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!