Saturday, August 30, 2014

Disney Reviews: Show Edition #4 - Fantasmic

Remember when I said there were only a couple of things that cause me to tear up at Disney? Festival of the Lion King is one and Fantasmic is the other (neither of which have an explanation as to why they make me cry, they just do).

Fantasmic is not your typical show in many different ways. It is located at Disney's Hollywood Studios:
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just across the way from Tower of Terror:
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in the Hollywood Hills Amphitheater (and a bit of trivia for ya, the amphitheater is modeled after the Hollywood Bowl):
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(and by dark, that place fills up completely...all 11,000+ seats, so imagine the crowds when you are leaving! Cattle herd is an understatement and it's the most uncomfortable that I can allow myself to be in Disney. Do not expect to get out of there in under 30 minutes, it's impossible and you will have to deal with extraordinarily packed busses. Take you time when leaving and hit the shops or stop off for some ice cream. Better yet, if you are there on a night when there are two shows, catch the second instead of the first.

Arriving early is a complete necessity (up to 1.5 hrs early) and I wholeheartedly recommend getting the Fantasmic Dining Package (which, if you prepay and dine at select restaurants in the Studios, you are given a ticket for a reserved seat in a sectioned off area in the middle, but you can still lose you seat if you don't arrive early enough). Bad part about arriving early, the stage area is a bit too exposed:
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Good part (if you arrive early enough), you can pretty much have your pick of seats, even after they do the massive shuffle to the middle of the row to make room for everyone:
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and you also will be able to watch Illuminations in the distance (the fireworks show at Epcot) while you wait!

Bad part, there is pre-show audience participation events that drive me nuts as well as those stupid flashing things EVERYWHERE! To make matters worse, they have now added "glow with the show" Mickey ear hats and everyone flashes in unison! Flashing lights and brain tumors are not friendly with one another...look away Keebs, just look away!
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Once Mickey arrives though, all is forgiven!
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Another word of warning...don't sit too close to the front, you WILL get wet (it's a misting wet, but that is far worse, especially for camera lenses):
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There are parts of it that are outdated, including a rather long Pocahontas montage scene:
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Although I do love it when John Smith flies across the stage!
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even if Pocahontas appears on the side of the stage he just came from:
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But then the other Princesses appear:
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Have I mentioned how much I love my camera? If it wasn't for the flashes of other idiots (you are not going to light up something that far away folks...turn the bloody thing off!), I'd have near perfect pictures with a point & shoot even with zooming (which most of these coming up are).

The Queen has other ideas for our favorite Mouse:
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and once her "inner hag" comes out:
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Mickey's in for it because the other villains have been let in!

Snake Jafar comes after Mickey first:
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then the others (in water form) - I tend to only take pictures of one...the lord of the underworld himself!
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"so noble"
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But now Mickey is REALLY in for it because the mistress of all evil is "rising" up to the plate:
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literally...
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and after a lot of pomp and circumstance (which, FYI, another reason not to sit too close - it's bloody hot when those flames go off!):
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she comes out in her dragon form (and rather large at that):
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Poor Mickey!
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But, he is Mickey Mouse, so he fights back:
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Fire-breathing dragons and water don't mix so well:
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and the kingdom is safe again!

Then it's my favorite part - a seemingly empty river boat appears:
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but it is soon not only filled with characters, but check out the captain!
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Just when you think it's all over...Sorcerer Mickey appears at the top of the mountain:
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and in a flash:
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arrives at the bottom in his tux!
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That little Mouse has some imagination, huh? That's the part that gets me in my gullet every single time!

Fantasmic is a water show, it's a light show, it's a fireworks show, it's an action show...basically, it pretty much has it all and, although we do skip it some years (even after getting the dining package, which we always do), considering the number of guests locked up in the theater, it is an excellent time to hit all your favorite rides with little to no waiting...just don't be anywhere near Sunset Blvd when it lets out or you might get trampled!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Disney Reviews: Ride Edition #6 - Soarin'

This one will be pretty short...photos are not allowed on the ride, so I only have pics of the entrance queue. Located in the Land Pavilion in Epcot's Future World section:
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And as close as I can get you:
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Just to give you a bit of an overview, Soarin' is basically a "hang glider" experience where you fly over various cities throughout California. When you fly over the ocean, you smell sea, oranges over orange groves, pine over woods, etc. It's a very short ride, but it's one of those that you'd better head directly there the second the park opens or you're gonna have a very long wait!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Disney Reviews: Show Edition #3 - Off Kilter

Rarely ever does Disney disappoint me. Today, I was disappointed. News came out that Off-Kilter (as well as Mo'Rockin' and several other long term Epcot street acts) are going buh-bye. So, I'm interrupting my pre-scheduled posts to do an Off-Kilter dedication post (and just typing those words pisses me off and makes me want to cry in sadness at the same time). If the band made the decision to quit performing at Epcot then I have to respect it, but if some tight-fisted Disney exec made the decision, you sir or madam, SUCK and we HATE you! The web is going CRAZY today with the news, so I'm not the only nutcase upset. There WILL be a complaint card filled out when we get there, but as a passholder, a stockholder, a D23 member and a Disney Visa member, my opinion does matter and I'm NOT happy (and I may write them a letter as well). To make matters worse, their last day is my friggin Birthday!!! What a crappy present! But, for today at least, I'll just rant it out here and try my damnedest to give them a good send off!!

Off-Kilter, located just on the outskirts of the Canada Pavilion in Epcot's World Showcase, is basically a Celtic rock band with a decidedly Scottish flair. They have been there for so long, they even have their own stage!
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the old stage:
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Luckily, I have most all of their CD's, so it's not like I'll be doing without completely, but it still sucks. How about a video? I haven't done this yet with these reviews because I didn't want to clog things up with them, but this is a special occasion:


Off-Kilter, you will be sorely missed! Disney, you got some 'splainin to do!!