Wednesday, 31 December 2008

When I'm not working I'm actually busier... ?

I know it's been a bit slow around this blog lately but between the holidays, handovers, packing, shopping, and (mainly) not being in the office, I just haven't had a chance to update!

So I haven't forgotten but I do know that from now on it will be a little harder to keep this up to date... so I apologize in advance. But know that I will be here as soon as I can to get all the latest rants up, to chat about any new Disney songs I stumble across, to document some of my runs and of course to update you on the new human that I'm working on right now.

Until then, have a happy 2009 - may all your dreams come true! Catch you on the flipside...

Friday, 12 December 2008

Travels around the World (Showcase) - Italy

Continuing on from my series on travels around the world (showcase) today we’re going to Italy!

In Epcot, the Italy pavilion isn’t one of my favourites, I must say. It IS one of the nicest to look at, in terms of architecture and styling, but once you’ve had a look at it, there isn’t much to actually do in there. Even the shops feel quite small and although they sell some gorgeous things, do not tend to make me linger. There isn’t a movie or attraction here and it is a shame because that, together with the open plan layout of the pavilion, make it likely that people will walk on by, as they can ‘see it all’ just by walking past on the promenade.

To be fair, there are a number of shows and events at the pavilion, the ones I can remember are the ‘living statues’ and the ‘Renaissance players’ (is that what they are called?). I think there once was an Italian musical group performing there too but I’m not sure. In any case, I think that this pavilion could do with a bit more to try and convey the richness of the country…

Confession time: even though I’ve lived in Europe for over 10 years, it took me a long time to actually visit any part of Italy! This is definitely not because I didn’t want to go, as Italy ranks up there as my most wanted to visit places in the world, but I guess things just hadn’t worked out. My heritage is also Italian and I remember my Nona (or grandmother) always cooked Italian food for Christmas and even gave us all kids a glass of red wine to celebrate (in true Italian tradition!) so Italy has always been a part of my life. Anyway, a few years ago I finally had the chance to spend a long weekend with my husband in Rome and you know what? I loved it!

The clean, orderly and civilized view that we get of Italy through its World Showcase pavilion has almost nothing to do with the vibrancy, chaos and energy that is Rome. There are of course many incredible works of arts and buildings to take your breath away, as well as gorgeous vistas and some of the friendliest people I’ve ever met but there is also a veneer of chaos that is best represented by the way people drive and park their cars. Every street looks like the aftermath of an earthquake with cars every which way and this careless attitude made me love Rome even more!

Rome is full of history, full of art and full of hidden corners and alleyways and side streets – all things that are very sadly missing from the pavilion. There is no chance of being able to know Rome just by ‘walking on by’ – you have to take a deep breath and jump in, and experience it with all the senses. It has so little to do with the sanitized pavilion in Epcot that I’m surprised the imagineers didn’t do a better job of it, with so much culture to choose from. Sure, the buildings may look like the real thing but if one pavilion can say that it presents a ‘disneyfied’ version of reality (too clean, too sanitized, little to do with reality) this is sadly it.

Next summer we are spending a week in Tuscany, near Pisa and I am quite excited to go back to Italy. I’m hoping to once again take in all the experiences that this rich and vibrant country has to offer. I am happy to be able to get the chance to know the ‘real’ Italy and it also probably means that the next time I’m in Epcot I will once again look at the Italy pavilion from the promenade and carry on around the lagoon onto the next one. Ciao!

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Disney celebrates ME!

It's nice that Disney went to these great lengths to celebrate ME!!

It's of course all a bit of fun - want your own?

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Hold on... a study in randomness and music

Okay, another one of these 'games' that I generally ignore but this one was a little different. I'm not tagging anyone so if you fancy playing along, please do!

1. Put your iTunes on shuffle.
2. For each question, press the next button to get your answer.
4. Tag 10 friends who might enjoy doing the meme as well as the person you got the meme from.

If someone says “is this okay” you say?

Colors of the Wind – from Pocahontas

Not a great start… this just doesn’t make sense!

What would best describe your personality?

Las chicas no tienen pilila – Los Inhumanos

Not much sense here either (this means “girls don’t have…” you know!) but I guess it does describe me at least.

What do you like in a guy/girl?

El 7 de septiembre – Mecano

While I do tend to like guys that have birthdays in September, I can’t make much sense out of this one either.

How do you feel today?

Cruela de Vil – from 101 Dalmatians

Okay this one does make sense! And while I don’t think I’m in such a wicked mood today, this also proves that I have a lot of Disney music on my MP3 player.

What is your life’s purpose?

The flying circus – from The Rocketeer

Hmm… I wouldn’t say my life’s purpose is a flying circus but it does have some sort of sense, in a surreal way… I do like this piece though and is one of my more obscure Disney themes

What is your motto?

Reach – Gloria Estefan

“If I could reach higher, just for one moment touch the sky, for that one moment in my life I’m gonna be stronger. Know that I tried my very best, put my spirit to the test…” not a bad motto!

What do your friends think of you?

Girls on Film – Duran Duran

Literally I am not a ‘girl on film’ but the song always reminds me of the raunchy video and YES my friends probably think of me that way!

What do you think about very often?
Play – J Lo

Do I think about playing very often? I haven’t noticed but this is an interesting answer to the question. Maybe I should!

What is 2+2?

Gastame – Neon

Makes absolutely zero sense but at least the song makes some sort of numerical sense…? (it means ‘spend me’ in case you don’t speak Spanish)

What do you think of your best friend?

Never had a dream come true – S Club 7

This one is spooky – I do indeed think of my best friend every time I hear this song!

What do you think of the person you like?

Fastlove – George Michael

I guess it could fit, if only for the fact that both of us love George and actually love this song.

What is your life story?

Como la flor – Selena

“Si vieras como duele perder tu amor, con tu adios te llevas mi corazon…” very, very passionate song that I’m not sure fits me as I dont’ think anyone ever hurt me this badly…

(“If you could see how much it hurts to lose your love, with your goodbye you take my heart…”

What do you want to be when you grow up?

Lia – from Hoy no me puedo levantar

Another one in Spanish! I love the lyrics of this song and sorry but I won’t translate as they just don’t work as well in English: “Liame a la pata de la cama, no te quedes con las ganas, de saber cuanto amor nos cabe de una sola vez.” Not sure it’s what I want to be when I grow up but it’s a great image!

What do you think when you see the person you like?

Bet on it – HSM2

I wondered if any of my High School Musical songs would turn up! Ironically, it’s my least favourite out of the whole lot but I guess it does sort of answer the question…

What do your parents think of you?

Heaven in your eyes – Loverboy

No they don’t think I’m heaven! Probably quite the opposite…

What will they play at your funeral?

Thriller – Michael Jackson

I do like this song but is it a bit weird for a funeral… or strangely suitable?

What is your hobby/interest?

Singin’ in the Rain – Mint Royale

While I certainly do not like rain and would not sing in it, I happen to love the film and the whole musical genre so maybe it is one of my interests.

What is your biggest secret?

Waiting for that day – George Michael

Another spooky one, because it does fit… and it’s of course a secret so I’m not saying how!

What do you think of your friends?

Kids in America – Cascada

And literally, that’s what they are – kids at heart that (mainly) live in the American continent. Good one!

What’s the worst thing that could happen?

Here and now – Steps

Wow, that’s a bit harsh. I can definitely say that here and now is NOT the worst that could happen.

How will you die?

1973 – James Blunt

Huh? It’s a bit late for that now… !

What is the one thing you regret?

Any other world – Mika

Not making an awful lot of sense here either but I have few regrets anyway.

What makes you laugh?

Shut up and drive – Rihanna

Another one that makes cero sense…

What makes you cry?

Space Mountain – theme

Funnily enough, I did cry once when I went on Space Mountain!

Will you ever get married?

It’s gotta be you – Backstreet Boys

As I’m married already, I guess this makes as much sense as it can

What scares you the most?

Fabulous – HSM2

Another High School Musical song and another one that I don’t rate highly! But I am certainly not scared of fabulousness.

Does anyone like you?

She’s always a woman – Billy Joel

One of my all time favourite songs and I hope it means that people do like me.

If you could go back in time, what would you change?

Suddenly I see – KT Tunstall

“This is what I want to be, suddenly I see why the hell it means so much to me”. Sort of works right?

What hurts right now?

(You drive me) Crazy – Britney Spears

Doesn’t make much sense but I guess if I was hurting it would be driving me crazy…

What will you post this as?

Hold on – Take That

It works as a title I guess and if you’ve read this far then now you know why the title of this posting was so weird!

Friday, 5 December 2008

Happy 107th Walt!

About a month ago it was Mickey's birthday and today is Walt's - his 107th if he was still alive today. I'm sure lots of people out there will blog about Walt and what he did and do it so much better than I could.

So I'll keep it short and celebrate Walt's birthday by sharing one of my favorite (and less known) quotes with you:

"All your dreams can come true if you have the courage to pursue them."
Walt Disney

I hope that at least one of your dreams comes true today!

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Travels around the World (Showcase) - France

For a while now I have had an idea: why not contrast my experience of the countries in World Showcase with my experience of the real countries? I have visited enough of them to make this relatively interesting… and I even thought that this might make a good scrapbook album but it would make an even more interesting series of blog posts.

So we start today, rather arbitrarily, with France. But first of all, some background into my experience with World Showcase as a whole.

I seriously can’t remember the first time I went to EPCOT but it was fairly early on – it opened in 1981 and I do recall that we went in 1986 (to celebrate my 15th birthday!) and I had already been before so let’s say I probably went through those turnstiles in 1983. I remember being dazzled by the architectural varieties as well as the unique shopping and even some of those movies. It definitely was love at first sight and EPCOT quickly became my favourite park.

Some years later I applied and was accepted as an International Representative and I had the chance to work in WDW from 1995 to 1996. My main role was as an attractions and merchandise hostess in the Mexico pavilion but I did get the chance to pick up some overtime in other pavilions. I also spent a lot of my free time in the parks and I became very familiar with the ins and outs of Epcot. So I guess you could say I know this park intimately and World Showcase in particular as this was ‘my office’ for over a year!

France was one of those pavilions that, on my first visit, didn’t exactly bowl me away but was nice to look at anyway. The pavilion itself felt like little more than a few shops and some very popular restaurants so I wasn’t instantly taken with it. I do however remember watching “Impressions de France” and thinking it was a gorgeous film with amazing music.

In 1994 I had the opportunity to travel to France as part of a group of students that performed in various events throughout Europe. I then spent a week in Paris and while it was an amazing time and a great opportunity, I think I was still too young to appreciate the city. I liked it but I didn’t really rate all that mess, all that rain and all that rudeness. But I thought this would be my one chance to ever travel to Europe and I took it all in (little did I know what awaited me!)

During my time as cast member I explored the French pavilion a lot more and discovered all those nooks and crannies – and ate at most of the restaurants! I can honestly say that the Bistro serves the best bread in all of Epcot and that the perfume shop ("Plume et Palette") has the most delicious and decadent perfumes in there. I delighted in knowing that it was just like being in Paris but without the mess, the bad weather and the rudeness. I even had the chance to be French for the day when I picked up some overtime as an attractions hostess, welcoming people to view that film that had so charmed me a while ago!

When the Flower and Garden Festival is on, the pavilion usually has a display of various plants and flowers that are used in the creation of some of the most famous Guerlain perfumes. It is a very interesting display and one that led me to switch to this brand instead of what I was using before (and I remain a Guerlain devotee to this very day, so don’t tell me that experiential marketing doesn’t work!)

As you know I eventually married a Brit and moved to the UK, which gave me more of a chance to explore this side of the world. The first few years in the UK we went to Paris quite a bit, to the extent that I know this city now almost as well as I know the French pavilion, and finally appreciated it for the jewel that it is. I have also come to have a lot of affection for the country as a whole and would love to explore it further, including some of those amazing sights featured in “Impressions de France”. It is a very big country with amazing diversity which doesn’t really come across in the French pavilion. France isn’t all about food and perfume but also has some of the best trains in the world, the cutest villages and the most interesting markets.

So while the French pavilion is very reminiscent of Paris and has some very authentic touches, I think it’s almost a shame that this very famous of cities has overshadowed what the rest of France has to offer. But it is a very good advertisement for the country and hopefully has made people want to know the REAL France (or at least make them want to wear nice perfume!)


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