07 December 2013
03 December 2013
It’s 1997 and you have over three hundred Imagineers and various consultants working on the construction of a park, in this case Disney’s Animal Kingdom, what’s the best thing to do? According to vice president of Project Management, Jack Blitch, you make them stop working and take filed trips!
During the height of construction, when tempers are hot, sleep is non-existent, and the potential for burn-out is high, Blitch decided to try something new in order to maintain team composure. He created mandatory field trips to central Florida destinations. In particular he had the teams visit, in groups of around 50 at a time, animal exhibits throughout Florida. Included in the destinations were Busch Gardens, Silver Springs, Lowery Park Zoo, and Gatorland. As a native of the area, these are some of the first places I got glimpses of wild animals myself!
These trips were so crucial to the success of Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and keeping staff mentally healthy and happy, that anyone not wanting to go on the field trips because they were too busy had to actually call Blitch personally to request not going so they could keep working. It should go without saying not many of these requests were filled when these trips kept spirits so high!
02 December 2013
My birthday is next week, and last year we played a game here on the Main Street Gazette for it. The game allowed you, the readers, to ask me any question you wanted to, Disney, personal, or otherwise, and I would answer them. The caveat was that combine you all had to ask me a total of 31 questions, as that was how old I was turning that year.
The game turned out to be such a hit that I kept it going throughout the year as our regular Twitter game, Disney Post-It. If you played along with us, you’ve noticed the game has been delayed for the past few months. We’re going to be starting it again soon, but let’s use the birthday questionnaire as a kick off again!
So, here’s the deal. You can tweet (@mainstgazette) or email (email@example.com) me questions between now and Saturday, December 7, 2013. If I get 32 questions I will answer them all on the site next Monday. If I do not get 32 questions, I will run another perspective piece of my choosing, and the answers to your burning questions will remain a mystery! If I get over 32 questions, I will let the missus pick the 32 questions she thinks I should answer. Oh, you can ask several questions, this is not a one person, one question type of game.
Want some ideas of fun, thought provoking, or embarrassing questions you could ask? Take a gander at last year’s article!
Forgive this article this morning, it’s more personal than Disney, but it is something I felt like shouting from the rooftops.
Several years ago, when I and the Gazette were just a fledging entity in the online Disney community, I made some incredible friends. Many of these friends, no matter where we are scattered around the world, will be near and dear to my heart until the day I die. A lot of these friends came from group meals that happened on the fly and introduced this introvert to many new faces. Two of those faces happened to be Andy Jackson and Bonnie Gray Smith.
In just a few days, Bonnie and Andy will be getting married and then sail off into the sunset to start a whole new life. I have been blessed to be able to watch the pair go from being friends to beginning a relationship that would blossom into so much more, and I don’t know how I could be any happier for a couple to have found one another.
Andy and Bonnie have always been there for me and my wife, Aileen, and I don’t know that they even know how much they mean to us. We have run races together, found new old haunts together, peaked over construction walls together, and shared more than few magical moments with one another. Whenever I make the trip south to Florida, Andy is always one of the first people I reach out to, because a trip home is never complete without having a meal and a cocktail with Bonnie and him. And I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that Andy has gently steered me into the perfect entrée or beverage on more than one occasion!
It breaks my heart that I will not be present at the ceremony later this week, but I am there in spirit. The fact that I have been able to witness their love grow in person has been one of the greatest gifts I’ve been granted in my life, and I can only imagine what the future holds for them both. What I do know is that it will be filled with laughter and magic!
Congratulations Bonnie and Andy!
01 December 2013
This Week – On the Main Street Gazette
We asked how many of you wanted to be a part of the Main Street Gazette as a guest columnist or contributor to Disney This Week.
The music of Horizons can change your life if you take its message to heart!
Barefoot Bay Marina, and its abundant watercraft, are as fun today as they were yesterday.
The missus took a bite out of Captain Cook's Chocolate Beer Cupcake.
We went in search of the heroic horse, Maximus.
Silent Saturday took note of the shipwrecked Albatross.
This Week – Around the Disney Blogosphere
Estelle Hallick talks about the time The Julie Andrews Hour went Disney on This Happy Place Blog.
Terrific Disney food magnets are on the fridge of The Disney Food Blog and AJ Wolfe.
Melissa Sue Sorrells Galley explores the newest Disney swag to hit mailboxes for Mouse on the Mind.
It may seem like an annual tradition, but looking at the Grand Floridian Gingerbread House, this year from Eating WDW and Sarah Holodick, is always special to me!
Safari Mike reminds readers at Jambo Everyone of why it’s great to volunteer for Flights of Wonder.
This Week – World News Roundtable
The holiday this week also made for a slow news week, but Blake Taylor sums it all up nicely!
Roundtable Contributors: Blake Taylor (BlakeOnline.com).
No News in Good News
Blake Taylor (BlakeOnline.com)
In terms of breaking, earth-shattering news and announcements, this week is a little slow. In terms of setting a course for what I believe to be future Disney history in the making, this past week was a game-changer. We had a fairytale musical film playing to sold-out theaters across the nation, a new Mickey Mouse short accompanying it, and a primetime Muppets television special. (Regardless of your opinion on that latter item, as it was a bit cringe-worthy at times, it's neat to see the Muppets in the public eye.) This is a big moment for Disney. Their franchises and studios all seem to be exactly where they need to be for optimal impact. And we get to soak in all the magic that comes with it.
30 November 2013
28 November 2013
I talk a lot, and I know it is a lot, about pavements in and around Walt Disney World. We’ve explored the difference between the original flat walkways of the Magic Kingdom and the storytelling emphasis that has been placed on the ground beneath guests’ feet. Tire treads, peanut shells, and animal prints are just some of the ways that Imagineers have come up with to use the pathways to help sell the story. Now, they’ve even gone and one-upped themselves, or should I say they’ve taken another step forward in their story telling?
No longer are the prints of horseshoes enough to tell the story of the bygone days of America, or how the circus carts arrived in Storybook Circus. Of course, these prints do belong to a pretty spectacular horse. These prints were made by none other than Maximus, the Captain of the Guard’s horse from Tangled. Arguably, one of the film’s main stars, who steals the show without ever actually speaking a word, though his neighs and snorts do help him get his point across.
I’m sure it is obvious by now, but Maximus’ horseshoe prints can be found near the Snuggly Duckling restrooms on the border between Fantasyland and Liberty Square. While it is completely clear as to why he would be trotting around these parts, and a case could be made that attentive guests could puzzle out who’s prints these are without the name placed in the horseshoe, the addition of the name makes the story very clear to each and every guests who takes the time to look beneath their own hooves, err…, feet.
27 November 2013
When we look at food on Wednesdays here at the Main Street Gazette (and let’s be honest, it’s the one weekly article I know you all are chomping at the bit for every week), we often focus on desserts and occasionally talk about adult beverages. Well, it’s high time these two concepts found a place to meet, and that is precisely what Aileen Sheehan-Wilson found in the Chocolate Beer Cupcake. Although this may be a case of being careful what you wish for…
Hello Main Street Gazette readers. Today we are leaving the parks to explore a dessert at Captain Cook’s in the Polynesian. I think this particular quick service restaurant is one of the best on property and I am always excited to try the unique menu items you can find there. So when I heard about the chocolate beer cupcake, which combines two of my favorite things, I knew I had to make a stop to try it out.
The cupcake itself is quite pretty. It has a chocolate cake base, glossy buttercream frosting and is topped with 3 chocolate covered pretzels (as a nod to beer and pretzels). I spoke with one of the bakers and they use Kona Brewing Company’s Pipeline Porter in both the cake and in the frosting. The porter is Kona’s darkest beer and uses 100% Kona coffee beans in the brewing process for the porter. This actually excited me quite a bit since this is my favorite of their beers and I thought it would add great flavor to the dessert. Unfortunately, I was extremely disappointed. I love beer and I love cupcakes but I felt like this one fell flat. The cake itself was ok but honestly just tasted like slightly dry chocolate cake. The frosting had an amazing texture that would have been enjoyable but it tasted overwhelmingly of beer, and not in a good way. I thought the one saving grace would be the chocolate covered pretzels (one of my favorite snacks) but they were stale and far from satisfying.
So, what is the final verdict? I would not order this cupcake again. I have had amazing versions of this sweet outside of Walt Disney World but sadly the chocolate beer cupcake at Captain Cook’s was missing the depth of flavor needed to combine beer with dessert and in the end just tasted like cake and frosting with beer that had been added as an afterthought. My advice; try one of the other amazing cupcakes Captain Cook’s offers and drink a beer with your dinner. You will be much happier you did.