Saturday, October 31, 2009

Fantastic Halloween / Disney Video

Shamelessly stolen from Hockey Cop's Blog

Halloween 2009

It has been a wonderful and low-key Halloween night. We have been watching the Addams Family Marathon since 3pm, it's now 10:45pm. I do love me some Addams Family.


Darrell carved the pumpkins earlier today and the trick-or-treaters started arriving just as he was lighting the candles and turning on the green porch light, around 6:30pm.






We had around 30 children come by the house tonight. The ones I can remember are a Clone Trooper, clown, cat, flapper, butterfly, GI Joe, Spiderman, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, cowgirls and the good ole' traditional witches, skeletons and devils. Joel and Holly brought Nathan by as the cutest little Buzz Lightyear I have ever seen.

Of course I had help from my Early Warning "Here comes a trick-or-treater" Alert System. Once I saw the intense stare, the ears go up and the streak they left running from the door, I knew a trick-or-treater was heading up the steps...



I have to add one additional picture. As most of you know, my mother has been in the hospital for the last few days. Well yesterday, I was visiting and as we were talking in walked....

Dr. Blanchford took me a minute to realize it was mom's doctor, Dr. Blanchford. Evidently, her entire office had dressed up Friday. It was fantastic!

Well folks, it has been a delightful evening so it is time to say Good night and Happy Halloween everyone!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Castle, no Firefly, no Castle - WHAT?!?!

I absolutely LOVED this when a co-worker of mine showed it to me this morning!!!

Seems Nathan Fillion is on a new show called 'Castle'. I have not watched it but you bet I will be now!

In this episode, he donned his Halloween costume...

I could not believe they did it and the dialogue was perfect! I love it when TV shows incorporate scenes that the fans can truly appreciate.

And just for good measure...

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Ghastly Dreadfuls

Yesterday, some friends and me made our annual pilgrimage to see the 'The Ghastly Dreadfuls II: Handbook of Practical Hauntings and Other Phantasmagoria' at the Atlanta Center of Puppetry Arts. It is an adult Halloween themed half puppet show and half live acts. Even though I have seen some of the skits each year, they never get boring. It is a masterful mix of creepy, spooky, costume, humor and props. It is one of my favorite Halloween traditions.

Here is an older trailer but it will give you a good taste of what it is about...

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Disney 2009: The Last Day (aka Day 9)

Check-out day. We were all up, packed and heading off to breakfast at the Food Court by 9:30am. On the way back to the room, Steve grabbed a luggage cart. The guys loaded the cart, got it out to the Denali and loaded up.

We made our traditional stop in Downtown Disney for souvenir shopping. We were lucky enough to meet up and visit with Stuart, Ashley and Nate while at Downtown Disney. After two hours, we were ready to go. We had one last stop at the Hess Station to gas up and we were headed home. We made one stop for lunch at Chick-fil-a and rolled into Jesse's around 9:15pm.

All the luggage was unloaded, sorted and reloaded into the other cars and we all headed home.

Another WONDERFUL Disney trip done. I can't wait for 2010's!

Disney 2009: Day 8

Today was an Epcot day and deTag's birthday. The gifts started early. Zach brought him two beautiful Cast Exclusive posters depicting the Animation History of Disney. Steve and Liz had gotten him a set of Disney PVC figures that had some of deTag's Disney favorites: Figment, Big Al and Ezra.

Darrell and I went into the park around 11a. We had been out late the night before and I had to put some last minute touches on deTag's birthday card.

We arrived at Epcot and stopped by the Animation Gallery to look around. One of the Disney Artist Larry Dotson ( was appearing and signing his prints.

What was the first print we see walking in the shop?


...and the second?


After a nice conversation with Larry and his wife, Darrell and I had both of our prints personalized and sent to the front for package pick-up.

The next order of business was to finish the last piece of deTag's birthday card. I stilled needed to get 'Happy Birthday" messages from Morocco, Japan, France and Italy. I started in France, then to Morocco. It was amazing to watch the Cast member write 'Happy Birthday Brain' in Arabic - from right to left. Next was Japan and finally Italy. Darrell finished it up with a drawing of the Spaceship Earth. We called it "Happy Birthday from around the World!" In Italy, we found a corner table in the shade, sat down and wax sealed the envelope.

We called everyone else to let them know we where in the park. We walked around to Norway for a ride on the Maelstrom and then over to Mexico. After a ride on 'Grand Fiesta', we met up with Jesse and deTag. After some window shopping, we walked outside and hooked-up with Steve, Liz and Stuart. Steve and Liz decided to walk over to the UK while the rest of us walked back to over Norway for another Maelstrom ride. We explored China and Stuart showed where to stand so that when you spoke, you could hear yourself. That was kind of neat. Next, we made a stop in Japan to rest and have some pre-dinner sushi.


We took our time and walked around to Canada. Our dinner was going to be at Le Cellier. Unfortunately, it was another long wait - nearly an hour. Luckily, most of us were too tired to care. We found different ways to occupy the time.

Dinner was superb. After the meal we gave deTag his birthday card and Jesse gave him a personalized Haunted mansion print from Larry Dotson. Desert was as good as the meal. DeTag's desert had "Happy Birthday" written in chocolate on the plate and Darrell and I ordered the Chocolate Moose...


With dinner being so late, we were in a practically deserted park when we left Le Cellier. The park had been closed for 45 minutes. We took our time walking to the front and took in all the beauty of Future World without any crowds.

We slowly made our way back to the front of the park and headed back to the resort. deTag had his last birthday surprise waiting in his room. Housekeeping had left a washcloth cake with pipe cleaner candles, some Celebrate buttons and balloons.


Zach came over to the resort to pick up a few things and say good-bye. It was late and we were tired but everyone packed up as much as they could before going to sleep.

Disney 2009: Day 7

Today was Animal Kingdom day. While I didn't get up early to head to the park, Jesse and I were up at the crack of dawn to make our 2010 Dragon*Con Hotel Reservations. I tried at 7a and they told they were not taking reservations until 8a. Jesse and I were dialing back at 7:59a. We were both on hold for over 30 minutes. Jesse end his call and tried calling back. I was the first to get a customer service representative. Unfortunately, she was a moron. After several attempts, she simply told me to call back later. Jesse, on the other hand, got someone who knew what they were doing. Thanks to him, we (being him, Donna, Harris, Darrell and me) all have rooms at the Marriott Marquis for Sept 2-6, 2010. We love our Jesse!

After all of that, Darrell and I headed off to Animal Kingdom. Steve and Liz had already left and deTag and Jesse would be in later.

Our first objective was to see "It's Tough to be a Bug". This is one of my favorite 4-D movies across all the parks. Darrell being my little bug...


Next, it was off to Expedition Everest. He hopped in the Stand-by line since it was only a 10 minute wait. We flew through the queue. I was able to take a good shot of the yeti painting you pass underneath as you climb that first tall hill.


We jumped off Everest and went around to the line again. The wait had increased to 20 minutes but we hopped back in line. Since the line was a little longer, we were able to look at some of the many artifacts and props in the queue.

On this go around, I tried to video the Yeti animation that you get when the ride is switching the tracks from backward to go forward down the tallest drop in the ride. I also tried to video the animatronic Yeti near the end of the ride. Below it the animation I recorded but trying to catch the aminatronic Yeti was impossible!

After doing video on the rollercoaster, I was feeling a little green and decided that I was done with Expedition Everest for the day. After a brief rest, Darrell and I walked over to Nemo: The Musical, another fantastic live show. We were there early and had great seats in the 3rd row on the aisle. It's a great show. Here is a short video clip...

We backtracked from Nemo back to Expedition Everest to meet up with everyone else. Jesse, deTag and Liz rode while the rest of us waited and watched. Liz was a little nervous at first but she loved it.

Everyone walked over to Dinoland next. I wasn't going to ride Dinosaur after my video experience on Everest but Jesse did talk me into riding Primeval Whirl. It is a kids ride. Think of it as a mixture of rollercoaster and tilt-a-whirl. There are no big drops but it is brutally jerky.

At Dinoland, we split ways again. Steve, Liz, deTag and Jesse were heading to Nemo: The Musical while Darrell and I headed to the Flametree BBQ for lunch. The Flametree has good food and some beautiful seating areas. We walked down by the water to eat. We were surrounded by birds and water with a beautiful view of Everest.

After lunch, Darrell and I headed back to the resort. We knew we would be out late for our second, and non-costumed, MNSSHP and we wanted to rest before heading back out. Besides, I was going to get my picture with Capt'n Hook and Smee tonight and I wanted to put on my Black Bunny Crew t-shirt and custom Mickey Pirate hat.

About 4:45p, Steve and Liz knocked on our door. They were their Ghostbusters costumes for the night. We picked up deTag from his room and all headed to the bus stop. We were on our way to Boma at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. The only way to get from one resort to another by bus is to take a bus to a park and then hop the bus to the other resort. We jumped on the Hollywood Studios bus at the All-Star Resort, disembarked at Hollywood Studios and walked over to the bus to the Animal Kingdom Lodge. Jesse at stayed at the Animal Kingdom (to ride Expedition Everest 7 more times) and was going to meet us at Boma.

Liz had brought her puppet Vapor to go with the Ghostbusters theme. He kept children and adults alike entertained all night.

After an amazing meal at Boma, we were back on the bus on our way to the Magic Kingdom. We arrived on the Square just before the first parade. Darrell and I ran down to Uptown Jewelry to grab the two Limited Edition Halloween pins I wanted.



Once the pins were in hand, we joined everyone else at a great viewing spot on the Square for the "Boo to You" parade.

Earlier in the day, Shane had sent a text telling us look for a manger in a yellow shirt near the car barn where the parade ended. There were 20-30 people in the area and the manager was calling people back 8-10 at a time. After a few minutes, it was our turn. We walked through the door to the Disney 'backstage'. There was Barbosa, Sparrow, Mickey, Minnie, Daisy, Donald and the Caretaker with his bloodhound Jo-Jo. It was fantastic to get a photo opportunity with a character that you only get to see in the parade. Plus we all had the chance to pet the sweetest bloodhound!


We all headed down Main Street for a couple of great pictures.

Darrell, Jesse and I camped out near the Crystal Palace to watch the Hallowishes fireworks show. Darrell and Jesse were both experimenting with fireworks photography. They took some incredible shots...

Next, we met up with everyone for a ride through the Mansion. The second parade was about to start and Darrell, Jesse and I wanted to get some more pictures, so we staked out a spot to take parade pictures and enjoyed it all again.

After the parade, it was off to Pirates. Not only did I want to ride but I wanted to get my picture with Capt'n Hook and Smee.


From Pirates, we walked over to Big thunder Railroad and then on to the mansion for our last ride of the night, and trip.
While were not the last to ride through - there were 2 people behind us, we did wait around afterwards. We were invited back into the Mansion Foyer, with both Stretching Rooms open with the portraits stretched out and all the lights ON! We took more pictures with the awesome Mansion Cast members and just relished in the warm glow of Haunted Mansion goodness.

Main Street wasn't completely empty when we left but it was close and we only shred the bus with four other people. It was another wonderful MNSSHP night!

Disney 2009 - Day 6

Today was spent at Hollywood Studios. Since Darrell, Jesse and I had spent part of Day Two at the Studios, I didn’t feel the need to spend another entire day there.

Darrell and I went out to a beautiful day and had a relaxing lunch at the resort. After lunch, it was off to the park. We arrived at Hollywood Studios in the middle of the Block Party parade. Normally, I would avoid all parades but this one was actually kind of fun.

Once we weaved through the crowd, we met the rest of the crew under the Mickey hat. We headed over to the Rockin’ Roller Coaster via the Tower of Terror Gift Shop. Darrell, Jesse and I jumped in the single-rider line for a quick ride.

Next, we walked over to the Lights, Motors, Action Stunt Show. Even though we have been going to Hollywood Studios (MGM Studios) each year we go down to the World, this was the one show we had not seen. It was definitely worth going too. It’s an incredible show.


Darrell, Jesse and Steve rode Star Tours while Liz, deTag and I waited for them. We cruised by the Animation Gallery and took a few Character pictures. This is a great spot for pictures since the lines are not long.

Steve, Liz, Jesse and deTag had gotten Toy Story Mania Fast passes earlier in the day and they were now it their time slot. Darrell and I looked at the Stand-By line but passed on a 70 minute wait. We found a bench in the Pixar area and waited. Luckily, we weren’t there too long before the Pixar Lamp came out for a little show. Here is a video of some of it…

We stopped by the Little Mermaid Show in Animation Alley and did a little shopping before heading to dinner at the 50’s Prime Time CafĂ©. The 50’s Prime Time Cafe' is always fun but this visit was exceptional. Our server Mary Anne was phenomenal. Jesse and I both ordered the Fried Chicken. Unfortunately for me, it came with greens. I do not eat greens. I do not like greens. I covered my greens up with my napkin, same as Jesse but I got caught. Everyone but me got a "Clean Plate" sticker. I got a greens sundae. When 'Mom' (Mary Anne) discovered I had not eaten my greens, she took my plate back to the kitchen only to return with a plate of greens topped with whipped cream and Mickey sprinkles. It was disgustingly funny. We tried to tell on Jesse but then Darrell and Liz were accused of being tattle-tell's. We tried to get the message across with a note on a napkin but that didn't work either!

We finished dinner about 10 minutes before the park closed. On a whim, Darrell and I ran back to Toy Story Mania to check the line wait. It said the line was 45 minutes but Darrell didn't believe it and we jumped in line. Darrell was right. We made it through the line in less than five minutes.

We took our time walking to the front of the park and headed back to the resort.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Disney 2009 - Day 5

Tonight was MNSSHP Costume night. It takes forever to get ready. It is hot and it is worth every second. It is a blast to do this event. As always, we will be going as Phineas, Ezra, Gus, Pickwick, the Bride and Prudence. Zach and Nicole will be joining us tonight as well. I cannot wait.

The first order of the day is heading to Pepper Market at Coronado Springs for breakfast. Next, it was back to the room and laundry time. The rest of the afternoon was busy. Folding laundry, going back up to the food court for some late night snacks and then getting into make-up and costume.

Zach had brought a suit to wear that night. Steve, Liz and Darrell did his makeup and I had a spare set of gray gloves for him to wear.


Nicole, a cast member we met at the Mansion on our very first costume year, joined us at 6:30p dressed as Lillian O'Malley Gracey


At 7:30p, the eight of us headed out to the Magic Kingdom bus stop at the resort. The most direct route to the front took us by the main pool area. The cast members at the pool told the crowd to give a hand to the Haunted Mansion spooks that were making their way back home.

When we arrived at the Magic Kingdom, the ‘Boo to You’ parade was about to begin. We watched from Liberty Square. We had recognition from the Three hitchhiking ghosts float and the Skeleton band. That always makes us feel special.

We rode the Haunted Mansion several times that night, along with Pirates, the TTA, the Carousel and It’s a Small World. As usual, we had many picture requests from guests and cast members alike. This year was a first for a couple of things. First, it was the first time we had to decline to sign autographs. It was also the first time I heard other guests telling us that they had read about us or seen our pictures on the web. I specifically heard Disboards, Doombuggies, Blogs and Facebook mentioned.

Haunted Man Shane made sure we had an extraordinary time at the Mansion that night. We were the last people to ride through at midnight and had some special photo-op’s at the end of the ride. Here are some of the pictures that I can post….

We walked down an empty Main Street on our way out and just as if it was planned, Grim Grinning Ghosts played throughout the park on our walk out. It is one of the most magical feelings you can experience at the Magic Kingdom.

Right outside the park exit, we ran into two guests who wanted a picture with us. We could not deny the couple that had just gotten engaged. Especially when we learned that he popped the question days before in the Stretching Room of the Mansion!

Disney treated us to our very own bus back to the resort and delivered us straight to the front door. It was 1:30a by this time. I knew it would take another 1.5 hrs minimum to get all the makeup off, so Darrell and I told everyone we would join everyone in Hollywood Studios later in the afternoon on Wednesday.

It was a FANTASTIC NIGHT!!!!!!