Monday, December 31, 2007

One Last Moment

The sun is slowly setting on 2007 and will rise tomorrow on 2008 and all of its promises. But before the ball drops and the champagne corks pop take a moment for quiet reflection on the year that is passing. To help you on this nostalgic journey, I offer you the sun setting behind the Fountain of Nations with a memory of a little Future World background music playing on the air.

Now, we've had our moment. Party on Geeks!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Where In The World

Hello, and welcome back to another exciting edition of Where In The World. To bring you up-to-date, we did not have a guess to last weeks photo. So we'll leave it there and let you continue to stew on it. Here is a hint: the photo comes from inside a park that begins with the letter "E".

Now, for this weeks photo. It too comes from a park and I hope I made this one a bit easier. It may be too easy in fact. Have fun, take a guess, and leave a comment. As the DGs say, "We love comments". And so do I.

Disney World After Dark: Italy

We've finished our Becks and it is time to continue our journey around the World Showcase. We stop for a moment to watch the miniature trains and try to find that Hidden Mickey in the village. Then it is on to Italy.

"A re-creation of the Venetian campanile of St. Mark's proclaims the presence of the Italy pavilion. A love to letter to Venice, the Italy pavilion also features an exacting replica of the Doge's Palace, and its waterfront along the World Showcase Lagoon is dressed with playful gondolas and their festive, barber-striped moorings."

from Since the World Began by Jeff Kurtti, pg. 109

I took my grandmother to Walt Disney World in the early 90s and she loved EPCOT Center, and Italy in particular. I am not sure what her reason was, but she did. It may have something to do with the dinner she had at L'Originale Alfredo di Roma Ristorante. She enjoyed the food and the decor. Her visit is another story for another time.

For now, spend a few moments to take in the splendor and history of Italy.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

With Childlike Wonder

“Here age relives fond memories of the past and here youth may savor the challenge and promise of the future.”

- Walt Disney, Disneyland Dedication, July 17, 1955

We have arrived at the last days of 2007. It is in these days that some of us will pause to think of what we’ve accomplished during the year and set our sights on what lies ahead. It is in these days that we become young again, allowing the excitement of the holidays to transform us. We can now look forward with childlike wonder to the “promise of the future.”

Before I take up my youthfulness once again, age relives fond memories and I wish to recall a few of my fond Disney memories from 2007.

Perhaps my fondest memory is that of celebrating my 50th Birthday in Disney World with my family! We spent a week there in mid April. On April 20th, after a wonderful dinner at the Yachtsman Steakhouse, we boarded a pontoon boat for an evening fireworks cruise. I have long been a fan of Illuminations stretching back to its earlier incarnations, but watching it from the water with my family and friends was truly magical. Also being able to share in my mother’s Year of Million Dreams private audience with Cinderella was very special.

I took a solo trip in October primarily as a photo expedition. To help make it through the parks with my cameras, I purchased a safari-like vest in Disney’s Animal Kingdom. It has loads of pockets and I highly recommend it. But be forewarned, save for not having the logo on the back, it looks very much like a PhotoPass Photographer vest. This is true especially at night. The memory I took from this trip is in knowing that I was very nearly a Disney Cast Member. One night in Disney-MGM Studios I was repeatedly asked to photograph people in front of the Sorcerers Hat. After a while it simply became too funny not to be a great memory.

I will also remember 2007 as being the year of the on-going debate with my grandchildren and my four year old nephew as to who is “really” The Pan. I contend that in order for one to be considered as The Pan, they must first have the opportunity to grow up, and then refuse to do so. It holds with my long standing belief that a person must grow old, but they do not have to grow up. This debate continues.

Now looking towards the promise of the future, I dream of what is yet to come. My hope in 2008 is to eventually “find my voice” in this experiment I call The Disney Obsession. I hope that by either finding this voice, or by continuing to do what I am currently doing, that my readership will grow. I know this takes time, as I am only one voice in an expansive choir known as the Disney blogging community.

I hope to end the coming year having my very own MouseFest 2008 lanyard, not to mention the DAK bottle strap that continues to elude me. A nice logo would be nice too (I need to get to work on that). I hope to make serious headway on some Disney related pen and ink drawings as well as this little travel book idea that I have been thinking about and storyboarding.

But for now, I’ll blog. I look forward to being enlightened by many of you and to the possibility of enlightening some of you along the way.

So, let us savor this moment and celebrate the year that is to pass and the year that is yet to come. May it be Magical!

“The Most Unique Gift of the Year – 2007”

When it comes to gift ideas for the old Doc, my family has it easy. If it comes from Disney, is Disney related, or has the name Disney written anywhere on it, it is a safe bet. They can be fairly assured that they are not getting me the proverbial Christmas tie. Consequently, my office, the repository of “my Disney collection” has become quite crowded. In fact, Mrs. Doc is surprised that there has been only a limited amount of overflow into other parts of our home.

But with so much Disney to choose from it can be difficult to find the “special” or “unique” gift for the discriminating Disneyphile. What separates one gift from another and elevates it to the level of “uniqueness”? Well, to be unique is to exist as the only one, to be solitary in type. So, what is unique in that marketing juggernaut that we know and love as the world of Disney? Well, postage stamps, of course.

Postage stamps? Yes. But not of the variety currently being issued by the United States Postal Service. No, I am talking about personalized postage stamps. See the example below:

My mother took this picture of Mrs. Doc and me in Epcot during our April “Fifty in Disney” Birthday Celebration. And, having it turned into a postage stamp, qualifies it as “The Most Unique Gift of the Year – 2007” (in Doc’s world anyway). Only problem, I can’t use them. In my view, their uniqueness makes them a collectible.

So, when dropping your hints next year, be sure to direct your friends and family to The Disney Obsession archive for December 2007, and have them take a look at how someone else discovered that “one of a kind” gift for the geek in their life.


Postscript: My mother calls herself my “enabler” since she constantly fuels my obsession with regular doses of Disney in one form or another. Here is to the enablers in all of our lives

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Holiday traditions vary from one family to the next. In my family we gather on Christmas Eve for dinner and to exchange gifts. It has been this way since I was a child and continued into adulthood. It works well now as the children are grown with children of their own and have other families to visit and traditions to create. For Mrs. Doc and me, Christmas morning is rather quiet and I can watch Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Parade in relative peace.

Once we are finished and most everyone goes on their way, my wife and I will settle down with a nice Merlot and watch White Christmas. My daughter and her boyfriend will be joining us for this annual tradition this evening.

In a few hours it will get busy around here and I am sure the same will happen in your homes. So before then, my wish and my prayer is that each of you are safe and happy during this wonderful time of year.

Merry Christmas from Doc and Mrs. Doc!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Where In The World

It is time for another exciting round of Where In The World. But before we look at this weeks photo, let's first extend our congratulations to Ryan over at Main Street Gazette. He correctly identified the photo as the fountains at the entrance of Downtown Disney Marketplace. And I thought Iwas posting a somewhat difficult picture.

Maybe this weeks picture will be a bit more challenging.


Saturday, December 22, 2007


I have joined! Have you?

Disney World After Dark: Germany

They have just lowered the bridge from having moved the "Illuminations: Reflections of Earth" barges into the World Showcase Lagoon, and we move onto Germany.

"South of the China pavilion the stair-stepped roofs, steeple, turrets, and castle walls of the Germany pavilion are visible. An amalgam of architectural design details from various cities all over Germany, the pavilion conveys an overall feeling of a fairy-tale alpinie village of centuries past. The statue in the center of the plate, or town square, is St. George (patron saint of soldiers) slaying the dragon."

from Since the World Began by Jeff Kurtti, pg. 109

The Germany pavilion also boasts several wonderful shops. My personsal favorite; Der Teddybar. It must be my love of toys.

So, grab a beer from Sommerfest, have a seat near the fountain, and enjoy Germany!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Where In The World

Last week's Where In The World picture was indeed a section of the gate leading into Africa. In fact, it was taken from gate on the right hand side. Congratulations to John of The Disney Blog for having the correct answer.

For this week's entry we leave Disney's Animal Kingdom park. There was your hint.

Happy hunting!

Disney World After Dark: China

Continuing on our stroll on the World Showcase Promenade we come to China.

"Only in the World Showcase is China so close to Norway. Beijing's Temple of Heaven is re-created in the China pavilion, and a calming serenity seems to permeate the space. The landscaping and garden add to the overall sense of place, as does the "background score" of traditional Chinese music."

from Since the World Began by Jeff Kurtti, pg. 109

Let's pause, look to our left, and enjoy the Wonders of China.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Where In The World

Congratulations to Ryan over at the Main Street Gazette for correctly identifying last weeks "Where In The World" photograph. It is the view overhead as you pass through the last part of the queue at Soarin'. Just a few steps more and they will be collecting your FastPass.

Now, here is this weeks picture!

Hint: this is just a part of the whole.

Disney World After Dark: Norway

We continue our Disney World After Dark with a quick stop in Norway.

The Norway pavilion joined World Showcase on May 6, 1988. Sponsored by a consortium of Norwegian corporations, the cobbled village square of the pavilion showcases architectural styles of towns like Bergen, Setesdal, and Oslo, including the Stave Church (which houses a gallery) and a castle (which houses a restaurant) modeled after Akershus, a 14th-century fortress in Oslo Harbor. The Norway also containes beautifully crafted rock and stone work, some of the finest ever fabricated by the Disney Imagineers.

from Since the World Began by Jeff Kurtti, pg. 106

Enjoy Norway after dark.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to all my fellow bloggers! I hope you and your families have a great day and a wonderful beginning to this holiday season.


Saturday, November 17, 2007

Where In The World

Where In The World is a new photographic feature of The Disney Obsession. I know I am not the only person doing this or perhaps using the title Where In The World. If I am copying a title, I offer my apologies. But I must say that I do feel there are more than enough pictures to go around.

This week I am starting with a fairly easy photo. But be forewarned, in the weeks to come there will be more difficult subjects to guess, including some that have been altered with Photoshop or Corel.

A little back story here. Digitally altering Disney photographs is one way I use to get a little Disney into every room. Because, every room can use a little Disney. Remind me to post some photos of my office. Though my collection will pale in comparison to some, it is DHQ at this location.

So, here we go with the first installment of Where In The World. And as the Disney Geeks say, make a comment, take a guess, let me know you're out there.

Back from The World

Truth is, I have been back for a few weeks, but have been extremely busy at work. One has to pay (in more ways than one) for the quick 3 to 5 day trips to the World. I have not done so in the past, but I may try to compose a trip report in the near future. What I will share here is that I found myself wanting to take more photos of crates and picture spot signs. I may post a few as time goes on, though there are others who have a good deal more passion for these types of things and I best leave this to those experts.

What I do enjoy however is taking photos of the parks at night. As magical as Disney World is during the day, it becomes a whole other world when the sun goes down. That is when I pull the tripod out of the locker and try my hand at capturing this other world.

In the future, I shall call this post Disney World After Dark. But for now we'll start our nocturnal visit in the World Showcase with a stroll past Mexico. And one bit of advise, if you are so inclined, I find this stroll all the more enjoyable after picking up a Dos Equis from the fine people at the Cantina de San Angel. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Checking Out...for Awhile

Tomorrow, I am in Walt Disney World. Trying to satisfy this obsession for at least another six months. I will be drinking in a lot of those little details that I have spent the last few weeks reading about on some of my favorite blog sites. Thank you to all of you for your insights; you have made a much better Disney experience possible.

I look forward to catching up on all the posts I will miss while I am away. Have a magical weekend!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Project: Disney Pen and Ink Drawings

I have always enjoyed drawing, mostly doodling, nothing of any real serious nature. I am not a student as such.

Rewind a few years. My wife and I lived in England and one day she asked me to draw a picture for her of a church I visited in Cornwall. A few months passed and I didn't do anything towards producing a picture. Then one afternoon in London I decided to begin. In time I drew that Cornish church tower, a small section of the original Warwick Castle, Westminster Abbey (above) and Holy Trinity Church in Stratford-upon-Avon. This was all some years ago and except for the occasional doodle, I do not draw much.

Now I have urge to draw again! I have thought about combining my obsession with my small amount of talent and begin drawing the place I love most, Walt Disney World. For years my wife has wondered why I have never done a pen and ink of Cinderella Castle. That is about to change. I have set up my drawing table, purchased some new pens, some new paper and I am ready to begin. First step, take a lot of detailed photographs. That is what I will be doing during this upcoming trip; taking a lot of photographs! I have several different series of pen and inks I would to do. But I'll start with the park icons.

I know that the Magic Kingdom's Cinderella Castle, EPCOT's Spaceship Earth and Disney's Animal Kingdom's Tree of Life are undisputed icons. But what of Disney MGM? The park design situated Mann's Chinese Theatre to be the icon. But now, we have a Sorcerer's Hat. My thought is to draw the hat. Other thoughts?

Oh, I am also photographing some things for a book project I am working on.

So you could say that this next trip is a business trip. But I do plan on having a little fun along the way.

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

World Showcase: The Flag Pins

Used to be that you could purchase a small pin representing the flag or flags of each country around the World Showcase. I came away from that first walk "around the world" with my first Disney pins.

I thought I had lost these until earlier this year I found them tucked away in a small box atop a bookcase. I stuck them on an old bluejean jacket and wore them proudly during 50id.

If you remember these pins I hope you look back in time.

Remembrances: 1989

It was seventeen years in the making, but my first trip back to central Florida since ’72 was magical! And, it almost didn’t happen. If it wasn’t for two friends of mine having colds I may have spent three days in Breckinridge snow skiing. They didn’t feel like being cold so we headed south to Orlando and a love affair with Disney was born.

It was 1989 and EPCOT Center was still the newest park in Walt Disney World. There were new attractions in the Magic Kingdom to experience, like Space Mountain, and there were also things to do that I didn’t do as a teenager. No, this time, every ride was yours to experience for the price of admission. But somehow, looking back, I think EPCOT Center was the focal point of this visit.

The first day there was a marvel. I was stunned when I first saw Spaceship Earth, and further amazed at what was inside. The smell of Rome burning continues to amaze me.

How neat was it to stop by the World Key after exiting the attraction and be able to make dinner reservations? You could also do this at a kiosk on the walkway to the World Showcase.

I admit, that at first, I really thought we were descending in the Hydrolators to Sea Base Alpha.

The final scene in World of Motion still lingers; the futuristic city. I think I read somewhere one time that it was known as Centracore. I was never able to get either a good picture or video of it. I did find a nice rendering of it in a souvenir picture book published in 1987 by Crescent Books.

I really enjoyed the Listen to the Land boat ride. I still do.

I must have ridden Journey into Imagination half a dozen times wishing that the ride would get stuck in the Dream Room, the White Room. I also recall spending a good deal of time in The Image Works; specifically in the Rainbow Corridor and Stepping Tones.

Which way did I end my ride through Horizons? I tried them all but I think Brava Centauri was my favorite.

My first walk around the World Showcase began by way of Canada, the United Kingdom, and so on. I spent a lot of time in France, particularly in the Palais Du Cinema, watching Impressions de France. I especially liked the rumble of the sub-woofers during the climax of Saint-Saens Organ Symphony. I think I spent the next two months trying to find all the compositions used in the film. It is a “must do” on every subsequent trip.

I felt that the audio-animatronics were great in Spaceship Earth but I had not yet seen Ben Franklin walking up stairs in the American Adventure. Incredible! What a show. I still get a lump in my throat when I hear “Two Brothers”.

I first experienced Illuminations from the patio of the Cantina de San Angel on the World Showcase Lagoon. I can still hear the lone clarinet announcing the tribute to America with “Rhapsody in Blue”. The finale of “The Great Gate of Kiev” from Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition and Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture was spectacular.

There are so many wonderful memories I have of this trip and of the first time experiencing the Second Gate. Like the Magic Kingdom, there are things I experienced on this first trip that I have to relive whenever I go. Sadly, some things have passed into memory and can only now be experienced in old video footage.

I think it began with that trip. But now, every time I leave Epcot, I stop just before exiting, turn around, and look at the wonder that is Spaceship Earth. I stand quietly for a moment or two, then say, “I will be back”. Then I turn and walk away and begin dreaming of my next trip.

Next Sunday evening I will do it all over again, and I plan to speak those words. I am looking forward to it.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

“The Beginnings: My First Visit”

The last visit I made to Walt Disney World was in April of this year. It was for the occasion of my 50th birthday. It became known among my family and friends as the “Fifty in Disney” Celebration, or 50id for short. My next visit will be in eleven days. As I look forward to this next visit and all that I wish to accomplish with it, I think back to first trip. The memories I have from that trip continue to be relived with every new visit.

My first trip was in the spring of 1972. I was in the 9th grade and Walt Disney World was still less than one year old. My father had borrowed a motor home and packed up the family for a two week journey around Florida. Packed into that motor home were my mom and dad, my younger sister, my grandparents and me. The whole affair was quite an adventure.

Our circular trip around Florida allowed for one day very full day in the Magic Kingdom. We took the monorail over to the park and remember being fascinated with going through a hotel. As I remember it, the park was very crowded and I was hampered by just recently having had a cast removed from my leg. I also remember that my grandfather was so concerned that my grandmother would have her pocketbook stolen in the crowds. His solution was to carry it for her. He had the handles tight over his shoulder and the bag firmly tucked under his arm. No one bothered the purse, but he did get more than a few enquiring looks.

We were in Adventureland on our way to see the Enchanted Tiki Room. We stopped to listen to a group of musicians playing steel drums. My grandfather insisted that the music was being piped through hidden speakers (most likely from behind the tiki statues) as it was impossible for music to come from an oil drum.

Some of my memories have faded over the years, but I have wonderful ones that are still with me. I remember going to the Country Bear Jamboree and the Hall of Presidents (my grandparent’s favorite). We visited the 999 Grim Grinning Ghosts, and went 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea with Captain Nemo. I still miss that ride. I feel fairly certain that we rode on Cinderella’s Golden Carrousel.

No matter how old I become I will never forget the first time I rode Peter Pan’s Flight. I remember being amazed at hearing Peter say “Off to Never Land” and the rounding the corner to fly over London. All of those tiny lights were simply magic to me and now no day in the Magic Kingdom is complete without taking a ride in a flying galleon through the story of Pan. Each time I am struck by the sight of London and find it impossible to set back during the ride; I am always on the edge of my seat.

My only souvenir from that first trip was a letter opener my parent’s bought for me in the gift shop in Cinderella’s Castle. It is called Fantasy Faire now, but then I believe it was known as The King’s Gallery. I still have it and use it to open my mail. If only I had kept the ticket booklet.

While I am proud to be able to say I was there the year that it opened, I don’t think I fully appreciated what I was experiencing. If memory is any indication then I know I didn’t.

I do know that deep down inside of me a little magic was born that day. It was to lay dormant for quite a few years as I finished school and did those things that “grown ups” do. It was in 1989 when I became a lost boy once again and the magic was given its freedom and it began to grow. But that is another story for another time.

An Editor's Note

(Editor’s Note: As I begin this adventure in blogging, let me first say that my desire is that this becomes more than a travelogue or random updates on me and my obsession. I hope to have something to add to the dialogue about this subject we all love. But until I find my voice, my niche in this rich community, I will write about my history as it pertains to Disney.)

Sunday, September 30, 2007

It Is Time

It is time that I begin a blog. I spend a part of each morning reviewing other Disney related blogs and wonder if I can somehow contribute to the discussion. So it is time to at least set up a blog and see where it leads.

Am I certain of how this will work? No! Do I know specifically what I will write about? No! Will I be a generalist or a specialist? I do not know. There are so many great blogs out there covering so many aspects of my obsession. What can I possibly add to the dialogue? I do not know. What I do know is that I have to start somewhere and sometime, and today is that day.

I can not make it to the 25th Anniversary celebrations, but I can do this.

I will continue to soak in the postings of others; The Disney Blog, 2719 Hyperion, Blue Sky Disney, and the recently returned, EPCOT Central. Perhaps I can rise to the level of posts generated on these excellent sites. It is a goal.

I don't know how frequent my posts will be. I don't know how informative or enlightening they will be. But I do know that I am here, I am obsessed with most everything related to Disney, specifically, Walt Disney World, and that...

It is time!