Monday, December 21, 2015

Thoughts From Vacation

I thought I would share some thoughts I had while on vacation. These are about Disney, politics, America and the such. I think you’ll find them interesting.

● Let me start with the biggie... life is a lot happier when you don’t pay attention to the world. Seriously. By choice, I had little access to the internet while on vacation. Yes, I could pull up Google to look things up as needed, but I avoided all the “talk” sites: no news, no politics, no a-hole sports sites. I also avoided the television and the radio. And let me tell you, it was glorious. I am not kidding when I say that life is so much happier when you aren’t exposed to those things.

This really has me wondering how much of our modern angst and outrage is the result of the a-hole culture that has come to exist online. When everyone I dealt with had to face me face to face, there were no trolls... no asinine opinions... no attempts to be outrageous... no conspiracies... very little selfishness, so much more common courtesy, so much more in the way of manners, etc. It was a lot like life seemed when I was kid. People were nice because they didn’t have the safety of anonymity behind which they could act on their worst instincts and desires.

The internet and our news cycle and our talk radio (sports, politics, etc.) is making us swim in a sewer of the worst humanity has to offer and getting away from it all really makes that clear. If any of you find yourself stressed out or depressed, let me in all honesty recommend that you step away from the net and its tributaries for awhile and see if that helps.

● Disney is conservative America and it’s awesome. Yes, I mean that. Disney is the world that conservative America has long sought to build and it was amazing. Disney is not cynical. It is not whiny. It is proud and unapologetically patriotic – they had a fantastic flag lowering ceremony every night. Everyone there behaves in a responsible, thoughtful manner. The employees all seem to have a strong ownership stake. Honestly, I’ve never met a larger group of people who love their jobs.

So how did this happen? Well, let me be blunt... there are factors at play that keep out the very people that vote Democratic. Let me give you some examples. First, Disney is aimed at people with families. It is not aimed at single people. Hence, we found there to be almost no 20 year olds. That meant an absence of drugs and alcohol and trouble. It also meant that people were more conscious of things like swearing and the lessons they sent because their own kids were watching or because they were there with their own parents.

Next, the rides/attractions at Disney are not adrenaline centric. They are based on using your mind, your love of history, your love of art work and your love of culture(s) to find enjoyment; nothing at Disney could be enjoyed without some thought, without some appreciation for the skills of others, or on the basis of adrenaline or sexual arousal. In other words, you had to be more aware of what you were seeing and you had to grasp the skill it took to create that. That meant thinking beyond your own immediate gratification. That means that there is nothing there for the people you see on COPS, who spend their lives chasing highs and dreading withdrawals and trying to find ways to stroke themselves off. Those people simply didn’t exist at Disney because there was nothing there to attract them. And yes, they are easy to spot.

To put this another way, Disney has created a culture that fits hand in Mickey glove with middle class America. Nothing about it appeals to white trash or ghetto America. And the result is that the people who came, whatever race or nationality, brought with them a set of values that let you stand in a crowd of a thousand people and hear people excusing themselves, teaching their children lessons, and being generally selfless all around you. No one tried to smoke against park policy and dared Disney employees to eject them. No one displayed tattoos with swear words or sexual themes (tattoos were very rare). No one swore. No one was drunk or high. People didn’t fight. They didn’t knock each other down. Nobody had to prove they were tougher than everyone else. And no one whined about their “rights.” Try saying any of that about Six Flags.

And as an aside, none of the intolerance liberals like to claim exists in the middle class was there. People were happy to help foreigners, even Muslims, find their way without a second thought. There were gays, and people treated them like everyone else... because they acted like everyone else.

This is America as it would be if people accepted the values of Reagan conservatism.

● There were two fascinating lessons about capitalism that I witnessed at Disney. The first was that the only criticism people offered during my whole trip was the cost of food, which was insane. Disney is keenly aware of the idea of the captive audience, but they have perhaps pushed that too far as I learned about ways people have started getting around the Disney monopoly.

The other was a lesson in the failure of central planning. All of the Disney gift shops were stocked with the same stuff. Clearly, Disney runs them all through a central store rather than letting them compete. The result was unfortunate for Disney. First, while we were willing to spend a buttload on stuff, we found almost nothing that appealed to us. So we got away spending almost nothing. Secondly, someone at Disney clearly assumed that Star Wars would be their big seller as about half their merchandise was Star Wars related. Unfortunately for them, they misunderstood their audience. Disney World was princesses as far as the eye could see and only a few dads cared about Star Wars – we saw almost no sales of the Star Wars stuff.

The lesson here is that when you centralize, the opinions of a small group can ruin an entire economy. Had Disney not centralized their stores, I can assure you that their variety would have been better and there would have been less Star Wars in places where it really didn’t fit – like the Beauty and the Beast area or the old west area.

● American Express must die. Get this. Because I like to keep a certain amount of cash handy, I put our cruise on my Amex card and I let it run some interest. On the trip, I decided to put all my spending from Disney World on a Visa and all the spending from the cruise on the Amex so that I had a very clear sense of what each part cost. Well, everything went well at Disney with the Visa. Then we boarded the cruise. On the second night, we got a letter from cruise services. My Amex had been declined. Huh? Well, long story short, Amex decided all on their own that they were suddenly worried about my ability to pay back what I was spending (despite never having missed a bill in 20+ years) and they shaved around $8,000 off my credit limit and cut me off. That fact that I was on a cruise far away from home didn’t bother them in the least.

Now, it turned out well because my other card easily picked up the slack – though I was worried initially that the other cards might follow their lead (they didn’t). But seriously... WTF? What if this had been my only card? I specifically set that card aside to take care of this cruise and Amex knew that, yet, they waited until I was out of the country to do this. They could have warned me days or weeks before, but they didn’t.

This is inexcusable and this is why I have no love for big banks. For twenty plus years, I’ve been the perfect customer for them. They knew where I was and what I was doing. And yet, they essentially stranded me out of the country because their computer told them to. Be warned about dealing with them.

● Saint Martin was a pit. Half the island is ruled by the Dutch and half by the French and it is a mess. St. Thomas, by comparison, was amazing. This is obviously a shallow observation, but I wonder how much of this had to do with attitude? The locals on Saint Martin were obsessed with slavery. Everywhere you looked, there are statues related to slavery and that was almost all our tour guide talked about, and we never felt welcome. The locals at St. Thomas, on the other hand, were all about commerce. They never mentioned slavery. Instead, they did their best to sell us stuff and to convince us to come back... something I would love to do! And the difference was that St. Thomas was a happy, rich place and thriving place, whereas Saint Martin was a mess.

● We snorkeled with stingrays. Yeah, stingrays. Disney had 69 of them in a lagoon and you could swim with them. Do you know how weird it was to stand there as dozens of these things (with up to 5 foot wingspans) swam by, rubbing against your legs? Amazing. Freaky at first, but amazing.

● Am I the only person who didn’t know that the Caribbean can get pretty damn cold? The water was really cold compared to what I expected! Brrr.

● Finally, on a happy note: there is magic at Disney. We stayed at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. Outside our room, you could see African animals all day long as they roamed the savanna Disney has made. It was amazing. Walking into the lobby was like walking into a Hemmingway novel. Our girls couldn’t stop smiling the whole time. Our youngest cried when she met Ariel. The dinners on the cruise ship were like the best a French restaurant has to offer every single night. The other hotels at Disney, while expensive, were also some of the best food we ever had. Their staff were amazing. I kid you not that our cruise ship waiter came to feel like family. You find yourself so happy and content at Disney that you truly feel younger again. And even though I am getting old and I know better, let me tell you I smiled a lot when I met Baloo. It was amazing.



Kit said...

Dammit, now I have to go to Disney World.

Kit said...

As a little treat; 2 Walt Disney World commercials from the Reagan Era:

First, one when they apparently had a joint agreement with Delta airlines:

And an ad for Epcot.

Kit said...

So, your favorite rides? Least favorite?

AndrewPrice said...

Kit, I absolutely recommend it. It was an amazing place. It felt so calm, so happy.

AndrewPrice said...

Favorite rides: Peter Pan, Haunted Mansion, Soarin (at Epcot).

Least favorite: Pirates of the Caribbean -- felt too much like an ad for the film. Epcot also has a Michael Jackson "ride" called Captain Eo, which was awful (it's really a film)).

JG said...

The lurker speaks - I love this post :) This captures so much of why my husband and I, despite "it all," call ourselves Disney People. We went to WDW on our honeymoon and have returned as many times as the Army has let us. We've never done the cruise - one day!- but I agree with every point you made. It is magical. The Hall of Presidents makes me cry every time, as does the Spirit of America show in Epcot. Walt Disney was very patriotic, and I'm glad they've preserved so much of that.

We also stayed at AKL a couple of times. And it is breathtaking. Boma breakfast is out favorite breakfast in the country.

Captain EO is closing, btw :) Won't miss that.

Okay, you've made me homesick :)

ScottDS said...

Andrew -

I'm glad my crazy state treated you and your family well and that you all enjoyed yourselves. :-)

You notified AMEX in advance of the cruise, right? Weird... I've had charges declined on my Visa because they didn't fit my buying "pattern" but they've never arbitrarily lowered my limit and it's always resolved with a phone call.

Totally 100% agreed about filtering out the news. I ran my first 5K over the weekend (your family would LOVE THIS!) and I noticed one thing: people were out and about - some singles, some groups, lots of families - and they appeared to be happy! I even told someone, "Watch too much news and you think we're all going to Hell in a handbag... but look around!"

At the end of the day, I think the main factor in filtering out the "undesirables" is money. I'm not saying people with money are all great or that people without it are all bad, but the ones you see strung out on COPS sure as shit can't afford this place!

I'm a Florida native and I live 25 minutes from the beach... but I've never had the urge to snorkel. I think I might have thalassophobia. :-)

tryanmax said...

Certainly getting away from the anonymous trolls is one part of being happy. I think another part is that people can only have a limited sphere of influence, yet the doom-and-gloom media pours the troubles of the world onto everyone. Psychologically, we're not designed to handle that. Research puts the cap on the number of relationships a person can maintain at somewhere around 150, and the number of faces-to-names a person can handle at around 1500. Yet every day some talking head is telling his audience that if they don't regard the nameless, faceless masses of humanity somewhere across the globe as individuals, then they are horrible people. Nothing's more stressful than expectations of the impossible.

AndrewPrice said...

JG, Thanks for posting again! I totally see why you're Disney people! It was an amazing place. It felt like America was meant to be... friendly, patriotic and just all around happy.

I'll comment more a little later. Sadly, today has turned out to be super busy. But I shall return! :)

BevfromNYC said...

This is exactly right about Disney. The whole philosophy is to create a perfect, happy place world for children. No child is ever rushed. And when those costumed characters appear for photo ops, the kids can spend as much time as they want. If that is 10 minutes for some little girl to compare her Snow White costume with "real" Snow White, then they just let them do it even if the line is 100 kids long. I love that. And you may not have noticed, but there are no sharp corners anywhere.

I think that Walt Disney understood that a family may only have one chance to take their child/children to Disneyland/World and that means that there would only be one chance to give a child an enchanting, perfect day.

JG - My favorite time ever was when I met Mickey Mouse! It was a dream come true and I am not kidding. And that was 3 years ago! It was magical even for an adult.

Kit said...


Google, "Adam Smith" and "thumb" and "China".

BevfromNYC said...

Scott - You don't have thalassophobia. Most likely what you have is "I can go anytime 'cause I am only 25 min. away, so I will go some other time"-procrastination disorder. I have it too. Why go NOW to the museum when I can go ANYTIME I want...I'll go tomorrow because there's no time like tomorrow! ;-)

tryanmax said...

Kit, if I do it right, does Malthus enter the picture?

Kit said...

Tyranmax, the passage, written by Adam Smith, author of Wealth of Nations, in The Theory of Moral Sentiments

Let us suppose that the great empire of China, with all its myriads of inhabitants, was suddenly swallowed up by an earthquake, and let us consider how a man of humanity in Europe, who had no sort of connection with that part of the world, would be affected upon receiving intelligence of this dreadful calamity. He would, I imagine, first of all, express very strongly his sorrow for the misfortune of that unhappy people, he would make many melancholy reflections upon the precariousness of human life, and the vanity of all the labours of man, which could thus be annihilated in a moment. He would too, perhaps, if he was a man of speculation, enter into many reasonings concerning the effects which this disaster might produce upon the commerce of Europe, and the trade and business of the world in general. And when all this fine philosophy was over, when all these humane sentiments had been once fairly expressed, he would pursue his business or his pleasure, take his repose or his diversion, with the same ease and tranquillity, as if no such accident had happened. The most frivolous disaster which could befall himself would occasion a more real disturbance. If he was to lose his little finger to-morrow, he would not sleep to-night; but, provided he never saw them, he will snore with the most profound security over the ruin of a hundred millions of his brethren, and the destruction of that immense multitude seems plainly an object less interesting to him, than this paltry misfortune of his own. To prevent, therefore, this paltry misfortune to himself, would a man of humanity be willing to sacrifice the lives of a hundred millions of his brethren, provided he had never seen them? Human nature startles with horror at the thought, and the world, in its greatest depravity and corruption, never produced such a villain as could be capable of entertaining it. But what makes this difference? When our passive feelings are almost always so sordid and so selfish, how comes it that our active principles should often be so generous and so noble? When we are always so much more deeply affected by whatever concerns ourselves, than by whatever concerns other men; what is it which prompts the generous, upon all occasions, and the mean upon many, to sacrifice their own interests to the greater interests of others? It is not the soft power of humanity, it is not that feeble spark of benevolence which Nature has lighted up in the human heart, that is thus capable of counteracting the strongest impulses of self-love. It is a stronger power, a more forcible motive, which exerts itself upon such occasions. It is reason, principle, conscience, the inhabitant of the breast, the man within, the great judge and arbiter of our conduct.

Rustbelt said...

I have some thoughts I'd like to share after I'm done with work later today. See you in the evening, guys.

AndrewPrice said...

Folks, I just saw Star Wars with my oldest and I will review it this week. It was awesome! :)

AndrewPrice said...

JG, Sorry for the delay. :)

I agree completely. Disney was an amazing place. One of the most amazing moments for me, was just watching an employee empty the trash. This guy (in a perfectly clean white uniform) took out the garbage bag, put another in its place, and then meticulously wiped down the outside of the already-clean can. There were no shortcuts at all. I started talking to him and he went on and on about how much he loved Disney and how well they treated him and how he wanted the park to be perfect. I had other employees, waiters, store clerks, etc. all tell me the same thing. Our waiter at Jiko said that he had worked at the park 15 years and was third from the bottom in terms of seniority on staff because no one ever leaves. And that care and attention to detail was reflected in the crowds too who did not litter and did not cause damage.

The cruise, admittedly, was not as amazing as the park in many ways. The ship was gorgeous and the staff were incredible, but the guests were "less Disney". That said, the dinners were absolutely incredible. Our waiter became like family. One of the restaurants (Painter's Pallet) had this incredible show. They had a kids club which did such a great job that we struggled to get our kids to come back to us.

I could sit in the lobby of the AKL all day and just stare at the the walls. It was amazing. In terms of food, we had dinner at Jiko and it was possibly the best meal I've ever had.

I can't recommend Disney enough.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, Congrats on the 5k! :)

Florida was nice. It was super humid though, even for December. Still, we had such a good time that we barely noticed.

Money matters, but it's more than money. If you go to Spring Break, you see a bunch of upper-middle class and rich kids who are a mess. It's really about mindset. And that is where Disney has the perfect storm of goodness in a way. The people you don't want around are the very people who scream "boring" when told that a ride will be about a children's story or that you can't buy beer throughout the park. Disney has nothing to attract that set and, to the contrary, offers entertainment that you need to "complete with your mind" (for lack of a better way of saying it) by, for example, enjoying craftsmanship or enjoying seeing something with lasting appeal rather than getting off on adrenaline.

In terms of being happy, I'm firmly coming to see just how bad our internet culture is for people's psyche. It's definitely a source of depression and anxiety for lots and lots of people.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, I agree. I think the problem with the net is that it forces people to take on too much responsibility, particularly for things they cannot change, and it presents them with a world gone mad... a world where the basest of human instincts and misconduct are the norm and the good people seem like they are being slowly destroyed.

But once you get away from that, you suddenly realize that the world just isn't like that at all. In a face to face world, people act with restraint and they just don't say or do the things they do online and people don't let them get away with it if they try.

At the same time, by not going online, I wasn't asked to deal with shooters in other cities, Obama's failures all over the world, Putin's idiocy, the latest idiocy from the campaigns, the pure hate aimed at football player(s) X and Y for __, the killings, the arrests, the conspiracies, etc.

The lack of conspiracies was particularly nice. Nobody was trying to foist their paranoia on us.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, I tried to observe everything and it was amazing. You are right, they never rushed anyone anywhere - yet everything moved smoothly. (Our waiter actually told us they have specific instructions never to rush guests out of the restaurants.) I NEVER heard the word "NO" come from a park employee, even as they refused requests. The whole park was child proof. It was easy for foreigners. It was easy for the handicapped. No one had any reason to complain. And then you add in all the gorgeous details and the smells, the sounds, the sights, the constant parades, the total lack of cynicism in how they treated the little girls in princess costumes as princesses, etc. It was a perfect world in many ways. And the public responded by respecting what they had been giving and being on their best behavior.

I saw examples everywhere. Someone drops something, a dozen people grab it for them. How rare is that? Young people standing so old people and kids could sit. Men standing so women could sit. People letting whole families go in front of them in line because they weren't in a hurry. No litter, no vandalism, no lewd behavior. You really felt like you could turn your kids free and nothing bad could possibly happen to them.

And nobody said a word about the adults who went to meet the costumed characters or gushed about their favorite rides. There was never a sense of "I'm too cool for this."

AndrewPrice said...

Rustbelt, We'll be here. :)

Kit said...


Here is a cool little music video someone edited together online to Five For Fighting's "Disneyland": LINK

BevfromNYC said...

Ythe first 1/2 hour we were in the Park, my brother & his family went to one of the rides and I went to get fast passes for the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. I had my map out and was wandering when one of the gardeners came up to me and asked if he could help me find something I was kind of shocked that he noticed. He pointed me in the right direction and that set the tone for the rest of the day. It is a small thing, but Inwas impressed that He came up to me.

Then came the sword fight my nephew had with one of the workers after the Pirates ride. He was playing with a plastic sword in the gift shop when this Pirate lady (she had to be my age) came down from her ladder (she was restocking t-shirts). I thought, uh oh, she's not going to like that Greyson is playing with that sword. NOT! She pulled out her sword and challenged him to a sword fight!! Then another Pirate joined in! He was in boyhood heaven! Seriously, how great is that!

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, That's great! Both instances! :)

We got on the Magic Bus at the airport (Disney handled our luggage from Colorado all the way until we were back in Colorado -- that was awesome!), and they drove us to the Animal Kingdom Lodge. We checked in to get our key. As we did, the guy started doing trivia with our girls. He spent 15 minutes basically playing with them and letting them try to stump him. It was an amazing start!

The waiter on the cruise did magic tricks for our girls and did these cool crayon puzzles where you try to move crayons to change the image you are looking at. They LOVED it!

Everywhere we went, people had stories about the Disney employees doing things well above and beyond their duties to make their trips special. I was truly amazed.

AndrewPrice said...

Kit, In the Animator's Pallet restaurant on the ship, the first night you dine with Crush the Turtle from Nemo. He talks to the kids and can interact with them. The second night in that restaurant, they have you draw a character on your place mat and then later in the evening, it appears on the screens, inserted into classic Disney scenes. It was really cool.

BevfromNYC said...

It's all about the kids and the Magic. I am sure I said this before, but I have friend who works for Disney Imagineering who designs and builds the parks and the rides. She's a painter. Frankly she is kind of jaded because she sees the corporate back end of it all. I regaled her with my experience. She told my story to "corporate" and they were very pleased to hear it. And it made her feel a lot better about her job. I am going to let her know your experience too.

Btw, Universal was a totally different experience. Better rides, but no customer service. If they ever figure out the Disney formula, Disney may be in trouble...but that is unlikely to happen.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, By all means, share away. I'm happy to share this experience with anyone. In fact, I told several managers about employees who really left an impression as we went.

I haven't been to Universal, but it does look like a very different kind of park... different concept.

Sadly, I suspect that any job can get you jaded, but they sure did a great job in the parks finding people who weren't jaded.

Kit said...

Did you visit the Animal Kingdom itself?

Kit said...

Which of the theme parks did you hit:

Magic Kingdom
Hollywood Studios
Animal Kingdom

Downton Disney?

AndrewPrice said...


Yes. The Safari was fantastic. The whole place was built so amazingly it felt like we really had visited Africa and then Southeast Asia.

We did them all except the water parks. First night was Downtown Disney, which is now Disney Springs. Beautiful. Fun. Second day, Epcot. I honestly felt this was inferior to Disney Springs, but it was still great. Third day, the Magic Kingdom. This WAS Disney. It was all magical but this park was the most magical of all. Fourth day, Animal Kingdom. Nights at different restaurant hotels, with the best being Jiko at the Animal Kingdom Lodge and the second best being the California Grill at the Contemporary (where we watched the fireworks).

Then we took the Disney bus to Cape Canaveral and we did seven days at see on the Disney Fantasy in the Caribbean.

Kit said...

Did you see Illuminations at EPCOT?
Where did you eat?

Kit said...

Where did you eat at EPCOT?

AndrewPrice said...

We did not. It was pouring rain and we were very tired, so we headed home instead to regroup. We ended up swimming in the awesome pool of all things.

At Epcot, we ate at the French restaurant, but that was honestly a little disappointing. I can't think of the name of it.

Kit said...

"First night was Downtown Disney, which is now Disney Springs. Beautiful. Fun."
They changed the name. That is, cool, I guess…

Go by the Lego place?

"Second day, Epcot. I honestly felt this was inferior to Disney Springs, but it was still great."

Seriously, Epcot is awesome. Glad you enjoyed Soarin'. Any favorite countries? For me, it's a hard pick. Norway is cool, UK, and Japan are probably my favorites. Followed by France and Italy.

"Third day, the Magic Kingdom. This WAS Disney. It was all magical but this park was the most magical of all."
Agreed. Magic Kingdom is magical. I just love how you start with this ideal, small-town American town and the rest of place is like a(n American) kid's imaginary playground; exotic jungles in Adventureland, Cowboys and the Wild West in Frontierland, Knights and Princesses in Fantasyland, and spacemen fighting with aliens in Tomorrowland.

They even throw in 19th century literary America with its Tom Swayer and old ghost stories in Liberty Square.

"Fourth day, Animal Kingdom."
"The Safari was fantastic. The whole place was built so amazingly it felt like we really had visited Africa and then Southeast Asia."

Yep. That is what makes it cool. That and the chocolate popsicles. :-)

Kit said...


You missed an awesome fireworks show.

You have to go back now and see Illuminations.

I'm not kidding. You have to go back with the family immediately and see it. I don't care if you can't afford it.

BevfromNYC said...

Epcot was great! I know that Walt wouldn't have approved of beer and wine, but you can't experience Germany without beer or Canada with ketchup chips without beer either. And France and Italy without wine just goes against nature.

The best ride was the simulated space flight. I think it's called Mission: Space. If younger thought about being an astronaut this ride can make or break you. The g-force simulator was sooooo cool. And yes, I decided that my dreams of being an astronaut were dashed. I was queasy for about an hour after. But boy was it fun! Soaring was real cool too.

AndrewPrice said...

Wouldn't miss Lego for the world! I love Lego.

Japan was cool. Germany was cool. I liked Mexico a lot too.

The Magic Kingdom was just amazing at every turn. There wasn't anything I didn't like.

The Africa stuff in particular felt like it came right out of the colonial era. We even bought some of the carving they had done -- beautiful work.

We're already planning to return as soon as practical. LOL!

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, I thought it was all great, but I liked Disney Springs (Downtown Disney) better than Epcot. It felt like it had more variety and more to do.

Mission: Space was a lot of fun. Soarin' was really cool -- it reminded me of the old "Eastern Airlines" ride they had in the 1970s. I also liked the Coca-Cola thing where you could taste drinks from all over the world.

Agreed about Germany without beer or France/Italy without wine. Speaking of booze, I found my new favorite drink at the Disney Island -- a Mango mojito. That was fantastic!

Kit said...

"We're already planning to return as soon as practical. LOL!"

No, Andrew, you missed Illuminations. You don't return as soon as practical. You go back NOW.

Kit said...


As someone who does not drink alcohol, I agree, Germany without beer and Italy without wine would be immoral.

Kit said...

"Japan was cool. Germany was cool. I liked Mexico a lot too."

When I go to Japan I like to eat Japanese. And buy a Miyazaki movie, maybe.

Germany has a cool little village.

Mexico? Not a big fan of that one, largely because it reminds me of a restaurant we have nearby. Decent lunch food, though.

AndrewPrice said...

Kit, LOL! We would if we could.

In Mexico, I liked the art work they had.

Rustbelt said...

Oh, finally, made it! Not easy. Unexpected pre-Christmas excursions this evening. I'm lucky to make it out alive. Who would've a trip to Target would involve fighting for my life? This wasn't Walmart. Basically, I had to engage in mortal kombat to get around and escape. Needed the bicycle kick just to reach the self-serve registers. Why? WHY?! All for just a can of shaving cream and a bag of flossers... Oh, cancel Christmas! Where's the Grinch when I need him?

Okay, back to the topic at hand...

Rustbelt said...

Andrew, so glad you liked your trip! As a former member of the team, it's always great to hear how people enjoy it!

I can't see how you can go to MK and not like the Haunted Mansion. That would've been my dream job! "Don't worry. Your time shall also come." "Go toward the light. Get used to it."
Sorry that you didn't like Pirates that much. Oddly, this is a case of reverse-Imagineering. The (original) ride served as the inspiration for the movie. (the drunken pirate with the pigs, the prisoners begging the dog for the key, etc.) Since the film franchise started, they've been adding more and more movie characters to the ride. Go figure.
Hm...on our days off, one of my roommates and I would go to MK and we made a point of always getting the Mansion, Pirates, and Space Mountain in every time. (We also participated in the cast member test for Philharmagic before the official opening.)

Soarin' is terrific! Reminds you of just how beautiful California really is...and why Walt and the Gipper went there to seek their fortunes.

On Captain EO... I'm guessing you may have seen the pre-show. Well, it came out originally when Jackson was at his height and was EPCOT's top attraction from 1986 to 1992 (it moved to Disneyland). It was removed for abotu 20 years following Jackson's, issues. After he died, it was brought due to massive public demand. (Disney fans are like that. As much as we want innovation, we want the classics as well.) The problem is, as Captain EO Tribute, most of the interactive stuff from 80's- fog, rumbling seats, lasers, etc.- weren't brought back. All that's left is the film.

It's too bad you missed Illuminations. But did you get to see Wishes or Fantasmic?
Did you get to try the Tower or Rockin' Roller Coaster?

JG said...

Andrew + Bev:

We had some DisneyLand magic this year on our pilgrimage west. We took our daughter on her first Disney trip, just shy of a year old. Since she was...much smaller...her favorite movie has been Lilo and Stitck. (Still is) We specifically booked a meal where Stitch is usually in attendance. She also met Mickey, Minnie, and Daisy Duck, but she wasn't impressed. Even a little scared. She wanted nothing to do with them. We were holding our breath and hoping the encounter with Stitch wouldn't ruin the only little thing her little self loved. When Stitch came by, bigger than life, her smile was too big for her face. She gave him hugs and giggles and it was absolutely perfect. Worth every bit of the hassle of going (which is a story in and of itself).

Speaking of patriotism, traditionally we'd always hit WDW in September. And we've been there for several election seasons. And every year we pick one day to wear our county Republican Party t-shirts. It's always a great experience, because the big family-like atmosphere means there isn't that typical stranger barrier, and we always get into interesting conversations with people while waiting in line or riding the buses. Both people who agree and who don't. It's great. It makes you love America as the public square/open exchange of ideas it was created to be.

I'm so glad you had a great trip. I like Mexico, too, but I have a deep nostalgia for The Three Caballeros :)

Kit said...

"And every year we pick one day to wear our county Republican Party t-shirts."

Right on!

AndrewPrice said...

Rustbelt, You worked at Disney? Cool! :)

I thought the haunted mansion was fantastic, by the way. It also had the best line because you could read all the tombstones and things as you went.

All we got on EO was just the film and a few lights. That was about it. The whole thing felt pretty stupid and very, very dated.

AndrewPrice said...

JG, Some very young kids definitely did not like the costumed characters. Others did. Our oldest tried to be too cool to care, but you could see the amazement in her eyes and she bought in very quickly. Our youngest loved it. She cried when she met Ariel.

I found it interesting how easy it was to see these characters as the real thing, even as an adult. And they did an amazing job of playing the roles, especially the princesses.

The Three Caballeros was fun! :)

AndrewPrice said...

JG and Kit, I had lots of conversations at Disney (and on the cruise) with lots of people about many things and I found everyone to be very civil and respectful, even when they disagreed. This was definitely not internet behavior!

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