Wonder Wednesday

My first trip to a Disney resort came in 1988, when we visited Walt Disney World.  Back then, only the Magic Kingdom and EPCOT were in operation, and while I enjoyed the heck out of them both, the future world section of EPCOT was my favourite.  All the science and sci-fi and future focused attractions captivated me.  One pavilion though was a bit different, for it traveled someplace quite different… it was a Journey Into Imagination.

That was some 30 odd years ago.  Of the ride itself I remembered only little bits and pieces, including, most importantly, Figment, the little imagination dragon.

I have not thought about, sought out, viewed, or just about anything of the ride since then.

And yet… just the other day when I stumbled upon the song below…

… it was instantly recognizable, familiar, and downright comfortable.  I felt giddy and couldn’t help but smile right away.

Unbeknownst to me, something from so long ago still held such a sweet spot in my heart.

The song got stuck in my head real fast, and I didn’t mind that one bit.

 

* Then again, I revel and value imagination so much, perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised it holds such a spot in my heart…

** Of course, once I saw this I did do the deep dive online.  And there’s a bit of a sad ending to this all.  I didn’t realize it at the time, but my trip came when the park was only 5 years old; as such, I saw many of what now can be termed “classic” versions of the rides.  With Disney’s financial woes around the turn of the century, and with their reliance on sponsorship, the ride ended up getting a “refresh” that was anything but.  Shortened, done on the cheap, and jettisoning both Figment and the song, while also closing the various other parts of the building including the original ImageWorks, the new ride was quite poor.  So poor and roundly disliked that the new version was itself re-done just a couple of years later.  Re-introducing Figment and upping the game somewhat, it’s still shorter and seemingly not as well made nor as magical as the original.

But, thanks to the internet, we can re-live it once more, even if only through old tape-bound handicam footage!

And here’s another video that pulls the narration and the song directly from that amazing opening scene (which itself is a wonder – it’s a carousel that the cars face as it goes around, allowing for the long time on the one scene while still letting the cars move) from the original ride!

Movie Thursday

There’s this “March Madness” style tournament bracket voting deal going around on Twitter, so I figured I’d jump on the train and work it out for myself.  Some of the choices were very easy.  Others, not so much!

Some thoughts:

In my special version of the brackets, Mulan jumps up to the bracket above it* so that it doesn’t get eliminated in the first round against such a strong contender…

If we were talking only the first 10 minutes of UP, it would clean up the first few brackets handily, that is some of the most powerful storytelling ever put to film. (The rest isn’t bad per se, just not nearly as strong.)

Forcing a choice between Ratatouille and Wall-E, erg… they’re two of my favourite films of all times. Both very strong. I gave it to Ratatouille by a whisker.  I’ll probably switch choice if you ask me again.  (And then switch once more…)

As for the final result, well, probably no surprise to anyone here!

What would your bracket look like?

 

* This is the one movie I am interested in the upcoming live remake.  The animated version had some issues with knowing what it was going for (both tone and storywise), and the promise and premise never gelled.  A re-working with a solid vision could turn out well!

Architecture Monday

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.