Friday, December 31, 2010

Random WDW Picture

It is New Year's eve, and what's more appropriate way to celebrate the New Year than with FIREWORKS!


May you have a wonderful and safe New Year!


Thursday, December 30, 2010

Post Office To Release Pixar Stamps

I guess this is a continuation of some sort of the Art of Disney (even though that series officially has ended). The USPS will be releasing a series of Pixar stamps in 2011. The date of the release is Aug. 19.

It would be a safe bet that most Disney/Pixar fans would be able to name the movies that each of these stamps represents without any difficulties. :)


Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Record Crowds Halted Admission to Disneyland

We know that this time of the year is always busy at Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World. In case of Disneyland, for the 2nd day in a row, the theme park had to stop admission due to high number of crowds. Yesterday, admission was halted at 10:00 am at Disneyland, just 2 hours after the park's opening. By 1:00 pm, even California Adventure park was closed to admission.

The Los Angeles Times reports that for the second day in a row, between 750,000 and 100,000 people turned out to celebrate the holiday season at the family-friendly parks. While high turnouts are not uncommon in the week between Christmas and New Year's, the sheer volume of people descending upon the world famous resorts lead to limited admission and the closure of the ticket gates in Disneyland at 10 am, just 2 hours after the park opened. Visitors were diverted to Disney California Adventure to avoid disappointment, but by 1 pm neither park was able to to admit new visitors.

I can only hope that this means that park attendance will get a needed boost this coming fiscal quarter.


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Rose Bowl Teams at Disneyland

OK, since I am a University of Wisconsin alumnus, please indulge me in showing this short video of the Rose Bowl teams this year at Disneyland.



Monday, December 27, 2010

Chilean Miners To Go To WDW

"Chilean Miners, you were trapped underground for more than 2 months! What are you going to do now:?"

"We are going to Disney World!"

Yes they are, and on Disney's tab too!

Disney is picking up the tab for the miners, their rescuers and their immediate families during a six-night stay -- January 27 to February 2. Each family will get a $500 gift card. The group will serve as honorary Grand Marshals of a Main Street U.S.A. parade.


Saturday, December 25, 2010

Tilt-Shift Video of Christmas Parade

Another of the amazing tilt-shift video, this time it is the Christmas Day parade at the Magic Kingdom.

 This is a lot more interesting than the one they show you on TV. I get frustrated with the disjointed show on TV. I'd rather see the ACTUAL parade than all the chatty/music performance/etc. So I no longer make an effort to see it on Christmas morning.


Ft. Wilderness Campground Decorations

Every year, those Disney fans who stayed at the Ft. Wilderness Campgrounds decorate to the hilt during the holidays. You get to see some of the stuff they did this year.


Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and a safe and wonderful New Year! One can only wish that some day, we do have Peace on Earth.


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Disneyland Resort Cast Costuming

Here's something we don't see or hear very often, cast costuming. This video shows the behind-the-scenes of cast costuming at Disneyland Resort.

I would imagine the same thing goes on at WDW, but on a larger scale, obviously, since it is a bigger resort area and with 4 separated theme parks.


Happy Holidays From The Dapper Dans

I have always enjoyed the Dapper Dans whenever we bump into them on Main Street USA. I think for many casual guests, they are one of the most overlooked and underappreciated form of street entertainment. But not for us, and certainly not for many avid Disney Parks fans.


Monday, December 20, 2010

Tron: Legacy

Tron: Legacy raced to the top of the US Box Office this weekend, raking in $43 million, which is towards the low end of the expected range that it would take in.

[SPOILER ALERT: If you wish to discover the movie for yourself, do not read anymore beyond this]

I saw it over the weekend in IMAX 3D. After being bombarded with a lot of visual delights during the 2 years leading up to the movie's releases, one can imagine the high anticipation for this movie, at least, for me. So let's get this out of the way first and foremost. Visually, it was STUNNING. It was just exactly what I expected and more! There's more then enough thing to see that it will require 2nd and 3rd viewing to really sink in a lot of the visual aspects of this movie. The light cycle battle did not disappoint. It had an added dimension to it, both literally and figuratively! If you like Tron, you won't be disappointed at all with this.

But, as with the first Tron, the story line continues to be weak. The son-feeling-abandoned-by-father-that-did-not-return scenario is really getting tiring. One could also see Shia LaBeouf doing the same thing in the last Indiana Jones movie. And the "plan for invasion" scenes reminded me way too much of scenes from Star Wars Ep. 1-3, and not in a good way. Why do we need such speech? Couldn't the message be transmitted electronically? I'm sure they have Wi-fi at least, or 3G! It just made the whole scene seems generic. And at the end, why Tron suddenly switched sides at the very last minute and at just the right time was extremely flimsy (it was never explained how he survived in the first place after CLU decided to take over). Why he suddenly realized that he must serve the "user" at that point is a mystery.

But would I recommend this movie? Damn right I would. It is still a fun movie, and very much in the spirit of the first. But I think I come out of the Pixar school, because I now tend to expect a movie with a story that tugs at me, even when the visual aspect of the movie is utterly dazzling (I had the same problem with "Avatar"). The story would have been more interesting had they thrown in an unexpected twist, especially with CLU, who we all already pegged to be the "bad guy" (bad code?) early in the movie.


Saturday, December 18, 2010

Monday, December 13, 2010

Get Discounts at WDW's Quick Service Restaurant

If you are going to be at WDW during the busiest period of the year (Dec. 19-Jan 3) and you have flexible eating hour at the various quick service restaurants, when you might want to check out this article that will allow you to print coupons that can save you 30% on your meals.

The printable coupons, available online at, are good for 30 percent off (excluding alcohol) at any of 15 quick-service restaurants in Disney World's four theme parks. But the meals must be purchased before noon or between 3 and 4:30 p.m.

It might be worth it for the discount. Eat a snack or two in between if you are hungry. Not only will you save money, but you'll also avoid a crowded dining area and having to hunt for a place to sit. This is a win-win situation here, folks!


Sunday, December 12, 2010

Aerial View of Fantasyland Expansion

Orlando Attractions Magazine has a nice aerial footage of the Fantasyland expansion at the Magic Kingdom as of Nov. 2010.


Friday, December 10, 2010

"C A L I F O R N I A" To Be Removed

The iconic sign in front of Disney's California Adventure is scheduled to be removed next month as part of the overhaul of the theme park.

The remodeled entrance will echo the design of the legendary Pan Pacific Auditorium, and look a lot like the gate at Disney's Hollywood Studios theme park in Florida.

That fits with the park's re-theming, which is supposed to reflect back on Southern California in the 1930s, after Walt Disney arrived and started his studio.


Tuesday, December 07, 2010

2010 Annies Award Nomination

Despite withdrawing support for the Annies due to how the voting is done, Disney received several major nominations for this year's award. This includes nomination for Toy Story 3 and Tangled in the animated feature category.

Let's see if Disney's move will affect how people vote, or if they can separate out the politics from the quality of the movie they see.


Monday, December 06, 2010

All You Want To Know About "World Of Color"

Even just watching the video, one can be convinced that this is a spectacular show. Here's more info and background stuff about this show.


Sunday, December 05, 2010

Another Violent Death In Celebration

Unrelated to the case a couple of weeks ago that became the first ever homicide in peaceful Celebration, this week marks the 2nd violent death in this town. A self-inflicted gunshot occurred during a police stand-off with an obviously distraught man.

The standoff that resulted in suicide ended at 2:20 a.m. Friday when the SWAT team entered the home of Craig Foushee, 52, and found him dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, said spokewoman Twis Lizasuain of the Osceola County Sheriff's Office.

The incident began Wednesday when authorities received a report of a distraught man with a gun, and Foushee and authorities came in contact through his cell phone, police said. Foushee was undergoing a separation with his wife, with whom he has children, Lizasuain said.

Things like this is something no one can prevent, no matter how one tries. There really is no such thing as a Utopian society that is isolated from the problems that society faces everyday.


Thursday, December 02, 2010

Time-Lapse Video of Sleeping Beauty Castle

This is a lovely time-lapse video of Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland.

That'll get you into the holiday spirit!


First-Ever Homicide In Celebration

Police is investigating a first-ever homicide in the peaceful and "almost perfect" town of Celebration.

Osceola County police responded Monday to an emergency call at an apartment building in Celebration, Florida, after speaking with a neighbor who said she found 58-year-old Matteo Giovanditto dead in his home, according to police spokeswoman Twis Lizasuain.

Osceola police classified the death as a homicide, based on evidence found at the scene, according to a police statement. The victim's car was found Tuesday in Kissimmee, Florida, about 10 miles east of Celebration.


Epic Mickey

You get to see for yourself the new game Epic Mickey on Wii on the preGame show.


Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Hairy Physics Of Rapunzel

If you don't learn any physics out of this, at the very least, you'll have a hysterically good time! You can either read the transcript, or listen to this NPR show on the animation (and physics) of Rapunzel's hair in "Tangled".


Pleasure Island to Become Hyperion Wharf

The transformation of Downtown Disney's Pleasure Island that will affect the whole flow of the area. Maybe this will make the walk from Marketplace to West Side a lot less "abrupt".


Thursday, November 18, 2010

Diane Disney Miller Interview

This is a rather insightful interview with Diane Disney Miller, who doesn't normally give out interviews. Not only do you learn a bit more about her and her life with Walt, but you also get a sense of love-hate relationship that she has with the Walt Disney Company.

It is also interesting, though, that the report indicated that she no longer owns any personal stock of the company.


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

"World of Color" Wins Award

Just a few months since its debut, and already "World of Color" has been awarded the prize for "Best Nighttime Spectacular".

The “World of Color” show received an award from the Themed Entertainment Association for the best “nighttime spectacular.” Fifteen Thea Awards were given out, but only one in the nighttime spectacular category.

Certainly, those who have seen this show have given it very high praise indeed. So this award isn't a surprise at all.


Random WDW Picture

Obviously, this is at Epcot.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Cars 2 - Official Trailer

Disney has released the official trailer for the highly-anticipated (aren't they all?) Cars 2.

My bet here is that this one will gross more than the first one, which had tepid reviews and initial response.


Tips and Hidden Treasures at the Disneyland Resort

If you a newbie or novice to Disneyland, this short video might provide some info that you didn't know about.


Monday, November 15, 2010

Holiday Wishes

Orlando Attractions Magazine has a new video on Holiday Wishes.

It looks like they were almost at the very spot where we took a video of Holiday Wishes. Just compare!

I don't know if the first video did the same thing, but in our video, I actually overlay the soundtrack from the CD, so that the music is clearer. Of course, I had to do a bit of editing of the Holiday Wishes music, because the current version has been edited to be shorter.


Friday, November 12, 2010

More Photos from The Disney Store in Times Square

Donald Makes His Debut Appearance at the NYC Disney Store in Times Square

Hi all! To start, I'd like to apologize to those of you out there still waiting for my commentary on WDW's Party for the Senses. I haven't forgotten...I've just been busy recovering from one trip to make another. Yesterday, I went to Times Square to visit Daisy's good friend, Lady Liberty Minnie, at her new home on Broadway. Well, the space is creatively designed, but it still doesn't hold a candle to the World of Disney store I knew and loved on 5th Avenue. Still, there is plenty of NYC themed merchandise  for the average tourist. The New York Exclusive Vinylmation and pins are probably enough to draw the more avid Disney fan through the store's doors at least once. But the real draw here is for the kids. Even my 9 month old stroller buddy Ben was mesmerized by the decor. And, I can't wait until Ben is ready for Ridemakerz, a  "Build-A-Bear" type center where kids can put together their own Lightning McQueen racecars. It's kind if pricey, though...plan on dropping at least $40 on this activity if you're thinking of taking your tyke on this building adventure. Here are some pictures from the store for all to enjoy. One more word of advice...use the registers upstairs when making a purchase...the lines are much shorter!


"Winnie The Pooh" Trailer

Disney has released the official "Winnie The Pooh" trailer for the movie that will be released on July 15, 2011.

First of all, the picture looks AMAZING. I was afraid that they were going to do this in the same way they are doing the TV version of Winnie the Pooh, where things are now done digitally (the old Winnie the Pooh TV series with Christopher Robin looks SO much nicer!). Secondly, I'm so glad Christopher Robin is in this movie, even with an English accent! :)

Thirdly, there is a wonderful, warm, nostalgic feeling about this movie based on the trailer alone. I had a smile on my face at the end of seeing it, as if you've seeing an old friend once again that hasn't changed.

So yes, I can't wait to go see this movie.


Thursday, November 11, 2010

"Tonight Show With Jay Leno"

Last night, Jay Leno did his person-on-the-street interview and asked passers-by if they could identify the company based on their commercial slogan. But that was the part that caught my attention. It appears that he did most of the shoot for this piece right across the street from Disney's Soda Fountain store! In fact, in some shots, you could also see the El Capitan theater.

Now, considering that The Tonight Show is on NBC, it was nice of Leno to give free broadcast of the parent company (Disney) of a competing TV network (ABC)! :)


"The Magic Kingdom" Being Considered For A Movie

Looks like Disney is moving ahead with plans to come up with a suitable story line for a movie based on The Magic Kingdom, with Director Jon Favreau taking the lead in developing the story.

The director will take the lead in developing the project, which is essentially the Mouse House's answer to Fox's "Night at the Museum" franchise.

As first reported by Daily Variety, Disney has been looking at creative ways to turn Disneyland into the setting for a family feature, similar to how the company has adapted individual theme park rides like Pirates of the Caribbean, the Haunted Mansion and the Jungle Cruise or an entire area of the park in the case of Tomorrowland.

This is certain a big risk since Disney has to be careful about how this park icon will be depicted.


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Video of Opening of Disney Stores Times Square

Here's a compilation video of the opening of the Times Square Disney Stores.

I wish they ran a little bit more of the opening ceremony.


Disney Opens Times Square Store

The Disney Store on Times Square in NYC is officially opened. It occupies the old Virgin Megastore right in the heart of Times Square.

The 20,000-square-foot Times Square emporium is about five times bigger than most Disney stores. Divided by franchise, from Mickey Mouse — still the global entertainment company's most popular character — to an assortment of princesses, it offers similar merchandise to other stores, only more and on a grander scale, said Andy Mooney, chairman of Disney Consumer Products.

Highlights at the new store include a "Cars" display where kids can build their own miniature vehicles — $50 for a freewheel version, $75 for a remote control. In a two-story, 20-foot-tall princess castle, there's a talking mirror that produces an image of Cinderella or another princess with a wave of a wand. And on a 12-foot screen nestled in a small theater area, guests can choose exactly which Disney film clips, videos and classic animation to watch.

I hope it has more adult stuff than what can be found at most Disney Stores.


Monday, November 08, 2010

Disney merchandise at JC Penney

Was surprised to see a corner at JC Penney at Woodfield Mall devoted to holiday Disney merchandise. Most items are 50% off.

Tangled - Maximus the Horse

Oh, this movie is getting more hilarious by each trailer.


Disney Dream Will Have Built-In Hand Sanitizer

It must be a slow Disney news when the built-in hand sanitizer on the Disney Dream is being called the latest innovation.

Instead of the free-standing (and some would argue clunky) plastic dispensers that are nearly universal in the industry, Disney Cruise Line's new ship, the Disney Dream, will have more architecturally appropriate, built-in hand sanitizer stations that are incorporated into the Art Deco design of the vessel.

Um..... OK. Let's see if I can find one of these things when I'm on it next year.


Sunday, November 07, 2010

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Sorcerer Mickey Takes His Place on the Disney Dream

Oh, I'm so looking forward to seeing this. They are going to put Sorcerer Mickey directing the broomsticks at the stern section of The Disney Dream!


Hunting For Hidden Mickeys

ABC News follows Steve Barrett hunting for hidden Mickey at Walt Disney World. Barrett, of course, is the author of the definitive book on Hidden Mickeys.


Friday, November 05, 2010

New Disney Cruise Ship Has The Best Bathrooms?

Thanks to Gene for sending me the link to this story.

It appears that Disney Dream might have the best bathroom on a cruise ship.

So it perhaps should come as no surprise that cruise writers were taking a hard look this week at the cabin bathrooms on Disney's newest cruise ship, the Disney Dream, during a preview tour of the vessel at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Germany.
The consensus among cruise writers: The Disney Dream's cabin bathrooms are winners. Big time.

Of course, I can't wait to check this out in slightly more than a year from now when we get to do our Disney cruise on the Disney Dream.


Wednesday, November 03, 2010

The Darker Side of Fairy Tales

You probably don't want your kids to read this.

The Independent listed a few popular fairy tales and how they are markedly different than the "original", darker version. This includes Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, The Little Mermaid, and Three Little Pigs. Some of the description of the original version are quite gruesome. For example, in Sleeping Beauty:

but there is an earlier Italian version, written by Giambattista Basile in the 17th century, that is considerably darker than the tale told to young minds. In the original, Talia, the Sleeping Beauty, is raped by a king while she sleeps, and gives birth to twins. When the Queen finds out, she orders that Talia be burnt alive, but the King arrives in the nick of time, throws the Queen on the bonfire, and marries Talia.

Yikes! And what about Snow White?

The true origins of Snow White are typical of the macabre stories written as stark morality tales for the children of harsher times. In the Grimm version, Snow White's evil stepmother made not one but three attempts to murder her.

Obviously, the stepmother must die if Snow White and her prince are to live happily ever after. Disney granted her a quick death – falling off a cliff – that did not implicate the young couple.

In the original, the bride and groom invited the Queen to their wedding, where they had a nasty surprise awaited her.

She was forced to wear iron slippers that had been heated over a fire until they were red hot and dance until she dropped dead.

Oh my goodness! They all sound like they could be the next version of "Saw" movies!



Monday, November 01, 2010

Another WCPT Member sings "Consider Yourself" with Miss Carol

Watch Out, Daisy! There's a New Girl in Town

Windy City Pin Trader's "Own" Jan Sings with Miss Carol at The Rose and Crown

Creme Brulee au Chocolate au Lait from France

Parmentier de Boeuf Braise au Cabernet from France

Seared Albacore Tuna with Romesco Sauce from Spain

Kefta Pocket and Sangria from Morocco

Lamington (Chocolate-covered Butter Cake) from Australia

Tuna Sensation and Wafu Ribettes from Japan

Spicy Tuna Rolls and California Sushi Rolls from Japan

Bison Chili with Wild Mushrooms, Cabernet, and Pepper Jack Cheese and Heirloom Tomatoes with Oregon Blue Cheese, Red Onions, and Basil from the United States

New England Lobster Roll from the Hops and Barley Station

Halloween Decorations at Ft. Wilderness

Just like Christmas, the occupants of Ft. Wilderness decorated to the hilt for the Halloween season. Laughing Place has a collection of pictures from this year's festivities.

Thanks to Phil and Diane, I got a similar picture to the last one posted on Laughing Place, but this one is a little bit clearer:

We definitely know that he/she loves Mickey. :)


Hey! What Happened to the Rest of My Ravioli?

While I was watching this guy, someone ate most of my Baked Cheese Ravioli, Creamy Bolognese Sauce, and Melted Mozzarella from Italy!


Spaetzle Gratin with Ham and Cheese, Apfel Strudel featuring Werther's Original Karamell Sauce, and Radeberger Pilsner from Germany

Donald Gets His "Game On" at Toy Story Mania

Will Donald Be The Next American Idol?

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Things are Hoppin' at Downtown Disney on Halloween Night

Well, if the economy is suffering, you'd never know by being at  Downtown Disney Marketplace on Halloween night. With free trick or treat stations throughout the area, goblins and ghouls are abundant! From nearby Saratoga Springs, it took us about 20 minutes to even enter a parking lot in the Marketplace area. Well, live and learn...Dinner at Puck's Express, then shopping!


Happy Halloween!

Well, after a grand party of food, drink, sights and sounds, we're off to the Magic Kingdom! I'll give a detailed report of the party later, but for now check out this "Not So Scary" vampire Mickey on the side of a Magic Kingdom monorail!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Jammin' to the Beat at the "Eat to the Beat" concert series featuring Starship.

Chillin' on the Boat back to Futureworld

We just took a break at the USA pavillion to enjoy the beautiful sounds of the  Voices of Liberty. How does that first soprano sing so high? Even Minnie can't do that! Now we're back in Futureworld to use our Soarin' fast passes. Next, we'll head to the Comtemporary for Vinylmation trading, and then back to the hotel to freshen up for the big party tonight.


Seared Beef Tenderloin with Sweet Potato Puree and Mango Barbeque Sauce from South Africa

Lettuce Wrap with Roast Pork and Kimchi Slaw from South Korea

Black Pepper Shrimp with Sichuan Noodles and Green Tea Plum Wine Cooler from China

Kielbasa and Potato Pierogi with Carmelized Onions and Sour Cream and Golabki from Poland

Donald Visits his Cousin from South of the Border

Cheese and Corn Empanada from Argentina

Beef and Corn Pie from Chile