Sunday, September 6, 2009

Keep Your Arm(pit)s Inside the Car at All Times!

We Disneyphiles who go to Walt Disney World (and/or Disneyland) and elsewhere heard the same spiel over and over again - one about keeping our hands feet, legs, and arms inside the vehicle at all times to prevent affiliated injury. For Thorpe Park in Surrey, England, as they referred to the latter body part that should remain inside the vehicle, they birthed an additional item of note that should be added (or maybe not for most thrill ride enthusiasts) to the safety spiels - olfactory and hygienic etiquette to fellow riders.

That's right, the theme park chalked up another reason for riders to keep their arms inside the vehicle at all times - last month, they have to face crowds in the 29-Celsius (84-Fahrenheit) heat and they think that the basic staple of theme park ride safety would do the trick. Because the anticipation of queuing up for a really scary ride makes unsuspecting riders sweat due to the sympathetic nervous system (it's not just the heat), the odor would offset fellow riders. To help riders be considerate, they devised a scheme and implanted it in the park's rides - "Say No to BO!"

I don't think the rule is too plausible, at least to me because I usually hold on to the handlebars on almost every thrill ride at Disney and whatever park I go to whenever I can and I also follow the safety spiels and posted signage. As I queue up for the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad in the Magic Kingdom, I see other riders put up their arms like the people on TV or other media. That's a bit OK here in the States, but bend it like the runaway train ride on Stealth or Saw at Thorpe without heeding the warnings, and you'll be escorted off the ride. Do it repeatedly and you'll be expelled from the park without refund.

I think it's a bit fine for riders to put their arms up as they ride thrill rides, but I prefer mine, as well as many thrillseekers', just as the spiel says, inside the vehicle at all times, and the body odor issue is not the reason why, if you ask me.

Despite Buyout, WDW stays WDW - For Now...

When I heard about Disney's buyout of Marvel, I predicted a series of worst case scenario, particularly in the theme park world. I live not only near WDW, but near its rival theme park resort, Universal Orlando. The park in question and under threat at the time of my prediction was Islands of Adventure, where its Marvel Super Hero Island teems with the likes of Storm and Spider-Man. There are "what ifs" and fears in the buyout as I predicted earlier:

  • the implantation of the few popular of all the 5,000-odd Marvel characters in the parks in the likes of rides and meetable characters
  • the Islands of Adventure outsourcing Hulk coaster, The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man, and other rides to Disney's Hollywood Studios
  • Marvel merchandise in the shops at the aforementioned park and elsewhere
  • appearances of Marvel characters in parades and shows, possibly in Fantasmic!

I was then too afraid to go to WDW, feeling that those formerly soon-to-be former Universal Orlando characters would be out of place. It did not then seem right to me, as I was not interested in the Marvel franchise that much. (I used to own the Spider-Man Cartoon Maker software when I acquired my first PC back in 1995.) I'm pretty OK with the likes of Chewbacca and Miss Piggy in Disney's Hollywood Studios (as someone who experiences Star Tours and Muppet-Vision 3D, respectively), as well as the Power Rangers, American Idol, and even Indiana Jones in that park. I'm really not a Disney purist, but I want to leave for England so I won't have to fuss over Spidey playing games with Chip and Dale.

When I read an article over the Orlando Sentinel, I breathed a huge sigh of relief - Universal Orlando has a contract stating that it would continue using those characters in the parks and that Islands of Adventure will be the sole park east of the Mississippi to utilize them in advertising and the like. I think of that as a benediction for Central Florida, where locals like me frequent it for outings, out-of-state visitors vacation, and the likes of Argentinian or Brazilian tour groups see the world north of their nations. (For the latter, they usually do Universal Orlando and Sea World and its sister park here in Tampa Bay, Busch Gardens, as well as WDW, in their itineraries.)

As for the rest of the Disney parks, Disneyland included, I'm staying here in Florida - bring on the heat, humidity, Brazilians, Argentinians, and anoles!

Then again, at WDW, I as a Disneyphile would take the news as a wait and see approach - maybe 20 years from now, when the pact expires, Spidey would shake hands with Goofy.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

WDW Sans Kids

Call us immature, but Muetti I frequent Walt Disney World - we are Disneyphiles, we live an hour from there and near I-4, and we both have digital cameras. I came across a site named Walt Disney World (WDW) for Grownups, and found it interesting. It has tips on planning and enjoying adult WDW frequenters' vacations and has a forum so that vacationers and visitors alike can have a say. If you are a Disneyphile and a WDW visitor who goes there with no kids, check the site out - I signed up as forum member there!

Best. MNSSHP. Costume. Idea. EVAR.

Unlike the hated Christmas creep, when many stores promote the likes of St.
Nicholas of Myra and the Holy Infant before Thanksgiving here in my native USA, Halloween creep is a good thing. If I have a million dollars or more, I would try out the ongoing hard-ticket (separate event admission) event in the Magic Kingdom: Mickey's Not-so-Scary-Halloween-Party!

I have been to the other hard-ticket event, Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party, back in 2005 with my aunts, uncles, ex-cousins, and cousins, but not that event. We have Busch Gardens (I have the Fun Card) to worry about, but maybe in 2010, I'll go there if I have the chance and money.

As you have heard, for the Disney literate, there's Mickey's Boo-to-You Parade, Happy HalloWishes, Villains' Mix and Mingle, and of coourse, trick-or-treating. Guests are encouraged to come in costume, and the cajoling to come in a guise gives me an idea.

Time and time again, I have seen a lion's share of school groups, Pop Warner, and herds of South American teens or college students in matching backpacks (as in the Argentinian tour groups) or tops (as in the Brazilian tour groups). We know the latter all too well - the chanting, cutting in line, and all that, and that annoys me a little bit, since they add to the crowds. I wrote two articles on Triond about the groups, one about just the Brazilian ones, and another with my anecdotes with the said groups plus those of Argentina at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay.

So, after a series of day-trips to the parks this year (as well as in the past), I found my inspiration - gather a few friends, have them wear matching T-shirts, have me hold a flag, and voila! I created an instant South American tour group, ready to roam the parks and annoy the heck out of other visitors!

Another reason I want the group who is coming to the event (next year, I hope), even if it's just me and muetti is because we are getting more frugal with costumes - budget-stretching experts remind us to buy costumes from the thrift store or make our own, and the recession is helping me with my idea!

I will be going to the costume ball at the Magic Kingdom next year, but this year, let me consider dressing up as that wacko who freaked out in response to his mother's cancellation of his World of Warcraft account...