"Around here, however, we don't look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things...and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths."
---Walter Elias Disney

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Highway In The Sky Dining Tour

So I'm just minding my own business and DisTwitter throws this new Official Disney-Sponsored Monorail Bar Tour headline in my unsuspecting face. We loved our own little bar tour last year, so I clicked through to read the article, figuring it would be out of reach. But what's this? Food and drinks at four stops including a main course at Citricos all followed by a Contemporary rooftop viewing of Wishes? And it's how much? $150? Has to be a catch, I think to myself.

Later on I get another minute and look on the official Disney Dining website and see that, yes indeed it is as was advertised, and the $150 even includes gratuity. I read it again. It's true.

People were already beginning to talk about the price being steep. Silly people. People who haven't ever done their own Monorail Bar Tour. This is as reasonable, as close to a "deal" as you'll find in Disney food service. Trust me.

Our tour went to Mizners for a couple cocktails and appetizers, just drinks at the Contemporary, dinner at Captain Cook's and more drinks at Trader Sam's and it cost well over $200 for the two of us. We did see pieces of the Electrical Water Pageant, but certainly not Wishes from the roof.

The Highway In The Sky Dine Around (the official, and super-cool name of this event) begins with cocktails and apps at The Wave in the Contemporary, moves on to the Poly for tropical cocktails and more appetizers, heads to the Grand Floridian for diner at Citricos and the champagne and cheese in the lobby and finishes with desserts and cordials on the top of the Contemporary. The food and drinks alone are worth the money, I'm guessing. I mean, I don't know for sure what they are offering, but I'm guessing it's not potted meat on a Tricuit. And that doesn't even toucht he fact that there's no hassle at all. Disney books the times, Disney herds us from place to place, Disney makes sure we make the fireworks in time and don't spend all night in Mizners. And the price, after all taxes (and it includes gratuity remember), is $316.80. Deal.

The long and short of it is that I blathered all about this deal to Lisa at lunch later that day and one ting led to another and by that afternoon I had reservations for the Highway and two nights at Pop Century booked for the first weekend in February.

I can't wait. I hope they have a commemorative pin!

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Moana: Go See It. Now.

I've been looking forward to Moana since it was announced. The setting and basic plot, the daughter of a Polynesian chieftain rediscovering her people's lost seafaring skills to go on a quest to save her people, had "Jeffrey's gonna love this" written all over them. How could a Lapu Lapu-loving, Polyneasian Village Resort-dreaming, tiki head collecting guy who dreamt all his life of living by the sea NOT be excited for this?

We saw Moana on opening night, the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, in the local theater. I could have waited to go to the more "modern" theater in Wilmington and catch the film in 3-D with all the best sound and projection tech, but I couldn't wait. I think now that was a good choice. It let me get enveloped in the story, and for all it's beauty and all the spectacular music, that was my favorite part. I'm sure Moana in 3-D would blow me away, and I hope to see it again in that format. The music is perfect. I bought the deluxe edition soundtrack so I'd have all the little instrumental bits. It really couldn't be any better in my opinion. But the star of this film is the story, and the storytelling, and that is exactly how it should be.

The story is both original and classic. This isn't based upon any Brothers Grimm or Hans Christian Andersen story. It's based loosely upon both Polynesian legend and fact, as all the best stories are because the two aren't mutually exclusive. Moana, the not-a-princess heroine, is entirely a Disney construct while Maui, the demi-god sidekick, is inspired by Polynesian myth. The fact is, the Polynesian people were some of history's greatest seafaring navigators, traveling thousands of miles between tiny islands in sailing canoes, and then they stopped. No one, including them, knows why. That's the basis of this tale. The story seems familiar enough to our Western tastes to be very accessible and easy to follow while maintaining a flavor of the exotic that makes it interesting and fun.

As good as the story itself is, the storytelling is even more impressive. Disney doesn't rush it, doesn't force anything at all. We get a good half hour before even meeting Maui. That time is spent getting to know Moana and her people and it makes the rest of the story, the adventure part, that much more fun because we're invested deeply in both Moana personally and her culture as well. I can't remember a Disney film, or really any other animated feature, that spends this much time building this kind of base. It's a great thing that Disney trusts its audience, even its youngest audience, to leave the immediate gratification expectations behind. And I think it'll work because it was done so well, bringing in music and visuals that captivate and amaze. By the time Moana sets msail on her adventure, we are 100% with her.

The adventure itself is everything one could wish. Maui is more than worth the wait and he's voiced with passion and heart by Dwayne Johnson, who really is larger than life. But he never steals the show from Moana. She is the star and the heroine, not because she's some super-duper brilliant genius, magically-enhanced, over the top super girl, but because its her story. Disney has given us perhaps its first Heroine rather than Princess. Moana does have a bit f a superpower in that the sea likes her and helps her out, but she's not in control of it, she's as amazed and confused by the help as we are. What she does have, her real superpower, is her tenacity will power. She doesn't know how to sail, but off she goes anyway. She's a "I'll figure it out as I go" kinda girl, and I love that. The lesson that teaches, one of risk-taking and trust in oneself, is invaluable for all children, but particularly little girls.

This is a movie for anyone who's ever felt the tug of the sea, for anyone who loves adventure and comedy (the chicken and the coconut pirates still have me smiling), for anyone who appreciates music, for anyone who's onged for the South Seas, for anyone with a child or a parent or a grandmom. Disney has given us a gift here, go unwrap it as soon as you can!

Sunday, November 20, 2016

My Chewbacca Experience

Everyone has their favorite things about visiting the Disney parks. I'd never poo poo another's obsession, but I never got the character meet-n-greet fanatics. I'm happy to jump in a line that looks really short to have a photo with a character, don't get me wrong. And one of our most magical moments ever involved Cinderella's interaction with John when he was a tyke. But I've always been a spontaneous character meeter, not one to work a meet into my day's plans. That changed on this trip, and I think I now completely understand the meet-n-greet thing.

On our Hollywood Studios day, which we made the first day of our visit, I actually had as my number one priority meeting Chewbacca at the Star Wars Launch Bay. The family was fully in support. They weren't nearly as interested in Chewbacca face time as I was, but they knew how much I wanted to experience this and so happily agreed to make it happen. It wasn't a hassle at all, as it turns out. The queue featured displays of lightsabers, which was cool, and the wait was posted at 30 minutes. Lisa pointed out that the line appeared to full of dads more excited than their children to see Chewie, so I wasn't alone and didn't feel a bit odd or out of place. I was excited. But I had no idea what would happen when it was our turn.

We were ushered into the meet area and there he was. Chewbacca. Sure, somewhere in my mind I
knew it was a tall dude in a hairy costume, but that tidbit suddenly ran far to the depths of my consciousness leaving the rest of m brain convinced I was in the presence of my childhood hero, Chewbacca.

I was five going on six when Star Wars came out. I loved it and all my friends agreed. We played Star Wars all the time, and I was always Chewbacca. He was my favorite to the extent I wouldn't even think about pretending to be anyone else in the movie. He's just so cool.

So there I was, looking at Chewbacca, and that 6 year old came right back. I couldn't talk. We spent probably 5 minutes in there getting photos and I never said one word. I just looked up at him and grinned. I was star-struck. I can tell you with 100% certainty that I could meet any human actor or rock star or politician or any other famous person out there and this wouldn't happen. That tiny part far away in my brain that knew it was a dude in a costume was saying I was being silly. But it was so quiet and far away I paid no mind. I enjoyed being 6 and starstruck.

Chewbacca knew. I'm sure he did. I'm kind of an open book anyhow and when I revert to childhood even more so. He hugged me. Lots. We mime-joked about Lisa being so much shorter. We made the Wookie cheers for the camera. When our photo shoot was done, he walked us to the door and in his silent, non-verbal way he made me know he understood how much that had meant and that he got it. I didn't leave feeling silly. I left feeling 100% happy and content. I walked on air grinning like a fool for probably an hour afterwards. I still get warm and fuzzy remembering it.

I'm glad it was our first day, because I was on the look-out for easy character meets the rest of the trip. We popped in to see Baymax on the way to The Land first thing at Epcot and caught Mexican Donald with a really short line later that day in World Showcase. Both experiences were great and the photos that came from them are treasures.

I'm not sure I'm ready to wait an hour or more for a meet, or use a FastPass+ on one, but I completely get those who do now. For my part, I'll be much  more likely to seek them out on future trips.

Not a meet per se, but it was super cool seeing these guys

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Happy Merry Hallo-mas!!!!!!

We set or trip up for Halloween because we thought it'd be fun to do the MNSSHP on actual Halloween and because we'd never been to Disney on my birthday before and this year it fell on a convenient Monday. We enjoy the Halloween decor and love the party, so we are fans of Disney in the fall. It didn't occur to us until well after booking that we might get to see a bit a Christmas on the same four and a half day trip, but we did!

These guys greet you as soon as you enter the park.

And if you're lucky, you catch a #WonderFALL song and dance number!

We Stiteses love the jack-o-lanterns on Main Street.

And the view up Main Street towards the castle is always a winner.

 So what changed between Monday night and Thursday morning? Plenty!

 The Christmas Spirit hits you as soon as you arrive outside the main gate!

I was speaking to another guest on our way in and she told me most of the Christmas stuff was up the day before (Wednesday), but not the big tree in Town Square. She was hoping it was installed Wednesday night. She was not disappointed!

The Pumpkin People left to make room for Toy Soldiers.

And the Mickey #WonderFALL wreathes were replaced with Christmas Mickey wreathes!

And there are also more traditional, less Mickey-fied wreathes.

Even at the Cinderella Castle!

And the Christmas decor overflowed into Tomorrowland!

I'm usually one to not want my Christmas season rushed. I'm usually in the "let's get Thanksgiving behind us first" camp. But I have to admit, this little burst of Yuletide has kick started my Christmas Spirit. I'm ready to dive right in!

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, November 5, 2016

The Magic Worked

Before we left for Walt Disney World I wrote about how much the lovely and talented Lisa needed this trip. The stress of work was getting to her in a way I'd not seen in a long, long time and she desperately needed to get away. I didn't say it then, but one of my big concerns was that she wouldn't be able to "let it go" and be truly away. I was picturing emails and texts about Town of Oak Island issues making it impossible for Lisa to relax and leave the real world behind.

As it turned out, that wasn't a problem. Lisa seriously limited the number of times she checked her phone for messages and when she did check, there were no problems or even questions waiting for her. Her co-workers and even the elected officials left her alone, and I am eternally grateful for that. Lisa was free to let Disney work its magic, and magic happened. We got our relaxed and happy wife and mom back, and it was magical. 

My people at a jaunty angle, waiting for the First Order
Driving to Cary for John's final marching band competition and leaving from there turned out to not be a very bad detour at all. The show was great, John and his band competed well and we all left excited and happy by about 7 pm. The drive to Disney wasn't bad at all from there, just a straight shot down 95. South Carolina seemed to last forever, but with Little Steven's Underground Garage on the Sirius for company, I was fine driving while Lisa and John got a little sleep.

We used the online check-in option, so Disney had texted me our room number in the afternoon and we were able to head straight to our room catch a few hours sleep before heading out to our first park, Hollywood Studios.

We got there just after lunch time and were immediately sucked into the magic. Hollywood Studios
Chewie & my peeps
has been very Star Wars-ified, and in the very best way. Lisa got to see her Muppets and I got to meet Chewbacca and introduce him to my family. The weather was beautiful, and it stayed that way our entire trip. We were all a bit sleepy, but stayed to see Fantasmic and were all pretty pumped up after seeing it. Lisa and I got to see John completely blown way by the show and talking about how he wants to come work for a theme park's entertainment division making shows like that happen. We all crawled into bed happy and ready for day two at the Magic Kingdom.

Our Keys to the Kingdom Tour was unbelievable. By now we were all firmly ensconced in the magic of WDW. Instead of worrying about work, Lisa was looking with complete amazement as a few Disney princesses showed up right next to us in the Utilidors under the castle on their way to a show. We spent the afternoon riding rides and the evening experiencing Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party, staying in the park until midnight.

Rockin' her new F&W shirt :-)

My people outside France
Tuesday was Epcot Food & Wine Festival day, and we had a ball. By now, I'd even stopped wondering if Lisa would have to deal with some emergency or issue from home. I can't tell you for certain it wasn't in the back of her mind, but it didn't seem like it. We rode Soarin' twice back to back, grabbed a quick bite and drink from the little food counter in The Land pavilion and took the boat ride through the greenhouses before heading over to Test Track and then beginning our F&W experience at the Festival Center next door. Lisa got "sipping chocolate and a pretty new shirt and we headed off for World Showcase and all sorts of munchies.

We ate and drank our way around the world, we popped back to Future World for a ride in Spaceship Earth and took another lap of the food booths. We all decided to forgo the Illuminations show in favor of a relatively early bedtime and beating the crowds out of the park. I gotta say here, bus transport to and from the parks was easy,quick and hassle-free.
Yep, we were having a good time :-)

We like hats

By Wednesday, we were all completely relaxed. Lisa was a different person from the week before.
Perusing the Tiffins drink menu
We enjoyed Animal Kingdom from open to close in a completely relaxed and easy-going manner. We never had to rush anywhere, we stopped to watch all the street performers we saw, we enjoyed the beauty and intense themeing that defines Animal Kingdom, and we had a leisurely and delicious late lunch at Tiffins. Lisa may have mentioned once or twice how no one from work was contacting her, but it was in the context of being able to completely let go. Seeing Animal Kingdom, including the safari, at night topped off what was probably our favorite day of the entire trip.

I just love these two.

Lisa likes tigers. Grrrrr.

Off to tackle Everest and face the Yeti!

We had to leave the bubble Thursday, but went to the Magic Kingdom first and got to see it decked out for Christmas. I loved it myself, but seeing the old wonder and happiness back in Lisa's eyes that morning was the absolute best. We had a truly Stites Day, riding the Peoplemover around twice without getting off, enjoying lunch in the new and amazing Skippers Canteen and finishing off with the Christmas version of the Jungle Cruise, now called the Jingle Cruise for the season. Oh, except
Christmas Magic!
that we saw Elena of Avalor being welcomed into the pantheon of Disney Princesses on the Cinderella Castle stage on the way out. Oh, and on our way fro Tomorrowland to Adventureland earlier, Minnie Mouse interacted with Lisa from the float of a parade we stumbled across by posing and waving just for her.

See, it's those kinds of things that still get to us, Lisa and I. Whether it's seeing Chewbacca or waving to Minnie or staying on the Peoplemover for another lap or riding Expedition Everest in the front, back and middle all in the same day or having Tinklebell magically appear with us in photos or seeing Mickey and friends open the park, the unplanned magic is what sucks us in and allows us to completely leave the world behind.

Fantasy merges with reality and dreams come true at Disney World. Yes, it's not a budget-conscious trip. Yes, it's a longish drive. But some people spend that much money and all sorts of time on anti-depressants and doctors' visits trying to cope with life. Me, I'll take a dose of magic for myself and my family. Four and a half days in another world is pretty priceless if you ask me, and seeing it completely turn my frazzled and stressed out love back into a happy and relaxed and smiling woman is worth more to me than anything.

Friday, October 28, 2016

1 Day: 100 Posts Later, Tomorrow We Leave

I did it. 100 posts. Not all on time, but all done. I'm pleased with myself. I think I'll go to Disney World to celebrate!

2 Days: Back To The Magic Kingdom To Say Good-Bye

I almost didn't write about our last day because it seemed kind of depressing to talk about leaving before we even arrived. But I was supposed to write it yesterday and didn't on account of getting caught up watching Season 1 of Agents of Shield with the lovely and talented Lisa and today it doesn't seem as bad, so here goes.

Thursday will be a half-day in Magic Kingdom before we head home. We'll try to fit in as many favorites as we can, but two things have me very excited about even this abbreviated day.

First, we'll be eating lunch at the Jungle Navigation Company's Skipper Canteen. This is a new place and a first for us, so that alone is exciting. But it's also an incredible menu featuring some unusual (especially for a theme park)  Asian-inspired dishes. I plan to get the whole, deep-fried Lion Fish, the lunch that smiles back. And as a bonus the whole place is Jungle Cruise themed with added throwbacks to the Society of  Explorers and Adventurers made famous in the old Adventurer's Club in the defunct but sorely missed Pleasure Island.

Second, we'll be leaving the Magic Kingdom Monday in full Halloween decor and entering Thursday morning to see it decked out for Christmas! The transformation is overnight and will allow us to experience two holiday trips to Disney in one week. I can't beleive how cool this is going to be!

Can you tell I'm excited?

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

3 Days: Animal Kingdom at Night

First off.......OH. MY. GOD. Three Days!!!!! :-)

Wednesday will be our Animal Kingdom day. We'll get (hoping anyhow) an early start with 8 am Extra Magic Hours and a first stop on Kilimanjaro Safaris. Our first FastPass+ of the day is for Expedition Everest between 11 and 12, so we should have plenty of time to poke around Africa and Asia. We're bummed that Dinosaur is still closed for refurb, but I'm looking forward to Primeval Whirl as I've never experienced that ride.

Lunch is at Tiffins and I can't wait for that! It looks amazing and the menu has me drooling already.

Our second FastPass is for another attraction we've never tried, Kali River Rapids, in the late afternoon. I'm dying to ride and planning to bring flip flops and ponchos to make the remainder of the day a little more comfortable after a possible drenching.

But the most exciting thing about this visit to DAK, even better than Tiffins, is experiencing the park at night. I'm imagining it being a whole new experience. Animal Kingdom is my second favorite Disney park, after the Magic Kingdom, because of it's incredible themeing. Seeing all of that at night, including the safari with our last FastPass, will be amazing, I'm sure.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

4 Days: Our First Epcot Food and Wine Festival

Tuesday will be Epcot day! We hope to arrive at rope drop and hit the new Soarin' before crowds build. Our Test Track FastPass+ is for the 10-11 am window, so we figure we can get at least the Living With The Land boat ride in before heading over.

Then it'll be Food and Wine time! We've never experienced this, so we're very excited. We have all three been pouring over the menus of all the booths and I have a map now, so by the time we go we'll have a good game plan. There's just so much that looks good! I mean , it looks like I'd be perfectly happy living inside either the Belgium or New Zealand booths. I'm thinking of maybe lobster roll at Hops and Barley and some buttered chicken at the Africa booth. A few of the Asian dishes look great as well as many of the Latin American ones. I'm just looking forward to grazing all over the World Showcase.

We have FastPasses spread out in the late afternoon and early evening to try to draw us away from the feed bag for a while. You know, so we don't explode. It's evening Extra Magic Hours and I'm told the booths remain open for at least a portion of the extra time, so more chance to munch before stumbling to the bus depot to get back to bed to rest up for....


Monday, October 24, 2016

5 Days: Magic Kingdom Monday

That's what I'm hoping for one week from today. It'll be Halloween day, and my birthday, and our first day in the Magic Kingdom.

It's Extra Magic Hours, so I'm hoping to get to the park at about opening to have a little bit of time before we need to meet out Keys to the Kingdom Tour group a City Hall at 8:45 am. I'm very excited for this tour. I've been backstage, and even in the utilidors, before but John and Lisa haven't and none of us have experienced this tour before. As I understand it, we get to see backstage and the utilidors, the parade storage/staging area and ride a couple attractions with the tour guide's commentary. I have purposely kept myself a bit vague on details because I want to be surprised.

We get lunch on the tour and it finishes about 2:30 or 3 so I'm hoping that leaves us time to catch the Festival of Fantasy Parade, which we've never seen. I have FastPass+ for Jungle Cruise as well in case the parade doesn't pan out. I've also made FastPass+ reservations for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and Dumbo in the early evening before MNSSHP begins at 7 pm.

We'll catch rides and shows and see all we can see until the fireworks and the late parade, which I hope to catch at the beginning in Frontierland so we can hop on Splash Mountain afterwards because I just love that ride at night. We'll close the place out and catch the midnight performance of the Hocus Pocus Villains show before zombie-ing ourselves home to rest up for......

Epcot Food and Wine Day!

Sunday, October 23, 2016

6 Days: Hollywood Studios Day

I figure for my sake as much as anyone reading this I'd take the next few days to go over our plans for touring next week. One week from today, next Sunday, is our first day on property and our Hollywood Studios day.

Since we'll be arriving Sunday morning and some of us will likely be napping after an over-night car trip, I figured we'd hit the rather abbreviated Hollywood Studios. I made our first FastPass+ for the Tower of Terror with an arrival between 3:40 and 4:40. I figure that's plenty of wiggle room to get everyone rested up and to the park. Besides that, my personal priority is the new Star Wars LAunch Bay to hug Chewbacca and hopefully see the stormtrooper march and if we're lucky some Jawas. I'm packing a few old flip phones to trade so I'm really hoping to see the little guys!

Other than that, we want to see much of what's left--the Great Movie Ride (with the Ark of the Covenant now in the queue), Star Tours, Muppetvision 360, One Man's Dream and the associated Dr. Strange preview, and if the line isn't silly long Toy Story Mania.

I'm playing food by ear and hoping Pizza Rizzo is open. If it isn't (and maybe even as a second stop for grub) I'm considering dropping into the Tune-In Lounge.

We'll finish the day using our second FastPass+ for the Fantasmic show before heading back for some well-deserved rest to prep for a HUGE Day Two at the Magic Kingdom!

7 Days: ONE WEEK!!!!!!!!

I'm trying to catch up on the whole "blog-a-day" thing. This week hasn't been the best for that. And this coming week doesn't look like it'll be much better. But I've come this far and while they haven't all been on time, I have done a post for each day of the 100 Day Countdown so far, and I plan to ee it through.

This is yesterday's post, and yesterday marks one week until we leave for Disney. We'll be taking a bit of a non-traditional route, meaning we'll be driving about 2 1/2 hours in the wrong direction first and leaving for our trip at 9 or 10 pm. See, John's last band competition of his high school marching band career is Saturday and we aren't going to miss that. We'll be spending the day we leave in Cary, NC watching the Pride of the South Coast compete. We'll leave when the show is over and the awards all handed out, drive through the night, and arrive at Coronado Springs for or Saturday reservation at about 8 or 9 Sunday morning.

I'll have to call down there and explain that to the front desk, because we still want our Saturday reservation so we can have a room to sleep in when we get there. I don't see that being a problem. The question is, will I be able to sleep, even nap? I'm kind of doubting that. I suspect at least Lisa will be able to doze off and likely John as well. So I may just spend the morning chilling at Coronado Springs. Which sounds pretty ok to me!

Here, for your edification, is why are plans for Disney start off in such a strange manner. That face. How could we do this any other way?

Saturday, October 22, 2016

8 Days: Disney Visa Rocks

We're terrible about discovering and utilizing the perks and rewards and discounts available through our Disney Visa, but even so, we are taking advantage of a few this year, including a couple of meet-n-greets exclusive to card holders. I bring this up because they've just moved the Epcot meet and greet location from Innoventions West to the Imagination Pavilion, and the new spot looks awesome!

We also saved 15% on our Keys to the Kingdom Tour by utilizing a Disney Visa discount I didn't even know existed until the cast member asked me if I was a cardholder. That's a decent bit of change, really. The card also gets you discounts at Disney Stores all over as well as many merchandise locations in the parks. Many restaurants, including the wonderful Boma at the Animal Kingdom Lodge, offer a Disney Visa discount. I had no idea it could have saved us 10% at Artist Point last fall, which also would have been a not insignifcant amount of money.

The card also racks up Disney Dollars, redeemable for purchases throughout the parks and Disney Stores worldwide. I have no idea how many we've accumulated. I figure I'll check when I start planning our next adults only, non-park trip.

We've used the card's early shot at the Free Dining discount before, and many if not ll discounts are offered for a few days to cardholders prior to the general public. That's really helpful in getting the room you like in the resort you most prefer.

Here's a link to the Disney Visa site explaining all the perks and discounts. Give it a look, you might just find a way to save yourself some money!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

9 Days: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

I hadn't realized this film was scheduled for this coming summer until the teaser trailer dropped this week. Now I'm really excited. Sure, you can hate on them for taking the Tower of Terror in Disneyland. I don't care, and besides, that ToT doesn't even work right. Come to Florida and experience the 5th dimension if it bothers you that much. And, sure, there are those upset they are rumored to be coming to Epcot with a roller coaster replacement for Universe of Energy. Get over it. Ellen is annoying, the ride has run its course and from the rumors, the coaster would be epic. And I don't wanna hear about "edu-tainment" either, that idea has been on the way out for years. I say if you own a franchise as cool as Guardians, you use it.

And they ARE cool, the Guardians. They aren't terribly super and they are pretty lousy heroes. They are misfits and freaks led by an over-compensating, socially inept geek. In other words, my kind of people. So move over and let them into my Happy Place.

The trailer is great, and I've pasted it at the bottom of this post for your amusement, but the truly exciting part is this photo.

Am I seeing some punk here? A lot of punk here? I'm telling you right now that if they put the Ramones on the Vol. 2 soundtrack, they've earned a Guardians fan-for-life here.

10 Days: Hocus Pocus

It came out during some conversations with my podcasting pals that I'd never seen the movie Hocus Pocus. This fact horrified a few of the MouseLifers and they insisted that I remedy the situation. So when a schedule of showing of the film appeared on Twitter the other day, I knew I had run out of excuses and the family sat down to watch last night.

I have an unreasonable aversion to Bette Midler. I have no good reason, she's never said or done anything to make me upset. She has a wonderful voice and I'll even admit she can be very funny. SHe just annoys me. But I girded my loins and gave Hocus Pocus a try.

I'm glad I did. I truly enjoyed the movie, much more than I expected to. I mean, it's not Blazing Saddles funny or scary in the least, but it is completely entertaining, Bette Midler and all. She's actually very good as the lead witch dealing with two less competent little sisters. Sarah Jessica Parker's witch is the youngest and she was my favorite, always in the background doing something goofy with a look of complete buy-in on her face. The child actor leads were good as well, cute but not annoying-cute, if you know what I mean.

I was even surprised at the level of adult humor Disney threw at us adults watching. There's a bus driver that is super-slimey hitting on the witches to the point that when they tell him they want children (they need them to steal their souls and stay young(er) forever) he tells them it may take a few tries, but he's sure he can do that. I died. But then, I'm easily amused.

As an added bonus they say the word "amuck", and that amuses the Hell out of me, too (see? Easy.).

I've completed my podcast homework! I'm a little more Halloween Disney-fied, and I'm ready to appreciate the stage show at MNSSHP this year.


Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Day 11: Finding The Lost Ark

We may have been denied Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Rockin' Roller Coaster and Dinosaur by the Refurbishment Gods, but we've been thrown a pretty awesome bone. The Ark of the Covenant from Raiders of the Lost Ark has been added to the displays in the Great Movie Ride queue.

Those displays always include real movie memorabilia, and they apparently rotate stuff in and out. It just so happens the Ark rotated in just yesterday or today and we'll be among the first to see it! That's cool, as second to Star Wars, the Indiana Jones movies are a huge part of my growing up.

So, let's see here. I get to hug Chewbacca and find the Lost Ark on m first day at Walt Disney World. Yep, things are looking good.

Monday, October 17, 2016

12 Days: The "Almost Teen" Is About Grown Up

So I wrote this about sharing Walt Disney World with John as he was about to turn 13. I loved that he was as interested in the Imagineering as  I am and I was impressed with the examples of "show" he found all on his own and how much he appreciated the thought that went into them. In re-reading that, I had a tar in my eye. Not because those days are gone, but because all the hopes I had for him then are being realized.

John is in his senior year now and we are beginning to see the "lasts" coming. We got the mail about ordering cap and gown. This Friday is his last home football game night and Senior Night for the band (we get to walk him out onto the field to be recognized). The night we leave for Disney is his last marching band competition. And this will likely be the last Disney trip we make as a family all living here in the same house. I mean, I can't imagine we won't be going to Disney with John anymore, but it will be different. He'll be his own person traveling with us. And he is already knocking on that door.

But it's a good thing. He has really become what I was hoping in that blog four years ago. His inquisitive nature has blossomed and is now informed by knowledge and experience I don't have. We have begun seeing things from different perspectives, and enjoy sharing them with each other. That's what I'm looking forward to this trip.

Going to Disney and and getting to see it through your child's eyes is always magical. Even if that child is almost a grown man now. I am so very lucky.

13 Days: Mo...mo.....mo....and even mo.....Moana!

Have  mentioned I'm very excited for this movie? I might have. But check it out, Moana has it's own airbus now!

Now, who wouldn't want to fly to Hawaii on THAT? Not that a trip to Hawaii would involve twisting my arm in any case....

And that's not all. Dwayne Johnson released a "Twitter Exclusive" (you'll get the joke when you watch it) video clip from the film that takes a scene we saw a bit of in previous trailers and follows it a bit further.

Because I can't figure out how to embed the Twitter post from @TheRock, you'll have to watch on Inside the Magic here. And poke around, they have a fun site :-)

Sunday, October 16, 2016

14 Days: Take My Money

I'm a complete sucker for Disney merchandise. I'm especially a sucker for classic Disney poster art. I have the book this calendar is based upon, and it's amazing.

According to the Disney Parks Blog, each month's poster is perforated for easy removal and framing, almost like they knew I was going to be decorating the room in which I record the MouseLife podcast this winter......

Guess I'll need two :-)

Saturday, October 15, 2016

15 Days: Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM!

We never got to see the Osborne Family Christmas Light Spectacular (or whatever it was officially called), and that kind of bums me out because it was apparently a real experience. But with the Streets of America giving way to Star Wars Land construction, the Osbourne lights had to go. And the people were sad, particularly on Twitter.

Until yesterday! Then Disney blew up Twitter with the announcement of a new holiday show for Hollywood Studios, and the people rejoiced. Especially on Twitter.

The new show, called "Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM," replaces the Galactic Spectacular and begins November 14 running through the holiday season. It is in the same vein as the Star Wars show, with a combination of pyrotechnics and projections on the Chinese Theatre, and it looks AMAZING! It's based on the elves, Wayne and Lanny, from the Prep and Landing specials with appearances by Mickey and friends, the Nightmare Before Christmas gang and more.

No telling if this will last long enough (meaning doing it again next year or maybe even into 2018) for us to experience it, but it's great seeing Disney keeping what looks to be a great Christmastime offering at Hollywood Studios.