For my thoughts on the re-opening of Walt Disney World, see this.


By the co-author of The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit 2020, the best-reviewed Disney World guidebook series ever.

Available on Amazon here.

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Category — w. Most Recent Stuff

A Friday Visit with Jim Korkis: The Disney Monorail by Kurtti, Hunt and Wolski

Welcome back to Fridays with Jim Korkis! Jim, the dean of Disney historians, writes about Walt Disney World history every Friday on yourfirstvisit.net.

YOUR PERSONAL DISNEY LIBRARY (39)

By Jim Korkis

As might be suspected, roughly half of The Disney Monorail is devoted to the early history of monorails and Walt Disney’s fascination with transportation, as well as Disneyland’s connection to the development and evolution of monorails.

However, there is more than enough other information about the monorails at Walt Disney World to justify a review of the book for this column. There is even information on the Disney monorails in Japan that have windows in the shape of Mickey’s head silhouette.

In the past, I have been somewhat disappointed by Disney Editions books because they seemed to concentrate more heavily on the graphics than the text, which too often seemed like a limited accessory.

While The Disney Monorail does include beautiful, wonderful images from photos to illustrations to documents and more, the text here is not only accurate but informative and illuminating even when provided in “bite-sized” chunks.

I have always had great respect and appreciation for how author Jeff Kurtti has been able to maneuver through the many restrictions in writing for Disney Editions to provide outstanding new information rather than mere publicity “fluff”. In this book he is assisted by the art background of Vanessa Hunt and Paul Wolski in creating a well balanced and pleasing design for the entire book.

Jeff Kurtti is a leading authority on Disney history. He is the author of more than thirty books and was creative director, content consultant, and media producer for The Walt Disney Family Museum, among many other accomplishments.

Vanessa Hunt is a Walt Disney Imagineer with a background in art history, and worked on preserving more than 160,000 pieces of original artwork for the Walt Disney Imagineering Art Collection. She is also the coauthor of Poster Art of the Disney Parks (2012) and Maps of the Disney Parks (2016), as well as a designer on Marc Davis in His Own Words: Imagineering the Disney Theme Parks (2019).

Paul Wolski is a graphic designer, creative director, and illustrator whose career began with Walt Disney Imagineering. He served as character illustrator for all signage in Mickey’s Toontown at Disneyland and provided character graphics for Tokyo Disneyland and Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Florida. Paul has worked as a book designer, collaborating with Jeff Kurtti on From All of Us to All of You: The Disney Christmas Card (2018) and working with Hunt on Marc Davis in His Own Words: Imagineering the Disney Theme Parks (2019).

Having those artists involved resulted in such treasures as being able to reverse the dust jacket providing a panoramic poster of 1975 concept art by John DeCuir of Epcot that spotlights the monorail.

The images in the book are large enough for a reader to immerse himself into them and look for details, and are diverse enough that they are not the usual images so familiar to Disney fans who have seen other articles about the monorail.

I learned new information so I believe that not only will this book be of interest to the casual Disney fan who likes to browse “coffee table” books but also to the Disney aficionado who wants some new material.

I was surprised not to find more material from Bob Gurr and also surprised that the bibliography references articles on websites (that I know from personal experience might disappear without warning) but very few books.

I highly recommend adding The Disney Monorail to your collection if you are a Disney fan.

*  *  *  *  *

Thanks, Jim! and come back next Friday for more from Jim Korkis!

In the meantime, check out his books, including his two new books,  Vault of Walt Volume 9: Halloween Edition, and Hidden Treasures of the Disney Cruise Line.

 

 

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April 30, 2021   No Comments

Next Week (May 1 through May 9, 2021) at Walt Disney World

DISNEY WORLD NEXT WEEK: MAY 1 TO MAY 9, 2021

The material below details next week’s Disney World operating hours, parades, and fireworks.

Things are … a little different… as Disney World re-opens.  See this for park previews and key insights.

OPERATING HOURS AT WALT DISNEY WORLD 5/1-5/9/21

The Magic Kingdom will be open from 8a-9p every day

Epcot will be open from 11a-10p every day

Disney’s Hollywood Studios will be open from 9a-8p every day

Disney’s Animal Kingdom will be open from 8a-8p 5/1, and 8a-7p 5/2 through 5/9

EXTRA MAGIC HOURS AT WALT DISNEY WORLD 5/1-5/9/21

There will be no Extra Magic Hours anymore.  They will be replaced later in the year by a new program.

PARADES AT WALT DISNEY WORLD 5/1-5/9/21

There will be no parades until further notice.

FIREWORKS AND EVENING SHOWS AT WALT DISNEY WORLD 5/1-5/9/21

Some brief incidental fireworks may happen at various times at Magic Kingdom.

Otherwise, there will be no evening shows until further notice.

SHOW SCHEDULES FOR WALT DISNEY WORLD 5/1-5/9/21

See Steve Soares’ site here. Click the park names at its top for show schedules.

 

 

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April 29, 2021   No Comments

Next Week (April 24 through May 2, 2021) at Walt Disney World

DISNEY WORLD NEXT WEEK: APRIL 24 TO MAY 2, 2021

The material below details next week’s Disney World operating hours, parades, and fireworks.

Things are … a little different… as Disney World re-opens.  See this for park previews and key insights.

OPERATING HOURS AT WALT DISNEY WORLD 4/25-5/2/21

The Magic Kingdom will be open from 8a-9p every day

Epcot will be open from 11a-11p 4/24, and 11a-10p 4/25 through 5/2

Disney’s Hollywood Studios will be open from 9a-8p every day

Disney’s Animal Kingdom will be open from 8a-8p 4/24 through 5/1, and 8a-7p 5/2

EXTRA MAGIC HOURS AT WALT DISNEY WORLD 4/25-5/2/21

There will be no Extra Magic Hours anymore.  They will be replaced later in the year by a new program.

PARADES AT WALT DISNEY WORLD 4/25-5/2/21

There will be no parades until further notice.

FIREWORKS AND EVENING SHOWS AT WALT DISNEY WORLD 4/25-5/2/21

Some brief incidental fireworks may happen at various times at Magic Kingdom.

Otherwise, there will be no evening shows until further notice.

SHOW SCHEDULES FOR WALT DISNEY WORLD 4/25-5/2/21

See Steve Soares’ site here. Click the park names at its top for show schedules.

 

 

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April 22, 2021   No Comments

Fridays with Jim Korkis: Trash Cans at Walt Disney World

Welcome back to Fridays with Jim Korkis! Jim, the dean of Disney historians, writes about Walt Disney World history every Friday on yourfirstvisit.net.

TRASH CANS AT WALT DISNEY WORLD

By Jim Korkis

According to legend, when Walt Disney was designing Disneyland, he went to several entertainment venues like Tivoli Gardens and Knott’s Berry Farm, and took extensive notes on the behavior of guests and the placement of items.

In the case of the placement of trash cans, Walt (says legend) observed how long a person might carry a piece of trash before finally discarding it on the ground and made sure that Disneyland’s trash cans were spaced less than that distance. Supposedly, that distance was roughly thirty feet.

Another innovation was making sure the cans all had lids and hinged flaps so that the trash would not overflow or distract with an unpleasant smell or the sight of garbage.

Themed Trash Can at Disney World

(c) Disney

In addition, in order to maintain the consistency of each land of the park, the trash cans were also themed to that particular area. That attention to detail included everything from logos to decorative borders to images. New designs are always being introduced.

While the trash cans in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge reflect the starkness of the environment, the actual trash compactor number on the Death Star in the original movie is worked into the receptacle’s design.

Recently, at Disney’s Animal Kingdom’s Restaurantosaurus, Disney introduced three trash cans next to each other: a regular trash can, a composting trash can, and a recycling can.

A clever example of re-using existing assets to save money for the Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground when it first opened in 1971 was demonstrated by installing trash cans designed to look like tree stumps that had previously been used at the Indian Village area at Disneyland that had just closed.

The designs of the trash cans have become so iconic that Disney has even merchandised salt shakers, a pin set and Christmas ornaments and more with these designs.

While working at WDW in 2005, I got to talk to Wayne Culver, who opened the WDW Custodial Department in when the Magic Kingdom debuted in 1971.

He told me, “The general guideline for parks, streets and pathways is approximately one trash can every 100 feet. This is highly variable and subject to conditions. For example, some areas of the Epcot promenade, the spacing is farther apart; however, as you approach vendor carts, outdoor Food and Beverage areas and more crowded zones, the spacing is denser.

“For quick-service food locations, the standard is roughly one can for every 40 tables. The standard has changed very little since opening in 1971.

“When Walt Disney Imagineering designs our parks, they always consult with Custodial and Operations experts before drawing the cans on the park layout drawings. The drawings are used to initially place the cans and reflect the spacing guidelines I’ve mentioned. However, Custodial and Operation have full latitude to move cans according to operational needs.”

PUSH, the robot-controlled talking trash can, was created by Daniel Deutsch, and entertained guests at Walt Disney World from February 1995-February 2014. He is still active at Disneyland, Disney’s California Adventure Park,Tokyo Disneyland (speaking Japanese and English), Disneyland Paris (French and English) and Hong Kong Disneyland (English, Cantonese and Mandarin).

Over the years, Push has assisted in several marriage proposals, danced with Michael Jackson (who offered to buy him), and even unofficially ran for mayor of Tomorrowland. His recycling cousin known as Pipa (Swahili for “trash can”) first appeared in 1999 at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

*  *  *  *  *

Thanks, Jim! And come back next Friday for more from Jim Korkis!

In the meantime, check out his books, including his new books Vault of Walt Volume 9: Halloween Edition, and Hidden Treasures of the Disney Cruise Line.

 

Follow yourfirstvisit.net on Facebook or Twitter or Pinterest!!

 

April 16, 2021   No Comments

Next Week (April 17 through April 25, 2021) at Walt Disney World

DISNEY WORLD NEXT WEEK: APRIL 17 TO APRIL 25, 2021

The material below details next week’s Disney World operating hours, parades, and fireworks.

Things are … a little different… as Disney World re-opens.  See this for park previews and key insights.

OPERATING HOURS AT WALT DISNEY WORLD 4/17-4/25/21

The Magic Kingdom will be open from 8a-9p every day

Epcot will be open from 11a-11p 4/17 through 4/24, and 11a-10p 4/25

Disney’s Hollywood Studios will be open from 9a-8p every day

Disney’s Animal Kingdom will be open from 8a-8p every day

EXTRA MAGIC HOURS AT WALT DISNEY WORLD 4/17-4/25/21

There will be no Extra Magic Hours anymore.  They will be replaced later in the year by a new program.

PARADES AT WALT DISNEY WORLD 4/17-4/25/21

There will be no parades until further notice.

FIREWORKS AND EVENING SHOWS AT WALT DISNEY WORLD 4/17-4/25/21

Some brief incidental fireworks may happen at various times at Magic Kingdom.

Otherwise, there will be no evening shows until further notice.

SHOW SCHEDULES FOR WALT DISNEY WORLD 4/17-4/25/21

See Steve Soares’ site here. Click the park names at its top for show schedules.

 

 

Follow yourfirstvisit.net on Facebook or Twitter or Pinterest!!

April 15, 2021   No Comments

Fridays with Jim Korkis: Joe Rohde on Changes at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Welcome back to Fridays with Jim Korkis! Jim, the dean of Disney historians, writes about Walt Disney World history every Friday on yourfirstvisit.net.

CHANGES AT DISNEY’S ANIMAL KINGDOM

By Jim Korkis

I attended a cast member only presentation with Imagineer Joe Rohde on April 3, 2006 where he addressed some of the changes at Disney’s Animal Kingdom:

Rohde: “I’m not of the school that believes you build it, you fix it, you pour resin over it, it’s stuck in there forever, nobody touch it, nobody deal with it…that’s dead. You know? That’s like one of those dead scorpions in resin. And I’d rather have the live scorpion, but the live scorpion does things, right? And you have to deal with it alive.

“Some of that stuff is response to operational things. The Big Red thing in Kilimanjaro Safaris was an operational problem. When we opened the park, we had these gorgeous, gorgeous dead animals. There was this eviscerated zebra that lay across the lion exhibit. It was fantastic, and it just looked like it had been torn to shreds…and spread all over the place.

“Its head was over here and its body was here and one leg was over there. It was the drinker, right? So the lions would come down to drink their water out of the thing and it would look like they were eating the dead zebra and it was perfect.

“And there was this dead gazelle in the cheetah exhibit with another drinker that just looked great and they’re made of bronze. They would last a thousand years.

“Then there was Big Red, the dead elephant. Everyone thought they were real dead animals. And so they would get off the thing and go to the operators and go, “You’ve got to do something! There’s a dead animal!” No. You’re trying to unload a vehicle. “Please move on. Go see the gorillas,” you know. “Go buy a Coke. And they’re fine.”

“And thinking they were real pulled guests out of the story structure and into some real world where there’s a real dead animal. The whole poacher scene thing—not the presence of the poachers, which was always there—but the BIG story came from (CEO Michael) Eisner’s desire to ramp that up.

“He took that germ of the story and ramped it up, ramped it up and wanted us to make a big car chase, big thing out of it. Where I’m not necessarily convinced it necessarily needs to occupy that level in the type of ride that that is, and so as it changes and modifies, I think the important thing to continue to have present is the fact that these animals live in a world with us and that our attitudes towards these animals have everything to do with whether they live or die.

“I mean, we put those Discovery boats into Animal Kingdom. I thought they were great. People hated them. Hate, hate, hated these boats. You know…okay, so we took ‘em out, right? A complete failure. A total failure.

“It’s not just bad, it’s gone. They’re gone. The boats are gone, they don’t run any more. The docks sit there. The water’s empty. The boats don’t run. But what we do is continually torture ourselves to go, “Okay, okay…there has to be a way to make this work. There has to be a way to make this work, or to replace it with something that does work.’’ And that is why there is continual change, right?

“Sometimes we think it’s great and the public thinks it sucks. And sometimes you it really is bad and everyone knows it’s bad, and it still got built somehow. You know, I mean all of those things happen. And part of the reason they happen is because it is a necessary cultural by-product of a creative enterprise that it is open to change, open to suggestion, open to variation, open to radical challenges to the status quo.”

*  *  *  *  *

Thanks, Jim! And come back next Friday for more from Jim Korkis!

In the meantime, check out his books, including his new books Vault of Walt Volume 9: Halloween Edition, and Hidden Treasures of the Disney Cruise Line.

 

Follow yourfirstvisit.net on Facebook or Twitter or Pinterest!!

 

April 9, 2021   No Comments