Posted on October 25th, 2022
As a kid, I was a massively huge fan of Disneyland. I dreamed of going for years before my family finally made the trip down to California. Once I got there, it truly was the most magical place on earth... at least it was to me.
It was from that point on that I became a hardcore Disney Parks geek. I would visit Disneyland, Walt Disney World, and even Tokyo Disneyland over the years just to keep up with whatever cool rides and experiences they had added. That lead me into becoming once of those infamous "Disney Adults" that keep getting trashed by assholes who are mad that they have to stand in line with their bratty kids to ride the rides... using the justification that "Disney is for kids."
To which I say "Fuck off" because kids invade my space all the time. So even if I bought into the argument that "Disney is for kids" (which I do not), I wouldn't care.
I haven't managed to make my way to any of the Disney parks for years. I really want to see the completed Pandora - The World of Avatar land in Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World. And Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge at either USA park. But I have a serious problem with the way that Disney is letting the parks go downhill thanks to shitty decisions made by CEO Bob Chapek. The gutting of perks from staying at Disney hotels. The total shitshow that's the "Genie+" service (pay more to get less!). The meandering lack of direction and general stagnation. It's as if all the things that make Disney parks a magical place have been falling by the wayside.
Meanwhile over at Universal Studios...
Yeah, Universal is slowly starting to eat Disney's lunch. On top of investing a lot of time and money into cutting-edge experiences and maintaining hotel perks, they're building an entirely new park in Orlando. Not an extra land, but a whole new third park.
Called Universal's Epic Universe the information coming out of its construction is pretty amazing. We're getting four dedicated lands: Super Nintendo World, Universal Monsters, Wizarding World, and How to Train Your Dragon... along with a central hub (complete with its own attractions) and plenty of room for expansion...
Photo by @BioreConstruct with overlay by @TonyHawkins
This isn't just "Blue Sky" promises about stuff that might happen, this is Universal literally building their future.
So I dunno. Maybe Disney will pull through and actually manage to get Disneyland Westside going. Maybe their rumored "Disney Villains" land and "Frozen" land will actually happen in Orlando. Maybe they'll start adding perks back to the hotels so that the massive price tag is worth it.
But until then... I just don't know that a few new rides is enough to make me book a trip to Orlando.
But Epic Universe is shaping up to be something that might.
Posted on March 18th, 2022
As I mentioned a while back, I pre-spent my tax refund money on a new desk chair and an Xbox
Halo Infinite is pretty darn good. It's open-world, which is tasty, and the graphics are pretty spectacular. But I'm not going to talk about Master Chief and Halo. I'm here to talk about a game that has really been wasting my time: Disneyland Adventures (which is included in Xbox Game Pass).
Now, here's where things get weird.
As a GAME, Disneyland Adventures is 100% shit. You play "attractions" so that you can perform tasks for various Disney characters. But the "attractions" have shitty controls, are frustrating for me as an adult (NO idea how kids are supposed to play this crap), and I hate them.
But as a SIMULATION of literal Disneyland? This is one pretty great experience. I've been to Disneyland a bunch of times, and they got so much of it right. I mean, some things are missing... licensed properties like Star Tours and Indiana Jones Adventure are missing (the game was made in 2011 before Disney bought Lucasfilm) as is stuff added after 2011 (like Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge). And Jack Sparrow has been replaced by "Black Barty" for some reason. But still... if you've been to Disneyland, it's pretty amazing to see how faithful they tried to be to the park...
Now, as I mentioned, the controls are shitty. It was originally designed to be played via Kinect, a motion controller, but I don't think that Kinect works with
So that's what I've been doing.
Alas, since the mini games are so awful to play with a controller, there's only so far in the game I can get. You perform all kinds of favors for the Disney characters, but eventually they want you to do something inside an attraction, and I'm not up for the frustration, so I'm blocked from continuing. Eventually I'll be blocked from finishing the game completely and won't be able to finish at 100%, but that's okay. In the meanwhile it's a fun way to visit Disneyland in these COVID times.
Even if my avatar in the game looks creepy as hell.
Posted on December 14th, 2021
If you're a Disney Parks fan, the video posted below is fascinating (AND HAS A TWIST!).
I've been to Disneyland and Walt Disney World a disproportionate amount of times because my work took me there quite a lot (for six years I was at both parks at least once a year... usually two or three). Ultimately, I think the whole "FastPass/FastPass+/MaxPass" thing makes the parks worse for most people. But, as somebody who was put up at the park hotels (and got all the perks that this entails) and who learned very quickly how to game the system, it worked out great for me.
Ultimately it all comes down to money. If you spend a lot of money, you can pay to game the system. But if you can't afford to pay extra to stay at pricey Disney hotels and pay for access, you're basically screwed. And Disney is fine with that... so long as attendance keeps rising.
A vacation to any Disney Park for a family of four is bank-breaking. The fact that a family could save for years to be able to afford to go... only to have a miserable time because they can't afford to pay extra so they aren't spending most of their time in a line... is heartbreaking.
But boy is the science behind what Disney does interesting. This video is an hour and forty minutes. I did not notice the time fly by because I'm a math and Disney whore like that...
In some ways, I'm not opposed to the idea of charging more for a better experience. Maybe you save your money for three years instead of two years to get a better vacation. But in more ways, this is abhorrent. A vacation to Disney parks is already hugely expensive. Making it even *more* expensive rewards wealthy people by having them give more of what they already have in abundance... but punishes people who have to struggle to take the family to begin with.
Life is already starkly divided by wealth, and taking away an affordable vacation to Disneyland just makes things so much worse. But what else is there when more and more people want to vacation there?
The solutions they've tried haven't been working.
The answer would seem to be limiting tickets for entry. But they don't want to deal with the outrage of people showing up and tickets being sold out. They also don't want to miss out on that money. But they should really go with "Advance Purchase Only" and just tell people that IF there are any tickets left over, you can buy them at the gate. Otherwise they are just turning off people from a return visit because they don't want to spend a ton of money and not get to do anything due to overcrowding. I sure have no desire to go back any time soon.
They need to build another Disney Park in Texas or something.
Posted on July 21st, 2021
No time to blog... Disney+ has finally dropped the first season of Behind the Attraction which goes into the history and behind the scenes of their most famous rides. The initial episodes are for Jungle Cruise, Haunted Mansion, Star Tours, Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, and Space Mountain. I will be binging them all, because this is the kind of stuff I live for...
UPDATE: Finished! Absolutely fantastic! In-depth but not to the point of being obsessive or boring. Entertaining and smart (Paget Brewster's narration is perfect!). Even if you're just a casual fan of the parks, it's worth a look. I've been waiting for this since it was announced, and it does not disappoint!
In the last episode they ask the question "If you were on your last trip to a Disney park... and were riding your last Disney attraction ever... which would you ride?" That is really tough for me. Ultimately I think I would pick "Pirates of the Caribbean" at Disneyland. I was going to go with "Expedition Everest" because it's just so well done... but the nostalgia of Pirates is tough to overcome...
If I ever go back to China and Shanghai again, riding their version of Pirates is a top priority because everybody I know that has ridden it says it's a pretty nice upgrade.
Posted on March 26th, 2021
A second entry for Friday? Lucky you!
If you've been reading this blog for any length of time, you undoubtedly are aware of my Disney theme park obsession. Heck, I even designed my own parody theme park DaveLand because my Disney love goes pretty deep...
I collect the map pamphlets from the Disney parks. I have the wall maps. I bought the map book. And every time Disney announces anything new or any kind of expansion, I am compelled to figure out what they're going to do and how they're going to do it.
The lastest news is more announcements for the Disneyland Resort "Westside Expansion" which will turn a bunch of parking lots into an expanded hotel/shopping/dining/entertainment experience...
Now, this concept illustration is not in any way final (indeed, it looks like the previous plans for the "Mickey Mouse Hotel" have been drastically altered or scrapped... and does anybody remember the plans for "Westcot?"). And it's a bit deceptive, which we'll get to in a minute. But you can see that the idea is to add more stuff to snag tourist dollars than they already do. Looks like there's a lazy river tube ride to the left there. The above-mentioned "Mickey Hotel" in the middle. Three entirely new hotels to the far right. A live stage venue just in front of them. And of course more shopping and dining. Disney quite clearly doesn't want you sleeping, shopping, or dining at anything except Disney-owned properties.
As I was saying, the illustration is a bit deceptive though because about 1/3 is already developed with The Disneyland Hotel and Disney Paradise Pier Hotel, which will be surrounded by new construction (which I've shaded in magenta)...
Yellow shading is over Disneyland and California Adventure so you can compare sizing. Suffice to say, this is not a small endeavor... nor will it be cheap. I'm not sure where all that parking will go. Could be it will be constructed underground. Could be they will expand the Pumba lot that's wayyyy off to the East or the Toy Story lot that's wayyyy off to the Southwest (see below) to be a multi-story garages like they did for the Mickey & Friends and Pixar Pals parking structures that are in the upper-left corner of the map.
It's interesting to note that Disneyland is pretty much at its limit here. To the South is the Anaheim Convention Center. To the North and West is suburban sprawl with hundreds of homes that Disney would have to purchase.
But then there's the land to the East.
And here's where my speculation takes a bit of a sinister turn.
Right now, most of the land to the east is occupied by a bunch of hotels, with the exception of the afore-mentioned Pumba Parking lot (outlined in cyan) which I'm guessing is owned by Disney. The red outline is the land I'm talking about...
Unfortunately for Disney, there's a shopping Mall to the South of the Eastern region that's likely there to stay unless Disney acquires it (if they haven't already) in which case they could rebrand it as yet another Disney shopping experience.
But let's think about this for a second.
The Disneyland Resort Westside Expansion has at least four high-capacity hotels planned. That's going to take business away from the hotels which popped up to the East of Disneyland. Which means the price to buy them out may cheapen. After enough lost business, they may consider selling to Disney... something that's inconceivable as things currently stand because their occupancy must (normally) be pretty darn high and very profitable. And once that first hotel domino falls... and Disney re-themes it as a Disney hotel... and people flock to it because Disney dangles enough perks... and more hotels lose more business... well, it's not difficult to see how it might be "bye bye Candy Cane Inn"... followed by the rest of them one-by-one.
This, of course, is all conjecture. It could be that Disney has zero interest in the budget hotel business, or that the existing hotels will continue to be so popular that the selling price would be insane. Or maybe the chain-owned hotels don't care about lost business and just want a Disney-adjacent property in their portfolio. It's hard to say. All I know is that both parks are overcrowded year' round now, so maybe it's worth it to Disney to buy everything up... and simply not provide budget lodging. At least not as it looks right now. A Disney "Budget Hotel" will be cheaper when compared to their other hotels, but still Disney-pricey. Because if there's one thing that Disney knows how to do... it's make money. Lots of it.
And they could, of course, use the land to build a third theme park. Or relocate the structures that are currently to the North of Disneyland so they can expand the park there. Or just shift the Mickey & Friends and Pixar Pals parking to the East so another big chunk of land opens up for entertainment and hotels on the Westside.
That's not the end to Disney's (estimated) land holdings. They either own or lease a rather large piece of land to the Southeast which is currently the Toy Story parking lot. Not sure if the parking for the hotels/businesses to the North is Disney-owned (that's outlined in green)... but if Disney does own this, they could build a massivley huge parking structure which could replace all the lost parking for Westside... and absorb parking for any hotels they buy, which could then be expanded or rebuilt... or replaced with more theme park to attract more customers (or maybe spread the crowds out a bit)...
© Google Maps
All I do know is that Disney gobbling up that Eastern parcel... along with the area above the Toy Story parking lot... creates a nicely contiguous chunk of land which would nearly double what they have now.
Not that contiguous land is essential. Just look at Walt Disney World. Build another monorail or an air-tram... or expand the bus system... and that third theme park could end up in the Southwest section. Or anywhere, really. I remember reading how Disney wanted to expand to a beachfront property in L.A. or something. Heaven only knows how much land in the greater L.A. area they own either directly or via shell companies.
What I wouldn't give to work for the team at Disney which gets to plan all this stuff. That's my dream job right there. But since I don't, all I can do is have fun speculating and be excited for what's coming next.
Until then, there's always Daveland.
UPDATE: Well looky what we have here... a site that Disney created to shame Anaheim into rezoning their property for multi-use purposes called Disneyland Forward. It doesn't do anything to curb speculation because it's just Disney tossing out ideas, but it does clarify a few things. First of all is their plans for expanding into the Westside property and Northward...
Note that Disneyland gets an addition to the West, so those weren't hotels, they were attraction buildings. The only hotel expansion looks to be another tower for Paradise Pier?
Which is not to say that Disney couldn't change their mind and drop a bunch of hotels once they get their way so that they can still buy out everything to the East and raze it for a third theme park. And idea which still makes a lot of sense. Though remember that land to the Southeast? Hotel and shopping have been dropped there as an example of what could happen...
Interesting stuff! You can see everything for yourself at Disneyland Forward.
Posted on May 17th, 2020
The weather is finally warming up, but the hottest place to be is right here... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• More Brothers! One of my favorite films to pop up in my foreign film binges is Kardeşim Benim, a really charming and funny Turkish film about two estranged brothers on a road trip after their father dies. A subtitled version is available on Amazon Prime streaming and for sale on iTunes...
I loved it and was happy to see that they made a sequel. Alas, Kardeşim Benim 2 was not available anywhere... even without subtitles... and all I could find was a trailer, which looked every bit as good as the first movie...
Fast forward to this past week and I saw that Amazon Prime Streaming finally had the sequel available to watch... with subtitles! It was darn good, and I enjoyed it just as much as the first film. It was a bit confusing, however, because the female lead from the first one has mysteriously disappeared. I was left scratching my head while thining "Wait... what happened to Zeynep?!? Who is Didem and where did she come from? Hakan is marrying her? Did I miss Kardesim Benim 1-1/2?!?" Still, well worth a look, especially if you saw the first one.
• Mow Your Tuna! I love languages and have studied more than a few of them. The only language I ever felt fluent enough to hold a conversation in was Japanese, which has long-since escaped my memory. Languages I studied just enough to blunder my way through when traveling have been Swedish, Thai, Portuguese, and Italian. The first language I studied was German and I studied Spanish in high school. Neither stuck. I did attempt learning French before my second trip to the country. It did not go well. Which is why I had a good laugh over this...
Now, I am the first to admit that English is no better. There are loads of homophones that make zero sense and can easily confuse anybody attempting to learn the language. But when it's the language you grow up with, it just makes sense.
• Casting! QUEEN LATIFAH AS THE EQUALIZER?!?!? SIGN ME UP, PLEASE! I am absolutely fascinated at how a show like that might work. I am so happy to have some really different television to look forward to and this fits the bill nicely.
• Electoral Math! "Democrats and losing elections is like Princess Peach and getting kidnapped by a lizard. At a certain point it starts to seem like y'all like this shit." — Oh... here we go... a total breakdown of how politics work where I live and how Democrats are 100% fucking it up. AGAIN...
He's not wrong. About any of it.
• Mo Betty! NEWSFLASH: Betty White to star in new Lifetime holiday film at 98 years old. — Squeeeeee!
• Magic! As we remain locked down in quarantine, I've been incredibly impressed with how much Disney has been doing to distract us from it all. On their blogs they've been releasing a slew of amazing recipes for some of their most popular dishes and desserts at their parks. As if that wasn't enough, theyve been posting videos to their YouTube channel of all kinds of things... from fireworks displays to attraction ride-throughs, like their latest and greatest: Rise of the Resistance...
• Hugs! And because I want to end today on a happy note, here's a video of people hugging animals hugging people...
Doesn't get much sweeter than that.
And that's all the bullets we have for today.
Posted on August 4th, 2019
You may think there's nothing good, just, and true in the world, and you could be right... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Free 2-Day Shipping with Amazon Prime. We have a white supremacist domestic terrorist problem which reached a crisis point years ago. And if the solution is always going to be to throw thoughts and prayers at it... or blame it on video games... or write it off as mental illness which cannot be solved... it will never, ever go away. And as we approach the age of affordable 3-D printing where space-age polymers will allow people to print assault rifles at home, it's only going to get much, much worse. And that day is coming far faster than anybody seems to recognize. So it's probably past time you ask yourself... do you want to continue to elect political leaders who encourage, escalate, and foster an environment where white nationalism can continue to thrive? Or do you want leaders who will foster a more inclusive society where white nationalism has no place? Because make no mistake, Amazon will be shipping those 3-D printers everywhere... including your state, your neighborhood, and your school district.
• And Then...
alexa show me the unnervingly large Venn Diagram of people who hate immigrants but love to take 23andMe tests to find out exactly what type of immigrant their family once was— Carter-William (@carterwilliam_)
July 25, 2018
• Walt! "In 1955, Disneyland opened. In early 1956, Sherman W. Carter, Jr. took his family to the park and shot this home movie. The video was just uploaded to YouTube on July 1 by a family friend."
I've been a huge Disneyland fan for forever. Seeing it in its earliest, rawest form is mesmerizing.
• Superflat! One of my favorite artists, Takashi Murakami, has written an editorial about his influences over at CNN Style. His work has certainly been an influence on me!
It's a really good read, especially if you have any interest in how art gets to be art.
• Best Life! Washington State may soon allow non-binary persons to use an "X" on their drivers license if an "M" or "F" isn't how they identify. Of course people are 100% losing their shit over it, which is mind-boggling to me. Why do you care what SOMEBODY ELSE has on their driver's license? How does it affect you AT ALL? Nobody is forcing you to do a damn thing on YOUR license. Which is why this Facebook post encapsulates the issue so well...
Be free indeed.
• More Chlorine! No idea how I missed this gem of a story, but it made my day... The Saga of Jerry Falwell Jr.’s Bizarre Relationship With a Miami Beach Pool Boy, Explained. This hypocritical bigot deserves to have people crawling up his ass with a microscope and examining every last detail of his life. Especially if articles like this are the result. After all the pain his words and actions have brought to others, it's about time it's returned in kind.
• Club Life! Speaking of hypocritical bigots, this may be my favorite headline of this decade... Mike Pence Fails to Pay $24K Tab at Gay-Owned Club.
Looking forward to another week filled with horrors? Me neither. But see you next Sunday.
Posted on November 12th, 2017
Put on that winter jacket, because winter is here along with an all new Bullet Sunday, which starts... now...
• Save It! I hate, hate, HATE the messing with the clocks twice a year. Daylight Saving Time ended a week ago, but my cats still haven't fully adjusted. Hell, I haven't fully adjusted yet either. At some point somebody has to end this madness.
• Canes! Back when I was traveling to L.A. twice a year, I decided to take an early run to Disneyland to get a handmade candy cane at Christmastime. It was insanity. The line to get one was crazy-long (now I guess they just hand out wristbands or something?) and they are really expensive ($10 when I bought one... probably $15 now!). And yet... a freshly made candy cane during the holiday season? Magic! Worth every penny! I'd buy one again... though the standing in line to get a wrist band is kinda a waste of Disney-Time! And speaking of raising canes at Disneyland, I just found this cool video...
I wonder how tough it is to make your own candy canes at home?
• Reveal! After watching a show on the beautiful restoration of Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel, I became more than a little obsessed with the art of restoring art. And why I've been captivated with art dealer Philip Mould's Twitter feed where he's been sharing some restoration photos like this one...
Amazing. I need to see if I can track down a blog where they keep track of stuff like this.
• No Wonder! This is incredibly fucked up.
• It's a Wonder! This, on the other hand, is incredible.
• Dance! This is the best thing I've seen on the internet this week, even though it's four years old...
Except bats eating grapes. It doesn't get cuter than bats eating grapes...
There. I can face another week now.
Time for a hot chocolate, I think. See you next week... I'll be the one bringing the bullets.
Posted on October 29th, 2017
Don't fear the reaper, because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Benson! Robert Guillaume passed away this last week and it got me to thinking about the various roles he's played in his long acting career. Primary of which, was "Benson" on Soap (and the subsequent spin-off), where his sarcastic wit was showcased to hilarious effect. My personal favorite role was Isaac Jaffe on Sports Night, a role which is surprisingly relevant today...
You, sir, will be sorely missed.
• Think! Cost to renew my nine Nest security camera "Nest Aware" subscriptions annually? $500. Cost to renew Amazon's new Cloud Cam security camera subscription plan annually for triple the storage time and up to ten cameras? $200. This means I could essentially buy three new Amazon cameras every year PLUS get a superior subscription service for the cost of my Nest subscription alone. Gee... let me think real hard about what I should do. What to do? What to do? It's a quandary, that's for sure...
• Balls! I made falafel for the first time!
My balls were totally delicious.
• Mickey Hotel! Disney just announced that Disneyland will be getting a brand new 700-room hotel which will open in 2021...
Compared to the amazing Grand Californian hotel across the way, it's kind of boring-looking. Not very "Disney-Special" to me.
The most interesting bit of information in the press release is not the hotel itself, but its location. In order to build the thing, Disney will be ripping out the West end of Downtown Disney. Which is currently occupied by ESPN Sports Zone, the AMC 12 theater, a Starbucks, The Rainforest Cafe and, ZOMFG... EARL OF SANDWICH! The LEGO Store is spared though...
The money that a hotel generates is probably huge compared to the royalties from everything it's replacing. With this in mind, I don't know why A) They are only putting in 700 rooms when there looks like there's room for more, and B) they haven't expanded The Grand Californian (the "Redwood Creek Challenge Trail," cool as it may be, is hardly a critical part of California Adventure, so it seems a natural to rip it out and put in another 150 rooms).
• Payola! HEALDINE: Senate votes to kill new rule allowing class-action lawsuits against banks; Pence casts deciding vote. — FUCKING PIECES OF SHIT!!! No recourse now... NONE... when big banks fuck you over. You are forced to accept binding arbitration or small court settlements instead of having your day in court. And, of course, data breaches due to shitty bank security are now basically a crime without meaningful punishment. All because the fucking Trump Administration and their Republican lackeys have their mouths so deep on Big Finance cock for cash that they don't give a shit who it hurts... so long as the big paychecks keep coming their way. And OF COURSE they are re-framing this act of utter submission to bank payola as a "good move" for consumers because "frivolous lawsuit costs get passed on to consumers." All 100% bullshit of course. We STILL end up paying... just in a different way. Meanwhile, any and all protections are now ALL THEIRS. Looks like we've got ourselves a government by the wealthy, for the wealthy.
• Harrassment! Everywhere you look, it's the same damn thing. I do not know Robert Scoble personally. All I know is that he worked at Microsoft then got famous for conducting crappy "WHO ARE YOU?!?" videos with happening tech industry people. I also know that he went into rehab a couple years ago because he was accused of shitty and harassing behavior towards women when he was drunk and high.
I also know one of these women.
Now it's coming out that he didn't stop with his shitty harassment of women AFTER he was supposedly "cured" of the things he blamed his behavior on. Typical of these types of situations, people are defending him because he's married and supposedly a "good guy." Meanwhile... there's the women whom he's sexually harassed who are having to deal with the fallout of HIS crap.
I believe them. Scoble may be married with kids and be known as a "good guy" in certain circles, but obviously that does NOT exclude him from being a habitual sexual harasser.
On his Facebook profile, Scoble has the douchey description of himself as "Authority on what is next," even though he just talks about what OTHER PEOPLE are doing. I hope "what is next" for him is somebody pressing charges. The more times that shit like this results in public shaming and even more public punishment, the more these reprehensible fuckers will think twice before being assholes to their fellow human beings.
All our times have come, see you for more bullets next Sunday!
Posted on July 20th, 2017
I generally fast-forward through commercials because most of them are total shit and not worth watching. This is easy to do because I watch almost all television from my DVR. The only time I let commercials play is when I'm watching TV live... or if I'm working (or otherwise distracted) and can't be bothered.
There I was, working away with the television playing in the background when...
... a sound plays.
A familiar sound.
The sound of the announcement tone for Disney's Star Tours!
What the heck?
Turns out it's a commercial advertising the Main Street Electrical Parade, where a Disney cast member is walking through a giant warehouse filled with relics of Disneyland past. I must have freeze-framed a dozen times on my DVR trying to figure out what everything I was seeing could be. Reviewing it all was a nostalgia-laden walk down memory lane.
The commercial has been around for months, but this was my first time seeing it.
When I was Googling to see if Disney had posted it to YouTube, I found that there were a couple of videos calling out all the "Easter Eggs." Like these...
Now THIS is a cool commercial that is actually worth your time to watch!
Assuming you're as big a Disney geek as I am, that is.