Oh yeah, I have a blog

Totes forgot.

(Actually, no, I didn’t; I’ve just been busy. Doing what, you’re wondering? Well, just normal stuff like FINISHING MY BOOK. Oh, you thought I already did that and made that same announcement on this very blog in back in February? Yeah, about that. So, like, it turns out that getting a book published is like, a long and complicated process? They expect you to like, edit it and shit? And like, do that umpteen times over? And then there’s layout? And approval processes? And print approvals? And multiple format approvals? And multiple people are involved, all trying to coordinate schedules? It’s a cluster fuck of epic proportions. It’s also a minor miracle that no one killed me during the process given my complete inability to exhibit patience or trust. But anyway, the moral of the story is IT’S DONE. IT’S ON AMAZON. YOU CAN PRE-ORDER IT NOW.)

My bad.

January Trip Report Day 3: Safari Rides, Safari Guides, and #Privilege

Another month is placed between My Mother’s and my fateful trip in January and my writing of it. Another month of memory to be challenged. Let’s see how I’ll do!

So, uh… Tuesday, yes? Yes! Tuesday. Umm… Hmmmm… Give me a moment. Like trying to recall a dream, we just need to find one lone thread to pull on, and suddenly it’ll all come unraveling back to us. I’m recalling Animal Kingdom… let’s pull on that!*

*That’s what he would like you to say.

Apparently it was foggy that morning.

Apparently it was foggy that morning.

We awoke that fine day with plans to visit Disney’s Animal Kingdom in the morning and Magic Kingdom in the evening, thus designating our FastPasses for the likely busy afternoon at MK. This left us in the FP-less limbo I like to refer to as a “Type-A Planning Nazi’s Panic-Inducing Discomfort Zone.” We must rope drop. But how do we rope drop if we’re trying to be relaxed and go at an easy pace? Will we actually get on a ride? Will we be forced to wait in a line of commoners for more than five minutes? Will I just flop on the ground in the middle of Harambe and scream, “I give up! Drag me to Dawa!”?

Valid concerns, all of these, if I do say so myself, which I do.

Upon arriving at DAK (at what time, I do not remember — likely repressing the memory due to FP-less stress), we decided to prioritize the Safaris as one must Choose, and one must Choose Only One. Because by the time you’re ready for your second ride of the day, the benefits of (near) rope dropping are gone and there are crowds.

Miraculously, we walked on Kilimanjaro Safaris, despite the egregiously late hour of 9:30 (I’m guessing; I don’t remember). We lucked out with what turned out to be the best Safari Guide I’ve ever had. And that’s saying something, as I’ve been on my fair share of safari rides (I know what you’re thinking; stop), and let me tell you — there’s nothing worse than a guide who isn’t into it, goes through the motions with no enthusiasm, or straight up mumbles unintelligibly the whole time leaving you to wonder what the hell just happened and how they’re able to complete the ride believing that they were at all satisfactory to you. Still talking about safaris here; stay with me. Anyway, in a classic safari move, I don’t remember the guy’s name, but he was great. Stop it.

Our first time ever on TriceraTopsSpin!  (There's a Safari Ride joke in here somewhere)

Our first time ever on TriceraTopsSpin! (There’s a Safari Ride joke in here somewhere)

I believe what followed the safari was a traversing of the Pangani Trail. That’s not a euphemism. What better follow up to seeing animals from afar than seeing animals slightly closer? I, for one, prefer the Maharajah Jungle Trek because big kitties and bat penises, but I’ll do Pangani, too, when in a pinch. What?

From that point, it was with diminishing optimism that we headed toward Everest to see what that the wait time would be. Sadly, it was an offensively long 30 minutes, so My Mother opted to forego high-fiving the Yeti, and I went alone to the single rider line. Five minutes later, I was back out and ready for a different rope-dropping experience: Thirsty River Bar.

Hint to Thirsty River Bar: Many people are thirsty before 11:00 AM. Just sayin’. Dawa gets it.

I’m struggling to remember lunch. Which is ironic, given that I recall struggling over what to do for lunch — Flame Tree or Sanaa? NAY — I remember now! Skipper Canteen! Wow. That’s like when you’re trying to remember some safari guide’s name and you’re all, “Ben… Bob… Beau… Oh, I remember! Fitzwilliam.”

Wait, no… that was Thursday. Damnit! And with a spoiler alert to boot.

Hmmm… Must’ve been Sanaa. So let’s assume I ordered a Safari Amber (or two), bread service, and something else that I regretted because I was still full from bread service. And let’s also assume it was amazing, because it always is.

My photos do not lie:  we had lunch at Sanaa, and I went into Beast Mode over Bread Service.

My photos do not lie: we had lunch at Sanaa, and I went into Beast Mode over Bread Service.

After lunch we headed to Kidani’s bus stop to hitch a ride to MK. This, I do recall, because I remember being excited to use the digital times board to see how long we’d be waiting for our bus, and then being the opposite of excited when we saw that it would be 35 fucking minutes. My brain instantly lept into Unacceptable Rage Strategy Mode, conceiving of every single possible alternative scenario to get to MK. “We could take the bus back to DAK and then get a bus to MK.” “Bus to Epcot, MONORAIL TO MK.” “Uber!” Ultimately, my calmer, saner mother prevailed and suggested we just sit and relax for 35 minutes.

Requisite Pixie Dust and accompanying selfie.

Requisite Pixie Dust and accompanying selfie.

What felt like more than 35 minutes later, we were aboard a bus to MK, disembarking, and hitting up those FPs that I’d purposely saved for the afternoon. Seeing as we also had FPs at MK for Thursday (now that that cat’s out of the bag!), and knowing myself as I do, our FPs were for three of the following: Haunted Mansion, Space Mountain, Pirates, Peter Pan, Thunder Mountain, and Haunted Mansion again. What? I’m emotionally monogamous with my favourite attraction.

Unfortunately, we didn’t have a ton of time to frolic about the Magic Kingdom, because fortunately, we had dinner reservations at Citrico’s. Or, more accurately, we didn’t have a ton of time to frolic in the Magic Kingdom because I wanted to show My Mother Trader Sam’s for the first time before we needed to be at Citrico’s. Wait, a quick Google search tells me that it is Citricos — not Citrico’s. Good thing I’m not writing a book about WDW lounges and bars, right?

As far as Trader Sam’s (Sams? Sam’s) goes, I was shocked to just waltz in with no wait whatsoever. Actually, if we’re being honest, I was almost disappointed, as I was going to use the wait as an excuse to go to Tambu Lounge for round one. Best laid plans…

It was fairly dead in there, and we were able to pick from a variety of seating locations. We ordered drinks. They involved rum and souvenir glasses. Sound effects were made. A punch line was delivered. I found myself missing Tambu Lounge like one misses a trusted, tried, and true safari guide; younger, prettier models aren’t always better.

Next up was a personal first for both of us: dining at Citricos (no apostrophe)! We were ushered toward the back of the restaurant where we found ourselves with decent views of not just Wishes, but some other fireworks display, too. #Factual

The service was attentive, and the food quite good. Lots of attention to detail. Unlike this blog. I remember being pleased. My Mother, too.

I ate this.

I ate this.

After that was the fun adventure of getting back to the Beach Club, which involved a monorail ride to MK, and then waiting another potential 35 minutes for a bus to BC. I’d use this as an opportunity to complain about Disney transportation, but even I’m not that self-entitled to bitch about free transportation between the greatest place on earth and one of its deluxe resorts. Especially when you consider the alternative: parking at MK.

We briefly considered the Monteverro '00, but ultimately decided it would be more economical to each get our own PlumpJack Pomerol.

We briefly considered the Monteverro ’00, but ultimately decided it would be more economical to each get our own PlumpJack Pomerol.

By the time we arrived back at the resort, I’m assuming it was bed time. Either that or, remember that one time I tried to record a podcast from my Disney resort room but was way too distracted by pins? Yeah, that may have been that night.

And on that note, look — shiny objects!

The aftermath of getting pixie-dusted: Making your bed look like you had a stripper orgy.

The aftermath of getting pixie-dusted: Making your bed look like you had a stripper orgy.

January Trip Report Day Two: Monkey Madness

To continue to stretch my brain muscles, I’m going to attempt to write this recap of day two WITHOUT LOOKING SHIT UP. Granted, I took no notes, but thanks to the overlords at MyDisneyExperience, I could at least see what photos were taken. Also, as if I would ever enter into a WDW vacation without an Excel spreadsheet detailing our every move. But I will not check with these references.

So let me think…

I believe this was the day that we started off with breakfast at Cape May Café. Yeah, let’s just go with that. Worst case scenario, I’m getting a head start on day three’s recap.

This is what a person enthusiastic to meet a character looks like.

This is what a person enthusiastic to meet a character looks like.

We had opted to book this character breakfast (Minnie’s Beach Bash, I think it’s called; I could look it up, but we’ve already established that no research is going into this post whatsoever, and that includes getting things straight like names, dates, details, facts, etc.) because My Mother enjoys character interactions. As I do not, this is her way of tricking me into getting photos with characters, because I’m too busy eating crepes to notice that Goofy’s creeping up behind me. Hashtag CrepeCreeping. Yeah, I just came up with that.

From a purely culinary angle, the breakfast was good. Any time there’s a crepe station involved, there’s not too much to complain about. Oh, your hamster just died? Here’s a crepe. Feel better, don’t you? Yeah, thought so. Also, charcuterie. Goofy could’ve started humping my leg and I’d hardly have paused chewing.

This is what someone caught unaware and not good at interacting with characters looks like.

This is what someone caught unaware and not good at interacting with characters looks like.

From a character angle, I think My Mother was happy, which is all that matters to me. I, for one, was pretty bullshit that Mickey wasn’t there. What kind of bitch does Minnie think she is, throwing a beach bash and not inviting Mickey? I once made the mistake of introducing Mark to someone as my “traveling partner,” and I didn’t hear the end of that for at least two weeks. If I threw a beach bash without him? I think I’d end up on a couch somewhere being encouraged to use “feeling words.”

After that, we were off to what’s left of Hollywood Studios because it’s my conscientious duty to visit High Octane Refreshments as much as humanly possible before they bulldoze it in April. If you were to move that, Tower of Terror, and Rock ‘n’ Rollercoaster to Epcot, I’d officially have no need to visit DHS again until Toy Story land opens. Even then, I’ll likely still skip Midway Mania because ain’t nobody got time for that (#NotMyTierOne), plus my forearm strength is not up to par.

I LOVE sailors' valentines and was giddy to see this one at the Beach Club.

I LOVE sailors’ valentines and was giddy to see this one at the Beach Club.

Today’s visit to the Studios was set apart from our typical in-and-out because we had the great fortune of meeting up with the one and only Mr. Monkey. This is a Twitter friend, for those of you trying to follow along at home. Despite never having seen a picture of him, I quickly picked him out of a crowd given that there are only so many grown men at theme parks by themselves holding a stuffed monkey. Usually that honour goes to Drunko, but today was special.

Due to the fact that this meet-up was a bit last minute, Mr. Monkey was not on our FP+ schedule. When given the option to be polite to a new friend or hit up my Tower of Terror FP, my answer is always the same: “Why not both?” So we pulled a move I like to call “The Confused Tourist.” It can also be called, “When in Doubt, Blame MM+.” It goes like this: you walk up to the FP entrance, scan your MagicBand, and when the third person in your party comes up as Blue (AKA DECLINED), you act super confused. Usually this is enough to get the CM to wave you all through. But sometimes it requires escalation where you insist that their system is buggy as shit, and you didn’t pay this much money to be fucked over by IT issues.

In our case, neither approach was really necessary, as when Mr. Monkey scanned blue, the CM working the entrance of ToT didn’t even notice. High five to the DHS Employee of the Month!

Me and Mr. Monkey

Me and Mr. Monkey

After an enjoyable series of drops, it was about time for a different kind of drop: Rope-dropping High Octane Refreshments. This is trickier than it sounds, as no one really knows when this bar opens. It seems to be based on lunar phases or the personal mood of the bartender opening up that day. Regardless, whatever time it is (usually 12:30), it’s not the same time as quoted in the Park Times thingy offered at the gates that also includes the times of various shows throughout the day that I do not care about.

Incidentally, one show I do care about and whose future is as confirmed as doomed as High Octane’s is Lights Motors Action! (Exclamation point theirs — I’m not THAT excited). Drunko’s actually never been to this show ever, and the lack of his trace upon it makes it a very non-scorched earth experience for me. As such, it was the perfect place to take our Rum Runners on the Rocks (my personal High Octane beverage of choice). The show was, as always, entertaining and enjoyable. Drunko’s seriously missing out. You know who else I think is missing out? Mark. Of all the random Disney shit I drag him to, I think he may actually thoroughly enjoy this one. And here I was there with another man/monkey. I’m as bad as Minnie. Don’t tell Mark.

Okay, fine, I'm getting better at this.  Practice makes perfect.

Okay, fine, I’m getting better at this. Practice makes perfect.

After LMA! (emphasis still theirs), things took a dark turn; Drunko appeared like a harbinger of death at a geriatric’s birthday party. Things got so crazy, I actually found myself in a line to meet Donald (ironically for the second time that day). Madness, I tell you, madness. Once more drinks were secured to ease me through the experience (That’s What She Said, and that She is usually me), we meandered out of Studios and headed toward Disney Springs. Luckily, I was able to put Drunko’s appearance to good use and conned him into driving us there. I am nothing if not an opportunist. Or bad friend.

Once at our new destination, we pondered which bar to spend our time in (as one does). Hoping to introduce My Mother to some of the new sights and scenes, we aimed first for Morimoto’s only to be told that the upstairs bar was not open until 5. Screw that. If I can’t overlook the entire restaurant and ponder whether or not to throw things at patrons below, then it’s just not worth my time. So we ended up at Jock’s, which was fine, as I now had enough people with me to sit in the Bell Diver booth and not feel like an asshole hogging the best seat in the joint — just me and my phone as company (it is my best friend, after all).

So much wrong with this picture.

So much wrong with this picture.

Bell Diver booth acquired!

Bell Diver booth acquired!

Sadly, My Mother was called away by a family conference call, so I was left alone with a monkey and a man who calls himself Mr. Monkey. More drinking ensued. Cocktail Party tricks were performed. I’m not totally proud. Just a little.

Eventually, Mom came back, we settled up, and we finally shed Drunko like my cats after a long 3-day Florida winter. Next up: shopping! (Excitement and emphasis mine this time). Mr. Monkey was ever the cooperative gentleman. Most men would’ve fled with Drunko at this point, but clearly Mr. Monkey is not most men. I drew the line at asking him to carry my bags, but the thought did cross my mind. After a few hours (and some number of dollars), we had to sadly bid adieu to the simian and head to our BOATHOUSE dinner reservation (I’m allowed to call it that, as I booked it on OpenTable and not through Disney).

Monkey Mayhem when allowed loose in a store.

Monkey Mayhem when allowed loose in a store.

All was well, as I dried my tears with the amazing bread service and then rediscovered my love of extra dry gin martinis. It’s like Robyn sings, “the only way her heart will mend is when she learns to love again.” I did. I also loved the oysters, the calamari, and the filet sliders. BOOM. Woman healed.

You know what else I loved? The seasoning salt provided at the table. It was so amazing, I considered stealing it, which is something I wouldn’t think twice about at a Chili’s, but Disney? I have too much respect. Luckily for me (must be all that good karma for not committing petty theft), they sell the stuff in their gift shop! I now use it almost daily. I’m considering mixing it into sriracha and calling it my own sauce that I invented. And if this were 2011, I’d call it Awesome Sauce, but it’s not, so I’ll have to come up with something new.

I'm lactose intolerant.

I’m lactose intolerant.

After making our way back to the Beach Club, we made the most obvious move for two people who just ate a big, amazing meal: we went straight to Beaches and Cream for ice creams. I must confess two things: 1) I’d never before been to Beaches and Cream, and 2) IT WAS WONDERFUL. I always assumed it was yet another Edy’s hiding behind pretty decor, but it was not! It was actually good, high-quality ice cream!

At this point, I’m pretty sure we had to steal ECVs to get back to our room, and being in a partial-food coma, my memories end there. Probably for the best, as I start to feel a little guilty when my blog posts reach Harry Potter length. Until next time…

January 2016 Trip Report Day 1: An Exercise in Testing My Memory and My Knowledge of Publix

My bestest Christmas present from My Mother this past holiday was for a trip for the two of us to Disney World. Not a whirlwind weekend where I’m staying off property and forcing my traveling companions to visit every All Star Resorts Pool bar just to take pictures — nay, a real vacation.

After we went through what felt like a month of planning just to settle on the dates (we’re very busy people who also refuse to go near WDW during February break or holiday weekends), we decided on two different weeks (always have a contingency plan!), and thus the resort decision making process began. That took what felt like another month. We ended up with the Beach Club for week one and Fort Wilderness cabins for back-up week two.

I also continued in this pattern of constant contingency plans booking our ADRs as well. Can’t decide between Yachtsman or Le Cellier? Why not both?!

So yes, to address what you’re thinking right now: I am the problem. I clog up reservations for resorts and restaurants. SorryNotSorry. If it makes you think slightly better of me, I did cancel the alternatives as soon as we knew our real plans. Plus, let’s face it, Le Cellier is freakishly easy to get into these days.

Our trip began with the world’s poorest planned excursion to stock up on in-room essentials (read: booze and mixers). I picked My Mother up at MCO, and with her acting as our ill-fated navigator, I’m driving while she’s trying to Google a Publix. Because if there are two things I know 1) There’s a Publix every 0.15 miles in the state of Florida, and 2) Where there is a Publix, there is a liquor store. I’ll note here that Mark strongly disagrees with my second point, swearing that he finds himself at liquor-store-less Publixes all the time, like some kind of bad dream he can’t wake himself from. I simply tell him that he’s obviously unobservant and/or blind.

Mom finds a Publix Near You, according to that hack job whore, Siri, and next thing you know, we’re exiting the highway into what looks like a rather unsavory part of Orlando. Not unsavory like the vibrantly frightening neighbourhood around the Citrus Bowl, but close-ish. It was Citrus Lite. However, never one to be afraid of what could be a unique grocery store experience, we headed in. After all, tonic water and yogurt bridge all divides. After we’d stocked up on enough snacks and breakfasts to last us a month, we headed outside to look for the requisite liquor store in the same strip mall. Only — wait for it — THERE WAS NONE. Don’t tell Mark.

This led to another chaotic and ill-advised navigation. THANKS, SIRI, YOU TWO-BIT HOOKER. But hey, you know what we did find in our search for a liquor store? About another five Publixes, and they all looked like they probably received better sanitation ratings than the one we were lucky enough to frequent. Ultimately, we ended up at the ABC Store on Vineland, only after we had passed the highway exit for it, naturally. I tried to pretend it was on purpose to show off the new exit ramp straight to the Disney Springs parking garage. I think Mom was truly impressed.

You know what impressed me? That damn ABC store. Shit — I need to get my book draft back from the publisher — I need to add a note of Highest Recommendation. Maybe even change up my dedication.

Yes, that ABC Store, if you’re in the area with a car and in need of supplies (hell, fuck the car, get an Uber if you have to), is a delight to be held. Amazing selection (as most ABCs have), but what really had my heart pumping was the beer selection. I came thisclose to grabbing a shopping cart, filling it up, going out to my car, leaving my My Mother’s and my luggage on the side of the road, and instead filling my trunk (which, I will note, I just mistyped as “drunk,” you’re welcome) with local craft beer until I could barely close it.

Instead, I bought one six pack and wept slightly.

Don’t get me wrong — the bottle of rye helped to ease the pain. Slightly.

By now, what seemed like way too many hours later, it was time to get to the resort. This would be my third go at the whole “just text me my room number so that I can avoid human interaction” feature, and the third time was not a charm. Pro-tip: I think, based solely on the wording of a survey I took after our stay, that the issue is that you need to have your entire balance paid off prior to arrival. If you only put down the deposit, then they won’t give you your room number until they have the rest of your money in their greedy, corporate hands. While this makes some level of sense, it seems like they could clearly state this somewhere, rather than letting me wonder why I’m never getting their texts. It’s like flashbacks to The Days Following A First Date.

We must’ve looked like a family of five checking for two weeks as we unloaded the car of way too many suitcases and grocery bags, but whatever. We roll how we roll. After getting checked in (via an actual human being; oh, the horror), we headed up to the room (pool view; score!), unpacked, and got ready to head into Epcot for the night because that’s just what you do when you suddenly find yourselves being next door neighbours.

Emphasizing laziness over any and all Twitter advice I received, we opted to dine at Le Cellier that night, rather than exiting out back to the Yachtsman. And you know what? Despite the fact that the Yachtsman is currently my favourite WDW restaurant (it changes seasonally and hormonally), I may go out on a limb to say that Le Cellier was my favourite meal of the whole trip. Part of this could be due to accidentally getting two orders of poutine, but if they put it in front of me, it’s going to stay there.

After a drink or two-pre-dinner, and then my requisite Unibroue flight, I found it particularly hilarious that My Mother, a semi-vegetarian, ordered the Porterhouse — hold the Porterhouse. Love her. I was going to offer to eat her porterhouse for her, but after two varieties of poutine and my salmon entree, trying to add a 32oz. side dish of awesomeness probably wasn’t meant to be. Alas, I shall put my Eating Olympics dreams on hold for now.

For the record, while we initially ordered the Onion Soup Poutine (or whatever they’re calling it), we were served the Bacon Cheddar Poutine (or whatever they’re calling it), and I actually have to say I preferred the latter. It wasn’t until I was about half-way to food climax when the waitress realized the mistake and brought us out the other one. It then became a menage-et-trois of poutine ecstasy, but the onion soup was definitely the one that sat on the side and watched the most.

After we rolled ourselves out of Le Cellier, we had a bit of time to kill before our Illuminations FP (because, as a responsible blogger, I should try every dumb idea Disney throws at me at least once). Luckily for us, good Twitter friend Ian was in our neck of the woods, so we met up in the Mexico pavilion where he caught me taking stupid iPhone pictures of mediocrely funny t-shirts. We shook hands, chatted, and then sealed the friendship deal by taking a Gran Fiesta Tour together. We also put Mom to the test to see if she’d notice the new animatronics, and I’m proud to say she did!

We parted ways after that, and with barely time to grab a margarita before illuminations, we headed out.

Illuminations FP Report Summed Up In One Word: Dumb.

Moving on…

After that, it was time to hit the hay, and such glorious hay it was! In the Paulie’s Corner edition where someone suggested a Disney IKEA, I would leap on that opportunity to take that little golf pencil and notate the shit out of wanting everything about the Beach Club bed, bedding, pillows, hell — I’ll take the whole damn room! If I were ever hired as Mousekeeping, you couldn’t let me work at the Beach Club, because I would just nap constantly. I’d say you should put me on duty at Pop Century, but that sounds like a special level of hell that I don’t quite deserve. Yet. I’m still young-ish.

I kicked the baby bird out of the nest

Let’s just hope she can fly.

In this scenario, the baby bird is my manuscript, the nest is my controlling hands, and the kicking would be to the publisher. Flying would equal not failing miserably, but I’m sure you got that by now.

Now that she’s gone, I feel a little empty inside. What can I focus on next? Well, other than the 129 invitations I need to address for my brother’s wedding because I’m “gifted” with “neat handwriting.” I suppose I could resuscitate this blog. I suppose I could also learn how to spell “resuscitate” without having to right-click on a red squiggly line. Goals!

So what should we talk about? I forget how this works. I almost started making a list of things I can occupy my time with, which would’ve included gardening and trying to figure out why my chili plants keep dying, but then I realized that this is a Disney-themed blog. I genuinely forgot. The situation is that dire.

There are always trip reports, but I mostly stopped doing those because A) they were starting to feel like an obligation rather than something fun, and B) I ended up going to Disney too goddamn much in my research efforts for the book to keep cataloging every day spent there.

Perhaps there are some of you out there who are not Floridians who would kill to go to WDW “too goddamn much,” and you’re starting to think I’m a pretty ungrateful person. To you, I say, “I’m not! Honestly! There’s just a real difference between a fun, relaxing vacation at Disney as opposed to having planned a leisurely weekend at home, only to realize those evil geniuses in Orlando opened another bar, and suddenly you need to scrap your plans, get in the car, drive three hours, take some photos, order a drink, and then (after an appropriate amount of time has passed) get back in the car and drive three hours home.” You can see my side on this, yes? Right? Maybe a little?

Though, I was fortunate enough to have a legit, relaxing, fun, amazing, wonderful WDW vacation with My Mother last month. I should probably trip report that to the best of my memory as I failed to take any notes in a rebellious effort to feel as off-duty as possible. But needless to say, I’m eternally grateful to her for taking me on a much-needed real Disney vacation.

I could give a brief overview on book-writing process which was, suffice it to say, both fun and poke-myself-in-the-eye-with-a-lit-cigarette-level-of-frustrating at times. Yeah, that probably deserves its own, stand-alone post.

Let’s stop here, take it all in, do some cleansing breaths, and get exciting about what inane topics I can come up with next. Spoiler alert: they may involve chilies and the mysterious white powder that appears on the undersides of their leaves that no level of pesticide/fungicide can seem to kill.

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 on 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:

Wonderland.

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.

Buttery.

Buttery.

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.
Sincerely,
Your #73 fan,
Rhiannon