Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Day 1409: We Are Divided

I won't be the first to admit that the 2016 Election didn't go the way I wanted it to, and I certainly won't be the last, but what hurts more than waking up to a President-Elect that I most certainly didn't want to be anywhere near the Oval Office is seeing the hatred and concern in those around me. 

On one hand, this could go down as one of the worst days in American History - not because we elected Donald Trump as our next President, but because of the violence and terror filling cities across the country. There are stories of those already involved in hate crimes and so many are discussing moments of fear as they face oppression. Now, I'm not usually one for politics, at least not in a public setting, but not even I can keep quiet this time. Our country is facing immense change, whether it be for better or worse. But maybe change is what we need. Maybe things need to be different, but in what way? 

Whenever I'm feeling lost, I sort of settle in with my IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth soundtrack and think back to Epcot, partially because it's where I feel safest and most like myself, and partially because of the ideals that created it. Epcot is about experimenting and looking ahead, all while celebrating our heritage and history. Within its walls, there's a delicate balance between the past, present, and future, and when it all boils down, Epcot is about acceptance. 

It's about recognizing and accepting our differences. It's about celebrating the qualities that make us unique and connecting through what we have in common, and what we don't. Epcot is about community, an element that is expressed best through the countries of World Showcase, filled with individual from all over the world, coming together as one, and it's not even just the cast members. Think of the table sharing tradition at the Biergarten. We can come from all over the country and world and sit down at the same table and share a meal like a family. That's special. That's what it's all about. That's what it should be about. 

And at the end of the day, we return to World Showcase Lagoon to remind ourselves how we got here, and rejoice in the idea that, regardless of what happens, no matter who will step into the Oval Office in January, we go on. Now is the time for us to stand together and take on the future, hand in hand, perhaps more than ever, and retain the idea that we will get through it together. That may be easy for me to say, especially as a privileged member of society, but we've made it this far, through far worse trials than this, and I have faith that we will get through this. We have to believe that. 

All this being said, I want to take a moment to share that if you need to talk, I am here to listen. If you feel unsafe, I am here to reassure and protect you. If you need help, I am here, and I will help you. If you feel oppressed, I am here, and I will fight for you. I will do whatever I can to be there for you, and that goes for everyone everyday, even after the next four years expire. 

Hang tight America. We may be in for some bumpy seas, but I foresee the American Adventure to continue for a long, long time. 

Have a magical day!

Friday, October 28, 2016

Day 1397: Perry

It's time again for another round of "That Thing in Class That Mysteriously Related to Disney!" 

This time it was in Intro to Computer Programming, which I'm taking to fulfill my last general education requirement...the second of which (math), I was supposed to complete by the end of my second year of undergrad. I'm a first semester senior right now, so you can tell how well that worked out for me. 

Regardless, throughout the semester in addition to doing labs and attending lectures, we're expected to create several programs that will run on the computer. We're usually given instructions and basic code to help us start writing our program, but ultimately a lot of it is up to us, and I'm particularly excited about this next one! 

For our fourth program, we're creating a sort of basic adventure game. Think sort of like the really simple old ones where you have to run into certain objects and avoid others to gain points. You'll lose lives if you hit the bad things, and when you run out, the game is over. Pretty simple, right? The rest of the program, including the theme and story, is up to us, and our professor showed us several examples in class today. The first one? Perry The Platypus. 

As the game started up, there was some pretty intense Perry The Platypus music, and the game was run where you had to run into Doofenshmirtz to stop him while avoiding Phineas and Ferb. It actually seemed like a lot of fun, and I quickly snapped a picture to prove that yes, indeed, I'm not lying. 

What I'll be doing for my own game has yet to be determined, but expect it to have at least something to do with Disney. I figure something with the parks could be especially fun, but that might include a lot of coding if I did it the way I want to. So perhaps The Lion King will come into play, or another classic Disney movie. I don't know about you, but I played a lot of those simple kinds of games on the computer as a kid, and this seems like the perfect chance to relive some of those memories! 

If you have any suggestions as to what kind of game I should do, leave them in the comments below! 

Have a magical day!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Day 1381: Paperman

Writing fiction can be pretty difficult, especially when you're writing a lot of it all at once for a class. But occasionally, things slip into our writing without us even knowing it. For instance, a piece by one of my friends reminded me of Mulan 2 the other day, and we've had more than a few horror movie moments. 

But for one piece of fiction written for my class, I could only think of one thing: Paperman

The short written by one of my classmates instantly reminded me of the short by Walt Disney Pictures. If you haven't seen it or just wanted to watch it again, you can watch it below, and you'll get the basic idea of the story she wrote.

Now, she didn't write Paperman specifically, and actually, her short was no where near close to what actually happens in the film, but it certainly was a reminder of it. And in fact, another short, The Blue Umbrella also came to mind for much of my class as we read through her story. And really, it's kind of fun when that happens, because it shows just how realistic these ideas coming from Disney and Pixar are, and it also showcases the idea that we too could become writers like that. 

And that's a pretty amazing idea. 

Have a magical day!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Day 1380: How Time Flies

It feels like just the other day I was starting the semester, or even better, just the other day that I was in Florida for National Youth Event at the end of July, and here I am now having completed another trip last week. 

But the world (and work) must go on, and I've found myself once again falling victim to the lapse in blog posts, which is a constant strain since I'm always aware of the fact that even when my homework is done and the latest vlog is edited, my music is practiced and plants watered, there's still something I need to be doing. Problem is, I'm usually too tired to sit down and write one blog post, much less the 50+ that are now missing from Everyday Disney

It probably doesn't help that I've been writing other places too, and most of my free time these days, what little there is, is spent sleeping, actually eating a meal, or with my friends. It's a constant balance, but at the same time, being at Disney last week reminded me that I sort of miss writing for this blog. It was easy, exciting, and while occasionally a lot of work, still just as, if not more fulfilling than some of the other work I do during the week. 

This does put me in sort of a pickle though. I hate not having my blog up to date, but the thought of postponing work on Everyday Disney until next January or later seems appalling, especially with the prospect of applying for the Disney College Program in a few short months. And truth be told, Everyday Disney got me through my last major transition in life - high school into college - and moving ahead without it feels absolutely wrong. 

So I'm exploring new ideas about what to blog about, sort of like the scientists in Living With the Land are exploring new ways to grow crops, or Walt Disney Imagineering is exploring new attraction ideas for the parks. There are a lot of days to fill, but luckily there's one thing we aren't running short on, and that's Disney. 

Dual blog posts begin tomorrow, with a current post and a make-up post every day of the week! 

Have a magical day!  

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Day 1374: Food & Wine - Part 2

The Epcot International Food and Wine Festival is filled with glorious food all around World Showcase and throughout part of Future World, but the fun doesn't stop there. In the festival headquarters, located within the old Wonders of Life Pavilion, you can find all sorts of seminars, merchandise, and information...not to mention the wide alcohol selection that you can bring back home. 

On our first day at the festival, we made time to attend not one, but two workshops in the Festival Center. The first was a wine tasting, which was a spectacular way to help me understand the wide arrays of wine that are now available to me. Having just turned 21 in July, wine is a pretty wide spectrum, and as I learn what I prefer in the bottle through a process of trial and error, the tasting was really educational. 

In the matter of an hour or so, we tasted three wines from a Vineyard in California and learned about not only how the wine is made, but about the uniqueness of each variety. In fact, beyond the basic idea that "old wine is better wine," I had no idea why, or that there's actually a sort of "best by" date on each kind of wine. I can't remember all the details off the top of my head, but basically one wine might be best within two or three years of the bottling date, while another might be best after eight. 

Our second workshop was all about crafting mason jar meals, a prominent concern in my everyday college life. We started out the seminar by learning how to create a delicious salmon salad with goat cheese and onions, which I didn't get to eat a lot of because of my allergy to to salmon. Don't fret though, because after that we made Mason Jar salads of our own with fresh strawberries, some more goat cheese, almonds, and plenty of greens, and I must say, it was one of the most delicious Mason Jar salads I've ever had, and it was pretty neat to make it myself at Epcot! 

These workshops and seminars are available throughout the festival for varying costs, but I highly recommend them! They also vary on topic, but there's usually something that might interest you, and some come with food (or wine!), and who doesn't love that? 

Have a magical day! 

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Day 1373: Food & Wine - Part 1

If there's one thing I've wanted to do for years, it's attend the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival. Seriously, I've been pleading to go for years, which meant that when we made the decision to add a trip in October, Food and Wine was at the top of our list for things to do (along with the Halloween Party and everything else fall at Walt Disney World has to offer). 

And if you think I can sum it all up in one post, you'd be wrong! 

In this first edition of Food and Wine, let's take a closer look at some of the food we tried on our first day at the festival, all of which was amazing. Prior to our trip, we went through the full list of food at Food and Wine to get an idea of what we each might want to try. Ultimately, we knew we wouldn't be able to try everything on our lists, but it gave us a place to start and was actually really helpful as we made our way part way around World Showcase. 

First up on our list: Australia! In the picture above, you'll see the three selections from the country, all of which we wanted to try. First, there's the Grilled Sweet and Spicy Bush Berry Shrimp with Pineapple, Pepper, Onion and Snap Peas, which I thought was pretty great aside from the peas (my least favorite food). The Lamington Yellow Cake Dipped in Chocolate and Shredded Coconut was good, although I also felt like it was something I'd had before, so I didn't find it particularly special. The Grilled Lamp Chop with Mint Pesto and Potato Crunchies, on the other hand, was a favorite of ours from the entire festival! We actually got another one because we liked it so much! 

From New Zealand we got the Lamb Meatball with Spicy Tomato Chutney, which I definitely enjoyed. I was the one who wanted it, and let me tell you, the tomato chutney was delicious. We also went for the Seared Venison Loin with Wild Mushroom Marsala Sauce and Kumara Dumpling, which was also great! 

From the Islands of the Caribbean kiosk, we settled on everything except for dessert, starting with the Jamaican Beef Patty. That's those little yellow things, which took us forever to figure out. They tasted great, but were definitely one of the more interesting things we ate at Food and Wine. My dad really loved the Pescado con Coco, a Seared Grouper with Pigeon Peas and Rice with Coconut Sauce, which was good, although I preferred the Mojo Pork with Black Beans, Cilantro Rice, and Pickled Red Onions. There was just something about the combo of the pork, beans, and rice that I loved! 

From the Wine & Dine Studio (which got Hamilton stuck in my head more than a few times), we tried the Seared Scallop with Truffled Celery Root Puree, Brussels Sprouts, and Wild Mushrooms as well as the Trio of Artisan Cheese. The cheeses featured a goat cheese with dried cranberry bread, a Karst Cave-aged Cheddar Cheese with Fig Compote and a Blue Cheese served with Spiced Candied Walnuts. Both places were excellent! 

I may have forgotten to take a picture of our plates from the Chocolate Studio until after I started eating them, but pictured above are the Liquid Nitro Chocolate-Almond Truffle with Warm Whiskey-Caramel and the Ghiradelli Chocolate Raspberry Torte. As you can imagine, both were pretty sweet (literally and figuratively)! 

A Favorite of my mom and I from the Flower and Garden Festival in the Spring, we had to have the Taco de Camaron from Mexico again. It's Battered Shrimp served over a flour tortilla with Crispy Purple Cabbage and a Chipolte Mayonnaise. I don't know what it is about this taco, but it's absolutely one of the best things I've ever eaten. 

But my all time favorite dishes from the entirety of the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival have to be the ones from Hawaii. The Kalua Pork Slider with Sweet and Sour Dole Pineapple Chutney and Spicy Mayonnaise was my all time favorite dish we had, and I'm looking forward to trying to make it for myself at home just because I would eat it every day for the rest of my life. And the Spicy Tuna Poke with Seaweed Salad and Nori Rice was brilliant as well - definitely something I would love to have for lunch back home! 

And that's what we ate on our first day. We learned very quickly how fast you fill up at this festival, even sharing dishes like we did. Honestly, I feel like it would take weeks to do the whole thing right, since even after a few days like this one, we still only got maybe a third of the way around World Showcase, and we didn't even try every dish from the kiosks we visited! 

Stay tuned for more Food and Wine though, because there's so much more yet to come! 

Have a magical day!

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Day 1363: World Market

When one of my friends suggested that we go to World Market on our Saturday off, I agreed right away, despite the fact that 1. I'd never been to World Market before and 2. I really had no idea what World Market even was. She was in Italy last semester though, and from the sounds of a store called "World Market," I figured she knew what she was talking about and that whatever was in the walls of the store, it would be great. 

And it was. 

Basically, the idea of World Market is exactly what it sounds like. It's a store filled with items that are found internationally, and according to my friends recently back from Italy, there are definitely some things you can't find elsewhere. 

Of course, me being me, I took it upon myself to photograph anything that I typically have found at Disney, since that would be the obvious comparison with never having been to Europe (or anywhere else really) before. You can find so many wonderful foods all around World Showcase, and it seems that I can find several of them right in my own backyard! 

The Marzipan is what I found first, and I soon after picked up some to bring home. They actually sell this same brand in the Germany Pavilion at Epcot, and it's been one of my favorite treats to bring home! 

It's not really hard to find Pocky, but I still took a picture of it, and the Green Tea Kit Kats were also something I found in the Japan Pavilion to bring home for my World Showcase Chocolate challenge! 

Those that have been to the Germany Pavilion know that it's riddled with chocolate though. The Milka bars are famous for being simply amazing, and I've brought home chocolates like these for people more than once in the past! 

Even though Germany has a ton of chocolate, some of my favorite treats come from the Tea Store in the United Kingdom Pavilion, including the Aero chocolate, and of course, Twinnings Tea! 

Finally, there was a display of various Japanese items that simply reminded me of the wonderful store in the Japan Pavilion. There were plenty of items like this, that weren't food at all, throughout the store, but it was this one that brought me right back to World Showcase. There were even various different sets of chopsticks! 

So now I've been introduced to World Market, and while I certainly won't be going there all the time, it'll be nice for when I need a pick-me-up in between Disney trips. Whether or not that's the intention of a store like World Market - to provide things I can find at Disney World - I'm not entirely sure, but I'm definitely excited about the prospect! 

Have a magical day!