|Slogan||The Ultimate Guide to Disney DVD|
|Type of site||DVD and Blu-ray News and Reviews|
|Registration||Required for forum only|
|Created by||Luke Bonanno|
|Alexa rank||25,593,169 (August 2013[update])|
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (April 2008)|
The Ultimate Guide to Disney DVD is a website dedicated to covering Walt Disney home video releases with a focus on Disney DVD and Blu-ray. The site has been online since 2001 and acquired its own domain and online forum in 2003. Its sister site DVDizzy.com, which covers general DVD information and reviews, launched in 2007.
The home page normally exhibits the latest Disney-related news, coupled with regular reviews and occasional interviews. Early breaking news has earned the site a favorable reputation amongst news outlets and fans. Disney's films, TV shows, and media releases are categorized in a series of indexes, which comprised the website's original structure.
In 2003, the site began to emphasize critical reviews of Disney's DVDs as its primary focus. These initially included only those DVDs officially released under the "Disney DVD" banner. In 2004, the site expanded to include reviews of films and television shows from Miramax Films, Touchstone Pictures, Hollywood Pictures, and other divisions of the Disney Studios that generally produce more adult movies than the typical Disney fare.
In 2005, Ultimate Disney again expanded to cover music releases from Walt Disney Records, special event reports, and the Disney theme parks. Celebrity interviews also became a staple of the site's coverage. The site routinely features countdowns, contests, and giveaways, all of which invite user input to produce results.
In 2008, Ultimate Disney critics began reviewing Blu-ray movies.
The website has garnered acclaim outside of the conventional Disney and animation internet communities. Film critic and historian Leonard Maltin recommends the site in the "Links" page of his personal website. During Roy E. Disney and Stanley Gold's Save Disney campaign, Ultimate Disney's articles were frequently featured on SaveDisney.com. Additionally, an official Disney book, Disney Dossiers: Files of Characters From the Walt Disney Studios (published in October 2006) notes that Maleficent was named the #1 Disney Villain by UltimateDisney.com in its Top Disney Villains Countdown.
The book is also referenced and cited several times in The Thinking Fan's Guide to Walt Disney World: Magic Kingdom (The Intrepid Traveler, 2013). Though not affiliated with or authorized by UltimateDisney.com, the book was authored by long-time UltimateDisney.com media critic Aaron Wallace and was published in paperback and as an ebook on April 16, 2013.
In addition, the site is well-known among the internet community of DVD news and reviews, as other notable sites such as TheDigitalBits.com and TVShowsonDVD.com have cited Ultimate Disney on several news items regarding DVD releases.
Ultimate Disney is an independent website and not affiliated with the Walt Disney Company. It is primarily administered by a small number of journalists who report news, review products, attend special events, and moderate the forum.
The current main staff of writers, interviewers, reporters, and forum moderators consist of:
- Luke Bonanno - The website creator and administrator (2001-)
- Amy Braun - Interviewer and event reporter (2008-)
- Kelvin Cedeno - Writer and interviewer (2003-)
- JP Chism - Event reporter (2008-)
- CJ - Forum moderator (2007-)
- Caitlin Custer - Video reporter (2008-)
- Christopher Disher - Writer, event reporter, and video reporter (2007-)
- IndianaJDP - Forum moderator (2003-)
- Renata Joy - Writer, interviewer, event reporter, and forum moderator (2004-)
- "Pluto Region1" - Writer and event reporter (2006-)
- "Sotiris" - Forum moderator (2013-)
- "enigmawing" - Forum moderator (2013-)
- James Reader - Writer and forum moderator (2003-)
- Aaron Wallace - Writer, interviewer, event reporter, and forum moderator (2004-)
Former main staff of writers, interviewers, reporters, and forum moderators include:
- "Captain Hook" - Writer (2003–2004)
- "deathie mouse" - Writer and forum moderator (2003–2006)
- Gus Frank - Writer (2001–2004)
- Richard Gray - Writer (2004–2005)
- Albert Gutierrez - Writer and interviewer (2006–2007)
- Lindsay Mayer - Writer and forum moderator (2003–2006)
- Tricia Mayes - Writer and video reporter (2004–2006)
- Ed South - Writer (2005–2007)
In addition, there have been numerous one-time and infrequent writers and reporters who have contributed reviews and notable articles to Ultimate Disney over the years:
- Mark Arnold - Writer (2006)
- Reuben Gutierrez - Writer (2006–2007)
- Joe Jarvis - Writer (2005)
- Adam Lutterloh - Photographer (2006)
- Lester Medina - Writer (2005)
- Michael Miller - Writer (2005–2006)
- Alex Pantoja - Writer (2005)
- Mark Probst - Writer (2006)
- Matthew Rand - Writer (2005)
- Aaron Willcott - Writer (2004)
- David Willis - Writer (2006)
- Scott Wolf - Reporter (2007)
The community of UltimateDisney.com comprises nearly 4000 registered forum members. Contributors to the forum range from all walks of life and include a large number of international members. Since 2004, members participate in the "UD Forum Awards," where members are nominated and vote for various categories. Other forum-wide activities include an annual Secret Santa, The UD "Movie and Media Awards," and frequent discussions centering around music, DVDs, Blu-ray Discs, movies, TV shows, and other miscellaneous topics.
The discussion forum debuted a major re-design in Spring 2013.
The site is supported by the placement of advertisements, personal donations from visitors, and affiliate links. Like many DVD-based sites, UltimateDisney.com employs an affiliate program with a variety of online stores such as Amazon.com, BestBuy.com, and eBay. Members are recommended to help support the site through the sponsored links, or by simply leaving a donation via the Amazon Honor System.
Reviews, Release Types and PR
There are currently over 900 DVD and Blu-ray reviews written for the site, covering a variety of categories. These categories include but are not limited to - Disney's Animated Classics, other animated films, direct-to-video films, live-action films (both pre-1980 and contemporary productions), TV shows and TV premieres (Wonderful World of Disney, Disney Channel Original Movies, etc.), specialty DVD collections like the Walt Disney Treasures, the Walt Disney Legacy sets, and theme park exclusives, as well as Disney studio divisions like Touchstone Pictures, Miramax Films, Dimension Films and Hollywood Pictures. Non-Disney content includes IMAX and other documentaries, Warner Bros., 20th Century Fox, DreamWorks, Paramount Pictures, Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures Television, United Artists, and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.
Early reviews for the site were formatted to open in a narrow window, in a way to be unique from other sites, but over time this practice was phased out in favor of a full page layout. There are four types of reviews at UltimateDisney.com, with three regularly used:
- Forum - forum-only reviews are few and far between and are essentially full-page reviews relegated to the forum rather than an HTML page.
- Capsule - minor releases, usually from other distribution branches such as Touchstone, Miramax, and the rarely used Hollywood Pictures. These reviews are much shorter (three or four paragraphs) and offer several titles on one page, with minimal use of screencaps.
- Full-Page - the main format for reviews, most DVDs and Blu-ray Discs will receive a full page review, offering a generous amount of screencaps, a thorough summary and critique of the film, and an extensive look at the DVD's/BD's audio/video quality and bonus materials. It is known that reviewers will go through each aspect of the DVD/BD, as opposed to other review sites, some of which who pass over the otherwise-child-friendly games and music videos. Also, similar to other sites, UltimateDisney.com employs a star rating for each DVD/BD, and welcomes critical feedback from readers.
- Two-Page - occasionally, a DVD will be too extensive to cover in one page (usually if it's a major title or a television series), so the review will be split into two pages, covering much more about the release and program than a full-page review. In several rare instances, a third page is utilized, usually as an addendum to the main two-page review.
UltimateDisney.com also features Buena Vista Home Entertainment's press releases as they are made available. The press releases are replicated on the forum, where members can then discuss the contents of the press release in detail.
DVD Release Types
UltimateDisney.com also details Disney's different DVD release types. The article is updated periodically, ensuring that the most up-to-date information is displayed in its specific area.
Interviews & Special Reports
Since March 2005, UltimateDisney.com has conducted interviews with various celebrities and people involved with the Walt Disney Company. Interviewees ranged from young actors such as Brenda Song and Dominic Scott Kay to renowned animators and directors Andreas Deja, Jon Turteltaub, and Henry Selick, as well as notable Disney Legend Alice Estes Davis and football player Vince Papale. A full list of interviews can be found here
UltimateDisney.com has also participated in various press events for the Walt Disney Company, often publishing them as the "UD Special Reports". Many of these are handled by forum member "Pluto Region1," a California resident who has covered such events as a tour of the Animation Research Library, the High School Musical DVD Launch Party, and the 2006 DVD premiere of 1941's Dumbo at El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood.
In August 2008, UltimateDisney.com published its very first Video Report, as reporters Christopher Disher and Caitlin Custer attended the DVD premiere of The Little Mermaid III: Ariel's Beginning, and interviewed various celebrity attendees such as voice actress Jodi Benson (voice of Ariel). However, video reports were not new to the site. On March 8, 2005, the site began offering a "Weekly Video Update", in which forum member snowhite8 hosted brief one-minute videos which discussed recently released and upcoming Disney DVDs. The video updates ceased on November 15, 2005.
In the summer of 2006, Ultimate Disney attended the world premiere of Disney/Pixar's Cars, interviewing celebrities from the red carpet. Among those interviewed were John Lasseter, John Ratzenberger, Bonnie Hunt, Larry the Cable Guy, Richard Petty, Katherine Helmond, and Jennifer Lewis.
In 2003, the site started a series of countdowns. Each countdown dealt with the ranking of a specific, Disney-related theme, and forum members listed their top favorites. For most of these countdowns, members were chosen to comment on specific films, characters, and songs that made the lists. The number one entry of each is noted in parenthesis.
On April 20, 2007, UltimateDisney.com announced plans to launch a spin-off website. As Ultimate Disney covers Disney news and reviews, the new site would cover all other studios. On July 2, 2007, the new website's title was confirmed as DVDizzy.com. Before the site's launch, its content was temporarily hosted at Ultimate Disney while DVDizzy.com was being developed. After the site's launch in April 2010, it "co-exists" with Ultimate Disney, with the two sites linking to one another and sharing message board forums.
DVDizzy.com content that has appeared on UltimateDisney.com includes a DVD/Blu-ray release schedule for all major studios and various reviews.