Sunday, August 31, 2014

Final morning

Our final morning at WDW. We are packing up to start our 2-day drive home.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Entertainment

Being entertained by a performer in the lobby of the Boardwalk.

Rainy evening

It is a stormy, rainy evening. We are back at SSR and chilling out.

Some EPCOT acts will be leaving

Disney Parks Blog reports that several familiar acts will be ending their run at EPCOT this Fall. Disney will be "refreshing" the entertainment around the countries.  The article did not provide details of the new acts.
As we embark on this enhancement of World Showcase entertainment, we bid a fond farewell to Mo’Rockin’, Off Kilter, Spirit of America Fife & Drum Corps and World Showcase Players. We thank these performers for all they’ve done to make the Epcot guest experience enjoyable and memorable, and we invite you to come out and see them in their farewell performances over the next few weeks.

Starbucks at WDW Hollywood Studios

A 5th Starbucks at WDW will be opening at DHS in 2015.  So there will be a Starbucks at EPCOT, MK, DHS and 2 Downtown (Disney Springs).  The obvious question is: any plans for Animal Kingdom? 

From DIS News...
A new Starbucks location will open inside the park in February of 2015.  The Trolley Car Cafe will be located along Hollywood Boulevard and be themed like a trolley car station.  Disney baked goods and Starbucks La Boulange pastry items will be available.  An exact location hasn't been announced.

Ride

Guess where we are going next?

Lunch

Having lunch at Columbia Harbour House. Yum!

Frontier land

Hanging out in Frontierland waiting for Columbia harbour house to open

PP

About to get on Peter Pan

Mine train

Almost to the loading area

MK

In line for Mine Train

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Cruise

We are finally here!!!

Cruise Day

Our cruise say has arrived, and so has Cristabal! I hope the storm doesn't ruin our cruise.

We had dinner at the Cocoa beach pier last night.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

On our way

We are driving to Port Canaveral area for our DVC Members Cruise tomorrow and then will spend 3 days at WDW afterwards.

Donald is excited already.

Zz.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Reasons to be cheerful at WDW

You might be cheerful if you had some interesting things to do at WDW that didn't cost anything.  This post at DIS News talks about 5 things that can be enjoyed at WDW at no cost. 
These are things that can be scheduled in your vacation itinerary during an open afternoon, or maybe just kept in the back of your mind if you find yourself with some free time and not wanting to spend much money while at Disney.
An example of free things to do are: a visit to Fort Wilderness Campgrounds, and exploring life on the Monorail, i.e resort hopping.  Haven't seen this talked about much on the various posts, but it is entirely possible to visit WDW for a week and never go into a park. Between hanging out at the resorts and doing some of the things mentioned in this post, you could easily skip the parks.  A variation on this theme is to get up early and go to a park for a couple hours in the AM, then exit stage right before the crowds reach the intolerable level.  An advantage of this strategy in the Summer is that you would also avoid the afternoon heat and the typical storms. 


Sunday, August 10, 2014

WDW attraction closings

DIS News posted this news about planned closings to various WDW attractions due to upgrades and maintenance.  Haunted Mansion will be closed for about 2 weeks in December.  The Wild by Design tour at Animal Kingdom will be discontinued after September.


Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Alice returns

WDW News Today reports that the sequel to Alice in Wonderland has started production.
The all-star ensemble cast includes:
  • Johnny Depp returns to the big screen as the Mad Hatter—Hatter Tarrant Hightopp.
  • Anne Hathaway portrays the White Queen—Mirana.
  • Mia Wasikowska once again appears as Alice Kingsleigh, who’s on a quest to help the Mad Hatter.
  • Helena Bonham Carter  returns as the Red Queen—Iracebeth.
  • Rhys Ifans fills the shoes of Zanik Hightopp, the Mad Hatter’s father.
  • Matt Lucas returns to the revelry in a dual role as Tweedledee and Tweedledum.
  • Ed Speleers portrays James Harcourt in the film.
  • And Sacha Baron Cohen was called on to bring Time to the big screen.
The film is being shot in the UK and is scheduled to be released in May 2016.

Magic Band as art

WDWMagic.com has this post about new "Olaf" Magic Bands being available as a limited edition at DHS.  Disney had released a "Frozen" band earlier but this was not a limited edition.  The "Olaf" edition runs about $30 which is $10 more than your ordinary band.  The article doesn't talk about it but it would seem that a guest staying on Disney property would still be getting an ordinary band for their next visit.  The artistic bands are a special purchase. 

Sunday, August 03, 2014

The "Howard The Duck" End-of-Credit Scene in "Guardians..."

*******SPOILER ALERT**********

Don't read this if you do not want to know, or if you haven't seen Guardians of the Galaxy.

Holy quack! I didn't know there was all these behind-the-scenes history behind the Howard the Duck! Business Insider touched upon the meaning of the end-of-credit scene in "Guardians of the Galaxy" which featured Howard the Duck.

The scene pans down over the wrecked ruins of The Collector's (Benicio del Toro) trophy room after it was destroyed earlier in the film. We see The Collector, a man who collects rare and exotic items across galaxies, beleaguered and injured while sipping a beverage out of a green cup. A dog dressed in an astronaut suit comes up to him and licks his face.

All of a sudden a voice off screen asks, "What do you let him lick you like that for?" The camera then cuts to none other than Howard the Duck, a sci-fi creature from Marvel, who says "Gross" before sipping from his own bright green cup.

That is all fine and dandy, but it appears that Howard The Duck has had a run in with Disney way back when.

Shortly after his creation in '73, Disney threatened Marvel with legal action claiming Howard the Duck's satirical design bore a striking resemblance to Donald Duck. 

According to an archived  Silver Bullet Comics interview — now known as Comics Bulletin —  with Howard the Duck co-creator Stever Gerber, Marvel came to a bizarre deal with Disney that virtually allowed the Mouse House to redesign the character.

"To avoid litigation, Marvel's old management signed an incredibly stupid agreement with Disney. Under its terms, all future appearances of Howard must conform to a set of designs that Disney provided for the character. You've seen this design. It's the one from the black-and-white HTD magazine, with the ghastly swollen beak, the beady eyes, and the baggy trousers that make the duck look like a derelict. What's absolutely astonishing, though, is that the Disney agreement is worded in such a way that Marvel isn't even permitted to create a new, alternative design for the character, even if that design bears no resemblance to Donald."

As the article stated, it is interesting that the Howard the Duck that appeared in the movie is a closer resemblance to the original drawing.

Hum... I still don't know what this all means! :)

Zz.

Guardians of the Galaxy - A Review

First of all, let me admit that I was rather skeptical of this movie. When I first saw the trailer several months ago (probably before Captain America), I thought that this was a head-scratcher. I wasn't sure that a "cartoonish" superhero movie based on those characters would fit into the whole "Marvel" universe. Even after reading about how big a hit it had been since its release on Thursday and into Friday, I was still a bit skeptical.

I'm glad to report that I was wrong. The movie was entertaining as heck! The mash of characters that were very different from each other did come together at the end, and I can see how this can easily carry on its own franchise, separate from the existing Marvel universe of the Avengers/Shield/etc. The tone of the movie was very much tongue-in-cheek, and it carried that sense way beyond what the first Avengers movie tried to do. The sense of irreverence towards not only authority, but also towards what a "superhero" movie should really be permeates throughout the entire movie. But more than anything, this movie is exceedingly funny, especially if you were conscious of the 1970's and the music from that era.

Now that we got that out of the way, here are my complaints (of course, you knew that was coming, didn't you?). Can we put to rest the "bad-guy-wants-this-thingy-so-that-he-can-be-a-badass" storyline already?! I mean, how many of these things are there in the universe where the possession of it will mean doom to the world? This is the major part of the movie that I was disappointed in, the same, rehashed storyline that we have seen a million times before. And why is that that everyone is after the darn thing ONLY after our hero came across it? The thing was sitting there, waiting for someone to get it, but somehow, only after he got it, then the bad guys just happen to be dropping by at the same time a few minutes too late! I mean, c'mon guys!

In any case, I can see this series of movies will be a lot of fun if they can keep the snappy dialog and having a better storyline. Now that they've announced the sequel, it will be interesting to see how the story behind the characters develop. We already know that there are some backstory that are yet to be told.

Zz.

Interviews With Agents Of Shield Cast And Creators

This was at the past Comic-Con this year. There's a lot to look forward to for the next season of Shield.



Zz.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Haunted Mansion's 45th anniversary at DLR

DisneyParks Blog reports that the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland is coming up on its 45th anniversary.  Special collectibles and artwork will be offered as part of the celebration.
...in just a few short weeks, we will be celebrating the 45th anniversary of the Haunted Mansion attraction, one of the crown jewels of Disneyland park. There is so much history behind the attraction itself, its famous and infamous residents, and the storytellers and artists that brought it to life.
One painting by Steve Adams looks especially interesting to Donald fans.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

WDW injury report

DIS News posted this article about WDW's 2nd quarter injury report.  The report includes a previous incident of lost fingers on Pirates, and various falls and problems apparently due to pre-existing conditions.  Considering the number of people going to WDW, the number of reportable injuries seems low.

Talking about lost fingers on Pirates...
...surprisingly, the recent incident of the man losing his fingertips on Pirates of the Caribbean was not the first time this happened.
On Mission: SPACE at Epcot, three injuries were reported: "a 70-year-old woman complained of chest pain; a 58-year-old man with a pre-existing condition felt tightness in his chest and nausea; and a 54-year-old woman complained of motion sickness."
Injury reports by the theme parks is voluntary so  we don't really know what criteria is used to report an incident. There must be a lot of falls, scrapes and cuts that don't get reported.  There was even an incident of a guest being hit by a flying duck at DAK, sort of a hit and fly.  We assume these birds know what they are doing when they buzz your head, but maybe not.


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

New Renderings For Disney Springs

Orlando Sentinel has renderings of the re-imagined Downtown Disney, now known as Disney Springs.

The project includes two multilevel parking garages and a new I-4 interchange that will offer guests direct access to Disney Springs.

Lake Buena Vista Drive is being widened from seven to 10 lanes to accommodate the high traffic volume. Two pedestrian bridges are also planned -- one that will lead guests into Disney Springs near the current Marketplace side and another that will offer access through the West Side.

This is a good thing, and hopefully will reduce the congestion along Buena Vista drive. I've always hated driving along that stretch at any time other than early morning. And that overpass access direct from I-4 should make it easier to get to this place.

Zz.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Disney Park profits and Euro Disney

Forbes.com has this article about how Disney Parks make their substantial profits.  The eleven parks worldwide contributed about $2 billion to Disney profits in 2013. The article cites Walt Disney's original theme park vision in the 1950's as the underlying reason for the success of the parks.  One of the ideas Walt had was to build a story into the attractions.  Even the fireworks are done in the context of a story. By developing and refining the theme park model, and finding ways to make people spend money, Disney has become the financial giant we see today.
The driving force behind Disney’s theme park profits is its scale. Saying that Disney runs the world’s busiest theme parks doesn’t do justice to its status. In total they attracted 132.5 million guests last year...
...all but one of the ten most-visited parks worldwide are run by Disney with the exception being Universal Studios Japan which had 10.1 million guests last year.
The article reports that DisneyLand Paris is one of the "top performers" among the parks, despite once being seen as a lackluster enterprise.

The article devotes a lot of space to discussing DLP stating that its attendance is higher than the 3 closest rivals combined and higher than all other theme parks except for Magic Kingdom, DLR and Tokyo Disneyland.

Disney has only a partial ownership in DLP...
Although Disney wholly-owns its theme parks in Florida and California it only has a 39.8% stake in Euro Disney, the parent company of Disneyland Paris. Saudi investor Prince Alwaleed has a 10% stake whilst 5% is in the hands of  American money manager Invesco and the remainder is floated on the Paris Euronext exchange.
 One of the not-so-secret ways Disney makes money is on merchandise...
The real money is made on merchandise and food and beverage which have low fixed costs and can be sold for a huge premium as the guests are a captive audience.
This idea has had some success at WDW but the situation at Anaheim is not so supportive of this plan due to the close proximity of DLR to the "real world".  And one of the effects of competitors such as Universal Studios is to make the guests at Disney Parks less captive.  Will Disney's size continue to guarantee success, or could it become a liability in the face of more innovative competition?

Rivers of Light at DAK

WDWMagic.com reports that the new Rivers of Light show at Animal Kingdom will likely have two viewing areas.  Based on construction permits recently filed, the viewing areas seem to be in Asia and Dinoland.  Interesting how construction permits have often been good clues about what Disney plans at WDW.  News of the Polynesian upgrade came to light that way.

According to Disney...
"Rivers of Light promises to be an innovative show unlike anything ever seen in Disney Parks, combining live music, floating lanterns, water screens and swirling animal imagery.
Sounding a little like World of Color at DLR, the show is planned to open in March 2016.

Random WDW Picture

Coming down on one of the many hills of Thunder Mountain Railroad at the Magic Kingdom.

Zz.