Thursday, October 29, 2015

Town Square Pumpkin Folks...

   Yay! Its Halloween week! Yay! Its my birthday week! I may not have posted a ton of Halloween goodness this least none as good as this...but its not too late for some Magic Kingdom Halloween love.

   I know the Town Square scarecrows are basically as old as dirt, and that every single Disney fan blog has pictures of them. But heck, I still love them.  Enjoy this pictorial overview of these seasonal residents. 

Monday, October 26, 2015

Lunch At The Magic Kingdom's Plaza Restaurant...

   We don't dine in the Magic Kingdom too often.  Our favorite restaurants are scattered across property, but rarely fall in this park.  Yes, there are exceptions, among them Columbia Harbor House and the vastly under rated Crystal Palace...but thats about it honestly.
   In the spirit of good blogging we always try a few restaurants that we've never been to, or in this case one that we haven't been to in years.  Lets head to the end of Main Street USA and visit the Plaza Restaurant...

   Though the Plaza straddles the line between Main Street and Tomorrowland, the theming is distinctly Main Street.  This restaurant blends seamlessly with the rest of the area.  Expect lots of over the top Victorian architecture, with plenty of  art nouveau flourishes for good measure.

   This restaurant is super small, and is comprised of two tiny dining rooms.  Of the two dining rooms the atrium, with all its natural light, is preferred.  But when we say small, we mean SMALL.  The interior is subdued and cozy, with lots of soft color and lighting.  Nothing garish here, but also nothing all that special.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Fort Wilderness Restroom Signs...and One Beautiful Sunset

   We learned a great lesson last October...never ever ever drive to Fort Wilderness.  You have to park and take a very crowded internal bus system which basically takes forever, and it really isn't much fun.  As we have made the Hoop Dee Doo Musical Review a priority on our fall trips, this year we decided to explore another transportation option. We parked at Wilderness Lodge, which we explored for a while, then took a boat to Fort Wilderness, with plenty of time to explore the campgrounds before Hoop started.  So. Much. Better. Than. The. Bus.

   While exploring I snapped some pictures of these ridiculously charming restroom signs located near the main general store.  Never forgetting the importance of well themed restroom signage, these stick with the theme of the resort.  I'm pretty sure these signs are used for the other restrooms around the resort as well...

Monday, October 19, 2015

Mary Blair Concept Art For Saludos Amigos and The Three Cabballeros

   Mary Blair was famously part of El Grupo, Walt's team of artists sent on a goodwill tour of South America in 1941.  This talented group was to seek inspiration for a Latin America based film, and document what they found.  This was early in Blair's history working for Walt, and the subtleties of her distinctive style have yet to be buffed out.  However the work is as lively and colorful as you would expect, with obvious hints as to what would her future output would reflect.
   Enjoy three pieces from Saludos Amigos and one from The Three Cabballeros. 

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Harambe Week Link Dump...

   I had an absolute blast curating Harambe Week, and even more fun sharing everything with our readers.  In the end I come out appreciating this amazing land even more than I already did.  While the "original content" portion of Harambe Week is over, I wanted to end with a link dump of Harambe posts of yesterday.  Take some time out of this beautiful Saturday to enjoy some well themed goodness.

- Recently we took a bathroom break in Old Harambe.  These bathrooms are busy but I still love them.

- November of last year we celebrated some of the signage and posters of New Harambe! These are beyond amazing, and definitely add to the "gritty" nature of the land.

- Muziki is on often overlook gem of theming in Harambe.  At least it gets a little more love due to Wilderness Explorers.

- There is at least one "fruit market" in every Disney park...but the Harambe Fruit Market is by far my favorite.  PLUS they have elephant ears.

- Back in January of 2013, long before the Harambe expansion, we explore what remains the most tranquil space in the entire park...and pay close attention to the Swahili plaster carvings.

- We would be horrible bloggers if we didn't include the original awesome posters of old Harambe.

- There was little talk of Pangani Forest Trail this week...but that doesn't mean we don't love it all the same!  Lets look at some bones! 

Friday, October 16, 2015

The Heart And Soul Of Harambe: Ballad of the Bicycle

  You guys!  Harambe Week has basically been my favorite week of all time...and it just gets better and better.  Please welcome Disney Hipster Keith to the blog, his first in a loooooong time, as he recounts some very important Harambe history.  Take it away Keith. 

   Hello and Happy (Merry?) Harambe Week. I was honored when Andrew asked me to pen something to commemorate this glorious celebration. Then I totally forgot about it. Then, just last weekend, he was like, “Are you writing something or not?” and I was all “yeah, yeah, yeah, it’s almost done.”, but that was clearly a lie and I am only now starting it.

   When Walt first drew up the plans for Disney’s Animal Kingdom in the late 1980’s, he figured out pretty early on that The Bicycle would end up playing an important role in the park– what surprised even him was that it ended up as THE breakout star after being officially unveiled as part of New Harambe in 2014.

   “The Bicycle  popped out of my mind onto a drawing pad 20 years ago on a monorail ride from Magic Kingdom to EPCOT Centre at a time when business fortunes of my brother Roy and myself were at lowest ebb and disaster [editor’s note : He is referring to MGM Studios] seemed right around the corner.”
                                                                         -Walter Disney, 2006

An early portrait of The Bicycle by an unknown artist. 

    It wasn’t long after the first phase of New Harambe opened that The Bicycle had its initial brush with fame. In fact, it was opening day. During a local broadcast, longtime Channel 8 reporter Bernadette McMurmuring began to experience lightheadedness (later blamed on the fake heat that is pumped in to Animal Kingdom in order to ensure it always always always remains the hottest park in Orlando) and felt as though she were about  to faint. Luckily, the busty 88 year old legend had the presence of mind to stabilize herself by grabbing on to The Bicycle’s sturdy frame, thus preventing her from slamming to the ground and the certain and unavoidable death that would have quickly followed. The crowd roared.

   “The bicycle saved her!” cried a man.

    “That bicycle is a hero!” howled a woman.

    “[Undecipherable]” bellowed a guy with a Tervis tumbler in front of his face, making it impossible to know what he was saying.

    “Thank God for that bicycle otherwise that old lady would have died!” yelled a child.

    “No, not God, thank Joe Rohde you disrespectful bastard!” screamed  a…oh, hey it’s Safari Mike.

"The Bicycle drunkie" became the photography fad of 2008.

    The news clip quickly went viral and it wasn’t long before visitors began arriving to pay their respects to The Bicycle (or, as the countless Brazilian tour group members called it, via a seemingly never ending chant, “a famosa bicicleta herĂ³ica”). There were tons of pictures with The Bicycle, vines of people reenacting the incident, periscoping of people reenacting the occurrence, snapchatting of people reenacting what happened, and one lone person  instagramming it (#FestivalOfTheBicycle #FestivalOfOldLadyFalling #AskMeAboutTheBicycle #BicycleAttendant). It got to the point where Walt realized something needed to be done.

   “Saturday was always "Disney’s daughter’s Animal Kingdom Day" and I would take them to Harambe and sit on a bench, eating poo snacks, while they tried to get served at The Dawa. And sitting there alone, grooving to Burudika, I felt that something should be built, some kind of area where parents and children didn’t have to wait like 2 friggin’ hours to take selfies with The Bicycle together.”
                                                                                      -Walter Disney, 2016

   The crowds of people gathering around The Bicycle soon became unwieldy, so in an effort to restore some semblance of order, the restroom where The Bicycle once proudly rested near was retrofitted to an elaborately themed meet and greet area (which in no time became the most popular FastPass+ in the park). Not long after that, park management had no choice but to move The Bicycle into the new theatre, swapping places with Festival of the Lion King.

Wait times to meet The Bicyle often reached 120 minutes during peak season,
though visits were limited to a short 23 seconds per guest. 

     When even that wasn’t enough to satiate the hordes of people clamoring to see The Bicycle, park hours were extended to midnight every day of the week(which led to the need to create Animal Kingdom’s first nighttime spectacle Rivers of Light semi-colon The Ballad of The Bicycle) – and still the popularity kept growing and growing. The Bicycle plushes, pins, and other bric-a-brac were all flying off of the shelves. It’s Tough To Be The Bicycle debuted in The Tree Of Life theatre in the spring of 2016. “The Bicycle Saves The Day”, the animated short shown before Zootopia, somehow out grossed Zootopia (literally nobody, even people really good at math, can figure out how that happened). It was a phenomenon the likes of which had never been seen before.

   And then, just like that, it was over.

   The death knell occurred when an overexcited park guest stumbled as he hastily approached The Bicycle. Unfamiliar with its new surroundings, this time The Bicycle could not remain stable and it tumbled to the ground when the guest crashed into it, eliciting a hush that spread threw the crowd like wildfire. Intermittent sobs permeated the air. In the blink of an eye, The Bicycle became…just a bicycle.

     “I only hope that we don't lose sight of one thing - that it was all finished by that clumsy oaf barreling into that bicycle”
                                                                                 -Walter Disney’s dying words

Thursday, October 15, 2015

The Music Of Harambe: Old, New, and Market.

   We have a long and sordid history with Disney background music loops here at Disney Hipster Blog.  We love them, we hate them, we're obsessed with them, and we wouldn't have it any other way.  In the past we have shared our favorite in a series of background music of the week...but more importantly we have shared entire loops from Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge via Youtube videos.
   With the addition of "new Harambe" last year, came the long awaited inclusion of a dedicated background music loop in the Africa section of Disney's Animal Kingdom.  Prior to this the majority of what you would hear in this land consisted of Burudika Band, the Tam Tam Drummers, and the kids drumming at Muzika.  Since the land had expanded beyond the range of these a loop was developed...and here it is my friends.

   You will notice a lot of the same artists featured on the Animal Kingdom Lodge loops.  However the tone of Harambe is COMPLETELY different, and that tone is reflected in this music loop.  Where Animal Kingdom Lodge is moody and dramatic, Harambe is upbeat, positive, and downright lively.  This is a music loop you can dance to.  I hope you enjoy this as much as I do. 

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Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Three Animal Paintings From Zuri's Sweets Shop...

   Almost immediately after its opening earlier this year reviews were published concerning Zuri's Sweets Shop. While this is super normal in the Disney blog community, the focus on Zuri's was almost universally about the (now notorious) animal poop sweets. While the novelty treats didn't last long, the sweet shop remains in all its adorable detail.

   Its a shame that more attention wasn't paid to the theming of the shop in those initial reviews.  Though I'm not doing a full review right now,  I did want to focus on one of my absolute favor silly details. 

   Located in an inconspicuous nook near the bakery case/register area are three terrifically naive (or at least faux naif as the rest of Harambe would suggest...) animal paintings! 

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

The Old Harambe Waterfront...

   We all love the new Harambe. We absolutely do. The new theater has taken this part of the park to a new level of theming and detail. So, I am not complaining but when my friends, the Disney Hipsters, asked me to do a piece on Harambe, I wanted to do a little reminiscing of the old water front.

   The back story tells us that Harambe was first built in 1420.  This part of town is old Harambe and was the original fort town on the Uvumbuzi River, which not coincidentally means Discovery River in Swahili. This river will eventually lead you to the Indian ocean and was a major thoroughfare in the old days. The Portuguese, the first to colonize the area, built a fort here to protect this water way from pirates and the remnants of that fort still exist, though in a different form with the construction of the Harambe Theater area.  

   When this park first opened, there was still this old turret from the fort. From this turret, you could see life on the river banks. There were still some boats sitting on the bank, but much of the fishing fleet was, the story goes, out on the water. The beach was actually once a popular swimming spot but the currents had taken a turn for the worse and swimming was no longer allowed.

   In fact, guests to the park could not go down and see the beach. That is, unless you did the Wild Africa Trek, which went past here. Before the construction of the Festival of the Lion King theater, this was where the trek took guests for "training." It was a a great way to see the details. 

   A huge thanks to Safari Mike for providing this wonderful background and insight for us!  Mike's blog Jambo Everyone is always the "go to" site for Animal Kingdom news and rumors.  He can also be found on the ridiculously charming Radio Harambe podcast, available on iTunes. 

Monday, October 12, 2015

Everything In Harambe Makes Me Happy

   In case you missed our announcement last week, you are in for a real fun week around here!  We're dedicating the entire week to my favorite land in any Disney theme park, Harambe!  To kick off the festivities I wrote and recorded a new song celebrating the area and made a video to commemorate.  So here goes nothing, enjoy Everything In Harambe Makes Me Happy. 

   I hope everyone enjoyed that! It will potentially be on the follow up to Let's Move To Disney World, although that is a very long time away.  Please make sure to check up on this blog throughout the week to get some more Harambe goodness into your life. :)

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Friday, October 9, 2015

Harambe Week On Disney Hipster Blog...

   Its rare that we have themed weeks on Disney Hipster Blog, especially considering our scattershot schedule since moving this past July.  However I am so deeply, madly, crazy in love with the Harambe section of Disney's Animal Kingdom that I thought I would dedicate a whole week to that land.

   It will be a full week of content on all platforms. Our Tumblr and Insta will both be Harambe heavy, and this blog will feature guest posts, reviews and NEW VIDEOS. Yay.  Get excited folks, because its not that often that I attack a subject with such zeal.  I can't wait!

Monday, October 5, 2015

Things I Love: Character Training At Epcot...

   Hey guess what? I love Disney World. However, there are certain things within Disney World that make me particularly, even more happy than I already am.  Count among these things: Rose the Bartender, Tipsy Ducks In Love, the Tiki Room lanai, and getting stuck on the TTA inside Space Mountain.  But there is something even more special than all these things...a good group of random Disney characters meeting in Epcot for my full enjoyment.
   If you happen upon random characters in Epcot (usually in front of the oft closed World Showplace building, or next to the American Adventure.) you have probably stumbled upon a character training group.  These unadvertised meet and greet opportunities are a great chance to meet several characters with little or no wait at all.  IF YOU SEE THEM DO NOT JUST CASUALLY WALK PAST!!!! Join in the fun.
   On a recent visit to Epcot we stumbled upon one such situation.  Yes, I was a giddy schoolgirl. Yes, I might have been jumping up and down with excitement. Yes, I was taking selfies with characters like a total tool.

Max Goof was probably the only rare-ish character this time. TBD. 

I love classic sailor Donald!!! 

King Louis is always an awkward meet and greet...I always try and shake his 
hand with those crazy long arms. 

What is the height requirement for Baloo?  

   At this particular meet up there was also Mickey Mouse, who we ignored on accident. We wanted to focus on characters we hadn't seen in a while, and Mickey always tends to be the priority, obviously.  Its random things like this that make me smile, and get me through the long gaps between visits to WDW. :/ 

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Friday, October 2, 2015

Those First Couple Hours at Disney World...

   I'm sitting on the sofa in mine and Adam's relatively new house.  My post Disney depression has started to wane with the excitement of the holiday season sloooooowly taking its place.  I feel the need to examine our vacation photos as I sit here, and it seems like such a long time ago even though we've only been home just over a week.  Part of the fun of writing this blog is being able to relive my experiences in blog form, and in doing so having a sort of virtual scrapbook highlighting all of our trips.
   One of the reoccurring tropes in my photos happen upon first arriving at Walt Disney World, and shortly after checking into the Animal Kingdom Lodge.  The excitement of the trip is at its peak, and I can't help but take silly photos, regardless of how late at night it is.  In fact, these are the first seven (of over 2,000) photos that I took on our recent trip...

   Something that you may not realize about me: I aim to please.  When I go to Walt Disney World I know that a lot of listeners are living vicariously through my trip (as I do with other folks trips too...) and therefore I like to START OFF STRONG.  
   The first thing I do is go take a selfie with my favorite bartender in the world, Rose.  This is literally the first photo of the trip, and truly a magical moment. 

   Whats that? Another Rose?  This of course is Rose, my favorite cashier at The Mara.  She is always ready with a good story.  Unfortunately for us she is retiring in January.  Thanks for working so hard and making us smile. Congrats Rose!