Monthly Archives: September 2014

Mama Melrose and the Fantasmic! Dinner Package at Disney’s Hollywood Studios


Mama Melrose is a table service restaurant situated on the far left-hand side of Walt Disney World’s Hollywood Studios theme park which serves mostly americanized Italian food. Because of its location, unremarkable theming, and absence of characters, Mama Melrose is not often a “destination” eatery for the many tourists and Disney fans who frequent the park throughout the year. Maybe this is why when showings of the nighttime Fantasmic! spectacle were decreased, Disney had the bright idea of linking reserved seating for the show with a few of the park’s restaurants which needed a boost and selling it together. Disney is all about redistributing crowds to suit their own druthers.

But is this Fantasmic! dinner package a good idea for guests in Disney’s Hollywood Studios?
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Disney World Rumor Round-Up: Hollywood Studios Changes

Backlot Tour

It’s been a while since I posted any Disney World rumors around here.  Partially, that’s because there hasn’t been much worth reporting.  But also, I have been a bit gun shy since I jumped on the bandwagon regarding the rumors that Star Wars and/or Carsland was coming to Hollywood Studios.  That rumor was all the rage in June of 2013, but nothing ever came of it.  Why not?

Supposedly, there there really was something to that rumor.  Disney has plans for Star Wars projects for all of its properties.  All they have to do is green-light the funding.  That was close to happening in 2013, but obviously Disney got cold feet.  Now here we are over a year later and something is clearly going on at Hollywood Studios.  But what it is exactly isn’t clear.

Let’s look at some of the possibilities.

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Boardwalk Empire: Cuanto


Violence stories very often trade in misdirection. It is one of their most reliable tricks. We think the killer is around the corner, but he’s really right behind us. HBO’s Boardwalk Empire, despite its devotion to historically accurate design and frequent forays into quiet character scenes, is, after all, a show about gangsters, so it will at times make use of these sorts of well-worn tropes.

**This article will discuss details of last night’s episode of Boardwalk Empire, complete with spoilers. Tread accordingly.**
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Nope, Not a 1-hit Wonder: a-ha

Sometimes it’s very difficult to imagine that the reality you and everyone around you live inside can be extraordinarily different from that of so many other people. Here in the United States, when it is said that an artist or actor is “big in Japan,” it is almost said derisively, with the suggestion being that, yes that’s nice, but I guess they can’t make it here where it really matters. The American market is indeed huge for artists, but the idea that only success here is valid is not an accurate idea. The U.S. dollar’s value has really taken a plunge over the last fifteen years, and well, our lives here are just as foreign to folks in Norway as theirs are to us.

One great example of this is Norway’s own favorite sons, A-ha. Say the group’s name here and only one image will pop into our minds: the award-winning video for “Take on Me” featured above. In fact, most Americans are not just unaware of the band’s big success in other parts of the globe, but falsely identify A-ha as a 1-hit wonder on our own shores. Not even this is true…
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Kouzzina at Disney’s Boardwalk


When I made the decision to visit Walt Disney World again this September, it was in part with the continued goal of seeing and experiencing more new things. First on that list was a series of sit down table service meals in spots I’d never set foot inside.

Let me start by saying that I am in no way qualified to be a food critic outside of what are essentially no better than competent writing skills. My culinary abilities at home boil down to mostly steaming, boiling, microwaving, and grilling a la Foreman. But I do broil a pretty good steak if I do say so myself. It’s not hard if you’ve got a broiling pan and some half decent meat. I’m not in the financial position to buy the best cuts on a consistent basis, so I usually end up picking up a reasonably priced chuck eye, which can result in inconsistent results, but sometimes serves up a very nice dining experience. I usually either marinate the steak overnight in Italian dressing or worcestershire sauce, or if I can’t bring myself to plan a full day in advance, I just throw some Montreal steak seasoning on either side. A few minutes on each end of a flip usually leaves me with a pretty low effort-high reward meal.

Because I went the lazy route and snapped up the “free” Disney dining offer that was on the table for this trip, I made every effort in my pre-planning to ensure that my table service meals would guarantee decent bang for my buck. I’m not going to go over the numbers here like I did last time, except to say that A) I probably came out a little on the down side in comparison to what I could have saved on a resort discount, and B) It was not so far on the down side that I really regret the decision. Who knows what decision I’ll make in the future? Anyway, I did my research online to find some of the best values on table service meals if you’re on the dining plan, and I came up with a few likely winners.
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Snowpiercer: What Does It Mean?

snowpiercer poster

The other day, I wrote a pretty bare-bones review of the Korean science fiction movie, Snowpiercer.  Partially, I was trying to shield readers from spoilers.  But I was also still processing the complicated messages of the movie.  Over the last week, the movie has stuck with me in a way few movies do.  So the purpose of this article is to analyze what is going on beneath the surface of the action movie.

To do that, I am going to have to get deep into spoilers.  So if you haven’t seen Snowpiercer, turn back now.

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Boardwalk Empire: What Jesus Said


A lie is only useful if the person you are telling it to believes it. Or decides to believe it. This week on HBO’s Boardwalk Empire, everybody seemed to be telling lies of the most worthless kind. In a series full of gangsters and politicians, this should come as no surprise, but the steady jaded refusal of this episode to let its characters solve their problems this way has to feel like a theme.

**click below if you’ve seen this episode of Boardwalk Empire, or just don’t mind quite a few spoilers**
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Personal Musings: 10 Years Later…

Recently, I shared a personal story about the day my youngest brother died.  Today marks the 10 years anniversary since my brother passed.  It’s hard to believe a decade has gone by so quickly.  Our lives have changed so much in the last ten years.  Our family has grown.  Life has moved on as it always does.

Ten years ago, life stopped for a little while.  I knew consciously that life would go on.  But in the moment it was hard to imagine how.  Obviously our lives would be different.  We had lost a member of our family.  Surely we would feel that loss for the rest of our lives.  Even though I knew that the pain would lessen in time, it was hard to really believe it.

But the events of that terrible day was not the end of the story.  I thought today would be a good day to reflect on what happened next.

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TV Talk: Agents of SHIELD and Gotham

gotham publicity pic

The Fall TV season has officially started and it’s more super heroic than ever.  This week has already seen the premiere for Fox’s new Batman prequel show, Gotham, and the return of ABC’s Marvel without super heroes show, Agents of SHIELD.  Neither show was great.  But both were watchable which is more than I was expecting.

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Review: Snowpiercer



For the last week or so, I have been sidelined by a nasty cold.  The upside of that is that it allowed me to catch up with some movies I had been wanting to see for a while.  The most anticipated of the bunch was the Korean import, Snowpiercer.  The quirky sci-fi action film made some waves earlier this summer during its limited release.  But it failed to break out with mainstream audiences.  As the movie becomes available on video, I think its cult status is assured.

Snowpiercer has a brilliant premise.  An attempt to fight global warming goes terribly wrong and ends up freezing the earth making life unsupportable.  What remains of humanity is now confined in a luxury train built by an eccentric and mysterious mogul named Wilford.  The train is divided into a strict socioeconomic hierarchy with the rich passengers at the front of the train and the poor living in squalor in the tail section.  Chris Evans, best known as Marvel’s Captain America, plays a resident of the tail who leads a revolution to the front of the train.

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Boardwalk Empire: On Vacation at a different Boardwalk

Screen Shot 2013-09-29 at 2.35.11 PM

Yet again, a long weekend in Orlando is going to conflict with my weekly post about Nucky Thompson and Boardwalk Empire. That’s a slightly bigger deal this time around, with just six episodes left and gangsters dropping like flies, so I’m going to try to write something up after I return mid-week. I’ll definitely be posting a couple of photos of Disney World’s very own Boardwalk. Wish me fun!

Walt Disney World: First Time, Last Time, First Time in a Long Time (2014)




Every time I get home from a visit to Walt Disney World in Florida I take some time to look back at some of the great things I got to do. Usually these are well-worn favorite experiences and sometimes they are wonderful new things I had never gotten around to in the past. But I also am constantly amazed by how much stuff I still haven’t done, or by that long neglected attraction that got past me again. As I prepare for another foray into the World of Walt, I intend to right some of these past wrongs.
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Boardwalk Empire: The Good Listener


The writers of Boardwalk Empire have quite a job on their hands. After building a slow-burn series over four full seasons with dozens of characters in play, they have the task of wrapping the whole thing up satisfactorily in just eight hour-long episodes this season. They’ve decided to do a very thorough job.

Wanna talk about it? Damn the *Spoilers** and join me below.
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