Monday, June 2, 2014

The Disney Afternoon Revisited

Thanks for going ahead and making me all nostalgic, D23. Now I'm going to have to fire up my Duck Tales and Darkwing Duck DVDs (yes, I have them!)

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Pixar's Inside Out = Cranium Command

So Pixar is making a film version of Cranium Command. Thought you might like to know.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Today in "The Internet"...

Because of course the School Bread from the Norway pavilion has it's own Twitter account. I mean OF COURSE it does.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

New Scary Pics of Discovery Island

Most everyone has seen the urban explorer pictures from inside River Country, with the park being all over grown and dilapidated. But check out this link for some freaky pictures of inside Discovery Island. WTF is going on in that picture with the mason jars and Coke bottle. And the cages! And vultures! Crazy stuff.

Also, if you ever get a hankering to go visit these places yourself...DON'T! It's a really really bad idea. Just so you know.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!

Whatever you do this Halloween, don't check into a haunted hotel on the dark side of Hollywood.

After all, you never know what kind of vacancy you'll be filling. And speaking of vacancies, if a home filled with 999 happy haunts tells you that there's room for 1,000...DO NOT volunteer!

And if you're out trick or treating tonight and come to a house occupied by a "Ghost Host" of a "swinging wake" featuring some of the most evil Disney characters of all time, maybe don't attend!

Then again maybe you should! It's not so scary after all!

Happy Halloween! Trick of treat, smell my feet, give me some Dole Whips to eat!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Movie Review - Toy Story of Terror!

The Plot: Taking place after the events of Toy Story 3, in this installment Bonnie and her mom take a road trip to her grandmother's house. En route they get a flat tire and need to spent the night at a motel. Spooked from a scary movie they had been watching earlier in the trunk of the car, the toys become concerned for Mr. Potato Head, who has ventured out of their suitcase to find some free toiletries to bring back for Hamm. (Nice touch.)

The main bulk of the movie centers on Jessie who winds up alone in the motel when the rest of the toys are picked off one by one by a mysterious creature, including the Combat Carl action figure she encounters along the way. It turns out the mysterious creature is an iguana who has been trained by the motel's owner to steal toys and knickknacks that he turns around and sells online.

After overcoming her fear of boxes and with the help of Carl, she rescues Woody from a delivery truck and frees the other toys just in time to be seen by Bonnie and her mom and reunited for their return to Grandma's house.

The Good: Kids will positively love this installment that throws these beloved characters into a fun little Halloween tale. It has action, comedy, and plenty of Pixar meta-humor all neatly packed into a half hour. Devoted Toy Story fans will appreciate the various call backs to the films including Woody's sale for an exorbitantly high price (as we've established how rare the doll is), the appearance of Combat Carl (the doll Sid blows up in the first film), and Jessie's previously unexplored PTSD from being left in a box for years. Mr. Pricklepants constantly pointing out how what was happening mimicked the plot of a horror film was some well executed humor too.

The Bad: It certainly could have stood to be longer. There was some good potential for plot development but other than the focus on Jessie it goes unexplored. I suppose this was logistical as well. It has to be a lot easier to get Tom Hanks and Tim Allen to sign on for a TV special when it's a half hour of work voicing 3 or 4 lines each.

The whole plot of the toys getting stolen to be sold was kind of tired as well since we already saw it in Toy Story 2. And the owner training a lizard to do his dirty work was a little too much "stretching the imagination" even for a movie with sentient toys. I thought it would have been better if the danger had all been in the toys' imaginations so at least that way you teach kids a "don't be scared of the dark" type lesson. Instead the lesson is "don't stay at a motel cause an iguana might steal your shit."

Random Notes & Nitpicks:

  • I loved the interplay and distaste between Potato Head and Pricklepants. ("If anything happens to the Potato...I want to see!")
  • The person who bought Woody was, in fact, Al from Toy Story 2. Poor guy got foiled again.
  • There is a tombstone for Simon Paladino during the horror movie the toys watch. This is a reference to The Incredibles, adding further flame to the "every Pixar movie takes place in the same universe" fire.
  • It was a little annoying to see that when kidnapped and presuming to never get home again, Potato Head didn't care at all about possibly never seeing his wife again (though, it would probably be within his character to feel that way, haha.)

Final Thoughts: Should you watch this? Sure! It's absolutely not worth going out of your way to find but it's a worthy addition to the Pixar catalog and well worth your half hour. Plus the kids will love it for sure and probably want to watch it all year long.

Rating: *** 3/4

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Jingle Cruise Announced
The Jungle Cruise rides at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom and Disneyland will become the "Jingle Cruise" for this holiday season, Disney announced today.

For the holiday makeover, Disney will decorate the attractions' waiting areas with holiday ornaments, the boats will get new holiday-themed names, and the skippers will get a bunch of new holiday jokes to add to their repertoire.

I like to imagine that this idea came about when some Imagineer joked in a meeting "we should rename the Jungle Cruise the Jingle Cruise!" Still though, I think it's actually a pretty neat idea. I would have never considered doing a Christmas layover in Adventureland but it makes almost perfect sense. Can't wait to review it once it opens.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Avatar Land Details Announced!

And it's kind of similar to what we all thought back when it was announced... Which is no less cool and interesting. 

A Pirates of the Caribbean style dark boat ride on the ground of Pandora and a combo Soarin/3D movie flight through the sky. Plus it was announced that Animal Kingdom will be getting a NEW NIGHTTIME show on the waterway that includes a GLOWING TREE OF LIFE as a backdrop. 

So to summarize:
1. Avatar land is going to have 2 e-ticket attractions.
2. Animal Kingdom is now an all day park with night time hours.
3. This all happens in 2017.

Click on that Theme Park Insider link at the top of the page for more details and PICTURES!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Follow me on Pinterest!

I've been a little bit reluctant to hop on the Pinterest bandwagon but my fiance is addicted to it and I've always seen it's potential as a tool if used the right way. As such, I'm giving it a go. You can check out my "Disney" board where I'll be posting cool planning tips, tricks, and insider coolness that I come across. For instance, I've recently pinned a map of the MK with the best fireworks viewing areas highlighted and a quick list of the pros and cons of every restaurant at Epcot.

So follow me on Pinterest (RIGHT HERE) if you're so inclined. Somewhere between the inspirational quotes and cat photos, you'll get some good Disney info too.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

What You Need to Know About the New GAC

Disney announced recently that it is abandoning the Guest Assistance Card in favor of a new "reservation" system for guests with special needs. In short, Disney is no longer allowing guests with disabilities to "bypass the line" at it's theme parks.

Here's what you need to know about the changes.
  • If you are not disabled nor traveling with a disabled guest, the changes should mean very little to you other than perhaps, in the long term, shortening somewhat the wait times around Walt Disney World. While from a park management (Disney's) standpoint, the changes are operationally necessary and will shorten waits around the resort, the changes will likely be pretty unnoticeable to the average guest. (Toy Story Mania isn't going to suddenly have a 25 minute wait or anything.)
  • If you DO have a disability or travel with someone who does, your experience will change somewhat significantly. Instead of the previous system in which persons with disabilities received a card that allowed them to bypass attraction queues, those same guests will now be forced to wait for the same amount of time as the posted stand-by wait at attractions only without standing in line (in essence, they will recieve a Fastpass-type return time for every attraction.) The same is likely to be true for guests in wheelchairs.
  • This new system is designed to make all guests equal. Those who can not, for medical reasons (be it physical, mental, etc), stand in line for a prolonged period of time will not have to. However these same guests will not get to "cut" the line in front of everyone else.
The new system is not perfect. Change is always met with hostility when it comes to Disney Parks announcements and this one has caused a particular excess of vitriol. I have visited the parks with a disabled family member in a wheelchair and, yes, skipping to the front of the line was a wonderful privilege that I would be sad to see go away if I were used to it. But there is no denying it was a nice windfall to a disability for my family. For others, the front of the line access was far more important. 

And I'm not talking about people who had been abusing the system and are now being petulant. Many parents of special needs children (those with autism for instance) have argued that simply making their children wait to ride an attraction, perhaps for an hour or longer, will make visits far less manageable and desirable for the family.

Only time will tell if the new system works or if Disney will need to tweak the system in the future to make sure they are providing the best possible guest experience for everyone - which is what this was supposed to accomplish in the first place.

If you want to read more on this subject, check out these two articles from the always excellent Robert Niles at Theme Park Insider:
Disney confirms changes to disability access program. But is there a better way?
Use, not abuse, forced Disney to change its disabled access system

And for more detailed information on how the new system will work, here's an update from Scarlett Litton at Touring Plans:
 Details of Disney’s New Accessibility Program Replacing Guest Assistance Cards

Friday, September 27, 2013

I Need This Shirt!

The Epcot International Food & Wine Festival begins tomorrow and while many are excited for the new food booths and returning culinary favorites, I won't be making it to Florida for the festival this year so all I can think about is HOW MUCH I WANT THIS SHIRT! I'll be on the phone with Disney merchandise soon and ordering it...unless someone wants to get it for me for Christmas. Anyone?

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Food & Wine Festival Video

Apparently there are more of these but I just stumbled upon this one and it rules. I love when Disney does stuff like this.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

"Pirates" Around The World

Let's celebrate "Talk Like A Pirate" Day by riding with Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean around the Disney Parks world.

Starting at home in Walt Disney World with the version we all likely know and love the best...

Now let's move on to Paris for an incredibly detailed lead up and video of Pirates (the only version left without Captain Jack!)...

Next up is Tokyo Disneyland's version. Pretty comparable to our own...

Finally, we will conclude back in Anaheim at Disneyland for the original (and in my opinion, the best) version. Not to mention the only one that Walt personally worked on...

So what do you think? What's the best version of Pirates? What's your favorite? Will you be saying "yarr!" and chanting "we wants the redhead!" all night long? Will you be posing a picture of your dog holding your car keys in its mouth?

Happy Talk Like A Pirate Day!