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Saturday, June 25, 2011

Tokyo Disneyland's Pan Galactic Pizza Port

What do you get when you mix the alien puppets from Star Wars with the alien Muppets from Sesame Street? You get Pan Galactic Pizza Port, a restaurant show found at Tokyo Disneyland and nowhere else on Earth.

Oriental Land Company, the owners of Tokyo Disneyland in Japan, wanted a new restaurant to open with the Star Wars themed Star Tours attraction in Tomorrowland back in 1989. Artist Steve Kirk had created some alien characters that were looking for a theme park gig. Show writer Kevin Rafferty got cooking with a concept, and the Disney Imagineers dished out Pan Galactic Pizza Port. Yoshi Akiyama, Tokyo Disneyland's Director of Design, and the Tokyo Disneyland executives thought the pitch was out of this world.

As I mentioned in A Tokyo Disneyland Guide To Fun (Circa 1990), I have not yet been to Japan to experience Pan Galactic Pizza Port for myself. This intergalactic pizza parlor is run by an Audio Animatronic alien named Tony Solaroni.

The Summer 1989 issue of Disney News magazine featured a great Pan Galactic Pizza Port article written by Steve Noceti.

Disney Imagineer Steve Kirk is joined by puppet versions of Mrs. Solaroni and the boss, Mr. Foosano.

Diners are entertained by video monitors featuring the behind-the-scenes antics of the pizza-making aliens. The alien characters were developed by Tim Kirk and Rennie Rau, and the puppet fabrication was handled by Lynette Johnson.

Mona Koth enjoys a break from producing and directing video segments for Pan Galactic Pizza Port with some of her friends.

Not shown here is another segment producer, Ellen Lichtwardt, who was probably having to deal with a diva alien puppet in a pizza delivery scene shoot.


The alien characters in the videos appear as puppets and animation. Here is a great illustration of Mrs. Solaroni.

The live action segments, animation and puppetry were brought together by Ron Harris (Video Specialist) and Ken Lisi (Sound Effects Technician/Audio Engineer) and Ron Chesley (Show Producer).

Here we see an illustration of the boss man of Pan Galactic Pizza Port, Mr. Foosano.

When Disney later announced "Plectu's Fantastic Galactic Revue" for Walt Disney World (which was never built) as part of "The Disney Decade" attraction additions in 1990, I instantly thought of these great characters.

The P6 Delivery Saucer is ready for service thanks to Ron Harris, Lynette Johnson and a key grip.

Pan Galactic Pizza Port delivers anywhere in the galaxy. Tipping is appreciated, and a gratuity is automatically added to deliveries outside our solar system.

For putting together a restaurant attraction in record-time, Disney Imagineer Kevin Rafferty is ready for a well-deserved pizza party, catered by Pan Galactic Pizza Port.


Tony Solaroni also has some human employees in the kitchen, too!


To serve as a transition between the aliens of Star Tours and the cartoonish aliens of the Pan Galactic Pizza Port, a security guard character named Officer Zzyxx was stationed at the exit of Star Tours leading to the pizzeria.

Disney Imagineer Valerie Edwards touches up a model of Officer Zzyxx, a character that remained a mystery to me until I finally saw this picture of him in the Spring 1993 issue of Disney News magazine (in an article called "Crafting a Cast of Characters" by Jean Lee).

Pan Galactic Pizza Port has not yet been duplicated at any other Disney Park. However, Officer Zzyxx does appear at Tomorrowland in Walt Disney World. In Florida, he's known as "lounge lizard" Sonny Eclipse, an Audio Animatronic alien singer at Cosmic Ray's Starlight Cafe at the Magic Kingdom.

For more about Tokyo Disneyland, be sure to visit Meet The World, a great website created by my friend TokyoMagic!

For another Disney theme park alien adventure, check out Alien Encounter at Walt Disney World.

6 comments:

  1. Excellent post today, Dan! Great detective work with Officer Zzyxx and Sonny Eclipse. I have pics of both figures that I planned to post eventually. You've made me realize that I have strayed from posting about Tokyo Disneyland....my last Tokyo post was back in November!

    Here's an older post that shows Officer Zzyxx at work: Officer Zzyxx.

    By the way, thank you for the mention and the link!!!

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  2. Thanks, TokyoMagic! I have to admit that I've never actually seen Sonny Eclipse perform in person. That's one of the things I'd like to experience on my trip to Orlando in August (yes, I am also planning on visiting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal's Islands of Adventure, the new Star Tours at Disney's Hollywood Studios, and the recently updated Haunted Mansion at the Magic Kingdom, which will all be new to me). I can't wait!

    I'm looking forward to more of your Tokyo posts, especially an in-depth look at the Pan Galactic Pizza Port. Thanks for the link to the Officer Zzyxx picture!

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  3. I hope that means you will be posting some detailed trip reports when you come back!

    I just checked my Tokyo video footage, and it looks like I only filmed 54 seconds of Tony Solaroni, darn it! After reading the article in your post and hearing that there are five different segments with Tony, I was wondering how much of it I had filmed. Oh well, at least it's something. When I do post the photos, I'll post the video too and I'll include a link to your post as well!

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  4. TokyoMagic!: Yes, I'm planning on having a trip report!

    I'll be staying on Disney property, and I'll only have 3 full days of park visits. It would be awesome if Disney offered a shuttle service to Islands of Adventure to see the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. That would be some incredible Guest Service! Since Disney now owns Spider-Man, they could call it the "Spider-Man Shuttle."

    I look forward to more about the Pan Galactic Pizza Port---thanks in advance for the link!

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  5. Dan, Thanks for the post,
    I was one of the chefs in the kitchen...
    we filmed it in the Hungry Bear kitchen in Bear Country, Disneyland... It was a blast to film!
    we didn't know what we were filming it for and I have a picture of us in the kitchen... just recently a friend who works in TDL told me about it! Thanks for the great Post!

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  6. Thanks, Disney On Parole---Great to see you here! Wow, that is cool! It must be nice to be featured in a theme park attraction. Especially when it is an alien pizza place!

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