the sailing ship columbia

Diana on FB 😀 First a Full Day In Cape Town

Interesting days, limited time to write about them… Cell-phone roaming charges being what they are, I mostly don’t get to post stuff until I get up to work in the middle of the night. And I do actually need to work (no, really…<g>. I’m answering the copy-edit of the BESIEGED novella, so the whole SEVEN STONES book can go to press). A quick bit, though, of Our Adventures to Date:

Friday was our first full day in Cape Town, and the major activity was going to the Outlander Studio, to meet Maril and everybody, and tour the amazing new sets!

Wonderful to see Maril, Sam and Caitriona again, as well as Nick Heckstall-Smith (AD) and a few other of the Scottish crew that have come down. Also Luke Schelhaas, one of the new writers, who’s covering this block (meaning he’s the writer on set every day, responsible for the billions of on-the-spot changes and adjustments to the script that are needed; all scripts flex a _lot_ during the actual filming, no matter how many revisions they’ve been through beforehand).

We were just in time to catch David Brown, the Executive Producer for the whole show (meaning he’s the person without whom none of this could happen–he knows where to find anything and anybody, and how it all works) before he caught his flight back to Scotland (where the flock is gathering to begin prep for Season 4–this stuff takes a _LOT_ of work and thought and planning). David drove us off at high speed in his golf-cart, and we zipped out to tour the ships (I figure I’m not giving away any state secrets by telling you there are ships in this part of the show…), which are fabulous, and I don’t only mean cosmetically (my baseline for 18th century sailing ships is Disneyland’s “Columbia” and these are even better); they’re equipped with all kinds of hydraulics, gimbals, and water cannons (!!!) that make the ships nearly as expressive as the actors.

We also roared through several newly-built (and in-progress) outdoor sets, some adapted from the existing Black Sails sets (but you’ll never recognize them) and some newly built. Most striking aspects were the landscape plantings and the sand (I won’t tell you why; you’ll just have to wait and see…). Ditto several enormous tanks of water (well, we didn’t roar _through_ those; just up to the edge to have a look).

Then David had to rush to catch a plane, so Maril took over and we had a look at the indoor sets inside the (HUGE!!) studio buildings. The last one we came to was in use, and we waited a moment for the take to finish. Then Maril led us up a short flight of stairs to the door. It opened before she could reach for the door-handle, and out popped Sam and then Caitriona, both in costume and perspiring as though it was in fact July in Jamaica (film lights are Way Hot, especially in a small, confined space). Lovely to see them both again.

Short break, then back to filming. We were kindly accommodated with seats in the DOP (Director of Photography)’s tent, with headphones, so we could watch the filming. Usual mixture of fascination and boredom, with incidental entertainment (as someone said to me afterward, “How can they be giggling and poking each other, then in half a second, they’re somebody else completely and doing their lines?” To which the only reply is, “They’re actors.”)

Shared the late lunch/tea-break (they were shooting until 11 PM, so “lunch” was at 6:00 PM) with the crew, watched a bit more filming, and then bade the hard-working cast and crew a cheery farewell, and rolled back to our hotel to eat medium-rare springbok and mango sorbet. And the morning and the evening were the First Day…

Disneyland Resort Weekly INFO. 7/23 - 7/29/2017

Resort News: Rivers of America attractions and the Disneyland Railroad reopens Saturday, July 29th!

Sunday, July 23rd - (Peak $124.00)

Blocked - Southern California & Southern California Select AP
Available - Signature & Deluxe AP

  • Disneyland Park - 8:00 AM to 12:00 AM
  • Disney California Adventure - 8:00 AM to 10:00 PM
  • Downtown Disney District - 7:00 AM to 2:00 AM

Monday, July 24th  - (Regular $110.00)

Blocked - Southern California & Southern California Select AP
Available - Signature & Deluxe AP

  • Disneyland Park - 8:00 AM to 12:00 AM
  • Disney California Adventure - 8:00 AM to 10:00 PM
  • Downtown Disney District - 7:00 AM to 2:00 AM

Tuesday, July 25th - (Regular $110.00)

Blocked - Southern California & Southern California Select AP
Available - Signature & Deluxe AP

  • Disneyland Park - 8:00 AM to 12:00 AM
  • Disney California Adventure - 8:00 AM to 10:00 PM
  • Downtown Disney District - 7:00 AM to 2:00 AM

Wednesday, July 26th - (Regular $110.00)

Blocked - Southern California & Southern California Select AP
Available - Signature & Deluxe AP

  • Disneyland Park - 8:00 AM to 12:00 AM
  • Disney California Adventure - 8:00 AM to 10:00 PM
  • Downtown Disney District - 7:00 AM to 2:00 AM

Thursday, July 27th - (Regular $110.00)

Blocked - Southern California & Southern California Select AP
Available - Signature & Deluxe AP

  • Disneyland Park - 8:00 AM to 12:00 AM
  • Disney California Adventure - 8:00 AM to 10:00 PM
  • Downtown Disney District - 7:00 AM to 2:00 AM

Friday, July 28th - (Peak $124.00)

Blocked - Southern California & Southern California Select AP
Available - Signature & Deluxe AP

  • Disneyland Park - 8:00 AM to 12:00 AM
  • Disney California Adventure - 8:00 AM to 10:00 PM
  • Downtown Disney District - 7:00 AM to 2:00 AM

Saturday, July 29th - (Peak $124.00)

Blocked - Southern California & Southern California Select
Available - Signature & Deluxe AP

  • Disneyland Park - 8:00 AM to 12:00 AM
  • Disney California Adventure - 8:00 AM to 10:00 PM
  • Downtown Disney District - 7:00 AM to 2:00 AM

Disneyland Now is not associated with the Walt Disney Company, or the Disneyland Resort in anyway.  Pricing Information is taken from the Disneyland Resort website.  Prices vary by Peak($124.00), Regular($110.00), or Value($97.00) days.

Although we strive for accuracy, this information does not account for last minute changes or unscheduled closures made by the Disneyland Resort.

People-watch on the charming covered patio or venture inside to see vintage Disney artifacts from Walt’s Day. There since New Orleans Square opened in 1966, this casual table-service restaurant once known as Creole Café features dark woods, brass fixtures and stained glass that transport you to the Big Easy’s oldest neighborhood.

Amidst delightful character displays from The Princess and the Frog Café Orleans is the perfect place to dine when the weather’s fine. Sit outside and enjoy picturesque views of the Mark Twain Riverboat and Sailing Ship Columbia gliding by on the Rivers of America.


    During the golden age of flight test, the name of the game was higher, faster and louder. No manned x-plane ever exceeded the X-15 in any of these categories. X-15 66670 (Ship 1) flew 81 times, all originating from the undisputed home of experimental flight test – Edwards Air Force Base, California. The flights were first operated by its manufacturer North American Aviation (NAA), then as a joint NASA/USAF venture. Together, they would embark on the most successful and exciting flight test program in history.

     Before any of this could start, lots of strange new problems had to be overcome. One of the big unknowns was the thermal properties of operating in the hypersonic speed regime. Robert Hoey (X-15 Primary Flight Test Engineer) recently offered insight into these early stages. “At the time it was all being put together, there was nothing on the ground that would come close to duplicating the flight conditions with respecting to heating. Just nothing. You couldn’t get the combinations of Mach number and Reynolds number to even come close to duplicating flight conditions, so you had a bunch of different theories. There were about six of them, as I remember. Six different theoretical calculations that were to predict what the temperatures would be at various parts of the airplane. And we didn’t know which one was going to be right. At that time, the proper approach was to over-design for the worst case. We had an airplane that had all kinds of built in backup structure to handle the high temperatures. As soon as we got into it, it became pretty obvious that there were a couple equations that were better than the others.” I have learned from the personal experience of handling large pieces of X-15 structure that the plane is heavy. Rather than using lightweight aluminium, the X-15 skin and structure is primarily made of Inconel steel. This material acts as a heat sink, keeping structural rigidity at temperatures of over 2,000 ºF.

    The X-15, unable to take off under its own power, was carried aloft by a B-52H mothership, then dropped to begin its flight. Four captive flights were made before the first free flight of Ship 1, which NASA test pilot Scott Crossfield bravely flew on June 8, 1957. This was an unpowered flight, testing the glide characteristics of the new airframe. Its optimization for high speed flight was shown as it glided to a speed of Mach .79 before landing safely on Rogers Dry Lake at Edwards Air Force Base. Hoey remembers this NAA orchestrated flight, “For the other North American flights, we were in the control room but we weren’t controlling anything. We were just watching. But for that flight, of course, we wanted to go out on the roof and watch.”

    After the successful glide flight, Ship 1 met the next milestone by making its first powered flight on January 23, 1960, again flown by Crossfield. He fired the propulsion system, reaching a speed of Mach 2.53 and an altitude of 66,843 ft. This flight was propelled by two XLR-11 rocket engines, totaling 16,000 lbf of thrust. Later flights would use a much more powerful XLR-99 engine, throttleable from 15,000 lbf to 57,000 lbf of thrust. The fuel and oxidizer tanks only held enough fuel for to burn for 80 to 120 secons. As the propellant level decreased, the aircraft quickly became lighter, but the force of the engine remained the same. This subjected pilot to 4 gs near the end of the burn. NASA pilot Milt Thompson was once said “The X-15 was the only aircraft I ever flew where I was glad when the engine quit.”

     However, things would become even more dangerous if the engine failed to light in the first place. At the end of a typical mission, the fuel tanks would be empty resulting in a safe landing weight. If the engine didn’t fire, the X-15 was too heavy to land safely. In this case, a fuel dump was initiated, but the aircraft plummeted to the ground so quickly that there wasn’t enough time to make a dent in the heavy on-board fuel supply. This resulted in a very dangerous overweight landing on Mud Lake, a dry lakebed in Nevada positioned under the launch zone. The first time Ship 1 met this fate, Marine pilot VADM Forrest Peterson was at the controls on January 10, 1962. Peterson came out unscathed, but in other incidents, these forced landings at Mud Lake severely injured man and machine.

    After landing so far away from home base, the X-15 had to be loaded on a flatbed trailer and transported back to Edwards. The aircraft was fairly wide, so the convoy moved at night with safety vehicles leading and following the flatbed. This could sometimes prove just as harrowing as the emergency landing itself. Hoey recalls one such incident; “Some guy went by with a camper. He didn’t see the airplane with the wing sticking out and the wing took the top right off of his camper. It didn’t damage the X-15 at all.”

    Two different profiles could be flown; either a “hot flight” (which aimed for speed) or a high flight. Ship 1 made it to a maximum speed of Mach 6.06, piloted by USAF Maj. Gen. Robert Rushworth on December 5, 1963. Its highest flight of 267,500 ft was reached by NASA pilot Bill Dana on August 21, 1968. Hoey explains how his job made these incredible figures possible. “There were of us who were working as flight planners in the early days. One of them was Dick Day, he was the NASA guy, and I was the Air Force guy. Our job was to go around and talk to all the research and systems guys and find out how things were going, what happened on the last flight, what kind of additional information did they need. We’d gather all of that information and decide what we needed to do next. Of course, on the envelope expansion, we were gathering all that information, but we were primarily controlling the max speed and max altitudes so we could take it in small steps.”

    Ship 1 is now on display at Smithsonian’s National Air Museum in Washington D.C. This is the world’s second busiest museum following only the Musée du Louvre in Paris, France. The aircraft hangs in the Milestones of Flight Gallery above the Command Module “Columbia”, the ship in which Neil Armstrong sailed to the Moon during Apollo 11. Most museum visitors do not realize that Armstrong also flew X-15 Ship 1. Both vehicles earned their place of honor through the blood sweat and tears of individuals on the ground and in the air. The X-15 flight test program is often cited as the most successful such endeavor in history, causing a paradigm shift in our understanding of hypersonic aerodynamics, paving the way for programs like the Space Shuttle and future ideas yet to be conceived.

Tips for going to Disneyland alone 

  1. It’s all about you! Ride what you want, when you want. Take advantage of Single Rider lines and ride a favorite attraction over and over again (often available on Soarin’ Over California, Splash Mountain, Indiana Jones and California Screamin’).
  2. Showtime! Skip the rides and take in some shows. Especially the ones you might otherwise skip, such as Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, Muppet Vision 3-D or Billy Hill and the Hillbillies.
  3. Get to know the “locals”: Chat with a Cast Member or two and do some pin trading. Maybe they’ll have a tip about the Parks for you!
  4. Relax with Walt Disney: Enjoy a Dole Whip on a bench in the Hub at the end of Main Street near the Partners statue. It’s a great place to soak in the sunshine and notice the extraordinary floral display and the bronze character statues in the roundabout.
  5. Say Cheese! Go on a photo adventure. Snap pics of the little (and amazing) details throughout the Parks. Ask Cast Members or other guests to take your photo. (Offer to take theirs too!)
  6. Take in some Southern hospitality: Stroll through New Orleans Square, grab a Mint Julep and have a caricature drawing made while you listen to the sounds of VooDoo spells and N’awlins jazz in the alleyways.
  7. All Aboard! Take the Disneyland Railroad on a full circle tour of the Park. And then go around again. Ask a Cast Member at the Main Street station if can ride in the engine. 
  8. Vino: Enjoy a nice glass of wine while you watch Guests pass by from the peace and quiet of the Wine Country Trattoria patio in California Adventure, not into drinking? grab a frozen treat and cook down and wander around Disney Animation. 
  9. Giddyap! Take a turn on King Arthur’s Carousel in Fantasyland. There’s rarely a line for this classic attraction so you can hop right on. 
  10. Cat Patrol: Ride the Mark Twain Riverboat or the Sailing Ship Columbia and keep an eye out for Disneyland’s elusive (but hard-working) feline residents who can sometimes be spotted on the shores of the Rivers of America.
Disneyland Date Ideas:
  • Eat dinner at the Blue Bayou restaurant in the Pirates of the Caribbean ride.
  • Cuddle on the Haunted Mansion, You can pretend to be scared.
  • Watch Fantasmic, Disneyland’s laser light and water show, from the shore of the Rivers of America. For an extra charge ($59 per person), you can reserve riverside seats and enjoy a catered dessert box while watching the show
  • Watch the fireworks show from Main Street, looking toward Sleeping Beauty Castle.
  • Take a night sail on the Sailing Ship Columbia or the Mark Twain Riverboat.
  • Kiss in the darkness of “Pirates of the Caribbean” or “Peter Pan’s Flight.”
  • Make a wish at Snow White’s Wishing Well (just to the right of Sleeping Beauty Castle).
  • Share a Dole Whip outside the Enchanted Tiki Room.
  • Wear Mickey Mouse ears.

attractions found only at Disneyland Park

Indiana Jones Adventure

Tarzan’s Treehouse

Pinocchio’s Daring Journey

Storybook Land Canal Boats.

Mr. Toad’s wild ride

Casey Jr. Circus Train

Alice in wonderland

Matterhorn bobsleds

Sailing ship Columbia

and they only have Seasonal Fantasmic

Roger Rabbit’s Car toon Spin

Chip and Dale Treehouse

Goofy’s Playhouse

Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage

This just in: Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at Disneyland Park is due to finish refurbishment by March 31st of 2014!

Other refurbishments are as follows:

Disneyland Park

Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage: finishes September 26, 2014

Fantasmic! : finishes February 13, 2014

Sailing Ship Columbia: finishes February 13, 2014

Club 33: finishes July 1, 2014

Splash Mountain: finishes February 28, 2014

it’s a small world: finishes April 18, 2014

Tangled Meet and Greet: finishes December 31, 2014

Mark Twain Riverboat: February 24, 2014 to February 28, 2014

Disneyland Railroad Main Street Station: Februrary 24, 2014 to March 7, 2014

Disneyland Railroad Tomorrowland Station: Februrary 24, 2014 to March 7, 2014

Disneyland Railroad Mickey’s Toontown: Februrary 24, 2014 to March 7, 2014

Disneyland Railroad New Orleans Square Station: Februrary 24, 2014 to March 7, 2014

Alice in Wonderland: March 10, 2014 to July 3, 2014

Indiana Jones Adventure: March 17, 2014 to May 8, 2014

King Arthur Carrousel: April 28, 2014 to May 8, 2014

Pirates of the Caribbean: April 28, 2014 to May 22, 2014

Space Mountain: May 12, 2014 to June 26, 2014

California Adventure Refurbishment Schedule 

Redwood Creek Challenge Trail: finishes February 27, 2014

Disney’s Aladdin - A Musical Spectacular: finishes February 20, 2014

Soarin’ Over California: February 24, 2014 to February 27, 2014

Heimlich’s Chew Chew Train: March 3, 2014 to March 8, 2014

Mickey’s Fun Wheel - Swinging: March 3, 2014 to March 6, 2014

Mickey’s Fun Wheel - Non-Swinging: March 3, 2014 to March 6, 2014

The Little Mermaid - Ariel’s Undersea Adventure: March 20, 2014 to May 9, 2014

Grizzly River Run: April 21, 2014 to June 19, 2014

It’s Tough to Be a Bug!: April 21, 2014 to May 8, 2014