Time for another grumptastic distraction. You know what to do. Give me a funny caption.
As usual, I'll start..................
Now it's your turn......
Time for another grumptastic distraction. You know what to do. Give me a funny caption.
As usual, I'll start..................
Now it's your turn......
As I sit here using Phoenix's free Internet wi-fi and sweating with a fever (I've sweated though 3 layers of clothes), I notice that the mighty paintbrush of Jeff Pepper (of 2719 Hyperion) has whipped out another great logo for the Disney Community.
Go check out Tim Devine's The Magic in Pixels and see his latest piece of gold. Once again, he's done it without any input from Tim because he was stumped on what he would want. Jeff has a real intuitiveness when it comes to this stuff.
Tim says it was worth every penny......
You can also check out all his work on display at his other site: JP Digital Graphics & Design
Enchanted Rose's sister, Julie, has a son who suffers from a seriously rare genetic disorder. His name is Collin.
Among is extensive list of symptoms are: dwarfism, extreme sensitivity to light, double cataracts (since been removed), severe autism, and many, many others.
His condition is so rare that he's only 1 of probably a 100 documented cases in the entire world.
Here is a quote from Collin's CaringBridge Site:
What is Trichothiodystrophy you ask. Trichothiodystrophy (TTD) is a rare genetic disorder that involves the production of abnormal brittle hair, Icthyosis, physical and developmental disorders. It can also involve ataxia, stunted growth, skin sensitivity to light, and to UV rays.
TTD is a seriously disabling disorder with a severe skin affliction and serious developmental defects and growth retardation. It can also cause immune deficit cells, premature aging in facial features, cataracts and dental abnormalities, poor weight gain, Autistic characteristic such as irritation to high frequency sounds, and repetitive movements and behaviors.
In other words I have to be VERY careful when I go out in the sun because the sun can hurt me. I have to work extra hard to do things that other people can do with ease. I have to wear glasses so that I can see and wear hearing aids so that I can hear you. I am very small but my mom says that I am like Peter Pan and that I will always be her boy. They say that I might not live as long as other people but I don't believe that. I believe that they will find something to help me grow old with my little sister and best friend Regan. I am often times in pain but my mom says that I am a tough little boy! I have to be careful when I get sick because I can end up in the hospital for a long time. My Immune system is not as good as other kids. Despite all of this I am a very happy boy that loves to play and make friends where ever I go
You can read up on Collin at his CaringBridge site. The pages that Julie has created to explain Collin and his condition do it much better justice than I ever can. While you are there, feel free to leave some hugs or sign the guest book.
You can also keep up with Julie and her lovely family on her own blog.
In all this time, Julie has never complained about the seemingly insurmountable role she's been placed in as the caregiver for such a special child. I am just constantly amazed at her resolve. It was for that reason, we brought her and her daughter out to our house in January as a late Christmas Present. She needed some Julie-time.
During his 7.5 years on this planet, Collin has benefited from the generosity of many charitable organizations.
To try and help repay them for their generosity, Julie has used her participation in the LA Marathon's 5K Fun Run/Walk as a way to try and raise money for a charity of her choice.
This year, she has chosen Ability First. They are the organization that provides Collin's Day Camp during the summer.
I know you must be wondering why I am asking this on a Disney blog.
Collin has got to be one of the biggest Disney fans that I have ever known. He has had the opportunity to go to Walt Disney World through Make-A-Wish but one of his conditions is that he can only get 15 minutes of exposure to UV Radiation IN A WEEK. As many of us know, that makes going to Walt Disney World a problem.
Plus, they live in Long Beach, California and their entire family has season passes to Disneyland (gifts from the family).
Collin's favorite attractions at Disneyland are: It's A Small World, Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage, Disney's Electric Parade, Dumbo, and many others. He is quite the charmer out the Cast Members on the left coast and his wheel chair sports buttons and pins given to him by Cast Members, guests, family and friends.
Julie's goal is $2000 this year. For the first time that I've known her, I'm actually in a position to help more than just writing a check. Since I have quite a readership here, and I know the generosity of the Disney Community, I thought there was no harm in asking.
I'm going to close this post with the e-mail I was sent by Julie:
It is that time of year again!!
We are so honored to be working with and fundraising for such a wonderful organization like Ability First. Collin goes to day camp at Ability First and LOVES all of the staff and wonderful people that work with him. It is a "safe" place for him to go and enjoy being a kid! They have an indoor pool, outdoor covered patios, computers, and other amazing actives that allow him to be included in everything!!
We are so grateful for the love and support that we have received from each one of you over the years. Thank you for supporting us in this change of charities in our fundraising efforts. This will be our fourth year doing this as a family and we LOVE it! If you would like to join us please come on!!! This year we have made it easier for you. You can donate to Collin's fundraising efforts by simply going to this web site.
We would be grateful if you would like to pass this link on to others that you may feel would be interested in supporting our family in our effort.
So, if you'd like to help out, follow the link provided by Julie above. You can also link to this blog post, or write posts yourself and help spread the message.
I would be ecstatic if we can shatter her $2,000 goal and show her what the Disney Community is really all about.
It's often the organizations that provide the most help to others that needs the most help from us.
For those of you just joining the fun and frivolity that is Grumpy's Hollow via the links from John Frost's Daily Roundup post, I want to say welcome.
I thought to help make your stay a bit more enjoyable, I would provide some links to some of my more popular posts that I feel best represents what this place is all about:
You already know about these two because John linked to them:
But here are some others that you might want to check out:
And no recap of my best posts would be complete if you didn't take a look at the trip reports that seemed to have helped me carve out my niche in this community.
So welcome and I hope you like what you read
Well, it looks like the ole grump has to go out for some more training. Who knew there was so much training involved to be a grump?
I was very impressed on how clean everything was in "The Hollow" after returning from my last trip, so feel free to stop on by and play the XBox 360, PS3 and watch some great Disney Blu-Ray Movies.
Hey, if anyone is feeling industrious, I have left a few "to do" list items on the bar that need to be fixed.
Have you ever wanted to eat at Victoria & Albert's but were a bit concerned about the quiet and library-like atmosphere of the restaurant? Well, there is an alternative that can provide a very unique and different Victoria & Albert's dining experience but comes with a bit of a price.
Awhile back, I did a review of Victoria and Albert's. I also mentioned that it was a piece on the Travel Channel about the Chef's Table at Victoria and Albert's that prompted us eating there in the first place.
During our stay at Walt Disney World in September 2006, my wife and I had the fortuitous opportunity to dine at Victoria and Albert's not once, but twice. Our first meal was the one I wrote about previously. Our second time was The Chef's Table.
There are a couple things of note in regards to dining at The Chef's Table at Victoria and Albert's:
Just like most restaurants at Walt Disney World, the Chef's Table starts accepting reservation requests 180 days in advance. In order to have a chance of getting a seating, you need to be on the phone calling Victoria and Albert's (we called the restaurant directly) as soon as the open for the day that you are calling. Make sure you do your math correctly. If you are even 1 day off, you probably are not going to get a reservation.
But, don't despair, there is a waiting list. Granted, the odds of people canceling are slim, but it is still a hope. The phone number to be put on the Victoria & Albert's wait-list is: (407) 824-1893.
When we called, we asked for any available openings for the entire time of our stay. Then we planned our other meals around that.
When our concierge at the Animal Kingdom Lodge saw that we were eating at both Victoria and Albert's and the Chef's Table, we were quickly told that we must've gotten very lucky. Apparently, according to a few cast members in reservations that we spoke to, there are people who decide when to take their trip to Walt Disney World based on when they could get a reservation at The Chef's Table.
Our seating at the Chef's Table was the night of the first Monday of our stay (September 11, 2006). My wife got all dressed up in the second dress she had bought for this trip. I put on my suit again, but this time changed the shirt to coordinate with the dress.
We, once again, took a taxi over to the Grand Floridian because the idea of wearing a dress and heels on Disney Public Transportation wasn't a loveable idea for my wife. I personally don't see what the big deal is, but I am not a woman so I cannot possibly know what it's like to walk around Disney in such attire.
When we arrived, we walked up to the host stand and informed the Cast Member on duty that we were here for our seating at the Chef's Table (there is only one seating). They immediately knew our names and what we were celebrating (my birthday and our honeymoon).
They weren't ready for us at that time, so they walked us to a little seating area near Citricos and brought us each a glass of Champagne (or Sparkling Wine, I'm not sure if was really Champagne).
We probably sat there for 15 or 20 minutes and someone from the restaurant constantly made sure we were alright.
Quickly, we were told it was time to go into the restaurant. It turns out the gentleman who was ensuring our comfort while we were waiting in the lobby area, was one of the two gentlemen who were taking care of us for the entire evening.
You are brought into the restaurant just as if you were eating in the traditional sense at Victoria and Albert's. The difference was that you pass right by the dining room and into a place that most patrons don't go.....the wait station!
At this point, you are taught the first rule of dining at the Chef's Table.......
You don't talk about The Chef's Table...... Just Kidding....haha
The wait station marks a buffer zone between the kitchen and the dining room. There are doors to the dining room and a door into the kitchen. Whenever entering the dining room, you make sure the kitchen door is completely shut before opening the door into the Dining Room. This was a very important rule because it was critical to not spoil the dining experience for those in the dining room.
We were now brought into the inner sanctum of Victoria and Albert's. As some people say, "Where the magic happens".
My wife and I have both done several tours of duty as employees of restaurants. I worked as a waiter in a fine dining establishment and I would occasionally moonlight in the same restaurant's kitchen (the chef apparently liked me). My wife worked in the kitchen of a family-style restaurant.
This kitchen wasn't anything out of the ordinary when it comes to a restaurant except there is a gigantic niche in the back of the restaurant containing a very large dining room table that you might see in a residential home containing a large family.
At this point, we found out another bit of information they don't tell you in the literature. You aren't guaranteed to have Chef Scott Hunnel be your Chef for the evening. In our case, we were taken care of by Chef Amy (I think that's her name, the curse of time is making that detail a tad fuzzy).
In addition to interacting with your Chef, you are completely free to interact with anyone in the kitchen. You don't have to work that hard to get their attention. Many of them would walk by and ask us if we had any questions about what they were doing. I don't know if our obvious youth and unpolished social graces promoted this openness.
We also got to witness how the kitchen handles unexpected hiccups in the evening. During our meal we found out a party had shown up with several extra diners that weren't on the original reservation and one of the new bodies had very exacting dietary needs.
Apparently, the kitchen is very detail oriented and they pretty much have an idea what everyone is having for dinner that evening and when people show up that aren't accounted for, they must scramble. The Chef doesn't really like to have too much duplication of the menus at the table and an unplanned extra participant can throw a wrench into the plan. It would be like finding out that a member of your wedding party is bringing as their guest someone who wasn't well liked by someone else at the table you planned on seating them at. You must scramble and rearrange.
Because of this, we had a brief period where we didn't get to interact with our Chef as she took care of the current emergency.
Here is another tip we picked up during our time at the Chef's Table. If you have dined there before, make sure to let them know the date when make your reservation (either regular dining room or Chef's Table). Chef Amy told us that it was very informative to know we had eaten there a couple days prior because she was able to pull up our menu and make sure we didn't get anything to eat that we had the previous trip.
The food is just like you would get in the restaurant except you get many, many more courses than in the regular dining room.
When each course comes out, Chef Amy would tell us what we were eating and any interesting details about the preparation. We did get to experience Kobe-style beef (which is an extra cost in the regular dining room) and got to find out why it's called Kobe-style beef.
Our two waiters were vigilant in their desire to make sure we weren't left wanting of anything. It really was a small taste of what I guess it feels like to be royalty. These two gentlemen obviously loved their job.
At the end of the meal, they brought us a little take-away bag that had two greeting cards made out of chocolate wishing me a happy birthday and both of us a happy honeymoon. We also got our menus with our names on them. Plus, my wife got another rose.
At one point in the evening we were asked if there was anything we wanted to see in regards to the kitchen. My wife said she'd love to see where the desserts were made.
At the end of the meal, we were taken to the little nook where the dessert chef worked her magic. It was at this point we learned a little bit of trivia. There is a head dessert Chef for all of the restaurants at Walt Disney World. He designs everything we eat for dessert at sit-down establishments.
The chefs at each restaurant pretty much picks from a menu of what desserts they want on their menu. There are minor variations that can be made to the desserts, but for all practical purposes they are the same. For example, I had a gigantic pyramid of chocolate at Victoria & Albert's and later saw the same dessert at the Luau at the Polynesian Resort but it was much, much smaller.
There was one thing that the restaurants had a little say in. That is the ice cream and sorbets. So, this dessert chef was letting us sample some sorbets she was concocting for Victoria and Albert's. She was combining flavors to try and come up with something tasty yet unique for the dining experience.
When it was time to leave, I think it was midnight and we were exhausted and very, very stuffed. Who would've thought that a bunch of courses of tiny quantities of food would fill you up that much.
We have yet to get another seating at the Chef's Table and once again failed for our trip we are planning for the Summer of 2008 (we are 5th on the waiting list). We will get there again if it kills us.
It is an experience that I strongly suggest anyone who has the financial means to experience. To help you decide if you have the financial means to experience it, it cost my wife and me $384.50 to dine at the Chef's Table. This price is including Florida Sales Tax and Tip, but is does not include any alcohol. So, if you want to do the wine paring, expect to pay more.
On Episode #49 of Lou Mongello's WDW Radio Show, Lou invited Steve Barrett, author of Hidden Mickeys: A Field Guide to Walt Disney World's Best Kept Secrets (3rd Edition), to discuss some of the exciting new Hidden Mickeys that he has been finding or has been alerted to by fans.
One of the hidden details he discussed was what is known as the Hidden Jafar. Steve mentioned that he had a bit of difficulty finding it because many cast members didn't know where it was located.
As he was talking about it, I was saying to myself, "Grumpy, you have a picture of that from MouseFest 2007!"
You need to be on the suspension bridge on the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail that you cross when leaving the Gorilla enclosure. Once you cross, turn around and look toward 11 o'clock. And this is what you'll see:
"I knew if this business was ever to get anywhere, if this business was ever to grow, it could never do it by having to answer to someone unsympathetic to its possibilities, by having to answer to someone with only one thought or interest, namely profits. For my idea of how to make profits has differed greatly from those who generally control businesses such as ours. I have blind faith in the policy that quality, tempered with good judgment and showmanship, will win against all odds." —Walt Disney
(Quote obtained from Disney Dreamer.com)
Does sub-quality work have long term returns? If you put out not your best but what is best right now, will people stand up and applaud your accomplishments?
These are questions that I always ask myself. This is a post I have been tumbling around in my brain for a long time.
In the real world, I sometimes feel like an Imagineer. Unlike the Disney Imagineers, I don't design anything fun and glamorous. I provide people with solutions to problems that requires a lot of design and building but I do it with programming code.
Unlike Imagineers, I don't get marching orders from people within my own corporation, but from people that have contracted my employer for services. So, it's very important that I keep these 3rd parties happy.
I like to let my clients know when I feel they are doing something that will cost them more money than some other solution. But, one thing I don't like is when I'm asked to do something that is very clearly a cutting of corners in order to keep the cost down.
Over the years, I have observed that when you cut corners to save money now, you'll end up spending a lot more over time to compensate for decisions made in the past to protect bottom lines.
In a way, we, the Disney Guests, are the clients of the Walt Disney Corporation. We pay them with our hard earned dollars to enter into their parks and stay at their resorts. We expect a product commiserate with the money we paid.
Just like the people I work with, the paying customer don't want to feel like they didn't get their money's worth. They don't want to feel like a lot of time was spent working on something and they didn't get a product that matches that effort. They want to be wowed. They want to have a reason to brag to others about what they had gotten.
We are the same way. We want to be wowed when we walk into the parks and resorts. We want to go home and brag about all the cool stuff we saw and did while at the parks.
So, here we stand and face many new things coming down the pipe from the Disney Imagineers. We all know that the Imagineers tend to get their marching orders from other people who tend to wear suits and analyze numbers with their 10-key calculators.
We all know that these Imagineers can often have their hands tied by executives that are more worried about the stock holders. The day of people investing for long periods of time are gone and stockholders are now fickle and are easily spooked by bad news. These executives view a costly project as bad news if it doesn't show an immediate promise of quick returns in the form of increased visitor numbers. I say, these things take time.
This seems to go directly against the quote I provided above from Uncle Walt.
What we need is a return back to the day when the company will put in the effort to turn out unbelievable attractions and parks. Where less concern was given to how much it will cost, but how much people will line up to see it. I want to go back to the day when attractions were built with the hopes that we'll want to bring our children and grandchildren back to experience it many years later instead of rides being quickly removed and replaced.
We have already had a few hits. Expedition Everest in The Animal Kingdom is definitely a ride worthy of being associated with a mountain. The Finding Nemo Submarine Ride at Disneyland was fabulous. The freshly dusted Haunted Mansion at the Magic Kingdom turned out better than I could've ever imagined.
But, there is already tons of concerned commentary about Space Ship Earth following the many eyes that got to sample Disney's sneak peek into the attraction.
We also have the new Toy Story attraction coming to Disney's Hollywood Studios and California Adventure. This will be one of the major barometers of things to come.
I've heard arguments that some of what we are experiencing is a result of giving the client what they want. We get shorter rides because people want to do more since they are spending so much money. I have also heard that the paying public doesn't have attention spans to handle rides of the length of Pirates of the Caribbean or Splash Mountain.
My response is that there was a time when the Disney Theme Parks were educating the public on what it meant to be entertained in a Theme Park. Before Disneyland there really wasn't anything like it. We had to be taught how to have fun. All these years later, we may have started to forget. Disney needs to step up and show us how to have fun and not cave in and give us what we say we want when the talents men and women of WDI know we are wrong.
As far as the wanting to have shorter rides because the customers want to feel like they've done more because they've spent a lot of money, I say that if you give people attractions that are commiserate with the expense we outlay, it will no longer be about quantity of attractions accomplished. People will feel like they got their money's worth off doing less.
Don't get me wrong, there is more than the rides and attractions that draws me to parks over and over again. My trip report about MouseFest proved that I don't need rides to have fun.
Disney's wealth and longevity really comes from the nostalgia that is created. Each generation has something about the parks and resorts that they think back fondly on when they are older. You cannot build nostalgia with a product that is just good for now but not for tomorrow. If you want that, go to an Amusement Park where a new thrill ride needs to be unveiled every couple years or the parks get boring.
So, if you are going to build something then pull out the stops. Blue Sky Baby! Trust me, if you pull out the stops, people will come.
Walt Disney tried his best to let his crack team of Imagineers do what they wanted in order to build the perfect rides and Roy tried to make sure things didn't go too crazy in the finance department (money doesn't grow on trees). Yes, there were failure, but they just moved on and came up with something new.
But I can say that if you cut corners and you'll end up having to fork out quantities of money that would make Scrooge McDuck faint.
While sitting in my hotel room miles away from "The Hollow", I got a called from the lovely Enchanted Rose telling me that her sister Julie got an exciting package from Tim Devine.
Tim had decided to send a couple gifts to her children Regan and Collin. Tim and his family met Julie and her kids at Disneyland when she was there to meet my wife and I last June.
Tim sent them each a print from his photo collection. In a way, you could say that Tim sent a some Magic in Pixels to my sister-in-law's kids.
She blogged about it and included some pictures. Go check it out and don't be afraid to show her what we like to call Disney Geek Love (aka comments)
Check out Imaginerding to find out who.
Hopefully, he'll remember to stop by Grumpy's Hollow to kick back a stein or two to celebrate another year.
I have decided to try something new as a way to keep my wonderful patrons (aka readers) entertained while I'm out of "The Hollow" taking care of business.
I have provided a picture below and for grins in giggles let's see what kind of great and funny captions all my readers can come up with. Just post them in the comments.
My maiden voyage with this feature will be at the expense of a couple my my friends....
I'm going to kick this off for everyone.......
"Hey Eric, can you tell me why George is standing behind my table when I sent him for coffee over an hour ago?"
Your turn ya'll.......
The Grump has had to step away from "The Hollow" for a bit to get some training in areas revolving around the stuff that pays the bills. This trip was unavoidable and I'm sorry, but I'm hoping that I'll be able to get a post or two up while I'm gone.
So, while I'm out, "The Hollow" is still open, so feel free to come on in, kick your feet up and grab a drink or two. Just leave some money in the till. Just try to keep George from tearing up the place.
Read some old posts, leave some love or just wander into a few of my linked friends.
If you haven't subscribed to my RSS feed or to get an e-mail delivery of my posts, this may be a good time to rethink so that you'll get a quick delivery and/or notification when a new topic hits the press.
I hope everyone is having a grumptastic start to 2008!!!
[Ed. Note: I'm doing another post about my Thomas Kinkade painting because I apparently am getting a lot of traffic to my blog due to a lot of people Google Searching for info about this particular painting. I felt I should give those folk a little something]
Back in November, I purchased the Thomas Kinkade painting A New Day at Cinderella Castle. We were given the option of having the painting Master Highlighted which we partook since it was just a nominal extra charge.
Originally, the Master Highlighter was supposed to be in town during the time we were in Orlando for MouseFest. Mother Nature had something to say about that and the ice storm that we faced coming home prevented her from showing up. So, we were able to reschedule and attend.
Other than the fact that we were sitting in the middle of the mall (our local Kinkade Gallery is in the mall), it was a pretty cool thing to see.
When the highlighter started working, just little bits of paint were added in very strategic places. After a short bit, it was awesome how the little touches made the areas that were highlighted pop.
The process was only about 15-30 minutes, but we didn't regret it.
Well, we rang in 2008 with Disney. No, we didn't take another impromptu trip to Orlando and cram ourselves into one of the parks.
We went to dinner and watched a Disney movie (National Treasure: Book of Secrets). We were actually in the movie when the clock struck Midnight.
But to top the evening off, when we got home, there was a package from my non-Biological brothers and ImagiNerds, George and Andy.
Inside the package was a Christmas gift. The Christmas gift was my ImagiNerd Starter Kit:
We broke the Imagineering Field Guide open last night and I started reading to my lovely Enchanted Rose. This will be a new activity for the both of us until the books are done.
I can almost say that I got delivered a helping dose of medicine to help cure my PDD. Thanks guys!
So far, I'm loving the way that the Imagineering Field Guide is written. I'm sure a book review will follow once done.