10 December 2012

The Dreamport is never far away

A couple of weeks ago I opened up the Main Street Gazette to all the readers. By any means necessary, if you would send me a question, I would answer 31 of them on my 31st birthday. The questions could relate to Walt Disney World, be personal, or completely off the wall! Well, you guys and gals did not disappoint, and I am a man of my word! Here are 31 questions randomly selected from those I received.

1 - What is your favorite attraction in each of the four parks at Walt Disney World?
Magic Kingdom – Toss-up between Peter Pan’s Flight, PeopleMover, the Walt Disney World Railroad and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.
Epcot – Impressions de France.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios – Star Tours.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom – Expedition Everest.

2 - Boxers or briefs?
Neither, or both, depending how you look at it. Otherwise known as boxer-briefs.

3 - Top or bottom?
I always butter the top of my toast, buttering it on the bottom just seems silly. And let’s not be silly.

4 - Toilet paper... Over or under?
However I get it onto the spool, because it always runs out in the middle of the night when I am not very aware of what is going on around me.

5 - What is the air speed velocity of an unladen swallow?
An African or European swallow?

6 - For each park, what is your favorite detail that you feel is overlooked by most visitors?
Magic Kingdom – Names. Names are everywhere in the Magic Kingdom, and they give it a lived in quality, from the crates along the docks in Frontierland to the windows of Main Street. People feel as if they are entering an inhabited world partly because of the names everywhere, and they don’t even realize it.
Epcot – The beauty and storytelling found in the landscaping of Future World East and West.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios – The nods to episodes of The Twilight Zone that can be found around every corner in the Tower of Terror.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom – The wealth of information that Cast Members have and can share about the animals in the park’s care.

7 - Where would you enjoy your birthday cupcake in Walt Disney World and what kind of cupcake would it be?
Red Velvet Cheesecake Cupcake from Starring Rolls. If I have to eat it where I purchased it, then I would walk around the corner and grab an empty table from the Brown Derby’s patio. If I could go anywhere with it, I’d take it to Fort Wilderness and sit along the shore of Bay Lake.

8 - What does Walt Disney World look like today if the monorail covered the entire property, as envisioned in the master plan?
A whole lot closer to Walt Disney’s ideal of Progress City, U.S.A. than what we have now.

Seriously though, if monorails covered property as once planned, and I assume that the PeopleMovers would also be coming along to off-set some of the transportation needs, I think we’d see less parking lots and busses. A massive parking complex, much larger than the current Transportation and Ticket Center, would be utilized as a central hub, with stations whisking guests away to the various parks. Similarly, if each resort had a station with PeopleMovers intersecting with other resort’s PeopleMover trains, guests could easily board the car of their choice for their destination, while leaving their vehicle in the resort’s parking lot. It’s likely that both the PeopleMovers and monorails would be crowded, similar to how we find busses today, but it would allow for less road traffic in Walt Disney World.

9 - Which behind the scenes area on property is the one to experience?
The wheelhouse where they store the trains and monorails behind the Magic Kingdom. You can get a great look during The Magic Behind Our Steam Trains tour, but sometimes I just prefer to drive by early in the morning as the trains are making their way to the park.

10 - If you were restricted to attending just one of the four Walt Disney World parks for the rest of your life, which would you choose?
I wholeheartedly want to say Disney’s Animal Kingdom. I love everything about this park, and feel like its best years are still in front of it. However, if I’m only given one park for the rest of my life it would have to be the original, the Magic Kingdom.

11 - Is there one attraction that you've never experienced?
There isn’t any attraction that I have yet to experience, but there are attractions I do not frequent. Beauty and the Beast Live On Stage, The American Idol Experience, Space Mountain, Tomorrowland Speedway, O, Canada, and The Boneyard just to name a few. I don’t particularly dislike these attractions (except for the evil that is Space Mountain, and for that fear I blame my father), I just don’t find myself drawn to them on every trip.

12 - How did you and your wife meet?
We met online. We lived about an hour and a half away from one another and she was dating a guy she knew there was no future with, but it kept her from responding to my flirt/wink/whatever that little button was for over three weeks. As I am fond of saying, I cannot wait until we have kids so that I can let them know that mommy almost let daddy get away.

13 - If you were in charge of deciding which company Disney should buy next, what would it be?
Oh, how I wish I could say DC Comics, but we all know that’s not happening any time soon. My answer is LEGO. Think of all the wonderful sets that could be designed around Disney films, attractions, and park icons!

14 - What cast member costume, appropriate for your gender, would you least like to wear and why?
Morocco. I just can’t pull off the Aladdin look.

15 - What non-US Disney park would you want to visit most?
Tokyo DisneySea.

16 - How high can Tigger bounce?
Now, half this bounce is 90 percent mental If ya calculate the specific Tiggerjectory of year Stripecelleration Diviferous by the Square Boot of yer Rebounce, yer Vertical Situituation Indicator and yer Striperconic Springertia should Rica-tic-chet yer Hydraulific Fu-silly-age into an Accelerometric De-orbit!

18 - What one restaurant would you want to see replaced?
I love Sonny Eclipse, but it would be Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe. The ordering bays, plus the jumbled seating, make it a prime example of how not to run a crowded eatery in my book. There is plenty of space here to have two floors of dining and still have Sonny crooning for all, or perhaps have a second act on another level. First and foremost, however, would be to streamline the ordering and pick-up process.

19 - What is your favorite room from a Walt Disney World attraction?
The nursery in Peter Pan’s Flight. To see the shadow of the boy who never grew up soar across the room, yeah, that’s a great moment.

20 - If you were stranded on Tom Sawyer Island (or maybe that island Jack Sparrow was left on), what five non Disney books would you want to have?
In no particular order: House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski, American Gods by Neil Gaiman (I would substitute the complete Sandman if allowed), To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee, any collection of the poetry by Saigyo, and any collection of the writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson that includes the essay Nature.

21 - If you could own any piece of Disney history what would it be?
A sketch, I wouldn’t even be greedy to pick a character, by Walt Disney.

22 - If they made a movie about your life who would you want to play you and why?
George Clooney, because, well he’s George Clooney and he would make me more attractive by association.

23 - What is your favorite Pixar movie?
Time for a cheat, I would take the first ten minutes of Up and the last 30 minutes of Toy Story 3, and I would ball like a baby for the entire time.

24 - What band has had the greatest impact on you and why?
The Smashing Pumpkins. As a young writer I learned a lot about lyric/poetic composition from Billy Corgan’s songwriting, as a teenager they taught me it was okay to be angry.

25 - If you had the choice to go back to school for anything other than what you do now what would it be?
Probably engineering or architecture. I love looking at plans and schematics and would love to be able to meaningfully design my own buildings, homes, and maybe even an attraction if I were so lucky.

26 - How would you fix Tomorrowland?
The inherent problem with Tomorrowland is that as soon as you create something new, you date the land and history will soon exceed the area’s expectations. I think the right idea for Tomorrowland is to find an era of where we reached for the stars (literally and figuratively) and stick with it, much like the Vernian elements of Tokyo DisneySea’s Mysterious Island or Disneyland Paris’ Discoveryland. If Tomorrowland is to become a fully fleshed out land once again, the one thing that has to stop is the shoe-horning of characters into the area.

27 - What Imagineer is most influential to you?
Easy, George McGinnis. I’ve been singing his praises for years, but he had a hand in creating the attractions and experiences that inspired me as a child and young adult. There are so many wonderful stories, and he is such a genuine individual, that I would love to tell more of his tales and strive to be more like him.

28 - Where is your favorite non-Disney place to visit?
The West. The gorgeous landscapes, the remnants of other civilizations, and the incredible amounts of history just draw me in.

29 - What was the most important day in your life?
The day I met my wife (see Question 12 above), she changed everything in the most positive way possible.

30 - What is your favorite historical tidbit that you’ve learned since starting the Main Street Gazette?
I can’t say that there is one tidbit, the joy for me comes from filling in the little corners and gaps I have in my own knowledge about Walt Disney World and then being able to share as much of that with all of you as I can.

31 - If The Walt Disney Company let you create your dream job, what would it be?
I would love to be a resident reporter for the company, particularly as it relates to Walt Disney World. In this capacity, I’d write for twenty-three, the Disney Parks Blog, Eyes & Ears, and any number of other publications about the history, new experiences, and every day magic that happens around the Vacation Kingdom.

I really rambled on there for a while, didn't I? Well, thank you, one and all, for making this such a fun way to spend a little time with you on my 31st birthday! I hope you had as much fun asking the questions and reading the answers as I did answering them!


Debbie V. said...

My 31st birthday has gone with the wind - thank you so much for sharing yours. I love your blog btw, can't remember if I mentioned that :)

Dan said...

I'm so with you on #8. I know the claim is that the it's too cost-prohibitive to do the monorails, but I'd take anything at this point. My thought is that they could try it incrementally and do a people-mover in a few places as a trial run. I expect it would be loved by guests put less pressure on the bus system in that area. How could guests not like that system? The problem is that Disney messed this up in the '80s and '90s, and the current regime isn't willing to spend the money to fix it.

Mini-V said...

Thanks for allowing us to ply you with silly and thought provoking questions for your birthday. I enjoyed sharing your day with you last year, and hope you have many more wonderful years ahead.

Scott said...

One of my few claims to fame: I jammed with Jimmy Chamberlin (the Pumpkins' drummer) when he was about 13 and I was maybe 18 or 19. His brother Paul (also a drummer)was doing a gig with us and Jimmy came to our rehearsal and sat in with us on a few Zeppelin songs. He was a great drummer even then.

Happy birthday!

Rich T. said...

This was a lot of fun -- please do another round next year! And Disney buying Lego would, indeed, be awesome.
Happy Birthday!