Friday, June 29, 2012

Back to the Future- Epcot's 30th Anniversary

1964 New York World's Fair 
... where it all began for me, and in many ways, for Walt too.  My first steps into EPCOT Center in late 1983 were footsteps into deja vu; I had been here before.

New York World's Fair - Unisphere
Photo by Roger Wollstadt

1965 New York World's Fair
"The World of Tomorrow" (I saw my first computer there), a theme for the New York World's Fair, was evident in EPCOT Center's Future World, and the trademark pavilions spotlighting international trade and tourism (I had my first Belgian Waffle at the Belgium Pavilion) were again present in the World Showcase.

Walt Disney's Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow was undeniably the impetus for the Florida Project.  Though the utopian city that he envisioned is not quite what we visit today, the concepts of highlighting recent technology and world culture and commerce are. This permanent Worlds Fair if you will, continued the successful model of utilizing corporate sponsors (after all, all 4 Disney exhibits at the Fair were sponsored by American companies: Ford, General Electric, the State of Illinois and Pepsi-Cola).  Frankly, it just feels so similar.  Disney legend Marty Sklar has been quoted as saying that there were three reasons that Walt agreed to particpate in the World's Fair:  1.  To perfect attractions (especially Audio-Animatronics) and bring them back to Disneyland  2.  Prove that the Disney concept could work on the East Coast.  3.  EPCOT.

On  October 1, 1982, EPCOT Center opened to the world.  So, it must be time for- you guessed it-  30 Days to 30 Years; another blogger series dedicated to the upcoming Disney Parks milestone.  My co-host, Beth Doda (The Magical Blogorail creator) and I are looking for 30 writers to begin a proper countdown to the 30th Anniversary of Epcot.  Are you interested in paying homage to Walt's dream?  If so, please contact me here.

Starting September 1st, it's 30 Days to 30 Years...

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Oh Brother- A Wordless Wednesday

Magic Kingdom  1994

MGM Studios  1996
California Grill  2000
Birthday Fireworks Cruise  2001

'Ohana  2002
Surrey on the Boardwalk  2003
Epcot  2008
Disneyland Paris  2011

"B" stands for brothers; brothers bred at the Disney Parks.  Bonds that will never break.

Focused on the Magic

Monday, June 25, 2012

Turning 21 in Neverland

Mommy Mondays!  I spent the weekend finalizing plans for our upcoming trip to Disneyland. It's my oldest son's landmark birthday celebration, you see.  Deep, deep down I wondered if having a 21 year old would disqualify me from the ranks of "mommy".  But I know in my bones that it can't be.  Because I assure you, in the wave of a wand, your babes will come of age.  When your Peter Pan is weaned at Neverland; when every first step, double-digits birthday party, communion and graduation has a Disney Park as its backdrop, there should be no other place to begin the "awfully big adventure" into manhood.  What follows is the pixie dust that will sail our 21 year old into everlasting youth.

-   Ralph Brennan's Jazz Kitchen  The perfect birthday dinner for a 21 year old; Mardi Gras decoration, sweet jazz, juicy steaks, a candle in the Bananas Foster and his first Hurricane.  An instant party and the perfect place to flex his new wings!

-   Downtown Disney District  Ideal for people watching, (OK, girl watching), and soaking in the live outdoor entertainment until the wee hours.  Professional musicians abound, and there is dancing in the streets- literally.

-   Trader Sam's- Enchanted Tiki Bar  From the Kahlua Pork Flatbread to the HippopotoMai Tai, this homage to the Jungle Cruise, defunct Adventurer's Club in Orlando and Enchanted Tiki Room will satisfy our 21 year old's appetite for irreverent humor. We plan on spending a full evening here.  After a drink at the wild and crazy bar, we'll sit outside, eat, and listen to the band. The nearby outdoor fireplace will be the perfect place to hang out and make plans for the day ahead.  Very California cool.

-   Starbucks  Yes, it just happens to be opening in June along with its new home; Buena Vista Street.  Every college student in America seems to require one these caffeinated concoctions to begin their day.  Its location inside the Fiddler, Fifer and Practical Cafe will allow him to receive his attitude adjustment, and the rest of us to drink in the architecture of Carthay Circle Theater, while keeping an eye out for that Red Car Trolley.

-   No matter the age, every member of my family is busting to get our first look at Cars Land.  We can't wait to fly with the Radiator Springs Racers, but I know his California Adventure highlight will be the World of Color.  He was 6 when he first saw Fantasmic!, and this water spectacular is, for him, a grown-up version of that experience.  As a music major, he's been listening to its score since it previewed in 2010, and witnessing it in person will be true starstuff.

-   He was born to the video game generation.  My soon-to-be 21 year old has broken in every new gaming system since the early 1990's, so we know in advance that we will ride Paradise Pier's Toy Story Mania! over and over again until he is satisfied with his score (nothing under 250,000 will do).  Secretly, I know he'll be rehearsing for our multiple interactions with Mr. Potato Head in the queue!

-   Mad T Party  ElectTRONica will be replaced this summer by an all-new entertainment celebration.  Located in the Hollywood Pictures Backlot, this Alice in Wonderland/Tim Burton inspired party should offer just the right mix of music, special effects and specialty cocktails to turn my son and his friends into the "Lost Boys"- but just for one evening!

-  Carthay Circle Restaurant  Yup, we have reservations at this to-drool-over latest Signature Dining spot at Disney California Adventure on Buena Vista Street.  The food reviews I have read are stellar, but the immersion in Walt Disney's Hollywood is what we're most excited about. We're ready for our close-ups Mr. DeMille...

My boy DID grow up, but with a song in his heart, and a childhood full of "lovely wonderful thoughts", he will hopefully never loose his inner child.  At the Happiest Place on Earth, our 21 year old will not be shutting the window on his youth; as Walt said, he will officially be an adult with a "child's approach to life".  Forever more.

Congratulations to Molly on her "inspiring" new blog AND terrific Blog Hop!  You can follow her work and the Hop here:

Mommy Mondays

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Brave Happenings at Walt Disney World Resort- Wordless Wednesday

Brave is coming!  We stumbled upon this sand sculpture-in-progress during our Epcot sojourn last month.  I'm all for sassy heroines (perhaps because I am so NOT), and can't wait for the official release of this Pixar flick on Friday.  You can preview the movie trailer here.  (Warning:  you may experience an unexplainable urge to take up archery.)  Or how about entering the Brave Adventure in Scotland Sweepstakes for a chance to travel to Scotland with Adventures by Disney??  If you are in search of your own personal challenge, head to the Rose Walk area of Epcot between now and July 8th, 2012; experience the completed sand art plus Brave- The Highland Games Tournament.  Archery and Haggis Flip?  Now that's brave.

Focused on the Magic

Monday, June 18, 2012

It's a Custom Disney Purse Giveaway!

Have you been Disney Dooney dreaming?  (As in Dooney & Bourke designer handbag collections, of course.)  Starting July 14th, yet another line of Disney----- will be introduced at Walt Disney World;  a retro print and a Disney Character charms design.  They are adorable. And well-made.  And couture.  And expensive.  My personal collection grows every season, but at some point, I have to balance the cost of the beauties I covet (products range from $395 for a duffle to $49 for a wristlet) against saving for my next Disney trip!  What's a Disney girl to do?? Well, I think I've stumbled upon the next best thing:  a custom Disney-inspired purse by Chasing Paper!  These custom-made beauties are made from wrapping paper, sprinkled with pixie dust, and transformed into wearable works of art.  I was SO impressed with Terry's work, that I've asked her to take part in my first solo giveaway.  After all, I know I'm not the only one with a Disney purse fetish...

So, here's our shiny star:

"Ariel's Tail"

Complete with a Little Mermaid zipper pull

How would you like to "premier" at the upcoming Fantasyland attraction The Little Mermaid~ Ariel's Undersea Adventure with this beauty slung over your shoulder?  It works equally well at Disney California Adventure's version or Voyage of the Little Mermaid at Disney Hollywood Studios!  Become "part of that world" by entering this giveaway in just a 4 mandatory steps:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Another bonus?  You'd be supporting a member of the Disney community by following Chasing Paper on Facebook, Etsy, and @ripbrandon93 on Twitter.  Help spread the Disney love and come away with your "collection complete"!