In Which Jenn Packs For WDW Three Weeks In Advance

Yes, I own this luggage for realsies.

Look, I don’t know you. I don’t know your packing habits. But I can tell you my usual ones, which some might describe as anal-retentive: I have a spreadsheet. Everything I need to pack is in that spreadsheet, and once it’s in my suitcase, which happens at least a day in advance, I mark it off. I save every individual trip’s packing list so that I can go back and consult it to check for items I may have missed. And of course I check the weather to make sure my clothing items are appropriate.

Yeah. About that last bit…

So this time around my WDW Marathon trip is but one leg of my personal Grand Circle Tour of the east coast. Next week I fly to Baltimore for Christmas with my husband’s family; the week after that, we drive down to NC to visit my family; and then, the week after THAT, I fly down to Orlando for the Goofy Challenge.

Which means I am packing all the portions of my trip at once… including for Orlando weather. In January. Let me tell you from experience: NO ONE KNOWS WHAT THE WEATHER IS GOING TO BE LIKE IN ORLANDO IN JANUARY.

I mean, sure, once you close in, your local weatherperson can give you an idea. But three weeks out? Total crapshoot. I’ve been down for the marathon and been already warm at the start line. I’ve been down and FREEZING TO DEATH. Hell, one time it was even delightfully moderate. Do I know what I will be encountering in 2020? Nope. Not a clue. Zilch. Nada.

And here I am. Packing for it.

Obviously I can make some educated guesses. Some contingency items. Knee socks to wear with my dresses. A pair of running shorts to supplement the pants, just in case. Arm warmers and gloves, for safety. Those shake-em-out hand warmer pack things.

In an extreme worst case scenario, I can always go to Target or something while I’m in NC for emergency supplies. But man, I sure wish I was working with more information while I have access to the stuff I already own, ya feel me?

To make a long story short: YES I will be making you look at my Disney Dandy wardrobe and running costumes for this trip! … Just as soon as I figure out what that looks like. >D

Don’t forget, you can follow FRoA on Twitter @fairestrunofall. If you have any questions, leave a comment or email fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

Happy Friday: Goofy’s Supplication Methods Are Questionable

This is not my first time expressing both my undying love for an tremendous confusion regarding the Disney Singalong Songs video The Twelve Days of Christmas, a staple of my childhood and possibly the reason my imagination is so… um… boundless.

But today I would like to discuss a bit of a sleeper from the tape which has been inexplicably stuck in my head the last couple days. Can I interest you in a trippy dancing fade-in Goofy asking Santa to bring him an elephant as a present? I THOUGHT SO.

Like, who art directed this thing? Did they do it in Powerpoint? Was Goofy freestyling or did a choreographer get involved? Is the elephant a metaphor for acid the entire time, hence the suspiciously Dumbo-esque lineup toward the end?

Additionally, does this video start with “… we phase in Santa Claus” as what happens on the ninth day? Because if so, that is also weird.

Not as weird as “Hip Hop Noel,” though. That really is the gold standard.

Don’t forget, you can follow FRoA on Twitter @fairestrunofall. If you have any questions, leave a comment or email fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

In Which Elizabeth Goes To Kings Dominion

Occasionally, my friends will run a race or go to theme park without me and then make the grave mistake of telling me about it, at which point I strongarm them into writing me up a guest post. So let’s welcome back the indomitable Elizabeth, who is here to tell you all about the Halloween haunts of Kings Dominion in Virginia!

I went to Kings Dominion’s Halloween Haunt for the first time this year, and it did not disappoint!  There were two main components: scare zones and mazes (i.e. haunted houses). The scare zones were designated, themed areas where employees (I keep wanting to call them “cast members” because of Disney…) will jump out and scare you, or possibly creepily follow you through the entire area until you leave. I’m not sure why the mazes are called that, because they are really just twisty paths through the haunted houses, and you’d have to try *very* hard to get lost. One of my friends refused to go in the first one we encountered because she was convinced she’d be trapped inside, and we had to reassure her afterwards that there were not, in fact, any dead ends.
The scare zones were interesting to walk through during the day, because it looked like theming that wasn’t fully thought out: “Oh, some random watch towers? That’s…atmospheric, I guess.” But then once it was dark and the actors were in place it suddenly made sense that this was supposed to be a prison yard full of violent escaped convicts. The prison yard and the carnival themed scare zones were probably the creepiest, and one of the zones featured actors on roller blades that had some kind of sparking device on them that meant they would charge at you *while spraying sparks* and it was VERY startling the first time this happened to me. The actors in the french revolution-themed scare zone didn’t seem to be working that hard at actually scaring us–they had large fans that would snap very loudly, but the actors would just sort of snap them in a desultory manner without even trying to sneak up on you first.
Speaking of the French revolution, the main entertainment of the night was the big musical numbers that featured Marie Antoinette being beheaded, followed by song and dance numbers from contemporary musicals, like The Greatest Showman (why? I don’t know). The beheading scene was pretty entertaining but we left shortly after that.
The first maze we went through was “No Vacancy: Condemned”, which I chose because it was touted as being a “mystery” that you would presumably solve. This was also the only maze we encountered where everyone got a flashlight. I was disappointed that there was not an actual mystery–the plot of the house was that the woman who ran this hotel had a bad habit of killing the guests, which you found out when the “ghosts” jumped out and screamed at you about it. The flashlight element was pretty effective, as they kept the lights down and you were in control of what you could see in the rooms.
In general, the mazes were really well done and my main complaint was that I didn’t have enough time to appreciate all of the excellent set design and costumes because I needed to keep moving through the space to avoid holding up the line, as well as being constantly distracted by the actors. We didn’t go through every single one, but I’d say “Blackout” was the most disappointing haunted house. It’s called that because the entire thing is in complete darkness–which IS creepy, except what happened was that all the guests formed a giant conga line, so no one was bumping into walls. I’m pretty sure this was an excuse for the designers to cheap out on set design as well, because aside from a few times we walked through fishing line hanging from the ceiling, I’m pretty sure it was just a plain hallway with some actors in it. The actors would get right up in your ear to say creepy stuff, which did make me jump a couple of times, but overall I was not impressed.

IMO, the best-designed mazes were No Vacancy, Blood on the Bayou, and Lockdown.Cornstalkers was also good and had the advantage of being the only maze that was outdoors, as far as I know.

Thank you, Elizabeth! Next time I’ll have to tag along. 😀

Don’t forget, you can follow FRoA on Twitter @fairestrunofall. If you have any questions, leave a comment or email fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

In Which Jenn Tracks Down ALL The Reign Of Kong Drivers

I don’t know about you, but I tend to be a completionist to a fault. (Open world video games give me such anxiety that I tend to avoid them.) So when I discovered after the fact that the Skull Island: Reign of Kong ride at Universal Studios Florida offers you five different possible audio-animatronic drivers, I immediately sprang to YouTube to try and discover all of them, and how their spiels change that ride as a whole.

The short answer is… not a lot, really. Some drivers do have more appealing personalities, but none of their dialogue reveals anything major about the ride. Kalana, Will, and Doc seem to offer the closest to additional mythology, but none of them impact the overall ride experience save maybe for the beginning and end when there are no screens.

Still, I found it mildly amusing to pursue the full set, and to save time for anyone who might feel the same way, I’ve put them together all in one post for you.

(The descriptions that preface each video below were pulled from this article.)

Kalana: A mystical descendant of the natives who first settled on the island.

Will Denham: The fresh-faced, adventure-seeking younger cousin of famed movie director Carl Denham.

Jinks Costanza: A hardened New York City ex-con who is wary of the island’s mysteries.

Becky Callahan: The loose-cannon cowgirl who isn’t fazed by the dangers awaiting her on Skull Island.

Charles “Doc” Jordan: A PhD student in paleontology who took time off from his studies to explore the world.

Don’t forget, you can follow FRoA on Twitter @fairestrunofall. If you have any questions or thoughts, leave a comment or email fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!