Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Disney Legend and One of Walt’s Nine Old Men ~ Ollie Johnston

Disney Legend and One of Walt’s Nine Old Men
º ~ Ollie Johnston ~ º
October 31th, 1912 ~ April 14th, 2008
Worked for Disney
1935 ~ 1978
Born in Palo Alto, California, on October 31, 1912, Ollie attended grammar school on the campus of Stanford University, where his father served as professor of romance languages. After graduating from Palo Alto High School, he returned to Stanford and spent his last year of study at Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles.
On January 21, 1935, Ollie joined The Walt Disney Studios as an apprentice animator, working on such early Disney shorts as "Mickey's Garden" and "The Tortoise and the Hare," which won an Academy Award for Best Cartoon. He went on to work as animator and directing animator on more than 24 feature films including, "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs," "Fantasia," "Song of the South," "Cinderella," "Alice in Wonderland," "Lady and the Tramp," and "Sleeping Beauty," among others.
Ollie Johnston infused an unusual level of warmth and heartfelt emotion into his Disney characters. As lifelong friend and fellow animator Frank Thomas recalled, "Ollie was the only one of the Studio animators who was sensitive to character relationships and how they affected story," explained Frank -- "Back then cartoon characters seldom touched unless they hit each other. But one day Ollie said, 'You know, the act of two people holding hands communicates in a powerful way.' And he was right. His warmth made a difference in so many of our characters."
Indeed, Ollie animated such memorable friendships as that of Baloo and Mowgli in "The Jungle Book" and the sycophantic relationship shared by Sir Hiss and Prince John in "Robin Hood." And he valued his own relationship with the characters he animated, including Thumper in "Bambi," Mr. Smee in "Peter Pan" and the trio of fanciful fairies in "Sleeping Beauty." Ollie says, "They were all good friends, whom I remember fondly."
Ollie married a fellow Disney employee, ink and paint artist Marie Worthey, in 1943. Marie Johnston died May 20, 2005. Ollie's lifelong hobby was live steam trains. Starting in 1949, he built a 1" scale backyard railroad, with three 1/12 scale locomotives, now owned by his sons. This railroad was one of the inspirations for Walt Disney to build his own backyard railroad, the Carolwood Pacific Railroad, which again inspired the building of the railroad in Disneyland. Ollie was a founding Governor of the Carolwood Pacific Historical Society along with his fellow Disney animator and railfan, Ward Kimball. The 1/4 scale Victorian depot from Ollie's backyard was moved and restored to a location near Walt Disney's Carolwood Barn at the area of the Los Angeles Live Steamers club in Griffith Park, Los Angeles.
In the 1960s Ollie acquired and restored a full-size narrow-gauge Porter steam locomotive, which he named the "Marie E." On May 10, 2005 it ran during a private early morning event on the Disneyland Railroad. To date, the only time The Walt Disney Company permitted outside railroad equipment to run at any Disney Resort. This engine and its consist were sold to John Lasseter (of Pixar Studios fame). The engine is fully operational and ran recently at the Santa Margarita Ranch near San Luis Obispo, CA, in May 2007.
Brad Bird paid a tribute to Ollie Johnston with an animated cameo of Johnston in the 2004 Pixar film The Incredibles, as well as a cameo in his 1999 film The Iron Giant, where he played a train engineer.
On November 10, 2005, Ollie Johnston was among the recipients of the prestigious National Medal of Arts, presented by President George W. Bush in an Oval Office ceremony.
Johnston co-authored, with Frank Thomas, the reference book Disney Animation: The Illusion of Life, which contained the 12 basic principles of animation. This book helped preserve the knowledge of the techniques that were developed at the studio. The partnership of Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston is fondly presented in the documentary Frank and Ollie, produced by Thomas' son Theodore.
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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Oh the Disney Memories of Things Now Gone

Oh the Disney Memories of Things Now Gone

       Yesterdays blog on the Carnation Plaza Garden got me to thinking about other attractions/venues that are no longer at Disneyland. Let me share some of my favorite memories of now gone attractions.

       Lets start on Main Street. One I never saw but have heard about was the Wizard of Bras (a ladies interment apparel shop). There was an apothecary (true old fashion pharmacy) and a smoke shop that sold cigarettes and cigars.

       Tomorrowland has gone through many changes. I remember the Monsanto House of the future. To tiny little me, I must been five to eight years old it looked like it was one hundred feet in the air! Really it was not far off the ground. I also remember the new fangled items in the house, especially the kitchen. I remember the Microwave oven that seemed so fantastic and far out there. I still have to laugh at the round frig that popped up out of the counter.

       20,000 Leagues Under the Sea was always a favorite of mine. I still remember riding that with my grandma when I was around 3 years old.

       America the Beautiful 360 degree theater was amazing as was the Space Exploration exhibit that took its place. Both were there for many years before Buzz Lightyear took that area over.

       The Carousel of Progress was one of my favorite things. With it’s hopeful song that proclaimed that “There’s a great big beautiful tomorrow waiting at the end of every day.” I loved seeing parts of the past and a hint in the our technological future. That ride was replaced by America Sings. I love America signs almost as much as Carousel of Progress. I enjoyed a look at the musical history of our country. When they closed America Sings they used the Animatronic animals in the new ride Splash Mountain.

       There were several rides in Tomorrowland that I truly miss. The Skyway between Fantasyland and Tomorrowland, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Mystery Motor Boats, Flying Saucers (many people have said these did not exist but they did) and the Tomorrowland Stage has undergone many changes. Rocket to the Moon changed to Rocket to Mars and then traveled away forever.

       Frontierland is another land that has gone through many changes. At opening (these I did not get to see) there was a mule ride. Walt thought it was important to keep people in touch with their past. The Indian Village with the Friendship Dance is long gone but lives on in my memories and the memories of others who had a chance to see it. The stage coach train ride to the Painted Desert was a joy but made way for Big Thunder Railroad. Parts of the attraction are either in Big Thunder or are at least remembered in the ride.
       Adventureland has had changes as well. Swiss Family Robinson’s Tree House has been rethemed as Tarzan’s Tree House. I use to dream of sneaking into the park and using the Robinson’s house to sleep in. The Aladdin Theater now a meet and greet was once a Polynesian restaurant with a live show.

       The Rivers of America and Tom Sawyer’s Island have transformed and grown. Gone but still honored by a boat sitting on the side of the river are the Mike Fink Keel Boats. The Island it’s self has undergone many changes. Many of the cave that you could once roam through are closed or have been turned into storage and equipment rooms for Fantasmic. The Fort that you could once play in is still there but the gates have been closed for years. The frontier cabin that was set ablaze by the Indians is still there but the fire is gone and it is now Davie Crockets cabin and his keel boat sits docked on the river nearby.
Mike Fink Keel Boats, Disneyland
       Bear Country became Critter Country and the Country Bear Jamboree was closed. Winnie the Pooh came into the area and added a ride for the little kids to enjoy while the big kids do I will be very honest I wish they would take Pooh out and bring back the Country Bear Jamboree. Splash Mountain. There was the Mile Long Bar food service area that has been changed into a shop. Gone is the long mirror that made the Mile Long look so big.

       As I’m sure you can tell some of the changes I like some I don’t but Walt Disney once said, “As long as there is imagination in the world Disneyland will never be complete.” With the limited space Disneyland has compared to Walt Disney World old things must be removed to make way for new. I look forward to seeing new things at the parks as new technology is developed but I hate to lose old favorites.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Soon to be gone at Disneyland ~ Carnation Plaza Gardens


Soon to be gone at Disneyland ~ Carnation Plaza Gardens

       For those that don’t know, Carnations Plaza Gardens is a beautiful state area that opened in 1956. It is the longest running Big Band Stage in the world according to Disneyland’s Stan Freese, Disneyland talent casting and booking director. Some of the biggest names in Jazz have played on this little outdoor stage. Louis Armstrong, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman, Cab Calloway, Jimmy Dorsey and Glenn Miller played on this stage.

       Over the years this area has gotten smaller as the restaurant and restrooms behind it in Frontierland expanded. The counter service food area was removed years ago and by day the area became a walk through area from the Central Hub to Frontierland.

       During the day the stage would showcase armature dance and music groups during dance and music days. For decades on Friday and Saturday nights you would find Disney’s Big Band on the stage playing Swing music as guests danced on the stages dance floor.  

In recent years the Big Band and Swing Dancing has gone to just Saturday nights. The band starts playing around 7 pm but a large group of Swing Dancers and fans start gathering around the stage/dance floor at 5 so they can get a seat at the railing for the best view of the dancers. None of the dancers are on duty Disney Cast Members. They are guests who come on Saturday nights to dance. Some have 40’s style clothing while others just come in comfortable street clothes. Most are more than willing to show anybody willing how to do a few steps. It is enjoyable to just sit and watch the dancers fly across the floor.

Soon this historic stage will go dark for good. In its place will be a Fantasy Faire village. According to Disneyland officials there will be a stage in the new Fantasy Faire village with a dance floor and the Big Band and Swing Dancing will be there.

Since Rapunzel got her tower in Fantasyland the other Disney Princess’ got jealous and demanded official homes or a place to hold court. Disney now wanting a royal battle between their lovelies fighting decided to make a home for all of them together.
Rendering of new Fantasy Faire Experience Coming to Disneyland Park
During the day Fantasy Faire village will have the Princess’ doing meet and greets along with a Ribbon Ceremony that is inspired by the dance scene in Rapunzel’s movie Tangled. On Saturday nights, according to Disney Officials the Big Bands will take the stage.
Rendering of New ‘Beauty and the Beast’ Stage at Fantasy Faire
To be honest I’d rather not see the iconic stage removed. There is so much history there! Not just Disney history but music history. Steeping into the area on Saturday Nights is like going back to the 1940’s. The changes planned will change the feel forever. Also I feel that it will take away from Main Street USA. Carnation Plaza Gardens is the end of Main Street and the biggest entertainment venue on Main Street.  
Rendering of the Royal Ribbon Festival at Fantasy Faire
       Carnation Plaza Garden is scheduled to close this fall. Construction of Fantasy Fair village is scheduled to be completed early 2013.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Castaway Cay and Hurricanes

Castaway Cay and Hurricanes

With Hurricane Irene in the news right now and Disney’s Castaway Cay directly in the path of the Cat 3 storm I figured I’d share a little of what I know of Castaway Cay and storms.

       Because Castaway Cay is located in a storm area it is not unexpected for Hurricanes to hit it. Since Disney purchased the island major storms have hit the island including Hurricane Irene. At the end of 2004 Hurricanes Frances and Jeanne hit the island hard. About 90% of the facilities were destroyed from what I heard. Before every major storm the crew of the island is evacuated to safety so nobody was hurt.

       We were on the cruise in late January and by then 90% of the damage caused by the two storms had been repaired. The one thing we wanted to see but could not was the hidden sunken Mickey ship. According to a Cast Member Mickey was off making Hurricane repairs.

       Due to Frances and Jeanne the entire bay had to be dredged and rebuilt. All of the underwater snorkel trail had to be remade due to the storm surge in the bay. The only major thing not back was the sunken Mickey Ship I mentioned earlier.

       So if you have a cruise in the next few months don’t worry much about Castaway Cay. It may not be at 100% but it will still be fun and the amenities will be fully functional. If anything is left to be fixed it will be small extra touches.

       With Irene hitting the Eastern Seaboard so hard my prayers are with the people of the East Coast, the Bahamas and Caribbean. May the damage be light and repairs quick.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Disney California Adventure ~ Oh the Changes!

Disney California Adventure ~ Oh the Changes!

       I’ve have enjoyed going to Disney California Adventure from a few months after it opened. What a difference from then to now.

       Gone are the huge letters spelling CALIFORNIA outside the gates. They were replaced by the blue and white spires that emulate the design of the Hyperion Theater that housed Disney’s first studio. The Golden Gate Bridge that welcomed you into the park is gone as is the Zephyr train that housed the Burrr-bank Ice Cream shop and the Bakers-Field Bakery.

       When DCA opened the park had a more “educational” feel to it. There were little areas set up called Artventures. There was a different Artventure for each area. In the Condor Flats area where Aerospace is king the Artventure showed you how to make things like Paper Airplanes. In Bountiful Valley it was an ever changing craft fair using things like corn husks and other natural supplies to make things like holiday decorations and toys. Pacific Warf had a fun Artventure that taught things like Japanese Paper lanterns. Each Artventure taught you about a culture, art form or science.

       Golden Dreams was a fantastic 22 minute video with special effects that showed the different ethnic groups that came into California. It talked about why they came and what happened when they did. It pulled no punches and showed the good, the bad and the truly ugly side of bigotry. More importantly it showed how the diverse people groups that have come into California and all come together to make this a truly Golden State full of Golden Dreams. It had humor along with the drama. This was taken out to make way for Ariel’s Undersea Adventure.

       In the Animation Building there was a theater that housed an ever changing show. It featured clips and behind the scenes information on upcoming Disney movies. They often had pieces of animation equipment from the early days of Disney Animation. I totally enjoyed seeing the Multiplane camera there. This was replaced with Turtle Talk with Crush. I like the show but still miss the behind the scenes info that we had there.

       They had street shows in the Hollywood Backlot area throughout the day. Those have stopped and been replaced with one big show at night, ElecTRONica. One show that was on the street has been moved over to a stage that has hosed such fun shows as Goofy’s Beach Blast, a show that was a taping of a beach movie scene DUH, Department of Untapped Hilarity was a family friendly version of Whose Line is it Anyway. I miss the old shows and look forward to even better ones in the future.

       Also gone and the stage left dark is “Who Wants to be a Millionaire Play It”. When it first started you could win a week on the Disney Cruise Line. The show shut down several years ago and the venue left unused. Fans of the show still gather to talk about the fun they had playing it.

       MaliBoomer was no big loss as far as I’m concerned. The retheming of Mulholland Madness to Goofy’s Fly School, Sunwheel to Mickey’s Fun Wheel and the Orange Stinger to the Silly Symphony Swings changed Paradise Pier forever. Those along with the addition of Toy Story Mania turned it into a Disney Pier. Before the changes the area looked and felt like the old Santa Monica Pier but had very little Disney to it.

       The Hyperion Theater has had a few different shows. At first they did not have a stable show in there that could sustain return guests interest. Disney brought in Blast and the Hyperion found its feet and the need for a quality show. Aladdin was brought into the Hyperion in 2003 and has amazed guests the entire time. When Disney made it public they were thinking of taking Aladdin out the fans banded together and complained. The show remains to this day and is a must see.

       Bountiful Valley Farm has undergone major changes. There was a small stage for a little bug themed show. For a long time I would bring my daughter into Bountiful Valley to learn about farming and agriculture. There were displays that showed what fruits and vegetables were grown in California over the years and where they first came from. There were oversized irrigation displays where kids and adults alike could see how farms water their crops and get wet to cool off. Most of this is now gone to make way for Cars Land. Other things in this area, such as PT Flea’s shop have been removed to make way for Cars Land.

       World of Color has added much to the evening entertainment at DCA. This is another MUST see at DCA. It is unlike any other show as it mixes huge “dancing” water fountains, water screens and Disney video to create a 30 minute show that will have you amazed.

       So if you have never been to DCA or have not been in a long time I suggest you drop on in the next time you come. The park is growing up.

Friday, August 26, 2011

It’s Film Strip Friday! Saludos Amigos

It’s Film Strip Friday!

Saludos Amigos

Release Date February, 5th, 1943



Join Goofy, Donald Duck, and Walt Disney himself as they experience all the music, beauty, and excitement Latin America has to offer. Walt and his team of artists, musicians, writers, and animators say "Adios!" to the U.S. to explore the heart and soul of Latin America. They travel to fun and exciting places and capture their adventures along the way


Saludos Amigos (Hello, Friends in English, Alô, Amigos in Portuguese) is a 1942 animated feature produced by Walt Disney and released by RKO Radio Pictures. It is the 6th animated feature in the Walt Disney Animated Classics Series. It is the first of six package films made by the Disney studio in the 1940s. Set in Latin America, it is made up of four different segments; Donald Duck stars in two of them and Goofy stars in one. It also features the first appearance of Jose Carioca, the Brazilian parrot. Saludos Amigos was popular enough that Walt Disney decided to make another film about Latin America, The Three Caballeros, to be produced two years later. Saludos Amigos premiered in Rio de Janeiro on August 24, 1942. It was released in the United States on February 6, 1943. It garnered mixed reviews and was only reissued once, in 1949, when it was shown on a double bill with the first reissue of Dumbo.
In early 1941, before U.S. entry into World War II, the United States Department of State commissioned a Disney goodwill tour of South America, intended to lead to a movie to be shown in the US, Central, and South America as part of the Good Neighbor Policy. Disney was chosen for this because several Latin American governments had close ties with Nazi Germany, and the US government wanted to counteract those ties. Mickey Mouse and other Disney characters were popular in Latin America, and Walt Disney acted as ambassador. The tour, facilitated by Nelson Rockerfeller, who had recently been appointed as Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs (CIAA), took Disney and a group of roughly twenty composers, artists, technicians, etc. from his studio to South America, mainly to Brazil and Argentina, but also to Chile and Peru.

The film itself was given federal loan guarantees. These were necessary because the Disney studio had over-expanded just before European markets were closed to them by the war, and because Disney was struggling with labor unrest at the time (including a strike that was underway at the time the goodwill journey began).

The film included live-action documentary sequences featuring footage of modern Latin American cities with skyscrapers and fashionably dressed residents. This surprised many contemporary US viewers, who associated such images only with US and European cities, and contributed to a changing impression of Latin America. Film historian Alfred Charles Richard Jr. has commented that Saludo Amigos "did more to cement a community of interest between peoples of the Americas in a few months than the State Department had in fifty years".

The film also inspired Chilean cartoonist Rene Rios Boettiger to create Condorito, one of Latin America's most ubiquitous cartoon characters. Ríos perceived that the character Pedro, a small, incapable airplane, was a slight to Chileans and created a comic that could supposedly rival Disney's comic characters.

Film Segments

This film features four different segments, each of which begin with various clips of the Disney artists roaming the country, drawing cartoons of some of the local cultures and scenery.

Lake Titicaca

In this segment, American tourist Donald Duck visits Lake Titicaca and meets with some of the local yokels, including an obstinate llama.

Pedro involves the title character, a small airplane from Chile, engaging in his very first flight to pick up air mail from Mendoza, with near disastrous results. This segment was later released theatrically as an independent short, on May 13, 1955 by RKO Pictures. Disappointed with Pedro as the image that the outside world had of Chile, cartoonist Rene Rios Boettiger (Pepo) started one of the most famous Latin American comic magazines: Condorito.

El Gaucho Goofy
In this segment, American cowboy Goofy gets taken mysteriously to the Argentine pampas to learn the ways of the native gaucho. This segment was later edited for the film's Gold Classic Collection VHS/DVD release to remove one scene in which Goofy is smoking a cigarette. This edit appears again on the Classic Caballeros Collection DVD. This sequence has since been restored as many fans have asked for the uncut version. The complete uncut film is available as a bonus feature on the Walt & El Grupo DVD release.

Aquarela do Brasil
Aquarela do Brasil (or "Watercolor of Brazil"), the finale of the film, involves a brand-new character, Jose Carioca, showing Donald Duck around South America and introducing him to the samba (to the tunes of "Brazil" and "Tico-Tico no Fuba").

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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Disney California Adventure’s World of Color

Disney California Adventure’s World of Color

       I had the privilege of being at the very first showing of World of Color June of last year. During the intervening year I’ve seen the show a few times. To be honest I’ve not seen it as many times as I would have liked. In the past year and couple of months the show has gone through several subtle changes. The basic theme of the show has not changed and the pull on the emotional heart strings is just as strong.
       Where the show has changed it has changed for the better. There was one part of the original show that was hard for me. The original show had a prolonged sequence with young Simba crying after his father was killed. This sequence was greatly shortened. It still gets across the point it is trying to make but no longer gets mired in the feelings. It flows from the pain of loss and moves onto the next emotion quickly.
       There was a sequence that I enjoyed greatly with the Firebird from Fantasia. The Firebird is no longer there. Instead they lengthened the Pirates in the Caribbean sequence and added parts from the most current Pirates movie.
       I noticed that the use of the technology has improved but still if you go on a night that there is any kind of breeze you will find the video portions of the show blurry due to the wind disbursing the water screen.
       I hope they continue to make changes to the show to keep it fresh and current. I also hope they do holiday themed versions of World of Color.
       Check out the current version of World of Color. Enjoy the video.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Disney Legend and One of Walt’s Nine Old Men ~ Frank Thomas

Disney Legend and One of Walt’s Nine Old Men
º ~ Frank Thomas ~ º
September 5th, 1912 ~ September 8th, 2004
Worked for Disney
1934 ~ 1978
      Born on September 5, 1913, Frank was raised in Fresno, California, where his father was President of Fresno State College. By the age of nine, Frank already knew what he wanted to do in life; he once recalled asking his father how he could make money just drawing pictures. By the time he was a sophomore at Fresno State, his interest in art expanded into motion pictures. As a class project, Frank wrote and directed a movie that spoofed college life, which played in local theaters. 
After finishing his education at Stanford University, Frank went on to study at Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles. While living in a rooming house in Hollywood, he met another young Stanford graduate, who worked as an artist at The Walt Disney Studios. The artist told Frank about a job opening and on September 24, 1934, he joined Disney as employee no. 224 assigned to work on the short "Mickey's Elephant."
Over the years, Frank worked on nearly 20 animated features including, "Pinocchio," "Peter Pan," "Sleeping Beauty," "Cinderella," "The Jungle Book," and "101 Dalmatians," as well as numerous shorts. He also accompanied Walt Disney and a select group of artists on a goodwill tour through South America, in 1941, on behalf of the American Government, which inspired the animated features "Saludos Amigos" and "The Three Caballeros."
In his spare time, Frank played piano with the internationally famous "Firehouse Five Plus Two" jazz band, along with fellow Disney artists, including Ward Kimball.
Animator Frank Thomas instilled vivid personality into his Disney animated characters. Some of the most memorable, as well as touching moments on screen, were animated by Frank, including the dwarfs crying at Snow White's bier, Bambi and Thumper learning how to ice skate and the charming spaghetti-eating sequence in "Lady and the Tramp."
To Frank, personality was always the key to successful animation. As he once said, "Until a character becomes a personality, it cannot be believed. Without personality, the character may do funny or interesting things, but unless people are able to identify themselves with the character, its actions will seem unreal [to them]."
Thomas's last appearance in an animated film before his death was in The Incredibles (directed by Brad Bird), although he voiced a character, rather than animating one. Frank and his friend and colleague Ollie Johnston voiced and were caricatured as two old men saying "That's old school..." "Yeah, no school like the old school." The pair had previously been heard, and caricatured, as the two train engineers in Bird's The Iron Giant. Frank Thomas died in Flintridge, California at age 92.
Thomas co-authored, with fellow Disney legend Ollie Johnston, the comprehensive book Disney Animation: The Illusion of Life, first published by Abbeville Press in 1981. Regarded as the definitive resource book on traditional hand-drawn character animation (particularly in the Disney style), the book has been republished numerous times, and is widely considered "the bible" among character animators. The book summarized the Disney approach to animation through the so-called 12 basic principles of animation.
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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

So Your Spouse Does Not Want To Go On A Disney Vacation

So Your Spouse Does Not Want To Go On A Disney Vacation

       I recently saw a post on a Disney fan Facebook page asking for advice on how to get her husband excited about going to WDW, again (5th visit in 2 years.) This got me thinking so here we go.
       It is hard for us Mouseheads to understand how somebody can’t get excited about a trip to a Disney destination. So what do you do? Well you take care of planning all of the trip thinking to make it easier for your non excited partner. You book the hotel and flight. You make all the ADR’s and figure out the park hoping schedule for the entire trip. You may even plan out rides and shows you do.
       Ok STOP! LOL Let me make a couple of suggestions.
1.        Stop planning so much. This is a vacation. Don’t pack so much into your trip and burn out your family member. Don’t schedule too many things in one day. Take time to just walk around and be willing to change plans if something more interesting to your spouse comes along. Enjoy the moment and the company of your spouse. You are more likely to spark a further interest in Disney if you do. Be willing to be spontaneous.
2.   Ask them what rides and/or shows are must sees for them. Then show interest in those even if they are ones you hate. Don’t demand they talk about the rides and shows.
3.    Get your spouse in on the planning. If they are not interested in helping plan then find several things you feel will interesting them and ask them to pick from a short list instead of being over whelmed with picking from everything Disney has to offer. For example if they like to golf then give them some information about golfing in and around Disney. If they like spa time they ask what spa treatment they might like.
4.     Don’t spend every moment of the day at the park doing rides and such. Explore some of the resort(s). Take a walk around the hotel/resort and find out what is offered there. There is plenty to explore at WDW and more than people think at DLR.
5.    Let your spouse sleep in at least a few days of the trip if they wish. If they have a morning routine they enjoy support it and let them have the time.
6.    You may consider taking some time outside of Disney. There are many things to around Disney resorts to enjoy. There are beaches and other parks.
7.    If your spouse is interested in something find out if there is a ride, show or tour about it at Disney. For example my husband (who is a fellow Mousehead but if he was not this would help make him happy to go.) loves trains. I am hoping to take him on the train tour at WDW the next time we go.
8.    Plan a romantic dinner or maybe some couples spa time, even a quiet walk would do. Make sure your spouse knows you enjoy being with them as much as you enjoy being at Disney.
9.     Take another couple or some family along. This will give you and your spouse an added incentive to get out and have some fun.
The entire idea is balance. Give your spouse the time they need to have fun while you have some fun as well. If this will not work then there is one final way to enjoy Disney and not destroy your relationship. Find a fellow Mousehead to go with. Let your spouse do something they enjoy while you go.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Disney Fans of the World UNITE!!

Disney Fans of the World UNITE!!
       Ok I’m a bit over zealous, LOL! The thing is I was at the D23  EXPO and I just found it interesting how people treated each other. There were three kinds of people at D23. True Disney fans, those family members and friends dragged to the event by Disney Fans that have no interest in Disney and the money seeking collectors that see opportunity in Disney collectibles. It is easy to spot the difference. The majority of the people there were true Disney fans.
       The true Disney fan is easy to spot at one of these events or at one of the parks. They are usually all smiles and look as if they have just gone to heaven. Their arms are usually full of the free items and bags of things they purchased. They are also carrying a camera and taking pictures of everything. Many are using smart phones to upload to Blogs, Facebook and Twitter during every event.
       Those who are dragged to the event are as easy to spot as the true Disney Fan. They are in the company of a bouncing fan. Their eyes are glazed over and they often find places to sit or stand out of the way. Usually this is a husband that is there to pull out his wallet when needed.
       The collector or what I like to call the Shark is a person who does not really have the Disney heart. They see the dollar signs on anything with the Disney name attached to it. You see them haggling and if they purchase one item they buy in sets so they have more to resell. They have an eye for what will be popular in the future when looking at new items and often will be pushy and/or rude.
       Over all the time spent at D23 was friendly and exciting. People were glad to share information, tips and stories. Here is where it gets really fun. I was sitting in line to see Dick VanDyke and the Vantastix when the person behind me got very upset. She is a photographer for a Disney Fan site and noticed she had lost a battery charger. This is an expensive piece of equipment that was needed to continue taking pictures she needed. At first she was very worried about getting the charger back, then she remembered what type of event she was at. I saw her physically relax as she said, “Wait, I’m in a group of Disney fans. I’m sure someone will turn it in.” My friend and I told her she should report it to the event staff and see if it had been returned. She did not want to leave and lose her spot in line. We told her we would hold her spot and watch her things so off she went. She returned in about 20 minutes with her charger. She said that the charger was where she had accidently left it. plugged in to charge it.
       This is not the first time I’ve seen this. I’ve lost items while at Disneyland. I lost a wallet with a hundred dollars in it. I left the park thinking I’d never see the wallet or money again, two days later I got a call from the park lost and found saying they had found my wallet and asking if I’d want to come pick it up or have it mailed.  The walled was mailed and when I opened it I found all my ID, cards and the one hundred dollars. I’ve had this happen with many items from sunglasses and hats to a camera. Even a Duffy Bear came home, that one took a month to come home.
       These stories show what type of people Disney fans are. Disney fans are good people. Most fans wish to set good examples for the children in their lives and/or maintain a good positive outlook on life. This is why Disney is my choice for vacation destination. I know I will be among a group of people with the same general values I have, I’ll be among friends that understand.
       The world would be a better place if people acted more like Disney fans and were a little kinder. Just think of it! People thinking twice before walking off with a lost item they found and instead turning it in so the owner can get it back. Adults thinking about what their actions will teach their children is it good example for their child. This is the world I would like to live in.
       So Disney Fans of the World Unite!! Lets spread this kindness outside of Disney locations and events. Let’s get more people addicted to Disney and make the world a better place!
These are just the thoughts of a frustrated Pranking Pixie. Lets spread some whimsy and Pixie Dust.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

D23 EXPO 2011

D23 EXPO 2011
I was blessed with a one day ticket to D23EXPO yesterday, (Thank you I found the EXPO to be totally commercial and campy BUT I’m so glad I went! Almost every booth and display (especially the Disney Company ones) were designed to get you to part with your money! (note to self, “Take only the cash you can afford to spend. Leave, credit cards and ATM cards at home.)”
In a large stage they had the induction ceremony for this year’s Disney Legends. Sad to say I was late and unable to get in. I had friends that were able to go in and said it was amazing.
The main exhibit arena was packed with various venders showing off all the Disney items they make/sell. The largest were for Disney Store (Had a huge line to get in! Who would have figured that? LOL!), Disney Parks (The largest and most interesting display), Disney Gaming, Disney Living. There were smaller venders there that made Disney approved art and sold classic Disney items such as movie cels and pins. Even some Disney Fan Sites had booths! (MouseMeets and WDWRadio were a couple I checked out.) They also had teasers to get you upstairs to look in exhibits. They had Walt Disney’s black Cadillac Limo, the blue DHARMA van from Lost and the miniature model of the Black Pearl in the main exhibit arena.

Upstairs there were several rooms filled with treasures from the Disney archives. The first thing you saw was the Mickey Mouse plush that road in the Disneyland Train with Walt on the parks opening day. Next were costumes from the original Mickey Mouse Club. Costumes and props from Zoro, Rocketeer, Who Framed Roger Rabbit to name a few. They had one smaller room dedicated to Pirates of the Caribbean and another small room for Tron. Another room had items from the live action 101 Dalmatians. The line was long but well worth the wait.

In the evening there was a very special program. This was in a small venue so we got in line at 5 for a show that started at8:15. Due to problems the show ended up starting at 9 pm. What was worth waiting that long? Dick VanDyke and the Vantastix! We had one hour of vocal quartet singing with Dick VanDyke and his group. You can check them out a
This is an enjoyable event. I would recommend it for any avid Disney Fan. I don’t know of many other events where you can be walking through a room and see, David Smith, John Lasseter, Margret Kerry, current and past Disney Imagineers and many Disney Legends just walking around. All of them were as excited to see the new things coming to Disney as the fans! All were willing to stop and at least say hi and many be have a quick picture taken. A true heaven for any Mousehead!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Disney Parks FastPass Tickets Tips and Tricks

Disney Parks FastPass Tickets Tips and Tricks

       Hate them because you feel they are line cutting or love them because they hold your place in line if you are going to use the FastPass Tickets know how they work.

       Ok, you are planning a trip to Disney for the first time or for the 100th time but you have never used a FastPass. All the Disney freaks (yup I’m one) say, “Make sure you get a FastPass for . . . .” You respond with a meek and none understanding, “Sure!” You don’t even know what a FastPass is! Well here is the low down.

       A FastPass is a free ticket you can pick up to “hold your spot” in line while you go and do other things, like shop, eat, ride a different ride or just walk around. You are allowed to have two FastPasses at a time. Here is the information you need to know.

Simple Rules:

1.        When you want to get a FastPass take your park admission ticket and put it into the FastPass machine for the ride you wish to go on. (These are located near the ride they are for.) You will be issued one FastPass Ticket for each park admission ticket you use.

2.   Look at the FastPass Ticket for the time you should return to ride the ride. You are given a one hour window of time on the Ticket.

3.    Return at the allotted time and go to the FastPass line and have your FastPass Tickets ready to show to the Cast Member.

4.     You can have two FastPasses at a time. (Secret, you can have more if your return times have already passed.)


1.        Look at your park map, or look online before you go so you know if your favorite rides have a FastPass.

2.   If a big ticket ride has a FastPass machine and the line is short when you go to get your FP early in the day grab a FP and then go ride the ride using the regular line saving the FP for later in the day to ride that ride a second time. Rides I suggest this for are Star Tours, Space Mountain, Sorin’ Over California and California Screamer.

3.    If your entire group wants to go on the ride get all your FastPasses at the same time. This assures you can all get the passes and they are for the same time. You can hand all your admission tickets to one person while you are in one line so they can go get FastPasses for another ride. The person that gets the FP can then join you in line for the other ride.

4.     Don’t worry if your return time for your FastPass has come and gone. You can use the FP anytime that day as long as it is after the return time. This is how you can have more than two FP in your hand at a time.

Tips for FastPass Tickets for World of Color at Disney California Adventure:

       You must have a FastPass to get into the viewing area for a good view of World of Color. There are 3 Dinning Options that give you a FP ranging in cost from $16 to $40 per person. You can also use the free first-come-first-serve option to get a FP.

1.        The dining plans can be found online at I will be honest I usually go for the Picnic Meal plan that costs $16. This is the least expensive way to assure you get a FP for the show.

a.        For the more expensive Dinning options you make a reservation at one of two restaurants and show up at your set time. You enjoy a wonderful meal and walk out with a ticket to the show.

aa.     You can make the reservations in advance.

b.       For the Picnic Meal it is a little different.
aa. You order the meal either the day before or up to thirty days in advance online only. (There are some walkup meals available on a limited basis.)  Go to and the pull down menu for Tickets.

bb.   You can pick up your meal starting around 11:30 am to 1 hour before the show.

cc.   Hold onto the ticket you are given and show up at the viewing area bout 1 hour before show time.

dd.  The online Picnic Meal Tickets are for the first show. The walkup Picnic Meal Tickets are for the later show.

2.   You can get a free FP for WoC.

a.        All you need to do is go to the FP machines at Grizzle Rapids as soon as the park opens.

b.       All members of your group need to use the same FP machine at the same time or you may end up sitting in different sections for the show or worse yet split between different show times.

c.       WARNING: These FP often are all gone early in the day.