Friday, July 27, 2007

Were you a fan of the Wonderful World of Disney TV show? Weren't we all? Here is a web site that I found that lists every show and a description of who and what was on the show. The web site is TV.COM. Here is a sample from Show Number One, Oct. 27, 1954:

Walt Disney introduces the show that will be a Sunday-night tradition for over 40 years, Disneyland. In this episode, he introduces upcoming season previews, plus movies that are to be coming out soon. The second half of the show is all about Mickey Mouse, Disney's first creation.
Bill Walsh Director: Robert Florey Guest star: Paul Frees (voice of Ludwig Von Drake (1961-1983)) , Jimmie Dodd (Himself), Ward Kimball (Himself), Norman Foster (Himself), Fess Parker (Himself)

Just to read through some of these listings and catch a small whiff of the quality and variety that was involved in these shows was incredible. So if your looking for a good source of Walt Disney TV information or your just looking for another Disney fix, This is a Great web site to check out.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

WDW for the Holidays: Candlelight Processional

I was thinking that there is nothing like Christmas in July and what better way to celebrate Christmas at WDW than at the Candlelight Processional. In the words of the Official Walt Disney web site:

“Nightly Candlelight Processional at the American Gardens Theatre. Revel in the joy of the season as you listen to an unforgettable retelling of the Christmas story by a celebrity narrator accompanied by a 50-piece orchestra and mass choir.”
Shows are at 5:00, 6:45 and 8:15 p.m.
We were in WDW in Dec 2006. This was our first time there for the Holidays and we were very impressed. There are many special events set up to celebrate the season, but one of the most moving of these was the Candlelight Processional(CP). There are no tickets for this show and the line is usually very long. You can however book a CP Dinner Package which is described very well at the AllEarsNet web site. By booking a package, you are guaranteed seating in a general area. Basically your first in line for seats. Since we were on the dining plan, and it would be no different than making an ADR by itself, I booked us at Le Cellier with the CP Package. Based on the times above, you needed to book eating times in the 2-3 hour window before the show time you are to attend. This was first done last year and seems like it will continue this year. We had our late lunch at Le Cellier at 2:30. Our waitress at Le Cellier gave us our CP Package Passes and we wandered over to the American Gardens Theatre and got on line about 4:15. This is a very nice open theatre with wind blocking curtains on the left and right. The stage is on the edge of the lake and the American Experience is behind you. As the show begins, the orchestra comes in first. There are various introductions as to the guest Choir and guest Conductor. Then the entire choir walks in. When you look at the stage, the guest Choir in gold, flanks the permanent WDW choir dressed in green. The WDW choir form a Christmas Tree behind the Guest speaker. Then the Voices of Liberty singers walk in to form the base of the tree. After a couple beautiful warm up songs, the guest speaker walks onto the stage. Our Speaker was Brian Dennehy of Cocoon, FX and a whole lot of other movies. Mr. Dennehy proceeded to read the Christmas story of Mary and Joseph not finding room at the inn. He would read a paragraph or
two and then the choir/orchestra would play a song. This lasted 45 minutes and was incredible. Here's a hint, don't sit too close, you won't be able to see everything. So if your at Epcot during the Holidays, the Candlelight Processional is a must do activity.

DreamFinder Forever's Celebration 25

I came across this link from the Orlando Sentinel. This is a group of people who decided that since the WDW company was not going to do anything for this October's Epcot 25th anniversary, they were.
The DreamFinder Forever Web Site/podcast has planned a nice celebration. They are calling it Celebration 25. Here's a link to their Promo Video.
If your going to be in the World at this time, join the Celebration.

Monday, July 23, 2007

The MuppetCast Podcast

The Muppetcast podcast is a nice change of pace from the Disney Podcasts that I listen to. In my world full of Disney Podcasts, it’s nice to listen to Steven Swanson talk about all things Muppets. Steve’s podcast has been around for about 4 months and he is up to his 15th show. Back in May Steve did a Tribute show to remember the passing of Jim Henson. That was a powerful podcast. From before Sesame Street the Muppets have been around entertaining us and Steve is leading us through the various incarnations that are the Muppets. The Muppetcast has had a couple of very good interviews with Puppeteers and Artists related to the Muppets. What I have said up until now covered about half of the content that Steve puts out each week. The music and audio from video clips that he plays are outstanding and are another wonderful side to this podcast. I can’t tell you how many clips I’ve heard on his show that I have not heard for, and it pains me to say this, decades. So if you’re a Sesame Street, Muppet Show, Fraggle Rock, Dark Crystal, Muppet Movie, Muppet Vision 3D, and just all things Muppets fan, then check out Steve Swanson’s MuppetCast.

So Your Going to WDW: MGM Studios Must Sees

What I am trying to do in these next four “So your Going to WDW” articles is to try to give you an idea of some of the attractions that you should make plans to see if you’re a FIRST TIME VISITOR to the parks. I will rate them by MUST SEE attraction(MS), SECOND TIME to PARK attraction(STP), and HAVE NOT TRIED attraction(HNT).
MS is obvious, but I don’t want this to be a ride description article. If I say MS I mean it without giving too many details. STP is for rides that can wait until your second time to the park. It can also mean once you do all of the MS attractions and have time, hit the STP attractions. The HNT rating means I have not tried this attraction yet and cannot judge . Maybe bad on me and I am meaning to get to it. Or there is a reason to skip it. Although I hate to pass anything up I’ll mention why the HNT when I get to them. Any and all comments are welcome.

Think of the MGM Studios as a park of Streets. Each street has it's share of attractions, food, and shops.

Hollywood Blvd.

The MGM Studios entrance way is a lot like the Magic Kingdoms. Hollywood Blvd. leads you into the park. There are a lot of stores on either side of the street. Keep your eyes open for some of the street actors that you’ll find here. They are hilarious. At the end of the Boulevard is The Great Movie Ride, MS. This is a nice ride through the classic moments in movie history.

Sunset Blvd. leads the way to two of the best thrill rides in the park and maybe all of WDW. The Hollywood Tower of Terror, MS is one of the best themed attractions in Walt Disney World. Of course you’ve got the big drop, but there is so much more to this attraction. Every detail is cool, from walking up the front pathway to the lobby of the hotel, to the basement, to yelling your lungs out at the top.
The Rockin Roller Coaster, MS is an indoor, shoot you from stop to 60 mph in 7 seconds, looped, roller coaster. This is a very exciting ride and a special bonus if you’re an Aerosmith fan.
The other things on this street are the Entrance to Fantasmic, MS the huge Mickey Mouse Fights the Evil Characters, fireworks show. There is also the Beauty and the Beast Broadway show STP. The show is live and very good.

The Animation Courtyard has a couple of cool attractions. Playhouse Disney Live on Stage MS for 10 and under, is on your right. This is an ever evolving show that stars the characters of the Disney Channel’s morning shows.
Voyage of the Little Mermaid show, MS, is a very cool indoor mix of puppetry, animation and live action.
The Magic of Disney Animation tour STP, is a nice view of how cartoons are made. It was a lot more fun when you actually saw the artists working.

Mickey Ave. is where you can find the Back lot Tour, MS. This is a great attraction that tours around the outdoor sets of the Disney Studios. Also on Mickey Ave, you can find the Journey into Narnia, HNT and Walt Disney: One Man’s Dream HNT. Both of these HNT’s were to our detriment. We will be checking both of these attractions out on our next trip.

On the Streets of America, there is the Muppet Vision 3D, MS. One of the best attraction’s in the park. Make sure you check out the Pre-Show. It’s as worth seeing as the show. Lights Motors Action Extreme Stunt Show, hmmm, I gotta go STP here. It’s a cool show and the stunts are great. Bigggg time investment though. Between line and show 60 minutes or more. On last note for the Streets of America, during the Christmas Season, they are decorated with the Osborne Family Christmas Light show. This is a MS of the highest magnitude. In fact, here is a link to the video from last year. They had just added the light/music coordination.

Echo Lake is the final section of the park.. Here you’ll find Star Tours, MS. This is a nice vacation trip to the Moons of Endor. Say hi to R2D2 and C3P0 as you wait on line. Keep an eye out for the strolling Storm Troopers as you board the ride.
Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular, MS. This is a very good live action show on the stunts used in the Indiana Jones movie. All seats are good. Look for the Well outside the ride entrance. (Pull the Rope)
The last attraction in Echo Lake is Sounds Dangerous with Drew Carey, STP. This is an attraction for the Ear. It’s a very fun time, but it does get pitch black for about half or more of the time.

The Disney MGM Studios, while having a smaller attraction list than the other parks, has a large amount of restaurants and stores. Have a great day and don't forget to check out Mickey's Sorcerers Hat.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The Walt Disney Family Museum

Here is another great Walt Disney web site and it was basically under my nose. The Walt Disney Family Museum. I found this the other day. I am still touring the site, but there is alot of information here. Many photographs and videos and many excerpts from interviews of Walt, the family and employees.

Here is their description:
"The Disney Family Museum Web site is produced and maintained by the Walt Disney Family Foundation, a nonprofit organization. Founded in 1995, the Foundation strives to promote education, writing, and scholarship about Walt Disney. The Foundation is not affiliated with The Walt Disney Company, although the site is hosted by Disney Online. "

This is a Website to Check-Out.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

So Your Going to WDW: Epcot Must Sees

What I am trying to do in these next four “So your Going to WDW” articles is to try to give you an idea of some of the attractions that you should make plans to see if you’re a FIRST TIME VISITOR to the parks. I will rate them by MUST SEE attraction(MS), SECOND TIME to PARK attraction(STP), and HAVE NOT TRIED attraction(HNT).
MS is obvious, but I don’t want this to be a ride description article. If I say MS I mean it without giving too many details. STP is for rides that can wait until your second time to the park. It can also mean once you do all of the MS attractions and have time, hit the STP attractions. The HNT rating means I have not tried this attraction yet and cannot judge . Maybe bad on me and I am meaning to get to it. Or there is a reason to skip it. Although I hate to pass anything up I’ll mention why the HNT when I get to them. Any and all comments are welcome.

You have to think of Epcot as really two parks. Future World and the World Showcase. We’ll start off with Future World attractions.

Park Entrance
Spaceship Earth: MS Spaceship Earth is the main landmark at Epcot. The Cinderella’s Castle if you will. We usually ride this on the way out of the park.
Innoventions East and West: STP This is a display of new and existing technologies. There are a lot of displays and this will take some time to go through.

Nemo and the Living Seas
The Seas with Nemo: MS This is a classic dark ride with a twist. Real fish are added to the animation to create very cool scenes. The Queue in this attraction is a treat.
Turtle Talk with Crush: MS This is a theatre type attraction where the kids sit on the floor in the front and talk to Crush…and Crush talks back. Amazing.
Living with the Seas Aquarium: STP The rest of this pavilion is a very complete aquarium. I would save this for after you’ve hit some of the better rides first. Nothing that you have not seen at the aquarium near your home.

The Land
Living with the Land: STP This one was tough to judge. It might be a STP but I always ride it. It is a slow boat ride through green houses and gardens. Very interesting growing methods of plants and animals for food. Look for the Pumpkins. See any familiar shapes?
Soarin: MS, MS, MS This is one of the Best Rides in WDW all together. A hang Glider ride over the different parts of California.
The Circle of Life: STP This is a very good show of Pumba and Timon learning to be more ecologically friendly.

Wonders of Life
Closed – Which is a shame. But in the even it is open, Body Wars is a MS but it is a bumpy ride. Cranium Command is a MS. The Making of Me is an

Universe of Energy: STP This was a MS but has dropped it's ranking because of all of the other good attractions now in Epcot. This could also be called the Ellen ride and while great, is an investment of about 40 minutes of time from pre-show through exiting out the door.

Mission Space: MS This is a very realistic rocket trip to Mars. I have only been on the original side. There is a less intense side where the ride motion is turned down a couple notches. Another cool queue.

Test Track: Another MS thrill ride. Great ride in that nothing is as bad as it looks and the speed track at the end is like riding in a convertible at 64.2 MPH.

Imagination Pavilion:
Honey I Shrank the Audience: MS A must see if you have never seen it. A little scary for the little ones. This is a 3d attraction.
Journey into Imagination with Figment: STP This used to be a MS but not anymore. Figment is the cool Purple Dragon.

World Showcase
I am going to change the way I do the ratings for the World Showcase. All of the lands are Must Sees(MS). What I’ll do is to list each country and give a quick description of what it has to offer. As an FYI, all have food and shopping. I will talk about the best of these as we have seen. And for the countries that have attractions I would give them a STP except for Canada’s Oh, Canada and Mexico’s GRan Fiesta Tour. They get an MS rating.

Mexico: One of my top three countries. From the look outside at the Mexican Temple to the cool night time appearance inside 24/7 it is an awesome pavilion. You will find Gran Fiesta Tour, a slow boat attraction in this pavilion along with a first class Mexican Sit Down Restaurant. There is a very good artist who makes small items out of glass. Very fun to watch. There is a Table and a Counter service Rest.

Norway: This pavilion has an indoor log flume like attraction called the Maelstrom that describes the land of Norway. This attraction is a log flume that is pretty nice. Watch out for the trolls. They are kind of scary for the little ones. Norway’s Akershus Rest. has Princess Character Dinning meals.

China: This pavilion has shopping and the best Chinese food I’ve ever had. There is a 360 degree movie theatre with a film about the land of China. You can see many samples of Chinese art. There is a group of Chinese Children acrobats that put on a wonderful show. China has both a Table and a Counter service Rest.

Germany: Oom-pa-pa, oom-pa-pa. We have not spent much time in Germany. There is a miniature Railroad set-up that has been there forever. There is a Table and a Counter service Rest.

America: The American Experience is located in this pavilion. It’s a really good animatronic attraction. A very patriotic history of America. The Voices of Liberty are singers that harmonize beautifully as they sing American songs from history. Across from the American Pavilion, is a stage where concerts are held along with the Candlelight Processional. There is a Counter
Service Rest.

Japan: Japan is a very beautiful pavilion. There is not a lot of entertainment. I have not seen her, but I heard that watching the Candy maker is a treat. There is a Table and a Counter service Rest.

Italy: This land has the essence of Italy. It is based on the City of Venice. There are fountains, statues, and many other forms of art. There is a Table Service and a bakery in this pavilion.

Morocco: One of the most exotic Pavilions. It was built by craftsman supplied by the King of Morocco. There are lots of places to explore here. There is a Table and a Counter service Rest.

France: France is a beautiful land at Epcot. Small lined streets and stores along side. A little bit of Paris in Florida. There is a movie attraction in this land along with some good places to eat. Look for the Artist's Bike and the box full of paintings. Many small places to get food and a top quality Table Service Restaurant.

UK: Not sure where this would be in England, but the UK in Epcot looks like small cities street. There are many stores and things to do. No Attraction, but keep you eye out for the street performers. Very good Counter Service in the Yorkshire County Fish Shop. There is also a Table Service Restaurant.

Canada: This is another of my top three pavilions. This land shows off a number of the traits of Canada. Some of the Sky-line of Quebec and the mountains of the west are on display, along with a much smaller version of Victoria Gardens. There is a really good 360 degree movie and there is a First Class Table Seating restaurant. Keep your eyes open for the band Off Kilter, their really good.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Ken Polsson's Walt Disney Company Chronologies

I came across this website about a month ago and wanted to pass it on. The site is the Chronology of the Walt Disney Company web site. I have seen a lot of attempts at Disney Chronologies, but Ken Polsson's site is the all time King. He's been working on this peice of Art since 1995 and continues to update it every day. Here is a sample of what happened in the Disney Company 25 years ago today from Ken's site:
"July 9
Buena Vista releases the live-action and animated feature film Tron to theaters in the US. It cost US$21 million to produce. It is presented in Super Panavision 70mm. Mickey Mouse has a cameo appearance. (Total American theater ticket sales: US$39 million.) [11] [15] [23] [34.272] [52.65] [97.29] [112.503] [245.34] [246.92] [255.D4] [256.C8] [370.317] [436.65] [440.56] [501.572] [602.40]
Bally debuts the arcade game Tron. [255.D4] "
His information is very detailed and completely footnoted, hence the bracketed numbers above. This is a great source and any serious fan of the Disney Worlds should have this link handy at all times. This second link is to his references page where he has links to his Walt Disney World, Disneyland and Mickey Mouse Chronologies.
This is a prime example of one of the Websites to Check-Out.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Check out the Ratatouille Video Podcast

I saw Ratatouille on July 4th with the family. I thought it was a pretty cool animated movie, once you got past that whole Rats in the kitchen thing. I laughed quite a bit as did the kids. I did not think it was worth an article in the blog though, until I came across the Disney Ratatouille Video Podcast on Itunes. It's free and you can do a search for it in the Itunes store. These podcast are 40 second to 4 minute long clips about the movie. The clips are like the extras you would see on the DVD. I followed the link back to the Official Ratatouille Web site. You can get the podcast there also. I was blown away by this site. Disney has finally figured out how to use the Internet. This is a beautiful, colorful, crisply animated and very detailed web site. The Characters menu Bar at the top right was the first tip off that there was some serious time spent on the design of this site. I can't wait to show the kids tomorrow night. Enjoy.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

This is the "Hands Down" Best News You'll Hear Today

The Mickey Arm, Hand and Wand structure on Spaceship Earth in Epcot is coming down. I was searching around and came across this article from the Sun-Sentinel of Florida. It appears that it is confirmed that the arm is coming down.
"Epcot Vice President Jim MacPhee announced this morning that the time has come to remove the structure, which has served both as a colorful, lighted Epcot sign since 2000, and as a lightning rod for criticism from Epcot purists who contended the image was out of character for Epcot's architecture."
And as far as a time-table:
Deconstruction of the 50-ton structure begins Monday, and will be completed shortly before the park's 25th anniversary, October 1. Also coming down are the 36-foot-high "Epcot" letters and colored stars splashing across the sphere.
I personally cannot wait for this. I thought it was great for the year 2000. But hated the idea of the wand staying up. And just in time for the Epcot Anniversary. This is, as far as I can remember, the first time we've gotten any type of recognition that the 25Th anniversary was coming up from WDW management. Looking forward to more!!!

Monday, July 2, 2007

Do you like Dole Whip? Well Guess What you can now do at Home?

Have you ever had a Dole Whip? If not, your really missing out on something. A cold soft serve wonder made from real pineapple juice. Well, maybe real pineapple flavoring. Either way, people, me included, rave about these culinary quick serve delights. I even came across this poem by Matthew Walker from Started by the Mouse web site.

oh, luscious frozen treat how i crave
your pineappley goodness that makes me rave
swirled high inside the bowl like a yellow mountain high
I use my spoon to lap you up before letting out a yummy sigh
the line to savor your tasty goodness can sometimes block the way to adventureland
and while I may have wait in that 30-minute line I truly can't wait to get you in my hand
others may prefer the more prevalent snacks of cinnamon-sugary churros and salty popcorn
but given my druthers of what to eat I want the one shaped like the matterhorn

For those that have, until now you’ve had to be in one of three places to get some. Walt Disney World, Disneyland, or Hawaii. That is until now. While listening to the Inside the Magic Podcast, I heard Ricky announce that he now has a process where you can make Dole Whips at home. Don’t get too excited, it’s not quite as mad scientist like in making Orange Julius’s(coffee grounds and all), but still looks like fun. What you need is an Ice Cream maker, water, and the Official Dole Whip powder mix. Ricky found a link for buying the real deal for making Dole Whips. A 4 lb. bag is $22.00. He even put together a very nice How-to-Video of making it from beginning to end. Here is the link to ITM Dole Whip Page.
So turn on the Adventureland drum music and enjoy some fresh made Dole Whip.
Thanks to La2kw from the disboards for the top pic.