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Okay ... now tell me what you REALLY think ...

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Okay ... now tell me what you REALLY think ...

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Well, it wasn't quite "Jim, You Ignorant ***!" But it was pretty damned close.

On the heels of Monday's less-than-enthusiastic article about "Mickey's Philharmagic," I got WHOMPED with a pile of mail from people who had also seen this new Fantasyland attraction during last week's previews and absolutely loved the show. 112 e-mails, to be exact.

Typically of these was the note I got from StormShadow. Who (in an extremely polite fashion) basically tore me a new one because I had dared to damn "Philharmagic" with faint praise.

What exactly did StormShadow have to say about this new WDW show as well as this past Monday's article? Read and learn:

I have to totally disagree with your reviews of "Mickey's Philharmagic." For those of us who absolutely love [Disney's] '90s [animated] features, this attraction takes the cake and gives these moments their just desserts. And the best part of the desserts is that you can actually smell them!

Sure, the queue stinks! Mickey's pursestrings are tight these days and we all know it! Folks are flying off coasters in CA, planets are out of orbit high atop Tomorrowland, and now a dull pre-show, what else is new? Look at the queue to "Mission: Space" ... if you try to do too much with too little imagination and money, you end up with the lame concept of the International Space Training Crap queue leading up to the cool ride. You also have to remember we are dealing with the generation of Imagineers that decided that imagination belongs in an INSTITUTE and not on Dreammaker's Airship. That's quite the idea there ... an Imagination Institute. But I digress ...

I went on Saturday to a broken down "Philharmagic," gave up and came back Sunday to yet another few hours of broken down "Philharmagic." After a few spins on Space Mountain, we came back extremely frustrated and was led to the door quickly, so the queue was not really an issue. Sure we have come to expect to be hypnotized while waiting, but this time we're not, we'll get over it when the show starts!

This waiting (that I haven't experienced yet) should all be worthwhile once the picture starts!! This is the BEST Disney attraction I have experienced in quite a while. Sure it isn't a thrill attraction, but it is the best of Disney's 3D movies as far as I'm concerned. The screen is designed to IMMERSE you into the movie. "Shrek [4-D]" doesn't accomplish this, even with moving seats!

The Imagineers have managed to stimulate all the senses at once! The lighting effects are synced to the movie! As Lumiere moves his hands, where his 'light' would be falling on you is actually being done by the lighting. The lighting adds so much to the picture!! A whole lot more than "Shrek [4-D]" can do!! They also blow 'night air' on you during the flying sequences which gives you chills as you experience the best of the 90s, (and Peter Pan). The moving air adds so much to the experience.

The stimulation of the nose is what impressed me the most. The smells seem to evoke a 'spine tingling' sensation, that I haven't gotten since the IMAX version of "Fantasia 2000." Maybe I'm just impressed by these immersive musical experiences. They touch the very fiber of my being. It's the aesthetic experience only produced by the finest work in the arts.

I won't go into a play by play of what is great, but this film is truly the Disney's animation fan's dream come true. Truly great moments happen in this film. I wish we could see a full-length feature with this concept. I came away from the attraction hoping that the 50th Full Length Feature....the highly rumored 'all-star' film, will be a 3-D IMAX experience with this concept in mind.

I sat through it three times straight, and I would go back and see it again. I'm not obsessed with the attraction by any means, but I truly do love and appreciate the attraction. Especially after experiencing the past few full-length features and wishing for the glory days again. This film really celebrates the glory days of the early '90s and lets us know the animators remember what truly great moments in film are like. Combine them all together in this wrap-around screen, with truly the crispest 3D I have seen, and you have a great attraction. TRUE, you can't call it an E-ticket, but it isn't supposed to be an E-ticket. It is truly the crown of C or D tickets right now at the parks.

Sure "Shrek [4-D]" is smart-ass and crude and all the things today's audiences love about the degradation of our society. Sure, "Shrek [4-D]" pokes fun at Disney at every opportunity, maybe with good cause in the past few years! But "Mickey's Philharmagic" a.k.a. "Donald's Finest Hour" in WDW is an attraction that Disney can truly be proud of: showing us high quality work in hard times. "Mickey's Philharmagic" immerses you into the experience further than any other 3-D attraction. "Shrek [4-D]" you are looking at the screen that is far away up on the wall......... "Mickey's Philharmagic" has you sucked into the picture, and the best part is flying high above the Sultan's Palace and feeling like you are actually in Agrabah.

The computer animation's quirks are easily forgiven and brings a kind of 'new look' to old favorites. Besides, is it possible to make a 3-D movie such as this with tradition animation? I think you 'DO WITH WHAT YOU GOT, YOU TAKE A LITTLE AND MAKE A LOT!" Know where I'm coming from on that one?

BRAVO to the team that got this one put through and finished with such fine work. Maybe it could be better, but I fell in love with Disney all over again, even with being frustrated with so many of their current problems! If you miss the great music moments of the '90s, then you will LOVE "Mickey's Philharmagic." Lament the pre-show if you like, but it's all cheap hype to get you over the 21st Century Faux Pas of actually WAITING for something! Spend some time getting to know your family in line for once, that's what Walt would want!!!!!! THIS ATTRACTION NEEDS NO PRESHOW!


And the Mitchell family also wrote in to take me to task (politely) for Monday's article:

Hello Jim,

I'm writing on behalf of my 13 yr. old son who reads your postings everyday religiously. For the first time ever he asked to voice his opinion of WDW's newest attraction "Philharmagic." He was a little upset that you received so many negative reviews. He liked your article, and that you remained neutral.

We were able to attend both cast member and the passholder previews. Twice during the cast member preview, and 3 times we saw the show during the passholder preview. We tried many different seats, to make sure that we were seeing everything. So hopefully you will respect our opinion.

Truthfully, it is a wonderful show. A show that is worth seeing again, and again. Of course it has the water spraying effects, but for once it is staged during a part of the show that makes you not mind getting hosed. For once, there was aroma effects that worked, (I've done Shrek's attraction 4 times and have never had that effect work). The timing of each effect was flawless, the CG was beautiful.

What I saw was an attraction that takes the best of Disney, the things we love and puts back the foundation of what the park is supposed to be about. The wonderful characters, the classic comedy, and the music that we all love. Yes, the old folks of Orlando are going to love it, but all the children who love Lumiere, and Ariel, and Aladdin will love this show. My son who dreams of one day being an Imagineer was very proud of the design and show that we were presented with. I witnessed several small children starting to misbehave before the show began, but once they saw the larger than life characters appear, they remained motionless. Not one mother left the theater.

All the good things your readers mentioned to you are true, but they left out the magic that is indeed there in the show. Sure there is no "Pre-Show", but if you listen you hear the voices of Minnie and Goofy preparing all to enter the theater. I've never gone to any concert or Broadway play that had a pre-show, and isn't the fact that we are going to see a concert the theme of the whole show?

We're not going to bother you with any more detail. But just know, that it is a wonderful new attraction and long overdue for Fantasyland. The perfect place for it. I've seen all the shows that have been there, ["The Mickey Mouse Revue"], "Magic Journeys," "Legend of the Lion King." And for once I feel like it is something that finally fits the theme of the area.

Give it a chance, I'm sure you will love it. It is true the more you see it the more you love it.

Thanks for letting us vent.

Lisa and Travis

I'd reprint the rest of the pro-"Philharmagic" letters that I got on Monday and Tuesday. But that -- coupled with Seth Kubersky's mostly positive review of this new WDW show which is also running on the site today -- would seem like overkill.

Mind you -- in spite of this overwhelming response to Monday's "Mickey's Philharmagic" article -- I still put plenty of credence in what Seabiscuit, My Friend Flicka and Mr. Ed told me about Disney's new 3D movie. By that I mean: I know and respect these guys (two are longtime WDW cast members; the other is a highly respected theme park designer). So their opinions matter to me. And if these gentlemen have some issues with "Philharmagic" ... well ... that gives me pause.

And let's not forget about Deep Mouse's comments. Honestly, people, there are really Imagineers who believe that "Mickey's Philharmagic" could be playing a whole lot better to WDW guests if Mickey had just opened up his wallet a little and provided the Fantasyland Theater with a proper lobby and pre-show area. Something that would have done a much better job of setting the stage for the film that followed.

But -- that said -- there's no getting around the fact that 112 pro-"Mickey's Philharmagic" e-mails turning up in my in-box in just two days time signals that there are quite a few of you out there who really disagree with Seabiscuit, My Friend Flick, Mr. Ed and Deep Mouse. You guys ... well ... seem to love this new Disney World attraction.

So who's right here? Well ... given that I myself haven't seen "Mickey's Philharmagic" yet, I really can't say. Could it be that Seabiscuit, My Friend Flicka and Mr. Ed went into the Fantasyland Theater with expectations that were far too high? Perhaps ... but given what I know about these guys, I don't think so.

And could Deep Mouse be too much of an insider, too close to the material, to really allow himself to see how this new 3D movie is actually going over with Disney World audiences? Again, this is a possibility. But -- given what I know about this guy -- I seriously doubt it.

So what's going on here? Why the vast range in opinions on "Mickey's Philharmagic?" It may just be that this new 3D movie plays beautifully to some Disneyana fans while it leaves others cold.

That's the way of the world, folks. Some people view the glass as being half empty, while others may see the glass as half full. And -- in Al Lutz's case -- he sees the glass as not only being half empty, but also cracked and dirty. And the water that's left in that glass? It was pumped straight out of a toxic landfill late at night by Mouse House executives who are determined to destroy everything that's good about the Walt Disney Company.

Okay, I know: cheap shot. I'll probably catch hell for that joke. But -- after wading through 112 e-mails that told me that I didn't know what the hell I was talking about when it came to "Mickey's Philharmagic" -- I guess I've grown used to being on other people's sh*t list.

So -- before all you Miceage fans work yourself into a frenzy -- sorry about that, Al. If you'd like, feel free to take a poke at me sometime.

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