My Big Florida Escape Trip Report Part 6: “So, What’s The Plan?”

March 25: “What Are We Looking For?”

While a day at The Magic Kingdom needs to be almost meticulously planned lest you find yourself hanging around the hub saying, “What do we want to do?” and then you wind up eating the sub par chicken nuggets at Tortuga Tavern and seeing The Country Bears 4 times because all the other lines are too long, trying to over structure an Epcot day is in exercise in futility.

So I try not to overthink it with Epcot. What I hadn’t considered, with Epcot’s COVID hours is that those first two hours walking around in Future World and getting all the rides done are pretty key in that lack of structure. But we’ll get there. I started the day around 8, knowing that Epcot wasn’t opening until 11, and knowing that I was just going to get a coffee and a pastry for breakfast anyway, I decided to take The Skyline (MY LOVE) over to Art of Animation and get my coffee and pastry there.

I love it so much. The transfer station at Carribean Beach is well organized and signed and my god, the ride from Caribbean Beach to the Pop Century/Art of Animation is wonderful. When you dip down over Hourglass lake it is just so magical. I’ve always pushed Port Orleans over Pop and Art, for my own preferences, as it’s usually not much more expensive, but I think the Skyliner changes that calculus quite a bit.

I got a coffee cake and a cold brew. (Me to the nice lady getting my coffee, “Is, is there almond milk?” Her response, “Oh my goodness! Yes!” I was so relieved. I don’t like asking for it when it isn’t clear, but not starting my day with a giant swig of dairy is much better on my stomach) I then got on line to head back to Epcot, and the line was long, it took about 20 minutes to board. Then the line to transfer at Caribbean beach was another 10. I was getting stressed as my parents were texting me that they were heading for the boat.

I got back in time to head to my room and get cleaned up and we still made out 11 o’clock opening, and I’m very glad I did the Skyliner ride, but I probably should have considered the loading delays.

We scanned in at International Gateway and got Mom’s wheelchair and headed towards the front of Future World. Unsure of what the deal was going to be with the wheelchair, our first step was Spaceship Earth, which has a back entrance and loading. We happily rode our time machines and then headed to The Seas, visiting with Nemo and then walking around the tanks and looking at the various fish.

We had a lunch reservation at The Garden Grill and then decided to ride Living With The Land before checking in. I love Living With The Land, it’s such a fun time capsule of what they thought they were doing with Epcot, and probably the last of that strange, boring and silly thought experiment. Then we checked in for a lunch at Garden Grill.

Mom had requested a character meal if they were happening. This seemed a good choice, with it’s traditional American Menu and social distancing wise, having Mickey, Pluto, Chip and Dale walking around on one rotating platform while we sat on the other made for a fun and more spontaneous experience than I could have even imagined.

But let’s talk about the food. My god, this is a wonderful meal. Roasted turkey and beef, stuffing, seasonal vegetables, a big old salad, macaroni and cheese, and then a berry cobbler for dessert. (Also a cupcake for the birthday girl.) All incredibly executed and served quickly and effeciently. Plus, it’s a slowly rotating platform and you get to see all of the Living With The Land biomes again! (Or for the first time if you didn’t ride the ride.)

After lunch we got on Journey Into Imagination and then Mom declared she wanted a nap/pool time. I was still raring to go, and decided to head back over to Studios to do some Star Wars based shopping. Wandering back into Battuu I felt giddy, and I headed to Doc Andar’s Den of Antiquities to get myself a holocron, and to pick up a couple of Kyber Crystals for Jess. She also requested a First Order pen and while waiting on line I decided to get a Green Milk. (I went green rather than blue because I will always pick citrus over berry) and then found a bench at Ronto Roasters and just, looked around and watched people.

It was pretty great. Because I was with company most of this trip, my quiet moments where I could just be in the parks were fewer this time. I do love them though. It’s a big part of what brings me back over and over again.

Aside from the rides and restaurants and good service, these are incredible spaces to simply be in. After that I hoofed it out to the boat dock, and waited a little while for the boat and quickly hopped in the shower.

My hope for the evening was to do a little mini “Drink Around The World” crawl, hitting Italy for Tutto Gusto Wine Cellar, Mexico for La Cava and UK for Rose and Crown before our dinner at Chefs Du France. After a misunderstanding about timing. (I’d said I wanted to be back in the park at 6:30, which my dad took as, “get to the boat by sometimes around 6:30.”) ANYWAY, while I waited for my parents I decided to head in and check out the lines for the bars. La Cava was wrapped all the way around the pyramid, so I decided to hop on.

After fifteen minutes and finally hearing from them, I was only just in the lobby and we were told that because of a sanitation need, it would be another 15 minutes before anyone got back in.

After checking in with my parents, we opted to meet in Italy instead. Turns out Tutto Gusto CLOSES at 7. I was, not happy, to put it mildly. We landed on grabbing an outdoor cafe table and get wines from La Bottega Italia.

This is part of why I don’t make strict plans for Epcot when I’m with other people. (When I’m by myself it’s because there’s such a fun sense of discovery when you’re just wandering around) I always wind up disappointed and pouty. This is not helped when I’m with my father, who was trying to coax me out of my pout. I assured him I would be fine a minute, I just wanted to be disappointed for a minute and needed to rethink the evening.

We decided to keep the same trajectory, but stick with the outdoor bars. So after finishing our wines, we headed over to Mexico to go to La Choza De Margarita (good as an alternative, but not nearly as interesting a menu as La Cava) stopping to admire the Topiaries for The Flower and Garden Festival as we went.

At La Choza, I got the Mint Cucumber Margartia (delicious), Mom got the Mango Frozen and Dad got the classic Frozen. A Good time was had by all, as we perched on a ledge outside of the patio.

Our final bar crawl stop was Rose and Crown, which had no line and we walked right up to the bar, and then found seats on that patio, where we talked with a couple of girls about my age, who were visiting from Queens. Dad got a Guiness, Mom got a Harp and I got my traditional Rose and Crown Snakebite. Watching the sun set over Showcase Lagoon is wonderful, but seeing the braziers remain unlit hurt my heart a little.

I’m never going to super miss Fantasmic, I’m always happy when I go, but it’s not a show I go out of my way to see every time. Yes, I cry every time “Touch The Sky” kicks in while I’m watching Happily Ever After, and I missed that, but sitting with a beer in the dark in Epcot without the stirring strings of Illuminations (Or whatever Harmonius is going to sound like) really drove home how strange this trip was.

After finishing our beers, we went and checked in to La Chefs Du France. I’m a fan of this restaurant and was happy to return, even though, were it not for my mom’s birthday, I might have pushed for a different venue where I haven’t yet eaten. But we had a wonderful meal, complete with another fantastic server.

After dinner we contemplated our next move. It was just about 10 o’clock, and the park was open for another hour. I suggested we could either go on Soarin’ or, if we wanted, we could walk over to one of the bars at the hotels for a night cap.

“We could go back to Abracadbar!” Dad exclaimed, and laughing Mom and I agreed, so off we trotted, grabbed the exact same table and got our whiskey’s and enjoyed being in until last call (11).

I assured both of my parents that there was no reason for us to rush to Animal Kingdom in the morning, I was not interested in rushing to pack before 7 AM, in order to check my luggage and head to the bus stop in time for an 8 o’clock opening. We decided to aim for getting to the stop around 8, rather missing the opening for a smooth check out experience.

We parted ways and then headed back to our respective hotels for bed.

Tomorrow! We head to Animal Kingdom, and head back south.

My Big Florida Escape Tip Report: Part 5: “When Did You Last Eat Something Green?”

March 24: It’s a Small, Small, World

There is just no way to fully describe the feeling I get when I walk through the tunnel from the entrance of The Magic Kingdom onto Main Street and see Cinderella Castle at the end. It just takes my breath away every single time.

It’s just incredibly warm, and beautiful and intrinsically happy for me. It wasn’t different this time, but again, let’s start on the morning. Slept better this time, and met my parents at the bus stop. I was very proud of them. While we were late because of the bus, we were still in the turnstiles by 8:15 for an 8:00 opening.

My mom is currently in treatment for a hip injury and will be getting surgery this summer. But because of that, she can’t walk very fast, and she is often in a lot of pain when she’s on her feet. She really thought she was going to manage this trip but after being on her feet and walking all day on Tuesday she agreed to rent a wheelchair for the rest of the trip.

She really loved me taking this picture, I promise, she wasn’t annoyed by me at all!

While I would much much have preferred my mother to be healthy and comfortable the whole trip, there are some, let’s say, compensations, for someone in your party being in a wheel chair. We got to cut a few lines, got return times even though fast passes aren’t active right now, and she was in a much better mood at dinner.

So, we headed towards Adventure Land, stopping for some pictures in The Plaza in front of The Crystal Palace. We observed that those main thoroughfare Photopass photographers were not as frequently posted. We assumed this was to prevent gathering and crowding which made sense, but well, it was strange. Anyway, after the pictures, we got right on line for Pirates Of The Caribbean (wheelchair accessible) with about a 10 minute wait. Then Splash Mountain with about 20 minutes (Partially accessible). I was, of course, committed to my TouringPlans app, but after the “wait 2 hours for Tower of Terror” situation, Dad was understandably skeptical.

I always love this Magic Shot

None the less, we tromped past The Haunted Mansion and Big Thunder Mountain to walk on to our private wheelchair accessible boat on It’s a Small World. Then we decided to do Peter Pan and got our first return time. About 35 minutes later. We decided to head to Tomorrowland, and learned that you cannot have multiple return times at once. But the wonderful Greg, saw Mom’s Birthday Buttons and let us through even though we really shouldn’t have been allowed through. (Cast Members are always the best! But as I said a few days ago, we really felt so well taken care of this trip.) Then we headed to Buzz Lightyear, before walking through the castle to get to Peter Pan. That was followed by The Haunted Mansion and a snack while we waited for that return time.

Liberty Market is the best hidden snack spot. We got Pretzels, but you can get fresh fruit or yogurt, usually churros, and there are tables. ANd people just walk past it, which is silly, because at 11, sometimes you just aren’t ready for lunch yet, but a pretzel in the shape of Mickey’s Head will do you.

After Haunted Mansion, we still had a good hour before we could check in for our reservation at Be Our Guest, so we rode The Little Mermaid and got our return time for Big Thunder Mountain. The Seven Dwarfs line had grown to long at this point, so we decided to skip it.

Finally getting to wear this dress in the park was the highlight of the trip, frankly.

On to Be Our Guest! I keep saying that I don’t need to come back here. And I maintain that. I’ve now eaten at this place six or seven times. Given my choice from the big themed restaurants built in the 2010s, I’m going to pick Skipper Canteen every time, but other people always want to check out Be Our Guest, and I do love it, so I go back.

Mom in her Belle Disneybound

Be Our Guest is currently only serving their 3 course Prix Fixe menu that’s been in place for dinner the last few years. I understand why with COVID this was the right call but I hope it doesn’t stay. I was a big fan of the Be Our Guest lunch menu and for the world to lose a good Croque Monsieur is a tragedy. We enjoyed out meal anyway. I got the lobser bisque, the roast chicken and we all got the sampler. Dad and Mom both got the French Onion Soup, and Mom also got the chicken and I believe Dad got salmon.

Once again, we were treated to something special for The Birthday Girl, this time, an extra plate of the Grey Stuff, that we were all a little bit too full to enjoy to the full extent. We were discussing our stomach troubles when we realized it had been a few days since any of us prioritized getting some vegetables. So we agreed to order salads from now on.

But first, this dairy based sugary treat! Excellent for upset stomachs!

After eating, we walked to Big Thunder Mountain and rode the Wildest Ride In The Wilderness before walking down Mainstreet to head back to the hotel for a nap and some pool time, and we were greeted by The Dapper Dans beginning a performance from the Train Station Balcony. We were thrilled, listening to them harmonize and sing MOm and my favorite weird Disney song, “Walking Right Down The Middle of Mainstreet USA,” and it was just the kind of random magical moment that we’d been talking about how we missed.

This was my first real relax in the afternoon moment of the trip and it is one of my favorite things about a Disney World Vacation. I lounged out on a chair on Barefoot Bay, lay in the lazy river for a few laps, read about Francesca Bridgerton’s sexual frustration after being widowed at 23, and then grabbed a prosecco from the Market to drink while I got dressed for our evening at Disney Springs.

This is just a nice picture of my parents

I have to thank Jess for her reccomendation here. I’d floated doing either another hotel restaurant or Disney Springs for a light lounge type dinner this night, knowing that we’d all still be pretty full from the 3 course Be Our Guest feast. We agreed on Disney Springs, since it really is a place we know we don’t spend enough time on these trips, despite loving it. Jess and Alex had just gotten back from a trip and Jess clued me in that Jaleo, Chef Jose Andres’s restaurant offered some really great dinner deals on Wednesdays.

We grabbed the bus, and decided to check out World of Disney before our reservation (snagged last minute via Open Table rather than The Disney System, some of the Springs spots are on Open Table, so you should always check), but the wait to even get into the store was a half hour so we bailed on that, and took a stroll along the water and across the bridges to get to the other side of the complex to go to Jaleo.

This is just a fun picture of me!

We checked in, but it was still going to be a while for our table, and so we went across the way to Splitsville to grab a beer and wait, but of course as soon as we ordered, I got the text our table was ready. So we didn’t even get our beers. But we then were settled into this cute little banquet and were once again treated to a fantastic server.

So, the Wednesday deal, let’s talk about it. All bottles of wine are 1/2 off. We went with a Tempranillo, because, Tapas. And there’s a limited “Taste of Spain” menu for $40 a person. We did a 2 person take on that, and it was still too much food. So if you had 4 and bought for 2, you’d probably be golden. Jaleo is a really excellent spot and I’m adding it to my “you must go there if you want good food and to avoid children” list.

After Jaleo, we walked back over to the landing, and saw that the guitar guy was still playing outside of Raglan Road, so we settled in at a table, ordered some whiskey’s and sang along. Then we went to wait for our bus, and a nice bus driver even changed destination to get us back early enough.

Monday (I’m taking the weekend off)! It’s Epcot Day! Also more Skyliner! And a return to The Spires! Looking forward to sharing it with you all

My Big Florida Escape Trip Report Part 4: “TO THE SPIRES”

Alright, here we go! No preamble (Except to Apologize for the lateness, this took longer to write than I thought it would)

Tuesday, March 23: “Bright Suns, Traveler!”

I didn’t sleep super well, I was pretty stressed out about getting to Hollywood Studios early and also getting us on Rise Of the Resistance. I woke up around 5:30 AM (as you may know from previous trip reports or your own experiences, it is not really possible to get coffee or breakfast that early, I was able to MAKE coffee in my room though, so yay?)

Anyway, after drinking coffee and showering, and then running down to The Marketplace to get some biscuits (preorder on the app! As recommended by social distancing guidelines!) I set my countdown for Rise of The Resistance boarding groups.

I didn’t get it.

Womp womp.

Relaxing then, I texted my parents to check in on their timing, and was told that they would be ready to get on the boat at my “8:00 or I’m leaving without you” timeline. So I began walking over to the Dolphin, and got to their room.

We were to the boat dock at The Swan and Dolphin by 8:15 and at the turnstiles by 8:30. And thank God we were.

Hey, y’all, if you’re going to Disney World while the reservation system is still in place? Make sure that the reservation covers your whole party. Because our reservation just covered me.

So, we were then sent over to guest services where the wonderful Rachel did some clicking on her magic tablet and got all of us into the reservation. It was a very stressful and guilt inducing fifteen minutes. But Rachel was great and were it not for her, we would have had a much more difficult week.

Once we arrived back at the turnstiles and got through we headed straight on back to Galaxy’s Edge and got right on line for Millenium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run. I did manage to keep it together, sobbing wise as we walked through but then, oh, then we got to the room where the Hondo animatronic was talking to Chewie and I just lost my shit. As a Star Wars fan and a theme park fan this is an incredible moment. The robot is perfection, moving with ease and smoothness that is nearly human and it’s Hondo! Who doesn’t love that guy?

Then you board the Falcon. Mom and I were pilots and Dad was a gunner. We did not score well, but I did almost poop my pants when I learned I was the one got to “punch it” as Chewie does. Seriously, it’s a magical moment. The ride is, I agree a little bit too short and relies a little too heavily on the video game mechanics, but there’s enough good about it that it’s still super fun.

This is probably my 5th? Version of Poe. Sorry Not Sorry

After that we walked around Batuu, as there wasn’t enough time to get on another ride before my build a lightsaber appointment. We did a few Photopass stops and I cried a few times and Mom and walked through the market place, while Dad attempted to buy a coffee. (He couldn’t because Ronto Roasters requires the app, and my father does not put apps on his phone)

I love Batuu, it really does feel like you stepping into Star Wars and it’s awesome. Then my lightsaber appointment came up. Once again I miscalculated and it turns out each builder is only allowed one witness, so Dad came with me, and Mom once again went in hunt of some caffeine for Dad. (Wound up with a Diet Coke).

Saavi’s Lightsaber Workshop was probably the Galaxy’s Edge experience that had been most hyped up to me. Every blog praised it. Jess and Margarita both talked about how it made them cry. When Melvin and Lora got back from their trip, Melvin practically tripped over himself to show us his.

It did not disappoint. The Imagineers did a wonderful job of using that nuclear grade John Williams music to set you in the mysterious and powerful zone of the Force, and The Cast members guide you through your experience with calm and excitement.

After this we decided to grab lunch at Docking Bay 7. Mom and I both got the chicken and dad got the ribs.

Once again, a huge hit. The restaurant itself is very cool and full of ambience and the food is fabulous. It’s also a reasonable portion, which for a theme park, is a big deal, because you are usually either given way too little food or like a giant pig trough. This is actually the correct amount of food for a grown adult to eat. Fascinating and great.

After lunch we got on line for Slinky Dog Dash, and while waiting tried for Rise of The Resistance again. We didn’t get it. It’s fine. It’s a reason to go back. I really very much enjoyed Slinky, but I’m always going to like a Disney Coaster. I like harder and more intense Coasters too, but there’s something just so great about going just fast enough for a thrill, while also getting a cool view and something of a story. The final moment where Wheezy sings, “You’ve Got A Friend In Me,” is about as fun a moment as any.

After Slinky, we headed to try out Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway. *Sigh* Here’s the deal kids. This is a good ride. The trackless vehicles are fantastic. The mix of screens and animatronic show scenes are great. There’s a really incredible moment involving often neglected Mickey & Friend’s character Daisy Duck. (I stan The Duck crew, but you all know this) but it’s not good enough given what it replaced. It simply does not live up to the magic and perfection of The Great Movie Ride, which, if it were in another park would have been considered an untouchable classic, I’m just saying.

After that we decided to get in line for tower of terror which was 2 hours and OMG, I love that ride but 2 hours is way too long to wait for it. However we were killing time before we headed to our ultimate destination, Oga’s Cantina. So it worked out.

But Oga’s! It’s very fun! I got the Bespin Fizz (I was dressed as Poe, so I got to rep my other fave, Lando, this way) , Mom got the Fuzzy Taun Taun, Dad got a beer. (Unless it’s mostly gin, my dad is not really a cocktail guy) We walked around and luckily stayed long enough for the music to loop around to the Cantina Song. I definitely want to head to this place with fellow nerds. While Dad was awed, and I am the Star Wars fan that I am because of him, I can only imagine how much fun I’d have had in this space with my friends.

After that, we decided to take a break, before dinner, our reservation at Toppolino’s Terrace at The Riveria, with a meet up at The Abracadabar on The Boardwalk. Watching my Dad fall in love with a Disney bar warmed my heart. I like Abracadbar fine, though it will never replace River Roost in my heart, it’s a lot of fun and has the location going for it. After drinks, and Dad making best friends with our server (AND LETTING ME PAY!) we walked over to get on The Skyliner to The Riviera.

Please note that I did not realize my mask was upside down until we were on the boat back

Is it possible to enter into a monogamous romantic relationship with a transportation system? Because I think it’s true love between me and The Skyliner. The veiws! It’s so fast! And comfortable! It takes you to International Showcase, which I love! Just, I adore it. We’ll talk even more about my love of it in a few days.

“I give to you and you give to me, True Love, True Love…”

We arrived at The Riviera and walked around a little before getting on the elevator to Toppolino’s Terrace. While I still need to check out Dahlia Lounge but I would pick Toppolino’s over California Grill, if I was ranking rooftops. The view, of the entire resort and even out to I-4 is incredible. The menu is limited but beautifully executed, we had some good wine and even a free champagne toast. (Those Celebration buttons really will do you good.)

After dinner, we decided to take a quick stop over at Epcot. We got on Frozen Ever After and then headed back to the hotels. It wasn’t particularly exciting, but it was nice to take a walk around World Showcase at night, and to have Frozen Ever After Knocked Out.

TOMORROW! Mom realizes not being in constant pain is worth more than her pride, we find a world of laughter and world of tears, plus Dad tries The Grey Stuff, which is as advertised, delicious!

The 007 Project: Octopussy

Previously On The 007 Project: I got back in the general swing of things and so did Roger Moore! For Your Eyes Only was a wonderful return to form

Who’s Our Bond: We’re still on Moore and I like him more than ever in this run. Seriously, the movies are keeping their lightness, but have lost their Smokey And The Bandit style zaniness, and are all the better for them. I’m hoping that we enter a similar tone coming up soon in this franchise, but we’ll get to my hopes for the future in the great beyond of someday when No Time To Die comes out. Anyway, Roger Moore, still very good. I know I’ve only been through 3 on this project, but he really is my front runner favorite.

What’s The Plot: A fabrege egg has been stolen and replaced by a fake! Also the Russians are trying to get Western Europe to disengage on a nuclear level, so that they can bomb the US without reprisal. Standard Cold War shit. While tracking the assasination of 009, Bond finds himself caught up with some jewel smugglers and a weird cult, led by the Octopussy, a poweful business woman, with a stupid name. She and Bond have several, “we’re not so different, you and I,” moments and obviously wind up in love.

It is quickly learned that the fake egg is a nuclear device of some kind, and there’s some nonsense with a circus and the American base in West Berlin, but basically Bond solves the case, and he and Octopussy float off together.

Tell Me About The Girl

I really enjoyed Octopussy, as played by Maud Adams. I like that she was more mature, that she had her own concerns outside of Bond and the mission and I hate her stupid name, but otherwise, this is a real step forward, Bond Girl wise.

The Song Is The Thing

“All Time High” is actually a really rad song, performed by Rita Coolidge and hey Tim Rice wrote the lyrics. (I am, if you followed my travails in the past year, a fan of Sir Tim’s work! The Lion King! Evita! Chess!) I think it’s funny that they realized they couldn’t call the song “Octopussy” because it is such a stupid name. So stupid. I hate it so much.

Overall Thoughts

While hating the title is a big thing for me here, I genuinely enjoyed watching this movie. It’s fun, breezy, and well performed. I’ll get into it more next week, but I very much appreciate that Moore was able to ride out his tenure on a high note of three good movies.

Which brings us to next week! A View To A Kill! Christopher Walken! Tanya Roberts (RIP)! Grace Jones! Very Exciting

The 007 Project: Moonraker

I took The Holidays off from blogging. I’m back in the new year! Usually I dive into the new year with a fun new concept. This year, alas no. I’m starting new work in the next few weeks and I don’t know how much time I’m going to have so I don’t want to commit to anything. We’ll keep going with the Bond stuff though.

Previously On The 007 Project: While I am still charmed by Roger Moore, but I think the shine may be coming off soon. I also reiterate my enjoyment of Bond being in Hitchcock style romantic films.

Who’s Our Bond: Still Roger Moore. He’s starting to show his age and his boredom. I really think he brought it for The Spy Who Loved Me, but this is back to coasting. At least, fucking Sherriff JW Peppah doesn’t show up this time. I’ve discovered that the extended comedic chase scene is the thing I like the least about Moore’s tenure.

What’s The Plot?

The RAF and NASA have lost a rocket! OH NO! Only James Bond can find it. It turns out that the rocket, The Moonraker was stolen by the sinister aerospace billionair Drax, who also hired Jaws to fight Bond. Bond is aided in his search for the rock by Dr. Holly Goodhead. (SIGH) Drax wants to start life over on the moon, with himself as the sire of a master race. (COOL) Doctor Goodhead and Bond get shot into space, and they defeat Drax and that’s kind of it. (I actually got really bored watching this movie so I didn’t pay super close attention).

I’m Addressing The Problematic

I didn’t notice anything, but as I said, I was pretty bored and not paying close attention.

Tell Me About The Girl

Lois Chile plays Holly Goodhead, and, LORD that name makes me want to gouge my eyes out, but at least she’s a Doctor and she thinks Bond sucks (you know, until she doesn’t)

The Song Is The Thing

Shirley Bassey is back! Hooray! The song is not as good as “Goldfinger” (nothing is), but it’s servicable. There’s something about Bassey’s throaty belting that feels like James Bond.

Overall Thoughts

Oof, this one was rough. I kept meaning to rewatch it so that I would have more to say, but I couldn’t bring myself to. That’s why this is short. I’m going to return to the Wednesday posting here in two days, when I watch For Your Eyes Only. (RIP Tanya Roberts)

Fangirl Loves Star Wars: The Mandalorian: “Chapter 16: The Rescue”

*This is blog post is a recap of The Mandalorian: Chapter 16, thus by it’s nature contains spoilers. I try very hard not spoil big stuff prematurely but it’s been 3 days and this is a RECAP.*

I’m often at a loss for explaining to people how much and what it is I love about Star Wars. And then I watch something like this episode of The Mandalorian and my breath catches in my chest, and my heart beats a little more quickly than usual, and I remember that it isn’t really something I can explain.

I love these stories and this world so much.

I will never not be psyched when that green light saber sparks, and the hood of that black robe is thrown back and Luke Skywalker is here to rescue us.

Star Wars fandom can be difficult, especially when it comes to it’s first family. There’s a sharp divide between those who would rather the Skywalkers be left in the past and those who are always happy to see them show up. (Guess which one I am?). Luke showing up in his X-Wing to rescue Mando, Bo-Katan, Boba Fett, Fennec Shand and Cara Dune (FUCK GINA CARRANO) and whisk Grogu (who though a baby is REMEMBER THE SAME AGE AS A CERTAIN ANAKIN SKYWALKER WOULD HAVE BEEN) away to Jedi school, was thrilling to me.

It was, also, not the only thrill of the episode. Mando, Boba, Fennec and Cara show up to a Cantina to recruit Bo-Katan and her friend who’s name I can’t remember to take on Moff Gideon, retrieve the Dark Saber and rescue Grogu. After some very rude anti clone remarks from Bo towards Boba, they all get it together, and then get aboard Gideon’s cruiser, fight a bunch of Dark Troopers and the Mando finds Gideon, standing over Grogu with the dark saber. After escorting the Moff to the rest of the group, Gideon excitedly explains that in order for Bo to claim the Dark Saber she must defeat Mando in combat, also a bunch more Dark Troopers show up, and I just want Bo to call them a bunch of fracking toasters but she doesn’t.

And just as all hope seems lost, an X-Wing lands on deck and cloaked figure emerges. Grogu watches on monitors, rapt, as The Last Jedi comes to bring him home. When Luke and R2-D2 enter, Grogu and Din have an emotional goodbye, Din removing his helmet so his son can see and touch his face as they part. Pedro Pascal is wonderful in this scene, the heartbreak clear on his face as the tears stream down his cheeks. He’s doing the right thing, but it’s not easy.

After this touching goodbye, the credits roll, and AFTER the credits, we see two suns, hazy and a familiar palace. Bib Fortuna sits upon the throne of Jabba The Hutt, and Fennec Shand walks in, shoot his guards, frees a Twi’Lek slave girl and Boba saunters in behind her, Fortuna begs for his life but Boba does not spare him and sits his ass on that throne. Cut to black and the words, “The Book of Boba Fett, December 2021.”

SO! What does this mean for us, here, at The Fangirl’s Dilemma?

I’m not sure. There’s a lot of Star Wars coming in the next few years. I’m very excited about all of it. We’ve also got Wandavision in January, which will probably take this slot. I also SWEAR I WILL EVENTUALLY WATCH Resistance: Season 2. Someday. I guess.

But for now, May The Force Be With You.

The 007 Project: The Spy Who Loved Me

Peviously On The 007 Project: I dig Roger Moore. Bond went to Hong Kong and learned Kung Fu.

Sorry I’m late this week! I got a new job! YAY!!!!! But I realized I hadn’t gotten this post done on Wednesday morning and I was already getting dressed to go to said new job so, this one is a bit rushed and late! Sorry again.

Who’s Our Bond?

Still Moore for the next few movies. I’m enjoying each Bond’s shot at a romance, if you’re Lazenby it’s your only shot, and so far they have been my favorites. Moore does well.

What’s The Plot?

When both a British and Soviet submarine disappear, Bond is called in on the British side to find it, on the Russian side Anya Amasova is brought in. They team up after some antagonistic flirting, and chase Jaws across Egypt. They also do my favorite James Bond thing during this section. (I have favorite things in this series now! Aren’t you excited, I definitely am) They hook up on a boat! (She also mentions Tracey and he shuts her down with the most withering of withering British glares)

They learn that the submarines were taken by a tycoon named, Not Blofeld For Rights Reasons. He wants to start society over underwater. Whatever, Anya and Bond foil him. But more importantly she learns he was involved in the death of the love of her life in a ski chase at the begining of the movie. Will she forgive him?

She does! Hooray

I’m Adressing The Problematic

I mean, it’s a depiction of the Middle East in the 80’s. Nothing glaring, but it’s not you know, perfect.

Tell Me About The Girl

Barbara Bach plays Anya. She’s sexy, smart and badass, not to mention she’s got her own axe to grind, ie getting revenge for her dead lover. I like her a lot. I like this movie a lot

The Song Is The Thing

The song is a Carly Simon song called “Nobody Does It Better” which I didn’t realize even was a Bond song, so, it’s not a great one.

Overall Thoughts

I liked this one! I like this plot construction, but the lack of Blofeld in the role that is obviously supposed to be Blofeld delfates things. The Skiing scenes are cool and I like Anya. I still dig Roger Moore.

Next week we go to the Moon, but not really with Moonraker, and in some good, I don’t have to do as much planning news, a bunch of the movies just dropped on Peacock! YAY!!!!!

Fangirl Loves Star Wars: The Mandalorian: “Chapter 15: The Believer”

There’s a lot going on here, but I’m gonna start with this, Bill Burr is excellent in this episode and I continue to be blown away by the level of the incredible supporting cast on this show. They jump over the extremely high bars they set for themselves.

While our appreciation of Burr did lead to some friction in the group text this week, (Jess continued to type, “GO SOX!” at every possible instance. She is from Rhode Island and must be forgiven, and I responded by saying, “I love Bill Burr, but I SPIT ON THE SOX!”) Anyway, let’s get to the episode, which was very cool.

Cara Dune (Obligatory Fuck Gina Carano!), Fennec, Boba and Mando go to a prison planet to recruit Mayfeld (Burr) to their opperation to track down Moff Gideon and free poor little Grogu from his nefarious clutches. Mayfeld is a delightful breath of sarcastic human fresh air in our steely group of outsides and I really can’t express deeply enough how much I really like the work Burr is doing here. They head to Morak (we as a group watch with Subtitles so I knew they said “Morak” not “Morag” which is where the Power Stone was hidden in the MCU in Guardians of The Galaxy but I made the joke anyway.) and discover that an Imperial remnant is mining an explosive substance there to mount an attack, much like Operation Cinder (from Star Wars: Battlefront) where they burned up a whole planet and killed a bunch of Storm Troopers to boot.

Mayfeld is uh, not thrilled about this, but manages to keep his cool while Mando goes to a transmitter to get the info he needs on Grogu. He also takes off his helmet for a good 15 minutes! He looks terribly uncomfortable but I am always happy to see Pedro Pascal’s beautiful face and the fact that he’s willing to bend the code for his magic baby son is huge character growth. While discussing the facility and Operation Cinder with the man who it turns out was Mayfeld’s superior, (in a tour de force scene from Burr) he turns his blaster on the facility which the gang then blows up.

After they escape, Cara and Mando agree to report Mayfeld dead so he doesn’t have to go to prison. I hope the next time we see him, he’s found his way home to Space Boston. Mando does his version of the Taken call and tells Moff Gideon that as long as he’s holding Grogu there is no safe place for him in the Galaxy, he will be found.

We also learned that Storm Troopers have to fill our TPS reports and this makes the most sense. Of course Innitech and The Empire are the same level of bureaucratic evil.

Anyway, if you could come in on Saturday, that would be GREEAAATTT!

The 007 Project: The Man With The Golden Gun

Previously On The 007 Project: We’ve got a new bond in Roger Moore, and also so much racism.

Who’s Our Bond?

Roger Moore is going to be around for a while. I really like him in The Man With The Golden Gun, where he seems to be genuinely perturbed to be in a James Bond movie. He’s had it up to here with the villain, with not getting to have sex with the girl because of shenanigans, with the “we’re not so different, you and I” dynamic, and it makes for a really delightful performances.

What’s The Plot?

A boat arrives at Fantasy Island…OK, it isn’t Fantasy Island, but Herve Villechaize is there, playing not Tatoo but Nick Nack, who works with notorious assassin Francisco Scaramanga, played by Christopher Lee! The man on the boat enters into a protracted duel with Scaramanga and we see that Scaramanga is obsessed with killing James Bond.

M tells James Bond he is welcome to lay low while they try to catch Scaramanga but Bond refuses. They track the assassin to Hong Kong where Bond rendezvous with Mary Goodnight, who keeps getting quite frustrated when they can’t hook up and Bond keeps going off with other women for mission purposes.

Lady, you are CRUSHING ON 007, get it together re: Him being a big whore. Anyway, they’re after a formula that would allow solar power to function better than fossil fuels. YAYYY! A murdered scientist leads the team from Hong Kong to Bangkok, and Scaramanga’s girlfriend offers to get the formulafor Bond, then they have sex, Goodnight is very put out. There’s an extended carchase and that fucking sheriff from Louisiana shows up and I very nearly throw a beer bottle at my television set.

Anyway this all leads to Goodnight and Bond on Scaramanca’s island a duel between the assassins. Bond wins! But stupid Goodnight, destorys the solar fuel.

Women, am I right? Anyway, then they have sex on a boat, and the movie ends. Hooray!

I’m Adressing The Problematic

There’s some lame orientalism going her, and conflating of far east cultures into one, but as with the other eastern set flicks, pretty ok generally.

Tell Me About The Girl

Britt Ekland plays Mary Goodnight who might be the most frustrating character in any movie I’ve liked as much as this one. She’s whiny, clumsy and bad at her job. Super lame, do not like.

The Song Is The Thing

Lulu performs “The Man With The Golden Gun,” and it is super corny and not particularly memorable.

Overall Thoughts

Subtracting the too long chase scenes and providing vaguely better writing for Goodnight would have made this a better movie, but I’m always happy to see Christopher Lee and I really do think Roger Moore is excellent in this one.

Next week, romance is back on the table with The Spy Who Loves Me

Fangirl Loves Star Wars: The Mandalorian: “Chapter 14: The Tragedy”

It’s almost like the show runners know exactly what to give us to keep us from just being furious. Because in this episode where Tiny Grogu gets captured by Moff Gideon and tortured a little, we are given Boba Fett and Fennec Shand as played by Ming-Na Wen.

I can’t be mad at a episode of TV that gives me Ming-Na.

Anyway, what happened? So, after arriving on yet another planet, Mando and Grogu go to a sacred stone so Grogu can meditate and send out a Force message to other Jedi who would train him besides Ahsoka, who Mando adorably calls, “That Nice Lady.” It takes the form of a giant beacon to the sky that also acts as a protective force field. COOL.

In the meantime, Mando is confronted by an old man who asks for his armor back. It’s BOBA FETT! He does not claim to be Mandolorian by creed (True!) but the armor is still his by right and inheritance, it was his father’s, now it’s his. (ALSO TRUE!) He’s teamed up with Fennec, and when Moff Gideon shows up and takes Grogu they agree to help Mando get him back.

Also the Razor Crest blows up, RIP friend, you’ll be missed.

In order to help in mission save Grogu from Evil Imperials, Mando goes to Cara Dune (Obligatory Fuck Gina Carrano. TRANS RIGHTS! Donate to The Okra Project or another Trans charity of your choice!) to ask her to use her shiny New Republic Marshal status to free Bill Burr (or whatever his character’s name is) from prison to help him track down Moff Gideon.

She’s hesistant but when he informs her that it’s to free Grogu she’s all in.

So what’s next? Will Ezra and his Space Whales show up to free Grogu? Will we be heading to Space Boston with Bill Burr? Will Boba and Ahsoka meet and will she shame him for not rallying with his brothers? Who is the mole leaking to Moff Gideon? (I have thoughts!)

Sorry this was late y’all. I had a busy (but good) weekend, and didn’t get to the episode until Sunday night, and I usually like a day or so to think out the episode before I write these recaps.

Love you all! I may have some news of the personal variety to post soon. (Again, all good!)