November 14, 2018

The Royal Treatment

Friday December 7th, 2018 cannot come soon enough for this fan! In collaboration with London's Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the beloved duo of Karen Carpenter and her brother Richard will be give the royal treatment. Working under Richard's guidance, the album will celebrate the biggest of the Carpenters hits- and a few key album tracks- totally re-imagined with an entire orchestral arrangement. Just in time for the holidays! 

November 13, 2018

A New Yeti in Town

There's a new yeti in town! And he's coming the Summer of 2019- No, not to Disney's Animal Kingdom. The suits are still sitting on their hands when it comes to fixing the main reason for that tea train ride to Expedition: Everest. Instead of the Imagineers finally getting to fix that thing, it's the creative forces for Knott's Berry Farm that are bringing in a new beast of the mountain. Their Bigfoot Rapids ride transforms to Calico River Rapids next summer. Sounds like leader Matt Ouitmet knows what it takes to draw a crowd, doing it faster than the decade or so Disney's spent looking at options.

(Art copyright Knott's Berry Farm.)

November 11, 2018


それ神はその獨子を賜ふほどに世を愛し給へり、すべて彼を信ずる者の亡びずして、永遠の生命を得んためなり。  神その子を世に遣したまへるは、世を審かん爲にあらず、彼によりて世の救はれん爲なり。


November 10, 2018

Twilight Zone Tower of Terror from the Sky

Thanks to the aerial artistry of the amazing gifted photographer bioreconstruct (@bioreconstruct) on Twitter, we have a rare look at Disney's Hollywood Studios beloved Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. This incredible one of a kind attraction, an Imagineering classic upon opening, seems even more impressive from this view from up in the sky. I never thought that was possible! Folks might really appreciate the looks at the soon to open Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge - and I do- but I find the other aspects of the parks and the whole of Walt Disney World just as mesmerizing.

(Photograph copyright bioreconstruct.)

The Kids Visit Cuba

Well to be specific, the kids are really visiting Cuba via the Denver Science Museum and their great exhibit. I thought this photograph turned out particularly well!

(Photograph copyright Mark Taft.)

November 9, 2018

Design Detail: Sleeping Beauty Castle

(No, I just don't have the heart to write about one more shooting in the U.S.A. At it's core, it's a sin issue, but it is a complex one.) OK, so on to Sleeping Beauty Castle. The old gal holds up really well after more than 60 years! After being in Disneyland and California Adventure all day long (trip report here), and after having traveled recently to Walt Disney World and staring at theirs (trip report here), let me tell you with full confidence, the small Disneyland castle still has its charms. There's delicate detail to be found on the outside, and inside the walk through attraction oozes lush attention to the most minute aspects. It was almost midnight and I was exhausted when I took this shot. But when I walked around the corner and this was my view, I was hit with a rush of emotions as if I was a little kid all over again. Couldn't help but stare at it and soak it all in. The Imagineers under the leadership of Walt Disney himself knew their stuff! 

(Photograph copyright Mark Taft.)

November 8, 2018

Paris or Disneyland Paris?

Parisian beauty abounds! Perhaps you're an American Disney park fan but concerned about traveling overseas to experience the most beautiful Magic Kingdom ever created. Don't be- and don't let that fear stop you from experiencing the City of Light. It is amazing!

Yes, Disneyland Paris is one of a kind, and Imagineer Tony Baxter did an extraordinary job spearheading its design. Just don't miss out on seeing the city that inspired and influenced its creation. One visit, and you'll be hooked. The real magic begins once you get that first view of the Eiffel Tower, and it never leaves. Book that flight now.

(Photographer unknown.)

November 7, 2018

The Other Walt's Jungle Cruise

As one of the most iconic attractions ever built at Disneyland, the Jungle Cruise has survived the test of time from opening day. You could say that in the planning stages for his new park, this was one of Walt Disney's pet attractions. 

Imagineering legend Harper Goff was one of the first to place this into a piece of concept art, but he wasn't the only one. Walt Peregoy, a Disney animator,  took a stab at it from a much more abstract view, and to good result! 

(Art copyright The Walt Disney Company.)

November 6, 2018

Notable and Quotable: Saul Alinsky

"Lest we forget at least an over-the-shoulder acknowledgment to the very first radical: from all our legends, mythology, and history (and who is to know where mythology leaves off and history begins - or which is which), the first radical known to man who rebelled against the establishment and did it so effectively that he at least won his own kingdom - Lucifer."
                                         Author Saul Alinsky

Interestingly, this man has been quoted (or misquoted) by both politicians on the Left and those on the Right. Are Barack Obama, Ben Carson, and Hillary Clinton fans? Look at two different political perspectives below:

From the Political Left
From the Political Right

Saul Alinsky has also been quoted for his famous piece (graphic depiction above) on How to Create a Socialist State

The next set of elections is going to prove very, very interesting.

November 5, 2018

What Animal Kingdom Needs

Walt Disney World's incredible Animal Kingdom may be one of two perfect theme parks in the States, Disneyland being the other. 

Filled with incredible scenery, stunning, creative but authentic architecture, and thrilling attractions to go with all the wildlife, the park is currently the go-to place for guests ready for something different after the Magic Kingdom. With Africa's Kilimanjaro Safaris, Asia's amazing Expedition: Everest and even Dinoland U.S.A.'s Dinosaur (aka Countdown to Extinction) anchoring the park along with Pandora's new Flight of Passage, the park can only get better. But it is missing something: China's pandas.

The whole concept art.

You'd think the Disney executives would be able to pull off getting a panda to two on loan. After all, China now holds two Disney Parks- Hong Kong Disneyland and Shanghai Disneyland. Probably at least one more to come. Why would they hold out?

According to Business Insider, the city of Chengdu will build a brand new park built around pandas. Should be quite a beautiful and exciting area to view and interact with these beautiful and rare creatures. No doubt this will pull in big, big crowds!

Here's the full rendering for "Panda Capital". To read the whole article, look here.

November 3, 2018

Harvest Party Fun

Just a little family moment here...
... and another!

November 2, 2018

Disney-MGM Studios Momento

Directly from 1989: The Disney-MGM Studios Twilight Zone Tower of Terror pressed coin. My son collected these on our trips, and we recently discovered his collection, about 30 coins strong. Quite fun to look through and discover some real gems.

November 1, 2018

In the Day Late and Dollar Short Department...

 Here's a piece of Haunted Mansion concept art that I hadn't seen in awhile- and I meant to post it earlier but couldn't find it. Imagineer Marc Davis drew up this wickedly interesting little piece. It was never executed into reality, but the idea is an interesting one. Riding through different bedrooms of the mansion could have given riders clues as to how different characters passed. 

Just think- should the Imagineers ever do a version where vehicles select different tours through the mansion, each ride would be a different experience. A bedroom visit could bring an interesting take on something found on a graveyard headstone in Disneyland Paris' more adult Phantom Manor: Loyal Manservant-"Kept the Master Happy" / Faithful Chambermaid- "Kept the Master Happier".

(Art copyright The Walt Disney Company.)

October 31, 2018

The Walking Dead

The years? Circa 1987. The event? A Halloween party at my office. Being I was a bit tired of being seen as the "nice guy", I decided to surprise my friends and go all in as a zombie. Some are the walking dead on the outside, and others are the walking dead on the inside. Time to make some changes if that's the case.  Think of the possible "Before and After".

Before: As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. 

After: But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Jesus Christ even when we were dead in transgressions —it is by grace you have been saved.

What makes the difference? Choosing to trust Jesus as the Savior of your soul and the king of your life. Believing He alone is the payment for your sin- those things you've said, done, and thought that displeased God. The very things you may even regret and not get free from! Let Him make that difference in your life and begin a fresh one. You have everything to gain- and only the burden and consequences of sin to lose!

October 30, 2018

Iconic Disney Attractions Park to Park

Imagine you're at Walt Disney World. Ever wonder why the finale, the last room, at Magic Kingdom's It's a Small World is different than the Disneyland original? Here's your answer. From this fairly rare piece of concept art by Imagineer Mary Blair, you can see for yourself that the gifted artist had several concepts for the attraction. Some made them to the 1964 World's Fair version of the beloved attraction, some arrived in California, and others found their incarnation in Florida. 

One of the real joys for a Disney theme park fan is discovering that your old favorite attractions are given fresh designs and brand new approaches from park to park, be it Shanghai Disneyland's incredible take on Pirates of the Caribbean, Disneyland Paris' Phantom Manor, or Tokyo Disney Seas' re-Imagined version of the Tower of Terror. Whenever a fan travels away from his or her home park, they certainly discover that although unique touches abound, It's truly a small Disney World after all!

(Art copyright The Walt Disney Company.)

October 29, 2018

In Awe of Jesus

What's a Protestant like me doing listening to a modern day hymn sung by a Catholic? You listen to this (below) and you decide. 

This song written from Mary's point of view about the coming birth of Jesus is striking in its worshipful tone of her Savior. The songwriter and performer,  John Michael Talbot, the founder of The Brothers and Sisters of Charity, sings it with such beauty and a sense of wonder, honoring the Lord Jesus Christ. It's a perfect spirit primer for the season ahead.

"I’ve known John Michael for more years than I’d like to remember. (I’m old).  I’ve spent weeks with him on the road, and seen him deal with all kinds of high pressure situations, both onstage and off. John’s heart has always revealed the love and compassion of Christ.  His music is uniquely his own and has profoundly ministered to tens, if not hundreds of thousands over the years, maybe even millions."
                Barry McGuire - Pop music artist best known for the single, "Eve of Destruction"