Saturday, January 31, 2015

Day 761: One Month Down

We're already a month into 2015, how crazy is that?!? And with one month down, that means that I've also finished the first month of the #EverydayDisneyChallenge over on Instagram!

You may have noticed the new design, complete with a feature that links directly to my Instagram account, sharing my latest photos right here on my blog. Of course, you can always manually access my Instagram as well by finding me on your phone or clicking the handy link on the side of the page (@epcotexpert). This year's resolution was a Disney picture a day, and things have been going pretty well, as you can see in this post here!

This next month is Magic Kingdom month, and that means that there'll be plenty more magic and excitement to come! I'm especially excited because I finally had a chance to go through pictures from this last trip and boy, are there some great ones yet to come in months ahead! 

Remember, you're more than welcome to join me on my Everyday Disney Challenge via Instagram or even Twitter or Facebook! 

Have a magical day!

Friday, January 30, 2015

Day 760: A Lucky Mug

I'm sure that at this point, many of you have heard about the beautiful new Disney "You Are Here" Starbucks mugs. These things are beautiful, and as a mug collector, specifically a Disney mug collector who drinks unbelievable amounts of Starbucks, these mugs were must-haves for me. Unfortunately, the way these things work is that you can only get them by going and basically buying them yourself from the parks. This isn't a problem for me when it comes to the Disneyland mugs, as I'll be headed out there in August, but for the Epcot collector in me, I have no opportunity to get my hands on the Disney World mugs until who knows when.

So I bought one online.

You know, there are tons of websites out there that will buy something from the parks and ship it to your house and while, on some level, this really isn't fair, I've never been happier that these things exist. I bought an Epcot Starbucks mug on Monday (or maybe it was Tuesday?), of which I paid $30. Everyone pretty much thought I was crazy for spending that much on a simple mug, but I'm pretty sure I'm the one laughing now.

If you know the story with these mugs right now you'll also know that the same Epcot mug I ordered has been pulled from the shelves because of the purple monorail on it, which no longer exists due to an accident a few years back. But by the time they pulled the mugs, only about a week after they first went on shelves, mine was already in the mail.

And now it sits on my own shelf at college:

Although, now looking at this picture, this isn't on my shelf at all. But that's where it sits now. It's an absolutely beautiful mug, far more beautiful than any picture could have told me, and I'm absolutely thrilled that I have one to call my own, which will hopefully hold me over until August when I get the Disneyland and California Adventure ones! 

Have a magical day!

(Note: This blog post was written on January 31 due to a busy schedule).

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Day 759: Into The Woods

No, I still haven't seen the movie.

That doesn't mean I don't want to, because believe me, I really, really do, but another production of the musical happened to be going on in my life at the same time, and I wanted to see it done on stage before I saw it in the theater.

St. Norbert College Knight Theatre did their own version of Into the Woods this weekend, and it was definitely a wonderful show. Considering the fact that, previous to the performance I attended, I hadn't really seen all of the show, it was really interesting to see how the stories intertwined and how, unfortunately, everything worked out in the end. Now I'm listening to the film soundtrack because it just felt wrong to be writing a blog post about a musical without listening to the music from it.

On the note of music, I'm honestly not quite sure what my favorite song was or who my favorite character is. I really enjoyed the Jack and the Beanstalk storyline, but I'm probably bias because my friend played him in the version I saw the other day, and the same goes for Prince Charming. When you know the person it just makes the whole character better. As for songs, I really love Agony, but who doesn't? The princes are just so darn entertaining! And then there's "Your Fault," which I love just because of the constant back and forth between the characters. It takes a lot of attention to keep everything straight.

And as a lover of fairy tales, the entire show and plotline is extremely interesting. After "Hello, Little Girl," my friend whispered to me asking if I understood the innuendo and I was like "Well yeah, of course I do" because I spent a solid two weeks talking about Red Riding Hood in class a year ago. The first half of the show is very classic when it comes to the fairy tales, and then the second half really starts to play with them all, which I love just because that's what fairy tales are all about, changing them around and retelling them with a new message.

All in all, I loved the show and can't wait to see the film, after which I'm sure there will be another blog post talking about how much I loved Chris Pine.

Have a magical day!

(Note: This blog post was written on January 31 due to a busy schedule).

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

758: Where Would You Be?

Over on the WDW Radio blog, young blogger Ruby just wrote a post about a conversation she had with her family at dinner on her birthday, which you can read right HERE (and please do! She's a wonderful writer and I adore her posts and WDW Radio!). The discussion was about, if you were at Walt Disney World, where would you be and what would you be doing, which definitely got me to thinking what I would be doing too!

Since I just returned from my last trip, it's kind of weird to think about what I'm really craving at Walt Disney World. Last night it was a Dole Whip, the night before the delicious raspberry sorbet I had at Boma, and at the moment, it doesn't really even matter if it's food I'm craving. I think, if I could only choose one place to be in all of WDW, right now it would be either strolling around World Showcase at Epcot or making my way through Adventureland at the Magic Kingdom. Yes, I know I cheated a little bit there and included two, but I really can't decide between them. They both sound spectacular at the moment, and maybe that's just because I've been mostly working or in class since noon today.

World Showcase is pretty much always on my list in this case, as is most of Epcot, but Adventureland is a new one, and I really have no idea why a walk through that portion of the Magic Kingdom sounds so appealing at the moment. But just walking through, listening to the wonderful music while eating a Dole Whip and then heading on Jungle Cruise sounds like a great end to my night, even if I'm ridiculously far away and that will never happen (especially when I still have work to do once I finish updating this blog!). So when I get back to my room (I'm on my office computer at the moment, sneaky person I am...but don't worry, I'm not on the clock!) I might just have to pull up the Adventureland track I have saved to my computer and listen to that while finishing up the rest of my work for the night!

The second half of Ruby's article talked about a similar, but different aspect of waiting between trips: things we do to make that waiting seem easier, and I know I've blogged about this before, but I do feel like I need to mention that, at the moment, the best remedy for me is getting the rest of my work done! Since coming back to school, I've just been busy all the time (and I honestly feel like there's not enough time in the day to finish everything I need to), and that, at least, keeps me pretty focused and makes the days go faster. Other than that, planning the next trip is probably my personal favorite remedy for making the time between trips go faster, even if my trip to Disneyland is still roughly 192 days away (we haven't booked the whole thing yet, but I know I'll be there for D23 for sure, so California, I'm coming for you!)

Where at WDW do you want to be right now and what do you do to make the time between trips move a little faster than the speed of a snail? And if you haven't, go check out Ruby's original article on WDW Radio and send her your answer in the comments there too!

Have a magical day!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Day 757: Turkey in the Straw

Wow, two music-based blog posts in a row! Actually, that's not totally odd, especially since I'm a music major and have already spent a solid amount of time in the music building this semester (and it's only day 3!)

As you probably can figure out yourself, a new semester means new music for the members of the wind ensemble and other groups on campus, and since we have a concert in less than three weeks, it means that we definitely need to get down to business (but not to defeat the huns). For our first two concerts, which both occur on Valentine's weekend, we've got four brand new selections, all of which I'm very excited about. I'm not joking, I literally don't think I can pick a favorite, but there is one that's blog worthy!

We're playing an arrangement of Turkey in the Straw, which I am fairly certain you've all heard, especially if you're a Disney fan like I am. In fact, which I didn't really think about it when I put the music into the folders, I didn't really think much about it, but the second we started playing I was like wait a second!

Turkey in the Straw actually plays a key role in Disney history, as it's used in one of the most famous cartoons of all time: Steamboat Willie! If you skip ahead to about 4:20 in the video, you'll almost hit the nail on the head with when Turkey in the Straw begins!

It's gonna be a great two and a half weeks working on this song, I can tell already! 

Have a magical day!

(Note: This blog post was written on January 28 due to a busy schedule).

Monday, January 26, 2015

Day 756: Carnival of the Animals

While doing homework over the past few days, I've been listening to a variety of music. For me, that means just about everything all across the board. Literally, I could be listening to rock music or Disney Parks music or something completely classical, which is a lot closer to the music topic of the day.

One of my music major friends was talking about Carnival of the Animals not that long ago, and that led me to wondering when I'd last heard the complete work. It wasn't hard to find the whole thing on YouTube, and then I just set the playlist on repeat while working on some French flashcards. It worked pretty well for me to be completely honest.

There was just one small problem. When you listen to a multi-movement work such as Carnival of the Animals, you have to eventually choose a favorite movement, because that's just how we work around here. If you're talking about The Planets Suite, you have to figure out which planet is your favorite (Mars or Saturn for me...definitely), and if you are indeed talking about Carnival of the Animals you have to choose a favorite animal.

Now for those of you that aren't familiar with Carnival of the Animals, this is a multi-movement work by Saint-Saens based around various animals. So you have the lions and the Tortoises and the Swans and so on and so forth. And the best part? It actually connects to Disney in more ways than one!

If you heard certain portions of Carnival of the Animals, you would definitely recognize at least one of them from Fantasia 2000, which you can watch right here:

And as if that's not enough of a Disney reference, the song is also used in the soundtrack that accompanies the film in the France Pavilion at Epcot. Yes, it's there too! Actually, a solid amount of Saint-Saens music is used in that film, and that generally ends up being the reason I listen to his music more often that other composers. Just goes to show you the power of Disney and the music they use! 

Oh, and for the record, my favorite movement is probably a tie between Aquarium and Swans. 

Also, happy birthday to the one and only Colin O'Donoghue!!!

Have a magical day!

(Note: This blog post was written on January 28 due to a busy schedule).

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Day 755: Goodbye Galavant

With the end of one thing comes the beginning of another, or at least the premiere of another.

I blogged at the beginning of Galavant, and so here I am blogging at the end of Galavant, although I certainly hope this isn't the end of the show. That cliffhanger is not one I am ok with, and I definitely need a season two because this will be ridiculous otherwise. I won't give any spoilers about what happens, but let's talk for a second about why Galavant should have a second season!

I absolutely loved the show, even if taking time off of working on other stuff made it kind of difficult for me to enjoy at times. However, the characters were definitely lovable, the music was spectacular and it was absolutely everything I could have expected and more. Plus, I don't know about you guys, but the cast is wonderful as well, 100% interactive with their fans (Karen David actually follows me on Twitter and Instagram, along with many of her other hardcore fans from the show!), and that's something I can appreciate.

In the end, the prospects of a season two are probably relatively low. While they really do need something to fill that OUAT time slot in the weeks of the hiatus where other shows are on and roaring to go, something tells me Galavant will be another show that's cut, despite the fact that they have a fair sized fanbase already built up. It sort of saddens me to see another show as brilliant and creative as this one canceled while The Bachelor and other reality shows continue to rule the world. Not that I really can complain because I'm pretty lucky. My favorite television show rocks Sunday Nights pretty much every week, and while the fanbase is absolutely ridiculous 99% of the time, they are dedicated. I'll give them that.

Which brings me to the second topic of the night, and yes, it most certainly includes Once Upon A Time. Colin O'Donoghue fans have been waiting since late December for a very special music video from Christina Perri. She is an avid fan of OUAT and a "Hooker" herself, so when the opportunity for Colin to star in her music video for "The Words," she jumped on the chance and we got the following video!

Let's be real here. This music video is basically perfection, especially in a world filled with music videos about drinking and partying. This is extremely well done, and I'm not just saying that because we got some new footage of Colin that we never, ever thought we would get. I won't even lie...I was on the floor the first time I watched this, right in the middle of Galavant because it premiered at the same time as the Galavant finale. Oh, and here's a fun fact! The house that Colin lives in in the music video is indeed the same house that Zelena lives in during Season 3 of Once Upon A Time. It's a great little easter egg even if the majority of us were a bit distracted by the Irish guy throughout the entire video. 

So thank to Christina Perri, fellow fangirl, for providing us not only with a spectacular song and music video, but more Colin O'Donoghue to hold us over until March 1! 

Have a magical day!

(Note: This blog post was written on January 28 due to a busy schedule).

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Day 754: Little Things: College Edition

I've done posts under the idea of "Little Things" before, but now just felt like the right time to do another volume of it, especially since there have been multiple little things in my life that have reminded me of Disney over the past couple of days since returning to SNC! And after all...

Pine Trees

We all know and love the orange scent that's pumped into Soarin', but I feel like sometimes we forget about the wonderful Pine Tree that's also part of that attraction. When I returned to SNC, I was the first one back in the dorm room, meaning that everything was pulled away from the heaters, a vacuum was sitting in the middle of the floor, and everything was unplugged. In the midst of plugging everything back in, I happened to find our wallflower airfreshener that had been unplugged before we left. Of course, after a while you don't really notice the smell anymore, but there was a significant amount left in the thing, so I just plugged it back in. I knew exactly what scent it was, but when the pine tree wafted into my back room a few minutes later, I could only think of one thing: Soarin'.


He's got a new look for a new semester! That's right, Melvin has changed out of his holiday attire and travel clothes in favor of an Up inspired outfit, complete with bow tie and balloons. Originally he was going to have glasses too, but it just wasn't working out well, and he looks adorable enough with his current outfit.


"Shovell sure brought life to this home!"

And that's what I said the other day, which immediately reminded me of one Carousel of Progress. After all, "Thomas Edison sure brought life to this home!" You see, my wonderful best friend, for her birthday, got a Keurig, which she brought back to SNC. It provides us with endless entertainment, hot water, tea, and coffee, so it's definitely the new life of this dorm room.

I have this distinct feeling that there was something else that should be going on this post, but I guess it'll just end up on the next one now. Unless I'm thinking of my SNC-Caf made Butterfinger Cupcake. That's entirely possible. Those cupcakes are amazing.

Have a magical day!

(Note: This blog post was written on January 27 due to a busy schedule). 

Friday, January 23, 2015

Day 753: The Return

This was the blog post where I was going to share our new and beautiful Door Decorations with you, especially since they're once again Disney themed, but sadly one of them is missing, strangely, from the door. So until I make a new one, we'll have to put that discussion on hold.

I am, however, back at college, and I'm certainly almost ready for another semester. Almost is a term is currently use lightly, by the way. After a month and a half of basically sitting at my kitchen counter or a table in the SNC library (save for those wonderful days at Disney), I've gotten pretty far behind in, well, pretty much everything else. That means my blog, that means reading, that means organizing myself for school, everything.

But I'm back, and that will at least help. Organizing myself, having my daily tea, seeing my roommates, sitting and working at my desk and getting myself back onto a real, normal sleeping schedule is all definitely going to help.

And once my life IS back on schedule, it'll mean time to edit vlogs and actually update this blog daily and, amongst saving money for Disneyland this summer, find a few new Disney pieces here and there (Tsum Tsum here I come!)

Since this really is quite the boring blog post thanks to the missing door dec, I will mention something that DOES have to do with Disney, especially when it comes to my new semester. I'm an English major, but thanks to a really busy schedule all the time, I rarely have much time to read for fun. I barely have time to read for class. Or rather, once I finish all the rest of my work I really don't have the urge to read anything else. But this semester I'm going to try and change this, and let's call it a "New Semester Resolution." I figure I want to read at least one book a month for fun. That keeps the pressure off, especially on days that I'm really busy, but is still realistic considering my workload. Of course, I could always read more than that, but we'll just start there and see how far I get.

So, for my first book, I'm rereading Tom Sawyer. I read it back in High School a couple of times, but haven't read it in over 4 years. Because I'm scheduled to read Huck Finn for class, I figure that now's a great time to go back and reread Tom Sawyer, which I remember really enjoying the first time because of the Disney connection. After all, we get to play around on his island in all the caves and, at one point, you used to be able to eat at Aunt Polly's.

I must say that, while I'm not super far into my reread, my favorite scene has always been the whitewashing of the fence, where Tom tricks all the other boys into painting for him. It's just so darn entertaining!

Have a magical day!

(Note: This blog post was written on January 26 due to a busy schedule).

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Day 752: One Big Project

Originally I was going to share some top secret information about the band trip video on this particular blog post, but I've decided against it. After all, there's plenty yet to be released in relation to the giant project I've been working on over the past how many weeks, and I'm really looking forward to the prospect of having a premiere for the whole thing. Megan even said I could go get a nice new dress for it. So maybe I'll actually get to "walk the red carpet" for a night. Just kidding, we won't have a red carpet. Unless we use the band room carpet thing we have. I suppose I could walk along that.

Regardless, if you haven't figured it out by the completely crazy schedule of blog posts over the past month or two, or by the constant tweeting about it on my Twitter, I spent pretty much my entire winter break at my laptop, editing video. Now, I'm insanely proud of the product that is the Seymour Community High School Band Trip 2014 Video, which I really should stop calling a video because it's actually more of a movie, but I've been calling it the band trip video for the last two years, so I figure that will be a difficult habit to break.

But despite the fact that I'm trying to save at least a little bit of the surprise for the actual possible premiere, I can share a little bit about what I've been doing for the past two months, even if I can't really share any videos or pictures. So here's some facts about the band trip video:

  • Off the top of my head, I can think of at least 9 easter eggs that I have hidden in the video, although I'm sure there's more than that. I had a jolly good time trying to throw little things into the sequence, from the nearly constant references to Captain Hook or Colin O'Donoghue to references to my roommates and beyond. 
  • There's a total of 23 songs in the video, which, speaking of Easter Eggs, could be an accidental one in its own right. 
  • The final product is 57 minutes long, which was just under my set maximum of an hour. I knew while editing that I had more than enough to get it past that, but for time and entertainment sake, I wanted to keep it to that 60 minute mark. 
  • Those 57 minutes are selected from over 30 hours of video and over 3,000 pictures. Yes, I watched every minute and looked at every single photo. It took me an eternity. 
  • The video component of the video (that was a strange way to say something) was shot between, I believe, 5 different trips: July 2013, January 2014, March 2014, June 2014 and January 2015. You probably will find a few differences here and there, but for the most part, you can't tell what was shot when. I paid a lot of attention to consistency. The pictures included, however, were all taken on the trip in June. 
  • Every person on the trip appears at least once in the video as a whole. I tried really hard to make sure everyone was there, but if you edit videos like this, you already know how difficult this is to achieve. 
  • Also in an attempt to make sure everyone felt included in the video is the reasoning for pulling footage from 5 trips, despite the fact that everything included could NOT have been achieved in our one day at each park (or in the case of Animal Kingdom and Epcot, less than day). I went through a checked to see how many attractions I included and there's under 15 from the entirety of Walt Disney World that didn't make it into the final product. My thought process was this: I could have easily gone on Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin in June, but I didn't make it to that attraction. However, while interviewing members of the band at the end of our Magic Kingdom day, I found that one of the members LOVED that attraction. Therefore, thanks to some film magic, I have that attraction included. It's all about making it apply to the most people, and when I only have one video camera that's in my hands (or the hands of a trusted friend) at all times, things get tricky. 
And since you're all wondering, I'm sure, it took me approximately 150 hours to simply EDIT the video. That's not counting the time it took to find the songs, tag the pictures, actually film the video, brainstorm, animate the beginning and end (because it IS animated) or a variety of other things. Yep, it took me a really, really long time. Oh, that's also not including the extra hours I had to put on when my bloopers section corrupted. 

So this video means a lot to me. I'm going to try and figure out a way to upload some clips so those of you who aren't in our band but would like to see can get an eye on what I've been working on, but that won't happen until after the "premiere," sadly. But new vlogs will hopefully be coming soon! 

Have a magical day!

(Note: This blog post was written on January 26 due to a busy schedule).

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Day 751: 1985

Of all the things that I enjoy, one of my favorites is to go through old Disney memorabilia with my Dad. You've heard about this before I'm sure, about how I'll spend hours staring at the old ticket books and listening to Dad tell me about the parks "back in the day," so the other night when I was down in the basement working on our new door decs, Dad was cleaning and brought me a wealth of new Disney stuff he'd found in a box or something. 

He apparently went to WDW in 1985, so not too long after Epcot opened, and this made me pretty darn excited. Walt Disney World is pretty different than what it was in 1985, so getting to look back and find all the different changes is pretty entertaining. And when I say he brought me a wealth of new stuff, I really mean a whole big pile. I scanned a few of the pieces to share here too! 

It's funny to think that the Entertainment Schedule for Epcot was a full 8 and a half by 11 sheet of paper, double sided, back in 1985. Now it's like a third of a sheet, double sided. Either that means they've downsized on performances or they've just figured out how to be more efficient. A little of both I believe. 

Dad also found his park maps from the trip, which it's one of those things where I would see them on the internet and wish that I had these old things. Now I do, I guess. 

Here we have a little other handout and you really wouldn't believe the number of brochures he has from this trip. They must of had at least 10 different ones. And there was only two parks! 

Dad also had a Magic Kingdom map, which looks pretty old school when thinking about it in this day and age. Just look at that thing! And as if that's not already enough, look at the pictures of the guests on the right! 

 In the giant pile of everything Dad found, he also came up with a Birnbaum Guide from his 1985 trip. I have the current 2015 version in my desk drawer, so we've got 30 years of difference here!

Here we have an old Walt Disney World Newspaper. This was actually the first thing my Dad brought out, but I had literally no idea this used to be a thing. Why isn't this a thing anymore? Ok, I know why this isn't a thing anymore, but it just feels so small town and homey and awesome. I want a Newspaper! 

And finally, this was part of yet another guidebook, although I believe this one was mostly centered around Magic Kingdom. Either way, I laughed a little about the "Tips for better Walt Disney World movies." I know how that feels little 1985 brochure, I know how that feels. 

Of course, there's a bunch of other stuff that I'm not sharing. There are a few pamphlets from the World of Motion, as well as all of the stuff on the inside of each of some of the things I just shared, but even I haven't had time to go through all of it. If I find something else that's really interesting I'll be sure to share though! 

Have a magical day!

(Note: This blog post was written on January 24 due to a busy schedule).