Archive for June, 2009

BlakeOnline Special – Imagineering “Blue Sky” Session 2009

June 26, 2009
Image © Disney.

It’s that time of year for batting around ideas for the Disney parks!

By Blake

Originally posted June 26, 2009.

Most Disney fans probably have at least a few creative ideas or thoughts for how they would tweak the Disney parks if they were given the opportunity to do so. If they were an Imagineer – a member of the part of the Walt Disney Company responsible for creating the Disney park attractions – they might have several rides or shows dreamed up and ready to put into action.

It’s always fun to pretend, and so for the sole purpose of just having fun, I welcome you to the 2nd annual Imagineering “Blue Sky” Session here on BlakeOnline. “Blue Sky” is a term used by Imagineers at the very beginning stages of creating new attractions. During Blue Sky, ideas are batted around and introduced for the first time, and concepts and stories are just getting started.

Here we go!

I’ve talked a lot about the changes at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Walt Disney World, but even more colossal than that park’s various changes are the ones being put into effect at Disney’s California Adventure in Disneyland. The changes began in the Paradise Pier section of the park in June 2008 with the opening of Toy Story Midway Mania! Additionally, the Games of the Boardwalk recently re-opened featuring classic Disney characters, and the nearby Sun Wheel was re-themed to Mickey’s Fun Wheel.

The surrounding area of Paradise Pier will continue to be the first section of the park that will largely be changed as part of the multi-year DCA expansion. Other nearby attractions are being re-imagined to be themed to classic Disney shorts of the 1930’s and 1940’s, which I think is just wonderful. From the looks of the concept art and attraction descriptions, the area is going to become somewhat of a simpler, more classic-feeling Toontown. Goofy’s Sky School (a re-themed mad-mouse roller coaster) will be based on the Goofy “How-To” shorts, this time with Goofy “teaching” guests how to fly, with a few unplanned diversions (similar to the storyline of The Barnstormer at the Magic Kingdom ). Additionally, the Silly Symphony Swings will be themed to the 1935 classic Mickey Mouse short The Band Concert, complete with dazzling new special effects.

Silly Symphony Swings at Disney’s California Adventure are expected to be themed to the 1935 Mickey Mouse cartoon The Band Concert. Image © Disney.

Coming to Paradise Pier in spring 2010 is World of Color, a new water show featuring a hoopla of classic Disney characters in a spectacle that supposedly will knock the socks of its viewers. In 2011, Paradise Pier will become the home of The Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Undersea Adventure, a new dark ride that ironically was supposed to be built years ago at Disneyland.

The California Adventure expansion is expected to continue in 2012 with new theming to its entrance, which will depict Hollywood in the 1920’s, when Walt Disney was first arriving to the city. Additionally, an entire new area of the park will open in 2012 – Cars Land, themed to the 2006 Pixar film Cars. The area will include multiple new attractions that sound very exciting, and the atmosphere will make guests feel like they’re walking through Radiator Springs.

Cars Land, themed to the Pixar film Cars, is scheduled to open in Disney’s California Adventure at Disneyland in 2012. Image © Disney/Pixar.

Although I’ve never visited California Adventure, all of these upcoming additions sound very appealing, and hopefully they’ll be introduced to other Disney parks soon!

As we “keep moving forward” and press on to Walt Disney World in Florida, as of right now, no massive upcoming projects have been officially announced. There are plenty of wild rumors going around, but nothing’s been confirmed just yet.

There are a few smaller attractions scheduled, though. On June 29, the Pirates League will open in the Magic Kingdom’s Adventureland as a place where pirate fans can come to get pirate makeovers, similar to the Bibbidi-Bobbidi Boutique having princess makeovers. The Hall of Presidents is indeed expected to be re-opening with its newest member, Barack Obama, sometime within the coming weeks, and Space Mountain is supposed to be re-opening after a rather lengthy refurbishment in November, but other than those nothing very big is planned.

Space Mountain is expected to re-open in November at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom. Image © Disney.

However, that’s not to say that I don’t have a few ideas.

At the Magic Kingdom, I like how Disney is continuing the Pirates of the Caribbean craze in Adventureland with the Pirates League opening. Although I certainly don’t think that the entire land should be re-themed to Pirates, I admire that Disney isn’t just letting the franchise sit there waiting for the next movie to be released.

As for character greetings, I think a Captain Jack Sparrow meet & greet would be extremely popular given how well his appearances at the now-defunct Pirate & Princess Parties went. Additionally, even though they attract very long lines, the Princesses and the Fairies would probably fit into Fantasyland better than they do at their current location in Mickey’s Toontown Fair.

Also at the Magic Kingdom is the show Stitch’s SuperSonic Celebration over in Tomorrowland. The show opened in early May, 2009, and will have its final performance on Saturday, June 27, 2009. It wasn’t meant to be a seasonal attraction, it just altogether wasn’t pleasing guests and Disney decided to do away with the show completely. Which, in essence, I don’t think is quite giving the show a proper chance. If Disney were to focus more on Stitch and less on the dancers, put the show into the Galaxy Palace Theater (which was recently closed), and perhaps involved Mickey and Minnie into the plot (maybe something like the Castle shows?), I think Stitch’s SuperSonic Celebration would be a better experience. Or if they were to focus on just the Stitch aspect of the show, which involved a computer-animated Stitch interacting and talking with park guests (like Stitch Live at Disneyland Paris), maybe that would be a better solution.

Over at Epcot, the Kim Possible World Showcase Adventure – somewhat of a scavenger hunt themed to the now-concluded Disney Channel show Kim Possible throughout select World Showcase pavilions – has been wow’ing guests since it opened in February, and Remy from Ratatouille has been enchanting guests with his appearances at the Le Chefs de France restaurant.

Kim Possible World Showcase Adventure is a new experience at Walt Disney World’s Epcot in Florida. Image © Disney.

Some changes I might make to Epcot would include perhaps re-theming Test Track to incorporate characters from Cars. It would be a great opportunity to freshen up a classic ride. Though some purists might not like the idea, I think the concept of Lightning McQueen teaching guests what sort of tests racecars go through before they head to the track would be an engaging storyline.

Pixar’s newest film, Up, has dazzled audiences since it was released in May, and due to its success I can definitely see it being a candidate for future theme park presence. But where would the film fit? Although it might work out in Hollywood Studios’ Pixar Place or in the Magic Kingdom’s Adventureland, overall the movie would probably feel most at home in Epcot for several reasons. Firstly, flight is a component that’s important in Up, and it’s also an experience that would fit in Epcot’s Soarin’ attraction, though I’m not sure how Up’s characters or story would work into that ride. A more appropriate addition would be some sort of South America pavilion in World Showcase, featuring a version of Paradise Falls (a setting from the film), as well as some sort of dark ride themed to the movie.

The lush setting of Paradise Falls in Up would be wonderful for a South America pavilion in Epcot. Image © Disney/Pixar.

Heading to Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Enchanted would be wonderful if it was put on stage, and this park is an excellent choice to put such as show. The park’s Premiere Theater (which is currently used for special events) would be wise for the show’s location, as it’s right in the New York section of the park, and Enchanted takes place primarily in New York. Additionally, a Pixar Place expansion would be fascinating – re-theming the Honey, I Shrunk the Kids Movie Set Adventure to an area based on a bug’s life would be appropriate, and a nearby thrill ride based on the Monsters, Inc. door sequence would be brilliant. Some sort of Bolt attraction would also fit into Hollywood Studios, though not necessarily in the Pixar Place area.

Another idea would be to refurbish Jim Henson’s Muppet*Vision 3-D. Now would be a fitting time to do this, especially since Disney is currently in the process of re-launching the Muppet franchise. I don’t think the 3-D film itself should be changed, but some re-mastering and sprucing up of the footage would be nice. Additionally, perhaps some new pre-show or post-show elements could be added that would feature Muppet characters that weren’t around when Muppet*Vision initially opened (like Pepe the King Prawn). Some atmosphere around Muppet*Vision could also be enhanced to further involve guests in a Muppety area, such as bringing back the Muppet Mobile Lab (which had brief appearances in Disney’s California Adventure and Epcot) or adding some Muppet character greetings.

A refurbishment of Jim Henson’s Muppet*Vision 3-D at Disney’s Hollywood Studios would be great timing with Disney’s current re-launch of the Muppet franchise. Image © Disney.

Lastly, trekking over to Disney’s Animal Kingdom, I think the only area that needs a little work is the Dino-Rama! section of DinoLand U.S.A. The atmosphere’s storyline doesn’t come across very straightforward to guests, though the rides in the area (including the fun TriceraTop Spin and the exciting Primeval Whirl) are certainly keepers.

That concludes this year’s Imagineering Blue Sky Session! Feel free to create some ideas of your own. Get those creative gears flowing – who knows, you might just dream up the next Disney park classic.

By Blake; posted June 26, 2009. All images © Disney. Cars and Up images © Disney/Pixar.

Silver Screen Review – ‘Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian’

June 25, 2009
Image © 20th Century Fox/21 Laps Entertainment/1492 Pictures.

A great cast, a creative plot, and fun sequences make the 2nd ‘Night at the Museum’ an exhilarating ride.

By Blake

Originally posted June 25, 2009.

The central theme flowing throughout Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian, the new sequel to the hit 2006 film featuring Ben Stiller as a museum night guard who endures the museum’s creatures and exhibits coming to life at nighttime, emphasizes enjoying life and having fun at what you’re doing. This message is conveyed quite straightforward through the characters’ dialogue, but also by demonstrating the adventure of life through an overall fun experience.

Ben Stiller as Larry Daley in Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian. Image © 20th Century Fox/21 Laps Entertainment/1492 Pictures.

The success of the first Night at the Museum was obvious for a sequel, but its storyline hadn’t left room for much to be retold. If there were to be a sequel, its plot would likely be unneeded and repetitive to its predecessor. However, as underdog as it may seem, Battle of the Smithsonian does exactly what I doubted it could: convey a creatively endearing plot that presses itself forward without feeling like we’re just seeing a remake. The story consists of the mannequins, displays, and artifacts of the American Museum of Natural History in New York being shipped to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. Since the tablet that makes the exhibits come to life at night is expected to stay in New York, former night guard Larry Daley (played by Ben Stiller) sets out to return his friends back to New York. Eventually he reaches Washington and the tablet ends up getting there as well, resulting in the entire Smithsonian coming to life, threatening the group’s return home.

Amy Adams really made the movie shine for me. I was unaware that she was even in the film until the movie had been released, and even then I didn’t know she had a main role. Playing Amelia Earhart, she delivers a quirky, determined performance for the confident historic pilot and even has the speech and slang phrases of Earhart down-pat.

Amy Adams (left) as Amelia Earhart and Ben Stiller as Larry Daley in Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian. Image © 20th Century Fox/21 Laps Entertainment/1492 Pictures.

The reprise performances of Owen Wilson and Steve Coogan as miniatures were also enjoyable, each having a real sense for who their character was and what was driving their character to press on.

Steve Coogan (left) as Octavius and Owen Wilson as Jedediah Smith in Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian. Image © 20th Century Fox/21 Laps Entertainment/1492 Pictures.

Time is an element that comes across well as the plot progresses. Most of the film takes place in a single night, so a lot of the movie is delivered in a real-time format (as opposed to showing a lapse of time between scenes). Since the characters have a goal that they must vitally achieve (to get the exhibits back home before dawn), the element of time communicates well the conflict of the pressure that the characters hold, and the pressure that the audience also feels, too.

As far as sequels go, this one surprisingly relays its prior events from the first Night at the Museum relatively well, catching the audience up quite quickly. I’d go as far to say that if I didn’t know that the movie was a sequel and I hadn’t seen the first film, I wouldn’t have realized that it was a sequel. It helps to have the background information from the first movie to help guide the plot and characters along, but Battle of the Smithsonian could have potentially worked out as a stand-alone film by itself, so I complement the filmmakers for creating a fun story that relies on itself.

I can imagine that the movie might have been a challenge to pen, as it relies heavily on comedic dialogue in many scenes. Ultimately the long, drawn-out scenes with nothing but talking are sometimes annoying, sometimes hilarious. The writing does an admirable job at portraying its story’s characters, and a large portion of the film’s comedy comes from puns, parodies, and surprise appearances. Everyone from Oscar the Grouch to three cast members of The Office are shown, and I was guessing all throughout the movie what other people I recognized. Even the Jonas Brothers show up, though not playing themselves.

There are few moments, however, that seem to take cues from other productions rather than parody them. One scene seems very reminiscent of National Treasure while another had me flashing back to Blue’s Clues.

As a whole, Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian presents a creative journey that will satisfy moviegoers. Families concerned about appropriate content should note that a few curse words are used, but they’re very seldom spoken and are the only inappropriate elements of the movie. Additionally, there are a few frightening characters (there is a heap of villains this time around) and scenes that might be too scary for those that are easily afraid. Some of the jokes get old, but overall the film gives its audiences a whimsical adventure that reminds them to make time for fun in their lives.

How do I rank Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian? (Bolded is my choice.)
  • Aaah!
  • Blech
  • Not good
  • Good
  • Very good
  • Brilliant

Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian will most likely please: Kids (ages 5-7) – Older Kids (ages 8-10) – Tweens (ages 11-13)

By Blake; posted June 25, 2009. All images © 20th Century Fox/21 Laps Entertainment/1492 Pictures.

BlakeOnline Special – BlakeOnline Bullseye Awards 2009 Winners

June 24, 2009

Image © Disney/Pixar.

The winners for the inaugural BlakeOnline Bullseye Awards.

By Blake

Originally posted June 24, 2009.

This year, BlakeOnline is the home of the inaugural BlakeOnline Bullseye Awards! A “Bullseye” has been given to a variety of Disney-related (and some non-Disney-related) productions that I think deserve some extra attention. I chose the “Bullseye” name to keep with the Toy Story theme that began with the new “Buzz” quarterly updates. Hopefully, this will become an annual BlakeOnline event. The Bullseye nominees were announced on June 8, 2009, and the winners are in! How were the winners determined among the nominees? Well, I just chose them. Although it would make sense for Disney fans to choose what they think should win, at this point it was simpler for me to choose the results based on what I’ve observed around the Disney community.

In the future, I plan to give nominations to projects that were released within a one-year time frame (from mid-May to mid-May), but since this is the first year of the Bullseye Awards, I’m gone with an 18-month time frame, from mid-November 2007 through mid-May 2009.

Here are the winners (and runner-ups) for the inaugural BlakeOnline Bullseye Awards!! A * indicates a category that includes (but is not limited to) non-Disney nominees.

Best Movie – Enchanted

This movie has the workings of a true modern Disney classic. Many of the components that have made up previous Disney masterpieces were present, including endearing characters, superb music (provided by Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz, who earned three Academy-Award nominations), and a subtle focus on animation, even though most of the movie was in a live-action format. The film consisted of an animated heroine named Giselle (played by Amy Adams) being thrust from her home in Andalasia and into the real world. Giselle’s groom-to-be Prince Edward (James Marsden) journeys after her in an effort to return her home, while Giselle is taken in by a flustered man named Robert (Patrick Dempsey). Ultimately the movie’s highest points come as Giselle takes New York by storm as she enchants the city with her charming antics, including breaking out into song and communicating with “woodland” creatures. The film also has a strong emphasis on many Disney references, sure to keep Disney fans paying close attention to detail.

Enchanted wins Best Movie. Image © Disney.

Best Movie Runner-Up – Bolt

Bolt had the feel of a classic Disney animated film. It certainly had taken great care to create its main characters, especially Rhino, the hilarious hamster. Its plot consisted of a dog named Bolt headlining his own TV series, thinking all of his powers from the show are real. This proves to be a problem when he accidentally finds himself in New York, having to trek back home to Hollywood with a sly cat named Mittens and an obsessive fan named Rhino the hamster in tow. Overall I think Bolt was culminated together rather nicely, and hopefully it’s a hint at what’s yet to come from Walt Disney Animation Studios in the coming years.

Best TV Show* – American Idol Season 7

2008’s American Idol contestants possibly revolutionized the competition by adding their own distinctive styles to their performances. With contestants being allowed to use instruments on stage for the first time, the show dramatically changed from looking for the best singer to looking for the best artist – someone who could add their personality into their performances and change up arrangements to better suit them. David Cook achieved this excellently throughout the season, and ended up winning. Cook’s debut self-titled rock album was released in November, and he’s now on tour. In second place was David Archuleta, who has since also released a self-titled album, made appearances on Nickelodeon’s iCarly and Disney Channel’s Hannah Montana, and is now touring with Demi Lovato.

American Idol Season 7 wins Best TV Show. Image © Fox.

Best TV Show Runner-Up* – American Idol Season 8

Again, contestants had to step it up to change their performances and define themselves as artists in another unforgettable season. Kris Allen eventually won.

Best TV Special/Movie* – A Muppets Christmas: Letters to Santa

I can’t express how ecstatic I was when I found out that the Muppets would be returning to TV for a one-hour Christmas special. Part of an ongoing effort to bring the Muppets back (which is expected to continue with more upcoming projects), A Muppets Christmas: Letters to Santa debuted on NBC in December, 2008, and delivered a wholeheartedly quality Muppet production filled with heart, hilarity, and even a few delightful new songs (which were written by Paul Williams). The special had Kermit and friends delivering several lost letters to Santa Claus. In true Muppet fashion, everything doesn’t go exactly as planned.

A Muppets Christmas: Letters to Santa wins Best TV Special/Movie. Image © Disney.

Best TV Special/Movie Runner-Up* – American Idol Season 8 Finale

A real showstopper, this finale had many surprise appearances and amazing performances. Keith Urban, Kiss, Lionel Richie, Cyndi Lauper, Jason Mraz, David Cook, Queen, and more were among the highlights. Additionally, the season’s top thirteen contestants were all brought back to perform, and the night ended with Kris Allen being named 2009’s American Idol winner.

Best Acting – Amy Amy Adams as Giselle in Enchanted
The naïve, curious, and awed Giselle was played wonderfully by Amy Adams in Enchanted. In the live-action scenes, the movement and rhythm of Adams’ actions conveyed Giselle’s character excellently. In the animated sequences, the deliverance of Giselle’s diction and speech again brought the character to the screen marvelously.

Amy Adams wins Best Acting for her performance as Giselle in Enchanted. Image © Disney.

Best Acting Runner-Up – Ashley Tisdale as Sharpay in High School Musical 3: Senior Year


Already proving from the first two High School Musical movies that she could diversify her roles to become both the kind Maddie in The Suite Life of Zack & Cody as well as the devious Sharpay in HSM, Ashley Tisdale stepped up her game for the third HSM installment to bring an excellent performance. Devious, attention-getting, and clever all describe Sharpay and all were performed superbly by Tisdale, who once again delivered a solid performance.

Best Song – “That’s How You Know” from Enchanted
Written by Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz

Enchanted’s lavish production number, “That’s How You Know” had Giselle (played by Amy Adams) gallivanting around Central Park in an effort to bring cheer and happiness to citizens, as well as teach them how they should treat their loved ones. The song is one of the best new Disney tunes in years, and was released on the DisneyMania 6 CD in May, 2008, sung by Demi Lovato.

“That’s How You Know” written by Alan Meken and Stephen Schwartz wins Best Song. Image © Disney.

Best Song Runner-Up – “I Want It All” from High School Musical 3: Senior Year
Written by Matthew Gerrard and Robbie Nevil

Describing the personality of Sharpay Evans (played by Ashley Tisdale) to a tee in one single song, “I Want It All” consists of pretty selfish lyrics when just reading the words, but when watching it performed on screen in High School Musical 3: Senior Year, it does its job quite well to convey the personalities of two of the movie’s main characters and to deliver an important plot point. The lyrics creatively spin dialogue into melodies and suit the Sharpay and Ryan characters wonderfully. The songwriting here is just right.

Best DVD – Mary Poppins 45th Anniversary Edition

Definitely one of my favorite Disney movies ever, Mary Poppins came to DVD again in January, 2009, with most of the wonderful bonus features that were included on 2004’s 40th Anniversary Edition of the film, as well as new supplements going behind the scenes of the Broadway production of Mary Poppins. The movie’s DVD would be magnificent if it contained nothing but the film itself, but the addition of the many DVD bonuses makes it a very satisfying set.

Mary Poppins 45th Anniversary Edition wins Best DVD. Image © Disney.

Best DVD Runner-Up – Walt Disney Treasures: Disneyland Secrets, Stories, & Magic

This DVD was released as part of the Walt Disney Treasures series in December, 2007, and includes a truly great new documentary tracing the history of Disneyland and what went into initially creating the park. Bonuses include an entertaining Disney trivia game, a very fascinating presentation (and commentary) of People and Places: Disneyland, U.S.A., several episodes of The Wonderful World of Color, a pleasant art gallery, and more.

Best Internet Video Series* – Disney Park Characters


These are a range of hilarious videos recorded by various Disneyland and Walt Disney World park guests focusing on the happenings of the Mad Hatter, Alice, Peter Pan, the Tremaines, and other characters throughout the parks. What’s so great about these is that – unlike the other candidates for this Bullseye category – most of them are of real events throughout the Disney parks that weren’t scripted, showing the true enchantment that exists in Disney’s characters and Cast Members. Links: Users Briberry, Disleanne, SkeletonStockings, MadHattress330, forevermeg4u.

Best Internet Video Series Runner-Up* – Muppets.com

Began in February, 2008, this is a collection of official Muppet videos featuring Kermit, Miss Piggy, Fozzie, Gonzo, Pepe, Rizzo, and even some of the lesser-known characters like Bobo the Bear and Beauregard. The videos have been continuously added to the website since the site’s initial launch, and now contain enough material to provide quite a while of hilarious entertainment. They’re definitely worth checking out.

That wraps up this year’s BlakeOnline Bullseye Awards! Congratulations to all of the winners!

Related BlakeOnline articles:

By Blake; posted June 24, 2009. All images © Disney EXCEPT: Bullseye image © Disney/Pixar; American Idol image © Fox.

Disney Detours – The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh

June 22, 2009

Image © Disney.

Disney’s Fantasyland dark ride through the Hundred Acre Wood is detailed and charming.

By Blake

Originally posted June 22, 2009.

No, I’ve never ridden Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride. When it was replaced by the chubby little cubby that’s stuffed with fluff in 1999, many Toad fans weren’t happy. And despite their concerns, Imagineers pressed forward and introduced The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh to Fantasyland in Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom.

Pooh is a “dark ride,” an attraction that travels guests through scenes of classic Disney movies in a relatively dark setting, with the Audio-Animatronics and backdrops colorfully lit up. Being the first completely new dark ride since the Magic Kingdom opened in 1971, Pooh conveyed the Imagineers’ 28 years of experience with the Florida park and their ability to blend a story, characters, music, and a playful mood into an attraction in a lighthearted and fun way. They had learned from the first version of Snow White’s Scary Adventures to keep Fantasyland attractions relatively child-oriented, with less frights and more charm.

Perhaps more than any other WDW Fantasyland dark ride, Pooh has an overall appeal that all comes together due to a number of different elements of theming and extending its story beyond the ride and into the gift shop and nearby character greetings, atmosphere, and play area.

The excellent theming starts the moment guests enter the queue line. They’re immediately immersed into the world of Christopher Robin’s storybooks, illustrated through large versions of book pages scattered throughout the loading area. Guests are literally put into the story in this attraction, and the plot involves guests moving through pages of Christopher Robin’s book about Pooh and friends. Those that are unfamiliar with Pooh shouldn’t have a hard time following along with the storyline, because instead of containing a structured plot, the ride (like its film counterpart) consists of several stand-alone short stories.

The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh attraction at the Magic Kingdom is based upon the film of the same name, which was released in 1977 and contains three Pooh featurettes. Image © Disney.

Once guests are loaded into their ride vehicle – a honey pot – the first scene they arrive at is a blustery day in the Hundred Acre Wood, complete with Pooh trying to use the wind to his advantage to breeze up to a bees’ nest to get a smackeral of honey. All throughout the ride, a variety of senses and special effects are used to further make guests feel like they’re right in the middle of the story. This is first instanced when the blustery day turns out to be truly windy. (The air, although indeed breezy, is surprisingly warm.)

Next up is Owl’s house, where a few infamous references to Mr. Toad can be found. After that, guests encounter Tigger, who invites everyone to bounce along with him. Again, wonderful sensory effects are implemented, this time through the movement of the ride vehicles “bouncing” up and down with Tigger.

Soon Tigger winds up telling Pooh that he had better watch out for “heffalumps and woozles,” and guests trek through Pooh’s nightmare concerning the fanciful creatures. A brilliant special effect is used as Pooh dozes off into his dream, and later guests see somewhat of a special effect of themselves, through the use of funhouse-like mirrors. Although it’s all lighthearted fun, the heffalumps and woozles sequence of the ride could potentially frighten young visitors if they’re easily scared.

Next, Pooh returns to the real world and soon finds that the Hundred Acre Wood has flooded! Again, special effects through movement are used marvelously to make the ride vehicles feel as if they’re really floating through a watery environment, even though they travel along a track. Again, some little ones might be scared by the dark environment of this scene.

Lastly, the flood recedes and it’s time to celebrate. Pooh’s friends are having a party, but where’s Pooh? He’s finally found his honey and is enjoying it immensely, as shown by his messy face.

As guests depart their ride vehicles, they enter Pooh’s Thotful Shop, a store filled with Pooh-themed merchandise. After they depart from the shop and exit outside, guests can experience other nearby Fantasyland attractions transporting riders into the worlds of Snow White, Peter Pan, and more. However, if guests still just can’t get enough of Pooh, they can walk directly across from The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh into Pooh’s Playful Spot, a creatively themed play area for children ages two through five.

Pooh’s Playful Spot opened in September 2005 and is located in part of the former home of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. It includes several play fixtures, including one of Pooh’s house (which features a clever 20,000 Leagues nod). Additionally, throughout the day guests can also meet characters from the Pooh stories at Pooh’s Playful Spot. The most common friends to find here are Pooh and Tigger, but others may show up, as well.

Fans of Pooh can also see him in several other places around Walt Disney World, as he is one of the few characters to have a role in all four WDW parks. Guests can dine with Pooh and friends at the Magic Kingdom’s Crystal Palace restaurant, see Pooh in the Magic Kingdom’s afternoon parade, see Pooh solve a Super Sleuth case as part of Playhouse Disney – Live on Stage! at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and meet Pooh and friends at Epcot’s United Kingdom pavilion or in Animal Kingdom’s Discovery Island.

With such a great all-around experience, it’s no wonder that many guests love The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. Its large popularity often causes quite a bit of a line. Fortunately, guests have the opportunity to use Fastpass, which is very beneficial in this case. Nearby activities that can help wait off your Fastpass return time include attractions like Snow White’s Scary Adventures, Cinderella’s Golden Carrousel, Dumbo the Flying Elephant, and the Mad Tea Party (all of which do not use Fastpass), or catching a showing of Storytime with Belle in Fairytale Garden.

The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh is nestled in the Magic Kingdom’s Fantasyland, which is located behind Cinderella Castle. Image by Blake’s family.

Overall, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh does an excellent job at culminating together many different aspects – including the ride itself, its gift shop, and nearby play area and character meet & greet – to create an atmosphere that successfully takes guests into a well-executed story. Through clever use of sensory effects, Imagineers create an environment that immerses guests into the story wonderfully.

How do I rank The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh? (Bolded is my choice.)

  • Aaah!
  • Blech
  • Not good
  • Good
  • Very good
  • Brilliant

The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh will most likely please: Disney Fans – Toddlers (ages 1-2) – Preschoolers (ages 3-4) – Kids (ages 5-7)

Related BlakeOnline articles:

By Blake; posted June 22, 2009. Pooh clipart image and The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh DVD cover image © Disney; Cinderella Castle image belongs to Blake’s family.

Directory of BlakeOnline "Disney Detours" Articles

June 20, 2009

Directory of Disney Detours articles:

General Planning:

Budgeting Disney, Part Five: Dining (posted August 21, 2009)

Budgeting Disney, Part Four: Purchasing Tickets (posted July 27, 2009)

Budgeting Disney, Part Three: Where to Stay (posted July 13, 2009)

Budgeting Disney, Part Two: When To Go (posted April 27, 2009)

Your Day Off (posted April 9, 2009)

Budgeting Disney, Part 1 1/2: Another Disney Deal (posted April 3, 2009)

Budgeting Disney, Part One: Finding Promotions (posted March 26, 2009)

Walt Disney World 30-Day Countdown! (posted January 2, 2007)

Attractions:

The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (posted June 22, 2009)

Mickey’s PhilharMagic (posted July 3, 2007)

Dream Along with Mickey (posted March 9, 2007)

Character Experiences:

Epcot Character Spot (posted August 29, 2009)

REALLY In Character (posted September 15, 2007)

Compiled by Blake.

Theme Park Headlines and Disney Detours

June 19, 2009

Introducing two revamped BlakeOnline columns.

By Blake


I’ve noticed in the past few weeks that articles about the Disney parks here at BlakeOnline have become somewhat of a broad umbrella of mixed subjects, containing two very different types of articles. One of these includes vacation-planning advice, the other being news articles about the Disney parks.

To further narrow down these two varied topics, I’ve decided to divide up the park-related articles into two columns. Theme Park Headlines will not be solely the home of Disney park news, while Disney Detours will focus on vacation planning. Additionally, Disney Detours will also highlight my views about Disney park rides, restaurants, and atmosphere by providing somewhat of a review of each attraction covered.

All of the pre-existing park-related articles have been sorted into their appropriate new homes.

By Blake; posted June 19, 2009. All images © Disney.

Image © Disney.

Theme Park Headlines – Celebration Central

June 16, 2009

Image © Disney.

Disney Parks and Disney On Ice continue to roll out new ways to celebrate all year long.

By Blake

Originally posted June 16, 2009.

In recent years, the Disney Parks have been known for their continuous annual “themes,” a marketing technique that has increased particularly within this decade. The “100 Years of Magic” celebration commemorated Walt Disney’s 100th birthday in 2001, “Magical Gatherings” encouraged guests to come in large groups in 2003, the “Happiest Celebration on Earth” honored Disneyland’s 50th anniversary in 2005, and the “Year of a Million Dreams” gave away 1,000,000 special moments to park guests from late 2006 – 2008.

This year, Disney Parks are asking guests to celebrate another occasion. However, this time, it’s up to the guests to decide what to celebrate. Whether it’s an anniversary, graduation, or birthday, Disney wants you to celebrate your event with them.

However, even Disney is aware of the economic recession. To keep their attendance numbers high and to continue to bring more guests to their parks, Disney has implemented several outstanding vacation deals, as well as new live entertainment options.

Disney Parks are celebrating in 2009 with vacation promotions, new live entertainment, and attraction updates. Image © Disney.

Some of those vacation deals include summer guests at Walt Disney World having a “buy 4 nights, get 3 free” option (a deal whose booking window has now closed), Walt Disney World guests receiving the Disney Dining Plan for free (if they book by July 26 and visit by October 3), and Disneyland guests buying 3 nights and getting 2 free (if they book by August 11 and arrive by September 26). Guests visiting an American Disney Park on their birthday in 2009 even get free admission (if it is on their actual birthday and they have a valid ID).

Disney has also implemented several new attractions that encourage guests to “Celebrate Today.” In January, an updated parade debuted at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom called Celebrate A Dream Come True Parade. In February, the Move It! Shake It! Celebrate It! Street Party rolled into the Magic Kingdom and the American Idol Experience opened at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Disneyland premiered the Celebrate! A Street Party procession in March, and opened the Celebration Roundup and Barbecue venue at Big Thunder Ranch in April. In May, the Magic Kingdom debuted Stitch’s SuperSonic Celebration, a live stage show in Tomorrowland featuring Stitch interacting with park guests (though there is some serious speculation going around about this show lately, all of which is rumor at this point).

The American Idol Experience opened in February at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Image © Disney.

Just last Friday on June 12, Disneyland kicked off a summer-long celebration called “Nightastic!” that will last through August 23. The festivities, which only take place at night, include new live entertainment. Disneyland Park features a new fireworks show called Magical, which includes an appearance by Dumbo. (The former fireworks show, Remember Dreams Come True, will return after Nightastic! is over.) Additionally, Fantasmic! has been updated to include appearances by Tick-Tock Crocodile from Peter Pan and the eels Flotsam and Jetsam from The Little Mermaid. Later this summer, an enhanced dragon of Maleficent will debut. (These changes are just for the Disneyland version, though, and are not being implemented to Fantasmic! at Disney’s Hollywood Studios).

Additionally, as part of Nightastic!, special enhancements have been made to the Pixie Hollow character greeting area at Disneyland. The space opened in October 2008 so that guests would have an opportunity to meet Tinker Bell and her fairy friends. Now, at nighttime, the area features several updates including special effects using lights and water, as well as enchanting background music. The Disney Fairies also participate in Nightastic! over at Disney’s California Adventure, Disneyland’s next-door neighbor. A new Tinker Bell float has been added to Disney’s Electrical Parade, and several floats (including ones carrying Snow White and Pinocchio) have returned to the parade after a period of absence.

And the celebrating isn’t over yet.

On June 29, Walt Disney World will open The Pirates League in the Magic Kingdom, a unique experience that will give guests pirate makeovers (similar to how the Bibbidi-Bobbidi Boutique gives fairy tale makeovers). In early July, Barack Obama will make his debut in the Magic Kingdom’s Hall of Presidents along with several other new enhancements to the attraction. In late August at the Magic Kingdom, the Tomorrowland Transit Authority will re-open after its refurbishment, which will be followed by the November re-opening of Space Mountain. (Both attractions have been closed since April.)

Disney On Ice is also getting in on the act. They’re debuting a new show called “Celebrations!,” which will premiere in Lakeland, Florida, on September 4, followed by a nationwide tour. The new show involves many Disney characters celebrating all kinds of festivities, from unbirthdays to holidays.

Disney On Ice will debut a new show, Celebrations!, this September. Image © Disney.

Additionally, from the look of the art for the show on DisneyOnIce.com, it appears that Princess Tiana will be making her Disney debut in Celebrations!, which should be quite exciting. Tiana is a new Disney Princess and the main character of the upcoming animated film The Princess and the Frog, which is coming to theaters on December 11. This means that Disney On Ice guests might get a sneak peek into Tiana’s story a bit before it comes to the silver screen. Nevertheless, the art for Celebrations! also includes Woody, Buzz, Stitch, Peter Pan, and more, so it should be a very entertaining show to say the least.

With the great vacation deals Disney has implemented and the new live entertainment and attraction updates they’ve added to their parks, the first part of 2009 has certainly been host to a lot of celebrating where Disney is concerned. The upcoming Disney On Ice show and additional theme park enhancements hint that the party is just getting started.

By Blake; posted June 16, 2009. All images © Disney.

Theme Park Headlines – Main ‘Street View’

June 10, 2009
Image © Disney.

Disneyland Paris has implemented Google Maps’ Street View.

By Blake

Originally posted June 10, 2009.

Last year (at about this same time, actually), Disney and Google introduced a fascinating new feature to Google Earth – 3-D buildings of Walt Disney World in Florida. This allowed users to navigate their way through any of the Walt Disney World parks or resorts virtually (as opposed to the usual bird’s-eye view Google Earth has).

Google Earth introduced 3-D views of Walt Disney World in 2008. Cinderella Castle photograph © Disney. Google Earth image – image © Aerodata International Surveys, © Tele Atlas, buildings © Disney.

I was very excited about this implementation because I found it wonderful to be able to “stroll” through the parks right on my computer. However, the 3-D buildings took very long to load, making Google Earth (and the rest of my computer) very slow. At the time I thought it was acting slowly because the buildings had just been added, and that they’d take a while to work correctly. However, almost a year has come and gone since the Walt Disney World buildings were added to Google Earth and they haven’t gotten any quicker.

Recently Disney and Google teamed up again to introduce a 3-D version of Disneyland Paris, displaying the same experience of walking through the parks. Although I’d like to report that the kinks were worked out, that’s not the case. The 3-D parts are still slow.

But there’s some good news, too. With the introduction of Disneyland Paris in 3-D also comes the implementation of Disneyland Paris “Street View.” On Google Maps and Google Earth, the Street View allows users to look at actual photographs (as opposed to a 3-D rendering) of an area from the “ground” and move up and down streets in that way. Since the Disney parks don’t contain actual public street names, Street View hasn’t had access to the parks. Until now.

With Disneyland Paris’ Street View, users can go through Disneyland Park and its neighbor, Walt Disney Studios Park. A few Disney friends show up along the way, too. To access it, click here and then click that yellow person you see on the left of the screen. Drag the yellow person anywhere in Disneyland Paris, and there you have it! You can make your way through the parks by clicking your keyboard’s arrow keys.

This is part of a year-long celebration Disneyland Paris is hosting called Mickey’s Magical Party. Other festivities include new live entertainment like the Stars ‘n’ Cars Parade, which was recently imported to Paris from Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Mickey’s Magical Party is being celebrated this year at Disneyland Paris. Image © Disney.

The Street View is a much easier and faster way to navigate virtually through Disneyland Paris, and hopefully the feature will be added to other Disney parks.

By Blake; posted June 10, 2009. Disneyland Paris characters image, Cinderella Castle image, and Mickey’s Magical Party image all © Disney. Google Earth image – image © Aerodata International Surveys, © Tele Atlas, buildings © Disney.

Disney Talk – Lucky Duck

June 9, 2009
Image © Disney.

Donald Duck is celebrating his 75th birthday, and has made quite a lot of friends since 1934.

By Blake

Originally posted June 9, 2009.

A classic scene-stealer since his debut in the 1934 Silly Symphony cartoon The Wise Little Hen, Donald Duck was given special treatment by Disney animators in his early years. After Donald repeatedly proved to be much more than a sidekick in his recurring role in several Mickey Mouse cartoons, he soon earned his own individual series of cartoons. The first of those shorts was 1937’s Don Donald (which was also Daisy’s first appearance), which made Donald the first Disney character other than Mickey Mouse to have his own cartoon series (Goofy and Pluto later followed).

Donald’s 75th birthday is today, Tuesday, June 9, 2009. D23, the official Disney fan club, seems to be the only branch of the Walt Disney Company that’s commemorating Donald’s special day, but they’re doing so in fine fashion. Donald made the cover of the summer issue of Disney twenty-three magazine, and inside was a special Donald-themed feature article tracing the duck’s expansive and fascinating history. D23 members can also submit art of Donald by June 15 that could be chosen to become his official 75th birthday portrait, making the winning member Donald’s official portrait artist.

Donald was on the cover of the summer 2009 issue of Disney twenty-three magazine. Image © Disney.

Additionally, the D23 website has been showing a classic Donald cartoon each week in what they’re calling “Duck Season.” This week’s pick is the 1940 cartoon Fire Chief, as selected by Dave Smith, Chief Archivist of the Walt Disney Archives. Previous choices in Duck Season have included Chef Donald, Truant Officer Donald, and Donald’s Snow Fight. This is a really great opportunity to see some classic Donald misadventures.

Lastly, a commemorative article celebrating Donald’s 75th birthday was posted earlier today on D23’s website. D23 has done an excellent job at celebrating a Disney milestone that might not have been noted otherwise, as no other official recognition by Disney has been given of Donald’s birthday this year other than the D23 happenings.

To throw in my congratulations to Donald for 75 years of quackiness, I thought I’d list some of Donald’s closest friends and the relationships he’s made with them over the years.

Mickey Mouse

Donald has wanted to take the spotlight from Mickey Mouse ever since their first appearance together in 1934’s Orphan’s Benefit. Although in reality Donald has actually succeeded Mickey in popularity (especially during the time of his cartoon shorts in the 1940’s and 1950’s), it seems that no one’s told Donald that! He’s continued to want the attention put on him instead of Mickey, especially when it comes to The Mickey Mouse Club. However, when it comes down to it, Mickey and Donald are really good friends. Even though Donald repeatedly messes up situations for Mickey, Mickey always seems to come through with the patience and forgiveness needed for the two to remain friends.

Donald disrupted Mickey’s band performance in 1935’s The Band Concert. Image © Disney.

Minnie Mouse

Throughout the course of Donald’s 75 years, audiences haven’t seen much interaction between Minnie and Donald. When we do, it usually involves Minnie warning Donald not to do something, and of course then results in Donald not listening and doing just what Minnie said not to do, as in the live show Cinderella’s Surprise Celebration (now closed) at Walt Disney World. Additionally, Minnie tends to give Donald encouragement every now and then, such as in Dream Along with Mickey, which is now performing at the Magic Kingdom. Even though Donald may not realize it that often, Minnie is a good friend that’s always there for him.

Goofy

Goofy’s antics are enough to drive anyone . . . well, goofy. Even Mickey, one of Hollywood’s most patient actors, sometimes gets annoyed by Goofy’s clumsiness, as seen in the TV show House of Mouse. However, while Mickey might try to rationalize with Goofy and talk things through to resolve a situation, Donald just downright gets mad. And the audience loves it. There were even several “Donald & Goofy” cartoons that were released in the 1940’s because the pair worked so well together cinematically. Goofy is sometimes oblivious to the problems he creates, and that’s what makes him so lovable, and even Donald is there to lend the goof a helping hand when needed.

Donald is featured along with some of his friends (including Goofy, Minnie, and Mickey, featured here from left) in the TV show Mickey Mouse Clubhouse on Disney Channel’s Playhouse Disney. Image © Disney.

Pluto

Pluto is actually a lot like Donald, often getting frustrated about situations that he can’t control. However, since Pluto is a genuine dog and doesn’t fully understand quite what’s going on sometimes, instead of having a tantrum like Donald does, he shows curiosity to take matters into his own paws and solve problems himself. It seems fitting that two similar characters would work so well in scenes together, and the Disney animators seemed to know it. In the 1935 cartoon On Ice, Donald puts a set of ice skates on poor Pluto while the dog is sleeping, resulting in a surprise for Pluto when he wakes up. The pair was later put together in the 1936 cartoon Donald and Pluto in another great story and again in the 1939 short Beach Picnic. Both displaying their tempers often (though Pluto’s is far tamer than Donald’s), the two of them have delivered a hoopla of entertaining stories for audiences.

Daisy Duck

The apple of Donald’s eye, Daisy first appeared in the first-ever official “Donald Duck” cartoon, 1937’s Don Donald. Originally her voice was the same as Donald’s, though she soon got a distinctive female voice. It’s appropriate that Daisy would be drawn to Donald’s befuddled personality, as she often displays a temper herself. Even though she constantly is warning Donald to stay calm, sometimes she joins him in flaring her anger, making the two great for each other.

Daisy Duck is Donald’s girlfriend. Image © Disney.

Huey, Dewey, and Louie

Donald’s nephews (the sons of his sister Dumbella), Huey, Dewey, and Louie with their energetic personalities and rambunctious mischief get Donald almost every time. The boys are experts at pulling pranks on their uncle, and often succeed at tricking Donald and causing him to explode in frustration. Like Daisy, the trio once had the same voice as Donald. However, when they began to headline their own TV series along with their great-uncle Scrooge McDuck (but without Donald) in 1987 – 1990’s DuckTales, the boys got their own voice, which was provided by Russi Taylor, who is also the voice of Minnie Mouse. (Huey, Dewey, and Louie all collectively sounded the same, but now sounded different than Donald). In the 1996 TV show Quack Pack, the boys had matured to teenagers (where they got another voice change) and tagged along as Donald and Daisy reported news for a TV station. Since 1999, the boys-to-teenagers transition has been on and off, though we mostly now see Huey, Dewey, and Louie in their younger stage. Whatever their age, they almost always jump at the chance to prank their “Unca Donald,” though also know when the make things right and apologize when they’ve gone too far.

Chip and Dale

Another group that frustrates Donald, Chip and Dale often annoy him without even realizing it. Usually they’re just trying to get back what Donald has mistakenly taken from them. However, once each side knows they’ve angered the other, there’s no stopping them. Chip and Dale usually get the best of Donald in the end, much to their satisfaction.

Scrooge McDuck

Donald doesn’t quite understand his Uncle Scrooge’s love for money, but that doesn’t bother Scrooge. Scrooge seems to have grown humbler as he’s progressed in TV shows and movies over the years, and because of this he’s been able to put up with Donald’s tantrums. After all, Scrooge has had experience with Donald’s mother (Scrooge’s sister), Hortense, who had quite the temper of her own.

His Fellow Caballeros

Donald is one of the “Three Caballeros,” a group of birds that were featured in a “self-titled” Disney film of the same name in 1945. The other caballeros are Jose Carioca from Brazil and Panchito from Mexico. Donald has a sense of belonging to the group, and seldom misbehaves around them. The three later went on to appear together on an episode of House of Mouse, and again in an attraction at Walt Disney World’s Epcot called Gran Fiesta Tour starring the Three Caballeros.


Donald is a member of the Three Caballeros. From left: Donald, Panchito, and Jose. Image © Disney.

Although Donald has displayed many instances of flaring anger throughout his 75 years, he’s also been adored by audiences for his witty, persistent personality that’s been conveyed not only by himself, but also with the help of some of his beloved co-stars.

If you get the chance, head on over to the D23 website to catch some of those classic Donald shorts, or view one of Donald’s Walt Disney Treasures DVD sets to get a glimpse of his timeless career.

Happy 75th birthday, Donald Duck! Now I’m off to watch a Mickey cartoon. Just kidding . . . there’s no need to throw a fit. 😉

Related BlakeOnline articles:

By Blake Taylor; posted June 9, 2009. All images © Disney.

BlakeOnline Special – BlakeOnline Bullseye Awards 2009 Nominees

June 9, 2009
Image © Disney/Pixar.

The nominees for the inaugural BlakeOnline Bullseye Awards.

By Blake

Originally posted June 8, 2009.

It seems that Disney fans often get a little perplexed when prestigious award shows such as the Oscars and the Grammys announce their nominees (and winners, for that matter) and some productions that seemed to have swept the Disney community off their feet are nowhere to be seen on the list. I sometimes think Disney should have their own set of official awards, to be given only to Disney projects. However, that might seem a bit too self-centered and commercial to be accepted well.

However, since BlakeOnline is in no way associated with the Walt Disney Company, it won’t seem commercial at all as I announce that the website is the home of the inaugural BlakeOnline Bullseye Awards! A “Bullseye” will be given to a variety of Disney-related (and some non-Disney-related) productions that I think deserve some extra attention. I chose the Bullseye name to keep with the Toy Story theme that began with the new “Buzz” quarterly updates. Hopefully, this will become an annual BlakeOnline event.

In the future, I plan to give nominations to projects that were released within a one-year time frame (from mid-May to mid-May), but since this is the first year of the Bullseye Awards, I’m going to go with an 18-month time frame, from mid-November 2007 through mid-May 2009.

How will the winners be determined among the nominees? Well, I’m just going to choose them. Although it would make sense for Disney fans to choose what they think should win, at this point it’s going to be simpler for me to choose the results based on what I’ve observed around the Disney community.

Here are the nominees for the BlakeOnline Bullseye Awards 2009! A * indicates a category that includes (but is not limited to) non-Disney nominees.

Best Movie
Enchanted

A classic Disney heroine, wonderful music, a return to animation (if only for a while), and great Disney references.

National Treasure: Book of Secrets

Another suspenseful and quality Jerry Bruckheimer movie.

Wall-E

Pixar’s breathtaking and eye-opening story of a robot that falls in love.

Bolt

The best non-Pixar Disney animated film since Lilo & Stitch, about a heroic dog trekking his way to Hollywood.

Wall-E. Image © Disney/Pixar.

Best TV Show*

American Idol Season 7

The season where David Cook won.

Survivor: Micronesia – Fans vs. Favorites

Plenty of shockers and blindsides.

The Office Season 5

Hilarious.

iCarly Season 2 – A Nickelodeon sitcom created by Dan Schneider, who also created The Amanda Show, Drake & Josh, and Zoey 101.

American Idol Season 8

The season where Kris Allen won.

Best TV Special/Movie*

Shrek the Halls

A brief, charming return to the Shrek characters. Gingy was hilarious.

American Idol Season 7 Finale

ZZ Top, One Republic, the Jonas Brothers, Carrie Underwood, Jordin Sparks, and more were among the highlights.

Merry Christmas, Drake & Josh

Drake Bell and Josh Peck returned to Nickelodeon for a satisfying Christmas movie.

A Muppets Christmas: Letters to Santa

One of the best Muppet productions in years.

Walt Disney World Christmas Day Parade 2008

Miley Cyrus had a great opening number and the Broadway cast of Mary Poppins had a sensational performance. The parade also had a large focus on characters and the parade itself.

American Idol Season 8 Finale

A real showstopper; Keith Urban, Kiss, Lionel Richie, Cyndi Lauper, Jason Mraz, David Cook, Queen, and more were among the highlights.

Kermit the Frog in A Muppets Christmas: Letters to Santa. Image © Disney.

Best Acting

This category won’t be divided into “actor/actress,” “supporting actor/actress,” or “voice actor/actress” like some awards are, but rather all of those categories will be combined into one award, given to a performer who brought an extra something special to their character.

Amy Adams as Giselle in Enchanted

The naïve, curious, and awed Giselle was played wonderfully by Adams in both the live-action scenes and animated sequences.

Ashley Tisdale as Sharpay in High School Musical 3: Senior Year

Already proving from the first two High School Musical movies that she could diversify her roles to become both the kind Maddie in The Suite Life of Zack & Cody as well as the devious Sharpay in HSM, Ashley Tisdale stepped up her game for the third HSM installment to bring an excellent performance.

Mark Walton as Rhino in Bolt

As one of the funniest Disney characters in a while, Rhino tagged along on Bolt’s nationwide voyage, and his energetic voice was a large part of his personality.

Amy Adams as Giselle in Enchanted. Image © Disney.

Best Song

“Happy Working Song” from Enchanted

Written by Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz
A pleasant tune that heralded back to classic Disney favorites like “Whistle While You Work” from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and “The Work Song” from Cinderella.

“That’s How You Know” from Enchanted

Written by Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz
A lavish production number channeling “Under the Sea” and “Be Our Guest.”

“I Want It All” from High School Musical 3: Senior Year

Written by Matthew Gerrard and Robbie Nevil
One of HSM3’s biggest numbers and the one that was written wonderfully for the characters that sang it (Sharpay and Ryan).

“Delivering Christmas” from A Muppets Christmas: Letters to Santa

Written by Paul Williams
The opening number of the Muppets’ new Christmas special that has a classic Muppet feel and welcomes in the Christmas season with simple yet elegant joy.

“The Climb” from Hannah Montana: The Movie

Written by Jessi Alexander and Jon Mabe
An inspirational hit that reached platinum status and encompasses a blend of reflective emotions wonderfully.

Left to right: Jemma McKenzie-Brown as Tiara Gold, Manly (director Kenny Ortega’s dog) as Boi, Ashley Tisdale as Sharpay Evans, and Lucas Grabeel as Ryan Evans in High School Musical 3: Senior Year. Image © Disney.

An amazing movie with great bonuses.

Walt Disney Treasures: Disneyland Secrets, Stories, & Magic

One of the best Walt Disney Treasures sets yet; an excellent new documentary complemented by exceptional bonus features.

Walt Disney Treasures: The Chronological Donald Volume 4

The fourth collection of classic Donald Duck shorts, including some of the wonderful cartoons created for the 1999 – 2000 TV series Mickey Mouse Works.

Wall-E Special Edition

A stellar Pixar film with fascinating behind-the-scenes featurettes, plus a new short.

Mary Poppins 45th Anniversary Edition

A magnificent Disney classic with a spectacular DVD set containing hours of fun that seem as endless as Mary Poppins’ carpet bag.

Pinocchio 70th Anniversary Platinum Edition

Disney’s 2nd animated film with several intriguing making-of bonuses.

Geoffrey Rush (left) as Barbossa and Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End. Image © Disney.

Best Internet Video Series*

Muppets.com

A collection of official Muppet videos featuring Kermit, Miss Piggy, Fozzie, Gonzo, Pepe, Rizzo, and even some of the lesser-known characters like Bobo the Bear and Beauregard. The website has been continuously updated since February 2008 with new videos.

Fred Figglehorn

A comedy short series about a high-pitched 6-year-old facing troubles of everyday life that landed “Fred” actor Lucas Cruikshank an appearance on iCarly and made him YouTube’s #1 most-subscribed user of all time.

Virmup (Muppet Virals)

A series of short, official Muppet videos (that were apparently uploaded to YouTube by the Muppets themselves on their own individual character pages) that diversified the Muppets’ internet platform.

Disney Park Characters

A range of hilarious videos recorded by various Disneyland and Walt Disney World park guests focusing on the happenings of the Mad Hatter, Alice, Peter Pan, the Tremaines, and other characters throughout the parks. Links: Users Briberry, Disleanne, SkeletonStockings, MadHattress330, forevermeg4u.

Stay tuned for the results of the inaugural BlakeOnline Bullseye Awards!

By Blake; posted June 8, 2009. All images © Disney. Bullseye and Wall-E images © Disney/Pixar.