The Burden of Happiness

Akamai 2Fans of the Enchanted Tiki Talk Podcast will love today’s guest writer!  Having been fortunate enough to have been invited into the Tiki Hut, I can attest to how funny and sweet the show’s hosts are.  When Keith agreed to write some guest posts for me, I was so excited for you guys to get to know him a little better.  He’s a great guy and I’m lucky to count him as a friend.  Enjoy!

The Burden of Happiness

As many diehard Disney fans know we take the Disney Parks very seriously. I can’t tell you how many “debates” I’ve had with people who don’t share the same opinion of Disney as I do. However, when those folks need advice on their trips to Walt Disney World I’m always the guy they turn to. I jump at the chance to do this, because I love to live through them even if I can’t get to the parks as often as I’d like.

I usually surprise them at the lengths I will go. From binders with show times, parades, hidden gems, restaurants, kids activities, etc. Even the most disinterested person comes back with so many smiles and excitement. That is the fun for me is to make someone who doesn’t want to go into someone who can’t wait to go back. I know that feeling all too well, because I was “that guy”. Since that fateful first trip I came home with a hunger for knowledge. I read everything I could on Walt himself, the parks, etc. Then, I started writing for a blog. Which lead to my own site. Which lead to co-hosting a podcast and the rest is still writing our story.RM-WDW-Entrance

You can imagine my excitement when I was approached by my mom about a “big family trip to Walt Disney World”. The last time we were there as a family I was two years old (a long time ago). Being the Disney guru that I am I was tasked with planning said trip. The trip is several months away and prices for 2016 haven’t been announced yet so I have had some time to think about how to attack this.

This is where the burden comes in. We will have three separate families spanning three generations to consider. We have everyone from the Disney addict (me), casual Disney fans, skeptics, and those who want a trip with an extra helping of shows-hold the thrill rides. As I said earlier I take the Disney Parks very seriously and want everyone to see it through my passionate eyes. The more I think about planning this the more ovewhelmed I become.RM-Cinderella-Castle

So I am sure some of you out there were or are in the same boat I am. I have some things that I know for sure.

  1. Get a Disney authorized travel agent. I have done trips both ways and believe me it is much easier with a travel agent. It doesn’t cost you any extra and the time you save is remarkable. I don’t want to publicly endorse one but if you wish to know who I use please let me know (@dolewhipdaily or keith@enchantedtikitalk.com)
  2. Each family will have a separate reservation. This way if life gets in the way it won’t affect the whole party. I have had to cancel trips because of changing jobs. So it is just easier and they can pay for the trip at their own pace.
  3. Have a big ol’ family meeting. Before our 180 day mark we will all get together and hash out what we want to do. We all won’t want to do the same things, ride the same rides, eat at the same places. So we will either have to compromise or agree that certain times we will be apart.
  4. Park hopping is a must. I always suggest this anyway, but I think in large groups it even makes more sense. All of us know that even the best laid plans get changed due to many factors. So having the flexibility can ease tension and the possibility of a un-magical day.
  5. Let each family plan a day. I know many people do this with their kids to help them feel a part of the process. For me not only will it lessen the “burden”, but it allows each family to research and get involved in the fun as well.DSCN2870

I am sure as I continue in the planning I will have many updates for you. Let me make one point clear before I finish. I use the term “burden” very loosely. There is nothing I like more than spending time with my family. To have us all together at Walt Disney World has been a wish of mine that looks like is finally coming true. I am even getting emotional writing this, because I know the memories we make there will last many lifetimes. Mostly because when my brother and I get together things tend to get crazy and stories will be handed down for many more generations!

To hear more about Keith’s passion for all things Disney, listen to the Enchanted Tiki Talk Podcast, follow Keith on Twitter, and Like Enchanted Tiki Talk on Facebook.

 

RM-Garden

Disney at Home: Gardening for Disney

RM-Lisa's-ThumbTake a close look at this picture of my thumb.  Seriously, zoom in on it and check it out.  You will find not even the slightest hint – not even a tiny smidge – of green.  Luckily for me, Raymond has not one, but TWO green thumbs (and the other 8 digits are green as well).

Of all the ways we try to save money for Disney vacations, my favorite is by growing our own vegetables and herbs.  Even though I’m plant-care impaired, Raymond’s a natural at raising thriving flora and is willing to plan, plant, and maintain a summer vegetable garden.  I take care of the herbs – they’re very low maintenance and most, except basil, are perennials.  He lets me pretend my contribution is meaningful and important.  (Shown are oregano and rosemary – I’ve also got parsley, mint, basil, and sage.)  RM-OreganoRM-Rosemary

Every spring around Easter, Raymond plows the garden plot into neat rows and uses a combination of seeds and small plants to begin the process of supplying our household with fresh tomatoes, zucchini, butternut squash, eggplant, peppers, corn and lettuce for the summer.  Weeds and insects require the most attention, but in what seems like no time at all, I’m planning meals around what’s ready to eat.RM-Zucchini RM-Lettuce

Just last week, zucchini and lettuce were ready to enjoy.  Tomatoes won’t be far behind.RM-Green-TomatoesBefore long we’ll be rolling in produce with plenty to share…except the corn.  It always looks like there will be plenty of corn…until the raccoons realize it’s there.  Then, an entire stalk at a time, the corn will slowly disappear each night.  Yes, it would be easy to put up a hot wire (electric fence) that may help save the corn, but I just don’t have it in me to do that to those poor raccoons.  RM-CornIf they’re crafty enough to find the corn and hungry enough to shuck (they actually do) and eat the ears off an entire corn stalk in one sitting, I’m inclined to let them have our corn.  We do manage to scrounge a few ears for ourselves during this time, but it’s rather disappointing how few we end up with.  Still – for saving money on produce, we (I really mean Raymond) have become experts.RM-Lettuce-for-Salad

What’s your favorite way to save for a Disney vacation?

Disney CD Set: The Music Behind the Magic

This week’s Saturdays With Nick takes us once more to an item in Nick’s amazingly fantastic collection of all things Disney.  How I would love to get my eyes (and ears) on this in person!

Disney CD Set: The Music Behind the Magic

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by: Nick

Released in 1994 by Walt Disney Records, “The Music Behind the Magic: The Musical Artistry of Alan Menken, Howard Ashman and Tim Rice” is a four CD set highlighting the creative evolution behind the music of The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, and Aladdin.
The set includes demos, tape recordings, final recordings, and unreleased master recordings of some of the most beloved music in Disney history.

The book and CD case are both cloth bound.

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The word genius gets tossed around waaaay too often these days when it comes to music.
If you want to hear musical genius unfold before your ears, one needs only to listen to these CDs.

The first 2 discs show how 2 men, Howard Ashman and Alan Menken, in my humble and honest opinion, saved the Walt Disney Company. The impression I get is The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast were written around the lyrics to these songs.
Really.
The third disc shows how amazingly fortuitous it was that they found Tim Rice to help complete the music for Aladdin after Howard Ashman’s untimely passing. Rice’s lyrics meld seamlessly in with Ashman’s.
Some of my favorite material from this set is hearing Ashman and Menken’s Little Mermaid Demos. It’s just amazing to hear Ashman do different character voices. The standout for me being his Ursula.
This set also comes with a wonderful book that looks at this creative period in the rejuvenation of Walt Disney’s animation department.

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Track Listing, on Amazon.

You can read all about Nick, his wife, Barbie, and their passion for all things (and places) Disney: Disney Musings Blog / Disney Musings on Twitter / Disney Musings on Instagram / Disney Musings on Facebook

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On Ellen’s Energy Adventure

RM-Universe-of-EnergyBefore I proceed with this post, I must disclose that I do not dislike Ellen DeGeneres.  I wouldn’t want anyone to be confused on that point.  I DO like Ellen.  Her Energy Adventure?  Not so much.  I’ve discussed in the past the Walt Disney World Attractions I could live without.  Today I’m taking that one step further by confessing this:  If there were a SINGLE attraction I would do away with at this very moment and replace it with something (anything!) better, it would be in Epcot’s Future World.  The attraction I find the weakest of all (although it is, undeniably and excellent place to take a nap)…The once-interesting and semi-entertaining Ellen’s Energy Adventure.

The problem?  It’s called FUTURE World.  Ellen and her buddy, Bill Nye (of Science Guy fame) embarked on the current version of their adventure in 1996.  NINETEEN-NINETY-SIX!!!  Let’s look at five good reasons for Disney to consider alternatives to Ellen’s Energy Adventure…RM-Ellen's-Energy-Adventure

1.  1996 was a long time ago.  Technology has come a LONG way since then.  Times were different.  Ellen and Bill Nye were a lot younger, sure, but advances in energy and the way humans think about fossil fuel and the future of energy was as different as the fashions of the time.  As an illustration of how much time has passed, I’ll share with you a picture of our family at Walt Disney World in 1996 and our family last May:RM-Magic-Kingdom-Parade-Watching-1996WDW Bus Stop at Old Key West

If ever there were a reason to update an attraction, it’s 19 years of technological advances.  Ellen’s Energy Adventure, unlike Carousel of Progress and It’s a Small World, is not a timeless classic.RM-Ellen's-EarthRM-Ellen's-Volcano

2.  45 minutes!  Hello!  This is a HUGE time investment during a Disney vacation.  There are practically an infinite number of better ways to spend this time than visiting 1996.RM-Universe-of-Energy-Exterior

3.  Future World as a whole is in dire need of modernization.  It’s not just Ellen’s attraction.  Compared to what Epcot once was, compared to the charm and beauty of the World Showcase…Future World (basically half of Epcot) has undeniably deteriorated to just a few interesting or enjoyable areas/attractions.  So much wasted potential saddens me.RM-EEA-Dinos

4.  It wouldn’t take much to “plus” the attraction (as Walt Disney would have said).  Ellen and Bill Nye could certainly make a return visit for another rousing discussion of energy or the space could be completely reimagined.  Makes no matter to me – Future World needs more “future” and the available real estate is right there in Universe of Energy.RM-Ellen-and-Bill-NyeRM-EEA-Dinosaur

5. The scenes I know nothing about.  Why is there an attraction in Epcot with scenes I haven’t experienced?  I fall asleep!  Every. Single. Time.  I have never, in the past 19 years, ridden Ellen’s Adventure and managed to stay awake for the entire attraction.  I always wake up for the dino part – it’s my favorite.

Are you a fan of Ellen’s Energy Adventure?  What changes would you make to Future World if you could?