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You Kids Don’t Know How Good You’ve Got It!

17 Jun

This week in my Jentasmic! column at StudiosCentral:

I’ve been thinking a lot about the 1970s lately, as I’ve been working on a panel for the upcoming ConnectiCon convention, Middle-aged Geeks Tell All! In preparing for this panel, I’ve been running back through my childhood favorites, both on TV and in the movies. And thinking back, I’m surprised at how little Disney entertainment was available, especially compared to the media saturation of today.

I remember tuning into Wonderful World of Disney on Sunday nights, watching Tinkerbell fly over Sleeping Beauty Castle in the opening credits. I remember cartoons and branded Disney characters being on the show from time to time, but just as often it would be a live-action feature, which (in my eyes at least) usually seemed to have nothing to do with Disney. Maybe it would be a movie, split up across two weeks (The Horse in the Gray Flannel Suit! Monkeys, Go Home!). Maybe it would be a nature program, in which case I’d probably go looking for Star Trek re-runs instead. The opening credits often felt like a bait-and-switch. But every now and then there was a special: Julie Andrews at Disneyland! Disney Parade! It felt like opening up the Cracker Jack box and finding a real toy, instead of those lousy tattoos.

Disney Channel? TiVo? Disney Afternoon? A 1970s youngster knew not of these things.



Head on over to StudiosCentral to read the rest. And tell me about walking up hill six miles to school, wouldya? Why, I remember tying an onion to my belt, which was the style at the time . . .

Jentasmic! Disney Handbags I’d Like to See

3 Jun

Handbags are my obsession, and these days they might just be my primary vice. So, it shouldn’t be terribly surprising that I’ve got a wish list for designer collaborations I’d like to see, themed to attractions at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

At the top of my list is a popular designer heavily influenced by Japanese kawaii culture:

Tokidoki Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Collection.Tokidoki‘s my current favorite handbag company, for their whimsical prints and imaginative characters. They’re often at their best when pairing disparate elements, as you see in their logo (a heart-and-crossbones). In fact, Disney’s already borrowed heavily from Tokidoki’s style with the “nerd” bags you’ve probably seen on Disney campus, which some fans have affectionately dubbed “Mickeydoki.” Tokidoki and Disney already have one collaboration, on merchandise themed to Marvel characters, suggesting that the necessary business ties already exist and they’ve likely developed some knowledge of lessons learned and successes from the collaboration. So why not take it the next step? Love Aerosmith, love Tokidoki, hellooo. . . .

Head on over to Studios Central to read the rest.


Jentasmic: The Joys of Solo Travel

20 May
Mickey and Me

Hanging with Mickey on a solo trip to Disneyland, January 2011.

My kid’s growing up, which means more solo Disney travel is on the horizon for me. So, this week’s Jentasmic! includes some of my favorite things about solo travel.

Touring my way. I can be very particular about my touring needs. It just doesn’t feel right to miss rope drop. I want to ride Mr Toad’s Wild Ride five times in rapid succession to earn my Nowhere in Particular badge on Disneyland Lines. I might choose my lunch location strictly on the availability of power outlets for recharging my phone. And while I’ll happily compromise on most of those to be with friends and family, if I’m gonna go alone, I’m gonna enjoy the heck out of my autonomy.

Lemonade Mouth: Bitter With the Sweet

25 Apr

Lemonade Mouth sounded right up my alley: Rebellious teenagers starting a garage band, finding their own voice. But given the track record of the Disney Channel Movie series, I had to keep my expectations low. My review of Lemonade Mouth is in my Jentasmic! column on Studios Central. A brief highlight:

Perhaps in part due to these moderate expectations, and my legendary avoidance of any spoilers, Lemonade Mouth did not disappoint. (So hey, if you’re going to watch the movie, go do so now before reading the rest of this article. I can wait here, no problem.) The story is engaging, the acting is above-par for Disney Channel standards, and the anthem of “Be heard, be strong, be proud” is a healthy message for the tweens who will find the movie most appealing. I can only hope that the Disney Channel Rocks show at the Studios will soon include a few numbers from Lemonade Mouth.

And in related news: Chris Colfer has sold a pilot screenplay to the Disney Channel. I love Colfer on glee, and hope that he can bring some of that same style and sensibility to his future projects as well.

Disney’s Anime Connection: Hayao Miyazaki

8 Apr
Kiki's Delivery Service cosplay at Anime Boston 2009

Kiki's Delivery Service cosplayer at Anime Boston 2009

Why yes, the advent of anime con season has got me a little more anime-obsessed than usual! So it’s not surprising that this week’s Jentasmic! at StudiosCentral encourages Disney fans to explore the works of Hayao Miyazaki. Disney has released several Miyazaki films, including production of the English dub tracks, providing a real service to those of us who frequently introduce others (especially families) to anime.

Jentasmic! on Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom

25 Mar

The Those Darn Cats bookclub is reading one of my favorite books about Disney World, Cory Doctorow’s Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom. So, it shouldn’t be all that surprising that this week’s Jentasmic! at StudiosCentral references not only this great book, but also xkcd, Plato, and the Creative Commons license under which this book is distributed online for free.

The book takes place in a future where technology has conquered death, famine, and all kinds of material want, making earlier corporate and social models obsolete, and casting timeless philosophical questions into a new light. What makes us who we are, mind or matter? What is the nature of the soul? And are audio-animatronics truly central to our experience as Disney Parks guests?

Yes indeed: That last question is arguably one of the central questions of the book. You see, Doctorow’s not just a casual Disney fan; his writing demonstrates not only his love for the Parks, but also his understanding of the conflict inherent in re-imagineering attractions to leverage new technologies and improve Guest experience, while still retaining the essential nature of the attraction and its nostalgic appeals.

So what are you waiting for? Go download the book, either in text or audiobook, and get your geek on. We’ll be discussing it on Those Darn Cats sometime in April.

Jentasmic: Top 5 Disney Dining Memories

11 Feb

The view from Walt's American Restaurant, Disneyland Paris

In this week’s Jentasmic! column at Studios Central, I meditate further on that all-important question: Is theme or food more important in my Disney Dining experience? In particular, I look at my five favorite memories, and consider how much food, theme, or other factors influenced the experience overall. For example:

Walt’s American Restaurant, Disneyland Paris. The food was pretty good, especially given that we’d chosen to eat “American food” in Paris. We’d scored a table by the window, at the right time for the evening parade. Sadly, the parade was rained out, so all we could watch was the parade of tourists in hastily-purchased ponchos, heading for the front gates. But what made it special? Knowing that this was the only place on the entire planet that a Guest can sit in a restaurant on the second floor of Main Street, overlooking the crowds. No forced perspective here — it’s a full-fledged Main Street second floor.

Head on over to Studios Central to read the rest. . .

Studios Central Meets at WDW Star Wars Weekends 2011

1 Feb
Minnie Mouse at Star Wars Weekend 2008

Minnie Mouse at Star Wars Weekend 2008

Over on Studios Central, Matt says:

Okay, we don’t know the official Star Wars Weekend dates officially quite yet, but I’m willing to bet Glenn’s salary that SWW will begin on the weekend of May 20-22, 2011 and so Studios Central will be holding some meets for those of you in attendance!

Being a Studios Central columnist myself, I’m sure that Glenn’s salary is substantial! So Matt must be pretty darn sure. And the meets that he’s got planned sound quite appealing to me, especially the lunch. You never know what’s gonna happen at a Studios Central lunch.

Jentasmic! A Disney Fairy Tale Wedding

28 Jan
The bride, the groom, and their guests

Nobody has more fun than us! Bob Jackson took this photo for his Facebook page.

WeddingFest 2011 coverage continues! I’m sure Lisa will blog about the wedding plenty when she and her new husband Trace return from their cruise on the Disney Dream, but for now I just can’t resist telling you all how wonderful the wedding was. My Jentasmic! column this week on StudiosCentral talks a bit about the wedding day itself. A brief snippet:

The morning of the wedding was a flurry of excitement and nerves. By the time I arrived at the Honeymoon Suite of the Grand Floridian Resort that morning at 6:00am, work was well underway. The dress had been professionally steamed and was hanging in the shower for an extra touch-up, the hair stylist was preparing a table, and the make-up artist was ready to start in on me. Fortunately, Lisa had been upgraded to concierge, and after the make-up artist had put on my face, I stopped over to the concierge lounge to pick up a few breakfast snacks. Not that any of us could bring ourselves to eat much, but at least we all knew that we should.


Gift Ideas for the Disney’s Hollywood Studios Fan

17 Dec

Christmas holiday shoppers, you’ve still got a week to go! So, this week on StudiosCentral, I’ve put together a list of gift ideas for the Studios fan. One sample:

Footlight Parade: Sure, you’ve rolled by those motionless audio-animatronics for years in The Great Movie Ride, but have you actually seen the film? It’s a Busy Berkeley tour de force! Plus, being made shortly before the Hays Code means that certain plotlines and jokes are surprisingly edgy.

Head on over to StudiosCentral to read the rest.

And while we’re at it . . .here’s the trailer for Footlight Parade:

“As long as they’ve got sidewalks, you’ve got a job!” Whoa.  Makes me want to go back and re-watch Golddiggers of 1933.

And what is up with my fascination with the Hays Code, anyway? Clearly next time I go back to graduate school, I’ve got to find a topic for a Masters thesis that really lets me dig into that.

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