Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Grand Floridian DVC Progress Photos

Disney latest Vacation Club at Disney's Grand Floridian is really coming along since we were down in late November.

The new property is slated to open in late 2013, and will be the 12th DVC property. 

In addition to the 8 existing Walt Disney World DVC resorts, Disney Vacation Club recently opened Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa in Ko Olina, Hawaii, and operates the The Villas at Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa at the Disneyland Resort, Disney's Hilton Head Island Resort in South Carolina, and Disney's Vero Beach Resort in Florida.

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'Snow White Mine Road' Progress Photos

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train will be a steel roller coaster by Vekoma. The ride will travel both indoors and outdoors. 

Unlike some other Disney roller coasters, such as California Screamin' and Rock 'n Roller Coaster starring Aerosmith, this attraction will be less intense and more family-friendly. It will feature a new ride system which simulates the swaying and tipping one would expect to experience in a mine cart.

It is part of a major expansion of Fantasyland and is based upon the classic story of Walt Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Disney's first animated feature film.

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New Fantasyland 'Tangled Tower Area' Updated Photos

When we were last at Walt Disney World at the end of November, I was following the progress of the Fantasyland Construction (click link for construction photos) in the area where the new restrooms were going. That area is now complete and turned out very nicely.

The lanterns and tower are a nice nod to Tangled. The area as you exit The Haunted Mansion Attraction is now an open walkway to enter Fantasyland.

Enjoy the photos below (click each image for a larger view).

Disney Twenty-Three's Summer Movie Spectacular Rides into Homes May 14th!



Insider Glimpses of Monsters University, Iron Man 3, The Lone Ranger and Disney’s Planes

Plus an Extensive Feature Saluting 60 Years of Walt Disney Imagineering

BURBANK, Calif. – April 29, 2013 – The summer issue of Disney twenty-three, the flagship magazine of D23: The Official Disney Fan Club, features a mega summer movie preview of Disney’s upcoming theatrical releases. D23 gets readers back in the saddle with filmmakers Jerry Bruckheimer and Gore Verbinski for Johnny Depp’s upcoming The Lone Ranger; Billy Crystal talks about scaring up big laughs for Monsters University; the masterminds behind Marvel’s newest film, Iron Man 3, offer an inside look at how they're bringing Iron Man back to basics; and John Lasseter shows us how the upcoming animated film Disney’s Planes will soar.

Disney twenty-three also celebrates 60 years of Walt Disney Imagineering with a special commemorative back cover. Imagineer Tony Baxter discusses his work on some of the world’s most iconic attractions, including Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Splash Mountain, and Star Tours. “You Do What?” profiles some of the most unusual jobs Imagineers have had over the years, from rock designer to castle architect. “Imagineering Fact? Or Fiction!” debunks some of the long-time myths and legends of the Disney Parks. And there’s much more, including “23 Imagineering Game Changers” and a salute from Chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Tom Staggs to the thousands of creative individuals whose contributions have changed the way guests experience Disney around the world.

Beginning with the summer issue, Disney twenty-three, hailed by critics for its superlative fan content and collectability, will be offered exclusively to D23 Gold Members who will continue to receive the magazine as a benefit of their membership. Disney twenty-three is delivered directly to fans’ doorsteps, and this issue contains a special member gift—a metallic D23 keychain, signifying how members hold the key to unlocking the magic of Disney through D23.
Disney twenty-three’s favorite sections are back with new images and content, too. In this issue:
  • An image of Walt and Lillian celebrating their 30th wedding anniversary just prior to the opening of Disneyland in “PHOTOfiles”
  • “A Walk with Walt” takes readers back to 1946, the year following the end of World War II—a transitional one for Walt and his company
  • In “D Society,” Ne-Yo, Rod Stewart, and Tina Fey are among the stars shown visiting the parks 
The Disney discoveries don’t stop with the end of the summer publication. In conjunction with the summer issue of Disney twenty-threewww.D23.com will feature original and exclusive stories that complement the contents of D23’s glossy magazine. Beginning May 14, only on D23.com you’ll find an exclusive video interview with Imagineer Tony Baxter.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

New to the Blog: Disney/Pixar Cars Diecast!

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In addition to collecting the Walt Disney Classics Collection, since the release of Disney/Pixar Cars, I also collect diecast.  It harkens back to when younger, collecting Matchbox® cars with my brother. 

My collection is focused mainly on the diecast released by Mattel® but also includes some diecast done by the Disney Store®, Shake 'n Go's by Fisher Price®, Vinylmation® and metal signs through promotions done by State Farm Insurance®.

The photo at right is one of my favorite displays from my collection featuring the Motorama Girls (Sheila, Laverne & Rhonda) displayed with the Flo's V8 Cafe playset. The Motorama Girls from the Story Teller Collection were a very rare release, each done individually and sold as a set. These eluded many collectors. 

The difference in collecting diecast vs. the Walt Disney Classics Collection, diecast isn't always as easy to find upon release.  Some releases have been only released overseas, limited quantity per carton or only available by purchasing a case and the amount of variations can be mind boggling at times.  Am blessed with a great network of friends who have helped me feed this addiction.

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In international versions of Disney/Pixar Cars 2, the character Jeff Gorvette is replaced with race car drivers better known in the specific countries in his dialogue scenes (however, he still appears as a competitor). 

Mattel released versions of those characters as Ultimate Super Chase Cars .. Vitaly Petrov (Russia), Jan "Flash" Nilsson (Sweden), Long Ge (China), Memo Rojas, Jr. (Mexico) and Mark "Frosty" Winterbottom (all pictured at left).

These diecast were the hardest to come by. A lot of searching, eBay and the help of my good friend Matthew, made it possible to finally have all five represented in my collection.

From time to time I'll share more pictures of my collection and upcoming releases for Cars enthusiasts to look forward too!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Passholder: You’re invited to Monstrous Summer!

100-Word Exam:   Monstrous Summer
Name:   Pat PassarĂ©
Subject:   Passholderology
Date:   April 26, 2013
"How I'm spending my summer vacation"
1. Go to the Magic Kingdom® all-nighter Friday, May 24, 6 a.m. to Saturday, May 25, 6 a.m., hosted by Mike and Sulley. Enjoy select attractions—including New Fantasyland™ stuff—for 24 hours!

2. Ride the Walt Disney World® Monorail—now transformed into a Monster-rail—to the all-nighter. Present my valid Passholder ID for admission. Text jokes to Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor®.

3. Keep celebrating Monstrous Summer! Meet Mike and Sulley at Disney's Hollywood Studios®.

4. Use my Passholder discount to see Disney•Pixar Monsters University, opening June 21 at the AMC® Downtown Disney® Dine-In Theatres.
Monstrous Summer will be very, very, very, fun!
(100 words—yesss!)
Get Details
WDW Passholder WebsiteWDW Passholders on FacebookPassholder DiscountsLimited Time MagicPark Caldenar
Visit the Monstrous Summer section of DisneyParks.com for more information about Monstrous Summer at Walt Disney World and Disneyland® Resorts.

Magic Kingdom Park hours are 6 a.m. on May 24 to 6 a.m. on May 25, 2013. Subject to capacity restrictions. Select attractions, entertainment and services will be available. Valid Theme Park admission required.

Looking Back: Family Vacation

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The sculpture in this blog entry (Donald, Daisy, Huey, Dewey and Louie) marks their second time in my collection. Due to an unfortunate accident when having our house painted a couple years ago, this sculpture broke beyond repair.

Thankfully I had it covered by insurance. Both reporting and resolving the claim went smoothly but at the time of the accident, this sculpture was beginning to become harder and harder to find amongst retailers. I decided to put the money aside with the hopes of one day locating another and once again, having in my collection.

Two years later, I'm happy to report, I was able to find one! The replacement sculpture arrived this past week.

Being a Duck Fan, it's probably a no-brainer this is one that I would like (and have in my collection) but after taking Mary & Amanda on their 1st visit to Disneyland® last summer, it held a special meaning for me and put me on the hunt to locate another.

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This piece evokes great memories for me of that trip, seeing the park through their eyes for the first time and time spent with good friends.  

The sculpture depicts Donald's classic red roadster (inspired by the auto seen in the last Donald Duck theatrical cartoon produced to date, 'The Litterbug') complete with Donald's famous '313' license plate and Donald Duck hood ornament (pictured at right). Coloration of Donald's license plate (see below) was based on research of California license plates of that era. 

The scultpure also includes nostalgic 1950's Davy Crockett 'coon skin cap and Mickey Mouse Ears worn by the nephews and a Disneyland® pennant!

"Family Vacation" (a Numbered Limited Edition (NLE) of 1,500) was sculpted by Bruce Lau, making its debut at Disneyland® Resort in July 2005 and then released to all other retailers in late August and September that same year.

Click Each Image for a Larger View

Thursday, April 25, 2013

'A New Chapter' Ends with the Latest Sell-Through Announced by Enesco, LLC

Click Above Image for Additional Angles
Today, Enesco announced the recent sell-through of Belle & Beast from Disney's Beauty and the Beast.

As Belle, dressed in her wintertime finery, and the Beast pause by the cozy fire, their friends smile as a new and warm relationship between their cursed master and his beautiful visitor blossoms.

'A New Chapter Begins,' a Numbered Limited Edition (NLE) of 1,500 released in November 2009 was sculpted by Dusty Horner.

Please contact your Authorized Walt Disney Classics Collection Retailer for availability.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Looking Back: The Pegasus Family

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Do you find a piece is announced/released and it seems to keep getting put on the back burner?  That was the case for me with The Pegasus Family from Fantasia.

I'm a late bloomer when it comes to Fantasia. Thanks to friends who are rabid fans, I've gained an appreciation for the film. Add to that, the Walt Disney Classics Collection has released some of their best pieces from this film. In a relatively short time, now with the addition of the Pegasus Family, my Fantasia Collection is complete!

I've only seen this piece once in person but really didn't get to study it very well.  I unpacked it when it arrived earlier this week to make sure it arrived safely and today finally took the time to study (and appreciate) this sculpture.

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This sculpture is crying for a rotating base to fully appreciate the sculpting and artistry of this piece.  In viewing the initial photos, thought the color of the tree branch and foliage was a bit garish. In person, the coloring is more muted and pleasing to the eye.  

In viewing the additional images below (and at right), note the underside of the Mother's wing.  I like the two-tone coloring and amazes me how someone was able to paint that as they did, given the area they had to work with. This is what has always set the Walt Disney Classics Collection apart from other collectibles, the attention to detail!

I also like how each Pegasi have their own individual personality and how Kent sculpted the Mother's wing, protecting her young child.

Special Note: I used natural light in these photos, for those who appreciate seeing the sculptures in a home setting. Even in these pictures, the red foilage in the tree came across much darker vs. in person.

The Pegasus Family ("Mythic Menagerie"), sculpted by Kent Melton was a Numbered Limited Edition (NLE) of 500, released in June 2010. 

Click Each Image for a Larger View