Friday, November 29, 2013

2013 JC Penney Snow Globes

SUCCESS!!!! And in more ways than one!

We got our 2013 Penney's snow globes this morning, and thanks to a wonderful cashier at the Penney's store at the Corallville Mall in Iowa City (thanks, Jessica!), we also got the 2012 snow globe that they didn't have last year!! They weren't handing those out, and it seems that they only have a small number of them left. But we were told to pick them up when she found put that we collect them.

So now we have a continuous collection and not a missing 2012.

Off to Penney's

It is 3am and I'm awake and getting ready to head off to JC Penney to get the snow globes that are supposed to be distributed to 4 am. They'd better have plenty of them or I'm not shopping there anymore!



Wednesday, November 27, 2013

2013 JC Penney Snowglobes at 4 am on Black Friday

We have news that Penney's snow globes for 2013 will be available starting at 4 am on Black Friday.

But what's this about the retroactive 2012 snow globes? We all want one too!


Friday, November 22, 2013

Future World might have been Discoveryland

WDW News Today has this post by Joe Notaro about a major project at EPCOT in the early 2000's that never came off the drawing board, at least in its original scope.  An initial "simple" upgrade of Future World at EPCOT morphed into a major project code-named Gemini. Disney was looking for ways to improve parks that needed changes to improve their appeal with guests, or were "not aging well".
The simple refurbishment of Future World turned into a major overhaul, complete with a name that would befit even Walt Disney himself: Project Gemini. This concept would completely revitalize the area of Future World, and bring it back to the original edutainment concept for the park. Guests would immediately notice a change in the signage and the overall theme of the land. The Future World name would be replaced with Discoveryland. Imagineering believed that the name Future World placed immense pressure on them to keep coming up with concepts, attractions and technology that was believed to be futuristic. With a name change, Imagineers thought there would be less pressure on them to continue pushing the envelope.
One of the planned changes was to put a roller coaster named Time Racers inside the dome, but there was concern that the structure would not stand up to the physical stresses. The project was not approved, reportedly for financial reasons.
Money became a serious issue. Rumors persist that after the Project Gemini concept was pitched, it was shot down quickly and sent back to the drawing board with the directions to cut costs. It seems the most expensive piece to the project lied in the redesigned Spaceship Earth, and many Imagineers even wondered if the structure could hold the weight and torque of a roller coaster. Also, there was the issue of logistics– it would be difficult to move construction into the geosphere.
So, Project Gemini never made it off the drawing board in its original form.  The only piece that made it into reality was Soarin' but not in its own pavillion as planned.  An interesting bit of information is that Microsoft might have sponsored Spaceship Earth, but that role went to Siemens.

Disney attractions receive awards

The Themed Entertainment Association gave awards to several Disney attractions.  DIS News reports that 3 attractions received the award...
    Enchanted Tales with Belle at WDW
    Enchanted Tiki Room at DLR
    Mystic Manor at Hong Kong

The  Thea Classic award given to The Tiki Room was well timed since it is that attraction's 50th anniversary.
Bruce Vaughn, Chief Creative Executive of Walt Disney Imagineering, said, "It is very rewarding to be honored by the Themed Entertainment Association, which represents our peers throughout the industry. We are especially proud that all three of these projects represent the best of Disney storytelling and the spirit of innovation we bring to our guests."

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Walt's daughter passes away

DIS News, among many others, reports that Walt's daughter, Diane Disney Miller,  passed away today at age 79.
Miller fell in September and her death, at home in Napa, CA, was from complications from this injury. She is survived by her seven children and husband of 59 years, Ron W. Miller, former CEO of the Walt Disney Company.

Soarin at DLR closed for 4 months

DIS News posted this list of closings and rehabs for Disneyland from 2013-2014.  Many major attractions are being rehabbed.  Some of the more interesting closings are Soarin' Over California for 4 months and Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage for 8 months.  One wonders if there might be a new Soarin' movie.  Anyone planning a trip to DLR should check out what might be closed when they are there.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

New restaurant cancellation policy at WDW

DIS News posted this article about the new cancellation policy for WDW restaurants, in effect starting November 19.
For all table service restaurant reservations, guests will have to provide a credit card hold.  If the reservation needs to be cancelled, but isn't done one day in advance, a $10 per person charge will be made to the card.  This policy is in place for both Disney owned and operated restaurants, as well as operating participants.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

"Maleficent" Official Trailer #1

Looks like this might be a good one for next year.


The Golden Oak at Walt Disney World

{Thanks go Gene for pointing out this news article}

For people who love Walt Disney World so much, they want to live within the Disney property, here's a news report on the Golden Oak property at the resort.

The Walt Disney Company has created a gated community known as Golden Oak - named after the company's California ranch.

It’s the only place in the world where homeowners actually live on Disney park property.
It isn't cheap, but it does have its amenities:

The perks include park passes, door-to-park transportation, extended hours for visiting attractions such as the Magic Kingdom and Epcot, and a 17,000-square-foot clubhouse with a restaurant and concierge.
Residents also will have access to some of the amenities, including the spa and dining rooms at the $370 million, 444-room Four Seasons resort scheduled to open in Golden Oak next summer. 

I can live with that! Not sure if I can live with that kind of a mortgage, though.


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Zebras removed from Kilamanjaro Safari

WDW News Today has this post about the Zebras being removed from the Kilamanjaro Safari at WDW Animal Kingdom.  The Zebras were added as part of the changes to the ride, including not doing the "Little "Red" adventure.
Disney has sited “acclimation” issues for the animals, deciding that the new home just wasn’t working out. Some insider reports claim that the zebras were troublesome and would constantly block the vehicle path or bite each-other and attack vehicles filled with guests.
None of this comes as a surprise to anyone familiar with Zebras.   The phrase "don't work well with others" was invented because of Zebras. Although ,to be fair, many Zebras seem to be well adjusted so maybe it's just one or two that are of a different stripe. We once witnessed an unnerving full speed Rhinocerous rampage by 3 of the large animals, coming pretty close to the safari truck.  There was speculation that the trucks could withstand a direct hit by one charging Rhino, but not 3.  Compared to that incident, a Zebra attack on the truck wouldn't seem very scary unless one of them could jump in the truck 

Magic Band replaces Key to the World card at Pop Century

WDW Magic reports that guests at Pop Century will now be getting the Magic Band instead of the previous key card. 
During the past few weeks this has been tested with cast members and a limited number of guests, but from later this week, all guests at Disney's Pop Century Resort will only be issued with MagicBands.
Key to the World Cards can be requested, however, the magnetic strip will not be activated, meaning it cannot be used for traditional FASTPASS, only FastPass+
Disney obviously intends to make the Magic Band  pretty much mandatory at WDW.  I guess if you spend a billion dollars on something you would want to have it used as much as possible. 

Friday, November 08, 2013

Release Date For Star Wars, Episode VII

Eager Star Wars fans now have a date to shoot for for the next installment of the series. Star Wars Episode VII will have a Dec. 18, 2015 release date.

Star Wars" fans finally have a date for their diary after filmmakers announced a long-awaited new instalment of the iconic sci-fi franchise will be released on December 18, 2015.

The announcement Thursday laid to rest reports suggesting that the film, announced last year for 2015, might be delayed after one of the new movie's screenwriters was replaced last month.
If I have to make an uneducated guess, I'd say that the new movie will not suck as badly as the 3 prequels. In fact, I'm kinda optimistic that it will actually be good! In any case, we have roughly 2 years of waiting time before we find out. However, I'm guessing that they might start leaking snips and sneak peaks a few months before the actual release date.


Thursday, November 07, 2013

Vinylmation is 5 years old

Disney Parks Blog has this post by Steven Miller about the 5th anniversary of Vinylmation, which was first introduced in November, 2008.
Today, Vinylmation is found at numerous places around the world including Disney Parks, Disney Stores, online and even on Facebook. To commemorate this year’s milestone anniversary, we are holding two special release parties at Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts.
 Vinylmation has its (A) fans and (B) non-fans.  When the basic design of the little figures was changed to a "flatter" look a while back, supposedly to improve the quality of painting, some people moved from column A to column B. 

Sunday, November 03, 2013

MyMagic+ program nearing full rollout

DIS News reports that the MyMagic+ program is about to be fully implemented at WDW. 
George A. Kalogridis, President of Walt Disney World, will now also be responsible for the day-to-day operations of the MyMagic+ program that is set to fully launch at the Resort soon.
Disney said the billion-dollar program has "reached important milestones in terms of testing" and should be rolled out fully in the very near future. 
The article also states that Disney might expand the program to include different ways to apply it and different locations to apply it in.  I know, that is supposed to be "in which to apply it", but nobody talks that way.

The MyMagic+ program includes the Magic Band and related accessories, and the ability to reserve a FastPass at attractions months in advance.  This has the same feel as, for example, making an appointment at the Haunted Mansion at 3 PM on March 10.  This is apparently a good thing for many people but, for others, it represents the end of spontaneity.  One side effect of this program is that FastPasses at more and more popular attractions will be gone in the morning, and this has already started to happen. Another issue, which nobody wants to talk about, is the levels of security protecting the information on the scannable Magic Band.  So, to quote the wife in Carousel of Progress, "Oh you and your progress".