Sunday, December 13, 2009
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Monday, October 26, 2009
This is one of my favorite things to do with this blog. Being able to share information with readers and fellow Disney Gee..., I mean Disney Ner…, uh, that is Disney Enthusiasts is paramount to my goals here. I was listening to the WDW Today guys and heard a show that will change the way I view the parks from here on out. The name of this episode was ‘The Story Behind the Story’. The guys had a guest on this show and his name is Shawn Slater and his blog can be found here;
Here is a description of Shawn from his site, “Shawn Slater has had a long and varied career with The Walt Disney Company, including stints as a writer for Walt Disney Entertainment and Walt Disney Imagineering. His love for the Disney Parks manifests itself in a passion for their history, heritage, and seemingly infinite levels of detail.”
As Shawn says in his bio, he was a writer for Walt Disney Entertainment and Imagineering. From being on numerous projects he has some great insight into the who’s, why’s and what’s of a lot of various items. The show on WDW Today was about Shawn’s involvement in the creation of Ye Olde Christmas shop in the
Shawn has a lot of great stories on his Blog and I can’t wait to go thru all of them. This is another of those sites that just adds so much to upcoming trips. Both in keeping myself in the Disney Attitude when I am months away from another trip and as a reference to enhance my trips to the parks. So please check out Shawn's Blog
Friday, October 23, 2009
Thursday, October 1, 2009
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
In the interviews I transcribe and digitize, there is always a part of my brain listening to the stories I read and trying to see how they fit into the life and achievements of Walt Disney. It's like a jigsaw puzzle that gets more and more complete as you add each piece. Carl's stories were very amusing and more like memories as he was speaking into a tape recorder. This interview was given in 1972. Over all, there was this constant theme of Walt's push to educate as well as entertain. In Nater's words about Walt, "I'm convinced he would have been very, very pleased if he had gone down in history, if he had been known as one of the great educators as well as being one of the great entertainers."
Reading Carl's stories and thinking of Walt and education made me reflect on a famous Walt Disney quote, "I would rather entertain and hope that people learned something than educate people and hope they were entertained." At first look, this quote seems to say that Walt had decided that it was better to entertain than educate. But a story that Carl told says different. In the early days of World War II right after Pearl Harbor, the armed forces were desperate to get good quality training films created to help train the American fighting man making his way from civilian life to a fighting soldier or sailor. The Studio's first project was to work on the subject of aircraft identification. The Storymen working on this project were at the mercy of the military as to how to make these kind of films. After-all, Disney Studio never made a Military training film before. All through the process the Disney guys had attempted to add hints of humor to make this dry information easier to watch and learn from. The military always squashed these efforts relying on the philosophy that since this information would save the men's lives, they would pay close attention even if it was dull. At one production meeting after Walt had reviewed the work on Air Identification, he made an observation. Walt said, "I'm just convinced it will put people to sleep, maybe you could lighten this thing up a little bit by putting Donald Duck into the story". From Carl's description you would have thought the Army/Navy officers were having heart attacks and strokes. Walt deferred to them with the thinking that after all, these military men were the experts on training there own troops. Well the movie was finished and delivered and was a very boring snoozefest. As the war went on the Studio and the military got better at these kind of movies. By 1943 as the war was beginning to turn towards the favor of the allies, the BigWigs in Washington invited the filmmakers that had been working on the war effort to a big dinner banquet to thank them for their help. As the night went on, awards were given out and they had gotten to the time of the night where they showed a reel of the worst movies...as a joke. Well, Carl watched the clip from the Aircraft Identification film they had made and he agreed, it was a bomb. Then one of the two high ranking navy officers that were sitting next to him leans over to him and says, "You guys really should have added a little humor to that. Maybe have Donald Duck or one of the Disney Characters liven it up a bit." Go figure. But it does give some credence to Walt's famous quote. By adding a little humor, or a little action via Donald or Mickey the audience would be sure to watch and most of all, pay attention.
Another item I picked out of this interview was about a term I have heard and I'm sure you have heard over and over but not as much in today's world. Did you ever hear Mickey Mouse used as an adjective? A phrase like, "What kind of Mickey Mouse business is this?" or maybe something that was complicated was this, "Mickey Mouse kind of thing." Carl tells another amusing story that perhaps shows the birthplace of this phrase. In the early 1940's as the studio was working with the military, they would often have crazed officers needing to make films to train a certain skill as quickly as possible. There were times the Writers and Story people would begin working before there was even a contract. Getting that contract was tough and getting paid usually tougher. And even when they did there were issues. Carl goes on to explain how that Disney did their books a little differently and would add expenses on that had nothing to do with that particular project, but costs to keep the company working. You would see a general cost for the administrators in Anaheim and the distributors in NY and the Sales people in South America and so on. It did make sense... Well it didn't take too long before the government auditors were coming in and digging through this odd type of billing system. After a long day Carl was again explaining to the lead auditor, a fellow named Ballinger, how their system worked. After listening and trying to understand, the auditor turns to Carl and says, "That system you've got over here, that's the darndest system of Mickey Mouse bookkeeping I ever heard of in my life. That's really Mickey Mouse bookkeeping." After the meeting that story burned through the studios to big laughs. Everyone was telling that story and adding their own Mickey Mouse ideas. Carl had a pretty good feeling that it just spread to the rest of the world from there.
One last thought I took away from this interview was Walt's true love for Education. As one that had limited formal education, he realized the value of it and felt none should be left out. The problem was there was no money in educational films. In order to make a good film there were certain minimal costs before even adding effects or advertising. Educational films would never make back that initial minimal cost so they were not made as much as they should have been. Walt, due to low budgets could not make them they way he thought they should be made. Some times there are ways around the money though. Walt would try sneaking an educational movie in as a short once in a while. Carl remembers, "A good example of what I'm talking about is 'Donald in Mathmagic Land', which he made. He professed that he was making it for theatres, and he did make it, and it was running in theatres, and it bombed out in theatres. It didn't do very well in the theatres, but it became a classic film in the field of education."
Carl Nater might not be a big name in the history of the studios, but he does have stories to tell. I have not even scratched the surface here. You can read more stories from Carl in an upcoming volume of Didier Ghez's Walt's People.
Thanks to Didier for use of the interview as a source and to Thelostdisney on Youtube for the Donald Link.
Update: Some of you might know that I am working as a Technology Teacher in a K-4 school now. How is this for a coincidence, I was asked to help out with getting a VCR to work. There is a Sub teacher in today and she needs to show...this is great...she needed to show Donald in Mathmagic Land. And I just posted this last night. Holy Crap that's just a little bit of a spooky coincidence.
Sunday, September 13, 2009
Sunday, August 30, 2009
Sunday, August 9, 2009
Sunday, July 12, 2009
Take a picture
Take a vacation
Take a vacation without leaving your house
Invent your own language
Build a model…without the instructions
Look at the world…from a different angle
EXERCISES FOR YOUR IMAGINATION
Stretch your mind
Play “What if?”
Pick up a camera…and see what develops
Stay up all night
Write with your opposite hand
Take a blank piece of paper…then do something with it
Remember: Things aren’t always what they seem
HOW TO JUMP-START YOUR IMAGINATION
Think about something else
Talk to yourself
Talk to the animals
Look at the BIG picture
Look at Nature for inspiration
Look at the world through the eyes of a child
HOW TO COME UP WITH AN IDEA
Turn your thinking inside out
Notice the little things
Get in touch with your inner child
Use all the colors of your imagination
Imagination comes in many colors
The first rule of imagination: There are no rules
If you can imagine it, you can do it.
Believe in yourself
Never say never
Imagine the possibilities…are endless
True colors are beautiful like a rainbow
Monday, June 29, 2009
Saturday, June 13, 2009
Andrew Stanton is still on as director and this thing looks ready to go. The writing is done and the latest rumour is that they'll be filming in Utah. I can't wait for this to happen and will be keeping up to date with new events. Hit some of the links from the first post. The websites are up-dating with new info also.
Sunday, May 24, 2009
Here is a listing of the organizations that will be using this out-pouring of cash from WDW to better their services:
Adult Literacy League, Inc. ($17,000) · Best Buddies Florida ($12,000) · Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Florida ($50,000) · Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida, Inc. ($40,000) · Boys & Girls Clubs of Lake & Sumter, Inc. ($10,000) · Bridges of Light Foundation, Inc. ($48,000) · Camp Fire USA Sunshine Council ($18,600) · Center for Independent Living in Central Florida, Inc. ($17,400) · Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida ($60,000) · Community Trust Foundation ($15,000) · Early Learning Coalition of Osceola County ($15,000) · Explorations V Children’s Museum ($15,000) · Florida Children’s Repertory Theatre ($10,000) · Florida Citrus Sports Foundation ($25,000) · Foster Grandparent Program of Central Florida ($30,000) · Foundation for Orange County Public Schools, Inc. ($10,000) · Golden Rule Foundation, Inc. ($14,000) · Habitat for Humanity in Seminole County, Inc. ($10,000) · Harbor House of Central Florida, Inc. ($39,000) · Hispanic Resource Link, Inc. ($15,000) · Holocaust Memorial Resource and Education Center of Florida, Inc. ($20,000) · Hope CommUnity Center ($35,000) · Jewish Community Center of Greater Orlando, Inc. ($20,000) · Jewish Family Services of Greater Orlando, Inc. ($15,000) · Justice and Peace Office, Inc. – Apopka Family Learning Center ($25,000) · New Hope for Kids ($25,700) · Orlando Day Nursery Association, Inc. ($10,000) · Orlando Museum of Art ($9,500) · Orlando Repertory Theatre ($10,800) · Orlando Science Center, Inc. ($20,000) · Orlando Shakespeare Theater, Inc. ($10,000) · Osceola County Council on Aging ($15,000) · Restore Orlando, Inc. ($10,000) · Winter Park Day Nursery ($3,000)
Sunday, May 17, 2009
I think the kids really out did themselves this year.
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
As you walk through this newest of Epcot's pavilions you will experience the wonder and beauty of India all around you. As you explore you will find a new state of the art 3Dx3D attraction, two incredible new Indian themed restaurants and shopping opportunities from all parts of India.
The WDW Imagineers have out-done themselves with the first ever use of 3Dx3D. Adventures of India will have you travel to middle India on a photographic Tiger Hunt. Try to get the best picture as you explore through the thick grasslands experiencing the wildlife of India thru audio, video and 3Dx3D technology. Mid-way thru your journey a couple of old friends from Walt Disney’s The Jungle Book make sure your see the very best of India and its wildlife.
After building up an appetite on the Adventures of India ride, come and join us in the Bukhara Mahal our new 5 star Table Service restaurant offering the finest cuisine of all regions of India. Its wonderful indoor/outdoor dining areas are complimented by beautiful tile work and fountains with exceptional service. If you’re in the mind for a lighter snack, then stop and eat at Louie’s Grill, our newest counter service restaurant serving a smaller menu full of quality.
And before leaving India, you must stop at one of the two gift stores where you are promised to find many treasures from India. We are very proud of the job we have done on this new Pavilion, we know you will enjoy it to. Thank you."
Stay tuned to this media outlet for more details about our new Indian pavilion and it’s offerings.
Thursday, April 30, 2009
- I went out and googled the Disney Stoveworks and got nothing except the usual commercial adds for New Disney company items to buy.
- The next thought was let me try going with a search on the Workshop. There was a lot of information about the shed and the trains and the move to the new location by the Carolwood Pacific Historical Society, but again nothing about the Disney Stoveworks or the pot-bellied stoves.
- I reached out to various Disney boards and Blogs with no luck.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
"SpectroMagic" Parade is a dazzling nighttime procession filled with brilliantly lit Disney Characters and floats at Magic Kingdom theme park. Your heart will glow along with the brilliant lights and joyous music of this gleaming parade that celebrates scenes from Disney films. Disney Characters are magically transformed into living ornaments of light in this magical, glittering spectacle.
Half a million lights and miles of fiber optics cables light up the night during the "SpectroMagic" Parade to create miles of smiles for Guests of all ages.
I don’t want to be-labor the history and creation of the parade or even the photos. When your done here you can go over to LaughingPlace.com. They have a great article on Spectromagic and a bunch of pictures of the entire parade.
The first four or five times we have seen this parade we have watched it from various places on Main Street. We did not know any better yet. Usually the place was dictated by the crowds and when we got there to wait for the parade to start. Main Street seems to have more activities run by the cast members as you wait for the parade. My son's first pin trading was done waiting for the parade. We’ve watched from in front of City Hall, in front of the Candy Store, half-way down Main, in Front of the Plaza Ice Cream place and on the Tomorrowland side of the hub. Without a doubt the best experience was sitting half-way down Main Street. We found our spots and camped out maybe 30 minutes until the parade started. The kids and wife played games on the street as I guarded our seats. The Parade was great as always. You get close to the Parade on Main Street but there is some pushing. A new spot we discovered had a back-drop that we did not fully appreciate until
we had gotten home and watched the videos. Cinderella's Castle in the background changing colors added just a little more magic. You can see the bridge to the right. This was a small pathway that takes you from the Crystal Palace right to Liberty Square. You can see how close we were and there was not much of a crowd. The next place that we found to be a very good place to sit is in Frontierland, right across the pathway from Pecos Bills. There is not a lot of room for depth which keeps it pretty free of crowds.
- If you want to sit on Main Street get there 45-60 minutes before the parade. I would also bring a blanket or towel to put down on your spot on the curb. People setting up for Main Street can get brutal. We usually plan to do our shopping in the Main Street stores as we wait. We take turns reminding people that we were there first and getting our food for the parade and fireworks.
- Check the times when you check in to your hotel, they can change.
- If you have a choice always see the second parade if offered that night. Ride attractions while the first parade is going on.
- If you want your kids (or yourself) to feel part of the parade, bring glow sticks and necklaces with you for the parade.
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Thursday, February 19, 2009
I had heard about this from the various podcasts I listen to, but had really forgotten about it until we saw the Kim Possible sign recruiting to ‘Save the World’ directing us into Inoventions West. Right inside the door to the left is a Kim Possible (KP) Wall with various stations with a monitor at each. They are touch sensitive and you read through a number of screens asking about your party and telling you the beginnings of a story about Kim and Ron not being available and could you help out. Next to the machine is a slot that spit out a Fastpass looking card that had a country name (Norway) and a time that our Adventure would begin. I think we started at 12:45. We had some time so we hit Club Cool. Got the 8 year old with Beverly, but that’s another story, and strolled through Mexico. The KP stand was easy to spot as were the Cast Members. Nice Ron stoppable looking Purple shirts. We handed over our pass and were given a cell phone looking device. We were told how to use them and then we were directed to get about 100 feet away from the cart. Even though there were specific times to start the adventure, you did not have to be there at the time that was on your ticket, so there was a little bit of sound over-lap between our team and others. We listened to Wade describe a World Class disaster in the making and we need follow clues through Norway to solve the mission. I have never been in the Stave Church in all my times down to Epcot and that’s the first place the game took us. Wade directs you to a place and then asks a question that can be answered by reading or looking around where you are sent. Here is one example. In the Stave Church there is a replica of a famous Norwegian boat, can’t remember the name. Wade’s question, that will help us catch the villain, was how long was the boat. The question has four possible answers and you pick the right one to continue the adventure. SPOILERS: The interactivity was great. At one point Wade had us look at Japan and smile. A picture of us from a hidden camera was then sent to our phone/device. Again, the interactivty with the Norway pavailion was great. We caused smoke to rise out of one of the chimmneys near the Maelstrom. We lit lanterns for signals and had flags raised