Creating Gingerbread Houses at Walt Disney World

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Matt Avery, pastry chef for Boardwalk Inn, helped make some of this year’s amazing life size Christmas Gingerbread Houses you can find in many of Walt Disney World’s great resorts. He also helped create some of the delicious treats you can buy at the nearby kiosks. Touring the resorts to see, smell and taste the baked creations has become a favorite tradition of many a family.

Here are a sampling of the treats that are available at the Contemporary Resort where the Frozen Gingerbread Castle is installed.

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Disney found that a lot of guests were wanting to build their own gingerbread houses. So now they sell a kit that you can bring home and recreate a little of the magic you find at the resorts.

The aptly named Michelle Snow was able to interview Chef Matt as he demonstrated some techniques you can use at home to make your own winter wonderland. They also talk about some of Disney’s great gingerbread houses and Chef Matt’s favorite treats.

Is building a Gingerbread House one of your family’s holiday traditions?

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Posted in Food and Drink, Holiday, Walt Disney World | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. recap: S2E8 The Things We Bury

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This week’s episode is by far the busiest and the darkest episode to date. There were five storylines to follow, which may have been too much, with each one crossing paths with the others throughout.

Coulson, Skye, Tripp and Fitz begin their search for the mysterious city which takes them from Hawaii to Australia.

May, Simmons, Hunter and Bobbi are back at the Playground trying to figure out who Daniel Whitehall really is. Hunter and Bobbi work on breaking down Bakshi in the interrogation room while May and Simmons look through old SSR files (which allowed for some more great flashbacks with Peggy Carter).

The bad guys are also trying to find the city as Skye’s dad returns to help Dr. Whitehall. Dad ends up in Australia as well and he and Coulson have an incredibly tense conversation while Tripp’s life is on the line.

Meanwhile, Ward has found his brother and taken him back to the infamous well where their other brother almost died. After seeing him this week I am convinced that Ward’s mind is a bag of cats. Especially after what he does to convince Dr. Whitehall to let him work for Hydra.

I don’t think that he’s become loyal to Hydra. I think he’s still trying, in his own twisted way, to make good with Skye.

We also learned who Skye’s mom is and more of what the purpose of the Diviner is.

In two weeks, we’ll get to see the mysterious city and hopefully see what, if any, connection it has with the Inhumans.

What did you think of the episode?

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Disney Animation and Pixar Get New Presidents

Andrew Millstein (left), Jim Morris (right)

Andrew Millstein (left), Jim Morris (right)

In a move meant to solidify the recent success of both studios, Ed Catmull, President, Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios, announced today that Walt Disney Animation Studios’ Andrew Millstein and Pixar Animation Studios’ Jim Morris have been promoted to President of their respective units.

“We’re fortunate and proud to have an abundance of strong creative leadership at Disney, and Andrew and Jim are two incredible talents that embody the perfect blend of business and artistic focus,” said Catmull. “Not only have they done so much to ensure each of their studios is operating at peak condition, they continually push their teams to new heights of creativity, storytelling and innovation.”

Industry insiders have generally good things to say about both Millstein and Morris and their leadership ability.

As Executive Vice President and General Manager for Walt Disney Animation Studios, Millstein has guided the division through a creative resurgence. Under Millstein’s watch, the studio released the Academy Award-winning Frozen, the highest-grossing animated film of all time, as well as Tangled, Wreck-It Ralph and, most recently, Big Hero 6. Millstein joined Disney in 1997 as a production executive in the Motion Pictures Group and prior to his current role worked as General Manager of Dreamquest Images and The Secret Lab, Walt Disney Animation Studios’ digital division.

“Andrew’s leadership has been a major factor in the renaissance of Walt Disney Animation and we’re excited to see what wonderful films and technological advancements continue to emerge from that group under his leadership,” said Catmull.

Morris was previously General Manager and Executive Vice President of Production for Pixar Animation Studios, overseeing production of features, shorts, DVD content and theme park activities in addition to Pixar’s Studio Tools, Systems, Development and Human Resources. Pixar has had an unprecedented run of success with 14 straight #1 openings at the domestic box office, and in addition to managing the day-to-day operations and production at the studio, Morris also produced the Academy Award-winning feature WALL•E. Prior to joining the Pixar family, Morris was President of Lucas Digital LTD., where he managed both Skywalker Sound and Industrial Light and Magic, which created the visual effects for notable films such as Jurassic Park and Forrest Gump.

“I’m continually impressed by Jim’s business and creative acumen,” said Catmull. “He truly understands film production inside and out, and his management of Pixar allows its culture to continually grow, explore new areas and technology, and advance new ways of storytelling.”

Both Millstein and Morris will continue to report directly to Ed Catmull.

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Posted in Animation, Animation Business, pixar | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Marvel and Disney 5 years on

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In 2009, a lot of people were upset about Disney purchasing Marvel. They were afraid that their favorite characters were going to become watered down versions of themselves. Five years later, all of those naysayers are the same ones that helped make a movie about a talking raccoon and his best friend the walking tree the highest grossing film of the year.

So, with Big Hero 6 out in theaters (and doing well) and the Avengers Half-Marathon last weekend, I thought it would be interesting to look back and see what Disney has done with Marvel, specifically outside of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), in the past five years.

One of the first things they did was create a new Avengers cartoon for The Disney Channel. Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes lasted two seasons before being scrapped for a different Avengers cartoon: Avengers Assemble! Disney wanted to create its own animated version of the MCU with all of the Marvel cartoons interconnected like their movie counterparts. Unfortunately for EMH, it had already built its own animated Marvel universe (which was awesome) so they had to cancel it in order to start over.

Now they have Ultimate Spider-Man, Avengers Assemble! and Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. with a Guardians of the Galaxy cartoon on the way. To me, this is the closest that Disney has come to making those fans’ fears a reality. With the exception of EMH, these shows are all pretty dull and sacrifice compelling storytelling for a “lesson of the week.”

A notable exception to this is the Phineas and Ferb crossover episode that they did with The Avengers which was hilarious. This is also the second time that Disney has done a crossover with Marvel.

Prep & Landing: Mansion Impossible was the first Disney/Marvel crossover. A back up story in three of Marvel’s main titles, this story featured Wayne and Lanny, the main characters from the vastly underrated Prep & Landing Christmas specials, as they attempt the get the Avengers Mansion ready for a visit from “the Big Guy.” It wasn’t heavy on action or complex plot, but the you can imagine the fun of watching the two elves wander through the mansion. Continue reading

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Posted in marvel | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Disney Springs gets more opening dates and new sign

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When Disney Springs opens next year, a new sign will light up the night on top of what will soon be Morimoto Asia. The “Springs Bottling Co.” marquee was recently installed. Meant to inspire memories of Florida’s waterfront towns from the turn-of-the-century (last century, not this one) the sign will no doubt become part of the iconography of Disney Springs.

Disney has provided us with a time-lapse video of its installation. These are always fun:

While no new restaurants or retailers have been officially announced, we have learned that the Food Trucks park, now known as Food Trucks at Exposition Park, will open on the West Side later this month. These Disney owned-and-operated food trucks can already be spotted around Downtown Disney, but you’ll soon be able to find at least a few of them regularly stationed in between Starbucks and Bongo’s.

Finally, tomorrow is the first day guests will be able to park in the first of two parking garages to be built for Disney Springs. The West Garage is opening in phases, so not all spots will be available immediately. But it should relieve some of the difficulty in finding parking during the holiday season.

(photo courtesy Disney Parks Blog)

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Posted in Walt Disney World | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment