Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Where the Wild Things Are - now

The Disney Family Museum in San Francisco is hosting an exhibition of works by Maurice Sendak. This posting at talks about the exhibit titled  "Maurice Sendak: 50 Years, 50 works, 50 reasons".
Though the primary focus of the Walt Disney Family Museum is to showcase the life of Walt Disney, the institution frequently presents exhibitions with a much wider scope. Maurice Sendak: 50 Years, 50 Works, 50 Reasons extensively covers the work of Maurice Sendak, one of America’s most beloved children’s book authors.
Immediately recognized in the exhibit is Disney’s influence on Sendak, this is a Disney museum, after all. For those who are unfamiliar Sendak’s life outside of his writing, it may come as a surprise to learn that he was fanatical collector of Mickey Mouse and other Disney merchandise, there were even a few drawings on display of Mickey Mouse by Sendak.
If you're going to San Francsico be sure to wear some sure to visit the Disney Family Museum in the Presidio.

Disneyland Toontown Evacuated After Explosion

Thanks to Gene for pointing to the news.

Even Disneyland is not immune to people who are stupid.

A small explosion from an apparent dry ice "bomb" at Disneyland's Toontown on Tuesday afternoon forced officials to evacuate people from the popular area, law enforcement authorities said.

No injuries were reported from the blast, which rocked the theme park about 5:30 p.m., the Anaheim Police Department said. Toontown, a popular area for families with small children, was reopened about two hours later, police said.

The dry ice appeared to have been placed in a plastic bottle that was left in a trash can and the explosion was confined to the can, police said.

The device appeared similar to other devices that have exploded in Anaheim neighborhoods in recent months, Sgt. Bob Dunn said.
Like I said, whoever did this should be eliminated from the gene pool and not allowed to propagate their stupidity.

So now what? The bag check security will look out for dry ice? In a cooler?


Saturday, May 25, 2013

Disney attractions that never were

Wikipedia has this entry showing various parks, lands and attractions that were in planning stages through the years, but never made it into existence for various reasons.

Theme parks that were being planned include Disney Sea at Long Beach and Disney Niagara Falls.

Lands at Disneyland that never happened include...

Liliputian Land
A land that was to be located north of Tomorrowland east of Fantasyland. Everything would have been constructed on a greatly reduced scale.
 Big City Land
A New York-themed area where Mickey's Toontown now sits; it was to have featured a big Broadway-style theater that presented live stage shows every day. This idea became the inspiration for the American Waterfront at Tokyo DisneySea.
At EPCOT there were plans at one time to add Iran and Israel pavillions. Then there was the Soviet Union pavillion...
Planned in the early 1990s, this would have been placed between China and Germany and dominated by a recreation of Red Square. The center building would have housed a sled-like ride showing the Russian landscape based on Russian folk tales. There also would have been a unique show blending film, Audio-Animatronics and a live actor that would showcase Russian history.
It reached the final stages of approval but was later cancelled due to the dissolution of the Soviet Union.
 Also at EPCOT, in the Japan pavillion, there might have been the Godzilla Bullet Train ride...
Similar to both the Mt. Fuji and Bullet Train ideas, in this case having the bullet train run afoul of Godzilla in Tokyo Bay, followed by a race to safety. This ride was planned for the Japan Pavilion at Epcot.
Animal Kingdom might have had the Tree of Life Carousel...
Instead of The Tree of Life, this double-decker carousel would have been the park's iconic symbol. Guests would ride on a Dumbo-like ride on vehicles based on animals from around the world.
The article has a long list of such things and makes for interesting reading.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Universal pushing Disney?

DIS News reports in this post that Universal Orlando is about to open a new themed area based on "The Simpsons" TV show.
Two of the biggest additions to the area will be Krusty Burger and Moe's Tavern, which is going to serve "Duff Beer," the well-known beer featured in the show. Other restaurants and shops added will be Lard Lad's Donuts, The Frying Dutchman, Luigi's Pizza, The Android's Dungeon & Baseball Card Shop, and Duff Gardens.
 Universal is opening Transformers in June and raised ticket prices in advance of the new attraction being open.  New and no doubt popular attractions at Universal will push Disney to stay ahead of the game.  Theme park attendance in the area is up so maybe there is enough demand to keep both parks packing them in.  But Disney needs to add more interesting attractions at WDW, and make sure the current attractions are well maintained.  Spending a reported billion dollars on MyMagic+ and creating a sexy Merida don't address either of those issues.

Random WDW Picture

In the lobby of Kidani Village.


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Happy stockholders

The Orlando Sentinel reports that Disney's 1Q profits were up by 73%. 
Disney recorded gains across its holdings. Disney World and Disneyland both set quarterly attendance records, with combined attendance up 8 percent from a year earlier. Visitor spending was up 10 percent on higher ticket prices as well as more food and souvenir sales.
Talking about the new MyMagic+ system...
Once it's up and running, Disney Co. Chief Financial Officer Jay Rasulo said, the project is expected to boost Disney's bottom line in several ways.
"If we can get people to plan their vacation before they leave home, we know that we get more time with them, we get a bigger share of their wallet," Rasulo said. "The second thing is what happens to purchases when they become much more convenient and you don't spend time queuing up for the transaction."
 So, as if there was any doubt, it's all about the money.

Monday, May 20, 2013

DVC Villas at Grand Floridian To Start Selling on May 23

We now have the official announcement.

The DVC villas at the Grand Floridian will start selling exclusively to DVC members starting May 23, 3013. The sales will be opened to everyone starting June 19, 2013.

So, if you have been drooling after a DVC ownership at the Grand Floridian, here's your chance!


Random WDW Picture

A plaque at the entrance to Epcot.


Thursday, May 16, 2013

Use Disney's Biometric Scans For Immigration Control?

Once again, the way Disney runs its business is being used as an example on how the US Govt. should conduct its business. An amendment to the Immigration bill proposed the use of the biometric scan used for entry into WDW parks as a means to track entry and exits of visitors to the country.

“Senator Rubio, he happened to share with me that Disney World uses a biometric system to ensure people do not commit ticket fraud. If they are that easy, affordable and good enough for the Magic Kingdom, they ought to be good enough for the United States. Senator Sessions’ amendment would guarantee they would not be eligible for lawful citizenship until there is a biometric entry/exit system.
I have no idea if such a thing is feasable, but I have no strong opinons one way of the other. BTW, there is already a "biometric" scan in some form at airports for entry of non-citizens. I've seen many non-US citizens having their fingers scan at Immigration counters at these airports. So is this not the same thing?

BTW, I always read with glee whenever my Disney obsession coincides with my Physics background. The mention of Sen. Rubio somehow establishes the connection between this blog entry with another that I made in my physics blog. :)


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Wealthy Hires Disabled To Skip Lines At WDW

OK, it can't get much lower than this.

I'm reading this article with my mouth opened in utter shock and disgust.

"Crazy." "Freaky." "Awful." "Despicable."

Those were some of the more shareable words flying around social media Wednesday morning as people reacted to a story from the New York Post that "rich Manhattan moms" have discovered a way to skip lines at Disney World: They hire disabled guides "to pose as family members" so they can skip to the front.
"The black-market Disney guides run $130 an hour, or $1,040 for an eight-hour day," the report said.
 The Post anonymously quoted one mother as saying, "My daughter waited one minute to get on 'It's a Small World' -- the other kids had to wait 2 1/2 hours. You can't go to Disney without a tour concierge. This is how the 1% does Disney."

The woman said she hired a company called Dream Tours, the Post reported.

The Florida company did not respond immediately to CNN's requests for comment. But it posted a note on its website saying, "Due to inaccurate press and slander, Dream Tours is not offering VIP tours at this time. Our focus has primarily always been providing magical vacations for adults with special needs and helping their dreams to come true."

Really now!

Disney may want to consider ways to combat this, if it is going to be widespread and people are going to take advantage of it. Do what the airlines such as Southwest do when they board small children. Only the immediate parents and underaged children can preboard. All grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, etc. will have to board with the rest of the passengers. So in this case, if there is a disabled family member, maybe only one other adult can accompany that disabled person onto the ride and skip the lines. Everyone one else in the family must be in the line with the rest of us. Yeah!


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Mystic Manor At HK Disneyland

Finally, HK Disneyland have now have an attraction unique to its park that others might want to go to. This might just be the ticket to get us there! :)


Random WDW Picture

Pooh Bear and friends having a parade during the buffet at Crystal Palace.


Monday, May 13, 2013

New Princess Merida image criticized

Disney is adding Merida from Brave to its cast of princesses, but not everyone is happy about Merida's new look.  The site has this story about the creator of the Merida character, Brenda Chapman, strongly criticizing Disney for what they are doing with the new princess.  A petition against Disney's version of Merida has apparently gathered about 120,000 signatures so far. 

Chapman was responding to the furore over the makeover stirred up by the protest petition, which branded it a “tremendous disservice to the millions of children for whom Merida is an empowering role model who speaks to girls’ capacity to be change agents in the world rather than just trophies to be admired.”
Chapman said: “I think it’s atrocious what they have done to Merida.
The director of Brave said that Merida was intended to be an "anti-princess" who wore nice clothes only when she was forced into it.  The new Merida is more glamorous and, according to some people, intended mainly to sell merchandise.  But, of course, Disney disagrees and says that the new Merida fits in with the image of a typical Disney princess.

Random WDW Picture

This was the view from our in Jambo House at Animal Kingdom Lodge. Took this at dawn. I like this shot because not only do you have all the vibrant colors, but in this light, you can clearly see the top of Expedition Everest at Disney's Animal Kingdom.


Sunday, May 12, 2013

Random WDW Picture

The Contemporary, from the front cab of the monorail. Obviously, we can't do this anymore since they stopped letting guests ride in the front car.


Saturday, May 11, 2013

Random WDW Picture

Chip 'n Dale during Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade at Disney's Animal Kingdom.


2013 Disney Trading Celebration

The info for the 2013 Disney Trading Celebration - 13 Reflections of Evil - has been released. For the first time since we first participated in the Pin Celebration event in 2005, we are going to miss this one.

Other than potential scheduling issues, the theme for this year is not something we collect. And after looking through the merchandize catalog, I must say that for the first time ever, we had ZERO pins that we want, and that has never, ever, happened before! Unless they are planning to add some more, which I seriously doubt, there is nothing so far that compels me to want to attend the event this year.

It also seems that they are now having separate events and registration for each day! It used to be when it was just pin celebration trading event, you have one registration for all 3 days. Then they made the last day on Sunday as the Vinylmation trading event which you have to register for separately. And now, they are making you register and pay for the days you want to be there! This event is going in the wrong direction!

As a pin trader, I definitely feel that we are being squeezed out. I just wish they tell us that we are no longer wanted. It would make it so much easier to just make a clean break.


Thursday, May 09, 2013

Wonder why there are no more slow times at WDW?

This post at DIS News will help explain it.  Discounts and free dining galore, for example...
Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge - $117 per day

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Will Marvel still be marvelous?

Deadline Hollywood has this post about potential future problems at Marvel.  The studio seems to be trying to save money in various ways, such as not wanting to pay enough for their good actors, and thinking they can just put other, i.e. lower paid,  actors in the familiar roles.  There's a lot going on behind the scenes, probably typical for Hollywood, and it remains to be seen how this will affect future films.
The issue going forward is how many of the Avengers stars and starlets are still bound by early agreements and longterm options which Marvel can continue to exploit individually. To counter, I’ve learned the Avengers cast are becoming united behind Robert Downey Jr who is seen as the “leader” – like “a big brother” in the words of one rep - for all the younger actors in the ensemble.

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Monday, May 06, 2013

Sunday, May 05, 2013

View From Our Room

This was the panoramic view from our room at AKL Jambo House.

I miss it already! :(


Friday, May 03, 2013

No more Spectromagic?

According to this post at, the Spectromagic parade at WDW will not be returning.  The floats apparently had been stored outside and were in such bad shape that they are being scrapped. 

Thursday, May 02, 2013

Boardwalk Bakery reopens

The popular Boardwalk Bakery has reopened after being close for refurbishment.  This post at talks about the revamped interior and menu selections.
Brand new for the bakery is the addition of a fountain beverage area, with its own entrance to serve resort guest refillable mugs. There is also a dedicated entrance for guests ordering food and baked goods, complete with interior queing space. So on most days there will be no more queuing outside the door.
The bakery will be offering lobster sandwiches and grilled salmon but, for some reason, there is no mention of corn dogs.  So some of will still have to go to Boardwalk Joe's establishment for that particular item.

Going home

We are at MCO waiting to board our plane. Our wonderful vacation is over.

Norway Pavilion

Just did maelstrom.

Final day

On the monorail from Epcot to MK to get more Sorcerers cards

Final morning

Our final morning at WDW. It is gloomy and wet. Our plane is late afternoon. We will have bad weather on both ends. So flying today ought to be interesting.