Friday, May 31, 2013

June 1, 2013: Andy Dufresne was a tall drink of water...

June 1, 2013. Only three weeks until summer technically starts, however, every school child knows that the last day of school is the first day of summer. So we are now a week into summer. Monday starts 21st Century summer classes. I will be teaching Geocaching and my wife will be teaching origami. Come on over to LMS Monday morning at 9 AM and join us. There are other classes as well and a summer math camp for those who need it.

On this date in 1937, the great narrator, Morgan Freeman, was born. Among my middle school and high school students, there is the constant question: who would you rather have narrate your life, Morgan Freeman or James Earl Jones? I can’t answer that other than to say that I’d want James Earl Jones for the big moments and Morgan Freeman for the quiet moments. Morgan is part of my absolute, bar none, favorite movie of all times, The Shawshank Redemption, and sure enough, he is the narrator in his role as Red. Well, guess what? Disney thinks that Morgan Freeman is such a good narrator that he is the current narrator of The Hall of Presidents. You know how I feel about The Hall of Presidents. Go on, now, quit dragging your feet, get on in there and what those presidents.

We love Typhoon Lagoon. It’s the water park of choice for us at Walt Disney World and it opened on this date in 1989. Eventually, the opening of Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach helped lead to the closing of River Country but go to YouTube and watch Adam the Woo’s eerie video of a visit to the long dormant park that’s not quite completely dormant. But there’s nothing dormant about Typhoon Lagoon, if you go early you can even surf the wave pool complete with surfing lessons and the greatest picture we have ever had taken at a theme park was taken in the wave pool. Go, and get a photopass on a wristband that you can use to save all your pictures like we did.


1792: Kentucky was admitted as the 15th state. At one time the flag had 15 stripes but then they pulled back to 13 stripes for the 13 original colonies. But for a while, we were there. When we were on Castaway Cay, there was a sign for Kentucky Cardinal brand something or other. I’ll see if I can find it and post it here.

Bonus: The Flying Dutchman from our cabin.

1880: The first pay telephone was installed. Cell phone have almost killed them but there are three in EPCOT. See if you can find these.

1938: Superman first appears in Action Comics #1. Did you see that someone recently found a cop of Action #1 in poor shape (1.5 out of 10) and sold it for over $100,000? Superman is my favorite hero and he would kick Iron Man’s butt. Sorry.

1926: Andy Griffith was born. If you go to WDW by way of the West Virginia Turnpike and proceed into North Carolina, visit Mount Airy, Andy’s birthplace. They’ve got lots of cool stuff and you deserve a little break from the road.

1926: Norma Jean Mortenson was born. It’s hard to believe that Marilyn Monroe was the same age as Andy Griffith. When you die young, you never age. A lot of people thought that Marilyn was the model for Tinker Bell, she wasn’t, but let’s enjoy Tinker Bell at the end of Wishes any way.

Today is National Go Barefoot Day. Don’t go barefoot in Walt Disney World unless you’re at a pool or in a water park. Just don’t.

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

Thursday, May 30, 2013

May 31, 2013: Go ahead, make my day... at Hollywood Studios

There are predictions of rain and thunderstorms today but that’s okay, all the grass is mown and I can actually clean the inside of the van while it’s storming outside. I am in WDW cleaning mode. When we travel I like the van to start out clean and I like to have the house clean so we come home to less mess and confusion. My wife is not only in cleaning mode but major reorganization mode. I love my wife but any time that she gets in major reorganization mode it ends up in some sort of argument. I just want to state again, I love my wife. In advance, for the third time, I love my wife.

I love my wife.

In 1908, Don Ameche was born in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Don Ameche made a bunch of movies that I really like: Cocoon, Trading Places and Disney’s Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey (where he supplied the voice of Shadow). Ameche was always very suave and classy and often plied that persona for laughs and fish out of water moments. Since he made a couple of movies with Eddie Murphy, let’s enjoy the Haunted Mansion. I really want to ride the Haunted Mansion, I don’t particularly want to watch The Haunted Mansion but I do want to ride it. Did I mention that, in 2011, we were at The Magic Kingdom when Eddie Murphy was there? We were and that’s all I really have to say about that.

One hundred years later, in 2008, Buzz Lightyear actually goes to infinity and beyond. Buzz served as a member of the crew of the space shuttle Discovery. Buzz’s journey into space tied in with our own journey into Toy Story Midway Mania! The ride opened on the same day that Buzz left the planet. Go to Hollywood Studios and enjoy blasting everything in sight at Midway Mania!


1678: Lady Godiva rode naked through Coventry in a protest of taxes. Now I’m sure that was a TEA Party. Visit the English Pavilion at EPCOT but keep your tax protests a little more family friendly.

 1930: Clint Eastwood was born. Clint had been: Dirty Harry, Blondie, Rusty Yates, The Mayor of Carmel, California, a jazz piano player, political commentator, and more. Hey, he’s in the Great Movie Ride, so ride it.

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

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

May 30, 2013: What's up Doc?

On this date in 1908, Mel Blanc, "The Man of a 1000 Voices," is born in San Francisco, California. Famous for his work at Warner Brothers and Hanna-Barbera, Blanc supplied the hiccup sound effect for Disney's Pinocchio and voiced Raja the Tiger for Disney's Goliath II. He also voiced Cousin Orville for Walt Disney World's Carousel of Progress. (Blanc is best known as the voice of Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Sylvester the Cat, and hundreds of other cartoon favorites.) Let’s go ride the Carousel of Progress in Tomorrowland at The Magic Kingdom.

Benny Goodman, often referred to as the "King of Swing," is born in Chicago, Illinois on this date in 1909. A clarinetist and bandleader, his music is featured in Disney's Make Mine Music. Goodman himself performed live multiple times at Disneyland in 1961. In 1988 (two years after Goodman's death) a special 8-day event "Disneyland Salutes Benny Goodman" took place at Disneyland featuring alumni of Goodman's band. Let’s enjoy some live music in the parks, all over the parks, every day.


1821: James Boyd patents the rubber fire hose. Go to the Firehouse in Town Square of The Magic Kingdom. While you’re there get properly trained to participate in Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom.

1848: William G. Young patents the ice cream freezer. Have a Mickey Bar. You know you want one.

1964: Wynonna Judd, local girl from Ashland, KY, is born. Wynonna sang a version of “Burning Love” in Lilo and Stitch. While were at The Magic Kingdom, let’s check out Stitch’s Great Escape.

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

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

May 29, 2013: I'm going to... King's Island.

Today we are taking the Lawrence County High School Band to Kings Island in Mason, Ohio, just north of Cincinnati. I don’t know how many times I have been to Kings Island but it is this park and Camden Park in Huntington, West Virginia that fostered my love of amusement parks. I first visited Kings Island in 1972, the year it opened and, like our beloved WDW, it has changed a great deal since that time. Today is it very much themed toward large thrill rides and is now owned by Cedar Fair, which also owns another of my favorite childhood parks, Cedar Point. I am looking forward to riding the Beast and the Diamondback and drinking a lot of soda from my refillable cup. Hey, it’s not Disney but we’ve never had the money to make that trip. Maybe… some day.

On this day in 1903, Bob Hope was born. Bob Hope was such a part of my life growing up that it is hard for me to realize that there is an entire generation who have little, or no, connection to Bob Hope. Bob was ubiquitous on television, made dozens of movies and toured almost without ceasing entertaining troops through the USO. Hope’s Disney connections go all the way back to 1939 then her presented the Oscar for “Ferdinand the Bull” to Walt. In 1965 he visited Walt with Jack Benny and in 1971 he was part of the televised grand opening of Walt Disney World. In 1981 he led a 1000 piece marching band for the tenth anniversary of WDW and in 1989 he was part of the ribbon cutting ceremony for Disney-MGM Studios. Go to the Magic Kingdom, visit Adventureland, and look for Bwana Bob’s, a little store that is actually a tribute to Bob Hope.

In 1906, T. H. White was born in Bombay, India. In 1938, White wrote a story about the boyhood of King Arthur titled, “The Sword in the Stone.” You can try your hand at pulling the sword from the stone in Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom, a tribute to Walt’s 1963 movie based on the story.

John F. Kennedy, the thirty-fifth United States President, was born in Brookline, Massachusetts on this date in 1917. The youngest elected to office, at the age of 43, he was one of the 10 wealthiest U.S. Presidents, visit him and all the U.S. Chief Executives at Disney World's The Hall of Presidents.

Composer Danny Elfman was born in Amarillo, Texas on this date in 1953. His unique music can be heard in such Disney/Touchstone films as Alice in Wonderland, Meet the Robinsons (my favorite Disney movie), Flubber, Nightmare Before Christmas, and Dick Tracy.  Elfman led the rock band Oingo Boingo from 1978 until its breakup in 1995 (“Weird Science”). Just wander around WDW, at some point you’ll hear Danny Elfman’s music.

Today is Put a Pillow On Your Fridge Day. Putting a pillow on your fridge is supposed to bring prosperity to your household. Who knows? It might just work, and your cereal will be more comfortable.

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

Monday, May 27, 2013

May 28, 2013: Do, do, do, looking out my backdoor.

On this date in 1966, in a land, far, far away (Disneyland) It’s A Small World opened in Fantasyland. The original ride features 297 animated children, 256 toys, a canal filled with 233,000 gallons of water and a song that is the very definition of an earworm. If you can get that song out of your head you have way more mental control than I. This was Disneyland’s first continually loading high capacity ride and Walt poured water from all over the world into the attraction’s moat. Disney eventually built versions of the ride at The Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World, Tokyo Disneyland, Disneyland Paris and Hong Kong Disneyland. Just quit fighting and go ride It’s A Small World right across the way from Peter Pan’s Flight in New Fantasyland at The Magic Kingdom.

One of our favorite places in all of Walt Disney World opened on this date in 1994. Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, inspired by the great lodges at National Parks out west, is only a mile from The Magic Kingdom but feels like it is 1000 miles away. Get on a boat from The Magic Kingdom and head over to Whispering Canyon for some good food, great fun and beautiful surroundings.

When I was a kid, different phases of my childhood were definitely defined by different music. In 1970 and throughout the early seventies, my dad ran a restaurant in downtown Louisa, the Big Sandy Restaurant. That restaurant had a jukebox that was the soundtrack of that time and one of the prominently featured groups on that jukebox was Creedence Clearwater Revival. On this date in 1945, the lead singer and songwriter for Creedence, John Fogerty was born. “Lookin’ Out My Backdoor” and “Sweet Hitchhiker” were two huge songs from that time and I’ve always kept a soft spot for whatever Fogerty has done. You won’t find a better summertime song anywhere than “Centerfield” or a more laid back summer song than “110 in the shade.” Fogerty always had a swampy, bluesy, country/rock feel that was instantly identifiable and incredibly popular.  Let’s go to Adventureland at The Magic Kingdom where a little Creedence would fit in just fine.


1938: Jerry West is born. Jerry is from West Virginia, which makes him a local boy. How important is Jerry West to basketball? West’s silhouette is the logo for the NBA. Go to the ESPN club on The Boardwalk and honor Jerry there.

1945: Another local boy, Gary Stewart from Letcher County, Kentucky was born on this date. Gary Stewart was a honky-tonkin’, rockabillying, country singer and songwriter. Honor him at Frontierland, perhaps by visiting the Country Bears.

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