27 August 2016
26 August 2016
This week I was able to join the Disney Magic Hour Podcast crew as we virtually toured the Walt Disney Family Museum. It was a thorough report from Pete’s recent trip, and definitely made me want to check out the museum as soon as I can, not unlike how I’ve always felt about the museum! The episode is definitely a primer if you are planning on visiting soon or just want to get a better feel for what the museum has to offer.
The exploration reminded me of all of the wonderful information we were able to gleam from the gallery by gallery tour that the Walt Disney Family Museum released to the public in the summer and early fall of 2009, just prior to the museum’s October 1 opening. While many things have changed since then, plenty has remained the same, and the press releases can set an excellent stage for a visit. Or as an elongated post card for those of us without a visit on the horizon! Rather than make everyone dig back through the Gazette’s archives to find these gems, I’ve pooled them all here for you to wade into. Enjoy!
24 August 2016
The Great Movie Ride is one of those places that is so rife with memories and details that it is easy for some fabulous minutiae to get overlooked. In fact, from the postings in the old west scene to the the hidden images in the hieroglyphics or name-dropping that occurs throughout the gangster scene, there is a special emphasis placed on details that you may or may not ever get to examine closer. My favorite scene of The Great Movie Ride, Alien’s Nostromo, also happens to be home to my favorite blink and you’ll miss it, if you’re even lucky enough to see it, detail.
Just after you have passed by Ripley, on the left hand side of the Nostromo’s corridor, sits a pair of display panels. One gives you the name and registration number of the ship, while the second is the crew status roster. This list of twenty-two names, all currently residing in sector 00294, doesn’t list a single Ellen Ripley, Dallas, or Kane like one would expect. In fact, it doesn’t even list the actresses’ and actors’ real life identities. No, the crew listed here, are a regular who’s who of Imagineering that had a hand in the creation of The Great Movie Ride. Each entry is listed along with individual’s role/status, and personnel number. Some of these crew members have clearly had an interaction with the xenomorph, while others have simply fascinating responsibilities!
Since the screen can be so hard to read when a xenomorph is lunging at you and your loved ones, and even harder to get a clear picture of (of which this photo is still shaky up close), let me make it just a bit easier for you to read:
Eric Jacobson…System Alteration Supervisior…4Q7
Bob Joslin…Unexplainable Phenomenon Expert…96K3
Glenn Koch…Intergalactic Goo Analyst…0I2
Bob Weis…Spaceship Driver…83JY
Kathy Rogers…Coordination Coordinator…5X5
Brock Thoman…Outer Space Planner…3-56O9
Doug Esselstrom…Shirt Supervising Officer…8P4
Geoff Puckett…Video Eyewash Designator…77L9
Jack Gillett…Re-Wiring Specialist…9U2
Walt Steel…Technical System Untangler…6-44M9
Doug Griffith…Still Programming The Witch…5W3
Craig Russell…Everywhere At Once…2B4
John Sullivan...Looking For Ron Beumer…34L6
Tim Kirk…Interior Detail Expert…3PV
Mike Vale…Ear Damage Officer…6M4
Michael Sprout…Operation Manual Re-Writer…7-20K4
Carol Rotundo…Star Search Astrophysicist…1K5
23 August 2016
Nine years ago I came up with an idea to start a blog. At the time there were a couple of community-driven websites, a few podcasts, and a handful of dedicated bloggers. They were, and continue to be, an amazing lot. I have learned so much from them and I am always humbled to be mentioned in any Venn diagram that includes them. To think about those early days and then to look around and see what the community has blossomed into over the past nine years is truly remarkable.
As a person I am relatively shy and like to keep to myself. I like being behind the camera, not in front of it. I may never entirely understand what actually drove me to step out into the great big internet and start the Main Street Gazette, but I’m so happy I did. In those early years I thought of it as a platform for creative (read: fiction) writing and assistance in trip planning. It would evolve into a daily beast that touched upon my opinions, history, food, photographs, answering the burning question of why things were hiding in plain sight, and a roundup of the best articles I read across the community and gave readers something new each and every day. It was a pace that I couldn’t keep up forever, even when I had the incredible talents of individuals like Tony, Zanna, Eric, Estelle, Melissa(s), Elizabeth, Andrew, Alan, George, Blake, and so many others who joined me to write an article or roundtable contribution. Eventually, I had to slow down to the now mild pace of two to four articles a week, depending on what I can do.
Along the way I’ve made some incredible friends. I learned that slowing down doesn’t mean that I’ve let anyone down, just that I’m creating anticipation for the next article. I’ve also learned that the sky is the limit, and each day the Gazette find new readers who are excited by what they find and dedicate insane amounts of time to going back and reading over the last nine years’ worth of writing. I am, if you haven’t heard it before and even if you have, overwhelmed and exceedingly gratefully for each and every one of you. The support you have shown me when I have faced challenges, to my health or just in terms of generating content and ideas, has been astounding. And the only way I know how to repay you is to keep moving forward and writing new articles.
I know I’m not a traditional blogger. The Gazette has never featured ads, and only very rarely do I accept anything for review. That isn’t to say that won’t change one day, but that’s where I’ve kept things, trying to remain focused on what matters. And that is you, the readers. I tend to write in a style that bounds haplessly between an excited adolescent and a haughty know-it-all who abbreviates rather than expounds upon bits of history or his theories, which has turned readers off from time to time. It is that introverted side of me that accepts that the Gazette is not going to be everyone’s cup of tea, but to be thankful for those of you that have come along on these crazy journey.
I started the Gazette at a time in my life where a deep connection I had to Walt Disney World was taken away and I was mere months away from getting married. I had always had a thirst for knowledge and wanting to know all the stories and history I could about the Vacation Kingdom, but nine years ago I didn’t know where to take that knowledge. Clearly the missus, who once threatened bodily harm if I didn’t find an outlet that wasn’t presenting her with a lecture and wonder if she was taking notes, knew what I didn’t. She knew that I was an educator at heart and that sharing all of the stories I found and the interesting tidbits I uncovered with the world and watching their sense of wonder rise was what I needed to do.
So the Gazette was born on a Thursday evening in August, after days of crafting a clever opening article and tirelessly trying out historical Disney names that I felt would get the idea of what this site would be across to the readers. We’ve stuck close to some of our founding ideas, such as utilizing titles that can be found in signage, songs, or narrations throughout the parks and resorts. We changed the things that needed to change, such as when we went from publishing articles whenever I finished them to 9:00am, the standard time that the parks of Walt Disney World open. And we’ll continue to toe the line between evolving and holding firm to our roots for as long as you’ll have us.
Once again you have spent another year with my blatherings, but I hope they’ve given you something new to consider. Maybe you learned a story you didn’t know about a detail you’ve always loved in the park, maybe you found a new favorite dish or recipe, or maybe you just found someone who shared your opinion on a particular topic or interest. Whatever it was that brought you to the Main Street Gazette, or kept you here for another year, thank you. You are what keep me going, and I couldn’t ask for a greater set of people to write for! I don’t know what the next year holds for the Gazette, but I do know that there will be new articles to share, so long as you keep on reader.
22 August 2016
Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar has a little bit of everything and a little something for everyone. There are stories abound to be discovered within Jock’s workshop, and these stories can keep you entertained for quite a while. Eventually, however, you are going to want something to quench your thirst and/or something to satisfy your hunger. Luckily, the folks around the hangar have you covered with beverages to suit every taste and age and pub fare for most diets that has been elevated to an art form. Kind of like what Jock can do with a plane, right?
Some of my favorite bites have circulated off of the menu, though I suspect they’ll make their way back around at some point. Meanwhile, new items have landed in the pilot’s log that I’m sure will be just as satisfying. When it comes to the beverages served up by Jock’s crew, there is no lack of delicious cocktails to partake in. Today, let’s combine a favorite beverage, or Jocktail as they’re known in these parts, and dish in a pairing that is truly an adventure.
Let’s start with what would likely arrive at your table, or boat bench, barstool, or diving bell first; the Air Pirate’s Mule. This features Knob Creek Disney Select Single Barrel Reserve Bourbon, Fresh Lime Juice, topped with Fever-Tree Ginger Beer, and is served in a copper mug similar to other mule-type cocktails. According to Jock himself, “You gotta have the backbone of a mule to order this Jocktail!”
For those unaware, ginger beer is the stronger, older brother to ginger ale. It can pack a two-fisted wallop of ginger that is sure to clean out your sinuses if you’re not prepared for the kick. Hence the mule part of the name. It plays nice with the lime for that tropical drink set of flavors. The change up here comes from the inclusion of bourbon, whereas a traditional mule is served with vodka. Those of you who know me have probably already recognized my predisposition to whiskeys and bourbons, but it work particularly well here to mellow out what could otherwise be a zinging cocktail. It isn’t an adult beverage that you can drink multiples of and not feel the effects until you stand up, you will know that you are getting a strong, but well-balanced, drink right from the first sip.
On the food side of the Hangar Bar’s offerings is a selection of dishes whose roots stretch around the globe. In fact, while food is only featured on a single page inside the Pilot’s Log, aka menu, these are the dishes handpicked by Jock himself for his new member dinner as part of his induction into the Society for Explorers and Adventurers. For our pairing, we ordered up some Lao Che’s Revenge, the “Spicy Asian Sticky Wings direct from Club Obi Wan.”
The small pan comes with a mix of eight savory wings and drumettes. There isn’t a lot of heat with these wings, but then again we’re not in Buffalo, but they definitely live up to the sticky description. There is a great back-and-forth between the sweet elements of the sauce and the zest of the spice selection, which I would liken to a Chinese five-spice blend. The wings themselves have a crispy skin, with just a little bit of chewiness, that is the hallmark of a well prepared wing. The other telling sign of a delicious wing is the tender meat inside, which these have in spades.
Our pairing works exceptionally well together, with a lot of the sharper, more impactful flavors coming from our Air Pirate’s Mule and not the wings, which would be more typical of pub drinks and eats. The ginger melts in well with the spicy elements of the Lao Che’s Revenge, while the wings’ sweetness couples nicely with the bourbon. All in all, it is a winning combination. And if you want a pro tip, save the extra sauce in the bottom of your wing pan, order up some of the Rolling Boulder Sliders, and dip the top buns into the sauce. You can thank Tony Caggiano for that one!
In multiple trips to Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar, I’ve yet to find a truly disappointing drink or plate, and the stories present throughout the lounge are simply stellar. This may be one of my favorite pairings, but it certainly won’t be the last. If you’re looking for something a little adventurous, but not too far off of the well-trodden path, putting an Air Pirate’s Mule together with Lao Che’s Revenge should be right up your alley.
20 August 2016
18 August 2016
When we look back and think about some of the Magic Kingdom’s earliest show-stopping attractions, it is hard to not immediately focus in on 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea Submarine Voyage. This Fantasyland staple ran from mid-October 1971 until its closure in 1994. No trip to Walt Disney World was complete until you had boarded one of Captain Nemo’s famed Nautilus submarines and taken a journey that he narrated, voiced by the impressive Peter Renoudet, and escaped from impressive sea monsters. Living to tell the tale was one of the souvenirs every child took home with them.
Even after it had stop taking guests on fantastic voyages through liquid space, there was still something to be gleamed from visiting the area. The rocky shores with tropical vegetation were still there. So too were the metal fixtures and shelter of the queue. And while there wasn’t a single Nautilus to be seen prowling the waters of Fantasyland’s Vulcania, the waterfall covered caves still beckoned for a photograph to be taken of them. Of course, this corner of the Magic Kingdom had to see a ton of work in order to ensure it was worth of being called Nemo’s home port.
Due to the fact that the Magic Kingdom had to be elevated in order to accommodate the utilidors, while not disturbing the close to the surface water table, the Submarine Voyage was able to begin building without much in the way of excavation. True, there was bush hogging that was needed to clear out vegetation, but overall the site was in good condition from the start. The lagoon would be lined with concrete, and the major show scenes, those that occurred beyond the waterfall’s veil in the darkened depths of the oceans, would take place in a large warehouse-like show building. Here we can see what the construction of the attraction, and this corner of Fantasyland for that matter, looked like early in its life.
You can see the track, lagoon walls, and the yet to be covered by rockwork show building. The four vehicles perched on the edge of the unfilled lagoon are sitting on the spot that the queue will eventually occupy. While the reef and show scenes haven’t begun being constructed yet, you can see some of the foundational and utility work taking place in the center of the lagoon. If you look closely at the bottom left corner, you can even see one of the turrets of Cinderella Castle taking shape above the building that will be home to Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride.
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea is still one of my favorite Disney feature films, and the attraction still holds a special place in my heart. There are times when it is great to be able to live within the story of a film or attraction, and not have a desire to peak behind the curtain, or waterfall, and spoil the illusion. My love for 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea has, for whatever reason, never been held to that standard as I have sought to learn as much about it as is possible. This aerial view is simply a cool piece to gaze at and think about what the attraction would look like in just a few short years, to even try to figure out how this footprint fits into today’s New Fantasyland, and remember the times when Captain Nemo welcomed you aboard.
16 August 2016
The Jungle Book has long standing as a personal favorite Disney animated feature of mine. It is one of those films that is easy, yet inexplicably difficult, to rationalize for me. It is a movie that I always think fondly of, but never go out of my way to seek out. It is the film that, along with Robin Hood, I most closely relate to my father. This, even above Robin Hood, was the movie he would throw on when I was a child on a Saturday afternoon. He would lay on the floor and I would curl up near him, until I need more space and moved up to the couch. A nap would generally follow close behind, usually somewhere around the point when Bagheera and Baloo would have their heart to heart after escaping King Louie with their fur attached.
I have known for a long time that these type of nostalgic feelings will garner my attention when brought back up around the parks and resorts, and I’m certain that Disney knows this about all of us as well. It is the reason my wife thinks that I Wanna Be Like You follows her around Walt Disney World, a few notes of the Ballad of Davy Crockett and I’m a child back listening to someone playing the guitar at Fort Wilderness, and why we all crave those park music loops and theme park albums to listen to once we get home. It’s rare for me, however, to create new musical memories tied to Disney.
In February of last year I happened to be in Disneyland for a conference (I know, it’s a tough life). I happened to be staying in at Paradise Pier while the majority of my friends, co-workers, and other conference goers we at the Disneyland Hotel. This had happened because I had waited too long to book my room and had to board within walking distance. From here I could tell you all about the harrowing journey my friend and I had in simply getting to Anaheim or about all of the fund he and I had, and the missus and I once she arrived after the conference, taking in all things Trader Sam’s, but this is a story set down about music and The Jungle Book.
My contingent of co-workers found themselves all in the Adventure Tower of the Disneyland Hotel. Having a slight, and I do mean slight, walk each morning and my innate ability to not be able to adjust to time changes well, I would undoubtedly find myself making my way over to the their area of the resort early each morning. Most of those mornings I would pause along the pathway between the Adventure Tower and Trader Sam’s to listen to take in the flowers and scenery, and maybe catch a glimpse of rabbit or one of the Disneyland cats (I’m looking at you Ned). I would venture into the lobby and marvel at the lights, pour over every detail of the Adventureland concept art, and examine the maquettes from the Jungle Cruise with more attention than they probably get in a month of Sundays. Since I was on my own, my only real company was the generously provided background soundtrack provide by Disney.
Each loop around the resort was expertly crafted, but it was the Adventure loop that really beckoned to me time and again. In fact, it was a single piece of music that I heard several times over the course of that week that stuck with me, The Jungle Book’s Overture from George Bruns. It is music that I instantly knew, and yet found it hard to immediately place. Something about the slinkiness of the brass flute that wound through the piece like a dark, winding river or a snake meandering through the trees and tall grasses reached out and took hold of me on those mornings. It felt wild and peaceful all at the same time.
Those brief moments when I could pause and just fall in love with the world around me were a gift. Bruns’ Overture gave me a sense of calm and set me up perfectly for long days of learning and put a joy in my heart that, looking back, must have been calling to a distant memory of the lazy Saturday afternoons of watching The Jungle Book.
I make plenty of memories at Walt Disney World and Disneyland still, even when I’m on a solo trip. As a rule, however, they almost always include friends or family that I interact with on the trip. Rarely are there moments that I find on my own that I alone am the steward of. Bagheera opens up his narration of The Jungle Book with these words, “Many strange legends are told of these jungles…” It just so happens that this is my story from the jungle, and it bring me untold joy. Anytime I uncover a story within the Disney environments I love relaying them back to the people that they remind me of or to memories we may have shared together at one point in time. I’m sure we’ve all had a moment or two like that within our own Disney adventures. So, tell me, where do you find the intersection of Disney, music, and your fondest memories?
15 August 2016
The French know their food, and I don’t believe that anyone would question that. When it comes to the France pavilion in Epcot, you can sit down to a great meal, filled with classic French preparations, or grab a delicious ice cream or a world famous baked good and feel like you have fallen into a food lover’s paradise. However, what if you want something more substantial, a meal on the go, but don’t want to have a full sit down meal? Les Halles Boulangerie-Patisserie has all the pastries you could want, but the main courses tend to get forgotten.
Looking for a sandwich as part of your first jog around World Showcase? Les Halles has you covered with numerous options. Perhaps our favorite of the eight sandwiches currently offered is the Poulet au Pistou. The translation is chicken pesto, but there is so much more to this sandwich. Nestled in a personal-sized round of French bread is a chicken breast, red onions, cheese, tomato, and pesto.
Starting with the bread, I don’t believe there is a place on Walt Disney World property that does bread any better. The individual portion here is excellent and holds up incredibly well to the ingredients inside. The sandwich is then layered up with a tender breast of chicken and slices of cheese. Though not listed on the menu, this cheese had all the melty and creamy goodness of provolone. Next comes multiple slices of tomatoes, fresh and thickly sliced. Top everything off with some biting red onion slices and just the right amount of pesto, and you have one amazing sandwich.
The kick of the onion plays well off of the savory pesto and sweetness of tomatoes. The cheese not only binds the flavors of the Poulet au Pistou, but it also fights against the sandwich shuffle that usually occurs when tomatoes start to slide off of the rest of the sandwich. Everything comes together to make one perfectly balanced bite. It’s as if the French has been putting bread, meat, and cheeses together for a long, long time.
There is a saying that adorns the wall of Les Halles Boulangerie-Patisserie’s seating area, it reads, “Tout ce dont le Parisien moderne a besoin.” In English it means, everything the modern Parisian needs. When it comes to Les Halles, they have everything you need, regardless of where you hail from. The Poulet au Pistou definitely meets that standard, and is one of our favorite sandwiches to grab when we want something delicious, maybe with that French flair, and we’re on the go!