Wednesday, April 13, 2022

50 Magical Ears - A Very Rambling WDW 2022 Trip Report

None of us are ever going to get Harmonious the way the little girl next to me cheering and clapping and singing along Gets it.

But Harmonious is very good!  I really liked it!  It's not "Reflections of Earth", but what could be?  "Reflections of Earth" was a transcendent experience.  They wanted you to be in awe of the Millennium and the world and maybe even leave you tearing up - all in a nightly pyrotechnic spectacular.  

Harmonious wants you to get up and dance.  And honestly, that's fine!  The effects are insane and not only does the show still look good from an odd angle, where you cannot see the "Stargate" (a big worry of mine), it also looks great from outside the park.

The new Ratatouille ride is so fun and cute!  I really like this new trend of trackless rides.  So far all of them have been very good.  The new little area of France where the ride is situated is lovely.  That said, it was both hilarious and unnerving how many people I overheard who thought the ride was a restaurant. 

And I'm going to go ahead and mention one of the bad changes at Disney.  Genie+ is terrible.  I really don't think I ever heard anyone swear under their breath louder or more often over anything WDW related before Genie came along.  Fastpass wasn't perfect, but it was pretty easy to understand and didn't cost extra.  I haven't the foggiest idea how first time visitors are meant to figure it out.

More things that were new to me: The Skyliner is very cool.  We had a fun time just riding it around.  I don't know that I'd ever go near it in bad weather, but the week we were at Disney we mostly lucked out with sunny days.  It was even warm enough to swim; I don't think I've been able to do that in years!  

So, Galaxy's Edge.  It's nice; the last time I was there I didn't have much time to explore the place but this visit, I could spend the better part of the afternoon there.  The little details are great and I had a lot of fun playing the interactive games.  And Rise of the Resistance is unbelievable!  Like, I can't even describe how good it is.  And it is long!  My goodness, it's nice to have a brand new good long ride.

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Art of the Day!  Have some sketches from a Liminal Space.  Click for big:

2.20.22 - Airport Sketches

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

More Art and Thoughts From Around WDW

 Okay, this post was originally going to be The Trip Report but as soon as I started writing that, it turned out to deserve a whole blog of it's own.  So look forward to that next week (Edit: Sorry, make that NEXT next week.  Probably.  I hope.)  

Meanwhile, more sketches and thoughts from Animal Kingdom park, the Coral Reef restaurant, and around the Beach Club pools.

3.3.2022 - Disney's Animal Kingdom Park Studies

So. The Pandemic.  It did not end up adversely affecting much that I could see.  (Indeed, we mostly had a great time and any bad times were almost always due to things neither we nor Disney could've controlled.  Almost.)  One of the big changes was how character encounters work.  You can't go up to meet them, so they'll show up in the little patios at EPCOT, or riding a boat along the river in Animal Kingdom. It is almost like how it was in the 70's-90's where random characters would just show up whenever, and I have to say, hearing music and looking around to see Mickey riding in a boat is a heck of a lot more fun than waiting in line to meet him in a room.

Above, you see my very brief impression of Disney's Kite Tails.  This is a new live show at Animal Kingdom, replacing Rivers of Light.  Rivers of Light was very nice when all of the effects worked, which, more often than not, they did not.  Kite Tails, as I'm sure you know if you've already seen the videos, is Very Special.  Part of me wants it to stick around for a while so everyone can experience it for themselves.  BUT!  Another much louder part of me wants it to end up a short-lived Bizarrerie like Superstar Limo or Barbie's Birthday Bash.  Only better because I was there this time!  I got to see the show!  And years later, I'll try to describe it to younger WDW fans -- and they will probably just assume I am recalling a weird dream.  Which is fair.

2.24.22 - The Seas Studies

The parks were way more crowded than I ever would have guessed, given the reservation system.  I have heard since that there are no more "slow days" or less-crowded weeks at Disney.  What a bummer, especially if you're trying to eat dinner at EPCOT with no reservation.  There was no getting into Space 220, nor the Garden Grill.  But where the sky and land failed us, the Sea welcomed us.  Er, we got into Coral Reef I mean.  What a nice, underrated restaurant.  The sharks and rays were very active that evening and the food and drinks were excellent.

We'll round things out today with a trip to Animal Kingdom Lodge.  Kidani Village had a special tour of one of their savannas and I got to see their elusive Okapis up close!  This was another of my favorite experiences this trip; right up there with Harmonious.

3.2.22 - Animal Kingdom Lodge Studies

3.2.22 - Animal Kingdom Lodge Studies

3.2.22 - Animal Kingdom Lodge Studies

3.2.22 - Animal Kingdom Lodge Studies

3.2.22 - Animal Kingdom Lodge Studies


Wednesday, March 23, 2022

2022 Animal Kingdom Sketches!

We went to Disney World earlier this month!  It was wild!  I may do a brief trip report next post but for now, we had a lot of fun.  And as is tradition, my drawings of the residents of Disney's Animal Kingdom:

2.22.22 - Disney's Animal Kingdom Studies

I got to watch the Great Argus Pheasant "Peacocking" in real life right in front of me and I'm not even kidding, this was one of the coolest things I got to experience on the whole trip!  Right up there with Rise of the Resistance!

3.3.2022 - Disney's Animal Kingdom Park Studies

3.3.2022 - Disney's Animal Kingdom Park Studies

3.3.2022 - Disney's Animal Kingdom Park Studies

The Painted Wolves/African Wild Dogs/Cape Hunting Dogs/Lycaon pictus are, I think, a new addition to the Safari.  And they're very cool.  (And boy I wish I was not sitting adjacent to a very loud fool insisting "No, those are Hyenas like in 'Lion King'!" 😞 )

3.3.2022 - Disney's Animal Kingdom Park Studies

"Feathered Friends in Flight" is the latest and maybe the best iteration of "Flights of Wonder"/"Up!  The Big Bird Adventure"/"Whatever, IDK What You Call It Or What The Framing Story Is, I Am Just Here For The Birds".  Simply because - get this - there is NO framing story, just a lot of cool birds doing cool things!  What a concept!  I got to see a Harpy Eagle in real life!  That's right up there with the Skyliner!

3.3.2022 - Disney's Animal Kingdom Park Studies

Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Wednesday, March 2, 2022

My Botober Shenanigans!

 The older I get, the less inclined I am to do daily drawing challenges.  But it turns out if they're funny, I cannot resist.  Thus, Botober!  Created by Janelle Shane, who asked a neural net to create a set of drawing prompts and wound up with this:

As you can see, all of these are hilarious. Here, collected for your enjoyment, are my Botober drawings.

10.1.21 - Botober Opossumsaurus

10.2.21 - Magic Rainbow Space Walrus

10.3.21 - The Roars of Roosters

10.4.21 - Sluggalope

10.5.21 - Adventurous Stone Chickens

10.6.21 - A Fricken' WHALE!!!

10.7.21 - 4D Stegosaurus

10.8.21 - 8-Legged Cat

10.10.21 - Botober Impossibly Cute Pudgy Birds

10.11.21 - Botober Muppet Shark

A big catch-up page:

10.12-20.21 - Big Botober Catch-Up!

10.21.21 - Botober Loud Frilly Cow

10.22.21 - Botober Way Too Much Cat

Another catch-up page:

10.9 and 23-27.21 - Another Big Botober Catch-Up Page!

10.28.21 - Botober Firefly Squid

10.29.21 - Botober Porcelain Squirrel

10.30.21 - Botober Fabled Unicycle Beaver

10.31.21 - Botober Godcockroach

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

"Life is a Kumquat!" - Let's watch the Grand Opening of Walt Disney World!

You didn't think I'd head down to the 50'th Anniversary Celebration of Walt Disney World without sharing a vintage Disney Parks special did you?  Well strap in, because what better special to watch for the anniversary of Walt Disney World than the Grand Opening of Walt Disney World?

I love this.  It's not as insane as the Tenth Anniversary special (what could be?) but it is very close.  That running subplot about the campers is extremely special.  So is the catchy song about how, if you think you do not have to visit WDW because you've been to Disneyland, you are very wrong, because WDW has MORE!!!  We get extended looks at the Country Bears and the Hall of Presidents, and rare footage of the Mickey Mouse Review.  Arthur Fiedler conducts a huge marching band, Bob Hope gives a weird speech, Glen Campbell sings existential songs in the woods, and Julie Andrews sings and watches a good chunk of the Animated Canon!  All this and the amazing Vault Disney bumper!

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Art of the Day!

It's still Faebruary, so here's a portrait of the best Disney Fairy.

2.10.18 - Merryweather

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Sketching from "Nature: Big Bend"

 My New Year's Resolution is to exercise every other day and sketch every OTHER other day.  If that makes sense?  Anyway, here are sketches I drew while watching the very beautiful "Nature" episode "Big Bend, The Wild Frontier of Texas". 

1.25.22 - "Nature: Big Bend" Sketches

1.25.22 - "Nature: Big Bend" Sketches

I drew these sketches (as well as the National Dog Show sketches and all the Botober misadventures) in my Arteza Watercolor Sketchbook.  And this Sketchbook is very very nice.  So nice, in fact, that I've started using another one right after filling this one!