9.30.2002

Walt Disney World

To continue my new tradition of visiting Walt Disney World every year, my pal Jonathan and I made the trip to Orlando this September. What an absolutely perfect trip! Nearly every attraction was a walk-on - our longest wait in line was 10 minutes (for Peter Pan's Flight)! This year I made of point of seeing all the wonderful shows, including the amazing Fantasmic! Of course, we ate lots of great food and did some drinking on Pleasure Island, too. We stayed at the All Star Movies resort - nothing fancy, but the pool was nice. I had fun talking with Cast Members, too - I got a few nice comments on my Disneyland shirts that I was wearing. I can't wait to go back again!

View photos: WDW 2002 MGM Studios
View photos: WDW 2002 Animal Kingdom
View photos: WDW 2002 Epcot
View photos: WDW 2002 Magic Kingdom
View photos: WDW 2002 More Magic Kingdom
View photos: WDW 2002 Jonathan's Photos

9.29.2002

Happiness

Yesterday I was driving downtown and saw a big limo picking up a bride and groom, with lots of other wedding guests standing around looking happy. Suddenly it struck me that at just about every moment, somewhere there's a wedding going on, and people are having a wonderful time. Then I got thinking that every day of the year there are people having fun at Disneyland and Walt Disney World, not to mention the parks in Tokyo and Paris. And all of this led to the revelation that no matter what's going on in my life at a particular moment, and no matter what's going on in the general world at a particular moment, somewhere there are people who are happy and having the time of their lives! It was a really nice thought that I'll remember for a long time.

Disneyland Countdown: 13 days!

9.27.2002

Time for TiVo

Tonight is TiVo catch up night - now I've seen the season premieres of Enterprise and Smallville, along with some Justice League and other stuff. Both were great, and both were a little hokey, too. But hey, I had fun watching them!

I just noticed that my car is 75% paid off - I might start paying a little extra to finish it off at the beginning of the year. Think of all the silly junk I could buy with that car payment!

Disneyland Countdown: 15 days!

Waterloo Ice House : 3 of 5

There's nothing like a great burger (you know, not like McDonalds, though I like Happy Meals like they were their own food group). I used to love eating burgers at Hang Town Grill, but sadly, they closed. So, now the best "real" burger is found at Waterloo Ice House - they really taste great, and they chop up the lettuce and onions just like Hang Town used to! The bacon cheeseburger is really good, and the fries are awesome. They have tons of beers, too, but I usually only go for lunch - however, they do have bottles of Big Red!

Buffet Palace : 2 of 5

I'm not a big fan of buffets - I usually never eat enough to justify the price, and there's always so many dishes I don't like. There are three Buffet Palaces in Austin - the one close to me looks pretty skanky, but my pals Chris and Eliza wanted to try out a new one close to them, and it was pretty good. The decor was really cool and clean, especially for a buffet, and the food was tasty - nothing spectacular, but I enjoyed the Lo Mein, plus they had some good Korean food like Dae's mom makes. I doubt I'll go back, but it was a good time anyway.

Play Things

  • Kingdom Hearts for PS2: I'm really looking forward to playing this game - it's like Final Fantasy with tons of Disney characters!
  • Kingdom Hearts Strategy Guide: Because I'm not the smartest adventurer.
  • RideMax Software: The amazing program allows you to pick the Disneyland attractions you want to ride, then downloads historical wait time data for the actual day you will be going, and generates a touring plan with the shortest possible wait time! It's unbelievable - mainly it's just fun to play with, but I had to buy it to support the cool idea!
  • 9.25.2002

    Greatest American Demo

    In case you were wondering, the Greatest American Heroes demo recording session was a success! The recording itself was a breeze, and we are super happy with the results. Now we have an awesome demo CD to wow people with!

    Disneyland Countdown: 17 days!

    Monsters, Inc. : 5 of 5

    An absolutely amazing movie (you can search for my review to see how much I loved it) deserves an absolutely amazing DVD, and Monsters, Inc. does it all. This is a fantastic two DVD set including the movie and tons of extra features. In fact, it took nearly an entire day to dig through all of the material, which is cleverly organized into the Human World and the Monster World. I loved watching the tour of Pixar - what a fantastic place to work! The new Mike's New Car short is funny, but way too short, but the DVD makes up for it by including For the Birds (so hilarious). Watching the movie again was a treat, made even more special by seeing all the hard work and creativity behind the scenes. My favorite bit of trivia - several Disneyland attraction posters are on the walls in the kids' rooms!

    9.24.2002

    Sakura Diaries Vol 3 : 3 of 5

    Netflix finally got off their ass and started buying more anime for their rental inventory! They had Volumes 1 and 2 of this series available for the longest time without offering 3 and 4 - I was thrilled to see they finally had them. The long wait didn't alter my interest in this anime - I still love it! Urara is the cutest thing ever, and she finally gets a kiss from Tuoma (in the rain, no less). I have to love a cartoon soap opera that can get me talking to the TV (just like I used to do during Thirtysomething)! I should have Volume 4 soon - it better have a happy ending!

    9.23.2002

    Mickey's House of Villains : 2 of 5

    If I hadn't recently become a fan of the House of Mouse series, I wouldn't really have understood this DVD. This is basically a single long episode of House of Mouse, with tons of Disney characters hanging out at Mickey's club to watch cartoons, when suddenly the villains decide to take over. The Halloween theme is pretty obvious, and even the cartoons that Mickey shows are "spook" oriented. It was fun to see some of the ghosts from the Haunted Mansion, but most of the other stuff falls flat. There are a few extra features, but nothing too exciting. It was still fun to rent, though, so I'm not complaining!

    9.22.2002

    Gosford Park : 4 of 5

    I didn't see this in the theater, but I figured I should rent it since it was nominated for Best Picture. I've enjoyed Robert Altman movies in the past - I loved Short Cuts (but then again, I love Raymond Carver). Gosford Park starts quite slowly - at first I thought it was just going to be a simple comparison of servants and their masters, and then suddenly the murder occurs and I was on the edge of my seat! With that one event in the middle of the plot, the film changes entirely, and makes all of the setup worthwhile. I enjoyed all of the characters - there are so many of them that it takes a while to get used to them all, but eventually things fall into place. I wouldn't call it Best Picture, but it's a great film.

    Magical moments

    I've finally posted goodies from my Walt Disney World trip - check out the Trips section to view four photo albums and six (that's right, six) movies! One of the movies is short, but really cool - when I rode the Tomorrowland Transit Authority (formally known as the Peoplemover), I got to see the inside of Space Mountain with the lights on! I guess they were doing a little maintenance, so it was really a surprise treat - check out the movie to see for yourself!

    There were a few stand-out "magical" moments during the trip:
  • I thought the Cast Member playing Aladdin was really funny - when a child asked him for an autograph, he turned to the parents and said, "Can I borrow a pen? I promise I won't steal it!" (This is hilarious when you remember that Aladdin is a thief!)
  • Jonathan and I drank a beer at the Rose & Crown with a Cast Member who worked in central reservations. The pub was pretty busy, and when he saw the staff was swamped, he started bussing tables! Where else in the world would you see an employee do someone else's job just because they care?
  • An older Cast Member who was working in an MGM Studios shop commented on my Disneyland shirt - she said that she took her son there when he was seven, and now they both work at Walt Disney World (he's in security). What a cool family!

    Just a quick technical note - all of my QuickTime movies are now hosted on my .Mac iDisk. My WEBmikey host was running out of disk space fast, so I decided to take advantage of my Apple disk space. You'll never know the difference - just click and enjoy!

    Disneyland Countdown: 20 days!
  • 9.21.2002

    Tarzan & Jane : 1 of 5

    Another ho-hum direct to DVD Disney release, Tarzan & Jane isn't even new animation. Instead, this is a compilation of three episodes of the Tarzan TV series (with a little bit of story to somehow clump them all together). Some of the stories have a little excitement, but generally they aren't too exciting - I had to drink plenty of coffee to make it through this one. The DVD has some fairly cool extra features, such as a game where you select items to build Tarzan's treehouse, but I was really hoping for something more out of the "movie", since I really love the theatrical release! Oh well, thank goodness this was a rental!

    9.19.2002

    Facial hair flash

    News flash! Mikey's beard is coming back! It should be fully grown before my trip to Los Angeles in a few weeks.

    Disneyland Countdown: 23 days!

    House of Mouse

    I've just recently discovered House of Mouse on the Disney Channel. This show is so much fun! Mickey is the host of a nightclub that shows old and new cartoons featuring the usual Disney crew, but the cool thing is that the club is filled with Disney characters from just about any movie you can think of! Half the fun is watching the crowd shots and trying to remember which movies everyone is from. There are lots of cool inside jokes, too!

    Reverse Lent

    Before I left for Walt Disney World, I made a list of all kinds of bad foods I wanted to eat when I got back. So, this week I've been observing "Reverse Lent", forcing myself to eat all kinds of junk before this coming Monday, when I'm going to go back on regular "Healthy Lent". The funny thing is that I think it's been harder to keep up with Reverse Lent than Healthy Lent! I actually can't wait to get healthy again - I only have to eat one more bad lunch tomorrow and I'll be finished, so I beat my deadline. Here's the list of nasty foods I ate:

  • Papa John's pizza
  • Subway meatball sub
  • Dave & Buster's bar burgers
  • Hot fudge sundae
  • Frito chili pie
  • McDonald's
  • Sonic coconut cream pie shake
  • Beer & booze
  • Marie Callendar's pie
  • Enchiladas
  • Waterloo Ice House burger
  • M&Ms & popcorn
  • Cap'n Crunch
  • Tostitos & cheese dip
  • Donuts
  • Soda
  • NetFlix statistics

    I computed some amazing Netflix stats recently. I joined Netflix in February 2000, so since then I've paid them roughly $900 and rented 246 DVDs (wow)! If had rented 246 DVDs from Blockbuster (who wouldn't even have had most of the obscure DVDs I rent), I would have paid about $1,230. So, Netflix has saved me around $330 bucks! Pretty cool, eh?

    Walt Disney World Souvenirs

    I had lots of fun buying goodies at Walt Disney World - it was great to buy things only available at the parks!

  • 4 T-Shirts: I found three cool shirts at the World of Disney store, including one with a logo for each of the parks and the year they opened. I also got a funny blue shirt with Genie's face after riding Aladdin's Magic Carpet!
  • 7 Die Cast Ride Vehicles: I went totally crazy buying these, so now my collection is huge! I bought Jungle Cruise, Kilimanjaro Safaris, Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin, Kali River Rapids, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Aladdin's Magic Carpet.
  • 9.17.2002

    Back from WDW

    Just a quick post to say I'm back from Walt Disney World and the trip couldn't have been more spectacular! My pal Jonathan and I managed to ride nearly everything in all four parks, plus see all the great shows, including the evening fireworks. I bought lots of fun stuff and took 333 pictures and little movies, so expect several photo albums and highlight movies to be posted soon!

    By the way, I'll be starting my countown to Disneyland soon - ain't life great?

    9.11.2002

    Emotional day

    My emotions took me by surprise this morning - I didn't expect to be so affected by the memorial events on TV. I tried not to watch anything, but I didn't feel that was right either, so I just watched the reading of names for a half hour and became totally depressed. I guess it was mainly because the morning felt so much like the same morning a year ago, which was devastating for me.

    So, this morning at work it took several hours for me to get back to my usual self, but I finally did. This evening I'm feeling fine again, and my Disney excitement is back! The chance of rain in Orlando is a little higher than I would like, but nothing can prevent me from having a fantastic trip (any WDW veteran will tell you that a little rain is excellent for reducing the crowds!). It's going to be a blast!

    Expect more WEBmikey next week!

    Walt Disney World Countdown: Tomorrow!

    9.10.2002

    Almost there

    The countdown to WDW is almost over! Hopefully by 3:30 the day after tomorrow I'll be singing "yo ho" with the Pirates of the Caribbean! I've been watching lots of home video on DVD from DisneyFans, so I feel like I'm already there. Tomorrow is packing day!

    Check out the newest page on WEBmikey: Bought It. Just a little record of all the silly things I spend my cash on - expect frequent updates to this page!

    Walt Disney World Countdown: 2 days!

    MouseShoppe & DisneyFans

    MouseShoppe is a great place to order items only available at the Disney parks, and DisneyFans is a fantastic site of fan photos, plus some cool "home video" DVDs!

  • Disneyland Resort DVD: The "official" Disney-produced DVD of park footage, including Disney's California Adventure.
  • The E-Ticket Issue #22: One of the last back issues available for me to add to my collection.
  • It's a Small World Die Cast Ride Vehicle: Another one for my collection - this one has Mickey riding with a little boy in a sombrero!
  • Magic Kingdom #2, Epcot, and MGM Studios Home Movie DVDs : Another round of great amateur video of rides and shows, including several hours of footage. I love this stuff!
  • 9.08.2002

    Recent Goodies

    Here's a few things I bought over the last couple weeks:

  • The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World 2003 Book : I had to get the latest update just before my trip! This book has the best "touring plans".
  • Return to Never Land DVD
  • Disney Pins : Yes, I've been collecting a few Disney pins. I like the ones that are miniature movie posters, so I bought three more during my last trip to the Disney Store!
  • The Illusion of Life: Disney Animation Book : I read this is one of those "essential" coffee table books, written by two of Disney's "nine old men" of animation. It looks great!
  • The Lion King II: Simba's Pride DVD: Out of print, but I snagged one for a great price on eBay!
  • Schoolhouse Rock DVD
  • 9.07.2002

    Blue Crush : 3 of 5

    Being a total surfing fan (and poser), I had to see this movie, not for the bikinis (which were a nice bonus), but for the fantastic surfing video. This movie has some fantastic shots - I love the amazing angles right inside the pipe, just like you were there! However, the cheesy CGI work to put the star's face on the actual surfer was a little funky - it kind of looked like a video game. The editing was a little too MTV for me, but I'm just used to watching more standard Bruce Brown-style surfing photography. The story was just OK, but the lead character was so cute in a Peppermint Patty sort of way. Not a bad way to spend a Friday evening!

    Sailor Moon S Vol 1 : 3 of 5

    I had read on several anime sites that Sailor Moon was much better in the original uncut Japanese versions, and I had already really enjoyed the full-length movies with subtitles, so I figured a few episodes of the series would be fun, too. The "S" series involves the bizarre "stealing of pue-heart talismans", and includes the way cool Sailor Soldiers, specifically Sailor Uranus and Sailor Neptune, who are full-on lesbian lovers (the episode where all the Sailor Scouts think Sailor Uranus is a boy is a scream!). If you watch too much Sailor Moon, all those transformations get pretty boring, but it's generally a lot of fun.

    Nice rainy night

    After playing two fun gigs with the Greatest American Heroes and then attending a bell choir workshop today, I'm now enjoying a nice evening at home on this rainy evening. Tomorrow the Heroes are attempting to record a semi-professional demo, so wish us luck!

    In case you haven't looked in the upper right corner of your browser window lately, check out the WEBmikey search! The results page now features the sleek, clean look of the rapidly evolving site design, so be sure to discover how many times I've written exciting words like "boobs".

    Walt Disney World Countdown: 5 days!

    WDWIG

    This site is officially called Deb's Unofficial Walt Disney World Information Guide, and the title says it all. WDWIG has everything you could ever need to know about Walt Disney World, including things like current menus from all the restaurants! The design of this site is really simple, but it's the text content that makes this a treasure - there's so much to read! I think that WDWIG has the best park hours and rehab schedules (when attractions are going to be closed for refurbishment), so I check them constantly when I'm planning a trip. WDWIG does a great job of keeping track of recent changes in a nice updates page, too.

    Visit site: WDWIG

    MousePlanet

    Yet another Disney site, but this is one I check everyday! MousePlanet is primarily full of planning information for Walt Disney World, but it does have regular columns by Disneyland experts who visit the park constantly. The two best columns are by David Koenig, author of the Mouse Tales series of books (read my reviews in Last 5) and Al Lutz. I'm not sure what Al's background is, but I'll tell you one thing - he is a major whiner and super negative about every last detail you could imagine when it comes to Disneyland! Still, his writing is entertaining and he does report cool news and rumors. This site has tons of information and photos, and gets updated nearly every weekday!

    Visit site: MousePlanet

    Subway : 3 of 5

    I know, I know - there are tons of better sub shops out there. In fact, I would much rather go to Thundercloud Subs if I'm planning on a tuna sub, but for some reason, I like Subway better for the turkey. My usual is a 6-inch turkey on wheat, with lettuce, tomato, pickles, and black olives, plus spicy mustard and a little black pepper. I typically get the Baked Lays chips and drink water. Pretty standard lunch, but it's fast if I want to grab one on the way home for a midday swim!

    Einstein Bros. Bagels : 3 of 5

    Guess I've decided to add fast-food to my restaurant reviews - why not? I like to treat myself to an Einstein Bros. lunch every couple weeks or so. My favorite is the Tasty Turkey, which I get on a poppyseed bagel, with yummy cucumbers, tomatoes, and even sprouts. I've also had their chicken caesar salad, which is almost good for two meals. Their coffee is pretty good, too - it's nice and strong, but still has some great flavor. And I always look forward to their huge peanut butter cookies - oh yeah!

    Dance Dance Revolution Konamix / PS1 : 5 of 5

    As many WEBmikey readers know, I've had this game for months! All DDR at home fans were excited by the release of this game, since it finally brought many excellent songs to the US audience, along with the great DDR 4th Mix graphics and interface (I've been playing these cool songs for a long time, but only because I have a Japanese PSone)! My favorite thing about Konamix is that it's become a kind of "greatest hits" of the songs I've loved playing on my import mixes. I'm not too fond of the scoring system - you have to get a full combo just to make an A! Still, I play Konamix all the time - now I can't wait until DDRMAX arrives in the US for PS2!

    Walt Disney World Quest: Magical Racing Tour / PS1 : 4 of 5

    I got this cool PlayStation game used for less than ten bucks, and believe me, it's worth so much more! On the surface, this is a typical cart racing game, a lot like Mario Cart with chunkier graphics. The kicker is that all of the tracks take place inside real attractions at Walt Disney World! There are courses inside of Test Track, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Space Mountain, and lots more. The best track is the Haunted Mansion, which actually follows the basic layout of the real attraction and includes the authentic Grim Grinning Ghosts soundtrack! The "quest" portion of the game is pretty hard, so I've got a long way to go to finish it all.

    9.04.2002

    Sailor Moon overload

    Wow, seven back-to-back episodes of Sailor Moon is enough for anybody. Whew! At least I watched them all in Japanese so they were more entertaining.

    Hope you've been enjoying the conversion of the "old" WEBmikey pages to new, cool blogs. Someday soon I'll finally have the entire site converted so I can start on new fun pages!

    Walt Disney World Countdown: 8 days!

    9.02.2002

    Possession : 4 of 5

    Finally Gwenyth makes the kind of movie her admirers (like me) want to see her in - her recent roles have been great, but I prefer to see her looking beautiful in every frame. The movie is structured with lots of cuts from the present to the past (some cleverly using the same sets), as these literary sleuths snoop around to uncover a mystery romance between two turn of the century poets. Of course, at the same time the two modern day characters fall in love, but it's made more interesting by their uncommon personalities and past baggage that must be overcome. There's some nice messages about what experiences are worth, made more believable by Gwenyth's glow.

    Three days down

    Looks like the three-day weekend is coming to a close. It's been nice doing all this relaxing and getting things done (like all of this WEBmikey posting!), but it would have been cool to have experienced some adventure in all of this free time. Oh well, I certainly have a busy week ahead of me, and then suddenly I'll be you-know-where!

    Trigun Vol 8 : 3 of 5

    After many months of watching on and off, the Trigun series finally comes to an end with this volume. I have to say that these episodes really don't wrap up all of the unanswered questions, but at least they do solidify the main characters - Vash comes to grips with his borrowed philosophy, the priest sees past his own issues, and even Milly gets some depth. The grand finale isn't as dramatic as I thought it would be, but the events with Legato leading up to it are spectacular! Overall, this has been a great series - way off the beaten path of futuristic mechs and gorgeous gals.

    Bahama Breeze : 4 of 5

    I've eaten at Bahama Breeze several times, but since I just ate there again, I guess I should finally review it. This restaurant appeals to me because it's truly themed, almost to Disney-style specs - everything is tropical, from the huge moving fans, the music, and even the wait staff are called "tour guides". The outdoor bar is fun, and I'm totally in love with the giant onion rings stacked a mile high (they make a nice mohito, too!). The dinner food is pretty nice - not spectacular, but great for a change of pace. I've enjoyed several dishes, and I'm sure I'll be back for several more.

    Disney in Vegas

    I just discovered that the same monorail system designed by Walt Disney Imagineering and running at the Disney parks since 1959 is finally going to be used in the "real world". That is, if you can call Las Vegas the real world! Check out the Las Vegas Monorail - they even purchased all of the older monorail trains from Walt Disney World when they were recently upgraded! I think it's really cool that a "Disney vision" is going to get some practical use in 2004.

    Walt Disney World Countdown: 10 days!

    9.01.2002

    Four miles of fun

    I just took a nice and hot four-mile walk to try out my new shoes. I walked to Subway, had a sub for lunch, and walked back (which wasn't as easy with a belly full of turkey!). Anyway, the shoes were great - I really like the cushy sole, the motion-control support, and the way they hug my feet! By the way, the shoe is the Brooks Beast, which I bought at RunTex because I love swapping out some old ratty shoes for a 10% discount!

    Walt Disney World Countdown: 11 days!