Sunday, June 30, 2013

Day 181: Star Trek

Phew, now that I'm back from camp I've had a few minutes to stop and think!

Wait a the title of this post something non-Disney?

It is!

Tonight I went to go see Star Trek (although I really couldn't write this until what was technically July 1, since I didn't get home until after midnight). But I felt the need to blog about it because as odd as it may seem, I can relate the whole thing until Disney. Here is your spoiler alert though!

First off, I absolutely loved the film. I will admit that I cried when Kirk died. I'm not kidding. I was ok and held it in, and then Spock cried and I was like "NOOOOOOOO" and yeah...tears. I didn't see it coming at all. Of course, as soon as I got over his death I figured out how he was going to come back to life and so on and so forth, but still!

Now, how does this all relate to Disney? Well, Star WARS, of course! Soon Star Trek and Star Wars will have the same director, and I'm more confident than ever that it's going to be great! The only thing I have to say about JJ's directing is that I hope he tones down the lens flares for Star Wars to help create some distance between the two films. Granted, Star Wars is filled with darker colors compared to Star Trek, which has a lot of white because of the ship.

Plus, I saw the preview for Ender's Game, which has Harrison Ford, and honestly no one can say that he can't reprise Han Solo, because he looked pretty good in that preview for being as old as he is. So yeah...everything will be fine as long as Han Solo is there. Which he better be. Oh, and there's the fact that I think Chris Pine is like Harrison Ford's Prodigy. I mean...they look pretty similar. PLUS, Pine is starring in Jack Ryan later this year, a role once played by Ford!

I am really glad though that I'm not a Star Trek fan. I mean, I love these new movies, but I'm just not into it the same way I'm into Star Wars. I think it allows me to make more sense of the film itself, like how it was filmed and the techniques used. Stuff like that. It's given me a whole perspective on what I think Abrams will do with Star Wars, and since Star Trek fans seem to be pretty happy with the outcome of the newest films, I have a feeling that us Star Wars fans will be happy with the outcome of Episode 7 too.

Here's today's Disney History: 2011: It is reported that Disney is developing another film based on one of its theme park rides. Walt Disney Pictures has hired Jason Dean Hall to write the script based on "The Matterhorn," a popular amusement bobsled ride at Disneyland. The storyline will be about five young mountain climbers scaling the Matterhorn who have an unfortunate encounter with a Yeti.

Have a magical day!

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Day 180: Last Days

Today was my last day of camp, ever. I mean, forever. Unless I come back to be a counselor at some point, I am officially graduated from the camp I go to, and I'm not really allowed to go back anymore as a student or camper. I mean, I could go back for adult camps, but I can't go back to MADD camp, which is just super duper sad. I have so many friends that will probably go back and I can't. I am very much going to miss all of them, but I do hope they keep in touch.

But that wasn't all going on today. It may have been my last day of camp, but it's also the last marker in my countdown to Disney! That's right, today marks SINGLE DIGITS!!!!!!!! I only have 9 days left until Disney, although my brain is having a hard time wrapping around that fact. Normally my family goes to Disney in the winter. In fact, I've only ever been to Disney World once in the summer, which was exactly two years ago (to the day actually). I went to Disneyland that summer too, but I think Disneyland is more of a summer thing for us while Disney World is still a winter thing. We always go in November, December, January or Early February, so going in July is just weird.

But that doesn't mean I'm any less excited! I've got so much planned for this trip, and still so much to do before I leave. So that means get ready for a bunch of posts about my excitement and my last minute projects before I leave! I have to make three videos this week before I leave, and I've got to finish up planning for my Disney challenge for this trip as well as what is all going in the vlogs for this one as well! Plus my room is still a huge mess because of all the trips I've been going on recently. Everything is kind of a big mess in my bedroom right now, and honestly I don't know where half my stuff is. Maybe my cat does, but I doubt she'll be much of a help since she hates it when I leave and purposefully tries to interrupt my packing.

Here's just a brief look of what I have planned:

- Packing Video!
- Daily Vlogs while in Florida
- A Disney Must-Take Photo Challenge
- A Graduation Party with Plenty of Disney mixed in
- And hopefully a blog post a day if I keep up!

I am honestly super excited for Disney and I can't wait to leave. It's a shorter trip than I normally take too, but then again, how many people can say they celebrated their 18th birthday at Disney World? Ok, a bunch probably, but I get to say that!

Here's today's Disney History: 1901: Singer-actor Nelson Eddy, who can be heard in Disney's 1946 film Make Mine Music, is born in Providence, Rhode Island. He provided all the singing and speaking voices for the film's final segment.

Have a magical day!

Friday, June 28, 2013

Day 179: Baskets

It's our technical last full day of camp, although we don't leave until tomorrow morning. This morning was super exciting though, since we had an opportunity to do something that I've never done before, and I think it was really awesome.

We got to weave our own baskets! A lady named Kayla came in and taught us how and while it took a bit of patience, it was really a lot of fun. And I really have new respect for baskets because each and every one of them in this world is made by hand. It took time, but it wasn't necessarily hard, and I got it down pretty quickly. My basket isn't perfect, but really it wouldn't be ever because I'm not that talented. Plus, nothing is perfect (that seems to be my new motto recently. I'll have to do a blog post on why sometime after I go to Florida).

You start by getting the reeds wet and then you just start weaving basically. We got to choose which colors we wanted, and I went for the blue and green that I really liked. They are my favorite colors after all. In fact, everything for the week kind of matched too because I did everything kind of Goofy colored. It started with a friendship bracelet that I really still need to finish for myself before I go to Florida so I can wear it when I'm down there.

I honestly think that basket weaving was one of the best things I've ever done at camp because I really loved getting to do something brand new, which kind of goes back to the whole being adventurous thing that I continue to talk about that goes along with my Memoir. I'm pretty sure I won't be able to weave a basket again, because I probably won't have the resources, but that was seriously a ton of fun and I do HOPE that I will get to do it again someday.

Here's today's Disney History: 1988: The opening of Disney's Grand Floridian Beach Resort ushers in an era of accelerated hotel building at WDW, during which 10 new resort hotels have been added to date. The Grand Floridian is the third Magic Kingdom monorail resort located on the beaches of the Seven Seas Lagoon between the Polynesian Resort and the Magi Kingdom.

Have a magical day!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Day 178: Questions

Since I'm technically writing a lot of these blog posts for this week after everything really happens, it's sometimes hard to think about what I was going to write about, but I did finally come up with what today's post was supposed to be about.

You see, I was in a cabin of wonderful, awesome, amazing people! I'm not kidding. We all attended MADD camp last year, other than our Counselor, who was from South Africa. So we all already knew each other and spent the time getting to know each other better, although as one of my friends pointed out, we've really only spent a week and a half together in person, and that's pretty weird (although as I finally type this it's been two weeks). Still, we know so much about one another and are pretty good friends.

But I think the reason we do know each other so well is because when we do have some downtime in our cabins we do talk to one another and really ask about each other's interests. I know I had a lot of people ask me about Disney this week, and not just people in my cabin. I'm not saying they were seriously interested, but it was a great way to find discussion. I mean, I found that one of my fellow campers loves the Muppet Show, and so do I, so that was something we bonded over!

I talked a lot about this blog too, which means that it is a good idea for me to finally catch up on it (now that I'm back especially). And I know that in the future a few of us want to do Youtube videos too, kind of like John and Hank Green, but more of a letters from MADD camp kind of thing.

And you know, at the end of the week, since I am can change this a little now that I'm typing afterwards, I did end up promising to send everyone a postcard from Disney, and I intend to hold myself to that. It's like 30 postcards and someone will look at me like I'm insane when I put a huge stack of them into the mailbox at Disney, but still. Plus, if I write about it on here, I absolutely have to send out all those postcards. Because otherwise I would be lying. Granted, I'll have to send postcards to a few of my friends too, so it will end up being like 30-35 postcards, but that's ok. I'm going to do it anyway.

I'm kind of off topic now, but I guess the point really is, I love answering questions about Disney, whether it be about the Parks themselves or about my experiences, like how I got involved with Disney or if my entire family loves it like I do. Maybe someday I'll make a Youtube video of my own with my most commonly asked Disney questions, because I do get the same ones over and over sometimes. But that's still ok.

Here's today's Disney History: 1997: Disney's 35th animated feature film Hercules is officially released in the U.S. and Canada, the same day Disneyland's Hercules Victory Parade debuts. Based on the legendary Greek mythology hero Hercules, it is directed by Ron Clements and John Musker.

Have a magical day!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Day 177: Chihuly

It's the third day of camp, and time for a field trip!!!

Every year, MADD Camp does some awesome stuff. Normally we get to see Kids from Wisconsin, but they weren't making a stop in Ripon this year. But we also have another field trip to the Paine Arts Center in Oshkosh, and it just so happens that this year's feature exhibit had a bit of a Disney reference too!!! What are the chances?

At the Paine, currently and through October 13, 2013, there is an exhibit by Chihuly, the glassblower. Specifically, the exhibit it called Chihuly Venetians, which is an exhibit featuring 47 pieces, 12 drawings and a chandelier in the Venetian style. Everything was from the George R. Stroemple Collection, according to the Paine Website, and if you want to find out more, click here

The exhibit itself was stunning, as usual. Last year it was a photography exhibit by Ansel Adams, but this year was just as exciting. The glass is beautiful! Pictures aren't allowed in the museum, but lucky for me, my favorite piece is featured on the website! I'm not sure why it's my favorite piece, other than I love the colors and the uniqueness of it with all the angles. Granted, there's tons of other beautiful pieces, but this was just the one that really caught my eye. 

But has anyone caught the Disney reference? When I first got the letter saying that we'd be traveling to the Paine to see this specific exhibit, I got it right away. Dale Chihuly happens to be the artist that crafted the sculptures that grace the main lobbies of both the Disney Magic and the Disney Wonder, two of the four Disney Cruise ships. So I've seen his work before, especially since a local college also has one of his piece's, but it was really cool to see an entire exhibit! 

And of course, the gardens of the Paine are as beautiful as ever, so I figured I'd share a couple of my favorite photos I got there too!

Here's today's Disney History: 1999: Disneyland hosts a two-day celebration honoring the Haunted Mansions' 30th Anniversary. On this evening, over 1000 guests witness a panel discussion at the Fantasyland Theater with some of the people who brought the mansion to life. The Dapper Dans materialize as the Hitchhiking Ghosts and the Gravedigger to sing a rendition of the attraction's song "Grim Grinning Ghosts." 

Have a magical day!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Day 176: Disney Everywhere

Another day of MADD camp, another adventure. It's actually kind of interesting trying to find the time and energy to write a blog post everyday here at camp, especially since i sometimes write halfway through the day at rest hour, a time when we go back to our cabins for some quiet time, and some days I wait until right before bed to do my writing. The other major difference is that I'm still writing everything by hand. It's something I do from time to time, but never with my blog and especially not for an entire week.

Either way, I've been keeping busy with tons of stuff that fits in with this blog perfectly. Our day today started off with a trip to arts and crafts. We had several activities, including henna, which is like a tattoo, but it only lasts for a few days. We could do any design we wanted, so I course, did something Disney. I have two volumes of the Disney songbook for piano, and on the front there's a treble clef symbol with a Mickey head at the bottom. This was my inspiration and I got something similar. It turned out pretty awesome, and I really hope it stays for the remainder of the week (it did!).

We also got a chance to make alcohol ink plates. Basically you take a white plate and drop alcohol ink on it to create cool patterns. We had like six colors to mix and match, but I went with the Disneybounder inside me and picked Goofy colors: green, blue and orange. Once again my Disney inspiration worked out and it looks pretty awesome.

But that wasn't all we did. We also had a cookie decorating contest after lunch. The rules were simple, you could enter one cookie to be judged by the kitchen staff, and you could do anything to that one cookie. We had five different colors of frosting and two kinds of sprinkles to decorate with. Now, I'm pretty proud of how my cookie turned out. I started with the white frosting and then used brown to make the Mickey shape. Or in this case, the Minnie shape. A little pink frosting made the bow and then I added the pink sprinkles around the outside and the little white ones to make polka-dots on her bow. Turns out the kitchen staff liked my design too because I won first place! That's the power of Disney magic for you!

I wonder if the Disney bakery would be proud?

Here's today's Disney History: 1967: A new version of the CircleVision 360 film America the Beautiful debuts at Disneyland. The film has been re-shot using the 9-camera CircleVision format (as opposed to the old 11 camera Circarama format).

Have a magical day!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Day 175: 5 Minute Musicals

Second day of camp, and still super exciting. Today though, we did a few different things. My personal favorite activity though was right up my alley since our "musicals" were really Disney movies. Of course, I ended up with Tangled, which was what I was hoping for all along. We didn't get to choose which one we got, but Tangled found me anyway.

The whole thing was a lot of fun, but kind of difficult. I mean, to take all of the movie and bring it from 100 minutes to a few minutes, it's not the easiest thing. Still, we incorporated much of the film into our few minute approach. We started with me, as Flynn, describing about the magic golden flower, quite similar to the movie. There was a Mother Gothel and a Queen and a Rapunzel. The story went as it normally would, and Rapunzel was locked up in the tower made of three chairs. Rapunzel sang a quick song about cleaning and then Flynn got chased by Max before jumping in the tower. Rapunzel hit Flynn with the frying pan, as one generally does, which was pretty amusing. One of our camp directors, Molly, even got a picture of it in action.

So they go sing with thugs about dreams and then go almost drown. Rapunzel heals Flynn's hand before they go see the kingdom and do some dancing. They see the lights before Flynn goes to return the crown and Gothel kidnaps Rapunzel. Flynn almost gets hanged, but Max saves him, and they go to find Rapunzel. But then Gothel stabs Flynn, Pascal pushed Gothel out of the window, she died, Rapunzel cried, Flynn came back to life and they lived happily ever after.

Pretty true to the storyline, but still something that was unique. My favorite part was probably a tie between the frying pan and how Pascal constantly grabbed onto my leg. It was just great.

The other musicals were the Little Mermaid, Annie and Grease, all of which were very, very entertaining. I love how stuff like this still brings Disney in. We also had a Jam session where there were plenty of Disney songs to sing along to.

Here's today's Disney History: 1893: Roy Oliver Disney is born in Chicago, Illinois. The middle of 5 children, he along with his younger brother Walt started what is today the Walt Disney Company. Roy guided the business side of the Disney company, leaving his brother, Walt, free to produce and create. Roy served as President of Walt Disney Productions from 1945 to 1968 and chairman of the board from 1964 until his death in 1971. A modest man, it was Roy's idea to change the name of the Florida park from simple Disney World to Walt Disney World, after the death of his brother in 1966.

Have a magical day!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Day 174: Buttons

Today is my first day of camp. Of course, I have no laptop, so originally I'm writing this in a notebook while laying in the top bunk in a very humid cabin, but I'm still writing. I go to Pilgrim Center camp, specifically MADD camp, so overall it's a church camp for music, arts, dance and drama. I went last year as well, and I've been to the camp, which is on the shores of Greenlake, before for several years. The MADD Camp is great because we get to spend a lot of time making things, many of which I'll discuss over the next week.

For instance, our first project every single year is to make a name button. I probably have a ton of them, but these last two years have really been interesting. Basically, what you do is this. You take a tracer and go through magazines until you find a background. Then you cut that background out before searching for letters to make your name. Of course, as you can imagine, Lizzie is difficult because of the two z's in my name. Once you have your name, you glue the letters on and then make an actual button out of it.

Last year I was lucky enough to find a magazine with a cartoon about Disney, so I used that as my background. In the end I think it's my favorite button I've ever made. I mean, it is pretty cute with the little cartoon castle. I feel like the cartoon was originally making fun of Disney, but I cut it apart anyways, so it really doesn't matter.

And this year, I figured I wouldn't be lucky enough to find another Disney background. I searched for a background for a while before turning to National Geographic. I guess the force was with me because it just so happened that the copy of Nat Geo was from 1982. And what opened in '82? Epcot.

And what opened with Epcot? Spaceship Earth.

That's right, I got a SSE button. I was honestly pretty excited. There's that little piece in it that doesn't belong, but it's still spaceship earth, so it's still all good with me.

Here's today's Disney History: 1956: Disneyland's Skyway to Fantasyland and Skyway to Tomorrowland begin transporting guests across the park. Guests take off from a small Alpine chalet seated in gondolas in Fantasyland on their way to Tomorrowland. In 1959, Skyway riders will pass through the Matterhorn Mountain when the Matterhorn Bobsleds attraction is added.

Have a magical day!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Day 173: An Interesting Schedule

If you haven't already noticed, there has been an interesting lapse in my blog posts for the past couple of weeks, and what will be the next couple of weeks. Actually, I'm writing this on July 1st, since I've spent the last two days updating those blog posts that I missed, because at the end of the year I really do want to have 365 blog posts. It is Everyday Disney, and there's always something Disney inspired going on, it's just sometimes I really am not home, or I don't have access to a computer, or I seriously don't have time. So I apologize for not having been around, and for not keeping things updated.

In fact, this blog post marks the day before I will have gone to camp, and obviously I'm back now. The next week of posts was written largely in a notebook and then typed up when I got back home! And the past week was written today based on things that were indeed going on at the time when I would have been writing it. So in other words, the posts are still legitimate, they're just late too.

BUT, on the bright side, my Disney trip is coming up soon, and we all know what that means! It means that I am going to spend 8 days at Disney vlogging and doing challenges and living out the dream that is Walt Disney World. I know a friend of mine is almost as exciting as I am just because she gets to watch my videos. I thought that was pretty funny, but it makes sense, because I'm super excited to make them!

Before I do leave though, and as you will see over the week of July 1st, I am going to be a VERY busy person. Still, I fully plan on continuing to update the blog, even if I have to turn my laptop on special at midnight to write it! It will get done!!!!

On the off chance that something does happen and I really am unable to write a post, I promise I'll make it up. I have so far, so why wouldn't I continue to do so now?

Get ready for some crazy days ahead, all leading up to DISNEY WORLD!

Here's today's Disney History: 2007: Epcot's newly-updated American Adventure debuts. It now includes moments from 9-11-2001, current military operations and other recent events.

Have a magical day!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Day 172: My Disney Collection V3

It's been a while since I discussed my Disney Collection, but the last time I did a post, it was on what's Disney on my bookshelves. Well, today we take a trip outside of my bedroom to visit a totally difference portion of my collection: My Mug Collection!

Now, something that not everyone knows about me is that I do indeed collect mugs! I mean, everyone has their own collection, right, and it makes sense for me to have a Disney collection, but over the year's I've just had this fondness for mugs. Almost all of mine are Disney, although I do have some singular holiday ones and so on and so forth. But here's the Disney ones, in the order that I remember getting them:

The very first Disney mug I got was this one. I have no clue when exactly I got it, other than I got it a really long time ago. I'm pretty sure the main reason I initially bought it, or had my parents buy it rather, was because Spaceship Earth was the key figure here. I guess it's possible that it dates back almost to the Millennium Celebration because of that, but who knows really.

My second mug is pretty similar to the first one, but it's one from a later date. While I don't remember exactly when I got this one either, it was probably the one that really started my collection off, like to the point where I would end up having as many as I do now. I love it because it's actually a bit 3D. You can't see it in the picture, but the Monorail with the characters juts out of the mug a little bit, which is probably the reason I bought it, if I remember correctly. 

Next up is my mug from the other side of the U.S. When I went to Disneyland, I kind of knew I wanted a mug, so when I saw this one, I ended up going into California Adventure special the last day I had a ticket just to buy this one. I think it's like the most adorable little mug ever, with it's little handle and everything. It's a bit 3D, similar to the last mug too. 

By far my absolute favorite mug in my entire collection, I got my E Ticket mug in January of 2012. I kind of skirted around buying it for a while, but then when my parents were shipping stuff home from the Art of Disney store at Epcot, I jumped at the chance and bought it. Little did I know then that it would indeed become my absolute favorite mug. I use it for everything from coffee to orange juice just because I love it that much. It's going to be difficult at college deciding whether I want to leave it at home so it will be safe or bring it with me because then I can use it every day. 

While it wasn't originally Disney when I bought it, it is now, and I guess I've always considered it Disney. When I went with my band to New York in 2012, I was in this huge store that sold like everything. It was an amazing store, and the location I got most of my NYC Souvenirs. But that's beside the point. I was in the downstairs area of the store when I spotted a Star Wars and Star Trek area and I just instantly decided that I had to have this mug. An original Empire Strikes Back Poster Mug? YES PLEASE!

The newest of my mugs is my Monorail mug, which I got on my last trip to Disney in November 2012. I had seen it several times before, but I finally just decided that I needed to have it. I mean, please stand clear of my coffee? Obviously I need that. 

Now, there are a few honorable mentions to my collection as well. While it's technically my dad's mug, it still sits next to mine and it's still Disney, so I figured I would still share it. It's my dad's Walt Disney mug, which I do use from time to time (although I really shouldn't have to because I you see how many I have?). I think it's a great mug, and it's bigger than some too, so it's great for mornings when you're like "COFFEE...."

And a post about mugs wouldn't be complete without my goblet from Gaston's Tavern that we got on my last trip to Disney. I mean, it is a pretty cool cup, even if you can't put hot chocolate or coffee in it! 

And speaking of Hot post about my Disney mugs would be complete without my hot chocolate from Disney, which I swear is the best Hot Chocolate in the world (ok, maybe not, but I certainly love it). Sometimes I even drink it in the summer...maybe I'll have to do that tonight. 

And so there is it, my mug collection. I'm pretty sure I'm going to just go ahead and get another new one when I go in a few weeks because, well, WHY NOT? But you'll see that in an upcoming post. I probably won't add it here, although it's still a possibility. There's actually one mug missing from this collection, as my friend got it for me after I took the pictures, and I just haven't had the time to go and take a picture of it. But either way, it's a little mug that's like a carousel theme. It's pretty old too, and I really love it! =)

Next time we'll look into another collection of personal obsession...Spaceship Earth! Yeah, I have enough Spaceship Earth stuff to make an entire post about it! And after that there's my pins! Gosh I have a lot of those.

Here's today's Disney History: 2012: Disney welcomes a new okapi calf to the Disney's Animal Kingdom family. First-time mother Zawadi gives birth to a 35-pound female calf named Nafuna. Often thought to be related to the Zebra because of its stripes, the okapi is the only living relative of the giraffe. 

Have a magical day!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Day 171: Must Watch Movies

A while back I read a list of movies you have to watch before you go to Disney World. In fact, here's the list:.

The list is pretty good, with, if you were too lazy to read the list, Toy Story, Finding Nemo, Peter Pan, Swiss Family Robinson, Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, Fantasia, Tom Sawyer, The Little Mermaid, Monsters Inc., Lilo & Stitch, Little Einsteins & Jake and the Neverland Pirates, Honey I Shrunk the Kids, A Bug's Life, Song of the South, Mary Poppins, The Wizard of Oz, Lady & the Tramp, Star Wars, Pirates of the Caribbean, The Twilight Zone, Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark, Singin' in the Rain, and finally, Casablanca.

Now, before I saw this list I had seen 16 out of the 25 (although really it would be 30 because of Star Wars, and then 33 with Pirates if you've seen them all). That list includes Toy Story, Finding Nemo, Peter Pan, Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, Fantasia, The Little Mermaid, Monsters Inc., Lilo & Stitch, A Bug's Life, Mary Poppins, The Wizard of Oz, Lady & the Tramp, Star Wars, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Indiana Jones. I've recently added another two to that list, as I've now seen Singin' in the Rain and Casablanca (And I will have watched Song of the South before I go to Disney this July).

Honestly, I think some of them are unnecessary. Many of those films are ones that you need to have seen before visiting Walt Disney World, but if you ask me there are a couple missing and there are some that really aren't important. I guess I've put some thought into it because of a couple reasons. One, it's a question I get a lot, and two because my band will be going to Disney World, many people of which will have never been to Disney before and may not have seen all these films.

So here's my own list of movies and/or TV shows you need to have seen before visiting Walt Disney World, and a brief description as to why:

1. I agree with the list that Toy Story is a must see, although I would add Toy Story 2 and Toy Story 3. There aren't actually any attractions based off of the original Toy Story, as Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin is based on Toy Story 2 and Toy Story Mania now features characters from all three films, but specifically the third.

2. Finding Nemo is also a notable addition to the list, as it is the inspiration for multiple attractions just as Toy Story is. You have The Seas with Nemo and Friends at Epcot and Finding Nemo the Musical at Animal Kingdom. Without seeing the movie at least once, you may be a little confused with the seas at Epcot, so if you find yourself at Disney having not seen the film, maybe check out the musical first, because it is a spectacular version of the story.

3. Peter Pan is a  must see if you plan on going on Peter Pan's Flight at the Magic Kingdom. But that's not all, Tinker Bell now plays a key role in much of the parks, and while I don't think you need to have seen the Tinker Bell movies specifically, you should at least have some knowledge of the Peter Pan film.

4. The Lion King, again, has multiple attractions inspired by the movie. One can be found at the Animal Kingdom, where there is the Festival of the Lion King, where a bit of the broadway production comes right to Central Florida for daily productions. Also at Animal Kingdom is Rafiki's Planet Watch, which isn't necessarily quite as important, but it's still helpful to know who Rafiki is! And lastly, at Epcot there's the film "Circle of Life," which includes many of your favorite characters from the Lion King to help explain environmental issues.

5. Beauty and the Beast is still on my list as well, and now more than ever! With New Fantasyland you absolutely HAVE to have seen this film to understand the wonder and magic that is the Beauty and the Beast area, specifically the restaurant "Be Our Guest." But there's also the Beauty and the Beast stage show at Disney's Hollywood Studios.

6. Fantasia, but more specifically The Sorcerer's Apprentice. I think you could go without seeing the entire film, but you'll need to at least see that short to understand multiple things, like the big hat at Disney's Hollywood Studios, or Mickey's PhilharMagic at Magic Kingdom. There's also a bit in the Great Movie Ride that is Fantasia.

7. The Little Mermaid is quite similar to Beauty and the Beast in this respect. With New Fantasyland, it's essential that you see it, and there's also a show at Disney's Hollywood Studios.

8. Monsters, Inc. continues the relationship between my list and the original, as it would be pretty hard to understand the Monster's Inc. Laugh Floor at the Magic Kingdom without having seen the film. I mean, I suppose it would still be entertaining and funny, but it's just funnier if you've seen the movie.

9. Lilo & Stitch, especially if you plan on going on the attraction. But it really is only for older kids, as it's kind of scary. So if you only have younger kids I think you could skip this one. If you're old enough that you're not going to be afraid of a wild alien on the loose, then go ahead and watch this adorable film!

10. A Bug's Life is a good idea, as there are multiple references at Animal Kingdom, but especially inside the Tree of Life, where there's the 4D experience, It's Tough to Be  Bug. In order to understand the characters who are talking to you, and pick up on many of the jokes, it's just a good idea to watch it.

11. Star Wars is a bunch of movies you just kind of need to see. Now, I spent 15 years of my life not seeing these films, and I lived a pretty happy life. BUT, I never went on Star Tours, and now that I've seen the films, Star Tours is one of my absolute favorite attractions. I've found that I actually love Star Wars. Granted, it isn't for everyone (as I probably wouldn't even like it without Harrison Ford), but if you do plan on going on Star Tours, it's essential to see all six films, probably more than once.

12. Either the Twilight Zone or The actual movie the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror should be on your list. The TV show is one thing, and I actually could add it to my list of things I've seen because I have seen a couple of episodes, but I think the movie based on the attraction would really be more helpful than the TV show. Or, you could just watch both.

13. Indiana Jones is like Star Wars, kind of. You know, you just need to watch it, because not only is it one of the greatest movies of all time, but the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular is based on there's a bit of it in the Great Movie Ride.

14. Singin' in the Rain is one that while it doesn't have any specific attractions based off of it, it will be a real help. I didn't see it until earlier this year, but it is honestly one of my favorite movies. There's a reference to it in the Great Movie Ride, and a hidden reference in the back streets of Disney's Hollywood Studios as well. PLUS, I think it does fit in perfectly with Disney's Hollywood Studios, and it will give you a different perspective of films in general!

15. The Muppets are a group that you need to know before you go to Disney because it's just going to make your experience better. Trust me. My relationship with the Muppets actually started at Disney, and I ended up getting the first three seasons on DVD for this past Christmas. I now absolutely love them, and I can't wait to see how the attraction is different and better for me now that I've seen so much of the show.

16. With the addition of New Fantasyland, you will need to have seen Dumbo, as an entire section of Fantasyland is now based on the circus theme of the movie. I mean, everyone needs to see Dumbo anyway because of the classic attraction, but I think it's even more important now.

17. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs needs to be seen no matter what. Partly because it's the first Disney film and partly because in 2014 there will be the addition to New Fantasyland. So watch it.

18. I think it should be obvious that you should see Cinderella, because of the castle. If you walk through the middle of the castle you can find a mosaic of the story, and Cinderella's Royal Table has many references to the film. In this same category is Tangled, as there is now a new rest area based on the film. That and Tangled is a great movie and you should see it anyways.

19. The Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean are both interesting. I think The Haunted Mansion would be a great one to see because it is based off the attraction, and I know that the only reason I now love the attraction itself is because of the movie. It does a wonderful job of explaining all about Master Gracy, as well as what some of the mansion's areas are. You should see at least the first Pirates of the Caribbean now as to understand who Jack Sparrow is, as he is a member of the Pirates crew now. My personal favorite Pirates is the third though, as there is some direct recording from the attraction in it.

BONUS: Song of the South is kind of a weird one. I have lived all of my life without having seen it, and I love Splash Mountain just the same, but I do think that it's an adorable movie, and that it shouldn't get the bad rap that it does. There are some recordings out there if you want to watch it, but I wouldn't say it's absolutely necessary.

Honestly the list could go on forever, because really you should see ALL the Disney films before visiting! But I have lived much of my life without some of the key movies I've listed above, so it isn't going to be the end of the world if you DON'T see one of them before going. The list is there because seeing these films is going to make your experience that much BETTER when you do go to Disney. Oh, and this is just for Disney World. Disneyland has movies of it's own to see!

Here's Today's Disney History: 1952: Actor John Goodman is born in Affton, Missouri. His Disney voice credits include Sullivan Truck in Cars, James P. Sullivan in Monsters, Inc. (and now Monsters University), Pacha in The Emperor's New Groove, Baloo in The Jungle Book 2, and Eli "Big Daddy" La Bouff in The Princess and the Frog.

Have a magical day!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Day 170: The Right Orientation

As it may already be obvious, I just graduated High School, and that means that I'm going to be headed off to college this fall. So today and tomorrow I have college orientation, and honestly I had no want to come to it. I mean, I want college to start, I just don't want to think about it yet. I have so much going on between now and then that college still seems so far off and I don't want a reminder that says it isn't.

Either way, I went to orientation, which started this morning, and the first thing we did was have a meeting in the church. Now, less than a fourth of my class was at this orientation, but there were still plenty of us. But it was what happened at the opening prayer and meeting that really got me excited and interested. I knew instantly that I was at the right college and at the right time. While it went on for a while previous to the video below, it still gives you a pretty good idea of the awesomeness:

So yeah, all of the mentors were dressed as Disney characters, and it was just plain awesome. I don't remember them all, but there were a bunch of Princesses, and then Woody and Buzz and Timon and Pumba and Tinker Bell (That was my mentor!). Yeah, it totally made my day, since my day hadn't been going very well previously, and I knew I just had to get this last part so I should share it here. 

Here's today's Disney History: 1964: After 5 seasons on television, The Twilight Zone airs its last episode, "The Bewitchin' Pool." Rod Serling's popular series will later be the inspiration for Disney's The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror attraction. 

Have a magical day!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Day 169: Napkins

I found this on Pinterest and just had to make it into a blog post because it's another one of those things where it's just so true that you can't handle it.

My dad has always been one to do this, where we'll be eating lunch somewhere at Disney and he'll just leave with like a pocketful of napkins. I'm pretty sure we have like an entire array of different napkins from all over the years. They do make great little souvenirs, until you find random folded up ones from like 10 years ago in some box and you just end up spending an hour and a half trying to figure out what year they actually were from. 

I don't know, but there are a lot of little things like that you can take home with you as like a free souvenir. Napkins are obviously one of them, as are park maps and times guides. Anything like that. Even those brochures you can pick up from at the resorts work. The stuff your resort gives you when you arrive, the stuff in the bathroom of your hotel room that's the little free samples. All that kind of stuff. I don't know, maybe when I go in a few weeks I'll have to go around looking for little free things that you can bring home to help remember your Disney trip. 

Here's today's Disney History: 2012: The second phase of Disney's Art of Animation Resort opens at Walt Disney World. The wing dedicated to the popular film Cars is themed after the Cozy Cone Motel. Taking on a notably different tone than the vibrant Finding Nemo wing (which opened May 31), the new Cars area embodies the feeling of the sleepy little town of Radiator Springs. Disney's Art of Animation Cars wing is WDW's 26th resort. 

Have a magical day!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Day 168: Mackinaw Island

Aside from the Grand Hotel, there was plenty else that we did on this band trip to Mackinaw Island. While I don't have the band trip video finished yet, I did want to discuss a little bit of the island itself, and what I thought of that as a whole opposed to the Grand Hotel.

Honestly, I think Mackinaw Island is an adorable little island. BUT, it is the biggest tourist trap I've ever seen. It's more of one than Disney. I mean, when you walk down the street past the shops here's the order of them: T-Shirt shop, souvenir shop, fudge shop, t-shirt shop, fudge shop, t-shirt shop, souvenir shop...and it goes on and on all the way through town. And people say Disney is bad with all the stores.

But I think that was really the only complaint I had. I loved that there are no cars, and that the transportation is by horse or bike. I know we spent several hours riding around in a horse drawn carriage, which was pretty awesome. I mean, the dirty streets and smell weren't exactly awesome, but it really adds a lot to the little town. That and the history is just spectacular. I mean, the fact that every half hour they fire something off from Fort Mackinaw is pretty cool, although I really wish I had the time to go and see the fort for myself. And the quaint Victorian style was really nice too, plus they really do know their lilacs there! They should considering we marched in the lilac festival grand parade!

Overall it is a great place, but like I said in my last post, I really don't have a want to go back. More of a singular time thing for me because I think there are a lot of bigger and better things out there in the world to see, rather than spend so much money for a stay on Mackinaw Island.

We also traveled across the Mackinac Bridge, which was, impressive, but not as impressive as our band director made it sound. To me, and to many others, it really was just a bridge, and a big waste of time from many of our points of view. It's the third largest suspension bridge in the world, but we figured out that much of my dissapointment in the bridge comes from the fact that I'm used to the best in the world, not the third best. I mean, Disney has a lot of those records down, so third best just doesn't impress me, even if the largest suspension bridge isn't at Disney World.

I know I'm fairly critical of the entire trip, but I find that it's hard for me not to be. I relate and compare everything to my experiences with Disney, because they strive for perfection, and they create the magic to the point where everyone finds something they can love and enjoy. Comparing other things in the world to that make them often times fall flat, although there are really plenty of experiences that are just as memorable as Disney. Like I said, Colorado, New York and Boston are all at the top of that list. While I had my doubts and concerns about those places too, there was still something that surpassed Disney in one way or another. Mackinaw Island just didn't do that for me, but that's alright. It was still a great experience and adventure!

Here's today's Disney History: 1965: Disneyland Grad Nite '65 takes place from 11PM till 5AM.

Have a magical day!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Day 167: The Grand Hotel

Starting yesterday, I headed out on my annual band trip, this year to Mackinaw Island. While I'm super excited for next year's trip, which will hopefully be at Disney, this year promised to be just as exciting, even if it is only for three days. But either way, today we spent a large portion of our day at the Grand Hotel, and I felt that I would share my thoughts, and how the entire thing related to Disney for me.

The Grand is a wonderful hotel. Now, it certainly isn't Disney quality by any means, but it has it's unique characteristics and little things that do make it special. Is it, in my opinion, a four star hotel, no, not by any means. I'd much rather pay the four to seven hundred dollars to stay at the Grand Floridian. I had some favorite things about the Grand though, like how it is built and still decorated similarly to how it would have been when it was built. I mean, you get a real key as your room key, much different from the cards and now wristbands that Disney has. Both are unique in their own way, so you can't really compare much there, other than the fact that both are awesome for different reasons.

Also, the basis that every room is different is a great aspect to the Grand. Now, I didn't say that I liked the rooms themselves, only that it's cool that every one of them is different. Honestly, I was very fortunate to get the best room out of anyone on the trip. The four of us staying in it had a handicap room, so everything was giant sized, and there was plenty of space for everyone. The colors on the walls were beautiful, and the entire room just worked. I can't say the same for others though, as most of our guys ended up with rooms covered from head to toe in pink.

Dinner was good, not amazing, but I think it's great because a lot of people really enjoyed it. I have experienced some of the best food in the United States, so I can't really compare it the same as others do. For many on the trip it was the best food they've ever had, just because of how complicated and fancy it was. But like I said, it wasn't the best food I've ever eaten. I think there's more hype than what's really there, but once again, I had a great time at dinner because I was fortunate enough to have the closest table to the live jazz ensemble, which was absolutely my favorite thing about dinner.

But I think my favorite part of the evening was how we were all dressed in our finest. I actually Disneybounded as Sorcerer Mickey, as you can see below. I wore my red dress, got some navy blue heels, a navy bow and my brown satchel. And then I had a necklace that I made out of a pair of earrings that were the stars from Fantasia. But there was also another live jazz group that played in a lounge where we all had a chance to dance. I've never really done something like that before, like live dancing, so I think that was honestly my favorite part of, not just the grand, but of the entire trip (since I'm technically typing this up after the entire thing is over). It's a memory I'll hold forever just because it was something that I just leaped and did it. I was adventurous!

Overall, I think the Grand is a nice hotel, but it isn't as nice as people say it is, or at least from my perspective. The Island itself, which I'll talk about a bit more tomorrow, was nice, and I loved the entire experience, but I don't have a wish to return. Now, to put it into some perspective, I traveled with my band and another band to Colorado several years ago, and I would really like to return, but I don't really have a want to go back to Mackinaw Island. The same goes for Boston and New York, I'd love to go there too someday, and while that was a bigger trip, there was still a lot I didn't see at Mackinaw. I don't know. I think that from my perspective, I'd rather spend the money to go somewhere else, not even just Disney, but like New Orleans, or Colorado or New York, than to go back to the Island. It was nice, it just didn't really appeal to me.

Still, the trip was a great time and I really enjoyed it, so it's not to say that it was the fault of my band. I love band trips, and I really am glad that everyone else enjoyed it! Or at least it has sounded like everyone else enjoyed it! I'm happy that I could help bring these new experiences that were probably amazing to every other member of the band, and honestly, I'd rather have myself be unhappy than everyone else unhappy. That way they have a positive experience. If I don't have one, I'm still going to make the best of it. =)

Here's today's Disney History: 1955: Disney's 15th animated feature film, Lady and the Tramp, has its world premiere in Chicago. It is the first Disney cartoon feature filmed in CinemaScope (A widescreen film process). It will be generally released 6 days later.

Have a magical day!