Thursday, March 29, 2012

Communicore Weekly and Disney Links

We've got a brand new Communicore Weekly! This time we cover my recent trip report to Walt Disney World, bathrooms on the Disney Fantasy, a 1994 Souvenir Guide and a Five Legged Goat.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Communicore Weekly and Storybook Circus

Since I was away last week, I didn't get to remind you to watch the latest episode of Communicore Weekly.

New Mice Chat Article

I spent a lot of time last week in the expansion of the new Storybook Circus area and felt like I needed to share my opinions about the area. If this small section is any indication, then the New Fantasyland is going to be absolutely amazing.

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Sunday, March 25, 2012

Mice Chat Article on Disney Dining

Just wanted to remind everyone that my article about Chef Mickey and the Evolution of Character Dining is up over at Mice Chat.

Leave me a comment or shoot me an email if you have any early memories of character dining at Walt Disney World. There is still a lot of undocumented history of Walt Disney World and I hope to tackle it one step at a time.
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Monday, March 19, 2012

The Muppets Blu-ray Review

This is the movie that most Muppet fans have been waiting for and this is the Blu-ray title that my family has been waiting for since November 2011.

Growing up in the 1970s, I won't bore you with my love of the Muppet Show, the films or how Waldorf and Statler completely focused my adult sense of humor. But I will tell you how much I loved this movie. A lot!

The presentation and sound on Blu-ray was fantastic. The special features were well done and appropriate for a Muppet movie.

Here are the details on the extras:

  • The Longest Blooper Reel Ever Made (In Muppet History––We Think) - A laugh out loud look at the actors’ funny gaffs and gags from behind the scenes of making Disney’s “The Muppets.”
  • Disney Intermission - Groundbreaking Blu-ray feature. Pausing a movie will never be this much fun, as the Muppets take over the screen every time you stop the disc!
  • Scratching The Surface: A Hasty Examination of the Making of Disney’s “The Muppets.” Hosted by unit production manager monster J.G., the cast and crew take a behind the scenes look at making Muppet and movie history.
  • Explaining Evil: The Full Tex Richman Song. Rapping his way through the story of his miserable life, Tex tells audiences why he turned out to be such a rotten guy.
  • A Little Screen Test on the way to the Read Through. This hilarious footage follows the Muppet gang as they go to their first table reading of the script.
  • Eight Deleted Scenes
  • Audio Commentary with Jason Segel, James Bobin and Nicholas Stoller 3
  • The Combo Pack also comes with the popular theatrical spoof trailers
  • The Complete Soundtrack

By far, the best part of the Blu-ray beside the film is the Disney Intermission. Press pause at any point in the film and watch the Muppets take over the television with their antics and glimpses of the special features. The first time we paused the film, I was amazed. Probably one of the best ideas ever put forth for a home theater experience. Especially if someone in the family is gone for a few minutes.

It was great to see the Muppets on the big screen and to be able to spend some great family time with them on Blu-ray. Don't forget, if you buy the Wokka, Wokka, Wokka pack you get the soundtrack as a digital download. Then you can sing "Man or a Muppet" all of the time!

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Saturday, March 17, 2012

Disney Links, Links and More Links

Todd J. Pierce and Paul F. Anderson at the Disney History Institute have released an amazing video showcasing Zorro Days at Disneyland, a very rare event and an extremely rare treat for us to see on video.

On with the geeky Disney links!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Muppets Blu-ray Giveaway!

Enter our drawing to win a copy of the Wocka Wocka Value Pack of the Muppet Movie!

This set includes the movie on Blu-ray high-definition, DVD and Digital Copy (3 discs) plus a download card for the film's soundtrack from Walt Disney Records.

You can leave a comment on this post to get an entry or you can like Imaginerding on Facebook for an additional entry.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Communicore Weekly - Robert Sherman, Building A Dream, Crane Bathroom of Tomorrow, and Ticket Booths

Episode 9 of Communicore Weekly features a look at Robert Sherman, Building a Dream by Beth Dunlop, the Bathroom Break of Tomorrow and the last Ticket Booth at the Magic Kingdom.

Monday, March 12, 2012

ImagiNERDing Column Debuts at Mice Chat!

My column at Mice Chat premiered today.

As can be expected, I delve deeper into one of the geekier aspects of Walt Disney World history--my obsession with Bob-A-Round boats.

Head on over and check out the weekly ImagiNERDing column and leave a comment!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

The Hot Seat with Leonard Kinsey and Disney Links

We are proud to debut the first episode of Communicore Weekly's In the Hot Seat. Jeff and I interview Leonard Kinsey, author of the Dark Side of Disney. Leonard offers tips for drinking around Epcot.

It was a quiet week in the Disney blog-o-sphere, but I've got a few links for you to enjoy. Make sure to leave us a comment on our video to tell us how much you love the interview (and the brand new song).

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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Communicore Weekly - Castaway Cay, Mickey Mouse Book, General Joe Potter, Lost Boys Fire Brigade

Are you ready for the Greatest Online show?

This week on Communicore Weekly we talk about these super fun things:

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Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Sherman Brothers Book Walt's Time, a Review

Walt's Time - From Before to Beyond by Robert B. Sherman & Richard M. Sherman. 1998, 252 pages.

I originally posted this review in 2008. With the passing of Robert Sherman on Monday, March 5, 2012, I felt like it was appropriate to revisit this phenomenal title. It is out of print and, as can be expected, I assume that the price is going to increase over the next several days. It truly is a fantastic title.

The Sherman Brothers need little introduction to Disney fans. Prolific composers of music for films and theme park attractions, they have written some of the most memorable songs in Disney history, not to mention film history and theme park history in general..

This book, which looks at their long career, finally saw the light of day after the Sherman Brothers met Bruce Gordon and Dave Mumford. Just like The Nickel Tour, publishers felt that there was no commercial appeal in this book. Bruce and David had self-published The Nickel Tour and thought that they could do the same with Walt's Time. The Sherman Brothers, after shopping the book around since 1981, had worked with Jeff Kurtti to write the majority of the text. Bruce and Dave met with Jeff and they agreed to self-publish. The Sherman Brothers were thrilled to work with Bruce, David and Jeff.

The book was created to resemble a scrapbook of their career. It starts with their first day on the Disney lot where they land the title song for the Parent Trap while auditioning a song for the Horsemasters. It then launches through the highlights of a majority of their works written and published at the Disney Studios. The middle section is dedicated to their father, Al and looks at everything that he published and his successes. During the section on their father, they look at their family history and how Al Sherman influenced his children. It is obvious from Walt's Time that the Sherman Brothers were profoundly influenced by their father and Walt Disney. When the brothers speak of either man, the text is filled with love, gratitude and wonder.

The third section details more of their work with the Disney Company, before and after Walt's passing. It also looks at the body of work they have done since leaving the company. Stage productions, theatrical work and animated films make up the bulk of their work in the '70's, 80's and 90's.

The Brothers spend a lot of time discussing their interactions with Walt Disney and how Walt was an amazing and optimistic person. The song There's a Great, Big Beautiful Tomorrow was inspired by Walt Disney. Their proudest moments include It's a Small World and Mary Poppins. They wrote the songs for Chitty Chitty Bang Bang after receiving Walt's blessings to work on the outside project. Albert Broccoli (producer of the James Bond movies) also owned the rights to Fleming's children's novel about the car. Broccoli brought the idea to Walt, who declined saying he had too much on his plate and wanted more creative control. After the success of Mary Poppins, Broccoli gathered most of the creative team that had worked on Mary Poppins. The Brothers were also involved with two of the biggest animated films of the 60's as well: The Jungle Book and Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree.

Obviously, the Sherman Brothers' influence has been felt greatly in the theme parks. The Tiki Tiki Tiki Room, Magic Highways, Magic Journeys, Makin' Memories, Astuter Computer Review, the Best Time of Your Life and Miracles From Molecules are songs that have resonated with fans for years and will continue to inspire us and make us sing.

I had the opportunity to see Richard Sherman perform at the D23 Destination D: Walt Disney World 40th Anniversary Celebration. It was an absolutely enchanting and heartwarming moment.

Disney Legend and Academy Award® winner Richard M. Sherman charms audiences with a lively performance of some of the film and attraction song hits from the Sherman Brothers’ Disney songbook. © Disney
There's not much one can say about seeing Richard Sherman perform the songs that he wrote with his brother. He played more than 15 songs and each one brought back a specific memory from a film, theme park or time of my life (Now is the time, now is the best time!). Tim O'Day did a marvelous job acting as the emcee and he helped Richard tell the stories behind the songs. Probably the biggest surprise of the evening was when the original Dreamfinder, Ron Schneider, joined Richard Sherman to sing One Little Spark. The whole crowd rose to their feet and sang along.
Looking at everything the Sherman Brothers have done is a tad bit overwhelming!

Bottom Line: I enjoyed this book and was completely astounded by how prolific the Sherman Brothers actually are. The book is designed beautifully and features awards, personal recollections and photos from every period of their career (just like a scrapbook!). This is book is clearly for music fans, fans of the Sherman Brothers and fans of Disney films from the 1960's.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Stargate Restaurant at EPCOT Center

Andy at Make the Magic posted about a character breakfast that she had loved and lamented the lack of information available on the Stargate Restaurant at EPCOT Center.

I quickly turned to my trusty Disney A to Z: The Official Encyclopedia (Third Edition) by Dave Smith.
Fast-Food facility in Communicore East at Epcot, from October 1, 1982 to April 10, 1994. It later became the  Electric Umbrella.
Photo from Making the Magic
Andy had posted this information, already, so I needed to find another resource.

I pulled out my 1984 Birnbaum's Official Guide and found a lengthier description.
Stargate Restaurant: This large fast-tood establishment, located in CommuniCore East, is handsomely decorated in shades of blue, mauve, and magenta. It's a particularly good bet when the weather is temperate enough to allow dining on the tables on the terrace outside—or when bound for World Showcase with finicky eaters in tow. It's also one of the few Epcot Center restaurants open for breaktast. Cold cereals, Danish pastries, fruit cups. blueberry muffins, and cheese omelets served with creditable home-fried potatoes are available then. But the real specialty is the extremely satisfying. if extravagantly named. "Stellar Scramble." Made of cheese, tomatoes, ham, onions, green pepper, and scrambled eggs, this “breakfast pizza“ might not win any prizes among connoisseurs of haute cuisine, but it's unquestionably tasty. At lunch and dinner, offerings include pepperoni or cheese pizzas, hamburgers, and chefs salads. The peanut butter cookies are good, too. The Stargate Restaurant stays open until the park closes. B, L, D. S.

Image from the 1984 Official Guide to Walt Disney World
Andy also talked about eating a character breakfast at the Stargate Restaurant. I have an odd fascination with the history of dining at Walt Disney World. The earliest character breakfasts were always centered around the hotels and campgrounds. I wondered what Andy had experience. I wasn't doubting her memories or her photographs, but I needed to do some more research.

The Official Guide from 1991 still states that there were only a handful of character breakfasts at Walt Disney World at the time, with none at EPCOT Center. We see the usual: Empress Lilly, Contemporary, Ft. Wilderness, the Contemporary and the Polynesian. It is the same information for the 1993 Official Guide. We don';t see a major change until later; the 1997 Official Guide mentions a few other character locations, but it is still not the experience we know today (in 1984 and 1989, reservation were not needed for the character buffets at the Contemporary or the Polynesian).

Once again, we run into the wall for people researching the history of Walt Disney World. Relying on official resources can be tenuous, at best, and it makes it difficult to confirm or deny certain facts. Relevancy is important and we still need access to primary documents.

Does anyone have more information about the Stargate Restaurant? Email me at  with any photos, receipts or tales of eating there.
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Saturday, March 3, 2012

Links of Disney Goodness

A photo from 2008 taken by my oldest son. It isn't the best composition, but it does feature the former Tomorrowland Skyway building and the Bay Lake Towers construction. By 2009, the Skyway building would be demolished and a different paver system would be in place for the area in front of Space Mountain.
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Friday, March 2, 2012

D23 Events Announced for New York, Chicago, Boston San Francisco

One of the biggest complaints about D23 has been that it is very West Coast-centric. Granted, there is a large concentration of Disney fans in the Los Angeles area, especially with all of the Disneyland passholders. With the announcement that D23 would visit Marceline in March, there was hope that there would be other fan events throughout the country.

I have posted a few reviews of the Destination D40 event that was held in May 2011 to celebrate Walt Disney World:
D23 has released a schedule of six cities that are going to feature the Disney Fanniversary Celebration.


Never-Before-Seen and Rarely Shown Film Clips, Photos and Art Combine with Cherished Disney Creations in First-Ever FANNIVERSARY Show

BURBANK, Calif. – March 1, 2012 – From EPCOT Center to Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, from Pirates of the Caribbean to Pete’s Dragon, more than 40 unforgettable Disney creations come together as never before when D23: The Official Disney Fan Club brings D23’s DISNEY FANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION to six cities across the U.S. in April, May and June.

FANNIVERSARY is a fun-filled showcase of magical milestones celebrating Disney anniversaries in 2012.  Produced and hosted by D23 and the Walt Disney Archives, the nearly two-hour show is an engaging blend of video, archival footage and never-before-seen artwork for Disney fans of all ages.

The kick-off of the FANNIVERSARY celebration will be at the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, California, on April 27, then travel to San Francisco, Boston, New York City, Orlando and Chicago.

All FANNIVERSARY events are open to the public. Tickets are $18 for members of D23 and will be available Friday, March 16, at D23’s website –  Remaining tickets will be available to the general public for $25 beginning Friday, March 30.
The touring schedule is as follows:
  • April 27 – The Walt Disney Studios, Burbank
  • April 28 – Walt Disney Family Museum, San Francisco
  • May 20 – Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
  • May 22 – Cherry Lane Theatre, New York City
  • June 23 – Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World Resort
  • June 24 – Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago

“Fanniversary is a incredible opportunity to celebrate more than 40 beloved Disney anniversaries with our fans across the country. From the fairest of them all—Snow White—to Star Tours, which continues to take guests to a galaxy far, far away,” said Steven Clark, head of D23: The Official Disney Fan Club.

D23’S DISNEY FANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION explores unforgettable movies, cartoons, theme-park attractions and other Disney creations that celebrate anniversaries in 2012, including:
  • Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Disney’s first-ever, full-length animated film which premiered in 1937
  • The 1997 launch of Star Tours
  • EPCOT Center’s grand opening on October 1, 1982
  • The opening of Pirates of the Caribbean in 1967
  • Memorable Mickey Mouse cartoons released in 1937, including “Clock Cleaners,” “Hawaiian Holiday,” “Lonesome Ghosts” and “Magician Mickey”
  • The 1927 debut of Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, who Walt Disney created before Mickey Mouse
  • Goofy’s first-ever on-screen appearance, in 1932’s “Mickey’s Revue”
  • The seminal science-fiction film TRON, released in 1982
  • Unforgettable movies like Aladdin (1992), Pete’s Dragon (1977), The Jungle Book (1967) and Bambi (1942)
  • The 1972 premiere of the Main Street Electrical Parade and 1992 debut of Disneyland’s Fantasmic!

More details about the full program for the D23 FANNIVERSARY celebrations can be found online at

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