Sunday, August 13, 2017

Goodbye Ellen

Today is the final day of operation for Ellen's Energy Adventure at Epcot.  The closure was announced at this years D23 event, a short month ago.  I've written similar eulogies for attraction before, speaking of their importance in both Walt Disney World and my personal life. However, I've never broken a six month blogging hiatus for an attraction, so you I hope you feel special Ms. Degeneres.
   I don't remember the first time I experienced Ellen's Energy Adventure. I'm sure that it wasn't my first trip to Epcot in 2006, and probably not the following trip either.  Early in our "professional touring" career Adam and I were interested in the headliners, with little interest in "sideshows".  And just as we eventually fell in love with the Carousel Of ProgressLiving With The Land, and Primeval Whirl, we also fell in love with the epic solar powered (kind of) gargantuan spectacle of Ellen's Energy Adventure. 


   I find it very difficult to explain to people where my love for this attraction stems from.  It's hard to quantify this abundance of love in a place where I love almost everything, but I'm going to try. Before you continue reading: if you think I appreciate the attraction due to hipster driven sarcasm then look no further than our post Why Disney Hipsters?  This isn't about how dated and boring Ellen's Energy Adventure is.  If you want that kind of negativity, just scroll though Twitter.  Here are five things that make this attraction special to me. 


   Everyones first recollection of this pavilion is the show building itself.  It's mirrored facade and sharp angles are intriguing to passers by.  Compared to its neighbors (actually all of Future World) this building is a true standout.  Why has the aesthetic powerhouse of the "countdown clock wall" never become a thing?  (until recently...) Of course, if we judged purely on outside aesthetics we could stop here, considering the fate of the building's facade seems pretty safe. (RIP the countdown clock wall) 

(photo courtesy of @Caitlizgrace) 

   The exterior might be the first thing people see...but its the DAMN DINOSAURS that people remember. Equally campy and impressive, adults and children alike leave talking about this extended scene. Even those Universe Of Energy haters have to admit, this is classic Disney.  But wait...my first two things don't specifically apply to the ELLEN version of Universe of Energy. So...


   For crying out loud! Go listen to the Bruce Broughton score for this attraction! The catchy up beat music has entered the cannon of classic Epcot music, and will continue to be heard in the entrance gate music loop. There is a reason this was included at the end of EVERY EPISODE OF DISNEY HIPSTER PODCAST.

(Disney Hipster Podcast crew in their 2013 halloween costumes...) 

   Ellen's Energy Adventure wouldn't have lasted five years without the amazing cast of characters and the actors that play them.  Ellen is amazing. However, its the supporting characters that really tie this thing together.  Jamie Lee Curtis is at her absolute finest, and Bill Nye his sexiest. Alex Trebek his most mustachioed and Kramer his least racist.  
   People often joke about this ride being one long nap, but I've never been among a crowd where the jokes didn't garner an audible laugh. The script is hilarious, and the actors more so. 



   A final favorite thing goes to the front row of the left car...and the seriously impressive ride vehicle system.  If you didn't get to experience this, tough luck. It really doesn't anymore after today. 

   Thank you Ellen's Energy Adventure for being one of my favorite Disney attractions over the last ten years. You made me laugh, cry, think...and yes, nap. For that, I will never forget you. 

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

16 Pictures From Disney California Adventure That Make Me Happy...

   You guys!!! It's Disney California Adventure's 16th birthday!!!! This is our third favorite domestic Disney park...just behind Disneyland and Disney's Animal Kingdom...and so I thought I'd share 16 of my favorite pictures of us enjoying this lovely park.  Here they are without comment. 



















   We love you DCA!!!! Except for Tower of Terror...we're happy that you're changing...sorry, not sorry.

Monday, February 6, 2017

I Love The Polynesian Village Oasis Pool Area

   We have been fans of the Polynesian since day one of visiting Walt Disney World. But in the ten years since then we had only been visitors to the resort, that is until this past October.  We were able to snag four nights worth of DVC points to stay in one of the recently remodeled DVC rooms. We were in the Tokelau longhouse, directly overlooking the beautiful brand new Oasis pool area.  Many just know this as the "quiet pool."  At any rate, with our close proximity, and my need to relax on vacation, I basically lived here.  Lets take a look!


     The Oasis pool, like all newly constructed/refurbed pools at WDW, is gated.  You need to be actively staying at the resort to use this area. Don't be a scoundrel.  The zero entry pool isn't that much smaller than the main "volcano pool," but is infinitely less crowded.  The landscaping is immaculate, full of palms, elephant ear plants, and all else tropical. 


   Along with the standard lounge chair seating there are a few A-framed cabanas.  These are a hot commodity, so get here early if you want one. But honestly they're not that special. 


   Unlike the Volcano pool, the Oasis pool is for relaxing.  Yes, there are definitely whole families here, but everyone seems to "get it." Going along with that, there is an obscenely large jacuzzi spa.  In four days I probably sat in this jacuzzi 20 times. Often times I was THE ONLY ONE, and never once felt like it was too crowded.  This is so great compared to the often cramped (with children) Jambo House jacuzzis.  The only problem is that there is no shade whatsoever...which really sucks. 


   Probably the greatest new amenity created during the refurbishment is the Oasis Bar and Grill! Prior to this there was no pool bar located here, the closest option being the Barefoot Pool bar at the Volcano Pool. 



   The bar itself is shaded, and fairly large.  A very comfortable place to sit and relax between dips in the pool. Trust me, I became VERY acquainted.   There are plenty of tables as well should you want to eat a full meal with your family. 



   The Oasis Grill is a walk up counter service window with basic food options.  Nothing all that special menu wise, but a huge luxury for families not wanting to leave the area.  Notice the refillable mugs on the counter?


   Hallelujah! There is also a FULL refillable mug station located here as well. Not like the crappy mini-station at Kidani Village.  Even if you're just drinking iced water all day, this is huge. 


   
   Yes indeed. I am obsessed with the Oasis Pool area and cant wait for another stay at The Polynesian Village Resort! This area vastly improves the value of your stay, and your ability to relax on vacation. 








Monday, January 30, 2017

Vegetarian Review Of Tiffins

   We have been waiting for a signature restaurant to open at Disney's Animal Kingdom since basically forever.  There is only so many times you can eat at the Tusker House buffet, or sit at the Yak and Yeti bar. When Tiffins was announced last year we were elated.  This. Park. Needed. It.  (imagine each period as the clap emoji.)  Unfortunately, we didn't love our meal here.


   At the moment Tiffins is set off in a dead end of the park. However, after the opening of Pandora this summer this will be a wildly popular thoroughfare. A shame, because it is very peaceful back here right now. 


   As we checked into our dinner reservation we saw a rare opportunity to say hi to Tarzan who was meeting just a few yards from the restaurant.  I thought this picture was too good not to share.  Does anyone know the height and weight requirements to play Tarzan at WDW? 


   We are not going into the interior of the restaurant.  There are plenty of blogs who went DEEP into that rabbit hole.  Just know that the theming is intricate and wonderful, and thought was put into just about everything.  The only problem for us is that the rooms are too big, and since this restaurant is just getting off the ground it isn't very busy.  AKA: It felt like we were eating in an auditorium. 
   Of everything on the menu I was most excited to try the Kungaloosh Spiced Excursion Ale. This beer is brewed specifically for Walt Disney World, unlike the omni-present Safari Amber which is only in name special. This ale is brewed with sorghum and spices including cinnamon and cardamom.  Although I was looking forward to this beer (because its beer) I knew I wouldn't love it.  It tend to like beers with little or no adjunct grains, which take away from the actual beer quality to me. But the sorghum wasn't a big problem...I just don't really care for spiced beers.  If you like sweeter beer you will probably enjoy this.