Thursday, March 31, 2011

Disney's Method Soap

Holy Cow! I use Method products!

It seems that Disney has teamed up with Method to produce Disney-themed Method soap. The containers that the hand soaps came in are SO CUTE!

I use these soaps in the house, and I love them. So I definitely will have to go look for these Disney-themed Method soaps.

Zz.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Winnie The Pooh Clip - Get Us Out Of Here!

Oh, another charming sneak peak at the upcoming Winnie The Pooh movie.



Have I said that the sneak peak at the clips from the movie so far left me with such warm and fuzzy feeling? Of course I have! :)

Zz.

The Muppets: Beaker's Ballad

OK, this is just way too hysterical.



Don't forget that Disney will release the new Muppets movie this coming November (Thanksgiving).

Zz.

Get Ready For "Monsters University"

Disney/Pixar has announced the title of a new Monsters Inc. movie, and it is titled "Monsters University". And get this, it will actually be a prequel to the original movie!

“The film is a prequel that tells you a little bit about how [Mike and Sully] first met, attending Monsters University,” Hollis told theater owners gathered in Las Vegas on Tuesday for their annual CinemaCon convention. “Obviously everybody knows at this point Mike and Sully are amazing friends — the best of friends — but as it turns out, in this story, that wasn’t always the case. From the moment they met at university, they could not stand each other. This story takes you through the ups and downs, and how they overcame their own differences.”

The movie is set to be released some time in late 2012.

Zz.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Monorail Crash Lawsuit Voluntarily Dismissed

The lawsuit brought about by the mother of the monorail pilot that was killed in the accident has been voluntarily dismissed.

A wrongful death lawsuit filed by the mother of a Walt Disney World monorail worker killed in 2009 while he was on the job has been voluntarily dismissed, according to court records.

Part of the court record is now sealed, but an electronic records shows the case was "dismissed pursuant to settlement after hearing."

I'm guessing that both sides have reached a settlement on this. It was a tragic event, nevertheless, something that should have never happened.

Zz.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Trip Tips To Disneyland

I've highlighted a lot of trip tips to WDW, but I don't remember one being specifically for Disneyland Resort. Well, here's one now.

I think most of them are similar to a trip tip to WDW as well, except that the weather in September in Orlando, even late September, can be real sticky and muggy. So we prepared for that.

Zz.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Friday, March 25, 2011

Parasailing at Bay Lake

Here's a video of a parasailing activity at Bay Lake. Most of you may know that you can do this by going to the Contemporary at the Sammy Duvall Watersports Center.



I did this a while back. While I didn't get any videos while I was on it, I did snap still shots. So below is a series of photos I snapped while I was up.

Here we are, being taken by the crew to the middle of Bay Lake.


I'm up! Great view from up here.







Final shot - my feet over Bay Lake.

It's a fun experience. Just a hint: don't do it when there's an impending storm. :)

Zz.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Bob Iger Has Been On AquaDuck!

In this Samantha Brown interview with Bob Iger, he revealed that he has gone on the AquaDuck on Disney Dream.



Too bad there isn't a video on that! :)

Zz.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Hitchhiking Ghosts Back At WDW Haunted Mansion

After being gone for a while, the new animatronics of the hitchhiking ghosts at WDW's Haunted Mansion are back.



Can't wait to see if it really is "... brighter and smoother than ever ..." as described by Inside The Magic.

Zz.

Tokyo Disneyland To Reopen On April 1st?

I hope this isn't an April Fools joke.

Laughing Place is reporting unconfirmed news that the Oriental Land Company (the operator of Tokyo Disneyland) is considering reopening Tokyo Disneyland on April 1st.

One hopes that most of the major problems in that region would have been handled by then. Still, I don't see any kind of large attendance to the theme park even if it can operate smoothly, at least not anytime soon. It will take quite a while for people to want to go do such thing. It certainly took a long time for the attendance to WDW and DL to recover after Sept. 11.

Zz.

Richard Sherman Claims That Disney Was No Anti-Semite

One of my blog entries that continue to get a lot of hits (even after all these years - it was posted in 2008) is the report that Walt Disney was NOT an anti-semite. For some odd reason, some people, who have never even met Walt, are CONVINCED that he was.

This probably won't change their opinion, but the well-know composer Richard Sherman has flat out denied such claim.

One of the most enduring and least flattering perceptions of Walt Disney, who died in 1966, is that he was a virulent anti-Semite. Not so, said composer Richard Sherman, one of only two songwriters - with his brother, Robert - who were under contract to Disney's studio.

"That is b-------," insisted Sherman, who is Jewish. "That is a terrible rumor. He was a wonderful man."

As Sherman sees it, the anti-Semite label probably stemmed from a 1940 strike against the Walt Disney Co. "Somebody must of heard [Disney] say, 'That little Jew bastard' [about one of the strike's organizers]," he reasoned. "But he had Jewish guys working for him all the time. The head of marketing was Irving Ludwig. How Jewish can you get?

But of course, Richard Sherman is only someone who actually have met Walt, worked for him, and spent a lot of time with him. He can't be as accurate as Walt's other accusers who must know him a lot better via 2nd hand information.

Zz.

Disney/Pixar Sued Over "Cars"

All I can say is that this is dubious at best. And yes, I said that without really knowing much of the details of the lawsuit.

An unknown writer is suing Disney/Pixar for copyright infringement over "Cars".

Jake Mandeville-Anthony, a screenwriter, has filed claims that he came up with the original idea for the Cars franchise in the U.S. District Court this week.

Mr. Mandeville-Anthony claims to have initially written a three-part screenplay, entitled Cookie & Co.

The screenplay is based on the true-life adventure race-car driver Michael Owen Perkins, who won a race in 1988.

His claims go on to state that he created a second work - with the working title of Cars.

Yowzah! And he waited THIS long to file the lawsuit?

I've read about these types of lawsuit rather often, and it is very difficult not to be skeptical about such things. This is especially true with Pixar since the storyline often goes through several creative gestations and is often examined by a bunch of people.

I would be very surprised if this goes anywhere.

Zz.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Jobs Reelection To Disney Board Questioned

Steve Jobs reelection to the Disney Board of Directors has been questioned, while a labor union stockholders has voted against it.

While stopping short of recommending a vote against Jobs' reelection to the Disney board, Institutional Shareholder Services said the media company’s largest individual shareholder had attended fewer than 75% of board and committee meetings in three of the last four years. The firm acknowledged Jobs’ ongoing medical problems but said that shareholders deserved more of an explanation for his nomination.
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The AFL-CIO, which holds about 3.8 million Disney shares in union funds, voted against Jobs’ return to the Disney board.

Brandon Rees, deputy director of the AFL-CIO office of investment, said it was difficult for full-time chief executives like Jobs, who have responsibilities to their own shareholders, to attend board meetings for another publicly traded company.

I'm glad that shareholders are now demanding some explanation for voting for something. It would be nice if Disney can show Jobs' influences, even when he doesn't attend the board meetings, just so one can justify his position on the board beyond just his 7% ownership of the company.

Zz.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Mickey baskets

Walgreens have these huge easter baskets of mickey and minnie for $12 each.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Space Mountain With Lights On

If you haven't seen Space Mountain with its light on, here it is!



This obviously was taken on the TTA at the Magic Kingdom. I have been on the TTA before and passed through Space Mountain with its lights on. So this is a sight that I have seen before.

Zz.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Disney Suspends Operations In Tokyo

So now, in addition to Tokyo Disneyland still being closed due to the devastating earthquake, administrative operations and operations at Disney Stores in Tokyo have also been temporarily suspended.

Nearly a week after closing its two theme parks in Tokyo in the wake of Japan's catastrophic earthquake, the Walt Disney Co. said it has temporarily suspended administrative and store operations in the city.

"Our top priority is the wellbeing of our employees and their families during this challenging time and we will continue to closely monitor the situation as it develops," Disney said in a statement.

One can imagine that at this time, the last thing on people's mind is to buy Disney items. So this is definitely a good move in Disney's part to make sure employees are not forced into coming to work when the situation is still changing each day and concerns about the nuclear reactors further north are still very strong.

Zz.

Tilt-Shift Video of Disneyland Paris

I love these things. Previous tilt-shift videos that Disney has done were all amazing. This one is no exception. This is a tilt-shift video of a day at Disneyland Paris.



Zz.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Why "Mars Needs Moms" Bombed - Part II

The disastrous opening of "Mars Needs Moms" is shaping up to be the big news in the movie industry this week, with extensive coverage of the "destruction", while not on par with that in Japan, that is getting widespread analysis. I've already pointed out an article that tried to analyze what went wrong with this movie. This article in the NY Times examines the same issue, but with deeper connection to Dick Cook's ouster from the movie division of the Walt Disney Company.

Disney closed ImageMovers Digital last March after Mr. Cook’s successor, Rich Ross, viewed footage of “Mars Needs Moms.” About two months ago, Disney quietly pulled the plug on what was to be Mr. Zemeckis’s next directing project there: “Yellow Submarine,” a 3-D adaptation of the 1968 Beatles cartoon.

The company decided to proceed with “Mars Needs Moms” in part because it had already spent so much on it and in part because some executives, notably ones left from the Cook era, acted as cheerleaders for the project.

It appears that a lot of people might be in a very uncomfortable position right now. The box office bomb from this movie could have a wider ramification beyond just the financial bottom line. However, let's not forget that under Dick Cook's watch, we also got many of this year's hit, such as Tangled, Alice, etc.

Can those hits be the salvation for how badly "Mars" will bomb, especially for the "cheerleaders" of this movie? We shall see.

Zz.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

New Haunted Mansion Interactive Queue at Magic Kingdom

We have a video of the new interactive queue line for the Haunted Mansion at the Magic Kingdom.



I guess it's more "interactive" in person when you go through the line.

Zz.

Fun At Sea With Mickey Mouse

It's wonderful to be the Big Cheese!



Zz.

Why "Mars Needs Moms" Bombed

We know that Disney's "Mars Needs Moms" bombed at the box office this past weekend. It looks like this will be one of the biggest box office disasters in history, and certainly, a black mark against Disney. With that, comes the autopsies on why it bombed. This Hollywood Reporter article discuss briefly what went wrong that might have caused it to sink this low.

Mars faced several obstacles, according to box office observers. For one, moviegoers don't seem to like the motion-capture technology. Other times, it can work, such as in Avatar.

"The movie [Mars] looked downright creepy," one observer notes.

The title also was problematic, specifically, the use of the word "mom," which might have been a turn-off for boys.

There ya go. A bunch of factors could easily contributed to the whole thing. The title certainly is a turn off. But after watching the trailers at least a couple of times, I just didn't care for the storyline at all. And most of my Disney friends here also didn't have any kind of enthusiasm to go see the movie. So we didn't!

Obviously, a lot of people didn't either!

Zz.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Flynn Lives

Oy....

The 10-minute featurette in the Blu-Ray version of Tron: Legacy is giving some hint on a possible sequel.



Edit: obviously, this was an unauthorized upload of the teaser. I hope you got to see it before it was yank off.

Zz.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

"Mars" Bombed At The Box Office

Looks like all the dire predictions about "Mars Needs Moms" are coming true. The opening weekend of this movie was disastrous for Disney.

The news was particularly bad for Disney financially, since Mars cost $150 million to produce, but only grossed $6.8 million in its debut -- one of the studio’s lowest openings in recent memory.

Ouch! There goes all the profit from "Gnomeo and Juliet"!

My question is, does this movie falls under the control of Disney animation, or does it fall under a live-action division? If it falls under Disney animation, one would think that John Lasseter would have creative control (or at least, a say) in the movie. From all indications, this movie had bad reviews and almost dead out of the water.

I know that one can't expect every one of them to be a hit (with the exception of Pixar), but this was a very bad miss from the beginning.

Zz.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Merchandise For WDW 40th Anniversary

WDW turns 40 this year. Of course, many of us Disney fanatics will be buying souvenirs to commemorate this event. This news article covers some of the crap.... er .... items that will be marketed to fans as part of the year-long celebration.

The goods started rolling out near the end of 2010 and new phases will continue this year, leading up to Oct. 1, the anniversary of the Magic Kingdom opening. Steven Miller, merchandise communications manager, walked and talked me through the merchandise options recently at the World of Disney store at Downtown Disney.

Will I buy any of them? Sure I will! But I am hoping that there's something worthwhile to buy. I'm not in the mood of getting another mug, or just any ordinary expensive t-shirt. And PLEASE! More Donald merchandise!

Zz.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Earthquake and Tsunami Stranded Guests At Tokyo Disneyland

The effect of the earthquake and subsequent tsunami in Japan yesterday has effected Tokyo Disneyland. Reports are coming in that the parking lot is flooded and that guests are stranded at the theme park. It also seems that the roads leading away from the resort may also not be safe to travel.

Hopefully, no one was injured.

Zz.

"Mars Needs Moms" Headed For A Disaster?

Disney's "Mars Needs Moms" might be needing a new headline: "Mars Needs Moms Needs Audience". Advanced polls indicated that, while there is a lot of name recognition and awareness, very few people indicated that they want to see this movie.

But it'll be Disney seeing the wolf at the door this weekend, with "Mars Needs Moms" registering an exceptionally low 3 percent "first choice" score from one tracking-firm survey, even though "total awareness" of the film is over 70 percent.

"It's showing pretty good awareness, but nobody seems to want to see the movie," lamented one Disney insider.

I've decided a while back that I don't want to see this movie. After seeing the trailer a couple of times while seeing other movies, I still haven't changed my mind.

We'll see how this plays out over the weekend.

Zz.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

John Lasseter Gives A Sneak Peak Of "Cars 2"

A fascinating video of John Lasseter and the idea behind the storyline for "Cars 2".



Forget about the movie. I want the shirt he is wearing!! :)

Zz.

Disney's First Hindi Live Action Movie To Open NY's Indian Film Festival

It must be the early morning hours, but at first, I was a bit confused with the phrase "New York's Indian Film Festival". But then, I woke up and figured that this is an Indian Film Festival held in New York City (duh, ZapperZ!).

Still, the first live-action feature film from Walt Disney India will open this festival from May 4 to May 8, 2011.

Directed by Habib Faisal, Do Dooni Chaar released last winter and was well-received, starring well-known veteran actors and real-life couple Rishi Kapoor and Neetu Singh as the heads of a middle class Delhi family struggling to buy their first car. Faisal, Singh and Kapoor are expected to attend the film's red carpet premiere at New York City's Paris Theatre followed by a gala benefit dinner at the Jumeirah Essex House.

If there's anyone here who will go see it, I would welcome a review.

Wonder if this will eventually be sold on the Disney Movie Rewards club? :)

Zz.

Shanghai Disneyland To Be Part Of Tourist Zone

The Shanghai government surely can't be accused of not taking advantage of the opportunity. They have revealed a massive plan to make the area surrounding the upcoming Shanghai Disneyland into a tourist resort.

The first phase of the government project covers 3.9 square kilometers which includes a theme park, hotels, car parks, a lake and commuter stations, according to the plan, on which the government is seeking public opinion. The municipality will extend two subway lines connecting to the site, according to the blueprint posted on the city government’s website yesterday.

The project’s first phase will cost 24.5 billion yuan ($3.7 billion), Mayor Han Zheng said on March 6. The Disneyland theme park in Shanghai, the first in mainland China for the Burbank, California-based company, is expected to attract 7.3 million visitors a year when it opens in 2015 in the Pudong area, the city government said in a statement on March 3.

Maybe they'll call it "Shanghai World"! :)

Zz.

No More Grad Nite At WDW

In a decision that has no bearing on me other than when I'm there at around the same time, Disney has decided to pull the plug on Grad Nite at Walt Disney World.

Disney World says the increase in theme park attendance in the spring has made scheduling the after-hours, separate-ticket event for high school seniors increasingly difficult. As an alternative, Disney will offer Florida school groups a special one-day, one-park ticket for $55 valid any time during the year.

Zz.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Monday, March 07, 2011

Recreating "Up's" Flying House

Oh, if only it was as simple as in the movies.

A group of people tried to recreate the infamous flying house scene from "Up". They actually did it!



Now all they need to find is a grumpy old man, a boy scout, and some exotic bird-like animal, and they have the movie.

Zz.

Donald's Great Adventure - Don't Miss the Club Cool Poll

Hello Fans!

This is your wonderful Donald Duck reporting again with a very short reminder for you to not miss ZapperZ's Club Cool poll. You all know that I LOVE Beverly .... the drink, not a person! So I'm rooting for more very-good-taste people who can appreciate this wonderful drink to participate in the poll.


Yum. My bill is drooling just from thinking about it.

DD.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Greetings

Hi. I'm also a new contributor. I like Vinylmations. Don't be surprised if I sneak a few comments about them and my favorite character, Stitch.

Hello

Hello my Disney mania. I'm your new contributor.

New Annie Leibovitz Disney Portraits

Just like clockwork, we have new Annie Liebovitz portraits of celebrities in various Disney-them photos.

The link includes a few photos from previous years.

Zz.

Friday, March 04, 2011

Keel Laying Ceremony For The Disney Fantasy

Video of the keel laying ceremony for the Disney Fantasy at the German shipyard. The video editing is a bit sloppy.



Zz.

Random WDW Picture

This is Thunder Mountain Railroad at the Magic Kingdom. It's the wildest ride in the wilderness!


Zz.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Tom Hanks And Tim Allen To Star In "Jungle Cruise"

Well, this could be interesting. The voices of Woody and Buzz Lightyear will themselves star in a live-action movie "Jungle Cruise".

Tom Hanks and Tim Allen are planning to step on board Disney’s Jungle Cruise, a live-action movie adaptation of the popular riverboat attraction that first debuted at Disneyland in 1955, according to a studio statement. Disney signed a script deal with Roger S.H. Schulman, who received an Oscar nomination for co-writing Shrek. David Hoberman and Todd Lieberman, fresh off their Best Picture nomination for The Fighter, are producing the long-gestating film.

Looks like they're hiring quality people for this. Let's hope the movie is better than what the skeptics are expecting.

Zz.

2011 Epcot's Flower and Garden Festival

For those of us who cannot be there for this year's Epcot's Flower and Garden Festival, this video is a good snapshot of what's going on.



Having been to this festival over the years, I can't help noticing things that they recycle each year. A lot of the topiaries are beginning to look quite familiar. Oh, don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining. In fact, it is good that they just simply don't throw things out but rather recycle them. Besides, for guests who have never been to one of these, they all look new! :)

Zz.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

"Indispensable Guide" to WDW

Thanks go Gene for finding this link.

Here's another "guide" for visitors to Walt Disney World.

A few are well-known, tried and true, but there are new ones that are not that well-known. The writer has an interesting take on which park to go to depending on the weather, and has an interesting advice on where to park to save the parking fees.

When you're shelling out $82 a day for admission, tacking on another $14 for parking can feel like adding insult to injury. I'm proud to say my family hasn't paid for a spot in years. What many out-of-towners don't realize is that the parking lots at Disney water parks, miniature-golf courses and the Downtown Disney entertainment district are absolutely free.

From those locations, shuttle buses will take you wherever you need to go (note that some routes require transfers). Our all-time favorite spot is an unmarked overflow lot across the street from the BoardWalk Inn. Next to a Hess gas station, the lot is almost always half-empty and is a 10-minute walk to the resort.

From there, you can stroll over to Epcot, take a ferry ride to Hollywood Studios, or catch a shuttle bus anywhere else -- all free of charge.

Of course, in most cases, your trip to the parks is a bit longer and more tedious, and may require that you walk quite a distance. One can almost do the same thing with parking in Downtown Disney, and then taking a ride to one of the resorts, or walking over to, say Saratoga Springs and catch the resort buses to the parks (there are no direct park buses from Downtown Disney for this very reason).

Anyway, I suppose now that the cat is out of the bag, I wonder if these parking places are going to be fuller now. :)

Zz.

Toy Story Hawaiian Vacation Teaser

When was the last time you hear a movie company releasing a teaser for a SHORT FILM? But I guess, the Toy Story franchise has always been the exception since they've been the pioneer in a lot of things. So this teaser for their upcoming short film isn't surprising.



It's good to see the old gang again.

Zz.

Can The New Head Of Annie Awards Win Back Disney/Pixar?

There's a new person heading the organization handing out the Annie Awards, and he certainly has a major task of winning back Disney and Pixar to the organization.

Change could be coming to the Annie Awards with the election of Frank Gladstone as the head of the organization that runs these kudos honoring the best in animation. The recent 38th annual ceremony was mired in controversy after Pixar and Disney withdrew from formal consideration last August citing concerns with the voting process.

All I can say is that the Annie Awards without Disney and Pixar will be hollow and will have a serious credibility problem. It is in the best interest of the Annie, and also of Disney/Pixar, to iron this out. The animators, whose work these awards are supposed to recognize, are getting the short end of this debacle.

Zz.

Elton John Not Happy With Disney

Uh-oh. There's some unhappy feelings due to "Gnomeo and Juliet" success, and we're hearing now a bit of what went on behind the scenes in the production of this movie. It seems that Elton John, who has a major role in getting the movie made along with his partner David Furnish, is feeling slighted that no one from Disney has congratulated them on the success of this movie. It appears that, at least according to him, Disney didn't throw in its full support in promoting the movie, and that John Lasseter didn't want it made in the first place.

“Gnomeo and Juliet took us eleven years to make. We defied all the odds and all of the people at Disney who said, “this wouldn’t be a hit,” John said on air with one of his legendary outbursts. “And it’s the biggest hit, but it could have been a bigger hit if Disney got behind it more,” he added.
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Miramax financed the picture, which was animated at the Starz Animation studio in Toronto. John said Disney is red-faced over Gnomeo overcoming the odds to succeed at the multiplex. “They’re so ashamed, and they should be ashamed of themselves –they’re so afraid to congratulate us because John Lasseter of Pixar did not want us to make this movie that we still haven’t had a message of congratulations or well done,” he added.

Now, to be fair, I don't think this is any bigger hit than "Meet The Robinsons" or "The Princess and the Frog". It might cross over the $100 million mark in the North American box office, but it isn't the level of success of a Pixar movie. Could it have been bigger if Disney went all out behind it (assuming that Disney didn't)? I don't know. The movie isn't on par with a Pixar movie. The emotional element isn't all that deep. It was good for a few good laughs, and it certainly was better than I expected, but only because I had a more enjoyable time than I was expecting. So I have serious doubts that it could have been a significantly bigger hit had Disney fired up all of its promotional/advertising guns.

Hum.. now that we know that these things were happening, I guess we won't be seeing Disney-themed gnome merchandise anytime soon, eh?

Zz.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

"Hall Pass" Nips "Gnomeo and Juliet"

It turns out that "Gnomeo and Juliet" didn't win the box office this past weekend after all. The final tally for the weekend shows "Hall Pass" getting $13.5 million, while "Gnomeo and Juliet" grabbing in $13.4 million.

Oh well. Still, it is showing quite a bit of staying power. The movie also benefited from the time of year it was released, with no new major movies coming out and everyone gearing for the late spring/summer season.

Zz.

Random WDW Picture

Dusk at the Hub, The Magic Kingdom, looking towards Main Street, USA.


Zz.