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The Noah and Logan Summer Tour, Part 2: Pulaski Farmer’s Market and Arts in the Park

Saturday, June 13th, 2015
Pulaski Farmer's Market - At the ARISE table.

Pulaski Farmer’s Market – At the ARISE table.

 

Arts in the Park, Mexico Point Park- Me next to my poster.

Arts in the Park, Mexico Point Park- Me next to my poster.

The Noah and Logan Summer Tour has been going well.  I have only been to a few places to promote the series thus far, but I’ve had favorable reactions at every stop.  I am grateful to see there is genuine interest in the series from kids, parents, teachers, librarians, and everyone in between.  My two most recent stops at the Pulaski Farmer’s Market and Mexico Point Park for the Arts in the Park event over the course of a very busy and exciting weekend continue this positive trend.  They also gave me the chance to connect and, in some cases, reconnect with some truly outstanding folks.

My first sojourn of the weekend was a return trip to Pulaski, this time to participate in the local Farmer’s Market.  Here, vendors from across the region sold foodstuffs, had some spectacular arts and crafts, and there was even a band for live music.  I shared a table with some friends and representatives from the local special needs awareness and assistance organization, ARISE; good company to keep, especially on a somewhat sunny and breezy spring afternoon.

I wasn’t sure if anyone would be interested in my books at the market.  After all, I was offering a children’s e-book series, not food or the more tangible arts and crafts that everyone else offered.  To my surprise, however, it turned out quite a few visitors stayed a while and spoke at length with me about the series.  In fact, one of the first to come to the table was a fellow author I had met at a prior engagement.  We caught up with each other and we discussed writing and publishing.  It was great to see her again and the rest of my time at the market was just as fulfilling.  I made a few connections with other groups and institutions in the area which have led to further opportunities to introduce Noah and Logan to others.

The next event I attended was Arts in the Park, a gathering of local artists held at Mexico Point Park, a truly stunning example of the area’s natural beauty.  I enjoyed introducing the series to everyone who stopped by my table and the kids seemed to enjoy reading the stories off my iPad!

I was also delighted to meet another author at the Arts event as well, a very nice man named Daniel Middleton.  He, too, has written a children’s book.  His book, Naomi ‘Redflower’: Imagine with Me, is based on a highly imaginative girl and her love of insects and other animals.  In the story, she and her family go on a tour of Central New York and she imagines encounters with a variety of local wildlife during every season of the year.  My mother and I were very impressed with Daniel’s book, so much so that we bought a copy from him that day.  His writing style is very fun to read and his illustrations are gorgeous to look at, really capturing the beauty of the CNY countryside and animal population.  I highly recommend it for anyone’s reading collection.

The events of this very busy weekend turned out to be a lot of fun.  Both engagements happened outside in pleasant weather, I met a lot of very nice people, and I was able to get the word out about my Noah and Logan series!  I even met a fellow author who has written a very cool book himself.  All in all, I think this was a great beginning leg to the Noah and Logan Summer Tour.  Keep your eyes on this blog and Facebook for further updates regarding future stops!

Free Comic Book Day 2014: Uncle Scrooge Review: Lucky Ducky

Tuesday, May 13th, 2014
Waitaminit, a Don drawing "Don?" I think I just had an "Inception" moment...

Don Rosa, the creator of this issue, drawing Uncle Scrooge at MegaCon 2012. You can see some of his other Disney drawings on the wall behind him. Ain’t he just ducky?

Starting with this post, I plan on taking a comprehensive look at some of what, I think, are the more outstanding issues in my collection of free comics from this year’s Free Comic Book Day.  This is something I have wanted to write about since I started this blog, and I can’t wait to show you what each new issue has to offer. 

One of my favorite issues thus far has been the Uncle Scrooge and Donald Duck comic from Disney and Fantagraphics Books.  This crazy cartoonish comic features two spectacular stories by Don Rosa, a veteran Disney comics writer and artist.  He has been the premier chronicler of the Duckberg denizens’ adventures for over two decades.  Rosa also presents an essay in this issue in which he recounts how he got started in the comics world and explains some of the interesting details regarding the two featured stories. 

(One small correction before we move on: In my previous Free Comic Book Day post, I stated that this issue featured work from Carl Barks, the legendary creator of Scrooge McDuck.  Actually, it’s just Don Rosa for this issue; the last few years have featured Barks’ work exclusively for the Free Comic Book Day issues, so I guess I just had him on the brain.  Still, Rosa is commonly viewed by Disney comics fanatics as the heir apparent to Barks’ lofty throne and, in my opinion, he has done just as much if not more to make the ducks’ escapades some of the funniest, most exciting comics ever published, so we’re still in good hands here, folks.  I do, however, apologize for my slip up.)

The FCBD 2014 US&DD (Yes indeedy!) issue contains two fun Don Rosa tales from the 1990s, a time when Disney comics were not as widely circulated here in America as they were in other parts of the world (Italy, mostly), so for many readers, me included, this is the first time these stories have been widely available.  I can safely say that both of them have been well worth the wait.  The first story, “A Matter of Some Gravity,” involves Scrooge, Donald Duck, Huey, Dewey, and Louie attempting to prevent the evil Magica De Spell from stealing Scrooge’s lucky Number One Dime.  Magica casts a spell on Scrooge and Donald which inverts their personal senses of gravity.  They are forced to walk along walls and across ceilings, as well as desperately grab at any foothold they can find, as they chase Magica down.

This story is very entertaining to me, mostly from a visual standpoint.  Don Rosa employs a clever arrangement for the comic panels: the top half of each page presents events from a “normal” point of view, while the bottom half shows things from Scrooge and Donald’s “gravitationally challenged” (Don’s own words, couldn’t have said any better myself) perspective.  These clashing perspectives were fun for me to keep track of, and I enjoyed seeing how the ducks tackled seemingly simple tasks like negotiating a steep hill and riding a bus, made nearly impossible to complete when one’s perspective has been inverted.  I’ve encountered this same kind of fun in ’60s Superman comics in which science and conventional laws of physics seemed to run amok, and I think Rosa captures much of that whimsical spirit here as well.  I also feel that this story is a fantastic introduction to the Disney duck comics and a great imagination-sparker.

The next story in this issue is a Donald Duck yarn entitled “The Sign of the Triple Distelfink.”  While it was not as entertaining for me as “Gravity,” I think it still provides some fascinating food for thought.  The main character is not the Don himself, but rather his less famous, but no less iconic, comics-based cousin, Gladstone Gander.  According to Rosa’s essay, he wrote this tale for Gladstone’s 50th anniversary, and again, I think it serves as a wonderful intro to this great character.  The gander’s claim to fame is that he has outrageously good luck: he wins sweepstakes, gets out of tough scrapes through wildly improbable coincidences, and generally goes through life with little trouble, a trait that gets on Donald’s nerves.  However, in this story, Gladstone is faced with a day of outrageously bad luck.  It’s his birthday, you see, and every year on this special day, his normally good luck is reversed. 

Donald, Scrooge and various other members of the extended duck family throw a birthday party for Gladstone, but he doesn’t want to attend because he fears his bad luck might cause undue harm to his loved ones.  He spends the majority of the story trying to avoid the party by taking a train, boat, plane, and other methods of travel to escape, but his bad luck interferes every time.  The accidents that pile up and the other characters’ reactions to Gladstone’s bad luck are what made this story stand out to me.  The “bad luck” bits did get a bit predictable, but I thought the way things were resolved in the end was quite clever.  And don’t worry, Gladstone is back to having good luck by the end; no cooked goose tonight!

The Free Comic Book Day issue of Uncle Scrooge and Donald Duck is one of my favorite issues from this year.  I think it contains a healthy dose of fun and some clever stories from a sound craftsman in Don Rosa.  Even better, there’s a promo in the front of the issue which states there is a new collection of some of Rosa’s other Disney work coming in July!  I can’t wait!

There’s more fun from FCBD 2014 on the way here at Kellog Thoughts!  I do not plan on covering every single issue I collected from this year’s festivities, but I do want to feature the comics which I think are simply outstanding, so stay tuned!  Leave your thoughts on this issue, Donald, Scrooge, Disney, and comics in the comments, and happy reading!

Random Top Five: Shows That I Think Need to Be On the WWE Network

Tuesday, February 4th, 2014

Paragon Fantasy Wrestling ArenaStarting on February 24 at 11:05 P.M., WWE (a.k.a. “The Artist Formerly Known As World Wrestling Entertainment”) will begin broadcasting a new Internet-based television network.  The WWE Network looks promising to me, with a wealth of shows that I am genuinely excited about watching.  From the blow-by-blow account of the epic battles between WWE and WCW that constitute The Monday Night War  to the novelty of a group of wrestling legends living together in a luxurious home on Legends House and even the untold possibilities offered by the prospect of live Super Bowl-esque pre- and post-shows for Monday Night Raw and Friday Night SmackDown, the WWE Network will have a lot of great stuff to offer 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The WWE Network will also have a Netflix-like archive with over 100,000 hours of content, just in case there’s nothing on the main channel that looks good at the moment.  I like the idea of being able to go into wrestling’s past and digging up old shows and pay-per-views to pass the time with, and there are already some shows that I have made a mental note to definitely check out.  Still, there are some shows that I would really like to see that haven’t yet been announced.  My personal vision of what the Network could be has about as good a chance of coming to fruition as Gorgeous George’s ghost has of winning this year’s Royal Rumble.  I can still dream, though, so here’s my wish list of shows which I hope the Network might show one day, whether on the main channel or stored in the archive (but preferably the archive; I don’t have as much time these days to veg out on the couch, so the archive part of the Network is the one I’d probably count on the most for my entertainment).

5. Global Wrestling Federation

WWE recently put out a DVD in which they discussed the content they have in their tape library (which will be heavily drawn from in order to program the Network).  They then showed a graphic of the logos for all of the different wrestling companies and other sources of material in the archive.  At the bottom of that pile of logos were three peculiar initials: GWF.  I had heard of those initials before, but I couldn’t remember what they stood for, so I looked them up on Wikipedia and found they belonged to a short-lived company called the Global Wrestling Federation.  As I read through the description, I couldn’t believe how awesomely weird  the GWF’s product sounded on paper.  Some of the storylines they presented sound incredible to me.  What would you say about a “bungee” match in which the loser is attached to a bungee cord and “launched” all the way to the moon?  How about one of the show’s announcers getting amnesia and believing he’s Elvis Presley (I guess Jerry Lawler’s not the only “King” in wrestling!)?  They even had a storyline in which a psychiatrist evaluated the wrestlers’ mental health (not the kind of “wrestling psychology” I’m used to, but I’ll take it for what it’s worth)!  I sincerely hope some GWF content is included in the WWE Network’s archive so I can watch it at a time that’s convenient to me and see how well these strange storylines hold up today.  Those 2 A.M. ESPN Classic reruns just simply aren’t an option!

4. WWE Saturday Morning Slam

This show actually ended in 2013, but I think there could still be a place for it, or at least a show like it, on the WWE Network.  It was a half-hour show targeted at kids who watched the CW’s Saturday morning cartoon lineup (It shared space on the schedule with the Justice League, Spider-Man, and the Power Rangers; not too shabby!).  Wrestling moves aimed at the neck weren’t allowed to be shown on camera, so the in-ring action tended to skew more toward comedy routines, but that just made the show cooler to watch in my view.  After all, it’s not every day you get to see Santino Marella square off against Heath Slater in an air-guitar contest!  The show ran for only one season on the CW with no indication if it was ever coming back.  I’d like to see a second season with more sensational silliness.  It would definitely bring some of the fun back to wrestling, something I believe it sorely needs these days.

3. WWF(E) LiveWire

During the announcement of the WWE Network, it was stated that it would soon feature a live in-studio broadcast as part of its programming.  I’ve heard rumors that it might be similar to ESPN’s SportsCenter in that they would cover the events of WWE programming and possibly other sports and pop culture topics of the day (which sounds more like ESPN2’s SportsNation, but enough of my kibitzing).  Personally, I think WWE had a show like that already which would be a good example for the new show to follow.  It was called WWF LiveWire.  Back in the days when “the ‘E” still had an F as part of its initials, WWF LiveWire was a live studio show where viewers could make a phone call and talk to their favorite WWF wrestlers.  A show of this nature could be a good way to get viewers more invested in the network, and the myriad methods of communication available to most people today could lead to a wider variety of conversation pieces.  You could still have phone calls, but also e-mails, Twitter posts, Facebook messages, Skype video chats, and all types of other ways to facilitate interaction.  A show like this could be the most well-connected show around.

2. WWF Wrestling Challenge 

A few years back, I was a loyal subscriber to WWE’s old video archive service on-line.  One of my favorite features of this archive was its collection of episodes of WWF Wrestling Challenge.  Each episode was mainly comprised of “squash matches” in which the big boys of the WWF routinely beat various no-name wrestlers as well as a mixture of promotional interviews and recaps of current storylines.  For some strange reason, I found this show incredibly entertaining.  The wrestlers all had colorful personalities which grabbed my attention very quickly, and the witty banter between the show’s commentators, Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby “The Brain” Heenan, was even better than the matches themselves most of the time.  This was popcorn TV at its finest, and I regret to say that there isn’t really a show like this in WWE’s current TV output.  Sure, Main Event and Superstars come close in terms of format, but my overall opinion of these shows is that they are a little underwhelming.  If the WWE looked back on its rich, colorful history, particularly this show, and applied what worked back then to today’s product, I am sure the shows would be much more exciting.  It would certainly make the Network a lot more fun!

1. Tuesday Night Titans

Now here’s a real gem of a show that needs a reboot, stat!  Before Ted Turner founded Turner Network Television in 1988, this original TNT was blowing viewers’ minds in 1984 and ’85.  Vince McMahon made for a surprisingly witty Johnny Carson wannabe as he made light conversation with all of the movers and shakers in the wrestling world.  This show was full of memorable moments such as the Iron Shiek showing off his pet camel, Hulk Hogan getting his famous “24 inch pythons” (his arms folks, not actual snakes) measured by female wrestler Wendi Richter, and Rowdy Roddy Piper starring in a supremely corny rendition of the Christmas Carol story.  Tuesday Night Titans was the place where the WWF’s stars could unwind in between slugfests and have a grand old time.  I wonder if the talk show format could still work in 2014, in an age where the wrestlers’ personal lives are well-known and broadcast on all different forms of social media.  Maybe there’s some sides of them that have never been shown for whatever reason, and a show like TNT could help them to kickstart their careers in a bold new direction.  The WWE has a new network to fill with lots of original programming; I think a revival of TNT could fit in very nicely in the new program lineup.

The WWE Network will be starting up very soon, and I am looking forward to see what the future holds for it.  WWE has a TV lineage dating back almost a century, and in all that time, it has produced a lot of good television, so I have high hopes that the Network will be a great addition to that legacy.  

If you’re a wrestling fan, are you looking forward to the Network and would you consider subscribing to it?  If you’re still hesitant, is there anything WWE could do in terms of programming that might make you change your mind?  Let me know in the comments, and please give this thing a chance.  It could turn out to be something really special if we support it in the right way!

Pop Culture Haikus: Disney Renaiisance Edition

Thursday, January 9th, 2014

When I was growing up during the 1990s, there were a lot of great entertainment options available to me.  Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, Fox Kids, and Kids WB all had great lineups of live-action and cartoon shows that could keep me entertained for hours before and after school.  I subscribed to a host of interesting magazines (Nick Mag and Disney Adventures, you will be missed!) and read through an endlessly-growing collection of books.  One of the most memorable entertainment sources for me during this time, though, was the long string of fantastic animated films released by Disney during this time.  This period has become known as the Disney Renaiisance because the quality of the animation, artistry, music, and other elements of these films were amazingly high; I was a bit too young to appreciate such finer details, but I did really like these movies.  As a small tribute to this period from 1989 to 1999, I present the following Pop Culture Haikus, one seventeen-syllable poem for each film released during this time.

The Little Mermaid

Sea girl meets nice boy./Mean witch steals ocean girl’s voice./Witch becomes fish food.  Nice boy is confused./”Why does the nice girl have fins?”/Just kiss the girl, boy!

The Rescuers Down Under

Aussie boy is kidnapped./Cute U.N. mice rescue him./Boy saved by vermin!  This had an eagle/that the Aussie boy flew on./That’s all I recall.  (Still, that eagle ruled!/Come on, a freaking eagle!/I ride eagle next?)

Beauty and the Beast

Girl meets furry boy./Beast defends her, loves her true./Aw, they got married!  Gaston was a jerk./He didn’t treat Belle nice much./Furry boy much nicer!  Feel bad for Gaston, though./Being thrown off cliff must hurt./Hope landing was soft!

Aladdin

Boy meets nice princess./Boy uses magic to impress./Girl likes real men more.  Jafar wants power./Magic makes him more snake-like./Audience: “Boo!  Hiss!”  Genie is funny./True, he turns into weird things./Still, he’s pretty nice.

The Lion King

Mufasa has son,/Dies at hands of jerk brother./Can son become king?  Son gets two new friends./They tell him, “Not to worry.”/I think he should care.  Simba faces Scar,/Surrounded by hot lava./Better than Ali fight!  Peace reigns in Pride Lands/Because Simba won the battle./Life’s circle rolls on!

Pocahantas

Princess meets nice boy./It’s reverse of Aladdin!/Disney recycles plots!  John Smith is nice man./He loves native princess much./Doesn’t quite get girl.  Radcliffe big, greedy./Cares nothing for natives, only gold./He’s a blowhard jerk!  Pokey and John meet,/Get along though differences/Keep them both apart.

Hercules

A kid from the gods:/”Greece is chock-full of monsters./Let me save it, please?”  Hades, big bad guy:/”Jerkules wins, I burn up./Get me an aspirin!”  I like the muses much./Best Greek chorus ever filmed!/”That’s the gospel truth!”  Pegasus was neat./Large white winged horse impressed all./Rainbow Dash still coolest!

Mulan

Legendary girl/Saved China from the Hun hordes,/Also found husband.  Mushu is cute help./He’s rivals with small cricket./They’ll soon get along fine.  Shang is big captain/In fledgling Chinese army./First big test is Huns.  Mulan can help out./She’ll go as a boy soldier./She’s tougher than most!

Tarzan

Legendary man/Raised by apes, king of jungle/Heard this all before?  Terk’s Tarzan’s best friend./Brooklyn accent in Africa?/Normal for Rosie!  “Trashin’ the Camp” song/Backstreet Boys sing great doo-wop!/Too bad the camp’s trashed…  Clayton hunts big apes/Tarzan says, “That’s not okay!/This hunt is postponed!”  Ape man meets Jane girl/Ape man likes Jane girl heap lots/Maybe they’ll elope?

Do you like Disney?/How about these haikus?  Hmm?/Leave comments below.

Random Top Five: Awesome Awe-Inspiring Experiences I Had at Disney World

Monday, January 6th, 2014
I bet it runs on pixie dust.

All aboard for Disney magic!

My family and I recently came back from a week in Florida.  We spent Thanksgiving with my uncle who lives there and had a great time catching up.  While there, we also took in some of the local scenery.  We walked along the beach, window-shopped at various stores (Hulk Hogan’s beach shop was a pleasant surprise to me!), and soaked up the refreshing, warm Floridian sunlight (November days without cold and snow was something I had never experienced before).  The major highlight of my vacation, though, was visiting one of Florida’s most famous locales, the “Most Magical Place on Earth,” Disney World!

There were many amazing rides, attractions, and other delights at Disney World; I felt a bit overwhelmed at times by all there was to see and do, but I was able to have a great deal of fun just the same.  We only had a limited time to visit, but what I was able to see definitely made a big impression on me.  The following list is of five attractions that I thought were the most memorable from my visit.  One small note: I only visited a small portion of the World, so the list will reflect what I was able to take in, which included Tomorrowland and Liberty Square at the Magic Kingdom and Future World at Epcot.  My family and I are considering another visit to Disney World in the future to check out some of the other attractions we missed this trip.  I can’t wait!

5. Spaceship Earth

What better way is there to start off this list than with the first ride I took in at Epcot?  This ride is one heck of an introduction to Disney’s educational utopia and a fairly epic experience in itself.  I didn’t expect that Epcot’s signature gigantic golf ball (Actually, it’s a geodesic sphere, but I kept imagining a gigantic Tiger Woods hitting it off a tee; would the Gulf of Mexico be considered a water hazard?) would be home to a ride, but sure enough, my dad and I went inside the ball and came out the other side feeling that we had just witnessed something very uniuqe.  The ride itself is a brief travelogue though Earth’s history, making various stops at mankind’s accomplishments and placing a heavy focus on advancements in communication.  Each point in history is acted out by Audio-Animatronic robots with lifelike movements; my favorite robots included the Egyptian stamping a message onto a papyrus scroll and Michaelangelo painting the Sistine Chapel’s ceiling.  It was a great short ride; not bad for a golf ball!

4. Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor and Turtle Talk with Crush

These two attractions have a lot in common: both are based on Pixar films (Monsters Inc. and Finding Nemo respectively), both feature characters talking to and interacting with the audience, and both are very funny!  We visited the “Laugh Floor” in the Magic Kingdom first.  The monsters have learned that laughs generate more power than screams, so they have set up a vaudville-type comedy show in the human world.  A few cameras have been placed throughout the theater where the show is housed and at various points the cameras focus on a few audience members who are shown on the big screen for the monsters to interact with.  This can lead to some very bizarre, cute, and genuinely chuckle-worthy moments.  For instance, one of the featured acts was a rapid-fire retelling of the Monsters Inc. story with various audience members standing in for the characters.  The part near the end where the camera was cutting back and forth between each audience member involved got big laughs; I was amazed that all of those rapid-fire cuts didn’t give me a case of whiplash!

We visited “Turtle Talk with Crush” after going through “The Seas with Nemo and Friends” at Epcot (we also checked out the aquarium – there was an impressive collection of fish, sharks, stingrays, coral, and other denizens of undersea life- an attraction I highly recommend if you ever visit).  The Finding Nemo star who specializes in surfer-speak communicates through a “hydrophone” to the audience (he apparently believes we all live in a “people tank”) and answers questions about turtles and other sea creatures.  Just seeing his interactions with the youngest audience members made me smile because I could tell he is very good with children.  He made both the kids and their parents feel quite happy.

3. Hall of Presidents

In Liberty Square at the Magic Kingdom, there is a show dedicated to the Presidents of the United States.  All forty-four of them, from Washington to Obama, as well as the First Ladies, are featured in a moving tribute to the country’s highest office.  Before the show began, we were able to enjoy replicas of various presidential artifacts (I was especially impressed with George W. Bush’s Inauguration cowboy boots) as well as some of the First Ladies’ outfits in the Hall’s lobby.  The show itself was very interesting:  a twenty-minute film narrated by Morgan Freeman (He can make anything interesting, can’t he?) went over the history of the Presidency and the effect the men who have filled the position have had on America.  Toward the show’s end, a gathering of Audio-Animatronic models of all the Presidents was presented; the Abraham Lincoln model gave the Gettysburg Address, and the Barack Obama model (voiced by the Prez himself!) gave a few closing thoughts.  This show was very patriotic and moving to me; it was certainly one of the highlights of my time in Florida.

2. Universe of Energy- Ellen’s Energy Adventure

Ellen Degeneres is probably best known these days for voicing Dory in Finding Nemo and having a popular (and hilarious, I might add) talk show.  You might even remember her old sitcom Ellen.  When she was still starring in that show, she also appeared alongside Bill Nye (The Science Guy; Science still rules!  Check out this classic energy episode for a “not that bad” jolt of info.)  in one of Epcot’s oldest attractions.  First, there was an introductory video in a movie theater-like lobby.  The gist of the introductory video is this:  Ellen falls asleep in her apartment while watching Jeopardy! and has a nightmare in which she doesn’t know a thing about energy.  Luckily, Bill Nye shows up and promises to take her and the audience on a whirlwind tour through the world of energy, covering the different energy types, where they come from, and what we can do to ensure they and other alternate sources of power are still around for years to come.

After the introductory video, we passed through a set of doors and were invited to sit in several theater-like seats that then divided into several vehicles on tracks.  As they began to separate and move, we were all transported back in time to a prehistoric setting as Bill Nye explained how the dinosaurs turned into fossil fuels – the start of our energy sources.  Jungle foliage dotted the rocky landscape, an erupting volcano boomed in the background, and all manner of dinosaurs sqwuaked and scampered about.  I recognized a Stegosaurus battling a T-rex in a recreation of a scene from Fantasia, a detail I thought was very cool.  One of the dinos even tried taking a bite out of an Audio-Animatronic version of Ellen (she hurled some pretty good one liners at the dino as we went by)!  I was greatly impressed with the level of detail the Disney Imagineers gave to this part of the ride, and it was one of my favorite images from my time at Disney World.  The rest of the ride continued with more information about energy and how to save it; this part played out like a vintage episode of Bill’s old show with a lot of memorable set pieces and interesting presentations of large chunks of facts and figures.  The entire attraction was very well done and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

1. The Holiday character parade (whose name I forget; They change so often anyway that I’m not sure the name even matters!)

Toward the end of our day at the Magic Kingdom, we saw a parade of costumed Disney characters and floats as they made their way through the center of the park.  It was cool seeing so many Disney and Pixar characters I loved all together in one spectacular celebration.  Mickey and Minnie led the parade and were followed by a series of themed floats grouping together seemingly every character in the Disney universe.  I remember seeing: Lilo and Stitch; Ariel and Prince Eric; Woody, Buzz, Jessie, and Bullseye; Donald, Goofy, and Pluto; Pinochio, Jiminy Cricket, J. Worthington Foulfellow (the fox), and Gideon (the cat); and a host of other characters.  To me, it had all of the pomp and pagentry of the Macy’s parade, and it was set to a peppy song about celebration that was fun to listen and dance to.  My mom got a few choice photos of the parade; I can’t wait to see them!

Disney World was incredible and definitely worth the 22-year wait.  There is still so much there that I still want to see and do, but this first trip left a great first impression.  I’m up for an encore!  If you’ve ever been to Disney World (or any other Disney park for that matter), how did your experience compare to mine?  What were your favorite rides/attractions/ characters?  How does Universal compare to Disney?  Let me know in the comments, and may all your dreams come true!