Review: Captain America: The Winter Soldier

I was thinking “Gee, what can I write about this weekend in my blog?” because I’m trying to get at least one new post up on the weekends. (High expectations eh?) And then it occurred to me that HEY!  Captain America is a Disney movie! I can review it and be on-topic!

Except… this isn’t going to be a specially popular review, because I will say up front that I didn’t care for the movie.  And, I can’t really say all of why without revealing spoilers.  So I’m going to briefly touch on why I didn’t like it, and get that out of the way, and then discuss both the things I did like and a general overview of the film.

I'll say up front, he's not in it and I missed him, to be frank.

I’ll say up front, he’s not in it and I missed him, to be frank.

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Disney’s Hollywood Studios Park in 2015

This weeked on Twitter I asked what my friends thought was the Best Disney News of 2014. The majority of the answers that I got were about Turner Classic Movies partnering on/sponsoring the Great Movie Ride at Hollywood Studios, which is indeed fantastic!  Some related news is the fact that TCM is also showing “Treasures From the Disney Vault“, presenting vintage Disney shows and other material that has not been replayed on the Disney Channel for some time now. YAY, TCM! (Also noteworthy: many people were happy about the recent announcement that the Sorcerer’s Hat is coming down – this is also at Hollywood Studios. Hmmm. Coincidence?)

I nipped this from a recent post at takingthefloridaplunge.com - go there for lots of constant content!

I nipped this from a recent post at takingthefloridaplunge.com – go there for lots of constant content!

This led into a general discussion about Hollywood Studios, what it could be, what it is, what we hope will happen.  Admittedly the bulk of this discussion was with LeBeau, of LeBeau’s LeBlog (yes, this is just an opportunity to plus his blog, but it’s worth it), but a few others joined in here and there!

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Disney’s “Atlantis: the Lost Empire”

You might remember this. You might love this movie!  Or you might be all “I have skipped that one” or even “That’s a DISNEY movie?!”

Yes, this is a Disney movie.  Released in 2001, this is a Disney movie that doesn’t really look like a Disney movie (and, I think, is trying not to feel like one either). I really enjoyed it in the theatre, but looking back, I’ve always been less sure.  At this point, 13-14 years later, I could remember a very small handful of things. Michael J. Fox. Kida glowing and enveloped in light. And my personal fave, Don Novello AKA Father Guido Sarducci as Vinnie.

I could listen to this man read the phone book and enjoy it.

I could listen to this man read the phone book and enjoy it.

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Sometimes you just want to pull out the crayons

I was at Target today and I was tempted by one of my favourite sights: a full box of unused, pointy, perfect crayons. In our family this doesn’t last long; my kids are in the “Push So Hard The Crayons Break” school of colouring and thus none of our crayons last more than a few weeks at best. We do, however, have a large box of broken or flat crayons. :)

So, I broke down and bought a new box – it was only about $2.50 – of 48 crayons. It’s glorious! And already kinda worn down, of course, because we started colouring immediately. Or, if not immediately, within a few minutes of my printing out a bunch of Disney colouring pages from TV’s “The Internet”.*

I fully believe that everyone should take the time to break open a new box of Crayolas and put their mark on a nice blank colouring page. Disney-themed or not. I feel like I got my money’s worth out of these new crayons simply because I coloured this:

I called this "My terror that flaps in the night" and confused my kids with the possessive term.

Darkwing Duck is my jam, yo.

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Happy 2015!

Oh my, it has been a while, hasn’t it? I’m still around. :) I could post about where I have been, but it’s long and not very exciting and sadly, has nothing at all to do with Disney. Not even if I squint and stretch the truth a little bit. I’ll post about it eventually (it’s honestly nothing exciting), just to give everyone my boring excuse, but after all this buildup let’s change the subject tonight. :)

Right now, I just wanted to come in and say hello to everyone, and share a few New Years plans that I have gathered up:

1) I’m going to Disney World! That’s kind of a constant philosophical truth with me – I WILL always be going again someday, and that’s a given – but I currently have an actual trip planned with actual dates and actual everything. It’s coming up in November. I did tell the kids, because I can’t keep a secret THAT long, but we had a fun scavenger hunt on Christmas afternoon to break the news!

2) One of my New Years goals is to be more crafty in 2015. (Because after spending the second half of 2014 with hardly any spare time, I’ve decided it’s the perfect time to start new hobbies!) With that in mind I’m pulling out my cross-stitch supplies and going searching for Disney patterns! I found a few really nice freebies on Pinterest. Because you can find EVERYTHING on Pinterest!

I'm not very likely to actually do this one or in fact most of the ones I found. But wouldn't it be great if I DID?

I’m not very likely to actually do this one or in fact most of the ones I found. But wouldn’t it be great if I DID?

3) I’m going to try to upload some podcasts onto my mini iPod so that I can catch up. I am, no joke, somewhere around 8 months behind on most if not all of the ones I listened to. It’s sad. I have shed tears over this. …Metaphorical tears if you must know.

I missed you, blogosphere! I missed you so darn MUCH! <3 Let’s never fight again. If I don’t come back soon… have a great year!

Rebecca, Not Dead (Yet)

Review: “3500”, a sweet Disney love story

"3500: An Autistic Boy's Ten-Year Romance With Snow White"

“3500: An Autistic Boy’s Ten-Year Romance With Snow White” image (c) Ron Miles and Michael Montoure, used without permission here but I hope since this is a review it will be OK.

At the end of last year I had amassed some $50 in Barnes and Noble gift cards, and I figured I should do something I don’t often do, to wit: buy some books.  Why don’t I normally do this?  Two reasons, and neither one is because I don’t like reading.  The first is because I have so many books, I feel guilty buying more; and the second is, I have no idea where to start. I actually tend to read the books I own over and over. No joke.

 

Anyway, in this case I decided I’d look up some Disney books. I got some recommendations from friends of various kinds of Disney-related reading, and made my order on the website. They came one at a time.  One of the first to arrive was “3500: An Autistic Boy’s Ten-Year Romance with Snow White”, by Ron Miles.

 

I had read about this book when it came out, a few months earlier (now a year or so ago – it was published in 2013), and was very intrigued by it. A simple version of the story is that Ron’s son, Benjamin, fell in love with Walt Disney World, fell DEEPLY in love with Snow White’s Scary Adventures, and rode it over and over…3,500 times, in fact.  This is a very, very simple and actually almost misleading version of the story, as there is so much more to it.  You get an in depth picture of Benjamin, of the challenges of raising a boy with autism but also the huge rewards, and the whole story is glowing with the love that Ron feels for his son, the pride he takes in the accomplishments that Benjamin makes, and the joy he receives from not only Benjamin’s love of Snow White, but also the way the folks at Disney World treat Benjamin.

 

The story is a very easy read, personal but  not the kind of personal telling that shuts readers out (you know… the ones that are SO personal they feel like a journal, written for folks who already know the writer, and those stories leave you feeling like you’ve missed something somewhere).  This also is not an easy, level story being told.  Benjamin and his parents go through a lot on this ten-year journey; Ron, and Benjamin’s mother as well, make lots of changes to their lives, not the least of which is the decision to move to Orlando just to be close to Disney World so that they can pursue it as a therapeutic option for Benjamin’s development.  There are health struggles, personal struggles, and as we know, Snow White’s Scary Adventures meets an untimely end.  Benjamin, however, keeps going and the whole book leaves the reader with a sense of the growth that Benjamin has undergone and a strong affection for him.

 

I really highly recommend this book, as a memoir, as a Disney World love story, and as a story of meeting the challenges life has handed you with love and determination, and how that can pay off.  I hope Benjamin’s continuing story stays on the same path.  (And I have to wonder if he’s been on the Mine Train yet, and what he thinks!)

 

You can buy “3500” here on Amazon; this is a link to the Kindle edition, but I bought it in print, and like having it available in a hard copy. I am old-fashioned that way. :) The Kindle price is $2.99, paperback price is $11.66.  You can also buy it from Barnes And Noble here; prices are about the same, but the eBook is Nook format instead of Kindle.

Sunday Blog Showcase: Quest for the Vault Disney

The first question you might ask about this blog is “What is “the Vault Disney” supposed to mean?” And to get that, you have to be aware of the phrase “The Disney Vault”, referring to Disney’s business practice of rereleasing their films every few years for a limited time only, then returning them to “The Vault”.

 

As to how that relates to Quest for the Vault Disney, this blog – run by Jesse Stephenson – initially was started to chronicle the Disney releases and encourage them to “unvault” more of their huge untapped history of TV shows and movies, some of which haven’t seen the light of day in decades.  So hence, the name.  But the blog expanded from there as Jesse delved more into history as well, and now the blog covers not only Disney media but also history of the Disneyland park, and a lot more. It’s not defined on the “About” page, but he covers characters, company history, and even the infamous “Dining on $40 a Day” challenge made popular by (among others) Enchanted Tiki Talk podcast.

 

As a lifetime east-coaster, I do have a bias towards WDW. This isn’t a bias of “they’re just better!” but of familiarity; to me, “going to Disney!” equals Disney World.  Don’t ask me which is better: I can’t tell you, I can only say how much I love the one I go to regularly. :) But, due to that bias of familiarity, I do frequent more blogs that keep that same bias and talk more about WDW.  This isn’t intentional and so I’m glad to find blogs that fill in the blanks and look at Disneyland, which is after all the original Disney Park.  And the history is that much more meaningful to Walt Disney fans.  Jesse previously ran an entire series on ExtinctAttractionLand (note: this is not the first post in the series, just one I liked), looking over some classic attractions that are no longer with us – or in some cases, attractions that have been brought back.

 

As I mentioned though, there is plenty of general Disney history to go over, including Dick Van DykeWalt Disney and the Oscars! And a personal fave, the early days of Disney video rentals. I am just young enough that I did not know this. :D

 

OK, I have flung enough links at you. (Well, one more. Best of the Worst list, about Disney Villains, because I indirectly inspired it.) Now GO catch up for yourself on the blog!

Saturday Blog Showcase: Disney Kate

OK, Disney blog enjoyers, today’s Blog Showcase is one you’re sure to enjoy! (Actually I’m pretty sure you’ll enjoy all of the ones I’ve put up so far, but I continue to be sure you will enjoy today’s as well!)  DisneyKate.com, run by someone whose name is not Kate… no, that’s a lie. I couldn’t resist. ;)  The owner of the site is indeed Kate, and she loves Disney!

The blog is organized in a unique way that makes it almost more like a full fansite than a blog, except that what is on it are blog posts, written essays about various aspects of the Disney universe (shall we say).  It is generally organized into three different sections: The Disney Culture, looking at films and music, plus other aspects of Disney in our culture – books, shopping items, things like that; the Wonderful World that Walt Built, which covers planning and news and general info for the vacation destinations; and Kate’s Disney, a more personal and fun-based look at Kate’s own Disney-styled life. Art, stories, social media and so forth.

Now, as I said, the whole thing is more like a website than a blog and as such it’s got big plans and is still under preparation in a lot of ways. For instance the Disney Culture section will examine and review each of the 53 Animated Features of the Disney company; so far there’s a review for Frozen and The Lion King, plus the upcoming addition of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. This section also has a page up for “Easter Eggs” in Disney and Pixar movies. On the other hand, Kate’s Disney’s multiple sections are all online and have content, but it’s clear there is much more to come! The Golden Stitchys – a social media award – is up and running and will give you some recommendations for other blogs and Twitterers, along with a super-doggone-cute award design. :) (Disclosure: Yeah, I have one, but that’s really not the reason why I’m showcasing Kate’s blog. LOL.) There is also photography, personal stories, and artwork available. This section is really where you’d want to go to get to know Kate and to interact with her. Which you really should do;  she’s very friendly and lots of fun. :D

The Wonderful World that Walt Built (aka the Disney Parks section) is the most complete so far with articles both on planning your trip, and on saving stress and aggravation. You really should put some effort into at least one or the other of these on your trip. ;) Some people hate to plan, and that’s cool, but if you want a spontaneous trip (and that is possible at WDW!) you should at least know what to expect before you get there so that you minimize the stress!  So Kate has some good tips there. Finally, on the “Things to do at Disney” section you can get info on Pin Trading (always popular) as well as eventually some Hidden Mickey fun.

The blog has clearly got a lot more coming and I really enjoy wandering through it.  I suggest getting in there now and enjoying what’s there and what’s to come!  Kate has a great detailed writing style and her art is terrific too.  Stop by and enjoy, is my long-overdue recommendation!

Also, thanks for stopping by here… hope you enjoyed. ;)

Adventures In Baking: Squirt Happy Turtlecakes

When my son was little, he used to call cake “Happy Cake” (probably because of “Happy Birthday” accompanying the cake). So when I came across a recipe for “Squirt Happy Turtlecakes” on Spoonful.com, the name alone was a big draw for me. :)  I decided to make them for my birthday, which is tomorrow.  I did let the kids help. ;) And my daughter even suggested an improvement, which was to dye the frosting blue!

 

So if you’re coasting through this blog post without clicking the link – which is totally fine – I’ll just sum up with an explanation of what it is. The recipe isn’t so much for the cupcakes as it is for the decorations, which use candy to make cute little representations of Squirt, the baby sea turtle (offspring of Crush) in “Finding Nemo”.  The blue frosting takes the idea one step further, suggesting (along with the cupcake liners we picked out) the Big Blue and the EAC.  I won’t reprint the recipe here but do go to the Spoonful.com link above if you want to try these cupcakes, which are fun and easy!

 

Meanwhile here are the visual proofs of my labour!

Yaaay cupcakes! There IS a difference between muffins and cupcakes without frosting, though I'll admit sometimes it's a scant difference.

Yaaay cupcakes! There IS a difference between muffins and cupcakes without frosting, though I’ll admit sometimes it’s a scant difference.

Our "turtle shells" are gummi peach rings and gumdrops

Our “turtle shells” are gummi peach rings and gumdrops

An assembled turtle shell

An assembled turtle shell

Spearmint leaf candies are sliced up for front and back fins

Spearmint leaf candies are sliced up for front and back fins

Oh no! WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO HIS HEAD?! (Obviously it's buried in the cupcake somehow)

Oh no! WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO HIS HEAD?! (Obviously it’s buried in the cupcake somehow)

A close-up; the recipe includes mini chocolate chips for eyes but I thought that was overkill. I admit that he looks a little incomplete, though.

A close-up; the recipe includes mini chocolate chips for eyes but I thought that was overkill. I admit that he looks a little incomplete, though.

My daughter insisted on her hand appearing in the photo to show off the completed Squirt.

My daughter insisted on her hand appearing in the photo to show off the completed Squirt.

We ran out of green gumdrops (seriously, it was like 4 to a bag!! We had TWO BAGS and only got 8 heads!) so the last few got different-coloured heads. They still love and accept each other!

We ran out of green gumdrops (seriously, it was like 4 to a bag!! We had TWO BAGS and only got 8 heads!) so the last few got different-coloured heads. They still love and accept each other!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More Adventures in the Tiki Hut…

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“Hut” on the heels (oh my gosh, I need to just delete that right now. WHY am I not deleting it?!) of my last Enchanted Tiki Talk Podcast post, here’s another! Because the episodes keep coming and I keep listening and it’s all good! :D

Episode 17: Disney Hangover
Keith and Alan just got back from Disney in this ep.

Sean: “Keith, you left nice, sunny, warm Ohio, right?”
Keith: “Uh, where was this?”

Getting stuck at Disney is like everyone’s DREAM. Not even joking.

Ohhh, Keith had the cheerleaders. Man! I think we might’ve been there for like a day or two at the same time as some cheerleaders. They were walking around Pop with a TON of glowing balloons. I was like “Good luck getting to sleep tonight…”

Talk of beef makes me hungry. Every time. I almost never ever BUY red meat/beef at home so I only eat it at restaurants. Meaning I have high standards for my beef and steak. Awww yeah.  I feel like eating some beef right now.  I’m not sure what this is all about, actually…

AAACK! Alan had School Bread, finally!  That’s a mostly positive, if unenthusiastic review. LOL. I wouldn’t run to order it again either. But there’s actually nothing at WDW that I do feel that way about.

PORK SHANK. Man I want some meat right now.

Keith’s single solitary turkey leg on the trip is still one more than I have EVER had, so there’s that.

I liked the MagicBands too! I also did not use it for charging to the room. I was completely on cash and gift cards as much as possible. But I loved the convenience.

Agreed on people hating on FastPass+ just for the sake of hating on it. Those who have tried it and have complaints I am fine with, but there are a lot who just hate the idea, and honestly… the idea itself is not a bad one. And the whole process is under development.  To hate the whole thing because of how it looks today is just not logical.

Good trip reports guys! :D

…Be sure.. to drink your… Cheerwine. A crummy commercial?!

 

Episode 18: 40 Disney Dollars a Day at Downtown Disney
Uh-oh. This is it… I’ve reached “my” episode… DundunDUNNNNN! Fortunately there’s another guest, the excellent Matt Holley, so not all the focus is on me. Hahah. XD

But in all seriousness… this was an awesome time, very fun to record and I love playing the $40 at Disney game. And I’d never thought about it for Downtown Disney, so if you haven’t either… or if you HAVE… listen on!

My favourite part of doing this episode was when all the birds actually started singing live at the beginning.  I had thought that was pre-recorded, but boy was I wrong!… ;)

“But first, before we play, Rebecca, tell a little bit about yourself to our audience!”
Me: “OH, uh…” Yeah, I didn’t expect that. LOL. So I go on a bit much.  Pffff. XD

I have never actually been to the Ghirardelli Soda Shop. To my EXTENSIVE regret. :)  But to be honest… I’m not all that much of a “must-do” snack person. I get really picky b/c I don’t like to spend a lot of money so I bring my own snacks in. Heh. I do like me a Mickey bar but not an option here… I don’t really blame Matt for getting a sundae. I mean if you’re going to go ice cream why not go big?

I like Keith’s choice for a snack. I would never think of bread pudding as a snack but it sounds AMAZING. :)

Sean was absolutely cheap-o. CHEAP. O.

Aaaand now I want barbeque for lunch. You know what I had? a lousy sandwich. Two pieces of wheat bread and some turkey slices.

Alan quizzing me about barbeque.  I will not commit, hahaha, and the hardest thing in the world is to get an opinion out of me if I don’t hold it PASSIONATELY. (and I don’t about barbeque.) I will eat ANY barbeque right now. The more different kinds the better. OH MAN I wish I had some barbeque right now! XD

Matt’s quick service choice sounds good too. I think actually there is the slightest chance I may just be hungry. :P

The OTHER sandwich place…  Actually their menu looks amazing. I would have a very hard time deciding on just two or three sandwiches. I think I could choose just one if I had to, but if someone told me “pick three” I’d go nuts.

I really DO like themed restaurants a lot. I am not saying I don’t like good food but I do prefer experience over food quality. Just a thing about me. XD

And next time I go to T-Rex I am going to bring my bathing suit. :P

People get heated about a lack of gum for sale in the store. This is because people want what they want and they don’t care about rules. They are at DISNEY WORLD and they’re supposed to get what they WANT.

I want some dips too. (Remember what I said that I might be hungry? There’s no longer any doubt.)

Keith not only got closest to exactly $40, he also had a great “Haha! SCORE!” reaction when he announced his total.

I survived the season of the dinosaurs! And a meteor shower!  Sean’s all trying to make this into a competition and take me down, I’m having none of it. And Alan’s in my corner. So THERE. XD  Though I’ll admit that the Irish Step Dancing is quite impressive. I think Sean was just trying slightly harder because he thought he was going to be closest on his total, but Keith beat him.

A warning to anyone who is vaguely considering appearing as a guest on Tiki Talk: you will be asked about Cheerwine. I’m just saying. It’s not a bad thing, just know in advance. You’re going to be quizzed about it.

Matt has guts to bring up the Starbucks on Main Street knowing fully well that Keith and Alan have oppositional opinions about it. Mwhaahaha.

Listen to me answering these questions like I knew in advance what I was going to say! XD  I love Matt’s answers. He puts so much detail into them.  And I’m like “Haunted Mansion. Boom.” Except I didn’t literally say “Boom”.

WHY is it that every podcast episode I’m on, people start talking about peeing? I’m really starting to be concerned about this. :P

Leave some messages and responses and reviews and things to let the guys know how much you want me to come back on the show! Or, even better, just review and rate the show on iTunes. :)  Mentioning me: optional.

 

Episode 19: Poly Want a Show! Part 1

Congrats to the Tiki Talk show for their partnership with V24Radio!

Keith! What could you POSSIBLY not like about the Polynesian?! (I am kidding. Just FYI. I got it.^_~)

I never really did think about West Coast = Hawaii Vacations, East Coast = Caribbean/Bahamian vacations…

So they’re using Aulani’s space as an inspiration for the Poly’s spacial redesign? Hm. I’m not opposed to reorganizing space.  I hope they will continue to have a water feature in the lobby though.

Ew! Bacterial parasite! Well then the waterfall is allowed to go.

But but but a glass bottom would be so neat… IF you had a lagoon or something right underneath. “If you had that, what would you look at?” LOL really now. But the neat idea put forth that the “glass” could be a screen to make it look like it’s water beneath.

When Poly goes DVC, a week’s worth of points to pay for a studio would be the cost for a bungalow. GAWRSH :(  This may not be true, just a “buzz”.

 

Episode 20:  Walk Up and Eat
Hey! Stacey did an Enchanted Tiki Talk blurb!  You are now officially a Must-Do! :D

I am glad to hear a positive opinion of the moat-draining on the Hub expansion. Lots of people have that “HOW COULD THEY?” response to, well, anything that gets done these days at WDW.  As Sean says, they’re not really using the moat anyway and this should really improve flow of people.

Mmmm, man, I really want to go to the Flower & Garden Festival one of these years.

I went to Fairfax Fare last trip. I wasn’t happy with what I got though, but I think that’s my own fault. I don’t really like park mac and cheese, but I got a hot dog with mac and cheese and bacon on it… I really just made a bad choice, I’m going to try it again.

And I have never been to Pecos Bill’s.  Despite YEARS of hearing how many people love it.

Sunshine Sheashons is a very, very good counter service place. Last time I ate there it was easy to find stuff for me and for my daughter and we have ENTIRELY different things we want out of theme park food. ;)

I had one really good experience/meal at Casey’s and one not so good experience/meal there – I wouldn’t say bad, just not what I was hoping for. So I’m a little on the fence about them right now.

I LOVE RIBS. Yaaaay!

Flame Tree Barbeque: just hearing that restaurant’s name makes me drool with barbeque fantasies. Ahhhhh.  It SOUNDS like perfectly-cooked BBQ.

I can’t remember if I did a Top 5 counter service post on my blog. If I didn’t, I should. I don’t think I did, I think I’ve done a review of Flame Tree BBQ and that’s what I’m thinking of. ;)

I love that outtake. “What was that?! Did you just like, vomit?”

 

Episode 21: Poly Want a Show! Part 2
More Poly Talk!  I hope everyone will forgive me but I have no notes on this episode. I don’t know a lot about the Poly except that I really want to stay there, so I have nothing at all to contribute to the discussion. It is, however, a very good interview whether you’re familiar with the Polynesian or not!  So, enjoy!

 

Episode 22: Our Must Do Interview
Stacy J. Aswad on your Must-Do Podcast! I realize that Rolly Crump is a bigger Disney legend but I have a platonic crush on the adorable Ms. Aswad so I’m more excited about her appearance than any others so far. Ahem. *^_^*

The Must-Do Disney program is part scripted and part improved, which is not a surprise to me; it’s the improvs, I think, that are why I like her so much.  Stacy’s sincerity shines through when she’s being silly and she reminds me of a dear friend of mine, so she transcends the “typical” script!

Sean invented Supercalifragilisticexpialidocius. The word I mean. And Stacy has fulfilled a lifelong dream by meeting him. “I was like Dear Diary, someday I hope to meet the person who made up…”

“As long as I’m breathing, it’s not impossible.” I love this. :)

Another great interview, great show, and great guest. :D

Oh, and then Alan rubs in the fact that he took a surprise trip to WDW. Good for yooooou, Alan. ;P