Minnie Mouse Sighted in London, Ontario

Friends of mine were checking out the Masonville Mall in London, ON and came across a famous Disney personality:

How to Draw a Crowd 101

Apparently she was there with Mickey (not pictured) to help open a new Disney Store! This is good news for us as we live just over an hour away. Check out the news report here.

FUN FIND: How many Disney Store Cast Members can you see in the picture?

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!

Disney’s Top Five Worst Decisions of All Time

No matter how good a company is they are bound to make a mistake or two along the way to success. In the case of Disney their mistakes seem to be amplified because of the intense scrutiny fans put the company under.

But every company has to honestly admit that some decisions just have no defense! So here is my Top 5 List of the worst decisions that Disney has made:

BAD   DECISION   NUMBER   FIVE

SEQUELS

Just make it stop. Direct-to-video sequels is how it all began and we can only thank whatever the power was that stopped these bombs from being theatrical releases! But in today’s world most sequels are theatrical releases, like Toy Story 2-4 and Cars 2 and Finding Dory and soon-to-be Frozen 2 (kill me the day before it opens!) and and and and and.

Funny Story: After the success of Zootopia and its plus-billion box office take one social media source speculated that finally Disney would see the value of original stories and create more. Know what I thought? Here comes Zootopia 2! This time Nick goes back to Bunnyburrow with Judy and we have the typical reverse situation as Nick is the fox-out-of-water character and must learn to adjust to doing things a different way. Do I have a future writing sequels or what?

Don’t believe me that this could happen? I predict Zootopia 3 in 2022.

BAD   DECISION   NUMBER   FOUR

ACQUIRING PIXAR

The original Brain Trust of Pixar came up with most of the first hit films for the company. And just about the time those ideas had been used up Disney acquired Pixar and things were never the same.

Pixar has shifted gears from wildly original films that touch our hearts to a long run of sequels that prove you can’t catch lightning in a bottle twice. With the exception of Inside Out most Disney/Pixar films have been disappointing. And there seems to be mostly sequels in the company’s future.

It was inevitable that Pixar would stumble at some point but it seems that the acquisition speeded that eventuality up considerably!

BAD   DECISION   NUMBER   THREE

REMOVING CAST MEMBERS FROM RIDES

Don’t worry, Disney has no plans to remove the Skippers from the Jungle Cruise. Or… do they? We’ve already lost the Cast Members from Living With the Land to be left with a recorded lecture and a computer-guided boat. This obvious cost-cutting measure could easily spread to more attractions!

I visited Disneyland and had the pleasure of riding the Storybook Canal boat for the first time with a Cast Member in costume giving us a lively and personal narration of the kingdoms we passed through. Unfortunately I spent the entire trip wondering what it would be like without our pilot. In the back of my mind I saw an accountant with a pink slip waiting back at the dock!

The Great Movie Ride and other attractions are all in the cross-hairs too. It could be only a matter of time before the only Cast Member you see is the one checking your lap bar.

BAD   DECISION   NUMBER   TWO

HOW D23 IS BEING HANDLED

At first it seemed like the perfect fan club for Disney fanatics and it did live up to that image for the first few years. But then came changes to the membership perks and magazine gifts.

The gilding completely fell off the lily when the majority of members started complaining about how the D23 Expo is handled. Unfair distribution of limited edition collectables and overcrowding are just two of the issues raised. Of course, that hasn’t stopped members from attending and renewing their subscriptions, so the problem isn’t at a critical stage… yet!

My worry here is that many Disney magazines and official fan clubs have failed and I just hope Disney has learned enough from those failures to listen to the complaints about this one and find a way to keep it alive!

BAD   DECISION   NUMBER   ONE

SHUTTING DOWN

I was in California at the El Capitan Theatre for the official kick-off of this excellent gaming system. It appeared to have all the earmarks of success and Disney gave it a big publicity push to get it started.

It had so many good features not the least of which was the beautiful and collectible play figures that were produced in series over the life of the game. The system made it to a 3.0 version before the word came down that Disney had had enough. But why scuttle such a wildly popular product?

The problem I see is that 2.0 figures couldn’t be played on 1.0 systems which changed my excitement to open disgust for Disney’s obvious money-grab ploy! And 3.0 figures can’t be played on 1.0 or 2.0 systems which means that not only would you have to shell out for new figures every year but also for new bases. I lost interest at this point. I think many others did as well and this probably led to a drop in sales which led to the real reason for the demise of Infinity: Money.

With billions of dollars being raked in from the movie division and the Marvel acquisition along with how well the parks are doing, surely Disney could have afforded to keep the Infinity brand going while changes were made to fix the declining monetary gains of the product. Disney needs to learn that sometimes short-term loses can be made into long-term gains!

CONCLUSION: Disney will continue to make bad decisions. Fans will continue to call them out on these bad decisions. Bloggers will continue to make Top 5 Lists to highlight the same bad decisions.

Book Review: Mickey Mouse Club Scrapbook

I’ve reviewed the Special Souvenir Edition (SSE) of this book, but in this post I will focus on the regular edition, as it were.

MMC Scrapbook 1975 014

This book was compiled by Keith Keller and published by Grosset & Dunlap of New York.

MMC Scrapbook 1975 015

Back Cover

This version of the scrapbook is essentially the same but does contain some more interesting pictures than its SSE sibling. The regular version starts out with an introduction to the Producer of the show, Bill Walsh. This is new to this version. He spends a few pages telling the story of how the Mickey Mouse Club got on the air. Remember, this was about the same time that Disneyland was being built, as seen below:

MMC Scrapbook 1975 016

There are many wonderful full-page spreads of vintage ads and bulletin pages that were distributed to fan clubs:

MMC Scrapbook 1975 017

MMC Scrapbook 1975 018

Next we meet the Mouseketeers, and see how they spent some of their off-screen time, and the rehearsal process:

MMC Scrapbook 1975 019

MMC Scrapbook 1975 022

  Call Sheet

Next we learn about the production of the show, its format, about the Serials, and then about Mouseketeer Mania! There were jumpsuits, ring promotions, records, and:

MMC Scrapbook 1975 020

And who was everyone’s favorite Mouseketeer?

MMC Scrapbook 1975 021

Who’s the little lady that we never will forget? – Annette!

The book closely follows the SSE version from here. There is the songbook, the Mouseketeers today (or at least, as of 1975), a call to find a few missing Mouseketeers, and a final dedication to Jimmie Dodd (1910-1964).

Here is what two Mouseketeers thought of the book:

“It’s such a thrill to see a book like this. It’s like reliving my childhood.” – Annette Funicello

“A terrific record of the good times!” – Bobby Burgess (later, of the Lawerence Welk Show)

I would give this book a 5 out of 5 stars for being so full of nostalgia, just like its SSE sibling! Any fan of the show, Annette, or early Disney lore will love it!

Disney Cast Member DREAM PIN in Presentation Box

This great little pin was an item I found on eBay oh-so many years ago. I was delighted to find it in its original presentation box. But details about the pin itself have been hard to find.

Disney Resort Cast Member DREAM Silver Award Costume Pin

DREAM stood for Disney Resort Experiences Are Magical if my research is correct! Only Resort Cast Members who worked in a resort during this program earned the ears which were worn on the name tag.

There are two versions of the silver pin, one with white writing (shown above) and one with black writing. There is also a similar gold pin with DREAM in black. Both pins are hard to find, with the silver one being more common, but I have come across gold ones in the past but without the display case. The pins measure 1/2″ (1.3 cm) tall by 5/8″ (1.6 cm) wide.

I have kept it in the original presentation box and have never worn it. But I think I might start wearing it as a tie pin.

Not being a Cast Member, I don’t know the details behind this pin. If you are a Cast Member, and remember this pin, please comment below with any information you may have so that I can update this post. Most importantly, I obviously would like to know if the details I have shared already are correct, but also when this appreciation program was in effect and what one had to do to receive the award.

Thank you in advance!