Disney’s PLANES: FIRE AND RESCUE released on Blu-Ray and DVD last week! This is one of my favorite family movies and if you’re looking for an awesome stocking stuffer, grab a copy for your family! I have some fun, free printables with PLANES: FIRE AND RESCUE games and recipes for you. Just click the image above to download.
Want more? Here are some fun tidbits about the film:
10 THINGS YOU NEVER KNEW ABOUT PLANES: FIRE & RESCUE!
Pssst! Want the inside scoop on Dusty’s new adventure, PLANES: FIRE & RESCUE? We quiz the filmmakers and animation team for super fun facts and sizzlin’ insider secrets…
MOVIE SECRET #1… THERE ARE HIDDEN MEANINGS BEHIND THE NUMBERS IN THE MOVIE!
“We love to hide fun numbers in the animation,” reveals Planes: Fire & Rescue art director Toby Wilson. “The ‘301’ you see on the side of Blade is actually the number from the CalFire’s air-attack helicopter at Hemet-Ryan air base. We used that as a thank you because we spent so much time there researching the movie. Watch out for national identification numbers on the planes and helicopters, too. They often hide things like birthdays or special dates for the filmmakers. The birthday of Bobs Gannaway, our director, is one of the national identification numbers in the movie!”
MOVIE SECRET #2… A SCENE IN THE MOVIE IS BASED ON A FIREFIGHTER’S TRUE ACT OF BRAVERY!
“In the movie, there’s a scene where a new character named Blade takes Dusty Crophopper into a mine to protect him from a fire,” explains Planes: Fire & Rescue director Bobs Gannaway. “Well, that sequence is based on a true story. A firefighter named Pulaski saved his crew by taking them into a mine in Idaho during 1910’s Great Idaho Fire. In honor of the famous firefighter, we named our yellow fire truck in the movie Pulaski. It’s an absolute honor to have him represented in the film.”
MOVIE SECRET #3… PISTON PEAK NATIONAL PARK IS BASED ON A NUMBER OF NATIONAL PARKS!
“We wanted to take audiences somewhere they’ve never been before,” reveals Bobs Gannaway. “The film has a little bit of Americana woven into a mash-up of Yellowstone, Yosemite and a few other national parks – all with our own distinctive spin.” Keep your eyes peeled when the action of the movie heads to the Grand Fusel Lodge of Piston Peak. The quirky building was directly inspired by Yellowstone’s iconic Old Faithful Inn!
MOVIE SECRET #4… JULIE BOWEN SIGNED UP FOR THE SEQUEL BEFORE THE FIRST PLANES FILM WAS EVEN RELEASED!
“I have no idea how I ended up in an amazing Disney animation like this,” giggles actress Julie Bowen. “Out of the blue, I got a call from Disney offering me the role – but I’ve since discovered that John Lasseter [the head of Walt Disney Animation Studios] is a huge fan of my show, Modern Family. When they offered me the role of Dipper in Planes: Fire & Rescue, the first Planes movie hadn’t been released – but I knew I was in safe hands. My kids love the fact that I’m in a Planes movie. This whole experience has been an absolute blast!”
MOVIE SECRET #5… IT TOOK A TEAM OF 900 PEOPLE TO CREATE THE MOVIE!
A lot of time and effort goes into the creation of an epic animation like Planes: Fire & Rescue. “In total, a team of 900 people spent four years creating the ambitious animated movie,” admits producer Ferrell Barron. “That includes everyone from animators and voice artists to writers and musicians.”
MOVIE SECRET #6… REAL VEHICLES OFTEN INSPIRE THE CHARACTER DESIGN!
Most of the high-flying vehicles in the movie are fictional, but their design is usually inspired by real aircraft. The look of Dusty Crophopper was inspired by three planes: the Air Tractor 502, the Cessna and the Air Dromader. The design of Windlifter was inspired by three helicopters: the Sikorsky Skycrane, the Kamov KA-26 and the Mil MI-10. Many of the land-based vehicles are also based on real automobiles. The design of Mayday – Propwash Junction’s feisty fire truck – was based on the 1940s Fordson Tender.
MOVIE SECRET #7… ACTRESS JULIE BOWEN PANICKED IN THE RECORDING BOOTH!
“I had a lot of fun in the recording booth,” admits Julie Bowen. “You have to repeat the same lines a million times, but it never gets boring. The director and his team sit behind a big glass window. They have to press a button for me to hear what they are saying, but I’d always see them chatting away whenever their fingers left the button. It made me panic. I’d think, ‘Oh no! Am I doing this wrong?’ Eventually, I asked them to keep their finger on the button so that I could hear everything. That’s when I discovered they were talking about the most boring things in the world! They would turn to each other and say things like, “Um… Did anybody change the toner in the fax machine?” They weren’t talking about me at all!”
MOVIE SECRET #8…AN AEROBATIC HELICOPTER PILOT ASSISTED THE ANIMATION TEAM!
Blade Ranger and Windlifter are two exciting new helicopter characters in the movie. In order to research how they fly, the filmmakers turned to a world-renowned aerobatic helicopter pilot named Chuck Aaron. Aaron has more than 42 years and 20,000 flight hours under his belt! “They asked me if I would watch the movie and look at the storyboards to determine if the helicopter movements were factual and feasible,” says Aaron. “It brings authenticity and realism to the movie.”
MOVIE SECRET #9…PISTON PEAK’S MECHANIC TUG IS NAMED AFTER A REAL MECHANIC!
“Maru is the name of the friendly mechanic tug at Piston Peak Air Attack base, but his history dates back to the first movie,” explains Toby Wilson. “On one of the research trips for the first movie, the team went to Wisconsin where they met a mechanic with one hand. Outside his garage, it said ‘Maru’s Garage’ written in big letters. Our creative executive, Paul Gerard, went inside and asked him, ‘So, where’s Maru?’ The mechanic replied, ‘The name’s Marv!’ It turns out he had really bad handwriting on his sign. Marv is the real-life inspiration behind Maru in the movie.”
MOVIE SECRET #10! DANE COOK WOULD LIKE TO SEE A MUSICAL PLANES MOVIE!
“I’ve always been a fan of all Disney movies when I was growing up, especially the musicals,” admits Dane Cook. “I used to love Bedknobs And Broomsticks, which was live action and animation combined. I just loved it, and I always wanted to be a part of it. I’d love to see a Planes musical. After Frozen was released, I said to everyone, ‘We need music in Planes.’ Maybe next time?”
MOVIE SECRET EXTRA! MORE THAN 2 MILLION TREES POPULATE PISTON PEAK NATIONAL PARK!
One of the many difficult tasks that the filmmakers tackled was the creation of Piston Peak National Park. “It was a huge challenge for the art team,” explains Bobs Gannaway. “And more than 2 million trees were incorporated into its design.” The animation team ensured that just the right trees were incorporated into the scenery – including lodgepole pine, ponderosa pine, incense cedar, red woods and giant sequoia!
Planes: Fire & Rescue by the numbers! How many people worked on the movie? What’s the number on Dusty’s wing? How many voice sessions did the actors tackle? The answers are all here…
“Making an animated movie like Planes: Fire & Rescue takes a lot of time and a lot of people,” explains the movie’s producer, Ferrell Barron. “In total, around 900 people worked on this movie, start to finish. That’s a big, ambitious undertaking!”
“Planes: Fire & Rescue is released a year after the first Planes movie, but it took much longer than a year to make,” reveals director Bobs Gannaway. “I’ve been working on the movie for almost four years!”
“When we started to research ideas for the story of Planes: Fire & Rescue, we took a closer look at the background of crop duster planes like Dusty,” explains Bobs Gannaway. “That’s when we discovered that crop dusting planes have also been used for wildfire air attacks. The first operational air tanker was a repurposed crop duster, which made its first air drop on the Mendocino National Forest in 1955. Fighting fires is in Dusty’s heritage!”
The filmmakers took a ton of research trips during the making of the movie. “We took at least one trip to Yosemite National Park and one to Yellowstone,” says the movie’s art director, Toby Wilson. “We also took three trips to Hemet-Ryan Air Attack Base, two trips to Redding and one trip to Grass Valley. There were a lot of research trips, but a lot of other research was pulled from our own personal experiences, too.”
“We spent about two and a half years – or 912 days – on the research and development of the fire seen in the movie,” explains Ferrell Barron. “There was a lot of preparation work to do before we got to the production process!”
Look closely at Dusty Crophopper and you’ll notice the number seven on the design of his body. “The number seven is often seen as a lucky number,” reveals Toby Wilson. “It’s also the favorite number of Klay Hall, the director of the first Planes movie.”
“Our recording sessions with the voice actors are always a lot of fun,” chuckles Ferrell Barron. “Each session usually lasts for four hours, but some are much less than that. We don’t want to strain the voices of our actors, so four hours is usually the maximum.”
In the story, Dusty Crophopper suffers a career-ending injury during race training in Propwash Junction. “As a racer, Dusty was running at about 140 percent of what he was designed to do,” says the movie’s flight supervisor, Jason McKinley. “This put his gearbox under tremendous stress, so he starts to fall in the middle of a flight. He’s at the top of his career – visually, he’s at the top of a loop – and he falls.” Eek!
The filmmakers met a graduating class of smokejumpers while they were researching the movie. This inspired one of the teams of fearless firefighting characters seen in the movie including Drip, Blackout, Avalanche, Dynamite and Pinecone. “The smokejumpers we met were strong, incredibly skilled young men and women – all in tip-top shape – who parachute in to fight fires on the ground,” reveals Ferrell Barron. “We got to witness them gather their gear, get in uniform, strap on these enormous backpacks and board the aircraft – all in less than three minutes!”
One of the many challenges that the filmmakers tackled during the making of the movie was the creation of Piston Peak National Park. “It was a huge challenge for the art team,” admits Bobs Gannaway. “We had to capture a panoramic feel, since our planes don’t really fly in straight lines. And we have more than two million trees in there!”
Composer Mark Mancina created the melodic score of Planes: Fire & Rescue with a 90-piece orchestra. “There’s a lot of orchestral percussion, French horn, strings and woodwinds,” the musician reveals. “There is added texture from other types of instruments, but the heart of the score is an orchestra.”
There’s a whole host of fun and friendly new characters in Planes: Fire & Rescue. An outgoing and spirited air tanker named Dipper [voiced by Modern Family actress Julie Bowen] is skilled at skimming lakes, scooping up more than 1,600 gallons of water to douse angry fires!
Windlifter is a heavy-lift helicopter who can hoist dozens of trees or a huge tank of fire retardant. Three different helicopters inspired the design of Windlifter: a Sikorsky Skycrane, a Kamov KA-26 and a Mil MI-10.
A loyal and trustworthy tour bus at Piston Peak National Park for 72 years, Ol’ Jammer knows every trail, stream, rock and tree. This strong and seasoned bus is eager to share his vast knowledge of the park’s history with the multitude of admiring daily visitors.
“The Blade helicopter in Planes: Fire & Rescue has the number 301 on his side,” explains Ferrell Barron. “We took that number from the side of a helicopter at CalFire [California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection] at Hemet-Ryan, which is where we did a lot of research for the movie. We did that as a tip of the hat to them.”
Pulaski is Piston Peak’s structural engine, responsible for protecting the buildings and bridges in the park. With a 2,000-gallon tank, he can pump water at 1,000 gallons per minute. Whoosh!
Look closely at Pulaski and you’ll be able to spot the number 64 on his body. “I took my kids on a Disney research trip to my local fire station,” explains Toby Wilson. “They got to climb all over the Redondo Beach Fire Engine No. 64 during their visit. Pulaski has the number 64 on his side as a thank you to them.”
Disney’s PLANES: FIRE AND RESCUE released on Blu-Ray and DVD last week! This movie is truly one of my favorite animated features. It’s so exciting and action-packed, but full of humor and heart at the same time. Perfect!
After flying to the top of the box office this summer as the #1 animated movie in America three weeks in a row, “PLANES: FIRE & RESCUE” soars to spectacular new heights on Blu-ray and Digital HD, featuring wondrous high definition picture and sound, plus thrilling bonus features, including the all-new exclusive short “Vitaminamulch: Air Spectacular;” the mock-umentary promotional piece “Welcome to Piston Peak;” “CHoPs” TV Promo and “Air Attack: Firefighters From The Sky,” an exciting inside look at the making of the film featuring real-life smoke jumpers and firefighters. Additional bonus features include Spencer Lee’s “Still I Fly” music video, deleted scenes with filmmaker introductions, and two “PLANES: FIRE & RESCUE” shorts: “Dipper” and “Smokejumpers.” Exclusively available on Disney Movies Anywhere (DMA) are the bonus shorts “Blade Ranger” and “Piston Peak.”
You can read my full movie review here and see the 6 reasons why I absolutely LOVE this film! Want more PLANES: FIRE & RESCUE? Check out these exclusive posts:
- My interview with the Director and Producer
- Fire Safety Tips from Van Nuys Tanker Base
- A tour of Piston Peak National Park with the film Art Director
- My interview with Julie Bowen, voice of Dipper
- My voice over of Dipper!
- My interview with the Story Artists