26 June 2014

Amazing Juggling Unicycles

Sometimes luggage around Walt Disney World belongs to some famous characters, and sometimes the luggage is actually the home of a popular character. Case in point, take some time venture on around towards the exit of the Walt Disney World Railroad’s Fantasyland station. Here, you’ll find all types of luggage belonging to all manner of Fantasyland inhabitants. The case we want to look at today, however, comes to us from Eben’s Bikes.

Billed as Red’s “Amazing Juggling” Unicycles, this case is packed up and ready to go. In fact, it even says that they unicycles inside are circus grade and performance ready. Of course, if you know Red, you know that he’s always ready! Red actually comes from the 1987 Pixar short, Red’s Dream. In the animated short, Red is a lonely unicycle that lives in, you guessed it, Eben’s Bikes. It’s a rainy night, and the little unicycle dreams of joining a clown act in the circus. He doesn’t just believe he’ll be the means of transportation for the juggling clown though, oh no, Red believes he can steal the show by juggling himself! After bouncing a trio of balls between his pedals, his daydream comes to an end as he realizes that he is simply taking a bow for the other bikes in the shop, and he isn’t even holding any juggling balls.

A quick aside, just as Red’s suitcase seems too good not to be a gag, Eben’s Bikes just seems like a perfect place to throw in a nod itself, doesn’t it? As it turns out Eben’s Bikes, both in the short and on the luggage, refers to Pixar animator, visual effects, and technical director, Eben Ostby.

Now, the short may have a sad ending for our dear friend Red, but fear not. For, as the location of his traveling case tells us, he’s finally made it to the circus. In fact, it’s the greatest show of them all, the Storybook Circus! I hope his suitcase is plush enough for him in there…

23 June 2014

Can't Even Make a Squeak

Often times we talk about the little details that make Walt Disney World special. That generally has us examining a name on a crate, a book on a shelf, or an artifact embedded in the pavement. However, today, that means looking at a very tiny creature. This is a dusky seaside sparrow hanging out in the Vacation Kingdom.

It looks like a lot of little birds that many of us see flittering around in our yards every day, but there is something special about this sparrow. As it turns out, the dusky seaside sparrows were native only to South Florida, specifically around Merritt Island and the St. John’s River. Between the flooding of Merritt Island to reduce the mosquito population around Kennedy Space Center and the drainage of the St. John’s River to enable highway construction, the sparrow’s nesting grounds were all but decimated. The last female of the dusky seaside sparrows could not be found beyond 1975 and by 1979 only six males were left in existence.

Now, you’re probably asking what any of this has to do with Walt Disney World? Here’s where the story takes a Disney twist. In 1979 five of the remaining dusky seaside sparrows were caught and brought to Discovery Island in the middle of Bay Lake. Though extremely slim, hopes were that by keeping the five remaining males in captivity, repopulation could be possible should a female sparrow ever be located. Sadly, the five remaining dusky seaside sparrows passed away while on the island and the species became extinct.

The last of the dusky seaside sparrows was named Orange Band and, even though he was blind in one eye, he managed to share his story with guests of Discovery Island until June 17, 1987. It is a sad end to a native Floridian bird, but an important story that is played out again and again in the lives of the creatures that inhabit the resort and Disney’s Animal Kingdom, including the tribute central land of Discovery Island.

20 June 2014

Hoop Dee Doin' It Tonight

Tomorrow is officially the first day of summer! Although, if your weather is anything like the weather we’ve had around here it’s felt like summer for the past month or so… Summer means that it is time for barbeques. While we are big fans of the rub and sauce from Flame Tree Barbecue, we thought we’d venture back to some of Walt Disney World’s earliest recipes and one of the first on property barbeque sauces we tried as a child.

Pioneer Hall, and all the restaurants contained within its walls, are known for their fried chicken, cornbread, and hearty fixin's. What often times gets overlooked its the Hall's ability to do barbeque. So, without further ado, ladies and gentlemen, I give you Fort Wilderness’ Pioneer Barbecue Sauce!


2 Cups Ketchup
1 Cup Tomato Puree
1 Cup Cider Vinegar
1/2 Cup Vegetable Oil
1/2 Cup Sugar
1/3 Cup Sherry Wine
1/3 Cup Water
2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
3 Teaspoons Cornstarch
2 Teaspoons Liquid Smoke
2 Teaspoons Salt
2 Teaspoons Dry Mustard
1 Teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
1 Teaspoon BBQ Seasoning
1 Clove Garlic (Finely Chopped)


Combine all ingredients except cornstarch and water in a saucepan.
Bring to a boil.
Dissolve cornstarch in water and stir into sauce.
Let cook until thickened, stirring constantly.
Let sauce cool.
Sauce can be used to barbecue chicken, beef or pork.
Refrigerate any unused portion.

What are you waiting for, let’s get cookin’!

11 June 2014

These Are a Few of Your Faces

Once upon a time, in the early years of the Main Street Gazette, we would look for just about any reason to crossover with another Disney related site. Mostly this was because there were so many wonderful writers to collaborate with, but also because, in my mind, we should always be working towards building community. Time went on and sites came and went, sites had other work that needed to be done, and even we here at the Gazette reorganized our thoughts and beliefs. However, I have never wanted to wander away from that community feeling that we strived to find early on! So, when Estelle and Melissa, from This Happy Place Blog and Mouse on the Mind respectively, reminded me that they were relaunching Kill, Marry, Refurb for the summer, well, how could I refuse?!?!

For those of you not in the know, Kill, Marry, Refurb is based upon a game of a similar name, though the switch to ‘Refurb’ here is appropriate and, shall we say, more family friendly. The gist is that you have a given topic and you have to choose one item in the category to Kill, one to Marry, and one to Refurb. Sounds pretty simple right? For this edition, Estelle and Melissa decided to explore Epcot Pre-Shows. There’s a lot to work with, so let’s see what we came up with!

Kill – Ellen’s Energy Adventure

Could I have gone with a ride that doesn’t even have a pre-show, just a set of switchbacks in a queue with minimal to no theme? Sure, but as much as I love Ellen, Alex, and Bill, I simply cannot help but remember what used to be. The original pre-show, directed by Emil Radok, featured 100 individual screen that could change what facet was being viewed like a prism. It also had a catchy song with Energy (You Make the World Go ‘Round). Now, I’m not suggesting that the original pre-show be brought back, but something in that vein would be appreciated. The current show feels dated by a pair of decades and is more likely to prompt jeers and snickers than to inspire anyone to engage in the science of energy. 

Marry – Circle of Life: An Environmental Fable

Stick with me on this one for a minute. I’m not talking about the movie itself. That should probably be tossed in a burn bin and reshot from the ground up. No, I’m talking about the pre-show. You know, that area with carpeted walls and a few benches. Why on earth would I want to keep that around forever? The carpet walls! The green and golden walls show seed pods being blown on the wind and young plants taking root, and I have loved them  ever since I was a child! Apparently in the 1980s, we believed that in the future (i.e. now) carpeted walls would be everywhere. They certainly were everywhere at EPCOT Center. I can’t really explain my fascination with those walls, but if they were ever to go away, I would cry when they were removed and beg and plead with Disney to be given a section of the wall.

Refurb – Maelstrom

You are not the first to pass this way, nor shall you be the last to be bored. For all that Maelstrom is and could be there is very little in this queue to awe or stir curiosity about this country. Heck, even a couple of other murals with hidden trolls and a question at the beginning of the queue of ‘How many trolls can you find?’ would be better than what we have now. Norse gods in figurine or mask form could interact with guests in the same way the armors at Be Our Guest or the props of the Adventurers Club have in the past. The possibilities to inject life into the pre-show of this culture rich attraction are endless and wouldn’t require Walt Disney World to break the bank.

The real question is, what pre-shows would you Kill, Marry, or Refurb?

10 June 2014

Adventure-Bound Family

This one goes out to George Taylor of Imaginerding. He is the keeper of the watercraft known as Bob-A-Round Boats, and it has taken me years to find my own piece of the puzzle for these mythical boats.

For those not in the know, Bob-A-Round Boats could be found on the Seven Seas Lagoon and Bay Lake during the early days of Walt Disney World. According to George, they were likely retired somewhere around 1978. They were colorful, circular boats with a canopy and an electric outboard motor that you could use to tour Walt Disney World from the water. The rental fee was $4.00 for a half hour and $8.00 for an hour, though I imagine it would have taken half an hour just to figure out how to maneuver these wibbly-wobbly boats. Oh, and did I mention that they each Bob-A-Round also had their own stereo system onboard.

The new piece that this wonderful press photo from the Polynesian Village’s Papeete Bay in 1972 offers us is that the Bob-A-Round Boats were spacious enough for, as they phrased it back then, “a picnic at sea.” Now, and this is just my two cents, the Aqua-Homes and larger motor craft? Sure I can see having lunch on the lagoon with some of those. However, in a boat that is self-proclaimed to bob about, I’m not sure that’s the best place to be trying to eat or hold food down!

No matter the use, the Bob-A-Rounds have an indelible place in the history of Walt Disney World and its recreational opportunities. Even if its taken George’s one man crusade to get them there!