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June 2013 Archives

June 5, 2013

On the Move: Aulani Disney Resort

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So it happened to come about that I traveled around a bit back in April. I started off with a one-way ticket to Hawaii that I had to use before it expired, and then somehow the whole thing expanded to include the Tokyo Disney Resort, Walt Disney World, and the Disney Fantasy.

Because various members of the hard-working/good-looking AllEars Blog team have already written extensive blogs about all those places, I figured the most efficient way to share some of the highlights of my trip might be to hit some highlights and show some photos.

First stop: The Aulani Disney Resort at Ko Olina, Oahu. This was of necessity a brief visit of a few hours, as I only had a couple of days total in Hawaii and was not staying there.

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Top Ten Things I Noted at Aulani:

1. It takes about 20-30 minutes to drive from Waikiki to Aulani during low traffic.
2. Parking is 35 bucks a day. $35! And they only validate at the big restaurants or at the spa, and only for spa services--not for retail purchases.
3. The lobby is nice and airy, and reminds me a great deal of the Animal Kingdom Lodge.
4. The big restaurants close between lunch and dinner, so if you go there between 2pm and 5pm, you may not be experiencing them that day.
5. You can currently tour the DVC model rooms which are beautiful and seem to have a layout a little like what I remember of the Bay Lake Towers rooms at the Contemporary.
6. The friendly CMs there have a general sense of expecting future resort expansion down the beach, but no one would cop to knowing anything specific.
7. There is a developing shopping/eating complex across the road from Aulani which should provide more choices for retail consumption.
8. The lagoon in back of Aulani is very pretty, however it was closed while I was there, secondary to some environmental spillage in the area.
9. The menehune are terribly cute and appear to figure in an interactive discovery game, similar to the Agent P Adventure at EPCOT, available to resort guests.
10. DVC members get two free parking spaces per room, so try to be one of those.

June 8, 2013

E3: iam8bit's Art Show and Scrooge's Money Pit

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As we enter into the beginning of summer, we once again approach E3--the annual trade show for the computer/video game industry. This year looks to be one of significant Disney presence, given the upcoming launch of their new Disney Infinity franchise, and the nostalgic DuckTales Remastered.

One of the kickoff events was the opening of the videogame-themed art show iam8bit Entertainment System at the iam8bit gallery in Los Angeles.

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The show displays a multitude of art pieces celebrating all things gamer, with a nod to various and sundry other areas of geekery.

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The main attraction for the Disneyphile, however, would definitely be Scrooge's Money Bin, in which you can burrow around and take photos. Here's the artist's rendering...

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...And here's the actuality.

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In addition to the pit itself, they had various props people could pose with, including crowns, jewels, and, in a nod to fans of the original DuckTales game, the Green Cheese of Longevity.

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Trailers for the Capcom-Disney property were recently released, showing footage from the Amazon and Transylvania areas of DuckTales Remastered, respectively:

iam8bit Entertainment System is located at iam8bit Gallery, 2147 W. Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90026 and is set to run from June 7 to June 30, 2013. The gallery is open only certain days and hours of the week, so check http://iam8bit.com/the-gallery/ for specifics. Street parking available.

June 10, 2013

E3: Disney Infinity

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In a media event associated with the Electronics Entertainment Expo (E3) this week, Disney Interactive released new footage of their upcoming release Disney Infinity: A video game in which real toy figures encode virtual Disney characters for play in both pre-set and user-designed environments.

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The starter pack comes with three figures--Mr. Incredible, Sully, and Captain Jack Sparrow.

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Each figure comes with their own appropriate environment and story-driven game, which, when finished, allows the player to unlock various assets for use in the "toy box" mode. In this mode, the players can build their own worlds, using characters, buildings, vehicles, etc., from any of the available franchises, interweaving them as they please.

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Figures can be purchased in three-packs, or individually. In addition, there are discs that you can layer on to add different powers to a given character, or new environmental assets.

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While the game can be played singly, it seems clear that a great part of the game is the interaction players can have with each other, particularly in either fighting or competing in different games and races they can personally design.

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The newest figures capitalize on the upcoming Disney film The Lone Ranger. This, along with the utilization of the Monsters University environment, shows the versatility of the platform as far as being able to keep up to date with future Disney properties.

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The starter pack is currently available for pre-order online, with release scheduled for August 18, 2013.


June 17, 2013

D23.com: Now, more than ever.

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Today, June 17, D23 is launching a completely re-worked version of its website, complete with around 98% new archival content, specifically for D23 members.

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On accessing the home page, it is readily evident what content is available only for registered members, by the gold Mickey key in the corner of the article's banner.

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Once the member has logged in, the background of the page turns to gold, and all the material is unlocked for perusal.

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One exciting new feature is an updated electronic version of Dave Smith's Disney encyclopedia
"Disney A to Z," which is going live with 7,034 pages on launch. Another is "D'scovered," in which the Disney Archives will share photos and images often never before seen by the public. Recently, some canisters of film from Walt's desk were developed, yielding personal photos not even seen by his daughter, Diane Disney Miller--for the first 23 days, the website will display a different one each day.

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Other reference materials will include a digitized version of "The Quotable Walt Disney," and a section on character profiles. If you still can't find the answer to your question, you can submit it to "Ask a Legend," in which various Disney Legends (starting off with Marty Sklar,) will do video interviews in response to fan questions.

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To balance all the historical content, there will be articles on more contemporary subjects as well--audio interviews with Ginnifer Goodwin, Snow White from the ABC show Once Upon A Time, and Dr. Heinz Doofenschmirtz, Evil Mastermind from Phineas and Ferb. The "First Look" department will also focus on the new and upcoming projects from different branches of the company.

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While membership is required to see the bulk of the new website content, D23 is also adding a new, free, tier of membership. Members at this level will receive, in addition to website access, opportunities to buy exclusive D23 merchandise, and discounted tickets to the D23 Expo 2013. Silver members will still receive all their usual discounts and event opportunities, and Gold members will now be the exclusive recipients of the Disney twenty-three magazine. Memberships take 24hrs to process, so count on that amount of lag time between signing up and logging in.

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At the same time, D23 will also be launching three sister websites: The Walt Disney Archives, D23 Expo, and Disney Legends. Registration will not be required to access these sites.

If you have any interest in the past, present, or future of the Disney company, or if you ever find yourself in need of reference material for anything Disney, signing up for the free D23 membership versus depending on the sometimes-sketchy information on Wikipedia seems like a no-brainer. Registration can be accomplished at www.D23.com or www.DisneyStore.com/D23

June 18, 2013

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 6/14/13

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Contributing photographer Jason of disneygeek.com sends us these photos from his trip to the parks on Friday, June 14, 2013.

It has been three weeks since my last visit to the Resort due to a trip to Alaska I was on. So here is a look at what was going on as summer gets underway as well as some of the ongoing projects.

The Disneyland Hotel has received a new sign at the entrance on Magic Way. Cast Members were still putting the finishing touches on the landscaping this afternoon.

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In Downtown Disney there is an exhibit for the WiiU video game console.

Inside each cube you could try out the game.

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While I was gone ticket prices increased. Parking also went up a dollar to $16 for a car.

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Both parks received new guide map covers and ad pages. Here is a look at Disneyland's:

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And DCA's:

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Main Street USA is all red, white and blue.

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Climbers have returned to the Matterhorn for the summer.

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The Jamboree area has gone all American for the summer too with Woody's All-American Roundup.

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The format of the area is much the same with some games, picture spots, coloring area, food, pins, and the stage.

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The food carts have a nice stand around them.

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The menu.

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Some of the items for sale

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Friday the stage was being used by the Billies and by a small show called Woodys Talent Roundup.

Billy Hill and the Hillbillies

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Video of the Billies patriotic medley.

Cowboy Mickey and Minnie coming out for pictures, they changed with Goofy.

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The Billies performing the Battle of New Orleans.

For the finale the Toy Story gang joins the Billies.

Shortly after the Billies there was a short character show called Woodys Talent Roundup. Since there were no signs or postings most of the audience had disappeared before it started.

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A video clip from the Talent Roundup.


One of the photo backdrops.

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The stage coach is also set up as a photo backdrop.

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Out in the ranch area the goats are in the patriotic spirit too.

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The Big Thunder project is moving along. Scaffolding is up on some of the mountain now.

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Rainbow Ridge is moving along.

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The hills of Toontown have a new ridge. They have hidden the safety rails that were put up on the roof recently.

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The Orbitron has seen better days..

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Today was Flag Day so I stopped for the nightly Flag Retreat.

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In the Main Street Opera House Lobby the Disneyland Story section is behind curtains. Is a new exhibit coming or just some work on the current one?

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The Disney Gallery is receiving a new exhibit.

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The sun shades on the upper level of the Carthay appear to be completed.

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At DCA, Dancing with Disney has returned to Hollywood Land, but closed at 5pm so I did not make it inside.

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A safety chain has been added around the bikes at the Monsters U meet and greet since my last visit. I like the eyes on the poles.

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The Cozy Cone Fountain is slowly coming back together but not operational yet.

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Sarge's this afternoon.

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The Racers turn one year old as does the rest of Cars Land and Buena Vista Street. Hard to believe it's been a year already.

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Out in the Pier the flowers were in bloom.

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The 300th Army Band getting ready to perform. They were at Downtown Disney to celebrate the Army's birthday today (#238). They started over 30 minutes late though - so much for punctuality. I thought it was poor no one announced the new start time. First up was a jazz group.

Next up was a group called the Classics (I did not stay around for the third portion of the band).

Return to DCA. Noticed they had the side door of the Carthay Circle open. This leads to the check in counter and then to the lounge.

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For Father's Day there is an Incredibles Limited Time Magic event going on. From 10am to 6pm you can have your picture taken in front of this backdrop.

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Stopped by the Mad T Party for a while. There are new songs in the set for the summer.

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Walked through Cars Land.

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Found a spot for World of Color which turned three this past week.

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I did not catch it till it was too late, but there is a new act at the Mad T Party.. an aerialist. Maybe next trip...

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Hope you enjoyed this highlight tour of the Disneyland Resort. For additional photos and details from this trip you can check out the full Disneyland Update I posted on my site, http://disneygeek.com Also be sure to follow me on twitter @disneygeekcom for pictures from the parks.



June 22, 2013

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 6/21/13

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Contributing photographer Jason of disneygeek.com sends us these photos from his trip to the parks on Friday, June 21, 2013.

Arrived at the Disneyland Resort just after lunch. First stop DCA where final preparations are underway for the Lone Ranger Premiere which takes place Saturday evening. As soon as you walk in you are greeted by this. (For Saturday guests will be diverted to the walkway behind Soarin' to enter and exit the park).

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There will be a red carpet stretching from the front of the park, down Buena Vista Street and Hollywood Blvd to the Hyperion where the stars will watch the premiere.

The Backlot will close at 2:00pm on Saturday..

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A look behind the curtain.

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Hollywood Blvd has the backdrops as well as some bleachers in between. Guessing those will be for fans.

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A large steam train engine that was used in the Lone Ranger filming.

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Everyone was commenting on the hidden Mickey inside the cab..

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Dancin' with Disney returned last week to Stage 17 (between Muppets and Monsters, Inc.). This week I stopped inside to see what had changed from last year.

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Inside a stage is in the center - some songs had a "featured character" who danced on the stage.

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There were 8 characters out in this grouping.

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It's a great opportunity for kids to get some one-on-one time with some of the characters, who are out on the dance floor with the guests. It's an air-conditioned space, with some padded benches around the perimeter - parents can sit and watch while their kids burn off some excess energy. There seemed to be more people enjoying it than last year, but it still wasn't crowded at all.

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The second group I saw featured 7 characters.

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The 2013 Disneyland All-American College Band started their summer performances on Thursday, so this was their second day in the park. At this point they perform their first set each day at the Backlot Stage in DCA. Here is a video of their opening number: The Trolley Song from Meet Me in St. Louis.


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Aladdin has gone dark for as they prepare for the Lone Ranger Premiere inside. The signage on the facades has been swapped out for the Premiere.

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Next stop Cars Land. They are still working on the Cozy Cone fountain.

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Wow you can see some of Route 66 this afternoon! Thanks to the Pixar Play Parade going by and drawing some guests off the street.

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Over to Disneyland. Stopped by the Disney Gallery on Main Street. They had some artwork to celebrate the Enchanted Tiki Room's 50th anniversary.

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The back room of the Gallery is still closed and will be for another week from what I read. I hear they are adding some items from the old Disneyana store back there. The exhibit portion of the gallery will move to the Opera House Lobby next door.

The display case and bench that used to be in the center room of the gallery has moved to where the ticket display case in the Opera house lobby.

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The Main Street Cone signage and menus are gone.. wonder if this location will be repurposed into something else soon?

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It was very quiet in the Jamboree area. The Cast Members near the photo area out-numbered the guests. Cowboy Mickey was able to spend a lot of time with guests. This is another quiet place to go and hang out with some of the characters.

We arrived just in time to see a horse race!

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No one coloring this afternoon.

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But in only a few minutes the Band will bring the place to life. Their second set of the day is at the Jamboree.

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The 2013 All-American College Band opened with a patriotic medley.


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Strike up the band!

One more clip of the band performing.

Time for a voyage on the Mark Twain to check in on the work at Big Thunder Mountain. Rainbow Ridge looks just about done.

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Plenty of scaffolding up around this rock work.

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Ate at the Village Haus and noticed new ketchup packets... looks like they changed the type they are using in the parks now. It contains sugar rather than high fructose corn syrup.

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Next up the All-American College Band in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle (these kids really get around!)

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To celebrate Monsters University the band performs a song from Monsters Inc - If I Didn't Have You

They close their set with the Disneyland Attraction Medley..

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Since The Enchanted Tiki Room celebrates its 50th Anniversary Sunday we had to stop by to sing with the birdies...

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Time for the nightly flag retreat which features the All-American College Band during the summer.

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Who Framed Roger Rabbit was released 25 years ago, June 21, 1988... was going to give the attraction a spin to mark the occasion but the line was longer than the time I had.

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The Matterhorn this afternoon.

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Had to wait for a break in Soundsational so I could cross

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Elvis, Scot Bruce, was at Tomorrowland Terrace

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Time for the All-American College Band's final performance of the day - Town Square set at 7:15.

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The band opens with their theme song.. Bubbles was a Cheerleader.


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This year the Michael Jackson Medley returns instead of Stevie Wonder.


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On the way out of the park noticed these new signs on the turnstiles to help people know what to do to get their hand stamped. It really did not seem to speed things up at all.

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Heading to DCA to close out my evening.

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Stopped by Route 66 to watch the neon come to life. Notice the Full Moon.

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Showtime... if you are in the park and have a moment near sunset I would recommend stopping by to watch the lights turn on it.. its a fun moment.

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Stopped by the Mad T Party.

The Tweedles MC'ing at the House of Cards Stage

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The Who R U act has been retired and a new aerial act has taken its place on the House of Cards Stage (I missed their name). Here is a video of the performance.

Pictures from the performance.. this act started last week but I missed it.

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On the way out a few last pictures of the train.

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The Carthay Circle with a the full moon

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Hope you enjoyed this highlight tour of the Disneyland Resort. For additional photos and details from this trip you can check out the full Disneyland Update I posted on my site, http://disneygeek.com Also be sure to follow me on twitter @disneygeekcom for pictures from the parks.



June 26, 2013

E3: The Wrap Up

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So as far as the Disney video games besides Disney Infinity and Ducktales Remastered, there were several others represented at E3.

Phineas and Ferb: Quest for Cool Stuff is a platformer game in which you can play as either Phineas and Ferb, hunting for artifacts to populate their Museum of Cool, or you can play as Agent P, out to foil the evil plans of Dr. Doofenshmirtz. [Multiple platforms]

Kingdom Hearts III was announced in development by Square Enix. Despite the name, this will be the eighth installment of the Kingdom Hearts series--an action role-playing game which combines characters from the worlds of Disney and Final Fantasy to wield keyblades and battle the Heartless. [Playstation 4, XBox One]

Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse is a side-scrolling platformer which will be remade for release later this year. Although the 3-D graphics will certainly be an update from the original 16-bit version, presumably the storyline of Mickey entering the Castle of Illusion to save Minnie will not. [Playstation 3, XBox 360, PC]

Possibly the game with the most confusing trailer was announced shortly before E3--Fantasia: Music Evolved. Billed as a successor to the movie Fantasia, it is a motion-controlled music rhythm game in which the player follows gesture prompts to gain points/energy that are subsequently used to open up and give life to different virtual environments. Oddly enough, there has so far been no indication that any Disney music or characters will be used--the Fantasia tie-in seems to be the manner in which the player conducts "molecular magic" like Sorcerer Mickey. My favorite part? Jazz clams! [XBox One, XBox 360]

...and, oh yes...

June 30, 2013

DisneyanaMania Convention: A Look Back

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Summertime's here, and we are fast approaching the onset of convention season, where big cavalcades of fannish delight such as San Diego Comic-Con and Disney's own Expo come piling on, one after the other, until by September it all threatens to become a blur of massed crowds, waiting in line, and overpriced concession food.

When making your plans as to what to attend this season, one smaller event traditionally well worth your time is the DisneyanaMania (previously NFFC/Disneyana) Annual Convention. To give you an example of what to expect, here are some of the highlights from last year:

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The first day started with "Historic Anaheim," starring long-time Disney artists Kevin Kidney and Jody Daily.

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Kevin spoke on their work with the Anaheim Historical Society to preserve and restore Anaheim's heritage, starting with Anaheim's old Disney-provided mascot, Andy Anaheim.

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Next up was Disney Legend Marty Sklar and his presentation on "Epcot--How it Changed the World."

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This talk was similar to the ones given at the EPCOT 30 event later in the year, showing a lot of early photos of both Disneyland and Walt Disney World, and touching on many of the early plans and goals the Imagineers had for EPCOT.

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At the midday break, they held their traditional "Luncheon With A Disney Legend," at which Glen Keane, Roger Broggie, and Roger Broggie Jr. were made Disneyana Disney Legends. (Roger Broggie Jr. accepted for both himself and his father, before tragically passing away later that year.)

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One hilarious panel came after lunch with Dan Povenmire and Jeff "Swampy" Marsh, creators of Phineas and Ferb. They spoke about their initial concepts for the show, the challenges of having written over 300 shows (at the time,) and how affected they were by the show's popularity. "We saw the show (Phineas and Ferb's Rockin' Rollin' Dance Party) and cried. Then we hoped people didn't see us and think we were sad, middle-aged men, so into Phineas and Ferb."

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Joanna Miller then shared some photos and memories of her grandfather, Walt Disney, in "A Chat with Walt's Granddaughter."

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The end of the first day came with Lisa Girolami, Senior Show Producer on the renovation of Disney's California Adventure, who gave a presentation on "WDI: Buena Vista Street."

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The next day started with "Selling Disney--The Art (and Fun) of Movie Promotions." Here, Robert Tieman showed us a lot of ads and promotional materials companies used to synergistically market their products along with the Disney films.

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In order to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the film Aladdin, there was an ASIFA (Association Internationale du Film D' Animation) panel made up of several of the key animators. Tom Sito moderated, with Scott Weinger, Andreas Deja, Duncan Majoribanks, Rick Farmiloe, and Mark Henn in attendance.

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After lunch a panel of distinguished authors convened to talk about their various books. Prior to that, they had all been available for greeting and book signings:

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Sam Gennaway, Urban Planner;

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Jack Linquist, first President of Disneyland;

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Dave Smith, former Chief Archivist;

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...and Legendary Imagineer Bob Gurr. Also in attendance were Margaret Kerry, Tinker Bell, and Carolyn Carroll, widow to Eddie Carroll, voice of Jiminy Cricket.

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"Around the Campfire with Marty" was another great talk, featuring David Stollery--Marty of the Spin and Marty series. He told anecdotes about the filming of their Mickey Mouse Club series, his later career in design (his company is the only designer of life guard towers in the world!) and his ongoing friendship with Tim Considine (Spin.)

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Rounding out the weekend of seminars was Kevin Rafferty, talking about the development of Cars Land from its inception as "Carland," some two years before the movie "Cars" came out.

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Their closing banquet this year was themed around a joyously rowdy Pirates of the Caribbean panel made up of Alice Davis, Roger Broggie Jr., and Bob Gurr.

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The next day was their traditional All Disneyana Show and Sale, where several rooms of people selling virtually anything Disney-related you might wish for happily plied their trade...famous and non-famous.

What makes the Disneyana Convention stand out is its relatively small size--there's no call for hours of queuing, and plenty of available seating for each presentation. The audience is small enough where most speakers are able to take the time to briefly greet anyone interested. While the price is higher than a few of the other conventions ($270 for two days of seminars, not including the special ticketed dining events,) it could easily be argued that the ability to attend relatively stress-free is worth the difference.

This year, DisneyanaMania 2013 is being held July 11 through 14 at the Crowne Plaza Resort in Anaheim. Registrations are still being taken at http://www.disneyanamania.org/ where you can also find a schedule of events and more information. Scheduled speakers for this year include Marty Sklar, Rolly Crump, and many more.

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About June 2013

This page contains all entries posted to Salute to All Things Disney but Mostly Disneyland in June 2013. They are listed from oldest to newest.

May 2013 is the previous archive.

July 2013 is the next archive.

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