Disney Cousin Fall Trip: 9/16/2017 Part 2: “Well, that was worth it!”

I’m a big fan of the 2 hour afternoon hotel break on a Disney trip. It’s not something we ever did growing up, because we weren’t rope droppers, so there was less need for it, and we always went in November when it’s not quite so hot.

But now that I’ve gone during hotter times of the year with a “get to the park early & then stay late” touring style, I love my post lunch hotel room time. Time to regroup, have a cool drink, lay down and maybe nap is absolutely necessary now, ESPECIALLY if you’re doing more than 1 park in a day. Which we were!

So, after our Animal Kingdom adventure, we enjoyed about an hour and a half in our room, and then did some shopping.

Tom was looking for a very specific pin, legendarily the only piece of Kingdom Hearts merchandise in the parks. And there it was, right in Fulton’s General Store, the gift shop at Riverside.

Hooray!

We then boarded our Epcot bus, and off we flew to indulge in plenty of food and wine. (Actually it wound up being mostly beer…)

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First, of course, we stopped by Soarin’, which is such a delightful ride. I’m always happy, everytime I ride it. We had a fastpass, so we pretty much walked right on. After Soarin’ we hit the Festival center, where I claimed my free annual pass food and wine stuff (Button with Remi on it, and a button that say AP.) And did some more shopping and general gawking.

Then we hit Spaceship Earth, which I adore and always will. I am curious how it might transform again, with Seimens pulling out their sponsorship, but who knows if it will at all. I just know that it’s the best.

After that we began questing around the World for snacks and drinks. We didn’t stop for munchables or potable at every country (skipped: Norway, Japan & Morocco), but we did a decent job. Specifically, when Tom raised an eyebrow at waiting 20 minutes at La Cava, I implored him to trust me, and lo and behold “Well, that was worth it!” became the theme of the evening.

Then for Norway, we explored a bit while we drank our Margaritas, moving quickly to China, where we watched the acrobats and I got pot stickers. Then we moved on to Germany where we got beer, and Tom got a Brat. We settled in by the water and enjoyed, and then headed in to shop a little in the Christmas store specifically. I considered purchasing a Pickle ornament. (This is an important tradition…I’m like a sliver German, and it’s a thing? I guess? I dunno, but I know that my tree will need a pickle.) I reconsidered and we went to Italy.

Since I am constitutionally incapable of not going to Tutto Gusto when in Italy, we stopped there. (Also, our dinner reservation wasn’t until 8:40, it was about 5, we needed an in between). Sparkly wines and refreshing small plates held us over, and we were on to America. I went for a Sam Adams Octoberfest, and Tom went for a Yuengling. Then came Japan, and rather than grab Saki, we nursed our beers and walked through the department store, where the epic discussion of lack of merch began.

Tom found another piece of Kingdom Hearts merchandise, you see, and then we looked at the Myazaki stuff, and he declared “THIS IS RIDICULOUS! No Face has more representation in the park than actual Disney characters in this game!” (He then made it clear that this is not to take away from how awesome No Face, is.) We explored the rest of the store, talking about other favorites that are weirdly not in the parks (Wall-E? Why no Wall-E?) before heading to Morocco, where again, just exploring happened.

It is important to note that by this time, we had a good buzz on. I pointed Spice Road Table out and explained that if I hadn’t managed the Pub reservation, that would have been where we were eating.

“Can we eat there anyway?” Tom asked. I shrugged and said it would make for good brunch, and popped into My Disney Experience and made us an 11:30 AM reservation. We thought this was the greatest plan of all time.

Then France, where I began babbling in drunken Franglais, and I think Tom was done with me. (Bless him) While in France I helped myself to some Boeuf Bourgenioun and A Kir Royale, while Tom had a glass of Cabernet.

Once we crossed the channel, Tom had some cheese dip at the Ireland booth, I hopped to Canada quickly and grabbed a bowl of the cheddar cheese soup. (YUMMMM!!!)

Then we checked in to Rose & Crown, I mentioned that I was hoping for a patio table. The hostess smiled and nodded, and we headed into the pub, where I tried my new favorite drink ever, The Snakebite. It’s half Strongbow, half Harp. It’s delicious, and I think I had three of them.

We were seated at an AMAZING table outside, and our waiter (Kevin? I think?) immediately brought us more drinks, and gave great recommendations.

Now, I love Illuminations, I’ve enjoyed meals and watching it from LA Hacienda De San Angel and Spice Road Table.

But I’m converted. If you’re going to sit and watch the show, it has to be from Rose and Crown. WOW, the view is spectacular. The food’s not bad either. I had a shepherd’s pie that did the trick, even if it didn’t blow me away.

After the fireworks we walked out to the Boardwalk and right into Jellyrolls.

Ah, Jellyrolls. There’s never a bad moment in that place. The cover is annoying, but the music and crowd are always great and it’s the cheapest beer on property. Hooray! There was a lot of dancing, laughing, singing along to 80’s music, and a surprisingly poignant conversation about how gay men of our generation don’t need Cher as an advocate anymore. (Though she should still be loved and celebrated, because she’s awesome.)

A car ride home and a few drunken watches of the electric headboard later, we passed out.

To be continued!

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Lady Athena & The Viscount

It’s a Marina day!

We get to know Athena Dugarry a little.

The Marina Chronicle

This morning I was working at changing over the cots. It seems like every day people came in injured from skirmishes with the black guards. I like the work though. I especially needed it today. Elodie looked over at me.

“What’s she like?” She asked.

“I’m not sure yet,” I answered honestly, “I think she was trying to feel us out, to be honest. It’s like she knows in concept that we’re her family, but in practice,” I shrugged. She nodded and we looked up as the tent parted. Lady Athena walked in, wearing her green guard uniform dress.

“Hello Elodie,” she said, “Lady Marina.” I nodded at her. “Could I speak to you?” I nodded and we walked outside. “I know that we’ve never quite gotten along.”

“True,” I said softly.

“I wanted to thank you,” she said quickly, “for taking care of Martin, and also to tell you…

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Not Pony Tails, Or Cotton Tails

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When I heard that there was going to be a Duck Tales reboot, my initial response was, “but why though?” I had fond memories of the original, but saw no pressing need to bring it back.

Then they announced the cast.

Then the cast sang that adorable version of the theme song.

Then came the panels. (And my new crush on Ben Schwartz. Did I think I would ever swoon for Jean-Ralphio? No. Am I glad that I now do? You betcha!)

Then came the double length pilot. Then came the Youtube videos, and now, I am fully 100% OBSESSED with this new show.

Here are some of the things that I love:

Genuine Sense of Danger and Adventure

Something I’ve noticed a lot since Steven Universe pulled me into the magical world that is superior children’s cartoons (I’m trying with Gravity Falls at the moment, it hasn’t quite gotten me yet.) is that I really love the “big adventure” feeling of the shows, that I haven’t gotten from adult oriented genre entertainment in a while. I love my Berlanti-verse shows, but mostly for the interpersonal dynamics and awesome casting. Once Upon A Time I’m basically watching because I have Stockholm Syndrome, I think? Game Of Thrones was never about adventure, but Duck Tales really is. Scrooge is dead set on it, the Triplets & Webby (WHO I WILL GET TO) are aching for it, and even worry wort Donald is exceptionally GOOD at it.

Voice Cast

David Tennant. Kate Miccuci. Danny Pudi. Bobby Moinaghan. BEN SCHWARTZ.

Obviously, Tennant is the perfect choice for Scrooge, the Scottish accent, the quick temper, the thirst to find something new out there. It’s all in my favorite doctor. (Frankly, Capaldi could have done it as well!) And it’s creating a new version of Scrooge McDuck that we all should be grateful for, there’s a playfulness to him that I adore.

Kate Miccuci is voicing Webby Vanderquack. You know…the girl. But thank god they’re doing more with her. Webby is enthusiastic, nerdy, bright, lonely, odd, and puts glitter on her notebooks, because it is both pretty and functional (she can tell when the boys have gotten into her stuff by their sparkly feathers.). Miccuci is a treasure, and brings a sort of annoying but sweet energy to Webby’s manic pixie dream duck.

Danny Pudi’s work on Huey has been fine. He hasn’t gotten his spotlight yet, but the sense is that as the oldest (by however brief a margin) he feels the need to be the responsible one.  His dorky sea chanty mix tape and road trip itinerary reminded me of someone…I won’t say who. (*clears throat, closes touring plans and stares at floor*)

Bobby Moinaghan’s Louie is also kind of great. Louie is identified by his brothers as the “evil triplet” but he comes across less as evil and more as lazy and little bit entitled. His attempts to teach Webby to lie are kind of precious, and his overall belief that as Scrooge is old with one foot in the grave he is entitled to a fair share of treasure is hilarious.

And then there’s Ben Schwartz as Dewey. Clearly, Duck Tales has decided to focus on the middle triplet. And Schwartz is more than up for the challenge. Dewey is frustrated with is limited experience, especially his Uncle Donald and Great-Uncle Scrooge’s attempts to further limit it. He’s teamed up with Webby to find out the truth about what happened the boys’ mother Della, and he’s just overall the best. (Seriously, his dance through the death trap laser beams in Atlantis is BEAUTIFUL. “DEWEY Dewey, how does he Dewey it?”) It’s weird for me at the moment because I’m also re-watching Parks & Recreation and being this endeared to Jean-Ralphio is bizarre. But Dewey’s done it, and Schwartz is adorable so there’s that.

So far we’ve also had guest spots from Margot Martindale as Ma Beagle, Jim Rash as Gyro (which teased the arrival of Gizmo-Duck, who we already know is coming, who will be voiced by LIN-MANUEL MIRANDA, because God, or Disney, or whatever, loves me)   and Mark Evan Jackson (ONUS!) as one of Scrooge’s board members. I’m sure every voice actor I love will pop up at some point, and I look forward to it.

Ship’s Ahead! AHOY!

On Saturday, Crystan and I discussed our favorite game, “why am I a horrible garbage person today?” My reason this week? I’m shipping Webby and Dewey.

Yes.

I know.

It’s terrible.

They are cartoon duck children.

I don’t care.

They’re adorable together. Dewey defends her to his brothers when they think she’s too weird. She enthusiastically signs on to help him find his mom. I love them together. Fanfic will be written. Tumblr gif sets will be searched. Every moment they are on screen together will be analyzed.

Seriously, you guys, I’ve been doing this for well over six years, you get how I am when I find a new ship, right?

The Girl

I want to give special attention to Webby Vanderquack. I barely remembered Webby from the original show, which sort of speaks to her importance there. Luckily, in the spanning decades, many entertainment companies, and Disney especially have come to understand the market power of young girls, so Webby’s been given prime billing along with Huey, Dewey and Louie! Hooray!

Of course this is an action adventure show, which gives some pitfalls, that it seems at the moment Duck Tales is sidestepping. She’s still the only girl around. (Though her grandmother, Mrs. Beakley also there…) But, she’s not a tomboy. Her head is adorned with a bow. She wears a dress. She coats her notebooks in pink glitter.

She’s imaginative, a little naive, very eager to please and a total weirdo.

I adore her.

Overall, I really can’t wait until to see what the new series brings.

Disney Cousins Fall Trip: 9/16/2017 Part 1: “In The Valley of Moara”

The main even of this trip was always going to be checking out, at the very least, the rides over at Pandora: The World of Avatar. We didn’t get a chance to explore much in The Valley of Moara, that is, the stunning portion of Pandora where you are transported for this land, BUT, we did see a lot of it, even without a calculated walk around because of how the line for Flight of Passage is set up.

Anyway, onto the narrative. I awoke before the sun, at 5 AM, due to my bladder have none of this “sleep without emptying me” foolishness. I was annoyed, because while I had planned on being up between 6 and 6:30 (also before the sun), that extra hour can mean a world of less crankiness from me. But alas, it was not to be.

Even more annoying though, was that River Mill Food Court didn’t open until 6:30. so not only was I up, I was up an hour and a half before coffee was an option. Plus Tom was sleeping and I didn’t want to wake him by turning on all the lights and moaning about how there was no coffee.

So I surfed Facebook on my phone. (OBVIOUSLY) I looked at our Touring Plans (Touringplans.com, if you’re planning seriously, WORTH THE SUBSCRIPTION!) made some tweaks, and figured out some timing. I also got ready.

I wore a new Rapunzel Themed Disneybound, that is FOR SURE getting worn again for the November trip with Juli and Dom, because it was a huge hit. Also, it’s very comfortable, so it’s a win.

Once 6:30 hit, I went to the food court and got my Lorelai Gilmore on, (came just short of shouting “COFFEE, COFFEE, COFFEE!” at the poor cast member checking me out.) I picked up a chocolate croissant (Disney Food Court Pastries = love) and a cinnamon roll, which we picked at as we got ready.

We were at the bus stop by 7:15, and the turnstiles for Animal Kingdom by 7:45, about 5 minutes after that, we were brought it to a pathway to check in as resort guests.

Then we were held for the remaining ten minutes, until we could move towards Pandora.

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Walking in was a little bit of a gust of wind. The floating mountain is very cool, and the fauna all around you a bit much at first. I wasn’t sure if I was going to cotton to everyone’s gushing over this place. Once we got in view of the waterfalls, however, I was sold. I also can’t wait to see it at night!

The best part about waiting on line for Flight Of Passage is that it curves you through most of Pandora. You see almost everything on this line, which makes further exploration kind of moot. You also see a Navi cave, a science lab, and an elaborate pre show explaining what banshees are the way that you’re going to ride one.

And then there’s the ride itself. It’s not exactly a secret that Pandora was built as an answer to The Wizarding World and that Flight of Passage is meant to stand in for Forbidden Journey, and from what I remember of Forbidden Journey, Flight of Passage is WAY more impressive as a ride, even if the queue, despite it’s loveliness will never measure up to walking through Hogwarts castle.

But the ride on the banshee is incredible.

Next we hurried ourselves over to the Navi River Adventure (or whatever unweildy name it has), which is beautiful, and the shaman audio animatronic is really really cool. That also has a fun queue (a large woven structure.) After the river cruise, we decided to head into AK proper and take a safari, and while it wasn’t the best ever (February still gets that), it was pretty good, followed by an early lunch at Satuli Canteen.

I went for the chicken bowl, with sweet potato hash and vinagrette dressing, and I had the Grog Ale. Both were delicious.

After lunch there was some shopping in Pandora, and then a quick jaunt up Everest, which, showed a 40 minute wait time that came in closer to 20. (You’re going to notice a theme this trip.)

Then it had reached the ungodly hot portion of the afternoon, so we went for our bus and headed back to the hotel room for water, relaxing and AC…before moving on to Part 2 of our day…Epcot, for Food and Wine, Soarin, the history of communication and yelling about under represenation of stuff in merchandise. (That third one was mostly Tom…I’ll explain!)

Oh, and before THAT I had a photo shoot in my Rapunzel Disneybound!

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Stay tuned!

 

That’s One Secret I’ll Never Tell

I’m rewatching Gossip Girl, because I was thinking about it during my OC rewatch, and then I learned that it was the 10th anniversary of the show this week, so I had to.

I don’t make the rules.

When I started, it was interesting, because I compared rewatching The OC to comfort food. It’s sweats, and reheated home cooking, curled up on a lazy weekend.

Rewatching Gossip Girl has not been like that. It’s more like a bender. It’s like I settle in, think, “I’ll watch an episode or two” and then the next thing I know it’s 1 AM, and Jenny has had five different haircuts, and Serena killed a guy, and wait Nellie Yuki and Blair were once friends?

Gossip Girl reminicing is always an excercise in restraining word vomit. Or in my case “texting my sister and Crystan compulsively.” Also updating facebook.

I wound up taking this week off from the rewatch because I was so tired. (I invested instead in the much quieter and easy to doze off to West Wing The Goldbergs) also because pretty much every thing after season 3 is a train wreck and not the fun kind.

Seriously, if the show had ended with Blair and Serena jetting off to Europe, Jenny leaving Manhattan forever, Lilly choosing Rufus after William gave her fake cancer (A REAL PLOT POINT!) Nate doing, something? (Poor Nate, I love him, but he’s so useless) and Chuck gunned down in an alley as his penance for HAVING SEX WITH JENNY HUMPHREY! I would be satisfied.

I mean, probably not at the time, but now, in the long run.

But there are three more seasons. And I will watch them. After season 3 I drifted in and out of the show. I know I saw most of season 4, and most of season 6. I don’t think I watched season 5 at all? Revenge had happened by then and it was doing Gossip Girl way better than Gossip Girl at that point. Also, I was living with my Uncles and they are Pretty Little Liars people, so I was into that for a hot second.

But Gossip Girl remains the gold standard for me when it comes to heady teen drama. I realized that as I watched it again over the past few weeks.

I love One Tree Hill (obviously), and Dawson’s was my gateway drug, and it’s hard to beat the original Beverly Hill, 90210, and even it’s older sister The OC surpassed it in quality most of the time. But Gossip Girl is just so suck you, fall in love, break your heart because of something awful and stupid (DAN AND BLAIR! CHUCK AND JENNY SEX! ERIK LEAVING THE SHOW! VANESSA EXISTING!), repeat, that’s it’s always going to be number one in the genre. It’s the Chuck Bass of television shows, and I am Blair Waldorf. I’ll always come back to it because of the three words and eight letters.

Happy 10th Birthday Gossip Girl

You know we love you.

XOXO

Shatter

It’s time for Marina to get her heart broken a little bit.

As a side note, over the past decade and a half, I have written and rewritten the punch line to this post like eighty times.

The Marina Chronicle

I didn’t know what I was expecting. It’s like I knew, but I’d been focusing so hard on not Seeing him, that I had to ignore the feeling.

Papa and Annalise, Lisette, she insisted that we call her that, she said it feels strange to have people call her Annalise, got along very well. She’s bright, like Count Caleb said, and smart. She does seem uneasy sometimes, but for the most part, I can see why he believes in her.

And I can see the other thing too.

“I’m looking forward to seeing Dovetail,” she said. “Did you always live there?”

“We lived at Brightcoast until my mother died,” I said. She nodded. “I was three, I don’t remember her much, but we went to Dovetail then.”

“I remember the day you came,” Tristan smiled warmly at me. I blushed. “I was all of five, but you were memorable.”

“I…

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Disney Cousin Fall Trip: “I’m So Glad You’re Here” 9/15/2017

Hey everyone! I was back at Disney World this weekend, and it was (as usual) amazing. I was joined, by my cousin Tom, and we fit in all four parks and a lot of fun. Arrival day, however, proved tricky.

If I’d been by myself, I’d have simply changed, and headed to a park for the evening. But, Tom only had a 2 day park hopper, so it left us trying to figure out other things to do. I’ll get there.

I had a noon flight and left my apartment at quarter to nine, and was settled in with a mimosa and a basket of chips at the airport bar by 10:30. Lovely. I boarded a quick and comfy flight at 11:30 and landed in Orlando at 2:30.

It was, to almost the minute, two hours from touch down to the resort. A record for me on Magical Express. It was an hour and a half from disembarking. My past two experiences have been longer. I got to Port Orleans Riverside, I’d gotten our room notification before even boarding, but I wanted to make sure we were synched in properly, due to the many reservation changes over the week and the hurricane, so I went to the front desk, got directions and made sure I was good to go.

I changed, and decided to head to the bar. I knew Tom was on the bus so I had some waiting. I chatted with my bartended, the lovely Spencer, who also gave us a ton of drinking tips (seriously, she was awesome, if you find yourself at River Roost, tip her big.) When Tom arrived, he also had a beer and then we headed back to the room so he could changed and we discussed our dinner and evening options.

We wound up at Disney Springs for dinner, Tom eager to try Frontera Cucina.

Guys.

Guys.

This food! We skipped drinks, due to neither of us having eaten much and deciding that we wanted to Trader Sam’s later. But we immediately ordered the Queso Fundido. I then went with the Shrimp Mojo and Tom had the chicken tacos. I also ordered the mashed potatoes, because I can’t help myself.

All of it was incredible. Rick Bayless is one of my all time favorite Top Chef judges and when he won Masters my mom and I actually cried. To finally get to eat in his restaurant was very exciting and that it is so good, is just another layer.

Also, even though I’d forgotten my card, the waitress gave us the 10% AP discount, which was very nice of her.

We then walked around Springs a bit, hit World of Disney to get a baseline for shopping and then hopped a bus to the Contemporary, because it was there and that way we could ride the monorail to get to The Polynesian.

Trader Sam’s was full, so we sat on the terrace and ordered drinks. I had the Krakatoa Punch, and Tom had a Dark And Stormy, and we got to watch a bit of The Incredibles playing by the pool and catch all of Hallo-Wishes as it burst over the Magic Kingdom.

After about 40 minutes on the terrace we were welcomed to the main bar where we switched to beer, chanted to appease the Tiki Goddess Uh-Oa, and overall admired the kitch and fun of the place.

We took a Lyft back to our delightful Royal Room, which we have decided is both absurdly tacky, and amazing at the same time. (Tom supports my “Disney as a viable alternative to Vegas for non gamblers” theory, thus, a tacky themed room totally fits.)

Overall, it was nice to not feel like I needed to rush around, and to have someone else to decided where to eat. (I 100% would have wound up eating food court tater tots because I couldn’t decide if Tom hadn’t said that he wanted Mexican.) And Trader Sam’s is always a good time.

We were quite proud to have clocked a boat, bus and monorail before even setting foot in a park too.

We then settled in and I wrote this report and we got ready for our big trek to Pandora in the morning..