Friday, May 30, 2008

Geek-End Update

Book of the Week: Dream Worlds: Production Design for Animation by Hans Bacher

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Tin Toys Stories

In the Japan Pavilion at Epcot, there is the Bijutsu-kan (museum) Gallery. It is home to a rotating collection of art and collectibles that focus on Japanese culture.

The most recent exhibit is the Kitahara Collection of Tin-Toys.

If you walk to the back of the pavilion and enter the main building, the gallery is on the left before you reach the Mitsukoshi Department Store. The Gallery is a beautiful, sedate spot to wander for a few moments without the crowds at your back. There are a few benches and the ambient lighting is perfect for a momentary respite.

Here are a few pictures of the display. Don't forget to spend some time in the Gallery the next time you find yourself in Japan.

Special thanks to Jeff Pepper of 2719 Hyperion for pointing out this great exhibit.

Addendum: Greg, from the Disney Obsession blog, has posted more information about the collection and some great pictures as well. Stop by his blog and leave him some Disney Geek love!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Book Review: Walt Disney and the Quest for Community

Walt Disney and the Quest for Community by Steve Mannheim (2003, 199 pages).

Steve Mannheim has written a wonderful academic treatise on Walt Disney and Walt's dream for Epcot. The focus of the book is the Epcot City, the development of the ideas and their ultimate fruition. Although the title is treated as an academic work, it can almost be considered a page-turner. Steve has done an impressive job of distilling New Urbanism concepts into a readable and understandable read (for us laymen).

The genesis for the book was when a friend of Mr. Mannheim had described Walt's plan for another project after Disneyland about a city of tomorrow--where Epcot Center is today. This was the mid-1980's and there was not a lot of published information at the time. So, Mr. Mannheim began his research. Steven Mannheim holds a doctorate in planning and development. His current professional practices include real estate economics and development.

As I stated in my review of Realityland, there is not a lot published on the history of Walt Disney World. This titles adds greatly to the literature and provides a solid focus on Epcot the City, its history, development and changes.

The work starts with a look at Walt and the germination of the idea. There is a lot of focus on where Walt was, mentally and sociologically, as he began planning the Florida Project (also known as Project X). Mr. Mannheim deftly takes us through the history and theories that Walt was discovering about New Cities, Garden Cities and urban development. With the success of Disneyland, Walt felt vindicated that he could cure the ails of modern society.

The biggest issue? Control.

With Disneyland, Walt was able to push through the Anaheim City Council to meet a lot of the building demands of Disneyland. With the Florida Project, he knew he would need even more control. The book outlines what Walt, Roy and the leaders of the Disney Company were able to secure and create after Walt's passing. Mr. Mannheim spent a lot of time interviewing key members of the Company, the State of Florida, local government and Disney cast members. He provides a detailed look at how Disney (the company) figured out what to do after building Phase I of Walt Disney World.

In looking at any historically-based research title, you have to consider the sources cited. Mr. Mannheim devotes 140 pages to the text and the remaining 59 to research notes and the bibliography. To a librarian and Disney Enthusiast, this connotes a vast level of research on Mr. Mannheim's part. My only issue with the sources cited, is that a lot of the citations are from interviews conducted by the author. As of this review, the interviews have not been published. Talk about a dream publication! Mr. Mannheim, if you are out there, I would love to read the interviews that you have conducted.

I really enjoyed this title. The book is presented as an academic work but it is still an enthralling read and you can't put it down. Mr. Mannheim easily presents mundane concepts about planning and design and correlates them into the foundations of Disneyland and what we can surmise about Epcot the City. I would love to read the transcripts for all of the interviews that were conducted--there must be a vast goldmine of Walt Disney World-related history on those interviews. After reading this title, you will gain a vast appreciation for Walt's original ideas and the presentation of Walt Disney World as we know it. This title is geared more towards the serious Walt fanatic and the Epcot junkie. But if you like city planning, the origins of Epcot or theories about what could have happened--you will enjoy this book.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Geek-End Update, May 24, 2008

Book of the Week: Cooking with Mickey (Gourmet Mickey Cookbook) Volume II: The Most Requested Recipes from Walt Disney World and Disneyland

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Disneyland Spots!

A few posts ago, I took you on a virtual tour of the Kodak Picture Spots at Walt Disney World. On my last trip to Disneyland, I found some West Coast Kodak Picture Spots!


Fantasyland...notice the regal script, shield design and scroll?

Right on the Rivers of America with a more New Orleans-ish flair.

A graceful, circular spot for the entryway, right before the Train Station.

Can you be specific? Which warf?

A more rugged spot outside of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Know The Code

One of the more thought-provoking marketing pieces was the special decoder card that cast members handed out as you entered the queue for the Indiana Jones Adventure at Disneyland. I call it thought-provoking simply because you were able to use the decoder to puzzle out the messages hidden throughout the queue. So not only were you walking, but you needed to keep your eyes open to work out the messages.

The card was part of the marketing effort by the sponsor of the attraction, AT&T. Of course, in the mid-90's, cell phone use wasn't as prevalent as today--hence the 1-800 number for collect calling and calling cards. When is the last time that you saw a payphone?

So, for the first official Imaginerding GIY Project (Geek-It-Yourself), I have provided a scan of the card that you can printout, fold over and have your own Mara decoder card.

Trust me, you are going to need it. You can even take it to Disneyland and decode a few of the messages that have survived the past 14 years.

Cut me out! (Well. print me first, then cut me out.)

For the second part of the GIY Project, I leave you the following message to decode:

So, who's getting the popcorn for the movie on Thursday?

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Book Review: Disneyland, The Nickel Tour

Disneyland the Nickel Tour: A Postcard Journey Through a Half Century of the Happiest Place on Earth Bruce Gordon, David Mumford, Roger Le Roque and Nick Farago.

Let me start this review with the following statement: This is the most prized book in my collection.

I'll try not to be too biased. It is also the most expensive and one of the hardest to come by. In the Afterwords section of Walt's Time, Bruce explains how The Nickel Tour came to be:
We talked to every publisher we could find, and heard the same story, word for word.
No Commercial Potential. No audience. No Market. No Deal.
They put the book together themselves: Scanned all of the cards, did the layout of every page and had it printed in Italy. They lugged the books to every convention and sold them through mail-order.
And guess what: we sold every book we printed.

--p. 241, Bruce Gordon, Walt's Time - From Before to Beyond
Disneyland, the Nickel Tour is a look at the first 45 years of Disneyland's history seen through the postcards of the park. In addition to Randy Bright's wonderful Disneyland the Inside Story, The Nickel Tour stands as one of the two most comprehensive books about Disneyland's history. Where it edges out Mr. Bright' work is that The Nickel Tour does cover the past 20 years. Unfortunately, Mr. Bright passed away in 1990 and a second edition is not forthcoming. Bruce Gordon, the primary writer of The Nickel Tour, was an Imagineer and started with the Company in 1980. Mr. Gordon co-authored many books about Disney and there are several that will be published posthumously later this year. Mr. Gordon passed away in November 2007. As it stands, the second edition of The Nickel Tour will probably be the last.

The Nickel Tour is an amazing work on so many different levels: the postcard images, the photographs of attractions that weren't released in postcard form, the historical information and the writing. They begin by sharing pre-opening cards and work their way through the history of Disneyland. One of Gordon and Mumford's strengths is that they write well and can take something as simple as post cards and turn it into an epic look at a theme park. The writing never gets technical and is always filled with reverence, love and a little remorse. Occasionally, they slip in some humor. It is always fitting and they obvious love word-play. The following paragraph could have been presented as just a litany of facts, but they went a different way with it.
On the left hand side of Main Street, we encounter the Sunkist Citrus House. Long before this view was taken, the Citrus House had actually been two separate stores, one housing "Sunny View Jams and Jellies" and the other housing the "Puffin Bake Shop." By October of 1958, Disneyland had canned the jam and jelly shop and opened a candy store in its place. It was a sweet deal until June of 1960, when the Puffin Bake Shop went stale. (It seems they just weren't making enough dough to stay in business.) And even worse, it wasn't long before everyone was beginning to sour on the candy shop next door. So the two shops were joined together, and in a dedication ceremony held with Walt on July 31, they finally became the home of the Sunkist Citrus Shop. Things were calm until 1990, when the time was ripe to spin around in a circle once more – only to find the Sunkist moving out and the Bakery moving back in! Well, that story certainly had a peel. Orange you glad we wasted all this time? Meanwhile, here's the scoop on the Carnation Ice Cream parlor: in 1997 they split from their original parlor and (having lost their Carnation along the way) floated into the home of the bakery. Then, with perfect Disneyland logic, the bakery moved into – the ice cream parlor! If that doesn't get a rise out of you, nothing will!
p. 121
The sense of history that you get from The Nickel Tour, through the postcards and photographs, has not been presented in any other form. Besides being a reference work for postcards, it is almost a wish book--one you can flip open to any page and see a favorite or long-gone attraction and dream about visiting or re-experiencing. The images are stellar and your appreciation of postcards as art and history will grow.

Bottom Line: This work was obviously a labor of love for Gordon and Mumford. It is hard to stress how important this work is in the Disney Literature. Beside being one of two major historical works about Disneyland, you get a feel for how Disneyland evolved, how Walt plussed the park and how the Disney Company moved forward after Walt. It is the most cherished book in my entire collection. If you are lucky enough to find a copy, get it. I know that many people will dismiss this book because it is about Disneyland, but without Disneyland, there would be no Walt Disney World. The history of Disneyland offers a lot of insight into the growth of Walt Disney World as well.

This book is simply amazing!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Geek-End Update, May 17, 2008

Geek Education Link:

Book of the Week: The Wonderful World of Disney Television: a Complete History

Thursday, May 15, 2008


Almost a year ago, Jessica, from If We Can Dream It, pretty much shocked all of us in the Disney blog-O-sphere with her post on the benches of Epcot. I know that our collective jaws hit the floor--how many times have we walked by the benches or sat on them and we never noticed...

Make sure to check out her post: A Place to Rest.

When I was at Disneyland in March, I ran across this bench in the Esplanade. I knew that I needed to document it in honor of our adopted Taylor sister!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Reader Requests

Imaginerding reader Anna sent me an e-mail and I wanted to see if anyone out there could help answer the question:
I'm hoping you remember or have heard of this, I can't find anything about it anywhere.

Sometime in the 80's, Disney did a live action/animation combination show. The live action was about a geeky guy being taught how to be cool and date girls. I think there were occasionally cartoon characters interacting with the live action characters, but they mostly introduced cartoons through the action. The geeky guy and the girl teaching him go on a practice date in a half car inside, facing a big movie screen where they watch cartoons.

I swear I didn't imagine the whole thing. Does it ring any bells?
Even though I fit the description of the geeky guy, I don't remember anything about this show?

What say you?

On another note, I received this request from Susan about Splash Mountain. I've searched my photo archives and can't help with this photo.
Just wondering- when you all took pics of Splash Mountain did you happen to get any of the signs on the way in? I was there with my family a couple years ago and recall a sign that said something about ‘it was a simpler time where people were nicer to critters…' and so on. I have tried to find a photo of that sign every since I forgot to take one myself. If you have one, I’d love it if you’d post or email it, or even if you just have those words from the signs in the queue area.
Can anyone step up with a photo? If you've got one, feel free to send me the link or e-mail it to me.


Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Meet Our Nieghbor - Ryan from Main St. Gazette

Ryan has been blogging, rhapsodizing and reminiscing at Main Street Gazette for over 9 months. That makes him a blogging grandaddy in the Disney blog-O-sphere! When I approached him about doing the Meet Our Neighbor inquisition, he responded with a resounding yes!

He never ceases to entertain and my favorite posts are always the ones about his experiences at Disney with his family--especially the heartfelt stories about his dad. He has created a series about a personal interest for himself. See, Ryan is a pre-school teacher and he has created a running segment called the Young Adventurer. Ryan presents the different areas of the parks on a level that younger children (and their parents) will take to and hopefully inspire them to learn more (and enjoy the parks more).

So, before I make Ryan blush any further...on with the show!

Don't forget our other Meet Our Neighbor posts:

What is your earliest Disney memory?
This is always a tough question for me. Since I lived in central Florida, and my first trip to Walt Disney World was when I was about ten months old, I don't have that first memory that many other children get to cherish. However, I do remember being very young and camping at Fort Wilderness with my dad when a hail storm came through suddenly and we had to take cover in our van. After it had passed various Cast Members (security, managers, etc.) began making rounds through the loops to make sure everyone was okay and if we needed anything. It may me feel very safe to not only have my dad there, but to have Disney looking out for us.

What is your single favorite attraction?
Hands down, this goes to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. It was my favorite as a child, and the layers of story and detail that I continue to discover only continue to amaze me as an adult.

What is your favorite Disney and non-Disney movie?
My favorite Disney movie is an argument in my house. My wife says I act so much like Peter Pan that it must be my favorite movie, but I have always had special places in my heart for both Fantasia and Fox and the Hound. When pressed, I always go with Fox in the Hound; the friends who don't yet realize they come from two different worlds, the conflicts that arise from their friendship, and how you really feel for these characters as individuals really grabs me. Plus, who can resist the soulful voice of Pearl Bailey.
As for non-Disney movie, this one is easy, Dead Poets Society. I've always been a literary sort, and to feel as if I were one of the Captain's boys and to find that people somewhere understand the emotions of words has, and will always, impress me.

What is your least favorite park?
Ouch, this one is tough! Even though it was my favorite park from the time it opened into my young adulthood, I have to go with Disney's Hollywood Studios. I feel as many people feel in the community, that the loss of the actual studio elements was a traumatic blow to this park. From that point on I feel that it truly lost its identity and has yet to fully recover. Don't get me wrong, it has some great attractions, and I think it is gaining back some of the original spirit with the introduction of Pixar Studios, but it still has a long way to go.

What is your favorite park?
The Magic Kingdom. Epcot and Animal Kingdom have tremendous places in my heart, but the Magic Kingdom is full of stories, both obvious and obscure, and it has always been the one park I must visit no matter how short my time in Walt Disney World is.

Who is your favorite Disney character?
Okay, time to cheat a little. I actually cannot get enough of the cartoons where Mickey, Donald, and Goofy share the screen. They all have wonderful personalities on their own, and work well with other characters like Pluto, Minnie, or Chip and Dale, but they all really shine when they have to interact with one another.

What is your favorite Disney song?
Cruella de Vil. For one thing, it takes a special kind of villainess to have her very own theme song. Mostly though, the song has just enough word play, mixed with a dash of jazz, to keep me humming and tapping my foot all day long.

If you could switch places with any historical or living Disney employee, who would it be and why?
I feel like this is going to sound self-absorbed, especially in light of recent events, but it would have to be Ollie Johnston. I actually haven't talked much about Ollie since he passed away, and I couldn't even find the words needed to express my heartache at his passing on my site, but he has meant so much to me. He designed, animated, and oversaw some of the scenes I idolized growing up, and then as an adult to realize that they all came from the same man truly touched me. Beyond just his animation, however, he was one of Walt's Nine Old Men, and those interactions would be memories to cherish. As well, I share his love of trains, his loyalty, and his sentimental nature, so a switch would seem natural, except I can't draw. My wife is fond of telling me that, in all of the Disney history I have introduced her to, and all of the animators, Imagineers, and characters, she sees more of me in Ollie Johnston than in anyone else. I suppose that explains my affinity for him.

What is your favorite spot at WDW?
The benches along the wooden walkway in Frontierland, just down from the Frontierland Shed, is the spot where you can catch more than a fair share of magic. You can see and hear all of Frontierland, most of Liberty Square, watch the mill on Tom Sawyer's Island, and along the far end of the bend is the Haunted Mansion. If you wait here long enough you can catch the whistle of both the Walt Disney World Railroad and the whistle of the Liberty Belle. To me, this is the perfect spot to take it all in.

What is you're must eat food at WDW?
The Raspberry Schuss at the Boulangerie Patisserie in Epcot. This is the perfect sweet treat filled with layers of raspberry preserves, light cake, a creamy custard/mousse, and just a hint of chocolate. Uh-oh, I'm getting hungry now.

Favorite place to stay at WDW?
Port Orleans: French Quarter tends to be the favored spot to lay our heads recently. Not only is it meticulously themed, with a meandering river, and some tasty dishes, but French Quarter is also very secluded and quiet, making it the perfect hideaway for a preschool teacher.

What is your favorite restaurant?
I always have to stop in at Columbia Harbour House. The home of my once favorite chicken strips, Columbia Harbour House has some of the best views available to any restaurant inside a theme park on its second floor. A second floor that, surprisingly, very few people know about.

What is your favorite place to be at WDW?
Anywhere, so long as I have some family, friends, or both with me. After all, that's what it is all about, right?

What is the first thing you want to do on your next trip?
Check out Toy Story Midway Mania. This attraction appears to be right up my alley, and I cannot wait to take it out for a spin.

What is your favorite fireworks show?
Wishes, just listening to the soundtrack is enough to choke me up. Standing on the walkway to Adventureland, just before the bridge, and allowing the entire experience to wash over me pulls me in every time. Yep, I'm a sucker and a sap!

Where did you develop your love of Disney?
I've talked before about how my dad has taken a lot of heat over my love of Walt Disney World from the rest of my family, but to be fair, my dad was selling the parks and my mom was selling the movies and I was buying all of it. It may sound corny, but the stories, the adventures, the music, all of it has always spoken to me and I cannot get enough.

If you had to choose parks or movies, which would it be?
I would have to choose the parks. The movies have great stories, but they are not all immersive, and eventually the credits roll and the lights come back on. On the other hand, the parks never cease to have unexplored elements, no matter how hard we try to uncover them, and as you move through the parks you actually become part of the stories if you allow yourself to.

Which character do you associate with the most?
Peter Pan, the boy who never grew up. I spend my days exploring and having adventures with preschoolers, I pretty much am the boy who never grew up.

Does any forensic evidence exist linking you to the Kennedy assassination?
All that I am legally able to disclose is that I have been to the Fort Worth Airport once.

What is the weakest Epcot country?
I'm torn between Italy and Germany, but Italy has a spectacular viewing location, when it is available, for IllumiNations. So, I will go with Germany. Unlike other pavilions which lack an attraction, Germany lacks a certain depth. The gardens of Japan, winding streets of Morocco, and the garden paths behind the United Kingdom give each pavilion something more than dining and shopping, which is all Germany, in my opinion, has to offer. Although, I do love the model trains when they are running.

What is your favorite Disney guilty pleasure?
That would have to be what my wife has deemed the Pop Princesses and Phil. I try to stay away from generic pop music, but no matter how hard I try, eventually the Pop Princesses like Hilary Duff and Miley Cyrus get under my skin and I start singing their songs, which usually leads to me embarrassingly purchasing an album (Thank goodness for iTunes now). Also thrown into this group are the soundtracks from Tarzan and Brother Bear, as penned by Phil Collins

What is the most significant architectural feature of WDW?

Spaceship Earth, or more specifically the geodesic dome. It is a modern marvel in and of itself, but to then make the interior a functional environment is truly remarkable.

Who is your favorite Disney Princess?
Belle, for four reasons. One, she is French. Two, she is a brunette. Three, she loves book as much as I do. Four, she is feisty, and I adore that in a woman.

Where do you spend most of your time online when in the Disney-sphere?
The Main Street Gazette has taken away a lot of the time I used to have to free to wander around the Disney-sphere, I didn't realize what a dedication a blog was when I started, but it also give a lot back to me too. Yet, I still manage to check-in with my favorite bloggers (you know who you are), the message boards at both Netcot and Disney World Trivia, and DisFriends every day. (Sorry, Ryan...the correct answer is Imaginerding--all day, all night!)

Would you make any major changes to the current design of any of the parks?
I don't think I have enough knowledge in any specific design element to be able to say what should or shouldn't be changed. However, I think it would have been an intelligent move to have created some sort of temporary path around Mickey Ave. when it was closed, rather than just funnel everyone through Echo Lake to Streets of America, and then over to the Backlot Tour, even if only to assist with the crowd control issues.

You are the CEO and you have to cut one division: film, animation, parks, music, ABC, or ESPN. Where do you start cutting?
Ugh, do I get paid the big bucks for making this decision? I'd have to say music, if only for the reason that I couldn't do without, whatsoever, any of the other categories.

Do you have any money we can borrow or have?
I'll let you know when the check comes in from cutting the music division.

What do you consider the most historically significant or defining moment in Disney history?
Any of the times that Walt had everything tied up in a venture. From Snow White to Disneyland, if any of the endeavors had failed we wouldn't have what we all know and love today. A lot of these were, and still are, called Walt's Gamble, but I take offense to that. He knew exactly what he was doing, and precisely what the public wanted/needed, and gave it to them like no one else was doing. These 'gambles' were the brilliance that led to the ability to create worlds-upon-worlds of magic.

How do you feel about Disney's stance to remove Song of the South and other period specific pieces from its association?
As an educator, I think there is always room to find a way to teach a subject. Song of the South is no different. There are appropriate manners with which to broach these subjects, just as was done with the insensitive cartoons that were sectioned off with a special introduction in the Walt Disney Treasures. Today, with the release of such classics like Saludos Amigos and The Three Caballeros I feel like perhaps there has been a change in thought internally at Disney, and I am cautiously optimistic that we will see Song of the South and other period specific films released in some form.

If you could change one thing about a Disney Movie, what movie would it be and what would you change?
It would be the Haunted Mansion. I love the effects and story of this movie, but I think the tone, a funny-scary movie, is what hurt this film. If this film had been made strictly as a dramatic adventure, using the same general story, I think it would have been a fantastic feature.

Which Disney Hotel would you like to live in for the rest of your life?
The Grand Californian. I love the elements of the Wilderness Lodge, but the fact that I have to board a boat, bus, or car to get into the parks is the one feature that bothers me, at Wilderness Lodge and Resort-wide. However, if I could take the Wilderness Lodge details, which the similar Grand Californian has, with the ability to stroll at my leisure down to the parks, I could stay there permanently. Not to mention, Disneyland has a much more laid back atmosphere, which I would love to have in my neighborhood.

What is your favorite Disney-related book and why?
The answer to this question is really kind of a cop-out on my part, but I have my favorite Disney-on-Disney book and my favorite unofficial Disney book.

For Disney-on-Disney I have to go with the Imagineering Field Guides. These books are full of fascinating stories and features, but they don't give so much information that the average guest would be overwhelmed. Instead, for the Disney geeks out there, I look at the guides as starting point. If a particular aspect is of interest to a reader, there are plenty of resources available to further your edu-mouse-cation.

As for unofficial Disney books, I have to go with David Koenig's Realityland. This has to be the most comprehensive history of the whos, whats, whens, wheres, and hows of Walt Disney World I have ever encountered in one tome. It not only shows the complexity of the construction, upkeep, and expansion, but also shows more than enough of the human elements that make Walt Disney World so, well, Disney.

Thanks, Ryan!

Don't forget to stop by his site and tell him how awesome George and Andrew are, ooops...I mean how great Main Street Gazette is. Yeah...that's the ticket!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Anniversary

Andrew and I started our blog one year ago, on May 12, 2007. He had just returned from an amazing week-long family vacation and really wanted to share his experiences with the world. We had both seen the family meltdowns, tantrums and people walking around the parks mad--we knew we could make a difference for other people going on vacation.

On May 12, 2007, we published our first article. Over 400 posts later and here we are. A lot of things have changed over the past 365 days that you have shared with us. We have seen an explosion of Disney-related blogs and we welcome each one with open arms--like a huge, extended Disney family. Andrew and I have always been about building community and we are proud to have so many friends and fellow Disney Geeks.

Highlights from the past year:

  • Attending MouseFest 2007 and meeting hundreds of like-minded souls. (And taking 2000 pictures, riding rides, eating, not sleeping and having an awesome time.)
  • Walking down Main St. USA with my brother.
  • Listening to the MouseFest 2007 Roundup on the WDW Radio Show. I am so glad we didn't pay PER mention. Funniest. Show. Ever.
  • Spending 4 days at Disneyland with Lou, Jeff and Eric. No sleep, food, the Space Mountain line, losing Jeff in Toontown and riding the Indiana Jones Adventure 8 times with Eric.

  • Getting to know so many amazing people: Big-Brian, Ryan, Richard Harrison, DOC, Princess Fee, Cory the Raven, Jennifer (Broke Hoedown) and Sambycat, Jeff B, Disney Dean, Honor Hunter, Walt Disneyana World, Bryan Ripper and Jonathan Dichter, Matt Hochberg, Fred Block, Brian Fee, Andy, and the amazing Vintage Disneyland guys (Matterhorn 1959, Jedblau, Chris Jepsen, Kevin Kidney, Major Pepperidge, Outside the Berm, Viewliner, Progressland, Dave L.). I know I have missed some, but everyone that we have linked to is a friend.
  • Working with the talented FoxFurr and the unstoppable Daveland (he posts more than we do!).
  • Getting the opportunity to appear on the WDW Radio show THREE times (Lou...Andy is still waiting on that call!).
  • 22 book reviews!
  • 404 Posts (including this one).
  • A very special meal at Yakitori House with Lou and Jeff, followed by some running.
  • Riding the Gran Fiesta Tour with my four-year old FIVE times.
  • Having my nine-year old take more pictures than me on our first day at Disney's Animal Kingdom Park this time.

A special thanks to my wife. Not only for putting up with me for the past year, but for helping me get all those amazing books, for actually wanting to vacation at Walt Disney World and for graciously letting me visit Walt Disney World and Disneyland for research. And for countless other things that are impossible to put into words.

Oh yeah...thanks to Andrew, too! For being my partner in crime and my best friend.