April 8, 2014

Snow White on Ice on iTunes

Disney Snow White Ice Show Record Cast Album Tom Arnold
For the Disney music completist, here's a fun little recording that recently resurfaced on iTunes and Amazon MP3. The title's quite a mouthful:

Tom Arnold Presents an Adaptation on Ice of of Walt Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

No, it's not the American Tom Arnold, it's the British theatrical producer Tom Arnold. The four songs on this 1960 $3.99 souvenir record are pleasant covers--exactly what you might expect to hear at an ice show. Give it a sample listen: You might like what you hear.

I'd love to see more of these unusual "Disney By-Product" recordings appear on the digital marketplace. If only Disney would open up more of their own vault...

March 5, 2014

On the Horizon: Aulani Music Nearing Release

Disney Alulani Resort music soundtrack
Here's a nice surprise for Disney soundtrack collectors: An album of music from Disney's Aulani Resort in Hawaii arrives in about two weeks, according to Amazon.

Due March 18, Aulani: Music of the Maka'ala features tracks by singer/songwriter Keali'i Reichel and film composer Mark Mancina.

Can't wait to give this a listen. A Hawaii vacation is plum out of my budget considerations, but I'm always in the mood for a virtual getaway on my music player!

February 25, 2014

Disney Teams Up With iTunes for Early Frozen Release and Disney Movies Everywhere

Frozen is now available for purchase and download on iTunes, two weeks ahead of its release on DVD and Blu-ray. Disney chose this day to also announce the arrival of their new Disney App, Disney Movies Everywhere. The app allows movie fans to purchase Disney films on iTunes, plus register qualifying films for instant streaming across multiple devices.

The idea is for fans to be able to access their entire library of purchased Disney films at any time and stream them to the computer, iPhone or iPad of their choice -- Sort of like a personal Netflix service, but free and composed solely of purchased content. As an incentive, Disney is offering The Incredibles as a free gift for signing up.

One can only hope that this eventually leads to a true opening of the Disney vault. If those thousands of hours of classic Disney films and television episodes that haven't seen the light of day in decades can finally be purchased and accessed, this would be a fan's dream come true.

February 22, 2014

How MagicBands Unlock Disney Infinity's Hidden Dragon

Attention Walt Disney World vacationers: Don't throw away those MagicBands! You or a game-loving friend can use them to unlock a world of Dragons hidden within Disney's popular videogame universe.
Disney Infinity remains one of the most creative and joyful games my family and I have ever played. It's made Disney's accountants happy, too.

When the game debuted, featuring such park icons as Spaceship Earth, the Matterhorn, Parking Lot Trams and flying Dumbos, many fans wondered if the actual, physical parks would ever play a role in providing exclusive content. It didn't take long to find out: WDW's MagicBands unlock Infinity's hidden world--one based around the New Fantasyland Dragon that graced Orlando skies for a press event a while back.
With no Florida trip in my immediate future, this West-Coaster faced a Dragon-less Infinity until Melissa Sue at Mouse on the Mind came to my rescue by sending me a MagicBand! It can't be said enough: Disney fans are the nicest people on the planet. Thanks, Melissa!!!!

If you're still wondering what the heck Disney Infinity actually is, please check out our review. In a nutshell, however, it's amazing. It excels at three particular things: 1) Encouraging creativity 2) Pouring on the Disney charm 3) Emptying your wallet, but giving you your money's worth -- much like a Disney vacation.

So, if you have a MagicBand, the game and a figure ready to go (today's guest star: Sorcerer Mickey!) here's how you go about finding that elusive dragon:

February 17, 2014

Classic Epcot Takes Center Stage in Park Piano Collection

Ameen Disney Park Music Epcot Disneyland World Walt piano
Musician Tom Ameen is quietly becoming a bit of a hero to theme park fans. He has a knack for turning Disney attraction tunes into beautiful, relaxing piano performances. His album, Piano and Pixie Dust, is a must-own for any park music collector, and especially for Epcot fans.

Take a look at this track list:

Tapestry of Nations
One Little Spark
Main Street Electrical Parade
Magic Journeys
Epcot Medley: Beneath the Waterfall/The Land/Canada
It's a Small World
There's a Great, Big Beautiful Tomorrow
Universe of Energy
Tomorrow's Child

Now, combine that with his three earlier tracks from the EP Solo Piano Moments...

Golden Dream
The Wonderful World of Color

...and you've got an amazing collection of quality piano tunes to play while relaxing, reading, working, dreaming or dining. All tracks are available to purchase online from iTunes and Amazon MP3. Highly Recommended!

January 13, 2014

Steampunk Maleficent Dragon!

Today The Disney Parks Blog unveiled what may be the best parade float in human history.
Steampunk is cool. Maleficent in dragon form is cool. Steampunk Maleficent Dragon is a whole new reason to plan a vacation to Walt Disney World. I can't stop smiling when I look at these shots. This amazing float will be part of this Spring's Festival of Fantasy parade at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom.

Now, if Disney's really smart, they'll make a clockwork toy out of this to sell in the parks...

Photos from Disney Parks Blog

January 8, 2014

Kill, Refurb, Marry: Disneyland Aerial Spinner Rides

Today, I'm very happy to be taking part in the Kill, Refurb, Marry series hosted by Mouse on the Mind and This Happy Place Blog. The topic for the day is Aerial Spinner Rides, and Mouse Troop (being a West Coast site) is focusing on Disneyland Resort's whirling flights of fantasy. Of the five qualifying rides at the resort, which one's a keeper, which one needs a reboot, and which one should disappear as soon as possible?
KILL: Silly Symphony Swings

Disney California Adventure has never needed two hang-from-chains-and-fly-in-a-circle rides. One of those chain-spinners, Golden Zephyr, succeeds in offering a rare old-time experience on a contraption that, I believe, only has one duplicate on the planet.

The other is about as unique as a box of Pop Tarts. Silly Symphony Swings certainly looks better than it did during its awful Orange Stinger years, but -- despite the cheerful facelift--it's still the exact same ho-hum swing ride found at every traveling carnival and county fair in the country (and most non-Disney theme parks).

On top of that, the name has always been annoying, because the cartoon it's based on (The Band Concert) isn't a Silly Symphony at all.

In all seriousness, I'll bet that if Disney somehow removed this ride overnight and replaced it with a bandstand, 95% of repeat park visitors wouldn't even realize it was gone.
REFURB: Astro Orbitor

In this case, "refurb" simply means "relocate." A fun ride in an unwelcome location -- That's Astro Orbitor. Once upon a time, this attraction's Rocket Jets soared high above the PeopleMover station, offering a breathtaking, high-altitude thrill. Now it actually boards below ground level and spins within the narrow, crowded confines of the Tomorrowland entryway, offering views of rotting Peoplemover tracks and the tops of heads crowding the queues for Star Tours and Buzz Lightyear.

The effect was better when it had the Rocket Rods zipping along in the background, but those days are long gone

Future park plans point toward a welcome change of venue for this out-of-place ride. It can't happen soon enough.
MARRY: Dumbo

Disneyland's Dumbo is the Granddaddy of all Disney spinners, and it remains the most charming. I honestly don't understand the Disney fans who poo-poo this masterpiece as "just another carnival ride." I don't care how old you are; If you don't feel something light up in your soul as you nudge the little control lever and begin to rise upward--with that wonderful music playing and the rooftops of Fantasyland whirling around you--how can that not make you smile? I mean, this ride is the heartbeat of Disneyland. If happiness could be converted to electricity, Dumbo could power the entire West Coast.

Is it worth a long wait in line in the hot California sun? No. Is it worth getting up early for to avoid the lines and enjoy a magical whirl through a still-waking park? You betcha!

As we leave the borders of Fantasyland, some of you might be wondering about the fifth aerial spinner of Disneyland Resort. It's Flik's Flyers in DCA's A Bug's Land. It's no Dumbo, but it is one of that area's highlights.

I hope you enjoyed our take on Kill, Refurb, Mary. Be sure to check out all the participants' entries listed below for more opinions on which Disney spinners should get the crown and which ones should get the axe!