Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Random Disney Park Tips

I was pondering what else I could write about on this blog, and I've settled on the obvious- I worked at WDW for over 8 years, so how about some park tips?  These are in no particular order, just writing them down as they come to me.

*This might be an obvious one, but drink a lot of water- especially in the summer!  The Florida heat is brutal.  Don't forget to take rests!

*Always look up!  Disney has amazing theming, and if you never take the time to notice your surroundings, you'll breeze right past a lot of fun details.  For example, have you ever seen the old timey telephone on Main Street?  The next time you see it, pick up the receiver and hold it to your ear- you can listen to a turn-of-the-century party line!  The Christmas shop in Liberty Square has three distinctly different rooms representing the homes of 3 families: a German family, a musician's family, and a wood carver's family.  The Confectionary has plans for candy inventions on the walls.  If you go see MuppetVision 4D, don't forget to look at the back of the theater- the Swedish Chef is there!

*The Confectionary as well as the candy shops in Downtown Disney and in Frontierland sometimes have free samples of fudge on the counter, so pop in and check.  Plus, you can always count on a free square of chocolate at Ghirardelli's.

*The shops on Main Street are all connected so you can cut through them if you want to avoid street crowds.

*If there is a character you particularly have your heart set on, don't leave it to chance.  Make it a priority to find out when and where that character will be meet and greeting, and don't wait until the last second to seek him or her out.

*If your little girl is being treated to both the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique as well as a special dinner, do make sure your reservations are at least two hours apart- you don't want to chance stressing out because the BBB sometimes runs behind.

*Don't wait until the last minute to pick your souvenirs!  More than once I've made the mistake if waiting too long to pick what I want, and by the time I've decided, it's too late.  Remember, you can have your items sent to the front of the park for free.

*If you've been walking around the parks all day, it feels really good to dip your feet in the pool when you get back to your hotel.

*The first thing you should do with your family before the trip, is decide what attractions or other experiences are your priority, and then focus on making them happen.  You will not be able to see everything, so it's best to decide in advance what everyone's must dos are.

That's all for now. If I think of more, I'll do another set!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Why Once Upon a Time?

 I've mentioned my favorite television show a few times here.  Once Upon a Time is a pretty obvious choice for a Disney fan, and it was practically tailor made for me.  However, my level of obsession with this show has reached levels that no other show has ever done before.  Oh sure, I've loved other shows.  I was quite the Ghost Whisperer fan a few years ago, I went through a major Full House phase in middle school, and Bewitched is still my all time favorite classic sitcom, but nothing has quite resonated with me as much as the tale of every storybook character living together in a little town in our world has.

So why do I love Once Upon a Time so much, anyway? Well, first you have the obvious.  I'm a Disney geek.  OuaT is produced by Disney and borrows a lot from the films we love which I've pointed out in an earlier entry.  The stories aren't exactly like their Disney counterparts, but where is the surprise in that?  The new and unexpected twists and turns are what make the show so fun.  Who knew Snow White once lived as a bandit and works a bow and arrow like a pro? Who knew the evil queen had mommy issues?  Who knew Jiminy Cricket was once a man?  I also get a huge kick out of all the Disney references they toss in.

OuaT is filled with some of my favorite story elements.  For one thing, it's like a big mish mash of a fanfiction crossover.  You have a scene in which the Evil Queen from Snow White is conspiring with the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland and Captain Hook from Peter Pan! Rumpelstiltskin falls in love with Belle from Beauty and the Beast! Snow White and Little Red Riding Hood are best friends! Rumpelstiltskin uses the Mad Hatter and Dr. Frankenstein to manipulate the Evil Queen! It's so intriguing how all the various stories are intertwined.  I used to dabble in Disney crossover fanfic myself.  I started a crazy story called "The Great Disney Switch" when I was 13, which you can read here if you are curious:

Ouat has great potential for fish-out-of-water situations which I've always loved. You have all these characters from folklore and pop culture interacting with our world.  The contrast between their worlds and ours are a big part of the show's appeal.  I was tickled, for instance, at Belle's introduction to iced tea and hamburgers or Aurora's reaction to Emma's contemporary jacket or Emma trying to attack a dragon with a gun. The whole concept of fairy tale magic in our world is delicious. Any sort of magical elements in a story will hook me though.

While fairy tales and magic are a big part of OuaT, they are not even the only reason I watch.  The series also has strong emotional ties.  The characters are real people, not cardboard cutouts. No one is entirely good or entirely bad.  They are human....heightened reality, sure, but still human- even the villains.  The magic, if you will, of the show is that it takes these characters who have done truly awful, unforgivable, things and then turns around and makes you feel for them and care about them! The Evil Queen isn't just a vain, sadistic ruler.  She's Regina, a broken woman who spent her whole life being manipulated.  Often times, the non-magical character relationship moments are my favorite.  The characters are all in one mindbogglingly dysfunctional family, and the way in which their situations unfold just draws you in and leaves you wanting more.

No, the show isn't perfect- after all, the writers and creators are all human too! Not to mention, every fan has his or her own ideas on what it should be like, and they can't please everyone.  However, at this point, I'm so invested in the story and the characters that I will follow through until the end even if everyone else decides they've "jumped the shark."  Right now we are in the summer hiatus before season 3, and I -for one- cannot wait to find out what happens in the next chapter of this epic tale!

The cast of Once Upon a Time at this year's Paleyfest