Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Restaurantosaurus Book Update Part 01

On a research trip to the Animal kingdom, we found ourselves touring Restaurantosaurus and checking out some of the amazing details. One of the details, in particular, that caught our attention was the amount of books that we found throughout the restaurant. Some real...some, uh, not.

A few of the titles actually exist. Let me share the more fictional titles with you:
  • From Here to Extinction
  • The Asteroid Also Rises
  • The Agony and the Extinction
The last book on the shelf is Dinosaurs in the Attic by Douglas Preston. A real book by a great author. It is about the history of the American Museum of Natural History. So it fits perfectly!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Book Update

We had some new arrivals at Imaginerding Headquarters over the holiday season, including a 1959 copy of WISDOM: The Magazine of Knowledge for Lifetime Learning and Education (#32 Walt Disney).

They all look exciting, but I am thrilled to have The Art of Ponyo, Animation (Archive Series) and the Wisdom Magazine.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Geppetto's Gingerbread Cookies

The following is a recipe from Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse Cookbook. You too can make Geppetto's Gingerbread Cookies at home. Parents, don't attempt this recipe without your kids' help!

What you need:
Butter or margarine (for greasing cookie sheets)
1 package (14.5 ounces) gingerbread mix
¼ cup milk
¼ cup salad oil
It’s nice to have 2 cookie sheets so that you can bake the cookies all at once. If you only have 1, though, cut out and bake half the cookies. Remove them from the sheet and let it cool. Then grease it again with butter or margarine. Cut out the rest of the cookies and bake them. 

Before putting the cookies into the oven, try adding some of these tasty decorations to the tops to make faces or clothes or pretty designs: crushed peanuts, candies, raisins, miniature marshmallows, chocolate chips, coconut, sprinkles. How many more can you think of? You can also decorate the cooled baked cookies with frosting-filled cake decorating tubes.

What you do with it:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease 2 cookie sheets with a little butter.
2. Pour the gingerbread mix into a large mixing bowl. Add the milk and oil and mix well with a spoon.
3. Remove the dough from the bowl and shape it into a round. Wrap it in waxed paper or plastic wrap. Chill it in the refrigerator until it’s firm, about 1 hour.
4. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface. Roll it out with a rolling pin until it’s about ¼ inch thick.
5. Cut out cookies (see pages 28-29) and place them on the cookie sheets with a wide spatula. Leave some room between cookies.
6. Bake for 12 minutes. Let the cookies cool on the cookie sheet.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

DVD Review: Extract

I am a big fan of Mike Judge (Office Space, Idiocracy, King of the Hill), so I was very excited to receive a review copy of his latest film, Extract. The previews and commercials during the Labor Day release painted an almost slapstick film with pratfalls and gags. The film serves up some of my favorite actors (Jason Bateman, Kristen Wiig) in some great roles; I just felt like something was missing. It was a good story but I finished the film wishing for more. Extract is a Miramax Films and Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment release.

Here is the official synopsis:
Joel Reynolds (Jason Bateman) is sitting pretty. With a beautiful wife, a comfortable home and the almost finalized acquisition by General Mills of the culinary extracts business he has built with his loyal lieutenant Brian (J.K. Simmons), Joel seems to have it all. Except his wife is about as interested in him as she is in her career (supermarket coupon design), his employees want a piece of the pie and the sweet young thing with designs on him (Mila Kunis) is really a wily con-artist. On the advice of a drug-addled confidante (Ben Affleck), Joel cooks up a scheme to cheat with impunity by hiring a gigolo to seduce his wife—only to discover the young object of his affection is behind a lawsuit by long-time employee Step (Clifton Collins, Jr.) that will scotch the General Mills deal and leave Joel penniless. The best-laid plans unravel with hilarious results in this off-the wall comedy about life in the not-so-fast lane.
We enjoyed the film, but we weren't heads-over-heals excited about it. Mike Judge excels at crafting incredibly believable characters and inserting them into complacent and mundane situations. In hindsight, I wondered if this film is the result of Mike Judge seeing himself as a manager, trying to take care of his people,  instead of an office drone. In Extract, we see a manager trying to craft a successful company with a crew of oddballs--the opposite of Office Space where it is an attempt at a group of ragtag employees trying to break free of corporate shackles. I was hoping that Extract would have the same quotable lines, humor and cult status as Office Space or Idiocracy,but it told more of a tale than Office Space. I really felt for Jason Bateman's character as he suffered through his own coming of age story--he was the loveable underdog that had no idea how good he had it until it was almost gone. Add this one to your Netflix queue or just rent it; it is good, but not one that I would need to own.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Monday, December 14, 2009


G-Force (Three-Disc DVD/Blu-ray Combo +Digital Copy) [Blu-ray]

This is a film that I wished we had seen in the theater this past summer. It is a fantastic popcorn-style blockbuster film: tons of action, special effects and excitement! G-Force is a typical Jerry Bruckheimer Tour de Force aimed squarely at the family audience. The films of Bruckheimer should be very familiar to Disney enthusiasts with titles such as the Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy, Con Air, The Rock and Armageddon.

One of the biggest surprises for me was seeing how believable the G-Force characters actually were. The computer-generated graphics never really looked out of place and the interactions with the real-world were plausible and exciting.

Mini-review from my 11-year old: G-Force is a great movie to watch with the family and kids. It is a film about friendship and betrayal. It is a very good comedy, as well. I suggest you watch it over and over!

One of the standouts of the film is the technology used by the G-Force operatives: tiny PDAs, telecommunication devices, computers and vehicles. Most of the gadgets were created by Speckles, the unit's tech and gadget wizard. He is a nearsighted mole that keeps G-Force up and running. Nicholas Cage did a surprising job of realizing the character's voice and attitude (or lack of).

Mini-review from my six-year old: It was so funny. I liked it when they were in the ball car and when the cockroaches made a disco ball. My favorite one was Harley the Guinea Pig that tooted a lot.
The voice-acting was well done and the actors really got into their roles. One of my favorite characters was Blaster, voiced by Tracy Morgan. Tracy brings his bombastic style from the hit show 30 Rock to the movie. He is a self-realized ladies man and fighting expert. Just like Tracy!

G-Force is a fun and family-friendly movie--with explosions! My kids loved it and the six-year old told me that he wants to watch it every day for the rest of his life. Now I am glad we have the combo pack with the Blu-Ray, DVD and digital download.

Behind the Scenes: Bloopers (Bonus)

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Book Update

I have added two new books to my collection thanks to my friend Scott, a fellow librarian and Disney book collector. Scott attended the D23 Expo and picked up a copy of the Treasures of the Walt Disney Archives book for me.

As a surprise, he also sent a copy of the Epcot Resource Guide from the Epcot Discovery Center.

The following picture is of Scott's previous personal library collection. (I use previous because he has moved to a new house.) He does have a few more books than I do! You can follow Scott on his twitter feed at

Thanks, Scott!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Walt's Birthday Celebration 2009

I usually save posts like this for the Geek-End Update, but Paul F. Anderson at The Disney History Institute has posted no less than 24 outstanding posts to celebrate Walt Disney's birthday. Some are by Paul and a few are by guest bloggers. All of them are fantastic but I want to point out a few of my favorites:

Friday, December 4, 2009

Geek-End Update, Saturday, December 5, 2009

There will be a lot of blog posts today about Walt Disney as we celebrate his birthday. For today, pull up a chair, grab a bowl of chili and beans, and enjoy some fantastic blog posts from the past week.

My friends Ray and Nancy just returned from China with their new son, Kai. Ray is known for his detailed trip reports to Walt Disney World and Disneyland and he spared no detail chronicling their adventure to meet Kai. You might also know Ray from Grumpy's Hollow, Celebrations Magazine and Twitter. Congratulations to Ray and Nancy on the beginnings of their family.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Bibliography: Walt Disney World History

I have posted this previously at 2719 Hyperion, the other Disney blog that I co-manage. I have added a new review since then and wanted to repost it here. Enjoy!

A frequent request we receive at 2719 is for books about the history of Walt Disney World. While there isn't one book that covers it completely, there are several titles you can digest that will give you a very good picture. There are a lot of titles available and they come from different sources; check out the ones that look most interesting.

The definition of a bibliography is:
a complete or selective list of works compiled upon some common principle, as authorship, subject, place of publication, or printer.
This bibliography is by no means a complete list of books available on Walt Disney World; I have only added books that I own. Feel free to leave a comment if I have missed something good!
You can always keep up with the Walt Disney World-related titles we have reviewed by clicking here.

General Interest
The books included in this set focus on more than just Walt Disney World. I consider each title an essential part of any Disney enthusiast's library.

The following titles are specific to Walt Disney World and cover more than just an attraction. The Kurtti, Koenig and Beard titles are a must!

  • Beard, Richard F. Walt Disney's Epcot Center: Creating the New World of Tomorrow. 1982. This is the book that every fan of Epcot should own. An amazing amount of conceptual artwork and photos of the park during its first few months. In-depth information on the pavilions and anecdotes from the Imagineers. There are three editions: a pre-opening, post-opening and a short version. The difference in the post- and pre- is whether some of the pictures are in-park photos or close-ups of models.
  • Gordon, Bruce; Kurtti, Jeff. Walt Disney World Then, Now, and Forever. 2008. Theme Park Exclusive. Gordon and Kurtti have written a history/souvenir guide for Walt Disney World. It does act more like a family scrapbook than a history book, until you delve into its pages. You can read my review here.
  • Mannheim, Steven.Walt Disney and the Quest for Community. 2003. This book could almost be considered a biography of the Epcot that could have been. Mannheim writes a very through-provoking and enjoyable work on Walt Disney's plans for EPCOT Center and how they germinated and became reality (or didn't, in some cases). You can read my review here.
  • The Story of Walt Disney World, Commemorative Edition. Various Years (1971, 1973, 1976). An official publication that looks at the first few years of Walt Disney World. It focuses on the building of the Magic Kingdom, the resorts and the rest of the vacation kingdomBulleted List. It has a great stylized map and lots of pictures.
Attraction Specific

There would be no Walt Disney World without these artists.

Detailed-inspired travel guides, academic treatises and amazing photographic titles. Usually more of a time-capsule than a history title.

  • Childs, Valerie. The Magic of Disneyland and Walt Disney World. 1979. I reviewed the book here. This work is mainly a pictorial essay about Disneyland and Walt Disney World. Geared mainly for park detectives and people who visited the parks in the 1970s. You can read my review here.
  • Hannaford, Dee. The Gardens of Walt Disney World Resort. 1988. One of the most beautiful coffee-table books ever produced about Walt Disney World. Amazing photographs of the gardens and natural areas help to create a snapshot of Walt Disney World Resort in 1988. Absolutely gorgeous and belongs in every collection.
  • Imagineering Field Guide Series: Epcot, Animal Kingdom, Magic Kingdomand Disney's Hollywood Studios. 2005-2009. Written by The Imagineers, this series of guidebooks discusses some of the details and histories of the parks. They are designed to be taken into the park with you; hence the artwork can be fairly small, but exciting.

  • Marling, Karal Ann. Designing Disney's Theme Parks: The Architecture of Reassurance. 1998. Marling presents a series of academic articles written by historians, critics and architects that look at the development of the Disney theme park. Wonderful photographs.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Geek-End Update, Saturday, November 28, 2009

Top Secret Designs Released!

One of our Bothan Spies* ran across this document and thought the readers of Imaginerding would love to see it.

In a rare move, Imagineering has dusted off a plan straight from Michael Eisner!

It was first suggested as a holiday overlay for Spaceship Earth when Butterball Turkey was briefly considered as the new sponsor for the attraction. It looks like it will be used next year for the 2010 Food and Wine Festival and Thanksgiving Holiday.

I call the leg!

* We actually love and respect Honor @ Blue Sky Disney--it is just a fun reference. He always has the best rumors from his Bothan Spies!