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Now in our tenth calendar year!
PCR #485 (Vol. 10, No. 28). This edition is for the week of July 6--12, 2009.

"Bruno"  by Mike Smith
Movies and The Mob: part 1  by Terence Nuzum
The Stuff of Legend: 2009 Film Florida Legends Awards  by ED Tucker
R.I.P. Farrah Fawcett, 1947--2009  by Lisa Scherer Ciurro
A Date With Disney .... Toy Story Ride & Frenzy .... Mgm Staples .... .... .... .... ....  by Brandon Jones
The Jackson Distraction .... Btw Palin Resigned .... Win Win 4 Palin .... The Best Offense Is No Defense? .... Cap & Trade Warning One .... Another Stimulus .... In God We Trust Missing? ....  by Brandon Jones
Air Mcnair .... Movie Notes .... Another Voice Of My Youth Moving On .... .... .... .... .... .... My Favorite Films, Part 2...  by Mike Smith
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Splash Page by Brandon Jones

A Date With Disney
The struggling economy has even hit Disney.

Florida residents can cash in on discounted 3-4 day tickets at approximately $25-30/per trip. Combine that discount with the free birthday promotion, which you can redeem for a $75 gift card if you purchased the aforementioned multi-day ticket, and it's clear the Mouse is fighting to offset the effects of the recession crunch.

This aged theme park junkie used these tricks to enjoy a humid, child-free date with my wife. So, dodging the rain, we set off to Hollywood Studios (formerly MGM studios, the name officially changed in 2007) and despite missing out on lunch at the Sci-Fi café (make your reservations in advance), everything went perfectly.

Toy Story ride & frenzy
Meeting Frozone at Disney's Hollywood Studios

Disney Hollywood Studios carries the Pixar theme throughout this park, while it's sparse in the others. The new Toy Story ride shares the same premise as the similar Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger spin ride at Magic Kingdom and the Men in Black Attack at Universal Studios.

This was the one area of the park packed with kids lined up to meet the characters from Toy Story and people sweating in line for the new ride. I'd rethink this area, add a Pixar shop, and for the love of Pete, Disney DON'T forget the old films and characters.

With "Toy Story 3" opening in 2010, this area of the park with be chaos for quite some time. The trailer for TS3 reminds kids of all their favorite characters and the meet and greet at the park aims to please.

MGM staples
The name has changed but the old favorites are still there. The Great Movie ride still plods along as an homage to great films featuring Disney animatronic characters from those films.

Star Tours still garners a long line for the now outdated ride, but will always be a fan favorite with the lifesized AT-AT, Snowspeeder and Speeder Bike for photo ops.

Indiana Jones Stunt Show

On our last trip we took all of the kids and missed the Indiana Jones stunt show, so it was a high priority this time. I wish the gift shop has more palatable items to pay tribute to the Indy franchise, especially "Raiders of the Lost Ark"

The Magic of Disney animation area in the park is usually a very big treat, but all of the emphasis was on promoting Pixar's "Up." I do consider this the far and away best picture of the summer ("The Hangover" would be second) but Disney should try to devote more of the space to their classics. I'd love to see some vintage art and cels from the 50's and 60's.

Early sketches of "Kevin"

There is a large display case featuring sketches and development designs of the characters in the film.

We really enjoyed looking at some of the props that were featuring in the film. The scout badges in particular were all present with the same detail as the film -- I'm surprised they were not marketing these items to kids.

The badges in the center of the pic

One small pass through features a few glass displays of artwork from Disney's "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs."

With the use of computers now in every home, I wonder how many patrons appreciate the hand drawn detail and the hours upon hours that made "Snow White" a reality. While the gallery is small, I found the representation very diverse from the main dwarfs to simple sketches of animals.

You can't make a call at Disney for a dime.

One interesting note was the pockets of patrons taking advantage of the sparse crowd by posing with the various backdrops and replica city streets. The New York street is decorated with fake newspaper stands, fire hydrants and New York themed shops.

There is the giant, scaled back drop which emulates the depth and size of the large city. People, old and young, seemed to be peppered around this area of the park posing and snapping shots -- something I have not seen in the past.

Disney is still a great theme park but there needs to be some real major updates to the park. The Aerosmith Rockin' Rollercoaster and the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror are still huge draws as well as the new Toy Story ride. Did I mention American Idol?

No? Nevermind.

The changes I'd like to see are to the outdated graphics on Star Tours. Let's see some real merchandising for Indiana Jones and Star Wars fans.

If you can't change the Great Movie Ride, atleast add some more trailers to the opening. We don't care if they're Disney plugs for other areas of the park.

Muppets, Honey I Shrunk...whatever, Little Mermaid, and the Drew Carey sound show are all REALLY REALLY dated concepts. They need to move quickly to engage visitors for repeat business.

"Splash Page" is ©2009 by Brandon Jones.   Webpage design and all graphics herein (except where otherwise noted) are creations of Nolan B. Canova.  All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2009 by Nolan B. Canova.