Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Life As a Disney Animator

Before the Animation Begins by John Canemaker is a spectacular look at the inspirational and concept artists that worked at the Disney Studios. It is an extremely rich and detail-oriented history of the artists and resulting animation. Any fan of Disney animation will cherish this book.

I ran across an interesting tidbit of information from the section on Bianca Marjolie, one of the first female artists hired by Walt Disney. The paragraph concerned the salary differences between the animators and the ink and paint girls.
Tracing animator's drawings onto clear sheets of acetate in pen and ink and painting them on the reverse side is one of the least creative, more tedious parts of the animation production process (one that is today increasingly done by computers). During the Depression, it was a skill that paid the "girls" who did it considerably less than the manly task of animation, layout, and story. Top animators at Disney in the late 1930s (all males) earned $300 plus per week, while ink and paint salaries ranged from "$18 to $75 per week, [and] would be higher," said a 1941 Glamour magazine in classic blame-the-victim style, "if more girls didn't work a couple of years, marry and quit."
Using an inflation calculator, we can get a quasi-reasonable idea of the value of the respective salaries.

1930s Annual SalaryAdjusted 2013 Dollars
Ink and Paint$3,900$66,578

That's a 300% difference between the salaries. Of course, there are no long any ink and paint personnel.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Halloween Communicore Weekly

Jeff and I share some spooky treats on this week's episode of Communicore Weekly (the Greatest Online Show™).
  • We explore the stories and hauntings behind the Phantom Manor at Disneyland Paris
  • I discuss the updated Haunted Mansion book by Jason Surrell (is it worth getting the new edition?)
  • And we offer a Five Legged Goat with a bonus Five Legged Ghost!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Pleasure Island at Mice Chat

My latest article for Mice Chat takes a look at a Pleasure Island brochure from 1989. It's a fascinating time for the nighttime entertainment spot since it was one of the first big projects greenlit by Eisner. A lot has changed over the years.

Did you ever get to experience these clubs from 1989/1990?

Any great memories?

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Monste's University Deleted Scene: Rivalry

Disney has released a preview clip of a deleted scene from the Blu-ray release of Monsters University (releases on 10.29.13).

Rivalry - Monsters University BTS on Disney Video

What did you think about the Monsters, Inc prequel?

Wednesday, October 23, 2013


D23 has just opened the Treasures of the Walt Disney Archives exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. Let me know if you're going to be able to visit the exhibit. I'd love to hear all about your trip to the museum.

Explore 90 years of Disney imagination and innovation with iconic props, costumes, artwork and artifacts from The Walt Disney Archives

CHICAGO (October 16, 2013) – Treasures of the Walt Disney Archives, presented by D23: The Official Disney Fan Club, an exhibition which encompasses more than 300 artifacts from nine decades of Disney history, opens at the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago (MSI) on October 16, 2013 – the 90th anniversary of The Walt Disney Company.

The exhibit showcases the creative accomplishments and innovations of one of Chicago’s native sons, Walt Disney, and the ongoing legacy of the company that bears his name. From Mickey Mouse and Mary Poppins to Captain Jack Sparrow, the exhibition features many artifacts from Disney’s rich history that have not been widely seen by the public—including drawings; props; costumes; artwork from classic Disney animated films, theme park attractions, TV shows and live-action films; plus items from contemporary Disney milestones. This exhibit will run at MSI through May 4, 2014 and is presented by Walgreens.

Treasures of the Walt Disney Archives showcases the creativity and innovation that has defined Disney for 90 years,” said Robert A. Iger, chairman and CEO, The Walt Disney Company. “We’re proud of this heritage, and we are very pleased to share this rare glimpse into our rich history with Chicago’s world-renowned Museum of Science and Industry.”

In addition to myriad fascinating artifacts that are sure to stir childhood memories and be familiar icons to many, the exhibition will feature hands-on, interactive stations that will bring Disney technological breakthroughs in animation and motion pictures to life. Guests can explore the technology behind the 53 animated Disney feature films and even learn the steps to drawing some favorite Disney characters in the “Animation Academy.”

“Through this exhibit we’re pleased to showcase Walt Disney as both a master storyteller and innovator whose creative legacy continues to inspire people of all ages,” said David Mosena, president and CEO of the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago. “Guests will be immersed in Walt Disney’s ‘can do’ spirit, optimistic outlook and never-ending curiosity that propelled him through his impressive career. This spirit continues to be the creative inspiration behind many of the incredible experiences created by Disney today.”

Among the extraordinary items to be featured:
·         Clips from several of Walt Disney’s earliest animated works, before there was a Mickey Mouse. The original script, typed by Walt Disney, for the 1928 cartoon short Steamboat Willie, which introduced movie theater audiences to Mickey Mouse for the very first time. 
·         A partial recreation of Walt Disney’s formal office from the Walt Disney Studios in BurbankCalif., including original furnishings and many of his personal items.
·         Hand-drawn artwork, hand-sculpted models and props used in the production of some of Disney’s most iconic and renowned animated features, including Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,PinocchioFantasiaDumbo and Sleeping Beauty.
·         A recreation of a working animator’s office from the Disney Studios featuring authentic animator’s furniture, and models.
·         Animation models and artwork from contemporary Disney animation film hits, including The Little MermaidBeauty and the BeastThe Lion King and Aladdin.
·         Props from classic Disney live-action films, including Mary Poppins20,000 Leagues Under the SeaThe RocketeerThe Princess DiariesPirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl and Enchanted.
·         A special area of the exhibition that is dedicated to the 50th anniversary of the release of Mary Poppins, with film clips, interviews with the movie’s creators and rare behind-the- scenes photos.
·         A salute to Disneyland® Park in California and Magic Kingdom® Park in Florida, showcasing artwork, Audio-Animatronics® characters, and memorabilia from such popular attractions as it’s a small worldGreat Moments With Mr. LincolnThe Hall of Presidents, as well as early plans and correspondence for Walt Disney’s vision of EPCOT.

This exhibit is not included in Museum Entry and will require an additional timed-entry ticket, which is $9 for adults and seniors and $7 for children 3-11. Tickets are on sale at MSI members can purchase exhibit tickets for $4.50 per guest. D23 Gold and Silver Members will receive a special discount on exhibit entry.

About D23
The name “D23” pays homage to the exciting journey that began in 1923 when Walt Disney opened his fledgling studio in Hollywood. D23 is the first official club for fans in Disney’s nearly 90-year history. D23 gives its members a greater connection to the entire world of Disney by placing them in the middle of the magic through its quarterly publication Disney twenty-three; a rich website with members-only content at; member-exclusive discounts and special events for D23 Members throughout the year, highlighted by the D23 Expo in Anaheim, California, August 9–11, 2013. Fans can join at Gold, Silver and Free Membership levels at and at To keep up with all the latest D23 news and events, follow us @DisneyD23 on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and YouTube.

About the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago (MSI)
The Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago (MSI), one of the largest science centers in the world, offers world-class and uniquely interactive science experiences that inspire inventive genius and foster curiosity. Through groundbreaking and award-winning exhibits that can’t be found anywhere else, to Live Science Experiences that make you the scientist—a visit to MSI is where fun and learning mix. Through its Center for the Advancement of Science Education (CASE), MSI offers a variety of student, teacher and family programs that make a difference in communities and contribute to the Museum’s larger vision: to inspire and motivate children to achieve their full potential in science, technology, medicine and engineering. Come visit and find your inspiration! MSI is open 9:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. every day except Thanksgiving and Christmas day. Extended hours, until 5:30 p.m., are offered during peak periods. The Museum is supported in part through the generosity of the people of Chicago through the Chicago Park District. For more information, find MSI online at or call (773) 684-1414 or (800) GO-TO-MSI outside of the Chicago area.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

WDW Books and Communicore Weekly

In addition to the bibliography of Walt Disney World books, I created a shorter list of what I consider the essential books about Walt Disney World that every fan and researcher should own.
Leave a comment over at Mice Chat and let me know if you have a favorite Walt Disney World book ans which one it is.

Communicore Weekly

The latest episode of Communicore Weekly (the Greatest Online Show™) is up! Jeff and I discuss the history of the Disney Inn, the new Tinkerbell book, Gravity Falls on DVD and the Five Legged Goat at the Confectionery.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Disney's Story App Update

This news release rolled across my virtual desk. I just downloaded the app and started to play with it.. Has anyone else used it?

My media contact also noted that the app is coming to Android very soon!

Make sure to check out the end of the article; Disney is giving away a few iTunes gift cards.

New Update Brings Premium Animated Disney Themes, Music and More to Disney’s Story App

Through an app update, Disney Interactive today introduced new premium animated Disney themes, music functionalities, an improved viewing experience and more robust sharing features  to Story, a free digital storytelling platform for iPhone and iPod touch that turns photography and video into compelling personal narratives.

Using intuitive technology to access the photo and video library on your device and automatically organizes them into rich digital experiences which can be personalized, saved and shared.  This empowers users to focus on the customization and personalization of their narratives rather than aggregation and organization of their content, which truly sets Story apart from other multi-media sharing apps. Disney has been telling stories for generations, and now Story can help you tell yours.

Story Feature Updates:
·         Premium Animated Disney Themes: Exclusive to the Story app, now you can customize your stories with collectable animated Disney Themes available for in-app purchase ($1.99). These new Disney Themes includeDisneyland Resort, “Cars,” “The Little Mermaid,” Mickey Paris (Free), and ESPN’s SportsCenter. The new Mickey Paris theme is complementary and can be downloaded for free.

·         Music: Add a soundtrack to your Story with pre-installed songs from our Story music library, including Disney music classics from “Toy Story, “Up, “Finding Nemo and more. 

·         More Immersive Viewing Experience: Our new video slideshow brings your storytelling to life with updated transitions dynamically tailored to your moments. And now, shared stories can be viewed directly in the Story app.

·         Enhanced Sharing: Share your storytelling with our simple in-app tools that support today’s popular social networks like Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter… as well as our streamlined e-mail service for sharing directly with friends and family.

·         Better Facebook Compatibility: Our new Facebook integration lets you to tag photos, allow comments (web view) and invite others to download Story to join in the fun.

To celebrate this magical update, Disney Interactive will be giving away iTunes gift cards on the Disney Interactive Twitter account (@DisneyInteract) so a few lucky winners can download all the new premium Disney themes! Visit the Disney Interactive blog ( for more info about how to enter.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Disabled Assistance System DAC and the Guest Assistance Card GAC

Jeff and I offered a slightly different episode of Communicore Weekly for this week. Instead of the usual history and book review segments, we decided to look at the changes from the Guest Assistance Card (GAC) and the Disabled Assistance System.

We know it's a very touchy and emotional subject. Over the years, the GAC has been abused but it has also provided numerous families and individuals with the ability to enjoy the parks on their level. 

Check out the latest episode and let us know what your thoughts are.


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