animation Disney Music

Firehouse Five and the Cinderella Surprise –

Cabel Sasser won an auction of Dixieland jazz 78rpm records and found a long lost song cut from Cinderella:

My goal was to preserve some never-before-heard recordings of an incredible Dixieland jazz band made up of mostly Disney employees, the Firehouse Five Plus Two. But along the way, I accidentally discovered an incredible lost song that was cut from Walt Disney’s Cinderella. And you’re about to hear it too. Let’s go…

Read on

copyright Disney

Mickey Mouse Enters the Public Domain

When I was a kid I had a Mickey Mouse sweat shirt that I loved.

As the clock strikes midnight tonight, the iconic figure from that old sweatshirt is set to embark on a new chapter — Mickey Mouse will officially enter the public domain. For nearly a century Disney has carefully guarded its iconic mascot, but as this protection expires, it makes me wonder if Disney lobbyists have dropped the ball in permitting this new era of creative freedom? Don’t get me wrong, it never should have been extended in the first place but I’m surprised because up ’til now every time Mickey was about to enter the public domain new laws were passed that fiercely guarded the intellectual property (and as a side effect kept a lot of other works out of our collective culture).

There’s a deep dive from Center for the Study of Public Domain explaining how we got here.

It is not simply that Mickey is a famous copyrighted character. So are Sherlock Holmes and Winnie the Pooh, and while they entered the public domain with some fanfare, it paled in comparison to this event. I’d like to offer a tentative answer. The reason that this event gathers so much attention is that it is the story of a 95-year-old love triangle, a tangled drama that rivals any Disney movie for twists and turns. The protagonists are Mickey, Disney and the Public Domain, and their relationship positively exemplifies the social media weasel-words “it’s complicated.”

When we visited Disneyland in November, I picked up a new Mickey Mouse shirt that sports the 2013 iteration of the mouse. I also happened upon an earlier version at a thrift store and took a photo to compare.

Left: 1980s Mickey Mouse
Right: 2013 Mickey Mouse

I’m probably just getting old but my favourite will always be the 1980’s Mickey — but neither of these versions will be the one in the public domain on January 1st.

Mickey isn’t the only work to enter the public domain tonight, ABC News has more on this story including a short interview with Larry Lessig1:

Update: AI models are now being trained on public domain Mickey.

  1. Previously, Larry Lessig on Laws that Choke Creativity[]

Delos Alcatraz

Cabel Sasser went down a Disneyland rabbit hole to discover the code name for Disney’s Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge area and its crowning attraction Rise of the Resistance.

This is a very short post about a very short journey. It starts with a new (to me, as of today) theme park fact:
The code name for Disney’s Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge area was “Delos”, and the code name for its Rise of the Resistance attraction was “Alcatraz”.

The interesting part (if you’re into Disneyland minutiae) is the steps he took to discover this bit of trivia.


Bob Replaces Bob (Again but in Reverse)

Bob Iger is back as CEO of Disney. Bob Chapek, who had only became CEO in February of 2020 gets his golden parachute to the tune of at least $20 million dollars.

From Alex Weprin at the Hollywood Reporter:

In a stunning turn of events, The Walt Disney Co. says that Bob Chapek will step down as CEO, with Bob Iger returning to lead the company. Disney’s board of directors announced the decision Sunday night.

Surprising that they did this late on a Sunday night but also probably a good move. It’s been no secret on Disney forums that there have been major problems with Chapek running the show. Having said that, I always thought Iger got out at the right time. In the stormy weather of today’s economic and political climate, I’m surprised he’s back but it sounds like he is too:

Iger even acknowledged in an email to Disney employees Sunday that he is returning “with an incredible sense of gratitude and humility — and, I must admit, a bit of amazement.”

Disney life travel

Our 2022 Disneyland Trip

On Tuesday, April 19th we left today and entered the world of yesterday, tomorrow, and fantasy. It’s the happiest place on Earth — Disneyland!

And we WERE happy, because getting there was no easy task. Before we left I knew that our two hour drive (by distance) was never going to take a mere couple of hours. Traffic backing up is normal going from Palm Springs to LA, but this day was a holiday — I figured it would be a particularly good day to travel, avoiding the typical commuter traffic. Not to mention, we were setting out at noon, a time one could assume to be easiest to make the journey. Well, unfortunately, it turns out we were embarking at the worst possible time. Tens of thousands of Coachella concert goers were returning to the city on the Monday after Easter. The freeway was like a parking lot. Our exasperated three year old daughter put it best as she exclaimed, “We’re moving like turtles!” Slowly and steadily (and 5 hours later) we arrived at our destination in Anaheim.

animation Disney

Disney Art Featured at the Met

The Metropolitan Museum of Art hopes to entice visitors with 150 Disney artifacts.

Watch a preview of the exhibition “Inspiring Walt Disney: The Animation of French Decorative Arts,” on view at The Met Fifth Avenue from December 10, 2021 through March 6, 2022.

Pink castles, talking sofas, and a prince transformed into a teapot: what sounds like fantasies from Walt Disney Animation Studios’ pioneering animations were in fact the figments of the colorful salons of Rococo Paris. The Met’s first-ever exhibition exploring the work of Walt Disney and the Walt Disney Animation Studios’ hand-drawn animation will examine Disney’s personal fascination with European art and the use of French motifs in his films and theme parks, drawing new parallels between the studios’ magical creations and their artistic models.


Defunctland’s Deep Dive on Disney Queues

Just in time for our family trip to California this December, Defunctland does a deep dive on the complicated history of Disney’s FastPass. I still haven’t decided if we are going to hit the original Magic Kingdom while we are down there. The prices, the crowds, the lines, and most of all the fact that our kids are still probably too little for most of the attractions makes me doubt the prospects — it’s killing me.


Disney documentary

Remain Seated Please

Remain Seated Please is a short documentary about a couple of Disney super-fans who illicitly explore every nook and cranny of the Walt Disney World ride Horizons. It’s more suspenseful and touching than I anticipated.

(via Waxy)

Disney Music

Sounds of Disneyland

From Main Street USA to Galaxy’s Edge The Sounds of Disneyland has all the music from the Walt’s California based theme parks (Disneyland and California Adventure).

A lot of the music only works as a short diversion in nostalgia but I particularly like playing the song Rancho Del Zocalo (from Frontierland) as background music when I’ve cooked a Hello Fresh recipe for the family. There’s something about the mandolin and guitar duet that simulates the restaurant experience.

Art Disney education

Imagineering in a Box

Working with the Kahn Academy, Disney Imagineering released a free course on theme park design called Imagineering in a Box.

Imagineering in a Box is designed to pull back the curtain to show students how artists, designers and engineers work together to create theme parks. We take a behind-the-scenes look that learners love and make it an active experience through student-driven projects. We do this by weaving together videos and exercises into lessons that culminate in a long form project. The goal is to make students aware of careers they never knew existed and deepen their understanding of the process, concepts and terminology of the creative workplace.

The course is comprised of 32 videos designed to encourage viewers to think about a wide range of skills including story development and conceptual design, math, physics and engineering. Completing the first three lessons, I agree with the write-up… this course, “ignite[s] curiosity, inspire[s] creativity, and cultivate innovation in the minds of students and teachers alike”, all the while creating a fun and engaging opportunity to explore new concepts. They say it’s aimed at middle school or high school so I’m not sure I would present it to my grade five class, but I sure am tempted. I live for this kind of thing.

(via Waxy)