Saturday, October 30, 2010

A Sign Its Saturday

Wrapping up our month long celebration of the Magic Kingdom's Opening Day, here is a sign from Tomorrowland that displays a clever play on words of a play.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Dining With Doc: Duchess Potatoes

For this weeks entry into the Dining With Doc canon, we will take a trip back in time. Back to a time when Epcot was spelled with all capital letters and had the word "Center" following it. A time before the Disney Decade, before the Third Gate was opened and River Country was the only water park on Walt Disney World property. Downtown Disney Marketplace was known as the Walt Disney World Shopping Village. Yes, for this weeks entry we open to page 24 in the 1986 "Cooking with Mickey Around Our World" and visit the Empress Lilly to prepare Duchess Potatoes.

For Duchess Potatoes you will need:

- 6 medium potatoes
- 4 egg yolks
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 teaspoons chopped chives
- Salt and white pepper to taste

To prepare the dish you first peel and dice potatoes and cook in water to cover until very tender. Drain and whip in a mixing bowl; gradually beat in the egg yolks. Add cheese, chives, salt and pepper to taste, and beat until light and fluffy. The recipe calls for either using a pastry bag to form the potatoes on a buttered baking sheet or you could pile mounds with a tablespoon. I chose to use a little ‘mouse’ inspired creativity in forming each serving. I found an egg mold that we picked up a few years ago in the parks and employed a little fun to the meal. You then bake at 350 F degrees for 15 to 20 minutes until lightly browned.

My wife says that I follow the recipe exactly, and I do. Trouble is, I have difficulty determining what “to taste” means where others are concerned. I admit, I have in the past enjoyed a nice flavoring of salt, but know now that this isn’t best for me. A little flavoring yes, but I tend to spare the salt more and it has an definite impact on the outcome. The combination of white pepper, which has a distinctly different flavor than black pepper, coupled with my lack of salt, brought this response from my wife, “I like your mashed potatoes better.” That is not to say she didn’t enjoy the offering, she simply thought that my liberality with salt, pepper and butter offered more taste.

By the way, my mashed potatoes are remembrance of recipe my great-grandmother used to prepare. I remember them being heavy on cracked pepper.

So how was Duchess Potatoes? I enjoyed them. True, my tendency to go “Southern” and add a bit more salt would enhance the recipe somewhat, and I will add a pinch more next time around. The addition of shaved Parmesan is nice and I think substituting other varieties, such as Smoked Gouda, would provide a slightly different flavor. Something I’ll try next time out. I've also found other recipes for Duchess Potatoes that add dried dill, garlic powder and paprika, while others call for butter with half and half cream. Variation appears to be encouraged.

As for leftovers (and there were some), I’ll add a bit of salt and warm them in a bit of oil on the stove top. Something like potato cakes. Yum.

Bon Appetite!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

List My 5

My wife loves to write! I have a blog and have been doing a fairly decent job of putting content up more regularly, but I must admit, my wife is the real writer in the family. She is the published one. She writes daily and she is constantly looking for new sources and new things to write.

But while she awaits the next big project she ties herself over with writing "how-to" articles for a site called eHow (I mentioned this back on 09.28.09) and now with a new site that she found called List My 5. It is a site dedicated to Top Five lists and she has offered up a few that I thought may be of interest to the readers of The Disney Obsession. One that she wrote outlines the Top Five Most Popular Disney and Disney Pixar Animated Films. Not a bad first effort. Another has to do with her thoughts about her Top Five Disney Blog Sites. It was touch and go there for a bit, but this blog made the cut. If it hadn't, chances are you wouldn't be hearing about List My 5 from me.

Why the Disney stuff? Well, in our household it is hard to go a day without 5-10 good Disney mentions. Being married to a Disney geek meant she had to write something about it I suppose.

Now, here is where you come in. Do me a favor and click on the links above and visit my wife's List My 5 articles. She would love to have you comment and rate her articles. And if you do, tell her that her husband sent you.

Thanks. And,

More to follow...

Monday, October 25, 2010

Where In The World

Earlier this month, October 11th to be precise, we published this photo:
And we have had a few thoughts on Where In The World you would find this. But, as of now, the photograph is still unidentified. So, we'll leave it up a bit longer and see what happens. If you have thought on where you'd see this, post a comment and let us know what you think.

Happy Hunting.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

And The Survey Says... Wishes!

The results are in and the people have spoken! The question was asked, "Of these three nighttime shows, Wishes!, IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth, and Fantasmic!, which is your favorite?" And I thought it would be a tough question to answer; it is for me at any rate. But with 20 people voting, Wishes! was the clear winner receiving 10 (50%) of the votes. Coming in second was IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth with 6 (30%) votes followed by Fantasmic! with the remaining 4 (20%) votes.
I voted for IllumiNations. Although I believe that Wishes! has a much better variety of pyrotechnics and with the castle providing the canvas for the show, it is magical. But I prefer the story of IllumiNations and while they both stir my emotions, IllumiNations tends to be slightly more emotional for me. This is especially true when the score reaches the 8 minutes mark when the music slows and the crescendo builds. It is "the" moment for me during most any trip to the World ranking right up there with rides on Soarin'. They are emotional as well. But this is me. Saying all that, I will add that if I find myself in the Magic Kingdom, I will not leave until I've seen Wishes! I will not miss the child singing, "Star light, star bright, first star I see tonight" or hear Jiminy Cricket say, "It's the Blue Fairy!" As she says, I do believe "we must always believe in our wishes, for they are the magic in the world."

Now, to this weeks poll. In Fanstasyland, which of these attractions is your favorite:

- Dumbo
- it's a small world
- Mad Tea Party
- Many Adventure's of Winnie the Pooh
- Mickey's PhilharMagic
- Peter Pan's Flight
- Prince Charming Regal Carrousel
- Snow White's Scary Adventure

Quite a few to choose from isn't it? Be sure to vote and if you're up to, stop in and leave a comment on why you voted the way you did. I'll be sure to chime in once I cast my vote.

I'll be in St. Louis next weekend on a father/son road trip, enjoying some extended time with my son. We'll look at the results once I get back.

More to follow...

A Sign Its Saturday

Seriously now. Can you walk past this without wanting to stop by for a small dose of creamy pineapple goodness? It may not be for everyone, but it is a staple of Doc's trips to The World!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Flashback Friday

Editors Note: Last week I posted an article including some old Adventurer's Club photographs. I called the post A Blast from the Past. I crave your indulgence as I change the name of what will become that series. Now I think I'd prefer to title these little walks down memory lane, Flashback Friday. Having said that, let's move on.

Whenever I am approaching a trip to Walt Disney World I look forward to when I am close enough that I enter what I call the "this time next week" mode. It is when I think about my trip plan, what I'll be doing seven days from that day. The sad thing about this is that it is accompanied by the "this time last week" mode which is rather depressing. But today, I am in the "this time next week" mode. No, it isn't a trip to Walt Disney World (though it has been since July that I've been there and I am missing it very much). The trip is to St. Louis.

Now let me say, I love St. Louis! I have a lot of great memories visiting my paternal grandparents who lived there. Though it isn't so much where I am going this time as it is about who I am going with.

This is a father and son road trip weekend!

I have not had one of these with my son in ages. His being a father of three and having a job that takes him away from home frequently, makes these types of trips difficult. When he is home he needs to be with his children instead of out looking for adventure with his father.

But "this time next week" my son and I are on the road north! On Friday evening he and I will be two of the many thousands who will file into the Scottrade Center to enjoy the Roger Waters "The Wall" Concert (if you follow me on Facebook, that will explain the frequent reference to "Wall" lyrics these past few weeks). Then on Saturday we'll visit the St. Louis Zoo together for the first time since he was child and then run over to the Missouri Botanical Garden. While we're in Forest Park, we'll also visit the St. Louis Art Museum to view the Van Gogh's, the Picassos, the Warhols and the Lichtensteins. And I am sure there will be a meal or two thrown in; perhaps somewhere in Laclede's Landing.

The main thing though is the opportunity to spend over 48 hours of uninterrupted time with my son! That is the main thing and the best part of "this time next week". Long conversations, recalling old memories and making new ones, laughing and singing, dreaming. Yes, "this time next week" we'll make up for a lot of lost time.

As for Flashback Friday, well, here is a photograph taken way back when Disney's Hollywood Studios went by another name and my son and I endeavored to have our photographs taken with as many Kodak Picture Stop signs as possible.

More to follow...

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

if i lived in central florida i'd...

... find a remote place in the world showcase, perhaps the gardens in the back of the united kingdom pavilion and have a seat. there i'd pull out my journal and begin to write. i'm not sure what i'd write, but i'd write.

there was a time when i lived in england and life was considerably slower. then i had a favorite pub i'd like to go and write in. i got a lot of writing done in those days. now, not so much.

i miss it.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Disney World After Dark: Tomorrowland

Some places are just different after the sun goes down and the lights turn on. Tomorrowland in the Magic Kingdom is just such a place. When dusk settles on the Kingdom and night takes its grip, the palette of grays, chrome and brushed aluminum are transformed into a symphony of color; beautiful glowing neon color.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Something On A Sunday

Ketchikan, Alaska 05.28.09

Editor's Note: These bottles were found a shelf in a shop along Creek Street. Creek Street has a colorful history. During Prohibition, the buildings played host to a number of bordellos. Behind the buildings is small path called the "Married Man's Trail". The trail begs the question: was it used for married men so as to avoid temptation by going from one end of the street to the other without using the Boardwalk which ran in front of the houses? Or, was it to give cover to men who wished to go unobserved as they entered the houses?

As for Alaska, I'll say it again. I'd go back again in a heartbeat!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

And The Survey Says... It's A 3-Way Tie

The vote count was down from the past two weeks, but a strong race for favorite land ensued. The race was so tight in fact that only 1 vote separates first place from last place, and there was a tie in each place. Here is the tally: Main Street U.S.A., Adventureland and Frontierland all tied for 1st Place with three votes each. Each land garnered 23% of the vote. Tied for 2nd comes Fantasyland and Tomorrowland each with two votes and 15% of the vote. Interestingly, Liberty Square found no support this past week. Perhaps this means that few, in any, Haunted Mansion fans read the blog, or, that attraction is not enough to lift the whole land to favorite status.

My vote? I voted for Main Street U.S.A. Nothing in Walt Disney World says "Welcome Home" quite like a stroll down that street. From the tunnel under the train station right up to the Partners Statue, the cares of the world fall away and I am a child again.

Now for a new poll. As night descends on Walt Disney World some people begin to anticipate the nighttime spectacular. Of these three nighttime shows, Wishes!, IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth, and Fantasmic!, which is your favorite? I know. This could be a tough one.

Chime in. Vote. Let your voice be heard. And... if you wish to comment on the reasons behind your choice, feel free to leave a comment here. We'll report the results next Saturday.

More to follow...

A Sign Its Saturday


It is hardly ever crowded and it flies the flag of another nation. What is it?


There are some attractions that you think once you've seen it, there is no need going back. Like 'it's a small world', the Swiss Family Treehouse used to be just such an attraction. Not any more. I can't quite put my finger on it, but there is something about it that keeps calling me back. Perhaps it is the romanticized notion of living in a treehouse. Something I still wouldn't mind trying on of these days.

Friday, October 15, 2010

A Blast From the Past: The Adventurer's Club

Every now and then I take a notion to plug in the flatbed scanner and scan old photographs from the pre-digital age. This is often a very slow process for me because it affords me many opportunities to reflect on days gone by. As it relates to Disney, I had one of those opportunities recently.

My first trip to Walt Disney World was in March of 1972. I was in the ninth grade. From that time several years passed before I would find myself back in the World. I wrote about that first return trip on October 13, 2007. Since then I have made more trips than I can accurately count, but there were some of those early trips that were taken with my friends Bill and Leigh Ann Staley. These were great trips! I was exploring a whole new world. Somehow we managed to find our way to the Adventurer's Club almost nightly during these holidays.

Every now and then The Disney Obsession will share some old photographs with you; some of my Blast from the Past. It will not always be Disney oriented, but it will be meaningful to some extent. At least it gives me a moment to pause and look back on what got me to where I am and share a bit of that with you. But for now, here are three scans of some early days in The Adventurer's Club. Kungaloosh!

... with Marcel

... with Pamelia Perkins, Club President

... with The Maid

A fun time was had by all!

More to follow...

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Dining with Doc: Mom's Meat Loaf

"What is your favorite restaurant in Walt Disney World?" This is a question that many frequent visitors to the World has either asked or been asked. Over the years I have found it best to attempt to answer the question categorically. Such as, "my favorite restaurant for steak is...", or my favorite restaurant for seafood is...", or "for the best egg-roll I'd go to..." By this method I avoid the uneasy task of pinning down one specific restaurant. And let's be honest, on any given day, depending on your appetite or tastes, any restaurant could become your favorite. Even if only for a moment.

When it comes to which is my favorite "novelty" restaurant, that answer is easy and has not changed for many years. It is the 50's Prime Time Cafe. Love it! Love the atmosphere, love the show, love the Peanut Butter and Jelly Milk Shake! So for this weeks delectable dalliance we are preparing Mom's Meat Loaf.

Let's begin with the ingredients. You'll need:
2 pounds ground beef
1 pound ground pork
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup seasoned bread crumbs (I used Italian seasoned crumbs)
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 cup finely chopped green bell pepper
1/4 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
2 tablespoons plus 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
1/2 teaspoon coarsely cracked black peppercorns, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt, or to taste
1/2 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

To prepare the dish you:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit and lightly oil two 8 1/2-inch by 4 1/2-inch loaf pans. (I used two 9-inch by 5-inch loaf pans.)
2. In a large bowl,combine the beef, pork, eggs, bread crumbs, onion, green bell pepper, red bell pepper, 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce, cracked peppercorns, and salt just until well blended; do not over mix.
3. Divide the meat mixture in half; shape into 2 loaves, and place in the prepared loaf pans. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the internal temperature taken with an instant-read thermometer is 155 degrees fahrenheit.
4. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, stir together the ketchup, brown sugar, mustard, and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce. Brush the meat loaves with the ketchup mixture and bake 10 minutes longer.
5. Remove the meat loaves from the oven and let stand for 10 minutes before serving.
We served our meat loaf with nice garlic mashed potatoes and a vegetable stir fry, stirred in just a touch of virgin olive oil.

The meat loaf was excellent! A wonderful flavor and nice consistency. I like to prepare these recipes exactly as they are presented in the cookbook, which in this case, is the Cooking with Mickey and the Disney Chefs by Pam Brandon, Disney Editions (c) 2004, New York, New York, page 20. By this I mean, I am not adding additional salt, pepper or herbs to the flavoring. True, I may take a liberty or two on future endeavors with some recipes, but I think not with Mom's Meat Loaf. The flavor was very nice using exactly the specified amount of spice. I tend to sprinkle pepper over most meat dishes, but the flavor with this dish was so nice that I didn't want to spoil with additional pepper.

The reviews? My wife and nephew said, "it tastes like something you'd get at Disney World." And it was. And the best thing about it, two loaf pans of Mom's Meat Loaf for a family of three means a few days of meat loaf sandwiches are on the horizon. Oh yea!
Of course, none of this helps to shrink my waistline in preparation for the Disney Dream Cruise. Oh well.

Now, I wonder if there is any Vanilla Ice Cream in the freezer? A PB&J would be nice about now.

Bon appetite!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A Pause for Reflection

In the course of every vacation to Walt Disney World there comes a time when you wish to find a place you can relax. Some times this means going back to your resort. Personally, I don't consider going back to a resort as an option while a park is open. So I tend to find places within the parks where I can go and pause for a while, let my mind and body relax and simply enjoy being in the moment.

The World Showcase in Epcot affords many places for this. One such place is Japan.

When I walk into Japan a sense of tranquility overtakes me; my spirit quiets. I'll find a place near the koi pond and watch the fish for while, or perhaps find a place to sit in the small garden near the Yakitori House. Or I may walk back and visit the exhibit in the Bijutsu-kan Gallery. If I am visiting during the International Flower & Garden Festival, the opportunity to admire and study bonsai is an added enjoyment.

The Torii Gate is a symbol of Japan and marks the entrance to a sacred place. In the World Showcase, it welcomes you to walk inside, enjoy the offerings of the culture and perhaps most importantly, rest for a moment from the rush and from the crowds.


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

5 Days in October

For five days in October, I didn't go to work. I didn't go to the beach. I didn't take my wife on a weekend getaway to an old grand hotel somewhere. I didn't go to Walt Disney World. And I must confess that I very glad I didn't do any of those things.

I had heard about how people will take time off from work and do nothing but stay home. It was foreign concept to me. I believe it is called a staycation. I have long held that time away from work was time that must be spent going somewhere or doing something. To take vacation from work and stay home seemed, somehow, wrong. We work so that we can do. At least that is how it has been for me these past few years; work hard, save money, and then go.

For these 5 day is October, I am on staycation! Merriam-Webster defines staycation as "a vacation spent at home or nearby" and Wikipedia (the source of all knowledge) has a rather nice article including etymology of the word along with some of the benefits and risks of a staycation.

Yes, I am on staycation and I am learning that it is okay to take time off just for yourself. It is okay to take time to be sleep in, to be lazy, to read for the fun of it, to listen to music, and to catch up on movies. To not keep to a schedule has been my schedule these 5 days in October. I started by thinking there were some things I'd take care, things like fixing the back gate, straightening up the garage, organizing some video, try some new recipes, and so forth. But as these days have come and gone, these things seemed less important to me than they were this time last week. I have been content to simply look out the window and enjoy a beautiful Fall afternoon, or to take a nap on the sofa with the dog.

These 5 days in October will come to an end this evening and I am happy to say that I have only thought of not being in Walt Disney World once. And when that thought occurred, I congratulated myself for not having any regrets for not having gone. It is the same with the beach. Yes, I could have been just as lazy watching the surf roll in, but being lazy at home doesn't carry an extra cost.

Let me wrap up by saying two things.

First, for all who think I my obsession has lapsed, fear not. I have a week planned following Christmas and I will celebrate the arrival of the New Year at Epcot! And... Mrs. Doc and I may just hop in the car and drive down, spend a Saturday at the International Food & Wine Festival, then drive home. So the obsession continues.

Second, I hope that from time to time I write something here that can be an encouragement. We all live busy lives. We have families. We have our work and perhaps, most importantly, we have our hopes and our dreams that drive us; sometimes to the point of exhaustion. I work harder and longer because I am pursuing a dream just as many of you are. But amid all this, let me encourage all of us to, from time to time, stop. Simply stop. Stop to enjoy the time you have in the world around you at this moment. We all work and hope for tomorrow, but sometimes you just have to stop and enjoy today.

So what have I learned during these 5 days in October? Work hard - rest well.

More to follow...

Monday, October 11, 2010

Where In The World

Back on 09.27 we asked Where In The World you have found an interesting blue wall behind a chain link fence. It didn't take too long for Patrick Walsh to write in to say we were looking at something found in the queue at Test Track. And that is correct. Dude, our previous winner added that it is the static room inside the queue. Great job.

I can be sure, but perhaps this weeks installment will be a bit tougher. Where In The World would you find this?

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Something On A Sunday

As Fall continues to pick up momentum, I thought I would reach back and share a little Spring with a photo from my backyard.
Rosebud Cherry Tree 03.24.07

Editor's Note: I say it's a Rosebud Cherry Tree, but honestly, I have forgotten what exactly I planted some years ago.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

And The Survey Says... Rock 'n' Roller Coaster

It is time to update the poll of the week. You'll remember that last week asked the question, "Of these four, which is your favorite coaster? Is it Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Rock 'n' Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith or Expedition Everest?" Twenty-six (including yours truly) voted and the results were rather close. But at the end of the day, Rock 'n' Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith took top honors. The results were:

- Big Thunder Mountain Railroad = 7 votes (26%)
- Expedition Everest = 7 votes (26%)
- Rock 'n' Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith = 9 votes (34%)
- Space Mountain = 3 votes (11%)

Though the vote was not a runaway, the attraction is, propelling you from 0 to 60 in 2.8 seconds making it the second fastest attraction in Walt Disney World. As you enter the first inversion you're experiencing 4.5g. Nice!

Now on to this weeks poll. Thinking about the Magic Kingdom, which of the six lands (I am not including Mickey's Toontown Fair as it is fading into memory) is your favorite? Is it Main Street U.S.A., Adventureland, Frontierland, Liberty Square, Fantasyland or Tomorrowland?

The results next Saturday.

A Sign Its Saturday

During the month of October we'll be celebrating the 39th birthday of the Walt Disney World by sharing photographs of signs in the Magic Kingdom. Today, I am playing the angles with one of my favorite attractions in one of my favorite lands.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Disney World After Dark: Morocco

Looking through my collection of photographs around the World Showcase, both digital and celluloid, there would have been a time when I knew beyond any doubt that the majority of my photos would have been of France. That was before I took the time to walk into the Morocco pavilion. Now, I am not so sure. There is a depth of the beauty about this pavilion that cries out for you to explore. Explore is varied colors, its angles, its little recesses and its tile work. With each visit to the World Showcase I am drawn in to see if there is something I might have missed, and there usually is.
And I hope there will always be something I've missed.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

And The Survey Says... Magic Kingdom

Last Saturday we asked, "You find yourself in the Walt Disney World area and you have one day to go the parks. You can only choose one park. Which one do you go to? Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney's Hollywood Studios or Disney's Animal Kingdom?" A cruel question, I know. I have been faced with the choice before and it isn't an easy decision to make.

My decision was to go to Epcot but more of you chose the Magic Kingdom. Here is the rundown:

- Magic Kingdom = 20 (55%)
- Epcot = 13 (35%)
- Disney's Hollywood Studios = 2 (5%)
- Disney's Animal Kingdom = 2 (5%)

We had 37 people (including myself) weigh in on the question. Is this catching on in The Disney Obsession?

Now, to this week's poll. Of these four, which is your favorite coaster? Is it Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Rock 'n' Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith or Expedition Everest? Take the poll at the right and we'll check in next Saturday for the results.

More to follow...

A Sign Its Saturday

Thirty-nine years ago yesterday, the Magic Kingdom and Walt Disney World opened its gates to the world. To celebrate, this month A Sign Its Saturday will feature more signs from the Magic Kingdom. This morning we give you, Harper's Mill.
Harper Goff, for whom the mill is named, was an artist, musician and actor best known for his association with the Walt Disney Company, though he did enjoy success with other projects outside of Disney as well. He was a major contributor of concept art for Disneyland and areas of Walt Disney World. He was also a member of the Firehouse Five + Two, playing banjo. He was honored posthumously as a Disney Legend in 1993.

Friday, October 1, 2010

if i lived in central florida i'd...

... be walking down the Avenue of the Stars towards Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin with my good friend Ryan Wilson. I imagine we'd both score 999,999!

That Is The Question

Yesterday I celebrated the three year anniversary of The Disney Obsession blog. I commemorated the occasion with an assurance to keep blogging; although I will say that the content will take a few twists and turns along the way.

But, I do want to follow up that anniversary post with a post where I ask you a favor and a question. The favor is to ask you to leave a comment on this post. And while commenting, please answer the question, "What sort of articles or content would you like to see included in future posts?" Feel free to mention those things that you've enjoyed and would like to see more of.

Thanks. I appreciate it.

More to follow...