Monday, November 30, 2009

Donald's Great Adventure - Get Packing!

ZapperZ always packs way too much when he travels. He's doing it again for this trip.



I just hope he doesn't think he can pack me in his luggage. That's no way to treat a Disney celebrity like me. I shouldn't even be in a carry-on.

DD.

Stupid Bomb Joke Lands Tourist in Jail

OK, don't we all know already to NOT make a joke about hijacking, having a bomb, etc? I mean, most of us have had to go through airport security, etc. to know better. Well, you don't do that when going through the security checkpoint at Disney theme parks either. This German tourist obviously didn't learn this.

Orange County Sheriff's Office spokesman Jim Solomons said Jochen Naumann, 37, told two Disney employees at the Magic Kingdom's security checkpoint that he had explosives in his bag.

The cast members notified deputies of the statement, and Solomons said the deputies searched the bag and found no explosives.

Naumann was taken to a Disney World security office to be interviewed. Solomons said he claimed he was only joking about the devices.


Are you still laughing now?

Zz.

Donald's Great Adventure - Off to Walt Disney World!

Hello my great fans! This is Donald Duck again reporting. It is the day before my trip to Walt Disney World. I am busy packing all of my stuff. Well, I'm not, but ZapperZ is. I'm only going along for the ride. I just hope he doesn't stuff me in his check-in luggage - who knows where I will end up.

I'm here to tell you that I will be making my trip report while we are at the Most Magical Place on Earth. We have plenty of things to do, and ZapperZ has planned for two Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party, a Yuletide Fantasy tour, a Wishes Dessert Party, Dinner at Boma, and the DVC Member's Merry Mixer. If that doesn't make a duck like me drop in exhaustion, I don't know what will. In between all that, ZapperZ told me that he will also be blogging "live" using his "berry" phone (I don't remember what he calls it - it doesn't look like any berry that I've ever eaten). So there will be plenty of reports on here.

I'm very excited. Aren't you?

DD.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Disney Stores Report Brisk Friday Morning Sales

Looks like Disney Stores' strategy of opening just past midnight the day after Thanksgiving might be working quite well. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the stores are making brisk business during those early hours.

"This is a really good start to the holiday season," said James Fielding, president of Disney Stores Worldwide, part of Disney Consumer Products, a segment of Walt Disney Co.(DIS).

Roughly 130 of Disney's 205 stores opened at midnight, Fielding said, and those early-openers have performed well. Sales are up double-digits over last year as of noon eastern time, he said.

"We're really, really happy with our results," Fielding said. "The midnight opening stores are really pulling for us. We're cautiously optimistic about pulling out the whole day."


Let's see how well it does the rest of the holiday season.

Zz.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Disney snowglobes

Ok. So who else go up at 4 am to go to JC Penney to get their yearly snowglobe? I did, and did some shopping too. In case Penneys want to know, I would probably not shop here every year if it weren't for the snowglobes. So the damn bait work!

Zz.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Glowing Review for "Princess and the Frog"

First review I've read for Princess and the Frog, and it is an outstanding one.

The movie captures the traditional Disney aesthetic, with some up-to-date spins. Tiana is African-American, while Naveen's ethnic origins are less evident. The film embraces diversity in a natural way. The film's ethos is summed up by voodoo priestess Mama Odie (Jenifer Lewis) in her native patois: "Only thing important is what's under the skin."

Where Pinocchio was about wishing on a star, The Princess and the Frog emphasizes backing up wishes with hard work. That proviso is a thoughtful message for young moviegoers.


Too bad this complaining woman would not have had the pleasure of such a revelation. She might have learned something.

Zz.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Pardoned Turkey

Pardoned national Thanksgiving turkey travels to Disneyland.



Zz.

The Making of the Sailor Mickey Balloon for Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

A cool video on the making of the Sailor Mickey balloon for the Thanksgiving Parade.



Don't forget that you can get the plush of sailor Mickey at Macy's.

Zz.

Misinformation on Disney's "Princess and the Frog"

People often play quite "loose" with facts and fiction. Here in the US, I see that with the Health Care debacle, where misinformation and outright lies get passed on as "facts". Well, I sat through one yesterday and couldn't believe my ears.

I was at the DMV to change the address on my driver's license. While waiting for my number to be called, I heard this woman behind me, who was African-American, chatting with her friends (who was also African-American). I didn't pay much attention to what she was saying (she was doing most of the talking), even though I could hear every word. But I sat up and took notice when she said that Disney is racist. The reason for that? She was complaining about the upcoming "Princess and the Frog".

She claims that no other princesses turned into frogs, and that in the "original book", the princess didn't turn into a frog. She said that she'll never see a Disney movie again.

There are two problems with this:

1. The movie is loosely based on E.D. Baker's "The Frog Princess", which originally was the name of the movie until a complaint from the African-American community. In that book, the princess DID turn into a frog! Read a review of it. So it wasn't some racist Disney that went out of his/her way to do this. It was part of the story, and frankly, I thought it was a very cute and clever twist from the traditional fairy tale.

2. Why are we insulted with frogs? Would it have been OK if she turned into a horse instead? Frogs are an essential creature in our environment. In fact, the absence of frogs in many parts of the country is a worrisome trend. Frogs are as important and as noble a creature as any. Turning into a frog is not an insult, thankyouverymuch! I'm sure those frogs don't think that highly of humans either, especially those who abuse their own intelligence and spread such misinformation.

I was half tempted to actually told this woman about the errors in her judgment, but I thought better of it. The last thing I want to have is an argument at, of all places, the DMV. So I let it go (she made other silly remarks about human evolution, but I'm not going into that).

I also think that this is probably not isolated, and that such perpetuation of lies and misinformation probably is what fueled many of disenchantment with the movie, even before people see it.

Zz.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Donald's Great Adventure - Windy City Pin Traders November 2009 Meet and Holiday Parade on Michigan Avenue

I had a very busy Saturday yesterday. As a celebrity like me, I get invited to many events and have to fulfill my public obligations. My fans want to see me and I am only too happy to oblige.

Started the day at the Windy City Pin Traders monthly pin meet. This time, they had another special guest (besides me, of course). It's the one and only Tom Tombush, the person responsible for the excellent Disneyana magazine, and the definitive pin traders book "Tomart's Guide to Disney Pin Trading". We spent a long time chatting with each other about everything Disney. I'm glad to see that he had a lot of Donald Duck pins with him.



The other part of the day is the holiday parade and the lighting of all the lights along Michigan Avenue in Chicago. All of my buddies here here to participate in this yearly event to kick off the holiday season along the Magnificent Mile. Here's me getting there early.


I had to run and get ready for the parade, so I'll let show you a few pictures of the festivities.

There were a lot of people who turned out for the parade. It started off with these large balloons that looked like presents going down the streets. Hey, where's my present?




My buddy Mickey was the Grand Marshall of the parade. He magically lighted up all the lights as he moved through the street.




All my friends were there - Goofy, Pluto, Minnie, Chip, and Dale. Of course, my darling Daisy was also there, and we were definitely the highlight of the parade. The crowd roared as we passed by them. My fans just can't get enough of seeing me.





Ah, another public obligation fulfilled.

DD.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Holiday parade

We are on Michigan ave in Chicago waiting for the parade and Mickey to light up the holiday lights.

Zz.

Adults Being Kids

I'm sitting here at a Starbucks and they have their Christmas decoration on. One of them is a paper ornament with a "I wish..." saying. This one says "I wish adults could remember being a child" I'd say that Disney fans remember being children. Thay is what makes the parks so magical!

Zz.

Testing

Testing mobile blogger with my new Blackberry.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Random WDW Picture

One of the most colorful sight in all of WDW. This, of course, is at Epcot in front of the Imagination pavilion.



Zz.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Joy To The Small World

Awwww........ This will either make you very happy, or it will make you barf! :)



Zz.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

When It Rains, It Pours For Johnny Depp

Just as the media was reporting a whopping $35 million paycheck for Johnny Depp to star in the next Pirates of the Caribbean movie, People Magazine has named him as the 2009 Sexiest Man Alive. This is his second designation, with only Brad Pitt and George Clooney having the distinction of receiving this twice.

It's good to be Johnny Depp.

Zz.

Disneyland's New Audio-Animatronic Lincoln

Video of the new Lincoln audio-animatronic at Disneyland's "Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln" attraction.



The comment accompanying this YouTube video claims that it is the "... most sophisticated audio animatronic to date... " Does that mean that the Yeti at Expedition Everest no longer holds that distinction? :)

Well, I just hope that Mr. Lincoln works more consistently than that Yeti, which seems to break down almost on every EE ride that I've been on lately. What's the point of having something that sophisticated, and spending all that money, when it doesn't work more than half of the time?

Zz.

Johnny Depp Officially Signs On For Pirates 4

It looks like getting Johnny Depp to start in the next Pirates movie will cost Disney dearly. Reports are indicating that Depp will get a sum of $35 million to star in the next Pirates of the Caribbean movie.

This makes the probability of the budget of the movie going through the roof very likely.

Now, will this movie be shown in 3D? That's the remaining question! :)

Zz.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Holidays at Disneyland 2009

Videos of holidays at Disneyland this year. Looks very festive!



Zz.

No More Pin Trading Tables At Downtown Disney?

(Thanks to Ralph for discovering this rumor)

It seems that we have unconfirmed reports that the pin trading tables right next to the Pin Station in Downtown Disney has been leveled. No more pin trading tables! Can someone who was there within the past 2 days confirm this?

The pin trading activities at that spot had been restricted severely during the past few months. It included limiting pin traders to only one pin trading book and to only one table. They must have had problems and issues with pin traders (or sharks) at that location for them to institute these restrictions. These restrictions don't exist at other pin trading tables in the parks as far as I know.

I've made a few trades with pin traders there, but never anything substantial, and never brought my own book to stand there and waiting for people to come and trade. So I won't say that I'll miss it.

Zz.

Random WDW Picture

This, of course, is the walkway from the Hub to Tomorrowland.



Zz.

Monday, November 16, 2009

DisneyWorld sweepstakes at Amazon.com

Amazon.com is running a Disney-themed sweepstakes for this week only. The Grand Prize includes a trip for 4 people to DisneyWorld in Orlando, FL including a 5 night stay at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge, A 5 day pass to all the DisneyWorld theme parks and water parks, and a $2,000 Disney gift card, plus a Wii console, games, and Blu-Ray DVDs.

To be entered for the sweepstakes, you'll need to either create an Amazon.com wish list, add an item to your existing wish list, or send an item from your wish list to a friend in order to be entered.

For more information and rules, visit http://www.amazon.com

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Princess Tiana at Disneyland

A video of the already-popular Princess Tiana at Disneyland.



Zz.

Disney Stores Black Friday Opens At Midnight

OK shoppers, get your wallet and credit cards ready. Disney Stores will open at midnight on Black Friday (Nov. 27), the day after Thanksgiving. Not only that, from midnight till 10 am, you get an extra 20% of everything in the store!


Night owls and early morning bargain hunters can get a head start on holiday gift buying this year as Disney Store prepares to open more than 125 stores nationwide at midnight on Nov. 27 (Black Friday). From opening hours until 10 a.m., shoppers will benefit from 20% off all items, including already discounted merchandise. A host of Black Friday deals at affordable $5, $10 and $15 price points, as well as amazing discounts on big ticket items marked $20 - $40 off*, and special gifts with purchase, will make Disney Store the must-go-to location for shoppers looking for an amazing array of Disney toys, apparel and seasonal d├ęcor.


Luckily, where we will be at Thanksgiving, there are no Disney Stores. So my money will be safe, for a while.

And if you don't know what to get, here's a Disney Store holiday gift guide:



Zz.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Random WDW Picture

Here's one looking at Downtown Disney from one of the Downtown Disney Resort hotels along Hotel Plaza Blvd.



Zz.

Mickey Balloon at Macy's Thanksgiving Parade

{Thanks to Gene and Anne for the heads-up info}

In case you haven't heard it, Mickey will make his debut as one of the giant balloon at this year's Macy's Thanksgiving Parade. StitchKingdom is reporting that it will be a Sailor Mickey, since he will be representing the Disney Cruise Line.

To commemorate that, Macy will have Sailor Mickey plush on sale.

Zz.

Monday, November 09, 2009

"A Christmas Carol" - A Review

This was one of my highly-anticipated movie, because we went to the "Christmas Carol" train promotion when it was in town and saw the visual display of the movie. It was a jaw-dropper back then, and it was a jaw-dropper when we saw it yesterday.

Let's get this out of the way first. The movie is visually stunning. In fact, one may have to go see it again because there was just so many going on in any given scene that one could miss many fine details of the movie. Some scenes were downright creepy and scary. I do not recommend this movie to small children.

The story, of course, it quite familiar, but told in a slightly different twist. However, I think that I was a bit too distracted by the visual effects that I wasn't quite convinced by Scrooge turning himself around. It appeared as if he was simply doing it just so he could go on living, not because he has finally found it in his heart to leave his old ways. There wasn't a moment, a defining moment, when he made this self-discovery. So to me, this turnaround wasn't that convincing.

I would certainly recommend this movie.

We had a problem with the 3D projection at our theater (Kerasotes Crown Village Crossing in Skokie, IL during the 1:40 PM showing, Nov. 8). When we were told to wear our 3D glasses and they started showing 3D trailers, the look wasn't quite right. I thought it was just me, but everyone in our party were playing around with their 3D glasses as well, and so were people around us. Now, we have seen a lot of 3D movies already, so we know what to expect, but this wasn't quite right. The 3D effects weren't that obvious, and there were these strange shimmering of the background. The fore ground appeared clear (but still flat), but the background shimmered, especially if one moved one's head.

I knew something wasn't right, so I went to see the manager to let him know this. He contacted the projectionist (at least, I thought he did), so I went back into the theater. When I got back to my seat, the rest of my party told me that we could see the movie properly if, get this, WE WEAR THE 3D GLASSES UPSIDE DOWN! I did, and voila! It was the 3D movie effect that I was familiar with!

Needless to say, they didn't do anything to correct this problem, and we went through the whole movie wearing the 3D glasses upside down! And we of course paid a premium to see the 3D movie. I noticed that a few people near us were also wearing the glasses upside down, while the rest just simply either didn't care, or didn't know that they were missing the 3D effect by wearing the glasses right-side up.

After the movie ended, I walked right up to the manager again and told him that the problem was never corrected. All he could tell me was that he's not a projectionist and that he has called the person working that day to do something about it. No apologies, nothing.

I'm not coming back to this theater if I can help it. It's not that they screwed up the 3D movie, it is how they handled a customer's complained. And yes, I've written to Kerasotes to voice my displeasure. It's too back too, since this used to be my favorite theater, but somehow, customer service has gone downhill very fast!

Zz.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Mickey's Very Merry Holiday Greeting Card

This is so cute and festive!



Now wait, you should click on one of the letters because, as the video says, there's more!

Zz.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

"A Christmas Carol" Review

Whoa! Roger Ebert gave "A Christmas Carol" 4 stars! And not only that, he liked the 3D movie, considering that he has not been very convinced about this technology before.

I remain unconvinced that 3-D represents the future of the movies, but it tells you something that Zemeckis' three 3-D features (also including "Beowulf") have wrestled from me 11 of a possible 12 stars.

I like the way that Zemeckis does it. He seems to have a more sure touch than many other directors, using 3-D instead of being used by it. If the foreground is occupied by close objects, they're usually looming inward, not out over our heads. Note the foreground wall-mounted bells that we look past when Scrooge, far below, enters his home; as one and then another slowly starts to move, it's a nice little touch.


I'm seeing this on Sunday .... in 3D of course!

Zz.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Disney Gets Shanghai Park

It's official. Disney gets to build Shanghai Disneyland, making it one of the worst kept secret.

The agreement with China to construct Disney’s fourth park outside the U.S. “marks a very significant milestone,” Chief Executive Officer Robert A. Iger said in a statement. Disney and its Shanghai partners are now allowed to move toward a construction and operation agreement, the statement said.


An interesting tidbit towards the end of the article mentioned that this park will occupy more land than any other Disney theme parks in the world. I'm assuming it is only talking about the park itself and not the whole resort, since I'm guessing that WDW will still be the largest resort. But then again, maybe they bought a land larger than the size of Manhattan.

Zz.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

More Disney Parallels For Our New House

It is amazing how, when you become a fan of something, that you start seeing how your life is acting out with many connections to that something. I've mentioned earlier how the house that we just bought was from another family who are also Disney fans. You can't plan those. It just happens.

But here's another one, and it is breaking our hearts.

We have a salt water aquarium, with several fish and sea creatures inhabiting it. I think they are all happy. The tang fish has been in there for at least 10 years and have grown considerably since we got it. All the other creatures in there have been there for a while too. About 5 years ago, we got a couple of clown fish from a neighbor, and they have been swimming around happily since.

Well now, a couple of weeks ago, we noticed something that looked like fish eggs attached to one of the rocks in the tank. Guess what? One of the clown fish had just laid eggs! Let me tell you that I've never heard of clown fish laying eggs in captivity, and certainly not in a house aquarium! That just blew us away. But then, reality sank in and I suddenly felt utterly terrible - WE ARE MOVING IN A WEEK!

We will have to drain the tank, transfer the fish and the rocks to plastic bags, transfer them to a temporary holding tank, while the rest of the aquarium gets moved! The eggs are not going to survive! Suddenly, the scene of the barracuda eating the clown fish eggs in "Finding Nemo" flashed through my head, and I felt sick! We are going to be the barracuda!!!!

I'm not sure what to do. It is such an unfortunate timing! We are going to talk to someone at one of the tropical fish store and ask if there's anything we can do to save the eggs, if not all, at least a few. I have no idea how long before the eggs hatch, and even then, can the baby clown fish survive the traumatic event of a move?

The joy of moving into a new house has now been tempered down considerably.

Zz.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Progress For Shanghai Disneyland

Looks like approval for Shanghai Disneyland is imminent.


Mayor Han Zheng told reporters Sunday that the city plans to make an announcement as early as this week to explain details of the plan -- handy timing ahead of President Barack Obama's planned Nov. 15 visit to Shanghai.

An official in the public information department of the National Development and Reform Commission, China's main planning agency, confirmed Monday that the plan had been approved.


I still wonder how much the new park will cannibalize the already struggling attendance at Hong Kong Disneyland. Maybe Disney is hoping that HK Disneyland is more "regional", serving the Asia-Pacific market, while Shanghai is more geared towards mainland Chinese? Still, there seems to be a lot of overlap here.

Zz.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Dear Robert Zemeckis.....

This is a fun article on a "wish list" to Robert Zemeckis on his intention to make a sequel of "Who Framed Roger Rabbit". In the process, it describes why the original movie was such a classic.

And he totally pulled it off, too. The mix of the Disney and MGM and Warner Bros. characters, all living together in a cartoon universe that bumps right up against old Hollywood, is something that had never happened before, and may never happen again. Obviously we don't know what Zemeckis will use if he makes a sequel to "Who Framed Roger Rabbit", which libraries he'll have access to.


It would be a huge feat if the sequel gets made, not the least of which is getting all the studios to agree to have their characters appearing again. I wonder if newer animation characters will come on board. Wouldn't it be funny if The Simpsons, those characters from Family Guy, and those kids from South Park were to come on board! It would be a riot!

Zz.