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Saturday, April 25, 2009

Favorite Attractions: SPLASH MOUNTAIN

Song of the South was Disney's first (mostly) live-action film, and it is the only one not available on video in the US. The movie is controversial due to its depiction of African-Americans, though taken in the context of its time period, some people claim the controversy is unjustified. I've never actually seen the movie, and I don't go for bootleg copies of movies, so I can't comment on that aspect of things.

What I CAN comment about is the contribution of the movie to the Disney culture. EVERYONE, be it a Disneyholic or just someone who is familiar with Disney in general, knows the Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah song (which won a Best Song Oscar in 1948). Yes, it comes from this movie. The animated parts of Song of the South made it into many Disney compilation footage. And the movie inspired my all-time, far-above-all-others (slight pun intended) Disney World ride -- Splash Mountain.

WARNING: YOU WILL PROBABLY GET SOAKED!!! (But maybe less so if you sit in the back)

Splash Mountain is technically a flume ride, in the same way that Disney World is an amusement park. NOT. It is a celebration of the senses (hey, you'll even taste the water, trust me!) that happens while you sit in a "log" flume. Oh yeah, you will drop 52 ft at 40 mph at one point...But right before you do, you'll get an amazing view of the Magic Kingdom. Especially if you ride at night, when all the lights are on.

And while you're dropping, your picture will be taken. SMILE! (Really, not everyone screams in terror. I only did the first time.)

The ride tells the story of Brer Rabbit, an animated character from the movie. Brer Rabbit is a carefree rabbit with not a lot of sense, and we follow him as he goes about his carefree days and manages to annoy Brer Bear and Brer Fox, who then decide to hunt him. Right before you begin the climb for the big drop, we see poor Brer Rabbit was finally caught, and music of doom plays as you climb the big track...

The drop itself is actually long enough to be exhilarating but not terrifying, unless you suffer from motion sickness, in which case the whole ride is not recommended, since you're on water. After the drop we celebrate Brer Rabbit's miraculous escape from the silly creatures who hunted him. Watch for Brer Fox's tail being pulled by a determined crocodile...the whole ride is filled with colorful props and audio-animatronic critters, and you end up feeling like your face is going to split from grinning so much. It helps that the music is so excellent (all the songs are from the movie; the score was Oscar-nominated in 1948).

At the end of the ride, there is an area displaying the pictures of the plunging riders. Look for your picture, have the Cast Member in attendance write down its number for you if you like it, and you can purchase it in the inevitable gift shop on the way to the exit.

The ride is over 10 minutes long and tends to have obscenely long lines. Use a FastPass instead. Children have to be 40" tall to ride.

If you stand on the bridge to watch the flumes plunge, you may get wet. I actually like standing on the other side of the bridge, down a couple of stairs, where you can see the people floating after they plunge, and hear their comments. :)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Owner's Locker -- A New Appendage for Disney World Disneyholics

The evolution of a Disneyholic is an accelerated business. Whereas new body parts may take thousands of years to develop normally in an animal who needs it, many Disney World Disneyholics have developed an indispensable body part known as the Owner's Locker in the last several years. Keep in mind, Disney World only opened in 1971. We have it from reliable sources that several Disneyholics have 7 of these new appendages, and I know of at least one with 10 of them. I have 1, but I feel a second one coming on soon.

There are serious suspicions, however, that Owner's Locker may have been a genetic engineering experiment gone astray, rather than an actual evolutionary process. The prime suspects are a pair of mad scientists named John D. Van Meter and Brian L. Whitt. They are frequently spotted driving a purple van around Disney World resorts, taking pictures and delivering these detachable appendages to their victims customers.

Regardless of its origin, Owner's Locker is a stroke of luck (or genius) for all of us Disneyholics. These purple trunks hold a considerable amount of necessary stuff we Disneyholics can't live without. Before the advent of this miraculous appendage, we paid staggering extra luggage fees whenever we flew to Orlando. For example, we kept trying to figure out whether packing the kitchen sink was cheaper than buying one at WDW (Walt Disney World).

I keep a decent amount of clothes in my locker, as well as toiletries, batteries, first aid supplies, water wallet, bottle straps, sun screen, insect repellent, laundry detergent, and other things I can't live without while I'm in the Mouse House. I wish I could keep my son's clothes in there -- that would REALLY cut down on the packing -- but he's 12, and growing like a weed, so that's not practical.

I also have a pack of Earl Grey tea bags in my locker. I can't live without my Earl Grey, FL or not. It's great to relax with a hot cup of tea on the balcony at night, after a long day in the parks!

The problem with the purple trunks is that I keep thinking of more stuff to add, hence my suspicion that a new one is coming my way soon. For now, it's a real pleasure knowing my stuff will be waiting for me in my favorite place on Earth when I get there next. The Mad Scientists and the Bell Service people work together flawlessly, ensuring that my appendage is delivered to my room when I check in. When I check out, I repack the trunk and Bell Services pick it up from my room, taking it to their storage area where it is later picked up by the Purple Van.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Pictorial Interlude -- Christmas around "The World"

There is nothing like visiting Walt Disney World during the Holiday Season. It is an experience that always brings tears to my eyes, just thinking about it. If you go the week after Thanksgiving until about mid-December, you'll see and enjoy all the decorations and special events, and suffer none of the crowds.

All photos: Me! Click on individual pictures to open a full size photo in a new window.

This is a life-size
gingerbread house, with a
candy store iside!

About Me

My photo
When not planning my next Walt Disney World vacation, I write about medicine and science for various publications. I'm a bookworm and have recently fallen in love with knitting. I am owned by 2 dogs, 1 cat, and a 12 year old son who loves Disney as much as I do.