Enjoying the calm before the storm, MiceChatters? Only a few weeks until the D23 Expo! While we wait, let’s see what’s going on in the news AND rumors. You asked for dirt and I dug some up for you!

Magic Kingdom gets a Prince, Studios Gets A New Hope

Brand spanking new VP of the Magic Kingdom Dan Cockerell is the son of retired Disney Exec Lee Cockerell, but you wouldn’t know it by looking at his resume. He started out working as a parking lot CM while going to college and worked his way up as a CM through management, so he has a really good grip on what the day-to-day operations are in the parks.John Frost of The Disney Blog tells me: “Unfortunately a VP’s hands are tied when it comes to budget; Dan’s great at working on cast members to excel even when restrained.” Frost notes that the move could mean that there are even greater things in Cockerell’s future. I wouldn’t be surprised.

Over at <<Insert Name Here>> Theme Park over behind World Showcase, Phil Holmes, who brought New Fantasyland and a whole passel of other things to the Magic Kingdom during his long tenure as VP, is unpacking fix-it kit and getting ready to work in yet another of Disney’s now-famous personnel swaps. This is good news for all of the changes going on in the park, whatever they might be, they will be done well. Like the Staggs/Rasulo switch, this is good: Rasulo was good with numbers, and Staggs was, and is, infinitely better for the parks. This switch plays to the strengths of two solid VPs.


You Kids Have It Easy

When I was a kid, we had to wait until Fall for new shows, and THEN we had to wait for Saturday morning to watch them, and THEN we had to choose one of three to watch. We couldn’t watch them all. Now you have your WatchDisneys and your XDs and your iPhones and your flying cars. Get off my lawn!

Here’s the promo for season 2 of Wander Over Yonder:

They’re right about animators, you know. Also, Gravity Falls, I’m sure, will leave us with more questions than answers, and I still can’t wait. Jon Heder’s new Disney XD show Pickle and Peanut sounds outrageously funny. More Mickey shorts, too, which is good. I know, some purists don’t like them, but they make me laugh so hard I feel like I’m six again.

Dear Fabby (It’s Disney Gossip Folks!)

First, a caveat: Things change. Pirates of the Caribbean was a walk-through until after they had the concrete poured and the steel up, and New Fantasyland Princess Pixiepalooza was in early construction when things changed to how they are now, so take this all with a grain of salt. Or a dirty martini, it’s much more pleasant that way.

So the question I keep getting is “What is Disney going to do with the Carousel Hotel that they just purchased across from Disneyland on Harbor Blvd?” Nothing, for now, except give MiceChat readers a great rate until August 15th. Down the line? They’re gonna knock it down to make room for an egress to the great big beautiful 5,000 car parking garage that’s going to go on all the land they own behind the hotels over there.

“But Fab!” you say, “There’s not enough room for cars to go in and/or out of a parking structure with that little, narrow space, and also Harbor Blvd. is not equipped to handle that kind of traffic!”
Okay, no one would say that sentence in real life.
But it won’t be a driveway, it will be a walkway. To get cars in and out, they’ll do a flyover from the freeway, much like with the Mickey and Friends lot. There will be some street access as well; if you’ve taken the Toy Story shuttle, you have some idea of the layout of the surface streets and the real estate that Disney owns.

This could change. Something similar was going to happen a little further south a decade ago and it got tabled. But here’s approximately how the two parking lots would load. Mickey and Friends for Southbound traffic on the 5 fwy and the fancy new lot for Northbound traffic on the 5 fwy.
2001 plan

If Disney does this, though, many more guests will choose the new lot over Mickey and Friends, which would likely hurt the sales of World of Disney and a few other shops which are near the current Mickey and Friends parking lot tram stop. Disney might address this by having a store, like The Monorail Store at the Transportation and Ticket Center at Walt Disney World back in the day, where guests could buy sundries and souvenirs, or just a lot of signage directing people to World of Disney.

The next big project to be tackled is what to do with Disney’s Paradise Pier hotel, which would finally be relegated to the dust heap of history. In its place would be Disneyland’s first completely dedicated Disney Vacation Club resort, heavily-themed (no idea or I’d tell you), which would take over the hotel’s footprint and the entire parking lot backing up, appropriately, to the DVC sales center. Too small for a theme park, perfect for a lovely resort. DVC is part of theme parks, so as long as they keep selling, theme park numbers look good – so Disney can never, never stop selling them. The resort would have a sky bridge directly into Paradise Pier, appearing to go through the mad mouse coaster itself, which might make the Buena Vista Street merch people salty, but DVC trumps merch.

All this construction would start around 2018, same time as the announcement for the third park, and be finished in about 10-15 years. Oh, sorry, what? Bob Iger said that they’re not doing a third park? Oh, they’re not. Not while he’s there! But he’s not going to be there, then, is he? Tom Staggs will be, Board willing. Plans are constantly being put on and taken off the table. But that’s what they are discussing right now. I’ll have more tidbits for you from the crystal ball in the coming weeks.

I have such high hopes in you, Tom Staggs. Don’t let me down, man. Also, still love the chili.

Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters: A Better Name

…than Art of the Dance or whatever they were going to call it earlier. I think kids are going to love this. Big kids too. I was really excited that they tried to bring back the flying saucers but really disappointed that they hadn’t been able, in 50 years, to work out the technology. Maybe in another 50 years!

Instead of having it closed down and being replaced by a shop, restaurant, or air-conditioned waiting room, they went right back to work and gave us a new ride, for which I’m happy and grateful. The technology will be similar to that used in Pooh’s Hunny Hunt and Mystic Manor. This should be fun. Looking forward to seeing Luigi and his cousins as they invite us all to celebrate Race Day.

Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters Rolling into Disney California Adventure Park, Image Courtesy of Walt Disney Imagineering

Let’s Get Silly!

Remember when I told you about the Silly Symphonies in Concert at the D23 Expo? The reason they’re doing it is to celebrate this fantastic boxed set, The Silly Symphony Collection.


“Pre-orders will begin at the D23 Expo and continue afterward at Disney Music Emporium (www.sillysymphonycollection.com) on August 17th at 8:00 am PDT and will ship in time to arrive for the holidays.

The Silly Symphony Collection will include a free digital download with purchase of the box set and will retail for $399.98. Each guest who pre-orders The Silly Symphony Collection will receive a free limited edition 10” vinyl single featuring “The Skeleton Dance” on the A side and “Three Little Pigs” on the B side…


J.B. Kaufman and Russell Merritt, along with Restoration Producer Randy Thornton will be on hand at D23 EXPO 2015 signing The Silly Symphony Collection 10” single on Friday, August 14th and Sunday, August 16th.
Noted documentary director Steve Elkins has produced a short film that explores the historical significance of the Silly Symphonies and the making of The Silly Symphony Collection box set.  The Silly Symphony documentary features J.B. Kaufman and Russell Merritt, as well as Dave Bossert, Head of Special Projects at Walt Disney Animation Studios and Grammy®-winning producer Randy Thornton from Disney Music Group.  (Fab: I loves me some Randy Thornton. So glad he’s back.)
The Silly Symphony Collection Track List:
Volume 1: 1929•1930
The Skeleton Dance
El Terrible Toreador
Hell’s Bells
The Merry Dwarfs
Cannibal Capers
Frolicking Fish
Arctic Antics
Midnight in a Toy Shop
Volume 2: 1930•1931
Monkey Melodies
Playful Pan
Birds of a Feather
Mother Goose Melodies
The China Plate
The Busy Beavers
The Cat’s Out
Egyptian Melodies
The Clock Store
The Spider and the Fly
Volume 3: 1931•1933
The Fox Hunt
The Ugly Duckling
The Bird Store
The Bears and Bees
Just Dogs
Flowers and Trees
Bugs in Love
King Neptune
Babes in the Woods
Santa’s Workshop
Birds In the Spring
Father Noah’s Ark
Volume 4: 1933•1934
Three Little Pigs
Old King Cole
Lullaby Land
The Pied Piper
The China Shop
The Night Before Christmas
Grasshopper and the Ants
The Big Bad Wolf
Volume 5: 1934•1935
Funny Little Bunnies
The Flying Mouse
The Wise Little Hen
Peculiar Penguins
The Goddess of Spring
The Tortoise and the Hare
The Golden Touch
The Robber Kitten
Volume 6: 1935•1936
Water Babies
The Cookie Carnival
Who Killed Cock Robin?
Music Land
Three Orphan Kittens
Cock c’ the Walk
Three Little Wolves
Elmer Elephant
Volume 7: 1935•1937
Broken Toys
Toby Tortoise Returns
Three Blind Mouseketeers
The Country Cousin
Mother Pluto
More Kittens
Woodland Café
Little Hiawatha
Volume 8: 1937•1939
The Old Mill
Wynken, Blynken and Nod
Moth and the Flame
Farmyard Symphony
Mother Goose Goes Hollywood
The Practical Pig
The Ugly Duckling”
Silly Symphony Postcard 1
“A set of 3 limited edition Silly Symphony postcards are being handed out in various locations throughout the D23 EXPO 2015 and fans can follow Fairfax Classics on Twitter (@fairfaxclassics) to find out how to obtain them.”

Here’s another way to obtain a set of the Silly Symphony postcards. Simply tell me your favorite Silly Symphony in the comments below and hit that little Facebook or Twitter like button above, and we’ll send cards to as many folks as we can, gratis (as in free!).

Celebrate Walt Disney This Summer!

The Walt Disney Birthplace Summer Celebration is underway, and I have my eye on that new monogram pin for my birthday weekend after next. And a porch. Or at least a picket fence post. They aren’t really promoting this campaign online, it’s to allow folks visiting their booth at the D23 Expo a chance to support the project (but they assure me that if you wish to pick up any of the rewards through the link above, they would be delighted to have you do so). There’s no big corporations behind this project – it’s all fans, giving back to Walt and paying forward to the next generation by teaching them about Walt and who he really was and where he really came from and what he did with his life, and that they can do the same thing too. Thanks!!!


Nothing better than a nice salad when it’s hot. I like a ribeye salad broiled in butter, myself. Tons of things left to tell you, but let’s hold off until Thursday. See you then!

If you have some news to share or a question for Dear Fabby, email me at [email protected]