Wednesday, December 31, 2014

It’s Me! Great, Who are You Again?

Since I have the great privilege of contributing some future articles I thought it only fitting to introduce myself a bit and give you an idea of where I came from, where I am now, and where I hope to be as I move forward.  My name is Michael Black and  I grew up from humble beginnings in a small town in Ohio called Chillicothe.  Ok, ok this isn’t going to be one of those posts where at the end you’re like gee grandpa thanks for the story.  At least I hope not!  Seriously though I am originally from Ohio and moved to Central Florida (Clermont and then Davenport to be exact) in January of 2012.  Since then life has been a rollercoaster... who am I kidding my life has always been a rollercoaster, which is funny because I can’t stand rollercoasters.


When arriving in Florida it was like a dream fulfilled. We now lived just minutes away from our “happy place”, Walt Disney World.  We were quickly hit with a reality check because living near the “magic” 24/7 is quite different than coming down for a week on vacation.  Vacations are a time to escape reality and leave your worries at home.  We were now in the unique position to have to mix reality with the “magic.”  This became even more true when both my wife and I became Cast Members at Walt Disney World.  My wife was a CM at The Grand Floridian and I have held positions in Frontierland at Magic Kingdom selling turkey legs and churros, at Port Orleans French Quarter making beignets at Sassagoula Floatworks, and most recently back at Magic Kingdom on Main Street East and The Confectionery embroidering Mickey Ear Hats and making Mickey Caramel Apples.  I have also held positions temporarily at SeaWorld as a merchandise team member and Universal Studios Orlando as a greeter and pourer of Butterbeer at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Hogsmeade, at The Three Broomsticks.  You could say that I have made my rounds through the theme parks and pretty much had a fantasy camp of experiences any theme park enthusiast would enjoy.  The problem with these experiences is that reality enters the picture far too often.  These jobs are not really meant for 36 year old men with a wife and children.  I rarely was able to be around my family due to the schedule, and the pay was, well, not the driving reason for working there.  But I digress, all of these jobs have given me a unique perspective behind the scenes and the ability to compare these experiences against each other.  These comparisons are of course all based on my experiences and opinion but are made with some authority.


I am now a stay-home-dad/husband/blogger and also have my Florida real estate license.  In the upcoming months I hope to start my career as a real estate agent as well as pursue my passion of blogging and sharing tips, tricks, and stories that we have encountered since living in Central Florida.  I think that the two could merge very well as I would be able to really meet the needs of a client who is a Disney fan and is looking to make a move to Central Florida.  Having a Disney fanatic as your real estate agent could make things easier when looking for a home.  Who else would you feel comfortable asking how long the commute would be from “house to mouse” or if you could see fireworks from your home? 


I would like to thank all of you for your warm welcome into the world of Addicted 2 Mickey and I hope to contribute some amazing content that you all will enjoy!


I would like to leave you with a quick exchange that I had one day as a cast member in Frontierland.  I was approached by three teenage girls who asked me “How do you become a Princess?”  Always being in character I stated without hesitation and in quite a dumbfounded manner, “Well, you either have to be born one or marry a prince.  Since you asked me how to become one I will assume that you were not born a princess, so I would start looking for your prince.”  They chuckled and walked away.  These are the types of interactions that I will always remember as a cast member and they are the interactions that keep me coming back as a guest.  Walt Disney World is a show and everyone plays a role, even us, as guest!

Some other places you can find me is at my blog Heart of the Magic  and over at Passport to the Parks and Theme Park Local


See ya’ real soon!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Into the Woods: Movie Review

Photo courtesy of Disney


On Christmas Day the kiddos and I watched Disney's Into the Woods! I had never seen the Broadway show and was going in with no knowledge of the show at all! I love musicals and Disney so I was very excited! The film is basically the story of a baker and his wife who are childless, Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood and Jack from Jack and the bean stock. They are all venturing into the woods for different reasons and are all connected because the baker and his wife are trying to collect items from all of them because a witch has told them if they do, she will reverse a curse and they will be able to have children! We all feel like we know these stories but this film really twists what you think you know and does it all with song! Along the way we meet Rapunzel, Prince Charming and his brother, Cinderella's evil stepmother and sisters and of course the wolf! The second half of the film focuses on what happens after "Happily Ever After" and it turns out it isn't always so happy and sometimes what you wished for, isn't really what you got at all! The movie is a bit long for those who don't love musicals and it is all basically musical. The acting is right on, everyone is perfect in their role! Johnny Depp is the wolf, and while he does a great job and steals his scene, this is not his movie, his role is very small. I thought that Chris Pine completely stole the movie as Prince Charming! This is not your regular Prince Charming, he is very handsome and kind but also a playboy! His song "Agony" with his brother is my favorite from the whole movie! "Into the Woods" and "The Last Midnight" are also such amazing songs and my kiddos actually loved the song "It's Your Fault!" If you enjoy "Once upon a Time" and "Malificent" putting new twists in classic story tales then you will really enjoy "Into the Woods". 

Remember basically all singing, sarcastic fun, dark moments (think toes being cut off to fit in a slipper, cheating and death) and not much Johnny Depp! Meryl Steep does a fantastic job and is so good you forget how great of an actress she is! Emily Blunt can sing!! My kiddos are 12, 10 and 6 and have been singing the soundtrack since we left the movie, so depending on your kiddos, they may love it! I did read about the play after and viewing the screen version. If you have seen it be prepared for a few changes! I give the file two very enthusiastic Mickey gloves up!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

How Walt Disney World handles "closures" during crowded times

Closures
Walt Disney World uses different closure "phases" to gradually restrict the types of guests allowed into a theme park. Closures start at Phase 1 and progress up to Phase 4, where no additional guests of any sort are allowed into the park. Phased closures do not necessarily last all day: for example, if Magic Kingdom is under a Phase 4 closure at 10:00 a.m. on Christmas, sufficient guests might leave by 7:00 p.m. that all restrictions on park entry are lifted.
Phase 1 Closure
Casual visitors are turned away at the automobile toll plazas. This means that people without tickets, those with one-day, single-park tickets, and those intending to use cast member passes will not be allowed to park.
Other guests may enter:
Those with multi-day or multi-park tickets
Those staying at a Disney Resort
Annual Passholders
Those re-entering the park that day.
Those "hopping" from another park.
Those with in-park reservations or appointments.
Those arriving via Disney transportation
Phase 2 Closure
The following guests are allowed through the turnstiles and into the parking lots:
Those staying at a Disney Resort
Annual Passholders
Those re-entering the park that day.
Those "hopping" from another park.
Those with in-park reservations or appointments.
Those arriving via Disney transportation
Phase 3 Closure
The following guests are allowed through the turnstiles and into the parking lots:
Those staying at a Disney Resort
Annual Passholders
Those with in-park reservations or appointments.
Phase 4 Closure
The park and parking lot are closed to all arriving guests.

The numbers that trigger these closures are not "advertised" and at Phase 4 Closure the number is determined by Fire Department regulations for safety. No amount of trying will get you into the park at this point and it is not because the Cast Member doesn't want to let you in for that all important ADR!