It’s Been A Little Quiet Here….

I wanted to take a moment to apologize for a lack of updates here on the blog. Life has been very busy for the past couple weeks and I have not had the time necessary to provide what I would consider “quality” posts. As well, although I started out the year raring to go with Disney Parks’ “Limited Time Promotion,” to be completely honest, I’ve noticed not every promotion necessarily warranted a new post from me. I still plan on using the promotion for tie-ins throughout the year, when it seems fitting, but to write a post for every special sale or new line of merchandise…well, I honestly don’t see that happening.

But I do want to say this: Confessions of a DisNerd is not going anywhere. I may reshape the direction a bit as I strive to make it perhaps a bit more interactive, utilizing social media even more; but I’m not going away. Confessions of a DisNerd will continue to bring you positive posts from all aspects of the Disney company, hopefully with personal reflections that draw you, the reader in as well. I can’t wait to see what the rest of 2013 brings, as well as years beyond!

Thank you for your understanding, and I will say this: Be on the lookout for a new post on Monday, April 1st. Until then, enjoy your Easter weekend, everybody!

Pardon Our Dust

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.

Romance, Disney Style

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: Although it’s not “True Love Week” at Disneyland till next week I’m inspired by this one – so expect a few posts covering this subject. After all, if there’s anyone who can cover the subject of romance so wonderfully and beautifully, it’s Disney.

I’ve seen quite a few blogs post a recurring theme on Wednesdays: “Wordless Wednesdays.” The entire idea is to post a picture, or few in lieu of words; to let the photo speak for itself. I realized long ago this format would never work for me. Even if I were to post a picture, I’d have something to say about it. I very rarely remain speechless. However, in the world of Disney, storytelling, and romance, there is still a place for being wordless.

I’m often amazed in our society, that, despite the words we use to tell stories – sometimes crude, harsh, overstated and needlessly repetitive – the best love story I’ve seen in a long time used almost no words at all, and was told in the first ten minutes of Disney/Pixar’s “Up.”

It’s okay if you’re getting misty-eyed just thinking about it. Go ahead – reach for the tissue. No one’s here to judge you.

A story of true devotion through triumph and heartbreak through a lifetime together was just the setup for an amazingly fun and funny movie, but man, what a setup. It shows planning a life together, the sacrifices one takes to make that life happen, helping each other through the bumps in the road, and, showing strength in our weakest moments. The fact that it is told in such a short span so effortlessly is due in no small part to Michael Giacchino’s fabulously scored “Married Life,” repeating the same musical theme with variations in tempo and instrumental beauty. If there is a better way to show a lifelong love in such a short period, I’m sure I haven’t seen it.

Yes, Disney/Pixar was great at covering a lifetime of love near wordlessly, but what about those shorter romantic moments? Disney has that covered as well in its Oscar nominated short, “Paperman.” This one, directed by John Kahrs and scored by Christophe Beck, shows us the possible beginning of a romance and leaves the rest up to us, the viewers. I offer few words on this one; instead, I leave you with the video and one final comment after you’ve watched:

Upon her second viewing the day the video was released on Youtube, my five year old daughter asked me, “”Daddy, did they get married?” I asked her if she thought they did. “I hope so,” she replied, “They just looked so happy together.”

How can one argue with that? Perfect words for a wordless story.

Hello, Old Friend

From Walt Disney World’s News release: “During ‘Long Lost Friends Week,’ lesser-known Disney characters will step into the spotlight Jan. 21-27, 2013 for meet and greets at Town Square in Magic Kingdom park at Walt Disney World Resort. Fans will have the unique chance to get up-close and personal and enjoy photo opportunities with characters that could include Clarabelle Cow, Robin Hood or The Three Little Pigs.

 

I’ve read countless stories of people, especially young adults, who have rediscovered their love for Disney after going through that adolescent phase of “Disney is not cool.” Be it the influence of peers, the loss of innocence, or just an attribute of  growing up, it seems to occur for many. While I never went through a true “dislike” of Disney, I definitely did try to distance myself from it. It just wasn’t the “cool thing” to like, and as most boys around the junior high age, I just wanted to fit in. Do I look back at those years without professing my mouse fandom with regret? No, I don’t. I don’t think I would appreciate Disney as much without the opportunity to rediscover it.

The summer before I started high school, I walked down to my local Blockbuster with a friend to rent a movie – Back to the Future 2, if I remember correctly. While in the store, browsing movies I saw The Little Mermaid on the shelf. Remembering my sister had mentioned wanting to watch it sometime, and in a rare instance of being a good little brother, I picked it up and brought it home as well. Not for me, but for her. Nonetheless, I put it in when I was home by myself, and became entranced; more than I would admit for a long time. The animation was great, the music by Ashman and Menken was just plain fun, and the story was enough to keep me interested. Buddy Hackett’s voicing of Scuttle was perfect, and still cracks me up to this day.

 

One of my favorite posters from the movie.

 

Of course, as much as I loved it, I wasn’t about to admit it to the rest of the world, much less tell the guys that I hung out with, “Hey, you really need to check out The Little Mermaid!” It still wasn’t the “cool” thing to do. So, as much as I was re-embracing the magic, it was a slow process I wasn’t sure I wanted to share with others.

Being a part of performing arts in high school was a life changing experience for me. It taught me a lot about individuality. For anyone that’s been part of a group such as choir, band, drama, dance… I’m sure you get it. There are a slew of personalities, and in the confines of those hallways, they truly emerged. It was there I learned to be willing to share my appreciation for Disney, including, yes, The Little Mermaid. Along with one other particular experience chronicled in an earlier entry, “A Thank You Note,” high school was a critical time in rediscovering my love of Disney.

Then there was the beauty of being able to go to Disneyland as a choir member. Having not been in a few years, that was an amazingly magical trip. Although it was only a day, and a day interrupted by “having” to perform, it was a day of firsts. My first time on Space Mountain, my first time on Splash Mountain (complete with a two hour wait in line), the time I truly was able to really appreciate the details in rides like Pirates of the Caribbean, and my first…churro. Oh, crispy, yet soft tasty churro. How many we ate while waiting in that two hour Splash Mountain line, I’m not sure.

Between rediscovering movies like The Little Mermaid and going back to Disneyland that year, it really was like Disney was a long lost friend, but somehow I was truly meeting them for the first time.

 

 

In many ways, every trip back to Disneyland and many of the movies I see are like seeing those old friends for the first time yet again. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

The Golden Entertainer

Courtesy wallyboag.com

Disney’s Press Release: Guests visiting Disney Parks in 2013 will find an extra sprinkling of pixie dust each week with “Limited Time Magic.” At DisneylandResort, those limited-time events include a special tribute to the classic “Golden Horseshoe Revue” beginning Jan. 10. “A Salute to the Golden Horseshoe Review” will play for four weeks, with shows every Thursday through Monday from January 10 through Feb. 4.  Inspired by the world-famous Frontierland show enjoyed by Walt Disney, “A Salute to the Golden Horseshoe Revue” will be an homage to those fun-filled, family-friendly musical variety shows of the past. Hosted by Miss Lily and her Saloon Girls, the show brings together favorite song and dance numbers such as “Hello, Everybody,” “A Good Man Is Hard to Find,” “Belly up to the Bar” and “Can-Can.” Guests may reserve a seat at the show by requesting a reservation at the Golden Horseshoe entrance on the date of the selected performance. Tickets for the preferred show time will be issued based on availability.

Hello, dear readers and fellow DisNerds! Few words in this post today, as I have chosen instead to let a legendary performer’s talent speak for itself.

Wally Boag, one of the stars of the Original Golden Horseshoe Revue (Along with Betty Taylor, Donald Novis, and later, Fulton Burley along with many others), was, to say the least, one of a kind. Although I was never blessed to see the man perform at the Horseshoe, I consider myself a fan of his high energy and incredibly funny style. Known for physical comedy (pratfalls, balloon animals, spitting out “teeth” after being decked by Ms. Taylor), his comedy translated well onto record as well, evidenced by the Walt Disney Records release of Slew Foot Sue’s Golden Horseshoe Revue. No matter how many times I listen, I still crack up at his delivery of “When they operated on father, they opened mother’s male.”

To my understanding, in the current tribute running at Disneyland, there is no “Boag-esque” part of the show. This is not a disservice; instead it’s a testimony to how amazing the man was in the roles he played. As well, there is another tribute to the man that has stood the test of time:

Jose, aka Herr Schmidt, who has no hair!

As I stated earlier, instead of going on about my admiration for a performer such as Wally (you can find more information on the performers life and achievements here), I’d let his work speak for itself. Not with a video from the Revue, but instead from an early appearance on the original Mickey Mouse Club. Note how he’s not “Wally Boag from The Golden Horseshoe,” but instead, “Wally Boag, the balloon man from Disneyland.” I know I wouldn’t have minded the honor of my very own Boagaloon!

Thanks for reading, and see you next week with another new “Limited Time Magic” inspired post!

(Shameless plug: Confessions of a DisNerd is now on Pinterest – feel free to follow there as well!)

I’m All Ears!

Year Of the DisNerd, Week 1

From the Disney Parks Blog: ” We’re also excited to announce that 2013 will be the “Year of the Ear” at Disney Parks. Every month, Disney Parks will release new ear hats to add to your collection as part of “Limited Time Magic.” January will start with the limited release of Disney Couture Ear Hats. And each month, there will be fun designs to discover.”

From the first airing of the Mickey Mouse Club in 1955, I’m sure Walt knew mouse ears would be big. After all, he’d seen coonskin caps take off  the year before with Davy Crockett, and also knew the marketing power of the mouse. However, the phenomenon of mouse ear hats in the parks… well, who could’ve guessed?

Ears quickly become a must-have for fans of all ages, especially on their first trip. It was that way for me…

Vintage Mickey, and Vintage Me.

And it was the same for my daughter.

Though you can barely see them, mine say “I Never Want To Grow Up.” I stand by that statement.

Of course, it doesn’t end with children, or Mickey ears for that matter. Kids and adults alike can be seen wearing all kinds of headgear, ranging from ears, to wigs, to oversized hats throughout the park. Why? Perhaps because everyone else is doing it? Certainly not the fashion sense, although with a line of couture inspired ears, it could be possible.

I truly believe it’s because we lose our inhibitions at places like Disneyland and Walt Disney World. We walk through the turnstiles and, for the most part, embrace fantasy. We skip down Main Street, we talk to the characters as if they’re long lost friends (of course they are!), we journey with pirates, and sing along with birds and tikis as if it were an everyday occurrence.

And we don the ears, as if they are a natural extension of us within the park. Yes, we may buy a ball cap to wear at home to remind us of our trip. But for our time within the park, it’s more natural to have wild auburn hair under a top hat, dreadlocks underneath a pirate’s three-point hat, or spherical rodent ears protruding from our skulls.

Year of the ear?

As long as there’s imagination left in the world, I see many more years of ears to come.