Monthly Archives: December 2012

My online half-year in review

As most of you know, I’m a freelance writer\photographer by trade and thus spend much of my time writing for my other blog – “Aisle Pass.” This is the list of stories I’ve done in the past six months (the theatre season begins in August).

The half season of theatre: August – December 2012

I don’t have enough material for an “art” or “movies” list. 😦


I also launched a new video game review blog in October.

My list of Android game reviews

My List of Facebook game reviews

Categories: entertainment, games, theatre, writing | 1 Comment

Editorial: “Avatar Land:” Righ Idea, Wrong Park

LAKE BUENA VISTA, FLA. (Dec 7, 2012) – I spend this morning on “Keys to the Kingdom” tour at Magic Kingdom with our affable but otherwise unremarkable guide telling us that “Avatar Land” is officially going through at Animal Kingdom. Naturally, the question was: “where are going to put it?”

“Well…” Nicholas (Ellicott City, Maryland) said. “’Camp Minnie-Mickey’ was never supposed to be a ‘permanent’ thing. It was only added at the last minute when ‘Beastly Kingdom’ fell through…either that or there is a lot of space between ‘Asia’ and ‘Africa.’”

I have an even better idea of where to put it…and it’s approximately 15 miles northeast of all three of the aforementioned areas.

That’s right, “Avatar Land” belongs at UNIVERSAL – specifically Islands of Adventure.

  • Avatar is an awesome movie with a plot completely in-line with the DAK’s messaging, but it isn’t a kids’ film. Meanwhile, the similarly themed Pocahontas (1995) sits by the wayside without a single show or attraction in a park virtually created around her movie.
  • It’s too narrowly themed for an entire land at DAK (remember: it’s competing with “Asia” and “Africa”)… but Universal has an area dedicated solely to Jurassic Park. It also (conveniently enough) has an entire island to fill once Disney revokes their lease on the Marvel characters.
  • I think Disney would be best to stick with a more general theme like it’s original “Beastly Kingdom” though it should be noted that while there is a Finding Nemo show on the opposite side of the park, there is no “Oceania” area (either a serious oversight… or they’re afraid to compete with “Australia: Wild Extremes”).

However, in the end, it comes down to what a lot of commenters I read researching this post said: “It doesn’t sound Disney enough.” I couldn’t agree more.

Seriously, they could make areas around properties they already own like Wilderness Explorers (Up), The Lion King (the show is already there so why not work with it?), a Bug’s Life area (they can even use the same film from The Tree of Life) or even a Native American village with a Brother Bear (2003) dark ride and a Pocahontas stage show (technically, Bear is Pacific Northwest and Pocahontas is Coastal Virginia, but this IS Disney we’re talking about).

In other words: Avatar fits in better to the milieu of Islands of Adventure. What’s more adventurous than exploring another planet(s)?

Categories: disney world, editorials, florida | Leave a comment

Editorial: Refurbishments and enhancements

LAKE BEUNA VISTA, FL. (December 6, 2012) – I have just returned to the hotel from the opening of the “New Fantasyland” expansion at the Magic Kingdom. First off, I have to say that reports of Ariel’s Grotto, Belle’s Enchanted Forest and Dumbo’s Storybook Circus swallowing up the entirety of Fantasyland are unfounded, but they overshadow it to the point of making the original “land” virtually irrelevant.

If you’re a fan of Peter Pan’s Flight, Mickey’s PhilHarMagic, Prince Charming’s Regal Carrousel or even It’s a Small World (possibly the most annoying theme park attraction EVER), you can still ride them to your heart’s content as the only ride they’ve closed for this expansion is Snow White’s Scary Adventure (to be replaced by Princess Fairytale Hall in 2013) though a new SW themed area is slated open in 2014 to the west of Ariel’s Grotto.

Also, the new refurbished Test Track (one of my favorite rides at EPCOT) opened today. This of course got me thinking of other WDW attractions in far greater need of replacement and\or refurbishment. Here are a few of them:

  • The Pirates of the Caribbean – I don’t care how much the Johnny Depp AAs cost, but his appearances are pointless and distract more from the ride than they add. The franchise ended, it’s time to retire Sparrow too.
  • The Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse – Yes, I know it’s a “classic,” but their left coast branch replaced this attraction with Tarzan’s Treehouse in 1999 without incident (as young visitors are probably more familiar with Tarzan than with the Swiss Family Robinson).
  • Tomorrowland Speedway – Sadly, this attraction not only does this generic ride have absolutely nothing to do with “the future that never was,” but it feels isolated from the rest of its intended land. I think they could possibly salvage it by retheming this attraction after the futuristic race from Cars 2 or doing like DL and create a new “Cars Land” that ends at the newly refurbished raceway.
  • Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros (formerly El Río del Tiempo) – This cheap, plastic, horribly dated (looks like it was last refurbished in 1980s) and utterly terrible looking ride exemplifies everything that’s wrong with this particular pavilion as a whole.
  • Spaceship Earth – Another horribly dated attraction, this ride needs serious updating and the tacky “you’re in the ride” bit where it takes your picture and gives you multiple choices on “what kind of future you want” is not gonna cut it. On the plus side, it’s the only ride that doesn’t make you to buy said picture at the end of it.
  • The Great Movie Ride – Similar to Spaceship Earth, this once great ride is severely dated. Sure they can keep their signature scenes (Wild West, Gangster, Wizard of Oz, Casablanca and Indiana Jones), but the ride needs an infusion of newer movies to keep it relevant.
  • “The Voyage of the Little Mermaid” – Now that they have the similarly titled Under the Sea: The Voyage of the Little Mermaid in the Magic Kingdom, this stage show at Hollywood Studios is redundant.
  • The Magic of Disney Animation – the walk through portion of the attraction is well done, but the “attraction” part with Mushu is so poorly handled in both writing and acting that even the live “animator” looked bored.
  • “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids” Movie Set Adventure – Does anyone actually use this playground? Surely Disney can find a better, more productive use for this space.
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