Archive for December, 2010
Yup. I’ma POTC fan. Yes, ‘At Worlds End’ was not how you say ‘good.’ But had it’s moments. A few. Jack’s dad anyone? But I digress…
The new POTC trailer was released this week. It’s been panned by some. I’m not sure a director who’s specialty is huge dance numbers was the best choice, but when we heard Verbinski was directing the Black Pearl 8 years ago, no one was on board either. But look how that turned out. Awesome…
Here are some screen grabs from the new trailer with my usual pithy commentary. Thoughts? I know you haz them. Sharez them with us. Please.
By now, you know that I work for a major University somewhere in the Southeast. After asking around campus, I found a number of former Disney Cast Members that are either alumni or staff. There is one faculty member, but that’s a story for another day.
Once I heard from Laura, I thought, “This is a great angle. The Disney Store!” It’s not a park, but Disney through and through.
This is a good example of the great people that work on campus and that I get to deal with regularly. I do like it here…
Tell us about yourself:
My name Laura Burris. I’m 32 and from Wauchula, FL, though mostly raised in Lawrenceville, GA. I currently work at UGA in the Department of Crop & Soil Sciences. (Ed’s Note: Check out her blog. She’s also on Twitter)
What’s your favorite Disney park?
What’s your favorite Disney ride?
Tomorrowland Transit Authority (formerly WEDWay PeopleMover, And now, the PeopleMover again!) at the Magic Kingdom.
Favorite Disney food/treat?
Favorite Disney Souvenir?
Hand-signed drawing of Kuzco, as a llama, from the ‘Emperor’s New Groove’ by a Disney artist.
Favorite Disney movie?
Aristocats and Mary Poppins (Ed’s Note: I love the Aristocats too!)
Tell us about working for Disney:
I was a retail sales Cast Member in the Atlanta Disney Store in 1999. Working for Disney has been my dream for as long as I can remember. Being from Florida, I started going to Walt Disney World as a baby, and I just always knew it was the company I wanted to be a part of.
Reason for leaving?
My full-time job offered me a promotion, which included a transfer to a different market. Plus, the holiday season was ending, and Disney was letting a number of their part-time help go.
Tell us your favorite memory of working there:
I will never forget the first day I worked for Disney. Putting on my costume (nothing more than khaki pants and a white button down shirt at home, and then adding a sweater and nametag once I was backstage) for the first time meant that I was fulfilling a lifelong dream.
Funniest event while you were on the clock:
Shortly before Halloween, we were trying to showcase our adult Halloween costumes. A family came in, and some of the Cast Members and I convinced one of the parents to put on the Pooh costume in store. Then, with the parent, we walked to the store entrance, and started dancing around. Kids and parents came up to watch, and everybody was laughing. I don’t think I stopped smiling the rest of the day.
Tells us something no one knows about Disney:
The parks are inspected in minute detail every night. If paint is chipped, it’s repainted. If something is broken, it’s fixed or replaced. That is why the parks always look as if they just opened for the very first time. Disney is about DETAIL!
Would you go back?
In a heartbeat!
What, if anything, did you learn from Disney?
Even the perfect job is not perfect. Like many, I had a little bit of an idea that working for Disney would be all fun and games. It’s not. It’s a company, first and foremost, and has to be run like a company. A retail store is a retail store, no matter what the name on the storefront. But, I also learned that in the right environment, even a bad day can be ok. Despite typical frustrations, as you’ll find at any job, I never left my shift without a smile on my face.
Are you still in contact with Disney co-workers?
Yes, a couple. One remains one of my best friends.
If you could change anything about Disney, what would it be?
I’d like to see more focus on classic Disney. While it exists in the parks, the stores and programming (on the Disney Channel) have really moved from Walt’s original ideas. I don’t mean that it has to be all Mickey, all the time. But I know of kids who barely know who Mickey Mouse is, but could recite lines of The Suite Life. In Walt’s words, “My only hope is that we never lose sight of one thing, that it was all started by a mouse.” I feel that the company is slowly losing touch with its history. The cartoons of yesteryear are still appealing today. Classic animated movies are still incredible, but yet, their never shown on TV. I really feel that the historical background needs to at least be highlighted on a regular basis.
Are you glad you worked there?
Anything else you’d like to share?
The next time you visit a park, pay attention to detail. Don’t just move through a ride queue, look at what is around you. Look at the writing on the boxes, calendars, noteboards, clothing, etc. Look above you. Look at the ground. Nothing is there just to fill space. Everything is there for a reason. And always look for hidden Mickeys!
I went to Walt Disney World for the first time in 1977 with my grandfather, his new wife and her son. I was 7. We drove down in granddaddy’s candy-apple red Lincoln Town Car with a white leather roof. We stayed somewhere in Orlando. There are two things I remember about this trip: I was terrified of the Haunted Mansion; and I thought the Contemporary Hotel was from the future.
The next trip was the Summer of ’82 when EPCOT opened. There are two things I remember about this trip: being in awe of Spaceship Earth; and being laughed at by a group of Asian tourists for the shirt I was wearing (this was the 80′s after all, we all had those Japanese character shirts/head bands. Right? Just me?)
Since then, I lived in Southern California for 5 years in the early 90′s where I went to Disneyland as much as possible. Even going on Thanksgiving once, which is still the emptiest I’ve ever seen a park. Mom and I ate corn dogs with Captain Hook and Smee.
We took our daughter for the first time in 2007 with my mom. Flew down, took the Magical Express, stayed at the All Star Music resort. My daughter remembers nothing of that trip. I’ll remember it forever. Since then, my wife and I and our daughter have been back to WDW at least 3 times and Disneyland once. We return in February next year.
So what? You’ve read this far and I’ve made no point. You’re right, but you needed some background first. When I first began to toy with the idea of a Disney blog, it was to showcase some design ideas I had over the year. Stuff I’d like to buy in the parks, but have never seen. That idea grew into talking about things at Disney that you don’t see a lot. Not a critical view so much, but more of a “I did not know that!” angle. Then I found out a high-school classmate worked there after graduation. Then a grad student on campus I was photographing told me she interned there. Then I found out how many people on campus were former cast members. I’m awash in Disney content that no one else covers…
I adore the Disney parks. I adore most Disney films. I adore a lot of what’s on the Disney Channel. I adore Pixar, the Muppets and Star Wars…I think you see where this going. I love Disney because Disney takes care of everything. They look at all the angles. They talk and test and try and try and try to get it right. If it’s not right, they try harder. Ever been to the bathroom in a Disney park? Ever noticed them before. They’re always clean. ALWAYS. Ever seen a full trash can at Animal Kingdom? Ever not have a question not answered at Hollywood Studios? Ever seen anything broken or not working that wasn’t plainly marked as such? No, you haven’t. Disney takes care of its customers, of which I’m happy to be one.
Here’s a news flash: DISNEY IS EXPENSIVE. It’s true. I know, you try to forget it, but you can’t. Is it too much for the average person? Yes! Is it worth it? Yes! That money buys you an experience you can’t get anywhere else in the world. Full immersion. I know it’s a ‘Disneyfied’ view of the world. Know what? I don’t care. I’ve seen the world. My daughter has seen more of America than a lot of you have. I’m not hiding behind the Disney facade to try and escape the horrors and real-life experiences the world offers. We go to Disney for a break. It’s a true vacation. I don’t have to think, worry, stress, agonize or pull out hair at Disney. I go, get a nice, clean room; eat good food; laugh with my daughter; kiss my wife; hug my mother and smile.
Because that’s what Disney is to me…a giant smile. With funnel cakes. And a haunted house.
What’s your take?
This is my first book cover. And it’s on Amazon!! How cool is that?
I owe my new good friend Tracie Cook a world of thanks for allowing me to help her work on her second Disney book. She came to me with the basic idea and I filled in where I thought I could and should. Tracie is an absolute pleasure to work with. Check out her new web site here. She’s also on Twitter and Facebook.
4 Disney park posters I designed for kicks and giggles. Don’t steal ‘em. I have excellent Karma. Trust me.
I would love to hear what you think of these, good, bad or otherwise. And please share the link with friends. Maybe someone at Disney needs some park poster design work?
Disney has partnered with a south Indian production company for ‘Anaganaga O Dheerudu‘ or ‘Once Upon a Warrior’. Directed by Prakash Kovelamudi, the story revolves around a fictional island ruled by an evil queen, and the only hope for salvation is a 9-year-old girl and her swordsman protector.
This is Disney’s second foray into Bollywood, and it’s first live-action attempt. I’m not America’s biggest Bollywood fan, I do tire of the dancing after a while, but stunning visuals, beautiful actors and exotic locations are always welcome, and Bollywood offers this in spades. I’m fuzzy on release here in the states other than 2011, but I would suspect a video release if nothing else.
Now, Disney knows how to jump on a trend. And beat it to death. Anyone who follows Hollywood knows of the Indian influence now. But I think a Disney/Bollywood partnership could work out for the best. Indian culture has a remarkable and beautiful mythology, full of romance, adventure, fantastic gods and goddesses, heros and every people attempting supernatural feats. Sounds like any Disney movie in the past 30 years already. Plus, Bollywood is ripe with strong female characters, which Disney could always use more of.
My two favorite Disney flicks, Mulan and Lilo and Stitch, both introduce us to a cast of strong young women doing whatever it takes to save their families and loved ones. Mulan becoming a warrior and Lilo doing only what a young child can do, standing up for the one thing in the world she loves. Maybe in a few years, Disney can explore the mythos of Indian culture and expose us to a new generation of heros.
If you’re reading this, I’m doing jury duty in my fair city. A lot of people really hate it, I’ve seen people loose their heads in front of a judge because they were asked to do it. I think it’s our duty as citizens. I know that’s not popular all the time, but we’re in this together, like it or not.
So, if you get called, do it with a glad heart. Or at least fake it. Judges hates smart asses.
I’m an official Santa Helper. I’ll be playing Santa tomorrow morning at local school. This will be the 7th time I’ve done this.
I’ve been Santa for small children, pets, older kids and once at an artist market. You’ve read this and are thinking, “So?”
And you’re right to think this. It’s no big deal really. But if you think about this from a child’s point-of-view, it may be the single biggest thing I do all year.
Just like Disney cast members (see the tie-in now? ), playing Santa means becoming the character. You need to know things. And have answers ready. And deal with problems as they arise. The more I do it, the more serious I take it. You’re literally holding a child’s trust in your hands. And the trust in Santa transcends all boundaries. Christmas is the epoch of the child year.
My daughter is on-board too. She knows I’m a helper Santa, and goes to great lengths to make sure younger children know that I am indeed, Santa.
So, let me say this: This is an honor and a privilege. Lets hope I don’t screw it up.