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

Food and Wine Musicians in Futureworld

These are the Epcot Jammin' Chefs.

We've Arrived!

We're finally here! Good thing I brought my appetite for foods from around the world! See ya later!


Donald's Food and Wine Adventure Begins

Hey folks! Donald here! I'm just getting ready to head out from Saratoga Springs with four of my friends to Epcot's Food and Wine Festival. I really hope I get to meet Duffy the bear. This afternoon I have to choose between pin trading at the Yacht Club or Vinylmation trading at the that doesn't seem like very smart planning...way to go, Mickey! Tonight, we're headed to the Party for the Senses, so stay tuned!


Friday, October 29, 2010

WDW Adding Doors To Trams

It finally has happened. Walt Disney World is adding doors to the trams taking guests to and from the parking lots.

Walt Disney Co. is in the process of adding doors to all rows of all 23 of its trams, Disney World spokesman Bryan Malenius said. The vehicles, which haul thousands of guests from the parking lots to the park gates daily, have had open sides for years.

"We expect our work installing new doors on the trams to be complete by February of 2011," Malenius said.

But I had a bit of a chuckle when I read this:

At first glance, the tram with all doors shut looks like a tram that's ready to take off. Guests should still listen to cast members for boarding instructions.

Two things to pay attention here next time you ride the trams at WDW:

1. If you ride near the front, especially right behind the driver, very often, you cannot hear what is being announced when the tram is moving. This is because the engine noise drowns everything! Why they are not using quieter, electric engines, I don't know.

2. They should only use someone without heavy, foreign accent, and to speak slower. It is imperative that the person doing the announcement has a clear diction. The guests who are trying to understand what is being said not only have to overcome the surrounding noise, but may also be non-native English speakers. Clear, and deliberate pronunciation, rather than simply rattling off a series of instruction, is important.


Thursday, October 28, 2010

Thunderbirds Over The Magic Kingdom

Thanks to Tom for the link to the story.

Here are reports, pictures, and videos of the Thunderbirds over The Magic Kingdom as part of the Air Force week.


Where in Walt Disney World?

The last Where in Walt Disney World didn't get any response. I didn't think it was that difficult, but obviously, it was. That is the scene you can see when you're on the observation deck on the 4th floor of the Contemporary, looking up at one of the monorail tracks that comes out of the main concourse.

Anyway, here's another Where in Walt Disney World. This one might be more difficult if you're not familiar with this particular area.


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Random WDW Picture

At Disney's Hollywood Studios (or Disney-MGM Studios when this picture was taken a few years ago).


Monday, October 25, 2010

Welcome luvdizpins55

I would like to welcome the newest contributor to My Disney Mania, luvdizpins55. As you can guess from the name, she is also a Disney pin collector as I am. So we have a lot in common.

Luvdizpins will also be visiting WDW later this week, so expect updates, especially on this year's Food and Wine festival. And I also hear that Donald will also be making an appearance. We'll see about that.


Old School Donald

Hello! I'm the newest addition to the My Disney Mania's blog.

Toy Story Mania Home Video Game

So we were at Radioshack yesterday, and we came across this Toy Story Mania video game. Reading the box, it seems that this is a video game that is "inspired" by the wildly-popular Toy Story Mania at DCA and DHS. And supposedly, it is in 3D, just like the one at the theme parks.

Well, we decided to buy it and try it out. It has one "shooter", a device sensor, and a cheap, paper 3D glasses that has one of those different filters/colors for each eye. The shooter has buttons on the handle, and no string to pull like the ones that the theme parks, so you shoot using those buttons. The shooter connects to your TV via component video. You also need to place the device sensor on top of your TV, right in the middle.

You play the game turn by turn, with up to 4 players that can play in one session. The game display looks similar to what you are familiar with in Toy Story Mania. You have the scene with the rings, and breaking plates, etc.. etc. The 3D effect is almost non-existent. In fact, after the first game, I ditched the 3D glasses. The graphic is rather primitive when compared to those Wii, X-box, etc. But you know what, it was a lot of fun! It is one of those games where the entire family can play over and over again. So in that sense, it was money well spent. I just think that if they put a bit more effort into producing a better-looking game, I think a lot more people would be inclined to buy this as their temporary substitute till their next trip to DHS or DCA.

Here is what the box and the content of the game look like.


Saturday, October 23, 2010

Random WDW Picture

Obviously, this is the Dumbo ride at the Magic Kingdom.

Wouldn't a few minutes on it right now be a lot of fun?


Thursday, October 21, 2010

First "Cars 2" Trailer

Disney has released a tease for "Cars 2" with its first trailer for this highly-anticipated movie next summer.


Ocean Spray Teams With Disney

Expect to see a lot more cranberries at Disney theme parks. Ocean Spray as struck a deal with Disney Theme Parks division to promote more of its products at the US theme parks.

Under the deal, Disney will begin peddling dried cranberries at Walt Disney World and Disneyland and aboard Disney Cruise Line ships. It will highlight the product with new signature salads and cranberry muffins. And it will design Chip 'n' Dale-themed packaging for Ocean Spray products sold on Disney properties.

Ocean Spray will even build cranberry blog displays for Disney's popular, in-park food-and-wine festivals -- both the California version, to be held from April 29 to June 12 next year, and Epcot's international edition next fall. 

Not a bad deal. I like cranberries (except for those congealed glob that comes out of a can during Thanksgiving).


Monday, October 18, 2010

Oscar Campaign for "Alice"

Disney is certainly pushing hard for "Toy Story 3" to be one of the movies nominated for Best Picture Oscar, but it is also not neglecting Tim Burton's "Alice in Wonderland". So there are rumors that Disney is about to start an aggressive campaign to get "Alice" nominated for Best Picture and for Tim Burton to get a nod for Best Director.

This campaign will include a brief 3D re-release of the film in two major Los Angeles-area theaters from October 18-21, a move meant to court Academy voters and guild members. 

I won't be surprised if "Alice" is one of the nominated movies for Best Picture (although "Toy Story 3" is more likely), but I would be very surprised if it won. That dance sequence at the end of the movie just spoiled it for me.


Sunday, October 17, 2010

I Want This Donald Print

Of all the prints that I've seen, this is the one I want the most. It is displayed at the elevator well at Bay Lake Tower. I haven't noticed it anywhere else, and I don't know if it is on sale somewhere.

This will go very nicely in our house.


Friday, October 15, 2010

ElecTRONica at California Adventure

Another night time activity at Disney's California Adventure - ElecTRONica.

I must say, though, I don't quite get this one. It looks like a glorified arcade, with a "host". Maybe that's what they were intending to do. Well then, they succeeded!


Disney Cruise Is #1

Readers of Conde Nast Traveler magazine voted Disney Cruise line as its #1 favorite cruise experience. This is the first time that the Disney Cruise line got the top spot.

The full survey result can be found  here.


Random WDW Picture

Donald Duck at the end of SpectroMagic.


Thursday, October 14, 2010

New Enhancement at Castaway Cay

A video describing all the enhancement done at Castaway Cay. I'll get to see these late next year.


Sunday, October 10, 2010

Tron Legacy 10-Week Global Countdown

Er... 10-week global countdown? Wow! Can we cay "hype"?

Walt Disney Studios announced today, October 10, 2010 (“10-10-10”), the kickoff of the official 10-week countdown to the release of “TRON: Legacy,” which opens in theaters December 17, 2010. Every week for the next 10 weeks marks a major milestone in the countdown as The Walt Disney Company rolls out exciting new TRON events, film content, products and announcements in preparation for the worldwide film launch, including:

* TRON Night: An IMAX 3D Experience, a special event on October 28, 2010, that will give audiences worldwide the first opportunity to step onto the Grid and into the cutting-edge, 3D world of Walt Disney Pictures’ high-tech adventure “TRON: Legacy,” during an exciting 20-plus-minute sneak peek of the highly anticipated film, sponsored by ASUS Computer International.

Select IMAX 3D theaters nationwide and 3D & IMAX 3D theaters internationally will offer a special screening of thrilling, never-before-seen 3D footage. “It’s exciting to offer fans an early, exclusive 3D preview of ‘TRON: Legacy’ in the ultimate of formats. We can’t wait for audiences around the world to experience the visually stunning and cutting-edge world that director Joe Kosinski has created,” said Sean Bailey, President of Production, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures.

Sure, this is exciting and everything, and I certainly can't wait to see this. But this is getting to the point of overhype, considering that Tron has been advertised, especially at Comic-Con more than 2 years ago!

This movie better delivers or it will be a major, and expensive, disappointment.


Saturday, October 09, 2010

Disney Chicken Nuggets

About a week ago, I went to Costco to shop for stuff since I was hosting a dinner party. Since there will be kids, and I've been told that a few of them were rather picky eaters and will eat only certain things, I thought I should find something that they would eat. Chicken nuggets appeared to be a popular options after quizzing the parents.

So at Costco, I went hunting for frozen chicken nuggets. To my surprise, I saw a bag of Disney chicken nuggets under Costco's house brand, Kirkland.

Reading the ingredients, it looked rather good - no trans fat, whole wheat breading, no preservatives, etc. So I bought it.

When I opened the package, another pleasant surprise. The chicken nuggets have been shaped into Mickey heads!

It didn't taste bad either. In fact, it was quite good, and a few adults couldn't resist eating more than one of the nuggets.

Of course, as with everything that came from Costco, I had a large bag of nuggets, with plenty of leftovers to store in the freezer. Maybe I'll serve some today when a few friends come over.


Friday, October 08, 2010

Disney Research Producing "TeslaTouch"

Coming soon to your smartphone or tablet - a touch screen device that touches you back!

Work funded by Disney Research is producing a technology called Tesla Touch where your touch screen activities will now have a certain touch and feel on your fingers.

"It's kind of like a buzzing or a vibration. It has the same effect as a buzz," said Chris Harrison, one of the Disney researchers and a Ph.D. student at Carnegie Mellon University. "But if you carefully tune the frequency and the vibration of the panel you can actually create things that feel like sandpaper or rubber or a wall."

In the case of a touch screen keyboard -- like those on the Apple iPhone, for example -- users would be able to feel the location of the keys, and could learn to "touch type" without looking at their hands, he said.

That news article also provides a link to the actual research paper.


25 Years of Pixar Animation

This is a great collection of drawings/sketches from the traveling exhibition on Pixar and 25 years of great animation.

Now the exhibit, titled "Pixar: 25 Years of Animation," has come back to the Emeryville, Calif., studio's backyard. It is currently appearing at the Oakland Museum of California, and currently features 500 pieces, including some from Pixar's latest smash hit, "Toy Story 3."

But the show naturally also has all kinds of treats from each of the studio's previous 10 films: "Toy Story," "A Bug's Life," "Toy Story 2," "Monsters, Inc.," "The Incredibles," "Cars," "Ratatouille," "Wall-E," Pixar's award-winning short films, and, of course, "Finding Nemo."

When is it coming to Chicago?!


Disney Family Feud

Holy Dumbo! This could make for some kick-ass reality show... maybe on the Disney Channel. Or maybe not!

It appears that a part of the Disney family is embroiled in one nasty legal and financial battle. And what is fascinating here is that, besides the fact that a lot of money is involved, there's also some Disney history as well.

The story begins with Disney's youngest daughter, who died 17 years ago. She left her twins, a son and daughter each now 40, and another daughter enormous sums kept in trusts. One of the twins is now in a legal fight with her father, and the other twin is on his side. The father is being accused by a Disney family adviser, a lawyer and relatives of improperly enriching himself from trust dealings, which he denies. He, in turn, accuses the other side of trying to seize control of the trust money.

The father, 79-year-old Bill Lund of Paradise Valley, is a longtime Valley real-estate investor whose developments include the Santan Motorplex in Gilbert. He has no connection to Lund Cadillac. Lund has long prided himself on scouting for real estate to develop.

In 1963, Bill Lund boarded a plane in California, flew to Florida and drove to a sleepy little backwater called Orlando. He was instructed not to tell anyone why he was there or who he was working for. Just act like a tourist

His real job was to scope out land for a new Disney theme park.
Disney for years had been designing a new park that he called Project Future, now known as Walt Disney World.

And then, things started to go downhill from there!

On Labor Day 2009, Michelle, who lives in Newport Beach, Calif., suffered an aneurysm and was hospitalized. The incident would become the catalyst for a perfect storm of accusations, legal discoveries and court filings against Bill.

As Michelle lay nearly comatose in the intensive-care ward of an Orange County hospital, family and friends who hadn't seen each other in years gathered outside her room. The friction was palpable. It finally erupted into bitter confrontations.

It used to be that something like this would make for a good soap opera. But now, it would make for a good reality TV.


Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Tron Legacy Preview

A few select media people got to see a 22-minute preview of the up-coming Tron Legacy. No, the footage isn't online, but this site gives you a detailed description of the preview. SPOILER ALERT: if you want to be surprised by the story and don't want to know anything about it, do not read the website. There are no spoilers, but it will tell you quite a bit more of the storyline, at least, in the beginning.


Monday, October 04, 2010

Where in Walt Disney World?

This should be another easy one. Where in Walt Disney World can you see this? You need to be as specific as possible, i.e. where exactly would you be standing (or sitting) to get this view?


Saturday, October 02, 2010

Random WDW Picture

Chip and Dale high above an entrance to World of Disney store in Downtown Disney's Marketplace.


Friday, October 01, 2010

The Making of Haunted Gingerbread House at Disneyland

This is such a cool addition to the Haunted Mansion overlays for Halloweeen. In this video, you get to see the making of the Haunted Gingerbread house that is added to the Haunted Mansion attraction each year around this time.


Do You Remember Where We Parked?

How many times have you heard that phrase when leaving the theme parks to get back to your car? I think in all of our trips there (and we typically have our own vehicle), we've only had one instance where we were not quite sure where we parked. Of course, it had to be late at night when we were hunting for the car. But other than that, we tend to not forget where we parked our vehicle.

One of the things I've started to do to make sure we know where we parked was this. I take a picture of the row number after we parked. This is very easy for everyone to do, since practically everyone, or every group, has a digital camera. Just snap a picture of the row number, and then look at it when you are going to your car. Very convenient.

So ladies and gentlemen! Here are some snapshots of where we've parked! These are very boring shots, obviously, but also fascinate me a little bit because I noticed that in several cases, we parked almost in the same location. You could play a nice little game of guessing at which WDW theme park each of the parking area name is located! :)