Sunday, June 27, 2010

Time machine Pins

This article is a collection of posts by Disney's official websites!

I wish I had a time machine. I would have loved to be in Anaheim, California, on July 17, 1955 (some of you reading this blog may be saying, “Hey! I was there.”). For the rest of us, however, there is no way (yet) to turn back the clock. That could be one reason why I’m looking forward to the upcoming Dateline: Disneyland 1955 – Pin-vited Press Event. This will be a great opportunity for Guests to pretend like it is the opening day “press event” for the Happiest Place on Earth.

Dateline: Disneyland 1955

This hard-ticket, Disney Pin event will be held on Saturday, July 10, at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. There are 55 unique items created for especially for this event ranging from individual pins to boxed sets to framed sets. Guests who attend the event will have the first opportunity to purchase these items, enjoy a continental breakfast and participate in trading activities.
Dateline: Disneyland 1955
I talked with Disney Design Group Artist Monty Maldovan, who along with Chris Chapman, is one of the art champions for this event. We discussed the design inspiration behind the event merchandise.
Dateline: Disneyland 1955
“We wanted a ‘modern retro’ look for this event,” explained Monty. “We wanted Guests to pretend they found a trunk containing all of these wonderfully nostalgic items from the opening day of Disneyland in 1955.”
To achieve this vibe, Monty and Chris used mid-Century pastel colors and those great geometric shapes from the 1950s in many of the designs. Those elements created a distinct difference from the other 55th Anniversary merchandise that currently exists at Disneyland Resort (see Michelle Harker’s blog entry).
Dateline: Disneyland 1955
Disney Design Group Artist Alex Maher created these amazing sculpts that will be released at the event. There will be 500 created in full color and 55 will be done in black and white. Each sculpt will contain two pins – the Disneyland dedication plaque and a replica of the Reporter Mickey sculpt.

“It took me a little over two weeks to sculpt and paint these items by hand,” said Alex. “I made four ‘paint master’ sculpts –- two color and two black and white. I sent one set to the manufacturer and kept a set to compare the final samples they create. I love Disneyland and anything retro Disney so it was wonderful to work on these unique items.”

Jeanne Lewis, product developer for this event, came running down to our office the other day holding this pin pictured below:


She was so excited to share this sample. We must admit - it looks awesome in person. It is a replica of the original Disneyland® Cast Member nametag. How we wish we could have been a Cast Member on opening day in 1955. This is about the closest thing to having the real thing we guess. This nametag will be part of a specially designed Time Capsule set that will be released at the pin event in July.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Pirates of the Caribbean

At Disneyland, Pirates of the Caribbean was one of the last attractions overseen by Walt, though he did not live to see it open. Originally conceived as a walk-through wax museum in a much smaller space, Walt expanded it and converted it into a water ride after construction was already underway, so that boats could carry Guests through a larger space.

Pirates of the Caribbean, though declared an instant classic upon its unveiling at Disneyland in 1967, was not part of the Opening Day slate here at the Magic Kingdom. It was thought by the company that Guests in Florida would not be as interested in stories about the Caribbean, due to its relative proximity. But overwhelming guests requests prevailed, and it made its appearance in 1973. Just as quickly as the original, it became one of the most popular attractions in the park.

Much of the charm of Pirates of the Caribbean comes from the ability of WDI designer Marc Davis to create instantly readable sight gags that play into the nature of the world being created. Marc was one of Walt's finest character animators prior to trying his magical hand at the 3D animation that imagineering considers its stock in trade. This skill, derived from decades of drawing key frames and character designs, informed everything Marc did for WDI. Pirates is full of so many sights gags that it's hard to catch them all on your first voyage.

The chess game between the two long-gone buccaneers visible from the queue is trapped in a perpetual check. The only available move leads to a never-ending repetition of the same series of moves. One can only imagine how long they found themselves in this state before their untimely demise.

Unfortunately, the game was once disturbed during a routine rehab. When it was time to put it back the way it was, none of the imagineers were able to re-create this oddity and restore these pirates to their ever-so-static state. A search was undertaken to find the notes describing the arrangement. It wasn't until someone looked at the back of one of Marc Davis's drawings that they found a detailed sketch laying out the board just as it needed to be arranged in order for the gag to work. Talk about a complicated punch line!

Quite Simply, this is one of the very best of the Magic Kingdom's classic adventures. The beloved ten-minute cruise is a Disneylands original, added to Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom (in slightly revised form) due to popular demand. Here, guests board a small boat and set sail for a series of scenes showing a pirate raid on a Caribbean island town, dodging cannon fire and weathering one small, though legitimate, watery dip along the way.

There are singing marauders, plastered pigs, and wily wenches; the observant may note a couple of new rapscallion residents. Yep, that beloved scallywag Captain Jack Sparrow has dropped anchor here, as has his nefarious nemesis Captain Barbossa.

While it's by no means the most politically correct attraction on-property (far from it, actually), the rendition of "Yo Ho, Yo Ho, a Pirate's Life for Me" - the catchy theme song - makes what is actually a rather brutal scenario into something that comes across as good fun.

And yes! This is the attraction that inspired the Pirate of the Caribbean movies - which, in turn, inspired the attraction!

The attraction has a storyline though it's tough to grasp without repeat visits. After the 2006 revision, it now tells the tale of Capt. Barbossa's sacking of a spanish port in the Caribbean as he searches for Capt. Jack. Barbossa's men loot the village, capture its women and set fire to its buildings. Meanwhile, the sneaky Sparrow nabs the town's treasure.

The ride tells its story in flashback form. It begins with the present - a watery grotto lined with the skeletons of dead pirates - then takes you back to the past, to the golden age of piracy. You take the time trip despite the warnings of Davy Jones, the octopus-faced ocean ruler who appears in the fog.

Literally falling into the waters of an old Caribbean port, you sail between the guns of Barbossa's ship and those of a spanish fortress. As shots splash close to your boat, Barbossa yells "It's Capt. Jack we're after, and a fortune in gold!" Attempting to literally shiver Barbossa's timbers, the spanish respond with "Apenten! Disparen! Fuego!" ("Ready! Aim! Fire").

Rounding a bend, you come upon more of Barbossa's crew ina a courtyard, interrogating the mayor by dunking him in a well. "Where be Capt. Jack Sparrow and the treasure, ya bilge rat?" one demands. Actually Jack is just a few feet away, peering out from behind some dressmaker forms.

Next you sail through a bridal auction, where a band of buccaneers are selling off the town's maidens to raucous, drunken hecklers.

Another turn sends you deeper into the village. As an old pirate with a treasure map rambles on, Sparrow himself pops up out of a barrel, sneaking a peek at the old salt's map before ducking back out of sight. Behind those two, a few Spanish matrons chase looting pirates in endless circles.

Other scenes show pirates setting fire to the town and trying to escape from its jail by luring a dog that holds keys. In the finale of giddy Sparrow has found the village treasure room. Lolling on an ornate rocking chair, leg draped over an arm, he sings, slurs, and chats with a parrot.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

6-DVD set of Disney Theme Parks specials


The “Disney Parks: The Secrets, Stories and Magic Behind the Scenes” DVD 6-Pack (SRP $49.99, Program Length 5.5 hours) includes:

  • Walt Disney World: Behind the Scenes—An exclusive look at the park that made Orlando the nation’s number one vacation destination.
  • Disneyland Resort: Behind the Scenes— A journey through the incredible attractions and entertainment experiences at the original Disneyland Resort.
  • Ultimate Walt Disney World—A close look at the exciting thrill rides that make Disney parks so exciting.
  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom—A tour of Disney’s largest and most ambitious theme park to date!
  • Disney Cruise Line—Exclusive access to Disney’s cruise ships and its private island, Castaway Cay.
  • Undiscovered Disney Parks—A unique guide to Disney sites “off the beaten path” including properties and locations in Anaheim frequented by Walt Disney himself.
The “Disney Parks: The Secrets, Stories and Magic Behind the Scenes [Blu-ray]” Blu-ray Combo Pack, which gives consumers DVD, Blu-ray, and Digital copies of the program (SRP $34.99, Program Length 2.5 hours) includes:

  • Disneyland Resort: Behind the Scenes
  • Ultimate Walt Disney World
  • Undiscovered Disney Parks
Finally, the “Disney Parks: The Secrets, Stories and Magic Behind the Scenes” Single DVD contains:

  • Walt Disney World: Behind the Scenes
  • Disneyland Resort: Behind the Scenes
“Disney granted us unprecedented access into their theme parks, resorts, and attractions which has allowed us to present over five hours of programming that reveals incredible information and imagery,” said Andy Perrott, President and Executive Producer of Lightship Entertainment. “Working closely with Disney Parks, we proudly present over five hours of the most definitive collection of insiders information and imagery on Disney's theme parks, resorts, and attractions.”
I have many of these on my DVR and I can't wait to get hold of a hi-definition copy!


ALL the footage from the Travel Channel airing is included, PLUS some extended scenes that were not on the Travel Channel, as well as some special bonus features that have never been seen before, such as “Stitch’s Great Escape” and “What’s New in the Haunted Mansion.”
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