Friday, October 31, 2008

Southwest Helps Disney's Tinker Bell Fly Into Tampa Today

Hey, although it isn't flying to Orlando, I wouldn't have minded being on this flight on my most favorite airline. Looks like Southwest Airlines is getting into the Tinker Bell spirit as well.

Tinker Bell One, a specially decorated Boeing 737, is scheduled to visit Tampa International Airport on a flight from Chicago at 2 p.m. today.

Flight attendants will wear wings a la Tinker Bell and award prizes to passengers who can answer trivia questions about Disney's classic character from the animated film "Peter Pan."

Can someone get a picture and send a copy to me? :)

It does sounds like the Tinker Bell DVD is selling way better than expected. Maybe this will help Disney's kitty and prevent them from doing too many layoffs?


Disney Considering Job Cuts?

LA Times is reporting that Disney executives are considering several belt-tightening measures, including job cuts!

Disney executives said Thursday that no decisions had been made on possible layoffs. People familiar with the situation have said reductions are being contemplated companywide.

Well that sucks!


Thursday, October 30, 2008

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Random WDW Picture

This was taken in late February of this year, while we were staying at Animal Kingdom Lodge. It was also the ESPN Weekend at the Studios, and that explains the presence of the blimp.


Tim Burton's Frankenweenie

If you didn't get the latest DVD/Blu-Ray of "Nightmare Before Christmas", then here's your opportunity to watch Tim Burton's "Frankenweenie" at before it goes away.


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Official Price Guide To Mickey Mouse Collectibles Giveaway

We have another prize to give away here. This time, I have 2 books of "The Official Price Guide to Mickey Mouse Collectibles" by Ted Hake, courtesy of Random House/House of Collectibles.

All you have to do to enter is to e-mail me at zapperz at gee-mail dot com and include the title of your e-mail as "Collectibles Giveaway". The deadline for this doing this is the end of November 5, 2008. If there are more than 2 entries, I will hold a random drawing. I will contact the winners to arrange on how to deliver the prize.

Good luck!


Michael Jackson Is A Huge Disney's High School Musical Fan?

Let's see... Disney's High School Musical is full of teenagers and underaged kids. And of course, it has Zac Efron, who has become a tween heartthrob.

Why wouldn't Micheal Jackson be a huge fan of it?!

OK, OK, I know I'm being bad, so I'll stop! :)

Still, kids, run the other way!!


Disney is Pushing Wall-E for Best Picture Nominations?

This could be a tough sell. There are reports (rumors?) that Disney will push very hard to get Wall-E nominated for Best Picture.

Walt Disney Studios Richard Cook tells the New York Times: “If we didn’t do it, I don’t think we’d be giving the movie its due.”

Of course, as we all know, there's always the scenario that Academy voters could split the vote if Wall-E gets nominated for both Best Picture and Best Animated Feature. Still, with the crop of movies looking rather weak so far this year, it might be a good thing to have Wall-E compete in the best picture category.

Whether it can win or not is a different matter.


Monday, October 27, 2008

"Bolt" Signifies New Disney?

A lot is riding on Disney's new animation movie "Bolt". This LA Times article describes how "Bolt" may represent how successful the "Pixar mentality" has worked on the Disney Animation division.

A measure of how well Disney succeeds at reclaiming its heritage and how the two animation cultures coexist will be tested when "Bolt" opens in theaters Nov. 21. Disney's new computer-animated film is the first entirely overseen by Pixar's creative guru, John Lasseter, and tech whiz Ed Catmull, who took charge of Disney Animation after the acquisition.

That's a lot of pressure.

I still think that having both Disney Animation and Pixar doing digital animation is rather redundant, especially when you have the same people in Lasseter and Catmull doing the quality control check. I wouldn't be surprised, if The Princess and the Frog becomes a huge hit, that Disney Animation concentrates solely on hand-drawn animation after that while Pixar exclusively do the digital animation and beyond.


Sunday, October 26, 2008

Working for the Mouse

I always like reading a behind-the-scenes account on anything Disney, mainly because most of the time, I'm not privy to such things.

This is an account of what goes into the food preparation, especially for the Epcot's Food and Wine Festival, from the point of view of a visiting Chef at WDW.

Throughout my 28-year restaurant career I have participated in numerous culinary events and festivals behind the scenes, in front of cameras, and as a guest chef or lecturer. Walt Disney World blows them all away with their efficiency, professionalism, service and offerings. It should come as no surprise that a company dedicated to hospitality and good times 365-days a year is able to pull it off so well - from the festival's attendees down to the guest chefs.

Just to tour the food service facilities and work alongside Disney chefs was a treat. This is a company that employs more than 350 top-notch chefs and thousands of line cooks to work at more than 300 food service facilities offering more than 6,000 food items. It is baffling when seen as in a behind-the-scenes manner.

An interesting article to read.


Saturday, October 25, 2008

Lengthy 'Bolt' Preview?

Movie theater owners are not happy about this one. It seems that Disney attached a 6-minute "featurett" on its upcoming "Bolt" as a preview before the hit "Beverly Hills Chihuahua". Well, at least Disney is calling it a featurett. Theater owners see it as a very lengthy preview and they are not happy about it.

Disney maintains that the preview is in fact a "featurette," a mini-film not unlike the award-winning animated shorts that Disney and Pixar put ahead of their animated features. Disney even submitted the "Bolt" footage to the Motion Picture Assn. of America for a rating as a short film, and was given a PG mark for "some mild action."

But the theater owners saw it differently, and complained to Disney; their trade organization, the National Assn. of Theater Owners; and the MPAA.

I didn't see "Beverly Hills Chihuahua". Did you? And did you see the Bolt featurett?


Friday, October 24, 2008

Where in Walt Disney World?

We haven't had this in a while, so here's another one. Where in WDW can you see this?


Premier of Finding Nemo on Ice Brought out the Celebrities

This news article has plenty of pictures of famous Londoners attending the premier of Disney's "Finding Nemo on Ice".

I actually even recognize some of the names and faces, since I do watch BBC America quite often. :)


Thursday, October 23, 2008

Halloween Serenade From Disney Parks

What better time than to get a Halloween Serenade from Disney Parks than right now. Gets you in the mood for Halloween.


Innovator of the Year : John Lasseter

The Hollywood Reporter has named John Lasseter as the Innovator of the Year.

The torch has been passed. Over the past two decades, Lasseter has become not only the most prominent successor to the Nine Old Men, but arguably the most important figure in animation since Disney himself.

This year, he's a key player behind two animated films: "WALL-E," already hailed by many critics as a masterpiece, and "Bolt," debuting Nov. 21.

One comes from the ever-inventive Pixar, the other from Disney's decades-old animation unit. If Lasseter is now pivotal to both, that is no coincidence: His groundbreaking work has never ignored its debt to the past.

As if there's any more need to clarify his importance in the resurrection of Disney's animation, this article will do a very good job of it, thank you.


Nightmare Before Christmas In 3D

Disney releases this every year around this time, but is it me or are they severely cutting back on the release this year? Usually the movie comes out what... 2 weeks before Halloween? Now it is going to be released this coming Friday, a week before Halloween. And here in the Chicago area, so far, Fandango is listing only 4 (FOUR, count 'em) theaters that will be showing it, and they are all out in the boonies, with none within the city limits. What gives?

Is it because of all the slate of Disney movies being released around this time that they are not going to have the same wide release this year? Correct me if I'm wrong, but this movie made a boatload of money every year that it is released. You still get reviews like this that still gave the movie a very good recommendation for people to see it, even if they already have.

And though it has a home in many a DVD library, Disney has seen to it that it has a higher status within the culture, transferring the original film to 3D and re-issuing it every Halloween as a new holiday tradition - a fright-night reminder that Christmas is coming, Jack Skellington's efforts be darned.
But Disney was right about this much - "Nightmare" is good enough to deserve to become a holiday tradition. Head to the theater, or pick it up on DVD. If you have kids, there are worse things they could find under a tree than Jack Skellington.

I wish Disney would seriously consider making this a yearly release, and in just more than a handful of theaters around the Chicago area. After all, they KNOW already that there's a lot of Disney fans in this part of the country. Why else would they pick the Chicago area for its first DVC center outside of the theme parks? So get with the program!


California Adventure Redo

Hum... I'm not so sure I want the Disney's California Adventure redo to go to the extent that this writer is suggesting.

What is authentically Californian about California Adventure is that Disney will be wiping the slate clean and starting afresh -- this time with 1920s nostalgia, going back to the days when the original fake great wall from "Intolerance" still stood at the corner of Sunset and Hollywood boulevards.

Take some pointers from a real lover of California: Put an edge in the Adventure. Disney producers don't flinch from scaring us when it suits them. So throw a little 1920s bad our way in the new attractions.

She's suggesting, among other things, ....

"...send visitors on the wild boom-and-bust roller-coaster ride of backyard gushers and the Julian Oil Co. scandal that fleeced Angelenos out of $150 million..."

"...bring back the shady side of Hollywood's golden age too..."

"...the 1920s world of segregated beaches, sundown towns with "curfews" for minorities and, right there in Anaheim, a city council and police department that, for one year, were run by the KKK..."

"...serve up a menu of the authentic L.A. food fads from the era: "non-devitalized" raw fruits and vegetables of the Bragg diet, nearly a dozen kinds of exotic salts, loaves of alkaline bread and cups of fig coffee..."

Hum... would you go for something like that? :)


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Why I Love "Illuminations - Reflections of Earth"

I've mentioned before that "Illuminations" is my #1 most favorite nighttime show at Walt Disney World (and in fact, it is #1 in all of WDW and DL resort). Unlike your "typical" Disney fireworks show, this one has a theme that does not involve any of the Disney characters, movies, storylines, etc. It is purely on our Earth, how we all live with each other with our varied cultural, social, religious differences, etc. It is a perfect show for World Showcase, and wisely included the pavilions within its show. It is unlike any other lights/fireworks shows that I've ever seen, and done practically every single night.

And then there's the music. Other than the original Tapestry of Nations music, the music that accompanies Illuminations is the BEST piece of music to accompany a fireworks show in all of WDW/DL. Period. Even the "slow" part gives you something to ponder and allows you to concentrate on the revolving Earth. And then when it hits the crescendo, there's just nothing like it. I still remember the hairs on the back of my neck stood up the first time I saw it, and that's when I immediately fell in love with it.

So this is my tribute to "Illuminations - Reflections of Earth".

The best place to view this, in my opinion, is right at the plaza by the entrance to World Showcase. Here, you get to view the show in its proper symmetry. But the "show" itself started between 20 to 30 minutes before when they started playing a compilation of world music and the lighting of the torches around the World Showcase lagoon. Be sure to stake your place 1/2 hour to an hour before 9:00 pm.

And then it starts....

"Good Evening. We are gathered here tonight, around the fire...... "

And then, "poof!", the fire on all the torches are snuffed out, and the beating of the drums goes faster and faster. A screaming sound accompanies a lone until it explodes into a glorious fireworks just at the perfect timing with the music.

That's when all hell breaks loose, and it certainly feels that way temperature wise. With fireworks going on and the inferno barge spewing out copious amount of fire, one can get quite toasted especially towards the front.

The music then slows down and this is where the complex and fascinating globe appears. As it gets closer, one notices that the land masses on the earth are actually video screens showing various people of the earth, various lands, cultures, etc. It continues to rotate, changing scenes with the musics, while on the 4 corners surrounding the globe, various water displays appear, with changing colors with the music as well.

At a point during this slow part, the outline of the World Showcase buildings are lighted. This shows the silhouette of each building. Every time this happens, you can see flash bulbs going off in all directions as the guests tries to capture this amazing sight.

Then the music picks up again and the fireworks comes back.

We are now heading towards our first crescendo. The sky is filled with laser lights and fireworks coming from different directions. The fireworks shown high in this pictures creates a loud, deep "boom" that reverberates throughout the lagoon.

And this is the infamous "screamers", which adds to the live sound.

We are heading towards our first ending of the music, reaching its peak at the very end.

... and the crowd goes wild!!

But wait, that's not the end! The earth is still spinning, and then another piece of music starts. This time, there's a vocal accompaniment. The Earth continues to show various scenes, and the water displays continues to change shape and color.

But then, the Earth opens up!

In fact, at the precise moment in the music, a tall stream of fireworks shoots out from it.

And at the moment the song goes "We go on.......", a gazillion fireworks shoot out from all over the lagoon, producing the a light so bright, it feels like it is daylight around the lagoon. It is an amazing and spectacular sight, sound, and feel!

And then, it is all over.

But none of these pictures do justice if you can't hear the show accompanied by the music. So why don't you see it for yourself? This is the video we took in 2006, and I've replaced the live sound with the actual music. While this makes the music clearer, it unfortunately takes away from the live sounds, and you won't hear the screamers.


Analysts Fear Park Slowdown at Walt Disney Co.

These analysts fear that the weak economy will affect theme park attendance. So what else is new? But because of such predictions, the Walt Disney Co. stocks dipped more than 4% yesterday.

And this can only mean one thing - WE are buying more Disney stocks!


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

If Mickey Mouse Were President....

With politics and election mania running high in the US lately, I've been walking around all week with a pin on my shirt/jacket that says "Vote for Mickey". No one seem to mind that, and some even said they would vote for Mickey if they could (I'm sure they're joking).

However, all this has led me to think what would it be like if Mickey were the President of the United States? :)

1. Of course, Minnie Mouse would be the First Lady (or do we call her First Rodent?).

2. He already has a loyal dog in Pluto, so that takes care of the official pet, which every US president seems to have one lately.

3. The Owl from Winnie the Pooh is the Chief of Staff. You need someone that wise and level-headed to head a cast of characters.

4. Donald Duck is the secretary of defense. Now c'mon, admit it. With a hot head like that heading your military, tell me that some nutjob anywhere would dare to try anything stupid.

5. Scrooge McDuck is your Treasury Secretary. No explanation needed here.

6. Agriculture Secretary would definitely be Pooh's friend Rabbit. Just look at those carrots!

7. Buzz Lightyear is the NASA Administrator. Again, no explanation needed here. He will officially move all space launches to the many Space Mountains and Mission Space facilities.

8. Instead of tax rebates, everyone in the country would be given 150 DVC points.

9. Everyone living in the country would be forced to buy the Disney Dining Plan. However, more healthy choices will be available for table service, counter service, and snacks. All trans fat will be banned.

10. Instead of passports and state ID/Drivers license, you are given annual passes to get back into the US and a biometric finger scan to verify your identity.

11. It goes without saying that the whole country will be spic and span, with garbage cans every few feet in the cities. Each major cities will have a fireworks display at the end of each evening, and a parade at exactly 3:00 pm each afternoon.

12. Every city, state, and federal employees will wish you a Magical Day after providing a service.

13. Buttons for birthdays, anniversaries, Just Married, etc. can be picked up for free from each city hall.

14. Every mayor is expected to be able to sing and dance.

15. Anyone convicted of a crime will be forced to sit through multiple rides of "It's A Small World". The number of rides will depend on the severity of the crime. Repeat offender will be dunked into the well at the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction until he/she promises to never do it again.

16. Amtrack will be replaced with Big Thunder Mountain Railroad company. All public rail transportation will be monorails and all buses will be Disney Transportation buses. The only exception will be transportation in Los Angeles, where the only means of transportation will be the Rock 'N Rollercoaster.

17. All building are required to have only a front facade. All the sides that are not visible to the public need not be finished. This will save a tremendous amount of money on construction costs.

18. False perspective are actively encouraged.

19. Elevators become faster by just simply letting them drop on the way down. Proper restraining mechanism are installed in all elevators, of course.

20. No more Starbucks, Seattle's Best, Caribou Coffee, etc. All coffee will be by Nestle. You will drink it, and you will like it!

21. All movies being made in the US must pass through the quality control of John Lesseter.

22. Mr. Incredible heads the CIA, the FBI, the Secret Service, the National Security Council, etc... etc.

23. Goofy is the US Ambassador to the United Nations ...... WHAT? This is a perfect choice! I'd pay money to see Iran and North Korea try to deal with him!

24. All Canadian citizens are given seasonal passes to visit Florida.

25. Turkey legs become the traditional dish at Thanksgiving.

26. The White House is replaced by Cinderella Castle.

27. The Hat at Disney's Hollywood Studios officially becomes one of the country's monument.

28. Epcot's Futureworld becomes the newest US National Laboratory, joining the existing US labs such as Argonne, Brookhaven, Los Alamos, Oak Ridge, Livermore, and Berkeley. The main research activity will be on Fun With Science.

29. All countries having diplomatic ties with the US must have a pavilion at Epcot, which has been expanded into the size of New Jersey.

30. Expect your bags to be searched as you enter various places all over the country.

31. Just like the mayors, all kids entering high school must know how to sing and dance, since such activities may break out spontaneously.

32. Wearing Mickey Ears hat is required on national holidays.

33. The US Congress is replaced with the Imagineers.

34. There are hidden Mickeys all over the place.

35. The prices for all bottled water will be raised by 200%.

36. Several animatronic Yeti are installed on the Himalayas.

37. A carving of Mickey's face will be added to Mount Rushmore.

38. During Christmas season, all houses and buildings must be fully lighted and decorated, and must be synchronized to the music of the Osborne Spectacle of Dancing Lights.

39. The US dollars has been abolished. Only Disney Dollars are now accepted. You may also choose to be paid with Disney Pins, which is also a valid US currency.

40. Everyone must be happy. It's the Law!


Monday, October 20, 2008

Ailing Woman Sues Disney For Kicking Her Off Ride

Holy Cow! Just when you think you've heard everything, along comes something like this.

Now, usually a terrifying ride such as Tower of Terror comes with many caution and warning that one shouldn't ride it if one has so-and-so or is afraid of such-and-such, or has some sort of a medical conditions. However, in this case, someone actually has a doctor's recommendation to ride the Tower of Terror to help this person's medical condition.

Mooty has adhesions in her abdomen, essentially, internal scarring. She needs four to six surgeries a year to get rid of the adhesions.

Mooty's doctor wrote a letter to Disney stating, "The benefit of riding the Tower of Terror breaks down these adhesions thus relieving her of so much pain."

But then, something happened.

"A different manager said she didn't care what my card said, I'm only allowed to ride the ride four times," said Mooty.

That doesn't sound right. Nowhere does it state that guests can only go on an attraction a maximum of 4 times. After all, who's counting? And why would there be such a limit?

Supposedly, this guest was banned from WDW for swearing in front of other guests. In any case, there's a lot of very vague description of the incident here, and I bet we are not anywhere near to what actually happened.


Family’s Disney Trip Left in Limbo

Another sad story of a family in the UK who worked real hard to save enough money for a trip to WDW, but is now in limbo as they wait for their money to be refunded.

Since then Donna has been told she will receive a refund from the Civil Aviation Authority but has been left in the dark about when they will receive it and fears they may miss out on the trip in March.

Donna, 34, of Cambrian Street, said: “I would never let my son down and we will go to DisneyWorld, we just don’t know when.

This is already the 3rd story that has been covered (I'm sure I've missed many others). The first was a wedding, while the second one sounds similar to this. And all of them have the XL Leisure Group in common.

I know that, as an adult, I would be horribly disappointed if my Disney trip is canceled, and I've been there many times, even more than once in a year. I can only imagine a kid going there for the first time, and all that excitement gets dashed like that.


Sunday, October 19, 2008

Zac Efron to Star in Pirates 4?

A juicy rumor indeed. However, it came from the National Enquirer, so take it for whatever it is worth when it comes from a supermarket tabloid like that.

Supposedly, Zac Efron has been offered a part in Pirates of the Caribbean 4. I suppose they do need a "heart throb" since Orlando Bloom isn't coming back. The report also mentioned that he's being groomed to eventually take over the staring role in Pirates after Johnny Depp leaves.

I don't watch High School Musical, nor have I have seen Efron in any other shows/movies, so I can't tell how good of an actor he is. Still, I would think that Pirates with Johnny Depp won't be the same, and possibly, less exciting. But we will see. If they can keep replacing James Bond and still be as successful, who knows if it won't work here as well.


Disneyland Paris Set To Announce Its First Profit In 5 Years

They are certainly on the right track.

Disneyland Paris resort is set to announce its first operating profit in 5 years. It sounds like all that reorganization appears to be working.

And even though Disney doesn't own it 100%, I would think that with the Euro at such a higher rate than the US dollar, that would still add a nice chunk of change into the Walt Disney Company's kitty bank!


Saturday, October 18, 2008

Mickey Mouse and More

This news article from Ottawa Citizen provides a lot of information on visiting Orlando, which includes, of course, doing the Disney theme parks and more.

What? There's more in Orlando than just the Disney theme parks? I would never have guessed!!!



Five Years of the Disney Hall

This is a great piece on how the $50 million "seed" money from Lilian Disney started a revitalization of not only the LA Philharmonic, but also the music scene and Downtown LA in general - all thanks to the Disney Hall.

Five years later, Frank Gehry's stainless steel masterpiece on Grand Avenue in Downtown Los Angeles continues to shine as one of the brightest additions to the city's cultural landscape. The fourth building in the Music Center campus still attracts tourists and new audiences for its performing arts companies on a daily basis.


Friday, October 17, 2008

Disney Stock Is Still A Winner

I've mentioned before of my optimism for the Walt Disney Company, in spite of the way the stock market has been battered recently. In fact, during the recent drop in the price for Disney stocks, we bought even more.

And it looks like I'm not the only one who think that the company is financially solid and makes for a good investment.

The explanation of Disney's performance begins with one simple fact: Among its peers, the entertainment giant derives the smallest percentage of revenues from advertising. This is a good data point to have on your side when ad spending is tanking. Disney's stated selling point--that only it can take, say, High School Musical and extrapolate a gazillion revenue streams by leveraging everything from merchandising to movies to theme parks--has won traction with at least some investors. The mercurial reign of Michael Eisner is now in the rearview, and CEO Bob Iger wins plaudits for steadiness. The big question is what a recession--and a presumed travel slowdown--will do to Disney's theme parks business, which accounted for around a third of its revenue last quarter. (Company reps, citing a quiet period before reporting earnings, declined to make executives available for comment.)

While this slow media environment is likely mere rehearsal for what looms, Disney appears to be a better bet for stability. Ultimately, its trump cards are pretty prosaic: The company is less dependent on advertising, and it sold off a newspaper division in 1997. The media moguls perched in massive offices brooding over bold moves may not want to hear it, but in times like these, strategic brilliance doesn't drive their stocks. Avoiding anything radioactive does.

... and there ya go!


Disney Unveils Plans for Hawaii

We have more info regarding the planned Disney resorts at Ko Olina on Oahu. This was revealed at a news conference by Jay Rasulo, chairman of Walt Disney Parks & Resorts.

Two towers are planned, with a center garden that includes water features, "and the icon for the center area is the caldera, the volcanic caldera." A tube slide takes swimmers "to an adventurous water course," he said.

As you're cascading through the water course, you'll be experiencing rapids, a bubbling pool, special effects and a lot of surprising elements, Chao said.

I fully expect that a few elements from Lilo and Stitch would be incorporated into the resort. I mean, c'mon! It's just way too obvious! :)


Thursday, October 16, 2008

Tim Burton talks about Johnny Depp, 'Alice in Wonderland' and 'The Dark Knight'

{Don't miss our WDW With Kids Contest currently running}

Here's an interview you don't want to miss. {Thanks for the link, Ralph}

Tim Burton talks about a whole lot of movie-related stuff that we want to hear, including his upcoming films with Johnny Depp in "Alice" and possibly "The Dark Shadows".

All I can say is that Tim Burton makes film that I want to see. So I can't wait for his version of "Alice".


Disney Unveils a 1920s Theme for California Adventure

Y'know, this one might fly after all!

We now have even more of the picture and theme for the $1.1 billion upgrade of Disney's California Adventure.

The sweeping overhaul will transport visitors to the California of the 1920s, when Walt Disney first arrived in Hollywood. In the same way that Disneyland's Main Street evokes Disney's hometown of Marceline, Mo., a refocused California Adventure will follow the young animator's journey to Los Angeles.

Disney's sizable investment, to be spent through 2012, comes atop the initial $1 billion the entertainment giant spent to build the park, which opened in 2001, and $300 million more put into new attractions such as the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror and Toy Story Midway Mania.

The only problem here, though, is that Toy Story Mania kinda sticks out like a sore thumb, doesn't it? It is just too modern and contemporary to fit into the theme.

Oh well, we'll see eventually how everything fits.


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

What Is Your Favorite Jungle Cruise Animal?

{Don't miss our WDW With Kids Contest currently running}

This is a rather fun and silly video, again from the Disney Parks.

Of course, if you wish to view the whole ride (including the cheesy puns the boat skipper throws at you), you can view the videos that I've made below:

Jungle Cruise at WDW:

Jungle Cruise at Disneyland:


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

What's It Like Riding Big Thunder Mountain?

Disney Parks released a rather fun video. They asked a few guests on what it feels like riding Big Thunder Mountain railroad attraction. As you can guess, there were a lot of screaming and yelling. :)


Scientists Try to Establish Woodpecker Colony at Disney Preserve

{Don't miss our WDW With Kids Contest currently running}

Just in case you don't know about the Disney Wilderness Preserve, this would be a good article to introduce you to it.

Friday evening, biologist Monica Folk worked her way up the trunk of a longleaf pine. A strap connected to a box containing a red-cockaded woodpecker was slung over her shoulder.

I helped carry some of the gear through restored open pinewoods at Disney Wilderness Preserve, a 12,000-acre nature preserve stretching from Lake Russell to Lake Hatchineha at the edge of Poinciana.


Disney Inducted New Disney Legend

{Don't miss our WDW With Kids Contest currently running}

A new group of people that helped shaped the Walt Disney Company have been inducted as the new Disney Legend.

The new legends this year are: TV legend in her own right Barbara Walters, TV and sport personality Frank Gifford, the voice of Mickey Mouse Wayne Allwine, Wayne's wife and the voice of Minnie Mouse Russi Taylor, animators Walt Peregoy and Burny Mattinson, Imagineers Dorothea Redmond, Bob Booth and the late Neil Gallagher, the late musician Oliver Wallace, and Tokyo Disneyland founding member Toshio Kagami.

ETonline has video interviews of Barbara Walters at the ceremony.


Monday, October 13, 2008

T-Rex Restaurant Set To Open

{Don't miss our WDW With Kids Contest currently running}

The T-Rex restaurant is set to open at Downtown Disney this week.

While the theme sounds rather fun, the food description is rather .... er ... blah! I guess I'm expecting something more exotic and unusual than what I could get at a typical restaurant or diner here in the US. So unless they can keep the quality of the food rather high, I am not sure if this is something I will keep going back to other than doing it once or twice and that's that.

Edit: here's a more extensive coverage of the restaurant which is set to open today, Oct. 14, 2008.


Sunday, October 12, 2008

WDW With Kids Contest (10/12-10/19)

I mentioned earlier about the recently published book "Walt Disney World With Kids 2009". I also promised that there's an exciting surprise related to this. Well, thanks to the generosity of Fodor and Random House, we have the "Walt Disney World With Kids 2009" books to give away for our first ever My Disney Mania Contest! {throws confetti).

Here's how you can win this book.

1. Write in your blog or website one, and only one, piece of trip advice or hint for people going to Walt Disney World with kids.

2. In the same entry, you must mention "WDW With Kids Contest" and a link it to this blog entry.

3. You must then e-mail me "zapperz at gee mail dot com" giving me the direct url to your entry.

4. You may enter as many times as you wish, repeating 1-3, but with a different advice. Each entry must be a separate blog or webpage entry (you cannot put more than one piece of advice in one blog entry).

5. At the end, a random drawing will be done by me (all decisions final) to select the winner of this book. Obviously, the more entry you submit, the bigger your chance of winning.

6. All entries must be received by midnight US Central Daylight Time, Oct. 19, 2008.

If this goes well, I'll run another contest. :)

Good luck!


Magnificent Mile Lights Festival

Mickey Mouse will once again be the Grand Marshall of Chicago's 2008 Magnificent Mile Lights Festival, which kicks off the holiday festivities for the city. This year, the lighting festival will occur on Nov. 22 at 6:00 pm.


Saturday, October 11, 2008

Blue Sky Cellar Set To Open

A preview center at Disney's California Adventure is set to open on Oct. 20. The Blue Sky Cellar will present a preview of the upcoming renovations of DCA.

The attraction will be set up like an architect’s studio. All sorts of information, plans and renderings will be available for guests to sift through — including models and video of the construction in progress.

Click on the picture in the article for a slide show of the artists rendition of the various new attractions being planned.


The Last Disney in the Kingdom

I hope not, but then again, we don't see another Disney descendant within the company involved in the daily running.

This article covers Roy E. Disney's documentary film "Morning Light". In the process, it inevitably covers his relationship with Walt and the Disney company that he has been so intimately connected to. It's a nice article to read, but wish there was a lot more biographical information about Roy E.


Friday, October 10, 2008

On Board The Disney Wonder

I suppose this could qualify as a "trip report". Still, it has a lot of information on what to expect on a Disney Cruise.

We are still planning our first Disney cruise some time next year. Definitely keeping our fingers and toes crossed.


Thursday, October 09, 2008

Disney's Halloween Makeover

This is an interesting piece of the "historical" account of Disneyland's acceptance of Halloween as a major "holiday" deserving a makeover of the theme park.

In the past the local Disney Resorts had been lagging in fully acknowledging the popularity of the October holiday but is now evolving an alternative to the Buena Park attraction's spooky blockbuster annual event.

Disneyland Resorts first committed to their "Halloween Time" makeover in 2001 with Haunted Mansion Holiday. The conversion of the Haunted Mansion to it's holiday splendor was inspired by filmmaker Tim Burton's popular "The Nightmare Before Christmas."

Disney's full-scale "Halloween Time" debuted in 2006.

It is too bad that nothing is done to the Haunted Mansion at The Magic Kingdom for the Halloween festivities. I'm not saying that it should be re-themed with Nightmare Before Christmas, but it would be nice of they make substantial changes for Halloween just to keep it interesting and to keep the fans coming back.


Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Walt Disney World With Kids 2009

Just wanted to point out this book that could be a useful resource for parents with kids. The 20th edition of Fodor's Walt Disney World with Kids is now available.

Stay tune because we may have exciting stuff coming related to this. I won't spoil the surprise just yet.....



Significant Risk To Disney Stocks In The Coming Months?

Where have we heard this before?

Disney stocks took a tumble, like everyone else, this past few days. It is now at its lowest that I've ever seen ever since I bought into Disney stocks a couple of years ago. This all comes because the stock has been downgraded due to pessimism on the economy and how much people will spend on Disney stuff.

"Rising unemployment will be the straw that breaks the camel's back," Reif Cohen writes. "We are hard pressed to believe that attendance will not fall in (fiscal) 2009 -- people who don't have jobs simply do not go to Disney World."

Together with advertising and consumer products, roughly 60% of Disney's revenue is susceptible to an economic downturn, Reif Cohen says. Disney's earnings could even fall next fiscal year, despite the strength of the studio's slate over the next two years.

Of course, such forecast doesn't bode well for Disney stocks, which is the main reason why it tumbled. However, let's look at in two different ways, shall we?

1. These financial analysts have made such forecast before and they haven't been right so far. What makes this one any different?

2. The current price for Disney stocks is a STEAL! While it has caused the value of our Disney stocks to drop, it also means that this is the opportunity to buy more! Fundamentally, the company is very sound, and with the slate of Disney/Pixar movies coming up in the next couple of years, even a down 2009 would be an opportunity to invest even more stocks into the company. I may be overly optimistic, but I don't see any problem at all in the overall direction of the company.


Tuesday, October 07, 2008

It's Good To Be Johnny Depp

The buzz around the 'net is the rumor that Johnny Depp will be paid a whopping sum of $54 million to star in Pirates 4.

Hey, if Disney wants to pay someone THAT much for it, then who are we to argue. Besides, does anyone here seriously not think that all the 3 previous pirates movie were carried by him? C'mon now. Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley, as good as they were in those movies, were something close to being "eye candies". If Johnny Depp's "Jack Sparrow" were to fail, the whole movie would fall flat on its face, each one of them.

With his upcoming role at the Mad Hatter in Tim Burton's "Alice in Wonderland", and his role of "Tonto" in "The Lone Ranger", I think he is the most exciting actor to watch right now.


Collector Maniac for Mickey

Well, I wouldn't call her a "collector maniac", more like an "accidental collector". :)

This grandma got into collecting Mickey and Minnie when one of her grandkids started buying her the merchandise, and it grew from there.

"Once I started putting the collection on display, I couldn’t go into any room of our house without finding some such Mickey or Minnie,” she said. “I’d clean a room and suddenly find a Minnie serving tray in the kitchen or a red bandanna with a Mickey in the bathroom. They were just everywhere.”

I certainly won't mind people giving me Disney merchandise. In fact, that's usually what I get for b'days and holidays. :)


Where in Walt Disney World?

OK, we haven't had this in a while, so here's another one. Where exactly in Walt Disney World can you find this?


Monday, October 06, 2008

WDW Rumor Mill For Oct. 5, 2008

Ooooh.. we love juicy gossips and rumors, and this one certainly qualifies as very juicy. It includes rumors about both Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty Castles, the reincarnation of the Adventurer's Club, and probably another add-on event at WDW.

I hope they all come true... after all, isn't that where all our Dreams come true?


Pixar Box Set

In case you were born yesterday, and suddenly decided to catch up on all the Pixar movies that have been released so far (except for Wall-E), then I suppose getting this Pixar box set would be appropriate. It has every single Pixar movies released until last year's Ratatouille.

For the rest of us who already have these movies on individual DVD's, the box set offers nothing new, and no new extras that we don't already have. This means that I'm not tempted at all to get this and spend more than $100 for it. :)


Sunday, October 05, 2008

Fate Forced Me To Collect Chip 'N Dale "Dole Whip" Pin

OK, so here's the story. During the "Expedition Pins" pin event this past May, there were pin games in which you go to 4 different pin station and randomly pick an object that contains a pin in it. Whatever pin that you selected was your gift. With my rotten luck, out of the 4 different games that I played, I got 3 IDENTICAL pins. All 3 were the Chip 'N Dale "Dole Whip" cast lanyard pin, shown below.

Now, there's nothing wrong with the pin, and I find it rather cute, but getting the same pin from 3 different pin games wasn't what I wanted (besides, I already had this pin, and even had a few to trade on the lanyard that I was wearing).

So now, in the spirit of turning lemons into lemonade, I decided, what they heck. If the Pin God has somehow designed it that I should randomly get this pin from 3 different pin games, then who am I to refuse? Therefore, I have made the decision that one of the types of pins that I will collect is the Chip 'N Dale "Dole Whip" pin. So far, not counting the one I have in my frame, I have 6 of them. I'm going to put them either on a lanyard, or on my hat. I'm going to start trading for them and see just how many I can get. We'll see how successful I will be.


Windy City Pin Traders

I've mentioned about the Windy City Pin Traders a few times on here. It is a small "club" that I belong to in the Chicagoland area that meets once a month to do our own Disney pin trading. For many of us who do not live near WDW or DL, this is our month "Disney Fix", since all of us are essentially big Disney fans. Over the years, many of us have become very close friends, and the WCPT meet is more of a social event for us to meet and chat.

The WCPT now has a new webpage and is trying to make itself more visible to attract new members. This includes dates and location of our monthly meet, and other extra events. We hope to get new members to the group that either have never heard of us, or have heard a little but still not sure about joining. There's even a members-only forum to discuss WCPT related issues.

All I can say is that it is a fun group. If you love Disney, it is a pleasant way to spend some time talking about Disney with others who share the same love.


Saturday, October 04, 2008

Another Disney Dream Trip In Tatters

It looks like this is beginning to be a common theme with many businesses failing almost daily during the financial crisis. I mentioned earlier of a planned wedding at Disney World that was in ruins (I was told that the couple did make another arrangements for the wedding, but I must have missed the news reports).

Another family's dream vacation to Walt Disney World is shattered due to the operator going out of business. {Note to Gazette Live editor: Disneyland is in Anaheim, California. Walt Disney World is in Orlando, Florida. There IS a difference!)

“We just couldn’t afford it. The day it happened it broke Caitlain’s heart. I had to tell my little boy gradually and explain that the pilot just didn’t have enough money for the fuel for the plane.”

I think that is just the saddest part of the whole thing. I can only imagine how much of a disappointment the news is to those kids. I truly hope they get to rebook and get their holidays.


Thursday, October 02, 2008

"Bolt" Will Strike First In Singapore

Looks like lucky fans in Singapore will get to see the world premier of "Bolt" in 3D a couple of days before its premier here in the US. "Bolt" will premier at the 3DX - 3D Film & Entertainment Technology Festival- in Singapore on Nov. 19.

Disney movie division president Mark Zoradi will kick off the festival with a presentation on 3-D and the studio's upcoming slate. Disney has 10 3-D films scheduled for the next two years, including "Up," "G-Force" and "Disney's A Christmas Carol."


Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Tinker Bell Bouquet?

You can now buy a floral bouquet inspired by the new direct-to-DVD "Tinker Bell" movie.

Teleflora's exciting new Tinker Bell Bouquet is a whimsical floral gift in a pink cube wrapped with three yards of pink tulle, and full of roses, carnations, hydrangeas, and button spray chrysanthemums with a Tinker Bell collectible keepsake that is beautifully hand-painted with sparkling iridescent wings.

Buy this, and either the Blu-Ray or DVD version of the movie, and you get a $5 rebate! :)


Happy Birthday, Epcot!

Today, Oct. 1st, is the 26th anniversary of Epcot.

I think, for as long as I live, Oct. 1st will always be a date that I will have very fond memories of. It was last year, on Oct 1st, 2007, that we celebrated Epcot's 25th anniversary with Celebration 25. It was one of the most memorable moments of our lives, and reinforced the idea that there are extremely loyal and wonderful Disney fans, and that this theme park is more than just bricks and mortar to many of us. I did a brief "trip report" during the celebration here:

Anniversary Eve
Anniversary Day

I took a lot of pictures and video shots of the two days of celebration, but looking back, I wished I had taken more. There were just so many wonderful moments - the history walks, the surprise visit by Jim McPhee, the group rides, the session with Marty Sklar, the desert reception, the 25th Anniversary Illuminations tag, the waiting for the barge burn-off, and of course, the finale to top all finale, the sing-along walking out to the front gate. It was one of those nights you wish would never, ever end, because in the back of your mind, you somehow knew that you'll never feel that way again.

This is the short video that I did after the anniversary celebration. It doesn't do the celebration justice, but it keeps the visual memory alive.

Happy Birthday, Epcot!!