Friday, September 30, 2011

Flashback Friday/Magical Memories: A Private Maelstrom Trip

Welcome to another Flashback Friday Blog Hop! 
Thanks again to Magical Days With The Mouse for hosting!

It was Labor Day weekend and I was drinking around the world with my friends.  They really wanted to eat at the Rose and Crown, but we were already working our way towards the Mexico Pavilion.  In Norway, we tried to go on Maelstrom but as we were waiting on line the ride shut down.  Disappointed, the rest of my group went back to the Rose and Crown while I continued on in my quest for a margarita at La Cava del Tequila.  

After enjoying my drink and a spin on the Gran Fiesta Tour, I started to walk back towards the U.K. pavilion.  Since it was on the way, I decided to pass by Maelstrom to see if it had reopened.  It hadn't but the cast member standing by the door said it was only a matter of minutes before they reopened.  I chatted with him while we waited - a nice guy from Ohio.  Only a few other people were waiting around, but even so, I had the gift of freedom - no strollers or companions to drag with me.  I was light as a feather.  After all, it had worked for me before!

And yes, I was the first in line, when the doors opened a few minutes later.   And yes, when I got to the boats, the cast member told me they needed to send a test boat down.  And yes, I was delighted to have MY OWN PRIVATE RIDE VEHICLE on Maelstrom.  And yes, I WILL show you some pictures from that ride (but beware, I was a little tipsy taking them - after all, I had just finished drinking around the world!).  Please enjoy:


And the best news of the night:

Thanks for hopping along!  Now hop on to the next stop!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Worst Attractions Recap Part 3: Magic Kingdom Continued (the Fails)

So it has been an embarrassingly long time since I last posted in this series.  I am trying to finish it up I swear!  Anyways, as you may recall, the original purpose of this blog was to chronicle my experiences riding all of the "worst" (read: boring, unpopular, ones I've routinely avoided) attractions in Walt Disney World on my trip with my sister last winter.  Check out Part 1 (the Magic Kingdom "Successes") and Part 2 (Epcot Failures and Successes)! 

Although I did a bunch of the worst attractions in the Magic Kingdom, I still somehow managed to miss several.  Let's take a look at the Magic Kingdom Worst Attraction Fails shall we?
  • The Swiss Family Treehouse:  I just didn't bother.  This was sheer laziness on my part.  I suppose I could have gone.  I imagine the line wasn't too long.  I just didn't.  To be fair, I don't think my sister would have been interested in it and I got depressed after she left and was kind of dragging myself through the parks at that point.  I think I'm going to try it out next time I am there though!

  • The Hall of Presidents:  I couldn't convince my sister to do this attraction (I didn't tell her about my boring attractions goal) even though I did suggest it once or twice.  However, I DID try to hit it after she left.  I spent the morning in another park (Epcot, I think, or maybe the Studios) and then decided to amble over to the Magic Kingdom to hit up the HoP among other attractions.  HOWEVER, by the time I got to the HoP, there was a sign outside saying that it closed at 3PM that day!  Needless to say I was disappointed.  I will definitely be trying this one on my next trip (which may or may not be already in the works -ahem!-).

  • Tom Sawyer Island:  See, above, re: Swiss Family Treehouse.  I'm even less interested in TSI than I am in SFT because it seems more time-consuming.  But I still might try to cajole myself into trying it next time!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Nearly Wordless Wednesday Blog Hop!

Welcome back to another Wordless Wednesday Blog Hop.  Did you miss me last week?
Thanks to Focused on the Magic and the Info Mouse for hosting! 

I've been missing the Poly lately.
How about some Grown Up Grilled Cheese from Captain Cook's to quell my Poly cravings?

Now hop on to the next stops!

Focused on the Magic

Practically Perfect Opinion: Why I Don't Like The Little Mermaid

Whoa, okay, I know I'm not going to make friends with this one.  But yet again, Maleficent has taken over me once again and I must rant away.  It's not like anyone reads these posts anyway right? 

I recently watched this movie for the first time in a long time.  I'm not going to lie, I'm not as in love with the 90s Disney movies as everyone else in my generation seems to be.  Yes they're funny and have some good music, but they're also pretty formulaic, a quality which I don't appreciate.  I prefer unique-ness (is that a word? Well, it is now).  I don't know - that series of movies always felt more like products of a big corporate business (Hi Michael Eisner!) and less a set of unique and beautiful jewels like the movies were in Walt's day.   They're not even BAD per se, but they are some of my least favorite entries in the Disney collection.

Anyway, my point for this post is that now that I have seen TLM as an adult, I cannot STAND her.  I'm sorry, but the premise is beyond ridiculous.  Ariel is 16.  16!  She sounds like a bratty, ignorant, short-sighted teenager.  Yes, we were all bratty, ignorant, short-sighted teenagers at some point of course, but I am pretty sure that if my 16-year-old self demanded that my parents send me to Europe because I fell in love with a Russian dude who lives there, they would have chuckled and told me to go back to my AP Chemistry homework.   (And sending a 16 year old to Russia (where my parents could have visited) is LESS ridiculous than what King Triton does which is send his CHILD to a place (dry land) where he cannot walk.)

"But I love him Daddy!"  I am DIZZY from all the eyerolls Ariel's ridiculousness elicited from me.  And I am fully unimpressed with King Triton's overly indulgent parenting skills.  Yes, yes I know it's only a movie.  But I'm not thrilled with the idea that it may send the message to kids that this kind of incredibly selfish behavior is not only acceptable, but admirable.  Plus, it annoys me to the point where I can't muster up even one iota of sympathy for our heroine.  Her whiny, entitled words and actions actually make me actively dislike her.

Okay so you all hate me now (or the Maleficent in me has scared you away).  Sigh.  I really hope you actually don't!  I'm usually nice I promise!  And I like you guys and your comments and love seeing that my posts are being read by someone other than me.  I just don't want to censor myself just to gain more followers and keep the wonderful ones I have.  I gotta be true to who I am, yo!  LOL  Anyways, I think Maleficent is leaving me now.  I can feel her evil spirit draining out of my brain I think.  Back to our regularly scheduled, Disney fan programming.  :)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


Avatarland?  I can't even . . .   I mean, I don't know you guys.  

1) Hi out-of-the-blue announcement!  I guess you are proof that Disney can keep secrets when it wants to? 

2) WHY oh WHY was this not announced at D23?  Everyone was expecting a big surprise announcement.  This would have made a LOT of D23 attendants happy I am sure.  And D23, like, JUST happened.   I suspect that all the complaining about the lines and the crowds and whatever would have been seriously reduced had Disney moved the announcement date up a couple weeks to give the attendants the big payoff most of them were hoping for. 

3) A whole LAND?  For a single movie?  Not even Star Wars or Indiana Jones has that.  And those are legitimate franchises!  If I were George Lucas, I'd be insulted.

I am baffled on all fronts.

Update: Rikki has a great post that basically encapsulates my view here.

Monday, September 19, 2011

New Monorail Peach/Coral Suspicion

I'm just stating here for the record that I suspect that this reported "new" monorail is really just the Tronorail without the Tron wrap.  I am pretty sure that the Tronorail was the peach or coral monorail + the wrap already (caught a glimpse of the underneath when I was there in March - you can kind of see the stripe on the edge of the door when the door opens).   Since the Tronorail is leaving, I think they're just unwrapping it and probably cleaning it up a little bit.  But I don't think it's a brand-spanking new train.

I'll be curious to find out if I'm right!  Everyone else seems to think this is a brand new train coming . . .

Time to share a little secret....

So I have some news.  I have been keeping something from you.  In part, I haven't spilled the beans yet because I am a little superstitious and I'm afraid if I say it, something will go wrong and it won't happen.  But I'm less than 2 months out, so screw it. 


Here are the basics:

- Early November I will be visiting my sister in LA.  I (and hopefully her but her work sched is volatile so you never know) will be spending 3 days/2 nights in Disneyland.  The first night I am/we are spending in the Grand Californian and the second night will be at the Disneyland Hotel (those are the only two hotels I really want to try out). 

- I booked with The Magic For Less Travel (thanks to the Be Our Guest Podcast) and I might even get a discount!  If my sister comes you can be sure I will be utilizing her California residents discount as well!

- TRAGICALLY, the Blue Bayou and Pirates will be closed through Thanksgiving so I am missing both of those.  I did Pirates once before (my only prior DL trip - a while ago and not even for a whole day) but I did have my heart set on eating a Monte Cristo at the BB.  Sigh.

- Instead, we have some other fabulous dining plans thanks to my wonderful MFL travel agent:

Lunch at Cafe Orleans
(for a Monte Cristo there instead, those delicious pomme frites, then beignets!)
Breakfast at the Carnation Cafe (for that cinnamon roll french toast)
Lunch at Ariel's Grotto for the World of Color Priority Seating deal.

- I also hope to try a lot of the following (yes I will be just about to pop by the end of this trip!):

*Matterhorn Macaroon (probably will take this home instead of eating it there)
*Dole Whip (of course!)

This is pretty much ALL I will be eating because between my ADRs and these planned snacks I'm not sure I'll have room for anything else!
- The plan is to do all the rides possible, with priority going to those I didn't get to do on my first DL trip (incl. the Monsters Inc. ride in DCA, Small World, and the Jungle Cruise) plus World of Color and Fantasmic (which I have never seen, even in Studios).  I also want to check out these Tomorrowland details too!

I'm very excited so I hope it all works out!  I will update this post as my trip gets closer!  Get ready from some trip reports after I'm back too!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Podcast Review: WDW News Today Podcast

I've taken quite a while to think about this particular podcast review.  Because on one hand, it is one of my absolute favorites, but on the other hand, it annoys the hell out of me.

Why I love WDWNT:

A.     It is NOT as "DF" podcast.  Some podcasts are so Disney-Fanatic or are so afraid of offending someone (who? the audience? the Disney company? it's hard to say), that they will not say anything remotely negative about Disney.  If they do say something the least bit critical, they will couch it in so many caveats that my iPod may physically roll backwards due solely to the overwhelming amount of backpedaling going on.  Some DF podcasts are so otherwise wonderful that I overlook their DF-ness.  See, e.g., WDW Radio; Disney, Indiana; even my beloved Be Our Guest Podcast. 

It's hard to avoid this attitude because the Disney community is positivity-driven and everything is UP and SMILES and LOVE and FAMILY and WONDERFUL.  But look, I am nothing if not a realist.  I am often a cynic.  I even have road rage and am occasionally witchy.  I need someone in the Disney community to be as cranky, critical, and judgmental as I am or I will feel isolated and alone.  WDWNT (along with some others like The Hub) satisfies this need.  They love Disney but they don't care for the look of rose-colored glasses.  Not everything Disney is good and the WDWNT podcasters are more than comfortable saying exactly what they do not like about it.

B.     It is ALLLLLLL about the WDW parks and there is a heavy focus exactly on the things I like to discuss about the parks.  This means there is no chatting about new movies (I could not be less interested in hearing yet another review of Cars 2) or other things I care less about (cruises, e.g.).  WDWNT has basically distilled my exact WDW-related interests into one gorgeous podcast.  It's about the parks - past, present, and future.  And you KNOW I love me some vintage WDW discussions.  Plus, they discuss it in a really fun way - with games!  I love their Match Games and Top 10 lists (note that unlike WDW Radio, WDWNT Top 10 lists feature much less cheating) and the heated discussions they lead to.

C.     The hosts are *generally* enjoyable.  They are smart and cranky and funny and I just enjoy listening to them debate most of the time . . . . .

 . . . . . Why WDWNT annoys me a lot:

In a word, the host.  Tom fake-laughs at jokes in order to seem like an insider, like a cool guy.  It's so obvious - he's terrible at guile even if he attempts it all the time - but it just makes him look nerdy in a really unlikeable way.  You can tell it's a fake laugh because he laughs unnaturally hard and long.  ("Ho ho ho ha ha ha ha ha ho ho ha ha ha ha ha ho ho ha ha ha ha ha ho ho ha ha ha ha ha ho ho ha ha ha ha ha ho ho ha ha ha ha haaaaaaa!!!!!!")  He also sometimes acts fake-weary at "silliness" (e.g. "Send your hate mail to...") <-- that joke got old a long time ago, Tom.  It's all a pose and none of it sounds believable, honest, or sincere - which are some traits that are important to me in people. 

Fortunately, his regular guests/co-hosts don't capitulate to his desired self-image, but it still annoys me sometimes.  He tries SO HARD to be the coolest, smartest, most knowledgeable one.  The catch is, if he would just relax, he would be more likable as a host.   If he was actually authentic, he would really BE a cool, smart, knowledgeable guy.  I think that's what frustrates me most of all.  He just needs to come down off the pose and be himself and it just might make this the perfect Disney podcast I listen to.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

I'm not really a feminist but...

I do find it kind of odd that they didn't put Minnie or even Daisy on the Fantasy stern given that they have Mickey, Donald, and Goofy on the others. (Presumably Pluto, being a dog-dog and not a man-dog like Goofy, does not have the capacity to paint). Why wouldn't Minnie be the next logical choice?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Nearly Wordless Wednesday Blog Hop!

Welcome back to another Wordless Wednesday Blog Hop.
Thanks to Focused on the Magic and the Info Mouse for hosting!

Switching it up with something savory today.  Quattro Formagi!  Prego!

Now hop on to the next stops!

Focused on the Magic

Monday, September 12, 2011

Vintage Disneyana Alert! - Flashback Friday

Welcome to another Flashback Friday! Thanks to Deb from Focused on the Magic for hosting!This is also an occasional post on vintage Disneyana I happen to come across.   Please check out my other posts on vintage Disney stuff!

My mother, somehow, somewhere, found a vintage book all about Fantasia and the making of Fantasia.  It is absolutely beautiful and I'd like to share some pictures I took of it here.  Here is the front cover:

As you can see, it is copyrighted 1940!

Here is the first page - listing the songs and composers of each piece:

A short bio of Walt:

This is a sample page of the fairy piece (one of my favorites!!!).  There was a two page spread of every section of the film:

And of course, a little charming humor appears on the back cover (that's the little Cupid's butt that turns into a heart at the very end of the Pastoral Symphony sequence). ;)

Focused on the Magic

Friday, September 9, 2011

Flashback Friday/Magical Memories: Swimming in Seven Seas Lagoon

Welcome to another Flashback Friday Blog Hop! Thanks again to Magical Days With The Mouse for hosting!

Back in the day, believe it or not, you used to be able to swim in the Seven Seas Lagoon!  I have clear memories of splashing in the water by the sand - Disney had an area close to the beach roped off for safe swimming.  Even though I preferred the pool, it was still fun to mix it up - or even hop from pool to lagoon to pool again. 

Here is a pic of me and my dad in 1983 (my first trip!) on the Poly beach.  You can see a lady in the upper right corner wading around in the roped off area (the yellow buoys mark where the ropes were).  Also to the left, I believe you can see the open land that is where the Grand Floridian is now.  (Right? - I think so.)  And of course there is a whisper of the monorail coasting along the horizon. 

I hope you enjoyed my FF/MM post!  Now hop on to the next stop!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Nearly Wordless Wednesday Blog Hop!

Welcome back to another Wordless Wednesday Blog Hop. 
Thanks to Focused on the Magic and the Info Mouse for hosting!

As summer comes to an end, I feel like squeezing in yet another ice cream photo. 
It's still hot enough for those right?  Here is the strawberry-red bean ice cream from Nine Dragons (in the foreground), with the ginger ice cream in the back. 

Are you all cooled off? The hop on to the next stops!

Focused on the Magic

Friday, September 2, 2011

Flashback Friday/Magical Memories: ImageWorks!

Welcome to another Flashback Friday Blog Hop!  Thanks to Magical Days With The Mouse for hosting!

So I think you all know my views on Journey Into Imagination.  But do you remember ImageWorks back in it's original form?  Michael at the Progress City blog did a great post on it a while back.  For me, this is what I remember:

- We didn't usually dillydally in the play/explore areas/post-shows after an attraction, but we never failed to stop at ImageWorks after riding the late, great, JII original flavor.

- The pin tables were one of the first things we'd play with.  I'm surprised my germophobic mother let us do that!

- We also LOVE LOVE LOVED the rainbow tunnel and would run through it several times.

- Another favorite was the room with colorful hexagons on the floor (courtesy of various spotlights in the ceiling I think?).  Whenever you'd step on each it would make a different musical sound.  The room was often a cacophony of noises!  It was a little annoying because sometimes it would get so loud that you couldn't hear the sound YOU were making - everyone else's sounds overwhelmed it.  But it was still fun and memorable.

- Omg do you remember the colorful liquid bubbles in the ceiling?  Well actually they were just realllly high up on a wall.  You would stand in front of a screen that was super high up close to the ceiling (from my childhood's point of view anyway), and you would press a big round button and then a new colorful bubble would float across the screen.  You could fill up the screen with bubbles of green, red, yellow, blue, purple, orange - all the colors of the rainbow!

- On another wall was a kaleidoscope.  Same general concept as the bubbles but instead of buttons you'd twist dials and make different designs w/ the colorful kaleidoscopes high up on the wall.

- I also loved the computers (1980s style of course) on which you could pick a black and white picture of Figment, the Dreamfinder or the pavilion buildings (I most often picked the last one).  Then you would use a "pen" to pick colors on the touchscreen and color in your picture.  Kind of like MS paint.

Those are my favorite memories of ImageWorks.  What are yours?  Post in the comments and hop on to the next stop!