Monthly Archives: April 2011

Kings Island Opening Day Trip Report

Joey and I just got back from opening day at Kings Island.  I’m happy to report that it was an absolutely beautiful day and we had lots of fun.  We had some camera trouble, so I wasn’t able to take a lot of pictures.  And I can’t post the ones I could take because the chord to download from the camera is apparently elsewhere.  So I’ll need to come back and update this post with pictures of Joey once the chord is returned.  In the meanwhile, I’ll use some generic pictures of the park as illustration.

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New Princess-Themed Rooms at Walt Disney World


Disney has finally announced the long-rumored princess-themed rooms at their Port Orleans Resort in Walt Disney World.  The new princess rooms will join the currently existing pirate-themed rooms in the Carribbean Beach Resort March of 2012.  The storyline that brings the princesses to Port Orleans is that Tiana has invited her princess friends over for a visit.  The decorations include head boards with fiber-optic effects.

In addition to the princess and pirate rooms, Disney will open Little Mermaid-themed rooms in the Art of Animation Resort in May of 2012.  The specialty rooms will be available for booking in mid-summer.  If the rooms are successful enough, maybe Disney will revisit the Haunted Mansion Themed rooms that were leaked last year.

haunted mansion rooms

Review: John Carpenter’s The Thing

russell - the thing

We had some bad storms last night.  The girls all slept in the basement.  Once I’d gotten them all to sleep, I had a little time on my hands before I turned in myself.  Nothing on the DVR was especially appealing and I wanted to make the most of my time alone.  So I decided to see what was on Starz (we have it free for a year thanks to Dish Network – thank you, Dish Network!)

I didn’t expect to find anything worth watching and I didn’t plan to stay up very long at all.  But to my surprise, John Carpenter’s The Thing was on.  And it had just started.  At 9:40!  It had probably been a good 10 years since I had watched The Thing and since Starz had the courtesy to start it exactly when my daughters finally fell asleep, I decided to settle in for some creepy alien thrills.

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Trailer: Rise of the Planet of the Apes

The original Planet of the Apes is a great sci-fi movie.  And the first two sequels are pretty darn entertaining as well.  Not surprisingly, the franchise ran out of steam.  The less said about Tim Burton’s “re-imagining” from 2001, the better.

There are major pitfalls when going back to Planet of the Apes.  The pedigree of the original film is so high, you can’t hope to top it.  But you can’t just copy it.  The twist ending can’t be duplicated.  And if you try to give it a new spin you wind up with an ape Lincoln Memorial (groan).

With that in mind, I regard the new Rise of the Planet of the Apes with trepidation.  But the new trailer has given me some hope that maybe the latest version will be worth checking out.

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Video: New Pirates of the Caribbean Meet and Greet at the Magic Kingdom

Disney fans have been meeting Captain Jack Sparrow in Adventureland at the Magic Kingdom for a few years now.  With the upcoming release of the latest Pirates of the Caribbean movie, On Stranger Tides, a new pirate has started making appearances at Adventureland.

Pretty good likeness, if you ask me.  I haven’t seen the movie yet, so I don’t know how well she’s mimicing the mannerisms.  But this seems like a fun character interaction that just might attract a few princess fans (and their dads) to the Pirates franchise.

Video: New Footage of the Little Mermaid Ride coming to Disney World

Continuing my coverage of the Fantasyland Expansion and the new Little Mermaid ride which is coming to the Magic Kingdom, here is the latest official video from Disney detailing the recording of the music for the ride. 

Musically, TLM has always been one of my favorite Disney films.  So I nodded in agreement along with all the comments about the importance of music to the ride.  But the highlight of the video to me was the glimpses at the previously unseen Eric and Triton animatronics.


The picture above is a picture of my oldest daughter (almost 6) scoring the first of four goals in her soccer game last week.  Up until this season, she’s been a great defensive player, but a little shy on offense.  This season, she has realized her speed and become a scoring machine.  Good for her!

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Review: Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time

Prince of Persia

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time is the latest in a long line of failed attempts by Disney to launch a film franchise like “Pirates of the Caribbean”.  (The jury is still out on whether or not Tron: Legacy will be added to that list.)

Like most of America, I avoided the lure of the Prince of Persia in theaters.  Given the horrible reviews, this was relatively easy to do.  But in the quiet of my own home with scant streaming options on Netflix, I finally succumbed.

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Latest Thor Clip Includes First Look at Hawkeye

I didn’t love the first jokey Thor movie clip that was released a couple weeks ago.  But the latest, action-packed clip from the movie is much more promising.  Plus, it includes a shadowy cameo from Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye!  Avengers Assemble!

If you squint, you can just make out the Avengers' resident archer in the darkness

Video: Ride the Model Train at Epcot

Ever wanted to ride the model train at the Germany pavilion at Epcot?  Now’s your chance:

Review: Tron Legacy

The most interesting thing about Tron Legacy to me is that it ever got made at all.  I’m old enough to remember the original Tron.  When it was released, it was heralded for its special effects.  It represented Disney’s best hope of reinventing itself for the 80s and becoming relevant in the era of Pac Man Fever.

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Video: Another look at those new Haunted Mansion effects

Yesterday, I posted a first look at the new mirror effects in the Haunted Mansion at the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World.  Here’s anew video which I believe is higher quality:

Video: New Haunted Mansion Mirror Effects

The Haunted Mansion at the Magic Kingdom recently received a new interactive queue.  But that was just the tip of the iceberg.  The ride itself has gotten an update in the form of new effects during the famous mirror sequence.

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