A DVD Review at
Yesterland
by Werner Weiss
December 7, 2010
The Secret Tour of Disneyland
2nd Edition
The Secret Tour of Disneyland disc art
Hosted by Lauren Delmont
Directed & Edited by John Delmont
Written by John Delmont & Lauren Delmont

Deja vu. Even though it just became available this week, the DVD above might look as if you’ve seen it before. If so, there’s a good reason.

In December 2009, I reviewed The Secret Tour of Disneyland, a feature-length tour of Disneyland created by the father-daughter team of John Delmont and Lauren Delmont. My review called the DVD “entertaining, fast-moving, informative, and a lot of fun.”

Their DVD was a success! They shipped every copy they made, except for their own personal copies. Instead of just calling the DVD replication provider and ordering more, they used the opportunity to create a 2nd Edition.

The Secret Tour of Disneyland

2nd Edition Main Menu

The 2nd Edition is not a sequel. It’s an update. The biggest change is that it’s now a 16:9 anamorphic DVD, just like the widescreen movies that the major studios release on DVD. The old version was letterboxed, with black stripes above and below a wide-screen image, like a VHS tape of a widescreen movie. The anamorphic DVD provides a larger, sharper image, especially on today’s widescreen, flatpanel TVs.

In my review last year, I described how my Blu-ray player and HD television displayed The Secret Tour of Disneyland with a distorted image, no matter how I set the view mode. I figured out a workaround by changing a setup item on the Blu-ray player (and then changing it back afterwards). I tried the 2nd Edition with the same Blu-ray player and television. This time it played flawlessly. The image filled the whole screen without distortion. I didn’t have to touch the TV view mode or the Blu-ray player setup.

I also tried the DVD in my 24" iMac (in full-screen mode) and in an “old-fashioned” DVD player attached to a traditional television. In both cases, the picture looked great, with no distortion.

John and Lauren also decided to reflect changes at Disneyland and to update some content for accuracy.

“For example, I had the names of the singing busts in the Haunted Mansion mixed up,” mentioned John. “A guy in New Jersey, of all places, knows every last detail about the Mansion, and he called me on it. I thanked him for his input, sent him a free copy of the DVD, and told him we’d correct it on the next version. I also corrected the Grand Canyon Diorama section. And we updated a couple of small things, noting the location of the House of the Future base is now Pixie Hollow, and that Lincoln has returned to the park.”

The updates are seamless.

The Secret Tour of Disneyland

2nd Edition Bonus Selection Menu

The original version had easter eggs. At several points during the film, a purple-pink Mickey head shape would appear in the lower right corner. Pressing Enter on the DVD remote would trigger a clip of bonus material. These Mickey heads are gone from the 2nd edition, but the clips are still included.

“For several reasons, I decided to drop the easter eggs,” explained John. “At the time, the easter eggs seemed like a fun idea, but in reality most people did not realize those clips were even on the DVD. I also got several concerned emails from people thinking the little pink Mickey shapes were some kind of glitch or defect on the DVD. So I decided to create a bonus menu to make viewing the clips more straightforward.”

The Secret Tour of Disneyland

Lauren Delmont at the Morten Bay fig tree

Actually, there are now more bonus clips than before. According to John, “We added a couple of short segments about the Disneyland Pancake Races, the Morten Bay fig tree, and the red and white lights at Coca-Cola Corner.”

Here’s a sneak preview of the “Red and White Lights” clip:

John Delmont provided several screen captures to me, along with a comment about each one.

The Secret Tour of Disneyland

Inside Club 33

“Club 33… One nice thing about the video are the visits to seldom-seen places. I’ve had several people tell that they’ve always wanted to see the inside of Club 33 and that part of the video was a real treat for them.”

The Secret Tour of Disneyland

The Mighty Microscope of Adventures Thru Inner Space lives again.

“And if there was a place we could not get into like Walt’s apartment, the top of the Matterhorn, or inside the Mighty Microscope, we would do our quirky animations and try to make it entertaining.”

The Secret Tour of Disneyland

Flying with Dumbo the Flying Elephant

“At some point during our project we thought, ‘Why just talk about Dumbo while standing in front of the attraction? We’ve got the coolest props in the world here. We should use them.’ So that’s when we started videotaping on the rides. Instead of just talking, we decided to ride on the Lilly Belle or upfront with the engineers or fly in the Astro Orbitor.”

The Secret Tour of Disneyland

Disneyland’s original Main Street U.S.A. bandstand at Roger’s Gardens

“Another fun thing was to go outside the park like here at Roger’s Gardens. Sometimes you need to go outside the berm to tell the whole story. So, when we told the story of the Disneyland bandstand, we went down to Newport Beach and interviewed Opal in the actual bandstand from 1955. Other side trips included visits to Griffith Park and the Jules Stein Eye Institute.”

The Secret Tour of Disneyland

Mark Twain Riverboat and the Rivers of America

“Just a nice shot of Lo by the Mark Twain. At the heart of the project was a built-in excuse for us to hang out at Disneyland.”

The Secret Tour of Disneyland

Inside the Lilly Belle parlor car of Disneyland Railroad

“Having fun on the Lilly Belle… All of the Cast Members were super friendly and professional. The Cast Members that work on the trains were some of our favorites.”

The Secret Tour of Disneyland

Ballroom of the Haunted Mansion

“Hidden Mickey at the Haunted Mansion table… Of course it would be impossible to shoot inside the Haunted Mansion, but with a little green screen magic…”

The Secret Tour of Disneyland

Holiday pressed pennies

“Holiday coins from the smashed penny section now shown in the Bonus Menu. I was testing a copy of this at my Mom’s house and she thought it was a new video. I explained to her that it was on the original DVD under an easter egg, and that she was not alone in missing it.”

The Secret Tour of Disneyland

Did You Know?

 

“Since Christmas is almost upon us, I thought you might like this Did You Know? with Santa.”

Thank you John!

Last year, I recommended The Secret Tour of Disneyland for anyone who likes Disneyland enough to read Yesterland, MiceAge, and MiceChat. The same advice applies to the 2nd Edition.

If you already bought The Secret Tour of Disneyland last year, there’s not much reason to buy the 2nd Edition. Sure, the anamorphic format is an improvement, and the content has been updated. But it’s mostly the same film. That said, I’m sure that John and Lauren wouldn’t mind if you gave away your old copy and bought the “new and improved” version for yourself. (Or, if you’re really nice, you can give someone the new version as a gift.)

To read more about what’s on the DVD, please take another look at my December 2009 review of The Secret Tour of Disneyland (this is the same link as at the beginning of this article).

You can purchase The Secret Tour of Disneyland from Amazon.com.

The Secret Tour of Disneyland

2nd Edition DVD cover


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© 2010-2011 Werner Weiss — Disclaimers, Copyright, and Trademarks

Updated April 15, 2011.

The Secret Tour of Disneyland, 2nd Edition DVD artwork, DVD menus, DVD stills, DVD cover © Dog Walks Man Productions.
 
Photo on Did You Know? item (Santa on Matterhorn) from the collection of Kevin Kidney, used in The Secret Tour of Disneyland, 2nd Edition with permission from Kevin Kidney.
 
Disclosure per FTC guidelines: This article discusses a consumer offering, a DVD called The Secret Tour of Disneyland, 2nd Edition, from Dog Walks Man Productions. Werner Weiss received review copies of the DVD from Dog Walks Man Productions.