Sunday, January 31, 2010

Give-A-Day, Get-A-Day Voucher

I mentioned last time that I received the voucher for Disney's "Give-A-Day, Get-A-Day" promotion this year. I volunteered to make blankets for Project Linus, and it was fun to get together with friends (my WCPT pin friends) and work together in making blankets for kids. Hope they can find kids to give those to.

In any case, this is the voucher that we should print and bring with us next time we go to WDW. I've blanked out private info, and also the barcodes, for obvious reasons.

Can't wait to go back to WDW and redeem this.


Random WDW Picture

Looking out from Tangerine Cafe at the Morocco Pavilion at Epcot's World Showcase.


Friday, January 29, 2010

Enhancements at Castaway Cay

Looks like lots of new enhancements at Disney's Castaway Cay.


Disney Shutting Down Miramax

In a move that surprises no one, Disney will officially shut down Miramax. Considering how much they have cut back on operations and releases, this final outcome is as surprising as the Apple's iPad announcement - everyone could see it coming.

It is sad, though, because it strengthen the notion that Disney will not be producing movies for adults (the ones that actually have the money, instead of kids and tweens). It also appears to be the trend, that the focus have been either on kids/tweens, or if it include adults, it is in a setting of a "family". The focus on just adults, both at the movies and at the theme parks, seem to be dwindling.


Thursday, January 28, 2010

Iger Was At iPad Announcement

I'm sure everyone has heard about the announcement yesterday of the worst-kept secret in the history of technology - the iPad. It seems that Bob Iger was in attendance yesterday when Steve Jobs made the announcement. This shouldn't be a surprise considering (i) they are good friends (ii) Jobs sits on Disney's board of Directors (iii) Iger has always supported Apple's new technology by providing content from Disney.

I also don't think that it was a coincidence that one of the movies Jobs played on the iPad yesterday was a scene from Disney/Pixar's "Up".

It will be interesting to see how Disney will play along with this device. Providing movies that will be optimized to play on the iPad is easy. It's how they can exploit all the possibilities that it can do will be the interesting part. They could restart the Disney Magazine (remember that?) and distribute it through the iPad subscription. Also, is there anything to prevent these readers to also include animations?

The possibilities are endless.


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Disney's Legacy Being Discussed At WDW Sister City

The city of Swindon in the UK is discussing the possibility of including Disney's legacy as a possible celebration. This is after Walt Disney World picked Swindon as its first ever sister city.

One idea includes bringing the firm’s graphic design and information technology experts into Swindon to help college students with their studies – in turn giving the town a competitive edge.

Mr Cotton said: “We have to remember that behind the fun aspects of Disney there is a multi-billion pound company with a lot of expertise and we can definitely use that here in Swindon.

Nice if you can get it.


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Random WDW Picture

The first climb at Spaceship Earth at the Magic Kingdom. They had turned on the lights when we passed through this on the TTA.


Monday, January 25, 2010

Cars 2 Art Concept

Disney had released the art concept for Cars 2 in their annual report. The link also has an image from the upcoming Toy Story 3, also from the Disney annual report.

We, Disney fans, are chomping at all these bits and pieces of the movies that we so highly anticipate. At least we are not like rabid Apple fans who are creating rumors left and right about the impending Apple announcement this week. We actually get images and trailers from Disney itself! :)


Saturday, January 23, 2010

"Mary Poppins" Had A Surprise

The stage version of "Mary Poppins" playing in LA had a delightful surprise for its audience recently. Dick Van Dyke made a cameo appearance in the musical, but playing "... Mr. Dawes Sr., the crotchety bank president and boss of Poppins’ boss, Mr. Banks ..."

Oh, to be in the audience when that happened!


Friday, January 22, 2010

Thursday, January 21, 2010

I Got My Voucher!

I mentioned earlier that I participated in the Disney's "Give A Day, Get A Day" promotion. I volunteered with Project Linus to make children blankets, and a group of us from the Windy City Pin Traders (WCPT) got together during our January pin meet to make these blankets. We had a lot of fun (thanks for organizing it, Jan!) and made quite a few blankets.

Well today, I got my voucher! I can get my free ticket for a day at a WDW theme park!!

But of course, I'm an annual passholder. Disney is giving 2 options for passholders and multiday ticket holders. We can redeem our vouchers for fastpasses (I'm assuming that these are special fast passes), or get a figurine of the ear hat with special pins. I'm a Disney pin collector. Which one do you think that I'll opt for? That one is a no-brainer! :)

So on my next trip to WDW, which as of now, is still up in the air, I'll redeem my voucher. Hooray!


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Tim Burton Eyeing Maleficent?

Oh, oh, oh! I LOVE this juicy rumor and wish that it is true.

Various blogs and news outlets are reporting rumors that Tim Burton is exploring making a story on Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty. Hot Damn! This could potentially be a winner. I mean, think about it. He could do it in a very "Wicked" way in which all you think you know about Maleficent could actually be completely wrong.

And I think it would be amazing to give some dimensionality to the villains in these movies and give a clue on what made them so ... bad! And with Tim Burton's twisted sense, this could go in so many different direction. I can't wait!


Disney's "World of Color" Under Construction

Video of the construction of the highly-anticipated "World of Color" at Disney's California Adventure.


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

What To Do At The Disneyland Resort On A Rainy Day

Southern California has been inundated with a lot of rain this past week, and more are coming! So it is timely that we have a list of things to do when it rains at the Disneyland Resort. Some of them are:

8. Watch the Aladdin Musical. The 45-minute, indoor show performs in the Hyperion Theater in Disney’s California Adventure, and will keep you out of the rain.
2. Warm up by the fireplace of the Grand Californian Hotel’s lobby. Oversized chairs will keep you cozy, or sit on the tile ledge around the the fireplace to stay extra warm. Time it right, and you can enjoy the music of the piano player while sitting by the fireside.

1.Ride Grizzly River Run. This wild white-water rafting attraction (or any other water ride) is perfect for the rain. You’re already soaked, so you may as well keep that trend up by riding Grizzly River Run. Plus, the lines for water rides are usually nonexistent on rainy days.

Unfortunately, attractions such as It's a Small World, Winnie the Pooh, and Teacups tend to not run during the rainy days. Unlike the similar attraction at WDW, these attractions are either outdoors, or have loading areas out in the open.


Sunday, January 17, 2010

Disney Quietly Working on "Next-Generation" Theme Park Project?

I love juicy gossips like this... :)

Orlando Sentinel Blog is reporting that Disney is working on a $1 billion plus technology project for its theme parks dubbed "NextGen".

Details of the project, which has been dubbed within Walt Disney Parks and Resorts as “next generation experience” or “NextGen,” are being closely guarded. But there is widespread speculation among former Disney executives and bloggers who follow the company that at least part of the project involves wireless-communication technology that could be used in concepts ranging from keyless hotel-room doors to rides and shows in which the experience varies based on an individual guest’s preferences.

The budget for the program totals between $1 billion and $1.5 billion, according to former Disney parks executives who spoke only on the condition that they not be identified. The amount is roughly comparable to what Disney is spending to build a pair of 4,000-passenger cruise ships.

Besides the obvious interest in the theme park, and the price tag, what caught my eye was that Jim MacPhee is heading the project at WDW. People following this blog would have known that he is our "favorite" Disney executive based on what he did for the fans during Epcot's 25th Anniversary back in 2007. I thought, after he was moved from being Vice President for Epcot, that he is being phased out. Luckily, he is still around, and it looks like he might be instrumental in shaping an important future for the Disney theme parks.

We shall see the outcome of this one...


Saturday, January 16, 2010

Give a day, get a day

We are at our monthly WCPT meet but this time, many members are volunteering to make blankets for Project Linus. This is part of Disney's Give a Day Get a Day promotion.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

How To Draw Mickey Mouse

So if you've never been to the Animation Studio at DHS, or if you miss being in that animation class, here's something to help you relive that - a video instruction on how to draw Mickey Mouse.


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Iger Reinventing Disney

This LA Times piece looks at the "house-cleaning" being done by Disney CEO Bob Iger as the various executives either were let go, and switched jobs. The most dramatic changes, of course, have been at the Disney Studios branch of the company.

First, it's an incredibly clear sign that Iger is reinventing his studio without any real concern for industry tradition or what the town, much less the top creative talent at the studio, thinks about the new executive lineup. For years, Cook was able to run Disney with autonomy, keeping Iger and his new ideas about distribution and branding at bay. But now, as one industry pal said Tuesday morning after hearing the news of Aviv's ouster, "it's like the Huns are sacking the crusaders' castle." Anyone viewed as a Cook loyalist is being ushered out the door.

As a Disney fan (and stockholder), I'm not sure yet on what to make of the recent changes. I'm willing to give this a lot of time to evolve. The Disney brand of movies have not had that much success lately, both financially and critically. The live-action movies have been dismal at best. We will have to see in 2 or 3 years how this will turn out, since it will probably take that long for the decisions being made by the new management on what movies to be made will start coming into the pipeline.


Monday, January 11, 2010

5 Must-Have iPhone Apps

Here's another set of suggestions on iPhone apps that one must have for a WDW/Disneyland/Disney fanatic. Still, I'm not sure of the "taste" level of someone who would make Biergarten as a top recommendation of a place to eat at Epcot!



Sunday, January 10, 2010

Review of 'Waking Sleeping Beauty'

LA Times has a rather informative review of the new documentary "Waking Sleeping Beauty", which had its premier at El Capitan Theatre for Disney animators, past and present.

The documentary shows the evolution of the Disney animation studios, warts and all, during the low point of the 1980's, up to the heights of "The Lion King". This is going to be one documentary that will be high on my list to see this year.


Saturday, January 09, 2010

Disneys Honorary VoluntEars Cavalcade

Hey, you get to see a preview of the VoluntEars cavalcade at Disneyland that will make its debut soon (if not already).

So, are you going to do a volunteer work to get your free day (or other options)? I am. I'll be making child-safe blankets for a day some time this month. Of course, I won't claim my free day since I'm already an annual passholder, so I'll choose one of the other options that they have.

Edit: you can see videos of this parade (or pre-parade) at the Laughing Place website.


Friday, January 08, 2010

Magic Kingdom Fireworks From Epcot

If you are at Epcot at just the right time and from the right viewing location, you can see part of Wishes at the Magic Kingdom from the World Showcase Lagoon at Epcot. We were there this past December when Illuminations started at 9:30 pm (instead of the regular 9:00 pm) and we viewed it from the island in front of the Italy Pavilion. One can actually see Wishes right through the middle of the World Showcase Lagoon!

The first 3 pictures might be a bit difficult to see of the fireworks since I didn't zoom in, but it should at least give you a wide perspective on where we were and in which direction we were looking at. The last 4 pictures should be quite clear since I've zoomed in on the globe.

So even though WDW feels rather large, things are physically not that far away from each other.


Thursday, January 07, 2010

Discovery Channel's Fans Guide To WDW

A series of 6 YouTube video from the Discovery Channel on fans guide to Walt Disney World.

Part 1/6

Part 2/6

Part 3/6

Part 4/6

Part 5/6

Part 6/6

"Princess And The Frog" Score Still Oscar Eligible

This news article from Variety describes the final list of eligible movie scores that may get nominated for the Oscar for Best Score. It includes the score for "Princess and the Frog", which actually might raise an eyebrow due to the rules.

"The Princess and the Frog" is on the "reminder list" sent out to the 234 members of the Academy's music branch, implying the Disney animated musical somehow passed muster with the traditionally restrictive branch's executive committee. Randy Newman's score includes seven original songs, and an eighth, by Ne-Yo, is played over the end titles.

Acad rules prohibit "scores diminished in impact by the predominant use of songs" from competing in the original score category.

But what I didn't know about till now was what came next in the article.

The rule was instituted in the mid-1990s, after wins by four Disney animated musicals in the category designed to reward "dramatic underscoring," not multiple songs. So a possible win for "original score" by a Disney animated musical this year would be ironic considering the origins of the rule.

Yeah, I can see why that would look rather ironic.

Still, I'm not sure of the chances of "Princess" even getting the nomination, much less, a win, in this category. I think I noticed more of the musical number, rather than the score. Still, we shall see soon enough how the nomination will turn out.


Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Disney's California Adventure Park- Expansion Series 1

A bit of an update and things we can look forward to at Disney's California Adventure and its expansion plan.

That Cars Land is going to be the hottest place to be when it is finished, I can already tell.


Disney's New Store in NY's Times Square

Here's brief article on the planned Disney Store in New York's Times Square that's scheduled to open in Fall of 2010. It appears that it will be occupying the old Virgin Megastore that I've visited many times whenever I've been in Midtown Manhattan.

It also looks like Steve Jobs may have played a major role in getting Disney to revamped the stores and learn from the wildly successful Apple Stores.

Much of the credit for the new store design, according to an October New York Times article, can actually be given to Apple CEO Steve Jobs, who joined Disney's board in 2006, after the company bought Pixar Animation Studios. Just as he pushed for a certain design for the Apple stores, Jobs reportedly convinced Disney to fashion its own stores on a grand scale.

Jobs shared with Disney executives detailed information about the setup of the Apple stores and took them on a tour of Apple's research operations, the Times reported. Jobs also urged the company to first create a prototype store to work out any bugs, an effort that paid off by helping Disney build the right atmosphere and philosophy for the stores.

However, the new year also marks the closing of the World of Disney store on 5th Avenue. It was the first World of Disney store to be opened outside of a Disney theme park, and I think it was just out of place on 5th Ave. The Times Square location could be a lot more attractive, especially if they have enough things for everyone to do. I'd say put in something like The Sum of All Thrills from Epcot's Innovention. That should attract a lot of customers.


Monday, January 04, 2010

Meet Mr. Pricklepants

The new trailer/promotion for Toy Story 3 introduces a new character that we have never seen before - Mr. Pricklepants. He is a hedgehog, I think, but he wears a lederhosen. There better be a good story for this! He is voiced by Timothy Dalton, the former James Bond.

With Tron Legacy and Alice also coming next year, there's plenty to look forward to.


Saturday, January 02, 2010

Donald's Great Adventure - Club Cool

Whenever I'm at Epcot, I always stop by Club Cool for one specific purpose. I want my most favorite drink, which is my beloved Beverly!

Oh sure, go ahead and gag at that thought, but I love it. In fact, us ducks have a distinct affinity for the taste of Beverly that we have formed our own club - Friends of Beverly! I love it so much, I could swim in it!

Can't wait to go back.


Friday, January 01, 2010

Disney Completes Marvel Acquisition

It's official. Disney now owns Marvel.

Welcome to the Walt Disney Family, Spiderman, Ironman, etc... etc.... However, I don't think the whole family will make a nice family photo at the next family reunion. :)