While we have incredibly talented photographers here on the ZADD Crew Blog who constantly amaze and inspire us with their artistic visions of Walt Disney World, it is highly unlikely that you will have such talent following you around during your days at the parks unless you are some sort of social media impresario or a wealthy, narcissistic weirdo. So how can you produce similar results even if your knowledge of photography amounts to little more than pressing the shutter button on your phone?
Rad Disney Dad
If you’ve been following Nicole Ellington’s blogs, you’ve probably learned about a wide variety of ways to keep your kids entertained while visiting the parks (check her work out here); however, I recently noticed a gaping hole in Nicole’s extensive body of work.
I’ve already talked about my need for speed on here, so you might imagine that waiting in line for character signatures runs contrary to the goal of maximizing time within the parks — and you’d be right. There is a wide variety of characters you can meet in the Walt Disney World parks, so how can you possibly fill your children’s autograph books with pictures and signatures and still have time to experience all the parks have to offer?
Though we are born and bred southerners, I do not consider our expectations in regards to manners and courtesy to be anything special. We feel as though manners are a matter of common sense: treat others with respect and it will be returned. Though a trip to the parks can be exciting — especially if it’s a rare occurrence — it’s important to remember that you are one family among tens of thousands of people. Here are some basic tips to help you avoid making a social faux pas that at the very least could be irritating to your fellow guests — or at the most could make everyone else in the parks want to toss you off a freeway overpass.
How we feel about Disney attractions exists on a sort of sliding scale. On the one end, you have rides such as Space Mountain, an indelible classic beloved by nearly all who experience it, but on the other end you have rides such as Stitch’s Great Escape, which is the theme park equivalent of stepping in dog poo. With bare feet.
This one might be polarizing to some of you, so let’s establish some ground rules right from the start: I do not condone being rude or shoving past others, especially in line, and I also do not condone “cheating” in the form of disobeying cast members’ instructions. If ropes or tape have been applied to the walkways to form a path or cast members specifically instruct guests not to go through a certain area, these basic rules must be obeyed. Are we good? Excellent. Let’s talk speed.
Tips. We give them out freely on this blog. We’ve got tips on maximizing time, saving money, and staying safe and hydrated. But there are some things that just need to be said, and as the resident coach here on the ZADD Crew blog, I’m going to throw out five tips that you may or may not know about, along with the very blunt reasons for why you’ll want to consider employing them on your next magical vacation. Here are five important tips I’ve learned over the years — some, the hard way — such as…
We were all rookies once, wandering wide-eyed around the Magic Kingdom and continually taking steps in one direction, only to think better of it and start off in a different direction — which was probably the wrong direction. We arrived at the parks too late, stayed stationary too long, and were too easily flustered by the myriad opportunities and options this wonderful, magical place presented. We hurried to rides with typically low wait times while saving other, far more popular, rides until later — only to find their weight times stretching all the way until a quarter to never. Trust me, I might go by Rad Disney Dad on this blog and on Instagram, but back in 2010, I was anything but. I was a Disney rookie, a “noob” as they
say in the gamer world, and Rad Mom and I arrived at Walt Disney World for the first time with only the faintest idea of what we’d be doing for the next two days. (Can you believe that we thought we could accomplish anything worthwhile in just two days?!) Though subsequent trips saw improvements in our planning and preparation, it took a good three or four trips before we achieved anything even remotely resembling the (self-proclaimed) Rad status we enjoy today. Perhaps I can spare you from making some of our more facepalm-worthy mistakes. Or just give you a chance to laugh at our expense.
Full disclosure: The Incredibles is my favorite Pixar film, hands down. I absolutely love the film and the story it tells, so it was difficult for me to manage my expectations going into a sequel I’ve been hoping for since 2004. It’s weird to think that the first time I saw The Incredibles Rad Mom and I were newly married, the Rad girls didn’t exist, and Pixar was playing it safe establishing some of its earliest hits. Flash forward fourteen years and I’m sitting in the theater with the entire Rad Fam waiting excitedly for the sequel to one of my favorite movies to begin. It’s a surreal feeling, and it reminds us why great movies stand the test of time and should be shared with those you love, becoming pop culture bookmarks on the journey of life.
It’s hard not to be just a bit envious of the families who are clearly experiencing Disney for the first time with their children. The excitement on their kids’ faces, the laughter, the giggles, the wonder and joy captured in the entirety of the
experience seem to be emotional beats that we can only feel once before they become glistening core memories influencing our islands of personality. I remember when the Rad girls were that young, absorbing the grandeur of Walt’s vision for the very first time. I’ll never forget Rad Ella dancing with Woody and Jessie (Jessie was her absolute favorite at the time) or seeing Rad Hallie lose her mind when we walked through the archway into the Magic Kingdom and there, greeting guests at the base of the flagpole, was Daisy. She was beside herself, and her little two-and-a-half-year-old mind must have been replaying only one thought over and over again: it’s real. All of it. Every bit of it. It’s completely and totally real.
Since we’re all still getting to know each other, I figured now was the perfect time to drop some Rad Dad confessions on you. Some of these confessions might be conversation starters (let me know what you think in the comments) while others might be points of agreement that are generally accepted by the Disney community but not necessarily vocalized in civilized company. Fortunately for you, I am many things, but civilized is not one of them, so I will gladly call a spade a spade if it so deserves the moniker of a spade.
There are few characters as embedded in the pop culture lexicon as Han Solo, arguably one of the most iconic movie characters of all time. When it was announced that we would be getting a Han Solo origin story, many fans, including myself, met the news with skepticism and trepidation. Harrison Ford is as inseparable from Han Solo as he is from Indiana Jones (another rumored reboot on the horizon), and it’s hard to imagine a younger actor filling his considerable shoes. While I can safely say that his shoes remain unfilled, Solo: A Star Wars story is not without its high points and charming moments. It’s a serviceable, if average, entry in the ever-expanding Star Wars universe under the stewardship of Disney, which, for many Star Wars fans still a bit sore from The Last Jedi, might be more than enough.
Disney has been on a tear lately with both its Marvel and Lucasfilm branches churning out box office smash after box office smash, but that reign seems to have come to an end. Solo: A Star Wars Story struggled over the Memorial Day weekend, earning only $103 million domestically and pulling in a disappointing $65 million overseas. (The film managed just $10 million in China, which was barely more than twice what A Quiet Place earned — in its second weekend.) A number of factors could be to blame: it’s too soon after The Last Jedi to release another Star Wars film, Avengers: Infinity War and Deadpool 2 are still performing strong, or maybe Solo just isn’t resonating with audiences. No matter the reason, Disney will surely be reevaluating its Star Wars strategy moving forward. Next up is the as-yet-untitled Episode IX in 2019. Hopefully, the conclusion to the original Skywalker saga fares better.
Disney has recently filed a patent for developing what they’re calling a “Procedural System for Emergent Narrative Construction.” Think of it like a giant Mad Libs: by changing certain important parts of the narrative, the overall structure changes. In a Mad Libs, if you replace the nouns, adjectives, and adverbs, you can come up with new, and oftentimes wildly different, story structures. Mathematically, a relatively small number of changes across a narrative could yield a comparatively large number of different story structures. The patent states that “a user interface may be presented to a creator to facilitate the creation of narrative content.” This user interface would “generate recommendations pertaining to narrative content.” The creator in this case could be a computer algorithm that then selects these user-generated data sets
to construct a narrative framework. By collecting data on a user’s choices within the virtual world, aggregated over time, the algorithm could then select the pieces of future narrative most likely to lead to a positive overall experience. The experience could be further enhanced by player responses, meaning more favorably reviewed experiences would be more likely to occur within a given narrative framework.
If you’ve made it this far then you’re aware that the heroes on Titan don’t fare well against Thanos. Though it’s exciting to see how some of the more powerful heroes rate when compared to Thanos wielding a nearly complete Infinity Gauntlet, it’s the adventures of another Avenger, arguably the most powerful, that capture the audience’s attention…
Because I just can’t help myself when it comes to good movies, this review got a little out of control. And by a little out of control, I mean an over-ten-page in-depth analysis carefully looking at each scene and act in Infinity War. If this is your kind of discussion, I do hope you stick around for part two which will drop a bit later (perhaps even later today). If it’s not your thing, I hope this broadens your viewing experience. If this is really not your thing, I hope you like colorful pictures of the Marvel heroes.
In just three weeks, Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity War has taken in nearly $548 million domestically, and thanks to a strong opening in China, the film brought in an additional $349 million internationally this weekend alone. That staggering performance brings the movie’s worldwide total to $1.6 billion, making it the fifth highest-grossing movie of all time. While it may soon topple Jurassic World from the number four spot, it must overcome The Force Awakens, Titanic, and Avatar to become the highest grossing film of all time. (To put that in perspective, Infinity War would have to earn more than another billion to unseat Avatar, which is a shame because that movie is just Dances with Wolves in space with blue aliens.) Can Marvel finally crack the top three? Will the debut of Solo: A Star Wars Story slow down the Infinity War hype train? Does Bob Iger actually have the Infinity Gauntlet?
Let us know what you think in the comments down below.
As fans of Disney, we can sometimes find ourselves getting overly excited when discussing our numerous and varied reasons behind our completely healthy and not at all weird obsession. We might profess, quite insistently, why such adoration is vital to our survival or why our lifestyle is beneficial and healthy, thus relegating ourselves to the same social strata as vegans, Crossfitters, or fans of This is Us. One admittedly overused excuse for pouring Scrooge McDuck levels of money into the Disney lifestyle is that it’s about the memories, the moments spent with family and friends that can’t be easily duplicated elsewhere. While this may be technically true, memories can be created in all sorts of settings, and telling someone that watching her kids meeting Mickey Mouse for the first time is a good memory is like telling her that if she avoids eating raw sewage she’ll likely live longer.
From its opening moments, Infinity War reminds you that you’re in for something different. It’s not the triumphant tone of the first Avengers movie nor the forced dourness of Civil War. It’s not the lovingly painted kitsch of Guardians of the Galaxy, and it’s certainly not the cultural awareness (and relevance) of Black Panther. No, Infinity War trades in menace, and its ultimate victory is showcasing that menace in the form of Thanos, one of the most surprisingly well-rounded supervillains we’re likely to see in the next few years (at least until DC takes the reigns away from Zack Snyder and stops using a warehouse full of TurboGrafx-16s to render its visual effects). Thanos oozes menace, and seeing him in action as the dispassionate arbiter of universal balance is frighteningly effective, but there’s an underlying substance to Thanos that makes him so much more than any of the MCU antagonists we’ve seen before. Thanos truly believes in what he’s doing and feels as though he’s motivated by a higher calling. It’s this emotional disconnect to death that makes him so disturbing: he doesn’t particularly care which half of the universe’s life he eliminates as long as it’s half. It’s a sort of genocide perpetrated against existence, and it’s this omnipresent potential for indiscriminate destruction that keeps us guessing as to what will really happen if he gets his hands on all of those stones.