Sunday, November 24, 2013

Adventures in Podcasting

 What is a podcast?  If I had a nickel for every time...  I never knew what a podcast was until around 2005.  A podcast is an audio recording that is made public for all to listen to. Most shows are not that basic and they vary from very plain to  the well produced podcasts.  I mainly have always listened to Disney Themed podcasts, but you can find a show on almost any topic now a days.
 I found both the WDW Today guys and Ricky from the Inside the Magic Show at about the same time.  I've listened to hundreds of shows and still do.  Mostly all Disney themed.  Many of the shows over the years have stopped recording, but those that continue are great.  Along with the above, I spend my time listening to the Be Our Guest Podcast crew, Lou Mongello and his WDW Radio show and the group over at the DisUnplugged.
In the past year and a half I have found my way on to the other side of the microphone as a Podcaster.  The kids of course, by contact, also listened to a lot of Disney themed
podcasts and about 2 years ago we were talking about what we would say if we had our own podcast.  Well we talked about it over and over and decided to give it a try and the "We're Going to Walt Disney World" Podcast was born.  We're getting ready to record our 38th show and have had a blast recording.  We've been lucky enough to have had a friend of ours from England join us.  George adds a great perspective to the show.  We do a lot of different segments led by our Wheel of Attraction.  This is a great segment where we spin a great big carnival wheel with Disney Attractions on it.  We talk about whatever it lands on.  This show is fun because Quinn, Hope and George run and think up the segments and give their great teenage perspective to the show.  I'm the Tech Guy, a true up and coming Mike Newell and try to keep the show on track. 
More recently, in the last 3 months, I have become involved with a second podcast, The Disney Nerds Podcast.  This show came about with 4 people on a Facebook group called of all things the Disney Nerd Group.  We were amazed at the amount of info being posted in the group that were great history and park tips.  A couple of the groups members approached me as a "Tech guy" and I got involved.  We're a show of 4 and have guest hosts take turns joining us. We discuss all things Disney in a conversation format with a lot of honest opinions.  This show is 10 shows old but is more consistent and comes out, usually on Wednesday.  Jimmy, Farrah, Tom and I and our guests really have a good time discussing anything Disney.
I really enjoy podcasting.  The ability to be able to help out other people with information that we have learned through experience is great.  So let me know what you think in the comments below.  Is there a Podcast that you listen to?  Have you heard one of our shows?  What do you think?  We really want to know.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Sad News of Diane Disneys Passing

Once in a while you have a sad day.  This past week we had one of those days with the news of the passing of Diane Disney Miller.  She was a person of distinction and opinion and the staunch protector of the Legacy of her parents.  Our thoughts and prayers go out to her friends and family. 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Eureka, the Disney Stoveworks have been Confirmed

About five years ago I approached you and a number of my friends in the Disney community looking for information about Walt Disney and the Miniature Stoves he would make.
My post from 2009, The Disney Stoveworks

I had a Eureka moment the other night while I was looking for information on Granny's Farm, the miniature house that Walt put together way back when.  The current interview I am working on for Walt's People, Harper Goff, talks a lot about this period in the company.  While looking for more information on this I came across the Stove information I have been searching for.  In an article about Walt's fascination with Miniatures, a couple of paragraphs were written especially for me:

Walt painstakingly crafted a pint-sized potbellied stove for the caboose as well. “I had a pattern made up, and it turned out so cute with the grate, shaker and door, and all the little working parts, I became intrigued with the idea,” Walt wrote. “I had a few made up: one was bronze, another black, and I even made a gold one! Then we made more and started painting them in motifs that fitted the period at the turn of the century.”
Each of these 5 1/2" inch tall stoves had a different design, and eventually about one hundred were made. Walt gave some to friends, and even sent some to an antique gift shop in New York where, to Walt’s delight, Mrs. Thorne herself purchased two to add to her renowned collection, the same collection that had inspired Walt’s hobby. They sold for $25 each and Walt made no special effort to market them or make a profit. He was just curious to see if there was any interest and by 1957, the supply was depleted.
“It has been fun making them and others appreciate them, too, so all in all, I feel well repaid,” said Walt.
 After reading this I am left with two thoughts.  The first is satisfaction in being able to confirm what Richard Todd said in that interview I transcribed in 2008.  I really love all aspects of the history of things.  I get the big warm and fuzzy when you can match up information through different sources.  So I was bummed to have only Mr. Todd mention this in a passing question in an interview and no other mention of it in all of my searches.  Of course this fell off my active radar, but the passive picked it up and question, resolved.
The second thought is, okay, he made about 100 of these stoves.  Why have I or anyone I talked to in 2009-2010 never heard of this?  I would think the value on one of these would be a little bit more than $25.  I'm thinking more like $2,500.  I'll have to put this search back into the active mode for a little while and see what else might be out there.  FYI, I just checked EBay and no luck.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Sad to See You Go Sid Cahuenga

I read the news today and could not believe it.  Sid Cahuenga's Antiques and Curios has closed and the contents of the store are being moved to the AFI Shop at the end of the Back-Lot Tour. 
Sid's was a very cool place to stop and check out.  It was right before the turnstiles as you exited the park on your right.  Sid's had a lot of great autographed pictures and other objects.  Some of the names that were on display were very impress, as were the prices.
The other reason we stopped at Sid's was the Trivia board that was on the porch.  If you could answer all of the questions, you were awarded a WDW Certificate.  We've only gotten one of those. 

From what I read, Sid's location will be a new MyMagic+ service center.  Goodbye Sid, see you around town...or not.  To hear more about the history of Sid Cahuenga's check out Lou Mongello's show # 297.
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Monday, November 18, 2013

Disney Tech Check: Watching World of Color and Glow with the Show Hats

Even though I'm going to use YouTube to illustrate my points, I could not really categorize this post as a YouTube Disney Gold Post, so I felt a new Post Category was required.  This will be the first of a series of posts called the Disney Tech Check.  These posts will cover all the new technology that is introduced by the Disney company and how it effects our visits to the parks and how we experience Disney entertainment. 
I found a great You Tube video posted by Ricky Brigante from the Inside the Magic Podcast and Disney Information Empire. Ricky has just posted a great HD video of the new show at Disneylands' World of Color nighttime show.  It's the new Winter Dreams overlay with a lot of Frozen included for advertising I'm guessing.  It looks like a really fun show.  This is a great example tech video because you get to check out two great park technology innovations.  The first is the World of Color show itself.  The great coordination of water and lights and video is incredible.  Ever since the show started, it's been incredible and I'd love to see it live someday. 
The second shot of new Disney technology is the recently introduced light up Mickey Ear hats or officially know as the Glow with the Show hats.  These are the hats that have the light up ears that during certain Disney Park shows, the ears light up in sequence with the show. 
As you watch the show, or you can go right to time mark 20:20, the Buzz and Jessie scene, and watch that minute of video.  That is a very good example of all of the above technologies all working seamlessly together.

The hats are around $25 and are becoming more and more available at the parks.  The only complaint I've heard so far is that there might be times when you might feel a little lonely at some of these night time events.  There still new and at $25 a hat not selling off the shelves.  The word is at events like the above, the ears are given out for free.  Leave me a comment if you know.  I'll follow up down the road about how these actually work. 
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Sunday, November 17, 2013

Maz Disney Book Review:Attention to Detail, a Look at Walt Disney World Parks

One of the things I love the most about the WDW parks is the amount of detail that is designed into almost everything.  Of course great details are expected on the large attractions, but at WDW the details are everywhere.  From a period phone that talks to you in the Hat Shop at the Magic Kingdom to the Upside down game of Battleship at Disney Hollywood Studios.  One of the best books around that shows us a lot of those details is Attraction to Details: A Look at Walt Disney World Attractions.  This is a book compiled by Keith Black and Jackie Damon and has some of the coolest and most unique details found in the WDW parks, all with photos.  The pictures are really bright and clear and show so much great detail.  In their words:

"Through the use of photographs taken at the parks, we hope to bring awareness to the incredible work of Walt Disney and his Imagineers found throughout the parks at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida.  We seek to test your memory of the location of these details as well as give a little insight to their purpose and placement from our perspective and information we have gained over time. Our hope is to encourage others to pay attention to detail and in so doing gain further enjoyment of the parks."

The other great part of this book is that it provides photo scavenger hunts for the parks.  Click Here for an example from their website. I was lucky enough to be part of one of these scavenger hunts with some friends of mine in Oct. 2012.  It was a actually run by both Keith and Jackie during the Be Our Guest Podcast's Epic October 2.0.  It was a blast.  Below is a pic of all of us that participated:
The scavenger hunt was restricted to the MK Monorail loop which meant it included the three hotels, the Ticket and Transportation Center and the Magic Kingdom stop, up to the Bag Search Tables.  I can't find a picture of the cards we were given but each card had 5-6 numbered pictures per side.  You were to find where the picture was and have all but one of the team photographed with it.  We had a blast passing the other teams and looking for the clues.  We had a two hour time limit.  the Contemporary was the base. When we got back totals were tallied and we lost by one point.  Go Figure.

The Detail orientated Duo of Keith and Jackie are getting ready to release Volume 2 and I can't wait.  Check out the Attraction to Details: A Look at Walt Disney World Attractions book and hunts either at that link on amazon or at their Home Site and tell them I sent you. 
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Thursday, November 14, 2013

7 Posts for 7 Days

Hello my Disney friends.  I've been more inconsistent as this Blog has grown older.  My goal to get back on the Wagon is 7 posts in 7 days and then back onto a more consistent posting schedule.

I think a re-introduction might be in order.  My name is Ed Mazzilli and I am a very big fan of all things Disney.  I like to explore that interest through history, through listening and recording podcasts, through the parks, watching the movies and through this great Disney community on the internet. I am part of two Disney themed Podcasts, the "We're Going to WDW" Podcast and the Disney Nerds Podcast.  I am also lucky enough to be part of a project and series of books called Walt's People.  I transcribe interviews from paper or audio to digital text. I also keep track of a lot of great blogs, web sites and facebook pages, all Disney related.  Anything to keep that Disney Spirit flowing.
So here's for the 7 in 7 and look for number 1 very soon.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The Maz Endless Summer Vacation Part 1(WGTWDW Podcast #35)

Here is some more commentary and pics from Show # 35.  You can listen here or read.  Thanks again for stopping by.  Feel free to leave comments or questions

Show # 35
I want to start off by saying that we are really thankful we've been so lucky to travel as much this summer as we've done.  We've had slim years and it's great to take advantage of this time now.  Quinn will be starting college in a couple of years, so we decided to take advantage of the summer time to travel.
The Mazzilli Endless Summer officially started the weekend after the 4th of July.  Lesley's company has a great company picnic at Hershey Park that weekend.  We've been doing this for at least 10 years.  We go with friends from college and make it a reunion weekend also.  This year was the extra bonus for the Girls, One Direction was playing at Hershey stadium and they all had tickets.
We drove out on Friday and went to Hershey park that night.  That's our ride night.  We've conceded long ago that the rides on Saturday are not worth the lines about 1/2 hour after the park opens.  We usually pick two of the rides we could not get on the night before.  For me it's Fahrenheit and StormRunner. We spend most of Saturday at the water park part of Hershey.  A nice feature of the lunch is that you can go at 12:00 thru 6:00 as many times as you want.  Great deal!

  We had a great couple days at the parks.  The Girls all saw 1D and said the concert was great.  The guys stayed at the park and then did the required tour through the chocolate factory before heading back to the hotel and then to home on Sunday.  The plan is to get packed and then back on the road to Florida on Monday morning.  We re-packed the van and got everything ready and set out the next morning at 4:00 am.  One of the rules about driving down without my wife Lesley is that I cannot drive straight through.  We need to stop, which we did in Brunswick Ga.  The next morning we slept all the way to 7am to make up for the day before and got back on the road.

The plan for today was to stop in St. Augustine at the Disney Character outlet and then on to DTD.  We would then get in the room until 4:00pm.  The Outlet store was good but we made no big purchases this year.  We did get a new Antenna Topper,  Luigi's Tires. The key-chain remote for the car was not working so no beeps to guide us back to the car in the parking lots.   The antenna topper was key a couple times in finding the van. We always try to stop here or at the outlet store neat WDW each trip.  We usually find a really great deal.  They usually have the previous holidays stuff along with any movies that might have been big maybe a year earlier.

 We got back on the road and our next stop was Downtown Disney.  We did the regular walk-around the Marketplace and then took a walk to the West Side, something we have not done in a long time. It is so sad to walk through Pleasure Island and think of what it was at one time.  I tried to explain to the kids how it was and how fun it was to celebrate New Years Eve every night.  We walked all the way down to the new bowling alley, Splittsville.  the place is incredible.  We had plans to meet the BOGP guys later that week. 
On the walk back to the Marketplace we stopped at the D Street store.  This is a great place with a lot of cool things to buy.  On top of that were the really cool decorations in there.  I am convinced they inherited a lot of stuff from the since closed Adventurers Club (AC).  And speaking of the AC we passed it twice and even though they've done their best to hide it, it is still there and very much missed.  Before leaving DTD we stopped at Earl of Sandwich.  This is still the best/cheapest sandwich on property, but alas, the restaurant has lost a little of it's sparkle.  On the ride up from Palm Beach towards the end of our trip, we saw that they have Earls on the Fla Turnpike.

Our next stop was to check-in to our hotel.  We stayed at the Ramada Gateway and got such a great deal.  We got a tower room with 2 queen beds, a kitchen area with fridge, microwave and sink separate from the bathroom.   The tower rooms are about 5 years old and look great still.  We were on the second floor.  These were inside hallway hotel rooms while the other half of the hotel was the outside two floor motel type rooms.  I've stayed in both types.  I only recommend the tower rooms.  We paid $63 total a night.  We had a really great stay.  Parked right outside from the elevators, very close each night. Hotel had two pools, a Barbecue themed restaurant and a Ice Cream Counter outside the pool table and Ping Pong covered courtyard.
They had a lot of Disney decorations around property.  This place is 5 minutes, from the parking lot at DHS, no exaggeration. It is the first set of buildings you hit after getting off of World Drive going west.  Plenty of fast-food places and other types of stores.  CVS has everything and the fast-food is a change from the park food.  I think we did KFC for one dinner. 
                                          Hope and I went to DHS that night.  With Quinn coming back to the parks after the cruise and Palm Beach, he would be outside his 14 day ticket window if he went with us that night.  So Hope got her time with Dad. 
Our main goal was the American Idol Finale show.  That's where all of the days winners compete for an over-all winner.  We were lucky to catch a great one.  There were 5 people in the show, but we decided it was between two, and they were sisters.  How about that.  After a great show that was a lot more of a party than the day time shows, it came down to the two sisters.  The younger one won.  I really hope she takes advantage of that super audition pass that gets her to the front of the line the next time American Idol the TV show comes around.  Getting to DHS late we kind of just bummed around.  Fastpass for Tower and we went to the last show of Indiana Jones for the day.  One of our new finds was the addition of the Walter crate and mirror to the pre-show of Muppets.  Very cool seeing stuff like that.  Now get rid of that 3D guy and put Walter on the stage.
We also spent some time in the Animation Courtyard.  Inside the area where you can line up for autographs there are a lot of computer station that let you play with color, audio and other aspects of animation.  Hope and I spent some time on the console that once you answer some questions, determines what Disney character you are most like.  For Hope it was Ariel.  We looked back in pictures and I was Tarzan. We spent some more time walking around and shopping, but that was it for the night.  The next morning we got up early and headed out to DHS again to get on the big rides we missed the night before...and we had Quinn with us.  Quick note on Tickets.  I had an AP card with RFID and the kids had paper tickets we had gotten from Undercover Tourist which were the old type.  We needed to go to two different lines to get in the park.  We took care of this at

Guest Services and got them the newer cards.  If your staying on property this can be done at your hotel.  Our main DHS goal of the day was the Extreme stunt show.  We feel that if you have at least one major goal, you don't tend to wander around as much.  The oddest thing of the day was the line we saw early on.  We did the dash to Toy Story Mania fastpass and then had time to ride it.  This was about 8:45.  
 Our next stop would then be Rock n Roller coaster before the crowd gets heavy.  There was a big line down Sunset that split at the two rides.  The park was not officially open and this was the  line waiting for 9:00.  We did a quick 180 and headed to the GMR. We had a nice relaxing day at DHS.  Went on everything we wanted to.  Ate at the ABC Commissary.  A big treat was a preview of, at the time, the new Lone Ranger movie.  It was at the Sounds Dangerous theater and was about 15 minutes of clips from the movie.  It played a big part in me wasting a couple hours to see it on the cruise.  Very fun and we also got a souvenir button/pin.  We stayed until closing and due to not going to Fantasmic, we were able to get on Muppets and Star Tours a couple of times.  Back to the hotel for a swim and late dinner.
The next day was our Magic Kingdom day.  The goal of today was two-fold.  First, we had BOG Rest. dinner ressies.  Second, the kids wanted to try the new pirate game in Adventureland.    We  
 started the day and met a very special person on the way down Main Street.  The M.S. Fire Chief.  Quinn had taken off with our tickets for fastpasses, but Hope took a picture with him.  This was our first time in the MK with the new fantasyland open.  So after we met up with Quinn, we rode Space Mtn. and ran over to Fantasyland.  It was great.  We went right over to the Little Mermaid ride and rode it twice.  The queue activity was awesome in it's simpleness fueled by high tech. 
Every so often in the cave part of the queue, you pass all manners of ways at looking at a small crab on a pile of something specific.  Through a porthole in the wall, through a picture frame, in a big glass jug and more.  The game was simple, the animated crab would come out with an item.  If it matched the items around him I think you did nothing.  If he carries in something that does not belong, you'd wave your hand in front of the water and he'd take it off the screen.  I've got some
video I'll post after this.  We again had a great day at the park with a Crowd Calendar number of 9.  We used the fastpasses and and did a lot of non-ride things as we counted down to dinner.  The kids and I did the new Pirate's Adventure: Treasures of the Seven Seas.  This game is located in a little shack right past Pirates on the way to Frontierland.  You scan your RFID Band or card and begin the game.  There are five adventures and because the game keeps track of the ones you've done, you don't repeat them.  We were lucky enough to do all 5 maps and had a great time.  Perfect mix of Agent P at Epcot, the Sorcerer's game in MK and Pirates of course.  Good mix.  There were some very surprising effects, get ready to have a good
We were then ready for dinner and made our way over to the Be Our Guest rest.  We had such a good time here. 

I am looking above and seeing how much I am typing.  Listen to the show and I'll just post some more pictures here to cover the last two days of the Turf part of the trip.


Epcot and Animal kingdom to follow!



Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The MagicBands at WDW are Almost There!

WE are back from our huge trip to Florida and I promise many posts to come. 

As I was going through pictures I came across three pictures I took at the Contemporary Hotel.  I just want to make a quick comment about them.  We had gone down to Disney World and stayed at the Pop Century. We were hoping to see if they were using the new magicbands there, unfortunately they were not so we went to the parks normally. We used our tickets for the RFID entry so that was kind of cool. However, when we were at the Contemporary on our MK park break, we stopped at the store in the concourse.  I noticed that they already had T-shirts out for the Magicbands.  We heard stories about how they would have decorations for the magic bands like they do for crocs.  What did they call those, Niblets? Giblets?  Jiblets?...whatever.  What caught our eye was that they had these three T-shirts which I have pictured here.

The first thought that came to mind was, "Wow, just a little odd to be promoting a new technology in such a way.  And, their not even available at every hotel yet."  Of course the second though was, "it's disney so this new Tech must be tested out the butt and from what we saw last week, this is going to be your new identity when at WDW so let's make friends through merchandising."  In addition to the stuff we've been hearing about charges and park entry with the band, we discovered that you will now be storing your Test Track car and I assume anything else you can customize and save like Sum of All Thrills and anything else they come out with.  I'm basing this on being able to store those things on Quinn's Room Card and my Annual Pass on this trip.  We also saw many Scanning stations set up at various rides.  Very scene appropriatly camouflaged of course.  I think this one was Tower of Terror.

Back at the Contemporary, they also had different covers for the magicbands.  For example, you could make your band look like Minnie mouse polkadots or Mickey Mouse colors.  I can't wait to see what else comes out about with the Magic Bands