Friday, January 31, 2014

Rock 'n' Roller Coaster at Disney's Hollywood Studios

by: Nick

I never considered myself a big Aerosmith fan. Sure, I liked some of their early hits, like Sweet Emotion, Walk This Way, Dream On and Back in the Saddle, but never bought one of their albums, tapes, or CDs. And I really wasn't a fan of their newer stuff.
But all that changed within the last few years.
I blame age.
My musical tastes have evolved, (though I'm still not a ballads guy).
With age has also come motion sickness.
What does any of this have to do with Rock 'n' Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith at Disney's Hollywood Studios, you may ask?
Well, because of my lack of interest in Aerosmith, and because of motion sickness, I avoided riding this roller coaster for years.
What prompted me to get on?
Curiosity. I wanted to see if I could handle it. And you know what? I could!
But enough of all this! Let's go on the ride!

After walking through the queue, guests enter the offices and recording studios of record label G-Force Records. The lobby is decorated with posters, rock memorabilia, and vintage recording equipment.

You then enter a room looking into the recording studio, where the five members of Aerosmith are shown working on a recording.
The group's manager then comes in and tells the the band that they're late for their own concert.

Lead singer Steven Tyler insists that all us fans get backstage passes to the show. The band then departs by limousine, and the manager calls for a "super stretch" to get us to the concert.

We then walk through an alley into a parking garage, owned by "Lock 'n' Roll Parking Systems" where we board a waiting 24 seat stretch limo for the trip across town to the event.

After loading passengers, the "limo" stops at the entrance to a tunnel.

Music is playing and an overhead sign displays a series of several different messages before a countdown. After the countdown, the car is then shot into the tunnel at 60 miles per hour.

The roller coaster goes through a series of inversions, passing signs that represent various Los Angeles Area Freeways like Interstate 5 and U.S. Route 101.
Different Aerosmith songs play, depending on which limo you get.

The ride ends when the limo arrives at the backstage of the concert venue.

I really enjoy this ride, it is very smooth, which is why I believe it doesn't get me motion sick, and I can now enjoy Aerosmith songs in a way I couldn't before, because they're songs bring happy thoughts of a thrill ride I can actually go on!
 I still haven't bought any of their recordings, and for that I apologize to the members of the band who are doubtless fans of this blog!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Introducing: The Jar of Disney Buttons

By: Nick Maglio

Back before the pin collecting craze, there were buttons, and I collected them. I used to have a large piece of black felt that I hung them on. During one of my moves though, I took them off, put them in a jar, and never got around to hanging them back up.

I thought every now and again, I'd bring a couple out, and since some Lion King buttons are clearly visible in the photo above, I will share those.

At the Disney Store I worked at in the early 90's, we had buttons to promote movies, and introduce our guests to new characters. There was a little movie called The Lion King that was being released in 1994.

I had the great fortune to see it during it's Radio City Music Hall World Premier run.

Look for more buttons from The Jar in future posts.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Video: Five and Dime at Disney California Adventure

Five and Dime is a group at Disney California Adventure that performs several times daily on Buena Vista Street. It consists of five musicians and one singer, "Dime".
On our first viewing of this fun little show, we walked up as Goofy was joining them for a song.

There is some audience participation, as "Dime" may pull an audience member into the show to sing "I Wanna Be Loved By You" to.

An audience member like me.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Do You See Tinker Bell at Big Thunder Mountain Railroad?

by: Nick

A few weeks ago, someone on Facebook posted a photo from the exit of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad in the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World, and said that it was a hidden Tinker Bell.
On our recent trip, I searched it out and photographed it for myself.

I'm a little skeptical. Why would they hide Tink outside of Big Thunder?

What's your opinion? Tinker Bell, or overactive imaginations?

Monday, January 27, 2014

When is the Best Time to Ride Kilimanjaro Safaris at Disney's Animal Kingdom?

By: Nick

Okay, you're up early, and you are going to Disney's Animal Kingdom. What is the first thing you ride?

Many will head over to Asia and Expedition Everest. Many will head to Africa and get a Fastpass for Kilimanjaro Safaris, then race over to Everest. However here's a tip for you...those folks may be missing the best time of day to catch the animals at their most active. From what I've experienced early morning at Animal Kingdom is probably the best time to ride the Safari. There is an exception to this rule, however, and that is when it is very cold out, as it was last week. One morning we rode at rope drop, which was Extra Magic Hour, and at 8am. There were barely any animals out. We rode again about an hour and a half later, and it was much more active.

So what will you see on the safari?

You may see a giraffe eating breakfast.

An elephant drinking.

A cheetah stalking.

A warthogs wishing you good morning. (At least that's what I assumed it was doing.)

A Rhino, coming right at your vehicle! (It stopped, but it was a thrill!)

And you may even get to see the male lion actually standing, which is a rarity, since they sleep almost all day!

It's best to catch them at play just before the heat of the day makes most of the animals seek shade.

Another good time is just after a rain, when everything is cooled off for a little while. So if you're at Animal Kingdom when a pop-up Orlando shower hits, don't head back to the resort! Grab a snack and head towards Africa.

Portions of this article were originally posted on the Tips From the Disney Divas and Devos Blog, where Nick is a contributing writer.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Disney and the Doctor

Disney and the Doctor
by Arthur E. Vassar

I love a good mash-up... especially when it involves a couple of my favorite subjects, Disney and Doctor Who. Suffice it to say I absolutely loved this mash-up of Disney Princesses as the Doctors (from artist Amy Mebberson) that came out of the 2012 New York Comic-Con.


There are so many cool details (especially Rapunzel's hair doubling for Doctor #4's scarf!) in this picture. Then there is this past years Disney Heroines as Companions (from artist Karen Hallion), of which this is one image of ten.


It set me to thinking about whether there were any connections between Disney and Doctor Who, and there are lots...

Disney Parks in the Whoniverse

There are many references in the TV series, audio dramas, and books to Disney parks. In the episode “Delta and the Bannerman”, Nostalgia Tours was bringing a party of Navarinos to Disneyland but they wound up crash landing in Wales. In the book “Winner Takes All”, the Ninth Doctor (Christopher Eccleston) told Rose Tyler (Billie Piper) that he was not impressed with Disneyland and could take her somewhere with real talking mice. In the book “Urrozdinee”, the titled theme park was EuroDisney (Disneyland Paris' original name), but in the 22nd century. 
In the audio drama “The Nightmare Fair”, the Sixth Doctor (Colin Baker) was pondering where he could go on Earth to have good time, so his companion Peri (Nicola Bryant) suggested Disneyland. In the episode “The Girl Who Waited”, the Apalapucia quarantine centers contained a replica of Disneyland on the planet Clom including the “Warpspeed Death Ride” roller coaster. In the book “Kursaal”, the Eighth Doctor (Paul McGann) described the titled planet to Samantha Jones (only appeared in written form), as a cross between Disneyland and Babylon 5.
During the 1970's, the BBC looked into filming a story at Disneyland with the Third Doctor (Jon Pertwee) and the Fourth Doctor (Tom Baker) but these plans were shelved due to budget issues. Even the Doctor's dog K-9 was not immune to a Disney connection. His live-action/computer animation series that started in 2010 aired on Disney XD in the UK, Ireland, Scandinavia, Poland, Italy and The Netherlands and Disney Channel CEE in Bulgaria, Romania, Moldova, Slovakia, Hungary and The Czech Republic.

You say you want a Doctor... tell you what I'm gonna do...
The Second Doctor, portrayed by Patrick Troughton, played the character of Roach (one of the pirates attacking the stockade) in the Disney live-action film Treasure Island. Jon Pertwee, who played the Third Doctor, was the in the Disney live-action film One of Our Dinosaurs is Missing as The Colonel. The Fourth Doctor (Tom Baker) was the guest host, as the Doctor, in an episode of the television series Disney Time in pre-filmed inserts introducing clips from Disney shorts and films (including Blackbeard's Ghost, Jungle Book, African Lion, etc. He also appeared as Anatole Blaylock in the Remington Steele (ABC-TV, owned by Disney) episode “Hounded Steele”.

The Sixth Doctor (Colin Baker, no relation to Tom) appeared as Harry George Chauvel in the Young Indiana Jones Chronicles (LucasFilms, now owned by Disney) episode “Palestine, October 1917”. John Hurt who recently was unveiled as The War Doctor (from the Time Wars storyline) has many Disney connections. Chronologically they are the live-action film Night Crossing (Peter Strelzyk), The Black Cauldron (voice of the Horned King), The Tigger Movie (Narrator), Valiant (Felix), and Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Crystal Skull (Professor Oxley). The Ninth Doctor, portrayed by Christopher Eccleston, was the villain Malekith in the recent Marvel film Thor: The Dark World. Finally, David Tennant who portrayed the Tenth Doctor was the voice of Huyang in two episodes of Star Wars: The Clone Wars.


You want more... How about companions and guest stars...

James Corden (who portrayed Craig Owens) in the Doctor Who episodes “The Lodger” and “Closing Time” will be playing The Baker in the upcoming Disney film of the musical Into The Woods. Billie Piper (Rose Tyler) had an uncredited appearance in Evita (Hollywood Pictures, imprint of Disney) as a girl wanting Juan Peron's autograph. Karen Gillan (Amy Pond) is going to be playing Nebula in the upcoming Marvel film Guardians of the Galaxy. Alex Kingston (River Song) was in the ABC-TV series Flash Forward (playing Fiona Banks) as well as the film The Cook, The Thief, His Wife & Her Lover (Adele) for Miramax (which Disney owned after its release).


Ben Browder of Farscape and SG-1 fame did turns for Doctor Who (Isaac in the episode “A Town Called Mercy”) and Disney (Eric in an episode of Grace Under Fire (ABC). John Barrowman (Captain Jack Harkness) was the voice of The Stranger in the Marvel animated series The Super-Hero Squad Show. Bill Nighy, who portrayed Dr. Black in the episode “Vincent and the Doctor”, was Davy Jones in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, the voice of Sabre (G-Force) and Slartibartfast (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Disney film). Speaking of Hitchhiker's Guide, it was written by Douglas Adams who also wrote scripts for nine episodes of Doctor Who and script edited 20 episodes of the show.
John Cleese (of Monty Python fame) is the one with the oldest Doctor Who tie (1979), and many Disney connections. He was a visitor to an art gallery in the final part of the “City of Death” storyline. His Disney connections are as follows: The Great Muppet Caper (Neville), Mr. Toad's Wild Ride (Toad's lawyer), George of the Jungle (voice of Ape named Ape), the Narrator for Mickey's Magical Christmas, Mickey's House of Villians and House of Mouse; Around the World in 80 Days (Grizzled Sergeant, Walden Media, distributed by Disney), Valiant (Mercury), and the Narrator for the most recent Winnie the Pooh film. Lastly is Neil Gaiman, who wrote the Doctor Who episodes “The Doctor's Wife” and “Nightmare In Silver”. His 2008 novel The Graveyard Book (which won the Newbery award for Best Children's book of the year) has been optioned by Disney, and it looks to be directed by Ron Howard.


Marvel Comics (which is owned by Disney) had the comic publishing rights to Doctor Who in Britain from 1979 to 1996, during which time they issued Doctor Who Magazine, Doctor Who Special, Doctor Who Yearbook, Doctor Who Classic Comics, and some graphic novels. This also brought a chance for the U.S. fans of the Doctor to enjoy him in various appearances throughout the Marvel Universe (making him know as The Doctor – Earth 5556).


Let me close this article by saying that I have surely missed some actors/actress contributions to this Disney/Doctor Who connection convention, for that I apologize. But one last story to share... During the 1980s and 1990s, Disney (under Michael Eisner) began to acquire other media entities (ABC and ESPN) which followed through to the early 2000 acquisition of The Muppets, and lastly Marvel and Lucasfilm. But in that earlier time frame was when we first started seeing Lucas mix with Disney in the form of Star Tours. But what if that hadn't happened... It turns out that around that time Disney actually tried to acquire the Doctor Who franchise and video library from the BBC. They had planned to have put in a walk-through exhibition of the inside of a TARDIS in Tomorrowland. Also, whenever a new Doctor was to be announced, the press conference would have been held in Tomorrowland.
Until next Time and Relative Dimension in Space!

This article was originally posted on the Walt's Basement Disney Forum.