Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmouse... I mean Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas and happy New Year to all. See everyone at Disneyland next year!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Family Tradition...

For all those folks that were wondering where Captain Jack Sparrow got his good looks and... errr... manners.

Here is a pic of Kef' Richards in costume as the father of the imfamous pirate.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

1.3 Billion People In A Small World...

With the anouncement late last week of Hong Kong Disneyland adding three new attractions it appears the smallest Disneyland in the world is getting a little bigger.

Hongkong International Theme Parks Limited, a joint venture established in 1999 by the Hong Kong SAR Government and The Walt Disney Company for the development and operation of Hong Kong Disneyland, today announced further expansion plans for Hong Kong Disneyland with the addition of new attractions: it's a small world and Animation Academy, in addition to Mickey's WaterWorks.

"As tourism in Hong Kong continues to strengthen, we will look for more ways to expand Hong Kong Disneyland and enhance our Guests' experience, adding entertainment, attractions and spectaculars for the whole family to enjoy," said Bill Ernest, Executive Vice President and Managing Director, Hong Kong Disneyland Resort. "Today's announcement, coupled with our recent expansion of Tomorrowland, reinforce our long-term strategy and we are excited about what the future holds."

"Beloved Disney attractions such as it's a small world have entertained millions of people all over the world for decades – and now Hong Kong Disneyland is going to feature this Disney classic, which will include elements that can only be seen at Hong Kong Disneyland," added Ernest.

Just this summer, Tomorrowland was expanded to incorporate three dynamic new attractions – the exciting Autopia experience, the fun Stitch Encounter and the UFO Zone adventure. Coming in summer 2007 will be Animation Academy and Mickey's WaterWorks, yet another unique attraction and a fantastic parade sure to rate highly with our Guests.

It's A Small World

A feature at every Disney theme park around the world, it's a small world is a boat ride attraction containing a colorful cast of international dolls "singing" the famous theme song, ‘It's a small world (After All)'. Celebrating the notion of nations, people and societies all coming together in global harmony, the attraction is scheduled to open in the first half of 2008.

This classic attraction was first seen in New York at the 1964-65 World's Fair before being moved to become the newest attraction at Disneyland in California the following year. Walt Disney commissioned the Oscar-winning Sherman brothers to come up with a simple piece of music, for guests' enjoyment as they sailed through the attraction on boats - one which could be repeated over and over and sung in different languages. The theme song‘s lively tune added a magical touch and captured the heart of millions of people around the world. It was soon hailed as a universal anthem for world peace.

"We are thrilled to introduce this new yet classic attraction which will bring even more enjoyment to our Guests, with amazing scenes and beloved Disney characters exclusive to Hong Kong Disneyland," added Ernest.

For the first time ever, more than 30 popular Disney characters, including Peter Pan, Aladdin and Mulan, will join the existing dolls to be seamlessly blended in the countries where their stories take place. Enhanced with an expanded Asia section which will include famous regional landmarks such as the Great Wall, the Temple of Heaven and the distinctive Hong Kong skyline, the attraction will also include a Middle Eastern scene and a new scene for North America – something not even North America's Disney resorts enjoy!

The grand finale features the children of the world coming together from all the corners of the globe for a spectacular "curtain call" with some extraordinary optical lighting effects not seen on any other Disney ride! Another exceptional aspect of Hong Kong's own it's a small world is its classic fa├žade, inspired by the versions in the U.S., Tokyo and Paris, which boasts a unique color scheme and has been specially designed to take advantage of the different quality of light in Hong Kong.

Animation Academy

Another new attraction, Animation Academy will certainly encourage creativity among our Guests! Located next to "The Disneyland Story" on Main Street U.S.A., this attraction will be an interactive Guest experience that is both entertaining and educational. Here, Guests can pick up a pencil and be part of the Disney creation experience – through art!

Animation got its start at the turn of the 20th century and it was in 1923 that the Disney brothers opened their first animation studio. The cartoons they produced set them on the road to success and they soon saw the need to train new recruits to help out with the drawing work.

Guests at Hong Kong Disneyland will have the rare opportunity to learn how to draw from the latest generation of talented Disney experts who will demonstrate how to draw their favorite Disney characters. Then our Guests will be able to practise and perfect the drawing themselves - a career as a Disney artist might not be far off!

Mickey's WaterWorks

Yet another upcoming program, Mickey's WaterWorks is a water-based day parade designed uniquely for Hong Kong Disneyland.

In a succession of fanciful displays, the parade will showcase just how Mickey and his pals keep the Disney landscape looking so beautiful and lush. But watch out! Onlookers are likely to get caught up in the "splashy" show as Goofy dutifully waters the plants and Minnie carefully spritzes the flowers with perfume.

Be careful when Donald Duck uses his newfangled machine to feed the flowers and plants, or when Mickey paints everything around him with a colourful glow! In the heat of the summer, everyone will be in for a splash of refreshing fun!

The Expansion Continues

"Walt's dream of Disneyland never being complete as long as there is imagination left in the world continues to live on right here in Hong Kong," stated Ernest. "Hong Kong Disneyland will continue to evolve and grow – delighting families from Hong Kong and all over Asia for many years to come."

it's a small world will be the fifth new attraction added to Hong Kong Disneyland since its September 2005 opening. Tomorrowland was expanded in the summer of 2006 to incorporate three dynamic new attractions – Autopia, Stitch Encounter and the UFO Zone.

With all this expansion, many wonder when the rides we all know we want to see will come. It appears that 2009 will be the year in which we see either Pirates of the Caribbean ride or the Haunted Mansion. My bet is on POTC, with HM coming the following year.

Disney Animation's Near & Longterm Future...

With the arrival of John Lasseter to Walt Disney Feature Animation the expectation of his ability to reestablish it as the premiere animation company is very, very high.

Disney dweebs(don't be insulted, I'm one too) are expecting him to inject some of what has made Pixar such a powerhouse into WDFA. So I figured we would look at the current slate of the next five years of Disney Animation Studios:

2007, Meet the Robinsons - This film coming out next March was over 70 % done when John Lasseter came on board so there is little he could do on this. He supposedly liked a great deal of the film, but thought it's second act was weak and had some minor adjustments to it. This film will have only a minor "Lasseter influence" on it. Let's hope it's good.

2008, American Dog - As I said in the previous article, Chris Sanders is rumored to be gone. If this is true then we can expect a different focus on this story. Most likely, a different direction as well depending on who comes aboard to direct it. This film will give us a clearer idea of what to expect from Pixar's braintrust now that they have their hands on Disney's animation.

2009, Rapunzel - This film is truth be told, the one I am really looking forward to. I love Glen Keane's artwork. He's an absolute master so I'm excited he's finally directing. Plus the CG work in it looks unlike any I've ever watched. It actually looks like a fairy tale painting come to life. Word is that Lasseter saw the first act of this and said it was the best opening of a Disney story he's ever seen. THAT is saying something...

2010(?), The Frog Princess - This film is a close second to Rapunzel. The return to 2-D animation. If this film is great and makes a ton of cash we can all collectively give Eisner a giant middle finger. If it bombs, well he can probably give us one. But it does have John Musker & Ron Clemens directing it. The team that brought us "The Great Mouse Detective", "The Little Mermaid", "Aladdin" and "Hercules" are the perfect team to revive classic 2-D Disney animation. If they can't do it, who can?

20??, Joe Jump - Not much is known about this project. The only reports I have is that it concerns an old video game character that is out of place in the world. No one knows if this will make it to the screen.

20?? and beyond - Anything else that comes out will be what developes between now and the end of the decade. Those filmakers that work on the new shorts we'll see will be auditioning for a spot making the Disney features of the next decade. All in all, it's an interesting time to be a fan of WDFA. Grab a tub of popcorn and a cold soda... this could be an entertaining story we're about to watch.

Who Let The Dog Out?

Just a rumor so far, but people in the grape vine are saying Chris Sanders (Lilo & Stich) has been let go from directing "American Dog" the big Disney animated feature set for 2008. Is this true? Don't know... Lasseter was reportedly concerned at the take Chris had on the story. Maybe he wanted to go a different direction and Sanders wouldn't budge.

If it's true then I'm truly sorry for Chris, but I have faith that Lasseter knows what he's doing (the man's 7 for 7, people!). So only time will tell if this is mistake or a miracle.

BTW, this isn't the first time Lasseter has replaced a director when things weren't working. He got Brad Bird to replace Jan Pinkava on Ratatouille, which is Pixar's upcoming feature. We'll see if that one works as well... again I have faith in Brad Bird, the man's a frickin' genius.

Soooo... well folks. Take it for what it's worth.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Westcot: the sequel...

I got a lot of people asking me if I had more pictures of Westcot and well... I actually have a few more pics that show a great deal more detail. So here ya go...

Here is a much more detailed version of the masterplan:

And this is a close-up view of that painting:

Here is a close-up of the African Corner of Westcot:

And this is another painting of a section of the Asian Corner:

The European Corner of Westcot was equally beautiful:

Unfortunately I don't have a picture of the American Corner, but from what I've heard it looked very simular to Main Street U.S.A. so you'll just have to imagine it. And speaking of imagining...

Imagine if you were travelling on the new Westcot People Mover. This might be what you would see:

When the local community activists got their panties in a bunch and whined and complained Disney reivised their plains for the resort. Here is a "toned down" version of what it would of looked like. Notice Spaceship Earth is gone and replaced by a tall steeple... yeah, that certainly is as cool as that 300 ft. tall golden icon:

Thanks, local activist. Well, that's all folks. No more pics and that's the end of our article tonight...

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The "Most" Awesome Disney Attractions Never Built...

The last post about what would have happened had we gotten the first proposal instead of DCA got me thinking... What are some of the beast rides the Imagineers have come up with that never saw the light of day. Hopefully they may be seen someday, but for now we'll just have to dream about them. And here they are...

Beastley Kingdomme: the missing section of DAK that was supposed to contain "mythical" creatures to go along with the parks "real" animals in the Africa and Asia sections as well as the "extinct" animals in Dinoland USA. Maybe someday...

Western River Expedition: Marc Davis' masterpiece meant to show up Pirates. It's basically a Wild West version of Pirates.

The Little Mermaid: Check out the Little Mermaid DVD if you want to see the ride Disneyland Paris almost got. Is is just me or does this just scream "Tokyo DisneySea" on it?

Honorable mention will go to:

The Mineral Kings Ski Resort that Walt was working on right before his death. We'll cover that in a future article.

Discovery Bay, the section that was going to be built in Disneyland and then was later considered as a seperate Disney park.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Westcot... The Original Disneyland Second Theme Park...

I've been hearing a lot of people talking about DCA lately. Some have wondered what all the bitching was over. Some of the people are just bashers that are never happy. Others, like myself, remember what was originally proposed... and then what we got.

So I figured I'd take a little time to introduce you to...


What is Westcot? For all you people that aren't a Disney Dweeb like... uhm. Me? Well it was the park the Walt Disney Company planned on building before all the regulatory hastles and the problems EuroDisneland had sank it. They went back to the drawing board for something... less grand... less abitious... less... EXPENSIVE.

This 3 billion dollar Resort featured:

Westcot, a 2 billion dollar theme park model after Epcot. With more rides and attractions in than Epcot, since the Imagineers learned that park guest complained the original was too educational. The park was approx. half the size of Epcot, but almost twice the size of DCA. Like Epcot, this theme park had a Spaceship Earth, only this one was gold, not silver.

Disneyland Center, this resorts version of Downtown Disney on steriods. It was around a lake and was themed to Catalina Island.

3 new hotels. The New Disneyland Hotel, the Magic Kingdom Hotel and the Westcot Lake Resort would join the original Disneyland Hotel which would also have an additional new tower.

It had new parking facilities and a new People Mover that would move you quickly from the structures into the heart of the new resort.

For what it would be like to go to this resort, read this description from Jim Hill Media:

"Westcot and the original Disneyland Resort plan was truly groundbreaking stuff. It sought to turn Disneyland and the tired collection of motels and fast food joints that surrounded the park as something extraordinary: a lushly gardened, brightly lit urban entertainment center. Had this project gone forward as originally planned, Anaheim could have emerged as one of California's premier destination resorts.

You want to know what all the fuss was about? Do you long for a taste of the wonders of Westcot? Here, let me take you on a journey to the greatest theme park the Disney Company never built:

Your day at Westcot begins as you zoom off Interstate 5, driving straight in to one of two massive parking garages that border the reconfigured Disneyland Resort. After parking your car, you hop aboard an elevated shuttle (modeled after the automated system that Orlando International Airport uses to shuttle passengers to its outermost air terminals) which takes you quickly and quietly to Disneyland Plaza.

Though it's only a short trip to the plaza, you still use this opportunity to eyeball the plush new resort. Off in the distance, you spy the Magic Kingdom Hotel -- one of three new resorts the Walt Disney Company has built outside the parks. Its red tile roof and stucco stylings remind you a lot of the historic Spanish missions up in Santa Barbara.

The shuttle's elevated track also takes you past Disneyland Center -- a retail, dining and entertainment area located next to a six acre lake. You notice that many of the buildings in this part of the resort are modeled after memorable Californian landmarks: Catalina's Avalon Ballroom, Venice Beach's Boardwalk as well as San Diego's Coronado Hotel. You make a note to do a little poking around here after your day at Westcot.

But now it's time to disembark. As you stroll down the steps into Disneyland Plaza, you can't help but think: this used to be the parking lot? Now it's a tree-lined, fountain-filled open space, which allows guests a moment or so to get themselves oriented before beginning that day's adventure.

To your left is Disneyland "Classic." To your right is Westcot, a stylish rethinking of WDW's Epcot Center. Everything that makes that Florida theme park fun is recreated here. Everything else that made Epcot somewhat creepy and a bit of a bore ("The Future as envisioned by Republicans") has been left behind.

As you push through the turnstile to enter Westcot, the first thing you see is the park's icon, Spacestation Earth. A giant 300-foot-tall golden ball reminiscent of Epcot's Spaceship Earth. Even in the distance, it towers over everything. Sitting on a lush green island at the center of World Showcase lagoon, Spacestation Earth is home to the Ventureport.

You'll have to cross a pedestrian bridge out over the water to reach Spacestation Earth and the Ventureport. But here, you'll get your first taste of the Wonders of Westcot. Many of your old favorites from Epcot's Future World -- the "Journey into Imagination" ride with Figment and Dreamfinder, the "Body Wars" ride from the"Wonders of Life" pavilion as well as the "Horizons" ride -- will be waiting for you here, where you can "Dare to Dream the Future."

Well, the Future's a fun place to hang out for a while. But suddenly your stomach's growling. Maybe now would be a good time to sample all that international cuisine that's available around World Showcase Lagoon. So you walk back around that pedestrian bridge and begin exploring the Americas.

(Westcot's World Showcase is a little different than the Epcot version. Here, you won't find separate countries, but countries grouped by regions. So, if you want to check out the international area, you have a choice of heading to the Americas, Europe, Asia as well as Africa & the Far East. Four distinct districts that try to span the globe. Today, you'll begin your journey in the Americas.)

As you walk back across the pedestrian bridge, you can't help but notice how cleverly Westcot is laid out. The buildings that form the Americas area (which also double as the main entrance to the park) have been done in an early 1900s style, reminiscent of the way New York City must have looked like at the turn of the century. Architecturally, these buildings have just enough in common with the buildings that make up Disneyland's Main Street U.S.A. that the two theme parks blend together effortlessly. There are no jarring transitions for guests who are exiting one park to visit the other. It all flows together seamlessly.

Inside World Showcase, this sort of architectural blending continues. Instead of doing what the Imagineers who designed the original Epcot did (i.e.: building large, free-standing international pavilions with wide swaths of greenery separating each building from its neighbor), the team that designed Westcot put its buildings right next to one another. That way, you can -- for example -- see how Japanese architecture borrowed from Chinese design, which -- in turn -- influenced Indian ornamentation.

You also notice that Disney has obviously learned from the other mistakes it made with Epcot. There are fewer travelogue films to be seen here, but a lot more rides. Kids won't complain about there being nothing to do in this park, particularly with attractions like "Ride The Dragon." This steel coaster roars across the rooftops of the Asian section of World Showcase, following a track that's designed to look like the Great Wall of China.

As you explore the many shops and exhibits you find in the park's international area, your eye keeps being drawn to the top three floors of the six story buildings that ring World Showcase Lagoon. What a thrill it must be to have a room up there -- in one of two new Disney Resort hotels, where guests can actually "live the dream" of staying inside a theme park.

I bet those rooms offer a great view of the nightly fireworks extravaganza.

Speaking of night, where did the day go? It seems like you just got to Westcot, yet it's already time to head back home. You barely got to see half of this hyper-detailed theme park. I mean, how did you end up missing taking a trip on "The River of Time," the park's signature attraction? That 45 minute boat ride would have taken you all the way around the park, past elaborate audio animatronic recreations of great moments in history.

Oh well. I guess you'll just have to catch that the next time.

You walk out of Westcot. And -- while you are sorely tempted to catch that rock concert that's currently playing in the Disneyland Arena (a 5,000-seat venue located just outside the entrance of Westcot, right next to Harbor Boulevard) -- you know it's really time to go home. That's another one of the many attractions that will have to wait 'til the next time you visit the new and improved Disneyland Resort.

But -- given all the new stuff that there is to see here -- you're sure you'll be back soon.

You see. THAT'S what we missed out on. NOW do you understand all the endless griping you read about California Adventure as you're out trolling the Internet?

This was a version of the Disneyland Resort that you could never have seen in one day. You would have -- at the very least -- needed three days: One to visit Disneyland "Classic," one to visit Westcot, as well as an additional day to explore the new hotels, and to shop and dine at Disneyland Center.

This was exactly what Eisner wanted: Walt Disney World recreated in Anaheim in miniature. A world class resort built on a postage-stamp sized parcel of land. Best of all, in spite of the number of attractions the Imagineers had crammed into the project, the Disneyland Resort would not have seemed cramped. All the plazas, trees and fountains would have given guests the illusion that there was plenty of open space.

One of the things that really excited Eisner was that "Live the Dream" program, which would have allowed guests to stay in hotel rooms that were actually located inside Westcot's World Showcase. Extensive survey work at Disneyland had showed that guests were willing to pay top dollar -- $300 to $400 a night -- to stay in these rooms. That would have made this part of the resort a tremendous money maker for the Walt Disney Company.

The beauty of this plan was that -- in designing six story structures for World Showcase that housed shops, shows and restaurants on their first three floors and guest rooms towards the top -- is that the Imagineers created a unique variation on Disneyland's berm. The very height of these combination show buildings / hotels prevented guests from seeing out into the real world, perfectly preserving the sense that they had been transported to a different place.

The Westcot project seemed to have everything going for it. It had looks. It had style. It had the potential to make massive amounts of money, which to Michael Eisner's way of thinking, is a lot more important than looks and style. It had Orange County officials drooling over the idea of hundreds of thousands of people putting off that WDW vacation in favor of visiting Disney's newest resort in Anaheim."

Wow... pretty cool, huh?

Thursday, December 7, 2006

America Invaded By Five Millon Pirates!

The DVD for POTC: Dead Man's Chest sold 5 million copies on it's first day. That means it's on the way to becoming the largest selling live action DVD in history!

The Walt Disney Company is going to have a banner year in home video. The number one movie of the year on DVD will be POTC, the number two movie on DVD with be Cars and the number three movie on DVD will be Narnia.

All three top slots will be held by one company. I don't know if that's a first, but it is certainly very rare.

Monday, December 4, 2006

Disney Park with the "Most" Potential...

With each park getting new rides, attractions and parades you have to wonder which park could come out of left field and move higher up the slots. Right now, Magic Kingdom is the park to beat followed by Disneyland in Anaheim. Then Epcot and so on... but you have to wonder, with the themes and the right amount of funding a park could move past Epcot and challenge Disneyland or Magic Kindom.

Ok, well maybe the number 2 slot, but 1 would be more difficult.

But based on what I've seen lately, DAK.

Disney's Animal Kingdom, you say? Yup. Just think about the theming. The lush surrounding and the opening of Everest has really made the attendance numbers head way north. Now if they add some detail to Dinoland so it doesn't appear dressed as a carnival and maybe put Beastley Kingdomme where Camp Mickey Minnie is this park could shoot past Epcot. Not something people thought could happen a few years ago.

My runner up for this "Most" would be DCA. But we'll have to wait and see if that 700 million dollars gets approved and those rumors of Tony Baxter wanting to turn it into part of Downtown Disney go up in smoke. But DAK... it has the potential.

Hopefully, Joe Rohde is pressing Iger and Lasseter for BK with the numbers from EE. It could happen... really.

Frog Princess Finds It's Character...

Well, it looks like we get our first glimpse of the characters that will be appearing in Disney's first 2-D animated film since 2004.

The Manhattan Theatre Resourse put out the list of characters in their casting call this week, so enjoy:

"THE FROG PRINCESS . Animated Feature Film SAG
Directors: John Musker, Ron Clements Composer: Randy Newman
Casting Director: Jen Rudin Pearson Casting Assistant: Phoebe Rosenberg
Interview Dates: In New York November 13-17 Shoot/Start Date: January 2007


"The Frog Princess" is an animated American fairy tale musical, set in New Orleans, in the 1920's Jazz Age. SINGING ROLES:

[MADDY] A 19-year-old African American chambermaid. Bright, resourceful, ambitious, intense. A little too grown-up for her age. Dialect: Mild southern colloquial.

[CHARLOTTE] 18 years old. A spoiled, southern debutante. A diva. Comic "steel magnolia". Bossy but insecure. Dialect: Southern belle.

[DR. DUVALIER] A 30-40 year old Voodoo magician/fortune teller. African American. Charming, charismatic, smooth and a sinister bad guy. Theatrical and grandiose. Dialect: Elegant, possibly New Orleans Creole.

[MAMA ODIE] An elderly, 200 year old Voodoo priestess/fairy god-mother. African American. Broad, comic, eccentric. Benevolent, wise and all knowing. A mixture of Moms Mabley & Yoda. Dialect: Southern colloquial.

[RAY] A 25-35 year old lovesick Cajun firefly. Warm, friendly, laid back and easygoing. Comically obtuse. Missing front tooth, has a lisp and occasionally speaks in Cajun French. LOOKING FOR AUTHENTIC CAJUN ACTORS.

[LOUIS] A 20-40 year old Jazz singer alligator. Comic, manic, high strung. Can be African American or white. Has extraordinary jazz singing voice since he, in effect, "sold his soul" to get it. Dialect: New Orleans hipster.

[PRINCE HARRY] A gregarious, fun-loving European Prince, in his early twenties. A young Cary Grant. Charming, witty but irresponsible and immature. Loves jazz. Dialect: British upper-class.

[LAWRENCE] Harry's pompous roly poly valet. In his forties. Stiff, snobbish and sarcastic. Secretly envious and resentful of Harry. Dialect: Overly affected British upper crust.

[BIG DADDY LA BOUFF] Wealthy, Southern plantation landowner. Doting father of Charlotte La Bouff. A "good ol' boy." Warm, affable, courtly, imposing and powerful. Dialect: Thick southern drawl.

[EUDORA] Maddy's mother. In her fifties. Eudora used to be Charlotte's nurse maid. Warm, homespun and nurturing. Overly fretful.

[GEORGE] The cook for the La Bouff family. African American 50s-60s. Curmudgeonly.

[YOUNG MADDY] Six years old, African American.

[YOUNG CHARLOTTE] Six years old."

This should give everybody an idea as to what to expect. It sounds great and Disney has a GREAT team bringing it to the screen.

Saturday, December 2, 2006

How To Install Your Home Theater...

Well, earlier this summer Superman Returns and in about a year Walt Disney's Goofy will return!

Four new shorts are in development at Disney: “The Ballad of Nessie,” a stylized account of the origin of the Loch Ness monster; “Golgo’s Guest,” about a meeting between a Russian frontier guard and an extraterrestrial; “Prep and Landing,” in which two inept elves ready a house for Santa’s visit; and “How to Install Your Home Theater,” the return of Goofy’s popular “How to” shorts of the ’40s and ’50s, in which a deadpan narrator explains how to play a sport or execute a task, while Goofy attempts to demonstrate — with disastrous results. The new Goofy short is slated to go into production early next year.

I always loved the Disney shorts. Donald is my favorite Disney character, but Goofy is a wonderful way to begin the shorts program again at the House of Mouse.

Disney Executive Don Haln was quoted talking about the shorts in the weekend New York Times: “The Goofy short will be very funny, but we won’t have to spend a lot of money and time on it, which won’t diminish it one bit,” Mr. Hahn said. “Obviously there’s a financial component to these films. We have to make them responsibly. But the big investment is for the long haul. We’re saying we believe in new talent and new techniques, and they’ll pay dividends in 10 to 20 years, just as we’re reaping the benefits now from the investment we made 25 years ago, training John Lasseter and Andrew Stanton and Tim Burton and John Musker and Ron Clemmons.”

And you can definately see how the situation has changed since John Lasseter has become the head of Disney animation: “I feel Disney is a very different place than it was a year ago,” said Chris Williams, a story artist who is developing “Golgo’s Guest” and “Prep and Landing,” “and the shorts program is just part of that. It’s become a very exciting place to work.”

Here's to a great future at the movies. I can't wait till the lights go down and I get to see a Disney short before a new Disney film!