Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Disney this-and-that


Disney, Pixar, Woody and Buzz back together?
The Washington Times reports that Disney and Pixar will soon announce that they’ve renewed their distribution pact.

Sources point to a new, closer relationship between the former rivals with Pixar's top executives gaining unprecedented access to the "Circle 7," a secret division formed under for Disney Chief Michael Eisner to make sequels to Pixar films. EDITOR'S NOTE: UMM...THEY HAVE A SECRET CIRCLE? IS THIS THE PLACE WHERE THEY ARE KEEPING UNCLE WALT'S FROZEN HEAD?

Disney has already started production on "Toy Story 3" and the division will soon announce a second sequel from among several script in development. It’s apparently going to be either "Finding Nemo 2" or "Monsters, Inc. 2."

A renewal would ensure Disney's distribution rights to Pixar films and also keep the sequel production rights in the House of the Mouse.

Sources indicate the next step -- picking a director -- is on hold until Disney and Pixar close their deal.

But in a sign of how close the two companies have again become, Disney CEO Bob Iger reportedly is keeping Pixar topper Steve Jobs and creative guru John Lasseter in the loop about developments at Circle 7 -- something former Disney topper Michael Eisner rarely did.

In the past, Jobs has had little good to say about Disney-produced sequels, but he might warm to the idea with the right deal and if Pixar had enough involvement. EDITOR'S NOTE: SO ALL OF THE STURM-UND-DRANG THIS PAST YEAR WAS SOLELY ABOUT LITTLE BOYS AND THEIR BIG EGOS NOT PLAYING NICE? (I THINK IT'S ABOUT TIME SOME OBNOXIOUS WOMEN TOOK OVER....JUST FOR A CHANGE OF PACE).

Christmas tree catches fire at Disneyland hotel
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- A 35-foot Christmas tree caught fire in the lobby of the Disneyland Grand Californian Hotel early Wednesday EDITOR'S NOTE: OOPS. but nobody suffered serious injuries, a fire official said.

The hotel's sprinkler system kept the 3 a.m. blaze in check and firefighters were able to quickly put it out, said Maria Sabol, a spokeswoman for the Anaheim Fire Department.

The 745-room hotel in the center of the Disneyland Resort was at full capacity with about 2,300 guests, said Rob Doughty, the resort's vice president of communications. They were evacuated to three locations in and around the park, and hotel officials hoped to get them back into their rooms by 7 a.m. Pacific Time, he said.

The designers give us a peek at the Disneyland Resort entry in the 2006 Tournament of Roses Parade

This sketch gives a hint of whatwe'll see in the parade -- castlesand characters galore!

For millions of Americans, one of the first sights of a brand-new year is the Tournament of Roses parade winding down Pasadena's Colorado Boulevard, with its marching bands, its equestrians, and its floats. It's a New Year's Day tradition - one that we'll be observing on January 2 instead next year, since New Year's falls on a Sunday in 2006.

Oh, those flower-bedecked floats! Every year they seem to grow more elaborate. And it's the floats that most of us think of when we think of the Tournament of Roses. Entirely covered with plant material, the floats are marvels of grace, beauty, humor and animation.

This year's parade has adopted the theme 'It's Magical!" and nothing could be a better fit than Disneyland Resort's own float entry, titled The Most Magical Celebration on Earth.

We spoke with Craig Bugajski of Festival Arts, the company that is building the float, and show director John Addis of Disneyland Resort, to see what Disney magic will greet the New Year.

John gave us the details. "The float is spectacular! It is 150 feet long and over 30 feet tall. The float consists of the five Disney Park's castles from around the world. Each castle is detailed to completely replicate its distinctive style and color. The first castle is from our newest Park, Hong Kong Disneyland. Standing beside the castle is Mulan, and Chinese children waving gold banners. Following Hong Kong is Tokyo Disneyland's castle with Belle and Japanese children. Next is Sleeping Beauty Castle from Paris Disneyland (with Aurora and more children), then Walt Disney World (with Cinderella and children). There are a total of 20 children on the float singing and waving banners. The final castle is from Disneyland. It is bedecked with all of the 50th Anniversary finery that exists right now on the castle at Disneyland.

"Riding on an upper balcony of the Disneyland castle are Mickey Mouse and two featured singers. Below Mickey Mouse and the singers, the castle drawbridge will lower and Minnie Mouse, Pluto, Goofy, Chip, Dale, and Donald will come streaming out of the castle -- the drawbridge will lower about every minute. The five gold crowns topping the castle, in honor of the 50th Anniversary and the five decades of Disneyland, will also rotate magically during the parade. Surrounding the float are 38 Disney Characters. Also, during the song, pyro will be shot into the air. I wanted to replicate the wonderful fireworks that are seen at every Park around the world! Of course because it is the Rose Parade, every inch of the float will be covered in the most beautiful flowers imaginable!"

Although the creation of the float began in mid-September, it won't be finished until the last possible moment - because Tournament of Roses floats must be covered with flowers and other plant material, they will literally wilt if they are decorated more than a few days in advance.

Volunteers began the Herculean task of covering the Disneyland float with flowers, petals, leaves, and other fragile botanicals the day after Christmas, and won't finish until the early hours of the parade morning - John and his family are there too, pitching in.

Rose Parade floats are engineering marvels, and The Most Magical Celebration on Earth will be no exception.

Craig tells us that one peculiarity of the parade is that, because it passes under a low freeway overpass, all floats need to be able to collapse to no higher than 17 feet tall to fit underneath. With 14 separate moving elements and the spires of five castles reaching to the sky, making the Disneyland float collapsible was a real engineering challenge!

On January 2, 2006, the roses (and the mums and the pampas grass and the orchids ...) will once again float down Colorado Boulevard. And Mickey and crew will be there to greet the new year.


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