Thursday, March 8, 2012

March 08 - For The Love of Willadean, Walt Disney World Chefs in White House Kitchen, President Reagan pays a visit to EPCOT & More


March 8, 1964
"For The Love of Willadean" Debuts on Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color

Harley, a city boy in a rural town, falls for a country girl named Willadean in this two-part series, "For The Love of Willadean," which aired on Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color. In the first episode titled "A Taste of Melon," Harley, joins a club with some other rural boys. But when he shows an interest in the leader of the club's girlfriend, which happens to be Willadean, the club members trick Harley into stealing a prize watermelon from a farmer as payback. In the show's second episode, "Treasure in the Haunted House," Harley is tricked again. This time, the boys send Harley into a house that's rumored to be haunted. But instead of ghosts, he and the boys uncover a bag of money, which was reported stolen in a bank robbery. In each episode, it seems the precarious boy from the city will do just about anything if it means winning the heart of sweet little Willadean.

The Disney studio completes the 22nd Oswald the Lucky Rabbit film Sky Scrappers, and ships it to Winkler Productions just days after negotiations with Charles Mintz (of Winkler Productions) breaks down. As Walt cannot come to an agreement with Mintz, it looks as if the Disney Studios will be giving up their character Oswald.

U.S. President Reagan pays a visit to EPCOT, escorted by Dick Nunis, President of Walt Disney World, and several hundred math and science students from Central Florida. He first visits the American Experience attraction before making an afternoon speech at a podium located on the World Showcase Lagoon, directly opposite of Spaceship Earth. Reagan speaks of the promise of EPCOT Center and what it meant to his friend Walt Disney and to the world

"Thank you very much. And I thank you very much for that very generous and kind introduction. And to prove how grateful I am, I, a Californian, will say to a Floridian, I have just returned from California, and this is the first time I've seen sunshine in 2 weeks. [Laughter]

Well, I'm delighted to be here. I'm especially pleased to acknowledge the presence today of a group of students from eight countries. They're participants in the World Showcase Fellowship Program which Disney World has generously established as part of EPCOT. This excellent program brings young people from Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, and the United Kingdom to EPCOT. It gives them the opportunity to experience American culture firsthand, to learn and, even more important, to teach.

This is just the kind of approach that we're encouraging through the President's International Youth Exchange Initiative which I announced last May at the White House. For those of you who haven't seen it—well, first of all, let me say I'm convinced that people-to-people programs like World Showcase and the International Youth Initiative are one of the best ways to build real understanding in the world.

I'm very happy to see so many young people here today, the math and science whizzes of central Florida, plus the students participating in the World Showcase Fellowship Program. And you adults are web come, too. [Laughter]

I just watched a program—I don't know just what to call it—a show, a pageant with several hundred of my junior high and high school friends here, and I'm pleased to announce I didn't get hit with one spitball. [Laughter] But this program does capture the vitality of what we represent as a nation. And as I'd started to say earlier, I was going to remark that earlier—for those of you who haven't seen it—at one point in the movie Mark Twain, speaking of America, says, "We soared into the 20th century on the wings of invention and the winds of change."

Well, in a few years' time, we Americans will soar into the 21st century and again it will be on the wings of invention and the winds of change. This afternoon, I'd like to explain how you, our young people, can ride those wings and winds of the future to a better life.

Abraham Lincoln is supposed to have said that the best thing about the future is that it comes only 1 day at a time. In this modern age, it often seems to come more quickly than that, I know. Our nation is speeding toward the future at this very moment. We can see it coming. We can see its shape. I know in your history books you've read about the Industrial Revolution. Well, today we're in the midst of another revolution, one marked by the explosion of technological advances. It's a revolution of microchips and biotechnology. And, yes, it is ironic that products seen only through a microscope can cause such large changes in our society.

We can see the benefits of this revolution already. Many of the advantages you can view right here at EPCOT Center, which itself is a celebration of tomorrow.

Other aspects of the transition are more difficult and painful to bear. A large number of people are unemployed, not because of the recession but because their former jobs were in declining industries. Their skills are not in demand in the postindustrial America. And, as you know, this has caused grievous hardship.

I don't want any of you young people to suffer what some of your parents are experiencing. I want you to have the training and the skills to meet the future. Even without knowing it, you're being prepared for a new age. Many of you already understand better than my generation ever will the possibilities of computers. In some of your homes, the computer is as available as the television set. And I recently learned something quite interesting about video games. Many young people have developed incredible hand, eye, and brain coordination in playing these games. The Air Force believes these kids will be outstanding pilots should they fly our jets. The computerized radar screen in the cockpit is not unlike the computerized video screen. Watch a 12-year-old take evasive action and score multiple hits while playing "Space Invaders," and you will appreciate the skills of tomorrow's pilot.

Now, don't get me wrong. I don't want the youth of this country to run home and tell their parents that the President of the United States says it's all right for them to go ahead and play video games all the time. [Laughter] Homework, sports, and friends still come first. What I am saying is that right now you're being prepared for tomorrow in many ways, and in ways that many of us who are older cannot fully comprehend.

But those of my generation, and now I have to say and of your parents' generation, cannot just assume that you will adapt to the future. We must conscientiously prepare you for the years ahead. We must provide you with a good education, with solid math and science instruction. Not only will math and science serve you well in meeting the future, it'll serve the Nation.

We Americans are still the technological leaders in most fields. And we must keep that edge. But to keep it, we need scientists and engineers and mathematicians. Many of you here today are above average in math and science skills. You have won awards for your knowledge; and you will be among the brightest of tomorrow's work force.

But I want to give you some facts and figures here. And, by the way, I have been known to give a pop quiz now and then. [Laughter] But I want to show you the challenge that we as a nation face. Japan, with a population only about half the size of ours, graduates from its universities more engineers than we do. In Japan, specialized study in mathematics, biology, and physics starts in the sixth grade. Or take the Soviet Union—Soviet students learn the basic concepts of algebra and geometry in elementary school—that's elementary school. And then they get 4 more years of advanced mathematics in high school. I have a feeling the kids in the Soviet Union have to hit the books a bit more than American students.

Not surprisingly, the Soviet Union graduates from college almost five times more engineering specialists than the United States. The number of scientists and engineers engaged in research and development in the United States has increased by only 25 percent between 1964 and 1979. The increase in France was 90 percent, 125 percent in Germany, and 145 percent in Japan.

Obviously, we must do better or we will be overtaken. In math and science instruction, the United States is a slow learner among the major industrial nations. Like millions of other Americans, I'm a firm believer in the back-to-basics movement, because it is the basics that will best prepare us for the future. I think you would agree that if a young person doesn't receive adequate math and science teaching by age 16, he or she has lost the chance to become a scientist or an engineer.

There's a story about a boy whose math homework paper was less than inspiring. Now, I know that yours are never like that. [Laughter] When the boy's paper was handed back, the teacher said, "I never saw so many errors in my life. I just can't understand how one person could have made all these mistakes." And the boy said, "One person didn't; my father helped me." [Laughter]

Well, your generation will need better math and science skills than your fathers' generation. And the America of tomorrow will also need those skills more than the America of today. Since the future is technological, we simply must educate more people in the technological areas. And that's one reason I'm delighted to see more women going into scientific and engineering fields. I am especially pleased that eight women have been selected as astronauts for the shuttle flights—all with advanced degrees, Ph. D.'s in engineering and physical sciences, two have medical degrees. And late this spring on a launch pad not far from here, a woman named Sally Ride will have the ride of a lifetime—she'll blast off in the space shuttle, becoming America's first woman in space.

The relatively short supply of technically qualified people in the United States is not because we don't have enough students, men or women, interested in tomorrow's job opportunities. In fact, engineering schools have to turn away many qualified students. The principal reason is the shortage of engineering faculty in universities and qualified math and science teachers in the secondary schools. This shortage cannot continue. And I know you'll be happy to hear that we intend to improve the quality of math and science education. And right now we're working with the Congress to determine the funding necessary to begin reducing this shortage. We seek a fiscally responsible initiative in this area—fair not only to your educational future but your economic future, as well.

Private industry is also recognizing the problem and seeking ways to correct it. The American Electronics Association's goal is to obtain contributions from its high technology companies equal to 2 percent of their research and development budgets. I also know businesses around the country are loaning computers and other equipment to schools to prepare students for the new age. It's this kind of commitment from the private sector that will eventually help us meet the math and science shortages that we face. That's a great thing—if our visitors will forgive me for being chauvinistic-that's a great thing about our country. Once we've determined what the problem is, we take out after it.

I know you young people are bombarded hourly with the problems the Nation faces. And, yes, we do have problems which all of us are working to solve. But you can't become paralyzed by these obstacles. This sounds like something you'll hear at graduation, but you really do have a wonderful future ahead of you. Don't be afraid of it. The future is what America has always represented. My generation wishes it had the years left to us that you have left to you. The things you'll see, the changes that you will experience—we just can't imagine them all.

Hang on to the American spirit of adventure as you head into this future. Remember the quote by Thomas Wolfe that we heard in that program we've just seen, "To everyone a chance, to all people, regardless of their birth, the right to live, to work, to become whatever their visions can combine to make them." This is the promise of America.

You, too, are the promise of America. And I came here to tell you today that I believe very much in you. I believe in your intelligence and your courage and your determination. And when the time arrives, the people of my generation will be very proud to turn America over to your care.

May I just, in the spirit of that program that we saw, also say something about the presence here of our gifts, of this exchange program where you, of the same age, will meet with those from other countries and get to know each other as human beings and as individuals. I have always believed that a lot of the problems in the world come about because people talk about each other instead of to each other. And maybe one day, with programs of this kind, you are setting the stage for the dream that has lived with mankind from the first and earliest days of history, and that is the dream of peace; that one day, knowing each other, it will be impossible for someone to say to you that there must be a war or that you must take arms and do away with these people that you have come to know so well.

And we shall do everything we can to see that this program prospers and goes forward and increases the ability of young generations like your own to meet and become acquainted with others around the world.

I've used up all of my time here, and I know they have other things for me to do, but I don't know that they will be as much of a high spot as this has been. And I just want to say to all of you, thank you, and God bless you all.
Thank you."

Note: The President spoke at 1:52 p.m. in the Amphitheater at the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow (EPCOT) Center. He addressed outstanding math and science students from the central Florida area and guests of the center, after an introduction by Richard Nunis, executive vice president of Disney Enterprises.

Prior to his remarks, the President viewed "The American Adventure," a film and animation presentation depicting a three-century rediscovery of America. The film was presented jointly by the American Express and Coca-Cola Companies and is the centerpiece of World Showcase, that portion of EPCOT which, through pavilion displays, recreates the architecture and culture of nine countries.

After the presentation, the President visited with students participating in the World Showcase Fellowship Program, an educational and cultural exchange program designed to enable outstanding young adults to represent their various countries for 1 year in the pavilions of World Showcase. The fellowship program is part of the President's private sector initiative on international youth exchange.

The Pirates of the Caribbean and Alice's Tea Party attractions both open in Tokyo Disneyland.

Celebrities visiting Disney World's Magic Kingdom on this day include entertainer Wayne Newton and St. Louis Cardinals All Star first baseman Albert Pujols.

Margaret "Mank" Johnstone of Orange County, California, celebrates her 107th birthday at Disneyland!

"Hear ye, hear ye! Our princess is 107 years old today!"
-Disneyland Town Crier


Walt Disney World Chefs in White House Kitchen this Week

posted on March 8th, 2010 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer

Walt Disney World Chefs in White House Kitchen this Week

Hmmm, what to cook when President Barack Obama and the Greek prime minister are coming for dinner – and dinner is for 400 guests?

Just ask Chef Dee Foundoukis and Chef George Paterakis, Walt Disney World chefs from Kouzzina by Cat Cora on Disney’s BoardWalk. They’ll be in the White House kitchen on Tuesday along with celebrity chef Cat Cora to cook for Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou, in Washington to meet with the President. Among the dishes to be served is Fishermen’s Stew – the very same stew that you can taste at Kouzzina by Cat Cora.

The popular restaurant showcases many of Cora’s Greek family recipes, including the stew, a savory bowl of scallops, lobster, shrimp and clams dressed with ouzo butter. We think the guests will be impressed.

Also are on the menu are Kouzzina’s loukoumades, those addictive Greek donuts served hot and drizzled with honey.


Fairy Spotted at Epcot

Fairy Spotted at Epcot by Gene Ducan

As I walked past the Norway Pavilion at Epcot last week, I spotted two young sisters who had just enjoyed breakfast with the Disney princesses at the Akershus Royal Banquet Hall. The younger of the two sisters was channeling her inner “Belle” from head to almost toe (she smartly opted for sneakers over heels) in a beautiful gold dress, shimmering tiara, locket and pin. The older sister, positively radiant in a green Tinker Bell outfit, seemed to be in a world of her own – a ballerina dancing to a soundtrack only she could hear. As she twirled in front of me, I looked down to see the most magical of shadows. But was this the shadow of a little girl? Or an enchanted fairy flitting by? Some enchanted morning indeed…

Paying Tribute to Tradition of Hand Drawn Animation

The other day I was chatting with fellow blogger, Steven Miller, while we were flipping through a few Disney heritage books in the office. Disney history buffs, ourselves, we both gravitated towards the books that featured Walt Disney, the Nine Old Men, and the classic art of hand drawn animation. As we flipped through the books, it was amazing to see how far Disney Parks has come and how much has changed since Walt first arrived on the scene in 1923. It was Walt’s dream to entertain the world through a variety of mediums, which continues to be evident today as we continue to pay tribute to the heritage and tradition that started so many years ago.

Looking through the books led me to think about a few of my favorite films and how they were brought to life. It’s overwhelming to think about how much effort and dedication went into creating each animated classic. It took a committed team of artists to sketch the characters, ink and painted each cel by hand, and color the backgrounds for each and every scene. While there have been many changes and advancements in technology that have changed the way we create our animated classics, the beautiful tradition of hand-inked and hand-painted cels is still very much alive at Walt Disney World with the Disney Studios Ink and Paint Team at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. A few months back, I introduced you to the Disney Studios Ink and Paint Team and a gave you a behind the scenes look into what goes into creating each and every cel in the Ink and Paint Collection.

'Look What I Got' Cel

The Disney Studios Ink and Paint Team is small, but mighty. With six animators working behind the scenes, they paint each and every cel in the Ink and Paint Collection by hand. It’s the job of the Ink and Paint Team to bring each character to life to tell the story about the world our characters live in on the cel. The Disney Studios Ink and Paint Team is currently in the process of celebrating the release of the 45th release in the Ink and Paint Collection, titled “Look What I Got!” The new hand painted cel depicts Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs as they enjoy confectionery creations from Sweet Spells on Sunset Boulevard in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Both Snow White and Dopey are hand painted onto the cel.

Fun Facts: Did you know that each cel takes approximately 1.5 hours to create? Also, the “Look What I Got!,” cel will feature the most colors ever used on a cel from the Disney Studios Ink and Paint Team, topping out at 18 different colors.

On Saturday, March 12, you can celebrate the release of this new cel and help us pay tribute to those who made the magic possible and those who carry on the tradition of hand drawn animation today with a special signing at Disney Hollywood Studios, from 10am – 1pm and 2pm – 5pm. For more details on the cel, how to order this special piece, and to learn more about the artists that will be appearing for this special signing, please visit

Disney Dream Portraits by Annie Leibovitz: Behind The Scenes With Queen Latifah as Ursula

Continuing our look behind the scenes of the latest Disney Dream Portraits by Annie Leibovitz, today we’re going to spend some time with the wonderful Queen Latifah as she takes on the role of the most slippery of all Disney villains, Ursula from “The Little Mermaid.”

The shoot took place last November in Los Angeles, just a few days before Thanksgiving. I had been wondering on the way to the studio that morning just how in the world Annie and her amazing team were going to pull this one off. 

Once I walked in, I got my answer. A costume like no other!

Set for 'The Little Mermaid' Annie Leibovitz Photo Shoot with Queen Latifah as Ursula

When Queen Latifah tried those tentacles on for size, the energy in the room became palpable. As you’ll see in this video, she told me she has always wanted to play a villain, and I think she made a fantastic choice for her nefarious debut. 

This was a really memorable shoot that resulted in another stunning portrait. Being in the presence of two great artists coming together to create something so unique was an unforgettable experience.

Queen Latifah as Ursula from 'The Little Mermaid'
Queen Latifah as Ursula from 'The Little Mermaid' Queen Latifah as Ursula from 'The Little Mermaid' and Annie Leibovitz Queen Latifah as Ursula from 'The Little Mermaid'


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