Posts Tagged ‘disney’


Movie Saturday(s)

December 30, 2017

I thought I’d catch up here with a few capsule reviews of movies I saw in 2017, because I saw a bunch and, while I didn’t do full reviews for them at the time, quite a number of them were what I would categorize as fine or solid.* I want to acknowledge them and celebrate it.

So here we go!  Potential spoilers ahead…

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The Musing Jedi

December 28, 2017

Episode VIII is here!  After the less than stellar VII, and the interstitial Rogue One that also left me cold*, I nonetheless headed towards the theatre with great interest and heartened by early reviews proclaiming success…

Spoilers ahead!

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Wonder Wednesday

December 27, 2017

A simple bear and little holiday hunny for everyone…

by John Quinn


Architecture Monday

December 18, 2017

A bit of fun tonight… at DisneySea!

I was excited to visit this park, as it is considered unique among the various Disney parks.  It’s got a bit of a nebulous theme, around the ideas of the “waters of the world/nautical exploration”, and has caricature-inspired areas themed to Mediterranean waterfront, American Docklands, Jungle Rivers, Arabian Gulf, a fortress by the sea, a futuristic port, and a steampunk-inspired central caldera of volcanic goodness.

Overall, architecturally, it is what one might expect from the Disneyfication of the actual cultural building typologies. And, given that, DisneySea is very, very well done. The Imagineers did a stupendous job in the design of the park, with a great attention to detail and richness everywhere that keeps it from appearing tacky, and enough inventiveness to keep it from appearing insensitive and appropriating.

And that caldera, oh my!  It’s a Jules Vern inspired fantasy that is superb, from the giant drill machinery stuck into the cliffside, to the elaborate metalwork, to the riveted construction of the ride vehicles.  (And speaking of the rides, Journey to the Centre of the Earth was fantastic, and I only with it was longer to extend the goodness!)  I could have spent the entire day in there.

Very fun day, very nifty park.  Even when it comes to the buildings to hold our entertainment — or when the building itself is the entertainment — care, craft, and detail always makes a difference in our experience.


Wonder Wednesday

November 22, 2017

And now from the other side of the Pacific… the Tokyo Disney Resort monorail!

Taken a couple of weeks ago outside of DisneySea! Love the Mickey-shaped windows:



Wonder Monday/Saturday (aka Woo-oo!)

August 21, 2017

Woohoo!  Saturday I trucked down to LA (and back the same night…) for an event on the Disney Studio Lot!  With the new DuckTales series/reboot just released, the D23 team held a Disney Afternoon reunion gathering to celebrate all things, well, Disney Afternoon.  As a ginormous fan of the Rescue Rangers  and, to a lesser extent, Tale Spin and DuckTales, there was no way I wasn’t going to attend.  One does not pass up a chance to meet the daring chipmunk duo.

The main thrust of the day was an extended stint in the Disney Lot theatre for a great series of panels, interspersed with actual episodes from the Disney Afternoon (we got to see an episode of Gummi Bears, Tale Spin, and Darkwing Duck), reminiscence of memorabilia, extra trivia and interesting tidbits (concluding with the CooCoo Cola song!), and to cap it all off, a sing along!  Ahhhh, a whole day steeping in early 90’s nostalgia.

The first panels was with some of the creators for a number of the series that were at one point or another part of the Disney Afternoon:  writer Tad Stones (creator of the Rescue Rangers among others), producer/creator/editor Jymn Magon, and concept artist Mike Peraza.  Great to hear the behind the scenes stories including the genesis of the series (all of which, just like the feature animations, often began quiiiite differently from their final form and/or had meandering paths to production), as well as seeing early concept and pitch art, learning about the CAD drawings that made the Tale Spin aerial sequences possible, and how the afternoon itself came to be and how it fit within the Disney canon.

The second was a panel of voice actors led by none other than Bret Iwan, the current voice of Mickey (!) (Who, seriously, I would have had NO idea was him had he not been introduced that way and had he not dropped into character at the beginning for a bit — his regular voice is indeed quite regular… but once in Mickey mode it is 110% perfect Mickey). The legendary Jim Cummings was there (he’s voiced a gazillion characters for Disney) as well as equally legendary Bill Farmer and Katie Leigh.  It was fun to hear about how many of the shows were done ensemble recording style (all the actors in the room at the same time) and how the scripts would often get into their hands mere moments before the shoot.  Could’ve fooled me.  Apparently Jim was quick enough that often the scripts for Darkwing would come with his iconic entry line listed as “I am the terror that flaps in the night!  (Whatever Jim wants to say here, because it will be better than I can write…)”

Lastly we were treated with behind the scenes info on the new DuckTales (woo-ooo!)* series, including a few sneak peaks and developments that we were sworn to secrecy… sorry.  Can’t share.  But I can share that the new series was inspired, both in tone, story style, and even art, not only by the Carl Barks Uncle Scrooge stories, but also by Tintin (with them showing on screen the iconic cover for “Objectif Lune“)!  I devoured the Tintin books in my youth, so knowing it is an influence on the current series makes me even more excited for it.

After the presentations there were character greet opportunities and a chance to meet everyone from the panels.  And so… behold!  Kung Fu with the Rangers:

(If you look closely, you can see two smaller Chip and Dales riding along my collar — they tagged along with me from home…)  (Also, hats off to the castmember for a nice and dynamic framing job on this pic!)

Meeting the voice actors/creators/writers/animators…

Chip and Dale with Micky Mouse (‘s voice actor)!

Watching the shows on TV again, like it’s 1990…

We also got a bit of swag, including these very 90’s-style placemats featuring new artwork (and a nice A113 hidden easter egg).  90’s music was being spun by a fun DJ, there were Mickey shaped snacks (including PB&Js), photo ops, and milling about.  And some bonus playful fun by the characters as they came to and fro from their dressing room.

Needless to say, I had a blast.  I’m still completely giddy.  Great to meet up with so many other fans and geek out over shows that we loved and were crazy about.  I haven’t been surrounded by this many fans since the mailing lists I joined and discussed the heck out of on back in 93+.  Still lots of excitement and support for these old shows.  My fingers (and ear tufts) are crossed that the new DuckTales does well enough that Disney considers rebooting more of the old series.  (If you couldn’t tell, a new Rescue Ranger series would send me over the moon…)

Throughout the presentations, panelists would say “Oh, next time I can tell this story…” or “I’ll bring this to show you next time” and other “next times…”  I’m down for it.  If there’s another Disney Afternoon reunion, I’m so there.

* Right at the beginning they let us in on an in-joke that’s been going through the writing team for the new DuckTales which is that every time the title DuckTales is spoken, at least one person would go “woo-oo!” as per the theme song (of which the new opening sequence is killer!)… needless to say, this happened many, many times throughout the afternoon (with a whole theatre going woo-oo!).

(Speaking of theme songs… here’s the incredibly catchy intro for the Disney Afternoon block, in full VHS glory!)

(aaand this very 90s and fun promo…)


D23 Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge: Architect’s View

July 15, 2017

Disney Imagineering and Disney Parks released a huge model yesterday of the upcoming Star Wars land at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World (to which the name has also potentially been leaked as Galaxy’s Edge).  And I do mean huge model – a full blown architectural model complete with silhouette people.  Quite frankly, it is crazy impressive, and it gives an amazing amount of insight into how the land will be designed (and how far they have to go to complete it, judging by looking at recent satellite imagery).  Seeing this model has me totally stoked – so much has been revealed!  Let’s do the architectural deep dive!

First and foremost, the baseline for all the buildings appears to be around 3-4 stories tall.  These are not small at all, and walking down the streets and alleys will feel very canyonlike.  The streets are also twist and kink.  Not only does this mean you won’t be able to see out of the area, thus cementing the magic and immersion, but it also, quite significantly, means that you also won’t be able to see most of the rest of the Star Wars area either.  Which in turns means you’ll never get a reference for scale which will make the park feel larger than it is as you walk and explore all over.  This is very different than many of the other areas at Disney.  Because you can’t see one street over, and you’ll rarely get a “down the street” look, coupled with the fact that there is so much detail and little alleyways and alcoves and they are probably littered with little interactive moments, this thing is going to feel huge.

The only area where you have a straight sightline will be the Resistance (though I’ll call it Rebel area, I’m oldschool) camp.  This in of itself is an unexpected twist, a forested area that’s separate from the starport area.  We’re getting two new themed lands in one!

Back to the buildings, making them so tall also means they have plenty of room for second or even third floors.  I’d wager most of this will be taken up for “backstage” areas – one of the most exciting things about this new Star Wars land is that there will be no Disney castmembers within it, or, more precisely, every single castmember will be “in costume”.  It is a 100% role playing area, and so if you go to buy a drink, you’re not buying it from a Disney uniformed member in some themed restaurant, you are buying it from Grubarsh the Jenet from their cantina.  It’s all RP, all the time, and they are going to need a lot of backstage areas for members to costume up, rest, and travel to and fro without being seen “out of character”.  That said, there’s a lot of second story area, and they could potentially put some attractions up there and grow the amount of content in the land without growing its footprint.

The next most interesting thing for me is all that rock.  Hiding the large rides – Battle Escape and the Millennium Falcon ride – behind rock faces is a great way to keep what amount to very large buildings from breaking up the ramshackle small-scale feel of all the rest of the starport buildings.  It also creates a very strong edge that’ll help in the feeling of a cramped starport, nestled up as much as it can to a natural boundary.

And then there are all those spires – if the scale of everything within that model is accurate, those are some very tall spires, tall enough they’ll likely match the Matterhorn and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, out rivaling the height of the castle.  From outside the land those spires will be very visible.  While Galaxy’s Edge is very well designed to be isolated visually (and thematically) from within the rest of the park (and, as noted above, vice-versa), these rock spires break that isolation enough to be a calling card.

There’s so many fun details to explore in this model, which bodes well for the real thing.  This is going to be a blast to be in, totally immersive, with so much to discover.  Plus they’re talking about tracking visitors real time through “Galaxy Credits”, so that your actions on rides (such as how well you pilot the Millennium Falcon) and interactions with the denizens of the starport and the Resistance base will influence how your subsequent interactions will go.  This sounds amazing (and a bit creepy!), and will mark a very different park going experience, one of being a participant and character rather than an idle spectator.  Very cool.

Now all we have to do is wait two years for it to open.


Photos sourced from the following, check them out for additional coverage including videos of the model!

Mercury News

DSNY Newscast

And the official Disney Parks Blog