Now that Epcot’s 14th Annual International Food & Wine Festival is coming to an end (November 8, 2009 is the last day), you may fear that your chance to sample international spirits is gone for another year. This is not the case because a new little spot opened up during the festival – La Cava del Tequila inside San Angel Inn at Epcot’s Mexico pavilion. Here you can experience an endless array of tequilas from rare to common as well as beers and specialty margaritas. In addition you can enjoy tapas-style food items as well, to form the perfect pairing to the spirits available. The full menu is available at The Disney Food Blog, who’s updates on twitter first informed me of the margarita I wanted to try – the Aguacate.
I first heard of the marriage of Disney designs with Dooney & Bourke purses from a good friend on twitter. He’d seen the posting on a popular Disney-related message board. I hopped over to check it out and, like hundreds of others, I instantly fell in love.
As with most things Disney, once word of mouth gets started, it spreads like wildfire. People reading the message boards and seeing the pictures posted needed one right away and didn’t want to chance waiting until their next visit to see if they were still in stock. If you’ve visited Disney a lot, one thing you learn is that merchandise changes frequently. There may be some tried and true items you can always find in the parks and resort shops, but other special or limited edition items may disappear within months. Of course there is always ebay, but you are then paying quite a markup and must deal with the possible risks associated with a third party seller.
For those familiar with Dooney & Bourke purses, the Disney designs are similar in style and design aesthetic to the Hearts or Fantasy designs D&B has made popular. The Disney D&B bags currently come in 3 different sizes: [links are for size/feature reference and do not show Disney design] Medium Cindy Tote, smaller Tassel Tote, and Wristlet. Best of all, if you have a Disney Visa, Disney Annual Pass or other discount you can use in certain stores, you are be able to get 10% off your purchase. The purses are exclusive to Disney Parks and not available where regular Dooney & Bourke bags are sold.
Pictures of the Disney Dooney & Bourke designs, courtesy of the DIS Boards and my own collection: (as always, click for full-size picture)
I’ve discussed here and there my memories working as a Cast Member in 1995 at the Magic Kingdom. Despite all those magical moments I experienced behind the name tag, some of my warmest memories are of those as a guest. Standing out among those is Art, the Greeter at Disney’s Beach Club Resort. After 16 years as a Walt Disney World Cast Member, Art is retiring from his position – a bittersweet moment for all of us.
For so many reasons, Disney’s Beach Club Resort has always felt like home to us, and Art has played a big part in that. If you were checking in with your luggage, Art would welcome you with a big smile, genuinely excited to see you walk through those doors. I always remember him acknowledging each member of our family, “And the gentleman and the lady, good to see you, welcome!” When we’d come back after lots of shopping with bags in hand, Art would make note of that, again, making us feel as if we just walked inside his house and he was excited for our return. I’ve never gotten in to pin trading, but I’d often see Art bending down to trade with a young guest, somehow I’m sure he had a story behind each pin he traded!
After we’d moved on from our roles as Cast Members, my husband got into the IT field, and happened to take on a contracting job working on the resort computer networks. He was in charge of several resorts at a time, but his office for a while was right on the second floor of the Beach Club. He got to see Art and talk with him daily and I know he loved those moments too. As our lives moved on we still visited Beach Club regularly, whether to stay or stop in for breakfast or dinner at Cape May’s delicious buffets, or dessert at Beaches and Cream. We were always happy to see Art on each of those visits.
Our wedding reception was held at the WDW Dolphin Resort, so we were able to bring our whole wedding party around Epcot and the places we loved the most, Beach Club included. Our first son was born in 1999 and we strolled him past Art many a time before his sister joined us in 2000. We came and went throughout the years that followed, whether we were living in Florida or New England, but Art was still there, making thousands of guests memories just a little fuller. Our last child was born almost a year ago, and has also seen Art’s wonderful smile as we pass through the doors. Without realizing it, Art has witnessed the birth and expansion of our one little family…just imagine the countless other families he has affected!
The other day we were enjoying another visit to Germany’s Biergarten, a favorite among our family. As we watched the show going on before us, the performers invited guests to come dance to the music. I saw grandmother’s dancing with grandchildren, sisters and brothers spinning each other about, laughing…and I thought to myself – THIS is where magic lives. This is why Disney is so powerful for so many. It’s in the memories Disney makes you a part of, not just witness to. You can ride a ride countless times, you can check into a hotel and the experience is pretty much the same everywhere else. At Disney, you are drawn in, welcomed to take part – the magic is waiting for you to walk through those doors – and Art was most definitely that magic.
We visited Art on his last day, October 17th, before heading over to Epcot. My mom had arrived before us and was able to sit and watch as so many came up to Art and took pictures with him, spoke to him and wished him well. We were no exception. I hugged him and congratulated him on his retirement, trying to briefly explain how much Art meant to our family and much we appreciated what he did. With his smile getting bigger, in his gentle, soft-spoken voice, Art said, “I want to thank you all…I am so blessed because of all of you. I can’t even tell you how much you all mean to me.” We took some pictures and I hugged him again, thanking him once more. He tried to put his feelings into words, but began to tear up, as did I. My mom came over and hugged him too, tears welling up in her eyes. So many memories. So much gratitude for the magic we were lucky enough to be a part of.
Thank you, Art. Thank you for being the person you are and for sharing that person with so, so many over the last 16 years. You made the magic a little bit brighter and will be terribly missed. We wish you the best in the coming years!
If you’d like to read and see more about Art, you can visit the official Disney Blog, watch Disney author and fan Lou Mongello’s video interview through iTunes, and become a fan on his fan-run Facebook page. Good bye and good luck, Art, from your many grateful fans.
This year, Disney Parks asked, “What will you celebrate?” and offered up free admission on your birthday as one answer to that question. Many have been wondering what next years marketing campaign would bring about. Disney announced today that celebration is still important, but this time it’s celebrating the gift of volunteerism.
Disney Parks have been giving back for years in many amazing ways, with their VoluntEars program being one of the most well known. Now hoping to incite some of that same spirit of giving among Disney guests, they have rolled out the Give a Day, Get a Disney Day program for 2010.
As announced yesterday, Disney now has an official blog, which contains more details on the promotion. To make this even more fun for participants, Disney has brought the Muppets in for this campaign. Muppet humor abounds on their “Cheers for Volunteers” Tour site. The tour will be traveling across the US, Puerto Rico and Canada teaming up with local organizations for even more volunteer opportunities. The site has several fun features such as desktop wallpaper, games and site flair, including the two images you see in this entry. You can also follow the fun on twitter with @DisneyParksTour.
Beginning January 1, 2010, guests can register for a day of volunteer service with participating organizations and reap the benefits of giving back and a thank you from Disney in the form of free park admission. If guests do not wish to use their free admission, they may donate it to a Disney-chosen charity, receive a special FastPass for certain rides for up to 5 guests in their party (there is limited availability for these based on first come-first served), or choose a collectible Ear Hat figuring with trading pins.
Mouse ears off to Disney for initiating such a wonderful program. In this day of ‘what’s in it for me’ getting back to grass-roots volunteerism will have endless benefits. Disney has just sweetened the deal by rewarding your efforts. Let’s all hope the desire for families and individuals to help others extends far beyond a one day event, and builds lifelong traditions.
When rumors first swirled a few months back regarding the Walt Disney World Resort’s Fantasyland expansion with blueprints featuring an entire separate area devoted to princesses, critics lambasted the unconfirmed choices for aiming to exclude little boys and focus solely on Princesses-in-training. On September 12, 2009 at Disney’s inaugural D23 Expo in Anaheim, those rumors were proved completely-TRUE. Disney countered the worry about leaving boys in the dust with promises of opportunities for boys to be knights-in-training. Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman Jay Rasulo assured the crowds in attendance that Fantasyland would be for families not just girls. What I find interesting is that a company which has received constant criticism concerning its gender stereotypes and teaching little girls to aspire to be princesses, is now still under fire when promoting a place where all can imagine and explore.
Fantasyland has been around in its current form for decades. Have generations of boys refused to go to Cinderella Castle because a GIRL lives there? Do girls not want to ride Peter Pan’s Flight because a BOY is the main character? As with most arguments against a popular phenomenon, I think there is too much scrutiny going on. Little girls loved Toy Story even before Jessie showed up. Little boys in turn still love Beauty and the Beast, Sleeping Beauty, Little Mermaid…all the masterpieces Disney has produced. A story is a story and a child is not bound by adult definitions of what he or she is “supposed” to identify with.
Despite those facts, Disney has still made an effort to entertain both genders with this new Fantasyland expansion. There will be a knight-in-training section in the Cinderella area and there will be a new restaurant featuring everyone’s favorite neanderthal, Gaston (who still uses antlers in all of his decorating). However, who is to say that only boys will want to be knights in training or girls will want to do the planning for Aurora’s 16th birthday celebration? I think we need to leave aside our worry about boys being entertained or girls being catered to and just relax and enjoy what Disney does best, weave a tale of magic. By doing so, our children and our children’s children may all experience the wonder that is ever-present at Disney’s parks, without over-analyzation and debate about what they are allowed to appreciate.
As far as the specifics on Fantasyland expansion, there are many sites out there with more detailed information and pictures, but I will share some highlights. Fantasyland will be expanded not replaced, however Toon Town will pretty much be lost in the new plans. Goofy’s Barnstormer will remain and according to Imagineers, Mickey’s presence will still be felt, but they are keeping mum as to where and how that will play out. An all-new Dumbo attraction will be built, with not one but two actual Dumbo rides as well as an interactive game queue so there will be no more shuffling in the sun while you wait.
Fairy Tales will receive the royal treatment, with several new areas full of activities and chances for interaction with everyone’s favorite princesses. As mentioned above, you will be able to help the 3 fairies from Sleeping Beauty plan a 16th birthday party for Aurora, since she missed out. Cinderella’s appearance will transform from rags to her ball gown before your eyes. There will be special locations to explore from Beauty and the Beast including Gaston’s Tavern and a more elegant Be Our Guest restaurant themed after the ballroom scene in the movie. Ariel will not be forgotten and in fact she’ll get her own ride where guests can go under the sea and experience some favorite scenes and music from the movie.
Perhaps what I am most excited about will be the addition of Pixie Hollow, which has enjoyed great success in Disneyland. Disney World’s Pixie Hollow will be one of the last new sections of Fantasyland to be built and guests will be magically shrunk to pixie-size and be able to explore the Hollow from a fairy’s perspective. Tinker Bell is my favorite and I love all things pixie-dusted so I can’t wait to see and be a pixie!
If Fantasyland does not make all your dreams come true, there is also the announcement of the all-new Star Tours 2 – Pod Racers – in 3-D. This new take on the outer space adventure will be landing in Disney’s Hollywood Studios in 2011 as well as Disneyland. As you can imagine the motion ride simulator possibilities of a pod race scene from Star Wars Episode 1 are endless. Add 3-D technology to that and I’m sure the experience will be unforgettable.
One thing is certain, 2010 and beyond will usher in an amazing new era at Disney’s Parks. While the memories we experienced as children may not be repeated, new memories await visitors old and new to the place where Dreams Do Come True…no matter who you are.
Applications are now closed – Final round phone interviews took place November 3,4, and 5th and the panel should be announced on November 10th. I am unsure of the official count on Round 3, but somewhere between 25-30 is what it has been in the past. On a personal note, I made it to the final round!! I am now anxiously awaiting the call telling me if I’m on the panel or not. Any other Round 3 applicants feel free to comment and check in! Thank you ALL for your support of my dream from day one!
You may also
Visit Walt Disney World Moms Panel for answers to any vacation planning questions!
My original entry from 9/1/09 follows, with updates at the end:
If you are a regular reader here at Zannaland, you are no doubt familiar with the fact that I hold just a *teeny* obsession with wanting to be on the Disney Moms Panel. Just a slight one. I am, however, not alone in that obsession. For those unaware, the Disney Moms Panel is an online question and answer forum at DisneyWorld.com where anyone with access to a computer can ask the Disney Moms Panel a question regarding a Disney World vacation, resort, restaurant, special event – pretty much any and everything under the sun – and get a factual answer or an unbiased opinion.
The panel is not employed by Disney, therefore if you ask them which restaurant they prefer, you aren’t going to get a pat answer, you are going to get a real, live, personal opinion. In addition, the panel offers tips and hints to make your time at Disney World as special as you hope it will be.
I have quite a bit of company in my quest to join this prestigious group, now entering its third year. There are countless others out there just like me, on message boards, twitter, facebook and blogs alike – all making a wish upon a star for this Disney Dream Job (that’s not a job at all, it’s a volunteer position). That is but one piece of evidence of the love, devotion and commitment so many fans have for Disney. It is, to borrow a Disney tag line – Where Magic Lives, after all.
On September 10 – 20, 2009 thousands of Disney Moms Panel hopefuls clicked onto the application page. Once 9am Eastern time hit, the Disney Moms Panel application page changed to a submission form with questions for the first round of the process. For those who make the second round cut, there are more essay questions to answer to show your ability to help out with Disney vacations, followed by a phone interview for the final round. The current Disney Moms (and Dad) have shared their thoughts on the oft-asked question, “Why were you chosen?” which might give you some help in crafting your answers, or at the very least increase your excitement about the process.
With a pool of over 20,000 people trying for 12 spots in last years round, one can only imagine how many more will try to compete this year, with the increased presence of the Disney Moms Panel members online. The 20,000 applications was the Disney-imposed cut-off point. One thing is certain: You do NOT need to be a mom, or even a dad to apply.
I’ve mentioned before and will say again, if I do not make the cut this round, I will keep trying for as long as I can type. It is something I know I want to achieve and be a part of and I will not give up that easily. And if I don’t make it, I still have the wonderful Mickey Moms Club to be a part of, which is a gift in itself. I want to thank my husband and children (and twitter and facebook followers and off-line friends as well) for bearing with me and my obsession this past year. I promise I’ll mellow out after September 10th. Maybe. Probably not. Ok, who am I kidding? I will always be Disney-obsessed! [Edit, nope – no mellowing out yet!! ;)]
To all those applying – BEST of luck, and I mean that…I’ve met so many wonderful people recently and just the thought of someone I ‘know’ being on the panel next year is exciting in itself. To the current, past and any ‘retiring’ moms & dads, thank you for all your hard work and pixie dust to all of us with questions and all those that follow your lives on twitter and on your blogs – it’s been a pleasure getting to know you and I am confident you will continue to share your amazing knowledge, tips, and ideas with all of us.
EDIT: [updated 9/29/09] Well, as of 10:25am September 10, 2010 I hit submit on my application. Now, the waiting begins! I immediately checked twitter and got worried that so many had already submitted their applications. I have been talking about it so much that it seemed like surely 20,000 applications could be submitted in an hour and a half, right? I hope we can find out the numbers later, I’d love to know. Submissions are still open as of right now tho (noon) so hopefully they’ll last at least a couple of days so everyone that wants to has a chance.
What we now know is that they are looking for 10 panelists this year. There are 3 questions which challenge your creativity and skill at fitting all you want to say in 100 words or less. I know personally I had about 4 answers pre-written; one about myself, one about my family, one about why I should get picked and one about my favorite tip. Well, Disney, keeping us on our toes combined a couple of those so I had to do some creative re-writes to get it all in. But I did it. I have to say I am happy with my answers, but looking around on twitter alone, I know I have some STIFF competition. There are some amazing people out there, all of whom probably want this just as much as I do. I know it will be hard if I don’t make the first, second or final cuts, but I’ve said all along that I will continue here doing what I love, sharing my Disney passion with everyone. I will definitely do that (and keep applying until I can’t type). 😉
As of Tuesday, September 15, applications are still being accepted. I have heard personally from so many great applicants this year, I cannot begin to imagine the difficult process of narrowing down the candidates! The great thing is that I’ve heard from moms, dads, non-moms and non-dads…really an excellent representation of the far-reaching demographic of disney fans and experts!
Many people have asked me questions about the process (which I admit I am no expert on, but I always try to find the official answers when I can!) so I thought I’d share some of those here:
1. Does applying for the Disney Moms Panel automatically give me membership to the Mickey Moms Panel?
Yes. All applicants become members when they apply – however, you will not receive notice of that membership until the first round ends. You will then be emailed to the address attached to your submission with details for logging in.
2. When does round 1 end? I’m going crazy with anticipation!! (see, I’m not alone! 😉 )
Going by last year’s dates – applications started on 9/8/08 and those that made it to round 2 were notified around 10/7/08. I received an email about Mickey Moms Club on 10/20/08. So it should be around the first week of October before we know who has moved on to round 2. [See top of entry for updates on latest dates and rounds-currently Round 2 has ended and we are awaiting results of who made it to Round 3.]
3. What about round 2 and the final announcement?
Round 2 announcements were made on October 13, 2009. Round 3 announcements should be made on October 27th or sometime during that week. Phone interviews are scheduled for the week of November 2 so we are assuming final winners will be announced the following week – November 9th. The training this year takes place December 4-8, 2009.
4. Does Disney pay for you to go to Disney World in December and get trained?
YES! Disney pays for your airfare to arrive in Orlando and once there everything is completely taken care of by Disney. Did we really expect any less magic?
5. I think I messed up my application/I didn’t receive an email confirmation – How do I know Disney got it??
When you hit that ‘submit’ button on your application page, you should have been brought to a confirmation page that said “Thank you for applying”. Shortly after that, you should have received an email to the address you registered with, explaining that your application was received and Disney was sorry that they could not contact those that did not make it to the next round. If have not received that email or are unsure if your submission worked, go back to the application page and if logging in brings you to a “you’ve already applied for this round” message, rest assured Disney got your application. Sometimes emails just get lost in cyberspace, but the website confirmation serves as your proof of submission.
6. How many/which panelists are staying on next year?
According to a current Disney Moms Panelist’s recent comment on a message board, the current panelists are also waiting to find out who stays on for next year. We know they are looking for 10 new moms, but at this point it has not been announced which current panelists will be staying on.
I’ll update this post again later when I hear (either personally or through other peoples’ updates) that the first round is over. Thank you all for visiting – feel free to share your thoughts and experiences with the process if you’ve applied this or any other round! If you have any questions, ask away! I’ll do my best to get an official answer. Thank you to all the official Disney Moms Panel moms & dads for their help answering questions!
Ponyo, which means something soft and jiggly, is the latest work of art released by Studio Ghiblil, directed again by Mr. Miyazaki. Sosuke, the little boy in the movie, gives Ponyo her name when he finds her as a goldfish stuck in a glass jar in the ocean. He decides to keep her and care for her, and she decides she’d really like to become a human girl rather than stay a fish. We had been watching the promos and news about Ponyo for years now as it was worked on and released in Japan, anxiously awaiting its arrival here in the States. After just seeing it now on opening night, I can say without hesitation that it was worth the wait. My daughter’s review: “I loved it! Best movie ever!!” It passed my son’s stringent standards for entertainment as well. The animation was a bit different from previous Studio Ghibli films; much more of a watercolor film – fitting with the water theme. Mr. Miyazaki has always been a steward of nature and environmental themes – before they were trendy – and Ponyo was no exception. When you see the power of the ocean overtaking the human world, that is when you become amazed with the mastery of animation being presented. Breathtaking.
Something I was much more aware of in this film was the Japanese cultural differences. I’m not sure if it was because of the amount of mainstream/Disney Channel promotion done or if I’ve just become so conditioned by what’s “P.C.” and what’s outside the “norm”. For example, the mother in the film (voiced wonderfully by Tina Fey) is portrayed as a pretty crazy driver – speeding, careening around sharp curves and risking her and her son’s lives by trying to outrun a huge ocean swell. At another point, she leaves her son alone in the house while she goes to look after the seniors where she works, because of the flooding and power outages everywhere. In a different scene, Ponyo and the boy Sosuke come across a young family with a baby. Ponyo offers the baby soup, but the mother takes it and drinks it. Ponyo says it’s for the baby, and the mother explains that the baby only drinks milk, but if she drinks the soup the she will make milk for the baby and he can get it that way. Pro-breastfeeding in an animated film?! That is unheard of in Hollywood. I was left thinking in all these instances, “this would never appear in a U.S. animated film.” And isn’t that sad?
That’s one of the reasons Studio Ghibli’s films have been such a welcome part of our home library. They prove by their very nature and success that there does not need to be a princess or damsel in distress, a villain or evil queen, and a clear-cut happy ending for it to be a wonderful family film, full of life lessons. Another breath of fresh air is how well-mannered, polite and respectful the children always are in these films. Of course this is a product of the Japanese culture too, but definitely something I wish would rub off on Hollywood’s productions. It seems to be not only common-place, but expected for kids movies today to contain a never-ending stream of “shut-up’s” “you idiot!’s” and other much worse slang forms of disrespect, where the parents are all ‘stupid’ and the it’s the kids goal to show them that. It’s easy to love a Studio Ghibli film, as a parent. Hayao Miyazaki has ensured that these details and storylines will stay in his films as they are released in America, after being disappointed by the severe cuts made to the American release of Nausicaä of the Valley of Wind. When Merchant Ivory wanted to make those same cuts to Princess Mononoke to “appeal to American audiences” Studio Ghibli sent over a katana sword with the simple words: “No Cuts”. The “no cuts” policy stands today.
I will admit I was kind of late to the Studio Ghibli party. A friend had talked about Totoro in the mid-1990’s (even though it was released in 1988) but I’d never gotten around to actually seeing the film or any of the others from Mr. Miyazaki. We eventually saw Kiki’s Delivery Service, but still didn’t make the connection to look into more of Mr. Miyazaki’s films. Finally, when Spirited Away arrived in theatres in the U.S. my husband and I went to see it. We were both amazed. We didn’t bring our children, who were 2 and 3 at the time, because we just didn’t know what to expect or if they would be frightened by anything. I was just so in awe of the detailed animation and the story itself just drew you in like nothing I’d ever seen. We were officially hooked.
We then looked into collecting and viewing more of Mr. Miyazaki’s works. At that time, there really wasn’t too much available on dvd, since Spirited Away had not yet won the 2003 Academy Award® for Best Animated Feature, and another 35 awards and 19 nominations, which would bring Studio Ghibli and Mr. Miyazaki’s work a little more into the spotlight. What we did find was a Japanese dvd collection from China on ebay containing all the Studio Ghibli productions to date, with English and Chinese subtitles. That is how we introduced our children to the wonders of My Neighbor Totoro.
They were right at the perfect age for that movie; aimed at smaller children with its sweet tale of two sisters moving out to the country with their father, while their mother is sick in a hospital. While out exploring the sisters meet Totoro, the king of the forest according to their father and adventures soon commence with Totoro, smaller totoros and the Cat Bus. It is a heartwarming story that wavers on the edge of that ‘it was only a dream! it wasn’t a dream!’ world that can only exist in the mind of a child. Watching the Japanese version let my children hear the correct pronunciation of Totoro-more like Tote-duh-doe vs. Toe-tor-oh, Satsuki, the older sister’s name as Saht-ski rather than converting it to Sat-SU-kee in the English version, as well as learn the Japanese word for acorn – donguri, which they still use today when we come across acorns. You don’t know how adorable a little 3 and 4 year old are dancing around saying Toteduhdo and donguri as they play Totoro throughout the house.
As we ventured further into Studio Ghibli collection we were able to discuss Japanese culture a bit as well as animation styles, something my husband has always been very passionate about. When he was a cast member at the former Disney MGM Studios (now Disney’s Hollywood Studios) he would take his breaks on the steps of the animation building with his sketch pad in hand, working on his designs. An animator from Special Effects befriended him and told him he had promise, giving him some sample ‘tween’ work to practice with and encouraging him to submit his portfolio for the next hiring of 24 Disney Special Effects Animators. He did, but the number of open positions was then dropped to 10. His portfolio was one of 12 submitted to California but he did not make that final cut. All for the best since he later went into computer networking and programming and went on to author 7 technical books. Anyway, our son, idolizing his father, was very interested in everything his father had to say and the movies served as wonderful bonding time for all of us.
We moved through Castle in the Sky which is one of my favorites animation-wise, and eventually to Princess Mononoke as they got a bit older, which had darker themes and a bit more gore. When Howl’s Moving Castle came out, they were already true fans. Personally, Howl ties with Spirited Away as my favorites, though I still have a major soft spot for Totoro as well. It’s really hard to pick just one favorite because the stories and scenes are just so beautiful.
In any event, Ponyo did not disappoint, and I think for the most part it will appeal to children of all ages and it was a beautiful piece of animation. Of course now that John Lasseter and Disney are involved in the Studio Ghibli releases in America , they have acquired some big name voice actors for the American dub, which in turn means big promotion on The Disney Channel and other outlets across the country. This will no doubt be the most commercial success for Studio Ghibli in the U.S. thus far – thanks to Noah Cyrus and Frankie Jonas. I hope that level of star power creates a whole new generation that discovers the previous amazing works of Hayao Miyazaki, and even inspires some future animators out there, not afraid to break the mold of traditional American animation.
Here is Disney’s *official* Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland teaser trailer. That is a link to the facebook fan page where the trailer was released, but it is in HD and the quality is so much better than the previously leaked trailers. Go see! I will update this page when an embeddable video is released. The Disney Pictures site for the movie has not been updated as of this posting.
To say I cannot wait for this very important date is an understatement!!! 😀
I have always been a huge Burton fan, from the very first moment I saw his short film “Vincent” at an Animation Fest in Boston in the late 80’s. I still remember the excitement surrounding The Nightmare Before Christmas when it came out and LOVED seeing the miniatures and maquettes used in the film at the former Disney-MGM Studios. Edward Scissorhands never fails to make me cry. And I haven’t even mentioned his other great works such as Big Fish, Ed Wood, Sleepy Hollow or his gorgeous take on Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street!
In addition, I have had a lifelong
obsession love of Alice in Wonderland. She is so easy to identify with, personally – who hasn’t felt completely overwhelmed and as if you were in another world at one point or another? There are so many wise lessons shared within Alice’s world, from the wondrous personalities like the Cheshire Cat, The Caterpillar and The Mad Hatter, to name but a few. So when I heard Mr. Burton was taking on this role with his usual gang of amazing actors, I began counting down the days. This trailer definitely does not disappoint and will keep me on the edge of my laptop until the film’s release date.
Here is the studio’s release concerning the film:
Johnny Depp stars as the Mad Hatter and Mia Wasikowska as 19-year-old Alice, who returns to the whimsical world she first encountered as a young girl, reuniting with her childhood friends: the White Rabbit, Tweedledee and Tweedledum, the Dormouse, the Caterpillar, the Cheshire Cat and, of course, the Mad Hatter. Alice embarks on a fantastical journey to find her true destiny and end the Red Queen’s reign of terror. The all-star cast also includes Anne Hathaway, Helena Bonham Carter and Crispin Glover.
Capturing the wonder of Lewis Carroll’s beloved Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865) and Through the Looking-Glass (1871) with stunning, avant-garde visuals and the most charismatic characters in literary history, Alice In Wonderland comes to the big screen in Disney Digital 3D on March 5, 2010.
You may also become a fan of a few characters from the film on facebook:
Who is YOUR favorite?
What better item to review this week than the *all new* Hall of Presidents attraction at Walt Disney World – now with added Obamatron!
There was a Walt Disney World Annual Passholder preview on Sunday, June 28th, so we decided to drive over and check it out. The last time we’d seen this show was in November of 2007, when Maya Angelou was still narrating, and the movie/history leading up to the Presidential roll call was quite, quite long. However, I had hope that this NEW Hall of Presidents would be great.
I was right. First, before entering the theatre, there were some historical items in the lobby area. First Ladies’ dresses, W’s boots, interesting things to pass the time. Our wait wasn’t too long though and soon we were seated inside.
We instantly recognized the narrator as Morgan Freeman, who seems to have replaced James Earl Jones as the most awe-inspiring orator out there right now. I love his voice. He told the story of the Presidents from the point of view of them being ‘ordinary men’ highlighting Washington’s choice to step down after two terms, Andrew Jackson’s run as the first non-aristocratic nominee, the two Roosevelt’s and Kennedy’s connection to the people, and finally Obama’s historic win.
The Lincoln audioanimatronic also came out in the middle of the film sequence, stood up and read his entire Gettysburg address, and soon it was time for the remaining Presidents to appear. They each nodded when the spotlight hit them, as usual.
Next, Barrack Hussein Obama announced himself and recited his Oath of Office. He also made a speech about the American spirit that lives within all of us. Quite moving. The whole attraction leaves you uplifted and renewed with patriotism, something I can honestly say I did not feel the last time we attended the attraction.
If you are a Disney fan and will be visiting The World soon, I highly encourage a visit to this sometimes overlooked attraction. You’ll be glad you did!
(image courtesy of wdwmagic.com)
So there you go. More reviews to come. If there is a product, service, film, book, or anything you’d like me to review here, please just drop me a line.