Thursday, February 28, 2013

March 1, 2013: He's a big pig, you can be a big pig too.

It is very possible that I am easily amused, very possible. With that in mind, one of my favorite moments from the history of Saturday Night Live was an episode that featured Ron Howard during the time that Eddie Murphy was on the show. Eddie is interviewing Ron Howard and he looks at him and says, “Which one are you Opie Taylor or Richie Cunningham? If I shaved your moustache off you’d look like Little Opie. Opie Cunningham, Opie Cunningham, Opie Cunningham.” It was awesome. Ron Howard was Opie Taylor on The Andy Griffith Show and Richie Cunningham on Happy Days and he was born on this day in 1954. Howard starred, with his brother Clint, in the Disney film, The Wild Country and directed Disney’s first Touchstone Picture, Splash! To honor Ron Howard, let me suggest the 50’s Prime Time Diner, the atmosphere is perfect for your happy days.

1999, Kali River Rapids and Maharajah Jungle Trek both open in the Asia section of Animal Kingdom. No mystery here, go and enjoy.

I am allergic to peanut butter but it is National Peanut Butter Lover's Day. Before I developed my allergy, I ate cheese and peanut butter crackers every day and I loved Snickers. You can get peanut treats all over WDW but perhaps just as good is the fact that if you make a note of a peanut allergy when you make a dining reservation the chef will come out and talk with you. How cool is that? I have met the chef’s at restaurant all over WDW and they have all been very nice and very helpful.

Today is National Pig Day. We could work in Pumba here but let’s talk about one of my favorite counter service restaurants at WDW and my favorite restaurant at Animal Kingdom, Flame Tree Barbeque. Don’t be chicken, eat like a pig and enjoy a chicken and ribs dinner with enough to eat that you can share it with the birds that also appreciate how good this food is. Go ahead, slop on the sauce, tie on a bib and make like mommy’s little piggy.

Floor it, we're going to Flame Tree!

This is NOT Flame Tree.

Remember, your best excuse is always: waiting for your dreams to come true.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

February 28, 2013: I hear that train a-comin'...

My grandfather worked for the railroad, The C&O railroad. When my dad was 16 he went to work for the railroad. Except for two years that my dad spent in Korea, he worked for the railroad until he died in 1982 at the age of 54. In 1963 the C & O took control of the B & O Railroad and they operated as the C & O and B & O Railroad until 1973 when they became the Chessie System. Today this railroad, after further mergers and acquisitions is known as CSX. On this day in 1827, the B & O was chartered as the first commercial railroad in America. Since yesterday was no brainer day, let’s call this one a no brainer and get to the Magic Kingdom to ride the Walt Disney World Railroad. Dad would have loved it.

February 28, 1955, Gilbert Gottfried, he of the grating voice, was born in Brooklyn, New York. Gilbert is the voice of Iago the Parrot in Disney’s Aladdin and formerly of the Enchanted Tiki Room: Under New Management. Gottfried has also done Disney TV on Hanna Montana, The Emperor’s New Groove and Hercules. Let’s honor Gilbert with a visit to Mickey’s Philharmagic where Iago plays a key role in keeping the wizard’s hat away from Donald.

Iago's boss.

Genie at Mickey's Philharmagic

Allison with her "Opry" glasses.

The Earl of Sandwich Shop opens at the Downtown Disney Marketplace on this date in 2004. The shop's name honors British naval officer John Montagu, the fourth Earl of Sandwich, who is credited with inventing the sandwich in 1762 as a means to keep his playing cards clean during marathon poker sessions. Montagu’s living descendant, 11th Earl of Sandwich John Montagu, and his son Orlando collaborated with Robert Earl, founder and Chief Executive Officer of Planet Hollywood, to create the shop. Go get a sandwich.  

Today is Floral Design Day and what more perfect reason could there be to visit EPCOT? Everything is decked out and ready for the Flower and Garden Festival and Micky Dolenz of the Monkees kicks off the Flower Power concert series on March 8th.

It’s also National Public Sleeping Day and anyone that knows me knows that I can fall asleep at the drop of a hat and almost anywhere. It’s the one trait that I surely share with my boss at the Lawrence County School System. The WDW buses are great for quick naps and, if you have been paying attention, you know my favorite nap at Walt Disney World…Ellen’s Energy Adventure. It’s dark, it’s cool and it’s like falling asleep at home in front of the television. Even Ellen is asleep for most of the attraction. It’s awesome. We love Ellen and I adore a good nap.
Unless we forget, today is also the birthday of Sir John Tenniel, who was the political cartoonist for PUNCH magazine for 50 years. But we remember Sir John for an entirely different reason; he was the illustrator for Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. Have an adventure with Alice or the Mad Hatter and remember Sir John.
Alice and the Mad Hatter in a parade in the rain. This parade 
also featured the only appearance of Walt Disney as a character. Want to see the picture?

Alice is as mad as the hatter.

Remember, your best excuse is always: waiting for your dreams to come true.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

February 27, 2013: Top of the world Ma!

There is a little corner in my heart reserved for Noir films. There are a few detective films that I really love and recently I went to see Gangster Squad with my kids and enjoyed it. What can I say? It’s a sickness. If he were still alive, Edward Brophy would have fit in to Gangster Squad perfectly. Brophy, born on this date in 1895, just looked like a gangster, a gangster with a high, squeaky voice. The contrast of the tough looking, bald, 5’ 5” thug with that voice led to many comedic moments in over 130 movies that Brophy was a part of. All that being said, in 1941 Brophy broke type and starred in a role that he will be eternally remembered for, Timothy Q. Mouse in Dumbo. My kids say that Dumbo is one of, if not THE, saddest Disney movies. It is a sad story but I always felt good knowing that ultimately everything worked out okay for Dumbo. The obvious way to honor Brophy is to ride Dumbo at the Magic Kingdom but let’s not overlook The Great Movie Ride at Hollywood Studios. The Great Movie Ride has a wonderful tribute to the genre that was Brophy’s home for 50 years, the gangster movie.

Costume from Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe in the queue for the Great Movie Ride

 While we are talking about sadness and violence, we should take a moment to remember one of the, at its base, saddest movies in the Disney canon; A movie that begins with the murder of an entire family except one child, who is handicapped, and the father, who suffers from guilt issues at allowing the deaths of his entire family. Then, the child is kidnapped and carried to a distant land to be enslaved and kept caged for the rest of his life. The father pursues his son with the assistance of a total stranger who has serious mental issues, surviving one life-threatening situation after another. Of course, we are talking about Finding Nemo. Actor, Bill Hunter, the voice of the Dentist in 2003’s Finding Nemo, was born on this date in 1940 in Australia. Hunter starred in more than 60 movies and was usually a tough guy with a hard-boiled exterior but a heart of gold. This is a no-brainer, with two great options at Walt Disney World, Finding Nemo: The Musical at the Animal Kingdom or Under the Seas with Nemo at EPCOT.

"Go with the Flooowwww..." Finding Nemo: The Musical

Today is No Brainer Day. Go to Walt Disney World, it’s a no-brainer.

Today is International Polar Bear Day. What color is a polar bear’s fur? White? No. A polar bear’s fur is clear. This allows sunlight to penetrate the fur where the energy is absorbed by the Polar Bear’s skin and held in by the fur. Polar bears have been associated with Coca-Cola and EPCOT has a wonderful polar bear / Coke attraction, Club Cool. At Club Cool you can try Coca-Cola products from around the world, Beverly, Kinsley and all the other, sometimes odd, flavors from other lands. Best of all, it costs nothing extra. Free Pop! Woo Hoo!

Remember, your best excuse is always: waiting for your dreams to come true.

Monday, February 25, 2013

February 26, 2013: Now, isn't that an odd couple?

Life is not fair. Anyone who told you that it is lies to you and may not be your friend. Life is hard and will kick you any chance it gets and the weaker you are, the harder it will kick. All that being said, that is not what life is about. Life is about how you react to all the bad stuff you are dealt. You can't control what happens to you but you can control how you react to it. Watch out for the people and things that would knock you down and try to hold you there. Never stay down, always get up. As long as there is life there is hope. Take some time to recharge and renew. If you can afford it, there is little on Earth that will offer you a better opportunity to recharge than some time in Walt Disney World. For that little period of time that you are at WDW, you are treated special, you feel special and life is just a little better.
On this date in 1920, actor Tony Randall was born. Randall was most famous as Felix Unger who shared an apartment with Oscar Madison (Jack Klugman) in the Odd Couple. Randall had a long career and he did a couple of things with Disney: the 1987 TV special, “Walt Disney World Celebrity Circus” and the 1989 TV special, “The Disney-MGM Studios Theme Park Grand Opening.” Randall remarried late in life after a long marriage to his first wife and fathered two children in his second marriage, one at age 75 and the second at age 76. Let’s visit Hollywood Studios in honor of Tony Randall, a man who loved life until the end.

Today is National Pistachio Day. When I was a kid pistachios were red. I didn’t know that they dyed them red; I just thought they were red. The fact that everything you touched turned red when you ate them should have been a clue but, hey, I was a kid. Now they don’t dye them but a lot of people eat them, including my wife, who eats $15.00 bags of pistachios that we get at Sam’s. I think I may take a red marker and relive my childhood with the next bag I buy. Want some pistachios at Walt Disney World? Go to the Magic Kingdom to Tony’s Town Square and get the Pistachio Crème Brulee. You won’t be able to thank me; your mouth will be full.

Today is Tell a Fairy Tale Day. Disney has dozens to choose from but maybe you should just make up your own. If you don’t want to make up your own but you would like to be part of something original, go to World Showcase at EPCOT and hook up with the World Showcase Players. It’s always fun and always different because members of the audience are part of the show.

February 26th, 1983, Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” album goes to number one and stays at number one for thirty-seven weeks. At the height of his fame he made a 3D feature for Disney that is playing again at the Imagination Pavilion at EPCOT. Jump on board the star ship with Captain EO and relive a bit of 80’s history.

Remember, your best excuse is always: waiting for your dreams to come true.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

February 25, 2013: Care to join me on a three hour tour.

Gilligan’s Island, for the love of Pete, they were on a three hour cruise. They had a ton of stuff, a steamer trunk full of clothes and whatever tech it took to turn a coconut into whatever they needed that episode. Every young man argued over who was prettier, Ginger or Mary Ann and you’d have to be a goon like Gilligan to not try something with two hot chicks on a desert island. The absolute oddest characters on the show were Thurston Howell III and his wife Lovey. Thurston was played by the great Jim Backus who was born on this day in 1913 in Cleveland, Ohio. In addition to the iconic Thurston Howell he also played the confused, myopic Mr. Magoo, who stumbled through any number of obstacles. But do you remember him in Pete’s Dragon or Now You See Him, Now You Don’t. Let’s remember Jim Backus but staying at the Magic Kingdom until closing time for the parade and the float of Elliott from Pete’s Dragon.

Today is National Chili Day. Chili has no beans, I do like a little chocolate in my chili and sometimes I even like Chili Verde. What I don’t like is that Chili Willi’s in Huntington has closed. Chili Willi’s was my favorite restaurant in the world. That’s right, in the world. Have I told you I hate change? I know everything has to change but I love things that you can count on year after year, like Casey’s. We love Casey’s hot dogs but they have chili too. Chili, CHILI… for a snack credit. Go Now.

Today is National Chocolate Covered Nuts Day. Everything is better with chocolate on it. I’m allergic to peanuts but not tree nuts so I guess I’d better stick with almonds or cashews. Chocolate covered stuff goes soft fact in warm Florida weather, so that becomes your excuse to eat your chocolate and eat it fast… then eat it again.

Remember, your best excuse is always: waiting for your dreams to come true.