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Welcome to Brent's Blog. About once a week I will share my thoughts and stories about my book, show, website, and Disney parks, books, and movies right here. I hope you enjoy!

Brent's Blogs

May 14, 2011 - D23's Great Disney Scavenger Hunt!

Hard work goes a looooooong way.

Last September my dad, my friend Dave, and I participated in the D23 Scavenger Hunt in Disneyland and had a blast! At the end of the event we began talking with one another about how we knew we could win the next Scavenger Hunt taking place in Walt Disney World this year. So we contacted my other friend Frank (Dave's cousin) and assembled a plan. We knew how we screwed up in Disneyland and were convinced we could fix all of those problems our next time around in the first ever WDW scavenger hunt hosted by Disney!

So the studying began. I went to the park every day (well, still. I was already going every day, but now I had a new thing on the agenda), took pictures, videos, and notes and would send them back to my teammates. They would then study the notes and we began to quiz one another on an almost daily basis.

Finally all of my teammates began to say something that people have been telling me for years: that I know more about Disney World than anyone else they know. I've always felt that I had a pretty good understanding of things Disney, especially with the book, but my scavenger hunt research really did help me learn a lot more.

We had everything set up. We had our gameplan, we had done hours of studying. It was time for the day of all days....May 12, 2011.

The rules stated that you must start at the park assigned to you. Unfortunately (or so we thought), we got assigned to begin with Epcot. Another thing stated in the rules was the obvious one, no cheating. So we threw all of our note cards in Herbie and turned off all electronics in fear that both of those would be cheating (we found out later on that it didn't seem to be cheating).

We got to the park around 10 and found a spot to be our "base camp" which ended up being the Electric Umbrella. We checked in, power walked back to the Electric Umbrella and sat down to answer as many questions as possible. From our studying we were able to answer around 33% of the questions and already knew we wouldn't have to waste time on some of the attractions that would eat up a lot of our time.

After finishing up our question round at base camp, we headed off to the park with a determination I've never had before. For the next four hours we answered every question in the book (we found out after the event was over we only got one question wrong) and were feeling extremely satisfied with how we had done. One thing troubled us. If we got 100% (which we thought we had), then other teams are most likely getting 100% at this park as well. We needed to step it up in our next three parks.

We headed over to the Magic Kingdom, got some food, and took one last walk around the park hoping to pick up any little detail that we may not already know. We then checked in and went to our Magic Kingdom base camp. Once again we answered close to 50% of the questions with no problem and headed off to the park in pursuit of all the questions we didn't know.

We got through all the questions with the exception of one 10 pointer. I began to question how well we were going to do. Surely someone had gotten two 100% up to this point. We needed to go back, rest, and regroup for the next days parks.

We got to Disney's Hollywood Studios around 8:30AM the next day. Once again we headed right to our base camp and answered as many questions as possible. We got quite a few of them done including a few big point questions right off the bat! We were feeling good. We always said we were "in it to win it," but I could now see that we truly had a chance at it. We finished the park with half an hour to spare and were on top of the world until......

DISNEY'S ANIMAL KINGDOM!!!

I love Animal Kingdom! It's my second favorite park and I know where a lot of really obscure things are. However, in the Scavenger Hunt there are ten point questions that send you from one place to another place to another place to another place until you get your final answer. In the other parks we rarely had to backtrack to retrieve our answer, however, in this park we did for several of the ten pointers.

With half an hour to go we still had about 50 points left to get (out of 225), but we knew what we had to do. We just had to make our way to Africa to pick up about 25 points and then get to the Oasis to get the last 25 points. Only one thing stood in our way: Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade (ironically, the very parade Frank, Dave, and I were in a few days after meeting at a D23 event)!

After being told by some Cast Members that we couldn't cross over into Africa via the bridge I explained to them that there is a path that most people rarely take behind the Tree of Life that would save us a few minutes. They let us through and we were on our way to Africa (by the way, I think I mastered the art of speedwalking throughout this)!

We got to Africa and answered enough questions to get about 20 points. We needed to get to the Oasis, but we only had 15 minutes left (every minute you're late you lose a point). We got to the Oasis and had another road block. We couldn't find two of our clues so it came down to making some educated guesses. We turned the books in and then began the longest 3 and a half hours of my life.

We met up in the Fantasia ballroom in the Contemporary resort at 8:30, but they were triple checking the scores to make sure they counted correctly. We waited patiently in the front row. All of us felt like we had a great chance at winning, but we didn't want to say it out loud. It was time for the moment of truth. They decided to give teams 11-20 a pin so we got even more nervous that we would be in the top 20 and have no chance at the main prize.

We felt like we had scored over 800 points and were relieved to hear that the teams they were calling out were around 750 points. Finally they started announcing the top 10. We waited patiently all silently praying that our team number wouldn't be called. Top 5. The suspense was killing me. Top 3. We have a one in three chance. We weren't third. We knew we were either first or second. The last thing we wanted to hear was our number being called next. We waited not so patiently making eye contact with one another.

At that moment you begin to realize that even if you don't win, it's been a crazy nine months with the four of us. We all got closer to one another and now had a bond that could never be broken, but we needed them to announce second place. When they didn't call our names Frank started saying, "Oh my God! I'm going to faint." I just hoped we didn't overlook something and were actually not even in the top 20. Then it was time. They announced our number as the winners!

We yelled, we hugged, we knew that our hard work had paid off. There was so much that added up to the perfect game for us. Out of 900 points (225 x 4), we had gotten 812 beating out second place by 7 points. If we had taken any of our teammates out of the equation and replaced them with someone else we wouldn't have won. We all had a role to play and we all excelled at that role throughout the full 13 hours of competition.

What's next? Well, as the winners we get to go on the preview cruise for the Disney Fantasy! But before that happens next March, you know I've got some other surprises up my sleeve....

Click here to find an article that features us on the D23 site

May 9, 2011 - 1,000 days!

This past Saturday was my 1,000th day in the park. I know what you're going to ask, because everyone else has: "How on earth do you know it was that specific day?" When I was finishing up From Screen to Theme (the book) I wrote a description of myself on the back of the book talking about how many days I had been in the park up to that point. I went through all past vacation information from family vacations and then when I moved down here I just kept track from there, which led us to May 7, 2011: Day 1,000!

There were a few things I wanted to do for this special occasion that most people never reach, but the number one was the most obvious: visit the Magic Kingdom. Once I got there I went to my spot (which is what some Cast Members referred to it as when I was on my college program back in 2004).

 

While at my spot I looked out at the most incredible view in the entire world. There in front of me was Cinderella Castle. I was going to snap a picture from my spot on this milestone day, but then, like a movie, a million memories starting flashing through my  head.

I began to think of standing where the couple in the center is and watching Wishes for my last time on the College Program. I remember singing "Can You Feel the Love Tonight?" one night with my friends Kathryn and Erin where the little girl in the purple is, to which a guest came up to us and asked if we were trying to launch are singing career.

This was the spot where I first met several of the WEDfriends and where I first ran into my buddy Tommy Des Brisay. Next thing I knew it was half an hour later and I had the biggest smile on my face. I have a lot of people who ask how I can go to the parks on a daily

basis and the answer is quite simple. I'm lucky (and I know that).

I'm lucky that my dreams have come true and everything has fallen into place the way I always dreamed it would.

Later that night I participated in the fourth annual (and my fourth) Expedition Everest Challenge! I broadcasted live for the viewers from the race and had a blast as always doing it! Afterwards I ran into a group of friends and we closed down the park at 1AM.

Overall, it's been a great 1,000 days. I can't wait to see what the next 1,000 have in store for me.

April 1, 2011 - This has to be an April Fools joke!

I often have people point out that odd things happen to me all the time and they really do. I often have crazy stories to tell and most people question whether or not they are true. Here is a story that happened today while entering Disney's Hollywood Studios.

While walking from the parking lot I was passing the Cast Member parking lot where I saw a guy walking towards the tram area with a bag and a beer. At first I thought he was a Cast Member that didn't know anything about "good show," but then realized he had a mullet and there is no way he could be a Cast Member. I continued walking towards the security check point that is tucked away near the restrooms and guest relations (which is almost never crowded).

About a quarter of the way down the path the mullet man appears next to me and says, "Hey, what'd you got in the bag?" I eyed him for a second and said, "The goods" thinking that was a funny answer. His face lit up and he said (to put it in a much friendlier term) "Like candy? Tootsie rolls and licorice?"

I just kept walking. He then pointed out he had some water and a can of beer in his bag and has been trying to find a wall to throw his bag over so he can retrieve it once he enters the park. He hadn't had any luck though so was now trying to find a place to put his bag before he enters the park so he can get it when he exits later that day. I just nodded my head not believing what was going on.

He then asked me again what was in my bag. I said nothing (for those curious a copy of From Screen to Theme, my notebook, and some From Screen to Theme buttons).

He then asked if I was meeting up with family or friends inside the park. I pointed out I was alone and he started laughing and asked if I was serious. I pointed out I wrote a book about Disney and run a Disney website which made him lose it while saying, "A website about Disney? HA! That'd be the day. You are the most mysterious man I've ever met!"

At this point we reached security and he walked right past the lone security guard working. The security guard pointed out that he must have his bag checked and then motioned for me to put my bag on the table first. While the guard was going through my bag I heard a little thud behind me.

I turned around and saw my new friend getting off the ground in the tram area and running towards the spot where the tram lets the guests off. The guard then yelled at him to get back, but the guy said, "I'm going to enter the park this way." He then gave me a thumbs up as if he had beat the system.

The guy then went near a corner in the tram area and started putting his bag under some bushes. A tram driver and a few security guards all saw this and the security swarmed in on the guy. I'm not sure what happened to him, but I really hope I find out. And if that guy ever stumbles across this I have one thing to say:

Yes, there are websites dedicated to Disney and yes, you were featured on one!

March 15, 2011 - Don't you hate that!
You know the feeling. Someone approaches you about something new and exciting and all you can think is, "that sounds so stupid. There is no way this is going to be good."

We've all been there at one point or another. The other day a guest standing next to me was that person. I was with my mom at the Hub waiting for the new "The Magic, The Memories, and You" Castle show to begin. A few months ago I was standing in almost the same spot waiting for the show to begin hoping it was better than some crummy pictures thrown up on the Castle. After the show was done I was pleasantly surprised with how much I enjoyed the new show.

Flash back to a few days ago. I'm standing next to a guest who was complaining to his wife about how he didn't want to watch the show. "Why should we watch pictures on the castle? They probably just use the same pictures over and over every day. Even if they don't why would I want to watch other people?"

I was dreading watching the show to this negative man and hoped that my mom, who was on the other side of me, wouldn't hear him during the show so she could have a great first viewing. Within the first two minutes of the show the man continued to talk to his family and didn't care at all about what was going on. In my head there was one thought going through my head: There is no way this guy will become a huge Disney fan with this attitude.

About another minute passed and the complaining stopped, but the talking continued. The talking was now, "HOLY COW! LOOK! LOOK!" The family recognized the one girl on one of the towers. It was the complainer's daughter. The show was no longer awful, but awesome. The man frantically took out his camera and got a picture of his daughter's face on Cinderella Castle.

The rest of the show the man was beaming. His daughter was the star of the show even though no one, with the exception of me and those around him, would ever know. For the five minutes in between the show and Wishes the family talked excitedly about how they couldn't wait for the fireworks and how cool it was to see their daughter on the Castle. With one simple picture this man became a Disney fan and I know he'll go home and talk about how great his trip was even if it was just for a brief moment.

I'm often asked how I can go to the park on a daily basis and not get sick of it. It's moments like that that keep me coming back for more. In a second a man's whole vacation was changed from negative to the greatest thing ever and it all came down to the fact that his daughter was on the Castle.

When this show premiered in January I was hesitant about how good it would be. Now that I've seen it from a brand new point of view, this show is a must see!
February 27, 2011 - Sunday Brunch
So today I was editing Reuben's Sunday Brunch and it became an extremely emotional article for me to read. I went to Mickey's Kitchen in Illinois shortly after it opened. When we were younger my Grandparents (Dodge side) would take two grandkids at a time on a weekend outing and do something special with them. My cousin Colleen and I got to go to Mickey's Kitchen! Hold your horses. This is where the story really gets interesting:

While there my Grandpa told us we could each get two things. I got a stuffed animal Patch (from 101 Dalmatians) and a little statue of Pluto (which if I remember correctly cost $12!). That night the four of us stayed up talking and my Grandparents said we could stay up until as late as they were up. Eventually my Grandpa and cousin decided to head off to bed.

I started talking to my Grandma about my Pluto statue and told her I had a secret. I gave her a hug and told her some day I was going to work at Disney World. She hugged me back and said she knew I would some day if that's what I really want.

As most of you know from my dedication in From Screen to Theme this was the first time I ever confided in my dream of working at Disney with anyone. So reading today's article got me very teary eyed thinking back to that special moment that I truly believe started everything that has happened to me today.
February 11, 2011 - Saying Goodbye to Toontown

I'm going to put this out there right away. I'm a very sentimental person. If you give me a plastic bag tomorrow and we have a great day together I will have a tough time throwing that bag away ten years down the line because I will have those memories in my head.

However, today we are talking about something a whole lot bigger than a plastic bag. Mickey's Toontown Fair was planned to be a temporary land. I bet no one realized temporary would be 23 years. In those 23 years I have been to this section of the park several times. Not as often as the other six lands in the Magic Kingdom, but I've been there more often than anyone else I know.

When I first heard about the Fantasyland Expansion I was beyond excited! I couldn't believe that my favorite land was doubling in size and all these new attractions and experiences were going to be there for me in a few years. However, after much thought I began to realize that this would bring an end to Mickey's Toontown Fair and I began to get a little sad.

So when I ended up moving to Florida last March I began to come to this wonderful and often unexplored area as often as I could. The funny thing is, the more I went, the more I fell in love with it. Some of the greatest references in my book can be found here, the Barnstormer is a great, although very short, attraction, Mickey and Minnie are here, and it's where I fell in love with the lovely Rosetta.

Over the past week I have spent more than 25 hours here and during that time I have gotten fairly emotional, but today was one of the hardest days of all. While in line for the Barnstormer the couple in front of me was talking and the wife turned to her husband and said, "This was my first roller coaster. I can't believe it won't be here in a couple of days."

Later while in Minnie's Country House five people around my age were hugging in Minnie's living room and crying their eyes out. I went into the corner and silently cried as well. It was at that moment I realized that Toontown isn't just a destination, but a place filled with memories, especially for Disney's younger guests.

This is most likely the first place a child will meet Mickey and Minnie or the place where they'll first ride a roller coaster, or truly believe in magic because they see that Mickey and Minnie actually have houses which makes them that much more real. Toontown is where my brother received his lifelong fear of Jafar and is where I fell in love with Rosetta. It's where I met some amazing Cast Members who let me ride the Barnstormer over and over again while researching an episode of the W.E.D.nesday Show!

It's a place where my friend Mariel worked. It's a place that allowed me to find my inner Cartoon Brent. I did an episode about it in April and Pap, someone who had never been to Disney, claimed it to be his favorite episode. That was the moment I realized I could even make my show entertaining to people who had no idea what I was talking about.

I love Mickey's Toontown Fair and I think the worst part about it closing is the fact that my future kids will never get to experience it when they visit the Magic Kingdom. I wish little Brent Jr. and Brentilda could visit Mickey's House, or ride the Barnstormer, their first roller coaster. Unfortunately that won't come true. But that's alright, because millions of people have made life long memories in this wonderful place.

Thank you Toontown for the memories. You will be missed.

Talk about your favorite memories in Mickey's Toontown Fair here.

February 4, 2011 - My friend, the dreamer

I'm a dreamer and a doer. The two go hand in hand if you want to find happiness. If you are simply a dreamer you may never get anywhere and if you are a doer but don't dream you will never get everything you ever wanted.

Depending on where you are in life you will always have different things that you want for you and today I would like to share with you a story about someone I know that inspired me even more.

One of my best friends in the world gave me a call last week and within a second I could tell she was choked up. Her boyfriend had moved earlier that day for a city six hours away due to a job opportunity. His dream job had presented itself to him and he knew he had to take the chance while he had it.

My friend, let's call her Jessie (since she has a resemblance to Jessie from Saved by the Bell), has lived the carefree life ever since I met her seven years ago. She always talked about how she would never settle down, and if she did it'd be years from now. She went off to live in countries all around the world and practically every state.

In fact, it seemed like every time I'd talk to her she was living somewhere else. However, life is often like a lake. Everything is calm and peaceful until someone throws a pebble in and everything changes. Jessie had her moment a few months ago when she began to date the guy mentioned earlier. She was no longer the go wherever the wind takes her type person, but she found a new reason to live. She found a brand new happiness and I couldn't be happier for her.

Let's get back to present day. So Jessie calls me and is upset because her boyfriend has moved and throughout the next few days I talked to her every day making sure everything was alright. The two of them never decided what would happen to them after the move occurred and I could tell she was unsure of what would happen next in her life.

While talking to her yesterday I realized she wasn't the same friend I had seven years ago, but a completely different person and not in a bad way at all. She just wanted new things in life and she had finally come to that realization that the one thing that would bring her happiness was someone who was no longer with her. While trying to help her decide what she should do she got another phone call and put me on hold.

About half an hour later I got a call from her and there was a new excitement in her voice. The ripple had spread out and her dreams had come true. The person who called her wasn't her boyfriend, but a school not too far away from him offering her a job interview.

So here she is. One of my best friends with a brand new outlook on life. She is now headed to do an interview to give herself the life she wants and truly deserves. Things may not work out, but at the same time, she's taking a risk. She's doing something about the dream which is something everyone should do.

Your dream may not consist of chasing love, writing a book, or learning how to speak Spanish. It may be simple or complex, but the fact of the matter is dreams can only come true if you have the courage to pursue them. So here's to my friend Jessie for chasing a dream! While I loved who she was seven years ago I truly love the friend I have today that is willing to do anything to give herself the happiness she truly deserves.

January 10, 2011 - New Additions

When www.fromscreentotheme.com was launched almost a year ago I knew I had an uphill battle ahead of me. Running a website is a lot more work than I ever dreamed it would be. However, we have grown from a five page website on February 2, 2010 to over 1,000 pages almost one year later!

At first people asked me if I would have other writers join me on the site, which I had considered, but only if the right circumstances happened. Well, those circumstances have occurred and I am very happy to introduce the newest addition to the site, From Screen to Theme's Days of the Week!

What is Days of the Week? Well, once a week a Guest Author will have a day assigned to them. When that day occurs their section of the site will appear with a brand new day for Disney fans all over the world to read and discover!

Today we launched our first day, Hidden Mickey Monday written by Guest Writer Alex McVetty! The other days are still being worked on for the time being, but you will see at least one more new Day of the Week some time later in this week!

I hope you are as excited about this new addition to the site as I am! Make sure you stop by Hidden Mickey Monday and check out Alex's first, of several, Hidden Mickeys that she is going to share with us!

January 7, 2011 - Experiencing new things

One of the greatest things about Disney is the fact that there are so many experiences you can have. Whether it's going to Disney for the first time, watching the World Showcase Players, riding California Screamin', or watching Snow White and the Seven dwarfs, there is a lot to do!

One of the things I have always wanted to do is board a Disney cruise ship (and not it's a small world) and sail around the Caribbean. Unfortunately, I have yet to have that experience, which is alright. The other day I had a brand new Disney experience that blew my mind.

What was it? Seeing a Disney cruise ship in person for the very first time! I have seen several television specials, pictures, etc. on Disney Cruises, but never have I seen a ship in person. So the other day when the Disney Dream came in I decided to head over and get some pictures for the website. I was thinking of it as a business trip more than anything else. Boy was I wrong.

The closer I got to the harbor, the more excited I got. While I was driving across a bridge and had my first glimpse of the Disney Dream (about four miles in the distance) I freaked out. I was having a brand new Disney experience which is huge for me. Spending every day at the park you don't get to experience that many firsts when it comes to Disney so this was a huge moment for me.

The closer I got, the more I squealed like a little girl and the more I longed for a Disney Cruise. Here's looking at that amazing first when it finally enters my life!

January 3, 2011 - Hitting new strides

I've always said that 2010 was a great year for me, From Screen to Theme, and www.fromscreentotheme.com, but 2011 has already brought on some great changes!

For instance, several people are taking advantage of our $11 for 11 days deal on the site (to the point that we may run out of books before day 11), we have several new additions (including new Guest Authors) coming to the site, and as of this morning, we now have six videos with over 1,000 views and at almost the exact same time we had our first video pass 10,000 views!

This got me thinking about an important question: What is your favorite video From Screen to Theme has released? Talk about it on our forums!

January 1, 2011 - What came in 2010?

Yesterday I took a look back at my own personal life and dreams and the year 2010, but today I am going to look back at my professional life.

Last year, I did two HUGE things. One was publish my first book, and the second was launch this very website, www.fromscreentotheme.com. I figured the best way to look back is to write a completely bias review of both on here!

First off, From Screen to Theme: A Guide to the Disney Animated Film References Found Throughout the Walt Disney World is one heck of a book! This book will go places as far as it's subtitle! And that's pretty far! Now if you haven't read it, I have to say, you MUST read it! It's hands down the best book I have ever written. I can say that with complete confidence.

As for www.fromscreentotheme.com, I am extremely proud of how far the site has come. The day it launched there were four things. A welcome page (which had almost nothing on it), an introduction page (which has practically stayed the same), and a video page which had my Animation Courtyard video on it. Not a lot was there. Since then we have added almost 1,000 individual pages to the site (no joke) and update on a daily basis. In my personal opinion, www.fromscreentotheme.com is the best Disney based website to launch in 2010 (I say that so I can quote it later on. he he he)!

Thank you to everyone who has supported me the last year! I have some GIGANTIC plans for books and the site in 2011 so stay tuned!

December 31, 2010 - Looking back at 2010

THE END IS NEAR!

The end of 2010 that is. I've never been one for the big celebrations on New Year's Eve. I usually sit back and pop in my favorite film of the year and wait for the new year to begin. One year ago I was sitting around getting ready to watch my favorite film of 2009, UP and I took some time to look back on the year.

2009 had so many great things occur. The big two were the creation of the W.E.D.nesday Show! and the fact that I had submitted the complete book to the publishers. I never thought 2010 would beat the high I felt leaving 2009, but after taking some time to sit back and think about 2010, I realized that 2010 really kicked 2009's butt.

So many big changes occurred this year. First off we went 52 straight weeks of W.E.D.nesday Shows without missing a single week! That is something I am extremely proud of. Not a lot of podcasters can say that they can go every week of a year without missing one to put on a show that has so much effort put into it.

Second off, there was the big surprise of moving to Florida. Almost six years ago to the day I moved back to Wisconsin after finishing my Walt Disney World College Program with thoughts of someday returning always being in the back of my mind. This year I lived out my dream and moved back to Florida. I'm really glad I went back to Wisconsin for those six years. I got my Educator's license, became friends with two families that now feel like an extension of my own family, invented the Dodge Cup, and who could forget the birth of mowin'?

The big thing that happened this year was the release of From Screen to Theme and the launch of www.fromscreentotheme.com. When I was a kid I always had a dream of some day writing a book and this year that dream became a reality. True, book sales aren't going as well as I was expecting them to, but I lived out a childhood dream, which is something not everyone can say.

With every accomplishment comes something else. Something much greater than what happened. In my case it is a group of people. Some of them are family, some are friends, and some I have never met in person. 2010 would never be what it was if it wasn't for people believing in me and standing by me through thick and thin so thank you for one of the greatest, if not, THE greatest years of my life. I hope 2011 brings life changes that are great for every one of you.

While heading into the new year remember one thing: "Anything can happen if you let it..."

December 25, 2010 - Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Christmas is one of my favorite times of the year. There is so much joy in the world and everyone tends to be a little nicer to others (unless you work in retail, then you probably have no idea what I'm talking about).

Christmas in Disney is something special itself. There are so many wonderful Disney holiday traditions you can have. Whether it's watching Mickey's Christmas Carol or going to Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party, there is something Disney that everyone can do in their own homes or in the Disney parks around the world.

However, this isn't a blog about Disney parks, but about giving! You see for months now I have been working on a small, well, rather large, project for you the reader. It's called A Closer Look! I know most of you have seen it before, but usually I release one or two Closer Looks every few days, but I figured it's Christmas and you deserve something special.

So today I have released six, that's right SIX, Closer Looks! Which ones? Well, looking towards the New Year I realized that pretty soon Mickey's Toontown Fair will no longer be with us, so I should cover them now when I have a chance. So stop by A Closer Look to read up on Mickey's Country House, Minnie's Country House, Donald's Boat, Toon Park, and of course, The Barnstormer! In addition to these six, I will be working on the rest of Toontown and should have it fully uploaded by the end of the week!

Merry Christmas everyone! I hope you enjoy!

December 13, 2010 - The final day with the Kids

Today the kids and their parents left. A few weeks ago on the W.E.D.nesday Show! I talked about my fave five rite of passage moments in Disney and my number one was going to Disney World with kids you love that have never been before.

I didn't expect it to be as great as it was. This past weekend could be the greatest weekend I have ever spent in Disney (possibly more than last year when I went in the Cinderella Suite, ate on the set of Lights, Motors, Action!, and was in the parade). I know. That's saying quite a bit.

But it was all worth seeing the reaction of watching the kids see the Tree of Life the first time, or put their hands up on Splash Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. It was like going to Disney for the first time all over again, but this time I'll actually remember it this time around.

Thanks Disney for making such a magical place, but more importantly, thanks to my kids and especially their parents for coming down and giving me so many new memories!

December 12, 2010 - Day Three with Kids!

Today was technically the last day I had with the kids in the park, although tomorrow I'll be headed to their hotel early in the morning to have breakfast with them before the Magical Express takes them away.

In the past I have talked about how Disney can be different on every trip due to the people you are with. While one person you're with might want to ride all the big thrill rides over and over, another may want to ride Carousel of Progress and the Enchanted Tiki Room continuously. However, the great thing about Disney is it's not just about the rides, but the experience.

Today was another great day. We spent half an hour before visiting an attraction at Disney's Animal Kingdom. The kids, and their parents, were fascinated with the Tree of Life so we took our time observing that before headed off for the big attractions.

Throughout the whole day we had so much fun watching Festival of the Lion King, riding Expedition: Everest, or simply playing a game of, "Don't say 'What?'" at Pizzafari. When we returned to the hotel later on that day we played another game of laser tag with our Buzz Lightyear guns and it was perfect. It was a group of people ranging from kids, to best friends, to parents, running around the Toy Story section of All-Star Movies and just enjoying our time together.

At that moment you realize that besides the fact that there are hundreds of attractions, restaurants, shops, and other experiences throughout Walt Disney World, no one else there is having that same moment at that time. That's what Disney is all about. It's not all about going on Test Track or eating at Chef Mickey's, but it's all about experiencing a magical world with people you love.

December 11, 2010 - Day Two with Kids!

What a great day!

So today we headed over to the Magic Kingdom for the second of only three days in the park with the kids and it topped yesterday (which is hard to do)! 

My brother and I started off the day by rushing over to Peter Pan and getting Fastpasses for everyone before they got to the park. We then journeyed over to Tom Sawyer's Island to search for paintbrushes. Thankfully only two families had been on the island so far during the day and when my brother and I split up we found one within three minutes and got 11 Fastpasses for both Splash and Big Thunder Mountain!

We then ate at the Crystal Palace, which was fun, but we didn't have any monumental moments with the characters like we did yesterday. The fun really took off after that. We rushed over and got more Fastpasses for Space Mountain and then the kids drove their very first cars on the Speedway. Luckily, the six year old and I got a super fast car and were passing everyone, laughing hysterically, and yelling to the passengers in the cars we were about to pass.

From there we hit up the Peoplemover, Peter Pan, PhilharMagic, and several other rides. The first of the two biggest moments of the day occurred while riding Splash Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain. While riding the attractions we tried to convince the kids that they should put their hands up. During Splash Mountain they used their mother as an excuse saying she wouldn't let them do it. However, when Big Thunder came around, the eight year old put it up and had a face of pure excitement while facing this brand new danger.

Later in the day the six year old, my brother, and grandfather decided to ride Splash Mountain when we saw it was a walk on. While on the ride I tried to convince him to put his hands up once more. He said he would for the first three drops, but not the final one. As each hill passed, he slowly got more confidence and while approaching the final hill he made an agreement with us. He'd put his hands up if we put ours up. We all put our hands up, got soaking wet, and the six year old and I had to buy new pants due to wetting ours.

The other moment that stands out was after getting off of Buzz Lightyear. The eight year old desperately wanted a Buzz Lightyear gun and, being one of the most generous kids ever, said, I'll buy it and give it to you so you can always look at it and think of your best friend. I told him I'd rather have him have a souvenir than use the money he's been saving. So him and his brother pooled their money together and bought one for each of them, and three more for two of my brothers and I.

When returning to their resort we played "laser tag" in the Herbie and 101 Dalmatian sections of the resort.

Overall, today was a great day, if not one of the greatest days ever. Not just in Disney. Everyone has been right: bringing a child you love to Disney is one of the greatest things ever!

December 10, 2010 - Day One with Kids!

A lot of people out there know about my past experience with children, but here's a summary leading up to today's blog.

I have been working with children for the past ten  years in one way or another, but during that time four children have become especially close to me. Two of which I was a "manny" for for a little over two years, and the others are family friends that I have known since the oldest one was about six months old.

Since the last two kids have been two and one we have been talking about going to Walt Disney World together some day. I always thought it was a far off dream that may never become a reality, but today it finally did! My family and Grandpa flew down yesterday, while the two boys and their parents flew down today.

This morning my family woke up bright and early with the intention of getting Fastpasses for Soarin', Test Track, and Mission:SPACE and I'm happy to say we succeeded. We met up with the kids around 1 at All-Star Movies and were then off to Epcot.

While at Epcot we got everything done. First off, nothing is cooler than riding an attraction in Disney with a kid who has never ridden any sort of ride in their life. The younger child was freaking out at everything while riding Spaceship Earth (his first Disney attraction ever). Whether it was the audio-animatronics, the interactive experience during the descent, or the question of whether or not the horse on the attraction was made with real horse skin, the day started out great!

We then made our way over to The Seas with Nemo and Friends, Soarin', Journey Into Your Imagination, World Showcase, and Test Track.

Later on that day we had dinner reservations over at Chef Mickey's and were luckily the last people in the restaurant. This was where the greatest character interaction took place. While Minnie came up to our table she kissed the younger kid on the head. The older one then insisted that Minnie not kiss him. While walking away, the younger one was staring lovingly after her until she was out of sight.

About a half hour later we were the last guests in our area of the restaurant and Mickey came over and sat down with us for about five minutes. During that time my brother shared some unpleasant news with Mickey. "Mickey, just to let you know, Minnie kissed that guy down there." Mickey was livid and started staring the kid down. Eventually Mickey was so upset he stormed out of the room and returned a few minutes later with Minnie.

Once in the room he started pointing at Minnie and then the kid as if saying, "Are the two of you together now?" Minnie hid behind her hands from her now former love and Mickey got even more upset to the point t hat he stood between the only two females in our party and repeatedly kissed them as if saying, "You leave me and I'll go find myself some new ladies." This didn't bother Minnie at all. She got the younger man she's been looking for.

After about five minutes the two eventually made up and walked away together, but not before Minnie could sneak in a "call me" signal to the six year old.

Overall, today was hands down one of the greatest days I've ever had in the park and I can't wait to see what tomorrow has in store. Stop by tomorrow to learn all about it!

December 7, 2010 - MouseVent

Merry MouseVent everyone! I know a lot of you know that this year I participated in the newest Holiday Craze, MouseVent! To go along with the recording I did for Mousevent, I have posted pictures, and answers to all of the trivia questions here. I hope you enjoy!

First off, for those of you who want the trivia questions one more time they are:
1) In addition to providing the voice of Hugo in The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Jason Alexander lent his voice to a current Walt Disney World attraction. Can you name that attraction?

2) Can you name the short cartoon released in 1947 featuring Donald and Goofy's trip to the desert?

3) The Lion King is one of two Disney full length animated feature films to feature an all animal cast. Can you name the other film?

4) Where in Walt Disney World can you find Donald playing tennis with his three nephews?/p>

  
 
    
A Closer Look at the Bus:
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
 
      
      
      
      
      
      

Answers to the Trivia Questions:

1) Jason Alexander can be heard in "it's tough to be a bug" where he has lent his voice to one of the bugs!

2) The 1947 cartoon starring Donald and Goofy in the desert is called, "Crazy with the Heat."

3) The Lion King and Robin Hood are the only two Disney full length animated feature films to feature an all animal cast. If you were thinking Bambi, you were almost right. While all the characters seen in the film are animals, the villain of the film is the unseen "man."

4) In addition to finding Donald playing hockey with Huey, Dewey, and Louie, you can also find these four playing Tennis over at All-Star Sports in the Tennis section of the resort.

November 24, 2010 - Tangled

There's been a lot of hype building up to today's release of Tangled. And why wouldn't there be? Holding the honor of being Disney's 50th full length animated feature film should get a lot of hype!

However, what more people have focused on is the name change. The film was originally named Rapunzel, after the heroine in the film. When The Princess and the Frog didn't attract as many viewers as Disney was hoping, they believed it was due to the fact that the word Princess was in the title and decided to do something about the title for Rapunzel as well.

So the name Tangled was announced and a lot of people I know were up in arms about the name change. How could Disney try to make a classic fairy tale about a girl with unbelievably long hair focus towards a male audience?

The amazing thing is, Disney knocked this movie out of the park in my opinion. Not only was Flynn a major part of the film, but he really helped make the film what it is. The film has everything: heart, humor, action, dreams, great characters, sidekicks, and villains!

 

Below are some SPOILERS! So if you don't want to know what occurs in the film, you should stop reading now.

 

One of the amazing things about the film is how it starts out. Unlike most Disney fairy tales, we don't begin with "Once Upon a Time" since the story is actually being told from Flynn's point of view. Not only that, within 30 seconds of the film, he let's us in on a little secret. He's going to die.

Flynn could be my new favorite Disney prince. Let me restate that, he IS my new favorite Disney prince. Much like Aladdin, he's got a sad back story (orphan boy that needs to steal to survive), but unlike Aladdin, Flynn just doesn't seem to care about others at all. Aladdin may have made sure those two starving children got bread, but Flynn abandons his two friends so he can take the treasure.

While the story is meant to focus on Rapunzel, there is no way this film would be successful without Flynn. Or Mother Gothel for that matter.

Now Mother Gothel is a typical Disney villain. She wants something and will do whatever she can do to keep it. In this case, it's Rapunzel's magical hair which helps make Mother Gothel stay young. If you watch the film from Rapunzel's point of view, and not as an outsider's point of view, you really can see why Rapunzel would trust this lady.

First off, she has convinced her that the magical hair she possesses will be wanted by all and because of this, she wants to protect Rapunzel from these thieves who would attempt to take it. In addition to that, she can sing! And not only sing, but she can sing convincing songs that lets her daughter know that "Mother knows best." While she doesn't go around killing anyone in the film, she uses her brains to get what she wants which makes her an amazing villain.

The sidekicks in the film are hilarious. Horses have been done several times before in Disney films, but there's never been a horse who is so set on bringing honor to the kingdom by capturing the most wanted thief. Yes, there are parts of him that remind me of Buck in Home on the Range, but in this case, Maximus isn't selfish, but determined to catch the thief just to restore order to the kingdom.

In addition to Maximus there is that lovable chameleon Paschal. Paschal is not only hilarious, but one of the most genuine Disney characters ever in my opinion. He seems to truly love Rapunzel and, while silly at times, always makes sure that his best friend's safety comes before everything else.

Rapunzel is not your average Disney princess. In fact, she really feels like a girl. She may hit a guy with a frying pan, but that doesn't stop her from hiding in the corner the next second out of fear of the intruder. Watching her escape the tower is one of the funniest scenes in the film. It goes from her high of being out of the tower, to her cowering in the corner for disobeying her mother, to being excited about touching grass, to crying about how her mother is going to kill her, to her running through the hills, to her knowing that she is the worst daughter ever. She feels real.

In fact, all of the characters have a very realistic quality to them as does the story itself. While there have been many Disney princess films in the past, Tangled may actually be my new number one. I'll have to see it again to come to my final conclusion, but it definitely is the best Disney film to come out in over ten years in my opinion!

November 18, 2010 - Looking Back...

As most of us know, November 18th is an important day in the history of the Disney Company. It is the day Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse were "born." 72 years ago today Steamboat Willie made its debut and it changed the world forever.

7 years ago today, November 18, 2003, my life was changing too. 7 years ago, to the minute, I was sitting in a room with a Walt Disney World representative that was trying to determine if working at Walt Disney World would be a good fit for me. Luckily, he thought it was and I would join the Walt Disney World College Program two months later and have one of the greatest years of my life!

Last year a brand new milestone occurred on November 18, 2009 for me. There was a group of about ten people sitting in a chat room on a W.E.D.nesday night waiting for me to spill the beans. One year ago today I finally announced what my Disney book was all about. In 2003 and 2009 I was extremely nervous that I wouldn't make it into the College Program, or that this group of strangers that were merely WEDacquaintances would think my idea for From Screen to Theme would be stupid.

Thank you not thinking it was stupid! And if you thought it was, thank you for lying!

October 23, 2010 - Viewer Suggested Segment coming soon!

I've said it before, and I'll say it again, www.fromscreentotheme.com is meant to be as interactive as possible for the fans of the site. With this in mind, I really do take into consideration ever idea that comes my way and I have decided to act upon one of the new ideas beginning right NOW!

A few weeks ago someone wrote to me suggesting an, "Ask Brent" segment of the website. Their idea was anyone and everyone could write me emails about anything Disney and the following week I would answer four or five questions on a weekly segment. I wasn't sure how well this would go over, but I still thought about it somewhat. Then a few days later, another person wrote to me saying I should do an "Ask Brent" segment and again, I wondered about the popularity and kind of kept it in the back of my head.

Well, yet another person wrote to me asking for an "Ask Brent" segment and I realized that the fans of the site are teaming up against me until I start this segment of the website. I thought long and hard and realized that since so many people are asking for this, I will gladly start doing a weekly segment right here on my blog called, "Ask Brent."

Every Saturday I will post a blog answer any questions you have about Disney! The more you ask, the more we can all learn together! I will do my best to answer four or five questions at the start of this new segment and if we get any more than that, the remaining questions will be put on hold until the following week. If my mailbox gets packed with questions, then I will begin answering more questions on a regular basis. So, if you have any questions for me, send an email with your question, name, and hometown to Brent@fromscreentotheme.com and maybe you'll see the answer to your question next Saturday!

October 21, 2010 - The future of the website!

As most of you know, www.fromscreentotheme.com has been getting tons of updates and additions over the last week and I wanted to explain where I'm going with the site and what you can expect more of in the future.

One of the big projects I'm going to start working on is having all archived episodes of the W.E.D.nesday show! take place right here on this site. That way you can watch the video and afterwards you can scroll down and see pictures of some of the things we talked about. This came to me while trying to figure out where on Earth I could put pictures of the Hidden Mickey's we talked about on last night's episode. So slowly over time, expect to see more past episodes with their own personal page, and hopefully, all future shows as well!

A Closer Look has been a huge addition to the website and isn't even close to being complete yet, but expect a new Closer Look added to the website on an almost daily basis! We are almost done with all the lands for the four parks in Walt Disney World and from here we will start doing individual attractions, restaurants, shops, and more! If you would like to review any specific area, shop, restaurant, or attraction, please send your review to Brent@fromscreentotheme.com!

Speaking of sending things in, I've always wanted to have interaction with everyone that visits the website or watches the show. That's actually the main reason the show is still a live show and not prerecorded. Last week we launched a new section on the site that gives you a chance to share your pictures from the Disney parks, cruise lines, or maybe even Disney stores! Just simply send in an email with the title, "Picture of the Day" and your picture will be added to the list to eventually make it on the website! I've already received about twenty pictures so make sure you send in yours quickly so you can see it soon and have bragging rights for a day!

Other than that, I do have a few "secret projects" that are being worked on, and will announce those in the future. In the meantime, I hope you are enjoying all of the new changes going on here at the website. If there is anything you love and want to see more of, please send me an email to let me know and I'll do my best to get more of it up on the website.

I hope everyone is having a great day!

October 18, 2010 - Made it on the Disney website!

Recently one of my friends shared with me a submission he made to the Disney Memories website that Disney recently launched. Well, it looks like his submission made it in! Check it out:

Toy Story Magic

September 19, 2010 - Yar, it be Talk Like a Pirate Day

I have always been a HUGE fan of pirates, long before the pirate craze hit the country back in 2003 when Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl hit theatres.

In honor of today being Talk Like a Pirate Day, I decided to list my five favorite pirates in Disney history. If ye not reading any further, ye be walking the plank!

5) B.E.N. from Treasure Planet. Voiced by Martin Short, B.E.N. is a hilarious character in an often overlooked Disney film. A lot of pirates have lost their mind, but no one has literally lost it like B.E.N. Not only that, at one point during the film he even sings, "Yo, ho, yo, ho, a pirate's life for me!"

4) The Auctioneer from Pirates of the Caribbean. While the Auctioneer doesn't play a major role in a Disney film, he is the main attraction in the classic attraction, Pirates of the Caribbean. I have often wondered what this attraction would be like if there was no auctioneer, and the only solution I can come up with is: much worse.

3) Blackbeard from Blackbeard's Ghost. When a college track coach stumbles across a spell that brings the ghost of Blackbeard back to life he gets more than he bargained for! The reason I love Blackbeard the Pirate in Blackbeard's Ghost is due to his hilarious antics throughout the film. In order to finally cross over to the other side, Blackbeard must achieve one act of kindness. He takes it upon himself to help his descendants keep their inn. How does he help them? By cheating in a track meet of course!

2) Captain Jack Sparrow. Did you really think we could talk about Disney pirates without mentioning him? When it seemed that pirate films were completely gone by the wayside, Captain Jack Sparrow came in and not only showed us what a pirate's life was, but he redefined what a pirate was. While most pirates up to this point seemed brave and bloodthirsty, Jack showed that pirates can also be quite crazy (that could be because the rum was gone though).

1) Captain Hook. The reason I love Captain Hook is he doesn't fit the stereotypical pirate mold. He may be evil, but he isn't perfect like so many other pirates in history are. In fact, he is scared of crocodiles and his first mate is a bumbling fool!

I hope you enjoyed taking a look at my favorite Disney pirates, but I'd love to hear what your favorites are as well! So send me your five favorite and we will add it to this section of the website. Send your picks to Brent@fromscreentotheme.com!

September 17, 2010 - Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party

It's official! I've got my tickets to Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party!

The last time I attended this party I stopped by Wal-Mart and spent ten bucks on various items to make one killer costume. I bought a red shirt for about four dollars, some baggy sweatpants for 2, a pair of cheap sunglasses in the dollar section, a winter hat for a dollar, and spent another dollar on white tape.

I used the tape to make stripes on my red shirt and red winter hat, poked the lenses out of my sunglasses, and realized there was still something missing. So I went out and spent another five dollars on a nice brown cane and voila! I was Waldo (see the picture below)!

While headed over to the party my roommate Kyle pointed out that no one would understand my costume and it wouldn't be that big of a hit, but he soon took it back. While walking through the Magic Kingdom we had people taking pictures with me, people exclaiming, "WALDO! I've been looking for you for years!", and I had a blast hiding in crowds while my friends took pictures so we could "Find Waldo" after our pictures were developed.

I had such a great time during the party that after getting my tickets for this years party, I realized I needed to one up myself, but really have no idea how. I'm giving myself a few guidelines. I can't spend more than $5, but can use all the cardboard and construction paper I currently own to help make my costume a reality.

I think dressing up as a Toy Story Midway Mania ride vehicle would be really cool, but so would being a giant fastpass, or a giant copy of From Screen to Theme. Hmm. If you have any ideas you know what to do. Send me an email: Brent@fromscreentotheme.com.

                                                          

August 7, 2010 - The end of a streak

Today is a great day! I'm heading back to visit my family in preparation for our annual family badminton tournament called, The Golden Shuttlecock Tournament: Quest for the Dodge Cup. Unfortunately with the fun times with the family a sad thing will be occurring. For the past 159 days I have stepped foot in a Disney park somewhere in the United States. Each day was great and filled with a lot of fun, but my streak is coming to an end today. In honor of my streak, the wonderful Guest Relation cast members at Disney's Hollywood Studios gave me this Magical Moment certificate:

I'll see you on August 24th Walt Disney World and I swear I will last for at least 160 days in a row in the future!

August 5, 2010 - A visit to Via Napoli

Yesterday I stopped by Epcot to experience their newest dining experience over in the Italy pavilion, Via Napoli. A lot of people know that I love pizza. I could eat pizza, chicken, and ice cream all day every day and live a perfectly happy life.

When I entered Via Napoli I was somewhat hesitant about how my love of pizza would live up to this sit down restaurant (I'm usually more of a quick service person).

The restaurant itself was unbelievable!  The story line consists of a boy who leaves home, discovers the secret of making great pizza from Naples, and then returns home to turn his family's stables into a new pizza place. (See Pictures below)

I decided that since Via Napoli's specialty is pizza, I MUST have the pizza. I ordered the personalized Piccante pizza which consisted of Italian spicy sausage, broccoli-rabe, tomato, and mozzarella all baked within one of the restaurants signature wood-fired ovens. I'm no food critic, but all I can say is delicious! The restaurant had a great atmosphere, the pizza was well worth the wait, and the cast members, as always, went above and beyond!

Make sure you stop by on your next visit and make your dining reservation now because this place will most likely fill up in advance to your trip!

July 11, 2010 - Operation:Ball Pit

Lately on my Facebook and Twitter accounts I have been posting updates about Opeartion:Ball Pit. I have been receiving several emails asking what exactly Operation:Ball Pit is, so that's what I am going to explain to you today.

While at the parks a few weeks ago I was watching Block Party Bash and caught two of the Block Party Bash balls and a light bulb went off in my head. Since I go to the park every day, I may as well swing by Disney's Hollywood Studios around 3, collect some Block Party Bash balls, and then continue doing what I had planned on doing that day.

So I began to study the parade route trying to figure out where the best place to get the most balls were while not taking too many balls away from the children in the area. The first spot was the spot I typically watched the parade from so I stuck with it, but I had never watched Block Party Bash from it's second party zone. After trying a few spots out I figured out where the best spot was and continued to go there every day.

I was then reminded by a friend that after the parade goes backstage they used to shoot balls over the fence, but they had stopped doing that. I actually had experienced this wonderful occasion about a year ago. After he had reminded me about this I decided to follow the parade back there the next day and sure enough, they started shooting them over the fence again!

So what is my ultimate goal by collecting all of these Block Party Bash balls? To make a ball pit! Why? I just think it'd be cool/funny to tell people that I have a giant ball pit filled with just Block Party Bash balls. Right now I'm up to 51 Block Party Bash balls (which allows both of my feet to be completely submerged).

I know it will take a while to get to the entire ball pit status, but I figured if I'm going to the park every day, I may as well try to think of something no one else has done before to keep myself busy.

I've got to go! Block Party Bash is starting in an hour!

July 2, 2010 - Crazy Challenge

A while back I wrote asking people if they could submit me some challenges they thought would be fun to conquer in Walt Disney World. Unfortunately, no one wrote in so I called one of my other Disney loving friends to ask his opinion.

What happened next was something insane. We spent a good hour to two hours coming up with some of the craziest challenges you could think of while in Walt Disney World. Some are simple, while others are borderline impossible.

Of course our conversation got me thinking about how I can conquer each of our challenges coming up and I realized telling people on a blog that I did these things would be fun, but not everyone would believe me. So starting in the very near future I will be releasing a new video segment called, "Brent's Crazy Challenges."

How crazy are these going to be? Well, let's say one consists of riding every horse on Cinderella's Golden Carousel (I know! I know! It's now Prince Charming's Regal Carousel) in a single day. Another one is almost impossible, but I've been doing tons of research on how to make it work and I think it may be possible.

What is it you ask? The challenge of all challenges is going on every single water slide on Walt Disney World property in a single day. This consists of both water parks and every slide at a resort. A few of the obstacles are the fact that all slides on property are only open during certain portions of the day. In addition to that, two slides on property require room key cards in order to even enter the area.

What can you the reader do? Well, I would LOVE someone to accompany me on one of these challenges and help me record the craziness that will be occurring. If you would like to join me, send me an email: Brent@fromscreentotheme.com. If you have any more challenges you think I should attempt please send me an email as well!

June 21, 2010 - In the news

I was featured in a newspaper back home! Read the full article here:

Disney Man Hopes Disney Dreams Come True

June 17, 2010 - Toy Story 3

I just got back from the midnight showing of Toy Story 3 and absolutely loved it!

Without giving away what happens I'll say a few things. First off, the Pixar short at the beginning of the film was amazing! It was called Day and Night and was probably one of the most creative short cartoons Pixar has released so far.

As for the film itself I just want to point out a few things that you should look for. The number on the train at the start of the film has a nod to Toy Story. Can you figure it out?

There are several references to the original films at the beginning of the film and throughout the film to watch out for and I'm sure all you hardcore Toy Story fans will catch on to most (if not all) of them.

What is really amazing is Pixar has now released 11 straight great films (something practically unheard of in the film business). The film has everything. It is a great way to end the Toy Story trilogy. Make sure you see the film as soon as possible to figure out what crazy adventures Woody, Buzz, Rex, Hamm, the Potato Heads, and all your other favorite toys get into this time around!

June 15, 2010 - Simply put.

No matter how big or small they are: Follow your dreams.

June 4, 2010 - Saying goodbye to an old friend

The Disney parks are constantly changing. There is no doubt about that. Every time an attraction, restaurant, show, etc. closes there are always those that are deeply saddened by the loss of something they hold close to their heart.

Over the years I have seen several different things change, but I have never felt so connected to something closing as I do with Wishes: A Magical Gathering of Disney Dreams, which will have its final show tonight until the summer is over.

Now I know what you are thinking: "I could go for a burger right now." For those of you not thinking of food though are probably yelling at me saying, "It's coming back you fool!" While that is true, I still think it will be weird not seeing a show that I have claimed as my own disappear.

Let's travel back to 2004. I had just gotten on the Walt Disney World College Program and there was one thing for certain: I was not a huge fireworks person. Typically when my family came to the parks we didn't watch the fireworks. I was bored with fireworks every 4th of July, and I saw fireworks time as a chance to hop on a ride while the lines were shorter.

Then, however, Wishes entered my life. Wishes had only been running for a month or two at the time and I had already heard from some people that it was an amazing show. While being trained my manager told me that I had a 12 minute break when Wishes was on that night so I could watch this nighttime spectacular.

There was something so personal about the show that I really connected to. I don't know if it's because I've always been a dreamer and wished upon stars, but that night I claimed the show as my own.

As the months passed, I talked to a few of the cast members that set up Wishes every day and they pointed out the spot in the park where Wishes was meant to be watched. I began to watch the show from that spot every chance I got to the point where some friends and Cast Members began to refer to it as Brent's Spot.

On my last night of the college program, I made sure that I watched the fireworks one last time from my spot and every trip after, you'd always know where to find me when Jiminy Cricket and the Blue Fairy came over the speakers.

Tonight I will be watching from my spot one final time to say goodbye to an old friend. I know Wishes will be back again some day, but until then we will always remember, "Wishes can come true. If you believe in them with all your heart."

April 26, 2010 - What's going on with the site?

So what's going on with www.fromscreentotheme.com? Quite a bit actually!

This site was intended to keep you, the fan, happy and I hope so far we are doing a good job! From now on, new trivia will be added to the site every Sunday night! Make sure you stop by either Sunday night or any time after that to get a chance to test your Disney knowledge!

In addition to that I am in the middle of editing about five different videos for the site. Some are similar to the Pooh's Playful Spot video, while others focus around answering your questions on what my Top 5 Favorite _____ are, and another one is to give viewers a closer look at what From Screen to Theme, the book, is all about!

Due to the popularity of the new Where in the World? game, I will be adding a new one in the very near future as well!

In addition to all these exciting additions to the website, there are also some exciting things happening outside of the internet world. For instance, in two weeks From Screen to Theme will be holding it's first official meet up, but it won't be any regular meet up. I have decided to combine my new loves, Disney and The Amazing Race, and make a From Screen to Theme Race around the Magic Kingdom. Right now we have a few teams signed up and some volunteers as well! If you are interested in either participating or volunteering and are available on May 11, 2010, please contact me by sending an email to BrentDodge@fromscreentotheme.com.

There will be some more exciting news announced in the coming weeks so make sure you continue to stop by the site!

April 19,2010 - Some new challenges

There are several different challenges that people make up while in Walt Disney World. For instance there is the "Four Park Challenge" which consists of visiting each park in a single day. I'm not really sure why this is considered a "challenge" since it is extremely easy to do.

After I finished my College Program, one of my friends and I came up with a challenge that was a very tough challenge. Ride every attraction and watch every show/parade/fireworks show/etc. in all four parks in four days. This was a real challenge. We barely pulled it off, but I was happy to say that we did pull it off.

There are other challenges such as the "Hands Up" challenge on Splash Mountain. This one consists of getting in and out of the log with your hands up and never putting your hands down throughout the entire attraction. The tough part is your arms do get tired after a while and it's tough getting out of the log without using your hands.

Over at Epcot there is the "Drinking around the World" and "Eating around the World" challenges. In these you have to either drink or eat something that is unique to each country in World Showcase without getting sick.

I've been trying to figure out some new challenges to conquer and I am turning to you, the reader, to help me figure out what new challenge I should try to attempt. So send me an email over at BrentDodge@Fromscreentotheme.com with a suggestion for a new challenge or one I haven't heard of. I will do my best to videotape the challenge. Who knows, maybe your new challenge will catch on throughout the Disney community and you will gain fame and fortune?

April 18,2010 - Changes to the website

I would like to start off by apologizing for the lack of updates on this blog recently. With the release of From Screen to Theme, working on The W.E.D.nesday Show!, and being near Walt Disney World it has been hard to keep on top of this as well.

While in the parks lately I have been thinking of new ways to keep this website interesting. For instance, in the very near future a new game will be added that will challenge your attention to detail. I have also added a new video that takes a closer look at the fun finds in Pooh's Playful Spot. I plan on doing a lot more of these videos. One is actually in the process of being edited!

In addition to the videos, keep stopping by the Updates section along with the Trivia section. These two spots are being updated on a more regular basis.

Please let me know what you like, and don't like, about the website. This website was created to give you a dose of Disney while away from the parks and I will do my best to keep doing that, but your feedback will help me figure out which direction to go in.

Thanks for reading this brief blog and I will do my best to update in the future! And, if you have any suggestions for what you'd like to read about in the blog, please send an email to BrentDodge@fromscreentotheme.com

February 24, 2010 - My Five Favorite Animated Film References

A lot of people have been asking me what my favorite references are in the book, and I must say, it's extremely difficult to narrow it down to five from hundreds. Although these will most likely change on an almost daily basis, here are my top five Disney Animated Film references found throughout the Walt Disney World Resort:

Number 5: "Squeaky, uh, squeak, sqeaker, squeakin"

While in the Magic of Disney Animation building stop by the game, Digital Ink and Paint. This game is hosted by my favorite dimwitted sidekick, Kronk from The Emperor's New Groove!

Number 4: "I Only Count 100?"

Although not hidden, it definitely is a cool reference! While at All-Star Movies, stop by the 101 Dalmatians section of the resort. The two main figures in this section are Pongo and Perdita and if you look at the buildings you can find several puppies running through film strips. However, if you count the puppies you will realize there are only 98 (I have counted several times just to quadruple check)! These 98 plus Pongo and Perdita take you to an even 100. Where is number 101? On your next visit explore the area to find out (Don't worry, he isn't hard to find)!

Number 3: "Pablo the what?"

I love when Disney puts references to obscure Disney characters around the World. Pablo the Penguin (from The Three Caballeros) can be found in the main room of World of Disney in Downtown Disney. Where exactly? I guess you'll have to wait until From Screen to Theme is released to find out!

Number 2: "Baloo Me Away"

Each of the Kali River Rapids rafts has a different clever name written on their bumper. One of them is named, "Baloo Me Away," a nice little nod to one of my favorite characters from "The Jungle Book."

Number 1: "It All Started with Two Mice"

On the flight float of the Disney Dreams Come True Parade you can find Bernard and Bianca right behind Dumbo and just below Aladdin. Although not extremely hidden, this reference was one of the original references that caused me to begin looking for film references throughout Walt Disney World.

February 15, 2010 - How did I discover the references in the book?

Every time I tell people the premise of my book they almost always ask the same question: "How did you discover the references within the book?"

The references in the From Screen to Theme series were all discovered through my own observations, or those of people I have talked with. Some of the references in the books are extremely obvious. For instance, Peter Pan's Flight is a reference to Peter Pan!

Not all the references in the parks were that obvious though. Talking with friends and Cast Members really helped in my search for references to different Disney films. Some people knew a lot about the area we were in, while some knew almost nothing. Every time I found a reference that was more obscure, I would run it by at least two other people before putting it in the final book.

This was also true with the fun facts you will find in the books. Each fun fact in the book has been verified by at least three cast members, usually ones that I called on the phone that had a list of actual facts by their sides.

There are hundreds of references to different Disney films found throughout the From Screen to Theme book series, and I can guarantee I missed some in my search. The Disney parks are changing on a daily basis and you never know what new references may arrive tomorrow and which ones will disappear.

Due to the changes in the parks, I made sure to only include references that were in the parks for at least nine months and appear to call the Disney parks their home for years to come. Some exceptions to this are references in Mickey's Toontown Fair and the back room of Exposition Hall. While these two areas will be disappearing in the very near future, I still wanted to give readers that were in WDW before the changes a chance to find these fun finds!

What are my favorite references? Stop by in a few days to find out!

February 6, 2010 - Hello, and welcome to my first blog entry!

I decided for this first entry I would give you a little bit of background on who I am and how the book, website, and podcast came into existence.

My name is Brent Dodge and I'm from Delafield, Wisconsin. I have been traveling to Walt Disney World with my family almost every year since I was one. When I was three I had two dreams. The first was to someday work at this magical place. The other was to someday own Herbie the Love Bug.

While in college I applied for the Walt Disney World College Program on November 18, 2003 (Mickey Mouse's 75th birthday). I was accepted into the program and worked as a custodian in Fantasyland. I had so much fun the first eight months I was there that I decided to extend my program so it would last from January of 2004 through January of 2005.

While working in Fantasyland one day, a guest approached me with a complex question: Where could he find every reference to Peter Pan found throughout Walt Disney World? After talking with the man for about fifteen minutes to half an hour he seemed satisfied that he would have no problem finding the boy that would never grow up.

The final thing the guest told me was, "There really should be a book out there about this." Being the genius I am, I instantly forgot about his comment and continued to sweep through Fantasyland.

A few months passed and I was watching the Share a Dream Come True Parade. Even though I had seen the parade several times before I noticed for the first time that Bernard and Bianca from The Rescuers films could be found on Aladdin's float. I began to look throughout the Walt Disney World Resort for any other references to the films. Unfortunately, the idea of a book still wasn't in my mind.

A few years passed and I was student teaching in a Kindergarten classroom. During rest time the students were watching Robin Hood and finally the idea came to my head. I began to write any reference to Robin Hood that I could think of in Walt Disney World. After a few minutes I switched over to Aladdin, The Lion King, and Peter Pan.

As soon as I got home that night I transferred all of my notes into my computer and began to look through family albums, guidebooks, and park maps for any other film references. I began to plan research trips and pretty soon I had a 305 page Word document of notes.

At that time I realized that a 305 page Word document would translate into an almost 500 page book. I decided that I had to break my one giant book up that consisted of animated films, live action films, and classic character references throughout all of Walt Disney World into two books. The animated films, which took up about half of the book, would appear in the first book, while live action and classic characters would make up the second book.

A few of my friends began to get excited about my updates on Facebook that they urged me to start a group so they could invite other Disney fans to follow my progress. A group that started with about 15 people slowly grew into a group of 600. In the process of all of this I started a few discussion topics on the Facebook group page and a few people took part in these miniature forums on an almost daily basis.

One day while answering questions about Disney to three people on the discussion boards, I decided to invite the three of them to a video chat box on ustream with the hopes that I could answer their questions a lot quicker. What I thought would be a five minute session turned into four hours and I desperately wanted to chat all things Disney again, so two days later we met up on the site once again.

At this point I realized that I would never finish my book if I kept chatting with people every other day for four hours. One of the three viewers, Mariel, suggested that we have a weekly chat day on Wednesdays due to the fact that the first three letters in Wednesday were Walt Disney's initials. I loved the idea and the three of us, along with a few others, began to meet every Wednesday. About four weeks later I attended the D23 Expo and wanted to share everything with my Wednesday chat buddies. They enjoyed the fact that I stayed on one topic the entire time that the following week I came up with a new topic and the W.E.D.nesday Show! was born.

On November 18, 2009, 6 years after my interview for the College Program, I announced the title of my book and what it was about to the fans of the W.E.D.nesday Show! I then created the From Screen to Theme fan page on Facebook and have been overwhelmed by the number of people that have joined.

So pretty much, a year and a half ago I had no intention of ever writing a book or doing my own podcast and now I feel like the luckiest guy in the world with the launch of this new website. So thank you for stopping by. The first book in the From Screen to Theme book series will be out in the VERY near future and I can't wait to share it with you!

P.S. I did eventually buy Herbie for those of you interested.

P.P.S. I apologize for how long this first entry is. I promise I'll keep it shorter next time!


It's All About the Mouse