Friday, September 30, 2011

It’s Film Strip Friday!

The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad

Release Date October 5th, 1949



The Wind in the Willows follows the wild ride of J. Thaddeus Toad, squire of Toad Hall. Smitten with motorcars, the wealthy and reckless sportsman soon drives his close friends Mole, Rat, and Angus MacBadger into a worried frenzy! Then meet Ichabod Crane, the spindly schoolteacher who dreams of sweeping the lovely Katrina off her feet -- until Brom Bones, the town bully, gets involved. Their comic rivalry introduces Ichabod to The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, the fabled Headless Horseman, and a hair-raising, heart-thumping climax. Narrated by legendary stars Basil Rathbone and Bing Crosby, The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad is brimming with high-spirited adventure, brilliant animation, and captivating music.


        The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad is a 1949 animated feature produced by Walt Disney. The film was released to theaters on October 5, 1949 by RKO Radio Pictures and is the eleventh animated feature in the Walt Disney Animated Classic Series.. The film is also the finale of the seven package films produced by Disney until The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh in 1977, following Fantasia, Saludos Amigos, The Three Caballeros, Make Mine Music, Fun and Fancy Free and Melody time.


There are two segments in the film, both based upon popular works of literature:

The Wind in the Willows:

The Adventures of Mr. Toad was based on Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind in the Willows (narrated by Basil Rathbone). In this story, the charismatic J. Thaddeus Toad, Esq., was the happy-go-lucky, wealthy proprietor of Toad Hall. Toad believed in fun, adventure and travelling to "Nowhere in Particular"; He had built a great deal of debt from disregarding the financial responsibilities of his insatiable love for fads and "manias", such as recklessly riding through the countryside on a gypsy cart with his loyal horse, Cyril J. Proudbottom while accidentally crashing through obstacles. His friends, Ratty (Water Rat), Moley (Mole) and Angus MacBadger try to talk some sense into him but Toad quickly discovers the newfangled motor car and is determined to get one by any means necessary. Toad is charged with car theft after trading the deed to Toad Hall for a car belonging to Mr. Winky the tavernkeeper and his gang of weasels and thrown in jail when Winky testifies that Toad tried to sell him a stolen car (which his cronies actually stole). On Christmas Eve, Cyril visits Toad in disguise and assists him in escaping. Toad manages to find Ratty and Moley and they are informed by MacBadger that the evil Winky and his weasels have taken over Toad Hall. With his friends' aid, Toad redeems his good name by recovering the deed to the estate from the very hands of its captors. Toad, touched by the loyalty and kindness of his friends, promises to reform. Ratty, Moley and MacBadger give a toast to the new Toad at their New Year celebration but are shocked to find Toad now recklessly flying a 1908 biplane along with Cyril.

The Legend of Sleepy Hallow:

The story of Ichabod Crane and the Headless Horseman, based on Washington Irving’s The Legend of Sleepy Hallow (narrated by Bink Crosby). The gangly and lanky Ichabod Crane is the new schoolmaster in Sleepy Hollow. His somewhat odd behavior makes him the ridicule of the rambunctious and robust town bully Brom Bones. Despite his odd appearance, Ichabod quickly proves to be a ladies' man charms all the eligible local ladies. Finally, however, Ichabod discovers the local town beauty, Katrina Van Tassel. Katrina is the beautiful young daughter of Baltus Van Tassel, the wealthiest farmer in the area, and Brom's intended. Katrina is a coquette by nature, but sees Ichabod as an opportunity to break from the monotony of Brom scaring away every other potential suitor. Ichabod has his eye on the Van Tassel wealth, and is infatuated by Katrina's beauty and grace as well. After a number of comically unsuccessful efforts by Brom to dispose of Ichabod, the situation changes when Brom decides to take advantage of Ichabod's strong belief in superstitions. Brom musically tells the tale of the Headless Horseman to frighten the teacher. That Halloween night, Crane's lonely ride home becomes exceedingly frightening because of his exposure to the possibility of encountering the ghost. The atmosphere of fear increases in intensity, until it breaks the tension at a false alarm, whereupon Ichabod and his horse laugh hysterically in relief. Immediately, the Headless Horseman appears, laughing maniacally, riding a large black horse that bears a strong resemblance to the one owned by Brom. Then follows a chase scene wherein the Horseman pursues Ichabod with wild abandon, only to be deterred when Ichabod crosses a bridge near the local Dutch graveyard (the bridge being the point beyond which the horseman couldn't go, according to the tale). The Horseman then hurls his own severed head (shown to actually be a fiery Jack-o-lantern), at Ichabod. The jack-o-lantern bursts into flames as it collides, and everything fades to black. The next morning, the only things found by the bridge are a shattered pumpkin and Ichabod's hat. Brom shortly thereafter marries Katrina. It is later rumored that Ichabod married a rich, plump widow in a distant county, and had many children (all bearing a resemblance to Ichabod). But the people of Sleepy Hollow firmly deny this; they all believe that Ichabod was spirited away on Halloween Night by the ghoulish Headless Horseman.

Later, this portion of the film was separated from the companion Mr. Toad film, screened, aired, marketed, and sold separately as starting in 1958.

The Disney depiction is actually quite true to Irving's original tale, going as far to have some narrative lines taken directly from the text. The important elements of classic American Romanticism are all included, from the in depth description of the natural, frontier-ish setting of Tarry-Town, to the description of the brackish hero, Brom, and finally to the element of mystery left to the viewer at the conclusion of the tale.


During and after the production of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Walt Disney searched for stories that he could adapt into future animated feature films. These films included Pinocchio, Bambi, Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan and The Wind in the Willows. Kenneth Graheme’s 1908 children's book, The Wind in the Willows, with its anthropomorphised animals could only be produced using animation. Walt Disney acquired the rights on June 1938. The film was intended to be a single narrative feature film with the title of the same name.

However, Disney had trouble adapting the book because it was written as a bedtime story. The filmmakers discovered if they followed the same approach as the novel had taken the film would become "slow and boring". Scenes involving Rat and Mole, rowing along the river, visiting Mr Badger and asking the The Great Pan for help were all eventually cut and the story became more focused on Toad. Another aspect of the book that was changed was Mr. Toad stealing the car (and accidentally crashing it). He was then arrested and inprisioned but escapes (the police strangely are never re-capture him). However the filmmakers found that the audience had trouble sympathizing with Toad after committing such a crime, and Walt Disney feared that the main character of a Disney film stealing a car would "lower the moral standards of the audience". After much discussion the Disney's story team reworked the story from Toad stealing the car to him being framed for Motor vehicle theft by a newly created villain Mr. Winky. Characters such as Otter, The Rabbits and the Hedgehog children were cut and Mr Badger was changed to Angus MacBagder who is Scottish rather than English. The artists also expanded the role of the non-speaking horse that pulls Toad's gypsy wagon into Cryl Proudbottom. Other scenes included Mr Toad buying several cars, crashing every single one of them and damaging property. This causes MacBadger to have a nervous breakdown and to be placed in a sanatorium (at the time the film made a sanatorium was a place where mentally ill people got rest, today it is used to describe a psychiatric hospital). After consulting with MacBadger at the sanatorium, Mole and Ratty lock Toad up in his bedroom, return the car to the dealer and cut-off Toad's alowence. Toad's escape from his bedroom was much more elaborate with Toad tricking Mole and Ratty into thinking he has poisoned himself and whilst Rat, Mole and Cryl raced to get the doctor, toad makes his escape. When Toad escaped from prison there was a small scene with toad tricking a washer-woman into giving her clothes so he can escape. These scenes were later simplified when condensing the story.

By late 1941 a basic script was complete. Then, in December of that year, the United States became embroiled in World War II after Pearl harbor was attacked. The US government then commissioned the Disney studio to produce several propaganda films to help rally support for the war effort. This contract came at a critical time for the studio, as many of their animators and other staff had been drafted into the military, and the studio's ability to produce full-length feature films had been drastically compromised, resulting in a period of strained finances for most of the 1940s. Because of this, Wind in the Willows was put on hold until the end of World War II.

During and after the war, much of Disney's feature output was made up of so-called "package films". Beginning with saludos Amigos in 1942, Disney ceased making feature films with a single narrative, due to the higher costs of such films, as well as the drain on the studios resources caused by the war.

In 1945, a year after the war Walt started up production of Wind in the Willows. However, Walt and his story men found that they had cut so many scenes involving Rat and Mole out of the film, that the movie only ran for about 45 minutes and it was not long enough to become a feature film. So Walt and his story team decided that Wind in the Willows would be better off being part of a package film, all they had to do was pair it up with another 45 minute story. At first they tried to pair it as he had tried to pair it up with with Mickey and the Beanstalk under the title Two Fabulous Characters, and they later tried to add Bongo under the title Three Fabulous Characters. However, the film was running too long and Walt decided to cut Wind in the Willows from the film and retile the Bongo/Mickey and the Beanstalk film, Fun and Fancy Free which was eventually released in 1947.

Meanwhile, in December 1946, Disney started production on an new animated feature film, an adaptation of Washington Irving’s The legend of Sleepy Hallow.. However ,the storyboard artists found that the running time for The Legend of Sleepy Hollow was about 45 minutes long and was more suited to be a package film.

Finally, in 1947, Walt Disney decided to pair Wind in the Willows with The Legend of Sleepy Hollow under the new working title The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad. Well-known celebrities Basil Rathbone and Bing Crosby were cast as narrators in order to provide mass audience appeal.

The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad was the last of the "package" films, and Disney returned to single narrative features with the 1950's Cinderella.


·         Golden Globe Awards

o    Best Cinematography Color - Won

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Disneyland's Pixie hallow

Disneyland’s Pixie Hallow

        There is a piece of Neverland in the middle of Disneyland, next to the Matterhorn Bobsleds. Pixie Hallow is Tinker Bell’s home. As you wait in line for your turn to meet Tinker Bell and one or two of her friends in this magical place look around. There is a beautiful little cascading waterfall and a bubbling peaceful pool of water.

        As you look at the rocks that make up the waterfall you will notice a little fish on the rocks! Don’t worry there is one of Tink’s fairy friends to help. Wait! Is that a set of Pixie houses there in the plants near the base of the tree? Oh my, in the little cave like hole at the bottom of the rocks is that a fairy? Turn around quick but don’t make a noise! There in the flowers is another fairy! Up in the tree above the pool of water, there is a fairy helping a baby bird in its nest!

        As you come into this area you are your normal size. As you move further in Tink and her pals sprinkle their Pixie Dust on you and you become smaller. Finally the flowers tower above you and you are now the same size as Tinker Bell and her Pixie Pals!

        You walk up a path in the growth and there around the first turn is your first view of a real live Pixie!! You can walk up and say hi and get your picture taken with her. But wait around the corner is more!! As you turn the next bend there is Tinker Bell herself standing in front of her house made from a tea pot! Tink is standing outside her home surrounded by her work tables and tools. Go ahead walk right on up and say hi! She will be glad to have her picture taken with you.

        Tink shuts this area down early but it is still fun to walk through the open walkway around the pool of water after dark. There is wonderful playful “Pixie” music. As the music plays you see the sparkle of “Pixie Dust” play across the water and trees! The water then lights up and the Pixie Dust creates playful patterns in the water.

        So enjoy your time in Pixie Hallow and stop by and say hi to Tinker Bell and her friends.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

It’s Bio Wednesday! ~ Harriet Burns

It’s Bio Wednesday!

Harriet Burns
As the first woman ever hired by Walt Disney Imagineering in a creative rather than an office capacity, Harriet Burns helped design and build prototypes for theme park attractions, as well as final products featured at Disneyland and the New York World's Fair of 1964. And while she worked padded-shoulder to shoulder with men in the model shop, wielding saws, lathes and sanders, she was still the best-dressed employee in the department.

"It was the 1950s," she explained. "I wore color-coordinated dresses, high heels and gloves to work. Girls didn't wear slacks back then, although I carried a pair in a little sack, just in case I had to climb into high places."

Born August 20, 1928, in San Antonio, Texas, Harriet received her Bachelor's Degree in Art from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, and went on to study advanced design for another year at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque.

In 1953, she moved to Los Angeles with her husband and small daughter. There, she accepted a part-time position at Dice Display Industries Cooperative Exchange, where she helped design and produce props for television's "Colgate Comedy Hour" along with interiors and sets for Las Vegas Hotels, including the Dunes. Adept at her work, she was asked to spearhead the creation of the fanciful Southern California tourist destination Santa's Village located near Lake Arrowhead.

When Dice went out of business in 1955, a co-employee who had once worked at Disney, beat tracks back to the Studio and invited Harriet to come along. Subsequently, she was hired to paint sets and props for the new Mickey Mouse Club television show. Harriet soon began coordinating the show's color styling and even designed and built the famous "Mouse Clubhouse." Her appearance caused her to stand out on the set, as she dressed in high heels and a skirt to work with the hardware and tools, such as the drill press and sanders.

Burns shared a workstation at the Disney Studio with a fellow Disney employee named Fred Joerger. Joerger was a model builder for WED Enterprises, which is now known as Walt Disney Imagineering. He was working on prototype models for the future Disneyland theme park. In addition to her job as a set builder, Burns began working with Joerger in Disney's model shop building miniature prototypes of Disneyland buildings and attractions. WED Enterprises originally consisted of just three members — Harriet Burns, Fred Joerger and Wathel Rogers — and became known as the WED Model Shop. WED Enterprises was eventually renamed to Walt Disney Imagineering, which alluded to the engineering and imagination needed to design Disney theme park attractions.

Burns contributed greatly to the development of Disneyland at WED Enterprises by creating both miniature models and actual theme park attractions. One of Burns's first assignments was to craft a model of Sleeping Beauty Castle, a Disneyland landmark which opened with the theme park on July 17, 1955. She continued to work on Disneyland expansions after the park's grand opening. Burns designed models of the Matterhorn bobsleds attraction as a 1/100th scale replica of the famous Matterhorn in Switzerland.

Among other contributions, Harriet worked on everything from figure finishing to stage design for attractions featured at the New York World's Fair in 1964, including Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln and The Carousel of Progress. On occasion, when Walt would introduce new theme park attractions to television audiences, she would appear on segments of "Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color."

Harriet Burns died in Los Angeles on July 25, 2008, at the age of 79. She was a resident of Santa Barbara, California where she had been active in the arts and music community.

Disney ~ The Healing Place

Disney ~ The Healing Place

       I know you see people at the Disney Parks with disabilities. The question is why do they go to Disney? What can a day at a Disney Park do for a disabled child or adult? What can a day at a Disney Park do for somebody that needs a day away from stress that is not disabled.

       A day at a Disney Park can give many things to a disabled person. Disabled people often lack confidence. Spending a day at the park riding the rides they can build confidence. They can soar through the sky on Soarn’ Over California with everybody else. As long as the ride is within their physical limits they can ride it. Many rides have special accommodations for those with special needs. Many disabled suffer from pain and depression due to the physical problems and the limits that places on them. Being in a Disney park can give a distraction from the pain and limits. It can help replace the depression with a few needed moments of laughter. Even if they can’t ride the rides they can see the beauty, enjoy the shows and laugh at the characters. For the family caregivers this can give a chance to see their loved one smile and laugh.

       For those not disabled but dealing with life issues that cause stress Disney Parks can bring joy and laughter during moments of stress. You can suspend reality for a few moments and fly with Peter Pan over London as you take off on a flight to Neverland. You can catch some wonderful music in a relaxed atmosphere. You can stroll down Main Street and just enjoy the walk. It is a great place to just take a walk and get some exercise. It is a good excuse to walk. LOL I found on an average day at DLR I walk about fourteen miles.

       We had some hard things happen in our family when our daughter was young. She responded by clinging to us and being fearful. Disney helped by giving her a place to try things. She was big for her age and quite able to ride the “big rides” sitting in the seat in front of us instead of with one of us. She knew the rules and would follow them and we were right there to back her up if needed. This encouraged her to try other things and trust her “big girl” abilities outside of the park.

       My husband had an accident that left him nervous and easily upset. Going to Disneyland helped him deal with this. It gave him a place to be in large crowds and still feel safe. It also gave him a place to find joy. It is a good place to go and get out in the sun and enjoy.

       It is also a place to find healing of another kind. It is a place where people of all kinds can play together and learn to accept each other even if they disagree. You will find people of all ethnic, religious and orientation. You will find yourself sitting right next to them during a show or ride.

I remember one day, not to long after 9/11 I was at Disneyland and I was able to be part of a healing experience. I saw a Muslim woman in one of the shops on Main Street with her family. I stopped and asked her if she was having a good day at the park. At first she responded with, “I’m not from America.” I told her that did not matter and asked again if she was having a nice day. I told her because she traveled far to get there I hoped she was having a wonderful day. She responded, “I’m from the Middle East. I’m Muslim.” She backed away and acted like she was afraid or thought I was trying to trick her. I told her I was glad she at Disneyland and that I hoped she was having a good time in America. I told her I was an American and a Christian but I still wanted her to enjoy herself. She reacted with a shocked, “But, I’m not American. I’m Muslim from the Middle East.” I assured her I knew that and told her it did not matter where she was from I hoped she had a wonderful time at the park and in America. Her male companion walked up at that time and she smiled at me. She told him something and he also smiled. Healing began in that moment.

It does not matter disabled, emotionally stressed or hurting from the pain of hate and distrust a day at Disneyland can bring healing and build trust.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Gone But Not Forgotten ~ America Sings

Gone But Not Forgotten ~ America Sings
I have many fond memories of both the Carousel of Progress and the show/attraction that replaced it at Disneyland, America Sings. I loved these encouraging, historical shows that got you excited to look forward to and be part of the next development of technology and music. As a person who loves music and enjoys singing, I did my share of Church choir and Worship Band I loved the music and felt touched when I heard the music that ties us Americans together. I’ve always believed that a truly intelligent person will like music of many styles and this attraction gave you a chance to take a look at the American music of the past.
In 1973 Disney removed Carousel of Progress and moved all the Audio-Animatronics characters to Florida for use in the Magic Kingdom. America Sings replaced Carousel of Progress a year later in the same rotating building.
This show was a big hit during 1976 and the bi-centennial of America. It was a must do along with the Main Street Electrical Parade. This excitement about America continued for several years.
America Sings used the same Carousel Theater that its predecessor vacated, with its outer ring of six theaters, all connected by divider walls, revolving mechanically about every four minutes around the six fixed stages in the center of the building. Unlike Disneyland's Carousel of Progress, which rotated clockwise, America Sings went counter-clockwise. Also, unlike Carousel of Progress, America Sings only used the lower level of the Carousel Theater. The upper level was used to house the SuperSpeed Tunnel (which later became the Game Grid of Tron) that the PeopleMover went through.
America Sings was comparable to Disneyland's Country Bear Jamboree, in that it featured a singing cast of audio-animatronics. The show's Masters of Ceremony were an American bald eagle named Sam (voiced by Burl Ives) and an unnamed owl rumored to be named Ollie (voiced by Sam Edwards). The image of Eagle Sam was designed by Disney animator Marc Davis, as were the other characters. Eagle Sam is completely separate from the Sam the Olympic Eagle character designed a decade later by C. Robert Moore (also a Disney employee) for the 1984 Summer Olympics.
Like the Carousel of Progress, the first and the last scenes of America Sings involved the loading and unloading of guests, while the other four scenes, or "acts", depicted a particular era. However, the identical load and unload theaters each featured a small curtained gazebo with a backdrop showing a park. The curtains would open to reveal Sam and the owl standing on a two-level podium, with Sam standing on the higher level, introducing or closing the show.
Between each act, as the theater rotated, the lights blacked out, and the theater illuminated with flashing stars; during the rotations, Sam sang about the next era the audience was about to enter, reprising the chorus of "Yankee Doodle".
Also, the Weasel would come up in each of the acts, quoting the title line: "Pop, Goes the Weasel", for a total of five times. At the very end of the show he changed the line to, "Goodbye, Goes the Weasel."
The characters in America Sings were patterned after the characters from the concept art for an animated movie called Chanticleer, that Walt Disney scrapped back in the 1960s.
The songs
Norman “Buddy” Baker arranged a selection of songs chosen to represent a panoramic view of American music.
·         "Yankee Doodle" - Eagle Sam
·         "Jeannie with the Light Brown Hair" - Eagle Sam
·         "Pop Goes the Weasel" - Ollie and the weasel
Act 1 - The Deep South
·         "Dixie" / "L’il Liza Jane" / "Camptown Races" - Geese Quartet
·         "My Old Kentucky Home" - Colonel Houndstoothe (Bassett hound in rocking chair)
·         "Polly Wolly Doodle" - The Swamp Boys (gator trio, frogs and harmonica-playing raccoon)
·         "Single Girl" - Mother Possum
·         "Down in the Valley" - Coyote
·         "Down by the Riverside" - Hens, Foxes, Swamp Boy Frogs
Act 2 - Headin' West
·         "Drill, Ye Tarriers, Drill" / "I’ve Been Working on the Railroad" / "Fireball Mail" - Geese Quartet
·         "The Old Chisholm Trail" – Saddlesore Swanson
·         "Who Shot That Hole in My Sombrero?" - Sombrero-wearing dog
·         "The End of Billy the Kid" - The Boothill Boys (vulture duo)
·         "Home on the Range" - Tex Ranger (dog)
Act 3 - The Gay ‘90’s
·         "She May Be Somebody’s Mother" / "The Bowery" / "After the Ball" - Geese Quartet
·         "Where is My Wondering Boy Tonight" - Geese Quartet & Mother Rabbit
·         "Won’t Your Come Home Bill Bailey" - Showgirl Pig
·         "Sweet Adeline" - Blossom-Nose Murphy (goose) & Geese Quartet
·         "The Old Gray Mare" - The Old Gray Mare & Geese Quartet
·         "Only a Bird in a Gilded Cage" - Bird in a Gilded Cage and Fox
·         "Ta-ra-ra Boom-de-ay" - Storks, Geese Quartets (male and female), Pig, Bird in a Gilded Cage and Fox
Act 4 - Modern Times
·         "Ja-Da" / "Darktown Strutters’ Ball" / "Singin’ in the Rain" - Geese Quartet
·         "A-Tisket, A-Tasket" / "Boo-Hoo" - College Quartet (male wolf, male fox and two female cats)
·         "Beat Me Daddy, Eight to the Bar" - Piano Pig
·         "Hound Dog" / "See You Later Alligator" - Rooster, Stork, Porcupine, Hound Dog and Alligator
·         "Shake, Rattle and Roll" - Rooster and Frog
·         "Twistin' U.S.A." - Motorcycle storks
·         "Joy to the World" - Modern Times cast (except Piano Pig and College Quartet)
·         "Yankee Doodle" (reprise) - Eagle Sam
·         "Auld Lang Sync" - Sam and Ollie
·         Exit music: "Stars and Stripes Forever"
On July 8, 1974, nine days after the attraction opened, 18-year-old Disneyland cast member Deborah Gail Stone was killed when she was crushed between the building's rotating wall and a stationary wall. Stone had ventured too close to the area between the rotating wall and the fixed stage wall and was caught between them. A guest in the adjacent theater heard her screams, but she was already dead when Disneyland staff got to her.
Afterwards, America Sings was closed for two days while safety lights were installed. Eventually, the walls were remodeled so that they would break away if a similar incident occurred.
America Sings closed on Sunday, April 10, 1988. According to Alice Davis, wife of the late Marc Davis, production of Disneyland's Splash Mountain had gone way over budget and the only way to recover was to close down America Sings and use the characters from that attraction. Show sponsor Del Monte had already ended its sponsorship. The Carousel Theater sat empty and motionless for ten years. During this time, the carousel theater's external appearance was unchanged. A large sign in front of the building showed Sorcerer Mickey alongside text reading, "Sorry, we're closed to imagineer a brand new attraction." For many years guests wondered what the new attraction was going to be. For a few years, during the planned 'Disney Decade' started by Michael Eisner, a new audio-animatronic show called Plectu’s Fantastic Intergalactic Revue was to open. It was to have been an outer space-themed musical-variety revue featuring a troupe of Audio-Animatronics itinerant alien musicians whose spaceship has landed in Tomorrowland. The idea was part of the original "Tomorrowland 2055" plan and was planned to open around 1994. However, Disneyland Paris, which opened in 1992, ended up costing billions of dollars, so the whole "Tomorrowland 2055" plan was scrapped due to budget considerations.
America Sings was finally replaced by Innoventions, a version of the Epcot attraction of the same name, in 1998. Most of the Audio-Animatronic animals were moved to Disneyland's Splash Mountain log flume, which opened on Disneyland's 34th anniversary on July 17, 1989. In 1986, two years before America Sings officially closed, two audio-animatronic geese were taken out of the attraction. They had their "skin" removed, which left only a robotic skeleton, had their heads replaced, and were used as two talkative G2 droids in the queue to Star Tours, which would open in early 1987. Ironically, one of them (named G2-9T) still sings a modified "I’ve Been Working on the Railroad" (retitled "I've Been Working on the Same Droid"). (This may have been changed with the Star Tours upgrade.) As a result, the geese quartets in Acts 1 and 2 became trios until the ride ceased to operate. The rock and roll stork in the finale is now used by Imagineers for training new Animatronics programmers, acting as a final exam of sorts. The remainder of the show's Audio-Animatronics were recycled.
1974 america sings.jpg

Sunday, September 25, 2011

East Coast, West Coast or someplace else?

Where does the Disney Cruise go and how do you pick?

       Ok so you have decided that you want to go on a Disney Cruise. So now where are you going to go? The main home port for the Disney Cruise is Port Canaveral, Florida. This was the only port the Magic and Wonder called home for many years. One major benefit of going out of Florida is a stop at Castaway Cay, Disney’s privet island.

As the popularity of the Disney Cruise Line grew Disney branched out and started taking one of the ships across the ocean to the Mediterranean and a visit to the UK for a couple of months out of the year. 2011 is the last scheduled trip to the Mediterranean. At this time they have no immediate publicized plans to return, not that they could not in the future.

Disney moves its ships around to give guests the best travel experience possible. Up until this year they would leave one ship in Florida during Hurricane season and move the other to a calmer location giving guests a choice. When the Fantasy comes into service in 2012 there will be two ships based in Florida at all times. Now that there is one ship on the West Coast they move her out of Los Angeles and stop going to Mexico during the hotter summer months and go to Alaska during those months instead where the weather is much more comfortable.

       A few years ago Disney decided that the West Coast needed a Disney Cruise ship. So during the 50th anniversary celebration of Disneyland the Magic came to take happy cruisers on a Disney Cruise to Mexico. Now the Wonder is permanently based at the Port of Los Angeles, California. For most of the year they go out of Los Angeles to Mexico. For a couple of months out of the year they relocate and travel to Alaska. For 2011 they moved the ship to Vancouver, Canada to do the Alaskan cruises. For 2012 the Wonder will be based in Washington for the Alaskan cruises.

       This year Disney added a two week cruise out of Los Angeles to Hawaii. This cruise was so popular it sold out in less than one week and Disney has changed its itinerary in October and added another two week cruise to Hawaii. I’m hoping they will add more next year and reduce the number of cruises to Mexico.

       These are the ports the individual ships will be going out of in 2011 and 2012 and the general areas they will be going.

       Disney Magic ~ Various ports check for dates.

              Florida until the Disney Fantasy comes into service in May, 2012.

New York on 2, 3 and 8 day cruises for part of the year. From this port they will go to Canada and down the East Coast to Florida.

Galveston, Texas on 7 night cruise in the Gulf of Mexico to Mexico and other areas.

       Disney Wonder ~ Los Angeles most of the year with a short stay in Vancouver, Canada and next year Washington.

Los Angeles on 7 night cruises to Mexico. In 2011 they are doing 2 14 night cruises to Hawaii.

              Vancouver, Canada on 7 night cruises to Alaska. Summer 2011

              Washington on 7 night cruises to Alaska. Summer 2012

       Disney Dream ~ Port Canaveral, Florida

Disney Dream does 3, 4 and 5 night cruises in the Bahamas that always include 1 or 2 stops at Castaway Cay. On the 3 and 4 night you get 1 stop at Castaway Cay and on 5 night you get 2 stops at Castaway Cay.

       Disney Fantasy ~ Comes into service May 2012

At this time the published reports say the Fantasy will be based out of Florida with her Twin the Dream. She will do 7 night Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries.

       Now that you know where the ships go and where they go out of. Here are things to consider when choosing where to go. How long a cruise do you wish to go on? What countries are you most interested in seeing? Is cost to travel to the port a big factor in your choice? Maybe you can afford the cruise but the flight to get to the ship breaks the bank. What countries are you comfortable visiting? Is going to Castaway Cay an important part of your cruise plans and not to be missed?

       Here are is something to consider. Check out the US State Department travel warning website ( ) to see travel warnings for the area you are considering going to. There has been a sharp rise in violence in Mexico in tourist areas. This type of thinking is even more important to families with young children. My suggestion is if that is where you go and you are uncomfortable stay on the ship while in port. There is plenty to do on the ship. Also while in port the spa gives discounts so this is a good time to visit the spa!

       No matter where you go know that Disney will do everything possible to keep you safe and to make you feel safe while traveling. If a storm threatens the ports you are scheduled for Disney will alter the itinerary to stay out of the storms way. If a port is damaged by a storm shortly before you go Disney will find another port to go to. When violence increased near a port Disney was scheduled to go to they changed their itinerary and no longer go there but stopped at a safer port for two days instead.

       So go and enjoy yourself knowing Disney will do everything possible to keep you safe and insure you have a good time no matter where you go.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

The Disney Mobil Magic App

The Disney Mobil Magic App

Is It Worth Downloading??

 Disney Parks Mobile Magic

       I recently purchased my first smart phone!! Oh boy!! I happen to have Verizon as my carrier so I am lucky enough to be able to download the Disney Mobil Magic App for free! I believe at this time DMM is only available to Verizon customers. In the past I had the app on my non smart phone for $9.99 for 180 days. This was back in November of 2009 when the app first came out. Now it is FREE! On a phone with no data plan it is not worth downloading. The new free version is a lot cleaner and a lot less confusing than the older version.

       So what does DMM have in it? First off it is good to know that DMM has the same information for both Disneyland and Walt Disney World. If you are planning a trip to either park this is a good app to have on your phone. It has eleven headings, they are Guide Map, Attractions, Characters, Dining, Today’s Events, Weather, Games, My Favorites, Transportation, Shopping, Guest Services. Let me tell you what is in each group.

Guide Map:

       Disney Mobil Magic works with the GPS of your phone to track where you are in the parks. It also uses this to pick the appropriate set of maps for you. When you are in California you can’t open Walt Disney World’s maps and when in Florida you can’t open Disneyland’s maps.

       The guide map portion of this app includes maps to all the Disney Parks and resorts in the United States. These are searchable by attraction, dinning, shopping and guest services. You can use these maps to find your way around the parks and in fact it will even give you directions from where you are in the park to the attraction you wish to get to. This also has an added feature of showing you where the characters are and taking you directly to them.


       The attractions portion of the app lets you pull up information by area. This lists all the attractions in the area and gives you a tab menu to pick the information you wish about a particular attraction. The tabs are Description, Access, Auxiliary Audio, Getting There and My Favorites. These allow you to read a description of the attraction, see the accessibility of the attraction, find out if it has auxiliary audio, view a map with directions to the attraction and you can mark that attraction in your favorites so you can find it again.


       Under the character tab you can either type in the name of your favorite Character or pick a category from a list below. You can then find information on your favorite character and find out if and when they are out in the park. The app will also pull up a map and give your turn by turn directions to the character if they are out.


       Dining helps you find a restaurant to eat at. You can either tab on “Find a Restaurant” to find a restaurant in a particular area or you can click on Disney Dining. With Disney Dining you choose meal time, location, cuisine, dining experience and price range. You will then be shown restaurants that match your requirements.

Today’s Events:

       With Today’s Events you can pull up park hours and the times for the parades and shows in the park of your choice. You can also set reminders for these events so you don’t miss them.


       When you pull up the weather you will be shown the day’s weather forecast in four hour breakdowns. You can even scan ahead for up to four days to see what the weather will be like for the next few days of your stay.


       All of the games can be played anywhere inside or outside of the park. These games are a fun way to spend time waiting in line or for a parade/show to start at the park. This is also great way to get a touch of Disney Magic while at home or on a break at work.

Experience Pirates: There are two pirate games to enjoy.

What’s My Pirate Name!: This game generates a pirate name for you.

Pirate Trivia Game: This game asks you questions about the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction.

Disney Parks Trivia Game:

       This game allows you to test your knowledge of Disney Parks against other Disney Parks fans.

Disney Character Quiz:

This quiz tells you what character you are most like. I’ll be honest it is the same quiz and the one in Beast’s Library.

Disney Character Puzzle:

       Quick!! Can you tell me who the character is before they are fully reveled?

My Favorites:

       As the name states it is the place to fine your list of favorite attractions.


       Here you can ask for directions from where you are in the park or resort to wherever you wish to go in the parks. I can see this being a great asset when at WDW!


       Here you click on the area of the park you wish to do some shopping in and you get a list of all the shops.

Guest Services:

       Need to find a restroom but are too uncomfortable asking a cast member? This app will show you the way! It will also help you find ATM, Merchandise Guest Services, Guest Relations, First Aid, Kodak PictureSpot, Disney Vacation Club Information Centers and smoking areas.

       Over all I find this a fun and useful app that I am glad I downloaded! I have lots of fun with it at home playing the trivia game and it is a quick and easy way to find the park hours on days we decided to go to the park. It's fun. It's FREE!! It's easy to use. It's DISNEY! What more could you ask??