Disney Trivia

Disney Road Trip - Podcast Recommendation: 30 Animals That Made Us Smarter

BBC’s “30 Animals that Made Us Smarter” is a great podcast for your Disney road trip. The episode about the way the Stenocara beetle’s body surface allows it to collect water reminded me of the way the surface of Epcot’s Spaceship Earth is designed to collect water and channel it so that it does not fall on guests below.

BBC’s “30 Animals that Made Us Smarter” is a great podcast for your Disney road trip. The episode about the way the Stenocara beetle’s body surface allows it to collect water reminded me of the way the surface of Epcot’s Spaceship Earth is designed to collect water and channel it so that it does not fall on guests below.

Is a road trip to Disney World part of your vacation plans? Do any of your kids have scientific/inventor inclinations?   If so, an interesting podcast to enjoy on the drive is BBC’s 30 Animals That Made Us Smarter.   I find the segments interesting as an adult but it seems to be presented at about an upper elementary school or junior high level and the episodes are only about 15-minutes long.    The “Stenocara beetle and water collector” episode made me think of Spaceship Earth at Epcot.  In the case of the beetle, it has bumps that helps it collect and channel water from fog in the desert where water is scarce. The panels on Spaceship Earth are designed so that no rainwater pours off of the surface onto the ground but, instead, is collected through gaps in the facets and is channeled to gutters that carry it to the World Showcase Lagoon. The beetle lives in an arid environment and Florida gets lots of rain but there are still similarities in the way that these outer surfaces work to direct water to a desire location. You can download and listen to the Stenocara Beetle episode here or stream it through your favorite podcasting platform.

Click here for a 1-minute animated video about the Stenocara beetle collecting water.

 Learn more about Spaceship Earth and the way it channels water

May you have safe travels!

Annette

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Guest Blog: Disney History - Iron Man Monorail Wrap

Disney History - Iron Man-orail: Disney World monorail with Iron Man 3 wrap / Stark Industries monorail

Disney History - Iron Man-orail: Disney World monorail with Iron Man 3 wrap / Stark Industries monorail

The Disney/Marvel film Avengers: End Game is shattering box office records this weekend, so I thought it would be good to take a little bit of trip back in time. The film was Iron Man 3 and the Walt Disney World resort unveiled their most spectacular monorail wrap ever when the Iron Man-orail made its debut. This Avengers themed monorail was sleek, fun, and gave Monorail Black one of the best makeovers ever. A golden nose on the train, branded with the familiar “Stark Industries” moniker and Iron Man flying down the side (Iron Patriot on the other) promoted the release of the movie.

The Stark Industries monorail took guests between Magic Kingdom and the Ticket and Transportation Center (TTC) Due to restrictions with Universal Orlando Resort, the Iron Man monorail did not ever venture from the TTC to Epcot. The reason is because the Walt Disney Company had to fly Iron Man in restricted air space. Confused? Don’t be – this all makes sense in the world of theme parks and legal contracts.

Marvel is owned by Disney, but Universal (the little theme park just down Interstate 4 from WDW) has exclusive rights to use certain characters inside the East Coast theme parks. Island of Adventure prominently features the Marvel, now Disney owned characters as part of their experience and themed land within the resort. So in some ways, you can see Disney characters inside Universal Studios….but that is another story.

The reason that the Epcot line was restricted air space is because the monorail actually goes over the main entrance to the theme park and loops around Spaceship Earth and then stops just beyond the main entrance at the Epcot monorail station. So if the Iron Man monorail ever traveled the Epcot line it would actually enter and exit the boundaries of Epcot breaking the rule of law…and so it could make the loop around the Seven Seas Lagoon because the monorail never goes beyond the main gates of the Magic Kingdom.

But whether there were boundaries or not, the Iron Man monorail as you can see from the pictures was spectacular. And although there were problems in making this happen at WDW because of the restrictions, they really were just opportunities loaded with potential that had to be embraced so a solution could be found.

So it goes as you soar through life. Learn to see potential and learn to look beyond problems.

About the Author: This article, which first appeared on Facebook, is by author Jeff Dixon. Jeff has written a series of novels set in and around Walt Disney World entitled, The Key to the Kingdom, Unlocking the Kingdom, Storming the Kingdom, and as mentioned and linked above Terror in the Kingdom. He is also the author of The Disney Driven Life, a book that draws life lessons and leadership principles from the history and life of Walt Disney. Some know Jeff as Dixon On Disney – and he resources and comments on Disney history, attractions, and news. He is a researcher that draws heavily on the incredible works of Disney historians and biographers with an attempt to understand and apply the life lessons that are uncovered. He is also a storyteller that transports readers into a world beyond their imagination.

Guest Blog: Disney's Rorex Tunnel - Carolwood Pacific Railroad

Here is a bit of Disney Archaeology for you…digging into the past and making discoveries that matter in the future…so let’s begin with a question…Are you familiar with Walt Disney’s Rorex Tunnel?

Walt Disney’s Carolwood Pacific Railroad and the history of the Rorex tunnel - Dixon On Disney

Walt Disney’s Carolwood Pacific Railroad and the history of the Rorex tunnel - Dixon On Disney

It is not surprising if you aren’t, but the tunnel and its creation are interesting chapters within the life of Walt Disney. The story unfolds at the Disney home in Holmby Hills. Walt’s hobby and interest in railroading had led to the creation of the Carolwood Pacific, it was a one-eight scale train, designed to run around the Disney home along 2,615 feet of track, with enough switching options to enable him to travel nearly a mile without running on the same track in the same direction.

The first circuit around the Carolwood property took place on May 7, 1951. As the plans for this extensive personal railway was being developed, Walt’s wife-Lillian noticed that the train was going to run right through her new flower gardens, which had been designed by Disney legend – Bill Evans. She approached her husband about this and was not at all pleased. Walt knew he had to come up with a solution to the problem. Unleashing his very creative imagination, it didn’t take Walt long to land on an answer. He would simply dig a tunnel and go underneath the flowerbed.

In a playful turn of events – Walt even had his lawyer draw up a legal agreement between Lillian and himself. “Lilly has made up her mind that I shouldn’t run right through the middle of her garden. She wanted to have a large window put in so her friends can look out at her flowers while they are playing Canasta. I just want the right to run my railroad.” Walt stated.

Now let’s dig into the tunnel - As you might imagine, this was not just going to be any tunnel. Walt always had a flair for the creative and wanted to create a moment for his passengers and of course, himself.

Walt’s plan was to create a 90 foot tunnel with a slight S-curve in the middle. As riders entered the tunnel they would not immediately be able to see the exit. As they went deeper into the tunnel, they would be plunged into total darkness. As always, in the world of Walt Disney, even in those early days – he was always figuring out a way to “plus” the experience. A foreman on the project approached Walt and suggested it would be cheaper if they made the tunnel straight. (Not to mention it would be easier to build as well)
This angered Walt and he snapped back, “It’s cheaper not to do it all.”
But in the end, Walt got the tunnel installed, just the way he had envisioned it.

The Carolwood Pacific Railroad introduced Walt to the notion of creating an attraction, an outdoor entertainment event. Eventually with the creation of Disneyland, Walt would get a full sized train that he could run after hours at the theme park. The beginnings of thinking through how that might work and what that might look like happened in his very own backyard.

The tunnel that Walt dreamed up that formed an S-curve below Lillian’s flower bed was officially named the “Rorex Tunnel.” The reason for the name was the construction supervisor. As Walt was chatting about what to do and discussing possibilities, the original idea that the problem could be tackled in this way was suggested by Jack Rorex. As a result, Walt remembered the conversation and the tunnel was named after the man who sparked Walt’s imagination.

When faced with the problem of upsetting his wife and destroying all the work that had gone into her flower beds, it would have been easy to decide, there was no way to fix or conquer the problem. However the tunnel ended up being a bit of an engineering masterpiece. The problem was nothing but an opportunity in disguise.

Walt explained his approach to chasing ideas and experimenting in an interview with Pete Martin in the Saturday Evening Post (June-July 1956) when he said, “You never know what will happen. That open mind and that hope that one thing will lead to another.”

Today you may find there are problems that you are facing that seem to have no answer. Don’t stop looking for solutions, don’t be afraid to be creative. The problem that seems so insurmountable may actually be an opportunity in disguise.

(The story used in this post is taken from The Disney Code)

About the Author: This article, which first appeared on Facebook, is by author Jeff Dixon. Jeff has written a series of novels set in and around Walt Disney World entitled, The Key to the Kingdom, Unlocking the Kingdom, Storming the Kingdom, and as mentioned and linked above Terror in the Kingdom. He is also the author of The Disney Driven Life, a book that draws life lessons and leadership principles from the history and life of Walt Disney. Some know Jeff as Dixon On Disney – and he resources and comments on Disney history, attractions, and news. He is a researcher that draws heavily on the incredible works of Disney historians and biographers with an attempt to understand and apply the life lessons that are uncovered. He is also a storyteller that transports readers into a world beyond their imagination.

Guest Blog - Hunt chameleons, not eggs, this Easter

Find Pascal, the chameleon from Disney’s Tangled, in the Magic Kingdom park at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida.

Find Pascal, the chameleon from Disney’s Tangled, in the Magic Kingdom park at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida.

Since it is Easter – here is another Disney Easter Egg Hunt – another chance to find hidden surprises within the world of Disney. This particular Easter Egg Hunt is one you can take for yourself the next time you visit Walt Disney World. Believe it or not, the details in WDW are so amazing that you can even make a trip to the restroom an adventure – especially if you visit the Tangled themed restroom area in the Magic Kingdom.

This is actually a chameleon hunt and he appears first in the movie Tangled, but has more frequent appearances in the Tangled themed follow-up films and series. As we meet Rapunzel her one true friend is her silent, color-changing sidekick, Pascal. Although just a small chameleon, he plays a big role in Rapunzel's life. Confidante, coach and cheerleader, Pascal is a driving force behind Rapunzel's decision to leave her lonely tower. This supportive and encouraging companion's true colors held a key to solving an amazing mystery.

When you visit the Tangled themed bathrooms there is a sign that alerts you that there is something to look for…and if you look closely, you will begin to find Pascal hidden throughout the carefully and creatively themed area. Included in this post are a few pictures…if you really want clues, here are a few…but not all you need to find them all

Egg Hunt or Pascal Hunt spoiler alert follows….
Find the “Look for friends of Pascal in the scenery” sign and turn your eyes to the bridge on your left. You’ll see something looking right back at you on the rock!

Look in the other side of the water, notice the rock with an indentation…there you’ll discover a set of eyes that blend in perfectly to the moss surroundings.

Look at the sign again. Straight across from you, you’ll see a boulder…on the right side is a boulder-colored Pascal hiding from everyone.

Find Momento Mori, look carefully and search until you find three flower boxes. Someone’s hiding underneath the second one.

Take a look at one of the light posts and you guessed it – Pascal is there.

On this Easter weekend, remember that each of us need friends who stick beside us, encourage us, help us, and motivate us to be more. We all need them in our lives and whether you realize it or not, you just might be the very person to make that kind of difference in the lives of others. Sometimes it is subtle, and you can bless and encourage others without being flashy, maybe even blending into the background…but never underestimate the value that you have in the lives of others and take the time to thank those who bless you!

About the Author: This article, which first appeared on Facebook, is by author Jeff Dixon. Jeff has written a series of novels set in and around Walt Disney World entitled, The Key to the Kingdom, Unlocking the Kingdom, Storming the Kingdom, and as mentioned and linked above Terror in the Kingdom. He is also the author of The Disney Driven Life, a book that draws life lessons and leadership principles from the history and life of Walt Disney. Some know Jeff as Dixon On Disney – and he resources and comments on Disney history, attractions, and news. He is a researcher that draws heavily on the incredible works of Disney historians and biographers with an attempt to understand and apply the life lessons that are uncovered. He is also a storyteller that transports readers into a world beyond their imagination.

Click here for a list of places to see or meet Rapunzel from Tangled

Guest Blog - "Easter Eggs" in Disney Movies

It is Easter weekend! Hopefully you are planning a fun-filled Spring weekend loaded with surprises and excitement. The tradition for many is to participate in Easter Egg Hunts, if you have been a part of one, you know how much fun they can be. In the world of Disney, an Easter Egg Hunt can take on a whole different meaning. Most, if not all Disney fans, know that the animators and designers of Disney films hide “Easter Eggs” in each feature. These are things that you don’t usually expect to find and are usually carefully hidden. Usually after a feature is released and enjoyed, then fans start searching for the hidden surprises that make the films even more fun.

Big Hero 6 is one example. Look closely at the picture below. It gives us a glimpse of events that we should have been paying attention to when Frozen was released. The rat Hans, actually showed up on a wanted poster in the police office. If Elsa and Anna would have known, the story line could have been so different.

Hans, the villain from Frozen, on a Wanted poster in the police station in Big Hero 6.

Hans, the villain from Frozen, on a Wanted poster in the police station in Big Hero 6.

Next time you watch 101 Dalmatians, look to the shadows. You can see this is the second picture. You'll notice some dogs wandering the streets of London in the background. Look closely and you will see that two of these pups are none other than the title characters of Lady and the Tramp.

Lady and Tramp hidden in the shadows on Disney’s 101 Dalmatians.

Lady and Tramp hidden in the shadows on Disney’s 101 Dalmatians.

In Beauty and the Beast, Maurice and Phillipe become lost in the woods and come upon a faded road sign. If you look closely, you can see that two of the cities listed on the sign are Anaheim, where Disneyland is, and Valencia, where California Institute of the Arts is located. Look closely at the third picture and you can make out what they saw.

Anaheim and Valencia road signs in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast (1991 animated version).

Anaheim and Valencia road signs in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast (1991 animated version).

Many will remember the film, Finding Nemo. The film is about a search of a father for his lost son, who is in trouble. Eventually they are reunited, but little did we know that the little clownfish Nemo was actually hiding in Monsters, Inc. – watch the film and see Boo hand a Nemo plush doll to Scully when he is in her room.You see that in picture four.

Boo holding a Finding Nemo toy in Monster’s Inc.

Boo holding a Finding Nemo toy in Monster’s Inc.

There is one more. You can find it in A Goofy Movie, everyone is jamming out at the Powerline concert — and Disney makes sure their most famous character of all is there - Mickey Mouse himself is in the audience. Those are all fun Easter Eggs – Disney style.

Mickey Mouse in the concert crowd on A Goofy Movie.

Mickey Mouse in the concert crowd on A Goofy Movie.

Easter Egg Hunting (look for real eggs) began in Germany and is said to date back to the late 16th century, where Martin Luther, organized egg hunts for his congregation. Men would hide the eggs, while women and children went to find them. Communities all over the world include some form of Easter Egg hunting as part of the Easter season… and the laughter, fun, and smiles of children and families finding a special egg, getting an unexpected gift, or discovering an extra ordinary surprise are all a part of the Easter celebration. Finding the unexpected can bring joy in life but you have to take time and look for it. May you find some time to go on the hunt over the next few days, discover joy, and share it with others.

About the Author: This article, which first appeared on Facebook, is by author Jeff Dixon. Jeff has written a series of novels set in and around Walt Disney World entitled, The Key to the Kingdom, Unlocking the Kingdom, Storming the Kingdom, and as mentioned and linked above Terror in the Kingdom. He is also the author of The Disney Driven Life, a book that draws life lessons and leadership principles from the history and life of Walt Disney. Some know Jeff as Dixon On Disney – and he resources and comments on Disney history, attractions, and news. He is a researcher that draws heavily on the incredible works of Disney historians and biographers with an attempt to understand and apply the life lessons that are uncovered. He is also a storyteller that transports readers into a world beyond their imagination.

Guest Blog: Disney and Notre Dame

It is with great sadness that we watched as so many did, the Cathedral of Notre Dame burn in Paris, France. This iconic structure was a part of the fabric and lore of the city and the loss is tremendous. In the aftermath of this loss, our hearts and prayers are with the people of France, who have lost a part of their culture and a landmark that was a hub of activity within the city.

Even in the world of Disney, this great cathedral was a part of the storylines of many films.

Disney and Notre Dame Cathedral

Disney and Notre Dame Cathedral

Of course, we remember The Hunchback of Notre Dame. To stay consistent to the architecture and details of Notre Dame, animators spent several weeks in and around the actual cathedral. This building in the picture serves as a home to the main protagonist, Quasimodo. He viewed the cathedral as a home as he rings and cares for its bells, each of which he has bestowed a name. In return, the cathedral shelters and protects him

The cathedral also is seen in the Aristocrats, as Edgar Balthazar drives past Notre Dame while taking the cats into the countryside. In Ratatouille, we see the cathedral on two occasions. More recently it was seen in Cars 2, as a street musician performs music in front of the cathedral after Mater, Finn McMissile and Holley Shiftwell's arrival in Paris. In the live action film, Beauty and the Beast, the Notre Dame Cathedral appears as a background in the backstory of the lead characters as they are being developed.

Sometimes it is easy to take for granted those places that become the backdrop for the stories that create the memories that define our lives. For the people and city of Paris this is a great loss - it is also a loss for citizens of the world. Never take for granted the places and more importantly the people that help create the moments that define our lives. In the days ahead remember to pray for Paris as they have lost a piece of their history as well as a place that was so much a part of the heartbeat of the city.

About the Author: This article, which first appeared on Facebook, is by author Jeff Dixon. Jeff has written a series of novels set in and around Walt Disney World entitled, The Key to the Kingdom, Unlocking the Kingdom, Storming the Kingdom, and as mentioned and linked above Terror in the Kingdom. He is also the author of The Disney Driven Life, a book that draws life lessons and leadership principles from the history and life of Walt Disney. Some know Jeff as Dixon On Disney – and he resources and comments on Disney history, attractions, and news. He is a researcher that draws heavily on the incredible works of Disney historians and biographers with an attempt to understand and apply the life lessons that are uncovered. He is also a storyteller that transports readers into a world beyond their imagination.

Did you know? The Hunchback of Notre Dame was featured in two live shows in Disney parks? The Hunchback of Notre Dame: A Musical Adventure was presented at Disney’s Hollywood Studios from 1996 to 2002 and The Hunchback of Notre Dame: Festival of Fools ran at Disneyland from 1996 to 1998.

The Hunchback of Notre Dame: A Musical Adventure was a live show presented from 1996 to 2002 in Disney’s Hollywood Studios park at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. Photo by Steve Johnson.

The Hunchback of Notre Dame: A Musical Adventure was a live show presented from 1996 to 2002 in Disney’s Hollywood Studios park at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. Photo by Steve Johnson.

Disney is donating $5 million towards the work to restore Notre Dame Cathedral. Disney CEO Bob Iger released this statement, '“ Notre-Dame is a beacon of hope and beauty that has defined the heart of Paris and the soul of France for centuries, inspiring awe and reverence for its art and architechture and for its enduring place in human history.”