Haunted

Mike’s Favorites: The Haunted Mansion

Haunted

The Haunted Mansion is one of Mike’s Favorites!

Mike’s Favorites: The Haunted Mansion

By Mike Ellis.

Over at the Magic Kingdom’s Liberty Square land is an attraction that everyone knows about, but is one that in geography is kind of isolated away from the rest of the park.  That attraction is the Haunted Mansion, and it is one of my favorite attractions at Walt Disney World.

This opening day attraction premiered on October 1, 1971; it was an E-Ticket attraction then, and continues to be one to this day, even though the attraction ticket structure has changed over the years.  The slow moving ride buggy, also known as the Doom Buggy, is a continuous move system, but like any such system, it does have occasion where it needs to be stopped, usually to accommodate Guests that need assistance getting on or off of the attraction.

Most of you know the backstory — the Haunted Mansion is home to 999 Happy Haunts, but there is always room for one more!  Will that be you? Only time will tell!  Since this attraction takes place in Liberty Square, the features of the building are such that they are more appropriate to a northeastern style building; by contrast, the original version at Disneyland is located in New Orleans Square, and the building is fantastically themed to look like a house you would find in New Orleans.  Another difference between the two attractions is that at Disneyland, when you are in the “Stretching Room”, the room actually descends in elevation so as to be able to accommodate the Disneyland Railroad tracks; however, at the Magic Kingdom version, you stay on the same level, and actually, it is the ceiling that is raised to give the illusion of the stretching of the room.

To wrap up our look at the Haunted Mansion, I’ve got a special treat to share with you; blueprints from the Haunted Mansion at the Magic Kingdom.  I came across these on the Internet some time back, so if it interests you, please have a look.  I hope you enjoy!

Haunted

I hope you have enjoyed this look at one of Mike’s Favorites, The Haunted Mansion!  Tell me, is this a favorite of yours also?  Let me know in the comments below, and thanks for stopping by!

Faith

My Word for 2016 is…

Word for 2016

Image source ©Love Our Crazy Life

My Word for 2016 is…

By Mike Ellis.

My friend Becca from Love Our Crazy Life has a great way to ring in the year.  Rather than make a lot of resolutions that may or may not be able to be met, she takes a word and uses that to drive her through the year.  You can click over to read what Becca’s word is, and I liked it so much that I decided to embrace a word of my own for this year.  More about that in a little bit.

The calendar year 2015 was one of the hardest I think I’ve ever had to endure, with so much sorrow and loss.  It felt like wave after wave of negativity was invading our lives, and that there would never be an end to it.  It came to a head on October 31, when I lost my job at UNC-TV, the place I had worked at for over 21 years.

Word for 2016

My Word for 2016 is FAITH.

So, after all of that, the word that I am embracing this year is the word that I should embrace each and every year.  That word, my friends, is FAITH.

Faith can move mountains, faith can drive us to great and better things.  Faith, quite simply, opens up our hearts, our minds, our soul, to the understanding that all things are possible through Him that gives me strength.  I am sorry to God and my family, that at times during last year my Faith has been lacking.  I am sure that many of you would say that is understandable, especially with all of the things that our family endured this year.  However, to me, that is not a good excuse.  To me, the realization I should have had all the time is that this isn’t about me, that all I need to do is turn it over to God, and He will take care of things.  To my thinking, employing your Faith in God opens up the possibilities, and the next thing you know, God is opening doors for you that He hadn’t shown to you before; that is the importance of Faith.

So to all my readers, all of my friends, all of my family, I hope you pay this forward.  Find a word, any word (hopefully one that is full of positive energy), and make it your word for 2016.  Use that word to drive your attitude, your direction, to help you with your outlook on life.  I think this will be helpful for me, and I think it will be helpful for you as well.

24Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, 25to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen. ~ Jude 1:24-25 (ESV)

Christmas Carol

Christmas Movie Review: Disney’s A Christmas Carol

Christmas Carol

(C) Disney. All Rights Reserved.

Disney’s A Christmas Carol

By Mike Ellis.

During this Christmas season, my family has seen A Christmas Carol in three different formats — once in the theater as presented by Ira David Wood and Theater in the Park, once in the Disney movie The Muppet Christmas Carol, and now, in the Disney version of A Christmas Carol starring Jim Carrey.  Today, we are sharing with you our thoughts on this third version of the classic Charles Dickens tale.

Written and directed by Robert Zemeckis, this version of the tale is, at times, much darker and scarier than some of the other versions I’ve seen. Carrey does a great job in this film — he lends his voice and talents as Ebenezer Scrooge, of course, in all phases of his life — a young boy, a teenage boy, a young man, a middle aged man, and his current older self — but in addition to that, Jim Carrey also voices the characters of the Ghost of Christmas Past, Ghost of Christmas Present, and the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come.

In addition to Carrey, Colin Firth stars as Scrooge’s nephew Fred, and Gary Oldman stars as Bob Cratchit.

You know the story: Ebenezer Scrooge is a miser, a man with a hardened heart, a cheapskate of the first order, and he refuses to celebrate Christmas.  He sees it as an opportunity for people to go further in debt instead of paying off their debts; in short, Ebenezer Scrooge is in love with his money.  Then, one Christmas Eve, Scrooge is visited by the ghost of his old partner, Jacob Marley, who tells him that he will be visited by three ghosts — and if Scrooge doesn’t change his ways, he may find himself chained like Marley for all eternity.

One by one, each of the ghosts stops by to pay him a visit — the Ghost of Christmas Past, the Ghost of Christmas Present, and the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come. By the time all three ghosts have visited with him, Scrooge is a changed man, and he proves it in his dealings with Cratchit, his nephew Fred, and his fellow man.  Ebenezer Scrooge is a changed man, and he proves it from that day forth.  In fact, it was said that he became a second father to little Tiny Tim, Cratchit’s son, he was that changed.

I don’t know why Zemeckis decided to highlight the darkness Scrooge’s upbringing.  I know that the story is dark, but it felt like Zemeckis was even darker in his portrayal of those scenes.  However, I believe that the contrast between the darkness of Ebeneezer Scrooge and the Light that he showed after his visits with the spirits showed just how much he had changed, and perhaps that was the reason why Zemeckis directed it as he did.

Disney’s A Christmas Carol isn’t my favorite version of this classic Christmas tale, but it isn’t the worst I have seen either.  While I don’t watch it every year, it is good to see, and after having done so, I am definitely reminded of what the true meaning of Christmas should be in all of us, each and every day.  My Christmas wish to you is that you and your families have a joyous and Merry Christmas, and remember that by keeping Christmas in our heart every day of the year, we are remembering the reason we celebrate Christmas at all — to celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Mike’s Favorites: The TTA

TTA

©Disney. All Rights Reserved.

My Favorites: The TTA

By Mike Ellis

Hello everyone, and welcome to today’s look at some of Mike’s Favorites!  On Tuesday we explored Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress, and today we’re continuing over in Tomorrowland by looking at the Tomorrowland Transit Authority Peoplemover, also known as the TTA!

When it comes to relaxation at the Magic Kingdom, I am hard pressed to find something I enjoy as much as the TTA.  This incredible moving attraction takes you on a tour of Tomorrowland, with unique views within Space Mountain, Buzz Lightyear, and incredible views over the walkways of Tomorrowland.  Some of my favorite views of the Magic Kingdom have been seen from the TTA at night, with the incredible lighting of Tomorrowland, Cinderella Castle, Space Mountain, and the Astro Orbiter.  Here are some of my best TTA photos that I would like to share with you.

TTA

Space Mountain.

 

TTA

A different section of the Tomorrowland Transit Authority Peoplemover

 

TTA

A view of Tomorrowland as seen from above.

 

TTA

The model of what Walt Disney envisioned for EPCOT.

 

TTA

The Tomorrowland Speedway.

 

TTA

The Astro Orbiter is just above the start of the Tomorrowland Transit Authority Peoplemover.

 

TTA

A shot of Space Mountain from the Tomorrowland Transit Authority Peoplemover.

Closing us out is a great ride video from Central Florida Sights and Sounds of the TTA at night.  Enjoy!

What do you think of the Tomorrowland Transit Authority Peoplemover? Must ride, can’t stand it, or meh? Let me know in the comments below, and thanks!

Happy Birthday Sophie!

In this special post, we celebrate our daughter Sophie, who turns 14 on this day, with a special collection of photos from across the years.  It’s incredible to me to see our daughter over the years.  It really puts into perspective how fast our children grow up!  Sophie was born 7 weeks early, weighed just 4 pounds, 2 ounces, spent the first two weeks of her life in the NICU, but has never looked back!  Now she’s taller than her Mom, almost taller than me, starts high school in the fall!  Enjoy this look back in time as we get ready to explore the big blue world of High School!