Review: Disney Trivia from the Vault by Dave Smith

Oswald the Lucky RabbitSummertime is a great time to relax with a good book and enjoy the warm weather.  With perfect timing, my friend Andrew dropped by with this wonderful book review.  I already have Dave Smith’s Disney A to Z: The Official Encyclopedia, and now I want this trivia book as well, thanks to Andrew’s review.

Review: Disney Trivia from the Vault – Andrew Carrieri

In the summer of 2012, Dave Smith, the chief archivist emeritus of the Walt Disney Archives, released a trivia book, Disney Trivia from the Vault: Secrets Revealed and Questions Answered. Here, Smith discusses trivia from eight categories over 262 pages: “Animated Features,” “Animated Shorts,” “Disneyland,” “Live-Action Films,” “Publications,” “Television,” “Walt Disney World,” and “Walt Disney.”

Unlike Lou Mongello’s popular Disney trivia books, Smith’s version is not written in a quiz-like format with multiple choice questions and corresponding answers in a separate section. Rather, Smith compiles a wide selection of questions and answers from his various columns over the past thirty or so years and duplicates these questions and answers in the appropriate section of the book. As such, Smith’s book is better utilized as a light read than for a game with friends.Early Disney Cartoon

I purchased Smith’s book shortly after its release and have greatly enjoyed it. More than anything, I have used the book to discover new films and shorts to view. I first watched the live action movies The Ugly Dachshund (1966), The World’s Greatest Athlete (1973), and The Cat from Outer Space (1978) after seeing them referenced in questions in Smith’s book. For what it’s worth, I enjoyed the first two of the aforementioned movies, but thought the third figuratively stunk like cat food; oh well.Donald's-Decision

As for shorts, based on mentions in Smith’s work, I watched “Donald’s Nephews” (1938), “Mickey’s Trailer” (1938), “Donald’s Decision” (1942), “Susie, the Little Blue Coupe” (1952), and “In the Bag” (1956). These shorts are all available to view on youtube. I found “Donald’s Decision” especially interesting because it was made as a propaganda piece such as to encourage Canadians to purchase war bonds during World War II rather than for general amusement. Also, in “Donald’s Nephews,” we learn that our favorite duck, the one who is never wrong but always right, the one who never dreams of starting a fight, the one who gets stuck with all the bad luck, the one and only Donald Duck, has a sister named Dumbella.

While Disney fans will likely be familiar with some of the information presented by Smith, it is equally likely that you will learn something new, especially since multiple aspects of the Disney Company are highlighted. I strongly recommend reading it if you get the chance.

Feel free to sound off with any thoughts in the comments!

Want to read more of Andrew’s posts?  He’s a contributing writer at The Mouse For Less and you can also follow him on Twitter @AndrewCfran

Walt Disney Family Museum in California

Welcome to the weekend and this addition of Saturdays with Nick.  Today we’re going back in time to the summer of 2013 when Nick visited the Walt Disney Family Museum – a place I’ve wanted to visit for a long time.  I love One Man’s Dream in Disney’s Hollywood Studios and thought the Treasures from the Disney Archives exhibit in Chicago was incredible, both would pale by comparison, I’m sure, to the museum in California.  Someday I’ll get there!

Walt Disney Family Museum in California

I’m not even sure where to begin to describe the scope of this tribute to a person who has brought joy to countless millions around the world.
While visiting, one word kept popping into my head. Overwhelming.
I visited the Walt Disney Family Museum located in San Francisco within the Presidio on a dreary Monday, arriving a little later than I’d hoped, about 11:15am.

The museums hours are Wednesday to Monday 10am-6pm, with last ticket sales at 4:45pm. Closed Tuesdays, New Year’s Day, Christmas and Thanksgiving.
If you intend to see everything, you can easily spend the entire 8 hours doing so. Indeed, if you are interested in the special exhibits being held as well, you could dedicate 2 days.
Upon entering, you are greeted by the ticket counter and cabinets containing some of the awards and honors Walt received throughout his all too short of a lifetime.

Venice International Film Festival Trofeo d’Arte della Biennale for Snow White, 1938
Honorary Academy Awards for Snow White

There were also pieces of art that hung in his home found here, and furniture from his apartment in Disneyland.
This is where the word overwhelming first popped into my head!
Ticket prices are $20 for Adults, $15 for Seniors and Students with valid ID, and $12 for children.
There are also different levels of Membership. If I was a California resident, or even within a reasonable distance to San Francisco, I would become a member. There are special programs, films, events, exhibitions and talks through the year. There are monthly film screenings, and “Animate Your Night” after hours museum parties!
I paid my $20 to enter, and then heard a young man next to me say he was a D23 Member, and received a $5 discount! I turned to the gentleman who gave me my ticket, and said I too was a D23 Member. He was very gracious in refunding my $5! So if you’re a D23 Member, bring your card!
By the time I was done looking at some of Walt’s accomplishments, it was nearly Noon!
I got lunch at the Cafe which is right next to the entrance. I had a tuna sandwich, which was phenomenal, chips, and an even more amazing cookie. It wasn’t cheap, but it was filling and delicious.
I was now ready to enter the Museum!
The first 2 galleries take you through the beginning of the Disney Family and Walt’s life leading up to his arrival in Hollywood in 1923.
You then take an elevator up to continue.

The following galleries on the 2nd floor take you through stages of his career, including his earliest successes and failures, creation of Mickey Mouse, the Silly Symphonies, merchandise, comics, innoventions, inventions…overwhelming.

   The earliest known drawing of Mickey Mouse!
Cel from the first Technicolor cartoon, “Flowers and Trees”.

Throughout are family photos and momentos from the time period represented.

 Walt and Lillian’s Marriage License

It was now coming up on 3pm, and I was only at Snow White which occupies one whole gallery; and I thought “Uh oh, if I keep going at this pace, I’ll be here until Wednesday!”

I needed a breather. So I walked through the rest of the galleries, just to get an overview. This made things worse!
Again, and I cannot stress this enough, if you are a fan of Walt Disney and want to see and read everything, you will need the entire day, if not two, especially if, like me, you spend time chatting with some of the absolutely amazing employees and other visitors for extended periods of time.
You can also spend an inordinate amount of time taking video and photos.
This is all fine and well, but pacing and planning, like visiting a Disney Park, is important.
I wound up skimming through the early animated features section much quicker than I would have liked; but, as I will absolutely be returning in the future, decided I needed to make a sacrifice.
I picked back up in the World War 2 era.

The galleries are so inventively laid out and artistic that you can be caught for extended periods of time just admiring the artistry.

When you come to the long hallway overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge, stop and relax a moment. Take in the beauty. Prepare yourself for what is to come.

At the end of this hallway is a bench from Griffith Park where Walt would sit and watch his daughters Diane and Sharon play, which made him think how nice it would be to have a clean park where families could share time together. This started the emotional ball rolling. I sat in it. I burst into tears.

Then you enter a gallery so breathtaking you just need to stop and gawk.

We see Walt’s train, the Carolwood Pacific, the TV era, and the creation of Disneyland.
I was told that the gigantic model of Disneyland represented the years and attractions Walt was personally involved with.
We come to the 1964 New York World’s Fair, the many innoventions this brought, and the plans for the Florida Project and Epcot.
Then we come to the inevitable.

No more words need be said. Except maybe one. Overwhelming.

You can find and follow Nick on all his social medias:   Disney Musings Blog / Disney Musings on Twitter / Disney Musings on Instagram / Disney Musings on Facebook

Disney World History – Out With the Old

RM-Mickey's-PhilharMagicI am so pleased to welcome back Andrew Carrieri as a guest today!  Andrew is passionate about history and can always be counted on to offer up some awesome tidbits of Disney history for our enjoyment.  I want to hear from you!  What do you think when Disney replaces a ride or attraction with the latest and most popular movie or character?  What attractions are at Walt Disney World now that you’d like to see replaced with a newer theme? (Andrew can be found as a contributing writer at The Mouse For Less and on Twitter @AndrewCfran)

Disney World History – Out With the Old

Throughout the history of Walt Disney World, numerous attractions have been shuttered and replaced by attractions that are more connected to current happenings. For example, in 1994, Disney replaced “Magic Journeys,” a 3D show in Fantasyland, with a stage show called “The Legend of The Lion King.” This show, a retelling of The Lion King, which was at the time Disney’s new hit movie, entertained guests until 2002, when it closed to be converted to “Mickey’s PhilharMagic.”

Below, I will discuss three other instances where Disney changed attractions based on current trends.

1) “Stitch’s Great Escape” replaces “ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter” (2004): Despite being the centerpiece of the 1995 Tomorrowland overhaul, “Alien Encounter,” a theater-in-the-round show, never caught on because many guests deemed it too scary, especially considering its location in the Magic Kingdom.RM-Stitch's-Great-Escape

“Alien Encounter” closed in late 2003 and was replaced by “Stitch’s Great Escape,” another theater-in-the-round show, which features the alien from Disney’s 2002 film Lilo and Stitch. The attraction’s Stitch animatronic is arguably the best animatronic ever created by Disney, but “Stitch’s Great Escape” has received consistently bad reviews since its debut. People say it stinks, and I would agree with this assessment because Stitch’s chili dog burp doesn’t smell that great. Still, I thought the show was funny and an upgrade over “Alien Encounter,” which I ironically found extremely boring the one time I experienced it; I didn’t get the hype. To each their own.

2) “Captain EO” replaces “Honey I Shrunk the Audience” (2010): What goes around comes around. Following Michael Jackson’s 2009 death, Disney brought “Captain EO,” the 3D show starring Jackson, back to its old stomping grounds at Epcot’s Magic Eye Theater, replacing the long-running “Honey I Shrunk the Audience.” Ironically, “Honey I Shrunk the Audience” had replaced “Captain EO” in 1994 following the latter show’s original eight-year run at the Magic Eye Theater.

“Honey I Shrunk the Audience” had aged, and “Captain EO” was a nice throwback for a tribute, but I think it has remained too long and should be replaced by a new attraction. On a side note, 2016 will mark Captain EO’s thirtieth birthday!Malestrom / Norway Pavilion / World Showcase

3) Frozen Attraction to replace “Maelstrom” (Scheduled for 2016): Frozen has seemingly been the biggest thing since sliced bread over the past two years, so in 2014, Disney closed “Maelstrom,” a boat ride at Epcot’s Norway Pavilion since 1988, to construct an attraction based on Frozen.Princess-Half-Mile-6-Sign

“Maelstrom” had a cult following, but it was far from a headliner or even a classic attraction that Walt Disney himself developed, such as “The Carousel of Progress.” The opposition to the change, therefore, seems to be based more on the idea that Epcot’s World Showcase should feature authentic content about the various countries, not attractions based on fantasy.

I am ambivalent to the change, but I think a Frozen attraction would be a better fit for the Magic Kingdom’s Fantasyland, which I think could use more dark rides to compete with the vast array of these attractions present in its Disneyland counterpart.

Ode to Disney World’s Carousel of Progress

CoP-CurtainAs we know, a lot of great things (and people!) came out of 1964.  Walt Disney’s imaginative and innovative contributions to the World’s Fair in New York that year were not just the technological beginnings for many of the modern rides and attractions we enjoy today, but also the debut of a few of the most beloved and enduring attractions that remain near and dear to our hearts.  One of those is Walt Disney World’s Carousel of Progress.

After the World’s Fair, the Carousel, originally named Progressland and sponsored by General Electric, moved to Disneyland and was renamed Carousel of Progress.  Guests (up to 3600 per hour) at Disneyland enjoyed the attraction until 1975 when it moved to Disney World and opened with a new song, “The Best Time of Your Life“.  GE’s corporate sponsorship officially ended in 1985.  A 1994 refurb returned the attraction’s original music, the song we all know and love, “There’s a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow“.CoP-Dad2

The Carousel of Progress gets a bad rap.  Kids think it’s boring, thrill seekers think it’s simply a cool spot for a nap.  I’ve heard “boring”, “old-fashioned”, “antique” (that one really hit a nerve!) and “never seen it” when I asked some folks about one of my favorite Tomorrowland attractions.  A few of you, though, are firmly in my camp – we, the lovers of Dad, voiced by Jean Shepherd of “A Christmas Story” fame, Mom, Son and Daughter, Grandmother, Grandfather, Rover, and Cousin Orville, think Carousel of Progress is wonderful.  How can you not adore the dialog and carefully crafted scenes that illustrate how inventions over the past century changed the daily lives of a single family?

CoP-Dad-With-FanI asked and you were more than up to the task!  A call across social media for haikus paying tribute to the Carousel of Progress was answered with enthusiasm!  While not every entry was necessarily from a Carousel fan, all the poems were heartfelt and creative!  Way to go, Disney friends!!!  Prepare to be amazed…

Ode to Disney World’s Carousel of Progress

Rotate through the years
Uncle orville in the tub
Feel Walt’s touch throughout. – Dean (@CT_Mickey_Man) of the WDWNE Podcast

Nineteen Sixty Four
An innovative display
In New York City – Andrew Carrieri (@AndrewCfran) of The Mouse for Less blog

“Walt Disney presents”…
Those words mean so much to me CoP-Dad3
This was Walt’s project

Quickly time passes
Everything getting better
Don’t burn the turkey.

Do people still ride
The carousel of Progress?
I wish they all would – TRIPLE entry by poetic genius Wesley Snyder (@365DaysOfDisney)

Dad is in a chair
He celebrates holidays
Grandma Shoots Spaceships – M. Parrish (@Schmadvertising)

CoP-Christmas1So the seats rotate.
It’s the Christmas Story guy!
I am so sleepy. – Chad Reno (@Chad_Reno13)

Electric servants
Improving family life
Progress with each turn – HowBowers/LiquidLuau (@GoawayGreen) 

Now is the best time
So the new old song proclaimed
Shining at the end – Paulie (@YoPaulieNJ) of the WDWNE Podcast

On this New Years Eve
Virtual Reality
Is still The Future – Trish (@Babbletrish)CoP-Grandma

So what, the stage turns.
Wait, the theater can turn?
My mind has been blown – March Dizwireness (@Dizwire)

“Are you awake, dear?”
“Give ‘im a left, ya big lug!”
Grandma is on fleek – The Redhead (@TheWickedWench)

Lonely in the back
Tommorowland’s old relic
Smells like a barnyard – Jerusha (@OrangeBirdSwirl)

Beautiful refrain,
running endless through my brain,
just a dream away…. – Heather Brainerd via Facebook

O, moving circle!
Rest and breathe nostalgia.
Comfort me, again – Lyn Maszk via Facebook

CoP-MomSpecial shout-out to my buddy Sean (@1MinDisneyDream) from the Enchanted Tiki Talk Podcast who could not contain his enthusiasm for Carousel of Progress into a haiku and submitted this poem instead:

Carousel oh Carousel ur always progressing.
Let it be known ur lines are short but ur message is long and clear
it’s a great bit beautiful tomorrow.
The end.

Thanks to everyone who joined in the fun!  Sing with me now….

“…Man has a dream and that’s the start
He follows his dream with mind and heart
And when it becomes a realityCoP-Rover
It’s a dream come true for you and me

So there’s a great big beautiful tomorrow
Shining at the end of every day
There’s a great big beautiful tomorrow
Just a dream away…”

Watch for more opportunities to join the fun on Facebook and Twitter.

Which attraction do you think needs to be featured on our next “Ode to” article?