Skull and Cross Bones

Disney Pirates I’d Love to Meet

Captain Jack Sparrow Photo Op on Castaway CayAvast me hearties!  We be settin’ sail on a mighty adventure.  Hop-to ye scallywags, hoist the mizzenmast and swab the deck – It be International Talk Like a Pirate Day!  Park yer dungbie and grab some grog, landlubber.  Arright, Matey, let’s parley!

Happy International Talk Like a Pirate Day!  In honor of this most auspicious occasion….

Here are Five Disney Pirates I’d Love to Meet (and why):

1. Captain Hector Barbossa – Oh, sure, Jack Sparrow is quick-witted and charming, but if I actually got to choose a pirate to meet from the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, it would be Barbossa, without a doubt.  He’s edgy, learned, appreciates the finer things in life and has a certain mystery about him that makes me want to spend some time in his company and find out what makes him tick.  What was his childhood like?  What made him into a seemingly greedy and ruthless salty dog?  For real, I’d take meeting Geoffrey Rush over Johnny Depp any day.

2 and 3. Captain Hook (both of them!)Emma and Hook OUAT

  • Peter Pan’s Nemesis, James Hook (voiced by Hans Conried) – Even though he’s a cartoon, I love him!  Childish, spoiled, paranoid, and manipulative – what’s not to love about that?  He’s got a great sense of style and some pretty impressive facial hair.
  • Killian Jones (played by Colin O’Donoghue)  – Once Upon a Time’s dark, yet vulnerable hottie.  Easy on the eyes with a lovely accent, this Hook has been making viewers swoon since he appeared for the first time in Season Two.  Now that we know his past, he’s all the more lovable and I’m sure you’re with me in hoping that he and Emma will work out their differences – or at least give into their mutual attraction.  Finally.

4. Blackbeard from 1968’s Blackbeard’s Ghost – Played by Peter Ustinov, Blackbeard is cursed upon his death to wander in limbo.  The only way for him to move on is to perform a good deed.  If you haven’t seen this film, you probably won’t understand how Blackbeard made the list, but hey, my list.  It’s Peter Ustinov.

Disney's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea5. Captain Nemo from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (James Mason)- I know he seems ruthless, but I’d love to tour the Nautilus and see all of Nemo’s inventions.  Plus, he had such flair and a really fine beard.  When he wasn’t being diabolical, I bet he was a heck of a great host.  Esmeralda, his pet sea lion, would be pretty awesome to meet as well!  Remember the ride at Walt Disney World?  I rode it just one time in 1990.  Good times.

Who would you have on your list of favorite Disney pirates? 

 

 

 

Muppets in Disney's Hollywood Studios

Raised by Muppets, I Turned Out Just Fine

Sesame Street Super-FanListen my friends and I will share with you the true story of a long ago childhood.  Back in ancient times, the 1970’s – in the days before microwave ovens, cable TV, and VCRs.  In the days where boys and girls walked alone to school (in all kinds of weather, year-round, five miles uphill, both ways), played on rusty playground equipment which sat atop concrete playgrounds, rode in cars without seatbelts and happily suffered the effects of second-hand smoke all day, everyday.  Unimaginably dangerous, but happy times.

Begin Flashback Sequence Now …..

By the time I started Kindergarten in 1970, my stay-at-home mom had decided to go to work, I’d earned some street smarts in the rooms and playgrounds of Harrington Park Nursery School and at the hands of under the influence of my much older siblings, who were 9, 10, and 13 years my senior.  I was ready to take Hillside My Own KermitElementary by storm while I became what is regrettably referred to as a “latchkey kid”.  Luckily for me, Sesame Street had been on the air for nearly a year.  It was my go-to show after school and before suppertime.  Bear in mind there were a whopping FOUR channels of television programming from which to choose.  I know, impossible to believe, right?  The three major networks (ABC, NBC, and CBS) and PBS (Public Broadcasting Service).  During the hours between school and the call to the dinner table, the networks tended to show some incredibly boring stuff – at least to my nearly six-year-old self.  PBS rocked!

Ernie and Bert, The Count, Big Bird, Cookie Monster, Oscar the Grouch, Kermit the Frog and many, many others were a huge part of my childhood.  Thanks to the Children’s Television Workshop‘s educational programming initiative, I was entertained while being taught my colors, shapes, Fozzie the Bearnumbers, letters, and even body parts!  Songs like “The Rubber Ducky Song” “It’s Not Easy Being Green” and “I Love Trash” were perennial favorites.  I may have been left to my own devices, but I was smart enough to let those Muppets help me along.

Flash forward to 1976…

A lot in my life had changed.  I was a worldly fifth-grader that fall and had left the likes of Elmo and Mr. Aloysius Snuffleupagus behind.  We’d moved half-way across the country and everything familiar had also, like my favorite Sesame Street Muppets, been left behind.  What I needed was some lighthearted, comic relief – and low and behold, Jim Henson and his band of sarcastic mischief makers were there for me!  With the premier of The Muppet Show, I fell in love with the Muppets all over again.  Pigs in Space, the Swedish Chef, Lou Zealand, Fozzie, Miss Piggy, Gonzo, Kermit, Statler and Waldorf – they were there, with a much more grown up humor, just when I needed them most.  While it wasn’t by any means the best bit in Muppet Show history, the memory of those Babies singing “Deep in the Heart of The Muppet ShowTexas” with Dale Evans still cracks me up! (Watch it here.)  The Muppet Show, those beloved characters performing with my favorite actors and comedians became a very important part of my life.

In 1979, the Muppets’ place in my heart was sealed forever…

I was by then smack-dab in the middle of the most awkward year of my existence.  The7th grade was typically difficult, but to me, I was all alone in my Junior High angst.  Bad hair, bad skin, socially inept.  The horrors and indignity of a girl’s life at that age are indescribable.  That summer, The Muppet Movie thrilled and delighted theater audiences (and ME) with the perfect blend of super stars, Muppets, comedy, and epic musical numbers – Some of the best songs Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem ever produced were on that soundtrack.  On December 22nd of the same year, John Denver and the Muppets: A Christmas Together premiered on TV.  There was not one second of that program that I did not love.  The music was incredible, the album (actual vinyl) was purchased at the earliest opportunity and to this day those songs (not on vinyl) are a part of every one of my annual Christmas playlists.

The subsequent string of Muppet movies, some hits, some misses, has sustained my The Muppet Movierelationship with my Muppet “family” through the years.  Muppet Treasure Island had some very entertaining parts and A Muppet Christmas Carol is a seasonal must-watch at our house.  I like the newest Muppet movies alright, but thought Lady GaGa and The Muppets was an abomination.  I grew up with these guys and I am extremely protective of them!

From some of my earliest memories, the Muppets have been an integral part of my life and they helped shape me into the person I am today.  They were there for me after school, made me laugh when I was an insecure tween, and are forever intertwined with my Christmas memories.  I know that MuppetVision 3D at Disney’s Hollywood Studios is highly criticized as being worn, old, and outdated, but those puns, Rowlf the Dogsight gags, and characters are part of who I am!  I was raised by Muppets…and I turned out just fine!

Have Muppet thoughts or feelings?  Please leave a comment!

 

 

 

Toy Story Midway Mania Queue Mr. Potato Head

No FastPass? I Must Pass!

In line at DisneyRecently I gushed about some of my favorite queues at Walt Disney World.  You know the ones I’m talking about – The attractions where waiting is almost as much fun as riding!  Boy, I’m a huge fan of Disney’s efforts towards making the wait actually part of the attraction, the storyline, the amusement.  I seriously adore what they’re doing with queues these days.

There are a few attractions though…I hate to say it, but I avoid the standby lines like the plague.  Even after bragging, right here on this very blog, that I’m all Zen with the waiting when I’m in the Disney Bubble.  It’s not uncommon for me to see a 40 minute wait time and say, “Heck, yeah! Let’s do this!”  I have SO many must-do rides, but have found that I’m actually good at staying in the here and now…appreciating that I’m on vacation at my most beloved home away from home.  I don’t mind waiting…usually.

You may be asking – What’s the deal, Lisa?  You’re a pretty big Disney fan and yet you just My Feet Waiting for Winnie the Poohadmitted that you…YOU must have a FastPass for certain rides or what?  You won’t wait?  You’ll walk away?  Seriously?

It’s just that there are certain attractions with standby lines I find I try to avoid if at all possible.  I’ll rope drop, FastPass, late night, rainy day – take advantage of everything imaginable to avoid waiting there.  In those lines.  Tell me you don’t have a few of those on your own touring plans.

I’ll list my top three and explain what I find so…avoidable:

Waiting in Line for Soarin'1. Soarin’ – If I could just bring a snack or something.  I adore Soarin’, but pretty much need a FastPass to ride.  I’ll go early in the day, but if the wait is more than 30 minutes, I can’t bring myself to do it.  I’d rather go sit at Sunshine Seasons and nosh on a chocolate croissant while The Fam carries on without me.  Even with the queue upgrades to add some interactive elements, it’s industrial, cold, boring and causes me to drain my cell phone battery to kill the time by surfing the interwebs, tweeting, checking Facebook, etc.  The Soarin’ standby line kills my cell phone – that’s it in a nutshell.  The cell phone battery effect.

2. Toy Story Midway Mania – I’ll freely admit that I have classic ADD.  It’s okay.  I’m used to it.The Standby Line in Toy Story Midway Mania  But when I hit the standby line at TSMWM, it’s like stepping into my own brain.  I’ve always got a lot going on – in full, living Technicolor.  I’ve got a heck of an imagination, am constantly thinking about one topic after another – like a pinball bouncing around in an arcade machine.  I’m fine with waiting for TSMWM…at first.  The colors, the huge toys and games, Mr. Potato Head talking incessantly – all fun and exciting in the beginning, quickly become much too much.  No can do, ride queue.

It's a Small World Clock3. It’s a Small World – I actually love the “Happiest cruise that ever sailed”.  I don’t care that the song sticks with me for days, I don’t care that there are hundreds of dolls in there.  We’re the same age, remember?  1964 New York World’s Fair – my family visited the fair the summer before my arrival and experienced the original ride (technically, I suppose I did too)!  What kills me in this line is that awesome clock!  I wait for it to do its thing and in between “performances”, I start to notice stuff.  Things that make me twitch.  A man and woman having an argument, parents looking the other way while their little ones misbehave, some unfortunate tattoos – I can’t help it!  It’s best I avoid waiting here if at all possible.

What about you?  What standby lines to you avoid?  Which ones to you love the most?

 

Cast Member in Norway Pavilion

Walt Disney’s World Showcase – The Maelstrom Matter

Mural in Maelstrom / World Showcase / EpcotYesterday I wrote about why Walt Disney World must change.  I discussed the need for change in a broad, general scope.  Today, I feel the need to weigh in on the Maelstrom Matter.

I don’t feel the outrage I thought I would.  Initially, when the rumors were just a whisper, I was heard to say, “And so begins the utter ruination of the World Showcase.” but then I took some time to consider.  Does this really mean World Showcase is doomed?  It could certainly be the beginning of the end for the initial purpose of the World Showcase.  Conversely, it could be the start of a new era for Epcot.  Time will tell.

Before I go much further, let me add that I am what I would classify as extremely neutralEpcot's Norway Pavilion about Maelstrom at this particular moment in time – I am in no way going to attempt to sway your opinion about this issue one way or another.  It’s the duty of every Disney devotee to feel passionately about their most valued Walt Disney World parks, rides and attractions.  Maelstrom is, soon to be was, a ride I rode and enjoyed on nearly every visit to Walt Disney World.  I sincerely and deeply love the Norway pavilion (I professed my affection here and here).  At the same time, I also have wished for many years now that Disney (or Norway) would pour some much needed resources into updating this special little corner of the World (Showcase).  Alas (oh, yes, I did), beggars can’t be choosers.  Be careful what you wish for?

Buildings in Epcot's Norway PavilionSo, now we’re getting a major change.  While I liked the movie and found it entertaining, I’m not a huge Frozen fan (gasp!).  Here’s what I believe will be the best case scenario and what I’m strongly hoping for at this point –  Norway will continue to be all about Norway.  Frozen‘s characters will be integrated in a way that is strictly in keeping with the traditions, vision, and values of the original World Showcase concept.  It would be ideal if Hans-Kristoff-Anna-Sven (the movie’s nod to Hans Christian Anderson) and the other characters would guide guests through the history, folklore, culture, and customs of Norway.  Hey, a girl’s gotta have hopes, right?

I know what you’re thinking. This thing could go the other way completely – and you’d have a very valid point!  Disney could go all “Little Mermaid” on it and replace Maelstrom with nothing Norway Pavilion's Viking Statuebut a series of movie scenes, some big, in-your-face animatronics, music, and some colorful props.  The World Showcase will be packed with children and their parents willing to wait five hours for a trip through Arendelle.  Norway, the country, will be completely lost in the melee.  I know!

Naysayers will say nay.  Little Mary Sunshine types (like me, in this case) will hold on to our belief that the Disney Company will do the right thing for everyone and amaze us with a new and improved Norway Pavilion.  Only time will tell.  Come 2016, we shall see.  I will be there, with an open mind.  I’ll be visiting the actual country of Norway on Disney Cruise Line in June (2015) and I’m pretty sure the experience will only make me wish for a happy ending all the more.

I’ll leave you with this:  “I would rather entertain and hope that people learned something than educate people and hope they were entertained” – Walt Disney

Troll Topiary in Epcot's Norway PavilionWhat about you?  How do you feel about the matter of Maelstrom?