Monday Topics: Looking Back at Disney – The Back Side

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LOOKING BACK AT DISNEY

Our friends over at Love Our Crazy Life have asked some of their blogging friends (like me) to participate in a Blogging Challenge. So for four weeks in April, on every Monday morning, I will be covering a different Disney-related topic. You can click the link above to find all of the other participants and their entries. Enjoy!

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The Back Side

I struggled with this topic, so it was fortunate for me that it came last in the series! I thought of doing a comparison of Disney then and now, but that would take too much time. I thought of doing a pictorial of me in 1972 at Walt Disney World versus me in modern times. But I have too few images for such a post. So what to do?

Why not do the unexpected, or inexplicable? So welcome to my post that looks at the back side of Disney!

Back Side of Sleeping Beauty Castle (Disneyland model)

Disney Legend and Imagineer Herb Ryman designed Disneyland’s iconic Sleeping Beauty Castle. Now, the infamous story of how this castle got turned around may be apocryphal, or it may be true, but it certainly is entertaining. Herb says:

“One thing that he (Walt) insisted upon was that there be a very, very conspicuous castle, because the castle is going to be the symbol of this whole place. Fred Joerger had done a beautiful model of this castle. When I saw it I said, ‘I don’t like it.’ So I took a look at the castle model, grabbed a hold of the upper portion of the model, and turned it around so that the back of the upper portion now faced the front. ‘Dick said, ‘Now, Herbie, quit playing with it. Put it back. He said ‘Walt’s going to be here any minute, and Walt won’t like it. Turn it around. Put it back.’”

But time ran out and Walt saw the altered version. And loved it! So the whole thing was built around the wrong way. So when you visit Disneyland and take a picture of the front of the castle, your picture will turn out backwards!

Back Side of Water (Jungle Cruise)

I’m constantly amazed at how many times Disney is able to get us excited about simple and common things. Millions of us take pictures of trash cans just because they are color-coded to the Land they are in. Many of us enjoy a bus ride, even though we have to wait too long to get on one and they take forever to get anywhere!

And then there is the back side of water.

A simple gag line from a corny attraction has caused more cameras to click and more people to groan than any other naturally occurring substance in the World!

Back Side of Disney Cruise Ships (Disney Wonder)

Each of the ships in the Disney Cruise Line have a distinctive character tableau attached to the back. Historically, most sailing ships would stick a figure on the front, such as Pirate ships. But Disney just had to be different!

They are almost impossible to see from the ship themselves, so take your pictures before you board. I guess Disney just wants to give those ocean-going tailgaters something to look at!

Back Side of Disney Clothing (Mickey T-shirt)

OK, that’s just rude! But I’m sure Mickey is just being playful as he takes a backwards peek at us. There are many different designs in this theme, showing us the back of characters instead of just another view of the more familiar fronts.

But be careful: You may not know if you’re coming or going when wearing one of these!

And there you have my look back at the back side of Disney. I wonder who else would have thought of this angle for Looking Back at Disney?!

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Monday Topics: Best of Disney – Characters

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BEST OF DISNEY

Our friends over at Love Our Crazy Life have asked some of their blogging friends (like me) to participate in a Blogging Challenge. So for four weeks in April, on every Monday morning, I will be covering a different Disney-related topic. You can click the link above to find all of the other participants and their entries. Enjoy!

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Top Five Best Disney Characters

A good thing about Disney movies is that they are populated with great characters. You can cheer them on and delight in their life journeys. Some even touch your heart and stay with you for a lifetime! But who are the best of the best?

Please check out my Top Five List of the best Disney characters, and my reasons why:

Number Five – Mickey Mouse (The Little Guy)

Mickey Mouse

Photo Credit: Disney’s PhotoPass CD

The underdog has always been an endearing character in history. Charlie Chaplin certainly took his Tramp persona to unprecedented levels in the silent era of film, and in so doing spawned a long line of imitators–of which Mickey Mouse is certainly one of the best!

Mickey led the world out of the Depression. He taught our children how to be nice. And he showed us all that good guys don’t always finish last. He was the little guy who never gave up.

What really endears this mouse to my heart is that he never puts himself first. In a world where selfishness and Me-ism seems to be the norm, even celebrated, Mickey just keeps on showing that when you put others first, that’s when you gain real happiness!

Number Four – Uncle Remus (Song of the South)

Photo Credit: Copyright 1958 Walt Disney Productions

At a time in history when there were many justifiable reasons for hatred and resentment, one African-American man decided to show unprecedented love. No matter the skin color of the child in need, he was there with a story to make everything better again!

Song of the South is presently ‘banned’ from release due to alleged racism in its content, but I see a very different story within this important film. I see an older man of color respected and relied on by his former owners, a leader amongst his own people, and a person who shows just how big the human heart can be. Uncle Remus is a man everyone in this present world needs to meet and learn from!

James Bassett deserves better than to be robbed of his due for his portrayal of such a pivotal character in the Disney canon.

Number Three – Anna (Frozen)

Mention the Disney movie Frozen and everyone will immediately think of Elsa, the Ice Queen, who finally learns to ‘let it go’ and be her true self. Sounds good on the surface, but have they actually seen this movie? We have a person who damages her own Kingdom, runs away instead of staying and trying to fix things, abandons her duty and her sister, almost kills her sister (twice!), and basically adopts the attitude that it’s not her problem anyway. And this is a woman for little girls to look up to?

Anna, on the other hand, has no negative qualities. From childhood, she desperately tries to make a connection with her sister. Even though she is alone and rejected for years, her love never cools. When the Kingdom is in trouble, she steps up. She tries again and again to save her sister. And in the end, she is willing to die for someone who has done nothing to deserve such a sacrifice. This is a woman for everyone to look up to!

Just because a character has a hit song doesn’t mean they are one of the best Disney characters. Billions at the box office doesn’t do it either. Anna is one of the best Disney characters because she exhibits qualities that we all should strive to emulate!

Number Two – Baymax (Big Hero 6)

“Hello. I am Baymax, your personal healthcare companion.” Those who dedicate their lives to serve others, like nurses, are to be commended and respected. And although Baymax is a robot who was programmed to serve, we learn as his story unfolds, that there is more to him than computer code!

Two things emerge about Baymax during the film Big Hero 6. He will bend over backwards to do what he is asked by a ‘patient’ up to the point that it would harm them. Then he refuses to comply and explains why. Secondly, at the end of the film, we see that he is willing to lay down his own life, or terminate his program, to save others. Again, self-sacrifice is a big part of why Baymax is on this list!

“On a scale of one to ten, how would you rate this character?”

Number One – Mary Poppins (Mary Poppins)

Practically Perfect in Every Way. Using the word ‘practically’ means that there are a few things, or at least one, about this Nanny that could be better. I guess she is a bit full of herself, but in a prim and proper way! So why is this lady number one on my list of the best Disney characters?

First, she is selfless. She has given up a life of her own to serve and protect the children of the world. We find hints that she loves Bert and could pursue a relationship with him, but not without compromising her mission. So she goes on alone.

Secondly, her love of children is strong, but she can never have any of her own. In the final scenes of the movie, we see her shed a tear as she has to leave yet another set of children whom she has come to love as her own. Imagine going through that pain each and every time you accept a posting, knowing that you will have to leave!

Thirdly, even though she is a bit of a bossy flossy, she usually lets her hair down and joins in the fun.

Oh, and Supercalifrajalistic makes her expialidocious. And who else can you say that about?

Bonus Character – Herbie (The Love Bug)

Just look at that face! Adorable and plucky, this little VW Beetle probably has one of the most endearing personalities of any Disney character. Whether it’s bringing two people together, winning a race, foiling a plot, or falling in love himself, Herbie does it all with a ‘Meep Meep’ and a ‘Vroom Vroom’!

Perhaps no other character better personifies the no-quit spirit. He has been sabotaged, stolen, ripped in half, and heart-broken, but never has he been beaten! Sometimes it’s the smallest amongst us that have the biggest hearts.

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Be sure to check out all four of my posts in this series of Monday Topics:

Topic One – Disney Essentials

Topic Two – Disney Tutorial

Topic Three – Best Of Disney (You are here)

Topic Four – Looking Back at Disney

Monday Topics: Disney Tutorial – Learning to Draw

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DISNEY TUTORIAL

Our friends over at Love Our Crazy Life have asked some of their blogging friends (like me) to participate in a Blogging Challenge. So for four weeks in April, on every Monday morning, I will be covering a different Disney-related topic. You can click the link above to find all of the other participants and their entries. Enjoy!

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Learn to Draw Mickey Mouse & Friends

A Book Review

Drawing MM & Friends 1

This great how-to book was published by Walter Foster in 2015 and was written by David Gerstein and illustrated by John Loter and the Disney storybook artists. If you’ve ever wanted to draw your favorite Disney characters for yourself, this book is for you!

There are three main character designs featured as the book takes us on a journey through the decades. Early, or vintage. Classic. And Contemporary, or modern.

Early designs feature the look of the characters in the 1920’s.

Long-billed Donald Duck, primary shapes

Classic designs cover the years of the 1930’s to the 1980’s or so.

Beanstock Mickey, roughed in

Contemporary designs feature the Disney characters as they appear today.

Daisy Duck, full rendering

The book also contains an Animation Timeline, Film Facts, the Inside Story for Disney’s most famous characters, and lots of drawing tips.

At 130 pages, this book is easy to read because it is mostly pictures, in keeping with the how-to theme. To conclude, here is the 6-step process for drawing the full body of Classic Mickey:

    

    

Drawing Classic Mickey Body 5          Drawing Classic Mickey Body 6

And… it’s just that simple!

This is a great book for the closet-animators among us. I would give it a 4 out of 5 stars. However, I thought the 6-step system was too minimal for someone to really learn how to draw a Disney character. More on the reasons for each step would have been nice. For example, every lesson starts with a basic shape featuring a guide line. Some explanation of why these shapes are used, and what a guide line is and why it is important, might have enabled a beginner to later draw these characters without having to look at the book, and copy.

Who would you like to draw?

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Monday Topics: Disney Essentials for Collecting

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DISNEY ESSENTIALS

Our friends over at Love Our Crazy Life have asked some of their blogging friends (like me) to participate in a Blogging Challenge. So for four weeks in April, on every Monday morning, I will be covering a different Disney-related topic. You can click the link above to find all of the other participants and their entries. Enjoy!

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For Collecting

So you just love Vinylmations! You look for them everywhere you go: Disney Parks. Flea Markets. Yard Sales. But are you really ready to sensibly add to your collection? If you’re not careful, you could lose the find, or pay too much, and be disappointed!

Here are my Top Five Essentials that you must have to be a great collector:

Number One – Patience. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither will your collection of Disney matchbooks be!

How much would owning each one of these cost you?

There are two factors that play on completing a collection: Availability and Price. Availability is usually more of a problem if what you are collecting is vintage, like postcards or Park Maps. It could take many years to find each piece of a set by searching eBay and local sellers. Price can make things difficult to complete a collection quickly if the line of merchandise is extensive, such as the flat plushes above.

So it is best to have patience and be happy with what you have found to date, and thrilled when you find each new piece, year after year. And… it usually does take years to complete a comprehensive collection of anything worthwhile!

Number Two – Organization. Have you ever bought something only to find that you already have it? Twice! This can lead to disappointment and inconvenience as now you have to liquidate your new find in order to invest in the next.

One too many “Oh no! I bought one too many!”

Using your Smart Phone is the best defense against this problem. Simply use a notes app to list what you already have, or take photographs. You can upload these images to iCloud, or some similar service, and retrieve them when you need to check your stock.

Number Three – Budget. A find might be worth the world to you, but that is way too expensive, so haggle! Many times it is all too easy to get caught up in the moment and overpay for an item. Before you even leave your home on a buying trip, settle on the maximum amount you will pay for an individual piece, and the total expenditure for the day.

Money Whirlpool

Don’t let your budget get caught in a money whirlpool!

Always remember that paying the mortgage/rent, buying food, and clothing your family is a tad more important than having a shelf full of trinkets!

Number Four – Curb Your Enthusiasm. The actual action thereof, not the television show! If you let a seller know you just have to have something they are selling, the price may go up (if not labeled) or at the very least there will be no price negotiation.

True Story: I was looking at a Disney Monorail Watch at a flea market. I was playing it cool by showing only mild interest and was about to start the negotiation process. At that moment my wife came up, saw the watch, and started to gush about how much I loved monorails and that I should definitely buy it! The man looked at me and smiled… and I paid his asking price.

Zip It

Tip: If you are accompanying someone on a buying trip… zip it!

Number Five – Display Space. If you have nowhere to show off your latest find, maybe it’s time to rethink your strategy!

Those who collect big items know this problem only too well. A collection can outgrow available space quickly. So if you have limited space, it may be best to choose a smaller item to collect, like ephemera.

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