Sunday, March 28, 2010

Disney Photo of the Week: Checking In!

I hope that everyone had a great weekend!  I went home to visit, so I've been MIA from the internet a bit over the past couple of days.  But now it's time for this week's Disney photo!

Week 19: Laura with the Check-In Papers

To me, few things are more exciting during a Disney trip than checking into the resort (or wherever you are staying, if not on property)!  There is nothing like that "We're finally here!" feeling.  It's one of my favorite parts of the whole Disney vacation experience.  So this week's (slightly blurry) photo is of my sister Laura with our check-in folder and room keys for the All-Star Music Resort during our December 2007 trip.  We drove in from St. Augustine that morning, so it was still early and we were ready to have some Disney fun!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Cooking on the CP: Housing Kitchens

Who wouldn't love a post about food?  As for myself, I love to prepare food almost as much as I love to eat it.  And while it is still early, I got to thinking about the kitchen situation in the CP apartments.  On the Checklist of Things to Bring page, they recommend bringing a toaster.  Well, I have a toaster oven already.  So if none of my roommates has one, we're covered. :-)  I also have a slow cooker, although I just got it and haven't even used it yet.  Now I don't know how others feel about this, but I'm a big fan of cooking up a large batch of food (even if it's just soup or Hamburger Helper!) and saving leftovers for a couple of days' worth of lunches or dinners.  And if this is at all possible in the CP housing, then I'm going to attempt it.  I'm not saying I do this incredibly frequently.  But if I know I've got a busy few days coming up, then it's good to have at least one less thing to worry about and have some of my meals covered.  As wonderful as the idea of fresh food for every meal is, there are always days when it's just not possible.

Anyway, all of this got me wondering exactly what is available in the CP housing kitchens.  So here is the list of amenities, according to the official site:

  • Refrigerator w/ ice maker
  • Stove, Oven, & Microwave
  • Dishwasher
Utensils and Dishes
  • Assortment of Pots & Pans w/ lids
  • Mixing Bowl Set
  • Measuring Cups
  • Cutting Board
  • Spatula
  • Can Opener
  • Cutting Knife
  • Ladle
  • Tea Kettle
  • Serving Spoons
  • Cookie Sheets
  • Dinner plates
  • Salad Plates
  • Cereal Bowls
  • Drinking Glasses
  • Coffee Cups
  • Set of knives, spoons and forks
Honestly, this is a lot more than I was expecting in the ways of kitchen amenities because I'm used to unfurnished apartments.  The cookie sheets through me for a loop, because I have a set of 3 that I was going to bring.  My current roommates and I were planning on divvying up the silverware when we move out, so odds are that I'll have some extras to bring if my CP roommies are interested.  Even between the three of us here, we are always running out of either forks or spoons long before we run out of any other silverware.  So with several roommates, it couldn't hurt to have some extras lying around.  Right?  And it seems like there is no colander provided, so that may need to be added to the list of things to purchase after checking in and evaluating the kitchen.

Now as for what to cook, I thought I'd share one of my favorite websites for getting recipes:  It's amazingly helpful for finding dishes, reading reviews, getting some suggestions for modifications, etc.  I've found some of my favorite recipes there, and there are many in my account's Recipe Box that are still waiting to be tried.  In regards to cooking while on the CP, I'll steer you in the direction of the Everyday Cooking section.  Here you can find recipes for budget cooking, campus cooking, 15-45 minute dishes, etc.  If you do some searching, odds are you'll find some very doable recipes for any kitchen situation and budget.  And if nothing else, you can look at some pictures of yummy food.

Some people might think of the next two paragraphs as full of pretty obvious info, especially if they've lived with roommates before; but I'll post it anyway.  It's my blog and I can do what I want. ;-)  Whether you intend to cook your own meals regularly or whether you plan to rely on frozen meals and cans of Chef Boyardee (which believe me, I do that too!), you will need to consider the fact that you are sharing kitchen space with 1-7 other people.  The other day Jenn posted a link to a thread on the DIS in which a former CP'er shared her experiences including those related to fridge space.  The entire thread is worth reading, but this post offers some pretty good advice on how to share the space in the housing fridge without jumping down each other's throats if you will have several roommates.  Last year, I moved into our apartment a few days later than my other two roommates.  So when I arrived, they had already finished their grocery shopping and filled the entire fridge/freezer and every cabinet.  I had to scrounge for any space to put my groceries, and it took a few weeks for the three of us to get into a groove as far as kitchen space goes.  There will probably be an issue now and then with kitchen space, so be prepared and remain civil at all times!

As for my own personal advice, label any food that you don't intend to share in some way!  Even if you just get a cheap pack of small stickers to put on cans or boxes, it can help.  There is always the "I don't remember buying this, but I'm still pretty sure that it's mine!" phenomenon among roommates.  Just a couple of weeks ago my unopened jar of peanut butter walked away with one of my roommies on her weekend trip because she thought it belonged to her.  And if you and any of your roommates use the same food products that don't last very long (milk, bread, etc.) and you know you won't use them fast enough, then it doesn't hurt to consider going in on some of your groceries together and sharing.

Well that's all I can think of to write on cooking in the CP housing right now.  Have a great day, everyone!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Disney Photo of the Week: Captain Hook and Mr. Smee!

Technically it's Sunday now where I am.  Another week, another photo!

Week 20: My sister and I with Captain Hook and Mr. Smee

This picture always makes me laugh! It's from our trip in December 2007 right after Christmas when my family decided to spend a few days in WDW before New Year's. In case you don't know, Captain Hook and Mr. Smee are often available for Meet & Greet in the Magic Kingdom, right outside Pirates of the Caribbean in Adventureland. That morning my family got up early and made it to the EMH at 7:00am! We saw quite a few characters that morning. But we hadn't taken a photo with Captain Hook in years, so Laura and I took advantage of the chance. Unfortunately I haven't had a picture with them since this, but hopefully that will change in the fall! One thing I don't like about this photo? It's very obvious that my younger sister is taller than me. How embarrassing.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Disney Photo of the Week: Not-So-Scary Halloween!

So I've counted twice, and if I'm correct there should be 21 weeks exactly until it's time for me to check-in at Vista for the WDWCP!  Well, it's 21 weeks from tomorrow.  But close enough.

As a weekly thing, most likely to happen every Sunday, I'm going to post a favorite Disney photo from one of my trips and tell you about it!  I hope that you'll enjoy them!

Week 21: Me at Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party!

It's only fitting that the first Photo of the Week would feature yours truly! As you may or may not know, I was able to attend my first MNSSHP this past October on Halloween night. Rob, my sister Laura, and I all drove to WDW for a quick weekend trip to go to the party during fall break. It was so much fun, but there was so much to do! I'm definitely going to need to attend this party again while I'm in Orlando this fall!

This photo was taken while we were waiting to enter the Magic Kingdom right before 4pm, when they start letting those with party tickets enter the park. Rob and I dressed up as Gaston and Belle, and here you can see my attempt at re-creating Belle's village ensemble. My costume was very comfortable and worked out well! Except that around 10:30pm, my shoes seemed to give out on me and my feet were very sore for the rest of the night. They were shoes designed for trekking, so I don't know why they couldn't handle the Magic Kingdom. But it was totally worth it!

Take care, everyone!  It's time for me to knock out some schoolwork!  Or be knocked out by it.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

First thoughts on arriving for the CP

For something much more CP-related than Disney movie news, I thought I would share the beginnings of my prospective plans to arrive in Orlando in August.  Obviously it is all very tentative at this point, but planning needs to begin!

I have decided that I will probably be arriving on my own, rather than bringing anyone with me.  This is for several reasons.  Firstly, I am driving to Orlando, so whoever would be coming with me would either need to drive their own car there and back or ride with me and take a very short flight home because we do not live very far away from WDW.  This is not terribly practical for anyone that I would want to bring with me.  Secondly, considering how much independence the CP requires I feel that it will be perfectly fine for me to make the drive by myself and check in successfully.  With the CP website providing all necessary paperwork ahead of time, I expect this to be relatively easy to do by myself.  And I will be checking in with my roommate(s), so it is not like I will be totally by myself anyway.  Lastly, bringing a loved one with me would probably make it that much harder to say goodbye. :-(

As for the drive itself, I have made it a few times with no problems, except for trying to find the elusive I-16 near Statesboro, GA.  I swear, there is a different route to it every time I drive to Florida!!

So I check in on August 9th.  Bright and early.  There is talk of a CP meet-up the night before, and I would love to be there for that!  So I think I will drive to FL and arrive on  the evening of the 7th.  Estimated travel time is eight hours.  This way, I can already be there August 8th and be able to find exactly where I need to be the next morning in order to check-in.  I'm the kind of driver who needs not only directions, but to drive the route myself ahead of time if it is somewhere important and I've never been there before.  So rather than risk getting terribly lost on check-in morning, I want to be familiar with the location early.  Hopefully my roommate and I will be meeting up on the 7th or the 8th, too!

Now with this tentative plan, I need to scout out hotels to stay in as close to the check-in area as possible!

Disney Worried Princess Mania Is Alienating Boys

More Disney-related news today!  With profits from The Princess and the Frog not living up to its expectations, Disney is considering the fact that it may be alienating its potential male audience.

I think the layout of the World of Disney store located in Downtown Disney is a pretty good example of the Princess mania abounding today.  Yes, there is a section featuring more boy-oriented characters such as those from Toy Story and Pirates of the Caribbean.  But you have to admit, Princesses have become much more prominent in Disney merchandising over the last few years.  Just step into the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, Cinderella's Royal Table, or Akershus Royal Banquet Hall and you'll see how much Disney is capitalizing on this Princess obsession.  And do you remember the plans to basically turn most of Fantasyland into Princess Ville?  Now I'm not saying that I think the Princess Mania is bad, but I can definitely understand how young boys and their families might feel isolated if these girl-oriented shops, meals, and attractions do not appeal to them.

But today's article is specifically related to Disney movies.  The article, titled Disney doesn't want princess cooties, discusses the company's recognition that Princess Mania might be negatively affecting their films' popularities and profits.  This has already affected two upcoming projects:

"Concluding that it had too many animated girl flicks in its lineup, Disney has shelved its long-gestating project 'The Snow Queen,' based on the Hans Christian Andersen story." And just to be on the safe side, the studio has also "renamed its next animated film with the girl-centric name 'Rapunzel' to the less gender-specific 'Tangled'" and beefed up the male lead.
Now the article discusses not only the positive effects of drawing back on Princess Mania, but also the negative effects it might have on the female Disney audience.  And it does so from a very feminist perspective, since Disney has been responsible for so many female role models, good or bad.

I have a special idea coming up for tomorrow's post, so stay tuned!  Have a magical weekend!

Friday, March 12, 2010

150 days / Happy Birthday, sis! (plus cake!)

So I will be checking into the CP in exactly 150 days!  That makes me really excited!  I applied for my new health insurance plan yesterday, so hopefully I can mark that off of my to-do list for the months before I head to Orlando.

Also today is my little sister's 19th birthday!  If any of my readers have younger siblings, I'm sure you can understand how strange it is to realize that they are getting older.  I still forget that she has her driver's license!  I finished decorating her birthday cake earlier today, and it's pretty cute if I do say so myself!  And I would write what I am giving her, but she's aware of the blog so she could peek!  I will say that it is themed Typhoon Lagoon, although I will probably have to tell her that because it's not horribly obvious.

But because nothing improves a blog post like pictures of cake, I will show you the Donald Duck cake that I made for her two years ago!  Don't judge too harshly, I'm not very good at decorating them.  It looks like it belongs on Cake Wrecks, so thank goodness I would never even try to do this professionally. :-D

I tried to rotate the photo, but it won't work!  So tilt your heads, everybody!

I didn't write the birthday message; that was Rob.  But trust me, mine wouldn't have been any neater!

I think she liked it.  Even if it wasn't the prettiest cake, it still tasted good!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Feminism and The Little Mermaid

Before I scare anyone away, no I'm not one of those man-hating feminists.  The entire male gender does not get the middle finger from me; I don't believe in feminism being about anger or revenge.  So don't worry about getting any "men = EVIL" rants from me, okay?

That being said, I wanted to share a link to an article and its comments that I found very interesting today!  I read the blog almost every day, and Disney is a particularly touchy subject with a lot of the writers and readers there.  Several of my friends and I have even had some great conversations and debates about Disney based on topics such as sexism, racism, religion, and class issues.

The article I want to share today is Consuming pop culture while feminist: Disney's The Little Mermaid.  It's about one feminist woman's experience with viewing the film as an adult.  Her experience was negative, unfortunately.  Other readers shared their opinions and experiences in the comments, and they make very fascinating reads!  Here are a few excerpts I particularly enjoyed:

From commenter Fortuna Impreratrix Mundi:

The thing is, though, that Little Mermaid and all the second-generation Disney films that followed it? Such a vast improvement on the previous "someday my prince will come" model. Despite all the craptastic princess marketing that's tainted the image of the Disney heroines, Ariel, Belle, and their ilk follow a pretty distinctive pattern: they are constrained and unhappy in their current situation, they want something else, and they go get it. And that something else is not a handsome prince to whisk them away. The fulfillment of their desire takes place through the traditional fairy-tale model, with the prince representing what they want, but the desire itself has nothing to do with finding a man. Yes, it's problematic that Ariel has been drooling over the human world for years and falling in love with a human dude is the kick in the pants she needs to get her to act. But that's a lot better than having no desires, or subordinating her own desires for the sake of getting a prince. The prince is the embodiment of her already-existing desires.
From commenter Leonorah:
I think what really appealed to me was that Ariel was a capable female heroine who made decisive     and difficult choices, and kind of rebelled against what was acceptable. She knew who she was and what she wanted, even though a lot of that did revolve around a man. 
I'm not trying to apologize for the problematic parts of the movie, I just want to say that recognizing them doesn't mean you have to condemn the whole thing and feel like you were deceived as a child. We live in a sexist society and there are harmful sexist messages in just about everything, and we should look for those messages and criticize them, but not let them ruin our enjoyment. There are still a lot of really good things to appreciate about that film, such as the animation and music. And Ariel does have a few empowering qualities. 
 From zes:

Ariel fights back in her thirst for knowledge and sexuality, that is set in contrast to her ditzy sisters who only care about putting on makeup. She does not want Eric in particular - she has never even seen him when she sings of how she wants to be in another world, one full of books and science and (very Prometheus / Plato) fire, singing, "Betcha on land, they understand, and they don't reprimand their daughters - bright young women, sick of swimmin', ready to stand." 
Eric is simply from that world. Indeed he is the feminist partner. He falls in love with her because she is strong, she saves his life. Then he decides to marry her because even without a voice, she is funny and interesting. He doesn't want to keep her down; it doesn't occur to him (and he still loves her to the point of risking his life for her when it turns out that she is trans!). 
Ariel eventually gets to be in that other world. Her father capitulates and realizes he does not own her and that she must be allowed to grow up. With a feminist partner her voice is not taken away and she goes to live in the brave new world on her own terms.
 From sara:
I always took the Disney movie as offering an almost feminist cautionary tale to young women about the dangers of sacrificing your voice and identity for a man. The deal the Little Mermaid strikes with the Sea Witch is so obviously a bad one, and the outcome is good only because her friends and people who love her make significant sacrifices to try to undo it. I certainly walked out of the theater (at 9) thinking I would never make a deal like that!

If  you have any opinions/experiences to add on The Little Mermaid and its messages to women, I'd love to read them so feel free to comment!  Take care, readers!

Monday, March 8, 2010

10 Things to Do Before the CP

I'll be arriving in Orlando for my CP in just five months!  This got me thinking about everything I want/need to do between now and August.  Thus, a list!  They're in no particular order of priority, but the first two are the most immediate.

1. Complete my senior thesis.

To get my BA in History, I'm required to finish a large senior research project as the pièce de résistance of my undergraduate work. My seminar is "History in Film," which is a much better fit for me than my first attempt last semester ("View of the Enemy in Wartime"). I tried to complete this project in Fall 2009 so I would not be worrying about it right before graduation, but my project got too big and messy and I just didn't get along with the professor advising me on it. So I withdrew, and registered for another seminar. I am so much happier this time! I genuinely love my research, and wish I could devote all of my academic energy to it rather than dealing with my other four classes too.

2. Graduate.
This one is pretty self-explanatory. Graduation is exactly two months from today, and I can't wait!! I'm not really that excited about the ceremony and hullabaloo. But I got my cap and gown last week, and hanging them up in my bedroom will hopefully motivate me in my slacker moments.
3. Knit my birthday/graduation blanket.
My birthday/graduation gift to myself is a blanket that I intend to knit sometime during the summer.  I bought the yarn for it back during the holiday sales but I haven't been able to start it yet.  It's going to be royal blue and hopefully oh-so snuggly!  The only thing I'm not looking forward to is knitting such a warm blanket during the hot months.  I made one for my parents for Christmas, and it was so nice to have the blanket-in-progress spread over my legs while it was cold.  But summer will be a different story!

4. Go to St. Augustine with my best friend.
Last summer my best friend and I went to St. Augustine, FL, for a couple of days. This photo was taken when we climbed the lighthouse. We were planning to take another trip there during spring break, but that fell through. So hopefully at some point this summer we can go back and enjoy beaches, historic sites, and Bahama Blues.

5. Read as much as I possibly can.
I have so many books on my shelves that have been waiting years.  It's rare that I have any time for leisure reading, and when I do have the time I'm so wiped out from reading for classes that I can't focus on it.  Actually, I think I've almost forgotten how to read fiction!  Rob sent me a short story for his creative writing class, and my brain couldn't handle it.  Characters?  Imagery?  No one is critically analyzing anything?  Madness!  Anyway, so I want to read as much as possible during the summer from the various books I have sitting around.

6. Move out of my apartment and find a place to store my stuff.
My lease doesn't end until the beginning of August, so I have plenty of time to do this. I intend to keep a lot of my furniture after I move out, but obviously I can't take it to the CP with me. So I'll have to store it away. And I'm not taking many of my books, DVDs, or other knick-knacks, so they'll need to be stored too.

7. Up my Netflix use!
I first signed up for Netflix because I needed access to their DVD collection for my senior thesis (both attempts, actually!). Now I'm wondering why I didn't have an account earlier! It's mind-blowing how many options they have for movies, television shows, and documentaries. I'm on the plan for two DVDs at a time, but right now they're both thesis-related so my enormous DVD queue is going to have to wait awhile longer. But I use the Watch Instantly section as much as I can. Over the summer, I intend to tear through both queues as much as possible because I plan to cancel my membership before leaving for the CP.

8. Work on my running.

You might have read my earlier post about the WDW half-marathon that I want to do in January. So I need to keep up with training! Regardless of whether I'm ultimately able to participate in the race, at least I'll reap the benefits. I can always try for another WDW marathon. And hopefully it will help me be better prepared physically for my CP work, especially if I'm required to stand and walk around for several hours at a time.

9. Get on my own health insurance plan.
My family has always handled our health insurance through my mom's job, since she's in the medical field. She switched to a new employer last year, and our insurance plan switched with her. Unfortunately, this plan cuts me out a year earlier than our old one. So as of next month, when I turn 22, I'll be uninsured. My dad and I have already found a plan that we think will work well, but I have to wait until closer to my birthday to apply for it. As a graduation gift, my parents are going to pay for my health insurance while I am on the CP. I need to go ahead and apply as soon as I'm able to do so.
10. Pack for the CP!
Sorry about the watermark, but the photo really amused me. Like everyone else I have to figure out what to bring and what to leave behind, pack it all up, and fit it into my car. I'm so glad I'm able to drive to the CP so that I have more room for bring things to and from Orlando.

That's all for today!  By the way, I have a new blog background!  I'm trying to design a header for myself, but haven't made one I love yet.

Friday, March 5, 2010

1903 Film Version of Alice in Wonderland

I may be the only Disney fan with no interest in the new version of Alice in Wonderland.  But in the spirit of it being released today (and because I saw this posted on Facebook and wanted to share), here is the 1903 short film version of Alice's story.  According to the YouTube info, the BFI National Archive has restored it as much as possible.

It is worth watching for the Cheshire Cat's appearance alone.  I almost spit my coffee at the screen in amusement!

Have a great day, everyone!  My spring break started today, but unfortunately I'm sick. :-(  So I'm spending the evening knitting and marathon-ing season two of The Tudors, before I drive back to my hometown tomorrow for a friend's baby shower.  I'm excited about spending time there with family, friends, and Rob.  This semester suuuuucks.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Top 5 Magic Kingdom Attractions

I feel like school is eating me alive!  At least all I have left this week is a midterm exam and one lecture, then it's time for spring break!  Although I'll be spending break working on schoolwork, so I don't know why I'm so excited.  At some point over the break, I intend to finally Disney-fy this blog with a new layout.

Anyway, since I was accepted for Attractions and the MK is my favorite WDW park, I thought I would provide you lovely readers with my five favorite attractions there.  They are in no particular order, there are just five of them.  Enjoy!

5. Haunted Mansion

I successfully broke a Cast Member working there once when I was a child. We got into a staring contest and from what I hear, I made some angry face at him and he burst out laughing.

4. PhilharMagic

I am a bit red-green color blind, so I can't actually see the 3-D images in this show. But I enjoy it so much for the music, the characters, and the silliness. And I love Donald Duck!

3. Splash Mountain

This is a photo of Rob and I from our May 2007 trip.  Splash Mountain is always fun to ride, and it's a nice way to cool off on a hot afternoon!

2. Pirates of the Caribbean

I always try to ride Pirates of the Caribbean first at the Magic Kingdom. It's such a great ride, and I love the song! I often play "Yo Ho, Yo Ho!" in the car to remind myself of POTC.

1. Tomorrowland Transit Authority

Sorry for the bad photo, but I had trouble finding any other TTA ones in my files and it kinda fits. This is my younger sister and I dressed up for Halloween 2009 in the MK.  The TTA, formerly the Peoplemover, will always hold a place in my heart. My family and I spent so much time on this ride when my sister and I were little. My parents would take us around the ride over and over while we fell asleep before heading back to where ever we were staying. Even with all of the new additions it still has a lot of Walt Disney's personal touch, more so than other areas of the park. I do miss the old narration!

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to catch up on last night's LOST!  TTFN!

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