Sunday, August 24, 2014

Villains Unleashed: The Good, the Bad, and the Oogie Boogie

Note: As of 8/28, Todd, Rochelle, and myself have been given refunds or other compensation to make up for this event from Disney. 

As anyone who reads this blog or knows me in any capacity knows that I am a lover of all things Disney. I especially love hard ticket events for the limited capacity and special entertainment, even at the price tags that come attached. The past few months alone I've done both premium packages for Star Wars Weekends and Frozen Summer Fun, and loved every minute. Villains Unleashed, however, was not exactly the kind of nightmare I was looking forward to.

This is not to say the event was entirely bad. Actually, it started off wonderfully. After receiving our credentials and event map, Todd and I along with our friend Rochelle stood in front of the stage to watch the kick off of the event. The area quickly became crowded, but it felt no different than waiting in a prime seat for a parade or fireworks, as a we were about two people deep away from the stage. The event was then introduced by Pain, Panic, Megara and Hades from "Hercules." At this point, I was thrilled. Not only is Hades my all time favorite villain, growing up "Hercules" was my favorite movie and still ranks up there. And the opening show only got better. Most of the 50 villains (we'll revisit that number later) were brought on stage and their meeting locations announced. Meg was cast perfectly, Hades cracked some Frozen jokes, as well as a million more, and the night had begun!

The area emptied out quickly, and we walked over to get in line for Maleficent. We got in the line and overheard that it was a three hour wait. Not surprising as the new film has made The Mistress of All Evil the current villain en vogue, but more than we were willing to wait. We left and tried to enter Club Evil. A cast member told us it would be an hour wait, just to get inside to get some food and drinks. Again, we decided to walk away, to try again later.

We circled the entire park thinking with 50 villains, there was bound to be one with a shorter line. Except the fact that we overlooked was: there wasn't 50 villains to meet. Less than half had dedicated meet n greet spots, several like the hyenas from lion king were grouped together, and others were simply wandering around. Not too mention Oogie Boogie and the crew from "Hercules" were only hosting shows.

During the character rat race we also stopped by the singular merchandise location and to dismay found yet another ridiculous line. Again, we skipped it hoping to come back, but never did. From what I hear they ran out anyway around 10pm.

At this point we figured we needed to do something, as our $67 ticket fee so far was seeming pretty steep. We went over and got in line for the shockingly short line for the Oogie Boogie Freaky Funhouse show. And this is when the evening went from frustrating to infuriating. The show was not just weird, it was boring. The was a sword swallower, flame dancers, and people who shot cross bows at one another. Basically it was the marketplace scene from "Aladdin" in an over crowded theatre and the occasional appearance by Oogie Boogie. A few people have applauded this by saying Disney is taking risks with new "edgy" material. The thing about that is: they didn't. Anyone who has seen the Festival of the Lion King at Animal Kingdom has seen this stuff. I could go on for pages about how terrible this show was.

Our evening ending on a relative high note at Club Evil, which was Hollywood Brown Derby given a villain makeover. The theming was incredibly cool, with areas dedicated to the Queen of Hearts, Cruella de Ville, and Pain and Panic. However, unlike the normal style of HBD, this was seat yourself and the tables were pretty hard to come by. We finally scored a booth and ordered some way overpriced adult beverages and small plates, but the night was looking up. We ended up meeting Captain Hook, the Big Bad Wolf, Mr. Smee, the Queen of Hearts, Cruella de Ville, Anastasia and Drizella in here. While that was awesome, we also only got to do that because we were there so long from ordering so much to eat and drink, making the cost of the event sky rocket even further.

While we heard the  fireworks were incredible, we left with more than an hour to go to see them, because that at that point most of the meet and greets had been capped off for hours, and there was nothing left to do but the dance parties, which are never really all that great. We got our free goodie bags and went to back to the resort, where we stayed the night before and were staying that night, all because of this event.

All in all, this event was a total disaster. The event was clearly oversold and unorganized. Disney could have done more, they could have made it another general admission event with a premium package for sale. Instead of just sporadically having it happen, Disney could have had Villains riding rides with guests all night to draw some crowds there, not to mention a parade. I hope if this event happens again, Disney learns from this and restructures the entire thing.

As the Queen of Hearts would say: Off with their heads!

Update: Some photos from the fun we did have



Rochelle and I dressed as the Queen of Hearts and Young Maleficent



Me and Anastasia

Poison Apple glow cubes from our drinks.

My Maleficent wings.


Monday, July 14, 2014

Art of Animation: Finding Nemo Family Suite



The Big Blue Pool (with underwater music!)

This time last summer, I was on vacation at Walt Disney World with Todd and a few members of our family. When we were planning this trip, we crunched and re-crunched the numbers until we figured out that Art of Animation was the best idea. And we are so glad that we did. It was awesome!

Say hello to your old pal, Bruce!

The theme in this area is just as awesome as the Cars section. Little details are everywhere! This is especially true at the pool area, where the music can be heard when you swim underwater, as well occasionally the voices of Nemo, Dory, Crush, Squirt, etc. At the pool there's the Drop Off, a drink and snack bar, which has mug refill and wash station. We were really close to the pool, so we walked over and filled up our mugs a couple times a day! At the furthest end of the pool (closest to the splash park) it's zero entry, which I always enjoy.


Mine!

Mr. Ray was swimming outside of our building!

Big "sketchpad" backing up to Hourglass Lake.

View across the lake of Pop Century.

Once we got into the room, the details only continued. Not to mention the extra space that was previously superfluous to Todd and myself was now incredibly useful to the bunch of us!


 The master bedroom had a standard queen sized bed, nightstands, etc. That you would find in a typical Disney hotel room, as well an en suite bathroom with a standing glass door shower.

 

 There is also the usual dresser / television stand combo, complete with reef design!

Closer look at the adorable headboard!
Bubble lights on the ceiling.

Jellyfish lamp.


 Out in the living room there is a Murphy bed that pulls down, making the headboard a picture of Nemo and Marlin! Too cute.




 This couch folds out into a full bed. Also, look closely: the fish above it is actually all the little silver fish shaped like Marlin from the film!


 The living area also has a bathroom with a bathtub and shark themed curtain.



 I wasn't able to get a picture, but in the living room instead of a short coffee table, there are actually two flat stools can be either sat on or used as a table. Pretty clever!

The splash zone area.



Overall, we had absolutely zero complaints about staying at Art of Animation! Of course, it's important to keep in mind that this resort is geared to families, and would probably not be terribly conducive to a romantic getaway for most people in couples (unless of course you're Todd and me, who came here on our Honeymoon!). But if your goal is to stay at a well themed Value Resort, this one will cost a little more for a standard room that at Pop Century or an All Star, but it's well worth it!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Yacht and Beach Club Review




For anyone who loves the idea of being steps away from Epcot and just a boat ride away from Hollywood Studios, Yacht and Beach Club Resort is an ideal place to stay. Todd and I were actually enjoying the Epcot Flower and Garden festival this past spring, and decided on a whim to walk over to the resort just to explore it. By the time we walked back to Epcot, we had changed our upcoming resort reservation from Port Orleans Riverside to the Yacht Club. 



You seriously cannot beat that location, except maybe at the monorail resorts. The beautifully classic theming, delicious restaurants, and proximity to so much activity makes this resort hard to stay anywhere else!


                                    The gorgeous, nautical themed lobby.


            The lovely corridor is just past Captain's Grille, and where you'll find the Crew's Cup Lounge and                                                                              Yachtsman's Steakhouse, both of which will be reviewed soon! 

        The crashed pirate ship that creates the water slide into the Stormalong Bay Pool. 

    Stormalong Bay, the sand bottom pool with lazy river, shared by the Yacht and Beach clubs.


          The beautiful rooms carry the theme of being on cruise ship, with a Mickey flair! 


  Lovely view of the lagoon and Boardwalk, as well as a patio to watch Illuminations on at night! 


   This little guy will be waiting for you by the window! 

While we normally get Disneyhomesick after a vacation, we have been missing Yacht Club especially, and cannot wait to go back as soon as possible! 

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Seven Dwarves Mine Train Review

Today is the official opening day of the brand new Seven Dwarves Mine Train coaster at Magic Kingdom! However, we just happened to be at Magic Kingdom last week, and got to ride it twice during the soft openings!

The hype is definitely worth it! There are big drops, fast speeds and the ride is incredibly smooth. The interactive queue is also one of the best I've seen!

I don't want to ruin anything, so I'll just post some pictures. Hope you all get to ride it soon!

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Liberty Tree Tavern Lunch Review

Liberty Tree Tavern at Magic Kingdom is a popular dinner spot, which features an all-you-care-to-enjoy family style spread of classic Thanksgiving type foods. Because turkey, mashed potatoes, etc. are pretty heavy, a lot of people pass on Liberty Tree for lunch during a day at the parks.

However, we disagree! While the food is still pretty heavy, it's not so much that you'll be weighed down. Plus, if you get a window seat, you might get a view of the Liberty Bell! ;-)

Old fashioned pantry in the lobby.

The ambiance is warm, with a colonial theme throughout. Each room is themed to a different Founding Father, and the detailing is really great.

Dark wood table chairs and rich fabrics give a very homey feel.

Now, onto the food! We started with crab and lobster dip, which was devoured too quickly for a picture. It's served with a fresh loaf of bread, and it was to die for. When the bread was gone, we ate it with a spoon. Seriously, delicious.



I was very pleased to see they serve the pomegranate lemonade, which I am learning is just Minute Maid and standard at just about every table service, but it's exciting nonetheless.

 

Todd likes the traditional style food from dinner, so he went with the Pilgrims Feast. Mashed potatoes, turkey, green beans, and herb stuffing. It was good, just like what's served at dinner.



I went with the freedom pasta, and it was amazing. The mushrooms, chicken, and pasta are served in a rich cream sauce and topped with shredded Parmesan cheese. The noodles were perfectly tender, and the chicken was cooked perfectly. I would definitely order this again.

We decided to skip on dessert, but the Johnny Appleseed cake that comes with dinner is available. Liberty Tree is a great lunch place, and certainly a considerable option for anyone looking for a nice hearty lunch, away from the heat and crowds.