Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Random Disney Picture

Winter in Chicago this season has been very, very long. Lots of days of very cold temperatures, and lots of snow.

This is why I want to see this picture. This is Serenity Bay at Castaway Cay. Wouldn't it be nice to be there right now?


Monday, February 24, 2014

Shanghai Disneyland castle to be the biggest

Inside the Magic posted this article about the castle planned for SDL.  Bob Iger reported at the annual shareholders meeting that the castle will be the biggest, in fact large enough to have a ride inside.
Little has been revealed from Shanghai Disneyland, though Iger noted that a complete 3D model of the park has been built by Walt Disney Imagineers. The park will not feature a traditional Main Street USA, instead having an 11-acre garden and water area welcoming guests in.

Annual pass price increase

WDW Magic reports that the cost of WDW annual passes is going up. The regular annual pass will now cost $634 plus tax, and the premium pass will cost $754 plus tax.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Disney runs MyMagic+ plus ads

 The Orlando Sentinel has this story about Disney showing tv ads touting the new MyMagic+ system, while stating that the system is not yet fully implemented.  The new system is reported to have cost a billion dollars or more.  Bob Iger said in a recent conference call that Disney is "not even close" to being able to state it's financial impact.
"In fact, we are actually just learning more about how it's working and what impact it's having on our business today," Iger said.
It's the first time Disney has widely marketed MyMagic+ to consumers. It comes as Walt Disney Co. faces growing questions from Wall Street about when the company will see financial returns from the sweeping technology project, which Disney hopes will ultimately get visitors planning more of their vacations in advance and spending more time and money on its property.
 While Wall Street analysts begin to grumble about the financial returns from MM+, long time visitors to WDW have their own concerns.  One example is the way Fastpasses are issued using the new FastPass+ system.  As of now, you cannot get Fastpasses to more than one park in a day, thus discouraging park hopping.  Yet, this is what many Passholders do and this creates a conflict. There is a feeling that MM+ is geared for the one-time visitor, and Passholders and DVC members are less important. There is also the feeling that people without a smartphone are going to have a more difficult time enjoying the parks.

Iger's comment that Disney is still learning how MM+ is working does not give a warm and fuzzy feeling with regard to security. A new, large and complex system with millions of people wearing a scannable band that is apparently one step away from account information seems to carry some high risks.  Security experts often say that complexity is the enemy of security.  Does Disney understand and mitigate all the ways the system could be compromised, including a possible inside attack?  What would a Target-style incident do?  Let's hope Disney is spending a lot of time thinking about this.

Hong Kong Disneyland breaks attendance records

Disney Parks Blog posted this story about how well Hong Kong Disneyland is doing. The park had a very good 2013 with now over 100 attractions and entertainment venues, according to the post.
And there is even more to come. This week, Hong Kong Disneyland also announced a plan to build a new 750-room Disney-branded hotel dedicated to the spirit of exploration that celebrates exotic locations from around the world. Slated to open in early 2017, the hotel will increase the number of hotel rooms at the resort by 75 percent to 1,750.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Book signing

We are in line for the book signing

Q&A with Marty Sklar

Q&A session with Marty 

Talk begins

Marty Sklar takes the stage

In Auditorium

We are sitting in the auditorium waiting for the Marty Sklar talk

Marty Sklar Book

Bought the new Marty Sklar book for him to sign after his talk.


We are at the museum of science and industry for the Marty Sklar event. Waiting for museum to open

Disney Legend Marty Sklar at Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry

Busy day today. We will be attending the talk and book signing by Marty Sklar at Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry. I will try to blog this live whenever I have the chance. Some of us who haven't seen the Walt Disney exhibits will also be seeing that, while the rest of us will going doing down in the Coal Mine! :)


Friday, February 14, 2014

No more talking trash

Dis News reports that PUSH, the talking trashcan, will no longer appear at the Magic Kingdom. The trashcan was a lot of fun.  One day we were having a conversation and I left the can temporarily speechless by an answer I gave to one of its questions.  To its credit, after an awkward pause, the can came back with a pretty good rejoinder.  I wonder how many people knew that the trashcan's name was PUSH?  Good trivia question.
According to the Orlando Sentinel, the contract between Disney and the man behind PUSH expired this weekend and attempted negotiations failed. Disney did not discuss why the contract was not extended.
Information in the Orlando Sentinel from the trashcan's developer indicated there was a dispute with Disney over ownership rights. We'll miss PUSH.  Too bad there wasn't another trashcan named SHOVE.

More than a Blank page

From here's a link to a new movie starring aVinylmation character named Blank which, for reasons that have something to do with the plot, is unpainted. You can also see behind the scenes videos and photos from the movie.
In search of his lost soulmate, an unpainted Vinylmation finds himself on a quest that alters the destiny of his entire world.
The movie will be shown at the Studios several times a day, for a few days in February, apparently in conjunction with Valentines Day.

Saturday, February 08, 2014

Starship Enterprise Landing Next To Spaceship Earth?

I posted this photo in one of the Disney forums online, and someone pointed out to me that it looks like there's a Starship Enterprise right next to Spaceship Earth!

I will admit, that I didn't notice that before, but now that someone mentioned it, it DOES look like Enterprise, doesn't it?

As the talking baby in the State Farm commercial says, "Freaky!!"


Friday, February 07, 2014

What Is It Really Like To Be An Actress On A Disney Cruise Ship

I'm always interested in hearing from Disney cast members about life behind the scene. This is one such report. A performer on the Disney Fantasy recounts her life during her time with the Disney company. There's a lot of interesting information there, and some of the stuff that she has to do that cast members at the theme parks don't have to deal with.

BI: Did actors get maritime training on the ship?

RL: I had to pass a maritime law class and we had to do coast guard drills a couple times. No matter what position you’re in on the cruise ship, you need to fulfill basic safety training.

Technically, as main stage performers we were considered officers because we headed an assembly station. When guests first get on board, it’s mandatory to have a drill to show them what to do in an emergency. In their cabins, it tells them what station to go to. In an emergency, they would sound the alarm and all those people would go to their stations for instructions from the crew.

We had to go through a lot of training like how to control a crowd, how to put people in life vests and in lifeboats and how to report a fire or something else out of the ordinary. We also learned how to flip the lifeboat over in the water in case it capsized. We had a crew drill every other week on the cruise and had refresher safety courses every other month. We had a little bit of training in Toronto, but most of it happened in the two-week crossover period on the ship when the old cast was finishing up the shows before we took them over. In the crossover, we would rehearse our shows during the day and then we had safety classes at night.
It really is a fascinating interview.


Monday, February 03, 2014

"Frozen" Collected 5 Annie Awards

As if the massive box office take isn't enough, "Frozen" collected 5 Annie Awards this year, including best animated feature.

Disney Animation's Frozen topped the feature competition at the 41st Annie Awards, collecting five trophies, including best animated feature, direction for helmers Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee, music, production design and voice acting.
The amazing 3D short film "Get A Horse" that was shown before "Frozen" also won for best animated short. As I've said in my review of "Frozen", "Get A Horse" contained THE BEST USE of and most amazing 3D effect that I've ever seen. So I am not surprised that it won this award.


Live Action Chip 'N Dale Movie?

That's what the rumor mill is saying as reported in the media.

Project will serve as an origin story for the Rescue Rangers, a team of detectives and crime fighters that also includes the mic Gadget Hackwrench and Monterey Jack and fly, Zipper.

The film is in early development with commercials director Rob Rugan writing the script, sources confirmed to Variety. Rugan, who is attached to direct “Genies” at Paramount, is also adapting book series “The Genius Files” at Warner Bros.
I think it is also time they consider a series of Donald Duck movies!