Thursday, February 25, 2010

Disney Podcast Updates, Jan 21-31, 2010

Here is a list of the shows released by the majority of the major Disney podcasts out there. I've had a few more contact me over the past few weeks, and I'm trying to figure out what to do in order to include them. To those hoping I'll start doing updates for their shows, please have patience…it's a LOT of stuff to listen to, and I'm starting to fall behind a little bit again (not so much because of equipment…it's just the sheer amount of shows).

Anyways, some of the highlights in this round of 41 show updates include a great interview on WEDWay Radio with former Imagineer Tom Gilleon, actress Melora Hardin on Waltcast, more great Pixar history on Disney, Indiana, good eating suggestions on WDW Today, lots of great audio from Mouse Guest Weekly, and much, much more!

If you are interested in listening to any of these episodes, I have links to subscribe for most of these shows in my post HERE. Also, if you're willing, you can help these shows out by posting a review over on iTunes. The more they get, the higher up they appear on searches. If you do start listening to a podcast as a result of what you've seen on here, please let the podcasters know!

As always, please note that this again is not a comprehensive list of the Disney Podcasts that are out there. Mike Hamilton has created, which he periodically updates with new podcasts and removes dead casts. He also has the automated RSS (historical) feeds of the podcasts. This is more of a cross-section of what is currently being talked about…perhaps something may sound interesting, and you'll subscribe to listen to that topic. Also, for updates that are more concise but also more timely, be sure to follow @dis_pod_review over on Twitter…he covers a few podcasts that I don't report on, so you'll get a little more coverage with him.

Any and all comments are welcomed! Also, if you know of another podcast that fits here, let me know.



    • 01/28/10 – Episode 14, In this Westfest '08 footage, Jason in SD rocks the house with his version of TOV's Earl-ioke! Mississippi Queen has never sounded better! Time: 3:59

    • 01/26/10 – Episode 63, Keegan arrives for a short trip a day after his family arrived and does battle with tour groups as they always seem to sneak into a fastpass return queue as he arrives at an attraction. We get a ride-through of the new Space Mountain in this show, too, as well as Keegan's impressions of that as well as the new spiel on the TTA. Time: 1:00:57

    • 01/29/10 – Episode 146, Jonathan is away for part of this show, and Sir Paul Barrie steps in for the main segment. You know that means that insanity is going to ensue! After the news, Bryan and Paul have a discussion on the differences in dining between Disneyland and Disney World. You have to listen for the story of the $28 parakeet appetizer in here! They do another Mouse Call, and, taking the advice of a listener request, they contact Steve Swanson from the MuppetCast to answer the survey! Time: 1:40:01

    • 01/24/10 – Episode 197, It's the Marathon weekend recap show…it's a Mongello-esque panel (in number of participants) as nine folks (Including Kidani Katie, who was also on Running to Disney's last show). This, along with other podcasts recently, is likely to motivate people who otherwise would not do something like run a half-marathon to sign up to do just that. Time: 55:15
    • 01/28/10 – Episode 198, Debbie is out of quarantine to rejoin the crew for this episode. Taking a cue from a recent WDW Today episode (episode 673, listed below), the hosts present their top) 2 and bottom 2 resorts from each category and give their reasoning for the rankings. Time: 1:02:11
    • 01/31/10 – Episode 199, (They're almost to 200) This is a live show recorded with several listeners at Animal Kingdom during Marathon Weekend from the Flame Tree Barbeque! The sound quality is a bit sketchy at times, but that tends to happen when a lot of people are spread out. Time: 35:51

    • 01/25/10 – BMS 81, in this show, Lou gives us Day 2 of his Solo December trip from Pop. Included are ride-thrus of some Fantasyland attractions and a great ride along from a carriage down Main Street (complete a serenade from the Dapper Dans). He then heads over to Epcot to meet up with several DPN'ers for another installment of "drinking around the world". While much of the footage from the actual drinking around World Showcase is not in here (I'll pay good money if anyone has it), Lou does give us an indication of how it went at the end as he attempts to make his way to the Epcot entrance. (Note: our family started with Day 1 of our October trip and ran it through to our TV so we could watch it and the rest of the days from the October trip…we'll be at Kidani in June, and we got some good insight from these vids…thanks for posting them!) Time: 25:39
    • 01/27/10 – BMS Mobile Extra, re-release of BMS 62, which shows how you can view episodes on the iPhone/iPod Touch. Time: 11:53

    • 01/25/10 – Episode 25, while this update is a little late (sorry…need more hours in the day), Marc gives his predictions for the highly-anticipated Apple presentation. Disney and tech news ends the show. He mentions a new segment where he requests listeners to submit recordings on reviews of Disney topics. Time: 9:05

    • 01/23/10 – Episode 96, Standard show, with a DPI added by John Rick…he stumbled on some really interested pins over on PinPics, including a Disneyland with Mickey climbing a mountain on the 44th birthday of Disneyland. IPLS #75 is showcased, and that is (cue the waiting music)…Greg Rickert from Dingman's Ferry, PA. Time: 1:38:17
    • 01/30/10 – Episode 97, As the creep ever closer to 100, they start off with releases, news, meets, etc. before getting into another "John's Ten" segment. Tonight it's ten pins from 2002 pin celebration. Tom looks for the DeeBees in the Wonder series in the next segment,and IPLS#76 is up…that's Christopher Scott from Mishawaka, Indiana. Time: 2:16:51

    • 01/31/10 – Episode 66, Tairy does "Did You Know" in a slightly different look…she lets you know some things that can be done at Disneyland when it's raining. Time: 13:38

    • 01/24/10 – Episode 40, this show gets the award for "Best Use of a Phineas and Ferb Song in a Podcast" with My Nemesis (in reference to the ongoing feud with the Mortis, who runs the theater on Main Street. Speaking of movies, this episode continues the Pixar story…it picks up where the last show left off and takes us to the present-day status of the Disney-owned company. They also include their usual amazingly in-depth review of Pixar's first film release, Toy Story. Listener Feedback wraps the show. Time: 1:01:53

    • 01/24/10 – Episode 193, Tuesday night chat show, with a lot of ABBA…Mamma Mia! Time: 1:20:45

    • 01/24/10 – Show 251, news and rumors before Skipper Ben's review of T-Rex from his last trip…wait, before Skipper Ben, we get Skipper John to a GREAT cruise on the jungle (we can't wait to get the boys on this ride for the first time this summer). He gives Robin Williams a run for his money! Time: 58:55

    • 01/26/10 – After an important public safety announcement, Mikey takes us to the newest land at the Magic Kingdom…Refurbland! There is a LOT currently down at MK, and he gives a little viewing of all that's being fixed. Towards the end, he provides a little teaser of the pre-parade that the Muppets are doing…the one celebrating volunteerism. Time: 8:00
    • 01/26/10 – Another PSA from Mikey before heading into DHS. We start on the great movie nap (sorry…that's always what I call it), with a mobsterette before switching gears and getting a little animated and then heading on a little elevator ride (first time I've ever seen less than a 13 minute wait for that one!). Oh, and a big WOOHOO!!! I made the end credits on this one…thanks! Time: 9:59
    • 01/30/10 – It's the next installment of their Disneyland Trip report…Mikey and Lauren have a great pic opportunity about 1:23 in when they're in a Matterhorn Bobsled…they include a ride-thru of the attraction, too. The show then becomes the Mongello Hunter (where's Bindi?). They search high and low to find the rare Mongello, in briar patches and in Pooh. Eventually, they find themselves at the end of the show with snow in September. Time: 9:54
    • 01/31/10 – More from Disneyland, as they enter a true Animation Courtyard (man, I missed a LOT of that when I was there!). We get to hear the pipes on our hosts before bumping up with the end of the show. I'm really liking the updates! Time: 8:59

    • 01/23/10 – Episode 72, Will and Shannon start off in an airplane and take us through the first part of their December '09 WDW trip with the Princess Peanut. Time: 1:05:58

    • 01/24/10 – Nathan and Jim put D23 in the spotlight in this show, with a review of the first year as well as a look at what is coming up, including the new pricing structures and events. Time: 39:11 (Note…there are two downloads of this show)

    • 01/31/10 – Episode 70, Though usually a really humorous show, they start off with a pretty good discussion on the proposed high-speed rail in central Florida. Then Jonathan and Tairy turn to the maternal figures in Disney movies and compare/contrast/look-for-a-trend them. One item…they talk about no mention of Aladdin's mother – in the platinum DVD edition, there is a deleted song by Clay Aiken that is titled "Proud of your Boy." There was intent to have the mother as part of the story line at one point. Time: 1:04:02

    • 01/23/10 – Episode 235, Eric and Cathy are back! They do a lot of catching up with voice mail and listener feedback. The treasure for this show, however (no offense to the hosts) is the audio of Walt talking about Mickey's 20th birthday from the Disney Treasures CD. Time: 41:36
    • 01/30/10 – Episode 236, first off, my boys than Dan for the "totally wicked" intro (that's their favorite). They're still working on catching up a little from Eric and Cathy's break, so they talk about all sorts of items. Like the last show, a great audio piece is included, with the Sherman Brothers talking about some of the music from Mary Poppins…you'll love it! Time: 57:11

    • 01/25/10 – Episode 383, Short subjects show, including the single-rider line (don't mention EE to them), POTC on both coasts as the featured attractions, Roger Rabbit II (via the Kid). The show wraps as usual with the week in review and listener feedback. Time: 47:10
    • 01/27/10 – Episode 384, I accidentally deleted my notes on this one before I got them typed up, but it had Steven Ng doing an interview with descendants of Disney's first female imagineer, Harriet Burns. Pam Burns-Clair, Chelsea Clair, and Don Peri talk about Harriet's history and role in the Disney company. Time: 35:44

    • 01/24/10 – Episode 46, Gordon starts off with a WDW marathon recap that was accidentally left out from the last show before getting into the meat of this show. In this show, he takes on listener questions – he expected stuff like "what's your favorite color" and "what's your favorite TV show". What he got surprised him…there were a lot of questions on running. Hey Gordon: I think you've found that you're reaching to a lot of people on the Disney side of your audience who are not runners but have considered starting up the sport. This, I feel, is a great thing for the podcast! You've got two different populations: the runners and the Disney freaks. I think your show is generating interest on both sides about the other side, which is fantastic! But wait…"Project Housewives???" And, yes, I've heard of humping it in the Air Force, though humping the elliptical does provide a mental image that is just wrong (that should get you 300 new listeners right there). Time: 1:17:50

    • 01/26/10 – Episode 88, with Lisa getting engaged, we knew it was only a matter of time before a show on Disney weddings was coming. I have to bow down to the first ladies of Disney podcasting…I can usually stifle any reactions when I'm walking on campus while listening to shows. The second I started hearing the song that you intro'ed the topic with, however, y'all nearly had me doubled-over with laughter. That, my friends, was the best song you could have ever used! As they get to talking about what Trace and Lisa could do for the wedding, Jennifer lobs in the idea of going to Marceline for the ceremony (she's thinking about it). Also, I think that, somewhere in this episode, the Tony Caggiano fan club may have been formed. Time: 37:10

    • 01/25/10 – Greg and Ryan report from a Disneyana/NFFC meet/all Disneyana Show & Sale. I'll have to admit that I don't know a whole lot about NFFC (soon to be known only as Disneyana), but it sounds like a very interesting organization. They talk a little about the event as well as the history of this group whose purpose is to preserve the heritage of Walt Disney. Time: 1:48:04

    • 01/26/10 – Episode 27, Shawn and Katie welcome Actress Melora Hardin onto the show for a talk about what all she has done (yes, she has done several Disney-related projects). Time: 47:49

    • 01/24/10 – Episode 127, in honor of the 35th anniversary of the opening of Space Mountain and of the Carousel of Progress, Tom, Jason, Anthony, Jose, Banks, Chris, and Scott all take part in two major segments. The first one is The World's finest, where they decide the best version of Space Mountain, and, well……let's just say that they may have to rethink this one. I won't spoil the winner, but only one person has actually ridden the winner, and he said that it was likely the worst. Still, it makes for a good comparison of the various SM attractions at the theme parks. As for the COP, they apply "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly" segment to it, and fans of the attraction can probably guess what each section contained. Time: 1:33:14
    • 01/31/10 – Episode 128, News and rumors start off the show…this one's got a lot of info in here, with "R2MK" being one of the really interesting ones (Jedi Mickey's new droid…not the phone, either). Lots of refurb info in here too. They then hop in the Delorean for another trip back to the future. In this segment, they take a detailed look at DHS's attraction: The Great Movie Ride, from its initial concept to be in Epcot to its current state. Time: 2:36:33

    • 01/24/10 – Episode 155, Lou brings on Tim Foster after news and rumors to talk about what to do at WDW when it's cold outside (in reference to the unseasonably cool weather that central Florida has experienced in January. This is an interesting show, but it leaves me with a few questions: 1. How did Tim find footie pajamas in a men's extra-large; 2. How does one get images of Tim and Lou in a hot tub with cocoa out of one's memory? Intrigued? Just listen…it's a good list of things to do! Time: 50:07
    • 01/31/10 Episode 156, Fire up the Wayback Machine with Lou and Ryan Wilson (I always think of that Brian Wilson song by Barenaked Ladies every time he's on the show)! This time, they take a look at EPCOT Center soon after it opened…they head to around 1986 and see what the theme park was like back then. Considering I didn't see Epcot until 2001, I learned a ton on this show. Lou must have heard my lamenting about always getting to these shows too late to enter a contest, for he introduces Listener Fact or Fiction. Be sure to listen to the end for more details. Time: 1:12:21

    • 01/25/10 – Episode 673, In this show, the crew takes on an e-mail challenging them to explain their not-so-positive views of the Grand Floridian Resort. If any of you follow my trip reports here on the blog, you'll know that I'm in complete agreement with Matt, Len (with whom I've lost all respect for after announcing that A: he's not a baseball fan; and B: reads the Twilight series of books…my wife, however, now loves you), Newell, and Annette on this topic. For some, the Grand Floridian might be a perfect fit for them; for me, however, it's too stuffy. If you look around Pop or the All Star resorts, you see people in shorts, crazy hats with duck butts on them, and smiles everywhere. At the Grand Floridian, I feel almost afraid to breathe for fear of being flogged by a horsewhip for disturbing the peace. I guess that means that the theme is done perfectly, but it's just not the type of magic I want to experience. I'd rather stay at the Poly or Contemp. This show will likely cause some discussion among the listeners on both sides of the fence regarding the GF. Time: 16:39
    • 01/27/10 – Episode 674, It's the Wednesday show, which, as all listeners of this show know, means it's time for Listener Questions. Fred Hazelton joins Matt, Mike, Mike, Annette, and Marvin. Marvin? Who's Marvin? Why, he's the Unofficial Guide, of course! Fred's reaction was great when he met Marvin on the show. Topics covered include using Magical Express, convincing friends/relative to use touring plans, Characters in Flight, and more. Time: 33:37
    • 01/29/10 – Episode 675, one of the acquaintances I've come to like from the blog world and Twitter, AJ Wolfe from the Disney Food Blog, joins the crew to discuss how to attempt to eat healthy at WDW. Whodathunk Dole Whips were fat free (killer in carbs, but they are fat free)? Interesting show! Time: 22:49
    • 01/31/10 – Episode 676, This is an interesting show…they look at some of the resorts that are considered "twins" of each other (i.e. Y&B and the Swolphin). Time: 17:45

    • 01/24/10 – Episode 33, They start off with some news, including lots of pet pics (the tie-in is the announcement of a pet-resort on Disney property). As an FYI, the Bonnet Creek resort technically is not on Disney property (we own a timeshare with Wyndham). The Bonnet family was one a handful of folks who refused to sell their property to Disney when he was buying up the land for the Florida project, and, WDW had no choice but to build around their land. When the Bonnets sold their land, Wyndham (among others) got it and started building. Since the only way to get access to that land was via Disney property, Disney had no choice but to add streets/easements/etc. to access the property. After the news, Matt and Nate bring on imagineer and artist Tom Gilleon for an outstanding interview with a seasoned Disney veteran who took part in a number of projects, including concept art (working alongside famed imagineer Herb Ryman) for Epcot, the parks in Tokyo, Paris, and Hong Kong. His credits also include work on the movie Dick Tracy (he mentioned how "tough" it was watching Madonna every day at on that project). If you ever meet Mr. Gillion, do not, under any circumstances, mention The Black Hole Time: 1:17:05 (note…there is another download of the same show with the audio quality enhanced a bit).

    • 01/24/10 – Episode 223, This is a powerhouse lineup as Paul brings on Greg McNaughten to help answer an e-mail received that asks what to do in Southern California over a 7-day period. There is no other way to describe this other than they did an excellent job on this. While they do talk about how much time to spend at Disneyland and California Adventure, they escape the Disney bubble and delve into what to do in San Diego and the Los Angeles area. Time: 58:11

    • 01/23/10 – Episode 46, Aaron tests the storage space of most MP3 players with this mammoth trip report from December of 2009. Some of the highlights include the logistics of planning with friends with different schedules near the beginning; some good audio from Whoopi Goldberg's narration of the Candlelight processional; his review of Finding Nemo, the Musical (FYI: wait until you have kids, Aaron…then this attraction takes on an entirely new meaning, and you'll appreciate it all the more). One item to note: if you ever are in the parks and meet up with Aaron, expect him to run you into the ground with his ultra-commando style of touring – he actually ran his friends into the ground so much that one of his friends actually fell asleep on Star Tours…HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE???!!!! Good report…fun one to listen to. Time: 2:19:12

Monday, February 22, 2010

WDW Family Trip, December 2007, Day 3, Part 4: Shhhh…Happy Birthday!!!

Part 3 is located HERE.

The bus ride was uneventful, and we throw the kids in the room for a nap.


Eric fell asleep about 10 minutes before we planned on leaving to catch the bus for Epcot. Aaron didn't fall asleep at all (heck, he had the bus ride to sleep on…why sleep now?!) Eric falls back asleep on the bus, and, true to form, Aaron crashes before we are past the security gate for the Pop. While on the bus, we talk to a family from Kansas City and another family from eastern Pennsylvania. They had just gotten there, so we were talking about the weather and trying to get down to Orlando. They were pumping us for the crowd levels.

We get to the park, and I throw Aaron up in the air while I put the stroller up. Just as planned, Aaron falls down right into the seat just as I finish. He's completely out for the count, so it's another trip with just Eric (seems to be just Epcot that we visit with only Eric). We have ressies for Akershus and want to get there around 20-30 minutes early as I've read on several reviews at allearsnet that the seating is kind of crazy at this place. We chose not to do any attractions and head straight to Norway so I could see some future ex-Mrs. Mush's (there's something in the water in Norway that makes all the women drop-dead gorgeous). I hop up to the podium and find out that we're a little early to check in. Aaron's still out...we don't want to wake him. Besides, we both think that the boys would never get in a boat again if we subject them to Maelstrom (and the film afterwards that sent Sheri and me to therapy), so I stay outside with Aaron while Sheri and Eric stroll around a bit.

I found a future ex-wife, but my current wife had the camera.

They return after a few minutes and tell me to look at the pastries at Kringola. Yeah, that definitely on our list of places to eat at in the future (as I'm sure AJ from the DisneyFoodBlog will agree)! I check in (and contemplate proposing to the CM on the spot), and we start the waiting process to be seated. We're outside, but the weather is perfect…the cold front was moving through (those astute readers probably noticed that Eric had long sleeves and a jacket…different from this afternoon) and it was a very comfortable 55-60 degrees. After a few minutes (much better than the 45 minutes I was dreading…I expect the worst and am pleasantly surprised when things go better), our name is called, and we get in line for a pic of Belle.

I see Belle and immediately put her at the top of the future ex-Mrs. Mush list (and she's not even from Norvay!):

Those eyes!

We're seated really close to where Belle is, and Sheri, of course, makes sure that Belle's out of my line-of-sight around a wall. Knut is our server, and he explains how it all works (first time here for us). We decide on a bottle of Gewurtzraminer. As he gets the wine, I check the phone and see 2 messages have appeared in the 15 minutes since I last checked. The first one is my father wishing me a happy birthday. The second one is Debbie calling me from home and telling me that, had she known my birthday was so soon, she would have given me a big kiss when we saw each other.

Damn, those missed opportunities. I would have called Squid immediately had she done that just to rub it in! Tell ya what, Debbie…you can give me that kiss next time we see each other!

We make our way to the Koltbord and start loading up the plates. The salmon's really good…haven't had salmon that way since I was at Pike Place Market in Seattle a couple of years back. Eric couldn't find anything to eat so I got a few extra shrimp to peel and give to him. He eats every single one of my shrimp (except for the 2 that Sheri stole). I end up being ordered back up to the buffet by all three of them to get more shrimp for everyone, and I spend the next 15 minutes peeling shrimp non-stop (seriously!).

Happy birthday to me.

The main course comes, and my salmon entrée is awesome! Sheri got the hasenpfeffer (again, she didn't write down what she got so I'm making it up…some pork entrée if I remember correctly). While we're eating the main course, the rest of the princesses stop by. First up is Ariel.

The boys like her, but she's enamoured (threw in the 'u' for my Canadian friends (Cathy)) with Eric (her prince is named Eric, remember?). She tells Sheri to get ready because she's going to "tell him a secret."

About 30 seconds later, here comes Jasmine. Sorry, but after meeting Jasmine at the Moose Meet, there is only one Jasmine for me. After she leaves, Aurora does a quick hello, and then Cindy waltzes up.

I mention how much Eric talked about meeting you (Cindy) at ToonTown yesterday, and Eric gets another one planted on him…full body dip and everything, too!

I look down at my birthday pin, pretend to drop my napkin, and secretly take a couple sprays of Binaca Blast while out of sight of Cindy. I then look up, give my best doe-eyes, and gaze into Cinderella's beautiful face, lips pursed ever-so-slightly. My eyes close as I lean in…

…She gets up and goes to the next table.

Oh well… it was probably for the best anyways as I mis-sprayed the Binaca and had my eyes watering. I tell Sheri I'm crying because I love her so much…Where's Belle?

All joking aside, all of the Cast Members really did take notice of the pin. I remember this with Aaron's birthday a couple of years ago.

We order coffee, and, catching me off-guard, Knut brings a cupcake for me. Of course, Eric promptly blows out the candle the second he places it on the table in front of me (he's fire-conscious). While trying to figure out how to split a cupcake 4 ways, the dessert is served. They have REALLY good dessert there. It works out well because we all like different things. As Knut is clearing stuff off (we were one of the last tables in there), we take a few minutes to just talk to him about Norway…about how long they're able to work here…etc. I've heard this advice before about taking the time to talk to the native CMs…I would strongly recommend this to anyone if the CM has the time.

We pay the bill and give him a decent tip on top of the DDP tip. After a potty break, we make our way out to the promenade and slowly make our way towards Germany to see the trains. We get there and see no trains. Hmmmmmmmm…oh well. The sugar is really kicking in for the boys, so we start to make our way back in a not-so-veiled threat to head back to the hotel to go to bed. They start to calm down as we see the decorations by the tree and on the way towards Future World. We bribe them that, if they calm down a little more, we'll take them to see one more thing. We make a left at Innoventions West, briefly check the wait time for Soarin (knowing full well how bad it would be), and make an immediate right towards the Seas. There weren't too many folks around, so we let them run the last 100 feet or so to the MINE birds. They could have stayed there for an hour. Come to think of it, so could I.

We enter the queue line for the clam-mobiles, and I really take in the transition from above water on the shore to underwater. We figured the boys would love this ride…we underestimated big-time. Oh, did they ever take to this ride! We get off, and, for the first time this trip, we hear "Can we ride it again? Please?!!!" We tell them that we'll be back here tomorrow and will ride it again (IF they behaved).

We take the escalator up and let the boys loose at the aquarium. This is about the calmest the boys ever were during this trip (not counting around 3:47 am one night when both of them actually were asleep at the same time). They take in the sights of the underwater world for a good 10-15 minutes, not saying much – just looking. We head back to the main level and, while it's getting a little later than we intended to be here (since it was the middle of the trip, we wanted to leave well before 8 to let them decompress a little more than usual, and it was already something like 7:30), we decide to see when the next showing of Turtle Talk was going to be. It was only a 5 minute wait until we could go in, so we look around the exhibits there for a bit. We do the obligatory Bruce pic:

Mommy? Daddy needs a princess to kiss him…he's losing it!

We get into Turtle Talk and stick around near the front in case one of them freaks out and needs to find us. Crush comes out, and the boys are fine. We sit back and enjoy the show…

Until Aaron raises his hand to ask a question.

I turn to Sheri and simply say "hold on…this could get interesting."

I fully expect Aaron to say something like "My Daddy spanks me at least 27 times every day and tells me that Santa will never stop by our house again because I'm bad. How do you punish Squirt?"

Instead, he says nothing to Crush.

I think he may have raised his hand because the last person who did was the center of attention for a moment, and he thought that would be cool.

Crush is really patient while he waits for a question from the human dude sublevel in front with the blue shell. After what seemed like an eternity, Aaron comes up with something to say.

"I can do a somersault."

It wouldn't have taken much to determine whose offspring that one was. It was the two in the crowd with their heads looking down, hands over their faces, shaking their heads and trying not to laugh. Crush (OF COURSE) has to see how well he could do one. Aaron executes a perfect forward roll and gets an exuberant round of applause from the audience. Crush follows suit and flips over for him.

Just go with the flow – some good advice I heard earlier today.

After the laughing calms down, I'm fully expecting Eric to grab the microphone, announce that he's a T-Rex, and roar at the turtle. He didn't.

We tell the whale to go away and collect our kids. After some good-natured ribbing of Aaron (who was heeding Crush's advice and was saying "DUDE" at the end of every sentence), we head out to the bus. First, a stop at the Seas w/ Nemo sign:

Again, later than planned, but it's still before 9…before Illuminations and before the crowds are making their way to the busses. We make it back to the Pop…the boys, of course, are wound up big-time. Sheri runs out to grab some ice. I figured she'd stop and watch the fireworks for a few minutes. Nope. She comes back in a couple of minutes. I grab the handle-less cup and the receipt for the ornaments and ask her if it's okay that I pick them up and grab something to drink. She nods as she throws the boys in the tub to play with their new bathtub Nemo toys.

I walk out and hear the fireworks going off. I decide to consider the fireworks as my birthday present to myself and head up to the 4th floor. Christmas Wishes was going on in the distance, and Illuminations was going on much closer. The view wasn't quite as good as what Sheri and I had in May, but it was still spectacular nonetheless. After realizing that I had accidentally camped out in front of a window of a couple watching from inside their room (and mouthing a huge "SORRY" to them…they laughed and seemed understanding), I see the finale of Illuminations and the pause for the Christmas ending announcements. At that time, Wishes finishes up, and it appears that they launch fireworks from several different parts of the Magic Kingdom (can someone who's seen the Christmas Wishes verify?). That ends, and Epcot fires back up. I remember watching this in front of Italy with Debbie's and Mare's crew in utter amazement a couple of years ago. As shell after shell explodes in the sky, I think back to that night and just smile…Sheri and I made some really good friendships that evening.

The entire building shakes with the last barrage of fireworks launched a mile away. I immediately head back downstairs past the dog's ass to pick up the package and get a drink. It takes a little while to get the package, but I don't care at all. I take the time to watch the folks coming back from the parks…the couples holding hands as they peruse the store…the children tired but happy as they lay on their parent's shoulder…the (gulp) younger crowd running out to catch the bus to PI at DTD. I just take it in as I wait, enjoying the moment of being where I am.

I could have stayed there for another hour, but I feel like I need to head back to the room in case the boys are still acting up. Feeling a little guilty, I make my way back to the room a bit faster than normal. The boys are much calmer with the bath and the toys. Sheri affirms that they were pretty good while I was gone.

I hop in my bed with Eric, and Sheri corrals Aaron into bed with her. We do the good-nights, and we're off to the Neverland of our dreams.

As I fall asleep, I say a quick "thank you" to God for the gift of family.

Day 4 begins HERE.

WDW Family Trip, December 2007, Day 3, Part 3: Shhhh…Happy Birthday!!!

Part 2 of this day can be viewed HERE.

The next item up is a minor issue of contention between wifey and me…Dinosaur. It's an awesome ride, and Aaron loves dinosaurs. The dinosaurs he loves, however, are not 20 feet tall and screaming at you with their teeth bared. Wifey thinks he'll be fine, I'm worried that it's going to be too real for him. We start to make our way to Dinosaur to either grab fastpasses or hop in the standby line if the wait's not too much. As we are about to enter Dinoland, I look over to the left and see an attraction that almost always has at least a 20 minute wait actually have no wait at all. We immediately hop in line as this simply cannot be passed up and are through the queue in less than 5 minutes! Yes, folks, Flame Tree Barbeque was quiet!!! Sheri takes the boys to look for a place to sit while I wait for the food. The food gets piled on...two completely full trays. I look at the stroller, back at the trays, and then to the horizon to see how far Sheri went with the boys.

Uh oh.

I balance one tray precariously on the canopy of the stroller and try to push the stroller with one-and-a-half hands (half a hand was holding the other tray). CAST MEMBER TO THE RESCUE!!! Someone noticed that I was hopeless and offered to help with a tray.

I almost kissed her.

We head down to the seating area for Flame Tree and find Sheri and the boys. They're close, not under one of the canopies. The CM offers a suggestion to go a little further to avoid "the birds". I look at Sheri and see if she's okay with that. The people sitting next to her tell her that she'd be crazy NOT to move because they're still crying over the drink that got "bombed" from overhead. We move down to another one, enclosed, where it's nice and quiet. The boys get situated with Mommy, while I head back up for the condiments. I come back and then head back up again because apparently I didn't bring the proper utensils for everyone.

This was one of the quietest meals we had on our trip…not too many people…awesome surroundings…and the detail just amazing. As I look around, I recall something I heard on the Meandering Mouse podcast about these pavilions. Each one has a couple of animals carved into the woodwork – if you pay attention, you'll notice that one animal is a predator of the other animal.

We enjoy the relaxing meal, and Sheri asks how my birthday lunch is. I look at her and the boys and just smile.

With the meal finished, we start to make our way towards Dinosaur. Before we get there, we pause to listen to a CM by the T-rex fossils who's doing a presentation. The boys got to hold dino poop and were both enthralled and disgusted at it.

We see it's only a 20 minute wait, so we start to walk towards the CMs manning the fastpass line. As we walk up, the CM looks at Eric and anticipates a fight with us. Before he asks to measure Eric, we calm his fears and ask to do a child swap. This is the first time we've tried one of these, so we weren't quite sure what to expect. We got the swap fastpass, and Sheri and Aaron head for the queue line. I take Eric to the gift shop, fully expecting a revolt (I WANT MOMMY!!!). He wanted her, but I was able to distract him a bit with all the toys on there. I steer him towards the screens where they show the rider pics, fully expecting to see Sheri reaching out to grab Aaron as he's trying to escape the torture.

We get to a display that had a lot of large toy dinos, and I start doing a little show with a couple of them to keep Eric entertained. Unknowingly at first, I was also entertaining a couple of other families whose kids were watching us. I had a carnotaur carrying on a conversation with 3 different kids for a while, until he got hungry and decided that he wanted to eat me. I put him down before he got past my arm. As Eric and I leave, I can see one of the kids immediately grab the hungry dino and continue the story with his parents.

A few minutes later, I see Aaron and Sheri pop up on the screen. He's at least looking at the ferocious beast about to devour the entire jeep and doesn't look like he just pissed his pants, so I'm relieved. I tell Eric to look for Aaron and Mommy on TV. A couple of minutes later, the newly-returned time-travelers emerge from the exit, and Aaron is all smiles. Eric runs to Mommy as though I were the carnotaur (can't win, can I). I ask Aaron how it went, and he says that it was awesome!

Moment of Truth (insert inordinately long pause like the game shows do)…

"Do you want to ride it with me?"


(commercial break)


voice over from the great beyond: That answer is…………….



He liked it, but he didn't love it. Both Wifey and I claim victory with the ride. We then head over to the entrance so I can ride it. Before we leave, I see a dream team member head towards the unloading platform and wonder what someone's gonna get. I get to the Fastpass return line, while Sheri takes the boys to chill for a while.

I get to the return line and hear the folks in front of me asking if they could do a child swap. The CMs are out of the passes, so I offer up mine as I'm just getting done with it. They take it, and a couple of them head on in. I head in the FP return line and, as I'm going through, I realize I no longer have the ticket. No prob…I explained to the CM the situation, and, with the folks right in front vouching for me, I'm through and on the ride in no time flat.

The ride's good…IMHO though, I think it loses a bit the more you ride it. With many other attractions, there are so many details that are missed unless you ride it over and over. With Dinosaur, I don't see that. Great ride the first couple of times through, but that's about it.

The boys are doing great still. We've only got one more definite thing we'd like to do…Nemo. The next show isn't for a little while, though. I suggest we let the boys burn off some energy at the dig site. Sheri decided to let Eric have a ride of his own since he didn't get to do Dinosaur. I take Aaron in to the dig site errrrrr I mean the Boneyard (I've been reading up on WDW resorts too much…kept calling it the dig site (which is at Coronado) the whole trip). Aaron goes in to dig for a bit, while the other two head over for TriceraTop spin. I guess that, with the line, they'd be done in 20 minutes. Aaron plays for a bit, and we head over to the Dumbous Reincarnatus ride. They're still in the queue, so we grab some shade and just chill for a bit. There were several dream team members standing nearby gabbing with a DVC guide person. I had some fun watching some of the folks walking back and forth in front of them hoping they'd get picked for a prize. My guess is that doing something like that probably lessens their chances just a bit. I remember every time the dream team stopped us in the past, it was like they came out of the woodworks and popped up on you unexpectedly. After the dream teamers left, the DVC guide dude gives us some DVC buttons. I've avoided these kiosks this entire trip so far because, if I did, I'd probably end up buying without my spouse's knowledge, and my spouse would subsequently start divorce proceedings without my knowledge. We talk a bit about timesharing, and I'm resisting the urge to set up an appointment, though I really want to see a unit. In a few years, it's a definite, however, we are still paying off the Wyndham timeshare we have in Vegas. I'm starting to get a little disheartened with the current one we own...some of the decisions being made by the powers-that-be aren't sitting too well with a lot of owners, and many of the newer resorts are priced so that you simply can't stay there with the current number of points. Zurg (another imaginary online friend) and I had a really good debate on this topic a couple of years ago over on the Lodge. One of the major things that I failed to take into consideration regarding lifetime deeded rentals versus vacation ownership (like DVC, where you only have it for a set period of time) is the notion that the buildings will age and, as they age, the maintenance fees will likely increase substantially after some threshold of time. Being deeded, we'll have to pay them. With no deed, like DVC, chances are that you'll be out of the contract before some of the really major structural renovations need to be completed.

Wow…that was a tangent. @#^!$@ attention deficit disorder (look, a quarter!).


We talk with the DVC dude for a bit (nobody else was talking to him, and he looked bored). Eric and Sheri finish up and meet back up with us. After a potty break for the boys, we start to make our way for Nemo. We get in about 15-20 minutes before it's scheduled to start, and we're seated closer to the front than we have before and on the right-hand side. The boys love the theater and have fun watching Nemo dart among the bubbles on the side.

It starts, and I've never seen the boys' eyes so big. Sheri and I love this production, and it appears that the boys are in the same boat. We almost feel like veterans here because this is the third time we've seen it, and we're critiquing the performers. Marlin…same guy all 3 times. Great! Nemo…same one at least the last 2 times. Also Great! New Crush…Good, but not as good as the other one (who is about perfect). Dory…I think same one all 3 times…just as good as ever. Bruce…same all times and awesome (the puppet didn't break this time at least!).

The show ends and we pile out of the theatre. Both Sheri and I agree that sitting a little further back for this show is better than being in the front section, though the first section is still good. Before we head out of the park for the nap, we stop at the Nemo gift area just outside the exit and let the boys pick out something. As we head out, we see a Photopass guy by the tree and attack him for a pic:

Part 4 of this day can be viewed HERE.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

WDW Family Trip, December 2007, Day 3, Part 2: Shhhh…Happy Birthday!!!

Part 1 of this day can be viewed HERE.

After we got off the ride and collected the strollers, I checked the voice mail…it was Debbie, using her daughter's (Lexie's) phone (which doesn't come up as restricted). I immediately thought of how much trouble I could get Lexie into (calling during class, wait until she gets to dating age and call her one Saturday night, etc.). They're going to be at Studios today before heading back home. I called and told them where we are and wished them well in the chance that we didn't get to catch up before they left.

We contemplate heading over to ITTBAB when we see King Louie and Baloo. Since we recently got The Jungle Book on DVD, we had to get in line for the boys.

After the pics, the boys see the drums and have a blast there for a good 5-10 minutes.

We looked at the time and decide to scratch ITTBAB…besides, I was a little worried about Eric in that one. We start to make our way towards Camp Minnie-Mickey for FOTLK. We've got a little time, and it looks like the crowds are still pretty manageable, so we hop in to see Goofy in the Character Trails.

Apparently today is National Head-Squishing Day.

Eric is getting used to it, though…

Potty breaks, and then we're in to the theater for Lion King. I've been feeling a little bad about Aaron with this trip because a lot of emphasis thus far has been on Eric's "firsts". We enter the theater, and I strategically get us near the bottom benches, near the end in hopes of giving Aaron a potential chance of getting picked to be in the Parade at the end (small crowds, and the seats were available…there were only about 10 people sitting in the area when we got there). We do the hand jive, and I realize as I watch the boys that they have got my wife's sense of rhythm (poor boys).

The show starts, and the boys' eyes just get as huge as they can in amazement! We took Aaron on his trip, but he fell asleep about 5 minutes into the show. We discover that we're in the giraffe section (I can never remember which section is which without the big floats out there), and the Princess is our singer. She heads over to a girl to ask if she wants to help…nope. She then goes to a boy in front of us. He coils back in fear.

I look at Aaron and ask if he wants to help. He shakes his head "yes" as she makes her way towards us. She asks him, and he kind of shakes his head yes, but he was hesitant. "Are you sure? It's up to you." I ask him, giving him an 'out' in case he's too apprehensive. The CM was gauging him too to see if he would freak out. Something clicked in Aaron, and he started to smile and get up. He gets to be the center of attention (one of the few things he gets from me).

They head out to the center, and she starts telling him what they'll be doing.

As I'm watching this, I start thinking back to one of Mo's trip reports (yes, another online imaginary friend) when Mare's daughter Renee and Mo's daughter Rhiannon got picked to do the same thing. Sheri's got the camera working overtime, while Eric just smiles…he's still looking at the lights and everyone (I think he did point once and exclaimed "That's Aaron out there!") As they go through the other animals, Aaron is in that excited-yet-nervous stage:

…and he's on!

We get to the part where she asks him to make a giraffe sound…

In my mind, I'm hearing Rhiannon going AARRGGGHHHHH in her best pirate giraffe imitation!

Aaron just stands there, not sure how they sound. The Princess tells him what they make, and he lets out a great BAAAAA.

I'm almost in tears.

He turns around, and he's loving life now.

…and my eyes are starting to water up a bit.

She gives him a high-5:

…and brings him back to the seat. I'm able to make eye-contact with her and mouth a "THANK YOU" to her. She smiled and nodded her head in affirmation. I truly think a lot of these people really love doing what they do.

The tumble monkeys had the boys laughing out loud. My favorite part is the fire dancer (and the song they sing is perfect for that part). The duet on Can You Feel the Love Tonight was beautiful…they harmonized better than I've ever heard on that song. A monkey came flying by after a bit and patted Eric on the head.

Then came the parade. I recognized the zebra girl CM from past trips, and Sheri recognized the guy CM (guessing he was a lesser kudu maybe?). The girl grabs both Aaron and Eric, while the guy grabbed one other (I guess the kids in the giraffe area were generally shy or something). The boys grinned and didn't stop grinning for about 10 minutes after the show.

Aaron's singing at the top of his lungs here:

The show ends, and we sit around for a minute to let the crowds empty and to talk about the parade in the show. Yeah, this was a hit with the boys.

We head out and hit the potty again. Then we look at the character trails and find Donald. Gotta get in line for that one!

The obligatory Chris and Donald pic:

Continued here...