Saturday, July 20, 2013

Life with Theme Park Mice: The 4th of July

The 4th of July proves every year that I understand logic, but choose not to use it. Leading up to the day, I inform others where not to visit with dire warnings of maddening crowds and gridlocked traffic. Logically, I know that the 4th will bring total chaos from summer vacationers, fireworks aficionados, and amateur patriots flooding the Disney parks. Yet, I still visit, and abandon logic as usual. Here is the sequence of events from this recent holiday.

3:00 pm- Check-In at Hotel: I don't abandon quite all logic. Not wanting to add traffic jams to the evening, my wife and I stay at one of the cheaper Disney resorts. We know that the buses will be packed at the end of the night, but that's still better than tripled travel time home. Plus, my wife's ankle is still requiring the use of a wheelchair, and delivery near the park entrance is a huge advantage.

4:00 pm- Swim: The other reason we stay at a Disney resort is the wide array of swimming pools. We both enjoy swimming, but my wife doesn't enjoy swimming in the ocean. Apparently, she has a great desire to not be drowned by giant waves. We decide to take advantage of the nearby pool before we have dinner.

4:30 pm- Gnat Explosion: Unfortunately, Florida currently has a major bug problem, and the pool nearest to our room has a faulty filtration problem. Combined, this results in a pool filled to the brim with dead gnats, which flow through and past us no matter where we swim. No square inch of the pool is safe from the drowned insects, and every dive brings the risk of inhaling a few of them. This is apparently not normal, as the pool is quickly closed for an emergency cleaning.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin Review

Disclaimer: This is a review of a new penguin focused attraction by someone who named their blog after those amazing aquatic birds. While I'm going to try to give a rational impression, my viewpoint is still tainted by the fact that I'm fascinated and slightly obsessed with penguins. My wife was also still recovering from her recent accident, so our experience was still slightly atypical. Finally, I will be describing the entire ride, so please don't read if you don't want part of the experience spoiled.

For the last year, penguins have been missing from SeaWorld Orlando. Caught in the middle of the theme park war between Universal Studios and Disney, SeaWorld decided it needed a major family attraction to compete. What better way to compete than with penguins, nature's eternally loveable flightless birds? Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin promised to be a revolutionary new penguin habitat, attraction, restaurant and shopping experience. While it may be somewhat a victim of its own hype, the penguins may still save this attraction in the end.


Approaching the new expansion, small theming along the path marks the trail. This display includes some expedition gear and topiary birds.

However, this extra signage is just a nice touch, because the giant penguin-shaped mountain is hard to miss. The faux snow covered rocks surround the entire expansion. Fittingly enough, the ride and animal habitat are housed underneath the main mountain, with the shop and food offerings located directly across from it.

The queue is surprisingly located entirely outside. Thankfully, umbrellas and fans are located alongside the path, as well as some stations with penguin facts. It's not the most interesting line, but at least the hot Florida sun has been given some consideration.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

VideoGameopolis: First Level

Long ago, in that bizarre time known as High School and College, I wrote video game reviews for a tiny gaming website. That website ceased to exist year ago, having never found an audience. I'm quite glad that it has disappeared, because most of what I contributed was embarrassing at best.

However, I did enjoy writing about games, and they are still one of my primary hobbies. While I don't feel like providing traditional reviews quite yet, I thought it would be useful to give my impressions of games I'm playing lately.