Tuesday, November 25, 2014

JC Penney Snowglobes To Be Given Away Thanksgiving Day at 5:00 pm

OK, this is nasty.

Last year when JC Penney brought back their Disney snowglobes, they released it on Black Friday at 4:00 am, even though the store opened at 5:00 pm on Thanksgiving Day. This year, they are not repeating that, and instead will start giving away the snowglobes when they open on Thanksgiving Day. Crap!

JCPenney kicks off the holiday shopping season with its annual Black Friday sale starting on Thanksgiving Day when doors open at 5 p.m. While supplies last, JCPenney will be greeting its early bird patrons with a free 2014 edition Disney® snow globe and a special Jingle Bell envelope containing a $10 off $10 coupon that is immediately redeemable in store. One out of every 100 coupons will offer a $100 off $100 or more purchase that is valid on Thanksgiving through Christmas Eve.

I really don't want to go out on Thanksgiving Day to the mall just to get the snowglobes. So we are not very pleased with this news. Not sure what I am planning to do yet. I may have to decide on Thanksgiving day itself on whether drive out just to get the snowglobes and come back the next morning to show, or just risk that they might run out and come in early on Black Friday.



Sunday, November 23, 2014

Can Disney's "Into The Woods" Be An Oscar Contender?

They had a bicoastal premier of Disney's "Into The Woods" last night. While the report indicated that Disney does not want anyone to review the movie till December, Dateline Hollywood already has an enthusiastic endorsement of the movie.

It is, as I enthusiastically tweeted right after the conclusion of Saturday’s debut , the most dazzling movie musical since Marshall’s own Oscar winning Chicago which had the benefit like this one, of a great and smart screenplay in that case Oscar nominated writing by Bill Condon who similarly cracked the code of how to make it cinematic after two decades-plus of trying.

We are definitely planning on seeing this, probably the first weekend after Christmas.


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Mickey Nutcrackers

Found these at our local Wallgreens. They are $19.95 each.

They are considerably cheaper than the ones sold at the parks.


Friday, November 14, 2014

How To Survive Kids Meltdown At Disney World

This is utterly funny but also true. If you have young kids, you should read it before heading off on your trip to a Disney theme park.

One of the advice that was given, and something I've told everyone going there for the first time, is to not push it and try to do everything. That is impossible, and you'll make your kids miserable. This is especially true if you are going there in the middle of summer. There is no point in doing all that and end up with a miserable time.

And please, do make SOME plans and not go there blind. WDW is so big, with so much to do and see, that you need to do some planning. It doesn't mean that your whole day must be planned out and structured, but with the implementation of FastPass Plus and the popularity of dinning reservations, you do need to plan ahead on what you want to do, at least for part of the time. Otherwise, you either have to spend most of your time standing in long lines, or you can't get into the restaurants or places that you desired the most.


Friday, October 31, 2014

Monday, October 27, 2014

Halloween cruise on the Fantasy

Our ride at Castaway Cay. Dumbo is on the front of this ship. Hard to tell in this photo but it rained pretty hard all day. The ship went to Plan B for activities but hundreds of people braved the weather to shop and eat. DCL handed out free ponchos on the way out, and dry towels on the way in.

Halloween cruise on the Fantasy

Donald walking on deck 4, on his way to meet his fans in a photo session. Lots of characters on this voyage.

Halloween cruise on the Fantasy

Leaving St. Thomas with a Coast Guard escort. Note the gunner stationed at the bow. All boats, even little sailboats, we're not allowed near the ship.

Halloween cruise on the Fantasy

Another view of St. Thomas. The scenery here is beautiful.

Halloween cruise on the Fantasy

A view of St. Thomas from the Botanic Garden in the hills. One nice thing about St. Thomas is that it's a US territory. Cell service is on domestic rates.

Halloween cruise on the Fantasy

The cruise ship harbor on St. Thomas seen from the hills above it.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Halloween cruise on the Fantasy

Pirate night on the ship. People wore costumes to dinner and there was a show by the pool

Halloween cruise on the Fantasy

One of the desserts served at an afternoon event at Remy. The desserts were accompanied by 3 wine servings and champagne

Halloween cruise on the Fantasy

The Pumpkin Tree grew out a few days into the cruise. Passengers got pumpkin seeds in a special event and they helped the tree grow pumpkins.

Halloween cruise on the Fantasy

Donald is happy that he got this nice bag as a gift for his many Disney cruises

Halloween cruise on the Fantasy

Don is pondering the towel art that the stateroom attendant made. Our favorite Duck had a spa treatment and his feathers are nicely puffed.

Halloween cruise on the Fantasy

Ships at St. Maarten, our ride on the left

Halloween cruise on the Fantasy

One of the beaches at St. Maarten. This one is near the shopping district across the Salt Pond from the port

Halloween cruise on the Fantasy

The famous church at St. Maarten. A short walk after a water taxi ride

Halloween cruise on the Fantasy

The Black Mamba water taxi- lots of water taxis. No sign of the Black Pearl though

Halloween cruise on the Fantasy

The courthouse at St. Maarten

Halloween cruise on the Fantasy

St. Maarten is quite hilly

Halloween cruise on the Fantasy

Our ride docked at St. Maarten

Halloween cruise on the Fantasy

Porthole as pumpkin

Halloween cruise on the Fantasy

The Pumpkin Tree in the atrium

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Sorcerer Hat To Be Removed From DHS

It is now official that the Sorcerer Hat, the unofficial icon of Disney's Hollywood Studios theme park, will be removed in early 2015.

Disney confirmed the giant hat's impending demise Friday. The company said it is "reimagining" the area where it stands. Disney would not provide details about what will replace the hat.

I will be sorry to see it go. Unless Disney has something else in mind (and I do not doubt that they do), DHS will be left with no clear icon to represent that theme park, unlike the other 3 WDW theme parks that have very strong iconic symbols to represent them.

It will be a tall order to find something equally eye-catching as the Hat. The picture below was something I snapped a while back, and it remains my most favorite shot of the Hat.


Friday, October 17, 2014

Mickey Plush Chicago Hot Dog Vendor

Found this Mickey plush this week at the Disney Store on Chicago's State Street. Not sure if they also have this on the Michigan Avenue store since I didn't check there.

They did a fair job of trying to include the stuff on a real Chicago-style hot dog, down to the green dots for the neon-green relish. But they missed the sport peppers! :)


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Disney helping make better robots

IEEE Spectrum has this article about how Disney Research is developing a better robotic arm. Up to now robotic arms have had a sort of steam punk quality, with a lot of gears and small motors.
Now engineers at Disney Research have developed a new kind of robot arm that, instead of conventional motors, uses what's called a fluid transmission. It consists of tubes filled with air or water that connect antagonistic actuators.

Thursday, October 09, 2014

First Tomorowland Trailer

Just as soon as I mentioned about Tomorrowland, Disney has now released the first trailer to "Tomorrowland"

I wonder if they are going to insert a character with the name Tom Morrow into the movie?



Wednesday, October 08, 2014

First Look At Disney's "Tomorrowland"

Entertainment Weekly has the very first exclusive look at next year's Disney release of "Tomorrowland".

A Florida girl who dreams of the future while watching the launchpads of Cape Canaveral being disassembled goes exploring one day and, after landing in a bit of trouble, finds herself in possession of a mysterious pin. Touching it reveals a vision of a place that may not be a different world but simply a better one. (You can see the concept art above.) Then it’s gone—out, out, brief candle!—and the quest to discover the real Tomorrowland begins.

Of course you know it had to involve a pin! I smell merchandising!

I'm kinda curious about this movie because, with the newly-married George Clooney in it, it lends a bit of gravity (get it?) to the movie.


WDW Toy Story Mania 4-day Experiment

This can't be good.

Disney is in the middle of its 4-day experiment with Toy Story Mania at Hollywood Studios where you can only ride that attraction via FastPass+ only, no standby line.

In a test that started on Monday and runs through Thursday, Disney World is requiring Hollywood Studios visitors to make advance reservations via the FastPass+ system if they want to hop aboard the popular Toy Story ride, an interactive “4D” attraction in which guests twist through a series of virtual carnival games while wearing 3D glasses. Normally, the wait time to ride Toy Story Mania can easily stretch over an hour, but the new reservation-only system means that Disney World guests won’t have the option of waiting it out in the standby queue.

The issue here is if Disney is going to extend this to other popular attraction, thus forcing everyone to have to plan ahead if they want to do these attractions. Gosh I hope not. My sentiments run along the same line as this Disney guest:

In a post at Theme Park Insider, most Disney fans seem opposed to reservation-only rides. “I want a vacation, for Christ’s sake, and if I have to plan everything in advance, then it’s simply not fun anymore,” one commenter stated, bashing the entire swath of policies pushing guests to plot minute-by-minute plans ahead of time. 

There is a point where thing thing can be taken way too far.