Pictures and comments by Brad Chowen from the parks.
Cartoon Reviews, Attraction and Restaurant Reviews from Disneyland, Disneyworld and just generally everything Disney
My Disney Facebook page is here
Disney's Hollywood Studios announced a new Christmas Spectacle called "Jingle Bell, Jingle Bam" Which will feature music, Projection technology and fireworks and will incorporate Disney Christmas themed films.
Dr. Strange is set to open on November 4th.
If you are at the Disney Theme Parks you can catch a sneak peek of this Strange Marvel film and see Dr. Strange's costume in DCA.
Pete's Dragon flies onto DVD on November 29th. Can't wait to finally see this film which got great reviews.
The Lost Ark from Raiders of the Lost Ark is currently on display at the Great Movie Ride in Orlando.
For those in the California ---There is currently an exhibit at the California Science Center featuring the Science Behind Pixar.
I totally have mixed feelings about the DCA Tower of
Terror getting changed. I’ll start off
by saying that the Tower of Terror is one of my favorite rides in the Disney
Parks.I once meet a group of people on
Friday the 13th to ride the Ride 13 times on Friday the 13th.So I obviously love the attraction.
1. Nostalgia factor: Negative
Every time Disneyland announces that they are going to
replace an old Attraction the Disney Community goes a crazy.It doesn’t matter what that attraction is or
whether they even go on it anymore.I
watched a month ago people getting all upset about the old Skyway building
getting torn down for Star Wars Land.People were seriously upset about an abandoned building that hasn’t been
used for anything in over a decade being taken away.The first thing Disney fans will say is that
Walt would have never done that or gotten rid of that attraction.Then within minutes someone will respond back
with the Walt Disney quote about how Disneyland will never be finished.The battle will then go back in forth for
hours.My thoughts on this is generally
in the camp of “If it isn’t broken –don’t fix it”.
That being said I love that they occasionally update Pirates and the
Haunted Mansion with cool new effects---but I would never want to see them
replaced.Unlike Disneyworld where they
pretty much have a ton of space, the Disneyland Resort has limited space.When they want to do something new and
exciting they generally have to remove something.This is unfortunate, but just a matter of
fact.They pretty much expanded into the
remaining space they had with Carsland. The Twilight Zone is one of my favorite TV shows.The Tower of Terror fits perfectly into the
theme of Hollywood Blvd and the feel of the Buena Vista Street area.The ride is still popular and as far as I’m
concerned it is a nearly perfect attraction.I would prefer that they don’t touch it.I will miss it when it is gone.I love the Tower of Terror so much that I wrote about a concept for a
Tower of Terror bar earlier this year.
This idea coincidentally spread as an actual rumor for
something going into the park about 3 weeks later.I was
excited that my idea may actually have been shared by Imagineering, but the
rumor turned out to be false. Then
this rumor popped up and I thought there was no way that it could be true.
I would love to see a Guardians of the Galaxy ride---just
not at the expense of the Tower of Terror.
2. The Balancing
The new ride itself looks awesome.Guardians of the Galaxy was a great
film.I had no idea what Guardians of
the Galaxy was before I saw the amazing 4-D trailer in the old Captain EO theater.I blew me away and I’m excited to see
something done with the property.The
Official announcement via Video from Joe Rhode makes the new ride look
absolutely amazing.If the announced
this ride on its own without redoing the Tower of Terror I would be
immediately on board.The thought of
walking through the Collector’s collection before going on a ride with Rocket
the Raccoon sounds awesome.We could even
get some of the amazing soundtrack from the movie as well.Again this ride sounds great and I’m sure I
will absolutely love it.But the ride
itself will basically be the same ride with just a visual makeover.So although I’m excited for it –I’m not sure
that excite is enough to overcome the sense of loss for the Tower of
Terror.I will mourn the loss of the
Tower of Terror at first and will probably get used to the great new ride.Again I wish they could just build a
Guardians ride without touching the Tower---but the fact that the Twilight Zone
will remain in Orlando for now makes it hurt (just a little) less. Here is a look at why Tower of Terror will be so exciting
3. Is DCA heading
into a Dangerous area with this change? Worried
I’ve established that I will miss the Twilight Zone
version of the Tower.
I’ve established that I will probably love and enjoy the
new Guardians Version.
My main concern about this change of the ride is the loss
Disneyland is the perfect theme park design with main
street leading to the hub that then branches off into perfectly themed
lands.DCA was originally setup in a similar
way with themed areas representing different areas of California.Many may say that this theme was flawed from
the start.The executives have slowly transformed
DCA over the years moving away from that theme with the additions of A Bug’s
Land and Carsland and Monsters Inc. Then Disney rethemed the entire entrance
into Buena Vista street and combined the Soaring area and Grizzly Peak into one
land.It seemed like they were moving
the park back to the California theme.My concern with this change to the Tower of Tower, which is based on a
building in Hollywood will start to create a feeling of a less themed
park.I’m sure the Disney Imagineers
will put some thought into this and unlike the Tower in Orlando –our tower is basically
hidden behind Hollywood street –so it will be a less abrupt transition, but I
just don’t want DCA to turn into Universal Studios.At Universal Studios you used to walk around
and see attractions like the Terminator 3-D right next to a London themed street and Back to the Future next to Conan the Barbarian. It was just a mess with no theme at all and
despite being a fun park it didn’t immerse you in an experience the way a
Carsland or Adventureland does.I don’t
want Disney to lose their ability to immerse you in a Land.I’m confident that they are going to find a
way to do that with Star Wars Land.But I fear DCA move further away from that with this change.
When we took our family trip to Disneyworld last year, the
one thing we missed out on was getting to visit Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto.Unfortunately it wasn’t opening for a few
more weeks.Our trip was planned around
my stepdaughter’s Cheer Competition otherwise I would have planned the trip around
the opening of Trader Sam’s.I was
hoping that it would be soft opened---but no such luck.
I really wanted to go there in order to get the Trader Sam’s
Hawaiian shirt and the cool Grog Grotto T-Shirt. Luckily I didn’t have
to wait to get back to Orlando.The
main store at the Disneyland Hotel is now carrying both shirts.(Actually they have been carrying them for
awhile now—they are just often out of stock).
So for Tiki and Trader Sam’s fans.The next time you head over to Trader Sam’s
for a Tiki Cocktail stop over at the shop near the Hotel Lobby and grab a bit
I’m a huge Star Wars fan.I’ve seen all the movies.I’ve
watched the Ewok specials.I’ve seen
every episode of the Clone Wars and Rebels and read about 100 Star Wars books.I waited all week for the Rogue One Trailer
and watched it at least 7 times the night it came out.I personally can’t wait for the movie so as
far as Disney is concerned they have this Star Wars fan wrapped around their
The problem Disney faces with Rogue One is the casual
Star Wars fan.The marketing for a Rogue
One is a challenge for Disney.This
movie has no recognizable characters from previous Star Wars films with the
exception of Vader.As I sat mouth a
gape in front of my big screen TV during the Olympic coverage as the Rogue One trailer
rolled across the screen my wife turned to me about one minute in and said “Are
there any characters we know in this movie?”And that is the problem.The
diehard fans like me get that this movie takes place right beforeA New Hope.The average casual fan that showed up to see Han Solo in the Force
Awakens remains confused.As much as
Disney will try to get the message out as to what this movie is about and when
it takes place in the Star Wars Timeline---there are going to be people that
show up to the theater and wonder ……”Where is Luke?”“BB-8 isn’t in the movie?”Despite the ads people are going to think
this is Episode 8.People are going to
ask “ I thought Vader died?”How is
Disney going to solve this problem?How
will they get the message out to the average fan and how will that effect the box
office for the film?Disney can’t expect this film to even come
close to what The Force Awakens did.The
Force Awakens marketed itself. It was the right movie at the right time. I assume Disney will expect Rogue One to be more like a Thor or Antman at the box office movie when compared to The Avengers, but what if they mistakenly think this will be just as big? Personally I think the are doing a good job of explaining what this movie is.....But is that enough for the average viewer to get it?
The latest Mickey Mouse cartoon is a throwback to the old school Goofy Sports cartoons that I love so much. Mickey is the announcer of a basketball game that tries to give a bunch of Goofy's a lesson in good sportmanship. The cartoon goes on to show a bunch of different sporting events through out history that demonstrates both good and bad sports behavior. It is a nice homage to the old Goofy cartoons with several good gags, but never fully reaches the excellence of those original cartoons. The best gag in the cartoon is the Football Goofy's touchdown celebration,
The cartoon can be found on the Disney Channel or Disney Online.
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The long awaited sequel to Finding Nemo (Finding
Dory) just came out and swam it’s way to box office records.It now stands as the number one animated movie
all-time at the domestic US Box Office.
It only makes sense that the Turtle Talk with Crush show
in the Disney Animation building in DCA would get an upgrade.And that is exactly what happened.
\ Starting with a new waiting area that teaches
you about some of the characters in the new film.
The structure of the show remains basically the same. If you have never experienced Turtle Talk with Crush it is basically an interactive conversation with Crush from Finding Nemo and Finding Dory. Using innovative technology Disney has made it possible for you to actually talk and interact with a cartoon. Your little ones will love it as they can ask Crush questions and he will respond back. Every viewing has the chance to be slightly different depending on the audience.
The updated version of the show features cameos from several characters from the smash hit sequel including Dory herself.
You can also expect to see Hank (if you are paying attention). Squirt, Bailey the Beluga Whale and Marlin.
Professor Von Drake is back in the latest Mickey Mouse Cartoon and he does an experiment to try and take the anger out of Donald Duck. Of course the experiment goes wrong creating two Donalds. One Donald is a super nice huggy Donald that seems like he took some strong medication. The other is basically a Hulk version of Donald. Donald Smash! Chaos happens and it is delightful. The two sides of Donald make for make for an entertaining effort in the cartoon series. The cartoons can be found on the Disney Channel or Disney Online
In the latest Minnie Mouse Cartoon we go deep into the subject of discrimination. Minnie and the gals have reservations for a fancy Space Needle Restaurant. This is a high class joint and apparently Daisy, Minnie and Clara Belle aren't welcome. Deep stuff for a Minnie Mouse cartoon. The Maitre D takes on look at the gals and their simple farm style outfits and completely ignores the fact that Minnie actually does have reservation. The gals spend the rest of the cartoon trying to sneak into the restaurant which leads to some silly and weird moments including Clara Belle being stuck in the roof and spraying milk all over the customers. It was an okay cartoon with several gags, but not one of the better of the series. If one looks deep enough into the plot it has a stronger message about class struggle and could represent revolution of the struggling masses against the elitist rich.
The cartoon can be found on the Disney Channel and Disney Online.
When they first announced that they would be doing a
remake of Pete’s Dragon I was excited.I’m
generally not a fan of remakes –except for when they have a chance to really
improve on the originals.I don’t think
classics should be remade. When Hollywood remakes Classic movies they general
fail.You end up walking out of the
movie thinking “I should have just watched the original”. This was the case with Psycho and Halloween.I would never want to see a remake to one of
my favorite movies like Raiders of the Lost Ark or Ghostbusters ( yeah I
know),but something like Pete’s Dragon
is perfect to remake.It is the kind of
movie that makes you wonder what they could do with it with today’s technology.
The original Pete’s Dragon from 1977 was a fun, silly
live action/Animated musical with a 2-D animated Dragon.The story is basically Mary Poppins with a
Dragon instead of a nanny.
Remake brings the Dragon into the modern era of CGI.Gone are the songs and instead we get a great
cast of quality actors and an amazing looking CGI Dragon.
When the original Teaser Trailer dropped---I was lukewarm
on the remake.It was such a short
teaser that I couldn’t imagine how the movie would turn out.It looked like a young Tarzan boy story.Instead of being excited about the film I
thought“Maybe they screwed it up”.
As the summer went on long more trailers begin to appear that
make it look like a more magical worthy of a remake film.I was starting to get a little excited again
and I started looking forward to the Disneyland Parks sneak peek that would
begin airing in July.
The sneak peek has now turned this into a must see
movie.Like previous sneak peeks with
the exception of Alice Through the Looking Glass (which fell as flat as the
movie)this sneak peek only enhanced my
wanting to see the film.My original
concerns about the plot are now gone.Robert Redford will be amazing.Elliot the Dragon looks like the perfect mix of Dragon with a touch of
the old animated version.It would have
been a bad idea to make a traditional Dragon---they stayed true to the original
Elliot in their updated design.The
sneak peek has a great scene with Elliot flying around with Pete that was epic
in the 4-D theater.The movie looks
like a fun and touching action packed version of the original.ET with a Dragon.I’m
now confident that I’ll love the film. I wouldn’t even want to guess how it will do at the box office
however.I was shocked at how much
money The Jungle Book Live Action film made…..yet the Alice sequel to a billion
dollar original film bombed and BFG died despite supposedly being good.Will people show up in droves to this new
It was a Star Wars filled couple of week. Here are 5 cool Star Wars things that have dropped in the last couple of weeks.
Wars Land concept artwork is now up on the fences where Big Thunder Ranch used
to be. Here is a photo of that artwork.
Here is a photo of Star Wars Land itself –I
took from the Parking lot during a recent trip to the park
Thrawn is Back: Grand
Admiral Thrawn makes his return to the Star Wars Universe and is canon once
again. Announced during the Rebels panel at Star
Wars Celebration Europe and seen in the trailer for Rebels Season 3.Thrawn was featured in the book series by
Timothy Zahn that keep Star Wars alive for fans after Return of the Jedi.A fan favorite that many fans of the EU were
upset about when Disney bought Star Wars and rebooted the Book Universe.Now he is back as a character in Rebels and the
crowd at Celebration went crazy over the news.
Here is the Trailer for Season 3 that also brings Wedge into the series.
3. Did I mention Thrawn is back: If you weren’t already excited enough about
Thrawn being back in Rebels---he is also coming back in a book written by
Timothy Zahn as well. So excited to Zahn will do with him in the new canon.
4.New Rogue One Footage: Another thing coming out of Star Wars
Celebration was a new behind the scenes featurette.
A 3 minute long behind the scenes glimpse at the movie that revealed some new creatures and a few action shots.
Han Solo is finally officially announced.We all new this news already –but now it is official.
Alden Ehrenreich will be the dude with the Wookie co-pilot.
Here is the Disney Facebook page. Give it a follow.
It took 13 years for a sequel for Finding Nemo to get made.Finding Dory hit the box office waters at just the right time.In about a month at the US box office it has already made over 445 Million dollars at the box office and is already the number 1 Animated Movie of All time at the Domestic box office.It is the biggest US release of the year passing Captain America: Civil War.The sequel's story is derivative of the original film in that it involves a search for family.This time around however Dory the blue fish with short term memory loss actually starts to remember her family which kick starts an adventure to find them.It is covering familiar ground –but the addition of new characters and a new setting keeps things fresh.
The setting of the original was the Great Barrier Reef.This time around we get to visit the Californian coastline (I know these little fish taking the EAC with the Sea Turtles all the way across the ocean is ridiculous just go with it) and the Monterey Marine Park.The setting is terrific.The Marine Park gives the film a bunch of great environments to play around in.The scene where the Ocean Seas exhibit is revealed is a stunning piece of animation.The film looks gorgeous.
Dory with the help of an Octopus named Hank tries to remember where exactly she is from in search of her parents.Meanwhile Marlin and Nemo are trying to find her after she is taken to the aquarium by some humans.The story –just like in Finding Nemo is about family and the willingness to do anything for family.Dory faces challenges in order to find her long lost folks.Marlin and Nemo risk their lives to make sure Dory is okay –because they consider her family.Finding Dory is an action packed fun adventure that has funny moments and sentimental moments that the entire family will enjoy.
The returning characters are great of course.I was a big fan of the original film Finding Nemo.It is one of my favorite Pixar films.The chemistry between Albert Brooks as Marlin and Ellen as Dory was excellent in the original film.This movie is all about Dory and her character is once again great.Baby Dory has to be one of the cutest characters ever.Crush one of my favorite characters had a small scene –but was excellent again as well (check out Turtle Talk with Crush at the Disney parks for more of Crush). The introduction of Hank the Octopus (voiced by Ed O’Neill) was also terrific.Some other new characters that add a new flare to the adventure include a couple of Seal Lions and a Whale Shark and Beluga Whale.
The visuals were absolutely incredible.Pixar somehow always finds a new way to step up its game and again they absolutely knocked it out of the park again.
In Summary:If you liked Finding Nemo then you will like Finding Dory.It is more of the same and it has been long enough, just that like the Force Awakens where although it touched on similar themes.
If you are visiting the Animal Kingdom the Festival Lion King show is a must see show. I was excited to share this gem with my family on our last visit to the park and everyone was impressed.
The show features a mixture of music, dance, an animatronic puppetry (see the giant Elephant above)
The costumes are colorful and the fun vibe in the theater is contagious.
It is like the Lion King parade that they used to have in Disneyland if it took place inside a theater.
Among the entertainment was a cool fire knife dance.
The songs from the Lion King are incredible and the singers in the show are great.
In addition to the singing there are the Tumble Monkeys which gives the show an acrobatic flare.
Here are the Tumble Monkeys ---goofing off with Timon.
The Finale includes a combination of all the songs and a flying bird acrobat swinging around the stage. What makes the show a must see is the music from this classic animated feature. It makes the show feel timeless.
Definitely check it out when you go to the Animal Kingdom
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