Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Comes But Once A Year...

There are certain things that have become Christmas tradition at Doc's house. One is that we'll watch National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation on Christmas Eve. Sometime during the day, along with wrapping presents, I'll listen to The Beatles Third Christmas Album. On the album, John sings, "Christmas comes but once a year, but when it does it brings good cheer, because we've got the hmm-mm-mm-aam for Christmas."

I love Christmas! It reinforces my families understanding that I truly am a child stuck inside an adults body. So, what is Doc hoping to see under the tree? Here are just a few hopes and dreams: Mickey Mouse by Pierre Lambert, Walt Disney Animation Studios The Archive Series: Story, Walt Disney Animation Studios The Archive Series: Animation, To Infinity and Beyond!: The Story of Pixar Animation Studios, The Art of Pixar Short Films by John Lasseter, The Pixar Treasures by Tim Hauser, The Art of Cars by Suzanne and Michael Wallis, and The Art of Ratatouille by Karen Paik.

There are also a few vintage toy request thrown in for good measure. But the real delight of the annual exchange, is discovering what my family comes up with that is not on any list. These are the one-of-a-kind items, the personal home-made gifts, the things I would-not-have-thought-to-ask-for-but-immediately-come-to-love items. There have been some real treats and treasures that have found a home in Doc's and Mrs. Doc's home.

So much for the self indulgent side.

The real joy comes from watching my grandchildren. There will be five of them, six including my youngest nephew, going at it at once and the excitement and volume level will be through the roof. And that is good. My youngest, Jackson (Jack-Jack), is now three and should be fully engaged in the festivities. There are few things that can compare to the wide eyes, the broad smiles, the squeals of laughter and the constant exclamation of "look what I got!" And that too is good.

This is an exciting time; a time filled with much anticipation. It is time to share, to be with family and to strengthen the bonds that hold us together. Amidst the chaos, there is much peace. There is peace in knowing that we are without cares for a day. There is much warmth in knowing we are with the ones who love us most, celebrating the birth of the One who loves us all. Books are great. The toys are fine. But it this, it is being with my family that I love most about this time of year.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Character Connection: 1972

Tomorrow, Mrs. Doc and I head down to Walt Disney World for a few days. After attending the Candlelight Processional last year during MouseFest, I thought, my wife has got to see this sometime. When the schedule for the guest narrators was released, I knew this may be the year.

One of Mrs. Doc's favorite actors is Brian Dennehy. He will be narrating December 21-23 and we will be there; for the 21st. Dinner at Tokyo Dining, the 6:45 Processional, then a reserved viewing for IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth. Should be a memorable day.

As for me, I will be scouting character photo opportunities. I already have a few in mind for the Magic Kingdom on the 20th. Something I'll write about later. But before we head off down I-75 I thought I would share the first Character Connection I experienced. It was in front of the Walt Disney World Railroad Station, just before entering the park for a day of wonder and amazement. The date? Sometime during the early Spring of 1972.
Mickey and I both were a bit younger then.

Please check my Facebook page and Twitter for updates from the parks.

More to follow...

Saturday, December 12, 2009

A Night At the Pop: The 60's

A look at the calendar would show you that the 1960's began at 12:00:01 on January 1, 1960. True. But, I believe that in looking back at that decade, we can say that what we know as The Sixties, began on a cold January in 1961. On the morning of January 20, 1961, John F. Kennedy concluded his inaugural address with these words:

"And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you -- ask what you can do for your country. My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man."

With those words, he ushered in a season of change and founded a new spirit of America. It wasn't always easy. Years later a fictional President would say, "America isn't easy. America is advanced citizenship. You gotta want it bad, 'cause it's gonna put up a fight." The decisions made in the 1960's were not always the right decisions. But as the country stepped into the next decade, it did so having recreated a spirit of volunteerism, of inventiveness, of boldness, and of change.

It was also a decade ripe with creativity.

In the cinema, the Academy Award for Best Motion Picture was given to The Apartment (1960), West Side Story (1961), Lawrence of Arabia (1962), Tom Jones (1963), My Fair Lady (1964), The Sound of Music (1965), A Man for All Seasons (1966), In the Heat of the Night (1967), Oliver! (1968) and Midnight Cowboy (1969).

Celebrated music came in many forms from many artists and composers. During 1960's, the Grammy Award for Best Song was awarded to The Battle of New Orleans - Johnny Horton (1960), Theme from Exodus - Various Artists (1961), Moon River - Andy Williams (1962), What Kind of Fool Am I - Sammy Davis, Jr. (1963), Days of Wine and Roses - Andy Williams (1964), Hello Dolly! - Louis Armstrong (1965), The Shadow of Your Smile - Tony Bennett (1966), Michelle - The Beatles (1967), Up, Up and Away -The 5th Dimension (1968) and Little Green Apples - O. C. Smith (1969).

As an aside, many of you know that I am fan of The Beatles. In that respect, you could say that I am stuck in the 60's. The Beatles were also nominated for Best Song for A Hard Days Night in 1965, Yesterday in 1966 and Hey Jude in 1969. Beatlemania was at its zenith on August 15, 1965 when the lads from Liverpool performed in front of 55,600 fans at Shea Stadium. This single show attendance record stood until May 5, 1973 when Led Zeppelin broke the record at Tampa (Florida) Stadium.

The country mourned its fallen President following the assassination of John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963. Tragedy again shook the country with the assassinations of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. on April 4, 1968 and Senator Robert F. Kennedy on June 6, 1968. But even in the midst of the turmoil that would define the latter part of the decade, we could celebrate man's ingenuity as on July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong stepped from the leg of the lunar module with the words, "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for all mankind."
Disney also gave us opportunity to laugh and sing with the release of One Hundred and One Dalmatians on January 25, 1961, The Sword in the Stone on Christmas Day 1963, The Jungle Book on October 18, 1967. Another ground-breaking film flew into theaters on August 27, 1964 with the release of Mary Poppins. Sadly, we also had cause to mourn, as on December 15, 1966, Walt Disney died. We are thankful that he left behind an enduring and ever-growing legacy.

On January 15, 1967, a new sports phenomenon debuted with the Green Bay Packers defeating the Kansas City Chiefs 35-10 in Super Bowl I.

Next week, we'll look into a decade that (for me) can best be remembered for having ushered in a 1950's revival. It was just that exciting.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Incredibles

Another confession:

I was never a fan of having my picture made with characters. I considered the time spent waiting in line to have my photograph taken, to be time I could be riding a ride, seeing a show, taking a photograph, or perhaps, eating. But, that is changing, thanks to my grandchildren.

During our "Papa's Dream Come True" trip in September, I patiently waited in line in the Judge's Tent at Mickey's Toontown Fair, to have my photograph made with Mickey and Minnie and whole Doc fam. And, I confess, I had a little Doc only time with Mickey and Minnie (see my Facebook profile photo). I couldn't help myself. Then, during the "Papa and Devon Back to The World" October outing, Devon taught me that having your picture made with a few characters is not a bad thing. In fact, sometimes it can be quite fun and you may experience at times little to no wait. So, with my grandson leading the way, I dove in and have begun the quest of compiling my collection of character photo ops.

Now yes, I suppose since it was all started by a mouse, I should start my Character Connections with The Mouse himself, but I am going in a little different direction and beginning with The Incredibles. It is an example of how fun some photo ops can be.

It may be easier to seek out these Character Connections when I have a grandchild with me. But I am going to test the envelop in a few weeks when Mrs. Doc visit Walt Disney World for the Candlelight Processional. Then, it will be the ol' Doc, and perhaps Mrs. Doc, waiting in line without a grandchild in sight.

One must do what one must do.

More to follow...


Monday, December 7, 2009

Where In The World

If one were able to catch a glimpse of what hypersleep is considered to look like, then they would have looked out their window during Mission: Space. Congratulations to Craig Wheeler for correctly identifying the 11.30.09 photo challenge.

Now, for this week's challenge. Where In The World would you find this?

More to follow...

Saturday, December 5, 2009

A Night At the Pop: The 50's

I was born in the first year of the second Eisenhower administration; born in the 50's, toddled and played through the 60's and came of age in the 70's.

During recent visits i have become a fan of the Disney's Pop Century Resort. I have a goal of staying in each decade over the course of the next few years. So far, I have stayed in the 60's twice and the 70's once. I have three decades to go. Each decade is celebrated by icons representative of the decade. In the next few weeks, TDO will explore these larger-than-life icons, visiting each decade during Disney World After Dark.

When the 50's arrived, Harry S. Truman was President. The average household income was $3,216 and a house would cost an average of $14,500. A postage stamp was 3 cents, milk cost 82 cents and bread was 14 cents. You could also buy a thing known as an LP (meaning long-play) record for $4.85.

Speaking of music, here are the Number 1 Hits of the 1950's:

1950 - The Fat Man - Fats Domino
1951 - Sixty Minute Man - The Dominoes
1952 - Lawdy Miss Clawdy - Lloyd Price
1953 - Money Honey - Drifters featuring Clyde McPhatter
1954 - Rock Around the Clock - Bill Haley and His Comets
1955 - Tutti-Frutti - Little Richard
1956 - Hound Dog - Elvis Presley
1957 - Jailhouse Rock - Elvis Presley
1958 - Johnny B. Goode - Chuck Berry
1959 - What'd I'd Say - Ray Charles

In Disney news, Cinderella opened on February 15, 1950. Following was Alice in Wonderland (wide release July 28, 1951), Peter Pan (February 5, 1953), Lady and the Tramp (wide release June 22, 1955) and Sleeping Beauty (January 29, 1959). Some where in all this studio activity, Uncle Walt also managed to develop some property in Orange County along Harbor Boulevard.
The Academy Awards for Best Picture went to All About Eve (1950), An American In Paris (1951), The Greatest Show on Earth (1952), From Here to Eternity (1953), On the Waterfront (1954), Marty (1955), Around the World in 80 Days (1956), The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957), Gigi (1958), and Ben-Hur (1959).

Oh, and football. Between 1950 and 1959, the Cleveland Browns won the NFL Championship 3 times, the Detroit Lions 3 times, the Baltimore Colts 2 times, the Los Angeles Rams and the New York Giants 1 time each.

Next week, we'll groove into the 60's. Until then, hang loose.

More to follow...

Thursday, December 3, 2009

IllumiNations: Act One

Some time ago, July 30th to be exact, I posted an article entitled IllumiNations: The Introduction. In the article we briefly explored the opening of the nighttime spectacular. Here now, is Act One.
The first act of IllumiNations is comprised of five pieces. They are Symphony No. 5 by Ludwig van Beethoven, Flight of the Bumblebee by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, the Zampa Overture by Ferdinand Herold, the Italian Concerto by Johann Sebastian Bach and the William Tell Overture by Giachhino Rossini. Let’s look first at the first two pieces.

The first movement of Beethoven’s (1770-1827) Symphony No. 5 in C minor, Opus 67, was composed over a period of four years beginning in 1804 and premiered in Vienna in 1808. It opens with perhaps one of the most recognizable four measures in music. Written in two-four time, the work opens with 3 eighth notes followed by a sustained half note. This then repeats with the addition of a second sustained half note. The four-note motif repeats at various times throughout the first movement and subsequent three movements.

Little is known about the origins, or purpose for the creation of the Fifth Symphony. Some maintain is stands as the composer’s musical exploration of fate. Others look to an aborted love affair or a sense of patriotism in the wake of Austria’s loss during the Napoleonic Wars as its inspiration. In his life, Beethoven composed nine symphonies. The Symphony No. 5 (along with the Ninth which will be discussed later) is a testament to a career that experienced extreme highs and devastating lows which were marked with periods of sheer genius.

Flight of the Bumblebee is from Rimsky-Korsakov (1844-1908) 1900 opera, Tale of the Tsar Sultan. It appears in Act III of the opera. Like the Symphony No. 5, it is also written in two four time but uses a nearly continuous stream of sixteenth notes and instead of plodding along at a steady pace, it is rendered at an extremely rapid pace. The piece appears as an interlude in which the Swan-Bird magically transforms the Tsar’s son into an insect (a bumblebee) giving him the ability to fly so that he may visit his father. A lyric, sang by the Swan-Bird, accompany the interlude:

“Well, now, my bumblebee, go on a spree,catch up with the ship on the sea,go down secretly,get into a crack a little distance away.Good luck, Gvidon, fly,only do not stay long!”

The overture from the opera Zampa, was composed by Ferdinand Herold in 1831, two years prior to his death from tuberculosis. Zampa, is perhaps the most famous of his 22 operatic compositions.

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) published his Italian Concerto, or Concerto after the Italian Taste, in 1735. Bach composed a great of number of works for harpsichord and clavichord. The concerto was composed in three movements for a two-manual harpsichord. The third movement is entitled “Presto” and as the title implies, is played at a fast tempo. Though not as well known as his Goldberg Variations or the Brandenburg Concertos, the Italian has been widely recorded as favorite of the Bach concertos.

Gioachino Rossini (1792-1868) composed 39 operas during his lifetime. The opera William Tell was premiered in Paris on August 3, 1929. The Overture to the opera was written in four parts which include the Prelude, the Storm, The Ranz des Vaches (which translates ‘call to the dairy cows’) and that part which we are most familiar with, the Finale, or Galop.

The Finale begins with a fanfare of trumpets signaling the beginning of a cavalry charge and is joined by full orchestra. This “charge” being presented in the Overture is a glimpse into Act IV of the opera where a rebel Swiss army, led by Tell, arrives and fights the battle that leads to the liberation of Switzerland.

Through the years the William Tell Overture has been interpreted and performed by a number of individuals and groups and has been featured in television and film. For a more whimsical musical interpretation, let me recommend Spike Jones and His City Slickers 1948 rendition. You’ll never listen the Overture the same way again.


The first act runs 2 minutes, 3 seconds long.

Next, we’ll look at the countries of the World Showcase through the music of Act II.

More to follow…
The photographs were taken by the author in 1994 using a Minolta 35mm camera.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Where In The World: Say Hello To A Long Lost Feature

As we try to move back into the process of posting semi-regularly, we thought it may be best to begin with a new Where In The World. This should be fairly easy.


Sunday, November 29, 2009

In Response

This is a response to something I read this week on another blog; one of my favorites. It has to do with friendship and instead of simply commenting on the post, I chose to provide my comment here. In this way, those of you who read this blog and the other (which of course begs the question, "why aren't you?), can perhaps reflect on its meaning. It is this:

Life is busy. I think back to how simple life was when I lived in England. When I moved back to America I was astonished at how quickly life got incredibly busy again. So, while it is perhaps polite and proper to apologize for how busy we are, I do not believe it is always necessary. Busy is who we are; it is what we do. True, while we all aspire to a slower way of living in a simpler time, it more often than not escapes us. We strive to do best the we can inside our busy condition.

As to friendship (and this is my comment), true friendship can be measured in that, friends can be apart for long periods of time and have little time to talk, yet, when they are reunited, it is as if there was no separation at all. They pick up just where they left off, as though one had stepped away only for a moment. I am blessed to have friends like that and the author of the blog you should be reading is one.

While I am here...

I have not taken the time to post a Thanksgiving message. This doesn't mean I have little to be thankful for; quite the contrary. If you follow TDO then you know what 2009 has meant to me. It may not included as many trips to Walt Disney World as I would have liked to take, but I did enjoy an Alaskan cruise with my wife, my mother, my sister and my youngest nephew. You know I got to answer the question, "What will you celebrate?" by walking down Main Street U.S.A. my grandchildren (a dream come true) and being back in the parks with my son. Then last month I had the honor of presenting my daughter to be married.

All-in-all, not a bad year and great great deal to be thankful for. And all this without mentioning home, health, provision, and all the daily ways I am thankful.

More to follow...

This post carries no photographs, therefore, there are not photo credits.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

But It Bears Repeating

It has been well over a month since I have posted, and before I proceed, I feel that there is something that I have written that bears repeating. That is, that while I believe that every father is proud of his children, there is no father who can be any prouder than I am of mine. Continuing from my last post, let me present a few moments of a father and his daughter.


Saturday, October 17, 2009

Today

I have been richly blessed in this life!

I have a wife who loves me and doesn't seem to mind the fact that there is still a kid running around the house - even though our kid's left home years ago. I have great mom; my enabler. I have a wonderful sister who I am immensely proud of. And with her come's a brother-in-law and great little nephew who can wear out a Star Wars Legos set.

Then comes the children. Mrs. Doc has Jeff, my step-son, and his wife Camille. They are an amazing couple balancing careers and raising two beautiful children; Luke (who is also good with Legos) and Emmery. Then there is my son, Gregory and his wife Jennifer. Wow! It isn't easy raising a family with one parent traveling so often, but they are writing the book on how to do it - and do it right. They have blessed me with Devon, Shelby and Jackson (Jack-Jack). We have all just recently returned from Walt Disney World. Devon and I will be back in four days. But these guys are something else. They live just across the street from Mrs. Doc and I. I have to tell you; there is no greater feeling in the world than to come home from work and have your grandchildren rush out their front door hollowing, "Hi Papa!" and run over to give me a hug and tell me about their day. I highly recommend this type of living arrangement for anyone who plans on becoming a grandparent sometime during the course of their life.

I could go on and on about my grandkids. What grandparent can’t?

I could go on and on about both of my kids. We three grew up together; well, they grew up. I am still trying not too. But that is another story for another day.

Back to today.

Today, in fact, at this exact moment, I am especially blessed to be the Father of the Bride! At this moment I am walking my daughter down the aisle and will present her to her love, to be joined in marriage. Ali, an incredible young lady!

I know that every parent is so very proud of their children. Parents should be proud. I am proud of my children and it is a privilege to be their father. But today, in this moment, there is not another father walking the face of this earth who is anymore proud of their daughter than I am of mine right now! She is my little girl - she is my princess.

Ali, me and my lovely bride at the "Couples" Wedding Party.

...on the road (actually in the air) with one of my favorite traveling companions.

...at Cirque du Soleil "Love" (we saw Paul McCartney in concert the night before)

...and presenting my son-in-law, Ryan.

P.s. He doesn't mind taking my calls whenever I call him from Walt Disney World and need a quick wine pairing. He is quite good. He and I have become good friends and challenge each other to take better photographs. Ryan, welcome to the family!

I am proud you two! You, along with all the family, keep the blessing flowing.

Monday, September 28, 2009

How?

My wife, Mrs. Doc, enjoys a website called eHow.com. On it, people write “how to” on a variety of subjects. On there you can find information on from how to cut a gem stone, to how to boil water. Seriously, there is an article on how to boil water. Mrs. Doc has written a few of these “how to” articles. The one about how to cut a gem stone was hers.

She also has the nice habit of forwarding eHow articles to me from time to time. This is especially true if the article has anything to do with Walt Disney World. And I have come to learn there are a good number of articles centered on things related to Disney. A search of the site yielded 33K plus entries in which the word “Disney” appears. She sent one these to me this weekend that I particularly liked and wanted to comment on. It is entitled How to Spread the Magic While Visiting Walt Disney World.”

It is simple article and contains three ways to “Spread the Magic.” One is easy enough – smile. Most of us are smiling the whole time we’re there anyway. With this, we need simply to direct our smile towards someone else. Brighten their day just that much more!

The second recommendation I found interesting. Wave to other people in the parks and count the number of times someone else waves back. The writer says that her family makes a game out of it. I am a bit introverted so this one would be a little difficult for me. Yes, waving is easy if I am waving at someone I know, but I don’t often do this with strangers. I’ve have waved at someone then quickly pulled my hand down when I discovered the person I was waving at was not the person I thought they were. Still, it may be interesting to try this suggestion some time.

Third, and another suggestion that is easily accomplished, is to strike up a conversation while in queue. I say it’s easy, and while it doesn’t happen that often, I have been known start a conversation with someone else in queue. The reality is, that more often than not, I am in line with friends or family so my conversation is usually directed to them. But again, it has happened. Another suggestion mentioned, what I’ll call 3a, is to recognize someone’s celebration button and comment. It is not hard too hard to tell someone “Happy Birthday”, “Happy Anniversary” or “Congratulations” to a Just Married couple. These are all special moments and we are helping to make it that much more special.

If there is one thing The Disney Obsession is about, it is about the emotion that comes from a love of all things Disney. I think that is the way Walt would want it? Don’t you think he intended for his parks to spark emotions in us all? I think he did.

The Magic Kingdom is known as The Magical Place on Earth. But for all the magic there, and throughout all of Walt Disney World, there is always room for a little more. There is room for the magic that we can make by sharing our happiness, our joy, our excitement with others around us. We have the privilege, and the duty, to share our magic with those we know and with total strangers; fellow travelers, we meet along the way.

I suppose you might say it’s a way to Pay It Forward, Disney style.

More to follow…

Thursday, September 24, 2009

What Is Your Favorite Park?

Just over a year ago my friend George Taylor of Imaginerding invited me to take part in a series of interviews he was conducting called "Meet Our Neighbors." In the interview he would pose a series of questions and invite other bloggers to answer them for inclusion on his site. I enjoyed this opportunity as it afforded me the chance to give some real thought to specific aspects of my Disney Obsession.

I have gone back and re-read his questions and my answers and thought it would be good if I were to take some of the questions and go into a little more detail. You might call if "fuel" for a few posts here. So to begin with, and for this installment of Disney As Art, I thought I would revisit the question, "What is your favorite park?" I answered the question:

"As special as the Magic Kingdom is, and most every trip begins with a walk down Main Street U.S.A., my favorite park is Epcot. That is where I renewed my love for Disney as an adult. The icon is like no other. The moment it became "the" park was when I first heard the sub-woofers kick in during Saint-Saëns "Organ" Symphony in Impressions de France. From that moment on..."

This has not changed in the year since I wrote that, or in the years since "I first heard the heard the..."

For most of my life I have held a fascination with France and specifically with Paris. There was time when I could say I had spent more time in Paris than I had in Walt Disney World. It was the first stop on a trip my parents gave me as a graduation gift. It was the city where my wife and I spent our honeymoon. It was a quick trip on the EuroStar while we lived in England and it was the city I always tried to route my travel through whenever I flew back and forth to Europe to teach.

When I am in Epcot, specifically in France, I allow my mind to wander into the realm of fantasy. When that happens I think back to days when I felt that the bohemian lifestyle would have suited my artistic temperment. I feel this when I look up at the window above the wine shop on Le Petit Rue and see a lone flickering light. I am drawn to the tragic story of Rodolfo and Mimi in Puccini's La Boheme. And if I listen close enough with my imagination I can just hear Rodolfo's anguished cry as he cradles the deceased Mimi in his arms. 

I can set on a bench and easily place myself in Somerset Maugham's The Moon and Sixpence. There I become Charles Strickland; a character based on Paul Gauguin. I am a painter exploring the reach of my creativity along side Van Gogh, and then finally journeying to the South Pacific to find a vision of "art" and "beauty." Or I can set with Hemingway, Stein, Fitzgerald, Pound and others of "The Lost Generation" at the side walk cafe that once stood on the promenade. There we would pour over the morning papers, have a cup of espresso, a pastry, and decide what the day will hold.

Fanciful? Probably. But this is what is conjured up in my mind anytime I cross the bridge from the United Kingdom or step across the change in pavement from Morocco. Is this the real Paris in the real France? No, not by a large margin. I doesn't contain my favorite table at my favorite cafe on the Left Bank. 

But, it is still magical. When I visit this little corner of the World Showcase I am transported, for however long, to a semblance of a place that holds many fond memories for me. I can travel, if but for a little while, to a place where my imagination can run free. And isn't that what Disney is about? A place where our imagination can be set free. 

I hope this piece of Disney as Art can help you reach into your imagination and cause you to smile.

More to follow...

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

What's It All About?


It has been two weeks since I returned from that magical trip to Walt Disney World with my grandchildren. Some of you have said you were looking forward to hearing more about the holiday. To those people, I apologize.

My apology is two-fold. On one hand, I have been incredibly busy since getting back. On the other hand, and actually the more important of the excuses, is that, quite frankly, it has been hard to put the experience into words. Yes, I could give you a nice exposition on how the parks were not all that crowded, therefore the wait times were not bad. I can tell you how this enabled us to accomplish much more than we imagined we’d be able to. But this could never fully express what took place during the Labor Day weekend.

I continue to look back and as I do, I come to understand that this trip was, for me at least, not about the experiences. It was about the emotions! It was about how I reacted and how I felt as I watched my babies experience the magic for the first time.

It was about that rush of excitement I felt as I watched and listened to Devon and Shelby help Mickey count down to the park opening. It was about taking baby steps so that 2-year old Jackson could keep up with us as we walked into Town Square. It was about finally giving free reign to my tears when I heard my granddaughter’s very audible gasp when she turned onto Main Street U.S.A. and said, “Oh look Papa, the Castle. It’s beautiful!” It was about us taking our first flight with Peter Pan over the streets of London and then to hear Devon say, “We’re in Neverland!” It was about waltzing with my granddaughter in the lobby of Mickey’s PhilharMagic and reaching out with Devon to grab the apple pie. It was about holding Shelby tight as we took the plunge on Splash Mountain and “The Grimsley Men” trying to pull the sword from the stone and laughing at our combined inability to do so. It was about smiling at my bride riding beside our princess on Cinderella’s Golden Carrousel and riding Dumbo for my first time ever with my grown son and both of us being very happy.

It was about watching their first meeting with Mickey and Minnie, and then watching Jackson warm up to the characters as the weekend progressed; so much so that he would fight his brother and sister so that he could stand right next to each of the Fab Five in the Epcot Character Spot. It was about watching him break away from his Daddy and run up to each character to give them a hug.

It was about so many things. So many more things!

It was about being able to cry openly in broad daylight, in public, simply because I was too happy to hold my tears inside. It was about “really” becoming a child again for the first time in a long time.

It was about – well, it was about magic!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Five Generations of Flight

This past Wednesday my friend Ryan at the Main Street Gazette hosted his first blog roundtable. On it, he asked the question, “What is your favorite attraction in the Magic Kingdom and why?” I want to share on The Disney Obsession, my answer. Then I would like to follow with an additional comment.

“My favorite ride in the Magic Kingdom is Peter Pan's Flight. There has never been any question on this! “True, there are many great rides in the Magic Kingdom; great for the thrills they bring or for the story they tell. Peter Pan's Flight is great for the memory it stirs within me. I made my first visit to Walt Disney World in the early Spring of 1972. It was only one day on what was a whirlwind tour through Florida. I don't remember everything about the Magic Kingdom that day, but I do remember that Flight. When our ship turned the corner and we flew out over the city of London, it was magic! It was magic that I still do not fully appreciate and cannot fully explain. In that moment I was flying! In that moment I was transported to another place and another time. I didn't need to know how things worked; I didn't care. All I cared about was being in that place at that time and wishing it could have lasted forever. It was pure fantasy. It was wonder!"I am so much older now and I know a little bit more about how things work. Yet, when I walk through the castle into Fantasyland and turn left at Mickey's PhilharMagic, I try very hard to forget. All I wish to do is climb aboard a flying ship and sail out over the city of London, think back to that first flight in '72 and just for a moment remember that there is still some small bit of innocence, a little dram of wonder, and a touch of magic still left in this world. I become, not an old man, but a boy who never really wanted to grow up."

Not much has changed. Although our home is an “empty nest”, Mrs. Doc will quickly point out that having me around is akin to having a little boy in the house. As I have said on other occasions, a person may have to grow old, but they never have to grow up. These are my words to live by and an outlook that I have tried to pass along to my children and now to my grandchildren.

Today, I will be sharing this attraction with the fifth generation of our family.

When I first flew in that Spring of 1972 it was with my mom and dad. In the late 1980’s I introduced my son and daughter to the delight of flight. Also on that late '80's trip was my grandmother. At this hour, I am riding it with my grandsons and granddaughter. There were not many things I asked for with this trip, but this was one of them; the honor of riding with them on their first flight over London. With any luck, they will not ask how it works.


But if they do, it’s magic! Isn't it? After all, we’re all kids and to us, most everything is touched with a bit of magic. Faith, trust and pixie dust!

More to follow…

Thursday, September 3, 2009

We're Off to Neverland

I am currently in route to my home away from home. And just behind me, in the burgundy colored mini-van, are my son, daughter-in-law and three of my five grandchildren. For me, that means this Labor Day weekend will be very special!

For you, it means that the content from The Disney Obsession will be nearly non-existent over the next few days, save for a post on Saturday. But if you wish to keep up with my “dream come true weekend”, stop by my Facebook page or follow me on Twitter for some updates from the park. Yeah, I haven’t quite got the hang of posting mobile content to the blog.

I promise that when I get back I will do my best to post more regularly. I do have some things ready to go and that I continue to work on. The thing is, I have been a little distracted lately.

I hope that you have a wonderful Labor Day weekend!

More to follow…

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

A New Hope

I love tomorrow! Yes, I love today too. Because all we have is today and our memories of yesterday. But for me, and perhaps for you, today does hold some thoughts of tomorrow. Tomorrow is what we hope for and that is what I love about it – hope. Albert Einstein said, “Learn from yesterday, live for today and hope for tomorrow.”

While pondering my tomorrow, today, I came across some quotes that encompass thoughts of tomorrow.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in, forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day, you shall begin it well and serenely."
I also enjoyed this from Mark Twain, “Never put off till tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow.”

Tomorrow is also found in music. The Beatles wrote a song titled Tomorrow Never Knows that includes a favorite lyric, “But listen to the color of your dreams.” In the Broadway musical Annie, the title character encourages the orphans, and us, by singing, “The sun will come out tomorrow.” And in Disney, the Sherman Brothers gave us, “There’s a great big beautiful tomorrow.”

Live for today, but have hope for tomorrow.

My tomorrow begins a journey that I have dreamed of for years now. The family will begin our Labor Day weekend trip tomorrow afternoon with our destination being Walt Disney World. While I am enjoying the drive south, listening to Disney music, talking and laughing with my wife, and having the grandchildren take turns riding with Papa, I’ll be thinking of the tomorrow that I hope for. We will call Friday. That tomorrow will be filled with adventures outside the parks. I will most like be awake that night waiting for Saturday to begin. For on that tomorrow, the dream comes true!

Shakespeare wrote tragically of “tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow” but I much prefer to look joyously on my tomorrow that lies three days away.

Yes, live for today. I do! For today is life! Have hope for tomorrow. I do! For tomorrow…well, tomorrow brings hope.

I love tomorrow!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Counting Down

A favorite thing to do with any trip to Walt Disney World, besides the trip itself, is the countdown. There are countdown clocks that we can add to computer desktops, widgets, and other methods that I am probably not familiar with. I am “old school” about this, in that, there is a calendar on my refrigerator that helps me countdown the days ‘til the magic.

There are other things I like to do that help build the anticipation. Last night for example, Mrs. Doc and I joined my daughter-in-law and three of our grandchildren, my sister and her family, and we spent the evening at the county fair. Is it Disney? No. But can it help build a little excitement? Yes. They had a ride that operated much like Primeval Whirl. Yeah, I didn’t ride here either. Once is enough.

Other anticipation builders? Disney Park music. Thanks to friends, my iPod is teeming with a wide variety of options that I can listen to. Film. In anticipation of Devon trying his hand at pulling the sword out of the stone, I thought a little primer in Arthurian legend may be helpful. And how best to introduction a nine year old to King Arthur then a leisurely read through Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur or Geoffrey of Monmouth’s History of the Kings of Britain. But then, that may be a little much for Friday night. So maybe we’ll just watch The Sword in the Stone.

Other ways of preparing is in how we use language; meaning how certain words or phrases slip into the vernacular of Disney Geeks. Phrases such as “The Single Digit Dance” or one I may have coined this morning, “The One-Week Waltz.” Another one I use when I am flying into Orlando International is, “The MCO Shuffle.” And, of course, what shuffle is complete without a stroll through the Disney “Ear”port.

So, one week to go. I suppose I need to re-pack. Just to be sure, again, that I haven't forgotten anything.

How about you? What pre-trip traditions do you have? How do you build the anticipation (as if it needs any help)? How do you count down the days ‘til Disney?

More to follow...

Monday, August 17, 2009

Remembering: Virginia Davis

Before there was a mouse, there was Alice.

In 1923, in Kansas City, Walt Disney began experimenting with the blending of live-action with animation. His experient yielded the "Alice Comedies." Disney made 49 featurettes about the adventures of Alice.
Between 1923 and 1925, Virginia Davis helped in this pioneering effort by starring in the first 13 of the comedies. She was inducted as a Disney Legend in 1998. Sadly, Ms. Davis died this past Saturday at the age of 90.

The Disney Obsession wishes to extend its sympathy to the family of Ms. Davis.



Photo: Disney Legends website

Sunday, August 16, 2009

This Just In...

Depending on what part of the country you live in, you may call them garage sales, rummage sales or yard sales. And our friends across the water call them boot sales (and I have picked up a fine trinket or two from a few of them; in fact almost missed a train because of one in Stratford-upon-Avon. But that is another story entirely.) Me personally, I call them yard sales.

My brother-in-law Russ is a connoisseur of yard sales. Seriously, he is a professional. He will visit sale after sale and come home with items as small as a set of coasters, or as large as a jet ski with trailer. He also came across a rather large collection of antique cameras. I am fairly certain these would sell for a considerable amount of money and he took them home for next to nothing. His collection of pencil sharpeners is rather impressive too. But whatever it is, Russ is a master!

Every so often, Russ, like other family and friends will think about me when they run across something of a Disney nature. For which, I am very appreciative. So, it was not surprising that a few weekends ago Mrs. Doc answers the front door and is given a rather large package addressed to me. Obviously, I am excited. I quickly opened the package and found a first edition The Art of Walt Disney by Christopher Finch. Wow! The book is huge and will take more than a few minutes to go through. You’ll see that the dust jacket is missing as is the paint bucket, but the raised image of Mickey holding a paintbrush is there as are the 458 pages of incredible content.

The stack of books I have to read has just gotten taller. And this, before I lay in a copy of Pierre Lambert’s Mickey Mouse.

Thanks Russ. I know you probably don’t read The Disney Obsession, but I thank you anyway. What a wonderful surprise!
More to follow…

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

please stand by...

...and please keep your feet, arms and legs inside the blog at all times. The Disney Obsession will resume shortly. Thank you for your attention.

Honestly, things have been a little busy around Doc's house as I make plans for my first trip to Walt Disney World with the grandchildren. It will also be my first trip with my daughter-in-law who is something of a photographer herself. So we have been exchanging tips, ideas and so forth. For the record, the last trip with my son was in June 1994. As I recall, we came home with several episodes of Stupid Home Video. I can only hope we can make it home a few hours more.

Last night, after a wonderful dinner, we all poured over park maps and discussed our plans for the days we'll be there. Afterwards we jumped into YouTube and previewed some of what we'll be experiencing along a few things we won't. Who can passed up a chance to watch the Hyperspace Hoopla? The family loved it.

Status? Devon is completely ready to combat the Evil Emperor Zurg and Shelby is looking forward to visiting The Seas with Nemo and Friends. Jack-Jack; well Jack-Jack learned to say Tur-tle.

But back to blog at hand. In a few days I'll try to post a few items I have been working on. One having to do with a book and the other with IllumiNations. So as I am fond of saying:

More to follow...

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Watching The Days Go By

It's alright, okay, you can go ahead and admit it. You just had the urge to sing a Talking Heads song didn't you?

"Same as it ever was,
Same as it ever was."Onward.

I am definitely living in one of the most exciting times of recent memory. Earlier this year my wife and I fulfilled one of her grandest dreams; that of taking an Alaskan cruise. Later this year, on October 17th to be precise, I will have the honor of escorting “my princess”, my daughter down the aisle on her wedding day. And as I have previously written, this Labor Day Weekend has a particular significance.

I posed a question to each member of my family making this particular journey. The question was, “What I am most looking forward to on my trip to Walt Disney World is…” The results are in.

Devon – “What I am most looking forward to on my trip to Walt Disney World is riding Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin and seeing what our hotel looks like.”

Shelby – “What I am most looking forward to on my trip to Walt Disney World is to seeing Minnie Mouse and going to see shows.”

Gregory – “What I am most looking forward to on my trip to Walt Disney World is seeing my babies’ expressions and excitement watching the magic of Disney cover my kids like a warm blankie.”

Jennifer – “What I am most looking forward to on my trip to Walt Disney World is hearing the giggles and the unending can we do this, ride that, get this and what’s next as their minds try to wrap itself around all there is to see and do.”

Mrs. Doc – “What I am most looking forward to on my trip to Walt Disney World is watching the Devon and Shelby experience their first Disney trip and watching my hubby's dream come true.”

Oh, and we can’t forget Jack-Jack. True, at two years old, he may not be particularly passionate about any one attraction (though I can see him running rampant around Pooh’s Playful Spot). But, he too, chimed in with an answer. Jackson is most looking forward to “una una dis, okay?”

All in all, I would say that 2009 is shaping up to be a banner year.

This just in! Jack-Jack can now say Mickey Mouse. It sounds something like M-I-N-K-E-Y M-O-O-S-E.

This, of course, conjurs up memories of one of the great lines in motion picture history:

"The Moose says you're closed, but I say you're open."

More to follow...

Thursday, July 30, 2009

IllumiNations - The Introduction

“Good evening, and welcome to World Showcase. Tonight we are pleased to present a visual journey, an international fantasy of music and light. We're about to embark on a sparkling abstract expedition around World Showcase. With the music as your passport, we'll discover sights and sounds from colorful ports of call. And to celebrate our journey, the countries will be united by the festive elements of water, fire, and light. And now, let your imagination be your guide, as EPCOT Center proudly presents IllumiNations.”

Thus began, IllumiNations. IllumiNations, as I remember it when I first saw the nighttime spectacular in late 1988. As much as I enjoy, appreciate, and love IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth*, this version is a sentimental favorite and I will often dust off one of my VHS copies of the show and recall those nights setting on the patio of the Cantina de San Angel enjoying sights and sounds.

The nighttime extravaganza at Epcot has a history stretching back to October 23, 1982. What began as the Carnival de Lumiere and has assumed many forms prior to its present incarnation as Illuminations: Reflections of Earth. This sentimental journey opened on Saturday, January 30, 1988 and played through Friday, September 20, 1996. It was presented in three acts: The Opening, World Showcase, and the Finale.

Over these next few weeks I would like to explore each of the three acts. We’ll take a look at the music and the composers who created it. From the opening measures of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5, through the lone clarinet strains of Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, to the Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Festival Overture, IllumiNations (1988-1996) presented a soaring kaleidoscope of sound.

Let’s begin to explore, shall we?


More to follow…

* The crescendo and fanfare at the 8:02 mark in the music is nothing short of thrilling to the ears and inspiring to the spirit.

Friday, July 24, 2009

A Man Has Dreams...

“A man has dreams of walking with giants,
to carve his niche in the edifice of time.”

These have long been some of my favorite lines from the film, Mary Poppins. In the film, George Banks is reflecting on what he thought his life would be and what his life has become. Like George Banks, I think all men and women grow up having grand dreams of what our futures would be and then live in the reality of what our lives are.

Yet, the words, a man has dreams are not restricted to a certain place and specific time. No, these words are timeless, and each morning we are greeted with a new opportunity to dream and to reach.

I have had several dreams in my life; some have come true and others continue to elude me. One dream that I have had, had its beginning on Monday, June 5, 2000. On that day my first grandchild, Devon, was born! Shortly after he drew his first breath, a dream began to breathe in me. That dream – to walk down Main Street U.S.A. with my grandson. Over time, that dream has grown to include, not just Devon, but Shelby, Luke, Emmery, and Jackson (our as I like to call him, Jack-Jack). My song has been, “This man has dreams of walking with grandkids, to share the parks with the little ones he loves.”

On Saturday, September 5, 2009, the dream will become a reality! On, what I hope will be a cool, crisp, September morn, Mrs. Doc and I, along with my son, daughter-in-law, and their children, Devon, Shelby and Jack-Jack, will gather before the Walt Disney World Railroad Station and watch the Magic Kingdom Welcoming Ceremony. We’ll all pass through the tunnel and out into Town Square, there we’ll be greeted by the sounds of “Goodbye, My Coney Island Baby” and the aroma of freshly popped corn. Then, one of my grandest dreams will come true as my grandchildren and I join hands and walk down Main Street U.S.A.

I don’t know, and I am not ashamed to say it, but there may be a tear or two in my eyes.

I sure hope so.
More to follow…

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

In Doc's World - Chapter One

I am a member of the Music City NFFC; the local chapter of the National Fantasy Fan Club. At this time our group is small enough that we can meet in various members’ homes – which is good since Mr. & Mrs. Doc occupy a rather small home. I enjoy offering our address as a meeting place as it gives me an opportunity to share my Disney collection with others who either collect or have an appreciation of things Disney.

The majority of my collection occupies my office upstairs. This is due mostly to a promise I made to my wife to try and contain the majority of what I have in one room. This is hard to do since every trip brings new additions and friends and family help add to the assortment of treasures from time to time. Consequently, some things have found other areas of the house to be displayed. It is part of the A.L.D.I.E.R. Initiative that is under way In Doc’s World. The A.L.D.I.E.R. Initiative proposes to place A Little Disney In Every Room.

Chapter One has is roots in a 1992 (or was it 1994) trip to Walt Disney World. Tucked away in a small corner, just off of our living room, is homage to one of our favorite cities, Paris. There you’ll find a paper model of the Eiffel Tower that I found in Galerie Des Halles. For a time there were several models you could choose from. I purchased the Eiffel Tower and Mont St. Michel. To date, only the Eiffel Tower has been constructed. The Mont St. Michel model resides on a shelf along with models of the Opera and Notre Dame that I picked up while on a visit to Paris. The small resin buildings could be found in La Signature. The sculptor is J. Carlton working in association with Dominique Gault.

Over the next few weeks I hope to share more chapters from Doc’s World. I hope, too, that some may provide an interesting anecdote here and there.

More to follow…

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Some hats...

Walt Disney World is a world filled with hats - plenty of hats. Plenty of hats present plenty of photo opportunities. Over the years I have had the opportunity to take many photos in Walt Disney World and from time to time I try to find a theme, or commonality in the photos. I have taken photos of all the windows on Main Street U.S.A., and you know the significance of Main Street U.S.A. windows. I look for interesting trivia shots and try my hand from time to time with nighttime photograhpy with differing results. And from time to time I like to have a little fun with hats. Who doesn't. Right?

Next time you find yourself in the parks and need something to do, find some hats and have some fun.

More to follow...

Postscript: thank you to everyone who has taken the time to share your thoughts and recommendations about Disneyland. The have been insightful. Please continue to share.

Monday, July 13, 2009

The Poll: Round One

Okay, first things first. I have a confession to make. Here goes,

I have never been to Disneyland.

Okay, there, I said it. Yeah sure, I have been to Walt Disney World many many times and I have been Disneyland Paris twice; once while it was actually called EuroDisney. I have the sweat shirt and guidemap and a few other items to prove it. But to Disneyland, to Walt's park, I have never been. And I call myself a Disney Geek. Yeah, right.

I am planning to correct that oversight sometime in the next 365 days. So, apart from all the advice I am looking forward to receiving from my pals, I thought I would start with a little poll. For this, I need your help.

Help Mrs. Doc and I plan our trip by answering this question. If you only have one day to spend in Disneyland, what are the Top 5 things (in order) that you must do? If you wish to elaborate with why it is on your list, or with other useful tips, please feel free to do so. Once I have a nice selection of replies I'll compile the information and share it here.

Thank you for helping us out. I know it will be helpful, not only in our planning (as we don't really know how long we may have in the area) but with other readers who may be considering a trip to the park that Walt built.

More to follow...

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Where In The World

The Disney Obsession would like to congratulate our good friend Doc Terminus of Passamaquoddy fame for correctly identifying the .25 of our last photo. His answer, somewhat creatively, spelled out Midway Mania with "My ironic dissertation will allow you many a nod! its Adventureland!" Hmmmm.

So, let's try another 1/4th of a picture. How about this?

On a slightly different note...things appear to be settling down a little in Doc's World. I hope to post a bit more regularly; at least for the next few weeks.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Balloons

There are as many first day traditions as there are Disney fans. Whenever it is possible I like to take a stroll down Main Street U.S.A. on that first day. The music, hustle and bustle, the colors, the smells and all that happiness combine to say, "Welcome Home!"

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Where In The World: An Update and 0.25

Life can sometimes come at you fast and that has been the case for me during these past few weeks; actually since returning from Alaska. With that in mind, I will spend a few moments this morning bringing the Where In The World series up to date.

First, we placed a photo in the contest on April 25th (wow, that seems like a long time ago) that featured "No. 1 Toys." The sign can be found on a wall in the patio area of the Yak & Yeti Local Foods counter service in Disney's Animal Kingdom. My good from Ryan wrote in with the correct location. And on a personal note, let me recommend the egg rolls at the Yak & Yeti. Probably the best egg rolls on Disney property.

On May 16th the Obsession featured a photograph of an old Coke machine; something I wish I had setting in my "adventurers room". No one wrote in on this one, which leads me to think that the Where In The World series may have run its course. We'll see. Instead of leaving the photo out (Its been there over a month), I will go ahead an say that this particular Coke machine can be found Chester & Hester's Dinosaur Treasures, also in Disney's Animal Kingdom.

In the hope that there may be one or two of you out there that still check The Disney Obsession from time to time, I give you this...I call it, Where In The World 0.25, meaning that it is one-fourth of the total picture.

Have fun and check back in soon. Tomorrow I'll display the first of a new series called "Disney as Art."

More to follow...

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Remiss...

Pronunciation: \ri-ˈmis\
Function: adjective
Etymology: Middle English, from Anglo-French remis, Latin remissus, from past participle of remittere to send back, relax
Date: 15th century


1: negligent in the performance of work or duty: careless
2: showing neglect or inattention: lax

synonyms: see negligent

In writing about "Pals" last week I featured some photographs of the contents of a certain package I received from one of my many pals. But it wasn't long after I hit in the "publish post" button that I realized there was additional art that I could include. You see, I am blessed with a number of wonderful pals; family, friends and co-workers, who from time to time decide that my cluttered upstairs room could use a bit more to see. A few more things that help me to pass the time away from my central Florida home.

So, I was remiss last week in only posting one photo (well, two). This evening, I correct that small oversight, help the stars to realign, contribute to world peace in our generation and hopefully allow for a good nights sleep.You're looking at some park maps from Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea along with a map from a park that I miss nearly as much as I miss Walt Disney World, Disneyland Paris. You'll also see a little something with the Fab Four; someone out there knows I love The Beatles. After all, I was a pre-Shea Stadium baby.

Thanks to my pals Lori and Fee for adding a little more sunshine to my days.

This makes me think it may be time to begin something new on The Disney Obsession. I won't go into much about it now, but let me simply share some words scribbled on a nearby Post It note. "Blog idea...'In My World' - photos of Disney around the house" Yeah Doc, that's all we need, photographs of some of your collection.

More to follow...

Thursday, June 4, 2009

"Pals"

You may remember some of the films of the Eighties that starred a group of young actors that became known as the "Brat Pack." This group, collectively, gave us some memorable films including two in 1985, The Breakfast Club and St. Elmo's Fire. One actor who starred in both of these films, Emilio Estevez, went on to play William H. Bonney in 1988's Young Guns.

Alongside Emilio, Kiefer Sutherland played Josiah Gordon "Doc" Scurlock. Doc was the poet warrior of this band of outlaws and he narrates the closing scene of the film as he shares the fate of each member of the group. It is the last line of his narration that lends itself to the title of this post. Sutherland says, "The epitaph read only one word...'Pals'."

I want to share with you something that has been said already by many others in this community; this collective of Disney enthusiasts, who proudly wear the badge of "geek". We're a compassionate and caring group! True, we are not the only collection of like minded individuals who celebrate our friendships. There are others can be equally as compassionate and caring. But, we are who we are, so we celebrate the inspiration that we provide and receive from each other. We have each others back in this.

We're a giving group; don't believe me? Have you taken a look at the current Dream Team Project total? We are, in big and small ways, working together to create and share some magic with terminally ill children. Not a bad thing to do.

But we also give each other little bits of magic from time to time; magic beyond our friendships and shared memories. Sometimes these bits of magic arrive in boxes. This was the case for me on yesterday.

I have a friend, a pal, if you will, who knew that I was unable to attend the recent 20th Anniversary celebration at Disney's Hollywood Studios. It is Doc's effort to spread those recession vacation dollars around and experience other parts of the world. (Long story - another post.) So, the post arrives and in it I find:

Thank you Ryan! Pal!

More to follow...

Postscript: you can't tell from the photo, but there are at least four of each park guide map. My pal knows that (for some unknown, idiosyncratic reason) I get four copies of all the ephemera I collect. Strange? Maybe. But its me and my pal(s) look out for me - they have my back.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Disney World After Dark: A Dinosaur

Gertie the Dinosaur is an animated film by Winsor McCay. Gertie debuted at the Palace Theater in Chicago in 1914 as part of McCay’s vaudeville act. The performance involved McCay appearing in front of a projection screen and interacting with the animated Gertie through a series of tricks that included McCay tossing an apple (which he palmed) which the dinosaur caught. The film concluded with McCay moving behind the screen and then reappearing in cartoon form. He then climbed up on Gertie’s back and together they rode off the screen.

To produce his film, McCay drew thousands of frames on 6 ½ by 8 ½ inch rice paper. He hired his neighbor, John Fitzsimmons, an art student, to draw the backgrounds. Several now standard techniques were employed in the creation of the film including registration marks to maintain alignment and cycling of some previously drawn sequences.

While Gertie the Dinosaur is not the first animated film ever made, it is the first using “keyframing”. Keyframing is a technique in which every frame is directly modified or manipulated by the creator. In McCay’s case, he drew the key frames first then went back to draw the in between frames. It differs from traditional hand-drawn animation where a “key” artist would draw a series of key frames that would then be passed to an assistant, or “in-betweener” to complete the scene.

Gertie can be visited on the shore of Echo Lake. She stands as a tribute, not only to the earliest days of animation, but also to the “California Crazy” architectural style. You can also find a nice ice cream of extinction where she resides.

More to follow…

Note: for more on Gertie and on Disney’s Hollywood Studios, be sure to listen to WDW Radio Show episode 117 for May 3, 2009. Jim Korkis joins my friend Lou Mongello for a look at the park and the stories behind the stories.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Off The Road

...well, back from the adventures of last week. Mrs. Doc and I have returned from our journey "North to Alaska". We're busy getting back into the routine of life and trying to shed a few pounds after being forced to enjoy a seemingly endless supply of food. We've unpacked, we've been back at work a few days, and now the downloading of photographs begin.

I am sure that a few references to this recent adventure will find a way into The Disney Obsession. But I will share these two quick tidbits with you:

1) Did you know that Juneau, Alaska is the only state capital that cannot be accessed by road? You get there either by plane or boat.

2) I could live in Alaska if it weren't for the fact that is it 4210.29 miles to Walt Disney World. That is based on Juneau to Lake Buena Vista, in case you were wondering. That is 75 hours and 23 minutes if you drive straight through; providing you don't miss the ferry at Skagway or run into traffic in Fargo.

More to follow...

Friday, May 22, 2009

On The Road

...well, actually it is more like "On The Sea". Mrs. Doc and I will be experiencing the wonders of Alaska this next week. Look for periodic updates on Facebook or the occasional Tweet whenever we make landfall.

Wherever the Memorial Day holiday takes you, be it across the world, across the country, across the state, across town, or simply as far as your own back yard, please have a Magic Journey.

See you real soon!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Where In The World

It seems that taking a week off from Where In The World was half of what the doctor ordered. If you have been keeping up, you know that there were two photos that were out there. Now there is one. One, until I add a new one at the end of this post.

The steering wheel first appeared on April 18th, not only as a Where In The World segment, but also as a bit of a teaser for a new series called "Disney As Art." This past week we received this from Glenn Watts, "Is that the Disney Epcot Outpost delivery truck?" Well, Glenn, that is exactly what it is. It is the steering wheel found inside the truck setting outside the Refreshment Outpost between China and Germany. Congratulations Glenn!

So, one down. We'll let the "No. 1 Toys" stay out there for a while longer. But to keep it company, I give you this. Care for a bit of refreshment?