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California 2009 Recap Part 2 – NFFC Disneyana Convention: Evening with Paige O’Hara, Jodi Benson, Sherri Stoner and Don Hahn

The National Fantasy Fan Club celebrated it’s 25th year of bringing together Disneyana fans by surprising Jodi Benson (Ariel from The Little Mermaid) and Paige O’Hara (Belle from Beauty and the Beast) with NFFC Legends Awards at the NFFC Banquet on July 16th, 2009. Legends Awards are traditionally handed out during the Lunch with a Legend later in the week (and others were, including posthumously to Imagineers David Mumford and Bruce Gordon).

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My thanks to Benson, O’Hara and the talented producer Don Hahn for taking the time to speak to us. They were very generous after a long evening, which included 2 hours of signing autographs and taking photos for all in attendance at the banquet – the autograph session didn’t end until just after 11pm. Hahn served as the host for the event, guiding the 3 guests – Benson, O’Hara and actress Sherri Stoner, the body model for Ariel (and the voice of Slappy Squirrel in Animaniacs) – in a memorable evening of interviews, video clips and songs.

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One of the highlights of the banquet was seeing unreleased footage of behind-the-scenes recording sessions. There was a series of clips showing a frustrated Paige O’Hara as she started the Beauty and the Beast title song over and over, sometimes before any of the lyrics had been sung. O’Hara told me she’d never seen the footage before: “I’d seen a photograph of it, but never (video of) that full day.”  She continued about seeing these clips for the first time from onstage at the banquet, “I got very melancholy, choked up…there were several takes of that one first phrase.  I know many of them were the directors (orders to stop the take), but half of them were me, because I was really stuck on that one phrase.” O’Hara wanted it perfect, as “this was for history.

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Benson was also visibly moved as she watched the clips of herself from 20 years ago. “A lot of times it feels like yesterday, and sometimes it feels like a lifetime ago. I guess I’m now starting to realize the impact this film has on peoples lives.” That same theme came up when I asked Benson about tearfully receiving the NFFC Legend Award (past recipients have included Imagineers Marc Davis and Tony Baxter, as well as the recently passed Wayne Allwine, the voice of Mickey Mouse). Benson said, “I just don’t think of the film as being around that long. It just doesn’t feel that like it’s that long to me…so when people say ‘I grew up with you’, and now there are these grown children…it just came to a realization that to get an award like that, with the name ‘Legend’ on it, this is something that is going to be around a lot longer, long past me.”

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O’Hara was also similarly moved about the award, “I was so touched…I had no idea…no clue, neither did Jodi. It’s a great honor, a really great honor.”

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Don Hahn is himself a past NFFC Legend award recipient, with a long and storied career that has included a Best Picture nomination for Beauty and the Beast. He currently has several projects in the works, including the documentary Waking Sleeping Beauty,  and the Disneynature follow-up to Earth, simply titled Oceans. About directing Waking Sleeping Beauty, a film that chronicles animation in the 80’s and 90’s, he says, “This is something that has been a labor of love for the last two years.” Hahn spoke with John Lasseter and said,  “We should document this era in animation.” Hahn then continued,  “Wouldn’t you have loved to have a documentary about Freddie Moore, Bill Tytla, and Frank and Ollie when they were in their prime?  It doesn’t exist.”  Waking Sleeping Beauty will feature lyricist Howard Ashman, writer Kirk Wise, animator Glen Keane and “directors and great artists who make these movies happen.”

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I did ask Hahn what it was like to be part of what many consider the second (or third) Golden Age of Disney animation. “I promise you we didn’t know it was a new Golden Age”, Hahn laughed, then said seriously, “It really was a perfect storm of people, circumstances and the audience. Everybody was ready for it. It was a long time since Disney had done a fairy tale.  The Little Mermaid was the first fairy tale in 30 years when it came out. I think it surprised us all.”  He continued that the perfect storm also included great executives, including Michael Eisner, Jeffrey Katzenberg and the late Frank Wells. “We were really lucky to be there in the right place at the right time.” To see these incredible films now, you’d never think that there were problems getting them made. But that wasn’t the case, said Hahn. “Any one of them (the films) could have gone south at any moment. Most of them did at some moments…Beauty and the Beast went through terrible story changes, and there were times I couldn’t get anyone to work on The Lion King. I would say, ‘There are songs by Elton John, and it’s set in Africa’…and people would just walk way from it and say ‘good luck’.”

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Hahn’s project, “Oceans” comes out Earth Day, 2010. Hahn said “It’s been filming for 4 or 5 years…it has the most amazing footage you’ve ever seen”. Expect more films coming from Disneynature as well, “we’ve got 6 of them going right now.” Hahn mentioned the upcoming film Hidden Beauty for 2011 (which currently comes up as Naked Beauty: A Love Story that Feeds the Earth on the IMDB), as well as films on African cats and chimpanzees.

Both Paige O’Hara and Jodi Benson have current projects as well. O’Hara stars in Menopause The Musical® in Las Vegas, and has a Judy Garland musical in the works that has been written for her. Jodi Benson reprises her role as Barbie in Toy Story 3, as well as narrating a series of Baby Faith DVD’s.

Thank you again to Paige O’Hara, Jodi Benson and Don Hahn. For those interested in the NFFC and being part of incredible events like this one, please visit NFFC.org.

JeffLangeDVD hits the road, 25th Anniversary NFFC National Convention, Disneyland Resort, D23 Disneyland USA Event and More

Hi everyone!

It’s hard to believe a year has passed since the last California NFFC Convention, but I’m packing my bags to attend next week! In addition to this special Disneyana event, I have a packed schedule which will include the special D23 Disneyland USA event!

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NFFC National Convention:

“The 25th Anniversary Convention is shaping up to be the biggest and best NFFC Disneyana bash in the club’s history, with such Disney favorites as Don Hahn (Disney producer extraordinaire), Paige O’Hara (the voice of Belle in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast), and Jodi Benson (the voice of Princess Ariel in Disney’s The Little Mermaid) scheduled to be part of Celebration Banquet, A Royal Gathering.

Seminar presenters include Steven Clark, head of D23. Steven’s presentation will include history of the creation of D23 and a preview of the first D23 Disney Expo, which will take place at the Anaheim Convention Center this coming September.

Also scheduled to appear is Rebecca Cline, manager of the Disney Archives. Rebecca will be giving a presentation of rarely-seen film footage and items from the Mickey Mouse Club Circus.

Many of your favorite Imagineers and Disney artists are planning on attending the 25th Anniversary NFFC Disneyana Convention and NFFC All Disneyana Show and Sale.

The convention schedule is updated as speakers are confirmed and you can see the latest HERE.

I will be attending the entire convention and will have a table at the giant NFFC Disneyana Show and Sale. The sale date is Sunday, July 19th at the Crowne Plaza Hotel and Resort (12021 Harbor Blvd. Garden Grove, CA). If you are attending, please stop by and say hello (click HERE for a flyer with a $1.00 off coupon). I look forward to meeting everyone! I will also be opening my room at the convention hotel for room hopping on Saturday, July 18th. For more information about the NFFC please click HERE.

Disneyland’s 54th Anniversary:

One of the highlights of my yearly trip is celebrating Disneylands Birthday! As a diehard Disneyland enthusiast (and Disney in general!), I’m known to never leave the park before closing – and July 17th is no exception. My Disneyland birthday tradition is to join friends for a full day in the park, riding all of the opening day attractions from 1955.

D23 Disneyland USA Event – July 17th 2009

I am also lucky enough to be attending the D23 Disneyland USA event the evening of July 17th – what a hard ticket that was to get! The D23 events page gives this description:

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“Join D23 as we wish Disneyland a happy anniversary with a very special screening backstage at Disneyland of Walt Disney’s recently restored 1956 “People and Places” featurette Disneyland, U.S.A., along with a panel discussion including Imagineer Tony Baxter, Disney Legend and Chief Archivist Dave Smith and Disney Studios Film Archivist Ed Hobelman. Then enjoy a dessert reception with your fellow D23 members, along with some very special surprises throughout the night!”

Check back here after the event for a full report!

Disneyland Anniversary DVDs – Available Now:

Just in time for Disneyland’s 54rd Anniversary we have these title available now! Jeff Lange Remembers: Disneyland’s 35th Anniversary, Jeff Lange Remembers: Disneyland’s 40th Anniversary, Jeff Lange Remembers: Disneyland’s 40th Birthday and Jeff Lange Remembers: Disneyland’s 45th Anniversary!

Disneyland fans may also be interested in my best selling series Disneyland Classics Vol 1 – 5 available HERE.

As always, while I am traveling you will still receive the same level of quality service you have come to expect from JeffLangeDVD. If you want to request a future DVD idea, Photo Memory topic or comment on anything, just drop me a line at suggestions@JeffLangeDVD.com.

Click here to browse the JeffLangeDVD store.

Click here to browse all Disneyland titles.

October Travel Recap, NFFC Florida Convention, Adventurers Club Dinner, New Releases and more

Hi everyone,

I have returned from a crazy but fun week in Florida. The trip was very productive, producing over 15 hours of video footage! I was able to attend the NFFC Florida Convention, The Adventurers Club dinner, another Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and work on some upcoming DVD releases. I also visited with friends and enjoyed meeting some very nice people who stopped by my table the NFFC show and sale on Sunday!

Please check back tomorrow for the beginning of my Florida recap!

As always, if you want to request a future DVD idea, Photo Memory topic or comment on anything, just drop me a line at suggestions@JeffLangeDVD.com.

Click here to browse the JeffLangeDVD store.

A last look at Pleasure Island's Adventurers Club: 1989 – 2008

Hi everyone!

Earlier this month, I made my final trip to the Adventurers Club in it’s current form. Disney announced in June that Pleasure Island would close all of it’s clubs at the end of the evening on September 27th, 2008. That said, I am very excited that I am part of the NFFC group that will be enjoying an evening at this wonderful club in early October!

I am grateful to have enjoyed one last night at the Club before it closes to the public. Both Pleasure Island and the Adventurers Club have changed so much over the years I’ve visited! The best thing about my last AC visit was that it included some of the original actors, which gave it a wonderful feel of previous years!

I’ve been reminiscing lately about the 19 years I’ve enjoyed at the Adventurers Club. There is so much history! What I did miss – but my friend Jim Hill didn’t – was on occasion, Graves (the Adventurers Club butler) would welcome guests back to the club before informing them that in their absence, he was collecting their mail. Graves would then lower a platter for a guest to take an envelope, which the guest would open and read.

I always thought that this was a wonderful, interactive touch! And while remembering this past history of the Club, it reminded me that Jim had once given me an assortment of these sealed envelopes to keep in my personal archives. Today I discovered these letters and finally opened them! I am very happy to be sharing these letters – until now unread by me – with you.

Below is an example of one of these these letters. To view all the letters and more of my vintage Adventurers Club artifacts, please visit partner site Mousesteps.

To listen to Mr. Hill tell the full story of these letters and more about Pleasure Island’s history, please click HERE: (The Magical Definition Podcast – Pleasure Island Episode). Also please visit Jim Hill Media for more backstory on these vintage Adventurers Club artifacts!

NFFC Florida Convention:

This year’s 3rd Annual NFFC Florida Convention may possibly the very last chance Disneyana fans will get to experience the Adventurers Club. The NFFC bids a fond farewell to this one-of-a kind Disney venue with a special event that promises to be a full evening featuring a buffet dinner, one of a kind in-depth tour of the Adventurer’s Club, and some very special entertainment! The NFFC convention takes place at the Regal Sun Resort (formerly the Grosvenor Resort Walt Disney World) in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. The dates are October 3rd through October 5th, 2008. See you there!

As always, if you want to request a future DVD idea, Photo Memory topic or comment on anything, just drop me a line at suggestions@JeffLangeDVD.com.

Click here to browse the JeffLangeDVD store.

JeffLangeDVD Travel Update, Disney's Vero Beach Resort, Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party & Upcoming NFFC Florida Convention

Hi everyone!

I am less than 48 hours away from my yearly September trip to Walt Disney World. I will be recording video footage for future projects, including this years Trick or Treat 5! I’ll also be exploring Disney’s Vero Beach Resort which will be one of the last completely new Disney experiences that I’ve not enjoyed yet. I have heard great things about the resort, and look forward to giving a full report upon my return. (photos below © Disney)

One of the highlights of my year is the Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party! I can’t believe that summer has ended so quickly, and that Halloween is just around the corner. I love the decor in the Magic Kingdom, and hope to see the hitchiking ghosts and the bride below again at the event!

NFFC Florida Convention:

I will be attending the upcoming 3rd annual NFFC Florida Convention and It sounds fantastic! This year, the convention takes place at the Regal Sun Resort (formerly the Grosvenor Resort Walt Disney World) at Lake Buena Vista, Florida. The dates are October 3rd through October 5th, 2008. The schedule has been released and is available HERE. (Highlights below)

“In case you haven’t heard, Pleasure Island, Downtown Disney’s nightlife fun spot at the Walt Disney World Resort, will be closing the week before the NFFC Florida Convention. Included among the clubs and restaurants set to be shuttered is the very popular Adventurer’s Club, which just happens to be the location of the convention’s closing night dinner party.

Fear not, the Walt Disney Company is honoring its commitment to the NFFC. This means attendees at this year’s 3rd Annual NFFC Florida Convention will be among the last—maybe even the very last—Disneyana fans that get to experience this truly one-of-a kind Disney venue.

Join the fun as the NFFC, the place for Disneyana enthusiasts, bids a fond farewell to the Adventurer’s Club. It promises to be a full evening featuring a buffet dinner, one of a kind in-depth tour of the Adventurer’s Club, and some very special entertainment, especially designed for the Florida Adventurer.

At the conclusion of the Convention and Giant All Disneyana Show and Sale, the World Chapter, the convention host chapter, will host a special meeting at the Regal Sun Resort.”

Halloween DVDs – Available Now:

Just in time to start thinking about Halloween, we have these title available now! Jeff Lange’s Trick Or Treat Vol 1 (2003-2004), Jeff Lange’s Trick Or Treat Vol 2 (2005), Jeff Lange’s Trick Or Treat Vol 3 (2006), Jeff Lange’s Trick Or Treat Vol 4 (2007) and Jeff Lange Remembers Haunted Mansion Holiday!

 

As always, while I am traveling you will still receive the same level of quality service and guarenteed 24 hr shipping you have come to expect from JeffLangeDVD. If you want to request a future DVD idea, Photo Memory topic or comment on anything, just drop me a line at suggestions@JeffLangeDVD.com.

Click here to browse the JeffLangeDVD store.

Click here to browse all Halloween titles.

Main Street Electrical Parade Vintage Photos, Contest Update and DVD Check-off Sheet

Hi everyone!

During production of my recently released Main Street Electrical Parade DVD, I came across some interesting images of long retired floats and parade elements. I am presenting them here for all to enjoy!

Below is the Florida opening unit of the Main Street Electrical Parade, followed by Toy Soldiers from Babes in Toyland. As a kid, I thought this was a special Christmas bonus as we often traveled to Walt Disney World for the holidays. I remember seeing them one July and realizing they were always part of the parade.

Next we have the “It’s A Small World” section that ran from 1977 – 1991. This was unique as it was the only float that was based on a park attraction.

This next series of photos is very rare. These photos were taken by my father in 1976 (when “America on Parade” was being performed). I don’t recall ever seeing a Pinocchio Monstro float in the Main Street Electrical parade. Look carefully and you will see the large headed America on Parade characters driving the vehicles. Was this a nighttime version of America on Parade?

If anyone has more information about these parade units please email me at Jeff@JeffLangeDVD.com and I will post the information on the site.

Available now:

jwl-media-main-street-electrical-paradeJeff Lange Remembers: The Main Street Electrical Parade!

Jeff Lange takes you on a trip back in time to experience the evolution of Disney’s beloved nighttime classic, “The Main Street Electrical Parade”.

Features: Disneyland: Main Street Electrical Parade (1993), Walt Disney World: Main Street Electrical Parade (1991), California Adventure: Disney’s Electrical Parade (2007) and Walt Disney World: Electrical Water Pageant (1992)

For more information or to purchase this item

Please click HERE.

Click here to browse the JeffLangeDVD store.

Also Available:

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Jeff Lange Remembers: The Hercules Electrical Parade in New York City

Jeff Lange takes you back to June 14th, 1997 to see this one time only extravaganza make it’s way thru Times Square.

All the classic floats are here with the addition of the special Hercules units and fanfare. You have never seen the Parade like this!

Also included:

The Main Street Electrical Parade recorded in 1999 during it’s short return engagement at The Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World.

For more information or to purchase this item

Please click HERE.

The Gumball Rally:

MiceChat’s Dustysage is inviting everyone to a huge upcoming event at Disney World:

Disney fans everywhere are invited to attend a fun four park event this October 18th. The MiceChat Gumball Rally is an event which challenges you to ride a set of attractions in all four parks in just one day! The event is designed to see who can make best use of their time and transportation skills to complete the assigned attractions in the least amount of time possible. It promises to be a fun and unique way to visit the parks – all of them! Since the first Gumball Rally at Disneyland nearly 3 years ago, there have been constant requests to “Bring the Rally to Disney World,” and that is just what we are going to do! Whether this is your first visit to WDW or your hundredth, this event was designed for you to have a great time. We hope you’ll all join us. For more information and to sign up, please visit this link on micechat.com Gumball Rally Information.

Contest Winner:

Thank you for another great response to my latest contest with partner site Mousesteps! The winner was Eric Hoffman of Georgia and he will receive a free Disneyland Anniversary DVD of his choice!

DVD Check-off Sheet:

The most frequent request at my NFFC show and sale booth last month was a check-off sheet for my customers to keep track of their JeffLangeDVD.com titles. We now have the check-off sheet available HERE, sorted by release date, park, and series.

As always, if you want to request a future DVD idea, Photo Memory topic or comment on anything, just drop me a line at suggestions@JeffLangeDVD.com.

Click here to browse the JeffLangeDVD store.