Friday, September 28, 2012

Disney Spending Big on Politics This Year

We've talked in the past about the political influence that Disney has exerted in Florida since the time that the Magic Kingdom was just a dream.  Project Future and Married to the Mouse are two of the books we've introduced which discuss Disney's lobbying of local and state lawmakers to make WDW feasible.

Of course, Disney didn't just get out of politics after the flags were raised over Cinderella's Castle.

According the Orlando Sentinel, Disney has spent almost $2.5 million on political donations.  That's twice as much as Disney spent 2 years ago, and a full six times more than in 2008.



The Sentinel points out that about 90 percent of these donations has gone to Republican candidates, but that misses the point of this blitz.  Currently, Florida legislators are considering a variety of plans to bring expanded casino gambling to the Sunshine State. 

If you think about it, it's kind of ironic.  40+ years ago, Disney came to Florida to build Walt's grand dream.  Legal hurdles mired the process, and Disney did a lot (and spent a lot) remake the rules that would make WDW a reality.  Now, a new enterprise is trying to gain a foothold.  The once agent of change has become the powerful voice of status quo.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Old Sturbridge Village

I had the chance to take my fam yesterday to Old Sturbridge Village in Sturbridge, MA.  For the uninitiated, OSV is a living history museum set up to look like an old village c. 1820.  In each of the little houses/structures, you go in and there is a live performer who explains to you how awful life would be in a New England village in the early part of the 19th century.

I'll spare you a review of the place, other than a few stray obsevations:

1.)  Thank God the Magic Kingdom is flat.  OSV is pretty hilly and it was rough on our stroller and me.
2.)  There was a little counter service place that reminded me of a dingy Colombia Harbor House.  Definitely bring your own food.
3.)  There was a lot of horse shit.  Literally.
4.)  They have their own hard ticket events complete with beer gardens.  They even do one night where they keep the village open with only candle light.

I think the place was a decent value.  An adult day pass is $24.  We got a family pass that covers two adults and kids for $90.  If you recall, we did a little exercise on the show where we looked at the per hour cost of some entertainment options.  At sub-$3/hr with a day pass, it's a pretty good value.  I'd recommend the place to those with children or if you're looking to have a pleasant walk outside.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Disney Resort Specific Merchandise Available



This article over at DIS Unplugged is a few months old, but the information in it is worth a look.

For years, Disney enthusiasts (myself included) have lamented the homogenization of merchandise across the all of WDW with the possible exception of World Showcase.  The MMOM crew also believes that once you Disney takes away a service/item/experience that you like, you are very unlikely to get it back. 

So after several years, I am really happy to see resort specific items coming back to the resort gift shops.  Frankly, it gives people a reasons to actually visit the gift shops in the first place, so it stands to be a financial win for Disney anyway, and let's not pretend that profit doesn't factor in the decision 

Now I know that a Yacht Club T-shirt priced at $19.99 is "maybe" a bit more than I would like, and yes, I am aware that I can probably just "get if from Amazon" but there is something different about getting it there and wearing it around WDW that makes it fun. 

You couple this with the return and popularity of some of the retro EPCOT T-shirts and merchandise and you almost get the feeling that Disney listens to their biggest fans.  Well, maybe not....




Monday, September 24, 2012

Episode 70 -- Die Hard with Nostalgia

John McClane taking exploring the utilidors of the Magic Kingdom with help of the Dark Side of Disney, a tip book.
This week the team discusses the big Be Our Guest news which dovetails with a discussion of tradition and notions of nostalgia with the WDW community.  The show closes with a diversion into the world of cinema.

Download Episode 70

Wine and Beer Menu at Be Our Guest

Give a listen to the episode 70 of the MMOM podcast where we discuss the addition to alcohol to the Magic Kingdom a the Be Our Guest Restaurant. 

We referenced the wine and beer menu that will be used in the episode, so here it is for your enjoyment. 

What are your thoughts on having booze in the Magic Kingdom?  What are your thoughts on the menu in general?  Let us know at show@mightymenofmouse.com

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Dutch's WDW Diet


Well, kiddies.  Dutch thinks that it's about truth time.  From the very beginning of this podcast/mission, I've known that I would need to get in a better place physically in order to do the Ultimate Magic Kingdom Touring Plan.  Unfortunately, Dutch hasn't been on point so far.

I was just a couple of lbs. over 300 hundred when we started this venture.  In the last fifteen months or so, I've ballooned up to 342lbs.  Yikes.  The biggest factor has been work and the lack of healthy options around there.  We're also +1 in the kid department which has sucked up all of my free time.  Those are just excuses though.  Mostly, I friggin love to eat.

Either way, it is time for a change.  In addition to completing the Ultimate Magic Kingdom Tour, I'd also like to be around for my kids in the future.  It's kind of a 1 and 1A situaish.  So here are my goals between now and October 2013:

1.)  Lose 100lbs.:  This sounds extreme, but it is very doable for a guy of my size.  I can usually knock 10lbs off in a week if I just abstain from Coke Zero.  I'm so big, I think it's doable.
2.)  Be able to maintain a 16-minute mile pace for one hour on the tread mill.:  This one is simple.  For our mission, I will be have to go extended distances and not get winded.  I'm basing the pace on what it would take to not get swept in the WDW Marathon.
3.)  Nail a 10-minute mile.:  This one is a looooong strech, but something to shoot for.  Due to my super structure, my max speed is about 4.5 mph.  Going at that speed makes me want to die.  This give me something real to shoot for though.
4.)  Five Days/Week:  Gym or exercise five days per week.
5.)  To keep myself interested, I've promised myself that if I can get to 280lbs, I get a three day trip out of the deal.  Woot.

I've already started about a week ago and I'm done 5lbs.  (That means my current weight is 337.  Even with family in town and a calorie surge this weekend.  I meant to post this last week, but I've been kicking it around in my head.)  Real life has interfered a bit (nagging foot issue), but I'll be hitting it hard this weekend.  I'll be posting updates bi-weekly and hope to have some news for you. 

Friday, September 14, 2012

UPDATE: NYC Approves Soda Ban

I really didn't think it would actually happen, but it looks like the ban on large-sized sodas will be law in New York.

Yesterday the NY Board of Health unanimously voted to approve this ban, which will go into effect next March.

No word yet on how this will benefit New Jersey's 7-Eleven proprietors, when everyone starts buying their soda on the western bank of the Hudson.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Westin Sunset Key Cottages in Key West, FL

Last week, my fam took a last-minute getaway to Key West.  We were lucky enough to stay on Sunset Key, a man-made island just off of Key West.  The resort, run by Westin, is accessible only by ferry.  We stayed in a two-bedroom cottage.  The hotel was fantastic and we were pleased with the service.  Here's some pics to give you a flavor. 

Table in common room

2nd Bedroom

2nd Bedroom

2nd Bedroom

2nd Bedroom

Side porch



Shared bathroom off common room

Bathroom off common room

Master Bedroom

Master Bedroom



Master Bath

Master Bath

Millie exploring "her" island

Sunset Key Beach

Beachside Palapa -- NO CHARGE!

Pool

Honey with Millie and Dutch Jr. waiting on the ferry

Walk to ferry

View from the dock



2nd Dock on Sunset Key -- There's a cruise ship coming in!

Cottage across the walk -- Big douchebags in there.

Storm Time

Zero Entry Pool

Pool and bar/restaurant area

View of Sunset Key from the ferry



Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Urban Exploring: Disney's River County



In Episode 64 of MMOM, we discussed some of the urban exploring in "The Darker Side of Disney."  There are a few videos floating around out there which highlight exploring Disney World from yesteryear.  This is of the long since abandoned River Country.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Episode 68 -- DVC Discusssion



Dutch has a last minute surprise.  He shares some of the details and a little bit of a speed bump he ran into.  Kip goes super in-depth on the realities, positive and negative, of DVC. 

Click here for Dutch's Beach Villas Post

Download Episode 68

Monday, September 10, 2012

LeFou's Brew: Gaston's Tavern Specialty Drink Revealed



Back in April we speculated as to the possible offerings at Gaston's Tavern.  We even spent some time dreaming about the possibilities about the long standing "no alcohol" rule being abolished din the Magic Kingdom.

Turns out Disney will be sticking to a non-alcoholic drink, but WILL be introducing a unique beverage (some would say to counteract the unusual obsession with ButterBeer at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter).  The LeFou's Brew, detailed over at the Disney Food Blog, introduces a frozen apple juice beverage with a hint of marshmallow served in a themed "beer" stein.

Unique to Disney World? Yes, absolutely, but as you likely read, there is an identical drink already served in Disney Land.

I would grade my excitement/approval level at a 6 out of 10. Hopefully Dutch will provide is with a taste test soon.

The Tavern will also serve cinnamon rolls.  If they come from the Main St. Bakery, I'm in!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Cars Land to WDW?

A few months back in a post about the new and very successful Cars Land in California, Kip astutely predicted that it would not be a long time before it would be coming to WDW.

Well, turns out the addition to WDW may have been sooner than we thought.

Cars Land would make a lot of sense in Hollywood Studios, it would further capitalize on a very successful franchise, and if it replaces the long-since worn out its welcome "Lights, Motor, Action Extreme Stunt Show" all the better. 

In Episode 47, we discussed the attractions, the food, the punny names and how Cars Land would be a good fit for DHS.  The only concern is that the biggest attraction "Radiator Spring Racers" is most comparable to Test Track in Epcot.  Would this mean a different headliner for Disney World, or will it be different enough to keep guests happy.

Russ Note: Episode 47 has some really great and hard to find information on Disney Premium Tours too!

Episode 67 -- You are not the first to listen this way in October 2013!


This week the boys take a look at Norway, which is most likely not Sweden.  Dutch also shares some of his ADR info and what he's looking forward to in Fantasyland Expansion.  We close out by doing a little talk about Fall 2013.  Also, feel free to check out Man vs. Clogs

Download Episode 67