Author: queenmouse

A VERY HAPPY UNBIRTHDAY TO MOST OF YOU…..AND WHERE IS ALICE?

The time has come, the walrus says, to talk about some things. 364 things to be exact. You have 364 unbirthdays a year. Only one birthday but 364 unbirthdays. Isn’t that great? And very curious!

Lewis Carroll gave birth to the unbirthday party in his 1871 book Through the Looking Glass.  In the Disney 1951 movie, Alice finds the Mad Hatter, the March Hare, and the Dormouse having an unbirthday party. She has no idea what an unbirthday is. They all sing the unbirthday song – (music and lyrics by Mack David, Al Hoffman, and Jerry Livingston, see youtube video, credit to Disney, below).

At Disney parks, Alice can be found all over the place, in a mad fashion:  in the English tea garden at Epcot; at the Magic Kingdom in fantasy land; and also at 1900 Park Fare (where you will find Alice and the Mad Hatter, among others).

Finally, don’t miss The Mad Tea Party (otherwise known as the flying tea cups) – such a fun ride for all ages! Lines move quickly. Often Alice and friends are found lingering around the flying tea cups for all to see.

Some fun quotes to think about while on the tea party line and ride:

  • It’s no use going back to yesterday, I was a different person then
  • Who in the world am I? That’s a great puzzle
  • No wise fish would go anywhere without a porpoise
  • Why is a raven like a writing desk?
  • Have I gone mad, I’m afraid so. But let me tell you something, the best people usually are.
  • How long is forever? Sometimes just one second.
  • If you don’t know where you are going any road can take you there.
  • I’m not crazy. My reality is simply different from yours.

Would you tell me please, which way I ought to go from here?

The time has come, now, to talk of food and things. How do we celebrate our unbirthday? To start, cupcakes. 

Either way, 364 days a year is certainly a reason to cheer. So have a cupcake and enjoy your unbirthday!! Unless it is your real birthday. Then have a great big cake – the whole thing, maybe. And don’t overdo it. It may be your unbirthday again tomorrow. 

 

A breakdown of Disney Dads on Father’s Day

King Leopold – Snow Whites’s dad, thought he was making a better life for the daughter he loved when he remarried. We know how that turned out.

Lord  Tremaine – went so far as to place an ad in the paper for his daughter Cinderella, so that she could have a mom. Hadn’t he heard of match.com?

Geppetto – the elderly impoverished woodcarver who created Pinocchio. Such a devoted dad that he swam into the belly of a whale to save his son. His courage and guidance turned a wooden puppet into a real boy. He is my favorite dad of them all.

Maurice – widowed inventor who knew that his daughter needed more than a new mom or husband to make her happy. He cultivated her thirst for knowledge, eventually helping her to save the Beast.

King Trident – also a widow. Such a devoted dad that he was willing to become Queen Ursula’s eternal slave to save his daughter Ariel.

King Hubert – knowing his devotion to his daughter, the fairies had to put him to sleep rather than allow him to learn that his daughter Aurora had succumbed to a curse.

The Great Prince – leads a frightened Bambi to his mom, constantly on the watch as his son grows up in the forest. He then teaches him how to survive upon her death.

And who could forget The Lion King?? Or Marlin (also a widow)???

See if you can name all the Disney Dad’s pictured below, taken from an image from Disney’s fan pop page, there are quite a few I forgot about, but quite a few I mentioned that are not pictured at all:

disney dad picture

Either way, the message is pretty consistent. For the most part, they love their kids….Another time maybe we will talk about the significance of all the widowed parents Disney creates!


video credit – youtube taken from Disney..

 

HOW MANY STEPS DOES IT TAKE TO GET ACROSS THE KINGDOM?

How many licks does it take to get to the center of a tootsie roll pop? A group of students recently found, through the use of a “licking machine” that it takes exactly 364 licks.  

Steps across the kingdom? That depends on where you are going and how long your legs are. But no matter what, you will rack up those miles. 

My vacation would not be complete without my fitbit. Sound a little crazy to you? Surrounded by food, other vacation temptation, it’s great to know that I am logging in miles and miles of steps… at least 20,000 a day!!! This is even without going to the hotel gym. 

So, take the stairs, walk from your resort to the theme park and budget the extra time. Your legs will thank you!

While the tootsie pop debuted in 1931, (click tootsie to see the 1970s commercial that still runs through my head), the fitbit company was founded in 2007 and is still kicking. After trying several fitbits, my choice is the Blaze, pictured below – because you can read texts and see who is calling without looking at your phone.

Regular walking can not only help you lose weight, but its easier on the knees than running. Walking improves mood and strengthens muscles. You lose 1 lb of weight for every 3,500 calories you burn walking. Be sure to drink plenty of water!!

Click here for the Disney discussion board on steps. 

Why tootsie rolls? Well, you can eat plenty of them if you are walking through the kingdom. And everything will look might good. How many steps have you racked up at Disney?

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Walk instead of taking that stroller/shuttle/bus ride.
 

Up Close and Personal With Jake and The Neverland Pirates: “Yo ho, let’s go!”

For some reason, the Disney Junior characters don’t talk, going against the general rule that all characters with human faces speak. Not sure why – this makes no sense to me.

They all can be found together in an area in Hollywood Studios, to the right of the main stage , pretty much all day. Beware: you usually have to push through lines of storm troopers to get in. The lines move expeditiously. If you get to the front of the line and one of the characters starts to walk away… don’t despair. There will be a costume change and a new character will be back within five minutes. It’s really great.

Jake specifically has a small area with a pirate backdrop. That’s it. But he makes the most of it. While there are no coconuts you can be sure to find some gold doubloons. If you or your kids don’t find the doubloons, feel free to ask and they just might get one.  While Jake and the Neverland Pirates is based loosely on Peter Pan, you won’t see Captain Hook or Smee – and you definitely won’t see a crocodile – click here to read more about that.

If you have young kids, we definitely suggest making the Disney Junior area of Hollywood studios one of your first stops. It is a great way to ease a child into the “character experience”.

 

CELEBRATION, ORLANDO: NOT “PARADISE FALLS” BUT A RESOURCE WE SHOULD ALL BE TAKING ADVANTAGE OF. (photo credit: Disney)

You don’t need to turn your home into a makeshift aircraft to get to Celebration, just outside of Orlando: It’s a $10 to $20 cab ride from most Disney resorts.  If we are staying in a room with a kitchen, for more than a week, we always take the trip.  

Celebration, a community that broke ground in 1994, is just south of Walt Disney World. World Drive is the major north-south road in Walt Disney World with the Magic Kingdom at its northern-most point and Celebration at its southern-most point with Celebration Boulevard leading the way into Downtown Celebration. Once in Celebration, follow the signs towards Market Street to reach the downtown. The center of town is located at the intersection of Front Street and Market Street. The “town”, or “community” of 8000 people is situated on top of 11 miles of Florida swamp.

There are restaurants, nail salons, and grocery stores. Try:

Publix: 29 Blake Boulevard, Celebration FL 34747

Goodies Supermarket: 2901 Parkway Boulevard Kissimee, Celebration FL 34747

Many of the celebration restaurants will deliver food directly to your hotel, on an evening that you don’t feel like a restaurant or room service.

Is it worth the time and energy to spend a few hours of your vacation shopping? That depends on your needs. Companies like THE GARDEN GROCER will deliver groceries to you – for a price.  

 

Enchanted Tales with Belle Review.. Enchantingly Surprising.. Fast Pass Necessary!

We booked “Enchanted Tales with Belle” because it was available on the Fast Pass. We had no idea what it was. What did I picture it to be? Some lady dressed in a Belle outfit reading some stories… wouldn’t you??

But its so much more!! 

We still have not been able to get a reservation to Be Our Guest Restaurant. It is currently the “Age of Beauty of the Beast” in Disney.  After experiencing Enchanted Tales with Belle, I can’t imagine how good the restaurant is. The environment and acting is THAT FANTASTIC.  Apparently you get to visit Belle’s actual cottage, jump through the enchanted mirror, and play a feature player on stage. So given that our expectations were “hearing a story” (which still would have been great), this was amazing.

SPOILER ALERT: It’s a tale as old as time, and you get to reenact it!!! You walk into a magical room. With Lumiere. It really is a magical room because it opens up into another room. And you are warned by a talking wardrobe that you need to be on the alert. And help Belle. And they need volunteers to play characters. (So, if you have a child who is shy, prepare them!!) – everyone who wants a part gets a part. My daughter who wanted a part was Chip…. 

 

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So after everyone gets a role (roles are located in the cabinet), 

There is a rehearsal. Don’t worry. your kid will do fine. And if they do not want to participate IT DOES NOT mean that they are not banned from meeting Belle… Just make sure to tell one of the cast members that your child would like a photo. Oh, did I mention that Belle walks in???

Yes, on her way to meet the Beast she walks in.. and she makes sure to take a picture with anyone that desires one. And there is a Disney photographer present. … Stay tuned for more on “Belle” the character… This is just on this one experience.  But by the end of the day you will realize that they are together now and going to be just fine.  The reason I say “get a fast pass”? Because you should. Otherwise plan on waiting for hours.

 

UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL WITH ELSA AND ANNA

If you think that you are seeing double when you visit Elsa (age 21) and Anna (age 18) at the Royal Sommerhus in Epcot’s Norway pavilion, you probably are. Due to the immense popularity of our favorite Norwegian sisters, there are multiple Elsas and Annas at the meet and greet, in separate rooms, of course.  Even though there may not be a long visible line, be aware that the line at the cottage moves somewhat slowly. The hut has a cute interior but there is not much to see. – they keep the back visiting rooms hidden because of the multiple pairs of sisters.

Wait times to see the pair of are statistically much better than they were at the Magic Kingdom. The Frozen Ever After Ride has taken the wait time trophy – with wait times totaling almost two hours. (Take a look at my Royal Akershus Review, here, for a tip on getting into the Frozen Ever After Ride and avoiding the wait.)  As much as I recommend dining here, don’t expect to see Anna and Elsa at Akershus. For reasons I can’t fathom they are not one of the princesses who visit while you eat!!

Speaking of sisters, have you noticed that these sisters are always together?  Even though Elsa is the first ever Disney princess to be crowned on screen, given her strong bond with her sister, she hardly separates from Anna when at the Disney Parks.  Elsa and Anna’s creator actually held a sisterly summit to understand what sisterly relationships were like. That bond is apparent when you meet them.

The movie Frozen is based on the Hans Christian Anderson Tale, The Snow Queen. (Say “Hans”, “Kristoff”, “Anna”, and “Sven” really fast). We highly recommend reading the original. It can be found here:
Hans Christian Andersen: The Complete Fairy Tales and Stories (Anchor Folktale Library)

In their new home at the Royal Sommerhus, both sisters stay true to character. Anna is spunky and friendly, while Elsa is kind but extremely reserved. If you just want to give the sisters a wave, you can find them at the Festival of Fantasy parade in the magic kingdom – I suggest standing by the Harmony Barber Shop for a good view. There is absolutely no way to meet the characters in the parade.

When you do see Elsa, ask her how she maintains her 420,000 strands of hair so beautifully!! I know I couldn’t do it so well! Ask Anna to tell you about the crocus, Arendelle’s royal crest.

 

Characters – They will speak to you!!! You can ask them questions!! Here are some ideas…

Did you know you can ask most of the “speaking” characters questions? And they usually are pretty consistent with their answers! Each character has the same unique signature so that park guests getting autographs see the same mark every year, regardless of the different performer playing the part.A Winnie the Pooh signature from 1985 should be exactly the same as one you get in a few weeks!

There are two categories of Disney characters: fur and face. The fur characters… wear fur!! And only communicate via animated movements. The face characters include all human like characters, those characters with a human face. 

 

The fur characters don’t speak – but the human characters have to improvise CONSISTENTLY. They have to deal with interesting questions posed by the curious child as well as adults possibly trying to shake things up.  Just as autographs over the years must remain consistent, so do a character’s answers. 

Even though there is no way to anticipate all the questions that a park visitor may pose to a character, most characters do a great job of answering the questions in a uniform manner.  They are not allowed to sing. Singing is reserved for a completely different set of performers. 

Looking for a question to ask? Here are some ideas:

Alice in Wonderland – Wish her a happy unbirthday; Ask her what color to paint the roses; Ask her if she found the white rabbit’s hat yet, shake her hand and introduce yourself. 

Aladdin – ask him if you can see his magic lamp, ask him where the Genie is hiding, Ask him if you can go on a Magic Carpet Ride, Where is Abu?

Anna and Elsa – “Do they want to build a snowman?”, Do they want to go ice skating?, have they seen the snow monster?, Do they want to share some chocolate? Where’s Sven? Can you be given an official role at the palace? 

Ariel – ask her if she’d like to brush her hair with you, Ask her if you can be a mermaid, Ask her to see her necklace

Aurora – Complement her on the necklace she is wearing, ask her what her favorite color dress is, Ask her if she likes to sew, Ask her if you’ve met once upon a dream, ask her to dance with you. 

Belle – Ask her what book she is currently reading, Ask her her favorite book, Ask her what her father is inventing, Ask her if she has invented anything lately. Ask her where the Beast is. 

CinderellaAsk her if she can help you find your shoe. Ask her if she finished cleaning yet, Ask her if she can tell you what time it is, ask her if her fairy godmother can grant you a wish. Ask her if she took her pets with her to the palace with the prince.

Jake the Neverland Pirate – He doesn’t speak, but ask him to give you a treasure.

Mary Poppins – Ask her what the weather is going to be like today. Ask her which way the wind is blowing. Ask her what she has in her bag. Ask her if she wants to tidy up with you. 

Merida – Ask her to give you a spell. Ask her to teach you how to ride a horse, swing a sword, or shoot a bow. Ask her to make you a healing salve. 

Mulan – Ask her if she is going on any adventure anytime soon. Ask her what is the name of her favorite horse. Ask her how to defend yourself in a battle. 

Moana – Ask her to tell you a joke, Ask her where her heart is. Ask her how many tattoos Maui has. 

Snow White – Ask her if the seven dwarfs are back from work yet, Ask her what’s for dinner, ask her if anyone came by with any apples today, ask her if she’d seen a huntsman around, ask her who is the fairest in all the land. 

Tinkerbell – ask her for some pixie dust. Ask her to show you her wings/shoes/outfit. Ask her if she can help you fly. 

Be sure to get all of their autographs!!!

Bitten by the bug? Here’s a link to become a Disney performer Tip:  you’ll be evaluated by height first, before they even look at your acting. Most princesses are required to be between 5’4 and 5’7 and are 18 to 23 years old, with the largest being a size 10.  If you are cast as a character you would rather not play, you have to take it anyway – or quit.

Finally, if you do decide to take the role: be warned. You may not be able to dye your hair, get your ears pierced, or even paint your nails. There is a reason some people refer to a bad work environment as “Disney-esq”.  But think of the smiles you’ll bring to people’s faces as you bounce up and down like Tigger, lead them in a princess parade,  or show a young Jedi in training how to swing that light saber.

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Even Disney characters have to have some down time.

 

SNOW WHITE UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL: PURE PROTAGONIST OR NAIVE CLEANING LADY???

Snow White, the heroine of Disney’s FIRST animated feature film, projects innocence. Originally depicted as a blonde in German Romantic fairy tales, she is the first and youngest of Disney’s princesses.  The Brothers Grimm gave birth to her in 1812.  She started off so beautiful that the gods Apollo and Mercury both fell in love with her. …. I’ll encourage the adults here to read the original story to see how that turned out. Again, as in modern times, she was taken advantage of.  Be wary of strangers with apples or men with big egos.

 Snow White (First Edition): The Original Brothers Grimm Fairytale

Where do the dwarfs or “short miners” come in to play? Originally modeled after seven mountains filled with mines that only short people could walk through, did their love for Snow White stem from the fact that they essentially got a free cleaning lady?
Despite this claim to fame, she’s somewhat overlooked at Disney. Snow White can sometimes be found in Munich at Epcot, at Main Street, or by the Wishing Well at Cinderella’s castle.Yes, she’s in the parade, dining with other princesses at Akershus and Cinderella’s Royal Table, but she has no official home of her own. Tinkerbell, Elsa & Anna, Cinderella, Belle, and Tiana have all reigned on her parade, literally.

You might say she slowly sunk to the bottom of the princess pool – or well –  because she isn’t popular. Her prince came and went. She, like many, deserves better. Is it because Disney has since made princesses slightly stronger in personality? Is Snow White weak? Not a role model?

She’s still a part of Disney history

Does she hold the keys to the kingdom? My bet is that she has to knock very hard to get in.

 

TINKER BELL UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL: SASSY & HOT TEMPERED FAIRY

Tinker Bell was first crowned as a Disney Princess, but later became the leader of the Disney Fairies. On September 21, 2010, she became the 13th fictional character to receive her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, an accolade her mentor Peter Pan never quite succeeded in getting.

She was never actually really in love with Peter, she was an adventure groupie and jealous that Wendy was starting to have all of the fun. Be prepared to embark on an awesome adventure of your own when visiting her pixie cave, located to the right of the entrance of Town Square, in the building with Tony’s Restaurant. Visiting Tinker bell is definitely worth it if you can pop in when there isn’t much of a line or grab a fast pass to enter her magical nook.

While Tinker bell may have felt slightly overlooked when she was living in Never Never Land, she has one of the best homes at the Magic Kingdom. Prepare yourselves for a magical waiting room that opens up into a fairy wonderland. Although Tinker Bell has been pretty much silent since the 1953 debut of Peter Pan, a baby’s laughter in the 2008 movie Tinker Bell gave her the power of words, words that she doesn’t hesitate using to welcome you.

Try and avoid the gift shop at all costs,  unless you want to be forced to squeeze a giant pair of green wings into a suitcase on the way home.