Posts Tagged ‘Disney’

Queen of Ice – A Frozen Story

April 20, 2023

Arendelle was once again in mourning. The kingdom had collectively mourned when the king and queen had died at sea, never to return. That period of mourning seemed to stretch on forever as Queen Elsa and Princess Ana stayed cloistered inside of the palace. Neither ever appeared and instead ruled by proxy. Everybody was overjoyed when the gates finally opened again for Queen Elsa’s coronation but that was shortlived. The reveal that Queen Elsa was an ice witch had been startling and had caused chaos within Arendelle. It was then that a false winter came and froze the kingdom, threatening to kill the citizens and visiting dignitaries. Princess Ana had sought to calm her sister and save Arendelle while the visiting Prince Hans tried to enact a coup. In the end, Ana died and Queen Elsa had executed Hans on the spot.

Kristoff arrived at the palace late in the afternoon. It was the usual time when the Queen held court and would accept an audience with commoners. However, few people ever voluntarily went to the palace. They were all afraid and rightfully so. Kristoff paused as he looked up at the grand doors. He shivered and it only partly had to do with the cold. He looked at Sven and the reindeer looked back plaintively.

“I have to go in, buddy,” Kristoff said. “I know it’s dangerous but I’ll regret not trying.”

Sven kept looking at him. As usual, Kristoff spoke for Sven, aware that he was actually voicing his own inner thoughts. “But Kristoff, I don’t want to lose you,” the reindeer did not say.

“I know, buddy,” Kristoff said.

“You only knew her for two days,” Sven did not say.

“But she made an impression,” Kristoff said. “She had an indomitable spirit.”

“That’s a big word,” Sven did not say.

“Thank you, I try to educate myself,” Kristoff said. “Stay here, Sven. I’ll be back.”

Sven snorted as if to say ‘you had better’.

Kristoff walked up to the doors and looked at the two giant spiky snowmen guarding the door. They looked a lot like the abominable snowman that had chased Kristoff and Ana off of the mountain when they had first tried to confront Queen Elsa in her gigantic ice palace. The things were terrifying and Kristoff tried to remain calm. He was allowed to be here. At least he thought he was. At any point, Queen Elsa could change her mind about this being the appointed time for an audience and punish him. If that was how he went out, that would be it then. He was tired of being afraid.

“Let me pass,” Kristoff said. “I’m here to see the Queen.”

The snowmen looked at each other and then gestured at Kristoff. They had no gift for speech and their intelligence seemed to be limited. After a few moments, Kristoff got the gist of what they wanted. He opened his coat to show that he was carrying no weapons. Queen Elsa must have been nervous about assassination attempts since Prince Hans. Kristoff had heard that the Duke of Weselton had attempted a desperate assault as well but had died horribly. That was the rumor, at least. The snowmen seemed satisfied yet wary but they reached and opened the heavy doors up. Kristoff stepped inside.

It was even colder inside. It was perpetually winter outside of the palace but it had lessened somewhat into an oppressive reality. People were hungry but somehow the people of Arendelle struggled onwards. The command was for trade to continue with other lands and that meant that Kristoff was still employed transporting ice. There was always plenty of ice. Kristoff walked into the throne room and he was immediately struck by the tragic image of Princess Ana. An ignorant person might think that it was an ice statue but Kristoff knew that it was actually the body of Princess Ana frozen solid. She had been overcome by a curse inflicted by her own sister.

“Step forward,” Queen Elsa said. “Acknowledge your Queen.” Elsa’s gaze was stern and emotionless. Her face gave away no emotion and Kristoff was immediately on guard.

Kristoff stepped forward as commanded and fell to his knees and bowed so his forehead nearly touched the frozen floor. “I acknowledge you, Queen Elsa,” he said. “I appear before you humble and contrite.”

“Kristoff,” Elsa said with sudden apprehension as if she had not recognized him at first. “What are you doing here? What is your business here?”

Kristoff fought not to shiver as he looked up at Queen of Arendelle. “I came here to try and talk to you about ending the winter, my Queen,” he said.

“Because you were nice to my sister during her life, I will hear you,” Queen Elsa said. “However, you are bordering on impertinence.”

Kristoff’s gaze flitted briefly over to look at Ana but then he looked back at Elsa. “I did know your sister,” he said. “It was brief but she made an impression. I went up the mountain with her to stop the endless winter. She wanted the people of Arendelle to be safe again. Please consider at least lessening the cold so that the people can serve you better.”

“I am not concerned by how well they serve me,” Queen Elsa said. “I am concerned by how well they obey me. I want the people to fear me.”

“The people want to love you,” Kristoff said.

“On second thought,” Queen Elsa said. “You were not kind to my sister. My sister was naive and she latched on to a terrorist. Then she met you and you pushed her into an adventure that would end in her death.” She caught Kristoff starting to look over at Ana. “Don’t look at her!” she yelled. “You don’t deserve to look at her.”

“I’m sorry,” Kristoff said. “It’s just that those who don’t starve are fleeing the kingdom.”

“I don’t care,” Queen Elsa said. “Arendelle is mine and I will kill it if I want to. There is nothing here left to protect. Now get out of my sight and never return. I gift you your life, take it and go.”

Kristoff nodded and bowed again and then left without a word. He would soon leave Arendelle along with his adoptive troll family.


During the Blip – An MCU Story

April 5, 2023

James Rhodes finished up with the riot and blasted off. He had outfitted his armor with less lethal ammunition and tech. The rioters were not truly bad people but they needed to be stopped before they caused themselves and others harm. Eventually, Damage Control had arrived to clean things up so Rhodey took his leave. He navigated his War Machine armor toward Avenger’s Compound, setting a navigation beacon and putting the armor into autopilot. He needed at least a moment to breathe. 

It was only eight weeks since the snap and things were not letting up. As infrastructure struggled to regain a new normal, criminals were coming out of the woodwork looking for a quick score. On top of that, restless and frightened citizens were taking to the street and the slightest match could set off that powder keg. The Avengers were stretched thin. Banner still couldn’t Hulk out. Tony was brooding in his lab. Nebula, Carol, and Rocket were in space somewhere. Thor had gone dark, leaving Valkyrie to take care of the Asgardians.

“I’m coming back in, Happy,” Rhodey said into the comm systems. “The riot has been suppressed as much as I hated to do it.”

“It’s the right thing to do,” Happy Hogan said. “War Machine’s weapons will trap and subdue. Cops might give a rioter lasting damage with tear gas or a baton.”

“It still doesn’t feel good,” Rhodey said.

“Nothing feels good, man,” Happy said. “Not anymore. I miss Tony’s jokes.”

“I never thought I’d say it but me too,” Rhodey said. “Tony will get it together. He has to.”

“I’ll let Romanoff know that she doesn’t have to worry about that riot anymore,” Happy said. “I wish I could be out there with you. I keep texting Tony to make me some armor.”

“Tony didn’t even want me to have my armor,” Rhodey said. “After Stane and Vanko, he’s not about to go handing out new armor.”

“He gave one to the kid,” Happy said but then regretted it. “Yeah, I guess that’s not really a good example. Poor Pete.” 

“Yeah,” Rhodey said. “We’re kind of on our own here.”

“Well, not exactly alone,” Happy said. “There are still Avengers. But actually, that does bring up some bad news.”

“Because that’s what I want to hear right now,” Rhodey said. “More bad news, huh?”

“Barton’s gone,” Happy said, ripping off the bandage. “He packed his bags in the night and he’s just gone.”

“I have a feeling that he could be a problem,” Rhodey said. “We need to track him. I’ll talk to Natasha about it.” Rhodey had read Barton’s service record. He was used to being a loner as a sniper. Of course, he had always had a family to go home to after everything went down. The isolation he was going through could not be healthy. Now he was cutting himself off. That set off all sorts of alarms in Rhody’s head.

“She and him have history,” Happy said. “She might not make the best decision there.”

“Yeah maybe,” Rhodey said. “But she deserves to make that decision. We all get a vote but she’s been in charge lately.”

“Welcome mat is out,” Happy said. “Come on in.”

The skylight opened and the War Machine armor slowly descended into the Compound and into a landing bay specifically designed for Tony and Rhodey’s armors. When he was safely on the ground, the back of the War Machine armor opened up and Rhodey stepped backward out of it. His leg braces were engaged and he was able to walk after a moment. It was always an adjustment getting out of the armor. Happy came up and offered him a bottle of water.

“Thank you, Happy,” Rhodey said as he took the bottle and downed half of it in two gulps.

“It’s not the greatest deal,” Happy said. “Tony has FRIDAY and you’ve got me.”

“You’re a good partner, Happy,” Rhodey said. “But it would be good to have an AI presence so we could both divide our attention a little better.”

“Probably,” Happy said. “Um, there is someone here to meet with you.” 

“Who would be here to meet with me?” Rhodey asked. 

“My name is Okoye,” Okoye said. “General and leader of the Dora Millaje of Wakanda.”

“She wouldn’t stop staring at me until you got here,” Happy said nervously.

“Silence, colonizer,” Okoye said with the slightest of smirks. She obviously enjoyed unnerving Happy.

“Let’s take this to the dining hall,” Rhodey said. “Happy, get some rest. It will be a bit until I get back out there and I need to catch at least a nap. After I meet with our friend here.”

Rhodey led the way through the compound and Okoye followed.

“Are we friends?” Okoye asked.

“The Wakandan armed forces fought alongside the Avengers against Thanos,” Rhodey said. “I like to think that means we can be friends. Hell, I’ve got a soft spot in my heart for Wakanda.”

“King T’Challa spoke fondly of you, James Rhodes,” Okoye said. “Which is why I came here for your help.”

“My help?” Rhodey asked. “I’ve already got my hands full here in America.”

“My people are facing a threat that threatens our way of life,” Okoye said. “Our chief technologist is gone. Our king and protector are gone. Our forces are depleted.”

“What has your people so scared?” Rhodey asked.

“I don’t get scared,” Okoye said with a sneer. “But I am concerned. Somebody has discovered and is utilizing the technology of Ulysses Klaue. This time the technology is more powerful. We repelled their advances but I have doubts that we can do so again. Nakia and M’Baku are back in Wakanda but I must rejoin them. I journeyed here to search for outside aid. I do not ask lightly.”

“No, I got that read off of you,” Rhodey said. “I respect that. It’s hard to ask for help sometimes. It’s easier to be proud. I think I can spare some time in honor of T’Challa.”

“I have a craft parked not far from here,” Okoye said. “We must make haste.”

“Lead the way,” Rhodey said. “I’ll fill in Natasha on the way.”

Poor Unfortunate Souls: Endgame Pt. 13

March 25, 2023

They had all gotten some sleep that night after a good dinner but they had gotten up fairly early. They all had things to get back to. They gathered in the grand room that they had used for portaling. It was so nice to see everybody so happy and relaxed after all of that trouble and strife. Couples were happily close to each other and everybody was eager to return home. Enchantress had disappeared in the night but everybody was fine with that. They would all know how to alert each other if she started to cause problems. Belle hoped the troublesome fairy had given up her more wicked ways. She could deal with a little chaos but the cursing was over the line.

“Can I just say something before we all start going home?” Belle said. 

“Of course,” Anna said. “If not for your leadership, we wouldn’t have stopped the end of our worlds.”

Belle blushed slightly. “We’ve all learned a lot,” she said. “I don’t want to go home and never see each other again. We have such a great opportunity to learn more by visiting each other.”

“Definitely,” Aladdin said. “I’m always up for learning new things and I’ve been amazed by what I’ve seen so far. I can only imagine what whole new worlds can hold.”

“Then are we agreed?” Anna said. “This isn’t over and we can visit each other in the future. The worlds are united from now on.”

“Show of hands?” Esmerelda asked. “That’s the fairest way to decide, right?”

“Sounds fair to me,” Eugene said. “Let’s see those hands people. We don’t have anything to be afraid of, right?”

Everybody raised their hand and they all smiled. They really had developed a fellowship of trust during their battles. They trusted each other with their lives and it showed. They had all been forged tough by adversity but this adventure had done so much more. They would never forget each other.

“We should check with the people of our worlds, of course,” Tiana said. “We don’t speak for all of the people. We’re just a handful of the people involved.”

“Right,” Merrida said. “And we need to make sure that evil people don’t take advantage.”

“But the good thing is that if one of us has a problem, we can all jump in to help out,” Naveen said. “I feel like we’ve proved how well we work together.”

“Agreed,” Jasmine said. “I have many things to settle here and I am sure you all must check on your worlds. There has been a lot of chaos. In the meantime, we will keep the three witches imprisoned here outside of Agrabah until we decide we have another solution. They built this prison, we might as well use it.”

“But they just might surprise us and redeem themselves,” Aladdin said. “It happens.”

“It does,” Elsa said.

“I won’t hold my breath,” Esmerelda said. “But we can hope, I guess.”

“Are you sure you guys can handle things?” Tiana asked. “No offense but they are more than a handful and dark magic can be real trouble.”

“We have the fairies here, at least for now,” Jasmine said. “We also have Genie. We have more than enough power in our corner.”

“Yeah, last time they took us by surprise,” Aladdin said. “Now we know more of what to expect.”

“Well, I guess that’s it for now,” Adam said. “Let’s all go home. We deserve it.”

“Until next time!” Rapunzel said with a big grin.

They all started opening their portals to return home. There was a lot to inspect back home but they all had a feeling that the worst was behind them. They were excited to see their friends and family but many of them were already making plans to visit other worlds. Things really would not be the same ever again.


Poor Unfortunate Souls: Endgame Pt. 12

March 18, 2023

When Chernabog and the smoke dissipated, the team up on the mountain climbed back down carefully. There were plenty of cuts and bruises but miraculously, everybody had escaped grievous bodily injury. In fact, the worst injuries were Belle’s burned and cut hands from digging through the rubble. Rapunzel wrapped Belle’s hands with her long blonde hair and, in a few moments, the wounds started to heal. Belle sighed in relief as the pain started to subside. The long ordeal was over. At least, it was almost over. She looked around and saw all of her new friends recovering from the battle. Grimhilde was cowering on the ground.

“We offered you an easy way out but you chose to fight and you lost,” Jasmine said to Grimhilde. Her stern, authoritative tone sure came from growing up as royalty that cared about their people.

“And now you can kill me,” Grimhilde said. “Go ahead. I’ve been dead before.”

Aurora silently walked up and held her sword just under Grimhilde’s chin. Grimhilde shut her eyes.

Everybody looked at each other and they all shared a very similar feeling. Jasmine shook her head. “Even after all that, we would not kill a defenseless person.”

“We’re better than that because we have to be,” Adam said.

“But we’re still going to throw you in prison,” Aladdin said.

“Maybe you’ll rethink things in your cell,” Tiana said. “We can only hope.”

“But let’s make you a little easier to transport,” Elsa said. She gestured and they all watched as ice crystals slowly formed on Grimhilde who started to panic a bit. They stayed clear as the villain’s movements slowed and she froze over.

“I’ve got her,” Adam said. He reached down and carefully picked Grimhilde up. They all started to walk back to where the portal had opened up when it brought them there. There was no portal.

“Where is the portal?” Merrida asked. “I know it was right here. I don’t forget a step I’ve made.”

“No, you’re right,” Aladdin said. “It was right here. They must have closed it to try and keep Grimhilde and her armies here. In case we failed, I guess.”

“That’s fair,” Eugene said. “But we didn’t die so how do we get home?”

Belle held up her spell book and called out. “Hear me fairies!” she shouted. “Open the gate and let us through!”

The air in front of them shimmered and then the swirling portal opened. They hurried through. Adam made a beeline toward the cells to get Grimhilde stowed away before she thawed. Anna and Elsa followed behind as support.

“So formal,” Enchantress said with a smirk. “Did you think we were going to strand you?”

“I thought you might,” Belle said. “But the others would stop you.”

“Do you think I can’t take those lightweights?” Enchantress asked.

Belle smirked. “I notice you’re not saying that so loudly with Godmother so close,” she said, looking directly into Enchantress’ eyes. Enchantress glanced over her shoulder to see that Godmother was not there. In fact, she was clear on the other side of the grand room. “Made you look.”

Enchantress laughed. “I know when I’ve been beaten,” she said. “But I really have turned over a new leaf. Mostly. At least I won’t darken your doorstep anymore.”

“I hope you’re telling the truth,” Belle said. “After all, I have the means to protect myself. Adam and I won’t be such pushovers next time.”

“No you won’t,” Enchantress said. “Things have changed. The worlds are more connected than ever now.”

“What does that mean?” Belle asked.

“Once the veils between worlds were thick,” Enchantress said. “All of this travel has thinned things out. Travel is easier now and things will never be the same.”

“Maybe we can make that a good thing,” Belle said.

Poor Unfortunate Souls: Endgame Pt. 11

March 11, 2023

The remains of the makeshift magical kitchen that Tiana had been working in were on fire and the rest of it had been scattered across the field of battle by the explosion. As everybody ran in that direction, Grimhilde attacked. One of her attacks lanced through Aladdin’s shoulder and the group was forced to turn back around to continue the assault. Things were disorganized and desperate now but also fueled by the renewed passion of revenge. The heroes attacked with that fury and quickly turned the balance of the battle. This would not hold, though. Nobody could sustain rage for too long before the body gave out.

Belle reached the ruins of the kitchen and started to pull away pieces of the wreckage, clawing at it. Tears were streaming down her cheeks. Somewhere inside she had known that many of them might get hurt or even die but this was real. She had told Tiana to be in that spot and that decision had led to Tiana’s death. On top of that, the plan was now in shambles. 

“No no no,” she muttered as her hands started to hurt as she handled still smoldering pieces of wood. “Please please please.”

She looked up at the battle and knew that she would have to rejoin soon or more of her new friends might die. Up on the mountain, her husband was counting on her for survival and their world also hung in the balance. A lot had happened since she washed up on the shore of Ariel’s kingdom. She just wanted it all to be over. That was when she heard some coughing from a few feet away. The smoke was starting to clear but it still stung her eyes a bit.

“I could use a little help,” Tiana said, sitting on the ground next to the huge iron cauldron.

“I failed you,” Belle said. “You’re dead because of me.”

“I sure hope I’m not dead,” Tiana said. “I don’t feel dead. All your pain is supposed to go away but my hands hurt really bad from carrying that hot cauldron. I’m not sure if I can be of any more use with these burned hands.”

“You’re alive!” Belle shouted with delight. “Thank you!” She shouted that last to the universe, to the angels, to whoever would listen. 

“Amen to that,” Tiana said. “I’m not finished with this world yet but I amI finished with your recipe. What’s the next step?”

“I’ll handle it from here,” Belle said. “You’ve earned a rest. Stay low and get as much fresh air as you can and rest. We’ll tend to those hands when this is over and it will be over soon.”

“What about this magic stew?” Tiana asked.

Belle picked up her spellbook and focused her will through it and waved her hand and the liquid started to rise from the cauldron. The liquid slid through the air and spiraled into some glass vials. Corks rose from the ground and stopped up the vials of liquid.

“Stew, huh?” Belle asked with a smile. “Well, soup’s on for Grimhilde.” She scooped up the vials and ran toward the battle.

Belle waited for her opening before she threw the first vial at Grimhilde. It shattered against the witch’s right cheek and some of the glass stuck there as the liquid poured down from her face to her body. Grimhilde launched a fireball in Belle’s direction but Belle dodged it easily. She showered Grimhilde with the rest of the vials. Grimhilde gestured at Belle but nothing happened.

“What’s happening?” Grimhilde asked, confused. “What did you do?”

“Anti-magic potion,” Belle said. “No more magic for you.”

“Nooooo!!” Grimhilde screamed to the sky, her eyes wild. The heroes around her stopped in their tracks but remained ready to continue. Instead of attacking again, Grimhilde kneeled on the ground. 

Up on the mountain, the image of Chernabog flickered and the giant monster stopped and looked down at Grimhilde. Something in the air between them suddenly snapped like a clothesline being cut in half. Chernabog screamed and evaporated into a foul black smoke. Grimhilde reached out in a futile gesture and then slumped in defeat. The still armies surrounding them crumbled into dust. The battle was over.

Poor Unfortunate Souls: Endgame Pt. 10

March 4, 2023

Chernabog raged on the mountain and the dedicated team of heroes continued to distract it. The eldritch beast would get attacked by one of the team on Bald Mountain and then the heroes would scatter when Chernabog tried to strike back. It was dispiriting that their magical weapons did not leave even a scratch on the monster but they were doing their job as Team Distraction. Eugene managed to scurry up Chernabog’s body which drove the beast insane. As Chernabog worked to shake the thief off, Adam turned into The Beast and literally got into the monster’s face. Naveen mostly made sure people got out of the way and helped people up when they got knocked down. Esmerelda launched fireworks as Anna hacked away at Chernabog’s ankles. Jasmine led the action, calling out suggestions and commands in turn.

Eugene landed roughly and Naveen helped him up. “Thanks,” Eugene said. “I swear I’m usually more graceful. This doesn’t seem to actually be working.” He was a thief, not a fighter. He had not been used to handling his problems directly until he had met Rapunzel. He hoped she was alright down the mountain.

“It’s working fine,” Jasmine said. “Nothing we could do would actually stop Chernabog. It’s up to our friends down the mountain.”

“So we keep this up until they kill Grimhilde or until we die,” Euguene said. It wasn’t a question. 

“Very optimistic,” Naveen said. “I have faith in our friends.” Naveen’s heartfelt and easygoing smile did inspire confidence. He was not a fighter but he had learned a lot about it in the past few days. He hoped to never touch another weapon after this. He desperately wanted his ukelele instead.

“I guess we have to,” Eugene said. He gritted his teeth and prepared to get back into it.

“Keep fighting!” Adam bellowed as he rushed past. It was hard to contain his anger in Beast form or maybe that was an excuse. Either way, that rage was carrying him through this fight.

“Right,” Eugene said. “Keep fighting it is.” He lept back into action and tried to keep that smug and confident smile on his face.

Aladdin lunged at Grimhilde with his sword and stabbed through her belly but her image flickered as it was revealed that she was an illusion. He barely rolled out of the way as flames rose from beneath him. Elsa put the fire out with an ice blast and then tossed icicles in Grimhilde’s direction but the witch easily batted them away. Merida fired her bow from behind Grimhilde and actually landed a hit but the witch kept going. Aurora and Rapunzel lunged at Grimhilde with their weapons and kept her off balance. Belle kept casting counterspells to keep Grimhilde from instantly killing them all. 

“Keep it going,” Aladdin yelled out. “She can’t keep this up forever.” He was used to endurance trials after being chased by the law for so long all throughout Agrabah. 

“I’m not sure we can either,” Elsa said. She was fairly athletic but staying hidden in her room and then getting imprisoned did not really lend itself to conditioning.

“Then we need to end it,” Merida yelled. “Take her out!” Her experiences with magic users were not exactly positive and she was ready to kill another villain. She just wanted to go home. She was tired but it had very little to do with being physically tired.

“How do you guys talk while you’re fighting?” Rapunzel called out. “How do you breathe?”

“She’s got a point,” Belle said. “Maybe keep conversation to a minimum.” 

Belle looked over at Tiana who was feverishly cooking in her makeshift kitchen. She realized her mistake when she noticed that Grimhilde was following her gaze.

“You can’t fool me,” Grimhilde bellowed. “A potionsmistress like me knows a cauldron when she sees one.”

“I have no clue what you’re talking about,” Belle said. “Maybe it would be best to focus on the people actually attacking you.”

“Or maybe I’ll make an example out of that one first,” Grimhilde said with an evil grin.

Grimhilde waved her hand and Tiana’s kitchen suddenly exploded.

“No!” Belle yelled out as everybody scrambled toward Tiana.

Disney Trip: Day 2 – Magic Kingdom

January 16, 2023

I woke at the latest minute I could manage before meeting my family down in the lobby. I was still aching but I was determined to be in good spirits. After all, it was my birthday and I was going to the Magic Kingdom, something I had hoped for but never expected. I felt a bit subdued but I ate breakfast and that picked me up a bit. We traveled to the park and parked in the Simba lot. We started to walk towards the monorail.

The Monorail

The monorail is definitely something I remember from my visit at six years old. We made our way to the first line of the day. It is easy to disregard the monorail since it is merely a convenient way to the park gate but it really is interesting. The thing glides along at a quick speed and the windows let you see everything on approach. It may be a cliche but having the park reveal itself as you look out the window of a speeding quasi-futuristic train is really cool. There was everything that I have read about and watched on YouTube right in front of me.

Liberty Square: Haunted Mansion

Our first stop was in Liberty Square so we hoofed it through Main Street. I was surprised at how easy it was to get around. I guess I had internalized the park as gigantic from when I was tiny. It is still big but you can make good time going from section to section. We arrived at the line of my number one choice for attractions. I had expected it to still have its holiday overlay but the OG Haunted Mansion is always cool. I absolutely loved every moment of the ride. The line itself is a walk through a cemetery with fun references on every tombstone and mausoleum. The ride is classic from start to finish. Hearing the Ghost Host in person for the first time was amazing. I have studied this ride but nothing compares to actually seeing it in action. A blend of old school and new-school special effects and watching my mom’s reaction was priceless.

Frontierland: Splash Mountain

Afterward, we had a little bit of time until our lightning lane appointment for the next ride so we slowly walked over to Frontierland. Splash Mountain was definitely not on my list but my brother and his girlfriend made a good argument for it. This ride based on a racist Disney property was going to be changed into a Princess and the Frog ride soon. We would be one of the last riders on a legendarily weird Disney decision. Still, I was awake enough at this point that my stomach was starting to tie in knots from the anticipation of a 50-foot drop. Rationally, I knew that I would be fine but I have never been rational about rides. 

We loaded onto our little plastic log and the ride began. This ride was actually the scariest of the day and only part of that was the multiple drops. Yes, multiple drops! The animatronics on the ride are old and very creepy. They don’t move much and watching a rabbit get into twisted BDSM situations with a fox and a bear ended up being way darker than expected. The vultures mockingly talking about the “laughin’ place” did not help. Then the final drop happened and everything inside of me flip-flopped and I shut my eyes and we splashed down. Then it was all smiles and laughter. I only got a little wet and it felt good in the growing heat of the day.

Adventureland: Swiss Family Treehouse

We once again had time to explore so we walked over to Adventureland to decide what to do. I got some caffeine in me so I felt a lot better about life. It was around this point that we spotted Aladdin and Jasmine. It was cool to see them. After some diet coke and popcorn, it was time to decide what to do next and we still had time to kill. This enormous treehouse was something cool to look at. As we climbed all of the stairs, I tried to put myself in the place of a shipwrecked family. Honestly, the treehouse looked like a cool place to stay if it had wifi.

Adventureland: Pirates of the Caribbean

At this point, our scheduled ride on Pirates of the Caribbean. We even spotted a live Jack Sparrow outside of the ride. I remember the line scaring me when I was six but this time, I was enchanted. Pirates has a distinct watery smell to it that is nice. I was expecting a lot more stuff from the movies but surprisingly, it was kind of subtle. You can see Jack Sparrow from time to time but there is so much more to the ride. It was the second time in a boat that day which was once again nice in the warm Florida climate. I did not expect to get wet but I realize now that expectation was silly. What I definitely did not expect was another drop. I was caught off guard but it was gentler and shorter than Splash Mountain. This ride is a classic for a reason and I have read and studied a lot about it.

Adventureland: Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room

We decided on lunch but we had a little time to kill while we waited to be served. I suggested we head into the Enchanted Tiki Room because I had heard some good things and had little memory of it from 34 years earlier. Go figure. Also, it would give me another chance to sit down and rest my tired feet. The attraction is a bit dated but, as a fan of vaudeville-style humor, I loved it. The songs were pleasant and the patter of the hosts kept things moving. There is a thunderstorm effect that I thought was thrilling. I think they could keep this attraction around if they updated it a little bit. Maybe add some female representation. 

Main Street: Casey’s Corner

We were hungry and it was time for hot dogs. This was a great birthday lunch as I got to relax in the shade eating one of America’s tastiest treats. We talked about what we had absorbed so far. I also downloaded a Disney trivia app as we chilled for a bit. 

Main Street: Mickey’s Holiday Parade

After eating, my brother and his girlfriend rushed off as the parade was starting. My mom and I stayed put and realized in short order that we could see the parade from our table. I sipped a drink and looked up as each float passed. I tried to explain to my mother who the different characters were. It was a pleasant parade.

Tomorrowland: Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor

After refueling, we headed over to Tomorrowland to check it out. I was secretly thankful that we could not get a spot in line for Space Mountain. Sadly, we would not have time to ride Jungle Cruise either. However, we would still get our share of corny jokes. We headed over to the lightning lane of an attraction that had been of interest to me during my research. The idea of this attraction is that you are attending a comedy club designed by the monster world to collect energy. There were plenty of pre-recorded bits but the real charm of the attraction is similar to Turtle Talk with Crush. The monster standups interact with members of the audience, poking fun at the audience and themselves. It was funny and charming. An audience member even came up with a funnier punchline than was intended at one point.

Monster: What do you call a snowman in the desert?

Little Girl: Lost

Monster: Or… a puddle.


The rest of our visit to the park was not dedicated to any specific activity but instead we decided to walk around Fantasyland. We got a close up view of Cinderella’s Castle. We also saw so many cool references to classic movies. There is a circus area dedicated to Dumbo, the outside of the Beauty and the Beast restaurant is gorgeous, and Rapunzel’s tower was beautiful. There was so much to see and just walking around it all was so pleasant. It was so nostalgic.

The Ferry

After a bit of window shopping, I sat down on the curb and watched the parade again. I got a clearer look at it this time. We left the park a little early to make room for our evening activity. We decided to leave by ferry since we had experienced the monorail earlier. The ferry was very pleasant and scenic in a different way. Disney is surrounded by a lot of greenery and I like boats.

Cirque du Soleil: Drawn to Life

After a short break back in my hotel room, we met for dinner downstairs at the poolside cafe. The food was really good and it was nice to relax and eat in the nearly empty venue. After being in the crowds of Disney, it was nice to have breathing space. 

We headed down to Disney Springs which is the fanciest strip mall that I have ever seen. I am only partly joking. The place was obviously built for shopping and there is nothing wrong with that. It is also a location for live music. Passing the House of Blues was cool including statues of Jake and Elwood Blues. My mom took me into a sports store and tried to explain stuff about this year’s advancements in World Cup ball technology.

We headed to grab our seats for the show. I was glad that I went directly to my seat because there was a lot of clowning on stage and in the audience before the show actually started. It set the tone for a very charming and sweet show. I had never seen a Cirque show before and I was blown away. Everybody always talks about the stunts and there were definitely some amazing ones. However, my favorite parts were the story bits and clowning bits in between the moments of spectacle. The story was very nice and reminded me of stories like Alice in Wonderland and the Wizard of Oz. I also loved all of the tributes to the wonderful Disney animation that I grew up on.

After a great show, it was time to once again crash in my hotel room. I went to sleep pretty quickly, secure that I would get to sleep in a bit the next morning.

Disney Trip: Day 1 – EPCOT

January 9, 2023

We started the day around 7 am as we swung by Dunkin Donuts for breakfast. My brother and his girlfriend get all of the credit for this whole trip because they did the bulk of the research. They controlled the Disney Experience app and ordered our food and got us into lightning lanes. I am deeply grateful. My mom also gets a lot of credit for riding rides next to me and listening to me rattling off Disney trivia like a madman.

The Seas with Nemo & Friends

Almost immediately after the gates opened, we walked along the right-side path where we spotted this attraction. There was virtually no line and all of us had seen and enjoyed the original movie. We jumped on the chance and practically jogged down the empty line. I jumped into a clamshell with my mother. The ride is a dark ride mostly made up of screens. We see Marlin and Dory once again looking for Nemo  They are soon joined by other characters from the movies who try to help look for Nemo as well. However, this time Nemo is hiding on purpose as a prank and can constantly be spotted during the ride. Everybody is reunited as the ride ends. The last little bit was a pleasant surprise as the characters are projected to look like they are in an actual aquarium with real fish and dolphins. This was such a neat idea and allowed for a transition into the next part.


This is an educational aquarium where people can observe a lot of sea creatures from the movies and beyond. There were tanks with dolphins, manatees, manta rays, sharks, and other smaller creatures. We lucked out and we were there during feeding time. Back in Baltimore, we have an excellent aquarium but this was a really nice one with the Disney touch. It also had a little corner devoted to Bruce the shark and his friends. The aquarium was a peaceful and colorful way to start the day. 

Turtle Talk with Crush

My brother was hyped about this and I was definitely interested. We were led into a theater where the sea turtle Crush from the Finding Nemo movie appeared and talked to the audience via an undersea communicator. The cast member who played Crush was quick on his feet and the technology (which I assume is similar to VTuber technology. It was a fun little question-and-answer session that was interrupted by little skits including other characters. The technology made it feel very real.

Winnie the Pooh

After emerging back outside, we randomly spotted Winnie the Pooh cavorting on the grass. We watched as he struggled to open a present. It was a fun bit of pantomime. Like a lot of characters, he was still dressed in his holiday best.

Mexico: The Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros

From there it was on to the countries, the shining jewels of EPCOT. We went left into Mexico and I was immediately taken aback by the Aztec pyramid in my view. It dominated the Mexico pavilion. The line in front of it looked long but we checked on the app and it was not actually that long. We thought about getting some tacos as a snack but we hopped into the line instead. The line wound around and into the pyramid. In the queue were a lot of displays of Day of the Dead artwork which I love. When we got all the way in, my immediate first thought was “this is like Casa Bonita” from South Park. The inside is a restaurant, a gift shop, and a ride. We headed for the ride which was a musical journey through Mexican culture with The Three Caballeros (Donald, Panchito, and Jose). It was a really pleasant boat ride with some great music and artwork. It was also really cool temperature-wise in there.

Norway: Gods of the Vikings

What’s next to Mexico? Norway. That makes sense, right? We had thought about trying to get on the Frozen Ever After ride but it was temporarily out of order and we could not get a spot in line on the app. Still, my brother’s girlfriend’s family is from Norway so we definitely needed to check this land out anyway. It was a cute and quaint-looking little village. We stepped into this exhibit and I was not disappointed. It was small but it had some great wood carvings, artifacts, and paintings covering Norse mythology. It had nothing to do with Marvel (although I’m sure people could find connections) but everything to do with an accurate portrayal of the mythology.

Norway: Kringla Bakeri Og Kafe

We sat on a bench and ate sweet treats from the cafe. They were traditional treats from Norway so I was interested to try something new. I had lefse which is very good. Lefse is a potato-based flatbread wrapped coated with butter and cinnamon and wrapped into a tube kind of like a tortilla. The cinnamon was just sweet enough and there was plenty to eat without being too much.

Germany: Germany Model Train Display

While my brother and his girlfriend were checking out the glass art, my mom and I walked over to check out this little display. It includes a whole little town of lovingly-crafted buildings and four model trains rolling around. It is an out-of-the-way place to relax and enjoy the craftsmanship of something simple but not easy to make.

United States: American Heritage Gallery

The United States pavilion was not very attractive to me since it is the country that I live in but we were waiting for our food (see below) so we explored. We stepped into what looked like a colonial building and we went to the back of the building. There was a show but it wasn’t time for that to start. We ducked into this little museum and I was glad for it. Inside were exhibits on the various regions of the country and artwork (both old and new) from Native American tribes. It was beautiful and nice to see.

United States: Regal Eagle Smokehouse

At this point, it was time to get a full meal to fuel the rest of the day. We first grabbed a table in the sun and then we pounced on a table in the shade which was way more comfortable. I sipped on a beer as we waited for our food. I am not usually one for beer (or drinking in general) but the beer was cold and soothing. I ate the Sliced Texas Beef Brisket Sandwich. Great bits of meat between garlic toast. I also had some really good baked beans. We got to relax and process the first part of the day.

Japan: Kawaii – Japan’s Cute Culture

We walked into the Japan pavilion which was full of architecture from the feudal era. It was beautiful but we went straight toward the rear of the pavilion for an exhibit on the Japanese culture that I know best. This was a little history of all of the cute merchandise from Japan’s history. 

Japan: Matsuriza, Taiko drummers

This was the second unplanned surprise of the day and it was neat. We saw the group setting up but we had no plans to actually check them out. As we started to leave the pavilion, the trio of women started to play, so we stuck around. It was not a long show but the rhythm was excellent. To think about the practice that goes into the timing is mind-boggling. Some of it is without being able to see each other. 

Morocco: Atlas Fusion

This one came from my brother’s research and once again it paid off. I really loved the architecture of this pavilion the best. The style (reminiscent of Marakesh and Casablanca) lends itself to a lot of shade and protection from the volume of the park. It did not hurt that the pavilion was more empty than others. I saw Princess Jasmine through a window and Aladdin is one of my favorite Disney movies (probably still second place). However, the real highlight was catching a performance of some awesome Moroccan music along with some belly dancing. The energy was impossible to ignore.

Canada: The Canadian Holiday Voyageurs

We walked through France and the United Kingdom (stopping at a few shops briefly) but we were once again ready to have a seat. We sat down on some empty benches in front of a stage and not even five minutes later we were treated to a surprise concert. I was kind of done with Christmas more or less but the music was awesome. It helped that the band was incredibly lively and played some deep cuts. Between the good tunes and the opportunity to rest my tired feet (and a strangely entertaining squirrel, I was feeling pretty good.

Canada Far and Wide

Again, we had some more time to kill so we stuck around in Canada for a bit. We saw a movie that was playing and jumped on it. The movie was basically a tourism video about Canada (complete with an invitation to visit at the end of it). The video was shown in Circle Vision, a technology that surrounds the audience with screens. The footage felt a bit like IMAX in that I felt like I was there sometimes. The really joyful surprise was that the movie was narrated by Catherine O’Hara and Eugene Levy who are so cute together no matter what they are doing. They really sold what could have been a boring movie.

United Kingdom: Yorkshire County Fish Shop

We backtracked to the United Kingdom for a little bit of dinner. We found a nice outdoor table and dove into some fish and chips. The outside of the fish was crisp and the inside was so good. It reminded me of having fish and chips with my mom in actual London.

France: Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure

This is the ride that we had booked that morning and I had heard so many good things. We went back to France to get to it. As we stood in line, I hurriedly tried to explain the plot of the movie to my mother. The theming of the ride was top notch with the ride announcements being done by Emil (Remy’s brother). The ride itself was absolutely amazing. By using screens, a well-designed ride layout, and 3D glasses, the ride provides an experience that absolutely feels real. It is the closest thing to true virtual reality that I have ever seen. It physically moved so little but I was still out of breath by the end of it.

Soarin’ Around the World

This is a ride that has been around in some form for decades. We climbed into seats and we were dangled in front of a huge screen in a suspended state. Like a supercharged IMAX, it felt like we were really flying amongst some of the most famous places in the world. Once again, we were not moving much but it felt exhilarating.


We gathered near the water for the fireworks show. Honestly, I was absolutely dog-tired at this point as my feet and back were hurting pretty badly. I was starting to lose my Disney spirit. At this point, my only real complaint about Disney is the lack of seating, especially during a big event like this. My feet felt like knives. Still, the show was absolutely amazing and made me forget about all of that for a little bit. The show has fireworks but it is more of a giant screen show. There are massive screens created by using mist from the lake water. There is a lot of great art inspired by Disney movies. The music is made up of a lot of tunes from movies set in countries included in EPCOT and sung in the native languages there. It was a really beautiful show and I am currently looking for full versions of those songs.

Finally, the day was over as we arrived back at the hotel by around 11 pm where I promptly collapsed. Negative points to the hotel for not having a bathtub for me to soak my feet in. The shower had great water pressure, though. After a little bit of web surfing, I fell into a deep sleep.

In General:

There are so many things I saw that were a blur. All of the merchandise was cool looking but (aside from a wolf stuffed animal I thought about in Canada) nothing really jumped out at me to buy. The sea of humanity was truly massive but everybody was super nice. Everybody there really wanted to be there and it showed. The day physically destroyed me but there are a lot of cool memories that I will carry forever.

Media Update 11/17/22

November 17, 2022

Hocus Pocus 2

I was a big fan of the original mostly because I was in the correct age group when it came out. When I found out that there was going to be a sequel, I was intrigued but not exactly excited. Of course, the Sanderson sisters Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy are back and just as goofy as ever. They still have those characters down pat. Doug Jones also returns and gets more to do as Billy Butcherson. Whitney Peak, Belissa Escobedo, and Lilia Buckingham are the newcomers as the heroes of the movie and all do a really great job moving the plot along. Tony Hale and Sam Richardson bring a lot of comic relief. The problem I had is that the script is kind of a mess. They spend too much time on the “witch out of time” gags and gets muddled by jokes that did not land with me. Also, they kind of lost some of the characterization of the Sanderson Sisters from the first one. I really did like the flashback and the actresses that played the young Sanderson sisters killed it. I would not recommend this movie.

Ultraviolet and Black Scorpion

I am a big fan of Lucha and any show that takes a stab at trying to embrace the culture will be an automatic watch for me. The show is about a young woman who is gifted a magic Lucha mask that transforms her into a superhero. Her uncle also has a mask and tries to teach her the Lucha way. Scarlet Estevez shines as the main character, full of energy and joy. JB Villareal is great as the gruff Black Scorpion, trying to balance being a caring uncle with being a demanding teacher. The rest of the cast is really good, mostly made up of the title characters’ family. Lucha is a big part of their lives and culture and something that binds them together. It is one part sitcom and one part superhero show. It balances the two pretty well. I recommend this show.

Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb

I always thought that the idea of this franchise was pretty neat and I had fond memories of the first movie and I remembered the second one being alright. Ben Stiller is great when he is acting as a normal guy just trying to do the right thing. Robin Williams, Rami Malek, Owen Wilson, Steven Coogan, and Skyler Gisondo are great at bringing the comedy and are all fun to watch. Dan Stevens is great as the clueless Lancelot, basically doing his best Chris Hemsworth as Thor impression. The movie comes to a grinding halt whenever Rebel Wilson or Ricky Gervais show up on the screen. They do a lot of mugging and bits that fell flat for me. I am shocked that this movie was made in 2014 because it aged like milk. Too many gay jokes, piss jokes, sexist jokes, and so on. I found myself groaning through a lot of it. This kind of sucks because I thought that the parts that worked really worked. I would not recommend this movie.

Music of the Week:

Sabrina Carpenter – Nonsense

Rod Wave – Break My Heart

Bryson Tiller – Outside

Nickelback – Those Days

Mashup of the Week:

William Maranci Mashups – Closer But It’s Funkytown By Lipps Inc.

Weekly Update:

  • This week’s theme is “Magical Whimsy”
  • I watched a ton of YouTube and Twitch: Barry Kramer, Impact Wrestling, All Elite Wrestling, Emily D. Baker, Tamara Chambers, LegalEagle, NWA, Dead Meat, Quinton Reviews, Onsta, Savy Writes Books, Gabi Belle, Brutalmoose, Growing Up in Scientology, Watcher, Some More News, Tales from the Territories
  • I watched more Chucky Season 2
  • I watched more The Blacklist Season 9
  • I watched more The Strain Season 1
  • I watched more Bob’s Burgers Season 12
  • I watched more Doom Patrol Season 3
  • I started Titans Season 4
  • I watched Amityville Clownhouse
  • I watched Jack vs. Lanterns

Disney: The Dark Kingdom (Theme Park Design)

September 24, 2022

I thought I would give my take on the rumored Disney villains park. In my mind, it would be more for teens to adults allowing for a spookier atmosphere and leaning into a more adult atmosphere. I mean, it would still be Disney so it would not go too far but kids would not be the main demographic. These are just some of the attractions that I thought of. It is divided into sections much like the Magic Kingdom. 

Maleficent’s Castle

Vile Village– The long road leading to Maleficent’s castle where villains can feel free to be themselves.

Maleficent’s Castle

Most Disney parks need a castle as their centerpiece. The jet-black castle that sat on the Forbidden Mountain would be a perfect choice. Its asymmetry is a great contrast to the picture-perfect castles in other parks. I think adding some gray ornamental flourishes similar to the brambles from the Kingdom Hearts franchise might look good.

Cruella’s Dress Shop – A villain-themed clothing store owned by Cruella De Ville.

The Wicked Spindle – A fancy restaurant themed on Sleeping Beauty and Maleficent

The Ruby Apple Cafe – A more casual dining experience themed on the Evil Witch

Lotso’s Army – A dark ride themed on the various Toy Story villains getting together

Straight to Hades – A boat ride on Charon’s boat through Hades where one can see depictions of various legendary greek heroes. The ride is hosted by Pain and Panic as 

Tartarus BBQ – A Hades themed barbecue place

The wild amusement park of Pleasure Island

Pleasure Island – An area based on the same place from Pinnochio mixed with the now-closed adult area of Disney.

Oogie Boogie’s Ghost Coaster – A dark coaster designed after the blacklight visuals from Oogie’s number from Nightmare Before Christmas.

Oogie Boogie’s Casino – A casino themed on Halloween and horror.

Turbo’s Arcade – A massive indoor arcade themed on the insane villain and also the MCP from Tron.

Stromboli’s Theater – A theater where versions of Disney stories are told biased in favor of the villains.

Cruella’s Road Racers – A high-speed driving ride based on the maniacal driving of Cruella De Ville.

Ralph’s Wrecking Rampage – A coaster themed on Ralph which he protests because he’s not “that” kind of villain.

The salty streets of a smuggler town similar to Tortuga from the movies.

Smuggler’s Bay – A lawless area near the water

Davey Jones: Terror of the Deep – A journey through scenes of Davey Jones punishing the people of the Caribbean along with his monster crew

Captain Hook’s Ship – A ride on Captian Hook’s ship out in the water

Smee’s Seaside Pub – A simple pirate pub

Ursula’s Grotto – A dark ride mixed with a splashdown ride that explores Ursula’s legendary lair.

The Weasels 

The woods have eyes.

Wicked Woods – A spooky forest-themed area.

The Snuggly Duckling – A recreation of the tough bar from Tangled.

Gaston and Clayton’s Hunting Lodge and Tavern – An eating and drinking establishment owned and operated by the two arrogant Disney hunters

The Flight of the Sanderson Sisters – A flight simulator in the vein of Soarin’ where you fly a broom and terrorize people with the Sandersons.

Yzma’s Zoo – A trip through an animatronic zoo with the implication that all of the animals are transformed humans. 

The Evil Queen’s Revenge – Basically Snow White’s Scary Adventures but lean even more into the horror elements

Maybe a giant recreation of the Cave of Wonders lion.

Atrocious Adventures – An area themed on more global and adventurous experiences.

Charles Muntz Flight of Adventure – A flight simulator in the vein of star tours that details the heroic deeds of disgraced adventurer Charles Muntz

The Elephant Boneyard – A dark ride where the riders are stalked by Scar and the hyenas

Glomgold’s Minecart Ride – A frantic mine cart ride similar to the Indiana Jones Adventure mixed with Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

Journey into Jafar’s Lamp – A terrifying and surreal thrill ride into the world inside of Jafar’s lamp where he has complete power.

Monsters, Inc. : Right to Scare – A journey into the Monster’s Inc. world with those still dedicated to scaring and not laughing

Scary Studies

Horror is fascinating.

The Hidden Message

klaatu barada nikto

Panorama of the Mountains

Liam Sullivan's Ideas and Reflections

Boccob's Blessed Blog

A gaming blog with an emphasis on D&D 5e

No Hate Only Snootboops

As Told By Carly

The Ramblings of a Geek Girl

Beyond the Flow

A Survivor's Philosophy of Life

Silvia Writes

Life is a story. Might as well write it.

The Bloggess

Like Mother Teresa, only better.

Damyanti Biswas

For lovers of reading, crime writing, crime fiction

%d bloggers like this: