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MouseStation 203 - Collected short subjects

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Let us hear from you!

Send in your suggestions, comments or tips via our email feedback form or via voicemail on our toll-free feedback line (1-866-939-2278).

If you want to contribute a story for our Monday Magical Moment segment (and possible inclusion in the Cast Place column here on MousePlanet), you can either use our email Magical Moment story form or the toll-free feedback line. (We love it when you use the voice mail system, because then we can play your call on the show!)

Thanks to our sponsor

Today's show is sponsored by Owner's Locker, a great service that gives you a place to leave your vacation-only stuff until your next trip to visit the Mouse.

Nobody has yet to respond to Mark's challenge in the show notes last week to see if they could find the complete list of stuff that was in Mark's locker in the photo.

Also, if you have any great ideas for how to use an Owner's Locker, if you've signed up and are anticipating using your locker, or if you have already used your locker, send us an email or call our voicemail and let us know what you think!

Tip of the Week

This week's Tip of the Week comes from listener Tonya from Bonney Lake, WA, who recommends finding your spot for the late show of Fantasmic at Disneyland right after the first show ends so that you can relax while waiting for the fireworks and the second show.

Mark and his family have often used that strategy, though instead of sitting by the rail at Tonya does, they grab a seat right up by the wall at the River Belle Terrace, and then they get something to eat while waiting for the show.

Mike has only seen Fantasmic at Disneyland twice, so he hasn't used that strategy before.

Mark also recommended the bridge over the entrance to Pirates of the Caribbean, which seems to be less crowded until the show starts.

(What's your opinion?)

At the Station


She said yes, folks! Click on the strip for a larger image.

This is the first of a series of strips that Sean has come up with for us, and we're not quite sure where we're heading with this yet. We just know that it's challenging Mark's ability to do character voices.

Don't forget that we've set up a page dedicated to archiving all of the "@ The Station" strips to make it easy for you to find them.

The World Science Festival

Mark and his family went to the World Science Festival in New York City on May 31 to see two presentations of "The Science of Imagineering." (They also caught a session called "Brain Tricks" and saw some presentations during the street fair.) Out at the street fair, they were able to see Lucky the Dinosaur, tended by Imagineer Susan Leber.

The 12:30 and 3:00 presentations were mostly the same, though there were some differences common to live performances. The shows were hosted by Scott Trowbridge, Vice President for Creative Research & Development for Imagineering.


Imagineering VP of Creative R&D Scott Trowbridge hosts "The Science of Imagineering." Photo by Mark Goldhaber.

First, Ric Turner talked a bit about Roller Coaster Physics, showing how G-forces act on the body in different directions using a gyroscope and a volunteer.


Imagineer Ric Turner talks to the audience as technicians prepare his volunteer to ride in the gyroscope to illustrate the forces in play while riding a roller coaster. Photo by Mark Goldhaber.

Next special effects expert Asa Kalama showed off some really cool technologies that Imagineering has been working on. First, he showed how liquid nitrogen froze water molecules in the air, creating fog, using what looked like a HVAC cooling duct tube. Then, when talking about wanting to send cohesive bursts of air and smoke longer distances, he brought out the Big Puffer, which shoots smoke rings great distances with intense puffs of air. Finally, he demonstrated hypersonic speaker technology that allowed the group on stage to create sounds that could only be heard by a small slice of the audience at any one time. Wherever the hypersonic speaker was pointed, it sounded like the volunteer on stage was whispering in your ear, while it couldn't be heard outside of the narrow range that the speaker was aimed.


Imagineers Scott Trowbridge and Asa Kalama talk about the Big Puffer, which shoots huge smoke rings long distances on cohesive bursts of air. Photo by Mark Goldhaber.

Dr. Ben Schwegler, Imagineering's Chief Scientist, came out to talk about how fireworks get their colors. He had three bowls of metal salts soaked in alcohol, and lit each on fire in turn. Each burned a different color based on the metal salt involved. He then talked about Disney's use of air launched fireworks, which both allow Disney to fire shells more accurately and reduce the usage of explosive black powder for propelling the shells. Trowbridge then launched several T-shirts into the audience using a portable air launcher.


Imagineering Chief Scientist Dr. Ben Schwegler and Scott Trowbridge show how different metal salts can make flames burn red, blue and green. Photo by Mark Goldhaber.

Next up, Amber Samdahl talked about how Imagineers use computers to model crowd flow with varying obstacles and walkway configurations, and also used a portable motion capture room to animate computer-generated characters on a screen using the movements of a volunteer from the audience.


Imagineer Amber Samdahl joins Scott Trowbridge to talk about the use of computer modeling to predict crowd flow. Photo by Mark Goldhaber.

Dr. Anne Savage talked about Disney's Worldwide Conservation Fund, and how Disney Animal Programs works to help find and protect species. She also spent a while talking about how Disney uses miniaturized transmitters to track the movements of animals from cotton-top tamarinds to sea turtles, and also showed a huge transmitter used to track elephants. A volunteer family was selected to wear the elephant collar, which was large enough to wrap around an entire family, and then had their movements around the street fair outside tracked by the Global Positioning System.


Dr. Anne Savage talks about playing her favorite game, "Match the feces with the species." Photo by Mark Goldhaber.

Next, to illustrate the Living Character Initiative, they presented an abbreviated version of Turtle Talk with Crush on a giant screen. To wrap up the presentation, they tracked the volunteer family with the elephant collar to the middle of Washington Square Park, where they were standing with Lucky the Dinosaur. Lucky told his "handler," Imagineer Susan Leber, that he wanted everyone in the theater to come visit him because he couldn't wait to eat…er…meet them. On the way out of the theater, all attendees were given Imagineering journals to write down their ideas. Judging by how many kids were busy drawing in their journals at the reception, it was a huge success.


Mark chats with Imagineer Scott Trowbridge during the reception. Photo by Hope Goldhaber.

At the reception, Mark chatted with Scott Trowbridge, who amongst other things put to rest the Internet rumor that Lucky has had difficulty in successfully traveling from place to place. He also talked to Asa Kalama about the hypersonic speaker technology. Mickey Mouse made an appearance as they were talking, so rather than getting drowned out by the surrounding hubbub, Mark cut that interview short.

The show writer for the event, named Josh (Mark didn't get his last name), told Mark that it was really a one-shot deal, and there were really no furhter plans to do another show like this in the future. Mark feels that it's a shame, because judging by how many kids were excited by the show, it should be a great way to inspire the next generation of Imagineers.

 

Ask the Kid The Kid Asks the Imagineers


Mark and the Kid chat with Imagineer Amber Samdahl at the reception. Photo by Hope Goldhaber.

Instead of asking Mark's nine-year-old son a question this week, we turned the tables and let the Kid ask questions of the Imagineers.

First he asked Ric Turner what his favorite Disney coaster is. (Ric's favorite is Expedition Everest.) The Kid had a little stage fright, and only asked the one question of Ric.

Later, he felt a little braver and asked Amber Samdahl what kind of stuff can be added to the computer modeling of the parks. (He's a big Roller Coaster Tycoon 3 fan, so he was kind of familiar with the concept of "peeps" walking around virtual parks.

After the microphone was put away and the pressure was off, the Kid was more comfortable asking Ric and Amber many more questions about coasters and computer simulations. Ric recommended No Limits as a better roller coaster simulation program than RCT3.

Last Week on MousePlanet

We continued our experiment in telling you what you may have missed on the MousePlanet site last week if you're not visiting regularly, with Andrew Rich down at MousePlanet Global Headquarters.

Feedback and Other Stuff

Send us feedback via email or by calling our toll-free feedback line at 1-866-939-2278. Don't forget that we love voicemails because then we can put your voice on the show!

Wrapping up

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Don't forget to go to the iTunes podcast directory and give us a good rating for the combined feed!

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Thanks to the Imagineers who appeared on the show, and to Marilyn Waters for helping to set everything up for us.

Thanks to our audio engineer and sound editor Steven Ng.

Thank you for listening!

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(Send an email to MouseStation Crew)

The MouseStation crew (@MouseStation) currently consists of Mark Goldhaber (@MPMark) and Mike Demopoulos (@MPMike).