Abandoned by Disney

Written by: Maisie

Anyone who is in any way familiar with internet horror stories will have heard of the infamous ‘Abandoned by Disney’, the story of the a Disney resort built in the 1990’s in Emerald Ilse, North Carolina known as Mowgli's Palace. It was a luxury resort that featured the theme of the movie “The Jungle Book” and hosted exotic animals and a large jungle area surrounding a ‘palace’ like building in the middle where the guest facilities would be held. It was open for only a very brief time before it was abruptly shut, left abandoned, with the entire resort being left to be overcome by the elements. Rumour has it, according to the eyewitness account given by a user be the name of ‘Slimebeast’ in an online forum, that the place is haunted by a possessed negative print Mickey Mouse suit, locked in a room which is slathered with the words ‘Abandoned by God’. If you want more information read his account of the event online. Now, as someone who grew up with yearly trips to the mouse kingdom, this story was quite disturbing when I first read it, an experience that can only be summed up by the phrase “right in the childhood”. Now aside from the obvious trauma to my soul after reading this, my main question was this; “Was this for real?”. Was there really a Mowgli’s Palace? Is there really an entire resort out the abandoned by Disney?

Well the short, and rather boring answer, is no, there never was a resort in North Carolina, there were never even plans of one. This was something concocted by a writer, and whilst it is written in a rather convincing way, fact it is not. This struck me as odd, that someone would make up a story about an abandoned Disney resort when there are whole Disney theme parks that are abandoned in real life!

Abandoned places has always been something of a passion project for me, and so I would like to share with you some of the creepiest abandoned places in Disney, ranging from small park areas to entire rides and parks just left hidden in plain sight.

Two of the biggest abandoned places in Walt Disney World, and probably some of the biggest inspirations for the horror story, are Disney’s Discovery Island and Disney’s river country, both of which were fully operational theme parks that have both been left to rot, one of which is mostly open to the public.

Discovery island was a zoological park built on an already existing island in Bay lake, the lake that the Magic Kingdom resort is built around, although it was called Treasure island when first opened in April of 1974. It featured aviaries and wildlife brought specifically for the island, and was an attraction at Disney for 25 years, however with the opening of Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park, the island was rendered obsolete, as the new theme park was more convenient and overall a bigger, better version of it. With attendance dwindling, Discovery Island eventually closed for good in 1999, and since has been left to let the natural wildlife take over. The last documented visit to the island was in 2009 by a photographer named Shane Perez, in which the park was shown to still have electricity, abandoned buildings and enclosures. As of more recently fencing has been put up around the docks on the island to keep others from doing the same, which means that in the seven years between that time and now, no-one knows what the island now looks like. Eerily creepy, especially considering that boat and jet-ski tours go right by the old entrance points, overgrown but still visible, almost as if in waiting to be of use once again.

Across the lake from the island, and in a position that guests can still access if they know where to go, is Disney’s abandoned Water Park, River country. River country was Disney World’s first waterpark, opened in 1976 next to the Fort Wilderness resort, just one of the many themed hotels that make up the Magic Kingdom resort. Whilst it is said that a brain eating amoeba was the cause of this parks closure, (a rumour which was caused by the death of a young boy due to a bacteria in the water, however the particular species is found in most Florida lakes and has an around 99% death rate, so the water in river country was incredibly safe by comparison) the real reason was more due to the addition of two more Disney water parks later on, with Blizzard Beach opening in 1995, and Typhoon Lagoon in 1989. This, much like with Animal Kingdom with Discovery Island, led to a decrease in attendance for River Country and the parks eventual closure in 2001. Since then it has been left abandoned, with much of it still accessible to guests (it is important to note that the area isn’t open per say, but you are unlikely to get caught if you choose to go exploring). The water park has become a hotspot for everyone from urban explorers to casual guests including my own brother, who told me it was easy to get in and that the generators in the buildings were all left in a state of disrepair. For me, this is one of Disney’s most premier must-see attractions, and one that you certainly won’t find in any guidebook.

It is probably worth mentioning that any tour around Bay lake you take will talk about both of these incredible places, they don’t pretend they don’t exist. What I find most interesting are the areas that they don’t acknowledge, that they try to pretend are really there. These are places like the Journey Into Imagination pavilion located in the future section of the EPCOT centre theme park, in which the entire second level of the building has been sealed off from guests, never to be acknowledged that it was ever there to begin with. The floor held exhibits involving the latest technology sponsored by Kodak, and featured the famous rainbow tunnel that Michael Jackson was photographed in, which now sits in a state of disuse for all time. Another example of this trend of certain areas being ‘swept under the rug’ is the Wonders of Life pavilion in EPCOT, or at least what is left of it. You see, while the main building is now renamed and used as a hub for the seasonal festivals the park holds, the entire ride area for ‘Body Wars’ (an educational simulator thrill ride) at the back of the pavilion has been left sealed off and completely abandoned, never to be seen by the public, and forgotten by those that gave it life.

While these are not all the abandoned places and Walt Disney World, much less at all of the Disney locations around the world, they are but some of my favourites. This doesn’t even include the places that were left abandoned for long periods of time before being demolished or re-purposed, the abandoned concepts that the Walt Disney company cancelled in a state of economic desperation in the 90s, or even the abandoned places in Disney’s biggest theme park rival, Universal studios. Having said all this, there is something about the phrase ‘Abandoned by Disney’ that sends a chill up many a person’s spine, and the reason for that is most likely the innocence of a children’s theme park that we would love to believe is perfect, in contrast with these haunting places that lurk in the shadows. As much as we love to believe that the Haunted Mansion is as scary as it gets, Disney really does hold some dark secrets. So next time you or anyone else mentions ‘Abandoned by Disney’, I hope your mind goes to the real, chilling places that are out there waiting to be explored, rather than a made up story on the internet.

Don’t believe everything you read online kids.

A life on social media

Written by: Nikki

We have all been tagged in an embarrassing photo online at some point in our lives, especially the ones our parents upload of us ( which I think are probably the worst photos in existence!! ). The popularity of social media means that nearly everyone and anyone can view these photos providing that the persons Facebook privacy settings are minimal-and let’s face it, your parents don’t even know how to properly use the site let alone change their security settings. However, after reading an article from the BBC, ‘Should children ban their parents from social media?’ it made me think about the importance of having family members online.

I am getting to the age in my life where people around me are having babies! Whether its family members or older friends, I’ve seen an influx of baby bump and sleeping baby photos on my Facebook timeline. Although it becomes tedious as all babies pretty much look the same, I feel like it is a positive thing to do. When my sisters and I were younger, social media sites really weren’t that popular and so many of our family members who lived further away missed out on seeing us growing up. Now, the extremely popular use of Facebook and Twitter means that people can keep in touch and watch their loved ones grow.

Uploading photos and status' allow us to look back and reminisce old memories we had previously forgotten. Apps such as 'Timehop' and Facebook's built-in 'memories' feature enable us to look back to whatever we were doing on this day however many years ago and see what we were up to. Parents are often fans of using the 'check-in' function inside Facebook which means that our family outings will be forever remembered!

Having a collection of family members inside your social media accounts allows you to be updated on family news and keep in touch with those you don't see often. This is probably one of my favourite things about having distant family members on my Facebook because I can keep up with the gossip and ever-growing news of the family.

Although they can be embarrassing, I believe we should embrace our family being on social media because it means you'll always have some one to tag in funny videos, reminisce about old memories and talk to about anything!

Rant: Ghostbusters 2016 (Sort Of)

Reboots balance on a fine-line between great and the worst things to ever grace our screens, taint our childhoods and fill the youth with imagery created purely for marketing and money. All right, that may be a slight exaggeration but it does not excuse the fact nearly every cult-classic or franchise from years ago are being made again and glamourized for a new audience. Granted, not every reboot to hit the theatres are terrible, in fact, some are amazing and on par with the original, sometimes. Take Casino Royale (2006) certainly more gritty and grounded in comparison to the previous Bond Films yet considered on of the best in the series for a long time. Even in some cases, bigger can mean better if you take Gareth Edwards Godzilla into consideration.

So Jacob, why are you complaining? Why must you sit here and rant about something that does not affect you in the slightest and something that is not even all that bad? Because as I stated, it is a fine line, because these reboots I speak of are a minority in a sea of franchises brought to us again not because of the creativity from a cast of crew who want to make a good movie, but people who want to make a movie for money, who do not care about whether fans are pleased or entertained buy the movie but by how many butts they can squeeze into the cinema seats. And this is why I’m complaining, because people care about these films. Some people grew up with these franchises and care for them deeply and the same goes for books, fictional characters and even toys too. So when they see that there childhood, the things they were obsessed with for countless years treated with the singular intention to make money I can understand why some people may retaliate, some people may call them childish or that “it’s not a big deal” but we should respect what people care for.

So, when I see THIS…

I can understand why some fans may be a little upset (really, the first joke is based around slime/vomit) I love the original Ghostbusters film but I would not consider myself a huge fan of the franchise (due to the fact that there is one good film and anything else Ghostbuster related is as appealing as Slimer himself) but I was hoping for at least something with this film. Before you sharpen your pitchforks and prepare to sacrifice me to the gods I want to emphasize I DO NOT CARE THE GHOSTBUSTERS ARE WOMEN, I do care however that the women they picked for the role all look one-dimensional and as well written as any other film Melissa McCarthy has stared in and I swear to Zuul if she falls over once in this film I am leaving the theatre.

Why could we not have a multi-ethic group of Ghostbusters? I feel like that would have been far more interesting in comparison to seeing Leslie Jones stereotypically cry out “Oh Hell No!” on screen (all for gender equality in films we are but when it comes to stereotyping we can keep doing that, right?)

The CG looks terrible which saddens me even more because in a recent interview (as reported by Andre Meadows) Director Paul Fieg stated they always used someone on set as a ghost so the actors could react to something actually in front of them, so why does it looks less impressive with added special effects? Probably because the art team decided neon blue would be a perfect choice for the spook rating. Speaking of thing blue, anyone else catch the Blu-Ray product placement at the 1:48 mark? As you can tell I’m starting to nitpick a little here so

I’ll summaries quickly: Terrible CG, unfunny, characters have no chemistry together and poor product placement. I know it is just the trailer but I have very low hopes for this film. It is likely going to make a lot of money and keep the “everyday viewer” entertained. And if you’re an avid Ghostbuster fan and you like this trailer good for you and I hope you enjoy it (it is not my job to judge you whether you like something or another) but from my perspective, if this films makes me smile once I’ll eat my Proton Pack.

Ghostbusters (2016)

Initial Release Date: July 15, 2016 (USA)

Director: Paul Feig

Thanks for reading; obviously I cannot go into great detail in these rants but I hope you enjoyed, subscribe to FelphamFM to catch the latest news in entertainment, hopefully including more rants in the future

Jacob xo

Insomniac - Green Day 1995

Written By: Elsie

In 1986, a young Billie Joe Armstrong and Mike Dirnt decided that school was pointless and started a band which they somehow thought was a good idea to name Sweet Children. Thankfully, they changed the name, cut their ridiculously long hair, hired Tre Cool and thirty years later are known as the monumental American punk band, Green Day. Being a fan myself, I wanted to pay tribute to their thirty years of music, so here’s a review of one of my favourite albums of theirs, Insomniac, which I was supposed to put up last year. Enjoy!

Sadly, Green Day aren’t the band that everyone is talking about at this moment in time. Following the release of their latest albums !Uno!, !Dos! and !Tre! (released as a trio in 2012) the punk group have not graced fans with any new material bar a musical and a new documentary (Heart like a Hand Grenade), both based around the album that marked the height of their career, American Idiot. The modern day classic concept album is admittedly some of their best work and did allow them to achieve worldwide recognition after a period of being fairly inactive. However I do think that American Idiot has grown to over shadow their earlier albums which are, if anything, their best.

Last year (10th October to be exact) marked 20 years since Green Day’s fourth studio album Insomniac was unleashed on the public, following the huge success of their third album Dookie (the album that brought them into the public eye). The band felt immense pressure attempting to follow Dookie’s impact, but this evidently worked to their advantage. Insomniac is easily Green Day’s punkiest album and is therapeutic to say the least. In fact the only song on the album that doesn’t seem to be about self-loathing, confusion, anger and a general hate for pretty much everything is Westbound Sign (allegedly about Armstrong’s wife moving from California to Minnesota). Throughout the album, there is not one slow song to give a lull from all the thrashing instruments and vocals; each and every song provides a suitable headache as expected from a punk album.

One of the best things about Insomniac is the lyrics. Sure, Green Day’s more recent work may well provide a more ‘meaningful’ tone but the gritty cynicism of this album cannot be beat. After all, when you’re feeling a little frustrated, lyrics like ‘I must insist on being a pessimist’ and ‘I’ve got a knack for f***** everything up’ being crammed into two seconds of a verse by a shouting Billie Joe Armstrong really hit the spot. In fact, the songs are on the whole impeccably written and performed, as well as serving as a perfect soundtrack for a sleepless and angry youth.

The artwork, similar to their previous album, is made up of a cluster of strange characters and creatures including a disturbing dentist, a monkey riding a tricycle and three skulls representing each member of the band (the third of which you can only see by holding the record at a certain angle and staring into the flames). It’s a noisy cover to match a noisy album.

It’s difficult to choose a favourite song from Insomniac but if I’m honest, for me it’s got to be Jaded. The minute and a half track that explodes immediately after the build-up of Brain Stew is exciting and above all FAST, showing the talent of the three musicians. The lyrics are great too (if you can separate those vocals into words).

It’s easy to forget about Insomniac in Green Day’s history, falling through the cracks between Dookie and Nimrod and being alien to the generation who immediately associate Green Day with Boulevard of Broken Dreams… Regardless, this album is a snapshot of Green Day at the height of their game. Containing fan-favourites such as Geek Sink Breath and Brain Stew, the album definitely sums up the aggressive energy of the young trio. It is also a perfect example of why Green Day are just a great band. Admittedly their more recent work is a little more experimental, but essentially they really are just three great players singing about whatever the hell they want to sing about. And I love that.

My most anticipated games for 2016

Written By: Jacob

I’ll be honest, 2015 was not the best of gaming years for me personally. Sure, we had some breakthroughs such as Fallout 4 and The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt but we also had some pretty big games that did not live up to the hype (such as Batman deciding to go all out in a massive tank? How stealthy…) Nothing made me sit down for hours on end and enjoy in complete capacity what I was being offered, in fact, I found myself plugging in the Gamecube and playing games such as The Wind Waker and Mario Kart: Double Dash to pass the time. However, 2015 is now over and we now have a huge range of new games for players to overhype about and likely be disappointed by *cough*, I mean which will certainly live up to the anticipation and please all gamers 100%. So here is my personal list of games I am anticipating in 2016 which hopefully live up to all the fully rendered E3 videos that were likely nothing to do with the final product!

1: Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End.

Say what you want you Xbox Fanboys; Sony owned company Naughty Dog know how to make a damn good game, whether it be an narrative driven rollercoaster of emotions set in an apocalyptic world (The Last of Us, 2013) or a game series that is basically an interactive Indiana Jones movie.

The Uncharted franchise may not be the most “grounded” of games but its amazing sequences of gun battles, puzzle solving and set pieces (this time involving you grapple hook your way across a train to then leap to a motorcycle chase against enemy jeeps) keeps me coming back to see what will happen next. This game sees retired treasure hunter, Nathan Drake team up with his long-lost brother, Sam in a globetrotting adventure which will supposedly be the last in the series, so I hope they end it with a bang.

2: No Man’s Sky

If you pitched the idea of this game 10 years ago, gamers would have thought you were insane, and they would be right to do so. A game where you, the player can travel a world which is technically never-ending, where you can discover planets that only you may come across and in if you find something which has not been discovered yet, you can name if after yourself. The scope behind this game is remarkable and as of this moment, I believe this may be one of the most interesting games of 2016. How cool would it be to find something in this game that has never been seen by another player before? Or to go to a planet which is completely different from the last one you just visited. This is a game I hope lives up to its anticipation and does not end up as a game where a planet is considered “new” because it has a different shade of blue to the one you just visited. Either way I’m naming something “FelphamFM4Lyfe” when I discover a new plant or whatever.

3: Horizon: Zero Dawn

Question, what is cooler than you playing as an archer in a post-apocalyptic land which is infested with dinosaurs? The answer is if those dinosaurs were also robotic. Robot dinosaurs… I don’t really know what to say about this game, all we know is that Horizon: Zero Dawn is an action role-playing game that is created by Guerrilla Games (known for the game franchise Killzone) and has been described as having elements similar to Assassin’s Creed and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim; two games that I have thoroughly enjoyed playing throughout the years. The premise of this game sounds really cool and I’m looking forward to seeing how a single survivor of the human race can defeat a mechanical Godzilla with what is basically a stick with string on it that shoots arrows. Also Robot Dinosaurs, can you get any cooler?

4: Mirror's Edge Catalyst

Mirrors Edge has a cult following, which includes me. The idea behind the original game was awesome! However, running from rooftop to rooftop whilst jumping, sliding and swinging from industrial objects to get from one location to another whilst using hand to hand combat to disarm artillery-carrying mercenaries (breathe) sounds great on paper, but that doesn’t mean it will transcribe perfectly into a videogame.

DICE for some reason thought that a game to do with “rooftop running” would benefit more with a linear gameplay style with the majority of the game being inside… yeah. The original Mirror’s Edge was far from perfect, but the parts of the game where you could choose you own path, use the environment around you and take leap of faiths of buildings were breath-taking. It seems that the company realised this whilst developing the prequel Mirrors Edge: Catalyst as trailers and gameplay for the game show more variety of environment and now allows the player to roam freely across the futuristic representation of Tokyo. Let’s pray this game doesn’t miss a step and stumble as much as the original did.

5: The Last Guardian

Now this is Anticipation at its highest. Eight years in development, silence on its progress for the last three and suddenly a reveal at E3 2015, well played Sony. For now, all we know is that you play as a young boy who is venturing through an empty mystical land with his companion a “eagle-lion-dog” (no I don’t know where they came up with that idea either) who helps you solve challenging puzzles along the way. Why does this game have me excited? Well because it is by the developers of Shadow of the Colossus which is considered one of the greatest video games of all time. The premise, graphics and the years of hard work put into the game are finally paying off. The game is still shrouded in mystery and yet my most anticipated game of 2016.

So those are my most anticipated game of 2016. Now I’m not saying these games are going to be good (I’ve learnt from my mistakes by being hyped up for Assassin’s Creed 3) but they’re what I am thoroughly looking forward to and what I hope will be games that I don’t play once and they leave to gather dust on my shelf. For now all I can do is wait and pray that 2016 will bring me some games that I cannot put down.