Friday, November 30, 2012

Animal Kingdom Artifact: Collection of Puppets

   Down the Zebra Trail corridor of rooms, near the elevated is a collection of wonderful puppets.  Made by the Bozo people, a small ethnic group in Western Africa, these puppets are outstanding.  The facial shapes share a weird similarity to Italian painter Amedeo Modigliani.  Anyway, enjoy.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Animal Kingdoms Special Sausage Tree.

   So, I'm somewhat of a plant enthusiast...and I've always been quite enamored with all the lush greenery at Animal Kingdom.  Rightly so.
   One of the more unusual plants that have taken up residency is the African Sausage Tree!!! I won't bore you with specifics...go ahead and read the wikipedia page.  But I do think its great that the only real way to eat it is to make beer.   Our tour guide on the Wild By Design tour also mentioned a fermented, yum?
   Many of the lights in the Africa section of Animal Kingdom were designed to look like the fruit of the sausage tree.  Now that is truly good design.

Walt Disney World & You, Part 2: Joining Our Cast

   Lets continue our look at this 1970's Disney World cast member handbook! yay!

Joining Our Cast:
   As you prepare to start your first working day as a member of our cast, there are some important things you'll need to know.  Here is a list to help you get ready for your role in our Walt Disney World Show.

Personnel Classifications
   It takes over four hundred entirely different roles to keep our show operating here ar Walt Disney World. You could work in any one of these hundreds of positions, but nearly everyone is classified in one of three major categories:

Permanent Employee - You are employed in an established job on a permanent basis working at least four (4) days per week and al least twenty (20) hours per week.

Casual Regular Employee - You are regularly scheduled to work at least one (1) day per week, but less than four (4) days per week.

Casual Temporary Employee - Your employment is designed to accommodate a specific period of expanded company activity.  You may work only in the summer season, winter season, or holiday period.

Physical Examination
   At the time of your employment, you might be required to take a medical examination.  If such an examination is requested, then it is for your own protection as well as your fellow cast members.  In addition, you could be requested to take an examination at any time during your employment with Walt Disney World, at the Company's request.

   A week or so after being "cast for you role", you'll be photographed and receive an identification card with a "terrible" likeness of yourself on it.  This card will be your personal ID and you will be asked to present it to Security Hosts and Hostesses every time you enter work.  For this resin, keep your Disney ID in a safe place and always carry it at work.  Casual Temporary cast members will not receive a permanent ID with picture, but will be issued a temporary ID.  This identification card is your proof of employment with Walt Disney World and therefore may never be loaned to another for any reason.  It is not transferable and remains the property of Walt Disney World Company.  It must be surrendered upon termination or demand.  If your card is lost or stolen, immediately notify the Security ID Office in The Center.

"Get Acquainted" Periods
   You will be on a probationary status during your first ninety (90) calendar days of employment with Walt Disney World.  This is to give both you and Walt Disney World a chance to get acquainted and to determine whether or not we meet each other's expectations regarding employment.

Your Transportation to Work
   Your having reliable transportation to and from work was an important factor in your selection for employment with Walt Disney World.  It is a continuing responsibility on your part to maintain your transportation so as not to let it interfere with your job. 

Employee Parking
   Please help everyone by parking in your assigned area and in the proper parking spaces.  When you receive your permanent Disney ID card, you will be given a parking sticker for your car so that our Security Hosts and Hostesses will recognize you as an employee.  It is your responsibility to maintain that sticker and see that it is not used on any other vehicle.
   When utilizing our Resort hotel parking lots, please remember that our guests always come first! Specific areas have been designated for cast parking , and we ask that you always park there.

Your Home Address
   In the event of an emergency or some problem at work, it may become necessary to reach you on very short notice.  It is, therefore, extremely important to keep you home address and telephone number current in our listings, If you change either at any time during your employment with Walt Disney World, it is your responsibility to immediately notify your Department Office and Personnel Services Office located in The Center.

   In addition, we want you to receive our Disney publications and complimentary ticket books that we periodically mail to your home.  A great way to check your address to see if it is current, is to look at your paycheck. The address that appears on your paycheck is the address in our records.  So don't forget to let us know whenever you have a change in your name, address or telephone number.

Equal Employment Opportunity
   It is the continuing policy of Walt Disney World to be fair and impartial in all its relations with employees and applicants without regard to race, religion, creed, color, age, sex, or national origin.  This policy applies to reciting, selection, training, promoting and all other personnel actions and conditions of employment such as compensation, benefits, transfers, layoffs, reinstatements from layoffs, company sponsored training, educational tuition assistance, social and recreational programs, and disciplinary measures.

Relatives and Friends
   If you have any relatives or friends looking for work whom you feel might meet the qualifications for our cast, please direct them to our Casting Department.
   Husband and wife or close relatives may both work at Walt Disney World, provided their work areas are separated.  it is our policy that spouses and close relatives do not supervise the other and that no sensitive situations exist.

Please Note...
   Cast members who are covered by certain Labor Contracts may find some items in this book that do not apply to them.  Check with your supervisor if you have any questions. 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Walt Disney World & You : Part One

   One of our recent fun acquisitions is Walt Disney World & You, a cast member handbook from the 1970's.  This book covers a lot of ground.  The Disney look, performance expectations, pay, calling out sick...etc.  All of these are covered with silly blue illustrations!    I'll bring you the entire book over the coming weeks...
 Wonderful design on the cover...

      Welcome to Exciting Walt Disney World...
      Exciting because you are right in the middle of the biggest and boldest development of its kind in the world today.  Walt Disney World is a giant outdoor show played on more than 27,000 acres, holding resort-hotels, campgrounds, golf courses, Lake Buena Vista, and of course...the Magic Kingdom Theme Park.  Why, your stage is more than twice the size of the island of Manhattan!  
   You'll help produce our show no matter what role you're playing; whether you're onstage presenting the show...or backstage preparing the show.
   You will be working with all types of people...both guests and fellow cast members.  Your job may require that you do some routine work or perhaps some new and unusual things. And if anyone told you that it was all fun...just easy work...a laugh-a-minute'd better take another look.  Your role in our show, whatever it may be, is giving service and entertainment to others. And giving service to others is highly disciplined field.  You might say that we work while others play.
  The operation of Walt Disney World is a total team effort...requiring the skills of many crafts, the knowledge of many professions, and the work and cooperation of every cast member involved.
   When we all work together as a team, it adds up to maximum work enjoyment with a minimum of frustration.  This is why we are going to tell you about the "Disney way" of doing things...the way we all work here at Walt Disney World.
   We don't like to call them disciplines...but that is what they really are.  They are the day-to-day rigors of creating and maintaining our world-famous show.
   Actually, we'd love to get along with NO rules, but with our huge cast we have to make sure that we are all playing from the same "script."
   In this script, we have listed many of the "cues" that you need to know.  These cues make sure that our teamwork isn't handicapped by unnecessary misunderstandings. 
   We think that you'll like our Disney way of doing, without further delay, let's raise the curtain on our Walt Disney World stage...

Monday, November 26, 2012

Epcot Time! Morocco's Bag Boujeloud Gate

   For some unexplained reason, the Morocco pavilion at Epcot is vastly underrated.  With its maze like bazaar in the back, wonderful tile murals, water features, and absolutely wonderful counter service restaurant...this is a very immersive environment.
   One of the more in your face details in the area is the recreation of the bag boujeloud gate. The original gate is a triumphal arch leading into Fez's famous of the worlds largest outdoor markets.  The Epcot version is intricately recreated here, albeit smaller.

The Unpleasant Innards of New Fantasy Land

     So with the official Grand Opening of New Fantasyland quickly approaching, I (Adam) decided to share a bit of my take on it. Consider the following thoughts limited to the main area of New Fantasyland minus Storybook Circus which I consider to be a separate area. Andrew already shared his review here.

     Despite the fact the its not technically opened, we, like most everyone else, have visited it twice. We were able to experience it during cast member previews, as well as a very short walkthrough during MNSSHP.  That being said, New Fantasyland is much like a human being...well formed on the outside and gross on the inside.

More after the jump....

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Sunday Quickie: A Few Shots From Primeval Whirl.

   Something about the bright, crazy colors of Primeval Whirl make it a wonderful subject to photograph...and I do with gusto.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Animation Appreciation: Turkey Catchers

   I've never had the pleasure of becoming acquainted with Mouse Works , the show that tried to revive the short cartoon genre in 1999.  It seems like the sheer number of cartoons the company made for this show would equate to something kind of, not so much.
   The abundance of Mickey shorts produced in the late 90's have not proven to be all that significant in the general context of Mickey Mouse.  The atmosphere is very much like the Disney Afternoon cartoons that I grew up with...only a decade too late.  The characters themselves are flat shadows of personality...shadows who talk too much.   It almost seems like the writers are trying to make up for lack of gags with the inclusion of rampant dialogue.  I've never heard Mickey and Donald have such long conversations before.  What is it about the late 1990's that required them to be such chatterboxes?

the only thing that works? The turkey.

   Gags that worked well in the 1930's are replicated here but are lacking the comic timing used before.  The stiffness of the characters are now entirely apparent in their post modern context, losing all of their naughty charm. The only exception in Turkey Catchers is a gag in which both Goofy and Donald dress up as female turkeys.  Funny thing is, I doubt this joke would be included if made today, a mere 13 years later. Thanks a lot LGBT for messing things up again...
   The only legitimately funny moments come with the turkey himself.  He doesn't speak, but makes an adorable and random turkey noise.  His randomness is what translates to comedy now, in a time where kids cherish all things bizarre.

   What do you think?

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Yeti Is Real (ish)

   On our recent Wild By Design tour, while exploring Anandapur, I asked our guide about the stone slabs at the base of Expedition Everest.  I'd always noticed the stones but never thought to investigate them further.
   Apparently the stones are placed in honor of the living things in Anandapur, just as they would be in Nepal.  Each slab depicts a different animal or script, intended as a form of respect to bless the animal.  Included on the side, all alone, is a blessing for the yeti.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Chinese Snow White Paper Dolls

   One of the fun items I picked up at Theme Park Connection was this crazy Snow White paper doll book...complete with Prince Charming!  The cover seems normal enough, but the actual dolls are totally cracked out and amazing.  Whats wrong with their eyes??!!

That doesn't even look like Prince Charming!!!! Like, at all...

some of the princes fabulous outfits...

and some of Snow's...including her bow and arrow. (!!!???)

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Dinner At Rose and Crown

   One of our old favorite restaurants on property was Rose and Crown.  We hadn't been here in years, as other restaurants started filling in our as favorites. But since the menu has changed somewhat since our last visit, we decided to drop in last minute during our recent trip.

   Located in the UK pavilion at Epcot, Rose and Crown is divided into two parts.  The Pub, which houses the beautiful bar (duh) and serves a limited menu, and then the main restaurant, including tables overlooking world showcase lagoon.  The interior is gorgeous old school pub, complete with dark wood, brass, and knick knacks.  The atmosphere is the epitome of cozy.
   I should preface the meal by saying that we were both huge fans of the previous vegetarian entree option.  The vegetable curry was a unique offering in the land of veggie burgers and sautéed bland vegetables.   But, alas, the curry is with us no longer. (why does curry never stay on any WDW menu?!?!)  Needless to say, the bar for this meal was already high.

Sunday Quickie: A Few From The Liberty Belle

   Its nice to sit down for a few minutes and just watch Frontierland go by. :)

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Restroom Signage at San Angel Inn

   Desperate for a restroom while in the Mexico pavilion, I decided to bypass the hostess at San Angel Inn and use the facilities.  Upon exiting I snapped a few pictures of the fun bathroom signage. Yay native Mexicans!  You rule.

   Are these as cute as the Norway bathrooms just a few yards away? Nope.  But this restroom is SO MUCH MORE CLEAN AND QUIET. I'm kind of in love.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

A Few (Very Late) Thoughts On New Fantasyland...

   New Fantasyland has given bloggers and Disney nerds plenty of jumping off points for discussion over the last few years. In fact, I've never seen the 'community' get so riled up over such silly things.  Now that part two is all but open, and the large majority of Fantasyland is accessible to the public, I figured that I would share a few photos and opinions.  (I'm SO with the times, right?)
   First of all, Fantasyland is gorgeous. This is, by all means, a new land in the Magic Kingdom, and a testament of great design.  The Imagineers are riding a wave of success after the massive California Adventure refurb/redesign.  It is wonderful to see extensive theming once again in our parks, especially the Magic Kingdom, considering little has been added to this park in 40 years.

The facade for Ariel...

    The area is ripe with plant life, water features, and almost exhaustive rock work.  This is a whats what of themed areas.  The fact that there are trees in the Magic Kingdom is a huge novelty, seeing that they were all but impossible due to the utilidor system underneath the vast majority of the park.  The trees play a mighty important role in our new land, acting as a buffer between other areas, as well as adding story. (are we still calling this Fantasyland Forrest?) 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Creaky Gears in Harper's Mill

   Tom Sawyer's island is an often overlooked area of the Magic Kingdom, especially for adults with no children.  The fact is that the island is designed with kids in mind and offers them free range to run around like maniacs.  Despite the 'free range children' Adam and I make a point to visit the island at least once per trip to admire the scenic beauty and totally awesome old school theming. The super creepy mannequins at the fort are reason enough to visit. (they honestly look like they will murder you...)

   One of the most amazingly detailed structures is Harper's Mill.  Named for imagineer Harper Goff, the water powered mill makes a nod toward Disney's Silly Symphony The Old Mill as well as another fun early 20th century reference....

   Fun right!?!  I always love stoping in the mill and listening to this horrible noise for a bit...before some kids run through and ruin it...

Three Germany Emperors In Epcot

   The St. George Platz of Epcot's Germany is one of the most wonderfully themed areas in all of World Showcase.  The architectural styles vary greatly, each building more ornate than the next.  Inspiration for the facades come directly from actual buildings in Germany.
   The historic Kaufhaus, found in Freidburg, was built in 1520 and is honored with a near direct copy in Epcot.  Despite color differences, the Disney World version is pretty true to form.  Among the flourishes are three sculptures of German rulers sculpted by Sixt Von Staufen between 1520 and 1531.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Sunday Quickie: A Few From China

   So, the China pavilion at Epcot might not be on anyones favorite pavilion list...but it does have some things going for it. Water features? Check. Epic architecture? check.  Authentic atmosphere? um.... maybe not so much.   But she is pretty darn nice to look at!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Nor Shall You Be The Last (To Walk On These Tiles...)

   The tiniest of details in the Norway pavilion at Epcot can get me giddy like a little school girl.  While waiting in line for some delicious school bread I noticed the terrific childlike floor tiles scattered throughout the Kringla Bakeri... clearly I needed to annoy my fellow patrons and takes pictures immediately.

   I'm not sure why, but these tiles are the perfect fit for my favorite bakery. Simple and silly.  Is the reindeer supposed to be a constellation? Anyone? 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Tiki Bird Attraction Poster Concepts

   Like most of you, I'm pretty darn obsessed with Disney park attraction posters, and the history behind them.  No adjective can describe the joy I felt upon receiving the new Poster Art of the Disney Parks book!  I've been sitting, silently enchanted, and totally mesmerized by this book for the last few days.
   Yup. I'm a dork.  Here are a few wonderful concept pieces that eventually led to the super iconic posters for the Enchanted Tiki Room and Tropical Serenade. 

Paul Harley, 1963

Paul Harley, 1963

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Our Night At Mickey's Not So Scary...

   Up to date reportage has never been the name of our game. In lieu of waiting a whole year to bring you photos from this years Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party, I've just decided to go ahead with it.  Heck, technically there WERE Halloween parties in November.
   Little has changed since last years party, only perhaps, the way we toured the park.  We queued up to meet The Princes (!!!!) at 6:30.   Since the party officially starts at 7:00 this will give you somewhat of an advantage in the meeting of these characters, but let me emphasize being there by 6:30.  By 7:00 the line had swelled and the wait was probably upwards of an hour for the folks behind us. Yuck.

Snow and Prince Charming...

   By the time we left the prince meet and greet (checking off five new characters...) the party was in full swing. Spooky lighting on Main Street, tons of wonderful costumes, and some pretty horrible 'contemporary-ish' Halloween music.  All in all the atmosphere works really well in what Disney is trying to sell. The Magic Kingdom, just a bit spookier than normal. 

Spooky lights...

Pumpkins galore...

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

A Few More Eyvind Earle Castle Concepts...

   A few months back we looked at a few wonderful Eyvind Earle paintings, used as concepts for classic Disney princess movies.  I honestly can't get enough of these beautiful swaths of color and terrific design.  I only wish the company would invest time, money, and faith into concept artists again. The proof is in the pudding my friends...
   Here are a few more gorgeous castle paintings.

   Do you have a favorite Disney background/concept artist?  Let us know via twitter @disneyhipsters

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Arusha Rock Overlook BGM!

   One of my absolute favorite places in the world is a little corner tucked away at the Animal Kingdom Lodge's Arusha Rock Overlook.  Nestled out on the Arusha savanna at Jambo house, the overlook is studded with beautiful "Disney" rocks and a patchwork of plants.  There is also a very special and intimate background music loop...which supplies the whole area with just the slightest bit of sound.  Nothing obtrusive here.  Light percussion is key.
   The problem is, I've never been able to find this loop anywhere on the internet. So I decided to be a BGM loop snatcher!  Basically, I crawled in a bush and planted my recording device next to a well hidden speaker...huzzah! Music loop!  Though this isn't the entire loop, it is 24 minutes of that very special and specific melange of African goodness.

The bush I climbed into...

the loop!

Sunday Quickie: Annnnnd....we're back!

   Yay! WE HAD SO MUCH FUN AT DISNEY WORLD I CANT EVEN STAND IT!!!!!! Now we're back to New Jersey with thousands of photos for blog ideas, plus some cool videos on the way...and Disney crafts!  Yay crafts!
   Thanks for following along on Twitter...we had a great time interacting with everyone!  Now enjoy a couple of photos of us obsessing over the Maelstrom, and the cute Norwegian boy in the back!