In Which Jenn Is More Than What She Has Become

I need to look inside myself, I guess.

It’s one of the best parts of the whole movie, no? When Simba’s laying there looking up at the stars and Mufasa’s ghost shows up and yells at him. Okay, well, maybe not when I describe it like that, but you know the bit I mean. 

I’ve always found the moment strangely moving, although I’ve never been the king of anything. More just the call to be… I don’t know, true to yourself, I guess? I was trying to think of a less cheesy way to describe it, but I can’t. I guess some cheesy things are also accurate.

Anyway, all this is buildup just to say that my little Disney Dandy heart has been longing for a piece of “Remember Who You Are” clothing for quite some time. There’s a lot of it out there, too – tank tops, crew tees, cargo jackets, and more. But none of it ever felt quite right to me.

Until, of course, I found a great sweatshirt on Poshmark and pounced. I love the design of it, I love the colors, I love the readability (believe it or not, some of ’em get a bit too fancy with the fonts), and also, I rather love that it’s a sweatshirt. I have lots of Disney dresses and a fair number of short sleeved shirts, but very little in the way of outerwear. Occasionally it does get cold at Disney and I need to be prepared (January 2017, anyone?).

Lion King sweatshirt

So I picked up in the sweatshirt in a size large, because I tend to like my sweatshirts and outerwear to fit a bit big. It allows for layering and just generally feels cozier, y’know?

That did leave the question of how to style my new prize. Obviously I could toss it over some jeans and call it a day, but I wanted to spice things up a bit. First I went with the classic tuck into some high-waisted shorts, plus some socks to keep things cold weather-friendly:

But then I read an article dedicated exclusively to styling oversized sweatshirts, and one of the suggestions was layering it over a skirt. The girl in the picture had a pleated skirt peaking out of the sweatshirt’s hem. I liked the look, so I tried to replicate it:

Finally, the wildcard look. That plaid miniskirt gave me an idea. You’ve seen sweatshirts and miniskirts, yes, but have you seen sweatshirt with MAXI TUTU???

I doubt I’d ever wear this one around the parks just because of the likelihood of snagging it on something, but it was still fun to swish about. Maybe it would work for one of those progressive dinners around Disney’s Animal Kingdom?

I have some fun race costumes in my back pocket, so swing by in the coming months for more of my Disney Dandy shenanigans!

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!

In Which Jenn Finds Her Place On The Path Unwinding

I got three paragraphs into a full review of The Lion King on Broadway (Pat got me tickets!) before I deleted the whole thing. We all know The Lion King. The Broadway version has been around for more than two decades. While there are elements that I personally did and did not like, for the most part the show is simply The Lion King, beautifully rendered with spectacular puppetry, and that’s that.

But I do want to talk to you about one thing: the first 90 seconds. If you have not seen this musical, I am kinda spoiling things for you, so maybe stop reading? On the other hand, no number of words could ever fully convey the feeling behind what I am about to describe.

All righty, so – the show starts. Rafiki walks out, alone on stage and begins the famous call – Nants ingonyama bagithi Baba, etc. 

But THEN it KEEPS GOING, because it’s a musical and you can sing more if you feel like it. It’s not Rafiki now, though. In the far left balcony, she gets an answer from another singer (I think they’re supposed to be some sort of antelope?), more Swahili. And then she answers back, and then ANOTHER singer in the other balcony corner answers, and Rafiki responds joyously, and by this point I there were tears straight up POURING DOWN MY FACE, guys. Why?! I know this song. But something about the presentation totally wrecks me. The entire audience always seems to applaud when the animal puppets first ascend the stage, and I get that, but seriously, I could watch the beginning with just Rafiki and those two guys on repeat for the whole show.

Rereading the above paragraph, I realize I’m doing a God-awful job of describing… any of it. What it is, how it makes me feel. Still, I can tell you this: two weeks later my ballet teacher went. She’s not a huge Disney person. Mind you, she’s not against Disney; she’s just not super into. When I asked her what she thought, her main point was that she, too, cried during the first 90 seconds. See? IT HAS SOME STRANGE POWER.

It’s not the same as being there, but if you want a taste, check out this super nifty 360 video of the opening “Circle of Life” number from the musical. Be sure to swivel the camera around so you can see Rafiki’s balcony buddies!

Truly this is a magnificent work of art. Except for the Magic Mike hyenas. They suck.

Have you ever seen The Lion King on Broadway? Am I seriously overreacting or what? I DON’T WANT TO TALK ABOUT THE OILED UP HYENAS, OKAY???

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 A Shining New Era Is Tip-Toeing Nearer

Annnd we’re back. It’s a new year, and so of course my thoughts immediately turn to the WDW Marathon, the sole remaining thing I look forward to in life. Because once Christmas is over WINTER IS TRASH.

Oh, shoot; my first post of the year and I’m already off topic. What I meant to talk about is: Christmas presents!
Among my friends I am synonymous with Disney. Indeed, at a hibachi grill the other day the chef did the opening trick where he sets the oil on fire and the entire table turned to me and chorused IT’S SHAPED LIKE MICKEY, JENN! 
That level of synchronicity is frankly eerie and I’m starting to wonder if everyone I know is a bot. But if they are bots, at least they are bots who know to get me Disney-related presents. Hell, I received TWO Mickey waffle irons this year. If I can’t return one I will be making Mickey waffles AT DOUBLE THE SPEEDS. Breakfast at my house, everybody!
But despite this, I was a touch disappointed to not get two items on my Christmas list this year: a Mushu shirt and a Lion King dress (yes, from my mecca of Disney clothing, Hot Topic). So I did what any salaried sub-adult does: I hopped on the internet the very next morning and bought them myself.
That was the morning. It was also my birthday, and at lunch Pat gave me my birthday present. 
It was Disney.
It was coincidental.
It was incredible.
Pat said he thought about doing Aladdin but he knows I love The Lion King so he went with that (which was the correct decision). I’ve seen the touring production once about five years ago and it was awesome. On Broadway in their home theater I can scarcely begin to imagine how mind-blowing it’ll be. We’ll be in NYC the weekend after next and I can’t wait!!!
And I have just the dress to wear.

(… You don’t think Pat’s a bot too, do you?)

Do you get Disney presents a lot? Have you seen any Disney productions on Broadway? Are you gonna be a mighty king, so enemies beware?

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!

Happy Friday: Aladdin’s At The Top Of The Food Chain

This is my dad’s favorite Lion King joke. (Myself, I’m partial to “Why? Is he sick?” So let me know if you’ve seen a meme for that.)

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!

In Which Jenn Chooses Her Very Favorite Thing at WDW

It’s unthinkable. To name a favorite attraction at Walt Disney World is to name your favorite child. You’re not supposed to play favorites! It’s supposed to be an impossible choice!

But I can. If asked, I can name my favorite thing at WDW. Go on, guess. Of all the rides, shows, and characters, what is my very favorite thing?

I’ll give you a hint: if it had been discontinued in favor of the questionable Avatar land, it would have meant the end of true happiness as I understand it.

Here, I’ll give you a bigger hint:

Yes. It’s the Festival of the Lion King. Of all the things, I love it most. In fact, I often see it twice in a given trip! Let me explain.

I’m not going to go into a long explanation of what it is, exactly, since the information as readily available and I think most readers are avid WDW fans anyway. Suffice it to say, FotLK uses the music and characters of Disney’s The Lion King to form the skeleton of a performance. It is NOT, as so many other shows are, a retelling. The loose storyline is that Simba and his friends are holding a festival of sorts, and as such there is much singing and dancing.

Here are some of the reasons I think FotLK is so great:

  1. First things first: what’s the ROI on this baby? I think of attraction ROI in terms of wait time vs. experience time. While it’s certainly better to get to the theater early so as to claim your preferred seat, audience seating in the theater is HUGE, and since the show is in the round, there aren’t really any bad seats. Under all but the most extreme crowd circumstances, if you show up five minutes before the show starts, you’ll see it. And that show is a good, solid 35 minutes long.
  2. Since it’s not, as I said, a retelling, it’s not rushed. Voyage of the Little Mermaid, the Beauty and the Beast stage show, Finding Nemo: The Musical – they’re all well done (especially the latter!), but because they’re doing 90 minutes of movie in 30 minutes or less, plot points naturally get a bit crunched together. FotLK skips right over the exposition and just does the awesome songs you love with great choreography. It is its own perfect whole.
  3. Which brings us to point three: the FotLK music comes straight from the movie. And, um, if you don’t love The Lion King soundtrack I’m going to need you to go to sit in a corner and think about where you’re going wrong with your life. Oh, and in my experience the lead singers are always excellent.
  4. The choreography is wonderful too! The dancers are seriously talented and the dancing is a wonderful mix of African tribal dance and more traditional modern technique. There’s even some whimsy thrown in, plus some aerial work (which frankly I find to be the most boring part of an otherwise enthralling show, but most people seem to like it) and more atypical performances such as gymnastics and a fire… guy. Twirler? You know the guy I mean.
  5. The performers have great charisma, and many of them go out of their way to interact with you! I mean this is beyond stuff like making eye contact. I was once at a late performance and a girl behind me was sitting alone. When he wasn’t performing, the lead singer wandered into the bleachers, sat down next to her, and chatted with her a bit. I’ve seen dancers make funny faces for cameras, bump fists with audience members, the works. And of course there’s the singing along, the hand jive, and the parade of kids. 
  6. Therein lies the repeatability of the show. Because of the freedom the performers have to interact with the audience, it is never the same twice. I spend most of my time watching the backup dancers instead of the main characters for this reason.

My FAVORITE incident happened when Moon and I were there in February. We were sitting in My Spot, which is the right hand side of the lion section, on the edge and up a couple rows. One of the Tumble Monkey acrobats came up to the section and started high-fiving the little kids in front of us. We figured he’d stop before he got to us because, well, we’re not kids, so who cares about us? Yet he came up to us and high-fived us both – then turned to me, grinned, KNOCKED ON MY FOREHEAD LIKE YOU WOULD A DOOR, and scampered off. It was HILARIOUS. Thinking of it still makes me laugh. And that’s the sort of thing that makes WDW for me.

Not convinced? Here are bunch o’ photos I’ve taken over Lord knows how many years and performances. Apologies for the varying quality; I’ve had a lot of phone cameras in my time. Experience the glory!

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 See ya real soon!