Monday, December 31, 2007

Disney Christmas Train

So I mentioned earlier that we got a lot of Disney stuff for Christmas this year. One of the nicest thing we got was this Disney train set. It's not the ones you find at the Disney theme parks. That one is nice, but it isn't really of the highest quality. I bought the "gold" version of the train during the Golden anniversary celebration a couple of years ago, so we already have that one. No, this one is actually quite exquisite. It is actually titled "Mickey Mouse And Friends Christmas Through The Years Express Electric Train Collection".

I've seen this set for sale online before, but never gotten around to buying it. Luckily I didn't since we got it for Christmas this year. As soon as we got it, we noticed how gorgeous it is because of the details.

Right now, it is on display under our Disney Christmas tree, and will be there till this weekend when we remove all the Christmas decorations. I'll be sorry to see it go back into storage, but will look forward to seeing it again next holiday season. Maybe we'll connect the whole track and get it to move.


Happy New Year!

Happy New Year, everyone! Hope 2008 will be your Magical and Happiest Year!


Disney Removes old "MGM Studios" Signs and Logos

This is an Orlando Sentinel news report on the removal process of the old Disney-MGM Studios signs and logos all around the resort. When one thinks of it, it is a big task. It involves not only signs at the theme park itself, but at other locations, especially street signs, booklets at various resorts, and promotional material.

I still have to get used to calling it the "Studios" instead of "MGM".


Sunday, December 30, 2007

DVD Review of The Chronology of Donald Duck Vol. 3

I read the beginning of this DVD review of the recently-released The Chronology of Donald Duck Vol. 3, and I knew that this person has almost the same opinion as I do.

In my many years as a cartoon fan, not quite an aficionado but definitely an enjoyer of fine animated fare, I have always tended to lean to the Warner Brothers side rather than Disney. I prefer the over-the-top violence that the likes of Bugs, Daffy, and the gang provide as opposed to the more family oriented tack that Disney goes for. Now this is not to say that I don't like Disney at all, there is a special place in my heart for their classic characters and toons alongside the Warner gang. In particular, there are always two Disney characters that float to the top of my favorite lists, and neither are the iconic mouse that has defined the brand for all of recorded history. One of them is the comical dog Goofy, I identify with his prolific ineptitude and enjoy his comical antics. The second is the focus of this two DVD set, the easily irritated Donald Duck. This waterfowl is the most quick to anger, and quite possibly the edgiest of the Disney bunch.

.. and I went, holy cow! This person is saying exactly what I've been saying! :)

It is no secret that the cartoons that I grew up with and that I still love dearly are the Looney Tunes cartoons. I find the Warner Brothers characters a lot more memorable than Disney cartoon characters, with the exception of Donald Duck, which remains as my most favorite Disney character, mainly because he does get mad and loses his temper.

So yes, we do have all 3 volumes of the Chronology of Donald, and all 5 volumes of Looney Tunes Golden Collection DVDs. :)


Friday, December 28, 2007

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Disney World and Other Theme-Park Stores Taking Off at Orlando International Airport

Looks like the 2 Disney stores and other theme park stores at Orlando International are doing extremely well. The 2 Disney stores, of course, outsells all the other theme parks stores.

Disney dwarfs the competition. Its stores -- the flagship Disney's EarPort in the terminal's east hall and the Magic of Disney in the west hall -- outsell all of the other theme-park stores combined. Its stores ring up as much as $1.2 million in receipts in a single month.

Have you shopped there on your way in or out? I've never stopped there on my way in. I don't know why anyone would, considering that you're about to go to the center of it all in a few minutes anyway. Besides, we normally would make a bee-line to get our luggage and our rental car anyway since we want to get to WDW resort as quickly as we can to get our day started.

Now, on the way out, that's a different matter. Depending on how busy the airport is, especially the security check lines, if I have time, I do stop by both stores just to walk around. Usually, by this time, I would already be shopped out. We usually have several packages mailed directly to our home, so we certainly would have done a lot of shopping. So I have seldom bought anything from the 2 Disney airport stores. The few times that I did buy something was when I forgot to buy a souvenir for a few people.

It's too bad that they don't have a store inside of the secure area. People tend to get to the gate early since they don't know how long the security check might take. So there are a lot of people near the gate area simply doing nothing. A Disney store near the gates would be a great place to just browse around, and these tend to also be the customers that would make impulsive buys. I know I would.


Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Happy Disney Holidays

I hope Santa was nice to you as he was for us.

One fun thing about being Disney fanatics is that it is no big secret. In fact, it is quite well known. So whenever there is a birthday or holidays, people always know what to get us. This holiday is no exception. It seems that almost every gift we got for Christmas was Disney-related, ranging from Disney ornaments all the way to antique collectibles and even a very nice Disney train set. We have no complains since we collect Disney stuff.

Now we have to figure out where to store these things! We're quickly running out of space! :)


Monday, December 24, 2007

Happy Holidays!

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanza, and Seasons Greetings to everyone. May your holidays be Magical!


Sunday, December 23, 2007

Regis Philbin and Kelly Ripa host Disney World's Holiday Celebration

Don't forget, the Disney's Christmas parade will air on ABC at 10:00 am EST on Christmas Day. If it is anything like the previous years, it will annoy the hell out of me, because they don't how enough of the parade, which is what I'm mainly interested in. I'm sure there will be a lot of "tween-attraction" performances just to get the ratings up. I can tolerate that if they show a lot of the parade, but unfortunately, they don't.

In any case, this is a rather nice article on Kelly Ripa and her jobs that frequently take her to WDW.


Saturday, December 22, 2007

Goodbye Disney-MGM Studios

Disney-MGM Studios is no more. The WDW website has replaced it with the new Disney's Hollywood Studios. There are already reports that various Disney-MGM Studios logos have been gone from the park for some time now.

Now, rather than referring it quickly as "MGM", I now have to teach myself to refer to it as "Studios".


Friday, December 21, 2007

Book of Secrets Not Getting Good Reviews

I've scanned a few reviews of "National Treasures: Book of Secrets", and they aren't good. Roger Ebert, a critic that I tend to agree with most of the time, didn't like it at all.

But then again, he didn't like the first one either, and that movie didn't get stellar views as well from the critics. Yet, it still made a ton of money. So I think the crowd that would go to this one aren't expecting any high standards here.


Thursday, December 20, 2007

Our Disney Tree

OK, so no self-respecting Disney fanatic would not have a Disney tree, would it? :)

As last year, we have a tree exclusively filled with Disney-themed ornaments. To say that the tree is loaded with it is an understatement. The poor tree appears to be literally sagging under the weight of all the Disney ornaments.

I can only imagine what it's going to be like next year when we get MORE ornaments! :)


Christmas Numbers Are Staggering

This article has some of the impressive numbers that are involved in the Christmas decorations at Walt Disney World.

Can't wait for next year when we get to go there during holiday event.


Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Disney Wilderness Preserve

Here's something that has the Disney name on it, but it is not something that Disney owns. It is the Disney Wilderness Preserve in southwest Osceola County.

The Disney Wilderness Preserve is a 12,000-acre sanctuary of natural communities just outside Poinciana that is owned and managed by the Nature Conservancy, which has been restoring the land for the past 15 years.

Disney provided the property as a trade-off that allowed it to expand on wetlands near its theme parks, providing room here for more than 300 wildlife species, including 16 that are endangered or threatened today.

It didn't say when this was done. Anyone knows?


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Inside the Book of Secrets with Nicolas Cage

With "National Treasures: Book of Secrets" opening on Dec. 21, this is a timely interview with Nicolas Cage. WARNING: there are a few spoilers in the interview. If you do not want to know about the storyline, do not read the link!


Hong Kong Disneyland 2nd Year Visitors Down Sharply

This just confirms what we all suspected all along. Hong Kong Disneyland's attendance numbers continue to fall.

Strangely enough, the fate of this theme park may rest of one of the most beloved attractions in any Disney theme park - It's A Small World - which is under construction and scheduled to open early next year.

Still, I think they need an E-ticket type attraction to really bring in the crowds or they won't get out of this hole for the next few years.


Monday, December 17, 2007

Walt Disney World Named Leading Theme Park Resort in World

A survey of 167,000 tourism professionals and travel agents gave WDW as the leading theme park in the world. This isn't a big surprise, is it? After all, The Magic Kingdom is already the most attended theme park in the world. So WDW as a whole has got to be the most attended theme park complex anywhere on earth.


Ratatouille Among AFI's Best Movies of 2007

The American Film Institute has announced its selection of the best movies of 2007. Naturally, Ratatouille is selected as one of them.


Religion and Disney: Not Just Another Mickey Mouse Course

I don't know what to make of this. A professor in St. John, Canada has a course studying Religion and Disney, and especially on religious connotations in its theme parks.

God and the Magical Kingdom aren't subjects you'd normally link. But the Kingston, Ont.-born Porter says the connection is there.

"The theme park productions, fireworks displays and so on always involve a morality tale and a requirement of the audience to believe in the power of good, and believe in the power of wishes," she said.

Disney and religion (or should I say, "religious" people) have had several "entanglements", so this isn't anything new. The Southern Baptists had a failed boycott a few years ago due to Disney's liberal policies towards Gays and their "approval" of Gay Days. (Strange that you don't hear about atheists boycotting Disney because of its observance of Christmas and other religious events). In fact, I think Disney is still on some boycott list somewhere.

On the other hand, we have heard about people having a "religious experience" visiting WDW.

Still, some time a cigar is just a cigar, and one can risk reading way too much into something benign.


"I'm Going To Disneyland Paris!"

"President Sarkozy, your divorce had just been finalized. So what are you going to do now?"

"Why, I'm going to Disneyland Paris!"

OK, so this is just plain old gossip, but it's a lot of fun! :)

French President Nicolas Sarkozy, just was recently divorced, was spotted at Disneyland Paris with supermodel Carla Bruni this past weekend.

I hope they enjoyed all the holiday lights there. I hear that it is spectacular.



Sunday, December 16, 2007

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Disney Works Its Magic On Its Golf Courses As Well

I'm not a golfer, so trying out golf courses isn't something I would do. So naturally, I don't know anything about the golf courses at WDW, other than knowing that they're there, and some of their names. Well now I know a little bit more, thanks to this short news article on the various golf courses at WDW.

I guess it's pretty popular, since I often see people playing on the LBV course that is next to the Saratoga Springs Resort. Strangely enough, the golf players have to cross a sometime-busy 2-lane DVC Way to go from one part of the course to the other.


Friday, December 14, 2007

Devoted to Disney

I love hearing how much us Disney fanatics (or "Disneyphiles" as we are called in this article) have in common. These couple from Long Island, NY, appears to be inflicted by the same disease. :)

Disneyphiles, as the entertainment company calls them, are people like the Summerfolds who can't get enough of Orlando's Magic Kingdom and other theme parks. They are the people who know the difference between Adventureland and Frontierland. The people who know the meaning of Epcot (Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow.) The people who probably even know which animated chipmunk is Chip and which is Dale (hint: the latter has a red nose.)

Damn right! :)


Thursday, December 13, 2007

Golden Globe Nominations

The nominations for this year's Golden Globe awards was announced this morning. As expected, Amy Adams received a nomination for Best Actress in a Comedy/Musical for "Enchanted".

These are the Disney-related list that I noticed after a quick glance:

Actress, Musical or Comedy: Amy Adams, "Enchanted"
Animated Film: "Ratatouille"
Original Song: "That's How You Know" from "Enchanted".


Oscar Song Candidates Named

The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Science have announced the songs that are candidates for nomination for the Best Song Oscar at the upcoming Academy Awards. Of course, there are several tunes from a number of Disney movies that made the list:

So Close from Enchanted
That's How You Know from Enchanted
Happy Working Song from Enchanted
Little Wonders from Meet the Robinsons
Another Believer from Meet the Robinsons
Le Festin from Ratatouille

I am rooting for "That's How You Know". That musical number in the middle of Central Park was the show stopper for that movie.


Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Disney Plans New Health Care Facility

Disney is planning to build a new health care facility for its employees/cast members within the Walt Disney World complex.

"This onsite facility will be right here, with extended hours for our cast members through the day and on the weekend and will make getting health care much more available to them," Walt Disney World President Meg Crofton said.

This is good, no? I hope such service is of no cost to the cast members, who can certainly get some of the basic medical necessities.


A Belated Thank You to Pioneer Walt Disney

December is a significant month for the Disney Company. Dec. 5th was the date that Walt Disney was born, and Dec. 15th was when he died.

So this news article is a fitting tribute to Walt Disney. It actually is a neat article because it is basically a list of facts associated with him, all precise and compact in one relatively short article.


Follow-up To Disney Holiday Magic With Samantha Brown

So, did anyone catch the TV special? I thought it was well done, but they could have made a 2-hour show with it. But then again, I'm a Disney freak! :)

I noticed that the show has a slight "letterboxing". I'm guessing that they did this in high definition. I don't know if the Travel Channel has a high-def channel (DirectTV currently doesn't have a high-def Travel Channel). So if they did film this in high definition, that would amazing to watch again in that format.


Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Video of Gingerbread House at the Grand Floridian

This is a time-lapsed video of the building of the huge gingerbread house in the lobby of the Grand Floridian.

Yummy! :)


Reminder: Disney Holiday Magic With Samantha Brown Tonight

The premier of Disney Holiday Magic With Samantha Brown is tonight on the Travel Channel, 8:00 pm EST. And don't worry if you miss this - they'll repeat the show several times this month alone.


Monday, December 10, 2007

Could "Persepolis" Be "Ratatouille"'s Serious Competition?

Could a little known foreign French black-and-white film be Ratatouille's serious competition during the film award season leading up to the Academy Awards? It might seem like it. The LA Critics are split, giving the best animation award to both film. In fact, Ratatouille lost out to Persepolis as the best animation film at the NY Film Critics Circle awards.

Let the games begin!



Disney Electrician's Holiday Lighting Safety Advice

Just because you see Disney using a gazillion lights all over the theme parks doesn't mean that you can do the same. All of these are done with safety in mind. So read this simple advice from a Disney electrician responsible for the holiday lighting at WDW.


Sunday, December 09, 2007

Handgun Found On Woman Trying To Enter Disney

Humm.. those security bag checks do actually catch something. A woman about to enter a WDW theme park (they didn't say which one) was found to have a loaded semi-automatic weapon.

Richardson was trying to enter Walt Disney World with her family. She told security that she traveled with the handgun and forgot it was inside her purse. Along with the loaded 32 caliber semi-automatic handgun, security also found a pair of scissors and a locked blade knife in the purse.

I guess that could happen, but still, trying using that excuse at the airport.


Saturday, December 08, 2007

Johnny Depp Wants In On High School Musical 3?

Whoa! It's not as if he needs the money or the work, especially after getting rave reviews in his latest turn Sweeney Todd. But Johnny Depp said he'd do High School Musical 3 if asked.

Still, you just don't know if he is just being facetious.


SunCal Just Won't Go Away And Die

The stupid housing controversy in Anaheim isn't dead, I'm sorry to say.

Attorneys for SunCal asked for a rehearing based on the developer's assertion that Anaheim broke state and federal laws by "denying affordable housing to low, very-low and moderate-income families and individuals."

"The City Council has effectively discriminated against such persons by limiting their housing options in the city," Robert H. Freilich, SunCal's attorney, wrote to City Atty. Jack White. "Moreover, the discriminatory impact of the City Council's decision will affect racial minorities within the city disproportionately."

How does not allowing housing in the resort district equivalent to denying affordable housing in the whole city of Anaheim? And since when has SunCal become such a champion of affordable housing? If they truly have the compassion for such a thing, why were they planning on building only a SMALL fraction of their housing project for such affordable housing?

Would you buy something, much less, a home, from a company like this?


Friday, December 07, 2007

Free Pirates Jibbitz Charms With Pirate-Themed Crocs

Crocs is running a promotion in conjunction with the DVD release of Pirates of the Caribbean - At World's End. If you buy a Pirates of the Carribean-themed crocs, you get free Pirates of the Caribbean Jibbitz charms to attach to your new crocs.

Is this enough to push you over the edge and get a croc? :)


Disney Makes Changes to Epcot's Spaceship Earth Attraction

Spaceship Earth is rumored to be reopening some time next week. Well it's about freaking time too!

Its theme has shifted from communication through the ages to one of inspiration and innovation. The most recent script, read by Jeremy Irons, has been scrapped -- the new narrator is Oscar winner Judi Dench, whose words guide riders through the generations.

It won't be till late February next year before we get to go back to WDW, but this is certainly at the top of the list of things we will be doing.


Thursday, December 06, 2007

How Bob Iger Works

How does Disney CEO Bob Iger work? Here's how, and let's see how many of these I also practice.

1. Get up before dawn.
Check! I get up around 4:30 to 5:00 am almost every day, even on weekends and on vacation. So that much we share in common. I'm a morning person.

2. Be punctual.
Check! I hate being late, or anyone else being late. I tend to get to a place way early sometime just so I don't be late.

3. Lose your driver.
Check! I drive myself to work everyday, not that I have the option of having someone else drive me to work. :0

4. Write notes.
Er... OK, check! I write thank you notes and well-done notes to people that I know whenever appropriate.

5. Put history to work.
OK, this part lost me. I don't have a Disney history to work on. :)

A fascinating take on the man who has turned the Walt Disney Company around.


Disney wins injunction against Hong Kong travel company D Land

Would you confuse a company named "D Land" with "Disneyland"? Me neither. When I originally read this news report, I thought maybe Disney was being paranoid. But upon further reading, it appears that there's more to it than that.

However, an action brought jointly by Walt Disney Co, Disney Enterprises and Walt Disney Asia-Pacific successfully argued that the Chinese name for D Land Travel was 'virtually identical' to that of the US company and should be changed.

Ah, so that's it.

It gets complicated as one tries to go into different cultural and language market.


For 'Poppins,' Disney Has Done Its Chicago "Homework"

I mentioned earlier about the musical stage version of Mary Poppins on Broadway recouping money for its investors. An additional piece of information out of that news piece was the announcement that Chicago will be the first city for the touring version of Mary Poppins. It seems that there's a bit of history with regards to Disney's touring company and Chicago.

As long-time observers of the downtown theater scene here know, Disney made a 1999 deal that kept the tour of "The Lion King" out of Chicago for years. At the request of Toronto presenters, Disney agreed to give the Canadian city the territory that included Chicago. Since "The Lion King" was by far the hottest show of that era, the agreement infuriated the local theater-going public. In this newspaper, then-theater critic Richard Christiansen called the deal "a great big bonehead miscalculation."

"Lion King" didn't finally arrive here for three more years. That's not a miscalculation anybody—least of all Schumacher’s savvy Disney—would make anymore.

I certainly hope not. It was quite strange, really, with that "Lion King" debacle, because the city has proven with the long-running Beauty and the Best at the Chicago theater that it can give Disney a big hit. So it wasn't as if the city is an unchartered water. So I guess that was the part that was the "... great big bonehead miscalculation". :)


Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Ratatouille Wins First Award

... and the Awards seasons are off and running!

The National Board of Review awarded Ratatouille as the best animation film of the year.


`Mary Poppins' Recoups Its Investment

Not a major surprise considering it is doing quite well on Broadway, not counting the loss days due to the strike. Mary Poppins has now recoup its considerable investment.

The New York production, now in its second year on Broadway, has recouped its investment, both producers announced Wednesday, and plans are under way to unleash the show globally with a North American tour, a British tour, an Australian production and licensing agreements in foreign countries.

What is exciting for me here in Chicago is this news:

The North American tour will originate at the Cadillac Palace Theatre in Chicago, premiering there on March 25, 2009.

This was the same theater that "The Producers" had its sold-out tryout with Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick. We sent it off to Broadway knowing fully well that it would be a monster hit. :)

So I can't wait for Mary Poppins to get here.


Disney Buys iParenting

I normally don't report on Disney buying different websites, but this one is in the Chicagoland area.

Disney has just bought website, a site full of resources for expecting parents and especially moms. This website is located in Evanston, IL, just north of Chicago.

"Their target is parents, and very often that means moms," said Emily Smith, vice president of Disney's Family Web sites. "They have this nice sweet spot with pregnancy issues, newborn and early childhood care."

I'm guessing it will be integrated within the family and interface.


Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Tweety, Donald Duck, Mickey Mouse, and Daisy Summoned to Court

It is just way too hysterical.

An Italian court has summoned Mickey, Donald, and Daisy, and a few Warner Brothers cartoon characters, to appear in court in a counterfeiting case.

In what lawyers believe was a clerical error worthy of a Looney Tunes cartoon, a court in Naples sent a summons to the characters ordering them to appear Friday in a trial in the southern Italian city, officials said.

The court summons cites Titti, Paperino, Paperina, Topolino — the Italian names for the characters — as damaged parties in the criminal trial of a Chinese man accused of counterfeiting products of Disney and Warner Bros.

It's so precious! :)


POTC - At World's End on DVD Today

Don't forget, Pirates of the Caribbean - At World's End, is released on DVD today. It's a no-brainer that it'll shoot up the DVD sales chart.


Shanghai Awaiting Approval on Disneyland

Rumors are running rampant again that a deal is pending for Disney to build a new theme park in Shanghai.

"Once we have central government approval and a concrete plan and Shanghai Disneyland can begin construction right away," the magazine quoted local economic committee official Qian Weizhong as saying.

But the state-run newspaper China Business Post said that the site for the theme park might be switched from Chuansha to Chongming, an island in the Yangtze river to the north of the city that is being developed as an ecotourism district.

The park would be built after 2010, when the city is due to host the World Expo, it said.

Say it isn't so!

Am I the only one who thinks that this isn't a good idea? Disney is still having issues with Hong Kong Disneyland. What makes them think they know what to do in Shanghai?


Monday, December 03, 2007

Ratatouille Leads The Pack in Annie Award Nominations

This is no big surprise, is it?

Ratatouille leads the pack with 13 nominations for the Annie Awards given by the International Animated Film Society (ASIFA-Hollywood).

This promises to be the first of many nominations and, hopefully, awards for this movie with the upcoming awards season approaching. We are still rooting for it to get the nomination for the Best Picture Oscar.


Sunday, December 02, 2007

Where In Walt Disney World?

Alright. The last one went well, so here's another one. Again, this shouldn't be too difficult.

Where in Walt Disney World was this taken?


Enchanted Continues to Lead US Box Office

All the movies from last week had a big drop this week in attendance (wonder what the snow storm in the midwest will do to movie attendance), but Enchanted still easily lead the box office take this week with $17 million. I think the movie will hold up rather well through the holidays, it is just the type of movie that people go to during such time. I know of many people who want to go see the movie, but haven't done it yet.

So it will certainly glide over the $100 million mark, but how far above that is unknown.


Saturday, December 01, 2007

Enchanted As A Broadway Musical?

This just came to me out of nowhere. But think about it! The movie would be perfect as a Broadway musical. In fact, it is almost made for it.

Of course, I'm not sure how one would want to depict the first 10 minutes of it that was presented as a 2D animation in the movie. Just doing it live as usual on stage somehow would be a bit of a disappointment. Maybe Julie Taymore might have a creative idea on how to do this.

I'm sure I'm not the only one who thought of it.


Friday, November 30, 2007

Hidden Disney in Enchanted

Ooooh... I love this! It is almost like a Hidden Mickey hunt! :)

Someone has painstakingly listed all the hidden Disney references in Enchanted. There are at least, count 'em, 179 of them!!

Would I be such a dork if I printed this out? I can already see using this movie in a game where people will have to shout out the Disney references. Hey, maybe it could be a version of Scene It - The Enchanted Edition! :)


AK Disney Cast Member Dies

Unfortunately, the worst scenario has come true. The Disney cast member who was struck by a ride vehicle while working at the Primeval Whirl attraction at Disney's Animal Kingdom, has died from her injuries.

This is never a good news from any angle. Condolences to her family and friends.

Obviously, Disney needs to see if they can do more to make sure no one gets into the prohibited area.


Gore Verbinski Talks Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End DVD

This is a rather insightful interview with Gore Verbinski on the making of both the movie and DVD of Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End. The most interesting part of the interview, for me, is how and when they decided on the trilogy.

Could you talk about the development of this trilogy? Was it always in the back of your mind to have multiple films, or did the idea of the trilogy come about after the success of the first film? In which case, what were the challenges that the screenwriters faced, and what "guidelines" were they given?

Gore Verbinski: The first film was originally designed as a "one off." We were so under the radar because honestly I don't think anyone thought we could resurrect the genre. After the success of Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl we set about reverse engineering a trilogy. Some loose ends from the first film became assets in the process: Bootstrap Bill for instance, the 'P' brand on Jack's arm, the mention of the East India Trading Company etc. other ideas like the Kraken and Davy Jones were discussed during the development of Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl but abandoned as that film took shape, and resurrected for the subsequent films once we knew were making them. Yet whenever you set out to make a film, I think you have the obligation to create characters that feel as if they come from other stories -- even Pintel and Ragetti have their own origins and destinations. Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio are well versed in mythology and I enjoyed collaborating with them all the way up until each scene was photographed.

Certainly there were rather low expectations for the first movie, considering that the movie version of the Haunted Mansion didn't go anywhere. So when it opened and it was such a slam-bam fun movie, not to mention the swishy character that Johnny Depp had created, it certainly took everyone by surprise on how good it was.


Thursday, November 29, 2007

Disney Worker Injured on Ride Platform

Whoa! This doesn't sound too good.

A Disney cast member was injured at the Primeval Whirl attraction at Disney's Animal Kingdom.

The woman was working as a ride attendant and moved into an area on the ride platform that is prohibited while the ride is moving, Polak said. She fell and hit her head after being hit by the moving ride.

Oy! I wish these news reports would be a bit more specific, because this description doesn't make much sense. I know this ride pretty well. In fact, I even have a ride-through video of it. Normally, a "ride attendant" works the loading/unloading area. Here, the ride vehicles move VERY slow. So unless this cast member wondered around other parts of the ride, it would be rather difficult to get hit very hard by the vehicle at the loading/unloading area. So I wish the news report had been a bit more specific on where this person got hit.

Another news report has a bit more information. It appears that this woman was standing in an area that is off limits. I'm guessing that she stood too close to the tracks that are about head level. As the ride progresses, the tracks become lower and lower. So if she stood in an area close enough, a vehicle could hit her on the head.

Oy... what was she doing there in the first place?

The news report indicated from the cast member's family that she had taken a turn for the worse. We all hope that she recovers from this.


Menken Makes Another Voyage to Disney World

This is an article by the Hollywood Reporter on the prolific songwriter Alan Menken. I think, personally, every time I see his name, I think of Disney music from the movies. This is because The Little Mermaid was such a turning point and a revival of Disney animation, and the music certainly played a huge role in the success of that movie.

I don't think that Disney can go wrong if they just give him a ton of money and ask him to write more music for them.


Anaheim Housing Controversy Is Dead!


Finally, we can hopefully put this silly episode to sleep forever. The Anaheim City Council has rescinded the vote to allow for the housing development within the Anaheim Resort District. This means no housing to be built on the piece of land next to a property owned by Disney.

The Disney Blog has a listing of several news sources carrying this story.


Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Expedition: PINS

The registration for Expedition: PINS pin event on May 3rd, 2008 at Animal Kingdom has just opened today! The registration for this pin event is quite steep for a 1-day event when compared to the HUGE pin celebration event at Epcot in Sept. that takes place over 3 days. However, it seems that there's plenty that is included in the registration.

* One ticket for event admission to Disney's Animal Kingdom® Theme Park (Event Evening Only: 7:30 p.m. - 10:30 p.m.)
* First purchase opportunity for limited edition Expedition: PINS merchandise
* Limited edition, commemorative gifts including a full-sized, pin trading messenger bag
* Private dinner inside Disney's Animal Kingdom® Theme Park
* Appearances and signing opportunities with Disney Design Group Artists
* Silent auction of rare pins from the Disney Pin Vault
* Special surprises throughout the night

And yes, to answer your question, I've registered for it already! :)


Disney Selling Parcels in Flamingo Crossings Project

I always cringe whenever I hear Disney selling its land in Orlando. A part of the selfish me wants WDW to remain BIG and has the potential to continue to expand FOREVER! (I know, it's unrealistic).

Well, Disney is going to sell parcels of land in its Flamingo Crossing project located at the Western Way entrance to WDW. It is believe that this is the first time 3rd party developer gets to buy such land within WDW and still remains under the Reedy Creek Development authority, which is the "government" set up by Disney.

That prospect creates a first chance for third-party owners to buy and develop land inside Reedy Creek. Disney has previously allowed numerous private developments of hotels, stores and restaurants within Reedy Creek, but always through long-term land leases that have kept the real-estate deeds in Disney's hands.

Flamingo Crossings is to be built in phases over eight to 10 years, the company said. Infrastructure construction could start this winter, and the first private hotels or shops could break ground in a year or two, Buena Vista spokeswoman Andrea Finger said.

So, the question that I would ask Disney is, why can't they develop this themselves? I mean, they have shown that they can do something similar to this at Downtown Disney? Why are they selling their lands and having others do this for them? Are they short of cash with that $10 billion rehab of DCA, and the money sieve that is Hong Kong Disneyland?

Please don't sell anymore of my beloved WDW!


Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Enchanted Is A Franchise - Sequels On Their Way?

OK, I don't know how I missed this, especially since the news of it came out at least a couple of weeks ago. There's a report here that indicates that Disney was already planning on making Enchanted into a franchise, with a series of sequels already being planned, and waiting for how it does when it finally opens, which it has already.

The presenter, Diego Lerner of Disney, talked repeatedly about Enchanted being a franchise and sequels for the film and the fact that Disney is expecting it to be huge. Disney doesn’t confirm this officially yet (publicly at least), and it won't likely be until Enchanted opens in theaters and the box office earnings are counted, but it's certainly in the works. This is definitely not a rumor and Diego did speak of Enchanted as a strong franchise, which is especially exciting considering the early buzz.

Well now that it has made the big numbers during its opening weekend, the wheels for the sequels may already have turned.


Monday, November 26, 2007

Dancing With The Star......... Wars

OK, this is hilarious. It's a clever spoof of Dancing With The Stars, but instead, you're Dancing With The Star Wars.



James Marsden on Prince Edward

This is an interesting article on James Marsden and how he played Prince Edward in Enchanted.

He was always written larger than life, a healthy ego but it all came from a place of innocence and sincerity so that, I think, lets his narcissism off the hook."

Actually, Edward could be the villain. You know she's going to end up with the mild mannered lawyer (Patrick Dempsey) who doesn't believe in romance. Edward is actually standing in their way.

The funniest moment, of course, came during the bicycle "ran-over". :)


Disney’s Bolt Gets a 3-D Digital Release

Looks like Disney will be putting out a lot more movies in 3D. Bolt, which will be released in Nov. of 2008, will get the 3D treatment. Not sure if this is going to be exclusively in 3D, or will be done like Meet the Robinsons, where it was released in both 2D and 3D.

But Hannah Montana concert in 3D? Oy vey!



Sunday, November 25, 2007

Enchanted Makes $50 Million

As if there was any doubt, Enchanted opened big at the Box Office, taking in $50 million since its opening last Wednesday.

"Enchanted" had the second-best five-day Thanksgiving debut ever, behind the $80.1 million haul of Disney's "Toy Story 2." Disney released all five of the top-grossing movie debuts over Thanksgiving, with "Unbreakable," "A Bug's Life" and "101 Dalmatians" trailing "Toy Story 2" and "Enchanted."

That's an impressive track record. Disney certainly owns the Thanksgiving weekend.


Where In Walt Disney World?

Whoa! No one answered the last one! I thought it was rather easy. That picture, of course, was taken in the queue line of Tower of Terror at Disney-MGM Studios.

Maybe this one will be easier, but only if you've been there before. Where in Walt Disney World is this?


Saturday, November 24, 2007

JC Penney's Snowglobes Draw Them In

There are many people who want the Disney Snowglobes give out each year by JC Penney on Black Friday. So I'm not the only one who woke up very early to get these snowglobes and collect them.

The doors open, and shoppers stream in. Outside the store’s mall entrance, they file past folding tables where employees hand out free Disney snow globes. People love freebies, and they can’t wait to get one of these snow globes.

It’s one of the things that got Raelyn Berg of Springfield out of bed early. Second in line, she’s been here since 2:15 a.m. This is the sixth year she’s lined up to get a free snow globe.

“Am I nuts?” she asks. “It’s tradition. It starts the holiday season.”


Could The Battle for the Anaheim Resort District Be Dead?

I can certainly hope so!

It appears that the collapse of the deal with SunCal and the owner of the piece of land that created such a firestorm may have killed the whole project. It is expected that this coming Tuesday night Anaheim City Council meeting may withdraw the zoning permission for building the housing project.

Plans for the housing project near Disneyland unraveled last month when the deal between SunCal Cos. and the owners of the 26-acre parcel near Disneyland fell through.

That news prompted Councilwoman Lucille Kring earlier this month to withdraw her support of the proposal. Kring cast the tiebreaking vote in a 3-2 decision seven months ago that approved the 1,500-unit project -- sparking three ballot initiatives, two lawsuits and regular City Hall protests.

I've mentioned this many times already. This whole thing is utterly stupid. No one seems to be addressing the question on why, in such a small area designated as the resort area, that this housing project must be built there. You need affordable housing, fine. Build it ELSEHWERE IN ANAHEIM. Why must you want your affordable housing be right next to where you work, and remove the possibility of your biggest money maker (Disney) from expanding and increasing the tax base of the city? It makes no sense!

This whole "affordable housing" thing is purely a smokescreen to build those luxury units in the most desirable location, and some of the Anaheim city council members fell for it. If they are truly so concerned about affordable housing, they would have scoured through their own city and figure out where such housing can be built. Don't tell me every square inch of Anaheim is already occupied or can't be rezoned.

One can only hope this silliness is dead for good, but I'm not holding my breath.


Thanksgiving Box Office--The Disney Version

There already news on the box office numbers for Enchanted. It sounds like it got big numbers for both Wednesday and Thursday, and could go over $48 million for the 5-day holiday weekend.

I'm rooting for it to do very well. It's a glorious movie.


Thursday, November 22, 2007

Walt Disney Treasures - The Adventures of Oswald the Lucky Rabbit

It took a while, but that trade of Al Michaels to NBC in return for Oswald the Lucky Rabbit is now finally producing a marketable product. Amazon is listing a Disney Treasures tin set of The Adventures of Oswald, to be released on December 11.

Strangely enough, the listing on the DVD has Steamboat Willie and Plane Crazy, both of which are Mickey Mouse cartoons (there's probably more, but I'm not sure). Are there not enough Oswald cartoons to fill a DVD?


JC Penney's Disney Snowglobs 2007

So, anyone planning on waking up at 4:00 am tomorrow and getting those JC Penney Disney snowglobes? We certainly are! After all, we've been doing this for the past, or 5 years, since 2002. Can't stop now. Besides, how can one ignore all those terrific sales? :)

The things us Disney fanatics would do for free Disney souvenirs!


Black Friday Bargain Stock: Disney

With the way the US stock market is taking a dive right now, many stocks, including Disney, gets dragged along with it. Motley Fool is looking at why Disney is currently severely undervalued and could be the biggest bargain of it all during the upcoming shopping frenzy.

Under that model, Disney should be worth almost $110 billion right now. That's $46 billion more than the going market price. Keep in mind that we used some relatively conservative numbers in these calculations, and you'll see why I think the current price is so unfair.

It is time to add more Disney stocks to one's portfolio!


Walt Disney's Hideaway

We all know that Walt had an apartment at Disneyland. This article is a closer look at the place he stayed at frequently. Most guests would probably walk past it without realizing the significance of the building.

BTW, Happy Thanksgiving to everyone who is celebrating the holidays. I have plenty to be thankful for:

1. Health
2. Friends and Family
3. The financial means to go to WDW often


Wednesday, November 21, 2007


That's all I'm going to say.


If you have at least half a heart, you will fall in love with this movie, and be enchanted by Amy Adams!



Disney World Cast Members To Participate in Diabetes Study

Walt Disney World has informed its cast members of a voluntary participation in a University of Florida study on diabetes, involving as many as 1000 cast members.

The company -- thought to be the nation's largest single-site employer -- is announcing the University of Florida-conducted study to employees today through its internal Web site, employee newsletter and team leaders.

Open only to insured employees and strictly voluntary, the yearlong study will invite those currently being treated for diabetes to participate.

Not a bad idea. After all, you have a concentration of people working under the same employer at a single site. Why not take advantage of that?


Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Is Disney Considering Going HD-DVD?

This certainly came out of nowhere, especially since Bob Iger was adamant in his support of Blu-Ray.

It appears that Disney still maintains a contact and voting privileges in determining the future format of HD-DVD. Of course, this says nothing directly on whether they are planning on releasing anything on HD-DVD, but still, why bother voting for a particular format if you really have no intention on joining it?

I really do not understand movie studios that are steadfastly in one format or another. I mean, is it that more expensive to release in BOTH format? This way, you let the consumers decide in the end. If one format dominates over the other, then you already have movies in that format. If they both thrive, then you have all your bases covered. Why do the movie studios have to choose? Because they have signed exclusive deals with Blu-Ray or HD-DVD camp? Since when do these camps are able to put a gun on the movie studios head to force them to choose? I certainly can't imagine Blu-Ray putting an ultimatum to Disney to choose.

Quite a while back, when DVD was first coming out, several movie studios, including Disney, resisted in outright endorsing the format, because of a competing format of DIVX. In fact, if I recall correctly, Disney and a few other studios did sign up for DIVX, a "pay-per-view DVD format" that Circuit City and some Hollywood entertainment lawyers thought of (never a good sign when lawyers dictate technology). So for the longest time, while Warner Bros. and other studios were releasing movies on DVD and trying to jump-start the format, Disney and a few other studios were holding back with a "wait-and-see" attitude. I vividly remember this because, as one of the early adopters of DVD, for quite a while we didn't see any Disney movies on DVD.

Since then, I've "forgiven" Disney for this silliness, but I still haven't forgiven Circuit City. I have never bought a single thing from them ever since. And now, as Shirley Bassey likes to say, "It's just a little big of history repeating".

Disney, release your movie in BOTH format! What's the big deal?! Sony is not going to disown you for doing it!


Ratatouille' Races Past the $600 Million Mark at the Worldwide Box Office

Not bad for a movie that some so-called "Disney expert" considered as a "disappointment" (we won't name names).

As expected, Ratatouille breezed by the $600 million mark at the worldwide box office. The numbers are impressive no matter how you look at it.

The film's worldwide cume climbed to $602.6 million over the latest three-day period (11/16-18/07). With its international gross-to-date of $396.5 million, "Ratatouille" now stands as the fifth most popular film released this year and the top grossing non-sequel. The film ranks as the #1 animated release in 17 international territories and is the #1 film of the year (including all categories) in France. The film is expected to pass the $400 million international plateau sometime during the week, making it the sixth release from Disney (live-action or animated) to achieve this milestone. Amongst all animated titles ever released in industry history, "Ratatouille" is only the third non-sequel to cross this threshold. "Ratatouille" also becomes the ninth release from Disney to pass the $600 million global mark, an achievement unmatched by any other Studio. Domestically, "Ratatouille" has posted an impressive gross-to-date of $206.1 million.

What's left is to root for it during the upcoming awards season.


Tip On Viewing The Animal Kingdom Christmas Parade

Y'know, I've seen the parade route for this parade, and somehow it never clicked in my head to do this.

This is a terrific tip on viewing the parade at Animal Kingdom. Although it is meant for the holiday parade, I would think it would be valid for the regular Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade as well.

Animal Kingdom has a circular parade route. Unlike in the Magic Kingdom or Disney-MGM Studios, the parade enters and exits the park at the same place: Harambe, the African area outside the safari ride.

So, the best bet for viewing is to time your arrival in Harambe about 15 minutes after the parade's start time. Those who already saw it go by will have dispersed. And you'll get to see the whole parade as it returns to the Harambe gate to exit.

I might just try that next time. In fact, I'll see if I can find a location in which the parade goes one way and comes back another way, so that I can see the parade TWICE without moving an inch from where I'm sitting! :)


Disney Wants Epcot Lawsuit Dismissed

Humm.. I didn't know this was brewing at all.

A company is suing Disney for revealing the technology behind Mission Space that it had partly designed in the beginning.

Disney contracted with Environmental Tectonics, based in Southampton, Pa., in 1998 to design the ride at Epcot at Walt Disney World. Environmental Tectonics, which makes aircrew training systems, designed a ride with gondolas on rotating arms, using its flight-simulator technology. The company claims Disney disclosed its arm design to others, including competitors, without permission.

Environmental Tectonics was unable to complete the project on budget or on time, forcing Disney to take over and negotiate a new deal in November2001, Shiekman said. Nothing Disney later sent to about 20 subcontractors had been identified by Environmental Tectonics as confidential, Shiekman said.

Without knowing all the details of this lawsuit, this appears to be a rather strange one. Oh well, we'll see how it develops.


Monday, November 19, 2007

Disney's California Adventure Reimagined

This LA Times article has a series of reports on all the storybook planned upgrade to DCA. I didn't know that there's a possibility of DCA getting Mickey's Philharmagic. I wonder how that would fit into the new theme?

But the funniest part was for the Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree.

Parents will want to break out the Dramamine and earplugs for Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree, easily the dizziest and noisiest of the new rides Disney plans to add to California Adventure as part of its $1.1-billion makeover.

Better not tell the kids that, because they would want to ride it even MORE! :)


Pardoned Turkey Heading to WDW

The Thanksgiving Turkey pardoned by President Bush will be heading to Walt Disney World to spend the rest of its life. Not a bad gig!

On Tuesday, President Bush will perform the 60th annual "pardoning of the turkey" ritual. The winning bird will then get a first-class flight to Orlando on a United Airlines jet, and a red-carpet entry to Disney World.

Visitors to the Magic Kingdom will get to see the bird on Thanksgiving Day, when it will serve as grand marshal of the holiday parade before joining the resort's permanent live-animal collection. In the past, two pardoned turkeys have gone to Disneyland, but this is the first one sent to Disney World.

I wonder if it'll get to stay in Cinderella Castle suite? What about wearing the YOMD hat? :)


Sunday, November 18, 2007

Thousands Turn Out For Mag Mile Lights Festival

I mentioned earlier on the Disney active involvement in this festivities, the lighting of the Magnificient Mile here in Chicago to signify the start of the holiday (shopping) season. Well, the event took place last night. Even with the cold, slightly wet and windy weather, it looks like they had a huge crowd for the festival (light rain and barely freezing temperatures are NOTHING for people here in Chicago).

Despite the cold, wind, and rain, the North Michigan Avenue parade route was packed. The Magnificent Mile Lights Festival began at Oak Street and headed south to the Chicago River.

"I came down to see Corbin blue, Mickey Mouse and Santa Claus," said one spectator.

As always Mickey Mouse led the illumination of one million lights and at the parade's conclusion there was a spectacular fireworks show. But the festivities were more than fun and spectacle. The parade's mission is to promote all the shopping along Michigan Avenue. The stores want to do big business during the holiday season.

This festival and the crowd for this parade seems to be getting bigger and bigger each year, with a continuing Disney involvement. I don't know if Disney does this in other cities. Still, it is interesting to note that Disney chose Chicago to participate in this festivities (and plays a major role in the lighting parade) and also to set up their first ever DVC preview center outside of their theme parks in the Chicago area.


Being a Princess Can Be Less Than Enchanting

This is a rather fun conversation with Amy Adams about the upcoming Enchanted and her playing a princess in such a poofy dress. Still, what was funny was her description of playing a princess in New York City:

Adams says she received some "strange stares" walking around New York City in a big, poofy, white Snow White gown.

"I think Patrick [Dempsey] got more stares than my dress," she says. "People were just very drawn to Dr. McDreamy in Central Park. He got a lot of attention and I was just some girl dressed up like Snow White."

That is just like New York City, isn't it? :)

Enchanted opens this Friday, in case you didn't notice.


Saturday, November 17, 2007

Where In Walt Disney World?

OK, here's another picture taken somewhere in Walt Disney World. Can you tell me where this is?


Another Make-A-Wish Kid Going to WDW

Little Connor Clausen will be seeing Mickey Mouse at Walt Disney World today, thanks to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

"He wanted to meet Mickey Mouse," Connor's mother, Vonda Clausen said. "That's what he thinks Disney World is." Connor has acute lymphocytic leukemia, a cancer of the white blood cells.

I hope you have a truly Magical time, Connor.

If you can, please consider the Make-A-Wish Foundation for some of your generous contribution. They bring so much joy for such deserving kids.


Friday, November 16, 2007

Interview With Dick Cook

Box Office Mojo has a very interesting interview with Dick Cook, Chairman of Walt Disney Pictures. We have a preliminary glimpse of the Jungle Cruise movie that is still being worked on.

Box Office Mojo: What is the theme of The Jungle Cruise movie?

Dick Cook: There will be a family involved. The skipper will play a very important role. He'll be more of an Indiana Jones kind of guy, with a little Jack Sparrow in him, who's going to be able to take this family on an adventure that they never dreamed they were going to be on when they first got on board. In true Disney fashion, it will definitely have the adventure and the intensity�but also the heart and the fun. We hope we have a good outline of where we want to go and what we want to do with it in the next year.

Box Office Mojo: Do you have a script?

Dick Cook: Not yet. It's being worked on. David Hoberman, whom we have asked to produce it, has been hard at work. He knows that it's a top priority for us�one that we're very, very excited about. It's a real tentpole [picture]. He'll deliver it and when he does, it will be something special.

Box Office Mojo: We know that the Jungle Cruise skipper will not be smoking cigarettes, but will he fire a gun?

Dick Cook: Yes, he'll be able to have a gun but I can promise you he won't be smoking a cigarette.

Puff, puff!

I think Disney will try to make this into a franchise with a series of Jungle Cruise movies, especially if the first one becomes a hit. I'm sure this has never crossed anyone's mind! :)


Tim Burton Back At Disney

Tim Burton, the person who was responsible for one of my most beloved movies of all time "Nightmare Before Christmas", has signed a 2-picture deal with Disney. OK, I can't say this loud enough, but ...

H O O R A Y !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Burton has signed a two-picture deal with the company that will see him direct and produce 3-D movies of Lewis Carroll's "Alice in Wonderland" and a remake of Burton's own "Frankenweenie."

The "Alice" adaptation will be a combination of live-action and performance capture and will be based on a script by Linda Woolverton ("The Lion King," "Beauty and the Beast"). It will be produced by longtime Burton collaborator Richard Zanuck and former Disney chairman Joe Roth with Jennifer and Suzanne Todd.

I can't wait to see how he reinterprets Alice when compared to Disney's earlier classic.

Burton will then segue to produce and direct a full-length motion picture version of his cult favorite 1984 film short, "Frankenweenie," about a pet dog who is brought back to life by his loyal owner in a very unusual way. The film will be shot in stop-motion animation.

Holy cow! I'm not aware of this short film, but the story premise sounds promising. And the best part about these two movies? They will BOTH be in 3D!

Christmas has come early this year! :)


Thursday, November 15, 2007

The Newest Disney Legends Join the Family

Disney Insider gave a wonderful report on the new Disney Legend inductees and the induction ceremony held recentlly.

Video highlights of the ceremony can be found also on the link from that page.


Human Remains At Disneyland's Pirates of the Caribbean Attraction?

I suppose that is to be expected. People want their remains to be where they have an emotional attachment to, so why not somewhere in Disneyland? Still, this gives me the creeps.

The POTC ride at Disneyland had to be shut down for a few hours because someone reported a "baby-powder-like" substance floating in the water. The guess here is that someone was trying to "intern" a loved one's ashes at that attraction.

This is fine and dandy, except that it is illegal to do so. It's a private property, and Disney is certainly not going to give anyone any permission to do so anytime soon. Besides, folks, your ashes are not going to stay where you left it, especially on those water rides! Would you like parts of you ending up in the sewer somewhere? Well, I guess by then, you really don't care anymore, do you? :)


Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Ratatouille #1 in DVD Sales

This rat can't do anything wrong. Ratatouille debut easily at #1 on the DVD sales this past week. It also came in #3 in DVD rentals.

Remember, if you buy it and the Pixar Shorts Vol. 1 DVD, you get a set of 3 pins for free!


Disney Holiday Magic with Samantha Brown

First of all, I LOVE Samantha Brown and her travel shows on The Travel Channel. They are my most favorite shows on that channel, and her spirit and reporting of her travel just makes it really down-to-earth.

Now, she has done at least one holiday travel show on WDW before, but it seems that they are doing a new show for this holiday season. The new show is going to be aired starting this coming Dec. 11, 2007. Check the listing of the show at the Travel Channel website.

I'm looking forward to it. It would be fun to see what's going on there now, but a bit sad since I'm missing all of the festivities. Again, keeping fingers crossed, I hope to be there during the holiday seasons next year.


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Cinderella in Doc Martens?

Many European fashion designers have given several Disney princesses a fashion makeover. All of the clothings and accessories are to be auctioned off for charity.

Cinderella's new clothes, including a glass slipper designed by Baccarat, go under the hammer at an auction of the 25 costumes organised by Christie's and Disneyland Paris on November 19, with the proceeds going to the United Nations Children's Fund.


Castle Dream Lights Video

As expected, the video of the lighting of the Cinderella Castle Dream Lights is now on YouTube. It is quite spectacular.

Thanks to DisneyHD for uploading the video.


Monday, November 12, 2007

Cinderalla Castle With New Lights - Picture

I mentioned earlier about the new lights for Cinderella Castle during the holiday festivities. Voila! Here's a picture of it!

It looks gorgeous in the picture, and I can only imagine how amazing it will look like in person. I hope they do this again next year, because I plan on being there for the holiday events!


Lighting of the Magnificent Mile

I don't know how many people are aware of this, but Disney plays a big part in the holiday festivities here in Chicago, especially during the lighting of all the holiday lights along a stretch of Michigan Ave. called The Magnificent Mile.

This year, the 16th annual lighting of the Mile involves not only the usual parade with Mickey and friends, but also several other Disney-related shows.

It certainly starting to look a lot like Christmas, isn't it?


Cinderella Castle With Its New Lights

Cinderella Castle gets new lighting for the holiday season.

Disney has created the new look for the Magic Kingdom's centerpiece structure by attaching 200,000 LED lights to 32,000 square feet of fish net, then draping it over the castle.

OK, so who has pictures to send to me? :)


Sunday, November 11, 2007

Another Make-A-Wish Foundation Trip to WDW

Another deserving child getting a sought-after trip to Walt Disney World. This time, little Michael Harris will be making the trip, and will be bringing the memory of his twin brother with him.

I hope you have a Magical time, Micheal!


Saturday, November 10, 2007

Where In Walt Disney World?

OK, here's another one. Where in Walt Disney World can you actually see this?


Disneyland's 'Small World' Attraction To Get Upgrade

I posted news about this a few days ago, but I wasn't sure whether it was true, especially the reason why they had to do it. It appears that "heavier" guests seem to have caused the boats to hit bottom.

It seems that there's some truth to that, based on this LA Times report, even though Disney did try to play it down.

Heavier-than-anticipated loads have been causing the boats to come to a standstill in two different spots, allowing for an extra-long gander at the Canadian Mounties and the Scandinavian geese, said Al Lutz, whose website MiceAge first reported the refurbishment plans.
Perhaps in an effort to protect visitors' egos, the park insists that fat tourists aren't to blame.

The boats get stuck because "layers and layers" of fiberglass have built up where maintenance teams have patched and re-patched problem areas, said Disneyland Resort spokesman Bob Tucker.




Friday, November 09, 2007

First-Ever Physicians' Travel Poll

This is a crowd that has money. So Diversions magazine (which is covers the medical profession) conducted a first-ever poll of physicians to ask them about their favorite travel destinations. Their top US city to visit? New York City. However, their top vacation resort is.....

For favorite resort, Orlando/Disney World led the pack without any close competition.

Of course!



Disney Theme Parks Fuel Profit

I guess the big news of the week for the Walt Disney Company is the financial report for the 4th quarter. The theme parks were a major factor in Disney beating analysts estimates.

More visitors and more spending at Disney parks, along with a strong contribution from cable sports network ESPN, helped carry the Burbank-based entertainment conglomerate to a 12% profit increase in its fiscal fourth quarter, the company reported Thursday.

I'm sure a large percentage of that was from me spending on all those silly pins!! :)


Thursday, November 08, 2007

Bruce Gordon, Disney Imagineer

Another sad news to announce the passing of Bruce Gordon, a long-time Disney Imagineer, who died last Tuesday. He was responsible for my most favorite attraction at Disneyland/Magic Kingdom - Splash Mountain.

Thank you, Mr. Gordon!


An Early Look at Disney's 'Enchanted'

This is a terrific article on the upcoming Disney's "Enchanted". Not only does it have an interview with Steven Schwartz and Alan Menken, but it also has 2 video clips of the musical numbers.

Just be warned that the article may have a few "spoilers".


Euro Disney FY Net Loss Halves

Could things be turning around at Disneyland Paris? It seems like it from this financial news report.

They attribute this to higher theme park attendance and higher resort occupancy. And it has only taken them only how many years to get to this stage? I hope they learn faster in Hong Kong.


Wednesday, November 07, 2007

"Ratatouille" and "Pixar Short Films Vol. 1"

So, did you go out yesterday and bought these two DVD's?

They have a special offer of a free 3-pin set ($3.50 shipping and handling) if you buy both DVDs and if you register or are already a member of the Disney Movie Rewards club The pins are Nemo, Buzz&Woody, and Lightning McQueen. You enter the Rewards codes for both DVDs to get the pins.

However, if you're not planning on using these codes, or don't intend to be a member of the Disney Movie Rewards, can I have those codes? :)


'The Lion King' Celebrates 10th Anniversary on Broadway

Happy Anniversary, The Lion King! Long Live The King!

"The Lion King" celebrates its 10th Anniversary on Broadway. Theater has never seen anything like it before, or since. The opening scene along will never be matched by anything on stage.

The press release lists several milestone achieved by this musical. Even after 10 years, it still has plenty of legs.


Tuesday, November 06, 2007

The Physics of Animation

I always love it when the two areas that I'm passionate about - Physics and Disney - merge in a single article or story. One such case earlier was when I discovered that Enrico Fermi was a "fan" of Winnie the Pooh stories and was using various characters from those stories to name some of his equipment/detectors.

Chalk this up to another one. In this month's issue of Physics Today (a monthly journal that all members of the American Physical Society and the Society of Physics Students receive), there is an article on the physics of animation. It includes various Disney/Pixar movies and a comment from a Pixar researcher. It gives some idea of what goes "under the covers" when these gorgeous animation movies are made, and it certainly involves a lot of physics.


Disney's Latest TV

I'll admit it, I am not too thrilled about the Disney electronics offerings so far, mainly because they are either cheap/flimsy material, or they're aimed at kids.

But now, along comes this TV! While the previous models of Disney TV sets follows the same cheap/flimsy/made for kids description that I just described, this one looks actually pretty decent. It has a wide screen, and it is an LCD high-def TV. And the design actually looks pretty nice!

I would mind having one of these mounted in the kitchen, or in my home-office.


Pixar Short Films Collection: Volume One

Along with Ratatouille being released on DVD today, a DVD of Pixar short films is also being released (finally!). I'm looking forward to this one because essentially, this is the origin of Pixar and its digital animation.

This is a review of the Volume 1 being released today and contains a detailed content of the various short films on the DVD. It is unfortunate that this collection couldn't have been accompanied with the DVD of The Pixar Story documentary. It would have made for a great illustration of the creativity at Pixar, especially in the early days.


Monday, November 05, 2007

Ratatouille Is Still Hot!

Ratatouille racked up its 5th straight week as the #1 international box office champ.

"Ratatouille" took in its top figures from its fifth German frame with $3.7 million -- tying the launch of "The Heartbreak Kid" for a close second to the soph sesh of local comedy "Lisi" -- and its third Italian weekend with $3.6 million. Along with the U.K. and Italy, it won in China, Denmark, Poland, Sweden and Switzerland.

"Ratatouille" has cumed $371.8 million overseas and $577 million worldwide in a performance that's exceeded expectations -- particularly in international markets given that the property carried little initial recognition.

Don't forget, the DVD comes out tomorrow!


Disney Comes Unstuck

Hum... is this true? This is the first time I've heard of it. And considering that it came from an Australian source (not that there's anything wrong with it), I'd like to know if the reason given here is actually accurate.

Disneyland in California has announced it will close its most popular ride, It's A Small World, for renovations due to increased wear and tear caused by super-sized riders. The ride features small boats that wend their way along canals while small robots sing in several languages. But since the ride opened in 1964 the average American has become 11 kilograms heavier, and now the boats in the ride are scraping the bottom and stopping midstream, causing extensive delays.

It's not April Fool's day, and I don't think this is a spoof article. So are they really renovating It's A Small World due to this? Does anyone know?


Hong Kong Disneyland May Get Govt. Bailout

The Hong Kong government may add another cash infusion to the troubled Hong Kong Disneyland. If this is true, then this may help in Disney's plan to expand the theme park into its second phase.

If not, it may consider itself as a "boutique" theme park if everyone still considers it as being too small.


Chinese Acrobats at Epcot

One of the aspects of Epcot that makes it very different than your typical "theme park" is the World Showcase and the cultural lessons/presentations that one can gather from there. Each day, all those pavilions have some form of presentations and shows about each of their respective countries. I think this is one aspect that many people either do not realize, overlook, or unappreciated.

One such performance is the regular "acrobatic" show presented at the China pavilion. During our last trip there this past Oct., we videotape one such performance by these very young-looking performers. It didn't make their performance any less entertaining or amazing.

For those of you who don't know it yet, all of my collection of Disney videos are listed in one of my blog entries. You can find them in my Disney blog links collection. They are all on Google video, which means that, unlike YouTube, you can actually download the original file to get a better quality of the video than the streaming version.



Sunday, November 04, 2007

Ratatouille on DVD This Tuesday

Ratatouille will be released on DVD (and Blu-Ray) this coming Tuesday. Already, the DVD is getting the same glowing reviews as the movie. This reviewer even predicts that it will win the Best Animated movie Oscar. Still, there are talks that Ratatouille may even be in the running for Best Picture. That would be a major accomplishment since Beauty and the Best remains the only animated movie to be nominated for the Oscar's Best Picture.


Fire At Hotel Near Disneyland

Fire broke out at Anaheim Maingate Hotel at 1850 Harbor Blvd. near Disneyland last night. Supposedly, the fire was confined only to the 5th floor of the hotel. No one was injured.


Brown Derby's Classic Grapefruit Cake

The original Brown Derby was known to serve this classic Grapefruit Cake. Now the tradition is being preserved at the Brown Derby restaurant at Disney/MGM Studios. I've eaten there a few times, and to be honest, I don't quite recall what I ate or how the food was. The only thing I remember is having that grapefruit cake. It certainly is delicious and different, but still, it is just a cake and a small part of the menu. So I'm not sure if it is a strong enough reason or a draw for people (or me) to want to continually go back there.

Still, the Orlando Sentinel has published the recipe for this cake, so you too can make this classic concoction at home.


Saturday, November 03, 2007

Disney Theme Park in Malaysia?

We have these rumors about Disney theme parks in Korea, another one in China, one in India, etc... etc.. surfacing periodically. Rumors of a possible Disney theme park in Singapore and nearby southern Malaysian state of Johor have also surfaced now and then. Since Universal is already building its theme park in Singapore, I'm guessing Disney would no longer be considering that location. However, the rumors of a Disney theme park in Malaysia continues to resurface, this one being the latest.

The proposed Disneyland theme park and resort is slated to be bigger than Hong Kong Disneyland and about the size of Tokyo Disney Resort, it said.

The location that is being proposed does makes sense, since it is isn't that far away from Singapore in terms of distance. But anyone who has tried to get across the causeway connecting Singapore and Malaysia during a busy period can tell you, traffic can get rather nasty. So if the major selling point of that location is to pull in tourists from Singapore as well, then some drastic construction to improve traffic flow between those two points must also be addressed.

And I would be very interested to see how Disney deals with getting rid of mosquitoes there! If they think they had quite a success in dealing with those insects in Florida, they haven't seen anything yet!

Of course, all of this is rather moot if there really is no Disney park being planned there.


Where In Walt Disney World Answer

No one got this last "Where In Walt Disney World" question. It was a projection of pumpkin Mickey onto a wooden door into the backstage area for cast members located to the left of the Toontown sign at the Magic Kingdom. This can only been seen either on Halloween, or during Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party.


Friday, November 02, 2007

Castaway Cay Survives Hurricane Noel

Reports are coming out that Disney's Castaway Cay survived Hurricane Noel unscathed. Disney Magic did have to skip it due to rough seas, but will stop over on its way back.


Young Heart Recipient's Wish is Granted

What a wonderful story. Little Sierra Bingham and her family gets to go to Walt Disney World, and gets to do it with little Benjamin Thornton and his family. This is after they underwent the same ordeal of getting a heart transplant. All this thanks to Make A Wish Foundation.

Again, I'm highlighting stories like this whenever they appear just to remind ourselves how lucky some of us are to not only get to go to WDW regularly, but also to be in good health. And with the holiday seasons coming up, in case you don't have an organization in mind to receive your generosity, think of the Make A Wish Foundation.


Thursday, November 01, 2007

Another Incident at Downtown Disney

All the heightened security at Downtown Disney still can't prevent something like this. Apparently, an off-duty Disney cast member and her boyfriend were robbed at gun-point at Pleasure Island early Thursday.

It just shows you how difficult it is to monitor a public place such as Downtown Disney while still not infringing on people's rights. Disney certainly do not want such incidents to occur, but yet they'll get bad PR if they try to crack down on something like this by imposing preemptive measures that can easily be perceived as infringing upon individual rights, especially if they appear to be doing something that resembles a "racial profiling".

Knock on wood, I haven't had any unpleasant experience at DD.


Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Press Release and Video of new Annie Leibovitz Photo Series

This is the Disney press release of the new Disney Dreams photo series by Annie Leibovitz. There is also a behind-the-scenes video on this, with interviews with several of the participants of the photo shoot.


Disney First in Line With Spending

This is a financial analysis of Disney's capital investments in improving California Adventure.

There's no question that DCA needs this. But the one question that isn't clear is how much of this huge spending is taking away from the development and constant improvement/maintenance of the other parks in N. America? With the $1.1 billion rehab of DCA, and the 2 cruise ships being built, Disney is spending a lot of money in the next few years. I just hope that's still plenty left-over that the other parks are not neglected.


More Annie Leibovitz's Disney Dream Portrait Series

Annie Leibovitz and Disney released the first set of her portraits of celebrities in various Disney dream scenes earlier last year. She has now released a second set of portraits, this time with Rachel Weisz, Roger Federer, and Julie Andrews/Abigail Breslin.


Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Housing Project Deal Near Disneyland Takes A Twist

That proposed SunCal housing project near Disneyland that has cause so much controversy has now taken another expected turn.

SunCal says the Frank Family Partnership reneged on the $46-million deal to sell the land. SunCal is asking that the contract be enforced, along with $60 million in damages. The land is currently occupied by two mobile home parks.

But that's not so, according to the Frank Family Partnership.

But attorneys for the Frank Family Partnership said today that it was SunCal that walked out on the deal signed in April 2005.

"The Frank Family granted SunCal eight different extensions which postponed the close of escrow," said Ed Connor, attorney for the partnership. "The Frank Family bent over backward for two years. What is so surprising is that SunCal three weeks ago suddenly decided not to make the $500,000 deposit that could have resulted in another three-month extension. We were absolutely stunned."

This has gotten absolutely silly and stupid.


Look Who We Got Our Hanes On Now?

Hanesbrand has signed with Disney for co-branding, attraction sponsorship, and signage.

All basic apparel sold by Disney at its parks and resorts, and at the company's ESPN Zone restaurants, will now be from the Hanes and Champion lines. Under the agreement, basic apparel includes T-shirts and tanks and fleece sweat shirts, sweat pants, hoodies and other garments, including infant and toddler items.

In terms of attraction sponsorship, this was the one that surprised me a bit:

Hanes also will become the sponsor of the Rock 'n' Roller Coaster starring Aerosmith, one of the main attractions at the Disney-MGM Studios park in Florida. Champion will also have naming rights for the stadium at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex in Florida, and the deal includes promotions at the ESPN Zone restaurants throughout the country.

Er.. Rock 'n' Roller Coaster and Hanes? I don't get the connection. Still, maybe Disney can do a lot more improvements to this attraction now that it has a sponsor.

So my only question now regarding this deal is that, will all t-shirts sold at Disney now will be Hanes/Champion t-shirts?


Where In Walt Disney World?

It's been a while since we had one of these, and the picture is also appropriate for this time of the year.

Where in Walt Disney World can you see this? Obviously, this was taken at night, and only during the Halloween festivities, but where can you find it?

Happy Disney Halloween!


Bambi Made It As Top 25 Horror Movie?

That's what Time Magazine online says. It made it to #20 of the Top 25 horror movie of all time. Now do you still want to show this to your kids? :)


Sunday, October 28, 2007

Overseas Still Hungry For 'Ratatouille'

Ratatouille remains the top movie internationally for the 4th consecutive week. It pulled in $21.9 million in 31 markets.

"Ratatouille" continued as the dominant pic -- even though the toon completed its final launches during the previous frame -- with first-place finishes in the U.K., Italy, China, Poland, Switzerland and all four Scandinavian markets.

The Disney-Pixar toon cooked up its top figures in its third U.K. frame with $8.2 million, rising an impressive 31% amid school holidays; its Italian soph sesh with $4.3 million, off 35%; and its fourth German frame with $3.6 million, off 45%. The Brit cume hit $36.3 million, surpassing Japan as the second-biggest "Ratatouille" market behind France's $60 million.

"Ratatouille" has cumed $346.8 million overseas -- well above Disney's forecasts -- and $552 million worldwide. It may still have enough gas in the tank to have a shot at becoming the 29th pic to hit the $400 million mark internationally.

Not too shabby for a movie that some "Disney critiques" called a failure or a disappointment. It is not even close!


VOA News - Walt Disney, 1901-1966

Voice of America's People In America program focuses this time on Walt Disney. You can read the transcript of the show, or download the audio.


Missing Road Signs at Walt Disney World

Has anyone else notice this? I've seen this for at least a couple of years already, but never considered making a comment on it until I took these pictures as "evidence" during our last trip to WDW. So here it is.

If you are driving either from Epcot or the Magic Kingdom (Transportation Center) and you are going to Downtown Disney, if you follow the Disney signs, you'll be on Epcot Center Drive. You then exit right onto an exit ramp, and this is where it gets "interesting". When you take that exit, you first see this sign on the left side of the exit ramp.

So from that sign, you will make a left turn to go to Downtown Disney, so you make sure you're in the left lane as you approach the upcoming intersection/lights. But wait, as you approach the intersection, there's another sign, this time on the right side of the exit ramp.

It now says that you can go forward to go to Downtown Disney! Well, ok, that's not unusual since there usually is more than one way to get around at WDW. Since you saw the other sign first and you're already in the left lane, you'll make that left turn. This turn will put you on the "Overpass Road". So far so good. This will get you to the T-junction joining Overpass Road and Bonnet Creek Parkway. This is where, if you do not know where you are, you're left hanging with no other instructions on where to go.

There is only one street sign indicating the direction to the left, which would be to Old Key West, Saratoga Spring, Port Orleans, and golf courses. There's no indication here that if you want to go to Downtown Disney, that you should turn right. I thought this is rather strange that Disney didn't follow through with their signs here. I've noticed this for quite a while, and I would think that someone would have noticed this omission.

BTW, if you happened to have gone forward instead on the exit ramp rather than turning left, you'd be on Backstage Lane that will get you to the Buena Vista Dr. Turning left will get you to Downtown Disney, and there's a sign to indicate this.

So, anyone else noticed this?