Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Why I wrote this blog...aka goodbye post

As I am signing out from my first blog I would like to give a little bit more background as to why I chose my topic for blogging.  I have always been an avid fan of Disney and all that they do.

 This slight obsession might have not come out in my blog completely as I tried to keep up with the technology based side of Disney as a requirement for my Communicating Science class.

 I also chose this topic as my dream job would be to be an Imagineer for Disney but unfortunately I have not been lucky thus far to even get a response from my tries to become apart of the Mouse Family but I have not given up hope!  I hope you enjoyed reading about some of the new technology that Disney has to offer and how they are ever-changing. 

With the new generations of kids wanting more thrills and "cooler" technology it is my guess that Disney will keep up with all of this to keep everyone happy.

So, I realy would like to thank all of my readers and hope this blog interested you to keep up with all of the awesome stuff Disney does in the future.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Disneyland Tokyo Reopens

After the 9.0 magnitude earthquake and tsunami that first started on March 11th, 2011 the Japanese have something to look forward to...the re-opening of Disneyland.  Now, yes it is a small step in a huge need for a lot of work in the country but it shows that in some ways things are getting back to normal.

47 days after the quake on April 28th, 2011 the resort was able to reopen.  The park was even able to have a grand opening of a few attractions, the Easter Wonderland Parade and the Nightfall Glow Parade. The Disneyland however did have its minor setbacks and not being able to open all the of rides including Thunder Mountain Railroad that still needs work on some of the damage.


Some other important factors that the park needs to take into account is the problem of rolling blackouts and also needing to conserve power.  This change has been done by the park and hotels having reduced lighting, limited air conditioning, restricted escalators and turning off electric hand dryers. The resort plans will also offset the consumption by installing three generators. 

Disneyland did lose $245 million and only drew 17,000 visitors on the first day back in operation, but it should be expected to have a slow start after this horrible disaster.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Random Post: Soccer Ball Energy

Just imagine if the energy from this ball in this guys face could harvest energy...well the other day I stumbled upon this article and I found out you can and from my love of soccer I thought I should share it with my fellow readers.  Below is a video about the soccket ball which was developed by three female Harvard students.  This ball can store up enough energy in 15 min to power a LED light bulb for up to three hours. 

In the US this ball would most likely just be a luxury item  but in other developing countries it could be of some major help.  Even in the video below the kids are talking about the ball powering their ipod or to charge their cell phone.  I feel like this sort of advertising would only work in the US.  But on a second thought what if kids were given the ball and had to power their video games with it, but make it so they can only power their video game for as long as the kid has played with the soccer ball outside.

Now, I know what you are thinking how could a soccer ball power a light bulb or anything really.  Well, how it is done is by using a coil, magnet and a capacitor.  As the children play with the ball, the energy on the ball will be transferred and the coil will slide across the magnet.  This energy is then stored in the capacitor much like charging a battery.   When enough energy is stored there is a socket and the ball can be used much like an outlet on a wall here in the US.  

This idea is new and probably not going to be very economical for the countries that need it but the inventors of this product has thought about that.  They have decided to set up a buy one give one program much like the TOMS shoes.  This will work when say someone here in the US will buy one of them another one will be given to someone in need.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Roller Coaster Safety

You hear stories about people being stuck upside down on a roller coaster for 4 hours and that someone lost their memory on the mind eraser, but if you think about it, you don't really hear about any of this very often.  It turns out this is because roller coasters are actually the safest rides at all theme parks.

The reason why theme parks do this is simple, they invest so much money in these rides that any repeated problems could put them out of business. 

Roller Coasters are inspected every day before anyone is allowed to go on the ride.  Yes, I know it is a pain having to wait in line watching the ride run a few times before you can go on it, but safety is a priority and better the ride break down with no one on it anyways.   Each morning before a park opens maintenance workers will go through making inspections.   A few of the operations they go through are...

Lubrication:  tracks need to be properly lubricated otherwise the friction can decrease the life span of the roller coaster.

Train inspection:  All roller coasters have an area where the bottom of the coaster can be checked out for any problems or missing bolts.

Obstruction Removal:  It is a necessity to remove any and all objects from the tracks to ensure no problem with the running of the ride.  This is done by the worker walking the track and making sure that there are to be no foreign objects on the tracks.

Testing:  As I mentioned earlier there is a ride testing before opening, and also before reopening a ride if there were any problems during the earlier days of operation.

It is nice to know that these thrill rides are only a way to scare you and there really isn't anything to be scared about.  I never had a problem getting on a ride before but now I know that I should feel just as safe getting on one.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Creepy Animation

Mars Needs Mom was supposed to be a fun animated movie but apparently too real is a bad thing.  Below it the article written by Ryan Nakishima an AP Business writer.

Too Real Means Too Creepy in New Disney Animation

Computer animation has a problem: When it gets too realistic, it starts creeping people out.

Most recently, moviegoers complained about the near-realistic depiction of humans in Disney's 3-D flick "Mars Needs Moms."

A theory called the "uncanny valley" says we tend to feel attracted to inanimate objects with human traits, the way a teddy bear or a rag doll seems cute. Our affection grows as an object looks more human. But if it looks too human, we suddenly become repulsed.
Instead of seeing what's similar, we notice the flaws — and the motionless eyes or awkward movements suddenly make us uncomfortable.
"Mars" may have plunged to the bottom of this valley of fear.

"People always comment on things feeling strangely dead around the eyes," said Chuck Sheetz, an animation director of "The Simpsons" and a professor at the University of California, Los Angeles. "If it gets too literal, it starts to feel false or has a strange effect."

Skin texture that is slightly off can especially leave people feeling unsettled, said Patrick Markey, a psychologist and director of Villanova University's Interpersonal Research Laboratory.
The near-realistic animation style championed by producer Robert Zemeckis uses motion-capture technology, where actors are covered with dots and skin suits and have their performances captured on computer. The dots provide the frame, and the rest is filled in with computerized graphics.

In this film publicity image released by Walt Disney Studios, the character Milo's Mom, voiced by Joan Cusack, is shown in a scene from "Mars Needs Moms." (AP Photo/Walt Disney Studios) Close"Mars" creates humans that are more realistic and detailed than Zemeckis' earlier attempts in such movies as "Beowulf" and "The Polar Express" — which were also criticized for inviting this discomfort. The greater detail might have made things worse.
Doug McGoldrick, who took his two daughters to see the movie, said the faces of the main characters "were just wrong." Their foreheads were lifeless and plastic-looking, "like they used way too much botox or something," said the 41-year-old photographer in the Chicago suburb of River Forest, Ill.
Marc Kelley, a 32-year-old pastor in Allegan, Mich., who went with his two young children, said he found the renditions of characters "all annoying in their own way."
Indeed, when the mother of the main character Milo mentioned the word "zombies" at the start of the movie, it conjures up a feeling that the characters themselves are undead.

Animation experts say the key to success is to be only authentic enough to tug at our heart strings.
The best example of this was "Avatar," the 2009 blockbuster that made $2.8 billion in theaters worldwide. The humanoid, but blue-bodied Na'vi were alien enough not to trigger our inner rejection mechanism.
"My own personal opinion is try to stay away from photo-real with a human," said Greg Philyaw, the business development director at Giant Studios, which captured the performance of human actors for their digital re-creation in "Avatar." "Subconsciously you know what you're looking at isn't quite right."
The Walt Disney Co., by its actions, has already voted against the super-real animation format

Last March, it said it would shut down the Zemeckis-run company ImageMovers Digital, which made "Mars," to cut costs. Several months ago, Disney also nixed a plan to fund and distribute Zemeckis' "Yellow Submarine," a half-finished work he is now free to shop to other studios.

Disney would not comment for this story, and Zemeckis declined interview requests through an agent.

It is very interesting in the sense that something too real or life-like is not appealing considering that animation has really developed over the years.  Maybe this means that the world just would not be ready for robots that look like humans.  Actually, I think the small outcry over this proves that.  How weird would it be to not know if it was a robot walking the street and you didn't know it?  All right I know this may be taking it a bit far but with all the crazy technology we have gained over the last decade it could really just be around the corner.  

As Nakishima states only be as real to tug at the heart strings is a relative way to explain it but I do completely agree with it.  This may be a stretch but look at Dobby from Harry Potter, he looks real but not too real and you really do feel for the poor little house elf.  Maybe overtime, this idea of too real will fade but in an industry designed to entertain the public, you have to give them what they want.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Disney Going Green

From my senior design project, Low Cost Residential Energy Efficiency, I have learned a lot of ways for homeowners to save a little bit of money and energy in their homes.  From this, I wondered if Disney has been doing anything about this.  Well, it turns out Disney has been and over the last 5 years has reduced energy consumption about 9%.  With Earth day just past and with all of the hype over the Disney Earth movies, it is nice to know that they are doing a little bit at the parks to help out with this.
Here is the video...

This video focused on mainly making changes like not turning on rides to early or changing the the LED lightbulbs, but the biggest part to take away from this is pay attention to detail.

Paying attention to the little things even in a home can save you big bucks on the energy bill and be better for the enviornment.  This was actually a part of my Senior Design Project, by making little changes to their home and being aware what is going to save you money is half the batte.  For example, yes turn off your faucet when you brush your teeth but not just to conserve water but to conserve the energy to heat that water as well.  Overall, it is just nice to see that yes a big corporation will in turn save money from these changes but it the future they will also help the enviornment!

Monday, April 25, 2011

WDW Monorail

In Orlando, Florida, the Disney Parks are separated from each other and there is a monorail that connects them and actually can directly take people from certain hotels directly to the parks.  It is really an ingenious way in order to keep traffic down around the parks.  The monorail first was opened on October 1, 1971.  Now, with a few new modifications since the original, the train can reach a top speed of 55mph and runs for 14.7 miles.

The monorail system takes approximately 50 million guests to and from the parks each year.  It have three main services, the express, resort and epcot

The structure of the monorail is of concrete beams, with a polystyrene core to allow for a lighter weight. This weight difference is from the different densities of the two materials.  Concrete has a density of 2.24g/cm^3 while polystyrene is 1.05g/cm^3.When designing such a system the weight needs to be taken into account as the structure is suspended in the air.  With the stronger and denser outer material, the weight bearing beams can be just as strong with not as much weight.  You may ask why not just use the polystyrene for the entire beam.  This answer is simple, the concrete has a strong compressive strength and is more durable than the polystyrene so the two together are the only way to get the best of both worlds with a strong lighter structure.

Each train of the monorail has a capacity to hold 364 passengers with up to six trains running at a time.  The trains run on eight 113 HP motors connected to a 600 v busbar system.  This busbar system consists of thick copper or aluminum strips that will conduct electricity to the motors.  A switchboard will be operated to allow for the different amounts of power to the monorail.  I could not find much more information on the operational part but I will try and find out more and keep you posted.