(AUG. 8, 2010): Actor Brendan Fraser, star of films “The Mummy” and “The Mummy Returns,” poses Aug. 8, 2010 with a “step-mummy,” aka Lady Tremaine, The Wicked Stepmother from “Cinderella,” at the Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (Scott Miller, photographer)
There’s 104 days of summer vacation, but Disney XD’s most popular duo just found a good way to spend one of them.
On July 10, Phineas, Ferb and Agent P will be on hand at the Disney Store Montebello to greet guests from 11:30 am – 3 pm. They’ll be trading off at the half-hour with Phineas and Ferb kicking it off at 11:30 and the bottom of each hour thereafter with Agent P beginning at 12 and appearing at the top of every hour following.
This marks the first occasion in which the trio will actually be meeting and greeting with their fans. While Phineas and Ferb have made rare appearances at both the Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts and all three recently joined Las Vegas uber-legend Wayne Newton on stage at a special event at the 2010 Licensing International Expo, they have not formally greeted fans until now.
Due to time constraints and demand, the trio will not be signing autographs and families will be limited to one photo each.
UPDATE 7/8/10: Corrected meet & greet times
We’ve known for a while that Phineas and Ferb have existed as walkaround characters and have made occasional appearances at both the Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts, although they have not started meet & greets as of yet.
Thanks to this new video from Disney Consumer Products, we now get our first look at a Perry the Platypus walkaround character. Perry (as Agent P) and Phineas and Ferb were joined on stage by legendary Vegas entertainer Wayne Newtown who paid a special tribute to the secret agent. The special performance was part of Disney Consumer Product’s closing presentation at the 2010 Licensing International Expo.
All photos by Isaac Brekken/AP for Disney Consumer Products
When it rains, it pours; now it’s raining cats and dogs and we just stepped in a poodle. Unfortunately there’s no web rim shot patent to share with you today, but out of several patent applications we came across from Disney Enterprises this morning, there’s a few we thought were worth sharing with you all. You can thank us later since there’s no patent here for instant gratuity either.
First up is a patent whose fruit will be very familiar to most of us by now as it played a part in the famous Talking Mickey Mouse episode although you may not recognize it at first.
From inventors Tim Eck, William Wiedefeld, David Hynds, Jeffrey Schenck, William Brasher and Brendan MacDonald comes a new take on a new classic: the articulated character heads. This is not the original patent that covers the heads featured in the stage shows at the Walt Disney World Resort theme parks, but rather a newer type of head/system that makes the interactive character scenario more plausible.
Titled ‘Method and System for Articulated Character Head Actuation and Control,’ the patent application is two-fold. First, it attempts to seek out the first major problem with the now-antiquated heads: noise. According to the patent, even when the old heads weren’t actually moving, they were prone to generating an audible standby noise. It appears that by ‘simply’ upgrading the quality of the motors and servos et al, that the noise is minimized to a whisper-quiet level, allowing the heads to safely articulate even in close environments with audience members (guests).
According to the very reliable character resource WDW Character Hunt, we already have a couple of confirmed additions to the meet & greet character line-up at the Walt Disney World Resort. The site reports that Vidia, who has a much stronger role in the upcoming home video release Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue will begin greeting guests in Pixie Hollow at some point in August.
The site also reports that Duffy (a.k.a. The Disney Bear) will be making regular appearances at Epcot beginning in September. The Disney Bear has made rare appearances at Walt Disney World in the past, most notably during the now defunct Teddy Bear & Doll Weekend event (where the photo seen here was taken) and occasionally at Once Upon a Toy at the Downtown Disney Marketplace. Duffy (as he became known to his incredible fanbase in Tokyo) is a regular at the Tokyo Disneyland Resort and a fixture at the Disney Store Japan. Overseas, he’s known to wear a sailor’s outfit while his appearances at Walt Disney World have been much less modest.
Looking much closer, however, the site reports that the Good Times Gathering Spot will celebrate a temporary return for the summer between June 13th and August 7th from 10 am – 3 pm daily. This DJ-moderated event takes place at Grandmother Willow’s Theater in Camp Minnie-Mickey. Note that this is an opportunity for guests to mix and mingle and play games with characters not often seen at the parks, but not for autographs (although some have reported success in getting them, usually towards the end of the session).
This is not all, however. The site has also updated its rumored changes section. Previously the site had reported that Rapunzel from Disney’s Tangled is rumored to begin meeting guests at the Magic Kingdom in October. The site now reports that Rapunzel may be joined by both Flynn Rider and Mother Gothel.
A brief update on the fate of the Power Rangers meet & greet at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. As we reported yesterday, Disney has sold the Power Rangers property back to Haim Saban, the creator of the franchise.
As a result, word has widely spread earlier today that the Power Rangers meet & greet opportunity at Disney’s Hollywood Studios at the Walt Disney World resort will see its last day on August 7, 2010.
At this time, there are no rumors of substance as to who may replace them if any, but the likeliest candidate is probably Phineas and Ferb who would be more or less at home on the Streets of America and are likely to show up in the parks on a full time basis eventually, but they were not expected to appear prior to October 1.
The recent years have not been kind to the meet & greet residents of the mean Streets of America who have included Lightning McQueen and Tow Mater (who had been moved several times before finding a permanent home in the parks) and Kim Possible with Ron Stoppable who have ceased appearing in the parks altogether.
[SinglePic not found]Lotso from Disney/Pixar’s Toy Story 3 began greeting guests at Walt Disney World’s Disney’s Hollywood Studios theme park this morning and we were pleased to be amongst the first to welcome him to the World. Although we were warned that he would make his first appearance at 10:30, several guests showed up as close to the park’s 9 am opening as possible to stake their place in line. In fact, it wouldn’t be until around 9:45, when the queue already began wrapping around the corner that it would even see its first guest under the age of 15 (or so).
The time cushion gave us plenty of time to explore the queue which was transformed into Sunnyside Daycare, a strong departure from the traditional display of artwork from the film. Instead, one is treated to artwork by the students along one wall with bulletin board notices against another, pseudo-windows looking out to the playground and the front of the building, technicolor handprints along the wall’s border (and the occasional footprint) and video monitors alerting parents to the latest school news.
The set itself — the school’s Butterfly Room — also features some enhancements beyond the typical fare. Like the UP set that preceded it in which one could spot Kevin popping in from either side or could pick up a real hose to pretend to be holding down the house, the Toy Story 3 Sunnyside Daycare set features a couple of animated elements including a green army man going up and down on a yo-yo like a .. well, a yo-yo.
But perhaps the greatest innovation here is one that can’t be readily seen. Sources have advised us that Lotso is able to switch the position of his eyebrows to go into an angry mode but other sources have informed us that he’s under strict orders to not flaunt this skill until at least the release of the film (despite the fact that Lotso is readily advertised by the banner outside as both smiling and frowning).
Sources have also informed us that Disney costuming had in fact been working on a method of working in a strawberry scent but this appears to have not made the cut. Lotso informed us directly that he simply doesn’t smell. This is probably for the best anyway since one might suspect that by the end of the day, Lotso may end up drool and sweat-scented anyway. So consider this your warning and keep your sniffing to a minimum.
He is very soft however. Which makes sense since he’s a hugger after all (but he won’t object to the occasional handshake either).
We inquired about any PhotoPass enhancements available for his arrival and were unfortunately able to secure an answer, so if anyone does find out, please let us know. We did confirm that he does autograph however so we’ve included his love-filled sample below as part of the gallery.
Lotso (short for Lots-o’-Huggin’) will be making his in-park debut on Sunday, May 9 at Disney’s Hollywood Studios where he will be meeting & greeting guests in an area of the Animation Building made up to look like Sunnyside Daycare. In addition, he’ll also be appearing in the Pixar parades at both resorts: Block Party Bash at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Pixar Play! at Disney California Adventure.
Inside the Magic, who managed to snag the photo before it was pulled and was where we got the photo from, also reports that there was a video of Lotso accompanying the post.
There was little surprise yesterday about how quickly the YouTube video of a Talking Mickey character test at Disneyland garnered attention, turning just a few dozen views from when we first reported it to tens of thousands less than a day later, but realizing that there would have to at least be a patent application somewhere before the technology was debuted, we set out to find the source of the marveling magic.
But nothing could have prepared us for the shock when we discovered that not only was there an application in place, but an actual patent had in fact been granted — in 1994. Yes, while everyone you knew was at the movies watching The Lion King, inventors Michael I. Savic, Seow-Hwee Tan and Il-Hyun Nam had created something still portrayed in film and television as sci-fi future tech and had already trained their sights on the world’s most beloved character and the voice of his creator.
‘In 1928 Mickey Mouse was introduced to the public… Walt Disney, who created Mickey Mouse, was also the voice of Mickey Mouse,’ the patent begins. ‘Consequently, when Walt Disney died in 1966 the world lost a creative genius and Mickey Mouse lost his voice.’
Perhaps encouraged by the loss of another creative visionary, Mel Blanc (a.k.a the man of a thousand voices) in 1989, Savic, Tan and Nam created the very thing we got out first look at this past week: a walking, talking theme park character which could — in real time — perfectly replicate the characteristics of any existing voice by transforming it on the fly.
The patent continues: ‘A need thus exists for a high quality voice transformation system that can convincingly transform the voice of any given source speaker to the voice of a target speaker. In addition to its use for motion picture and television productions, a voice transformation system would have great entertainment value. People of all ages could take great delight in having their voices transformed to those of characters such as Mickey Mouse or Donald Duck or even to the voice of their favorite actress or actor. Alternatively, an actor dressed in the costume of a character and imitating a character could be even more entertaining if he or she could speak the voice of the character.‘
Of course this leads to dozens of other questions. Why now? Why only this? Could it have been that Disney was simply waiting on the additional technology being used to come into its own? Or does the recent appointment of Bret Iwan as Wayne Allwine’s successor indicate that there was some initial hesitance on someone’s part to already make use of the technology in other areas? Can and should voice actors ever really be faithfully replaced by others who don’t possess or even need those same talents?
For your reading pleasure (if you enjoy reading code that is), we have attached U.S. Patent 5,327,521 here.
And speaking of patents and meet & greets, don’t forget how we took a look at another that may very well be used for a future Disney Fairies meet greet as part of the Fantasyland reboot.
Sorry, Carl, but you’re being evicted from the Animation Building at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and no number of balloons are going to save you now. The final date for the UP crew of Carl Fredricksen, Russell and Dug is May 1. On May 9, Lotso from Toy Story 3 will be taking that spot as previously reported. We hear that Lotso’s backdrop will be that of the Sunnyside Daycare.
Thanks to @PaulChadkin, we have learned that while Muppet*Vision 3D is closed for its upgrade from tomorrow through May 14, Jessie from Toy Story and Bolt from Bolt will be making rare appearances, greeting the crowds.
We also get an update from WDW Character Hunt which now informs us that for Star Wars Weekends, Asajj Ventress will be offering meet & greets, trading off with Ahsoka Tano and that both ladies will also appear as part of the Jedi Training Academy which should prove to be fairly interesting.