Search This Blog

Monday, March 22, 2010

Sleeping Beauty Castle - The Walk Though

When I was a little girl, I wanted to live in Sleeping Beauty's Castle.  It seemed so pretty and magical.  I thought it would be lovely to see inside, then I found out that I could.  Over to the side there was a small out of the way door.  You could climb up inside the castle and look at diaramas from the film that mainly featured dolls dressed up like the movie characters.  It was cool.

Then after 9/11, the castle diaramas closed.  They said it was security and renovation.  Perhaps they thought they were out-dated (they were) or not very popular (they weren't) but I still loved them.  Year after year I would look with longing at the closed door until I just forgot about it altogether.  Then like Aurora waking from her enscrolled sleep, the door opened and the diaramas were back but with an updated twist.

It seems to be there are more of movie scenes to look at.  It may be because of the time that has passed but instead of the cheesy dolls, they have more lifelife scenes, LED light effects (twinkles, head of Maleficents staff, etc) and cool little things that could be missed if you weren't paying attention.  Example:  When you enter the dungeon area (it is more dungeon themed than just a corridor) you pass a barred window where you see the shadow of one of Maleficents pig guards with a spear, walking down some stairs and talking to himself.  It almost puts you into the fortress, trying to find Prince Phillip.

I am sooo glad they rescued this wee but mighty attraction.  Just because something isn't a fast thrill ride or you get to shoot at something, doesn't mean it is without value.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Adventures of Bun in WDW

Allow me to introduce you good gentles to Bun (The Softest Bunny in the World):
I found Bun at the gift shop upstairs at the Dolphin hotel. They had 3 sizes available and I thought the "Momma Bear" size was just right. My companions started coming up with names including "Bun", "Bun Bun" and when in France or when feeling saucy "Mlle. Le Boon". So Bun is here to share snacks from around the World with you. First is from the Magic Kingdom:
The Infamous Dole Whip: ala Bun, you can see the white swirl of vanilla like Buns fur. In my opinion the vanilla cuts the tart pineapple, to make the taste perfect.

Now over to the Polynesian for a Lapu Lapu:
Had to get Bun out of this picture because the pineapple was having a bottom malfunction. The lovely booze was leaking out of the bottom. The bartender said that sometimes they core them a little too deep. He made me a full drink in a glass and set it by the pineapple. This is a "grown up drink". No frozen fruit flavors just booze and juice in toxic amounts but they make you happy!

A quick trip to Animal Kingdom gives Bun one of the yummiest frosty drinks of the trip, the Yak Attack over at the Yak and Yeti.
It is a mango daquiri with myers rum float and a berry swirl. Just yummy goodness! The ones in the actual bar were better than the ones at the outside "to go" counter. I think the ones at the bar had more berry swirl in them.

Now on to Epcot World Showcase. Canada didn't have anything worth drinking so we went straight to England for Guinness and Fish & Chips (or in my case, fish and veg)
The nice chewy breakfast beer was lovely as always and Bun approves of the malt vinegar for the fish and chips!

France brought lovely White Star champagne:
Bun loves White Star and mentions that it is lovely with chocolate croissant! The Parisians were not too happy with Bun for posing with the bubbly. Honestly, you have room to talk, eating cheese that smells like feet. Bun was too much of a lady to say anything. She does recommend the croissant, really!

Japan has wonderful yummies such as sake (hot or cold), Pocky (thin cookies covered in Strawberry or Chocolate with crushed almonds or chocolate cookies), Botan Rice Candy (you eat the thin rice paper the chewy, slightly sweet candy is wrapped in and Kari Gori (snowcones with yummy flavors such as strawberry, tangerine, honeydew melon or a stripe of all three).

Morocco did not yield any drinks other than tea but Bun found a lovely rug to recline on so I could bring her pistachio baklava. Not too sticky, very nice taste.

Norway has two yummy items. First in the Krigla Bakery there is the Gravlox sandwich (lox, cheese, hard boiled egg) with a cloudberry horn and viking coffee:
The sandwich was hearty, the fish was lovely though the whole grain toast may be a little to dense for some American tastes. I thought it was great. The Cloudberry horn was wonderful and better than similar items in France because the cream is not as sweet. The Viking coffee was good on a cold day but not really strong and certainly improved the taste of the coffee. Aquavit, on the other hand is plenty strong as Bun can attest to!

Mexico rounded our day with a trip to "The Ditch" - where all the best tequila lives. While there were some yummy marguritas we tried including Blood Orange, Cucumber and Prickly Pear (yes they have tasting flights) but I went straight for the really good sipping tequila, no training wheels (lime & salt) for me! By the 3rd round I could see that the Ditch was starting to do Bun in.

By the time we got back to Animal Kingdom Lodge, Bun was ready for a little rest:
Yes Bun is a light weight but she is a bunny after all even if she is the Softest Bunny in the World!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique

I must admit, I was scared of this place.  I will say here and now I am vehemently opposed to "Glitz Pageants" for little girls, think that sexualizing them and making them look like 19 year old street walkers is not only twisted but just more legal spank material for pedophiles.  I had seen a similar type of shops at DTD "Libby Lu's" (now mercifully closed) that had little girls walking out with heavy make-up, sprayed and teased glitter hair, looking like they were ready to work the red light district in Bangkok.  Also the BBBoutique in Florida is more over the top in my opinion so I walked into this one with trepidation.

Where is it?  Oh yeah, it's in Fantasyland.  Once you go through the castle, turn to your left.  There is a gift shop there and the boutique is in the back.  So I walked in and... I was surprised as in pleasantly surprised.  The little girls were actually leaving looking like... LITTLE GIRLS!

I talked to the cast members there.  They obviously LOVE their job, love giving the girls makeovers but stress that they don't like the ho look either.  The nail polishes are pink, not red.  The color pallets for the make up are natural shades and light shades.  If they see make up going on too thick they blend it, tone it down or take it off and start over.

See?  The girls can get some pretty make-up, nails and have their hair done without the trash.  Some packages go have little hair pieces.  They told me that most girls choose on that matches their own color hair though some do pick a funky pink, purple or rainbow color.  These are NOT paired with ultra teased, sprayed and glitter gunked real hair.

This is a beauty experience I can get behind.  They have 3 packages:

Girls 3 years old and above can choose from three hair styles — Fairytale Princess, Disney Diva and Pop Princess — available in three packages:

  • The Coach Package includes hairstyle, shimmering make-up, princess sash, princess cinch sac and body jewels — $44.95, plus tax.
  • The Crown Package includes hairstyle, shimmering makeup, princess sash, princess cinch sac, body jewels and nail polish — $49.95, plus tax.
  • The Castle Package includes hairstyle, shimmering makeup, princess sash, princess cinch sac, body jewels, nail polish, princess gown of choice, wand, shoes and portrait package courtesy of Disney's PhotoPass® Service (assorted prints in themed folder). Determined by the choice of princess gown and shoes, price ranges from $195.85 to $205.85.
Adult ladies can do this as well but if you go for the Castle package, you don't get a big girl dress, you get a little girl dress.  I thought it would be fun to do this, get the make-up/nails done, then gift the dress and shoes to another little girl.  Think of the Disney Magic!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln - The Triumphant Return

As everyone knows, the first showing of Great Moments with Mr Lincoln was at the 1964 Worlds Fair in New York.  It has been in and out of Disneyland since it's arrival in 1965.  Mr. Lincoln was always the comfortable shoe for me.  I admit, I hardly ever saw it except if it was really hot outside and I wanted the air conditioning, or it was too cold outside or I was tired and wanted a place to rest, Mr. Lincoln was always there for me.  Even when I made a huge hog out of myself, demolishing the buffet at Club 33, and couldn't ride any attraction without hurling, Mr. Lincoln was there to give me solace and rest for my distended stomach.
Two years ago I decided I wanted to visit my old friend Abe and noticed he was gone.  Yes gone and replaced with an entertaining film starring Steve Martin and Donald Duck.  It was fine but it wasn't Mr. Lincoln.  I asked a cast member, why Mr. Lincoln was gone.  He didn't know.  I just wanted to know who the Commie was that did away with President Lincoln.  I have an idea it was Eisner who did it before he left.
So now Mr. Lincoln is back, bigger and better than ever before.  Disney has melded the best of all of versions of this show into one.  In the lobby, you can watch the Steve Martin/Donald Duck movie that use to play in the theatre.  It is a fun movie with clips of past shows, attractions and shops and is an excellent way to kill time between Mr. Lincoln viewings.
There are also amazing pictures of Lincoln on the walls as well as a 20 foot model of the Capital that one talented, crazy guy carved from stone.  The workmanship is amazing.  It is perfectly in scale and he made it all by hand.  Brilliant!
A pre-movie shows clips of Royal Dano, the iconic Lincoln actor who Walt had to have as the voice of Lincoln.  He is wonderful.  I am so glad that they use his voice for the show and what a show it is.  It is stirring, inspiring, sad, glorious, just like out Country.  They have kept the ballad "Two Brothers" along with Civil War photos that illustrate the song.  The look of the show overall is very "Hall of Presidents" from Magic Kingdom.
Lincoln is the most advanced audio animatronic figure to date, even better that Jack Sparrow. While he does "defy gravity" when he stands, the facial expressions are amazing.  His new skin (which is less reflective) is more lifelike and his hair is more realistic.  He truly is a marvel of modern engineering.  While having Lincoln stand without an arm to assist him (push him into a standing position like real people do) looks robotic, everything else is dead on.  Kudos to all the hard work that went into bringing our 16th President to life and reminding us of our darkest hour as a Nation and how we can overcome adversity.  
Do me a favor and visit Mr. Lincoln.  He may not be flashy but he is difficult to ignore.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Our First Trip To Club 33

Way, way back in the long, long ago - there was a mysterious door. A door you might not give a second glance to.  It almost blends into the background.  It is set back on a dusky street in the French Quarter of New Orleans or New Orleans as it might have been without the alcohol, hookers, trash and debauchery.  For this French Quarter exists in Disneyland and this door stands next to the Blue Bayou restaurant.  This is Club 33.
 Club 33 is a private club within Disneyland.  You ring a buzzer next to the door, give your name to the host and they confirm your membership reservations and buzz you in.  The Club covers most of the upper floor over New Orleans Square and is the only place in Disneyland where you can get alcohol.  While this is not much of an issue anymore with the opening of Downtown Disney (DTD) and Disney's California Adventure (DCA), before those areas were built it was a big deal.

Let's go back in time shall we?  It was the mid-1980's.  A few friends and I managed to gain entrance to the coveted club owing to a "friend of a friend" connection.  Isn't that always the way?  We were young, excited that we were doing something so exclusive and most importantly, we were going to drink booze in Disneyland.  At the time, you had to take the monorail over to the Disneyland Hotel if you wanted to grab a nip at the bar and come back to the Park.  

We were giddy when we were buzzed in and the door opened for us.  Now WE were the people going inside the mysterious club while others looked on in longing and envy. The lobby is very small.  There is a podium where the host stands, an old fashioned Victorian glass elevator and a set of stairs that curve up to the next floor.  We took the elevator.

Club 33 serves lunch and dinner.  When we went the first time, lunch was a buffet.  We arrived around 11am and they were still serving some breakfast items.  We ate and ate and ate.  We had deviled eggs and ham and caviar and eggs benedict and rare roast beef and cream puff swans and wee cakes.  We ate through brunch and into lunch proper.  Oh, did I mention that lunch was all you can eat?  We ATE!  The food was amazingly good.  Let's face it, the food in the Park is pretty much.... bad and YES that includes Blue Bayou.  Some places are better than their counterparts but in no way is the park's food something you would pay for outside the Park.  Club 33 is really good food.

The other perk of Club 33 is that your admission to the Park and parking are included as long as you purchase a meal at the Club.  Lunch was the best deal as it was the all you can eat buffet for $40 a person (NOT including booze).  We ate and drank for 3 hours straight.  We were young, skinny and had metabolisms like rabid squirrels.  We ate until we thought we were going to be sick and then we ate some more.  The sin of Gluttony, in all its glory, was on grand display at our table that day.  At the end we really thought we would hurl if we ate one more thing.

The Club also encompassed some very interesting things.  First, the Ladies ROOM.  I went into one of the stalls and saw.. a chair:
 Yes it is a Victorian styled chair for you to sit on and yes, when you lift the seat there is a toilet bowl there.  I really didn’t expect to feel like you were doing your business while sitting in your living room.  I even made my girlfriend take a picture of me sitting on the chair (with the seat down).  It takes a real friend to do that for you!

We had a wonderful, magical time.  I will warn you that eating that much food leads to adverse side effects.  Here we were - young, thin, fit and that food kicked our ass.  We looked at each other, glanced in the direction of the Matterhorn, turned green and all agreed to ride the train and then go watch Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln.  Those seemed like the best attractions for our bodies at the moment.  I swear even Mr. Toad would have caused us to lose our lunch on a three year old at this point.

Currently the membership list is closed and the waiting list is over 8 years.  A non-corporate membership costs (you need to sit down now) an initial membership fee of $10,450 and an annual fee of $3,275.   So if you want to be a member, get on the list now and start saving your pennies.  Also if you are one day late paying your annual dues, your space is given away to the next person on the waiting list.