- For some reason, I’ve been very hesistant to connect my iPod to iTunes today. I hope it syncs when I do finally connect it.
- We took this afternoon off to visit Universal Hollywood. They are now using a fingerprint reader for annual pass holders. I was curious to see some of the changes in store, such as the Curious George Wet Zone (not there yet), the removal of Marvel characters (not quite yet), and the progress on the Simpsons (there’s a fake Kwik-E-Mart). By the way, I do want to recommend the FunLand blog at the LA Times for theme park news, as well as the Re-Imagineering Blog.
- I finished the march through the highways that I started in December. Now I just have to make a pass to see if there were any oddities in the statutes, or if Nathan uncovered any early routes I need to add. I’m just not worrying about the Freeway and Expressway system. But I think completing this project will be the extent of the January updates — my normal stuff will wait until February.
When I upload the pages, however, it will be bad news for some folks. My software that generates the pages from the individual highway entries creates files with 8 highways per file. Those have been static for a while. However, doing the march I discovered two old routes, almost phantom routes, I didn’t have in my lists: 294 and 296. These two entries will potentially change the file assignment for everything above 294. Oh well, I guess that happens. I guess, when I upload, I should put a notice in misc.transport.road.
- I’ve been thinking a bit about “the midlife crisis”, given what tomorrow is. I think another word for a midlife crisis is exhaustion. You’re just plain exhausted of adult responsibilities after so many year, and want to be childish, and have a child’s responsibilities again. In other words, thinking “If only I had just my chores, and didn’t have to provide a solid income for my family”. That’s what prompts the bursts of irrational behavior. Which reminds me… I really do need to schedule mine :-).
Yesterday, there was a small snippet in the Times about Disney’s California Adventure getting a $1.1B makeover. The details are starting to leak out; the following are summarized from the LA Times, NetCot, and Miceage (which has a really good 5 page article on all upcoming things Disney). I’m still unsure how this will affect ACSAC in 2008 in Disneyland, other than there may be portions of DCA closed and construction in the area.
So here’s the scoop:
- The park will trace the footsteps of Walt as he arrived in Los Angeles in the 20s. The park will also feature Carthay Circle as the new icon for the park; ‘Snow White’ premiered there in 1937. The park will also increase by about 12 acres and feature more tie-ins with the companies movies.
- The makeover will take 5 years.
- California Adventure will have more clearly defined theme sections and will tip its hat more frequently to the late Walt Disney.
- Favorite attractions, such as the Tower of Terror (and I suppose Soaring) will be retained. A host of new attractions will include several based on Pixar animated films such as “Cars” and “Toy Story.”
- There will be a new Pixar Play Pals parade opening in Spring, 2008. Once construction begins in the DCA entrance plaza, the parade will begin in the Pacific Wharf area and head west towards their conclusion in Paradise Pier. As the park boundaries of DCA eventually expand into the Timon parking lot, the parade route will expand with it and gain back some length it lost by avoiding the “Sunshine Plaza” area at the park entrance. You read that right: expansion into the Timon parking lot.
- The DCA Entrance Plaza will be expanded and completely reworked. The new entrance turnstiles will be moved out to where the California letters currently stand, before visitors entered a Mission Moderne styled street that would resemble Los Angeles in the roaring 20’s.
- The current backlot area will be redone to actually be Hollywood during the Golden Age of the 1930’s. It will purposely be an era just slightly later than the 1920’s entrance, and will be fleshed out with real stores and experiences behind what are now just false fronts and empty buildings.
- MuppetVision will be replaced with Mickey’s Philharmagic (I can hear my wife going “Awwwww”), but with a 1930’s era pre-show designed specifically for DCA’s new mission statement to play up the Walt Disney era. As they rebuild that 3-D theater, the shallow display windows will be replaced with real stores that can be entered instead.
- The Hyperion Theatre box will be completely reworked.There will be a full size facade on its exterior, and the stairwells will be enclosed. A fancy lobby will be built that leads to the newly enclosed escalators and elevators that will take the audience up to their seats. The interior of the theatre will be reworked as well. The plan is to make the Hyperion a self-contained and state-of-the-art theater facility that could possibly host major awards shows or concerts.
- The new exterior of the Hyperion lobby building is planned to be themed to a 1930’s Hollywood street, and new stores and visitor amenities will be included as visitors walk along the street south towards the Tower of Terror.
- There will be a Wonderful World Of Color lagoon show opening in 2009. To accomodate the crowds, the entire northern edge of the Paradise Bay lagoon will be torn out and rebuilt. The amphitheatre will be replaced by something with larger capacity. Additionally, the area from the Paradise Pier entrance bridge to just past where the Golden Zephyr currently stands will be transformed into multi-level terraces designed to look directly at the huge new lagoon show.
- The Route 66 section will be removed entirely, to be replaced with a beautiful Victorian beer garden adjacent to a new coaster themed to Ratatouille and a mad race through kitchens and alleys.
- The Golden Dreams attraction will be torn down. Only the Palace of Fine Arts dome would remain, and it would be used as the exit for a brand new Little Mermaid ride using an Omnimover ride system. This new Little Mermaid family dark ride would help strengthen the presence of San Francisco in a park supposedly about California.
- The empty San Francisco row houses will become a new Disneyland Resort Preview Center with models and sketches of the new attractions and park themes coming to Anaheim in the next few years.
These are just excerpts from longer articles. To get an idea with pictures, see the MiceAge articles.
A big story in the news today down here in Los Angeles is the announcement that NBC is planning on leaving its home at 3000 Alameda in Beautiful Downtown Burbank for new digs across from Universal Studios. The Burbank studio has been home to many storied productions, including Rowan and Martin’s Laugh In (which I remember watching live–a writer was a client of my parents), the Tonight show, and most KNBC productions. The current site, purchased in 1951 with current studio facilities constructed in 1962, is felt by NBC to have a limiting infrastructure (translation: they feel they can get more money selling the facility).
They are moving to the new facility to consolidate operations. The West Coast News Headquarters and Content Center of NBC will be the anchor tenant of a nearly 1.5-million-square-foot project. The new “green” facility, with its high-definition news headquarters, is scheduled to house NBC News’ West Coast operations and the local news staffs of KNBC and Spanish-language Telemundo KVEA-TV Channel 52. NBC’s syndicated entertainment show “Access Hollywood” would also be located there. NBC’s plan also calls for a street-side studio modeled after NBC’s “Today” show set in New York, as well as state-of-the-art production facilities that will allow the company’s news organizations to more easily share content. This is similar to the consolidation they are doing in New York.
But what interests me more is where they are moving. According to the article:
The company intends to relocate the network and local news operations from Burbank to a new headquarters in a massive complex planned a couple of miles away on Lankershim Boulevard, across the street from Universal Studios.
A Red Line subway station and a sprawling parking lot now occupy the proposed site next to the 101 Freeway. The subway stop will remain and be part of the new complex.
Read that again: they are building on top of the new Metro station and park-and-ride lot. How can they do that?
Universal’s former owner, Music Corp. of America, sold the parcel to the MTA in the mid-1990s . As part of the transfer, Universal kept a “right of first refusal” for any future development plans on the site. Last year, NBC Universal told the MTA that it would be exercising its development option.
NBC has indicated they plan to still provide Metro parking; Phase 1 of the so-called Metro Universal Project would include a 655,200-square-foot office complex and a 315,000-square-foot media production facility with up to 1,780 parking spaces, of which 564 would be reserved for Metro subway riders (up from the current 450 slots). There would also be retail shops and restaurants.
But that’s not all, folks. NBC Universal also has a $3-billion development plan for Universal City that would add 2,900 homes to the area, as well as new production facilities and retail space. The project, which must get county and city approval, could take several years to get off the ground. This spells one thing: congestion.
Adding even more complications is a little site called Campo De Cahuenga, which is the location of the Capitulation at Cahuenga, (also known as the Treaty of Cahuenga). It concluded hostilities in California between Mexican and United States forces. It was an agreement symbolizing “Peace with Honor”, signed by Lt. Colonel John C. Fremont and General Andres Pico on January 13, 1847, and followed by a Fiesta. It concluded the policy of Manifest Destiny one nation from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean and it is the unofficial Birthplace of California. All this development is right on top of the historic site.
It should be, as Arte Johnson once said, “Verrrrrrrry Interesting.”
Today, for our anniversary, I took the family to Universal Studios Hollywood. Now it has been ages since I’ve been to Universal Studios proper. Sure, I’ve walked through the park on the way to the Amphitheatre to see Peter, Paul, and Mary or Roger Whittaker, but that was ages ago. The last time I was at the park they were only the studios tour. I have distinct memories of the tram, of getting off the tram and walking through sets, and of ending up at some plaza where there were giant pencils. There was also just a western stunt-show. And lots of monsters walking around. So it’s been a while.
Given that Universal is only 20 minutes away, we bought general annual passes through the credit union online ($61 each). At the park, we upgraded one pass to a deluxe to get free parking. So Universal, and its companion Citywalk, are now a relatively cheap destination for us. We don’t even have to eat at the fancy restaurants there as there is a fast-food version of Versailles Cuban.
So what did we think of the park? We were pleased. There are a lot fewer rides than at the House of Mouse, but that’s OK. We started with the Studio Tour. They still have the standard stunts: Earthquake (but that ain’t no 1970s SF subway station!), Jaws, the Mummy Vertigo tunnel, the parting of the seas, etc. A number of the sets were interesting (especially the plane set from War of the Worlds), but I wonder how they keep them in good condition during the winter with the rain and Santa Ana winds. But still, we enjoyed the tour, and I would image it stays relatively fresh. We also went on the Back to the Future ride, which closes Labor Day. This was also quite good, although it could be better with hi-def screens. After that, we had lunch and went to see Shrek 4D. This was OK, but the wait in the dungeon was poorly managed, and the effects seems less coordinated with the movie. After Shrek, we visited the House of Horrors, which was good because nsshere actually got surprised by one of the monsters (it’s reassuring to see her be a kid occasionally).
By then, it was the hottest part of the afternoon, so we left the park and wandered Citywalk for a bit. We made our way to the cinemas where we saw Hairspray: The Movie. But that’s the subject of another entry. I’ll note I also picked up some Jimmy Stewart stamps; it was their first day of issue and the ceremonies were at Citywalk.
After the movie we had dinner at Versailles, and went back to the park. While my wife sat and watched the Blues Brothers show, nsshere and I went down to the lower lot. We watched the drop from Jurassic Park (and got wet) but didn’t ride the ride. We walked through the Lucy attraction and thought about Backdraft, but didn’t do it. We’ll likely do those next time. We then went back to the upper lot, and looked at the Nickelodeon Blast Zone (which definately confirmed what a review of Universal said: “they want to get you wet”). It looks like it would be fun for my nieces and nephews. We then picked up Karen, and saw the Animal Actors Show. At that point, we were done for the night. We returned to Citywalk, had some Ben and Jerry’s, and came home.
It was a wonderful day, and we’ll be back. Everyone was in a good mood, and it was nice having a day out with the family (and not fighting between us).
Some observations while perusing the papers at lunch:
- From the “Don’t Try This At Home” Department: The San Francisco Chronicle is reporting about rookie cop who accidentally shot himself to death while displaying for a female friend how officers are taught to avoid having their guns used against them. According to those familiar with the incident, the 23 year-old officer (James Gustafson Jr.) was showing his Police Department-issued semiautomatic pistol after removing the clip that stores the rounds. He explained that there are ways an officer can disable a weapon in close proximity to keep it from being fired. Gustafson pointed the weapon at his neck and pulled the trigger. However, there was still a bullet in the chamber… and the result was easily predictable.
Life Lesson #1: Guns don’t kill people. Bullets kill people.
- From the “They Don’t Call It Whole Paycheck for Nuttin’” Department: The Nashville Tenessean (via AP) is reporting that federal regulators let out a little more information than they thought when they released some Acrobat documents on the Whole Paycheck/Wild Oats merger. The documents revealed that Whole Foods plans to close 30 or more Wild Oats stores, a move that may nearly double revenue for some Whole Foods stores. Whole Foods also negotiates with suppliers to drive up costs for Wal-Mart Stores Inc. Makes one pine for the days of Mrs. Gooch’s. By the way, the corporate secrets were revealed because federal regulators redacted the words by just electronically shading them black. We all know how well that works The words could be still be searched, copied, pasted and read in versions downloaded from court computer servers. They’ve corrected this by uploading scans, so you can’t search them at all.
Life Lesson #2: Just because you cover it in black doesn’t mean it isn’t there.
Life Lesson #3: What’s good for you isn’t necessarily good for the neighborhood.
- From the “Third Time’s The Charm” Department: The Daily Breeze is reporting that the Queen Mary luxury liner, docked for years and years in Long Beach, has a new owner, Save the Queen. This investor group plans to make the site a theme resort, not unlike Universal City Walk in Los Angeles. Of course, those of us familiar with the story know that there have been many, many plans for the Queen (including some from Disney), but they’ve never been super successful. Will this one succeed? I’m not sure a CityWalk in a port town works. Perhaps they just need to bring back the Pike… and turn the Queen Mary into a clone of a successful Queen Mary.
Life Lesson #4: Those who do not learn from history are doomed to lose their investment.
- From the “Celebrities Under Surveillance” Department: The Daily Breeze is also reporting that Reggie the Alligator, a former resident of the San Pedro area, keeps escaping his exhibit space at the LA Zoo. But not to worry. Zoo officials have placed Reggie under 24-hour surveillance. We’ve all seen how effective surveillance is for Lindsey and Britney.
Life Lesson #5: There’s a difference between observing stupidity and stopping stupidity.
See, who needs a teacher in space when you have me, your teacher in cyberspace?
On today’s Morning Buzz at la_observed there was a reference to some changes coming at Magic Mountain. It noted that Flashback and Psyclone, a replica of Coney Island’s famous Cyclone, have already been pulled from the website and are likely to be razed this year for park expansion now that Magic Mountain will remain open. The source was Theme Park Insider, so I went over to take a look.
They have some interesting speculation that may affect OERM. Specifically, they note that CEO Mark Shapiro noted in the January 12 live conference call that a new 3-stop “train/monorail” attraction would be introduced in 2007 at Magic Mountain, and the guess at TPI was that it will be a fully refurbished Metro with a new name and theme. Shapiro also mentioned Magic Mountain would also be home to a Coldstone Creamery and a undisclosed brand indoor burger/American cuisine restaurant this year. TPI stated that fans of the park weren’t surprised by FlashBack being torn down, considering that the ride closed in 2003 and has been rusting away ever since.
Here’s the interesting part: TPI noted that the recently cleared area out back behind Psyclone and the space freed up by the roller coasters’ footprint will be large enough for an elaborate Thomas & Friends themed area as well as for the two new food operations. TPI noted that Thomas & Friends replacing Psyclone was purely speculation on their part. Still, this would have an interesting impact on both OERM and the Fillmore Train Museum, as both regularly host Day Out With Thomas. Good? Bad? I’m not sure yet, but likely bad. Then again, it may not make a difference, given that no one goes to the Molehill anymore anyway.
Update: The Daily News gives a few more details. Flashback, a steel coaster that opened in 1992, has been closed the last couple of years because it’s right next to Hurricane Harbor, and the noise it generates interfered with lifeguards. It may be re-assembled somewhere else at Magic Mountain, but it won’t be operating this year. Psyclone will be smashed and scrapped within four weeks. It opened at Magic Mountain in March 1991, and it has a wooden frame with 11 hills. The structure is made up of Southern pine, unpainted to make it look more natural. Workers spent a combined 40,000 hours building the ride, ridden by 17.1 million people before it closed. As for what the park says about their replacements… a spokescritter said, “We’re always looking to add areas of the park that appeal to a wide audience”.
Yesterday, we went to the Disneyland Resort (and, yes, I am specifically using that term now). Now, my last time to Disneyland Park was around 1999, when nsshere was around 3, so it has been a while. Of course, I must share with you my observations and what we did.
The park has changed a lot since I was last there. In 1999, there was still a gigantic surface street parking lot that you entered off of Harbor (or was it Ball) road, with the long-standing Disneyland sign (which was actually auctioned on eBay). That’s all gone now. The parking lot has been replaced by California Adventure, the Grand Californian Hotel, and Downtown Disney… and the lot is now a gigantic parking structure. I don’t think this is bad per se — Walt never intended the parks to be static — but it does bring in more people and more crowds. I do believe the crowds are a problem, and I think that Disney is losing its magic at crowd control.
When we entered the park, the first thing I noticed was how small everything was now. As a kid, and in my memory, things seemed so big. The castle was gigantic. The Matterhorn was (deep reverberating voice) a mountain. The storefronts on Main Street were large. Now, through my almost-47 year old eyes, these things seem small. Perhaps it is my height, perhaps it is my knowledge of the history behind the magic, perhaps it is the difference between being a kid and being an adult. Whatever it is, things seemed smaller.
Our first stop was the Haunted Mansion, which was decked out for Christmas. Note that I don’t say “the holidays”, for as inclusive as Disney is in their ads, the only “holiday” you saw at the entire resort was Christmas. Not being familiar with “Nightmare Before Christmas“, I wasn’t too impressed with it (although I was impressed on how they changed things around). I missed the “Grinning Ghosts“. But the rest of our group enjoyed, and the attention to detail was there. After the Mansion, we went over to Plaza Inn for a character breakfast.
It was at the Plaza Inn I noticed that the old Disney was gone. There were lightbulbs out. There were cobwebs and broken crystal strands in the chandeliers. This is something that, in Walt’s day, would not be. The park was spotless — that’s one of the things that differentiated it from the Molehill or Knotts. The illusion was perfect — you couldn’t see the wear and the grime. Not so anymore: you could see that the “wood” poles were really metal due to worn paint on Tom Sawyer Island; there was trash in the bushes. Lines for attractions were backing up into thoroughfares and making walking difficult. I think this is evidence that the park is not keeping up well with the crowds.
As the crowd at Disnelyland Park was growing, we went over to California Adventure (where the lines are shorter). This was quite nice, although I’m not sure it is 100% what Walt would have wanted. After we picked up our Fastpass for S0arin’ Over California, we walked around CA. Much of it was quite well done: I like Grizzly Mountain, and how they captured the different areas. The amusement pier bothered me. Those familiar with DL history know that one reason the park was created was to create an atmosphere different from the amusement parks of the day, where the parents would sit back and let the kids play, where things weren’t always clean. Seeing the recreation of the Pike, with its carnival barkers, ferris wheel, tilt-a-whirl made me question whether that was what should be at a Disney park. It doesn’t have the magic; it didn’t seem right.
While in CA, we did get a chance to see both the Bugs Life show and MuppetVision 3D, both of which were quite good. We then went on Soarin’, which was a very impressive ride. One day in the future, I’d like to try more of the rides in CA.
We then wandered back to DL to see if we could get a Fastpass to Indiana Jones. But the time for the pass was already at 9pm in the evening, so we got Big Thunder Mountain instead. We then tried to find lunch, but the lines everywhere were too long… so we hopped the Monorail to Downtown Disney. As we walked through Tomorrowland, I kept seeing in my mind’s eye the park that was: the gondola cars, the people mover, Monsanto, the Circarama theatre, Carousel of Progress, Rocket to Mars. I think Tomorrowland is one of the sadest lands, for it has always been the forgotten stepchild of the park: updated periodically, but never done right or with the right sense of imagination. It is still a mix of “1950 bug-eyed monster”, “1950’s looking ahead”, and “2000-Sci-Fi”. How old is Star Tours now? How long has “Honey” been running (replacing “Captain Eo“)?
It took awhile to find lunch: crowds everywhere, combined with a tired and cranky party. But we did find something, and then walked back to the park. At this point, we split up: gf_guruilla and our friends went off shopping, and I took nsshere to Tom Sawyer Island. That hasn’t changed much, although the Fort was closed. We both agreed that a pirate retheming of the island wouldn’t be that sacreligious: it might draw more folks to the island and permit it to be rediscovered. After the island, we met back up with folks and rode Big Thunder Mountain.
After Big Thunder, it was back to New Orleans Square to queue up and ride the revamped Pirates. Here, more comments are in order. The retheming of Pirates to include Johnny Depp didn’t bother me, but didn’t add much to the ride either. It was just another example of merchandising, which has become more blatent in the park. The problem with the merchandising is the unevenness of it all: some are heavily promoted (“Tink“, the princesses, the cute animals), and some conspicuously are not (Mulan, Pocahontas (although once upon a time they did have a stage show), Uncle Remus [and to my recollection, that’s about the only black character Disney has to promote], Esmerelda… and you never see Treasure Planet mentioned, probably for good reason :-)). The image of 1910 White Bread America nostalgized by Main Street is carried throughout the park, and I’m not sure this is good. Disney needs to present positive role models (“Tink” or “Grumpy” certainly aren’t) of all colors and creeds.
One other thing on Pirates bothered me: The stupid guests. We had folks shining flashlights around the ride. Continually using flash photography. I saw this on the train as well: flash photography of the dioramas behind glass. They do say “don’t use flash”, but folks don’t listen. There really needs to be some education of this at the resort: it does destroy the magic. At least cell phones and crackberries weren’t going off — but I’m sure that’s next.
After Pirates, my wife’s knee gave out (the soaking from being in the front of the boat didn’t help). We called First Aid, and she went to go rest a bit. We walked to Toontown, found long waits, took the train back to Main Street, did some shopping, picked up my wife, and left the park. We had dinner in Downtown Disney (Tortilla Jo’s, quite good), and came home.
It was a long day. My blisters have blisters, and my legs are sore. Everyone else is still sleeping in (as I write this), exhausted. It was a fun day.
I think there is a big difference between those who go to the DL-Resort on a regular basis, and those of us who visit it only periodically. The regular visitors are like the frog in the pot of hot water: the change is so gradual, you don’t necessarily see the contrast. Those of us who visit less often see the contrast. Maintenance at the park needs to be improved. There needs to be a little less merchandising (what happened to the purely fun shops on Main Street?). There needs to be better crowd management (which was the real point of the ticket books, but we’ve forgotten that). There needs to be the ability to do Fastpasses on more rides, and for people to be able to get more than one Fastpass at a time. The visitor experience needs to be enhanced, and this is often bricks and mortar logistical issues and staff training (I had one shopkeeper who didn’t know how to call First Aid) than more rides and more goodies. But just as with security software, what brings folks in and makes the money isn’t better quality, it is feeping creaturism. But we need the quality back in the park; it has begun to slip.
But did I have fun… yes. It was fun spending the day with the family. Do I want to go again in the next month? Nah. But they’re going again a week from today.
According to the Los Angeles Times (although I saw it yesterday on LA Observed, la_observed), rumors are flying about potential changes to Disneyland. In particular, Al Lutz of miceage.com is reporting that Disney-internal sources are saying that the company might spend more than $28 million to make over Tom Sawyer Island in time for next year’s premiere of the third installment of the lucrative “Pirates of the Caribbean” movie trilogy. Disney isn’t confirming anything.
According to Lutz, the current proposal calls for over 28 million to be spent this winter rebuilding and rebranding the Tom Sawyer themed attraction. Gone would be the treehouses, trails and caves referenced in the literary works of Mark Twain and originally designed for the simpler audiences of the 1950’s. In their place would be snazzier pirate themed activities. The current lush wooded landscaping would also presumably be substantially altered, as tropical islands don’t quite match the southern American landscape. Part of the plan calls for the old Fort Wilderness facility to be razed, and the space used as an interactive pirate museum using exhibits and interactive play spaces such as those used in the Sorcerer’s Workshop in DCA’s Animation pavilion, or the nifty Fortress Explorations attraction at Tokyo DisneySea.
Tom Sawyer Island is one of the few attractions left that is 100% Walt. The island, surrounded by the Rivers of America, permits visitors to explore caves, cross a suspension bridge and encounter characters from Mark Twain’s classic American tale. Disney was apparently so dissatisfied with the original designers’ plans that he scrawled his own vision, which was largely adopted. As parents well know, it is a wonderful place just to sit and let the children burn off energy.
The LA Times article notes some of the changes that have occured in the island. In 2001, a girl lost part of her finger when she caught it in a rifle trigger; after that, the gun turrets at Ft. Wilderness were removed. Originally, there was scene of a dummy settler hit by an Indian arrow lay sprawled in front of a burning cabin. In the 1970s, the flame was turned off; in 1984, fake flames replaced the real ones, and the settler was replaced with a drunk moonshiner. The drunkard was later replaced with wildlife, a more family-friendly storyline. Of course, across from the island, we’ve seen the loss of the Indian Village, mule-rides, and all the other things that gave Frontier-land its flavor. Of course, no one today remembers the Davy Crockett hysteria.
Of course, another reason for getting rid of the island is political correctness. Schools no longer teach Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn (especially the latter). Kids playing on the island no longer recognize the Tom and Huck characters. But the kids know pirates from the movies.
So, should Disneyland replace Tom Sawyer Island with a Pirate Island? I don’t think so, but then again, I wallow in rose-tinted nostalgia.