Greetings Fabbers. We have Disney news from around the world for you today . . . including the icy realm of Arendelle. We’ll take a look at the new live-action Beauty and the Beast, and we have a long interview from deep inside Tokyo Disneyland. Something for everyone and I’d really like to hear your thoughts.
First up, some neat technology:
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Mickey Mouse Clubhouse: Mickey’s Sport-y-Thon
I mentioned that this would be coming out a few weeks ago. The first six episodes of this fun-filled kids’ series hits DVD TODAY, and here’s a new clip!
ROCK THIS RELAY
Look, the remakes are here to stay. So what is on your wish list? One of those voices seemed really “off” to me. Can you tell which one I’m talking about? But I loved seeing Emma…I just can’t stop thinking of her as Hermione. If I can just get past that, I will be all right.
Favorite Songs From Disney Channel Original Movies To Be Released On One Album, Commemorating The 100th Movie, Friday, May 27
Coinciding with Disney Channel’s upcoming premiere of “Adventures in Babysitting,” its 100th Disney Channel Original Movie (DCOM), Walt Disney Records will release a digital album of songs from chart-topping and certified gold, platinum and multi-platinum DCOM soundtracks, “Your Favorite Songs from 100 Disney Channel Original Movies.” The album will be released at all online outlets on FRIDAY, MAY 27 and is available for pre-order today. Its centerpiece is a medley of iconic DCOM songs performed by Hollywood Records recording artists Forever In Your Mind; the band’s music video will debut Friday, May 27 during the “100th DCOM Celebration” programming event on Disney Channel and will be available on DisneyMusicVevo immediately following its linear premiere. The music video will also be available same-day to all users of the Disney Channel app for smartphones, tablets and connected TVs. The album will also include “Wildside” from the 100th DCOM “Adventures in Babysitting,” which was released yesterday, and features the movie’s stars and Hollywood Records and Republic Records/Hollywood Records recording artists, Sabrina Carpenter and Sofia Carson, respectively. The track list for “Your Favorite Songs from 100 Disney Channel Original Movies” is below including songs from gold, platinum and multi-platinum soundtracks “High School Musical,” “High School Musical 2,” “The Cheetah Girls 2,” “Camp Rock,” and “Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam” plus, songs from the chart-topping and Top 10 soundtracks “Descendants,” “Teen Beach Movie,” and “Teen Beach Movie 2.” 1. Breaking Free (“High School Musical”) 2. Gotta Go My Own Way (“High School Musical 2”) 3. Cruisin’ for a Bruisin’ (“Teen Beach Movie”) 4. Gotta Be Me (“Teen Beach 2”) 5. Rotten to the Core (“Descendants”) 6. Strut (“The Cheetah Girls 2”) 7. One and the Same (“Princess Protection Program”) 8. This Is Me (“Camp Rock”) 9. Introducing Me (“Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam”) 10. Call Me, Beep Me (“Kim Possible”) 11. Determinate (“Lemonade Mouth”) 12. Wildside (“Adventures in Babysitting”) 13. Forever In Your Mind “DC Classics Medley” (including Wildside, This Is Me, Cruisin’ for a Bruisin’, Rotten to the Core, Breaking Free) In the U.S., across all basic cable, DCOMs have delivered the #1 cable TV movie for 14 consecutive years in Tweens 9-14 (2002-15) and hold the record of six of the Top 7 original cable movies ever (“High School Musical 2,” “Teen Beach Movie,” “Wizards of Waverly Place: The Movie,” “Descendants,” “Phineas and Ferb the Movie: Across the 2nd Dimension” and “Camp Rock”).
This is a great collection and I know at least a couple of these are going to make it on to my iPhone, next to my unabashed collection of Disney Junior music (seriously, the theme song from Miles from Tomorrowland is the best happy rocking music ever)! Did they miss anything?
Circle Media Inc. and Disney Introduce Circle Go™, a New Way to Manage Screen Time In and Out of the Home
Today, Circle Media Inc. launched Circle Go, a new subscription-based service that helps parents manage their kids and teens’ devices when they leave home. With Circle Go, parents can disable apps, limit screen time, and stay informed on how their kids spend time online in and out of their home. Circle Go takes all of the original features from Circle with Disney at home and extends them to any other network they join, on both Wi-Fi and 4G LTE. Circle Go is available for a monthly subscription of $9.95 and covers up to ten devices. Subscription can be purchased at meetcircle.com. Families must have a Circle with Disney in order to subscribe to Circle Go. Additionally, in order for Circle Go to be set up on the connected devices, the devices must have the MyCircle companion app installed. MyCircle gives family members notifications from Circle, as well as allows Circle Go to be set up on the device. With Circle Go, parents can manage their family’s screen time on any network they are on. Key features of Circle Go include:
- TIME LIMITS: Parents can set daily time limits on any app or content category. With Circle Go, parents can customize how much time their kids spend on each platform and set a total online time for the day.
- FILTER: Parents can create individual filter settings for each family member using Circle’s age-level presets and customization options for platforms, apps, websites, and content categories. Parents can choose a filter that matches each kid’s age and interests, filter out inappropriate content, and manage popular platforms like Snapchat, Instagram, and YouTube.
- INSIGHTS: Parents can stay informed about where their kids spend their online time—by platform, category, and website. Circle Go allows families to see a member’s total time spent online and the sites visited when they’re at home and away.
- PAUSE 4G LTE: With the press of a button, parents can pause 4G LTE and Wi-Fi, disabling Internet access for one device or all devices within the home, in the car, or on-the-go. With Circle Go, parents can extend this feature beyond the home and apply it wherever their kids and teens travel, like during school hours or other important events.
- BEDTIME: Parents can enable a BedTime for each family member and their Circle Go devices. Simply set a sleep time and an awake time for weekdays and weekends to avoid late night surfing.
Circle with Disney is a tool that helps parents stay informed about their kids’ online activities and limit screen time on every device in the home and on-the-go, including smartphones, tablets, computers, and gaming consoles. Circle with Disney is managed through a companion iOS app and pairs with Wi-Fi and 4G LTE, giving parents the ability to filter content, set a bedtime for devices, and even completely pause the Internet. Each user’s profile and settings can be completely customized based on age and parents’ preferences. Circle with Disney is available now for $99 at Target and Best Buy retail stores nationwide and online at Amazon.com, Target.com, BestBuy.com, meetcircle.com and DisneyStore.com.The Circle Homeapp can be downloaded for FREE for iOS or Android from the Apple App Store or Google Play.
Circle is a complete solution that helps families filter content, manage screen time, and stay informed with what their kids do online. The full suite of Circle tools includes:
- CIRCLE WITH DISNEY: a smart network device that “talks” wirelessly with a home router and each household device continuously to filter and deliver content based on family settings. The stay-at-home device helps parents stay informed about their kids’ online activities and limit screen time on every device in the home and on-the-go, including smartphones, tablets, computers, and gaming consoles.
- CIRCLE HOME APP: the companion app for Circle with Disney gives parents the ability to filter content, set a bedtime for devices, and even completely pause the Internet. Parents can manage user profiles and settings, and completely customize them based on kids’ ages and parents’ preferences.
- MYCIRCLE APP: A content dashboard for every member of the family, the MyCircle experience is tailored to each person’s interest. Family members will default to MyCircle as their homepage, which will be populated with curated and exclusive content and provide information about the user’s online history.
- CIRCLE GO: Circle’s cloud-based subscription service extends the Circle experience to keep all family settings active wherever the family’s devices travel. Circle Go is available for a monthly subscription of $9.95 and covers up to ten devices.
My childless friend thinks this is Big Brother and terrifying. I’m a mom of an adult and think this is a handy tool in today’s age of technology. You can’t look over your kids shoulder as easily as when there was just the TV in the living room. What do you think? A violation of your 12-year-old’s right to sext? Let me hear it!
What Will You See In Frozen Ever After?
As far as we’ve heard, you can expect to see: Summer Snow Day Celebration, Troll Valley, the North Mountain, Elsa’s Ice Palace and other Arendelle sights. It will open at 9AM with the rest of the park, while the rest of World Showcase still opens at 11AM. Josh Gad swore to one of my favorite ex-husbands that Maelstrom was his all-time favorite ride at Walt Disney World when he was but a lad in Hollywood, Florida, which cements my belief that Josh Gad is weird enough to be One of Us. He was pretty crestfallen to learn that he would be taking part in the destruction of…I’m sorry, but, really? Did you never see Horizons? Or the original Journey Into Imagination? No, no, I’m being all sorts of wrong. I mean, hell, I love it’s a small world. Who am I to judge, right? Anyway, he said that the CAVE version (the virtual reality chamber the Imagineers test ride concepts) of the ride was so good, he said yes to being in it, because if they were going to destroy his favorite ride for something bad, he would have refused. I’m looking at YOU, Gary Sinise. With eyes narrowed to evil little mascaraed, unforgiving slits.
2016 Webby Awards Single Out Marvel Unlimited’s Innovative Comic Book Experience
For the last decade, the Webby Awards have spotlighted innovators who are transforming the digital space. And at the 2016 awards presentation, held on Tuesday, May 17, in New York City, Marvel Entertainment was recognized in two categories: Marvel’s Digital team received the Webby in the Mobile Sites & Apps category for its Marvel Unlimited app, which offers members unlimited access to the vast library of Marvel content via mobile devices. Additionally,Marvel Kids was an honoree in the Websites/Youth category.
In the Q&A below, Kristin Vincent, vice president, Marvel Digital Products, talks about how Marvel—which can trace its history back 75 years when it first began publishing comic books as Timely Publications—is transforming the comic book experience for a new generation of readers.
How big an undertaking was the creation of Marvel Unlimited?
Kristen Vincent (KV): Huge. We launched the first incarnation ofMarvel Unlimited back in 2007 to revolutionize the way comics are accessed digitally via desktop computers and we also wanted to find a way to make our back catalog and newer issues accessible to our digital readers. Since the launch of our mobile Marvel Unlimitedapp in 2013, we have been laser-focused on optimizing Marvel Unlimited for mobile platforms—binge reading on-the-go at its best! It’s been one of the most rewarding things to see this platform develop, mature and continue to grow.
What did the team keep in mind in translating what has traditionally been a print experience into something that would live online and as an app?
KV: We kept in mind the traditional experience of reading a comic while exploring ways to innovate and enhance the experience in the digital medium. Further iterations of the digital comic-reading experience included our patented Marvel smart panel technology, which allow users to read panel-by-panel with editorial-focused transitions. Later iterations included brand-new comic formats for online reading, such as our digital-only Infinite Comics, and the added ability to read comics offline.
What can subscribers experience via Marvel Unlimited that they don’t experience when they read a comic book issue?
KV: Access. Our members have access to more than 17,000 Marvel digital comics on-the-go, ranging from the very first Marvel issue published to complete comic events, such the Civil War storyline—with weekly additions of some of best titles from Marvel as soon as six months after they hit shelves!
Additionally, subscribers have access to the DISCOVER section of Marvel Unlimited. Subscribers are now able to discover new pathways into the Marvel Universe with the ability to search by their favorite characters, creators, and events with ease.
What does it mean for Marvel and the Marvel Unlimited team to receive this award, which The New York Times refers to as “the Internet’s highest honor”?
KV: While everyone knows Marvel for our world-class comic books, feature films, TV shows and consumer products, we are extremely proud that the Marvel Digital team’s innovations in the digital space are also being recognized as best-of-breed.
Can you talk about where Marvel Unlimited might go next?
KV: Stay tuned True Believers! We have a lot of new features currently in development that will wow fans and keep Marvel Unlimited at the top of its class in digital comics reading experiences.
The Webbys are presented by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences (IADAS), which also recognized Disney Interactive and Maker Studios this year via the organization’s The Webby People’s Voice Awards—which are member-nominated and awarded by the voting public, garnering millions of votes from all over the world. The Star Wars app took home the People’s Voice awards for best Entertainment Mobile Sites & Apps, while Maker Studios’ Epic Rap Battles of History series won two People’s Voice awards in the Online Film & Video category for Music and Best Individual Performance.
I cannot emphasize enough what a positive impact Marvel Unlimited has made for digital comics, for bringing in new readers, for giving readers access to the Marvel library, it’s just an AMAZING resource – and once you try it, you’re spoiled rotten. You literally have the Universe at your fingertips.
Special Feature: From Oriental Land Company
This is a treat. It’s the English version of a set of interviews Oriental Land Company did with three backstage Tokyo Disneyland Cast Members, talking about their jobs in sound, lighting and Audio-animatronics animation at Tokyo Disneyland. The original Japanese version was done last year, but the Disney spirit these Cast Members have is timeless. Their translation isn’t perfect, but it’s charming. I didn’t think you would mind.
The “On-Site Skills” Supporting Tokyo Disney Resort
The OLC Group has made it its aim to bring vitality and solace to its customers through its various businesses, which encompass Theme Parks and hotels. The resources that support these business activities include the spirit and corporate philosophy behind the OLC Group’s foundation, as well as technical capabilities, personnel development and safety/quality control initiatives that are continuously being passed on and improved upon. And it is “on site” that these efforts come together and bear fruit. This special feature discusses the “on-site skills” that serve as technical support for the value experienced by visitors to our Theme Parks in the form of design, production and maintenance of show elements such as sound, lighting and movement.
— First of all, please tell us about what your job entails.
- At the Audiovisual Unit, we control the quality of audiovisual elements at our Theme Parks, and design and carry out facility upgrades. The scope of our work encompasses the roughly 12,000 speakers present in the Parks as well as the systems controlling them. We check that music is broadcast without interruption, and ensure that quality for audiovisual equipment is maintained. We are also involved in the audiovisual elements of projects for the creation of new attractions and facilities.
- At the Lighting Unit, we control the quality of the lighting used inside the Theme Parks, and design and carry out facility upgrades. The scope of our work encompasses the roughly 85,000 pieces of lighting equipment present in the Parks as well as the systems controlling them. The Parks’ lighting serves not only to make locations brighter, but also to bring into relief the thematic features of areas and facilities. We are working on a daily basis to maintain and improve quality. We are also involved in the lighting aspects of the construction and repair of new facilities.
- The Animation Unit is composed of four specialized teams. We take care of the roughly 3,400 Audio-Animatronics figures (henceforth “AA figures”) present in the Theme Parks. Our work consists of quality control, which entails checking whether movement quality is in line with settings; quality assurance for elements of external appearance such as paint and skin (skin rendering technology); disassembly/maintenance of driving and control parts; and design/production works aiming to upgrade the AA figures and further improve their quality.
* Machines in the shape of human beings or animals, which are made to move by systems controlled so as to coordinate sound and movements.
AA figures for the Country Bear Theater
Balancing Guest Needs with World of Unique Themes
— What kind of efforts is each of you especially making to express the vision of Disney Theme Parks?
Rivers on area boundaries. The most important thing is how the Guests perceive sound. For this reason, even for work done before the Park opens or after it closes we will still make sure to verify the results from the Guests’ perspective during the Park’s business hours. It is true that sound only plays a supporting role, but we take care to fine-tune sound effects so as to really bring out the vision that is unique to Disney Theme Parks. For example, given that each area has its specific soundscape, we use the sound of fountains or river water at boundaries between the areas to make sure that the previous area’s sounds are blocked out while the Guests transition into the next area’s atmosphere. Also, at restaurants we create soundscapes that do not hinder conversation, while sound effects at attractions are timed to match the story, so that the Guests enter into that attraction’s world naturally. In this way, sound can play an outstanding supporting role, turning into an indispensable aspect of attractions.
Reproduce Critter Country’s view, and ensure stair safety Lighting serves to create an effect that encompasses the degree of brightness, determined in accordance with the theme specific to each area and facility. Even though we may have used the same degree of brightness for several decades, the way in which Guests perceive it has changed with the times, in parallel with evolving sensitivity and changes to brightness inside other commercial facilities. Taking this into account, we go to work to make sure that our Guests are as comfortable as possible, considering the role played by the place of installation within the attraction’s storyline, and the effect that it will be necessary to produce in keeping with that role.
- Closely monitoring the movements of AA figures is extremely important that the movements and appearance of the AA figures faithfully reproduce Disney’s original vision, and that such conditions are maintained day in and day out. In order to ensure that our Guests can enjoy a high-quality experience of the Disney vision, we closely monitor colors, shapes, textures and movements based on photographs, videos and other documents.
In recent years, we have been working to improve quality so that the figures’ expressions, skin and other elements reproduce film characters more faithfully
Also, we are engaged in R&D on paints and materials for figures installed outdoors in attractions such as Jungle Cruise: Wildlife Expedition
AA figures for Sindbad’s Storybook Voyage
Safety First, for All Situations
— What steps are you taking to ensure safety?
- With regard to lighting, we need to maintain a certain degree of brightness to ensure that the Guests can be safe and comfortable inside the Park. If, however, brightness is overly prioritized, the attractions’ thematic features may suffer. Therefore, we pay attention to ensuring safety while at the same time preserving thematic features.
- We are taking all possible steps to ensure safety. In addition to daily inspections, for example we also manage works in keeping with independent installation criteria that take the risk of earthquakes into account, and, given our proximity to the sea, we take measures to deal with salt-air damage and strong winds.
Wire is in place to prevent light fixture from rocking due to strong winds
- As for AA figures, we do a thorough job of verifying the strengths of components and installation methods. In addition to regular inspections, we are also working to prevent overturning and drops by employing safety wires, as well as other safety measures. But however safe the attraction may be, if safety structures become visible to the Guests this will destroy the illusion, so it is absolutely necessary to make sure that the Guests cannot see them.
- In addition to the audio systems for music used to create a variety of scenes in the Parks, we have also installed speakers at locations where music is not usually broadcast, so that evacuation announcements are audible to Guests everywhere during emergencies.
Shift to LEDs and Carbon Benefits
— Do you have any initiatives in place to protect the environment?
- Our Theme Parks have as many as 30,000 regular light bulbs. In view, however, of the improvements in the performance of LEDs and other next-generation light sources, we have been gradually shifting our light sources to LED since 2011. Thanks to the shift to LED, CO2 emissions from lighting inside our Parks have been reduced by 1,600 t over the past three years. Since the renewal of 2013, all lights used for the Star Tours: The Adventures Continue show have been changed to LEDs. We will continue to employ LED equipment at new facilities, and convert the lighting used at major facilities to LED.
Tokyo Disney Resort, where the shift to LED is under way
Passing Skills on to the Next Generation
— Please discuss the efforts you are making to pass technical skills on to the next generation, and any matters you routinely keep in mind as the Unit’s manager.
- It has been over 30 years since the opening of Tokyo Disneyland, and the way in which we pass on technical skills and know-how is an important issue to us. Quality assurance work for paint, skin and other elements of the appearance of AA figures requires finely honed specialized skills, as does disassembly and maintenance work for driving and control parts. Person-to-person education carried out over the long-term with a focus on OJT（on the job training） is therefore indispensable.
To this end, we are in the process of “visualizing” skills and know-how: creating procedure manuals, training materials and other documents so that we are able to pass on our experience, and trainees are able to acquire specialized skills.
- The Animation Unit is a community of technicians from different fields. As the Unit’s manager, I am always mindful of the need to combine the executive ability that is required to motivate the Unit’s members with the development of a workplace that allows exchanges of opinions, thus leading to rapid and accurate problem resolution.
- The fact that we are a technical division means that we deal with “objects”, but it is “people” who hold the workplace together. And in order for people to perform to the best of their abilities, I believe that it is the Unit Manager’s responsibility to foster a better working environment. All of our work is carried out in a joint fashion. It is important to create a workplace where we can leverage our human resources while respecting each other’s roles.
- We technical professionals have different specialties, but this does not mean that each of us is capable of getting a job done single-handedly. As the Unit’s manager, I take care to ensure that we do our job not as individuals, but as an organization. Instead of considering problems by ourselves, we need not only to exchange opinions within the team, but also to share specialized knowledge and information with other departments. This will enable us to complete jobs that we would not be able to complete on our own, and to make better use of our technical skills.
Sound Skills:Judging with Our Ears
While we do have systems in place to measure sound volume and quality, ultimately we judge with our ears. This is because sound effects are meant for the ears of our Guests. Inside the Park, a variety of sounds come together, and we have the necessary skills to distinguish among them. We will also listen to our sound effects in a sophisticated studio environment, and compare our perception with recorded data. We train our ears and our sensitivities by listening to a diverse array of sounds, and are working as sound professionals to maintain and improve quality.
Lighting Skills:Reacting Minor Effect Changes
A simple walk inside the Parks allows us to quickly react to minor changes in brightness that would go unnoticed by the Guests. The way in which the same light source is perceived will vary depending on brightness in the surrounding area and the location of use. Therefore, it is important that we look at as many lighting effects as possible on site, and that we heighten our sensitivity to them. When changing or upgrading each individual piece of lighting equipment, our technicians will make adjustments to make sure that the lighting effects are not lost. Needless to say, this too would be impossible without a thorough knowledge of on-site conditions.
Movement Skills:Realizing the Best Performance
The movements of AA figures and the quality of their performance are determined by numerous elements, which include sound and lighting in addition to external appearance and activation systems. We need to check from various angles whether the AA figures are functioning in accordance with settings and their thematic features, and I believe that it is important for every one of us to precisely identify our own area of specialty. Then, we need the executive ability that is necessary to use these technical skills to assess actual day-to-day on-site conditions, understand issues, and move on to the next step. I believe that “on-site” may be defined as the comprehensive ability to do so.
The Sangen Principle:
A Practical Approach to Enhancing Experiential Value
Director, Show Engineering Department
The Show Engineering Department is in charge of design, production and maintenance work on all show elements* at both of our vast Theme Parks. Given the direct relationship to the Guests’ experiential value, we place an emphasis on the sangen principle – in other words, we do not simply look at drawings and equipment backstage, but instead actually visit the Parks (genba), their attractions and other facilities, personally check the state of the systems and equipment that are installed there (genbutsu), and assess any issues that may be present (genjitsu). The field is the basis of all operations. I try to visit the field myself as frequently as possible, and to verify things with my own five senses.
We must always take into account the needs and perspective of our Guests, and think of ways to reflect these onto our technical work. Given that our organization consists of multiple specialized groups, we are always mindful of how each one of us should combine his/her individual area of technical expertise with those of others; of how we should work to maintain and improve show quality; and of how this should lead to better experiential value for our Guests.
Using the sangen principle as our basic approach, we will continue encourage training and the creation of a suitable environment for our employees to fulfill their potential in the course of field work, so that Guests can feel secure and in good hands at our Parks while they enjoy show elements.
* General arrangement of space and facilities, encompassing sound, lighting and animations.
A Special Note
Yesterday, Andy Castro announced that he will be bringing Dateline Disneyland to an end. As a reader and Patreon supporter of Dateline Disneyland, I’m really sad, but I also know that great things await Andy on the horizon, and that the door is not locked behind him when he leaves; I hope he’ll come by and give us some beautiful photos and debate-worthy opinions every now and then for many years to come. I wish him all the best that life and his amazing talents have to offer.
The new name for the Wilderness Lodge DVC units will be “Boulder Ridge” – this includes the existing ones as well as the newly-built units. Epcot’s DVC Owner’s Lounge opens June 4th, but will only be open to those who buy from Disney direct, or who bought resale before a certain date. Is it worth thousands of dollars more to get into an exclusive lounge? Go to DVCResaleMarket.com and find out if buying resale or going direct is the best path for you. Nick Cotton and his team have years of experience both inside and outside of Disney and have sold millions of dollars’ worth of DVC points. They are knowledgeable and reliable. Go to DVCResaleMarket.com and find out for yourself.
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