Kill, Refurb, Marry: Songs from Disney Animated Movies

Kill Refurb MarryWelcome to this month’s edition of This Happy Place Blog and Mouse on the Mind‘s spectromagical Kill, Refurb, Marry. This month’s theme is Songs from Disney Animated Movies. Seeing as my most-used Spotify playlist is DISNEY SONGS (yes, it’s in all caps), I was excited to play along. Let’s dive right in…


“I Got No Strings” from Pinocchio. DIE DIE DIE!!! Seriously. Just die. Die in a fire, die in a yacht crash, die from eating one too many double A batteries. I don’t care; I just want it gone. The song is as melodically soothing to me as listening to horses being tortured. And now it’s stuck in my head. Great. Let’s move on…

I'm in more pain listening to this than Pinocchio is from falling on his high-pitched face.

I’m in more pain listening to this than Pinocchio is from falling on his high-pitched face.


“My Own Home” from the Jungle Book. For those of you not familiar, this is the hypnotic song that the little chick from the village (as opposed to Kaa the snake) is singing when Mowgli comes upon her at the river and falls instantly in love, deciding once and for all to abandon his animal friends and embrace humanity instead.

The problem here? The lyrics! Behold, here they are:

An eight-year-old temptress with no dreams.

An eight-year-old temptress with no dreams.

My own home, my own home
My own home, my own home

Father’s hunting in the forest
Mother’s cooking in the home
I must go to fetch the water
‘Til the day that I’m grown
‘Til I’m grown, ’til I’m grown
I must go to fetch the water
‘Til the day that I’m grown

Then I will have a handsome husband
And a daughter of my own
And I’ll send her to fetch the water
I’ll be cooking in the home
Then I’ll send her to fetch the water
I’ll be cooking in the home

I know Mowgli was raised by bears, so he doesn’t have the best basis for comparison, but I’m pretty sure even bear chicks have higher aspirations than this little girl. For fuck’s sake — society yells at Disney’s princesses for being anti-feminist abhorrent role models but let’s face it — they’ve got nothing on this broad.

And this is where my refurb comes in. Keep the same lulling tune, keep the love at first sight between eight-year-olds (ew), but let’s just change that message a little, shall we?

New lyrics:

My own home, my own home
My own home, my own home

Father’s cooking in the kitchen
Mother’s banking on Wall Street
I must go to the best prep school
‘Til I get to Harvard Law
‘Til Harvard Law, ’til Harvard Law
I must go to the best prep school
‘Til I get to Harvard Law

Then I will have a fancy degree
And a business of my own
And I’ll pay help to fetch the water
I’ll be floating in my pool
And I’ll pay help to fetch the water
I’ll be floating in my pool


I'm usually in a world of my own.

I’m usually in a world of my own.

This was the hardest category for me, as I would gladly marry at least 67 different Disney songs. My gut reaction is to go with Alice’s “In a World of My Own,” as I’ve been obsessed with it for decades, know it inside and out, and even at 31, it pretty aptly describes what’s going through my head at any given moment. Cats and rabbits should most definitely reside in fancy little houses. And if my cats would let me, they’d have shoes, hats, and many trousers.

However, I decided to take this opportunity to spotlight one of my other very favourite Disney songs — the lesser known, “I’ll Try” from Peter Pan 2: Return to Neverland. Have I seen it? No, I have not. Do I want to? No, I do not. I have a strict policy against straight-to-DVD movies: not to be graced by my eyeballs. Nevertheless, this song appears on some “Best of Disney” CD that I was once given by my sister, and I’ve been in love with it ever since.

A movie I have never seen.

A movie I have never seen.

Actually, I started listening to it right around the time I had to evacuate New Orleans after Katrina (and was then unable to move back due to umpteen circumstances). Not going to lie — there were many nights, alone in a bubble bath, a bottle of wine, and me hysterically crying as I sang along to this song, with its lyrics like:

My whole world is changing
I don’t know where to turn
I can’t leave you waiting
But I can’t stay
And watch this city burn
Watch it burn

I’ll just go ahead and leave you with that mascara-stained visual and call this post done!

January Trip Report Day Six, Part Two: Tiaras and Courvoisier

I'm going to eat ALL the animals.

I’m going to eat ALL the animals.

When last we left our heroes, they had been mysteriously upgraded to Concierge Level at the Wilderness Lodge and were sitting in their one-bedroom suite, dumbstruck and taking obligatory pictures of the free chocolates.

After waiting a bit longer for our 27 bags of food to make their way from bell services to our remote room, we took a few moments to unpack and settle in before embarking upon our next great adventure: a quick trip into the Magic Kingdom for the sole purpose of eating lunch at Be Our Guest!

(Why do I feel like my approval rating just went down?)

Look, I know BOG gets a bad rap because of their allegedly heinous dinner service, but lunch is good! Really good! And due to scheduling woes, if I wanted to show My Mother the inside of Beast’s castle (and I did!), this was our only real window of opportunity. So by noon, we were headed over to the Magic Kingdom, begrudgingly ignoring all of its other temptations, and instead heading straight to the back of the park for lunch. Thank goodness, too, because all that time spent transferring food and then plotting about how to be at the Club Lounge as often as possible to get more food really left me hungry.

Okay, we did have time to stop for a picture. Status update: still wet and cold.

Okay, we did have time to stop for a picture. Status update: still wet and cold.

My hunger turned to hanger as soon as we arrived at the castle and saw the hour long fucking line. Of course.

It was a rookie mistake to show up to the least recommended park at noon and hope to waltz into BOG. But you know what?? I don’t care, and I’d do it again. And for those wondering, yes, My Mother also agreed that the lunch was very tasty, fresh, and a pretty good serving size, too. So there, haters!

After lunch, we exited MK as directly as we came in and headed on over via monorail to our real destination park for the day: Epcot.

Because kale.

Because kale.

The crowd level difference was obvious. To anyone still holding out on listening to/planning around crowd calendars, you may want to rethink your stance. With Epcot listed as the “Most Recommended” park that day, we were roaming freely and quickly. After our FP+ at Soarin’, we hardly “needed” our FP+ at Living with the Land, but we used it anyway. Just to be obnoxious. #ClubLevelStatus

Sadly (or not?), our next stop was to Mouse Gear to buy sweatshirts because it was still fucking freezing outside and raining. But it’s like Disney was just as shocked as we were that the temperature dropped below 75 degrees, because the options for a real, thick sweatshirt or jacket were few and far between. I ended up with a hoodie that still required being paired with at least three other layers of clothing, one of which being an unbreathing, plastic poncho.

Guess what: still wet and cold. Now with sweatshirts.

Guess what: still wet and cold. Now with sweatshirts.

After making and donning our purchases, we braved the cold for 20 feet to head into Innoventions East to ride Sum of All Thrills for the first time ever. I was pretty excited, though admittedly skeptical. How could rolling around in a simulator thingy really make me feel like I was moving quickly? Does it also blow wind in your face?

The answer is: science? I don’t know. There was no wind blowing, but I definitely felt like I was on a coaster. My favourite part was going upsidedown. I recommend going upsidedown a lot.

My least favourite part? That panic-inducing moment when they close the contraption over your head and you suddenly feel like you’re in a really futuristic coffin. Have I mentioned that I’m pretty fucking claustrophobic? I managed to breathe through the rising inclination to claw my way out; I also reasoned with myself that vomiting in this small of quarters would not be a pleasant experience. Luckily, the “ride” starts up quickly, and the imagery and sensations of being on a real roller coaster were enough to distract me from screaming bloody murder.


We emerged (admittedly a little weak-legged) outside, only to realize that our new sweatshirts weren’t going to be enough to keep us warm; it was time to start drinking. And so we headed to the Rose and Crown for refreshments. We were able to snag a table in the otherwise crowded bar area and sat for awhile enjoying both our drinks and the hat lady (what are we calling her now?). We watched around us as able bodied people repeatedly swooped in on tables as soon as they emptied, leaving this one sad and frail looking elderly couple stricken with exasperation. As we were ready to leave, My Mother physically blocked the vultures and ushered this weary couple to our table. My Mother loves the elderly.

We do not know this child. Yes, we're creepy.

We do not know this child. Yes, we’re creepy.

We decided to back track and stroll clockwise around World Showcase. I got to introduce My Mother to Two Tipsy Ducks in Love, which she loved, obviously, because she is a human being with functioning taste buds.

Once in Germany, I made the long-overdue adult decision that it may be time to retire my Minnie Mouse ears. Why? Because I needed a fucking tiara like I need sriracha and democracy. I hemmed and hawed for literally about 30 minutes in that shop, trying on every tiara at least twice, agonizing over this life-altering decision. Finally, finally, I picked out my new signature accessory. And you know what? BEST PURCHASE OF MY ENTIRE LIFE. And that includes discounted bottles of Woodford and my cat.

Wait, I take that back. My cat probably wins. But what if we put the tiara on him?!?! Best of both worlds.

I'm starting a "Caption That" contest for this photo.

I’m starting a “Caption That” contest for this photo.

By now, I’d wasted so much precious time waffling over rhinestones that we were running late for our ADR at Les Chefs de France, so we high-tailed it in that direction with no time to explore the other pavilions in between.

Quick pause for a question: So, before the upstairs French restaurant was called Senor Paul’s, it was called Le Bistro de Paris. And the downstairs was/is called Les Chefs de France. Yet the upstairs was/is way fancier than the downstairs. So why the hell was the upstairs ever called a “bistro”? Now, I’m no French scholar, so I’ll defer to my resident expert, Wikipedia, who defines a bistro as, “a small restaurant serving moderately priced simple meals in a modest setting.” It even states that the origin of the bistro concept “likely developed out of the basement kitchens of Parisian apartments where tenants paid for both room and board.”

So what does any of that have to do with an up-scale, 5 star, white linen table clothed, second floor restaurant? Why not call Chefs de France a bistro? I demand answers. Or, you know, they’ve already changed the name, so what’s in the past ought to stay there just like mini-backpacks and the majority of my 20s.

Moving on…

We arrived a mere five minutes late for our 7:30 ADR and were told to wait and have a seat. Luckily the jog over warmed us slightly, so we didn’t mind having to wait outside. But you know who did mind waiting outside? Mrs. WayMoreImportantThanYou and her party of nine who kept complaining to the hostess that they had an ADR for 7:30, and they could not for the life of them understand why the fuck other parties were being seated ahead of them.

Allow me, demure little French hostess, to respond for you.

This is what my tiara looks like in French lighting.

This is what my tiara looks like in French lighting.

A) It’s 7:36, six minutes past your ADR. Try dining at the Yachtsman sometime if you want to know what a real wait is.
B) You’re a mutherfucking party of nine. You’re lucky we’re even willing to move tables together to seat you all.
C) Those people being seated ahead of you had ADRs too. For 7:15.
D) Now sit your ass down, you self-entitled American stereotype.

When we were seated a few minutes later, I’m happy to report that she was still fuming outside, completely baffled by this grave injustice. It’s a small miracle she found eight other people willing to break bread with her.

Dinner was… okay. This is my second time dining at Les Chefs, and both have been… good. What more can I say? It’s loud. I think it’s a little overpriced for what it is (but then again, this is Disney we’re talking about, so I’ll just go ahead and slap myself for thinking otherwise). It’s decent food, but nothing that had me wishing there were more room in the minifridge back at the hotel to stash leftovers. (Incidentally, we actually did bring leftovers home with us; we opted to each do the prix fixe three course menu, and neither of us had room for our crème brulee by the end of the meal. That, or our hoarding instincts kicked in and required us to bring some kind of food back to our nest).

So much awesome.

So much awesome.

Apres dinner, while we were timed just right to view Illuminations, we shiveringly decided to head back to the warmth of the Wilderness Lodge. I know, I know, consciously making the decision to skip Illuminations is sacrilege, but we had concierge lounge access. And only until 10:00 PM, at that. So we beat the unwashed masses back to the busses and made our way home, straight up to the seventh floor for some Courvoisier and all you could eat free Magic Bars (is Jamie reading this? Jamie should probably know about this), all with a sky-high view of the tail end of the Electric Water Pageant.

I dare you to be more baller.

This is what my tiara looks like with free Courvoisier.

This is what my tiara looks like with free Courvoisier.

January Trip Report Day Six, Part 1: Dreams really do come true

Number of Miles Walked: 7.71
Number of Pins Traded for: 15

Thursday morning ushered in the first actual morning of our vacation with our work days officially behind us. So what better way to kick off the relaxing long weekend? Why, waking up at 6:30 AM after only five hours of sleep, of course! Hangover? What hangover?? I was likely still drunk.

I didn’t mean to be awake that early, but like a kid on Christmas morning, I was too pumped to sleep. However, the early rise wasn’t entirely in vain, because we did need to pack up our crap. WE WERE MOVING! — from the Boardwalk to the Wilderness Lodge, our new home for the next five nights.

I’m somewhat of a packing aficionado, or at least, I like to think so. Being a seasoned traveler means you have that shit down to a routine. From start to finish, it probably took me about 15 minutes to get dressed, groomed, and have all clothes, toiletries, shoes, and pins packed up and ready. If my stay at the Boardwalk were a relationship, I had one foot out the door at all times.

Check out what I found on a CM lanyard: all the way from Japan!

Check out what I found on a CM lanyard: all the way from Japan!

Why, then, did it take a full hour beyond that to finally vacate the premises? What, praytell, could’ve been so plentiful and cumbersome to pack other than hundreds of pins? Oh yeah. MOUNT FOODIOUS. Sadly, this is not a new travel conundrum for us. My grandmother is so infamous that the local Fort Myers food bank knows her by name thanks to her generous donations after each of her annual Captiva vacations. My parents returning home after a month in the Adirondacks can sometimes mean taking a second car to schlep the amount of food accumulated.

And now, with just the two of us, minimal bags, no cooler, and only a taxi to shuttle us, we had to make some hard decisions.

In the end, the decision made was to figure out a way to carry it all. That’s our motto, damnit: NO FOOD LEFT BEHIND.

The walk from our room to the Boardwalk cab stand felt like walking from Biergarten to the Epcot bus stops after one too many tankards. Also, like, if you were carrying half the buffet with you.

But we managed to get there, got us a minivan cab (no, I’m not making a joke here), and told the driver to head to the Wilderness Lodge, post haste, before the perishables start to get sad!

Full disclosure: I’ve only been to the Wilderness Lodge a few times, and only one of those times was I driving myself. So it took me a little longer than it should’ve to realize that the cabbie was headed in the wrong direction. But I’m not the kind of person to start barking orders at people and assuming I know how to do their jobs better than they do, so I kept quiet, assuming he knew some magical backstage shortcut.

No, no shortcut, he just ended up trying to deliver us to Fort Wilderness.

“Um, we said Wilderness Lodge; this is Fort Wilderness,” I piped up.

“Oh, okay,” he replies, as if I had asked, “can you pull a little closer to the curb?”

Dude, you took us to the wrong resort.

Next thing you know, he is trying to take some backstage shortcut between the two properties. At this point, fed up and worried about my room temperature rib eye, I did speak up and said, “sir, I’m pretty sure you can’t go that way.”

“No, no – it connects to the Wilderness Lodge!”

“Um, yeah, for authorized vehicles. Not cabs.”

I was promptly ignored, and several minutes later, sure enough, he’s being ordered by Disney security to turn around and exit the resort like all other non-Disney vehicles. I would’ve said, “I TOLD YOU SO,” but I didn’t want to next be dropped off at the Contemporary, so I kept my mouth shut. By the time we finally arrived at the Wilderness Lodge, there were no apologies nor offers to deduct a certain amount from the meter. I sure hope he wasn’t expecting a tip.

By now, my still-drunkenness had most certainly turned into a full-fledged hangover, and I was feeling the effects of only getting 5.5 hours of sleep. If one more obstacle presented itself between me and my room… watch out, fuckers.

After emptying ourselves and our 27 bags of food out of the cab, we stood at the entrance to the Wilderness Lodge and were approached by one of the iPad-handed CMs to begin the check-in process. After I gave her my name, her response was, “alright – just leave your bags with bell services here, and follow me.” Uhhh… why???

I tried to protest, “No, that’s okay -– I already checked in online in advance. And we have our MagicBands. We’re all set!”

“No, ma’am, you still need to come with me. You can leave your bags here -– we’ll deliver them to your room.”

I was starting to get nervous. What was wrong? Why is she being so adamant that we abandon our belongings? Was I on a watch list? Was this gingerbread-related??? What was going on here?!

We need one of these in our mountain lodge.

We need one of these in our mountain lodge.

Finally, she uttered a sentence that rendered me speechless and stunned:

“All check-ins for Club Level are handled upstairs. Follow me, and I’ll take you up there.”

Club level?!?!

What Blue Fairy/Genie/Ursula/Dr. Facilier had finally heard my prayers?!?!

From there on out, my hangover had magically been cured, and I happily kept my mouth shut.

We were led up to the card-key-access-only seventh floor of the Wilderness Lodge, their Concierge Level. After taking in the views looking down upon the grand lobby, we were checked-in* and given the grand tour of the Old Faithful Club with its free food and drink offerings throughout the day. Yes, that’s just what we needed! More food!!!!

But when are we supposed to go to the parks?

But when are we supposed to go to the parks?

*This actually took a little while to sort out. Lesson learned: if you’re doing a resort swap, make sure you actually check out of the first one and/or do not attempt to check in to your second one until after 11:00 AM. Apparently, Disney does not want the same person checked in to two resorts simultaneously. Which, when you think about it, is a little odd. I mean, I could totally envision a scenario in which I win the lottery and then decide to book myself rooms at the Poly, the Beach Club, and the Animal Kingdom Lodge all for the same week so that I’m given stumbling distance options depending on where my mood takes me. It could happen! I shall keep praying to Ursula.

Oddly enough, our room wasn’t actually on the Club Level. Rather, it was a “Club Level” room on the first floor. Now, I’m going to state the following, but please know that I’m not complaining! There is absolutely nothing I could complain about regarding any of this situation. But, just as an observation: damn, was our room far away from that lounge. Please refer to exhibit A. Note that this exhibit was not made public during the time due to certain individuals threatening to hang out in bushes and peer in windows (you know who you are).

Exhibit A

Exhibit A

Meanwhile, it was plain as day why this room was still considered Club Level. We had a one bedroom corner suite with a terrace staring out onto Bay Lake. It was also so close to the pool that I could’ve yelled my drink order to the pool bar and they’d have heard me. (Come to think of it, I probably could’ve done that from our room at the Boardwalk, but that clown. Ugh).

Our lovely suite and its circular floor plan.

Our lovely suite and its circular floor plan.

Our lovely view.  On a lovely rainy day.

Our lovely view. On a lovely rainy day.

Stay tuned for part two of this trip report. Cliffhanger: How long before I’m asked to stop yelling at the pool bar???

January Trip Report Day Five: ALL THE MEAT

January 29, 2014
Miles walked: 5.18
Pins traded for: 2

Today started out looking pretty dismal: thanks to work actually expecting me to work (weird?), I never once left the hotel room until “5:00” (read: 4:15, but fuck it).



My Mother also freed herself from work obligations about then, and despite the rain and 43 degree temperature (WTF, “Florida”?!?!), we headed for a quick jaunt into the Magic Kingdom before our 7:50PM ADR at my personal temptress, the Yachtsman.

(Wait, if the Yachtsman is a man, then would the correct term be “tempter”? “Tempterer”? “Lead role in fantasy where I whisper sweet nothings into the ears of steaks, realize they have no ears, and then eat everything in sight while moaning erotically”? Whichever.)

Meanwhile, back at the Magic Kingdom and meat-free for the moment, I looked at my watch (not my MagicBand, as that does not tell time, no matter how often you glance at it expecting to see otherwise) and saw the hour turn to 5:00PM: I was officially on vacation!!!!! This was a cause worthy of celebration and running through the streets with joy!

Wet partners.

Wet partners.

And running through the Magic Kingdom I could’ve. You know what a Thursday in January with an crowd calendar rating of 1, combined with rain and 43 degree weather results in? A most wonderfully deserted theme park. We used our FP+ for Space Mountain, and then walked right on to Buzz Lightyear, Pooh, It’s a Small World, and Pirates – mix in our other two FP+ for Haunted Mansion and Peter Pan, and we’d hit up almost all of my favourite attractions in less than 1.5 hours.

Feels crowded

Feels crowded

We would’ve done even more, but it was time to head back to the buses in order to have enough time to shed our soaking wet clothes (and that was with both ponchos and an umbrella, thank you very much) and get into something more appropriate for dinner.

I was trying to argue that we were allotting way too much time to Waiting For A Bus and should instead exit slowly through the Emporium to pin trade (do you know how hard it is to stalk outdoor CMs for pin trading purposes when they’re wearing coats?! It’s like they care more about their own comfort than my ability pillage their pins. Inexcusable), but I was overruled.

And wouldn’t you know it, we stood in the cold for a good 30 minutes waiting for a bus to the Boardwalk. Hell, we saw four buses come and go for the All Stars in the time it took one bus to arrive for us. Is that any way to treat Deluxe guests?! I’m composing my indignant, rage-filled entitlement letter to management right now.

Some longer-than-anticipated period of time later, we finally arrived back at the hotel with barely enough time to find dry clothes, let alone take a whack at blow-drying. And, as I don’t associate 43 degree weather with “Florida,” the outfit I had packed for this dinner was a short, sleeveless dress and jellies. I’d say “FML,” but I was about to be eating at the Yachtsman, so I’m assuming that I don’t deserve all that much sympathy here? Maybe?

We took off on foot to speedwalk our way to the Yachtsman in order to meet up with my aunt and eight other coworkers of hers and my mother’s. In exchange for the use of my Tables in Wonderland discount, I was getting a free meal expensed to their company. (I feel your well of sympathy starting to reach drought status.)

Meanwhile, my aunt and the others had never been to the Yachtsman before, so part of my day stuck in the hotel, between work nags, was spent on hand-drawing maps of Crescent Lake and the Yacht Club Resort (incidentally, this was the exact same thing My Mother was doing at the convention — though she had the assistance of a white board for her renderings). Given no other aid in finding the restaurant, it was a real toss up of whether or not my aunt and crew would even be there when we arrived, five minutes late.

Seems accurate, yes?

Seems accurate, yes?

Huzzah! They had made it and checked us in! All present and accounted for for our 7:50 ADR. What’s this? Oh, they’re not entirely ready for us? No problem – I enjoy drinking at Crew’s Cup. And so we headed there, me and a bunch of Frenchmen, because that’s how I roll. No, really – half of our party were dudes from the company’s French office. Because that’s how they roll.

There was a bit of a language barrier; “Tables in Wonderland discount” and “Annual Passholder” weren’t translating all that easily. Each time I asked if they understood, my favourite and Frenchiest of the bunch, Francois, would reply, “yes.” After awhile, the one who spoke the best English finally confessed that Francois did not understand and is just going to reply “yes” to anything I said. Give me another Manhattan, rewind the clock to 2007, and I’d be breaking out the only French I know: “Voulez vous coucher avec moi, ce soir?”

Luckily for My Mother’s ability to show her face at work the next day, it was 2014, and I’m a spoken-for lady.

Well, at least two out of three of those descriptors are true.

Interestingly, the Frenchmen were in utter disbelief that I didn’t speak French. I’m not sure why they’d assume that all Americans spoke French as a second language, but they did. So much so that they started speaking to me in French, assuming I’d know what they were saying because I’d clearly been playing a practical joke on them this entire time by “pretending” not to understand them. Silly Frenchies.

After one round of drinks, still wet and cold and at this point ravenously hungry, I went to check on the progress with the ADR. Nope, still waiting. Time for round two. And then another check on the progress. Still not ready. At this point, we’d been waiting over an hour. Luckily, we had in our party a man far more assertive than myself. He ascertained that there was, indeed, a screw-up with our ADR, and he made sure to speak to someone in charge. We were eventually seated at about 9:30 and told that dessert was on the house.


For reasons that I don’t entirely remember (perhaps because by that time I was already on my third cocktail and a severely empty stomach or because this was five months ago now and I didn’t take very good notes), we didn’t seem to get appetizers until 10:07PM. Hell, the bread service didn’t even appear on our table until 9:50. By now, the offer for free desserts would’ve probably best been altered to “free breakfast,” as that would be more in line with the timing of events thus far.

All I have to say is, crazily enough… it was all worth the wait. Holy. Fuck.

I bow to thee.

I bow to thee.

I mean, first of all, when the bread (which was apparently baked just for us, at least I’m assuming so based on how long it took to arrive) is served with roasted garlic on the side… I give in. You win. I’ll do whatever you want. You own me. And then there was my charcuterie board that had me high-fiving each individual piece of meat before I ate them because I wanted to properly celebrate their awesomeness.



Sadly, I don’t think My Mother was having quite the same bromance with her meal, but that’s probably because she doesn’t eat red meat. I would assume, if any place were going to turn a (semi-)vegetarian into a meat lover, the Yachtsman would have that power. But alas, My Mother was not looking to find Meat Jesus that night, and instead asked the chef what he could whip up for a vegetarian (he was already at our table to talk to a gluten-phobic member of our party). I guess he missed the memo that she also loves seafood and chicken, because they next thing you know, she’s being served what’s probably the world’s most expensive pasta dish with steamed vegetables. I guess the chef is a one trick meat-centric pony?

Regardless, my ribeye was to die for. Perfectly cooked (nice and rare!), juicy, full of flavor. Then again, it’s hard to go wrong with any dish that comes with a side of bone marrow. And bleu cheese butter?! Throw some bacon on that shit, and you’ve got heaven (or a heart attack. But that could lead to heaven, depending on your religious beliefs?). I had been tempted to order the 28oz porterhouse, but I wimped out. Also, it didn’t come with marrow. However, the skinniest dude at our table did order it, and he practically licked the bone clean. It’s always the ones you least expect…

Meanwhile, I may have gotten a smidge carried away with the bread, garlic, the dude next to me’s truffle fries, and my charcuterie, because there was no way I was finishing my meal. Or touching that “free” pumpkin cheesecake that somehow made its way in front of me somewhere around the near-witching hour of 11 o’clock. No matter – that’s what mini-fridges are for! And as you know if you’ve been following our journey from the beginning, we most certainly needed more food in our room.*

*This is blatant sarcasm. Just thought I’d help you out in case you weren’t keeping up.

Random picture of balloons to break up the wall of text.

Random picture of balloons to break up the wall of text.

I had been curious all along to see what a tab for a party of 11 at the Yachtsman plus cocktails and non-shitty wine choices would come to, but when we finally got the bill at 11:30PM, I was way too drunk tired to remember that I cared. So your guess is as good as mine. I’m going to go with “a lot.” In fact, I’m pretty sure my 20% TiW discount more than paid for my share of food and drink. Which is why I snagged the rest of one of the bottles of wine we’d ordered. What?! No one else was calling dibs on it, and it goes against my religious beliefs to waste alcohol.

The healthiest course of action right about now would’ve been to roll one’s self home and pass the eff out, but oh no. We had obligations elsewhere. My mother and aunt’s boss was expecting the group to join him at Kimono’s for karaoke and drinks. “More drinks?!” Yes, more drinks. Honestly, I wasn’t sure I could fit the sheer volume of liquid inside of me at this point, but I was peer pressured to give it a go.

I ended up with a cocktail that boasted lemon-infused ice. While I envisioned ice cubes delicately concocted of lemon juice, what I ended up with was a high ball glass (and teeth) full of lemon zest as my drink melted. It felt like I had just eaten corn on the cob, but with better breath afterward. Good concept; poorly executed.

After a few painful renditions of European tourists butchering Disney classics, I tried to call it a night, but I was talked into staying a bit longer because one of the coworkers was to be going up to the mic next. Well, I’m glad I stuck around. Why? Because dude was a former professional opera singer. Nothing seems to command the attention of a bunch of drunk convention-goes like someone not assaulting your eardrums with their take on “Piano Man.”

However, even melodic genius couldn’t keep me awake, so around 1:30AM after song #3, I bid my adieu to everyone and the French and hoofed it back to the Boardwalk alone with my doggie bag of steak, cheesecake, and half bottle of merlot. My Mother stayed out for another round; she’s far cooler than I am.

I believe when she ultimately returned, I was found asleep on the pull out couch, cuddling a now empty bottle of wine. I may not be cool, but I do know how to warm up.

He watches you sleep.

He watches you sleep.

I can’t.

Insert your own meme here.

In this case, what I’m “I can’t”ing about is trying to figure out a way to have a fun, relaxing, enjoyable weekend with Mark in WDW on a budget of $17.35 and given approximately 32 hours total.

Let’s take a closer look at the tangled web of crap that floats through my brain, shall we?

(Click to enlarge.)


Le sigh. I suppose I just won’t be able to get to Disney that weekend, and will instead have to wait… Wait and wait and wait…

Waiting two, whole, agonizing weeks until my trip with @WonderlandNerds.

Oh, did I not mention that? My bad.

Trip Planning: Or, How to Jam FUN Down Someone’s Throat

I’ve lived in Florida now for exactly 60 days. And do you know how many times I’ve visited Walt Disney World in that time? Zero. Zee. Fucking. Ro. I’m the worst Disney fan ever.

BUT! I’ve broken down and decided I can wait no more. So I’m planning my very first quick weekend at Disney for early September (oh, is that coincidentally the same weekend as the annual pin trading event? Weird). However, this weekend comes with a catch: I’m dragging along my boyfriend, Mark, against his will. And I am determined to make him enjoy every second of it. This is where I need your help. Yours and probably some mystical overlord’s or Zeus’s or Walt’s ghost or whomever you pray to; that’s how much of a challenge this is. Allow me to lay out the details:


1) Mark hates Disney. He’s been only once, a decade or so ago, with his ex-wife and two daughters when they were young. So, you know, the usual family-style trip. No matter how I try and explain that Disney World is far different when you swap out children for day drinking around Epcot, he still has PTSD from the one time he got stuck on It’s a Small World for a whopping 10 minutes. (Incidentally, each time he recounts this “terrifying tale,” the time span seems to grow; currently, I believe he’s stating that the ride was down for seven hours and people starting wetting themselves). All in all, he’s going into this weekend convinced that 48 straight hours of being hit in the dangly bits with a tire iron sounds more appealing.

2a) We be broke as shit. As such, I believe we’ll be staying at the illustrious All-Star Sports (I tried finding a $40/night Motel 6, but apparently that’s sold out). It would be a lot easier to convince Mark of Disney World’s awesomeness with a savannah view balcony at AKL. Instead, I’m going to have to try and talk up the benefits of giant balls.

2b) I think we can probably allow for one table service dinner. Deciding exactly which restaurant to pick will be a real challenge. I could definitely woo him with the Yachtsman, but alas, not going to happen. What’s the next best can’t-go-wrong choice? Picabu Buffeteria?

3) He’s weird about food. Me? I have no problem hitting up the Wave for a breakfast buffet at 9:00, then lunch at Sanaa at 1:00, then dinner at Kouzzina at 7:00. In fact, going a full six hours between meals like that probably means there’s room for a Dole Whip in there as an afternoon snack. The running joke we have is that whenever I announce I’m hungry, Mark replies, “when were you not?” He, on the other hand, will look at an all-you-care-to-eat buffet with fear in his eyes, pick daintily at a few items, declare that he’s full, and maintain this stance for the rest of the day. How am I supposed to work with this?!?!? At least it’ll make budgeting easier. Sigh.

4) We will be there less than 48 hours. This is not a lot of time. How do I plan a “nice, relaxing, slow-paced” weekend when in reality, I’m going to want to run around like a manic child on uppers?

5a) Mark, like every other human being on earth, hates lines. I have to guarantee him that he’ll never wait longer than five minutes for anything.

5b) Mark is not going to want to rope drop.

6) Mark does not like shopping. This fact alone makes me start to rethink the entire idea of bringing him with me.

It’s not all doom and gloom — he does enjoy roller coasters, drinking, and isn’t a picky eater. And, most importantly, he’s pretty good with pin trading. He actively points out Cast Memberss with lanyards and says, “look, honey, I found your next victim.”

So what to do? Any tips or advice you may have from dragging unwilling participants to the parks? Do you involve chloroform and duct tape in your pre-trip routine? And does anyone know how to be truly selfless and do only what would make your loved one happy? I’m at a loss on that last one. Hence why I’m dragging him to Disney World.

January Trip Report Day Four: Lights, Motors, Drunj!

Number of pins traded for: 21
Number of miles walked: 6.64

Tuesday of this trip started off much the same as the previous day: working nine to five from our Boardwalk Villas room. Luckily, I was able to use my “lunch break” to do a quick pin trading loop around all the resorts of Crescent Lake. This is a sharp contrast to how I would normally spend my lunch breaks at home: watching TV on my computer and struggling with the decision of whether or not I was going to put on pants or say, “fuck it” and just remain in my bathrobe all day. The robe usually won. Man, I miss working from home.

Not wearing a Disney bathingsuit.  Because they don't' sell those.

Not wearing a Disney bathingsuit. Because they don’t’ sell those.

After lunch, I decided to move my “office” to the Boardwalk Villas’ quiet pool where I quickly discovered their secret to keeping it quiet: no heat in the pool. Even in Florida, it’s still January, and no one wants hypothermia and shrinkage. No matter, as last time I checked, working on a laptop from within a pool can lead to certain hazards and is generally not recommended.

My Mother joined me eventually once she was free from work obligations, and we enjoyed some light apps on our veranda while we counted down the minutes until the true pinnacle of the day: The private IBM party at Hollywood Studios.

Every year, on the final night of the convention, IBM spends lord only knows how much money to rent out an entire theme park and load it to the brim with free food and alcohol. It is literally my definition of true perfection. Years past have been at Islands of Adventure, Hollywood Studios again, and SeaWorld. The one year that they were having it at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, we got snowed in in Boston and missed it; I cried. Both my sister and I cried. Actual tears. In public.

The previous time the convention party was held at Hollywood Studios, they paid a bunch of people to pretend to be paparazzi. All us convention-goers (or convention-crashers, like me) lined up at the Dolphin, boarded over a dozen buses, and were dropped off at the back entrance of Hollywood Studios. And then, as we stepped off the bus, there they were: hoards of people begging for our autographs and taking pictures of us. It was probably one of the top five most awkward experiences of my life, up there with being accosted by a masked performance artist and losing my virginity (for the reference, those were two, separate events).

Now it's a party hat.

Now it’s a party hat.

I was the only person excited about this.

I was the only person excited about this.

Thankfully, IBM must’ve received and digested all of my hate mail regarding the subject, because this year all that was awaiting us as we entered the park were table upon table of beers and wine. Much better.

The buses actually dropped us off behind the Lights, Cars, Something! Stadium where the first thing we saw was Walt’s plane parked practically within arm’s length. I started fan-girling so hard that after at least 27 selfies with the plane and then my bird-to-shiny-object attention drawn to all the alcohol, I didn’t notice the bag check people. I was almost thrown out of the party before I even got in it. Oops.

Not enough hands for drinking, eating, photographing, and live-tweeting.

Not enough hands for drinking, eating, photographing, and live-tweeting.

We entered into the Lights, Booze, Happiness! stadium from under the bleachers, emerging right smack in the middle of the show’s “stage.” I started taking 2,394,869 pictures because when else are you able to be that up close and personal with this set? Then I realized, who wants to be that up close and personal with that set? Oh well.

Lights, Motors, Swine!, much like the Statue of Liberty, is a thoughtful gift from the French.

Lights, Motors, Swine!, much like the Statue of Liberty, is a thoughtful gift from the French.

Ectocooler, Mickey, and me: the best menage-et-trois ever.

Ectocooler, Mickey, and me: the best menage-et-trois ever.

The party had us trapped in the arena until the “official” start time of 7:00PM. In the meantime, free food was provided in the form of Mickey pretzels and popcorn, in addition to all the beer and wine, of course. Oh, and ectocooler. I don’t know what it actually was, all I know was it was blue, sweet, and the only hard alcohol offering at the party, so it was what I was drinking by the bucketful. This is evidenced by pictures of me and my ever-increasingly blue mouth throughout the party.

Mom and I tried to position ourselves appropriately so that once the gates were opened, we’d be in the front of the herd. And while running was prohibited, we did our best to speed walk straight to Rock-n-Rollercoaster.

While at the party, I kept thinking to myself, “the only rides they have open are Toy Story Midway Mania, Star Tours, RnR, and Tower of Terror. That’s a little lame.” Then I realized, those are all of the rides at DHS (well, that and Great Movie Ride, another awkwardfest of bad acting). More than a little lame.

We boarded RnR with absolutely zero wait (did I mention that the number of party goers is only a tiny fraction of the usual park attendance? Perfection). Then on to Tower of Terror. And again. Because zero wait. And if that weren’t a highlight enough, there was also the fact that they stretched out your ToT ride length way longer than normal. It was like getting to ride a coaster twice around.

Free to take my time in the lobby.

Free to take my time in the lobby.

Pretty sure adults on free ectocooler appreciate the attractions way more than children.

Pretty sure adults on free ectocooler appreciate the attractions way more than children.



Characters were also out and about, and while I’m usually opposed to meet and greets, I humoured My Mother and got in the tiny line for Mickey and Minnie. You know what’s great about adult-only private parties in the park? No one tries to interact with the characters. Thank god. I know, I know – lots of people see that as a true highlight of the park-going experience: that ability to actually have a real, personal interaction with the character in character. For me, I always just find that to be uncomfortable. Not as uncomfortable as fake paparazzi, but still. Like, we’re all adults here – I know you’re an actor who’s severely underpaid and doesn’t actually care if it’s my birthday. I’ll save us all the faking it, just have my picture taken, and be on my way.

Anyway, the whole experience turned out to be worth it times infinity because I GOT TO TAKE A SELFIE WITH MICKEY AND MINNIE. I swear, it’s a bigger deal than Ellen’s celebrity group selfie at the Oscars. Way bigger. And yes, my mouth was quite blue by that time, as you can see. Thank you, Mom, for suggesting this meet and greet!



After that, it was time to find some real food, so we weighed our options of which quick service restaurant was the least offensive. I think we decided that when everything is free, it’s hard to be too offended. Yes, that’s right, FREE EVERYTHING. You walk up to any counter service restaurant and say, “I’d like to order all the food,” and you get all the food. No monies exchanged. Not even a MagicBand used. Now that’s what I call magical.

Out of laziness and poor timing on our parts, we ended up at Sunset Whatever, munching on would-be-offensive-if-we-paid-for-it burgers, some okay chicken fingers, and a Caesar salad. Not the best option in the world, but we were more focused on getting to the rides (and stopping every 20 feet for more ectocooler) than scarfing the free grub.



At about 9:30, our own private fireworks show went off, and by 10:00, we were being ushered out of the park. Far too soon, if you ask me. A) I wanted to ride everything at least another 67 times, B) I could totally have gone for a round two on dinner, and C) I’m fairly certain I could’ve gotten my mouth a darker shade of blue if given the opportunity.

Alas, no. Off to the buses we went, with me sporting a blue pout the whole way. All in all, it was a pretty epic evening. Not sure how we could top that experience during this trip, and yet… we did. Stay tuned!