Monday, September 29, 2014

Whats So Special About Pecos Bills?

   Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn & Cafe is a quick service restaurant in Frontierland in the Magic Kingdom. More commonly referred to as simple Pecos Bills, the restaurants food isn't anything special...but there is something about this eatery that strikes a chords with certain people.  Lets explore...

   Lacking the intimacy and subtle charm of the nearby (and often preferred) Columbia Harbor House, Pecos Bills serves a much needed purpose...capacity.  This place is designed for efficiency, usually at the cost of extensive theming.  Thats not to say the Pecos is totally devoid of charm, far from it actually. 
   The main entrance and ordering area is on the sparse side of theming, relying heavily on the "shit on shelves" mentality of imagineering found throughout Disney parks. (and, basically anyplace considered well themed.)   But the dark wooden beams,  muted colors, and southwest inspired tile work all ties into the theme well, and set the tone for the restaurant. 

   Found throughout the restaurant are black and white "portraits" of characters from the namesake Disney short featured in 1948's package film Melody Time.  Pecos Bill, Widowmaker, and Slue Foot Sue are all featured in these adorable portraits...even though they do seem a little out of place. Maybe have the same shots recreated by actual people and aged? Otherwise they're pretty adorable.

Friday, September 26, 2014

WDW Countdown Chain: 17-15

   With every passing day our October WDW trip gets a little bit closer! To celebrate I'm counting down 20 things that I'm looking forward to on this trip...some old and some new experiences have found their way onto the list.  Make sure you check out 20-18...

   17: Biergarten

   Number 17 comes from the standpoint of oldie but goody.  Epcot's Biergarten is a requirement of every Walt Disney World vacation. You may be wondering how two vegetarians can eat at Biergarten, but worry not! This buffet is filled with wonderful veggie options (in addition to copious meats...) and the atmosphere is the most charming in all of Disney World.  We like to visit for lunch, when the price is heavily reduced. And we always plan our reservation to coincide with the amazing house oompah band.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Walt Disney's Worlds Of Nature

   While sifting through a really blah estate sale in North Jersey a few weeks ago I stumbled on a really phenomenal old Disney nature book.  Normally I avoid rummaging through books in general, as we have way too many as it is, but this particular estate sale was actually organized by category, which is pretty rare.  In the children's book section I found a few interesting Disney publications, but this is the only one that I wasn't previously familiar with.

   The cover is straight out of a Wes Anderson film, and I'm basically obsessed with it.  I want to keep this on my coffee table forever.  The "pattern" on the cover is actually a small illustration of Snow White and her dwarves.  Was this a common thing with these ambiguously Disney  books?  The chartreuse couldn't be more perfect.

Monday, September 22, 2014

What Happened To Toontown Morning Madness at Disneyland?!?

   So, we're in the early stages of planning our Disneyland trip this coming May. (Disneyland Hotel is booked!!! Yay!!!) And part of that planning involves revisiting our last trip out west, and the thousands of photos that we took.  Scrolling through one of the albums I get to a group of photos involving Adam, myself, and a whole bunch of characters in extremely candid shots.  Turns out that I had completely forgotten about Toontown Morning Madness, a perk which allowed access to Toontown (and its residents) and hour before it opened to the public.
   But alas, this amazing simple perk was discontinued in 2013. Womp womp.  Anyway, at least I have all these photos as evidence that I got to experience it at least once in my life.

   After a short ceremony, guests were given badges indicating honorary citizenship of Mickey's Toon Town! I'm happy to say that we held on to our badges.  After this there was a general free for all, with queues popping up for more popular characters...mainly Mickey and Minnie.  While other characters roamed freely...something that STILL ACTUALLY HAPPENS at Disneyland.

Friday, September 19, 2014

WDW Countdown Chain: 20-18

   Two years ago in anticipation of our annual October trip to Walt Disney World, Adam and I created a countdown chain to get us hyped up about our trip.  At the time we recorded each thing on the list as it was taken off the chain... this year I wanted to do a similar countdown of things that I'm looking forward to.  Some of the things on my list are things that I enjoy every trip to Disney World, while others are completely new experiences!  So lets jump right into the countdown...

   20: Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party

   I had to start this list off with a bang! If you follow Disney Hipsters on Twitter you know my excitement for the party is off the charts.  Mickey's Not So Scary is honestly my favorite night of the year.  Between the costumes, music, amazing fireworks and parade I absolutely adore this party. This year Adam and I have topped our previous costumes, and CANT WAIT to share.  If you have never been to Not So Scary make sure you read our tips for fully enjoying it. 

   19: Being Able To Pig Out...

   I know, this one seems a little weird because in theory I could indulge in whatever food I want while going about my day to day life here in New Jersey. (I'M AN ADULT!) However, being the kind of (maybe?) health conscious guy that I am, I tend to shy away for indulgent food.  Sure, I have days where I eat a little more than I should, but at Disney World the proverbial gloves come off.  This is vacation, and the last thing I want to be doing is counting calories. In fact, I have a running list of foods that I REQUIRE on my trip.  I'm looking at you vegetable torte...

Monday, September 15, 2014

Five Charming Things That Still Exist In The Norway Pavilion

   Unless you've been living under a too have been shaken by the official announcement of the closure of one of my favorite attractions, Maelstrom.  Whether you love this attraction or not, its hard to not classify it as charming.  Everything from ascending toward Odin's eye, to the oddly shaped polar bear...this attraction is like the weird cousin at a family reunion.  When the time comes for Maelstrom's closure (in a few short weeks...) we will be in mourning.  But for the moment lets appreciate five random things in the Norway pavilion that we can still love. (for now, I guess...seeing that NOTHING IS SACRED.)

   This three faced king is located above an entrance to The Puffin's Roost store.  While I don't really know the significance of this handsome fella, aesthetically he's very pleasing.  Anyone know what he is?  

Friday, September 12, 2014

Hong Kong Disneyland Adventureland Statues

I'm so pleased to welcome back good friend of the blog, Q, as he continues his extensive tour of the overseas Disney Parks! Today he's looking at a great detail from Hong Kong's Adventureland...take it away Q!

   The meandering pathways through the true tropics of Hong Kong Disneyland’s Adventureland is not only full of stunning jungle overgrowth, the sounds of drums, gorgeous tikis, and some gorgeous relics from Adventures long ago, but hidden in plain sight are some quite amazing pieces of rock art.
      Located in a small area of Adventureland around a play space of traditional music instruments and drums for small (and big!) kids to play on, these statues are reminiscent of Animal Kingdom rock art.

   I had probably walked past these a number of times before I realized that these weren’t just rocks, but rock carvings and statues of animals! (I do have that common affliction known as "Boys Eyes" though, where we often can’t see things right in front of our faces).

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Kill, Refurb, Marry: WDW Transportation

   I'm happy to take part in another round of Kill, Refurb, Marry as part of the wonderful network of blogs brought together by Mouse On The Mind, and This Happy Place!  Today we're tackling the topic of TRANSPORTATION AT DISNEY WORLD!

Kill: The Magic Kingdom Ferry...

Obviously I don't have any pictures of the ferry...or of the lagoon for that matter, 
but here is a random shot of Adam at the Poly OVERLOOKING the lagoon. Duh. 

   I understand that this is the most efficient way to get to the Magic Kingdom from the Ticket and Transportation Center, especially given the current state of the monorail,  I also think that the view is genuinely amazing.  However,  five years of commuting on the Staten Island Ferry has given me a horrible association with ferryboats. And guess what? The announcement of the Magic Kingdom ferry mentions the Staten Island Ferry by name, and that just sends shivers up my spine.  Sorry. I'm killing the ferry.

Refurb: The Monorail

   Is there anyone reading this who wouldn't have the monorail on their refurb list?  This thing is nearly as iconic as Cinderella Castle, but has been in horrible disrepair for several years.  It's a rare treat to take the monorail without it stalling or breaking down completely. Time for a new fleet Disney World!

Marry: My feet. 

The only reason I use this old photo, is because I know for a fact I was about 
to walk to the Studios through international gateway...

   I know this is sort of cheating, but there is no better way to get from certain points at Disney World than your own two feet. (in particular, MY see, I walk pretty fast.)  The walk from Hollywood Studios to Epcot is seriously one of the most pleasant walks you may ever take, and a fun way to break the monotony of busses/boats.  Perhaps the most charming walk of all is between the Contemporary and The Magic Kingdom, at dusk...and on your way to Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party.  Thank you feet, you're amazing.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Lets Walk From Main Street Towards Adventureland

   Located at the end and directly to the left of Main Street USA we find ourselves in Adventureland.  My favorite land by far, Adventureland by design promises mystery, exotica, and...well, plenty of adventure.  But before the adventure starts, we have to first traverse Main Street and the iconic Adventureland bridge.
   Theoretically a guest in the Magic Kingdom should never be fully aware of their crossing from one land to another. Sure, they notice it, but the slow addition and subtraction of elements smooths out the whole process.  The transition from Main Street to Adventureland is one of the most seamless in the park, all while setting you up for a specific style of adventure.

   Main Street USA is set at the turn of the century America, at the tail end of the Victorian era.  While the timeline of Adventureland is pretty ambiguous, there is a strong sense of British colonialism found throughout.  In this situation the Crystal Palace restaurant acts as the ultimate blurred line. In reality this style of building was much more likely to be found in Europe than in small town USA, though it wasn't unheard of certainty. The time period qualifies it in both lands.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Splash Fountain

   I've been pretty good about spreading a little love towards Disney's Hollywood Studios, right?!  In the recent past we visited with characters, looked at a fun detail at 50's Prime Time, and took a second to visit Dinosaur Gertie!  So you guys can't say I'm not TRYING to appreciate this park.  Yes, it does still underwhelm me quite a bit, but still its an effort.
    Here is another random detail that truly harkens back to the origins of the park and its history.

   The "Splash Fountain" always seemed so very random to me.  Just tucked away in the back of the park...but also right in the middle of the walkway. Super weird placement.  This part of the park is pretty ugly and vast, with very little greenery, so I assume the fountain is there to smooth out some of those edges.

   And just because I'm a sucker for super corny/amazing movie is the wonderful trailer for Splash, complete with over the top awesome narrator.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Random Find: Bag of Disney Bags...

   We spent a lovely Labor Day weekend in the super rural/awesome part of North Jersey.  The highlight of our activities (besides Scandinavia Fest...obviously) was an exhaustively enormous antique co-op.  As most of you know, Adam and I are in the middle of retheming our bedroom...but occasionally we get sidetracked by random Disney stuff and can't help ourselves.
   Among the Disney rubbish that we found during this lengthy excursion was a bag, filled with...uh, more bags.  Disney bags to be precise, and marked at $3.00...heck, I can at least get a blog post out of it.  Here are the contents found within...

This is so classic. Reminds me of being a kid.  

One of the more iconic Disney World merchandise bags from the mid 1980's 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Shake To Randomize: Canada and The American Adventure

   Sorry for the long delay in finishing up our Summer series of Shake To Randomize around Epcot's World Showcase. The fact of the matter is, I DIDNT HAVE ANY SHAKE TO RANDOMIZE PHOTOS OF CANADA OR AMERICA.  Keith of Disney Hipster Podcast fame was willing to snap a few for me while on vacation. If you need to read about the origin of our Shake To Randomize series, I suggest reading the first post. 
   The Canada pavilion is very pretty, if not overly photogenic.  I was genuinely not surprised when I realized I had skipped the pavilion in my tour.  However, this area takes on a whole new life with this creepy combination.

   The monochromatic films available on Hipstamastic aren't ideal for family vacation photos, but if you've photographed an area several times this can really change the feel of your photos and define them from your other sets.