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!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

A Tribute to Marc

On a recent research trip led by FoxxFur of Passport to Dreams Old & New, we noticed a new crate in Frontierland at the Magic Kingdom. Located near the County Bear Jamboree is a vignette with a light blue wagon, some barrels and a crate.

The crate is painted with a yellow, red and black logo reading DAVIS TOBACCO; a reference to Marc Davis, one of Walt Disney's Nine Old Men. Davis is known for being one of the few animators to be asked to help create and design attractions and he was considered a master at creating and designing characters. His more famous works include: the elephants in the Jungle Cruise; Pirates of the Caribbean; the Haunted Mansion; It's a Small World; and America Sings.

The Country Bear Jamboree was an idea created by Davis and Al Bertino for the Mineral Springs Ski Resort. After Walt's death, the creation of the resort was eventually blocked by preservationists and the Bear show was moved to the Florida Project. Country Bear Jamboree was one of the opening day attractions at Walt Disney World on October 1, 1971. It was so successful, that plans were made to add it to Disneyland in California. It is one of the few Magic Kingdom attractions to premiere at the younger park before heading west to Disneyland.

To learn more about Marc Davis and the County Bear Jamboree, visit Passport to Dreams.

This article was published previously at 2719 Hyperion.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Candy Cane Buddy Biscuits

As part of the promotion of Santa Buddies, Disney has released a recipe for Candy Cane Buddy Biscuits.

Click on the image to see a larger version.

The boys helped make the Candy Cane Buddy Biscuits and the dogs have absolutely loved them! Ours didn't turn out as pretty as the ones on the recipe page, but the dogs didn't seem to mind.

The six-year old was modeling for the dogs on how to eat the candy canes. And no, he did not eat one (no six-year olds were harmed during the writing of this post).

Monday, November 23, 2009

DVD Review: Santa Buddies

Santa Buddies (Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo) [Blu-ray] 2009. Not Rated.

The following review was done by my 11-year old son. This is a review of the Blu-Ray/DVD Combo pack that we received as a review copy. He is slightly biased--in addition to his love of Disney and video games, dogs are one of his favorite things.

This is another great combo set that contains a Blu-Ray and a DVD disc--perfect for family viewing and for keeping one in the car or play room. On with the review:

The movie is a great children's movie that is good for watching with the family. It has a kind of slow beginning. As it goes on, it gets better and better. It has very cute and funny moments. One of the cutest moments was when there was a little dog who was singing a song about Christmas spirit.

I've watched Snow Buddies, Space Buddies and Air Buddies. They have the same characters in each one. There is a new character in each movie. The prequel to all of the Buddie movies is Air Bud. The dog, Buddy, is the father of all of the buddies (Budderball, B-Dawg, Rosebud, Mudbud and Buddha). For you to completely understand the story of the Buddies, you should watch Air Bud and Air Buddies to completely understand the series.

It is a Christmas classic where something happens to Christmas and it might never happen again. But something dramatically swoops in to save Christmas Day.

I would recommend it for people who enjoy the spirit of Christmas and for people who enjoy a good story. Make sure that you have a nice, warm hot chocolate and warm, buttery popcorn for this chill of a tale.

Make sure to tune in later this week for some Santa Buddies crafts and surprises!

He also picked these two video clips to share with everyone.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Geek-End Update, Saturday, November

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

How To Catch a Rabbit!

Anyone who knows us at Imaginerding is well aware that we consider Splash Mountain to be the ultimate Disney ride. Although Andy's favorite ride is Spaceship Earth and mine is the Haunted Mansion, we both agree that Splash Mountain offers a great story, wonderful songs, a fun (although wet) ride and a lot of details. Other rides may have better lineages (Haunted Mansion and Pirates) but Splash is an all around "really-good" ride*.

On one of our research trips, we were able to ride Splash Mountain twice without any wait. We took as many pictures as we could in the queue and the daylight areas of the ride for future posts.

Just for you, though, we broke our rule and took a flash picture inside the ride--just this once. We saw this book on our first ride and didn't have our cameras out. Andy nailed a great shot on the second go around.

We present to you another book update: How to Catch a Rabbit by Brer Wolf.

Since I wasn't able to snag a review copy of this title or step out of the log, I can't do an official book review. What I can tell you is that I would not recommend this book. After spending nearly 10 minutes following the author's escapades throughout the attraction, I can safely conclude that Mr. Wolf is a hack and that the book did not help Br'er Fox secure any rabbits while on the ride. Near the end, Br'er Fox did catch the rabbit, but ended up throwing him into the briar patch after some quick talking by said rabbit.

If you can get your hands on a copy of this rare item, it is worth it from a collector's standpoint. Otherwise, I would leave this title in the swamp.

Once again, another great reason why you need to slow down, look around and enjoy the details while you are in the parks.

As the famous architect Ludwig Mies van der Mouse once said, "Walt is in the detail."

*As voted on by George and Andrew.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Spaceship Earth by Jeff B

Jeff B is one of my favorite amateur photographers on the web. I have featured his photographs before and I really appreciate his artistic vision.

The shot below is a great look at Spaceship Earth at Epcot. I asked Jeff B to tell us some more about how he created this stunning photograph.

Where and when did you take it?
The camera was very close to the direction sign that is in the lower right hand side of the photograph. This is just past the leave a legacy display at EPCOT. It was taken slightly after closing and I was fortunate that no one walked through the frame and there were no stray strollers left in the area.

How did you set up the shot?
The photo was taken with a fisheye lens which really distorts straight lines near the edges. This creates the curved ground and exaggerated curves on the Spaceship Earth’s legs. It also produces an incredibly wide view. I purposely shot off to one side (in this case the right side) to a) get close up to the direction sign which increases the photo’s depth and b) to include the building that houses Project Tomorrow. My camera was mounted on a tripod and shot using a shutter release cable.

Was there any inspiration for it?
Yes, I was trying to capture that futuristic vibe and colorful glow that Future World (particularly around SSE and Innovations Plaza ) exhibits in the evening.

How did you artistically retouch the photo?
I shot the image 5 times using different exposures each time (-3,-2,0,+2,+3). The images were combined and tone mapped using Photomatix to produce what is commonly known as a High Dynamic Range image. I pushed the color balance pretty far to the warm side. The image was then transferred to Photoshop where there was some further local increase in color saturation and then finally sharpening.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Geek-End Update, Saturday, November 14, 2009

This update covers 10/31-11/14

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Let's Visit Paradise Falls!

As part of the promotion of UP, Disney/Pixar has released 8 retro-style travel posters. Some of them are reminiscent of vintage Disneyland attraction posters and evoke the artistry of 1950's and 1960's Disney. I'm not sure if I can pick a favorite! Click on the image to see a larger view.

You can read my review of the book The Art of UP, here.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Balloon Science Fun!

Here is another Activity Sheet from Disney/Pixar that you can print out and share!

Balloon Science Fun!
• Helium has a lifting force of about 1 gram per liter.
• An average size party balloon is approximately 30cm (one foot) in diameter.
• It can hold approximately 14 liters.
• That’s 14 grams of lift power per balloon.
• Estimate and subtract the weight of the string and the latex balloon.
• Formula: 1 balloon = 10 grams of lift power.

How Many Balloons Would It Take To Lift:

Disney • Pixar’s Up Blu-ray Combo Pack?
At approximately 227 grams (or 0.5 lbs) in weight, it requires approximately 22 balloons to send the movie Up, up and away!

A Blu-ray Disc Player?
Most models weigh just over 2 kg (4.5 lbs.) which requires 200 balloons to add a whole new meaning to Blu-ray “high definition.”

Your Neighbor’s Dog?
A happy Labrador Retriever dog weighs in at about 32 kg (70 lbs). It would take approximately 3200 balloons to lift this furry friend off the ground.
The voice of Dug (the Dog) in the movie Up is actually the voice of Co-Director / Screenwriter, Bob Peterson.
A Bicycle?
The average bicycle weighs approximately 19 kilograms (or 42 lbs). You will need approximately 1,900 balloons to turn a 2-wheeler into an air-bike.
Before the Wright Brothers built their first flying airplane in 1903, they operated a small bicycle repair shop.
A Sumo Wrestler?
The average weight of a Sumo wrestler is approximately 148 kg (or 326 lbs). That means it would take about 148,000 balloons to send this guy Up.
Sumo wrestling was established as a national sport in 1909.
A Small House?
This figure can vary in terms of quantity of balloons given the size and scale of the house. Let’s say the house in Disney/Pixar ’s movie Up weighed about 46,000 kg (that’s 101,413 lbs). That means it takes approximately 4,600,000 balloons to send Carl's home Up and away!
Nearly 70 animators worked on the movie Up during peak production.

You can read my review of the book The Art of UP, here.

Monday, November 9, 2009

DVD Review: UP

Up (4 Disc Combo Pack with Digital Copy and DVD) [Blu-Ray]

I won't be posting a review of UP in this space; countless other bloggers and media outlets will be raving about it. Needless to say, if you didn't have the chance to see UP in the theaters, then you do need to see this movie!

Instead, I want to discuss the extras and why you should buy the combo pack--even if you don't own a Blu-Ray player, yet.

Dug's Secret Mission:
This is an amazing Pixar short that is, woefully, too short. It takes place right before Carl and Russell meet Dug and it ties wonderfully into the film. It will have you running around yelling "Squirrel" all day!

Partly Cloudy:
The hilarious short film that preceded screenings of Up. Everyone knows that the stork delivers babies, but where do the storks get the babies? The answer lies up in the stratosphere where the cloud Gus is a master at creating “dangerous” babies, which prove to be more than a handful for his local delivery stork Peck. Directed by Pixar story artist, animator and voice actor Peter Sohn.
Adventure is Out There:
This action-packed documentary tells the story of the filmmakers’ own trek to the tepuis mountains of South America to research the design and story of the film.
We weren't sure what to expect when we watched this documentary, but it turned out to be one of the best parts of the UP experience. The whole family mentioned that it made the tepui seem less fantastical and much more grounded in reality. We could relate to the flora and the environment of the South American scenes. Plus, it was fun to see all of the Pixar employees getting wet and how their drawings, sketches and paintings evolved into UP.

Blu-Ray/DVD/Digital Download Combo Pack:
I have received review copies of the combo packs before and I absolutely love them! Basically, you get a Blu-Ray copy with all of the extras that only a Blu-Ray can provide, along with a DVD version of the movie (with some of the extras) and a digital version that you can watch on your computer or portable device. Everybody wins! You can have the DVD version for the kids' room or the car, the Blu-Ray for the good television and the digital version on the laptop so the kids can watch it on the flight to Walt Disney World. The Blu-Ray disc does contain ten additional features, behind-the scenes bonus features and games. Hours and hours of additional entertainment.

As a special bonus, here is a sheet provided by Disney/Pixar for your little adventurer (or yourself), entitled Adventures In Your Own Backyard!

Click on the image to see a larger version.

This movie will be a favorite for many generations to come and is helping to define character animation in the digital age.


You can read my review of the book The Art of UP, here.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Book Update

I just received my copy of South of the Border With Disney: Walt Disney and the Good Neighbor Program, 1941-1948by JB Kaufman. It looks amazing and the reviews have been great.

The latest volume in the Walt's People series has arrived: Walt's People - Volume 8edited by Didier Ghez. It looks like Didier has compiled some more fantastic interviews. The print runs on Didier's works are never very large, so you should snap it up soon!

Monday, November 2, 2009

DVD Review: Walt Disney Treasures Zorro Seasons 1 & 2

Out of the night,
When the full moon is bright,
Comes the horseman known as Zorro.
This bold renegade
Carves a "Z" with his blade,
A "Z" that stands for Zorro.

WOW! This is the perfect DVD set to introduce or re-acquaint yourself with Zorro. Growing up in the 1970's, I saw a few reruns of the 1957-1959 series and I knew about Zorro from the various films and pop culture references. I never had the opportunity to see them as presented on television, so I wasn't as familiar with the Disney series. When I popped in the first disc of my review copy of season one, I was hooked from the get go.

This is the first time that the entire two-season collection has been offered in its original black and white airing; previous releases were Disney Movie Club exclusives and had been colorized. I was surprised at the intelligence, warmth, humor and excitement in this 50-year old television series. You are immediately drawn into the characters and the plot lines.

Leonard Maltin introduces the set (as in all of the other Walt Disney Treasures) and he waxes poetically about the series. What caught my attention was when Maltin mentions that Zorro was a precursor to the Lone Ranger and Batman. As I watched the series unfold, I noticed the similarities: Don Diego de la Vega (Zorro) was a wealthy nobleman; he had a secret cave located under his hacienda; he had a faithful manservant that assisted his work; and he was a masked man that stood for justice. Bob Kane has said that Zorro was an early influence during the creation of Batman.

The series' writing was very comical. Don Diego's man-servant, Bernardo, was an immediate favorite. Bernado portrays himself as a deaf-mute in order to help spy for Zorro. The hapless Sergeant Garcia became as sympathetic as he was inept; it was obvious that his heart was in the right place. The following clip is a song sung by Sergeant Garcia and is a perfect example of the interaction between Don Diego, Garcia and the ancillary characters.

As expected, the series is full of swashbuckling action, daring sword fights, brazen and over-the-top villains, horse chases and beautiful senoritas.

This set is great family fun and will provide many hours of entertainment. I can't tell you how many sword fights that I have had with my sons since we started watching Zorro. Of course, we were using foam swords and I always played the evil Comandante!

This set will make a fantastic Holiday present for the Disney enthusiast in your family.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

DVD Review: Mickey's Magical Christmas

Mickey's Magical Christmas: Snowed In at the House of Mouse November 3, 2009

Mickey's Magical Christmas is a re-release of the 2001 DVD feature. If you didn't have a chance to pick up a copy then, you can lay your gloves on this DVD treat that will become a family tradition for many years to come. I received my review copy and we waited until after Halloween to watch this one. It was a great way to start off our Christmas Holiday season!

The DVD is 65 minutes long and is filled with treasures that will delight everyone in your family.
In this full-length adventure, a huge snowstorm leaves Mickey, Minnie and many other friends stranded leading Mickey and his guests at the House of Mouse to whip up an impromptu party that includes instilling a “Humbug”-quacking Donald Duck with the holiday spirit. Everyone shares their home movies and even grumpy Donald starts to smile when they realize the “Best Christmas of All” is the one you share with friends and family.
Throughout the episode, Mickey and the gang do their best to spread holiday cheer. Lucky for us, there are some classic holiday shorts mixed in with the newer House of Mouse shorts. The highlights are the 1952 Pluto's Christmas Tree and the 24-minute 1983 version of Mickey's Christmas Carol.

The first bonus feature of the disc is the premiere episode of The House of Mouse. This is a charming look at the beginning of the series and you get a sense of the creativity and talent of this short-lived series. The second bonus is The Sounds of Christmas-a Disney Sound Effects Featurette featuring the late Wayne Allwine, voice of Mickey Mouse for over 30 years. In the featurette, Wayne retells Twas the Night Before Christmas with the help of a few children providing sound effects.

Taken purely as a DVD aimed at fans of the holiday season, you can't go wrong with this title. The animation (except for Pluto's Christmas Tree and Mickey's Christmas Carol) is decidedly "made for television" and seems quite jarring, choppy and immature next to the classic animated segments. I am glad that I was able to add it to my collection, though, and I look forward to sharing it with my kids over the next few years.

For other Disney Holiday animation, you can read my review of the Walt Disney Animation Collection Classic Short Films: Mickey's Christmas Carol.