July 31, 2015

G String Continues

It's a full week of "G"s. So, let me continue and end the week with one more post that continues the G string... of posts.

The Great Movie Ride. It's an instant classic that premiered with the opening of the Disney MGM Studios Theme Park on May 1, 1989. The highlight was the grand finale with a trip to Oz, complete with one of the most amazing Audio-Animatronics to ever premier at a Disney park- the Wicked Witch of the West. She turns, she points, she snarls and threatens- and for all the times I've ridden, she continues to impress. Nice job, Imagineering!

Note: I originally had another post planned for today, but when I noticed the G String, I thought I'd make it a full week's worth. Stay tuned for next week when I explore another letter! ;)

July 30, 2015

Grizzly River Run

Among the few successes at the brand new California Adventure park that arrived in 2001 was this white water rapids thrill ride, Grizzly River Run. Instantly, it became the best themed, most beautiful circular raft ride ever found in an amusement park- even without any Audio-Animatronic characters. Seeing the centerpiece attraction on par with Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, more was expected  Fans were quick to praise the attraction and equally quick to express their dismay of no robotics.

As it stands, Grizzly River Run is an incredible ride for those who love the white water type attractions. It's worth one ride during the day and another at dusk when the park takes on a whole new look with the lights of Paradise Pier in the background.

Now that Grizzly Peak Airfield is complete, and Condor Flats is history, its time to once again encourage the Imagineers to add some classic animal characters to the attraction. In effect, this will take the ride from a "California Adventure E Ticket circa 2001" into an "E Ticket" attraction worthy of its designation in any Disney park. It's the little things, the great details, that can take an attraction from ok to great, don't you think?

(Art copyright The Walt Disney Company.)

July 29, 2015

Good Friends are Forever

A few photos of my old friend Bill and his family. It gets harder and harder to see him in my minds eye as he's been gone for so long. So, now, I think its time for a few photos posted.
We all lived through so much together! And I don't want my kids to ever forget this part of our lives when our neighborhood was filled with friends like this. Friends that stood together in the best and hardest of times. 
Friendships are certainly a great gift from our very good God!

July 28, 2015

Golden Boy Gets What He Deserves

New England Patriot's Tom Brady, the All-American Golden Boy, gets what he deserves: a four game suspension for deflating game footballs and damaging the integrity of the game. God knows the game of football has been plagued by men of dubious character- and all to often, many of them get a slap on the wrist. For very serious crimes. But at least they finally got this one right.

Going Home

As things would have it, I've been a little more than homesick lately. Denver certainly has its charms, and we've made our life here. Even though home is where my wife is, I'm still a stranger in a strange land.

It's not such much the place of Southern California as it is the life that is portrayed there. I mean, let's be honest, in addition to all the good and great things I love (the beaches, Disneyland, the vegetation, and more) and the fact so much of my family is there, the truth remains: It is one heck of an expensive place to live there the way I'd like to.

But I think its more than that. If you really knew me- and I mean not just through this blog- you'd understand what's in between the words. Perhaps its a bit worse as I'm feeling more than a bit of self-pity. A friend of mine gets to move home after several years away. I'm excited for him and a bit jealous. And it's even a beach town! I am thankful for so much of my life, and I guess I need to remember how good God has been to me... and continues to be.

As a follower of Jesus Christ, the truth is this is not my permanent home. Heaven is for all eternity. And God has put a longing for Him in my heart. It grows day by day. Home. It's all relative.

July 27, 2015

Gym Rat Wisdom

"Suffer the pain of discipline or suffer the pain of regret."

This simple little phrase posted on the wall of the gym has caught my eye. Even though this statement is typical of the motivational stuff you find all around you in the gym, this one sticks a little deeper and rings of some truth. And I can't stop thinking about it. 

Sometimes awash in a sea of regret, I stand still, paralyzed by fear. Other times, I dig in and go for it. The truth is, these days, I'm trying to focus on the long term, the slowly gained results I want including wisdom and the eternal stuff as well as the temporal. And who would have guessed I would find some of it in the middle of an ordinary 24 Hour Fitness?

(By the way- try finding a photo of a regular looking guy lifting weights. Almost impossible!)

July 26, 2015

Sunday Special: Disneyland's Tomorrowland 1998

Just to remind the Disney suits as they plan out what to do with Star Wars, Marvel, Avatar, and Frozen...What could have been and should have been incredible- but what instead happens when the budgeteers get their way: Disneyland's Tomorrowland 1998.

(Art copyright The Walt Disney Company.)

July 24, 2015

D23 Imagineering Art

D23 is one of the best (or worst) endeavors ever pulled off by the Walt Disney Company. On the plus side, it's usually full of one of a kind Disney related events filled with- the down side- mostly B grade celebrities. On the plus side, it can also be home to some of the most enjoyable presentations that are guaranteed fan pleasers. Models of coming attractions and those from the past, artwork, Imagineers speaking about beloved and lost projects and more. 

Here on the D23 website is a large scale piece of concept art for Tokyo Disneyland and its re-imagined Tomorrowland, Sci-Fi City. The always wonderful Space Mountain appears in its hybrid Star Wars meets Discoveryland from Disneyland Paris form, the Rocket Rods zoom by, and the new crowd pleaser, The Flying Saucers, returns from the past to a settle in on a brand new continent.

My suggestion for finding great pieces: keep cruising by their website, and keep your eyes open on the official Disney Parks Blog too.

(Art copyright The Walt Disney Company.)

July 23, 2015

Spectre: 007 Returns

The current title holder for favorite film series is Bond, James Bond. Mr. 007 himself, Daniel Craig, is the absolute best Bond ever brought to the screen. Somehow this trailer for the new film Spectre skipped my sight, but now here it is for your pleasure.

July 22, 2015

Time Stamp Selfie

At Fika Coffee House in Parker...

July 21, 2015

Alone in Colorado

My wife knows exactly where this place is, why I hang out here when I need to be alone to work, and why I have seriously considered moving to a new house for the first time in many, many years. Sometimes a guy just has to be alone.

(Photograph copyright Mark Taft.)

July 20, 2015

The Lazarus Effect

A powerful movie, and today a play on words. Today, I want to take a look at an old Sunday School lesson that we should never forget. Take the few minutes today to follow me and read along. I think you'll be glad if you do.

Throughout our lives, we encounter very difficult circumstances. It’s to be expected: Jesus told us we should expect hardships in this world:

When others wound us- especially other believers!

When we face difficulties with our finances and our Jobs

When we look at the state of our families, friendships, or marriage

When the political environment is rough

When we struggle with ongoing sin


In this life, we may get season of rest but hardship never ends! (And I do not know how people without Jesus keep going!)

Handling death must be the greatest difficulty of all! It’s one we all face! One of the greatest parts of the Bible is seeing how God interacts with us lowly humans! 

Let’s look in on one of the greatest stories of His triumph – Jesus Raises Lazarus from the Dead!

It’s told only in the book of John- a very powerful story!

Let's look at what the Bible says in the book of John 11:1-7:  

1 Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. 2 (This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair.) 3 So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick.”
4 When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” 5 Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. 6 So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days, 7 and then he said to his disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.”

What's the background to this text? It's something very important to consider as you read the text. At this point in time, The Twelve had already seen Jesus feed the 5000, walk on water, heal the blind man- and more! Jesus and his disciples had just been in Judea, a very difficult place of ministry for him. Then he was back in Jerusalem where they tried to stone him for claiming to be God (10:30).
Very important to consider here is that Jesus was about 1 month away from His crucifixion- his time on earth was winding up.

What can we learn as we did deeper into the text?

God Always Knows What is Best, Always Does What is Loving- Even when it defies human logic and even when we cannot recognize God's hand at work. The truth is this was a family Jesus loved. Lazarus was very sick, and it's personal for Jesus. In spite of other's expectations, Jesus chooses to stay focused on what the Father is doing.

It may not look like it at the time-  Was Jesus being cruel to Mary and Martha by staying in Jerusalem two more days- then he suggested going back to Judea? Bethany was less than 2 miles from Jerusalem! (vs 18) What was he thinking? He could have easily arrived in time! Imagine- The sisters’ messenger comes back and tells Mary and Martha, “Jesus heard what we said and decided not to come help Lazarus.” 

How would you feel if it were your brother?

This caused a crisis of faith in both sisters! Isn’t it the same with us? I know it is with me! I love how down to earth the Bible is!
I happening now in your life?   What circumstances has God allowed that you don’t understand?

In crisis, we begin to doubt God’s very character, His very nature:

Is He good? Is He kind? Does He care?
Does He think about me?
Does He know what I’m going through? 
Why is He taking so long?

And if you're like me, you're not very patient to let God work things out.

Notice in Verse 4 Jesus tells them Lazarus sickness will not end in death.   Seven times Jesus says “Lazarus will live” in one form or another! (vs. 4, 11, 14, 23, 26, 40, 44)  But let’s keep reading.

Look now at verses 8-17: 
“But Rabbi,” they said, “a short while ago the Jews there tried to stone you, and yet you are going back?”  Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours of daylight? Anyone who walks in the daytime will not stumble, for they see by this world’s light. 10 It is when a person walks at night that they stumble, for they have no light.”  11 After he had said this, he went on to tell them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up.” 12 His disciples replied, “Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better.” 13 Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep.
14 So then he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead, 15 and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.”16 Then Thomas (also known as Didymus) said to the rest of the disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.” 17 On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. (Emphasis mine.)

There’s much that could be said here, but I’ll mention three points:
1-    Verse 14- Jesus tells them directly that his goal is “So that you may believe”. It’s his ultimate purpose in our lives as well! Then He wants us to share the Good News so God is glorified and many are brought to faith in Him.
2-     Verse 15- How could Jesus say “For your sake, I’m glad I wasn’t there”?

Just like any good mystery movie or book or tv show, we have to wait until the story’s over to understand how it all works together- just like our lives, too!

3-    Verse 16- Sometimes, just like Thomas, we don’t get what God is saying and doing!                          

In between verses 16 and 17-
Jesus misses the burial, a large stone is rolled over the entrance to the tomb. Only wealthy people or those of high social status could afford this. Common people buried the body and covered it with rocks.

Lazarus has been dead four days.  Four days! Upon death, brain cells die starting at 3-7 minutes once the heart stops; Bone and skin cells survive for several days; Blood starts draining and the skin takes on a grey color or deep purple where the blood pools in the lower half of the body. As time goes on...

  • At 30 minutes, the eyes shrink into the skull
  • At 3 hours, the muscles stiffen
  • At 24 hours, the body is cold and smells of rotten meat
  • At 3 days, the point Lazarus was at- the lungs expel fluid, the pancreas digests itself and maggots begin to eat the body.

Imagine how bad he looked and how bad he smelled!

Of course at this point, Mary and Martha have a crisis of faith. (Should we expect less? How would we react to the situation?)
Continuing on with John verses 18-28:

18 Now Bethany was less than two miles from Jerusalem, 19 and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them in the loss of their brother. 20 When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home.
21 “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.” 23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”
24 Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; 26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” 27 “Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”

For our character study, it's fascinating to watch the three different responses people have to all this.

1- Martha   2- Mary  3- The people, as many prominent people had come to the sisters to their grief.

Here’s Martha- first one to meet Jesus. She had always been the hard worker; the one Jesus had to remind to wait and to worship. 
She understands doctrine but cannot see what God is going to do!
In Verse 22, hope rises up in Martha: “I know God will give you whatever you ask”- and she makes her request known in a subtle way. Then in Verse 27, she says “I know you are the Messiah”- her confession of faith!

Now it’s Mary’s turn…
Let's look at verses 28-37.

28 After she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary aside. “The Teacher is here,” she said, “and is asking for you.” 29 When Mary heard this, she got up quickly and went to him. 30 Now Jesus had not yet entered the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him. 31 When the Jews who had been with Mary in the house, comforting her, noticed how quickly she got up and went out, they followed her, supposing she was going to the tomb to mourn there.
32 When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”
33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. 34 “Where have you laid him?” he asked. “Come and see, Lord,” they replied. 35 Jesus wept. 36 Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!”
37 But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?”

So here's Mary- Scripture shows her as the adoring one. The one who knew how to take the time to be with Him.  Mary remains at home instead of going out to meet Jesus- but finally goes out in desperation. This seems faithless, but it serves a purpose. Mary’s delay has a benefit- many people follow her out- and end up seeing what happens!

Mary says, "If only you’d been here!" It's the same question as the one her sister asks. A very human reaction- and honestly, one we always ask of God when we're in a crisis. But the sisters are not the only ones asking.

The people watching- and people are always watching each other- say "Couldn't Jesus have kept Lazarus from dying? He'd opened the eyes of the man who was blind?! In this, we can see that even the eyes of those who did;t believe had been opened- their faith had been awakened.

What can we learn here? 

A-    People Change as They Encounter Jesus! (Martha is transformed!)
B-    Even the very faithful will be brought to a crisis of faith!  For His purposes!
C-  What is our strength can in other times be our weakness and visa versa. (Mary is contemplative but now stuck in grief. Martha is a doer- then a negative- but now this enables her to go out and meet Jesus.)
D-    Sometimes God has to speak to us over and over about the same things. By this point in time, Jesus had told the people 5 different times that Lazarus would live. Even his disciples were told and didn't get it. Often we need to be told repeatedly, don’t we?
E-    Sometimes we still don't believe.
Sometimes we need to be told in different ways – or even sometimes bluntly- the things God wants us to understand. It’s one reason God encourages fellowship!

Those of you that are parents understand this truth, having to remind your children of what you will do, that you love them, or what the consequences of their actions will be.

We're all God's children, needing to be told the truth over and over again. That's why its good to read and reread the Bible and share the truths we've learned with each other.

What does Jesus do in the midst of all the commotion? 

Verse 33- Jesus groaned and Verse 35- Jesus wept. Why?
1-     He knew his time on earth was short, and He saw that even those closest to him, those who had seen so much, were still having a difficult time believing all he had said.  

2-     Would his mission endure in the hands of a bunch of teenaged disciples? (One of the Twelve was probably data-blogger-escaped-comment- in his early twenties at most. Grasp that for a minute! God Himself entrusts his most important message to two handfuls of passionate teenaged men.)

3-     He was 100% human and 100% God. The disciples including the sisters, doubted His love for them. Imagine how hard it was for Jesus, especially since he was soon on his way to the cross.

The next few verses tell us more. Look at 38-44: 

38 Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. 39 “Take away the stone,” he said.   “But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man,       “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.” 
40 Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?”

Many people- and many important Jews- are all around now, watching and waiting. The stone is moved- but Martha’s concerned with the condition and smell of her brother. The suspense builds. The crowd watches Jesus. What will Jesus do? Will He really raise him from the dead?
41 So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42 I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.
43 When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” 44 The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”

For their benefit, Jesus did everything he did- even delaying is arrival on the scene.
Jesus looks up to heaven and says loudly (so everyone can hear)-
o   “I know you always hear me."
o   I say it for their benefit so the would believe you sent me.”
o   “So they would believe I am the Messiah (the Savior) that you sent.”

Then He finally says the words everyone is waiting to hear:  “LAZARUS, COME OUT!
No doubt about it. Jesus commands it,  making sure everyone heard!

What are the Main Points we need to learn from all this?

What once appeared as lack of care from the Sister’s view (If you’d come, he’d be alive)- now becomes one of the greatest gifts Jesus gives while on earth! Imagine understanding first hand that the God you worship, the God you know and love, overcomes death!

God could shortchange YOUR process- but He desires the better thing for you! He wants you to now how much He loves you- and that He died for you for payment of YOUR sin. You might be in the midst of difficulties or what looks impossible, but your story is not over yet.

What challenges are you facing right now?

Does it seem as if it doesn’t make sense- or worse- that God doesn’t care?

What could be the gift He is giving you as you go through these struggles?

Sometimes we have to wait for the end of OUR story to see how God makes all things work together for our good!
We can bounce back from our crisis of faith, stronger than before in our belief of who Jesus is: In Chapter 12 of John, after Jesus raises Lazarus, we see Mary anointing Jesus with very expensive perfume worth a year’s wages. She finally understood that gaining Jesus is worth everything this world can offer!

Remember, He has overcome the world! And He will never leave you or forsake you! He has conquered death!

In the Book of Romans, chapter 8, the Apostle Paul reminds us that Jesus leaves you with the same Spirit INSIDE OF YOU that raised Him from the dead- HE LIVES IN YOU!You have the power to endure, the power to do His will, the power to do all He did- and more (!)- the power to bless others and proclaim Him to a dying world!

Let me encourage you here: Keep going. God is working in it all! 

If you do not know Jesus personally, take a moment to consider His claims. He says He is the only way, the only truth, and the only life- that one one comes to eternal life with God the Father except through relationship with and surrender to Him... the only one to give his life up for our sakes and to be raised from the dead as the Victorius King. 

July 18, 2015

St. Paul de Vence Sparkles

I've never been to Spain, but I've been to St. Paul de Vence, France. (It's a reference to an old song by Three Dog Night.) Here's a shot from last year's Switzerland and France visit. Sure, one day, I'll get back to sharing more about this trip, but for now, this one will have to do. A glorious night for dinner...

(Photograph copyright Mark Taft.)

July 17, 2015

Happy 60th Birthday Disneyland!

Long before Walt Disney World was even a thought. When Magic Kingdoms in Tokyo, Paris, Hong Kong, and Shanghai never even entered the minds of the suits behind the Walt Disney Company, back when it was run by folks with a heart to please and delight guests above just turning a profit, the one and only original Disneyland debuted this day in 1955.

The rending above by artist and Imagineer Herb Ryman was made at the request of Walt Disney himself. The park turned out even better than the art representing it. 

Showing off his labor of love.

The place was loved by Walt much like an inventor was attached to its creation, like God to Man, like it should be husband to wife: adored, celebrated, and nurtured. Each of the original lands at opening day have changed and matured with much grace.

Walt takes a walk during construction.
Main Street U.S.A. still charms; Fantasyland still takes you to your childhood stories, Tomorrowland (sometimes) makes you dream of the future. Far off realms are still waiting to be explored in Adventureland, and Frontierland still embraces its unique American heritage. 

Thank you Walt, for taking this step of faith- and making the world a delightful one for children of all ages!

(Art copyright The Walt Disney Company.)

July 16, 2015

The Temple of Doom

Take a good look at this statue, one to be unveiled soon. It's an unbelievable attraction that will be a drawing card to those who choose not to resist the temptation, a real Temple of Doom of sorts. One that Indiana Jones himself would shudder at seeing.

The Detroit Free Press has an article detailing plans for an 8 and 1/2 foot statue of the goat headed Satan to make its way into the Michigan property. Featuring the idol posed in a position that clearly mocks Jesus as portrayed in traditional art, the creature is flanked by two children, one on each side, staring lovingly up into its face.

American is on a downward slope as evidenced by foolishness such as this. If God Almighty of the Ages- the only true God- was not pleased with the Israelites of old for putting up with (if not flat out embracing) ancient heathen practices such a child sacrifice, the building of places of worship to false gods, and religious prostitution as an act of worship, how can He not judge our nation for embracing lifestyles and beliefs such as this that effectively spit in His Holy Face? Some Christian churches will refuse to speak up for the truth, just look away, or will embrace it as diversity. What a travesty before God!

One More: Peter Pan's Flight in Shanghai- Tangled Too!

As a nice contrast to Hong Kong Disneyland where its not on the attractions list, Shanghai Disneyland will in fact invites its guests for a journey to Neverland aboard Peter Pan's Flight.

The pirate galleons in this Fantasyland are rumored to be connected using a new ride system supposed designed for the unbuilt Monsters Inc. coaster. That thrill ride was on the boards for the woeful Disney's Hollywood Studios in Florida, but abandoned when the expense to do so got in the way.

It's location in Fantasyland, stage left.

Interesting to see all the new ride systems and technology being using in the Mainland China park! After seeing the opening of Hong Kong' park, certainly the local business partners were adamant that this one be: 

1- Stunningly different from other Magic Kingdoms, 
2- Full of the best in themed entertainment in both attractions and shows, and 
3- Using the most up to date technology possible. (And without an Omnimover in sight!)

Love Tangled? Peter Pan is not the only animated classic represented in the park! Look below.

Fans of Tangled have a reason to travel to Shanghai Disneyland! Could it be the famous - and beautiful- lantern scene will appear in the Crystal Grotto? That is yet to be revealed-below. However, the Snuggly Duckling tavern, home to the I've Got A Dream sequence in the film, will be the place to eat in Fantasyland.

Click on the beautiful artwork above for your answer to the Tangled question. In the lower right hand corner, you'll find Eugene and Rapunzel in their boat surrounded by lanterns. It should look beautiful at night!

For now and the foreseeable future, all we will get Stateside is a set of restrooms and a meet and greet with Flynn Rider! Rumors persist that clones of Chinese attractions will make their way, but don't count on it. Ever. For now, lots of photos in Spring 2016 will have to do.

It all goes to show: When you wish upon a star- and force Disney's hand for the very best it can offer- your dreams do come true!

(Art copyright The Walt Disney Company.)

July 15, 2015

Even More Shanghai Art: Alice, Dumbo, Voyage to the Crystal Grotto, and the Hunney Pots

Well, the pieces of amazing Shanghai Disneyland concept art just keep coming! As you can tell from the art above, the Alice in Wonderland maze is in fact based on the Tim Burton version of the film. Should be very interesting if not bizarre!

The elegant little building above is for Pooh's Hunney Pot Spin, an updated version of the famous Mad Tea Party. If you blow this up by clicking on it (as with all images), you'll find Pooh himself on top with his little blue balloon. Should be fun for everyone. When you throw in the Pooh dark ride, a shops or two and a spot to eat, you've got a little Pooh corner, similar in execution to the mini-Wonderland built at Disneyland in Anheim.

And last (for now!) but not least, here's Dumbo the Flying Elephant. You won't find him in Fantasyland proper, but instead you can fly with him by boarding in the Character Gardens.

Here's a nice look at the Wandering Moon Tea House, which seems to be placed where you would see the Plaza Inn or the Crystal Palace right off the hub. Chinese in style and very elegant and lovely.

The interior of this restaurant looks equally impressive- and you certainly cannot beat the view from these windows as you dine.

 To the right of the image above, you can see the boarding area for the Voyage to the Crystal Grotto, one of Shanghai Disneyland's signature attractions. It will certainly add a nice lagoon of water to Fantasyland, something that is seriously missing in the Stateside parks.
Here's a closer look at the station along with one of the boats guest will board. It should provide a pleasant journey through the land as its shares Disney stories loved around the world.

Lastly, Mulan appears as part of the scenery for the Voyage to the Crystal Grotto, a Storybookland Canal Boats of sorts, designed to familiarize the Chinese guests with classic Disney animated tales.

There's more to come...

(Art copyright The Walt Disney Company.)

New Shanghai Disneyland Map

A new map for Shanghai Disneyland. Click it for the largest size.
More to come...

(Art copyright The Walt Disney Company.)

Expedition to Atlantis at Disneyland

July 14, 2015

First Look: Shanghai Disneyland's Roaring Rapids

Hot off the press- the Walt Disney Company releases concept art for Shanghai Disneyland. Of notable interest is this first release of Imagineering concept art for Roaring Mountain and its Roaring Rapids dinosaur  (or is it a dragon) focused attraction.

Is it a dragon that menaces riders?

Or is it a dinosaur?

The mountain itself and the whole area looks incredible. Inside this rapid raft adventure (think California Adventure's Grizzly Rapids on a grander scale) guests will come face to face with this monster. Is it a dinosaur as was suggested earlier in the planning stage? Or is it a dragon, as the model above suggests, which would be more in line with Chinese legend and lore? Either way, the monster is huge!

The press release states: "Adventure Isle will immerse guests in a newly discovered lost world, filled with hidden treasures and a chance to explore its mysteries. The mighty Roaring Mountain will tower over guests and beckon them on their journey. Guests can blaze their own trails at Camp Discovery, travel around the world on Soaring over the Horizon, or embark on the thrilling rafting adventure Roaring Rapids, straight through the heart of Adventure Isle. There they discover the underworld realm of a mysterious, fearsome creature."

In looking at the concept art and the models over and over, Adventure Isle looks to be one exciting and memorable series of attractions for this very unique Magic Kingdom. Count me in as one who is very impressed by this presentation. Let's hope reality does not disappoint!

More to come!

(Concept art copyright The Walt Disney Company.)

Sweetness in Action

The joys of being a grandpa! Yeah, the down side is you cannot escape the fact you are old. The up side is the sweet cuddles you get when you least expect it...

July 13, 2015

A Taste of the Islands

From my good friend and fellow blogger Len Yokoyama comes this photograph of Hawaii. Breaking the stereotype images us mainlanders have of the state being only tropical beaches and blue lagoons, this image of the valley is quite striking. Even more so as you blow it up to its largest size. There's more to come from Len- he's quite a generous and amazing photographer!

(Photograph copyright Len Yokoyama.)

July 12, 2015

Sweet Girl Disarms Stranger

An atheist was seated next to a little girl on an airplane and he turned to her and said, "Do you want to talk? Flights go quicker if you strike up a conversation with your fellow passenger."

The little girl, who had just started to read her book, replied to the total stranger, "What would you want to talk about?"

"Oh, I don't know," said the atheist. "How about why there is no God, or no Heaven or Hell, or no life after death?" as he smiled smugly.

"Okay," she said. "Those could be interesting topics but let me ask you a question first. A horse, a cow, and a deer all eat the same stuff - grass. Yet a deer excretes little pellets, while a cow turns out a flat patty and a horse produces clumps. Why do you suppose that is?" 

The atheist, visibly surprised by the little girl's intelligence, thinks about it and says, "Hmmm, I have no idea." To which the little girl replies, "Do you really feel qualified to discuss God, Heaven and Hell, or life after death, when you don't know s**t?"

And then she went back to reading her book.
You'll never find this joke on any other Disney blog- and please forgive the ending choice of words, but it is pretty funny!