Episode 61: Data Collection, Star Wars, Security, and Newsies

Beyond the Berm is back with Episode 61! Which for the record is about 54 episodes ahead of Star Wars right now. Why are they getting all the attention and not us?

Anyway, to start things off, Matt discusses how we collect personal data with Fitbits, Garmin watches, and such, and then wonders just what Disney does with all of the data they are collecting from Magic Bands at Walt Disney World. While some people are worried about privacy for some reason, we think it is actually pretty cool. Hear our thoughts as we tell why.

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Next, you may have heard about a new movie opening this weekend. So after you go see the new Alvin and the Chipmunks movie, listen in as we discuss the opening of that new Star Wars thing. And don’t worry, you won’t find any spoilers here, because we haven’t seen the movie yet!

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After that, we discuss the new security measures which just went into effect at the Disney parks as well as other US parks. Scanners, no toy guns, no costumes – how will this affect all of us in the future? We don’t know for certain, but that doesn’t keep us from speculating a little.

This past weekend, Steve and his family went to see the touring production of Newsies, since they had enjoyed the movie way back when it first came out. Did they like the stage musical? Listen in as we discuss this and some other Disney musicals.

All that and probably a few other thingsĀ in Beyond the Berm episode 61!

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Episode 59: Disney Tips

Welcome back to Beyond the Berm for Episode 59!

As we begin, Matt asks about some Disney tips, since we have both been to the parks several times, and we have been on a few cruises as well. Which line should you pick? Where should you get a Dole Whip? Which day is good for visiting a water park? Listen in as we share the tips we come up with!

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Next, Steve mentions a book he got that was written and illustrated by his friend Kyle Gentry. The book, Tourist! Year 1, is a series of drawings that Kyle made while visiting the Walt Disney World theme parks every week for a year. It is pretty entertaining, so you might want to check it out! Tell Kyle you heard about it here on Beyond the Berm!

Up next, Matt has tickets for his family to see the new Star Wars movie, and we talk about that a bit. Do you have your tickets yet? Or are you going to take a chance on it not being sold out?

That leads to some discussion about planning things in advance, or perhaps not planning in advance, as Steve is doing more and more these days. Are you a planner, or do you just take things as they come?

Matt then talks about his family’s trip to Disneyland this past weekend, and about all of the fun that they had there, including seeing many of the Halloween-themed offerings that were there. After he talks about seeing some of the characters, we get into a discussion of face characters verses masked characters, and some other aspects of visiting with the characters as well, including the bizarre “head and feet” rehearsals for shows.

All this and even more in the newest episode of Beyond the Berm!

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Episode 58: Brother, Can You Loan a Dime?

Beyond the Berm is back for Episode 58!

To begin with, Matt is looking for some spare change, because the annual pass prices at Disneyland and Walt Disney World have once again increased, after the last increase not too many months ago. Disneyland prices in particular took a big jump. Is it good business, or a way to cut back on the number of passholders?

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Also, Pixar and Marvel reported some updated release dates for some of their movies, including a newly announced sequel to Ant-Man. We talk some about all of this, and particularly about how many of the Pixar movies are sequels. Is it better to play it safe or to try something new?

We then shift slightly from Marvel movies to Marvel television shows to talk about the new season of Agents of SHIELD. After only two episodes of the new season, things are already getting exciting. Hear what we think about it, and what we hope to get out of the new season.

Also, we talk about Halloween, social media, and then get back to the annual passholder situation a little more.

And speaking of social media, if you ever want to follow us individually on Twitter, you can find Steve at @Burnsland and Matt at @StartedByAMouse.

Be sure to hear all the fun on the latest episode of Beyond the Berm!

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Episode 56: D23 Expo in Review and More

Welcome back for another exciting episode of Beyond the Berm! What could possibly top our last 55 episodes? Well, we aren’t sure, but here we go anyway.

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For starters, we take a look back at last week’s D23 Expo, which neither of us attended, by the way. Specifically, we look back at the announcements about new things coming to Disneyland and Walt Disney World to see how our predictions from our previous episode matched up with what was announced. And we share some thoughts about the new lands and attractions that were announced, too. We also talked about some of the other stuff from the Expo, such as movie announcements, crowds, and other stuff that we heard about. How do you feel about all of the upcoming things? Let us know!

Next, we talk some about different Disney collectibles, as Matt tells about trying to find some of the new Tsum Tsum characters. That leads us to a discussion of mini bean bag plush, pins, Vinylmation, Funko Pop, and whatever else they might come up with to separate us from our money. Do you collect any of these things? Or something else?

We also talk about some of the recent Disney Channel movies and shows, such as Descendants, Teen Beach 2, and Girl Meets World, among others. And don’t get us started on Dog With a Blog. Which ones do we like more than the others? You may or may not be surprised.

And we talk about some other little things here and there in among all of those major things, and end with a bit of silliness, too. So you will just have to listen in for all of that.

Find it all in Beyond the Berm Episode 56!

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Episode 55: Changes Ahead for the Disney Parks?

Welcome back to another episode of Beyond the Berm! It didn’t even take us 3 months to get out another one as it did the last time!

Maybe you have heard rumblings about changes coming to the Disney Parks, both at the Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts. Disneyland has committed to expanding the resort in some form in exchange for a tax break from the city of Anaheim. And Walt Disney World keeps closing things at Disney’s Hollywood Studios without announcing something new on the horizon. What does all of this mean? Listen to us as we comment on some of the speculations, and as we do some speculating ourselves.

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In keeping with the Disney Parks theme, Matt tells about his recent visit to Disneyland to see some of the new additions and extravaganzas that were added for the 60th anniversary celebration. Listen in as he talks about parades, fireworks, and crowds!

Also, following up on our conversation about summer movies in Episode 54, we give our reviews of the latest Disney/Marvel movie, Ant-Man. Did it live up to our expectations?

All this and more goodness in Episode 55 of Beyond the Berm!

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Episode 54: Differently Different In the Same Kind of Way

Just when you had given up on us completely, Beyond the Berm returns with Episode 54!

Why were we gone for so long? We talk about that to start off the podcast. We had some scheduling issues and things like that at times, but it was mainly Steve’s fault as he was off on the Burnsland World Tour. He tells some about his visit to Bangkok, Thailand, as well as his family’s recent Disney cruise. After the cruise, they also spent a week in Florida, seeing such Disney things as Typhoon Lagoon and the Magic Kingdom. Hear all about his first experiences with MyMagic+, and lots more about his travels.

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After that, we give our opinions about all of the Disney summer movies that have been released so far starting with Cinderella (which was actually a spring movie), and also including Avengers: Age of Ultron, Tomorrowland, and Inside Out. Which ones did we like? And which ones didn’t quite work for us? Listen in to find out. And we also talk about the upcoming Marvel movie Ant Man, too.

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And what is the meaning of the title of this episode? You will just have to listen to find out!

Be sure and join us for all this and more in Episode 54! And hopefully, you won’t have to wait quite as long again for Episode 55. Maybe.

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Episode 52: Upcoming Disney Movies

Welcome back to Beyond the Berm! Has it really been a month since our last episode? Yes it has – did you miss us? Well then, you are in store for a treat, because here is Episode 52!

For starters, we discuss many of the Disney movies being released over the next several months, because it looks to be a busy year for the various movie divisions of Disney. We pay particular attention this time to Cinderella, which Matt just saw and gives his review. We also talk a bit about Avengers: Age of Ultron and Ant Man, and then we focus some on the now-in-production live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast.

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We also discuss some of the upcoming changes at Walt Disney World. Did you know they are adding an extra track to Toy Story Mania and and extra screen to Soarin’? Are these wise uses of the money involved, or would it be better to spend that money on something completely new? Let us know your thoughts!

In addition to all of that, we talk about the new restaurant coming to Adventureland in the Magic Kingdom, some non-Disney vacation options that we have considered, and what we might want from a Disney vacation in the future. It never hurts to dream, right? Oh yeah, and our “interesting” count for this episode probably goes well over 100, if you forgot to keep count.

All that and even more in Beyond the Berm Episode 52!

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Episode 51: Occasional Disney Fans

Beyond the Berm returns today with Episode 51! Check out all the interestingness of our latest episode.

Matt begins by mentioning something he saw in Steve’s Twitter bio, “occasional Disney fan.” Steve clarifies that a bit to be “occasional Disney parks fan,” and the most recent contributor to that occasionalness is the ticket price increase that went into effect on both coasts this week. Is Disney pushing away some of its biggest fans by some of their recent actions in the last few years? Listen in and see if you agree.

Steve then brings up the recent announcement of a new DuckTales series coming to DisneyXD in 2017. Will it be good, or will they take too many liberties with it? Here’s hoping that they leave most of the original DuckTalesness intact.

From there, we move into a discussion of the season finale of Agent Carter, followed by our thoughts about the second half of the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season which starts next week. We had some mixed but overall positive feelings about Agent Carter, and we have high hopes for Agent Coulson and his crew. And all of that leads into a discussion of the upcoming Avengers: Age of Ultron, too. Will the Marvelness continue to build?

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So how many times have we added -ness to a word to make a new word? That’s interesting! Be sure to listen in to our adventures of Episode 51!

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Spider-Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe

If you listen to our podcast regularly, you know we often talk about the Marvel movies and television shows. Last night at around 10:30 our time, which would have been 11:30 PM on the east coast, Marvel dropped some major news (which you can read in its entirety here).

The first part of that news was that Spider-Man, one of Marvel’s most popular characters, would be appearing in one of the upcoming films of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Although in which movie Spider-Man would appear wasn’t stated, it is widely assumed that his appearance would be in the next Captain America movie, since it has already been announced that the movie would follow the events in the Civil War storyline, which features an important appearance by Spider-Man in the comic books.

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That news had been rumored for some time, so it wasn’t exactly a surprise. However, the next part of the announcement was even bigger, more surprising news, at least to me. As part of the press release, it was also announced that after Spider-Man’s appearance in a Marvel Studios movie, the next Spider-Man movie would be produced by Kevin Feige and the Marvel Studios team, along with Amy Pascal, for Sony Pictures. There has been talk for some time that Sony was planning to once again reboot the Spider-Man franchise, so that wasn’t surprising. But having Marvel Studios essentially make the movie for Sony to distribute is a really big deal.

After all, Marvel Studios, under the leadership of Kevin Feige, has a great track record with the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies, including the movies featuring Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Guardians of the Galaxy, and the Avengers. They seem to have the golden touch these days. And who would know better how to make a Marvel movie than the people at Marvel?

If you aren’t aware, long before Disney bought Marvel, and even long before Marvel decided to make their own movies, they gave Sony the rights to the Spider-Man movies. So while Spider-Man and the Avengers characters, along with all of the other Marvel characters, regularly interact in the comic books, they have always been in two separate worlds in the movies. But now, their worlds are coming together, which is a pretty historic moment, considering that the movies are being released by two different companies. Of course, Disney still comes out ahead with its ownership of Marvel. Not as much ahead as if they were releasing the Spider-Man movie themselves, but they pass some of the risk off to others while still reaping some of the expected financial rewards. Also, the press release states that they are exploring ways to use some of the Marvel Cinematic Universe characters in the upcoming Spider-Man movies as well.

The timing of the announcement was interesting for a couple of reasons. First off, why make a major announcement like that when many people have already gone to bed? I have no idea, but I’m sure they had a good reason.

The second interesting timing tidbit is thanks to the inclusion of Amy Pascal as one of the producers. As you may know, it was announced last week that she is stepping down as the chairwoman of Sony Pictures, a move that is largely seen as a response to the recent data breach at Sony. And interestingly, she helped to bring the first Spider-Man movie to Sony Pictures back in 1999, so she and Spider-Man go way back. Plus, she has a nice place to land when leaving her current job. Spider-Man is good for everyone, it seems.

So this is an interesting turn of events for Spider-Man and the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Are you looking forward to it? I know I am. Please let us know how you feel, too!

Disney on Turner Classic Movies

Last night, December 21, 2014, saw the premier of the Disney programming block on Turner Classic Movies (also known as TCM). Included in last night’s programming were some short cartoons; two episodes of the Disney television show; The Reluctant Dragon; Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier; The Vanishing Prairie; and Third Man on the Mountain. There was also a good bit of discussion about each of the shows with host Ben Mankiewicz and Disney film historian Leonard Maltin.

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Due to the programming starting while we were at a church activity and running well into the night, I didn’t see the start or the end of it all. But that’s okay, because that is why DVRs were created. Actually, I didn’t set the DVR to record The Reluctant Dragon, because I have that on Blu-Ray now. But after watching what I did watch, I almost wished that I had recorded that one, too, just to make sure I didn’t miss any of Leonard Maltin’s comments about it.

The main thing that I did watch live last night was the end of Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier and the beginning of The Vanishing Prairie. Davy Crockett has always been a favorite of mine, and I like to tell people sometimes that the area where we live in Tennesseewas once represented by Davy Crockett in congress. Although obviously I wasn’t around to vote for him at the time. It was great to see his adventures in high definition. It is amazing how those old movies can still look so good all these years later.

I didn’t stick with The Vanishing Prairie all that long, because it started just before midnight for our local time, but I had forgotten how interesting those old nature documentaries actually were. I’ll have to watch the full show sometime in the near future.

Also, I thought it was interesting that The Disneyland Story, the first of the television episodes shown last night, included the Laughing Place scene from Song of the South. Later on after Davy Crockett, Ben and Leonard explained the context for some of the Native American stereotypes found in that movie. Could this new programming, complete with contextual explanations, mean that Song of the South could be shown in one of the future blocks? That is probably just a dream, but it would certainly be nice.

I am glad that they included Leonard Maltin in this, too. He is obviously a Disney fan as well as a historian, and his comments help the understanding of the casual viewer who may not be as familiar with Disney as some of us are.

TCM hasn’t yet said when the next Disney movies and shows will air or what they will be, but I am already looking forward to seeing what else they have in store for us. It is great to be able to see some of this classic Disney content once again!