Saturday, April 28, 2007

Inside the Magic

Inside the Magic is another Disney Podcast show that I have been listening to a lot. Ricky Brigante runs this podcast with the help of Skipper Ben. This show comes out on Sunday and is about 1 to 1.5 hours long. Ricky is located in Orlando . This is one of the best and slickest produced show out there. There are weekly segments, a lot of music and tons of information. Over the last couple of months, Ricky has been putting out videos of ride-through and Park walk-throughs. Anything current about the Disney parks, Disney movies and Disney merchandise can be found here. Mark Pearce, Dr. Disney, comes around with Disney history segments. These are usually based on rides but not always. Skipper Ben is an ex Cast Member. Can you guess what ride? His segment is always very funny and usually right on the point. His recent wedding down in WDW was a nice hear how these events are planned. His next big trip is out to Disney Paris. Should be a lot of good shows leading up to and once he gets back.
As with other some other Disney Podcasts, Inside The Magic uses a lot of listener questions, phone calls and pre-recorded segments in the show. Spend some time and Check out the Inside the Magic web site also. Very cool Blog and photo links. Also, in case you have not heard, Ricky won the Dream Job contest and won a couple days of being a Haunted Mansion Cast member this June. So, grab your WDW chicken strips, throw on your earphones and listen to Inside the Magic.

Friday, April 27, 2007



I work at Siemens. For the past year we have seen many articles explaining the new partnership between us and The Walt Disney Company. It’s been very interesting. When we were down in December, it was cool seeing the Siemens logo in Spaceship Earth and on the bottom of the Illuminations big television ball. And two weeks ago we had all heard the announcement of the major renovations planned for Spaceship Earth. Well today we received an email that announces the new BASE21. I had always heard that there was a special room or area within spaceship earth for employees of the company that sponsor the attraction. The Cast Member in Dec. gave me the ‘I don’t know’ answer when I asked her about this room.
Here is the announcement:
“Base21 Siemens VIP Center, will soon open its doors to all Siemens employees and their guests! Be among the first to peek inside and discover the newest US location where the Siemens global story will be shared with employees, customers and partners--located right in the middle of the world's most popular vacation destination, the Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.
Whether you're seeking a relaxing visit in the Base21 Visitor Lounge or planning an event or meeting with a customer, Base21 is an exclusive Siemens venue inside the Epcot theme park.”
A video came with the email, here are some stills that I cut from the video. The first part was mainly a Siemens commercial. I captured the important parts. They also said to look out for next Thursday for another announcement. Hopefully we’ll see more of the plans for BASE21 or Spaceship Earth.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

WDWToday Disney Podcast

Give us 5 Minutes and we'll give you the World.
WDW Today is the first Disney Podcast I had listened to. There are 4 guys that appear on this Podcast, they are Matt Hochberg of, Len Testa of the Un-official Guide to WDW and, Mike Newell of and Mike Scopa from They also have many guest hosts. I can say with only one exception, that being Lou Mongello, these are the most knowledgeable guys about the WDW parks out there. Their podcast is about 20-30 minutes and comes out M-W-F. Wednesday is listener question day. They also have a live show every couple of months on Sunday nights. Their show is 95% Park related. If you have a question about the parks, these guys can and will answer it. Their web site and Podcast format are pretty much bare bones. Please, that is not a hit, but an observation. These guys spend their time on information not on background music or a Flashy Website. They have over 240 shows to listen to in their archives. So you can find a specific topic and listen. Holidays at Epcot? Touring plans for MK? What is the best Counter Service in the parks? What is the best resort? I would take almost any bet that your questions about the parks can be answered here.

So, WDWTODAY is the podcast to listen to when you need Park and Resort advice. These guys know it all or their guests will. In one word…OUTSTANDING!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

MouseGuest Weekly Podcast

MouseGuest Weekly
Two Disney Fans Talkin' Disney!
"MGW is a weekly Podcast featuring Disney news, reviews, trivia, clips and discussion, plus a weekly update on what's new and exciting at! It's your weekly dose of Disney fun!"
The MouseGuest crew has been putting out their Disney Podcast since July of 2005. They are Eric, who leads and directs the show, Dan, who I would say is the color guy, and Ryan is there every so often with his Muppet Minute.
This podcast really does cover all things Disney. From Park info and reports to movie and music reviews and commentary this show has it all. I have been listening for about 9 months and have not been disappointed. Their show is usually posted on Sundays and averages about an hour.
One of the very cool segments the guys run every now and again are the MouseGuest Tournaments. I have listened thru the Disney Animated Film and the WDW Ride Tournaments so far. It works like the NCAA Basketball with Brackets and voting each week. Very well organized. During their tournaments, you will hear other podcasts discussing the standings and who beat who each week.
From what you hear on there show, these guys are from Ohio, but do get the parks as often as they can.
Another key feature of their show is that they ask their listeners to participate. In a phone call or an email or even emailing in pre-recorded segments. I actually was given 8 or so minutes to do a review of the Sword in the Stone DVD on their show.
Also, make a trip over to their website. Dan is a very talented artist which comes through on their website. They have a very good interactive map of the Magic Kingdom with more to come.

So, bottom line is this is one of the top Disney Podcasts that are available on the internet. Take a listen and let me know what you think. Better yet, let Eric, Dan and Ryan know what you think.

Soarin' Best Overall Attraction? 5,000 say YES! reported some of the findings of a WDW Parks Survey conducted by Zagat's. They are the guys know for their restaurant and hospitality guides. Questions were asked of almost 5,000 WDW visitors and SOARIN won out for best over-all attraction. On our last trip, we actually all agreed that Soarin was the best ride we had gone on. I think we went on it 4 times. Which considering how many rides, I mean attractions, we actually missed all together, says a lot. It's always nice to see that the majority of 5,000 people agree with you. Here is something I found after getting back from the trip. I was watching the Relive the Magic DVD of the ride and the queue line music was the theme song from the Original BattleStar Galactia. I am not sure why I did not catch that while we were there. Maybe because we breezed through the line each time we went on it? The DVD was Xmas 2005 and we were there Xmas 2006. Maybe the music had changed? Just not paying attention? A couple more thoughts about Soarin. Right from Rope Drop go to Soarin, get your fastpass and then get on the ride. We got off Soarin, rode Living with the Land and walked back onto Soarin with our fastpasses which time was now up. You must get in the left most line in the 'Your next Corral'. That'll put you in the top most row of Gliders. Nothing ruins your view of California more than a pair of Ratty sneakers and a pair of flower flip-flops kicking over you. Look for the Hidden Mickeys. We found two. Don't forget to look under your seat when you leave. The CM's kinda rush you off this ride.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Walt Disney's Lost Epcot? Says who?

“Epcot is a very unique park. Of course it is nothing like the plan that Walt originally had.” I have heard and read that comment many times in my wanderings through Disney Podcasts and Blogs and even while at Epcot. With so many changes happening to the park, there are many calls for Where is the Education? Where is Walt Disney’s dream? When you look at Walt Disney’s original ideas for Epcot, it was to be... well, let’s see what he actually said:

"But the most exciting and by far the most important part of our Florida fact, the heart of everything we'll be doing in Disney World...will be our Experimental Prototype Community Of Tomorrow! We call it EPCOT."
"It's like the city of tomorrow ought to be. A city that caters to the people as a service function. It will be a planned, controlled community, a showcase for American industry and research, schools, cultural and educational opportunities…”

That being said, I think it is time to cut the cord and let that idea go. It is obvious that the Disney Company has. Take for example Soarin, and the new Nemo Ride/Turtle Talk combo in the Living Seas. They are two of the newest and are both great attractions, but where is the education? In the Orange Orchards? Was it behind Bruce? Or somewhere in the EAC? Even though it sounds wrong, if you don’t look for the educational value of everything at Epcot, you won’t miss it. Here is another quote from Walt Disney that seems to be the current philosophy with Epcot Mgmt.

“ I would rather entertain and hope that people learned something than educate people and hope they were entertained.”

Basically, let’s make sure all are entertained and hope that some might pick up a useful fact or two.
One other item I heard this past week on the Magical Definitions Podcast was a Talk given by Charlie Ridgeway. He wrote the book ‘Spinning Disney’s World: Memories of a Magic Kingdom Press Agent’ Mr. Ridgeway told many stories, but the one that caught my ear the most was a couple sentences about Epcot. With Nathan and Tims’ permission:

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He speaks of the un-practibility of what people thought Walt Disney's original idea was and it does makes sense.

So, do I like everything they are doing at Epcot? No, not everything, but I have learned to give the Imangineers a chance. I'm sure I'll talk more about this down the road. Send your comments to

Sunday, April 15, 2007

I try to Answer that Same old Question...Why?

In the past I have asked myself or have been asked, why I am such a Disney Fanatic. I usually don’t have an answer. Or, at the time it might be a convenient answer such as they have good rides or the movies are great. Well, after beginning this blog, joining various Disney forums on the web and listening to every Disney podcast I can get my hands on, I thought I would re-visit this question and come up with a real answer as to why I spend so much time enjoying all things Disney.
I would think to answer this I must travel back in time to when I was a kid. I am from a generation that always had Walt Disney. I was born in 1965. My first memories of anything Disney is from the Wonderful World of Disney show on TV.I grew up in North New Jersey and every Sunday night at 7:00 was time for the ‘Disney Show’ . I have vivid memories of all of us, I had a brother and a sister, running around getting baths, pajamas and getting downstairs on the couch in time for the show to start. So my first experience with Disney is a warm, just bathed, sitting with the family feeling that still sticks with me today. I would have to say that this is the root of my fanaticism.
The next thing that pretty much hit me over the head about Disney are the films. In our childhood there were no VCR’s. If we saw a movie out of the theaters it was shown on a screen with a big loud projector. This was the usual thing we would get at school for a reward. We would have an assembly and watch a movie. The majority of them were Disney flicks. Live action or cartoon did not matter. I remember watching a lot of the live action movies with a young Kurt Russsell. The computer that wore Tennis Shoes would be a good example of one of these movies. There were two other live action movies that totally grabbed my attention back then. The first was Escape from Witch Mountain and the other, of course, was Herbie the Love Bug.

The earliest memory I have of a Disney Cartoon Feature in the theatre was for Robin Hood. We saw this animated movie at Radio City Music Hall in NYC. It was during the Christmas show that Radio City was famous for putting on each year. We saw the Christmas story, with real animals, the Rockettes, and then Robin Hood. This had to be 1973 or 74. Almost every animated feature that the Disney Company comes out with is quality. Especially with the resurgence of their animation with the Lion King and the movies that followed.

My first trip to Walt Disney World was in 1976. This was our first time to the park and we were there for a week and stayed at the Polynesian. For the life of me I can’t remember doing anything other than the Magic Kingdom. But we must have gone to at least Sea World. I’ll have to ask Pops. I had a really good experience with Pluto on that trip that has stuck with me all of my life. That was the first of many trips. Of these trips there were some great memories. My Wife and I spent our Honeymoon at WDW and we stayed at the Grand Floridian. That was special enough, but while going thru the old Animation Tour over at the Studios, we were able to see the Cartoonists working on the Lion King. At the time it was cool, but after the movie came out, that memory grew huge. I actually saw the creation process in action of a great movie. One of the most outstanding memories was the first trip we took with our children to WDW. We stayed at Fort Wilderness with my parents and my Godparents. This was a great trip because we were able to do so many things together as a family. Everything the kids saw was for the first time and sharing that feeling was very special.

The kids are older now and have there own ideas on what movies they want to see and how to tour the parks. Our last trip down was equally special. This time we discovered Pin Trading and Pressed Penny collecting to add to the fun we always have. The key part of these two new activities is that the kids were handling them both pretty much on their own. Very Cool.
Walt Disney made a good point when he said: "We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we're curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths. " And thanks to Walt and his wonderful company, they have been providing us with new doors and new things that have yet to come even close to satisfying our curiosity. May they continue on for many years.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Roy E. Disney in Philly for an Award

As I was looking for Disney Blogs as I do from time to time, I came across Tim Devine’s Disney Blog. I have heard Tim before in various Disney Podcasts and seem to remember a couple of events run by him at mousefest last year. Tim Devine is one of the best photographers I have ever seen. His interest in Disney is just a bonus. He had an article that was posted today about an event that happened in Philadelphia, last night. Roy E. Disney was in town to receive the Philadelphia Film Society's Inspiration Award. I totally missed this as this Phillyfests link shows. $10.00 a ticket and I missed it. Arghhh!!! Take a look at Tim’s Blog and see a couple of photos from the event.

Monday, April 2, 2007

Pressed Penny Hunting in Epcot

This past December, in order to make our day at Epcot a little bit more fun for the kids in the World Showcase I came up with a Pressed Penny Hunt. Pressed Pennies have been around as long as there have been pennies. Not really, but close. There are hundreds of pressed penny machines in WDW. I was able to find a web site before we left that listed all of them. Very odd that someone would keep track of this, but there is a collector for everything and thanks to him this hunt was a hit. From the list, I saw that there is a pressed penny for each country, with a Disney character or characters on it. The goal of our hunt was to get one from each country. By this simple addition to our park planning every new country we walked into became an adventure. Hunting around looking for the machine and checking out a lot of stuff we might not have seen. By the end of the day we had all but two countries. Mexico, whose machine was out of order and Japan. We could just not find this one. Disney even sells the pressed penny storage books, which we also purchased. Perfect.
Make sure your penny is older than 1982. It won't have those silver streaks. The other thing we did was to use a plastic M&M minis container. We then loaded it up with quarters and pennies in order. Pop the lid, pour out the penny and two quarters. When your running around the parks anything that helps you organize better is great.