Thursday, May 27, 2010

Lee DeWyze Going To Disney World

Mount Prospect's own Lee DeWyze, this season's American Idol champion, is going to Walt Disney World.



Congratulations, Lee!

Zz.

Where in Walt Disney World?

We haven't had this in a while, so here's one. Where in Walt Disney World can you find this?



Zz.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

"Alice" Approaching the $1 Billion Mark

"Alice in Wonderland" is about to hit the $1 billion mark worldwide, and will probably surpass "The Dark Knight".

The Mouse House reported that global earnings for "Alice" reached $997.1 million as of Monday, making it the sixth-highest grossing film ever behind Warner Bros.' "The Dark Knight," which earned $1 billion worldwide in 2008.

And while "Alice" is expected to eclipse "Dark Knight" in the coming weeks, the boffo benchmark points to a significant shift in theatrical distribution.

David Kornblum, Disney's VP of international sales and distribution, said that while most tentpoles debut during summer or holiday periods, "Alice's" first-quarter launch repped a high note for year-round distribution. "By going in the spring, it truly rings the bell that moviegoing is a 52-week business," Kornblum said.


So it appears that while "Jaws" may have introduced the summer blockbuster concept back in the mid 70's, "Alice" may have opened the concept of a Spring blockbuster period for the movies. We shall see if this catches on.

Zz.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Marty Sklar On His Career With Disney

This is a wonderful look back on his illustrious career with Disney. It is part of a speech Marty gave at the Once Upon a Classic club.

Zz.

DVC's "Sea What's Next"

We attended a DVC event at the Woodfield Mall here this past weekend, organized by the DVC and their preview center, the Disney Doorway to Dream store. It was a fun event, lots of food and refreshment, characters, and presentations to get us to buy more points with a number of enticements. Of course, Deevy Cee was there in all her squealness.

Here are some pictures from the event. It was held at the Improve theater at the mall.


A few friendly/funny banter between the host and Deevy Cee. We also got to see some preview videos of the upcoming DCA rehab, the Disney Dream cruise ship, etc..


The enticements to add points were heavy on getting cruises on the Disney Dream. Add certain amount of points, and you get various length of cruises on that ship when it is in service.

Soon, it was time for characters, dancing, and a lot of good times. I must say that they brought all of the Fab 5 to come to the event, so that was very nice. All of them are dressed in sailor outfit, even Pluto!










Of course, there was lots and lots of fruits and tropical drinks with little umbrellas, to go with the sailing/island theme of the event.




There were a few freebies. We all got the reusable DVC bags, and SOME of us got the DVC portfolio.


They also give out a portrait of sailor Mickey.


On the whole, it was a fun event, but I must say that the enticements this time is a bit weak, weaker than I remember from past events. Still, the one good thing that we found out was that the number of DVC points needed to go on one of the cruises on Disney Dream is LESS than what it is now for the current 2 ships. This is because, of course, the Disney Dream is significantly larger, and there's more state room on it.

So it looks like December 2011 will be our first Disney Cruise! :)

Zz.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Theme Park Balloons

You can't miss it. The moment you walk into either Disneyland, or the Magic Kingdom, you see these balloons. So here's a bit of the behind-the-scenes on these balloons at Disneyland.



But here's something I didn't know...


By the way, if you ever pop a balloon while you are in the Park, just bring it back to the vendor and they will give you a new one!


Ah yes, but what if it floated away? Maybe those things attached at the end of the balloon is heavy enough to not let it do that.

Zz.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Disneyland Railroad- Steam Train Engineers

Every role is a starring role, and this time, it's the turn of the steam train engineers at Disneyland.



Zz.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

New Disney Store Planned for Chicago's Block 37

Thanks to Diane for pointing out this news.

Block 37 in the Chicago's Loop area of Downtown has a long, checkered history of trying to find a purpose. At one point, it was an ice skating ring, and even had the possibility of having the first ever Harrod's store outside of the UK. That didn't happen and the city block continues to be an empty piece of land.

Now, it appears that thanks to Disney, it may become a major retail area. Disney will be part of a mall space occupying Block 37. And it will be one of the re-imagineered Disney Stores.

Disney executives were not immediately available to comment on the Block 37 deal. In a press release announcing the new store design last week, the company described the concept as "a unique destination developed from a child's perspective" that "integrates the latest technology to create an enhanced shopping experience." One feature of the stores is a "Disney Princess" castle, where a child can wave a magic wand in front of a mirror inside to summon a Disney princess.

The new stores are designed to be more immersive than a traditional retail store, with shoppers interacting with Disney characters or watching film clips in an in-store theater. CB Richard Ellis said the Block 37 location will total 4,464 square feet and anchor the mall's southeast corner on Level 1. Its size will be about 80 percent of that of cosmetics retailer Sephora, which occupies 6,000 square feet.


I was hoping that it would be a World of Disney store, but this is a good second option. I hope they will consider adults and also us Disney pin traders when they design this store. Having periodic pin trading opportunity would be a blast. Too bad I can no longer hop on the Red Line L and get to this place in less than 1/2 hour. Still, driving to the River Road station and getting onto the Blue Line L isn't bad.

So I wonder whether they will keep the current Disney Store on Michigan Ave that's about a mile away. If they close this, I hope they will continue providing Chicago-specific Disney merchandise. Those things are a blast!

Zz.

Random WDW Picture

The electrical water pageant, as seen from the Top of the World lounge at Bay Lake Tower.



Zz.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Moving The Winner The Pooh Tree

The Winner the Pooh tree at Fantasyland at MK was successfully moved. This is all part of the revamping and expansion of MK's Fantasyland.



Zz.

'Force' Perspective with Mickey & Goofy!

Obviously a play on word for "false" perspective, something that they use very often at Disney theme parks. Still, this is a rather charming, short video promoting the upcoming Star Wars Weekend at DHS.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k3EkXTrvPXA

Zz.

"Pirates 4" Will Be In 3D

Disney has confirmed that "Pirates of the Caribbean 4 - On Stranger Tides" will be in 3D. I mean, why not, considering the huge amount of money 3D movies are making so far.

Disney are planning to shoot the movie in the format rather than converting it at a later stage, Variety says.


Too bad there isn't a 4D to go with the 4th Pirates.... well, there is a 4D, but not in this context! :)

Zz.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Time For Some Quality Control At DTD Wolfgang Puck Express

I had a disappointing meal at Wolfgang Puck Express at WDW Downtown Disney this past April. Here's the story.

The last time I was there, which was this past December, 2009, I actually had quite a good meal. I ordered the pocket moo shoo chicken, which was very yummy. Another in our party had the chicken melt, which was also excellent. On a later visit during the same trip, we went back and ordered the pizza. They were disappointing to say the least. The pizza crusts were limp, and the bottom of the pizza were short of being doughy. It was not what I expected, considering that Wolfgang Puck made his name with Spago and practically popularized the California pizza craze.

Anyhow, these are the pictures of the moo shoo chicken pocket, and the chicken melt.



So when we went back to WDW this past April, we had dinner at Wolfgang Puck Express. I already made up my mind to order the moo shoo chicken pocket again and staying away from the pizza. Well, guess what? They had changed the menu! No more moo shoo chicken pocket. I also don't recall seeing the chicken melt. It was highly disappointing. So instead, I ordered the grilled vegetable sandwich.

Now, I should have known that there would be trouble ahead as early as at the cash register. When the cashier repeated our order, he mentioned my order as "veggie melt", which isn't even on the menu board. So I corrected him and told him that I order the grilled vegetable sandwich (which is what was written on the menu board). He told me that that's what it is, and that "veggie melt" is their name for it. So I said OK, even though I didn't expect the sandwich to have anything to melt.

OK, so now we were waiting for our food at our table while enjoying the conversation and the evening. The food arrives. Er... wrong order! I got a "turkey melt"! I showed the server my receipt and that I'm supposed to get the grilled vegetable sandwich, and told him so even though it said "veggie melt" on the receipt. So he apologized (the server was actually quite pleasant in all of this, and really, none of this is his fault at all) and told me that he will make sure they tackle my order immediately.

Now, before I told you what I got, here's a question for you. When you see something that says "grilled vegetable sandwich", what do you envision in your head? For me, when I see that, I see sliced pieces of vegetables such as green peppers, onions, zucchini, etc., all grilled, having charred marks, and then layered between bread to make a sandwich. I mean, I've had plenty of grilled vegetable sandwich before. In fact, Artiste Palate at Saratoga Springs has an amazing grilled vegetable sandwich. So I don't think I am being unusual in expecting something close to that.

Well, here's what I got when the order finally came. In between the two pieces of bread, I saw at the bottom of the pile, some small amount of DICED vegetables (can't figure out what they were, really) that had been smothered with a melted cheese. On top of this mess, was a heaping pile of arugula. Now, I like arugula, and I don't mind such a heaping pile at all. But where were the GRILLED VEGETABLES????!!! The sandwich should have been called arugula sandwich with diced vegetables and melted cheese. I then realized that the name "veggie melt" was the more appropriated name for it than what was advertised on the menu board!

When our server came by to check up on us, I asked him if the grilled vegetable sandwich was supposed to look like this, especially when there were no "grilled vegetable" in evidence. He kinda acknowledged that this was what the sandwich was supposed to look like. But then, he told me that next time when I order the sandwich, ask for the vegetables that were meant for the pizza. Supposedly, these are larger pieces of vegetables, and if I ask for them, these will be used to build the sandwich.

OK, so now things are getting confusing, and frankly, ridiculous. First of all, I thought the vegetables used for pizza are usually diced vegetables, which was what I got! Secondly, why is there even this option that isn't told to the customers?

At this point, I just got fed up and ate my sandwich and vowed to no longer go back to Wolfgang Puck Express unless they bring back my moo shoo chicken pocket. I'll go back to my reliable Earl of Sandwich, which gives you exactly what you expect, and having a consistent quality of food, without any "hidden" menu items.

I suppose if you order the pizza and the "standard" items, you probably won't go wrong there. But try ordering something that isn't that popular and who knows what you would get. Calling what I got as "grilled vegetable sandwich" is false advertisement. Someone there needs to be taught some culinary information on what such a thing should be.

Zz.

Star Wars Weekends Now Arriving

OK, this video is waaaay too cool! Someone at Disney Parks must have had quite an imagination and a lot of fun doing something like this. And as a Disney theme park fan, I love watching such videos.



More of these, and more of those tilt-shift videos, please!

Zz.

Two "20,000 Leagues" in the Works

Oh, now this should be interesting.

After canceling "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea", Disney is now in talks to produce this Jules Verne's classic. But interestingly enough, Fox is also working on the same material!

Months after deep-sixing a McG-helmed version of "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea," Disney is in negotiations with David Fincher to direct a new take on the classic Jules Verne story.

At the same time, Fox is prepping its own version of the submarine tale. Producers Ridley and Tony Scott are developing "Leagues" for the studio with a script by "Clash of the Titans" co-writer Travis Beacham. And they've been talking with director Timur Bekmambetov ("Wanted") about shooting the big-budget adaptation.

Which "20,000 Leagues" will set sail first?


I know it'll never happen because studios tend to schedule the release of movies according to their own logic, but wouldn't it be fascinating if they both get released around the same time?

Zz.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Play-Testing With Talking Mickey Mouse

OK, so we've heard all about Disney testing a new meet-and-greet Mickey Mouse that will not only move his mouth, but also talk! Here's the latest video on the testing of such a character.



It is very cool! It adds a whole new dimension to the character interaction, very much like the interaction with Crush.

I can only hope that they employ this soon park-wide, and includes Donald Duck!

Zz.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

DisneyStore.com Now A Discover Card Retail Partner

If you have Discover credit card, don't miss the fact that DisneyStore.com is now one of their retail partners. You get 5% cash back if you buy anything online from DisneyStore.com using your Discover card. But you must access the DisneyStore website through the Discover card website.

Of course, the drawback here is that you don't get the special deals that are reserved only for Disney Visa card. But hey, that's the trade off you have to consider for yourself.

Zz.

Lotso Captured On Video

Sighting of Lotso at a Disney theme park, captured on video.



Is this similar to a Yeti sighting, or a Loch Ness monster sighting?

Zz.

Disney's Art of Animation Resort

Disney unveils plans for a new resort adjacent to the Pop Century. Called the Disney's Art of Animation Resort, it will be a resort themed around 4 animated movies: The Lion King, Cars, Finding Nemo, and The Little Mermaid. Is it just a coincidence that it is evenly divided between Pixar and Disney Animation Studios movies? :)

It’s a resort designed with families in mind. There will be amazing sights at the different themed wings of the resort, including a model of King Triton that’ll eventually be 35 feet tall and tower over guests. And Disney’s Art of Animation Resort will also have themed room interiors in its nearly 2,000 new units — 1,120 family suites in The Lion King, Cars and Finding Nemo wings and 864 themed rooms in The Little Mermaid wings. Suites will have both a living room and a bedroom, offering added space.


All I can envisioned after this is a resort chokefull of KIDS! I'm staying away from this one!

:)

Zz.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Funny Disney T-shirt

I first saw this t-shirt at World of Disney in WDW's Downtown Disney last December. But for some strange reason, I didn't buy it then, and I regretted it after I got home. Luckily, I saw it again during this last trip, and bought it. It is the funniest Disney t-shirt that I have.


Fun!

Zz.

All Quiet

I haven't been posting much lately, mainly because I'm busy with work, but also trying to recover from my last Disney trip. I will have a few things to comment on based on this last trip, so stay tune. In the meantime, we are all waiting 'breathlessly' for the report from the Walt Disney Company on its performance for the 2nd Quarter. The report will be released after the market closes today.

Let's see if these so-called "analysts" know what they're talking about, which hasn't been the case previously.

Zz.

Friday, May 07, 2010

Disney Cruise Line Tilt-Shift Video

I love, love, LOVE, these tilt-shift videos. We've had one on Epcot, Magic Kingdom, etc. And now, it's the Disney Cruise line turn. Not only is the video very imaginative, but the music is a lot of fun as well, and not just for this one, but for all the previous tilt-shift videos that Disney has released. They should definitely use these as promotional videos.



I hope they released the whole collection of these videos on DVDs or something. I'd buy it!

Zz.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Disney's Harmony Barber Shop

There's a lot of "Awwwwww...." moments in this video of the barber shop at The Magic Kingdom.



I've never had a haircut there. Have you? I know of someone who would get a haircut whenever he's there. Maybe next time, I'll keep my hair long just to get a haircut when I'm at WDW. Wonder if I can get glitter sprinkled all over my hair?

Zz.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Caring for the Antique Horses on King Arthur Carousel

A wonderful video of the behind the scenes in the caring of those amazing horses on the King Arthur Carousel.



Zz.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

At OIA

We are at OIA waiting for our flight home. Had a wonderful last day at DHS. We rode toy story mania not once, not twice, not three time, but FOUR FREAKING TIMES!! In fact, we rode the first two in less than an hour. The standby line in the morning was less than 15 mins long.

It was a fun trip. Can't wait for August and the pin event.

Toy story mania

In line at toy story mania.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Voice of liberty

At the America pavilion listening to Voice of Liberty.

Donald's Great Adventure - At DHS

I spent the day at Disney's Hollywood Studios yesterday. It was a lot of fun, but a lot of people. A couple of times my feathers got ruffled because people were jostling and rushing towards Toy Story Mania as soon as the rope dropped.

I went on Tower of Terror. I don't know why ZapperZ insisted that he took a picture of me after we are all strapped in. Hey, shouldn't I already be secured in the seats for this?


We then went to the Animation Academy. They were very nice to give me my own drawing pad and pencil. But folks, I don't have a thumb and can't hold a pencil!


I wonder what other "adventures" ZapperZ will get me into today.

DD.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Illuminations

At world showcase lagoon waiting for illuminations. Large crowds.

Goodbye MK

We are done with MK for today. It was hot! Heading back to our resort to relax before doing Epcot tonight.

On main street

Sitting on main street waiting for the school band parade

Haunted mansion

About to meet the ghost host.

Splash

About to go on splash

To MK

At TTC making our way to MK. Huge crowds. MK is going to be packed today.

Donald's Great Adventure - Pin Trading NIght

I made my appearance at the monthly Pin Trading night at the Contemporary. As expected, there were a lot of pin traders, some carrying what looked like coolers on rollers. Wow! Those must have been really valuable pins to be kept in temperature-controlled climate!

Here, they are already busy doing serious pin trading.


I have plenty of fans who are pin traders. They were just clamoring to get a picture with me. Right, Peter?


I also met up with Steven Miller, the Project Manager for Disney Pin Trading. He even confessed that he's a big Donald Duck fan! So there ya go!


If you ever have the chance to chat with Steven, you should. He's a very nice guy, and extremely friendly to talk to. Tell him that Donald sent you.

I had a fun evening. Too bad I didn't bring any pins to trade.

DD.