Sunday, 29 April 2012

Sunday's Stupid Question #4


First off, thanks to all those who answered last week's question.

As I got to see the excellent Avengers movie today I thought I would make today's question Avenger related. While the new movie features Captain America, Iron Man, Thor and Hulk, Hawkeye and Black Widow; it looks like pretty much every Marvel character has been a member of the Avengers in a cartoon or comic book series at some point including Spider Man, Wolverine and even Venom. You can find a complete list of historic members here.

So the question is, considering there will more than likely be an Avengers 2, which existing super hero in the Marvel Universe would you like to see added to the group??



Speak Soon :)

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Disney Dreams! Becomes A Reality


The start of April saw the debut of Disney Dreams! at Disneyland Resort Paris; the latest in a long line of night time spectaculars in the Disney parks. While there is nothing conceptually new with this production, it is the first time that many techniques used in other night time shows have been brought together to make a totally new experience; and the results are outstanding.

But to appreciate what is new, we must first look at what came before.

Fantasy in the Sky, the first fireworks show started exploding over Sleeping Beauty’s castle at Disneyland in 1958. Three years after the park’s opening, Walt decided they needed something special in the evenings to keep people in the parks longer and a nightly fireworks show was the chosen solution. Since this time, an iteration of the fireworks show has been a staple of almost all Disney parks around the world on a nightly basis.

Over the years the firework shows have become more and more spectacular and started including lighting, show elements, story and synchronicity to the accompanying music. While they are all enjoyable in their own ways, for me, the best two current firework spectaculars I’ve seen in person are IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth at Epcot and Magical at Disneyland.

In 1971 and 1972, Disney debuted their second form of night time entertainment in the Electrical Water Pageant and Main Street Electrical Parade respectively. Disney had long done Parades, but these were the first productions created for an evening performance using thousands of small lights to illuminate floats, performers and create simple animations. Both of these original productions are still being presented (although amendments have been made over the years); and newer generations using similar technology have included SpectroMagic and Fantillusion.

The concept of night time spectacular was once again changed in 1992 as Disneyland debuted Fantasmic; a mixture of water, performers, craft, animation, props and fireworks. Being a static show, unlike parades, this was able to involve a higher level of story than any previous night time show but probably the biggest technical breakthrough of the show was the invention of giant screens of sprayed water which allowed animation to be projected onto them and could be turned on and off instantaneously. There are now three version of Fantasmic showing, the original at Disneyland, a slightly less enjoyable version at Disney’s Hollywood Studio and a total reimagining of the show which doesn’t use the water screens at Tokyo Disney Sea.

In mid 2010 Disney premiered World of Color; a new night time spectacular which took the same water screen technology as used in Fantasmic and married it with 1,000 fountains, LED lighting, lasers and fire. Unlike Fantasmic which requires a full cast; this was a return to beautiful visuals set to a classic soundtrack and the results proved hugely successful. While Fantasmic always used fountain technology, World of Color took Disney’s knowledge of how to use it to another level in order to create a show to rival that of the Las Vegas Bellagio Hotel.

In early 2011 another night time show premiered in both Walt Disney World and Disneyland. The Magic, Memories and You is simply put a projection show; however, calling it that does absolutely no justice to what it actually is. Using Cinderella’s castle in WDW and the Small World façade in Disneyland; the three dimensionally wrapped projected images use the shapes and contours of their canvas to create stunning visuals which defy the mind. While many do not like the photo memory theme of the show, there are few who deny the power of the amazing technology and what it can do.

And so now in April 2012 we have Disney Dreams!; a combination of all the special effect techniques that Disney have learnt in Fireworks, Fountains, Water Screens and 3D Projections over the years all brought together in one night time spectacular. What also makes this show special and unique is that Disney Dreams! is the first night time spectacular (apart from a basic fireworks show) that was specifically designed for Disneyland Paris and it’s audience. In the past Disneyland Paris has inherited shortened/watered down versions of the Main Street Electrical Parade from the Magic Kingdom and Fantillusion from Tokyo Disney; and thus while still very good, there was always something missing. Disney Dreams! being specifically designed for Disneyland Paris showcases a lot more European, particularly French and English derived, characters and stories thus making it feel perfectly at home in its setting and with it’s audience.

So as for the show itself, lasting 20 minutes, its half in French and half in English, with narration supplied at the start and finish by Peter Pan and Wendy. A mishap with Peter Pan’s shadow leads to the magic being released from the second star to the right, spilling out over the castle and surrounding area. Shadow is then taken on a magical journey through some classic Disney favourites where he interacts with various characters before it all starts to go a bit wrong with the villains (as these things tend to do) and so Peter Pan and Tinkerbell needs to put the magic back into the star in order to set things straight.

photo from D23 article

As I said before, the sequences in the show, for the most part, are very European affiliated. They are:
   
Character Set Location of Story Author  
Peter Pan Intro & Music England Scotland
Beauty & The Beast France France
Ratatouille France Czech Republic/American
Aladdin Middle East Middle East
Hunchback of Notre Dame France France
Mary Poppins England Australia
Jungle Book Africa England
Tangled
German
Princess & The Frog New Orleans (French Quarter) American
Little Mermaid
Denmark
Peter Pan England Scotland

Anyone for a quick rendition of Sesame Street's One Of These Things (is Not Like The Others)??

Honestly I do not know how Aladdin ties in with the rest of the show from a European affiliation stand point, I can only think it is either to give Adventureland some show time or is for Disneyland Paris' majority shareholder; but seeing as it is one of my favourite sequences in the show, I won't complain too much.

photo from D23 article

What I love about the 3D projection techniques that were created for The Magic, Memories and You in Disneyland and Disney World and now heavily used here in Dreams! is the ways in which they can be used to different effect. In it's most basic form, is can be used to project images onto the castle perfectly wrapping around the shapes so there aren't any gaps in the picture; this is shown in the Be Our Guest sequence and also the Quasimodo sequence where he wraps around the castle turrets. In it's next form it uses the shapes of the castle in order to make the castle appear to be something else, such as Rupunzel’s tower, stone slabs held by monkeys or huge firework rockets. But in my opinion, the technologies greatest use is when it defies the eyes by projecting the castle onto the castle. What do I mean? Well, there are several times in the show where it looks like the castle has been lit up, but it hasn't; what you are actually seeing is a perfect 3D image of the castle in it's normal form being projected onto the 3D castle shape. And because it is just an image, it can then be manipulated with colour or animated with spinning parts or lifted like a curtain which is eye popping when your brain thinks it has been looking at the castle lit up to begin with; these techniques are shown heavily in the Friend Like Me sequence and throughout the show. Having seen The Magic, Memories and You on both coasts I already loved the technology, but I am so glad to see it being used to such dramatic effect in Dreams!

photo from D23 article

I think it fair to say that for the most part of the show, the 3D projections are the main focus of the show (with the water screens for extended viewing) and the fountains and firework elements, while fantastic throughout, are there to enhance the beauty of the show and provide pops and scene climaxes where needed. However the finale to the show couldn't be more the opposite. While many characters make an appearance on the castle through projection, the fountains and fireworks dance to the music in a way that evokes emotion as only Disney can do. We've seen an amazing fountain show in World of Color, and there have been many amazing fireworks shows in the past; the two combined around the setting of the projected upon castle gives a top to bottom field of vision party for the senses (well, sight and sound anyway) that for now only this show provides to this level.

photo from D23 article

Of course, I said "for now", because the 3D projection technology is already in place at WDW for The Magic, Memories and You and fireworks launching pads have long been established at the Magic Kingdom. I can only think it is a matter of time until fountains are installed and a similar show is presented in Florida because, lets face it, why wouldn't they? Disney Dreams! blows the socks off Wishes which has been on the chopping block for some time now, and there is no ideal spot to place the World of Color show at WDW; this just makes too much sense not to do it. But I do not think that is the end of the world for Disneyland Paris because this show is specific to Europe in its focus so I would hope that even if the same mix of technologies does get used elsewhere, the show would be completely different thus keeping Dreams! unique to Paris.

What is also promising is that as World of Color and The Magic, Memories and You have already proved that sequences in these types of show can be dropped and added relatively easily so while I do not see this show getting old any time soon, it can be changed up a little here and there to add new elements or include a Halloween or Xmas element at seasonal times of the year. In fact, much of the early advertising material that has been released for the show features Simba (young and old) which would suggest that there was at one time a Lion King scene in the show; we may see that put back in sometime.


What I do think this show has done is made Disney fans around the world look up and take notice of Disneyland Paris; even maybe as far as spurring a few to visit. Very rarely do you hear much buzz from the non European fans about Disneyland Paris, the last time I remember hearing any jealousy over a Paris only attraction being the Crush Coaster, but this show has made fans all around the world take notice. So what we have here is a game changer, one that has really upped the value of a day at Disneyland Paris. Night time spectaculars at Disney Parks are things people remember and talk about; they are a distinct memory. You always hear about Fantasmic, IllumiNations, Main Street Electrical Parade or more recently World of Color; I really think that this year, Disney Dreams! will be added to that list of iconic Disney shows.

There are already some great videos online of the show, I highly recommend these:

DLRP Magic - Opening Night
DLRP Magic - World Premiere
Inside the Magic - Debut Evening
YouTube - World Premiere

You can also find a whole bunch more photos here:

Photo Magiques


I thoroughly look forward to seeing it in person in June. So what do you think of this new show??

Speak Soon :)

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Sunday's Stupid Question #3


First off, thanks to all those who answered last week's question

This week I'm going to circle back to the Where's My Water mobile app that I blogged about. So the question is, do you prefer the Swampy or Cranky levels??


Let me know and I promise there are some proper blog posts in the works, they are just taking longer to finish that planned.

Speak Soon :)

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Sunday's Stupid Question #2


First off, thanks to all those who answered last week's question. If you didn't and you want to weigh in on this very important topic, you can find it here.

Now onto this weeks oh so important question that requires serious debate.

I was watching Ratatouille the other day, and one of the previews on the DVD was for Wall-E. If you remember, during the previews/adverts the Pixar logo lamp's lightbulb went out and was replaced by Wall-E. After this Wall-E knocked over the R of the logo and so replaced it himself.


So, this week's highly stupid question is, should Wall-E replace the R permanently?

Your thoughts??

Friday, 13 April 2012

FuseMP Food Blog – Chinese/Italian Fusion

Ok, here’s something you probably weren’t expecting to appear on this blog; it’s Cooking with Fuse!!

While I don’t in any way claim to be an amazing chef, I can cook a few things quite well, and I do a killer BBQ spread and make awesome roast potatoes. However, I do have one dish that I put together which I love eating and I don’t think I unknowingly stole from anywhere; so I figured I would share it with the world (or at least those who read this).

Again, I am not a chef, so this doesn’t involve a lot of seasoning or making things from scratch; but it’s yummy. Unfortunately the dish doesn’t have a name, so if you can think of one, please post a comment with it below; and yes you can pun Fusion with Fuse-ion.



Anyway, this is the end result. It’s chicken and pineapple in a sweet and sour sauce on tagliatelle. As I said, nothing too complicated, and most people could just best guess make it straight away; but here’s the instructions anyway because otherwise this would be a really short blog post.

Ingredients:
Chicken (diced) – I use 750g, but make a sensible amount for the mouths to feed
Jar of Sweet & Sour Sauce – Yes, its that simple, not even sauce from scratch (I use low calorie sauce, but full fat is probably tastier)
Pineapple (cubed in juice) – Yes, I use Dole because it makes me think of Dole Whips (you knew there had to be a Disney reference in here somewhere), one 350g (drained) can seems to work well with 750g of chicken ratio wise
Fresh Egg Tagliatelle – I just prefer fresh over dried, 300g works well ratio wise with the other ingredients
Spray Oil (not pictured) – or whatever you use for non stick purposes



Preparation:
I personally try and get any fatty bits of the chicken but that’s up to you. Drain the can of pineapple into a bowl but DO NOT dispose of or drink the juice, you will need it later.



Step 1:
Put a pot of water on heat as this will need to be boiling later.
Put a wok on heat to warm up

Step 2:
Once the wok is suitably heated, add spray oil and throw in the chicken; keeping it moving while it browns. Once browned, reduce the heat dramatically and allow the chicken to cook through. Stir occasionally and I often cover it at this stage too keep the juices in the wok which also prevents any sticking. Cook for around 6-8 minutes depending on the size of your pieces; they should be pretty much cooked through but definitely not ready to eat.


Step 3:
Drain. Add the pineapple and simmer for a few minutes allowing the pineapple to brown..


Step 4:
Add the sweet & sour sauce and stir, then pour in about half to two thirds of the pineapple juice and stir again. You can then dispose of any pineapple juice left by whichever means you find preferable (mine is by drinking it).


Step 5:
Let the sweet and sour sauce simmer for about 3 minutes, while stiring, and then add the tagliatelle with a little oil to the (by now) boiling water. Stir both for another 3 minutes.


Step 6:
Serve
 

And there we have it, nothing too special but it's YUMMY!

Let me know what you think (especially if you make it)

Speak Soon :)



Tuesday, 10 April 2012

DisneyQ - Part Eight

DisneyQ is a Disney/Star Trek crossover novel that I wrote in 2008.

If you missed them, here's Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four, Part Five, Part Six, Part Seven. You are probably best starting at the beginning, or none of this is going to make sense.

Here's Part Eight


Chapter Thirteen

Kelly and her friend Tina had been the first to exit the stretching room lift and had rushed to get on the first doombuggy out of their group. They had ridden the attraction the day before and loved it; now they were back for more. This time around the ride seemed even more realistic than it had the day before; the lightening flashes at the bottom of the lift sequence had seemed especially bright.

“Tina,” Kelly whispered as they made their way into the attic scene, “Weren’t there only six portraits on the wall yesterday?”

“Yeah, why?” Tina replied as she counted for herself, “oh my god, there’s seven now.”

“And the new one is wearing a Mickey Mouse t-shirt and Yankees cap; it’s not very in keeping with the theme.”

“Look at the bride; she’s covered in blood!” Tina screeched as both girls reached for each other’s hands.

Constance just watched the two girls cowering in their vehicle as they passed her, never taking her eyes off them, blood dripping from her axe; waiting for her next husband.

***************************

“THREE!” Philippe shouted.

The remaining twelve passengers in the train all exited as fast as they could, some climbed and dropped, others jumped onto the metal steps with a loud clank as they grabbed the railings for support. Immediately everyone grabbed hold onto the train helping to buy the few extra seconds needed to allow the others to get off.

As soon as the train was empty, those who had been trying to hold it back released their grip; many with screams of pain they had been holding in while doing what they could. The weight of the train that had crossed the apex took over and the three remaining cars on the lift hill side were quickly dragged over the edge as the train started its decent. Philippe and the forty passengers stood on the stairway in what seemed like silence as they watched the train make its decent, follow the track around the last few turns and then head into the now caved in mountain. Only after the explosive noise and the trail of fresh smoke started to emanate from the rubble did the world around start to come back and the tears be heard.

Philippe turned to the people he had just saved. They looked at him, many still scared, many in tears, all of them grateful for what he had done. Many clapped, those closest started to hug him, some even gave him a kiss. Philippe looked down the stairway where more cast members had emerged from the tunnels and started ushering the passengers from the scaffolding to where they would be completely safe.

“Maybe the vineyards aren’t so bad;” Philippe thought before looking to his side, “why is Adventureland on fire?”

***************************

"Safe;" he thought

Jonathan had made it and encouragingly Ray had made some noises during the escape back into the utilidor walkways. Jonathan's legs were another matter; still tired from running, carrying Ray this far had been difficult on both his arms and his legs.

On the way back he had again passed the back entry door to the Country Bears, he could hear the banging on the door, the bears now in the control room; he hoped it would be enough. As he approached the propped open utilidor entrance he had kicked the chair out of the way allowing it to swing shut behind them; the sound of the locking mechanism never sounding so good.

"I can't carry him much further; I've got to find a way to transport him." Jonathan thought. Looking around he saw there was a storeroom nearby, it held the stock for many of the Adventureland, Frontierland, Liberty Square shops. Thankfully, just inside the entrance, there was a trolley; one of the ones used to transport crates through the walkways between depots. Jonathan kicked the few boxes that occupied it to the ground and laid Ray across it. He rechecked Ray for a pulse; very feint but still there.

Now much more mobile, Jonathan made his way back to the wall telecom unit by the stairwell. “Control, this is Jonathan Rose, I have the injured cast member, he is still alive but barely. I have managed to control the bleeding but he needs help fast. Where do I take him?”

“This is control;” came the reply, “we have ambulances arriving at the main car park under Fantasyland, please get him there.”

A few minutes later he arrived pushing Ray on the trolley as fast as he could. As he had gotten closer to the main hub of the utilidors they had gotten more crowded with cast members, emergency crews and guests that had been brought down at various points in the park to escape the various incidents. Jonathan shouted for them to make way as he passed them. The utilidors were generally off limits to guests. Some of the more pricey backstage tours allowed the guests a short walk through one of the walkways but even that was prohibited to the under sixteen’s, the feeling being that it would be distressing if a child saw two Mickey Mouse’s walking past each other or worse yet a character in costume but not head piece; this was all forgotten now.

Chapter Fourteen

q returned to Q and Q with Q's water.

Q took it with a look of thanks and started to take a sip; having never been powerless before the mere concept of drinking was foreign to her. Q it seemed was in a world of his own; "probably wondering how he's going to get himself out of this one;" q surmised.

Suddenly, all around them people, who looked like they worked there, started to take positions at all the entrances and exits to the building. q noticed that humans who were trying to leave were being denied while other humans who were being let in looked either distressed or plain terrified.

"Something is happening;" q said just loud enough for his parents to hear.

Q and Q looked up to gauge the situation for themselves; but as they did an older gentlemen standing in the middle of the room spoke up.

"Ladies and Gentleman;" he started in a loud, commanding voice, "Ladies and Gentleman if I could have your attention please."

"What the hell is going on out there?" came a shout from the back of the room where people were being ushered inside.

"Ladies and Gentleman; please stay calm." the authoritive human began again. "My name is Ryan Jackson, I am the manager of Fantasyland. We have a situation in the park, we need you all to stay calm and stay seated until we can evacuate you all safely."

"But what's going on?" another man shouted.

"We don't know Sir. I wish I could tell you more but we simply do not know what is happening."

"I'll tell you what's happening," came a voice from the back, "it's like in Terminator 2, the robots have taken over. I saw the Pirates of the Caribbean setting fire to Adventureland."

"Robots?" another voice came; "more like terrorists."

It was starting to turn into a panic fuelled shouting match; a free for all with anyone interjecting.

"Terrorists?" someone else shouted; "how could terrorists have turned Small World into World War III?"

"And made Dumbo fly a hundred meters off the ground?" yet another person chimed in.

"We were attacked by real animals on the Jungle Cruise" a lady in wet clothes said while displaying the state she was in.

Ryan knew he had to calm the crowd down and pat of that would be to stop this building argument; but the revelations coming out were mind boggling and Ryan both wanted, and needed, to know everything he could. He knew about the fire but hadn't heard the Pirates part, he knew about Dumbo and he even knew things nobody had mentioned that had happened on the other side of the park; but Small World and Jungle Cruise were news even to him.

"Please everyone. Please take your seats and remain calm. I repeat that we do not know what is happening. We have to make sure any injured guests are seen to first. As soon as possible we will get you all away from the park safely."

Q remained silent; contemplating his actions of the last few minutes. He had made the Magic kingdom "more real"; were these incidents a mere coincidence or had he caused these results. He suspected the latter.

“Q?” Q asked, noticing his facial features.

“Yes my dear?” he replied coyly.

“I recognise that look on your face, it’s the same one you got just before Kathy told you off for the trouble you caused.”

Q remained silent.

“You still have your powers!” Q accused.

“What?” q chimed in with surprise.

“What did you do Q?” Q continued to demand, “How much of this is your fault?”

“I didn’t do that much really” Q said quietly; “I merely made everything here more real; thought it would make things a little more….” Q searched for the word, “…interesting.”

q laughed; “Well, judging be all this I think things have become a little too interesting. Good job Dad.”

Q gave his son a look; “Don’t be sarcastic son, I can still leave you here powerless.”

“Reinstate our powers Q; both of us, NOW!” Q demanded, and Q knew he was beaten. With both Q and q now knowing that Q wasn’t as powerless as they were; he knew there was no escape. And he also recognised the look in Q’s eyes, he had seen it before, this was the look that meant he had pushed her too far and if he didn’t start appeasing her he would be paying for it for a very long time.

“Fine;” Q snapped his fingers, “there.”

Q and q both felt the difference immediately, it was like blood pumping through their veins as they felt their inner being surge with power.

Another finger snap, this time from Q, and there was a brilliant flash of light.

Chapter Fifteen

“It sure has been a weird kind of day,” Philippe Picard said to himself as he stood at the entrance to the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad ride. What made it most odd, was that while absolutely nothing particularly out of the ordinary happened, Philippe had spent the first half of the day with a very unusual sense of déjà vu and a feeling that something bad was about to happen. And if that wasn’t unusual enough, when he had gone for his lunch break he heard stories of other cast members feeling exactly the same way.

“Very strange, it’s like we all had some sort of collective nightmare.” his friend Alvin, who worked the Jungle Cruise, had said to him over a cold drink. But that’s all it did appear to be, because while they all had these premonitions, as they had started calling them, nothing had actually happened; and in the end, it had been just another day at Walt Disney World.

Night had now descended and while the ride remained busy most of the parks guests were now at the Main Street hub getting ready for the “Wishes” firework display extravaganza. Most the people riding Thunder Mountain now were teenagers looking for the thrill of riding at night and the advantage of being able to ride several times while the lines weren’t as long.

Philippe looked over the Rivers of America to where Fantasyland and Cinderella’s castle were situated, right on time the lights went out and the whole area was plunged into almost complete darkness. Then suddenly the first rocket could be seen whizzing into the air before exploding into a huge array of light; and within seconds the entire area was lit as firework shells started to fill the night sky. Philippe couldn’t hear the sound track to accompany the fireworks, he was too far away, but he didn’t need to, the fireworks were both beautiful by themselves and he knew the music and lyrics by heart. He went through them in his head….

Snow White: “I'm wishing...someday, my prince will come.”
Ariel: “ha-ha. I wish...Ohh...I wish I could be part of that world.”
Peter Pan: “I wish...we'd never have to grow up. Off to Neverland, ha-ha.”
Pinocchio: “Look Jiminy, someday I wish I could be a real boy.”
Aladdin: “Genie, I wish for your freedom.”

“What do I wish for?” Philippe thought to himself as he watched the explosions dancing in the sky. “If only I knew;” he thought. He knew he didn’t want to return to the vineyards, but who knows what the future would hold and although he didn’t like to drink the wine himself, he wouldn’t let the family business down if it needed him. “I can’t be a Disney ride operator forever;” he thought to himself. And then as a particularly large amount of fireworks exploded over the hub he saw the cone and spiked outline of the roof of Space Mountain in the distance, the centre piece of Tomorrowland. “Space….” he thought; “now that really would be an adventure. Not for me though; maybe in a few generations.”

***************************

The voice of Jiminy Cricket rang out over the speakers.

“When you wish, upon a star……
Makes no difference who you are….
Anything your heart desires will come...to...you…..”

“Pretty, huh? I'll bet a lot of you folks don’t believe that, about a wish coming true, do ya? We'll I didn’t either. Course, I’m just a cricket, but lemme tell you what made me change my mind. You see, the most fantastic, magical things can happen, and it all starts with a wish!”

Cameron Fisher stood along Main Street and watched the amazing fireworks show, he has just taken his last Hidden Mickey picture of the day as shapes had been projected onto the castle that formed the famous shape. He hoped the picture would come out good, taking photos at night of lit up objects was never a sure science, he had done lots of homework before coming getting the advice of people classed as experts online at taking pictures around Disney World and had set his camera settings to their recommendations.

“Otherwise, I’ll be back tomorrow to try again;” Cameron thought to himself. Not that he minded, while a Disneyland fan over Disney World, it was still Disney and he had still enjoyed every second of his day here.

“Buzz even seemed better than I remember it being;” he said to himself with some amusement. It had been odd, he had always seen it as such a mundane attraction, so cheap looking and basically just a trumped up shooting gallery. But today’s ride through had been different, he had felt like he was in true danger and while he knew he wasn’t his adrenaline was pumping so much he actually started shooting and enjoying the ride rather than just sitting and waiting for his photo opportunities. Cameron laughed out loud; “I’ll be enjoying Stitch’s Great Escape next,” he thought, but quickly dismissed that notion.

***************************

“Fate is kind….
She brings to those who love….
The sweet fulfilment of their secret longing.”

“Like a bolt out of the blue….
fate steps in and sees you through…..
When you wish upon a star….
your dreams...come true….
Ha-ha….
Sometimes, wishes can be granted in the most unexpected ways.”

Mike Ridgway stood in front of the castle just like he had to start his day and looked up at it.

“I’ll be back soon;” he thought to himself, “and when I do return I will never be far away again.”

The day hadn’t gone quite according to plan but it had been amazing. The idea was he would get in, ride the rides he needed to and leave by late afternoon to get on with the job hunting. It was now 9pm. But what a day it had been, he had ridden the Pirates of the Caribbean and Jungle Cruise, where he had been made a temporary captain by Skipper Chuck, before finally getting to experience the absolutely amazing, newly refurbished, Haunted Mansion. Mike smiled at the thought; he could have sworn his heart stopped beating when he saw Constance in the attic; and the sight of her axe made him reach for his own neck to make sure it was still attached. And then he had rushed over to the Animal Kingdom to hit Expedition Everest and the Finding Nemo musical; both of which were amazing.

He should have left the parks then, but the lure of Wishes had been too great so by five o’clock he was back in the Magic Kingdom and back in line for the Haunted Mansion for his second meeting with Constance before enjoying some of his other favourite rides and of course staking a good spot for the firework spectacular. He just thanked his lucky stars Stacy hadn’t called him to ask how the job hunting was going; that would have taken a lot of explaining.

“Tomorrow I find a job somewhere nearby;” he thought to himself.  He knew it wouldn’t be easy; first of all he knew he would have to resist the urge to spend another day in the parks; but he also knew the sooner he got a job he could relocate and be here all the time.

“I’ll be back soon;” he said to no-one, “this will be my home.”

***************************

Jonathan Rose sat across the table from his show partner Ray, both of them enjoying a meal to end their day. They always ate at this time because the staff areas were so quiet; many cast members leaving the underground areas so they can watch the fireworks. Sitting and eating a meal together after removing their make up, jewellery and clothing helped them both to relax and feel like themselves again; especially after a long day of being in character.

“I had an idea earlier;” Jonathan said between mouthfuls, “what do you think about suggesting we introduce Barbossa and maybe a couple of villains into the show? Maybe they could come and chase us or something?”

“I was thinking the exact same thing!” Ray exclaimed, I suddenly thought of it earlier during one of the shows.

“Me too, how odd;” Jonathan replied.

“Yeah. One thing though;” Ray said his voice becoming a little shakey, “can’t help but get the feeling Mac will be the one on the end of a sword.”

“Not while I’m around buddy, Captain Jack has your back” Jonathan said as he held up his glass. Ray laughed as he raised his own glass and the two toasted their friendship.

***************************

“You see, its just like I told ya…..
Wishes can come true, if you believe in them with all your heart….
And the best part is, you'll never run out of wishes….
They're shining deep down inside of you….
'Cause that my friends is where the magic lives.”

“Wishes! Dream a dream (fate is kind)….
Wishes! Set it free (she brings to those who love) ….
Wishes! Trust your heart (the sweet fulfilment of) ….
Just Believe (their secret longing) ….
Just Believe (just believe)….”

Jennifer and Graham Roberts looked down on their daughter Samantha as she sat in her buggy fast asleep, Pony clutched in her arms, her face illuminated by the fireworks above.

“One day she will actually see Wishes;” said Graham loud enough to be heard over the crowd and show but not so loud as to disturb his sleeping daughter.

“One day it will wake her up;” laughed Jennifer in response.

The couple returned their focus to the castle in front of them as projections of moons and stars and Disney characters lit it up while fireworks exploded all around. Their hands met and tangled as their reaffirmed their love for each other. They had stood in almost this very spot on the night of their wedding and watched Wishes, two people in love enjoying the happiest day of their life; and here they stood again, now a family with young Samantha between them.

It had been a fun day, but not without incident. There had been a camera flash during their ride on Peter Pan and Samantha had screamed; quite unusually for her as if it were something more than the flash that had spooked her. But in the commotion she had dropped Pony over the end of the ride vehicle and it had fell onto the set pieces below. Luckily it hadn’t caused any damage, just landing on the expanse meant to represent the Mermaid Lagoon. The ride had to be temporarily shut down while a cast member retrieved the stuffed toy and Jennifer and Graham were asked, very nicely, to take measures to make sure it didn’t happen again. Still they had laughed when they heard a child disembarking the ride shortly after them asking his parents why there was a pink horse standing in the middle of the sea; he didn’t remember it from the movie. But everything was good now, Pony was back in Samantha’s arms and she was fast asleep, thoughts of Mickey Mouse in her head and a smile on her face even as she slept.

Jennifer thought back to her own childhood, how she had stood in awe as she watched the old show “Fantasy in the Sky” light up the night around her and illuminate the castle in front. She hoped that one day Samantha would stand here too with her family, watching the Disney World fireworks, and she would think back to these times, and the times they would share over the coming years, of being here with her parents and nothing but happy memories and smiles; just like Jennifer did.

Chapter Sixteen

“Wishes,….
Dream a dream ….
Wishes, ….
Set it free ….
Wishes,….
Trust your heart ….
Just believe (oh, believe)….”

“Star light, star bright ….
First star I see tonight ….
I wish I may I wish I might….
have the wish I wish tonight ….
We'll make a wish, and do as dreamers do ….
And all our wishes (all our wishes)….
all our wishes ….
will come true”

Under the night sky, being illuminated by the explosions of light in the air, on a bench at the end of Main Street USA looking towards Cinderella’s Castle, sat a family. Two adults and a teenager. The teen with a smile on his face as he watched the show and slowly fed popcorn into his mouth. The woman leaning her head against her husband’s shoulder as she wrapped both her arms around his single arm and stared contently at the view above. The man looking miserable as hell.

“This is beautiful;” Q whispered as she clung to Q’s arm, “It’s like a million super novas exploding in time.”

“Yes, it’s just lovely, can we go now?” Q retorted, the tone of his voice clearly not looking to hide his feelings.

“Oh calm down dear, you’ll have your powers back soon enough.”

“Yeah Dad, have some popcorn;” q said offering the bucket in his father’s direction.

Q merely glared at his son.

The three sat in silence as another round of fireworks shot up from behind the castle and exploded overhead.

“Well could one of you at least get that Small World song out of my head? It really is becoming quite irritating;” Q demanded.

Q and q just smiled and chuckled at the request thinking back to how they had made Q endure the ride in an endless time loop until even they, who had muted themselves to the singing, couldn’t take it any longer. Q, on the other hand, hadn’t be afforded that luxury and had been forced to listen to the irritatingly annoying and yet catchy song over and over and over and over again.

He’d then been put onto the tea cups where Q and q had spun the wheel so fast that Q turned positively green, the single cup never before having created such G forces. Q was quite thankful when the spinning mechanism finally snapped under the pressure and the cup eventually came to a stop.

And following that he had spent the day being carted around this theme park from ride to ride, Q and q using their powers each time to make it more unbearable for Q. Q himself spent most of the day considering just what he would do to Tom Paris when he had his powers back just as he was doing now.

With a big musical ending and a large array of fireworks the display came to an end. The humans all around started clapping and shouting as they all started to move, many towards the exit of the park as the show signalled the end of the day.

“Can we please return to the continuum now?” Q asked, “Even I don’t usually spend this long around the humans.”

“But the vacation has just begun my dear and we are having such a fun time;” Q retorted.

“Yeah dad,” q picked up from where his mother left off, “we still have Adventureland and Frontierland left to go; not to mention EPCOT, Disney/MGM Studios and the Animal Kingdom.”

“But that will take days in Earth time!” Q exclaimed.

“Well, we are only booked in for three nights so enjoy your vacation while it lasts Q;” came the response from Q.

“Booked in?” Q asked, “where might I ask?”

“In there;” exclaimed Q as she unwrapped an arm from around Q’s and pointed to the castle in front of them; a large smile on her face. “By some amazing coincidence we will be chosen at random by their computers to win the grand prize of the castle suite every day for the rest of the week.”

Q felt his heart sink at the news. “Three more days”; he thought. “Three more days without powers. Three more days with Q and q. Three more days of them having fun at his expense.” And then it hit him; they were spending time together as  a family, Q and q were having fun and at least it wouldn’t be boring for him even if he was the butt of all their punishment. Q reached his free arm up and around the back of his son holding him close, then he turned his head towards his wife who was cuddled up besides him and kissed her on the forehead. “Things could be worse; anything is better than being bored.”


...........The End

I hope those of you who have read the whole thing have enjoyed the story, let me know your thoughts :)

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Sunday's Stupid Question #1


Time for something new :)

My friend Emma over at http://daydreamingdisney.com poses a question to her readers every Friday; and quite frankly, I am ripping her idea off. 

However, unlike Emma's questions (which I encourage everyone to head over to daydreamingdisney and answer themselves) my questions will be a lot more pointless and in most cases diabolically trivial; hence the name. But, there's nothing like arguing over things that do not matter, so please feel free to debate the hell out of this nonsense.

So, Sunday's Stupid Question #1 is as follows....

There are many of us that hope that the recent Muppet Movie will be paving the way to a lot more Muppets; most importantly a return to prime time television with a new run of the Muppet Show (which would be awesome!). Now should this happen, the question is, should Fozzie dye his eyebrows or should he stick with his current naturally greying look???



It's a toughie I know, so please post your thoughts below and remember that the more ridiculous your argument for whichever side, the better. Let's see what you guys think....

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Hitler Reacts to New Fantasyland

I figured that today I would share with you all something I did quite a long time ago now, but is relevant once again as Storybook Circus and New Fantasyland start to open.

To give you some kind of back story behind this, by 2009/2010 there had been a huge wave of "Hitler Reacts" videos made and posted to the Internet, and I thought that many of the ones I had seen were very funny. The videos all use a scene from a World War II film called "The Downfall" with Hitler (played by Bruno Ganz) going on a tirade when he realises that the war is lost. In the parodies,the scene is left completely untouched, but new subtitles are added to change the subject of Hitler's anger; which works brilliantly as the film is not in English.

I had seen quite a few of these and found them to be very funny but while I thought about making one of my own, I didn't have a subject to base it on; or at least one that wouldn't be done by a dozen other people. And then they announced the Fantasyland Expansion in 2009 and I had my subject. I found the video in untouched format and wrote the subtitles to go with the audio; Tara did the video work to bring what I had written to the sceen and posted it. Obviously, this was based on the initial plans for New Fantasyland, a lot of it was re-imagineered in the time between the initial announcement and now.

Like most of the "Hitler Reacts" videos, ours was blocked on YouTube in the spring of 2010 but later reinstated with all the others in the October of that year. It now has almost 10,000 views and a lot of people leaving "LOL" feedback so is by far the most viral thing I have every been involved with. You can find the YouTube upload here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EctQxbb5n9k

I should warn you, there is some language in this.

Enjoy :)

video