Wednesday, December 31, 2008

G-Force Trailer

Disney's "G-Force" trailer is now available online.

This is supposed to be in 3D, so that should increase the "interesting" factor a bit more.


Holiday Wishes 2008

The video that we took of Holiday Wishes during Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party is now available. I've decided to include the "live" sounds in the soundtrack, unlike my video of Wishes, HalloWishes, etc. that used only the recorded music as the soundtrack. Still, the recorded music has been synchronized with the live sound to enhance the music, which can be drowned out at certain times by the loud fireworks explosions.

Now, a bit of a gripe here. As I expected, and very much like HalloWishes this year during Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party, the fireworks has been condensed and shortened. You are welcome to compare the video that we took this year with the one taken by someone else from last year. That one made full use of the recorded soundtrack that you can by off the Holiday Wishes CD. The one that we recorded this year has been edited and shortened by roughly 2 minutes.

So other than my gripe about having to edit the music soundtrack so that it matches what was presented live, I am disappointed that I'm not seeing the full show. I suppose most of the guests did not and would not have realized that they are seeing the "lite" version of the fireworks, but I DID! And considering that I paid separately to get into this hard-ticket event, I think I deserve the whole thing under normal circumstances (they didn't shorten it due to the weather, I can tell you that!).

I don't know if the shortened version of all these fireworks during these hard-ticket event is due to their money-savings effort, or if it is part of their normal changes. If it is the former, I hope they restore the full version once this financial slowdown is over. But if it is the latter, then it SUCKS big time. Considering that you are making guests pay extra for the privilege to participate in this event, one would think you would not be skimpy in what you provide when compared to previous years. I'm seriously considering to not go to any more of these special parties until I know for sure if the full version of these fireworks have been restored.

Till then, here's the "shortened" version of Holiday Wishes that we saw this December. It took me FOREVER just to edit and get the recorded accompanying music to synch with the live sound!


Tuesday, December 30, 2008

O' Christmas Tree, O' Christmas Tree....

So of course there are gorgeously-decorated Christmas trees at WDW. Even that is an understatement. These trees are all over WDW and at every resorts and theme parks.

During our last trip this December, I tried to snap a picture of all of the ones I encountered. Here they are:

This is in the sitting lounge at Saratoga Springs

This is from Disney's Animal Kingdom.

Not really a "tree" but more of a decoration, but since it has something that looks like a tree, it qualifies. This is from Downtown Disney's Marketplace.

This is also from Downtown Disney's Marketplace.

This is the tree in the lobby of the Grand Floridian

This is the tree in front of the American pavilion at Epcot

While not exactly a tree but more of a light decoration, this is from Disney's Hollywood Studios during the Osborne Spectacle of Dancing Lights.

This is the tree at Town Square in the Magic Kingdom.

The tree at the entrance to Disney's Hollywood Studios.

The tree in the lobby of Disney's Yacht Club.

The tree in the Puffin's Roost, the gift shop at the Norway Pavilion in Epcot.

The spectacular tree in the lobby of Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge.

The tree in the lobby of Saratoga Springs.

The tree at the entrance to World Showcase at Epcot, both day and night.

Lastly, the following are all from Camp Minnie-Mickey at Disney's Animal Kingdom.


Monday, December 29, 2008

Mickey's Jingle Jungle Parade Video

OK, so you saw the pictures of Mickey's Jingle Jungle Parade. Now see the video that we took of the same parade.

Unfortunately, the video is too long for YouTube, so you'll have to settle for the poorer streaming quality of Google Video.


Mickey's Jingle Jungle Parade

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade at Disney's Animal Kingdom is one of my most favorite parade (2nd only to SpectroMagic). During the holidays, they rethemed the parade to be Mickey's Jingle Jungle Parade. All the parade elements are festively decorated for the holiday seasons (notice the holiday socks on the tiger). The music is still the same, but it's a wonderful, joyous music.

So here are a few pictures from Mickey's Jingle Jungle Parade, taken during out Dec. 2008 trip that just ended.

We also videotaped the parade. Once I get around to editing it and uploaded it, I will let everyone know where to find it.


Sunday, December 28, 2008

Walt Disney World 2008: A Year in Review

This is a rather concise review of WDW during 2008. It gives a brief summary of a lot of the changes and happenings throughout the year, starting with the change in the name to Disney-MGM Studios, to the end of the Soap Stars weekend. It is a wonderful look-back as we look forward to 2009 and Disney's new promotion.


Saturday, December 27, 2008

Interactive Dining at Walt Disney World

This is not really an article on ALL interactive dining at WDW, but rather on two particular dining locations at WDW - 50's Prime Time Cafe at DHS and Whispering Canyon at DWL.

I've been to both, I think. Friends tell me that I've been to the 50's Prime Time Cafe quite a while back, but I can't exactly remember the experience. I do remember going to Whispering Canyon, and let's just say that the food isn't good enough to make me want to go back and suffer through the noise. If you thought Crystal Palace was noisy whenever they have the "parade", wait till you sit through Whispering Canyon's antics.

(Crystal Palace, btw, is one of my favorite places to eat.)


Make-A-Wish Fulfilled Another Wish

I haven't been reporting much on this lately, which is my fault. I always try to highlight all the wonderful Disney wishes that MAW grants, with the hope that these stories will increase its visibility and get them more donations and support.

This is another wonderful trip report from another MAW family from Oregon. Sounds like they had a truly magical Christmas at WDW.


Friday, December 26, 2008

Unfortunate Accident with Misleading Story Title

The title of this news report is "Heartbroken parents of drowned toddler question Disneyland Paris".

If all you read is the title, you'd think that the toddler drowned at Disneyland Paris. It is when you read the news article do you realize that the unfortunate accident happened at a hotel NEAR Disneyland Paris!

The staff at the Thomas Cook-owned three-star Explorers Hotel close to the Disney resort confirmed there had been no lifeguard on duty when Colum fell into the water after disappearing from his mother's view shortly after the family arrived at the venue last Thursday.

What editor let something like this through?


Travel and Leisure's 500 World's Best Hotels 2009

Travel and Leisure has released its latest list of 500 world's best hotels. Four Disney resorts in the US made the list: Disney's Grand Californian, Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge, Disney's Grand Floridian, and Disney's Wilderness Lodge.


Cinderella Castle Royal Suite Will Stay Open in 2009

Even with the Year of a Million Dreams ending at the end of 2008, the Cinderella Royal Suite will be open on a limited basis in 2009 as part of the new promotion.

On Jan. 1, that campaign is to be replaced with the "What Will You Celebrate?" promotion that strives to get people to bring their personal celebrations to Disney World.

The room will continue to be available for use as the prize for promotions, including some run by outside companies, Disney spokesman Rick Sylvain said Wednesday.

If that's the case, looks like my chance of getting a night's stay there will be even lower. Oh well....


Disney's 2008 Christmas Parade

Did you miss the 2008 Disney Christmas Parade on TV yesterday? You can still watch a few of the performances shown at the Disney website.

I just wish that there were more of the "parade" than the performance, although the bit from Mary Poppins with the whole of Main Street USA performing the dance number was thoroughly impressive. So impressive that there's a video of the behind-the-scenes of just that performance.


Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Tokyo Disneyland Enjoying A Boom

While most company is either having a down year or bracing for an economic slow down, Tokyo Disneyland (and even Disneyland Paris) is enjoying a significant increase in business.

The park's operator, Oriental Land Co., estimates a record 26.5 million people will visit Tokyo Disneyland and its nearby sister park, Disneysea, during the fiscal year ending in March. The company is forecasting sales of a record $4.2 billion, up almost 10 percent.

"In a way, the slumping economy works well for Tokyo Disneyland," said Hiroshi Watanabe, an economist at the Tokyo-based Daiwa Research Institute. "Because of the recession, people have stopped buying cars and houses or going to Hawaii, and Tokyo Disneyland offers an affordable and pleasant alternative."

Wonder how well the 2 Disney theme parks in the US are expecting to do. They are already aggressively promoting WDW during the first quarter of 2009 with the "stay 4 days, get 3 days free" offer. Whether such visitors will spend as much as they expect while they are at the parks is another matter.


Disney's Christmas Day Parade

Don't forget that the Disney's Christmas Day parade is at 10:00 am Eastern (9:00 am Central) here in the US on the ABC network.


Disney Drops Narnia

No big surprise here, but Disney has bailed out on the Narnia franchise.

The studio said Tuesday that for budgetary and logistical reasons it will not exercise its option to co-produce and co-finance the next "Narnia" movie with producer Walden Media.

I will admit that I didn't even see the first 2 Narnia movies. So personally, this means nothing. Still, I don't remember the last time Disney withdraws from something that it was nurturing as potentially being a franchise.


Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays, Happy Kwanzaa, Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas, and Seasons Greetings to all those who celebrate the holidays at this time of the year. Hope everyone will have a terrific new year, and the economic slump will disappear real soon so that more of us can go to a Disney theme park. :)