Friday, December 26, 2008

Boxing Day 2008

Two weeks off from school for Christmas; that in and of itself was a gift. I do seem remember though a certain tinge of excitement about the first day back in class after the holidays. This was the day that you got to find out what your friends got from Santa and tell them what you got.

I recall a Christmas during the late 60’s when my parents got me a 1/48 scale model of the Saturn V rocket. This was during the Apollo era and our race to the Moon. I was so proud to have that model and worked very methodically putting the model together, pretending that the table in my bedroom was the Vehicle Assembly Building at Cape Kennedy. If memory serves it was also a white Christmas that year.

A lot of years have passed and I can’t recall whatever happened to that rocket. It now lives in my memory and on a mental list that I call, “Things I Had Then That I Wish I Had Now.” It is a very long list.

That was then and this is now. Though I have grown older I have tried hard not to grow up. Fortunately for me my family knows and accepts this. So in addition to books and music, my Christmas usually includes a few gifts that are labeled “Suitable for Ages 3 and up.” Oh, and being something of a Disney geek, the over arching theme of most everything is definitely Disney.

So, in honor of this 2008 Boxing Day, and since I don't have a first day back at school to look forward to, I thought I would share just a bit of what found its way under Doc’s tree. And I know my family reads these blog every now and then, so to them, thank you. Thank you for how you bless me and for allowing me to share your lives. Thank you for making this a very Merry Christmas!

Happy Boxing Day!

Postscript: George, you'll notice a few of your recommended titles made it under the tree. I feel that The Alchemy of Animation, Walt Disney's Imagineering Legends, The Illusion of Life and Walt Disney's Nine Old Men will keep me busy for a few days at least.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

December 25, 2008

The gifts have been opened and I am watching the 25th Anniversary Walt Disney World Christmas Day Parade while enjoying yet another cup of coffee. Then it occurred to me, I wanted to wish each of you a very Merry Christmas. It is my hope that this day is filled with more magic than you can possibliy imagine, with just hint of all the hope and promise of the coming New Year.
"For we need a little music,
Need a little laughter,
Need a little singing
Ringing through the rafter,
And we need a little snappy
"Happy ever after,"
Need a little Christmas now.
Need a little Christmas now."

Sunday, December 21, 2008

We've Gathered Here Tonight...

This will, I am sure, be the first of many posts that will in some way or another allude to my MouseFest experience. And it has taken me to this point to write the first word due to two reasons. First, the trip was filled with so much activity, occasions to be with friends and make new friends that it is hard to know exactly where to start. Second, and more to the point, is how quickly real life takes over once you leave home. All this and catching a severe cold this past Wednesday hasn’t helped matters.

Plus. Well, the list of reasons could go on and on.

I do want to write something though just to begin the process of telling my MouseFest adventure. For this first retelling I wish to highlight the friendships celebrated. Yes, I know, I sound like a broken record, but it is true. And while MouseFest can mean many things to many people, it has come to mean friendship for me. In truth, that is a lot of what Disney has come to mean to me. So, this past weekend was an opportunity to be with friends; to laugh, to eat, to sing, to share, and on some occasions to experience.

For me a measure of true friendship can be found when you can spend time with a person without saying a word and feel that it is time well spent. I have known this depth of friendship on a few occasions in my life. I like to think that the friendships I have made and will continue to make will be of this caliber. While time and distance separate each of us physically, it does not separate our hearts from each other. In truth, I think the distance enhances the friendship as it causes us to work hard for something that is worth having.

Let’s be honest, it is easy to be friends at the happiest place on earth. The real test comes when we’re away from home, working at our jobs, raising our families, dreaming our dreams, and pulling together the money we need for the next trip. It is in these times that our posts, our emails, our text messages, our “writings on the wall”, and our phone calls move our friendships to a more appreciative level.

Though our times together increase the depth of our relationships, there are not many moments of silence when friends gather in The World. But, there are moments approaching silence, such as when a group of friends gathered “around the fire” on Saturday night in Epcot. We gathered to watch a show that many of us have seen more times than we can count. Yet, for me, this night was special. In those few moments It was enough to be present, to be silent and to experience the moment with your best friends.

That moment was my MouseFest. While I came away with many wonderful memories, none will compare to that.

“Good evening and welcome. We’ve gathered here tonight around the fire as people of all lands have gathered for thousands and thousands of years before us to share the light and to share the story; an amazing story as old as time itself but still being written. And though each of us has our own individual story to tell a true adventure emerges when we bring them all together as one. I hope you enjoy our story tonight, Reflections of Earth.”

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Obligatory...

...well, you know this rest. It is 4:30 a.m. on Wednesday and I have just experienced one of those "I'm too excited to sleep!" nights. Maybe I'll sleep some on the plane.

But this post is to say, I'm out of here. I am in Walt Disney World for MouseFest 2008 and we'll catch up later. For those of you not able to make, trust, that you are in our thoughts. For those I am meeting or about to meet, well, here's to good times.

More to follow...

Saturday, December 6, 2008

The Obligatory Pre-MouseFest Post - Part Three

There are very few things that I enjoy doing on a Saturday than what I call puttering. I usually wake up when I wish, have a full breakfast (something I don't have time to do on weekdays) with Mrs. Doc, then spend most of the day just puttering. I am sure we all do this; we may just have different names for it. This Saturday I am partaking in what I call, puttering with purpose. It is Disney prep day!

So, I have clothes washing and drying, camera lenses being cleaned, packing lists being checked and rechecked, and so on. I almost feel like Santa Claus. I am also stopping now and then to do a little house work. Some of the local NFFC are coming over tomorrow evening to compare are MouseFest meet reschedules. Oh, and we'll have a few Dole Whips while we're sharing.

I am also taking one last stab at trying to secure the illusive Le Cellier ADR.

Tonight I'll perform the role of Willie Wainwright for my last time before leaving for the 'Fest, leaving him in the capable hands of an understudy. Once I am back in town here I'll have another weekend of shows, but really, this year, nothing was going to stand between MouseFest and Doc.

This Saturday is a busy day but one filled with all the hopes I have for a memorable week that lies ahead. So, I suppose I should get back to my puttering.

More to follow...

Doc as Willie Wainwright performing "Wine into Water" from A Scattered Smothered and Covered Christmas

Where In The World

The past Where In The World was far easier than that I thought it would be. Right from the start Animal Kingdom was identified as the park and Elizabeth Caran took it a step further with, "I'm thinking this might be in Dinoland USA at one of the midway games inside Chester and Hester's. In fact, is it the Fossil Fuel one, where you shoot water at a target?" And that would be right. Congratulations Elizabeth and I am looking forward to meeting you in a few days.

Fortunately, I'll be back in Walt Disney World looking for photo opportunities next week. I suppose I need to get back to photographing and submitting obscure objects in shop windows.

Now for something completely different.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Happy Birthday Mr. Disney!

Today marks the 107th birthday of Walter Elias Disney. All over the Disney online community people are commorating this day with posts, messages on boards and mentions during podcasts. Instead of posting my own tribute, may I direct your attention to Ryan Wilson's Main Street Gazette. He offers his insight, along with those of others, on words that best describe this American Original.

Happy Birthday Mr. Disney and, thank you!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Obligatory Pre-MouseFest Post – Part Two

Oh good, you’re back. In yesterday’s post we considered a number of different things I’ll be doing, “this time next week.” But rather than continuing to outline my whole “planned” MouseFest 2008 experience with paragraphs beginning with “This time next week…” I thought I would spend a few paragraphs exploring what it is that I most look forward to.

My purpose for making this third trip to Walt Disney World this year is friendship; pure and simple. My good friend Ryan mentioned this in his Thanksgiving post and I can echo many of his sentiments. Since becoming a part of this extended Disney family I have made friendships that I hope to carry with me as long as this old soul continues to draw breath.
These friendships I speak of have grown into areas beyond an unusually fervent love for things Disney. We share concerns for each others families and have discovered that we share many other common interests. Honestly, if I have not received a few texts from my fellow Doc, or a handful of emails from my friends in North Carolina, I become concerned. I feel certain that this is true for many of us.

And I must add here that I now show more than a passing interest in the New York Giants, due completely to a growing friendship with Lou. Okay, that is the main reason, but I also have an interest in the team the Titans could very well face in the Super Bowl.

But that is another story for another time. Let’s get back to the subject at hand.

“This time next week” my circle of friends will begin to widen and by the time I fly home on Monday, I will do so knowing there are so many more people that I care about now. There will be more friendships to nurture and grow along with a host of new memories to celebrate. This is important to me.

Like many of you, I have felt isolated in my obsession for Disney and started this blog as a way of sharing some of what Disney means to me. In the course of doing so I discovered you; the other ones who have also, at some point, felt like I have. Now, without ever going to a MouseFest or a Magic Meets, I have found that I was never as isolated as I thought. In fact, it is much to the contrary.

“It’s a big blue world” and this time next week I am diving into a sea of like minded Disney enthusiast. If I can back to shore with a few hundred new, really good friends, then I suppose I could think of it as a good time.

So let’s see, there are 943 people registered for MouseFest. Doable? I think so.

“Just keep swimming.”

More to follow…

P.s. The Nemo references are a sub-luminal encouragement for those of you attending MouseFest to check out the Those Darn Cats “Fish Are Friends” meet on Friday and All About the Mouse’s “Eating Nemo” event on Saturday. I’ll be there. You see, and I didn’t even shamelessly plug “The Unofficial Rocking Chair Meet” on Thursday, December 11th beginning at 6:00 p.m. at the Exhibition Hall on Town Square. Oops!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Obligatory Pre-MouseFest Post - Part One

Today is a special day! It is the day that I can start using that all to familiar phrase; a phrase cherished and celebrated by many a Disney geek. Today, I, and perhaps you too, can utter the phrase, “This time next week…”

This time next week I will be in Walt Disney World for MouseFest 2008. Well, actually, MouseFest 2008 (the Land portion) will begin one week from tomorrow. But I am arriving on Wednesday so that I can enjoy the evening Extra Magic Hours in Disney’s Animal Kingdom. It will be my first opportunity to experience the park at night and I am looking forward to some night photography. And I understand riding Expedition Everest at night is an experience not to be missed.

This time next week I will enjoy a late lunch at the Yak & Yeti. I have eaten at the Yak & Yeti counter service on a few occasions in the past but have yet to visit the table service restaurant. I have heard differing opinions; some saying they enjoy the counter service more than the table service. I suppose I will find out for myself. One thing I do know, or perhaps I should say, one opinion that I have, is that the egg rolls at the counter service are the best egg rolls on property. I have long been a fan of the eggs rolls at the Lotus Blossom CafĂ© in Epcot (and will still visit there every trip to The World), but the offering at Yak & Yeti is far better; in Doc’s humble opinion of course.

This time next week I will cruise Downtown Disney Marketplace for my shopping overview. That’s right. Doc likes to drop a few hard earned dollars on a few pins and other assorted goodies. The goal this trip is to replace my fuzzy Mickey Dice for my rearview mirror and some clothing, including a new addition to Mrs. Doc’s and my deluxe resort jacket collection. Wilderness Lodge I think.

This time next week I will be spending my first night at the Pop Century. I am kind of looking forward to it. I will, no doubt, have some trouble sleeping as I try to calm my anticipation of what is yet to take place over the next few days.

And, lest I forget, this time next week I will be able to determine if there have been any further changes made to the Top Seven Must Sees in Walt Disney World. I thought I recognized a new voice over during the TSMM segment during my trip in September. But I feel that this merits further investigation.

Editors Note: There are two types of people in this world; those who like Stacey and those who don’t. Me? I like her. I am not a morning person but after 10 to 15 minutes of Stacey in the morning, I am wide-eyed and ready for a day in the parks.

“Look at all the lazy people on the lazy river.

More to follow…