Tuesday, January 24, 2006


Well, I'm sure you've all heard by now, but Disney has bought Pixar. I, for one, am pumped. I seriously think this will usher in the new era of Disney awesomeness, not only for the animated features, but for the parks as well, and knowing Steve Jobs, for the way we view entertainment.

By Disney buying Pixar, it shows that they acknowledge the fact that they no longer are the leading animation company in the world, the title that the company was built on, and by buying Pixar they are trying to regain that title. Pixar is what Disney used to be. Disney has been producing movies with pop-culture references and no heart, while Pixar is churning out movies that are already considered timeless classics. Just think if Snow White had quotes and throwbacks to other movies when it came out. 70 years later, it would be considered rediculous. Pixar's movies, on the other hand, have mostly little throwbacks (like the name of the club in Monsters is Harryhausen) that most people won't notice. They don't rely on pop culture for their stories. It is just a different calibur and genre of animation/comedy. I think the Pixar movies will have the shelf life in the long run, just like the early Disney movies. In my opinion, Pixar has the strongest stories in the current animation field. Their stories are the best, in my opinion. Since Disney did not use pop culture in their early movies (imagine if Snow White started doing the jitterbug while the queen played a Wurlitzer organ! Yes, bad example...) they have become "timeless" ie, they aren't tied to a certain period, and since pop culture usually references what is funny now, it ties the movie to that generation, causing generations in the long run miss the joke. And since Pixar barely (if almost never) uses it in their movies, in my opinion, they are much more likely to become timeless, and that is a reason why the public loves them so much, even if they don't realize it.

So I'm super excited!!! Boo yah!

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Club 33!

Just to prepare you in advance, this blog will be the blog to end all blogs. Here we go. So yesterday, I went to Club 33. For those of you not in the know (which knowing me, I've probably have given you the history of Disneyland 48 times already, so why you wouldn't know I'm not sure...) and may ask "What the hell is a Club 33 anyway?" here's the scoop. When Walt Disney built Disneyland in 1955, he created an apartment above the firehouse on Main Street. It was his own personal apartment, where he could rest from work, and watch all the countless people enjoying his park. Of course, his park would never be finished, so the next major overhall on the plate would be in 1966, with the construction of New Orleans Square (along with Pirates). In the original design, Walt designed a new larger apartment, where more than 2 people could stay, so to better entertain his grandchildren. This was located right about Pirates of the Caribbean. Sadly, Walt passed away before New Orleans Square was completed, so his apartment was never finished. He was re-done, and is now the Disney Gallery. A few doors down, another of Walt's secret get-aways did survive however. Next door to the Blue Bayou restaurant, which is right next to the exit of Pirates, you may notice a door with a '33' on it. This is Club 33. It was originally intended to be a private dinner hall, where Walt and his brother Roy would meet and entertain potential Disneyland backers, corporate leaders, and celebrities. It is still in use for that purpose to this day. Along with being the only place within Disneyland to serve alcohol, it is also an exclusive club, whose membership fee $10,000 a year with a 10 year waiting list.

Now that you know the history, here's my story. Yesterday I had the privledge to dine in this exclusive club, thanks to a charity dinner. It's actually pretty funny how I got invited to go. I post on a Disney message board online every now and then, and the topic of Club 33 came up. I posted that I would love to go if I ever had the chance, and this was back in September. Well, the head of the charity, who is also a huge Disney fan, posts on those message boards as well. He must have done a search for Club 33, saw that I was interested in going, and e-mailed me an invite!! This opportunity was a once in a lifetime chance, and for a great organziation to boot. Now, before you ask, the ticket price was, well, expensive. But I figured "hey, I'm probably never going to have this chance again, so who cares about money..." So my reservation was set for January 16th, 2006 at 6:00pm. I arrived at Disneyland around noonish, went to the Guest Relations window and told them I had reservations for Club 33 that night. How cool is that??? They took my name off a list, checked my ID, then gave me a special pass for Disneyland that day. Disneyland was a blur. I was just so excited for that night. Oh, I also forgot to mention that the club has a strict dress code: collared shirt and slacks minimum for the men. So here I am, at Disneyland, wearing my nicest collared shirt and slacks I own. It was fun actually, it made me feel important, and I could tell the Disneyland cast members treated me a little bit better than usual. After going on some rides, and just enjoying the park, 6:00 came. A group of us who were all going to the dinner waited outside the club, and when that door finally opened... now keep in mind I have been fantasizing about stepping through that door ever since I heard of that place... I was on cloud 9.

Here's a picture tour. I had my camera with me, and took tons of pics!

The entrance, located right next to the Blue Bayou:

They took our name at the entrance, and we were then lead upstairs. You'll notice the old style lift elevator!

As you walked up the stairs, you actually walk up and over the New Orleans pathway.

As you walk down the hallway, you'll first notice an old timey phone booth on your right.

As well as a grandfather clock.

On your left, you'll see Marc Davis' original stretching room paintings from the Haunted Mansion! I nearly shat myself.

You'll also see the men's restroom as well.

As you round the corner, you'll see the beautiful hand painted piano on your left

And then you'll see the only bar at Disneyland on your right! I had a margarita. On the rocks of course ;) I am now part of the select few who has had Disneyland serve them alcohol.

The hallway, looking from the inside back

As you keep walking, the buffet is set up on either side on the hall. The food was excellent!! The servers were also top notch. If you thought service was good at Disneyland already, take your best experience and multiply it by 10. The best service you can imagine.

Even further in, looking back.

You then take a right hand turn into the main dinner room.

This picture is taken from the far back corner, so you're actually enetering from the top left of the picture, in the far background.

Various pictures around the club:

The original Haunted Mansion paintings, circa 1951. One of the first concept paintings of Disneyland.

Gotta love Marc Davis!

A sweet pirate map! The border contains all the main scenes from Pirates!

One of the cool things of the club is the balcony area. You can walk outside on the balcony, just like any of the fascade balconies you see in New Orleans square. So it's a very rare view. here are some pics of the view!

However, that isn't everything. There is one more room. By far the coolest room of all. Walt's trophy room. As you go up the stairs, instead of turning left to go past the clock, there is a doorway right to your right. This was Walt's private dinning room, to entertain only his closest guests. The pictures on the walls are incredible.

As you enter the room, if you look back and above you, you'll see a stuffed vulture. This is an audio-animatronic vulture, like the birds in the Tiki Room. Walt hid microphones in the chandeliers around the room, and would listen in on his guests, and have the bird interact with them! Sadly, the bird is non operational now...

Here's me next to the hunting cabinet!

Well, our tour has come to an end. Needless to say, the experience was amazing. It was incredible seeing all that history, and touring Walt's private dining hall. It was just so awesome walking through the halls, knowing these were Walt's private rooms. To quote Syndrome, "I'm still geeking out about it!" I was in there for over 3 hours, I just wanted to soak everything in. But the thing that tops it all off: I watched Fantasmic from the balconey of Club 33!! For a Disneyland fanatic like me, it just doesn't get any better than that.

So, I had to get souvinir's to remember the event! And of course, in true Disney fashion, if the possibility of souvinirs is there, there will be souvinirs to be had. I bought some Mickey Mouse ears, but instead of the Mickey Mouse Club logo, it has the cool Club 33 logo. I also bought a limited edition pin with a painting of Walt looking out the window of the club, limited edition of 333 of course, as well as another pin. I also 'acquired' some napkins with the '33' logo, a swizzle stick, and a notepad :)

The Mouse Ears, as displayed by creepy bald clay man.

So, as you may have guessed, I had a blast. And for now, this is where I

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Behold the Mighty Wurlitzer!

Haven't updated in a while. It's not that nothing new has been going on, quite the opposite in fact. Lets see, the big new cool thing was that I started teaching last monday, the 9th. How crazy is that? Me, a teacher. So far it's going well. I'll admit it too, I was scared as hell. The night before I got no sleep. But the class is cool. I'm not scared anymore, and it'll be really fun. It already is. It's cool back being on campus. I just got my new One Card as well. It says "Faculty Professor" on the bottom. How weird is that?? And what's even weirder is that I requested to use my same picture. So I have a pictures taken the summer before freshman year on my professor one card. Weird wild shtuff.

Then yesterday, Mike, Jess, and I all went downtown to watch a screening on the silent film classic Metropolis. The cool part was that it was at the Orpheum theater, which was built in 1927, and the movie was accompanied by a live playing of the score by the original "Mighty Wurlitzer" organ! It was a really great experience, watching a movie from that time period in a theater from that time period with the score being played live from an organ from that time period. It was like we were being trasnported back in time... time... time... Very cool evening.

Today I just hung out here. Around 2pm is was really nice outside, the rain had gone and it was nice and sunny. I wanted to go somewhere and check out the nice day, but I didn't know where to go. So I stayed home. Fun. I went to the Bridge with Cassie and had dinner and saw Last Holiday, so that was fun. It was an actually good movie with a good message: Live it up while you can. It kinda made me start thinking about some changes I need to make in my life. Yeah, a Queen Latifah comedy did that lol. Like I need to start going more places, seeing more sites, get a girlfriend, and just live it up. it kinda makes me realize how much I want someone to share my life with, you know? Someone who understands me, shares my interests, and just be that person who is always there, can be counted on, etc. I guess that's what everyone is looking for though after all. So if you happen to know that person, feel free to set me up! LOL But now it is almost 3am and I'm getting all sappy, so lets move on.

Monday is the day to end all days. Monday is when I go dine at Disneyland's exclusive Club 33. The club that most people have never heard of or even seen. The club where if you do know about it, chances are you have never been inside, and would give anything to go. The club that Walt himself designed for his VIP guests. Monday, I am one of those guests. How kick ass is that???? I will have a special edition blog describing the event. Monday.