Monday, January 30, 2012

Disney Fantasy To Be Christened In NY

Just read news reports that for the first time, a Disney cruise ship will not be christened at Port Canaveral. Disney Fantasy will make its debut in New York City and will be christened on March 1st of this year.

The 4,000-passenger cruise ship instead will be christened in New York City on March 1 and will spend four days docked in midtown Manhattan.

Disney’s three previous ships all were christened at Port Canaveral.
Other than pure publicity, I wonder why they decided to do that considering that the ship isn't being scheduled to sail out of New York.


Sunday, January 29, 2012

Random WDW Picture

The lobby at Kidani Village

 It's a nice lobby, don't get me wrong. But if you come here after seeing the lobby at Jambo House, you feel a bit underwhelmed. It doesn't feel as grand. It's very much like seeing Sleeping Beauty castle at Disneyland for the first time after being used to Cinderella castle at the Magic Kingdom. You can't help thinking "Is that all there is?"


Saturday, January 28, 2012

Mice Rolls Looks Like Mickey!

Being a Disney fan is so distracting that I tend to see Hidden Mickeys in many things. When I first saw these "mice rolls", I thought "Oh my god! Those are Mickey Mouse heads!"

You just can't take a Disney fanatic anywhere!

I hope Disney doesn't sue them! :)


Top 5 Spots At World Showcase

I read this article about the Top 5 Magical spots at Epcot's World Showcase, and I started thinking of my own favorite spots there. So I decided to come up with my own list of my favorite places at Epcot.

5. Japan
Architecturally, both Japan and China are my favorites. However, the expansive courtyard and the tower kinda tipped it in favor of Japan. It certainly is one of my most favorite places to snap a picture.

4. France
The view in front of the water fountain is amazing, especially if you walk to coming from the UK pavilion. What is even more impressive is the view at night.

3. Italy
My favorite spot here is the island right in front of Italy that has been made to look very much like the canals of Venice. This place is one of the better viewing area for Illuminations in the evening, and is a terrific place to hang out. Besides, it also offers some of the most stunning view of the surrounding.
In fact, depending the time of the year and the timing, viewing Illuminations from here can also give you a glimpse of Wishes at the Magic Kingdom!

2. Morocco
My most favorite pavilion in all of World Showcase. It is exotic, it is unusual, it has my most favorite World Showcase restaurant (Marakesh), and it has amazing decor and architecture. At night, it is just a magical place.

1. Entrance pavilion
My most favorite spot is not even a pavilion. In fact, for most of the day, nothing happens there. But it is the area in between the two gift stores near the entrance to World Showcase. During the day, it is just a wide, flat concrete area. However, in the evening, it is the best place to view Illuminations. In fact, 1 to 1/2 hours before the start of the show, people will already have staked their spots there, and just to relax while they wait for the show.
However, when Illuminations starts, this is when the magic happens. It is where you can see the show in all its symmetric glory.

So those are my Top 5 spots at World Showcase. What are yours?


Thursday, January 26, 2012

Disney Pulls Joy Division-Inspired Shirt

OK, so this is definitely a head-scratcher.

Yes, Disney made a Joy Division t-shirt for that crossover fan base. All two of them. Considering the lead singer of the group committed suicide, that Joy Division’s name came from military brothels, and fans of the group are often vocal and crotchety, the choice was strange to say the least.
Oh yeah!

But now that Disney has pulled the shirt from Disney Stores, it is now selling on eBay for an obscene amount.

While the shirts have been pulled by Disney, the secondary market is running wild. Shirts are already selling on eBay for more than $250.

What will they try next? Mickey ears hat inspired by The Sex Pistol?


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Monday, January 23, 2012

Disney OKs Facial Hairs For Cast Members

Oh my!

Disney appears about to loosen one of their requirements and allowing on-stage cast members to grow some form of facial hairs.

The website reports that Disney will now allow "on stage" cast members to grow "well-maintained" beards, goatees and mustaches at Walt Disney World, and at its other parks and resorts.
On a slow Disney news day, this is the one that's grabbing the headlines! :)


Random WDW Picture

What a "cute" little medic vehicle! :)

Saw this outside of World of Disney in Downtown Disney.


Friday, January 20, 2012

Don 'Ducky' Williams Draws Goofy

He drew Donald a while back. Now he's drawing Goofy.

As much as it is fascinating to see an artist like this at work, I find his commentary as fascinating as his work.


Thursday, January 19, 2012

President Obama Heads To Disney World

No, not to ride Thunder Mountain Railroad, but to talk about US tourism.

So today, here at the Magic Kingdom, President Obama will announce plans to turn that around by such measures as simplifying the process for obtaining  tourism visas, and adding an estimated 100 more consuls in countries such as China and Brazil.

The president is taking  such  actions through executive order, as part of his “We Can’t Wait” initiatives, which he says are necessary in the face of congressional gridlock.
But what scares me is this part:

In countries like Brazil when girls turn 15 they get to have a big party or go on a big trip. Executives at Disney World say that because of visa delays, the U.S .has missed out on thousands of these would be princesses. President Obama will announce that in addition to reducing the visa wait time by 40 percent, many of these girls will no longer have to have  interviews to apply.
Oh no! Does that mean that there will be more of them??!!!!! Run! Hide!!!

:) :)

Edit: We now have videos.


Random WDW Picture


Monday, January 16, 2012

Where In Walt Disney World?

OK, the one I posted yesterday got answered almost immediately! So let's see if you can figure this one out.

Where in Walt Disney World can you find this?


Saturday, January 14, 2012

Donald's Great Adventure - At Saratoga Springs Resort

Hello once again, my legions of fans! This is your lovable Donald Duck reporting from Saratoga Springs resort at Walt Disney World. This is my home away from home, and I'm often treated like the royalty that I am whenever I'm here.

I'm a morning duck. I like to waddle around in the morning just to get my exercise. Plus, you know what they say about those early birds, don't you? So here I am wondering around the resort near my room and inspecting the grounds. It is a bring and sunny day.
Of course, being a duck, I am automatically drawn to the water. I always love looking out across to Downtown Disney. Hey, have you been on that balloon ride? During my younger days, I can fly way higher than that balloon.
I decide to look around the pool near my room. This is not the main pool at SSR, but it is still very nice, and at this time of the morning, very, very quiet!
They have these frogs that spit incessantly.
Ah, that was such a pleasant walk. I think I'll rest for a while and get some z's out here in the sun. I hope you have enjoyed reading about my quiet morning here at SSR.


Friday, January 13, 2012

Photos of Disney Fantasy Under Construction

A sneak peak at the Disney Fantasy still under construction in Germany (thanks, Gene!).

The atrium looks almost the same as the Disney Dream. But what about that mosaic-lined bathroom in the Europa entertainment zone? And please, please, please... can I play in Andy's Room?


Thursday, January 12, 2012

Angela Lansbury Revisits "Beauty and the Beast"

The delightful Angela Lansbury has a short Q&A session on the re-release of Beauty and the Beast in 3D. When asked if she still gets recognized, even by kids, of her role in "Beast", her response was:

Do you get parents coming up to you to introduce their kids to you?
Oh, very much. Oddly enough, children recognize my voice. They'll hear me and say, "Mom, that's Mrs. Potts!" It's the timbre of my voice that they pick up on.
Read the rest of the interview. There isn't a classier lady in showbusiness than this woman.


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Hong Kong Disneyland Narrowed Losses in 2011

At least it is moving in the right direction.

Hong Kong Disneyland reduced its losses last year and hopes to turn a profit some time soon, probably even this year.

The theme park reported a net loss Tuesday of 237 million Hong Kong dollars ($30.5 million), down by two-thirds from a HK$718 million loss in 2010. Revenue rose 20 percent to HK$3.6 billion.
One can only hope that with the opening of more attractions, it will have enough reasons for guests to spend a whole day there.


Disney's "John Carter" Gamble

For a budget of $250 million, Disney's "John Carter" has a lot riding on it, beyond just the financial well-being of the Walt Disney Studios, and the company in general. Already, with the head of Disney's marketing division being ousted from her position, a lot of pressure and expectations are resting on this movie.

"It doesn't just have to open big -- it has to be one of the top grossing films of all time," a rival studio executive told TheWrap.

A film of this size and scope typically requires a marketing budget of roughly $120 million, adding to the price tag.

All eyes are on Disney to see if the studio can turn the lead character from Edgar Rice Burroughs' once beloved, now largely forgotten 11-volume Mars series into a $700 million blockbuster. Its director, Andrew Stanton, admitted to the New Yorker in October that it will have to gross that much worldwide to justify a sequel.
I've loved all of Andrew Stanton's movies. I thought Wall-E was spectacular, especially the first half-hour of the movie. And I know Disney is also gung-ho about this work.

But the movie, which centers on a Confederate soldier (Kitsch) who is transported to Mars where he tries to put an end to interstellar civil war, has proven notoriously difficult to adapt.

There's a great deal of optimism that Stanton may have cracked the code. After all the boyish looking, Pixar dynamo has a reputation for taking films that on their face should never work -- "Wall-E" is a nearly silent movie about a robot -- and spinning them into celluloid gold.

One producer who works with Disney said that the studio is bullish about the project, and the New Yorker reports that an early test screening had 75 percent of the audience rating the science fiction epic as "good" or "excellent."
I will admit that this movie is not one of my "must see" movies this year. I'm more excited about "Brave". But there's a strong likelihood that I WILL see it when it is released. I'm hoping that this movie doesn't become the "Mars Needs Moms" of this year.


Monday, January 09, 2012

Test Track To Shut Down For Revamp

Test Track will be down starting this summer for a major revamp. It will also be renamed as the Chevrolet Design Center, whatever that means.

According to Disney, the Chevrolet Design Center will allow visitors to design their own vehicles. Then, they'll be able to take five of their closest friends on a test drive in their new "SimCars". Sweet.
I think it's about time they put in some TLC to this attraction. Last time we were there, the audio track didn't work in the car that we were in. So we didn't have the proper narration as we went through the different testing area.

Now, if they want MY opinion, they should lengthen the speed track considerably. After all, for many of us, that is the highlight of the whole attraction. I could go for at least another 30 seconds at 60+ mph.


Disney Fantasy Takes To The Water For The First Time

Disney's newest cruise ship, the Disney Fantasy, underwent its float-out for the first time yesterday (Jan 8).

The 2,500-passenger vessel on Sunday was floated out from a dry dock in Germany where it has been under construction for more than a year -- one of the last major milestones before its maiden voyage in March.

A sister to the much-heralded Disney Dream, which debuted last year, the 130,000-ton Disney Fantasy is arriving as Disney gears up for a major expansion that includes its first cruises out of New York, Seattle and Galveston, Texas.
You can view a video of the float-out below:


You Say "Kay", I say "Key"

Y'know, Donald may have a speed impediment, but he still knows how to pronounce things properly.

His adventure at Castaway Cay reminds me of the issue of the proper pronunciation of "Cay" in "Castaway Cay". A lot of people pronounce it as "Kay", as in Mary Kay. But if you have seen shows on TV related to Disney cruises, you would have heard that it is pronounced as "key".

A quick look online at the Miriam-Webster website seems to indicate that "key" might be the preferred pronunciation, while "kay" might still be acceptable. The words they listed that rhymes with "cay" all seem to rhyme with "key". Yet, in the audio part, both "key" and "kay" are listed (very confusing).

I'm going to stick with "key" because that is how it has been referred to officially.


Sunday, January 08, 2012

Donald's Great Adventure - At Castaway Cay

Ah, my fans are clamoring for me to post more of my wonderful trip on a Disney cruise. I will not disappoint them.

This time I was at Castaway Cay, the amazing Disney private island in the Bahamas. The weather couldn't have been any more perfect. I could let my feathers air out in the nice, warm weather, and be fluffed by the gentle breeze.

Here we are walking from the Disney Dream towards the fun area of Castaway Cay.

We get to see how big this ship is when it is viewed on shore.

I'm at the family beach and one can still see the ship from here.

But I much prefer the calm, quiet area. So here we were at Serenity Bay where only adults and respectable folks like me like to hang out. Ah, this is the life. Just look at the calm, turquoise water.

But out of the blue, while I was lounging in the sun and minding my own business, look who showed up! And of course, just like any other mortal soul, Captain Jack Sparrow is also a big fan of The Donald (and I had that title way before the Trump Man, thankyouverymuch!). So naturally, he was too thrilled to have his picture taken with me, even when his "co-pirate" didn't think it was a good idea.
He invited me to go with him on his pirate adventure - something about finding a chest, a fountain, or the edge of the world (I couldn't understand his mumbling). But I had to decline since I don't want to lose my luggage on the Disney Dream.

But soon, it was time to head back to the ship. It was such a gorgeous day spent on the island.

Good bye, Castaway Cay! I'll be back soon!


Thursday, January 05, 2012

Donald's Great Adventure - On The Disney Dream

Hello there my loyal fans! This is your lovable Donald Duck reporting once again. I just got back from a lovely cruise on the Disney Dream. I had a great time, and I think I gained 2 pounds from all that food.

The Disney Dream is such a huge ship. I had a very cozy stateroom. The bed is so comfy and soft. The sheets and blankets were also soft and luxurious. I got on the bed and didn't want to get out of it.

I'm wondering if I should go through this guide book.

Lest you think I came by myself, I will have you know that I have a whole entourage with me. My good buddy, Perry the Platypus ... oh, sorry, I mean, Agent P, also came along with me... y'know, as my personal bodyguard. You just never know if some foreign spies or agent might want to kidnap someone as famous and important as I am. Notice that fierce look on his face. He's protecting me. So don't you try anything funny.

Soon, we left port and heading towards the open waters.
I got to walk around the huge ship a little bit. I came to the conclusion that this is my temple, because they worship me here. Why, you ask? Well, why else would they have a first ever on-ship water coaster ride dedicated to me?
And then, of course, the most prominent and important sculpture dedicated to me is this Admiral Donald in the atrium of the ship. Don't I look handsome?
Why, you could purchase a replica of this statue to bring home with you and admire all the time.

Unfortunately, just when I thought they worshippedthe ground that I waddle on, I saw this! Oh, how embarrassing! It's bad enough that my rear end gets prominently displayed at the end of Mickey's Philharmagic. Do they have to keep displaying it here?

Never mind, I didn't have to keep looking at it when I had a view like this to see during the cruise. Ah, this was so relaxing.
I also got to relax inside the ship since they had kindly left a very comfy chair for me to rest my aching feet.
I took a quick look at this huge gingerbread house that they have. Oh, do we have to have this mouse here? Shouldn't this gingerbread house be an altar to me?
And speaking of gingerbread, that was how I gained all this weight. There were a lot of gingerbread houses to devour, such as this one. Yum!
Of course, no matter where I go, I have fans everywhere who are just too excited to have their pictures taken with me. This is Nicky, our lovely stateroom attendant. She was very nice, and she really, really liked me! I liked her as well!
But it turned out that my biggest fan was the captain himself! Captain Guus was just thrilled to have his picture taken with me. Hey captain, who's steering this big boat while you're down here?
Now unfortunately, my friend Agent P pushed his way in and also wanted to have his picture taken with the captain. Hum, I don't know about you, but wasn't he supposed to be under cover?
Unfortunately, the cruise ended way too soon. I waved goodbye to these happy crew members. I can't wait to go on another Disney cruise.


Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Dumbo Ride Testing

We are such Disney freaks that we are even interested in looking at the testing of a ride that is still under construction!

Attractions Magazine has a video of the testing of the Dumbo ride at the new expansion of Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom.

Notice that Dumbo now is flying in the opposite direction as the old Dumbo attraction. We were pointed to this when we were at the last year's (2010) DVC annual condo association meeting. We got to see a scaled model of the Dumbo ride vehicle, and the imagineer pointed out that the door to get on the vehicle was on the opposite side to the old one. So that's when it was revealed that Dumbo will be flying in the opposite direction! Zz.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Disney Dishes At Target

{Thanks to Patti for the link}

There are several Disney-designed dishes at Target. It looks like these are all plastic, but BPA-free. So these should be suitable for either outdoor parties, or to be used by children. I have seen a few (such as the black Mickey head ones) in the stores, but most of these are not available there and can only be purchased online.

Speaking of BPA-free, how come Disney is rather late in producing plastic dinnerware that is BPA-free for their merchandise found at their theme parks? Most of their plastic plates, cups, drinking bottles, etc. don't seem to be BPA-free at all. Now compare this to what you are beginning to see locally, even at your local supermarkets BPA-free items are starting to be easily found and more prominent.

Disney needs to get its act together and get with the program.


Monday, January 02, 2012

New Year's Eve at the Magic Kingdom

This is something that I will probably never see in person, because I don't see myself battling the huge crowds at this time of the year. So for many of us, this is the next best thing.

This is a video of the New Year's Even 2012 fireworks at the Magic Kingdom. It looks like this was videotaped from across The Seven Seas lagoon (probably from the Poly?). And from what I can tell, the fireworks also originated from a barge in the middle of the lagoon. This means that if you're at MK looking at the castle, you would have to look behind you to see some of the fireworks. Also, the one that they are shooting off at the lagoon doesn't seem to be synchronized with the audio music. But the ending is utterly spectacular.


Disney Parks To Be Open For 24 Hours On Leap Day

This is certainly a gimmick that is getting a lot of publicity, so in a sense, it is working.

Disney had announced that the Disneyland Park in California, and the Magic Kingdom park in Florida will be opened on Leap Day this year (that's Feb. 29 for those who don't know) from 6:00 am till 6:00 am the next day.

"To celebrate, for the first time ever, the Magic Kingdom and Disneyland Parks will remain open for 24 hours on Leap Day, so that our guests can take advantage of every minute of their extra day to make memories with friends and family.”

Disney also announced a sweepstakes and a special offer. Beginning Jan. 1, Disney is offering a promotion that gives away a daily vacation package for four until Feb. 29. In addition, Disney is also offering with "select" resort bookings before Jan. 31 for a free day/night between Feb. 26 - March 10 (although it reads as if some days may be excluded during this time frame).
But also, think of the quick turnaround they have to do on March 1st. They close the park at 6:00 am, and then will have to reopen it again at 9:00 am that say day for the regular park hours? That's brutal! :)

I think, after reading that news, we all will need a good cup of strong coffee.


Happy New Year!

OK, so I'm a day late (I had a good excuse). Still, Happy New Year!