Friday, April 29, 2011

Hidden Treasures at the Magic Kingdom

You know what the only good thing about this time of year here in Orlando is?

('Cuz it's definitely NOT the 100 degree weather. [Yes, it really did hit 100 this week. FAN ME NOW.])

It's the fact that the Magic Kingdom has been staying open 'til midnight or later.

Awwww yeeeeeaah.

About a week ago John and I headed over there at 10:30 at night, ie, the time when it starts to cool off a smidge. Sure, the humidity is still at 3,000%, and it never gets under 75 degrees, but at least the sun is down. And they sell ice cream on Main Street. Which we ate at 1:30 in the morning, before catching the last tram out to our car.

Awwww yeeeeeah.

Anyway, the other day we made dinner plans with some new friends at the Columbia Harbour House, and I brought my camera to grab a few detail shots:

Gee, I wonder why? Heh. I'm so predictable.

You guys know I'm all about the details at Disney; I just love finding and photographing the little things we usually walk right past without a second thought.

Disney restaurants usually have great theming, too, so anytime you eat at the parks try to take a minute to walk around and take it all in.

Oh, and if you ever eat at Harbour House there's only one place to sit: on the bridge upstairs with windows overlooking the walkway from Fantasyland on one side, and the rivers of America on the other. Unless the park is really busy you'll probably have the entire area to yourself, and it's a great cozy spot that most folks never discover. In fact, it almost makes up for the lousy tuna fish sandwiches! [Zing! Sorry, Disney.]

After dinner we wandered through the new queue at the Haunted Mansion (amazing - check it out online if you can't come see it in person) and then over to Splash Mountain...

...where I waited outside snapping photos while everyone else got drenched. (I'm not a big drop person. Or a roller coaster person.) I love all the lanterns in the trees at the queue, though, don't you? We have a giant tree in our backyard - bigger than these - and it's my dream to someday have it wired for hanging lanterns like this. It's so dreamy, like Lothlorien!

Next I want to show you my two favorite hidden treasures in the Winnie the Pooh ride. If you like hidden mickeys and park trivia, then you're going to LOVE these. (Assuming you don't already know about them, of course!)

The first is found at the very entrance to the queue:

Photo via DIS Unplugged - hit the link for lots more pics of the updated queue.

Dizgeeks will recall that this giant tree has been moved. It used to be in a playground across the main walkway, where - as you longtime dizgeeks will recall - once upon a time the 20,000 Leagues ride used to be.

When the tree was first built, the Imagineers decided to leave a small homage to the ride it replaced: a tiny imprint of the Nautilus, tucked away where even those who are looking for it have a hard time finding. Eventually, though, those people will locate it above the right-hand doorway and take a picture for you:


And inside the ride, there's an homage to another attraction: the one Winnie the Pooh replaced.

That's a picture of Mr. Toad (of Mr. Toad's Wild Ride) handing Owl the deed to his house. To find it, you have to look to the left in the very first room of the ride. It's near the entrance, so you may have to turn around and look behind you to catch it.

(In Disneyland in California, WtP replaced the Country Bear Jamboree. So in one of the rooms on the ride, if you look up and behind you you'll see the three mounted animal heads - the ones that used to sing in the Jamboree - up on the wall. You'd never spot them if you weren't looking, though!)

And finally, that most elusive treasure of all:

Ghost Tigger! OooooOOoooo!


Ok, that's all for now! I hope you guys don't mind my Disney ramblings. I even have a few more tidbits for later, if you like these. Since so many of you have been e-mailing me lately for Disney advice on upcoming vacations, I thought sharing a few of my favorite often-overlooked details would be fun. So, let me know if you want more sometime!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Now THIS is Geektastic Wedding Dress

Hyla W. found a spectacular example of geek girl ingenuity over on Offbeat Bride. In a nutshell, bride Kouhotaru wanted her dress styled after Rydia from Final Fantasy IV.

This is Rydia:

So, ok, not exactly traditional wedding dress material.

However, throw in one amazingly talented cosplay designer, and you get...




Soooo beeeeautiful!!

And doesn't it channel Rydia perfectly? I especially love the boot designs worked into the skirt.

Head over to Offbeat Bride to see the lovely Kouhotaru and her groom on their big day (they got married at a Renaissance Fair! Woot!) and for more information on the fanTABulous dress.

So... how many of you ladies are dreaming up video game inspired wedding dresses now? Besides me, I mean?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Art Attack: Double Takes!

It's always fun when artists put a fresh spin on familiar characters. Check these out:

Snow White gets a more "historically accurate" dress makeover by shoomlah, who's also drawn Jasmine, Belle, and Ariel. Hit the link to see the others! [Found via @TheDisneyBlog]

How about a Victorian Mario?

Epbot reader Brandi spotted this one on artist Shane Parker's blog. Perfect for stereoscope viewing!

More Mario art, this time done in one of my favorite styles:

Art Nouveau! This is actually a sticker found by reader Holly K., but artist Megan Lara also has it available as a t-shirt, along with lots more geeky heroines (including The Guild's Codex!) drawn in the same style.

Another artist rockin' the geeky Art Nouveau is Bill Mudron, whose Amy Pond print went viral not too long ago. It's a gorgeous print, but I like *this* one even more:

Awwwesome. It's currently sold out at his store, but at only $20, I'd check back if I were you.

Gotta have a little cute in here:

Michelle V. sent these in - they're by ginormousrobot over on Etsy, and there are several more in the series. My favorite is R2 and C3PO in the sandbox; I knew R2 was a mischievous little imp!

Plus a little Ghosbusters!
I just bought this print (only $10!) not too long ago from Dave and Tracy, the artistic duo behind henNchicks. Isn't it a fun retro style? Plus, check out their Edward Scissorhands:


Also on Etsy is the Gorgonist, who has a fantastic "fancy dress" series I think you'll love:

Seriously: So. Fabulous. And I cannot tell you how tempted I am to make a Death Star cosplay dress based on that last painting - which is ironic since Robin, the artist, was inspired by people cosplaying in the first place. :) I think I'd wear it with the X-Wing hair piece, tho, and then have a light-up strip down the middle channel to highlight Luke's flight path. Eh? EH?

So, what geek art makes you smile? Share your links in the comments!

UPDATE: Oops, nearly forgot: artist James Hance of the adorable Wookiee the Chew fame is raising money for his daughter's medical expenses. So, if you're in need of any adorable Star Wars/Disney mash-up art, now's the time to buy!