10. Only one performer is actually Canadian. This is not really a big deal, since Off Kilter only had one Canadian, but if Disney's going to make a big deal out of having an authentically "Canadian" show, more of the performers should be Canadian.
9. The games appear to be staged. It seems really convenient that red and blue would tie, and that guests would have to come back later to see the tie breaker. It also seems suspicious that the M.C. arbitrarily picks the blue team as the winner of the last event, even after they know their log off the stand, and don't actually complete the competition. It's definitely rigged, which again goes against the whole "authentic" Canadian show idea.
8. You can't really see what the performers are doing. The performers are either so far away from the audience while they're competing that it's difficult to see, or they're performing behind a pane of plexiglass that has a horrible glare, It's hard to be excited about what they're doing when I can't really see what they're doing.
7. The performers are not very exciting. They don't really seem to be into what they're doing. I'm sure these guys are great at what they do, but this version of competition is so watered down they seem to be having difficulty showing enthusiasm.
6. These events are not that impressive. While these performers may be able to do all of these events more quickly than I am able to, the fact remains that I can do all these events. That's not very exciting.
5. The help wanted ad said applicants should be able to log run. I didn't see any water anywhere. There was also supposed to be dog log rolling and tree climbing. All of those events would have been far more interesting.
4. For being professional axe slingers, their aim is terrible. They're throwing a huge axe at a fairly large round mounted on a wall from a distance that can be covered in three strides. How do they miss. I can understand not sinking the blade into the wood, but a professional should at least be able to strike the target. The obvious answer is that this, being a "traditional Canadian event," is more easily done while drinking—it's like curling (which, coincidentally, would be more impressive than this show).
3.The M.C. is not helping the situation. His carnival barker style, is indicative of a show that is subpar by Disney standards. And, his attempts to rile the crowd into supporting their team are poor. He doesn't strike me as the type that can get an audience to engage and feel any sort of connection to "their" team in the short span of a single show.
2. There were far too many jokes about maple syrup and pancakes. To be fair, I didn't count, and I only recall one such joke. But any jokes about maple syrup or pancakes is too many jokes about maple syrup and pancakes.
1. What kind of lumberjack doesn't wear boots. I get that you're going to be performing on your feet all day, but they make comfortable boots. I used to work cutting trees in the Sequoia National Forest to prevent wildfires, and I wouldn't have been caught dead in tennis shoes out there, and I definitely would not have worn bright white orthopedic sneakers. It just looks ridiculous. Disney's costuming department either totally dropped the ball or they gave these guys far too much leeway.
This list really just scratches the surface of what's wrong with this show. This is not Disney quality entertainment. This is county fair quality entertainment, except they'd probably have log running at the fair. The good news is that if it doesn't improve, enough people will tell Disney how lame this show is that they'll have to change it. Well, I say that, but Stitch's Great Escape is still in Tomorrowland, so... let's hope they improve.
There seems to be an uncanny resemblance between me and Disney characters. It's quite alarming. I feel somewhat violated. It's like Disney has stolen my life story. I mean, look at "Exhibit A," and tell me Disney hasn't ripped off my likeness. Gaston is obviously me. We're both ruggedly handsome. He's often seen with beer in his hand. I'm not often seen without a beer in my hand. He has a pony tail. I want a pony tail. He's ridiculously strong. I'm ridiculously strong. The only difference I can see is that he's a narcissist, and I'm the most humble person I know.
This is only one example, but I could go through every Disney movie since 1987 and show you how they have capitalized on my likeness time and time again. It's quite frustrating. I know it's tempting to model every good looking male in every movie after me, but it grows tiring, especially when, by my estimate, Disney has made over a billion dollars copying my likeness. So, I'm not asking for the whole billion, but I think $250 million should be adequate compensation.
What's that you say? Gaston was from France? Well, yeah, I know that. But, you see, France has wineries, and my hometown has wineries. The setting is just a minor detail. Gaston is an expert hunter? Well, yeah, and I've played hunting video games on "expert" level. Obviously they knew that and put it in as one of his main skills. That's a negligible change to throw me off the scent. But, I'm smarter than that. You can't fool me, Mouse!
Obviously, this argument is ridiculous. But, it's not so different from the argument being leveled against Disney by Isabella Tanikumi, author of her self-published autobigraphies, titled Living my Truth and Yearnings of the Heart. Prior to her lawsuit, Yearnings had received raving reviews from all of two people, who sound suspiciously as if they are either the author herself or someone close to her. Essentially, the authors claims of copyright infringement boil down to this quote:
"These books deal with the story of two sisters who have tragedies, romances, conflicts, isolation and loneliness and there are significant similarities with your movie."- Isabella Tanikumi
So, congratulations Ms. Tanikumi, you have just summed up the teenage experience of every female ever that has had a sister. If you want to read the entire complaint, E! Entertainment has provided a copy here. Skip down to her "Exhibit A." It's hilarious. Also worth reading are the Amazon reviews that have been added to her books since the suit has been filed. Two of my favorites are here for your enjoyment.
Hopefully by now you realize, I'm not actually going to sue Disney, and you realize that I don't actually believe Gaston is modeled after me. I want to make that crystal clear so as to avoid the kind of countersuit backlash Disney is famous for—the kind Ms. Tanikumi is about to find herself in.
I'll start by saying that I'm not really a gamer. I tend to go through phases where I play a game for a while, beat it, and then I may not pick up a new game for months. I'm not really into first person shooters, because I just don't have the time to play enough to get good at them. So, I tend to play games like Assassin's Creed, the Batman Arkham games, and L.A. Noir. But, as a rule, I typically use my Xbox the same way I use my Apple TV—it's a convenient way to binge watch cancelled television shows and movies I wouldn't have paid to see in the theater.
With that said, Elaine and I recently purchased a Disney Infinity 1.0 starter pack. Elaine also bought an Elsa figure, which can be used in the Toy Box mode (more on that later). We bought this set in anticipation of the release of Disney Infinity 2.0. While we were in the parks, we noticed how many different figures they had for gameplay, and it seemed like a fairly interesting concept. When we got home, we realized many of the Infinity 1.0 packs were on sale, so we figured we would give it a try and see if we liked it before shelling out more money for 2.0 figures and playsets.
There are two gameplay modes. Playset mode allows you to play as a Disney character through a storyline associated with that character. I've been playing through a Monster's University storyline as Sully, and it's actually pretty addicting. The storyline centers around frat house pranks between Monster's University and their rival, Fear Tech. Last night, I captured Fear Tech's mascot, Archie the Scare Pig. The other mode is an open sandbox that Disney calls the Toy Box. In the Toy Box, you can mesh multiple storylines together. You create your own world, borrowing from the worlds of the characters you own. Sully and Elsa can play side-by-side, and the possibilities are near endless.
What's remarkable about this game is that it really is fun for any age. Obviously, the game appeals to children. And, if you're a parent, you don't have to worry about excessive violence or foul language. The action in this game is mostly harmless. You fight bad guys, but they don't die, there's no blood, the characters don't curse—it's clean. But, it's not childish. The objectives are fun to complete, and they grow in difficulty as you progress through the game. For Disney, the best part is that it's a game that appeals to girls as well as boys. In fact, Elsa and Merida are some of the most popular characters. The game also has the ability to be played with up to four players connected by a wireless network, or two players on one system, which means families can play together. Disney was also surprised by how many people like Elaine and I play the game—a group they classify as "non-parent adults." It's become Disney's first "four-quadrant" success, appealing to all quadrants of the gaming market.
Tomorrow, Disney launches Infinity 2.0, their new version which will include their characters from the Marvel Universe. For now, I'm content playing through the 1.0 games I already own, so I'll avoid the rush for new figures and games, but as soon as I finish the Playset modes for Sully, Mr. Incredible, and Capt. Jack Sparrow, I see myself buying figures from the Guardians of the Galaxy playset. I'm definitely a fan of this interactive world and I find it to be a very cool concept.
For additional information on Infinity 2.0, checkout the Disney Infinity website. I also found this article on Business Insider that I thought was very interesting.
For classic Disney fans, the influx of Frozen merchandise and park presence can be a source of irritation. It seems like overkill. The movie has been out for less than a year, and there's already a ride in the works. And, I would say that Disney is not likely to put their expansion plans on ice anytime soon—but, they already did that.
The issue is that Disney has learned from their past, as Jim Hill pointed out in an article written for the Huffington Post. Disney knows how popular this movie is, and they are going to get the full value of the work they put into it.
To be fair, this movie has been in the works since the 1930's, when Walt began kicking around the idea of making a movie about Hans Christian Andersen. So, the concept is as old as The Little Mermaid, as they were supposed to be different segments of the same film. Sadly, when the United States entered World War II, Disney froze the project and focused on making war time propaganda films. After the war, Disney had other projects they were interested in working on and Andersen's tales were pushed further back behind the popsicles and fish sticks. Then, in 1985, Disney began cleaning out their freezer and The Little Mermaid got the green light. The Snow Queen (i.e. Frozen), however, remained locked away, piling on the freezer burn.
Disney had cycled through a string of films in the seventies that had been coldly received by audiences. That was until 1988's Who Framed Roger Rabbit? That film was wildly successful, and brought Disney out of the doldrums. Following the success of Roger Rabbit, Disney did not seem to be prepared to have another sensation on their hands. That Christmas, you could not find Little Mermaid merchandise—unless you wanted a blonde version of Ariel. Disney fixed their error by the time the movie was released on home VHS, but undoubtedly missed out on much of the craze. Following the release of The Little Mermaid, Ariel has been a staple in the Disney Store. She is one of the most beloved characters in the Disney portfolio. On the tail (see, it's not all Frozen puns) of such success, many would have expected Disney to put a ride in their parks. And they did eventually. It only took Disney 13 years to get a ride featuring Ariel, which is a relatively short time compared to how long it took for the Haunted Mansion to be completed. Though, many fans of Ariel would never see the ride, because it was located at Tokyo DisneySea. it would be another ten years (still less than the Haunted Mansion) before fans got a ride stateside.
Looking back now, it all seems a little ridiculous. Why did it take so long for The Little Mermaid to get a ride? Why would Disney not have enough merchandise to sell for Christmas? What's a VHS?
One thing's for sure, Disney wasn't going to let that happen again. When they released Frozen, they knew they had done something great. They knew the fans were going to love it. And, they were ready to capitalize on it. Why Tangled and Brave didn't get the same treatment, I'm not sure, but Disney was ready to monopolize on this success. They immediately rolled out shows in the parks, hyped up the character signings, began looking for ways to expand the brand, and even moved the character signing to another park (as a ploy to keep it on the forefront of people's mind, no doubt). So, now, everything is Frozen. The characters quickly found their way into Once Upon a Time. In a flurry, Anna and Elsa were available for Disney Infinity. There's a book series coming out, a short film, and even a ride. While many may argue that Frozen has not proven its ability to stand the test of time, it doesn't appear to be going anywhere, and I don't think we can expect Disney to chill out any time soon.
Today, you have an opportunity to help a great cause, with fairly minimal effort. You don't have to dump a bucket of Ice on your head, or make a video. All you have to do is go buy lunch. You were probably going to buy lunch anyways. But, today, if you buy lunch at a participating Raising Cane's, they will donate 15% of their sales to Kidd's Kids.
The truth is, you were probably going to buy your lunch anyway, and Cane's is delicious. It's really a win-win.
The Kidd's Kids website also lists many other ways to contribute to their efforts.
What Is Kidd's Kids?*
Our Mission – SERIOUS FUN!!
At Kidd’s Kids, our primary goal is to provide children (ages 5 to 12), who have a chronic or terminal illness or are physically challenged, with an unforgettable adventure Throughout the year, we work hard to raise the funds necessary to send these special kids on an all-expenses paid, fun-filled, vacation to Walt Disney World® in Florida. Most of our funding comes from donations made by listeners to the Kidd Kraddick In The Morning radio show, corporate sponsors, and various fundraising events.
Each year, we sponsor approximately 50 children and their families (including siblings between the ages of 5 and 16) for the trip, or as many as the Kidd’s Kids Board may deem appropriate under the circumstances. The Board will work with such sources as it deems appropriate to select children based upon the nature and severity of their illnesses, their ages, and the status of their financial needs.
All aspects of the trip are coordinated by Kidd’s Kids. All funds raised go directly to cover the cost of sending the children and their families to Walt Disney World®, administrative expenses of Kidd’s Kids, and to sustain an endowment fund for the purpose of providing long-term growth and stability for the charitable programs of the Kraddick Foundation. The Kraddick Foundation is a 501 (c)(3) organization, founded by nationally syndicated morning show personality Kidd Kraddick. The Kidd’s Kids program is based on the premise of making a difference in the lives of children with special medical needs.
*Copied from the Kidd's Kids website. Please visit their site to learn more.
Here at the Mousekebeers Podcast, we're pretty open about the fact that we listen to other Disney podcasts. Ask any of our members, and we'll give you a list of different ones we listen to. One of my favorites is done by Jim Hill and Len Testa—The Unofficial Disney Guide's Dish with Jim Hill. The most recent episode dealt with the topic of Disney Vacation Club expansion. I highly recommend listening to is here, but I will go over the gist of it here.
Disney has more rooms available in their different resorts than they want or need, so they are looking to get rid of some of their inventory. A great way for them to do that is to turn existing resort space into Disney Vacation Club properties. The problem is, they are also running out of resorts to change over. One of the last viable options seems to be Caribbean Beach.
As a Disney enthusiast, and passholder, I have stayed in many of the resorts on property. I can say, without hesitation, that Caribbean Beach is my least favorite. It's too spread out. It's on a long bus route. It's not cheap. It doesn't have great restaurants. The list of complaints against this particular resort could go on and on. But, it could be the perfect DVC resort.
Thaddeaus Swart is a California transplant currently living in Louisiana. He teaches middle school by day and tends bar by night. He is a home brew hobbyist and a Disney enthusiast. His favorite Disney movie is Pete's Dragon, and if he could be any cast member at Disney, he would be Chief of the Main Street Volunteer Fire Department—a position that allows you to walk Main Street and sing all the best Disney songs alongside the guests. His favorite place in Disney to grab a beer is Le Cellier Steakhouse in the World Showcase Canada, where they offer a great selection of Canadian Abbey Style beers.