Friday, January 30, 2015

Disney Produced Superbowl Halftime Show From 2000

   You guys! The Superbowl is Sunday! Thats a footballs game! Where people play footballs! I'M SO ENTHUSIASTIC ABOUT FOOTBALLS!  Anyway, sarcasm aside...the inevitable worst Sunday of the year has me thinking about the time Disney produced the halftime show based around their year 2000 millennium celebration.
   The show featured Christina Aguilera, Phil Collins, Enrique Iglesias, and Toni Braxton.  This line up is VERY year 2000.  Xtina is wearing a floor length leather can't make this stuff up.  They sing all the big Disney park theme songs of the time, We Go On, Tapestry Of Nations, Celebrate The Future Hand In Hand.  All with puppets and dancers.  Honestly, just watch it...its amazing.

   Did you see Toni Braxton's little shimmy at the end?!?! They don't make divas like that anymore.  This is honestly the greatest/worst thing that ever appeared on television. Disney seriously nailed it/screwed it up big time.  Delighting and horrifying millions of people.  During the footballs game I'll be watching this on repeat. 

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Marc Davis Jungle Cruise Elephants

   I'm in the middle of reading Marc Davis: Walt Disney's Renaissance Man which Adam bought me for Christmas.  The book is divided into chapters based on where/what Marc was working on at the time.  These chapters each have an appropriate author to the subject...Andreas Deja writing a chapter on Marc's Animal Studies for instance.  The chapter I was most looking forward to was authored by Marty Sklar. The subject? Imagineering....obviously.
   I know that anyone reading this blog is probably immensely familiar with Marc Davis's iconic concept art and illustrations during Disneyland's formative years.  These images transcend concept art and have become part of the landscape of Disney history, just as the attractions that they inspired have.
   Here are three amazing images from the development of Disneyland's Jungle Cruise...specifically dealing with elephants. Enjoy.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Final Thoughts On New Fantasyland: Food

   The other day we started thinking about our thoughts on New actually starting thinking about it. The largest expansion in Magic Kingdom history shouldn't really be taken lightly. We had given our thoughts on the outcome before, but those were kind of knee jerk reactions, especially when expressed via Disney Hipster Podcast. (no, that show has never been known for holding back...) We thought that this expansion deserved a little more review, so here we are.
   We started by looking at the attractions of New Fantasyland, and today we're moving on to something a little more straightforward.  Food.
   For such a large expansion the food offerings are pretty we should be able to visit each offering individually.  Let's start in Storybook Circus....

   No. Big Top Souvenirs is not a restaurant by any stretch of the imagination...but it certainly does provide food.  Though mostly a large shop (in a repurposed building) Big Top Souvenirs has a confectionary show kitchen directly in the middle of the action.   Here you will find an uninspiring melange of sweets, the likes of which can be found throughout Walt Disney World.  However, the charming atmosphere of this shop more than make up for the lackluster offerings. 

Friday, January 23, 2015

Animal Kingdom Artifact: Two Gowns From The Hallway...

   At the end of each hallway at Animal Kingdom Lodge is a beautiful piece of artwork.  A lot of times these are lesser pieces than those found in the main lobby...usually some kind of textile, or other 2D object behind glass, but beautiful none the less.  Here are two of my favorite pieces from the end of these terribly long hallways...two gorgeous intricate gowns.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Obsessed With: Yosemite HipstaPak At WDW

   You guys know we like to take photos at Walt Disney World, obviously. However we are admittedly terrible at it.  Thus, when new filter options for our beloved Hipstamatic app come out we're generally elated. Mind you that some of these filter options can be pretty terrible. For some examples of both good and bad look back at our Summer series Shake To Randomize around World Showcase.
   Just before our last trip to WDW Hipstamatic release the Yosemite series of filters which includes the Muir "lens" and Sequoia "film."  Working together these two filters create a gorgeous, soft, warm image reminiscent of old National Geographic photos.  Let me tell you, I'm obsessed with this combo at Walt Disney World.

   We found that Adventureland is the most ideal area for this filter. However, any bright open area, ideally with a lot of landscaping, will work perfectly. I love the variation that it brings to the color of the sky, and the fact that it mutes the greens in plant life.  The Land pavilion is another great opportunity.

   Disney World and muted photos...what a great combination right?  With thousands of filter variations Hipstamatic remains our go to photo app, especially at Disney World.  Its nice to know that they still release new filters on a regular basis, keeping us entertained, and our photos relatively less horrible. 

Monday, January 19, 2015

Final Thoughts on New Fantasyland: Attractions

   Now that we've settled into our relationship with the outcome of New Fantasyland we thought it appropriate to give some updated thoughts on the entire project.  This new area of The Magic Kingdom was opened in phases, which made judging its entirety very hard, although you may remember that we did share our thoughts prior to it being finished.  I waited a while to write this, as my feelings on Disney tends to change over time. Some things I'll love initially and grow to hate, while the opposite is certainly true.  I wanted any harsh feelings to smooth out if they were going to.
   In the truly lazy tradition of this blog I'm going to divide my thoughts into categories.  Attractions, food/dining, and atmosphere/theming.  Today we're looking at the attractions of New Fantasyland...

   This section, which will include meet and greets as well as traditional attractions, is probably the hardest to actually judge. First of all, there are very few actual new attractions for such a large area. Second, some attractions that fall within the borders of New Fantasyland are just rethemed or updated versions of previous attractions.  Also, though I've never let it sully my opinion before, I genuinely have a distaste for Beauty And The Beast...
   The first wave of attractions to open all fell within Storybook Circus, itself a subsection of New Fantasyland.  Both Dumbo and Goofy's Barnstormer are rethemed previously existing attractions.  I really appreciate the layout of Dumbo, and the water feature upgrade is a huge plus especially at night.  While I've always been a fan of Barnstormer, the new circus performer theme is much more effective than the previous. But basically these two attractions are the same as before, experience wise. 

   The real winner in Storybook Circus is Pete's Silly Sideshow. I understand that meet and greets are among the most divisive topics in the Disney community, but if we have to have these things this is the way to do it.  The space is incredibly comfortable, with outstanding details...which is about all you can ask for in a meet and greet queue.  But the real fun is in the characters themselves and the gorgeous backdrops that are provided.  These four characters (Daisy, Minnie, Goofy, Donald...) in this location have provided some of the best experiences in recent trips.  The idea of the characters being sideshows really gets them in a playful mood, providing a fun backstory and jumping off point for interaction. 

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Tying Up Loose Ends Around World Showcase...

   I'm guilty of over thinking things when it comes to Disney vacations.  A lot of the prep work going into these trips can be super exhausting, but also tons of fun.  I love discussing upcoming trips on Twitter and subsequently getting really hyped up.  Its those interactions on social media that can influence the tone of our trip, for sure.
   Despite months of planning and obsessing, there is only so much time in a vacation.  Inevitably the end of the trip comes and OH MY GOODNESS I HAVENT DONE EVERYTHING ON MY LIST!!!! This happens without fail 100% of the time.  I find myself scrambling to gather photos, or eating things just because I said I would, or visiting an old landmark that dismissing would mean we failed the trip.
   Thus was the case at the end of our October vacation to Walt Disney World.  As you all know, we always end at Animal Kingdom Lodge to relax for a few hours before heading to the airport, but we usually go to both The Magic Kingdom and Epcot before heading back to the lodge.  As it turns out, I needed to tie up some loose ends on my list around World Showcase.
   Here is a pictorial souvenir of our last two hours at Epcot before heading home.

   Most of these loose ends involved Food & Wine Festival items that I hadn't had the chance to try, or favorites that I wanted to revisit.  I made a point of stopping back into the Craft Beer pavilion within the Odyssey.  I was pretty obsessed with the yummy snack mix that came with each beer order. 

   I needed a "drunkie" with my viking friend.  This was about as far into the Norway pavilion I was willing to go. Too depressing.


Monday, January 12, 2015

Changes Concerning Disney Hipster Podcast

   I don't like change at all.  I'm an incredibly habitual person who finds comfort in a schedule, which makes this discussion a little uneasy for me.  You may have noticed a few changes already in the content of Disney Hipster Podcast. (our Disney podcast discussion show that we launched in 2012...) Jamie, the shows ringleader and infectiously lovable underdog,  had to drop her long running "full time" status and only join the show occasionally. Many speculated why this happened, often assuming infighting within our tight knit group of friends. Well first of all, its nobody's business...but just to clear the air, disagreements/fighting/whatever was never ever an issue.  Frankly, the only issue ever concerning our podcast has been scheduling and all the hassles that come with that.

   You have probably noticed in the months since Jamie became a part-time host that we often have to supplement episodes with (amazing...) guest hosts.  In doing so we have to accommodate several wildly different schedules, and have resorted to recording via Skpe. This is not ideal for a couple of reasons.  First of all, we recently bought a whole set up of beautiful listener funded recording equipment, and the quality of Skype recordings are kind of a joke.  Then the importance of us recording together cannot be understated.  Scrolling through iTunes reviews quickly reveals an underlying theme of good friends sitting around a table...and the many variations on that.
   The fact is that our getting together in person drinking and talking about Disney was always so effortless...and people can relate to something like that.  We always just took the kind of conversations we were having to begin with and recorded them.  No our show was never the highest quality, but that was part of the initial charm.  It just worked.

   Then things changed a bit.  Our schedules became more hectic, as is often the case, and scheduling the show became increasingly difficult.  We would scramble for show ideas and try to record two or three in a session which quickly adds up to 6 hours or more of our time.  Don't get me wrong, this still seemed more fun than not, but these shows were starting to feel forced and a lot of the initial charm was palpably slipping away.  Once Disney Hipster Podcast became a chore, it lost a lot of its appeal.
   So, we're at a crossroads.  How do we manage our day to day lives AND find time to record the show the way we used to. The truth is we least as often as we used to. We simply cannot continue releasing an episode every week of a show that takes up so much time (always keep in mind that we make absolutely no money off of DHP, or this at all) Meanwhile, I hate when podcast just randomly release episodes without any rhyme or reason, sooooo. Remember at the beginning of this needlessly long explanation how I said how much I love schedules? We will be moving from a weekly show, to a monthly schedule.  This is the mutual decision of all four of the official podcast members.  We know it will make a lot of our amazing listeners kind of upset, but I know that you guys will understand.  Trust me, this is making me uncomfortable just writing. And to our credit,  we did release 134 weekly podcasts, which is insane.
   I'm really looking forward to this change for one big reason.  I truly think the fun and quality of discussion will be brought back to life.  I'm already looking forward to recording again, simply because it doesn't feel like a chore.  Thanks so much for listening to the show which, despite conventional logic, remains one of the most popular Disney podcasts on iTunes.  You guys are seriously amazing, and I hope you understand this transition.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Landscape of the Italy Pavilion or Potted Plants Galore

   It has been a landmark year for us at DHB, not only did we have some nice things to say about the Italy pavilion last April, but we also included it in our shake to randomize series as well.  See? You can't say that we aren't making a valiant effort to find positive things in the most hated of World Showcase pavilions.  And today we're going to look a little further into something I've always loved about the area...its landscaping!

   First of all, welcome to the Italy pavilion at Epcot.  A swath of land covered in concrete that wouldn't be out of place on Staten Island's south shore.  This area is home to many gaudy shops, three decent restaurants, and my beloved donkey cart. 
   While landscaping here is very it would be in certain ancient cities of Italy...the use of space is brought to life in a really fun way.  

   The space is littered with groupings of very pretty terra-cotta pots filled with brightly colored flowers! While the pots blend really nicely with the surrounding area (hey, terra-cotta is italian after all...) the flowers add a nice pop of color to the abundant beiges of the landscape.

   A quick Google search confirms that this is a pretty common way to garden in metropolitan areas of Europe where bonafide Earth can be harder to come by.  The wonderful thing about this technique is that the landscape is always changing!  I've noticed these pots, and the types of flowers within, change pretty often in the pavilion.  A neat way to change things up a bit...

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Goodbye Sorcerer's Hat!

Dear Sorcerer's Hat, 

   See you in hell.  I know that you made some people happy, but you royally pissed me off every time I saw you. Your obnoxious glittery ear things made no logical sense, and your shade of blue was all wrong.  Primary colors don't work on most people, and certainly doesn't work at the end of Hollywood Boulevard. Plus, Mulch, Sweat, And Shears plays under you sometimes which makes you even worse for supporting that nonsense.
   Don't get me wrong, I'm sure all the pin traders will miss your store, and toddler totting parents will no longer have you to shade them in the blistering summer heat.  But I don't care about them, at all. I care about sight lines.
   I'm not sure what is in store for the rest of your  park, but I can tell you one thing: the subtraction of you from the overall picture is a huge win. Tell the Spaceship Earth wand that we said hello...actually, never mind, I don't want to open that can of worms. Don't say anything to her.

   -Disney Hipsters

Monday, January 5, 2015

Veggie Couscous Wrap At Yak & Yeti's Counter Service

   Yay! Recently the counter service section of Yak & Yeti received a menu update, and to our amazement actually has a vegetarian option!  Previously this spot hasn't had anything for us to eat, but this gave us reason enough to stop by.  Lets visit...

   Yak & Yeti is a weird restaurant located in the Asia section of Disney's Animal Kingdom. It is  comprised of two parts...the main restaurant which has a fabulous bar and terrific theming, and the counter service restaurant outside.  While we don't really love the food at the main restaurant, we do enjoy the atmosphere quite a bit.  However, up until recently we had no reason whatsoever to visit the counter service as there wasn't a single vegetarian options.  Luckily for us, that changed recently and we made it a priority to visit on a recent trip.

   Theming here is sparse, and fits in perfectly with the surrounding area. It's hard to ask for much more from a counter service restaurant. But what theming there is remains super charming.  Keep in mind that though there is outdoor seating here it is often super crowded.  On this particular excursion we had to walk all the way to Flame Tree Barbecue to find a table.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

The Year In Disney Hipster Blog: Part Two

   Yesterday we looked at the first half of 2014 at Disney Hipster Blog...which really made me appreciate the amount of amazing things we did last year.  Today we will look at the rest of 2014...starting in July.

   - Our Shake To Randomize Summer series continued with a quick look at the UK pavilion...does anyone else think this is the hardest pavilion to photograph? 

   - The poodles of 50's Prime Time Cafe make me happy. 

   - One of my favorite/necessary Disney World traditions is our photo spot at Kidani Village.  This post was long in the making. 

   - The Garden View Tea Room got slight updates this year, and we did a pre-update overview. 

   - August kicked off with Animal Kingdom's Harambe Fruit Market. It seems like this spot will change in the coming months with the opening of new NEW Harambe. 

   - We didn't take part in as many Kill, Refurb, Marry posts this year...but I was THRILLED to look at songs from animated films. 

   - Are you bored with you Disney trips lately?  TRY SOMETHING NEW FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!!!

   - Small changes at Disney World get people so worked up, and I explored the logic behind it a little bit. 

   - Another Kill, Refurb, Marry that I took part of was Disney World transportation!  A lot of people had strong feelings on this one. 

   - September brought the awful official announcement of the closure of Maelstrom.  Trying to stay on the bright side I looked at Five Charming Things That Still Exist In Norway. 

   -Obviously I needed to visit ye old Pecos Bills. I could go for a veggie burger right now.

   - By far the most popular post of the year was a sad one indeed.  The Spirit Of Norway Will Always Be Adventure. 

   - Continuing the streak of mediocrity at Disney World, enter vegetarian lasagna at 50's Prime Time.

   - After getting back from WDW in October I got all kinds of nostalgic for Main Street USA during autumn!  

   - The greatest night of 2014 was our evening at the Hoop Dee Doo Musical Review! And here are our thoughts on the vegetarian offerings...

   - Another surprising highlight of the year was New Harambe at Disney's Animal Kingdom.  Here is some of the beautiful artwork that makes the area so special. 

   - During our fall trip we also explored the pool area at the Grand Floridian.


   - I love taking Photopass photos while at Disney World...and thank god the photographers were roaming!

   - And lets end the year end review with a drink at High Octane Refreshments shall we? 

   There you have it friends! The year in Disney Hipster Blog!  We have a ridiculous amount of fun stuff in store this year...including original content, food reviews, and plenty of alcohol!  Plus we set sail on the Disney Fantasy later this month, and Disneyland in May!  I can't wait to share with you all.  Have a wonderful and magical new year.