06 December 2012

World News Roundtable - 6 December 2012

Roundtable Contributors: Princess Fee (DF’82), Estelle Hallick (This Happy Place), Eric Hoffman (Netmongrel), Alan Mize, Jeremy Morrison (Spins The World), Melissa Sue Sorrells Galley (Mouse on the Mind), Blake Taylor (BlakeOnline.com), and yours truly.

Alan Mize

A new group of “streetmosphere” performers were announced this week to mixed reviews.  Joining the Storybook Circus area of The New Fantasyland will be The Storybook Circus Giggle Gang.  This clown trio consists of the “ringleader” named Chuckles Buffoon McMonkeyshine, III and his two sidekicks, Whinny Horselaugh and Snort.  I love the various streetmosphere characters that wander around the parks, especially the ones at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.  I also see the obvious connection between clowns and an area themed towards Dumbo and circuses.  However, I have to say that my first reaction is that I’m less than impressed with the announcement.  A lot of the negative reaction I have read seems to stem from some people’s irrational fear of clowns, but since I don’t have that fear, that isn’t my issue.  I think my concern is that when I think of clowns, I don’t think of Disney.  I think of the traveling circuses that I can catch at my local arena or the clowns you can hire for a child’s birthday party.  For me, clowns just don’t seem up to par with the level of entertainment that I have come to expect from Walt Disney World.  It’s quite possible that I could be wrong, and I honestly hope that I am.  These clowns could bring a great interactive element to that area of Fantasyland and I will reserve final judgment until I have a chance to see them in person on my next visit.  But for now, go ahead and include me with the group that wonders what Disney was thinking with this decision.

It could be worse, one of the clowns could be named Pennywise...

Estelle Hallick (This Happy Place)

Just a little bit over a year since The Muppets came to theaters, those wacky characters are still making waves. Not only will they start filming a new caper movie in January, but Disney is finally getting around to blowing the dust off of some Muppet classics. This morning, I started my day with the news that The Muppet Movie, the first feature film starring the Muppets, is going to be released on Blu-Ray in 2013. Instead of making a big stink about it (like they might have done with a one-time-only dragon), Disney quietly let the news slip in a trailer before the start of The Odd Life of Timothy Green. (They seem to have the color scheme working for them.)

My life motto is something like "the more Muppets the better" so I'm nothing but thrilled about it. In fact, I wish Disney was singing it from the rooftops and strumming a banjo to celebrate. Let's hope this is just the beginning. (We're still missing the last two seasons of The Muppet Show on DVD!)

Princess Fee (DF’82)

Just this week, Pixar unveiled their new posters for the upcoming prequel, Monsters University. The posters feature Mike and Sully, reunited and ready to start their journey through the University and to become professional scarers!

As someone who adored the first Monsters Inc. film, I cannot wait for this one. And these posters are just enough to wet our appetites! The first poster shows Mike and Sully with their letterman jackets, and the simple slogan ‘MU’ (standing for Monsters University). While the second poster – the international poster, if you will – has the pair in a typical college dormroom. Or typical for two scare monsters, I guess!]

The film will be released in the USA on June 21st 2013, but doesn't open in this Princess's territory (UK) until July 21st 2013. Can I buy my tickets, yet?

Jeremy Morrison (Spins The World)

One of Epcot’s premier attractions, Test Track, will hold its official grand re-opening this week.   Days ago, Cast Members and a select few lucky guests had the chance to experience the re-imagined attraction.

The improved Test Track will allow guests to design and test a SimCar, which will then be tested against the attractions version during the ride.  Cars will be tested in Efficiency, Capability, Power and Responsiveness.   The post-show will continue the adventure, as guests will have a chance to test their Cars over different terrains, sever weather and the like.

This is an exciting achievement in Future World, and area of Disney World that is desperate for modern upgrades.   The new design of Test Track is exactly the kind of forward thinking and innovation Walt Disney strived for.

So, what’s next for Future World?  Time will tell.  My hope – Spaceship Earth.  It shows a great vision of the future.  Assuming the future ended in 1983.

One thing is certain, the future looks a little better now – and will only get more exciting.

Blake Taylor (BlakeOnline.com)

In the midst of so much excitement happening in Walt Disney World this week is the crown jewel of all the hoopla, New Fantasyland. While most of the area has been in on-and-off soft openings since October and in "official" previews since Thanksgiving week, the entire expansion permanently opens in its entirety today, December 6. For those of us who can't make it down to Disney quite yet to experience all the fun in person, the Disney Parks Blog has released a set of exquisite computer desktop backgrounds. Developed by Disney's Yellow Shoes Creative Group, they are brilliant.

But my favorite part of these images is not necessarily what they depict, but how they depict it: Disney characters, alive and real, in their homes.  There's a certain quality in that that makes this expansion something really special.  Cars Land in California Adventure is incredible, but what really hits it home is seeing Lightning McQueen and Mater driving down the street as if they actually inhabit this recreation of Radiator Springs. Mickey's Toontown Fair was loads of fun, but what gave it extra depth was the fact that Mickey and Minnie were visited in their actual houses.  As a preschooler, the very first thing I exclaimed to my dad when I got home from my first visit to Hollywood Studios was that I went to the real Pizza Planet.  That's just cool, no matter what age you are. There's just something about knowing these Disney stories and characters for so long, and now getting about to to enter their world and explore it in ways their film counterparts simply don't allow. That's what makes this expansion so brilliant.  That's what delves it into deeper water.  That's what gives it its magic.

Melissa Sue Sorrells Galley (Mouse on the Mind)

While this news doesn't exactly take place inside Disney Parks, it is great news for Walt Disney World fans: Netflix bought exclusive U.S. rights to movies from Walt Disney Studios beginning in 2016. Why do I care about something that happens so far into the future? Because, as part of this deal, Disney has agreed to give Netflix the right to stream a bunch of older movies, including Dumbo and Alice in Wonderland. I can't think of a better way to pass the time between trips to Disney World!

Eric Hoffman (Netmongrel)

Netflix announced it will now be streaming live and animated Disney, Pixar, Marvel Comics, and Lucasfilm movies.  This marks the first time a major studio has chosen Netflix's streaming delivery service over traditional cable tv networks.

Securing first run rights is a major win for Netflix and adds a sizable and valuable library of movies to its catalog.  Netflix has a similar deal already with Dreamworks Animation.

Existing Disney titles are going to begin showing immediately while first run content will begin in 2016.

I am sure that Disney fans have most if not all of their treasured films on DVD or in digital format already.  However I am hopeful that some of the older, more obscure releases from the Disney library will make it onto Netflix.

As of the time of writing I have not personally had a chance to fire up Netflix to see what is available but can't wait to do so.  It's like Christmas in…well, December.

Ryan P. Wilson (Main Street Gazette)

Dragons are mythical creatures, just as many of the stories the fill Fantasyland have sprung up from myths and legends. Yet, there is a video out there of this incredible flying, and fire-breathing, dragon taking to the skies over New Fantasyland yesterday. Here’s the problem, all signs indicate that this is a one night only flight, for a special press event.

Many guests, enthusiasts, and writers around the globe have been following along with Gary Buchanan’s quest to find this dragon via the Disney Parks Blog and the viral Tumblr site, Believe In Fantasy. So, all the tweeting and reading amounts to a short video Disney released itself and some videos and pictures that will come from those who were able to attend the press event. I don’t know what makes the dragon fly, though I am aware of how to make an elephant fly, but to pull this out for a single night, a night when regular guests weren’t even in attendance, just feels like bad form. I hope these reports of One Flight Only turn out to be a myth of their own.

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