Sunday, August 29, 2010

Mushfam Disney Family Vacation, June 2010; Day 2, Part 1: Nautazu!!!

Day 1 link


This pretty much sums up how well I slept…@#%^$@#!$&^ thumb!!!


The wake-up call was for 6:30, and I was up well before that…somewhere around 5:45. About 6:15, I hopped out of bed, mainly because Aaron was also up. Aaron and I decide to head out to the balcony to see if anything was out there:



Yeah, we love the place.  As an FYI, you might want to have headphones for this video as we're almost whispering for some of it.


A minute or so later, a giraffe walks up towards us.

I hold my coffee cup out to him...

We get our wake-up call as we're outside looking around, so we finish getting ready and start the journey. We must not have tipped our sherpas enough yesterday because they are nowhere to be seen. Grudgingly, we start walking ourselves to the lobby and head out to the bus stops. As we're walking up, we eat the exhaust of an MK bus.


Uh oh…according to ancient bus lore, the day will go to Hell really soon for us.


We wait...


(Thanks to a family waiting for an Epcot bus for taking this one)

Luckily, another bus (MK again) pulls up in less than 5 minutes.

We're on our way for our 2 minute trip to Jambo house for our ADR at Boma. The boys seem perplexed that we're getting off here, but they agree to let us go our way, secretly hoping that we have no idea what we're doing (so they can hold it over our heads later on). We head in and are once again breathless at the sight of the atrium…totally beautiful. We look around for a few minutes before heading down to the lower level. We left quite a bit early for our 7:40 reservations, since we didn't know about the bus situation. Boma doesn't open until 7:30, so we hang out for a bit and people-watch until it's time to enter. While we're waiting, Sheri decides to take a pic of our wonderful view:


We're the 3rd group seated and are tasting Frunch in no time (yeah, it really was good, though not as ambrosia-like as I anticipated…our vacation is now ruined).

The boys are already nearing spaz mode, so we do the veiled threats earlier than normal this morning.


Stomachs full, dining plan credits deducted, and servers tipped, we hit the bathrooms and head out to catch the AK bus. A few minutes later, here it comes. As we hop on, the folks from Magical Express yesterday, who are in the 7660's, look at us and wonder why the hell we got on at Jambo. I jokingly said we got off at the wrong stop before telling them about eating at Boma. The boys (of course) say that we have no idea what we're doing. We make the short jaunt to Animal Kingdom and are here in plenty of time for the opening. It's about this time we realize that it's going to be a really hot one…"Animal Kingdom hot", as some podcasters would say. While looking around and trying to decide where exactly we should line up to get in go through the turnstiles, Sheri and I argue about getting a map/times guide. She wins, and I head over to grab a times guide. Sheri then asks where the park map is. I tell her that we've been here so many times that the boys can guide us around. Then I notice that Aaron is reading the times guide and that Eric is staring at a leaf on the ground. Sheri gives me this look that all husbands know and hate…that "didya figure it out yet, Moron?" look. I mentally flip her off and head back to get a park map. After a few minutes of waiting, we notice about 50 people craning their necks upward. My initial thought was that one of the birds from the Oasis was attempting the great escape – I was fully expecting Disney security to appear in a glider nearby and hitting it with a tranquilizer. Alas, it wasn't a macaw yearning for freedom…it was an extremely zealous Christian who was skywriting above us about God's love.


The turnstiles open, and we, of course, pick the line with everyone on property who doesn't understand the finger scan. FINALLY, we make it through the turnstiles and head left…just out of sight of where they do the opening. No prob…the boys see the characters drive by at the end. In no time, we are heading to Kilimanjaro Safaris. We get in line………right behind the folks in the 7660s at Kidani. We talk with them, and they introduce us to their extended family (daughter, son-in-law, kids, and other in-laws). I strike up a conversation with the son-in-law, who was a Naval Academy Alum. As we near the queue (almost a walk-on), the daughter tells us that they are adopting us, and she tells the CM that they are a party of 14.


I love my adopted family!


We all hop on (taking up about 75% of the vehicle) and are off for our trek into the wild.


It's the typical two-week trip, only this time, the animal conspiracy is in full force. The giraffes were testing out methods to stall the tour for eventual attacks by the crocodiles (can you tell I've been reading The Kingdom Keepers while listening to Tim Bedore (Google him if you don't know about the animal conspiracy)?)



Okay, I have to admit that it was pretty cool seeing it that close.


We continue the journey, and I grab a couple more videos (actually, I grabbed a ton, but I'm only posting a couple).


  For the Lodgers (behave, Dan!)


This one captures the only known images we have of our adopted family.  Oh, and the laughing about 10-15 seconds in is all thanks to Sheri, who uttered a comment about my not getting a video of the ostrich eggs on the right-hand side.

We finish up our safari, separate from our adopted family, and start to make our way over to Expedition Everest. We take the left and know immediately that we'll be experiencing a short diversion for the boys:


Continued HERE.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Mushfam Disney Family Vacation, June 2010; Day 1, Part 3: Surprise! Surprise! Surprise!

Part 2 of Day 1 can be found HERE.


We pay for our meal with the Dining Plan and make our way out. After conducting the war I promised with the MINE! birds, we head into our first attraction to look for Nemo.


(I love this one of Eric!)

We found him and sang a few stanzas of "In the Big, Blue World" before hopping off. After we disembark, we head up to say hi to our friends the manatees. Afterwards, we look for the Kidcot Fun Stop but noticed that it wasn't where I thought it was. Not a problem…I was looking at doing these for the boy in World Showcase anyways. We head into the main viewing of the aquarium and I see a sight I wasn't expecting:


A T-shirt from Conneaut Lake, Pennsylvania.


That's where the Mushrush homestead is located. I was about to strike up a conversation, but the guy wearing it started heading out after checking his watch, so I decided not to pursue it. The boys, as usual, weren't as into this as we were, and we left after a few minutes to check out the other areas.



The requisite Bruce pic


We head into Turtle Talk as it's scheduled to start in about 7 minutes. The boys head to the front, and we find a place 2/3 of the way back. Crush comes in and starts the show. The best question from one of the children by far was "where do baby turtles come from?"


Awkward Silence as Crush's eyes bulge out


Crush works for an answer as nearly all the parents (including us) try not to fall off the benches from laughing. Crush has fun with it by looking at the parents and saying, "I can tell that the parents were all like NOOOOOOOOOO…..DON'T ANSWER THAT!!!!!!!!!" That put the parents over the edge laughing. He then started with the eggs on the beach and the temperature determining the sex of the turtle.


After the near sex-ed incident, we start walking over to The Land to see what the time was for Soarin, knowing full well that it was going to be too long. We keep on going and decide to try a new attraction for us, Journey Into Imagination…With Figment. Before heading in, I take a look at the theater to see if any Captain EO material is up. Having never seen the original, I honestly didn't know what I was looking for, but I figured I'd know it if I saw it (I didn't). We take a moment for the first time to actually look at all the water designs (the backwards waterfall, specifically). We've heard so many bad things about this, that I was expecting a 5-minute waste of time. It's a walk-on (as expected), and it was better than we expected. Granted, we never saw the original with the Dreamfinder and all the lost parts of the attraction, but we all kind of liked it. All 4 of us had the crap scared out of us though, at the end!


After that, we headed to the lab and let the boys have some fun. This place looks cool (remember, we're first timers).


Notice that the only one that actually listened was the girl that didn't belong to us! (oops) As you could tell, they were having a good time! I have seen the e-mails of pictures with all sorts of images on their faces, but those kiosks were all full, so we continued on outside. What awaited us? WATER!!!


Pure joy on their faces…I almost welled up watching them having fun here.


After the Imagination pavilion, we head out and decide to just do Epcot today…we thought about hitting MK for a while this evening, but the heat was taking quite a bit out of us. Remember, this was the first time coming in the heat of the summer. With that decision made, we head over to Innoventions West to see if the Disney Visa Meet-n-Greet was still going. It was about 5:20, so we missed it…not a problem, though, because we would be back to Epcot at least one more day. They look around for a minute, and then we head out to do Spaceship Earth.  On the way, we grab a cool perspective shot:

I honestly do not know why the heck they like this attraction, but the boys want to ride it the way Sheri and I want to ride Soarin. Still a 5-minute wait, and, in no time, we're picking out language (I wanted to try Japanese this time but behaved and did English). I tolerated it…contemplated grabbing a nap. For the descent, I let Aaron answer the questions for our future.


After this, we start heading towards the exit. As we walk out, I get my first glimpse of the Tronorail…not as bad as I was expecting, based on other reports. As we head toward the bus stops, we look forward to not having a 1.5 mile walk to the Pop or All-Star stops (so we can be fresh for the 1.5 mile walk to our room from the lobby).

Imagine how floored we were when we found that the stop we were dropped off at…the one closest to the entrance/exit, was AKL's stop!!! I, of course, start dancing at this. There's another family waiting in the queue with us, and we strike up a conversation with them. After a few minutes, and I have no idea about how we got on the topic…HONEST, we somehow manage to start talking about trip planning, and I jokingly pull out my TouringPlans pocket planner.


At this, He mentions that he listens to the WDW Today podcast all the time.


Both our wives roll their eyes and realize that there is no stopping us after this news.


It was Eric from Indiana, and he was a fellow Disney podcast junkie. Of course I take the opportunity to plug my blog, and he said he'd check it out. The bus comes, and, as soon as we're seated, we talk about all the different shows out there…we find out that we have similar tastes (love many of the same ones, thought many of the same ones weren't that great, etc). When we arrive at Kidani, we de-bus and wish each other well, hoping to run into each other again on the trip. 

Now…we're at Kidani, and we don't have to move at Warp Speed to make it to an ADR. NOW we're going to look at this place. We slowly walk to the entrance and take in sights.  I created a video of us walking from the bus stop into the lobby with Hapa Duniani by the Voices of Celebration, but, being the academic, I was concerned about copyright infringement and decided not to include it (*&$%^@!# ethics).


We then head into Johari Treasures, where I want to purchase a lanyard and pass holder (so I can look like the true Disney World freak). We looked around some more, and the boys notice the vinylmation.  45 minutes later, we're finally able to pull Aaron away from the display case.  We tell them not to buy them yet…let's see what else is out there in the "World" before deciding on that. I can just see the boys with their own accounts on, and us planning an intervention in a few weeks.

Johari is a nice little place!  The CMs were great in there, and, while I don't think there would be enough in there for the folks who are planning on cooking the majority of their meals, it's pretty well-stocked for a smaller store.


After finding my lanyard and getting some snacks, we locate our Sherpa and head out for the long journey to our final destination…unit 7676. Our bags magically have arrived, so Sheri starts taking pics of the place before the ultimate trashing which will ensue once the suitcases are opened.

After the pics, we open up the door to our balcony for the boys' next surprise and head out…












Yeah, we were amazed at what we saw. This nearly took our breath away…obviously it took some of my brain cells away momentarily because I had trouble on a couple of occasions trying to find the right words (balcony!)



Totally Kewl…Brian, if you read this, thanks, Bud…this was amazing!


After about 5-10 minutes of jaw-dropping views of the savannah, we head back in and start the unpacking process. Eventually we get stuff put in, and we chill for a bit. Sheri reads some of the stuff while I work a bit on getting caught up on the online course. Around 8:30, we throw the kids in bed. Being that their bodies still considered it to be 7:30, they protested, but the adults, who held the passes and the schedule for the rest of the vacation, won out (about an hour later grrrrrr).

The thumb is still throbbing like never before, but, having got next to no sleep the previous night, I collapsed on the bed and tried to fall asleep.



Too bad that damn thumb wouldn't let me.

Onto Day 2.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Mushfam Disney Family Vacation, June 2010; Day 1, Part 2: Surprise! Surprise! Surprise!


Part 1 can be found HERE.

We hop off and hold on to the boys for dear life…since we missed the previous tram, we're with about 4 airplane loads of people. While many of the others try to get their bearings on where to go next, the experts make a beeline for the escalator down (about 30 of us), and we move as a pack in unison. At the last minute, we do see room in an elevator heading down, so we hop on, head down, and see that the line at the Magical Express is pretty much non-existent. Bathroom break, and we're in line, and they're letting our line go ou - wait…nope…we just missed it.


Normally, I'd be panicking because I'm superstitious and think that doomsday will ensue if we miss the transportation. Today? Hell yes I'm panicking because we have 2:30 ressies in Epcot!


Not to worry, though, because 3 minutes later, up rolls the  next bus for us.


The bus fills up really quickly and is about to head out. Good…but we have one more issue (or, rather, 4) to deal with. We filled up quickly because there were also people heading to Pop, to Caribbean Beach, to Coronado Springs, and to Animal Kingdom-Jambo on the bus.  Guess how many of those resorts we stopped at BEFORE we were to arrive at Kidani?  Yeah, yeah...I know...someone has to be last.  It's going to be close as to whether we make it to the Coral Reef on time or not. We notice that there is only one other family on the bus from Jambo to Kidani, so the line at check-in shouldn't be bad. Sure enough, we walk up and walk in, pausing momentarily to take in the lobby...

...and, before we know it (and after paying for the dining plan), we have our unit: #7676. Now, having researched the heck out of lodging, I knew that the unit wasn't going to be too close to the lobby.


We start out...

1/475th of the journey to our room

We see the family with us on the bus and wave, joking about needing oxygen.  Then we find the unit, run in, pause for a moment to hit the bathroom, dump the carry-ons, open up the curtains for a brief moment to see our view (ZEBRA!!!), and realize that we're actually pretty close to the lobby!  I suggest to Sheri that we just take this route:

Sheri slaps me, and we start making our way back to the lobby (the longer way). I feel like I could probably not run at all this trip and still end up with just as much endurance training. We eventually make it to the lobby and head out to the bus stops. Making the 2:30 Coral Reef ADR is going to be REALLLLY close. Here comes the big test – how are the buses at Kidani?

While we are waiting, we snap a queue pic:


The streak continues!!! Within 2 minutes, we have an Epcot bus pulling up. We're one of only 2 families on the bus at Kidani, and we pick up another 3-4 families at Jambo. We're on our way, and I'm willing the bus to go just a little faster. As we go up World Drive and take the ramp to Epcot, I tell Sheri a bit about the Half-marathon route and look for what I've heard is one of the toughest parts…the upward-sloping circular ramp from South World Drive to East Epcot Center Drive. We arrive and are pleasantly surprised that we are dropped off at the closest bus stop to the exit. Everyone's awake and ready to go, so we fly off the bus, make our way through the bag check, and prepare ourselves mentally for a new chapter in our Disney Freak-dom lives…becoming Annual Passholders.


We find a ticket kiosk with no line and immediately start the process. As the subtotal is displayed, Sheri thinks that it's a little expensive. I tried ignoring her because that amount didn't even have the boys' 7-day hoppers included. I nearly needed the AED for Sheri when that got added in. We always see everything in one lump sum as we almost always go through AAA. This time, however, we pay for each one separately, and the sticker shock hit Sheri rather hard. As we are handed the passes, we both laugh at the character selection. I get Donald (my favorite character) and Sheri (the purist) gets Mickey. We decided to give Pluto to Eric (it fits well), and Aaron was left with the perfect character – Goofy. Throughout the trip, every time I handed out the passes, I'd just call out the person by character (which, of course, drew some interesting stares at the turnstiles). Tickets in hand and retirement savings wiped out, we make our way to the aforementioned turnstiles (no lines!!!!!), and, before we know it, we are finger-scanned and officially IN THE PARKS!!!! It's around 2:10, and WE'RE HERE!!!!!!! WE'RE HERE!!!! WE'RE HERE WE'RE HERE WE'REHEREWE'REHEREWE'REHERE!!!!!!!WE'REHERE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


The background music through the gravestones and under SSE just puts me at ease…











…and we're going to make it to the Coral Reef on time, too (the next surprise for the boys).


We head under the golf ball, through the Innoventions West breezeway, note the wait time for Soarin, and turn right. No time to enter a screaming contest with the MINE! Birds (another tradition of mine, thanks in part to a friend who also does it).  We blow by the Seas sign and enter the Coral Reef to check in. Current time: 2:20.




After a bathroom run for everyone, our pager goes off, and we find ourselves being escorted to our tabl…wait...we're going up front by the windows…must be a short cut to our actual tabl…WHOAH…he's stopping by a clean table next to a window.


I nearly kiss the CM seating us. I don't think he would have liked it too much.


We sit down and just stare for a moment…mouths gaping. Our server breaks the worship event and asks us for a drink order. I don't care how "fru-fru"ey it is, a pina colada sounds like the perfect drink, and I order one without hesitation. The boys order lemonade, and Sheri foregoes the guaranteed buzz (she hadn't eaten much yet today…besides, she's a lightweight with it comes to alcohol) and orders a Diet Coke. I take a moment as we look over the menu and tell Sheri that you can't beat the start to this vacation! I'm making an effort this trip to start relaxing early…usually it takes me 4-5 days to start letting go and enjoying everything, and, so far, it's perfect – absolutely perfect.


The boys both take a sip of their lemonade and cringe. Eric (the more vocal one when things aren't EXACTLY the way he wants them) tells Sheri that something's wrong with the lemonade. Aaron agrees, and Sheri takes a sip.


I should have had the camera ready for Sheri's face when she took a sip!


Of course, they wanted me to take a taste for my opinion. Yep…there's something other than lemons in it. About 30 seconds later, the server, anticipating the boys' reactions, asks how the lemonade is. She forgot to mention to us that it was pomegranate lemonade and that, often, kids are turned off by the taste. She graciously offers to get a different drink for them as she takes our order. I've heard rave reviews about the food here, so I do what every food-lover does at a seafood specialty restaurant – I order the New York Strip (per the rave reviews I've heard about it). Sheri and (gasp!) Aaron both order the mahi mahi, and Eric goes with the comfort food for the young – chicken blobs. Aaron and Eric throw us both a curve ball, though, when they request lobster soup for their appetizer. And, yes, they both ate it. Aaron ate all of his, and Eric had about 4 slurps, which is average for him. Sheri and I then waged a spoon war for the rest of Eric's soup.  About this time, Brian (the friend who rented the points to us) sends a text and asks if we made it yet.


More "atmosphere":



As we waited for the entrees to arrive, we just marveled at where we were. We had people from other tables asking to come up to take pics, and we didn't mind at all (we'd be doing the same thing were we in their shoes).


The colada was gone in no time, and I seriously considered another one, but I was good and switched to a Diet Coke. As we waited, the boys played with these plastic dolphins that came with their drinks:



The food arrived in no time flat, and…


…HOLY COW!!!! The quality of the food was so far above what we experienced back in 2001 that we didn't think it was the same restaurant. I had a bite of Sheri's fish, and it was simply perfect. Aaron devoured everything he had and tried conniving Eric to give him a chicken blob.


After the main course, we had to face the next dilemma…dessert. The boys had to choose between a fruit bowl and a make-your-own sundae.


Yeah, it took them all of 0.45 seconds to make up their minds.


I went for the butterscotch crème brulee, and Sheri goes for the chocolate wave. I was guessing that AJ Wolfe of the Disney Food Blog is always looking for pics, so we grabbed some.


The dessert was good…not the best I've ever had, but still really good.


This was a one heck of a good way to start out the trip...a nearly perfect meal. We were all enjoying everything…the food, the drink…the fish…the reactions of people getting seated and seeing the view for the first time...

Though we wanted to stay for another hour at the table, we wrap things up and head out so that others could enjoy the experience.  One last pic, though, before we pay and head out:


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Mushfam Disney Family Vacation, June 2010; Day 1, Part 1: Surprise! Surprise! Surprise!

Sheri was dead to the world at midnight. Good thing, because we needed one of us to be coherent today, and it sure as heck wasn't going to be me. Between the excitement and (more so) my thumb pounding (I was actually taking my pulse from the throbs while laying in bed), I got less than an hour of sleep. The first alarm goes off, and I'm out of bed. I turn off the other alarms so Sheri could get a bit more sleep, and I head downstairs to see if the podcasters were able to do anything on such short notice. The first e-mail I see is from Lou…he just saw my e-mail around midnight last night and asked if he could record something later on that day. I started kicking myself for not coming up with this idea until just a couple days earlier. I fire off a quick reply, thanking him for the offer and mentioning that we'll likely see him on Saturday at his meet-up. I also see a message from Newell. Something came up with one of the folks, and they ended up not being able to record the previous night. I could tell he felt bad…it sounded like they had a spiel set up and everything. I then kicked myself even harder for not coming up with this idea sooner.


I have to pause here for one second…even though these guys wouldn't know me from Adam if we passed on the street, both the WDW Radio and the WDW Today crew were willing to help out with the surprise, and that knowledge alone makes me appreciate what they do all the more. Thanks guys – I wasn't expecting anything at all, and I greatly appreciate your willingness to try to help out.


I head back up and get dressed…back downstairs to shoot Mac (give him the insulin), grab the video camera, and talk to Sheri about how to spring it on the boys. I had another idea…the previous day, I was on the computer "conveniently" looking at the Atlanta Aquarium's web site. I was planting the seed that I could use this as a possible way to spring the trip on them. I thought we could wake them up and tell them that we were going to fly to Atlanta and see a huge aquarium (they, naturally, would think of what they just saw on the computer). Of course, I would leave out the fact that we weren't going to stop at Atlanta and, instead, continue to Florida to eat at the Coral Reef, which is also a HUGE aquarium.


Sheri wasn't a big fan of the idea…she was concerned that they would be upset that we weren't going to Atlanta. I looked at her, dumbfounded, and wondered if she knew Aaron and Eric – the two who beg to live in Disney World at least 4 times a day. Okay…let's come up with something else…QUICK!


We decide to go with the "lots of surprises" route. Sheri is certain that they'll figure it out as soon as we wake them up. We head into Aaron's room:




When he realized it, he came up and gave me this big hug. That smile told us everything. Yeah…good start to the trip!


The boys, for once, don't have to be told to brush their teeth and get dressed.


They are ready at warp speed. I get the food ready for the cats and tell them "bye" (as usual, they can sense we're heading out for more than a day and are pissed). We pull the van out, go through all the mental lists, and head out for our long, boring journey to the airport (8 minutes). I drop off the rest of the family as well as the luggage and head out to park the van. It was a warm/humid morning, but at least the rain had temporarily stopped, so I had a nice, leisurely walk to the terminal. I meet up with the family and start the online check-in process. I break one of the check-in kiosks (went out of service as I was trying to check in…it wasn't mentally strong enough to handle me), and I move to another one to beat on it for a bit. It's stronger, and it gives us the boarding passes for our flights. As we dump off the bags, I catch the Myszka family from Downs out of the corner of my eyes, but they were past us before I could catch up with them. As we walk by the coffee shop, I see the Mouser and the Myers clans getting ready to head out for their trip to Mexico. We talk for a brief moment about scheduling a t-ball tournament at the airport when we got back (they were coaches in the same league I was coaching in) before heading through security. After bathroom breaks, more talks with half of the Downs population, and more bathroom breaks, we see the Mexico-bound folks board their flight and depart. Within a few minutes, we start boarding, and, before we know it, we're in the air.


It's going to be a hot day all over the country, which often means we're going to be feeling a little bit of chop in the air.


Well, it was more than a mild chop…


We hit moderate turbulence for quite a bit of the trip. Sheri was green, and someone a couple of rows up had to use the barf bag. I wanted to sleep a little, but the thumb was feeling even worse. Still, I was in a plane (always a good thing for me), and I was with the family heading down to MCO (always a good thing for me). I could tell we were making awesome time down there, and the air traffic arriving into ATL seemed much lower than usual. Often, I can feel the plane start making turns to sequence us for arrival not long after we're over BNA (Nashville). Nothing…not even an S-turn (a common move by air traffic control to increase the spacing between aircraft). Kewl!!! We scoot around to the east and are lined up to land west. I didn't see my first traffic until we were turning onto final, and there was only 1 landing on the south parallel. We land a good 15-20 minutes early, which means I think we have a slight chance of trying to hop on standby on an earlier flight. Unfortunately, the arrival gate was still occupied (one of the potential pitfalls of arriving early). As we deplane, some people started kissing the jetway, glad to be rid of the turbulence. We enter the terminal, jog to an info screen, and notice that the earlier flight had indeed departed. No problem…we only have an hour layover. We hit the bathroom and grab something to drink.



We're in a 737 rather than an 717 for this segment, which means that there's going to be someone in the seat between me and Aaron. It's a UM (unaccompanied minor for the non-airline folks), an 11 year-old girl flying to stay with her father for the summer. She agrees to take the aisle seat; Aaron prefers to sit by the window, leaving the short, fat, hairy, obnoxious guy to the middle seat. The girl sitting in the aisle seat next to me isn't shy at all and strikes up a conversation with me for much of the flight. No prob…even though I wanted to sleep, I'd much rather have someone like that than someone who says absolutely nothing or complains the entire time (though having a swimsuit model sorority co-ed who's scared of flying sitting next to me and needs me to hold her hand is also good). We start our descent and, before we know it, we're on the ground, and EARLY!!! I don't get too excited, though, because we landed on the 36L (northwest) side, and our gate is waaaaaaaaayyyy over on the southeast concourse. No worries, however…hakuna matata…we're still about 10 minutes early. Being the seasoned veterans, we know not to hit the bathroom by the gates because everyone else is. All we have to do is hop on the tram…and there's one waiting for us. As we walk up, the doors close.


Grrrrrrr…and my back teeth are about to float.


4 minutes later the next one comes on the other side, and we're on the tram.

Day 1 is continued HERE.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Mushfam Disney Family Vacation, June 2010; Pre-trip

For those new to the Mushfam Trip Reports, a little introduction is in order, here:


Mush: author of this mess, 37 years old. Podcast freak. Disney Freak. Geeky college professor of economics. Freak. Known by Wifey (below) under several different disparaging names.

Wifey: aka "Sheri", sweet and innocent on the outside, pure evil on the inside. "younger than Mush." The "glue" that keeps the family together (so she says).

Aaron: 7-year old kid of Wifey. Doesn't look a thing like Mush – he still has his concerns about the UPS guy. Kid genius who likes things his way.

Eric: 5-year clown and student of drama. Antagonizer of Aaron. Occasional insomniac. Also looks nothing like Mush.


You'll meet more on the way, but those are the main players.



After December of 2008 (our last trip), we reached somewhat of a dilemma. We absolutely loved going to WDW in December, but we now have children that are school-aged. Being married, Sheri and I disagreed on taking the kids out of school for a vacation. The odd thing – me, being the educator, fell on the side of taking them out (this early in their education…the week before Christmas break…they're smart…etc.). Sheri, however, held her ground on the side of not taking them out of school. Still, I completely understand the argument for not doing it, and I (painfully) put away the thoughts of another December trip with lower crowds, perfect weather, lower prices, friends usually there the same time frame. (sniff, sniff)


This meant that the summer was going to be our time to go, along with the about 93% of the rest of the United States. We made the mistake of visiting the Doorway to Dreams store in Chicago's Woodfield Mall a couple of times and, after seeing the model room for Kidani Village, I started running the numbers to see if it were feasible to become a DVC member. While doing that, I looked at the possibility of doing an annual pass (with the $100 DVC discount) and getting 2 trips in every AP year (e.g. do a trip in mid-June in 2009 and another trip the first week in June in 2010). Ultimately, we chose not to buy into DVC (YET), but going through this exercise put early June in my mind as the "best of the worst" times to go in the summer.


We weren't going to set up a vacation in June of 2009…the finances and timing just weren't there. The next possible option was June of 2010. As we started pricing lodging, we then realized how much cheaper it was to stay in mid-December. UGH! I started pricing right after New Year's for a really short trip, and the timing with the school schedule didn't work out. Okay, we're going to suck up the higher prices and just do the June trip.


It was around the fall of '09 that I made a post over on Facebook about the lodging, and someone suggested looking at renting points from DVC members to stay there. I knew the basic going price for renting points, but I figured the number of points needed would make it too expensive. When looking at the prices in the summer, however, I realized that the gap between a hotel stay and a DVC unit stay was much smaller; in fact, it appeared that, in many cases, it was cheaper to go the DVC rental route.


The next issue…finding someone who had points and was willing to rent them. I wasn't going to go to Disboards to find a renter (too many issues with them, and I have several good friends and former Disboards admins who have been treated horribly by other admins…I'll just continue to lurk over there on the rare occasion). I knew and trusted the vast majority of the members on Lodgeboards (the online community that I called home for several years), and it seemed that the vast majority of the members on the Lodge were also DVC members. I put out an inquiry to see if anyone was willing/able to rent points to us, and a couple of members immediately replied. A few private messages/texts later, one of our friends (Brian) agreed to rent to us. We worked together well and ultimately had a savannah view studio at Kidani village booked for our stay.




Considering we've only stayed at All-Star Movies and at Pop, this was going to be a little different (that's an understatement if I've ever heard one!). We were excited, to say the least. We knew the boys were going to love it too, especially since we think Aaron secretly wants to marry Bindi Irwin and live at the Australia Zoo with her.


This led us to another decision to make – when do we tell the boys? We could let them in, but they would be impossible to live with for the next several months. On the other hand, we could hang Disney over their head if they didn't behave ("if you don't eat your peas, we're not going to Disney World"). We decided to hold off on telling them for a while, though this became an issue of contention as the trip got nearer.


At 180 days, we got everything we wanted in terms of dining options. We were going to try several new places this time, including the Coral Reef, Sanaa, Biergarten, Ohana (breakfast), and 50s Prime Time Café. Things were coming together fairly well for everything. Sheri, of course, started packing about 2.5 months out. She'd set up clandestine missions to pull down suitcases from storage, pack a little, and put them back. I asked her if she wanted to wear some of my camouflage pants from when I was in the Air Force (she already had the camo on her face…oh, wait…that's her normal make-up). Several times, we considered just telling the boys as it was going to be easier with the packing and logistics. Every time, however, we decided to keep it a secret.


In April, a couple of curve balls got thrown at us (literally). I was asked to be the head coach for Eric's t-ball team, and the season (of course) partially fell while we were to be on vacation. I offered to do it with the caveat that I had an assistant who could take over for those days we'd be gone. They agreed, and I agreed. Also, to aid in my dissertation progress, my committee chair advised that I take an online course over the summer. I agreed. Also, Heartland Community College asked if I would be willing to teach the 4-week online courses of Micro/Macro that I created last year again this summer. SURE! I guess this means I'll be taking the laptop down with us, but it can be done.


Another curve ball…one of our cats (Mac) had developed some health issues. In the summer of 2009, I noticed a few things with him (he was about 19 lbs…had been for years) that gave me a little cause for concern. To avoid potential kidney issues, I decided to switch him (and Murphy…our other cat) from a 100% dry food diet to a majority-canned diet. Sure enough, he started losing weight and back down to where he should have been within about 5-6 months. He was back to his normal self – active, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, etc. The problem was that he kept on losing weight, despite letting him have as much food as he wanted. I ended up taking him to a good friend of ours (Steve, a veterinarian who went to my church and, along with his wife, graduated the same class as Sheri) for a check-up, and we found one major issue: he was diabetic. Okay…so that means we'll be giving him insulin twice a day every day.


Uh oh…we're going to need to find someone who's willing to do it while we're gone. The ones who often help out with our cats were also going to be gone for much of the time we were going to be on vacation. We decided to look at boarding the cats, but the cats don't take to change too well, and we didn't think that was the best scenario. On a follow-up visit to Steve, we saw that we needed to increase the insulin even more and, unfortunately, an x-ray showed possible masses on both the liver and the pancreas. It could have been slow (been there for years), or it could be aggressive. The primary goal, though, was to get the diabetes under control, so we agreed on a regimen of insulin. After about a week of the prescribed dosage, I didn't notice any improvement, so we upped it a bit more, and we saw what seemed to be a marked improvement to him. He was getting back to his normal self, though with some hind leg issues (which is common with diabetic cats, though it can be reversed possibly once the blood sugar gets regulated). We decided to keep the cats at home and have a neighbor give the shots.


Okay…cats are taken care of. Baseball is taken care of. Classes are taken care of. Dining/flights/lodging is taken care of. Sheri and I did have a talk about what to buy in the form of tickets. Since the two of us were going to be coming back to Disney World in January for the half-marathon (I'm still well-short of my goal for donations…hint, hint), we crunched numbers and decided that the best way to go would be the annual pass. Kewl!!!!! We're going to be AP holders. Of course, this opened up a whole bunch of new possibilities – mainly comparing the Dining Plan (which we were set up to do) to the Tables in Wonderland. After a bunch of spreadsheet manipulation that would have our friend Tricia proud, we decided to stick with the DDP. Tickets are now taken care of.


Of course, the camera that we had been using for a couple of years was starting to lock up, so, about 2 weeks before we were to leave, we started looking into purchasing a video camera that also took pictures. I usually research this for a week or two before purchasing, but there just wasn't enough time. Luckily, several people who work at our local Best Buy were students of mine in the past, and they actually didn't hate me too much as a teacher. We walked in, and, sure enough, one of the two I was hoping would be there was there. He saw me and made a beeline right over to us. After about 10 minutes of Q/A and looking at the models, we decided on one to buy. The video it took was AWESOME; the pictures, however, were not much better than VGA quality. We decided to take both of the cameras and hope that the older one would hold up.


Sheri's job was getting a little more intense, and, after realizing that she hadn't taken more than 3 days off in a row for over a year, she was READY to get on this trip. We were counting down the seconds for a couple of weeks! It was still a secret with the boys, somehow…this wasn't easy because we were helping several others plan upcoming trips, and we had to be careful not to talk about our trip (or pretend we were talking about their trip when it was ours actually).


Finally…the week before the trip!!! One of our traditions is to talk about what we would be doing "this time next week." We love that tradition! Ohhh, but the pitcher that is life threw us a couple more curve balls. AirTran changes our schedule for the 5th time, with several notifications of changes the 3 days before we were to leave. This time it actually was to our advantage. Actually, we did have one where a schedule change allowed us to rebook at no cost to a better schedule – it allowed us an extra 2 hours in the parks on the last day. I was a little worried about that, but everything worked out.


I kept trying to think of a way to spring the surprise on the boys, but nothing was coming to me. A week or two before we were to leave, Lou Mongello announced that his monthly meet-up in the parks would be at the same park we'd be at on that day. It took a couple of days to come up with this, but I decided I'd see if perhaps Lou could help with the surprise. Since I do my podcast updates on the blog, I have the iPod running constantly while we're in the car, and the boys consider some of the people on the podcasts to be relatives (as much as they hear them). Aaron's a big fan of Mongello, and Eric recognizes WDW Today…Mike Newell, specifically. With only a couple of days before we were to leave, I fully expected that the recording schedule wouldn't allow it (plus, were I in their shoes, I'd be concerned about a precedent…would others inundate them with requests to do something similar?). I sent out a message to Lou and, a bit later, to Mike.



I always find a way to make sure I'm not 100% before a trip…now, 99 times out of 100, I'm battling some sort of sickness. That's because it's usually winter time. This is summer, so I should be out of the woods with regard to sickness. I'm feeling great, even the day before we're to leave, so I'm confident I won't be sick!


I'm proud to say that I was not sick at all when we left.



I'm not proud to say, however, that I still wasn't 100%.



The day before we were to leave, I headed into ISU to do the incoming freshman orientation. It was hot and cloudy, with a good chance of rain. I pulled into the parking lot, got out of the car and, at the last minute, reached in to grab my umbrella. When I went to close the door, my hand slipped a bit…


Guess where my thumb was located as the door was closing at a decent rate?



It closed so hard that the door was actually latched and locked, with my thumb still in there. I unlocked it and opened it back up (quickly, I might add), and ascertained the damage.


Yeah…it's not in good shape. Within 5 seconds, the entire nail was completely black. It was starting to swell, and (Mr. Obvious, here) it was throbbing with pain. I walk the ten minutes to my office and start throwing cold water on it and compressing it. Luckily, nobody showed up for the orientation. I contemplated heading over to get x-rays on it, but there just wasn't time because Aaron had a game that evening in a town a few miles away. Sheri's exhausted, Eric's whiny, Aaron has a game, and I'm injured…AND WE'RE ONLY 12 @#%)%^!#@$!@#$ HOURS AWAY FROM OUR TRIP!!!


I had ice on my thumb on the way to the game, and, while I'm usually behind home plate shagging passed balls and helping with batting stances, one of the other coaches offered to switch with me, so I did first base. While I could get my glove on, I couldn't squeeze it shut. Plus, the leather was rubbing the thumb raw. (how many readers will I lose with that statement?).


We get back home from the game, throw the kids in the shower and somehow get them to bed. I heard back from Mike that they would love to help out and had something planned for the recording that night.


We got the last-minute items packed…triple –checked all the info, and went to bed for the night with three alarms set for 3:45 am. I simply can't go to sleep because my thumb is absolutely throbbing. It probably takes me a good 45 minutes to actually crash.


Yeah…we're looking forward to a relaxing vacation…we know how to relax in Disney World……………….

Continue on to Day 1 HERE

Friday, August 13, 2010

Disney Podcast Updates, June 16-30, 2010

Another set of 60+ updates are here for your enjoyment/perusal/searching. Some of the highlights in here include Aaron's finale of the Top 100 Disney Songs on Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Pod, a couple of 1964 World's Fair entries, great video from the Nemo subs, the farewell of Tom Corless from the Disney Pincast, 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. Shawn Rees over at the Disney Blog also has a revolving list of updates that are more current than these (I'm getting caught up, though!)

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



    • 06/25/10 – Episode 167, This week, Jonathan takes you on a trip on two of his favorite extinct attractions. Also he announces next week's LIFE AATM CALL IN SHOW - June 30th at 8pm EST - with a MAJOR ANNOUNCEMENT about AATM. Don't miss next week folks! Time: 36:04

    • 06/17/10 – Episode 238, Today the panel discusses what it is like to take friends or family that do not "get the magic" of Walt Disney World.  We discuss ways to see the parks and resorts that may help these people along.  We also discuss things to think about before the trip, as well as what to do when we encounter guests in the parks that are struggling with "enjoying the magic."  Time: 39:48
    • 06/20/10 – Episode 239, Happy Monday, everyone!  We are proud to have Kayla (@DisneySoprano) as our guest today!  We talk about her 21st Birthday celebrated at Walt Disney World!  She traveled there with friends and had a great time!  We discuss her stay at Pop Century Resort, being on stage during the American Idol Experience show, as well as many great dining reviews!  Time: 42:28
    • 06/22/10 – Live Show Rebroadcast, June 2010. Originally aired June 20. Time: 2:05:14
    • 06/24/10 – Episode 240, Thanks for joining us for today's podcast!  Today we discuss our favorite ride vehicles in each of the four Walt Disney World theme parks.  Some of our picks are a little unique, and we want to know what your favorite ride vehicles are. (Mush: Soarin, Doom Buggy, and Peter Pan Ship!). Time: 39:44
    • 06/27/10 – Episode 241, Today you are in for a treat!  We have Carl and Ellie Peters joining us from to discuss their upcoming huge move to Central Florida.  These two are huge Disney fans, as they show in the stories they share with us today.  We hear about how their love of Disney started, very emotional times at WDW, as well as tips for a better trip.  Also, I ask all of the questions about moving to the "Magic" of Central Florida, and see where they are right now on this journey!  Thank you so much for supporting our podcast! (Mush: While those are not really their names, I LOVE the creativity and enjoy following them on FB and reading their blog!) Time: 39:00

    • 06/16/10 – Episode 20 (20 already? Wow!), the announcement and imminent launch of the much hyped iPhone 4! And struggles (nay, EXCELS AT) to relate it to Disney. (Mush: something tells me Nate didn't write the show description J ). Time: 42:15
    • 06/30/10 – Episode 21, This week Nate takes a turn hosting the show and Henry tells Team Betamouse all about Disneyland Paris tech! Time: 39:36

    • 06/18/10 – BMS Show 86, More un-professional video clips from Day 2 of my Westfest, Disneyland trip in early May. Enjoy! (Mush: So THAT'S what Coconut Wireless looks like! Some good ride-thru video in here, too.). Time: 22:43
    • 06/30/10 – IYEE Show 61, Discussing where I have been and what has been going on. Time: 30:59

    • 06/30/10 – Episode 45, Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage from Chris Fisher on Vimeo. Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage is a new take on an old Disneyland favorite. In 1959 the Original opened and took passengers on a journey under the Arctic Ocean's polar ice cap. The Tomorrowland Attraction stayed open until 1998 but sat dormant until 2005 when construction began for the re-imagineered version showcasing the Pixar Movie Finding Nemo. In this episode we board the submarine and help Marlin find his son Nemo and experience all the adventures along the way. (Mush: AMAZING video here…loved it!). Time: 15:07

    • 06/18/10 – Episode 94, Jeff and Sorcerer are deep into Disney news and the DCA new show World of Color. On this episode: The World In News - Disney World News; Intellectual Disney Conversation - World of Color; Monorail Station - Outside the Parks Part 2; Email Time - Listener Emails Time: 1:31:46

    • 06/30/10 – Episode 45, It's summer time! While Trace is in Virginia Beach and Walt Disney World The Disney Dudes wanted to put out a Disney Funtime Summer Music of Fun Show Podcasting Happy Face! For a song list visit the website's shownotes. (Mush: the AirTran absolutely cracked me up!...just to warn the listeners, though, some of the songs aren't family-friendly.) Time: 1:06:15

    • 06/19/10 – Episode 115, Welcome to another edition of The Disney Pincast. Join hosts John Rick and Tom for Disney Pin Trading news, upcoming pin trading opportunities around the world, John Rick's Ten Pin list, Tom Corless' Pin Trading 101, a profile of I.P.L.S. member number #94 (Sean Aitken from Dundee, Scotland), pin releases from the Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts, and much more!!! (Mush: what is left out in the show notes is the fact that this is the last show that Tom Corless is going to co-host. John gives a heartfelt tribute at the end to Tom. No, folks, he's not leaving the podcasting realm…he's just spread thin with all that's going on in the WDWNT family. You can still hear him on several other shows, and he'll appear as a guest on the show.) Time: 2:32:57
    • 06/26/10 – Episode 116, Welcome to another edition of The Disney Pincast. Join John Rick for Disney Pin Trading news, upcoming pin trading opportunities around the world, a profile of I.P.L.S. member number #95 (Eric Frasher from Santee, CA), pin releases from the Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts, and much more!!! Time: 1:00:32

    • 06/16/10 – Episode 76, I hope you are not too tired of WoC yet...(Mush: LOL…nope!) Time: 13:58
    • 06/27/10 – Episode 77, Behind the scenes of the Wizard of Oz, and a look forward. Check the Show notes for a deleted scene video. Time: 15:18

    • 06/27/10 – Episode 51, Your hosts Tracey (WOMAN!!!) and Scott continue their…their…year-long Perspective on Pixar series with a…with a…ENOUGH OF THE VUVUZELAS!!! They look at 2004's The Incredibles and share some listener thoughts and memories on this film as well. After talking about The Incredibles, they celebrate Independence Day here in the United States with a look at the Hall of Presidents attraction and play their recording from their trip to Walt Disney World in May. They wrap up the show with some listener feedback (Mush: Pooooooooooor Mortis…that's cruel to do to anyone, even if it is Mortis. All joking aside, as a veteran, thanks for the HOP audio…that attraction doesn't get a lot of attention). Time: 1:03:06

    • 06/24/10 – Episode 44, Although we usually bring you two segments, we push the boat out this week and bring you three! The first is our usual news and rumours as we bring you all the latest information from the parks around the world. Next, we venture Around the World in 80 Segments as we take a look at the dining and shopping options in Fantasyland. Last but not least, we take a look at one of Disney's latest Facebook surveys. What do Disney Facebook fans think is good advice for first time visitors and do we agree with them? Time: 1:31:29

    • 06/23/10 – Episode 220, DCA Daniel K Lew, tells us all about the new Harry Potter attraction in Orlando! Arthur Vasser joins the show, along with Liana in a low down all about Toy Story Mania! Time: 1:42:59

    • 06/20/10 – Episode 272, After recounting the madness that was the grand opening of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Ricky reviews Toy Story 3 and then takes you to the Disneyland Resort for a sneak peek at Cars Land, Star Tours II, and The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Undersea Adventure. Plus, Ariel herself Jodi Benson sings a World of Color medley of songs from The Little Mermaid. Skipper Ben and Princess Lisa round out the show with a trip report from Walt Disney World. Time: 1:31:20
    • 06/27/10 – Episode 273, After a luxury-filled news report, we take you to Disney's Hollywood Studios theme park to sample the new outdoor audio description assistive technology, hearing details around Pixar Place, taking a ride on Toy Story Midway Mania, and enjoying the first scene of Toy Story 3. Then we learn more about Disney's assistive technology handheld device in interviews with Greg Hale, chief safety officer and vice president of worldwide safety and accessibility for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts and Larry Goldberg, director of media access at WGBH Boston. Finally, we get back to listener feedback, catching up on a few questions and comments. Time: 1:16:13

    • 06/19/10 – Episode 76, On this episode of the Magic Never Ends Podcast, Will, Shannon and Princess Peanut are LIVE from the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, CA!!! Join them first briefly on their plane flight to the Happiest Place on Earth. They finish their pre-trip thoughts as they walk through Downtown Disney to the Disneyland main gate. Much fun and excitement on episode 76 as we ride Pirates of the Caribbean (with good friend JohnDUB), catch the end of Rope Drop on Day 2, take on the world famous Jungle Cruise, and hear all the magical sounds of the Disneyland Park. Come along for our in-the-moment vacation thoughts, which split between having fun and being parents. Time: 1:22:15
    • 06/20/10 – Video Blog 47, On SWA flight from Chicago-Midway to San Francisco, Will and Shannon detail their travel day, including the humorously hectic plane transfer at Chicago-Midway. We share what we're looking forward to seeing and experiencing in San Francisco. (Mush: you have to applaud SWA for taking care of the issue…we were on TWA once, and apparently my wife wasn't ticketed, though our documents showed that she was…she was allowed to fly from BMI to STL before the STL crew realized the problem and didn't let us board the STL-DCA flight…Travelocity got it fixed eventually for the next flight). Time: 6:08
    • 06/22/10 – Video Blog 48, Join Will, Shannon and a spaced-out Princess Peanut on a San Francisco public bus after a full, fun day exploring San Francisco. This Video Blog becomes interactive as we ask YOU, the viewer, an important question. (Mush: her facial expression at the beginning was priceless! As for the question…we need smell-o-vision to answer it!) Time: 4:03
    • 06/24/10 – Episode 77, On this episode of the Magic Never Ends Podcast, join Will, Shannon and Princess Peanut for Part 2 of their Disneyland escapades. This is a bit more of a hodge-podge episode as we bounce all over the Disneyland Park. From the hidden gem of a party line, to singing and dancing as we exit Captain EO and some Main Street ambiance. Catch up with Will and Shannon as they recount their fun activities while wandering around the Disneyland Resort. Hear audio of Great Moments of Mr. Lincoln! Will and Shannon send their pixie-dust filled vacation out in style with the Disneyland fireworks spectacular, Magical! Time: 1:06:07
    • 06/24/10 – Video Blog 49, Join Will and Shannon at the end of their second Disneyland day. Highlights include: Hanging out with Kelsey and JohnDUB.; Visiting Pixie Hollow!; Princess Peanut getting straight apple juice briefly at Ralph Brennen's Jazz Kitchen and thus was on a very humorous sugar high.; Disneyland crowd control FAIL! Shannon's thoughts on Fantasmic and the Wine part of Food and Wine.; The highlight of the video is watching the Magic (in Shannon) slowly die as Will rambles on (Mush: looks like the wine had Shannon sleeping while standing up for the last half!) Time: 6:36

    • 06/20/10 – Jim Hill has returned from his cross country trip in time to bring the listeners of the Magical Definition Disney Podcast the latest news happening in the theme parks in the United States. First up, is a review of Disneyland's new World of Color Show in Disney's California Adventure, followed by a trip to Hogwarts and Universal's Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Time: 38:51

    • 06/20/10 – Episode 167, In this episode we read a couple of e-mails, one of which asks us to discuss what we consider to be some of Disneyland's hidden gems. We make a fairly decent effort before we get too far off into the weeds. Time: 1:55:02
    • 06/27/10 – Episode 168, In a show that takes forever to get rolling, your hosts talk about myriad subjects. Mostly related to Disney. Time: 1:31:09
    • 06/30/10 – Episode 169, This is a recording of our first-ever live call-in show. We took Skype calls while we streamed live. Turns out we were only able to get five guests "on the air" before we ran out of time. As usual with all of our streamed shows, you will hear references to chat inputs from those that were listening. Time: 2:35:23

    • 06/28/10 – We sit down and review our latest trip to Walt Disney World and review Pixar's newest movie Toy Story 3. (Mush: TS3 is technically not a classic, but we'll let it slide since it was so good!) Time: 46:13

    • 06/27/10 – Episode 79, A very different show, with a very special guest and a VERY BIG surprise. (Mush: I haven't had the chance to hear this one…the description is a great teaser, dang it! Luckily I lurk on the WTTM forums, and I've got Jonathan friended up over on FB…CONGRATS on the engagement!!!) Time: 1:04:10

    • 06/19/10 – Episode 256, I seem to have this problem with dates... but no matter.  This week, we start with a little feedback from you, our faithful listeners!  Then, we share our two cents on Toy Story 3 (don't worry, it's spoiler-free), and share your opinions as well.  ¡Hay un amigo en mí! Time: 1:05:32
    • 06/26/10 – Episode 257, This week, after a little feedback about coffee pots and movies starring toys, we've got a little news from WDW regarding the posh side of life... live on property for a "small" sum of money, and treat your pets to a pampered vacation.  Then, we begin our journey through the Pixar library with "A Tribute to All Film Studios, But Mostly Pixar."  Since all their films are great, we get to the nitty gritty of what makes them great and give them a score, thus scientifically creating the ultimate "Best Pixar Film" list. (Mush: this topic is like "Disney, Indiana" meets "WDWNT"…interesting news segment, too.) Time: 1:08:44

    • 06/23/10 – Season 4, Episode 6, In this episode, the Mouse Lounge tumbles down the rabbit hole. Each week, in From the Vault we sample a clip from a classic Disney film, short, television or radio program, or Disneyland Record.  This week Walt introduces the tale of Alice in Wonderland, and then told on Disneyland Records ST-3909, the Magic Window Series!  Listen to the first half in the podcast, then log in to the multimedia section of to download the second half. From the Walt Disney Archives:  Walt gives a tour of the Disney Studios to Winston Hibler under the auspices of being during production of Alice in Wonderland.  While purely a promotional puff piece it is nonetheless worthy of playback for its nostalgia value. Each week we present a high definition ride-through from a Disney Park East or a Disney Park West. A year before the first major expansion of Disneyland that was to add the Matterhorn, Monorail, and subs, on June 14, 1958, Alice in Wonderland, the attraction opened.  Adjacent to The Mad Tea Party and Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, this dark ride has always been exclusive to Disneyland. We'll close this week's show with a musical excerpt and live performance, both from Disneyland. Lifted from the soundtrack of the hopefully temporarily defunct Parade of Dreams, have a listen to the Alice Unit.  Then have a seat in front of the old upright on Coke Corner as Alice and the Mad Hatter do their level best to organize the chairs for a mad tea party! (Mush: Loved the show! The Mad Hatter was amazing at the improv at the end). Time: 1:37:40

    • 06/16/10 – Episode 410, Steven Ng joined Mark and Mike to discuss the World of Color premiere press event at Disney California Adventure park. Time: 1:06:48
    • 06/23/10 – Episode 411, Steven Ng joined Mark and Mike as we take a look back at the show so far as we prepare to take a hiatus for the rest of the summer. Time: 46:13

    • 06/29/10 – Episode 57, Welcome to the Northern Mouse Podcast Episode 57 with your hosts Carlos, Kevin and Robb. Robb and I are back this week with the third episode of Running to the Magic we give you tips for beating the heat this summer. (Mush: good info for those training for the half- and full marathon!) We have our first campfire chat this week where we look at the quick service dining plan and how to get the most value from it. Then we go to part four of around the world in a day. Today we'll be in Canada and the US for some Off Kilter, Fife and Drum corps second show I caught this day and then to the Voices of Liberty and American adventure.  Thanks to everyone for your feedback and e-mails they really do mean a lot so please keep them coming. I especially want to hear from you if you are following the Running to the Magic segments. I've only had a few requests for access to the free training calendar in Google. Robb and I want to make sure that the segments we are bringing you are of value so please email us and just let us know whether to keep them going or not. And don't forget that we are back into camping season so campfire chat's are up and running send in your suggestions for the campfire chat all suggestions whether used or not will go into the magic hat and a winner will be picked at random during our last camping weekend we haven't had many and any suggestions would be appreciated. Use campfire chat in the subject line.  (Mush: I'm really enjoying the "Around the World in a Day" segments…looking forward to the next installment). Time: 2:02:09

    • 06/17/10 – Episode 66, Gordon takes a bike ride--again--and talks about his body image, the importance of training the mind to let the body excel, and he babbles a LOT! (Mush: Listened to this one while doing a run in particularly hot/humid weather…it helped get me to the end of the run!) Time: 1:28:42
    • 06/24/10 – Episode 67, Gordon doesn't talk a lot about running. He discusses the nature of childhood and the bittersweet nature of being a parent. He talks about HIS LIFE. All this in light of viewing Toy Story 3 over the weekend. He gets a great voice mail from Carrie R. And he explains his new intro. (I'll admit that I was bawling my eyes out while listening to this one. My boys are only 7 and 5, but listening to this made me take a step back and look at where they are at in their lives.) Time: 57:40

    • 06/22/10 – Episode 109, It's all about TS3! The Cat #1 family absolutely loved Toy Story 3. So not only does The Watchamacallit appear on this show, but so does Jennifer's husband! Time: 41:26
    • 06/29/10 – Episode 110, This week's show features audio from two TDL shows and a ride through and review of Busch Gardens Williamsburg's "Europe in the Air" (Mush: the shows from Tokyo Disney are Fiesta Tropical and Sebastian's Caribbean Carnival) Time: 48:25.

    • 06/22/10 – Episode 48, Mr. Frank from Mr. Frank's Wild Ride joins Shawn this week to read iTunes reviews (Mush: I know it's easier said than done, but do what you can to ignore the blatantly negative reviews that are nothing more than vendettas or spewing. As Frank said, a negative one can still be good if it's constructive). Time: 1:00:27
    • 06/29/10 – Episode 49, It's WaltCast's one year anniversary show this week. (Mush: Congrats!!! I know there have been ups and downs. Keep getting the interviews you've been getting, and your subscriber numbers will continue to climb quickly!). Time: 25:11

    • 06/16/10 – Episode 148, Welcome to a very special edition of the WDW News Today Podcast and the Disneyland News Today Podcast. I am you host Tom Corless, and I'll be taking you on a coast-to-coast adventure from the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida to the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California. The reason? To cover all the excitement of the bi-coastal seasonal campaign known as Disney's Summer Nightastic. To start our trip, Banks Lee and Brandon Struve will help me review the Walt Disney World offerings taking place between June 6th and August 14th. We'll follow that up with some binaural audio of the Main Street Electrical Parade at the Magic Kingdom and an amusing trip aboard the recently enhanced Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at Disney's Hollywood Studios. We'll then head west to the Disneyland Resort where Chris Lastrapes, Conner Purzycki, and Sean Dickey will help me re-cap the California offerings you can catch between June 11th and August 29th, including the new nighttime spectacular at Disney California Adventure: World of Color. Our colorful coverage doesn't stop there, as we then will feature binaural audio of the opening ceremony and premiere performance of the show, some source audio of the entire World of Color spectacular, and interviews with three individuals who were instrumental in the creation of this new nighttime masterpiece. So let's not waste another moment, it's time to dive into Summer Nightastic for a podcast that will have you saying "Let's Go To Disney's Summer Nightastic". Time: 3:35:06
    • 06/27/10 – Episode 149, To kick off this week's show, we have your Walt Disney World Resort News and Rumor Report. In this week's report, we'll be discussing some new details on two exciting upcoming Walt Disney World attractions, Under the Sea: Journey of the Little Mermaid and Star Tours II, among a number of topics. Following the news, we have a very special presentation. Since we had some technical issues this week and couldn't get our second segment done, we're going to give you a chance to catch an episode of our new late night talk show, "See Ya Real Later" with Tom Corless. Hopefully, we'll be able to persuade a you to stay up with us on select nights this summer for our most ambitious project yet after you have a listen to exactly what we've been up to. All this and much more Walt Disney World information and fun awaits you on this week's WDW News Today Podcast. Time: 1:57:45
    • 06/28/10 – Episode 150, Join host Tom Corless for the WDW News Today Podcast Awards, a celebration of 150 episodes of WDWNT! Special guests, surprising moments, and more make up one of the most memorable episodes of the show ever!!! It all begins with "WDWNT at 150: A Magical, Musical Look Back". The greatest moments in the history of the WDW News Today Podcast have been assembled into a single montage of the people, moments, and insanity that have made WDWNT what it is today. The fun continues with our "Virtual Red Carpet Special". Banks Lee and Brandon Struve interview guests as they arrive for the WDW News Today Podcast Awards (and buy time as the show is delayed due to technical difficulties). To cap it all off, it's the actual awards show! You voted, now it's time to see who are the winners at the first (and hopefully last) WDW News Today Podcast Awards. Time: 3:27:01

    • 06/20/10 – Episode 175, With this being Father's Day, I thought about some of the various ways you can experience Walt Disney World with your dad, or your children. So we'll take a look at the Top Ten Things to do with your Dad in Walt Disney World. Whether you are a parent or child looking to find new, creative ways to make lasting memories, there's something here for everyone. (Mush: between this show and Gordon's show, I cried more listening to Disney podcasts than I did as a newborn). Time: 59:30
    • 06/27/10 – Episode 176, This week, we're going to take a very detailed look at one of Walt Disney World's classic, opening day attractions. One that is significant not just because of its rich history, but because of its importance in the history of the Disney parks, personal connection to Walt Disney, and stories behind the stories that play a role in its inclusion at the heart of the Magic Kingdom. And with dramatic changes coming to Fantasyland, and a minor change to this attraction itself, it's a great time to take a look with Jim Korkis at the attraction that, to many, will always be known as Cinderella's Golden Carrousel. (Another home run show with Jim's wealth of knowledge). Time: 1:07:38

    • 06/16/10 – Episode 733, Today, we rate the Epcot resorts and say which groups of people would be best suited to stay there. Time: 17:19
    • 06/16/10 – Episode 734, Listener questions. Topics include MSEP vs Spectro; whether to do DHS with a kid under 44 or not (Mush: YES! With kids, DHS was our second-favorite park); what the heck Tentfest and the Reunion are; getting married at Yacht & Beach; trending airfare; attractions that either require a chiropractor visit or fix an aching back, kids on planes, and more! One of the funnier moments occurred when Scopa was talking about the airfare and mentioned that they should do a show about that. Episode 721 on May 17th was devoted to that topic, and Scopa was on the show (Sorry, Mike…it was too funny not to mention it). Time: 33:06
    • 06/18/10 – Episode 735, Today, the panel discusses some of the attractions that were added for "The Happiest Celebration On Earth", and if they still hold up 5 years later. Time: 28:17
    • 06/23/10 – Episode 737 (736 was reposted later on, below), Listener questions. Topics include: beating the heat, the impact of the Gulf oil spill on WDW attendance; good steak (do you have Jessica's number? Oh, and Sanaa has what we consider to be the best steak); more tipping; the Sum of All Thrills; getting pics of Matt and how to remove him from the pic; snack credit value; effects on the parks of ESPN the Weekend; being in the midday parade when you're melting, and more! Time: 34:45
    • 06/25/10 – Episode 738, Today, the panel discusses what our expectations are like at a Disney World restaurant. (Mush: GOOD show…really thought-provoking). Time: 27:46
    • 06/26/10 – Episode 736 (here's where it fell in iTunes), Today, the panel discusses what to do on arrival day, and what to do when arriving at several different times. Time: 20:41
    • 06/28/10 – Episode 739, Today, the panel with Special Guest Deb Wills review a recent stay at Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort. Time: 22:28.
    • 06/30/10 – Episode 740, Listener Questions. Topics: bugs in December (I remember hearing the live show where Newell and Matt relocated); the fate of Lucky; the best way to get to Trail's End; the '64 World's Fair (I was yelling at the iPod during this discussion); getting to the front entrance of Epcot from the Epcot resorts; a few questions from Joe from Skagway, AK; EMH @ AK; happiness in late 2009; and more. Time: 33:37

    • 06/25/10 – Episode Matt and Nate return from a short hiatus to revisit their series on Walt Disney and the 1964 World's Fair.  In this episode we explore probably the least known Disney created attraction at the fair; The Magic Skyway.  Sponsored by the Ford Motor Co, this attraction gave guests a look at the history of our planet using the wheel as a catalyst for advancement.  The ride system itself was a breakthrough on its own as Disney helped to create its prototype for the Omnimover, which would prove to be the dominant design in vehicle propulsion in Disney attraction over the next few decades.  While the attraction itself is unknown to most Disney fans, the legacy that it provided is enormous; not only in the ride design but in the show elements and style of presentation as well.  Attractions like World of Motion, The Universe of Energy, The Primeval World Diorama, Spaceship Earth, The Peoplemover and Horizons all owe a debt of gratitude to The Magic Skyway. Also discussed on the show is the 20th anniversary of the film, Dick Tracy, and our thoughts on a specific element to the movies 1990 release. Time: 1:07:38

    • 06/16/10 – Special Episode, The Sorcerer's Apprentice - Join Jerry Bruckheimer (producer), Jon Turteltaub (director), Nicolas Cage (actor, "Balthazar Blake"), Jay Baruchel (actor, "Dave Stutler"), Teresa Palmer (actress, "Becky") live on the Esplanade stage to present an exclusive look at The Sorcerer's Apprentice. Dave (Jay Baruchel) is just an average college student, or so it appears, until the sorcerer Balthazar Blake (Nicolas Cage) recruits him as his reluctant protege. The sorcerer gives his unwilling accomplice a crash course in the art and science of magic, and together, these unlikely partners pit their powers against those of the fiercest and most ruthless practitioners of all time. It'll take all the courage Dave can muster to survive his training, save the city, and get the girl as he becomes the Sorcerer's Apprentice Time: 18:52
    • 06/16/10 – Special Episode, Toy Story 3 - From the studio that has taken you into the worlds of space, sea and superheroes, comes a comical new 3D adventure in which Buzz, Woody and the gang face an uncertain future as Andy gears up for college. When the toys unexpectedly land in a room full of untamed tots who can't wait to get their sticky little fingers on them, it's pandemonium as they try to stay together. Directed by Lee Unkrich, the film features all the familiar favorites, plus a host of new toys including Barbie's friend Ken, a pink teddy bear named Lots-o'-Huggin' Bear and a thespian hedgehog named Mr. Pricklepants. Join director Lee Unkrich live on the WonderCon stage to present an exclusive sneak-peek at Toy Story 3. Time: 20:27
    • 06/16/10 – Special Episode, Prince Of Persia: The Sands of Time - Join Jerry Bruckheimer (producer), Mike Newell (director), Jake Gyllenhaal (actor, "Prince Dastan"), and Jordan Mechner (screen story, game creator), as they take the WonderCon stage to discuss Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time which had a May 28 release. Set in the mystical lands of Persia, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time is an epic action-adventure about a rogue prince (Jake Gyllenhaal) and a mysterious princess (Gemma Arterton) who race against dark forces to safeguard an ancient dagger capable of releasing the Sands of Time - a gift from the gods that can reverse time and allow its possessor to rule the world. Time: 22:49
    • 06/22/10 – Episode 242, This week, Magic Joe chimes in with another of his fabulous "My Disneyland Memories" shows. Time: 44:51

    • 06/23/10 – Episode 54,  ZADDP's countdown of the Top 100 Disney Songs concludes with the fourth and final set of 25! Buckle in for a long haul -- it's a LONG show, but these songs deserve a little more time and attention. As always, there's plenty of history and analysis for each song. Can you guess which one will get the #1 spot? Thanks for joining me in this epic countdown. It's been a blast. Please share your feedback and feel free to post your own Top 25 list (or Top 100 if you're brave) on the Disney Podcast Network discussion forum. I'd love to see them! (Mush: LOVED it!!! Every time I'd hear a song, I'd usually yell at the iPod, wondering what could beat it. I completely blanked out on what #1 could be (I blame the fake #1 LMAO!). Also, there was some really good info that went with the song…I learned a lot from the additional material – especially The Rainbow Connection. Wow…I haven't heard that song for at least 20-something years, yet I was still able to sing along. Note to readers – if you haven't followed this list, don't listen to this one yet. Go back a few episodes and start at 100…you'll be glad you did. Great job on the countdown, Aaron!). Time: 2:47:14