In Which Timehop Throws Shade At Disney???

Holy smoke Rocky, guys, I know I just posted, but I saw the FUNNIEST thing in my Timehop yesterday and I had to share!

You guys know Timehop, right? The app that shows you all the stuff you posted on this day on your various social medias and that stuff? In addition to populating with your own on-this-day photos and tidbits, it also sometimes shows some historic events and such that occurred on that day too. Various Disney park openings and movie debuts have sometimes been included as the day’s fun fact, because, I always assumed, many of Disney’s accomplishments are objectively historical.

As of today, though, I begin to wonder if a Disney blogger moonlights as a Timehop exec, because this is some niche humor:

Timehop Epcot

Ha! Today we call it EPCOT and it has a Frozen ride…!

I mean, we all know the story about why Epcot never became the Epcot as Walt envisioned it. It’s the Frozen dig that kills me. That is some vintage late-2014, still-bitter-about-the-closing-of-Maelstrom, why-is-there-IP-in-Epcot-it-doesn’t-belong-here shade. I’m surprised they didn’t have that little dinosaur guy dressed as a Viking at the end. 

I can’t wait until the new Guardians of the Galaxy coaster opens and we find out what Timehop has to say about that. I’m guessing with all the ousted dinosaurs it’s gonna get real personal real fast.

Disney, man. You find it in the darnedest places!

Don’t forget, you can follow FRoA on Twitter @fairestrunofall. It would thrill me extremely if you would leave a comment with any questions or thoughtsSee ya real soon!

The Fairest Trip Report Of All: 12/01

It’s trip report time! You can see all the posts in this report here.

We pick up the next morning with me bouncing out of bed at 6am and going for a run, because if a trip doesn’t have a race built in you just have to do it yourself. I’ll do a full post on running around the All-Star resorts at a later time.

I knocked out three miles before heading back to the room to shower and get ready to roll out. 

Finding out my grandmother had died had certainly cast a pall over things, but since my dad wanted us to stay we figured we may as well try to enjoy it. Unfortunately my mom is a light sleeper/as much of an anxiety machine as I am, so between the bad news and the late night phone call she was running on like three hours of sleep. 

Oh, and another thing! The whole trip we were surrounded by coughing children. There must be something going around. Sure enough, on the second morning we were both feeling a little under the weather. Nothing debilitating but there was a throat-tickling component.

Nevertheless we set out. Our first stop was at the front desk, where I recounted the story of the aforementioned suspicious phone call to a CM. She checked my record and confirmed that there were no problems with it; it was indeed a scam. That sucks – I could see through it because I have a strong understanding of how Disney operates and what information is on my account, but if they’re targeting other Disney guests I bet some newbies might not know better. The CM promised to recount the tale to management but I’m not sure what can be done. Never give credit card information over the phone, people!

That out of the way, we picked up a bus to the Magic Kingdom for the tail end of Extra Magic Hour. Main Street was gloriously uncrowded, and as we walked toward the castle we could hear the opening strains of the trolley show, specifically “The Trolley Song.” My grandmother looooooooved Judy Garland, so this was a nice nod to her.

We headed into Fantasyland and knocked out Winnie the Pooh, the Little Mermaid, and it’s a small world in quick succession – only Pooh really had a wait, and it was maybe 15 minutes. Incidentally, I don’t know who designed VotLM’s queue, but they seriously overestimated its popularity. You could run an entire 5k in that thing.

After that it was off to our hard-won Be Our Guest breakfast reservation, a review of which I will of course be saving for a separate post because food always deserves a starring roll role, no?*

* RIP Starring Rolls.

Post-breakfast we were off to our first FP+ of the day, the Jungle Cruise – or I should say the Jingle Cruise, as it was all done up for Christmas. The modified name of our boat? Garland Gertie. Judy again! Our skipper was good but talked too fast; she never gave time for her jokes to land.

We stopped briefly at the Jack Sparrow show before using our Pirates of the Caribbean FP. Front row! Then it was over to the Haunted Mansion to try for standby. The posted wait was 25 minutes, so I gave my mom a choice: this or Philharmagic? Proving that not everyone classifies attractions on the same level, she chose Philharmagic. Oh, I kid, I kid; I find the movie quite enjoyable. And we only had to wait like 4 minutes to get into the theater, so all in all it was a successful use of time.

We says goodbye to the redhead.

I hustled us so resolutely to our Peter Pan FP that I accidentally tapped my band 4 minutes early. Oops! We backed away apologetically and people-watched for the necessary time before trying again with success. I do really like this ride but the standby line is always nuts.

By then it was time to head to Epcot, although we stopped briefly for snippets of the Great Moments Muppet show and the Dapper Dans. There was a monorail waiting for us at the MK stop and another for Epcot at the TTA, so that worked out beautifully. I picked up some Soarin’ FPs while we rode.

Once inside Epcot we headed to the Fountain View because it was the closest place I could think of off the top of my head where my mom could get a smoothie. Then we headed to The Land and checked in for the Behind the Seeds tour. I’ve been meaning to do this for YEARS. Finally it happened! More detailed review coming in a future post.

The tour lasted over an hour, and by the time it finished it was almost time for our late lunch ADR. Almost, but not quite – we headed into the World Showcase and bypassed Morocco in favor of a stop in Japan’s Mitsukoshi department store. Sadly all the Shinzi Kato merchandise my mom loves seems to be gone? But the whole place has been rearranged so I’m honestly not sure; maybe it’s hiding in a corner somewhere. I’ll have to check again some time.

We were still a little early but checked in at Spice Road Table for our Candlelight Processional package anyway, where we were whisked to a table with no wait. I’ll do a full review post for this too, but for now let me say SRT is seriously underrated.

After lunch we backtracked to the land for our Soarin’ FPs. This is about the thrill level my mom is most comfortable, and she found the new movie very enjoyable. We were in the middle left hangglider and the distortion was somewhat evident but I don’t think she noticed.

I had to stop and say hi to my buddy Figment.

We also snuck in a ride on the new green side of Mission: Space. First of all, I don’t understand WHY they re-recorded the preshow videos because it is literally the exact same script. I like Gina Torres and all, but I miss Gary. Second, the new green side is pretty underwhelming, no? Too much talking, and again, the ending is exactly the same as the Mars side. So weird!

By then it was high time we headed over to the American Gardens Theater, although we paused briefly at the gospel show on the way. My plan was to pick up a drink at the new Choza Margarita as we passed, but the line was INSANE. Next time!

Speaking of insane lines, the queue for the Candlelight Processional WITH the dining package was pretty nuts too. Obviously we had a seat, but it took some time to get in and my mom was starting to get cranky from sleep deprivation and residual shock. I soothed her as best I could and managed to scope out an empty area reasonably close to the stage. It was way to the right but it would do the job. And we were directly in front of the sign language interpreter so that was interesting.

My mom and I saw Whoopi narrate when we went in 2013, and my mom loved her so much she wanted to go again this year. Honestly I get it: even if she weren’t a part of my beloved Star Trek franchise, I would love her delivery. My mom says she does it “very New York.” I don’t know what that means exactly but she’s very straight ahead and maybe juuuust a little bit sassy, especially in the bit at the end about the origins of “Silent Night.” My favorite part was when she danced and sang along to “Rejoice with Exceeding Great Joy.” Great show, great show!

Oh, and BAM: before the show I messed around in the MDE app and snagged Frozen FPs. This was good. The bad bit was that my mom was starting to fade. I coaxed her over to Norway and sat her down on a bench before running into the Sommerhaus line to meet Anna and Elsa.

Normally face character meet and greets aren’t my thing – I always feel awkward. The actors stay in character because that’s their job, but I always want to be like, “you know I know you’re not real, right? Can we just take the picture and roll out?” Costumed characters are much less awkward. I know; I’m a boring killjoy.

But I was in line for a reason: I wanted Anna and Elsa to sign a Christmas card for Pat’s niece, who is freakin’ obsessed with Frozen (attempts to divert her to Moana have been only moderately successful). This they did, and they seemed to like the idea, but it was definitely also a awkward as they talked about Olaf and his hot chocolate preferences while I stared them blankly like a weirdo. But I got what I wanted with only about 15 minutes’ line time so it all worked out.

Turns out Anna and Elsa are both pretty short.

I very cruelly dragged my zombified mother through Frozen Ever After because I love the Let It Go scene more than I love her, apparently. At least I was kind enough to forego IllumiNations in exchange for an early bedtime. We grabbed a bus and headed back to Music.

Next up: we finally start to cheer up a little at DAK.

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

In Which Jenn & Pat Are Frozen With Fear At The Haunted Mansion

The trip report proper is over, but we’re not done yet – I’ve still got lots of thoughts, including food reviews and photos! You can see all the posts in this report here. Onward!

It was Pat who spotted the PhotoPass photographer, not me. I blazed right past her in my quest to ride the Haunted Mansion, but he saw and asked if I wanted to stop on the way out. Post doom-buggy exit, we pulled off to the side of the path, just pass the pet cemetery.

The mini photo shoot seemed unremarkable. The photographer took the usual pictures – some long shots showing the whole of the Haunted Mansion, some closer up that highlighted our smiling faces, the only hint of our location the curling design of the iron fence.

Finally, the trick shot: “Look scared,” she instructed us. We pantomimed as best we could.

Then we were done. I tapped my Magic Band to connect the photos to my account and we continued on our way.

I was not surprised by the last bit of instructed playacting, being no stranger to “magic shots” or whatever they call them. I assumed the Hitchhiking Ghosts would be superimposed. It was only later, stuck in the Magical Express on our way to the airport, that I accessed the photos and discovered that our picture was so much better than that.

Yeah. I’m pretty sure that isn’t right. But as was pointed out to me on Twitter, maybe they thought we looked cold?

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

The Fairest Trip Report Of All: 11/06

Trip report time! I’ll be covering my November 2016 trip. You can read all posts in the trip report here. Onward!

I was lucky enough to have a bus to Pop waiting for me after the half, and I was back in my room and showered in no time flat. A choice was presented to me: did I want to make the wise choice and take a much-needed nap? Or did I want to head to Animal Kingdom and use my Kilimanjaro Safaris Fastpass?

Kilimanjaro Safaris, duh. I changed and bolted for the bus.

Which took foreeeeever to show. Tons of people were waiting so I missed the first one to come along, and then when it finally did it was blocked for several minutes by a race bus offloading in the wrong area. I watched the clock nervously, aware that there was a 15 minute grace period after my FP window closed and there was a good chance I’d need every second of it.

I hit security with a challenge: make it from bag check to the safari in no less than 15 minutes. I was fairly confident that if I explain my bus difficulties and pointed out that I was but a single person the CMs would let me through, but it’s so much easier just to follow the original plan, y’know? Anyway, I made it with five minutes to spare, a testament to my speed and crowd dodging skills. If you ever accompany me to the parks, be prepared to power walk.

It wasn’t a super great safari – I’d hoped that my early morning FP would translate to frisky, cooler-weather animal antics, but no dice. I did get to see the painted dogs for the first time, which was pretty awesome, and the warthogs were out and about.

These aren’t them.

These either.

My next stop was Expedition Everest, where I used my FP before hopping right back in the single rider line. Then I was off to Nomad Lounge for my drink! Review to come – stay tuned.

I had a sizable chunk of time to kill before my Festival of the Lion King FP, but plenty of ways to fill it. For starters I swung through a few gift shops and picked up a [redacted] my mom had eyed in our December 2013 trip but ultimately talked herself out of buying; figured it’d make a great Christmas present. (I don’t think she reads this blog but better safe than sorry.) Love how the Annual Pass discount applies just about everywhere now.

That done, I plunked myself down on one of the stone benches near Dawa Bar and took in a series of shows: the acrobats, who were hard to see behind the crowd but had great energy, and Burudika, whom I have loved every since Estelle introduced me. They’ve really upped the quality of the dance instruction, with a couple of legit African dancers. Two guys hopped into the dance area who clearly had African dance training too, but they were dressed casually so I couldn’t tell if they were off-duty CMs or if it was just coincidence. Made for solid entertainment, either way.

It was during this happy, decidedly chill time that I came to a realization: I think I’m ready to call it. Animal Kingdom is my favorite park. I’ll try to explore this in a post at some point, but for now I’ll just say that the atmosphere is unparalleled.

Burudika ended just in time for my FotLK FP to open up, although somehow when I got there there were a bunch of people ahead of me? Didn’t a giant hoard get wise to the 5-minutes-early rule, or do CMs let you through in advance for show FPs? Hmmm. I managed to get my favorite spot (on the end next to the Simba float in the lion section) all the same, and enjoyed the show immensely. As is for some reason per usual, I was messed with and high-fived by tumble monkeys, which always enhances the experience.

I scooted out of the park then and picked up a bus to Epcot. No good FPs made themselves available to me, so I headed directly to World Showcase for some lunch at the Food & Wine Festival. It was cooling off a little as the sun began to set, opening me up to the purchase of mac and cheese and elderberry cider from Farm Fresh and – finally! After years – cheddar cheese soup from Canada, which was… okay. In it for the pretzel roll, really.

It was coming up on my reservation for one of those wine tasting things in the Festival Center, so I headed over there. I wandered through the Ghirardelli chocolate display and browsed the shops a bit more before getting in line behind a girl who turned about to be from Baltimore. I chatted with her and the Texan lady behind me, and before you know it we were let into the wine seminar area. Review of that experience to come!

By that point it was coming up on 6:30am and I was working on maybe eight hours of sleep over two days. I was tired – but I was NOT DONE. Step one of my Do Not Fall Asleep Initiative was a much-wanted photo with Baymax.

Pro tip: fistbump with your left hand, or whatever arm is closest to the photographer. Rookie mistake; I got flustered. I’m gonna need a redo in January.

My next act was to ride Figment, mostly to see what kind of Figment merch was currently available in the gift shop (yes, I know you can enter without riding but it was a walk-on and anyway I still LOOOVE Figment, just not his ride so much anymore). Gift shop offerings were not tempting, which is just as well but Figment deserves more.

Back to World Showcase for more foodstuffs! No, wait, scratch that; this time around it was all drinkstuffs. I got a whiskey stout from the Scotland booth (good!), followed by the Shipyard milk stout from craft beers (very good!), and then sparkling pineapple wine from Hawaii, which was too sweet but hey, bubbles.

While imbibing, I indulged in one of my favorite WDW activities, made all the easier by being alone: Aimless Wandering. I stopped short at Alberta Bound and watched the rest of their show; they’re no Off Kilter but I’ll take it. And then as I stepped away I could hear the dulcet tones of Queen, which I followed to the UK pavilion to catch the end of the British Revolution’s set. While there I investigated the gift shop (Doctor Who!) and checked for Pooh character photo ops, but they were already done for the day. That’s okay; I was repping Eeyore just fine by myself.

As I walked by the International Gateway I happened to notice a line of people waiting to check in for the race after party. I figured it was an inevitability so I went ahead and jumped into the fray. I’m glad I did it first chance I got because the lines I saw later in the night were waaaay worse. Plus I got to live out the Scrubs Coffeebucks double-line scene in real life as I found myself turning around and entering a new, separate line without even moving. Normally it is not good to find yourself the Ted Buckland in a given situation, but it saved me a few minutes.

Duly wristbanded, it was time for more food! I picked up some pork belly from Brazil (not as a buttery as I would’ve hoped/expected), and then the butter chicken (MORE CURRY SPICE, DAMMIT) and Jam Jar shiraz (pretty good; not too sweet) from the Africa booth.

Then I did something stupid. Illuminations was starting, and, well, I know this is sacrilege, but – I’m not all that into Illuminations. Don’t get me wrong, it’s good, but I don’t feel a deep need to keep my eyes glued to it, y’know? I decided my time would be better spent in line for Frozen Ever After, which would hopefully be experiencing a fireworks-induced lull.

This isn’t the stupid part. The stupid part is that I decided to walk around the wrong way, because, oh, yes, I am SUCH a great power walker.

Well, I am. I am indeed very speedy. But starting from I think France I still barely made it to Norway as Illuminations was ending.

I was greeted by a posted 90 minute wait for the Frozen ride, but I was willing to gamble that it was residual from before official park close. Admittedly a CM was setting up extra stanchions as I arrived, but I had come to far to turn back (back! Over the falls! … Too soon?). And I think my risk paid off – I waited, by my internal clock’s estimate, about 25 minutes, which isn’t too shabby, and the queue is quite adorable – it definitely serves as a worthy distraction. I think maybe they re-appropriated the old fishing village? Bonus points to Wandering Oaken’s sauna.

As for the ride itself? SPOILER ALERT! Okay, well, see, I’m a lukewarm (ha!) Frozen fan at best. I’ve seen it once. It was cute. I liked that the true love was between sisters and not with some guy. But I can’t say it does much for me beyond that. Maybe it’s my own personal lack of sister? I haven’t seen any of the sequel shorts nor do I feel a deep need to, although I think that does take away a bit from my appreciation of some scenes, especially the ogre-replacing snow giant thing at the drop. I guess I should see them…

Anyway. The scenes were cute. Still miss the Maelstrom. But I will say this: the arguable showpiece of the ride, Elsa singing “Let It Go” in her ice palace and sending you backward as she hits the chorus, is stunning. I’m still thinking about that one.

I was starting to really feel the lack of sleep, but I wasn’t about to quit yet. I dragged myself over to Soarin’ and did that again, then Test Track, which turned into a bit of an ordeal when the lab doors didn’t open and the CMs didn’t notice until it was pointed out to them. Not that it matters, because I zombie-built an extremely substandard fake car and then zombie-rode the ride in a weird dissociative haze made extra trippy because, well, Tron Track.

Then I rode Spaceship Earth and almost dozed off three separate times, at which point I had to begrudgingly admit that, despite the remaining hour of after party, it was time to call it. I didn’t like it, mind you, but there was a very real chance I might collapse on a poor Norwegian if I attempted another Frozen ride and I can’t afford to get banned from the park; I have an AP now!

Sad but secure in the knowledge that I was doing the right albeit annoying thing, I boarded a midnight bus, headed home, and went to sleep.

Next up: one more day in the place where dreams come true.

Don’t forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn’s dailymile here and Moon’s dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

In Which Jenn Has New Rides To Look Forward To

I’m a little sad, guys. All my potential trip buddies for my Wine & Dine trip in November fell out and I’m gonna be going to alone. That’s okay, though! I’m gonna knock a day off my trip for financial reasons but otherwise it’ll still be a fun time. I mean, when is WDW not a fun time? Never. Exactly.

Plus – and I was thinking about this the other day – I have two instances of something very special coming up in this trip. I don’t know if we stop to think about it enough when this wonderful thing happens to us, because for us park-frequenters it happens rarely. I’m talking about riding a ride for the Very First Time.

Everything’s new! The story, the music, the visuals. You don’t know what’s around each corner, when you may drop or change direction. It’s like reading a book or watching a movie – for a truly wonderful attraction, nothing will be lost by repeat and repeat and repeat rides; indeed, the richness of Disney’s environments lends itself to discovering new things all the time, even on the eleventh or 1,011th go-round.

But the first time only happens once, and we should savor it. (Insert obligatory virginity joke here; ahahahahaha okay contractual requirements fulfilled.) I’ll have that opportunity twice on this trip, with the new Soarin’ Around the World and Frozen rides. And yeah, I’ll miss the smell of oranges and pine trees in the former, and yeah, I’m still kinda mad about the replacement of Maelstrom and agree with those who say Frozen doesn’t belong in Epcot, but still. The Imagineers are a pretty crafty bunch. Maybe they’ll win me over for all that.*

My very first time is when we all find out.

* Except for Avatar. DEATH TO AVATAR. Okay, okay, I’ll give it a shot… BUT I WON’T LIKE IT.

What rides are you looking forward to that you haven’t been on yet? Do you try to be extra in-the-moment when you ride something for the first time?

Don’t forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn’s dailymile here and Moon’s dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

The Fairest Week In Review: 9/02

HELLO, FRIENDS! Just Jenn today, as Moon will be off gallivanting about the Continent for the remainder of the week. Whereas I, by contrast, am back from the beach and happy to… happy to… look, I kinda wish I was still at the beach, okay? But I’m here and I’m slowly getting over my post-break blues. How am I managing my recovery, you ask? Tune in later this week to find out! (Hint: upcoming WDW trips are involved.)

But can we just talk for a minute about some WDW things that are NOT assisting my recovery? No, I’m not talking about the Maelstrom Frozen overhaul; I’m withholding judgment on that one until I see it. No, I’m more distressed that Disney has decided to ax a bunch of World Showcase entertainment – including not only good ol’ Off Kilter but THE WORLD SHOWCASE PLAYERS. I mean, losing Off Kilter makes me sad because running to them makes me pretend-you’re-in-Epcot happy, but THE PLAYERS? You can’t get rid of them! They’re hilarious! GALAHAD AN APPOINTMENT TO TALK ABOUT THIS????


What else? Oh, right, running. Well, I DID run a little at the beach (more on that tomorrow). I also took a couple long walks on the shore that were awesome, swam in the ocean, and tried surfing a little. This last was pretty hilarious; I did a lot of talking to my board which consisted primarily of “NONONONONONONO” [SPLASH] [SPUTTER]. But I didn’t drown OR smack my head on my board OR get eaten by a shark, so: success!

No roundup this week as I barely touched my laptop all week. As always, if you see a post you think is up my alley, don’t hesitate to send it my way!

Don’t forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn’s dailymile here and Moon’s dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

In Which Jenn Considers Disney Movies Across Generations

My ballet teacher recently purchased a CD of piano arrangements of Disney songs that we sometimes use for class. It’s such a new recording that it includes a rendition of Frozen‘s “Let It Go.” My teacher tells me that whenever she plays this in her kindergarten-age pre-ballet class, they ALL immediately begin singing the lyrics and complain when she turns it off even though they’re done with the steps.

So: I think it is safe to say that Frozen is the seminal Disney movie for current little kids.

You know what I mean, right? Sure, you watched lots of Disney movies as a kid, but there’s that one in particular that you specifically remember seeing in the theater and loving and watching on repeat as soon as it came out on video cassette (because I assume you, too, are OLD) and getting all the plushes for Christmas and that is THE Disney movie as far as your nostalgia gland is concerned.

I’ve talked before about my intense love for 101 Dalmations, but I don’t think I can count this because it came out before I was born. The Little Mermaid is in the right time frame, and so is Beauty and the Beast, but I must confess I was never a huge fan of the latter and the former lost its luster upon repeat viewings because while Ursula and Scuttle are awesome, Eric and Ariel are both kind of idiotic.

So I’m going with The Lion King on this one, not only for its staying power but for the fact that I specifically remember seeing it in theaters, back when I was… what, eight? I remember my grandparents came too, and we talked about it on the ride home and agreed that it was just generally awesome. Also, SCAR.

I know, Scar. You make me happy too. (source)

(Honorable mention goes to Mulan because MULAN!!!!!!I’LLMAKEAMANOUTOFYOU, but as I was 12 when that came out I feel like it doesn’t quite qualify.)

And it’s interesting to ponder, I think, not just yours but that of your parents and even grandparents. My grandmothers both like Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs for obvious reasons. My mom has great love for The Jungle Book because that’s the movie she remembers seeing and loving in theaters. ( forgot to ask my dad but since he has expressed very little interest in going to WDW with me at any point I say WHO NEEDS HIM.

Now I turn the sticky theater floor over to you. What’s your seminal Disney movie? Do you know what your parents loved as kids?

Don’t forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn’s dailymile here and Moon’s dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!