Dapper Day Fall 2014 Walt Disney World

On September 27, 2014 I attended one of my favorite events that takes place at the SONY DSCWalt Disney World Resort over the calendar year, Dapper Day. This year, as last year, it took place at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and most of the events happened in the afternoon. It was literally one of the best days I have ever had in that park, and I love that park a lot.

I started off with a few pictures on the main street leading up to the Sorcerer’s hat where I was confused for a citizen of Hollywood Character performer, which basically made my whole day and some photos with the Dapper Day photographer who I bumped into pretty much right away. Then I had lunch with two amazing friends at the Fifties Primetime Cafe, which was the perfect setting for more photos and the food was incredible. I had the pot roast with a chocolate milkshake. Our waitress was our “babysitter” and the family next to use was amazing and shared their dessert credits with us so I had a Coke float as well. It was so good and the interaction with the cast members there was so much SONY DSCfun. After lunch we made our way over to Star Tours where I got to be the Rebel Spy, for the first time ever!! Second Magical Moment of the day! Then we headed to Sunset Blvd to take some pictures with the Dapper backgrounds there and we had some amazing Photopass cast members and we met up with the Dapper Avenger Squad (who looked literally so amazing!)

Then we headed off to the Magic of Disney Animation to meet Minnie Mouse and take some more photos. We did what we do best and made friends with the girl in line behind us and she’s in our photos 🙂 Then we went to the Disneybound Meet up at 3 in front of the Great Movie Ride for a HUGE group photo. This is always a fun meet up because there are so many people who share similar interests, love of Disney, old Hollywood and vintage fashion. I always meet amazing people and get great pictures at this one.

Dapper Day Collage Photopass 1The next meet up was the Dapper Day meet up at the Studio Backlot Tour for one last ride on its last day of operation, again amazing photos. I love that ride and wish that it wasn’t closing but it was nice to ride it for the last time with lots of other people who loved it too and loved the backstage aspect of Hollywood. What was truly special was that the automated narrator actually wasn’t working in the beginning so the cast member stepped up and spoke the spiel from memory for the people on the tour. Once the voice over kicked back in it was back to normal. For those who don’t know, the Studio Backlot Tour used to always have a live cast member tour guide so to have one for half of my last tour on the ride was quite special, it was half of the old attraction and half a ride as it was with the automated narrator. IMG_5123

The biggest meet up of the day was the Dapper Day Meet up at the Great Movie Ride. Everyone who wants to gets in line together to ride the Great Movie Ride together to really get the Old Hollywood mood. I was lucky enough to be asked to ride in the car that the Dapper Day folks would be photographing, which was awesome to share with my friend Carolyn. As always, lovely conversation with the people in line behind us, who were also cast members (a lot of the people at Dapper Day are). Again…lots of photos.

Dapper Day Photopass Collage 2My last meet up of the day was with Magical Ribbons, a really talented bow maker that I met on Tumblr and have met in the parks a few times! She’s one of the sweetest people ever and it’s always nice to see her! We sat around a table and chatted for a bit and saw the Frozen Fireworks. After that I headed home after a VERY successful Dapper Day! I had a truly amazing time and took well over 500 pictures. If I saw any of you that day, feel free to comment and share your pictures!

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Movie Review: The Reluctant Dragon

Hey there Sifters! I thought I would write up another movie review! I’ve been stopping by my library and taking out old often forgotten Disney movies and documentaries. Last time it was The Boys: The Sherman Brothers Story. This time it’s the Reluctant Drago. This is a movie that was made entirely to explain the behind the scenes magic of how a Disney Animated film is made at the Disney Studios. Some parts of the movie are shot in black and white and others are in color. It’s a very witty film with a grand appearance by Walt Disney himself in the end of the film. In true Disney fashion, the behind the scenes magic is told through a story. The film begins with a man and his wife, who wants him to take the story The Reluctant Dragon to the Disney Studios and pitch it as a film. He is quite doubtful that it will work but his wife makes him go anyway. Hilarity and education occur simultaneously as the gentleman attempts to hide from his studio guide who is supposed to be walking him around the studio before taking him to meet Walt.

The gentleman goes through the sound effects department, the storyboarding department, the animation department, the sculpting department the ink and paint department and more. He keep accumulating souvenirs as he evades his overly eager guide. In the end, the audience does get to see the story of The Reluctant Dragon.

It’s an amazing film that I think everyone who loves Disney movies and the behind the scenes magic should see. It’s got great bonus footage if you get the right edition and it’s fantastically entertaining as well as educational. It has all the charm of the 40s, which is when it was made and getting to see Walt on screen is always a real gem. My favorite part was getting to see how the multi-plane camera worked. I knew the basic concept but had never really seen it in action. It was nice to get to see how massive they really were.

The film is unique in that it tells two stories, the story of the man on a mission from his wife to pitch The Reluctant Dragon and the actual story of The Reluctant Dragon, which is just darling! It’s an animated short about a Dragon who wants to write sonnets instead of fight against the knights of the kingdom. The cartoon itself is in full color even though some of the live action scenes are in black and white. The live action and animated characters are charming and reflective of their time, the story is wonderful and it’s an amazing look at the making of an animated film as done by the best of the best. I definitely highly recommend tracking down a copy and watching it, it’s Disney magic at it’s finest during an era right before animation fell apart for a bit because of WWII, which gives it an interesting context.

Thanks for reading and keep Sifting Through Shelves!

It’s a Small World

 

Sun collage It's a small world

I will always defend the truth in this song. It was written by the Sherman brothers for the 1964 World’s Fair and it rings with truth now as it did then. The world is, if it could be, smaller now than it was then. Social media has made connection with everyone who uses it instantaneous. The distance between myself and friends in the UK is nothing with Twitter, Instagram and Skype. The oceans only divide us physically and everyone sees the same sun, moon and stars, but what makes people amazing is how we can all see the same thing so differently. This point is made fabulously in the It’s a Small World attraction by showing a different representation of the sun in every area of the world that your boat goes through. With every day the world gets smaller. It was massive when we had to travel it on foot, it was huge when we had to travel it by train, carriage, car and boat. Now that there are planes and the internet, we can get anywhere we want in as little as the time it takes to Skype a friend, turn on a Youtube video, log in to Twitter or Facebook or the length of a plane ride. I could hop on a plane now and be in Japan by tomorrow if I wanted to. This used to be impossible less than a century ago. Think about that for a second. The world is a paradox, it’s so big that some of us only hope we get to see a fraction of it, yet it’s so small in that we can travel it in an instant from the comfort of our own homes. As the Sherman brothers said, this song is a prayer for peace. It’s a small world, and it gets smaller every day, coexistence and peace and harmony are crucial and yet still seem to evade us. I can only hope that eventually, the prayer for peace is answered with harmony between the people of this very small and ever shrinking world.

“It’s a world of laughter, a world of tears

It’s a world of hopes and a world of fears.

There’s so much that we share

That it’s time we’re aware

It’s a small world after all

It’s a small world after all (3x)

It’s a small, small world

There is just one moon and one golden sun

And a smile means friendship to everyone

Though the mountains are wide

And the oceans divide

It’s a small world after all…”

Keep sifting through shelves, it’s one of the best ways to explore the small world, after all.

 

Interview with Logan Sekulow: Director of As Dreamers Do

In addition to seeing the As Dreamers Do film, I was lucky enough to interview the director of the film and ask him a few questions. He was so kind and it’s clear that Logan has dedication to the Disney story! Enjoy!

Kaitlyn: What was the research like for the film? Where did you do most of the research?

Logan: I’ve been a huge fan of Walt my whole life and I had specifics points I wanted to hit. Much of the extra research was done by my screenwriter but I knew the beginning the end and a few specific scenes. The Mouse scene, the projector scene that were largely fictionalized but then moments like recreating Alice’s wonderland were the most amazing. It was a real time travel experience for me. Lots of research but Wendy (screenwriter) and I are just big fans so it helped.

Kaitlyn: Did you film in Marceline, MO?

Logan: No – we almost did but our schedule had us shooting in January. January in Missouri is bad news – of course we ended up having the coldest winter in 30 years in Tennessee where we shot. Also – we shot most of the film in Franklin, TN. It’s a largely unchanged civil war era town. So in someways it was more authentic than Marceline. I still would love to go there soon though and show the movie.

Kaitlyn: How did you know you found the perfect Walt?

Logan: We got the audition tape from Olan and everyone else – which some were great – were just not even in the same zone. Olan was great on camera, looked a decent amount like Walt and just had the perfect attitude – not to mention he’s just an amazing actor. I hope we can put of the tape one day.

Kaitlyn: Do you intend to make a post Mickey movie?

Logan:  Good question. I hadn’t but due to the success of this one there is interest. I have a few projects I still and to do and we may get too it. I think getting Olan on board for a sequel may be tough right now. I’ve talked about doing a making of the Haunted Mansion movie. That I would love.

Kaitlyn: I think the Disney family would be incredibly touched by the movie, have any of them seen it?

Logan: People at the Walt Disney family foundation have seen the movie. I haven’t heard directly from any of the family. The foundation couldn’t approve the movie due to their connection to the Walt Disney company – however I heard really kind things from them. Disney legend Alice Davis came to our UCLA screening – she was an imagineer and worked directly with Walt. She enjoyed it – so no official word, but only positives from anyone in the company.

Kaitlyn: What was the most difficult part of the movie to uncover since most of this story is so unknown to the public?

Logan: It isn’t hard to find. Just people haven’t been exposed to it. The hardest thing was deciding to believe. Historians have their versions where they claim Walt was elaborating and changing things to make a better story. We just said forget that theory – if Walt said it we are taking it as gospel.

But characters were difficult. We had photos of most but their speech and movements was up the writer and actor. Even Ub Iwerks was very hard to find audio recordings etc.

Kaitlyn: How difficult is it to shoot a movie about Disney given how strict the company is? I would love to see more of these from fans of Disney history! Did you need to get the rights to anything?

Logan: Short answer – we are unauthorized. We are telling a story a man who has passed away and was a well known public figure. No one owns history. I get much more into detail – but no. Everyone we know on the inside of Disney really loves the film and actively supports it.

Kaitlyn: Has the positive response to the film inspired any new ideas?

Logan: Yes. More than you can imagine. I’m both the most worn out and most excited about work I have ever been. The next few movies – this one I said expect magic.. well from Logan Sekulow expect insanity.

As Dreamers Do: Movie Review

I recently saw an amazing film made by a gentleman named Logan Sekulow, written by Wendy Ott and starring Olan Rogers and released by Vision Films. The film is a biopic about Walt Disney called As Dreamers Do. The film tells the story of Walt Disney from his early days moving to Marceline, MO until he first drew Mickey Mouse. It covers his often glanced over childhood and introduces the viewer to his family and friends. It tells the not always happy story of the genius before success strikes. His journey was definitely not easy, but the film is incredibly inspiring.

The movie does an excellent job with one foot on the side of documentary and one foot on the side of a period piece. The film is narrated by Travis Tritt and all of the music is original. It feels like someone who truly knew Walt when he was alive is sitting with you telling you the whole story. They did a lot of filming on site in Misosuri and there was clearly a lot of research done into both the characters and the story. The authenticity is fantastic!

I got to watch the movie early because I pre-ordered the digital download of the film and I also got the commentary. The director is clearly passionate about the project and put a lot of work into it. The writing is great, as is the acting from the whole cast. Young Walt just makes me want to hug him and take him to Disney World to show him what his dreams and his art become. Olan Rogers, who plays Walt as an adult has all the enthusiasm that we have grown to believe Walt possessed and his relationship with Roy in the film is nothing short of a real brotherly relationship. They but heads at times but when it really comes down to it, they care deeply for one another.

The film is having several premieres throughout the country and the pre-sale of the film has ended, however, the film is set to have a full release but there has been no set date as of yet. The official website for the movie is www.waltmovie.com. When you go to the site, the trailer automatically plays and I guarantee, you will immediately be sucked into the story. I am an avid fan of Walt and all things Disney history and this movie told a beautiful story of a man who changed the face of entertainment, but as of the end of the film, he just doesn’t know it yet. The movie also has a Facebook page that keeps fans updated on the premieres with photos from the viewings and is a great way to interact with the amazing people who made this film. This is by far the easiest and best way to keep up to date on the happenings of the film; when they decide on a release date for the movie, this will be the place it is posted first. If you don’t want to miss out on the movie, I highly suggest following them on Facebook and signing up for email alerts from the filmmakers on their website.

 

(Photo is from http://www.facebook.com/waltmovie)

The Boys: The Sherman Brothers’ Story Movie Review

IMG_6283I finally got to watch the definitive documentary on two of the most famous behind the scenes men at the Walt Disney animation Studios, the Sherman brothers. Even if you don’t know much about the brothers themselves, you know their music. They are responsible for a lot of the great Disney songs of the time before Walt’s passing and even a few afterwards. They are most famous for their music in Mary Poppins, the Jungle Book and the theme songs for the Carousel of Progress and It’s a Small World in the theme parks. Their songs get stuck in your head whether you want them to or not. (My apologies now for It’s a Small World being stuck in your head for the rest of the day). But one of my favorite parts of the film is where Dick is talking about It’s a Small World and how it’s a prayer for peace as opposed to a silly novelty. Listen to the lyrics in their entirety some time.

Like all true behind the scenes work done about Disney, it’s not all about the music and the pixie dust. The story of Bob and Dick Sherman or The Boys as they were called around the studio is rather tragic. As close as they seemed as a song writing dynamic duo for the ages, they are incredibly distant. In fact, after they stopped writing for the studio, they stopped speaking or really interacting outside of that required for polite society gatherings until the making of the documentary. Their sons barely knew each other until they sort of rediscovered each other while making this film. It’s a very true representation of what naturally happens when you put two very brilliant people in the same room for too long.

The movie tells of their struggles to succeed apart from one another in their respective fields of composition and writing. Dick wanted to be a composer for concert halls and Bob wanted to write the great American novel. Their father finally challenged them by saying that if they put their talents together he bet that they couldn’t come up with a good song. Well, we all know what happens when we are challenged…and so the dynamic musical duo of Disney was born.

It’s a beautiful story of how even if people don’t get along personally, they might still be brilliant business partners. It also does an amazing job of describing the phenomenon of the emotional artist. It’s well known that while all artists have art as their creative outlet, it’s occasionally hard for us to keep our emotions in check and sometimes artists lash out at those closest to them. You get the feeling that the results of artists are beautiful but the artists themselves can be hard to live with. IMG_3039

It’s also unfortunately clear that Walt was one of the things that held the Sherman brothers together and when he passed away, it was too much for the boys to handle and that was definitely on of the things that drove them apart. They no longer had the magical glue that inspired them to create such beautiful music. It’s beautiful when they say that they believed they were writing songs that would not last. They believed that they would fade into history when in fact, they are so beautifully simple and singable that they have become timeless treasures. They are still surprised at how much their music is engrained in the hearts of people of all ages all over the world. Unfortunately we only have one of the great Sherman brothers alive with us today. Bob Sherman passed away in 2012, but he left a collection of paintings here as his legacy along with his music. He used painting as a way to cope with the intense pain of having fought in WWII and the results are breath taking.

I loved every part of this movie and it was truly an eye opening experience to learn about the difficult story of the legendary Sherman brothers, or the Boys. There are so many beautiful stories in the film and it’s a great companion to another Disney documentary, Waking Sleeping Beauty. Both tell the hard but true story of the great Disney heritage that we still enjoy today! I sifted through quite a few library shelves to find this one and I’m sure glad I did. “There’s a great big beautiful tomorrow shining at the end of every day”. Keep sifting through shelves!

Ellie Project: An Explaination

Screen Shot 2014-08-19 at 11.12.51 AMHi fellow lovers of all things Disney, travel and adventure! I am starting something called the Ellie Project. For those of you familiar with the film Up from Disney and Pixar, Ellie is the wife of Carl, the “grumpy old man” from the movie. Unfortunately she passes away before she gets to realize her dream of traveling the world and going to the tropical heaven of Paradise Falls. I, like Ellie, have a real passion for travel and adventure and like Ellie, I’m on a super tight budget. For now, while finances are still tight, I will be taking little adventures around the Orlando area, but eventually I want to move on to bigger and better adventures! I will be keeping the photos on a Digital Adventure Book (Ellie had a book called My Adventure Book) and I will post little stories and blog posts about my adventures in the Orlando area. I will also be vlogging about them and posting the videos on my Youtube channel (there is a link to subscribe here).

A lot of things have inspired me to start going on little adventures and trying to travel more. Some are related to Disney and some aren’t. Some are phrases like “Put on your Sunday clothes, there’s lots of world out there” which is from a song called Put on Your Sunday Clothes and featured in Wall-e. I also love the movie Brave, so the line “I will rise, I will fly, chase the wind and touch the sky” is really resonant for this! Another one is “There’s a great big beautiful tomorrow shining at the end of every day” and the whole song from the Carousel of Progress. It reminds me how much Walt loved progress but at the same time had a lot of respect for the past. I have every intention of going to lots of historical towns, since I majored in history and history is my passion. I am also constantly inspired by Walt’s love for travel and learning about the past and dreaming about the future. He was always inspired by travel and sought to bring that inspiration into his films and his parks, I really would love to see the places he saw. I also really want to just walk in his footsteps a bit, go to Marceline and Chicago and Disneyland (as much as I love Disney, I have only been to one Disney park and that’s WDW). I want to see the world that lies outside of the USA and even the small piece of the world that lies within the US borders. I have traveled abroad before and loved every minute of it and would give anything to travel abroad again. I am also IMG_4374constantly inspired by the places portrayed in the Disney parks and films. They always take their viewers on journeys to places far away and possibly nonexistent, except in our imaginations, but those imaginary places were inspired by real places. I want to explore the Scotland of Brave, the Paris of Hunchback of Notre Dame and Ratatouille, and the New Orleans of Princess and the Frog.

My last source of inspiration is a professor I had in college. He was the head of my theatre department. His name was Mark Hallen and unfortunately he recently passed away. He taught me a lot of the amazing lessons I learned in my 4 years in college. He was always allowing our imaginations to take us wherever we wanted them to in the Actors Lab class and he encouraged safe but boundless creativity. He always said “off we go” before we embarked on a fantastic theatrical adventure. He allowed characters and casts to travel to the deep South for a production of Twelfth Night and to New England for Our Town as well as the Middle East and the US for a production of My Soldiers. He spent a lot of time traveling abroad and every class with Mark was an adventure and a treasure. He encouraged adventure and play in a way unlike anyone I have ever encountered before. I think he and Walt Disney would have actually gotten along quite well (or they would have butt heads and hated each other haha). Ironically enough, Mark really loved the movie Wall-e and we talked about Disney quite a lot, even if it was just him making light of how much I love it. I spent a lot of time with Mark and it was clear from the time we spent together that his travels and his respect for both the past and the “here and now” made him the person that all of his students knew and loved. He is probably one of my biggest inspirations in life. He is the reason I respect stories and art and theatre the way that I do and constantly am finding new ways to make and create outside of and within the realm of theatre.

Screen Shot 2014-08-19 at 11.14.16 AMA lot of my trips and adventures will hopefully lead to so incredibly photography and amazing stories. I intend to also use them as research trips for several writing endeavors that I have begun. Well, that’s a pretty decent summary of what I am calling the Ellie Project, inspired by so many different things and people. If you would like to keep up with the Ellie Project, I will be hashtaging it #EllieProject #OffWeGo on Twitter, so follow me there and on Instagram for more informal shots. I will also post a lot about it on here and on my Tumblr (but less so there except for photos). It may take a bit of reworking to get the blog formatted to accommodate the page but stick with me. If you would like to donate to make the adventures a bit more exciting or far away, feel free to click the donate button on my home page, however due to my work schedule, it may be a bit before I can get enough time off to go anywhere too far away, hence the exploration of the amazing places in my own back yard, including the touristy and not so touristy places around Orlando, FL. Adventure is out there, I’m off to find it and I would love you to join me, Off we go and keep sifting through shelves.