Darth Vader Visits Disneyland

On June 3, 2011, in Disney, Disneyland, Star Wars, by John Giaconia

Possibly the greatest videos I have ever enjoyed on YouTube. Darth Vader killing time before Star Tours’ re-opening.

Tagged with:  

The Colors of Fantasmic!

On September 14, 2010, in Disney, Disneyland, Photography, by John Giaconia

The colors of Fantasmic!, originally uploaded by DonGiaconia.

You can even spot some mickey ears in the windows. :)

Tagged with:  

Partners at Night

On August 25, 2010, in Disney, Disneyland, Photography, by John Giaconia

Partners at Night, originally uploaded by DonGiaconia.

A long nighttime exposure of the Partners Statue in front of the Castle at the hub in Disneyland.

Ahoy down there! For this week’s Photo Tuesday, we have a waterfall frozen in a nautical night shot. This shot is of one of the Finding Nemo Nautilus Submarines passing through the waterfall at the end of the Finding Nemo attraction at Disneyland. This picture was taken at night with the help of the handrail to steady the shot.

Tagged with:  

It all started with a Mouse – Watch

On August 3, 2010, in Disney, History, by John Giaconia

August 3rd, 1933

The Original Mickey Mouse Watch

77 years ago today the first Mickey Mouse watch went on sale.  Disney had recently hired a new ‘merchandising man’  named Herman Kamen. His job was to market the Disney brand via Mickey Mouse. He put together a contract with the Ingersoll Waterbury Clock Co. of Waterbury, Connecticut — a dying and bankrupting company. The watch sold for about 3 bucks and was so successful it was solely responsible for saving the watch company from oblivion. They sold 11,000 the first day, and 900,000 in the first year. After 2 years they had sold 2.5 million Mickey Mouse Watches.

In the 60’s the company was renamed to US Time and now we know them simply as Timex.  Timex makes watches for many other companies and brands such as Ecko, Versace, Guess, Valentino, Ferragamo, Opex and Nautica. Yep, without Mickey and Walt, we’d have never had Timex.

Mickey Mouse: Then and Now

The history of the Mickey Mouse watch is even included in this video about Mickey Mouse. It amazes me how much of an impact Walt Disney had on the 20th century — especially in ways that you don’t often think of.

Tagged with:  

Paradise Pier Reflected, originally uploaded by DonGiaconia.

I took this shot from the Boardwalk while waiting for the World of Color to begin. It was one of those ‘Take 30 Shots and hope one of them comes out clear’ situations.

This picture was taken during my trip for Disneyland’s 55th anniversary weekend. While waiting to get onto the Matterhorn (which took quite a bit to convince my dad that it didn’t flip or have any crazy drops to make him lose his stomach) along came Monorail Blue. It’s amazing how much quieter the Mark VII monorails are than previous models.

Tagged with:  

Opening Day At Disneyland

On July 24, 2010, in Disney, Disneyland, by John Giaconia

B&W and Color Footage

While visiting Disneyland for its 55th Anniversary last weekend, one of the special things they did to commemorate the day was to replace the B&W Mickey and Minnie Cartoons in the Main Street Cinema with Disneyland Opening Day footage.  Some of the footage is black and white and some is in color. There were a few different reels they had playing, and I did my best to grab a few. This is the first reel that I captured.  I added some audio to the silent films and I hope you enjoy these seldom shown recordings.

Opening Day At Disneyland from John Giaconia on Vimeo.

Black and White and Color footage from the Main Street Cinema at Disneyland. On July 17th, 2010 they replaced the standard Mickey and Minnie B&W cartoons with opening day footage of Disneyland. Here’s one of the video loops with some added audio.

Tagged with:  

Disneyland’s 55th Birthday

On July 10, 2010, in Disney, Disneyland, by John Giaconia

The Emerald Anniversary

Next week, on July 17th, Disneyland will be celebrating it’s 55th Birthday.  Today, the Disney Parks blog announced the schedule of events for commemorating Disneyland’s anniversary including a dedication ceremony at noon, a birthday sing along at 4:15, special Retro-designed park maps,  and a special set of Mickey Ears available only on July 17th that reads: “D 55th,” July 17, 2010.  I was there last year for the 54th Anniversary and I recorded a somewhat shaky video of the commemorative ceremony with The Mayor of Mainstreet, the Disneyland Band and Mickey and Minnie Mouse.

As you can see, the festivities were rather simple, but special none-the-less.  It seems like they do a bigger deal when the anniversary mod 5 = 0. :)  Or, in non-engineer speak, anniversaries that end with a 5 or a 0.  During the 50th Anniversary, they celebrating for 2 years and we ended up with the wonderful fireworks show called Remember… Dreams Come True as narrated by Julie Andrews.  I absolutely adore Julie Andrews — for me, listening to her speak is like a warm voice-hug. The 50th anniversary also brought us the Walt Disney’s Parade of Dreams once again, narrated by Julie Andrews. Both of these  were strongly imbued with Walt’s touch when they chose to include audio recordings from his Original Dedication of Disneyland Speech.  If there ever was a time you could feel Walt’s presence up above the Firehouse, it’s listening to Walt’s Dedication on the Park’s anniversary.  And the Park never looked so beautiful as when it was all decked out with Mickey 50’s.

Sleeping Beauty's Castle - 50 Anniversary

Shooting Expo - 50th anniversaryTrain Station - 50 anniversary

May you always stay young at heart. And may your Dreams continue to be inspired by imagination. And may you forever treasure this very special day at the Happiest Place on Earth.

Tagged with:  

The Muppets: Pöpcørn

On July 3, 2010, in D23, Disney, Muppets, by John Giaconia

Looks like the folks at The Muppets Studio are keeping busy after Beaker claimed their Webby Award last year and another win this year presented to Animal and Floyd Pepper.  They just released a new video today starring my favorite culinary expert and movie projectionist: The Swedish Chef.  And it comes with Closed Caption subtitles! It’s written all phoenitetic, phennotic, fein… Oh you know, when you write it down the way it sounds. :)

More thoughts after the video…

I’ve yet to see a video come out the Muppet Studios in the last few years that wasn’t what I would consider to be a hit.  Personally, I am hoping this is all leading up to The Muppets returning to ABC.  I would love to see them show up on Friday Night at 8pm.  I think it’d be about the perfect time slot.  Kids and families tend to be home on Friday nights. You can’t aim for the same demographic as Monday through Thursday nights because they’re a lot less likely to be at home watching TV on a Friday night.

Since acquiring the rights to …employ… Kermy and his Muppetational pals, Disney has put The Muppets into the theme parks (even sneaking them into the Parade at Disneyland).  The Disney Parks 2010 “Give a Day Get a Day” volunteering promotion starred the Muppets in every single commercial.  Bob Iger even saved them as the Surprise Guests over Teri Hatcher and James Denton when they launched the program.

If you’ve never had the opportunity to see the Muppets live on stage, I can’t really describe the experience.  If you immediately dismiss the idea as a sock puppet with some guys hand up their crack, I think you’re missing that the actors which perform the characters are every bit as talented and famous as any other TV or  movie star.  I’d almost argue they are more talented because they must remain in character at all times while ad libbing and maintaing both the voice and persona of the characters.  I was fortunate enough to see The Muppets perform three songs live on Stage at the D23 Expo last year (including Rainbow Connection).  I was immediately 5 years old and started feeling misty. If you watch the video to the end, you’ll see Johnny Depp saunter over to Dick Cook (fully in character as Captain Jack Sparrow mind you) and you can hear him asking the audience “Did you see the Frog? The singing frog!”. Then, while Dick Cook asked him about doing more Pirates movies, he went on for a bit about how amazing the Singing Frog was.

Considering what passes for kids shows on TV today, I can’t see how The Muppets could fail.  They’ve already used the internet to get a buzz going.  They’ve got a new movie coming out (at D23 Expo they teased that the title would be “The Cheapest Muppet Movie Ever Made” — a story about The Muppets being bought but a giant company and forced to work for them… Hrmm, that sounds familiar…)

Many of us that were kids when The Muppet Show was originally on (and the Muppet Babies) now have kids of that are likely to be in the exact target age group — and can you imagine a crazy idea like parents and kids watching a show with values together? I don’t think anything could be more sensational, inspirational, celebrational, Muppetational. So come on ABC, It’s time to get things started. Why don’t you get things started?  It’s time to play the music, it’s time to light the lights… I think it’s time to raise the curtain on The Muppet Show Tonight  – Season 6. What do you think?

Tagged with: