Category Archives: theme parks
When the man whose name is also the name of your company indicated publicly that the company’s mission included constant growth, change, and progress you tend to be held to that standard. The fact that you’re charging an arm and a leg to visitors at your “Vacation Kingdom” also motivates mixing things up a bit. The Disney parks don’t always live up to this ideal and have certainly come under valid criticism because of it. But when you’ve got a large number of customers who are willing to visit over and over (like me) it indicates one of two things, or maybe a bit of both. A: They have actually provided a huge amount of experiences that stand up to lots of repeat business and have expanded over my lifetime from a single park with a few adjoining resorts to a mega complex with four theme parks, two water parks, close to twenty resort hotels, a huge entertainment and shopping complex, and a wide variety of other vacation options. B. With crowds continuing to be strong and earnings even stronger…maybe it doesn’t matter as much as it should.
Either way, they haven’t made me want to stop going yet. Not yet. We’ll see how that develops in the coming years though. In the meantime, I’m still finding myself capable of enjoying new things every time I visit. The above-pictured Mickey’s Premium Ice Cream Bar is something I haven’t sampled since I was a kid and there was just one theme park on property. Maybe I’ll make a point to remedy that on my newest trip to Walt Disney World which is coming in just two weeks. Let’s take a look at what is new for me and what is tried and true.
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As my Walt Disney World vacation approaches I continue hitting guideposts along the way. Today was a major one as my MagicBand arrived in the mail! Join me as I open it up and give it a look over!
If you have a commute or other life circumstance which plants you in one place for a while, podcasts are one good way to deal with these times. As a Disney fan who is constantly preparing for my next trip to Walt Disney World, podcasts on the topic are a big focus for me. Thankfully there are plenty of options out there for someone like me. Which are my favorites? I thought you’d never ask.
They run the risk of wearing out their welcome with that reprise don’t they? To my ears the Walt Disney Choir drops in about one chorus too late. Ah well, no matter. This is the sort of ear worm that can survive some mild over-reach.
Let’s address the seventy-year-old elephant in the room, shall we? Song of the South is a pretty complicated chapter in the history of the Disney company that has gone through an ebb and flow in critical and public estimation. Walt himself knew that he was treading on tricky ground with any film that was even adjacent to discussing race relations. He hired a Jewish “lefty” writer to try to balance out the tone and characterizations in the film. He hired the only African-American actress to ever win an Oscar. He hired a legendary cinematographer. He consulted with the marketing team of another racially sensitive film. He organized a meeting with the President of the NAACP for script revisions.
So what happened?
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I’m realizing as I go along that I have personal attachments to some of these songs that go back to childhood. That’s the case again this time around, with “Chim Chim Cher-ee” from Mary Poppins. Back in elementary school our music teacher chose me to sing this as a solo as a part of a school-wide variety show that included performances by each of the grade levels. For my school that meant everyone from kindergarten to seventh grade. As a fourth grader I wasn’t yet eligible for a lead in the yearly musical, but this solo gig as a singing chimney sweep meant that I was in line for that sort of thing in a couple of years. It was also the first time I remember getting positive reactions from the kids around me related to my performing aspirations. Boys who I knew mostly as grubby playground antagonists suddenly seemed to be recognizing that I had value. It was weird. Unfortunately because this performance happened back in the olden days of the Carter administration all photographic records of the event have been lost in the sands of time. I know we’re all really sad about that.
The rest of this article will actually be about the song itself. I promise.
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Okay, I’ve got to warn you right up front. This is a trip planning video that has a pretty limited audience. If you’ve never spent time over-planning a trip to Walt Disney World what you see in this video will probably seem arcane and a little bewildering. If you’re one of those people who got annoyed with Lebeau’s 50 day countdown to his trip a few years ago, this post isn’t for you. There is no video of the beautiful parks. There are no bouncy sing-along songs. This is pure obsessive trip planning. Keep in mind that I actually trimmed more than four minutes from the original run time.
You’ve been warned.
Happy Holidays LeBlog readers! During my week in Florida this season visiting family I managed to fit in a visit to Walt Disney World’s newly reimagined shopping and dining district. This is the area that used to be called “Downtown Disney” (and a couple of other names prior to that), but was re-christened as “Disney Springs” with the updates. As you may see in the above video, this involved more than just a few new vendors and a fresh coat of paint. Join your own Daffy Stardust as I tour the entire thing, offer my thoughts on a few food opportunities, and witness the exciting new holiday drone show. Yeah, Disney is putting on a nighttime show that features over one hundred drones flashing different colored lights and flying in tight formations to create a new kind of entertainment!
It’s just a few days after Christmas, so obviously the natural thing to do is to compose another post about Disney’s Haunted Mansion. The topics I’m going to cover here were touched on a bit in last year’s tour of the Walt Disney World version of the Mansion, but since I’m still finding these fan theories lingering I thought I’d talk about them in a little more detail than before. I’ll be asking three central questions, with a little bit of crossover. Who is Master Gracey? Is he the Ghost Host? Do you die on the ride? Some fans will give you a “yes” to those last two questions, but I’m not so sure. Let’s take a look, shall we?
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As you know if you’ve been watching the Daffy Does Disney videos I’ve been posting for the past couple of weeks, I visited Walt Disney World with friends for a long weekend recently. What some of you might not have realized, because I included very little footage that would have tipped you off, is that my friends and I stayed in one of the cabins in Disney’s Fort Wilderness resort. Because I was there for just three nights and spent most of my time either in the parks or asleep there is plenty about the resort that I didn’t get to experience firsthand (hence the title of this article), but I will try to share with you what I did find and some other stuff that is important to know about the resort.
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Okay, so for the last week and a half or so I’ve been sharing videos detailing my recent trip to Walt Disney World with friends. It has been a fun project, and might be the kind of thing I’d like to try again in the future. There are definitely things I have to learn about how to make such a project better than I have this time around, and I’d probably strongly consider an upgrade in my overall equipment next time around. My own camera skills are still a little questionable too, with plenty of shaky and meandering examples to be found even in the final videos.
This last Daffy Does Disney video for my Autumn 2016 trip will just be a fun set of highlights with no story to tell or information to share. It will just be some fun shots from all four days of the trip, sometimes organized thematically and sometimes grouped relatively randomly. If you’ve been watching my videos up to this point you will have seen a lot of this already, but there will also be video and photos that I have not yet shared included, mostly from our Saturday night park hop over to the Magic Kingdom which was very rainy at first. Not long after the rain stopped and filming resumed, I ran out of data storage, cutting short any shooting for the rest of the night.
Hopefully this last little bit of fun is enjoyable for everybody. Thanks for humoring me in this new approach to reporting on my trips!
The last big event of my weekend with friends at Walt Disney World was a new dining experience (for me) at Kidani Village in the Animal Kingdom Lodge, called “Sanaa.” It is a fusion restaurant that incorporates elements of both Indian and African cuisine and has the added bonus of being directly adjacent to the savannah, where animals like giraffes roam freely. If you eat at Sanaa early enough in the day you’re pretty likely to get a glimpse of these animals while you dine. Our reservation time changed a few times, both during the planning phase of our trip and in the days and hours leading up to the actual meal. We had very little trouble in making this happen because for some reason Sanaa just isn’t as widely popular as you’d think it would be. Maybe people are intimidated by the exotic menu or maybe they just don’t want to hitch it all the way over to Kidani Village for their meal. Whatever the reason is, their loss can be your gain, because this is easily in the top third of table service restaurants I’ve experienced at Walt Disney World. Check it out if you can!
Today you’ll see my solo foray into Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom. As you’ll observe, it can’t be considered a wholly successful venture on my part, but I genuinely enjoyed myself anyway and maybe my mistakes can help guide you if you are visiting the park in the future.
A quick word of warning…The Singing Around the World project is irretrievably silly and sophomoric ….and incomplete. Let it be known that I have no problem embarrassing my self and others and that I had planned to do even more of it! So now that you’ve been warned, let’s dig in!
I told you, didn’t I? Horrifyingly enough, the project was originally conceived as including pretty much every attraction that features a song prominently. In fact, if you know your Walt Disney World jingle history you know that at least one of the songs we sang here is no longer a part of its attraction. Why didn’t we follow through all the way? My travel companions were enthusiastic about the idea, but it really came down to a matter of having enough time. Getting the three targeted shoots done in Hollywood Studios wasn’t hard at all, and we got off to a strong start at Epcot the next day, but as I started to focus on my “Snacking Around the World” videos and the park started to fill up and stuffing our faces became a priority, I went ahead and let a few of the songs slide. Strong light for shooting video was also a concern as night fell and that really cut into the available time for shooting songs the next day in the Magic Kingdom, where we only had from 4pm until whenever it got dark. We just didn’t have enough hours to complete the project fully. With a planned dinner at Be Our Guest and multiple parades/fireworks/shows a priority for the evening I decided to just be happy with what I had…but not before pushing for one last shoot over in Tomorrowland. If you’ve already seen the above video then you know what I’m talking about.
Hopefully everyone watching the video will take it in the good humor it was intended and won’t expect too much from my performance or production values. If anybody feels cheated by the exclusion of “Grim Grinning Ghosts” or “It’s a Small World” or some other classic we didn’t manage to follow through on, well I challenge you to complete the whole project where I failed. I believe in you!