Archive for April, 2009

Off to WDW

Monday, April 27th, 2009

Quick announcement: We’re taking the whole crew to Disney World for the next two weeks to try and get more material to beef up the site’s WDW section (which at the moment is thinner than a walrus-hunting polar bear).

We won’t be posting while we are gone, but hope to return with many interesting (sic.) and important (double sic.) WDW tips. In the meantime, please reply to this post with detailed descriptions of any Disney events that didn’t actually happen while we were gone. We appreciate the assistance!

In a Pirates League of their own

Monday, April 27th, 2009

Beginning in late June, guests of the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World will be able to visit “The Pirates League” in Adventureland and receive a pirate “makeover”. Says someone on the street pretending to be a Disney spokesperson, “It’s like Bibbidi Bobbidi Botique, but with less lace and more hooks, and the only hair they worry about is on your chest.”

Guests wishing to join the Pirates League enter the League’s secret headquarters in Adventureland, ask their parents to hand over some “bootie” (possibly in the form of a “credit c-arr-d”), and are assigned a pirate name (in the form of “Captain [first name] [animal],” “[adjective] [first name] [color],” or “Mr. [nonsense word that sounds like a sneeze].” Then, after taking a binding pirate oath by which they acknowledge that their new appearance will be ©Disney, then move into the “pirate’s den” for a complete “keel haul” (the pirate word for a makeover).

Three options are available:

  • First Mate Package ($50): Bandana, earring, eye patch, fake teeth, striped shirt, facial scar, sword, choice of false limb, stuffed parrot
  • Pirate Princess Package ($75): Just like the First Mate package, but more expensive because it’s for girls and has “princess” in the name.
  • Captain Package ($150): Everything that’s in the First Mate package, plus a pirate outfit, a real talking parrot, and a curse from an actual piece of forbidden treasure.
  • Pirate King Package ($750): Everything that’s in the Captain package, plus an upgraded sword, a “pirate coin” necklace, the right to “plunder” one car in the parking lot, and never see your parents again.


Sunday, April 26th, 2009

The team spent the weekend in repeated viewings of Disney’s latest film, Earth. This is certainly a marvelous effort on Disney’s part, and we had a few comments:

  • First and foremost, this is by far the best computer animation that Disney has produced! It’s superior even to Pixar’s best efforts. The animals looked positively real (with the exception of some “birds of paradise” which were just too ridiculous to be believable).
  • Although the common theme of appreciation for nature was strong, it would have been better brought through if the plot were more linear. This felt a little too much like a Tarrantino film in terms of plot line.
  • We saw the film at the El Capitan theater in Hollywood, California, and very much enjoyed the little pre-film presentation in which some of the film’s stars were introduced to the audience (the penguins were particular favorites, but honestly we could have done without the starving polar bear).
  • Disney apparently intends to make a whole series of these films. If they go through with that promise, we suggest that they a) come up with some better names for the main characters (having three characters named “Mom” was confusing, even if they were all different species), and b) try not to be so depressing! Okay, “circle of life,” we get it — but why so many cute animals getting eaten? Wasn’t Bambi enough?

Disney Treasures: Paint an island

Friday, April 17th, 2009

When the Magic Kingdom opens each morning, some guests run for Space Mountain, some run to Dumbo, some run for a restroom with a baby-changing station — and some run for Tom Sawyer Island. Why is that? Is it to explore the foreboding caves? Is it to fish off the pier in hopes of finding something to sell to Tony’s? Or is it to search for paint brushes? (Hint: it’s the “paint brush” one.)

That’s right, long before park opening, clever cast members skulk across Tom Sawyer Island, their fists filled with paintbrush, looking for an appropriate place to hide the bristled treasure. Guests who find a paintbrush and return it to a cast member receive a prize. Sometimes the prize is as simple as a FASTPASS or a chance to participate in a little play wherein the guest gets a chance to watch his or her own funeral. But if it’s a super-lucky day, and everything is going right, and there is an extra helping of Disney magic in the air, the guest may win the grand prize — the opportunity to use that paintbrush and help Disney World Imagineers whitewash a building that’s closed for refurbishment!

This is a rare treat indeed! In fact, when a building is in need of a little paint, as few as 50 or 100 paintbrushes are left on the island, and if you’re not careful other guests will have finished the work before you get your chance! We can practically guarantee that a grand time is had by all (except for Disney’s maintenance staff, of course, which has to sit to the side, chatting, eating, and earning union wages while guests get all the fun, but what can you do — it’s Walt Disney World!)

Disney Treasures: Waking Tinkerbell

Thursday, April 16th, 2009

For a magical start to your Magic Kingdom morning, stop in Tinkerbell’s Treasures, the shop where Tinkerbell spends the night in a comfy little treasure chest! If you’re the first guest to the store, poke your head in the door and yell, “Wake up, Tinkerbell!” The cast member behind the counter will respond, “Okay, she’s up. Thanks!” That’s it — you woke up Tinkerbell!

(Note that if you try to wake “Tink” later in the day, cast members will just ignore you or give you an annoyed look. This is a treat reserved for the first guest in the shop each day!)

Because this is a favorite (and not particularly secret) Disney treasure, you may want to take extra steps to make sure that your child gets to wake Tinkerbell. A good plan is to arrive at the park a few hours before opening and claim a place at the front of the first turnstile that will open. When the park opens, get in as fast as you can, pick up your child, and run at full speed through the park to the Castle, ignoring calls for you to walk and avoiding security and other obstacles as necessary. If other parents are trying to horn in on your magic, a few caltrops improvised the night before from cut-and-sharpened hotel hangers should help you maintain your lead.

After you’ve had your magic moment, you might want to head to the entrance to Mickey’s Toontown Fair for a “meet and greet” with Tinkerbell. Be sure to tell her that you are the one who woke her up that morning (she may have some choice words for you, particularly if she was up drinking the night before!) and ask her how the heck she sleeps in a little treasure chest when she’s so tall.

Disney Treasures: Intro and DiVine

Wednesday, April 15th, 2009

One of the wonderful things about Walt Disney World is that, in addition to all the shows and attractions you lean about in travel guides and on unsubstantiated-rumor Web sites, there are secret treasures and experiences to be had by those lucky enough to stumble across them. For the next few weeks, we’ll be highlighting a number of these treasures, telling you both how to find them and how to make sure you get to them first so that they are not used up by some less-deserving tourist.

Let’s begin by discussing one of the secret treasures of Disney’s Animal Kingdom — DiVine.

If you keep your eyes peeled as you walk through Animal Kingdom, you may be able to spot a bit of shrubbery that seems a little different. Its leaves are a bit big, its grapes are a bit out of place, and there’s a lady’s head in the middle of it all. Also, it moves much more quickly than any plant (other than carnivorous swamp moss, which is native to central Florida but largely absent from Walt Disney World).

What could it be? It’s DiVine, the half-human, half-plant AK inhabitant! If you spot her, be sure to watch for a moment, enjoying the poetry of her occasional gentle motions and laughing at people startled by the sudden mobility of what at first appeared to be simply a woman’s corpse overgrown with vines.

Because she blends in so well with the native foliage, DiVine can be quite hard to spot. To find her, watch roadside plants and tree tops carefully as you walk, or do what expert visitors do and listen for the screams of surprised adults or watch for crowds of parents changing the pants of their crying, startled children.

Although DiVine is the most popular of the nature-living characters wandering through the park, she is not the only one. During times of heavy attendance, guests may also be able to spot DiRock (a woman made from stone), DiWind (a woman dressed only in air), and DiVille (a woman who wears dead puppies).

Trivia: Before she came to Disney’s Animal Kingdom, DiVine had a significant film career, most prominently starring in a number of John Waters films.

Freaky Friday four

Sunday, April 12th, 2009

We’re busy gearing up for an upcoming Disney Lies research trip to Walt Disney World, but a bit of news came across our desk that we are unable to keep under wraps.

According to a close friend of the dog groomer of a reliable source in a business near Disney’s corporate office’s caterer, Disney will be remaking Freaky Friday yet again! But this time Disney will do something it never has before — it will replace the story’s main characters with existing Disney characters.

In the new Freaky Friday (to be released in 2010), a crazy bit of ironic magic will cause the mind of normal teenager Miley Stewart to swap places with the mind of popular singing star Hannah Montana! Hilarity will ensue as they attempt to live each others’ lives. Will Miley, in Hannah’s body, be able to perform at the big concert? Will Hannah, in Miley’s body, be able to protect Miley’s secret that she spends her nights performing as popular singing star Hannah Montana? You’ll have to see the film to find out!

Continuing its remakes of mid-1970s films, Disney is expected to also release The Jonas Brothers Dumpling Gang late next year.

Disney Copyright Violations

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

I see that there is a new blog set up to help catch those nefarious types who would dare violate Disney’s blessed copyrights and trademarks. I encourage you to visit Disney Copyright Violations? immediately and send them any evidence you may have of Disney copyright piracy.

Maybe if you catch something really juicy, Disney will send you flowers for your birthday? Or raid your house and confiscate your computer as evidence? Or ignore you completely?

Who knows???