Saturday, May 31, 2008

Live Streaming Video from Boardwalk Villas Boat Ramp

Boardwalk Villas and more Live! Here is a link for a live vid-cam set up overlooking the boat launch at the Boardwalk Villas. It's a small little dose of what's going on in one little piece of the world. It even sound like Jellyrolls, the piano bar, in the background. It's only up until June 8th. With Space Ship Earth in the background also, we'll see if we can see the fireworks or not. Enjoy. FYI, the picture to the left is not what you'll see on the link.

Live Cam Link

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Comcast OnDemand Disney Travel Videos

For those that have Comcast OnDemand, Disney has a couple of travel videos that you can watch for free. To get there, go into the OnDemand menu and click on Searchlight, then Travel&Leisure, then Disney Travel. You will then find 9 categories to choose from with one or two 5-9 minute videos in each one. They are as follows:

What's Cooking has a video from Jiko.
Making the Magic has a two parter about what went into the making of the Princess and Pirate Party.
Disney Insiders has a money saving video(nothing new) and a Jonas Brothers video.
Park Attractions has a video about Expedition Everest.
Live Events shows Daniel Powter in disneyland in concert.
Fact or Fiction. Does the Matterhorn have a Basket-ball court inside and are there really tunnels under WDW's Magic Kingdom?
Sneak Peeks has an American Idol and a Jonas Bothers video.
DreamMakers is a video of Joey Fatone giving away a stay in The Castle Suite.
Vacation Club has a video about the Animal Kingdom Villas DVC.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Maz Top 3: Magic Kingdom Attractions

My next top three list had a small flaw. It was to be The Maz Top 3 attractions in the Magic Kingdom. The flaw was that I am hard pressed to come up with my top 3. In my mind there are about a half dozen attractions(I'm trying hard not to say ride) that could be my number two ride in the MK. Based on that, this week I will name The Maz Bottom 3 attractions in the Magic Kingdom.

The number 3 Maz Bottom attraction is the Mad Tea Party. For those that might not know what this is, sit on your chair in the office and spin it around and pick up your feet. There you go. Okay, there is a little more to it than that, but not much. There is no queue theming. The ride only lasts 1 and a half minutes and after the age of 21 you have a very good shot at getting nauseous from it. I liked Alice in Wonderland just like the next peson, but not enough to bring me back to liking this ride. I'll leave you two thoughts, first, this is a ride that can be found in many amusement parks so what's the big deal. The other thought and perhaps a saving grace is at least we get a chance to watch a little Church Group Mom Whoop Ass the next time we wait on line for this. (That is just one more acronym for the masses; C.G.M.W.A.)
My second worst ride in the Magic Kingdom is the The Magic Carpets of Aladdin. I can see trying to get Aladdin into the park as the movie was very popular, but didn't Iago and his appearance over at the Tiki Room warn you about this? As everyone points out, this is Dumbo light. But there is a difference. At least on this ride you can get sprayed by water. I've been on it three times and each time we were not able to control the carpet. Waiting 45 plus minutes for this? I just don't get it. I rated this worse than the Tea Cups because the Tea Cups were created long ago and are traditional. Aladdin's Magic Rugs was built in the 1990's. No excuse. I love the scene from Mickey's Philharmagic of Aladdin and Jasmine. Let's chalk that up as the Aladdin reference and get rid of the Carpet ride. How about re-configuring that space for a nice Adventureland themed Rest.

And now the Absolute bottom most attraction at the Magic Kingdom is the Tomorrowland Indy Speedway. First of all, Tomorrowland? I think the model for the cars is very Yesterdayland. The other sad note about the TIS is that we will be driving gas powered cars in the 'Future'.
Now a word about the line at any given time of the day except for 5 minutes after rope drop:LOOOOOOOOOONG. Here is a quote from

"Since the queue is long and in an unshaded area, it's a good idea to bring a
bottle of water with you as you wait for your turn around the Speedway."

This is one rides line and they are telling you to take water. I see a couple Buzzards circling even now. If your real lucky, there might be a warm humid breeze blowing the fumes into the queue. Then you get in a car that only a kid really fits into. After you fold up your legs and begin your trip on a nice 7.5 mph cruise. Provided the little guy in front of you doesn't forget how to make the car go or you've got the pig of the cars and are getting rammed by the guy behind you or your engine dies in the middle of the track.(it happens) The last nail in the coffin of this attraction and it even over-rides the idea that this attraction was a WDW attraction from day one. This is another ride that can be found on any Boardwalk or amusement park around the World. So my advice to you little guys. When you get to that magic 52" mark and can get up early, ride it as much as you can. That'll end.
So that is the Bottom Maz 3 of the Magic Kingdom. What do you think?

Monday, May 19, 2008

A Disney Legend: Milt Albright

As the Disney Legend's website says, the Disney Legend award was created "to acknowledge and honor the many individuals whose imagination, talents and dreams have created the Disney Magic" There have been 216 Disney Legends awarded since the inception of this award in 1987. Many of the names on this list are known to most Disney enthusiasts, but for every well known legend there are 10 that you might have never heard of. These are their stories.

Milt Albright has a very distinct title among many. Milt is the very first Disneyland employee on record. But that is just the middle of the story. Milt Albright came from Missouri in the footsteps of another famous Missourian, Walt Disney. Milt started at the studios as a junior accountant in 1947. His job was basically writing out and delivering the checks to most of the people in the studios at that time. Even to Walt Disney. On some occasions they would share a story about Missouri. One of Milt's hobbies was automobiles. In 1953 he used that hobby to design a car for the new Disneyland Park that Walt was working on. As the story goes, Walt was not to impressed with the car, but he was big time impressed with Milt. Walt hired Milt Albright as the first Manager of Accounting for Disneyland. And that was it, Milt was the very first employee at Disneyland. There were other things for Milt in the Disney Company. In 1957, Milt was the manager of the short lived Holidayland. Holidayland was part picnic grounds, part circus, part corporate function area. Some of the Mickey Mouse Club members would perform here when not shooting the show. It's now the Disneyland employee parking lot. Per Milt, “It wasn’t any one thing that killed Holidayland. It was just the combined effect of a whole lot of things.” It closed in 1961. After Holidayland, Milt moved into Guest Services part of the company. While there he founded the Grad Night tradition at Disneyland. The first Grad Night was on June 15, 1961. Milt also developed and presented the Magic Kingdom Club, a chance for Disney park goers to get various discounts in the parks. Another major project of Milt's was the Disney News magazine which each Magic Kingdom Club member automatically got. The first issue came out in Dec. 1965. Milt's last position with the Disney Company was Manager of Guest Communications. He retired from the park in 1992. Milt is a Member of Club 55, the club for the original Disneyland employees. He received his Disney Legends award in 2005 and even has a window on Main Street in Disneyland.

"Milt Albright, Entrepreneur. No job too big, no job too small."

Sunday, May 18, 2008

NETCOT: The InterNET Community Of Tomorrow

I found the NETCOT podcast a couple of months ago. It's run by a guy named Van and he has a site also. If I could say it better I would, but in his words;
"The podcast is full of fun! It starts with the biggest and most interesting Disney related news stories. And we mean news from a reliable news source - not some dude’s blog. The show features a Top 7 list related to Disney and a feature segment on a ride, park or something else related to Disney. Feature segment examples include:
Compare Van Contrast - This segment looks at differences and similarities in a featured Disney attraction that exists in multiple parks around the world.
Van-n-Now - Where we take a look at an attraction that has changed over the years to compare what its been and what its become.
Plain ‘ol Featured Attraction - We’ll break down the whole experience of a featured attraction from getting to it to getting off it. But its not just a retelling of the attraction, its a whole new look at your favorite rides.
Each week we also end with audio from the featured attraction and, if you listen long enough, bloopers from the show. We also throw in lots of fun segments to keep it fresh and interesting.
The shows are an average of 30 minutes including the ending audio. Just enough to give you something to listen to on the way to work or school!"

This is definitely not your everyday Disney podcast. I have a blast listening to each and every show. As the podcast approached it's 100th show, Van did the top seven show formats NETCOT could have been. If you listen to the popular Disney Podcasts, these segments were Classic. There are a lot of very good a well produced segements on each show. Van has been guest appearing on some of the other Disney Podcasts. WdWToday had him on the other day. He has a knack of reporting the news and then saying what your thinking in a funny way that can't keep you from breaking out laughing...a lot. The NETCOT home page is a great source of Disney News. I am amazed at how quickly news gets posted on his site. NETCOT is a credited source on Disney News for the media. How's that for creditability. Check out the NETCOT site and Podcast and tell me their not worth your time.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Disney Garden Products have Healthy Web Sites

I came across the oddest thing the other day. We had gotten grapes at the local supermarket. They came in a Disney labeled bag. The front of the bag was a picture of Mickey and Minnie having a picnic with the grapes pictured on their picnic blanket. The back of the bag had the Nutrition Facts panel(which, on grapes, is kinda excessive), a couple of fun facts; 'The average person eats about 8 pounds of grapes per year' as an example, and two links. I normally don't think twice about blowing off a products link on packaging as being a waste of time, but hey, this was a Disney Garden product and I had some time, so I took a look at the links. I am glad I did. I can't wait to show them to my kids as being worth while sites to waste their time on(sorry Webkins).
The first is the Imagination Farms web site. There are plenty of games to play all gearing at teaching kids about the five food groups, but especially fruit and vegetables. There is also a lot of fun information for the kids. Some of the sections are Foodle Doodle, Veggie Varsity, Kid Recipes and more. They also run a find a clue contest with codes from the back of the bag.
The second link is a site called Disney's Healthy Kids although when you get there it is really Disney's Fit Forever Champ Camp. This is more of a challenge type of site. Your main goal is to learn how to eat healthy and compete against campers from Camp Lazy Acres. The four parts of the camp are Lilo's Luau, Kim Possible Science Cave, Incredible Island and Mickey's Mess Hall. Each part of the camp teaches the kids about the food pyramid and other things such as moderation and proportionality. All things that you would think were common sense, but looking at the waist lines around you, maybe not. After each 'lesson' there is a trivia type game testing your knowledge. You go against campers from Lazy Acres. I was Stitch going against Gantu. It reminded me of the 10,000 Pyramid. The one thing that did stick out was that even though they used the Disney characters, they must have not had enough to pay for the voices. All of the Disney characters are silent. Only the counselors speak. Check out the Cool Parent link on this site to view other Disney Labeled products in the stores. Kim Possible Oat Meal, Nemo Drink Sticks, Mickey Burgers and a ton more.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

A Disney Legend: George Bruns

As the Disney Legend's website says, the Disney Legend award was created "to acknowledge and honor the many individuals whose imagination, talents and dreams have created the Disney magic" There have been 216 Disney Legends awarded since the inception of this award in 1987. Many of the names on this list are known to most Disney enthusiasts, but for every well known legend there are 10 that you might have never heard of. These are their stories.

This week let's talk about Disney Legend George Bruns (1914-1983).
George Bruns worked for the Disney Company from 1953-1978. He was a musician, conductor, song writer and musical director. George first came in
contact with the Disney company due in part to Ward Kimball. Ward had recommended George when they needed a jazz tuba player for a cartoon being made at another company(UPA). The two men were friends due to their Jazz band connections. When Walt and the conductor Walter Schumann had a falling out in Sleeping Beauty, Ward Kimball again suggested Geroge Bruns to take the job. His first assignment was the Blue Bird Scene with Bill Peet and Mary Costa. He did so well with that assignment he was then asked to score the entire movie.
George was born in Sandy, Oregon. He was a child prodigy in that he had mastered the piano, tuba and trombone by high school. He tutored under Dent Morey who was very well known in the Portland area. He went to Oregon State U. The OSU Alumni Assoc. web page says "...however, in looking back on what we know of his student years, Bruns spent most of his time, both on and off campus, playing music, either tuba in the ROTC band or string bass in the popular Jim Derickx Orchestra." After school George toured with a couple of bands in the Northwest with a band-mate in one of them with the medical sounding name of Doc Severeson of Johnny Carson fame. After George's start with the Disney Company he worked on many different projects. He did the music for most of the first season of the Disneyland show. He also composed the music for The Balad of Davey Crockett. He put that song together with a writer from the Disneyland show in about 30 minutes. It sold eight million copies. He also composed the theme for the Zorro tv show and music for the Mickey Mouse Club. He worked on a number of animated movies and had Oscar nominations coming for Robin Hood, The Sword in the Stone, Babes in Toyland, and Sleeping Beauty. He won a Golden Laurel Award for Babes in Toyland. George even guested with the Firehouse 5 plus 2 band that Ward Kimball and other Disney employees had put together in the 1940's. Some of George's other accomplishments were composing the music for the Jungle Book and co-writing the Yo Ho Pirate song with Xavier Atencio. He also was responsible for the music in the Herbie movies. He considered the work on adapting Tchaikovsky's ballet score for 'Sleeping Beauty' and the song 'Love' from Robin Hood as his some of his best and most challenging work with Disney. lists that George worked on over 75 Disney projects. George retired from the Disney Company in 1978. He was inducted as a Disney Legend in 2001.
Sources and more info:

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Disneyland Official Podcast Mark VII and more

As you might have known from my site I listen to a lot of Disney type podcasts. Most of the content on the shows I listen to is good. Once in a while you get a real gem and this is about one of them. Disneyland has it’s own official podcast. It is updated every month or so and there have been some great things to see and hear. Most of their posts have been video, but this last release is audio. Episode 31 is about the new Mark VII Monorail trains that they are testing in Disneyland right now. Bob “Mr. Monorail” Gurr is interviewed and tells us how the original concept of the monorail at Disneyland came about. It started with a trip by Walt and Lillian to Germany in the late1950’s to a drawing on his kitchen table. He then goes on to talk about designing with the Germans and kidnapping Vice-president Richard Nixon on the Monorail’s first trip. The whole process from idea to Monorail dedication only took 9 months. Very impressive in today’s world. There is a great clip of audio of the dedication where Walt interacts with Nixon and his daughters. Bob tells a great story. The rest of the podcast is about the new Mark VII and a short interview with Scot Drake, designer of the Mark VII. The podcast finishes with a interview with the “Voice of Disneyland”, Bill Rogers. Bill does all of the announcements in the Disneyland park and has one of the best known voices. Here is a link to the Nixon Monorail Dedication on Youtube. Enjoy