Category Archives: french fry diary

Disney’s Art of Animation Resort

Our recent vacation included a short stay at the newest resort in Walt Disney World – Art of Animation. Originally it was to be called Legendary Years, a sister resort to Pop Century. As Pop Century was a tribute to the decades of the last half of the twentieth century, Legendary Years would cover the first half, 1900-1950. After 9-11 however, for whatever reason, construction halted for several years.

If you like to see a video of what it looked like during those non-construction years, my friend John Corigliano, of the Your Ear to the World podcast, did a walk-through with his camera. You can see that here. Thankfully construction started again, but with a new objective and name, Art of Animation, with each building dedicated to a different recent animated feature.

The family suites are in the Lion King, Cars, and Finding Nemo buildings, with the single suites in the Little Mermaid buildings. For our time at Art of Animation, we stayed in the Lion King suites, the buildings being surrounded by giant statues of the various characters and scenes from the movie. Outside of our building was Pride Rock, the Elephant Graveyard, the “Hakuna Matata” log, and Rafiki’s home, with giant statues of all the favorites in and around. It was something.

Our suite rocked. Not only was it fairly big, almost colossal compared to our cabin on board the Disney Fantasy, the room was literally bursting with iconic Lion King jungle décor. The carpeting, the bedspreads, the furniture – it was all jungle themed. The TVs were large flat screens with an electronics deck under them to both recharge your phones and other devices, but you could also hook up your video equipment to watch on the big screen.

Our dining room table collapsed into the extra Murphy bed for a fun twist, and came with stackable chairs. The suite even had a small, but almost complete kitchen. The bathroom even got into the act, with a cavernous shower stall in a beautiful orange sunset as shown in the movie. This came complete with orange smelling soap and shampoo. What a terrific extra accent! This was a great suite, right down to the bathroom. And in the hotel itself, even the elevators were jungle-like in motif and temperature, almost lush.

The doors were unlocked by our Magic Bands, which also allowed us access to the parks, and we could purchase items in the hotel and in the parks as well with them, including FastPasses. The lobby, staffed by the usual wonderful customer service folks, is decorated by animation sketches from the films featured there, from original ideas to final products, almost like evolutionary stages.

The food court, Landscape of Flavors, is reputed so good that folks from Pop Century will walk over to have breakfast, lunch, and dinner there. Some of it was okay, and some really good. I’ll be talking about some of their offerings over at French Fry Diary in the near future, so keep an eye out.

Also, if you’d like a more personal look at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, The Bride and I talk about it on the newest episode of our new Make Mine Magic Podcast. You can hear it here. Check it out.

French Fry Diary on The GAR! Podcast

What This Blog Is About

Yesterday, I received two messages, one on Facebook before I posted the Miley Cyrus piece, and one by email after it went up. They were both of the same ilk, and I’m not talking about the hideously bad spelling and grammar. Both folks thought I was adding fuel to the apathetic fire by writing about Miley Cyrus. One gentleman indicated I was un-American and didn’t care about politics because I wasn’t writing about Syria, and worse than that, writing about Miley instead of Syria. Both of them threatened to stop being readers of mine.

It bugged me at first. I am political, and I care intensely about the Syria situation and the lost lives both present and future. But you know what? That’s not what I’m about here. Welcome to Hell is a blog, just a blog, and I talk about pop culture here. I talk about movies, television, comics, music, books, the industry in general, basically anything that turns my crank, in either direction, in entertainment. This blog is not about politics. Surely these two folks wouldn’t want me to talk Syria over at French Fry Diary or The Non-Gamer’s Gamer’s Blog, would they? Then why should I do it here? Stay on topic.

My take yesterday on the Miley Cyrus thing was not one of exhibition or hedonism. If you read carefully, it was one of concern. The woman is on a path of self-destruction. If she shows an entire nation, no, the entire world, that she is crying for help – why isn’t anyone helping her? Yes, she put on a freakshow, but that wasn’t my message, like it was for many in the entertainment news business.

For the record, my views on Miley and Syria are pretty much mirrored by one of my favorite bloggers, Liz Henry, over at The Broad Side. You can read it here. I love her writing, I love her voice, and you should too. I’m just the comics and fry guy, she takes on the tough stuff.

To my two upset readers – I hope you keep reading, but I’m sorry, I won’t be talking politics here. It just ain’t happening, folks.

The Twonky

This bizarre comedy science fiction gem from 1953 was directed, produced, and co-written by Arch Oboler, who was the genius behind the brilliant radio series “Lights Out.”

Hans Conreid has to contend with an apparently sentient TV set that is delivered after his wife goes away on trip. The TV lights cigarettes, does the dishes, creates money, even brainwashing, and much much more. And much like a woman, it will not be ignored.

The TV, called the Twonky (something you don’t know what it is) by Conreid’s friend, Coach Trout, played by Billy Lynn, annoys the heck out of Conreid by being helpful. The coach is an added source of amusement, for me at least, because he keeps comparing women to French fried potatoes, and as you may or may not know, I also write French Fry Diary.

The Twonky is a nice little movie with a good cast that manages to stay the fun and whimsical side of creepy. Fun, worth watching.

French Fry Diary 497: Herr’s Bacon Cheddar Cheese Curls

French Fry Diary 481: Burger King Loaded Tater Tots

Random Tater Pic of the Day #77

Wreck-It Ralph

Wreck-It Ralph ~ After helping friend Marni celebrate her birthday at Red Lobster, The Bride and I decided to continue the evening as a date night, despite the raging rainsnowstorm outside. We hadn’t been able to see Wreck-It Ralph since it’s been out so we trekked across Route 38 to my least favorite theater to see it.

It was a rainy/snowy Wednesday night, and that may have something to do with it, but I was pleased to see the place nearly empty and doing very little business. I couldn’t wish it on a nastier movie theater. That said, to be fair, we had no problems on this trip. As a matter of fact, the young man who took our tickets was very helpful. But you know, too little, too late. Gonna take a lot to change my mind about this place.

First things first, Wreck-It Ralph being a Disney/Pixar flick, we get a Pixar cartoon before the main feature. “Paperman” was a sweet short utilizing different animation than usual for Pixar, and it also had a bit of a Japanese anime vibe to it. I liked it a lot, a big reason to see this movie is to see “Paperman” first.

Wreck-It Ralph, the newest from Disney/Pixar, is loosely at first glance a cross between Toy Story and Tron. Like the first movie we discover that the entities in our videogames actually live, especially when we’re not looking, and like the second flick we discover that they live in their own little universe with its own physical and moral laws, all within the confines of one arcade.

Wreck-It Ralph is the bad guy in a game called Fix-It Felix, Jr., essentially close to Donkey Kong in many ways. Ralph, shunned by the other denizens of his game, determines to leave his game and make good. He goes off to Hero’s Duty, a hybrid of Halo and Starship Troopers, to win a medal, and recognition. When things go awry, he becomes stranded in Sugar Rush, a mix of Mario Kart and Candyland. There, Ralph must decide if truly is the bad guy, or a hero.

It’s a complex plot that is quite dark in places, but for the most part, it’s an enjoyable journey through 1980s videogame nostalgia. It has a sharp sense of humor, great characters, and the voice work of John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman, and especially Jane Lynch is first class. There are also many cameos of classic videogame characters that make the flick a real treat.

An added trivia bonus for old school videogamers is the song that plays over the closing credits, “Wreck It, Wreck-It Ralph” by Jerry Buckner, formerly of Buckner & Garcia of “Pac-Man Fever” fame.

I liked Wreck-It Ralph quite a bit, and while I wonder if this might be over or under the heads of some folks who weren’t into, or alive for, 1980s arcade games, I highly recommend it. Great flick.

The Coke Freestyle

Anyone who knows me, and some folks who follow this blog, and especially my French Fry Diary closely, know that I am a Coca-Cola man. I will always take a Coke over a Pepsi, a Coke over coffee, heck, even a Coke before a water. It’s just the way I prefer my refreshment, and my caffeine.

The last few years a phenomenon called the Coca-Cola Freestyle machine has come to my attention. Previously it was only available in the south, but recently a few have popped up in many local Burger Kings. I was elated, but not by the Burger King part, but this truly was a reason to go to Burger King.

The Coca-Cola Freestyle is a machine, like a thin soda machine, but the features are the alley where the soda is dispensed, and the touch screen above it. The touch screen is where the magic happens. You get to choose the brand of soft drink, it’s sugar content and the flavor of it.

For instance, you can choose from Coke, Sprite, Minute Maid, Fanta, Dasani, Hi-C, Powerade, Vault, Pibb, Barq’s, or Seagrams. Then you can choose if you’d like caffeine or sugar (the diet soda variety), and then you can even go farther and get your selection in a flavor of your choice like vanilla, lime, lemon, grape, orange, cherry, raspberry, peach, strawberry, lemonade, fruit punch or even cherry vanilla.

Literally, if you have the stamina, and are thirsty, and Burger King doesn’t throw you out, you could be there all day. Truly Coca-Cola heaven.

French Fry Diary 317: IHoP Breakfast