Christmas in July

I wasn’t really planning to visit Disney Springs today. The plan was to renew my Annual Pass at Guest Relations in the Magic Kingdom, then see how much heat and stupidity I could take before retreating to Port Orleans Riverside for my discounted early dinner (available 19 July through 30 September 2017 at ten participating table service restaurants) at Boatwright’s.

The scene at the Transportation and Ticket Center around 11:45 a.m. suggested that I might want to avoid the MK for a while. So I took the monorail from there to the Contemporary and as we passed the mob scene at the Magic Kingdom entrance I felt that I had made the right decision.

As I await the bus for Disney Springs I note that Space Potato is sprouting.

at the Contemporary's bus stop

The atmosphere in Guest Relations at the Springs is much more relaxed, cool, and comfortable than it is at the Magic Kingdom anyway. After a short wait in a comfy armchair, I am assisted in my transaction by cast member Jeremiah who gets me all set for another year (plus one month!) of Florida-resident, monthly-payment indenture to the Mouse.

Not having had any breakfast, I am eager to eat something when my renewal is complete. D-Luxe Burger is right next door to Guest Relations and currently they offer the 45th-Anniversary Passholder Discount of 20% so lunch there seems no worse than a hole in the head although it undoubtedly is. The view from the counter where I am seated is nice, though.

at D-Luxe Burger in Disney Springs

The post-prandial sky is pretty but I can view it only through the sweat-and-sunscreen combo that is dripping into my eyes.

The enormous Cave of Wonders that is the World of Disney store is an air-conditioned refuge, where Iago, Aladdin, and Abu hover above the teeming masses of shopping drones.

Aladdin & Co on flying carpet

Also where a fiddling swine takes his shower while somebody big and bad chases him in a flying house with gossamer wings. It’s just one of those things.

Big Bad Wolf & Fiddlin' Swine

Back outside, I somehow resist the allure of chocolate in spite of Domingo‘s tempting assortment.

Domingo Ghirardelli

The real San Francisco treat. This mural also advises us on how to pronounce “Gear-ar-dellies.”

Ghirardelli

Darting back in to some airco, I meet up with a party crasher as she alights from her coach to great fanfare, courtesy of Lladró and Arribas Brothers.

Blow the horn & Beat the drum

How the other half sees through the coach:

Cinderella, this is your stop

Nearby, a girl just wants to have fun. On a carousel pony.

Going merrily round

Farther along, beyond the area now occupied by Disney PhotoPass people where Guest Relations used to be before the Great Upheaval, in retail outlets whose names now escape me, deadpan flight attendants invite me to journey where I already am.

Mickey Airways to Walt Disney World

That’s progress.

Progress City

Now the outdoor trudge to the dock for the boat to Port Orleans Riverside. On the way, a veritable flamboyance reminds us that Disney Springs is celebrating Christmas in July. Behold one flamingo of the many.

Xmas in July flamingo

Fulton’s Crab House, then Paddlefish/Schmaddlefish, she will always be the Empress Lily to me.

Paddlefish

I will not be going up in a beautiful balloon today.

Characters in Flight

In the lobby of Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside Resort, formerly–and forever to me–known as Dixie Landings, a child wishes upon a star. That he or she might get it back.

When you wish...

Let us feel the patriotism from and the air cooling simultaneously.

4th of July Persistence

And here’s why:

When 97ºF feels like 108ºF

After an adult beverage in the River Roost lounge, it’s time to check in for that early dinner. (An oatwright is someone who makes oats, right?)

OATWRIGHTS DINING HALL

Oh, now I get it.

Boatwright's Dining Hall

“Amelia’s Salad: Fresh Greens, Seasonal Ingredients, and House Vinaigrette.” (Spinach, Cherry Tomatoes, Croutons.) Actually quite refreshing. Feel free to ignore my cornbread crumbs.

Amelia's Salad, now mine

I had thought I would have the Boatwright’s Jambalaya (“A New Orleans dinnertime favorite!”) but Dawn described the Lake Charles Risotto in such glowing terms that it became my selection. “Fresh Corn Risotto with Seasonal Vegetables [peas] and Seared Sustainable Seafood [blackened snapper]”. Also very generously green-garnished.

Lake Charles Risotto

It is delicious. And as I should hope you would guess, no dessert was required.

After dinner, he offers to draw me around the property in a carriage for twenty minutes for 45 dollars. Under current meteorological and financial conditions, I decline.

A Ft Wilderness resident on the job

From Riverside I take a bus back over to the Magic Kingdom, where I must go since I am parked in the Trial & Tribulation Center.

One’s way to the bus stop is, naturally, via Fulton’s General Store. Where it is demonstrated why you shouldn’t send some people up a ladder ever. Especially not to fool around with a stove.

Goofy

Whilst aspiring to be stevedores, somebody’s nephews

Huey, Dewey, and Louie

stun somebody.

Donald, stunned

Gift shops can be dangerous places.

The trip to the MK is effected in one of those double-length accordion buses. Luckily I have a seat and for most of the time, the sun is not in my face. Snooze!

Hub Ducks & Tomorrowland

The Kingdom is still too hot and crowded to be enjoyed the way I prefer, so I limit myself to a grand circle tour of Tomorrowland on the Peoplemover. At the Cheshire Café I greet cast member Marceau and obtain my Raspberry Lemonade Slushy, which functions as my dessert, I guess.

My feet are tired but they are not crying out in pain the way they ordinarily would have been by this time, thanks to my new shoes. Wish I had gotten them a long time ago.

Meanwhile, on this date in 1936, Alpine Climbers was released.Pluto & Mickey, Alpine Climbers

 

 

 

 

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Canine Springtide

Springtime for Plutoreleased 23 June 1944

Three-Way Pull

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Donald Goes Commando

Commando Duckreleased 2 June 1944

ready to skydive

raft craft

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Finding a Way thru the Golf Course to the Fountain

Thru the Mirrorreleased 30 May 1936

Mickey about to go thru

the experience of growth

Canine Caddyreleased 30 May 1941

Pluto & clubs

flower caddy

Don's Fountain of Youthreleased 30 May 1953

Donald & wildlife

Donald & bonnet

Finding Nemoreleased 30 May 2003

Finding Bruce

Finding Braces

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A request for help

Thank you very much for whatever you can give to help out my uncle.

Wayne's GoFundMe Cancer Fund

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One Sheriff Two Firearms

Two Gun Goofyreleased 16 May 1952

goofy osculation

By the way… Here are excerpts from some of the hilarious comments that grammar- and vocabulary- challenged bots attempt to post to the Pathos.

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Pandora Sneak Peek

Monday 15 May 2017 at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Today is the day for my Passholder Preview of Pandora–The World of Avatar.

Invited Guest Sneak Peek

My assigned admittance window is between noon and 2 pm. At 9:07 am, the parking lot tram is whisking me to the park entrance.

The World of Avatar seen from the parking lot

Oasis flamingoes are indifferent to Pandora sneak peeks.

I proceed to Harambe where I find that the standby wait time for Kilimanjaro Safaris is posted as 65 minutes. No FastPasses are available, so why not? From entering the queue to arriving at the boarding area is more like 50 minutes.

The name of our safari guide and driver is Goose, if I have heard correctly. And I have heard him say it two times when I thank him at the end of our expedition. I can’t see his name badge so I have no idea how he spells it. When I say “Thanks, Goose,” his eyes betray no shock, surprise, or offense–so I guess I’m saying it right. Anyway, he’s a good safari leader. Very clear diction and no annoyingly affected inflections.

On the way back into Harambe, this gorilla displays an indifference equal to that of the flamingo earlier.

My plan is to have lunch within Pandora at their eatery but at 11 or so I am going to have to have something now as I skipped breakfast before leaving the apartment. So I enjoy an “accompaniment” of Tomato Basil Soup (enhanced with extra crackers) in the conditioned air of Pizzafari. This is the first time I’ve had this and it’s pretty good.

From my table I look out to view the line that is forming outside for entry into the new land.

Once souped up, I go out and take a closer look at the line-up. These people are still quite a way from the bridge that leads into Pandora.

Moving a bit further up, you can just make out one of the famous Floating Mountains looming in the distance.

With about 45 minutes still ahead before my scheduled entry time, a stroll through a shop sounds like a good idea. It’s really warming up and it’s always cool in the shops.

Island Mercantile, where time, I discover at 11:24 am, means basically nothing…

it's about time

…and where someone has been known to gnaw.

Better flee from the butterfly.

Exit from the store is effected successfully, which means that no purchase has been made.

At 12:07 I am finally at the threshold of the Valley of Mo’ara.

Welcome

Apparently I am seen.

they see me

Don’t ask me, I’ve never been here before.

Without knowing what anything is, I love the Flora of Pandora.

This looks like it could be the start of a beautiful friendship with a salad… provided it doesn’t contain something that’s going to eat me.

Just as they do in the Sistine Chapel, I imagine that the majority of earthlings will wander around here looking up most of the time.

Of course there is also fauna in Pandora.

Be Aware!

I obligingly flail a bit and sure enough, these hungry animals try to hunt me (although I am hardly small and definitely not flying) with their hydro-jets. Unfortunately I do not get wet.

Back to flora and floating mountains.

And waterfalls.

Uh-Oh! Look, there’s a banshee! (The Na’vi call it an ikranbut nobody wants to hear earthlings trying to say that all day.)

Which must mean that it’s time for my Avatar Flight of Passage. For I am destined to

“Fly on the back of a mountain banshee during an exhilarating, 3D ride above this vast moon”

Which I do. Now there’s no photography permitted during this experience and I obey. But I can tell you that a whole lot of the queue is outdoors and uncovered and uphill. I’m in it around 1 pm and trust me, you want to do this early in the morning or later on in the evening.

After that, there’s plenty of cooler, indoor queue as well. And prior to the actual flight, there’s plenty of explanatory folderol. We have to be scanned for parasites, for starters. And of course we’re full of them. So, like one had to do for Body Wars back in the day, one must be decontaminated.

As we proceed from one stage of the foreplay to the next, we are repeatedly admonished to stand on the same number on the floor that we were originally assigned. But when we get to the actual boarding location we are directed to completely different numbers. Okay, just follow the Cast Member.

We stow all our gear on the provided shelves before we can mount our Pandora Harley-like steeds

and get physionically–that’s right: physionically–linked to our Avatars. (Don’t ask–it will all be explicated to you in excruciating detail when you experience your rite of passage).

As soon as I straddle my saddle satisfactorily, the promised locks move in on my back and legs so that I won’t be able to escape before mind-melding begins. During this process, my back and frontal midsection are periodically treated to mild vibrations and I can watch on the console in front of me charming images of myself and my Avatar getting physionically linked. Oh brother.

The procedure is clearly designed to take up only a few seconds, but on this occasion it’s being repeated, over and over, for what I’m thinking has to be at least four minutes. At least this gives me time to make several attempts to wipe clear the right side of my 3D glasses which is annoyingly smudged.

Finally the physionics kick in and we all get successfully linkulated and we plunge into our flight. Now this is quite exhilarating and the sights and sounds are truly beautiful, even to someone who has only viewed a few scenes from the movie on television. Combine your Soarin’ and your Star Tours and ramp it all up several notches and you’ve got an idea of the effect.

During my flight I am wondering why there is a kind of rhythmic swelling and contraction of the part of the “vehicle” that I feel between my knees. Eventually it dawns on me that my Avatar is riding a banshee, and presumably the banshee breathes, and I can feel it, thanks to being physionically linked. That’s my conclusion, anyway.

Unfortunately we only get to fly once as part of the Passholder Preview, but it’s a great experience and it’s going to keep this part of the park mobbed for a very long while beginning the 27 March when opened to the general public.

Josh of EasyWaltDisneyWorld, who generally knows whereof he speaks, is not optimistic about how things are going to go, operationally speaking, on opening day: “cataclysmic.”

I wouldn’t be at all surprised if that turns out to be so. But for the sake of the guests, my fingers are crossed.

Following my rite of passage it’s almost 2 pm and time for a passage to lunch at Satu’li Canteen.

I like it, and hope that the menu doesn’t freak too many people out and cause Disney to dumb it down to NaviBurgers and AvaFries.

How I create my own Satu’li Bowl today:

Behold the result:

yummy Satu'li Bowl

After my delicious lunch strolling about in the relentless sun of the Florida solar system proves unbearable. Time to chill on the Na’vi River Journey. No restriction on how many times we can cruise, so I do so once just to relax and check it out, and a second time to invite you to do as they say and

enjoy the bioluminescence.

A look back as I exit the World of Avatar

1450.jpg

and retreat to the Nomad Lounge for my

Lamu Libation

Lamu Libation

Cheers! It will be a long time before I get to experience the River Journey and the Flight again, but I will probably visit to observe the teeming masses.

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