Monthly Archives: June 2015

Disneyland with Daffystardust! (Part One)


As you might have figured out based on LeBlog’s content over the last month, I returned to Disneyland in Anaheim California for the first time in 40 years last week. The memories of a five year old are an inconsistent thing. Some are vivid while others are hazy. Some are like still photographs while others are like gifs from our early lives. Scale is often an issue. When I visited my elementary school several years after my last day there as a student I was a little curious to know why they had lowered the coat hooks. So I was looking forward to matching the few childhood memories I’d held of Disneyland with what I was going to see as a middle-aged adult who had seen lots of other great stuff in the interim.
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Cabana Bay Beach Resort

Cabana Bay Beach Resort

This summer, we visited Universal Studios Orlando.  Our trip included a stay at Universal’s latest hotel, Cabana Bay Beach Resort.  This moderately priced hotel opened in 2014.  Like Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, the hotel consists of family suites and regular hotel rooms.  Also like a Disney hotel, Cabana Bay has a strong unifying theme.  Price-wise, the hotel falls roughly between Disney’s value and moderate categories.  Unlike Universal’s three deluxe resorts, Unlimited Express Pass to the theme parks is not included and there is no water taxi transportation.  Guests at Cabana Bay do receive one hour early admission to the popular Harry Potter sections of the Universal Parks which is a very valuable perk if you are going to Universal.

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Cedar Point 2015 Middle School Orchestras!


Saturday dawned clear and bright.  No it didn’t.  The Midwest was (and is) currently enjoying a daily dose of unstable air, high heat and humidity, and intermittent thunderstorms.  Kind of like Miami Beach weather in the summer.. except for the beach part.  Nevertheless, RB and little RB set out in the family Truckster to join the middle school orchestras for the annual Cedar Point outing.   This year’s excursion involved much coaster riding on the part of RB’s daughter and her friends, capped off with a ride on the Ferris Wheel where we were stopped at the very top of the wheel.  More on Cedar Point after the jump!

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Disneyland Bingo Deluxe!

Screen Shot 2015-06-20 at 6.58.49 PM

Lebeau and some of you readers came up with the idea of assembling a set of challenges for good ‘ol Daffystardust while I’m at Disneyland in Anaheim with some of my family. The first challenge introduced was for me to sing “Everybody Wants to be a Cat” to a cat there in the park. Since Disneyland actually hosts feral cats that clear out any rodent population at night I just might come across a real cat, but if not, I’ll try to find some less natural version to warble at. Carl suggested that I find the entrance to the private Club 33, so that made the list. The rest of the form Lebeau provided was based on some random person’s own try at this game and was frankly a little boring…so I developed the remaining challenges on my own, with an emphasis on the very unique sights and experiences there in southern California’s Disney park. Once I’m back from my trip I’ll report back on how much I was able to accomplish!

Disney Songs Poll Quiz!


In the tradition pioneered by Lebeau himself, I’d like to provide a little extra reader participation for the Disney Songs Poll, which we just finished counting down yesterday. Today I’m hopping on a plane to California and presenting a short quiz on the songs and movies we’ve been covering over the last three weeks. Join me below the break and see how well you’ve retained it all!
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Under-rated Disney World: Mickey’s Philharmagic

Mickey's Philharmagic

Mickey’s Philharmagic

Now that the Disney Songs countdown has come to a close, I thought it would be a good time to take a look at an under-appreciated musically-mind Disney attraction: Mickey’s Philharmagic.  The name of the attraction is a bit misleading.  The show bears Mickey Mouse’s name.  But Donald Duck is the real star.  Typical!  The mouse always gets all the glory.

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Disney Songs Poll Results! #1 – “When You Wish Upon a Star”

No ranking of Disney songs that places “When You Wish Upon a Star” in its top spot can be all bad. After all, this is the song that the Disney company has chosen over the years to feature as emblematic of its entire family-centered entertainment empire.
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Nicole Kidman Gallery

Disney Songs Poll Results! #2 – “The Bare Necessities”

Yeah Man!! That’s probably the most joyful song in the entire Disney discography. It pairs a lively melody with a hopping rhythm and it actually has something to say about life. At least the way Baloo the bear sees it. The song was the only remaining composition by songwriter Terry Gilkyson after a falling out between original director Bill Peet and Walt Disney over the tone of the film led to Peet leaving the project and being replaced by Wolfgang Reitherman. Strangely enough, the argument had been over Peet’s insistence on retaining the darker tone of Rudyard Kipling’s original book, which makes the presence of “The Bare Necessities” in this early version a little surprising. Those old standbys, the Sherman brothers were brought in to pen the remainder of the songs to fit in with Walt’s more family-centered approach.
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Review: Inside Out


I started to read some pretty strong hyperbole about Disney Pixar’s new animated feature Inside Out several months ago when the trailer first made its way around the internet. Phrases like “brand new” and “creative genius” were bandied about in a pretty cavalier manner. I had the great honor of being the wet blanket who responded to these social media posts by leaving a link to an episode of the short-lived ’90s sitcom “Herman’s Head.” Look it up if you think Inside Out is so revolutionary.

I found myself a little annoyed by some of the standard gender norm humor present in the trailer that also reminded me of some of the less inspired television comedies of the Clinton era. Men are always thinking about sports, are never listening, and probably don’t deserve their more emotionally involved wives. Har Har.

I should really learn to ignore Disney’s trailers, I guess, because even though my initial criticisms of the trailer are still valid, the context and overall entertainment value provided by the film as a whole overcome most of my complaints. Inside Out, despite some laziness in spots, turns out to be exactly the kind of laughs and tears family entertainment that most modern parents will welcome with open arms.
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Kathleen Turner Gallery

Disney Songs Poll Results! #3 – “Let it Go”

Okay, so we knew this one was inevitable. What was not expected was the fight “I See the Light” gave this cultural phenomenon for this spot on our list. Until very late in voting, the love duet from Tangled had clung to a slim lead over Frozen‘s iconic anthem of empowerment. But a late surge meant the unexpected upset wouldn’t occur and nudged “Let it Go” into our top 3. Is it the sort of spot in peoples’ hearts we will see it maintain in future years? There’s no telling, but for now, Frozen mania puts the song in rarified company.
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Disney Songs Poll Results! #4 – “I See the Light”

What a beautiful sequence! The amazing environmental design of the film and charming characters pay off as a simple, but lovely melody gives us a romantic ballad that can easily sit alongside the greats in Disney’s discography. Once again, Disney had invited famed songwriter Alan Menken to create the music for their newest animated feature, this time with co-lyricist Glenn Slater. The pair had initially intended to produce the song in a more anthemic style, but later adjusted to a gentler approach that they hoped would echo some of their favorite pop music of the 1960s, like that of Joni Mitchell.
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