Monday, November 29, 2010

Disney Undiscovered - Never Built Attractions

Q: In the 23-month calendar given as a membership gift ["Disney Undiscovered"], there are many wonderful never built attractions. But, the one that surprises me the most is that an updated Matterhorn was never built in the World Showcase in Walt Disney World along with the rest of the Switzerland pavilion. Why is this? I feel it would've added more thrill and appeal to young people for World Showcase and Epcot all together as well as drawing more people who were in love with Disneyland.
Amy, Katy, Texas

A [Dave Smith]: There were preliminary plans for many different countries to be added to World Showcase but for a number of reasons we ended up with the 11 countries that we have there today. There is some additional space available, so perhaps other countries might be added later. When World Showcase was planned, the designers were hesitant about adding anything from another Disney park; they wanted Epcot to be unique.

[Marcio Disney]

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Visitors Center at Walt Disney World

Q: Where was the Visitors Center located for Walt Disney World prior to opening? I remember visiting the center with my grandparents probably 1969-70.
Rick, Richland Center, Wisconsin

A [David Smith]: The Walt Disney World Preview Center was open from January 10, 1970, to September 30, 1971, in Lake Buena Vista, just off I-4 and Highway 535. The building is still there; it is now the national headquarters for the Amateur Athletic Union. The street on which it is located was originally named Preview Blvd., then later became Hotel Plaza Blvd.

[Marcio Disney]

The Walt Disney World Preview Center (at one time located near the intersection of Interstate 4 and State Road 535) became the first building on WDW property to open to the public in 1970.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Bloodhound Pluto

Q: My husband and I have always wanted to know what kind of dog Pluto is. My husband says he is a poodle but I say some kind of retriever. We recently visited Walt Disney World in Florida and asked the person who works with the characters at Chef Mickey in the Contemporary Resort and he didn't know. We asked several cast members around the Magic Kingdom and they didn't know either. Can you help?
Michelle, Hialeah, Florida

A [Dave Smith]: Pluto was never meant to be any particular breed, or in other words, he is a lovable mutt. (In one of his first appearances, he was a bloodhound.)

[Marcio Disney]

Pluto (formerly known as Pluto the Pup) is an animated cartoon character made famous in a series of Disney short cartoons. He has most frequently appeared as Mickey Mouse's pet dog. He also had an independent starring role in 48 Disney shorts in the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s. Pluto is unusual for a Disney character in that he is not anthropomorphized beyond showing an unusually broad range of facial expressions or use of his front paws at key points; he is actually represented as a normal dog (unlike Goofy who is an anthropomorphic dog).

N a m i n g

The pup first appeared in Walt Disney's short The Chain Gang, released in the USA on August 18, 1930. However, the dog had no name. In the next appearance on October 23, 1930, in The Picnic[the dog is named not Pluto, but Rover. It was in The Moose Hunt, released on May 8, 1931, that the dog is called Pluto the Pup, the studio's original name. A September 1931 model sheet for the character with that name is illustrated in Barrier's Hollywood Cartoons.

Several months had passed between the naming of what was believed to have been the ninth planet, Pluto, on March 24, 1930, and the attachment of that name to the dog character. Venetia Burney (later Venetia Phair), who as an eleven-year-old schoolgirl had suggested the name Pluto for the planet, remarked in 2006: “The name had nothing to do with the Disney cartoon. Mickey Mouse's dog was named after the planet, not the other way around.”

Although it has been claimed that the Disney studio named the dog after the planet (rather than after the mythical god of the underworld), this has not been verified. Disney animator Ben Sharpsteen has said: "We thought the name [Rover] was too common, so we had to look for something else. [...] We changed it to Pluto the Pup, [...] but I don't honestly remember why."

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Silent Version of Plane Crazy & Steamboat Willie Premier

Q: We were always under the impression that Steamboat Willie was the third Mickey Mouse cartoon to be produced, but the first one released, on November 18th, 1928. However, a few websites note Plane Crazy as being released on May 15, 1928, six months before Steamboat Willie. Was this a true release date or perhaps just a private viewing for distributors?
Joseph and Chrissy, Modesto, California

A [Dave Smith]: The May 15th date was a preview of the silent version of Plane Crazy in Los Angeles; the film did not have its official release until after sound was added. It opened at the Mark Strand Theatre in New York on March 17, 1929, four months after Steamboat Willie premiered.

[Marcio Disney]

The boat has no name in the cartoon an it docks at Podunk Landing. Nowadays, everybody calls the boat, Steamboat Willie. Actually Willie is Mickey's character in the cartoon and he's known as Steamboat Willie just because he works on a steamboat!

Nowadays, you can see the "Steamboat Willie" boat at the AMAZING Fantasmic Finale at Disney's Hollywood Studios.

Here you can Watch this amazing short! I really love it :)

Friday, November 19, 2010

Mr. Dawes, Sr. in Mary Poppins

Q: I've always wondered why Dick Van Dyke played Mr. Dawes, Sr. in Mary Poppins. I understand why in films like The Wizard of Oz, for instance, Margaret Hamilton played the Wicked Witch and Miss Gulch, or Christopher Reeve played Clark Kent and Superman — it's integral/connected to the stories. But I've never been able to figure out the meaning of the dual Van Dyke roles.
Steve, Rochester Hills, Michigan

A [Dave Smith]: Supposedly, Dick Van Dyke very much wanted to play Mr. Dawes, Sr. and even prepared a screen test to show Walt Disney that he could believably portray the old man.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Flamingo Crossings - The Next 10 years at Disney

Q: I just returned from Walt Disney World. During our trip, the staff at our time share shared with us that a new park is currently under development and will be called Flamingo Cove. As a D23 Member and subscriber to the Disney Parks Blog, I have not heard or seen anything about this new park. Although this might not be a true "archive" type question, I was hoping you could give some insight as to what the theme of this park is going to be and when it is expected to open.
Lindsay, Indianapolis, Indiana

A [Dave Smith]: It is Flamingo Crossings, and it is not a theme park but rather a lodging and shopping district planned on the Walt Disney World property near State Road 429 and Western Way. The development is planned to be built in phases over 8-10 years, and, according to the announcement, it will feature value-oriented hotels and motels, along with fast-food and casual dining restaurants, and shops offering wares such as groceries, toiletries, and basic clothing.

[Marcio Disney]

Perfecting Paradise – A Magical Makeover for Castaway Cay (summer 2010) – Castaway Cay, Disney’s private island paradise in the tropical waters of the Bahamas, is getting an extra dose of pixie dust. Enhancements include an expanded family beach, a floating water platform featuring two twisting water slides, two fresh-water play areas for guests to cool off, a new teen retreat and 20 new private rental cabanas offering the ultimate in beachside luxury.  

The additional island amenities are scheduled to be complete by summer 2010, in time for special five-night cruises aboard the Disney Wonder with two stops at Castaway Cay, and the Disney Dream cruise ship which starts sailing in early 2011. 

New Sailings for Disney Magic and Disney Wonder (2010-2011) – In 2010, the Disney Magic will sail to Europe for an unprecedented five-month season of Northern European and Mediterranean cruises.

Book-ending the summer season of 12-night Northern European Capitals cruises, theDisney Magic will once again return to the Mediterranean for 10- and 11-night cruises, with three new ports of call.  In addition to popular ports in Italy, France and Spain, theDisney Magic will visit Tunis, in Northern Africa, the island nation of Malta, and Corsica, an island oasis off the southern coast of France.  

In the summer of 2010, the Disney Wonder will sail four- and five-night cruises to Nassau, Key West and Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay.  In the summer of 2011, the Disney Wonder will sail for the first time to Alaska, with seven-night cruises calling on Tracy Arm, Skagway, Juneau and Ketchikan.

Star Tours Attraction (2011) – A new 3-D version of the tremendously popular Star Tours attraction will debut at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in 2011. Based on the iconic Lucasfilm “Star Wars” films, the attraction will include immersive new elements that will take guests to many familiar places in the “Star Wars” galaxy.

Disney Cruise Line Expanding Its Fleet (2011, 2012) – The Walt Disney Company is expanding its successful cruise vacation business by adding two new ships, Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy, to set sail in 2011 and 2012, respectively.

Two decks taller than the existing Disney Magic and Disney Wonder, the new 1,250-passenger liners will more than double the passenger capacity for Disney Cruise Line.  Now under construction, the Disney Dream will offer new innovations, magical children’s spaces, family entertainment and immersive experiences for which Disney Cruise Line is renowned.  The Disney Dream will sail three-, four- and five-night itineraries to the Bahamas and Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay.

Disney’s Art of Animation Resort (2012) – A new resort hotel inspired by Disney animation will feature 1,120 family suites themed after “The Lion King,” “Cars” and “Finding Nemo,” and 864 themed rooms in “The Little Mermaid” wings.  Animation themes will carry throughout building exteriors and room interiors and feature larger-than-life icons from the animated films in courtyard areas.  Crowned by a 35-foot-tall model of King Triton, Disney’s Art of Animation Resort will be located next to Disney’s Pop Century Resort.

Bowling Center at Disney’s Wide World of Sports Complex – A new 100-lane bowling center at Disney’s Wide World of  Sports Complex is scheduled to open in 2012 and is anticipated to be one of the largest bowling facilities in the United States.  The United States Bowling Congress will stage 13 events there, with tournaments beginning in 2013.

Magic Kingdom Fantasyland Expansion (2013) – The largest expansion in the history of Magic Kingdom will vastly increase the size of Fantasyland. Guests will be able to:

Visit a Disney princess in her castle, cottage or chateau to share a dance with Cinderella at Dreams Come True with Cinderella; celebrate Sleeping Beauty’s 16th birthday with the Good Fairies during a Birthday Surprise for Sleeping Beauty; or join Belle in an enchanting storytelling performance during Enchanted Tales with Belle.

Dine at Be Our Guest Restaurant, one of three enchanted rooms inside the Beast’s castle.  Just outside the castle in Belle’s Village will be Gaston’s Tavern, another themed dining option.

Fly with Dumbo high above brand new circus grounds, twice the size of the existing attraction.  Dumbo’s Flying Circus will include a stylized tent where guests can enjoy midway games and other interactive family fun.

Join Ariel on her newest adventure, Under the Sea: Journey of the Little Mermaid, a ride-through attraction with melodies from the animated feature.

Shopping, Dining and Lodging District (phased construction across 8-10 years)Announced as part of a Walt Disney World expansion is a 450-acre mixed-use tourist commercial district just outside Disney’s western gateway (Western Way at Western Beltway). Early plans include 4,000-5,000 value-priced lodging units and a pedestrian-friendly dining/retail village.

Four Seasons to Anchor New Disney Luxury Resort (TBD) – Also announced as part of the Walt Disney World expansion for the next decade: a 900-acre luxury resort anchored by the prestigious Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts. The development, along the northeast border of the property, will include a luxury hotel, 18-hole championship golf course, single- and multi-family vacation homes and fractional ownership vacation homes.

Monday, November 15, 2010

"I'm No Fool" featuring Jiminy Cricket

Q: I remember while growing up watching several "I'm No Fool" themed short movies in school featuring Jiminy Cricket. How many of these movies were produced and what were their titles/themes? Thanks!
Ken, Frisco, Texas

A [Dave Smith]: There was I'm No Fool as a Pedestrian, … Having Fun, … in a Car, … in an Emergency, … in Unsafe Places, … in Water, … on Wheels, … with a Bicycle, … with Electricity, … with Fire, and … with Safety at School. Some of these titles were originally shown on the Mickey Mouse Club; others were made years later as educational films.

[Marcio Disney]

Disney Pinocchio Jiminy Cricket I'm No Fool Bicycle Pin

Click Here to see a wikipedia list of all four Jiminy Cricket educational serials that originally aired on the Mickey Mouse Club TV series.

I'm No Fool ... Cartoon List:

I'm No Fool ... as A Pedestrian Cartoon Pictures

I'm No Fool ... as A Pedestrian  (1955)  (Walt Disney Studios)

 featuring Jiminy Cricket.
There have not yet been any votes for "I'm No Fool ... as A Pedestrian".

I'm No Fool ... In A Car Cartoon Pictures

I'm No Fool ... In A Car  (1955)  (Walt Disney Studios)

 featuring Alien.
There have not yet been any votes for "I'm No Fool ... In A Car".

I'm No Fool ... In An Emergency Cartoon Pictures

I'm No Fool ... In An Emergency  (1955)  (Walt Disney Studios)

There have not yet been any votes for "I'm No Fool ... In An Emergency".

I'm No Fool ... In Unsafe Places Cartoon Pictures

I'm No Fool ... In Unsafe Places  (1955)  (Walt Disney Studios)

 featuring Jiminy Cricket, Pinocchio.
There have not yet been any votes for "I'm No Fool ... In Unsafe Places".

I'm No Fool ... In Unsafe Places II Cartoon Pictures

I'm No Fool ... In Unsafe Places II  (1955)  (Walt Disney Studios)

 featuring Alien.
There have not yet been any votes for "I'm No Fool ... In Unsafe Places II".

I'm No Fool ... On Wheels Cartoon Pictures

I'm No Fool ... On Wheels  (1955)  (Walt Disney Studios)

 featuring Pinocchio.
There have not yet been any votes for "I'm No Fool ... On Wheels".

I'm No Fool ... With A Bicycle Cartoon Pictures

I'm No Fool ... With A Bicycle  (1955)  (Walt Disney Studios)

 featuring Jiminy Cricket.
There have not yet been any votes for "I'm No Fool ... With A Bicycle".

I'm No Fool ... With Electricity Cartoon Pictures

I'm No Fool ... With Electricity  (1955)  (Walt Disney Studios)

 featuring Jiminy Cricket.
There have not yet been any votes for "I'm No Fool ... With Electricity".

I'm No Fool ... With Fire Cartoon Pictures

I'm No Fool ... With Fire  (1955)  (Walt Disney Studios)

 featuring Jiminy Cricket.
I'm No Fool ... With Fire On Video!  There have not yet been any votes for "I'm No Fool ... With Fire".

I'm No Fool ... With Safety at School Cartoon Pictures

I'm No Fool ... With Safety at School  (1955)  (Walt Disney Studios)

 featuring Jiminy Cricket, Pinocchio.
There have not yet been any votes for "I'm No Fool ... With Safety at School".

I'm No Fool... Having Fun Cartoon Pictures

I'm No Fool... Having Fun  (1955)  (Walt Disney Studios)

 featuring Jiminy Cricket.
I'm No Fool... Having Fun On Video!  There have not yet been any votes for "I'm No Fool... Having Fun".

I'm No Fool ... In Water Cartoon Pictures

I'm No Fool ... In Water  (1956)  (Walt Disney Studios)

 featuring Jiminy Cricket.
There have not yet been any votes for "I'm No Fool ... In Water".

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Where does the story of Cinderella take place?

Q: Where does the story of Cinderella take place?
Carrie, Poland, New York

A [Dave Smith]: We can assume France, since it is from a French fairy tale, but we never mention a location in our film.

[Marcio Disney]

I found this book from 1893 with 345 different stories about Cinderella

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Welcome to Pooh Corner

Q: When I was younger, I remember watching a Winnie the Pooh show. It started with telling the story of the Hundred Acre Wood and an old book opening up. It wasn't a cartoon, the characters were in costume. What was the name of this show, and when did it go off the air?
Ana, Oceanside, California

A [Dave Smith]: You are probably thinking of Welcome to Pooh Corner, with performers in costumes and masks of the Pooh characters performing in storybook settings. The process was called "advanced puppetronics." The show debuted on Disney Channel on April 18, 1983.

[Marcio Disney]

Monday, November 8, 2010

Professor Ratigan on a "Trade Parade" float

Q: There is a pin I've seen featuring Professor Ratigan on a "Trade Parade" float. Was there ever a real parade called the "Trade Parade" in a Disney park? If so, did Ratigan appear?
Linda, Yatesville, Pennsylvania

A [Dave Smith]: This pin from a set of 10 was created for a pin-trading event at the Contemporary Resort at Walt Disney World on September 22, 2001. It was not a real parade.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

U.S.S. Seacat (S.S. 399) Disney Insignia (1944)

Q: My dad served on the U.S.S. Seacat (S.S. 399) during WWll. I was wondering if out of the 1200 insignias or patch art from Disney, did they create one for this submarine?
Gary, Pleasant Hill, California

A [Dave Smith]: Yes, Disney designed an insignia for the U.S.S. Sea Cat in April 1944 at the request of the submarine's commander, R. R. McGregor. It featured a caricature of an angry-looking catfish.

[Marcio Disney]

 Rare pic of the Disney-designed insignia

USS Sea Cat (SS/AGSS-399), a Balao-class submarine, was a ship of the United States Navy named for a shortened form of sea catfish, a marine fish found off the southeastern coast of the United States.

 WW II battleflag

The USS Sea Cat had a long and distinguish career in the service to her country. Her contributions are immeasurable. She help win the war in the Pacific with three battle stars. The Sea Cat can be proud of her immense contributions in helping win the undeclared cold war with the Soviet Union.  From her North Atlantic operations and Mediterranean deployments to her role in the Cuban Missile Crisis and providing services to train her surface and air counterparts in anti-submarine warfare, she conducted herself with skill, knowledge, proficiency and always with a "Can Do" spirit.

Click Here to visit the USS Sea Cat Association

Click Here to see the chronological history of the Sea Cat movements during her service to her country or the detailed account of her history authored by CDR Robert L. Sminkey.

Click Here to read the USS Sea Cat History

Clic Here to see more USS Sea Cat pictures 

United States Submarine Veterans, Inc.: The First 40 Years [Page 157]:

View the Sea Cat (SS-399)
DANFS history entry located on the Haze Gray & Underway Web Site.

Crew Contact And Reunion Information
U.S. Navy Memorial Foundation
Fleet Reserve Association

Additional Resources and Web Sites of Interest
Guppy Submarines
Victory at Sea: Full Fathom Five 2 of 3

Monday, November 1, 2010

The Journey of Natty Gann & Race to Witch Mountain

Q: I watched the updated version of Escape to Witch Mountain, which they renamed Race to Witch Mountain, and had a question about the reporter at the beginning of this remake. Is she the same actress who played Natty Gann in The Journey of Natty Gann back in the '80s? I loved that movie and probably drove my parents crazy by watching it over and over as a child. Someone may have asked this question already, but I was just curious because the actress says something like, "This is Natalie Gann, reporting for..." and I rewound the movie to make sure that I had heard her right. Hopefully, you can clear this up for me...
Danae, Arroyo Grande, California

A [Dave Smith]: Good catch! That was indeed Meredith Salenger, who starred in The Journey of Natty Gann, in a cameo portraying "Natalie Gann" in Race to Witch Mountain 24 years later. I wonder how many Natty Gann fans noticed.

[Marcio Disney]

The Journey of Natty Gann [Trailer]

Race to Witch Mountain [First 10 minutes]

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