Archive | Disneyland California Adventure RSS feed for this section

Toy Story Mania Madness! Buckets, Potato Head!

9 Apr

StudiosCentral has pictures of souvenir popcorn buckets themed to the upcoming Toy Story Mania atraction, and apparently destined for distribution at all of the Disney Parks. Waaah, I can hardly wait! I am a total sucker for Toy Story swag. Plus, as an avid reader of icanhascheezburger, I have a certain attachment to bukkits.

Plus, The Disney Blog has some cool YouTube videos of Mr Potato Head, currently entertaining Guests at Disney’s California Adventure. I started to watch one of them . . . and then resisted the urge. I am trying trying trying to stay reasonably spoiler-free!

Small Explosion in Back Lot at Downtown Disney

2 Jul

From the Orlando Sentinel:

A Disney security officer on bike patrol called deputies at about 12:30 a.m. he heard a noise and saw white smoke coming from a garbage can in a back lot at of Downtown Disney, said Disney spokeswoman Kim Prunty.

The garbage can is in the far lot behind the Cirque du Soleil theater, going toward the golf course at the Saratoga Springs Resort, Prunty said. There are no attractions or shops in that area.

When deputies arrived, they secured the area and later reported no damage or injuries.

Interesting that it happened in a back lot, nowhere near the areas most of us think of when we think “Downtown Disney.” Also, I’ve gotta wonder if there’s any relationship to earlier reports of a Disney Cast Member facing charges for bragging about placing a pipe bomb at Downtown Disney, which in that case was near Fulton’s Crab House.

Push the Talking Trash Can could not be reached for comment, but I think it’s safe to assume he was unharmed.

Disney Does the Right Thing, Sort Of, in Racial Profiling Case

28 Jun

From NBC News, an update on the possible racial profiling at Downtown Disney:

Late Thursday, Disney reversed its lifetime ban on the four players and made it a one year ban at Downtown Disney only.

This is of course good news . . . especially for the teenager whose mother is a supervisor at the Walt Disney World Polynesian Resort (a lifetime ban would have been awkward on Take Your Child to Work Day, wouldn’t it?). But it’s not enough. Nothing I’ve read justifies any ban at all. These kids deserve not only a complete lifting of the ban, but also an explanation and apology.

Just as important, many of us will still be waiting for answers about what exactly has gone wrong recently with security at Downtown Disney, and assurance that the problem has been addressed.

The blogosphere of course has been ablaze over the story. Disney geeks like myself have probably already seen More Thoughts on Racial Profiling at Downtown Disney on The Disney Blog, but may not have seen the Essential Presence blog (great stuff, it’s now in my blogreader), which I highly recommend, especially for those who wonder what all the fuss is about. The author’s commentary on a recent Orlando Sentinel article is spot on.

More Details on Possible Racial Profiling at Downtown Disney

27 Jun

The Orlando Sentinel has more on the story this morning:

Walt Disney World ejected four of Florida State University’s top football prospects from Downtown Disney last weekend under its anti-gang, no-loitering policy.

The four, including the son of a Disney manager and the son of a Philadelphia civil-rights lawyer, were banned for life from Disney World property late Friday.

A Disney spokeswoman said the youths were expelled because they had been loitering for an extended period and refused to leave when Disney security told them to.

Parents of the youths wonder whether there’s another reason: They’re black.

(I’d wondered why my blog was suddenly getting so much traffic today from a web forum for football recruiters . . . I guess I have my answer now.)

Wondering whether there’s really anything wrong with racial profiling? Amnesty International has an excellent report on the topic.

When law enforcement officials focus on what people look like, what religion they follow, or what they wear, it puts us all at risk.

Racial Profiling at Downtown Disney?

22 Jun

Disney’s been ramping up security at Downtown Disney, in the wake of an alleged (but highly doubted) abduction. (They say that’s not why they’re ramping up . . . but I’d be surprised if this event and the national attention it received hadn’t influenced priorities.)

What worries me though . . . is that the Orlando Sentinel reports today concerns that Disney Security may be disproportionately handing out warnings to teenagers of color:

Out of the 50 warnings issued last weekend, the Sheriff’s Office was able to find only 40 of the reports. Warnings were issued to 20 young Hispanic males, 19 young black males and one young black female.

None came from Orange County, the location of Downtown Disney. Eleven were from Osceola County, 11 from Lake County, 11 from Polk County, five from Georgia and one each from Arizona, Texas and an unreported location.

One of the teens told never to come back asked why no whites were among those warned about trespassing.

“A whole bunch of white boys walked by yelling and stuff, and they didn’t do nothing to them,” said Michael Washington, 16, of Polk City.

Let’s hope that Disney sets things right quickly. Racial profiling isn’t just unfair, it’s also ineffective. Need to understand the issues better? ACLU’s got the scoop for you.

Jim Hill on Disney’s Muppet Revival Project

30 Apr

BeakerToday’s Jim Hill Media post asks, Will the third time be the charm with Disney’s Muppet revival project? And he doesn’t have any easy answers. Disney fought hard to own the Muppets, but it doesn’t yet seem to know what to do with them. I wince every time I see Kermit shilling for SUVs.

MouseExtra offers some interesting commentary on Jim Hill’s overview and analysis, and asks an important question about what Disney is doing with the results of Guest surveys in response to the Mobile Muppet Lab.

As both articles point out, most young people today do not recognize some of the Muppets whom others cherish most, such as Dr Bunsen Honeydew and his faithful assistant, Beaker (who will soon be rolling through Disney’s California Adventure again as the Muppet Mobile Lab).

I cringe to think that today’s young people may be limiting their Muppet consumption to the obvious (admittedly classic) choices of Kermit, Piggy, and Animal. So, because not every household is lucky enough to have easy access to The Muppet Show on DVD, here’s a classic Beaker moment currently available on YouTube:

“Finding Nemo” Musical Debut

21 Oct

Yesterday’s Playbill has a nice article about a press event in New York City, previewing the new Finding Nemo musical, opening in November at Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom.

I’m a huge fan of the Aladdin show at California Adventure, also produced by Disney Creative Entertainment, so I’m definitely looking forward to the Finding Nemo show. On the other hand, we can also hold them responsible for Cinderellabration and Snow White: An Enchanting Musical, so perhaps I shouldn’t get too excited just yet?

There’s been a lot of media attention for the show already; Google News finds plenty of articles.

Walt Disney World to Use Cell Phones in New Attraction, Give Math Tests to Canadians

30 Sep

A September 29 press release from Walt Disney World includes details of several upcoming attractions, and includes this tantalizing bit of information for Monsters Inc fans:

Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor Comedy Club. Magic Kingdom guests will laugh, joke, sing songs and match wits with the beloved animated characters from Disney-Pixar’s “Monsters, Inc.” in an engaging and interactive attraction being created by the Disney Imagineers. Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor Comedy Club features one-eyed hero Mike Wazowski, who has opened a comedy club to collect laughs that will generate electricity for the monster world of Monstropolis. As Monster-of-Ceremonies, Mike recruits two comedian wannabes whose slapstick humor delights and engages audiences. Guests will even get to text-message jokes on their cell phones for possible use in the show. [emphasis mine]

Disney has in recent years been incorporating more and more interactive elements. The Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters ride in Anaheim (Disneyland), for example, allows you not only rack up the points when you’re riding it in person, but also to participate through an online component. The Turtle Talk with Crush attraction both at Anaheim (Disney’s California Adventure) and Orlando (Epcot) uses digital puppetry to create a verbally and visually interactive animated character. Disney’s “living character initiative” is creating more emphasis on ambulatory interactive experiences, including the rumored new rolling Muppet Labs. And I could go on.

But what’s different about the use of cell phones in the Monsters’ Inc Laugh Floor is the use of an independant, guest-owned electronic input device to influence the content of an attraction. True, Astro Blasters used the web as an input device, but the space rangers on the actual ride weren’t aware of this input until they got to the pictures displayed in the exit area (if they even noticed then).

I’ll be interested to see the way in which the cell phone input is incorporated. Will the Cast Members receive the information live, and use it in real-time (similar to the experience of Turtle Talk with Crush)? Or will it be dumped into a database for later mining? Receiving the information in the form of text messages gives them more control, more ability to screen out the hecklers and zero in on the funny, Disney-friendly stuff than they’d have if they simply encouraged guests to shout out their ideas. But it also could create an overwhelming crush of data, unless they’re going to restrict text message submission only to those in the attraction itself.

The press release also includes a bit of text about the Year of a Million Dreams prizes, including this note:

For residents of Canada, a mathematical skill-testing question must be correctly answered to win any prize.

Yes, we’re all aware that this is a legal requirement for those giving out sweepstakes prizes to Canadians, but you’ve gotta wonder, how are they going to implement this for the smaller prizes? “Psssst, hey buddy, if you can do this quadratic equation, there’s a free lanyard in it for you!”

Disney Imagineers Developing Beaker “Living Character?”

21 Sep

Jim Hill media reports that Walt Disney Imagineering is working on a semi-improvisational, roving show for California Adventure, starring Doctor Bunsen Honeydew and his much-loved, much-abused assistant, Beaker. The underlying technology would be similar to that currently in use for a number of park attractions/shows, including my personal favorite, the talking trash can sometimes found wandering around in the Tomorrowland sections of both Disneyland and Magic Kindom.

Jim Hill’s article is interesting; even if you’re not convinced about the rumored new Muppet production (not everybody considers Jim Hill a reliable source), there’s an overview of a number of similar, and currently existing, “living character” experiences, including the very popular “Turtle Talk with Crush.”

Attention All Monster Passengers! Instructions from Monsters Inc Ride

3 Sep

Much like the devil, sometimes the coolest things in Disney parks are to be found in the details.

The Monsters Inc ride at Disneyland California Adventure (based on the Pixar movie) doesn’t seem to have any lines . . . an endemic situation at DCA in general, actually. So, it’s tempting to just breeze through the queue without noticing any of the details, but there are some pretty awesome things in there.

My personal favorite: As you’re passing by what looks like a taxi dispatch window, you’ll notice this sign in the window (click on the image or here for a high-res version, easier to read):

Instructions
The good folks at Monstropolis Transit Authority are definitely looking out for you needs. Right before boarding, you have a chance to pick up snacks for the trip:

Drooler cola

Snacks

There’s also a billboard for a unique eyewear shop . . . perhaps especially amusing to those of us who work with 3D technology:

Eyewear

%d bloggers like this: