Saturday, September 4, 2010

The Curse of the Black-Out Dates

Nothing hurts the heart of a theme park enthusiast more than looking at your tickets and seeing that you are blacked out of the parks. Granted, theme parks in the summer, for the hometown hero at least, are not the most relaxing place to be. Most especially in Florida where temperatures can reach and go over 100 degrees. Nevertheless, as the summer winds down and the prison of those black out dates nears ending, I get all amped up again. There were so many new things to see upon our return...

The Deliciousness of Fall

I've always been a Christmas person, and living in Florida and the tropics all my life, I've never experienced the essence of autumn and all it brings: the vivid oranges, browns, and earthy colors, the cool weather, and the anticipation of upcoming winter. Disney World gives me the satisfaction of having those visuals and those feelings (well, minus the cool weather).
When you first arrive in Magic Kingdom, the soft orange of leaves and pumpkins greets you as soon as you come in. I can smell the wonderful smell of the Main Street confectionery all the way from the entrance. My problem with a lot of places is that they use the autumn season as in excuse to make everything scary. To me, autumn is beautiful. It's hibernation and comfort. It's food and candy. It's pajamas, boyfriends' sweaters, and fatty desserts covered in powdered sugar. It's testing your talents with a knife...while carving a pumpkin. Magic Kingdom fulfills all of these for me (well, minus pajamas).

Walking down Main Street U.S.A., you feel a change in the essence of the park. September marks the beginning of off season (there's really no such thing as slow season at Disney) and so you can feel yourself breathe walking down the path. People are laughing more and yelling at each other less, they're less tense, and are...hospitable? Gracious? In fact, several times yesterday, people actually said "excuse me", waited for us to take photographs, and a wonderfully nice couple from Texas handed off their fast pass tickets to us as we walked by. It felt pretty darn good.

Space Mountain is Jammin'

Last time Revy and I rode the intergalactic coaster after it was unveiled from its revamp (new comfy seats! Post ride picture! Post ride, postcard-esque displays!) , we definitely felt like something was missing. Amongst the stars, the silhouette of the coaster's inner workings, and the riders' screams, everything still felt....quiet. Thankfully, all was not forgotten and this week, Space Mountain unveiled its new music and sound system to guide you through the galaxy.
And it was worth it! The music amps you up and escalates to an intergalactic dance party. The sound effects alone were what made it though...the zooms, zips, alien static, and keyboard synthesizer notes. You focused on the sounds enough that the ride seemed like a surprise all over again. In fact, I got off the ride more than riding a whole new ride altogether.

The Return of Captain EO

I have long said Honey I Shrunk The Audience felt too dated. And not dated in a Muppets S
how 3D sense. It just doesn't have that long lasting quality that the Muppets does; something that transcends generations. Secondly, there was already the themed playground at MGM/DHS, and to me, that's always been enough. Captain EO was first premiered in 1986, the same year I was born and was taken out to make room for H.I.S.T.A. Like many, many
people, I was deeply saddened with the loss of Michael Jackson. I had been his fan through all of his years, even the years of controversy and the CDs that no one else would go out and buy because he wasn't deemed "cool" anymore. To me, it didn't matter. There was nothing that this man couldn't do musically and visually. So after his death, when this news came out, it was like a gift at the bottom of the CrackerJack box--a very sweet surprise. The short film is returned to its 3D, 70 mm film brilliance, sharp and fun as ever. The icing on the cake? The sincere applaud and hoots from the audience, and the sound of
several sniffles from various visitors. When you have that kind of power, you know that legacy will never die.

Via Napoli: Delizioso!

Regrettably, most natives will walk past the World Showcase countries without diving in to see how far back and deep they really go. Sometimes we're in a rush, making a fast pass, making the next park, show etc. I'm just as guilty! But every so often, you get something new in a country and it sparks your love for that section all over again.
Enter...Via Napoli, Epcot's newest Italian pizzeria/ristorante...decorated in wonderful Roman architecture and 'vintaged' painting in the interior (similar to some of the restaurants in Animal Kingdom with the peeling paint and dull colors). It's smaller than what you would seem (there is a big bar in the center and fire brick ovens on the left where the chef's pass is)
with seating predominantly only on the right side. However, there is plenty of shaded seating on the outside for smaller groups. On a breezy, late summer day it's rather nice...when it's not raining of course. Since it was Revy and I's first outing there, we only can critique the pizza, which was absolutely delicious. While it's a bit overpriced to be considered sensible (it was about 40 bucks for a large pizza and 2 drinks), it was reasonable enough to try something different.

The get the water directly from Naples, Italy so it's authentic to its core. The sauce is very light, not chunky or thick, and the mozzarella is melted in chunks as if sliced right from the block. They top the pizza off with fresh basil which gives it a good zest. Revy and I devoured the large (it almost seems like an XL by pizza chain standards), but the formula is so nice and light that you eat a lot and you don't get the "I'm a pig" feeling afterwards. We even had room for dessert!

The Promise of Fantasy Land's Future

Walking through MK at night is always a great feeling. This time around, brings a new very similar to how PotterWatch was for WWOHP, and that's great anticipation.
A Great Wall borders the end of the current Fantasy Land, and even in the dark of night, you can see a giant crane and a HUGE dirt pile. The start of construction of what will be one of Disney's greatest improvements. Every few feet, the wall turns into a concept/scene painting of one of the classic Princess movies (mostly landscapes with the appropriate castle in the background) with a scroll of the description of the upcoming attraction. While Beauty and the Beast has always been my favorite with its beautiful French setting, I'm mostly looking forward to The Little Mermaid [ride] attraction. I've been looking forward to it since the re-release of the DVD showing the behind the scenes look as to what could have been.....and now it actually will be! For anyone who wants an idea of what it'll look like [SPOILER ALERT], then go here.

All in all, a great first trip back from the Curse. Looking forward to the rest of autumn and the beginning of the Christmas season (the best!), and tons of more pictures. In between that, you can catch me at WWOHP as well. Ciao for now! :)