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Saturday, August 20, 2011

Aladdin, What Are You Going To Do Next?

Aladdin, you've just had a big hit Disney movie. What are you going to do next? Not only will you go to Disneyland, you'll star in a new show there, and you and your fellow cast members will appear as trinkets in all the shops.

I got this great Genie shirt on my trip to Disneyland in California in 1993. I'm guessing that Walt Disney World sold one, too.

The Genie's tourist outfit should be familiar to anyone who saw Robin Williams in the "Back to Neverland" film seen at the Magic Of Disney Animation tour at the Disney MGM Studios at Walt Disney World in Florida (1989-2003). In the attraction, Robin Williams hosts a look at how Disney Animation is created. A live action "tourist" Robin Williams (who is wearing a Goofy hat and Hawaiian shirt) is transformed into a Lost Boy in the world of Peter Pan. The attraction is so memorable to me, I can still quote lines from it.

The debut of Aladdin in 1992 was an exciting time for Disney fans. The Disney Store had what must have been its biggest movie merchandising program ever done.

A familiar sight at the Disney Parks and the Disney Store when Aladdin first debuted were plush toys of Genie, Rajah and Abu.
The Genie and Abu toys were different for Disney because they had vinyl faces. I remember really liking the Abu plush.

There was a really nice line of ceramic Aladdin figures, with one of the best three dimensional representations of Genie that I've seen.

Genie and Jafar were available at The Disney Store and the Disney Parks, but that's not where I got these. I was given these by a friend who found them at a thrift store. Even though they are chipped, they are still cool.

Mattel had a very popular line of Aladdin action figures, sold in sets and individually.

There were more figures released for this series, including the Sultan and Prince Ali. There was also a Cave of Wonders playset. This toy line was expanded when the Aladdin TV series debuted.

Applause had a fun line of stuffed/vinyl Aladdin poseable toys.

These are among the most impressive character sculpts I've seen on Aladdin merchandise. Jasmine was also available.

Robin Williams added so much life and energy to Aladdin, as well as a contemporary spin that had not been seen before in Disney Feature Animation.

You can almost hear Genie ask, "Did you rub my lamp?"

Thank you for choosing Magic Carpet for all your travel needs.

Don't stand until the rug has come to a complete stop.

I wish I had this Genie cookie jar.

I also like the lamp cookies.

It's the Genie's mug as a Mug!

The Genie is the only Disney character that can rip his own face apart and juggle multiple versions of his own head.

Sculptor Ron Lee created a show-stopping Genie.

I can remember wanting Disney to make figures of all the things Genie transforms into (a dragon, a slot machine, a submarine, etc.).

Like sands through the hourglass (or in this case, snow), so are the Arabian days (and nights) of our lives.
You can't tell time with this hourglass. Luckily, you can find some great Genie watches for that.

Genie is often imitated, but never duplicated, duplicated, duplicated!

Genie has phenomenal cosmic powers, but an itty-bitty living space.

In the United States, Disney joined forces with Burger King to promote Aladdin in 1992.

The fast food chain released a set of color changing cups and Burger King Kids Club toys.

My favorite toy in this set is the wind-up, acrobatic Abu the monkey.

In America, Burger King and Disney had previously partnered for the promotion of Beauty and the Beast (1991). Burger King also promoted The Lion King (1994), Pocahontas (1995), Toy Story (1995), and The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996).

Nearly everywhere else in the world, Disney and McDonald's were promotional partners for all those films.
The McDonald's set is nice, but they chose to use the Sultan instead of Abu. Really?!?!

On cereal shelves, Cap'n Crunch teamed up with Aladdin.

The Genie puts a new spin on a fortune teller toy.

TIME Magazine had a great Aladdin story by Richard Corliss in November of 1992.

Aladdin got noticed for taking risks and chances.

A positive review, even from Warner Brothers legend, Chuck Jones!

One of the big stories about Aladdin was that the main character was redesigned well into the film's production. Imagine what the buzz would have been like if the Internet existed back then. Some of the original design can be seen in the "Friend Like Me" sequence. A better look at the old design can be seen on the Aladdin 2-Disc Special Edition DVD.

The thinking was that the scrawny version of Aladdin just didn't fit with Jasmine, with the complaint that it was like "Julia Roberts with Michael J. Fox, and needed to be more Julia Roberts and Tom Cruise." Ironically, Julia Roberts married Lyle Lovett in 1993.

The Special Edition Aladdin DVD also shows a more realistic version of the Genie.

The Genie in the film looks like a caricature of this design.

I spent countless hours playing the Aladdin SEGA video game, which was created with the help of Disney Feature Animation.

Like the film, the game featured cameos of Sebastian the crab and the Beast. There was also a tribute to Pirates of the Caribbean.

Before there was the Return of Jafar video sequel in 1994 (which was basically just the origin story for the Aladdin animated TV series) there was The Return of Aladdin comic book mini series in 1993.
The story was very similar to The Return of Jafar, with the Genie Jafar and Iago escaping the Cave of Wonders to find a new master. For the comic book, the new master was the Uncanny Isabella, Master Magician, a character that looked exactly like Jafar. Iago the parrot remained a villain for this story.
The best part of this comic was the Genie changing into Popeye. Robin Williams played Popeye in the live action 1980 Paramount Pictures/Disney film.

Aladdin got his own animated series in 1994, which debuted on the Disney Channel before heading to syndication as part of the Disney Afternoon and also to the CBS Saturday Morning schedule.
Scott Weinger has been the voice of Aladdin since the film debuted in 1992. Most of the cast of the original film returned for The Return of Jafar and the animated TV series. Missing was Robin Williams as the Genie, who was replaced with Dan Castellaneta (the voice of Homer Simpson). Williams would eventually return for the third Aladdin film, the direct to video Aladdin and the King of Thieves (1996).

Abis Mal (voiced by Jason Alexander) was introduced in The Return of Jafar.

Abis Mal was Genie Jafar's master (sort of) and would later appear as a villain on the Aladdin TV series.

Aladdin has been a big merchandising hit over the years, and he was included as part of the Disney Adventurers toy line.

These days, Jasmine is still seen frequently as part of the highly successful Disney Princess brand.

A new parade, inspired by the Prince Ali segment of Aladdin, could be found at Walt Disney World and Disneyland around the time the movie was still fairly new.

You didn't need a Magic Carpet to see Aladdin's Royal Caravan. You could book a flight on Delta, the Official Airline of Disneyland and Walt Disney World.

At Disney MGM Studios in Florida (now called Disney's Hollywood Studios) in May of 1994, you could enjoy Aladdin's Royal Caravan every day at 1:00 PM. You could also start your day with Aladdin's Breakfast Adventure.

Give yourself some time for your food to digest before you ride The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror! This was not yet open on my visit, and I did not get to finally experience the attraction until 2004 (it was awesome!).

How would you like to meet the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles? Today is your lucky day!

You can get a picture with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and their autographs at 12:30, on your way to get a good view of Aladdin's Royal Caravan.

Aladdin's Royal Caravan was also at Disneyland in California during my visit in 1993.

Disneyland was getting ready to open their Aladdin's Oasis Dinner Show on July 2nd, 1993.

The Disneyland Adventures McDonald's Happy Meal combined Aladdin's Royal Caravan's Abu the Elephant float and the Aladdin's Oasis Dinner Show into one toy.

These days, visitors can find an Aladdin Magic Carpet ride at Walt Disney World in Florida (The Magic Kingdom) and at the Walt Disney Studios Park at the Disneyland Resort Paris in France. Tokyo Disneysea in Japan recently opened a similar ride called Jasmine's Flying Carpets, found in the Aladdin-inspired Arabian Coast section of the park (which includes a carousel and a 3D Genie attraction). At Disneyland Paris, Aladdin can also be found at Le Passage Enchante d'Aladdin walk-through attraction and the Storybook Land Canal Boats ride. At Disneyland, the Aladdin's Oasis Dinner Show closed, but the building remains. Aladdin can also be found at Disneyland's Storybook Land Canal Boats ride.

Hopefully someday we'll see a great Aladdin dark ride, similar to the Peter Pan's Flight attraction found in Fantasyland.

The magical Genie is an appropriate choice to celebrate the anniversary of Walt Disney World's 25th Birthday.
I just wrote a big post about Aladdin. What am I going to do next?

For more Aladdin fun, check out my 1993 Disneyland photos at Make Way For Prince Ali: Aladdin's Royal Caravan and Aladdin with a twist at A Whole New World: Anime Aladdin.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Disney's Sleeping Beauty: Briar Rose Masquerade Ball

Aurora (A.K.A. Briar Rose) may be known as Sleeping Beauty, but she loves to party.

Walt Disney's visually stunning 1959 version of Sleeping Beauty was not a big hit when it was first released, but over the years it has become one of the most beloved animated films ever.

Aurora is ready for a Masquerade Party! She's joined by Cinderella, Ariel and Snow White.

Like her friend Snow White's film, Aurora's movie starts off with a look at a luxurious-looking book.
During the 1990s and first half of the 2000s, the Disney Catalog and Disney Store created a wide assortment of Sleeping Beauty merchandise, including high-end collectibles and items created for the Disney Princess brand.

Sleeping Beauty has a style all its own. Artist Eyvind Earle developed the film's unique look, with Disney legend Ken Anderson guiding the movie's production.

Everything in the world of Sleeping Beauty is stylized, including the characters, buildings and landscape.
Sleeping Beauty is #2 on my list of hand-drawn Disney films that I would like to see translated into a 3D CGI film (my #1 choice is Beauty and the Beast).

I'm thinking a CGI Sleeping Beauty could be a special 3D version---NOT a replacement of the original.
I'm curious to see what could be done with the Sleeping Beauty characters and settings in three dimensions. I think it could be very impressive.

Maleficent, animated by Marc Davis, is one of Disney's most popular villains.

A live action Maleficent movie has been rumored for years.

The world of Sleeping Beauty is enchanting, and perfectly suited for all things extravagant.

What's inside the Sleeping Beauty trinket box?

Madeline Beth accessories with "Aurora Borealis" crystals. Nice!

Sleeping Beauty is brought to life as a porcelain doll by artist Laura Cobabe.

Be careful! This is breakable. She's not meant to play with Barbie.

Also fragile is the Hourglass snowglobe.

King Stefan and Queen Leah could have saved everyone a lot of grief if they had just invited Maleficent to their party.

Prince Phillip must fight off Maleficent (as a Dragon) to protect Sleeping Beauty. He'll need a good weapon.
Be sure to wash the dragon guts off of the sword so it won't tarnish.

Here we have Le Chateau de la Belle au Bois Dormant (Sleeping Beauty Castle).

This may not be intended to represent the Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland Paris, but the dragon does look a little bit like the beast found in La Taniere du Dragon (The Dragon's Lair) found at the Fantasyland section in the French park, opened in 1992.

Look at your Sleeping Beauty watch and make sure you are on time to go to work at your job as a spinning wheel operator.
Later on, look at your Sleeping Beauty watch so you know when to go to bed.

Sleeping Beauty and Prince Phillip met each other in either a forest or once upon a dream.

Aurora and Phillip are among the most attractive Disney characters ever drawn.

Phillip and Aurora danced their way to a happy ending.

At Walt Disney World in Florida, Cinderella's Royal Table (the restaurant inside Cinderella Castle) used to be called King Stefan's Banquet Hall. Someone must have just liked the name, since King Stefan is Sleeping Beauty's father, not Cinderella's.

Disney's Sleeping Beauty debuted in 1959, but Sleeping Beauty Castle could be found at Disneyland when the Anaheim, California theme park opened in 1955. A Sleeping Beauty diorama could be found inside the Castle in 1957. There have been different versions of this walk-through experience over the years. A brand new, high tech version opened in 2008.

Olszewski's Disneyland Park replicas are highly detailed and quite popular.

A duplicate of Disneyland's Sleeping Beauty Castle can be found in Hong Kong Disneyland, which opened in 2005.

Flora, Fauna and Merryweather are Sleeping Beauty's friends and guardians.

They are also in charge of Aurora's costume changes. Because of Aurora's involvement with the very popular Disney Princess brand, Sleeping Beauty has had an eclectic collection of outfits.

Winter Frost Sleeping Beauty is ready to make an appearance at a fancy Christmas party.

Aurora is in good company with the equally well-dressed Snow White.

Sleeping Beauty also can be found hanging out with Pocahontas.

Like all the Disney Princesses, they both enjoy chatting with their forest friends.

Pillow Fight! Sleeping Beauty is known for her wild slumber parties.

Of course, Aurora is usually the first to fall asleep. I would not be surprised to find out that Ariel puts her friends' hands in warm water while they are sleeping.

Sleeping Beauty and her friends love their ponies. This toy line could have been called "Disney Princesses: Their Small Ponies".

These were sold in the Disney Catalog in the early 2000s.

Disney Ponies was spun off into a line of stuffed animals available through the Disney Catalog.

There were multiple sizes available, representing Ariel, Belle, Cinderella, Snow White, Mulan and Sleeping Beauty.

I bet a Disney Ponies cartoon would have been a big hit.

Sleeping Beauty starred in her own McDonald's Happy Meal in September 1997 in the United States. This set was unique because the figures doubled as School Supplies. These were Mint In Package until I just opened them for this post, which I guess makes them worthless now.

Sleeping Beauty is a Pencil Topper and her Spinning Wheel is an eraser.

I'd like to see a new ride at one of the Disney Parks called "Sleeping Beauty's Spinning Wheel."

Prince Phillip has a sword that doubles as a paint brush. Images on watercolor paper sheets included with the toy can be painted and displayed on Phillip's blue shield.

It was worth opening these toys to finally see the great watercolor picture shields (and the instructions).

Flora is ready to give you a punch. Not a punch in the face! She's a paper punch toy.
I like the instructions included with this toy.

The Raven is a Clip. Maybe you can use him as a bookmark, too (especially when reading Shakespeare).
I was really sad as a kid when (SPOILER ALERT) the Raven was turned to stone.

Maleficent as a Dragon is a cool pen.

I was not able to get Toy #2, which was a Maleficent Figure with a Ruler and Stencil.

Luckily, Sleeping Beauty Lived Happily Ever After. Really, she's like one of the most popular Disney characters, especially with Disney fans.

For more Sleeping Beauty fun, check out Maleficent And The Disney Villains Are Fantasmic!