Tag: Disney

SOMETIMES BAD IDEAS MAKE THE BEST MEMORIES…… DO YOU GO ON THAT ROLLER COASTER?

Life is full of decisions.. and these decisions shouldn’t be difficult, but for me they often are… I worry, worry, and then worry some more. I plan everything and see every possible ending coming to fruition. I predict the endings to most movies. I have already bought most of my Christmas presents. There’s something wrong with me.

Not only am I slightly scared of heights, but I get motion sickness. That didn’t stop me from going to Six Flags Great Adventure every single year growing up.. and also getting sick in the Six Flags bushes every year with someone’s parent holding my hair.  Would that be considered a bad decision? I still have great memories from the rides with friends I’ll never forget. And I survived. 

Every time I go on a roller coaster I think of the terrible stories I’ve heard about accidents on roller coasters. I worry I’m going to fall out, that the ride will break down and I’ll be stuck in a dark tunnel for hours. Don’t you?

I worry I’ll be another statistic.

Although there are several thrilling rides, many simulation roller coaster type adventures, there are only 7 official Disney world roller coasters that I can think of (correct me if I’m wrong, don’t hesitate): 

  1. The Barnstormer (Magic Kingdom/ Fantasyland)
  2. Seven Dwarfs Mine Train (Magic Kingdom/ Fantasyland)
  3. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (Magic Kingdom/Frontierland)
  4. Primeval Whirl (Animal Kingdom/ Dinoland U.S.A)
  5. Space Mountain (Magic Kingdom/ Tomorrowland)
  6. Expedition Everest (Animal Kingdom/ Asia)
  7. Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith (Hollywood Studios/ Sunset Blvd)

Am I forgetting an official roller coaster? My favorite remains and probably always will be the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, but the past two times I have been to Hollywood Studios it’s been down for maintenance.  Usually you can wait in line and hope that the ride is open, and even possibly get a fast past for the ride should it open later – but I haven’t had the patience to do that. I found this video on youtube:

You’re on a roller coaster, the whole world is upside down. Don’t worry about what might happen to you – just make sure you’re strapped in and hanging on tight.  And make sure you’re smiling during that deathly plunge. There’s usually a hidden camera somewhere. 

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Careful!!! They snap a photo.

 

HALLOWEEN IN AUGUST? YOU’VE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME. WELL, THE HAPPIEST PLACE ON EARTH IS ALSO POSSIBLY THE MOST HAUNTED PLACE ON EARTH SO IT MAKES SENSE.

Did you hear about the guests who try and secretly scatter their loved ones ashes into The Haunted Mansion? How about the real HUMAN bones contained in parts of The Pirates of Caribbean?  

Apparently they both exist. Just ask Johnny Depp, who sometimes hangs out in the Pirates of the Caribbean ride for fun. They both exist year round.

The happiest place on earth is rumored to also be the most haunted place on earth. It makes sense, given the amount of people that come in and out of Disney Parks on a daily basis. Something is bound to go wrong, and the park is bound to cover it up. When awful things get covered up, they often erupt like a volcano at the worst moments – becoming your worst nightmare.  Disney should really have been more careful if they wanted to keep the park from becoming haunted.

There are Disney secrets that go bump in the night and make you wonder if someone is sitting in a dark corner staring at you while you sleep. The bugs crawling all over your skin. The feeling you get when you are trying to scream but nothing is coming out to make the sound. Falling.. and falling.. and still falling.

Halloween is the holiday where the most candy is sold and second only to Christmas in terms of overall retail sales. In other words, it’s popular. It doesn’t always have to be scary, but usually being scary makes it the most fun.

The holiday began as the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain. The Celtics believed that the barrier between the human world and the world of spirits weakened at the end of the summer, allowing the ghosts to break the barrier and wander the earth. To prevent the ghosts from breaking that barrier, the culture held a huge party to frighten them back to the world of spirits.

The day rose in popularity along with the rise in Christianity, “All Hallows Eve” the day before All Saints Day.  Irish immigrants arriving to America raised the popularity of the ghoulish holiday in the 19th Century.  In Ireland, Jack-O-Lanterns were carved out of turnips. I’m guessing that turnips were hard to find in America, and the pumpkin became the go-to creature to scare away spirits. That’s good for all of us today, given the fact that the unfortunate turnip doesn’t smell half as delicious as the pumpkin!!! 

Given the number of horror stories hidden around Disney parks, I guess it’s not that surprising that Disney starts celebrating Halloween early -select nights (32 nights total!!) starting in August. Click here to find out more about this Not So Scary Halloween Party.   They say it’s not scary, but the advertisements look scary enough to me. Apparently, the party is really appropriate for all ages.  It makes sense that there are 32 nights of Halloween at Disney. Considering that the park is possibly the most haunted on earth, the spirits and ghouls are probably fighting for more nights next year. Wouldn’t you be if you were a ghost?

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Where are they taking those bones??
 

A BOY WHO CAN’T BE GOOD MIGHT JUST AS WELL BE MADE OF WOOD. LIFE ISN’T PLEASURE ISLAND: IF IT LOOKS TO GOOD TO BE TRUE, IT USUALLY IS

Right here boys!! Get your cake, dill pickles, and ice cream!! Stuff yourselves! It’s all free!! Hurry!

Children are free from the law, and can be naughty. You take a boat to get there. 

In the original Italian story, Pleasure Island was called “Toyland”. It’s the same concept. The innocent give in to temptation. What looks to good to be true is to good to be true: the boys are turned into donkeys. 

Remember the Pied Piper of Hamlin? The Pied Piper or “Rat Catcher” comes from Hamelin, Germany. Between the 14th and 16th centuries, 100 children disappeared from the town of Hamelin.

Was there a real piper who took them away? Or was it the plague? The story goes that when the citizens refuse to pay for his service he lures away the children with a magical pipe song. He leads them inside a magical mountain filled with promises of toys and fun. We won’t get into what probably happened to them inside. 

Pleasure Island was an area at Downtown Disney Springs filled with clubs. The nightclubs closed down, but the shops remained open. Check out the yelp page here.  Reports of gangs, violence, highly intoxicated guests, and intense traffic all contribute to reasons behind the closing. Check out this interesting article here, on mouseplanet.com, on who killed Pleasure Island.

Lesson to remember: Don’t let your children speak to strangers. Avoid disrespectful folks who think they do not have to honor other’s creativity or thirst for knowledge. Don’t get drawn into mass temptation. If Lampwick jumps off a bridge, should you? Probably not. You may come back as a well deserved donkey.

Lets hope these baby ducks are being led away by their parents

 

Mermaid Hunting: We have seen them riding seaward on the waves. But where is Ariel, how do we pin her fins to the floor?

We like to sit out and look for mermaids in the sea.  Have you ever tried it?

A mermaid is a legendary aquatic creature with the head and upper body of a female human and the tail of a fish. They first began appearing in 1000 BC.

The legend began with the Syrian fertility goddess Atargatis, who jumped into the water to become a fish to find that only the lower half of her body had transformed. Over the years, mermaids and mermen have often been described as helping or hurting humans who are lost at sea. Many Pacific Island cultures believe that humans actually descended from mermaids, and at one point, our fins just dropped off and we were able to walk on land.

Sound familiar?

Hans Christian Anderson’s The Little Mermaid, Disney’s the Little Mermaid, and the Starbucks Logo came to life.

I have really only known the Little Mermaid in Disney’s 1989 form, younger generations know that she now has a daughter!! And I also know the story of her mother’s untimely demise. If you haven’t seen them, look for “The Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Beginning” and “The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea”. The original movie was actually set to begin around the same time as “Snow White” – as a series of Hans Christian Anderson films.  In 1987, songwriter Howard Ashman nudged it to life. He and composer Alan Menken created the songs that received the Academy Award for Best Original Score. I personally saw the movie the first weekend it came out in theaters, on 181st at a theater that is now closed!!. 

At Disney Hollywood Studios, we definitely suggest going on the Voyage of the Little Mermaid (not a voyage at all, but a puppet show). The show is about 17 minutes and every seat will give you a great view. Ursula and her minions get a bit frightening but it only lasts a second.

At the Magic Kingdom Park, Under the Sea, Journey of the Little Mermaid is a winner. Although lines are long even for fast pass riders, there is entertainment along the way. This is definitely a ride not to be missed.  Many of the songs from the show are featured.

We still haven’t been able to meet 16 year old Ariel in her cove, which is located just next to the Magic Kingdom Under the Sea ride. Fast passes are required and hard to get. I’m hoping that once we do, we see that she was able to keep all of the hidden human treasures that her father King Triton forbid her from touching. 

You will meet Ariel if you dine at Akershus Banquet Hall or Cinderella’s Royal Table.

Have you started to wonder whether our constant search for a real live mermaid might not be so ridiculous after all? Try it yourself.  I can’t yet explain where singing crabs come from, but let us know if you see one of those, too. 

 

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.
 

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.

 

MOANA: UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL. If you don’t know where and who you came from, you don’t know who you are. So who is she?

Strolling through Hollywood Studios, right around opening time, we walked past the movie theater on the way to the Toy Story Land and noticed a cast member putting out a sign inviting us in to meet MOANA. So, of course we strolled right in.

Moana’s waiting area is extremely confusing, it’s almost as if Disney threw something together as her popularity grew. There are a bunch of circles on the ground, presumably to keep the crowd controlled. All the circles succeeded in doing was confusing me and the crowd around me. None of us knew what was going on and several people expressed their frustration. Once at the front of the line, we were guided by a friendly cast member as we watched Moana interact with the guests ahead of us in some sort of man made island.

Disney could definitely have done much better creating Moana’s lair.  It was terrible. She deserves better.

Moana herself, however, was spot on. She was bold. She was courageous. She told jokes. Her infectious personality spread throughout the room – smiles unfolded.  For photopass holders, her magic necklace even creates a magical video. It’s really pretty cool .

So what makes Moana, Moana? Moana is a fearless and courageous woman. A Polynesian teenager with a sense of humor. At 16 years old, she sets out on a daring mission to save all of her people. She is not a romantic. Her focus is embarking on a dangerous voyage filled with self-discovery.  Like most teenagers and some adults, she can’t figure out who she is.

Because the movie is only two hours long, she uses her courage and swims down to find her heart, which leads her to learn her true self.

Even though the ending is slightly unrealistic, she is a strong female role model with a sense of humor. So, please Disney, give her a better place to relax than a strange room in a movie theater somewhere in Hollywood Studios.

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A new world hits Animal Kingdom.. Do we dare enter Pandora, the World of Avatar?

A world where every living thing that crawls, flies or squats in the mud wants to kill you and eat your eyes came to Disney on May 26th, 2017. Word is that select annual pass holders have even previewed the world.. and lived to tell their story. 

Click here for Disney’s official page  Click here for Disney’s latest announcement!!!

 

Guests will be able to experience flying on top of a banshee, follow the Na’vi River, and walk under floating mountains. 

The adventurous may try to sample the international cuisine at the Satu’li Canteen. All energy is mainly borrowed, so to conserve energy at the canteen folks will be able to try out the relatively new Mobile Order system from Disney and skip the lines. You will actually be able to order and pay for your food using the Disney Experience App – click here to read about it on Disney’s official blog! All you’ll have to do is tap an “I’m here” button to pick up your food. 

Rumor has it that Disney is still working out the kinks.. for instance all rides may not yet be handicap accessible or accommodate the large boned, heavier group of visitors that may cross Pandora’s border...

Rumor also has it that lines are incredibly incredibly long..!! I hear that there may be an unknown back gate that people haven’t discovered with shorter lines…

Things to look out for: 

  1. Matching with a Banshee – For the low price of $49.95, guests will be able to take home a robotic shoulder banshee. A leash will wrap around the owner’s waist as the banshee responds to commands such as flying. Pick them up at the Wintraders shop in Animal Kingdom. 
  2. Also at Windtraders, by a set of Na’vi ears, a Na’vi tail, or a Na’vi translator to learn the language. 
  3. Interact with a collection of instruments at the Sacred Place of Song, Swotu Waya. 
  4. The Na’vi River Journey Boat ride with bioluminescent foliage and a singing Shaman of Songs at the journey’s end.

As they say, sometimes, your life boils down to one insane move.. Do you dare enter? I think we will, but my mind is not made up yet.