Sometimes my brain skips a beat. Sometimes, more than one, actually.
When I pre-ordered the "2005 Disney Insider Yearbook," I completely forgot that it came with a companion DVD. My feeble brain was helped along by the fact that Disney packaged this DVD in a sleeve attached to the back insider cover of the book. I didn’t even remember that it was part of the package until I revisited the Yearbook to write my review. Last time, some of you responded that you thought this way of packaging the DVD was a bit lame. I didn’t mind it really. I like keeping it married to the Yearbook for safekeeping. I just wish I remembered it was there. It sat in the book for a good month and a half before I popped it in to my DVD player.
The DVD is well produced. Some nice page turning graphics deliver you to the main menu along with some Disneyesque magical music. The menu has several choices for your viewing pleasure.
The bulk of the DVD is taken up by "The Year in Review' Feature, hosted by Kenny Rose at the Disney Feature Animation building. This piece consists of a sit down interview set-up with yearbook editors Jeff Kurtti and Bruce Gordon. Jeff is an author of more than a dozen books; countless magazine articles and is the Creative Director of the Walt Disney Family Library as well as a hell of a resource of all things relating to the Walt Disney Company’s history. Bruce’s quarter of a century of work for Walt Disney Imagineering speaks volumes, as does his involvement in several important books chronicling such Disney legends as the musical Sherman Brothers and artists Herb Ryman and Peter Ellenshaw. Bruce is also the Show Producer and Technical Director of The Walt Disney Family Library. One couldn’t ask for a better set of tour guides to take us through the book and all the events that made 2005 a great year for the House of Mouse.
Jeff Kurtti & Bruce GordonCopyright 2006 Walt Disney Enterprises
The interview scenario of these two ultimate Disney fans provides an inside look at what you can expect to read in the Yearbook. They dissect each section of the book and give their reasons why each section belongs in the Yearbook. The interviews are intercut with stills lifted straight from the book itself and a nice selection of video and film clips, some of which I’ve seen and others which I have not. This piece is a true companion to the book, picking apart each chapter and story from the Yearbook. There isn’t too much information given here that you can’t get yourself by reading the Yearbook. Still, I like the idea of listening to these two gentlemen discuss the company we all love so much with the amount of integrity and zest that they seem to share with us. This combined with the different video and film clips such as, the first person view of the Matterhorn Bobsleds, video of Expedition Everest, vintage footage of Disneyland, shots of the Golden Celebration and the opening of Hong Kong Disneyland all put me in the mood for my trip to Orlando this August and made for an enjoyable viewing.
Becky Phelps, the 2005 Disneyland Resort Ambassador, talked us through a whole bunch of footage from The Golden Anniversary, live from atop what appears to be a building on Main Street USA in Anaheim. A certain pesky duck was alongside her, vying for our attention as usual. Becky cheerfully showed us video from the May 5 kickoff to the celebration, shared some anecdotes regarding Steve Martin’s Disneyland history, introduced us to the golden ride vehicles and the 50 hidden 50’s, played some great footage of the Remember…Dreams Come True fireworks show including a quick clip of Tink’s new flight and wrapped up how the Disney resorts worldwide rang in the Happiest Celebration on Earth.
Becky Phelps 2005 Disneyland Resort AmbassadorCopyright 2006 Walt Disney Enterprises
May 5th Golden Anniversary Kickoff Copyright 2006 Walt Disney Enterprises
Copyright 2006 Walt Disney Enterprises
Next up is a slideshow of photographs, stills and images from the book set to some more magical music. Nice, but there’s nothing here that I can’t already find in the book itself. Same goes for the Yearbook Companion Timeline. These are just 15 random moments from the year 2005, the date on which the event occurred and the page number where you can find the story or image in the Yearbook. Nice…not thrilling…but nice.
I faired well in The Disney Insider Trivia Game earning the rank of Disney Master, or as my wife would put it,” Someone who can’t remember if he paid the electric bill on time but damn sure knows that X. Atencio wrote “A Pirate’s Life For Me.” and how many times the drawbridge at Sleeping Beauty’s Castle in Disneyland has actually been lowered.
The next section, for me, was worth paying the extra bucks for the hardcover edition, which is the only way to get this DVD along with a lithograph. Disney’s Motion Theater is a collection of 39 short videos from Disney’s online feature, Disney Motion, something I have surprisingly not visited enough in my online rituals. This is a great collection. Some, granted, are just extended trailers for films like Cars and Pirates of the Caribbean. Others are wonderful mini documentaries on a wide variety of subjects such as Hong Kong Disneyland’s Grand Opening, a Sneak Peek at Expedition Everest with, of course, Imagineer Joe Rhode, lots of inside looks at Imagineering with legend Marty Sklar, Bob Iger reminiscing about his favorite Disney films and good old Michael Eisner discussing Disney architecture and The Wonderful World of Disney. These segments are all part of something from Disney Motion called The Gears Behind the Ears. Be sure to check these out at Disney.com/DisneyMotion.
Perhaps the golden nugget of this Gears Behind the Ears section of the DVD is a collection of11 segments hosted by Disney Archivist and Disneyana Guru Dave Smith. Dave discusses Disneyland under construction, vintage Disney books and collectibles, movie props, the multiplane camera, the history of audio animatronics, and even when and how Mickey’s actual birthday came to be. For me, this was the icing on the cake. I’m a Disney collector and Dave’s got every Disney nut’s dream job. Nobody knows more about Disneyana than Mr. Smith. Last time in my review of the Yearbook itself, I lamented the loss of Disney Magazine. One of the things I miss most is Ask Dave, his monthly trivia and Disneyana question and answer column. It was great to have a large section of Ask Dave in the 2005 Yearbook and even better to have this collection of Dave’s appearances on Gears Behind the Ears for Disney Motion. It was a great decision to include this collection of Disney Motion pieces on the companion DVD. This was a true extra, as it was not directly related to the Yearbook itself.
Regrettably, I couldn’t access the DVD-Rom features as I am a Mac user at home and at work and this section of the DVD was only available for PC users. Ironically, I noticed several of the behind the scenes clips of the Imagineers and Disney artists at work showing them clearly using Mac computers, the norm for this industry. Oh well! I wonder what Mr. Jobs would say, now that he’s in the fold.
I was worried that the DVD was going to be a mirror image of the Yearbook itself, that it might not contain anything extra. I was pleasantly surprised. The inclusion of all the great video and film clips, the passion and knowledge of Bruce Gordon and Jeff Kurtii putting an actual human face to the work, and the super Gears Behind the Ears videos really made this a bonus DVD well worth my time and extra cash. You can still pick one up while supplies last at the Disney Insider website. I think it’s a great addition to any Disney fan’s collection and I’m looking forward to future editions.
I guess the big question really is, what do you all think? If you bought either version of the Yearbook, what did you think? If you watched the DVD, same question. More importantly, are you hoping for versions in 2006 and beyond?
What say you, JHM readers?
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