Today’s advent blog entry is actually a retweet of a post that Disney blog Progress City, USA did last year in celebration of the holidays.  Somehow they managed to find scans of this really cool 12-page storybook ad for Disneyland dating back to 1958, which was only 3 years after the park opened its doors for the very first time!  This was a time when the Florida Project wasn’t more than a twinkle in Walt’s eye and such timeless classics like it’s a small world, The Haunted Mansion, and Pirates of the Caribbean wouldn’t be built until into the next decade, so it’s kind of neat to see an artifact like this that quite literally comes from the earliest days of Disney’s theme parks…

It’s clear to see that even back then, the holidays were a pretty special time around Walt’s first theme park of many.  Be sure to click on the image above to jump to the original post that contains all 12 pages from this cute, little holiday promotional tale!

anniversary afterthoughts…

October 11, 2011 8:11pm
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Over the weekend, my wife and I celebrated our 4th anniversary, as I had previously mentioned a couple of weeks ago.

Some of our time was spent over at Disney World, but instead of retelling all of those wet and delicious and fun stories all over again, I think it would be easier for me to just link over to another site where I’ve already written a nice post that I think does a great job at summarizing our festivities…

(Please note: That site still isn’t technically done yet … although it’s finally getting really close, so try not to kick the tires too hard if you decide to poke around a bit afterwards! I’ve managed to keep quiet about this thing for as long as I could, but I’m really starting to get antsy and can’t wait until I can finally pull off the cloth and start sharing everything that I’ve been focusing on for the last 10 months a bit more publicly!)

one more thing on AVATAR land…

September 22, 2011 10:02pm
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One other thing that I just realized is also part of the hang-ups that myself and others share is that really, this will be Walt Disney World’s very first land that is 100% dedicated to a single brand.

Think about it – the seven (now six) themed lands of the Magic Kingdom, Future World in Epcot, Sunset Blvd at the Studios, and the continents at Animal Kingdom … all cover broad themes that feature attractions from a wide variety of genres. Sure, there’s a Star Wars attraction, but not so much an entire land dedicated to arguably the biggest science fiction franchise of all-time!

So in that same respect, maybe part of it is whether Disney will be able to stretch multiple attractions out of AVATAR, or even if guests will want several attractions out of AVATAR. Universal was willing to take the gamble that people would with Harry Potter, although for what it’s worth two of the three attractions at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter were technically previous attractions that were re-themed around the Harry Potter universe.

I guess really this one is a question of longevity because although Fantasyland and Tomorrowland are still going strong 40 years later, will people still care enough about Harry Potter … or at least enough to want to experience it at a theme park? Consider another touchy issue – that of the Magic Kingdom parking lot’s recent reorganization to swap out the likes of the Seven Dwarfs, Chip & Dale, and other classic Disney characters in favor of a heroes & villains theme including Aladdin, Woody, Ursula, Captain Hook, and the Evil Emperor Zurg.

My first reaction to this announcement again was disappointment, but then I got to thinking … Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was first released back in 1937 – that’s 74 years ago!!! I mean, sure, it’s a classic to me and my parents, but most kids these days would likely be bored watching that original cartoon compared to some of the more fast-paced shows they air today. And if the Seven Dwarfs are feeling a little stale, do you really think that those blue dudes with the pointy ears from Pandora are going to have much staying power decades after the original movies have first aired???

Not likely, but a single attraction highlighting the very best of that world might.


September 22, 2011 9:23pm
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So Disney made a pretty big announcement the other day about building a new AVATAR-themed area at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and although admittedly my initial reaction was not-so-good, I’m really trying to stay positive so I guess you could say that I’ve moved up from not-so-good to an even neutral.

On one hand, depending on exactly how it gets executed, this could end up being a very cool experience – without a doubt, some of the imagery from this movie was just absolutely beautiful, so for asthetics alone, I can see a lot of possibilities here … I’m thinking especially with luminescence, and even though the gigantic tree sounds similar to The Tree of Life that’s already in the park, we’re already seeing smaller castles being introduced in the Fantasyland expansion at the Magic Kingdom, so I would trust that if they can build those without taking away from the grandeur that is Cinderella Castle, then they should be able to do the same thing over in Animal Kingdom.

As for attractions, I could see a walkthrough or even dark ride to experience that same beauty of the forest, along with maybe a rollercoaster or something themed after the dragons that are ridden by the natives in the movie. I kind of would hope that they would steer clear of the combat side of things, even though that sort of ties into one of the main environmental connections, there were also a hell of a lot of guns and explosives in those battles, which aren’t very Disney-friendly, to say the least!

That said, I can’t deny that I do still have some of the same worries that other people have already expressed – even with two more movies scheduled for 2014 & 2015, is this area going to be immediately dated by themeing it after a movie instead of a concept like we see elsewhere in the parks? My personal fear would be seeing this look like another land out of Universal’s Islands of Adventure, complete with a big promotional billboard overhead that says, “Now entering AVATAR Land!” – whereas so many of the Disney areas transition so smoothly, Universals parks always feel to me like you’re just jumping from one set to another … which might be what they’re after, but I look at Disney parks a little differently.

Of course, there are also concerns that these movies were just too adult for Disney, and that the park would get a better land long-term with a completely original theme rather than through licensing … honestly, I think it’s the blue people that throws this angle off for me because I’d be completely content with their original launch concept of The Beastly Kingdom, featuring mythical creatures from storybooks out of Roman and medieval times. Maybe because those were all still written for this Earth, whereas it’s very clear that AVATAR exists on another planet … one that mankind is actually mining for resources, actually! It’s like that piece of the puzzle is just slightly too differently shaped to fit with my current expectations for the Animal Kingdom…

I think it will be interesting to see what does, and doesn’t, happen with this in the years to come. We’ve already seen Disney Imagineering do some bewildering double-takes around WDW, both in the Fantasyland expansion as well with their new “vision” for Pleasure Island at Downtown Disney, so I don’t necessarily think that this is a total crapshoot like I might have when I first read the announcement. It honestly wouldn’t surprise me to see several different plans for this new expansion released before the final construction as they make changes, respond to guest feedback, battle budgets, and so forth.

Just as long as they don’t stick us with another version of DinoLand USA!

weekend fun pics!

August 22, 2011 9:16pm
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So this past weekend Sara and I snuck over to Disney for an early celebration of my birthday next week. We ended up spending most of Saturday over at Typhoon Lagoon, which even though also terrifying actually ended up being quite a lot of fun, too! Sunday was spent mostly just dodging the sun, between going to the movies and browsing gift shops around the Magic Kingdom resort monorail loop, eventually wandering back into the park once the sun went down for a couple of attractions and ultimately fireworks.

Anyways, I won’t go into tremendous detail so as to save that for another post on another site (coming…soon?), but here are a handful of quick pics that I think help to characterize the weekend!

Wave pool at Typhoon Lagoon – definitely took some getting used to!

The lazy river … now that’s more my style!!!

Stayed at Port Orleans Riverside – paid for a plain, ordinary room, but got upgraded to an awesome water view!

Finally got to spend some time exploring the new LEGO store – it’s definitely nice having a little more elbow room for a change!

Didn’t actually buy one of these, but don’t they look yummy?

Sometimes I wonder if Disney is just messing with me when they send out some of these movie promotions of theirs:

See also: Disney Vault vs. Disney Trash Can

Words with Friends – (non)-Disney edition

August 9, 2011 10:34pm
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Treading on thin ice around this house, there, Words with Friends…

dinner and a movie

August 8, 2011 9:59pm
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So last night we went over to Orlando (in the pouring rain) and went out to eat at the new dine-in theater at Downtown Disney, and I don’t want to brag, but it was pretty freaking incredible!

Comfy leather seats, quality food, and the Oreo Mudslide that I got basically tasted like a milkshake from heaven (i.e. very, very good!). And surprisingly the prices between dinner and the movie really weren’t that bad either, compared to the robbery down the street from us back home. Granted, the movie itself was only so-so (the final Harry Potter movie, in 3D), but I definitely look forward to going back sometime in the future!

(I’ll have a full review of our experience up on that new Disney website that I keep teasing, but haven’t actually finished and properly announced yet…)

And just because I brought it up…

August 6, 2011 8:32pm
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This short video of Woody watching Buzz liftoff on the Space Shuttle Discovery was ridiculously adorable!

Disney Vault vs. Disney Trash Can

July 23, 2011 4:30pm
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I couldn’t help but chuckle when I received this e-mail from Disney about “Bambi 2 finally coming out of the Disney Vault…”

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