Thankful For “Keep Moving Forward”

Note: During the months of November and December, I will be posting something I am thankful for within the spectrum of Disney. With so much negativity in the world, I encourage everyone to be thankful and count their blessings.

Sometimes the right words from the right person can make all the difference.

If there’s one thing in life I need to be mindful of, it’s dwelling on mistakes. If I were to spend too much time thinking of what I did wrong, I wouldn’t be able to see all that’s before me. I believe this is a lesson many of us still need to learn – I’m learning it daily. Perhaps this is why the following quote means so much to me:

“Around here, however, we don’t look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things, because we’re curious… and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” – Walt Disney

What an example he set. While we tend to remember the accomplishments, we need to remember that Walt had his share of failure and setbacks. Movies such as Pinocchio and Fantasia, although labeled as classics today, were not considered a success. Disneyland didn’t run smoothly upon opening, and even before it opened, many attractions were scrapped. If he had dwelt on those setbacks, would he have had the time to keep coming up with new ideas? Or, going back to my day one “Thankful For Disney” post, what if he had given up in frustration at losing the Oswald character? To quote an old song, “WHAT? No Mickey Mouse?”

No, Walt was most definitely a forward thinker. I’m thankful for this, not only because of what it meant to the company we all know and love. Even more, it serves as inspiration for me in my life, and keeps me moving forward as well. So thank you, Walt for great words to remember and live by.

Thankful For Charles B. Mintz

Note: During the months of November and December, I will be posting something I am thankful for within the spectrum of Disney. With so much negativity in the world, I encourage everyone to be thankful and count their blessings.

Sometimes, its through the lowest points at life that inspiration strikes. Sometime those that appear to hurt us drive us more, and we ultimately grow, even thankful for the experience.

I thought I’d kick off this “Thankful For” series with a twist and touch of Disney history. For those unfamiliar with the name Charles B. Mintz, he was a film producer, distributor and husband of Margaret Winkler, who produced and distributed the Alice Comedies for Walt Disney. When Mintz married Winkler, he took assumed of her business. At his urging, Walt Disney and his animators created a new character, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, who became quite a hit with moviegoers back in the day.  Most of you know the story from this point: Walt went to New York to negotiate a new contract with Mintz, was informed he’d be making less, that Oswald was not even his property to keep, and all animators save Ub Iwerks had been hired away to continue work on the Oswald shorts for Mintz and Universal. Due to this turn of events, Walt left New York determined to create a new character – one that would be his. Never again would he sign away the rights to any of his properties. Details on the creation of Mickey Mouse and that fateful train ride back to California vary (Disney historian Jim Korkis has a great new article on this exact subject worth checking out!), but one thing is certain: if Walt was determined and driven before this incident, his drive only increased at this point.

I'd like to add, I'm overjoyed Oswald made his way home to the Disney fold. The old Oswald the Lucky Rabbit shorts are quite entertaining, and hope to see more of him in the future!

I’d like to add, I’m overjoyed Oswald made his way home to the Disney fold. The old Oswald the Lucky Rabbit shorts are quite entertaining, and hope to see more of him in the future!

I truly believe the Walt Disney company would certainly look a lot different were it not for Walt losing the rights to a Lucky Rabbit, and we have Mr. Mintz to thank for this. While in Disney legend and lore it’s easy to vilify someone, truth is, Mr. Mintz was a businessman. He saw it as good business to cut costs on what essentially was company property. But in doing so, he fanned a flame. One that grew brighter with Mickey Mouse and only got stronger as the years past.

So, thank you, Charles B. Mintz for your role (albeit unintentional) in inspiring Walt to work harder, create more, and take control of his company. I know this Disney fan is grateful.

It Only Takes A Moment

Hello, DisNerds! It’s as great now as it has ever been to be talking with you all today. Midterm-week has tried its mightiest to swallow me up Monstro-style, but this little wooden boy and his water-logged conscience are trying their darned-est to stay on top of it all.

I have hopes to someday write up something a little more historical for you all. That day is not today. No, I’ve been impressed lately by the true genesis of my Disney experience, a topic rather emotionally-driven, less intellectually satisfying. Bear with me, folks, please, as what I’m about to discuss is certainly something we can all relate to.

An experience I had with a professor of mine is going to provide the central theme for today’s article. Most days I’m pretty easy to identify in the midst of the college-crowd; look for the tall kid with his Mickey Mouse backpack. Unless I haven’t done laundry in some time, (which I need to do as soon I finish this up, actually) chances are good I’ll be in some Disney-related wear, Disneyland t-shirts tend to be the weapon of choice. A professor kept me behind after class one day to comment on my shirt, which featured the attraction poster for Disneyland’s Matterhorn Bobsleds. She mentioned how she had just returned from a visit to the Magic Kingdom in Florida, and that her major souvenir purchase was ‘Poster Art of the Disney Parks’, a gorgeous coffee-table book that showcases hundreds of iconic Disney Park attractions’ posters. I asked if she had a favorite poster. She said she loved the early Fantasyland designs, and was hoping of purchasing smaller versions of such to decorate her soon-to-be newborn child’s bedroom with. She asked if I knew anywhere she could find them.

“Disneyland and Walt Disney World sell them at varying sizes and quality all throughout the resorts. I remember the first time I bought one…”

*cue flashback*

I remembered sitting outside the ‘World of Disney’ store in Downtown Disney, waiting and waiting, with my dad right beside me. I couldn’t have been more than 13 years old. My family’s 5 days at Disneyland had come to an end, and per usual I had forgotten to make a souvenir purchase that could have and should have been made earlier. It gave me and my dad an excuse to lengthen our Disneyland experience just a little longer, though, and we welcomed gladly any reason to keep us from having to leave just yet.

I could sense it then that something had happened that week. Something changed with my family, and something had changed with me. It was palpable. It was tangible. Something was different. I knew then, in a very deep and abiding way, that Disneyland was something entirely special. I knew that the man behind it was a man I needed to know more about. My greatest dream now was to work for this place that had left such an indelible mark on my heart.

I had grown up in a Disney-lovin’ household. Trust me, this trip to Disneyland wasn’t my first exposure to it at all. Disneyland was a once-every-other-year experience. A good portion of our movies were Disney. The kids’ favorites were absolutely Disney. We had a good amount of Disney collectibles. We had Disney toys. We were a family that liked Disney. Ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up when I was bout 7 years old? Not sure exactly what position I had in mind, but I would have told you I wanted to work for the Mouse.

So then what on earth had changed? What had I experienced that trip that I hadn’t before? Looking back on the years that have past since then, and what we’ve done in those years, you can’t help but wonder what went down. Disneyland trips at least 3 times a year (significant, for one of many reasons being it’s a 15 hour drive down from ol’ Idaho). I couldn’t stop reading about Walt Disney. We couldn’t stop day-dreaming about Disneyland. We couldn’t stop buying Disney collectibles. Disney music became to us as much background noise as our heartbeat. (My brother even claims his heart now beats to the bass-line of the Mickey Mouse Club March, a fact I’m only slightly suspicious of.)

There was so many magical moments that trip. I remember so many of them so vividly. When your life makes a definitive turn, you remember those moments, and you remember even the minutest of details. I share with you but a few.

I was about to walk out of the Main Street Opera House. Dusk was falling on Disneyland. Tears were still in my eyes, the lump still high in my throat, after having just watched “Disneyland: The First 50 Magical Years”. At the end of the attraction’s exit corridor hangs a portrait of Walt Disney. I stood looking at it for who knows how long. I couldn’t believe how a man of such humble mind and heart could create a place so magical. I walked out of the room, and onto the sidewalk of a picturesque Main Street U.S.A. The popcorn lights were shining, Mickey was out greeting friends, the music was floating alongside wonderful smells in the air. I saw happy people. I saw my family, together, smiling. I saw then what I think Walt Disney saw in his park. (Though I’m sure he saw things much better than I did; my eyes were still watering, I was still a little ver-klempt, mind you.)

You can imagine the experience I had sitting next to Walt and Mickey on our last night, just moments before we would walk out beyond the gates. (I have always been one to wish on stars, and the stars had never been wished upon quite so intently as they were that night!) I couldn’t stop telling that statue “thank you”. This was probably the instant that meant the most. This was when I knew in my heart that this place had room for me, that I could live a life that would surround me with this magic. I could, if I worked for it courageously and faithfully, even get so far as to leave my handprint in its history right along Walt’s and every other great Imagineer’s. I left the park, sad, of course, that the week was over, but I don’t remember my feet touching the ground.

Such an experience couldn’t be left unremembered. My dad was by my side, and away we went to Downtown Disney, to the World of Disney. I spoke with a cast member, placed an order, paid, and was told I needed to wait for the order to process. My dad and I went outside, sat down on a concrete planter’s ledge, and waited. Hours later, the cast member I had met with before came out with a smile on her face to inform me that my order was ready to go. The store by then was practically empty. She led us to the counter, and there it lay, in all of its 36 x 48 glory.

Aye, here she be in all her glory. This was the purchase that set sail to my Disney adventure.

Aye, here she be in all her glory. This was the purchase that set sail to my Disney adventure.

It didn’t matter how much it cost to print. It didn’t matter how much the framing was going to cost. This poster, as silly as it may seem, represents to me the beginning of my dreams. It hangs in my room still. There are certainly hundreds of other merchandise that accompany it now, but this bad-boy remains the original. My moment will forever be materialized by this print.

I cannot imagine my life without ever having had that moment. It was a founding, a time upon which every passing day of my life only builds upon. I knew then that I loved Disney. Like, LOVED Disney. And so, DisNerds, I turn the time over to you: when was your moment? What finally, dare I say, converted you to the Disney side?

Ask a DisNerd – The “Partners” Statue

Greetings, fellow DisNerds!

The question for this week’s “Ask a DisNerd” segment comes from Confessions reader Tim, who sent the following inquiry:

“This pertains to the Partners Statue at Disneyland. Is there some significance to where Walt is pointing? Also what is the story behind the statue and how it came to be?”

 

“Partners,” as seen at Disneyland.

This is a great question, Tim. So great, in fact that I couldn’t answer it myself. The general consensus is that it was decided that there needed to be a tribute in Disneyland park, and later in other Disney Parks as well. The Partners statue was designed by Imagineer and Disney Legend Blaine Gibson. As for the the direction Walt is pointing: although there are many speculative guesses, the truth is that he’s just generally pointing out to the crowds and the structures, as if saying to Mickey, “Look at all the happy people who have come to visit us today.”

There’s a lot more to the story than just that, however. In looking up the history and significance to verify what I believed to be true, I came upon articles on the history of the Partners statue from Disney historian and MousePlanet writer, Jim Korkis. Instead of putting my own spin on things, I’ll include a few quotes from part one and part two of his articles, with a strong suggestion that you read both for some great reading.

“I have heard that the statue was designed so that Walt was pointing toward the future. Or, even more specifically, pointing to the future location of Epcot. Or, within the last decade, the story has evolved that Walt is pointing to the statue of his brother Roy at Walt Disney World to symbolize Walt telling Roy to carry on with the dream. I have even heard two different Disney park tour guides tell me that Walt is pointing towards the trains rather than the castle because of his great love of trains and the whole concept of the theme park began with trains.

None of those stories are correct. They are no more correct than telling guests that the bride in the Haunted Mansion threw her ring out of a window and it imbedded itself into the cement, or that Cinderella has her own horse and that it has ribbons on its tail on the carousel in Fantasyland. Yet, despite all the evidence to the contrary, these stories and others continue to take on a life of their own and people believe them and repeat them.

Now, more than ever, I think it is important to tell the story of the ‘Partners’ statue. When it was first installed at Disneyland in 1993, I talked with sculptor Blaine Gibson and he told me that Walt was pointing down Main Street and saying to Mickey at his side, ‘Look at all the happy people who have come to visit us today.’

While that is basically correct and Gibson has told others that same simple statement, there is always more to the story.”

Korkis also touches on Walt’s opinion of statues of himself, along with Lilian’s wishes. I wonder how she felt about the finished project, although I did overhear Imagineer Tony Baxter say at an event I once attended that the Disney family felt Walt wouldn’t approve of his statue in any form at Disneyland.

“In 1962, at the urging of his WED supervisor, Richard ‘Dick’ Irvine, Gibson sculpted a bust of Walt Disney as a ‘thank you’ gift for Walt. Blaine now claims he was tired, working on the project late at night, and that the foundry work was not very good and he couldn’t quite control what he wanted. In any case, when he presented it to Walt, Gibson claimed that Walt said, ‘What am I going to do with this? Statues are for dead people.’

Gibson wanted to destroy the bust and replace it with another, but it was kept at WED for awhile and then at RETLAW. Gibson kept the clay original in his garage and told me that ‘I couldn’t bring myself to put a hammer to it.’ He did a cartoon sketch of himself sculpting the bust and Walt saying, ‘That dummy thinks it looks like me.’

Years after Walt’s death, Gibson worked on a Cal Arts memorial medal that featured a head shot of Walt and Walt’s widow Lillian told him at the time that ‘she didn’t ever want a bust or a portrait or a statue of Walt to be done.’ “

So what was the actual inspiration for putting a tribute to Walt in the parks? Korkis continues:

“Officially, the idea was pitched that just two decades after his passing that Walt Disney was being forgotten. A new generation of children had grown up without seeing him on television every week. Examples of other forgotten innovative businessmen were shared, including how people might enjoy eating a Hershey chocolate bar but had no idea there was a man named Milton Hershey to thank for their enjoyment. It would be good business to spotlight the memory of Walt Disney.

Eisner eventually agreed, thinking it would help promote the brand, but there was still the challenge of convincing the surviving Disney family members, especially Lillian, that a statue would be a good way to remember Walt. The statue would be unveiled to celebrate Mickey’s 65th birthday, a significant milestone.”

As for the significance of the “version” of Walt we see in the Partners statue, as well as what Walt may be pointing or referring to:

“While working on the project, Gibson told another interviewer, ‘I chose to depict Walt as he was in 1954. I think that was when Walt was in his prime. It was tough trying to match the media image of Walt Disney, the one the public knows, to the real Walt, the one we knew. I don’t like to leave a sculpture until it has a feeling of life. I had done a bust of Walt in terra cotta while he was alive, but it wasn’t quite right. I hope this time I’ve captured that magical spirit of his. I think Walt is admiring the Park and saying, “Mickey, look what we’ve done”.’ “

Korkis also reveals that the placement of Mickey was quite the quandry, and the interesting tidbit that Marty Sklar wasn’t a fan of Walt pointing (as we should all know, we don’t point at Disney!):

“There were several different compositions that were considered. One featured a young Mickey running ahead and pulling Walt along. It was rejected because it seemed awkward for Mickey to be dragging Walt forward. Another featured Walt with the rolled up blueprints of Epcot in his right hand and using them to point forward. Yet another had Walt with an opened handed wave (at the suggestion of Marty Sklar who didn’t like the concept of Walt pointing) while in Mickey’s hand was a small black globe with two mouse ears. One image that popped up in several sketches was Mickey with a one-scoop ice cream cone……(Gibson said) ‘Marty [Sklar of Imagineering], [Disneyland President] Jack Lindquist, [Imagineer] John Hench and I had a meeting about the ice cream cone and there were two concerns. First, we felt that it made Mickey appear a little too immature, and, second, we felt it might favor one lessee, like the Nestle Company or Carnation. John and the rest of us finally agreed to have Mickey’s arm at his side.I liked the way it came out…and design-wise it worked with more emphasis on Walt.’ “

As I stated above, I really hope you take the time to check out and read the complete story from Korkis. His articles are full of great Disney history, as is his book, The Revised Vault of Walt: Unofficial, Unauthorized, Uncensored Disney Stories Never Told, available for purchase through Amazon.

I hope this answers your question, Tim! Thanks for asking about one of my favorite places to visit in Disneyland – regardless of whether or not Walt would have approved, it’s a great monument to a great man who achieved so much through hard work and determination.

Keep your questions coming, dear readers! We’ll be back with another “Ask a DisNerd” in two weeks!

Mary Poppins, Stage & Music, Magical Performance!

“Winds in the east, mist coming in, like somethin’ is brewin’ and bout to begin. Can’t put me finger on what lies in store, but I fear what’s to happen all happened before…”

So begins the tale of Disney’s Mary Poppins, as sung by Bert, Mary’s dear “jack-of-all-trades” friend who serves as a kind of narrator throughout this classic (masterpiece even) telling of PL Travers’ fantastical stories. It never ceases to amaze me just how well acquainted the world is with Disney’s Poppins. Everyone seems to know the multi-purposeful “Supercalifragilisticexpealidocious” (fewer know how to actually spell it, and even fewer go so far as saying it backwards). How many kids have leaped off a patio, opened umbrella in hand, hoping to float down as effortlessly as Mary Poppins can? Us DisNerds especially: how many times a week, day even, do you say that something is simply “practically perfect”, and any other Poppins-related remarks? Mary Poppins is so definitively Disney, in my opinion. (If aliens visit this Earth, and ask what one film best showcases Disney, I’m popping in Poppins. DOn’t ask me how they already know what Disney is.) The film is quite like Mary’s famous carpet bag; You may have just 2 hours or so of film, but it just keeps surprising you with the amount of magic and heart that it contains.

Gosh, I’m sure Poppins has been on your mind a lot recently. It certainly is on the tip of a lot of folks’ tongues as of late, DisNerd or not. With Disney’s “Saving Mr. Banks” coming to theaters later this year, no doubt you’ve seen its recently released trailer. (If not, enjoy the preview HERE!) We’ve talked Poppins a few times on this blog, and no doubt we’ll be talkin’ Poppins a lot more on this blog.

While all of you are discussing how close (or far) Tom Hanks’ actually resembles Mr. Disney, I’d like to bring up a side of Mary Poppins that I saw for the first time this July.

This was taken moments after the show had finished. I'm glowing with that "dream just came true" glow, I suppose.

This was taken moments after the show had finished. I’m glowing with that “dream just came true” glow, I suppose.

The winds were blowing in the right direction, and a trip to St. George, UT perfectly coincided with a local theater’s showing of Disney’s “Mary Poppins: A New Musical”. My experience with Disney’s theatrical productions have been few, but absolutely memorable. I remember seeing a touring production of Beauty and the Beast as a pretty young kid, and there are moments of the show that I’ve yet to forget. (“Be Our Guest” had me in awe.) Seeing a professionally performed Disney Broadway show always seemed like an out-of-reach dream for me growing up, not unlike my current dream of experiencing Disneyland Paris. (Mary Poppins touring production stopped in Salt Lake City, UT two years ago, but as stated in my previous blog posting, I was ecclesiastically committed to another project that had me unable to attend.) I discovered this past weekend, the same quality I’ve come to expect from Disney’s other endeavors stands true for its musicals.

A broad-view of the desert's Broadway: the Tuacahn Ampitheater in St. George, Utah. Imagine seeing Ms. Poppins's silhouette cast on those red-rock cliffs. "Coo, what a sight!"

A broad-view of the desert’s Broadway: the Tuacahn Ampitheater in St. George, Utah. Imagine seeing Ms. Poppins’s silhouette cast on those red-rock cliffs. “Coo, what a sight!”

The venue certainly lent itself to some incredible effects. Seeing Mary Poppins soar through this red rock canyon would be an incredibly fulfilling moment for any self-respecting DisNerd. You can imagine how thrilled I was to see Admiral Boom shooting off fireworks throughout the final bars of “Step In Time”, knowing fully well that such an effect was not a part of the original production. The cast was so enjoyable. They carried such an energy that had the audience in all-smiles from start until end.

Yes, I know, and you’ve probably already thought this as you’ve read this post, “This shmuck didn’t even see a legitimate Disney production!” and that’s true. I didn’t see Ashley Brown and Gavin Lee. I didn’t see any touring company. And I may have just invalidated any point I’ve been trying to make throughout this article.

Oops.

I did get a neat t-shirt out of it all, and that’s gotta count for something. No? Drat. Well c’mon, watch the preview they made. You’ll see that what I saw wasn’t too far a cry from Broadway.

I’ll say this much… It was an incredibly magical moment to see a Disney classic brought to life. It was a wholly unique experience, oh-so different from the Poppins I knew before, and yet it all felt so familiar as well. In struggling to come up with some witty way to end this post with, here’s what I produced: I’ve got a fev’ah, and the only subscription is mo’ Disney Theatrical Productions. I so look forward to the next Disney show that I see. Here’s hoping the wind will blow you and in the direction of the Great White Way!

Take the time to enjoy this wonderful musical number, “Step In Time” from the Original Broadway Cast of Disney’s Mary Poppins. (What’s the best part? It’s free!)

So DisNerds, have you ever been to a Disney show? What shows have you seen? Any recommendations you’d make?

(PS: Kudos to those who sang the post’s title to the tune of “Supercalifragilisticexpealidocious”!)

Once Upon a Time In Anaheim…

“Anaheim, California. There grew a grove of orange trees covering a lot of ground.

Once upon a time in Anaheim… Anaheim, California, a man beheld those orange groves wondering if he had found the answer to his special dream – his very special vision. He walked around… and looked around… and came to this decision:

(The man’s name was Walt Disney. And as he stood in that orange grove 25 years ago, he saw in his mind’s eye a magic kingdom the likes of which never, NEVER existed anywhere on Earth.)

And he said, “I will build my dream in Anaheim – Anaheim, California! And everything I build will be the grandest sort of fantasy – imagination is the key to Disneyland!” – Danny Kaye, from the Disneyland 25th Anniversary Special

The Whole Special. It’s so deliciously 1980.

Imagination, along with hard work, perseverance, stubbornness, contributions from others, and so much more was, and still is, the key to Disneyland. As Walt’s opening day broadcast began on July 17th, 1955, imagination ran wild. The theme park was born, and what an amazing debut it made. On televisions across America, a new locale became the go-to destination for many families. Given Walt Disney’s dream and drive, looking back, this is not surprising. However, up until that point, it was very much up in the air.

Not anymore. 58 years later, and the park is going strong as ever. Even with Disney Parks world wide, people still travel from all over the globe to visit Walt’s original theme park.

People like us. We, the vacationers, the day trippers, the locals who love to go and soak up the atmosphere. Who still talk to Mickey as if we’re seeing him for the first time. Who plan for weeks on end which ride will be our first when we get there. Who put on mouse ears as if they are part of our everyday accessories. Who stand in line for 25 minutes on a hot day for a Dole Whip because water just won’t do.

Although some naysayers may scoff, there really is a magic feel to Disneyland. Whether it’s nostalgia, an escape from real life, or the need to relax on a bench as horse drawn trolleys pass by, we feel transformed as we enter. For even a few hours of the day we can forget our worries, or, at the very least, take time to reflect a bit while riding a train through jungles, New Orleans and a prehistoric scenario.

Because of this magic that lingers long after I’ve left the park, even now, a month and a half out from another trip, I want to take the time today to say the following:

Happy Birthday, Disneyland. Thank you to all who worked on creating this happy place, from Walt himself to the bulldozer drivers who cleared the orange groves… you have my gratitude. May you continue to be a source of joy and inspiration on this earth for years to come. May our grandchildren know the wonder of flying with elephants and sliding down icy slopes of hills while eluding abominable snowmen. Here’s to many more birthdays to come.

Creating Magic – Who Inspires You?

3/8/13 12:00 PM PST – The contest portion of this blog post has now ended. The winner will be announced once he or she has been notified and has responded.

 

3/8/13 12:16 PM PST – Congratulations, Melanie! You have won the drawing and your choice of DVD or Book! Thanks for entering, everybody! Looking forward to another giveaway in the future!

 

Hello, dear readers and fellow DisNerds! Today’s blog post will be a little different, as instead of focusing on any “Limited Time Magic” promotion within Disney Parks, I’m turning the table to discuss the magic that lasts longer, and open up the conversation with all of you.

More often than not, when looking at the Limited Time Magic events, the ones that appeal to me the most are tied into company history; to those magical moments that resonate and inspire me. From the history of The Golden Horseshoe and Wally Boag to Disney movies that teach positive lessons about love, there’s so much to be celebrated regarding those who created the magic.

Of course, Walt is the first person that comes to mind as far as someone who truly inspires in the Disney universe. The man, his vision, work ethic and stubborness created an amazing world with a mix of fantasy and reality that have been unmatched.

And for that, I thank him.

But he’s not the only one. The Sherman Brothers, Robert and Richard are a huge personal influence, and a huge reason I love the music of Disney. The animators and songwriters behind the 80’s and 90’s resurgence of Disney animation brought Disney to the forefront in a time when animation was not looked upon favorably, and for that I am eternally thankful. Imagineers have done amazing things at Disney Parks worldwide and continue to truly create the magic. John Lasseter and the team from Pixar have brought amazing storytelling to the forefront, managing to make us laugh one minute and reach for the tissues to dry our eyes the next. If that’s not a definition of making magic, I don’t know what is.

A little closer and more personally to me, there are people in my life who have inspired me in my love for Disney as well. My wife, my fellow Disney fan, for her continuous support. My daughter, whose enthusiasm for Disney is unmatched, perhaps even by me. My friends who have encouraged me and shown me that I’m not the only DisNerd out there.

Then, there’s you, the readers and followers of this blog. The fact that you follow me here as well as on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest…well, that means the world to me. It keeps me writing, to share my love of magic. I thank you all for reading, and it means the world to me.  Therefore, I’m going to throw a little bit of my own “Limited Time Magic” out there. As a thanks for those follows, which have hit 200+ followers on Facebook and 100+ followers on Twitter, I’ve got a little giveaway planned for one lucky reader (Sorry, immediate family of mine. You’re not eligible).

What do you have to do to enter? Simply reply to this entry in the comments section with your answer to the following question:

Who inspires you when it comes to Disney and creating magic?

The answer is all yours. It can be a celebrity, imagineer, friend or family member. I’d just love to see your answers.

From all of the responses posted on this blog between now and 12:00 PM PST on Friday, March 8th 2013, I will choose one random winner (For an explanation on the random choosing process, please check the explanation on my previous giveaway here). The winner gets to choose ONE prize from the list of the following pieces of media:

Waking Sleeping Beauty DVD

The Boys: The Sherman Brothers DVD

Walt & El Groupo DVD

Frank & Ollie DVD

Walt: An American Original book by Bob Thomas

Designing Disney book by John Hench

The Vault of Walt (Revised) book by Jim Korkis

Who’s Afraid Of Song Of the South book by Jim Korkis

Quite a few choices, as you can see, but all books or DVDs I personally recommend that show or tell about the people, many times behind the scenes, creating the magic. You win the drawing, you get to pick your choice!

I look forward to reading your responses as to who inspires your Disney magic!

What Disney Taught Me About Love

From Disneyland News: “During True Love Week, a tapestry of romance is woven throughout the resort — from special entertainment and limited-edition Valentine’s merchandise to candlelit dinners for two and new, themed photo locations offering encounters with beloved Disney sweethearts – all for a limited-time only.”

Note from me: Here it is, finally – part two in my posts on “True Love Week.” Sorry it’s taken so long, but last week, this blogger had to call out sick. I look forward to catching up on things soon, and hope to have more consistent material again. This may require some changes to the blog (for the better, of course!), but that is for a later post. For now, onto the subject at hand!

If you may have noticed, I may be a bit of a Disney apologist. I’ll be honest – I don’t agree with everything the company does, but I choose not to focus on that. Instead, I look at all the positives, the magic, the things that are right with Disney. And it far outweighs the negative. Along this note, I’ve noticed Disney gets criticized by many outsiders for its “unrealistic expectations” in many of its stories. It has caused me to look back and see what Disney has to stay in its stories. What exactly HAS Disney taught me, for instance, about love?

I have learned that when you love someone, you’ll go to great lengths to find someone you just met earlier in the day:

Sleeping Beauty

Sometimes no matter how hard you fight love, you have to give in to the twitterpation.

Bambi

Love means you fight to protect the ones you care most about, even when they’ve just told you to get lost.

Lady and the Tramp

Love is looking past differences and appearances. Love is finding the true beauty within.

Beauty and the Beast

Love is loving someone with all of their faults – even if they’re eternally cranky.

Donald and Daisy

Love means taking the time to appreciate the little things with your family, regardless of how tough circumstances may be at the time.

Mary Poppins

Love is being so happy to find out a loved one is safe that you don’t even ask what happened the night before.

Pinocchio

Love is being able to see clearly, perhaps for the first time.

Love is never giving up on the hope that someone is still out there.

Tangled

Love means sometimes you have to let go.

Pocahontas

Love means…..petrified trees as anniversary gifts?

Sometimes, the memories of love last forever.

Up

I know I’ve barely hit on the love lessons learned from Disney – I’d love to hear from others.

It turns out in this myriad of unrealistic expectations, there’s some very real lessons to be learned.

Happy Birthday, Walt!

Walter Elias Disney, 1901-1966

111 years ago today a man who would alter the course of entertainment was born. Though most would not be aware for quite a few more years, the effects of his influence continue to be felt to this day, some 40 plus years after his passing.

The accomplishments of Walter Elias Disney are quite numerous and can be found on many websites, books, and documentaries. They can be witnessed through animation shorts such as “Steamboat Willie” and “Flowers & Trees”, feature films such as “Snow White and the Seven Dwarves” and “Mary Poppins”, and in theme parks worldwide. His legacy is evident in the company name alone.

To many people, the adoration of the man can tend to near the point of worshipping the man; faultless and amazing at every turn. The man who believed in the power of dreams and imagination – a true hero worship. I personally find myself fascinated with him because he was human. He had many failures, financial struggles, bad ideas, could sometimes be gruff, even impersonal to many he worked with. Yet through it all, he was also a hard worker, a master storyteller, a man with outlandish and genius ideas. Yes, a dreamer with a huge imagination. But someone who was willing to work and sacrifice to make those dreams come true. Someone who would learn from his mistakes and keep moving forward. Someone who didn’t take no for an answer. That’s the man I admire and pay tribute to today.

So happy birthday, Walt. Thank you for your contributions you made to animation, film, music, theme parks, technology, and so much more. Thanks for being the man behind the magic – and for making that magic happen with hard work, determination, stubbornness, and yes, dreams.

Millions of fans, both casual and otherwise, are grateful.

As is this DisNerd.

Disneyland, Sptember 2012: A Photo Essay (Part 3)

With the first two parts of my photo essay taking place over on the Disneyland side of the resort, it’s now time to head over to California Adventure with a few pictures of their two newest areas, Buena Vista Street and Cars Land.

Of course, first, we had to stop and eat our fill at Goofy’s Kitchen. While a little up there in price, the character interactions are always awesome. We always make sure to go back for seconds in the all-you-can-eat buffet, along with desert; thus eliminating the need for lunch, making things a touch more cost effective.
Not to mention, the PB&J pizza is out of this world!

Peace out, Pinocchio!

Time to walk off our breakfast from Goofy’s and head to Disney California Adventure! So much to see, new places to discover – where o where do we start?

Luckily, we have our tour guide to check the map!

I have to say, Buena Vista Street is a great addition to the park. I love the idea of a 1920’s “Walt was here” theme. The music is great, the “citizens” roaming the street are awesome – the atmosphere is just right.

I keep wanting to call the cop “Ward” for some odd reason…

I couldn’t help feeling truly transported on Buena Vista Street. I have a friend who happens to live near the resort; one of his favorite things to do is drinking coffee and reading the latest copy of the Buena Vista Bugle in the mornings while people watching.

With views like this, I can’t say I blame him!

From one red car to the next…

See what I did there with that transition?

Cars Land is a huge home run for the folks at Disney. the detail of…well…. everything is amazing. So great to see such a welcome addition to the park! I couldn’t help but notice everything from the tiniest details like the tops of the chain stanchions in the queue for Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree….

They’re radiator caps!!! I’m amused by these little touches.

…. to the tribute to Teepee-style lodging on  Route 66 with the Cozy Cone Motel!

FYI, if you have the opportunity (and don’t mind ultra sweet stuff), I highly recommend the deliciousness that is Red’s Apple Freeze at the Cozy Cone!

Of course, the rides are awesome as well – I’m just a huge fan of being able to take in all of the touches that bring about an authentic “Disneyfied” feeling. Both new parts of the park do this well. I couldn’t help but think as we exited, that it truly lived up to the name of Disney, as well as the fun and entertainment it stands for.

Thanks again, Walt. For your dream that turned into so much more! I know so many dreamers who appreciate that!

Folks, that wraps up my photo essay of the latest trip. I look forward to bringing you more for the kickoff of the holiday season in November. Keep your eye on the blog for more stories, thoughts and views of Disney (parks and otherwise) from the eyes of a true fan. Please know that I appreciate your reading, your comments, follows, likes and shares more than you know!