Canadian-born (Ontario), is a permanent resident of the U.S. (who retains her Canadian citizenship).  She would dearly love to visit her home country again...sometime...soon.
 
Before Covid Canadians and Americans could pretty much travel freely across the northern border (the 49th parallel).  After all, the U.S. and Canada are allies, share a big continent, most speak English, and there is no issue about "illegal immigration" and undocumented workers or refugees as there is between Mexico and the southern U.S. 

Which makes what is going on right now rather crazy.

It is true that Canada has had some serious outbreaks of Covid in Ontario and British Columbia, two provinces we would like to visit.  Eleanor has kin in Ontario and a family member has a condo in Victoria.  We also have friends in Victoria who regularly apprise us of border issues. (We both are fully vaccinated).

It is true that many Canadians--at least those not involved with tourism--are or have been skeptical of the value of American visitation much less emigration.  During the Trump years there was rancor and even spitefulness.  Donald Trump forced a renegotiation of the NAFTA accord, which became USMCA-- insisting there was unfairness in trade due to Canadian tariffs.  So he imposed some tariffs of his own.  

Yet Canada has been our most stable trading partner as we have been its most dependable source for nearly everything except lumber and dairy products..  (Now, in turn, Biden has appeared to be punishing Canada by freezing the Keystone Pipeline project in deference to his proposals for encouraging "green" energy.)

But none of this seems to be the reason why Canada side border officials are making life difficult for returning Canadians and vacationing Americans.  And the U.S. is virtually banning Canadiian visitors (even innocuous snowbirds). In the case of  Americans, they are simply not welcome in Canada unless they are involved with needed cross border trade or have some government-oriented function that involves the two countries.  

Canadians who are "stuck" in the U.S. and who arrive by plane are now required to quarantine in their home country for three days in a government approved hotel (of which there are several dozen).  Many say that these hotels are much worse than quarantining in their own homes--staff often doesn't follow the rules for sanitizing baggage etc.  And  they can be subject to a $3000 fine for not doing it.  IF they test negative for Covid, they can then go home for the remaining 11 days--but still in quarantine,  Several hundred Canadians have already been given fines, according to the CBC.

Good grief.

As an American married to a Canadian, I could possibly get permission to visit Canada but would also have to quarantine.
Since a vacation is rarely more than two weeks for us, we'd be ready to go home by the time we were "let out."  That's a non-starter.

Just to be sure, you should check the Canadian embassies in major cities (such as in San Francisco) for the latest rules and regulations.  Hopefully, they will change for the better by late summer or early fall.   I promised Eleanor another trip on the Rocky Mountaineer for our anniversary.  The company must really be hurting without American tourists.

______Seavey website: retirementpossibilities.net.  Phone (805) 395-1174