Un Jour à Disneyland Paris

This is one of the last articles I wrote for WDWNT that has not been posted here. It’s a review of our honeymoon trip to Disneyland Paris, my first Disney park outside the US.

Bonjour et Bienvenue

Most of my friends had always assumed that when I finally got married, the honeymoon would take place at Disney World. This really was not too much of a stretch when you think about how much of a Disney fan I am. I have been visiting Walt Disney World since I could not even count. I even ran my first marathon at Disney World.

When the big wedding day finally came on September 15th of 2012, we surprised everyone when we did not board a plane for Orlando – rather, we headed to Europe. As much as I love Disney World, I really wanted to do something new and extra special for a honeymoon (not to mention my new husband is not quite the diehard Disney fan that I am).

So it was rather convenient that in the end, I could have my cake and eat it too. On the last full day of our trip, we headed out to the Disneyland Paris Resort (DLPR) – which has Disneyland Paris and Disney Studios parks. This was my first trip to DLPR – my first to any Disney park outside the United States for that matter.

MichaelWillDLP

Of all the Disney parks, Disneyland Paris may be the most notorious by reputation. For years, I had heard so much about the place – so much of it negative, often accompanied by the word “failure” – so I was very curious to see what my own feelings would be (particularly having practically grown up at Walt Disney World). What follows are my thoughts on my first all new Disney Resort in 15 years.

Est-ce que vous êtes prets? Alors, allons y! (Are you ready? Let’s go then!) Continue reading Un Jour à Disneyland Paris

20 Years Running – The 2013 Walt Disney World Marathon

I am working on a Dopey Challenge recap article for this year, but I realized I never posted last year’s marathon article from WDWNT to my blog. So here it is. Just remember this is 2013, if you are confused by the “unofficial” Dopey. Here you go:

The special Mile 20 marker.
The special Mile 20 marker.

When the Walt Disney World Marathon was first run in 1994, a few thousand runners took part. This year, for the 20th running of the race, over 20,000 took part in the 26.2 mile run. Not to mention the other 40,000 or so participants who participated in the weekend’s other activities, such as the Walt Disney World Half Marathon, the Disney Family 5K, and the Kid’s Races. As the sport of running has gone mainstream, the runDisney events have become some of the most popular on the Disney Parks calendar.

2013Medals

My first Disney marathon (and my first marathon ever for that matter) was the 2011 Walt Disney World Marathon. Last year I stepped it up and ran my first Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge. The Goofy, for those who may not be aware, is comprised of both the Walt Disney World Half Marathon AND the Walt Disney World Marathon. That is a combined 39.3 miles over the course of two very early mornings. This year I went one step further, and ran my first “Dopey” challenge. Unlike the Goofy, the “Dopey” is not an official event. But every year several thousand Goofy runners add the Disney Family 5K to the weekend’s events, completing a 42.4 mile weekend. Continue reading 20 Years Running – The 2013 Walt Disney World Marathon

In Defense of Horizons

This article originally appeared in WDWNT: The Magazine.

If you want to start a fight on a Disney message board, you certainly have options. Main Street Electrical Parade vs. SpectroMagic (old fashioned!). Is Avatarland canceled (but a website said so!)? Alcohol in the Magic Kingdom (roving gangs of drunks terrorizing our children!). One of the longest running surefire flamebaits is the classic Epcot attraction Horizons. Many, many words have been written, spoken, and shouted over this pavilion that has not existed for nearly 14 years. For many (and I include myself in this group), it remains a personal favorite. For others, it is the most overblown omnimover in the history of Edutainment. In this article, I intend to give my reasons for loving it, and my present feelings. Continue reading In Defense of Horizons

Taking the Stage at the Hoop-Dee-Doo

This article originally appeared in Issue 18 (September 2012) of WDWNT: The Magazine.

Like many of you who are reading this magazine, I went to Disney World a lot growing up. And also, like many of you I am sure, there were certain parts of the Walt Disney World experience that you made sure you did on every single trip no matter what. For us, one of those things was the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue at Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground. Continue reading Taking the Stage at the Hoop-Dee-Doo

The Musicals of Main Street

This article originally appeared in Issue 17 (August 2012) of WDWNT: The Magazine.

Main StreetThe songs of Main Street USA at Walt Disney World make up a soundtrack that, for any Disney fan, can instantly transport us to the Parks. It represents the beginning of a vacation, the end of a vacation, and every entry into and exit from the Magic Kingdom in between. For so many of us, it is the soundtrack of our childhood. Like Main Street itself, the soundtrack is meant to evoke the feel of classic Americana. Songs from different decades and styles are weaved together so seamlessly that you may mistakenly think it was written at the same time exclusively for the Park.

To help with that classic Americana feel, many of the songs of Main Street come directly from the greatest pieces of musical theater of the golden age. For the first half of the 20th century, the nation’s popular soundtrack came directly from the Great White Way. The songs of Rodgers and Hammerstein, Cole Porter, Irving Berlin, and so many others were the chart-topping hits of their day. The period of time following World War II and the late 1960s is considered the golden age of the Broadway musical. Three of these are prominently featured in the Main Street soundtrack. Continue reading The Musicals of Main Street

Spoiler Free Carsland

This article originally appeared in Issue 16 (June 2012) of WDWNT: The Magazine.

[Update: I still have not been there]

As I write this article, Carsland is just days away from its grand public debut. Everyone from the Disney fan community will be there to cover the event, WDWNT of course being among them. I am, regrettably, unable to make it out to the West Coast to be a part of it all. Thankfully, there will be all of this amazing coverage online, from videos of the attractions, to reviews, to enough photos to cover the whole of the surface of the earth. Continue reading Spoiler Free Carsland

My First Roller Coaster: Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

This article originally appeared in Issue 15 (May 2012) of WDWNT: The Magazine.

BigThunder08I am a huge fan of roller coasters. At this point of my life, I think I have ridden almost all of the coasters in the New York Tri-State area. Virtually every vacation I have taken has involved a roller coaster ride of some sort. I even proposed to my future husband while on vacation at Cedar Point, on the beach beneath the Magnum XL-200. I don’t think I could choose one favorite coaster based on the sheer ride, but one that I would put at the top of that list for sentimental reasons would be my first coaster, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at Walt Disney World. I have been on coasters that are taller, faster, and bigger since my 1986 experience, but Thunder holds a special place for me. So I thought it would be fun to look back, especially now as the ride is currently getting a much-needed refurbishment. Continue reading My First Roller Coaster: Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

10 Things I have never done at Walt Disney World

This article originally appeared in Issue 14 (April 2012) of WDWNT: The Magazine.

Most of you who read this magazine probably, like myself, consider yourselves Disney experts. You may have the “been there, done that” mindset when it comes to just about everything at the parks. If the topic of Disney comes up among friends, everyone turns to you as the definitive voice. But, all of us have things we have never done in the World. The size and depth of Walt Disney World means it is difficult to literally do it all. The incomplete list can range from minor experiences to major attractions. What follows is my own list of nevers–big and small. Continue reading 10 Things I have never done at Walt Disney World

The Sweetest Omnimover on Earth

This article originally appeared in Issue 13 (March 2012)  of WDWNT: The Magazine.

Me with the Hershey Bar character in 1987.
Me with the Hershey Bar character in 1987.

Disneyland’s effect on the amusement park industry is undeniable. Nearly all modern parks have incorporated the themed lands idea that Walt Disney established in Disneyland. Disney has influenced more than theme park layout, however, and rides and attractions at theme parks around the world have taken inspiration from legendary rides and ride systems. One great example of this can be found in Pennsylvania in the chocolate-themed Hersheypark. Continue reading The Sweetest Omnimover on Earth

The Curious Physics of Mission Space

 

This article originally appeared in Issue 12 (March 2012) of WDWNT: The Magazine.

Mission SpaceI wish to start this article with a disclaimer: I am fully aware that Mission: SPACE, being a theme park attraction, falls under the category of “suspension of disbelief.” Talking mice, time machines, and hang gliders that seat thirty don’t actually exist, but we play into the fantasy because that is why we go to Walt Disney World in the first place. This article is meant to be humorous, so please take it as such (although one can argue that the Epcot attractions – Mission: SPACE in particular – are far more scientifically and reality grounded than, say, Splash Mountain). Additionally, it has been a decade since I last took a physics class, so I welcome the corrections from our PhD audience. Continue reading The Curious Physics of Mission Space