Fantasia Movie Review

I believe that a true classic is something that can still feel fresh and unique to anyone who experiences it, regardless of how many years it’s been since it was first released. And Walt Disney’s 1940 film, Fantasia, is one such classic (yes, I know about 2000, but we don’t talk about that era of sequels). Here’s a surprise: this is a review, and not a retrospective, because this is being written as of the first time I’ve ever seen it in my life, eighty years after its release.

If there’s anything I knew about Fantasia going into it, it’s its premise (wow, take a shot for every time I say “it” in this review). In Fantasia, a live-action man, named Deems Taylor, walks you through some very unconventional visual interpretations of various famous classical music pieces (conducted by Leopold Stokowski). Since it’s structured this way, I’m basically going to discuss my thoughts on each segment per paragraph. As this movie is eighty years old, I believe I have the right to write spoilers without warning (I also had to write down what the songs were because I know nothing about classical music). 

But first, I must discuss the one thing that all the sections have in common: they’re effing GORGEOUS. The visuals in Fantasia were, historically, beyond anything that Walt Disney had ever created at the time, and they still hold up today. These people had no computers, no nothing. Somehow, they managed to create all kinds of beautiful particle effects by themselves, and I honestly have no idea how. I recognized some instances of the multiplane camera, but the ingenuity of most of the film is beyond me. Holy crap.

The movie opens with Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, which is a Bach song (and I was too dumb to write down the composers of any of the other songs besides this one. Oops). It starts by showing the silhouettes of the live action orchestra bathed in various colored backdrops before gradually fading into abstract shapes that vaguely resemble instruments floating in a bright void. This is a great showcase of how easily the human mind can bring itself out of reality, and perfectly sets the tone for what’s to follow.

Next, we have the Nutcracker Suite, entirely bereft of nutcrackers. This one is a showcase of nature… or something. It starts off with a bunch of fairies creating various natural phenomena, and by the way… FULL FRONTAL NUDITY WARNING! “Dude, you’re overreacting,” you say, “they’re just fairies.” Well, congratulations on being open-minded. Yeah, sure, I doubt anyone reading this will have not already seen Fantasia, but I can’t take any chances here. Anyways, this sequence goes through the different seasons of nature. Due to the nature of the whole thing, they employ a lot of different colors and particle effects, making this one of the most beautiful and whimsical parts of the film.

Of course, not even I could’ve avoided not having already seen the most iconic part of Fantasia: the Sorcerer’s Apprentice section. This is the famous debut of what is considered to this day to be the de facto form of Mickey Mouse. We all know what happens: Mickey takes Yen Sid’s hat, uses it, floods the place, and gets spanked in the end. There are a couple of small logical issues, like the fact that Yen Sid was dumb enough to not take his hat to his room, or the fact that the fountain that Mickey was supposed to take the water from somehow contained enough water to fill the entire cave. But hey, it’s magic. Due to the fact that it has an actual narrative, and Mickey Mouse, this is definitely the most accessible segment of the movie, and probably the part that you all fast-forwarded to when you were a kid. Oh, also, epilepsy warning apparently; there are some instances of flashing light effects, and I’m pretty sure that counts as an epilepsy warning, right?

After this is the Rite of Spring, a classical piece originally intended to showcase primitive human life. Of course, Walt Disney took a step ahead- or back, rather- and used it to showcase the origin of life on Earth. In this, you get to see life begin from single-celled organisms to the dinosaurs to the dinosaurs’ mass extinction. This one is brutal to watch. There’s no gore, but it very much shows creatures getting eaten alive left and right. Also, the slow death of the dinosaurs by dehydration is brutally honest and a stark contrast from the Nagito-levels of hope-loving that we understand Disney to be in recent years. If I was a kid, I would be traumatized by this.

According to my notes, the next one is called the Pastoral Symphony, set in Ancient Greece. It’s a fun section that shows various creatures frolicking until Zeus literally rains on their parade (he gets a lot softer once he’s a dad, apparently). Although… based on what I understand about today’s culture, this one is also very controversial. First off, we have these cute centaur girls, who reek of FULL FRONTAL NUDITY. But it doesn’t stop there; they also doll themselves up in order to sell their bodies to male centaurs, which I’m pretty sure is a case of sexism as well. And depending on how old they are… there could also be an instance of minors drinking (thanks Dionysus). But otherwise, this section is very fun and colorful.

The semifinal segment is the Dance of the Hours. It’s a pretty on-the-nose depiction (at least, according to what the live action guy said), where dancers that represent daylight get attacked by dancers represent nighttime. Of course, the dancers this time are animals. They picked the perfect animals to do ballet dancing because you’re not expected to think that hippos and stuff would be good at ballet. Overall, the animation is very fluid and bouncy, but it’s also the least abstract of the sections. There are also more antics in this part than any other part of the movie. Due to how silly it is, this is no doubt the second most accessible section of the movie.

The final section of the movie is a two parter, the first of which is Night on Bald Mountain. This is the other part of Fantasia that I knew about beforehand, where Chernabog makes some ghost people pop up. This part is SCARY if you’re a kid, as it has jumpscares and assorted terrifying imagery. The lighting effects on Chernabog make him hands down one of the scariest Disney villains ever drawn, and the effects on the ghosts are fantastic. Fortunately, the guy spends his time tormenting his own minions (most of which are nude) as opposed to any “living” humans, but it’s still very dark for Disney. But hey, before long, Ave Maria kicks in and shuts Chernabog up real good. After this, the remainder of the movie is a very long procession of nuns before the movie abruptly ends at a gorgeous landscape shot (well, it’s about as landscape as you can get in a 4:3 ratio). This is probably because I’m not a religious person, but Ave Maria was perhaps my least favorite part of the movie, and most likely a part that I would’ve fallen asleep during as a kid.

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Final Verdict: 8.65/10

Man, I really miss this form of Disney. The vast majority of Fantasia would likely alienate people who are more used to the straightforwardness of most Disney films. It’s very experimental and ballsy when compared to the embodiment of mainstream that Disney has become in recent years (well, the live-action Mulan movie is probably their ballsiest project in a long time, but you get what I mean). 

I enjoyed it, but due to its two-hour length, I doubt I’d watch it again. But as far as recommendations go (assuming that you haven’t watched it)… I can’t easily recommend it. Fantasia doesn’t just have a lot of controversial and dark imagery, but it’s entirely devoid of dialogue and an actual defined plot (outside of Sorcerer’s Apprentice), and I can’t imagine any kid who wouldn’t fall asleep within minutes of starting the film. I can only recommend it to adults with a very open-minded palette of tastes, or to diehard Disney fans who want to know everything about the company’s history.

Onward Movie Review

The movie poster (that I don't own).

It’s been a hot minute since Disney came up with a new I.P. I didn’t know much about Pixar’s Onward, nor did I have high expectations, but I watched it because it was actually NEW. But hey, trailers for Pixar movies tend to not do the actual film justice. Is it the same case here?

In a fantasy world that’s evolved to the 21st Century, two brothers-  emotionally insecure Ian, and history buff Barley- are given an ancient staff, complete with the instructions for a spell that can bring their deceased father back to life for twenty-four hours. Unfortunately, they do a bad, and dad only comes back as pants and a pair of ugly purple socks. Now they must take Barley’s beat up van on a quest to find the MacGuffin that’ll allow them to recast the spell before dad is lost forever.

The idea of a fantasy world with modern technology isn’t even remotely new, but Pixar pulled it off in a way that felt fresh in its own right. It’s hilarious to see centaurs having to drive cars, and pixies being swole and in biker gangs. But even then, this is probably one of the least interesting Pixar worlds. It’s not really the movie’s fault; this movie has Inside Out and Coco to compete with, and those movies were pretty darn inventive. 

But in terms of narrative, Onward definitely exceeds expectations. There is a lot of great dialogue, and most action scenes make a surprising use of insignificant details peppered throughout the film. For the most part. Ian’s magic staff made me cringe, for it was another case of, “Okay, you can be good at magic now. No other time, though. Sorry, bub.” It does make one “death” later in the movie feel like a heap of shock value given the circumstances.

Of course, Disney and Pixar are still Disney and Pixar. If you’ve seen one, you’ve seen this one. Onward doesn’t have one, but two of those out-of-left-field drama scenes that I always roll my eyes at. I get that it’s character building and crap, but you can only enjoy something so much after seeing it the thousandth time.

The characters are what you’d expect. Ian and Barley are a solid example of the “two-brothers-who-are-at-odds-with-each-other-then-realize-that-they’re-each-other’s-best-friend” trope. Sure, they’re no Edward and Alphonse, or even Mutta and Hibito, but they have some good chemistry with each other given the time restriction of a feature film. Dad is also enjoyable, despite never having a single line of dialogue beyond a cassette tape. Pixar’s prowess makes his mannerisms in such a way to where it’s easy to understand what he’s thinking. 

Surprisingly, the best character ended up being the mom. She’s not an absolute a-hole, nor is she a burden on the main characters. When she finds out about their quest, she goes full Marlin and becomes a freaking bada** in the process of finding them.

The visuals are stellar as always. They always do such a good job with expressions and movement that it’s not even possible to be blown away by Pixar anymore. Because of that, Onward almost feels like a step backwards, visually. Disney in general is all about pushing the envelope, but in their defense, you can only push it so far until it’s just pushed all the way completely. Maybe they were using some [insert advanced 3D modeling mumbo jumbo here] that a pleb like me wouldn’t recognize.

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Final Verdict: 8.5/10

Onward is a great movie, and a great NEW I.P. It’s not the best Pixar movie, but it’s still better than a lot of crap your kids could be consuming. I recommend it for any tier of Disney fan, and for anyone who likes a feel-good story.

Top Five Quaintest Spots in Walt Disney World

Walt Disney World is a great place to be, but you gotta make the most out of their amenities when you don’t live in the local area. But you know, in this day and age, there’s- as Elton John would say- “more to do than can ever be done” in life. Sometimes, it’s worth going to Disney just for the brief reprieve from all the noise. In this post, I’ll list off the best spots to do nothing in.


5) Wilderness Lodge Lobby

Disney’s Wilderness Lodge is one of the best-themed resorts on Disney property. This massive log cabin made out of real, dead trees towers almost endlessly. This place is filled with insanely accurate Native American motifs and huge totem poles. There’s nothing quite like crashing on one of the many sofas (preferably in front of the ornate fire pit), and lull off to sleep with the unending raucous of the Whispering Canyon Cafe in the background. If you can find the secret room on the second floor, you won’t be sorry.


4) Outside Davy Crockett’s at Fort Wilderness

Are you sick of standing around Fort Wilderness waiting for the Hoop-Dee-Doo to let people in? Well, don’t worry; there’s a way to sit around instead! Davy Crockett’s has a first-come-first-served set of comfy rocking chairs that you can recline on all day (or until someone wakes you up).


3) Boardwalk at the Boardwalk

The Boardwalk is one of my favorite Disney Resorts. It has the great atmosphere of an early Twentieth Century boardwalk, but now with good service, good food, and the FDA! It has a gorgeous view of the lake area and the neighboring resorts. Grab a pizza by the window if you want. Just don’t think you can laze around here at night, for street performers and other events will turn this relaxing place into a rave.


2) Pandora… at Night

Pandora in the Animal Kingdom can be enjoyed at any time of day. But it’s particularly special at night. If you wait from about dinner time, depending on what time of year you go; it gets dark later in spring and summer. As dusk turns to nightfall, you’ll see the plants slowly begin to glow one by one. When they do, chillax on an Alpha Centauri Expeditions patented bench and gawk at Pandora’s multicolored splendor while you laze off. The Wind Traders shop also has a nice atmosphere, but it gets cramped in there easily, so be wary.


1) Elvis Beach at Polynesian Village

This isn’t the official name, but it is the sole place in Disney’s Polynesian Village where they play some good ol’ Hawaiian-inspired, Elvis Presley tunes. Lounge in a hammock or a beach chair, and gaze out at the Magic Kingdom across the lagoon. And if you stay in one of the bungalows hanging off the coast, then you’ll be able to relax knowing that you now have no money.


In conclusion, Walt Disney World is truly a place where anything is possible. Despite the massive crowds, insane planning needed, and very pricey food and merch, it’s more than possible to relax and soak it all in. In fact, I think the people who DON’T do that once in a while miss the whole point of being there in the first place. So, if you ever find yourself hoofing it over to Walt Disney World, give yourself some time to take a chill pill.

Star Wars Episode IX: Rise of Skywalker Movie Review

I am not a particularly big fan of Star Wars. I saw the main six movies when I was a kid, and for a while was very into them, including the animated Clone Wars, but as an adult I hadn’t thought much about the franchise until they announced this new trilogy. In essence, I think the series is wholly entertaining, but it baffles me how it has become so interwoven into humankind. I even blitzed through the Original Trilogy last year for the heck of it… And you know what, they’re NOT these flawless, transcendent creations. I’m sorry. But hey, I still cared enough to have seen Star Wars Episodes 7 and 8 in theaters, and I found them decent. Despite a heavy premonition of demise in my gut, I went to see Star Wars Episode 9: The Rise of Skywalker, the day after it’s premiere. Potential mild spoilers ahead, but no big reveals.

This movie jumps right in, with Kilo Ren going to some Sith planet and finding- of all people- EMPEROR PALPATINE, still alive. He’s been busy the past thirty years building the biggest fleet of Sithheads ever, and it’s up to Rey and her motley crew to stop him once and for all.

Most of this movie is a mixed bag, I admit. First off, they spend a lot of it finding the MacGuffin that they need to get to Palpy Boy, and this whole arc is probably where the movie is at its worst. There are also TWO instances of fake character deaths that really ham in the plot armor a bit more than usual. Oh, and also there are some big suspension of disbelief issues, like “Where did Palpatine get all the resources to build these things?” and “How did he feed all the people on that planet? It’s clearly a barren wasteland. You can’t plant sh** down there.”

But that’s poppycock compared to the whack stuff that they do with the Force in this movie. I haven’t seen 7 and 8 since their theatrical releases, but I don’t remember Kylo and Rey’s connection allowing for such… BS. I got they could mind meld, but also mind-battle and mind-give-things-to-each-other? I don’t recall the Force being that capable. Sure, I can write it off as “because magic” like in most modern fantasies, but the Force has been relatively consistent, even in the prequels, up to this point. I guess if Leia could fly, then anything’s possible.

The characters are pretty weak, too. In fact, I didn’t even remember that guy- Po, was it?- from the previous movie at all. Well, he annoyed me, but not as much as Rey. She might be the hero of the story, but there are like eight times that she does something stupid by herself, and it ends up costing the whole group dearly almost every time. There’s one time- ONE TIME- that she helps, but that’s still only one time. However, 3PO, R2, and Chewie are still lovely folk, even if there are a number of characters I prefer over them in other franchises. Oh, and there’s that unicycling droid named D-O that isn’t going to be a meme whatsoever because its name is definitely not phonetically similar to a famous, memeable anime villain.

But you know what, the climax makes it all worth it. That sequence has the right amount of grandiose battles, nostalgia, and corny nakama power to make it all amazing. With the contentious way things generally are in the Star Wars community, Rise of Skywalker seems like a pretty good way to end this beloved series. But we all know they probably won’t. Personally, I’m going to tap out of this series on a good note.

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Final Verdict: 7.75/10

Rise of Skywalker is a good movie. It’s got great stuff, and it’s got stuff worthy of fanfics. It’s not perfect, but that’s Star Wars itself. It’s a corny, sci-fi battle shounen power fantasy, and it’s hard not to love it even a little bit. As long as you have a HEALTHY love for Star Wars, then there’s nothing wrong with watching Rise of Skywalker and its predecessors. I hope that this was a helpful and insightful review for you.

Frozen 2 Movie Review

Poster of the movie, WHICH I DO NOT OWN. DISNEY OWNS IT!

PREFACE: I did not see a single review, rating, or opinion regarding this movie; I went into it with a completely open mind. So, the opinions you are seeing have not been influenced by anything besides the movie itself. Also, minor spoilers ahead. Nothing too bad, though.


Disney sequels have come a long way from straight-to-VHS cash grabs (that, admit it, we all loved when we were small and innocent), to theatrical releases that they put more chutzpah into. How does the sequel of the meme-able animated sensation that is Frozen measure up?

Frozen 2 starts with a flashback about the nobles of Arendelle and the people of some magical forest meeting up, having a BIT of a falling out, and the Anna and Elsa’s dad being saved by some mysterious voice. Years later (and after the events of the original Frozen), Elsa hears that voice, and it’s not long after that until Arendelle gets wrecked. Now, the original cast must go to that forest and see what the heck’s going on. This all somehow ends with the origin story behind Elsa’s powers.

Well, it’s not anywhere near as mind-bending as MatPat’s original theory on the subject, that’s for sure. In fact, everything about it seems too simple. When the actual reveal of her powers comes up, it’s like, “Yeah, so that’s it,” and the other characters kind of take it in their stride. However, as I will mention in a future post about the appeal of Disney movies in general, the narrative ends up being the most trivial matter.

The characters are what sell these things, and it is no exception this time around. As you’d expect, Elsa, the character who became synonymous with THAT song, is the one who is given the most character development. She, basically, well, learns about herself and that she should REALLY trust her buddies, just sayin’. Anna and Kristoff end up mostly involved in a subplot where the latter repeatedly tries and fails to propose to the former. This ends up creating some very cringe-inducing scenes, but they’re offset by something I’ll get to in another section of this review. Despite getting almost (key word) no further development, the kudos once again goes to Olaf, who has perhaps cemented himself as the greatest supporting protagonist in Disney history. His one-liners are cleverer than ever, including a hilarious abridged recap of the first movie.

Despite this, it seems that only the main characters were given any love this time. There are a lot of newcomers in this movie, and I already forgot their names (I literally just got home from the theater at the time of writing this). The worst offender by far is the purple Pascal clone; it is the Porgs of Frozen 2: cute, unnecessary, and marketable.

But hey, at least the soundtrack rocks. This time around, they seem to be pushing one of Elsa’s new numbers, “Into the Unknown,” as the next meme (even though “Show Yourself” is better…). However, the crown jewel of Frozen 2 goes to Kristoff of all people. His ridiculous power ballad, “Lost in the Woods,” rivals the timeless Spongebob classic, “Sweet Victory,” in terms of its amazing stupidness. It will not get nominated for Best Song at the Oscars (*cough* ‘cuz they suck *cough*), but I know in my heart that it’s the best. Regardless of what song I like and what you like, the soundtrack came out before the movie, so give yourself a listen if you end up liking it.

And lastly, the visuals are as astonishing as ever. The models don’t really look that much different (going off of memory), but they definitely did some new stuff with particles and lighting that they didn’t do in the first movie. I’m glad it wasn’t a downgrade from the first movie.

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Final Verdict: 7.6/10

Frozen 2 is something, all right. While I think that the first movie is better put together, and has some hint that they tried to build genuine tension, this movie has certain isolated moments that wholeheartedly surpass the first one. The soundtrack is also more consistent, so you can always look forward to another number, instead of the first one, which was like “Well, ‘Let It Go’ is over, it only goes downhill from here.” Due to many references to the original movie, you will need to have seen and enjoyed it get the inside jokes of Frozen 2 at all, so keep that in mind. 

WDW 2019 Highlights

Walt Disney World is my favorite place in the world. I’ve been going there with my family every year since 2013, and I’m still not tired of it. By this point, I’m pretty darn confident in knowing what’s what in the World. So, I figured that I’d have an annual blog series- off-schedule from the animu crap- where I post ten highlights, including pro-tips, on different aspects of each trip. All pictures in this blog were taken by me.

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1: Marceline to Magic Kingdom Tour

First on the list is an unforgettable guided tour of the Magic Kingdom. I always ignored tours because at this point, we we’re pretty darn good at knowing our way around the parks. However, this tour is all about Walt Disney and some of the OG Imagineers, plus tidbits and trivia about various attractions.

On this tour, we got a free ride on the Haunted Mansion (my first time on it. It was scary, but freaking lit), Small World, and the Carousel of Progress (which your group gets its own room). We also got to see the secret backside of the former (will not disclose contents, obviously). Marceline to Magic Kingdom is a fantastic tour that I highly recommend to Disney buffs. Just make sure it’s not your first time ever doing the Carousel, for it is almost impossible to pay attention to the show and the tour guide’s dialogue at the same time. Also, getting to go on rides with Cast Members is a great bonus.

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2: Fantasmic Dinner Package

This actually looked a lot better in person.

Fantasmic is a popular show at Walt Disney World, and one of the few reasons I go to my least favorite of the four parks, Hollywood Studios. While I don’t think the show is the greatest that they have to offer, the dinner package is an essential deal.

You get to eat at one of three restaurants in Studios, and obtain VIP tickets to the best seats in the stadium for Fantasmic. We went to Mama Melrose, one of my favorite restaurants on property. The spaghetti and meatballs is godlike, and honestly something I look forward to more than the show.

Every year I keep forgetting about these secret back-back-back row seats, right near the bathrooms and- most notably- the exit. I will probably elect to sit there in the future, even with the package. Hopefully, it actually is allowed, since they want to fill all 6,000 seats in the theater, and a package person sitting outside of the package area would screw things up….

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3: Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue

Walt Disney World is constantly evolving. With the new stuff coming to EPCOT, I’m willing to bet that most of next year’s entry will cover that area. However, some Disney experiences are timeless, and Fort Wilderness’ Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue (which ended up inspiring my username) has, according to my dad, not changed much since 1981.

I already saw it last year, but it was so awesome that I had to see it again. The show is an hour of unrelenting chaos and comedy that you will never forget. The waiters slam buckets of delicious chicken and ribs onto your table like American footballs, and even get to dance onstage. 

The performers are some of the best on property, especially the crazy blonde girl. Be forewarned, though; there is a lot of audience interaction, especially the front. Fortunately, they know how to deal with shy guests, but I thankfully wasn’t chosen for anything all the same. 

Overall, Hoop-Dee-Doo is a dining experience that surpasses some of the best that the parks have to offer. I personally prefer dinner at Ohana, which is more low-key and has BEEF SKEWERS, but Hoop-Dee-Doo is still a must-see at least once in your lifetime (if you got the cash).

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4: The Edison

This is a restaurant in Disney Springs that I didn’t know about until planning for this trip (in my defense, that place opens like fifty new restaurants a day). We had basically reserved it because the actor who plays as our boy Eric in the Frozen Sing-Along at Hollywood Studios is sometimes works at the Edison. Unfortunately, he wasn’t there that day, but with food so damn good, I didn’t give a crap!

The Edison is a steampunk-styled restaurant on the West Side of Disney Springs. The interior is full of rotating gears and televisions playing clips of old Disney shorts and flat-out strange silent-era films from days of Yore.

Of course, a restaurant isn’t worth anything if it’s food is crap, and fortunately, the food at the Edison is on a higher plane of existence. I had an Edison Burger with most of the toppings on the side, and it immediately became my new favorite burger of all time. The meat in the burger is a fine blend of several meats, and it’s normally supposed to be rare, sought out, and expensive. However, our meal here was one of the cheapest on property (relatively speaking), once again proving that Disney’s stuff is NOT overpriced. The Edison is a must-eat for those who want fantastic food at a modest price.

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5: The Wonderful World of Animation

This is the new projection show that serves as a pre-show to Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular in Hollywood Studios. Unpopular opinion: I think it’s better than the Star Wars one. I only watched Star Wars because we got the VIP passes for the show.

The Wonderful World of Animation begins with the intro to the classic Mickey Short, Mickey’s Gala Premiere, and goes on a massive montage of EVERY Disney animated film. That includes the cult classics, like Atlantis: The Lost Empire, Treasure Planet, and- a whole section dedicated to- The Emperor’s Motherf***ing New Groove. Yep. You’re already booking your trip right now, aren’t you? 

This show has clips all over the Chinese theater and the two walls on either side, so multiple viewings are a must. I at least managed to snag a number of photos so I can actually see what was actually shown at the time.

Overall, it’s a phenomenal new show that I recommend going to Studios for the sole purpose of seeing. I suggest buying a Park Hopper for that day at least.

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6: The EPCOT Experience

This entry is not really a highlight, however I still want to write about it because the EPCOT Experience is a circle-vision showcase of attractions coming to EPCOT within the next two years. So, I want to speculate about each one of them here.

The first section I walked into was for an attraction called the Journey of Water. This one- be it a ride or a whole new section of the park- looks like it will use assets from Moana to educate guests on the history and importance of water in human civilization. I almost cried listening to the voice of Best Mom Gramma Tala narrating the whole thing, so I can only imagine what the actual attraction will be like.

Next was Digital City. Based on the design, it seems to be based off of the setting of Wreck-It Ralph Breaks the Internet, but it wasn’t explicit. Almost no information about this area is actually presented, other than it being a city of play areas. Hopefully it’ll have more than that (but if it doesn’t, adults better be allowed to play, too).

The new Marvel attraction has been known for a while now. This section at the exhibit starts with a message from some Romulon ambassador before getting hijacked by someone’s Sonic the Hedgehog OC (sorry if I offended you, but as stated I my 5 Worlds review, I have no knowledge nor interest in the MCU). No other information about the Marvel thing is given, but I’m pretty sure it’s going to be a thrill ride of some sort. Regardless of how good it ends up being, I will probably ignore it entirely. I feel like it’s something that will be good to the diehard fans of Marvel, but will alienate casual visitors, similar to how Galaxy’s Edge does IMO. But you know what, it’s too soon to know for sure.

Next was the new version of the golf ball ride, called Spaceship Earth: Our Shared Story. This one merely shows photos of various people from different ethnicities before ending with the title dropping onto the screen. I have no idea if it’s going to completely remove the original story of human civilization or not, but I’ll have faith in this attraction.

Three new additions care coming to World Showcase, the first of which is Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure in France. This one has also been known for a while, and it looks really fun but scary. It seems that riders will be in rat-themed cars that will make numerous sharp turns as they dodge obstacles and attacks from Chef Mini-Me in the kitchen of Jacques Cousteau. In the UK will be a Mary Poppins ride. I have no idea which Mary Poppins will be used, but it should be pretty lit. Also known for a while is a new, circle-vision China show. For all intents and purposes, it’ll probably be better than its predecessor. But due to my jealousy of C-pop and K-pop getting so easily accepted by Western culture over J-pop, I will be abstaining from this one out of spite.

The EPCOT Experience ends with a bang by showing a preview of the new night show to replace Illuminations (the EPCOT Forever event is merely a temporary show, similar to the Jungle Book show for Rivers of Light). All that this part of the exhibit does is simply full blast iconic tracks from several Disney animated features, somehow perfectly mixed so that it doesn’t sound jarring, before ending with a simple title drop of EPCOT’s name in a nebulous void of outer space. Immediately, this worried me, as the new Rivers of Light: We Are One was the first outright disappointment I felt in Disney, and actually preferred an older show over the new one, specifically for adding assets from Disney animated features to it. The timing and order of each section destroyed Joe Rohde’s simple and profound message, and hopefully they’ll update it to better incorporate the Lion King and Brother Bear stuff in the future. Fortunately, I’m pretty sure that this new show in EPCOT will be made completely from scratch, and actually be designed to incorporate the Disney movie elements from the outset.

EPCOT has become arguably my favorite of the four parks, and if the new coming attractions are all up to snuff, then EPCOT will be my absolute favorite. The guys at Disney have been evolving Walt Disney World for almost fifty years, so they got a pretty good track record for this kind of stuff.

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7: Boardwalk Resort

This is where we stayed on this trip. We had actually visited it once, on our first trip in 2013, because we went to the minigolf at the Swan and traveled through it to reach EPCOT. I was so enchanted by the resort’s quaintness, and convenient access to TWO of the parks, that I had to convince my family to book it for a future trip.

It took six years. By some miracle, we got to stay in a DVC room this year, and it was heavenly. I got a futon. But regardless, the resort itself is why the Boardwalk is on the list.

The Boardwalk is a quaint waterside town by day, and a bustling circus of funnel cakes and entertainment at night. It was at a night spent watching Coco at this resort that they were convinced to book it for this year. The performers are also great. There are at least three: a juggler, a hoop girl, and a sassy jester who has kids volunteer in fun parlor tricks (at his expense).

The Boardwalk also has- along with the usual resort gift shop- the Wyland Art Gallery. This gallery contains gorgeous (and expensive) acrylic glass sculptures of ocean creatures, plus breathtaking paintings of ocean scenes, and Disney stuff.

The place has tons of restaurants. For quick service, there are two food stands, a little window that serves great pizzas, and the convenient Boardwalk Bakery and Ample Hills Creamery. Out of the table services there, I’ve only eaten at Trattoria Al Forno, specifically the Bon Voyage Character Breakfast, and that was one of my favorite parts of last year’s trip. 

I highly recommend staying at the Boardwalk- or the nearby Yacht Club, Beach Club, Swan, or Dolphin resorts for easy access to Hollywood Studios and EPCOT. Be forewarned, however, that they are all Deluxe tier, and will more or less fire a shotgun, point-blank, into your wallet. 

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8: Toledo

This restaurant opened along with the new Gran Torin- I mean- Gran Destino Tower at Coronado Springs. With it’s massive menu, and scenic view of TWO parks, we had to get a reservation. Unfortunately, it had rained leading up to the meal, leaving the balcony unusable for us, causing us to miss the exclusive views of the fireworks from Hollywood Studios and EPCOT. 

However, that didn’t matter as the food was fantastic as usual. I split the amazing, 28 ounce Chuleton ribeye steak with a friend. The menu has a LOT of variety, so there’s no excuse to not give it a whirl (except money of course).

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9: Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party

I had attended one other Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party before this year’s. And it sucked. While the shows at the castle courtyard were truly beyond top tier, the crowds were so bad that it almost offset the greatness of those shows. But despite that, my party decided to attend the event again.

And it rocked. For some reason, the crowds were substantially lower. I don’t know if it’s because more people wanted to meet characters and trick-or-treat, or the fact that I didn’t attend the one on Halloween Day, but I’m not complaining.

The Hocus Pocus Villain Spectacular is still great. I hadn’t seen the movie the previous time, so this year I took the time to see it at our resort’s Movie Under the Stars. Big mistake. Hocus Pocus itself sucks. While Bette Midler was pretty great, she didn’t have enough screentime to offset the nineties cringe. Fortunately, that didn’t change how I felt about the stage show.

The Boo-to-You Parade hasn’t changed as far as I remember. The parade isn’t really about massive and elaborate floats, like with the Festival of Fantasy Parade, but about all the absurdly rare characters that you didn’t know existed within Disney Parks. This parade includes but is not limited to: Pain and Panic, Opera Chicken, and Bowler Hat Guy.

The real reason I came to this party was for the new Not-So-Spooky Spectacular Fireworks. And boy, were they lit. As expected of Disney, they were a lot better than their predecessor, Hallowishes. This one had more of a core narrative, as it focused on Mickey and Co. wandering through a haunted house. This show also has a really well-built animatronic Jack Skellington that I did not expect to appear at all. While I’d normally see fireworks from the train station, I highly recommend getting a spot pretty close to the castle just for that Skellington goodness.

With this new show, the Christmas Party Fireworks are now in a major need of an update. Hopefully, it’ll happen soon, maybe in time for the 50th anniversary! 

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10: JAPAAAAAAAAN

The Walt Disney Company is perhaps the only team that is actually able to celebrate diversity without being… well, you know… the Internet, and I applaud them for it (it’s also pretty ironic given THAT scene in Peter Pan). EPCOT World Showcase, like the rest of Walt Disney World, is full to the brim with people from all walks of life, and those people aren’t at each other’s throats.

And obviously, Japan is my favorite pavilion. Since this was the first year I dedicated myself to studying Japanese culture, I actually bought merch outside the anime section. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much merch that was symbolic of their culture itself as there was just general Japanese motifs on various apparels. 

We had lunch at Teppan Edo one day. I had eaten there once before, but I handled it poorly because I only knew about saying “Itadakimasu” before eating the meal, but not “Gouchisou-sama deshita” at the end. OOPS. I now look back on that day, thinking that those cute girls working there felt miffed that the shy American boy knew only the first step. 

I was prepared to say both phrases this time. However, our chef was so cute and talented that I clammed up. I was at least able to eat my whole meal with chopsticks in my own special way (although the Miso Soup was so rich that I made the same face that Asirpa did in Golden Kamuy), as well as discover a new favorite flavor of ice cream: green tea! I was also the only one who spoke an order in the Japanese name (which, honestly, anyone could’ve done since it’s written in romanji on the freaking menu). I’m definitely going to need to go back and do everything right this time.

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So that’s that for this blog entry. As far as Disney stuff goes, I’ll try to post a review of The Little Mermaid Live, The Imagineering Story, and Frozen 2 in the near future (no promises, though!). But of course, I’ll still be mainly focusing on light novels and stuff!