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Thursday, December 4, 2014

WDW Video Featurette: Part II of For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration

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Frozen Summer Fun Invaded Disney Hollywood Studios in 2014

As promised, darthmaz314.com presents the second part of For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration. from Frozen Summer Fun at Disney's Hollywood Studios.


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Friday, November 28, 2014

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Official Teaser Trailer

Now we all have something else to be thankful for. The official teaser trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens has been released. See it here, courtesy of Lucasfilm and darthmaz314.




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WDW Video Featurette: For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration - Part I

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For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration

The second installment in darthmaz314's coverage of Frozen Summer Fun at Disney's Hollywood Studios features part one of For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration. This combination live action and video clip singalong show was literally packing them in all day at the Premier Theatre in Hollywood Studios this past summer. Admittance to the show required a reservation pass for each guest,which had to be picked up earlier in the day, to assure your spot at a particular show time. 

To grasp the popularity of this show, all one needs to know is that there was significant wait time for the reservation pass distribution line.  Yes, that's right. You had to wait in line to obtain a reservation pass, which entitled you to return later in the day to wait in another line to see the show. Was it really necessary for Disney to create a line to secure a guest's place in a later line for the show? On the day I attended, the early shows were all booked up by mid-morning and at that point in the day, passes were being distributed for the late afternoon shows. So, yeah, it was necessary.

During the show, the Royal Storytellers of Arendelle (a slightly amusing but eventually irritating duo) spin the tale of the two royal sisters of Frozen, complete with brief appearances by Anna, Kristoff, and a very brief cameo by the queen of cold herself, Queen Elsa. Sing-along clips from the film are featured on a massive video screen in the immense theatre as hundreds of enthralled voices belt out their favorite Frozen tunes. Complete with a special effects-laden ending that has everyone "letting it go," this show was not to be missed by anyone who enjoyed the film. 

So if you haven't had your Frozen fill and need a frosty fix, darthmaz314.com brings you part one of For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration. 


...and be sure to check back for Part II in a future post.


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Saturday, November 22, 2014

WDW Video Featurette: Frozen Fireworks at Disney's Hollywood Studios Frozen Summer Fun 2014

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Olaf at the Entrance of Disney's Hollywood Studios During Frozen Summer Fun 2014

This past summer, Frozen basically took over...well pretty much everything, everywhere. More specifically, the Frozen Summer Fun celebration took up residence in Disney's Hollywood Studios, bringing Disney's biggest animated blockbuster to the park "supposedly" themed to film and television. The peak season celebration entitled Frozen Summer Fun included several entertainment nuggets, all rolled into your standard park admission, with no additional charges, something that seems more and more rare at Disney these days.

darthmaz314 was on hand to soak in the Frozen Summer Fun and brings you many of these entertainment nuggets, also free of charge, in a series of posts that we hope you will enjoy. As expected, Frozen Summer Fun was such a success that it was extended beyond summer. Now that summer is far behind us, many of its elements have been been incorporated as permanent park attractions, that is at least until the Frozen phenomenon begins to thaw a bit.

Today we bring you one of the true highlights of Frozen Summer Fun, the Frozen Fireworks. Disney is normally second to none when it comes to fireworks. True, the Gruccis  Macy's July 4th fireworks show is on a level of its own as well. However, they prepare for that show for an entire year and only produce one Macy's show annually. Disney produces multiple fireworks shows every day of every year and while it can be said that they should be masters of the craft by now, it can also be said that they face the challenge of infusing variety and novelty into their shows on a constant basis. How do you make these shows special after so many consecutive productions?

Inevitably, the answer comes down to what always sets Disney apart from everyone else...the Disney Magic. Maybe it is the Frozen frenzy that has swept across the world. Maybe it is the fact that Frozen has aided Walt Disney World in breathing new creative life into their daily task of "making magic." Maybe its the Arendelle snow that falls in blisteringly hot Orlando at the conclusion of  the show, seeming to make the truly impossible, possible, if only for a few fleeting moments. 

courtesy darthmaz314.com
Snow Falling at the Conclusion of the Frozen Fireworks at Disney's Hollywood Studios - courtesy darthmaz314.com

In the end, it doesn't really matter. There is something special about this show that makes it one of Disney's best ever. You decide for yourself. True, watching it in front of your computer does chip away at some of the immersiveness and "magic" of the experience. Nevertheless, darthmaz314 invites you to enjoy the Frozen Fireworks from Disney's Hollywood Studios.  

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Is this one of Disney's best fireworks shows ever? Post your comments and let us know.

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Friday, November 7, 2014

Lucasfilm Announces Title of Episode VII: Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Lucasfilm announced yesterday that principal photography has concluded on Episode VII and that the official title of the much anticipated film will be Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

copyright Disney/Lucasfilm
Announced Title of Episode VII: Star Wars: The Force Awakens
- copyright Disney/Lucasfilm

darthmaz314's approach to Episode VII has been to reluctantly keep its distance, not scratching too deeply at the surface and basically waiting back to see how this newest chapter in the Star Wars saga will unfold. Truthfully, I was doubtful of Lucasfilm's ability to have the film ready for the December 2015 release date, particularly given the fact that they fired an Oscar winning screenwriter early on in the process. However, with principal photography wrapped and with the Disney/Lucasfilm machine behind the project, all seems on track for the film to hit theaters in a little over a year. 

Since the announcement of Episode VII, darthmaz314 has been (cautiously) optimistic about the future of the franchise, which now sits securely in the four-fingered white glove of the Mouse. Let's hope optimism translates into reality.



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Monday, October 20, 2014

What Will Replace the Studio Backlot Tour at Disney's Hollywood Studios?

So with the Back Lot Tour now closed, the inevitable question arises..."What will be replacing it?"With so many sizzling hot properties just waiting to be infused into their theme parks, Disney could not be in a better position to develop new attractions. Many also believe (yours truly not among them) that Hollywood Studios is dying on the (Hollywood and...) vine and quickly falling to the bottom of the Disney "must do" list of parks. Star Wars Land and Cars Land have both been rumored for some time now, including in the darthmaz314 posts linked below. 



Both of these rumored park expansions have the potential to infuse new life (and millions of dollars) into Disney Hollywood Studios. But where would these expansions be built? A quick look at the Disney Hollywood Studios park map may hint at where we may see them surface in the near future. 

One would think that if Star Wars Land were to become a reality, it would need to materialize around the existing Star Tours: The Adventure Continues attraction. The fact that the Backlot Tour is at the opposite end of the park most likely means that the Force is not strong with the notion of a Star Wars expansion on the Backlot Tour footprint. Both MuppetVision 3D and Lights, Motors, Action! fall in between Star Tours and the Backlot location and both have also been rumored to be on their way out. Then again, very little at the Studios has not been rumored to be on its way out. Removing both Muppets and Lights, Motors... would clear a huge footprint on which Star Wars Land could be developed. 

darthmaz314.com
What Will Be Done on the Site of the Former Studio Backlot Tour?

However, this plan would also require the elimination of the Streets of America section, leaving nowhere to insert the hugely popular Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights at Christmastime. This would also seem to require the removal or retooling of both the Pizza Planet and Mama Melrose dining locations. All possible in a place where anything is possible, but not very likely. If the Osborne Lights were removed, it is hard to imagine it not being relocated to another section of the park, given its huge popularity and ability to drum up attendance at the Studios, a park which some feel needs an overhaul. Is there really another area of the park where Osborne Lights can be overlayed each year? With the development and implementation of the display over time and its long run in that location, it almost feels as if the Osborne lights were meant to be in that area of the park; an area which outside of the two months a year when Osborne in in residence, is one of the Studios lowlights.


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Osborne Spectacle of Dancing Lights at Disney Hollywood Studios - courtesy darthmaz314

So where does this leave Star Wars Land? It leaves it in the current location of the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular, another attraction which just happens to be adjacent to Star Tours, has a large footprint on which to build, and has also rumored to be on the chopping block. Expanding in the area of Indiana Jones still allows the option of removing MuppetVision 3D and keeping the Streets of America, whose tall facades already provide an existing barrier to separate the two areas which would feature vastly different themes. 


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The Far Side of "Streets of America" Near the Lights, Motors, Action Arena - courtesy darthmaz314

What then happens with the enourmous footprint of the Studio Backlot Tour? Some have speculated that an expansion of Pixar Place in inevitable in that spot, particularly since it lies adjacent to the the Backlot Tour area (see map above). Could that expansion include the development of Cars Land? This would seem to be a no brainer, particularly considering how the west coast Cars Land re-invigorated Disney's California Adventure park.

For Disney fans, it is now all a waiting game. Waiting to see what attraction, if any, closes next. Waiting to see if Disney develops anything Star Wars or Cars related. And most importantly, waiting for any new attractions to be developed, built, tested, and opened to the public. With the current rate at which Disney builds attractions, by the time they open a new Star Wars attraction, I will be too old to ride it. Here's hoping for the best! 



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Sunday, October 19, 2014

Steampunk Maleficent Dragon From the Festival of Fantasy Parade

For today's Disney Snapshot of the Day, darthmaz314.com brings you the show stealing steampunk Maleficent Dragon from the new Festival of Fantasy Parade at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom. The Festival of Fantasy Parade, which debuted earlier this year at Magic Kingdom, is by far one of the best parades ever presented at Disney World. The breathtaking dragon below manages to top the list of sights and sounds crammed into this parade full of magnificent sights and sounds. 

The dragon's massive size, ominous design, and hypnotic visible inner moving parts are enough to make this hands down the nastiest float to ever appear in a daytime Disney park parade. All that is before it spews forth a blast of fire from its open jaws, which are lined with razor sharp teeth. The picture definitely does not do it justice. Nor does any video you may see posted on the net. This is one of those Disney "must sees" that you absolutely have to experience in person. So if you plan to be in the Magic Kingdom, be sure to catch the Festival of Fantasy Parade and this badass Maleficent Dragon.

darthmaz314.com
Steampunk Maleficent Dragon from Magic Kingdom's Festival of Fantasy Parade - courtesy of darthmaz314.com

darthmaz314 will bring you the entire Festival of Fantasy Parade, featuring the Steampunk Maleficent Dragon in all its fire spewing glory, in a future post...so keep checking back.


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Friday, October 10, 2014

The Boo To You Parade From Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party

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The Haunted Mansion from Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party at Magic Kingdom - courtesy darthmaz314.com

In early September, darthmaz314 had the opportunity to attend his first Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party (MNSSHP) at Walt Disney World. This party is one of the special event offerings that have been such a success at Walt Disney World in recent years. I have personally been trying to make it to this event for quite a while now and scheduling conflicts have prevented from attending for years. This year my visit to Disney happened to coincide with  the very first MNSSHP of the season, which took place on September 1st, a full two months prior to Halloween!  Expectations were high, but as is usually the case, Disney did not disappoint, delivering top notch unique entertainment, that is signature Disney through and through.


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Haunted Mansion Ballroom Dancers from The Boo To You Parade at Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party - courtesy darthmaz314.com

As part of our continuing coverage of Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party, today darthmaz314 brings you HD video of The Boo to You Parade from MNSSHP. This parade, complete with tons of Disney characters, performers, and attraction-inspired floats, is loaded with ghoulish delight, all on a family friendly frequency, so as not to frighten the kiddies. 

So if you can't make it to Walt Disney World for the MNSSHP this year, let darthmaz314.com take you there instead! Happy Halloween! 




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