MouseTrapped 2010 is the story of the workers that make the Magic and their struggles in these tough economic times…a backstage look at what Pixie Dust is really made of.
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Walt & El Grupo is finally on DVD and this is every Disney geek’s dream film.
Directed by Theodore Thomas, this film is an important look at a singular year and event which defined a Studio, a man, his artists and the direction of the company. Frank Thomas, one of Disney’s Nine Old Men and an artist on the trip was Theodore’s father. Theodore also directed the wonderful film Frank & Ollie about his dad and fellow animator Ollie Johnston.
In 1941, Walt was reeling from the Animator’s Strike. He had just opened his new Studio in Burbank, found his European funds cut off from the war and he needed to downsize the staff. The US Government had created a new department, the Office of Coordinator of Inter American Affairs (CIAA) in order to strengthen relationships between the United States and their neighbors in South America. Oil Magnate Nelson Rockefeller was in charge of the CIAA and used the offices for two main purposes: to foster goodwill with South American countries through ambassadors and goodwill trips; to keep an eye on foreign investments (oil and hotels).
Walt was given a $70,000 grant by the government for the goodwill tour, but he knew there would be long term fiscal rewards for befriending the populace in South America. It was also a tactical ploy by FDR to try to remove Walt from the situation to lessen the stress of the animators’ strike. While Walt, his wife and 16 key Disney animators were on the goodwill tour, Walt’s wife, Lillian remarked that Walt was treated more like royalty than anything else. Children and grown-ups alike heralded the creator of Mickey Mouse (El Ratón Mickey). During the South American tour, the US Labor Department Conciliation Service was able to settle the strike.
|Walt Disney and Chazarreta troupe|
Walt & El Grupo is a wonderful look at the South American trip and the events surrounding it. Arguably, one of the most stunning aspects of the movie is how the photographs and artwork come to life on the screen. Since most of the raw material were from photographs and 16mm footage, the filmmakers created photographic images that move and come to life.
Similarly, it is fascinating to see Walt Disney through these images and film clips. Since Walt’s passing, he has attained a rather mythic status; it is wonderful to see how much of a superstar Walt was and how he affected people all over the world. You also catch rare glimpses of his lovely wife, Lillian, and how they interacted.
Part of the charm of the film is seen through the eyes of the individuals that were fortunate enough to have met Walt, through family members or media events. You can still see, 70 years later, how enamored they were of Walt and El Grupo. At first, it seems rather mundane to interview the journalists and people that were brought in as live models, but it helps to paint a larger picture of the trip and its effect. In all there are multiple stories weaved into this film: the political climate, the creation of the films, the goodwill tour and the experiences of the animators involved. The filmmakers visit the places made famous by El Grupo’s visit and offer comparisons to the modern day cityscape and areas.
The bonus features are not as extensive as I would have liked, but the film covers so much ground that there could not have been much left over! One of the interesting inclusions is the full 1942 theatrical release of Saludos Amigos, which had been edited, previously, to remove images of Goofy smoking.
In all, this is a mesmerizing glimpse into working with Walt and his artists during 1941. Each artist is spotlighted during the film, including their contributions to the films and the Studios. Expert insight is provided by animation historians John Canemaker and J.B. Kaufman. Canemaker wrote the seminal work on Disney’s Nine Old Men. Kaufman is the author of South of the Border With Disney: Walt Disney and the Good Neighbor Program, 1941-1948. Walt and Lilly’s daughter, Diane Disney Miller makes several appearances in the film as well to provide a more familial take on the trip. Diane rarely grants interviews and it was nice to see her talk about her parents and that time period.
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Maximizing attraction time while minimizing wait time at the Magic Kingdom is almost like setting up the Perfect Storm. If you do certain things and do not do other things you may be surprised at the result.
First, the do not’s:
- In general, do not go to the Magic Kingdom (MK) on weekend days. Most visitors arrive at Walt Disney World on Friday or Saturday sometime late in the day. This makes Saturday or Sunday their first full day in the parks and most people head to the MK on their first full day to kick off the magic. Also remember that the local residents also visit on weekends.
- Unless you are a huge fan of evening Extra Magic Hours (EMH) do not go to the MK on a day they are having them. It is far better to go to the MK the day after an evening EMH day, the crowds will be smaller.
- After you get to the end of Main Street USA do not follow the crowd as they head to the right for Space Mountain, Buzz Lightyear and the rest of Tomorrowland. Left to Adventureland is better.
Now for the do’s:
- Do go early. Be there at rope drop even if you go when there is an A.M. EMH. Earlier is always better because when people vacation they like to sleep in a little bit and have a leisurely breakfast. You will be amazed at how much you can accomplish while the masses are finishing their morning coffee.
- Do go left. Resist the temptation to head for Space Mountain. Instead head for the Jungle Cruise. In my experience you can hit the Jungle Cruise, Pirates of the Caribbean, Splash Mountain, and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad in less than 90 minutes. Walk Ons are always worth it!!
- From this point on, there are going to be a few more people around but if you head for the Haunted Mansion directly after Big Thunder you should only have a short wait.
- After you leave the Haunted Mansion you can pretty much pick up some of the less popular attractions or head towards Fantasyland. One thing you will notice is that as you are heading into Fantasyland the majority of folks are headed in the opposite direction to stand in line for the attractions you walked on earlier. You will also notice that as you head into Tomorrowland the crowds are not quite so bad. You may not walk on but your waits will be shorter.
Of course these ideas are not 100% but in general they have worked very well for us over the years. I have said in the past that I don’t use formal touring plans but I guess if you look closely, this is a touring plan that takes into accoumt more than where to go in the Magic Kingdom but also when to visit the park. Good Luck, and as always, enjoy your visit to Walt Disney World!!
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Recently I’ve become a total Twitter monster. I can’t stop tweeting, and I can’t stop reading other people’s tweets. It’s fun to see what strangers are thinking! (Such as the “What the…?” tweets floating around about the World Cup being hosted in Qatar for 2022.)
Not all of the profiles on Twitter are random strangers or business trying to gain more followers as well as inform the public about their company’s latest news. Some Disney fans have created Twitter profiles to represent figures in the park, or to spread around some Disney love with trivia and quotes. Be sure to follow these profiles.
A few times a day, @Disney_Tweets posts little bits of Disney trivia and quotes from Walt Disney.
@MurphyTracker and @MurphyTDragon
While there may be two profiles representing our favorite Fantasmic! dragon, each is different. It’s like having both sides of Murphy’s brain on Twitter.
The beloved yeti from the Matterhorn won’t eat you; instead he’s taking time to tweet about your hat that just flew off.
They tweet quotes from Disney movies and tv shows. I love retweeting some of these.
It’s exactly what it sounds like — the seagulls from the buoy where theattraction is. Mine! Mine!
You can follow your favorite Innoventions host!
Yep, it’s true. You can read what the most wanted wench from the Pirates of the Caribbean ride has to say. (She says lots about @HaroldSnowman.)
There are lots more profiles like these out there, you’ve just got to find them! (A lot of them follow each other, so it’s really not THAT difficult to find them.)
Also, remember that Chip and Co. has a Twitter! You can follow us at @chipandcompany.
Some of our writers have personal Twitter accounts. You can follow me at @ocswaynee; Ken at @kenwdw; Lisa at @DisneyExplorer; Nancy at @affordablemouse; and Mike at @mikeellis2000; Chris is @chrisw889; and George (from 2 Lonely Deeks) at @biblioadonis.
Photo Courtesy of @MurphyTracker’s Twitter.
My sister-in-law Nancy and I are collaborating on a project. In June, we’ll be taking our families to Disney’s Bay Lake Tower resort for a family vacation – as documented in “Planning the Multi-Generational Family Vacation”. Since we have nine people in our reservation party, part of the conspiring that Nancy and I are doing is to take our spouses out for an adult dinner – sans children.
We do have some prerequisites that we need to take in consideration. For starters, neither one of us want to take our spouses to a place that the kids would love, and leave us thinking all night about what fun they would be having. Second, both of us want to enjoy dinner, as well as some after dinner entertainment. The entertainment doesn’t have to be a show, necessarily, nor does it even have to cost us anything, we just want to do something else after we eat. And third, we want to choose a location that we will remember for a long time, because it will likely be a while before this opportunity presents itself again!
Nancy and I have been looking at many restaurants around the Disney World complex, everything from Le Cellier in Canada’s Pavilion, to Boma at Animal Kingdom Lodge, even The Wave at the Contemporary Resort and Coral Reef over at The Seas at Epcot. I have never eaten at any of these restaurants, so I don’t have any idea how good the food is. In our discussion, we appear to have narrowed it down to two choices, Boma and Le Cellier.
We have heard that Boma, with it’s location at Animal Kingdom Lodge, allows the visitors if they plan it correctly to view animal feedings, and to see the sunset from the terrace. Is this true? I have never been to Animal Kingdom Lodge before.
Additionally, I was thinking that if we ate at Le Cellier, we could then go through the International Gateway and walk or taxi over to the Boardwalk for some after dinner entertainment.
In the end, we haven’t come to the decision yet on where to take our spouses to dinner, but one thing that we have agreed on is this: No matter where we take them, we are certain that we will all have a wonderful time together, and the food – no matter what the cuisine – will taste fabulous.
Do any of you have suggestions as to where you would go, or if you like, feel free to post your own stories on the forums about memorable dining experiences you have had at Walt Disney World!
Mike is a Disney Fanatic that enjoys writing for Chip & Company and his own blog “My Dreams of Disney”. You can follow Chip and Company on Twitter!and