My thoughts of Cars 2

Hello everyone! Not much time to talk today, but I just got back from seeing Cars 2 with my family, and it was great! Those who know me know that Cars is probably my least favorite Pixar film, and as such I was not very excited about seeing this. I’ve been looking forward to Winnie the Pooh next month much more than I’ve been looking forward to this, but I was pleasantly surprised.

Though still not my favorite of Pixar’s films (ain’t nothin’ gonna beat out Finding Nemo, no sirree. Well except maybe Up. They’re possibly tied.) I enjoyed it more than I did the original. Without spoiling anything plot-wise in the film, I can say it probably came down to three things. 1 – There were spies. British spies. Everything is made better with the addition of either spies or British accents, and this had both. 2 – Lightning McQueen was not the main character. Owen Wilson, for whatever reason, is one of those actors I just cannot stand, so his character stepping back a bit and not having as many lines was a good thing in my opinion. However, your mileage may vary (ooh, bad pun? Sorry, couldn’t help myself). And finally, 3 – Mater. As much as I dislike Owen Wilson, I also dislike Larry the Cable Guy. In the first movie, Mater seemed to me to be Larry the Cable Guy as a tow truck. He seemed to gain a bit of his own personality in this one though, turning him from Larry the Cable Guy as a tow truck into a tow truck who just happens to be voiced by Larry the Cable Guy.

 

Oh, and did I mention the fact that there were British spies? Because that’s important.

I do have to say though, the Toy Story short that was shown before the film stole the show, for me anyway. Even if you don’t think British spy cars sounds like something you’ll enjoy, the short was well worth it. Was Cars 2 flawless? Absolutely not. My sister who doesn’t pay much attention to actual animation even noticed how blurry it was at times, and I found myself raising an eyebrow to the message it — possibly unintentionally — was sending. But was it about as good as a story about a world inhabited entirely by automobiles is going to get? Quite possibly.

 

Now, if you need me, I’ll be going back to my 1930s animated shorts for a while. Talking vehicles are ridiculous, I need the sort of grounding in reality that can only be brought on by talking rodents and farm animals. … Er, wait, maybe I’m a bit confused.

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Cooling and Calming Down at the Magic Kingdom

Let’s face it, a day at Disney isn’t the most relaxing time in the world. Most months it is boiling hot, there’s lots of walking, and of course standing in lines surrounded by lots of other people who are just as hot and sweaty as you. Park hopper tickets are good for getting away during the day to relax in your hotel, but sometimes the rest of your group isn’t ready to leave yet, or maybe you don’t have a park hopper. So what is an exhausted park goer to do? You could find a restaurant to sit in, but that gets boring, and if it is around a meal time you don’t want to take up a table when not eating. Here is a list of attractions my family and I head to when our feet need a break around the Magic Kingdom.

1. The People Mover (Tomorrowland)

When you need a cool down break this ride is, in my opinion, the best option. If there is a line it is never a long one, and the attraction alternates between air conditioned areas and breezy areas. The seats are comfy and cushioned, and if there isn’t anyone sitting opposite you, you can kick your feet up. And, oh yeah, it never gets old to hear, “Paging Mr Morrow, Mr Tom Morrow…”

2. The Carousel of Progress (Tomorrowland)

If the People Mover isn’t your style, just walk a few steps away and you get to the Carousel of Progress. You’ll get to sit in an air conditioned theater for a good twenty minutes and see a fun, Disney classic attraction while you’re at it.

3. Pirates of the Caribbean (Adventureland)

I almost didn’t put this attraction on the list. Ever since the first Pirates of the Caribbean film came out the line is normally very long for this. When I was a child we could walk right on it whenever… ah, the good old days. However, if you’re just looking for a nice way to cool down and don’t mind standing for a while, the queue is nicely air conditioned. If you do manage to catch it at a point in the day when the line isn’t too long that’s an added bonus.

4. The Enchanted Tiki Room (Adventureland)

Okay okay, so right now this is closed and won’t open up until later in the year, but it’s a nice show to sit through (and will be even nicer when it opens back up and is the original show…) to rest. The only wait I have ever had for this was when I caught it when one show was still in progress. It’s fun, it’s cool, and you get to listen to all the birds sing words and the flowers croon in the tiki tiki tiki tiki tiki room.

5. It’s A Small World (Fantasyland)

If you can manage to hit this during a part of the day when the line is shorter (generally late at night when you’re tired from walking all day) it is wonderful for a bit of rest. One year my nephew was scared of the fireworks, so we rode this attraction over and over again while they were happening, and on the third or so go around he fell asleep in my lap. If it can help a crying baby get to sleep it can certainly help your feet to stop aching!

 

Have I missed any attractions you know about that are good for when the day has been just a little too long? Which ones do you like to do while tired?

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Pixar’s Brave has a New Poster

Not much is currently known about Pixar’s Brave other than it being about a Scottish princess named Merida, and that it comes out a year from today. Well, it seems the first poster for this film has finally shown up.

Beautiful, isn’t it? I am looking forward to this one a lot.

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Top 5 Disney Dads

Happy Father’s Day, everyone! In honor of today, I’ve put together a little list of, in my opinion, the top five Disney (animated) Dads.

5. James (Princess and the Frog)

Though not present for most of the film, Tiana’s father James was loving parent. He would work “double, sometimes triple shifts” to make ends meet, but never complained or even let on how difficult it was for him. Even though he passed away, he was still a strong influence in Tiana’s life, compelling her to try her hardest to achieve her goals.

4. Goofy

I grew up watching Goof Troop and the Goofy Movies, so it’s a no-brainer that Goofy popped into my head while compiling this list. He’s a big klutz and a constant source of embarrassment for his son Max, but he means well and is always trying his hardest to be the best father he can be.

3. Mufasa (The Lion King)

The quintessential Disney father, Mufasa is caring  and wise, playful yet strict when he needs to be. He was a great ruler and an even greater dad, putting himself completely at risk when Simba was in danger. The lessons he taught Simba stayed with him to adulthood, eventually leading to Simba becoming a strong leader as well.

2. Marlin (Finding Nemo)

You don’t get much cooler of a dad than one who swims across the ocean to rescue his son, but that’s just what Marlin did. His son Nemo always thought Marlin was a scaredy-cat, afraid of anything happening to him, when in actuality Marlin was just scared something bad might happen to Nemo. He traveled through danger after danger to find Nemo, proving to the little fish that his daddy was anything by a scaredy-cat.

1. Donald Duck

I’m sure some of you are now going, “But Dee, Donald isn’t a father, he’s an uncle!” Well, I suppose technically you’d be correct. However, he has raised his nephews since 1938! He took them in when they needed it and has been a wonderful father figure to them ever since. Yes, he does play pranks on them occasionally, and loses his temper frequently, but it doesn’t change that he tries his darndest for three children who aren’t even actually his. He might not be their father, but for all intents and purposes he is their dad. Donald shows that you don’t have to be a biological parent to be a great dad, and for that he earns the number one spot on my greatest Disney dads list.

 

So do you agree with my list, or have I left out a Disney father you would consider one of the best? Why not leave a comment and tell me what you think?

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Lightning McQueen, Motors, Action!

Bringing some news I know my nephews will be very excited about! The Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show at Hollywood Studios will start featuring Lightning McQueen from Cars later this summer. The plot of his new cameo has quite a lot to do with Cars 2, as he will be chasing an enemy spy car.

From Disney Parks Blog:

Look for his cameo when the stunt show director sets up a highlight reel dedicated to “one of the greatest race cars of all time.” But just as the crew leaves to set up for the next stunt demonstration, the highlight video feed is interrupted with a distress call from Mater, Lightning’s rusty sidekick. He warns the audience that secret agent Finn McMissile has issued a report of enemy spy activity at “these here coordinates.” Lightning McQueen speeds in to calm the audience down and explains that Mater is probably just telling tall tales again.

Just then, a mysterious black automobile appears on the stage. I don’t want to give away all the details here, but let’s just say what follows is quite an animated game of cat and mouse.

I am surprised they have not done this sooner. Cars may not be my favorite Pixar film, but the connection just seems like an obvious one they should have made long ago.

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The Haunted Mansion, and My First Disney Memory

The Haunted Mansion is one of my two favorite attractions at Walt Disney World. I could ride it over and over, I’ve listened to the soundtrack on repeat, and know all of the little trivia bits hidden throughout. However, this attraction and I were not always on the best of terms.

Rewind the clock to around twenty years ago. I say ‘around’ because I’m not sure if this was my first Disney trip I am remembering, or one when I was slightly older, but whichever it is, I was a tiny little thing. My mother was going to take me on this nice, air conditioned ride in a very pretty, big house. Everything was going well. I had been warned that it might be a bit scary, but that it was not real and that I shouldn’t be afraid. All right. I was perfectly fine with this. I even made it past the graveyard in the waiting line without complaint.

And then we walked inside.

And I looked up above the fireplace and saw the most terrifying thing I had ever set eyes upon in my short life. A painting of a skeleton. I burst into tears and my mother had to carry me outside.

Some people think back to their first Disney memory and remember meeting a character they loved, or something that was a lot of fun for them at the time. My first memory is of being scared to death by an attraction I now love. That’s close enough, right?

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Fantasyland Update: Dumboland.

Last week I was able to see a bit of what they are building behind that wall in Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom. I could see part of the “royal” side of the new additions being built. Until now I had no idea what the other half of the expansion would be like. Disney Parks Blog has posted some information about the update.

Storybook Circus will be based on our animated film, “Dumbo.” Here, Casey Jr., the famous locomotive from the movie, has rolled into town and brought the grand Storybook Circus with him. The area will be filled with colorful circus tents and nods to the famous film. For example, guests – especially little ones – are welcome to cool down with Casey Jr., who can be found near the train station, getting splashed by playful circus animals.

Just past Casey Jr., guests will encounter big-top circus tents that lead to a “double” version of Dumbo the Flying Elephant. Also, in the tradition of classic air shows, Barnstormer will take on a new look and theme, becoming a spiraling stunt plane built by The Great Goofini.

I must say, as someone who doesn’t like the movie Dumbo much, I am not too excited about this. It seems like a very large section of the bark to be based mostly around one single film. One of the things I loved so much about Mickey’s Toontown Fair was that it was such a large nod to all of the Disney shorts, a huge piece of Disney history that sadly gets overlooked by a lot of people these days. On the flipside of this, I do think that doubling the Dumbo attraction is the best idea Disney has had in a very long time. That attraction has some of the longest lines in the entire park for some reason, so hopefully this will help alleviate some of that problem.

Maybe I’m a stereotypical female when I say this, but I’m way more excited about the Princess half of the update overall.

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