Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Mickey's Not So Scary Main Street USA


This was taken about 30 minutes after MNSSHP ended. The crowds were very light to begin with so before midnight Main Street was already empty.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Disney's Time-Lapse & Tilt-Shift Videos

Today, we'll show you a lot of time-lapse videos from Disney and an interview with Todd Heiden, International PR. Director, Disney Destinations LLC.

The first video is the newest one: A Model Vacation on Disney Cruise Line [Tilt-Shift Video]

The next video is the most famous and the one I like the most!!! It shows a day at the Magic Kingdom and also uses a technique called Tilt-Shift.

You've seen the Magic Kingdom in tilt-shift photography. Now see Epcot at Walt Disney World in Florida from a whole new perspective. The exclusive video first featured on The Disney Parks Blog was created from a series of photos snapped inside the park. Our celebration begins at Spaceship Earth and after a brief trip through Future World, shifts to some of out favorite World Showcase areas. There's another special ending with Mickey too. Oh, and this time there's fireworks as well. Enjoy!

Another Tilt-Shift video: Walt Disney World Christmas Day Parade 2009

Tilt-Shift miniature faking is a creative technique whereby a photograph of a life-size location or object is manipulated to give an optical illusion of a photograph of a miniature scale model.

Altering the focus of the photography in Photoshop (or similar program) simulates the shallow depth of field normally encountered with macro lenses making the scene seem much smaller than it actually is.

In addition to focus manipulation, the tilt-shift photography effect is improved by increasing color saturation and contrast, to simulate the bright paint often found on scale models.

Most faked tilt-shift photographs are taken from a high angle to further simulate the effect of looking down on a miniature. The technique is particularly effective on buildings, cars, trains and people.

Tilt-Shift photography is all about changing the angle of the camera to give a different perspective and to make something look bigger or smaller. Like when you play poker and your chips are stacked and all lined up, from on top they don’t look like much but if you look from the bottom they could look huge.

To learn more about the technique to do videos and photos using this technique, visit:

Tilt-Shift Wikipedia

An Introduction to Canon’s New Tilt-Shift Lenses

Tilt-Shift Photography Photoshop Tutorial

Tilt-Shift Online Generator

50 Amazing Examples of Tilt-Shift Photography

75+ Stunning Tiltshift Photography Collection

Making of Magic Kingdom Park Tilt-Shift Video

When we posted last week’s Magic Kingdom tilt-shift video, the hope was that a few of you would enjoy the experiment. But oh my…were we surprised. Response was overwhelming.

Some Disney Parks Blog commenters said they were moved to tears. Others cheered and described it as a mini vacation. And yes, we heard those of you who asked for more. So, we immediately found the creative “eye” and champion of the project — David Roark, manager of creative photography for Disney’s Yellow Shoes Creative Group. David sat down with us and shared how he did it.

Tilt-Shift Still Frame

Thomas Smith: This type of project has never been attempted at Disney Parks. How’d you make it work?
David Roark: It was a lot of trial and error. My first two or three trips out of the box I was like, ‘This is not going to work.’ It’s a combination of your height on the scene and in the Magic Kingdom Park there’s just not a lot of fixed platforms where you can lock a camera off for five minutes without it moving. But there’s also lightning and consistency of exposure. We started this in the middle of summer and if you start a sequence and a little cloud comes by, you need to start it over again because the clouds darken the scene so much. So, it was very trial and error. This was on the job training for me.

TS: Was it difficult to find the perfect shots?
DR: In the case of this one, nobody really knew what we were doing. (I said) “just trust me and work with me here, this will all make sense.”

Making of Tilt-Shift

 TS: What lenses did you use?
DR: Nikon makes three tilt-shift lenses, they’re basically architectural lenses and we’re using them in a diametrically opposed application than what they’re built for. They’re built to actually allow you to increase the focal plane in a scene and make everything in focus. For tilt-shift, we turn them the opposite way and back tilt the focal plane so that hardly anything is in focus. And that creates that miniaturation effect.

TS: What was on your mind while putting this together?
DR: For me, it became as much a transportation story – the story of getting to the park and all the things that happen because that activity of parking your car and coming through the toll plaza. I had to think about what scenes have that kind of repetitive motion. It was a lot of fun and it’s different. For me it became a little bit of an escape.

TS: Did you notice Guests wanted to see Wishes Nighttime Spectacular?
DR: Everyone wants Wishes, but Wishes is so bright and because we shoot one frame a second, there were just too many flash frames in it. But, Epcot and Illuminations, I’ll make work. We’ll get the fireworks.

More Time-Lapse videos from Disney Parks

Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival.

This one shows the look of the Mickey Floral in front of the Magic Kingdom changing from Halloween to Christmas.

You'll see 2 nights of work in just one minute.

Art Director: David Hartmann

This video shows the decoration for Christmas on Main Street U.S.A, inside the Magic Kingdom.

Interview with Todd Heiden, International PR Director, Disney Destinations LLC.

Chad Emerson: Which of Disney’s tilt shift videos has been the most popular so far?

Todd Heiden
: “A Model Day at Magic Kingdom” has by far been the most popular for many different reasons.  First, the park resonates very well with the target audience; when you think of Disney Parks, the first of our parks that springs to mind is the Magic Kingdom. Second, the video launched simultaneously with our Disney Parks Blog, which has turned out to be a huge success for us in terms of having an official Parks voice with which to engage our fans within the social media realm. Lastly, the video itself received key references and embeds from influential external sites that helped drive the views up significantly.

: Please explain how the idea of using the tilt-shift technique came to mind and why you thought it would fit well with Disney theme parks.

: I was first introduced to tilt-shift by my sister-in-law who is an avid photographer. She shared an example of a video by a gentleman in Australia and I was mesmerized by the effect. Tilt-shift is first and foremost a photographic technique, but when the individual images are stitched together the resulting video works particularly well with motion and people. I thought, since so many of our ideas start out as models, how fun would it be to revert to a model-like look and incorporate both motion (trains, monorails, busses, boats, etc.) and moving people?

: What about the technology creates that miniature effect?

: I’m sure I won’t do the technology any justice with this explanation but here’s a try. Tilt-shift lenses do exactly what they advertise: tilt and shift. Whereas a traditional lens is mounted on a camera body in a straightforward affixed position, a tilt-shift lens allows for the movement of the lens relative to the image plane – namely left-right (tilt) and up-down (shift). The ability to do this allows for selective focus and precise control of the perspective. When you take a camera with a traditional lens and point it down or up at a subject (e.g. a building), you either only capture the base of the building or affect the perspective in the resulting image (a building that slowly converges near the top). Shifting the lens upwards on the camera body allows you to capture the entire subject, which is important when trying to tell the whole story. Tilting the lens produces a narrow region of sharpness with a blurring effect top and bottom in the image. Combining these two effects - and punching the color saturation up a bit in post-edit – can give the impression of a miniature.
Results are best when photographed from above or at a distance with a wide angle of view. In certain instances we chose to go with a zoom lens as the resulting image helped move the somewhat loose narrative along.

: You’ve really focused on the theme parks to date. What are some other types of settings in which you could imagine this technique would also work well?

: We’re about to drop our next video, which will feature the Disney Cruise Lines and in particular their ship the Disney Wonder. Seeing a massive 90 million pound cruise line bobbing about on the water like a toy ship in a bathtub is a really cool effect. Beyond the cruise line we have our 24 resorts on property, our two water parks and our shopping district, as well as unique perspective shots that we can consider for smaller POV segments.

Emerson: What type of feedback have you received back from guests regarding the videos? What has been the most surprising response?

: The response has been overwhelmingly positive and “more” is what we’re being asked for. Everyone has their favorite park so obviously, if we haven’t featured their park yet, the expectation has now been set that it will be coming.

David Roark, our photographer who shoots all the images, has had guests approach him in the parks and comment on the videos. It really is a labor of love on his part given all the different locations he needs to lug his equipment around to so the recognition is a pleasant surprise for him. 

Probably the most amusing responses have been to the music selections. I wanted something that wasn’t standard Disney, something that would challenge people to “experience” Disney differently rather than hearing the music and automatically saying to themselves – “Disney.” The Magic Kingdom music is an overwhelming favorite, with Epcot’s music being a little more polarizing – they love it or hate it.  Either way, the videos generate a healthy trail of comments that are fun to follow.

More Time-Lapse Videos from Disney

If you’re building a “dream playground” then who better to go to for design advice than the experts – the children who’ll be using it. Drawings from the imaginations of kids in the community were incorporated into the newest Disney VoluntEARS-built playground at the Walt Disney World Clubhouse of Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Florida. The play area was constructed in hours by more than 250 volunteers but here’s a look at the effort condensed into seconds:

ºoº Marcio Disney Family Sites Network ºoº

Disney's Dream Makers

Disney Picture of the Day

Vinylmation of the Day

Disney Tales [5 Weekly tales]

The Disney History

Marcio Disney Blog

Disney Pin of the Day

Marcio Disney Digital Media

Friday, October 15, 2010

Dave Smith's Final Day of Work

T H I S   D A Y   I N   D I S N E Y   H I S T O R Y

October 15, 2010

Disney Legend Dave Smith, the founder and head of the Disney Archives, puts in his final day of work at the Burbank studio. Smith started the archives after being approached by Walt Disney’s family, including Roy O. Disney four years after Walt’s death in 1966, to preserve the history  of the company.

The Marcio Disney Network has an entire blog  dedicated to him! It's called The Disney Archives and Mysteries:

In the video below, Dave Smith, receives the Disney Legends award, 10/10/2007:

Dave Smith (Archives)
Inducted 2007
Walt Disney Archives founder and chief archivist David R. Smith officially joined The Walt Disney Company on June 22, 1970, but his Disney roots are even deeper.

A fan of Disney films throughout his youth, Dave adds, "I grew up in Southern California, and so my appreciation of Disneyland began as a child." In 1967, he had become interested in compiling an extensive bibliography on Walt Disney. With approval from the Disney organization, he spent more than a year researching all Disney publications and productions. 

When the Disney family and Studio management decided to attempt to preserve Walt Disney's papers, awards and memorabilia, it was natural for them to contact Dave to do a study, and make a recommendation which established the guidelines and objectives of the Archives. Dave was selected as archivist, and in the years since the Archives was established, it has come to be recognized as a model among corporate archives in the country?and Dave is regarded as the final authority on matters of Disney history. 

Born on October 13, 1940, and raised in Pasadena, Dave graduated as valedictorian from both Pasadena High School and Pasadena City College. He earned his B.A. in history at the University of California at Berkeley. While in school, Dave worked part-time for six years in the Manuscript Department of the Huntington Library in San Marino. 

Upon receiving his Masters Degree in Library Science from the University of California in June 1963, he was selected as one of seven outstanding graduates of library schools throughout the country to participate in an internship program at the Library of Congress in Washington. 

He returned to California where he served for five years as a reference librarian at the UCLA Research Library. While there, Dave authored several articles and had bibliographies published on the Monitor and the Merrimac Civil War warships, and on Jack Benny. 

Of his Disney role, Dave said, "The thing I like best is the tremendous variety in our work. We never know when we come to work in the morning what we'll be doing that day. It keeps the job interesting when you're not doing the same thing day in and day out." 

Dave has written extensively on Disney history, with a regular column in The Disney Channel Magazine, Disney Magazine, Disney Newsreel, and numerous articles in such publications as Starlog, Manuscripts, Millimeter, American Archivist, and California Historical Quarterly. He is the author of the official Disney encyclopedia Disney A to Z (now in its third edition), with Kevin Neary he co-authored four volumes of The Ultimate Disney Trivia Book, with Steven Clark he co-wrote Disney: The First 100 Years, and he edited The Quotable Walt Disney. Dave has written introductions to a number of other Disney books. 

"My greatest reward has been getting to know the many people who have come to use the Archives over the years. I have been especially proud to be a guide and mentor to so many young people who have gone on to exceptional careers in the Disney organization." Dave says humbly. 

"I have had the pleasure and privilege to work with Dave Smith for nearly 35 years," author and animator John Canemaker says, "and, to me, he has always been legendary. For his steady building of the Disney Archives over the years into one of the greatest, most invaluable, world-class resources for studying American animation?and for his kindness and generosity to all researchers." 

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A Chat with Disney Pin Trading's Steven Miller

 It's no wonder Disney provides an incomparable entertainment experience for families around the world – every aspect of the Company is run by employees committed to carrying out Walt Disney's unique vision. To honor that spirit, our Cast Member Series highlights the careers of those behind the famous Disney magic.

Steven Miller presents one the VinylmationsThe Insider sat down with Steven Miller, project manager overseeing Disney Pin Trading and Vinylmation™, two popular items collected by Disney lovers young and old. A native of Columbus, Ohio, Steven's been fascinated with Disney since childhood and recalls his earliest memories.

"My favorite movie was 'The Aristocats' ... I played the 33-1/2-RPM record over and over again on my Mickey Mouse record player. You had to remember everything associated with the movie or look at the books because that's all there was – we didn't have licensed toys, VHS, or DVDs. I also loved 'Hercules' and 'The Black Hole' [his introduction to sci-fi] but the one that's truly memorable is 'Tron.' I watched that movie endlessly and pretended I was Flynn trying to break into the Master Control Program!"

Steven's first trip to Walt Disney World, at age seven, left an indelible impression. "Epcot had opened the year before. My favorite attraction was Journey into Imagination with Figment ... it totally captivated me." Figment's still leading Guests into his upside-down world, but that trip was only the beginning of bigger aspirations for Steven. "All through high school I read about Walt Disney ... everyone knew I was the Disney guy. In the summer of 1997, I applied for the college internship program and went to work at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida – at Pleasure Island merchandise – for three months until school started. I returned for the advanced internship in March 1998 and never went back."

Having studied political science and public relations at Ohio Northern University, Steven considered becoming a Disney attorney, but fell in love with working at Walt Disney World and the whole Guest experience during college. His early jobs included working behind the scenes at the casting center, teaching Disney traditions, merchandise training, and attraction manager. "I really enjoyed helping people join the Disney Family and guiding them through the process ... the rest is a whirlwind experience."

Whirlwind, indeed! With his infectious love for all things Disney, it's no surprise that Steven was selected to be a Disney Ambassador, a prestigious program started by Walt Disney in 1965. "After reading about ambassadors in Dave Smith's 'Disney A to Z,' I thought it would be the coolest job because they travel around and spread the Disney message. In many ways, they represent Walt's passion at various events or speak on behalf of the Cast Members and all the great things they do." During his ambassadorship, Steven attended parades, press events, conducted media interviews, learned how to run the Spaceship Earth attraction, and worked on community events throughout Central Florida – he even met Marty Sklar, the Disney Imagineering Legend instrumental in building Epcot.

"Our role of service as ambassadors stems from a rich heritage ... I was very blessed and honored to be selected for the 2001-2002 team," he says. "You meet so many wonderful Cast Members, hear great stories, and see change through the eyes of people who've worked for the Company many years. We've created a legacy for future generations, so 10 years ago we looked at the program to determine how to keep it relevant for the 21st century – from a diversity standpoint as well as community relations. Not many employees have this opportunity ... it's like a little club."

Since 2003, Steven's worked in Theme Park merchandise, specifically Disney Pins. "Business and politics go hand in hand, so my background's been tremendously helpful since there's a lot of connecting with Fans. Understanding public relations has come in handy with all the blogging, social media, and writing required ... being able to speak about the Company and write press releases shows you just never know what you'll end up doing."

Disney Parks blog readers already know Steven – he's the voice they turn to for news on upcoming, special, or limited-editions pins and Vinylmation figures. "Pin trading and collecting is a highly visible and desired activity that many people enjoy – it's the same with Vinylmation. You meet and connect with individuals interested in these really great collectible items for an awesome Fan experience ... another key aspect of working at Disney."

"Each job's taught me something different. I've learned a lot from the leaders I've worked with ... the nice part is that they've all been supportive from the perspective that they want you to grow. I want to emulate them with Cast Members I lead because you want to see people succeed and insure they're set up for success in what they want to do."

That said, "The Aristocats" is still Steven's favorite animated film – and amazingly enough, his 33-1/2-RPM records (and companion storybooks) have survived the journey. He now shares them with his four-and-a-half-year-old son Athan. "It's nice being able to pass that on to him. I grew up with Disney ... it's always been a part of my life. There are even pictures of me in a Donald Duck tee shirt at six months old. Aren't the memories what Disney's all about?"

ºoº Marcio Disney Family Sites Network ºoº

Disney's Dream Makers

Disney Picture of the Day

Vinylmation of the Day

Disney Tales [5 Weekly tales]

The Disney History

Marcio Disney Blog

Disney Pin of the Day

Marcio Disney Digital Media

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Napa Rose Restaurant Serves Up Magic at Disneyland

Have you ever wondered, "What's the tastiest place on Earth?" Well, it could very well be the Napa Rose restaurant.

  1. One of the many delicious creations found at Napa Rose.In the shadow of Grizzly Peak, tucked away between Disneyland and Disney's California Adventure, sits the world-renowned, award-winning Napa Rose. Celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2011, it resides inside the majestic Grand Californian Hotel – the restaurant's decor reflects the hotel's Arts and Crafts-inspired architecture.

Upon entering the restaurant, you're immediately struck by the warm and inviting rose and amber-hued linens, wall coverings, light fixtures, and furniture. Wine bottles (a small representation of the 16,000 bottles resting in the cellar) are displayed like precious artifacts.

Many Guests stroll out onto the wisteria-filled terrace in the back with a glass of wine and appetizers to lounge among the inviting herb garden and grape arbor.

But the star of the restaurant is the large, expansive kitchen – gleaming in stainless steel, it's a welcoming beacon for the thousands of Guests who visit each year. Andrew Sutton, Napa Rose Executive Chef, personally designed the kitchen as a way for Guests and kitchen staff to mix and mingle. "Because the kitchen's so open," he explains, "People come by and say 'thank you' – as a chef, that's a treat."

Disney Animation head John Lasseter, Paul McCartney, vacationing families, and repeat customers have all enjoyed dining at the Chef's Counter, an up close-and-personal kitchenside dining area that puts Guests directly across from the kitchen. "It's fun, we have a good time, and people enjoy it," Chef Andrew says.

But if the kitchen is the star, then the food is definitely the main attraction. The cuisine, inspired by Napa Valley's reverence for the best in seasonal ingredients, boasts a menu that includes dishes like Sauteed Portobello Mushroom Ravioli in Truffled Sage Brown Butter, Zinfandel Braised Angus Beef Short Rib, Citrus Seared Ahi Sashimi, and S'Mores Popover (a scrumptious dessert made with toasted marshmallows, peanut butter ice cream, and chocolate sauce).

The Vintner's Menu is a four-course tasting menu that changes 52 times a year and features the best of the best of what's in season. With so many dishes changing weekly, how does the chef stay inspired? Andrew says that inspiration is easy to come by. "Food to me is an amazing playground – we'll look at something a different way. Our Guests enjoy so much of what we do, that in itself becomes part of the inspiration."

Guests enjoy the restaurant and its food so much, in fact, that the Zagat Survey, which collects the ratings of restaurants by diners, rated Napa Rose no. 1 for four years in a row. It also has the distinction of being voted "Most Popular in OC." Napa Rose has also won the prestigious Distinguished Restaurants of North America Award of excellence.

With more than 25 years of culinary expertise, Chef Andrew has earned his fair share of awards, including the Antone Carême Medal, awarded to honor those rare individuals who have made extraordinary contributions to the culinary profession.

When we ask how many awards the Napa Rose and Chef Andrew have won, he shrugs his shoulders and modestly answers, "I don't keep track of those things. To me, the next compliment [from a Guest] is the best thing."

So, how do you give an award-winning restaurant the Disney touch? Chef Andrew doesn't hesitate to answer, "I like to think of it as an e-ticket," he laughs, then continues, "The Disney element that we bring is respect for talent. Disney was so incredible about selecting talent – picking the best music, the best writers, the best filmmakers – our role is to make a great restaurant. And I'm supported by a wonderful front of the house with Joy Cushing and Philippe Tosques – they're warm and charming and they make the whole experience come together and my part of it is to add the creativity and cook great food."

Now you may not have a wisteria-laden terrace or an impressive wine collection ... but you can create a touch of Napa Rose in your own kitchen with a recipe Chef Andrew has been kind enough to share with Insider readers:

Sonoma Free Range Chicken Whole Roasted Wine Country Dehydrated Strawberry, Sage, Black Pepper and Lemon

Make rub in advance preferably the week before.
Select the best chicken that you can buy. Buy one chicken for every three guests one day before your event.
Remove all gizzards, the neck, and any plastic packages from the cavity of your chicken.
Rinse chicken thoroughly in salted water (Combine one quart of water and four Tbsp Kosher salt in a large bowl).

Prepare your birds for roasting –
Remove wing tips with a chef's knife.
Stuff the cavity of each chicken with:

  • Half a lemon
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • 5 Whole black peppercorns
  • 1 Branch of fresh thyme
  • 1/2 Tsp Kosher salt
Rub the outside of each chicken with:
  • 1 Tsp Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tsp Kosher salt
  • 2 Tbsp Wine Country Rub (recipe follows)
Let chicken macerate with the rub on for 6 to 24 hours in the refrigerator.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit
Place chickens in an appropriate roasting pan, back side down
Place in preheated oven and roast for 15 minutes.
Turn oven down to 375 degrees and roast for an additional 20 minutes.
Remove from oven and let rest for 20 minutes at room temperature, to allow all of the juices to reabsorb.
Carve the birds and serve.

Wine Country Rub
  • 4 Tbsp Dried or dehydrated strawberries
  • 2 Tbsp Lemon zest
  • 1 Tbsp Black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp Chopped sage
  • 1 Tbsp Chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 Tbsp Chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 Tbsp Smoked fresh paprika
  • 2 Tbsp Kosher salt
  • 1 Tbsp Granulated sugar
Mix all ingredients and store in ziplock baggies in dry storage or pantry.

Reservations are recommended and can be made in person for this location on a limited basis. Reservations can also be arranged in advance by calling Disney Dining at (714) 781-DINE, or (714) 781-3463. For more information, please visit the Napa Rose Dining Page.

ºoº Marcio Disney Family Sites Network ºoº

Disney's Dream Makers

Disney Picture of the Day

Vinylmation of the Day

Disney Tales [5 Weekly tales]

The Disney History

Marcio Disney Blog

Disney Pin of the Day

Marcio Disney Digital Media

Monday, October 4, 2010

Les célébrités craquent pour Toy Story Playland

Mission accomplie : les jouets de Toy Story viennent de débarquer à Disneyland Paris ! Toy Story Playland a officiellement ouvert ses portes au Parc Walt Disney Studios avec non pas une, ni deux, mais bien trois nouvelles attractions !

Dans ce tout nouveau monde, les visiteurs se retrouvent réduits à la taille de jouets pour plonger en plein cœur des films Disney•Pixar Toy Story. Ils rejoignent l'armée des Soldats Verts pour une simulation de saut en parachute à 27m d'altitude, s'enrôlent dans une course tourbillonnante qui a du chien avec le Zigzag tour et démarrent au quart de tour sur un circuit en forme de U à couper le souffle : RC Racer - Vitesse Maximale !

Les célébrités se sont précipitées pour faire partie des premiers à entrer dans le monde des jouets ! La star américaine Queen Latifah est tombée sous le charme de l'adorable dinosaure REX avant de s'envoler dans l'attraction Toy Story Mission Parachute. Les célébrités françaises aussi ont craqué pour Toy Story Playland. Shy'm, Omar, Mélissa Theuriau, Jamel Debbouze, Jalil Lespert, Sonia Rolland, Manu Katché, Mac Lesggy, Vanessa Demouy, Smaïn, Inna Modja, Anthony Delon ou encore Mathieu Delarive ont tous adoré se retrouver à la taille de jouets au milieu de Buzz l'Eclair, le chien Zigzag, la voiture télécommandée RC et les Soldats Verts d'Andy !

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