Beyond Bad Lip Reading: the Auralnauts' astounding Star Wars remixes

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The Auralnauts' wildly successful Star Wars remixes have gone from strength to strength, combining bad lip reading, South Park-ish raunchy humor, and massive dance-parties accompanied by some seriously rockin' tunes. Read the rest

"Bring Back Weird Epcot" and other unofficial retro Disney World tees

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Foxxfur, proprietress of the outstanding Passport to Dreams Old and New Disney themepark design critique blog (previously) has opened a t-shirt store featuring designs celebrating the lost, lamented design-flourishes that lurked in the corners of early Walt Disney World: the crowning glory of the store is this Bring Back Weird Epcot tee that really tells it like it is. Read the rest

Disney’s "Doc McStuffins" renewed after Twitter campaign: female African-American is its rare protagonist

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Disney just announced that Doc McStuffins, an animated show starring an African-American girl who fixes broken toys and wants to be a doctor, is renewed for its fifth season. Described as “Cheers for preschoolers,” its fans took to Twitter this summer wanting to know the show’s fate. The social media campaign was led by W. Kamau Bell, a self-described socio-political comedian and dad who hosts CNN’s United Shades of America. Bell tweeted today, "Doc McStuffins is one of the most important shows in the history of television.” Reports Variety:

Since the series debuted in 2012, it has won much admiration, particularly because it is difficult to find a female African-American protagonist who aspires to be a doctor in many mainstream cartoons.  A group of African-American female physicians, inspired by the program, formed the Artemis Medical Society, an organization which has a membership of over 4700 women physicians of color from around the world. First Lady Michelle Obama guest-starred as herself in an episode.

“Doc McStuffins” won a Peabody Award in 2015 and NAACP Image Awards in 2015 and 2016 in the  “Outstanding Children’s Program” category. Disney says the series averages 16 million views on the Disney Junior app, VOD and Hulu, and reaches 150 million viewers worldwide each quarter, and in the past year was ordered over 20 million times via set-top-box VOD.
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Donald Duck is a quite effective and surreal math teacher

"Donald in Mathmagic Land" was released in 1959. As Walt Disney said, "The cartoon is a good medium to stimulate interest."

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Donald Duck in Mathmagic Land

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In 1959 Disney released a 30-minute educational featurette called "Donald in Mathmagic Land." Everything about it is superb - the design, the animation, the music, the narration, and the presentation of the material. I remember watching this in school and realizing how interesting math could be.

From Wikipedia:

Donald in Mathmagic Land is a 27-minute Donald Duck educational featurette released on June 26, 1959.It was directed by Hamilton Luske. Contributors included Disney artists John Hench and Art Riley, voice talent Paul Frees, and scientific expert Heinz Haber, who had worked on the Disney space shows. It was released on a bill with Darby O'Gill and the Little People. In 1959, it was nominated for an Academy Award (Best Documentary - Short Subjects). In 1961, two years after its release, it was shown as part of the first program of Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color with an introduction by Ludwig Von Drake. The film was made available to schools and became one of the most popular educational films ever made by Disney. As Walt Disney explained, "The cartoon is a good medium to stimulate interest. We have recently explained mathematics in a film and in that way excited public interest in this very important subject."

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VoicePlay a capellas The Grim Grinning Ghosts

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If you wait another six weeks until Jack Skellington gets kicked out of The Haunted Mansion at Disneyland you’ll be able to see the original Mansion in all its lunatic glory. To tantalize you until then, watch this amazing video by VoicePlay, an a capella singing group based in Orlando, Florida (where Jack Skellington never intrudes on The Haunted Mansion at Walt Disney World). Just voices, no musical instruments, and it’s hard to believe when you watch this video. Read the rest

FAA okays use of semi-autonomous drones for Disneyland and Disney World fireworks displays

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John Frost writes, "I know Boing Boing has covered Disney's patent to use flying drones in the parks. Here's the latest update, the FAA recently approved the use of drones in the parks at night. It's only a four-year permit and Disney isn't waiting around. The Mouse House just posted a teaser video for a new holiday show at Disney Springs, the dining and entertainment complex at Walt Disney World, that will begin later this month." Read the rest

That time Walt Disney's oppo researchers claimed his business rival was laundering money for Jimmy Hoffa

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Len Testa writes, "Back in the early 1960's, Walt was interested in buying and developing the Mineral King ski area in California, which was being put up for sale by the U.S. government. Another potential bidder on the project was industrialist Robert Brandt, husband of Hollywood actress Janet Leigh." Read the rest

Enjoy an acapella remix of Disney’s best songs

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Courtesy of Resound. Read the rest

Crowdfunding a documentary about Haunted Mansion fandom

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Documentary maker James H. Carter II is seeking about $4,000 to complete work on "Foolish Mortals," a documentary about Haunted Mansion fandom that includes a detailed 3D model of the Disneyland Mansion for you to VR in (or whatever!). Read the rest

Watch two hands become Kaa from The Jungle Book

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Musician and comedian Mike Phirman performs “Trust In Me” from The Jungle Book using only his hands to create Kaa. Here’s the original for comparison:

[via Laughing Squid] Read the rest

Disney thought it would be a great idea to sell a brown, tattooed, full-body Polynesian skin suit

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For just $44.95, you too could have worn the beautiful brown tattooed skin of a Polynesian demigod. Too late! Disney's snapped out of it, nudged by a complaint or two.

Disney said it regretted any offence. "The team behind Moana has taken great care to respect the cultures of the Pacific Islands that inspired the film, and we regret that the Maui costume has offended some," it said in a statement.

tl;dr: We were sure they'd love it!

A sad reminder that Disney's marketing machine is the bad place its good ideas go to die.

The film, due for release in November, tells the story of Moana, a young girl who teams up with the demi-god Maui to make an ocean voyage and save her people.

The character of Moana has been widely welcomed because she is feisty, independent and with a more realistic body shape than most Disney female leads.

She also has no love interest in the story, which was written by New Zealand Maori film-maker Taika Waititi.

What's fascinating about all this is how much effort is put into making something better, only for it to be unraveled by clueless assumptions and mistakes.

The stereotypically obese depiction of Maui had already raised hackles, but it seemed most of those concerned by it were willing to wait and see.

Selling ethnic skinsuits to children, though, suggests an astronomical stupidity quotient among those selling this flick. Where will it manifest next? My bet: in the form of a contemptuous, sighing remark from someone at Disney who obviously just doesn't give a damn about the movie as anything other than a Franchise Inception Unit. Read the rest

To do in San Francisco: Oct 15 panel on the creation of the Haunted Mansion

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The storied Walt Disney Family Museum hosts Imagineer Kim Irvine, former Disney lead Twitter writer Ed Squair, and Winchester Mystery House manager Walter Magnuson in a panel on Oct 15, discussing the origins of the Disneyland Haunted Mansion, a subject near and dear to my heart. Read the rest

9/11 called for big changes in Disney's Lilo & Stitch

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2002's feel good Lilo & Stitch, a movie about humans getting along with aliens was originally intended to end with a madcap 747 hijacking and chase scene through a hi-rise filled city. This video shows both versions.

Via HuffPo:

The animated hit features Hawaii’s beautiful scenery and explores themes of loss and unity ― which particularly resonated after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.

But Disney made one major change to the film between the 9/11 attacks and the film’s release date.

“Lilo & Stitch” originally was supposed to end with an action-packed scene featuring Stitch and Jumba hijacking a commercial airplane to rescue Lilo from evil Gantu ― something that’s visible in a side-by-side video produced by Vox. The protagonists take over a passenger-filled Boeing 747 and go on a high-speed chase through a dense city, brushing the sides of skyscrapers and coming close to pedestrians on the ground.

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The Cat from Outer Space

Movie trailer for The Cat from Outer Space (1978), directed by Norman Tokar and starring Ken Berry, Sandy Duncan, Harry Morgan, and Roddy McDowall. I predict a remake in 3... 2... 1....

If you're, er, curious, you can watch it on Amazon Video: The Cat from Outer Space

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Original tombstones return to Disneyland's Haunted Mansion

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John Frost writes, "With the return of this year's Haunted Mansion Holiday, Disneyland has also returned recreations of the original tombstones the rides original Imagineers left as tributes to themselves. I'm very happy because one of the 13 'family plots' includes the long-missing tribute to my grandfather - Vic Greene." Read the rest

Haunted Mansion tiki mugs!

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They're on sale at Trader Sam's at the Disneyland Hotel for $30, limit 2 per customer. (Excited about this, but Trader Sam's needed another reason for crazy, badly managed queues like it needed a hole in its draught beer pressure system). (Thanks, Cecil!) Read the rest

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