Wednesday, October 31, 2012

"Sandy" Affecting Disney Cruise - Followup

We heard from our friends who are on the Disney Fantasy cruise right now. They are the folks who got on the Fantasy right after the cruise that had the harrowing experience of a rough night at sea.

Turns out that they went to Costa Maya after all, but not to the Grand Cayman, due to the poor conditions at the latter. They also found out from their server at Palo that a lot of crystals and china got smashed during that harrowing cruise. But the good news is that other than the slightly rough sea on Saturday and cloudy weather on Sunday, their cruise so far has been pleasant.

Hopefully, it will be smooth sailing from now on.


Happy Halloween!!

Happy Disney Halloween, Everyone!


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Disney Buys Lucasfilm

OK, this came out of nowhere. Disney is buying Lucasfilm for $4 billion!

Disney is paying $4.05 billion to buy Lucasfilm Ltd., the production company behind "Star Wars," from its chairman and founder, George Lucas. It's also making a seventh movie in the "Star Wars" series called "Episode 7," set for release in 2015, with plans to follow it with Episodes 8 and 9 and then one new movie every two or three years.
Now, we need to keep this in mind. Disney has shown quite a restrain in "interfering" with known products from these studios. One only needs to look at Pixar and Marvel that it has acquired. So I don't see anything different with Lucasfilm. After all, they already have a solid working relationship with George Lucas.

But still, I certainly didn't see this one coming. I didn't even know that Lucas would sell his baby.

More coverage of this acquisition and the history behind all this (Lucas-Pixar-Jobs circle) can be found at the CNET article.


Monday, October 29, 2012

Disney Fantasy Hammered By Sandy

Last Friday, I reported some news regarding our friends who were leaving on the Disney Fantasy for their 7-day cruise. Their boarding and departure were delayed quite a bit due to the choppy waters and the nasty weather from Hurricane Sandy.

What we didn't know was that the cruise right before that one had a harrowing experience pulling into Port Canaveral.

The final night of our seven-day cruise aboard the new Disney Fantasy was certainly not magical. Many crew members, some with over ten years of experience on various ships, told us it was the worst night they have ever seen. The video below shows the storm picking up in the early evening hours on Friday followed by progressive rocking of the seen by the movement of water in the shallow end of the pool. By 12:00 AM Saturday, the ship was being tossed in every direction. The sliding doors to the bedroom in the suite began to quickly slam open and shut. Around 2 AM, there was a violent tossing of the ship from side-to-side and most of the furniture was overturned in our room. All of the glassware was shattered as it hit the ground. Elsewhere on the thirteen-story ship, store shelves were emptied by the increasing power of the storm (aftermath seen in the video).

Yowzah! I wonder if the ship really should have tried to dock that day rather than wait it out for another day. I know it will mess up people's cruise plans, but it doesn't sound as if this was  a wise decision.

I hope our friends who are on the Fantasy right now do not encounter anything near that.


Saturday, October 27, 2012

"Sandy"Affecting Disney Cruises

A couple of our friends are supposed to be boarding Disney Fantasy today for their 7-day cruise. As can be expected, Hurricane Sandy is affecting their voyage, and the voyages of many other cruises, including Disney's. Our friends' boarding time, which was to be between 11:00-11:30 am has been pushed back to 2:00 pm., with the departure time being uncertain. We also have reports the Disney Dream could not dock in the Bahamas or Castaway Cay due to the storm. So the passengers spent several days at sea. We also have reports that the waters at Port Canaveral are still rather choppy, with the Fantasy needing tug boats assistance to dock this morning.

There may be a run on motion-sickness medication at the drug stores around Port Canaveral today, I'm just guessing.


Update: 10/27/2012 3:15 CDT

We heard from our friends, and as they boarded the Fantasy, they were handed a note indicating that their departure will be at 9:00 pm tonight. The itinerary also has been changed and they won't be visiting Costa Maya.

Here's hoping that that's all that get changed.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Disney Cast Members Sometime Have To "Fake It"

A new scholarly study[1] conducted on Disney cast members has a non-surprising news.

But the research found that while deep acting was more successful, a key strategy Disney employees use frequently to manage emotions is "surface acting." With surface acting, according to the study, employees display "company-imposed emotions not genuinely felt," or pretty much fake it. (The term 'surface acting' is also used that describe how nurses, physicians, waiters and actors likewise put on a fa├žade to show empathy).

At least at Disney, surface acting was shown to cause employees to more likely experience 'emotional exhaustion' than those employing deep acting. At the same time, surface acting is seen an option if genuine feelings aren't attainable.
When they don't feel like it, they fake it!

I said that this isn't surprising because this occurs in other profession too, as has been mentioned. And the fact that the guests areas are considered to be "on stage" means that the cast members are required to "act" in front of the guests to provide the Disney experience.

I some time wish other businesses pay attention to such things when their employees are in front of their customers.


[1] A. Reyers and J. Matusitz, Journal of Workplace Behavioral Health v. 27 (201)

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Startup problems at Be Our Guest restaurant

The EPCOT Explorer's Encyclopedia has this story about problems at the Be Our Guest Restaurant in the new Fanatasyland.  The story talks about the new RFID rose that servers will use to bring a guest's order to them. Also the new RFID ticket wristband is planned to be used to order food in the near future.
As charming as this is, Be Our Guest has already begun to run into some major issues during their few test dining periods. The building was designed and redesigned hastily during the construction process with the interior locations being reworked and the type of service the restaurant would offer – both full and quick service – changing more than once during the construction period. This had led to the kitchen being smaller than needed and the workers utterly frustrated with the situation. There’s no place to store hot prepared foods and everything else is choked by a lack of proper workspace. The 580-something seat location is strained because it has a kitchen equipped to serve far less than that.
 This makes it sound like Disney concentrated on being able to seat large numbers of people, and forgot that this is supposed to be a functioning restaurant.  We'll see if these issues get worked out, but it might be that the whole quick service/full service concept is going to be difficult to manage.

FASTPASS additions at WDW

The EPCOT Explorer's Encyclopedia posted this list of attractions at HS and EPCOT that supposedly will be getting FASTPASS.  Frankly, some of the additions don't make a lot of sense.  MuppetVision, Spaceship Earth and Figment?  The basis of this information is ...
Disney filed a permit today to begin installing FASTPASS signage at several attractions in Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
"Today" seems to mean October 16.  Check out the whole list. 

Monday, October 22, 2012

Mermaids In Pirates Attraction

To add to Philaduckia's report on mermaids being added to the Pirates attraction at MK, here's a short video from that attraction showing where the mermaids appear.


Aye, Mermaids added to Pirates

As hinted at some time ago, it is being reported in several places that the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction at WDW now has Mermaids.  Rather than just link to one of the brief posts, here is a link to everything you wanted to know about Mermaids at Pirates of the Caribbean Wiki.  This should be good reference material for when you visit the POC attraction.
"Aye. Mermaids. Sea ghouls, devilfish, dreadful in hunger for flesh of man. Mermaid waters, that be our path. Cling to your soul, Gibbs, as mermaids be given to take the rest, to the bone."
Hector Barbossa to his crew[src]

A Tender, Loving Moment On The Disney Dream

I take A LOT of photos during our Disney trips. It is not uncommon that, upon reviewing these photos repeatedly (even old ones), I find new things that I didn't notice before. Often they are amusing, funny things in the pictures.

However, this one is a bit different because, after almost a year since I took the photo, and after looking at it at least a dozen times, I just noticed this rather heart-warming scene. This is from our Disney Cruise in early December of last year (2011) on the Disney Dream. The scene here is the lobby during boarding time late morning. I forget if I was in the glass elevator, or on the 2nd level of the lobby (Deck 4?) when I took this.

Initially, the focus of this photo is on the glorious chandelier. So for the longest time, whenever I look at this photo, my eyes were drawn to the chandelier, and the cast members lining up the entrance to welcome the ship guests as they board.

However, look at the very center of the photo. I've only recently noticed (like yesterday) what appeared to be 2 people hugging each other. So I thought "Oh, what a sweet moment!", and decided to zoom in digitally and see if this is the case. This is what I found:

So it isn't two people, but rather, three! It appears that this is either a Dad hugging his two kids, or a husband, wife, and kid hugging each other. I can't make out clearly the taller person on the right.

Now, because of the graininess of the photo, I don't think I'm violating their private moment here since I don't think they can be identified. But when I saw this, my heart melted. It is such a tender moment, and my head swirled in trying to come up with a story that led to this. Are they savoring the joy of the moment of being on the ship together?

Wouldn't it be an amazing coincidence if these people actually found this blog entry, recognize themselves in this photo, and contacted me? :)


Thursday, October 18, 2012

Swampy's Underground Adventures Ep 1 - Meet Swampy

OK, it appears that we now have Swampy starting in short episodes being released on YouTube.

I'll say this much, they certainly didn't have to pay for any script writers! :)


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Be Our Guest Restaurant

Laughing Place has a video of the preview of Be Our Guest restaurant at the new Fantasyland.


Monday, October 15, 2012

New Fantasyland early preview posted this story with photos about parts of the new Fantasyland at WDW being opened early on October 12.  The official opening is December 6, but visitors were able to see parts of the new area in advance. 
Today New Fantasyland helds its first full dress rehearsal. Among the open attractions were Under the Sea ~ Journey of The Little Mermaid, Enchanted Tales with Belle, the Little Mermaid meet and greet, Pete's Silly Sideshow and the other Storybook Circus attractions. Gaston's Tavern and Bojour Village.

Random WDW Picture

Boo!! Hiss!!!

Although, I would miss him terribly if he's not around, since he is hysterical in Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom game.


Thursday, October 11, 2012

Random WDW Picture

Oops! I don't think I was supposed to see this.


Headless Horseman's horse falls

The Orlando Sentinel reports that the horse carrying the Headless Horseman at WDW took a fall while making the turn toward Main Street near Liberty Square.  The rider was thrown but luckily the horse didn't land on top of him, and both horse and rider are apparently ok.  The horses used for this pre-parade event are big and having one fall on top of you would be bad. The report doesn't mention why the horse slipped.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Where In Walt Disney World

This shouldn't be too difficult, but where exactly in Walt Disney World is this bridge?


Monday, October 08, 2012

Christmas Donald

Hey, remember a while back I posted a video here of the hysterical Easter Donald that we bought from a Hallmark Store. I was always puzzled while Hallmark never followed up on producing more like that, since that thing sold out at our Hallmark store.

Well, they have done it again finally, but this time, it is a Christmas Donald! And it is as hilarious as the other one!

Run quickly to your nearest Hallmark Store before they run out! :)


Tinkerbell's sister

In this article from Disneyland News we learn that Tinkerbell has a sister - Periwinkle.
Introduced in the upcoming film “Secret of the Wings,” the “frost fairy” Periwinkle is intrigued by the other seasons once she meets a warm fairy (her sis Tinker Bell), and she becomes eager to make new friends beyond the Winter Woods.
Will Tink's flight at the beginning of Wishes become a sister act?   Maybe Donald has a brother nobody knew about.  Is Disney planning to introduce more previously unknown family members?

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Disney's RFID Bracelet

We have more info on a new technology that Disney could possibly be pursuing - RFID bracelet that could be worn by park guests.

The bracelet, called "Magic Band' is battery powered, is designed to be disposable, and includes the now familiar NextGen Mickey logo and what appears to be the wearers name for easy ID in groups. The RFID bracelet will be the driving force behind much of Disney's NextGen initiative, which includes ticketless park entry, ticketless FASTPASS, attraction personalization, touch-to-pay purchasing and more.
The possibilities with this technology appear to be endless.


Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Special shirts for Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom

Steven Miller posted this article on the Disney Parks Blog about new shirts designed for the Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom game at WDW. 
“When guests wear one of these shirts while adventuring, their spells will hit with maximum force,” he explained. “Although this does help with the harder levels of the game, it doesn’t mean they will win instantly. Guests will still have to know the correct cards to play against each villain, but all their spells will cast at ‘Master Sorcerer’ power level.”
The shirts will be available at several locations in MK, but not at the online store,  once they are released in mid-October.  I predict that these shirts will be very hard to find for a while.  Being connected to the Sorcerers game and close to Halloween means they will be gone in a flash.

Many of us who have been playing the game were aware of the possible different levels of spells, but that feature wasn't activated yet.  So, one spell was as good as another.  The quote above strongly hints at these levels being in effect, or soon will be.  This adds another dimension to the game that will require further study.

The "cool" attire at MK will be Glow Ears and a Sorcerers shirt.

Monday, October 01, 2012

DD Balloon update

DIS News posted a photo of the new DD balloon.  Whole new look, with big vertical stripes.  Looks like it's ready to reopen soon.