Smuggler’s Run is the Best Ride in the World: Technical innovations in storytelling that are now the definitions of pop culture

This has been a year of “never thought I’d see its,” to say the least, which culminated for me while watching the Disney parade on Christmas morning from the parks. Specifically, when I saw Portugal the Man perform “Feel it Still” in front of the life size Millennium Falcon at Galaxy’s Edge. Star Wars has always been popular, but there has always been a kind of social tension, it wasn’t something that people felt comfortable talking about in public. If you wore a Star Wars shirt to school like I used to all the time, kids would gang up on you for it with massive amounts of unjustified peer pressure. But after a long evolution, particularly with shows like Big Bang Theory making geekdom fun, and “popular” the Disney ownership of Star Wars is showing signs of mind-bending culture changes that were evident that Christmas morning. No longer were kids forced to keep their thoughts to themselves, Disney had made it so that Star Wars was just as popular if not more so in knowing which quarterbacks were coming out of the draft this year from which colleges. It was a shift in sentiment that I never thought would be possible, yet there it was. As I watched I couldn’t help but think that many of the same people who are those invisible Trump supporters loving the optimism of an optimistic tomorrow were the same people that spent thousands of dollars at Disney every year and would put on the mouse ears for a visit on Christmas morning to the parks to participate in their parade.

Thinking of that Millennium Falcon, after a recent trip to Disney World where I was able to ride that ride 8 times, and ride the new Rise of the Resistance and Flight of Passage at the new Pandora land at Animal Kingdom I have proclaimed that I thought Smuggler’s Run, which is essentially a flight simulator for the Millennium Falcon was a better ride for a number of reasons. As Rise of the Resistance has opened in December at Disney World and was a feature of the parade in promoting the ride to a hungry Christmas morning audience, a lot of people don’t know just what a miracle these rides are. Especially in regard to the Millennium Falcon’s Smuggler’s Run. I included a video on this article that goes into the details of just how impressive the engineering is on Smuggler’s Run. And even thought Rise of the Resistance has a lot more technical tricks to help make the magic happen, I think the engineering of Smuggler’s Run is so impressive that it’s in a category all by itself even if most of those miracles happen where nobody will ever see them.

Being a huge fan of the Millennium Falcon from Star Wars I know a lot about the ship and how it should be laid out, so while I was riding it I was looking for flaws, which can be seen from my Instagram posts included here. As it is, the many mechanism that make the ride possible are completely hidden from even the most rigorous fan. There were little things that I could point out, such as parts of the cockpit altered to accommodate mass riders, and some of the internal pathways to the cockpit that were stretched to fit the needs of 1800 riders per hour. What is most clever is that the ride creates the illusion of walking into the Millennium Falcon’s interior and boarding the cockpit as a single experience when in reality there are seven cockpits on four giant rotary tables that are timed out to perfection for all the loading and unloading that goes on. Each ride vehicle gets its own wrap around screen and sits on a flight simulation platform that would have made NASA jealous a few decades ago. The technology and timing involved in this ride is incredible and all of it is done to ensure that the riders can not see the strings behind the scenes and can instead believe in the experience as a real one.

My perspective is coming from an older person who grew up on these movies. When I was a kid, my family couldn’t afford to get me the Kenner Millennium Falcon to play with so made my own out of a box. So, it is astonishing to me to read these modern critics of these rides and of the new Star Wars movies knowing how much better things are now than then. Having the ability to even visit a Millennium Falcon in real life let alone fly in it is bizarre and a huge step for science fiction and the art of modern storytelling. That Smuggler’s Run is a reality let alone other options like Rise of the Resistance in the same area is an astonishing achievement in any field of endeavor. But especially in storytelling where a ride goes to so much trouble to create an alternate reality in physical space is a jaw dropping enterprise. But then again, to host a concert by a pop culture group on a Christmas morning broadcast mainstream to the world is something I never would have thought would be possible. Knowing that, the prospects for other surprises in the future are very exciting.

But for my money, and well beyond sentiment, the Millennium Falcon ride Smuggler’s Run is the top ride in the world right now, and it will take years to match it by anybody. Also on Christmas Day my wife and I went to see Rise of Skywalker again and I couldn’t help but notice how full the movie theater was from very normal people wanting to see that movie after the day’s festivities had ended. The Millennium Falcon is one of the feature characters of that movie and it is fun, even though its just a machine. The well-known starship was so well featured in the film knowing that it was a kind of advertisement for the ride in Galaxy’s Edge. People watching the movie with their big drinks and overflowing popcorn could travel to Disney World and actually fly the thing—over and over again—and that is a new thing in the art of storytelling that we haven’t yet dealt with as a species, not only the ability to create a story to hold some abstract concept, but to physically participate in the intellectual inclusion of it into our collective subconscious—and with such swagger that Disney could feature it on a popular television broadcast with a modern rock group as part of the package.

I point it out because all things lead to other things and I can’t help but notice that we are expanding our intellect as human beings because of these kinds of technical innovations. The conflict that we hear about on the news is that the rigid orders of the past have not yet caught up to that notion. But the fans of the Disney experience, and through mythology like Star Wars, a new kind of vacationer is being created. Not a passive cocktail drink by the pools of some exotic destination, but the Disney participant that is looking for an above the line experience and is willing to pay a lot of money to get it. And for those people, Smuggler’s Run gives them a seamless experience of a reality that was only available to the imagination. Now it’s real, leaving it to be pondered what the next generation of entertainment will be. At this point, we can only wonder, because the evidence is quite jaw-dropping in its perspectives.

Rich Hoffman

Impeachment Will Only Help Trump in Ohio: Reflections on politics under the Liberty Tree

I was having a great time at one of my favorite places in the world when I got a call from an big time reporter from Cincinnati wanting to know if I could give a comment on camera about the impeachment of President Trump. As much as I wanted to, I was just getting off Mission to Space and my wife and I had a date planned over at The Land. I was as happy as I can get, the political world was shut out and had been all week and before me was all the optimism and fun that the Disney Company put in front of people able to see it. Yet, I was able to get my head back into the topic of the day and let him know what I thought, even if we didn’t do a formal camera interview due to my remote location. Now that all that fun is over and I’m back into the reality of a typical business day, I have a little time to answer the question properly that he asked me, which was, what did I think would be the impact of congress impeaching President Trump with a vote they are planning soon on his support in Ohio? My answer was that I thought the impeachment would help Trump and help Republicans win back the House. Democrats had severely overplayed their hand, and they would pay for it.

View this post on Instagram

The Liberty Tree! #disney #travel #life

A post shared by Rich Hoffman (@overmanwarrior) on

Part of the purpose of this trip to Disney for me was not the usual Mickey Mouse stuff that most people enjoy. Disney is good at what they do, there is literally something for everyone. My first priority was to see all the new Star Wars stuff, but deeper than that was all the great dedications to adventure that have come from their Animal Kingdom investments, yet even more specifically is the long time stand on patriotism that was a benchmark of Walt Disney from the beginning, so that people wouldn’t forget what made America great, ever. My kids are getting into their 30s now and my grandkids are just a bit too young for all the walking, so this little window to go to Disney with just my wife was open, and we jumped through it. The things I wanted to do and see were things that only I would appreciate so we bought the park hopper option and walked 40 miles over a four day period seeing all the things I wanted to do, specifically spending enormous amounts of time at the Epcot Center at the American Adventure pavilion and hanging out in Liberty Square at the Magic Kingdom by the Liberty Tree in ways I had never been able to do before, because it was just my wife and I. I was looking to recharge my patriotism and that is why Disney wanted those exhibits and it really helped put things in context for me.

I could go on an on about the imprint that modern politics plays on the management of Disney as a company, but there is no question about it, Disney World is one of the best shrines to the American experience that there is anywhere in the world. It is not lost on me that there are massive immigration influxes in the Orlando area where traditional white people are in the vast minority. That’s not a problem to me, so long as they don’t try to change America into the dumps they escaped from, and Disney World for them is their first and best experience as to what American patriotism is supposed to be about. With all that said, I just sat under the Liberty Tree for a while and watched the steam powered paddle boat run guests around Tom Sawyer Island with the wild west buildings extending all the way down to Thunder Mountain Railroad lingering in the background and I thought a lot about President Trump. I hadn’t been able to just linger in that spot most of my adult life because it was boring for my kids, but this trip I was able to before going into the Hall of Presidents and seeing the animatronic of President Trump speaking on the stage in the traditions of that presentation. Since he was elected I wanted to see what Disney had done with him in that popular exhibit and I was looking as forward to that as I was to pilot the Millennium Falcon at the new Galaxy’s Edge over at Hollywood Studios.

View this post on Instagram

What a great place! #life #disney #family

A post shared by Rich Hoffman (@overmanwarrior) on

The presentation didn’t disappoint. As I watched Trump speak I thought it was well done. Trump is the first president that I’ve actually met, and I had been close to his campaign as opposed to the other presidents, but the event was very inspiring in that it provided context to history, especially this impeachment attempt. What was happening now was every bit as contentious as Lincoln trying to keep the country together during the Civil War. We were every bit as involved in history as all the presidents on that stage had faced over time, only this was just the latest chapter of the American story. Modern executives at Disney may not like Trump, but the presidency is bigger than the moment and in the context of history, the trends were obvious, which is why I wanted to go to Disney World so bad. Just to sit under the Liberty Tree and have a Coke was pure gold to my mind and allowed me to spend many hours enwrapped in patriotism.

So, to answer the question started at the beginning of this little piece, the Democrats are on the wrong side of history and it won’t be long before it is just one more story in the Hall of Presidents at Disney World. The Democrats have made themselves villains to the world, and they would pay for it. And that isn’t just partisan opinion, it’s the trend of our times. As I landed back in Cincinnati from Orlando, England had just had their election and the socialist Labour Party had their worst defeat since 1935. Democrats in America know the writing is on the wall for them and that is why they are impeaching Trump with what will end up being a nail in their own coffin. People see that they can’t win an election outright, they have no candidates, they have no ideas, they are losing their grip on people’s minds around the world and this impeachment attempt will only piss off people and inspire in them their own rebellions. Not with guns, but with votes, and that is bad for the future of liberalism, and great for the future of our country.

View this post on Instagram

What a great view of Liberty Square #disney #life #family

A post shared by Rich Hoffman (@overmanwarrior) on

In that context I think the impeachment attack is the best thing that can happen because it puts everyone’s cards on the table and forces reality to be dealt with. As I sat under the Liberty Tree sipping on my drink and thinking about these things in that magnificent setting, it was quite clear to me. Impeaching the president would not only help Trump in Ohio, but it would solidify him for the next election across the nation. We are in a battle currently as a nation, but every generation has their challenges. What lasts is the spirit of freedom that drives all of us, all over the world, people to come to Orlando for a chance at a decent job, Americans wanting to raise families, buy houses and take their kids to Disney World, or the people of England wanting to throw off the shackles of socialism once and for all, and even in Hong Kong where protestors are demanding freedom putting China in a terrible negotiating position with the tariffs. Trump is doing a great job as president and the enemies of America hate him for it. That’s why it will help him win Ohio by even larger margins and solidify his win in 2020.

Rich Hoffman

The Full Sized Millennium Falcon at Hollywood Studios: A dream come true

I’ve been writing these articles every day for the last ten years, except for a month of two here and there. And during that entire time, I occasionally do these Millennium Falcon articles about that fictional ship from Star Wars because simply put, I’ve been in love that that vessel most of my life. When I was little it captured my imagination in many positive ways and has been a very important part of my life. It has always represented to me what could be instead of what is, and the excitement of such an intergalactic hot rod that is like a deep space RV has always been something of a goal of mine to see as a reality. I have thought of building one myself. I have supported other people who have attempted to do so. And whenever there has been some kind of movie prop or promotional material regarding the Millennium Falcon, I would go way out of my way to see it. Recently when Disney was promoting Solo: A Star Wars Story at NKU in the Cincinnati area, I took a very rare day off work to go see it. I am not a guy who stands in lines for much of anything, but for that one I showed up many hours early just to see an exhibit in a cargo container set up in the university parking lot. So you might imagine dear reader what it was like for me to finally see the Millennium Falcon in real life at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and to actually get the opportunity to fly the thing in a simulator environment. I would call it a religious experience above seeing Moses come down off Mount Sinai to present the Ten Commandments. For me, it was bigger than that.

Over 20 years ago I was invited with a special contingent of people to attend a unique viewing of Star Wars at the Smithsonian in Washington D.C. It was a museum dedication to the costumes and model props from the actual films and how the power of myth had helped shape our society. It was a big deal for me, I was there with the Joseph Campbell Foundation for which George Lucas himself was on the board of directors. I had at that point spent most of a decade reading Joseph Campbell and much of his source material from Nietzsche, to Thomas Mann, Carl Jung, James Joyce including Finnegan’s Wake which has turned out to be one of my favorite books ever, and many, many others—so this was a very scholarly group I was meeting in Washington D.C. I was able to meet Joseph Campbell’s wife Jean at this event and I had brought my wife and kids so the weekend was promising to be very intellectual and a great networking event. Publishers were there, filmmakers, producers, it was a good group.

I got to the event at the Smithsonian and we stopped at the actual model of the Millennium Falcon, the big one, from The Empire Strikes back that was over two feet long. I froze there looking at it for what turned out to be the rest of the day. Everyone else moved on, but I stayed there looking at that model close up for the first time for the rest of the day, and what turned out to be the rest of the weekend. I didn’t meet up with everyone later, but instead spent the rest of the weekend looking at the rest of the exhibit with my family and returning back to that Millennium Falcon model over and over again taking countless pictures of it from every angle in a time when you still had to develop film, before anybody had digital cameras or even a hint at an iPhone. I never forgot every little detail on that model and have been thinking about it every day since. So seeing the full sized model of the Millennium Falcon that the Imagineers had built at Galaxy’s Edge at Hollywood Studios, Florida was well beyond a mind bending experience for me. It was God himself sitting there for me to indulge in until my heart’s content. It was a massive collision of imagination and engineering wrapped up into infinite possibilities that for me were beyond exciting.

I have talked about how excited I was to be finally at Galaxy’s Edge to walk around in the world of Star Wars. Well, I do have a voluminous vocabulary, and I don’t have words for how I felt about this experience, of seeing the Millennium Falcon aaaaaannnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnddddddd, being able to go inside it and fly it. It was the most exciting thing I can ever remember doing, not just in the function, but in the possibility of it in thinking that such a thing would never have been possible. If there is anything of a heaven in my life, I could put that experience on loop for all eternity and not feel like I missed any other opportunity at happiness. That experience for me was the definition of happiness and my only regret is that I can’t have that experience every day for the rest of my life,

I can only thank the Imagineers and for Disney as a company for building such a thing. I might even buy some Disney stock after this wonderful vacation experience. For all the talk about social justice from Disney ruining Star Wars, this experience went a long way for me to forgive them for their mistakes. Disney could have gone cheap on this attraction and done something on much less of a scale, like the AT AT at Star Tours which I’ve always loved, but wished had been full sized. That full-sized model of the Falcon was as detailed if not more so as the Smithsonian model I fell in love with all those years ago. It was so special to see it up close, to eat near it, to walk inside it, to be a part of it in a reality created by Disney Imagineers for the love of people like me. They didn’t have to go that far, but they did, and I feel so much better for the experience of it.

I’m a very positive person, I have lived through lots and lots of very distinct disappointments that likely would have killed most people. But I never remember going to bed at night and waking up the next day without hope in thinking that today could be the best day of my life. In a lot of ways my source of inspiration was always the Millennium Falcon, a beat up old ship that everyone thought was junk that always ended up saving the day, and by the time it has arrived to these new movies, is the last hope for everyone in surviving to a new day. That has always been my relationship to that fictional spacecraft. And to that effect, I can say that no matter how tough life has ever been, no matter how disappointing days could sometimes be, it was worth waking up each day to arrive at a point in life where seeing this full-sized Millennium Falcon was possible. To say that I am filled with exuberance is an understatement. Seeing that thing that is much more than a movie prop in symbology is one of those things that I will always say was one of the best things I’ve ever had the privilege to experience. And that in itself is saying quite a lot.  It is a reminder that no matter how bad things get in life, its worth pushing through because somedays you have days like the ones I’ve just had where dreams do come true.  The fight is worth it just to have such opportunities.  So you should never cut yourself short and give up when things get tough, because they can always get better so long as you keep trying and working at it.

Rich Hoffman

The Best Couple of Days of My Life: Galaxy’s Edge was a true masterpiece and marvel of achievement toward creativity

Anybody who knows me, knows that the way to my heart is through creativity, anything that shows an effort at outside the box creativity is the way to win me over to any effort. This applies to food, buildings, works of art, even relationships. I judge just about everything on the creative level of input from the participants, and if they don’t show an effort at creativity, I quickly disregard whatever it is as useless. I’m largely a Star Wars fan because the film franchise, the toys, the merchandise in general have always been very creative, and its fun to visit anything Star Wars as to offer from a creative standpoint. I always find that the reality of Star Wars is better than the reality of our present society because in Star Wars they are asking creatively how things could be instead of crying about how things are. If I had to sum up my love of Star Wars in one sentence, that would be it. So with all that context I visited finally Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Hollywood Studios and I have to say with great enthusiasm that it was a dream come true. I have to thank the Disney Imagineers and Bob Iger’s vision to turn them loose on this $1 billion dedication to creativity and everything that Star Wars could be, so that I could walk around and see, touch, taste and experience a Star Wars reality that I really thought would never be possible, even with my considerable talents at creativity being what they are.

I found my visits this past week to Galaxy’s Edge mind bending, and simply jaw dropping. I’ve traveled around the world and experienced many cultures. Nothing comes close to what I experienced at Galaxy’s Edge. Even though it is all a fictional reality, I found it quite clear that the Imagineers of Disney had not just recreated a Star Wars experience for fans of the films and books, but had created a better reality for which the stories of Star Wars had always been endeavoring to create in the minds of their fans. Only now it was real, you could see it, touch it, and taste it. The perfect symphonic elements of good storytelling I don’t think have ever been done this well anywhere in the world, ever.

I remember when The Lion King was all the rage on Broadway and how the use of the puppet props to recreate the story of the animated movie The Lion King touched people in what many thought was a sophisticated way. It was considered high art by even the most hardened social critics. Walking into this Galaxy’s Edge land dedicated to Star Wars with all the great sounds and music by John Williams genius work was not just watching a concert where the actors and musicians were on stage performing for you, but that you were now part of the story and the action was happening to you. It was an entirely new way to present a high art concept using a popular film franchise as the launching point. Everywhere I looked was an obvious, “this is how it could be” message by Disney Imagineers. The ever important asking of the question, “what if?”

To start by asking a question, “what if the values of cowboy cinema and Saturday morning serials could be met to the needs of the next generation of space traveler” was the question George Lucas asked years ago before using Joseph Campbell’s studies on mythology to launch the Star Wars film franchise. Then to see it evolve into a full three dimensional reality with the promise of more, and more for me was the most ambitious attempt ever conducted at such an audacious task, the realization of a fantasy into a known reality even on such a level as Star Wars is known for. This was the highest form of storytelling that I have ever seen in any format by any level of content. It was sophisticated, honest, and hopeful in inspiring people to ask those next level questions about our own reality. If you can have Star Wars in Disney World, then why not everywhere, and on any planet? As I walked around Galaxy’s Edge I thought of Elon Musk and what designs his engineers at Space X might be inspired to upon visiting this place and how the Mars expeditions of the future might take shape directly inspired by these constructs. In all my years of reading about mythology, comparative religion and science fiction in general, nobody had ever come close to doing anything remotely close to what Disney had done at Galaxy’s Edge. When they said this was the most ambitious project they had ever attempted, they weren’t kidding.

I couldn’t get enough of that place. It was the most comfortable I can remember ever feeling anywhere at any point in my life. When I was a kid I had a very creative place in my parents basement that was dedicated to Star Wars. I built lots of models and landscapes dedicated to the old Kenner toys and I enjoyed that until about age 13 when my parents were concerned that I’d rather spend time there than in dating and socializing. They took it down while I was at school one day and let me know that they were going to fix up the basement and were going to move me down there so I could have my own room through my teenage years. I never really got over that experience, I was so angry about it that I carried it around for years. Not that I could blame them, they thought they were doing the right thing. But for my kind of mind, it was the worst thing they could have done. I just wanted to have a creative space for my mind and when they took that away, there wasn’t a replacement so I internalized everything because there was no other choice.

And even when you grow up, it doesn’t get any easier. People want pieces of you every hour of every day, and if you are a good person, you do all you can to help them out with their problems. For me, the more people who come into your life the harder it is to find time to think, which is what I like doing the most. So as ridiculous as it sounds, I have been craving that creative space for myself all these years since then to now, but life just doesn’t give it to you. You either get it as a kid or never again because kids don’t yet have the responsibility of life. So they get free time to think about things, and when life came to interrupt my creative solitude, I did the best I could with it, but nothing life offered was ever as satisfying as that creative space I had in my parent’s basement when I was 9 to 13 years old. Walking through Galaxy’s Edge it was obvious that my sentiments were not alone to me, but that many of the people who had built the place, under the power of Disney’s financial abilities, had similar experiences as me, and this was a love letter from them to the efforts of creativity. It was a place I had been thinking of building since I was a little kid and seeing it and being there was very special.

I can’t say enough good things about it. I’m so glad to have the opportunity to visit the place. It was and will likely remain one of the best couple of days of my life.

Rich Hoffman

The Great Work of Disney Imagineers at Disney Springs: Every zoning board in America should pay attention to the good work there

One of the things I was most curious about, regarding the Disney Springs renovation from what used to be called Downtown Disney, to its present form, was why the Imagineers felt they had to create a fictional back-story about what is essentially a shopping and entertainment destination. I have always loved Downtown Disney and when Disney bought Lucasfilm back in 2012 I had a strong feeling they would do good things with the Indiana Jones property and was excited to see what it might be. I was a little surprised that the creation of Jock Lindsey’s Hanger Bar was one of their first projects so upon landing in Florida during a recent vacation it was the very first place I went. I couldn’t wait to get there as I had been watching the re-construction of Downtown Disney into Disney Springs for much of the last decade and I had to see, smell and touch everything.

My point of reference for these kinds of places is Atlantis from the great book Atlas Shrugged, the kind of world that if human creativity was left alone to do its thing, what kind of great things could we make. The closest I can think of anywhere in the world is the Disney managed properties of Disney World, for which Disney Springs is a part. I don’t care that things are so enormously expensive there, because like the book Atlas Shrugged, the value for money and any other currency is in the product themselves. Disney sells happiness, and if you have enough money, you can buy some. Their Imagineers are happy to give you happiness, so if you can afford it, you can purchase for yourself. But its not free. So using that as my guide, I was delighted to visit the place and compare it to other places around the country that I admire, particularly a shopping complex in my hometown called Liberty Center which I love quite a lot.

But what mystified me, even as a person who understands the importance of mythology in everything, is that Disney created this fake backstory about Disney Springs and even Jock Lindsey’s Hanger Bar and that as guests we were supposed to accept it in the same way we might accept some reality from the theme parks they are so known for. In fact, just about every new hotel and construction experience on the Disney property in Florida these days has some kind of made-up backstory which I found perplexing until I visited the place for myself. Even watching the construction updates from a distance for several years really couldn’t bring context to the effort until you physically visited a place like that.

Upon seeing the creation of the springs at Disney Springs I understood immediately what the Imagineers were going for, its what I would call a “conceptual faculty,” the ability to see an abstract concept in your mind so that you can bring it forth into a reality. By creating all these back stories for stores and restaurants at Disney Springs the designers were able to use mythology to elevate the construction and its psychological impact on the consumers. Normally it would be up to the companies who become tenants at such a place to set the tone of a project, but in this case the backstory of the concept allowed all participants to align the scope of the project to a unified vision, and it was pulled off brilliantly. For me it was quite a magical moment to spend the afternoon in Jock Lindsey’s looking at all the relics from his past in chasing Indiana Jones all over the world and to stroll a few short steps from that front door to the fantastic springs of Disney Springs with all the commercial activity situated around it.

The thing that struck me most about Disney Springs is that in no way in the world would any zoning board trained at today’s colleges approve such a plan and allow an entertainment district like Disney Springs to be built along the many natural springs that are found all over Florida. The political bureaucracy would be mind bending dull and laborious. It just wouldn’t happen. So to sidestep that little problem, Disney Imagineers just created their own lakes and springs so that commercial development could take place around it, and the result would be spectacularly beautiful. The result as I could see it was essentially John Galt’s Atlantis where great creations from great people were on full display without the imprint of local and state governments regulating fun beyond recognition. That is largely because Disney controls what happens on their property to the most extent that any modern company could. I don’t think it would be possible to build something like a Disney Springs off the Disney controlled property due to local regulations picking it apart until there was nothing left.

Even at Galaxy’s Edge, the new Star Wars land which I will be talking about alot, the backstory that was created for it as a project gave the Imagineers something to build to, a way to conceptualize the project and overcome whatever problems came before it. Such a method of approaching a construction project had really improved Disney Springs since my last visit and the overall approach of the entire network of theme parks. This point hit me hard while traveling on the new Skyliner system of gondolas that are now connecting Hollywood Studios with the Epcot Center. Many of the hotel complexes that had been created recently along that gondola path all had similar backstories as were used to create Disney Springs and the elevated mythology had propelled the scope of the projects to a much higher level than would have otherwise been achieved using traditional building methods at the development stage. This ability Disney has been using with its Imagineering department to help guide all their construction departments had yielded results in the final presentation they wouldn’t have achieved any other way.

To that effect I was greatly impressed by the work at Disney Springs. I would say that the complex alone would deserve its own vacation destination, but for me it was only one very small part of my trip experience into enjoying the fantastic work of the Disney Imagineers. Locals obviously were taking the place for granted, but it was clear to me that what was happening there was very unique. It would be great to see other places utilize the same methods to push up their own projects to such bold levels. Like John Galt’s Atlantis the mind of mankind has shown time and time again that it can do better than nature, and if nature is in the way, that we can simply build over it and do a much better job. As a company I’m sure Disney wants to appease the climate activists, but clearly as an organization their ability to put story before sentiment has helped their creative people in the Imagineering department do things they otherwise wouldn’t be able to do. The results are obvious and very exciting. Even if I was a little skeptical, it quickly became clear that this approach was something everyone should be doing, and it was a wave of the future that was not so obvious except in seeing the results firsthand.

Rich Hoffman

The Magic of Disney Imagineers: Enjoying a world where creativity is unleashed and money is not an obstical

For me, the most enjoyable parts of life come from cultures that are “can doers” as opposed to those who use every excuse in existence not to do something. Whether its family, friends, co-workers, political alliances, or just basic economic considerations, I enjoy most what can be done and hate the most when people point barriers as to why something can’t. That is why so many of my articles are about taxes, politics and prohibitive psychology. The people I like most in the world are those who find ways to do something. Those I like the least are those who must be drug through the mud on everything, whether it’s a movie, buying a new car or house, or just going to the shopping center to purchase socks or something iniquitous toward daily life. Therefor, when it comes to my own needs to recharge my batteries, I find places full of energy and creativity the best for me and is my idea of a vacation. And more specifically, I love the type of people that the Disney Company hires as Imagineers, very imaginative and whimsical people who are also very smart on the engineering side of things. I enjoy the products they create and is my idea of a vacation to see their work.

With all that said my two favorite kinds of people are very creative types, and engineers, very smart and logical people. Sadly, for me, those traits often don’t exist in the same people, so I have to speak to a lot of people to get all those elements in my life. But in doing that, it takes time away from other things, which for me there never is enough of it to give. I fly in and out of meetings with people because there is always something going on that I need to do and in my own pursuits of these creative things, it’s a lot like digging for gold, you put a lot of effort into getting just a little bit. However, at places like Disney World, the reason things cost so much money ultimately is because the entertainment company tends to hire just the kind of people I have said I like the most and over the last decade, under the guidance of Bob Iger the Disney Imagineers have been given a lot to do and I enjoy watching them do it.

I think Bob Iger as the CEO of Disney has done a great job and in many ways I am thankful for him and the chances he has taken to advance the input Imagineers have had on the company. I’m not at all crazy that Iger is a Democrat. For this series of articles, I won’t hold that against him because he has made some great decisions to free the type of people I am talking about up so that they could do the best work possible. So for my vacation this year I have been at the Disney World complex in Orlando which I make no mistake in loving as I’ve said many times in the past. But this time the scope of my visit has been to enjoy the work of the Disney Imagineers in the way that one might enjoy the Mona Lisa at the Louvre or any other place where great creativity is on display. I consider the work of Disney Imagineers to be far better and superior to other acts of human endeavor and capitalism is the fuel they have to create such fantastic attributes. So under that definition, I have always loved Disney World and that is an emotion that grows as time advances.

I timed my visit to the parks this time to match the opening of the new Rise of the Resistance ride at Hollywood Studios and to enjoy the new Star Wars land that its in called Galaxy’s Edge. But its more than just geeking out on Star Wars, for me its all about the Imagineers who have been turned loose by the Disney Company to make so many great creations over the last decade that I have been so excited to see on a whirlwind trip that I had been looking forward to for a long time. Disney+ the new streaming service showcasing the many products of Disney over the years has a great show they produce dedicated to their Imagineers which I would highly recommend watching, even for a casual observer. If the world had more people like those Imagineers in it, everything would be better. And in spite of my thoughts on how the Disney Company has handled Star Wars, by introducing way too much social justice into the franchise and pushing it to near ruin, the vast financial resources that Disney has can not be understated in giving their Imagineers the time and money to make some of the neatest creations on planet earth, which I think is far more significant.

So this vacation of mine has nothing to do with rest and relaxation, or unplugging from the world, its all about relishing the products of raw creativity and vast amounts of financial resources. For instance, the new Star Wars land at Hollywood Studios and the park in Anaheim, California cost around $1 billion. No company on earth in any country could do something like that, so I can think of no place anywhere to visit that is better for my purpose, and that is to enjoy as much Imagineering created by raw capitalism that could be found anywhere. And for me, the first stop was to the newly renovated Disney Springs shopping complex where a bar was dedicated to one of my favorite movie characters of all time, Indiana Jones called Jock Lindsey’s Bar and Grill. I literally got off the airplane at the Orlando airport and headed there first because it’s something I’ve been wanting to see for a few years now.

The restaurants and shopping district of Disney Springs is what I would call a perfect marriage of the kind of world we should have everywhere. Because of the way Walt Disney bought the property in Florida, they have their own central government which helps with their regulatory burdens. When they need to fix a road or get a permit for a new building, the amount of land they control has given them their own governing ability, which keeps the bureaucracy to a minimum. A place like Disney Springs would not have happened any other way, and certainly nothing like Jock Lindsey’s Hanger Bar would have never been born from the minds of Disney Imagineers. But its not just that, all around the complex the input of the Imagineers is everywhere, most spectacularly in a recreation of the kind of springs that are so popular in Florida as the centerpiece. It was spectacularly beautiful and in a lot of ways much better than nature itself. The marriage of so much creativity with corporate capitalism at Disney Springs is something that was just wonderful in so many ways, I can’t think of any place I’d rather be to recharge my own batteries.

Politicians and other bureaucrats in any community anywhere in the world would find a million reasons not to build something like Disney Springs. And that is just the reason I love going to those types of places, because the level of creativity and the money to spend on it is so abundant, it is great to see what the human mind can produce if only they are allowed to. And in no place in the world are imaginative engineering types even employed, let alone turned loose to create so many fine works of art for the purpose of entertainment. And in our American culture, that is something to cherish, and to provide plenty of reverence, which I do.

Rich Hoffman

An Authentic Han Solo Costume: The miracle of Amazon.com amid changing industries–and people

IMG_5037

Everyone knows I’m a huge Star Wars fan—which I view differently from the geeky other types of entertainment exhibitions of public support.  When I see the name Star Wars and participate in its products in whatever form, it evokes in me an optimism that is very specific to it that I am very fond of.  That’s why my favorite character within Star Wars is Han Solo, because he is the most optimistic character perhaps ever created for film.  Nothing is impossible for Han Solo—he’ll try anything under any circumstances because his personality is such that he figures his confidence and sheer will can get him through anything.  He is the Donald Trump of science fiction and I’ve felt that way about that character for more than forty years now.  On more than a few occasions I’ve dressed up as Han Solo for Halloween events, or other science fiction endeavors, conventions, watch parties, literary events at book stores—just various festive gatherings that celebrate costuming and character reverence—but I’ve never had any kind of official Han Solo clothing. I would just piece together whatever I could find that sort of looked like the popular smuggler from the Star Wars series and go from there. But my five-year old grandson is about to have a big birthday party marking that invisible line of being a toddler to a genuine little boy fully aware of the world around him with the memories that now matter—and my daughters are fashioning it to Star Wars.  As I’ve reported before also, these parties my kids do for their kids are not just little events—they go all out in creating a very mythic experience that is almost a theme park occurrence and due to their passion for Star Wars they are going all out.  That meant that of course I had to dress up as Han Solo—but this time I wanted to do it for real—as real as possible because of the effort my kids were putting into this party and the eventual impact it would have on the youth in my family attending this thing.  So I turned to Amazon.com to see what was out there and was stunned by a world I discovered.

My mom made me a little vest like Han Solo’s when I was in the fifth grade and I sort of kept it all these years even though it was way too small for me.  But even a few years ago if you wanted something that looked like a Star Wars character and bought a costume from a place like Party City it always came out looking far from authentic.  If you wanted something that looked like the clothing in the movie you had to make it.  Back when my kids were little we went to a Star Wars Celebration in Indianapolis and my wife made Jedi robes for my girls and their friends so they could dress up at that convention which occurred right before the movie Revenge of the SIth.  The internet at that time had some support—you could get directions from people who built their own costumes but there weren’t suppliers carrying things like that on the shelf.  Even though Star Wars was popular there just wasn’t any money in it for costumers to make costumes of all those characters in the movies  for a public of all shapes and sizes.  The scope of that work was unrealistic. For Han Solo specifically his outfit looks pretty simple yet is really quite complex.  For instance, his vest from A New Hope has a series of very complicated pockets positioned just right—and there is nothing like that off the rack at Wal-Mart or Kholes.  Han Solo’s pants don’t have pockets and have a very specific pin stripe down the side of them which disappears into knee-high boots that are meant to put the swash in the buckle for the very dashing character. The shirt under the vest isn’t just a white button-up but has a very unique collar and v-nick style that has to fit just right through the shoulders to give the correct effect.  Then there is the gun belt which is a thing all its own.  So I went looking for these things and I started with the Star Wars Costume exhibit at the Cincinnati Museum Center—which has been running all summer and will end around the beginning of October before moving on to the next city.  It’s a good exhibit, most of which I’ve seen before at the Smithsonian, but for my quest it served its purpose.  I was able to get right up to the Han Solo costume and look at things up close so that I could duplicate it authentically.  If I couldn’t find the items online, my wife was willing to build them from scratch so we went and took lots of pictures.

To my shook as I started looking now, in 2017 for these very specific Han Solo costume pieces for this epic party my kids were having I discovered that I was able to buy everything at Amazon.com relatively inexpensively.  For instance the great Han Solo vest that I figured was the most important part of the costume was just under forty dollars from an outfit in China.  I skeptically ordered it expecting it to arrive in a very flawed condition.  I expected something that looked like a typical Party City costume that smelled like plastic and rubber.  But what came to my front door was an exact replica of the Han Solo vest from A New Hope made out of material that was like that of tactical gear for a SWAT team.   It was a very good garment that was legitimate and it fit well the moment I put it on.  I was stunned by the quality of it.  I then proceeded to order the official shirt, the pants, the boots and the gun belt which as of this writing hasn’t yet arrived, but everything else has and again I was stunned by the authenticity of each item.

At different points in my life I had looked for these things and nobody carried them—as I said, everything had to be made by hand.  What’s unique about now from then—and by then I mean like six months ago—is that due to all the COSPLAY that goes on at these Comic Con conventions and now that Disney World is building these amusement parks with Star Wars lands within them there is this big COSPLAY movement that has emerged—where people dress up as characters from their favorite movies to delve into the mythology of these various sci-fi events—and out of nowhere there are all these suppliers who are making these costumes to meet the growing demand.  It’s a whole industry of itself that has virtually arrived out of nowhere.  I am aware of some of it because I find Comic Cons interesting as well as Gen Cons and other conventions.  I also noticed that the plans for the new Star Wars resort coming to Disney World is seeking to tap into this emerging market with a Fantasy Island style of Star Wars experience where they encourage people to show up dressed for the part.   Obviously Disney knew all about this culture and were building their business plans around it.  I only discovered it because of my grandson’s birthday party—but this was big business!

As I had ordered everything from my home computer and each item arrived one by one to my doorstep without having to go anywhere to search for it I became more and more impressed.  Even more shocking was that everything fit nicely, I didn’t have to send anything back.  Just by reading some of the reviews I was able to size myself accordingly with no trouble at all.  I figured that the risk was low because if the stuff showed up and was junky I figured my five-year old grandson would forgive me.  He’d appreciate the effort and wouldn’t get hung up on the details—even though he is a very smart little kid.  He surprises me what he notices.  He’s already playing the video game Battlefront very well which is about two years before I thought he would.  He plays online against other people who are very good—and he’s effective.  He knows all the different types of weapons that can be used, how to outfit each character and how to manage the Star Cards which give unique abilities to tactical engagements.  So if something wasn’t right, he’d notice. But after getting the parts of my Han Solo costume together it was obvious that I had nothing to worry about.  As far as this party was concerned, except for my hairline, the outfit looks just like it would if it was on the actual movie set.  That’s pretty stunning for something that was so easily ordered on Amazon.com.

This is all just another example of how imagination is fueling an entirely new industry and due to the excessive and efficient reach of Amazon.com they were able to connect me to suppliers around the world where I could get a very specific items from a forty-year old movie to my doorstep within two weeks.  And the quality wasn’t junky but meant to impress even under the scrutiny of the most ardent film geek.   In some cases my outfit is better than the movie original on display at the Cincinnati Museum Center.  Those costumes were meant for just a few months of filming, these for purchase were meant to last much longer and under the judgment of live audiences.  Needless to say, which I have before, we are seeing something new and hopeful from these modern movie enthusiasts which starts with a mythology in the movie theater and extends into real life—what Disney is doing down at their theme parks is tapping into the public need to play out their fantasies and is an expansion of imagination that is very specific to our species as human beings.  The need to personify a fantasy experience has deep psychological roots that go far beyond primal necessity.   I think the end result is a very positive one that is headed toward an unknown climax.  I know I love to see the imaginations of so many people at work to make something like all this possible—but it surprised even me at the extent of it all. And the entity most responsible for the success of this new industry was Amazon.com.  They were the middle ground players that connected need with supply and allowed both to get what they wanted at the best price and quality.  If they can do that with a simple costume from Star Wars, just think what they can do with real necessities.  We are living in a whole new world.

Rich Hoffman

Sign up for Second Call Defense here:  http://www.secondcalldefense.org/?affiliate=20707  Use my name to get added benefits.

Disney’s Fantasy Island: Where imagination intersects with reality to create mythology

I have been just a little enamored by all the news coming out of D23 in Anaheim, California over the weekend of 7/14–7/16.  I know many of my readers come here looking for political commentary, or uplifting insight into some complicated matter, but for anyone who knows me; the key to living that I find most valuable is mythology.  I credit the great Joseph Campbell as being the only teacher I ever really found valuable as I spent much of my youth digesting his vast work in the realm of mythology.  And in the modern sense, Star Wars is the greatest realization of modern myth that there is.  To the extent that Star Wars can expand the imagination of the human race is something I find infinitely valuable and is important if we look out beyond the limits of our present political entanglements. Even in the realm of education, Star Wars is changing the game and now under Disney’s guidance the results to me are mind bending—as was revealed by the entertainment company at their D23 Expo.

When I was a kid there was a popular television show called Fantasy Island that came on Saturday nights and I enjoyed it immensely. The premise was that whatever fantasy a visitor might have they could visit Fantasy Island and live it out only to learn some life lesson by the end of their trip that was important to their return to the regular world.  Well, Disney with all their resources are using the mythology of Star Wars to create their own version of a real “Fantasy Island” at Hollywood Studios with an exhibit they are calling now “Galaxy’s Edge” which is a fully immersive Star Wars land designed to take the theme park experience to the next level.  I wrote about that the other day, click here to review.  But in addition to that they are opening a Star Wars resort which is a completely immersive “fantasy island type of experience where you actually will be a part of a Star Wars story which I think is phenomenal on many levels as these videos will reveal.

Many years ago as I was one of the core members of The Joseph Campbell Foundation invited to Washington D.C. by Campbell’s wife Jean and a few other people who were very close to George Lucas who at that time was a board of director member—to review a very special Star Wars exhibit at the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum.  It was a big event and we had the VIP experience of getting there first before it was opened to the public.  So I took my kids because I knew it would be important in their lives.  And they never forgot it—and neither did I.  It was an experience that bonded us all very tightly—and that is what a good mythology can do.  You should never get lost in some fantasy and avoid living life, but I often say that Star Wars to me is like a vacation that I take in my mind.  I’m always thinking about very intense things and get myself into very stressful acts—and Star Wars in the form of some video game, book, or movie puts ideas onto a place where I can see them differently and usually solve problems by changing the perspective a bit.  For instance I’m currently very excited for the release of Battlefront II.  When it comes out I’ll probably spend a month playing it very diligently because it helps me manage very complex real life situations through the problem solving that you get while playing acting in battlefield strategies and war-time scenarios set in a Star Wars context.  I thought that these Battlefront games from Electronic Arts were the ultimate first person Star Wars experience.  Until this year’s D23—a Star Wars resort with a new land within Hollywood Studios called Galaxy’s Edge.  Compared to when I took my kids to the Star Wars exhibit at the Smithsonian in 1997 as a proud member of the Joseph Campbell Foundation from the perspective of a “mythology insider,” what Disney is doing is incredible, and I’m a big fan of it.

But that wasn’t all.  Over the past year I mentioned that I bought a Playstation VR device essentially so I could play the Battlefront Star Wars VR mission that came out on it over the previous Christmas.  It was to me a jaw-dropping experience and it has been a feature attraction to anybody who has come to my home over the last 6 months. The ability to fly an X-Wing Fighter into combat in and around a Star Destroyer was incredibly well done and if that was the extent of it I would be forever impressed.  But now a company called Lenovo has teamed up with Disney to create what is called an “augmented reality” experience meaning that you can see reality as you normally would only with a special headset new things can be introduced to it.  In this case you can embark on Jedi light saber training and play the Holo Chess that was so popular in the Star Wars films with this “augmented reality.”  That brings the experience of Star Wars and its mythology even more to the private world of the home environment.   Mythology is driving technology in ways that are then coming back to the personal experience of living the power of myth.   I will certainly be getting the new “augmented reality” headset by Lenovo as soon as it hits Best Buy likely this fall.

http://www3.lenovo.com/us/en/jedichallenges/?irgwc=1&clickid=3rq2DwQpgXfOxH8WRAzR8SUQUkhS2J0hMXAvQk0&PID=27795&acid=ww:affiliate:bv0as6

But this home technology only hints at what a company like Disney can do at these theme parks now to provide that truly Fantasy Island experience for their guests.  Star Wars is a powerful mythology.  On the surface it’s for kids, but the themes it contains are very primal and communicate with people in ways that nothing else currently does.   For adults Las Vegas has created some of that Fantasy Island mystic, but it doesn’t contain enough mythology to be a truly beneficial experience.  You get the sights and sounds of some fantasy thought, but not the problem solving that comes with experiencing an “augmented reality.”  I typically read a lot which works for me, but most people don’t take time for that kind of experience and the mind does get fatigued if it is not fed a steady dose of imagination.  A mind filled with imaginative elements whether from a fantasy situation or just from stimuli works better than a mind weighed down with the weights of reality.  Mythology helps people think bigger about things and that is a truly beneficial service.   But the ability to move directly into a mythic circumstance is truly revolutionary.  It is a real Fantasy Island type of experience and I think it will have vast importance over the coming decade culturally.

I knew when Universal Studios opened up that Harry Potter experience in their Florida parks that we were moving into a new kind of mythic experience.  And I knew that Disney would have an answer.  But I didn’t think it would be possible to be this cool.  What is happening is far exceeding my expectations and the possibilities are obvious.  I remember all too well how powerful Star Wars was to me and my family when these new options were not available.  What they will do to the mind of the up and coming to me is truly mind-blowing with benefits.  And I’m very excited to see more.  I was looking forward for quite a number of months to see what this year’s D23 would reveal.  What they showed was far more than I anticipated which is hard to do.  That leaves an astounding thought, what will be next?

Rich Hoffman

Sign up for Second Call Defense here:  http://www.secondcalldefense.org/?affiliate=20707  Use my name to get added benefits.

 

D23 Reveals the new Star Wars Land: Where science and technology meets mythology and imagination

I’ve been saying it for quite a long time and for fun you should go back and read what I first said about this topic way back in October of 2012—but this year at the D23 Expo in Anaheim, California Disney finally unveiled their elaborate plans for Star Wars Land.  The immense impact that I think this has on the human race is incalculable.  It’s not just another revenue stream for Disney’s massive media company, it is a launching point for new ways in thinking about mankind’s role in the cosmos and it is a jaw dropping culmination of imagination, engineering and philosophical debate all splashed down into a reality created from myth to be shaped by minds into an actual future.  What they revealed to me at D23 exceeded my expectations by a lot and it is certainly worth talking about.

I remember when I was a kid what it was like to ride the submarine at Disney World way back in the early 80s for the 20 Thousand Leagues Under the Sea exhibit.  It was I thought really well done.  I loved that Jules Verne classic both in novelization and the Disney film and it was very fascinating to me as a young pre-teen to see that ship in some scale that represented reality.  To be up close to it, to touch it, to ride inside it as it went slightly under water was something I’ll never forget.   And that was the case for much of Disney World back then, I had seen all these movies and at the early days of the Disney World’s Magic Kingdom before even the Epcot Center was built really launched me into adult pursuits mixed with adventure, a very detailed love of engineering, entrepreneurship, and literacy.   Even though I knew the exhibits were not real it always fascinated me to the level that Disney Imagineering was able to simulate what the imagination could create and apply real engineering marvel to those creations taking our minds from conception to reality.

I’ve always loved Star Wars maybe more because of how the movies were made than in what the stories actually said.  Most of my youth I watched and read of how my favorite movies were made and Star Wars filled my mind with technical details of how simple things were made into big things to make those films appear to be set in a galaxy far, far away a long time ago.  Largely, Star Wars was shaped by the Imagineering at Disney World because what they were able to do early on at Disney was carried directly into the production of Star Wars so the enormous market potential created by Disney Imagineering is really incalculable.  It is extremely difficult to know how deeply our modern society has been affected by just the very rudimentary exposure that we’ve seen in technology from 1970 until the present.   So by applying the same trajectory of thought, what they have been exploring in “Imagineering” at Disney over just the last decade is truly uncharted ground.  There are literally millions of young people inspired into the sciences by their experiences at these amusement parks.

When Universal Studios did their multipark Harry Potter experience I knew that we were unlocking a whole new theme park experience.    If Disney World set the stage for how these theme parks took movie magic and made them into a reality then Universal Studios took things to the next level and what they did in Orlando at Universal Studios with the literature of Harry Potter, first from the books then to the movie experience was just phenomenal, and it continues to be.   A visit to Universal Studios in Orlando is a trip into the imaginary worlds that Jules Verne and H.G. Wells could have never comprehended as a reality for young people.  And if you visit the NASA complex at the Kennedy Space Center you’ll quickly see how much reverence they have for the author Jules Verne.  The book From the Earth to the Moon framed early engineers and scientists at NASA and the rocket program before the space agency was created, into flying to the moon.   The human imagination is a very powerful tool and many of the products we see today are a direct result of our ability to think then make those imaginings into some sort of reality.

Well, Star Wars went several steps further in what had previously been done with imaginative thinking and once Disney acquired the property I had a feeling they would do something with Star Wars that would put it on a grand scale.  And now, at D23, they have shown us the model of what they are building—a 14 acre deep dive into the depths of extreme imagination.  The Disney Imagineers have been given a free hand to create something with Lucasfilm that will take visitors not only into the films that are so popular, but into a story they can then invest in themselves.   These Disney people weren’t just trying to duplicate some memorable events from the movies but they are going several steps further—and what they are coming up with will have explosive results on our human population.  I can only imagine what impact it will have on young minds visiting these Star Wars Lands in both Anaheim, and Orlando by having their minds ignited toward careers spawned from that experience.

You have to remember dear reader that while all this Star Wars stuff is going on at Disney, in new movies, theme park worlds and video games, NASA has been given the green light to return to space working with the private industry.   President Trump literally wants to return to the moon just a year after Disney opens up this new Star Wars Land—so space is going to be on everyone’s minds very soon.  I can say that I’m presently looking at what role I can play in this new space race as a grown adult.  There will be opportunities to build hotels and factories in space, on the Moon and on Mars over the next twenty years so for me as an adult it will be very fun, and stimulating to visit Star Wars Land and bridge reality to what the imagination has come up with there.  The idea of space ports interacting with many different species coming together over a vast galaxy is a strong philosophic concept that must be reconciled before actual science takes us to those places—and as the news of these phenomenal events begin to fill our basic reality soon, these fantastic theme parks are literally going to inspire us in ways that From the Earth to the Moon couldn’t.  I don’t think these Star Wars Lands are just for fun and excess—I think they will actually advance our technology and science by inspiring young people in ways that we’ve never experienced as a species thus far in our evolution.

I always enjoy the news that comes out of D23 and other science and fantasy conventions whether the topics are theme parks or from Fantasy Flight Games where our imaginations are stretched out for comprehension of new ideas massaged in brand new ways.  But this year is quite different.  If you combine the science and imagination of what Disney has been planning now for over five years—from when I first wrote about this story—with the optimism of the Trump presidency—we are talking about some very special days ahead for us all.  Even those who don’t think much of the Star Wars movies will find that the basic spill over of that fantasy will flow directly into our science of tomorrow—and THAT is a very exciting prospect that leaves me hungry for each new day and what might be revealed yet to come.

Rich Hoffman

Sign up for Second Call Defense here:  http://www.secondcalldefense.org/?affiliate=20707  Use my name to get added benefits.

cropped-img_0202.jpg

Disney’s Crusade Against Toy Guns: Hiding behind terrorism to appease their progressive base

Terrorism and the problems coming from it are the fault of a federal government that has failed to do its job.  Most of the terrorist incidents in America over the last twenty years are the direct result of a failed government to do what they were supposed to.  Yet their reaction is always that we should give them more government as a result of their incompetency, which most of us realize was a stupid thing to do.   Then of course comes the next debate as to private companies having to protect themselves due to the ineffectual policies by the government to hedge against terrorism.   People like me think an expansion of the Second Amendment is the needed result, whereas progressive organizations—like Disney believe in gun confiscation and more intrusions of personal liberty.

I am a long time fan of the Disney Company.  So it pained me greatly not only to see that they made such a terribly progressive Star Wars film but that they have announced that they are getting rid of toy guns within their parks.  For as long as I can remember Frontierland was a place where a child could buy a toy rifle and a coon skin cap as a memory of their Disney World visit.  But not anymore.  Regretfully, Disney as a company has let the liberal persuasion of capitalizing off government mismanagement marginalize their impact on the minds of our youth by pandering to gun grabbing politicians covering their own fallacies—purposely perpetrated, or by default—with gun censorship.  I would go so far as to call the following announcement entirely un-American:

Disney announced that metal detectors will be installed at the entrance to Disneyland and its Florida theme parks starting Thursday. The enhanced security measures will also ban adults from wearing masks or costumes, and discontinue toy gun sales inside all parks.

The entertainment giant announced the changes quietly Thursday, saying they were not based on “any single event,” but were intended to help security personnel and to make guests feel secure.

The portable metal detectors will be positioned beyond the “bag check” area at Disneyland and Walt Disney World parks in Florida. Security personnel will randomly select some visitors to pass through the magnetometers as part of a secondary screening.

The company also announced that it will beef up the deployment of police officers contracted to help with security around the parks. At Disneyland, that means beefing up patrols by the Anaheim Police Department. Disney did not give details about the scope of the expansion.

Disneyland will also increase patrols by explosive-sniffing dogs around the parks and related properties, such as Downtown Disney and its resort hotels, the company said.

The ban on masks and costumes will apply to all guests over 14 years old. And the company will no longer sell toy guns inside its parks, or allow guests to carry toy guns with them, regardless of age. Spokeswoman Suzy Brown said the company banned the toy guns “to avoid confusion or distraction for our cast members and security personnel.”

The rules are an apparent response to recent terrorist attacks in San Bernardino and Paris. Disney’s overseas parks will also enhance security, in accordance with recommendations from its experts at those locations, the company said.

The new rules are included on the company’s Disneyland Resort Park Rules page. “We continually review our comprehensive approach to security and are implementing additional security measures, as appropriate,” Brown said in a statement.

A Universal Studios Hollywood spokesperson said the park is testing metal detection as well, but doesn’t sell toy guns.

“We have begun testing metal detection at our theme park,” the spokesperson said. “We want our guests to feel safe when they come here. We’ve long used metal detection for special events, such as Halloween Horror Nights. This test is a natural progression for us as we study best practices for security in today’s world.”

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/disneyland-other-parks-install-metal-detectors-ban-toy-183956756.html

Here is the hypocrisy of Disney, take away the guns and cannons from the Pirates of the Caribbean ride and see how many people line up to ride, or see the movies.  Take the guns out of Star Wars and see how much money the films make.  Even though the gun was taken away from Woody in Toy Story, at least he had the holster.  Guns and their application are a huge part of what has made Disney as a company successful in the past, and is at the heart of their continued success.  Taking a stand against toy guns falls right in line with the rest of progressive leaning insurgents from teachers to politicians who are suspending children in public schools for wearing Star Wars characters holding guns on their clothing—in an attempt to change Americas love for firearms—culturally.  One of the largest entertainment companies in the history of the world is taking a position against guns not for fear of terrorism, but to solidify the progressive plans of their friends and allies on the liberal side of politics.  And it’s disgusting.

Walt Disney would be rolling over in his grave!  Frontierland was intended to keep people from forgetting about their heritage in America—which revolved around the gun.  The Disney Company has shown at many levels within a day of each other how radicalized against American tradition they have become.  The Force Awakens was clearly a liberalized version of Star Wars—the most obvious one yet.  In the film again regarding the space cowboy Han Solo there were occasions where he borrowed Chewbacca’s bow caster and was impressed by the power it exhibited.  All Han Solo fans know that he prefers a powerful pistol which he’s often seen holding in promotional pictures.  It is impossible to believe that as long as he’s known Chewbacca, for over 60 years–that he’s never had a chance to fire that weapon before.  Likely there was a decision by the filmmakers to show that Solo appreciated “native” weapons to advance the progressive platform sympathetic to “native” cultures instead of imposing a particular viewpoint on others—it is a small world after all.  It could also be that J.J. Abrams or somebody else just wanted to see Han Solo shoot Chewbacca’s gun in the film.  But because of Disney’s behavior about guns and progressive acceptance of cultural values conspiracy theories are bound to flash across our minds.

Instead of slowly weaning America off firearms in their entertainment productions, why not go all the way and take guns out of their films and television shows completely?  If you want to know the truth, Disney, the reason that The Lone Ranger flopped at the box office was largely because Tonto was the featured character and The Lone Ranger gunfighter aspect was greatly reduced so to appease the progressive activists.  Americans wanted to see the gunfighter shooting guns, not flopping around in the film until the very end.   So instead of taking guns out of the parks and hiding behind reasons of terrorism prevention to sell it to the public, why not just declare to the American public that as an organization you are against guns?  Disney won’t do such a thing because it would have an impact on their bottom line.

The policy is pathetic and further evidence of how far the company has fallen from its roots of preserving traditional American values.  The rest of the world is welcome to share in those values, but it should go without saying that American culture is the best, and it’s up to companies like Disney to communicate those values in a way that helps other cultures adapt aspects that might help them be more fruitful.  It’s not Disney’s job to try to alter the advancement of American culture back to the ways of the lowly European history—the gun grabbing losers of progressive tendency.  Further imposing restrictions on their park visitors with bans on “toy guns” when much of their revenue is generated from “guns” is disrespectful, and intolerable.  And let me tell you this dear reader.  It is well-known that I love Disney World and the surrounding parks affiliated with their company.  But this will change my plans for many years.  If Disney as a company will take a stand against guns like they have over this latest issue—I won’t plan a trip in the near future.  I many abandon it all together as a future vacation destination.   I will not spend my money on such a company.  And there are many people like me who won’t either.  It’s a pretty bad move on their part.

Rich “Cliffhanger” Hoffman

 CLIFFHANGER RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT

Sign up for Second Call Defense here:  http://www.secondcalldefense.org/?affiliate=20707  Use my name to get added benefits.