Friday, April 30, 2010

Pin trading night

Standing in line for pin trading night at the Contemporary.

Redeemed Voucher for "Give A Day, Get A Disney Day"

I mentioned earlier that I volunteered for the "Give A Day, Get A Disney Day" program and received a voucher to redeem next time I get to WDW. Well, this is the next time. Since I'm an annual passholder, I opted to get the ear hat pin set (of course!).

I've already seen pictures of it, and see it in person from people who have redeemed it, but yesterday, we got ours. So here are pictures of it.

First of all, they give you a pin designating you as an "honorary VolunteEars".


This is the box the ear hat pins came in.


Inside the box, you get a thank you letter for volunteering.


And finally, the ear hat pins themselves.




It appears that there are two different ear hat pin set. For non-passholders, you get 4 pins. But for passholders, you get SEVEN pins. So hooray for passholders! :)

Zz.

Donald's Great Adventure - Donald at Epcot

Hello there my fans! This is Donald Duck reporting from Epcot and the Flower and Garden Festival. It is a lovely setting, and I'm glad that I don't suffer from allergies, because this could be a nightmare.

They obviously know who's the boss here, because the put a topiary of Moi right at the entrance. Isn't he cute, just like me?


Ah, the World Showcase! I love the Lagoon. I spent many a lovely evening swimming in it!


Such beautiful flowers! I wonder if they are as tasty as they look?


Of course, I could not go anywhere without having my fans stopping me for a quick picture. These cast members are some of my biggest fans. Notice how they worship me by lifting me up high above their heads. Or in this case, on top of someone's head.


Some of my biggest fans are royalties. Which could create problems. I'd better not let Cindy sees this. She's the jealous type, even more so than Daisy.


Ah, the life of a Disney celebrity.

DD.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Thrills

At the sum of all thrills.

We are home!


Baggage

Ah. The tedious process of waiting for our baggage.

We have landed

We and donald have landed at orlando int. WDW here we come!

On the plane

We are on the plane and ready to go. See you from Orlando!

At airport

We made it to the airport in good time. Having breakfast.

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

Hi there my fans!

This is Donald Duck all packed and ready to go back to the Most Magical Place on Earth. I travel light, don't need much other than a change of vest and some duck feed. ZapperZ, on the other hand, always pack waaaaay too much. Let's see, we have clothes, pins, reusable bags (he's so environmentally-correct), pins (of course!), netbook (to be able to go online and do his trip reports), more pins, etc.. etc.

I hope he doesn't plan on stuffing me into this luggage, because there's just no room! I wonder where he will put me?



Oh, this is freaking humiliating!

Just for that, I'll poop in your bag!

DD.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

One Day And Counting

We leave for WDW tomorrow morning for a relatively short trip to WDW. So as always, I will be posting my "live" updates on here, and also Donald's Great Adventure. Donald is very excited to go this time, because someone in our party who is a huge Donald fan will be having his birthday while at the Most Magical Place on Earth. So this should be fun. We hope to encounter the "big" Donald during this trip. Along the way, there should be plenty of surprises.

We will be staying at Jambo House at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. Even though we are DVC members and can stay at the newer Kidani Village, I think I much prefer Jambo House. Not only is the lobby a lot grander, but it is also close to our most favorite restaurant, Boma. We will be having dinner there, and after an evening of gluttony, we can easily crawl our way back to our room. This will not be a very pretty sight.

So stay tuned!

Zz.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Disney Theme Park Attendance Up in 2009

A new report from Themed Entertainment Association indicates that attendance at US Disney theme parks rose for 2009. WDW had a 1% increase, while Disneyland had a whopping 8% increase.

Attendance at Disney World in Florida rose 1%, from 17 million in 2008 to 17.2 million in 2009, according to the report. At Disneyland, crowd numbers jumped 8%, from 14.7 million in 2008 to 15.9 million in 2009. Disney's neighboring California Adventure saw an increase of 9.5%, from 5.6 million in 2008 to 6 million in 2009.

Crowd numbers were also up slightly for other Disney parks in Florida, including Epcot and Disney's Hollywood Studios.


Now, these numbers are impressive enough as they are, considering that 2009 was also a tough economic year. But what makes these numbers jawdropping is that other theme parks around the country did not do that well!

Meanwhile, attendance at Universal Studios Hollywood in Los Angeles dropped 6%, from 4.6 million in 2008 to 4.3 million in 2009, the report said. Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park also lost ground, with attendance declining 6.5%, from 3.6 million in 2008 to 3.3 million in 2009.


In fact, overall theme park attendance around the country dropped by about 1.3%. This makes the Disney numbers extremely impressive, that they not only could maintain a high attendance numbers, but also see an increase. Now granted that the guests may not spend as much as they used to, but this is WAY better than having even a fewer number of guests that aren't spending as much as they used to.

With the renovation of Fantasy Land at the Magic Kingdom, and the overhaul at California Adventure, these numbers should increase further in the next couple of years.

Zz.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Keeping Old Annual Passholder Tickets

Did I ever mentioned that the WDW Annual Passholder Webpage SUCKS?!

Now that we got that out of the way, here's the Theme Park Ranger's account of his renewal attempt and subsequent trip to WDW to renew in person.

Now it was Disney’s turn. And, surprise, despite multiple times I couldn’t get the Disney Web site to accept my ticket number. It insisted it wasn’t valid… despite the fact I’d been using it for a year.

So, I finally broke down and drove to Downtown Disney to renew in person. And here’s the kicker: When you renew in person, they take away your expired annual pass.

I was a bit disappointed in this. I’m not a big scrapbooker or anything, but this was the first time in 10 years of annual-pass ownership that my pass featured my favorite character, and I kind of wanted to keep it around. You know, set it on my desk at work to think of happy times, or something.

No dice. The lady at Guest Services was polite but firm. “We have to turn it in,” she said.


Of course, this makes no sense. As he has stated, he could have renewed online and would have been able to keep the old pass. So what's the big freaking deal? Not only that, I know for a fact that I've kept many of my old annual passes when I renewed in person. I've even remembered the cast member asking if I wanted to keep them.

I have a lot of respect for cast members. But some time, they either make things up, or they are given conflicting information such that the "rule" is uneven. Check out my rant about applying the Disney Visa and Passholder discount from my last trip this past December. Oy! No quicker way to annoy your guests than to have inconsistent and conflicting information!

Zz.

Random WDW Picture

A great big eye looking down on you at World of Disney in Downtown Disney.



Zz.

Friday, April 23, 2010

"Monsters, Inc" Sequel Has A Release Date

Whoa! And I didn't even realize that this sequel was in the works.

Rich Ross announced a whole bunch of goodies, and one of them is the release date of the sequel to "Monsters, Inc.".

Disney has announced a sequel to "Monsters Inc.," a Pixar release that grossed $525.4 million globally back in 2001.

Presenting to a group of reporters Thursday on the Disney lot in Burbank, Calif., studio chairman Rich Ross also announced a Nov. 16, 2012, release date for the Pixar follow-up.


As of now, I am setting my sighs on June 18 for the release of Toy Story 3.

Zz.

"World's Fastest Painter" Creates Mickey Mouse Art

I'm a sucker for watching artists painting like this. I could spend hours just watching things being painted.



Zz.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Earth Day

So, did you get your free Disney hat at a Disney Store today as part of the Earth Day commemoration? Did you?

Well I did. It isn't a bad-looking hat at all.




We also had a very nice time doing pin trading with cast members at the Disney's Doorway to Dream store at the Woodfield Mall. I tell ya, these cast members are some of the nicest cast members that I've come across. Even if you're not buying into the DVC thing, they still welcome you dropping by and just chatting with them. I think they know that for many of us Disney fans, this is the place we like to go when we feel a bit "homesick" for Disney theme parks. Wonderful people, they are.

Zz.

Earth Day at the Disney Store: Free Hat

The Disney Store is celebrating Earth Day with a free hat giveaway. If you bring in six empty plastic bottles or soda cans to the Disney Store on Thursday, 4/22, you will recive a FREE Friends for Change and Disney Store youth sized baseball cap, while supplies last! Baseball caps are made out of 100% recycled materials.

I went to the Chicago Michigan Avenue Disney store at lunch and they still had plenty of baseball hats there. Please note that they only have youth-sized caps for this giveaway. Here are photos of the front and back of the baseball caps.





Wednesday, April 21, 2010

World of Color Debuts June 11

Just a few more days before the debut of World of Color at Disney's California Adventure.



If this doesn't get them into DCA, I don't know what will... well, maybe Cars Land! :)

Zz.

Robert Downey Jr. As The Wonderful Wizard of Oz?

A nice little rumor here about a project that Disney is backing. It seems that the story of the Wizard of Oz before he came to Oz is getting the green light, with possibly Sam Mendez directing and Robert Downey Jr. as the Wizard of Oz.

As we'd initially written, "The Whole Nine Yards" writer Mitchell Kapner wrote the script for the project, based on parts of a number of L. Frank Baum books. (It was called "Brick" back when it was first presented to Disney, but is now being talked about around town as "The Great Powerful.") The wizard, who in the Baum books was a charlatan in Kansas before arriving in Oz, is a more dark and complex character in the Roth/Kapner version than the desperate and doddering wizard of the MGM musical (played by Frank Morgan) would suggest, which in turn makes it seem like it would be perfect for Downey (and few others).


It's interesting that this is the prequel line that would become a movie first, considering that the more popular prequel that most of us are aware of was the story line on the Wicked Witch of the West as told from the musical "Wicked". It is also fascinating that Disney is doing this considering that they are already rumors about Tim Burton possibly doing a story on Mileficent, which I would think will also be a prequel before she became so bad in Sleeping Beauty. Is this a mere coincidence, or is there a pattern here? :)

Zz.

Should Disney Dump ABC?

Here's an intriguing idea that Disney might consider selling off the ABC network.

The reality in the broadcast media today is that network television properties are assets of ever-diminishing promise. Cable is where it's at. Network business models reek of a dependence on advertising revenue, a shaky proposition in the digital age. Cable's subscription-oriented structure looks much more appealing.


This idea has been around for a few years, and certainly been mentioned louder the past couple of years when ABC hasn't been doing that well.

So, if ABC gets sold and no longer becomes a part of Disney, is Barbara Walters still considered as a "Disney Legend"? After all, she got the award for her work at ABC. :)

Zz.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Surf's Up At Disneyland Resort

PCH at Disneyland Resort is now offering breakfast with Mickey and Friends.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DgEubEQzKw4

I just realized something extraordinary when reading the short blurb that accompanied the video...

In addition to the food, there are some really fun experiences for kids that set this character breakfast apart from the rest. Its the only place at the Disneyland Resort where you can dine with Mickey Mouse, and it's the only dining experience where kids can learn how to ride a wave and practice hula hooping.


Wow! That's amazing! I didn't realize that something that most of us who are regulars of WDW take for granted (dining with characters, and especially, with Mickey) is not something that is common at the Disneyland Resort.

Anyway, they have it now over there, so better late than never.

Zz.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Show White's Apple

I know of many very creative people, especially my Disney friends who are part of the Windy City Pin Traders. I've shown you some of the amazing artistry that my friend Erica could do. Well, here's something that I thought was quite creative as well.

Yesterday, during our monthly WCPT pin meet, my friend Melody showed me this that I thought was extremely clever. She found a Show While decal, and unlike you and me, she saw how she could use it in a very witty manner. She pasted it onto her Apple notebook!



This is so clever! A lot of people were admiring something that is so simple but yet so creative.

But of course, now that Steve Jobs is also part of Disney, this whole "marriage" represented by this image makes even more sense!

:)

Zz.

Weinsteins and Disney in Exclusive Talks

Looks like the Weinsteins may get Miramax back from Disney after all! Disney has open a window to allow for exclusive talks with the Weinsteins in the sale of Miramax, the studio that the Winsteins created in the first place before selling it to the Disney.

Sources close to the situation confirmed that the sides have agreed to a short exclusive window for negotiating a deal pegged at about $625 million, most of it upfront in cash. It's also understood that Disney has decided to hang on to some of the films that were previously included in the package offered for sale.


I still think that it is too bad that Disney is abandoning the only truly-adult film division. I can see the idea that maybe they just don't have the mentality and the organization to know and to create such brand. It is just sad that it seems to signal that they don't care to cater much to the adult market.

Zz.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Random WDW Picture

The Boardwalk, on a hot, summer day.



Zz.

A Mermaid In Pirates Sequel?

Hey, if you can have an octopus-faced baddie, why not a mermaid?

It seems that French actress Astrid Berges-Frisbey will be playing a mermaid in the next Pirate of the Caribbean.

Berges-Frisbey will play Syrena, a "beautiful and alluring young mermaid" who befriends Johnny Depp's Jack Sparrow, according to Disney. The 23-year-old up-and-comer has appeared in such French films as La Fille du Puisatier, Bruc, Extase and La Premiere Etoile. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides will mark Berges-Frisbey's U.S. film debut.


No word yet if she will have the desire to have feet and live on land in the movie.

Zz.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Toy Story 3 - Security Camera Footage

More stuff to entice us to go see this.



I don't need any more enticing. I'm going already! :)

Zz.

"We're Going To Disney World!" .... Yawn!

This mother did not get the reaction she was expecting when she told her boys that they're going to Disney World.

So on the morning of our trip, with camera in hand, we made the announcement.

The reaction was not what we had expected. Actually, it was the complete opposite.

There were no wild shouts of joy. No running around in circles screaming, “We're going to Disney World!”

No. In fact, my 4-year-old just laid down on the floor and issued no response. My 6-year-old crossed his arms over his chest with the most dramatic gusto, pouted his lower lip out as far as it could go and was sorely disappointed that he was going to Disney World instead of receiving a “100-feet treat.”


That's hysterical. I wish I could see the video.

Zz.

Disney's Cappellini Chairs.

More money to spend if you are filthy rich.

Disney has teamed up with the Italian furniture manufacturer to produce 4 limited edition chairs. When I looked at the picture in that news link, I was a bit confused on what the picture is showing, and where the chairs are. I thought what Mickey was sitting on was THE chair.

It turns out that that is just the sculpture that is part of the display. The 4 chairs are each different, and they are shown with their backs to the viewer and lined in front of the table. I think the red one having the Mickey ears as the back would be something I would like. But I'm sure it isn't something I can afford.

Oh well...

Zz.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Disney Stores Celebrates 40th Anniversary of Earth Day

Here's the press release on this occasion.

But don't miss the best part towards the end.

- Disney Store will give away free Friends for Change and OCEANS branded eco-friendly hats : to guests who bring in six plastic bottles or aluminum cans on Earth Day, April 22 (while supplies last). Made from six recycled plastic bottles, the hats are an example of how everyday materials can be reused for entirely different purposes.


So collect all those bottles and cans! :)

Zz.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Bob Iger Having A Cinderella Moment?

This is a wonderfully-written piece on Bob Iger (yes, another one) by the New York Times as he navigates the company.

The new take on Mr. Iger? Let us count the ways: One of the most aggressive dealmakers in media (the $7 billion purchase of Pixar, the animation studio, and the $4 billion acquisition of Marvel, the comic book publisher and movie studio); a risk-taker who isn’t afraid to make decisions that rankle Disney’s own troops (ripping apart the wiring for how the company does business in Europe); and a guy who, more than any of his big-media counterparts, is retooling antiquated industry practice, particularly when it comes to movie-making.

In short: blockbuster C.E.O.


Y'know, sometime my priority is all messed up. You'd think that reading such a lengthy and in-depth article on the Disney CEO would focus my attention on this person. But nooooooo... guess what I was more interested in? The Dancing Mickey!

I'm such a sucker for merchandise like this (ref: Easter Donald Duck), and I've always complained that the Disney stores at the theme parks have boring merchandise. The products that they licensed and sold by other vendors tend to be a lot more interesting. So I'm paying attention to when this Dancing Mickey might come out this coming holiday season.

Zz.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Last Gooding Supermarket Faces Eviction

The last of the Gooding supermarket faces the threat of eviction.

When we first got to WDW, Gooding supermarket was our favorite stop. It is convenient since it is at the Crossroad stripmall just at the doorstep of WDW. And since we used to stay in the Downtown Disney District area, the supermarket is very close. We would stop by to buy bottled water, fruits and cereal for breakfast, cheaper Disney souvenirs, etc.

But then, someone told us about a Winn-Dixie that was not that far away that has even better prices. In other words, Goodings is almost a "tourist trap" for tourists staying in the area and didn't know any better. So for the past several years, we've been shopping exclusively at the nearest Winn-Dixie and have stopped going to Goodings entirely. I suppose if you are staying in the Downtown Disney resort and don't have wheels, Goodings is a good place as any to get cheaper stuff than what you would pay at the hotel. But since we always rent a vehicle, driving up half a mile longer to buy the same stuff at an even cheaper prices is no big deal.

Too bad if Goodings has to close its doors. I'm sure it is serving its purpose for the tourists in that area.

Zz.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Toy Story 3 - Meet Ken

Toy Story 3 introduces a hunky dreamboat for Barbie - the Ken doll.



Can't wait for June 18!

Zz.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Shuttle Launch Over Cinderella Castle

This is such a cool picture. Laughing Place has an amazing snap shot of the pre-dawn launch of Space Shuttle Discovery this past Monday with Cinderella Castle in the foreground.

Cool, cool shot!

Zz.

Random WDW Picture

One time, we were THE first guest vehicle in the morning to get into the parking lot of Animal Kingdom!



Zz.

Tokyo Disney Theme Parks Beat Projected Attendance Estimates

Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea continue to outperform projected attendance.

Tokyo Disney Resort® has announced that the total combined attendance at Tokyo Disneyland® Park and Tokyo DisneySea® Park during the fiscal year 2009 (April 1, 2009 to March 31, 2010) amounted to 25,818,000 persons. This is 0.9% (218,000persons) more than projected at the beginning of this fiscal year. Although the figure is 94.8% (1,403,000persons) of the attendance figure for last year, it is the second highest in the Resort’s history.


So while Hong Kong Disneyland struggles, and Disneyland Paris languish, the Tokyo theme parks continue to be wildly popular. For many, it is the best Disney theme park outside of North America.

Zz.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Disney's California Adventure Park Update- World of Color!

Latest video update of DCA's park upgrades, with a focus on on World of Color.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V6tUwNLfaIg

That World of Color is going to be spectacular!

Zz.

Pin Celebration 2010 - Trade City, USA

If you are an avid Disney pin trader/collector, you would have known about this by now.

The 2010 Pin Celebration - Trade City USA is now open for registration. It was opened on March 31st, and there are a few new things being done this year. They have a special vinylmation event, a breakfast reception, and a dessert reception, all of which are at additional costs in addition to the event registration. They are also giving out the early bird registration pin to the first 750, rather than those who register before a certain date.

This event may turn out to be more popular than last year. An early indication that it might be is that the breakfast reception is already sold out less than 5 days after registration was opened. The other indication that this might be a better event is that this is the 10th anniversary year of Disney pin trading. One can only hope that they're going to pull out all stops and not do an "economized" version such as last year.

Yours truly will be attending this event, even though it will be in the middle of god-awful heat of the summer. I will, of course, be reporting from the event on here.

Zz.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Disney's Apps for the iPad

With the iPad being released today, Disney already has a slew of apps and exclusives for the iPad.

New applications and content created just for the iPad will let early adopters screen full ad-supported episodes of 20 or so programs and explore interactive e-books, videos and more exclusive material from Disney and its corporate children ABC and ESPN. The ABC.com website has also been optimized for the touchscreen device. A slick demo of the ABC Player shows off the new app’s capabilities.


Not sure how useful this will be as far as the theme parks go. The iPhone or other mobile devices are more useful there when you want to check ride times, etc. The iPad will be too bulky to carry around at a theme park.

Zz.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

The Making of "Mickey Notes"

Some time, the things they do really is amazing. This is the planning and execution of the "Mickey Notes", which is all those sticky notes that formed Mickey's head.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DjtKvpxp-50

Zz.