Saturday, August 31, 2013

Leave 'em Laughing

Leave ‘em Laughing

At the 2013 D23 Expo there was a celebration of the 60th year of Walt Disney Imagineering (WDI). To celebrate among other things there were five panel discussions with legendary WDI Imangineers. Leave Them Laughing was the final panel discussion.

David Fisher, Joe Lanzisero, Kevin Rafferty, Jason Surrell and George Scribner discussed how at the beginning there was not much humor at Disneyland. This zany panel led a lighthearted romp through the history of humor in the Disney parks.

About six years after Disneyland opened Walt had a feeling something was missing so he sent animator Marc Davis to check it out. When Mark came back to report for Walt he said that Disneyland was lacking what all the animated movies had, humor. So Walt sent him the task of adding humor where he could.

What happened next was an hour of zany joking, recounting of different humorous events like the jungle cruise and how to try to translate jokes into different languages and cultures. It was pointed out that Chinese was particularly difficult. One joke works in every language. You’re going to have to watch the accompanying video to find out what that is!

They also talked about how humor is used overtly and covertly throughout all the Disney venues. This discussion was punctuated by two sound generators that were brought in by to the panel luminaries. This was an excellent final session. It was lively and kept you laughing and awake.

Enjoy the video:

Friday, August 30, 2013

3 Years of Pixie Pranking!!

3 Years of Pixie Pranking!

September 4th, 2010 I posted my very first blog post! It was simply, “Here I’ll share some of my Disney Memories, Ramblings and Craft Ideas. Drop in, kick off your shoes and explore. This is just the beginning and I’ll be back later to fill it in.” 4 people read that post since then! WOW!!! ;-)
I want to thank all of you my readers that have encouraged me to write and share my love of Disney by reading my blog. I want to thank for spreading my blog in June of 2011 and really flexing my wings.
So how does a little Pranking Pixie celebrate 3 years of blogging and almost 250,000 page views? Well by giving YOU my readers a chance to win one of two gifts!
I am going to give out a $25 Disney Gift Card and a complete (up to the most recent issue) set of the DCA Buena Vista Bugle Newspapers!
People already following both are already entered.
To win like the Pixie Pranks Facebook page and follow me on Twitter.
The Facebook page is

Follow on Twitter at
Look for this profile picture

I will randomly pick two people that follow me on both Facebook and Twitter, one for each prize on September 30h, 2013 and contact the winners for where to send their prizes.

Make sure you COMMENT on the Facebook page please! I can't see who has liked the page.

Leading a Legacy

Leading a Legacy

There was a special celebration at the 2013 D23 Expo, Walt Disney Imagineering (WDI) is celebrating this 60th year of creating magic! This is the 4th of 5 panel discussions that were held at the D23 Expo. Each lasted about one hour and they featured many amazing Imagineers.

The 4th panel had two of the leaders of the Disney Creative force, Former WDI Executive, Marty Sklar and current WDI Chief Creative Executive, Bruce Vaughn.
These two talked about what it was like to “herd the wild cats” that are the Imagineers. They discussed how technology has changed Imagineering, BUT the basic creative process and passion for excellence has not changed. They shared how the size and scope of the company has changed.

Marty Sklar talked about Walt Disney’s personal involvement in Imagineering and what it was like to work with him as part of the team. He spoke of the encouragement Walt gave and the trust he had in his team.

It was said repeatedly in all of the panels that had Imagineers that worked directly with Walt Disney that he was the best Casting Director of all time. He would know you could do something when you did not even know it. He would see an ability that you never knew you had and put his trust in you.

Personally hearing how these two Disney luminaries direct, motivate and manage this living behemoth that is Disney Imagineering I found myself thinking how I could, if given the opportunity manage and supervise people differently than is the norm.

Here is the video of Leading a Legacy:

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Review Hidden Mickey Adventures 2 Peter and the Missing Mansion

Review: Hidden Mickey Adventures 2 Peter and the Missing Mansion
By Nancy Temple Rodrigue


I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again I enjoy the Hidden Mickey Adventures!!!!! David Smith and Nancy Temple Rodrigue are fantastic! They are so good I read books 1 and 2 of the Adventures 2 set in 2 days! This will be a no spoiler review (as best I can).

This book does not come out until November 2013 but I purchased my copy early at the 2013 D23 Expo!!

Peter and the Missing Mansion picks up right where Peter and the Wolf ends, with Peter jumping into the Rivers of America after Wolf. Peter learns some of the “history” of the Haunted Mansion first hand. You are kept on the edge of your seat as Wolf and Lance work to find and return Peter home.

Once again Nance Temple Rodrigue takes you on an adventure as she share the Disneyland that never was but could have been. Ever wonder if there was a different idea for the Haunted Mansion other than “Gracey Manor”? Find out what might have been if . . .

This book if full of twists, turns and excitement and ends with a grand setup for the next book in the series. I’m looking forward to finding out what happens next! I’d share more but as I said this is a ‘no spoiler review’.

To read my past reviews of the earlier books follow the links below:

Hidden Mickey Adventures 1-5

Hidden Mickey Adventures 2 Peter and the Wolf

Craft of Creativity

Craft of Creativity

This year Walt Disney Imagineering (WDI) is celebrating its 60th year of creating magic. At the 2013 D23 Expo there were five panel discussions to celebrate this accomplishment. The craft of creativity was the third in the series. Chris Montan, Tom Fitzgerald, Eric Jacobson, Daniel Jue, Joe Lanzisero, Kathy Mangum and Joe Rohde came on stage to discuss the Craft of Creativity.
Each panel member discussed how they came to be a Disney Imagineering. All of their stories started with, “Well, that’s a funny story...” They also shared how they develop their skills, gained confidence working with multimillion dollar projects, the emotional thrill and satisfaction of working with something that will be permanent (such as a ride) and the complexity working on such projects. They also talked about the difference of creating a show for the stage, television or movie and a production (like a ride) that someone could touch, walk/ride through an experience differently every time. There is also discussion about the difference between a show that a performer (creator) never gets to see (as stage actors often don’t) and a show that they can go back and see again and may even take their mother-in-law to experience.
Well caught my attention the most was there reminiscing about the culture of Disney Imagineering and the Disney Corporation. They talk about the culture of mentoring. Also they discussed the fact that you do not own the knowledge that you have but you must pass it on to the next generation.
Another interesting topic of discussion was how different values influence the design of a location. A good example is the Aulani Resort in Hawaii. The Imangineers work hard to make the Aulani Resort culturally relevant. The Imangineers worked closely with the local Hawaiian community to make sure that the Aulani Resort is truly Hawaiian. In my opinion the greatest example of this is how the hotel was named. You get a have to watch the video to find out how it was named.
This panel was very thought-provoking. It encourage me to think about how I should share what I’m good at, mentor people around me and encourage them to their highest level of excellence. I should also look for things that I am not good at and see how I can learn about it and find someone to mentor me.
Below is the video of this fantastic panel discussion:

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

A Review of: Hidden Mickey Adventures 2 Peter & the Wolf

A Review of: Hidden Mickey Adventures 2 Peter & the Wolf
By Nancy Temple Rodrigue

I purchased Hidden Mickey Adventure 2 Peter & the Wolf quite a while back and never got around to reading it. Then I read a few chapters and had to put it down due to life interruptist. I reread the first several chapters several times before finally getting to continue. I was HOOKED, as I knew I would be!!!!

I read 75% of this fantastic book in one night! I was so captivated by the story and attached to the characters so much I could not put it down! I’m tired as I write this because I was awake all night reading when I should of slept! I’m glad I did!!!

The Hidden Mickey Adventures pull you back into the history of Disney Company, Disneyland, studio and the man (Walt Disney). It shares the history in a unique and fun way taking you on an adventure as you learn some the history of Disneyland and gain insight into the man who created it all. (All with great license and added mystery.)

This is book 6 of the Hidden Mickey Adventures and the 1st in the second series. It picks up after the first series ends and brings the children of the main characters in the first series unknowingly taking over the quest their parents were and still are involved in. They follow a string of clues hidden by Walt Disney himself and that are guarded by the mysterious Mr. Wolf, who the children have known all their lives as a family friend.

You can start reading the series with this book but if you have not read the first 5 books I suggest you pick them up and read them first. I also suggest you preorder HMA2 Peter and the Missing Mansion so you get it first when it comes out in November, 2013! (I already picked up my autographed copy at the 2013 D23 Expo.)

Join the Hidden Mickey Adventures club on Facebook at: 

The DNA of Innovation

The DNA of Innovation

At the 2013 D23 Expo there were 5 panel discussions with Imagineers. The DNA of Innovation was the second in the series.

There were six Imagineers on this panel. Asa Kalama, Scott Throwbridge, Bob Gurr, Trish Albright, Susan Bonds and David Durham were on hand to discuss how Imagineers creative process develops and is passed on.

There was a lively discussion of technology versus creativity, with Bob Gurr joking about how they did things faster in the “old days” without computers, texts and cell phones. It was pointed out that technology and creativity are not different and they support each other. All of these panel member has been responsible for managing and developing different areas of the Disney creative process.

One of the current projects that was talked about was experiential storytelling. This is where the guests help tell the story! Guests are involved in scavenger hunts and problem solving that moves the story along and changes the story. This can be in a park or on a cruise ship. Guests are given a clue and sent out to solve their quest. The guests interact with cast members and characters as they look for clues. Any cast member from janitors to ride operators may be involved in the quest.

This was a very interesting panel and stimulated our creative process so we can improve problem-solving skills and build creative process throughout all areas of life. If you are feeling uncreative or like us have lost some of your creative drive sit down and watch this video. It is well worth the hour out of your day.

Here is video of the panel:

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Working with Walt

Working with Walt

At the 2013 D23 Expo there were five panel discussions with Walt Disney Imagineers. The very first one was led by Marty Sklar and had Bob Gurr, Alice Davis and X Atencio talking about what it was like to work for Walt Disney.

It is fun to hear how each of this legendary Imagineers met Walt Disney. They shared their favorite memories of working with Walt and talked about his management style and how it affected their lives.

One thing that kept coming up in all the discussions, starting with this one is Walt was the best “Casting Director” they ever knew. He would talk to someone for a few moments and then ask them to do something they thought they could never do. Yet, they would do it and do it well!

They also share how nobody wanted to fail around Walt, but he never placed blame. If something went wrong he would ask how “we” could make it work. His style encouraged people to work harder and do things they did not know they could.

The discussion ended with a short Q&A.

Both my husband and I were at this panel and it was a life changing event. What we walked out of there was the desire to encourage others as Walt did. We also walked out of there with in intolerance of people and circumstances that stifled creativity and collaboration.

Below is video of the complete panel discussion and Q&A:

Monday, August 26, 2013

Disney Closing 3 of It's Online games

Disney Closing 3 of Its Online Games

On September 19th, 2013 Disney will be closing 3 MMRP online games. ToonTown Online, Pixie Hallow and Pirates of the Caribbean. Between now and September 19th you can play the games for free. I do not know why they are closing the games but I can tell you why I’m sad. All three games had things that entertain and educate.
Here is what Disney says about the closing of the virtual online games:
“The Walt Disney Company is committed to offering high-quality, entertaining play experiences in both online virtual worlds and mobile apps. At this time, we are shifting our development focus towards other online and mobile play experiences, and a growing selection of Disney Mobil apps. We deeply appreciate your enthusiasm and loyal support for ToonTown Online, Pixie Hallow and Pirates of the Caribbean and sincerely hope you will continue to enjoy the large variety of online and mobile play experiences Disney offers - with more to come soon!”
Pixie Hallow is more girl themed and let young children live in the world of Pixie Hallow with Tinker Bell and her fairy friends. You could decorate your Fairy’s house and choose the outfit and play games.
Pirates of the Caribbean is a swashbuckling adventure for people of all ages. Crew your pirate ship and battle with others! Make alliances and build teams.
ToonTown Online is my favorite of the three Disney MMRP games. In ToonTown you design your own Toon. You choose from various animals types and pick your coloring. Then you select clothing from standard  outfits offered at first. Each Toon also has an estate where they “live”. They can decorate their home, store their extra clothing and even entertain guests.
In ToonTown you battled evil Robots called Cogs. These Cogs don’t like happiness. They want everybody unhappy so it is a Toon’s duty to keep the Cogs from taking over ToonTown. You battle the Cogs by playing “Gags” on them.
So how can a child learn from playing ToonTown? They learn life lessons playing ToonTown. In ToonTown you are assigned tasks. You accomplish the task you are rewarded with Jellybeans. Jellybeans is the money of ToonTown. You want a new piece of furniture for your Toon’s house or a new shirt for your Toon? You earn the Jellybeans to pay for it. You see you can’t spend all you have if there is a goal that is for more than you have. You learn to “budget”, “save” and plan. You have to pay for your “Gags” to fight the Cogs so you must not spend all you have on other things.
To me the lessons in the paragraph above are important life lessons. You must have money for what you need to do your job, clothing and tools. Without that can’t work. You want something you must work and save for it, realizing you can’t make other unnecessary purchases until the goal is reached.
Some of the Cogs are just too powerful for one Toon to handle by themselves. So you have to work as a team with other Toons, watching what the other Toons use in the battle so you can defeat the Cogs.
The things learned by working together are immense. Yes, the kids learn teamwork but they also learn to communicate in many ways other than just the strait spoken word. (Vocabulary is strictly limited in ToonTown for the safety of young children.) I have seen young children with Autism and Asperger’s learn to communicate and break past the wall that generally holds them inside their own heads much of the time.

I’m very sad to see these games go. I spent many hours playing ToonTown with my daughter years ago. It helped her over some rough spots and to learn some life lessons. I hope Disney comes up with other MMRP. I loved how people learned to work together and how the stronger usually helped and protected the weaker.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs Statues at Disneyland

Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs Statues at Disneyland

The long told story about the Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Statues at Disneyland has been that they were an anonymous gift from an Italian sculptor. When they arrived, shortly before the opening of Disneyland in 1955 it was noted that Snow White was the same size as the Dwarfs. Walt saw them and thought they were so beautiful that he asked Imagineer, John Hench to display them using forced perspective to make Snow White appear the proper size.

While at the 2013 D23 Expo I saw the original Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs statutes on display. I stopped and talked with the Imangineer that was watching over them and answer questions. I found out some interesting facts about Snow White’s Grotto.

According to the Imagineer these beautiful statues were not an anonymous gift. At Walt Disney’s instruction John Hench had commissioned the eight statues from an Italian sculptor. The exact reason as to why the sculptures were made all the same height is unknown. It is thought that maybe the sculptor had never seen the movie but had seen a set of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs bar soap that was sold in Italy at that time. All the bars of soap in the box were the same size so he may have thought they were all the same size.

The Imagineer I spoke to said she had actually seen the paperwork for the original statues so this is the true story. The set of eight statues cost $2,632. (Exact amount may be several hundred dollars less; my notes were damaged by a soda spill.) When they found that Snow White was not the correct height John Hench tried to order a new Snow White statue that was the correct height. To replace the Snow White Statue it would have cost another $2,000!

Walt decided not to pay the extra money to replace Snow White. Walt asked John Hench to figure out the best way to display these beautiful statues. John decided to use force perspective to make the diminutive Snow White statue appear to be proportionally correct in size next to her seven little dwarves. At a later date more statues of woodland creatures were added to add interest and beauty to Snow White’s grotto.
These beautiful statues of been repeated at other Disney parks. Originally when they were put in at the Tokyo Disneyland the height of Snow White was corrected. Shortly after the installation it was decided to redo it the same way it is at Disneyland in Anaheim California.

In my opinion no matter how these fantastic statues came to be, an anonymous gift or an accidental mistake of a commissioned project it does not matter. They are beautiful just the way they are and John Hench did a beautiful job with the force perspective displaying them. I believe the happy accident of the diminutive Snow White Statue lead to an extraordinarily beautiful display!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

What Type of D23 Expo Attendee Are You??

What Type of D23 Expo Attendee Are You?

There are several different types of D23 Expo Attendees. There is the general Disney Crazed Fan, Collector/Trader, Collector/Profiteer, Comic Con crossovers, and the DisneyFile (nerd).

The Disney Crazed Fan: Just wants to soak up anything and everything Disney! They want to see the Disney Royals walking around. You may find some of these folks dressed up as their favorite Disney Character.

Collector/Trader: Has researched what Disney collectables are going to be available and come early to line up to purchase their desired items. They are fairly easy to identify by the number of bags they carry around. These are Disney Fans that like to have Disney around them at home.

Collector/Profiteer: Like the Collector/Trader the Collector/Profiteer had researched what is available and has thought about what will have the best resale value. They are easy to spot because they have bags full of Disney collectables and usually have multiples of the highly prized items. These people may or may not be Disney fans. Those that are fans are usually nice enough. Those that are not Disney fans are out for nothing but profit. I usually avoid these people because they are not the happiest on earth.

Comic Con Crossovers: Comic Con Spillovers are Comic Con Fans that either are Marvel Comic fans come to see what Disney is doing with their favorite characters or they are also Disney fans. You can often tell these fans by the fact they are at any event that talks about Marvel. Some of them also the wear costumes of their favorite comic book hero.

DisneyFile (nerd): You will find this attendee at all the major events they can pack in. They want to see what is coming in all aspects of Disney. You may find them with notebooks taking notes, camera’s at the ready to take pictures, cell phones, tablets and computers at the ready to Facebook, Google+, Tweet and Instagram everything! The people just want to know EVERYTHING about what is going on in Disney. These are the ones you will find at the discussion panels with Disney Legends. They want to hear the old guard talk about working with Walt and the younger generation talking about how the old guard taught them the way Walt did things. They are the nerds, geeks and oddballs of the Disney fans.

No matter what kind of Disney fan you are you can find lots of things to enjoy at a D23 Expo.

Friday, August 23, 2013

The Ups and Downs of the 2013 D23 Expo

The Ups and Downs of the 2013 D23 Expo

 The 2013 D23 Expo was filled with ups and downs.

I like to start with positive so I’ll talk about the UPs first.

There were amazing presentations! Where else could you see Disney Legends being honored! Sneak peeks behind the scenes of upcoming movies and even hit TV series. Huge presentations on what is coming out of all the Disney Studios. Many panel discussions with Q&A with Disney Imagineers and other Disney Luminaries. Pavilions with displays on what is happening in the parks/cruise and resorts. There were pavilions for Disney In-Home Entertainment, Disney Interactive and Disney Stores as well as Disney Investment just to name a few. There was also the mysterious Mickey’s of Glendale Store! This is the store reserved exclusively for the Imagineers!

Then there was the Collectors floor with the vendors! Oh my Lord!! You could find anything Disney that you could think of!!  David Smith and Nancy Temple Rodrigue, authors of the Hidden Mickeys novels were there to greet people and sign books. (Great books by the way!) Disney Fan sites had booths and were sharing the fun and some had Disney Luminaries hanging out with them.

There were some super special events such as the Richard Sherman & Alan Menken Disney Songbook Concert on Saturday evening. The voices of the Disney Parks were there to make personalized phone messages for your cell phones outgoing message!
Three solid days immersed in all things Disney! What could be better or more enjoyable!!!

Now for the downers.

The line to get into the Expo was long and started the night before on Harbor Blvd.
Due to long lines to get in and when it ended at night there was very little sleeping done during those 3 days.

The lines were crazy! For the most popular presentations you could wait 6 hours or more and still run the risk of not getting into the event.

Many people were there for the limited edition collectable so the lines for the stores were CRAZY the entire time. Only way past that was to pay $1,500 for the Sorcerer Pass.

Confusion was in abundance. Those working at the Expo did not seem to know what was going on ½ the time. They did not know the access for the different level of passes. They often did not even know who to ask.

Many of the best events were scheduled at the same time or were offset in ways that made it impossible to get to more.

WAY TOO MANY THINGS TO SEE AND DO!!!!! No way to do it all!

So will I be going to the 2015 D23 Expo? YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I will not miss it!!!! The chance to hear some of these people speak is not to be missed!!! The chance to learn something that can change your life is possible!

So I’ll be seeing you in 2015 at the next D23 Expo!!!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Richard Sherman/Alan Menken Disney Songbook 2013 D23 Expo

Richard Sherman/Alan Menken Disney Songbook Concert at the D23 Expo

The fan favorite event at the 2013 D23 Expo was a concert by Richard Sherman and Alan Menken on Saturday evening. Even before the Expo started people were talking about how they would make sure they got to see these two men play their music. The concert was scheduled to start at 6 PM Saturday evening. The line outside the D23 Arena started to form well before 2 o’clock. I hopped into line at about 2 o’clock and was at least 1000 people back in line. The concert was to last about two hours instead it lasted closer to three.

Richard and Alan came out on stage together and were introduced. You could see the warm affection between these two fantastic artists. Alan Menken spoke warmly of how Richard Sherman welcomed him into the Disney musical family years ago. There was only one piano on stage so they were asked how they would play. Alan Menken laughed and said, “4 handed?” It was announced that one would play in the other would come out later. They joke about who would play first and Menken joked, “age before beauty?” And Richard Sherman jokingly took to the piano.

The next hour was filled with Richard Sherman playing the wonderful music that he and his brother Robert wrote over the years. He started with the early music of the Jungle Book, Mary Poppins and even touched on Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. As he played he told stories about the writing and special memories of songs.

The most poignant moment was when Richard was talking about the Mary Poppins song, “Feed the Birds”. Richard told the audience about the day he and Robert took a stack of songs for Mary Poppins to Walt Disney’s office. They finished playing all the songs and Walt walked over to the north facing window and stood with his arms behind his back looking out the window. Walt said, “Play that Birdsong again”. So Richard and Robert played “Feed the Birds” for Walt again. When they finished the song Walt said, “Thats it! That song is the reason for the story.” Richard and Robert said, “Yes Walt”. That day Walt signed The Boys to work with him.

Richard shared one more memory of “Feed the Birds”. In 2001 there was a rededication of the Partners Statue at Disneyland. A beautiful white piano was placed in front of the statue in the Central Hub. Richard had play the selection of Disney songs and all of a sudden stopped. He looked at the approximately 2000 people gathered around for this rededication. He told them, “This next song is not for you, it’s for Walt. It was his favorite song.” He then proceeded to play “Feed the Birds”. Not a sound was made as he played but as he played the final phrase and sang, “Tuppence, tuppence, tuppence a bag” there was a great collective sharp intake of breath. A single bird      came streaking out of the blue sky and swooped down low over the piano and then flew up and away. Richard had not seen the bird, when he got backstage he asked what had happen. When he heard the story and then saw the video of the bird he looked around and said, “Walt came.”

The first half of the evening was filled with wonderful moments like this from Richard Sherman.

Alan Menken came out with a stack of paper and set it on the edge of the piano. He started with his early works that he did for Disney and went through the list movie by movie playing the music he wrote. He spoke fondly of working with Howard Ashman and other talented composers over the years.

He joked about how you never know what is going to be a hit. He affectionately remembered “Newsies”. He spoke of how “Newsies” was a flop when it came out in the theaters but now has one Tony awards on Broadway!

Alan joked about being the only composer to have won an Oscar, Grammy, Tony and Razzy!

The evening ended with both men together on stage singing their songs about the world. Alan Menken sang Part Of You are World and Richard Sherman sang It’s a Small World.

These two men did not disappoint the audience! Even though I was in an arena with 4000 people I felt like they were playing for a small intimate group that I was blessed to be a part of. This evening was made even more special because in the row behind us was John Lasseter. He was the biggest fan in the room! You could hear him clapping, whistling and cheering Richard and Alan on.

So now, find a comfy chair, get yourself something to drink and turn up the sound. Enjoy the video of the Disney songbook by Richard Sherman and Alan Menken.

Sherman/Menken Disney Songbook part 1/3

Sherman/Menken Disney Songbook part 2/3

Sherman/Menken Disney Songbook part 3/3

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Planes - Review

Last week I had the pleasure of seeing DisneyToon Studio newest film, Planes. I’ll start off by saying this gets two wings up from me, Pixie Wings that is! When I first heard about Planes a while back I felt it was direct to video quality. Even after seeing trailers I felt the same. But I am happy to say I was wrong! Disney did right by putting this in the theaters!
Yes, you heard right DisneyToon Studio made Planes not Pixar! DisneyToon Studio usually makes direct to video sequels and not theater releases. Planes was to be a sequel to the highly successful Pixar movie, Cars. When a clip was shown to Disney Studio executives they were so pleased with the quality they decided it should be released in theaters not direct to video.
This movie is in the same “world” as Cars. The vehicles are alive and everything is Plane/Car themed. There is even a flying car with a split personality. John Lasseter said he was looking for a franchise that would be focused on boys, as many Disney/Pixar movies have generally been female targeted. They thought of Trains and then fell in love with the idea of Planes.
And now for a hopefully non-spoiler review.
Planes is a sweet story of a dreamer. Dusty Crophopper is a crop dusting plane dreaming of becoming a world class racing plane. He is not a bragger or a show off he just likes to fly low and fast. Yes, I said low. Dusty is afraid of heights! Dusty enlists the help of retired war vet Skipper Riley (a WWII Corsair fighter) to train him on how to fly fast and take advantage of his abilities.
Throughout this movie you find yourself cheering him on each step of the way because he is so likeable and is out to do his best to fulfill his dream. When others scorn and betray him you feel his hurt. Dusty responds with an attitude I find refreshing in this current ME ME ME day an age. When attacked he stands firm but does not attack in return. He does not stoop to retaliating for the dirty tricks that are played on him. These are values I’d like to see passed on to my children and grandchildren.
Dusty earns the respect of his fellow racers with his determination and kind heart. Dusty goes from near front of the pack to last-place when he helps another racer in trouble. In the end, when he is in need even those that were enlisted to trick and betray him step up to help him. This movie shows that even the good guys can win!
One other interesting thing found in Planes is the reference to the “VF-17 Jolly Wrenches“ with the boxy skull and crossed wrenches logo reminiscent of the Pirate Jolly Roger skull and cross bones. Skipper Riley, the Corsair mentor of Dusty flew with the “Jolly Wrenches”. The real VF-17 Jolly Roger Corsair fighter squadron of World War II was one of the most feared and respected Corsair fighter squadrons. VF-17 Jolly Rogers became the highest scoring Navy corsair squadron of World War II. They destroyed 154 Japanese planes in 76 days, beating the record of ‘Pappy’ Boyington’s notorious Black Sheep VMF 214 a US Marine Squadron.
I love this attention to detail!
Having seen a trailer and sneak clips at the D23 Expo of the upcoming (July 18th, 2014) sequel to Planes, Planes 2, Fire and Rescue I am really excited to see it! As much as I was surprised by Planes, Planes 2, Fire and Rescue looks even better than the original!

2013 D23 Expo: Sorcerer Pass What Is It & Is It Worth It

2013 D23 Expo: Sorcerer Pass What Is It & Is It Worth It

I’ve not been on in a while to write here in Pixie Pranks because I was busy getting ready for going to and then writing about the D23 Expo for a fan site. I will be sharing here as well now.
There were several different level tickets for the D23 Expo this year. There was the Member Ticket that had the guests name on it along with the day/days it was good for. Price this year for Member tickets purchased at the full member price was $145 for all three days $57 for one day. Non member 3 day was $166. There were Guest Tickets for Cast Members that were $15 per day. Then there was the Sorcerer Pass. The Sorcerer Pass was a 3 day D23 Expo pass with special access. The cost for this ticket was $1,500 per person. These tickets were to be limited to 150 but I have head as many as 300 were sold.
At Expo opening every day there was a set order of admittance that was to be followed. First the Sorcerer Level ticket holders were to be admitted 1 hour before everybody else. They were followed by the people with Member tickets once all Sorcerer level holders lined up had been admitted. Once the Member Ticket holders had entered the “Guest Pass” ticket holders were admitted. Press Pass holders were admitted with the “Guest Pass” ticket holders. Guest Pass and Press Pass holders could be admitted as much as 2 hours after the Expo opened.
So what was $1,500 to get you at the 2013 D23 Expo? They were to get early entrance to the facility, 1 hour ahead of general members. Access to the Sorcerer Lounge with snacks. They could select which presentations they wished to see and reserve seats with no waiting in line. Special lines for shops such as the Dream Store, Mickey of Glendale and the Disney Store where limited edition items were for sale. There was also a special fireworks viewing with dessert.
I did not have the Sorcerer Level pass to the D23 Expo, I had a Press Pass (but got in with Members because I’m a Member). I did have friends that had it and I talked to others that I saw at the Expo that had it.
Sorcerer Pass holders did get in early but not as early as they were told they would. Often it was a foot race with the regular Member Pass holders to get to the concessions first. Still this is one thing the majority of the Sorcerer Pass holders said they liked the best and the one reason they would pay for it again.
The Sorcerer Lounge was just a room with some chairs. Often the food offering was peanuts and not much else.
When going to their selected presentations the staff at the doors did not know where to send them to enter and tried to send them to the regular lines. Once inside the presentation Stage or Arena sometimes they were directed to sit with the general public, no special reserved seating for some of the events. Some presentations did have special sections for Sorcerer Pass holders. With people waiting in lines for as long as 4 hours for some events (such as the Sherman/Menken Disney Songbook Concert) this was still a big plus for the majority of Sorcerer Pass holders I talked to.
The special fireworks viewing I hear was not a success. The area would have been fine if the tickets were limited to 150 people but there were about 300 people so viewing was limited due to crowding. I was told that some people did not get dessert because they ran out. There was not even enough coffee for everybody.

Personally I would not spend $1,500 for the ticket but I can see how it would be beneficial to some people. Those that are at the D23 Expo primarily to purchase limited edition collectables would find this an asset. Those that are determined to see as many as possible of the presentations may also find it helpful if they had the extra money to spend. Be aware you will NEVER be able to see ALL the presentations no matter what level pass you have.