Archive for the ‘The Little Mermaid’ Category

Theme Park Headlines – New Frontiers

September 13, 2009

Image © Disney.

Disney Cruise Line is heading to Alaska, Star Tours is getting a sequel, and WDW’s Fantasyland is being majorly expanded.

By Blake

Originally posted September 12, 2009.

I officially and truly appreciate Twitter.

I was skeptical to the idea of it at first, but then as I started to use it to post Disney news and view more Disney information from others, I began to “get it.” However, it wasn’t until this weekend that I absolutely, positively was VERY glad that I was a Twitter user.

If not for Twitter, I would have never experienced the jittery excitement I have felt as I excitedly click “refresh” repeatedly to view the live tweets from Disney fans as they report from the D23 Expo.

There was another significant announcement yesterday (Friday, September 11, 2009) at the Disney Cruise Line presentation. Disney previously posted some online videos of Donald Duck and Goofy trying to find out where the Disney Cruise Line was headed to next. Disney answered this highly-anticipated question yesterday, revealing that in summer 2011, Disney Cruise Line is going to . . . Alaska! The breathtaking scenery of Alaska is sure to be a wonderful pairing with a Disney cruise vacation. You can view details at DisneyCruise.com/2011.

Disney Cruise Line is heading to Alaska in summer 2011. Image © Disney.

In other Disney Cruise Line news, on August 31, Disney announced some changes coming to Castaway Cay, Disney’s private island that most Disney cruises make a stop at. Changes include a larger family beach, a new lunch spot, and new water play areas, to be finished in summer 2010. On top of that, two additional Disney cruise ships are currently being built – the Disney Dream (setting sail in 2011) and the Disney Fantasy (coming in 2012).

This morning (Saturday, September 12, 2009) Disney fans (both present at the Expo and those that would read the reports later), were in for some huge surprises from the Walt Disney Parks and Resorts presentation.

Many topics were discussed, including an expansion of Hong Kong Disneyland that will include several new lands (including Toy Story Land); some details about World of Color, a nighttime water show debuting at Disney’s California Adventure in spring 2010; and the new Cars Land, opening at Disney’s California Adventure in 2012.

Then, the first major shocker was revealed – Walt Disney World’s Fantasyland is going to get a massive expansion, growing twice as large as it currently is. It’s going to be amazing.

Some of the outstandingly exciting changes to Fantasyland include two identical Dumbo rides to speed up the wait (complete with an interactive queue) and a new area based on Pixie Hollow from the Disney Fairies movies. Additionally, there seems to be a large emphasis on the princesses, especially in new, unique ways that guests are going to be able to meet them. It seems that each princess character greeting specific to each princess’ personality. For instance, guests will be able to dance with Cinderella, celebrate a party with Aurora, and experience storytelling with Belle. (I’m guessing this is the already-open Storytime with Belle, just relocated?) I think it’s a very creative idea to try out different character greeting formats other than traditional meet & greets.

Dumbo the Flying Elephant is getting an interactive queue in Walt Disney World’s Fantasyland in the Magic Kingdom. Image © Disney.

There are also going to be several expansive new attractions added to Fantasyland. A new ride based on The Little Mermaid is going to be built called Ariel’s Adventure, and will be similar in style to other Fantasyland attractions like Peter Pan’s Flight and The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. It will take guests into Ariel’s world to tell her story, and is going to be like another Little Mermaid ride coming soon to Disney’s California Adventure.

Ariel’s Adventure will be a new ride based on The Little Mermaid, and will open in Walt Disney World’s Fantasyland in the Magic Kingdom. Image © Disney.

Additionally, the Imagineers are building two new restaurants based on Beauty and the Beast – Gaston’s Tavern and Be Our Guest Restaurant. Be Our Guest will be located inside the Beast’s castle, a new area where guests will be able to eat in several themed settings directly from the movie. This place seems like it’s going to be awesome!

However, a down side of the Fantasyland expansion is the unfortunate closure of Mickey’s Toontown Fair. One of my favorite areas in the Magic Kingdom, Toontown opened as a temporary land to celebrate Mickey Mouse’s 60th birthday in 1988, and was later decided to be a more-than-temporary addition to the park. Some of the attractions in Toontown are Mickey’s Country House, Minnie’s Country House, Donald’s Boat, and The Barnstormer. Some good news is that The Barnstormer might be staying despite the Fantasyland changes. It will certainly be sad to see Toontown leave. It’s one of the most cleverly themed and detailed sections of the Magic Kingdom and it will definitely be missed.

The first phase of the Fantasyland expansion (including the princess elements) will open in 2012, while the Pixie Hollow section will open in 2013.

Lastly, there was one more significant announcement at the Parks and Resorts presentation, but it was delivered with the help of Darth Vader and 50 storm troopers. Coming in 2011 to both Disney’s Hollywood Studios (in Walt Disney World) and Disneyland is Star Tours 2, which is sure to delight many Star Wars fans. The attraction will replace the currently-existing Star Tours simulator ride, and will be a new 3-D experience.

I don’t think there have been many events that have been so jam-packed with exciting Disney news like the D23 Expo. I’ve had such joy reading reports that others have posted about the fun happenings that have occurred so far. The Disney Cruise Line Alaskan voyages, Fantasyland’s expansion, and the new Star Tours 2 are all sure to be guest-pleasing experiences. Those Imagineers know how to dream.

Related BlakeOnline articles:

By Blake; posted September 12, 2009. All images © Disney.

Channel Flippin’ – The 82nd Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

November 28, 2008

This year packed another impressive parade filled with corporate advertisements and family entertainment.

By Blake

Originally posted November 28, 2008.

Well, another Thanksgiving has come and gone and by today I’m sure you all feel stuffed, regretful (for your stomach’s sake), satisfied, and – I hope – thankful. With every Thanksgiving comes the celebrity-studded lineup of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. This year marked the parade’s 82nd run and the 150th anniversary of Macy’s itself. As usual, Today’s anchors hosted the parade, Matt Lauer, Meredith Vierra, and Al Roker.

Although there were plenty of bee-boppin’ teen groups present, today I’ll be highlighting what I thought were the parade’s best points, as well as the Disney factors presented during the show.

While last year’s Mary Poppins performance of “Supercalifragilisticexpealidocious” dazzled the parade’s Broadway hour, this year the cast of The Little Mermaid performed “Under the Sea” in the same grand style. Although Ariel doesn’t sing even a word in the entire song, Sierra Boggess was indeed present to perform the title character, as was Titus Burgess as Sebastian. It was quite a performance, and I must say that those performers must have been COLD, especially Ariel!

After the Broadway performances were over and shortly after the parade officially kicked off, Miley Cyrus performed the song “I Thought I Lost You” from the new Disney animated film Bolt. Although the song is performed as a duet between Cyrus and John Travolta in the film, Travolta was not present during the parade. Miley Cyrus performed the song on a new Bolt float, accompanied by built-in balloons of the characters Bolt, Mittens, and Rhino. While I initially thought that the actual walk-around versions of the characters (like the ones currently at Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World) would be present, I suppose the balloons would attract more attention. Nevertheless, it was a nice performance.


The next memorable performance that I recall was the Sesame Street number. Currently in its 39th season (and having been in the Macy’s Parade for 12 years, including this year), the cast of the show (with special guest pianist Lang Lang) performed the song “Songs,” which I remembered from the 1999 TV special Elmopalooza. All of the lovable Sesame Street Muppets were present, including Big Bird, Elmo, Zoey, Ernie, Bert, Oscar, the fairly new Abby Cadabby, and many more.

A little while later came American Idol runner-up David Archuleta, performing his hit single “Crush,” which is featured on his new self-titled debut album. While I was a little puzzled as to why David Cook, the American Idol winner, did not also perform in the parade, I was satisfied to learn later on from a commercial for Christmas in Rockefeller Center that he would be singing on that this Wednesday.

Directly following Archuleta was the all-new Buzz Lightyear balloon!!! Toy Story being one of my favorite films of all time, I was very pleased when I found out that Buzz was getting balloon treatment. Buzz was featured in the parade to promote the October 2009 3-D re-release of Toy Story, the February 2010 3-D re-release of Toy Story 2, and the June 2010 debut of Toy Story 3. Buzz will most likely be featured in next year’s parade, as well, to continue that promotion. I had read on Mouse Planet’s WDW Park Update this week that Toy Story director John Lasseter was one of the many “handlers” carrying Buzz along the parade route, though the cameras didn’t show him.


A while later came Miranda Cosgrove, of Drake & Josh and iCarly fame, who performed her song “About You Now.”

Later on came the Kermit the Frog balloon, and even later came the real-life Kermit, performing “I Believe” with some kids from Camp Broadway. Pulling off a touching performance as always, Kermit was wonderful, and left a nice segue into the anticipated arrival of Santa Claus. Kermit was present to promote the all-new Muppets Christmas special A Muppets Christmas: Letters to Santa, which premieres Wednesday, December 17 at 8pm eastern time on NBC. A small trailer for the special was shown during the parade, and it looks like it’s really going to be a hilariously funny adventure for Kermit and the crew.

Capping off the parade as the second-to-last performance before Santa’s arrival was Kristen Chenoweth, Broadway and film celebrity who rode upon the Care Bears float. Although she sang a Christmas song in the parade, she has several connections to Disney. She was in The Wonderful World of Disney’s remake of The Music Man, she performed the Oscar-nominated song “That’s How You Know” from Enchanted this year at the Academy Awards, she currently voices Rosetta the Fairy in the Tinker Bell movies, and she’s reported to be the voice of the title character in the upcoming 2010 Disney animated movie Rapunzel.

The last performance of the parade was Andy Williams, singing “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.” It was quite a fitting way to cap off the parade, and, of course, next came the arrival of Santa Claus!!! Accompanied by Mrs. Claus, Santa seemed extra jolly and was waving to everyone as his sleigh passed by.

This year’s parade was a wonderful way to spend Thanksgiving morning. While I don’t think it’s fair to compare one year’s parade to another since they’re all relatively similar, I did enjoy it thoroughly and it had a little sampling of each of my favorite types of entertainment – Disney animation, American Idol, and the Muppets. If you missed it, then I think it’s your loss, as the parade will most likely not be re-broadcasted. But don’t get down on yourself if you happened to miss the parade – it was simply the beginning of a brilliant season of holiday entertainment to come. We’ve got plenty of Christmas fun to look forward to, including re-airing of classics like Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and A Charlie Brown Christmas, new performances like Christmas in Rockefeller Center and Greatest Holiday Moments, and all-new Christmas specials like Merry Christmas Drake & Josh and A Muppets Christmas: Letters to Santa. I can’t wait!!! Merry Christmas, everyone!

By Blake; originally posted November 28, 2008. All images (C) Disney.

Disney Talk – The Return of Two Disney Classics

January 26, 2008

Two Disney masterpieces are being reintroduced to a new generation with re-releases, theme park attractions, and sequels.

By Blake

Originally posted January 26, 2008.
Often when a Disney film hasn’t been seen in a while, it’s released from the metaphorical “vault” and put on the shelves once again, most of the time with a special edition label. And that’s usually it. Occasionally there’s a new sequel to follow the re-release, if that. However, Disney is about to give two treasured classics the ultimate star treatment by not only re-releasing these films, but also establishing them in the world beyond DVD shelves.

First up is The Little Mermaid. Originally released in 1989, it was the film that launched the second golden age of Disney animation, with masterpieces Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, and The Lion King all following in its footsteps not long after it was released. In 2006, The Little Mermaid was released on a two-disc platinum edition DVD, and we’ve not heard much out of Ariel and the gang since then. Until now. This month, the Broadway musical adaptation of the film officially premiered in New York, performing in the very theatre that Beauty and the Beast held its performances until July 2007. The Broadway show features all of the songs from the movie written by Alan Menken and the late Howard Ashman, as well as ten new songs, written by Menken and a new collaborator, Glenn Slater. And it doesn’t stop there. In August 2008, The Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Beginning, a new prequel showing what happened before the original film, will be released on DVD.

Additionally, in the distant future at Disney’s California Adventure, an all-new attraction, The Little Mermaid: Under the Sea Adventure, will open and will be along the lines of Fantasyland’s dark rides. The neat part is that this attraction was originally developed as an idea for the original Disneyland park in the early 1990’s and was eventually scratched. A behind-the-scenes look at the lost attraction was released as a bonus feature on the 2006 Little Mermaid DVD. And now, what do you know, the lost attraction is actually being green lit.

The next franchise to get a boost is Toy Story. When it was first released in 1995, the original Toy Story was not only the first film to be cranked out of Pixar Animation Studios, but also the world’s first every entirely computer-animated movie. Toy Story 2 was released in 1999 to rave reviews and since then the franchise has been implemented into the Disney parks by examples of parades, an Al’s Toy Barn-themed meet & greet, several Buzz Lightyear rides around the globe, and even a recreation of Pizza Planet at Walt Disney World.

Now, it’s time to gear up for an entire reinvented Toy Story era. In March 2008, the film will be featured in the Block Party Bash Parade at Disney’s Hollywood Studios (which previously performed at Disney’s California Adventure) and in April, Toy Story: The Musical will premiere on the Disney Wonder cruise ship. This summer on both coasts (at Disneyland AND Walt Disney World) an all-new immersive experience attraction will debut starring the Toy Story gang. The new Toy Story Mania ride will feature the Toy Story characters setting up their own midway games and guests have the opportunity to play these games. Toy Story Mania will involve guests wearing 3D glasses to view the virtual Toy Story characters and the virtual midway games. Not only will the new 3D technology be introduced to allow an entire ride set appear virtually, but, since it’s all virtual, the ride can be modified at any given moment.

And then comes Toy Story 3! The new film will be released in theaters 2010. Although the film’s plot hasn’t yet been released, we can definitely count on a worthy plot line now that Pixar is onboard with the project. And, in anticipation of this new sequel, the first two Toy Story films will be re-released theatrically in Disney Digital 3D! Toy Story will be released October 2009, with Toy Story 2 following in February 2010 and, finally, Toy Story 3 in June 2010.*


So, with The Little Mermaid and Toy Story both being revived with stage musicals, exciting new attractions, sequels, parades, re-releases, and more, a new generation will be able to enjoy these classics, while others who remember the films’ original beginnings will be able to relive the magic with 2 ½ years of fast-paced, exciting entertainment.

*At the time this article was written, this schedule was true. However, as of April 2009, both Toy Story and Toy Story 2 are set to be re-released in 3D at the same time as a double feature in October 2009 instead of having two separate releases. Toy Story 3 is still scheduled to be released in June 2010.

By Blake; posted January 26, 2008. Little Mermaid images (C) Disney. Toy Story 3 images (C) Disney/Pixar.