Thursday, July 20, 2017

D23 Expo Day 2: Walt Disney Archives Stage

Hello, Everyone!

If you didn't get a chance to look back at Day 1 of the Expo, please head over to that blog post before you start this one.

Fantastical Fashions

One thing I feel doesn't get enough coverage at the Expo are the smaller displays.  Fashion appeared to play a greater part of that this year, with the "Fantastical Fashions" display near the Disney Dream Store, showing off dresses from various leading ladies in the Disney universe.





They never shrink to pull out this dress from 102 Dalmatians, and I can't blame them. I really wish they'd create a little video or display of its creation because that HAS to be a lot of work.


I swear, Giselle's dress kept photographing like this.  It's probably got to do with how they lit it, but WOW!





Walt, Kay and Marceline

The first panel on the Walt Disney Archives stage was interesting a esoteric, but truly worth the time. Kay Malins is a resident of Marceline with an interesting history with Walt himself, so here she presented the tales of his and Roy's visit to Marceline to christen the "Walt Disney Swimming Pool" in 1956.
The current Walt Disney World Ambassador introduces Kay Malins.  In the fall, the Walt Disney Hometown Museum will be bringing an exhibit to Disney Springs.

She is here to represent the Walt Disney Hometown Museum (as opposed to the Birthplace in Chicago, and the Family Museum in San Francisco), so it was terribly nice for Disney to make time for this little piece of Walt's life that still resonates in the town of Marceline so much.






Yesterday's Tomorrow


The second panel we attended on Saturday was a preview of producer Don Hahn's book "Yesterday's Tomorrow: Disney's Magical Mid-Century".  Now, this was right up my alley.  Partially, because I just adore Don Hahn.  He is a fabulous host with a quick and sharp wit.  But this subject is not only kind of (and thankfully) in vogue right now, but historically so important.  So much of modern Disney and what we THINK of Disney stems from their projects in this period of time, and to learn what influenced the artists then and how that inspiration is still relevant and radiates out into the rest of the world is fascinating.




I absolutely cannot wait for this book.


Shopping Part 2 (and 3?)

While I don't have pictures (because how is that interesting?) let me talk about shopping a little more.

Like I said yesterday, we got the StorePass on Saturday for the Disney Store, which worked out perfectly.  I was looking forward to getting the Mary Poppins Tsum Tsums, but here is a problem....you find out WHAT TsumTsums (BTW, here is a link to the Disney Store so you know what I'm talking about) were being offered at the store over the whole weekend, but not which group which days.  Friday, they had a DuckTales set, Saturday they had the Pixar shorts, and SUNDAY they had Mary Poppins.  We never get this information ahead of time, and I don't want EVERY TsumTsum ever...I would like a few here and there.  So, that, in my opinion, is an issue that needs to be addressed.

Overall, the Disney Store is the LONGEST wait, and unless you see something labelled as for the Expo only, calm your self down.

Mickey's of Glendale is kind of a different story, with its own issues.  Mickey's of Glendale is the Imagineering store, located on the Imagineering campus (in Glendale).  You can only get in the store is you are on the campus.  I have been there once, D23 has allowed members to come on several specific occasions. It's a big deal. So it's worth the wait.

The theme of the merchandise was "A Galaxy of Stories", so Star Wars. And they have general Imagineering themed merchandise.  That's always a great treat because some of their products are retro themed to when it was still WED Enterprises (more mid-century for me!).

The one thing I think is a problem, and this is overall a shopping problem....is pins.  Now, there are plenty of people who do collect pins, obsessively.  There are most people, like me, who don't collect but might get a cute one I like every so often.

Mickey's of Glendale has a separate line for pins. If you just want pins, you wait in that line. However, if you're buying other products then want a pin (I was trying to buy for a friend), you're going to have to get in line twice.  Really? Now, the other issue with the pin trading thing is that many people come to the Expo to buy pins for re-sale ALONE.  So, they get priority over people buying other products when I'm sure Disney knows full well why these pins are being bought.  How is that ok? And I just wanted one. ONE! At the Dream Store and the Disney Store, they had stock of their few pins behind the counter, why were these pin exempt from that?

If someone who trades pins or has more info on this would like to enlighten me, I encourage you to write a comment below.  In my opinion, the pin trading has just gotten out of hand while Disney tries to keep it profitable....


That's it for Day 2. Sorry it's not as eventful....But Day 3....the Imagineering Pavilion, which means the STAR WARS LAND MODEL! So, keep your eyes open!


Wednesday, July 19, 2017

D23 Expo: Day 1 Recap

Hello, everyone!

What day is it? I'm not even sure!
After a whirlwind D23 Expo, it takes time to get yourself back on track! My feet are still kind of angry at me, truth be told....

But, it's time to talk about the plethora of news, exhibits and merchandise (you know, the important stuff).

Now, because of the way the Expo works, it's a LOT of information to sift through.  I'm going to start with just what I did during the Expo, the events I attended, etc.  It may be disorganized in terms of full coverage, but it makes sense in terms of what I have in front of me.  After a three day trip report, I'll comment on the Expo as a whole: what worked and what could get better. Then, if you all would like, I'll comment on news from the major Hall D23 panels I didn't get to attend. Just let me know in the comments below what YOU need to know.

What is the D23 Expo?

I didn't think this was a tough question, but it's come to my attention that I should answer is...since it appears the media coverage of the event did not. 

D23 is the "official" fan club of the Walt Disney Company. 23 stands for the year Walt and Roy Disney founded the company.

Every two years, the company holds its own Expo. The simplest way I can describe it for the uninitiated is Comic-Con for Disney fans. There are panels and events of various sizes, a show floor where most divisions of the company show off what is new and upcoming, third party companies who Disney has licensed their characters also come to show what they sell.  Lastly, there is an area called the Emporium where smaller groups not affiliated with Disney come to sell or show their products.  This can range from websites that cover the parks, authors, re-sellers, etc. 

Again, like Comic-Con, the Disney Company uses the Expo as a means of spreading news about its upcoming projects here at the Expo. There are four major events that are the hardest to get into: The Disney Legends Induction Ceremony, the Animation Panel, the Live Action Panel, and the Theme Parks and Resorts Panel.  There is also a Gaming Panel, but that one isn't as in-demand.

There are smaller panels that take place mostly on Stage 28, and a slew of panels on the Walt Disney Archives Stage. 

On the show floor, there is a Center Stage, which literally was in the center of the action, had other events with people from Consumer products to Animation legends.

There is so much to do and see, it is absolutely impossible to see it all.  You have to make your priorities and be willing to be flexible when your option may no longer be available or conflicting with something else. 

The Disney Legends Induction Ceremony

One of the nice changed since the inception of D23 and the Expo has been the Disney Legends.  Before the Expo, the Disney Legends ceremony was annual and held privately.  Now, members are inducted at the Expo in front of the many Disney faithful that got them to legend status (not literally, Disney has its own nomination board for that, but you know what I mean).

This year's Inductees were Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill (Star Wars), Jack Kirby and Stan Lee (Marvel), animator Clyde Geronimi, cartoonist Manuel Gonzales, Imagineer Wayne Jackson, director Garry Marshall, theatrical director Julie Taymor, and Oprah Winfrey of....Oprah-ness. 




Also, a surprise inductee was announced in the morning, Whoopi Goldberg, which is kind of perfect because Carrie Fisher did uncredited script doctoring of Sister Act (I was glad to see Disney acknowledge that fact). Plus, Whoopi and Oprah are friends and former co-stars of Steven Spielberg's The Color Purple.


Whoopi shows off the Minnie Mouse shoes she wore for the day.


I will say, the last Legends Ceremony was the first time I ever encountered CEO Bob Iger in person (well, in the same vast, large cavernous room...) and at least as a host for the ceremony, he does a pretty fantastic job.  He's commanding but not overbearing or stiff. I remember at the 50th anniversary of Disneyland, how almost robotic Michael Eisner was.  It's never fun to be in front of an audience that dislikes you but at least give it a shot, man! 

Also, if there was an ongoing side theme of the ceremony, it was Iger's kindness and advocating for the Legends.  Having come from ABC when Disney bought it, he has a friendly history with Oprah, and apparently continued to be not just an executive but a friend to many of those who worked for the Company. 

To start off the ceremony, Disney Legend (and voice of Princess Tiana) sang "Go the Distance" from Hercules while a video montage played of previous Legends. At a couple of points in the show, Dancing with the Stars dancers came out and performed numbers inspired by the Inductees.





And to end the ceremony, the cast of the Lion King performed (right after Julie Taymor's lovely speech) "He Lives In You" from the show. With so many posthumous inductees, including the timelines of Carrie Fisher, it was a perfect tear jerker way to end the presentation. 

Thank You For Being a Friend

Like I said, there are plenty of panels over the weekend covering a variety of topics.  We chose to check out the panel celebrating the legacy of The Golden Girls.  Why, you ask, is this part of the Disney family? Well, because it was produced by Touchtone Television and Distributed (to NBC) through Buena Vista television.  Not to mention, after a few seasons, a recreation of the house in the show was placed in the backlot area of Disney-MGM Studios in Florida (until 2003). 


The panel was hosted by Morgan Richardson, an Imagineer who is also a big fan of the show (and was wearing a snazzy theme shirt to prove it!), and spoke to writers, production designers and the author of a book on the show. These kinds of panels are general, but also a really nice way to try to understand why a show like this has endured.


Before the presentation even started, while people were being seated, clips of the show ran, focusing on musical moments of the show and to hear the din of everyone singing along, many just to themselves out of consistent prior exposure to their favorite moments, really cemented the idea of Golden Girls contributing to the Disney magic, all the way from 1980s Miami. 

Ink & Paint

The last panel I attended on Friday was "Ink & Paint: The Women of Walt Disney's Animation".  I was very excited about this panel because it coincides with the release of the book by the same name.  In recent years, Walt Disney's legacy has been marred by accusations of being sexist and bigoted.  This book, well researched by author Mindy Johnson, is a large beautiful coffee table book...with a LOT of information in it.  I will be reviewing it for the blog, but not right away (I'm sorry, I'm trying to get through so many books lately!). 



There are the women in animation you know of (*cough*MARYBLAIR!*cough*) but not only were there so many more, Johnson found that statistically, Walt hired more women than any other studio.







Johnson also had a panel of women from pretty much all eras of the studio to talk about their time at in animation.  The theme here was that everyone loved and enjoyed their time working for the company.  Now, while that seems kind of trite to some, if they didn't like it, they didn't have to talk to us. It was a wonderful celebration of what the Walt Disney Company's legacy really is, and I wish this one had been recorded and published online.  It was very enlightening. 







Shopping: Part 1 


After that, we managed to get into a relatively quick line for the Disney Dream Store.  

But let me backtrack a little bit....

As far as shopping, there are three main places you want to go: the Disney Dream Store (for Expo specific merchandise), the Disney Store (easy enough to understand, but they tend to have products here available for the first time, rolling out new collections), and Mickey's of Glendale (the Imagineering shop, also where to find pins, but I'll address this when necessary).

These three shops all are available for what is called StorePass.  It's like FastPass, just for these three shops.  You are allowed one a day, and you get a half hour window; they ask you to arrive at least 5 minutes prior to your listed time.  I would not suggest using your StorePass on the Disney Dream Store, it tends to have the shortest wait and the smoothest moving line.  The Disney Store is the best place to use it.  On Saturday, it was 9:30 and the stand-by line was 2 and a half hours long already.  



It was close to the end of Friday for us, and I think we waited about 30 minutes. In this store, they had, amongst other Expo related merch, new Alex & Ani bracelets, Harvey's, Precious Moments dolls, art from the Wonderground Gallery artists, a lot of limited edition stuff. There was also D23 specific jewelry for Gold members only (why haven't they done a Members Only jacket?)

Friends of the Walt Disney Company - Bésame Cosmetics

Quite a few companies that have entered licensing agreement with Disney gets booths around the show floor, often to show off upcoming collections and products. One that I would like to highlight is Bésame Cosmetics, located in Burbank. I know their make-up was used in Marvel's show for ABC, Agent Carter...it's philosophy is using period-specific colors with modern hypoallergenic make-up technology.  For those who might not know (I'm looking at the men in the room!), make up used to come in a LOT fewer varieties of color than they do now.  For a time, nail polish was literally only in red, clear and nude. I think a turquoise was the next BIG thing.




So, Bésame will let you be in period dress down to your make up! And the upcoming series they have is based on......*drumroll*......Snow White.  While some of their products were pre-order only, they DID have a lovely $68 large palette, encased in a storybook resembling the one from the movie, and all the colors representing Snow White's own color palette, not just in make up but also in dress and shadow.  



So, that's Day 1...in Day 2, we'll tackle more shopping, more panels, so keep an eye out for the next post! 

Remember to follow us on Facebook, Twitter (at our new handle @MouseShadowBlog) and Instagram. 


Wednesday, July 12, 2017

D23 Expo warm up!!

Hi, Everyone!

I have been busy as a bee getting ready for the D23 Expo (and a few other projects).

Anyway, I just wanted to put out a quick post with some information for anyone attending, or just fans who want to follow along.

If you find me at the Expo, I will have buttons with pictures from my time in the parks. I'll have 3 designs available.

Speaking of following along, we've got a new Facebook page and Twitter handle. We are still functioning on the regular Instagram page, my personal page, but that should change soon enough.

Facebook: fb.me/ShadowoftheMouseBlog
Twitter: https://twitter.com/MouseShadowBlog

I also still have my Periscope account, so I'll try to get a little bit of that going.

Periscope: @paperdoll1986

And if you have any questions or comments, please email me at shadowofthemouse@gmail.com

I'll be at the Expo all weekend with my lovely assistant (my mother), so again, if you see us, come say hi! Anything I post over the weekend regarding the Expo, feel free to share.

And make sure you're following us on Twitter and Facebook, since we've got our new pages!

And last, in the evenings after the events of the day, I'll do my best to upload me official pictures from my camera, so keep your eyes peeled. Unless I've passed out from exhaustion.....which is a real possibility.

So, I hope to see you out there! Or make some new friends for the blog!

See ya!

Alan Menken will be performing again this year.  Twice on Sunday.



Hope to see a little more Figment this year...wasn't much in 2015. 

And, yes, Fred will be at the Expo. But he charges for photos and autographs. 

Friday, June 30, 2017

Trip Report: Frontierland Strikes Back

Happy Friday! 

I took a little trip to Disneyland this week to see how Frontierland is shaping up with Star Wars land revealing itself...like an onion...or a layer cake...or an ogre....


Tatooine Weinie



From the parking lot, it's always worth taking a few minutes to look at the construction.  It's just getting incredibly massive. I'm a little intimidated by the large building.


People for scale.


I mean...look at all that space!

In space!

Where is the "Pigs in Space" attraction, by the way?


Because of all the changes, I spent more of my day in Frontierland.

It's such a shame Disney is changing in a way that has cut the intimate, yet expansive beauty of Frontierland.


In anticipation of the attractions on the Rivers of America returning this summer, Disney always puts out these nice little displays,...in case you forgot what was here.


Over in Critter County, we still have the construction walls that hide....not really all that much....and you'll see why later in this blog post... 😉


I won't lie, though, they've got GREAT posters which cover a variety of artistic styles. Normally, that lack of consistency would be a problem but it kind of subliminally acts as a bit of a montage of the graphic history of advertisement for the period of time covered.

OK, yeah, it's all vague, but give them credit where credit may be due. Imagineering can use all the credit it can get right now.


The widening of the bridge/ramp to the Hungry Bear restrooms gives a nice interesting perspective on the architecture of the Hungry Bear.





Disney Consumer Products...sell this one! ↑



On the classic TV show M*A*S*H, Corporal Radar O'Reilly is noted as a "shower tent peeker".

I am, as consistent readers know, a construction wall peeker from way back.

Workers are busy as bees behind the walls!

The Island of Misfit Themes



Now...let me just note that I'm a genius....because I decided to get onto Tom Sawyer Island, just to see how things were now that it's re-opened...and see what kind of construction views I could get from the island. I assumed Disney would have the views well in hand and away from prying eyes such as mine...


It's nice to see the River refilled.


Once I stepped on the island, I caught the interesting sight of two more rafts bring brought over from the other side of the island (I think).


A nice close look at the new color scheme for Lafayette's Landing. I hope it's historically accurate because...I like it.


Tom and Huck's treehouse is up. I haven't been on the island in ages, so I couldn't tell you if this is an improvement, or if they just shut down the island and reopened a lot of it as-is.


Looks like Tom and Huck went out without their gear!


Outside of the changes made to Lafayette's Landing (and the replaced stairs I reported on last year), it's still the odd hybrid of Mark Twain and Pirates, but by now it seems more settled in those two themes. I'm not sure how I feel about that.


Water features!!!


Don't rock the bridge! It's scary!

I'm too clumsy for these things!


The ever-present cranes in the back...



"A Certain Point of View"



The kind of hilarious thing is the amount of continued construction taking place in so many nooks and crannies of the park.


Hey! You! Dude! What are you doing?!

(Think he heard me?)


This trestle is turning out really nice.  This week, the trains started testing so...YAY.


Moose #1: Why did they even call us in?
Moose #2: Shut up and stand still, or we won't get paid!
Moose #3: I hope this tree is gluten-free.


So, the construction is looking great from here.


See those things tipping towards the water....those are raccoons.  (I think they've been drinking...)


Really, this rock work is...spectacular and it isn't finished yet.


In a wider shot, you can see the shifted Indian Village. 


At some point last week, Micechat reported the appearance of the plastic wrapped Indian boy and his puppy relocated on the river as well.  Let this serve as confirmation.  There's the puppy....

...and apparently the mummified Indian boy....


Looking down the way is just a nice shot of the river and back towards the land...


A closer look at the Indian Village.  It was always such a nice little section of the River. I guess we'll see how it pans out.


Nice little picture spot on the island...though how necessary it is, I'm not sure.


Moose #1: Seriously, they couldn't give us sunscreen?
Moose #2: I already contacted HR.
Moose #3: Would you two quit complaining? Remember what happened to Max, Melvin and Buff?!


Of course, Fort Wilderness is still closed.  For a park in desperate need to utilize its space, the continued absence of something to do here is such a shame.

However...

You and walk AROUND the Fort...and see....CONSTRUCTIONLAND!


So, yeah....here...I don't even have something to say...I just...wow!


And more wow.


 Once this is all done, this is a gorgeous shot!


OK, I have a little Splash Mountain question that's going to make me look stupid.
Does Splash Mountain REALLY always go this far out?
I guess I'm too busy exclaiming how wet I am to notice I'm out ON the Rivers of America for a second there...

Really, every time I see people out there, it blows my mind.  I'm either dumb or a REALLY great audience...

The Path to the Dark Side...or Light Side...or Fantasy side?

Here's my real problem with the new pathway between Frontierland and Fantastland....

At the beginning of the month, I brought my friend Tammy to Disneyland.  It was her first trip.  We needed that path open.  When did they open it? A day after she left back for Georgia! (Hi, Tammy!)

Seriously, Disney? Cut me a break! 


Other than that, it's beautiful, really...

It's a really wide pathway, almost Walt Disney World levels of wide, which they're TOTALLY going to need once Star Wars Land opens.


Oh, looks, the nice little feature from Mine Train Through Nature's Wonderland is still there! 

(What? Y'all can't figure out how to get the train over THERE?)


Here's the crazy thing about the re-opening of the pathway...Disney literally opened without it being 100% ready.  They are obviously working hard to get stuff done, but didn't get this done enough for a pristine opening.

I'm not sure what that says about the parks and how they're operating lately, but I guess it's the end result that matters, and we have to wait until 2018 for that to happen.


The bridge is very nicely done, actually.

 These lanterns are really nice. I can't wait to see how things look at night.

I have to admit, where Imagineering consistently knocks it unexpectedly out of the park is in light fixtures. I don't know what...can I talk to the person in charge of that?

Seriously, I will interview the Imagineer who wants to talk exclusively about light fixtures in the theme parks and resorts.


Down the path a little bit, you get a section where I think an entrance, if not the entrance will be (I'm starting to think even from here, they'll have more than one way in....)


The specific but vague concept art is still on the construction wall.


Ok, this shot fascinated me because, yes, the facade is up and nice but construction is going on LITERALLY RIGHT BEHIND IT!


I'm starting to think there are actually explosives back there....

In all seriousness, the extension of Big Thunder Mountain's story to this area is also quite brilliant.


I'm going to take another moment to gush over the light fixtures.....

LOOK AT THE BIG THUNDER MOUNTAIN BRANDING!!! LOOK AT IT!!!!

*hyperventilates*

ok...ok, I'm good.

...I'm such a nerd.


I don't know how they made this pathway seem so long...but the shifts to this large piece of rock work just blew my mind!

 
Imagineering even tended to the side closest to the attraction.


It's actually really nice to see that Imagineering really didn't leave Frontierland behind in the face of Star Wars Land.


And here we are at the other end near Fantasyland.


There was another construction wall up at this end as well...and I peeked.


Another nice LARGE pathway back there, so definitely two entrances. Or an entrance and an exit to the land.


And this is a shot looking BACK towards Frontierland from the Fantasyland entrance to the pathway.

Overall, it's a REALLy nice job, and I just didn't see the other news outlets for Disney displaying the work of Imagineering quite to the project's credit.

Card Collecting


One last thing. For the moment, until all the Rivers of America attractions are back up, Disney is doing a nice little scavenger hunt through Adventureland, Frontierland, and Critter County.  

At various shops in the three lands, you can go to the register and ask for a treasure map piece.  It IS free (imagine that, something free at a Disney park), and there are six pieces in total, each with a different Disneyland attraction coming back this summer.





On the other side of the cards, the pieces all fit together to form a "map" of Tom Sawyer Island.

It's cute, and a nice little thing to do as you go about your day.

So, that's it.  Have a good weekend/holiday weekend.

In light of yesterday's news of the upcoming changes coming to Pirates of the Caribbean, I'm thinking my next blog post will be one I've been mulling over for some time. It won't be picture heavy, but a deeper dive into the struggle Disney and its theme parks face in today's world.  Stay tuned.

If you like what you see, please feel free to share it, retweet it, whatever.  Let me know what you think or if you have any questions in the comments section below!