“My daddy is a hero,” says eight-year-old Jessy Hill as she gives her father a hug after celebrating a dream-come-true Disney moment.
Jessy and her 11-year-old brother, Austin, got the opportunity of a lifetime – to be grand marshals in the “Celebrate a Dream Come True” parade at Magic Kingdom. Grand marshals are randomly selected daily for the parade, but for the Hill family of Canton, NC, the magic of the day held extra special meaning.
Sgt. James Hill, a U.S. Army Reserve Soldier, recently returned from his second deployment to Iraq. The Hill family was in Orlando on April 18 to attend an Army Reserve Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Workshop when they were randomly recognized in honor of the Month of the Military Child.
“I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate what they endured during my deployment,” Sgt. Hill said about his children. “Like other military families, our deployments are not just about the soldier. It also affects our children in more ways than one may see.”
Since 1986, the U.S. Army has designated April as the Month of the Military Child to recognize the important role that military children play in the armed forces community. It is a time to applaud America's youngest heroes and thank them for the sacrifices they make in courageous support of their military parents.
“They’ve earned it,” Keri Hill said about her children who have gone through two recent deployments. “They’ve gone a whole year with just me and without their father. They need to have a lot of fun, and that’s what we are doing here today.” She said military children experience deployments differently than adults.
“They are without a parent and don’t exactly understand what the deployment is about,” Hill said. “They rely on us, as parents, to explain why their mom or dad is leaving for an extended period of time. I think it impacts them harder than it does us.”
After waving non-stop and with a big smile etched on his face, Austin Hill said the parade was an amazing experience he will never forget. He was amazed by the outpouring of support they encountered and couldn’t wait to return home to tell his family and friends about his magical experience.
“I enjoyed seeing the crowd’s faces,” he said. “There are people out there that really do care about soldiers like my dad. It really makes me feel good about what he does as he serves our country with other soldiers in Iraq.”
Sunday, May 31, 2009
Posted by Greg Semon at 7:49 PM
Photo by KEN STEINHARDT, THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
By SARAH TULLY
The Orange County Register
ANAHEIM Brandon Moss' team members figured out quickly last year that Tomorrowland ride lines go slower than those in Fantasyland.
So, when his teammates today began a Disney contest to ride as many rides as possible, his four-member team dashed for Snow White's Scary Adventures in Fantasyland first.
Moss joined about 300 contestants and organizers that turned out early this morning for the third annual Gumball Rally at the two Disney theme parks – a race in which teams try to get on every ride as quickly as they can. The contest, put on by the MiceChat blog, began shortly after theme park gates opened at 8 a.m. and finishes at 8 p.m. tonight after which the winners will earn a gumball trophy.
The Disney fan Web site originally planned to limit the number to 250, but let more sign up because of the great interest, said Todd Regan, administrator of MiceChat. The contest is largely done on the honor system, but participants must answer obscure questions about rides to prove where they were.
Most contestants came in matching attire, including neon-green Mickey ears and sombreros with curly moustaches.
Some got creative with their names. One team of four men – two with long hair, another with a Mohawk and chin piercing – was called the Eisner Initiative, named after former Disney chief executive officer Michael Eisner. Their black T-shirts featured a logo similar to that of the Dharma Initiative on the TV show "Lost." Moss' group, Team Protozoa, comes from a band in "Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century," a 1999 Disney Channel TV movie.
"We came as a different name last year, so we challenged ourselves to come up with an even more obscure Disney Channel name this year," said Moss, 22, sporting an aqua team shirt.
Each team devised their own strategies and, in some cases, incorporated lessons learned during previous test runs. Team Protozoa came up with its plan on the ride over.
"It's iron-clad," said Moss, whose team failed to rank last year.
Still, this morning, Team Protozoa and friends, Alley Cats, were far ahead of the previous year's pace when they got stuck on Autopia. Before 9:15 a.m., they had already hit seven rides and two walk-through attractions.
Another team, Safety Third, took the opposite approach.
Eric Ceballos, 22, of Fresno, said he spent two hours the night before combing through a Disneyland map, writing down the numbers of the rides in order. Ceballos and his three Safety Third teammates planned to go to Tomorrowland and knock out Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage first because of its usually long line. But they found that the sub ride was worth fewer points than the Matterhorn Bobsleds, which had no line.
"We had to shift our plan. But we're back on plan. This is exactly what we want to do," Ceballos said.
Ceballos' team was also facing off against family and friends in three other teams, who treated the rally as a family reunion.
"We do trash talking before the Gumball Rally. We've seen each other a few times and exchanged heated words, but it hasn't gotten physical yet," Ceballos joked.
Safety Third got off to a slow start, but by about 9:35 a.m., the team had completed seven rides and lined up for Casey Jr. Circus Train. He didn't recall how the team ranked last year, but this year, he expected it would be different.
"Our goal's to win, of course," Ceballos said.
Contact the writer: 714-704-3793 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted by Greg Semon at 10:47 AM
If you have ever dreamed of meeting Mickey Mouse and touring Sleeping Beauty's Castle you can now enjoy the best of the Disney experience without even leaving home.
From this month Disney fans will be able to get a three-dimensional view of the magical destination as Disneyland Paris becomes the first European theme park to use Google Earth.
However the kids might start to complain if you try to exchange a trip to Disneyland Paris for the virtual experience at home.
In fact, Disney is confident that the 3D experience will lead to more people booking to visit the park. Future visitors will be able to immerse themselves in all the resort has to offer, exploring and planning their trip before they book.
In true magical Disney style, visitors will be able to start their adventure with a virtual skydive taking them past the French countryside to a view of Sleeping Beauty Castle at the heart of the Disneyland Park.
Guests can then 'fly' through the streets of The Walt Disney Studios, the entertainment offerings of Disney Village and around each of the seven hotels before heading to Main Street, U.S.A.
In order to bring the theme park to life on the screen, two photographers worked for 20 days to shoot all the visible surfaces of Disneyland Paris, including every building facade.
A total of 85,000 photos were taken in all which became the start for some 1,587 3D models that populate the virtual tour.
'I have seen many amazing 3D models in Google Earth, but when I saw the new Disneyland Paris, I was blown away by how realistic it is. Disney's artists have outdone themselves,' said Brian McClendon, Engineering Director of Google Maps and Google Earth.
This partnership marks the first of many technology initiatives that will enable our guests to plan for and maximize their time while vacationing at Disneyland Paris,' said Philippe Gas, President of Disneyland Paris.
'Guests and travel planners can now explore our world with just a few clicks of a mouse, and they can book vacations while being immersed in what the destination has to offer.'
Posted by Greg Semon at 9:16 AM
Travel team, Forbes.com
Posted: 28 May 2009 1845 hrs
Despite the economy, Amusement Today magazine reports that surprisingly—or maybe not—there was an overall increase in amusement parks attendance last summer.
Chances are, many people who had planned on traveling decided it was more affordable, and maybe just as much fun, to keep things local. “It has always been the case that, even in tough times, people will still spend money to get out of the house,” says Tracy Sarris, president of the International Association for the Leisure and Entertainment Industry. “Amusement parks offer that escape at a price that many people can justify.”
If the promise of good times minus the burden of advance legwork is a perpetual draw, new attractions have a large role in bringing people back, too. “With constantly evolving and improving park experiences marked by new and innovative rides, entertaining new shows, and new services like VIP programs which allow guests to move to the front of a ride line, you have multiple reasons for guests to visit over and over again,” says Sarah Gmyr, spokesperson for the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions.
Although travel to Florida was down overall, attendance at Universal Studios in Orlando saw an increase while Disney's Magic Kingdom and Epcot parks stayed flat. This may be due to Universal Studios' '08 openings of The Simpsons Ride, an adventure that takes place in Krustyland and features a psychotic Sideshow Bob on the lam, and Disaster! A Major Motion Picture Ride which uses HD video projection to create 3-D images of participants starring in movie trailers.
The economic downturn seems not to have affected Asian parks, nearly all of which reported upticks in attendance. Even the fairly new Hong Kong Disney, which was far behind the much older Ocean Park in 2007, experienced an increase of over a quarter of a million visitors, up almost 10% from the previous year. Except in this case, brand recognition is the explanation for the pioneer of the modern amusement park, Disney, leading the pack in North America, Japan and Europe. In fact, numbers at Disneyland Paris raised by 688,000, bringing the total to nearly 9 million more visitors than the next biggest European attraction, Europa-Park.
The huge difference in attendance between Disneyland Paris and other European parks may be due to its location in Marne-La-Vallee, within the Parisian metropolitan area. In comparison, the location of Germany’s Europa-Park in the town of Rust seems remote with Freiburg and Strasbourg as the nearest urban centers. Other Euro amusement parks, like the venerable Tivoli Gardens, have the charm and whimsy that influenced many early theme parks but not the newest bells and whistles of Disneyland Paris.
Today there is more diversity among amusement parks than you might think. You can always count on Disney—from Orlando to Tokyo—but amusement parks in different countries can be a type cultural tourism unto itself. “No two parks in the world are the same," says Sarah Gmyr, spokesperson for the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions. “Each one is created to appeal to its core market, which is based on its physical location. Parks offer a different mix of attractions and rides that may at first appear to be similar, are in fact, and modified to address local customs and culture.”
In choosing the parks to tally for the list, waterparks and aquarium parks like Seaworld and Japan's huge Yokohama Hakkeijim Sea Paradise have been excluded in order to focus soley on amusement parks whose rides are the major attraction. Although Disneyworld and Disneyland comprise several parks, we used the most popular section of each—for instance the Magic Kingdom—as the watermark for overall attendance, since most visitors purchase base tickets that allow them multiple-park visits over the length of their stay.
(Note: all attendance figures are drawn from the industry-standard TEA/ERA Theme Park Attendance Report for 2008.)
Posted by Greg Semon at 9:07 AM
Saturday, May 30, 2009
Posted by Greg Semon at 9:49 PM
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The Jungle Cruise attraction in Adventureland at Magic Kingdom Park takes explorers on an excursion down the rivers of three different continents. Going deeper and deeper into the jungle, the boat’s skipper is your guide, humorously regaling you with tales of danger as you pass ancient ruins, zany explorers and exotic animals.
The attraction, as we know it today, is much different than Walt Disney’s original vision. During the planning stages, Walt intended for the attraction to have live animals roaming around, much like Kilimanjaro Safaris at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. When he realized he couldn’t control the animals’ sleeping habits, he decided he could tell a better story using Audio-Animatronics.
The first version was very serious, based on Walt Disney’s “True Life Adventure Series.” It wasn’t until a few years later that humorous vignettes were added.
Since coming to the Walt Disney World Resort for its opening on Oct. 1, 1971, the attraction is as popular as ever, delighting the young and the young-at-heart alike. Each excursion is different, as skippers interject their own personality into the spiel.
Skippers also create magic for Guests of all ages each day as they invite them to come to the front of the boat and join them as honorary Jungle Cruise skippers. In addition to all the fun and photo opportunities, the honorary skippers also receive a Magical Moment certificate.
Jungle Cruise Skipper Rob Van Vlokhoven always strives to give his passengers his best performance.
“The Jungle Cruise was one of Walt’s favorite rides. It’s all about storytelling and setting the mood at the different scenes. It’s seeing the children smile and the magic about everyone being together having fun and sharing moments with them.”
Posted by Greg Semon at 8:32 PM
Friday, May 29, 2009
Posted by Greg Semon at 11:27 AM
Thursday, May 28, 2009
I'm on my Soap Box again!!!!! You want to know why the piracy of movie are so high outside the US. Thing like this!! Disney/Pixar is not releasing "UP" till Sept 4th in Singapore and Asia. Why is this who knows but Disney.
Disney/Pixar should have released "UP". now, world wide. Next week in Singapore is the start of a School Holiday. What a great time to release the film "Up",for when the kids are out of School.
I can bet if I were in Bangkok week after the film opens, I will be able to buy a DVD of "UP". Which would you rather do wait 3 months for the movie release or buy it next week? Which would you do buy a ticket to see "UP" in a theater or pay about $3.00sgd for the pirated DVD. Do Not buy pirated DVD!!!!!!!!
Again Disney you need to start thinking Globally and not just the US. You just mite make a lot more money.
I was just informed that the UK doesn't get "UP" till October 16th. Sitting here just shaking my head and thinking, "What would Walt think"
Posted by Greg Semon at 2:57 PM
TWENTY-one-year old Annis Farahdilla Mohd Radzib from Kepong was recently named winner of 7-Eleven’s Cherry Blossoms Contest.
Annis Farahdilla won herself a seven-day/six-night tour to Tokyo, Japan (including Disneyland) with flights and accommodation for two persons and RM8,000 travelling expenses.
“Thanks to the proximity of a 7-Eleven behind my office, I frequently made purchases there after lunch and that’s how I entered the contest,” she said.
“In all, I submitted more than 10 entries, and I am thankful to my mother who helped me with the slogan writing” she said.
First runner-up was Lee Kim Loong from Puchong, who walked away with a 46-inch Full High Definition LCD Television.
“I couldn’t believe it when 7-Eleven’s staff called me last week to say I won a major prize. This is my first time winning in a contest,” he said.
Meanwhile, second-runner-up Chew Molly from Seremban won a three-day/two-night trip to Phuket.
“I was so surprised and excited when I received that call. I really did not expect that with only five entries, I could be one of the winners,” she said.
7-Eleven’s advertising and promotions assistant manager Marcus Theam gave away the prizes to the lucky winners at a prize giving ceremony at 7-Eleven’s headquarters at Plaza Berjaya in Kuala Lumpur recently.
The contest, which ran from Feb 23 to April 10, was open to 7-Eleven customers who made a minumum of RM7 worth of purchases in a single receipt.
All they had to do was to answer two simple questions and write a slogan, attach their original receipts to the form and drop them off at any 7-Eleven store.
All correctly answered entries were then evaluated by a panel of judges who picked the winners based on the best and most creative slogans submitted.
Other prizes given out to lucky winners include NEC laptops, Sony Cyber-Shot digital camera, Sony PlayStation Portable gaming console and an iPod Nano 8GB music walkman
Posted by Greg Semon at 10:31 AM
Despite the threat of a loud burst, Jordan Nagai is a quiet kid. But “Up” director Pete Docter got lines out of him, even when it took some tickling.
By Susan King LA Times
May 28, 2009
Director Pete Docter knew he would have to be resourceful in getting shy Jordan Nagai to laugh on cue for his role as a Wilderness Explorer named Russell in Disney/Pixar's animated "Up," which opens Friday. "First, I think we said, 'Think of something really funny, and you kind of went 'ha, ha, ha,' " Docter reminds the 9-year-old Nagai during a recent interview. "I remember at one point, I picked you up upside-down and tickled your tummy and said, 'Say the line.' You were really laughing."
There were other times when he needed more energy out of Nagai, especially when the youngster had to repeat a line dozens of times.
"We would come up with games," recalled Docter. "I would say, 'Jordan, next time before [you say the line], run over there, run around the chair three times, jump up and down three times,' and you would do it. A lot of times that would make you more energetic."
Nagai looks up at Docter: "Yeah," he says in barely a whisper.
Because Nagai is so quiet, it was suggested that Docter do the interview with him at a room poolside at the Hollywood Roosevelt recently. But the filmmaker still ended up doing most of the talking.
Nagai was chosen from about 500 kids who auditioned to play Russell, a typically rambunctous 8-year-old who befriends a crotchety, elderly widower named Carl (Ed Asner). After Carl's wife, Ellie, dies before they got a chance to travel to the legendary Paradise Falls in South America, Carl, who worked with balloons all of his life, attaches thousands of balloons to his house so he can travel to the location. Russell ends up stowing away in the floating house.
"I don't know if we told you this, Jordan," Docter tells Nagai, "but in some of the later sessions your voice had gotten a little bit different, so we had to pitch it up to make it a little bit higher so it would match your earlier voice because you are getting big."
Originally, Nagai's older brother Hunter was to audition for Russell. But Nagai, who is 18 months younger, tagged along. "I have done auditions before for commercials," said Nagai. "But not for a movie."
While at the session, the casting director asked Nagai to try out.
"You got to go up and say some things about judo," Docter says to Nagai.
"They recorded Jordan here, and they brought the tapes up to Pixar and we listened to like 35 tapes. As soon as Jordan's voice came on we started smiling because he is appealing and innocent and cute and different from what I was initially thinking."
After doing more auditions and recordings, Nagai got the job.
Initially, said Docter, Russell was to be more hyper. In fact, the initial concept was based on the effusive personality of animator Peter Sohn, who was the voice of Emile in "Ratatouille" and is the director of the short "Partly Cloudy," which will be shown before "Up."
"But Jordan, you were a little more calm and relaxed about things," said Docter, who also directed Pixar's "Monsters, Inc." "We started to change the character, and that made him more unique and special."
Since completing "Up," he also supplied a voice on an episode of "The Simpsons," which will air in December.
Though he never recorded his dialogue with any of the other "Up" actors, that wasn't the case with "The Simpsons."
"I was with the person who plays Bart [Nancy Cartwright]," says Nagai. "She said I was the first kid to record on 'The Simpsons.' "
Was Nagai surprised to learn that bad boy Bart is actually played by a woman?
"Kinda," he said with a small smile.
Posted by Greg Semon at 10:20 AM
Long Beach — A crowd of all ages went back in time to see Walt Disney’s vision for his parks and looked into the future at two new cruise ships, a Disney Hawaiian resort and other attractions.
Wholesome, fun entertainment for families, “That’s the legacy of Walt Disney,” said Jack Blitch, vice president of Walt Disney Imagineering in Florida. He spoke during Tuesday night’s Issues and Answers, sponsored by the University of Southern Mississippi and the Sun Herald.
Disney now has five theme parks around the world and he said when they try to incorporate the culture of Hong Kong, Paris and Tokyo, the people in those countries say, “We want American.”
Every park has a Magic Kingdom similar Walt’s design for Disneyland. Each has It’s a Small World and every castle is different, said Blitch.
He spent about seven years guiding the creation of Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Florida yet he said clearly his favorite attraction is the Tower of Terror, which he also helped build.
Blitch confirmed there are hidden Mickeys all around the Disney parks. “Yes, they do exist and yes, they’re all over the place,” he said. He also talked about the tunnels beneath Walt Disney World in Florida built so the costume characters from Adventure Land are never seen cutting through Tomorrow Land.
“There really is a complete city under the Magic Kingdom,” he said.
These attractions, hotels and cruise ships are created and built by teams of Disney Imagineers, who work across 140 disciplines from engineers to writers and even prop shoppers who scour the country for just the right props.
“Everything we do tells a story,” he said.
The Walt Disney company has just purchased 26 acres on Oahu in Hawaii and will create the first mixed-use family resort outside of the Disney theme parks.
Two new cruise ships, Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy, will be 50 percent larger than the two current ships.
“Everything we do is based on teamwork,” he said. “There is only one person’s name on the door and that is Walt Disney.”
Posted by Greg Semon at 8:34 AM
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
If you think the international entertainment scene has snatched world-class talent Jinky Llamanzares away from the home front, think again. She’s back in the country with renewed dynamism to resume her career in mainstream entertainment.
“Miss Saigon” Canada, “Tommy,” the rock opera, Hong Kong Disneyland’s Golden Mickeys had kept Jinky away from the Philippines intermittently, leaving behind her a flourishing solo singing career. Understandably, she made a go for these bigger opportunities abroad to further her growth as an artist. And she has no regrets.
In 1992, Jinky’s solo career hit its stride when she took on the part of Gigi in the Canadian production of “Miss Saigon.” She was a sensation on the world stage, such that after “Miss Saigon,” she was immediately offered the part of the Acid Queen in the rock opera “Tommy,” which she starred in until 1995.
She came back to the Philippines after that, and resumed doing lounge acts and corporate shows till the offer to join the Hong Kong Disneyland team came her way. She became part of Golden Mickeys, an attraction that paid tribute to Disney’s award-winning movies.
“I worked every day, from Monday to Friday, then I would have two days off,” Jinky recounts.
“I saw it as another experience. Disney is a reputable company, so why wouldn’t I want to be part of it? I also wanted to travel. I love travelling, and I love entertaining, and being part of HK Disneyland, I got to do both.”
Jinky was in Hong Kong from September 2005 to March 2007. Her actual contract was for one and a half years, but she stayed a little longer than that before coming home to Manila.
A seasoned performer that she is, Jinky thinks she still has what it takes to shine once more in the local music scene, unfazed by tough competition and the challenge of the times. “Once upon a time, I made my mark in this industry. I can make it again,” she says with all certainty.
Lest the public forget her, she reminds, “I want to tell people that I’m still active. I want to try acting and hosting. I want to experiment. There’s nothing like performing here.”
But who can forget Jinky Llamanzares? Hers is a tough act to follow. Her triumph in the Musicmate search in 1986 (the same singing contest won by Jamie Rivera) gave Jinky a jumpstart in the industry. After this win, Jinky became part of Music Making Company and spent almost two years with the band, performing in various hotel lounges in and around Metro Manila. A solo career was eventually inevitable.
Even before “Saigon,” “Tommy,” and Disney, Jinky has left an indelible mark in the music industry that makes it easy for her to bounce back every time she returns home. There will always be a place for her in the local music scene. Remember, Jinky Llamanzares is world-class talent!
Posted by Greg Semon at 11:23 AM
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Tokyo Disneyland Hotel, the largest of the three Disney Hotels in Tokyo Disney Resort, opened July 8, 2008 during the Tokyo Disney Resort 25th Anniversary year.
Tokyo Disneyland Hotel stands in front of the Disney Resort Line’s Tokyo Disneyland Station at the main entrance of Tokyo Disneyland Park. Because of its location, the hotel serves as the “front door” to the Resort, welcoming Guests with its grand and luxurious Victorian design. The hotel design blends with the architecture of World Bazaar, which is the first area Guests see upon entering Tokyo Disneyland Park. Victorian-style hotels are found at several Disney Resorts, with the first one having been built at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. This architectural style was chosen because Walt Disney, who was born near the end of the Victorian era, championed the values and ideals of that time throughout his life. That heritage will continue with the new Tokyo Disneyland Hotel.
The 705 guest rooms at Tokyo Disneyland Hotel feature Mickey Mouse and other Disney character motifs in its designs. A select number of rooms are themed to the Disney classic films, such as Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and Cinderella. More than half of the guest rooms have an alcove with a built-in additional bed. The hotel also has two unique restaurants and a lobby lounge, as well as four banquet rooms in different sizes to cater to various needs. There are also an esthetique salon, the first for a Disney Hotel, and a beauty salon for children. All of these facilities provide a comfortable and memorable stay for the Guests.
Tokyo Disneyland Hotel will provide a dreamlike experience for Guests who wish to be immersed in the world of Disney during their entire stay at the Resort.
Tokyo Disneyland Hotel Information
Name Tokyo Disneyland Hotel
Location 29-1 Maihama, Urayasu-shi, Chiba Prefecture, Japan
Owned By Oriental Land Co., Ltd.
Operated By Milial Resort Hotels Co., Ltd.
(a wholly-owned subsidiary of Oriental Land Co., Ltd.)
Structure 9 floors above ground level
Total Floor Area Approximately 89,000 m2
Design Supervision Walt Disney Imagineering
Guest Rooms 705 rooms
Banquet Rooms 4 banquet rooms (1 large room and 3 smaller rooms)
Dining Facilities 3 facilities (2 restaurants and 1 lobby lounge)
Other Facilities Disney shop, beauty salon, esthetique salon, etc.
Posted by Greg Semon at 10:31 PM
Disney Ambassador Hotel was the first Disney branded hotel in Japan, constructed and operated under a license from The Walt Disney Company. Blending into the hotel's elegant art deco design are touches of Disney fun: images of popular Disney characters, including Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse, can be found throughout the hotel. Guest rooms are designed for families and groups of friends. The Hotel also offers many other amenities including Disney Character Dining, during which Disney characters visit guests while they dine at Chef Mickey, and Disney's Fairy Tale Weddings.
DISNEY AMBASSADOR HOTEL FACT SHEET
Official Name DISNEY AMBASSADOR HOTEL
Location 2-11 Maihama, Urayasu-shi,
Chiba Prefecture 279-8522
Grand Opening July 7, 2000
Management Owner Oriental Land Company, Ltd.(land and buildings)
Operator Milial Resort Hotels Co., Ltd. (A wholly-owned subsidiary of Oriental Land Co., Ltd.)
Design Robert A.M. Stern Architects, New York City, U.S.A.
Design Supervision Walt Disney Imagineering
Structure 6 levels above ground and 1 below ground
Total Floor Area Approximately 47,000m2
Guest Accommodations 504 rooms, located on the 2nd through 6th floors
Banquet Facilities 7 (1 ballroom, 4 banquet rooms, 2 reception rooms)
Dining Facilities 5 (1 Japanese and Western restaurant, 1 Japanese restaurant,1 Californian restaurant, 1 lobby lounge, 1 deli and cafe)
Other Facilities Fitness Room, Outdoor Pool, Pool Bar, Disney Character Shop, Game Center, Sundry Shop
Posted by Greg Semon at 10:25 PM
Posted by Greg Semon at 10:16 PM
Tokyo DisneySea Park is a richly imaginative world of adventure, romance, discovery and fun-a celebration of the myths and realities of the sea in the grand tradition of Disney family entertainment. The second Disney Park in Japan, and the first Disney Park to be inspired by legends of the sea, Tokyo DisneySea is located adjacent to the popular Tokyo Disneyland Park, on the shores of Tokyo Bay.
Upon entering the Park, guests will see the DisneySea AquaSphere, a unique, globe-shaped sculpture and fountain which represents our Earth, the "water planet." Symbolizing the ocean-themed adventures waiting inside the Park, the AquaSphere will amaze viewers with dynamic cascades of water that flow down and around the globe, mysteriously clinging to its surface.
Beyond the entrance, guests will find seven, distinct "ports of call." Mediterranean Harbor offers the old-world charm of a romantic southern European seaport, while American Waterfront nostalgically showcases the harbors of New York and Cape Cod at the beginning of the 20th century. Across the horizons of time, the futuristic marina of Port Discovery celebrates the adventure and excitement of new frontiers in the sea and sky. Guests will confront ancient perils and hidden mysteries in the jungles of Lost River Delta and encounter Aladdin and his playful Genie pal when they explore the exotic enchantment of The Arabian Nights along the shores of Arabian Coast. The whimsical "under the sea" world of Ariel from the classic Disney animated film The Little Mermaid (1989) comes alive in Mermaid Lagoon. And deep within the smoldering volcano of Mysterious Island, guests will discover portals to fantastic adventures with the legendary Captain Nemo.
The exciting adventures and romantic tales to be found at these seven ports of call are brought to life in a variety of unique attractions. When guests board StormRider in Port Discovery, they will experience all the thrills of soaring high above the clouds and diving into the eye of a storm. Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Crystal Skull in Lost River Delta takes visitors on a perilous journey through the secret corridors of a foreboding Central American pyramid. Guests can board boats in Arabian Coast and join the famous sailor, Sindbad, on a storybook journey of his treacherous travels in Sindbad's Story Book Voyages. In Mysterious Island, guests will discover hidden wonders of the ocean in 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and embark on a thrilling adventure far below an active volcano in Journey to the Center of the Earth.
In addition to many attractions, Tokyo DisneySea also features dazzling live entertainment and events, distinctive fine dining and unique shopping opportunities. Guests will also enjoy encounters with the world-famous Disney characters, including Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse and Donald Duck, as well as the Genie from the Disney animated feature film Aladdin (1992), and Ariel from The Little Mermaid.
Another unique aspect of Tokyo DisneySea is a richly themed, luxury hotel located inside the Park. Situated on the Park's main waterfront in Mediterranean Harbor, the Tokyo DisneySea Hotel MiraCosta offers breathtaking views of the Park and Tokyo Bay. As an integral part of the overall experience, the Tokyo DisneySea Hotel MiraCosta allows guests to continue "living the dream" by staying overnight in the Park's adventure-filled world.
The two Disney Parks complement and enhance each other. The foundation for Tokyo Disneyland remains the traditional, classic Disney stories of fantasy, dreams and magic, while Tokyo DisneySea presents new Disney experiences based on a wealth of ocean lore and facts, focusing on imaginative worlds of adventure, romance, discovery and fun.
Walt Disney once said, of his original park in Anaheim, California, "Disneyland will never be completed as long as there is imagination left in the world." This is certainly true as well for the Tokyo Disney Resort experience. With the addition of Tokyo DisneySea Park right next to Tokyo Disneyland Park, the grand tradition of Disney family entertainment will continue for an audience that is growing every year.
Posted by Greg Semon at 10:33 AM
The magic of Disney came to Japan with the opening of TOKYO DISNEYLAND Park on April 15, 1983.
The Walt Disney Company joined forces with Oriental Land Co., Ltd. to "imagineer" a third Disney park. When TOKYO DISNEYLAND opened on reclaimed land about ten kilometers east of central Tokyo, Mickey Mouse and all his fellow Disney characters took up residence in their first Disney home outside the United States.
The Disney park in Japan is about 1.5 times the size of the original DISNEYLAND Park in Anaheim, California. TOKYO DISNEYLAND is laid out in a pentagonal shape that allows guests to conveniently choose from the 41 attractions located throughout its seven different "themed" lands.
The continued growth of the DISNEYLAND Resort in California, the WALT DISNEY WORLD Resort in Florida and the DISNEYLAND Paris Resort in France and the worldwide acclaim they have achieved attests to the success of the Disney entertainment formula -- one which is carried out to the same degree of quality at TOKYO DISNEYLAND as well. Many of the most popular attractions at the Disney parks were brought to the Tokyo Park, while others have been created just for TOKYO DISNEYLAND.
Besides the many attractions, there are 55 dining facilities and 54 different shops throughout the property. The dining spots range from themed snack counters to elaborate, gourmet restaurants. The shops are all themed to the lands where they are located. Guests, as visitors to this magical kingdom are called, can shop for everything from Mickey Mouse T-shirts to exclusively blended perfumes.
TOKYO DISNEYLAND is a unique place where people of all ages can find enjoyment and share in all the laughter, thrills, and surprises of this magical Disney park.
Posted by Greg Semon at 10:30 AM
About Tokyo Disney Resort
Tokyo Disney Resort is a totally integrated, entertainment destination that expands the concept of a theme park to a theme resort. Located on some 200 hectares of land, Tokyo Disney Resort is Japan's first "theme resort" and encompasses a number of distinct facilities, each promising a unique brand of themed entertainment. Guests visiting the Resort will enjoy a thrilling environment filled with high quality amenities, hospitality and entertainment.
Before Tokyo Disney Resort, there was Tokyo Disneyland Park, the first Disney Park to be built outside the United States. Opening in April 1983, Tokyo Disneyland brought the dreams and magic of Disney family entertainment to Japan.
Just outside JR Maihama Station is Ikspiari, which opened in July 7, 2000. Featuring nine unique themed zones of shopping, dining and entertainment, including some 130 shops and restaurants, Ikspiari is also the location of Cinema Ikspiari, a state-of-the-art cinema complex with 16-screens.
Disney Ambassador Hotel, the first Disney branded hotel in Japan, also opened in July 7, 2000. This elegantly designed resort hotel features 1930s American art deco design, and special Disney themed amenities. Here guests will enjoy Disney Character Dining, where Disney characters greet them while they dine. And couples can make their dreams come true with Disney's Fairy Tale Weddings in the hotel's Rose Chapel.
Tokyo DisneySea Park and the in-park Tokyo DisneySea Hotel MiraCosta opened in September 4, 2001. Tokyo DisneySea is inspired by the myths and legends of the sea. Incorporating its seaside location, Tokyo DisneySea is comprised of seven themed ports of call. The Tokyo DisneySea Hotel MiraCosta captures the ambience of old-world Italy. "Mira costa" is Italian for "view of the coast," and this luxury hotel offers accommodations with impressive views of the Park's major waterway and Tokyo Bay.
The Disney Resort Line monorail system began operations in July 27, 2001. The system connects the various Resort facilities, providing guests with a convenient means of transportation around the Resort.
Oriental Land Co., Ltd. was established in 1960 to develop large-scale leisure facilities to contribute to the nation's culture and welfare. That original mission was accomplished with the opening of Tokyo Disneyland Park. The success of that Park prompted the desire to present bigger dreams and more excitement to as many guests as possible. With the evolution from theme park to the Tokyo Disney Resort, Oriental Land will be able to do all that and more.
Posted by Greg Semon at 10:23 AM
Three Little Pigs is an animated short film released on May 27, 1933 by United Artists, produced by Walt Disney and directed by Burt Gillett. Based on a fairy tale of the same name, Three Little Pigs won the 1934 Academy Award for Best Short Subject: Cartoons. In 1994, it was voted #11 of the 50 Greatest Cartoons of all time by members of the animation field. In 2007, Three Little Pigs was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".
Posted by Greg Semon at 9:45 AM
Monday, May 25, 2009
Link to Spot Me ID
Jamie Rayko was visiting Orlando, Fla., in 2007 when her 7-year-old daughter became separated from the group during a trip to a theme park.
Her daughter found a park employee to help her, but in the panic of the moment, she couldn't remember her mother's cell-phone number. There was no way for the employee to call Rayko to tell her that her daughter was safe.
"It was just an absolute horrifying experience," said Rayko, a mother of three.
The family was eventually reunited - and that terrible experience spawned a business.
Rayko, who now lives with her family in Celebration, Fla., the Disney-built community in Osceola County, has created a line of lanyards, bracelets and temporary tattoos for children to wear when visiting large, busy venues such as theme parks or sporting events.
What she's selling, she says, is peace of mind. Priced at about $8, the Spot Me ID comes with a permanent marker, so parents can write a contact phone number on the identification tag in case the child gets separated from the family.
The products are illustrated with a cartoon dog, Spot, drawn in various situations, such as riding a roller coaster, at the beach and playing football.
Rayko said the goal was to create something fun that children would want to wear.
The Spot Me ID recently got a big break when Universal Studios starting stocking it.
Rayko said her creations there are right where most parents head first when they arrive at the theme park: guest relations, near the stroller rental.
A spokesman for Universal Studios confirmed the park carries the product, though the company does not comment on its vendor relationships.
Since its launch in September at the ABC Kids Expo in Las Vegas, the Spot Me ID has received several accolades, including being chosen best new product in merchandise by the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions.
Rayko said the product is already on sale at several smaller attractions, and she is planning to hire a sales force to promote Spot Me ID across the country.
And she is already getting feedback from satisfied customers who report the product worked as planned.
"There's nothing more important to a parent than just peace of mind," Rayko said.
For more information go to SpotmeID
Posted by Greg Semon at 3:23 PM
Saturday, May 23, 2009
|Disney / Pixar's 'Up' video featurette|
Posted by Greg Semon at 11:16 PM
Croydon brain tumour boy gets dream trip to Disneyland
A five-year-old boy with an inoperable brain tumour has been given a dream trip to Disneyland Paris, thanks to the Croydon Guardian.
Robert Haddad read about Sam Watson’s condition in last week’s newspaper and it brought back memories of his son James, who also suffered from a brain tumour.
He set up a trust in his son’s name after he passed away in 2002, and decided to use the charity funds to pay for the Watsons, who he has met, to go on a family holiday.
James’ plight touched the hearts of Croydon Guardian readers who donated thousands of pounds to his appeal fund.
Mum Julie said: “I was gobsmacked when Robert called me and said he would like to pay for the trip.
“I’ll be going with the two boys, Sam and his brother Joseph.
“Sam is very excited, hopefully it is something they will remember and get the benefit from.”
Mr Haddad said: “We want to pay for the family to stay at the best hotel in Euro Disney for three nights and four days.
“One of the objectives of our trust is to support families like the Watsons.
“We know what they are going through.”
Friends of the family have rallied around to try and raise funds for a series of holidays and weekend breaks, so the family can spend a good amount of time together.
They have organised a fun day which is due to be held on Warlingham Green on Saturday, May 23, from 10am to 6pm.
Organiser Rebecca Haynes, who is donating some of the funds she raised running the London Marathon to Sam’s cause, is hoping families will go and enjoy the variety of rides, stalls, games, live music and entertainment.
Neil Patrick Harris is out of the closet... as a Haunted Mansion fan
by Jeff Baham
In a recent fundraiser for the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, actor Neil Patrick Harris ("Dr. Horrible's Singing Blog", "How I Met Your Mother") demonstrated his inner fanboy by taking visting patrons on a tour of his home in the Studio City Hills. Among other works from contemporary artists of note, Harris' office contains a virtual shrine to the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland.
"Best. Office. Ever," claimed Gendy Alimuring, a columnist for LA Weekly. According to Alimuring, Harris' office holds an original plaque from Disneyland's Haunted Mansion, and a changing portrait of Medusa which is also found in the Mansion. He even has a bride doll with a heart that glows red with each beat on display. "Dark and spooky, but kinda silly," Alimuring said.
Authoritative reports hold that the plaques currently installed outside the Mansion are the original ones, but there were a couple spare bronze plaques cast alongside the originals as the attraction was developed. Mysteriously, one disappeared from a Disneyland Staff Shop sometime in the '90s, around the same time that resin replicas of the plaque started to appear on the black market. So it is entirely possible that Harris' plaque is indeed original and from the park.
Guests of the DoomBuggies Swinging Wake held at Disneyland in February 2008 would not be surprised to hear that Harris is a Haunted Mansion fan, since he was seen as a guest at the event as well. The Swinging Wake, an event in which Haunted Mansion fans joined to listen to stories from four Imagineers who worked with Walt Disney in the creation of the Mansion, was a private glimpse into the mysterious history of the ride. Harris, an amateur magician and lover of stage arts, was overheard chatting about his practice on the trapese with Imagineer Bob Gurr before the event. The event concluded with an opportunity to have a photo taken with the Mansion's famous "Hitchhiking Ghosts," for which Harris waited giddily in line with the rest of the Mansion fans in attendance.
The Haunted Mansion has many other celebrity fans, including writer Cory Doctorow, who has written an entire novel about Walt Disney World's Haunted Mansion, titled Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom.
Walt Disney World-Orlando
LOS ANGELES — Barack Obama was standing on a riser inside a warehouse here, delivering an inspirational speech about the blessings of freedom, when his left index finger began to twitch uncontrollably, unnerving his aides.
The nation’s 44th president was in obvious distress. At least it looked like him. But with silicone skin and a tangled nest of wires for veins, this Obama was a 21st-century reproduction.
More specifically, it was an audio-animatronic representation of the president, as imagined by the Walt Disney Company, and assembled with the direct involvement of the White House staff — and of Mr. Obama himself. The president supplied not just his measurements, but he also recorded that speech (which was initially drafted by a Disney writer) — and yet another recitation of the oath of office, this one in Disney high-definition sound.
In that Hollywood building here, the life-size, three-dimensional figure was being put through its final tune-up, its chin rising and hands gesturing in response to technicians, in preparation for shipment to the Hall of Presidents exhibit at Disney World in Orlando, Fla.
Disney officials declined to say how much it cost to build an Obama. They have cloaked the project with a blanket of secrecy befitting the Secret Service, permitting this reporter to be the only journalist thus far to view the figure up close but allowing only a Disney photographer to take its picture.
Mr. Obama has seen renderings of the figure, telling a Disney employee, Pamela Fisher, “that we had made him better-looking than he was.”
Mr. Obama is not the first president to send his voice, or inseam, to Disney World; George W. Bush and Bill Clinton were also given speaking roles in the exhibit during their terms and assisted Disney’s “imagineers” in the creation of their likenesses. But the Obama figure is assuredly the most lifelike of them all.
The public is to get its first glimpse of “Robobama,” as it is known among some handlers, on July 4. The unveiling will be in a Disney World theater, alongside animatronic figures of every other president. As in the past, the program will end with each president nodding or turning toward the audience during a roll call, as if Mount Rushmore had suddenly come alive.
“Young children watch this, and you want them to feel a sense of identification with the president,” said Doris Kearns Goodwin, a presidential historian, who was recruited by Disney two years ago to write a Hollywood-style treatment about the presidents, which became the basis for a 20-minute documentary made for the exhibit. “This makes the president someone not so far removed from them.”
The exhibit opened in the early 1970s and has resulted in countless middle school term papers about the presidents. It has been closed since Election Day as it receives the biggest face-lift in its history.
The company has much riding on the exhibit, with visitors’ spending at Disney World having dipped sharply in the midst of the economic downturn.
The exhibit will open with the new film, narrated by the actor Morgan Freeman. At a certain point, the Abraham Lincoln figure will rise and speak to the audience, as it always has, but now it will deliver the Gettysburg Address in its entirety.
“And this is the first time George Washington will have a speaking role,” said Kathy Rogers, a senior show producer for Walt Disney Imagineering, the unit that oversees the creative side of the theme parks.
But the emotional high point is intended to be the introduction of the Obama figure, who will yet again be heard taking the oath.
Mr. Obama recorded this version on March 4 in the White House Map Room — the same room where he retook the oath after a minor flub on Inauguration Day — to accommodate the Disney World theater’s new sound system. At that time, Mr. Obama also read aloud a short speech to be delivered by the figure, one that ultimately passed through the computer of Jon Favreau, a presidential speechwriter.
“That speech took a village,” said Ms. Fisher, the senior Disney writer on the project who along with Ms. Rogers traveled to Washington in March to guide the president through his role.
The Obama figure’s closest forefather is not Lincoln but a modern-day Capt. Jack Sparrow. Assisted by Johnny Depp, who played the captain in the “Pirates of the Caribbean” movies, Disney recently installed an animatronic version of the Sparrow character in the Orlando theme park.
The Obama figure is the result of attention to minute details by Disney sculptors, animators, engineers and even anatomists who pored over presidential photographs and video of him and then drew on the latest advances in robotic technology.
Thus the audio-animatronic Obama purses its lips to pronounce its b’s and p’s in a way frighteningly evocative of the real one, and raises its hands, open-palmed, while shrugging its shoulders, in a way that can only be described as Obamaesque. Even the president’s wedding ring, with its braided design, has been recreated.
After their work was done with the president, Ms. Fisher and Ms. Rogers said they were given a special tour of the White House.
For Ms. Fisher, there was a sense of déjà vu. She had traveled to the White House on Disney’s behalf in 2001 to capture the voice of Mr. Bush. After he had finished his “take,” she said, he stiffened his arms and “started acting like he was an animatronic figure.”
“He’s got a sense of humor,” she added.
Posted by Greg Semon at 7:46 PM