Friday, October 29, 2010

My Disney Bookshelf - Listmania List from Amazon

Here is a list of titles on my Disney bookshelf, as noted on Amazon's Listmania feature. It may not be complete, but it has most of them, I think.

  1. How to Be Like Walt: Capturing the Disney Magic Every Day of Your Life by Pat Williams

  2. Realityland: True-Life Adventures at Walt Disney World by David Koenig

  3. Disney War by James B. Stewart

  4. The Disney Way, Revised Edition: Harnessing the Management Secrets of Disney in Your Company by Bill Capodagli

  5. Walt Disney Imagineering: A Behind the Dreams Look at Making the Magic Real by the Imagineers

  6. The Imagineering Field Guide to Disney's Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World by Alex Wright

  7. The Imagineering Field Guide to Epcot at Walt Disney World by Alex Wright

  8. The Imagineering Field Guide to Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World by Alex Wright

  9. Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination by Neal Gabler

  10. The Animated Man: A Life of Walt Disney by J. Michael Barrier

  11. Building a Company: Roy O. Disney and the Creation of an Entertainment Empire by Bob Thomas

  12. Designing Disney by John Hench and Peggy Van Pelt

  13. Walt Disney's Imagineering Legends and the Genesis of the Disney Theme Park by Jeff Kurtti

  14. The Imagineering Field Guide to Disneyland by Alex Wright and the Imagineers

  15. The Hidden Magic of Walt Disney World: Over 600 Secrets of the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney's Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom by Susan Veness

  16. The Imagineering Field Guide to Disney's Hollywood Studios by Alex Wright

  17. The Disney Mountains: Imagineering At Its Peak by Jason Surrell

  18. The Pixar Touch by David A. Price

  19. Project Future by Chad Denver Emerson

I started collecting Disney titles about 4 years ago, so my list isn't as extensive as it could be, perhaps. But there are a lot of worthwhile titles on there. (I didn't include fictional stuff like The Kingdom Keepers series, or Cory Doctorow's Down and Out In The Magic Kingdom.) It's a work in progress...


Thursday, October 28, 2010

Parks - "Hard-Ticketed" Events

We're going to be at Disney next month, and though it's not running at all on any of the nights we're in town, Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party is a so-called "hard ticket" event that will be available before and after our vist.

I've always wondered how these events are. I've heard good and less-than-great things about Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party...more good than bad, actually. I've heard it's a treat to see the park lit up in spectacular fashion, to get the treats from cast members in costume, to see some neat mini-shows and such going on, and of course, to be able to get on rides quickly and without lines. What I've heard bad about it is that it's not great for families with smaller kids, since it doesn't really "start" till 7 pm, and if your kids are going to be crashing by 9, you're not getting much for your money. We've been there two or three times when MNSSHP was running, and never saw fit to buy the tickets for it.

I've heard that MVMCP is not as good. I've heard that the park looks good, and the fireworks are first rate, but it isn't as much fun for the kids as the Halloween events. Still, with my kids getting a little older now, I was thinking of doing it, as much for the access to rides as for seeing the park decorated and lit specially.

I do think, however, that these sorts of ticketed special events are good for the business. With three parks that DON'T require a special ticket to go to, closing one park early to all but the ticket holders has to be profitable. And having a special event that makes the guest feel really plugged in, really special, can be a lot of fun, I'd guess. I really think that, if I were Disney, I would be looking at doing more of them throughout the year.

I've mentioned it before, but I think DHS would be a natural place to have one, some sort of "movie premiere" night where you could really feel that you were going to a red carpet Hollywood event. I'm sure you could think of a really cool thing to do at Animal Kingdom, too...the old Beastly Kingdom thing would be a cool overlay to part of the park for a special hard ticketed event a few times a year.

Anyone have any thoughts on this? Do you like "hard ticketed" events? Do you hate the concept? Would it just be greedy of Disney to do more of this? Or would it enhance the experiences of those guests purchasing the tickets?


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Obituary - Alexander Anderson Jr.

Saw this in the Chicago Tribune on Sunday:

Animator Alexander Anderson Jr. died on October 22 at age 90. Mr. Anderson is credited with creating the Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoon characters, as well as Crusader Rabbit and Dudley Do-Right. He was the nephew of Paul Terry of Terrytoons, the studio that created Mighty Mouse.

The article mentions that he started with Terrytoons in 1938, then went into the US Navy (as a spy!) and returned to the studio in 1946. He suggested creating cartoons for TV but the studio wasn't interested as they were producing cartoons for the movie studios at that time. So Mr. Anderson went out on his own (with the apparent permission of his uncle) and began producing cartoons with his friend Jay Ward.

In the 1990's Anderson discovered that Ward was the sole holder of the copyrights for Bullwinkle, Rocky and Dudley Do-Right, and he filed suit. In 1996, a settlement was reached which recognized Anderson as the creator of the characters.


Thursday, October 21, 2010

Changes over there at the left...

I rearranged my "Blog List" and my "Internet Favorites" on the left side of the page to reflect activity of some blogs that I like to check in with on an almost-daily basis.

I've added Progress City USA and Imagineering Disney to "My Blog List", where I (and you) can see when the most frequent post was for both of these fairly frequently updated blogs was made. Both of them are very interesting blogs with tons of good information.

I've moved Epcot Central and Reimagineering to the "Favorite Internet Spots" because it seems they have gone dark. If they start updating again, I will probaby move them back to the Blog List because they were two of my favorite destinations.


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Book Review: THE LOST HERO by Rick Riordan

Finished up my read of this book yesterday, and I was engrossed by the story almost immediately. It is a continuation of the story told in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, and I was happy to revisit this universe, where Greek gods still exist and still wreak havoc in our world.

Interestingly, this book takes a small twist, recognizing the differences between the Greek and Roman gods. At first glance they would seem to be the exact same gods, just called by different names, but Riordan recognizes that the Roman gods were more warlike, more disciplined. He builds the basis for this second series in these differences, and it promises to be a good one, I think.

The story starts with the "extraction" of three young demigods from their school in Nevada. Piper and Leo are more or less what they appear, but who is this Jason kid? They all seem to remember him, all but Coach Hedge, who is wondering just where he came from. The students are on a field trip when they are attacked by vengeful storm spirits, or venti. And Jason shows that he's no ordinary demigod.

But that's about as far as he can go because he doesn't have any memories - and doesn't know anything about himself or his past. Where did he come from? Who are his parents?

We find out a lot about Jason, Piper and Leo as the story progresses, and we also meet some characters from the first series, including Chiron, Argus, and Annabeth (among some other demigods at Camp Halfblood). But conspicuously missing is Percy Jackson himself - he seems to have disappeared and no one knows where he went.

Jason and his two friends get sent out on a mission to stop another massive war between the gods and their foes, somewhat different enemies than last time. Along the way they meet Medea, King Midas, Boreas (god of the north winds) and Aeolus (god of the winds), who provide them with plenty of peril.

It's a fast paced, well written young adult novel, that grabs the reader and pulls him/her in to the story quickly. For a long book, it doesn't take long to read (as is the case with many young adult novels). I for one am really looking forward to more books in this series, as well as Riordan's Kane Chronicles series which deals with the Egyptian gods.


Monday, October 18, 2010


We popped Toy Story 2 into the DVD player on Saturday night and I watched it with my two sons. I was sort of surprised; it was like watching a new movie for me. I was certain I had seen it before but I guess I must have stopped watching at some point, for some reason. The ending was unfamiliar. I mean, I sorta knew what was going to happen but I don't remember ever seeing any of it.

I know, from reading THE PIXAR TOUCH and from reading comments about the movies, that a lot of people thought that the second of these movies was better than the first. If I'm not mistaken, one reviewer, back when it came out, stated that this was the "rare sequel that surpasses the first film," or something to that effect. I can't say I agree with that. I'd say it was my least favorite of the three. But it was still an excellent film, and ranks right up there with all the other Pixar movies.


A while back I wrote a couple of posts about "Should have been Disney" or something like that. We picked up The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan last week; it's a continuation of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. It's published by Disney Hyperion Books, like the rest of the series were. And it's a really interesting, well done continuation to this point. (I'm about 200 pages into it now.) I suppose I could call this part of the post "Probably can't be Disney" since I'm sure that whichever studio it was that made the first Percy Jackson movie has the rights to sequels and characters. But I'll repeat: This series would have made an excellent addition to Disney's movies and to the parks, too!


That's all for this Monday.


Friday, October 15, 2010

Book Review - THE LONG TAIL by Chris Anderson

Off topic, perhaps, but still interesting to me...

Right before I read THE PIXAR TOUCH, I read this book by the editor of WIRED magazine, Chris Anderson. It's title is THE LONG TAIL: WHY THE FUTURE OF BUSINESS IS SELLING LESS OF MORE, and it deals a lot with online retailers such as eBay, Amazon, Lulu, iTunes and Rhapsody, as well as with the blogging industry such as it is. Anderson examines how it becomes profitable to offer consumers more choice, beyond the culture of "hits", as it were - hit TV shows, hit motion pictures, hit songs, and hit books.

I found it interesting that this "fringe", consisting of mostly "niche" products and works, is providing a significant portion of the sales and profits from most of these online businesses. These are the products that the big box retailers, the big record labels, the big publishing houses, do not care to carry, simply because it makes no sense for them to do so. There's limited capacity. Limited shelf space. Limited screens to show films on. Understandably those sellers and publishers and labels and such want to spend their time, resources and space on the big ticket, big money making items. The hits.

The hits are the "short head" of the market, the part where relatively few products account for most of the sales. The "long tail", by contrast, is the part of the market extending out past the first 100, the first 500, the first 1000 maybe, works. So while a conventional retailer must figure in the costs of having an item physically present, a "long tail" retailer can stock larger and larger numbers of works. Songs, to Rhapsody and iTunes, take up just a small part of the digital storage available. Amazon can store ten times, maybe more than that, the number of books that your friendly Borders brick-and-mortar store can stock. eBay does it even more differently - they don't have anything to do with the merchandise. The author also mentions Alibris, a network of used bookstores that, like eBay, simply aggregates the information about merchandise located all over the United States.

One thing that struck me (and other Amazon reviewers too) is that most of the examples Anderson gives are from entertainment product fields. eBay is not stricty that, but other than media, I don't know how this would work. A "long tail" is possible where the means of production have become cheap, where almost anyone can record their music, write and publish their book, even make a film. But perishable products certainly do not fit the model as well, nor do products that take specialized manufacturing. There aren't a million people out there making, oh, say, plastic buckets. Or car parts. Etc etc.

I consider this post to be off topic, but I think there are some tie-ins with Disney and Pixar. Disney may well have been sort of a part of a "long tail" back in the early 1900's when they were making animated films and struggling financially. Back then there was no internet of course, but movie houses were different - they were almost like social gathering places. Not like multiplexes today. There were places to put Disney products in almost every small town in America. Of course, today, Disney is part of that "short head", wanting copyright protection extended on everything they do to protect their investments. (As they should.) But back then, they were making films that, really, they didn't know if there was a market for them.

And Pixar, well, there is a classic example of the production technolgy being used for something that no one exactly knew what would come of it. The idea of making a feature animated film with only the computer was far-fetched back then. The tools of production found their way to the dreamers. Much like independent filmmakers today can make films on a shoestring. (I heard about a new film about a sports talk show guy, something like Nice Guy Billy or something like that, made on a budget of 25K, and it will not be released in theaters - it is going right to NetFlix, iTunes, On Demand platforms, and of course DVD. The director talked about how he had a camera and film editing tools, and was able to make the picture so inexpensively. Classic long tail - a film that otherwise would be seen by virtually no one outside of a major city with an art film theater will now be ONLY available through these long-tail types of outlets.)

I keep thinking about how the long tail relates to my own entrepreneurial ambitions, but I'm coming up dry so far. I'll keep thinking on it though. In the meantime, this book is a worthwhile addition to my (and maybe to your) library. A quick read and full of interesting theories and information.


Thursday, October 14, 2010

Pixar vs. Disney

I've been thinking a lot about what I learned as I read THE PIXAR TOUCH, and was amused to consider the origins of both businesses. Disney's origins are in a far flung past, when things were different. Pixar's origins are more rooted in a near-past from which things have not changed all that much up until today.

Walt started the Disney Brothers Studios on a shoestring - he had virtually no money, except for a few hundred dollars from his uncle and whatever he and his brother could plow into the business. He had arrived in Los Angeles with virtually no money, but he did have a mostly finished print of his Alice film. Using this print, he was able to get a contract to deliver short films to a New York distributor and, as part of the contract, get some advance money to allow him to hire a few people and finish the one he had and film and produce more of them.

Walt struggled to keep things afloat in those early days, but it was the newness of the medium that really allowed him to begin. There was not a lot of competition in what he was producing at the time. Yes, there were places doing some animation, but not too many of them were trying to combine story and animation as Walt was doing. He sold his productions as he made them, and was paid for them as he sold them. He took chances, gambled on animation being capable of far more than anyone thought it could ever be. Later he gambled that an amusement park could be far more than anyone thought it could ever be, too. Both gambles paid off big time - SNOW WHITE and Disneyland resulted in huge successes for his company.

By contrast, Pixar really began in college laboratories - first at the University of Utah, where computer graphics were being developed, then at NYIT, where the administration (in the person of wealthy entrepreneur Alexander Shure) shared Pixar's founders' filmmaking aspirations.

While it seems that both companies started with something "new" (animation, more or less, with Disney and 3D computer graphics/animation with Pixar), it also seems that the computer 3D graphics takes a LOT more money to get started. Hence the private origins of Disney, while Pixar had to exist as a division of something first. The hardware needed for the research that eventually made Pixar's products possible was cost-prohibitive except to a larger organization. So Pixar by necessity had to start under the auspices of a institute of higher learning, then continue its existence as part of Industrial Light and Magic. It finally earned its independence when Steve Jobs bought them for around 5 million dollars. And even that was not true independence - because Catmull, Lasseter, et al, still had to pretend that their hearts were in the hardware side of things.

So what is analogous today, or in the near future? I don't really know - I'm not an avid reader of those tech magazines that might be writing about the next big thing - but I wonder if it will be something that we can all do on our laptops, or is it going to require even greater technology than 3D computer graphics did at their inception? Walt needed a camera, but he could get cameras at pawn shops and in equipment liquidations by photo houses and such, and while it may have been a struggle, he could swing it. No way could Pixar have afforded the computers that the first digital projects were done on - the Cray computer system that Pixar "borrowed" time on to make Lasseter's The Adventures of Andre and Wally B. costed 10 million dollars at the time.

Most of the computers we take for granted today have greater computing power than the Pixar Imaging Computer that was so powerful (and expensive!) in its day. While I'm sure there is a "next step" to be taken, and probably to be taken by someone outside of the major studios, I'm not at all sure when it will happen or what direction it will take.



Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Book - THE PIXAR TOUCH by David A. Price

THE PIXAR TOUCH: THE MAKING OF A COMPANY, by David A. Price, was a fascinating look at the history of Pixar, who we all know is making animated feature films for the Walt Disney Company these days after Robert Iger and Steve Jobs were able to come to an agreement that made Jobs the largest Disney shareholder by a wide margin, made Ed Catmull the president of both Disney and Pixar Animation, and made John Lasseter the CEO of both organizations, as well as principle creative advisor to Walt Disney Imagineering.

But that merger/acquisition is the culmination of a much longer story, and really is nowhere near as interesting as Pixar's history as a company. For example, I had read that Pixar started their existence as a hardware company, but I really didn't know what that meant. The more accurate way of portraying things, according to Price, is that Pixar was always a company, from the moment Ed Catmull and Alvy Ray Smith joined together in New York at the New York Institute of Technology with Alexander Shure as their wealthy patron, that was primarily focused on using 3D computer animation to make a feature film. It was Catmull's interest and it was Shure's interest as well.

The company ended up at Lucasfilm when that organization hired Catmull to head its new computer division. The only trouble with LucasFilm was that George Lucas did not see computers or 3D computer graphics as the future of filmmaking; he saw computers as a tool that could make film production easier, faster, and of higher quality.

The technologies that Lucas was looking for - digital film compositing, digital audio mixing and editing, and digital film editing - existed, for the most part, only in Lucas's own fertile imagination. Catmull would just have to dive in and cope.

Their breakthrough came in 1981 when they were contracted to make a short sequence for the STAR TREK film, THE WRATH OF KHAN. The scene where Kirk, Spock and McCoy watch a simulation of the so-called "Genesis Device" - an animation of a world being consumed by the device and finally coming to life anew as the device worked its magic - that was the one of the first real scenes in a movie that was computer animated entirely, and it was done by Industrial Light and Magic - or more specifically, by the computer division of ILM. The first Pixar film, really.

In late 1983 the group had an opportunity to hire a Disney animator, someone who had just been let go by Disney. You can guess who this was - of course it was John Lasseter. The trouble was that George Lucas did not see his computer division as a filmmaking unit, he saw them as a computer group. Lasseter, an animator and a born storyteller, didn't really fit in. But it didn't stop Catmull and Smith from getting him on their payroll; they gave him the title of "Interface Designer" and they were off to the races.

Can you tell by reading, so far, that I was fascinated by the company's history? The author does a fine job of detailing that history, through Steve Jobs' purchase of the company from LucasFilm, from Jobs' own reservations about the company's ambitions as filmmakers, from the money they lost for Jobs, and finally, for the money they made for him, and for themselves.

But Pixar was never about money, and doesn't seem to be about money today - they are about artistic achievement in 3D computer animation. The book details the progression of their skills and their technology from the first TOY STORY movie, through CARS and RATATOUILLE. The epilogue talks about WALL*E and about the state of the principle characters since the Disney merger/acquisition.

I couldn't put this book down - it rivaled some of the best fiction I've been reading lately. A must read for anyone interested in animation history, in business, in filmmaking, or in Disney.


Saturday, October 9, 2010

Two Years!

I've reached a second milestone: With this post, I've now been blogging about Disney and Disney related (however loosely) subjects for exactly two years! This is the 142nd post on this blog, not as active as some, not as indepth as many, not as many photos as several, and certainly with less expertise as most. It was on October 9, 2008 that I started the blog with this post.

But I still love the parks, the films, and the history of this company. I've enjoyed doing this; it has let me put into words a few of the thoughts going through my head since I re-acquainted myself with the world of Disney in 2004 (I was always interested in the movies but the parks and the company were not part of my focus before that), and I've found a few really fun blogs to follow in the process. Learned a bit, too. That's always cool.

I see today that I have 6 followers: I'd like to thank them for following my ramblings and I'd like to thank anyone who has listed me in their links section.

(BTW, I'm working on the Pixar book now and will try to post my thoughts after I finish it sometime next week.)

Have a great upcoming year to all!


Thursday, October 7, 2010

Disney Parks - EPCOT: Failed Promise or Unique Theme Park?

As you peruse the Disney blogs, one of the topics that elicits the most passion, in both blog entries and in the reply sections to those blogs, is the theme park known as Epcot. Or you can call it EPCOT Center, if you're so inclined.

As we all know, the letters E*P*C*O*T actually stand for something: They are an acronym for "Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow". And as we Disney fanatics also know, the original intent of the "Florida Project", at least in Walt Disney's mind, was to create the city of tomorrow, where corporations would save the day along with astute city planning and concepts of development. It didn't happen that way, and without Walt, there was probably never a chance of it happening. Walt was the one who could "sell" the various corporations on his ideas. Whether Roy and the others who succeeded Walt ever fully believed in the concept is open for debate, I suppose. I know that Roy paid lip service to the goal of building such a city, but I wonder if, had he lived longer, he would have continued to push for it as a goal.

So EPCOT became a thing of legend, and in its place came EPCOT Center, a park dedicated to ... to what? The front half, Future World, was obviously themed around the near future, while the back half was themed around presentations of different cultures in the World Showcase. I was never there, but I know from my reading that the pavilions that are there today were mostly there back then, with two notable exceptions: the Horizons pavilion and the Wonders of Life pavilion.

Nothing seems to elicit more passion than the Horizons ride-through attractions, heavy on animatronics and futuristic imagery. It was closed eventually, for whatever reason (a sinkhole?), and later, in its place, the Mission: Space pavilion opened. The World of Motion pavilion gave way to Test Track, but at least it is still more or less dedicated to the topic of transportation. Wonders Of Life simply closed and has not reopened.

Let me state right here that the current theme park known as Epcot is my favorite park at the WDW resort. There are some really fun attractions, there are many, many good dining choices, and the architecture is still incredible. And I never had the chance to visit the old EPCOT Center, so I can't really speak to its brilliance or supremacy. I have to take various bloggers' words for it.

Still, I see what they are saying. This park was supposed to be about an optimistic future, but it's just become about the present. And the present is as non-controversially presented as it possibly can be. What is futuristic about it now? Ellen and the Universe of Energy? Fossil fuels? How retro is that? The Seas With Nemo? Cartoon fish swimming in the ocean? Testing autos for GM? Hang gliding over California? And Journey Into Imagination? The one Epcot attraction that almost never has a wait?

At least Mission: Space takes us somewhere that no one has ever gone - except that we're told as we enter that it is a training exercise - presumably for something that hasn't happened yet. And Spaceship Earth's voyage through our (animatronically portrayed) past in order to presumably learn something about our future ends up forward looking and interesting.

So I think it is a park full of failed promise, at least in Future World. I think World Showcase succeeds beautifully at what it presents. But Future World is not about the Future anymore. I am led to believe by everything I've read that the goal of this park was to showcase the cutting edge of technology.

Maybe this is impossible to do in today's world. After all, we aren't amazed anymore by things like videophones or robots. We've been living with them for a really long time. We also aren't all that amazed by the new technology of energy production, at least not wind farms and nuclear power plants. We aren't amazed when NASA sends a rover to Mars or anywhere else to collect data. Advances in technology and science seem to be smaller and less accessible today. And the ones we are aware of seem to be mostly in the entertainment industry - iPads and iPods, Kindle readers and Droid X phones. Not to mention video gaming.

I'm sure there are things out there to amaze us but Epcot doesn't really show us much about it. I am amazed by my mother's cochlear implant. Imagine that a device can take sound, convert it to electrical impulses and transmit it along 22 or so tiny wires to directly stimulate the cochlear nerve, and the brain can make sense out of this and turn it into what we all take for granted: hearing sounds.

Epcot does have a display on cochlear implants, but there's no depth. It's just an advanced hearing aid to most, I think. There are nods to other technologies there, too, but they seem to me to be of the same depth, which is to say, not much. And they don't generate excitement, they are just displays. High school science projects might be more exciting.

Instead of trying to showcase the future and inspire us today, the management has chosen to simply entertain us. And they do an okay job of that with rides like Soarin', Mission: Space, Test Track and even the Living with the Land and The Seas With Nemo rides. They're fun, exciting, and repeatable. They just don't teach or inspire. Edutainment? Not so much.

That said, Epcot is still an incredibly unique park, and it is still "working" for millions of visitors. What other theme park tries to do what Epcot does? I can't think of one.

Were I going to spend more than 4 days at Disney World (as I am in November, though two days will be spent at the competition, Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure), Epcot would be the park I'd spend more time at than any other. Just walking around there is a worthy experience. The dining choices make it THE place to go for food in WDW, and the attractions are just icing on the cake.

But they could be more. They could BE the cake.


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Book Post - THE PIXAR TOUCH by David A. Price


Really, I don't have much to say about this today, except that I purchased this title yesterday at my local Borders (33% off coupon and some money left of a gift card offset the $16.00 cover price) and just barely started it last night.

It promises, I think, to be a very interesting portrait of the personalities at Pixar as well as at the company itself.

I'll be posting more about the book when I finish it...


Monday, October 4, 2010

Theme Parks - Kinetic Energy

When you are wandering around a Disney theme park, perhaps you notice that things are moving. Or perhaps you don't notice. But it makes an impression, if only subconsciously.

I don't have a great deal of theme park experience. I've been to both Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World Resort, and I've gone to Six Flags Great America, plus the St. Louis version of Six Flags and a couple of smaller parks. But when I think about it, the major difference I see is the quality of motion around the guests at the parks. Yes, at Six Flags, there is plenty of motion with coasters flying around, but they just look intimidating and scary.

At Disney parks, the motion is of a different quality. In Tomorrowland, you have the PeopleMover going past above you, and the Astro Orbiter, also happening above your head. At Splash Mountain you see the logs coming out of the mountain and down the flume before spashing into the water. Even Dumbo and the Magic Carpets of Aladdin provide kinetic energy in their corners of the park. Near the main entrance the Disney Railroad provides the motion.

The motion at the Magic Kingdom is exciting, inviting (perhaps), interesting, but not intimidating or frightening in the least.

Epcot's Dancing Waters Fountain provides kinetic energy in the Communicore, as does the monorail itself as it loops through the park. Test Track, of course, has the motion of its vehicles as they race past its entrance, and the pools of the Imagination! pavilion have their own brand of kinetic attraction with the illusion of water flowing uphill. Even The Seas With Nemo and Friends have motion with those silly animatronic pelicans in front of its entrance.

The other two parks don't have as much kinetic energy available for guests' diversion and for subliminal atmosphere, at least not that I can think of. It's been almost two years since I've been to Disney, so some stuff is a bit hazy in my mind. (I'll be rectifying that next month with my family.)

If any readers come up with any other examples of how Disney uses kinetic energy to set atmosphere and keep things interesting for the guests without hitting them over the head with the motion, please feel free to mention them in the comments section.

Thanks for reading.


Friday, October 1, 2010