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 The Geek's Library:

The Geek's library contains information and reviews of various Disney books, Blu-rays, DVDs, and CDs that I have read/watched over the years.

Visit the Geek's Blog for recent press releases and other reviews on dvd/blu-ray/Disney Movies Anywhere releases, Books, and music.


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Cinderella (Live Action)

This live action retelling of the classic story is as entertaining on home video as it was in theaters. Here is my original post from April with my first impressions and overview of the film. On a second viewing I second my 1st impressions. To sum up my initial reaction I thought the film was faithful to the Disney animated version while carving out some themes of its own and bringing extra depth to some of the characters. If you are expecting a lot of singing and talking animals you will be disappointed, but if you are looking for a solid version of the film that references the original in many ways and is entertaining and can stand on its own you will enjoy it.

I took a look at the Blu-ray for the film and then used DisneyMoviesAnywhere for the extras. The reason for this is there are several deleted scenes that are only available on DisneyMoviesAnywhere.

All versions of the release include the Disney Animation Studios short, Frozen Fever. So if you did not pick up the Shorts Release a few weeks ago and want the short this is another way to add it to your library. No bonus material dealt with the short.

Release date: 2015-09-05

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The Vault of Walt: Volume 2: Unofficial, Unauthorized, Uncensored Disney Stories Never Told

This is the second in an ongoing series from Disney Historian Jim Korkis. The book is in the same format as the first volume. It is a collection of short stories on various Disney subjects. The stories are divided into chapters based on Walt, Films, Theme Park, and then everything else. The book contains 28 stories spanning its 200+ pages.

Release date: 2013-09-13

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Beauty and the Beast (Live Action)

The live action Beauty and the Beast comes to home video on June 6 in various formats (Blu-ray, DVD, Digital HD). If you missed the film in theaters, this film carries on the recent trend of re-telling classic Disney animated films in live action. The film holds true to the original story with some additional exploration into the back story and motivation of several characters. The music we all know is there plus a couple of new pieces written for this version.

Release date: 2017-06-06

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Tony Baxter: First of the Second Generation of Walt Disney Imagineers (Legends & Legacies Series)

All disneygeeks know the name Tony Baxter. Those of you non geeks but Disney Fans that do not recognize the name will definitely know his work. Tony worked for Walt Disney Imagineering from 1970 to 2013 creating many of the attractions and worlds we enjoy at Disney Parks around the world. These include Big Thunder, Splash Mountain, Star Tours, Indiana Jones Adventure, he was creative lead for Disneyland Paris, he was also a lead on Disneyland’s new Fantasyland, as well as Journey Into Imagination and many more. This biography chronicles Tony’s life and accomplishments. Including his first visits to Disneyland, his jobs at Disneyland and his long career at Imagineering.

Release date: 2015-10-30

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Bambi

Walt Disney’s 1942 classic Bambi celebrates its 75th anniversary this year. To mark the occasion a new signature collection release is available on Digital HD/Disney Movies Anywhere and will be on Blu-ray and DVD on June 6th. This release features a half dozen new bonus features as well as a slew of classic ones from previous releases. These include two new deleted scenes, Bambi’s Ice and Snow plus The Grasshopper in addition to several from previous releases. Out of the new material I found the Studio Stories featurette to be the most interesting. I always enjoy glimpses into the creation process of the films and learning what Walt and his team thought about. There is a nice featurette on Tyrus Wong who created background concept art for this film, Tyrus passed away in 2016 at age 106. Continuing the recent trend there is an Oswald the Lucky Rabbit short, “Africa Before Dark” included in addition to the re-release of “The Old Mill” short. The classic material includes an in depth (over an hour) exploration of the creation of the film in “The Making of Bambi: A Prince Is Born”. This making of documentary includes interviews with several legendary animators who are no longer with us so having that record and listening to them talk about the film was a treat to revisit.

Release date: 2017-06-06

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Disney Pirates: The Definitive Collector's Anthology

Disney Pirates - The Definitive Collector’s Anthology explores the history of Disney Pirates over the decades and across all media. It covers a wide range of topics to varying degrees. The central focus is Pirates of the Caribbean with a large portion of the book devoted to the first four films as well as the fifth film Dead Men Tell No Tales that opens May 26, 2017. The book opens with a look at Disney Pirates in film and TV dating back to Walt’s films and up through current Disney offerings. The next section looks at the Pirates of the Caribbean attractions and other Pirates based attractions in the parks with the exception of Shanghai Disneyland, it has its own chapter at the end of the book. The last major section that spans nearly half the book does a deep dive into the five films.

Release date: 2017-04-11

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Disney A to Z (Fifth Edition): The Official Encyclopedia

The 5th Edition of Disney A to Z - The Official Encyclopedia by Dave Smith was published last November. The first edition was released back in 1996 and since then the book has grown from 5,200 entries to 7,600. This edition includes entries through summer of 2016.

Release date: 2016-11-15

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Tale as Old as Time The Art and Making of Disney Beauty and the Beast (Updated Edition)

The 2010 book, “Tale As Old as Time - The Art and Making of Disney Beauty and the Beast" has been updated and released this year to include the new Live-Action film and Walt Disney World theme park additions. If you are not familiar with the title, the book takes a comprehensive look at the history of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast featuring stories of those involved. Starting with the origins of the story and the many starts and stops the process took to bring the original film to the big screen. Along the way you learn about the hurdles that were overcome and are introduced to many members of the team that brought the classic to life including the animators, music team, production team and more. You learn the many ground breaking aspects of the film including the computer system that was used for the film. The transition from film to live theater is documented. Other chapters focus on the re-releases including the IMAX and 3D Versions and what it took to update the film for those.

Release date: 2017-01-31

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Moana

Moana has arrived on home video (Blu-ray, Digital HD, Disney Movies Anywhere, DVD) with a wide assortment of bonus material. The film takes you on an adventure with Moana who sets sail to save her people. She enlists the help of the demigod Maui and along with Hei Hei, a not so bright chicken) they sail across the ocean to return the heart of Te Fiti. The film is as enjoyable on home video as it was the big screen.

In addition to the “Inner Workings” short that preceded the film in theaters is another short called “Maui Mini-Movie: Gone Fishing”, and just as the title says it features a fishing experience for Maui. This home video release includes a large selection of bonus material totaling around 2 hours (not including the commentary). The material includes behind the scenes, deleted scenes, music featurettes and a full audio commentary by John Musker and Ron Clements the film’s directors.

Release date: 2017-03-07

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Doctor Strange

Marvel’s Doctor Strange is now on Digital HD and will be on Blu-ray February 28th. This journey into the Marvel Cinematic Universe introduces us to Dr. Stephen Strange. He is a world famous neurosurgeon who suffers a tragic car accident that renders his hands useless. After being frustrated with the results of traditional medicine to regain full use of his hands he travels to Kamar-Taj for a cure. There he discovers the mystical arts and becomes a sorcerer who engages in a battle with dark forces trying to destroy our reality.

The bonus features on this release total around 90 minutes and encompass the traditional offerings of deleted scenes (5 of them), gag reel, cast interviews, a look at the various aspects of making the film (music, location, costumes, etc.), as well as a couple pieces on the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe. For more details on what is included here is the original announcement/press release.

Release date: 2017-02-28

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Pinocchio (Walt Disney Signature Collection)

The Signature Edition of Pinocchio is now available on Digital HD/Disney Movies Anywhere and will be on Blu-ray and DVD the end of the month (Jan 31st). This is the film’s first time on digital release. The last wide release on home video was the platinum edition in 2009 that featured Blu-ray and DVD.

This time around the release includes a small number of new bonus features and several classic bonus features from previous releases. The film is presented in a number of ways too, original, commentary, singalong, and DisneyView. For full details on what is included and the technical specifications here is the initial press release.

Release date: 2017-01-31

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Finding Dory

In addition to the film the short, “Piper”, is included and a large array of bonus material. The breadth of bonus material on this release is far above the norm for most first releases. Here is a quick list with number of features and approximate time to give an overview.

Exclusive Bonus 1 (~16 min)
Shorts 2 (8 minutes)
Beyond the Story 1 (3 minutes)
Behind the Scenes – 2 (13+ minutes)
Bonus Scenes – 10 (50+ minutes)
Casts & Crew – 2 (~7 minutes)
Music & More – 1 (~ 5 minutes)
– 7 (13+ minutes plus the full length audio commentary)
Promos & Trailers – 5 (10+ minutes)


Release date: 2016-11-15

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Maps of the Disney Parks: Charting 60 Years from California to Shanghai

Many of us disneygeeks spend hours studying park maps and concept art. Not so much for navigation as glimpses of things to come or history of what was there. If you are like me you have boxes full of them from various trips over the years. Or endless photos on your computer of the maps found in the parks. So when Disney announced a book with the focus being park maps it instantly went to the top of my book list. Maps of the Disney Parks was released a few weeks ago and I just finished reading through it. The finished product is different from what I had originally envisioned. I was expecting to see page after page of park guide maps including covers from over the years, but instead what I found was a great collection of aerial concept art from the parks, park fun maps, and other map related artwork and samples from over the years. The artwork is drawn from the Imagineering Art Library collection.

Release date: 2016-10-18

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The Art of Disney's Dragons

This book features over one hundred pages of Disney Dragon concept art in various forms and covering feature films, shorts and the parks around the world. Starting in the 1940s with the reluctant dragon and going through the 2016 release of Pete’s Dragon. The Forward is by David Lowery the director of Pete’s Dragon and the Introduction by Tom Bancroft who was the lead animator for Mushu in Mulan.

Release date: 2016-06-28

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Beauty and the Beast 25th Anniversary Edition

Disney Beauty and the Beast turns 25 this year and to mark the anniversary a Walt Disney Signature Collection edition has been released on Home Video. This release features an assortment of packages including Blu-Ray, DVD and Digital HD through Disney Movies Anywhere. For full specs and info on the release here is the original press release with details.

Most of us disneygeeks already own numerous versions of the film on vhs, dvd and blu-ray already, so the question comes down to what is different this time around. There are three versions of the film included on the Blu-ray and Digital releases – The original theatrical, special edition and sing-along. As well as a handful of new bonus features.

Release date: 2016-09-20

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Aladdin

I always ask for more when it comes to bonus material and with the Diamond Edition of Aladdin Disney has delivered. It starts with the bonus features that were on the platinum edition DVD and builds on them with new ones. It includes the full range of material in A Diamond in the Rough: the Making of Aladdin. New for this release are a couple tributes to Robin Williams. First up, Genie 101 a guide to the impressions the Genie does. Also an over 8 minute piece showcasing some of the Genie Outtakes. Interesting no video of Robin Williams, instead it features sketches and concept art to go with them. There is an unboxing video done by a Disney Channel’s Joey Bragg which if you can make it through the piece features some of the cameos (Ron & John, Sebastian, and the Beast) and even hidden Mickeys. There is also a 20 minute piece on bringing Aladdin to Broadway. The DisneyMoviesAnywhere exclusive for this release is a deleted song titled “My Finest Hour”.

Release date: 2015-10-13

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Marvel Antman

Ant-Man is now available on DisneyMoviesAnywhere and will be on Blu-ray on December 8th. This film was initially released in theaters in June 2015. It is part heist, part comedy, and part Marvel superhero leading to an entertaining adventure

Release date: 2015-08-15

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The Jungle Book (Live Action)

The 2016 Disney The Jungle Book film is released Digital HD/DisneyMoviesAnywhere today with Blu-ray and DVD versions available August 30th. The film is a reimagining of the Disney Classic and draws some from the original Kipling book, much in the same vein the live action Cinderella film was a few years ago. The base story is the same as the classic Disney version with most of the characters making an appearance in the new film, but there are some variations in different aspects explored. The movie is not a musical and is more intense (it is rated PG) and slightly darker than the original. I would advise parents to watch the film first to make sure it is appropriate for your child. Some of the animals and action sequences are on the scary side and may be too much for some kids.

Release date: 2016-08-30

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Three Years in Wonderland: The Disney Brothers, C. V. Wood, and the Making of the Great American Theme Park

This book chronicles the building of Disneyland taking a look at the plan, fund raising, construction and opening day of the park. Many Disney fans know the story that Walt borrowed every penny he could to bring his park to life and of the Black Sunday, opening day stories. This book takes an in depth look at these and the contributions as well as controversy of CV Wood.

Release date: 2016-03-10

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The Progress City Primer: Stories, Secrets, and Silliness from the Many Worlds of Walt Disney

This book is contains just over 30 short pieces that range in length from 2-20 pages. They cover a variety of Disney related topics spanning the decades. Included are stories about Walt Disney, Imagineers, Walt Disney World plans, Disneyland, unbuilt projects and more.

Release date: 2015-09-26

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Secret Stories of Walt Disney World: Things You Never You Never Knew (Volume 1)

Jim Korkis delivers another book full of interesting Disney Stories. This time around the focus is Walt Disney World. The work includes over 80 short stories (the average is about a page and a half) covering many aspects of Walt Disney World including the theme parks, resorts, recreation, construction and the cast.



Release date: 2015-11-10

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LIFE Walt Disney: From Mickey to the Magic Kingdom

I had not seen anything about this book, the first I had heard of it is when someone picked it up for me at a local store and put it on my desk. The images caught their eye and they thought I would enjoy. I read through and found the number of large reprints of pictures great to see. This book was released on April 15, 2106 and features a brief biography of Walt Disney and history of the Walt Disney Company accompanied by historical photos. LIFE Walt Disney: From Mickey to the Magic Kingdom is a soft cover book checking in at just under 100 pages, produced by Time Inc using a fair number of Life Magazine images.

Release date: 2016-04-15

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Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Overall I think this is a solid edition and a chance to learn more about the creation of the film and travel back to the Star Wars universe at home. I thought the bonus material was substantial and substantive. I also found it to be approachable for the non “geek” while still offering details for those of us “geeks” too. I would recommend this to anyone wanting to learn more about the film.

Release date: 2016-04-05

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The Hidden Secrets & Stories of Disneyland: With Never-Before-Published Stories & Photos

In this quick read Mike Fox has assembled a collection of what he calls secrets from Disneyland. It is really a collection of details, stories, and factoids about the Happiest Place On Earth. The book only looks at Disneyland Park, and not the rest of the resort.

Release date: 2016-01-13

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Cleaning The Kingdom: Insider Tales of Keeping Walt's Dream Spotless

Have you ever wondered what it takes to keep the parks clean and how it is organized/managed? If so this book gives you a look behind the curtain and sheds some light on how Walt's Magic Kingdom is kept clean. This book takes a look at what it is like to be part of the Disneyland custodial team.

It has aspects of a memoir, documentary and historical record. The authors, Ken Pellman & Lynn Barron, worked for Disneyland during a transformational time period of the 90s in the 2000s. Disneyland was growing from a single park into a resort and the internet was taking hold and changing the way we view everything.

Release date: 2015-07-21

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