Friday, March 28, 2014

Carying On The Pixar Spirit

This is a rather interesting article. It tracks down a few Pixar alumni who had left the company, but still carry on the Pixar spirit and philosophy in their new endeavors.

Pixar alums (many of whom joke that they're a small club, because no one wants to leave) have gone on to lead in a range of fields, from entertainment to consumer technology to healthcare. Fast Company spoke with more than a dozen executives, entrepreneurs, and storytellers from all eras of Pixar's three-decade history, all of whom have moved on but attest that Pixar's influence over their ongoing work is invaluable and profound. Whether they're selling healthy snacks, like Slatcher, or building potentially lifesaving technology for type 1 diabetics, like Tidepool founder and former Pixar VP of software Howard Look, these alums are applying Pixar's values in unexpected but highly successful ways.

There's a lot more in the article that discussed various principles and aims at Pixar that apply to other businesses.


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Donald's Great Adventure

Hello my legions of fans! This is your lovable Donald Duck once again reporting from my most favorite place on Earth, the Walt Disney World! 

I'm staying at the Bay Lake Tower this time. I have plenty of towels, as you can see, even when they are all twisted and folded into this strange circular pattern.

First order of business, food! Breakfast at Cinderella Royal Table is just right for someone of my stature and stardom, don't you think? Wonder what I can do with this Wishing Star?

Ah, Cindy! My favorite girl! Have you missed me? Please don't show this photo to Daisy. She gets very jealous!

I'm having a fun day here at the Magic Kingdom.

That's all for now! I'll quack at you later!


Walt the adapter

Mice Chat has this article posted by Kevin Yee, talking about how Walt was more skilled at adapting existing ideas than creating new ones. 
...he has been lionized so much, and put on so high a pedestal, that I think we’ve lost sight of the true accomplishment. Walt was less of an “innovator” than he was an “adapter”. This is true not only for the theme park concept, but also other heralded innovations he is given credit for.
 The article goes into some detail to show how Walt's innovations were really adaptations of existing ideas.  The tone of the article is somewhat iconoclastic and often dismissive of Walt's achievements. The author goes to great lengths to show how concepts such as Disneyland were not original.
Students of Disney company history can name another inspiration: Greenfield Village. This outdoor museum is more than just a collection of authentic and reproduction houses from American history: it’s also got some key city-park features that will look awfully familiar to Disney fans. Namely, it had a train encircling the property, an island with a river around it, and a paddleboat cirumnavigating the river. When did Walt see this? In 1948, while on a train trip with animator Ward Kimball. Disneyland looks a little less original seen in this light.
But some things in the article are clearly incorrect, for example...
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs really WAS Walt being inventive and thinking of something no one else could conceive of – in fact, he was ridiculed for the vision before it came out .
In fact, the idea for Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs appeared in a 1916 Paramount movie, which was based on a 1912 Broadway play, which itself was based on an old Grimm fairy tale. In 2007 an interesting exhibit about Walt Disney's artistic inspirations appeared in Montreal, after having shown in Paris.  It seems that not very many people from the U.S. saw the exhibit. That exhibit showed side by side comparisons of old silent movies and the modern adaptations that Walt made.  For example, Chernabog as well as Snow White were inspired by old movies.  Walt's interest in Gothic themes helped inspire Disney Villains. The other side of the coin, also shown at this exhibit, was how others adapted Disney themes.

Walt's genius was the ability to take inspiration from many sources and take on the risk of creating new and hugely successful modern ventures.  Because of Walt's "adaptations", Snow White goes from an obscure black and white movie to a central character in the TV series Once Upon a Time a hundred years later.  Often the biggest impact is made by people who can see the value in an idea and turn it into something better.. 

Kouzzina restaurant to close

DIS News reports that Cat Cora's Boardwalk restaurant Kouzzina will be closing on September 30.  A new restaurant is suposed to open in its place, but no details were given.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Corn Dogs

Today happens to be National Corn Dog Day. In keeping with the spirit of the day, Disney Parks Blog has posted this article about where you can actually get a corn dog at WDW and DLR. 
We still remember our first bite of a corn dog at the Little Red Wagon at the top of Main Street, U.S.A., in Disneyland park, slathered with mustard. It’s still the top spot, but you also can find corn dogs at Stage Door CafĂ© in front of Frontierland, and at Corn Dog Castle at Paradise Pier at Disney California Adventure park.
The list includes some places at WDW, but there seems to be at least one omission.  Boardwalk Joe's, a food cart on the Boardwalk, has good corn dogs.  At least they used to.  This calls for a visit to Joe's to make sure the dogs are still on the menu.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Changes at Cosmic Ray's

WDW reports in this article that the outdoor patio at Cosmic Ray's is now enclosed and air conditioned.
The old patio area at Cosmic Ray's is now fully integrated into the main restaurant dining room, which provides a lot of additional indoor air-conditioned seating capacity.
Other changes happening at the Starlight Cafe include new menu items, a digital menu board and a refurbishment of Sonny Eclipse. The popular space alien performs all day at Ray's, and often says he didn't know the true meaning of happiness until he got married - then it was too late.

Fish Tank in T-Rex Restaurant Sprang A Leak

Oh my!

The T-Rex restaurant in Downtown Disney in Orlando sprang a massive leak.

The news report included a video (of course) made by a guest.

Hey, you can't get fresher fish!

I hate to think what would happen if this occurred at the Coral Reef restaurant.


Monday, March 17, 2014

Maleficent's Wings

The Orlando Sentinel posted this article about the upcoming movie "Maleficent".  According to the story she had wings at one time but they were stolen.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad reopens at DLR

Mice Chat reports that Big Thunder is about to reopen at Disneyland after over a year of refurbishment.
The imagineering team has added to the storyline of the attraction in a way that perfectly fits and helps add detail and nuance to this beloved classic. Boxes of explosives lead to our old pal the goat. His classic chew toy is the set up for a dynamite new climax to the ride.

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Frozen is hot

This article in the Orlando Sentinel gives us an update on how well the movie Frozen is doing.  In addition to winning two Oscars, Frozen has reached the one billion dollar box office milestone.
Having earned an estimated $388.8 million Stateside and $611.5 million internationally since its late November release, "Frozen" is the second highest-grossing animated film of all time globally and the most profitable non-sequel animated pic ever.
Frozen is opening in Japan in a couple weeks, and this will push the box office even higher.   This is the seventh Disney movie to reach the billion dollar mark, the others include titles such as Pirates, Toy Story, Avengers, Alice and Iron Man.

Random WDW Picture