Monday, August 29, 2011

Where In Walt Disney World?

OK, so the weather might make this looks a bit unusual, but this is from a place that a lot of people should have seen or noticed. So where in Walt Disney World is this?


Surround Haptics From Disney Research

Probably coming to a favorite theme park near you, or a video game at some point.

Disney Research has produced a new technology called "Surround Haptics".

Now Disney Research is taking this experience to a whole new level, using a new technology called Surround Haptics. Imagine driving a virtual car – you press the gas pedal and get an actual sensation of the surge of power; or the retarding force of a brake! You can also feel the bumps on the road in a cross-country terrain.

All this can be possible, with the use of a grid of actuators that are programmed to vibrate in tandem, creating a sensation of touch or feel. The technology is a result of years of research and experiments to understand the perception of touch in humans and then modeling it to replicate the sensations.

Don't you think that is screaming for a theme park attraction? Can we cay "Cars Land"?


Saturday, August 27, 2011

Friday, August 26, 2011

Steve Jobs and Disney

With the resignation of Steve Jobs as Apple CEO, the question now for us Disney fans (and bloggers) is his future with the Walt Disney Company. As a Disney Board member, a big point to note is that Steve Jobs holds a larger stake in Disney than he does in Apple!

2) Jobs' Stake in Disney Is Twice As Big As His Slice of Apple
As a result of his Pixar sale, Steve Jobs owns 7.4% of Disney (DIS), or 138 million shares, worth roughly $4.5 billion. At the same time, his latest disclosed stake in Apple of 5.5 million shares, represents roughly 0.5% of the total float and is worth about $2.1 billion. His stake in Apple doesn't even make him a top 20 shareholder. In Disney, Jobs' is the top shareholder. His stake is way above Fidelity, Blackrock, State Street, and Vanguard which own chunks ranging from 3 to 4.5%.

Presumably, his involvement in the Walt Disney Company is significantly less than in Apple, so any pullback from his responsibility as a Disney board member would not affect Disney. But one just never know.


Thursday, August 25, 2011

Disney Parks Chairman Tom Staggs in Cast Member Jobs

I love it when Disney executives either make personal effort to make guests feel welcome, or if they have a wonderful sense of humor about themselves. This is one such example. Disney Parks Chairman Tom Staggs showed a hilarious video during the past D23 event of him in various cast member jobs.



Random WDW Picture

On Splash Mountain, my most favorite attraction at the Magic Kingdom. Note that you can see a bit of the castle, and a bit of Space Mountain.


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Arnold Palmer Group To Take Over WDW Golf Courses

Looks like Disney is getting out of the business of running golf courses, at least at WDW.

The giant resort said Wednesday it has struck a 20-year-deal to turn over its five golf courses to a group headlined by legendary golfer Arnold Palmer. The move pairs Disney World's courses with one of golf's best-recognized brand names while also allowing the resort to step back from a business that has become less attractive amid competition from a glut of new courses built during the housing bubble.
 Not sure if this is good or bad, since it doesn't affect me in the least bit. :)


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Upcoming Pixar Movies

At the past D23 Expo, fans got a reveal of several Disney/Pixar movies in the works.

The Untitled Pixar Movie About Dinosaurs: “What the world might have been like if dinosaurs were never wiped out by a giant asteroid, but continued to exist on Earth.” Holiday 2013 release.

The Untitled Pixar Movie That Takes You Inside the Human Mind: “explor[ing] the reasons why we get songs stuck in our head, why we dream, and even why we remember.” Spring 2014 release.

Brave: ”Pixar’s first female-driven film stars Boardwalk Empire’s Kelly MacDonald as Merida, a princess set on escaping her fate of an arranged marriage to one of three idiot clan leaders.” With Billy Connolly and Craig Ferguson. June 22, 2012 release.

Wreck-It Ralph: “Inside the world of retro, 8-bit video games” with a look that apparently “stay[s] true to the look of classic video games.” With the voice talents of  John C. Reilly and Sarah Silverman. 2012 release.

Monsters University: A prequel to Monsters Incorporated “that will take us back in time to show how Mike and Sully became buddies.” Billy Crystal and John Goodman return. 2013 release.

PlanesCars but with airplanes, from DisneyToon Studios. “The only non-Pixar animated project debuted at D23, Planes stars John Cryer as Dusty, a cropduster who decides to take off an adventure around the globe.” Spring 2013 release.

Why am I not too enthusiastic about that last one? It sounds as if they ran out of new stories to tell. Is that why it got "relegated" to the in-house DisneyToon Studios?

Edit: And oh, here's a video to accompany this story:

Anyhow, having seen the trailer for "Brave", I am very much looking forward to this one.


Monday, August 22, 2011

Sunday at 2011 D23 Expo

More sights from the Sunday at this year's D23 Expo, including shots from the Carousel of Projects.

This, obviously, is a more lifesize rendition of the ride vehicle for the Seven Dwarfs Mine attraction.

And this is a replica of the statue that will be unveiled at the new DCA. I posted the video of the announcement yesterday.

Eeeeek! Vinylmations!

OK, I'll take those Duck prints...

Donald would have gotten a kick out of seeing this. I wonder where he went?

Oh, of course. He's eying those cupcakes!

Hey, what is this guy doing? Is he writing a graffiti on Walt's nose? :)

Hum... don't I know you from somewhere?


Sunday, August 21, 2011

New Walt and Mickey Statute for DCA Unveiled

A new Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse statute for the new Disney's California Adventure was unveiled today at the D23 Expo.


2011 D23 Expo

More sights around the 2011 D23 Expo at the Anaheim Convention Center.

Looks like Lightning McQueen and Mator were around. I wonder if they're in another spy caper at the convention....

Lines, lines, everywhere!

So much to see and do.


Saturday, August 20, 2011

A computer simulation of the Seven Dwarfs Mine roller coaster. I think there are a few scenes inside the mine that isn't shown, which is fine because I would like to be surprised when I ride this thing.

We'll just have to wait till this new Fantasyland attraction opens to see it in its full glory.


Kermit and Rowlf sing "Rainbow Connection"

Ah, this brings back lots of pleasant memories!

Kermit the Frog, and Rowlf the Dog (I suppose) performed "Rainbow Connection" at the D23 Expo currently happening at the Anaheim convention center. I love this tune that came from the first Muppet Movie.


Friday, August 19, 2011

Long Lines At D23 Expo

Long lines of fans waiting to get into D23 Expo.


Donald's Great Adventure - At Disneyland

Greetings again, my great Friends! This is your lovable Donald Duck reporting from the Happiest Place on Earth! I am here enjoying sunny southern California, and having a great reunion with all my buddies from the "old country".

Here I am in the Disney Gallery. Hey, anyone knows the combination to the vault?

I think they are doing an exhibition of the work of my very good friend, Mary Blair. You could come on down and see it!

I had a craving for something sweet (what, you think that ice cream I had at the Soda Fountain was enough?). Went into the candy store, and I just HAD to get this chocolate!

Y'know, this view gets to me EVERY time. I'm home! I'm truly home!!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Random WDW Picture

From SpectroMagic at the Magic Kingdom.


You Are Seeing A Movie NOT For Its Story

Yes folks. All these claims that the story is the most important factor in a movie, and that the audience really care more about the story are all, in the word of a Disney executive, "bullshit". This is what Disney Animation Studios chief technical officer Andy Hendrickson claimed.

Sadly, his comments, delivered at last weekend's Siggraph Conference, are not meant to be looked upon as a call to arms. If anything, he's advising fellow studio honchos to bankroll effects-driven eye-candy as opposed to films that have stories to sell. In Hendrickson's opinion most people would rather spend their entertainment dollars on "spectacle," not storytelling.

Besides the fact that the use of that word is rather inappropriate for a conference, and as a representative of the Walt Disney Company, he also appeared to not only dissed movies made by Disney, but also in some way, insulted the audience who paid to see those movies.

Hendrickson even went so far as to bite the hand that feeds him. He used Disney's recent Alice in Wonderland as a defense of his theory: “The story isn’t very good, but visual spectacle brought people in droves. And Johnny Depp didn’t hurt.”

Of course, this whole philosophy severely contradicts the philosophy at Pixar and John Lasseter, where story is the #1 element of their movies (with the exception of "Cars 2").

Maybe Hendrickson should just stick with the "technical" aspect of Disney animation. I wonder if there might be a fall-out out of this thing, such as no more public engagement for him.


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Donald's Great Adventure - At The Soda Fountain

Greeting my legions of fans! This is your idol Donald Duck reporting once again. This time, I am at Disney's Soda Fountain store in the land of tinsel. No, I am not here auditioning for a movie part. Big movie stars like me don't have to audition for anything ... well, maybe for Dancing with the Stars, but that's another story.

Here I am staring at the menu at the Soda Fountain trying to narrow down what I want. This is always a difficult decision because, to be honest, I am such a big ice cream addict. I love it. The only bad thing is that my bill gets covered in melted ice cream after one of these bouts. Do you remember having to take off your muddy boots before you can enter your house? Well, Daisy would make me take off my bill if I could before I could enter the house after I had some ice cream!

Of course, I always have plenty of fans around, especially cast members. This is cast member James, who took my order. He was really happy to finally get a picture with me, as you can tell.

So what did I end up eventually? Why, the pin traders Sundae, or course! ZapperZ always tells me never pass up something that has a free pin. So I didn't! Besides, can't you tell already that this is one yummy concoction?


I was a stuffed duck by the end of that.

Your buddy,


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Disney/Pixar Stamps To Go On Sale August 19, 2011

The US Post Office will have Disney/Pixar stamps on sale starting August 19, 2011.

This pane of 20 stamps includes five different designs featuring characters Lightning McQueen and Mater from Cars (2006); Remy the rat and Linguini from Ratatouille (2007); Buzz Lightyear and two of the green, three-eyed aliens from Toy Story (1995); Carl Fredricksen and Dug from Up (2009); and the robot WALL*E from WALL*E (2008). The back of the stamp pane shows seven blue-pencil sketches of the characters from these movies interspersed among text that discusses each film. Art directors Terrence W. McCaffrey and William J. Gicker worked with Disney•Pixar to design the stamp art.
 They will be the Forever stamps, so get them now to be used ... forever!


Possible Reason Why DVC President Was Fired

We learn a little bit more on the unexpected firing of the Disney Vacation Club President Jim Lewis. It appears to be the debacle with the calculation on the annual dues for the Aulani resort.

Those people said Disney concluded that Vacation Club executives had calculated dues amounts so low that they would not generate enough money to cover the cost of maintaining Aulani. The inadequate dues amounts were included in legal-disclosure documents submitted to the Hawaiian government.

Disney said Aulani's operating costs were underestimated, leading to the inadequate annual dues. It said the mistake was unintentional.
It appears that Jim Lewis wasn't the only one let go. Two other Disney executives involved also were fired.

For now, they have stopped all new sales to Aulani. It will be interesting to see how they plan to readjust the annual dues for this resort in their new filing with the Hawaiian government.


Monday, August 15, 2011

Behind The Scenes At Enchanted Tiki Room

With the rehab of the Magic Kingdom's Enchanted Tiki Room back to its original show, here's a behind the scenes look at this attraction.


Random WDW Picture

The Disney's Beach Club on a perfect, gorgeous day.


Saturday, August 13, 2011

DVC President Fired?

Wow! More unexpected news and shake-up within the Walt Disney Company. We had a major reorganization of the company's theme park operations a while back, and now, reports are coming that Jim Lewis, President of the Disney Vacation Club, has been ousted.

The president of Walt Disney Co.'s time-share business was fired Friday, according to several people familiar with the move.

A spokeswoman for Disney confirmed late Friday night that Disney Vacation Club President Jim Lewis was no longer with the company. She declined to discuss further details.
Hum.. wonder what that's all about. Are they blaming him for the slow DVC business during the economic crisis? I guess in some sense, unless Jim Hill has an inside information, we'll never know.


Disney Halts Production of "The Lone Ranger"

This certainly came out of nowhere.

This has halted the production of "The Lone Ranger" due to its ballooning cost.

Walt Disney Pictures have shut down the production of Johnny Depp-starring adventure film "The Lone Ranger" due to budgetary issue. It was said that director Gore Verbinski and the production team have tried to reduce the budget from $250 million to $232 million, but it is still far from the $200 million the studio wanted the project to spend.
Even with Johnny Depp in the movie, Disney can only stomach the production cost up to a certain point, obviously. And I don't blame them. Does Gore Verbinski know how to make a low-budget movie in the first place?

We shall see if this gets revived, or it is dead in the water.


Friday, August 12, 2011

Video of Disney/Pixar's "Up" House For Sale

I mentioned more than a month ago of the replica house from Disney/Pixar's "Up" that's for sale in Utah. We now have a video of the property.

I wonder if the MLS listing of this property has this video? :)


WDW Will Add A New Monorail Train

WDW will soon get back its full compliment of 12 monorail trains with the addition of one more.

Disney said the new train will begin testing during the next few weeks, though it will initially lack the colored stripe that is used to identify each of the resort's trains. It will eventually be painted with a peach-colored stripe.

Disney hasn't had 12 monorail trains in service since July 5, 2009, when two of its trains collided in a 2 a.m. cash that killed 21-year-old Austin Wuennenberg, a monorail driver and part-time Disney employee from Kissimmee.
 I just wish that start letting guests back into the front car. That was a highlight of any of our trip to WDW.


Thursday, August 11, 2011

Morocco Pavilion At Night

It is my opinion that the Morocco pavilion at Epcot's World Showcase has the most unique and fascinating architecture of all the countries there. One can argue that Japan and China also can make such a claim. But I think here in the US, we are more familiar with those two cultures. So in the sense of being less familiar in general, Morocco pavilion wins.

I've taken lots of photos of this pavilion. But this series of photos taken in one evening are, I think, some of my most favorite. So I'm sharing them with you. Enjoy!