Tuesday, April 30, 2013

May 1, 2013: Lights, camera, action!

May 1, 1989, Disney-MGM Studios officially opened to the public. Originally intended to focus on the process of movie making, the park is heavier on entertainment and lighter on ride type attractions. Attractions when the park opened included: The Great Movie Ride, SuperStar Television and The Monster Sound Show. Annette Funicello was present on the first day as well as George Burns and Bob Hope who help but a filmstrip style ribbon to open the studios. Although MGM has departed and the park is now renamed Disney Hollywood Studios, it is a favorite with us. We especially like the late evening street party feel that we still get, especially during evening extra magic hours.

On this date in 1940, Walter Elias Disney received patent #2,201,689 for his multiplane camera. The camera allowed for depth and movement on different layers in the animated feature. The device uses up to seven layers of artwork that move at different speeds with the closest moving fastest and the layer at the greatest depth moving slowest. We love Hollywood Studios and since this is the anniversary of the opening of Hollywood Studios, head over to One Man’s Dream and check out the exhibit on the multiplane camera.

Let’s move over to Downtown Disney (soon to be Disney Springs) or the Lake Buena Vista Shopping Village, as it was known in 1977. The “Empress Lilly”, its namesake, Lillian Disney, christens the replica of a triple-decked Mississippi River boat. The boat features three restaurants and the first character meal at Walt Disney World. Today the boat is Fulton’s Crab House, so let’s go eat.


1947: The University of Oregon gains permission to use Donald Duck as its official mascot and insignia. In 1973, a formal, written contract was signed between the University and Walt Disney Productions. In 1984, Donald Duck was made an honorary alumnus of the university but in 2010 the school and Disney began to separate and distance the relationship. Go Ducks!

1844: Samuel Morse sends the first telegraph message. You can experience a version of this in Spaceship Earth at EPCOT.

1939: Batman comics hit the street. Even though he is DC, he is worthy of mention here and Batman and Superman are my favorite superheroes of all time. Go ride the Iron-Man-orail and imagine you are a superhero soaring high above Walt Disney World.

Today is Amtrak Day. Go ride the train at The Magic Kingdom.

Today is Lei Day. Go get a Dole Whip, like you need an excuse!

Remember, your best excuse is always: waiting for your dreams to come true.

Monday, April 29, 2013

April 30, 2013: Hey kids! Let's put on a show.

Our kids are putting on a show Thursday and Friday nights. The Drama Dawgs at Louisa Middle School will be performing Disney’s Aladdin, Jr. (No, I didn’t pick the musical and past musicals have included: Cinderella, Oklahoma, Once Upon A Mattress, Beauty and the Beast and The King and I.) The kids always manage to produce an entertaining evening and it is sure to be a night to remember.

On this date in1789, George Washington, standing on the balcony of Federal Hall on Wall Street in New York, takes his oath of office as the very first President of the United States. Washington chose to be the first among citizens and not a king. In fact, he set most of the precedents that those after him would follow including walking away to become a citizen again after two terms. At Disney World's Hall of Presidents, Washington is one of three A-100 model Audio-Animatronic figures - a line of the most advanced, lifelike, and expressive human figures WDI has ever built! Go see for yourself.

Al Lewis was born on this date in 1923. Lewis appeared in Disney’s live-action film, The Boatniks, as Bert but he’ll always be Grandpa: Grandpa Munster. Lewis was in scores of shows but he will always be remembered as the vampiric, mad-scientist father-in-law of Herman Munster. The Haunted Mansion has the proper environment to foster fond memories of Grandpa and the entire clan.

Cloris Leachman has a career that far exceeds my lifespan. She was the great Frau Blucher in Young Frankenstein and is currently the Great Grandmother on Raising Hope (“Best field trip ever!” If you don’t get that line, go watch “The Blue Dot” episode of Raising Hope.) Her Disney credits include: The North Avenue Irregulars, Herbie Goes Bananas, Phineas and Ferb, and The Nutt House. Get over to Hollywood Studios and hang out with Phineas and Ferb and celebrate the long and entertaining life of Cloris Leachman.

On this date in 1952, Mr. Potato Head becomes the first toy ever advertised on television. When I was a kid, Mr. Potato Head was a fun and deadly toy and no one really saw a problem with it. All those parts that Mr. Potato Head famously uses to express different emotions, all had very sharp points so they could also be used to pierce fresh fruits and vegetables allowing them to join in on the fun. In fact, most of the toys that I loved as a child were actually pretty dangerous and we survived, most of us with all body parts intact and operating. Kids just weren’t babied and pampered then like they are now. Mr. Potato Head has changed and become “safer” down through the years and, in 1995, he became a movie star in Toy Story. He is also a star at Toy Story Midway Mania at Disney Hollywood Studios. Go, ride, compete, enjoy.

We might as well make it a triple threat at DHS by adding a trip to The Tower of Terror. Kirsten Dunst of Spider-Man fame, born on this date in 1982, also starred in the TV movie Tower of Terror. So, all together, scream for Kirsten, the Twilight Zone and The Tower of Terror.


1803: The United States doubles in size with the addition of the Louisiana Purchase. Go to the Port Orleans Resort and appreciate what all we gained with that territory.

1988: The largest banana split ever, 4.55 mile long, was built in Pennsylvania. Get on down to Beaches and Cream, get a kitchen sink and feel the love that is an ice cream induced coma.

1933: Willie Nelson. The redheaded stranger has certainly changed down through the years but he has always had a distinctive sound and pure country voice. Honor Willie by getting on the road again and going to Walt Disney World.

Remember, your best excuse is always: waiting for your dreams to come true.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

April 29, 2013: I'll have a Shirley Temple.

On this date in 1957, Shirley Temple takes part in the dedication of the Sleeping Beauty Castle walk-through at Disneyland. In attendance is Walt Disney and Temple's oldest daughter Linda, son Charles, and youngest daughter Lori. Shirley Temple had previously presented Walt with an honorary Academy Award - one big Oscar & seven little ones - for Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Let’s visit our castle, Cinderella Castle, and enjoy Cinderella’s Royal Table or maybe the Bibbidi, Bobbidi Boutique.

On this date in 1813, Rubber is patented. We’ve had a bit of this discussion before; you can’t even go to Walt Disney World without rubber. Tires, belts, hoses, even attractions at the parks rely on rubber. Let’s ride Test Track at EPCOT and experience the place where the rubber meets the road (or, if you prefer, TRON Track, where the virtual rubber meets the virtual road).


1852: First edition of Roget’s Thesaurus was published. The thesaurus has helped hundreds of writers say the same old thing in a different way. Ride It’s A Small World where you hear the same song over and over in different languages and even see a bunch of ways to say good-bye at the end.

1967: Aretha Franklin releases “Respect.”  Aretha was in The Blues Brothers so hit the House of Blues and have a good time and a good meal.

Today is National Dance Day. Yesterday was our Eighth Grade Dance. Go to Walt Disney World and dance everywhere you go, there’s music so just get in the groove.

Remember, your best excuse is always: waiting for your dreams to come true.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

April 28, 2013: That Carrier is one cool guy.

On this date in 1758, James Monroe, the fifth President of the United States, was born in Virginia. Monroe has a foreign capital named for him (Monrovia), established the Monroe Doctrine to prevent old world interference in the new world, was the last of the founding fathers to become president and acquired Florida in 1819. You know about the Hall of Presidents (at The Magic Kingdom) but visiting Florida is an honor to President Monroe.

I am thirteen years older than Penelope Cruz, who was born in Madrid, Spain on this date in 1974. Cruz played Angelica in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. So let’s visit Adventureland and Pirates of the Caribbean in her honor.

God bless W. H. Carrier who patented the air conditioner on this date in 1914.  Carrier made the large, modern buildings and southern cities habitable. Every time you walk from the sweltering Florida heat into a nearly sub-zero building say a little thank you to W. H. Carrier and carry a jacket, some of those buildings are really, really cold.

When I was a kid, Ann-Margaret seemed to be on every talk show and variety show. She was Tommy’s mom, Viva Las Vegas with Elvis and even the original film version of Disney’s Newsies with a very young Christian Bale. Ann-Margaret was born in Sweden on this day in 1941. Let’s visit Norway in EPCOT; at least it’s in the neighborhood.

Jay Leno was born on this day in 1950.  Leno has a bachelor’s degree in speech therapy from Emerson College and he helps people talk every night on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Leno has about another year left on his tenure with the show and he has done a good job of defending the brand that Johnny Carson refined and defined. Unless we forget, Leno also starred as Jay Limo in Cars. Let’s honor Jay by visiting the Cars section of Art of Animation. I know I will on June 23rd.

Remember, your best excuse is always: waiting for your dreams to come true.

Friday, April 26, 2013

April 27, 2013: Zoinks!

I am really sick and I have been for the last two days. I don’t know if the salads I ate for lunch the last two days are the cause or just a coincidence but I am beginning to believe that lettuce equals death. It is 12:25 as I start writing this blog because I slept about three hours and then went to pick up Matt at tennis. I will do my best to produce a wonderful set of excuses for you today if you will agree to pray for me as I deejay the eighth grade dance at Louisa Middle School tonight. Okay? We’re all in this together.

On this day in 1822, Ulysses S. (Hiram) Grant was born in Point Pleasant, Ohio between Portsmouth, Ohio and Cincinnati. I always associate Grant with Portsmouth because a bridge there bears his name. Grant was hugely important in winning the American Civil War and he went on to serve as the eighteenth President of the United States. You know where we’re going: The Hall of Presidents at The Magic Kingdom.

I always loved Quantum Leap, which featured Scott Bakula and Dean Stockwell. There would have been no Dean Stockwell without Harry Stockwell, his father, born on this date in 1902. In 1937, Harry was the singing voice of the Prince in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Man, I miss Snow White’s Scary Adventure but soon we’ll have the Seven Dwarfs’ Mine Ride. In the meantime, let’s go to Akershus for breakfast and meet Snow White there. Hey, you can never eat at Akershus too many times.

Every Sunday afternoon of my childhood I tuned my radio to WKEE radio in Huntington, West Virginia to listen to American Top 40 with Casey Kasem. Casey was counting them down and sending those long distance dedications. Not only that but Casey was also the voice of Shaggy on Scooby Doo and the voice of Robin on the Superfriends. In 1969, he did a set of commercials promoting the debut of The Haunted Mansion at Disneyland. Let’s go ride The Haunted Mansion and keep reaching for the stars.

Remember, your best excuse is always: waiting for your dreams to come true.