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

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

A Goofy Weekend

This article originally appeared in Issue 11 (February 2012) of WDWNT: The Magazine.

Michael Finish 02 Running a marathon makes you part of a pretty exclusive club. Less than 1% of the population of the world will ever achieve this. For those of us who have, Disney has made an even more exclusive club, one that a very small, but very proud group of people will join. There is only one thing you can call someone who will wake up at 3AM, twice, to run a total of 39.3 miles- Goofy.

Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge is an endurance event that is, for many, the ultimate Disney experience they will ever have. The challenge is to run the Walt Disney World Half Marathon on Saturday morning, then return to the start line on Sunday to complete the Walt Disney World Marathon. About 7,000 runners out of the 56,000 who participate in Marathon Weekend will take part in the Goofy. These runners are the most fanatical of all those participating in the runDisney events. Continue reading A Goofy Weekend

The Re-re-imagineering of Imagination!

This article originally appeared in Issue 5 (July 2011) of WDWNT: The Magazine.

If given the power, and the budget, to re-imagine a part of Walt Disney World, what would it be? Ask any Disney fan this question and you may well launch into a conversation that lasts until the next morning. There are those who would wish to return to the 1980s, and others who may well wish that decade never happened. There is likely not a single attraction on property that the Disney faithful could not think of a way to improve. But for this first edition of this column, let’s just go for broke and head straight to the 800 pound pyramids in the room. Let’s re-imagine Imagination! (again). Continue reading The Re-re-imagineering of Imagination!

Can You Hear Me Now?

This article originally appeared in Issue 2 (April 2011) of WDWNT: The Magazine.

Do you remember what a big deal it was to have a meeting location? With a resort the size and scope of Walt Disney World, traveling with a large group usually requires meticulous advanced planning if you hope to have any chance of keeping together on your vacation. It was vitally important to know where and when you would all meet up. And if someone didn’t arrive at the proper time (perhaps they were stuck on a broken down Splash Mountain for 45 minutes with the music shut off listening to the Audio-Animatronics click and move and the announcement every 5 minutes that “Looks like Brer Fox and Brer BEAR are causing some kind of commotion downstream”. Not that this has ever happened to me) you were stuck. You either stayed there until they showed up, or gave up and went on, hoping to meet up by chance later on. Or at least it used to, before we all got cell phones. Continue reading Can You Hear Me Now?

A Hello – and What exactly is a “Nerdketeer”?

Hello blog world. It is great to be back among your ranks.

My name is Michael Truskowski. I am a New Yorker (by adoption), who can easily be defined as a nerd. I am a technology nerd, and am currently a trainer at the famous Apple specialist Tekserve, where I have worked for nearly 6 years. I am a Disney nerd, particularly the parks, and am a regular contributor to WDWNT: The Magazine. I am also a marathoner (4 and counting) and a member of New York Road Runners, a skeptic (member of NYC Skeptics), and most of all, proud husband to be to my partner of 5 years, and the owner of three adorable cats. I am also a trained singer (I have a Bachelor of Music from New York University). Through this blog, I hope to explore the intersection of all these things.

The name I have chosen for this blog, and for myself in the process, is Nerdketeer. This portmanteau of Nerd and Mouseketeer (itself the combination of Mouse and Musketeer) is most obviously a reference to two of my more notable interests. But it goes deeper. One of the original goals of my favorite of the Disney parks, Epcot, was to both educate and entertain. I began my time in New York pursuing the later, and shifted slowly toward the former. I am now a full time teacher of technology, both to my clients and to our staff. I love being able to give information. But the entertainment bug has never left. The challenge for any educator, it to combine their teaching with entertainment. This is probably what drew me into the Disney world from such an early age. Walt understood, perhaps better than anyone, that we learn when we are invested. And what better way to do that than to make it fun at the same time. It makes sense that Epcot would be my favorite place. It is the largest technology playground ever built.

This is my goal, on this blog and in life. To educate, and to entertain. I want to make learning fun, as it should be, as it always has been for me. Musings of a Nerdketeer will be my small attempt to take a tiny corner of the internet and play this out. I am lucky enough to be just the right age to have experienced the explosion of technology and communication that has changed everything about our daily lives (I am three months older than the Macintosh computer). It has all had a huge impact on me, and being able to help others learn and enjoy is deeply satisfying.

In addition to original content, I will also be posting my contributions from the Tekserve Blog, and WDWNT: The Magazine. I thank them both for allowing me to repost those articles here.

So I do hope that you will enjoy this blog, and that you find the information intriguing and enlightening, as well as just plain fun. Happy reading!