Monday, August 31, 2009

Disney to Buy Marvel for $4 Billion

Holy Humongous, Spider Man! I didn't see this one coming!

News reports are coming in fast and furious that Disney plans to buy Marvel for $4 billion!

The deal would give Disney some content that appeals more to boys, a market it has been looking to develop, Iger said. Disney XD, a television station and video game unit, already had a deal with Marvel to use some of the comic book company's action heroes in its content.

"Disney is the perfect home for Marvel's fantastic library of characters given its proven ability to expand content creation and licensing businesses," said Marvel Chief Executive Ike Perlmutter. "This is an unparalleled opportunity for Marvel to build upon its vibrant brand and character properties by accessing Disney's tremendous global organization and infrastructure around the world."

Disney Chief Financial Officer Tom Staggs noted that Marvel owns the rights to many action-hero characters that are not widely known, which Disney anticipates bringing to the forefront for future movies or TV shows should the deal go through.

So, they could find creative financing in this tough economic times to buy something like that? Amazing! Why can't they do something similar to upgrade the parks and produce less cuts? Don't get me wrong, I think this is an interesting move by Disney. But the parks are suffering right now due to all these cutbacks. I wish they had done creative financing and help the parks a bit.


Sunday, August 30, 2009

Castaway Cay To Get A Makeover

With two larger ships about to be ready for a stopover at Castaway Cay, Disney is planning on giving the island a makeover to accommodate the larger number of passenger.

One of the goals of the construction, set to be finished by next summer, is to spread out the guests, who usually hit the first patch of sand they see.

"It's just human nature when you go to the beach," Cole says. "They want to claim their place so the kids know where they're coming back to."

Disney is adding a tram stop farther down the coastline from its current hub to encourage folks to settle there. A new eatery, bar, bathrooms and merchandise outlets, similar to those already in existence, are being built nearby. To complement the current food outlet named Cookies, another restaurant with the same menu is planned. Its name will be Cookies Too.

I hope they also consider an expansion, both in size and amenities, for adults only area and entertainment.


Muppets At Disney World

OK, I've NEVER heard or seen this before. Still, this is hysterical, and I wish I could find a DVD of this.

Muppets at Disney World Intro (Argh! Michael Eisner!)

Muppets at Disney World Pt. 1

Muppets at Disney World Pt. 2

Muppets at Disney World Pt. 3

Muppets at Disney World Pt. 4

Muppets at Disney World Pt. 5

Muppets at Disney World Pt. 6


Saturday, August 29, 2009

Disney Offers Up a Clean, White Space

When I read this, I thought, FINALLY, they are going to revamp Disney's main webpage. But alas, I was mistaken.

Create on is a suite of four open-ended activities that pushes the envelope for Web-delivered creativity tools.

At the core of Create is Digital Painter, with features that Photoshop users used to dream about: unlimited undo or redo, unlimited layers that can be moved after they’re placed, and no limits to the number of objects that can be stamped on the screen. Basic drawing tools let you highlight, sketch or blob on watercolors — with a color palette that can be programmed with your favorite colors.

Obviously, this is another online apps, as if we need another one.

I'd rather they revamp the page. It's a mess, it's slow, and it is cumbersome to navigate! Try getting onto the Passholder webpage - it is a hit and miss thing, because sometime, it doesn't work!


Thursday, August 27, 2009

Inside Walt Disney Imagineering - Version 1

OK, I'm a sucker for this type of video.

Not sure if they're simply promoting WDI, or trying to recruit new members. If it is the latter, I'm IN! Where do I sign up?!



Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Finally Completed Our World Showcase Stamps Pins

After more than a year of trying to complete the set, we finally managed to close this one out (thanks Anne!). For the longest time, we were missing the China and the Japan pins out of this set. Two weeks ago, our friends coming back from the Disneyana convention in Dayton, Ohio got us these last two pins that we need!

It feels good to finally get the whole set. I don't know if I want to start collecting another World Showcase set. There's just too many of them, and it takes so damn long to get all of them. But darn, they do look good!


Welcome Patti!

My good friend Patti has come on board to be the guest blogger for My Disney Mania. She will especially report from the 999 Haunted Mansion pin event at Disneyland, and the upcoming D23 Expo, both of which I couldn't go due to job commitment. Don't you hate it when your job gets in the way of your Disney obsession?

So anyway, welcome Patti. We look forward to your posts!


Monday, August 24, 2009

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Disney on the Cheap

Here's another article on doing Disney on the cheap, without breaking your budget. I suppose during this challenging times, this type of article is needed for families who still want to go on a vacation, and do Disney theme parks may in particular.

The article contains several links to other websites that contain other useful information and suggestions. But how did the family in the article do at the end of their WDW trip?

How did my family do with the Midas challenge?

Even Sehlinger was impressed: We spent $200 on gas, about $510 on accommodations, and not much more on food than we would have spent at home. We'd paid for our no-expiration theme-park tickets five years earlier (and gotten a AAA discount, of course), so that was no hit at all. And the kids both stuck within their $20 budgets for souvenirs.

Ah, but there was that impulsive $8.25 binge on ice cream. Next time, I promise we'll do better.

They didn't say how long their trip was.


Saturday, August 22, 2009

Best Photo?

I've taken thousands of pictures during all of my trips to WDW and DL. I've also posted them at various websites and forums, including in this blog. While I've received many positive comments on these photos, I think the one I got the most glowing responses has got to be this particular photo. It won a weekly photo contest on WDWMagic a while back, and everywhere else that I've posted the photo, a lot of people wrote back on how much they liked it.

This, of course, is the sculpture in Fantasyland, right behind the Castle. Taken at night, one can make out the silhouette of the sculpture. But what made it even more interesting is the kid that was leaning forward looking at the water. It was something I noticed only after I looked at the photo. It added a certain element of charm to it.

Not sure if I can top this one anytime soon, but I certainly am going to try! :)


Friday, August 21, 2009

Congratulations, Erica!

My friend Erica got great news today. A painting of the Fab Five by her was accepted for the D23 Expo and will be on display there! So congratulations, Erica! We all knew the painting you did was excellent!

If you recall, Erica also did the amazing frame of her Disney pins. So we all already know that she's no slouch in the artistic part.

Still, many of us are very proud of her for getting this honor! And yes, I have seen the submitted art, and it's outstanding. If they make prints out of it, I'm getting mine personally autographed!


Lucas to Present Venice Award to Lasseter

I mentioned earlier of news report that John Lasseter will receive the lifetime achievement award at the upcoming Venice Film Festival. We now have reports that George Lucas will be presenting him with the award. I guess that's only fitting since Lucas gave birth to Pixar.

The presentation, which will take place September 6 in the Palazzo del Cinema's Sala Grande, will be held in conjunction with screenings of new 3D version of "Toy Story" and "Toy Story 2." Lasseter directed both films. The evening also will include the premiere of a 10-minute clip from "The Princess and the Frog," Disney's return to hand-drawn animation, and the screening of a new sequence from the in-production project "Toy Story 3."


Thursday, August 20, 2009

Disney In Talks To Remake "Yellow Submarine"

I must admit, I have zero interest at all in the Beatles' "Yellow Submarine", so I am totally indifferent to the news report that Disney, with Robert Zemeckis at the helm, is in talks for the rights to remake "Yellow Submarine".

Disney is working on a deal to get the rights to use 16 Beatles' tunes, including the movie's title track, "Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band," "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds," "With a Little Help From my Friends, "All You Need Is Love," "All Together Now," "Baby You're a Rich Man" and "When I'm 64."

The deal would reportedly include rights for Disney to turn the film into a Broadway musical, like the company has already done with "The Lion King," as well as a Cirque du Soleil production.

That last part certainly makes sense. It is almost screaming for a musical to be made with those classic music.

Let's see if they're successful. Maybe the soundtrack will be sold on iTunes, and it'll be the first Beatles' tracks to appear there!


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Amazing Attention to Detail

Many of us adults who love Disney theme parks do so because, unlike children, we tend to notice all the small details that Disney has put into their parks. There are many examples of this throughout the parks. Here's one of them.

I only found out about this a few months ago on forum. It is a view that I've seen many, many times, but never realized it till then. It is related to Expedition Everest at Animal Kingdom.

It blew me away that the silhouette of the foreground of the items on the left matches the top of Everest in the background. One only notices it clearly when one sees only the outline of the objects. This is so cool!

I'm a sucker for things like this. They still do things like this when they know many guests would walk past it and not notice it, much less, appreciate the effort. But many of us do. When they don't skimp out on such magic, it is when they are at their best, and why we love Disney theme parks.


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Fatal Acciddent at "Indiana Jones Stunt Show"

Oh no!

They are not having a very good year over there at WDW. A cast member rehearsing for s stunt for the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular Show got hurt and has now been pronounced dead from the injuries. This is just horrible!

This is the 3rd fatality in 7 months at WDW. It started with the awful monorail accident, and barely a week ago, a performer died due to a freak accident during a Pirates show.

When we were there this past June, a performer got hurt while doing some tumbling during the Indiana Jones Stunt show, but it looks like it was a twisted ankle or something. They stopped the show while they took care of the injured cast member. And I think this isn't the first time this has happened. It is a show full of stunts, and accidents do happen, even occasionally. I think the same goes for Lights, Motor, Action!

Our thoughts go out to the family and friends of the cast member.


Sunday, August 16, 2009

Characters In Flight

A video from Disney of the Characters In Flight ride at WDW Downtown Disney.

We tried doing this on our last trip this past June, but each time we wanted to head out over there, it wasn't running due to the high winds/weather. Hopefully, we will have another chance this coming December.


Free Dining Has Created Chaos

OK, someone has way too much time and way too fertile of an imagination (not to mention, creativity).

I was shown this YouTube video yesterday, and I started laughing hysterically. Of course, it is funnier if you are a WDW fan and understands all the references.

It is also somehow a commentary on the free dining plan! :)

It is a classic!


Canoe Race Around the Rivers of America

This is such a cool tradition for cast members that I've never heard before.

It's a wonderful tradition to continue.


Pixar Hits Versus Disney Franchise

This Orlando Sentinel article examines the issue on the recent Pixar hits that have not translated beyond the movie critical and commercial success into Disney marketable franchises.

Ratatouille, WALL-E and Up have all been critically and commercially successful movies. But each is built around unconventional characters — a French rat, a nearly wordless robot and an elderly widower — that don't necessarily lend themselves to rides, shows and souvenirs.

That's particularly true when compared with Pixar's earlier movies, which have revolved around more-easily marketed characters such as clown fish, race cars and action figures.

The article compares the franchise powerhouses such as Toy Story, Nemo, and Cars.

But wait, Cars was a minor box-office hit by Pixar standards, and didn't get quite as big of a critical acclaim as one would expect. And Flik got an attraction at Animal Kingdom even before the movie opened, which later turned out that as of now, "A Bugs Life" is the lowest earning Pixar movie so far. One could even say that "The Lion King" is also not a franchise, despite it's successes both in the movie theater and on stage.

Moral of the story? A hit movie, and not just from Pixar, doesn't necessary translate into a franchise. Being able to generate a franchise is more of the exception than the rule. It is when all the stars are aligned just right that you get these rare occurrences. Pixar makes hit movies, and that's what it should concentrate on.


Saturday, August 15, 2009

Random WDW Picture

I seem to be finding all these amusing pictures all of the sudden. So here's another one.

This, of course, is from the Safari ride at DAK. From the look in this picture, it looks like those eggs belong to the rhinos! Rhinos don't lay eggs, do they? :)

Or maybe they're egg-sitting while the ostriches are out shopping.



Thursday, August 13, 2009

Random WDW Picture

This is from Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade at Disney's Animal Kingdom.

Doesn't it look like the cast member is bubbling at the mouth? :)


Hayao Miyazaki Shares His Vision

This is an informative interview with legendary animator Hayao Miyazaki. This next film "Ponyo" is being released through Disney and opens this Friday.

The one that I did a chuckle on was when he was asked about his friendship with John Lasseter.

Q: You have a friendship with (Pixar's) John Lasseter. What types of things do you talk about?

A: (Miyazaki holds arms out and pantomimes giving Lasseter a huge hug.) I tell him, "I worry about you. You're working too hard."



Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Random WDW Picture

This is the view of Magic Kingdom from the observation deck at the top of Bay Lake Tower.


Monday, August 10, 2009

Can Anyone do Disney World in a Day?

These intrepid and brave travelers were given an almost impossible challenge - to do Walt Disney World in a day!

The minute-by-minute account was pretty hilarious, though. And already we can tell that they're not going to be true to the challenge, because at the very beginning, they ruled out Animal Kingdom. So there goes "doing WDW".

The major things (at least in my opinion) that they missed doing at each park are:

DHS: Lights, Motor Stunt Show, Backstage tour (which is lame, but hey, if you want to do the park, you gotta do it at least once and learn to hate it just like the rest of us!) :) But most importantly, they missed Toy Story Mania!

Epcot: they missed Soarin'!!!!! How could they miss the best attraction in the whole park? They also missed Nemo (also lame), Living with the Land, Ellen's World of Energy, stuff in Innoventions, Spaceship Earth (how could anyone visiting Epcot not do that?), and of course, World Showcase. So I can't say they've done Epcot.

MK: They didn't do Splash, Jungle Cruise, Thunder Mountain Railroad, all the attraction in Fantasyland, Space Mountain (probably because it was under rehab), etc.. etc.. a lot were missed here.

So, even for them, the conclusion is clear.

The verdict?

They were right, and we were wrong: One day is not enough.

Told ya! :)


Saturday, August 08, 2009

Happy 40th Anniversary, Haunted Mansion!

The Haunted Mansion at Disneyland celebrates its 40th Anniversary this weekend. This article has a rather interesting narrative on the birth of the Haunted Mansion concept which I didn't know about. For example, there was this creative tension between whether the attraction should be more humor or horror:

But when Walt passed away and the project got back into development, there were some conflicts among the team as to what it should be. Should it be scary? Should it be funny? And in the end, it was sort of resolved by splitting up the work in one sense.

and that it was originally envisioned to be a walk-through:

The Haunted Mansion was originally going to be a walk-through experience, with a cast member, a butler or a maid, taking small groups of people from one vignette to the next as the ethereal moment unfolded. And even Walt realized at the time that, that was going to be problematic from a capacity standpoint. You just couldn’t get enough people through the Haunted Mansion.

I'm glad they thought through the whole thing before deciding.


"G-Force" - A Review

We finally saw "G-Force in 3D" yesterday. As far as light entertainment goes, it was OK, and certainly worth a few chuckles here and there. The slight unexpected surprise near the ending was nice (I certainly didn't expect it), but other than that, the story was rather predictable.

The movie was certainly better than the recent "Witch Mountain", but not as good as the animated "Bolt". There's just way too many "cute factor" being employed. A few scenes also felt "recycled". The scene in the pet shop tank felt like the "Tank Gang" scene in "Finding Nemo", but with less interesting characters. Still, the three mice chanting "Poop in his hands, poop in his hands" was hilarious and still got me laughing even though I've seen it in the trailers/commercial for this movie.

The one thing that I didn't find as annoying was the "modern" vernacular that were used in the movie. This is the because the setting was contemporary. I find such usage more annoying in Shrek and Ice Age, because the references to contemporary lingo and events just sounded out of place. They were done simply to be funny or cute, rather than it being any relevant to the movie's time period.

The trailers preceding the movie were all in 3D, and they included "Alice" and "A Christmas Carol". Can't wait for those two.


Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Can You Spot The Difference?

So anyone who has been to the Magic Kingdom since 2005 might be able to figure this out.

Here are a few pictures pre-2005. In fact, they are pre-2004 as well. They show the Hub area right in front of Cindy's Castle. Can you spot one glaring difference between the Hub in these pictures, versus the Hub as it is now? :)


Tuesday, August 04, 2009

The Wi-Fi Powered "Toy Story Mania"

We all love Toy Story Mania. But if you are curious about the technical aspect of the attraction, this article might be a good introduction to it.

Powering Toy Story Mania! are 154 graphics workstations running Windows XP that are used to render 3-D images on the ride's screens at 60 frames per second. The workstations communicate with each other and with the four gaming systems onboard each vehicle using an industrial-strength wireless network based on 802.11 technology.

Whoa! Windows XP? Does Steve Jobs know about this? :)


Monday, August 03, 2009

Disney Pursues Rob Marshall To Direct Pirates 4

The big news of the day is of course the news that Disney is in talks with director Rob Marshall to direct "Pirates of the Caribbean 4". Marshall is an oscar-winning director for "Chicago", and the mildly successful "Memoirs of a Geisha".

This could turn out to be a brilliant choice, or it could fall flat really fast. We of course don't know if Marshall is capable of directing this genre, so it could turn out wrong. Or it could turn out refreshingly good since the previous 2 movies were getting rather formulaic. He could put a different and an unexpected spin to the movie.

Either way, I think both Disney and Jerry Bruckheimer want to see it made.


Sunday, August 02, 2009

Concept Art for "Rapunzel"

We now have the concept art for the upcoming Disney's "Rapunzel". It is going to be hand-drawn, and in 3D no less! It's gorgeous!

I can't stand it. There are so many movies coming out in the next 3 years from Disney that I am so looking forward to. The last movie that I highly anticipated was "Up", and it didn't disappoint me one bit. So I'm just chomping at the bits here for the next one, which should be "Alice in Wonderland" and "Princess and the Frog" after that.


Saturday, August 01, 2009

More On Marty Sklar's Window Ceremony

I pointed to the official Disney video of the ceremony honoring Marty Sklar with a window at Disneyland on the occasion of his retirement. Laughing Place has a more extensive description and video of the entire ceremony.

If you can't be there, like me, it's the next best thing.