We have our new website up. We still have work to do , but it is coming along. We found out that we can’t just automatically bring all of our followers over. I think that is odd since they are both wordpress sites. One is wordpress.com and one is wordpress.org. We are going to still post the link to the new articles over on the new site for the near future. We don’t want to lose any of our followers. We enjoy the interaction and since we won’t even be on the reader any more, we will come over and still read the people we are following. We won’t appear on the reader though. Again, I don’t understand this, but can’t change it. Just wanted to update you. We now have the buttons to follow on twitter, Facebook, instagram, Pinterest, etc. See ya real soon!
Our new site is now online!! It is named Family Travel Escapades with the address http://www.familytravelescapades.com. We will no longer be posting on this site. Our new site will still be mostly the same. Our primary focus is on all things Disney, but we will also expand to other travel topics. We are thankful for all of you who have followed us, and we hope that you will continue to follow our new site. Unfortunately, there was no way to automatically keep you subscribed. Our posts will no longer be on the WordPress Reader, but we will continue to receive your blog emails and will continue to check the Reader. We will also have Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. We hope to hear from you soon!
Perdita, Pongo, and Roly
* Zuri’s Sweets Shop in Harambe Market at Animal Kingdom opened this week.
* Starbucks Animal Kingdom mugs are now on sale at the newly opened Starbucks Creature Comforts on Discovery Island in Animal Kingdom.
* Frozen Summer Fun began this week at Hollywood Studios.
* Magic Slider time pieces will soon go on sale as accessories for MagicBands at WDW: a Minnie Mouse analog watch and another with a digital display. They slide onto your MagicBand and turn it into a watch.
* Disneyland Paris has now banned selfie sticks, too.
* ‘Inside Out‘, Pixar‘s new animated movie opens today! It has received a 98% Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes! (++editorial below++)
* Hans Solo had a wife. Who knew?
* Season 2 of “Daredevil” on Netflix will feature the popular comic character The Punisher.
* A new Disney radio station, Radio Disney Country, will start broadcasting this fall. Woo-Doggies!
* Dreamfinder and Figment will return in “Figment 2,” an all new comic series coming this Fall.
***We are attempting again to redo our website this weekend. Our new name will be Family Travel Escapades (familytravelescapades.com). We will try to switch each of you over with us. *****
++Editorial: I am really looking forward to seeing Inside Out! I have heard over and over about how original it is. I am really not convinced, though. “Herman’s Head,” a show from the early ’90s that I and about 6 other people watched for 3 years on the fledgeling Fox network had the exact same premise. I liked the show. I think that Pixar will do an even better job with the concept, but I would not call talking, anthropomorphized emotions original.++
Mr. Toads Wild Ride is my favorite ride at Disneyland in California. It is taken from the Disney animated movie ‘Ichabod and Mr. Toad.’ I have previously written a short review about this ride. I stated in that review that I would go more in depth. So let me tell you about my favorite parts of the ride.
Mr. Toad has many “scenes” in it This helps make it such a good ride. You quickly go in and out of several rooms as you run from the police in Mr. Toad’s car. My favorite part is right after you leave Toad Hall and crash out of his greenhouse. You go to a dimly lit area. This is one of the best uses of the dark, in dark ride. You can’t see the ceiling. It looks like a dark night outside. Many Disney rides, such as Winnie the Pooh and It’s a Small World, fail at this. Their ceilings are easily noticeable; and if you look up, there goes the magic.
This ride is the only ride to still use the old, cardboard characters. This means that the characters can’t move the same as the Audio-animatronics. It does mean that the characters are brighter, though. It is cool to see the old way, before the mannequin-style animatronics and the more advanced Audio-animatronics. The scene of the countryside has cut-out trees, and several policemen, and a farmer. The first police man’s hand extends toward you as you drive towards him. You then quickly switch course. He has a club in his hand and is dressed like the rest of the policemen, with a old-time police uniform. He also has a bicycle leaning on a fence nearby. As you swerve back away from him, you can, if you have a keen eye, quickly glimpse Ratty’s house. Ratty is one of Mr. Toad’s friends from the movie. If you examine a picture of it, you will see that it appears as in the movie, with a thatched roof, a dock, and tall grass and trees surrounding it. You then are yelled at by a second policeman. He jumps out from behind a tree, and yells “STOP” as you drive away from him. You then pass a police truck and move on under a bridge, with 3 similar-looking police-men on top.
You transition to the next scene, while still outside on the countryside. You pass a farmhouse, again, seen with the keen eye only. You then see farmer yelling at you. He is by a bridge. On the bridge is a cart with sheep in it, pulled by a horse. This is the end of my favorite scenes from Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride.
I hope I have given a good, descriptave overview . There are more to come, as this is by far my favorite ride at Disneyland. Try to look for Ratty’s house, and the farmhouse on your next visit to Disneyland park.
I’m going to tell you about some more famous character voices you may enjoy. There are several actors that Walt Disney used repeatedly in his live-action and animated movies. Last week I told you about my favorite voice; Sterling Holloway. This week I’m going to tell you about two more: Phil Harris and Kathryn Beaumont. Neither of these names sound familiar, but I’m sure the characters they voiced will be familiar to you.
First, Phil Harris, did the voice acting for both Baloo in The Jungle Book, Thomas O’Malley (the alley-cat) in The Aristocats, and Little John in Robin Hood. Harris was also a bandleader in the 1940’s, an actor in radio, television, and films. He was a pretty good singer too; singing keys songs in The Jungle Book like “Bare Necessities“, and joining Louis Prima in “I Wanna Be Like You“. He joined Scatman Crothers in The Aristocats in singing “Everybody Wants To Be A Cat“. In Robin Hood he sang “The Phony King Of England“. In 1989, Harris returned for a few episodes in the cartoon series TaleSpin as Baloo, before being replaced by Ed Gilbert. His last role was in 1991 in the film Rock-A-Doodle (not a Disney film) as the laid-back basset hound Patou. He died in 1995.
Kathryn Beaumont was an English actress, singer and school teacher who also did the voice of Alice for Alice In Wonderland and as Wendy in Peter Pan. Beaumont reprised her roles as Alice and Wendy in subsequent reappearances until 2005 when her roles were taken over by Hynden Walch. Beaumont is still living and is 76-years-old.
Summertime in Florida is HOT! And HUMID! Keeping comfortable at WDW in summer is a challenge. I have covered Magic Kingdom in an earlier article (Places to Rest In Magic Kingdom). Today, we will focus on Epcot.
First, I recommend a midday siesta or pool break during the heat of the day if you are staying on site. You escape not only the hottest, but the busiest time of day. The mugginess often begins early and drags on till late in the evening. So, even with a siesta, finding cool places to rest are still important.
Finding a cool spot is actually not the hard in Future World, as pretty much everything is indoors and wonderfully air-conditioned. There are not a lot of places to sit down and actually rest, though. Ellen’s Universe of Energy is maybe the best spot to cool down. This attraction offers over a half hour of seated AC. Many people find the ride outdated, but I enjoy it. That said, it is a one the best places in all of WDW to catch a nap. The Land Pavilion is as a whole a great cool down spot. Seasons restaurant is one of the best quick service restaurants with a large, diverse menu. Grab a bite, find a table, cool down, and rest your legs. While you are there, Living with the Land and Circle of Life: An Environmental Fable are great places to rest. Living with the Land is a wonderful, educational boat ride about agriculture; Circle of Life is a movie starring Pumbaa and Timon from “The Lion King.” It is mildly entertaining, but has seats and AC with no wait. Club Cool offers free, cold international soda samples, like the wildly popular Beverly, inside climate control for a quick refreshment. Some of the flavors are good; others, not so much.
Kids enjoy the spray stations. If you are okay with getting wet, adults can partake, too. There is one near Test Track and another between Future World and the World Showcase.
The World Showcase offers less options. Most of us wander form pavilion to pavilion and spend a lot of time outside. Pretty much all of the quick service and snack options have outdoor seating only. The food and beverages are a large reason why Epcot is so popular. One obvious option is to actually go into the stores and shop. Some of us are not natural shoppers, but you do what you have to do to get comfortable. If you do not like shopping, there are still some options. Inside the Mayan pyramid of the Mexico pavilion you will find shops, crafts, a tequila bar, and table service restaurant. It also houses The Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Cabelleros. This boat ride will keep you comfortably climate controlled and off of your feet. It is an entertaining break, too. With the demise of Maelstrom and upcoming Frozen ride, likely with long lines, Norway no longer offers a good option. The China pavilion has an indoor show, ‘Reflections of China’ which rarely has a wait. As you are passing the African Outpost, pull open the lid of the cooler for a refreshing treat. Go ahead. It’s okay. In the American Adventure, there is a great show aptly named “The American Adventure” which will give you nearly 30 minutes of AC and comfortable seating. The show is educational, entertaining, and patriotic. ‘Impressions of France’ is an outdated movie in the France pavilion; but there is rarely a line, it is in AC, and the seats are comfy.’ O’ Canada’ in the Canada pavilion, hosted by Martin Short, is the best video log of any country, but you have to stand.
Enjoy your day at Epcot! Even in the heat, and humidity of summer in central Florida, you can stay comfortable. Remember these spots as you traverse the park, and it will be a little easier.
I am going to start a multi-part article on the Disney Vacation Club (DVC). This is completely operated by the Walt Disney Company. I hope to help you figure out the whole, complicated system. Today I am just going over the most basic information.
1)The DVC is a Disney timeshare. You purchase points at a particular resort for a certain dollar figure per point. There are many variables which I will explain later, but these points are used to stay at one of the Disney DVC resorts. Not every resort on the Disney property is one of the DVC resorts; only the Deluxe Villas are part of the DVC.
2)When you purchase points at a particular resort, there are very specific rules governing when you may book a room at either your home resort or another DVC property. (I’ll explain more about this later).
3)You can buy a DVC timeshare directly from the Walt Disney Company or from one of several of the resale companies.
4)You can pay cash or finance your purchase.
5)There are advantages and disadvantages for buying DVC directly from Disney.
6)The purchase price for each DVC property varies widely and so do the points required for staying in the various properties.
7)There are 4 sizes of rooms in the DVC.
8)There are perks associated with owning at the DVC.
9)There are rules governing use and manipulation of the points in your DVC contract.
10)The points required to book a room at a particular resort varies with time of year which Disney states as high season, low season, and two moderate seasons.
11)You can rent your points out if you don’t use them, but Disney doesn’t sanction this. You must do this through a resale company.
This is just a basic outline of all the facets of buying and owning DVC. I have learned the hard way about a lot of the minutiae of owning a DVC property. I want to spare you from making the same mistakes we made and hopefully provide helpful tips if you are entertaining the idea of buying into the DVC. For us it has been a great experience and enabled us to go much more frequently than we otherwise could have. Tell me if you are more interested in one facet than another. I plan to do articles on each of the above points. Hope you enjoy!