Author Archives: fabrocks

2011 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,400 times in 2011. If it were a cable car, it would take about 23 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.


Art and “That’s it?”

Weekend before last, I was informed that I was watching a genius create three masterpieces, LIVE!

As I watched the artist…perform, doing his best Criss Angel impersonation while throwing paint at a pre-printed canvas to techno music mixes, I gave some thought to some of the people in the audience, and supposed that the person who wrote this artist’s introduction and I had very different dictionaries.

Alice Davis was in that crowd.  Larry Nikolai was there.  Heck, Noah was there.  I totally get “American Pie” now.  Completely.  And I’m dead sober.  To compare Marc Davis’ Cruella to this…without even the slightest mention of Cruella’s creator – it just seemed wrong.

Now, I am not one of those Disney “fans” who lives to complain about how awful Disney is and how it was so much better when they were a child and mommy and daddy were together.  The Motor Boat Cruise was actually not very interesting, the costumed characters looked like something out of a nightmare, and they played top 40 music on Main Street, U.S.A.  There was good and bad then, there’s good and bad now.  Also, there’s personal preference.  I love SpectroMagic and consider a viewing of the Main Street Electrical Parade tantamount to psychological torture.  I liked The World According to Goofy better than The Lion King Celebration.  My husband thinks the corn dogs on Main Street are just so-so.

Nobody I know doesn’t like Trader Sam’s.  There IS a reasonable limit, you know.

I learned a long time ago from John Krikfalusi’s blog, forgot, and relearned, that even the most stylistic artists – the good ones – first learn how to draw, how to look at things, how humans, animals and other things move, all of the nuts and bolts first, then they go on to find their style.  There are people out there who can look at a childlike work of art and they can see by the staging, scale and use of color and light whether or not this person went to school to learn how to draw.

So the next time I look at a stylized piece of art and think “I could do that”, I’ll be sure to add: “…after years of study and hard work”.

Aloha, Aulani!

…and happy birthday to Bae Yong Joon today.

My hanai uncle Terry ran a couple hotels in Waikiki; he’s on the Big Island now (no, Noe, not Australia).  A few years back, he sent me a message through my dad: Disney is getting the paperwork to build at Ko Olina.  I immediately called Jim Hill, because I was still on my self-imposed five-year hiatus from Disney so I wasn’t going to break it myself.  Jim politely blew me off; he’d heard so many rumors about so many places he’d gotten Disney expansion rumor fatigue.

When the news broke, he did write about THAT, so that’s actually pretty cool.

You will never, in a million years, know how badly I wanted to be there for opening day.  Joel and I were the biggest Disney fans in the state – at least one of us got there (and took terrific pictures all through construction- thanks, Joel! )  so that’s good.  I was surprised that Jim wasn’t invited out for the opening; he wouldn’t have been able to fly through the hurricane to get there, but I would have been more than willing to take that bullet for him.  Ah well.

I used to take Alice down to the lagoons at Ko Olina after church on some Sundays; we’d sit under the shades of the palm trees and have some snacks, read, watch the clouds go by, and admire the tiny crabs Alice would catch, before setting them back onto their rocky shelter.  All you had to do was flash your Hawaii state ID and the security guard would wave you right in.  There are no private beaches in Hawaii.

This is the view from our pareau (those cloths I’m always carrying around; they’re dead useful!) looking Westward.  Lovely place.

So now there’s another reason to go back.  First is my ‘Ohana.  Second, the food.  I wonder if Jimbo’s went out of business without me going there to get handmade udon?  Third, Aulani.  Congratulations to everyone involved.  It really looks lovely!

Lazy Thursday – but worth it!

I’m just posting two links today, but they’re worth a read.

Noe Valladolid on D23, Part 1

If you want to kill some time, he’s got a bunch of other good stories on there, too.  Yes, I’m biased, but I’m also telling the truth!

Lemonade for Heroic Creators

The HERO Initiative raises money to help support the people that made comics in the past during their “golden age”.  It provides, according to their website, a “safety net” for medical and other expenses, and helps find them work.

An artist (I use the term loosely) had been making the rounds at conventions selling tracings and copies of other artists’ work as his own.  When this was discovered a year or so ago, there was a huge ruckus and much justified anger directed at the artist.

Most of the victimized artists decided that the best way to make this person go away would be to expose him, and then never write about him, the better for his name to fade into obscurity.

A fan gave artist Ty Templeton a hockey jersey he’d purchased from the plagiarizer, with the purpose of taking out his ire on the object.  Instead, Templeton decided to use his powers for good – rather, to take the lemony situation with the plagiarism and make lemonade.  He passed around the jersey to some artist friends, who drew pictures on it, and then, for good measure, signed each other’s work , which addresses the original problem in a humorous and constructive way.

From Ty Templeton’s blog:

Scarlet Witch by Khoi Pham (signed by Chris Sprouse)
Hulk by Ethan van Sciver (signed by Khoi Pham)
Wonder Woman by Agnes Garbowska (signed by Leonard Kirk)
Evil Ernie by Dale Keown (signed by Richard Pace)
Spider-Man by Ty Templeton (signed by Agnes Garbowska
Sandman by Richard Pace (signed by Ty Templeton)
Gorilla-Man by Leonard Kirk (signed by Ethan van Sciver)
Tom Strong by Chris Sprouse (signed by Dale Keown)
…and a hearty “Sit the @#?!!@ down!” by Ethan van Sciver (this one properly attributed!)

Here’s a link to the auction itself – and there are others that benefit The Hero Initiative.

Way to take lemons and make lemonade.

Disney Generations, Part 2

Kids rushed home from school in the 50s to watch The Mickey Mouse Club.  Kids rushed home in the 80s to watch The Disney Afternoon.  This was back when The Disney Channel was aimed at nostalgic adults and preschoolers, with little to nothing aimed at teens and tweens.  Now, the situation is almost completely reversed, with huge emphasis on tween programming and none on the core audience that began watching back in the Vault Disney days.  As Anne Sweeney told me in 2000, “To this generation, Hilary Duff *is* Walt Disney.” and there’s the difference.  The Disney Afternoon remembered where it came from, reminded kids – and their parents who loved the Duckbergians and watched too – that there is a rich, timeless legacy of Disney characters, and adding strong, interesting and lovable new characters like Darkwing Duck, while remembering that rich history, is what keeps families coming to what I like to call “core Disney”, things like the parks and animated characters.   There’s a disconnect between the tween shows and core Disney.  I won’t buy tickets to the Jonas Brothers’ theme park, visit Miley Cyrus’ prototype city, nor bet any money on Hilary Duff’s amazing innovations in technology and storytelling.  Walt was the tree, those who worked with him the roots and branches.  There was a creative centralization that hasn’t been seen before or since.  I’m looking at you, George.

It seems that those running Disney on TV seem to be making a concerted effort to drive away longtime, dedicated fans, whether it be removing all signs that a man named Walt Disney ever existed from the channel with his name on it to replacing beloved daytime dramas with cheap knock-offs of Food Network “cooking and lifestyle” shows that people started getting burned out on two years ago.  Perhaps Disney is trying to kill of ABC Daytime altogether, driving people away to the point that it would be more cost-effective to just hand over daytime to shows in syndication for the ABC affiliates for the 12 -3 slot.

It’s disheartening to think of Disney walking away from core audiences, especially when, in terms of core Disney and soaps, it’s something often passed down to the next generation, something people have fond memories of doing with their parents and grandparents.  Will Marvel, whose creative philosophy mirrors that of Disney in many ways, pick up the classic Disney comics and start publishing them?  I hope so.

@AaronSparrow: “We would love to continue Darkwing with the Disney books and Marvel – the American market is untapped.  With a powerhouse like Marvel and their marketing, there’s no reason these comics can’t be wildly successful in the United States again.”

Disney Generations

James Silvani and Amy Mebberson, creators of some of the best Disney comics out there, appeared at D23 in a booth on the show floor.  They saw their first conventioneer at 9:30, and by 11AM Mebberson tweeted that all requests for the day were sold out.  As of 7PM, when the show floor closed, Silvani was finishing the last one, Dumbo holding a camera.

They had also drawn Stitch as Maleficent, Postman Mickey, Mickey in front of a StarSpeeder frowning at a mouse droid, and many more.  I’ll leave those to the owners if they want to show pictures of them online.  Silvani and Mebberson worked on the Darkwing Duck comics, Muppet Sherlock Holmes, and many more fan favorites.

After the Marvel presentation, all of Amy’s Marvel characters sold out.  By noon, there was only one small picture of Storm as a princess left.  Shortly thereafter, they were all gone.

Joe Quesada said in the Marvel “Cup of Joe” presentation that he has no idea what’s going to happen with the Disney comics once the contract ends with BOOM! Studios in a few weeks.  I do know that the final decision of whether Marvel picks up the Disney comics is up to two gentlemen in Italy whom you’ll meet at a later date.

It’s a popular idea among fans – three of the eleven people who came up to the microphone to question Joe asked about Disney comics, specifically Darkwing Duck and Uncle Scrooge.  The Duckburg characters are wildly popular in Italy, but here, after Gladstone and Gold Key faded into time, the comics sort of floundered until picked up by BOOM! Studios.  Now, it looks like they might be going in for another swim.  That would be a tragedy.

I really hope this can be settled, and soon, because The Disney Afternoon is an important touchstone to generations X and Y.  Baby Boomers raced home after school every day to watch the original Mickey Mouse Club.  These kids rushed home every day to catch The Disney Afternoon.  It’s just as important, and just as large a part of the Disney legacy, to them.

(Part 2 Tomorrow)

Chris Parnell and Michael Giacchino at D23 Tomorrow!

“Once Upon a Time” Exclusive Screening Will Be Followed By a
Q&A with “Lost” Writers Edward Kitsis & Adam Horowitz on August 20

Both Panels Will Be Moderated By “D23’s Disney Geek” Host Jeffrey Epstein

Be among the first to watch ABC’s most anticipated new fall series and animated holiday special and to have a chance to learn the secrets behind how they were made. Fans will have those opportunities at the D23 Expo, where the entire world of Disney comes together, August 19 and 20, at the Anaheim Convention Center.

Get a jump on the holiday season on Friday, August 19 at 12:45 p.m. in Stage 23, as the D23 exposition unwraps Walt Disney Animation Studios’ festive new special, “Prep & Landing: Naughty vs. Nice,” with an exclusive premiere screening of the latest, nicest and naughtiest adventure in this multiple Emmy Award(r)-winning program. Santa’s dauntless elves, Wayne and Lanny, find themselves up to their pointy ears in trouble, as they race to recover classified North Pole technology, which has fallen into the hands of a computer-hacking Naughty Kid. Their mission to prevent Christmas from descending into chaos has some riotous twists, turns and surprises. A special “Christmas in August” presentation and Q&A, moderated by “D23’s Disney Geek” host Jeffrey Epstein, will follow with Emmy Award-winning directors Kevin Deters & Stevie Wermers-Skelton and producer Dorothy McKim.

A special guest star appearance with funnyman Chris Parnell (“Saturday Night Live,” “30 Rock,” “Curb Your Enthusiasm”) and award-winning composer Michael Giacchino (“Up,” “Ratatouille,” “Cars 2,” “John Carter,” “Mission Impossible-Ghost Protocol,” “Lost”) will take place after the presentation.

Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz — the esteemed executive producers/writers of “Lost” and writers of “Tron: Legacy” — bring you ABC’s “Once Upon a Time,” a bold new series where fairytale characters collide with our world. On Saturday, August 20 at 12:45 p.m. in Stage 23, join Eddy and Adam for a Q&A, moderated by “D23’s Disney Geek” host Jeffrey Epstein, as well as a special screening of the show. Brace yourselves for a modern fable with thrilling twists and hints of darkness, brimming with wonder and filled with the magic of our most beloved fairytales. The series will premiere on Sunday, October 23 on ABC.

About D23 Expo 2011

The D23 Expo-The Ultimate Disney Fan Event-brings the entire world of Disney under one roof, providing attendees with unprecedented access to Disney films, television and theme parks. For schedules, live updates, interactive features and tools, polls and much more, check out the D23 Expo mobile app at! To be part of the D23 Expo conversation, make sure to follow @DisneyD23 and tag your tweets with #D23Expo. For questions during the D23 Expo, get answers by sending tweets to @D23Expo.

About D23

The name “D23” pays homage to the exciting journey that began in 1923 when Walt Disney opened his fledgling studio in Hollywood. D23 is the first official club for fans in Disney’s 88-year history. D23 gives its members a greater connection to the entire world of Disney by placing them in the middle of the magic through its quarterly publication Disney twenty-three; a rich website at; a new collectibles line, the Walt Disney Archives Collection; and special events for D23 Members throughout the year, highlighted by the D23 Expo in Anaheim, California, August 19-21, 2011.

Fans can join D23 at, all Disney Store locations within the United States, select shops at Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World Resort and at To keep up with all the latest D23 news and events, follow us @DisneyD23 on Twitter and Facebook.

Celebrating the Power of Imagination at a D23 Expo Special Storytelling Event

Disney to Donate $500,000 and 8 Million Disney Publishing Worldwide Books to First Book

Event Features DPW Best-Selling Authors Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson Together With Disney Junior’s Jake and the Never Land Pirates stars David Arquette and Corey Burton

ANAHEIM, Calif., Aug. 17, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — A special event this Friday at 1 p.m. at the D23 Expo in the Anaheim Convention Center celebrates the power of imagination and the magic of Disney storytelling. Disney will donate $500,000 and 8 million Disney Publishing Worldwide books to First Book, a national nonprofit organization that provides new books to children in need. Disney’s enduring commitment to kids, families and communities will be front and center at the event, as Disney Publishing Worldwide and Disney Junior highlight the emotional connection that generations of kids and families have to Disney’s iconic stories and beloved characters.

The event features Disney Publishing Worldwide authors Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson reading excerpts from their new book,The Bridge to Never Land. The duo will be joined by David Arquette and Corey Burton from Disney Junior’s No. 1 series, Jake and the Never Land Pirates. The Never Land Pirate Band will also perform.

“We are pleased that our donation will help millions of kids and families discover the wonder of reading and explore Disney’s unparalleled storytelling legacy,” said Bob Iger, President and CEO of The Walt Disney Company.

Since its founding in 1992, First Book has distributed more than 85 million new books to children from low-income families in thousands of communities throughout the United States and Canada.  First Book now distributes an average of more than 25,000 books per day.  Disney Publishing Worldwide has worked with First Book since 1999, helping to get books into the hands of kids and their families. Last year, First Book distributed a total of 7.5 million books; the donation of 8 million Disney books—including titles for the youngest readers up through teen series—will help First Book double this number.

Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson have fueled the imaginations of countless readers with their series of Starcatchers books, all prequels to Peter Pan. The Bridge to Never Land, their most recent collaboration, which hit stores August 9, takes readers on a new, contemporary quest involving Peter, Wendy and the Starcatchers. Helping to bring the story to life at Friday’s event will beDavid Arquette, who voices the role of Skully the lookout parrot on Disney Junior’s Jake and the Never Land Pirates, and Corey Burton, the voice of Captain Hook. As part of its ongoing commitment to kids and families, Disney Junior is collaborating with Radio Disney to help with upcoming First Book distribution events in communities around the country.

We invite our D23 Expo guests to take part in a fantastic journey into the Disney Story Vault, be  captivated by the latest re-imagining of Peter Pan’s adventures, and celebrate this special donation with First Book President Kyle Zimmer. Audience members will receive a free book to help bring home the magic of Disney storytelling.

Tickets to the D23 EXPO are available at Admission includes access to all experiences and entertainment at the D23 EXPO and can be purchased for single days or for the full three days of festivities. Admission is $42for a one-day adult ticket and $32 for children 3-12. Three-day passes are $121 for adults and $91 for children. Members of D23: The Official Disney Fan Club will receive a discount for up to four admissions, as well as early entry to each day of the D23 EXPO for themselves and their guests.

About D23 Expo 2011

The D23 Expo—The Ultimate Disney Fan Event—brings the entire world of Disney under one roof, providing attendees with unprecedented access to Disney films, television and theme parks. For schedules, live updates, interactive features and tools, polls and much more, check out the D23 Expo mobile app at! To be part of the D23 Expo conversation, make sure to follow @DisneyD23 and tag your tweets with #D23Expo. For questions during the D23 Expo, get answers by sending tweets to @D23Expo.

About D23

The name “D23” pays homage to the exciting journey that began in 1923, when Walt Disney opened his fledgling studio inHollywood. D23 is the first official club for fans in Disney’s 88-year history. D23 gives its members a greater connection to the entire world of Disney by placing them in the middle of the magic through its quarterly publication Disney twenty-three; a rich website at; a new collectibles line, the Walt Disney Archives Collection; and special events for D23 Members throughout the year, highlighted by the D23 Expo in Anaheim, California, August 19-21, 2011.

Four Diamonds are the Disneyland Hotel’s Best Friends!

(But the Hollywood Tower still has it beat with thirteen – Fab)



Two Disneyland Resort Hotels Now Represent Anaheim’s Only Four Diamond Properties

ANAHEIM, Calif. Aug. 17, 2011 – AAA has bestowed its coveted 2012 Four Diamond award upon the landmark Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim, California making it the second property at the Disneyland Resort to secure such a high rating.

The designation was announced in a recent letter to the resort. The announcement noted that only four percent of the 31,000 hotel properties AAA reviews achieve this enviable distinction.

“This is tremendous news, especially for the 1,000 Cast Members who work at the Disneyland Hotel and create magical experiences for our guests,” said Tony Bruno, vice president resort hotels and Downtown Disney.  “The award underscores our continued investment in the guest experience and all our ongoing work, which has transformed the Disneyland Resort and Anaheim into Southern California’s world-class, multiday tourist destination.”

Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa also is a AAA Four Diamond award winner and is home to yet another AAA Four Diamond recipient: the popular Napa Rose restaurant.

According to the Auto Club, AAA’s Diamond rating program is the only hotel and restaurant review system in the nation that uses specially trained full-time field representatives. As part of AAA’s national network, the Auto Club’s own staff reviews establishments without prior notification using objective and detailed rating procedures.

“North America’s AAA Diamond Rating System is a long-time trusted systematic method of rating lodgings and restaurants,” said the Auto Club’s Approved Accommodations Supervisor Patricia Marenco.  “Southern California’s hotels and restaurants that earn the AAA Four Diamond award maintain a very high standard of service in their hotels and restaurants in order to continue pleasing their guests.”

Earlier this summer, the Disneyland Hotel marked a milestone in the property’s major “re-imagination” project with the opening of a new courtyard, restaurant, bar, pool and water play area.

“This exciting renovation extends the immersion and magic of our park experience to this classic hotel,” said Bruno.  “We’ve woven important pieces of Disneyland park history into the Disneyland Hotel, particularly with the reopening of the pool and courtyard area. The Disneyland Hotel now features some one-of-a-kind enhancements as a result of the property-wide program.”

The hotel’s three guest room towers have been renamed for some of Disneyland park’s distinctive lands: the Adventure Tower, Frontier Tower and Fantasy Tower.  At the entrance of each tower, large marquees will feature classic artwork of Adventureland, Frontierland and Fantasyland identifying each building.

The hotel’s beautifully remodeled guest rooms now feature exquisite Disney touches woven into the décor, including a stunning new headboard with an artistically carved representation of Disneyland park’s famous Sleeping Beauty Castle. The background on the headboards uses fiber optics to create a magical skyline with fireworks – bringing the immersive park experience into the room.

The Disneyland Hotel also features a unique collection of suites including the Mickey Mouse Penthouse, and the Pirates of the Caribbean and Fairly Tale suites. The newest additions include the Adventureland Suite, which offers guests a two-bedroom hideaway complete with a grotto in the master bathroom that simulates — through light and sound effects — a rain forest and African savanna. The Big Thunder Suite hosts up to six pioneers and immerses them in luxurious rustic accommodations inspired by Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at Disneyland park.

The new results at the Disneyland Hotel are a part of a larger expansion project underway throughout the Disneyland Resort. Disney California Adventure park is undergoing a multiyear expansion project that includes new experiences, attractions and nighttime spectaculars, culminating in 2012 with the opening of Cars Land. Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa also underwent an expansion in 2009 that added 203 hotel rooms and 50 two-bedroom villas that are part of the Disney Vacation Club, marking the club’s West Coast debut.