102 Ways Revisited

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A few weeks ago, Lou Mongello of WDWRadio gave me the great opportunity to review his new book, 102 Ways To Save Money For And At Walt Disney World.

I wanted to review the book objectively and as a whole. I looked at the content and the advise to see how it matched up with other advise I’ve heard over the years. I looked at the layout of the book. I looked at the photos, which were beautiful. Etc… And I gave it two thumbs up, virtually speaking.

But the other day, I picked up the book again, but this time, with a different perspective. Instead of looking at it as a review of a book, I looked at it as someone who is planning a trip to Disney World and wants to save money and, interestingly, I came away from the book differently than I did the first time.

I still give it two virtual thumbs and would recommend it to anyone planning a trip, but there are aspects of the book this time around that weren’t relevant to me some of which took me off guard.

My parents have a timeshare in Orlando and we’re staying there, so our lodging is free. Therefore, I can skip the chapter on where to stay. However, something I didn’t notice the first time I read it is that the chapter on how to save money on eating at WDW is also not relevant to me because every piece of advise is contingent on me either staying on property or having an annual pass. While I hope to make those things true at some point in my life, right now, it’s not.

To be fair, the stuff about saving money on eating that was relevant to me was in a different chapter, but it is an interesting observation.

If I have a criticism of the book it is this: Lou focuses primarily (though, not entirely) on saving money by taking advantage of all Disney has to offer. Go to the parks for more days so your per day ticket is cheaper. Stay on property and use all of the amenities there in. Become an annual pass holder.

I don’t dislike or disagree with these pieces of advice (in fact, I want to do them some day) but there’s no where that talks about just wanting to go down to the Parks for a couple of days even though you can’t afford a full blown vacation.

If you want to grab a copy of the book (which, again, I highly recommend) you can check out Disney102.com

Portable Nintendo 64

Portable Nintendo 64 I saw this the other day and thought, “I want one!” This guy is building a portable Nintendo 64. It looks to be roughly the size of the N64 controller with a 3.5″ screen, buttons on either side and a slot for the N64 cartridge in the back.

Then I told one of my friends about it who promptly said, “What’s the point? The DS can play most of those games by now anyway.” My friend typically errs on the side of pessimism so I usually take what he says with a grain of salt, but the more I thought about it, the more I agree with him.

Why should I get one?

1) I don’t even play my DS that much anymore
2) I got rid of my 64 games long ago, so I wouldn’t have anything to play anyway.

Then I started thinking about the product itself. There are a lot of limitations to it that the DS doesn’t have, namely, the lack of multiplayer ability. No Goldeneye tournaments or Mario Kart racing with your friends.

I don’t have a problem with creating something that essentially already exists as long as what you’re creating improves on that thing. This portable Nintendo 64 is, in some ways, a step back, not a step forward.

For example, almost everybody has a smartphone now, but the guys over at phoneblok are creating a new smartphone that is more customizable than any other smartphone and will lead to less waste in the long run. This is a great idea and I’m definitely on board with it.

What do you think? Should we put support behind a portable Nintendo 64?

Can We Calm Down About Spoilers?

On the one hand, I understand not wanting a movie, tv show, book, etc… spoiled. Part of the fun is experiencing the story for yourself, I get that.

But lately I’ve been feeling like people are using spoilers to avoid negative legal action, like they could get sued if they aren’t clear enough in their spoiler disclaimer.

I listen to multiple podcasts, one of them reviews Disney movies and one of them reviews Agents of SHIELD and the MCU. Both spend time in almost every episode making clear that they will be spoiling whatever it is they’re talking about and almost every episode I want to say, “Duh! That’s why I’m listening to your podcast.”

I think that we should be smart enough to know when and where spoilers will pop up. If you go searching for a movie review, don’t get angry if something gets spoiled for you, that’s what movie reviews do, they tell you about the movie.

Can movie reviews be spoiler-free? Sure. Should they all be spoiler-free? No, because then no discussion could be had about the story in question.

I’m not saying that we shouldn’t throw out a quick spoiler disclaimer in our reviews (I did when I reviewed The Winter Soldier over at TheDisneyBlog) but I am saying two things:

1) Let’s give people more credit in understanding when and where spoilers will be
2) Stop pretending like not giving a disclaimer will result in legal action

Our life will not be ruined if we find out that Darth Vader is Luke’s father by some other means than watching it unfold on screen ourselves.

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It is far too expensive to celebrate your anniversary in Disneyland, what are you going to do now?

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We got a quote from a Disney travel site for our trip to Anaheim and when the numbers came back we quickly realized how outside of our budget this trip was going to be. So, we talked about it and decided to spend our anniversary in Orlando instead. I’m a little bummed, especially because I was looking forward to seeing Marvel related attractions inside a Disney Park (thanks to Universal, who knows how long it will be before we still Marvel inside Disney World).

But I haven’t been to “my” park in almost two years, so my disappointment will quickly be overshadowed. Magic Kingdom was already a must-do for us because of the Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom game and New Fantasyland and it was solidified in our plans when they announced that the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train will open just before we go. I’m also looking forward to the new afternoon parade, especially that awesome Maleficent float.

We also decided to go to Epcot for a second day. My wife and I have tried to really experience Epcot and appreciate it but, for various reasons, we haven’t been able to.

I’ve been intrigued by all of the next-gen technology that they’ve been rolling out and I’m looking forward to testing it out as well. We’ll be able to use the My Disney Experience app, Fastpass+, and even the Magic Bands.

We also decided to let our daughter stay with her grandparents that week. Since this is an anniversary trip, we want the trip to be about us (don’t worry, we’ve already got a trip planned that includes our daughter as well).

The tickets have been bought, the room has been reserved, now all that’s left is to get our Fastpass+ squared away and wait in eager anticipation for the end of May.

Happy April Fool’s!

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I had a completely different topic for today’s post, but then Google announced its campaign to hire Pokemon Masters so I decided to change topics for today (after I spent a good chunk of the morning finding and catching Pokemon, of course).

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You can go to Google Maps and type in various cites and landmarks around the world and there will be Pokemon icons you can click on, catch and add them to your pokedex. The “prank” officially is that this is a test to see who will be hired by Google in September to be their official Pokemon Master. The unofficial prank, I think, is on anyone who employes a child of the 90′s who’s going to spend an inordinate amount of time on Google Maps and singing “Gotta Catch ‘Em All!” all day.

Improv Everywhere also posts a video every year to prank their subscribers like this one from 2011.

And Rhett and Link, over on YouTube, talked on their morning show today about some of the best pranks over the past few years.

What’s been your favorite April Fool’s Joke?

On Fairytales

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I took an online course last month about the origin and adaptation of fairytales. Overall, it was underwhelming but it did get me thinking about fairytale tropes – the various reoccurring themes in these stories and how we interact with them.

We really buy into the idea that everyone has a “one true love.” We love the idea that there is one special person out there for us.

By the same token, nobody buys the “wicked stepmother” trope; in fact, it often gets criticized. Nobody thinks that step-parents are, by definition, wicked.

So, why do we think that one is true and the other is not?

Because we don’t understand what the fairytales are doing. They are telling us something bigger about our world.

Step-parents, in reality, aren’t wicked, but, in the stories, they represent an unnatural relationship and thus (again, in the stories, not in real life) are presented negatively.

By the same token, these stories do point to a “true love” – it’s just not with another human.

Let’s be honest, human love isn’t true. At best, it’s a shadow of something greater.

I’ve not been unfaithful to my wife, but there are times (more than I’d like to remember) that I wasn’t truly loving her. Am I her true love now? Yes, became her true love when we committed to each other ’till death separates us, but at the same time, I’m still working towards being truly loving to her.

I know I’m bursting the romantic bubble here, but, if stepmothers aren’t wicked in real life than true love isn’t between two humans.

 

Muppets Most Wanted

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I have a confession to make: I am not a huge fan of the Muppets. I don’t dislike them, I just don’t have that nostalgic love for them the way people who are a few years older than me do.

I grew up in the 90′s so, for me, the Muppets were either babies, on Treasure Island or in Space. Muppets Take Manhattan was my only exposure to “classic Muppets” as a kid.

That said, I enjoy the viral videos they’ve done over the years and I really love the reboot/sequel they did a couple of years ago.

So, let’s talk Muppets Most Wanted, shall we?

There were criticisms of the last movie not feeling like a Muppet movie. For some, it seemed to lack the zaniness and the gags that are associated with the franchise (instead, it focused on this weird thing called “story.” Crazy, right?).

Muppets Most Wanted heard the critics and responded. This movie has the crazy, disjointed, throw as many gags and celebrity cameos in as we can, feel that a classic Muppets movie has. What that means for me, is that I didn’t enjoy it as much as the last movie. The songs were more hit or miss this time, with only a couple standing out.

Most of the gags were funny and, overall, it was a good movie, but putting the focus on gags and celebrity cameos made for a weaker story.

The emotional tie for this movie was on Kermit and Piggy’s relationship, which has always been a little weird to me, so I never really got emotionally tied to the movie.

What did you think?;