Free advertising by The Library of Congress

December 18th, 2013 by Dirk.

The Library of Congress is helping the promotion for Walt Disney Pictures’ current release “Saving Mr. Banks”, the feature telling the story of how the Disney classic “Mary Poppins” was created – at least that is the sideffect of it revealing its annual list of 25 movies to be added to the National Film Registry, which (with this latest addition) will stand at 625 entries.

As you can obviously guess by this introduction one the 25 entries into the registry for 2013 is Disney’s “Mary Poppins”. It joins fellow Disney classics such as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Pinocchio, Fantasia, Bambi, Beauty and the Beast or Toy Story (to name just a few) already in the registry. Thinking that more Disney movies deserve this special accolade? Check out the official website and learn how enter a nomination for the class of 2014!

The East Wind blows…

December 10th, 2013 by Dirk.

… Mary Poppins to a new destination instead of Number Seventeen Cherry Tree Lane, London, … to be exact: to the RONACHER theater in Vienna, Austria.

After London 2004, New York City 2006, Melbourne 2010, national tours in the UK and the USA as well as productions in Europe since 2008 as well as in Mexico City (2012) the musical presented by Walt Disney Theatrical and Cameron Mackintosh based on the Disney classic movie as well as the original books by P.L. Travers is going to have its premiere in a German translation in fall 2014 in Vienna.

The RONACHER is operated by “Vereinigte Bühnen Wien” (“United Stages Vienna”) which will also produce “Mary Poppins” at the theater. Walt Disney Theatrical already worked with Vereinigte Bühnen Wien in 1995 when they premiered the German language version of “Beauty and the Beast” at the RAIMUND theater in Vienna.

The rehearsals for the upcoming “Mary Poppins” production are expected to commence in summer 2014 with the premiere scheduled for “fall 2014″. Translation: if you are a musical performer and are fluent in German you could audition for the production. Currently auditions are scheduled for December in Vienna and two cities in Germany as the production’s casting director Yvonne Ritz Andersen is looking for performers for all(!) parts. You can find the casting notice online to check for details (please note: at this time there is no open audition scheduled, all performers require prior appointments).

At this time Vereinigte Bühnen Wien has not yet released any information regarding the show’s creative team and whether the production will use the script from London or the slightly reworked script developed later. However, usually Vienna does present the original productions as staged in London’s West End or on the Broadway.

The making of TOY STORY – and the meddling of Disney

December 9th, 2013 by Dirk.

Deadline Hollywood – the online source for movie business news including a great write-up each weekend of the US box-office – provided Disney and in particular PIXAR afficionados with unique reading material lifting the curtain of PIXAR history a bit. This past Sunday Deadline Hollywood released an exclusive excerpt from the book  “The CG Story: Computer Generated Animation and Special Effects” by Christopher Finch which provides a look into the world of CGI, its introduction into the magic of movie making driven by determined indivuduals such as Pixar’s John Lasseter and Ed Catmull and how it in this process changed the movie business.

So why should you head over to Deadline for the excerpt? Well, because Deadline chose the perfect excerpt if you are interested in the history of Disney and Pixar animated features: the story of how the original Disney Pixar hit “Toy Story” came about and how the meddling by Disney executives nearly derailed the project that not only ushered in the period of CGI dominance at the animated box office but also shaped the relationship between Disney and Pixar. But enough said – time for some quality reading…

Universal Ticket Prices UP

May 20th, 2013 by Andy De Maertelaere.

rogueatioa.jpgUniversal Orlando has raised their day tickets up to $92 for a one day, one park ticket. With this they are the first park to ask above the $90 and are now “only” $8 away from a three digit ticket price. It will come sooner as you will want to.

Other ticket combinations also changed. For example a one ticket, two parks will now set you back $128

Normally, when one of the big players in Orlando raises their ticket price, the other players are not far behind. If this trend continues we might see Walt Disney World and SeaWorld do the same in the very near future. A Walt Disney World one day tickets cost you $89 at the moment.

Sometimes I wonder how they calculate their increasing as they are certainly not following your regular inflation. For those that like some history; in 1971, when Walt Disney World opened, a ticket to the Magic Kingdom would set you back $3.50. (although you did need to buy extra tickets for the attractions. These where Adventures Books and started at $4.50 for 7 tickets)

Disney Vacation Club Villas at Grand Floridian Sales starting Dates

May 20th, 2013 by Andy De Maertelaere.

DVCFloridian

Disney Vacation Club will start their sales for the new Floridian Villas as from the 23rd of May 2013. This date is only for current members who want to add on some extra points to their portfolio. New buyers will have to wait a little longer (June 19) before they can buy their forst share in the magic.

No news on pricing yet, but this will come out very soon. Add on minimum will be 25 points while new members will have to get the usual 160 points (unless changed again for this resort). More early info can be found via the DVC Facebook page at this time.

Get your points for some more “Welcome Home” magic

Picture copyrights Disney

Amazing Image of the Shanghai Disney Project

March 6th, 2013 by Andy De Maertelaere.

disneyShanghaiPark

Walt Disney Chairman CEO Robert Igor showed a first piece of artwork from the new Shanghai Disneyland project during today’s Shareholder meeting. The park is planned to open its gates in 2015 to the first visitors. Still a little time to go, but until then Disney fans can already gaze upon what might become an amazing Kingdom.

“We believe this will be one of the most spectacular Disney experiences yet – and an important part of our future. We look forward to opening the gates at the end of 2015 and welcoming the first of the millions of guests who will enjoy Shanghai Disneyland for generations to come.” R. Iger.

The image shows the center of the Disneyland park, including the Enchanted Storybook Castle, a very green central plaza, a carousel and (what looks like) the Walt and Mickey storytellers statue from Disney California Adventure. This will be an amazing project to follow, but will be even more amazing once finished.

Picture copyrights Disney.

Tony Baxter Leaving Imagineering

February 2nd, 2013 by Andy De Maertelaere.

TonyBmaster3It is something that would have to happen at some stage, but I don’t think anybody really was prepared for it to happen at this time or any time. Tony Baxter is leaving his Senior Vice President position within the Imagineers department at Disney. He might not leave completely as he will take a role as a part time advisor.

Tony has been part of the Disney family for more then 30 years. He started in Disneyland as an ice cream vendor when he was 17 years young. Over 30 years later he became a well love Disney Imagineer that brought some incredible magic to Disney. Some of his greatest works include Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Splash Mountain, Indiana Jones, Re-designing complete lands like Disneyland’s Tomorrowland (in 1998) and Disneyland’s Fantasyland (in 1983). He is also the man that created a big part of our beloved Disneyland  Paris.

I was privileged and lucky enough to have been able to meet this Disney icon in person. Not only was I able to hear his stories about the creation of Disneyland Paris (a full transcript can be found here), but I was able to give him a copy of Brits Guide to Disneyland I was the main researched for, but he also signed a copy, congratulated and thanked me for the work on the book. To me, as a Disney enthusiast, that meant a lot. Thank you Tony for all the things you’ve done.

AN OPEN LETTER TO FELLOW IMAGINEERS Read the rest of this entry »

Star Wars Live Action TV Series for ABC

January 11th, 2013 by Andy De Maertelaere.

The rumor of a live action Star Wars television series has been out their for a while but with Disney now buying the Star Wars franchise it looks like it might finally become reality. EW has talked to ABC entertainment president Paul Lee who seems excited about the idea. There are already fifty scrips out there written by Battlestar Galactica’s Ron Moore. Those scripts have been sitting on the shelves for some year but could now be dusted off for future use.

The main problem in the beginning was money and ownership issues. Episodes where said to cost about $5 million each to produce. Not something that would make any decision easy! With the ownership now at Disney and ABC part of the Disney family the step to make a Star Wars Live TV show changes a lot. Full control of all aspect will be at one location and this could be that little push the project needed to get started.

There is not much known about the story that could be used. However, there are rumors that a favorite draft would be about rival families in the Star Wars universe fighting for control. The main location would be the subterranean levels of the planet Coruscant and a bounty hunter would be a main part of the story. Remember that this is only a rumor and that the project is in an early stage so all of this could still change.

Exciting times for Star Wars fans for sure. Not only will there be new movies but their might be a great TV show too. Can’t wait to see it all materialize!

Animation Nominations

January 11th, 2013 by Andy De Maertelaere.

We all know that Disney brings out some of the best animations, so it will come to no surprise Disney has some nominations. In the United Kingdom the BAFTA Award nominations have been released. Here Disney has 2 chances to win the price. Both Brave and Frankenweenie are on the short list. They are up against only one more movie in their category. The third nominee is Paranorman.

Disney does even a little better on the Oscar list. Besides Brave and Frankenweenie are on the list, but also Wreck-It Ralph got nominated. The Oscar list is a little bigger with a total of 5 nominations. 3 of them from Disney, Paranorman is also on it and the final name on the list is The Pirates! Band of Misfits.

Click the links for a full list on all BAFTA and Oscar nominations

A Little More MyMagic+

January 8th, 2013 by Andy De Maertelaere.

A little more information is leaking regarding the MyMagic+ wristbands. Walt Disney World Hotel bookers and Annual passes will get the bands at no extra costs but the future plan is to have all guests wear a wristbands with the RFID integrated.

The wristbands will be available in different colors or themes. Some of these Disney themes can be from a Pirates of the Caribbean, some of the Pixar characters, Disney princesses and many more. It is also rumored that there could be some special wristbands done by other companies like Dooney & Burke and Swarovski and for those that don’t like wearing anything around their wrist there might be alternatives coming in the form of keychains and other jewelry.

MyMagic+

January 7th, 2013 by Andy De Maertelaere.

Disney has made it official, the Next-gen technology will be introduced soon under “MyMagic+” for the Walt Disney World resort. With this new tool Disney guests will be able to create their Disney vacation from the comfort of their own home. Guest will be able to use a new website “My Disney Experience” where they will be able to book dinner reservations and other Disney experiences. There will also be an option to book a selection of FastPass+ to avoid not only the lines at the attractions but also a visit to the FasPass booths.

The FastPass+ option will not only include attractions but will have Character meet and greet, preferred firework and parade viewing place and other options. The firework and Parade option could be your key to make sure to see your favorites from a dedicated space every time you want. (I know I’ll be booking Illuminations on many nights once available).

To be able to take advantage of all the early bookings guest will be provided a special RFID wristband named “MagicBand”. This wristband will serve as your hotel room key, park admission, the FastPass+ pre-booked options, your personal photopass and will even have an integrated payment option. The later one might come with a code once spending will reach a certain amount. This to protect the owners in case they would loose their wristband and to avoid those dishonest guests from plundering your account.

With the personal information saved on your wristband character will now also be able to know your name and use it when you visit them. Imagine the faces of the children when talking Mickey comes up to them and knows their names. This might not be for integrated in the early phase of the project, but one that is sure one of the many future options that will find it’s way into the system.

There is no specific date yet when the MyMagic+ will completely take over, but it is slowly finding it ways into the park as some guests already have been part of the testing phase.

Also read the WDWnewstoday article. They where the first to bring out this exciting news. Also visit the Disneyparks blog for some more pictures.

Picture copyrights Disney

Disneyland… every Day

January 6th, 2013 by Andy De Maertelaere.

Would it not be fun to visit Disneyland on a daily basis? Both Jeff Reitz and Tonya Mickesh where thinking the same thing. The couple had lost their jobs but where given each an annual pass for Disneyland by a friend. While searching for new jobs they decided to also visit the park on a daily basis during 2012. Once they would find jobs to visits would be less. So they said, but once they did get a job both still went every day. Not an easy task as the worked during different times and sometimes had to go alone. One day even almost didn’t make it in time to set their record.

During their time at Disneyland the became know as the Daily couple and befriended with a lot of the Cast Members. After the year they also became honorary citizens of Disneyland. What a great and fun achievement. I wouldn’t mind visiting a Disney park a day. If only I lived a little closer.

Visit the link to see some great pictures from their trips.

Universal vs. Disney: The Tolkien Round!

January 5th, 2013 by Andy De Maertelaere.

Universal did it again! At least if these rumors are indeed correct as no official announcements are made yet. Universal gets the rights to build the Lord of the Ring attractions in their park. This is yet another fantastic move that will bring over even more people to the parks. Harry Potter already proofed success and with Lord of the Rings they will do it again. This franchise is so big, popular and timeless that guest numbers for the park will grow for sure.

Queues for the Harry Potter attractions are stupendously long and will get even bigger once the second phase is in place. Once Lords of the Rings and the Hobbit will make it to the park another big fan followers will find their way to the Universal Studios getting those visitor numbers way up. Orlando visitors will need to find a way to see all the stuff and while their holiday might not get extended, a visit to Universal might. As guest might have to find that extra day for Universal, this could cost Disney some visitors.

OK, Disney just got the big Star Wars deal, the new Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World, the rumored Carsland for Hollywood Studios and… Avatar for Animal Kingdom. Fantasyland is already proofing to be a success for Disney and depending on their Star Wars plans will have another crowd pleaser. As long as it will be spectacular and the Imagineers get to do something with it. Avatar is still another story in my honest opinion. Avatar might still see two more movies and although this will keep the franchise alive, it is in no way as timeless as Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter.

Never the less, it is exciting to see how the theme parks are creating new wonderful stuff. The Lord of the Rings deal will make Disney work their hardest to bring out their best of the best and the real winners are we, the fans and the guests.

Make sure to visit us regularly as we will report on all the new Orlando area park stuff once we know more.

Happy Holidays!

December 24th, 2012 by Andy De Maertelaere.

Joyeuses Fêtes!

Felices Fiestas!

Trevlig Helg!

Boas Festas!

Sarbatori Fericite!

Jie Ri Yu Kuai!

Bones Festes!

Tanoshii kurisumasu wo!

Buone Feste!

Forhe Feiertage!

Prettige feestdagen!

Hau’oli Lanui!

Beannachtaí na Féile!

Vesele Praznike!

Sretni praznici!

Star Wars Comics are going to Marvel

December 20th, 2012 by Andy De Maertelaere.

It doesn’t come to a surprise that Disney will bring the Star Wars comics back to Marvel after the Disney/Lucas deal. It has been at Marvel before but Dark Horse was the publisher that took care of the comic franchise. They will finish up the Star Wars stories At Dark Horse but once the contract ends they will loose one of their bigger projects.

As from 2013 Marvel will handle the new story lines and it is to be expected that they will take over fully in 2015. Right on time for the next movie!

At this time it is unknown if Marvel will create ongoing titles are if they will keep on the short 4 to 6 issue stories as was the case at Dark Horse. However, it can be expected that Marvel will create a new stand alone Star Wars universe within the Marvel comic house. It would be way to odd to see Darth Vader fight the Avengers! Would it not? So let’s hope that this will not happen.

There is no info on the writers and artists working for the current Star Wars series and if they will continue their work under the Marvel flag.