A Look At Tomorrowland

tomorrowland

Walt Disney was always looking toward the future, and it showed through in so much of what he gave to the world.  He designed the original Tomorrowland in Disneyland to allow guests to be able to participate in a glimpse of what the future had to offer in order to provide them a positive outlook on what was to come.  His goal being simple, inspire hope.  In the movie Tomorrowland, Brad Bird and Damon Lindelof have taken that goal and weaved it into a modern tale where hope and despair are at odds, the world is losing, and it needs to be saved.

You can’t look at the world today and deny the underlying statement of the movie that we live in a very negatively driven society.  The movie does paint that view very dark for much of the movie, basically stating that there is no hope, as the world marches ever forward to it’s end.  They even go so far as to put a Doomsday Clock into the movie that counts down toward that end, one which defines the dark side of the movie and providing it a voice that ever counts down.

With that said, the negativity of things as shown in the movie, and the impending doom of the Earth, as mentioned above, despair is not the message of the movie.  The message is actually hope.  The message of the movie is provided to us through the main character Casey Newton (Britt Robertson) who is intended to be that embodiment of hope.  This is in stark contrast Frank Walker (George Clooney) who is a man who has become so obsessed with the impending doom that he is lost in despair.

This dichotomy carries through the movie from it’s opening where Frank and Casey are shown to be telling us the story of the movie, right until it’s speech at the end.  The message is simple, despite all the darkness there can be hope.  The interplay between the concepts built into Casey and Frank carries much of the movie.  Casey keeping it fun in a way, while Frank is keeping it real – despite all the unreal things he’s doing on screen.

With a plethora of science fiction themes like alternate realities, killer robots, and a steampunk trip to the moon the movie really does carry well throughout most of it.  There’s actually a point in the special effects where I got goose bumps because so much crazy awesome was happening on screen that it was hard not to sit back and think “Wow!”.  Cool concepts when well executed really do help me enjoy a movie more.  You don’t have to really understand how they do X or Y or Z in Tomorrowland, and they don’t take the time to explain it to you.  These combined help the movie not get stuck in exposition, despite that the entire movie is a flashback.

Parents should know that this movie does have quite a bit of in your face violence.  Almost at time for the sake of violence rather than having a purpose.  So this might not be a great film for younger viewers, but keep in mind we’re talking something along the lines of Men In Black or Revenge of the Sith.  The movie is honestly not for everyone, even families may be split. There are some definite lull points that may actually bore some viewers.

That said, I really enjoyed the core story of the movie.  I love the idea of a group of scientists that have, for quite some time, toiled away in another reality so they can expand and grow their knowledge freely for the good of mankind.  It does work to inspire hope, and that’s a good message to put forth.  On the downside it does suffer from the same problem that Damon Lindelof works generally have, the journey through the movie is way better than the end game of the story ever is.  But, I had expected that going in.  It also is a very well constructed story that is both entertaining and fun.  For a more in depth view of Tomorrowland, check out episode 234 of the Disney Film Project Podcast in a few weeks.

In addition to doing the web design and programming for the On the Go in MCO website, Todd Perlmutter is a host for the Disney Film Project Podcast.

 

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Be Our Guest Restaurant FastPass+ Lunch

Recently I found myself planning a day at the Magic Kingdom and I was traveling with a friend who had never been to the Be Our Guest Restaurant. Since we were on the Quick Service dining plan and didn’t want to spend extra money when we had pre-paid for our meals, we decided to try out the FastPass+ option for Be Our Guest at lunch. I had heard about this opportunity from friends, but had never been able to take advantage of it myself.

There is not a whole lot of information out there from Disney directly as this is still considered to be a Beta test for the Be Our Guest FP+. So, I thought I’d share what information I have been able to glean from my own experience and from talking to others. Shortly after booking my resort package, I went to the website beourguestlunch.disney.go.com to start the Be Our Guest lunch reservation process. Before you do this though, make sure you have already setup an account on the My Disney Experience website and that you have linked your resort reservation to your profile. It is my understanding at this point that you need to have a resort reservation to be able to take advantage of this FastPass+.

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When you go to the Be Our Guest lunch site initially, it will encourage you to sign in with your MDX, ABC or ESPN account login. If you do not already have an account, it will ask you to claim your resort reservation if it doesn’t automatically recognize it as linked. You must use the twelve digit confirmation number (not your package 3AB12345, etc.), if you do not have this, you can get it by calling Disney Resort Reservations or by logging in to your MDX account and you can see it on your MagicBand order screen. After you’ve entered your confirmation number and first and last name exactly as they appear on your resort reservation, you will be asked for your date of birth then click on submit in the lower right corner of the screen.

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When you have signed in to your or account or created one and it has recognized you have a valid reservation at a Walt Disney World Resort, then you can start planning your Be Our Guest lunch by checking availability. Assuming you don’t already have plans, the only option will be to Select or Replace your FastPass+.

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On the next screen you will be taken to a calendar of dates starting with your resort check in date for five days. You have the ability at this point to select a date for Be Our Guest from the first seven days of your vacation or up to a seventh day within your arrival date. If your stay is longer than seven days you will need to wait until the second day of your stay to have access to the eighth day of your trip and so on one day at a time. If you have multiple resort reservations, you can click on the calendar to the right of the date to change to later dates.

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Once you’ve selected your date and determined there is a time available (be very aware there may not be availability and I also don’t have a definitive window on booking, but I’ve heard it changed recently to within 30 days), then you can proceed to confirm the guests in your party. It will always display all the guests in your room, but does have a disclaimer that you can reduce your party size upon arrival at the restaurant. On the next screen it will tell you if there are FP+ available at Be Our Guest for the day you’ve selected, or it will encourage you to select a different day.

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From here, if there were availability, you would decide between Direct To Table where you order your menu items ahead of time, or Expedited Arrival, which acts pretty much like a FastPass, putting you in a different line, but you still order what you want when you arrive. Since we had an idea of what we wanted, we opted to order our meal ahead of time, and after giving you a total, you can choose to use the dining plan and it verifies what you’ve selected is covered. There are some Be Our Guest menu items you may find not on the Direct To Table option like the substitution of chicken instead of tuna on the nicoise salad. If you are wanting to modify your menu items or if you have any allergies, then I would suggest just opting for the Expedited Arrival.

I booked my resort stay on August 8th and within five days received an email invitation to the Be Our Guest FP+. It essentially went through the instructions and disclaimers for the Be Our Guest lunch. The email looked something like this:

Bonjour Betsy,
Now for a limited time, you may be able to participate in a test for lunch at Be Our Guest Restaurant. Step inside the Beast’s enchanted castle and experience a meal unlike any before. You can select an arrival window and pre-order meals for your entire party* before arriving at Be Our GuestRestaurant and on the day of your lunch, with your MagicBand**, you’ll be able to breeze by the line, confirm and pay for your order.
To begin, follow the steps below:

  1. Log on to https://BeOurGuestLunch.disney.go.com using your Disney.com account.
  2. Enter your Resort Reservation Number to begin: 442201265310
  3. Select an arrival window and pre-order your meal
    (arrival windows are subject to capacity and availability).

Don’t forget to wear your MagicBand when you arrive at Be Our GuestRestaurant during your arrival window, and please enter the Disney FastPass+entrance at the beginning of the bridge. No matter where you dine at Be Our Guest Restaurant your food will be magically delivered to you! Bon appétit!


 

*Offer is nontransferable, is only valid for those Guests listed on the Disney Resort hotel reservation, and is not for sale.**Guests who (1) choose not to wear a MagicBand, (2) wear a MagicBand but choose to pay with cash or meal vouchers or (3) need to make modifications to their order will be directed to the order room to proceed. One quick-service meal entitlement will be redeemed for Guests with dining plan packages.Valid park admission is required to enter Magic Kingdom® Park. Cannot accept early or late arrivals. Valid only on the date and time as noted on the Be Our Guest website and valid only for the duration of your Disney Resort hotel stay. This offer is valid for lunch only. Arrival windows are subject to capacity and availability. Operation hours of the restaurant are subject to closures and change without notice. Not valid for any admission to any Theme Park.Please do not reply to this email. This account is not monitored.If you have any questions, please stop by the MyMagic+ Service Center at Magic Kingdom® Park.

 

The day of our reservation we checked it at the podium for Be Our Guest at the foot of the bridge to Beast’s castle. The cast member scanned one of our MagicBands with an ipad and pulled up our reservation. We arrived about five minutes before the end of our half hour window, but we were warned they were going through some enhancements so we may have a 15-20 minute wait. We were instructed to queue up on the left side of a rope dividing the bridge since we had FP+, which seemed to indicate the right side was for the remainder of the standby line, which was cutoff already for the day at 1:10pm.

After waiting just a few minutes, we were at the entrance to Be Our Guest and the CM there asked if we had pre-ordered or just done the expedited arrival. We told her we had ordered already and were escorted inside to the left side of the hallway with the suits of armor. Only a few minutes later we were at the next podium and the CM there confirmed that we had ordered and directed us to the next CM at the register. Despite having ordered our meals ahead we decided to add a separate order of the potato leek soup using a snack credit and they just rang this up as a different transaction. We scanned our MagicBand, put in our pin to pay using our dining credits and went off to find a table.

All in all from checking in with the first CM to when we were seated was about 15 minutes and our food arrived less than five minutes later for our meals and about another five minutes after that for the separate soup order. The CMs at Be Our Guest had no trouble finding us simply by our MagicBands, so I was very happy and our orders were all perfect. The meal went very smoothly, other than the unexpected enhancement, but this only probably added five to ten minutes to our day total.

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Some things to know about the Be Our Guest FP+ is that it is a Beta test and neither resort nor dining reservations or the internet helpdesk have information about the test other than it exists. CMs have been instructed to direct guests to the website, which doesn’t have much more info in the FAQ, which I will include a link to here. The FP+ for Be Our Guest does not count as one of your three scheduled FP+ in advance per day. You are only able to schedule the FP+ once during your resort reservation. You can use dining entitlements, pay cash, credit card or room charge at the restaurant. If you cancel you will not be charged a cancellation fee, however they do ask that you cancel the reservation if you know that you are not going to be able to make it. Your reservation will not appear in your My Disney Experience account anywhere, nor will you receive an email confirmation of your booking. The only place to see your reservation is on the Be Our Guest Lunch website.

This is all subject to change as it is a test, but we enjoyed it and thought it was a nice way to save time while in the park enjoying other attractions. Have you done the Be Our Guest FastPass+ recently? What were your thoughts? Do you have any more questions about the test? If so, leave me a comment and I will do my best to find out the answer. Bon Appetit!

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Celebrate The Magic Summer Fun

 Celebrate the Magic Summer 2014 -

Celebrate the Magic is one of those things that I tend to walk by and take for granted, because it is always ‘there’ when we are trying to find the right spot for Wishes! or the Main Street Electrical parade.

Here is a little bit about Celebrate the Magic if you are like me…

With a little pixie dust from Tinker Bell, watch Cinderella Castle come to life right before your eyes.

 

Witness a spellbinding show that traces the longstanding legacy of Disney storytelling and imagination. When Tinker Bell splashes pixie dust atop Cinderella Castle, the regal castle is magically refashioned into an enchanted canvas unfurling with spectacular Disney imagery.

 

Travel down the rabbit hole with Alice, soar high above the Big Top with Dumbo, and wander the African savanna with Simba.

 

Drawing inspiration from Disney’s many memorable characters and stories, Celebrate the Magic invites you to take off on a breathtaking visual and musical journey, and to experience Disney movies—from beloved classics to contemporary favorites—in an entirely new and unforgettable way.

However what makes Celebrate the Magic so special is that it receives several seasonal updates a year, and this year’s Summer tag does not disappoint! It is full of fun, tikis, and under the sea shenanigans.

The Summer sequence of projections begins right after the Wreck It Ralph section.

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Phineas and Ferb kick off the Summer sequence with a, “Ferb! I know what we are going to do today!”

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Fun and upbeat music kicks off as the castle is sketched and colored.

Celebrate the Magic Summer 2014 -  Starting at the bottom of the castle and spreading upwards tiki torches appear and “Hawaiian Roller Coaster Ride” plays.

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Then the castle is adorned with tikis, torches, and a little blue alien.

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Leis are dropped onto the castle turrets before the castle is draped in a pattern that features Lilo, Stitch, and their friends.

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The pattern turns into a wave that Nani, Lilo, and Stitch then ride out.

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A ‘Sand’ castle is now being projected with a fun kid sung “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah”.

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Waves then wash away the sand castle as beach ball drop all over the castle.

Celebrate the Magic Summer 2014 - Beachballs

“Under the Sea” rings out as the castle is flooded and the beach balls make way for Ariel, Sebastian, Flounder, and their fellow sea inhabitants.

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The party ends as some familiar fish friends (not food) swim across the castle with calls of ‘Mine, Mine, Mine’ as the castle goes black.

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The summer tag for Celebrate the Magic is a little less than two minutes, but as you can see they packed a lot of great animation and moments into that time.

If you want to catch the Summer tag of Celebrate the Magic, here are some of my best tips!

  • There are two showings of Celebrate the Magic a night (usually 9:45 pm and 10:35 pm, but check the daily times guide or My Disney Experience to be sure), and the second show is a lot less crowded to watch!
  • If you decide to watch the show during it’s second showing, try to move as close as you can to the castle because you will find the closer you get you will find more opportunities to sit on the ground (a unique perspective for tired feet) to view the show.

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  • Celebrate the Magic is projected on the front and sides of Cinderella Castle, and each vantage point offers a different experience! If you want to watch from the front try to be center near the hub, the castle forecourt is also open for the show and that is really interesting, and from the side I prefer the Tomorrowland side going towards Merida’s Meet and Greet.
  • If you have a pair of Glow with the Show Ears, they will interact with the show’s lighting and effects.
  • The show is great to photograph! Make sure that you listen for music cues of when the projections will change and don’t worry too much about using your flash.

I found a great video on YouTube from Steve Gray of the entire Celebrate the Magic castle projection show. The Summer tag begins around the 3:35 mark and ends around the 5:23 mark.

httpv://youtu.be/pxtUpbdn_T8

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