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January 7, 2014

Pirates of the Caribbean Guest Bedroom - Part Two

Jack Spence Masthead


Yesterday I showed you my Pirates of the Caribbean guest bedroom “feature” wall.


Pirate Room Feature Wall


If you would like to recreate a similar wall in your own home, here are the steps I took.

I began buy buying “brick” paneling at Lowes. Each 4'x8' panel cost $25 and features bricks that are slightly raised from the grout. In other words, the paneling is slightly 3D.

As I knew that someday I would need to remove my feature wall in order to sell the house to a non-Disney fan, I used minimal nails and glue to attach each panel to the wall.


Brick Paneling


Since my ceilings are 9'4” high and the paneling is only 8' high, this necessitated some cutting and fitting. Although I attempted to line the bricks up carefully and minimize seams, the nature of the project allowed me to be sloppy in places. More on this later.


Seams in the Paneling


Architecturally, my window needed some sort of a faux header to appear as if it supports the weight of the bricks above. For this I took a simple piece of particle board. Then, using a claw hammer, wood chisels, and a plane, I nicked and gouged the wood to make it look like it had been created using primitive tools and exposed to the elements for years. I then nailed this header over the window and attached two pieces of molding along the sides of the window that run from the header to the sill.


Particle Board

Particle Board

Particle Board

Faux Header


Once in place, I painted the header, molding, and sill a dark brown, careful not to get any paint on the bricks.


Painted Header


Now it was time to decide just how much of the wall would be exposed bricks and how much aging plaster. There is no formula for this; it's simply a matter of taste. I opted for a fair amount of brick to be displayed.

The next step was to protect the brick that I wanted exposed once the project was finished. To do this, I used aluminum foil and painters' tape to cover areas of the wall. But cardboard and masking tape would work just as well.


Protecting the Bricks with Foil


Remember, in the above picture, all of the exposed brick you see will eventually be covered with plaster. The brick under the foil will be what we see as the finished product.

This is also the time to think about the seams found between the panels. Be careful to leave them exposed at this point so they will be covered by plaster " and hidden.

For the plaster I used all-purpose sheetrock joint compound. A bucket costs about $14 and contains ample product for this project. Joint compound can be purchased at Lowes or Home Depot.

I used a trowel to apply the plaster to the brick. In some areas I applied it thickly, in other areas, so thin as to see the bricks beneath. In addition, don't try to make a perfectly smooth wall. Remember, the wall you're trying to recreate was made by primitive tools by today's standards.


Plastering the Bricks

Plastering the Bricks

Plastering the Bricks

Plastering the Bricks


While the plaster is still wet, remove the foil and tape.


Removing the Foil


I have to admit, when I got to this stage of the project, I thought, “This looks horrible. What have I done? How much work is it going to be to undo this mess?” But I continued on.

After removing the foil, the edges of the plaster need to be attended to. The high spots should be smoothed out and the straight lines softened into curves. No special tools are needed for this task. I just used my fingers to even things out. With this portion of the project complete, I stopped work for the day as the plaster needed to dry overnight before painting.

Because I wanted the feature wall to blend with the rest of the room, I used the same grayish-green paint that I used on the other walls as the base color for the plaster. However, before I could begin painting in earnest, I needed to “soften” the edges where the plaster meets the bricks. For this I used a sponge. I would lightly dip the sponge into the paint, then gently tap the color onto the plaster and brick.


Softening the Edges

Softening the Edges


Also during this “sponging” phase, I would apply dabs of paint to several of the bricks. Then, using my fingers, I would smear it in. Remember, the bricks need to look as old as the plaster.


Painting the Bricks


After the edges were complete, I started applying a thick coat of the base gray/green paint. I worked in small areas of about 2 foot square. While the paint was still very wet, I applied stripes of a light brown color using a sponge.


Painting the Plaster


Then, using the same sponge, I blended the brown paint into the gray using a random pattern.


Painting the Plaster

Painting the Plaster


This next step is extremely important.

At a craft store (Michael's) I purchased four small bottles of acrylic poster paint, black, dark brown, olive green, and deep orange. I also bought a plastic spray bottle.

Starting with the black color, I mixed 1 part paint with about 30 or 40 parts water in the spray bottle. My goal was to create a very watery solution " or in other words, a very weak stain. Once mixed, I liberally sprayed the entire wall (both brick and plaster) with this solution. Sometimes I would let the mixture run down the wall, finding the various nooks and crannies of the surface. Other times I would dab the wet wall with a cloth to create a more blotchy look. I repeated these steps with both the brown and olive green. I saved the orange paint for later.


Aging the Plaster


Even though the black, brown, and green will only be slightly noticeable on the dark bricks, it's still important to spray them as it will soak into the paint you dabbed onto the bricks earlier.

Next I created a watery solution using my original gray-green wall color. I used this color to liberally spray the bricks. Its lighter hue contrasted with the dark bricks and “aged” them.

Note, in order to demonstrate my effects, I have exaggerated the coloring while photoshopping the pictures.

Now it's time to age the window header, boarder, and sill. For this I used the black, brown, and olive green paints at full strength and dabbed them onto the wood, smearing and blending as appropriate.


Aging the Header


Since my feature wall had a window, I needed to come up with some logical explanation for its existence. So I decided to make this the opening of a jail cell. To convey that story, I would add bars. Of course, real metal bars would be heavy and difficult to work with, so I opted to use ½ inch PVC pipe. First I made the basic frame.


Creating Bars out of PVC Pipe

Then, to soften the edges of where the pipes meet the joints, I applied spackle. I also applied spackle to non-joint areas of the pipe just to add “blemishes” to the “metal.”


Applying Spackle to the Bars


To recreate a decaying metal look, I bought Valspar “stone” spray paint. This paint creates a very rough surface and is perfect for replicating decaying iron. Note, this paint does not go very far and two were necessary. And remember, you must paint both sides of the pipe. In addition, this paint dries slowly so have patience.


Painting the Bars

Painting the Bars


Once the stone paint had dried, I created a water mixture using the dark orange paint I had purchased. I then sprayed the piping with this color to simulate light rust and give the pipe a varied color. I also used the orange paint full strength at every joint to replicate extensive rust. And where the piping “attached” to the wall, I applied orange paint to make it appear that rust was dripping down the plaster and brick.


Adding Rust to the Bars

Adding Rust to the Wall


Note, I used a flash when taking the above pictures so you could see how I created the effect " thus, it looks very unrealistic. But in a room illuminated with incandescent lighting, the effect looks quite real.

Now I know what you're thinking. Bars covering a window, even plastic bars, is not a good idea. What if an emergency arises and someone needs to exit the room via this window. Well, I thought of that.

To attach the bars to the wall, I drilled two ½ inch holes in the window header. The entire plastic bar assembly hangs from these holes. A child can easily remove this lightweight structure. In addition, all guests staying in this room are given instructions on how to remove the bars.


Attaching the Bars to the Window Header

Attaching the Bars to the Window Header


So there you have it. How to create a feature wall in just three days. All told, this wall cost me less than $200.


Finished Wall

Finished Wall


If I had it to do over again, I would replace the white window blinds with some sort of bamboo curtain to cut down on the sharp contrast. I do plan on doing this sometime in the future, but it will require removing the header and side molding " something I'm not looking forward to as seamlessly reinstalling them will be challenging.



January 6, 2014

Pirates of the Caribbean Guest Bedroom - Part One

Jack Spence Masthead


Hey everyone. I'm back from my extended leave of absence from AllEars. My move into my new home went well and I'm pretty much settled in. I'm enjoying my new surroundings and I especially like the fact that I can easily hear the Walt Disney World Steam Train and the Lilly Belle whistles from my house. These are pleasant sounds to wake up to each morning. I also have a pretty awesome view of the Magic Kingdom fireworks in the evening from my patio.

Since my new house has been the focus of my life for the last nine months, I thought that my first blog after my return should touch on the subject. So today I'm going to talk about my new guest bedroom. For those of you who are regular readers of my column, you might remember that one of my previous blogs focused on the Mickey Mouse Suite in my former home.

Since my Disney career started in the Blue Bayou Restaurant at Disneyland (which is located inside the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction), I have a soft spot in my heart for this quintessential Disney ride. Over the years, I have amassed quite a collection of Pirates memorabilia " and it has been displayed in various rooms of my previous homes. On my latest move, I decided it was time to consolidate all of this swashbuckling merchandise into one location. This ended up being the guest bedroom.

My Mickey Mouse Suite was over the top with bright colors and a very playful atmosphere. But I knew this whimsical approach would not work for a room based on Pirates of the Caribbean (PotC). This room would need to be a little more subdued. I also did not want to create a “children's” room. I wanted this bedroom to be suitable for adults " however, I believe a young child's imagination could get lost in this space.

I started this decorating project with the bedroom floor. But what should I use? I wanted something that suggested a nautical theme. Then I remembered the carpet that Disney uses in their pirate rooms located at the Caribbean Beach Resort. Here, the carpet resembles wood planks. The only problem is, this is custom carpeting and not available to the general public.


Pirate Carpet


The idea of wood planks intrigued me and I knew this was the way to go. But real wood flooring is expensive and requires special care. In addition, all of the other rooms in my house are tile. So I decided to purchase ceramic tile that resembles wood. This would be less expensive and make cleaning day a little easier. Although I am capable of laying tile, I opted to pay a professional to do the job.


Wood Plank Tile


Next, I needed to pick a wall color. For this I went with a medium gray with green undertones.

Ceiling fans are a fact of life in Florida. Almost every room in a new house in the Sunshine State is prewired to accommodate both an overhead light and a fan. Once again, I was looking for something that suggested a nautical theme. Fortunately, I found just what I wanted at Lowes. The light fixture resembles a lantern that might have been found on an old sailing vessel.


Ceiling Fan

Ceiling Fan


Having so many pirate figurines to display necessitated buying a new bed " a bed with a headboard with many nooks and crannies.


Bed and Headboard

Bed and Headboard


The majority of the figurines seen here are from the Walt Disney Classics Collection. When moving, I did NOT trust my fragile items to the movers and packed and transported them myself. All of these items have been out-of-stock for some time and now only available on eBay.


Walt Disney Classics Collection

Walt Disney Classics Collection

Walt Disney Classics Collection

Walt Disney Classics Collection

Walt Disney Classics Collection

Walt Disney Classics Collection

Walt Disney Classics Collection


The Walt Disney Classics Collection was introduced in July 1992. The pieces recreate classic Disney characters from both their movies and theme park attractions. The creation of each hand-painted figurine is supervised by Disney animators and are stamped on the bottom with an insignia designating the year it was released. Many of the pieces are produced in numbered, limited editions that often sell on secondary markets for substantially more than their original asking price.

The sailing ship is a replica of Queen Anne's Revenge, the vessel captained by Blackbeard and featured in Disney's “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.” This wooden model is readily available online and comes fully assembled. Note, this is not a Disney product.


Queen Anne's Revenge


I purchased this lithograph at the Disney Gallery in Disneyland's New Orleans Square years ago. This piece of art was created for the PotC attraction at Disneyland Paris and can be seen in the Blue Lagoon Restaurant lobby.


Pirate's Lithograph


On the wall opposite the bed are two closets.


Closet Doors


After I finished decorating this room, I felt the white closet doors did not convey the rustic/pirate feel I was going for. (This “feel” will become more obvious as you read further in this blog.) So, I “weathered” them. To achieve this effect, I painted a clear “cracking” solution on the doors (available at Lowes and Home Depot).


Cracking Solution


After this solution dried, I painted the closets with a dark brown color. As this top layer of paint dried, it cracked and separated. This gave the doors an aged look.


Brown Closet Doors

Brown Closet Doors


However, I was not pleased with the stark contrast between the dark doors and the lighter wall color. So I took some of the gray/green wall paint and diluted it greatly with water. Then, working in small areas, I painted this watery mixture on the doors and trim. Next I took paper towels and wiped the majority of the paint off of the wood, leaving just a thin coat of paint. This technique accomplished two goals. First, it toned down the dark color. But more importantly, it helped “age” the wood even more. Now the closet doors look as if they have been exposed to the elements and faded in the sun. Also, by using the wall color to whitewash the wood, there is continuity in color.


Whitewahed Closet Doors

Whitewahed Closet Doors


Above the closets I have mounted a flat-screen TV, surround-sound speakers, and more pirate art. Since I knew in advance that I would be mounting a TV in this location, I had an electrical and cable outlet installed inside one of the closet. Inside this closet you'll find the cable box and DVD player. To simplify viewing, I bought a universal remote control that works on radio frequencies rather than infrared light. This allows the user to control the TV and sound system from the bed without having to open the closet doors as “line of sight” is not needed to operate the equipment.

Inside the other closet is my CD and DVD collection. I wanted to make sure my guests had something to watch when they retire in the evening. Of course, all Disney “Pirate” movies are available.


DVD Collection


To add more interest to the closet doors, I purchased pirate-themed knobs. Although they are not Disney related, they still fit the motif of the room.


Knobs


The third wall of the room simply contains some Disney art, but some of it is interesting and not often seen today.


Wall of Pictures


In preparation for my move, I was rummaging through my entire Disney collection, trying to decide what to keep and what to sell as I was downsizing. During this ordeal, I came across a poster that I didn't even know I owned or where I had obtained it. Upon closer examination I found that it was a map of the PotC attraction. If you study it carefully, it traces the entire Disneyland Pirate voyage from start to end. Knowing I was creating a pirate room, I took the poster to a framer and had it mounted and laminated.


Pirates of the Caribbean Map


When Disneyland's PotC was in the planning stages, Marc Davis created many sketches of the scenes that would someday delight guests. When PotC opened in 1967, many of the sketches were transferred onto postcards and sold in New Orleans Square. But like all merchandise, they eventually ran their course and were retired. Years later, a Disney cast member was rummaging through a warehouse and stumbled upon several boxes of these unsold postcards. As the fledging Disney Gallery was on the lookout for new and interesting merchandise to sell, these postcards were framed and sold as “art” rather than a throwaway souvenir.


Pirate Postcards

Pirate Postcards

Pirate Postcards


The last picture I'll discuss on this wall is a sericel created by Disney artists to be sold in the various “good stores” at Disneyland and Walt Disney World.

Here we find Mickey, Goofy, Donald, and Pluto taking the place of pirates in the most memorable scene of the attraction.


Mickey, Goofy, Donald, and Pluto Sericel


I've saved the best for last…

For my fourth wall, I wanted to create something that would command attention and really hammer home the pirate theme. After a lot of thought, I decided on a crumbling wall as seen in the queue of Castillo del Morro and in other locations around Adventureland.


Adventureland Wall


My first thought was wallpaper. But I didn't like how frequently the patterns repeated. The bricks didn't look realistic. Next I looked at murals, but they were expensive and not big enough to cover an entire wall. I also thought about using the trompe-l'"il effect and painting a realistic scene. But alas, my artistic abilities aren't that keen. So I eventually decided to create the real thing " well, sort of. Here's how it turned out.


Feature Wall

Feature Wall


I'm pretty happy with my efforts and will talk about this wall in more detail later in this article. But first, let me discuss the remaining bric-a-brac.

I've never been a fan of overhead lighting in a bedroom. I much prefer lamps. So I went online and found this skeleton-pirate lamp. Once again, it's not “Disney,” but it fits the room.


Pirate Lamp


Closer examination of the lamp finds our dead friend is wearing a pirate hat, has a bottle of rum in his boney fingers, and his feet are surrounded by doubloons and gems. The shade depicts a map to secret treasure.

Next to the lamp is another Walt Disney Classics Collection piece. This time we find a drunken pirate sprawled out with pigs.


Walt Disney Classics Collection piece


On the wall is a lithograph depicting the original ending scene in the Magic Kingdom version of PotC. If you remember, before Jack Sparrow arrived, the magistrate was bound and gagged as the pirates looted the treasure room.


Pirate Litho


Next to the litho is a shadow box that uses items from the attraction to spell out Pirates of the Caribbean.


Pirate Shadow Box


Well this ends today's article. If you like my feature wall and are interested in creating something similar in your own home, check back tomorrow when I will provide you with step-by-step instructions.


December 23, 2013

Christmas Week at Walt Disney World

Jack Spence is on a leave of absence until 2014. This is a reprint of a blog that originally ran in January 2012 and was accurate at the time of publication.

Now that the busy holiday season is over, I have a question for all of you who visited Disneyland and Walt Disney World the week between Christmas and New Year's. Why?

I have often asked myself, “Why would anyone visit Disneyland or Walt Disney World the week between Christmas and New Year's?” This is hands down the busiest week of the year. Park closings due to capacity issues are a daily experience. Of course, the answer to this question is simple. The kids are out of school this week and very often mom and dad have coordinated their vacation to coincide with this. But I'm here to tell you, a trip to a Disney park over Christmas week just might not be worth it.

Living in Orlando, I can go to Disney World anytime I like. And writing for AllEars requires that I visit here 3 to 5 times a week. But I avoid Disney World like the plague between Christmas and New Year's. It' simply isn't worth it. It's too darn crowded. Even Interstate 4, Highway 192, and the streets near Disney become a clogged mess during this time of year.

But the question “Why do people visit during this week” kept nagging at me. I know not everyone was doing so because of school schedules. There must be something I'm missing about this week that attracts so many of you. So I decided to take a drive down to the Magic Kingdom on December 29th (2011) to see if things are as horrible as I remember.

First, I knew I needed to arrive before 10am. The Magic Kingdom is the busiest of the four parks and is always the first to close due to capacity issues. I wanted to make sure I arrived before this happened. A complete description detailing Disney park closing policies can be found at the bottom of this blog.

When a park is reaching capacity, Disney will post signs around property, informing guests that a particular park is closed. However, these signs are easily missed. Once you reach a “point of no return” on the roadway, you are committed to drive all the way to the toll booth where you'll be asked to make a U-turn. This can take a lot of time as the cast members must explain the disappointing news to each and every car ahead of you.

If a park is open, you will still have many vehicles ahead of you at the toll plaza when it's busy. I must admit, Disney is magnificent at parking cars efficiently, but it can still take a lot of time to pay the attendant and be directed to a space.

If you're staying at a Disney resort, by all means, use Disney transportation during Christmas week. It's easier and will save you a lot of time and hassle.

I parked my car in the Magic Kingdom lot at 9:30am. I had to wait for three trams before I could board for my trip to the TTC. Once there, the lines to catch the monorail and ferry boat were incredible. I opted for the ferry and was able to catch the second boat to pull in. Once at the Magic Kingdom, the lines for bag check were humungous, as were the lines to pass through the turnstiles. In all, it took me a full hour to get from my car to the tunnel under the train tracks.


Waiting for the Tram

Waiting for the Monorail

Waiting for the Ferry Boat

Waiting for the Monorail and Ferry Boat

Waiting at the Turnstiles

Waiting at the Turnstiles

Since my objective was to blog about the day, not experience the park, I did not ride any attractions. I simply circled the park and took pictures and shot videos. Here are few photos of Main Street and The Hub.

Crowds on Main Street

Crowds on Main Street

Crowds on The Hub

Crowds on The Hub

Take a look at Tomorrowland.

Crowds in Tomorrowland

Crowds in Tomorrowland

Crowds in Tomorrowland


If you want to avoid lines at counter service restaurants, eating at off times is absolutely necessary. These next pictures were taken at Cosmic Rays Starlight Café at 11:30am. As you can see, it's already pretty busy. But this is nothing compared to what it will look like at noon. Even at 11:30, cast members were guarding every doorway leading into the restaurant. All were designated as “exit only” with the exception of one which was designated “entrance only.” Disney does this to facilitate better crowd control. In addition, cast members had the entrance to the main dining room barricaded. You were required to have trays of food before being allowed to find a table. Past experience has shown that people will save tables, thus taking up this precious space for twice as long as necessary.


Cosmic Ray's Starlight Cafe

Cosmic Ray's Starlight Cafe


By the way, did you know that Disney raises the prices on counter-service food over this week " just because they can?

This is Fantasyland around noon. There were still some open spaces, but you had to use your best maneuvering skills to negotiate the walkways.


Crowds in Fantasyland

Crowds in Fantasyland

Crowds in Fantasyland


In Liberty Square, the line for the Haunted Mansion began near the entrance to the Liberty Belle.


Crowds in Liberty Square

Haunted Mansion Line


In Frontierland, the wooden walkway that skirts the edge of the Rivers of America was designated as a two-way street. Masking tape had been placed on the ground with arrows indicating direction. Cast members were stationed along the route about every 15 feet to keep things moving. There was no stopping allowed. Traffic was so regimented in this area, I was not able to stop and get a picture. This next shot was taken In Liberty Square as you approach the Frontierland walkway.


Walkway Leading to Frontierland


The area in front of Thunder and Splash Mountains was a mob scene. There must have been a couple hundred people in line just to get FastPasses for TM, which was already stating a comeback time of 2:45-3:45. And remember, with crowds like these, returning to this area when your FastPass comes due is going to take additional time.


Crowds in Frontierland

Crowds in Frontierland


As you can imagine, Adventureland was as crowded as the rest of the park.


Adventurland Crowds

Adventurland Crowds


The shortest stated attraction line I ever saw was in Tomorrowland. Shortly after I arrived at 10:30 the line for Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor was 20 minutes. However, before I left the area, it was 30 minutes. The sign posted for Snow White was 40 minutes, Dumbo 60 minutes, Small World 75 minutes, and Space Mountain 2 hours. But mind you, all of these signs said “From this point” and the lines extended well past the signs, which could add another 10-20 minutes to your wait. Even the People Mover and Swiss Family Treehouse had lines " attractions that never see people waiting. Carousel of Progress was playing to almost full theaters.

As I circled the park, I kept saying to myself, “I'm glad I'm here just to document the crowds and I'm not trying to get my money's worth.”


People often ask me how I can take pictures and videos at Walt Disney World with few or no people in the shot. Well one thing is certain, I don't attempt this the week between Christmas and New Year's.

After spending three hours at the Magic Kingdom, I'm still shaking my head. It is beyond me why anyone would spend their hard-earned money to visit Walt Disney World during Christmas week (other than it coincides with school vacation). If you want to see the holiday decorations, you can do that with manageable crowds from December 1st to around the 18th. The only thing you'd miss out on seeing during the early weeks of December is the Christmas parade. However, this is available if you attend one of the Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Parties.

If you're thinking that you'll get to see the filming of the Christmas Parade and special entertainment broadcast every Christmas morning on ABC, think again. This was filmed weeks earlier at both the Magic Kingdom and Disneyland when the crowds were manageable.

When I worked at Disneyland in the 1970's, the projected attendance for the day was posted backstage for the cast members to see. Christmas week regularly attracted 60 to 70 thousand people per day. Disney now guards this information judiciously. So don't ask me how many people visit. I don't know.

Below are the official Disney guidelines in regards to park closings at Walt Disney World. Note, it is common for the parks to reopen later in the afternoon as guests begin to leave.

Alternate Parking:

All Walt Disney World parks are open, but due to parking limitations, guests will be requested to park their vehicle at a different theme park and use Disney transportation to their ultimate destination. For example, guests wishing to visit the Magic Kingdom may be directed to park at Epcot and use the monorail.

Phase 1:

The following guests will be turned away at the Auto Plaza:

• Day guests with Magic Your Way Base Tickets
• One-Day/One-Park Tickets
• Guests without theme park admission
• Cast members using Main Gate & Silver Passes.

Phase 2:

Only the following guests will be allowed entrance:

• Disney Resort guests*
• Annual and Premium Annual Passholders
• Guests with Park Hopper tickets coming from another park visited earlier in the day
• Guests re-entering the same park
• Guests with dining reservations
• Guests with reservations for Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, The Pirates League, or Harmony Barber Shop (Magic Kingdom)
• Guests with reservations for Wild Africa Trek (Animal Kingdom)

Phase 3:

At this phase, park admission is limited to:

• Disney Resort Guests*
• Annual and Premium Annual Passholders,
• Guests with dining reservations
• Guests with reservations for Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, The Pirates League, or Harmony Barber Shop (Magic Kingdom)
• Guests with reservations for Wild Africa Trek (Animal Kingdom)

Phase 4:

Closed to all guests as the park has reached total capacity

* The following non-Walt Disney World hotels are considered part of the Disney Resort:

Swan and Dolphin
Shades of Green
The hotels along Hotel Plaza Blvd (provided guests arrive via their hotel shuttle bus)


December 9, 2013

Teppan Edo Epcot's Japan

Jack Spence is on a leave of absence until 2014. This is a reprint of a blog he wrote several years ago. This blog originally ran in 2010 and was accurate at the time of publication.

No visit to Epcot would be complete without dining at one of the restaurants in World Showcase. Each country offers a unique experience and an opportunity to learn about another culture. Today I'm going to write about Teppan Edo, one of the eateries found in the Japan Pavilion.


Teppan Edo Sign


Your adventure begins on the second floor of Japan's main building. If the stairs are a bit intimidating, an elevator can be found next to the front entrance of the Mitsukoshi Department Store.


Japan Pavilion Main Building


At the check-in desk, you'll be given a pager and asked to wait in the adjacent seating area. This area also serves as the waiting room for Tokyo Dining, a table-service restaurant that shares this floor.


Check-in Desk

Waiting Room

Tokyo Dining


The restaurants open at noon. If you can arrange your meal at this time, you're in for a treat. Before business commences each day, all of the servers and chefs line up in formation, as if waiting for inspection. Then two hostesses welcome you to Japan and their restaurants. The ceremony is charming and worth seeing. It helps set the mood for your meal to come. I don't have any "still" pictures of this, but I did capture it on video (see below).

When your table is ready, you will be escorted down a long hall to one of five dining rooms. Each room has four tables that seat eight. So unless you're traveling with a large group, you will be sharing your meal with other guests. But that's okay. Teppan Edo isn't about intimate dining. It's about fun and showmanship. In no time at all, you'll be conversing with your fellow tablemates. And if you're shy, there is a surefire opening question you can ask to get the conversation going, "Where are you visiting from?"


Teppan Edo Hallway

Teppan Edo Dining Room


Shortly after getting settled, your server will appear and introduce herself. Drink orders will be taken and hot towels handed to each guest. Besides cleaning your hands, feel free to wipe your brow. If you're like me, nothing is so refreshing as a clean face.


Hot Towels


Each place setting has a pair of chopsticks waiting for you when you arrive. However, forks are offered for those of you who need them. Also, your waitress can devise some "training" chopsticks if you'd like to try to learn how to use them.

The restaurant features teppanyaki style cuisine. Teppan means iron plate and yaki means grilled, broiled or pan-fried. Here, a chef entertainingly prepares your meal at the table, while you watch. The concept originated in 1945 as a way of introducing western-style foods to the Japanese. However, the concept quickly became more popular with foreign visitors than with the Japanese themselves. So as time progressed, the chef's performances became more elaborate and amusing to continue attracting tourists.

Appetizers such as sushi, miso soup, soybean pods, and tempura are available. These dishes are not prepared at the table, but are brought out just prior to the chef arriving to cook your meal.

Shrimp, scallops, chicken breast, and sirloin steak are the meats offered here. They can be ordered individually, or in a number of different combinations. Accompaniments include Udon noodles, mushrooms, zucchini, and onions. In addition, everyone is served a bowl of steamed white rice. (Feel free to ask for seconds of rice.)

When the chef arrives, he or she is introduced to you by your server and then the show begins. As you can tell by the next picture, they are usually pretty jovial and ready to have some fun.


Jovial Chef


The first order of business is to give each guest some dipping sauce. These include ginger, mustard, and cream which the chef deftly pours into serving dishes.


Dipping Sauce


With that bit of business taken care of, the vegetables and noodles are introduced to the grill. The way these chefs handle their knives and forks make the hucksters on TV selling Veg-a-Matics look like idiots (not that they needed any help in this area). The chefs at Teppan Edo can slice and dice like nobody's business. They have this technique down to an art form.

But the best part is the building of the onion volcano. Here, the chef skillfully separates ring after ring of onion and layers them one on top another, creating Mount Fuji. Then oil and water are poured into the center to create a smoking volcano.


Preparing Onion Volcano

Onion Volcano Eruption


Next, the meats are introduced to the grill. Once again, we see the magic of these talented individuals as they toss pepper grinders, fling bits of meat into the air, and continue to slice and dice -- all the while keeping us entertained with a steady stream of chatter.


Slice and Dice

Seasoning

Tossing Shrimp


The vegetables will be ready first and the chef will use a spatula and dish a portion onto your plate. It always amazes me how they can accurately divide the large amount of steaming food into equal portions for each guest. Since your meat is still cooking, don't hesitate to start eating or else your vegetables will get cold.

Once the meat course has been served, the chef will clean the grill, say goodbye, and leave. Shortly thereafter, your server will offer dessert. These include Soft Serve Ice Cream, Green Tea Pudding, and Chocolate Ginger Cake. Although obvious on the menu, I want to make sure I haven't given you the wrong impression, appetizers and desserts are an extra charge.

I want to remind all of you with special dietary needs to bring this fact to your server's attention. At my table, one gentleman had a severe allergy to shellfish. Our waitress relayed this information to the kitchen staff and the restaurant manager came out to our table to discuss his concerns. In this case, his meal was cooked in the kitchen to make absolutely certain that no shellfish contamination could take place on the show-grill. ALL Disney restaurants, including counter service establishments, will work with you to make sure you and your family's needs are met.

Would I recommend Teppan Edo? Absolutely! I think this restaurant is a lot of fun and should be on everyone's Epcot "must do" list. However, I think Teppan Edo needs to be experienced in moderation. Personally, I only need to visit every three to four years. Any more than that and the experience becomes old hat. I need time to forget all the little nuances that took place so it will be fresh on my next visit.

Reservations are strongly recommended and can be made online or by calling 407-WDW-DINE. The restaurant opens at noon and remains open during the remainder of the day.

I have prepared a four minute video highlighting the experience. Enjoy.



Related Links:

Teppan Edo Reader Reviews

Teppan Edo Menu

November 26, 2013

Quiz - Costumes and their Attractions - Answers

Jack Spence is on a leave of absence until 2014. This is a reprint of a blog he wrote several years ago. This blog originally ran in July, 2010 and was accurate at the time of publication.

Here are the answers to yesterday's quiz. I hope you did well. Once again, please don't send me your answers. There are no prizes to win or winners to be announced. This is strictly for your amusement.



1. This picture was taken at the American Adventure in Epcot. However, this same costume can be seen at the Hall of Presidents attraction at the Magic Kingdom.


Disney Costume



2. This gentleman works at One Man's Dream at Disney's Hollywood Studios.


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3. This charming lady answers animal questions on the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail at Disney's Animal Kingdom.


Disney Costume



4. Need to cool off? See this gentleman for a ride on Splash Mountain at the Magic Kingdom.


Disney Costume



5. These hostesses can assist you at the Seas with Nemo and Friends at Epcot.


Disney Costume



6. This handsome pair introduce guests to their home country in the Canada Pavilion at Epcot.


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7. These ladies can be found at any of the attractions or games at Chester & Hester's Dinorama.


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8. If you didn't get this next one right, well, I don't know what to say. This somber soul works at the Haunted Mansion in the Magic Kingdom.


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9. In the mood for some thrills? This guy can direct you to the Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show at Disney's Hollywood Studios.


Disney Costume



10. Do you want the “Green” less intense experience or the “Orange” more intense experience on Mission: Space at Epcot?


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11. This guy can help you meet some trolls on Maelstrom in the Norway Pavilion at Epcot.


Disney Costume



12. This pair can direct you to your room at the Tower of Terror at Disney's Hollywood Studios.


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13. Need to get across town quick? This friendly guy can whisk you around Los Angeles by helping you board Rock ‘N' Roller Coaster at Disney's Hollywood Studios.


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14. Who knew this smiling face could be capable of such swashbuckling adventures at Pirates of the Caribbean at the Magic Kingdom.


Disney Costume



15. Here we have a sherpa to help you through the Himalayan Mountains and Expedition Everest at Disney's Animal Kingdom.


Disney Costume



16. This gentleman can act as engineer on the Wildlife Express Train at Disney's Animal Kingdom.


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17. For a trip back to prehistoric times to see a Dinosaur, see this smiling gal at Disney's Animal Kingdom.


Disney Costume



18. This young man might usher you to your seat to see the Impressions de France film in the France Pavilion at Epcot.


Disney Costume



19. These explorers often skipper a boat on the Jungle Cruise at the Magic Kingdom.


Disney Costume



20. If a vacation to the moon of Endor sounds like the perfect getaway, see this smiling face for a Star Tours vacation at Disney's Hollywood Studios.


Disney Costume



21. If hanggliding is more to your liking, this gentleman can help you at the Soarin' attraction at Epcot in the Land Pavilion.


Disney Costume



22. Piloting a raft to Tom Sawyer Island is always fun at the Magic Kingdom.


Disney Costume



23. Do you have talent? Maybe this guy can help you discover your stage presence at The American Idol Experience at Disney's Hollywood Studios.


Disney Costume



24. Captain EO has returned to Epcot at the Imagination Pavilion and this young lady is ready to show you the King of Pop.


Disney Costume



25. Honey, I Shrunk the Kids Movie Set is where this gal will assist you with giant ants and towering blades of grass at Disney's Hollywood Studios.


Disney Costume



26. All of the cast members in Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom sport this Alpine costume.


Disney Costume



27. This usherette can be found at the Great Movie Ride at Disney's Hollywood Studios.


Disney Costume



28. This gal is good friends with Kermit and Miss Piggy at Muppet*Vision 3D at Disney's Hollywood Studios.


Disney Costume



29. Bad guys watch out. Kim Possible is here to save the day at Epcot.


Disney Costume



30. Disney's newest theme park can be found in China. This lovely lady can be found in the China Pavilion in Epcot welcoming guests to the Reflections of China 360 movie.


Disney Costume



31. The Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular and the Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage show share this costume at Disney's Hollywood Studios. It's almost identical to the American Idol costume except cast members are allowed to wear short pants and here it's missing a distinctive American Idol patch.


Disney Costume



32. All of the attractions in Tomorrowland at the Magic Kingdom share this costume except for the Tomorrowland Speedway.


Disney Costume



33. At the Land Pavilion at Epcot, the Living with the Land attraction and the Circle of Life movie share this costume.


Disney Costume



34. At Disney's Hollywood Studios you'll find this costume at the Voyage of the Little Mermaid and Playhouse Disney shows.


Disney Costume



35. This charming hostess helps guests board the Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros at the Mexico Pavilion in Epcot.


Disney Costume



36. Ellen's Energy Adventure at Epcot is where this smiling hostess can be found.


Disney Costume



37. The costume for Kilimanjaro Safaris at Disney's Animal Kingdom is almost identical to the costume worn on the Jungle Cruise at the Magic Kingdom. The difference lies in a Kilimanjaro Safaris patch on the sleeve and a large belt buckle.


Disney Costume



38. Go white-water rafting on Kali River Rapids at Disney's Animal Kingdom with this intrepid guide.


Disney Costume



39. Journey Into Imagination with Figment and this lab-coated technician at Epcot.


Disney Costume



40. Put a new car through its paces with this happy driver at Test Track at Epcot.


Disney Costume



41. Unless you want to wait in a long line, you better have a FastPass to ride Toy Story Midway Mania at Disney's Hollywood Studios.


Disney Costume



42. This smiling guy can help you on Swiss Family Treehouse, The Magic Carpets of Aladdin, and The Enchanted Tiki Room Under New Management at the Magic Kingdom.


Disney Costume



43. One of the most popular shows at Walt Disney World is Festival of the Lion King at Disney's Animal Kingdom and this camp counsilor can help you find a seat.


Disney Costume



44. All of the cast members at Innoventions East and West wear the same costume except for a patch that identifies their particular exhibit.


Disney Costume



45. Although this picture was taken at the Liberty Square Riverboat landing in the Magic Kingdom, the same costume is worn by those running the Walt Disney World Railroad. The only difference is their hat and tie. In the warmer, summer months, they're allowed to go without these accoutrements


Disney Costume



46. Take a journey back in time aboard Spaceship Earth at Epcot.


Disney Costume



47. This patriotic gentleman was seen in front of Hall of Presidents at the Magic Kingdom. But he could have just as easily been seen at the American Adventure in Epcot as they share the same costume.


Disney Costume



48. It's Tough to be a Bug at Disney's Animal Kingdom is where this cast member hangs out. If you take a closer look a the costume, you can see creepy-crawlers make up the design.


Disney Costume



49. Big Thunder Mountain Railway at the Magic Kingdom is where you'll find this smiling cast member.


Disney Costume



50. Here we have a trio of auto experts who help drivers big and small at the Tomorrowland Speedway in the Magic Kingdom.


Disney Costume



51. If you like tigers, this cast member will point them out to you on the Maharaja Jungle Trek at Disney's Animal Kingdom.


Disney Costume




November 25, 2013

Quiz - Costumes and their Attractions - Questions

Jack Spence is on a leave of absence until 2014. This is a reprint of a blog he wrote several years ago. This blog originally ran in July, 2010 and was accurate at the time of publication.

It's time for another quiz. This one is geared to those of you who frequent the Walt Disney World parks.

As you know, I'm always preaching that you should pay attention to the details. Well today's quiz deals with a “detail” that is in plain sight, the cast members' costumes. This is something that all of you have seen dozens of times but probably never noticed. Today I'm going to test just how well you really pay attention. All of the cast members depicted here work on an attraction at one of the four Walt Disney World parks (Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney's Hollywood Studios, and Disney's Animal Kingdom). An attraction can be a ride, show, or exhibit. None of these costumes represent merchandise or restaurant locations unless there is overlap. Your job, guess the attraction.

I do not know any of these wonderful cast members and my selection process was pretty simple. I arrived each day at 9am at one of the four theme parks. Then I made a mad dash to each attraction and asked the first cast member I saw if I could take their picture for a quiz I was preparing. I want to take this time to thank all of these helpful people who agreed to pose for me. You're great!

Once again, please don't send me your answers. There are no prizes to win or winners to be announced. This is strictly for your amusement.



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November 11, 2013

Magic Kingdom Skyway

Jack Spence is on a leave of absence until 2014. This is a reprint of a blog he wrote several years ago. This blog originally ran in 2009 and was accurate at the time of publication.

The first Disney Skyway opened at Disneyland on June 23, 1956. Walt was so taken by this mode of transportation that he signed an agreement to purchase this attraction from the Von Roll, Ltd. Company without giving any consideration as to where this ride would be located in his park. But Walt thought of the Skyway as more than just a ride. He thought of it as another mode of transportation that could be used to carry people across large parking lots and shopping centers. He wanted to use Disneyland to showcase this idea.

There is a legend that says that part of Walt's inspiration for Disney World came to him while riding the Disneyland Skyway. From the lofty height of sixty feet, he could see outside the park and onto the rush-hour traffic of the Santa Ana Freeway that skirted his property. He knew then that he needed more land so he could shield any future project from the outside world.

There were three Disney Skyways in total, the second opening at the Magic Kingdom on October 1, 1971 (opening day) and the third at Tokyo Disneyland on April 15, 1983 (also on opening day). All three offered one-way rides between Fantasyland and Tomorrowland. The Magic Kingdom's version had the distinction of being the only one that made a turn in the middle of the journey.

It is often reported, incorrectly, that the Magic Kingdom closed the Skyway due to the death of a custodial cast member working on the attraction. Although it is true that Raymond Barlow was accidentally killed while cleaning a narrow Skyway platform, this had nothing to do with the decision to shutter the ride. Disneyland and Tokyo Disneyland had both closed their versions of this attraction before this death occurred. The decision to close all of the Skyways was strictly economical. These attractions were old and expensive to run and maintain. Also, they had low capacities. This made it harder and harder to justify on a “dollar spent per guest ride” basis. Combine this with the constant problem of teenagers spitting and throwing things on the guests below and it's not hard to understand why Disney said “Enough.” The Magic Kingdom Skyway closed on November 9, 1999.

The Skyway was a perennial favorite of many people. Even though the line was often long, it was worth the wait once we were airborne and looking down on the many sights below. As you passed other gondolas, you would smile and wave to its passengers. And when you could see the terminus station come into view, you grew sad because you new your flight was almost over.

I have dug through my photo collection and pulled out my Skyway pictures. Please note, some of these pictures are old and of dubious quality. I have also included a video I took in October, 1986. It was shot using one of those old, large, “carry-on-your-shoulder” video cameras of the early 1980's. For many years, this film sat deteriorating on VHS tape until I finally copied it to a DVD. When I electronically extracted it from the DVD so I could share it with you, I lost additional quality. So please forgive this video.


The Fantasyland Station had a Swiss chalet design and yodeling could often be heard in the queue. (1983)


Fantasyland Skyway Station


Leaving the station. (1972)


Fantasyland Skyway

Fantasyland Skyway


Here we see the Columbia Harbour House. (1989)


Fantasyland Skyway


The Mad Tea Party is the the lower left of the picture. (1972)


Fantasyland Skyway


Cinderella's Golden Carousel is dead ahead. (1983)


Fantasyland Skyway

Fantasyland Skyway


Looking back at the Peter Pan attraction. (1989)


Fantasyland Skyway


Down below is Pinocchio Village Haus. (1975)


Fantasyland Skyway


Here is a very old Dumbo attraction -- before a major refurbishment. (1983)


Fantasyland Skyway


An newer Dumbo and the 20,000 Leagues Lagoon. (1989)


Fantasyland Skyway


20,000 Leagues Under the Sea loading area. (1989)


Fantasyland Skyway


The Nautilus. (1983)


Fantasyland Skyway


Tomorrowland Terrace. (1972)


Tomorrowland Skyway


Tomorrowland Terrace and Cinderella Castle. (1972)


Tomorrowland Skyway


Grand Prix Raceway. (1975)


Tomorrowland Skyway

Tomorrowland Skyway


WEDway People Mover and Contemporary Hotel. (1983)


Tomorrowland Skyway


Tomorrowland Transit Authority (TTA) and the Skyway. (1994-95)


Tomorrowland Skyway


Space Mountain and the Contemporary Hotel. (1975)


Tomorrowland Skyway


TTA and Astro Orbiter. (1994-95)


Tomorrowland Skyway


Tomorrowland Skyway Station. (1989)


Tomorrowland Skyway Station


Here's my video of the Skyway shot in October, 1986.


October 28, 2013

Magic Kingdom's Adventureland Trivia

Jack Spence is on a leave of absence until 2014. This is a reprint of a blog he wrote several years ago. This blog originally ran in 2008 and was accurate at the time of publication.

Q: Do you know why Adventureland is located on the west side of the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World?

wdwadventureland.jpg

A: It's because Adventureland is located on the west side of Disneyland in Anaheim. When planning the Magic Kingdom, Imagineers used Disneyland's layout as a starting point when designing their new park.

Q: Do you know why Adventureland is located on the west side of Disneyland?

dladventureland.jpg


A: Original plans called for the “True Life Adventures” (later to become the Adventureland) to be located on the east side of the park between Main Street and “World of Tomorrow” (later to become Tomorrowland). This can be seen in an early concept drawing by Herb Ryman.

Herb Ryman Concept Drawing Disneyland

But while surveying the orange groves that would eventually become Disneyland, planners found a windbreak of giant eucalyptus trees that had been planted around the turn of the century. Ironically, these trees helped determine the location of Main Street as it was decided that they would make a nice backdrop behind City Hall and help delineate between “civilization” and the “jungles of the world.” Thus, Adventureland was moved to its current location on the west side of the park.

These trees, now over a hundred years old, are clearly visible in an early Disneyland postcard and are still visible today.


Disneyland%20Postcard.jpg

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October 14, 2013

Muppet*Vision 3-D Trivia

Jack Spence is on a leave of absence until 2014. This is a reprint of a blog he wrote several years ago. This blog ran a few years ago and was accurate at the time of publication.

My next bit of theme park trivia involves the Muppet*Vision 3-D attraction at Disney's Hollywood Studios.


Muppet*Vision 3-D


The moment you enter the building, look to your right. You will see a ticket window.


Muppet*Vision 3-D


Hanging in the window is a sign that says “Back in 5 minutes key is under mat.”


Muppet*Vision 3-D


Walk around the turnstile and look for a mat (the turnstile hides it). If you lift the mat up, sure enough, you'll find a key " just like the sign says.


Muppet*Vision 3-D


When you enter the preshow area, take a look around. This area is full of gags and jokes. I know that this attraction has one of the best pre-shows at Disney World, but you've seen it before. Investigate a little. You'll be glad you did.

One of the all time best jokes is hanging from the ceiling of this room.


Muppet*Vision 3-D


What is that? You ask.

It looks like some kind of webbing holding, could it be gelatin?

No, it's not webbing, it's a net holding cubes of gelatin.

But what kind of gelatin? Possibly a name brand, like Jello.

So we have a net holding Jello.

A net holding Jello.

No… That's not right... How about,

A net full of Jello.

A net full of Jello.

If you still haven't got the joke, say it out loud.

A net full of Jello.

If you still don't get it, scroll down.


Muppet*Vision 3-D

Annette Funicello


October 1, 2013

Disney Quiz - Answers

Jack Spence is on a leave of absence until 2014. This is a reprint of a blog he wrote several years ago. This blog originally ran in 2010 and was accurate at the time of publication.

Here are the answers to yesterday's quiz. I hope you got them all right!


1. On what day did Disneyland open?

July 17, 1955

Between 10-15 thousand opening day tickets had been made available to the press and invited guests, but between counterfeit tickets and gate crashers, it's estimated that twice that number actually attended the park on opening day.


Opening Day at Disneyland



2. What is considered to be the first AudioAnimatronics attraction?

The Enchanted Tiki Room

Opening on June 23, 1963 this attraction had 225 AudioAnimatronics performers directed by a fourteen-channel magnetic tape feeding one hundred separate speakers and controlling 438 separate actions.


Walt and Jose in the Tiki Room



3. The Jungle Cruise was inspired in part by what series of short subject documentaries?

True Life Adventures (specifically The African Lion)

Produced between 1948 and 1960, True Life Adventures covered a wide range of nature-related topics and won numerous Academy Awards.


The African Lion Movie Poster



4. What two World Showcase pavilions were not present at Epcot's opening (October 1, 1982) and were added in later years?

Morocco and Norway

Morocco opened on September 7, 1984. King Hassan II sent Moroccan artisans to design and create the many mosaics seen in this pavilion.


Morocco Pavilion


Norway had a soft opening on May 6, 1988. A month later an official opening was attended by Crown Prince Harald in a ceremony that was broadcast live to Norway.


Norway Pavilion



5. What was the first foreign Disney Park to open?

Tokyo Disneyland

Opening on April 15, 1983, Tokyo Disneyland is owned and operated by the Oriental Land Company which pays licensing fees and royalties to the Walt Disney Company.


Tokyo Disneyland



6. What was the first commercially released cartoon to be produced in the full-color three-strip Technicolor process?

Flowers and Trees

Flowers and Trees was already in production as a black and white cartoon when Walt Disney was introduced to Technicolor's three-strip process. Walt was so impressed that he had the black and white footage scrapped, and had the short redone in color.


Flowers and Trees Movie Poster



7. On what day did Walt Disney World open?

October 1, 1971

However, the official dedication was held on October 25th. This gave the company time to work out any problems before a formal opening was presented to the press and the rest of the world.


Magic Kingdom



8. What was Walt Disney's first full-length animated motion picture?

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

In 2007, the American Film Institute ranked Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs 34th in its list of the 100 greatest American films of all time.


Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Movie Poster



9. Who played Davey Crockett?

Fess Parker

Davy Crockett was the first miniseries in the history of television. Its five episodes aired on the Disneyland TV show in 1954 and 1955. The first three episodes were later edited together and shown in theaters under the name of Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier.


Fess Parker as Davy Crockett



10. What was the first attraction to open after Walt Disney's death?

Pirates of the Caribbean (Disneyland)

Pirates of the Caribbean was the last attraction that Walt personally supervised during its design and much of its construction. It opened three months after his death on March 18 1967.


Pirates of the Caribbean



11. What Disney animated short was the first to be created using the multi-plane camera?

The Old Mill

The Old Mill won the 1937 Academy Award for Best Short Subjects: Cartoons.

Disney's multi-plane camera, invented by William Garity, uses up to seven layers of artwork and is shot using an overhead movable camera.


The Old Mill



12. What was Walt's brother Roy's middle initial?

O

Roy Oliver Disney was Walt's older brother (June 24, 1893 " December 20, 1971) and co-founder of what is now The Walt Disney Company. Roy's son, Roy Edward Disney, also played a pivotal role in the company as a longtime senior executive.


Roy O. Disney



13. What was the name of the cartoon character that Walt lost the rights to in the spring of 1928?

Oswald the Lucky Rabbit

In February 2006, Disney CEO Bob Iger secured the rights to the original 26 Oswald cartoons created by Disney. The remaining Oswald cartoons still belong to Universal.


Oswald the Lucky Rabbit



14. What was Walt's wife's first name?

Lillian

Lillian Marie Bounds was working at the Disney Studio in the "ink and paint" department when she met Walt. They were married in 1925. After Walt's death, she married John L. Truyens in May 1969. John died in February 1981. Lillian suffered a stroke on December 15, 1997, 31 years to the day after Walt's death. She died the following morning at aged 98.


Walt, Lillian, and Mickey Mouse



15. What four attractions did Disney design for the New York World's Fair?

"it's a small world" " sponsored by UNICEF and Pepsi
Progressland (later to be known as Carousel of Progress) -- sponsored by General Electric
Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln " sponsored by the State of Illinois
The Magic Skyway " sponsored by the Ford Motor Company


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16. What attraction at Disney's Hollywood Studios was originally planned for Epcot?

The Great Movie Ride

The Great Movie Ride was being developed as a Future World pavilion to cover the topic of entertainment. But when Michael Eisner became CEO of the Walt Disney Company in 1985, he proposed an entirely new park devoted to entertainment with The Great Movie Ride as its premier attraction and the idea for the Disney/MGM Studios was born.


The Great Movie Ride



17. What did Professor Brainard invent?

Flubber

The movie The Absent-Minded Professor opened in 1961 and featured a scatter-brained professor creating a substance that defied gravity. The movie was both a critical and financial success and spawned a sequel, Son of Flubber in 1963.


The Absent-Minded Professor



18. What Disney movie was the first commercial film released in multi-channel (stereo) sound?

Fantasia

Fantasia was the third full-length animated film produced by Disney (following Snow White and Pinocchio). The film was not a commercial success during its initial release and left the company strapped for funds. In an effort to save money and recoup losses, Disney next produced Dumbo, a much shorter movie and by comparison to Fantasia, a simple to animate film. Despite Fantasia's initial commercial failure, subsequent releases more than made up for any losses and today the movie is considered a classic. A sequel, Fantasia 2000, opened on December 17, 1999.


Fantasia Movie Poster



19. What was the first science fiction film produced by Walt Disney Pictures?

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

Opening in 1954, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea starred Kirk Douglas, James Mason, Paul Lukas, and Peter Lorre. When Disneyland was being constructed, cash was short and Tomorrowland was lacking in rides. In an effort to add attractions to this land, the props from the movie were displayed in an exhibit by the same name and entertained guests from 1955 to 1966.


20,000 Leagues Under the Sea Movie Poster



20. Where did President Nixon say “I am not a crook?”

Disney's Contemporary Resort

Speaking before 400 Associated Press managing editors, Nixon defended his record in the Watergate scandal. This proved to be a defining moment in his presidency and the beginning of the end.


Contemporary Resort



Bonus Question. The following movies were set at what fictitious university, The Absent Minded Professor, Son of Flubber, The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes, Now You See Him, Now You Don't, and The Strongest Man in the World?

Medfield College

Interestingly, two other college-themed movies, The Misadventures of Merlin Jones, and its sequel, The Monkey's Uncle were set in Midvale College.

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