disney world

Editorial: Summer openings and other comments

Avatar Land – Disney has been REALLY hyping this area recently from the weeklong preview on The View (which I was actually there for part of) and weekly teaser videos on their blog (which they know will be picked up by other blogs and websites). What little I’ve seen of it looks great… without legions of strollers or EVCs in the camera’s way. I would have rather they found something a little closer to home (they already have rights to the Pokémon anime which is also fantasy\family friendly\HUGE built-in fan base and that they could’ve easily opened it 5 years ago for one tenth of the cost) but I’m still looking forward to riding their two main attractions… when the crowds thin a bit after their big summer season.

Frozen Games – Disney is bringing back last year’s popular sidekick event at their ice themed water park. I thought Frozen fever peaked about 2 years ago, but why waste a good theme. Besides, it sounds like it could be fun. #TeamKristoff

Star Wars Land – Is a full year away from opening and yet every line of every artist rendered teaser sketch is being picked apart for even the slightest new detail of the two lands. To say they are hyping these two areas is an understatement, but unlike Avatar Land, I think these fraternal twin projects will be a HUGE win for Disney.

Toy Story Land (which was supposed to open quickly to give guests “something to do” while waiting for SWL) – Nothing. No news, no rumors, nothing.

Volcano Bay – Universal’s replacement for the recently shuttered Wet ‘N Wild opens the same weekend as Avatar Land. I’m certainly excited (even though my apartment complex already has a pool), but I’ll wait until some of the inevitable early bugs in their system are worked out before commenting.

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Opinion: “Wasted space at Disney”

Theme park Tourist recently posted (reposted from 2015) a story about the 5 biggest (in their opinion, not mine) “Wastes of Space” at WDW with a clickbait-y “literally” just for good measure. Of course, they cover the basics: Odyssey Restaurant (I’ll throw in Tomorrowland Terrace), Tomorrowland Speedway, The Outpost (which I always assumed was more “Australian” than “African,” but I digress), the abandoned Wonders of Life pavilion and Chester & Hester’s Dinorama (1000x YES!!!).

I agree that Dinorama is largely useless, but I’m not sold on their idea to tear it out and put in another thrill ride (since it covers roughly the same footprint as the nearby Dinosaur attraction). My suggestion would be to take out that and the Theatre of the Wild (and while their “Finding Nemo” show IS popular also takes up a HUGE amount of space in Dinoland USA) and replace it with an Australian themed exhibit (I’d say Antarctica, but that’s already taken).

Seriously, I haven’t been to The Boneyard so I cannot comment on it either way, but Dinosaur regularly has a wait of 45-60 minutes and “Finding Nemo” is usually packed. When was the last time you saw an actual line for either of the two carnival rides, eating at the trailer “diner” or anyone playing their noisy games. I can’t stand being in that area because it’s too frenetic and noisy, but the biggest nail in that area’s coffin is the ONE store in the land sells toys\apparel themed to Cars, Toy Story and even Star Wars (seriously)… but nada for The Good DINOSAUR (in a land themed to dinosaurs).

That brings us back to World Showcase. Yeah, Frozen Ever After is fun, and I love walking through the various pavilions… but what exactly does The Outpost do besides take up space? I don’t know if they have enough space there for a full pavilion or not but, surely, they can do better than leather bracelets, frozen colas and a bunch of drums for kids to bang.

I have a lot more thoughts, but it’s after midnight as I’m typing this. I may or may not get to posting the remainder of this reaction later this week.

 

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Review: Epcot’s inaugural International Festival of the Arts

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First off, today is Saturday. I never go anywhere NEAR the parks on a Saturday unless I absolutely have to…or unless I’m super bored and the event only happens on weekends like the inaugural Epcot International Festival of the Arts.

Theme Park Tourist couldn’t recommend it highly enough – even going so far as to suggest making it a multi-day event for art\food lovers. I wouldn’t that far, but I do see it’s appeal… as a way to draw attendance to the park between the phenomenally popular Flower & Garden Show and the overpriced pub crawl know as Food & Wine Festival. Nothing wrong with that – Busch Gardens hosts its own Food & Wine Festival during their slow season.

The problem (and you knew I’d have one) is Disney is trying too hard to make what little they’re offering sound like a lot more than what it is (kind of Hollywood Studios). I’ve been to arts festivals in Miami (Beaux Arts), Harrisburg (Kipona), Baltimore (Artscape), Tampa (Gasperilla Festival of the Arts) and, yes, even Shamokin has one (Anthracite Heritage Festival of the Arts) and none of them were like this.

It’s like the people planning this had never been to an arts festival.

I get this is mainly about drawing people into the park so they can spend their money in DISNEY’S stores and restaurants (so no blocking paths leading to attractions or restaurants) so even though they also advertise this as a “culinary festival,” those tasty “seminars” were tucked safely behind Disney’s trademark paywall.

To be fair, this was one of the weak complaints TPT made of the event: Little food, big prices and long lines. At Artscape, I couldn’t walk 50 feet without running into a food vendor, here the closest thing to fest food was the existing Funnel Cake House at the American pavilion (and, yes, it had a line too). In fact, there were times where I completely forgot I was walking through an “Arts Festival” rather than an overcast day at Epcot.

As I was walking through the various “Art areas,” I noticed they were dominated by house booths with house merchandise. Don’t get me wrong, ALL of the festivals above had their own merch tents – Artscape had several of them spread throughout their festival – but they had other vendors there. Some of them varied in price\quality (see early years of Heritage Fest), but they weren’t all house booths.

Normally, I’d give them some slack for being an inaugural event, but this is DISNEY and I know they can do better than this. Well, there’s always next year…

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Confession: I didn’t watch the inauguration

I used to post moderately conservative posts on this blog back at the beginning of the primaries in 2015 so it’s kind of embarrassing to say I didn’t get to watch the inauguration. It’s not that I was “protesting” or “boycotting” it…though I was planning on checking out that whole inaugural International Festival of the Arts at Epcot this afternoon.

Unfortunately, I didn’t do either.

I woke up at 5am with a dry throat and sore stomach and after I got some water and used the bathroom I went back to bed…and when I woke up: it was 1:30 in the afternoon! Too late to do anything about EITHER inaugural event, but at least I was feeling better so that’s good.

Fortunately, I’m not worried about the Epcot thing all that much as it’s going through the end of next month (and, truthfully, the ONLY reason I’m even considering going is because I don’t want to “waste” my AP). Eh, tomorrow’s another day…

 

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Live blogging: Hurricane Matthew (Fri morning)

10:01am – Good morning, I survived the storm. I woke up several times last night due to loud gusty winds and heavy rain, but my condo doesn’t appear to have taken any damage. It’s sunny but with persistent gusty winds.

10:36am – Orange and Seminole Counties are still under curfew through tonight, but will reassess their decision around noon.

11:00am – NWS has downgraded the storm to a Cat 3, but it is still causing immense damage in coastal cities.

11:17am – Orlando Sentinel is reporting at least one death in Central Florida attributable to Matthew.

11:41am – Meanwhile, Matt Drudge has theorized that Hurricane Matthew is a government conspiracy to “make a point about climate change,” a sentiment echoed by fellow radio host Rush Limbaugh (who walked his statement back)

12:01pm -Chip and Company is reporting that all 4 Disney parks remain closed and will reopen tomorrow pending damage assessment. All resorts and their restaurants remain open.

12:30pm – Gov. Scott says “worst of Matthew is yet to come”

12:47pm – Damage assessments of Gables, Rosenthal and Medical campuses have been completed. So-called “Cardboard U” is open for business tomorrow. Game on.

 

Hopefully, this is my last post on the matter.

 

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Live blogging Hurricane Matthew (Thurs morn)

10:01amOrlando Weekly is reporting that all state offices are closed, all tolls are lifted and that some hospitals in coastal areas were evacuated.

10:03am – The University of Miami is officially on “emergency lock down” – all classes are cancelled, and all retail and offices are closed for the day. Limited dining service is available in the two campus dining halls as long as weather permits, MREs will be available in the Residential Hall lobbies for times when the cafeterias close.

10:20am – Orlando International Airport announced it will be suspending all flights in\out of their airports at 8pm.

11:15am – Sunrail suspends all service through Monday (they don’t offer weekend service)

11:20am – Universal announces it is closing all parks including Wet N’ Wild and CityWalk at 3pm. Disney parks are apparently still open as well with guests going about enjoying their day despite the weather (at the moment is light rain with relatively calm winds).

11:30amTheme Park Tourist posted that all Disney Parks will close at 5pm, Legoland Florida will close at 5pm as scheduled and SeaWorld will close at 2pm.

12:14pm – TWC is predicting 5-7” of rain through Friday night with wind of 40-50mph with gusts of about 60-65mph. It is not expected to make landfall over Orlando, but we are still under a “Hurricane Warning.”

12:43pm – Not currently raining out, but the winds are strong. The proverbial calm before the storm.

 

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Editorial: WHY?

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Disney Parks blog has officially confirmed the long rumored Muppets show WILL be coming to Magic Kingdom’s storied Liberty Square this fall to give their musical take on American history. Why?

Want to replace the boring, dated “American Adventure” at Epcot? Knock yourselves out (as I actually like the idea) ditto the equally dated “Muppetvision 3-D” movie at DHS, but the idea of adding this as a show to Liberty Square (the walkway in front of “The Hall of Presidents” is narrow enough as it is – especially if there is one or more people in scooters chugging along at their usual 0.5mph). Personally, I think this is merely a “test” for the Epcot idea. One which I strongly suspect will fail.

Don’t get me wrong: I like The Muppets, and I love their “3-D” movie over at DHS… but the cynic in me sees this as little more than a Band-Aid to rescue the normally flagging fall attendance (as half of DHS is closed and “Rivers of Light” doesn’t look like it’s going to open by the time the abysmal “The Jungle Book: Alive with Magic” closes in September).

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editorial: Under-represented movies at WDW

Theme Park Tourist posted an article today about 7 grossly under-represented movie properties at Disney World: The Emperor’s New Groove (2000, a vastly under-rated film), The Princess and the Frog (2009), Inside Out (2014), The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993), Pocahontas (1995), Mulan (1998) and Hercules (1997).

I agree with most of their list. However, The Princess and the Frog already has its own parade\defacto themed area in Disneyland (New Orleans Square), “The Haunted Mansion” already gets an annual Nightmare Before Christmas overlay every holiday season (at DL anyway), and they somehow recommend opening an “Ancient Greek” themed restaurant for Hercules (as if Mythos doesn’t exist).

For instance, I think TENG would be a good fit for either Adventureland or a South American expansion at either Epcot or DAK. I’m not surprised they didn’t incorporate it more into Coronado Springs (as CS is themed to Mexico and TENG takes place in Peru), but we agree on a coaster themed after Cronk and Yzma’s trip to her lab would be a kind of cool idea.

Inside Out has “Epcot” written all over it, and it deserves far more than a M&G in the shell of Innoventions (more on that below). They could retheme the plotless, meandering and almost universally disliked “Journey into Imagination with Figment” to the movie with Figment taking the emotions on a tour of “Imagination Land” – moreover, they could probably do like “Frozen Ever After” and reuse the existing track to save money. I dislike their idea of an “emotion themed restaurant” though.

There isn’t much I can add to the other films they mention except that I disagree with Pocahontas at “The American Adventure” (which already has a token Native American scene), but I will list a few additional films that desperately need some “theme park love.”

Bolt (2008) has DHS written all over it, yet I can’t even find a simple plush of him at the World of Disney store. I can’t be the only one who can picture a dark ride based on the title character’s journey from NYC back to LA and his eventual home in Kansas.

Big Hero 6 (2014, aka “Frozen for Boys”) is the epitome of what the largely abandoned “Innoventions” (whose main draw now is, ironically enough, a M&G for film’s breakout star, Baymax) was designed to be: a celebration of science, technology and commerce. Imagine if SFIT was hosting a special “Engineering and Technology Fair” right in the middle of Future World with exhibits changing every six months.

Ratatouille (2007) is not only a successful movie but also one of the most popular attractions at Disneyland Paris. Conveniently enough, the area they house the ride in looks almost identical to the France pavilion at Epcot (which seriously needs to retire that dated movie already) – particularly since half the merchandise in that area is Remi anyway

…The other half is Marie from The Aristocats (1970) who used to have a M&G near the Town Hall on Main Street USA, but I’m not opposed to moving her back to her REAL home in either the France pavilion along with Remi and Princess Aurora or even sending her to Disneyland.

The Jungle Book (1967, 2016) is represented well at the parks over this summer with a “special preview” in “One Man’s Dream” and a phenomenally popular nighttime show at DAK…but the former closed to have a preview of Alice Through the Looking Glass and the latter closes in September leaving the movie with only a pair of M&Gs at DAK. They could do more than that, that’s the whole purpose of Adventureland?

Tarzan (1999) had a show an opening day show at DAK, and currently has an attraction in Adventureland at Disneyland and a “Festival of the Lion King”-esque show at Shanghai Disneyland. I’ve toured Tarzan’s Treehouse at DL, but I haven’t seen either of the stage shows. As for DAK, he’s “occasionally” found wandering around the Tree of Life.

Monster’s Incorporated (2001) has its own attraction in Tomorrowland, but the “Laugh Floor” of its title is simply where it’s painfully unfunny “jokes” land (I laugh more on “Jungle Cruise” than I do on this pitiful attraction). Personally, instead of a Toy Story Land at DHS, I’d rather see a Pixar Land with an import of either the DCA or Tokyo Disneyland versions of the ride along with attractions for other deserving movies like UP (2009, which currently has a M&G and educational game at DAK) and Wall-E (2008).

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Summer Rumor Rundown

Muppets invade Liberty Square: Why? Who thought of this idea? They already have a mini-land in DHS and you can even find a way to shoehorn them into the ironically named “Future World” at Epcot, but this idea makes no sense to me. Fortunately, it also has the least likelihood of being true

Disney to remove “Leave a Legacy” stones from entrance to Epcot: Ever try to get into Epcot during Food & Wine or Flower and Garden? Good, then you already know why these eyesores need to go. Gravestones be gone!

Epcot to have attraction around “Guardians of the Galaxy:” I guess the backlash against putting it in at “Tower of Terror” was too much for them (Note: No-one said they were opposed to a GotG attraction at DHS, they just wanted it to replace R&R Coaster instead of ToT). There is some debate over whether it would take over “Mission: Space” (opened in 2003), the severely dated “Universe of Energy” (last refurbished in 1996) or the currently unused Wonders of Life pavilion (closed in 2007).

Disney to permanently close Innoventions: Considering there are only TWO exhibitors in that space, this, sadly, makes sense. However, some in the comments section proposed an area with a Big Hero 6 theme focusing on Robotics Technology and that would fit perfectly into the concept of this area (particularly since the area is already home to a Baymax M&G).

Though I think a better idea is replacing Ellen\Bill Nye with a BH6 retheme: Tadeshi explains to Hiro about the wonders of energy (yah, dinos stay put) and how scientists are working to better harness\use it (most of that ride is wasted space anyway).

Also a lot of commenters wanted an Inside\Out retheme to either “Journey into Imagination” or the SBNO “Body Wars” – both work, but I like the former more (they can even reuse the same track like “Frozen Ever After”) as long as they find a way to incorporate Figment into the ride.

Also, some people wanted a new movie in the Magic Eye Theater (2nd floor of Imagination pavilion, behind the DVC lounge), but I actually like the “Disney\Pixar Short Film Festival” …I just wish they varied the films a bit more. How about alternating movies on different days (like a REAL “film festival”) possibly including: Red’s Dream (1987), Gerri’s Game (1997, played before A Bug’s Life), Boundin’ (2003, played before The Incredibles), Paperman (2012, played before Wreck-It-Ralph), Feast (2014, played before BH6), Lava (2014, played before Inside Out) and\or Sanjay’s Super Team (2015, played before The Good Dinosaur).

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A family frustration

“Hey, Johnny,” my aunt said on our final day at Bay lake Tower. “Would you pick that shit off the floor?”

“We’re already an hour behind schedule. Housekeeping is right outside our door. Let’s just go while there’s still daylight.”

“I don’t care. I said: Pick. It. Up.”

Remember in my previous post I said about “flight or fight.” Well, I can’t fee so congratulations I’m now frozen. Meanwhile, she’s losing a game of Mahjong Tiles on her iPhone.

“God, Johnny, what the FUCK is WRONG with you? God, you’re acting like a spoiled three-year-old.”

Second time she’s “asked” me that this week, and I can’t correct her this time either. My brain and body are both frozen. I literally couldn’t do this even if I wanted to and if I did I could pat myself on the head and say: “good job, you’ve just been cowed. You’re really good at being bullied.

“You know what,” she said putting her game down and storming across the room glaring at me the entire me. “You know WHAT? THIS is what I SHOULD do instead…”

Something tells me this is not going to end well…

She kneels down, picks up the trash and, rather than throwing it away as I expected, she then turns around, points at me with her spare hand.

“Hey, Johnny, watch,” she growled with a twisted smile. “I SAID ‘WATCH.’ I’m going to teach you a fucking lesson about PISSING ME OFF!”

She rips my luggage open and smirks at me as she drops all the stuff from the floor into it.

“Problem SOLVED! See how EASY that was? Ten fucking seconds was all it took because YOU were TOO FUCKING LAZY to do it! Well, now, it’s YOUR problem, FUCKING ASSHOLE!”

Just a reminder, I’M the villian here. That’s what I get for choosing to have my brain freeze instead of being able to effortlessly volley back and forth like a “normal” person.

When I finally regained control, I tried to get her to admit that maybe – just maybe – her actions were wrong, hurtful or otherwise inappropriate. She didn’t recant – she doubled down:

“Awww, did that ‘hurt your feelings,’ Johnny? GOODThat’s what you get for PISSING ME THE FUCK OFF!”

I never got an apology or admittance of wrong-doing, but a little bit of nettling got her to admit that she was acting out of “frustration.”

Let’s recap the lesson here: It’s okay to rip open someone else’s luggage and desecrate its contents because you’re “frustrated.” Perfectly, 100% A-OK, ask any judge… but somehow I suspect if the roles were reversed it would be called “bullying” at best and…um… okay, so I couldn’t find anything relevant on the first page of search results, but I’m sure it’s bad.

It doesn’t matter as my mom constantly likes to remind me my perception is so “twisted around that you can’t tell if someone is ‘angry’ or speaking calmly and rationally” so even if I did have a case, I have no “credibility.” In other words, people can say or do whatever the hell they want to me and have their alleged behaviors instantly dismissed because I’m “too stupid” to know what they were anyway.

Speaking of mom, she appeared out of hiding and announced that she was finally ready to take everything down to the car. But then on the way out the door, she asks me what I did to cause such a “ruckus” in the room.

“I didn’t anything.”

“Exactly,” my aunt said snidely. “He didn’t DO anything.”

“That was uncalled for,” I said.

“Why? You DIDN’T ‘DO’ anything.”

“Enough,” mom said. “Stop! God, what the hell has gotten into you? You’re acting like a spoiled THREE-YEAR-OLD! STOP IT! STOP IT, RIGHT FUCKING NOW!”

Keep in mind, this is a hallway at a popular Disney resort hotel, and she’s acting like I’M the one acting bratty here when all I did was defend myself. Why do I keep forgetting, only “normal” people can do that?

“Your yelling isn’t help-”

“I am NOT ‘yelling’ at you. God, why the hell do you have to think everyone is ‘yelling’ at you all the fucking time? I am talking in a perfectly CALM and REASONABLE MANNER! NOW STOP IT, RIGHT NOW!”

“You ARE, and it’s only giving me a bigger headache.”

“A ‘headache,’ YOU have a ‘headache,’” she said stopping, turning around and pointing her finger in my face threateningly. “I don’t HAVE to take you back to your apartment. You can take the god damned BUS back. Do you WANT to do that? Huh, DO you? Well, then KEEP IT UP or I WILL leave you the fuck here! Do you understand me?”

“See, Johnny, your ma don’t fuck around.”

So to recap, my aunt is making snide cutting remarks about me, but I’m the one getting yelled at AND now I have threats to contend with too. To be fair, the original plan was to drop me off at the T&TC so I could take the bus 50 back to SeaWorld…it wasn’t until we were about to leave the first time that she suggested driving me back to the condo.

In fact, at THIS point, it would have been a welcome break from the yelling and hostility. That’s when I decided to take my bag – sorry, the bag my aunt desecrated because she apparently can do whatever the fuck she wants to it – and bypass the elevator to take the stairs down four floors to the lobby (beating them by two full minutes).

When they emerged into the lobby, they were talking about how perfectly calm and reasonable they were being as if I wasn’t even there.

“Yeah,” mom said off-handedly as she opened the trunk of the rental car. “I even asked him if he ‘wanted to take the bus back,’ but he declined so I guess he can guide us back.”

“Hell, it’s HIS town…”

SERIOUSLY?

Are they fucking KIDDING me?

She didn’t ‘ask’ me anything – she THREATENED to have me “take the bus back” if I didn’t “STOP IT, RIGHT NOW!” Because yelling always calms a situation in which I’m trying desperately hard NOT to be angry and loud (as there were presumably guests in all the rooms we passed on the way to the elevators).

On the plus side, that meant the ordeal was almost over, which was good because my headache was only getting stronger…

Categories: adventures, Autism, disney world, family, florida, Orlando | 2 Comments

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