Thursday, July 31, 2008


Disney Lost and Found: Exploring the Hidden Artwork from Never-Produced Animation by Charles Solomon.

Just got this title in today. It looks stunning and absolutely amazing. Full of concept art, sketches and paintings of animation and characters never produced.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

A Note From Daisy

This is one of the great little details from Minnie's Country House at Mickey's Toontown Fair at the Magic Kingdom.

On Minnie's bulletin board, we find notes, advertisements and postcards. Daisy has sent her BFF two postcards about her recent trip.

Dear Minnie,
Having a wonderful time.
I bought lots of lipstick on the trip.
Wait until Donald sees my bill!
Love, Daisy.

Don't forget to keep your eyes open the next time you find yourself at a Disney theme park. Also, don't tell Donald about the bill!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Toy Story Mania Reader Question

We had an e-mail question from a reader over the weekend about the changes that Toy Story Midway Mania will bring to Disney's Hollywood Studio. Her concerns included hitting the big three attractions first and what would be the best order for the first part of the day.

I haven't had the fortune of experiencing the attraction, yet, but I know a lot of people that have (Jessica? Lou? Ray? Glenn? Jeff?). Plus, I know that a lot of the Imaginerdlings out there have ridden it and know more about the ins and outs of the traffic.
I'm heading to Disney World for a week in August, and I was wondering how the opening of Toy Story Mania changed your park route. Generally I head straight to Tower of Terror and Rockin' Rollercoaster and fast pass one while I wait on line for the other. Should I try to get over to Toy Story Mania first and work my way towards the front of the park now? How is the line for the new attraction?
So, now I ask you, what should she do? Head to TSMM first and get a FastPass and then head to Tower and Rock'n'Roller? Or is there a better plan for seeing the park and the big three attractions?

Leave a comment and let us know your thoughts!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Geek-End Update

Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Master!

In the following quote from the forward of A Brush With Disney, Marty Sklar discusses Walt's plans for selling the concept of Disneyland and the ideas for new lands. A Brush With Disneyis a work that celebrates Herb Ryman.

Naturally, Walt has called on his greatest illustrators/designers to visualize the concepts: John Hench, Sam McKim and Herb Ryman. John was the master of the "specifically vague" technique that allowed viewers (and potential sponsors!) to imagine their identification without committing to anything; Sam was the master of detail, where nothing was left to chance or misinterpretation; and Herb--he was simply THE MASTER. Name the Disney Park project from the first illustration of Disneyland in 1953 to the first visualization of Walt Disney World in 1968 to the first depiction of Epcot in 1979 to the first designs for Tokyo Disneyland in 1980 to some of the earliest concepts for Disneyland Paris in 1989; the public's first view of each came from the pencil, pen or brush of Herbert Dickens Ryman.

--p. 8, A Brush with Disney : An Artist's Journey, Told through the words and works of Herbert Dickens Ryman

Concept art for the never built Ford Magic Theater in Tomorrowland at Disneyland.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Court of Angels

Daveland recently posted some great shots of the Court Des Anges in New Orleans Square at Disneyland. I asked him to post a close-up of the sign (since we are both Disney Signage geeks) and the plaque on the wall.

Dave obliged. You can see the beautiful stained-glass sign announcing the COURT des ANGES. It is located on the left side of the picture above, near the blue balcony with the striped awning.

On the wall near the stained-glass sign is a plaque that reads:

Musique Des Anges
Music Lessons
Vocal Instructions
Mme. Sally McWhirter

Sally began her career with Disney in the Disney Stores, Inc. in Indiana. Sally was promoted to District Manager before coming to work in Disneyland. Here she was named director of store operations in 1995 until her untimely death in 1997. She died at 40 as a result of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Sally sang with her church choir, which explains the plaque reference to music of angels and voice lessons. Her tribute is near this heavenly stairway, in the Court of Angels.
--p. 91, The Disneyland Detective by Kendra Trahan.

Another small detail that proves a tribute can be more than just a Window on Main Street.

Thanks to Dave for letting me borrow the photos. His site is amazing.

Don't forget that Andy and I will be at the Eva Perry Regional Library (in Apex, North Carolina) next Tuesday evening (July 29) at 7:00 pm. We will be discussing those little details that make a Disney trip so much fun. Hopefully, we will have a few Disney Geeks-in-Training in attendance that we can enroll in our Master's Degree level program.

Spaces are filling up fast and you have to sign up since space is limited. As of this writing, less than 16 slots are available!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Book Review: The Disneyland Hotel, The Early Years by Donald Ballard

Disneyland Hotel: The Early Years 1954-1988 by Donald W. Ballard. 2005, 136 pages.

Donald Ballard is a historian and author that fell in love with the Disneyland Hotel in the 1970's. Donald started collecting material about the hotel in 1998 and amassed newspaper clippings, magazine articles, older photographs and brochures. His intent was to write a travel article. Fortunately for us, we have this great reference guide to the Disneyland Hotel.

This book follows the stories of the Disneyland Hotel and the original owners and proprietors, Jack and Bonita Wrather. As explained in the work, Walt Disney spent time trying to persuade hotel companies to build and run the Disneyland Hotel. Finally, Jack Wrather stepped up and supported Walt's Dream. In one of the few times in Disney history, Jack Wrather was given a 99-year lease on the Disneyland name in association with hotels. He had the ability to create other Disney-named hotels throughout California. He never chose to take advantage of the opportunity.

The book is filled with pictures, memorabilia and historical information. It is astounding how much Mr. Ballard has been able to collect and compile. The book is presented chronologically and follows the major events of Disneyland, as well. The strength of this book lies in its documentation: every stage of construction is followed; every restaurant is noted; room and menu prices are listed; and brochures throughout the years are re-printed. There are an amazing amount of aerial shots and they help provide a sense of the growth of the hotel.

As I was reading the book, my first thought was that it was a work dedicated to Jack Wrather. After finishing it, I realized that Mr. Wrather was passionate about the Disneyland Hotel. He shepherded the hotel for almost 30 years. His wife, Bonita, ran the Wrather Corporation until her death in 1988. The Bonita Tower and the Granville's Steakhouse was named in her honor. Granville's is now the Steakhouse 55 and the Bonita Tower is the Wonder Tower.

The changes that have taken place at the Hotel since 1955 are astounding. There is not another work that takes such a detailed and painstaking look at the Disneyland Hotel. The book is filled with a lot of concept art and sketches, photos of buildings, rooms and pools that no longer exist and some very retro fashion shots of guests! You do get the idea that the Disneyland Hotel was always a ore expensive place to stay, but it still had that Disney service and magic. Some of the ideas brought forth in the 1970's were pretty revolutionary for hotel entertainment: light shows and dancing fountains set to music; shopping esplanades; and revolving dining options. The Disneyland Hotel did its best to entertain and keep guests on property.

I addition to the book, Mr. Ballard also owns The Magical Hotel website and The Original Disneyland Hotel blog. He posts an amazing amount of vintage and rare Disneyland Hotel pictures on the blog.

Bottom Line: If you had the opportunity to stay at the Disneyland Hotel during its first 35 years, this book is made for you. It is also a one-of-a kind resource for Disneyland historians--you won't find a better historical source anywhere else. In my opinion, though, it is too narrowly dedicated to offer the casual Disney fan a reason to purchase. If you are a completist, though, I would buy the book now. Mr. Ballard has confirmed that there are not many copies left.

You can purchase the book directly from Mr. Ballard.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Geek-End Update, Saturday, July 19, 2008

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Dream Team Project is spreading the word about a special part of Fred Block's MagicMeets Disney Fan Gathering event and their Charity auction happening on July 19th. The best part is that it is for people who can't be at MagicMeets.

The Dream Team Project ( raises money to help send seriously ill children and their families to Walt Disney World through The Make-A-Wish Foundation® of America. Their annual silent auction at MagicMeets raised $9000 last year, and this year they hope to do even more to bring smiles to the faces of children who need it most.

WDW Today podcast will be broadcasting live during MagicMeets. Co-host Mike Newell (Mouse World Radio) came up with a great idea to include a tie in to the Dream Team Charity Auction during the MagicMeets Live Show.

Any donations made to the FirstGiving web page for the DWT Dream Team between 9:00 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. on July 19th will be announced on the WDW Today live show podcast. The FirstGiving website, allows guests to make donations securely using a credit card.

All donations made during the time period will be included in the Auction total announced at MagicMeets. When you fill in your donation, please include your Internet community affiliation in the comment field, so that you can be thanked properly on the air.

Check out the WDW Today podcast website, for details on how to join them for this and all their live shows. They will have a chat room going during the broadcast, which is always lots of fun, and sometimes have a live video feed direct from MagicMeets.

For people attending MagicMeets, or those who want to see what they will be missing, check out the DWT Dream Team Blog, for some previews and behind-the-scenes peeks. Starting on July 1st, previews of all the auction lots will be available on the forums.

The Dream Team Project is really looking forward to this event and would like to thank Mike Newell for the great idea and WDW Today's help implementing it. Together we can spread some Disney magic and make a difference in the lives of seriously ill children.

You must be present at MagicMeets to bid on the auction items. There are no phone or online bids.

MagicMeets is a sold out event.The WDW Today / Dream Team Project tie-in is asking people to make an online DONATION to
There is no compensation for this donation.
f you have any questions, please email

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Meet the Imaginerds!

Did you miss the Wall-E viewing last month in High Point?

Looking for another chance to meet fellow Disney Nerds?

Andrew and I will be presenting a program at the Eva Perry Regional Library in Apex, NC on Tuesday, July 29 at 7:00 pm (close to Raleigh).

Get this...we're calling the program...The Disney Details.

We plan to share some of the inside secrets and details that will make your next Walt Disney World vacation more enjoyable and fun. Not just travel tips, mind you...but little bits of trivia and history of the parks that others might not know.

And we promise it won't JUST be outtakes from the Crate Appreciation Society Meeting Minutes.

Space is severely limited to 42 people and you do have to pre-register. Call the Eva Perry Regional Library at 919.387.2100.
Annette Owens from MouseFan Travel will be on hand to laugh and scoff at the Nerdy Boys!

You can get directions by using your favorite mapping program:

Eva Perry Regional Library
2100 Shepherd's Vineyard Drive
Apex, NC 27502

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Review - Lou Mongello's Audio Guide to Walt Disney World: Adventureland

Lou Mongello's Audio Guide to Walt Disney World: Adventureland.

Lou has just released the second volume of his Audio Guide to Walt Disney World. This time, he hooks a left from Main St. USA and enters Adventureland.

Here is adventure. Here is romance. Here is mystery.
--Walt Disney (describing Adventureland at Disneyland)
Adventureland is my favorite place in all of Walt Disney World. It is usually the first land we visit from the hub (unless we are going to Splash Mountain first), so I was excited to download the digital version of the Audio Guide. The download was seamless and quick; I was listening within minutes.

Like his first Audio Guide of Main St. USA, Lou takes us on an audio tour of the sights and sounds of Adventureland. When I was thinking about what to write about the Adventureland Audio Guide, I was struck by the amount of information and hidden details that Lou shares. He takes us from the hub, through Adventureland and into the fringes of Frontierland. Lou describes every shop, attraction, eatery and significant point along the way.

I really enjoyed the details that Lou provided about the shops and restaurants that are no longer there. In some cases, the building remains but is being used for something different. In one segment, Lou does an incredible job of describing the Adventureland Veranda--he spells out the sights and the experience that existed many years ago. I started researching the Veranda to find photos and really see what Lou was describing. Once again, he made me wish that I had been able to visit and document the Adventureland Veranda. Lou also talks about several other areas that no longer serve their original purpose.

The strength of this guide is in the attention to detail that Lou provides. History, trivia and current information is mixed and mingled in a way that leaves you longing for a visit to Adventureland. I have a few new shops and areas to check out on my next visit.

We listened to the Guide in the car and my nine-year old enjoyed this title as much as the Main St. USA one. He laughed at some of the in-jokes and he had specific questions about the attractions. I know he is looking forward to our next trip so he can show of his new found knowledge. His one complaint: the dog fell asleep halfway through it!

Lou is passionate about Walt Disney World and it shows with this Audio Guide. It is well-recorded, well-produced and well-narrated. He digs deep to share information that is not readily available in one source. I am already looking forward to the next volume.

Bottom Line: If you enjoy the Trivia books and the WDW Radio podcast, then you will love the Audio Guide to Adventureland. It is great for getting a quick fix or for re-living your last vacation. This Guide, like all of Lou's products, is family-friendly and can be enjoyed by everyone. Ideally, you could use the Guide on your next trip down to Walt Disney World.

You can purchase the Audio Guide here.

You can also read my review of the Main St. USA Audio Guide here.

Kudos to Jeff Pepper for designing the logo and custom artwork for the project.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Geek-End Update, July 12, 2008

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Disney, Public Libraries and Books

Can you tell me what Disney and libraries have in common? What about libraries inside of Disney Parks?

Being a librarian, I am always intrigued by different libraries. I have visited many during family vacations--except during Disney vacations, of course.

Or have I?

For me, what could be better than finding a library at Disney!

In Mickey's Toontown, you can find the entrance to the Toontown Public Library. It is located to the right of the Town Hall in Toontown.

At Disney's Hollywood Studios, they have a great urban Public Library setting. Thanks to Jessica for pointing it out. You can see the other library set on her post, too.

A shot of me from 2008 and 1998. I swear that is not a fanny's my professional, uh, library equipment bag...yeah, that's the ticket!

Book Update

It has been awhile since we've done a book update. We added these two great titles to our collection:

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Haunting Details...

The Haunted Mansion is my favorite ride (don't tell Andrew) and I am always surprised by the details that I discover. Earlier, I posted about the Haunted Mansion Cresting Detailing that I found at Haunted Portraits.

You can see more of the Cresting Details on the roof lines of the Mansion.

The Chandelier from the entry way is particularly full of details. Sticky details, though.

Andrew caught this great detail from the fireplace in the entry hall. He also wrote a great post about the design and development of the spooky effects.

The Haunted Mansion: From the Magic Kingdom to the Movies

Sunday, July 6, 2008

WDW Radio Show Book Segment

This week, on the WDW Radio Show, Lou and I discuss three books that look at design, architecture and Disney.

You can download the show here.

I reviewed Designing Disney almost a year ago. You can see the review here.

Don't forget to e-mail Lou and tell him how awesome I am on his show!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Geek-End Update, Saturday July 5, 2008

Don't forget to check out the 4th of July cookout at Passamaquoddy.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

4th of July Cookout!

Doc Terminus is celebrating the 4th of July with a cookout over at Passamaquoddy. Everyone is invited to see what the blog-o-sphere is serving up this 4th.

At Imaginerding, we are sharing a 1977 map from World Magazine. World Magazine was more of a travel brochure that you would pick up at a hotel lobby or request from a visitor's bureau. Jeff at 2719 Hyperion has an older post featuring another volume of the magazine.


In order to offer a larger view of the map, I uploaded it to my Flickr account. If you can't view it, click here.

Happy 4th of July!

To all of our international visitors, please enjoy today's post.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Main Street Transportation Company

At the edges of Town Square in the Magic Kingdom, you can find the various pick-up areas for the one-way transportation to Cinderella Castle. Each sign is different and is stylized to fit, not only Main Street, but the time period of the vehicles, as well. Make sure you notice the differences in the shapes of the signs and the fonts.

And my favorite mode of Main Street Transportation, the Bob Gurr-designed Omnibus parked by the castle!

Here is a close-up of the advertisements on the side of the Omnibus.