17 May 2010

The secrets, stories, and magic

For several years Disney enthusiasts stranded at home, far away from the gates of Walt Disney World, have used the Walt Disney World and Disney Parks Vacation Planning videos and DVDs, as well as television specials like Travel Channel’s Season of Disney, to live the trips vicariously. Among the faithful of the vacation planning DVDs, enthusiasts have been clamoring for a Blu-ray version of these encapsulated trips to help chase away the post-vacation blues. For this group seeking a high definition trip through the worlds of Walt Disney, an answer has finally arrived in the Disney Parks series of DVDs and Blu-rays.

The offerings from Disney Parks, Questar, and Lightship Entertainment include a 6-DVD set (featuring Walt Disney World: Behind the Scenes, Disneyland Resort: Behind the Scenes, Ultimate Walt Disney World, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Disney Cruise Line, and Undiscovered Disney Parks), a single DVD (showcasing the Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resort Behind the Scenes segments), and a Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy Combo Pack (presenting Disneyland Resort: Behind the Scenes, Undiscovered Disney Parks, and Ultimate Walt Disney World). For this review, I receive a copy of the Disney Parks Combo Pack from Questar, so let’s explore this one set in further depth.

For those familiar with the Season of Disney specials, there are plenty of segments that you will recognize, as well as the voice of narrator Alex Pels. Many of us have waited anxiously for the next time these specials will appear on Travel Channel or have them stored on our iPods and computers from iTunes downloads. While cheaper in price from iTunes, the length, visual depth, and updated information of the impressive Disney Parks Blu-ray set are cause to pause and consider adding the set to your collection.

The set includes something for every fan, coast-to-coast. As one segment focuses of Disneyland, a second on Walt Disney World, and a third that features a little bit of both. While the Undiscovered Disney Parks runs right around the typical television program content length, forty-four minutes, the portions dedicated to each specific resort add several more minutes to their duration, topping out at just under fifty-two minutes. In addition to the full features there are nine short extras that examine a few specific attractions, such as King Arthur Carrousel, to features reminiscent of the vacation planning DVDs, like travel tips and a tour of the resorts.

Across the segments there is plenty of information for both new Disney guests, veterans, and the nitpickers looking for a single piece of information they didn’t know. For everyone, the sections include information that is as up to date as one could hope. While Walt Disney World’s Space Mountain refurbishment isn’t touched upon, the Sleeping Beauty Walt Through, Pixie Hollow, and California Adventure revitalization (a section that contains a glimpse into Disney’s World of Color testing) are all discussed, as are the new accommodations at Bay Lake Tower and the Treehouse Villas. With interviews from perennial Disney names, Joe Rohde, Richard Sherman, and Toyn Baxter to name a few, and film from openings, Walt Disney World’s Tencennial, and even construction, the Disney Parks set even includes something for the armchair Disney historians.

Dedicated guests who want a vibrant view of the parks will love this new set, while those content to wait and watch the specials on the Travel Channel may not see any real reason to pick up the set. However, with a set built around footage of ride-throughs not typically seen in these types of records, that features the portability of DVD and digital copies, and the remarkable amount of detail able to be gleamed from taking advantage of the Blu-ray technology makes the Disney Parks Blu-ray Combo Pack an instant classic for theme park enthusiasts.

No comments: