Friday, September 30, 2011

Haunted Mansion

I'm hot, stinky and need a shower. But we are in line for Haunted Mansion.

Boo To You

Watching Boo Too You parade.


At MK for MNSSHP. Waiting for Boo To you parade.

Dinner entertainment

We have dinner entertainment. BTW our servers are all zombies, and I mean it in a good way.


Noah is creating a one of a kind art to be auctioned off at the end of the banquet.


We are eating. The decorations are amazing. Real pipe organ

Going in

They opened the doors for the banquet and we are in!


Crowds waiting for the banquet.

Artist Signing

Artist signing going on.

AP cell

They just released an Annual Pass cell for sale at the event. We are in line to get them.


Shopping at Fantasia store and relaxing. We got our 40th Anniversary vases signed by the artists.


Having lunch at the Contempo cafe. The beef flatbread is excellent.


In line to get our pictures taken.

Room For 1 More

We are at the event. They have decorations at the entrance to one of the ballrooms.

Room For 1 More Credentials

For this event, they're trying something new (at least for me). Instead of giving a paper/plastic credential with your name on it, they instead are giving this credit-card size thing that you attach to a lanyard. It has the design of the event.

As if that's not unusual enough, the bottom half of the card flips up to reveal a USB compatible memory drive.

Supposedly, there will be photographs taken at the event, and they will be stored on this device. At the end of the day, you get one complimentary photo, and the option to purchase all the other photos to be stored on this drive.

That's rather interesting, but I'll reserve my judgement after the whole thing is over to see how this works. But this is cool, though.


Thursday, September 29, 2011


We are done with registration and merchandise pick up. There was a whole lot of confusion with the Mr Toad gift and extra purchase and shipping. Oy vey! I just hope what should arrive will arrive.

We are going for dinner at a Chinese buffet place on 535.

Still in line

Oh my god. The line is moving so slowly! I see many people walking with large boxes. I'm glad I got some of them shipped.

They are continuously playing Haunted Mansion music and spiel in the bachground.


In line for early registration for Room for 1 More event.


Having lunch at Fultons. Good discount for DVC members.

We are here!

We have arrived at the Most Magical Place on Earth.

At airport

We are at the airport. Everything is going smoothly. Not busy at all.

Off to WDW!

We are all packed and about ready to head out to the airport. Donald is securely fasten in my backpack (I can hear him grumbling).

This should be a fun trip!


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Room For 1 More-WDW 40th Anniversary-Food&Wine-Festival Trip!


After being back only for about 2 1/2 weeks, we are going back to WDW for a very tight and packed 4-day trip. The main purpose of this trip is to attend the Haunted Mansion event "Room For 1 More". I am very much looking forward to this event. While the activities being planned are rather limited, we get to go into MK in the evening for the Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party. Of course, I mentioned earlier all the treatment we will be getting once there. This ought to be fun.

The next day, of course, is WDW's 40th Anniversary. I'm all about the merchandise that they will have on that day. We will try to get into one of the signings by various artists that they will have, but I'm aiming for pins, t-shirts, and other merchandise. And then, stay for the evening for the special fireworks.

Our last day there on Sunday will be spent at Epcot and the Food and Wine festival. I must admit that I haven't been terribly impressed by the quality of the food they sell at this event. Once you get a limp, doughy samosa, you kinda lower your expectations very much for this event. I will still sample the offerings, and I certainly hope they pay closer attention to the quality.

I will, as usual, blog "live" as I go along. And of course, Donald will make his appearance here and there. However, with the trip being so busy, I don't know how much of his report that I can put on here. Besides, he's being very cranky right now. He's complaining about having to pack again after just unpacking 2 weeks ago from our last trip. Can't win!


Random WDW Picture

One of my most favorite shot that I took during this past vacation at WDW. This is at the Boardwalk Inn.


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Random WDW Picture



John Lennon Ended The Beatles at Disney World

Wow! Talk about a piece of history. I stumbled upon this story linked from the Laughing Place. Ultimate Classic Rock website detailed the official dissolution of The Beatles that had Walt Disney World as the background.

John and May planned to spend Christmas in Florida, leaving New York for West Palm Beach. After the holiday, an Apple lawyer brought the mammoth contract for Lennon to sign at Disney World, where he was staying at the Polynesian Village Hotel. Thus, with the Magic Kingdom as his backdrop, he picked up his pen and officially finished off the Beatles right then and there. The date was Dec. 29, 1974.


Monday, September 26, 2011

Lasseter Family Wine

Here's a different story on John Lasseter that does not involve animation. It is his, and his wife's involvement in winery.

Nancy remembers the joyful, back-breaking work as if it were yesterday — the shoveling of zinfandel bunches into the back of a truck, the hand pressing, the bees.

“I’ll never forget her coming home completely splattered with red wine and the look on her face,” John said. “She was so excited. Wow, okay, I thought, now I want to do this.”

By 1997, they bottled up enough zinfandel and a Bordeaux blend to print out Lasseter Family Winery labels to give out as Christmas gifts and that was that — a new family business was born.
Hum.. back-breaking work is not my idea of a "joyful" memory, but OK.

So, anyone has ever tasted any wine from the Lasseter winery? I don't think I've ever come across it in supermarkets and speciality store so far. But then again, I wasn't looking for it.


Random WDW Picture

This, of course, is at Expedition Everest.


Sunday, September 25, 2011

Random WDW Picture and a Hidden Mickey

Here's a random WDW picture that also contains a hidden Mickey. This is at Sci Fi Dine-In Theater. As you first enter and reach the host podium, there is a backboard behind the podium. This is on the left side of the board.

There is another hidden Mickey is the same area. Right behind where there are seats for people waiting to get in, there is a print on the wall for the Attack of the 80ft Woman or something like that. Look at the lower left side of the print (diagonally down from her butt). There is another hidden Mickey against one of the buildings in the print.

There is at least one more inside the dining area itself, but that is a lot more difficult to snap.

Both of these were taken during our last trip this past September.


Saturday, September 24, 2011

The Curse Of Being A Disney Theme Park Fan

I'm sure that Disney theme park fans look at the world in a slightly skewed way.

I'm shopping around online for wall art and stuff to hang off the wall, when I stumbled upon this item.

Now c'mon. What can someone like me do anything else but immediately hunt for a hidden Mickey in there? I just can't help it. It's just staring at me!


Room for 1 More Event - Extra Surprises?

Most of you (or none of you) know that I will be attending the Haunted Mansion's event "Room for 1 More" at the Contemporary next week. I am looking forward to the event, but still, I'm a but underwhelmed by the merchandise that had for sale, and also the itinerary of the event. In fact, to be honest, I thought the itinerary sucks! I couldn't believe that, a Haunted Mansion event does not include a special ride-through for the attendees. And keep in mind that, even though they are providing dinner/meal, one is paying $285 for the registration! I'm sure there will be parting gifts (we saw the Mr. Toad sculpture at the last pin event), but still, the event appeared to be mostly merchandise pick up and dinner!

So I don't know if the fans have been complaining loudly, or if they had always planned this, but we received e-mail yesterday from the event announcing an extra 'activity':

Ghoulish Greetings To our Room For One More Guests

The Ghost is out of the coffin (or as we used to say, the black cat is out of the bag)

We had planned a little trick-
Sort of an event kiss goodnight.
The intent was to surprise you all-
Not make you laugh or cause fright.

Then the ghost was let out of the coffin-
Mind you by no doing of our own
A small event creaked out-
Causing some of you to groan.

So we decided to tell our Happy Haunt Guests-
The tricks we had up our sleeves.
The party might appear to be over Friday at 9-
But we assure you, you can’t leave!

The Magic Kingdom will await for all our VIP Guests-
You have complimentary admission to an event that’s the best.
A trick or treat party, and a few extra gifts-
Plus a VIP lounge will be available to give your feet a rest.

We have unveiled our plans, but have kept a few extra in store-
This event will be sure to please, but note there is only Room for ONE more.
So, it appears that we will gain admission into MK during that evening's Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party, there will be "a few extra gifts", and we have a lounge to hang around.

This is getting better, but we'll see.


Random WDW Picture

I kinda like this one. This has to be one of the better photos that I've snapped with my point-and-shoot camera! :)


Friday, September 23, 2011

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Video of "Avatar" Announcement

The "Avatar" announcement is still big news around the Disney space on the net. We hear more info on how much it is estimated to cost.

Still, here's the video of the official announcement.


Disney Hopes Swampy The Alligator Will Take On Angry Birds

Looks like Disney is hoping that Swampy could become as popular (or at least close enough) as Angry Birds. They have released an iOS game "Where's the Water" staring Swampy the Alligator.

Swampy stars in Disney Mobile’s “Where’s The Water?”, and while he lives in the sewers, he’s (ironically) a bit of a clean freak. Players must direct water into Swampy’s shoddy plumbing by cutting paths through the ground, all so Swampy can get his much-needed shower.

A few quick minutes playing the game has confirmed my suspicions: it already seems to have the same addictive charm that made Cut The Rope and Angry Birds such efficient timewasters.
Oh, that's all I need, being addicted to another iPad game.

But with Disney, you know that they won't just stop with the game. Oh no. It looks like there's a possibility for a whole set of movie tie-ins and merchandising, i.e. creating a franchise.

We'll just have to see if this catches on.


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

"Avatar" Coming to Animal Kingdom Theme Park

The big news right now is that James Cameron has agreed to have an Avatar-theme world and attraction at Disney's Animal Kingdom theme park.

At a news conference, Cameron said that when he began talks with Disney designers, he "quickly realized their vision for this thing was far beyond what I imagined, and I've got a pretty good imagination."

The estimated cost for the Orlando project is about $400 million, a source familiar with the matter said. Construction should take about five years.

Planning is in the early stages, and executives gave few details on how Disney would recreate the fantasy world of "Avatar" and the creatures that inhabit it. The section will be located within Disney's Animal Kingdom park.
Considering that Cameron is planning on making at least another "Avatar" movie, this could easily spur more interest in this theme. He appears to be impressed with what the Imagineers had in mind and will probably allow some leeway in the design to fit into the overall Disney concept.

One could say "Harry Potter" who? But there is a difference here. There's already a built-in following to Harry Potter. You have legions of fans who are loyal to the boy wizard. We don't know yet about "Avatar", since we only had one movie, even if it was a humongous blockbuster movie. So it is dangerous to hope that there is a large, loyal "following" to a movie at this stage. What Disney can do is make it into a stand-alone world and attraction where you don't have to be a fan of the movie, or even know what it is, to enjoy the attraction and the theme. After all, you don't have to know "Toy Story" movies, or have seen "A Bug's Life" to thoroughly enjoy the attractions associated with those movies.


Random WDW Picture

The view of the entrance to Disney's Hollywood Studios, from the walkway between DHS and the Boardwalk Resort.


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Dumbo Turns 70

The beloved movie "Dumbo" turns 70 this year with the re-release of the movie on Blu-Ray.

This article looks at the movie that was such a delight when it was released, and discussed some of the issues related to it, especially some of the controversial ones.

The most controversial scene in "Dumbo" involves the little elephant and Timothy's encounter with a group of crows in a tree high above the ground. The five crows, who are incredulous of Timothy's claim that he and Dumbo flew up to a high tree branch, are presented as black males. They all speak in a combination of jive slang and African-American dialect. The lead bird is named Jim Crow and his voice was provided by a white actor, Cliff Edwards; the other crows were voiced by members of an African-American vocal group, the Hall Johnson Choir.

In his book "The Disney Films," Leonard Maltin defends this scene. "The crows are undeniably black," Maltin writes, "but they are black characters, not black stereotypes. There is no denigrating dialogue, or Uncle Tomism in the scene." In the DVD commentary, historian Sigman states that the scene "wasn't meant in any way to be derogatory." And it is noted that the crows become Dumbo's enthusiastic supporters and it is Jim Crow who comes up with the idea of the "magic feather" that enables Dumbo to gain the courage to fly.

Maybe it's time to have a "Dumbo" party and see this movie again.


Monday, September 19, 2011

Rerelease of "Lion King" Roared To A Box Office Champ

The re-release of "The Lion King" in 3D did better than even Disney executives were hoping. It gobbled up an astounding $29 million this past weekend.

And no, I haven't had the chance to go see it yet, but I probably will this coming weekend.

So, with the unexpected success of this movie, will Beauty and the Best be widely released in 3D as well?

Disney had been planning to release a 3-D version of "Beauty and the Beast" nationwide this fall, but instead only opened the film at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood this month. The movie played there for an exclusive two-week run, which was intended to promote the new version's DVD/Blu-ray launch in October.

Hollis said the success of "The Lion King" might cause Disney executives to reconsider that decision.

Friday, September 16, 2011

The World At 40

With Walt Disney World about to turn 40 years old this coming Oct. 1st (and yes, I will be there when it happens), this is a good time to look at what it has become at this ripe middle age. This article gives a good overview of all the changes that are going on with this beloved complex.

We have plans to be there for the Room for One More Haunted Mansion event, and then celebrate with other Disney fans at the Magic Kingdom on Oct. 1st. I'm bracing for a very busy and crowded park on that day.


Thursday, September 15, 2011

Mouse Ears Hats

This article examines all the different Mouse ears hats that can now be found at Disney parks.

The popular souvenirs once were decorated only with a yellow embroidered name across the back. Today, they come in all sorts of forms, themes, dimensions, materials and limited editions. And more are on the way. There is enough variety that the ears could move from vacation remembrance to collectible.
 It's interesting that, until several years ago, we only could get the standard, black Mouse ears hat, with every limited variation. From what I've seen, it was until the 50th anniversary of Disneyland, when they had the gold Mouse ears hat that sold like hot cakes, that Disney discovered that these things can sell as well as anything else. From that point onwards, I've started seeing different variety of Mouse ears hat, often for many different occasions and events.


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Disney's Aulani

The recently-opened Disney's Aulani resort looks like a winner. And in general, it is. However, read this "trip report" and see if you think there might be some refinements that should be taken care of before long.

In particular, there are 3 issues that I can gather out of this report:

1. There was no Lilo!

So when we arrived at Disney's new Aulani hotel in Hawaii it seemed like a no-brainer that we'd find Lilo and Stitch here to welcome Hannah to the tropical paradise that filled her dreams and imagination.

We spotted Stitch almost immediately wearing a lei and a floral print hat, but no matter how hard we looked we couldn't find the spirited and eccentric little girl who seemed such a natural fit for a Disney resort in Hawaii.

Everywhere we went in the resort, we asked: Where's Lilo? We were variously told Lilo was at school, on vacation or surfing on Kauai – but none of the answers sufficiently explained the obvious storytelling oversight.
This is very, very strange!

2. Disruptive activities that destroyed the tranquility

I was surprised by the contrived and disruptive afternoon character poolside party that featured a Disney employee, using a public address system, extolling swimmers to scream, splash and hop up on deck for a hula contest. The pump-up-the-energy vibe so upset the tranquil mood that poolside loungers cringed at the paradise-wrecking spectacle.

A similar dry-land surfing lesson for kids withChip and Dale employed more amplified pep rally exhortations that echoed throughout the resort.
Horrors. If I were relaxing and having a leisurely time, I would have left immediately and complained! What, they have no other place to do such a thing?

3. Ruining what appears to be an amazingly original show.

I would have dismissed the overexuberance as grand opening jitters if not for the Starlight Hui, the resort's marquee event held several times a week. In an effort to avoid the pan-Polynesian luau common at most resorts, Disney produced a tradition-rich show that paid tribute to Hawaii, its people and customs.

As the stirring show drew to a close, a youth counselor jumped up on stage in a but-wait-there's-more moment and called out all the Disney characters one by one. The folklore-rich show steeped in myth and legend quickly devolved into a disco nightclub with the characters leading the crowd in the "Electric Slide" and other line dancing steps typically reserved for weddings and reunions. It left me almost dumbstruck until I jumped up to boogie with Hannah, who could care less about thematic consistency and coherent storytelling.

Y'know, this "Starlight Hui" is the very thing that I would really like to experience. I don't want to see another luau. So whoever thought of having such a thing instead of a luau should certainly be applauded. They took a different route than one that is done everywhere. But then to ruin it with such ending? Who was asleep at the wheel here?

Maybe I will wait a couple more years before heading on to there and let them work out all the kinks in their theming issues.


Monday, September 12, 2011

At Airport

We are at MCO waiting for our flight back. The vacation is over. It was fun and we traded lots of pins. Our next trip is in 3 weeks for the Room For One More event and the 40th Anniversary of WDW on Oct 1st.


A warm and breezy day at the Studios.


Waiting for Sci Fi dine in theater to open for our lunch.


Spending our last day at DHS. In line for Toy Story Mania.

Sunday, September 11, 2011