Thursday, September 30, 2010

unKNOWN Actors: Cheech Marin

Yes, I know, when you see the name Cheech Marin, there is a good chance you think of something quite different from Disney, and probably something that is not very Disney like.  You may be surprised to know though that Cheech has done several parts in Disney films.  Cheech also brings a first to the unKNOWN Actors series; he is the first actor that I am covering that is still alive! Born in Los Angeles July 13, 1946, he is still acting today. 

Cheech’s first appearance in a Disney related project was for Mickey’s 60th Birthday in 1988.  You can see Cheech in a Disneyland segment as a janitor.

The same year, you hear Cheech providing the voice for Alonzo Ignacio Julio Federico de Tito, also known as Tito in Oliver and Company (1988).

The Lion King provides him with his next opportunity in a Disney film, voicing one of the three main hyenas in Scar’s posse, Banzai.   He also comes back in 2004 to voice Banzai in The Lion King 1 ½ and even does his voice in the Playstation game, Kingdom Hearts II.

Cheech is heard once again in 2006 in the Disney/Pixar movie Cars, lending his voice to the artistic body shop car, Ramone.  He also does the voice for Ramone in the short Mater and the Ghostlight.

After hearing his voice in these movies, you can even go to Animal Kingdom in Walt Disney World and hear him. Cheech’s voice was used in the 4D movie attraction It’s Tough To Be a Bug as the deadly Chilean spider, Chili.

Hey, just realized that Cheech allowed me to have two firsts in my series; the first actor still alive and the first actor in a Pixar movie.  Pretty cool stuff! Make sure to check out Cheech Marin in these films and who knows, maybe we will be able to hear him in more Disney creations in the future!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Tron: Legacy- The Vehicle

So Tron:Legacy isn't coming out until December, but there is just so many awesome images and information to share with you, I thought I would start now!

This post is all about the vehicle.  You've seen the picture of it on the side of the Tronorail, but these are some of the beginning images, the concept art to decide and make what this incredible four-wheeled lightcycle would look like.

Tangled: New Villainess Image

A new image from "Tangled" has been released, so I thought I would share it with all of you. This is the first image released of Mother Gothel, the woman who has locked Rapunzel in her tower. She acts and looks nice, but I have a feeling we will find out otherwise as the movie progresses.

Also wanted to share a couple facts about Tangled.  The music for the movie is being done by Alan Menken, the same composer from "Beauty and the Beast", "Aladdin", and "Pocahontas".  His latest work was from "Enchanted". 

Another awesome fact, "Tangled" is Walt Disney Picture's 50th Full-Length Animated Feature! Go Disney!

Go Hassle Free for 2011!

Planning a trip to Walt Disney World for 2011? Love getting all the research you can through vacation planning books? Look no further than Steve Barrett's Hassle Free Walt Disney World Vacation! There is all new and updated information on Walt Disney World, along with new photos and an 8 page, full color, WDW picture quiz!

You can pre-order this book for the discounted price of $9.95 with free shipping to the US and Canada by going to! Get the latest information and plan ahead for your next Walt Disney World Vacation now with the Hassle-Free guide!

Look for a review of this guide coming soon on The True Disney Fan.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Weekly DDL Post

This week on the Disney Driven Life, I cover information that happened a couple weeks ago about Hollywood Studios and the new Art of Animation Resort.  Find out about it by clicking here!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Disucator: Circle of Life

While we go to Walt Disney World for fun and entertainment, we may not always realize that we are learning as well.  One of the places that I am able to learn the most is at Epcot…maybe that’s why it is my second favorite park, only just behind Magic Kingdom.  A lot of places in Epcot can be used as a classroom; learning about energy and forces in Ellen’s Energy Adventure, the science behind car tests at Test Track, marine life at The Seas with Nemo and Friends and so much more! I have some lesson ideas for these, but those are for a later time, the lesson I have in mind for today actually comes from The Land pavilion.

I know, we all wish we could just take our classroom on a field trip to Disney to teach them things, and those of you who live in the Orlando area may be able to do just that.  For the rest of us though who are not so close, we have to find ways to bring aspect of the park that we want to share into the classrooms.  This has become so much easier with the invention of Youtube.  We are now able to bring attractions and movies straight to our classrooms and teach the meanings from there.  The lesson I have in mind today comes from just such a video, the Circle of Life film from The Land.

Subject: Science
Grade: Adaptable for any grade, but lets say 2nd to 4th for this specific lesson
Unit Title: Environment
Lesson: Human’s Impact and How to reduce it
Estimated time period: 45 minutes

By the end of this lesson, students should be familiar with the different impact humans have had on the Earth and different ways to solve them.

Materials: Youtube Video of The Circle of Life 

1. Write the words pollution, extinct, and smog on the board.
2. Ask the children to write down what they know about these words.
3. Go over these words with them, what they mean and how they can affect them and the Earth.
4. Play The Circle of Life and let the movie further explain the concepts to the children.
5. After watching the film, ask the students what they learned from the video. Talk about the different ways humans are working towards making the Earth a better, healthier place to live.
6. Have the students write down ways that they can help their environment

Extension ideas:
- Grow a Garden with your class
- Plant some trees
- Begin a recycling program in your class or school
- Go on a nature hike
- Study ways your town is helping the environment and ways they could improve it, have them write letters to your town council about their ideas on helping the environment

Making our students conscious about the problems in our environment and ways that they can make a difference is important for our future.   If we are to continue to improve the Earth’s condition, we must make it an everyday part of our children’s lives now.

Until our next lesson, Class Dismissed!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

View the Queue: Toy Story Mania

As I was editing some of my videos from my trip to Disney in August, I realized my dad took some nice footage of the Toy Story Mania queue. So I took the pieces of tape and edited them together to make what I am hoping to be the first in a series I am going to call View the Queue! I am going to make photo montages and videos of different queues throughout Walt Disney World and post them to share with everyone.  You get the details of standing in line without the hassle of having to actually stand in line! Feel free to send me feedback on what you think of the videos and look for more queues to be coming soon! Here's the video and some additional pictures from the queue. Enjoy!

As soon as you enter the Queue, which is Andy's Room, you shrink to the size of a toy
Standby to the Left, Fastpass to the Right

Thursday, September 16, 2010

unKNOWN Actors: Eleanor Audley

This unKNOWN actress, while she may not have had many parts in Disney, has such a memorable voice in the few parts that she does have that I just had to mention her. Eleanor Audley was born November 19, 1905 in New York City and passed away November 25, 1991 in Hollywood, California. Eleanor had this fierce and powerful voice, a voice that Disney seemed to see as an awesome villainess voice.

The first Disney character she played was the cunning Lady Tremaine in Cinderella (1950).  This is not the villainess she is known for though.

Nine years later, she is heard in Sleeping Beauty playing the dark and powerful witch, Maleficent. The sinister and commanding voice is what makes Maleficent so terrifying, putting her up in the ranks as one of the best villains in Disney movies.

The other appearance that Eleanor made for Disney was during Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color. During this television series, she was on the mini-series Swamp Fox (1960) playing Mrs. Videau.

Because Eleanor’s voice can be so spooky, it even found a place in one of the spookiest attractions in Disney Theme Parks! In the Haunted Mansion, both Disneyland and Walt Disney World’s versions, you can hear Eleanor’s voice bringing Madame Leota, the woman in the crystal ball, to life!

As you can see, while Eleanor Audley did not have many appearances in Disney film, you can easily remember her for the characters she did lend her voice to.

Please feel free to send me feedback on what you think of this series so far or if you know of any actors you would like to see me cover in this series; leave a comment on this post or send me an email at

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Disney Mom's Panel Quest

Last Year, I was new to the Disney Internet world, was just getting into blogs, forums, radio sites and such.  I don't think I had even heard of Mom's Panel until around this time last year, when I saw some of my twitter friends applying.  At that point, I hadn't been to Walt Disney World in 2 years, so I wouldn't have been able to apply anyway. 

This year, however, is much different. I've been to Disney twice in the last 4 months and know my way around Disney sites quite well.  So, I decided I should apply for the Mom's Panel. And so I did, this morning, at 9 am eastern when the application period opened.  There were 3 questions we had to answer in 100 words or less to give the judges an idea about how knowledgeable we were on the subject of Disney.  Disney then takes these three questions and see's if you are able to go onto the next round.  In this first round, they take 20,000 applicants, which is enormous! They have to sort through all of these and they choose something around 500 to move on.  The percentages are small, but to be chosen to move on is a great honor, even if you do not make it to the final round!

This is the trials and tribulations that I will be going through, at least for the next few weeks.  I submitted my application and now we have to wait til November 8th to hear if we have moved on.  Feels like it will be an eternity!

For those of you who may not be too familiar with the Disney Mom's Panel, it is a program started by Disney a few years ago where anyone can submit questions and have the "Mom's Panel" answer them for you.  They are a group of people who add a personal touch when answering questions about planning a trip to a Disney location.  Check out their site and ask away by clicking here.

A HUGE Good Luck to everyone who has applied!

Weekly DDL Post

This week on the Disney Driven Life, I talk about a sponsor that has left Disney, specifically Epcot, and what may happen because of this departure! Find out which sponsor and more by reading my article here!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Tangled Movie Art

As I have said before, I am very excited for Tangled! I think this looks like a really cute movie and I cannot wait to see it! In anticipation of the movie, here is some images from the film:
Pascal, Rapunzel's Chameleon Friend
Flynn Rider
Flynn Rider
Rapunzel letting her hair down...and herself!
A Couple of Thugs
Flynn Rider and Rapunzel

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Shaking up the University Airwaves once again!

That's right, after the summer off, Imagine The Magic is back on Neumann Radio! We are at a new time though, Wednesdays at 12:30 to 1:30.  Morgan and I are back bringing some Disney to this campus in the way of music, history and Disney news! Tune in to Wednesdays at 12:30 Eastern for Imagine the Magic!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Weekly DDL Post

This week on The Disney Driven Life, find out some information about a new nighttime party in Disney's California Adventure that is completely "off the grid"! Visit the article here to read more!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

unKNOWN Actors: Thurl Ravenscroft - Part 2

Ok, we have already talked about Thurl Ravenscroft’s incredible singing and acting career throughout the Disney films.  Now, we shall talk about his numerous appearances in the Disney Theme Parks.

There are two extinct attractions in Disneyland where Thurl’s voice could be heard. The first one being Adventures through Inner Space; the Mellomen sang the song “Miracles to Molecules”.  The second one is Submarine Voyager, on which Thurl was the Narrator.

There were several places in Disneyland in California that used to house Thurl’s voice, and while the attractions still exist, his voice on the attraction does not.  In 2001, Thurl’s Narration on the Disneyland Railroad was removed as well as his voice as the First Mate on the Mark Twain Steam Boat.

Currently in Disneyland, you can hear Thurl on Peter Pan as a background singer.  In the Enchanted Tiki Room, he can be found in several places. During the Preshow outside, he is the voice of Tungaroa and on the inside, he is the voice of Fritz.  The Mellomen also do a bit of singing for the Enchanted Tiki Room.

In Walt Disney World, the original voice of the Railroad was Thurl.  In both versions of the Enchanted Tiki Room, Tropical Serenade and Under New Management, Thurl is the voice of Fritz.

There are a few attractions in both Disneyland and Walt Disney World that currently feature Thurl’s deep voice. The first being Pirates of the Caribbean.  Not only does he sing the main song in the background, he is the voice of a drunken pirate by a lamp post, an accordion player and, as mentioned before, a dog who is singing along with the group.  In the Country Bear Jamboree, he provides the voice for Buff, the buffalo head on the wall of the theatre.  Haunted Mansion is the only place in a Disney park where you can actually see Thurl’s face.  He is a singing bust in the graveyard scene, the one whose head has been knocked off of its pedestal.  Many who see Thurl singing as this bust mistake him for Walt Disney because of the similar mustache both men have. He is also the bass voice that you hear singing the main song, “Grim Grinning Ghosts”.

Thurl has had many features in the Disney parks in the USA and has even had a couple spots over in Tokyo Disneyland! Thurl’s voice, like in both US parks, was the original voice for the Railroad and in the version of Country Bear Jamboree, he also is kept as the voice of Buff.

Whew! There we go, the full story behind the Disney Legend, Thurl Ravenscroft! He is even a true Disney Legend, inducted in 1995 for all the work he has done for the company.  If you would like to find out more about Thurl and his work, just visit and make sure to check out the section on all of his projects with Disney!

*Update* Listening to some audio from Disneyland, Thurl Ravenscroft also did the voice for the narrator of an audio version of The Jungle Cruise.

Me, Beyond Disney

On Twitter, I follow a lot of Disney people and we talk about lots of Disney things. Recently though, I was engaged in a fun conversation about movies and found out that some of my Disney friends and I had some movie likes in common, older ones including Humphrey Bogart, John Wayne and Clark Gable films.  This made me realize, while we all have a huge interest in common, there may be lots of other interests we have in common also!  So I thought I would take this post to share some things about myself other than my love for Disney. Who knows, maybe we will have more than just Disney in common!

Continuing with the movies, I also enjoy the occasional Romantic Comedy such as The Ugly TruthMel Brooks and Monty Python are also pretty awesome! Love watching 007 movies and almost any action type flick. I don't really watch much television, but I am trying to catch up on past seasons of The Office and I catch the odd episode of House or White Collar when my family is watching them.  I also enjoy watching baking shows and different shows on the History Channel, though I don't get to see them often. I used to watch Dancing With the Stars because I would love to learn how to ballroom dance someday, but haven't seen an episode in a few seasons.

I am a big reader when school isn't keeping me swamped with work.  I really love historical fiction, my favorite author being Ann Rinaldi.  I am a Harry Potter reader and, as much as I don't want to admit this, I would be excited to go see the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal. I also really enjoy Jane Austin after reading Pride and Prejudice for my senior thesis paper. I also collect childrens books, for my eventual classroom library and just because the are so fun to look at!  And of course, I keep the usual Disney books on my shelf, including Kingdom Keepers and the Official Encyclopedia.  Hoping to have a huge library someday, like those of Scott Otis and Glenn Whelan!

I am really into History, especially American history, though there is some European stuff I enjoy learning about, including the Tudor dynasty in England.  I actually sat through a Revolutionary War and a Civil War class in college just for fun, not for credit or anything because I find them so fascinating!

I love to cook but especially love to bake and make desserts of all kinds! I took almost all of the cooking classes my high school had to offer, it is just so much fun to create! I like watching shows like Cake Boss just to see the decorating ideas they have and my dream is to someday learn how to make and decorate wedding cakes, maybe even for Disney!

Music has always been a huge part of my life, about as much as Disney is.  I've played flute for 15 years  and find playing to be very relaxing.  I have also learned in the last couple years to play the entire saxophone family except for Soprano Sax.  As far as music that I listen to, I listen to almost everything, country is probably my least favorite though.

So there is a bit about myself! Feel free to leave comments and share with me some of your likes and dislikes, I would love to hear them!! If you are on twitter, feel free to follow and join the conversation also:

Friday, September 3, 2010

unKNOWN Actors: Cammie King

Yes, I know that I did not finish Thurl's article yet, but I thought I should mention the passing of an actress who really fits the bill of an unKNOWN actress.  She only had two acting jobs her whole life, both before the age of 10 and both well known acting parts.  Cammie King, born August 5, 1934, passed away from lung cancer this past Wednesday, September 1.

Why, you may ask, would I find this death significant enough to post on my Disney site? Well, it is simply because half of her acting career was for Disney! While half of her acting career was only one film out of two, I feel it is definitely worth mentioning!

Cammie's first role was when she was 4 years old, and what a role it was! She played Bonnie Butler, the daughter of Rhett and Scarlett in Gone With the Wind (1939). While it was a small role, her character played a huge part in the plot line of the movie.  Plus, how cool that must have been to work with Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh!

Her second and final acting role, as I said earlier, brings her to Disney 3 years after Gone With the Wind.  Cammie, now 7, is heard as the voice of the female deer Faline in Disney's Bambi (1942).

She spent the rest of her life leading a normal life, with the occasional Gone With the Wind public appearances.  While her acting career was short, she definitely put her place in acting history with the two parts that she played. 

Thursday, September 2, 2010

unKNOWN Actors: Thurl Ravenscroft

So far in this series, I have focused on voice actors from Disney movies who most Disney fans may not know.  This is probably not the case with this next actor.  Thurl Ravenscroft is a name not only known throughout Disney movies, within Disney theme parks and even outside of the Disney name!

Let’s begin with the couple big things outside of Disney that Thurl is known for. In 1966 version of How the Grinch Stole Christmas, the deep singer of “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” is Thurl, though he was not in the credits of the film.  The other voice that he is famous for is Tony the Tiger from the Frosted Flakes commercials with the trademark quote “They’re grrrrrrrrreat!”

While these two roles are larger roles, he got his start much earlier than that, especially in the Disney area.

Thurl’s deep bass voice is what makes him recognizable and while he did do several speaking parts, he is best known for his singing roles in many Disney films. These singing roles started out in shorts, including the popular short “The Nifty Nineties” (1941).  There was even one short where Thurl had a speaking part, and that was as Paul Bunyan in 1958’s Paul Bunyan.

After doing some shorts, Thurl was put into some full length animated features as a singer, including Dumbo (1941), Make Mine Music (1946), and Cinderella(1950).

Alice in Wonderland was the first movie that featured Thurl with The Mellomen, a quartet that he helped form that became very well known as back up singers for several artists and appeared in movies.  In Alice in Wonderland, Thurl and the Mellomen were the voices for the card painters who were “Painting the Roses Red”.  The Mellomen were also featured as background singers in Peter Pan (1953), Lady and the Tramp (1955) and Sleeping Beauty (1959).

The first large character voice that Thurl had was in 1961’s One Hundred and One Dalmations as Captain, the horse in the barn by the De Ville Mansion.

In 1963, he was the voice for Black Bart, a knight fighting to become king in The Sword and the Stone.

In Mary Poppins (1964), Thurl did the voice for the singing Hog during “Jolly Holiday”.

I think now is a good time to point out that Thurl was quite good at making dog noises.  The howling song of “Home Sweet Home” in Lady and the Tramp was…howled by Thurl, in Mary Poppins he did the wimper noises made by Andrew, he made dog sounds for The Fox and the Hound, and in both Disneyland and Walt Disney World’s versions of Pirates of the Caribbean, the dog that is singing along with “Yo Ho, A Pirates Life for Me” is Thurl.  Interesting, no?

In 1967, Thurl was in The Jungle Book and many believe him to be the voice of the ruthless tiger, Shere Khan.  This is completely false! He did not do Shere Khan’s voice, not even the low singing voice. That was done by George Sanders.  Thurl did sing however in the movie, he can be best heard singing Captain Haiti’s March.

The Artistocats (1970) had Thurl doing the voice of the Russian bass-playing cat, Billy Bass.  In the 1971 movie Bedknobs and Broomsticks, he is a background singer and he even has a solo line in the song “Portobello Road”.  Thurl’s deep voice can be heard singing songs in The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (1977).

One of the last voices that Thurl did was the voice of Kirby from The Brave Little Toaster.  While this movie is not labeled as Disney, it was produced by Hyperion Pictures, which is a Disney owned company.

Wow, this is a long history huh?? I haven’t even touched on Thurl’s appearance in the Theme Parks! I am going to take a break and I will post a second part of this unKNOWN Actors article soon.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Get Tangled!

Ok, I know we are still over 2 months away from Disney's new movie Tangled coming out, but I am just so excited about it that I had to share some pictures and info about it with you from Walt Disney Pictures. These next few pictures are some concept art from the movie! Check back soon for some movie images, trailers and some upcoming images from Tron: Legacy! Enjoy!
Tangled Concept Art Drawings
The Tower
Publicity Art, you've probably seen this in advertisements for the film at some point.
Floating Lanterns?

The Disucator Returns!: Multilingual Disney

With a new school year starting, it is time to bring back The Disucator; ideas and information on how to bring a little Disney to your classroom!

Today's idea is for Foreign Language teachers of all grade levels and languages. One activity that is seen frequently in foreign language classes is listening activities, this helps the students to practice listening to conversations and comprehending them.  Why not give your students a treat after a hard test and yet still have them engaged in a class activity? Have them watch a Disney movie in the language they are taking! Letting them watch the movie will keep them engaged in the activity and, since it is a storyline they probably know, they will be better able to keep up with the dialogue than if it was a everyday conversation with no visuals. Also, because they know what the dialogues are generally about, they may be able to learn new vocabulary words used in the conversations.

Another idea is to keep Disney storybooks in the language you are teaching in your classroom and allow the students on some downtime to page through them.  This also may help expand their vocabulary and allow them to see where words are used in familiar contexts. 

While this sounds like something you would do for younger children, this really can be done with all grade levels and language levels! My sister watched children's movies in her Spanish class and said she really found it enjoyable, they were still learning and yet they were relaxing and having fun.  Even in college this could work! I know that if I walked into my language class and the teacher told me I was going to be watching a Disney movie in Spanish, I would be so excited! And for those teachers who may be worried about their students falling asleep or not paying attention to the film, you can make up a worksheet to give the students.  Have them listen for certain verbs or have them write down vocabulary words they do not know, just a simple exercise to keep them engaged. 

I hope that these ideas can help you bring a little Disney fun to your language class! Until our next lesson: Class Dismissed!