Back to the Phineas and Ferb (Part 2?)

At long last I have an excuse to make a blog post about my OTHER true love, “Back to the Future”! It’s genuinely tragic to me that there is no true link between Disney and BTTF, because I have so many feels for BTTF. I could go on about it for hours. (I do, actually.) But I try to adhere to my own blog rules which means this blog is for Disney content. Even if there’s only a peripheral Disney connection… But BTTF has none!

UNTIL NOW. Mwahaha.  Last week I was home from work, and my son and I watched an episode of “Phineas and Ferb” that I hadn’t seen before that’s entitled “Phineas and Ferb’s Quantum Boogaloo”.  If you’ve never seen or heard of “Phineas and Ferb”, which is kind of unlikely but still vaguely possible, it’s a Disney Channel cartoon series about two brothers who do incredibly unlikely things on a daily basis throughout summer vacation, to the generally obsessive annoyance of their teenaged older sister who is intent on getting them caught by their mother.

…Admit it, that song is totally in your head now.

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Disney World and the Banned Selfie Sticks

So, after having enacted a ban on selfie sticks just this past Spring, Disney Parks have stepped up the restriction and just flat-out banned these items throughout the parks. As of June 30, guests who bring selfie sticks into the park will have them confiscated and held at Security until they leave, at which time they can pick them back up.

The ban occurred after the original attempt to limit their use ended up being impossible to enforce; the parks’ first effort was to prohibit their use on fast-moving rides. I’m sure they thought they’d never even have to do that; honestly, what kind of sense does it make to take a high-priced, breakable item like a smart phone and stick it outside of a fast-moving roller coaster attached to nothing but a flimsy pole?!  Nobody would do that, right?

This is pretty self-explanatory, I think. But it's also possible that you might think it means "No square balloons" so I can see where it was unclear.

This is pretty self-explanatory, I think. But it’s also possible that you might think it means “No square balloons” so I can see where it was unclear.

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Disney Trip Planning: Rebecca and the Accidental Upgrade

Like many Disney World enthusiasts, I have a likely-unreachable (for me, anyway) goal of staying at all of the resorts on property. If I lived closer and had the means to go twice a year or more, I’d probably be able to accomplish this goal, but as it stands over the past ten years I’ve stayed at four resorts.  So yeah. 🙂

In any case, because of this long-standing desire, I agonize a little too much about where to stay and I am not above an added hassle of doing a split-stay. For this trip, since it’s my first full LONG trip since becoming a travel agent, I planned on splurging and getting a room at Animal Kingdom Lodge using the Travel Agent rates.  I booked a package for the first half of the stay (more on that later) and then separately booked a Pool View with Bunkbeds room under the travel agent rates.  It was my first time booking under TA rates, and that process is different from general bookings, so I did it wrong (lol) and after some back and forth we cancelled my first reservation and made a new one.  I was told at the time that my deposit from the first reservation would be transferred to my second one, but in the end that didn’t happen. Things happened and long story short, the second reservation was cancelled too.

Bunkbeds! Solving life's problems!

Bunkbeds! Solving life’s problems!

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Head Games with Mary Poppins

A spoonful of sugar and some trust issues!

A spoonful of sugar and some trust issues!

So it’s no secret that Mary Poppins plays mind games. Most famously, she takes the kids out for a day trip in a chalk drawing, then when they return she tells them they’re making the whole thing up and she’s offended. She denies knowledge of the entire day’s worth of events and they’re flummoxed.
She also pulls a similar move on Mr. Banks:

Mr. Banks: Just a moment, Mary Poppins. What is the meaning of this outrage?

Mary Poppins: I beg your pardon?

Mr. Banks: Will you be good enough to explain all this?

Mary Poppins: First of all, I would like to make one thing quite clear.

Mr. Banks: Yes?

Mary Poppins: I never explain anything.

This is like Mary Poppins's Troll Face.

This is like Mary Poppins’s Troll Face.

Why, precisely, Mary Poppins does this is never overtly explained. Does she honestly not remember the chalk drawing adventure?  Did it perhaps not even really happen, and she’s telling the truth?  Given how she departs at the end, that’s not likely.  Perhaps we can assume that she’s got a contrary nature and it amuses her to mess with people… right?

But the other day while going over these events in my head, it dawned on me why she’s got this character trait. She was hired for it! Mary Poppins used the advertisement written by the children (and torn up and tossed into the fireplace) to draft her position requirements.  One of the specifics: Play games, all sorts.

The kids don't really mind. They get it.

The kids don’t really mind. They get it.

Be careful what you ask for, I suppose. 🙂

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! ❤ Let’s never fight again. If I don’t come back soon… have a great year!

Rebecca, Not Dead (Yet)

In Which The Muppets Are Discussed In General

Announcement: For the month of March I am going to try to write a blog post about the Muppets every day.  Will this work? I don’t know. 🙂

This movie will be great, because Tina Fey. And Evil Kermit clone. And TINA FEY.

This movie will be great, because Tina Fey. And Evil Kermit clone. And TINA FEY.

Reason why: “Muppets Most Wanted” is coming out this month, and today I was a guest on The Dis Life Podcast with a  couple of friends talking about The Muppets, what we think of of the upcoming movie, what we thought of previous movies, and Muppets In General.  Estelle at This Happy Place Blog, who has long since established her Muppet Mondays as a regular feature, is planning on a month of Muppets as well, and while thinking about that and about the fact that I felt like I could go on and on while on The Dis Life, I decided why not? I may not make it 31 days straight of blog content, but there is nothing wrong with a good batch of Muppet talk when I can make it. 🙂

I’m planning on a few Top 5s, a few clips, and maybe even some biographies of Muppet performers. I’m not going to take a direct look at THP blog until I have planned out what I want to do, because I want to make sure I don’t crib any inspiration from her.  (You should always, ALWAYS check out THP for Muppet content. Always and forever.)

To start out as a general intro, I thought I would just talk about The Muppets in general and where I’m coming from with them. The Muppets and I, we go way back. 😉

This is the Sesame Street era I grew up with and you'll have a hard time convincing me it's not the best era.

This is the Sesame Street era I grew up with and you’ll have a hard time convincing me it’s not the best era.

I was born in the late 70s, and between Sesame Street, Fraggle Rock, and the various Muppet Movies I largely grew up with them. I don’t REALLY remember the first Muppet thing I saw – meaning the straight-up Muppets, not just Jim Henson creations outside of the main Muppet cast.  I just sort of have always been aware of them.

I love this pic b/c it showcases one of the best features: Wembley's rolly eyes!

I love this pic b/c it showcases one of the best features: Wembley’s rolly eyes!

By the time I got to 1990, I adored Jim Henson. I’m not entirely sure where that came from, precisely, but I was the kind of kid who found out about the behind the scenes things and held affection for the people who made them possible.  Jim Henson seemed to me like the best person ever. Not only was he Kermit, and also Ernie (essentially the same voice but a very different character and one of whom I was extremely, warmly fond), he also did those great gravelly-voiced characters like Dr. Teeth and Rowlf, he sang well, and there was just such a sweetness to him.  All the Muppet ideas seemed so sweet.  That’s how it seemed to me.

 

Mid-80s group shot with Jim at the heart. :)

Mid-80s group shot with Jim at the heart. 🙂

So, I remember when he died. Not the day but the time period. I was in 7th grade at the time. I recall I read an entire New Yorker article about him.  I was kind of a little bit devastated. I cried, and still cry, any time I watch a documentary about him.  Jim Henson’s death would have been sad under any circumstances, but what actually happened was absolutely tragic: he was just shy of 54 years old, was working nonstop, and ignored his chest cold until it became walking pneumonia. It was honestly years before I could listen to the final verse of “Rainbow Connection” without getting choked up.

Weird thing to say… but I still miss him. (It would also probably be safe to say that I’ve had a bit of a crush on him since I was about 10 or 11, but it was always a kind of hero-worship crush.)

Anyway, I have nothing but high praise for the Henson years of the Muppets. And after his death, I always felt like little by little, the Muppets lost their focus. There were a lot of scripts that didn’t really understand the humour of the genre. The movies felt a little duller, not less interesting, but just less polished.  And the characters of the Muppets themselves seem to have suffered.  You might not really realize it but the core Muppets, for all of their silliness and satire, are actually pretty well-rounded in their way. They have definition.  It is possible to say that they are out of character or that they are not “quite right” and that happened, first with Kermit (understandably; I think that due to everyone’s respect and love for Jim, after his death, they treaded verrrry carefully with Kermit and as a result kind of canonized him), then with various Frank Oz characters – even while he was still performing them – and finally even with Gonzo and the others.

The losses after Jim have all been hard. Richard Hunt died a few years after Jim did, Jerry Nelson just passed away recently.  Frank Oz, while still alive (hooray!) is pretty much retired as a Muppeteer.  Out of the original performers of the core characters, only Dave Goelz is still completely active. (Have I mentioned I have developed a strong affection for Dave Goelz? When he retires I am going to cryyyyy.) I love Steve Whitmire, and he is technically among the originals – but he’s also a “second gen” performer, the first one in fact, after having taken over as Kermit.

Kermie :)

Kermie 🙂

So what we’re left with now is a group of mostly new performers playing characters I grew up with, and none of them are QUITE right… but they’re getting closer than they were for about ten years there, from the mid-90s to the mid-00s.  “The Muppets” in 2011 didn’t hit all the right notes but it came closer than “Muppets In Space” had years before.  The thing is, the Muppets should not make me sad.  There can be poignancy and wistfulness but never real mournfulness, you know?  And the 2011 movie had too much moodiness around the edges. But it was trying, with the characters. It was really trying, and it especially tried with Miss Piggy (who had been really largely overlooked lately, IMO), and it showed a lot of love for The Muppet Show.

"The Muppets" had a lot going for it, including Thog, the big blue guy there.

“The Muppets” had a lot going for it, including Thog, the big blue guy there.

Which, just as an aside, is a wonderful, wonderful thing.  That show I mean.  I got choked up during a couple of parts of the 2011 movie – like I said, I DID like it, and it’s OK to have poignancy. And I still can’t make it through a tribute to Jim Henson without crying, and he was EVERYWHERE in that film. It was kind of amazing how much they used pictures and references to evoke him.  Which is as it should be. 🙂

I’m… rambling, I don’t have a lot of point to make since this is an introductory post… I just wanted to write about what the Muppets mean to me. My interest in the Muppets, like my interest in many things I hold dear, comes from a very emotional place inside me which means I can be picky about how they are portrayed and I will even, at times, overly criticize their appearances in an annoying way. XD  But the point I want to make is that I approve of the resurgence they’ve had lately. I’m even relieved by it, glad of it.  There has been not only The Muppets in ’11, but all these little video shorts they’ve made for YouTube that are terrific. Use the puppetry so well, and everything.  And that makes me soooo happy, because there has been some serious misuse of the Muppets in years past… I do want the Muppets around a long time but not if they’re only shadows of themselves.  I just love that they’re starting to get back on track. I hope it continues.

Anyway! Stay tuned for some blog posts that WILL have a genuine purpose to them! I promise! I just needed to get the rambling out of my system 🙂

Adventures in (Evil) Baking – Pt I

This weekend, the kids and I were out on an extended shopping trip, and on our way home we passed a toy store that was going out of business and the signs were advertising “Entire Store 80% Off!”  Well, you know what that means: NOTHING is left. LOL. But I had to check it out anyway, because that’s a pretty sweet deal. The kids each found a couple of trinkets that rang in at under $1.50 with the final price cut; and I wandered around to see what they had and came across a “baking kit” section.

I had no idea that they sold baking craft kits at toy stores. Aside from the part where I was vaguely uncertain about the quality of the food involved, I was intrigued to find that all of the kits were Halloween-themed (but not too old – all were “best by” 2015 dates), and then to realize that more than half of what was left was from a Disney Villain brand!  Realizing that each kit would be under $4 each, I HAD to grab what I could.  We ended up with a Cruella DeVil mini cupcake kit, 2 Villains Cupcake kits, and an Evil Queen Cake Pop kit. (Oh and a Crayola “Candy Corn” cookie kit, but that’s not Disney, thus we will not be blogging on it.)  I put two aside to use as giveaway prizes if they worked out well – ie, if they were edible and worked the way the directions said – and then we got started on the cake pops first.

Aaaand because I knew this would be fascinating to people other than just me, I documented the ENTIRE event so that I could blog about it with you! 😀

Let's get this party starteeeed!

Let’s get this party starteeeed!

This is the back of the box.

This is the back of the box.

I opened up the box and went through the contents this morning just to make sure everything was there. (ALWAYS make sure everything is there.)  Anyway it was all present and accounted for, so I did the logical thing and took more photos to prove it.

The contents of the box - Thomas the Tank Engine cup and messy dining room table are not included

The contents of the box – Thomas the Tank Engine cup and messy dining room table are not included

These are the packets of powdered frosting. MMM, sounds yummy!

These are the packets of powdered frosting. MMM, sounds yummy!

Cake mix (contains wheat, if you missed that) and the red candy wafers that are used for the coating.

Cake mix (contains wheat, if you missed that) and the red candy wafers that are used for the coating.

And this baby is actually the spot where you stand your cake pops after they're done.

Note: finished product will taste nothing like apples.

After lunch, we got started on the cake portion of the recipe.  With an almost-8-year-old and a 4 1/2 year old, dividing up the duties gets tricky. So it becomes a sort of dance of alternating steps.  My daughter got to zap the margerine in the microwave to melt it, while my son got to dump the cake mix into the bowl. Then daughter breaks the egg into it, son does the water, and I pour in the melted margarine (side note: recipe called for butter; this may be part of why the cake was so breaky in the end? Oooops, spoilers!).  Then everyone takes turns mixing and it goes into the pan, and into the oven.

The mix has little dried chunks of apple in it. So those lumps are apple, not just lumps, which I found out after I tried to beat them into submission.

The mix has little dried chunks of apple in it. So those lumps are apple, not just lumps, which I found out after I tried to beat them into submission.

Here is the finished cake! As you can see there's not THAT much of it but that is fine since it won't look like this for long.

Here is the finished cake! As you can see there’s not THAT much of it but that is fine since it won’t look like this for long.

After the cake is done it cools. They suggest putting it into the refrigerator, and hey, I’m all for shortcuts so into the fridge it went. 🙂  At this point the kids had gone out sledding, so once they got back, we moved on to step 2, making the frosting.  This is another part where the recipe called for butter and I used margerine, and this time, I’m SURE that counted against me.  Also the amount of frosting made in this recipe was ridiculous compared to the amount needed.  Also it did not taste like caramel. It had a smell kind of like popcorn butter. But I guess when your frosting comes out of a tiny packet, it’s not going to be perfect.

My daughter and I whipped up the margarine, and then my son got to put the frosting powder into the bowl.

This boy had just gone sledding and been smacked with some mighty fine snowballs, apparently.  He is also dubious of the powdered frosting.

This boy had just gone sledding and been smacked with some mighty fine snowballs, apparently. He is also dubious of the powdered frosting.

And THIS is appetizing, yes?  Then we add powdered sugar, and...

And THIS is appetizing, yes? Then we add powdered sugar, and…

Voila! Actually, when completely mixed, it looks kind of good. I thought it tasted funny  but the kids were fine with it. (Really? They liked something that was 85% powdered sugar? How ODD!)  Later though, it separated and got very runny.

Voila! Actually, when completely mixed, it looks kind of good. I thought it tasted funny but the kids were fine with it. (Really? They liked something that was 85% powdered sugar? How ODD!) Later though, it separated and got very runny.

There is a full cup of confectioner’s sugar in that there frosting, folks. And it still tastes like popcorn butter. I’ll pass, thanks.

So next!  After this the kids got to crumble up the cake. This was a definite favourite part. They each took 1/4 of it at a time and just squished it with their well-washed hands, into tiny crummy pieces!

Because who doesn't like destroying cake? Deny it and I will call you a liar. :)

Because who doesn’t like destroying cake? Deny it and I will call you a liar. 🙂

 

Next, we put half of the frosting into this bowl and mixed until it all clumped together!  If you’re one of the people who hates the word “moist”, you’re not going to like what I say here. 🙂 “Half” of the frosting is really a random amount. I have no idea how much frosting we had.  So I just put in enough to make the cake crumbs moist enough to stick together in a ball.  In retrospect I think perhaps I should have used more, but oh well.

The kit comes with a piping bag so that you can use the rest of the frosting later. The kids enjoyed spooning the frosting into the bag, but all in all, I don’t think the final frosting touch is needed; my advice would be to discard whatever you don’t need in the cake mixing part.

Well, at this point we were finally ready to shape the cake into balls.  There were supposed to be 20, so I separated and separated again and then pulled off chunks and let the kids roll them up.  Then we put them all onto a plate lined with plastic wrap, and I stuck them into the freezer.

Lookin' like meatballs. But they're not!

Lookin’ like meatballs. But they’re not!

 

In the interest of not having a post that goes on and on forever, I’m going to cut this off here and finish the rest up this afternoon or tonight! 🙂  See you then!

 

Happy Birthday to [Disney With] Me!

Well, fellas, it’s been a year!  A year of off-and-on, spits-and-spurts blogging at this URL, and I know I’ve fallen off more than once, but I’ve always come back, and I will keep coming back!  I’ve had a great time, and I’m really proud of the small but loyal audience my blog has built!

This is obviously not me, but I often wish it was.

This is obviously not me, but I often wish it was. I totally do this pose every day. [Because I’m cool.]

Some quick stats:

– In the past year I’ve amassed about 9,050 page views. That’s about 754 per month, which is nice and all, but I think this year I’d like to hit an average of 1,000 per month. 🙂 GOAL – SET! 😉

– I have just under 200 posts up here.  If I include the ones that are in draft format, it’s just over 200.

– I had one day where I got 1,051 hits in 24 hours. That was because Kasey from Kasey Knows Orlando (click that link!) very effectively promoted me on Pinterest, and it just EXPLODED!

– My most-viewed blog post remains “Things I’ve Learned From Miss Piggy“, which was an off-the-cuff piece I put together after seeing “The Great Muppet Caper” a couple of times last year and thinking how much I love her in that movie.  Really, it’s her best of all of them. 🙂

– It would appear that my two most-viewed types of blog posts are Top 5 articles, and my trip reports.  Saturday Blog Showcases are not unpopular, but they go in waves, and I think the Top 5s are definitely the most consistently viewed “type”.

With that in mind I think I want to try to write up a few Top 5s tonight, but it will be a little while before I have the time, since I’m battling a backlog at work, a head cold, and my kids being cooped up on snow days. 🙂

So for the meantime, let me just say how happy I am if you come here regularly, how much I love the Disney blogosphere, and how much fun I have writing here.  Thanks to everyone for supporting me, including many of my fellow bloggers (click that link to check out but a fraction of ’em), friends on Twitter (too many to list!), and long-time friends on Facebook and elsewhere!

So I’m wondering, do you have a favourite type of post here, or a favourite post in particular? Any comments you’d like to leave to sum up the past year (even if you just started reading yesterday)? I’m all ears! 😀

This is me. HI!! :D

This is me. HI!! 😀