Stupid Judy. Stupid Energy.

*DillosDiz would like to welcome David Boyarsky, aka @FigmentsWorld on Twitter, as our guest blogger! David took a final ride on Ellen’s Energy Adventure and ended up having his own adventure!

unnamed-2

Last week, Disney committed attraction murder in the worst possible way.  Not only did they kill off 1 classic attraction, they killed off 2!  Both attractions had been operating for several decades and developed quite the fan base and oddly enough, both employed the way-ahead-of-its-time traveling theater car concept.  Coincidence?  I think not.  You see, whenever an attraction becomes a ‘classic’ Disney loves to pull on our heart strings and tease us with rumors of altering or shutting down completely.  Unfortunately, we lost the battle for both The Great Movie Ride and the Universe of Energy, all in the same evening. This day also happened to be my sister’s birthday.  So when the news quickly spread of the imminent closing, we both jumped at the chance to pay our respects and achieve our goal of traveling back in time with Ellen DeGeneres, Bill Nye the Science Guy, and Stupid Judy one last time.

20916914_10101597395753265_382062565_n

Why the Universe of Energy you may ask?  This attraction meant so much to us.  I still have fond memories from a trip in 1994 when we rode the original energy attraction.  Everything was going well for little Figgy until a large Elasmosaurus shot out at me and I thought I was going to die.  My ride was ruined and I was in tears so I can’t really recall what happened during the second half of the 45 minute journey.  However, by the time we went back in 1998, Ellen’s Energy Adventure had taken over and this scary snake-like creature was attacking an Ellen audio animatronic instead of me!  Boy was I relieved and thus began a love affair with the most underrated attraction that ever existed in a Disney theme park.

Fast forward to August 13, 2017: final day of operation for the Universe of Energy. My sister and I had one goal: be on the very last public ride of the Universe of Energy. However, we couldn’t wait to experience the attraction so we had to ride it in the middle of the day as well (plus who could resist a mid-afternoon nap).

 

20907154_10101597383268285_1861505839_oSo after enjoying our day around Epcot, we approached the Energy Pavilion at around 6:30pm as the Universe of Energy was set to shut its doors at 7pm.  To our surprise, we weren’t the only longtime fans who showed up, so much so that Disney set up a staging area for 500 people to wait for the very last ride.  At 7:15pm, the crowd was let in for the last 8 minute preshow ever.  To say the crowd was emotional is an understatement.  Here in this room were 500 diehard fans who knew every punchline, every witty response, and every time Ellen would call her old college roommate, “Stupid Judy!”

 

4

The audience responded to Ellen on screen like she was really there and started chanting for Bill Nye when he walked in.  At the end of it all, a huge standing ovation and round of applause commenced for both the film and the Cast member who delivers the safety spiel.  It was a truly magical experience that only a closing Disney attraction could ever convey.

5

500 guests bolted for theater cars for the final time to get the perfect seat.  The theater rotated and the big bang portion of the film began, not a dry eye in the house.  Afterwards, as has happened for the last 35 years, the theaters magically travelled out of theater one and into the dinosaur diorama without a single track on the floor.  As the dinosaurs came to life and the theater cars broke apart, Ellen’s dream was suddenly interrupted.  Lights flashed on and off, theater cars halted, and the crowd went wild!

20891613_10101597382824175_965226679_n

As most people who have ridden this attraction know, this ride was quite possibly the most prone to breaking down and today, the final day of operation on the final ride, was no exception.  But something magical happened that night.  You see, instead of being ushered out of the building by Cast Members and being told to put our cameras away, they opened our theater car doors and looked the other way for Energy’s most diehard fans.  Yes, that’s right, they actually had no objection to us walking through the entire Dinosaur diorama, touching, feeling, smelling it all for one last time because come Monday morning, it was all heading to the dumpster.  So while we were figuratively still stuck in Ellen’s dream we got to interact with the entire attraction like never before and bid our fond farewells in one of the most unique ways possible.

7

There were some hopes about possibly fixing the attraction and letting us ride again but eventually it was decided that the battery pack in one of the vehicles was too faulty and they just couldn’t wait to scrap the whole thing in the morning.  It was a bittersweet moment.  While we never got to complete Ellen’s dream that night, we got to see off one of the greatest classic Epcot attractions in the most truly fitting way, through one last e-stop and ride evacuation. This was the night that the Universe of Energy ran out of energy but as Ellen and Bill Nye taught us, our brain power will never run out and our fond memories will always live on.

I leave you with these pictures from our exploration of the dinosaur diorama as I am getting very tired.  “Stupid Judy.  Stupid energy.  Maybe the universe needs energy but I don’t.  I’ll take a nap for a hundred.”  ~Ellen the uh… Just Ellen I guess

20884861_10101597383133555_1651582506_n

What are you looking at?!

20864638_10101597382993835_1260630056_n

Still fighting over if the Universe of Energy or Horizons was the better attraction

10

I’ll miss you the most despite the fact that you sneeze on me every time I see you

20891430_10101597382968885_471591961_n

It’s a Dino-celebration party 220 million years ago, give or take a day

unnamed

Boy I bet Ellen really wished she figured out how to work that clicky thing earlier

unnamed-1

Advertisements

Beach Club at 25: What’s in a Color

This three part series just became four parts!

A question I always pose to myself when daydreaming of being poolside at Disney’s Beach Club Resort (I’m not about to go throwing the Vacation Club moniker in there) is… If I stayed in the Yacht Club first, would I love the Yacht Club more than the Beach Club?

No.

Why not?

Because the Yacht Club is grey and the Beach Club in the brightest of light blue. A light blue that accentuates the cream colors of the lobby and the chlorinated water. Walking from Yacht to Beach is like unto walking from Kansas to Oz – and the shipwreck in Stormalong Bay was from a tornado…

Wait, was that part of the design? Did I hear that some place before?

Is that an Imagineering choice?

::Googles::

No immediate luck (that’s to be continued).

There is something about that New England Cape Codian blue that to this day defines the Beach Club and sets it a part from every single resort in WDW. Every. Single. One.

The Polynesian is hidden within the lush tropics. The Grand Floridian looks out of your league. The Contemporary is an icon. Wilderness Lodge appears to be in a nook. The Boardwalk wants to be a theme park.

The Beach Club is inviting.

That light blue calls to you.

I have to go back!!!

The Beach Club at 25: Happy Birthday!

Something I haven’t talked about before is my favorite alarm clock in Disney World. The best sound to wake up to is that of the Friendship Boats while sleeping in your Beach Club bed.

As Brother Dillo blogged previously in: The Beach Club at 25, “Within two years, the Beach Club Resort would surpass the Polynesian as the favorite Dillo Resort (perhaps Sista Dillo thinks that’s a bold statement).”

Bold? Perhaps. But somewhat true.

For me, The Beach Club Resort represents the second half of my Disney vacationing life. The Polynesian represents the first. These two hotels made us fall in love with Disney, with Deluxe resorts and of course, spoiled us for life.

We can walk past The Beach Club and point out which rooms we stayed in. We can tell you about the corner room right next the quiet pool that was probably our favorite because…um, it was next to the quiet pool! We could leave our room through our patio doors and there we would be. We can also tell you how we were sad to see the shrubbery that was planted because it meant that future guests of that room couldn’t do the same.

We can tell you about celebrities we shared the elevator with, the ones we walked behind and the pictures  that hung on the wall of Beaches and Cream of all those that stayed there.

Time out for Fun Facts:

  • You used to be able to see MGM from the back of the Beach Club!
  • It took me years to go down the slide in Stormalong Bay.
  • The air conditioning of the lobby…I mean come on.

Beaches and Cream used to connect directly to the game room. We could play basketball and knock hockey and then walk right through for some burgers and ice cream. Now you have to go outside and back in again (its the little things we miss).

We have blogged many times of the serenity of the quiet pool. The place of baptism for my son (Disney baptism). A body of water to cleanse our soul and breathe in the Disney air. A pool where our family came together and relaxed.

Dillos don’t love change and changes have been made at this resort that we don’t love. But it doesn’t take away our love for the resort.

Happy Birthday Beach Club Resort!

>Why You Should Make Time for the Pool or a Nap!Sista Dillo

 

The Beach Club at 25: Storming Along

Disney’s (Yacht &) Beach Club Resort turns 25 this week, so Brother & Sista Dillo are taking a look back (and into) what has made the Beach Club my (if not our) favorite WDW Resort over the past quarter century.

Stormalong Bay

Without question, one of the perks of steering away from what are now called Magic Kingdom Resorts and towards EPCOT Resorts was the three acre mini water park that connected Disney’s Yacht Club to Disney’s Beach Club. Stormalong Bay presented just enough liquid elements to keep this teen of the 90’s invested when not inside one of the (then) WDW theme parks.

Having never visited River Country and Typhoon Lagoon still on our soon-to-visit radar, the closest experience had with a water themed thrill was the mini Polynesian Village slide at the main pool.

Stormalong Bay was a significant upgrade: a lazy river, a sand bottomed pool, a swirling pool, and a 230 foot slide down the mast of a shipwrecked… Ship.

Back in the day, as the oldtimers say, there was no checkpoint to gain access to the nearly 800,000 gallons of water at your disposal. You could run down and jump in – or run up and slide down. After some time, and multiple visits… and multiple scartches on my back sliding down the mast of a ship, the Resort became more crowded and the Bay area became less inviting.

On top of that, the real perfect storm called to us. An alternative to this mini water park nestled within these New England themed Resorts.

This alternative would change the way we Dillos defined tranquility.

This alternative would change the way we Dillos defined serenity.

This alternative became the chicken soup for our soul. 

Brother Dillo

The Beach Club at 25

I was 14 years old walking from the United Kingdom towards France at the World Showcase in EPCOT when I came upon the long, ‘this area is being refurbished for your future enjoyment’, wall. The pictures pointed to the future…

EPCOT Resorts

‘EPCOT Resorts?’, my 14 year old self said to myself. ‘That’s ridiculous’, why are you going to break the illusion of the World Showcase, or the whole, entire EPCOT Center (as it was known at the time) theme park for that matter… With hotels?

Within two years, the Beach Club Resort would surpass the Polynesian as the favorite Dillo Resort (perhaps Sista Dillo thinks that’s a bold statement).

All week long Dillo’s Diz celebrates the 25th Anniversary of Disney’s Yacht & Beach Club Resort… But mostly the Beach Club.


Brother Dillo

TGIF – But what if I was in Disney?

It’s a beautiful day in New York, although very cold. This time of year in Disney World, the weather is perfect (with the occasional afternoon shower). On a perfect looking Friday like this in Disney, what would I be doing? It would probably go a little something like this…IMG_1406

  • Breakfast on the Boardwalk. Coffee and a chocolate croissant at a table on the Boardwalk. A view of the Yacht and Beach Club with the Friendship boats going by.
  • Walk over to Epcot. A little Spaceship Earth and any other rides I could easily walk onto. Some sushi in Epcot for lunch and back to the hotel for a nap. Always make time for a nap in a Disney bed!
  • Head over to Magic Kingdom. Enjoy some People Mover, maybe a Triple Mountain Whammie. Dinner at Casey’s, Dole Whip for Dessert which would be enjoyed from our good viewing spot for Wishes. Wishes would close out the day.

Yeah that would be pretty good. There are many variations to everything I would want to do in one day. But when the weather is good – gotta breathe in the crisp Disney air and enjoy the sights.

Have a magical weekend!

Sista Dillo

The Studios’ 25th

Image

May 1, 2014 marked the 25th Anniversary of the Disney-MGM (we will never call it Hollywood) Studios. When I was a cast member, WDW turned 25 and the Studios turned 7. I don’t even know how it’s possible that 18 years has passed. This park influenced my whole, entire life – and that’s an understatement. Here within my 25 for the 25th!

1) The Nostalgia: The Dillos love nostalgia. Disney brings the nostalgia. Even Future World in EPCOT is nostalgic. We first visited the Studios in December 1989, and walking onto 1940’s Hollywood Boulevard changed how I looked at everything. Even with the smallest window of time, I will just stop and sit on a bench and listen to the background music of the big band era.

Image

 

Nice mullet, Brother Dillo.

2) The Great Movie Ride: When the park opened, this ride was the cat’s pajamas: The recreated animatronic scenes, the gangster or western interactivity, ‘Halt, unbeliever’, the trip through Oz (a Papa Dillo fave), and the climatic montage. The thing about the montage is that, when the park first opened, cable tv and video rentals were still a child – we were crazy nostalgic for old movies.

3) Superstar Television (now defunct): I had the opportunity to be selected twice and magically placed on stage. The first time was in a scene from “General Hospital”. The second time, I got pied by The Three Stooges.

I miss my hair.

4) Star Tours: Between 1983 & 1990, my love for ‘Star Wars’ drifted to GI Joe and the World Wrestling Federation. Riding this ride for the first time, and seeing all the merchandise at the exit, reintroduced me to my first love. The fact that Disney now owns this series and that there will be an Episode VII blows my mind, as I bought the Timothy Zahn book ‘Heir to the Empire’ here in 1991. Additional points awarded for the awesome updates made to this ride.

5) MuppetVision 3D 4D: Easily in my top ten attractions in all the parks, and the most quotable… “It’s a salute to all nations, bu mostly America.”

6) Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular: the franchise of this park in my opinions, like Derek Jeter – you don’t want it to change and you don’t want it to go away. A live show that holds up over two decades later.

And now the Soundstage run…

7) The New Mickey Mouse Club: it was filmed here, and that was awesome. This show was awesome. That is all.

8) WCW: World Championship Wrestling. They filmed their television show here for nearly two years. Sista Dillo and I could be seen cheering on Macho Man Randy Savage & Hulk Hogan on one episode here. The NWO threw Rey Mysterio into a backstage trailer like a lawn dart here in the Summer of 1996. Backstage I witnessed Scott Steiner chop The Genie so hard across the chest it nearly took his phenomenal cosmic head off.

It was awesome

9) Who Want to Be a Millionaire – Play It!: I was addicted to the Regis version. I loved the studio attraction.

10) Toy Story Mania: The only ride exceeding 60 minutes of wait time I will wait without a Fast Pass for.

11) Pixar Place: Mickey Ave. was near and dear to my heart. The Big Bad Wolf was accosted here. One of the few times you may have seen Foulfellow in the parks during the 1990’s. Pixar Place, though, is the perfect update.

12) The Rocketeer flew here: Enough said.

13) Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. One drop was awesome. I got to test the ride when it was 1 1/2. The random drops still makes for the fun ride, but I still miss when it was a simpler scare.

14) Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith: sure it bulldozed the old Cast Member check in, but the ride has still got it 15 years later — I just threw up a little because that ride is 15 years old.

15) The Soundstage Restaurant (now defunct) – Disney Jr. Live does their live show there now, but this was the most random character dining experience. A hodge podge of animated films from the 1990’s rolled into one, with one heck of a dance along at the end.

16) The Toy Story Parade (1995-1997): my all time favorite parade, and not because I was involved a couple of hundred times. It was so simple and it was exactly what it need to be.

17) The Hercules Zero to Hero Victory Parade: the one that replaced the Toy Story Parade. Let’s just say that it’s akin to whoever will replace Derek Jeter. I remember it most while performing it at 4am on an empty Boulevard.

18) Aladdin’s Royal Caravan (1992-1995): The parade that preceded the Toy Story Parade. Also simple and effective, and you couldn’t go wrong with the catchy ‘Prince Ali’ number.

19) Sorcery in the Sky: I love movie scores and that’s why I will always prefer this fireworks show to Fantasmic! (there I said it).

20) The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights: Christmas at it’s over the top finest. I love it! I can’t get enough of it. To be associated with Santa Goofy at this attraction and Santa Claus at Macy’s has been a hat trick in life without needing a third thing.

21) Beauty & The Beast Live on Stage: Disney celebrated 20 years on Broadway in April 2014, but this show was so well received (and I’m sure still is), there was no doubt the show would succeed on The Great White Way.

22) The Hunchback of Notre Dame musical stage show: When the animated movie opened, I remember that weekend reading USA Today in the Cast Member commissary about how the Schwarzenegger film “Eraser’ defeated it at the box office. I knew it was over right then and there. The hype in the Soundstage Restaurant stopped and the musical stage show practically became a cult favorite.

23) Mama Melrose’s – my table service dining spot at the Studios, nestled in a corner close the the MuppetVision exit to provide that Little Italy vibe.

24) Pizza Planet – I watched Woody play air hockey here. I’ve seen Buzz Lightyear on an arcade skiing game here. I’ve seen Woody become a better skee ball player (and me a progressively worse one) here. Randy Newman’s three songs from the original ‘Toy Story’ can play on a loop in my head whenever I want.

And Finally…

25) Citizens of Hollywood, aka Streetmosphere: This troupe of improvisational detectives, starlets, wannabees, and flim flam men took over my vacations from the moment they pulled me into a bit…

I would take the Friendship over from the Beach Club when I started to learn the set schedule…

I learned about spontaneity, and likability, and characterization here…

I learned how to button a bit here…

And with that, I depart… Happy 25th to the country club of theme parks! Thanks for helping make me who I am!

Brother Dillo

LIKE ‘Dillo’s Diz’ on Facebook!