Monday, December 29, 2008

Disney Nature

I was just watching my copy of The Chronicles of Narnia Prince Caspian when I saw a trailer for the first of the Disney Nature films Earth. It looks amazing just from the trailer and I am really excited to see what Disney makes of this division of the company. I did some research to give everyone a brief overview of what Disney Nature is doing and planning to do. Enjoy!


Disney veteran Jean-Francois Camilleri, who has served as senior vice president and general manager for Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures France will head the new unit. Disneynature will be based in France, where Camilleri and his team will oversee the initiation, development and acquisition of high quality feature projects.

Among the first films to be released domestically under the new label will be Earth, from award-winning British producer/director Alastair Fothergill, whose credits include the landmark Planet Earth series for the BBC and The Discovery Channel and The Blue Planet. Earth, produced by BBC Worldwide and Greenlight Media and co-directed by Mark Linfield, was released in cinemas internationally in 2007. It will premiere in the U.S. on Earth Day, April 22, 2009. Disneynature will also distribute the film in Latin America.

Disneynature announced in a press release[1] that the film will be narrated by James Earl Jones, replacing Patrick Stewart who narrated the international version.

Announced Projects

Among the other Disneynature projects currently in development or production are:

* The Crimson Wing: Mystery of the Flamingos – Co-directed by Matthew Aeberhard and Leander Ward, and produced by Paul Webster (Kudos Pictures), this film will take viewers to mysterious lives of flamingos. Worldwide roll-out begins December 2008

* Oceans -- Nearly three-quarters of the earth’s surface is covered by oceans. French co-directors Jacques Perrin and Jacques Cluzaud have set out to capture the full expanse of these waters that have played such a crucial and constant role in the history and sustenance of man. The deep and abundant oceans are places of great mysteries and dangers that this film will dare to explore. Domestic release 2010

* Orangutans: One Minute to Midnight – Directed by Charlie Hamilton James and produced by Frédéric Fougea, this film tells the true story of a six-year-old male orangutan and his little sister, who must take an incredible journey to find a home and a family. Worldwide release 2010

* Big Cats – Audiences will get to meet three mothers – a lioness, a leopard and a cheetah – as they explore their world on the great plains of Africa. Co-directed by Keith Scholey and Alastair Fothergill and produced by Alix Tidmarsh, this film will show how these magnificent animals survive on their power and their cunning, while they protect and teach their cubs the ways of the wild. Worldwide release 2011

* Naked Beauty: A Love Story that Feeds the Earth – In this film, nature is ready for its close-up … a very close-up, as exacting macro photography takes us to the realm of flowers and their pollinators. Acclaimed filmmaker Louie Schwartzberg introduces us to a bat, a hummingbird, a butterfly and a bumblebee, demonstrating their intricate interdependence and how life on earth depends on the success of these determined, diminutive creatures. Naked Beauty is produced by Blacklight Films and Alix Tidmarsh. Worldwide release 2011

* Chimpanzee -- Alastair Fothergill and Mark Linfield co-direct this intimate look at the world of chimpanzees, with Christophe Boesch, head of the Wild Chimpanzee Foundation, serving as principal consultant and Alix Tidmarshas producer. To be shot over three years in the tropical jungles of the Ivory Coast and Uganda, Chimpanzee will help us better understand this exceptionally intelligent species. Worldwide release 2012.

Monday, November 3, 2008

The Haunted Mansion Time of Year

A Bit of History

The attraction's roots date back to even before Disneyland was built, when Walt had just hired the first of his Imagineers. The first known illustration of the park showed a main street setting, green fields, western village, and a carnival. Disney Legend Harper Goff developed a beautiful black and white sketch of a crooked street leading away from main street leading by a peaceful church and graveyard, with a run-down manor perched high on a hill that towered over main street.

While not part of the original attractions when Disneyland opened in 1955, Walt assigned Imagineer Ken Anderson, to make a story around the Harper Goff idea, and design of his new 'grim grinning' adventure. Plans were made to build a New Orleans themed land in the small transition area between Frontierland and Adventureland. Weeks later New Orleans Square appeared on the souvenir map and promised a thieves' market, a pirate wax museum, and a haunted house walk-through. After being assigned his project, Ken studied New Orleans and old plantations to come up with a dirty drawing of an antebellum manor overgrown with weeds, dead trees, swarms of bats, and boarded doors and windows topped by a screeching cat as a weathervane.

Despite praise from other Imagineers, Walt wasn't too thrilled with this drawing, hence his well known saying, "We'll take care of the outside and let the ghosts take care of the inside." Despite this, Walt journeyed out to the Winchester Mystery House and became deeply captivated with the massive mansion with its stairs to nowhere, doors that open to walls and holes, and elevators. Ken came up with stories for the mansion including tales of a ghostly sea captain who killed his nosy bride and then hanged himself, a mansion home to an unfortunate family, and a ghostly wedding party with previous Disney villains and spooks like Captain Hook, lonesome ghosts, and the headless horseman. Some of the Universal Monsters were even planned to appear.

Rolly Crump and Yale Gracey, two Imagineers put in charge of the spectral effects, recreated many of Ken Anderson's stories. Walt gave them a large studio at WED enterprises; they studied reports of hauntings and Greek myths and monster movies, eventually making quite a show in their private studio. Some of these effects frightened the cleaning crews that came in at night to the extent that management eventually asked the crew to leave on the lights and to turn off the effects after hours. Defying this, Crump and Gracey connected all the effects to a motion-sensitive switch that, when passed, would turn everything on. The next day when the two returned to work, all the effects were running with a broom in the middle of the floor. Management told them that they would have to clean the studio themselves, because the cleaning crew was never coming back.

The duo made a scene where a ghostly sea captain appeared from nowhere. Suddenly a wretched bride emerged from a brick wall and chased the ghost around in circles. The frightened pirate melted into a puddle and flooded the entire scene only for the water to mysteriously vanish with the bride. "A ghost haunted by a ghost!" Rolly told Walt between chuckles. Walt and the Imagineers were amazed, but Walt still didn't like how the project was coming out. That put the mansion on hold for quite some time.

So, the decision was made to place it in the New Orleans Square section of the park, and thus the attraction was themed as a haunted antebellum mansion. In 1961, handbills announcing a 1963 opening of the Haunted Mansion were given out at Disneyland's main entrance. Construction began a year later, and the exterior was completed in 1963. The attraction was previewed in a 1965 episode of Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color, but the attraction itself would not open until 1969. The six-year delay owed heavily to Disney's involvement in the New York World's Fair in 1964–1965 and to an attraction redesign after Walt's death in 1966.

Many Imagineers such as Marc Davis, X Atencio, and Claude Coats contributed ideas after the fair and after Ken left the project. Rolly Crump showed Walt some designs for his version showing bizarre things like coffin clocks, candle men, talking chairs, man eating plants, tiki like busts, living gypsy wagons, and a faced mirror. Walt liked this and wanted to make the proclaimed "Museum of the Weird" a restaurant side to the now named Haunted Mansion, similar to the Blue Bayou at Pirates of the Caribbean. Although the idea died off, most of it lived on in the final attraction.

Marc Davis and Claude Coats, two of the mansion's main designers, were in a constant argument over whether the ride should be scary or funny. Claude, who had a life of a background artist, made moody surroundings like endless hallways, corridors of doors, and characterless environments, wanted to make a scary adventure. Marc, who designed most of the characters and zany spooks, thought that the ride should be classic Disney silly and full of gags. In the end both got their way when X. put all the scenes together.

After Walt's death in December 1966, the project evolved significantly. The Museum of the Weird restaurant idea was abandoned, and the walkthrough idea was replaced by the Omnimover system used in Adventure Thru Inner Space, renamed the Doom Buggy, a promising solution to the problem of capacity. Imagineers had been fighting the low-capacity nature of a walkthrough attraction for years, even going so far as suggesting building two identical attractions to get double the number of guests through.

On August 9, 1969, the Disneyland version of the attraction was completed, and remained essentially unchanged for years. The opening brought in record crowds and helped Disney recover from Walt's untimely death. In the early 1970s, the Imagineers gave some semi-serious thought to resurrecting many of the creatures and effects that Rolly Crump had originally created for the Haunted Mansion's pre-show as part of Professor Marvel's Gallery, which was "... a tent show of mysteries and delights, a carousel of magic and wonder". This was to be built as part of Disneyland's Discovery Bay expansion area.

In 1999, a retrospective of the art of the Haunted Mansion was featured at The Disney Gallery above the entrance to Pirates of the Caribbean. When the 2003 film The Haunted Mansion was released, a retrospective of its art was featured in the gallery as well.

In October 2005, Slave Labor Graphics began publishing a bimonthly Haunted Mansion comic book anthology giving the Disneyland Mansion a backstory, with the main recurring story of Master Gracey recalling the old sea captain storyline.

Other Incarnations of The Haunted Mansion

The attraction opened at the Magic Kingdom in 1971, Tokyo Disneyland in 1983, Disneyland Paris as Phantom Manor in 1992. For each of these parks, the Haunted Mansion is an original attraction.

The Haunted Mansion was an opening day attraction at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom, opening in 1971. This attraction was developed at the same time as the Disneyland version, resulting in a very similar experience to the Disneyland version, though the slightly larger show building allowed the addition of several new scenes. The attraction was placed in Liberty Square, a small land that was a tribute to colonial America, as the Magic Kingdom did not have a New Orleans Square. Thus, the Mansion was given a Dutch Gothic Revival style based on older northeastern mansions, particularly those in older areas of Pennsylvania and in the Hudson River Valley region of New York.

At Tokyo Disneyland the Mansion was placed in Fantasyland and was a near complete clone of the Magic Kingdom version. The only exterior differences from the Magic Kingdom are two bronze griffin statues guarding the main gates, as well as the left bottom and top windows being both smashed open, and the top having some velvet curtains hanging out. The narration is in Japanese.

At Disneyland Paris the attraction goes by a different name, Phantom Manor.

When The Haunted Mansion was transplanted to other Disney parks, space management was much less of a problem. For example, in Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom, the entire show building is located within the park boundaries. Luckily, the placement of the show building has no bearing on the quality of the experience. Most guests give little thought to whether they are actually inside the mansion they saw while in line.

Haunted Mansion Holiday

Since 2001, the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland is transformed into Haunted Mansion Holiday during Christmas, based on Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas. The Haunted Mansion is closed in September for a few weeks as they revamp the attraction, replacing many of the props and Audio-Animatronics with characters and themes from the movie. The attraction is closed again in January when it is returned to the regular Haunted Mansion.

In 2004 a similar overlay was installed for Tokyo Disneyland as "Haunted Mansion Holiday Nightmare". To date, neither the Walt Disney World nor Disneyland Paris attractions have been fitted with a Nightmare Before Christmas overlay, though the exterior of Phantom Manor is decorated for Halloween along with the rest of Disneyland Paris.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Time for Some Reviews

Hey there everyone. I have been planning this post every since I started my trip report because I wanted to review some things that have recently come out but I didn't want to interrupt the trip report. Anyway, I have two recent reviews and one that is a little bit older. So enjoy and let me know what you think.

Sleeping Beauty just came out on October 7 and I immediately got to the store and got it. I had to just get the dvd because I have yet to get a blu-ray player and new tv. But never the less, the new platinum edition dvd is amazing. I will have to suggest and urge you to watch the backstageDisney section of the special features before you watch the movie. You will learn so much about the movie and it's history and how the movie was created. It's very cool to watch because you're learning about a movie you've always liked in a whole new way. And it gets you excited to watch the movie. Let me tell you, the movie is quite amazing. The restoration was done perfectly on this film with bright colors enhancing this wonderful piece of art. This is one of those Disney movies that is a piece of art the whole way through. I hadn't watched it in a really long time and seeing it again in this beautifully restored version just made me appreciate it totally different reasons than I had in the past. Pay attention the backgrounds, and the styling of the costumes, and the personality of every character. This is a must buy if you are a fan of Disney. Highly recommend it.

The Nightmare Before Christmas special edition dvd and Blu-Ray came out on August 26. This is one of my favorite movies so I was there the day it came out making sure I had a copy. I went straight home to watch. Again, I watched the special features first. Just gives you a little background on the movie and gives you a different experience when you are watching the movie. Speaking of the movie, I have to say that they did another great job with this one. With the past releases of this movie, I kind of ignored the fact that the colors were a bit muted because that was the way that the movie was designed and shot. The color in this new version gives a whole new look to this movie and in my opinion makes it a whole lot better. If you are a fan of this movie, you will want to get this and if maybe you just haven't seen it in a while, this version of Nightmare Before Christmas is definitely one you should check out.

Lou Mongello recently released his audio tour to Adventureland. I just wanted to say that if you do not have this or the Main Street U.S.A. audio tour, please, drop what ever you are doing, go to his website, and buy these albums. The adventure land tour is a whole lot of fun and really gets you into a sense that you are walking around the park since you started on Main Street and made your way to the end and are now heading through Adventureland. And next stop,Frontierland.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Trip Report Day 7

Alright people, I know, I'm a slacker. I'm about to start a new job and things have been crazy. I promise that I will do better at getting posts out since after this one I will be getting back to some of my regular posts. So, last day in the parks (insert small tear here). We started out at the Studios for opening so we could run back to Toy Story Mania. Only a half an hour wait so we weren't complaining at all. After that we went over to Starring Rolls Bakery for a little bite to eat and I would have to say that this was probably the worst of our food experiences this trip. It's not that it wasn't good it just reminded me of the baked foods they used to give me in high school. Anyway, after this we went and did the Magic of Disney Animation at the end of which we got our picture taken with Mickey. After that we went through One Man's Dream. This is definitely a favorite of mine now since I am a big fan of Disney history and Walt himself. We then met up with my Aunt and her gang for Lights Motors Action which was a neat show as always. Then we did Stars tours while half of our group cooled of in the Writers Stop. We then got out of the Studios for a little break back at the resort.
Can you guess where we would spend our last night? That's right, Epcot. We started over at Canada just taking it all in as we walked around the pavilions. I stopped in the U.K. to grab some fish and chips from the Yorkshire County Fish and Chips counter service and walked on over to see my favorite stage performers, the British Invasion. And they were playing songs from my favorite album, Sgt. Pepper. From there we kept on around the World Showcase, shopping and exploring through France, Morocco, and Italy. We were walking back towards the international gateway when Illuminations started so we watched that again. That's right, I saw it three times in a week and it's still my favorite. lol. We then headed over to Beaches and Cream for some ice cream to cap off our day and our wonderful WDW vacation.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Trip Report Day 6

Hey there everyone! I know, I know, it's been forever since my last post and I do apologize. But I am here now and so that means on with the trip report. So today, surprise surprise, we were back at Epcot. Can you tell what our favorite park is? We started out running over to soarin' to see what the waits were. We got on in the standby line with only a 20 minute wait. Not bad. After that we went over to Club Cool to check out everything in there. From there we headed over to Mission Space. It was only my girlfriend Jenea, my brother josh, and myself because neither of my parents thought they could handle the orange team. Let me tell you, that was the first time I had gotten to ride this attraction and I have never been on anything like it. It was a great attraction that kept us on the edge of our seats until the end. Next, we ran over to catch Test Track again, we just couldn't get enough of this attraction. It's definitely one of me and Josh's favorite attractions to ride together.

From there we met back up with my parents in Mouse Gears and headed back over to the World Showcase to catch some of the countries that we had missed or wanted to go see more of. Started in Norway, then to Germany, then over to Japan, shopping and taking pictures all the way. Though it was very hot outside, World Showcase was pretty calm and relaxing today. After Japan, my parents and brother decided that they were going to head back to the resort for a little break. That was fine with Jenea and I because we had a 3:00 ADR at the San Angel Inn.

We walked through the U.K. pavilion and wondered our way towards Mexico. When we got there, we had some time left so naturally I suggested riding the Grand Fiesta Tour again. So after we got off the attraction we shopped around the pavilion and then went over to check in for our ADR. We were sat and had our drinks before our 3:00 ADR time had rolled around. Jenea and I like to go out for mexican food when we are back home, so we were naturally drawn to the mexican restaurant in Epcot. And of course, the food did not disappoint. I had one the best margaritas on the planet while there which is good because it was nine friggin' dollars. lol. We both started out with the chicken tortilla soup, which was very good. As for the entree, we both got the Plato Mexicano which is a grilled beef taco, chicken enchilada, and cheese quesadilla with black refried beans, guacamole and Mexican rice. It was very tasty and very filling. I would definitely recommend the San Angel Inn for anyone who is craving good Mexican food while in WDW. After our early dinner we headed back to the resort to meet back up with the fam and head over for a night in the Magic Kingdom.

When we got there, we met up with my Aunt Lynn and her gang. We wanted to get a spot in the hub for Spectro Magic and Wishes so that's exactly what we did. When we found our spot Jenea and I decided that we wanted to run over and get on the Haunted Mansion one more time. We got back just in time to save our seats for Spectro Magic which was once again, an awesome parade. Then all we had to do was turn around and watch Wishes. This is a great fireworks show and just fills you with that sense of Disney, those of you who "get it" understand what I'm saying right?  From there we walked over and rode Space Mountain again, not that this is our favorite ride in the Magic Kingdom or anything. It was myself, Jenea, Josh, and my cousins Alisha, Sarah, and Meredith plus one friend Kate. We had a blast, as usual on Space Mountain. This ended another great day in the world. It's hard to believe that it's been two months since I was there. Well, guess that means it's time to start saving for another trip. Hopefully the next day won't be so far delayed as this one was. TTFN. Peace.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Trip Report Day 5

Today we kind of took it easy. We always try and take a day that we don't do as much so we don't all run out of steam before the trip is over. We started out the morning by going to the settlement at Fort Wilderness and having breakfast at the Trails End. All I have to say is Mickey Waffles. From there we went over to the Magic Kingdom to hit a couple more things that we missed. We went through the shops on the left side of Main Street making our way towards Tomorrowland. Once there we enjoyed the Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor. This was a well done attraction with a lot of good laughs. It was an all around fun attraction. From there we went over and rode Space Mountain, again. Can you tell what one our favorite attractions is? From there we went over and saw The Carousel of Progress. I love this attraction because it has been relatively untouched since it's debut at the World's Fair in I believe it was 1964. It's just one of those things you appreciate even more knowing that Walt himself had a hand in it. After that we made our way out of the Magic Kingdom to take in one of our unofficial family trip traditions. We hopped on the monorail and did the Magic Kingdom loop, resort hopping along the way. It's always been one of those things that we always like to do. We got around to the Contemporary again and hitched a boat ride back to Fort Wilderness for a little break before our night at Downtown Disney. 

We went to the 6:00 p.m. showing of Cirque Du Soleil La Nouba and I have to say that this was one of the highlights of the trip for me. I had an idea of how it was going to be from the previews I saw online. But nothing could have prepared me. It was a wonderful show and to all that are hesitant about spending the money to go, just do it. You will not regret it. From there we hopped in the car and drove down to the marketplace side of downtown disney. Not an easy task, from now on, I'm taking the bus. That parking lot was a nightmare and I encourage disney to do something about it. It was crazy! But once we got parked and out of the car it was time to find something to have for dinner. We ended up at Earl of Sandwich and were very surprised. It was our first time there and even though it was a bit loud to the point where we had to strain to hear one another, the food was excellent. I will definitely be going back and once again, if you haven't tried it, do it. After we ate we just hung around marketplace for a little bit and then went on back to the resort to end a bit more relaxed, but still eventful and fun day. Stay tuned for Day 6. Peace.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Trip Report Day 4

So today we went to to Animal Kingdom and all I have to say is man was it hot. We had all 11 of us there and we got there right at park opening to try and beat the heat but I think that Animal Kingdom is just the hottest park in Orlando. So the very first thing we did was run over to Expedition Everest since we hadn't ridden it yet. I will tell you, that has to be one of my favorite attractions in WDW just because of the Yeti. He was so large and his movement was so fluent, it was an awesome attraction. From there we went over to hit the Kilimanjaro Safari. On our way over to the Safari, walking through Asia towards Africa, we say Miss Devine. She was very elegant and just very interesting. I was just happy that I wanted to see her and I knew that she didn't have a set schedule of when she comes out. So then we went over to the safari  was awesome as usual. One thing though, no Giraffes! What's up with that! When we got off the safari we walked the Pangani Forest Trail. I love these walks and all the places to walk in Animal Kingdom but it was getting very hot out. Everyone was starting to get over heated and hungry by this time so we decided to head back to our resorts and take a break.

After our afternoon break, we headed back over to Epcot to get to our 3:30 ADR at Le Cellier. This was our first meal here but I had heard such good things about it, we had to go. Our first look at the menu showed that the options were a lot more expensive than we are used to. We learned from our dining at Coral Reef that there is no problem asking any question about the menu or substituting anything on that menu. I had the Filet Mignon over roasted red potatoes with a garlic mushroom butter sauce. Needless to say we were all sure to take our time eating this meal. It was so good that we couldn't help but take our time. This is definitely the one meal that we didn't mind paying for at all. We will definitely be going back to Le Cellier every time we go back to WDW.

After dinner we wanted to see the new O Canada film and we were very pleased with the new film. From there we went back up front to catch Spaceship Earth with it's new refurbishments and we were very surprised with it. The AA's moved very fluently and everything just looked very fresh. From there we headed over to World Showcase and started over in Mexico. I wanted to get on the Grand Fiesta Tour because I am a big fan of the Three Caballeros and couldn't wait to ride this attraction after I heard that it was being refurbed. After that my mom and dad were getting tired, but my little brother wanted to go by China before they headed back to the resort. So we went over to china and then my parents and my little brother went on back to the cabin. Jenea and I decided to stick around and catch Illuminations again. We were walking over towards Germany and found two opens spots on a bench right on the water. There were speakers right behind us that were cranked up and we thought that it was just about the perfect spot to view Illuminations. Once again, great day in the World. Stay tuned for day 5, Peace.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Trip Report Day 3

So today Jenea and I went to Blizzard Beach for morning extra magic hours. The best part about it is that we went with rain out tickets that we got in 2001. You have to love those no expiration tickets. We spent all morning at the water park and then came back to the resort, changed clothes, and went off to the Studios.

The first thing we did was to get fast passes for Rockin Roller Coaster. After that we just walked around Hollywood and Sunset Boulevard going in and out of the shops before we got our spot for Block Party Bash. I must say that this was a very cool parade. After the parade was over, we went over the ride Rockin Roller Coaster. Let me tell you, we have a coaster with a similar launch here in St. Louis, but it is nothing compared to the launch and the ride on Rockin Roller Coaster. After that we went towards Toy Story Mania to see what the fast pass times were for it even though I knew they would be crazy. They didn't have any more fast passes and there was no time on the stand by line because it was too long I think. From here we went looking for some place to eat and ended up at the Sci Fi Dine in Theater. It's the first time any of us had been there and it was pretty neat. We were all craving a burger so that what we got and I was very surprised at how good they were. 

After our early dinner we went right over and saw Muppet Vision 3D. You got to love this attraction, I mean it's the freaking Muppets! After that we went over to the Backlot tour since we knew we wouldn't have to wait and Jenea had never done it before. After that we went back up to the Great Movie ride and met up with my Aunt Lynn and her gang. We rode the Great Movie Ride and of course had a good time since when you get that many of us together it's always a fun time. Then we made our way towards the Fantasmic theater to get our seats early, since we had 11 people and we all wanted to sit together. Fantasmic was awesome, as usual, except when it's over and all those people are crowding to get out. So Jenea and I parted ways with the group so we could go take some night pictures around the Studios before we headed back. We decided as we walked down Hollywood Boulevard that we would stop by Toy Story Mania and see what the wait was. 20 minutes! That's right, and it was right before the park was to close, there were 5 people behind us and they closed the doors. I got some great shots of the interior of the queue. The ride was amazing, great fun, and awesome effects. This was a great day. Stay tuned. Peace.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Trip Report Day 2

Today was a bit of a late start because of our late night the night before. Today was time for Epcot. We had a 12:20 lunch ADR at the Coral Reef for my younger brother's high school graduation. We wanted to ride the monorail over so we took the boat over to the Contemporary and caught the monorail over to the TTC and switched monorails to get to Epcot. 
When we got to there, we went over and grabbed some fast passes for Soarin'. We decided to go and check in about a half hour early for our ADR just in case. We were seated within ten minutes of checking in. I must say, the setting of the Coral Reef is reason enough to go there for a meal. It a bit of a costly meal, but everyone was satisfied and we just had a great time at lunch.  

So after lunch we figured since we were already there we should go ahead and do the Seas with Nemo and Friends and Turtle Talk with Crush. Our first time on either one since that pavilion was all refurbed. Both top notch attractions that I would recommend to anyone. Next we headed over to Soarin' to use our fast passes. This has to be one of my favorite attractions in future world. While in the Land pavilion, we hit up Living with the Land which is just one of those attractions that we always ride every time we are there. Then went across innoventions over to Test Track. This is another favorite for my brother Josh and I. Then we went back to the resort for an afternoon break.

We drove our car over to the Boardwalk resort for an evening taking in the sights around there. We ate at the Spoodles pizza pick up window on the Boardwalk and I would have to say that is the best pizza I've had in the park I think. From there we went over to Epcot to meet my aunt and her gang for Illuminations. This is my favorite of all the night time shows and I got my girlfriend Jenea hooked on it after she saw it this time. What a great show and a great day. Remember, we kind of took it a little slow because of the blistering heat and lack of rain or clouds. But I still think we did alright. Day 3 is coming up soon. Peace.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Time for a Trip Report (Day 1)

Hey there everyone!  I'm back! I have to say that my entire family and myself had a great time. I will preface this trip report with the fact that it was unusually hot this trip. We have gone down at this time of year many times before and I think that the big difference was that we didn't have hardly any rain the whole time we were down there. Which means that there were no clouds, at all, ever. That means we had all sun all the time. This limited our stamina in the parks greatly but we still did a good amount and had a great time. So, on with the show! First, I'm going to say that monday was day zero since we weren't in the park and it was just a long boring day of driving. Now for Day 1 at disney world. We got in around 2:30pm and got checked in and unpacked at our cabin at Fort Wilderness. It wasn't long after that before we were in that boat on the way to the Magic Kingdom. We took our time getting down main street to take everything in. First thing's first, DOLE WHIP!  We were on our way to pirates, but then we saw aloha isle and decided that if we were any kind of disney world fans, we had to stop for a dole whip. 

After our dole whips, we met up with my aunt lynn and uncle mike with their 3 daughters plus one friend in front of pirates. I knew this was going down for refurbishment on friday so I insisted that we ride it right away. The new additions from the pirates films were great as I had heard they were. Next we all (all 11 of us) went over to Big Thunder Mountain. After that we walked through Frontierland and into Liberty Square to take in the Haunted Mansion and I must say that the additions in that attraction was awesome. After that we said good bye to my aunt and uncle and their gang since they had been there since opening and were out of steam and went over to Philharmagic. I would have to call this one of the best 3D/4D attractions that disney has. From there we stayed in fantasyland hitting some of our favorites, Peter Pan's Flight and It's A Small World. 

Next we decided to give Columbia Harbor House a try for dinner. I'm not too big on the standard counter service selections but I had the fish here and it was quiet good. Not the best I've had, but not bad at all. After dinner we headed over to Tomorrowland to get in some of our favorites there before Spectromagic. We hit Stitch's Great Escape (yeah, yeah, i know, so sue me for enjoying it, lol) and space mountain (one of our favorites). After this we decided we needing to get a seat for Spectromagic. It was raining a bit so we went into some of the shop along main street to kill some time and get down to the other end of main street in a dry way. We staked out a spot right across from the fire house right where the parade starts that way we could get out before a lot of other people. 

My parents and little brother went back to the resort after the parade and Jenea and I stuck around to ride some more attractions. We got on the tea cups because there was no wait right as Wishes was starting. So after we got off that we walked through fantasyland as the fireworks were going off around us which was pretty cool. From there we went back to ride Big Thunder Mountain again in the dark which is a totally different experience and I think I like it better at night. From there we decided to go hit the Jungle Cruise since I heard that was even better at night. And whoever I heard it from was right, it was a much different ride but I found myself enjoying it more in the dark. On our way out we went across the hub and through tomorrowland so we could get on Space Mountain one more time before we headed back. Then we went out to the boat dock, caught our boat over to Fort Wilderness, got back to the cabin and went to bed. How's that? I thought it a great first day in disney and there is more trip report coming here in the near future. Peace

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Schedule for Next Week!

Hey there everyone. How are you all? I am starting to get stuff ready for the trip! I'm so excited about this upcoming trip. I get to go with my parents and brother, like always, but this time I get to bring my girlfriend Jenea who hasn't been since she was 6. And, we found out a bit ago that my Aunt Lynn and her family will be down in the world the same time we are so we get to hang out with them while we are down there. And now, on with the schedule...

Day 1 - Monday, June 2 - Boring day of driving, and driving.....and driving. 
Day 2 - Tuesday, June 3 - More driving, we should be getting down into Orlando in the early afternoon. Our check in is at 3 o'clock but since we are driving, we may just go to the parks. Either way, we are making our first stop and the Magic Kingdom. We will be meeting up with my Aunt and Uncle and my three cousins and touring the park. We will be taking in Spectro Magic and Wishes the first night.
Day 3 - Wednesday, June 4 - Epcot! All day Epcot! I am really excited about this day. I'm sure we will take a break during the afternoon, but our park of the day is Epcot. We have a lunch ADR for the Coral Reef to celebrate my brother Josh's High School graduation. We will also be watching Illuminations, my favorite night time show. 
Day 4 - Thursday, June 5 -My girlfriend and I will be going to Blizzard Beach for Morning Extra Magic Hours on some no expiration tickets that are from a rain out day we had when we were down in 2001. We will probably be there for a 3ish hours and then head back the resort to change and head off the the Hollywood Studios to meet my parents. We get to see Toy Story Mania! This will be our park of the day and will end our night with Fantasmic. 
Day 5 - Friday, June 6 - We will be going to Animal Kingdom in the morning hopefully while it's still a bit cooler. We will have our first ride on Expedition Everest since it was 2005 the last time we were down and we are very excited. We will be leaving there in the early afternoon to head to Epcot early enough to have plenty of time to make it to Le Cellier for a dinner ADR. Then a night at Epcot. 
Day 6 - Saturday, June 7 - Another day at the Magic Kingdom re-riding attraction that we want and of course, having fun. We will be going to Downtown Disney to see Cirque Du Soleil, La Nouba. We are very excited to see the show since we have been wanting to see it for a while now. We will probably go out to around Downtown Disney after the show.
Day 7 - Sunday, June 8 - We are going to take the Magic Kingdom monorail loop and check out some of the Bay Lake Resort, we've always done that for some reason. We will probably stop at Magic Kingdom again just for the fun of it. My girlfriend and I will have to split and take the monorail from the TTC to Epcot for our early dinner ADR at the San Angel Inn at the Mexican Pavilion in World Showcase. After dinner, we are going to eventually go to the boardwalk to check that out, leave from there and head to Animal Kingdom to meet up with the parents and brother for a night at the Animal Kingdom.
Day 8 - Monday, June 9 - We are doing another morning at Epcot. Then another night at the Hollywood Studios. And of course, anything in between. 
Day 9 - Tuesday, June 10 - Our last day, sigh. We will be checking out and heading to Downtown Disney to walk around there for a while and then heading off to St. Genevieve. Going to the Beach for two days, then heading back home.

It seems like a lot less when I write it out. I am really excited and I know that it is going to be awesome. As some of you might know, if anyone is in the parks and want to find me, I will be in tie dye everyday so if you are in one of our parks on any given day, come find me. I will be trying to hit some extra magic hour evenings at each park to get some good night time pictures. I will be following up with a full trip report, day by day. Peace. I'm Going to Disney World! 

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Time takes so long...

"Well, no wonder you’re late! Why, this clock is exactly two days slow! Of course you’re late. Hahaha! My goodness. We’ll have to look into this. A-ha! I see what’s wrong with it! Why, this watch is full of wheels!" If only the Mad Hatter would say that to me! I will tell you what, I don't think there is a friday afternoon at work that can match to how slow a disney trip countdown seems. 18 days left and it creeping like there's no tomorrow. Which would be a truly unsettling idea seeing as I need tomorrow to come so I only have 17 days left. So yeah, that's where I am right now. I have slowly begun to get stuff together for the trip and of course, can't wait! I promise, I will be putting up our schedule, I just need time to make it cool. But anyways, I wonder if any of my fellow disney pals will be in the parks the same time I am? There might be a meet of some kind that could be arranged. Well, TTFN. Peace.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Figment Pigment

Hey there all, finally I am back with some news. I received my Disney Classics piece last week from the event. Figment Pigment is a wonderful piece. The color and the design of this piece is stunning. I was number 545 out of 750 matching signed pieces. This is actually only my second Disney Classics piece, my first is the large oriental mushroom from Fantasia. Anyway, just thought you might enjoy the pictures and I wanted to reassure everyone that I will be posting a lose schedule for our upcoming trip (25 days) to go along with my trip report right after we get back. Talk to you soon. Peace.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Classic Caballeros Collection

That's right, Saludos Amigos and The Three Caballeros have been released on dvd together! They are beautifully re-mastered and re-colored to bring new life to these classic films. The color in my opinion was great to begin with, but then I watched this new version. There are parts mainly in Caballeros where you can tell that the color restoration lacked maybe because of the mixture of live action and animation. Other than those couple of parts, the color is amazing. I did also just find out that they are releasing the classic feature The Sword in the Stone on special edition dvd on the 17th of this month. Oh, and Jeff from Iowa, put the corn down, step away from the corn, and watch this movie, you won't regret it. lol. Hope to hear what everyone thinks of this one. Oh, and I'm almost at 30 days! YAY! Here in a couple weeks I plan on posting a rough schedule for our days in Disney World. Stay tuned. Later.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Frank and Ollie on DVD

Hey there everyone. How's everyone doing. So, somebody has been hiding this dvd from me since it has been out there since 2003 and I had no idea. I just recently ordered it off of Amazon and it arrived last night. All I can say is if you haven't seen this, you really should. I've never seen two people that had such a strong friendship for such a long time. In my opinion, two of the best animators that Disney has ever seen, this film takes a look at how the constructed some of their classic scenes. You actually get to hear how they do it from them. It was directed by Frank's son which I also thought was cool. You have to get online to get this film. If you enjoy Disney history or just the classic animated features, this is a must for your library. Oh, and if any of you hadn't noticed, The Three Caballeros/ Saludos Amigos dvd comes out today. I will be reviewing that here within the next couple days. Later.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Counting Down (update)

Hey there everyone. It has been a while. I've been super busy at work, my last check had 103 hours for two weeks. I am also trying to start playing again with my two guitar players from our former band. Time has been short, but I have to make time to visit my dis-pals. So we are nearing the 40 day mark and I am getting extremely antsy. We got out La Nouba tickets in the mail and like I said we have made reservations for Le Cellier, Coral Reef, and Brown Derby (for mom and dad). My girlfriend Jenea and I have finally decided on a early sunday dinner at the San Angel Inn in the Mexico pavilion. After that we will be meeting up with my parents and little brother and for an evening in the Animal Kingdom. I don't know if I mentioned this story, but when we went in 2005, we went to Blizzard Beach, were there for literally a half hour and it started raining, hard. We got replacement tickets that we just recently found out had no expiration on them. So Jenea and I are going to do morning extra magic hours at Blizzard Beach for free! That really all that I can think of at the moment. I will keep everyone posted on how we are doing with our planning. Hope you enjoy the monorail pic. Peace.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

I thought this was a good tribute to a great animator

Ollie Johnston’s cameo in Brad Bird’s The Iron Giant

We asked Brad Bird, Oscar-winning director of Ratatouille and The Incredibles, if he could share a few thoughts about the passing of Ollie Johnston. Brad responded with this eloquent piece:

I was lucky enough to meet eight of Disney’s famed “Nine Old Men”. I never met John Lounsberry in person, though he did see the film that I made as a kid. The “Old Men” I knew the best were Milt Kahl and Eric Larson, who mentored me directly in early years, and Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston, who I often visited and heckled, but didn’t really get to know well until I was working professionally.

In spite of the usual “one happy family” picture that public relations always wants to paint about production teams, Disney’s Nine Old Men were competitive with each other. They would help each other out, but like all artists, they had differences of opinion on how best to approach their work.

Milt’s complaint about Ollie’s work was “There are no extremes! His scenes are all inbetweens!”.

This is, of course, wrong.

But it does capture a truth about Ollie’s work; that it was intuitive, subtle and elusive. It was difficult to see all that Ollie was doing when you flipped his original drawings, because he didn’t push his key poses as far as Milt did graphically, or as far as Frank did performance-wise… but when you saw Ollie’s scenes the way they were intended to be seen– at 24 frames a second– all the beautiful nuances became crystal clear; and his characters were as sympathetic and as full of life as anything seen on screen.

Where both Milt and Frank exerted a huge amount of energy planning their scenes, grappling with problems, exploring every alternative, etc… Ollie just thought a bit, did a few thumbnails and sort of let the scenes happen. This is not to say that he was any less dedicated than any other top animator at Disney, but he didn’t sweat as much in the process. Drawings flowed out of him like water.

Toward the end of his career, when most animators are slowing down, this extraordinary ease enabled him to be a tremendously productive animator; on “The Rescuers” he was producing ten feet of top-quality animation a week, double (or more) the output of his fellow animators.

I came along at a “best of times/worst of times” moment at Disney animation. The worst of times because the studio was creatively moribund and young people were not yet empowered to do anything to change it. The best of times because a few of the old masters were still around, still working, and still able to impart their wisdom to us eager students.

When Frank and Ollie retired from production on the same Friday I was the next animator on Ollie’s desk the following Monday; the very desk he had used for decades to create so many indelible animated moments. I was properly awed as I sat down in Ollie’s chair, at his desk.

As I was checking it out and getting the feel of it I noticed the pencil sharpener was full of shavings. Instead of throwing them out I poured them into a glass jar, labeled it and set it atop the desk. Good luck shavings… a simple reminder of the hard work required to create magic. My own jar of real Disney dust. The last jar.

Ollie got a kick out of that story when I told him, and for years afterward he asked me how the jar was doing. I kept in touch with several of the “Old Men” after they retired, and was particularly happy to pay Ollie and Frank both a hand-drawn and computer generated (both animated by Mike Venturini) tip of the hat in IRON GIANT and INCREDIBLES, which they were surprised and delighted to be a part of so late in their lives.

Ollie was one of the best that ever was and will be. He lives on as an entertainer, a teacher and inspiration for all generations to come. Needless to say, I’ll miss him. But I plan on visiting him as I visit Milt, Eric, Frank and all the others who taught and/or inspired me–

–through their work.. which will be around forever.

Ollie Johnston’s cameo in The Incredibles

I found this on the cartoon brew blog and I though that you all would enjoy it. It is a good ode to a great animator who's movies we all still enjoy today. Ollie Johnston - October 31st, 1912 - April 14, 2008. He will be missed.

Monday, April 14, 2008

It's Coming!

Hey there everyone, it's been a while. How is everyone? I am doing well, getting more and more excited about the upcoming vacation. We made some A.D.R.'s for the trip that I wanted to share. We have lunch at the Coral Reef, and dinner at Le Cellier. We also made one for my parents to have a dinner to themselves at the Brown Derby. My girlfriend and I are trying to make some dinner plans for one night, but we are having some trouble deciding where to go. Some of our ideas were Mama Melrose's, Portobello Yacht Club, or The San Angel Inn. Any other suggestions are welcome since we need to get our A.D.R. in STAT. Other than that, we might be planning to see Cirque De Solei. One of the main things I am looking forward to is taking as many night time pictures of the parks. I will be getting to all of the parks at least once a piece to get some night shots. Again, any suggestions of neat shots or angles is greatly appreciated. Thanks for any suggestions in advance and Peace. 49 days and counting!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Wishes: A Magical Gathering of Disney Dreams

Wishes: A Magical Gathering of Disney Dreams is a fireworks spectacular at the Magic Kingdom theme park in Florida and at Disneyland Park in Paris. The show debuted at the Magic Kingdom on October 9, 2003, and was developed by Walt Disney Creative Entertainment, who were assigned to create a replacement for the 32-year-old Fantasy in the Sky fireworks. In September and October, during “Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party”, the show is replaced with Happy HalloWishes, and in late November and December, Holiday Wishes during “Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party”. In 2007, the Magic Kingdom presented a new separate admission (a/k/a “hard ticket”) event called “Disney’s Pirate and Princess Party” with its own fireworks program titled Magic, Music and Mayhem. The French version of Wishes premiered on July 16, 2005, with the only similarity to the American version being the music and storyline.

The regular show is hosted by Jiminy Cricket and the Blue Fairy, and revolves around the wishes of famed Disney characters - good and bad. Cinderella Castle is illuminated for the most part of the show in a bright, glowing blue, imitating the Blue Fairy, but is lit in angry reds and oranges for the Villainous Wishes sector of the show. Wishes is the largest fireworks show ever presented at the Magic Kingdom. The show begins with the theme song of the show synchronized to very simple shells, after which Jiminy Cricket begins his narration. Disney characters say their wishes, and then Disney villains say theirs. The show ends in a massive display of pyrotechnics and shells.

Happy HalloWishes: A Grim Grinning Ghost Spooktacular in the Sky

HalloWishes debuted in 2005 and is performed at the separate-admission (“hard ticket”) event Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party at the Magic Kingdom in lieu of the regular Wishes show. Taking its name from the theme song for the classic attraction Haunted Mansion, the show features fireworks synchronized to classic Disney Villain themes and other Halloween music.

Holiday Wishes: Celebrate The Spirit of the Season

Holiday Wishes: Celebrate the Spirit of the Season replaces Wishes during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, and during the park’s regular operating days near Christmas Day (often December 21-31). The show features dazzling fireworks performed to remixed classic Christmas songs and an appearance by Tinker Bell. For the show’s finale, the music and fireworks stop temporarily and machines on the roof of Main Street, U.S.A. create artificial snow, creating an emotional climax similar to the Believe... In Holiday Magic holiday show at Disneyland. Its soundtrack is available on CD.

Magic, Music, and Mayhem

This fireworks show replaces Wishes at Disney’s Pirate and Princess Party, and features music from the Disney Princess library of animated movies and the Pirates of the Caribbean movie franchise.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Illuminations: Reflections of Earth

Before the show begins, a 30-minute music loop is played around the lagoon. The loop contains 9 songs, although the last few may or may not be played, depending upon the exact start time of the show each evening. 
  1. Jalan Kopo by Sabbah Habas Mustaph
  2. Falling through a Cloud by Uttara-Kuru
  3. Busindre Reel by Hevia
  4. Gaviotes by Hevia
  5. Tula by Cusco
  6. Our Life by Uttara-Kuru
  7. The Bear by Hedningama
  8. Red Skies by Omar Faruk Tetbilek
  9. Texas by Wimme

The lights dim, and torches are lit around the lagoon. The beginning of the show is narrated by Jim Cummings, who says: "Good evening, on behalf of Walt Disney World, the place where dreams come true, we welcome all of you to Epcot and World Showcase. We've gathered here tonight, around the fire, as people of all lands have gathered for thousands and thousands of years before us; to share the light and to share a story. An amazing story, as old as time itself but still being written. And though each of us has our own individual stories to tell, a true adventure emerges when we bring them all together as one. We hope you enjoy our story tonight; Reflections of Earth." IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth is split into three acts:

  • Act I: Chaos. Chaos represents the creation of the planet Earth from a cosmic event. (This part uses the Inferno Barge.)
  • Act II: Order. The Earth Globe appears. As the Earth cools, it changes from hot white to red to blue. Images appear on the Globe of countries, famous places, objects, and people. Chaos turns to Order.
  • Act III: Celebration. The Earth Globe opens revealing a torch and 1,000 white fireworks are ignited. The final loud fireworks explode with a white flash and end with a loud crackle.

The post-show announcement is, "All of us at Epcot have enjoyed hosting you at World Showcase Lagoon, and we hope you have enjoyed Reflections of Earth, presented by Sylvania, a Siemens Company. Thank you and may all your dreams come true." The song "Promise" plays directly after this, followed by the Tapestry of Nations medley as guests exit the park. As the music plays, the continents are laser-projected onto Spaceship Earth making it appear as a spinning globe.The post-show announcement is, "All of us at Epcot have enjoyed hosting you at World Showcase Lagoon, and we hope you have enjoyed Reflections of Earth, presented by Sylvania, a Siemens Company. Thank you and may all your dreams come true." The song "Promise" plays directly after this, followed by the Tapestry of Nations medley as guests exit the park. As the music plays, the continents are laser-projected onto Spaceship Earth making it appear as a spinning globe.

This is definitely a not miss attraction when I go to WDW. I'm sure I've talked about Illuminations before but it has to be one of my favorite things in WDW. From the show itself, to the technology that is used, to the great score that Don Dorsey wrote, you can't go wrong with Illuminations: Reflections of Earth. Peace

Thursday, April 3, 2008


A luxury that seems so small until there is none left. Hey there everyone, sorry I haven't been around for a couple days. Work has gotten extremely busy over the past couple of weeks and doesn't show signs of slowing down for a while. Add to that a complete life outside of work and there goes my day. I've been working about 50 to 60 hours a week lately so I am thinking I am going to have to cut the blog posts short. I still want to post, I have met some great people and love blogging. I might not be able to get posts out everyday like I have been and would prefer to do. Instead it will probably be every other day or every couple of days. I will still be around, as often as I can, so keep on visiting for new and hopefully entertaining stuff. Speaking of time though, 60 days until Disney! WOO HOO! 2 months away and I can already feel the days off of work. I can't wait, 8 days of no worries in the greatest Hakuna Matata in the country. Being able to take advantage of each day and do what we want to do when we want to do it. No paying for gas, no driving in rush hour traffic, no getting up at 4:30 in the morning, it's going to be amazing. So since the subject is time, I though this background from the ever wonderful Main Street would do the trick. Hope you all enjoy and I hope that you still come to visit because I will still be here posting. Peace.