Saturday, April 28, 2012


Sorry I've been taking such an unusually long time to add anything at all to this blog or to the Twitter feed, etc. I've been sitting for the last 7 months, thinking of a reason why I haven't been able to come up with any substantial to write about. For a while, the dominant reason was, "Well, there's not really anything going on. It's been a quiet month." True, big stories about the parks have been scarce since the announcement of "Avatar-Land," or whatever it's going to be called. The truth is, though, there's still so much to write and discuss. I could easily write about the continuously shattered state of a lot of the park's attractions and management ("Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom," I'm looking at you), or I could even write about my optimism for newer, smaller things popping up around the parks. If that fails, I could still write about other areas of Disney entertainment, be it feature films or video games - anything. But despite the plentiful amount of inspiration to write about, there's still the lack of motivation. To be completely honest, it's just hard to really write anything anymore in the tone that this blog uses. It takes a lot of energy to focus a lot of cynicism/pessimism onto one central point (like a certain attraction), which is why I occasionally write about things I loved in the parks, or focused on more abstract topics, like show writing or queues. It's been almost 4 years since I started this blog; when I started it in a condo in Celebration, FL while on vacation in the parks, I was filled with 3 years' worth of passion to keep writing from the heart. It's very possible that another trip could refill the ol' hate-tank, but I'd like to think in the last few years that I've grown a little. I've seen a lot of changes - good and bad, personal and writing-related - that have affected how I write and what I write about. This blog represents a chapter of my life that has come to a close. As much as I still have reservations and doubts and gripes about the industry, I realize that the entire reason I started writing these posts is because I love to think and talk and write about it. I wondered for a long time why, exactly, bloggers like Epcot82 stopped writing, but it's become increasingly clear. I worry that the more I continue to write about everything I hate about each aspect of the company, I'll end up simply hating it.

So this will be my last post on the blog. I won't permanently shut anything down - who knows, I may have another fit of rage and start writing furiously for another few years - but I'm going to choose to focus my love for talking about Disney in a bit of a more positive light. If you're reading this for the first time, or if you've ever read this blog over the course of the last 4 years, I thank you for devoting your time - even if it were for a mere few minutes - to the pointless musings and ramblings of a Disney fan.

Thank you all, and goodbye.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Oh Dear God, No

This morning, I was looking at my Twitter feed, not really expecting anything serious to catch my attention, when all of a sudden I found myself spewing chocolate milk ALL OVER my computer because HOLY CRAP WHY:

"Bob Iger and Tom Staggs just announced a long-term creative partnership with James Cameron's Lightstorm Entertainment and Fix Filmed Entertainment to bring the fantasy world of AVATAR to life at Disney Parks. And it'll all begin at Disney's Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort."

Really? Really? Excuse my extremism, but isn't this idea a tad bit insane? I know "Avatar" made boatloads upon boatloads of money all over the world for maybe 15 consecutive months, and it was a favorite among people looking for our generation's "Star Wars," but is this seriously a fine way to go? This partnership makes absolutely no sense.

I'll go ahead and put this out there: I hated hated hated "Avatar." I thought it was tacky, over-rated, boring, long, dumb, loud, and obnoxious. It lacked any real original thematic ideas, and while the world of Pandora had some interesting creative concepts, it just wasn't enough to keep me enthralled for two hours. I'm a huge James Cameron fan, I love "Aliens" and "Terminator 2," so I was excited beyond belief for this movie up until seeing it, but it left me feeling disappointed. Thinking it was a fluke, I went one more time to make sure I just wasn't letting a bad mood or something affect the experience. Nope. I disliked it more the second time. It was just....bleh. I didn't understand why everyone in the world was so obsessed with it, and why it was so well-received among sci-fi film fan circles. It just wasn't all there.

But this isn't a review of "Avatar." Just know that I hate it. So I'm not crazy about this idea. But tons of people love "Avatar," so they'll eat this up, I suppose. It just doesn't make sense that of all of the movies in the entire world to base a theme park land off of, this is the one. Sure, it made more money than anyone could have imagined, but that can't be enough of a justification (for TDO, it may actually be). I can easily imagine what the attractions will be like here, and it all seems so...Universal Studios-esque. Not that I'm ragging on the Studios, but it just doesn't seem like Disney Parks to take a movie that's not Disney-made and base an entire land of a theme park on it. And Animal Kingdom, of all parks! I know it ties in well with the "conservation" theme, but in a park that's built on a lot of simple, legitimate, non-gimmicky ideas (and some terribly gimmicky ideas - Chester & Hester, I'm looking at you) it doesn't seem sensible to slap an entire land based on "Avatar" in the middle of everything.

I'll give Disney Parks credit - they did a damn good job of concealing these plans from the public until they were ready to make an announcement. Everyone was hoping for an Animal Kingdom expansion at some point, but I don't think this is the one they were hoping for. In an effort to combat the business Universal is doing with "Harry Potter," they decided to go with an idea that seems hastily thrown together and a bit ostentatious. At least construction won't start until 2013; we still have a few more years with Animal Kingdom as it is.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Au revoir, Balzac!

First Fantasyland, then HISTA, now this?! According to recent reports, the hilarious and adorable Balzac ball kiosks spread throughout Disney World are on their way out. This saddens me, folks! The Balzac stands have become an institution in the parks, not unlike Dole Whips or issues with the Monorail. Honestly, can anyone remember a time they were walking through the parks, enjoying the scenery, and weren't pelted repeatedly in the head and chest with inflatable balls of varying size? It was a magical experience! And of all the cast members trained to essentially perform in their own environments -- the bellhop at Tower of Terror, the Tour Guide on The Great Movie Ride, or even someone performing maintenance around Tomorrowland -- none were better at sucking you into the atmosphere than the Balzac salespeople. Standing around playing with giant balloons required such rapt focus, such attention to detail and nuance that any visitor to the park would immediately be enamored with their plight. And those amazing balls were so vividly designed! With nearly every color imaginable streaked across a single ball, the mere sight of one evoked a Technicolor nightmare - a streaming fury of unabashed contrast emblazoned across a spherical symbol of resistance and power, like a collage of LSD-inspired fireworks thrown onto the heaving shore of our collective subconscious. The only thing that improves this piece of pure art is the word "Balzac" scrawled across the face of the ball, written with sharp, jagged edges, piercing the eyes with a mere glance. The fiery letters burn into the retina like the first time one reads Kerouac, or sees "Citizen Kane." It's a beautiful nightmare, twisted and raw, an orgy of fear and joy and hope and hatred.

I, for one, will miss Balzac and all it brought with it. If we could get something that comes close to filling the void left by these kiosks, we should all consider ourselves incredibly blessed.

My GOD, I want one of these.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

So, I've gone and done it...

Just a brief update as I knock out a new article ("Why it takes so long for me to write - a look into laziness") - I just launched a Twitter, which I plan on using to write thoughts on smaller goings-on that a blog post is just too big for. You can follow me @projectxblog.

Friday, December 10, 2010

I want "TRON," dammit!

As many of you know, "TRON: Legacy" is slated to hit theatres next week. That's pretty damn soon. I haven't seen the original in 5 or so years, and (like many of you, I'm sure) I know some folks who are interested in the sequel but haven't seen the original yet. So two days ago, I saunter into my local Best Buy and try to find it. Nothing. This is odd, because I swear I saw copies of it six months ago for ten bucks on the shelves. I try searching for it on their computer: still nothing. The next day, at FYE, I try the same thing, to no avail. I figure, "Whatever, I'm sure it's because all the other "TRON"-lovers and newcomers caught in the hype are buying all the available copies." So I go to Amazon, and fond that a used copy of the movie costs $65. SIXTY-FIVE DOLLARS. "Holy shit," I think to myself. New copies? In the hundreds. What is the deal?

I go to some other retailers and find similar results. The quoted price on Barnes & Nobles' page was $200 (though I thought that was normal for them). So finally, I go to and try finding "TRON". I click the "Buy" link, and am promptly taken back to their main page. This sucks. What the hell happened here?

I start to scour the brain-trust of the internet and find several possible explanations, most of which are based thoroughly in conspiracy theory. They report the same things I've found: high prices online, out of stock everywhere, Netflix doesn't have it, etc. Some have claimed that Disney is withholding the DVD/Blu-Ray for a 2011 release, which makes no sense at all. It's studio nature - nay, policy - to "double dip" a DVD and/or release a Blu-Ray in sync with the sequel/prequel/whatever to that film's theatrical release. So why wait until next year to do it? According to Blue Sky Disney, "Word has it that earlier this summer the original Tron was screened at one of the theme parks and was laughed at by people who had not seen the original film and mocked it for its now-outdated effects and silly attire of leotards and hockey helmets parodied by the infamous 'Tron Guy.' Rumor has it that some Disney execs witnessed their reactions and it made them very, very nervous."

So wait a fucking second: The same company* that decided to bring back "Captain EO" for an extended run in several theme parks doesn't want to put out something that looks dated and slightly corny? I know, I know, Disney's only reason to re-release "TRON" would be to generate more advance hype for the sequel, whereas re-releasing "Captain EO" did nothing (except cash in on someone's death), but seriously. I think the "TRON" marketing machine is past having to worry about crossing the decency line.

I don't really see any reason for Disney to be nervous or worried about how the original film is going to affect ticket sales of the sequel. You've done a fine job promoting the living hell out of "Legacy", and I'm pretty sure anyone unfamiliar with the film's predecessor who planned on seeing it won't have their minds changed this late, or - better yet - won't be turned off by watching the original.

I have doubts that the situation is as dramatic as some people are trying to make it, turning Disney into an Alan Moore-esque government trying to hide the fact that "TRON" ever existed. But keeping it completely off of shelves this close to the sequel's release is, no matter what the reason, a really dumb move. It's an amazing movie, and I would really like to watch it again.

So please, Disney: fucking give us "TRON" back.

*I know, Disney Parks and Disney Home Entertainment are two totally different divisions/entities. But you'd imagine there'd be some sort of cohesion here, right? ....Right?

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Things I Love: Illuminations

Every once in a while, it's important to stop being such a cynical ass and take note of the things that still draws me to Disney World year after year. Here's one of the things I love.

It all starts with a drum roll. Not a lame, "snare-drum" roll like what you would hear as the 20th Century Fox logo appears, but an actually powerful, intimidating, pounding of drums. It's almost tribal in it's presentation, yet there's more to it than that. If anything, it's the opening to mankind itself; the savage, exploding drums that signify the chaotic beginning to Earth itself. By the time any comfort sets in towards the echoing beat, a screaming fleet of sparks flow through the sky, and touch down as our story begins.

Not too many night-time shows have stories, but many at Disney parks surprisingly (or, to some, not surprisingly) do. These stories can range from a classic tale of good versus evil, to a more pleasant yarn about fantasies and dreams. Since I first saw it in 2000, "Illuminations: Reflections of Earth" has been the single most powerful nightime show seen in Disney World - not just for it's ability to draw enormous crowds night after night who are as instantly sucked in as you are, but for it's amazing simplicity, special effects, and the grand story it tells by merely using fireworks, music, and a globe.

Image from

The show can have many interpretations, but the one I love is the idea that the entire show represents the journey of human life on Earth. Once those pounding drums commence, signifying the cataclysmic "bang" of our planet's - and humankind's - beginnings, it's a thrilling ten-minute journey through the joys of birth, the love of life, the sorrow of loss, and the will to move on. The tempo and mood of the music reflects this journey in an epic and satisfying way.

I love the music here. Love, love love it. The first time I saw the soundtrack in a gift shop in World Showcase, I picked up a copy and listened to it for ages. To me, it meant so much - and has stuck with me to this day (even as I type this, the music is in my head). If I were to rank my favorite scores from any WDW show out there, this one would be in my all-time top 3. That's how amazing it is in my eyes.

I've never been a big fireworks person, but the way in which the pyrotechnics match so well with the music gives me chills every time I see it. Honest-to-God goosebumps. It's done so perfectly - most especially toward the end, during "We Go On", with the sounds of every instrument playing together in the climactic finale, all in perfect synchronization with what seems like hundreds of lights shooting into the sky and falling to the ground. It's absolutely jaw-dropping.

Effects - wise, the reveal of the giant LCD globe on the water is also incredibly impressive, more so when it opens to reveal the flame (that could represent so much, from the un-extinguishable unity we share to the idea that we must do our part to keep the flame burning forever) in the center.

Never has such a torrent of varying emotions been experienced during one, single nigh-time show. "Illuminations: Reflections of Earth" represents everything EPCOT stands for, and everything we should take from it. To simply call it a "fireworks show" is a tremendous injustice; this is so much more. It's a journey of our shared existence on this Earth and the joys we all can celebrate as one.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

You Can Help Change This Site!

Here's the deal --

I want to change the URL of this site from "projectx-anonymouse-toomanyletters.blahblah.blah" to something a little more.....calm. Something that's easy to remember, and simpler. I could use just "Project X" or "Anonymouse", but here's the deal:

"" is a now-defunct blog that was last updated on May 23, 2001. That means if you went back in time to this blog posting, 9/11 wouldn't have happened yet and Mickey Rooney would only be 102. The site was intended to be some sort of secret-special gamer convention news-site thing, and it looks like that worked out really well.

"" is a blog titled "Anonymouse E" run by someone named Emily, who didn't understand the point of remaining anonymous on a blog. The blog has no posts, although "E" also contributed to a blog titled "Diary of a gay boy...," which hasn't been updated since August 14, 2002. If my girlfriend had any say, I could probably make that my blog title.

My options are limited, unless I wanted to make my URL something totally vague and weird-sounding, like "oddsandends" or "deepfriedquixote". So I ask you, team: what should my new URL be? What would roll off the tongue in an easier, more palatable way than ""? Leave your suggestions in the comments, and the winner gets a free coffee mug, or something. I don't know.