Saturday, December 27, 2014

This Is Why You Didn't Get Your Christmas Presents

We now have an explanation on why some of you didn't get your Christmas presents from Santa this year.


Thursday, December 04, 2014

For The First Time In Forever, This Writer Did Not Enjoy Her WDW Trip

This writer on HuffPost wrote an article on why, for the first time in her life, she did not enjoy her WDW trip.

Just so we're clear, I've been a humongous Disney fan ever since I was a kid. I've probably visited Mickey's playground three dozen times in the past several decades, and for so long it really did seem like the most magical place on Earth. But no more.

In the past several years, I've encountered numerous changes -- changes for which I'm sure Disney big-wigs would claim have been implemented in order to make the experience more efficient and pleasurable. I'm here to tell you, however, that my most recent trip was neither efficient nor pleasurable.

You may read all the different reasons she listed. Most, if not all, is due to the implementations of the FastPass Plus and those MagicBands. I tend to agree with some of her points, and certainly the FastPass Plus is something that I am beginning to really not fond of.

However, I have a few issues with some of her complaints.

Magic Bands are in no way magical.
I think a more appropriate name would be Frustration Bands. Or Fickle Bands. Or Roll-the-Dice-Bands. Because sometimes they work and sometimes they don't. You'll feel like Katniss Everdeen each time you touch your wrist to the scanner: "May the odds ever be in your favor."

Based on her experience, and the experience of another guests, they certainly were having technical difficulties with those Magic Bands. She never describe if she had approached the front desk at her resort to sort this out, etc.

Now, there is a difference between having an issue with the technical aspect of something, versus an inherent fault of the philosophy of something. What she is having a problem with is the implementation of the philosophy, not the philosophy itself. In other words, if the Magic Bands didn't have a technical problem, will she still have an issue with it?

I've used the Magic Bands several times with not a single problem, and I find them to be highly convenient, so much so that I wish the Disney Cruise Line will  adopt it soon. So I am in favor of the whole idea of the Magic Bands. If Disney wishes to continue with it, they must tackle the technical difficulties such as the one described in the article. Otherwise, you'll have guests who will be annoyed like hell over it.

I don't enjoy cozying up to the crowds.
I'm all for making friends, but Disney has taken the concept to a whole new level. At every show we attended--from the Lion King to the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular--the following announcement was made: "We ask that you kindly slide all the way to the middle of the aisle to make room for others. And please don't stop until you are sitting uncomfortably close to the stranger beside you." Okay, so I added that second sentence, but the statement was implied. Disney peeps seem to think that if a packed house is good, a cramped house is even better. Not. 

So is this new? Her complaints were that there were changes to the theme park that is not for the better. For as long as I can remember, when you enter a show, they ALWAYS want you to either move all the way to the end of your row, or to the very center of the row, occupying every seat and space available, to make room for other guests. And Disney is NOT the only place where this is done. I was at a US citizenship oath ceremony a couple of months ago and they had them squeezed together on the seats to accommodate everyone.

Besides, it seems highly inconsiderate to spread out when it is busy and other guests would also like to attend the show.

So yes, while I think she has legitimate complaints against some aspect of changes done at WDW, I don't think these two are valid.


Random WDW Picture

At the Contemporary from last year. You can tell because there's no Frozen-themed elements in it for this year's display.


Saturday, November 29, 2014

DCL app now has messaging

DIS News reports that the four DCL ships have added messaging to the smartphone Navigator app.  This will allow guests to send text messages to stay in contact with each other.  Being able to send messages via the app is a big improvement.  The Wave phone system was sometimes difficult to use.  If you are in a noisy location it is easy to not hear the phone ringing.  Also, since there are two phones per cabin, you don't know which phone your friend might be carrying around the ship.  The downside of the app of course is that you need a smartphone, so the new messaging feature will not apply to some people.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

JC Penney Snowglobes To Be Given Away Thanksgiving Day at 5:00 pm

OK, this is nasty.

Last year when JC Penney brought back their Disney snowglobes, they released it on Black Friday at 4:00 am, even though the store opened at 5:00 pm on Thanksgiving Day. This year, they are not repeating that, and instead will start giving away the snowglobes when they open on Thanksgiving Day. Crap!

JCPenney kicks off the holiday shopping season with its annual Black Friday sale starting on Thanksgiving Day when doors open at 5 p.m. While supplies last, JCPenney will be greeting its early bird patrons with a free 2014 edition Disney® snow globe and a special Jingle Bell envelope containing a $10 off $10 coupon that is immediately redeemable in store. One out of every 100 coupons will offer a $100 off $100 or more purchase that is valid on Thanksgiving through Christmas Eve.

I really don't want to go out on Thanksgiving Day to the mall just to get the snowglobes. So we are not very pleased with this news. Not sure what I am planning to do yet. I may have to decide on Thanksgiving day itself on whether drive out just to get the snowglobes and come back the next morning to show, or just risk that they might run out and come in early on Black Friday.



Sunday, November 23, 2014

Can Disney's "Into The Woods" Be An Oscar Contender?

They had a bicoastal premier of Disney's "Into The Woods" last night. While the report indicated that Disney does not want anyone to review the movie till December, Dateline Hollywood already has an enthusiastic endorsement of the movie.

It is, as I enthusiastically tweeted right after the conclusion of Saturday’s debut , the most dazzling movie musical since Marshall’s own Oscar winning Chicago which had the benefit like this one, of a great and smart screenplay in that case Oscar nominated writing by Bill Condon who similarly cracked the code of how to make it cinematic after two decades-plus of trying.

We are definitely planning on seeing this, probably the first weekend after Christmas.


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Mickey Nutcrackers

Found these at our local Wallgreens. They are $19.95 each.

They are considerably cheaper than the ones sold at the parks.


Friday, November 14, 2014

How To Survive Kids Meltdown At Disney World

This is utterly funny but also true. If you have young kids, you should read it before heading off on your trip to a Disney theme park.

One of the advice that was given, and something I've told everyone going there for the first time, is to not push it and try to do everything. That is impossible, and you'll make your kids miserable. This is especially true if you are going there in the middle of summer. There is no point in doing all that and end up with a miserable time.

And please, do make SOME plans and not go there blind. WDW is so big, with so much to do and see, that you need to do some planning. It doesn't mean that your whole day must be planned out and structured, but with the implementation of FastPass Plus and the popularity of dinning reservations, you do need to plan ahead on what you want to do, at least for part of the time. Otherwise, you either have to spend most of your time standing in long lines, or you can't get into the restaurants or places that you desired the most.


Friday, October 31, 2014

Monday, October 27, 2014

Halloween cruise on the Fantasy

Our ride at Castaway Cay. Dumbo is on the front of this ship. Hard to tell in this photo but it rained pretty hard all day. The ship went to Plan B for activities but hundreds of people braved the weather to shop and eat. DCL handed out free ponchos on the way out, and dry towels on the way in.

Halloween cruise on the Fantasy

Donald walking on deck 4, on his way to meet his fans in a photo session. Lots of characters on this voyage.

Halloween cruise on the Fantasy

Leaving St. Thomas with a Coast Guard escort. Note the gunner stationed at the bow. All boats, even little sailboats, we're not allowed near the ship.

Halloween cruise on the Fantasy

Another view of St. Thomas. The scenery here is beautiful.

Halloween cruise on the Fantasy

A view of St. Thomas from the Botanic Garden in the hills. One nice thing about St. Thomas is that it's a US territory. Cell service is on domestic rates.

Halloween cruise on the Fantasy

The cruise ship harbor on St. Thomas seen from the hills above it.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Halloween cruise on the Fantasy

Pirate night on the ship. People wore costumes to dinner and there was a show by the pool

Halloween cruise on the Fantasy

One of the desserts served at an afternoon event at Remy. The desserts were accompanied by 3 wine servings and champagne

Halloween cruise on the Fantasy

The Pumpkin Tree grew out a few days into the cruise. Passengers got pumpkin seeds in a special event and they helped the tree grow pumpkins.

Halloween cruise on the Fantasy

Donald is happy that he got this nice bag as a gift for his many Disney cruises

Halloween cruise on the Fantasy

Don is pondering the towel art that the stateroom attendant made. Our favorite Duck had a spa treatment and his feathers are nicely puffed.

Halloween cruise on the Fantasy

Ships at St. Maarten, our ride on the left

Halloween cruise on the Fantasy

One of the beaches at St. Maarten. This one is near the shopping district across the Salt Pond from the port

Halloween cruise on the Fantasy

The famous church at St. Maarten. A short walk after a water taxi ride

Halloween cruise on the Fantasy

The Black Mamba water taxi- lots of water taxis. No sign of the Black Pearl though

Halloween cruise on the Fantasy

The courthouse at St. Maarten

Halloween cruise on the Fantasy

St. Maarten is quite hilly