Saturday, September 12, 2009

Endor Express Evolves! (Double Feature: Fantasyland's Fantastic Expansion)

"Star Tours?!? What are you doing here? This is a combat zone, it's restricted! Ease off on your main thrusters."

At long last Disney Hollywood Studios has confirmed a revamp of Star Tours (their motion simulator based off the Star Wars movies-though if you're actually interested in my blog you probably already knew that). While I do love Star Tours, it's out of date. It's been out of date for a while. In fact (in large part due to my age) I don't really remember a time when it didn't feel a bit out of date. Not much as been confirmed about the upcoming Star Tours II 3D other than that it will open (or re-open I suppose) in 2011 and feature 3-D effects. I'm sure we'll be enjoying some high def goodness as well. Also judging by the trailer there will be pod racing involved (a quick shout out to all my fellow Episode I fans out there! All three of you are reading this I'm sure).

Rumors of an updated Star Tours have been out there pretty much ever since "The Phantom Menace" came out, but didn't go far past mere rumors. That is until word got out over the past year or so that Lucas was filming for the new incarnation of the beloved Studios attraction. Judging by how increasingly popular Star Wars Weekends are at the Studios every year, I've been anticipating this announcement for some time now. I am very excited to hear more.

Questions that come to mind: Will Rex the Pee-Wee Herman droid still (poorly) pilot the StarSpeeder? Will it take place in any sort of continuity (or just span the entire Star Wars series)? Will Cast Members keep saying stale lines like "May the force be with you, because I sure won't!" (probably)?

I guess we'll have to wait and see!


Check these pictures out! (click here and here!)

It's official! Fantasyland in Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom is to be expanded and completely refurbished by 2013. This is going to be the largest expansion to occur in the Magic Kingdom to date. From what I hear Mickey's Toontown Fair (besides Goofy's Barnstormer) will be taken out entirely to make room (you know that area you forgot was even in MK). Fantasyland itself will be cut up into sections. Here's a map you can look at to visualize it with me: Fantasyland Blueprint.

WOAH! Where did all that land come from? Well 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea was a pretty huge ride. After it closed back in '94 only a fraction of its land had been used since.

Now back to the blueprint. The bottom left corner is pretty much all Fantasyland is as of now. You can see Pinochio's eating area (next to It's a Small World, not shown). The Carousel behind the castle. Where it says Castle wall, that's where Dumbo is now. So where is Dumbo going? To the upper right of the map you can see a huge area dedicated to Dumbo's circus. That seems to be what is replacing much of Toontown. According to Walt Disney Parks and Resorts chairman Jay Rasulo guests will be able to "Fly with Dumbo high above brand new circus grounds, twice the size of the existing attraction with a new interactive, three-ring circus tent."

Another large chunk of Toontown will be taken over by Tinkerbelle and her Pixie Hollow. To the left of Dumbo shows the area for the Little Mermaid attraction (which was actually almost made at one point). This is going to be a very impressive dark ride that will send guests traveling above and below the sea. It's hard to describe, you should just watch the digitally rendered version that was included on the special edition Little Mermaid DVD released a few years back. Watch it here:

Disneyland will be getting the Little Mermaid ride in 2011. Lucky jerks.

Guests will visit their favorite Disney Princess in her castle, cottage, or chateau to share a dance with Cinderella; celebrate Sleeping Beauty's birthday with the Good Fairies; or join Belle in an enchanting story performance in the Beast's castle library."

You can clearly see on the map where the princesses will be spending their time. The addition I am most excited about is the entire Beauty and the Beast area. Belle's cottage should be pleasant enough visually, as well as the Be Our Guest restaurant in which guests can "
dine in one of three enchanted rooms inside the Beast's castle." Also notice to the side of the restaurant is "Gaston's Tavern." Seeing as MK is an alcohol free park I'm assuming it's going to be another quick service dining area.

Check out the bottom right of the map. Those pesky Indy Race Cars are so intrusive. Oh well. Most of the information for this blog I got from WDWMAGIC. You probably could have glanced through their site and find all this out much quicker than reading this long winded blog, so I appreciate you spending this time with me today. I am very excited about the next few years. Disney World has been suffering a bit of a drought as far as new and exciting attractions go. Don't get me wrong, Toy Story Midway Mania is incredible, but it wasn't originally intended to be the E-Ticket level attraction it has become (Disney fans know what the term e-ticket stands for, for the rest of you, why are you reading this blog? well I'll explain what it means to you sometime soon). There hasn't been many huge additions in the past few years. Darn pesky recessions.

That's all I have to say this time! See you folks around the parks!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Disney Hits the Bullseye with Marvel

GET IT!?!?!

Because both characters are named Bullseye, see... And Marvel and Disney...
Well maybe it isn't as clever as That's so Kraven, but dag nabbit, we tried our best.

Anyways, I should probably clarify things. That last blog was a joke in every way. Disney is not reviving Beauty and the Beast on Broadway in the near future, there's no word on an X-Men 4, and I most certainly do not have a girlfriend.

Though I am not entirely against the idea. Well, ladies?

Is anyone still there?

Seriously though, on Monday, 8/31/09, Disney bought Marvel comics. Trust me, this is a big deal. I'll explain as both companies had a big part in shaping who I am. Both companies have a history built upon creativity and strong character development. That being said, they are both very different companies. Marvel has a universe of super-heroes and villains that are known as the darker and edgier caped crusaders (as opposed to the wholesome DC characters like Superman and Wonder Woman. And Batman in the 50s I guess). Meanwhile Disney introduced children to wholesome cartoon characters such as Mickey Mouse and Goofy (as opposed to the darker and edgier Warner Bros. characters such as Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck). By the way Warner Bros. has owned DC comics for years. It's kind of funny to see how mismatched these things worked out.

Reading the comments on various message boards related to all sorts of geekery that I browse, I've come to realize that the internet has a lot of idiots making comments about things they know nothing about. That's right, the guy who just made up the word "geekery" is calling other people idiots. Now that's bad.

For instance, one message board commenter had this to say "If they stop making films based on the characters, I will be very disappointed >.>" Seriously? Have you no understanding on business practices? Disney bought Marvel because they are pleased with what Marvel has been doing so far, especially with their movies based on their Super Heroes. They want to profit off of this success. They aren't going to jump in and say "Okay nice work Marvel now we are canceling your movie line up. We just plain don't want any more money."

Oh here's another beauty: "I'm ••••ed off because this is the way I see it
Disney=The New 4Kids
Disney is a "kid friendly" company
and will do whatever they need to Marvel Super Heroes to keep that Rep"

I know exactly what this guy means! Like remember when Disney bought Miramax in 1993? Ever since then Miramax has been forced to make such "kid friendly" movies like Pulp Fiction, Gangs of New York, and No Country for Old Men. Oh and I can't forget the Kill Bill movies. That one brings such joy to the children when they watch it.

I could go on this rant for hours. The morons plaguing the internet give me plenty of material (and I them, I'm sure). But let me tell you why this is great. Marvel needs this. For one, comic books are kind of a dying thing. There is little money in it, so it's hard to maintain a company founded and based upon it. The success over movies based on their characters have been a huge source of profit for Marvel over the past decade, and that's what Disney sees. The problem is Marvel's relatively new production studios bit off a little more then they could chew financially with their upcoming Avengers movie. You see they have these great movies like Iron Man and the Incredible Hulk with these big name actors as their leads. With the infamous Samuel Jackson scene at the end of Iron Man fans realized what Marvel was planning to do. They wanted to make a movie in which all of these characters meet and make a super team- The Avengers. The trouble with such a plan is that bringing all these big name actors together in a huge, action packed blockbuster is going to cost some serious cash. Cash Marvel doesn't have. Or didn't, I should say. Disney may prove to back some much needed financing for Marvel to see their dream come true.

Of course we should look at what Disney's gaining from all this as well. Money, of course. Marvel is rich with properties that people absolutely love (Spider-Man, the X-Men, and Howard the Duck to name a few). Disney isn't going to change the image we have in our minds of Marvel today.

"The intention is not to rebrand Marvel [as] Disney, in fact the opposite - to really emphasize the Marvel brand and to use Marvel where we can on Disney platforms and in Disney places to grow both businesses."-Bob Iger (

There is one thing I really hope comes from this. For years (possibly even decades) Disney has had little success in the comic book industry. They've tried and tried. Characters like Donald and Mickey and Uncle Scrooge used to pop up in comic strips all the time, but for some reason Disney can't break back into that realm. Hopefully with Marvel's help they can fix this problem (mainly because I really want to see a successful Gargoyles comic, to tell the truth).

On a side note: Was anyone as surprised as I was to find out Disney actually had $4 billion to spend? I mean I know they're huge and all, but it was news to me.