Thursday, January 22, 2015

At the Drop of a Hat

Possibly one of the most iconic features of Disney's Hollywood Studios in Disney World, Florida has been disappearing bit by bit, and this well known structure is the Sorcerer's Apprentice Hat. Standing tall at 122 feet tall since 2001, the Disney crew revealed a clue of it's removal as fans recognized its absence in the Disney World brochure, which of course left park-goers curious. As the removal process has begun on January 7, 2015, the crew has claimed that the project will "take a while", possibly a few weeks. The hat represented Disney's Fantasia from the 1940's by showing "Sorcerer's Apprentice Mickey" in a truly magical way that left Disney guests in aw at the sight.

Some Disney residents were surprisingly glad to hear that the hat will go, for it was blocking a separate replica of an attraction titled "Grauman's Chinese Theater" though is known as the "Great Movie Ride" for trademark precautions. There are several theories for the reasoning behind the demolition of the hat. Park residents speculate that the story is centered around the fact that Disney had to pay the true owners of the actual Grauman's Chinese Theater every time a guest at Disney World took a picture of the building, though if you indulge deeper into this theory, you would realize that guests continue to snap photos of the theater though from different angles. This theory can only be applied if the contract between Disney and Grauman allowed Disney to keep the theater but make it so that by passers cannot view it directly...not a very logical explanation. Though there is another way to look at things, it doesn't ensure the reason why the hat must be demolished, on the contrary, it gives people somewhat of an understanding about why it was installed in the first place. Disney fans are under the impression that the hat was placed for the "100 Years of Magic" marketing campaign for Walt Disney's 100th birthday as the timing between the two were compatible. The crew made it as though MGM Studios or "Hollywood Studios" as it is called now, is dressing in a Sorcerer's Apprentice Mickey hat to celebrate with the supporters. The flaw here is that the hat was not removed after "100 Years of Magic" ended. No one is certain of the authentic reason of the removal of this feature, though we can safely assume that it has something to do with the "Great Movie Ride" embedded in the "Grauman's Chinese Theater" replica.

File:Grauman's Chinese Theater Panorama.jpgThe Sorcerer's Hat is not only used for decoration at the end of the street or for legal reasons to block the theatre, for it is also useful in Disney shows as a background for a celebration. It's main usage though is as a roof for a pin purchasing and trading area. Yep, this grand feature is/was a not-so-simple roof for Disney pins. On the more enticing side of the hat's career; it has been involved in shows such as "100 Years of Magic" marketing campaign, Spaceship Earth, Walt Disney's 25th Anniversary celebration, and the High School Musical live show. Most people consider the hat cheaply made and "cartoony" though I consider it a fantastic feature.

The wonderful hat will be missed by many, but there are other, less disruptive versions of the apprentice's hat. These can be found outside of Walt Disney Animation Studios in Burbank, California, outside of the Art of Disney Animation exhibit in Walt Disney Studios in Paris, and finally, sitting perched on gold stars at the entrance of the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim, California. In other words, the magic is not being killed, it is being reincarnated in different and better ways. What will replace the grand hat is unknown, so we'll leave it up to the Imagineers!


Picture Sources:
Grauman's Chinese Theater-'s_Chinese_Theater_Panorama.jpg

Sorcerer Mickey-

Half Demolished Sorcerer's Hat-

Thursday, January 8, 2015

"It's a Small" Movie

"It's a small world after all, it's a small word after all, it's a small world after all! It's a small, small, world!"

This song may sound familiar to you if you've been to a Disney park, and is possibly one of the more bothersome Disney melodies regarding that it always seems to be stuck in your head even after the ride ends. Featuring varying dolls of diverse nationalities singing this song to you throughout the ride, "It's a Small World" proves that Disney is a very cultural brand. It includes doll animatronics  from Canada, Scandinavia, Asia, Africa, and plenty others. The riders, or you could say voyagers, travel down a shallow river in a wide boat along an unseen underwater track experiencing the "Small World". As a fellow voyager once said, "Kids love the attraction with the music, the dolls, the decorations, the color, and the atmosphere" which basically sums-up the ride perfectly.

Disney has begun to transform this multi-cultural ride into, yet another, Disney film. The Pirates of the Caribbean movie franchise was extremely successful while earning over 1 billion dollars, considering these movies were themed around the "Pirates of the Caribbean" ride located in Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California. Yes, the ride came before the film series, the ride was edited later to fit the film. The future motion picture for "It's a Small World" does not have a specific timeline and is said to "take a while to come together". Contained in the adventurous boat ride in Disneyland, you begin by viewing a two-dimensional boat cutout carrying children of all cultures grasping the title banner surrounded by varying national greetings. Following the greeting room, the riders proceed to dolls singing the theme song in Swedish, representing Canada and Scandinavia. Riders continue this process viewing a variety of dolls and buildings, listening to the melody in several diverse languages. Considering the theme of the ride, I would assume the film would fit somewhat into the adventure category. Who knows? It could be kids exploring different cultures circling the world!

The director of the future "It's a Small World" has directed several films for Walt Disney Studios in the past. His name is Jon Turteltaub, the director of 3 Ninjas, Cool Runnings, While you were Sleeping, Phenomenon, Instinct, Disney's The Kid, National Treasure (and National Treasure: Book of Secrets), and last (and least), The Sorcerer's Apprentice. Jared Stern will also be the script writer for the motion picture. He has worked on Wreck-it Ralph, Bolt, The Princess and the Frog, Mr. Popper's Penguins, and The Lego Movie 2 so it is likely that there will be sprinkles of  humor littered throughout the movie. The Sorcerer's Apprentice only received approximately 215.3 million dollars and received first place of "Biggest Box Office Flops of 2010". Based on his previous movies, who knows what will come of "It's a Small World"?

"It's a Small World" is one of the most classic Disney rides possibly of all time, so making a movie about it over 50 years after the attraction opened is a big deal for the Disney industry. It is possible that this movie could be a celebration for "It's a Small World"s 50th anniversary so hopefully it makes Walt Disney proud! The anniversary occurred on April 9, 2014 which, unfortunately means that the film won't have the option of release on the memorable day. Filmography is a tricky business, so let's just hope that assembling this motion picture creates positive publicity for Disney parks!


Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Tricky Trap!

Have you ever heard of a car? Yes, probably. But have you ever heard of a car powered by a mousetrap? I doubt it, considering it's not the most common thing...that is, unless you go to Laguna Middle School.

8th graders will soon begin scrambling, attempting to gather the necessary materials needed to make a moving vehicle, with a mousetrap. Luckily, not all students will be looking for the exact same supplies seeing as there are 4 categories to select from. These are, "fastest, longest distance, most unique design for propulsion, and cutest" as Mrs. Jones notes in the "Mousetrap Cars" objective. Though it appears that the entire project is technical, it also requires some science knowledge. 60 percent of this assignment requires the 8th graders to be able to explain Newton's Laws accompanied by vocabulary words and how they apply to the car. This means that only 40 percent of this project is about the performance of the car! This strenuous task has been assigned as of January 6, 2015 with a sneaky deadline of February 11, so think fast 8th graders! This time is going to fly by!

All students must have a fair chance, so there have been some rules applied to ensure an honest competition. These rules permit the students to craft the wheels (no toy wheels or anything that is intended to be a wheel), have the standard size mouse trap, have the mousetrap spring (if it is being used) permanently attached to the car, no push or pull mechanisms to start the vehicle, and rubber bands are NOT allowed to be used as part of a string device to make the wheels turn. These are set rules in order to make sure that no student has an advantage over another for an equal competition. Fair play is key in a friendly competition between peers seeing as it gives you the real winner. Students will prepare their supplies, make sure the car moves, then see if they can win their competition!

"The mousetrap car project is an opportunity for students to apply what they learn in class and to think creatively to design a working vehicle powered by a mousetrap. By doing this now, hopefully students will continue to be creative thinkers in their future and will come up with amazing new inventions that will help humanity!" describes Mrs. Jones, a science teacher hosting this event. Some 8th graders may begin to take this competition more seriously as time progresses, more seriously than other competitors. But in the end, it's just an entertaining way to learn and to broaden your skills! There will be some interesting vehicles in the Laguna gym on February 11th. Past creations include helicopter cars, hot-dog cars, Spongebob Squarepants cars, and even mouse cars! Yes, there are a lot of mouse-themed mousetrap cars this time of year, how ironic. If  the previous inventions are any indication, there will be some unique, interesting vehicles to be seen at Laguna!

Monday, January 5, 2015

Dancing Sugar

Mystery, magic, Christmas spirit; in other words, the Nutcracker. This December, there will be the annual Christmas production, the Nutcracker at the Performing Arts Center in San Luis Obispo. Students from Laguna Middle School, Los Osos Middle School, and several others will be participating in this engaging play. Professional dancers and other Adults will also be involved in spreading the holiday cheer by dancing to one of the Christmas favorites!

Sugar Plum fairies, nutcrackers come-to-life, and evil rats will all be participating in the production. There are many scenes full of very different and very entertaining characters, you are almost guaranteed to pick a favorite! Magical costumes really bring these characters to life including glitter and well-fit colors. Gliding around the massive stage in flowing dresses and regal coats must make the costume directors proud. Sophia Cusick (a dancer in the following Nutcracker performance) has informed me that she is “excited for the wonderful and beautiful costumes”. Using no words, these dancers always are able to portray the story beautifully with body language and facial expressions.

Young, beginning dancers are also given a chance to show their talents. “Lumps of Coal” is typically the starting role for students, they then work their way up based on their talents and eventually they might end up being the main character, Clara! There are magical and intense scenes included in this production, but they all glide perfectly together thanks to the amazing orchestra below the stage. During the beautiful, light-hearted portions of the play, xylophones and faint violins are much more audible, but as you’re watching scenes involving the villains, you can typically hear intense violins and bases.

It’s the small touches in the performance that make the experience come to life. If you decide to go to this amazing play, appreciate every little body movement, every instrument, and every dancer that volunteered. There has been a lot of effort put into this production and it is very recognizable in the final product.