Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Maelstrom has Officially Disappeared Disappeared

Well the next Disney World attraction to close was Maelstrom. Its a shame that this attraction out of any was the next to get the ax. Partly because it was a favorite of many many people but also because of what's replacing it. Epcot has been a place for education and innovation. The Disney experience in terms of characters are slim in this park. Yes they do meet there but that has never and should never be the basis of Epcot. As a matter of fact I was told by Disney that that's why they moved the Anna and Elsa meet and greet to Magic Kingdom. They didn't like people coming to Epcot just for that, they felt that it took away from what Epcot was really about. So I was very upset and surprised to know that they closed Maelstrom to put in a Frozen ride.

Maelstrom never had the excitment of roller coasters or the child attraction of the characters but it was a classic at Epcot. It was fun and it was one of the only rides in the World Showcase, I don't think that anyone ever really saw it leaving Norway. For as long as I can remember it being there, I loved that ride. I made a special trip to say good bye to the ride last week, I took so many photos it was not even funny. I even spoke with people that worked there and some just tourists nobody was happy about the closure and what's going to replace it. Everyone said the same thing "a Frozen ride would be great, but not at Epcot!". I have to say I agree.

I always loved the Maelstrom ride or when I was little I called it simply the Norway ride, I love the trolls and the polar bears and somehow I always pointed out the puffin. In my mind as a kid that was the best part. It was a part of my childhood and many people agree it was a part of their's as well and it's something that will be missed and while I'm sure the Frozen ride will do well, for a lot of these people it won't ever compare to Norway, and I seriously doubt it will last as long as Maelstrom. Maelstrom fits the Epcot theme more than a Frozen ride does, I can only hope that once the Frozen craze runs out they will remake the ride and make it something better suited for Epcot.

Disney I know you want to do what you can to put Frozen in the parks but this move was not a great one, and I don't think it will take that long after it opens for you to see that.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Bye Bye Backlot at Disney World

Disney World has recently gone on a bit of a frenzy in closing attractions. They have closed or moved a lot of things in the past couple of years. But the Studio Backlot Tour marks the second thing that Disney's Hollywood Studios has lost this year. The first was the American Idol Experience. However the Backlot Tour has a long history and a lot of fond memories.

The Backlot Tour was not as exciting as use to be and a lot of people would skip it because they found it boring or long and just not interesting. And while it use to be a much better attraction than it was in recent times it was still fun. I had the pleasure of saying goodbye to this ride on its final day and I have to admit I was filled with sadness. I found myself taking photos of everything I could and trying to take it all in so that years from now I can remember the ride.

I remember being young and riding this ride and it was before they did the water in the bay bit before the actual ride, it was the bumblebee, where the people that were chosen got to ride a bumblebee. And I remember seeing things at the studios when they were in use, and the houses before they were torn down. And so much and I remember being amazed at all that you got to see on that tour, it was one of my favorite things to do at MGM Studios (yes it was MGM back then). As I found myself riding the ride for the last time I was remembering all these things, even when the water tower was the icon for the park, not the hat. And so much of the things that were able to be seen on the ride won't be seen anymore. It's sad to think about.

I know a lot of people don't remember the Backlot Tour in all it's glory, but even without that it was still a good ride, and it use to be a great ride. And for anyone that remembers it from years and years ago they are even more sad to see it go. All I can say is that I hope Disney has great plans for whatever takes it's place. And I also hope that they keep to true to what made MGM/Hollywood a great park, and that's a love for all movies and the process behind them.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Rantings From a Theme Park Pro, Please Please Please Don't Do These in a Theme Park

Well hello online world! It's been a while but I have to admit I've had a blast while I've been away from you guys. So far I have been traveling and seeing all kinds of things and meeting all kinds of new people! However I have found out a few things, I am in a fact a theme park junkie. I have friends that are as well, we would live at the parks if we could. I consider myself a theme park pro actually. I have been to more theme parks than I can count and spend more hours there than most anywhere else. I love it! I did have the unfortunate realization that I love theme parks but I hate dealing with the people there. Mainly because most of them are rude. Which prompted me to want to write this little note for all of you to read. If you find yourself going to a theme park please keep these things in mind.

First off, if you don't need a wheelchair don't rent a wheelchair or a scooter. The only purpose it serves is to take a space and be rude and make it harder for everyone else around it, and for rides that allow people to skip the line if they have a wheelchair its terrible for those that need it. I actually listened to two women talk about how great it was to get these scooters and skip the bus line, bus pulls up they get on, little girl from the make a wish foundation has to wait, why, because these women are lazy. And here's another thing, reasons you need one are not that your feet get tired, because everyone's feet get tired at the parks, nor do you need one if you are so out of shape that you get winded from walking, this can be solved by preparing for your trip by getting up and getting shape before you trip. I am all for people that need them using them, and I will be first person to let them go ahead of me or hold a door open or anything I can do to help, but I hate seeing people take advantage of other's niceness or theme park benefits.

Another thing I hate, strollers, now if you have a small child that needs a stroller please bring it, more power to you. However make sure that you know how to push it, don't run over the people in front of you, and don't look to the side or behind you while pushing it. Theme parks are crowded and people are everywhere, so pay attention. And please please please only use a stroller if your child is of an appropriate age to need one. You would be surprised how many children I see that are way too old for a stroller, we are talking 8,9,10 and sometimes older being pushed in a strollers. This just clogs up walkways and makes its harder for everyone to get around.

Everyone does dumb things from time to time, but I think a lot of people just don't try at the parks. I have gone out of my way to let kids stand in front of me at shows and parades and even made room for entire families to be up front. My reward many of these times, are loud kids or parents that keep stepping on me or pushing me out of the way. This is not okay no matter what the situation but if someone is trying to be nice remember that they didn't have to be and you should respect them and be nice given that they were doing it just because. Also regardless of the situation if you are standing and someone is sitting you need to be mindful so as not to step on them, or their things. The first time can be forgiven, the second, third and forth not so much. You would not want someone doing that to you so don't do it to them.

Now everyone knows that when people come to theme parks they want to relax, and that's great, but other people came for the same reason as well. This means that you need to be mindful that other people are around. Don't take up the entire walkway so nobody else can get around you, and don't stop in the middle of the walkway. This is a great way to get run into and then its a disaster for everyone involved. It can involve injuries, messes, and crying children. The only reason its okay for you to stop in a walkway, or block a walkway is if you are having an emergency, this means if someone isn't bleeding its not an emergency. And finally pay attention to whats going around you. If you have a child then you should know where they are and make sure that are not swinging things to the point that they hit someone. All those swords and other things yeah they hurt.

The swords issue makes me think of those light up toys that you can get for the night time shows. Rides, non light shows and buses are not appropriate places to use these things. For one on the rides and in certain shows they can ruin it for other people, and this could their only chance to see that ride or show, and your child is going to ruin it if you don't monitor and they play with those toys. And buses are not a good place either. Its an enclosed space that can be migraine and seizure inducing for someone on the bus. I have actually seen this happen before. Once again you would not want that to happen to you so don't do it to others.

Which leads me to this, shows, rides, parades anything you see at a park is something people pay to see. This means that you should enjoy it but be mindful of others. Dont' yell, don't kick seats, don't try to be annoying, and don't cuss. And hats, oh yeah those wonderful tall hats that you can buy or Mickey ears or whatever, need to come off during these things. Do you want someone wearing these sitting in front of you? I doubt it, so take them off, its rude.

And then of course if you come to Florida its going to rain. If you are one of those people that thinks ponchos work (they really don't) that's great and feel free to wear them. But take them off when boarding buses and rides and shows. The reason is that that poncho takes up more space that just you do, its big and it fans out and branches over to the people around you. And not only that, when you sit down that water on your poncho goes all over the people next to you. If you are going to use them that's find but take them off when you have to sit next to other people, so as not to take up more than your share of space or get them wet.

The last thing I'm going to mention most people never think about, bags. A lot of people hold the idea the bigger the better because it holds more. I have found this is not the case but if you like it that way great. But if you have a bag you need to watch where it is and how you are moving while wearing it. For instance if you are a bus, and you have a backpack and its on your back you need remember that. That means you can't go swinging around and talking to this person and then turning and talking to this person. If you do that you just took two people with your backpack. So be mindful of the fact you wearing a bag.

Those are the biggest gripes I think I have. I have others I don't like, people hitting and running over kids without saying they are sorry. People that put kids on their shoulders, (it blocks the view of every child and adult behind them), just hold them at your height. Line cutters, I have come to the point where I tell them where the line is. People will be more likely to help you if you don't do these things. For instance I always have extra passes to skip lines, and I pick random families to join me. I would never choose anyone doing any of the things listed above. I would pick people that seemed more considerate to those around them. Everyone can do as they please, but if you think about it then you would not want people doing these things to you, so don't do them to other people. And by being considerate and nice you would be surprised how many friends you can make and how much of a better time you can have. Take it from a theme park pro, being considerate can go a very long way in making your vacation a great one.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Disney's Frozen Summer Fun at Hollywood Studios - Orlando Florida


For the First time in forever Disney's Hollywood Studios is having a Frozen summer fun celebration. This celebration is very special for several reasons but the first is that there is very little Frozen out there right now at the parks, so having this celebration finally brings Frozen to Disney World. But its also special in that it's a very limited time, in fact in only ran in July and will run in August which means that after August it will be gone. People have talked about hoping that Disney will keep in or at least extend it. This is somewhere unlikely simply because all the locations that the events take place are where they hold other special events at other times of the year. Not to worry though if you are heading to the parks in the next month there is a lot to enjoy.

Anna and Elsa
First off you need to know that Anna, Elsa, and Kristoff along with skiers, and skaters will make their way down Hollywood Blvd at eleven in the morning to greet all the people of Hollywoodland. Once they make their way down to the hat Anna and Elsa are presented with Flowers on stage and host a very special sing a long. It's a fun parade, but you can tell that Disney kinda threw in together at the last minute, (which they did for all the Frozen stuff). But it's still very entertaining.

If you love Frozen and the music from it like a lot of people do, then you can attend a Frozen sing a
long. Where two hosts will tell you the history Arendale while breaking for sing a longs with your favorite Frozen songs. And at the end if you're lucky, Anna, Elsa and even Kristoff might make an appearance. If you want to attend the sing a long its about 20-30 minutes and takes place in the premier theatre, and you need go there early in the day to get a ticket for the time you want to come back and see the show.

Figure Skaters
If you want to see something really special head over the Oakens the store for a ton of Frozen merchandise which is not easy to find right now. But right next door you can go in a summer fun land, where you can rent ice skates and skate for 30 minutes, or build a snowman out of real snow. But about 15 after the hour until 4:15 you can see a pair of figure skaters (someone told me from Disney on ice) figure skate to Frozen music. I like to get there a bit early and just cool off and find a good place to sit. I like to stand at the railing as if you sit on the benches people will stand in front of you. For the summer fun land and for Oakens there can sometimes be a line so be prepared for that, its not usually too long, but there can be a line.

And if you want to stay until the park closes, you can see the fireworks that are summoned by Elsa. At about five thirty a dance party takes place in front of the hat, and this will go on until fireworks time. There is a small stage show and the fireworks. The show usually starts about nine thirty and the fireworks at about nine forty five.

If you aren't sure if you want to attend any of these events not to worry you can find them online to get an idea of what you are looking at. And I have included a couple videos from my time at Frozen Summer Fun.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Ride - Orlando Florida

It's official the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Ride is open at the New Fantasyland at Disney World! There has been a lot of hype around this ride and Disney was trying to keep things about it secret up until they started their soft opening last week. I have to admit that I was a bit surprised at the wait time, when I got there at about eleven in the morning today, it was only an hour wait. I was expecting a much much longer time than than. It's my understanding that fastpasses are gone for at least a couple months, but it can't hurt to double check.

The ride itself is not very long, around two minutes. It's a smooth ride, not a lot of jerks or bumps like some other coasters. The ride is actually really good, the best part is not the coaster part, its the dwarfs part. You get to go through and see the dwarfs mining and the gems, maybe it was just because it was new, and I had never riden it, but  I found myself acting like a little kid the first time I rode it, pointing and going "awww".

This is a great family ride, its not all that scary, tamer than Thunder Mountain and not as jerky Barnstormer. If you are looking for a thrill ride, you might be disappointed. But if you are looking for a mild ride, its really good. I would say that most kids would enjoy it and it would not really scare them. I would tell anyone with or without kids to make sure that they rode this ride. However if you can't get a fastpass you might want to wait until right before the park closes to see if the line thins out or hit it when the park opens.

Just to kinda give you a taste of the ride I have added a video of the ride so you can see what it's like.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

T. T. Wentworth Museum - Pensacola Florida

The T. T. Wentworth museum has been around for a quite a while in Pensacola, granted it has gone through many changes through the years, and while the current museum is merely a shell of what the entire museum use to be it's still something that well worth seeing. The original museum was donated to the city by Wentworth, and opened in 1988. It housed Wentworth's collection of odd things shall we say. Things that were included were a mummified cat, things like what was suppose to be a dinosaur bone, and his other non really odd things were on a different floor. Museum is no longer in the building that it used to be housed in and it focuses more on things other Wentworth's collection.

The first floor has what they still have on display of Wentworth's collection, crammed in one or two small rooms, and honestly not very well displayed. It could be a bit more focused on his collection but since you can still see most of it, its worth going to. You can also see a Postal Exhibit that is pretty good on the first floor, and an exhibit about the City of Five Flags itself, Pensacola. The second floor has several rotating exhibits, so its best to check in advance if you're planning to visit.

The third floor use to house a discovery exhibit for kids, an interactive area. It use to feature unique things that educated children. Then it was used as a discovery area to children that was not as good but still fun for the young ones. But now its an open area that is to be used for more traveling exhibits.

Overall its a little disappointing if you ever went to the old T. T. Wentworth museum, but you can still see a lot of his artifacts on the first floor, even if they are poorly displayed and a little cramped. So its worth going to check out. You won't need a full day even if you want to check out all the other exhibits, I would say maybe a couple hours if you want to take your time, and enjoy yourself, and most of your time will more than likely be spent looking the Wentworth's collection. That is only thing that makes this museum worth visiting. So for that I highly recommend it to any visitor in the area.

The museum is free, there is not admission it's closed on all the major holidays. And is open from 10 in the morning to four in the afternoon, on Tuesday through Saturday.

It is located at 330 South Jefferson Street in Downtown Pensacola.
Their phone number is 850-595-5990.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

National Naval Aviation Museum - NAS Pensacola Florida

If you find yourself in Pensacola Florida and you are looking for a morning or afternoon adventure you should look into visiting the Naval Museum that is at NAS Pensacola. The first thing that you need to know is that it's on a Naval base. You can still visit it, and it's free, but when you get to the security checkpoint just tell them you want to visit the Naval Museum, they will give you instructions on how to get there. Just remember that you are on a Military base and you need to follow what they say, and don't decide to sightsee, you could end up in some trouble if you do that. That being said, once you get to the museum there is a lot that you can see and that will keep you busy. When I was little I always loved heading out to the museum, it was a fun and free activity that the whole family could do and have a good time.

If you are interested in seeing the cockpit of some of the aircrafts that are used or have been used in the past you are in luck. There are many of these available for you to climb in and sit at the cockpit of. The have moved these throughout the museum during the course of the years I have been going but the last time I visited the museum they were in south wing on the second deck. Be sure to bring your camera!

You will find that the museum has many exhibits such as different aircraft, but also exhibits that are about our space travels. You can also visit some exhibits that pay tribute to World War I, and even Sunken Aircraft. There are many exhibits that you should explore while visiting the museum those are just a few to name. Just remember if you are able to when you visit to go see the aircraft that is outside, weather permitting.

If you time your visit at the right time and the right day then you can catch a Blue Angels practice while visiting the museum. And on some days they hold a meet and greet inside the museum that is free to all museum visitors. This is something that many non locals view as a once in a lifetime event. So be sure to check the schedule of the Blues before you plan your trip if you are interested in this.

The museum itself is free, and it's open to the public. But the extras like the IMAX and simulators are not free and do cost a fee to see. You can visit the museum's website to find out what is playing and what the costs are for these events.

Naval Aviation Museum Website

Open 9 AM- 5 PM Monday-Friday
Open 10 AM- 5 PM Saturday and Sunday
Closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day

Admission is Free