Sunday, May 23, 2010

Disney Parks Blu-ray Review

Disc Size: 21.1 GB
Rating: TV-G
Region: A
The Video
Disney Parks comes to Blu-ray with three specials, each with a 1080i AVC/MPEG-4 video presentation. While I do have to note that I wish the encode sizes for each episode were a bit bigger, I still find myself very pleased by the high-def image on this release.

The release is in 1080i rather than your typical 1080p transfer, like many concert releases though it is very possible that the content was filmed in 1080i to begin with. Other signs that point to a natural 1080i source can be seen on this Blu-ray release.

There are jaggies throughout, but are not very noticeable unless paused. Due to compression and possibly lower end high-def equipment you may also notice a bit of crushing at times. While the release may sound like it has a few issues, I actually didn’t expect the Blu-ray release to look as good as it does.

Yes there are flaws, but viewing the film on even my high-def projector setup was very entertaining and the high-def upgrade is instantly clear. Filming a lot of what was filmed on this release is not easy; particularly at the fast speeds many of the rides tend to be which impressed me.

Colors are generally very vibrant, with very few moments that felt a bit duller. Seeing the Disney Parks in high-definition is amazing, the image really sucks you in. Those who have been to the Disney Parks before will quickly begin to relive memories and those who haven’t will quickly feel the need to go.

The release is not one which compares to a film or even many concerts on Blu-ray, but this behind-the-scenes look at the Disney Parks certainly looks good for specials which I believe aired on the Travel Channel. If you take pause frame by frame the release may be a tad disappointing, but those just enjoying the presentation will likely have few complaints about this high-def release.

My biggest complaint is the encode sizes (as mentioned) which cause crushing, but it really isn’t noticeable even on the fastest of rides. However, I think the equipment used to film could be partly to blame. The quality is definitely better than that which you would see broadcast on an HD television channel, but it also doesn’t compare to a film.

The Blu-ray release does have its issues, but all it takes is a quick comparison to the DVD to find yourself even more satisfied than you may already be. The quality difference between the DVD and Blu-ray format are huge and I definitely find myself extremely pleased by the upgrade the Blu-ray disc provides. The limitations only become noticeable when paused and analyzed, but when in motion they look truly great and impress. 8/10.

The Audio
A 2.0 Dolby Digital audio track is included, no subtitle options are included. The specials are not really something that you would need high-def audio for or surround use to be honest. The narration of each special is presented nicely, although rather dull compared to that found on a lossless mix.

The dialogue provided in the specials is very easy to understand as there is nothing happening in the surround speakers to even slightly overpower. This is your typical television special mix, it does the job but it never impresses. Whether it had a 5.1 or lossless DTS-HD Master Audio mix, I don’t think it would improve the content provided in a significant way. I have no complaints, but I also have nothing to commend audio-wise. 5/10.

The Extras

Disc 1:

Walt Disney’s Apartment (1:55) (HD)
Learn about Walt Disney’s apartment built on Main Street and get a look inside for the very first time.

King Arthur Carrousel (1:20) (HD)
Learn about the carrousel restoration and updating the technology.

Disney’s Resort Hotel (3:40) (HD)
A quick look at the new features at Disney resort hotels, learn about the value resorts.

Tips for Travelers (1:31) (HD)
This includes a few quick tips about Disney’s Magical Express as well as other options for those staying at a Disney resort.

The Disney Dream (2:23) (HD)
This is a sneak peek at the Disney Dream, a cruise ship opening in 2011.

Disney Dream AquaDuck (1:02) (HD)
Go on a virtual ride on the Disney Dream AquaDuck, a very cool waterslide on the upcoming Disney Dream cruise ship.

The Haunted Mansion (2:25) (HD)
See what’s new and updated at The Haunted Mansion.

Goofy’s Barnstormer (2:23) (HD)
A feature about Goofy’s Barnstormer, a thrilling ride for young children which helps them transition to more intense rides like Splash Mountain.

Catastrophe Canyon (3:29) (HD)
Go behind-the-scenes of Catastrophe Canyon.

Disc 2:

DVD Copy of the episodes

Digital Copy of the episodes
Compatible with iTunes and Windows Media. See the main menu of the DVD for instructions on how to redeem.

The extras on the release are great and add even more value to the release, they are all extremely enjoyable and provided in high-definition. The additional DVD and Digital Copy is a nice addition that I am sure many will enjoy. The Blu-ray release also includes a very nice embossed Blu-ray slip cover. 7.5/10.

The Specials

Disneyland Resort: Behind the Scenes - The Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California, is the first in the family of Disney Parks that now span the entire globe. Despite its relatively small footprint, Disneyland Resort boasts an incredible variety of attractions, entertainment, and experiences. Your journey starts on Main Street and takes you on classic attractions like The Matterhorn Bobsleds, It’s a Small World, and Pirates of the Caribbean. Then take an exclusive look into the future of Disney Parks with a sneak peek at Disney’s California Adventure.

Ultimate Walt Disney World - Do you crave speed? Adrenalin? Ultimate fun? Then follow us on a journey as we explore the ultimate thrill rides at Walt Disney World Resort. Experience a flight into space, a thirteen story elevator plunge, a high speed coaster that travels in the dark and another one that actually travels backwards! If you’re looking for the best thrills Disney has to offer, then Ultimate Walt Disney World is it!

Undiscovered Disney Parks - Think you know Walt Disney World? Think again. Beyond the theme parks, beyond the mouse – we’ll show you how Disney Parks can make your vacation magical when you want an alternative to rides, restaurants, and souvenirs. This program takes you to the unknown sites and attractions, as our cameras get off the beaten path. At Disneyland in Anaheim you can “Walk In Walt’s Footsteps” and discover secret spots that Walt Disney himself visited. At Walt Disney World in Orlando, learn how to surf, make and ride your own roller coaster, go on a private safari, and drive a real race car.

I love Disney Parks, wherever you go you are in for a great vacation with your family. Each special is almost an hour in length and are surprisingly informative. We not only get to see some of the fan-favorite rides, but we also get to go behind-the-scenes of so many rides and closed-off areas.

Those who haven’t been into Disneyland Club 33 (a member only area in Disneyland) will get a look inside and the many things they offer that isn’t available elsewhere in the park (such as alcoholic beverages). We go inside Walt Disney’s apartment on Main Street and the candle at the window is explained.

We get also get a sneak peek at new attractions and changes to already present attractions. The sneak peeks are very cool and it actually makes me want to go back to a Disney Park soon. I learned a lot about one of my favorite places and I think most viewers will really love this release as well.

Disney Parks is fantastic for anyone interested in learning more about the parks or learning more about their favorite attractions. A lot about the parks is covered in the included three specials which run just under three hours. The quality of the content is terrific and definitely some of the best specials I have ever seen regarding Disney Parks. I wish more specials were included on the Blu-ray release, but I definitely loved what was included. 9/10.

The Blu-news Summary
Disney Parks includes some fun and informative specials, featuring great video presentations and decent audio presentations. Extras on the release are great and definitely add to the overall package. Disney Parks on Blu-ray is ‘Highly Recommended’ to those who love Disney Parks and ‘Recommended’ to those who have never been or want to learn more about them.

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