Disney Favorites

So, a couple of things have happened recently that got me thinking I should post some stuff again. First, obviously, is the unveiling of Disney Epic Mickey. You can read all about it in the November issue of Game Informer magazine, and all over the GI website these days.

Frankly, I’ve been pleasantly surprised at the response. I don’t know why, but I expected to get more grief about making a Mickey Mouse game. Nice to see that, for the most part, folks are open to the idea — even enthusiastic!

As a result of all the press, I’ve been bombarded with emails asking me weirdly personal questions about my favorite Disney things — theme park rides, characters, comic book artists and writers. Figured I’d just post some answers here to settle things down a bit. (And if you’ve read my earlier posts about compulsive list making, you know I’ll take any opportunity to make a list of my N favorite things!) So here goes:


If you’re expecting anything earth-shattering here, forget it. I love the traditional favorites:

  • Disney Animation Academy: Come on, they can even teach ME to draw Disney characters. How cool is that?
  • Fantasmic!: What a great show – exciting, romantic, technically amazing, and it’s as close as Mickey’s gotten to being a hero in years. Plus, the music just does it for me. Great, great score…
  • Haunted Mansion: Grim Grinning Ghosts, the stretching room, changing paintings. I’m in.
  • Imagineering Blue Sky Cellar: I love behind the scenes stuff. What can I say? I only wish this were bigger and even cooler.
  • Indiana Jones Adventure: Best. Disney. Ride. Ever. I ride it every time I go to the parks.
  • Mickey’s PhilharMagic: Great 3D and it’s genuinely funny.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: Do I have to say anything?
  • Space Mountain: A mostly horizontal roller coaster? Count me in. I’m not wild about vertical g’s but horizontal g forces are great. And it’s in the dark. I love it.


I’m only talking Disney here, right? I’m a huge comic geek (about which I guess I’ll blog some other time), but as far as Disney artists go, here’s my list. Not many surprises here — well, it might seem odd that Paul Murry isn’t on the list, but I’ve just never really loved his stuff. And Romano Scarpa’s books are fine but, again, just never did it for me. Anyway, here are the guys who DID make my cut:

  • Carl Barks: Best. Comic. Writer. Oh yeah, and Artist. Ever. End of discussion.
  • Floyd Gottfredson: The Mickey guy for over 40 years. While the animation studio was reducing Mickey to straightman status, Gottfredson always treated him like the hero he should have been.
  • Noel Van Horn: My favorite Disney artist and writer working today. If you can find a copy of his story, Shadows, you’ll know why I love this guy’s work so much. He takes Mickey places most artists wouldn’t dare. And while his art style is simple, it’s so damn expressive. Love it.
  • William Van Horn: Like father like son, I guess. William is Noel’s dad and talent definitely has a genetic component! William Van Horn’s duck stories are over the top, action packed, slapstick at its best.
  • Don Rosa: The heir apparent to Carl Barks and many people’s favorite Disney artist/writer. I like his stuff a lot, but find his art style almost TOO detailed and his reverence for the Barks canon a little too constraining. I admire Rosa’s work a lot, but reading it is a little too much work for me to flat-out love it.
  • Carson Van Osten: I’ve had the incredible pleasure and honor to work with Carson and, man, can the guy draw! Holy cow. His personal take on Mickey Mouse was hugely important to the Disney Epic Mickey game. And he did a bunch of character design work for us that’s mind-blowing. His comics work from the 70s on ain’t bad either! (He tells great stories, too! And played bass in the band The Nazz! What a guy.)


Again, don’t expect a ton of surprises (other than that I’ve never been much of a Goofy fan… and I thought the introduction of Launchpad McQuack into the duck universe was unnecessary and kind of unfortunate).

  • Scrooge McDuck: Filthy rich, adventurous, fearless, softy at heart (but don’t let on!). He swims in the coins in his money bin. Coolest character in the Disney family, easy.
  • Mickey Mouse: Um. Hello? He’s the Mouse!
  • Oswald the Lucky Rabbit: Funny, funny cartoons. Complete anarchy. Does completely impossible things, constantly.
  • Donald Duck: I’ve never been able to understand a word Donald says (sorry Ducky Nash and the rest of the Donald voice artists…), but who cares? When he gets red in the face and explodes with anger, it’s great fun. (If you haven’t seen the cartoon Donald’s Crime, find it.)
  • Ludwig Von Drake: I think I learned more from him than I did from many of my teachers! And that accent made me laugh every time when I was a kid.
  • Stitch: Easily the best of the recent Disney characters. The writers and animators really let loose with him!
  • The Aracuan Bird: The most trouble-makingest Disney character ever. As close as Disney ever got to creating something that would have fit right in in a Tex Avery cartoon.
  • Chernabog: Scary, scary, scary!
  • Maleficent: Scarier, scarier, scarier!

That’s a start. Let me know what your favorites are.

27 Responses to “Disney Favorites”

  1. lincolnli Says:

    Hi Warren!

    You don’t know me at all, so I apologize for the random abrupt post. But my name is Lincoln Li, a senior at Purdue University, and I had a tremendous urge to write to you after hearing about Epic Mickey from a friend.

    Coincidentally enough, about a year and half ago, two buddies and I worked in a Game Development course, and went on to do some independent, on the side games. Unfortunately we never got far, as we made it to a very very basic Prototype. But the game design and mechanics were nearly identical (with small details different) to Epic Mickey’s description, i.e. You were this artist sucked into his drawing table, and now must fight his way out using pencil and eraser, with eraser-able environments and enemies. We had planned tomake it for the XNA platform as well, and the controls worked wonderfully well actually.

    I apologize if I’m sounding crazy, weird, or rude, but I am simply really excited and enthusiastic about your project, and couldn’t help but hold it back. I hope Epic Mickey succeeds wonderfully for you, because oddly enough, its basic concept is very near and dear to me as well!

    Good luck on your development, looking forward to seeing more from it!

    Sincere Regards,

    Lincoln Li

  2. miklcraw4d Says:

    Hiya Warren,

    First I should say how incredibly pleased I am that you’re working on this game. As a slightly over-the-top fan of both Disney and your previous work, the announcement of this project made the “chocolate meets peanut butter” moment in history look completely insignificant. I’m slightly shocked that you thought people would razz you about this one – I think for those of us who have experienced your work would not gripe because you were making a Mickey game, but rather be excited about a Mickey game because you’re making it.

    I can understand your reticence in being asked to do a Mickey project, though, because many of us fans have been disappointed in the way he’s been turned into a bland corporate figure, devoid of any interesting characteristics. If you go back and watch “Plane Crazy”, it really makes one mad that the Chaplin-meets-Fairbanks version of Mickey has been unexploited for 60 years or so. Many of us have long hoped for a revitalization of the character, so needless to say this game is exciting.

    As to my Disney favorites, they’re much the same. Pirates and Mansion, of course, but I also grew up obsessed with the EPCOT of the 1980s so my list includes Horizons, World of Motion, Spaceship Earth, Journey into Imagination, etc… And I just enjoy a simple ride on the Peoplemover.

    Your list of characters and comic artists is also spookily similar to mine… Finding out that you are a Carl Barks/Duck comic fan is like discovering that the Beatles like Firefly – just weird synergy. Rosa and the Van Horns are great, too. I always hope that Barks and his work will get more of a spotlight. Maybe more animated adaptations, a ride or… a game?

    Anyway, we’re really looking forward to the game. Thanks for taking the project, for all your years of excellent entertainment, and good luck with Epic Mickey!

    Progress City, U.S.A.

  3. bmb13 Says:

    Very interesting on the comic authors there. I can’t say about the rides as I’ve never been to Disneyland.
    Personally I don’t really enjoy the ‘Van Horn style too much. It’s too loose. And I’ve never really read a story by either of them that made the slightest bit of sense.
    The rest I’ve either not heard of (Osten). Or your sentiments are spot on. Even if the overzealous attention to detail and overarching continuity is exactly why I love Don Rosa’s work. As I feel it brings something more to the comics that make them interesting even today.

    One of my own favorites is the combination of, I don’t actually know who the writer is, as it is only ever credited as “Spectrum Associates”, but the combination of that and Antoni Bancells as an artist. The result was usually a hilarious adventure with Donald Duck as the sole star of the show and otherwise completely new characters in every one. It would be completely mad. And Bancells style only served to underline that. He has a very special way of making the villian look completely crazed. And the face Donald made whenever he panicked cracked me up every time.

    It seems to be mostly a european thing though, and on INDUCKS the only american publication I can see any of the stories featuring in is “Mickey Mouse Adventures (Gemstone)”
    Here’s the search results on INDUCKS where you can see some pictures and exactly which issues they appear in:

    • bmb13 Says:

      As an addendum, I wanted to say that on their own Spectrum Associates as an author didn’t really seem to produce anything noteworthy. Nor did Bancells excel without the crazed storylines of the former. For some reason only the collaboration would produce something enjoyable.

      I guess sometimes it’s like that and you need two halves to make one whole genius. Compare movies. I’ve never really seen Roland Emmerich of Day after Tomorrow fame produce something I entirely liked without the help of Dean Devlin, nor have I heard of anything Devlin did that interested me that didn’t also involve Emmerich. Yet the two produced Stargate and Independence Day and Godzilla ’98 together, all of which I immensely enjoy.

  4. walkoutbasements Says:

    Dear Mr. Spector,
    I would like to take this opportunity to personally thank you on making both Mickey and Oswald relevant again (especially Oswald, since the Disney company has had a hard time trying to re-introduce him back into the limelight in a clever way). I am sure Walt would be proud. I am one of many looking forward to Epic Mickey and I hope for it to be successful.

  5. spridley Says:

    Dear Mr. Spector
    Thanks for trying so hard to make an amazing game about Mickey and Disney. Reading what you said in the interview made me very happy as you dream with this project and treat it as an amazing and important thing.
    I hope they let you make, or help making a Wasteland ride and and a short or movie about Oswald and Mickey, who knows, maybe a short at the beggining of the 50th Disney animated movie Ranpunzel about Oswald and Mickey being mischevious as in Plane Crazy and Steamboat Willie. 😉
    Maybe this is the start of making good animation in tv again thaks to you, hoping Mickey’s new design and the return of Oswald are going to be as big as it seems.

    Cheers from a Spanish fan!
    Borja R

  6. Greenyz Says:

    I’ve never been a fan of Space Mountain. I don’t think it’s a bad ride I’m just so afraid that I can’t see what’s going on ahead of me. I was basically in the fetal position the first time I rode it and I’ve been on much more intense rides.

    Also it’s nice to see a more recent character (Stitch) being loved by you. 😀

    Looking forward to your game,

    Francis Basco
    Southern California

    • Greenyz Says:

      Wow that Stitch comment seems kind of rude thinking back. I’m just so surprised someone with such a caliber as yourself would have a wordpress blog.

      Anyway what I meant to say was it’s nice that Disney was able to have made a character worth your Disney standards.

      -.-, better

  7. Daily Best Articles » Warren Spector’s Favorite Disney Rides, Comic Books And Characters Says:

    […] Epic Mickey saw its debut in the pages of Game Informer magazine, but he’s slowly emerging. On his personal blog, Spector responded to a barrage of requests about his preferences for Disney material by listing […]

  8. Warren Spector’s Favorite Disney Rides, Comic Books And Characters | Gamingaisle Says:

    […] Epic Mickey saw its debut in the pages of Game Informer magazine, but he’s slowly emerging. On his personal blog, Spector responded to a barrage of requests about his preferences for Disney material by listing […]

  9. mudron Says:

    Imagineering Blue Sky Cellar? I need to hit up Disneyland sometime soon (I haven’t visited any of the parks since a family vacation to Disney World almost 20 years ago) – the Imagineering stuff *always* knocks my socks off.

    Any news on trying to get some Epic Mickey comics and whatnot made? I suppose with Disney owning Marvel now, you won’t have any shortage of cartooning talent to draw from (to say nothing of the list of the established Disney artists you’ve listed in the post above), but if you ever find yourself looking for some fresh Epic Mickey cartoonists/illustrators, toss me an email sometime -mudron(at)gmail.com.

  10. snausages22 Says:

    Hi there! Mrs. Noel Van Horn here!
    Nice to hear that someone appreciates Noel Van Horn’s work! He has attempted the ‘new’ Mickey before, but encountered resistance!

    • wspector Says:

      I realize it’s been so long since you wrote this comment (and even longer since I last posted anything on my own blog site!) but I wanted to say how thrilled I was to hear from someone in the Van Horn family!

      I’ve been trying to get in touch with Noel Van Horn for a long time but haven’t had any success. I’d love to speak/meet/email him directly, if he has any interest. At the very least, I’d love to know if there are any plans to do a compilation (or several) of his Disney stories. If not, I have to start lobbying the Disney comics folks to get to work on that!

      I can be reached through the contact page on the Junction Point website): http://www.junctionpoint.com/. (I know it’s weird that the email address references recruiting, specifically, but it works.) Hope to hear back soon.

  11. salsatheone Says:

    I read somewhere that this will be a plataform-RPG game. People have probably asked you this a gazillion times. Would this game have any aspects of Toon the Roleplaying Game? Of course that this is a totally different brand and franchise, but being so related to that, do you think it will be hard to not end up using something you created back then?

    • wspector Says:

      Wow, someone who remembers Toon! That’s pretty cool. Interestingly, Allen Varney (who also worked on Toon) was one of my first collaborators on Disney Epic Mickey and what we discovered early on was how little of that earlier game actually seemed applicable to what we were doing for Disney.

      That’s a really interesting topic – one I’ll try to return to in a blog post sometime! This whole making-a-game thing has really cut into my blogging time! 😉

  12. salsatheone Says:

    Ohhh… and do you think this will lead to a possibility Ducktales-wise? My guess is that you would love it hehe

    • wspector Says:

      Feel free to lobby Disney Interactive about this! I’d love to do a Ducktales game – though I think I’d look to the original Carl Barks comics that inspired some of the TV episodes as much as – or more than – I’d look to the actual TV show.

      No doubt about it – a duck game could be incredibly cool.

  13. 0ssement Says:

    I’m sorry to be one more student who wants to speak with you but there it is. I’m from the university of Metz, in France, and I’m studying about the narrative schemes and writing process in the FPS. I want to use Deus Ex as an example and I would like to have your point of view about the writing of this game. I thank you for your attention and, again, sorry to having bother you !

    Clément Holmenschlager

  14. tymime Says:

    Warren, I have to say that this game and The Princess and the Frog are like big ol’ beacons of the current and upcoming changes to the Disney company that have delighted me for the past year or so. The Mouse House is finally in tune with its audience and it’s wonderful. Mickey can be on hip, edgy clothing for tweens and teaching little ones their letters and numbers simultaneously. Disney is coming close to being everything I’ve wished it to be.
    Now that I’m done heaping praise and spoonfuls of sugar, I’d like to appeal to you. You’ve seen Roger Rabbit, I’m sure. It’s combination of retro toony goodness and dark, scary noir has got to be right up your alley, right? The thinner is practically synonymous with Dip.
    When I watched your “audio tour”, I was practically giddy when you mentioned that the world in the game was home to forgotten, unloved Disney creations- which brings me to my point. If it’s not too far into development, could you please include some particular characters? They are probably some of my (if not THE) absolute favorites, and they mean a great deal to me, but they’re likely the most undeservedly unloved characters in the Disney universe. To me, they represent (ignoring their bad qualities of course) rebellion, nonconformity, and they may be the epitome of my unending fondness of all things obscure.
    So why am I still rambling? Who am I talking about anyway? The WEASELS. The freakin’ WEASELS: http://tymime.deviantart.com/art/The-Disney-Weasel-Guide-140398008

  15. destoo Says:

    My disney’s favorites were not there at Penny Arcade Expo East. They had this huge awesome display with blasting speakers and the disney logo and.. Split/Second… A racing game.
    Do you have anything to say in your defence, Mister Spector? Where was Mickey? Where was Flynn? Didn’t you have anything else to show?

  16. bmb13 Says:

    Now that Heavy Rain is out, I wonder what you think of it. Considering it’s a somewhat time consuming game and you are presumably hard at working on Epic Mickey, I realise you may not have to time to play it. But in case you do, or even if you didn’t, your opinion would certainly be of great interest to me.

  17. mrcyberpunk Says:

    That E3 stage demo you did Warren was very impressive. Best of luck with the release.

  18. salsatheone Says:

    Warren I also saw your presentation at E3, mice of you to drop by. 😀

  19. sock2you Says:

    Good Morning Mr. Spector,

    My name is Steven. I’m 27 & a huge disney fan. This past winter my wife & I got to visit Walt Disney World for the 1st time & it expaned my favoites (at least with rides) but here goes nothing.

    1. Indiana Jones (DisneyLand), Dinosaur (Walt Disney World, & are kinda the same premiss in a ride)
    2. Haunted Mansion
    3. Splash Mountain
    4. Rock’n’Roller (Hollywood Studios)
    5. Tower of Terror (I perfer the one in WDW cause its more elaborate. The elevator accually comes out of the elevator shaft before it drops)
    6. Thunder Mountain
    7. Pirates of the Caribbean
    8. Peter Pan Flight

    1. Hades
    2. Yensid
    3. Sora (KH)
    4. Genie
    5. Mickey Mouse
    6. Oswald the Lucky Rabbit
    7. Stich
    8. Chernabog

    Thanks for your time & reading this.
    Steven / Slinky

    P.S. I’m SUPER DE DUPER EXCITED about Epic Mickey. Anything I hear about it just gets me giddy as a school girl (I wife will concur) & I’ve already purchased it, so I’m counting the days/minutes. I love how your helping bring back the fun, mischievouse Mickey & Oswald back in our lives.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: