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Sunday, February 9, 2014

Farewell PUSH the talking trash can

It appears PUSH the talking trash can will never again grace the concrete walkways of Tomorrowland, at least for now.  Several reports indicate a possible contract dispute led Disney to break ties with the performer operating PUSH and so the beloved walk-around character is no more.  Now Disney has confirmed the talking trash can is no more.

UPDATE (Feb. 10):  According to an Orlando Sentinel article, Disney says PUSH will remain in Tomorrowland.  Earlier, an apparent internal Disney FAQ gave talking points to cast members about PUSH's removal.  I'm sure there will be more to come on this. 

UPDATE 2:  Disney has confirmed PUSH is gone, according to a new Orlando Sentinel article.

But did you ever stop to wonder just how PUSH did what he did?  He was a fully mobile and fully interactive character.  He could carry on complete conversations with people seemingly on his own.  Well, of course, that wasn't the case, but it was pretty hard to pick out just how it was done.

Now that PUSH has been retired, I'll let you in on the secret.

PUSH did indeed have a handler/operator.  If you looked carefully around at the crowd, you just might spot a person standing somewhere within eyesight of PUSH wearing a hat, some sort of fanny pack or satchel and holding his hand up to his mouth for an unusually long time.  Yep, that's the PUSH operator.  I've had the opportunity to secretly observe this performance several times and I have to say the person(s) who operate PUSH are quite good at blending in and not being conspicuous.  It's hard to see from the above photo, but this person is wearing headphones so he can hear what's being said around the PUSH character.  He can then speak into the mic and talk with unsuspecting guests.

It's a pretty simple operation but was beautifully done.  Even after I figured out who to look for, there were several times I couldn't find the operator, he had blended in so well.

So it is with great sadness and regret that I say farewell to PUSH the talking trash can from Tomorrowland.  I can only hope that there will come a day soon when you might make a return.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Photo Friday: Back in time

It's time for another Photo Friday!

This week' we're heading back in time to bring an Iguanodon forward in time - thanks to our time rover!  This shot captures the moment we are transported back millions of years to the time of the dinosaurs... or maybe it's just some huge heat lamps keeping us warm for when the T-Rex has us for a little pre-meteor shower snack.

Fortunately, I made it back to the present in the nick of time so I could share this with you.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Tip Tuesday: A hot time at Blizzard Beach

Welcome to another Tip Tuesday!

Well here in the mid Atlantic, it's still freezing with more snow in the forecast, so what's a better topic to discuss than the beach!  Blizzard Beach to be specific.

As many of you will know, Blizzard Beach is one of Walt Disney World's two water parks, the other being Typhoon Lagoon.  Blizzard Beach is located near Animal Kingdom, off West Buena Vista Drive (for those of you driving).  The story is that a freak snowstorm hit Orlando and Disney quickly created a ski resort.  Of course, it is Florida, so all that snow started melting, so suddenly this became a water park with the help of the Ice Gator!

Even though it looks like there's a lot of ice and snow around, Blizzard Beach can be anything but cool (even the water is warm).  Most importantly, the walkways and sand get quite hot, so if you're planning to hit Blizzard Beach, you'll want to bring along some flip flops, water shoes or some other way to protect your feet.  Trust me - by afternoon, those walkways are searing and you'll be doing the hot foot dance if you don't have foot protection.  Also, keep in mind that, unlike resort pools, Disney doesn't hand out towels, so you'll want to bring some along with you.  

Just like the theme parks, some of the same overall tips apply here - the most important of which is to get there early!  Yes, the major attractions such as the Summit Plummet start to develop long lines, but the more important reason you want to be there early is to get a chair!  Yes, you read this right, the primary purpose to arrive early is to get the type of chair(s) you want.  Some people prefer shade (I'm one of those), and the shady chairs that are along the main beach at Melt Away Bay go quickly.

Here's a bit more on finding the shade.  If you look at the Tobaggan Racers, they run roughly from West to East (more like from West-Southwest to East-Northeast, but that's being picky).  The point is that this set of slides can help you get an idea of where the sun will travel during the day and how the shade will move.  During the morning, the shadows generally will point toward the west (along the same line as the Tobaggan Racers) and will slowly get shorter as noon approaches.  By late afternoon, the shadows will reverse and start pointing toward the Lowatta Lodge and the Beach Haus.  Of course, these directions will vary some from the summer to the winter months.  In summer, shadows will point a little more to the south and in winter, shadows will point a little more north.  This will help you try to identify where you want to set up camp, depending on when you arrive.

There are more chairs further back and some areas and cabanas that require an additional cost.  Some of this depends on where you want to be.  If you're more into the large wave pool and the three regular slides, you'll want to be on the far left side of Melt Away Bay.  If you're with kids and will be in the younger area, you'll want to make your way to the far right side away from Melt Away Bay.

I'll talk more about the attractions at Blizzard Beach in a future post as well as some of the other things to do in this area.

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