Lost Disney History – Computers Are People Too

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Way back in 1982, just before TRON was about to come out, there was a concerted effort inside Disney to expand the use of computers in film and animation. Along the way Disney publicist Mike Bonifer helped produce a documentary called “Computers are people too” (an homage to the show “Kids are People Too” which was big on TV at the time). That documentary has been shared on YouTube for everyone to watch.

It’s an odd duck that film. Head on over to Vice for an interview with Bonifer and more background on the film.

Eventually, the pro-computer animation people at Disney would lose this fight and Ed Catmull and John Lasseter would found a little company that became Pixar. The rest, as they say, is history.

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Star Wars Thanks Fans for Generosity

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In the latest video from the set of Star Wars, J.J. Abrams and the crew from Star Wars Episode VII thanks fans for their support of the “Force for Change” initiative to support UNICEF. Earlier videos from Abrams included a look at part of a desert city and a glimpse of the film’s new X-Wing fighter.

Great to see Chewbacca and R2D2 and a few glimpses of set pieces, but there were not really any big reveals this time, except for that final dollar amount of $4.26 million. That was great. Other fun stuff to watch out for is the clapperboard with Episode VII on it — looks like they didn’t use the name “The Force Awakens” on set. Also, what are they shooting paintballs for? The mind boggles.

Previously: First trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens and trading cards reveal new character names.

(Hat Tip /Film for the video)

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Crater named for Beatle John Lennon has a familiar shape

johnlennon-crater-mercury

This may be the most out-there Hidden Mickey in the galaxy and it belongs to the John Lennon from the Beatles. A year ago today, NASA named a crater on the planet Mercury after the famous musician. The crater was originally photographed in a fly-by from the Messenger spacecraft in 2008.

While I’m sure John Lennon’s crater wasn’t selected for it’s familiar shape, I do find it fun that there is an obvious Hidden Mickey there.

Walt Disney does have a crater on Mercury named after him, although sadly, it does not have the shape of Mickey Mouse.

All totaled, 124 craters have been named on Mercury. NASA says assigning names to the craters makes it easier for scientists to reference them in their notes and observations.

Image Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab/Carnegie Institution

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STK, high concept steakhouse, coming to Disney Springs

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We can add one more restaurant to the list of new dining experiences officially announced for Disney Springs. STK will open in The Landing area of the shopping, dining, and entertainment complex soon to be formerly known as Downtown Disney.

stk-orlando1The Landing is expected to open in 2015, but no official date was given for STK’s opening. Other restaurants announced for The Landing include Morimoto Asia and The Boathouse, plus plans have leaked that confirm the return of BabyCakes NYC and its tasty gluten free baking to the area.

STK is a concept from “The ONE Group.” The restaurant concept blends the modern steakhouse and chic lounge into one. Guests will experience fine dining with the quality of a traditional steakhouse in a vibe-driven atmosphere that features a DJ and sleek design that encourages guests to interact and mingle. At approximately 14,000 square feet, the Orlando outpost will be one of the largest STK locations. STK Orlando will have two dining floors—including a main level and the only rooftop dining venue in Disney Springs.

stk-orlando2“STK Orlando is a welcome new addition to Disney Springs,” said George A. Kalogridis, president, Walt Disney World Resort. “With its innovative, high-energy atmosphere, STK is the perfect complement to our growing array of dining, entertainment and shopping offerings.”

“We are thrilled to join the Disney Springs family with the launch of STK Orlando,” said Jonathan Segal, CEO of The ONE Group. “The combination of an innovative menu and high-energy atmosphere has driven the success of STK, and we believe it will be an ideal addition to Disney Springs, and will help further cement its status as a place for friends and family to gather for fine dining and entertainment.”

Segal added, “Our entrance into the Orlando market represents another example of our continued growth strategy. We remain on track with our expansion plans for 2015 and hope to continue to partner with exciting world-class brands like Walt Disney Parks and Resorts moving forward.”

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With additions like Morimoto Asia and STK it’s clear Disney Springs is going after restaurants that offer a nightlife experience to its guests. STK will be taking the former space of Comedy Warehouse (although in a new building).

What do you think of the restaurants revealed so far?

(Photo credit: “STK Las Vegas” by Ken Lund – Flickr cc-by-sa license  )

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The Disney Cruise Line Very Merrytime Cruises adds new offerings

Magical Winter Holidays with Disney Cruise Line

It might be a little too late to plan a Disney Cruise for this holiday season, but it’s not too late to start planning for next year’s. Just like in the parks, the Disney Cruise Line ships all have that extra little bit of sparkle and magic during the holiday season.

Here’s Cruise Director Clayton with a preview of what you can expect:

During these voyages through the new year, special stem-to-stern holiday events include:

  • NEW “Mickey’s Tree-Lighting Magic” in the atrium lobby on the first night of the cruise, where Disney characters lead holiday carols and the lighting of the glittering, three-deck-tall tree.
  • NEW “Santa’s Winter Wonderland Ball” in the atrium lobby, where Disney cruisers welcome the guests of honor, Santa and Mrs. Claus, with a grand celebration featuring Broadway-style entertainment, favorite Disney characters and classic holiday tunes. This evening of enchantment is made complete when a special pair of royal sisters joins the party and cause a flurry of “frozen” fun as a magical snowfall overtakes the atrium.
  • NEW “Storytime with Mrs. Claus” beneath the giant holiday tree, where children join Mrs. Claus for a cozy and intimate storytelling as she reads classic holiday tales. Returning this year, holiday storytellers will also share tales of Hanukkah and Kwanza.
  • NEW Dickens-inspired carolers carrying the spirit of the holidays throughout the ship while singing holiday classics, sometimes with the help of favorite Disney friends. At the end of the cruise, children will have the opportunity to join the carolers onstage for a special farewell show.

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