Friday, April 30, 2010

DC2CERUMA - Day 10

The ball really started rolling on DPN Westfest activities today! My meet was today and more people show up for the weekend. Lots of the locals come out for the evening activities and even more will show up tomorrow, Saturday.

I tried to work something for my meet today. Yesterday I contacted Media Relations and didn't get a call back. I called again today. While I riding Mike and Sulley to the Rescue I received a call back and a message. It was basically for something like this to happen there would need to be a media relations person present and since they didn't have anyone available it would not be possible to have my request officially filled. David said that I could try the theater itself. Well, I did try and failed on all accounts. I tried the people by the theater and even asked what could they do to help make the moment more magical and basically got blank stares and shrugged shoulders. After viewing the show, I even tried to leave some of the buttons I had made for the main characters and the ushers wouldn't take them. I was told to mail them to the entertainment department and if they saw fit they would pass them along. So, do they deserve the doosh nominations. No, I don't think so, they weren't rude or not following rules. But what disappointed me even more is that Disney prides itself on making magical moments and when even asked how could we make this more magical they didn't have a response. I was sooooo wanting to hand out an AWESOME JOB card or multiple cards for having something coming through and instead they stayed in the card holder.

To those people who came out and watched the show together, a big thanks to you! You are my friends on the DPN, you are watchers of my podcast. There were 35 of you who took the time out of your schedule to join me in watching Aladdin. I know for some people it will be their last time as the show will be retired in August and they won't have the chance to see it before then. To those people who won the 10 prizes, I hope you enjoy them and can put them to good use! I know some others couldn't make it to the meet due to issues like special luncheons at Club 33 or travel, I totally understand. I knew that by having this meet on a Friday afternoon it would affect some people's ability to attend.

Through the day I did manage to make it over to the Festival Markethouse to the fantastic Coke Machine. I really love the ability to mix flavors like peach, raspberry and grape with products like Sprite, Coke Zero, Fanta and other base flavors. Funny story on the second trip there, I mentioned to the girl at the register it would be nice instead of having just a 22 or 32 ounce cup that they could have several say 5 oz cups so you could try different flavors. The cashier said you could go up for free refills. I repeated it out loud to the group of about 8 people I was with. In just a few seconds a manager looking type person came over and made comments along the lines like this is Disney and there are no free refills. He said it in such a way that I'm sure the cashier felt uncomfortable being corrected in front of the guests.

Dinner was at the Big Thunder BBQ. It was a BBQ served family style with corn bread, sausage, ribs, chicken, cole slaw, baked beans and corn on the cob. I had gotten some of the sauce on my face and a couple of the ladies at the table were disturbed because I didn't wipe if off immediately. When I did attempt to get it off, it was high enough that I didn't get it. I was offered a Hello Kitty mirror and a wet antibacterial wipe in order to get if off. As I cleaned, my picture holding the HK Mirror was taken and posted to Facebook.

One funny part of the night was during the Rabble Rousers meet, a large group went over to ride Mickey's Fun Wheel that has both stationary and moving cars. In the one car there were 5 of us and none of us could be considered to be on the carrot stick diet. We got into the car and had a fun time as the momentum of the car on the moving track gave us some good swinging motion.

After leaving the Disneyland park a little after 11pm, I got in contact with the guys from the Skurvy Monkeys podcast. They were in Downtown Disney. I was tired, but I really wanted to meet up with them. I headed over to the UVA Bar and met most of the monkey cast face to face at one time. Samby Monkey, Spider Monkey, Design, IMHO Monkey, and Guerrilla Monkey were in the same place at the same time. Design presented me with two very, very special gifts. The first was the original drawing he did of Movie Monkey. I need to get this framed. The second was a kukui nut lei which he picked up on Kauai when he got married, took it back to the mainland and brought it with him to present to me when he came down for the weekend activities. Both are sincerely appreciated!

These trips to Disney when you know that you are going to be meeting up with others who share your interests are priceless. Several of the events had people who I haven't seen in years or a least a year from the last DPN Westfest. They are a great way to keep in touch with people on a face to face basis instead of just and name and number in an outlook contact card. It's great to connect with people on a face to face basis instead of electronic forums, social media or e-mail. It's funnerer and the bestest

Thursday, April 29, 2010


While today is officially the start of DPN Westfest, there is nothing on the schedule until tonight for a mixer at the Lost Bar over at the Disneyland hotel. This morning allowed me a breather. When I hit the sack last night, I was out. My roomie Brian came in a got ready for bed and I didn't stir. I got up to nature's call at 6:30 and then went back to bed until about 8ish when Brian's alarms for him to get up and meet people for breakfast started to go off. No Problem!

He went off and I stayed in the room. First I had a massive headache and second, I needed to play catch up. I was sooooo tired yesterday that I didn't do an entry. I did it this morning. I played on the computer a bit. No problems with the internet connection today! The maid was surprised I was there. I watched her and she was confused that I was still in the room. I hung in the room resting until about 11 when I got ready and headed over to the parks.

I had a mission today. I needed to see if I could get a cast member or two from the Aladdin show to meet people after my DPN Westfest event, "One Last Time with Aladdin and Jamine" meet. I started asking the questioning in Orlando at the guest relations building in Town Hall at the Magic Kingdom. They said I had to talk to Disneyland directly. No luck getting to someone. Automated system saying they were closed when I called.

On property, I contact GR in Disneyland and told that NO, it was not possible. Come on people, this is Disney, "Where dreams Come True" is thier motto. Go to Disney's California Adventure and the lady there tells me to check with the show. I go over to the Hyperion Theater and the girl there says I need to go back to GR and ask to speak with Entertainment One. I do that and was told that I needed to contact publicity. I did that and they pass me over to media relations. I call them and get handed off to a voice mail box asking me for the VM Box number. I have no idea. So I call back and get connected to the mail box of hopefully the right person who can help with this. As of righting this, I haven't been able to speak with the person who supposedly can help me. I'm hoping they come through as I would like to give away another AWESOME JOB card instead of a possible doosh nomination We'll see and I'll keep you posted.

For my lunch I went to Taste Pilots for the X-5 ribs.

It comes with fries and cole saw. I get onion rings instead of the fries. They have a huge fixin bar but I only grab some dill pickle slices. I love this lunch. I usually have this combo one and possibly twice per trip!

That afternoon hung with some people and we did a number of rides. As we came out of the haunted mansion, there was this sight. There was a family of four. The wife was in an electric convenience vehicle as well as the husband. They parked by the Mansion and the husband got off his scooter and started walking towards Splash Mountain.

It was as this time I realized that the husband and the kids were wearing Pajamas. I had to do a double time but did get a shot. Reaction has been interesting to say the least.

After the rides, I came back to the room for a little bit before hitting the official first event of the DPN Westfest schedule! It was a good time. Meeting with with people with whom you've had conversations, people you saw last year, people who are new to the event., it was good to see and meet them all! It was overall a fun time! I left a little early to be able to blog with a better sense of mind, but I'm nodding off right now, big time.

Tomorrow I have my give away items, the biggest being my Awesome Job card to the person who gets me connect up with the actors/actresses. For the meet I have a number of cool items to give away including shirts from Hong Kong. I have 100 buttons made for the event. While it would be cool if I gave them all out. The first is the meet button and the second is a generic podcast MMCTV button. Hopefully I will run out!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


Yeah, I arrived at LAX and the Disneyland Resort without a hitch! I lucked out on the plane in that I had the whole row to myself. I got a bit of sleep, but even as I write this I'm doing it on fumes. I still have another week to go! Luggage arrived with me, Super Shuttle was fast and accurate. All is good, a little chilly, but still all good! I even got to see a snow capped mountain as we came in to LAX.

Met up with my roommate for a few days Brian. We couldn't get into the room yet so we headed across the street. As soon as we entered the Disneyland park, what did we do? You guessed it, Photopass! Gotta get the money's worth! It wasn't long after that when we met up with some more DPNers. My first ride of the day and this portion of the trip was the classic Pirates of the Caribbean followed by Haunted Mansion.

As a group we told stories, we joked, we ate and told each other facts. We didn't have the DF hat with us, but it we did it would have been passed around. For me personally, I think it was the Buzz Lightyear contacting Command ring tone that won the prize!

One of the oh ahh moments was by Paradise Bay. We went down by the water and watched as they were doing some test of the equipment. There was this huge audio visual tower that during the day is hidden and when the show occurs, it is raised from a pit. They do the same thing for Fantasmic! over in Frontierland and New Orleans Square. We got to watch them lower this one tower and twice, the towers components hit the doors that were swung wide open. Those of us there let out an audible gasp of shock. We are really excited for this show and don't want damaged equipment causing the show to be delayed any more than it already has been delayed.

In the short afternoon, rode most of the big rides, Pirates of the Caribbean, Haunted Mansion, Space Mountain, Soarin, and California Screamin'. Had some food for the California Food and Wine festival happening and Disney's California Adventure park. It was a good first day in the parks. Met up with Toast, Ryan, Trish, Holly, Jenn, Pat, Leaa, Jeff, Jason, Lorien, Thomas and Brad. I think that's all and if I missed you, I apologize. As I said, good first day.

But, as I said earlier, my butt is draggin. On Pirates, I was sooo tired that I nodded off. Toast who I saw in Florida a few days ago was in the same row as me and caught the moment with his camera....using a a ride where they ask you not to take flash photography. In fact, I was so tired that while I tried to start this post last night, I nodded of at the table, not to mention that having a slow internet connection was loading pages and responding timely. So I went to bed. Slept a solid 8 hours. I'm up writing this now, but after I finish, I'm going to grab a little more shut eye if possible.

DC2CERUMA - Day 7 Supplemental

As I sit here at MCO, Orlando International airport, I have a few hours, like 2.5 hours of sleep under my belt...YEAH!! This past week has been a great week overall excluding the debacle with Delta airlines. I spent one night having a great time singing along with Bob Jackson at Port Orleans Riverside and six other days in theme parks. I'm not sure how many miles I have walked, but I know that it's A LOT! The one factor that made this different than any other trip I've had to Disney World were the old friends and new friends that I met along the way. Running into Pam and Sean at Bob Jackson was a blast! meeting up with fellow podcasters and other people who somehow report on Disney to just those who enjoy Disney in the parks was the coolest especially since this part of the trip was not for a meet up where people are there for the purpose of having fun in the parks together.

I would like to give out a special thanks to The Legend, excuse me, the Award Winning The Legend from the In the Loop podcast for using one of his days off to hang with and take me around the Universal Orlando Resort parks. Having a personal tour guide who knew the ins and outs was a blast! On this trip I did my first ever suspended, excuse me, inverted roller coaster. I can't wait to get to Magic Mountain where hopefully Ninja will be running and I can experience my first suspended coaster. Just in the one day with The Legend, my coaster count we up by six!

When heading out to the parks for me, because I live so far way and it takes a lot of effort to get to them, I treat the experience very much like an endurance event. I get the underarmour and baby power, lots of baby powder, baby Powder everywhere! But the heat, sweat and standing around in lines takes its toll on the body. The underarmour helps a lot from prior knowledge, but maybe I should try runner's glide the next time around. This would definitely be the low point of the weekend.

The Awesome Job cards aren't going as well as I hoped. I gave out two with a third person that I couldn't let them know what I'm doing but will for sure write that letter. As a summary, it was the lady who would like to remain unnamed who works for Delta who helped me to try to locate my lost luggage. I even got the follow up call at my hotel, Pop Century to let me know that it was found! The second was Carlita who volunteered to drop my gifts for a Walt Disney World College Program trailermate into the interoffice mail since he had changed work locations. The third was Ricky who helped set me up on the Kim Possbile adventure in Germany instead of doing the Norway adventure. There were some days when the interactions were pleasant but didn't provide an opportunity for them to shine and then there were the ones that could have used the moment to shine but didn't.

Looking forward to seeing all my DPN and Skurvy Monkey friends at DPN Westfest. It will be fun to get together with people I haven't seen in a year and those that I've had a lot of communication but haven't met in person. My fingers pointing right at you Samby Monkey, Proud Monkey (no relation to Samby Monkey) and Design. This coming week is going to be a blast with several hundred people getting together to enjoy the Disneyland Resort. An extra special treat will be spending time in Disneyland itself when Bat Day is happening. I think I might stop some of them and see if they'll take pictures together. At last year's DPN Westfest I got talking very briefly to a "bat person" and she was very nice, didn't seem emo and I think would have been happy to pose for a picture.

I'm going to cut at this point as they are getting ready for boarding and I don't want to be a cause for a delay!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


Today was the wind down day for Florida. Tomorrow I leave for California and the DPN Westfest event. It was a good day. I spent the day at the Universal parks on my own and this time I didn't take the camera bag. My phone has a camera and I used that extensively, but no zoom, no tight shots, no flash shots. My shoulder didn't get killed by the strap and I didn't have to worry about putting it in and taking it out of a locker while riding rides. I didn't even close out the parks.

Meers Transportation provided a shuttle service between Pop Century and the Universal Orlando Resort. Eighteen dollars for a round trip I think was reasonable as I was told by several people a taxi would have been about $30-$40 each way. So I think I got a reasonable deal. The only suggestion for them would be to have the destinations on the pickup vehicles. When I asked the Customer Service agent when I moved my pickup time about what sort of vehicle, van or bus, she wasn't sure. So as the different vehicles pulled up you had to ask as they weren't labeled.

Spent the morning at Universal doing Jaws, Rip Ride Rockit and a couple other shows. Slow pace. There were several times characters became available like Ricky and Lucy, Scooby Doo, Fiona and Donkey. For the most part other than Fiona and Donkey there wasn't a line. It was very easy to get a picture of the character by itself or it was easy enough to jump in and have someone take the shot for you.

The afternoon was spent at Islands of Adventure. I rode Cat in the Hat which did NOT have spinning cars even though they had signs posted saying they would spin. Poseidon and Sindbad were two shows I saw. Sindbad wasn't bad as the 20 minute show passed very quickly. I just wish I could have gotten something better with the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. I really would have liked to try the butter beer and pumpkin juice drinks!

The ride that takes the cake for me is Spider Man. I really thought it was an awesome ride. Once the levitation and anti-levitation rays were activated, the ride stepped it up a notch in the excitement factor! The Simpsons was also very fun, especially if you are into amusement parks at all.

The two rides I didn't do was the Bilge-rat Barges and Rip Saw Rapids. You got wet on those and I just didn't want to deal with it on this go around. I was already having issues of being uncomfortable and I didn't want to take THAT to the next level.

The one BIG disappointment was the food. On day one I had the meal plan. Ate at five of the six eligible restaurants. Spaghetti and meatballs, pizza, chicken fingers were eaten on the plan. Today was a cheese burger and a gyro. Other than the chicken fingers, the food was bland, tastless, or worst of all cold! At Mel's diner I had the apple pie today. I was told it would be hot, but the outside was cold and the interior was meh as far as hot heat. It tasted good, but if it was ala mode as they showed, the ice cream would have melted due to room temp and not the pie itself. They need to up their game on the food.

During the bus ride back to Pop, met two girls from Canada. We got into a health care debate. They don't have it as well up there as the news says. Four days to set a broken arm? Two weeks to diagnose a broken wrist. Anyway, I hope I was able to turn them onto Bob Jackson over at Riverside!

While I was running around, I made an effort to get my laundry done first thing when I got back and it paid off. I've been by the laundry room several times and the people are lined up waiting for either washer or dryer to open up. I'm lucky in that choice!

The fun aspect of this trip was the plurking, tweeting and facebooking. It added a whole other dimension to the adventure. There were a couple conversations going on and got lots of feedback on the photos I posted. I think I said it earlier, I was traveling solo, but I was not alone!

As I write this, I'm was trying to sleep but haven't been able to do so. I will be picked up at 4:15am for a 7am flight so I'm up at 3am. I'm hoping to catch a couple of zzzz's at the airport and stay asleep on the 4.5 hour flight from MCO to LAX.

This first week of the Disney Coast to Coast-er Universally Magic Adventure is coming to a close there one big overall disappointment for me is that I wasn't able to give out as many of the Awesome Job cards as I had hoped. Three is a low number in my book. We'll have to see if I can do better in California. SO until then, ALOHA

Monday, April 26, 2010


Today was a day of excitement. I finally was going to visit the Universal Orlando Resort with its two parks: Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure! Although, I have to admit that on this 6th day of DC2CerUMA, my tail is severely dragging. Lots of walking around and not a whole heck of a lot of sleep!

I went over with friend and fellow In the Loop podcaster, The Legend. He picked me up at Pop Century and we were at the park for park opening. We started in the Universal side of the house. Jimmy Neutron, Simpsons, Men in Black, rides that I have heard about for a LONG time, I was finally going to experience them!

The Legend and myself decided to buy the two park meal plan. There were 6 restaurants available. I did 5 while The Legend did the Eat around the Universe and ate at all 6 locations. He kinda knows what it felt like when I at a whole Kitchen Sink at Beaches and Cream!

I was offered the chance to review a possible show for network television. It had an actor that I don't like so the show wasn't any good for me. I was paid $10 for my time of about 30 minutes.

We didn't do all the attractions at Universal in the AM, but moved over to Island of Adventure (IOA) that afternoon where I got to meet Matt who I've chatted with about coasters and some other items for a long time now. It was great to actually meet the person behind the myth and legend although not to be confused with THE Legend!

The Legend and Matt were great tour guides. They helped me on a couple of items where like on dueling dragons the harness wouldn't close all the way, but they made it fit! I had the same issues with closing the harness on Hulk and Rip Ride Rocket. On two of those three rides I needed the big boy seat. Lesson learned!

It was great touring with them as they knew the ins and outs and understood what it took to move me swiftly and efficiently from attraction to attraction. It was really appreciated. Mahalo to Matt and The Legend! I really liked the Spiderman and Simpsons' rides!

I had my camera bag and after 6 days, it was getting HEAVY! I've decided tomorrow, I will go to the park with just my cell phone, nothing more. It will be different, but my body needs a bit of rest.

At the end of our day exploring "The U" parks as some Disney podcasts call them, we departed with The Legend bringing me back to his place where we did the In the Loop podcast without hurting anyone. Good deal!

I'm going to cut this short as I need to do some postcards for Orlando before I leave so here is a hardy ALOHA!!

Sunday, April 25, 2010


Today was a beautifully mellow day! It was my last day at Walt Disney World before two exciting days at Universal Orlando Resort. It was going to be my day to enjoy the Flower and Garden Festival at Epcot. The day did not disappoint on many levels.

The day started a bit late. The time zone difference and with all the running around. I spent extra time getting ready the morning. Yesterday was the first time that I wore as we say in Hawaii, rubbah slippahs for the entire day. It wasn't bad until just before getting back to Pop. I had a feeling on my foot like a blister was forming. It hadn't, but it was on it's way if I had not headed it off with going back to the sneakers and double socks. Extra baby powder was also in order.

Once in the park I used photopass again and again and again.

I was milking that for all it's going to be worth! Photos for F&G items and then went to Inoventions about the Kim Possible Adventure. There I met Ricky and did a little filming. This guy was in a wheel chair with no legs and hand issues. He was a cast member for the KPA and explained it. He recommended Germany and got me started after a couple of adjustments. Before I left, he grabbed my hand to shake his as I personally wasn't sure what to do because his right hand had a thumb but the other fingers were stumped. He used his left hand to help complete the shake. He took the lead in figuring out what for me was awkward because I wasn't sure what to do. After doing the KPA, I went back later in the day to try to find him to give him my Awesome Job card but he wasn't there. I'm going to make sure that I contact Disney about how he handled himself and that the recommendation was right on!

Did the Great Piggy Band Adventure and headed to Club Cool. I drank a Beverly in honor of all my hommies and peeps who couldn't be there.
I met up again with John Corigliano from Mousetimes as we set about to do the KPA. As we were entering World Showcase there was an alligator snapping turtle that was trying to get onto the walk way but eventually went back into the water. Together we did three KP Adventures, Germany, Japan and France. They were all very fun and would recommend them to anyone. Along the way we met a princess, eat snacks, talk to a cast member from Kiyoshu who explained the brown square with teeth called Domo and had fun cutting loose while John recorded the adventures!

John and I enjoyed Impression de France and got Fish and Chips to eat from the UK where were gave part of our chips to the seagulls and ducks. We headed into the old Millennium Village to watch part of the dance competition that was happening that weekend. There were teams from all over the world. While we may think it dorky, gotta give them props for those routines!

After enjoying Marty Short and his problems playing Hockey, John and I made a bee line for the old Wonders of Life pavillion that was housing the F&G festival center.
They had a few display items, many heavily pushing the local Florida agriculture. I picked up a limited edition of the Flower and Garden vinylmation that I will use as a give away. I really LOVE the package delivery service. I really wish Disneyland would implement such a service or at serivce to drop off the items at the front of park. it was great not having to worry about carrying around a bag even if the item was a small item!

After John and I returned to Innoventions to try to find Ricky, we did the Stormchasers. I really like what they did to simulate a house blowing away in a storm. Hawaii like Florida has the potential for high hurrican damage and while I knew some of the information, there was more that I didn't know. Before John left for the day together we did the piggy bank adventure. The technology there with the pig itself is cute. I particularly liked when you had "money" in the bank when you shook the bank you could hear the coins jingle. It's that sort of detail that allows Disney to stand apart from everyone else.

Off in the distance there were dark clouds and then you could hear the faint rumbling of thunder and the flashes of lightning that interuppted my picture taking at Imagination. I wish they would do a bit of tweeking to this attraction. With the two changes, the underlying concepts for imagination has gotten blurred and in some cases lost. Oh well, Dreamfinder was past and is not current, unfortunately. I had just managed to make it to the bus stop when the heveans opened up. The rain was blowing sideways! It cut my day short by a few hours, but there was a positive to it.

My former trailermate from the College Program lives here in Florida and was attending a conference while I've been here. Since I was back at the room earlier, we were able to get together. We had dinner at Ragalan Road at Pleasure Island at Downtown Disney. We ate and had a good time catching up with each other. He presented me with something from one of his friends that will help me with Universal over the next two days. Again, my sincere thanks for the assistance that will be provided over the upcoming 48 hours. We managed to close up Raglan Road. I'm sure if they had live entertainment that night, we would have been able to stay until later.

one part that I really enjoyed today took place up at the Imagination water area. I was taking some video of the water in action as well as the passing monorail trains as others would come up to have their picture taken. I would volunteer to take a shot so everyone could be in it. I did this about half a dozen times. I had fun helping them and they really enjoying having a picture with everyone in it.

While today was mellow, I'm expecting high energy as I venture to Universal Orlando Resort for the first time! I will be putty in my tour guides hands as they expertly and adeptly show me the ins and outs of UOR. Following this I'm sure that interesting conversations are going to happen on In The Loop podcast. That is I'm hoping to make it. As I write this the thunder and lightning is still happening at the rain is coming down.

Saturday, April 24, 2010


Today was a relaxing day for the most part on the trip. Lack of sleep had caught up with me and I needed to make an adjustment. I decided to sleep in a couple of hours and it made a difference. The two hours that I allowed myself was deeply needed. Something for this trip that I'm noticing is that with the room not having wi-fi, I'm stuck at the table in the room to do these blog posts AND the chairs are NOT good for long term (>15 minutes) of sitting. The situation is uncomfortable.

I dropped off some gifts at the Luggage Assistance area for some people who live here locally. I then took more boxes and headed over to the Grand Floridian. My former trailer mate from the college program is a high level manager there. At least I thought he was. Turns out he has moved locations. The person behind the concierge desk, Catalina went the extra step and asked me if I would be ok with the chocolates going through interoffice mail to him. I said sure! As a result, she is the second person on this trip to be awarded the AWESOME JOB! card.

The morning was spent tooling around the Magic Kingdom once I got going. I did lots of pictures, esp with the photo pass. Rode the updated Space Mountain. While it wasn't as rough as I remember it, the ride itself wasn't as smooth as Disneyland's version. The games in the queue were OK, but nothing great. On the way out I picked up an ice cold soda. The girl at the register had a new handbook for the rules of Vinylmation trading. She didn't have a date, but I think it's safe to say that the craziness of pin trading and the pin whores out there will have their vinylmation whore counterparts.

The beauty of this trip is the non pressure aspect of the trip to rush, rush rush the attractions. In 2006 I did a similar trip and at that time between the two sides of the country I did every open attraction between the six parks. I don't feel the need try to do or ride EVERYTHING this time around! It makes it soooo much more enjoyable because I only need to do rides that have been updated. I did the Jungle Cruise and Space Mountain only in the Magic Kingdom.

Being in the Magic Kingdom, a dole whip was going to be necessary. I entered Adventureland to find Lilo and Stitch available for pictures with a photopass photographer available. Of course I had my picture taken.

Before I left I asked Stitch if he was up for some mischief. He shook his head yes, so the three of use turned our backsides to the camera and had the moment preserved for future generations!

After the photos, I enjoyed a Dole Whip with a glass of ice water. While I know that I'm not being 100% healthy, I figure it can't hurt to change it up a bit, especially after the tie dye cheesecake and coke the previous evening.

To save the battery, I've been using airplane mode on my phone. I was exploring Columbia Harbor House and turned off the airplane mode. The phone rang and it was John from MouseTimes. He was at Epcot so I ventured over and rode the

Tronorail! He was waiting by the front gate. We had a good time walking around World Showcase and taking pictures.

We rode the boats there in Mexico. John treated me to a type of drink from Japan. The drink is only 7oz of drink but the bottle is designed with a marble that forces the drinker to sip the drink. It was very different and tasty. We tried for dinner at Japan but the plans fell through so we ate at Restaurant Marrakesh. We both had a meal that had some lamb and the mint green tea. The appetizer had goat cheese with balsamic vinegar and some other spices. The whole dinner was delicious and our eyes got a feast on the belly dancer who provided some entertainment.

We closed out the park day at the Studios. The walk from Epcot to the Studios was a nice walk. I wish they could make baby powder that had a topical anesthetic in it! Trips like these to Disney are endurance events, maybe it should be an Olympic sport! This is where the most serendipitous event occurred. With only seven minute to park closing we rode The Great Movie ride that just 20 minutes earlier I poo pooed. I figured from Star Tours it was the only attraction we could get too before the park closed.

Once in the queue, that's when the surprise occurred. Right in front of us was a man and two children. I heard my name called and I looked and it was another person from the college program from 24 years ago! I mean what are the chances! Now to be truthful, he knew I was coming, but exchanged nothing to try to coordinate activities. I was lucky to meet him and his two children.

So another great day on the trip. While I started the day solo, I didn't end it alone! That has been the theme of this trip! Tomorrow, Sunday, I'm hoping to meet up with my old trailer mate from the College Program Jim. We've kept in close touch over the years. He's met up with me when I've visited FL and I've gone down to his hotel when he's visited Hawaii! It will be the last Disney day and then two days at Universal.

The only two Disney activities that I have left are postcards and doing a Kim Possible adventure! I'm excited. I hope you are too!

Friday, April 23, 2010


Viscerally would be a good word to describe several of today's events. Some feelings that I just felt down in my gut. Feelings that just happened. They were unexpected.

The day started at Disney Hollywood Studios. Toy Story Mania. Got to the park before rope drop at the intersection of Hollywood and Sunset. Once the rope dropped the mad dash was on to Pixar place and Toy Story Mania. I was towards the front of the pack and went into the line to get a fast pass. I stood by as the line where I was didn't move due to one lady having problems getting FPs to spit out.

As I stood by, there were what seemed like legions of people passing me by. The green army men were out to help with the crowd. One even commented that I must be from Hawaii because my shirt was so loud. I didn't know what to say, while I was wearing an aloha shirt, it was one of my more subdued shirts.

Inside the queue, I really liked it better than California's version. When someone says the parks are the same, you can point to this as a difference. In line the lady in front of me and myself got talking. Turns out she's a knowledgeable Disney fan. We ended up riding together. I just edged out Becky from Ohio and got to share with her about my podcasts and pictures of Aulani, the Disney Vacation Club Resort that is coming up in Hawaii.

The two big rides were next with Tower of Terror and Rock n Rollercoaster starring Aerosmith. I like WDWs ride mechanism for Tower, but Tokyo's has a kick butt story. When someone says the parks are the same, you can point to this as a difference. The only problem that I have with RnR is the big safety harness with makes it a bit awkward trying to get in and out. But, you manage because it's such a cool ride!

Heading back down Sunset Blvd, I checked with a couple of cast members to see if they knew if Rosie would be out. Neither knew. In the animation building, I met up with Joseph who worked at Disneyland and transferred to WDW. It was good to see him. Fun lunch talk at the Studio Catering Company. He needed to get home to sleep so I walked up to the front of the park to say bye, but I'll see him next week at DPN Westfest.

Just about each time I passed a photopass person, I stopped for pictures! But what I really wanted to do was find Rosie. I stopped at the Information Booth and talked to the girls there. They said that didn't know what Citizens of Hollywood would be out. They depended on the Citizens telling them. Come on now, they have a list of what characters would be where for characters like Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and the rest of the gang, they should be able to do the same for the Citizens.

The American Idol Experience took up my 2pm time slot.

I was impressed with the stage and how the show was pulled off. My singers weren't that impressive in my opinion. The "Winner" was a 14 year old who likes theater. He chose Lion King's Circle of Life and it was so over the top. Well, it is what it is. Who knows, maybe he had a lot of relatives in the audience.

About this time I discovered a couple people were going to be in the parks and made some arrangements. I was lucky with Toast when he called. My phone battery is dieing quickly. To save the battery, I was putting the phone in plane mode which shut off searching for signal which was draining the battery. Every so often i would take it out of airplane mode to pick up new twitters and Facebook updates. I had just enabled the phone for regular service when Toast called. It was a fun lunch because I had enabled regular calls again.

So, a note to people. I might be answering my phone right away at WDW with the poor signal quality I don't want to drain the battery. If you call or are looking for an answer, please leave a message and I'll get back with you!

I went back to animation after the Great Movie Ride. I waiting in line for the UP! characters. There was a long line, but it was worth it. When I got up to Carl, Dug and Russell, I just had this really strong feeling in my gut.

I asked Dug if he could sit and he obediently did so. The photo pass photographer took a number of shots. I felt wonderful with the three of them. I don't totally know why. I think it's because of the message that was conveyed. As I sit here writing this paragraph, those same feelings are on me. When I went to leave Dug, I hugged him and in the position I was in, my head was near his mouth. I heard a slurp like I was being licked. It was one of those moments.

Back on Hollywood Blvd, there a director there setting up a shoot with his assistant. I asked them if they knew if Rosie was working. When asked why I said that I had been there before and she had a really, really good way to remove stubborn spots and I couldn't remember what she told me. He let me know that she usually worked Fridays but that she was off today. This corroborated what someone had told me earlier in the day and that Rosie was semi retired. Within hour of the first one, I had that same strong feeling in my gut. I was soooo disappointed. I love the character!

My choice of transportation to get between the Studios and Epcot was a water shuttle. I was so tired that I apparently dozed off. After we hit the last stop before arriving at Epcot, I startled awake and then heard "each seat can accommodate three people. If there aren't three people, please more towards the outside allowing other people to sit down." I looked around and I was the only bench that had open space. I know who the captain of the Friendship III was talking to!

When I entered Epcot via the International Gateway, I turned right to head over to the American Gardens. When I got near the bridge to the French pavilion, there was a third reaction and this one was strong enough that I could have said I had major allergies flaring up with the sniffling nose and runny eyes. But this one I know why. Back in December 2007 Mousefest I had pictures taken showing me with Paris in the background. I wanted to get to Paris to complete my Disney Park World Tour. In 2008, I made the trip and accomplished a major dream for me. It was there at Epcot that I was able to visualize that goal and 29 months later realizing the power that that moment in 2007 had done to affect me. It took a while for me to get myself under control.

In the American Gardens Theater, Atlanta Rhythm Section was about to get started on the Flower Power Concert Series. With the help of a regular CM, I was able to reconnect with a fellow college program custodial cast member. The funny part was when I asked for this person I got the eye, like "What, you trying to serve a subpoena or something?" I took out my phone and showed a text message saying to look him up. Once I did that, it was only a matter of minutes before the now manager appeared by the concert's control booth. We took a few minutes to say hi and talk. I posted on Facebook that I had met up with a former college program alumni and he responded in the positive to my post. One of the other alumni also asked who it was. Given some of the issues with Facebook, one thing that can be said is that it does make it easier to reconnect with people!

After the meeting in the American Gardens, I moved over to the Kidcot area there at the American Adventure and connected with The Legend. He and I are hosts on the In the Loop podcast and have communicated via e-mail and on the show for several years. It was great to be able to meet in person. For those of you reading this that are trying to get me to the Intimidation Meet for the Intimidator 305 coaster next weekend so we can meet, all I can say is sorry since I've had plans for DPN Westfest for many months and knowledge of the dates for two, almost three years. It is very cool to meet people who you have listened to and watched .

The Legend, excuse me, the Award Winning Legend, and I spent the evening in the park doing some attractions and eating. We tried Tangerine Cafe. Rides included but not limited to Sum of all Thrills, Spaceship Earth and Nemo and Friends. The Turtle Talk with Crush here is cooler than that at Califonia Adventure since this holding room has real jellyfish, puffer fish and rays to look at. When someone says the parks are the same, you can point to this as a difference. He pointed out some items for the Flower and Garden and I got to show him new interpretations to the wall hanging in The Circle of Life theater. The same carpeting is hanging on the walls 24 years after I had worked there. We're going to do Universal at the start of next week and I'm looking forward to it!

Jeff Lange entered the picture today. As The Legend and myself were exiting I saw Jeff. I introduced the two. Jeff introduced us to Bruce Lau, an artist who creates collector items for Disney. He was in the park to sign some of his art. Before we all separated ways, I got Jeff's attention and yelled "JUICY!"

The Legend dropped me off at Pop Century. I decided to hop in the pool for a little bit. When I did there were two ducks outside my door in the grass. Although I didn't write about it, last night there was a rabbit and tonight ducks.

I don't get animals like that outside my door in Hawaii.

For the Awesome Job cards, none were given out today. I made 60 cards, but so far only one has gone out. None of the situations/questions I asked today were things really outside the norm and didn't require complex answers. Maybe tomorrow! It was good to meet new people and reconnect with old friends. While I maybe traveling solo, I'm not traveling alone!

Tomorrow will start at the Magic Kingdom and not sure what after that. But, I will do a little bit of a sleep in before going out!

Thursday, April 22, 2010


Today was a day of unexpected surprises! The day started early and is finishing late! Getting up at 6:30am Eastern time when your body is still on Hawaiian time can be tough and even tougher after four hours of sleep. The wake up call didn't have Stitch saying "No Sleepy, Wake UP!" on it. Hmmmm, wonder what's up with that?

Managed to get myself ready and over to Pop food court to meet up with Sean and Pam for breakfast. They wanted the waffles. I tried the waffles. It came with a slice of sausage and two strips of bacon and I purchased a pint of 2% milk to go with it. Not bad. We cut our time in the food court a little short in that Pam and myself wanted to head over to Animal Kingdom in order to be there early for today, Earth Day 2010 which is also the 12th anniversary of the park opening. Turns out they didn't have anything for the anniversary but just activities throughout the park to commemorate Earth Day.

While waiting for the park to open Pam noticed someone else in line. It was Jeff Lange. I was introduced. I knew that Jeff was a man of distinction. Both he and I were wearing the same exact style of sneaker, walking shoe or what ever is the correct term. Too funny!

After discovering that there were NO anniversary events (I thought that was what WDW Celebrations was supposed to handle, but I could be wrong lol) the three of us headed to Everest. It would be the first ride of the day and for me, the first of my trip! We then started to head over to Harambe

and I used my first photopass. I paid some money in advance of the trip in order to get all the pictures from across all the US parks in one package. I'm going to use this sucker like it's no ones business! If I see a photopass photographer, I want the picture taken. So we saw Baloo and got the first usage on the card.

The next ride was the Kilimanjaro Safari. We had the very back extender seat that they added to the vehicles a few years back. We had a blast. The driver Heather had a fear of the bridges, sort of old rickety bridges on the trails. she would make these uh, uh, uh, and high pitched squeal sounds as we traversed each bridge crossing. When we were let off of our two week safari cut short to 20 minute by our encounter with poachers, I asked Jeff if he had his JUICY pants and both he and Pam started laughing. Ask him sometime and he might explain! Part of it was you had to be there.

There were to be some big activities at Rifki's Planet Watch so we headed over there. I checked twitter and said that Laughing Place was supposed to be LIVE from Animal Kingdom. When I mentioned this Jeff got on the phone and said to wait a few minutes for the next train to drop off people. It was not the next train, but the second and Gideon from Laughing Place and his posse of Rebekah and some other person, fan tan lan wha-bam or something like that was with him. So I got to meet some of the Laughing Place peeps.

We explored the Planet Watch, got some pictures of Pocahontas and Rifiki and freebies from Sylvania that included a reusable bag that could be neatly folded up and snapped shut to take up minimal space.

While there we got to see a pygmy hedgehog. I don't think it's name was Sonic. I also got to meet Denise who does a blog about construction updates at Disney. At his point we split up with Jeff and Denise going one way and Pam and myself headed to get food a Flame Tree BBQ. I really like that place!

Pam and I left Animal Kingdom and headed over to the Magic Kingdom. I stopped at City Hall to get a couple of buttons for a person. If they are reading this blog. I got those "special" buttons that you requested and once I get your address I can forward them to you! I think you'll like them! The second part of my request for information to try to do something special at Disneyland next week. The person said I'd have to contact the Disneyland Resort directly and was about to end the conversation. When I asked for a contact number she disappeared for a while but then came back with information that I can use. While pleasant, no Awesome Job card awarded there.

After enjoying the Dapper Dans Pam and Pam and myself proceeded down towards the castle and what did we find there? That's right PhotoPass! Few more pictures please!

In the Hall of Presidents I got to the Robama as the figured is being called. For the In The Loop crowd, I kept my mouth shut as did everyone else in the audience. No words and no clapping. The show actually had a decent sized crowd. I really enjoyed the changes in the story line. It brings it more into the conversation about the Presidency and it's relationship to the common man.

Mansion was next. I really like some of the effects at the WDW version of the Mansion. BUT, Disneyland Paris still has the better Mansion attraction. After riding Small World, Sean joined up with Pam and myself and shortly thereafter Jeff was back in the fold. We headed over to Tomorrowland Transit Authority and met up with Earl from the Trapped on Vacation podcast. Now there were five!

We enjoyed each others company by eating at Peco's bills. Used the new "express" kiosks. I had used similar ones at Taste Pilots Grill at Disney's California Adventure and thought this should be easy. Well, the ordering what easy. The getting the order took a while. The fixins bar with the sauteed onions and mushrooms added good flavor to the burger. I decided not to do the french fries, but the apple slices. When you looked at the size of the portions, you could understand why people pick the fries. The perception of value is a huge factor!

Pirates was next. Some changes over there since the last time I was in the park in 2007. The exciting factor was the cheerleader girls. They were LOUD in the queue, but we were on opposite sides and we thought we'd be safe. Wrong, they ended up a couple of boats in front of us. Shoot me now, please due to the noise factor. Luckily they calmed down for the ride. I was surprised at that.

The finishing of Pirates lead to the departure of Earl and Jeff for the evening leave Sean, Pam and myself. We tried for the Liberty Bell River Boat, but it was now closed. On the way over to Space Mountain we did ride Snow White's Scary Adventure as it had a very short line. OH, we also discovered the 15 minute clock chime at Small World was supposed to be working. Yeah!

After discovering that Space Mountain wait was 60 minutes we rode the Carousel of Progress. It was cold, dark and comfortable. I've had about 8 hours sleep over 3 days and it caught up with me and I nodded out a couple of times in the short show. Pam was hitting the wall as well. We watched Wishes. Tinker Bell flew right over my head and waved at ME! That was special. Another special was exiting in the backstage area. Over in Disneyland Paris they have the Liberty and Discovery Arcades that run behind the Main Street stores to allow for movement of people in a covered setting. Pretty efficient thinking! Someone at the Magic Kingdom took that idea and ran with it. People were allowed to walk behind Main Street East to move from up by Tomorrowland to Town Square. It was east although in my twitter, I think I said west. For me it was no big deal since I used to work there and was familiar with the area. For a lot of other people it was a treat. ALTHOUGH....if the cast members who were guiding the guests saw someone pull out a camera, they were asked politely to put it away. They didn't want pictures in the back stage area. Understandable.

It was as this point that Sean, Pam and myself parted ways. They fly out tomorrow. But fear not, I'll see them again as they'll be attending DPN Westfest next week in Anaheim. How cool is that!

So did I give out any of my Awesome Job cards today, unfortunately, no. Did I do something new, yes, the new Hall of Presidents and I got to see a pygmy hedgehog. I got to see an old friend, Earl and met new people like Jeff and Denise. Not sure what tomorrow will bring, but I'm thinking Disney Hollywood Studios!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Today 4/21 is the official end of Day 1 of the Disney Coast to Coast-er Universally Magic Adventure.

Took the shuttle to LAX from the Holiday Inn. I froze! According to the news, it was 48 degrees and me with shorts and flimsy shirt over a tank top. Brrrr.

When checking in I had some hassles because of the luggage transfer. The check-in screen said to see the rep. The rep said put in ZERO for bags. Didn’t sound right, but I did and proceeded to the gate. Passed the United Customer Service and I asked Dee for help. She was pleasant, but wasn’t willing to go the extra mile to locate the bag. United said they didn’t have it and Delta now says they didn’t either. At the gate I asked P Melnyk for help and she said she couldn’t. So I got on the plane without knowing where my luggage was located.

Upon arrival in Orlando I took the shuttle to the main building. After exiting the train and while trying to get my bearing I see a familiar face. I call out “Tom” and this person lifts up his head. It was my manager when I worked at Sprint. Tom had moved a number of years ago from Hawaii up to Seattle. He was in Orlando for a conference. How weird is that! Two old co-workers on two different flights.

In the main building, I went to the United counter and the lady there was great.

She took ownership of the problem and tried a couple different options. She was the first person I awarded my customer service card to during the trip. Although she didn’t have a resolution she wanted to help. I really appreciated that! Something that I did learn is that if you use DME and your bag is lost, it does add a layer of complexity when trying to resolve the issue. I took her picture but didn’t want to give her name although I spied the name on her name tag.

Over at the Delta office, different story. The person there could have cared less and said there was nothing that she could do. It’s now 4:30, spent an hour trying to locate luggage with no luck. Responses on twitter and face book are things like bummer, crap, sucks, and that sucks. My feelings exactly! Get on Disney’s Magical Express and head over to Pop. I’m sorry, I miss the place and got misty eyed heading over to property.

Between the lines at DME and Pop, I finally have everything including the blank video tapes that I ordered and had delivered to the resort. The shipping is cheaper and I didn’t have to worry about that weight in my bag! It’s almost 6pm which at the Pop Century Resorts means it’s time to HUSTLE! Only 3 people came out and danced. Towards the end of the session a fourth person joined in. FUN!

This is my third trip to WDW since moving to Hawaii. Each time I have stayed at Pop AND I got assigned to the 50’s building again. I’m on the back side facing the water. It’s a nice view. The red light was flashing on the phone when I entered the room. The first message was letting me know the UPS package was at the front desk. The second was from United. The winner of my first customer service card gave a follow up call. Apparently Delta changed the tag on the bag so no one could find it under the tag that I had.

It did make it on the plane and DME will be dropping it off later tonight. YEAH!!!!

With the late arrival, I decided that I’ll head over to Riverside at Port Orleans and see good ol’ Yehaa Bob Jackson. Since there is no direct bus from Pop, I took the bus to Downtown Disney and then took the boat over. Unfortunately I discovered I was in the wrong line. SO, lesson to pass on, the boat to Riverside and French Quarter is by Captain Jacks in the Marketplace and not by Pleasure Island.

I happened to get a seat near the front on the side of the short dividing wall closer to Bob. After he did his intro he was going around and finding out where people are from. He pointed at me and gave a funny look and asked me. When I said Honolulu, I could see the light bulb go off and he said my name. He remembers me hosting him for the DPN Westfest event back in 2008. I also received a twitter from Sean and Pam saying there were in the place. I stood up and called out their name. They moved from the back up to my table in the front. AND Trace, yes, I told Bob hi from you and Lisa and he told me about your connection. AWESOMENESS to be ensured on that deal! My waitress Hollie was very good and kept my diet coke refilled throughout the night!

Sean and Pam gave me a ride back to Pop Century. I was lucky because I’m not sure how I would have gotten back. When I entered my room, my bag was there! Yeah, now I have the power strip so I can recharge all the batteries. This is my first time here with a data phone that can do texting. I charged the battery in full this morning. I haven’t done a whole lot and when I got back to the room, the phone was dead. There have been some errors on messages so I’m thinking the signal for this phone isn’t the best. It’s something that I need to keep an eye on as I don’t have a spare phone battery.

So, was the day perfect? By no means, BUT, I am at Walt Disney World and very grateful that I’m back. Day two will include going to Animal Kingdom on the anniversary of the opening of the park. I’m excited!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

DC2CERUMA - Day 0.5

Today started the Disney Coast to Coast-er Universally Magic Adventure (DC2CerUMA). This trip will take me to Walt Disney World in Orlando and Universal Studios Florida. I'll then be heading over to Anaheim to visit Disneyland for the DPN Westfest event with a day for Universal Studios Hollywood and Magic Mountain.

I'm writing this earlier than I expected and hence the 0.5 day. I was hoping to be writing this after my first full day at Disney World. But I got hit with the bug a boo! Got Delta's flight to Los Angeles from Honolulu. In a weird plus to the event I ended up sitting across the aisle from the guy who invented LOL cats at the Icanhascheeseburger web site. How do I know that it's him? I used to work with Eric. We hadn't taken off when the crew came on and let us know that we were heading back to the terminal for a sick passenger to get off. OK, at least we weren't airborne!

We're sitting at the gate and I see the ramp moved to the plane, see a person leave the plane and then the ramp pulled away from the plane. Then we sat. I was already a bit worried for a tight connection since when I originally made the reservation I had like an hour for the connection. The week before departure I received a notice that flight had moved and had 40 minutes for the connection. So we're sitting for a little bit when the pilot comes on and says that they were receiving additional fuel and that they would be leaving in a few minutes. But we sat. When we finally moved it was almost an hour later. According to the official information on the Delta web site, departure was 1:59pm. Maybe the pilot can put the petal to the metal or put the muster in the thruster and get us to LA on time, 9:30pm LA time.

The airlines have their rules, when the plane pulls away that is departure time and when the wheels hit the ground is the arrival time. That arrival time doesn't include the time to taxi to the arrival city's gate. When we arrive in LA, we approach the gate and then stop. The pilot comes in and tells us that he's got to power down the plane and wait for the tractor to be towed into the gate. UGH! When I checked-in in Honolulu, I talked to the agent about the tight connection and she moved me to the second row in the cattle car section so I was closer to the front of the plane. When the door opened and people started to deplane, as I passed the flight attendants they were making announcements about connections and said the the flight to Orlando had already departed.

Long story short, they couldn't get me out that night. When told about the time of departure and arrival into Orlando for the next day, I told the agent, Azali that I'd be loosing a day at the Disney parks and that ticket was $131 (Single day park hopper). He offered me a $100 travel credit good for one year on Delta. Well, to the best that I can remember, this is only the second time EVER that I've flown Delta. He said I could give it to someone. Asked him why would I give money to someone for me loosing money and told him it wasn't good enough. He had no answer. They are putting me up at the Holiday Inn with a meal voucher for all of $6.00. Heck I can't even buy a combo meal at McDonald's for that amount. Ashley at the front desk of the Holiday Inn LAX said she didn't know what they had that would be covered by the voucher cost. While Azali and Ashley, oh, how funny, both their names begin with A, were pleasant, neither have gone above and beyond to get one of the AWESOME JOB cards that I plan on using during the trip.

I'm gonna cut it here. It's after midnight in LA and I'm going to need to be at the airport for 6am for a 7:55am United flight. When I check in tomorrow, I'll see what else they can do for me and let you know.

Aloha for now!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Movie Review: Death at a Funeral

To listen to the audio version, click here

Funerals are a funny animal, especially when it's a family funeral. Living in Hawaii I haven't attended a family funeral in a number of years. The last time I attended a family function was my brother's wedding and someone made the comment, "it only seems the time this family gets together is for weddings and funerals." In the movie Death at a Funeral, two brothers Aaron and Ryan (Chris Rock and Martin Lawrence) make a similar comment saying that they only have reunions at funerals, in this case, it's their father's.

Aaron and his wife Michelle (Regina Hall) want to move out of his parents home into their own place. Aaron is supposed to give the eulogy since he's older but everyone was thinking that his published author brother would give it. Even when Ryan arrives from his first class flight from New York, he thought that he would be giving it. too Aaron insists that he'll be giving the eulogy once the funeral gets going.

The dad insisted on having a home funeral and Aaron is just trying to make it through the day as things happen to add more stress to the already stressful day. Uncle Duncan (Ron Glass) is there with his son, Jeff (Columbus Short) and daughter Elaine (Zoe Saldana) and her boyfriend Oscar (James Marsden). Duncan doesn't like Oscar and to help calm him down Elaine gives Oscar one of Jeff's Valium which turns out not to be a Valium but a hallucinogen. Elaine's ex boyfriend Derek (Luke Wilson) shows up with family friend Norman (Tracy Morgan) after they stopped to pick up wheel chair bound and crotchety uncle Russell (Danny Glover). Aaron is facing his wife who wants to have sex that day so she can become pregnant to relieve the pressure being put on them by the grieving widow Cynthia (Loretta Devine) who is upset that she doesn't yet have a grand child and constantly reminds Michelle of that fact.

After starting the day with the wrong body being delivered, the funeral progresses from bad to worse. Oscar freaks out as the drugs kick in causing him to knock over the casket which allows the body to fall out. During a short break to bring the situation under control Aaron is approached by Frank, an unknown little person (Peter Dinklage) saying that their dad and him were as Aaron pointed out later to Ryan, on the down low. Frank wasn't in the will and he feels that he's entitled to $30,000 or he'll expose their relationship with pictures that he brought to the funeral. Not a good day to be in Aaron's shoes.

Many of the family situations seem understandable, but the situation as a whole seems larger than life. Most of the humor worked while some didn't. Hey, I'm all in for a good fart joke, but they didn't have to revert to pure potty humor. Maybe if they brought Frank Oz back in to direct this it would have been better. What do you mean "back in"? Well, you see this is actually a remake of a 2007 movie of the same name that Frank directed. It was a British comedy that had the same set ups, relationships and occupations. Even Peter Dinklage reprises his role as the dead man's love interest. It is said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

These days Hollywood wants franchises where they can take proven characters and create new stories with them instead of spending the time, money and energy to come up with something without having to start from scratch. This seems to be a cost saving measure with a film where you change the location, the ethnicity of the family, and a few lines to try to make it appealing to a new audience. While not as original as I hoped, the power comedy cast didn't deliver a dead pan performance, but provided a lively time that for the most part people could enjoy. Extra kudos to James Marsden. It looked like he had an enjoyable time cutting loose and having fun as he explored the wild side of the characters psychotropic journey.

The movie runs 90 minutes and is rated R for sexual humor, drug content and language.

The Movie Monkey

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Friday, April 9, 2010

Movie Review: Date Night

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To listen, press the play button on the player below

Tina Fey and Steve Carell star as Claire and Phil Foster in Date Night, a movie that would be good for a date night. Two powerhouses of comedy are together in this one film and it could be overpowering. Between Steve and Tina, they found the right combination so that they moved the story forward providing lots of laughs but didn't go over the top making for a fun film that any couple on their own date night would have fun sitting in the darkened theater enjoying their own popcorn and soda.

Phil and Claire are a suburban family with two kids and they've gotten into a rut. He's a tax lawyer and she's a real estate agent. They have the sitter come over to take care of the kids and they go out on their weekly date night. They go to the same restaurant where the waiter knows them by name and what they like and don't like. To help pass the time while eating one of them will select a couple in the restaurant and they role play what they think is going on inside that couple's conversation. It got some good laughs inside the theater.

Phil and Claire change their relationship perspective when confronted by a dramatic situation. A close long time couple announce they are going to get divorced. Basically they were bored with each other and decided that they were the best of roommates rather than husband and wife. Claire and Steve looked dumbfounded and questioned whether they were headed down the street called Ho-Hum in their own relationship.

To change things up Claire dresses up for date night and Phil decides to take her into the city, to New York City from New Jersey to a swanky restaurant without reservations when they decide to pose as another couple, the Tripplehorns, and take over a table they wouldn't have otherwise had. I mean really, who would do that? While they're sitting enjoying their risotto and Cabernet two men (Jimmi Stewart and Common) approach the table and ask Phil and Claire to come along with them. Armstrong and Collins who are not restaurant managers,but thugs try to get "the Tripplehorns" to turn over a flash drive. Through a series of circumstances Phil and Claire get away and run to a former client of Claire's, Grant Holbrooke (Mark Wahlberg) for help. Turns out he is Security Consultant who likes lounging around in his place with his shirt off. While Claire might like this, it makes Phil uncomfortable.

In the process of trying to get a resolution for the case of mistaken identity with Holbrooke's help Phil and Claire track down the real Tripplehorns (James Franco and Mila Kunis), fire guns, deal with cops (Tariji P Henson), the DA (William Fichtner), the mob (Ray Liotta) and have one of the most inventive chase scenes involving a stressed out NY cabbie (JB Smoove) that's come along in a while.

For 88 minutes, this movie passed time quickly. The humor was smart and you could tell there was some improvisation going on. It was enjoyable to watch. Some of the scenes you'd say to yourself, "No way that could happen" but other times there were some real truths about couples who have been together for a while were expressed. It got pointed, but I don't think that they ever got personally nasty during the relationship discussions. Some of the pratfalls were classic but you still found yourself laughing out loud or going "oooohh" because you could feel the pain yourself.

Make sure that you remain all the way to the end of the movie. The credits have some funny scenes including out takes and different improve sessions. The movie is rated PG-13 for some sexual and crude content throughout, drug reference, and some language and violence. I'm wondering what sort of people were attracted to this movie as I watched the final credits part of the audience filed out and not one, but TWO people on separate sides of the theater pulled out LED flashlights to light their way. They safely navigated down the steps without falling. Now, if I could just get those people who walk down my aisle and decide to stop in front of me while I'm watching the credits to move out onto the stairs to make a decision about what to do next, that would be greatly appreciated!

BTW, over at the Skurvy Monkeys, I was christened by Design and Proud Monkey with the moniker Movie Monkey. Today, April 9, 2010 I was presented with my own Skurvy Monkey character portrait.

I understand the directors cap but wonder why it doesn't say "I heart POP corn" after all theaters don't serve buttered corn on the cob, but hot dang, everyone is snapping up those big bags of bushed out corn kernels! In any case I'm excited, kinda like Steve Martin in The Jerk when he says "The new phone book's here! The new phone book's here! This is the kind of spontaneous publicity I need! My name in print! That really makes somebody! Things are going to start happening to me now. " Well, I got my monkey portrait and with this kind of spontaneous publicity things are going to start happening to me now! Thanks Design!

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Caught doing something right

I have a big trip coming up and I'm super stoked about it! I'll be hitting up a number of theme parks on the east and west coasts. In the plans are the six Disney parks, the three Universal parks and one Six Flags park, a couple of hotels, one airline for four different segments, one rent a car company and four different shuttle companies. I've called it my Disney Coast to Coast-er Universally Magic Adventure. I was thinking of doing something and would like to hear your thoughts on this idea to be executed while on the adventurous journey.

During the trip I know that I will encounter hundreds of people starting and ending with the shuttle trip to and from the Honolulu International Airport with all the parks, hotels, drivers and ride operators in between. We always hear the gripe and complaint stories about companies and employees not doing their jobs right. I want to try to turn that around a little and maybe have some fun with it. The game plan is as follows: get some of those print at home business cards, put something like "You've been caught doing something right" on them, when I catch someone doing something right by going above and beyond give them a card, ask if I can get a shot of them with my phone camera and then blog about them and what they did here at The Tiki Outpost.

With all the different components of this trip there will be a lot of chances for things to go wrong but I'm hoping that I don't run across any junk. I'm hoping all goes well and want to let those people who do things right be noticed. While I can't give them anything like money or prizes, hopefully the little card will act like a certificate that they can show other people. The web address will be on the card and I can point out to them that there will be a post about why they were noticed. The card and post will act as their reward.

I've already had one surprise in the planning. I contacted Universal Orlando Resort and heard back from them the NEXT day with a phone call AND they observed the time zone. Tony was the rep. He waited to call in their day so I received the call at 8am my time and not 2am as some other organizations/solicitors from the east coast have done in the past. I hate when the mainland goes on Daylight Saving Time and it becomes 6 hours between here and there. He fully answered all of my questions. The call was a surprise as they could have used e-mail.

So that's the idea give attention to people doing things right. What do you think? Got any comments or suggestions? Leave them below!