Dreams Come True With Disney and Winnie the Pooh!

Hey All!

Everyone who reads my blog knows I’m a Disney fanatic. I literally cried when I found out Enchanted and Princess and the Frog were coming out since it was Disney going back to traditional old style animation. I love all Disney movies, don’t get me wrong, but there is something nostalgic about seeing traditional animation on the big screen. It brings me back to my childhood.

You can imagine my excitement when I found out there was a new Winnie the Pooh movie coming to theaters on July 15, 2011. This is a brand new story based upon the beloved characters. Last month I had the opportunity for a dream come true experience! I have been dying to share this with you and I finally get the chance to do so. I got a chance to visit to the Disney animation studios and attend a very special screening and event for the new Winnie the Pooh film.

For me this was the chance of a lifetime. I had the opportunity to go to an advance screening with some fellow bloggers, then we all went on a tour of the Disney Animation building, we even taped animated voice overs as ourselves in the Pooh Movie too! It was so much fun.

This place I have to say was paradise to me. Better than Disneyland even! When you enter the building there is a huge, long wall was covered from top to bottom with photos and drawings for the new film. This was one side of the entrance hallway.

And this was some of the other side.

This building is beautiful on the inside and outside. The walls are covered with Disney drawings and everything was well for lack of a better word MAGICAL. We were only allowed to take pictures of certain areas as they had films still in production that have images that can’t be released yet.

I dream of getting a job there one day.  I would even go as far as saying I would die to work there.  I  would probably cry tears of joy on my way to work each day if I worked there. I kid you not. HIRE ME PLEASE! LOL. I digress…

We got to screen the completed film and I LOVED it! It was the most darling, sweet, and not to mention funny film I have seen in some time. It’s perfect for the whole family really. If a room of grown ups laugh out loud and enjoy it, then I think anyone will. Kids will love it for sure!

In the new movie a very hungry Winnie the Pooh is woken up by the narrator and sets out to find some honey for his grumbly tummy. Pooh is always on the look out for some delicious honey.  Christopher Robin goes off to school and leaves Pooh a note saying he will be back soon. Of course Pooh can’t read, so he takes the note to Owl to read it for him. Owl Misinterprets the note from Christopher Robin and convinces Pooh and the gang that Christopher Robin has been taken by a creature named the “Backson” (pronounced Back Soon). Pooh, Tigger, Rabbit, Piglet, Owl, Kanga, Roo, and Eeyore then all set out to save him.

Here is a trailer for the movie so you can get a small taste of what the movie is like.

Here is also a little spoof they did on Harry Potter for Pooh that I thought you’d enjoy as well.

When I first saw the first trailer for this movie in the theater I cried, so needless to say I cried while watching the film itself. Not because it was sad, just because it was so beautiful to see on the big screen and the film really does touch your heart in the sweetest way. It really is a beautiful movie and that’s the only way I can honestly think to describe it.

Another part of the day was spent having the dream opportunity to take some animation drawing classes from actual classic Disney animators who’ve brought everything from Pooh to the Genie in Aladdin to life! I wanted to actually be a Disney animator when I was a little girl. I always dreamed of making Disney movies when I was kid and studied some animation in college at NYU, so you could imagine how much of a dream come true getting to actually draw at Disney was.

I wanted to cry when I found out that Mark Henn was going to teach us how to draw Pooh. If you don’t know who Mark Henn is, his work includes Princess Jasmine in Aladdin, Young Simba in The Lion King, and Mulan in Mulan.

He took us through the steps on how to draw Pooh.

I can’t tell you how amazing it was.

He was even nice enough to take a picture with me as I was like a giddy school girl groopie.  Here is a picture of his finished Pooh that he drew below.

Isn’t it adorable? I wanted so badly to keep it, but he couldn’t give it to me as all the bloggers wanted to take it as well. Although, I did get many compliments on my own Pooh drawing and I also drew a Mickey just for the heck of it since I was having the time of my life.

I also met Stephen J. Anderson (Director) who also directed Meet the Robinsons and Don Hall (Director). Don Hall, told us the funny story about how they found the perfect voice to play Roo the baby kangaroo. They needed someone to play the part of Roo in a script reading. Don asked his son if he would stand in and do the voice for Roo. His son ended up being the ideal voice for Roo. When he offered the part to his son, he was shocked to see his son was not interested. Don “bribed” his own son with some Transformers toys in order to get him to do the voice for Roo for the film! I thought that was hysterical. But he now says his son thinks he’s a professional actor and is super excited for his friends to see his voice in the film.

I also thought it was amazing to find out that the background images of the forest in the film are based upon actual images/places in the Hundred Acre Wood. They actually flew out to England to see the actual forest and took photographs of real places in the woods to create the background images in the film.

Did you know that the Hundred Acre Woods are actually a real place? I knew a little about this, but got to learn more about it at this event. The man who wrote Winnie the Pooh, A.A. Milne, grew up on Cotchford Farm which is located in Hartfield, Sussex, England. Hartfield was located by the Five Hundred Acre Woods, also known as Ashdown Forest. Many of the places found in the Winnie the Pooh series are based upon actual places found in the Five Hundred Acre Woods.

I know this is probably the longest post I’m ever going to write but there is so much to tell you!

The rest of the day was spent meeting the creators of the film like Peter Del Vecho who is the Producer of the new Winnie the Pooh film and Burney Mattinson who is the Story Supervisor of the film.

Burney was actually an animator for Winnie the Pooh and Tigger Too (1974) and the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (1977), so he has a long history with Winnie the Pooh. He’s even holding the Winnie the Pooh that is actually used in this new films live action opening sequence that his wife actually made herself! She made it back in the 70’s but it was never used and now is when it’s finally getting it’s close up so to speak.

Speaking of old toys. We met with some of the creative team behind Disney Consumer Brand Products. Pictured below is Luis Fernandez who is one of those amazing creatives who actually bought in his own personal vintage Pooh and Friends toys.

These toys were some of the first Pooh stuffed animals and they were actually stuffed with sawdust if I remember correctly.

It was amazing to see that someones love of Disney as a child has actually grown with him and now helps him to bring us some amazing Disney products. They showed us so many great Pooh Products they have coming out in time for the movie. You will want to run out and buy these when they come out trust me. I actually already bought one in time for this event and wore it to the event.

It’s the Disney Couture Winnie the Pooh necklace that is gold plated with ruby stones and it has moveable arms and legs! I love Disney Couture Jewelry and when I saw this I new I had to have it in time for this amazing event. I love it and I highly recommend you check out all the beautiful jewelry Disney Couture has to offer. It really came in handy when I met the voice of Winnie the Pooh and Tigger himself Jim Cummings! You can see I’m holding it up in the picture below.

And you can also see in this picture behind us just some the office space was overflowing with Winnie the Pooh related images, storyboards, props, and more! You can see more of one of the walls in the picture below of Tom Kenny who is the voice of Rabbit in this film and he also happens to be the voice of Sponge Bob Square Pants!

We met so many people that day I could write about it for days!

The day sadly came to an end and I honestly didn’t want to leave. I had the most amazing time seeing and learning about this film and Disney and how they make their animated pictures. It was honestly a dream come true! I know I’ve said that a bunch of times, but it really was. As a parting gift they gave us an amazing goodie bag filled with a limited edition lithograph, an amazing Winnie the Pooh hard cover art book, a soft plush Winnie the Pooh stuffed doll, and more! I have all of it on a shelf with the rest of my Disney collectables! I love everything they gave me in this bag and it was a perfect way to end the day!

Winnie the Pooh debuts in theaters on July 15, 2011. To learn more visit www.Disney.com/Pooh. On the site you can learn some fun facts about the 100 Acrew Woods as well as “meet the characters”. You can also follow this amazing film on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/WinniethePooh.

Again I loved this movie and I know you will too! So run out and get your Pooh dolls and get your tickets to this amazing film when it releases in a theater near you!

A HUGE THANK YOU to Marshall and the entire Disney Publicity team for a day that was truly magical and dream come true!

***Disclosure: I was not compensated or paid in any way for this post. I attended a free screening of this film and got to tour Disney Studios and got a goodie bag. I now am sharing this for the benefit of my readers. All opinions are my own.***