MAGIC IN THE DETAILS: SCORING FOR BOTH TEAMS by guest author Adam M. Berger

Published February 3, 2015 by jpmdo

The longstanding rivalry between Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando, its crosstown competitor a few miles up the road, has become the stuff of legend, with the decades-long battle for tourism supremacy most recently documented by author Sam Gennawey in his enlightening, entertaining, and highly detailed book Universal vs. Disney: The Unofficial Guide to American Theme Parks’ Greatest Rivalry. But through it all, one towering creative figure has managed to play—and score (pun intended)—for both teams. I’m talking, of course, about the prolific film composer and conductor John Williams.

John Williams

Photo by TashTish at en.wikipedia

Mr. Williams’ cinematic career dates back to the late 1950s, with his sometimes uncredited musical contributions to the silver screen including such classic (and occasionally not-so-classic) movies as Some Like It Hot and Gidget. Of course, he is better known for composing and often conducting the scores heard in such blockbuster films as Jaws, all the Star Wars and Indiana Jones movies, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Jurassic Park, and the Harry Potter movies.

Star Wars

 Copyright – Lucasfilm Ltd.

Those are a just a few highlights from the composer’s long and illustrious filmography. (If you’d like to see more, you can find an exhaustive list of John Williams’ credits on the IMDb website.) But perhaps you’ve noticed that all of the movies listed above have also inspired either current or retired theme park attractions at either Walt Disney World or Universal Orlando. Which gives Mr. Williams the rare distinction of being an artist whose works transcend the Disney-Universal rivalry to entertain and engage visitors at both resorts.

At Walt Disney World, Williams’ music adds to the magic of Disney’s Hollywood Studios, where it forms the stirring soundtracks of three popular attractions: Star Tours – The Adventures Continue, Jedi Training Academy, and Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular.

Indiana Jones Spectacular Show

 Photo by Adam Berger

Travel a few miles northeast on Interstate 4 to Universal Orlando Resort, and you’ll be treated to the sound of John Williams’ distinctive movie scores in both of the resort’s theme parks. At Universal Studios Florida, Williams’ music accompanies your ride on E.T. Adventure, and his themes are heard almost continuously as you explore The Wizarding World of Harry Potter: Diagon Alley. But for nearly two decades before Diagon Alley arrived in the park, another familiar John Williams score was heard on that specific patch of real estate, accompanying—and amplifying—the thrills of the now defunct JAWS attraction.

Harry Potter Universal

Copyright – Universal Orlando Resort

Nearby, Williams’ music again sets the mood and underscores the action throughout the Jurassic Park section of Universal’s Islands of Adventure, while the Harry Potter title theme and other music from the series wafts through The Wizarding World of Harry Potter: Hogsmeade.

Jurassic Park

Copyright – Universal Orlando Resort

And while certain other artists share dual residency at both Disney and Universal (most prominently director Steven Spielberg, represented by E.T. Adventure and Jurassic Park at the latter and Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular at the former), John Williams easily takes the prize for having the most extensive presence at both resorts. Which just goes to show you that exceptional talent can, on rare occasions, transcend even the most intense and entrenched competition.

So how aware are you of the music when you’re in the Disney and Universal theme parks? Do you have any favorites? Feel free to chime in using the comments section below.

Every guest a hero

 

Adam M. Berger is a professional attraction show writer and design consultant, and the author of the book Every Guest is a Hero: Disney’s Theme Parks and the Magic of Mythic Storytelling—available in print and e-reader editions from Amazon.com and other fine online booksellers.

ab

Our Dinner With Dreamfinder

Published January 13, 2015 by Disneyways.com

Most Disney fans are familiar with the the way that Epcot opened ceremoniously on October 1, 1982. In the early days, there wasn’t a Disney character in sight! Can you imagine? But then, from 1982 – 1987, the one and only Ron Schneider, Epcot’s original Dreamfinder, helped to change all of that. To this day, Dreamfinder is one of the world’s most iconic theme park characters. He is loved by Disney fans all over the world, and how could he not be?

dreamfinder-figment

With his top hat, beard and loveable sidekick Figment, Dreamfinder had a mission to encourage children of all ages to use their imagination. He brought wonder and excitement to Disney guests of all ages. As a child of the 1980’s I was one of those (probably millions!) of kids whose favorite part of the original Journey Into Imagination attraction – was seeing and hearing Dreamfinder. To meet him outside of the attraction – was not an encounter that one could ever forget.

Fast forward to January 2015, when my friend Shelby suggested that we have an event with Ron Schneider. We thought it would be really fun to celebrate Ron, and the gift of joy he has given to so many. I contacted the original Dreamfider, and although he is VERY busy, he was incredibly gracious and agreeable to taking time out of his day to meet with us. January 8th 2015  – a handful of us sat down for an excellent meal at the Garden Grill – and had an absolute blast being in the presence of this man.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Ron was so cool, he even let me put on his hat! OK…well maybe I just put it on when he wasn’t looking. Still…he could have very well told me not to…but he didn’t.   :)

Ron's Hat

As we finished up our meal, we had drawings for some fun gifts, sponsored by Travel Planner Mary Morales. Thanks Mary!

By this time, I had grown quite attached to the hat, and decided it made me feel in charge as I handed out raffle tickets!

I knew this would be a great time, and I knew it would be special because of Ron, and just being at Epcot with so many good friends – new and old. But during dinner, one of my (other) very favorite parts of the night began to happen. I met and spoke with Leo for the first time ever. My new friend Leo, over at the end of the table, with tears in his eyes, began telling me how much this event meant to him. Leo has loved the Dreamfinder character almost all of his life. He showed me his photo with Ron from long ago. LOOK at little Leo!! I can’t even take the cuteness in this photo.

leo

My heart was so full as I was able to take Leo’s photo with Ron, and recapture the magic of that day so long ago!

leo2

leo2

After dinner, we all followed Ron to his attraction in the Imagination pavilion. Leo and Ron sat together in the front seat!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Of course a few shenanigans may have ensued along the way. As we exited the ride and visited with Ron, there seemed to be a some sort of signal spreading like wildfire among the cast members that there was a celebrity in the building! Everyone from sales associates, to leads, and everyone in between, started approaching him for photos. There may even have been an Imagineer or two!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Our group spent some more time together at Epcot until finally, we all had to say goodbye. I don’t think any of us will soon forget this magical night! Our thanks to Ron, our server Barry, and all the people who had a part in making it so very special! It was truly something that Disney dreams are made of.

Join Us For and Afternoon with Robbie Sherman!

Published December 28, 2014 by Disneyways.com

RobbieShermanEventPNG

Pencil in Sunday, March 15, 2015 from 12:00-3:00pm for this wonderful event and join us for an afternoon with Robbie Sherman! Brunch is included and a cash bar is available. This event will take place at Howl at the Moon, 8815 International Dr., Orlando, Florida 32819. Robbie Sherman will take you on a musical journey through four generations of the Sherman Family. He is a talented songwriter and has written songs and/or scripts for film, TV commercials and the stage. Robbie is the son of the late great Robert Sherman, from the famous Academy Award winning Disney songwriting team, the Sherman Brothers. He will also discuss the book he edited for his father, “Moose,” Chapters of My Life and a new book written by his late grandfather, Tin Pan Alley songwriter, Al Sherman. “Moose,” Chapters of My Life will be available for purchase and signed by Robbie Sherman during the event on March 15th.Contact Adria Smith for more information at Bsmith9953@aol.com or call 407-256-3936. Tickets are just $50 for this amazing, intimate event and only a few remain. You don’t have to be a Disneyana Fan Club member to attend. To get your ticket, you will want to make out a check – payable to World Chapter Disneyana Fan Club. 

The last day for ticket sales is February 15, 2015 – so don’t wait!! If you want to save the stamp – message me on facebook for details on how to pay via paypal.

Click on the graphic below to be taken to our interview with Robbie on the Disney Parks Podcast.

RobertShermanFacebook

“Inside Out” Themed Holiday Activities!

Published December 23, 2014 by jpmdo

Looking forward to the release of the new Walt Disney Pictures Studio movie “Inside Out” next summer? We are too!!!  In the meantime, enjoy these fun holiday activities! You can download them by clicking HERE.

The password is joy

Holiday Craft Ornaments

(This is just a preview – click the link above to go to the real thing!)

insideout1

Spot the Difference!

(This is just a preview. Click on the link above to go to the real thing!)

insideout2

 

 

 

 

 

 

Breaking News! Very Limited Tickets Now On Sale! Paige O’Hara Voice of Belle and Disney Legend Bob Gurr in Orlando

Published December 20, 2014 by Disneyways.com

Disney Legends Paige O’Hara and Bob Gurr are coming to Orlando for two very exclusive events on March 7th and 8th 2015! Tickets are very limited, and you will not want to miss this once in a lifetime Disney fan’s dream come true!

belle1

Please note!! You will need to direct questions to ticket or the  facebook page HERE.

Paige will arrive on March 7th at 6:00 PM at the Celebration Golf Club for a one night only celebration. Enjoy an enchanting dinner and exciting Q & A session with Paige, followed by an autograph opportunity and silent auction. One-Of-A-Kind items for the silent auction are being provided exclusively for this event – with proceeds benefiting The Walt Disney Birthplace. You will also have access to a cash bar. Tickets are very limited for this private affair, and when they’re gone, they’re gone. Click here to get your tickets for Day One: An Affair with Paige O’Hara

You may also reserve 1 of only 10 paintings, painted by Paige O’Hara, for an additional $300.00. The paintings are hand embellished by Paige, who is a Disney fine artist. She has embellished each one to give all of them a personal unique touch. The painting is signed, numbered Limited Edition Giclee’s. An inscription may be added to your painting at no extra cost.

bobsolo

March 8th is open to a very small group of only 15 people. Day Two: Lunch and Private Magic Kingdom Park Tour with Disney Legend Bob Gurr, will include a $25 dining certificate for your lunch with Bob – at Liberty Tree Tavern. He will then personally guide a whimsical 3 and a half hour tour of the Magic Kingdom explaining his involvement in the creation of the park – and sharing his fun facts along the way! Many Bob Gurr attractions will be experienced such as: The Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean, Carousel of Progress and It’s a Small World. You will also get an autograph and photo opportunity with Bob. Theme Park admission is not included. Day Two: Lunch and Private Magic Kingdom Park Tour with Disney Legend Bob Gurr tickets are now available.

While supplies last, you can save $20 by booking The Ultimate Disney Legends Package! This includes all of Day One and Day Two!

Don’t wait! Click HERE for more details and to get your tickets before they are gone.

*These are private events not affiliated with the Walt Disney Company. All tickets and donations for silent auction items are non-refundable. Rides with Bob are subject to availability, and theme park admission is not included. Questions and comments left on this blog post will not be answered. Please direct questions to facebook event page or the “Contact Organizer” button on the ticket site HERE.

This event has been sponsored in part by YourMagicalVacation.com and DestinationsInFlorida.com

This event has been sponsored in part by Destinations in Florida and Your Magical Vacation. Contact them to book your rooms or packages for this amazing event!

The Best Christmas Trees at Walt Disney World 2014

Published December 14, 2014 by jpmdo

Recently Tony and I mentioned some of our favorite Christmas trees on property at Walt Disney World. I thought it would be fun to bring  you some photos too, so you can see for yourself how beautiful some of these trees and decorations really are. Click on each photo for a closer look! Be sure to leave a note in the comments to let us know some of your favorites from this year!

Fort Wilderness

DSC_0013

DSC_0142

DSC_0140

DSC_0135

DSC_0130

DSC_0128

DSC_0120

DSC_0117

DSC_0051

DSC_0042

DSC_0020

DSC_0017


Boardwalk Resort

DSC_0240

DSC_0237

DSC_0233

DSC_0226

DSC_0224

DSC_0214

DSC_0212

Yacht and Beach Club

DSC_0196

DSC_0193

DSC_0190

DSC_0187

DSC_0183

DSC_0180

DSC_0177

DSC_0169

DSC_0164

DSC_0161

Special thanks to Jennifer at OrlandoConnections.com for the awesome photos! You can check out the podcast episode with our picks for favorite Disney Christmas trees HERE. 

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 4,192 other followers

%d bloggers like this: