August 30, 2013

Amazing Disney and More

One of the reasons Alain Littaye's Disney and More site is one of my favorites: Here is an extremely rare piece of concept art for Disneyland Paris by Imagineer John Horny. Today's post on his wonderful blog shows many more pieces. You've got to go there now- and buy his book, another favorite!

(Art copyright The Walt Disney Company.)

August 15, 2013

Another Day

Real life is taking its toll, making its mark. That's why the posts have been fewer than I'd like. I have much to say about the evil side of Disney's data mining in Florida. But that will have to wait for another day. If life's busy or hard now, hang in there! I'll do the same...

August 12, 2013

Pirates of the Caribbean's Alternate Almost Reality

While many of us Disney park fans were able to be at D23, some of us just couldn't. As I knew hundreds of folks were walking around looking at the Audio-Animatronic Hat Box Ghost prepared for the Haunted Mansion, drooling over props that gave hits of what's to come for Star Wars, Avatar, and my personal favorite, Journey into Imagination, I sat home looking at my concept art.

As the image of that somewhat sad Figment stuck in my head, I finally moved on. The parrot from Pirates of the Caribbean reminded me I had this interesting piece of concept art for the attraction.  That is, for the original version of the attraction which was never built: a walk through, museum type exhibit.

Disney historians know Walt Disney himself abandoned the idea of a walk through once Audio-Animatronics became workable, moving ahead with the cutting edge attraction that opened in 1967. This move single-handedly changed the future of theme park attractions, as well as theme park dining, and remains a timeless  masterpiece.  New Orleans Square was now not only beautiful in its own right, but now it was also home to the most magical of all Disney attractions. 

(Art copyright The Walt Disney Company.)

August 9, 2013

1976 Disneyland Dial Guide

Here's something from the Disneyland past we haven't seen again- a vintage 1976 Disneyland Dial Guide. All you had to do was turn the dial to the attraction you wanted to find. Map on the front, descriptions on the back. Notice "America Sings" and "Adventure Thru Inner Space", not "Star Tours".

This image, by the way speaking of "vintage", is from the great site Vintage Disneyland Tickets. Seems the last post was in May. I hope the blogmaster Tim is ok. He's a great guy! Maybe this post will coax him out of hibernation! I miss the great finds he always has on his pages.

(Art copyright The Walt Disney Company.)

August 8, 2013

Walt Disney, Herb Ryman and EPCOT Center

On the eve of D23, when nothing that we know of will be announced for Epcot, I'd like to present a piece of concept art to cheer us all up. Or maybe it will depress you if, like me, you are a fan of Walt Disney World's second theme park. Why? Because you will be reminded of the greatness that once was and may never be again.

Imagineer Herb Ryman was one of the finest artists ever employed by the Walt Disney Company, WDI, Imagineering, or any other name it has gone by. His skill at creating atmosphere and an environment you want to be in, is perhaps unsurpassed. Especially at EPCOT Center. Be it Future World or World Showcase, there was something about Ryman's style that captured the magic in the concept art. Grand, colorful, mysterious, and with a dash of hope, he completely understood what Walt Disney, John Hench and team were trying to accomplish. (See his work for Horizons! And click on the image above for a larger view.)

Mr. Ryman is missed! Bid your farewell to Imagineers and suits with the original vision and grand scale plans; plans that once turned EPCOT Center into the park no one but Disney could have built!

(Art copyright The Walt Disney Company.)

August 7, 2013

Perfect Abs Among the Scars

Perfect abs. What guy doesn't want them? I certainly do, but I can't. Is it laziness? No. Is it lack of results regardless of how hard I work? No. Eating the wrong foods? Well, even though that's true, it's not the reason. Due to some botched surgery years ago when I was a child, I have a very deep, long, and ugly scar- and not even close to a straight line at that- just underneath my belly button, leaving lumps when it would have been smooth. It's a scar that I really hate. It always reminds me of being less than perfect, a somewhat embarrassing mark on a less than perfect man, less than perfect life. 

I guess its also a sign of survival. We all have scars. Some are obvious for the world to see. Some are hidden. Some are not even physical but emotional or mental. I have those, too. But I am encouraged! I've been reading through the Gospel of Mark. Reading how Jesus came and healed. Jesus healed the woman who had been bleeding for twelve years. Doctors couldn't help her, and she'd spent all her money. In just touching the hem of his clothes, she was healed in an instant- and she knew it.

When he asks the crowd, "Who touched my clothes?", the woman came to him, admitting it was her. I love his response to the poor, frightened, woman who had encountered the One True God in the flesh: "Go in peace and be freed from your suffering." What a wonderful, merciful, God who sent His Son not just to pay the price for our sins but also to give us peace and free us from our suffering! 

Most people who encountered Jesus and were healed went on to tell many people about Him and about the glories of a God who is personal, powerful, and active. And I guess that includes me as well. His love has covered over my sin, given me forgiveness,  hope, a future, and brought healing to the wounds and sin of others against me in my life! 

On a good day, my scars now remind me of what I have survived- both those easy to see scars and those stamped on my heart and mind. They remind me of His goodness, His mercy, His love, in a world gone crazy. How can I not tell others about Him with joy?

August 6, 2013

Before New Orleans Square

During the opening and early years of Disneyland, the park's Frontierland was a pretty enticing land, full of spots to explore- a stark contrast to the small slice of American history we now find. 

Of course, a favorite of Walt Disney himself and many guests was the elegant Mark Twain. As the riverboat sailed around the Rivers of America, the sights and sounds were decades away from what was currently Anaheim in the 1950s. Walt and his Imagineering team had accomplished something truly out of the ordinary.

The Swift Plantation House (shown above) served up food and some great waterfront views- but perhaps its greatest claim to fame was as it eventual placeholder for the elegant New Orleans Square, coming to the parks in a future decade!

(Art copyright The Walt Disney Company.)

August 4, 2013

Why Imagineering Themes Attractions to an Intellectual Property

OK, D23 is right around the corner- and so we hear the suits at Disney will give us a Star Wars land, Avatarland, and only God knows what else. Why? Here's a very short answer...

My nieces and nephews (ages 15,17,19, 22) from the midwest come back from two days at Disneyland Resort. I ask about their trip. The only attraction they mentioned and got excited about was Cars Land and Radiator Springs Racers. World of Color got a slight nod.

Returning home with good word of mouth to all their friends is worth more than talking about an attraction with little name value when it comes to drawing guests in.

Not that I like this approach, even though I think Cars Land is one of the best things Imagineering has accomplished since Indiana Jones Adventure, but it works- at least short term.

(Photograph by Mark Boster, Los Angeles Times.)

August 3, 2013

On the i-pod

All these tunes appeared "randomly" on my player. Each are excellent in their own unique way...

Phil Collins w/ Quincy Jones- Do Nothin' Till You Hear From Me
Boz Scaggs- Lowdown
Boney James- Grazing in the Grass
Candice Glover- You've Changed
Blondie- Rapture
Chaka Khan- Through the Fire
Iron Man Soundtrack- Make Way for the Future