Last year, I shared with you readers some of my favorite editions of Disney In Depth over the course of the past several years. But those selections only scratched the surface. I take pride in each piece I write, though some, of course, especially excite me. Let’s revisit some more editions that take us from Disney-related destinations across the country, to areas within our own lives and recollections.
The culmination of more than twelve months of intense research, writing and design, I reached closer to concluding my undergraduate studies at Arizona State University’s Barrett, The Honors College with a thesis project on my favorite Disney park. “Epcot’s Evolution: Disney’s Ultimate World’s Fair of Technological and Cultural Synergy,” albeit a mouthful of a title, represented my efforts in exemplifying how these two key elements intersect in the park. Together they create a mix of enlightenment and conflict. If there ever was a special edition of Disney In Depth, this would be it. The thesis and complementary presentation embodied a labor of love. To share this endeavor with an even larger audience, including famed Disney writer Jeff Kurtti, was truly special to this college student who wanted to craft a project that would contain value to scholars and Disney fans alike.
The loss of Robin Williams shocked individuals around the world, despite his long battle with depression. We have remembered the actor and comedian’s genius by returning to watch his work that spanned more than four decades. Like others who admired Williams’ talent and pure heart, I felt most saddened to see that headline first scroll on my computer screen. I knew I had to dedicate an entire edition to not only Williams, but also his contributions to The Walt Disney Company. His varied performances in the theme parks, films and television shows spoke to his flexibility and skill no matter the medium.
1998 promised the redevelopment of Walt’s most influential land in an effort to reflect an idealistic future with even some steampunk touches. New Tomorrowland, considered by some “Disney purists” as a major Disney theme park blunder, suffered from a mix of high expectations and clunky new attractions. But it yielded major positive changes for the park, which I explored in this Disney In Depth, released around the debut of Disney’s Tomorrowland film. Memories, even if distorted at times, often shape our interpretations. As an elementary school-aged boy, New Tomorrowland held value in my life, enhancing my passion for technology and scientific exploration. The science-fiction atmosphere likely continues to translate those same sentiments to other individuals at that impressionable age.
When you have a passion, you want to demonstrate that in all sectors of your life. We Disney fans listen to our favorite songs on our daily commute or have a Walt Disney quote listed on the side of our desks. Some of these can be incorporated more subtly, whereas others are more blatant. I tailored one of my Disney In Depth editions to exhibit how I have been able to showcase Disney in both my academic and professional environments. I incorporated Disney references into presentations I hosted at Scottsdale Community College, my alma mater, and developed a theme park-focused poster presentation for one of my classes at Arizona State University. As the article demonstrates, each individual has an opportunity to integrate Disney – in an appropriate manner – into school and work.
Disney In Depth gives me the opportunity to share elements of Disney that we sometimes overlook. Some of us concentrate on the theme parks’ biggest thrills or the most appealing characters. I play the piano and appreciate Disney’s contributions from an instrumental sense. The composers behind both the big-budget films and even the smaller pictures add value to the final products through giving musical tone and style. I dedicated two consecutive columns to highlighting 20 terrific Disney film scores during the past two decades. Not everyone may have the soundtrack for – or have even listened to – John Debney‘s sincere soundtrack for 2001’s The Princess Diaries, but all of the albums I listed deserve some attention.
Walt Disney may not have ever resided in San Francisco, but he will always have a legacy in the Presidio area. The opening of The Walt Disney Family Museum was coordinated by his descendants and those who admire the dreamer who made many of our visions a reality. Though it took four years after the museum’s debut for me to finally visit, I relished in touring the expansive galleries and encapsulating the experiences for you in the form of a video for Disney In Depth. The one-of-a-kind, interactive and rich exhibits warrant multiple visits to The Walt Disney Family Museum. Similarly, the museum’s special exhibitions, films, events and lectures are worth checking out if you’re ever in San Francisco.
This is Brett Nachman, signing off. Follow me on Twitter for alerts of new editions of Disney In Depth, released on the first and third Thursdays of each month, on Geeks of Doom.