Friday, March 27, 2009

D23: Princess and the Blog

It was teased during the various post-Stockholders’ Meeting interviews, but now the first post has been thrown up.

The blog I’m talking about is The Princess and the Blog

The first installment is an introduction to what is to come in the future.  There doesn’t appear to be a single author but we’ll hear from various people involved in the making of The Princess and the Frog.  Which just so happens to be Disney’s return to hand-drawn animation after a long string of computer generated animated movies.

I was quick to notice that D23 didn’t take the traditional approach to blogging that those of us who read them have come to expect.  They haven’t designated a URL for this blog that one can bookmark or subscribe to an RSS feed so it’s easier to find updates.

Even though they call it a blog, it’s more like an article in their “web magazine” called D23.  I guess if you wanted to be literal about it, it really is a blog because the word is nothing more than a contraction of “weblog”.

I hope, as Disney rolls out future blog “posts” for this movie or launches new ones, they take the approach that the Disney fan’s have grown to expect and give them their own spots on the web that we can bookmark and/or subscribe to.

In the meantime, the content is there for us to enjoy and here is the link:

The Princess and the Blog

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Thursday, March 26, 2009

D23 Charter Year Tinkerbell Pin

D23CharterYearTinkerbellPin_CroppedD23CharterYearTinkerbellPin_StraightenedFinally, the UPS delivery truck pulled up and dropped off my Charter Year Tinkerbell Pin from the D23 Members Only section of the D23 Boutique

 

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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Do you want you baby sleeping in Pooh?

I couldn't resist the pun

Toy Story Mania! + Wii = 3D Fun at Home!!!!

Toy Story Mania!I saw this press release and just had to post it here at Grumpy’s Hollow.  Toy Story Mania! is one of my favorite attractions at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and I’m so excited to hear about it making it’s way to my living room.  So for those of you who are owners of the fabulous Wii Home Video Game Console and would like to bring a little bit of the parks home, read on:

BURBANK, Calif. – (March 24, 2009) – Disney Interactive Studios today announced Toy Story Mania!, inspired by the Disney/Pixar animated feature “Toy Story,” will be released exclusively for the Wii™ home video game console this fall. Toy Story Mania! showcases an array of entertaining games based on the new Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World Resort attractions, while featuring the iconic characters and humor from the popular Disney/Pixar “Toy Story” franchise.

“The ‘Toy Story’ franchise is a fun, dynamic and heart-warming series containing characters and themes that connect with every age group,” said Craig Relyea, senior vice president of global marketing, Disney Interactive Studios. “Toy Story Mania! combines those popular elements with the unique antics of the new theme park attraction for the ultimate in family entertainment.”

In Toy Story Mania!, players experience the fast-paced, zany fun of the Toy Story Mania! theme park attraction, which is an interactive experience requiring 3D glasses and involving rapid or quick-firing shooting galleries. In addition to galleries adapted from the attraction, the game includes new and original galleries and a series of mini games, all hosted by beloved characters from the movies. The thematically-connected levels are designed for up to four players of all ages with competitive and co-operative multiplayer options. Toy Story Mania! also includes bonus 3D features, transforming the game experience with eye-popping visuals.

The Pixar-created “Toy Story” and ”Toy Story 2” have both had successful box office and DVD sales. The Disney Digital 3D™ theatrical re-release of “Toy Story” is in the works and will open in theatres on October 2, 2009, followed by the 3D re-release of “Toy Story 2” opening on February 12, 2010, leading up to the premiere of “Toy Story 3” in 3D summer 2010. Toy Story Mania! is the first video game to place characters from these films into a carnival game setting and is expected to resonate with fans of the films and the attraction, as well as gamers who like pick-up-and-play party games

Developed by Papaya Studio, Toy Story Mania! will be available this fall exclusively for Wii.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Grumptastic Links: Waiting for Xiao Hai

For those of you who may only know us via this blog, Enchanted Rose and I are in the process of adopting a child from China.

Unfortunately due to circumstances out of my control, I am not able to give my wife a child.  There are options available to us that involve 3rd party intervention, but after much thought, discussion and crying, we came to the decision that such intervention wasn’t something we were comfortable doing.

We have been discussing the idea of adoption since the day we got married 7 years ago so this wasn’t a decision that came with a lot of argument on either side.

In regards to China, we did a lot of looking around online and started leaning this way already, but it was the glowing recommendation of a well known member of the community that helped us feel really comfortable with the decision to go with China (thank you Kirby).  He also provided us the name of an agency that he had used and liked.  After much Google searching we really couldn’t find a lot of bad press about the agency he suggested (CCAI) so we sent away for some information.

It just so happened that all this was originated with a conversation on Twitter and some time on the internet at a hotel in Ontario, California the night before our flight back to Oklahoma following our excursion to Disneyland in January.

Many people have given us grief for our decision to do an international adoption but there are factors that have led us this way.  The child welfare system in Oklahoma is ranked very poorly and by the time the kids end up in the system they are usually very “damaged” either emotionally, physically or both.

Add to it the extreme difficulty in getting parental rights revoked and the fact that Enchanted Rose works in one of the busier Emergency Departments in the area, which meant she saw these abuses first hand, made it real hard to take on that kind of responsibility.  We have a lot of respect for those who decide to take that on, but we didn’t feel we were ready.

The process is going to take about 3 years to been seen to completion, so there is going to be a lot of stress and frustrations along the way.

Because of that, Enchanted Rose felt she needed a forum to voice the good with the bad.  So, we launched a new blog:  Waiting for Xiao Hai

In addition to it being a place to record our thoughts, it’s also the place Enchanted Rose is going to document the process of her Bai Jai Bei quilt (aka 100 Wishes Quilt).  Apparently, it’s a tradition in Chinese culture, to get clothing from friends and family and with that they provide a “wish”.  That clothing is used to make a quilt that is given to the child so that they are always surrounded by love and good wishes.

The concept has been altered to where people provide pieces of fabric that they have chosen and send it with a wish.

Enchanted Rose blasted many of you via e-mail and Facebook about this project that she’s very excited about.  And we have already gotten some lovely pieces of fabric and wishes.

If you weren’t included in our “spamming” of our friends, and would like to help with this wonderful project, please send an e-mail via the link to the left (under the “call me” widget).

BTW, for those of you wondering about the name of the blog……

We have a really good friend who is of Chinese descent and we wanted a nickname for our yet to be matched child because we were tired of just saying our “child from China”.

She told us that Xiao Hai is Mandarin for “little one”, so it is the name we call our child until the day comes that we have been matched.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Announcing Pixelmania! 2009

pixelmania-300 After hosting several highly successful meets at MouseFest over the years, Tim Devine decided it was time to expand and create an entire multi-day event revolving around the sharing of photography knowledge.

So, on December 3 – 6, 2009, all people who have the shutter bug are invited to come to Walt Disney World and participate.

This event is open to all people who love to take pictures. Whether you are a person who is getting great daylight shots from their Point & Shoot and wants to learn how to squeeze the most out it even when the lights go down or you just got a new Digital SLR (dSLR) and wants to learn how to use it better and leave the infamous “Green Box Zone”, this event is for you.

Those of you who are more confident with their photographic prowess are encouraged to attend as well.

There always something new we can learn, but that knowledge should be shared. The exchange of ideas and knowledge is what this event is about. A little side benefit is that we’ll get to make some new friends and have loads of fun while doing it.

The planning committee is working hard coming up with events and activities that will use the Walt Disney World Resorts and Theme Parks as the subject matter.

Tim has provided a FAQ on his website:

Announcing Pixelmania!

If you are interested, and not a member of Tim’s forums, I strongly encourage you to join in on the discussions and photographic games over there.

We also have a forum setup explicitly for Pixelmania! We want this event to be the best for all who are coming, so feel free to add your input on what you’d like to do and learn about.

We’ve also setup an event page on Facebook for all of you that live over there. Many of the people who are in the Disney Community have already been sent an invite by me. If you were one of the people who declined (we understand), but you know someone who might be interested please forward them the information.

This event isn’t just for those of us in the Disney Community. We would love to add to our “family” some new members. So, if you also know someone who likes photography, might want to learn more and it wouldn’t require twisting their arm to take a trip to Walt Disney World in December, send them our way!

pixelmania-banner

Grumptastic Video Distraction: Lou Mongello's Daily Disney Diary

Lou Mongello has decided to try something new for his latest research trip to Walt Disney World.  He is calling it his daily diary.  So far he has only released the first day of his trip, but I’m sure he wouldn’t have released day 1 if he didn’t plan to release the rest.

In addition to his Daily Diary submission, Lou has uploaded quite a few other videos onto his WDW Radio site for your enjoyment.  They can be found here:

http://www.wdwradio.com/View-Category/12/WDW-Radio-Videos.html

I have embedded his video to this post so you can enjoy it.  His Day 1 submission only runs around 7.5 minutes so sit back, relax and enjoy a leisurely stroll down Main Street USA, a relaxing ride on TTA, and a gander at Spectromagic

Friday, March 20, 2009

Grumptastic Distractions: D23 Delivery

Well, I’d be the first to admit that I don’t have much of a life.  So ever since I signed up for the membership into D23, I have been watching my mail to see what, if anything has arrived.

Well, today I got some mail.  It turned out to be Enchanted Rose and my membership cards.  So I thought I’d throw up some pictures of what it looked like.

So here it is for your viewing pleasure…

D23MembershipCardMailer_Outside

  D23MembershipCardMailer_Inside 

D23MembershipCard_Front

D23MembershipCard_Back

 

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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Grumptastic Distractions: Are you 23?

If one didn’t know it was coming from the marketing department of the Disney Corporation, one might have mistaken the “Are you 23?” campaign as one capitalizing off of Michael Jordan’s famous association with the number 23.

After a viral campaign of a few months where we were teased with the question of Are you 23?, we found out that the rumors were true and Disney was starting their first Official Disney Fan Community.

The official announcement came during the Disney Stockholders Meeting, but following that, there was by-invite-only conference call with key Disney executives to discuss the D23 program that had many bloggers, podcasters and website hosts on the call.

I wish I could’ve been on the call, but maybe the fact that until now, I hadn’t provided a way for people to email me may have been the cause ;)  So Disney, if you are reading this and want to invite me to future press events such as what occurred today, I have an e-mail link you can hit now.

According to what I’ve been told by people were on the conference call, Disney talked about the Disney Expo event that will occur on September 10-13 2009 and will have some exclusive events during the Expo for Members of the D23 Fan Club.  Another thing that was mentioned was that there will exist the possibility for members of the unofficial fan community to have a presence at the Expo.

I’m not going to give a lot of details because it’s been cut & pasted all over the internet on many blogs and websites.  But the official D23 website is http://www.disney.com/d23 and there is plenty of info there to read up on.

There has been a lot of chatter on Twitter and Facebook if purchasing a D23 membership is worth it.

First, I need to mention that the price of a member is $74.99 (before tax).  Also, there are not any family memberships available at this time, so you’ll need to purchase a membership for each member of your family who you think will want to attend any special, members only events.

Since I don’t attend Disney stuff without Enchanted Rose, I purchased a membership for both of us.  Memberships are available online only through DisneyShopping.com.  When you purchase your membership you are asked to provide a Member Name.  When I purchased my membership, I made the mistake of thinking D23 Member Name was like a screen name for a forum so I used one of my usual names.  Later in the day, I got a call from Disney Shopping to get a name that matches a picture id.  So, when I purchased my wife’s membership, I made sure to use her full name.

Another thing I should point out, you either need separate accounts for Disney Shopping to purchase more than one membership, or you’ll need to purchase one and then choose the “Buy as a Gift” option so you can purchase for the other members of your family.

Now to the question of if it’s worth it….

At this point, I think it’s too early to say.  Right now for the money you are getting a 1 year subscription to the Disney Twenty-Three publication (which sells for almost $16/issue) and a free “Charter Member” gift.  So unless the “free gift” is a piece of junk worth less than $10 you pretty much get $75 worth of merchandise for your membership.

During the conference call, Marty Sklar made the statement that this isn’t just Disney’s way of selling more merchandise.  Already people have called this into question because D23 launched with some pretty pricey members only merchandise.

But, I’m going to go out on a limb that as time goes on we are going to hear about more members only exclusive events and access that doesn’t involve merchandise. 

They’ve already announced the Disney Expo I mentioned earlier which has a discounted price for members ($58 savings off 4-day ticket and $7 savings off of daily price)

I’m guessing in the future that we’ll hear about other events and fan gatherings that can only be attended by members.

Only time will tell what the future will hold for D23.

For me, the decision was easy.  I kept putting off joining the WDCC because I thought it wasn’t worth the $50 membership.  Then, I found out this year that there were some WDCC members-only pieces that I cannot get, that my wife wants, because I didn’t join back when we originally wanted.  When this opportunity arose, I had to join just to avoid missing out on any possible events or collectors merchandise that I couldn’t participate in because I wasn’t a member by a certain date.

So, yes, I’m 23 and dang proud!  I cannot wait to see what the future holds now that Disney has taken the official foray into the world of Fan Communities.

Hopefully, they know what they are getting themselves into…haha

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Friday, March 6, 2009