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December 2008 Archives

December 3, 2008

Epcot - New Morocco Exhibit

A new exhibit has opened in the Morocco Pavilion at Epcot. Located in the first building on the left as you enter the country, this new display is titled, Moroccan Style: The Art of Personal Adornment.



As you might guess from the title, the exhibit features clothing and jewelry from this North African country. When you enter the museum, you are greeted by a large display of an ornately costumed gentleman and his steed.



The costume in the center right of the display case (below) is worn by the Garrab, or Water Seller. This peddler is often found in the marketplace. He wears a leather pouch and a number of metal cups around his chest and sells water by the cupful to shoppers and merchants.


This next display features jewelry used to ward of evil and protect the wearer. Khamsa, the hand with five fingers, is a popular Moroccan icon. The symbol represents Fatima, a daughter of the Prophet Mohammed. Muslims consider her to be the ideal mother, wife and daughter. It is believed that by incorporating Khamsa into different forms of jewelry, the wearer can invoke Fatima's protection.


The leaves of the Henna plant are ground to make a dye used in the creation of temporary tattoos. The night before a marriage, the elder women of the village spend the evening with the bride and her party. They paint the young brides hands and feet with this dye while imparting gems of wisdom about married life. According to tradition, the bride is to do no work until the tattoos have faded completely.


The jewelry of both the men and women of Morocco carry on a rich tradition. Individuals and groups express their identity and culture by the selections they make in personal adornment.


This new museum is small. Small enough to be manageable while visiting enormous Epcot. I would encourage you to give this exhibit more than just a cursory glance. It's worth your time to spend a few moments reading the descriptive plaques. You'll be glad you did.

December 8, 2008

Animation Academy - The Magic of Disney Animation

When the Disney/MGM Studios (now Disney's Hollywood Studios) opened, it featured a wonderful animation tour. Guests started the tour by viewing a short film, narrated by Walter Cronkite and with Robin Williams voicing one of the lost boys from Neverland. Together, they explained how an animated movie was created from concept to celluloid. After the film, you strolled by a working studio and could watch animators work while a prerecorded narrative explained what activity was taking place in each area. At the conclusion of the walking tour, you saw a second movie featuring clips from dozens of Disney animated classics. This film brought a tear to your eye and a smile to your face. This attraction was a true gem.

But as computers took over more and more of the animation process, this tour became increasingly out of date. Several attempts were made to keep the attraction current, but when Disney decided to remove all animation from Florida and consolidate it in California, this tour couldn't survive as is.

Today's attraction is called "The Magic of Disney Animation." The tour begins with an entertaining film starring Mushu from Mulan. Here, the mischievous dragon learns how a sidekick is selected for a movie. In addition, a few other animation techniques are explained. But over all, this film is more fluff than informative.


After the movie, you proceed to a computer game play room that is designed more for children than adults. There are also a couple of meet-and-greet areas where you can get your picture taken with Disney characters.

And finally, there is the Animation Academy tucked away in a corner. I'm writing this blog today because I think this wonderful segment of the attraction is overlooked by the vast majority of guests who take this tour. And for me, it's the best part.


Located near the exit of the computer game room, the Animation Academy has a small waiting area. Classes are conducted every 30 minutes on the hour and half hour. While in the waiting room, be sure to watch the "computer sketch boards" mounted on the wall. Every couple of minutes, a new drawing is started and a character begins to take shape. Try to be the first in your group to determine what character is being drawn.




When the doors open, you proceed into the Animation Academy and find a seat at one of the Mickey Mouse desks. Each position is equipped with a sheet of drawing paper and a pencil - and NO erasers. As the doors close, a Disney animator/artist introduces himself and begins the class.



With the exception of Mickey Mouse, the same character is never drawn twice in a row. And if a drawing of Mickey is repeated, it will be a slightly different pose. Sometimes the animator will select the character to be drawn and sometimes he will open it up to the class to choose. Some of the other choices are Donald, Daisy, Minnie, and Pooh.

You start drawing all characters the same way, by creating a circle. The animator uses an overhead projector so you can see exactly what you're supposed to be doing. After you've got your circle on paper, you add guide lines. Then, step by step you are walked through the process of creating a Disney character. And before you know it, Mickey is jumping to life from your piece of paper - well, maybe not.




Obviously, some guests have more talent than others. But if you look around the room, you can see that everyone does a decent job at creating the character du jour. And even if your drawing isn't perfect, it's usually pretty obvious who you were trying to recreate.

Each class is approximately 20 minutes. You're not rushed, but the animator keeps the pace going in order to finish in time for the next class. When you're done with your drawing, it's yours to keep. Sometimes the animator will provide rubber bands so you can roll up your drawing for easier carrying.

I won't say these "works of art" are suitable for framing, but they're certainly suitable for the refrigerator door. Here's mine. Not great, but I'm not ashamed to post it online for thousands to see.


If you enjoyed the experience, there's nothing stopping you from exiting the class and getting back in line for the next show. In most cases, there will be room for you.

I believe that everyone should experience "The Magic of Disney Animation" at least once, but it is not necessary to experience the entire attraction in order to attend the Animation Academy. I asked a cast member if it was okay to enter this area via the "Animation Gallery" shop. I was told that it was. I also checked for myself and there are no "exit only" signs if you enter through the shop so you aren't breaking any rules by coming in the back door.

December 12, 2008

Morse Museum in Winter Park

This blog is primarily for those of you who vacation at Disney World at least once a year and have seen everything that the Mouse has to offer a dozen times or more. I know this suggestion might seem outrageous to some of you, but I'm going to propose leaving "property" and trying something new. No, it's not Universal or Sea World. I have something far more unique in mind -- the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum.

My sister, an antique dealer, visited me a couple of years ago. Since she's not into Disney (I think she must be adopted), she wanted to do something more to her taste while here in Orlando. After a little research, she discovered that the most comprehensive collection of art created by Louis Comfort Tiffany was located just north of downtown Orlando in Winter Park. The collection includes lamps, pottery, jewelry, paintings, art glass, leaded-glass windows, and the chapel interior Tiffany designed for the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago.

The museum was founded in 1942 by Jeannette Genius McKean. In 1957, the museum rescued architectural elements, windows, and furniture from Tiffany's Long Island estate which was severely damaged in a fire. Over the next fifty years, the collection continued to grow and is now considered the most comprehensive collection of the designer's work.

The tour of the museum begins with a short film. Here you will learn about the people who created the museum and how their love of the arts helped them assemble this wonderful collection. You will also learn about the artist, Louis Comfort Tiffany.

After the movie, there is a suggested path in which to experience the museum. Toward the end of your journey, you will be treated to the Tiffany Chapel, which is the highlight of the collection. Displayed at the Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893, this Byzantine-inspired chapel contains sixteen mosaic columns, six elaborately carved plaster arches, a white glass and marble mosaic alter, a baptismal font, and a 1,000-pound 10x8 foot electric chandelier in the shape of a cross. It's truly breathtaking!

Like all museums, (and Disney attractions) you exit the Morse through a gift shop. Along with the traditional gift items usually found in a museum shop are pieces of jewelry and art inspired by Tiffany.

Since photographs are not allowed inside the museum, I have no pictures to share with you. Sorry. See the web-links below.

The museum's hours are as follows:
9:30am - 4:00pm Tuesday through Saturday
4:00pm - 8:00pm Fridays, November through April - free admission on these nights
1:00pm - 4:00pm Sunday
Closed Monday

The price of admission is $3 for adults, $1 for students, and children under 12 are free. But to be honest, I doubt that many children under 12 would find this museum of interest.

The museum is located at 445 North Park Avenue, Winter Park, FL 32789 (407) 645-5311

From Disney World, get onto Interstate 4 traveling east. Shortly after passing downtown Orlando, take the Fairbanks Avenue exit (Exit 87). Turn right and proceed toward Winter Park 1.8 miles. Turn left onto South Park Avenue. Proceed 1/2 mile to the Museum. Parking is available at the rear entrance of the Museum. The trip should take between 25-35 minutes once you get onto I-4.

The museum is also within easy walking distance of a pleasant shopping district. Several blocks of Park Avenue are filled with boutiques, art galleries, and restaurants. Here, brick sidewalks and old oak trees create a gracious atmosphere, making this the perfect spot to have lunch at a sidewalk café before or after you enjoy the museum. Paralleling much of this shopping district is a lovely park. More oak trees and a beautiful fountain help transport you back in time to a simpler, more amiable era.

There are a number of free parking lots in the Park Avenue area.

For more information regarding the museum and Park Ave, click here:

Morse Museum: http://www.morsemuseum.org/home.html

Park Avenue: http://www.parkave-winterpark.com/

December 19, 2008

Norway’s Viking Ship is Gone

Sad news. The Viking ship at the Norway Pavilion in Epcot has been removed.

This ship was originally built as a children's play area, but a couple of years ago it was deemed too dangerous for the little ones. This month it was removed completely.

I wish Disney had kept it. It was nice to look at even if guests were no longer welcome aboard.

Here are before and after pictures.

Viking Ship

Viking Ship Removed

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About December 2008

This page contains all entries posted to The “World” According to Jack in December 2008. They are listed from oldest to newest.

November 2008 is the previous archive.

January 2009 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.