Monday, November 29, 2010

Mainstreet Bandstand

While Mainstreet USA is one of the most well themed areas of the Magic Kingdom Park, it isn't one that people often stop at. Most people are running down the street to get to the real rides and attractions. Shouldn't they have a reason to stop and be entertained?

That's where the Mainstreet Bandstad comes in. It would serve as a permanent home for live entertainment on Mainstreet USA. Turn of the century singers, musicians, and even actors could perform several shows throughout the day on the stage.

The setting would be a very intimate environment. It would be a relatively small stage in a garden like setting. Several benches would be available for seating and standing room would also be available for guests. While small size could limit the capacity of the show, it would create a much higher demand than a large theater.

This could provide for a wide range of entertainment. Stories could be told for kids, small plays could be done, or groups could perform classic music. Entertainment could also be themed for the holidays and special events. During Christmas, for example, Christmas stories could be told, holiday tunes could be played, and parties could even be held in the area.

What do you think? Would you enjoy this type of entertainment?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Settling the Score

Music is an essential part of the Disney experience. Even when you're gone, it can make you imagine the sights, sounds, and smells of the parks. Music can create and most importantly trigger memories. When I'm at home, I love to listen to park music to try and recapture the magic.

Music can also be essential to the story of an attraction. A good score can even help tell the story. Attractions like Soarin', the Haunted Mansion, and the Tower of Terror are great examples of this. It can takes guests on fantastical journeys and put their minds in far away places. Music is part of the Disney magic.

Here are some of my favorite music clips from around WDW:

I love Epcot music. The music is futuristic and does a great job telling the stories of all the attractions. It totally sets the mood and is definitely my favorite from WDW.

 Soarin' Over California is the last attraction the Imagineers made with a truly great soundtrack. The music for this ride is absolutely beautiful. It is very moving and goes very well with the video in the attraction. It really adds to the experience of the attraction.

 Is Honey I Shrunk the Audience a dated attraction? Absolutely. Should it be replaced? Probably. But that doesn't effect my love for this music from the attraction. It is some of my favorite music for Epcot. It sounds like an awards show and captures the feel of the original Epcot at the same time.

 While its hard to pick out any one track, the music from the Tower of Terror at Disney's Hollywood Studios is a great example of audio storytelling. The music echoes and has a very creepy feel to it. You can really picture yourself in an old haunted hotel.

 I'm a sucker, I know, but I love the music from Walt Disney's Carousel of Progress. It embodies the spirit of Walt more than any other attraction ever has. It is also extremely catchy. Try not to get it stuck in your head. It's impossible. It makes you want to believe in a better future. It's awesome.

What are your favorite pieces of music from the parks?

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Fear and Loathing in Disney

Pixar is Disney. Whether people wanna accept it or not, its a fact. So why are avid Disney fans so against seeing Pixar put in the sacred Disney Parks around the world?

I decided to first compile a list of Pixar attractions in WDW:
  • Toy Story Midway Mania!
  • Monsters, Inc.:Laugh Floor
  • It's Tough to Be a Bug!
  • The Seas with Nemo and Friends
  • Turtle Talk with Crush
  • Buzz Lightyear Spaceranger Spin
Those are all the major Pixar attractions in Disney World. There's only 6. So why is it such a big deal?

One of the major arguments against Pixar in the Parks is the quality of the attractions. Many people believe that the Pixar attractions are sub-par. I tend to disagree. The Seas with Nemo and Friends made the Living Seas a much more entertaining pavilion. While it might not suit everyone's tastes, Toy Story Midway Mania is an impressive and fun ride. Turtle Talk with Crush was, at the time, a very innovative theme park experience.

I only agree with the ban Pixar movement in one area. Monsters Inc. It was a great movie, but has no place in Tomorrowland. Timekeeper was great and fit in extremely well in the land. Monsters Inc. completely goes against the theming of Tomorrowland. I also don't like the show in general. The seats are uncomfortable and the jokes are very generic. Good for little kids, not so much for anyone else.

In general my feeling is story is what matters in an attraction. Who cares if it once was a Pixar movie? I'll take a well made attraction with a deep story any day. The issue here shouldn't be Imagineers using Pixar, it should be the Imagineers making average attractions. After all, there are some attractions that I feel Pixar could improve.

The Backlot Tour
Who wouldn't wanna go on a tour of the Pixar Animation Studios? You could see artists hard at work creating your favorite characters. Imagine journeying through real life recreations of your favorite Pixar movies. It could be like a Pixar Great Movie Ride mixed with the Magic of Disney Animation.

Universe of Energy
 Okay, you have to follow me on this one. I'm not saying take the science and facts out of this pavilion. They are the most important part. But this would be a great place to use the Wall-E character. It would be a great way to get kids introduced to the importance of energy and the enormous affect its going to have on our future.

The Incredibles
 So there isn't one attraction I'd like to see them replace. I think WDW needs an Incredibles attraction. It was such a cool movie and I know it could be a great ride. We can only hope the Imagineers have the money to develop an attraction worthy of this film.

So what do you think of Pixar? Too much? Too little? Don't care?

Friday, November 26, 2010

WDW Bucket List

So this may seem like a little off topic, but I decided it would be fun to create a Walt Disney World Bucket List for myself. It's a list of things at Disney World that I'd like to at least once in my life. It's is no particular order really, since I want to accomplish them all.

1. Have lunch with an Imagineer.

2. Stay at a premium resort.

3. Drive a stock car at the Richard Petty Driving Experience.

4. Tour every resort.

5. See a show in Downtown Disney(either Cirque, House of Blues, or some new show in the future).

6. Attend a hard ticket event at the Magic Kingdom.

7. Go on a Segway tour at Epcot.

8. Go on one of the special early safaris at the Animal Kingdom.

9. Complete the Ultimate Magic Kingdom Touring Plan. (Every ride and show in one day)

10. Watch the Magic Kingdom fireworks with my significant other.

11. Get my child a haircut on Mainstreet USA.

12. Gain enough courage to ride Summit Plummet.

13. Learn how to surf at Typhoon Lagoon.

14. Drink around the world at Epcot-once I'm 21 of course ;).

15. Do the Keys to the Kingdom Tour.

16. Go on an Illuminations Cruise.

This is just a short list, and I'm sure that there's so much more to do at Disney World.

What's on your bucket list?

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thank You

First off, let me wish a happy and joyous Thanksgiving to all of you and your families. It is a great American tradition and a great way to show appreciation for what you have. Happy food, family, and football to you all!!

I would also like to take the time to tell you all how thankful I am for you. You readers are the ones who keep this blog going. I can't thank you all enough for the support. I am thankful for you all!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Science of Imagineering

I found a cool video that takes you behind the scenes of the Science of Disney Imagineering series:

Man I wish they had these when I was in school. They look frickin' cool!!

This is an awesome way to get kids interested in science. Every kid loves Disney, its a fact. So showing them the combination of the fun world of Disney with the sometimes boring world of science is genius. It also has a ton of stuff for us Disney nerds. We get to go places were most Imagineers have never been. I might have to look into buying some of these...

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Hyperion Wharf

Disney announced their plans for the former Pleasure Island area of Downtown Disney. It is supposed to be a vibrant shopping center filled with lights at night and a 20s era wharf during the day.

While they didn't announce much, the pictures seem promising. And let's face it, anything they do can be an improvement. Without adding anything since closing the night clubs and most notably the Adventurer's Club, PI has become rather dead. I look forward to more concept art and more resturant, store, and attraction announcements.

My only complaint is the 2013 completion date. I understand this process takes time, but this seems a little far off for the planned construction. Then again, I may be underestimating the size of the project.

To me, this is a very important project for Disney. Universal has been thriving lately and many people have long favored City Walk's offerings to its Disney counterpart. This could be a huge stab at Universal's hold on that park of the guest experience.

Are you guys excited about the planned improvement?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Adding to the Bookshelf is such a great place.

I got a very special book in the mail today. I ordered Walt Disney's Epcot Center from a seller on Amazon. I haven't read much of it yet, but I am already amazed. There are so many great pictures in that book that I have never seen before. It is without a doubt a comprehensive look at Epcot. It's the size of a textbook!!

I can't wait to get reading!!!!!!!!!! =)

Saturday, November 13, 2010


I am realllllllly excited for the release for the release of the new game called Epic Mickey. I really like the way they are putting a weird twist on classic Disney memories. This game is simply brilliant. There's Mean Street, which is a twisted version of Main Street USA. The Lonesome Manor, which of course is their version of the Haunted Mansion. There's also tons of attractions that fell by the wayside, or characters with a new twist. The game looks visually stunning.


Friday, November 12, 2010


Anyone been on California Screamin' lately? If you were, you may have noticed a new narration before the launch...

Neil Patrick Harris has lent his voice to the DCA rollercoaster. He does a rather good of portraying a board walk barter. While it isn't the biggest change in the world, it is a step in the right direction. It's the little details like this that DCA was missing from the beginning. The details will be what truly turns DCA into a Disney Park.

Thursday, November 11, 2010


Image Copyright Disney

Last year I received a subscription to D23 for Christmas. I was elated. I had heard about this new community for Disney fans made by Disney itself and I was proud to be a first year member. I couldn't wait to find out about all of the exclusive things I would now have available to me. I couldn't wait to become a part of the first Disney sponsored fan community.

Now almost a year later, I couldn't be more disappointed. D23 is anything but an online fan community. It offers almost no special things for the average Disney fan. Unless you can hop a flight to Florida or California whenever you please, it is almost impossible to take part in any special events. What about the 4 major D23 gatherings that were promised, you ask? Well it turns out when they said 4, they didn't mean 4 years in a row. Which means we won't have another one until 2011. And after that who knows when the next one will be held.

What about all of the exclusive merchandise they have for members? While the merchandise is cool, it is not cheap at all. And with no places to buy the items in the parks, you are also forced to pay shipping. It's as if Disney wasn't making enough money off of your membership fee....

The fee is also a huge issue for me. I understand that you now can become a member for less money now, but that membership doesn't include the magazine. To me, the magazine is the only worthwhile part of being a member. Even though it is just a more expensive version of the defunct Disney magazine, it is still enjoyable to read.

Now I know I have a lot of bad things to say about D23, but maybe it's just because it's not for me. If you're an annual passholder at WDW or especially Disneyland, D23 is a great value for you. You can take part in all of the special events and have a great time. However, if you're someone like me on the east coast, I see little or no value in membership.

Even though I won't be renewing my membership this year, I am not swearing off D23 forever. It's not something that can't be fixed. Having more events year round, a special location in the parks, or special park discounts would put much more value into membership for me. If it actually became a community where fans could gather together, then maybe I will take another look at it. But until then, my favorite forum suits me just fine.

Well that's my take. What do my guests think? Any D23 members out there?

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Writing Imagineering

So, a few months ago I got the address of Walt Disney Imagineering and decided to write them a letter. In the letter, I talked about my passion for what they do and how much I admire them. I spoke of my plans to become a future Imagineer and the steps I am taking to accomplish my dream. After I sent the letter, I almost forgot about it. I knew they had better things to be doing then respond to ever piece of mail they get from fanboys. When I checked my mail the other day, however, I found out that I was wrong.

I was extremely happy to find that I received a response from WDI. It came in a large white envelope with an Imagineering sticker placed on it. My name was even printed on the sticker. This was beyond a dream come true. Like a small child on Christmas day, I couldn't wait to open it and see what special treat I got.

Inside my special envelope, there were 3 special papers. The first thing I read was a letter from David Fisher who is a Senior Show Writer for the Story Development arm of WDI. The letter was also printed on WDI stationary. I thought I was dreaming. I couldn't believe what I seeing. Still in shock, I read the letter. I was thanked for writing Imagineering and then told some more information about who they are and what they do. Mr. Fisher even added a personal touch by congratulating me on my graduation from high school and acceptance to college. From there, he began to share his own Disney story. When he was 13, he wrote Disneyland and asked how to get a job. He eventually got one working in the custodial department. And after more school, he finally got his current position at Imagineering. Fisher then apologized for the length of time it took to respond to my letter and told me how it made the rounds at Imagineering and eventually ended up on his desk. Finally, he told me how I seemed to be on the right path and thanked me once again for writing Imagineering and reminding them why they do what they do.

Another thing I received from Imagineering was a WDI fact sheet. The sheet was nothing groundbreaking, but went into some more detail about WDI and what they do. It talked about their history, creative process, technological milestones, and current endeavors. While I have seen most of the information before, it was cool to see all of it in one place.

Finally, my last piece a 3 page packet. It was a photocopy of article written for the now extinct Disney Magazine. The article is called So You Want to be an Imagineer and is written by none other than David Fisher. I've read the article before, but that was a long time ago and I'm very glad to have a new copy.

Overall, I couldn't be happier with the response I got. The fact that I even got one blew me away. This just goes to show the nature of the Imagineers. They really do care about what they do and why they do it. The happiness of their guests is their number one priority and they will go to any length to make them feel special. So if by chance anyone from Imagineering ever reads this blog, thank you very much for responding to me. It truly meant a lot to me and inspired me.


So I know it's past Halloween, but I've been thinking about Innoventions a lot lately and how it could be improved. My new idea for this area of Epcot is what I call a Rapid Pumpkin Carving Machine.

This new area would only be around for the fall of course. Have you ever heard of a rapid prototyping machine? It is a cheap and quick way to make parts out of plastic. I was thinking about this in class the other day and what would happen if you applied this idea to small pumpkins.

For a small fee, guests could go to the exhibit and purchase small pumpkins. Interactive kiosks would guide the guest through the process of designing their pumpkin. The guest could choose from a variety of pre-made templates or create their own. Finally, they would be able to watch the machine quickly carve out their custom made pumpkin.

What do you guys think? Good idea? Would you do this?

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Hench Remembers Disneyland

John Hench was one of the most influential and creative minds at Walt Disney Imagineering. He is a legend and one of the intergal members of the team that created Disneyland. I found a special clip of his memories from opening day and the uniqueness of the park.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


For those of you who got your hearts broken while watching the above video, I apologize. I never thought a show or attraction worse than Superstar Limo would ever be created. Well, I was wrong. Horribly, horribly, wrong...

The abomination you saw in that video is The Disney Dance Crew which is a new show at Disney California Adventure. It is probably the worst show I have ever seen at a Disney park. Who ever thought Mickey would be a gangta? No one. Because he shouldn't be. It goes completely against his character background. Mickey is supposed to be fun loving and warm at heart. He does not represent hip hop culture at all. It's one thing to try and keep up with the times, but the bastardization of a classic character is a whole other issue.

My other issue with this show is its location. They put it in the Hollywood Pictures Backlot. Worst. Idea. Ever. This is supposed to be one of the re-imagined areas in the renovation of DCA, but the show completely conflicts with the theme of the area. It is supposed to represent vintage Hollywood. This show takes a step in the completely wrong direction. There is no reason for the show to exist, let alone in the Hollywood Pictures Backlot.

What do you think? Are you as shocked and disappointed as I am?