Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Escape from Tomorrow a Movie Review: The controversial film secretly filmed in the Disney parks: (Podcast included that discusses the film and other things Disney)

This strange movie came up during a discussion of films in the Geek Podcast I'm involved with.   I’m the big Disney fan of the group and was the only one that hadn’t seen it yet….So that and the Disney parks in general became the topic of our Podcast.

Escape from Tomorrow    7 out of 10 

The movie was secretly filmed at and in the Disney Resorts without Disney’s okay.   Disney choose not to bring action against the filmmakers, because they didn’t want to bring more attention to the film.  I believe this was a smart decision.  
So is this movie worth watching as a fan of Disney??? 
 I'll try to answer that question.

The plot of the movie is very strange:   It follows a family man on his last day of his family vacation to Disneyworld.     He wakes up to a phone call where he has been fired from his job…Needless to say he spends his day very distracted.    He is mesmerized by two young French girls (which is very creepy) and spends the day at the parks following the girls around with his son in tow.  He also seems to be having strange hallucinations where he sees evil faces on the dolls of the Small World. 

At one point his son gets sick after he makes him go on Space Mountain as he creepily follows these girls around.   The mom takes the son back to the hotel.   The dad takes the daughter around the park for awhile and then ends up hooking up with a strange women he meets on a bench.  The dad’s character is completely beyone redemption  at this point in the movie.  What the Bleep is he thinking?    The family meets back up at the hotel pool –where more creepy behavior by the dad happens.    They head back to the Epcot and more strangeness happens as the dad tries to drink his stress away.   The mom eventually starts acting strange as well and after getting angry at the daughter ends up heading back to the hotel again.  Now the film really goes into strange zone as the dad loses the daughter and ends up taken to some strange underground lab inside Spaceship Earth.      There is an even stranger ending to the film that leaves you wondering what was real and what wasn’t .   It would probably have given a 6 out of 10 ---but the fact that they had the balls to film in the parks –it gets a 7 out of 10.

The Disney Footage:
As a huge Disney fan I was expecting to just be upset by the film that was shot in the parks without permission.   That is probably why I hadn’t seen it before.  That ended up not bothering me. 

What did bug me was seeing footage that was supposed to be at Disneyworld ---that I knew was shot in Disneyland.    Watching the dad sitting at a bench with the Nemo Subs behind him while watching his daughter play in a completely different part of the park took me completely out of the film.  Instead of following the story –I was thinking about which park they were in every time I saw Disneyland on the screen –knowing they were supposed to be in Disneyworld.

My favorite part of the movie was the part with the secret underground lab under Spaceship Earth –that brief part of the story was interesting and could have lead down a much more interesting path along the lines of the movie Tomorrowland.

Other than the comment about Disney Princesses being high paid call girls for Japanese businessmen…the film really wasn’t negative towards Disney.  The Disney parks were really just the setting for the strange movie.  

The Verdict

So is it worth watching as Disney Fan? 

 For an adult Disney fan….Yes I think it is worth giving a watch if only for the rare footage of a movie being filmed in the parks.  The only filming you get to ever see inside the parks is on a random ABC TV show during sweeps week.

For younger Disney fans:   Skip it.  The film has adult themes and some nudity and isn’t really for younger viewers.   Definitely not one for small kids.  If young kids see this they may never want to go on the Small World again

Here is a link to the Podcast in which we discuss the movie, the plethora of Star Wars stuff coming to Disneyland and more Disney subjects.

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The Muppets Return to TV: A Premiere Episode Review

The Muppets have returned to TV and they feel right at home. 
TV is the best place for the Muppets to showcase their humor without it getting lost in the longer form of films. I’ve been underwhelmed by the 2 recent Muppet movies but now they are back on TV.

TV is where the Muppets got their start with The Muppet Show back in the 1970’s (which sprung off from Seasame Street).   The new Muppet Show is a blend of The Office and Larry Sanders  with the Muppets as stars.   It centers on Miss Piggy hosting a late night talk show and follows the behind the scenes lives of the Muppets.

 It is the perfect setting –because it lends itself to celebrity guest stars and allows the Muppets to do short form bits and sketches like the old Muppet Show.  The first episode featured  Fozzie the Bear dating a human girl and Kermit and Miss Piggy trying to work together despite recently breaking up.  I've seen numerous reviews that this Muppet show is a little too adult and some reviews have bashed it for this and basically said that Jim Henson would be rolling over in his grave at some of the humor. I personally found this to be one of the bettwe versions of the Muppets since the first movie hit the big screen.

 I really enjoyed the premiere episode which got good ratings and I hope that this will be a long and entertaining run.

Nerd BlockIt will be interesting to see if they can bring the Muppets back to prime time success and recapture some of what it once was.  I hope it does because I feel like maybe they have captured something great again with this new show and I think it will be interesting to see Kermit and Miss Piggy eventually get back together after some typical sitcom tension.

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Saturday, September 19, 2015

Signs that you are in Animal Kingdom (Literally)

The Signage of Animal Kingdom

At Disney it is all in the details.  I love some of all the cool and unique signage around the parks that helps to create the look and feel of the areas you are in.   Here are a few photos of the signage of Animal Kingdom.

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Thursday, September 17, 2015

Illuminations: An unpopular point of view

In our trip to Epcot our feet were dragging by the end of the long day.  We were actually on our way out by the time we made it to the Mexico pavilion.    After grabbing what we hoped would be a quick ride on the Three Caballeros attraction we got out of the ride just in time for  Illuminations to start so we decided to stay and catch it grabbing a decent last minute spot near the Mexico pavilion.

I know that some people find it to be great –but my wife and I thought it was very underwhelming.

Don't get me wrong --it isn't a bad show it just wasn't up to many other night time shows that Disney puts on in our opinion.  I love the lights on all the countries and the fireworks are adequate.  
The problem with it is the Floating Globe that displays the images.   I know I’m supposed to be mesmerized by it as it slowly makes its way out into the middle of the lagoon –but we both felt like it brought the show to a grinding halt.   Maybe I’m just spoiled. 
I’m used to Fantasmic at Disneyland and World of Color at DCA.   Illuminations and its Siemens globe –just fells extremely old and dated in comparison.    

Illuminations doesn’t feature a giant firebreathing Dragon finale that sets the lake on fire……..
Illuminations doesn’t feature hundreds of fountains of water with lighting effects with the Mickey Fun Wheel and rollercoaster as a backdrop.   

Illumination has spinning globe with a horse running around it.  
It just no longer meets my expectations.

I pretty much find almost everything and anything Disney does to be great (with the Exception of Light Tragic)  It is hard to find something I’m not in love with at the Disney parks……The next time we come back to Epcot though---I think we may skip Illuminations unless it gets a major update.

How do you feel about the show???
Send your hate mail to my Disney facebook page.

Check out Part 2 of our Disney Discussion on our movie Podcast

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Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Adult Drinks at Disneyland Resort: Part 3 : The Alfresco Lounge

The Alfresco Lounge is one of the hidden gems of the Disneyland Resort.  You may not even know that it exists.   Sure you may have stopped downstairs and done some wine tasting at the little wine counter–just to the left of Wine Country  Trattoria (I’ll talk about that in a future blog) .  Or you may have stopped on the other side of the restaurant  and tasted some Craft beers,  but have you been upstairs???

The Alfresco Lounge can be found just up the stairs to the upstairs section of the restaurant.  When you get to the top –just turn to the right and you will find the perfect little hideaway. 

A message greeting you to wine Nirvana.

 Now you have arrived

 (I’ve discussed the Wine experience at Alfresco in a previous Wine Blog which you can see here) 

This time I just wanted to talk about the place itself.   
The Alfresco Lounge is the perfect spot for adults to get away from the hustle and bustle of the parks without ever leaving them. 
It can hold about 35 people and would be the perfect spot in the parks for a private party  (I wish).    One side of this little upstairs wine spot is the backside of the Grizzly River Run attraction. 
From this ideal little perch you can see Carthay Circle Theater spire in one direction and a view of Carsland  from the other side.

You can taste Wines that are connected to Disney and enjoy great appetizers which include the Risotto  bites that are to die for.  
It is like taking a vacation to Wine Country without leaving the Disneyland Resort.   The only place that even compares on the Disney property is at the outdoor fire pit section at the Napa Rose……  (For a look at this area --check out our wine blog.)

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Saturday, September 5, 2015

Exploring World Showcase at Epcot: Part 9 : Norway at Night (Frozen Influences)

Continuing our tour around the World Showcase we finally made our way to Norway we were running out of time so basically just stopped to take a couple of pictures and check out the exhibit in the church

When I think Norway I think about Vikings.   The Main Attraction in Norway was the Maelstrom boat ride that took you through the myths of Norway.   This used to be one of the reasons that in all my previous trips I would start my journey around World Showcase on the Mexico side.   Well Maelstrom is in the process to being turned into a Frozen ride.  A lot of people were upset to see the Norway ride being turned into a Frozen attraction -but from Disney's point of view a ride based on a movie that made a billion dollars is a lot more interesting than weird trolls and a Norwegian oil platforms.   (I will not have a blog about Ulitmate Epcot -because the Frozen expansion is basically that and the inspiration for what else could be done in World Showcase.

I love the look for the buildings in Norway....they look even cooler at night.

The shop in Norway has traditional Norway fare with a heavy dose of Trolls and Vikings and once the new ride goes in I'm sure you will be able to find everything Frozen as well.

Food wise Norway features the popular Kringla Bakeri og Kafe that is like a Norwegian bakery and Akershus Royal Banquet Hall which has Princess character dining 

I love the look of the church in the Norway Pavilion

While Norway prepares itself for Frozen Fever---they currently have an exhibit in the Stave Church that features influences from Norway that made it into the film

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