Disney’s Top Five Best Decisions of All Time

Recently I listed what I thought Disney’s Top Five Worst Decisions were and so in the interest of fairness I now present my Top 5 List of Disney’s best decisions:

BEST   DECISION   NUMBER   FIVE

Live-action Versions of Animated Classics

So although these aren’t my cup of tea the general Disney fan/public has embraced these ‘remakes’ with a passion! Cinderella did very well and the latest, The Jungle Book, also did a brisk business. And the upcoming Beauty and the Beast practically has people frothing at the mouth in anticipation.

While these are obvious attempts at recycling ideas and extending profits from established franchises, one can’t argue that they are beautifully done. My main complaint is that they haven’t strayed much from the original animated source material so there aren’t any surprises or new interpretations.

Maybe the live-action Beauty and the Beast will break out of this provincial approach and break new ground.

BEST   DECISION   NUMBER   FOUR

Promoting John Lasseter

I just love this guy! From his early antics on the Pixar DVD releases to his many appearances to promote new productions in both Pixar and Disney studios, you can just feel his enthusiasm for both animation and the Disney legacy.

With Walt gone and no more Disney family members stepping up to fill the void, Lasseter is the next best thing. That doesn’t sound too complimentary until you realize whose shoes he is basically filling!

I hope to see him grow with the company for many years to come, but do wonder just who could fill his shoes when the time comes for him to step down?

BEST   DECISION   NUMBER   THREE

World Showcase Ethnic Casting

The best part of World Showcase in Epcot at Walt Disney World is the Cast Member interaction. And the fact that each pavilion has CM’s from the actual country being presented is a brilliant stroke of casting!

And so many benefit! Young people from around the world get to have an experience that they will never forget. The guests get to meet them and learn first hand about the culture and activities of all eleven countries represented in World Showcase. And those of us who are not American get to visit the country of our origin (if represented) and unite with a fellow countryman.

It’s win-win all around and I hope Disney never abandons this decision!

BEST   DECISION   NUMBER   TWO

Acquiring Marvel/Lucas Film

    

As I stated in my post about the worst decisions Disney has made they should never have acquired Pixar. I feel it ruined the creativity of that company. But as it comes to Marvel Comics and Lucasfilm Ltd. I think Disney has only helped to grow these companies.

Largely by leaving them alone, Disney has given the people at Marvel full support to continue to develop the MU in a very interesting and profitable way. The acquisition of Lucasfilm Ltd. is too new to really tell how things are going to turn out, but if the first Star Wars film under the Disney banner is any indication, it’s not going to badly.

Maybe Disney has learned that putting up the money and just a little creative input is the way to acquisition success?

BEST   DECISION   NUMBER   ONE

Keeping Vintage Attractions

This is a highly debatable decision but I put it in the number one spot for a reason. Walt was all about nostalgia. And nothing sparks nostalgia like the original attractions that were in the parks when they opened. Or that came soon after.

Rides from the 1964/65 New York World’s Fair like The Carousel of Progress and It’s a Small World still interest park goers today just as they did in the past. And the fact that Disney fans mourn each time a beloved attraction is demolished confirms this as truth!

While other parks continue to focus on thrill rides Disney wisely nurtures its attraction heritage of dark rides and corny shows. Hey, if it works…

Conclusion: For every bad decision there is a good decision. And given the success of the multi-billion dollar business that is Disney, one would have to believe that the good decisions are outweighing the bad!

30 Things To Do At Disney World: Explore New Fantasyland!

Fantasyland

Beast Castle under construction

30 Things to Do: Explore Fantasyland!

By Mike Ellis.

One of the things that I can’t wait to investigate in a little more detail is some of the things that have opened up in the new Fantasyland section of the Magic Kingdom.  While many of the things will not be open yet, such as Beast Castle here in the photo, the Dueling Dumbos are both open, I believe, or will be soon, as well as Storybook Circus and the Great Goofini.  Plus, being able to take in the new train station at Fantasyland will be neat once again.

I wasn’t a big fan of closing Mickey’s Toontown Fair — and to this day I still wish that at least Mickey and Minnie’s Country Houses were open, but I can’t help but feel excitement over what the changes will look like!  Look for a lot of pictures from there in the weeks to come!

So tell me, who is looking forward to seeing the new Fantasyland experiences, and what things are currently open now?

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Happy 40th Birthday Carousel of Progress!

Carousel of Progress

Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress celebrates it’s 40th anniversary today, January 15, 2015, at the Magic Kingdom.

On January 15, 1975, Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress opened in Tomorrowland at the Magic Kingdom park at Walt Disney World, along with some Mountain of Space.  The Carousel of Progress, or COP as Disney Cast Members sometimes refer to it, is a special attraction for me because it is the same attraction that was on display at the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair.  This attraction was the brainchild of Walt Disney, and after the World’s Fair, was transported across the country to Disneyland before making the trek back across country to the Magic Kingdom.

What I really enjoy about the Carousel of Progress is that it takes us back in time, while at the same time giving us a glimpse of the future — or at least, a version of the future that some would say is here today.  It’s that trip back, though, that I truly enjoy — looking at how houses operated back in the day, thinking about what it took to live, and to enjoy life, and focusing on the history of it all — I think that is why it is among my favorite attractions.

Knowing that Walt Disney was a lover of history, I see so much of his influence in the attraction, and that is another reason why I enjoy it like I do.  Carousel of Progress is both simple and technologically advanced all at the same time.  How many theaters have you been in where the seats rotate around the sets?

One of the scenes from the Carousel of Progress.

One of the scenes from the Carousel of Progress.

Carousel of Progress incorporates the use of Audio-Animatronics in it’s characters, and that technology is just another example of one of the incredible marvels that Disney has brought to their theme parks.  The attention to detail is remarkable, as you can see in the shot showing how the wiring was all connected and strung out from the light fixture.

Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress is well deserving of it’s anniversary this day, and I hope that it is around for another 40 years.  What do you think about the attraction?  Like it, love it, hate it, want to see it updated, or don’t care?  Whatever your thoughts, I’d love to hear them, so please, let us know what you think in the comments section below.  Thanks, everyone, and have a great day!

Magical Blogorail Green – Beat the Heat with a Disney Show

MB-Green-Logo

 

Welcome to those of you joining me from Heidi’s Head and those of you just hopping aboard. I am the 3rd stop on our Magical Blogorail.

Disney Shows

Magical Blogorail Green presents our Tips to Staying Cool at Disney!

Hello everyone, thank you for joining us today as we explore our Tips for Staying Cool at Disney!  With the summer Florida — and even California — heat exceeding the high 90s on a regular basis, it is our hope that these tips help you to enjoy your vacation while not running into any health issues!  I’m going to talk about some of the great Disney shows that you can see to beat the heat!

Disney Show #1: Mickey’s PhilharMagic

Disney Show

Mickey’s PhilharMagic at the Magic Kingdom.

Mickey’s PhilharMagic is a great show that you can see in the Magic Kingdom.  The beauty of this show is that it combines great Disney music with great movie scenes, and special effects!  Plus, this show has an indoor queue line, and you can often get in to the next show.  Surprisingly, this year we saw the PhilharMagic theater packed with guests to see the show — that was rare for us!

Disney Show #2: Finding Nemo – The Musical

Disney Show

Finding Nemo – The Musical at Animal Kingdom.

As you all probably know, the Animal Kingdom park can be one of the hottest parks to visit during the summer.  One of the nice things about it, though, is that it features one of the best Disney Shows: Finding Nemo – The Musical.  This theater is air conditioned, and with the show being as good as it is, you’ll be glad you decided to check it out!

Disney Show #3: The American Adventure

Disney Show

Voices of Liberty performs before the American Adventure Show begins!

With the American Adventure pavilion in Epcot, you can see both a great singing group as well as a great show!  Voices of Liberty is an incredible musical group, and you’ll enjoy hearing them if you haven’t before.  On top of that, after they finish, it’s time to watch the American Adventure movie.  This great movie is a wonderful way to beat the heat and enjoy a look at the history of America as well!

Disney Show #4: Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress

Disney Show

Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress is located in Tomorrowland!

Ah, Carousel of Progress.  One of my absolute favorite shows to see at Walt Disney World.  I know it’s a little out of date now, but it’s not the future of progress that I enjoy about this show — it’s the look at how things were in the past that I enjoy!  Do you like this attraction/show/whatever it is?

Disney Show #5: Country Bear Jamboree

Disney Show

The Country Bear Jamboree is located in Adventureland at the Magic Kingdom!

Our last show that we are going to look at is the Country Bear Jamboree.  Located in the Magic Kingdom, this is a nostalgic look at a classic Disney attraction, an opening day attraction from 1971.  With an air conditioned theater and lobby, this is a great way to beat the heat!

Thank you for joining me today. Your next stop on the Magical Blogorail Loop is Rolling with the Magic.

Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail should you happen to have to make a stop along the way and want to reboard:

1st Stop ~ In the Mouse House – Touring Plan Strategies
2nd Stop ~ Heidi’s Head – 5 Ways to Stay Cool on Hot Disney Days.
3rd Stop ~ My Dreams of Disney – Enjoying the Disney Shows!
4th Stop ~ Rolling with the Magic – What to pack to stay cool at Disney
Final Stop ~ Adventures in the Great Wide Somewhere – Cruising: Frozen Style

Official Guide – New York World’s Fair

1 9 6 4   /   1 9 6 5   New York World’s Fair

    

Front and Back Covers

The thing I enjoy most about collecting is that you just never know where or when the next big find is going to come from. I’ve been looking for a guide to this World’s Fair for years because it hosted many Pavilions designed and built by Walt Disney’s Imagineering company.

But before we get to the individual Pavilions, how about a couple of maps to get your bearings?

     Approaches to the Fair

Plan of the Fair          Enlarge to find Disney Pavilions

For this second map, I’ve circled in red the numbers indicating each Pavilion’s location and labeled each with the name of the sponsor and/or attraction. So definitely enlarge this one to get an idea of where each Pavilion was in relation to the others.

The four Disney Pavilions were:

  • In “Pepsi Presents Walt Disney’s ‘It’s a Small World’ – a Salute to UNICEF and the World’s Children” at the Pepsi pavilion, animated dolls and animals frolicked in a spirit of international unity accompanying a boat ride around the world. The song was written by the Sherman Brothers.

  • General Electric sponsored “Progressland”, where an audience seated in a revolving auditorium (the “Carousel of Progress”) viewed an audio-animatronic presentation of the progress of electricity in the home. The Sherman Brothers song “There’s a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow” was composed for this attraction.

    

  • Ford Motor Company presented “Ford’s Magic Skyway”, a WED Imagineering designed pavilion, which was the second most popular exhibit at the fair. It featured 50 actual (motorless) convertible Ford vehicles, including Ford Mustangs, in an early prototype of what would become the PeopleMover ride system. Audience members entered the vehicles on a main platform as they moved slowly along the track. The ride moved the audience through scenes featuring life-sized audio-animatronic dinosaurs and cavemen.

  • At the Illinois pavilion, a lifelike President Abraham Lincoln, voiced by Royal Dano, recited his famous speeches in “Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln”.

Unfortunately, this attraction was not pictured in the book, but only explained. Perhaps this was intentional to increase the impact on the audience to the animatronic Lincoln.

I’ll be reading this book over the next little while and will share tidbits that I find about Disney and the wonderful Pavilions that he and his team created.