Wednesday, March 2, 2016

World Rides Update

Where am I at?  I've taken everything I've done so far crossed off this list, so both you and I can see what I still have left to do.  After all, I've only got just over another month left here before I have to attempt the most dangerous part of my journey: the return to civilization!  Sorry, that was a poor attempt at a Jungle Cruise joke.

Don't worry, it was kinda fishy anyway.

You know why? Because it stunk!

Okay, I'll stop now.

MAGIC KINGDOM 

  1. Main Street Vehicles
  2. Walt Disney World Railroad
  3. Jungle Cruise
  4. Pirates of the Caribbean
  5. Magic Carpets of Aladdin
  6. Splash Mountain
  7. Big Thunder Mountain
  8. Rafts to Tom Sawyer Island
  9. Liberty Belle Riverboat
  10. Haunted Mansion
  11. It’s a Small World
  12. Peter Pan’s Flight
  13. Prince Charming Regal Carousel
  14. Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
  15. Under the Sea — Journey of the Little Mermaid
  16. Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
  17. Mad Tea Party
  18. Dumbo the Flying Elephant
  19. Barnstormer
  20. Tomorrowland Speedway
  21. Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover
  22. Space Mountain
  23. Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin
  24. AstroOrbiter
  25. Carousel of Progress
Score: 18/25
I feel like I've done good here getting the obvious ones out of the way here, now just to get on the more obscure ones.

EPCOT

  1. Spaceship Earth
  2. Ellen’s Energy Adventure
  3. Sum of All Thrills
  4. Mission: SPACE
  5. Test Track
  6. Gran Fiesta Tour
  7. Journey Into Imagination
  8. Living with the Land
  9. The Seas with Nemo and Friends
Score: 7/9
Woohoo! Score one for the home park!  Now just to find time to do the 45 minute Universe of Energy "ride".  Added to this list is Sum of All Thrills, which I think is overlooked, but I feel it meets the qualifications to be included in this list.


DISNEY’S HOLLYWOOD STUDIOS

  1. Great Movie Ride
  2. Toy Story Midway Mania
  3. Star Tours
  4. Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster
  5. Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
Score: 5/5
It's not hard to knock all of these out, since this is the shortest list.  A good part of Hollywood Studios attractions come down to shows, which aren't included here.  But I've done good getting all of those done as well.  Hopefully it won't be too long until the list of strictly rides at this park increases significantly.  


DISNEY’S ANIMAL KINGDOM

  1. Kilimanjaro Safari
  2. Wildlife Express
  3. Kali River Rapids
  4. Expedition Everest
  5. Dinosaur
  6. Primeval Whirl
  7. TriceraTop Spin
Score: 6/8
Still got a bit to do left at Animal Kingdom.  I was going to try and get this all done in one visit, but I was defeated before I even started by Kali River Rapids being down for refurbishment.  Time soon to go back and finish this park!

Overall number left to ride: 11

I'm satisfied with my progress.  I'm getting to the point of going out of my way to finish this list and almost planning my trips to cross things off at this point.  I do have some things to say about some of these rides and the parks that contain them, and should (eventually) get around to getting my thoughts put down at some point.  

When?  Haha, good question.  

I have no idea.  

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Valentine's Day

(Author's Note: I started this post a day or two after Valentine's Day, when my internet did go down.  Instead of finishing it or posting it when my internet access was restored, I let it sit on my desktop, collecting dust bunnies (I'll think I'll name him Fluffy.  Or Jeff.)  So since I don't really remember what else I was going to report on from this day, I've wrapped it up a bit and posted it about two weeks late.  Happy late Valentine's Day to my readers!)

This isn’t any sort of excuse for not posting here recently, but I was planning on spending some time today on writing a few posts on this blog.  That was the plan until my internet cut out.  It’s given me the same problem three times so far, with various things fixing it before.  I finally found out today that it is most likely not my computer like everyone has been suggesting because my phone also won’t connect to the Wi-Fi.  Ethernet isn’t working for me either, but my roommate seems to be doing okay, though I’m not sure how much he’s actually using the internet on his computer or if he’s just able to connect.  All he does on there is run Microsoft Flight Simulator X (this blog post today is brought to you by *insert product placement here….*) to keep his actual real-life flying skills fresh. 

Anyway, I got to work my first holiday weekend with Valentine’s Day happening just recently, which also happened to fall on the same three-day weekend provided by President’s Day.  Thus, it was the busiest days that I’ve worked so far at Disney.  I often say that I’m really glad that I work at Epcot for several reasons, but especially because the park doesn’t get super busy or crowded like the Magic Kingdom does.  Even during times of the year that many consider are “slower” there can be a lot of people in the parks.  I got just a little taste of that this weekend with the number of people we had throughout the day.  Mostly it kept us consistently busy throughout the day. 

There were more people that were irritable today though.  Now hold on a moment; I thought Valentine’s Day was about love.  Wouldn’t that mean that people were happy and getting along with one another?  Well, apparently not. One lady told me that she had ridden in a shell that had water on the seat, which upset her.  When I offered a quick “I’m sorry” to her, she replied “No you’re not!” and walked off.  Oh, I didn’t know you knew what I was feeling instead of me, my bad. 

But we actually got up to a decent wait time.  We most often post a 10 minute wait, which really is just about a 5 minute walk through our long queue.  Oh yeah, that’s another thing that people love to joke about; trust me, we’ve heard it before.  On Valentine’s Day we got up to a 25 or 30 minute wait for a part of the day, which filled our standby queue up to the door outside. We do have these butterfly gates that we can open to make the queue longer, but we keep them in the shortest configuration all of the time.  For a brief part of Sunday we opened one of the gates, until someone thought our line was short again and closed it.  It was only later that we reached our highest wait times of the day.  Oops.  Oh well, no one complained about that at least. 


Overall, just another great day at the Seas!

Monday, February 29, 2016

Stories from the Seas: "Are those fish real?"

Wow, do I get this question a lot.  "Are those real fish?  Is that a real aquarium?  Is that water real?"

Um, yes.  Yes it is.

Okay, so if you don't know, The Seas with Nemo and Friends started back in the 80s as a pavilion called The Living Seas.  It was based around the concept of what it would be like to live in a base deep underwater, called Seabase Alpha.  A big part of that pavilion was a 5.7 million gallon aquarium with a man made coral reef environment.  In 2006 the pavilion was updated to it's current Nemo theme, with the ride being renamed the same as the pavilion.  The finale of the ride travels through the aquarium with Finding Nemo characters appearing alongside the real fish.  However, we get asked so often if that aquarium that they just traveled through and all the fish they saw inside it are real.

Here's the deal: if Disney is good enough at making people believe that things are real that people are actually fooled into thinking that this aquarium might not actually exist, then kudos to them.  That shows how good Disney is at doing what they try to do.  The theme parks are all about making fantasy worlds and things into reality; making possible that which is impossible, and getting everyone, both young and old, to believe in it.  The fact that people ever even wonder if the water, fish, aquarium, etc. are real is awesome.

On the other hand, I still can't help but wonder how anyone could think that it's fake.  Maybe it's just because I've always known the aquarium is real that I have a hard time comprehending why people even ask this question.  Of course it's real!! As much as it would be awesome if we could, I'm pretty sure no one in the world can create water effects, fish, sharks, dolphins, sting rays, sea turtles, and everything else that appears as real as, well, the real thing.  I see it as a no-brainer.  Of course, it's also said that Disney guests drop something like 20 IQ points on average by walking through the gates....but that is another blog post.

A couple of more notes on the aquarium:

- I never knew how popular the manatees were here until the last week or so that they've been off exhibit.  We have two manatees here, and one had surgery recently, so they are being kept apart for the time being, which causes the tank filter to not work as well as normal, which clouds up the water, so their tank is curtained off until further notice.  Or something like that.  But I've had so many people ask me why they were gone and when they will be back ever since their tank was covered up.  But I don't know when, so please stop asking me.

- Someone asked me today why the dolphin appeared so sad.  Um, I don't know that one either.  Maybe because all his friends are backstage and he's in the onstage tank?  We have four dolphins, but usually just one or two are in the onstage tank at a time.  Maybe that's it, or perhaps dolphins just naturally appear sad?

- "Is that the aquarium for the restaurant?"  Technically, yes.  It is the same aquarium that the Coral Reef Restaurant looks out into (as well as the VIP Lounge, which few people get to visit, #castmemberprivileges), but the aquarium is for everyone first and the restaurant second.

- There is a fish that is very cute and always swims the same way around the dolphin tank, which just happens to be right next to where we as cast walk when we are working Unload 2 (hopefully I'll get around to explaining positions and such later on).  He (or she, but I call him a he) just swims in the same circle all day, sometimes slightly higher or lower along the window, but always at the same speed and in the same direction.  So a fellow coworker and I have taken to naming him Pato (duck in Spanish).  Also, we started timing him tonight.  He was averaging a good 24 clammobiles between passes, and assuming that Peach's dialogue stating that it's 3.2 seconds between shells (a fairly likely figure), then Pato is circling the tank in just about 77 seconds.  Which is pretty good.  I don't know exactly what path Pato travels or the distance of that particular path, but apparently he's got it down well enough to be fairly consistent in timing.  And without knowing the distance we can't calculate his speed, but I like to think that Pato is doing really good for himself.  I also pretend that he's getting his exercise in, just like how we do when we walk the unload belt endlessly.


Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Who Will it Be?

Just a shorter post for you guys today, to fill the gap until I get some more finished, hopefully soon. I ran across a news update from several sites that announced a Disney princess will soon be added to the official line of Disney Princesses, with the announcement coming this Friday, February 19th. I was curious who people thought it might be, so I started a discussion  on my personal Facebook page among my friends to hear their opinions. After a few suggestions, these are my thoughts on some of the possibilities, copied directly from what I posted on Facebook. Hopefully it's an interesting read for y'all.

By the way, if the formatting is screwy because I copied this directly, just let me know and I'll fix it tonight after my shift

I don't know who it will be, but here are my thoughts (all just personal opinion, feel free to discuss):

1. Anna and/or Elsa are most likely, and Anna more so out of the two.  I don't know if it will be them becasue it sounds like only one is being added, and it would be strange to have one without the other.  As well, Else is technically a Queen, so it would be strange to have her in the "Princess" lineup, even if she is (in my opinion) more popular than Anna.  However, Anna was the one who committed the heroic act, which is sorta one of the requirements for admittance.  I saw a few articles from shortly after Frozen came out stating that Disney was going to add Anna and Elsa to the Princesses, but nothing official from Disney and no word since, so that may or may not still happen.  It would be interesting to see them add both and then perhaps drop one of the less popular princesses (like Pocahontas) just to keep the number at 12 and not 13.

2. It won't be Leia, as much as I think that would be nice.  And it kinda makes sense with how much Disney is pushing Star Wars right now. But with Leia they would have a similar problem as they do with with adding Giselle, you can't pay the actress to stay in the parks all day for the face character.  True, they had a Leia that did meet and greets during Star Wars Weekends, but I don't think she really fits into the lineup either.

3. Moana would be cool if they added her, but I don't see it happening until later.  The princesses don't get added until after their movies come out, and we haven't seen anything yet for her movie in the way of marketing.  If it is her, it shows that Disney has a lot of faith in her character and how well she will do.  Although they could add her to the line as a marketing ploy so people will make the movie a success, but if that fails it's hard to back down from making her a princess.

4. Sofia can't become a face character, becasue she's a child.  Also, she may be popular among the age group that she is targeted towards, but she doesn't reach a wide audience; mostly just the kids and parents who watch the show with their children.  However, there is a Sofia meet and greet, so it could be they just continue doing things that way, with oversize animated characters.  Sofia's show is also about to debut another Princess with Elena of Avalor, who will then get her own show.  Out of the two, Elena seems more likely to me to be chosen because she is older and not targeted directly at kids, but since her show also hasn't started yet, it's hard to say that Disney would take the risk of adding her without knowing how popular she might be (or not).

Disney does seem to keep mentioning how diverse they are by adding Hispanic/Latino princesses in Sophia and Elena, and by emphasizing the fact that Moana is Polynesian, so it will be very interesting to see what happens and how the community responds.  Will the choice be a move of marketing, or will the position be deserving to whoever is chosen?

As a side note, I like the idea of 12 princesses, so I'm glad that they're adding one to go from 11 to 12.  We can call them the Royal Dozen or something like that!

Since I posted that, someone suggested it might be Mal or Evie from the Disney Channel movie Descendants. That movie did well enough that I'm surprised there hasnt been more capitalization off of it yet (can anyone say High School Musical?), but I again don't think it's likely Disney will choose them, for simialr reasons to Leia and Giselle mentioned above, as awesome as it would be to have a Disney Princess that is the daughter of a classic Disney villain.

All of these have great pros and cons, and I would like to say I was right in guessing who it might be, but even more I'd love to be proven wrong. I formulate my opinions from past personal experiences and try to guess what Disney might be thinking, bit they have proven that it's not always easy to predict the decisions of such a large company. They've surprised me in the past, and this is one time where they could surprise us all again.

Go ahead and post your own comments below!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

A Quick Note on Discovery Day

Discovery Day is the training class specifically for cast members working at Epcot to introduce them to the park and the story it tells.  Each park has one, and the cast members will go through this on their second day of training.  So I'be been happy about things since I found out I was working at Epcot, and after visiting there following Traditions, I was definitely sure that it was my favorite park.  But this cemented that even more for me.  We had three awesome leaders who took us on a tour of the park around Future World and World Showcase, with a few surprises along the way that were so awesome, we were literally sworn to secrecy.  But seriously, Epcot is the best park!  It made us all so happy and feel like we were special.

Also with Discovery Day we found out what attractions we each will be working.  There were seven of us in the group of about 38 for the tour that were working attractions in Future World East.  Three went to Mission Space, two to Spaceship Earth, one to Test Track, and I went to the Seas with Nemo and Friends.  This isn't the most popular or desired attraction, but I'm happy with it anyway.  Especially because it also includes Turtle Talk with Crush, which will be a lot of fun to work with all the kids.  I'm most sad that I'm the only one of that group that will be starting there, just since we had some fun getting to know each other over the past few days, but I bet that I'll still get to see them occasionally.  Anyway, I now have my schedule for the next week and a half.  I start with on the job training right away, with a visiting to Costuming right at the beginning (so I went out and bought shoes.  Nothing to say about that), and next week I also have a night shift where I will have IllumiNations training for crowd control during that.  I'm really happy for that since I love IllumiNations.

In fact, I love it so much that I went out and watched it last night.  I first went to Hollywood Studios so ride Star Tours twice and then catch the Star Wars themed fireworks show, which was AMAZING.  I'll talk more about that in a later post, but it was so awesome.  Then I caught a break and got right on a Friendship boat headed to Epcot, which I got to with about 15 minutes to spare before the start of IllumiNations, so I walked over near Mexico so that a backstage exit to my bus stop was close and convenient.  I was really worried about being caught and accused of trespassing since I was in casual clothes, so I had my ID out and ready to show if anyone accused me of that.  Luckily nothing happened and I got right on the bus and made it home.

So life has been great and now I'm starting the next leg of this amazing journey.  Here we go!