Friday, May 27, 2011

Index Post

Now that the Bulls have lost (see my post at Chitown Sports Ramblings if you're interested in my feelings on that last game) I turn my attentions to the Cubs and maybe a little back to Disney.

Thought I'd put up an "Index" post. I'm not going to include the links, because I don't have time to do all of them, but I'll put up the months and if you want to read my thoughts on the subjects, click the year and month over to the left and click on the post. They're mostly titled pretty clearly.

Disney Books

The Kingdom Keepers 3 - March 2011
Theme Park Design by Steve Alcorn - January 2011
Walt Disney World: Then Now and Forever - December 2010
The Pixar Touch - October 2010
The Imagineering Field Guide/Disney's Hollywood Studios - August 2010
Project Future - July 2010
The Hidden Magic of Walt Disney World - June 2010
Walt Disney: Hollywood's Dark Prince by Marc Elliot - March 2010
Kingdom Keepers 1 and 2 - November 2009
Team Rodent September 2009
The Mouse That Roared - September 2009
Down And Out In The Magic Kingdomby Cory Doctorow - August 2009

Disney Movies
The Sword In The Stone - May 2011
The Sorcerer's Apprentice - March 2011
Alice In Wonderland - March 2011 (live action version)
Tangled - January 2011
Tron: Legacy - December 2010
Toy Story 2 - October 2010
Toy Story 3 - July 2010
Prince Of Persia - June 2010
The Princess and the Frog - December 2009
Up - June 2009
Pinocchio - May 2009
Bedtime Stories - January 2009
Bolt - December 2008
Presto! - December 2008

Check 'em out if you're so inclined!


Monday, May 23, 2011


I finally got around to watching the animated film, THE SWORD IN THE STONE, yesterday. At 79 minutes, it didn't take an enormous committment of time.

I don't know how Disney film critics and historians view this film, but I'd guess they would see it as a fairly minor addition to the catalog. It was a good, but not great, movie, and was fun to watch. The songs seemed a bit forced and not really all that memorable. The animation was pretty basic but well done.

I believe it's based loosely on T.H. White's The Once And Future King, though they just say "based on the story by T.H. White" in the credits. In this one, Arthur, known as Wart, is a page trying to be a squire in the household of Sir Ector, and he is acting as Ector's son Kay's squire-in-training. Merlin meets up with him, and takes on the task of educating the young boy in something other than polishing boots and caring for armor and weapons. To do this he transforms young Wart into a fish, a bird and a squirrel. I'm not sure what lessons the boy learns from these things in the movie, but presumably it's something about using his head to solve problems.

As anyone who knows the Arthurian legends will recall, Arthur is the one who can remove the sword from the stone, which identifies him as king of England. In this (and, I believe, in T.H. White's) version, Arthur goes with Sir Kay as his squire to a jousting contest set to determine the king of England, and forgets Kay's sword. So he decides to go grab the one from the church courtyard that is set in stone. And of course, he removes it without being aware of the significance, and brings it to Kay.

And then the movie ends pretty abruptly, because once they realize Arthur is the true king of England, the film cuts to him sitting on the throne, an oversized crown on his head, and Merlin reappearing from his trip to Bermuda (in the 20th century) to advise him. The abruptness of the ending seemed very unlike Disney.

I felt like I could see some things that were used in Beauty and the Beast and Tangled foreshadowed in this film. Also perhaps some animation and ideas from other, older Disney films (Fantasia, perhaps?) seem to have been used here as well.

I enjoyed this movie, but wouldn't put it up with the greats of Disney animation.


Monday, May 16, 2011

Where I'd like to be in Disney World

I was just thinking (between patients) of where I might like to be at this moment, and as is often the case, I think of Disney World. So then I started thinking - if I were in Disney World right now, with a Park Hopper ticket so I could go wherever I want to go, where would I choose to be?

My wife mentioned last night that she wouldn't mind being in Epcot's World Showcase, sipping a Riesling purchased in Germany, just browsing the shops without time constraints. No fast passes or dinner reservations to get to. Kids can be with, but they can't be nagging. (Like that'll happen...)

Where would I pick? Would it be at the aforementioned Epcot? If so, where? World Showcase? Or FutureWorld? Would it be at a nice, cool, Animal Kingdom, like it was over Thanksgiving of last year? The Magic Kingdom, where I could get on Pirates, then move right over to Haunted Mansion, then Splash Mountain, then a leisurely ride on the PeopleMover, then back through the same ones again (with no waits, of course).

If I were there right now, I think I'd take being at the Polynesian, sitting by the pool, sipping an exotic drink, and just relaxing with a great view of the Seven Seas Lagoon and the Magic Kingdom. Not a park at all. Just a nice, relaxing location.

That sounds best to me.


Thursday, May 12, 2011

What to write about?

I haven't been able to write much here lately - partly because I haven't really had any "Disney" experiences to write about. (I had been hoping that I'd be able to write about the Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco after visiting there, but I sorta screwed that up.)

But also I haven't been writing because I had been, in my head at least, planning out this midwestern indoor theme park. Because Disney is so successful at what they've done with theme parks (virtually inventing the art form), I was studying Disney intently while "imagineering" my own ideas.

This passion has sort of fallen by the wayside. Why? Because it's overwhelming! And because after messing with the idea for months, years even, I realize that I can't do it as an individual. (I guess I always realized this, but when push comes to shove - to actually start thinking about the FIRST STEP...) You need an organization behind you.

I read the book THE DISNEY WAY, and you know, it's one of those motivational things that tells you something like "if you can dream it, you can do it." I actually kept going back to that while thinking about it, as if it's actually true. And I suppose in a sense, it is. But you still need the organization.

So I'm thinking on a different tangent now. I'm thinking about the organization. I'm probably too old, but maybe my kids will take up this dream (they talk about it all the time) and I can give them a leg up on our dream. Silly, huh?

Take care, I'll be back when I have a movie or book to review, or have a Disney visit to report on. It won't be terribly long but it won't be tomorrow, either!


Wednesday, May 4, 2011

That's what lack of research gets ya...

We were fortunate enough to spend a week (kids' spring break) in San Francisco. Now too most people SF means Lombard Street, Fisherman's Wharf, the Golden Gate Bridge, Ghiradelli Square, and of course, Alcatraz. But to ne as a Disney fan, it also meant a chance to visit the Walt Disney Family Museum in the Presidio.

I looked it up months ago to see where it was and recall them talking about needing timed tickets for admission, but I thought we'd just get them when we got into town. So, we went about our scheduled activities, with a city tour on Sunday and an Alcatraz tour on Monday, figuring that Tuesday would be the day we'd rent a car and do things in various parts of town, including visiting some neighborhoods and getting some pictures under the Golden Gate Bridge. And drive to the Museum.

You may already see the flaw in my planning. Tuesday, unfortunately, is the only day of the week the place is closed. I never checked with the concierge at our hotel or anyone about it; we simply located it on our maps, then noted its location on the city tour (by Tower Tours bus), and made for it immediately after lunch.

The next day we were leaving the city to see Muir Woods and drive up to Napa, and there simply would not be time to go there.

So I guess a visit to the Walt Disney Family Museum, for me and my family, will have to wait till the next trip to San Francisco. Darn.