Monday, April 30, 2012

WDW Trip

The Duck has many fans. This is Katie at Pin Central.

WDW Trip

China Mission - clue 4, last clue. The Jade Monkey, who rises out of the water .
(Hard to see in this photo).

WDW Trip

China Mission - 3rd clue, the gong.

WDW Trip

China Mission - 2nd clue. The hostile hostel.

WDW Trip

China Mission - 1st clue at the lion, who has a special display device in right paw.

WDW Trip

Kim Possible Mission. Donald helping with the Kimmunicator at the Norway field station. First mission: China

Where is this spot?

This is somewhere at WDW. Can you tell?

WDW Trip

The start of our Kim Possible mission. This is Abigail, our head agent. She was surprised that I happened to be packing a duck, but she quickly recovered to give us our instructions. Next stop- the agent station in Norway.

WDW Trip

Donald looking at the completed set of fairy rubbings. You (I.e. The Duck) go to each fairy station and rub the name on a special sheet. At the end you (i.e. the Duck) get a pack of seed and fairy stickers. Donald was exasperated that he had to do such undignified activity.

WDW Trip

The Blue Fairy in the Fairy Garden.

WDW Trip

The Fairy Garden at EPCOT.

WDW Trip

Still life with Zebras. Actually it's a group of Zebras with keepers close by. The two must have an understanding since Zebras can get "difficult".

WDW Trip

The lobby at Kidani. It's small but comfortable.

WDW Trip

The Library at Kidani Village. They give nature talks here. The wifi here is better than the room, meaning you can get connected most of the time.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

WDW Trip

Another view of Top of the World at Bay Lake.

A beautiful day downtown Disney.

WDW Trip

The lounge at Top of the World - Bay Lake Towers.

Baiting the trap

WDW Trip

Another view of Sorcerer Mickey in early evening.

WDW Trip

A random Dragon tree from the Land.

WDW Trip

Mickey's faithful pal, or at least a vegetation version.

WDW Trip

The Duck as topiary.

WDW Trip

Goofy welcoming you to the F&G Festival Center.

WDW Trip

Buzz and Woody topiaries at America. Are the buttons wood?

WDW Trip

Sign for the F&G show- EPCOT Springs to Life.

WDW Trip

Lightning McQueen topiary at Japan.

WDW Trip

Tow Mater topiary at Japan.

WDW Trip

Sorcerer Mickey topiary at the F&G show at EPCOT.

WDW Trip

Chimpanzee exhibit with sand sculpture. Disney is doing sand sculptures of their nature films in the F&G show.

WDW Trip

Donald is studying the Flower & Garden Show guide. He thinks the cover looks familiar.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

WDW trip

Donald's nephew Huey discovered selling candy on Main St.

WDW trip

A giant lighted eagle in the Disney's Electrical Parade. Looked like a return of an older parade.

Donald Tribute at MK

A fine tribute to Donald at the Jewelery store. A classic moment shopwing why the duck is always frustrated.

Donald at WDW

Donald checks out a lone Ostrich on the Savannah.

Donald at WDW

Donald arrived at Kidani and starts by relaxing.


Start of a Magical Day

What Will Become Of Test Track?

Here's what to expect for the next incarnation of Test Track, or the Chevrolet Design Center


"Avengers" Opens Strong Oveseas

Any fear that "Avengers" will have the same fate as "John Carter" has been completely wiped away with the record-setting opening weekend of "Avengers" overseas.

The super-hero film featuring Robert Downey Jr. and Scarlett Johannson opened in 10 markets yesterday. It had record first-day grosses in New Zealand and Taiwan, and set new marks for a Disney release in Australia and Italy, the Burbank, California-based company said today in a statement. “The Avengers” took in a total of $17.1 million internationally, Disney said. The movie opens May 4 in the U.S.
I think "mindless" action movie such as this often tends to do well overseas, especially in non-English speaking countries. So I'm not surprised at all that it is doing well. But I think that Disney certainly did a more thorough marketing blitz both in the US and overseas to guarantee that a lot of people know what it is, and not think that it has anything to do with the old TV series with John Steed and Emma Peel. Oops. I just dated myself!


Friday, April 27, 2012


Donald goes swimming

Preorder Your Tomart's Pin Collecting Guide 6th Edition - Vol II

Tomart’s NEW Pin Trading Guide is Ready to Print
Order Today to Help it Ship in Three Weeks
The new Tomart’s DISNEYANA Pin Collecting Guide 6th Edition – Volume II  is ready to print. It is 160 color pages with nearly 14,000 pins not shown in the green 6th Edition Volume I. Everything in Volume II is new except for some Hidden Mickey cast lanyard pins which now appear complete in a new section. Volume I covered pins issued from 1930 to the first quarter of 2007. Volume II covers the remaining 2007 pins up through the first quarter of 2012.

New sections include mystery sets, a section on pins issued at both parks, D23, and The Walt Disney Family Museum. Also returning are pins from The Disney Store, Paris Disneyland, and Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea. Each pin listing includes edition size and a value code. The Table of Contents has been expanded to help locate pins of interest.

Here’s how you can get a copy faster.
Volume II is larger than expected and printing prices have increased. It all comes down to the fact that we need about 100 pre-sales to get the book printed. It takes two weeks to print and get the books to us. If we can get 100 pre-sales by the end of this week we can start shipping books in three weeks. They will be sent in the same order as received, so order today at or by calling (937) 294-2250 to reserve your copy.

Tom Tumbusch

If you are into pin collecting (like I do), you may want to consider preordering this guide, which is a monumental effort in itself.

Muppet 2 Announced at CinemaCon

We already had news that Disney will be producing the sequel to the Muppet movie released last year. Well, here's the "official" announcement made at CinemaCon.

Of course, we have heard that Jason Siegel will not be reprising his role. So we'll have to see what the storyline will be for this one.


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Walt Disney and Wernher von Braun

OK, so I didn't know that these two knew or work with each other. You know of Walt, but if you have never heard of von Braun, you should. He essentially hauled US space flight program, the first and most popular "rocket scientist".

In any case, a historical photo of Disney and von Braun has been released.

In this historical photo from the U.S. space agency, Werhner von Braun, then Chief, Guided Missile Development Operation Division at Army Ballistic Missile Agency (ABMA) in Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, was visited by Walt Disney in 1954. In the 1950's, von Braun worked with Disney Studio as a technical director, making three films about space exploration for television.

"Brave" To Be First Film Using Dolby Atmos Audio

This is the first time I've heard of Dolby Atmos audio system, and it appears that Disney/Pixar's "Brave" will be the first movie that will make use of this technology.

The company unveiled Dolby Atmos on Monday. As I noted in my previous post, the new Dolby system does several things to improve movie theater sound. It makes every speaker individually programmable, so sounds can travel through the audience in a more life-like way. Previous systems allowed sounds to move, say, from the speakers on the left wall to the speakers on the right wall, or from the rear speakers to the front speakers. The new system also involves the installation of additional speakers on theater ceilings.

On the ceiling, eh?  Why not?!



Tuesday, April 24, 2012

"Brave" New Trailer

Show of hands of those who WILL be going to see this movie! {raises both hands}


Starbucks To Open In WDW/DL!


Now, it's not because I love Starbucks that much, but I hate the coffee being served at WDW! Horrible, instant Nescafe! So I welcome news that Startbucks will open 6 stores in Disney's North America theme parks!

The first will open this summer at Disneyland California Adventure in Anaheim. The other locations will be at the nearby Disneyland Park and at the parks in Orlando, Fla. – Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios and Epcot. The companies are still finalizing when the remaining stores will open.
Still, this is Disney, and Starbucks will adapt to the surroundings

At Disneyland California, for example, the store will be called the Fiddler, Fifer and Practical Cafe, after the characters in the Three Little Pigs. The Starbucks logo will not be posted outside, although the name will be printed vertically on posts on either side of the entry way.

The cafe will be located near the park entrance, which is designed to conjure an idealized version of a Los Angeles neighborhood where the animator Walt Disney lived during the 1920s and 1930s. The inside of the cafe will be decorated with Spanish tiles, stained glass and dark wood paneling to fit that theme.

Baristas will wear aprons that Disney says will match the decor, rather than the forest green aprons employees wear at other Starbucks. The cups will also be co-branded. In addition to the full Starbucks menu, the coffee chain said its stores may offer a "Mickey Mouse cookie or two."
If they start selling Starbucks merchandise that have Disney themes, I'm buying!


Monday, April 23, 2012

Lead Actor And Actresses In DisneyNature's "Chimpanzee"?

So DisneyNature's "Chimpanzee" did quite well at the box office this past weekend. It took in a respectable $10.2 million. But what was amusing was the some of the results from the survey that was given to the attendees to the movie.

"Chimpanzee," Disney's fourth annual Earth Day nature documentary, captured a solid $10.2 million -- enough for fourth place. That's the biggest opening weekend among the four Disneynature pictures, beating "Earth," "Oceans," and last year's "African Cats." (However, it's not an entirely fair comparison since "Earth" opened on a Wednesday.) As was the case with "Think Like a Man" and "The Lucky One," the movie drew a predominately female crowd -- women made up 68 percent of the audience. And CinemaScore moviegoers gave "Chimpanzee" an overall "A" rating.

On a curious note, 5 percent of CinemaScore participants said a main reason for attending the film was its "lead actor." Were they referring to the film's two lead apes? Or narrator Tim Allen? Even stranger, 1 percent listed "lead actress" as their reason for buying a ticket -- and that 1 percent gave the movie a harsh "B-" grade. Clearly those individuals were upset by the documentary's lack of actresses.
Probably the same people who can't find Washington DC on a map of the US.


Sunday, April 22, 2012

Earth Day at Disney Stores

Did you miss the Earth Day at the Disney Stores today? They were giving out reusable bags (while stocks last) at the Disney Stores if you bring in 5 plastic bags to recycle. The reusable bags promote Disney Nature's "Chimpanzee" movie. The photos below show the two sides of the reusable bags.

We went to the Disney Store at Woodfield Mall. While we were at the Mall, we visited the Disney Doorway to Dreams center and did a little pin trading. They had quite a number of new cast lanyard pins. We got these:
It was a very good haul.


Friday, April 20, 2012

Rich Ross Steps Down As Disney Studios Head

{Thanks to Gene for the link to this story}

Well, he didn't last long, did he? After the poor performance of the Walt Disney Studios since he took over, and culminating with the embarrassing flop of "John Carter", Rich Ross has stepped down as the head of the Walt Disney Studios.
Ross, the former head of Disney Channels Worldwide, had taken over for then-studio chair Dick Cook just two and a half years ago with a mission to cut costs and develop new hits.
But the losses continued under Ross despite major restructuring efforts.
I wonder if somewhere, Dick Cook is smiling and saying "it's not that easy, is it?".
So who else did they pushed out that they should have kept?


New Entertainment at DCA

Looks like there's more to like at Disney's California Adventure beyond just the completion of the $1.1. billion overhaul. A number of park entertainments are also being added or revived. Chief among them is the comeback of the Pixar Play Parade.

The parade will return June 15 after a hiatus lasting almost a year and a half.

The Pixar Play Parade, which was created in 2008, was halted Jan. 3, 2011 during the major construction period at California Adventure. During the break, the park ran smaller shows with some of the floats, called Pixar Pals based on “Monsters Inc.” and “The Incredibles.”
Like I said earlier, maybe next year might be a great time to go visit DCA! :)


Review of Disney's "Chimpanzee"

Have you seen it? If you have, let's hear it!

In the meantime, here's the LA Times review of Disney Nature's "Chimpanzee". It sounds as if it is tailor-made for kids.

The film is really crafted for the kids, and on that front it excels. For adults, "Chimpanzee" has a way of feeling both too rich and too thin, like an expensive glossy coffee table book meant to be visually savored rather than studied too closely. But the shortfalls are mostly offset by Oscar, with those soulful eyes and mischievous smile, scampering across the screen, stealing the show — simply irresistible.


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Test Track Pre-Ride Video

This is the full pre-ride video for Test Track. Supposedly, Test Track as we know it has closed down on April 15 to make way for the new Chevrolet Design Center at Epcot. I'm guessing that the attraction will remain relatively unchanged other than the theming.


Avengers' Single "Live to Rise" Available For Free Download

As part of Disney's promotion for Marvel's "The Avengers", you can download Soundgarden's single from the movie "Live to Rise" for FREE on iTunes starting today till April 24.

Freebies! We love those freebies!


Monday, April 16, 2012

Walt Disney Archives Opens July 6 at Ronald Reagan Museum

Press release from Disney:

BURBANK, Calif., Apr 16, 2012 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- D23 PRESENTS TREASURES OF THE WALT DISNEY ARCHIVES, which encompasses more than 500 historic artifacts from nearly nine decades of Disney history, opens at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library & Museum on July 6, continuing through April 2013. 

Presented by D23: The Official Disney Fan Club and the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Library, D23 PRESENTS TREASURES OF THE WALT DISNEY ARCHIVES is the largest exhibition ever curated by the Walt Disney Archives, at 12,000 square feet. From Oswald the Lucky Rabbit and Mickey Mouse to Captain Jack Sparrow and Captain America, the exhibition features more than 500 artifacts, at least half of which have never been seen by the public-- including models, props, costumes, set pieces, and artwork from throughout Disney history.

"Ronald Reagan and Walt Disney were longtime friends, two optimists who shared an unwavering belief in the essential goodness of the American way of life," said Bob Iger, chairman and CEO, The Walt Disney Company. "We're proud to partner with the Reagan Library and the National Archives to showcase Disney's rich entertainment legacy. This extraordinary exhibit will offer visitors an unprecedented look into Disney's history and celebrate the connection between these two American originals."

Among the extraordinary items to be featured are:

-- The original script, written by Walt Disney, for Mickey Mouse's film debut in 1928's Steamboat Willie;

-- A faithful recreation of Walt's formal office from the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, Calif., including original furnishings and many of his personal items;

-- Hand-drawn artwork and hand-sculpted models used in the production of some of the most beloved Disney animated film classics ever created, including Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Pinocchio, Fantasia, Bambi, and Sleeping Beauty;

-- Props from classic Disney live-action productions, including Mary Poppins, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, The Absent-Minded Professor, The Shaggy Dog, Babes in Toyland, Bedknobs and Broomsticks, and more;

-- Breathtaking props, costumes, and set pieces from recent Disney classics, including the Pirates of the Caribbean films, Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland, TRON: Legacy, National Treasure and Captain America;

-- Intricately sculptured busts of all 44 U.S. Presidents that were created for Audio-Animatronics(R) figures seen in the The Hall of Presidents attraction at the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort;

-- A salute to Disneyland and the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World, showcasing theme park artwork, Audio-Animatronics(R) characters, memorabilia, and authentic attraction vehicles

The exhibition also pays tribute to the long personal friendship and professional collaboration between Walt Disney and Ronald Reagan, which began many years before President Reagan's political career.

On July 17, 1955, Ronald Reagan was one of the co-hosts of ABC Network's live coverage of the opening of Disneyland, and as governor of California, he frequently visited Disney's first theme park. After leaving the Oval Office, one of his first public events was a return to Disneyland, where he officiated at the park's January 1990 35th-anniversary celebration, proclaiming it "one of America's national treasures."

"Walt Disney and Ronald Reagan shared a passion for America, a belief in the human spirit, and an innate optimism that, in both men, galvanized the public," said John Heubusch, executive director of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation. "President Reagan was a great admirer of Walt Disney, and we are tremendously proud to host this wonderful exhibition of Disney treasures, and to honor the bond between Walt and President Reagan."

For exhibit hours and additional information, visit the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library & Museum online at , or . Admission to the exhibition is included with the purchase of admission to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library & Museum. Through April 2013, when the exhibition is scheduled to end, members of D23: The Official Disney Fan Club also save $2 on every adult admission.

"At 12,000 square feet, this is the largest special exhibit the Reagan Library has ever put on," said Duke Blackwood, director of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. "It is a testament to the relationship between Walt Disney and our nation's presidents, as well as the story of Disney, itself. The Reagan Library and National Archives are honored to host this extraordinary exhibit."

 The Ronald Reagan Library & Museum is located in Simi Valley, Calif., about 60 minutes north of downtown Los Angeles and approximately two hours north of the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Disney Avoiding "John Carter" Marketing Mistakes With "The Avengers"

With "The Avengers", Disney is trying to avoid all the marketing mistakes that they made with "John Carter", hoping to create a blockbuster and avoid another disaster.

The company is avoiding mistakes it made with “John Carter,” said Peter Sealey, a former Columbia Pictures executive who is now a consultant. He cited a “Carter” trailer that didn’t excite viewers, a change in the studio’s top marketing officer two months before the release and the removal of the identifying words “of Mars” from the title.

“It was a huge marketing failure,” Sealey said, adding Disney will “get the train back on the track.”

Disney has been stoking interest in ‘The Avengers’’ since at least July 2010, when the stars and director Joss Whedon appeared at the annual Comic-Con International convention in San Diego. The film premieres today at the Disney-run El Capitan theater in Los Angeles, before going into wide release.
Certainly, unlike "John Carter", there is a large, built-in following already to the characters in "The Avengers", so there is already an audience for it. It certainly won't be a flop, but will it be the blockbuster that Disney is hoping for? That will require the rest of the population that aren't diehard fans of these characters to be interested enough to go see this movie.


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Tom Hanks To Play "Walt Disney"?

No, no.. not in an autobiographical movie. Rather, Tom Hanks is in negotiations to play Walt Disney in a movie about the making of "Mary Poppins" title "Saving Mr. Banks".

That's the hope for the studio, which -- according to -- is eyeing Hanks to star as Disney in "Saving Mr. Banks," a true-life story that follows the mogul's attempts to bring "Mary Poppins" to the big screen.
This might be a good movie if Disney will let it play the way it happened, rather than sugarcoat it. The creative tension between P.L. Travers and Walt can easily be the central story line here.


Monday, April 09, 2012

California Adventure Will Be Closed On June 14, 2012

So make your plans accordingly!

DCA will be closed for one day on June 14 to make way for a grand opening the next day of the rest of Cars Land and Buena Vista Street.
According to Theme Park Review the park is planning on using the closed day to prepare for the big events and huge number of guests for the debut of the new sections. Also, they will be taking advantage of the park being void of guests in order to host media previews of the new attractions.

Cars Land and Buena Vista Street are the ending pieces of a project that Disney California Adventure has been putting together for quite some time now. We've already seen some of the fruits of the project in the form of the renovated Paradise Pier, the new World of Color night time show, and the new for 2011 Little Mermaid: Ariel's Undersea Adventure dark ride. The cost of the whole upgrade project is estimated to be around $1.1 billion according to Theme Park Review.
Next year certainly looks like a perfect time to go visit Disneyland and DCA. :)


Saturday, April 07, 2012

Disney's Chicago Pins

I've mentioned earlier that the two Disney Stores in Downtown Chicago has Chicago-specific merchandise. A couple of weekends ago, we went to both of them to look around and shop. Got a few Chicago merchandise, but only the store on State Street had pins, and there were very few left.

There were two different pins on sale, both in rather small quantities by the time we were there.

I, of course, bought both of them. There is also a t-shirt with the design on the right.

The store on Michigan Ave. didn't have either of those. I don't know if they ran out, or never got them, or haven't gotten them. And when we went back to the store on State Street that same afternoon, they ran out of the pin on the right. I think our party practically bought most of the pins they had there.


Random WDW Picture

The Tree of Life, taken mainly for is silhouette.