Is This Thing On?: A Brief Explanation of My Whereabouts and an Announcement

I know, I know: I’ve been an absentee blogger.  A deadbeat.  An abondoner.  But I had a very good reason!  And that reason is this:  I wrote a book.

Yes, that’s right — in the months I’ve been not writing here, I’ve in fact been working on another project (I’ve been stepping out of you!).  Like a pregnant woman only one month along, I was hesitant to make any formal announcements until I knew for a fact that it would stick, that I was keeping it, and that I could narrow down the identity of the father.  Now that all formalities have been cleared, I’m finally comfortable announcing.

The book is a “collaborative” effort between myself and my nemesis, Drunko (@DrunkAtDisney on Twitter, in case you’d like to send him hate mail directly.  If you do, please CC me, as I get a real kick out of reading it).  We conceived of writing an adventurous guide to drinking at WDW — including reviews of all bars and lounges, drinking plans, guidelines, advice, tips, tricks, and the names of some good lawyers in the area.  I agreed to be part of this arduous on-taking for one reason and one reason only: by crowning myself sole Editor, I had all final say in any and all content of the book and any potentially libelous claims that likely would’ve been made against me had I not agreed to “help.”  I make my voice known throughout — mostly in insulting Drunko, but also in setting straight some facts as well as his obviously incorrect opinions.

The first rough draft is complete and, miraculously, has not been promptly scoffed at and then set on fire by our publisher, Leonard Kinsey, author of The Dark Side of Disney and head of Bamboo Forest Publishing.  Despite my recurring nightmares, he actually did show up for our meeting yesterday, did not laugh at me, and none of my teeth fell out.  Progress!

We’re in the second trimester now, which means I’ve been goaded into making this announcement even though I’d rather wait until the thing actually exists and simply show up at a family event one day with the proverbial baby and say, “oh, did I forget to tell people?  My bad.”  Alas, this “cooperative partners” thing is a real son of a bitch.  No pun intended.

So here we are.  We still have some more work to do, but we’re in the home stretch — mostly decorating and trying to decide on a name.  I like “Drunk at Disney’s Guide to Drinking at Disney;” he prefers “Madda’syn.”  Hopefully we’ll have this all wrapped up and decided upon for a projected spring/summer 2016 arrival.  Until then, we appreciate your dismay and support, and we’re registered at Total Wine.

My Retroactive Submission to Paulie’s Corner (Episode 50)

Dear Paulie,

Your “Paulie’s Corner” segment is my favourite part about the WDW Northeast Podcast. Don’t get me wrong, I also love Dean’s views, Mike’s curse-laden passion for his local Disney Store, and the very human-like robot named SAL 9000 that you get to do your news segments. But it’s your fun game of forcing your cohosts to spit out imagineering genius on the fly that I most look forward to.

On episode 50, you tasked the guys (and guest gal) with coming up with a new immersive themed bar/restaurant/lounge a la Trader Sam’s. Seeing as I’ve had these mental plans rolling around in my brain like a hamster in a ball, I thought it best to write them down, flush them out, and submit them for your approval. Without further ado, I present to you:


I present to you: the entrance. Just picture this with signage.

I present to you: the entrance. Just picture this with signage.

I originally conceived of Wonderland as a club, but that was many years ago when such a thing had an appeal to me. Now, as a crotchety old person, I shall repurpose it as a bar/lounge/restaurant. And in keeping with the rules of your game, the location I wanted to suggest two weeks ago was Fantasyland in the Magic Kingdom. Raze the Tomorrowland Speedway, and plop in Wonderland — keeps it close to the teacups (and expands Fantasyland!) and yanks out the loud, stinky eyesore that is the Speedway.

The foyer will be so disorienting, you'll have trouble finding your way out. Have another drink.

The foyer will be so disorienting, you’ll have trouble finding your way out. Have another drink.

However, since listening to your podcast, the news of Tokyo Disneyland’s expansion, including an entire Wonderland Land, hit the news wires. So obviously, I’ll have to place a sister location of Wonderland there. It’s just too easy.

Here’s the general gist of Wonderland: every aspect of Alice’s Wonderland is represented.

You start with the exterior that is designed to look like the real world that Alice lived in and daydreamed about escaping — lots of daisies everywhere and a cute kitten named Dinah. The entrance to the venue would resemble a rabbit hole, obviously. The foyer is the “falling down the rabbit hole.” The hostess station is the glass table with the bottle labeled “Drink Me.” A replica will be handed out to every guest and act as the buzzer, alerting them that their table is ready. Once that happens, they will be escorted through the DoorKnob.

But where???

Your table's ready!

Your table’s ready!

Like Be Our Guest’s three themed rooms, Wonderland will be composed of multiple dining rooms, bar areas, and lounges, specifically:

  • The Caucus Race and Sea of Tears
  • The Beach of the Curious Oysters
  • The White Rabbit’s House
  • The Flower Garden (with Smoking Caterpillar)
  • The Mad Tea Party
  • Tulgey Wood
  • The Croquet Field

MadTeaPartyBut it won’t stop at a slapping a simple wallpaper in each room — oh no! We’re going full-fledged Wonderland “we’re all mad here” mad. Behold: Each room will have its own Background Music Loop, its own furniture, its own cast member costumes, its own scents, its own lighting (much of it dark, made to make you feel like you’re outside at night a la the Mexico pavilion), its own style furniture, its own menu (food and drink), and its own glassware. For example:

The Mad Tea Party is a tea party. Duh. The only glassware you’ll encounter there will be in the form of a tea cup or teapot. Menu will be tea-centric (think: small plates, finger sandwiches, scones, etc.). Drink menu will include a wide variety of teas and tea-themed cocktails.



Flower Garden will smell flowery. And will make you feel like you’re three inches tall. All tables will be giant mushrooms, and the chairs are leaves. (Sadly, while a hookah lounge would be an obvious choice here, I think we need to draw the line somewhere for the Disney audience, and it stops at smoking). Cocktails will be fruity with an abundance of garnishes. Complimentary bread and butter will be in the shape of bread and butterflies.

Curious Oysters Beach will be seafood-heavy. Ordering from the raw bar will result in a mandatory moment of silence for the oysters who gave their lives for your delicious enjoyment.

The most delicious room, yet also the saddest.

The most delicious room, yet also the saddest.

The White Rabbit’s House will make you feel like you’re dining/drinking in his actual house with all of his oh-so-precious furniture and belongings. And yes, there will be cookies labeled, “Eat Me.”

It's like dining at Grandma's.  If Grandma were 3 ft. tall and a rabbit.

It’s like dining at Grandma’s. If Grandma were 3 ft. tall and a rabbit.

Tulgey Wood will be the darkest of all the rooms — both literally and figuratively. It’s here that we’ll hang out with the Cheshire Cat, the Mome Raths, and the myriad crazy creatures Alice encounters before finally breaking down and crying that she gives herself very good advice, but she very seldom follows it. Drinks here will be trippy. Absinthe may be involved. Glasses will be mismatched or entirely nonsensical — perhaps shaped like a shoe or a upside-down hat. Food will be ironic.

Hopefully you enjoy eating on plates made from shovel blades and frisbees.

Hopefully you enjoy eating on plates made from shovel blades and frisbees.

Interestingly, while I’ve had this vision for almost a decade (it was something I thought up in college, one day dreaming of being a bar designer or some such nonsense that appealed to me that week), it wasn’t until riding the Alice in Wonderland dark ride at Disneyland for the first time three weeks ago that I really felt it come alive again. That ride comes as close to anything I’ve ever seen to matching the look and feel I have in my mind. Honestly, if it weren’t for the fact that I swear I had this idea after drinking too much Jack Daniels in my dorm room umpteen years ago, I’d think I were copying Disneyland. But I’m not!

Disneyland's Alice dark ride: pure Wonderland perfection.

Disneyland’s Alice dark ride: pure Wonderland perfection.

Regardless: let’s make this a thing, shall we?

I thank you for your consideration.
Your #73 fan,

A super immediate quasi-trip-report-not-really high-level reflection on my journey to Disneyland, as written at 35,000 ft. and possibly fueled by smuggled nips, all because Jenn applied THE PRESSURE

*Writing and publishing this on a dying iPad with a dying bluetooth keyboard with slow wifi; apologies for typos and formatting issues.  AND YOU WONDER WHY I USUALLY TAKE MONTHS TO PUBLISH A TRIP REPORT; quality takes time, people.

Since someone is going to Disneyland on Monday and couldn’t wait the usual (and completely reasonable) eight to nine months to read my trip report, here is a super high-level report.  A basic “let’s see what I did or did not accomplish from my original list of goals, let’s compare parks, let’s check in emotionally, let’s have feelings” kind of post.  You know, the usual.

So… what were my goals?  Someone remind me?  Ahh yes:

  • Breakfast at the Carnation Cafe
  • Snacks and drinks at the Carthay Circle Lounge
  • Pomme Frites at Cafe Orleans
  • Beignets at the Mint Julep Cafe
  • Corndogs from the Little Red Wagon
  • The Fried Green Tomato Sandwich from the Hungry Bear
  • Dinner at Rancho del Zocalo
  • Brioche French Toast from Flo’s V8 Cafe
  • Lobster Nachos at the Cove Bar
  • Fried Chicken from the Plaza Inn
  • Nachos from White Water Snacks
  • Everything at Trader Sam’s
  • Oh, and like, attractions and ambiance and shit.

What did I actually manage to do?

imageOne drink at Carthay Circle Lounge: Look, it was a damn good drink, but I’m not made of money.  After tip, we’re looking at about $15 per drink.  At least at that price, they were made fresh (yeah, I’m looking at you, Cava).  As for lunch, nothing was jumping out at me from the menu, so I opted to gingerly sip my (albeit strong) botanical gin and tonic and then stumble on my merry way.

Consensus: Recommended for drinks. Bring your wad.

Pomme Frites at Cafe Orleans: Yeah, they live up to the hype.  My only issues was finding something else to eat there.  As a former New Orleanian, I don’t accept just any gumbo.  You can’t simply throw okra and andouille at me and call it authentic.  Yeah, yeah, everyone said to get the Monte Cristo, but as someone who feels deep, personal shame at ordering and consuming French fries, I just couldn’t bring myself to do it.  (For the uninitiated, the Monte Cristo amounts to an extra large order of fried dough, now with meat and cheese).  Also, $20 for a sandwich?  What is this, the Boathouse?  (Yes, my stinginess will become apparent as an over-arching theme here; deal with it).

Yes, I ended up ordering the gumbo. Where was the okra?

Yes, I ended up ordering the gumbo. Where was the okra?

This is actually where I come to Official Reflection #1: I love traveling solo for many reasons, but I think the real Con is when it comes to dining.  I’m the kind of person who loves to get apps to share, and orders different entrees from other party members so we can all share and try as many things as possible.  This is hard to do when you’re alone and as Scrooge McDucky as I am.

Consensus: Do it. Get the Pommes Frites.  And whatever else you feel you can live with yourself after consuming.

Pro-tip: Mix the remoulade with ketchup; otherwise, it’s just mayo.  And if you’re dipping fries into mayo, you may as well have just ordered the Monte Cristo to begin with and called it a day.

Fried Green Tomato Sandwich at Hungry Bear: Decent.  I’d rank it up there with the Lighthouse Sandwich from Columbia Harbour House when it comes to creative, tasty quick service options.

Consensus: Sure, go for it.  Get it with the sweet potato fries, but only if you have the patience to shuck ketchup packets for 2.6 hours.  There are no ketchup pumps at Hungry Bear; it’s Busch Gardens-level of accomdations here.

Mmm dessert breakfast... desfast?  Breaksert?

Mmm dessert breakfast… desfast? Breaksert?

Brioche French Toast from Flo’s V8: I refer you back to Official Reflection #1.  First of all, this thing was not French toast; this was bread pudding.  Second of all, this was a serving size most closely resembling a Stouffer’s family-size lasagna sheet pan of bread pudding.  It was delicious; don’t get me wrong!  But I wanted to take five bites of it and then pass it off to my non-existent friend while I ate a real breakfast of some eggs or whatever non-future diabetics eat.

Consensus: Get it for dessert; share with at least five people.  This is assuming, of course, that you eat dessert after breakfast, as this item isn’t available during lunch or dinner hours.

Lobster Nachos from Cove Bar: HOLY FUCKING CRUSTACEAN GODS, this was amazing.  I’m a self-proclaimed nacho snob, and most people fuck nachos up.  Usually because they throw a tablespoon of shredded cheese on a pile of chips and call it a day.  Sometimes because they use lettuce.  Often times because of an overwhelming presence of beans.  DO NOT GET ME STARTED ON OLIVES.  And in general, just a lack of real, quality toppings in an appropriate ratio to chips.  Lobster nachos at Cove Bar?  Mutherfucking nacho perfection.  And with lobster!

"Extra side of pico" = same size as nachos = LOVE

“Extra side of pico” = same size as nachos = LOVE

Consensus: What do you think?  I’m even recommending this to Amanda and Kristen, who are deathly allergic to shellfish.  Ladies, order this, know what it is to live and love, and then administer the epi-pen.  Trust me: it’s worth it.

Pro-tip: Ask for extra pico de gallo on the side; what appears is the appetizer portion of their “chips and salsa.” Because even perfection can be improved upon with more toppings.

The Pu-pu platter and HippopotoMai-Tai (sans glass, because I already have one; do not ask me how): I realize I’m treading on thin ice here, but I’m going to be controversial for a moment: I wasn’t BLOWN AWAY by Trader Sam’s.  Before you start cleaning your rifle: I loved it!  I did!  It was awesome!  The food was good, the drink was good, the decor was so much fun!  It’s just — that damn Twitter community has been building up this epic legend of legends for so long.  Honestly, I think I would’ve required free shots, a foot rub, surprise character meet and greets with the cast of Ocean’s 11, and a commemorative pin in order for it to have lived up to its online hype.  But I did love it!  Just not enough to spend hours every day there like I had anticipated.

House Rules at Trader Sam's

House Rules at Trader Sam’s

Consensus: Definitely go!!!  Take in all the details.  Ask for Kelley.  That’s a man, by the way.  Tell them Rich sent you.  Tell them to put your drinks on Rich’s tab.  And try the fried green beans — they’re way better than they sound.

Rides and shit: Yes, I did lots of those.  But I’ll save that for another post, as I’m pretty sure anyone reading this for advice on an up-coming trip already plans to try and tackle it all!  And if you’re reading this just because you’re bored, you’re probably thinking, “this has gone on long enough.”

Well, too bad for those people, because I’m not done yet!  I have a two hour layover and another two hour flight to go!!!  So here are my recommendations that weren’t on my to-do list:

Stay within walking distance: Probably too late for anyone going in the immediate future, but seeing as I waffled on this aspect myself, I just wanted to share.  Pick the walkable option if you have it.  I’m not usually a mid-day break kind of person at WDW, but that’s usually because it takes so long to get everywhere that I consider bus rides a rest.  At DL, with everything nestled so closely together, I found myself actually needing to carve out rest time, else I would’ve burnt out quickly.

Get beer at DTD instead of DCA: Granted, not great advice if you’re at DCA and want beer ASAP.  But I just thought I’d point out that similar beer options are available at cheaper prices within short walking distance.  Beers in DCA started at $8 (from what I saw — obviously I didn’t run around checking prices at every venue), whereas you can get drafts for $6 at La Brea Bakery or $7 at Ralph Brennan’s (not to mention that you can also get 20 oz. or LITER portions at Ralph’s — and of Abita!!!).

Truth time: I required three of those little ketchups. So really, they were semi-shucked.

Truth time: I required three of those little ketchups. So really, they were semi-shucked.

Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen: Went there on a whim because despite my best efforts to be a quick service patron while at DL, I just couldn’t shake my table service habits.  I had scheduled myself to eat at Paradise Garden Grill, but at the last minute, I caved and ran off to have someone wait on me and bring me pre-shucked ketchup.  Ralph’s was truly great (again, I’ll name drop the fact that I used to live in New Orleans and have actually been to several of the Brennan family restaurants — this one, despite being oh-so-far away, lives up to those standards.  And with liters of Abita to boot!)  I highly recommend the garlic parmesan fries.  And Abita.  Did I mention the Abita?

Le Brea Bakery: Another one of my whims.  When I realized that Rancho del Zocalo didn’t have a toppings bar (WTF?!?!), I high-tailed it out of there and went to La Brea instead.  This is where I happily discovered $6 drafts and an excellent caesar salad and grilled cheese Jenga.

Uva Bar: Good food.  Bad service.  I recommend sitting at the bar if you think you may want the attention of your server ever again throughout your meal.  The chicken gyro was delish, though in keeping with the second over-arching theme of this report: ask for extra tzaziki — life needs more sauce.  Always.

The only way this would be better is if the tower were truly Jenga-sized. Now THAT's a game where everyone's a winner.

The only way this would be better is if the tower were truly Jenga-sized. Now THAT’s a game where everyone’s a winner.

Commit at least 5 hours of your day to claiming a good spot for World of Color or Fantasmic: And this includes getting a FP.  Or, you know, skip it and move on with your life.

Do not come up here to take pictures; you WILL be personally escorted downstairs by security.

Do not come up here to take pictures; you WILL be personally escorted downstairs by security.

Relax in the Grand Californian lobby: (But not the 3rd floor — they don’t care for the filthy likes of non-guests above the main floor.  We’re probably carrying lice and Bud Light).  It’s my new favourite Disney resort lobby.  Don’t tell the Wilderness Lodge.

Overall Retrospective:

What can I say that no one else has already said a million times?  “It’s charming.”  “It’s really special to walk in Walt’s footsteps.”  “The close proximity to everything is so nice and convenient.”  “But damn, that real world is RIGHT THERE as soon as you walk out the gate.”  “Why does WDW hate dark rides?”  <– All thoughts I had while at Disneyland, none of them original.

However, in case you want to hear my take on the cliché statements above, here it is, for what it’s worth:

Being in Disneyland, I loved it.  But there’s something so jarring about stepping out of it at the end of the day.  Accuse me of having the memory of a goldfish (you would be accurate, by the way), but by the time I walked the 0.5 miles back to my hotel, my memories of the day became the cast members walking to their cars and bitching about management — not of the customer service in the park.  It became filled with visions of Denny’s, IHOP, and homeless people panhandling for change (a pretty ingenious location, if you ask me — way to cash in on first world guilt!).  Obviously, you could stay at the Grand Californian, Disneyland Hotel, or Paradise Pier to avoid this immediate reentry shock, but I’m not that first world.

I also found that I missed reading CM’s name tags to discover just where in the US (or world) they were from.  WDW feels like a lifetime goal for these people emigrating from all over just to live the dream of working at WDW.  At DL, it’s a matter of what part of California they’re from.  Without exaggeration, I saw two CMs not from California.  It felt like I was hanging out at the local mall where local people come to work by default as opposed to a golden vision of The Mouse.

I loved Disneyland’s picturesque perfection; there’s something intangible about its Main Street that brings a sense of calm and warmth that WDW lacks.  And riding Alice (officially my favourite ride of any at Disneyland), Mr. Toad (my childhood favourite from WDW, so heartlessly ripped away from us east coasters), Snow White’s Scary Adventures, and Pinocchio’s Journey, I forgot how much I truly loved the classic dark rides.  I could’ve spent an entire day riding nothing but those, over and over and over.

But then I had to walk back to my hotel.

At the end of it all, my consensus was this: I wanted to pick Disneyland up and move it to a vast, secluded, unpopulated area of Florida.  In other worlds, Walt, I’m totally with you, bro.

Preparing for Disneyland

I figured since I can’t seem to keep up with trip reports to Disney World, I should just stop going* — and go to Disneyland instead!

*Until next month.  Like, less than four weeks from now.  Because addictions are hard to kick.

Just so you know, this will officially be my first ever visit to Disneyland(!!).  I’m having mixed emotions so far.  Sadly, my type-A, obsessive, overly methodical, anxietized personality is making it hard to simply go, “wheeee!!!  I’M GOING TO DISNEYLAND!”  This personality is an asshole, by the way.

Instead, I’ve spent the better part of the past six months second-guessing every decision I’ve made along the way.  Just in case you think I’m exaggerating, here’s a high-level time line of how my trip planning has gone thus far:

  • October: Booked my airfare.
  • December: Realized I picked shitty dates to go, obsessively looked for flight options to change them, yet found nothing still affordable at that juncture.
  • January: Used a newly established work release deadline as an excuse to change my dates.  Flight options still sucked, so what makes more sense than paying for expensive airfare?  Pay for cheaper airfare, extend your trip, and use any money saved on a hotel room, obviously.
  • Early February: Went to book a hotel room.  Discovered that anything I’d want was sold out.  Ended up in what is allegedly a “nice” hotel, but three miles from DL gates.  Queue multi-month-long freak out and over-analyzation about transportation options.
  • Late February: Realize I fucked up again re: a decision on which airports to be flying in and out of (long story, but half of my trip will be in San Diego for work).  Agonized daily over the fact that all flights were now sold out and I’d be unable to fix this lapse in judgement.
  • March: Decided, “screw it,” I’m giving myself an extra day in DL, and rebooked my rental car.
  • Sunday Night: Post-several-bourbons, booked a second (not as nice) hotel across the frickin’ street from DL.  #Options.

I figured as a means to both appease my spasming brain and to also say, “hey, I still write shit!,” I’d type up a “First-Timer’s Planning Guide for Disneyland, As Written by a Psychotic First-Timer.”  Enjoy!

Things I’m Doing to Prepare:

  • Order the Official Disneyland Planning DVD: One of the few free things still left from Disney, the Disneyland Planning DVD is a fun way to start getting pumped for your trip!  Sort of.  Maybe.  Not really.  Let’s face it: I learn more about Disneyland observing an hour’s worth of Twitter foaming than I did from that DVD.  It’s way too short, and frankly, it doesn’t tell you anything you didn’t already know.  Yes, I’m assuming you know nothing like I do.  We still know more than this professionally made DVD.  Oh well; you get what you pay for.  At least you’ll get something in your mailbox that isn’t a bill?  Who doesn’t love mail???
  • Download the Google Earth App: Refrain from sleeping, opting instead to stay up all night, pretending your phone is a tiny Soarin’ screen, and you are navigating your way around the resort in a hang-glider.  As unhealthy as this may sound, I promise you it’s at least 2716% more informative than Disneyland’s official planning DVD.
  • Use Google Maps’s New Pac-Man Feature: Do a Google Maps search for Disneyland.  Press the Pac-Man icon in the lower left hand corner.  Play Pac-Man using the paths of Disneyland as your course!  Incidentally, this also at least 639% more informative than Disneyland’s official DVD.
  • Read Blogs: Preferably written by people who have been to Disneyland before.
  • Consult Food Blogs and Menus: I can’t sleep at night unless I know exactly what I’ll be eating on any given day at least five weeks in advance.  Also, nothing would crush my soul more than coming home from a trip to Disneyland only to learn that I’d missed out on “THE BESTEST THING EVER,” which is likely to happen if you don’t obsessively stalk every blog and review you can get your mentally-ill hands on.

Questions that Plague Me:

Regardless of how many blog posts I read or how often I actually try to pay attention for the first time ever to what people from the west coast have to say on Twitter, I’m still left with many swirling questions keeping me up at night as I hang-glide over a 5.5″ Soarin’ screen.  Question such as:

  • Should I pack an umbrella?  I mean, sure, every site I read says that it never rains in southern California and that they have about one year left before they have no water at all because they care more about lush golf courses than they do their average citizens, but according to’s 10-day forecast, there’s a 10-60% chance of rain throughout my stay!!!!  WTF?!?!  Oh, wait, that’s Disneyland Paris.  Nevermind.
  • How much do cabs really cost?  Like, less than $8.50 per trip to a hotel three miles away?  Fuck it.  I’ll cancel that hotel and stay in the one across the street.  I can’t be bothered to navigate parking structures and wait for trams.
  • Most people say that at Disneyland, it’s all about the Quick Service food.  As someone who’s used to mainly sticking with table service establishments at Disney World, just how many corndogs does one need to consume to equal a three-course meal?
  • How many MagicBands should I bring with me?
  • Will I even remember how to use paper FastPasses?  Will I remember how to trip other patrons as I sprint first thing in the morning to the headlining attraction’s FastPass kiosk? What’s a FastPass kiosk without iPad screens?

Personal Goals:

  • Breakfast at the Carnation Cafe
  • Snacks and drinks at the Carthay Circle Lounge
  • Pomme Frites at Cafe Orleans
  • Beignets at the Mint Julep Cafe
  • Corndogs from the Little Red Wagon
  • The Fried Green Tomato Sandwich from the Hungry Bear
  • Dinner at Rancho del Zocalo
  • Brioche French Toast from Flo’s V8 Cafe
  • Lobster Nachos at the Cove Bar
  • Fried Chicken from the Plaza Inn
  • Nachos from White Water Snacks
  • Everything at Trader Sam’s
  • Oh, and like, attractions and ambiance and shit.

Lingering Concerns:

  • How does pin trading work there?  I’ve heard rumours that pin snobbery is alive and thriving — that the CMs themselves will turn down a crying Make-A-Wish child if their pin isn’t up to snuff.  Like, there’s a perceived tier system of pin value, and one must trade for a pin of equal value???  I don’t even know what this means, but if there’s a new element in pin trading called “potential for rejection,” I may have officially lost one of my very few social-interaction nerves.
  • Do we dare guess how much a whopping four-day stay at Disneyland is going to end up costing me?  As it is, thanks to my constant plan changing mentioned above, I’ve already added an additional night’s stay (+$65), stretched out my rental car contract (+$15), switched to a more expensive hotel (+$80), and I haven’t even ordered my first tiki cocktail.
  • What if I end up liking Disneyland more than Disney World???

Kill, Refurb, Marry: Disney Sidekicks

Kill Refurb MarryWelcome to another installment of Kill, Refurb, Marry, the ever-so-inventive game brought to us by This Happy Place Blog and Mouse on the Mind, AKA the only thing that I actually get off of my ass to write about these days. (Hopefully this will change soon, otherwise I’m going to start lapping myself in trip reports (already have ten days’ worth in the backlog!). Also, I should write something other than trip reports).

Anycrap, this month’s theme is Disney Sidekicks. So without any further ado, let’s get to the slaying…




Flounder. Mostly because I’m hungry as I type this, but also because he’s a pretty crappy friend. Dude, your BFF is about to throw her life away for some dumb boy she’s never met, and you’re all, “oh no. Stop. I can’t. Don’t. OKAY I’LL HELP YOU BECAUSE I’M ACTUALLY A SPINELESS JELLYFISH INSTEAD OF A DELICIOUS FLOUNDER.” Fucking useless. Friends don’t let friends make deals with sea witches without an attorney present. Bruce had it wrong the whole time; fish should not be friends — they should be food.


Also pretty useless.

Also pretty useless.

Speaking of useless fish friends, how about Dory? If we could refurb her brain, I’m pretty sure Finding Nemo‘s running time could be reduced to a compact 15 minutes. It could be shown as a short before Frozen VI: Sorcerer Olaf — The Big-Assed Hat Returns.


This one’s pretty frickin’ obvious: Kronk. Same reasons as last month.



Oh, is that cheating? Do I need to have non-repeated selection? Fiiiiiiine.

I’ll go with Rajah. Who doesn’t want to have a giant kitty as your companion? He’s furry and ferocious all at the same time! Sure, he’s not as good at kleptomania as Abu, and I do value good thievery skills. But I’m going to stick with a feline as my chosen friend. His being a tiger and all, I figure I stand less of a chance of being labeled a Crazy Cat Lady just because my life partner is a cat. If you have a tiger, you’re not a Crazy Cat Lady, you’re a Cool Cat Lady. Right? Because if you say otherwise, you’ll be turned into a cat treat faster than my Siamese can land himself in an expensive medical predicament.



Kill, Refurb, Marry: Disney Villians Edition

Kill Refurb MarryWelcome to this month’s installment of Kill, Refurb, Marry, the ever-so-inventive game brought to us by This Happy Place Blog and Mouse on the Mind. Today we’ll be slaying and seducing villains! (Sort of. I mean, I’m assuming that if you’re marrying someone, there will be some intimacy going on, am I right? That’s how I’m choosing to look at it, because I’m a glass-half-full-of-evil-sexiness kind of person).

Let’s just move on before someone starts to psychoanalyze this too much.

DrunkatDisney. He’s a Disney villain, yes? Wait, you’re saying he doesn’t count? Damn, okay, then…

How about Hans from Frozen? He’s a pretty shitty person. He finishes other people’s sandwiches. Need I say more? (Plus I keep getting the below image sent to me by D@D, and I’m scarred for life).



How does one refurb a villain? Is it like, “gee, Ursula, you’re almost the evilest, but you were dumb enough to be foiled by a 16 year old who thought giving up her entire life, family, home, and voice was a fair trade for a dude she’d never spoken to before. Next time, try a more foolproof plan.” Or are we angling more for the rehabilitation route of refurbishment?

StressedHookLet’s assume the latter, in which case, I shall seek redemption for Captain Hook. I think all he needs are some anger management courses, meditation, Xanax, and most certainly relocation. The poor guy just wants to hang out with his bros on the open sea, and next thing you know, this flying dick in tights is always harassing him, even recruiting gangs of unsupervised children to mess with him, ultimately having him amputated by a wild animal! Put yourself in his awkwardly large shoes — you’d probably be pushed to villainous insanity as well! Give the poor guy a break and a fresh start.

This is tricky, because there’s just so much sexy to choose from. Sure, you may also have to deal with some “negative” personality aspects that may accompany someone labeled by the entire world as a “villain,” but maybe they’re just misunderstood? Bad boys need love too.

How about Gaston? Ohhhhh, Gaston. AND HE’S FRENCH. Sure, he’d spend the tenure of our marriage more interested in talking about himself and throwing my books in the mud, but maybe that’s a small price to pay for someone so skilled in interior design and growing chest hair? Then again, I’m not sure I could afford him… do you know how much you’d have to spend on eggs each month?

I love this man and his spinach puffs.

I love this man and his spinach puffs.

Dr. Facilier? Creole is part French! And he’s a doctor! He can afford his own eggs! But then again, being followed at all times by evil shadow spirits would get old pretty fast. You sell your soul to the devil, and next thing you know, there’s always a third wheel on date night. Not cool.

No, I think it’s pretty obvious where my heart belongs, and that’s in the dumb yet affable possession of Kronk. That voice, those biceps, the cooking skills, and that tiny little manskirt he always wears. What’s not to love??? And he’s really not even that evil! It’s not his fault Yzma is a homicidal, power-hungry, highly fashionable loon. He’s just her loyal henchman. And hopefully, one day, he can be my betrothed. If he can speak Squirrel, he can probably learn French, right?

Kill, Refurb, Marry: Disney Parks Souvenir Shops

Kill Refurb MarryYadda, yadda, yadda… insert same old description of how this game works here. Refer to This Happy Place Blog and Mouse on the Mind. NOW ONTO THE GAME:

This month’s theme is SHOPPING!!!! AKA I’ll marry all of it, thank you. I’ve yet to meet a store I’ve not loved. Unless there were a store that only sold olives, Crocs, and Justin Bieber albums. I would most certainly risk breaking parole to burn the crap out of that store. Luckily for me (and local emergency responders), no such store exists at Walt Disney World.

However, in the spirit of the game, I have to pick something. So let me think…


The Planet Hollywood Super Store at Hollywood Studios

I mean, why, dear god, why?!!?! Who in their right mind thought this was a good idea, and is that person still employed with the company? The answer better be “no.”

Does anyone actually buy anything here? How does this store even make money? Who’s coming to Hollywood Studios, encountering this store, and thinking, “gee, we were dumb enough to have an ADR to Planet Hollywood last night, and I soooo enjoyed my meal there, yet I forgot to get a souvenir shirt to commemorate my frozen chicken fingers and Costco jalapeno poppers! Thank heavens for this random pop-up location of nothing but Planet Hollywood merchandise no where near a Planet Hollywood! Now I can get t-shirts for the whole family — and cups, too!”

This person should also be killed, in addition to this store.

Leota SignMemento Mori.

Needs to be bigger. Hands down. Who needs Tangled-themed bathrooms? I say take over that area for the expansion. Add dining while you’re at it. I need me a haunted meal. Probably Magic Kingdom’s first ever bar, as well. You know what we need more of? Fantasy suites that no one ever gets to stay in — throw a few of those in the Haunted Mansion — access via a secret passage in the store. Oh, and secret passages in the store. Real Fortune Tellers. A library of ghost stories. Death certificate printing station. I’m envisioning something the size of World of Mouse when all is said and done. Anything less is just not giving the Haunted Mansion the respect it deserves.

Memento Mori was a good start, but now that I’ve tasted the sample, I want the full meal. PLUS IT.

Pablo JeanThe open-air market in the Mexico pavilion!

Okay, perhaps this is cheating, because I basically love the entirety of the interior of the Mexico pavilion, but hey! — that market is a big component of it! I love everything from the woven blankets to the over priced tequila bottles to the Three Caballeros merch. Why, it’s where I adopted my sugar skull, Pablo Jean! It’s one of the few stores on property where I keep a running wish list of items I’m going to slowly procure. Hint: 97% of them are Dia de los Muertos-related.

Te amo, Mexico!