Monday, September 30, 2013

More Awesomeness From Epcot's Tomb Warriors!

   Located in the massive Temple of Heaven in the back of the China pavilion at Epcot, the Tomb Warriors exhibit is an interesting and informative way to spend some time while walking around World Showcase! Though the main draw at Tomb Warriors are the hundreds of amazing terra cotta statues, there are other whimsical Chinese artifacts flanking the walls of the mini-museum!  Today we will be focusing on a few of these secondary items.

Entrance to Tomb Warriors

Tang Dynasty (8th century)

Two-humped camels were common in northern China from 200 B.C.
until the early 20th century.  They were popular in tomb sculptures from
the 6th century onward, providing a means for the deceased to carry
needed provisions in the afterlife. 

Friday, September 27, 2013

Coverland: A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes

   Its been a loooooong time since we visited Coverland!  There is no better time to visit wonderful Disney cover songs than in the fall, when everyone is sentimental and sweet. :)
   Today we are listening to a few gorgeous covers of A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes from the 1950 animated classic Cinderella.  Maybe you remember a while ago we delved into the source material of this classic song...which lead us to totally unexpected territories!  Today though, we will stick to a more familiar sound:

Simple harp and fantastic turn of phrase. Beautiful cover by Niia

Short breathtaking live version by Ren Harvieu. Echoey perfection.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Amazing Mural At The Yak & Yeti Bathrooms

   Recently we shared some phenomenally themed flyers found near the Yak & Yeti counter service restaurant at Disney's Animal Kingdom. We loved the "flying yak" poster so much that we turned it into a desktop wallpaper!
   Located in the general vicinity of where those photos were taken is another gorgeously themed detail. Just beyond the entrance way to the restrooms is a colorful ornate mural.  Sure, most people don't want to linger in this little portico...considering everyone passing by you is about to do their business.  However, I saw this as an opportunity to bring you a detail from Anandapur that you might otherwise have passed by.

From just outside the restrooms...

scan of the pretty!

   I love the fact that there is both a man and a woman pointing the way toward their designated restroom!  Its random fun and colorful details like this that make Animal Kingdom the special park that it is. 

Monday, September 23, 2013

Breakfast at Kona Cafe

   I'm not a breakfast at all. But there are few other meals at Walt Disney World that garner a cult following quite like breakfast at The Polynesian's Kona clearly I couldn't ignore this meal forever.
   Located in the Great Ceremonial House of The Polynesian Resort, Kona Cafe is the smaller and more casual of the two table service restaurants at the resort.  The restaurants is open air into the rest of the bustling lobby, mere steps from Ohana and the fabulous Tambu Lounge.  The decor is bright, cheery, and otherwise unassuming.  Though not terribly themed, it definitely blends well with the rest of the resort.

   Lunch and dinner, in true polynesian tradition, has a strong Asian influence...but breakfast is pretty traditional. (plus pineapple and macadamia nuts...) There are a few items on the menu that has developed a cult on par with my beloved school bread and zebra domes.

   Lets not waste anytime.  The above photo shows the big guy himself...TONGA TOAST.  You've surely seen our video recipe for vegan tonga toast, and rest assured that you can get a vegan version at Kona Cafe as well, as long as you call make a special request 48 hours ahead of your reservation.
   Tonga toast is essentially sourdough french toast, stuffed with stickey gooey bananas and rolled in cinnamon sugar. The toast is served with a strawberry sauce on the side...which isn't really necessary. These flavors go together surprisingly well, even though I was weary about the cinnamon and banana.  The bread is VERY thick and has a wonderful chew to it.  This thing will stick with you for a while, thats for sure.
   Normally this dish is served with bacon...or some other gross breakfast meat.  The server will gladly swap for another side.  Our fruit was fresh and exactly what it should be, even if the portion was pretty small.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Animal Kingdom Artifact: Display

   This is part of our Animal Kingdom Artifact series exhibiting the amazing artwork found in the atriums at Kidani Village.  These atriums are basically mini museums...with each floor housing a different theme.  Though they're tucked away, these little rooms often have some of the most beautiful pieces in the entire lodge. We recently brought you themes on protection and imports...and today we will share african art on the theme of "Display."

Asante Royal State Sword
This royal state sword from Ghana symbolized 
the wealth and power of the king who carried it. 

Maasai Gourd (left)
Maasai women from Kenya decorate gourd
containers that are used to carry a mixture
of milk and blood that has long been a staple
of their diet. 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Similarities Between Disney World and Hershey Park...

   A lot of you followed along this past weekend (on Twitter anyway...) as Adam and I took our inaugural trip to Hershey Park.  We decided to visit the park on a whim, and mere 24 hours before departure, and we were skeptical the whole drive down.  You see, we don't normal visit non Disney fact, this would be my FIRST non Disney park to experience as an adult.  I was very nervous.
   As most of you know, my fears were unwarranted and I fell in love with Hershey Park.  Obviously this is not the same caliber as a Disney park...but it was pretty dang fun, and clean, and certain areas were even themed.  I enjoyed it quite a bit.
   Here is a silly video demonstrating some of the similarities between Hershey Park and Disney:

   Charming right?!?!  I still cant get over how great the little train is! And the monorail is loads of fun!  Have you ever been to Hershey Park?  Did you also have a fabulous experience?  Let us know via Twitter or on Facebook!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Top Five Tips To Experience Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party:

   Mickeys Not So Scary Halloween Party has become one of my favorite events of the year! Between the special character greetings, fireworks, shows, and trick or treating there is a lot to take in.  Sure, it's just a silly Halloween party...but to fully experience everything you have to have a clear idea of what to expect.  Our first year attending was a little hectic, and our irritation was palpable.
   I know you've heard a lot of this before, but here are our top five tips to experience the party to its fullest:

   Show Up Early (and rested):
      -If you have any inclination that you or your group will want to experience attractions during the festivities get them out of the way before the party actually begins. MNSSHP traditionally runs from 7PM to Midnight.  If you don't have a regular base ticket for the day, fear not! With your hard ticket to the event you can gain access to the Magic Kingdom as early as 4PM.  
      Use the few hours prior to the party to experience attractions, (Haunted Mansion or Pirates maybe?) eat your evening meal, and finalize your game plan for the evening.  Don't waste time on attractions during the party until the very end.  

   Line Up Before the Party Starts:
      - A huge part of MNSSHP is character meet and greets. Both fur and face characters are in every conceivable corner of the park, but you don't need to bother them unless they're specific to the party.      
      Every year there are a few must meet characters.  This year the big ticket are Jack and Sally from classic Nightmare Before Christmas.  These characters (however ugly the design is...) are extremely rare at Walt Disney World, and the line will reflect this throughout the night.  If you have any hope of enjoying the party without waiting in a long line during the limited hours available you need to line up early.  Join (or start) the queue no later than 45 minutes before 7:00 if you have any interest in meeting these rare characters.  The same rule applies for the seven dwarves and the princesses/princes. 
      It is possible to meet all characters available...but you will have to dedicate your entire evening toward the process. 

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Disney Blog Roundup: 9/14/13

   Things have been pretty crazy around Disney Hipster Headquarters! Not only have we had several scheduling issues with the blog and podcasts, but we have a lot of random stuff going on in our personal lives. (nothing bad...just keeping us busy.)  As we get close to our big "November 40th" trip we hope things will calm down somewhat.   But as I sit here now...I'm exhausted.

Why cant I just be at Epcot right now???

   On Disney Hipster Blog: 

      - We started the week off sharing one of the most magical things that ever happened... the time we met Mowgli!

      - I was so happy to share my love of the Citrus Infusion! Seriously, I don't know why I love this drink so much.

      - On Friday we took a look at these amazing storyboards from The Jungle Book! 

   Other Peoples Blogs: 

      - Mouse On The Mind and This Happy Place Blog teamed up on a fun Dapper Day series... and let me be a part of it!!

      - Sarah at Eating WDW wrote an absolutely phenomenal post about her favorite vegetarian dishes at Disney World! So great. 

      - When I need a pick me up, in the form of awesome vintage Disneyland pictures I look to Gorillas Don't Blog. These Matterhorn pictures from 1963 really did the trick! 

      - Le Parcorama compiled a terrific collection of Disney based animated gifs!

      - California Grill has finally re-opened at The Contemporary after a lengthy refurbishment... and Disney Food Blog covered it extensively. Obviously!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Amazing Jungle Book Storyboards Featuring Kaa

   During the development of the 1967 animated classic Walt realized the strong appeal of Kaa.  The sneaky snake had gone through a strenuous developmental evolution, and the perfect mix of conniving and bumbling (not having arms can be rough!) was found.  Disney asked the story development team to include another segment involving Kaa, and had the Sherman brothers write a song for the new sequence. 
   Featuring a thoroughly hypnotized Mogli, the Trust In Me portion of the film ends up being one of the most remarkable.  Here are some fantastic storyboards depicting some of the iconic animation: 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Disney Standard Bar Menu: Citrus Infusion

   The Disney World standard bar menu is provided out of necessity. Considering the vast amount of bars that will have to be accommodated, it would be nearly impossible to have a tailor made menu at each I give Disney a reluctant pass on this one.
   The wine and beer list is small but not horrible, and does a great job of including the tastes of the lowest common denominator.  The cocktail list on the other hand is a true anomaly.  Contained within are your standard margaritas, mojitos, and sours...but also some truly bizarre additions like the Godiva liqueur and strawberry flight. (seriously? why does this exist?)  It also includes one of my guilty pleasures: the Citrus Infusion! 

   Most of you know, I'm a beer drinker.  I usually shy away from cocktails (especially Disney cocktails...) because they're usually sweet beyond description.  But the citrus infusion is one of the few exceptions to the rule.
   The drink is blend of Skyy Citrus vodka, Midori, orange juice, mint and lemon juice.  Though there is a fair amount of sweetness from the Midori (Japanese melon liqueur) it is balanced well with the vodka, and lemon juice.  The fact that there is no added simple syrup or agave nectar is much appreciated!  The adjective I'd most associate with this drink is bright.  The mint, orange juice, and lemon all lend a wonderful refreshing balance.

Trust me, he tried to drink my fruity drink... 

Monday, September 9, 2013

That Time We Met Mowgli...

   "Character stalking" is something of an art.  The practice of obsessively meeting Disney meet and greet characters can either make or break your day depending on your good fortune, but is also strongly affected by your circle of influence.  Such is the case this past May!
   While casually touring Disney's Animal Kingdom, after a breakfast at Tusker House, we started to hear rumblings on Twitter that Mowgli would be meet and greeting at the park!  As the rumblings started to peak around 10AM, friend of the blog @dibadisney tweeted his location to help us out!  Adam and I ran (well, walked very quickly...) to the front of the park. Tada!  There, in all his flesh colored body suit glory was one of the most rare characters to meet at Walt Disney World.
   Here is what went down:

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Sunday Quickie: Monsters U Topiary...

  This past spring, during Epcot's Flower and Garden Festival there was a fabulous topiary display promoting Monsters University.  I cant think of a context in which I will ever get to use these photos...but they're just too cute not to!  So here they appear on this weeks Sunday Quickie!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Pangani Forest Exploration Trail: Lake Victoria Rock Cichlids

   I've become newly fascinated with the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail.  This self guided walking tour is located in Harambe, in Disney's Animal Kingdom...and is completely filled with wonderful details.  Just recently we examined a wonderful detail off the beaten path of normal guests touring the exhibit, and today we will look at an equally fascinating element of the story.

   Located throughout the trail are bulletin boards, used by the research team, including their notes on specific species.  This bulletin board tells a quick and precise story of the Lake Victoria Rock Cichlid, an important fish (actually a few types...) endemic to the lake.  Apparently these fish are disappearing due to the introduction of Nile Perch to the water, who feed on the cichlids. sad.
   The first picture is the bulletin board in all its themed glory, followed by scans of the notes inside. Forgive the bad quality of the scans, as they're behind glass. :(

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Two Other X. Atencio Songs...

   Yay! Today is Disney Legend X. Atencio's 94th birthday! Atencio started working for Disney as an animator in 1938, before being reassigned to Imagineering in the mid 1960's.  It was Walt who pegged X as a lyric man after associating him with his wonderful turn of phrase.
   Though he was apprehensive about his new role, Atencio is responsible for Yo Ho Yo Ho (A Pirates Life For Me), Grim Grinning Ghosts, and The Bear Band Serenade. In addition to his wonderful whimsical songs, he is also wrote attraction scripts, did voice over work, and produced various visual elements as well.  He is truly one of the most inspirational and positive old school Imagineers, with an amazing amount of work.
   So lets celebrate X. Atencio today by listening to two of his most catchy songs! Neither songs attractions are still around today, but they remain a huge part of the lyrical Disney canon.

If You Had Wings.

El Rio Del Tiempo

   Seriously though, how catchy are those songs? There is no way a person can listen to them and not feel better about their life!  Thanks so much X. Atencio for breaking out of your comfort zone to bring us such wonderful melodic joy! 

Monday, September 2, 2013

Resort Counter Service Restaurants...

   There comes a time in every Disney park fans life where traditional park touring can become somewhat mundane.  Experiencing even the most thrilling of thrill rides can become a bore if one becomes too familiar with the ins and outs.  Eventually you seek out other ways to enjoy Walt Disney World.  The most popular (and logical) step tends to be exploration outside of the parks.  Disney resort hotels have become destinations in and of themselves.  Self contained worlds unlike no other, these resorts are much more than a place to sleep.

Animal Kingdom Lodge is a unlike anywhere in the world...