Magical Blogorail: Family Adventure – Winter Travel

Winter is a great time to travel some place warm, but what if the budget doesn’t allow for that? Then it’s time for a day trip! And who better to help us plan such trips than the Beatles, the original Day Trippers!

Welcome to this month’s Blogorail Peach Loop. Today we are exploring fun you and your family can have this winter. Lots of fun can be found locally!


John Lennon and Paul Mccartney wrote a great song about day trips. Okay, it mainly had something to do with a girl who teased love but didn’t deliver, or possibly it had some other meaning? But for the purpose of this article, I’m going with the title of the song at face value!

So let’s go through the lyrics line by line to see what we can learn about making day trips a successful vacation alternative:

Got a good reason
For taking the easy way out
Got a good reason
For taking the easy way out now

EASE OF PLANNING – How long did it take you to plan your last full-on vacation? Months? And was it a pleasant experience? Probably not as pleasant as the vacation itself! So the first reason to take day trips is just how easy they are to plan.

Pick a place within a two-hour drive radius of your home… and go! It really is the easy way out of town.

She was a day tripper
One way ticket, yeah
It took me so long to find out
And I found out

LENGTH OF TIME – The beauty of a day trip is the duration. It is by nature very short and thus manageable for even the youngest member of the family.

And if it turns out not to be what you thought it might be? Go home! You won’t have lost much, just a day.

She’s a big teaser
She took me half the way there
She’s a big teaser
She took me half the way there, now

SURPRISE FACTOR – Day trips are a great way to spring a special day on your family. Being as the experience is local, no one will need to pack or prepare. So you can easily load everyone into the mini-van without having to divulge the ultimate destination.

Of course, your family may pry the secret out of you, you big teaser, before you’re half the way there!

Tried to please her
She only played one night stands
Tried to please her
She only played one night stands, now

SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE – Maybe you’ve taken a vacation that didn’t please at least one member of your family. This can be disappointing, especially if one member always feels that their interests are never served!

With a day trip, you could forgo the surprise element and let each member of your family pick a destination or activity. Yes, with day trips, it really is easy to please them all!

She was a day tripper
Sunday driver, yeah
It took me so long to find out
And I found out

MAGICAL MEMORIES – Instead of just one big experience to remember each year, with day trips you can have many magical memories to add to your family’s scrap books.

I’m sure if you plan a few day trips yourself, you’ll find out just how fun they can be!

Day tripper, day tripper, yeah
Day tripper, day tripper, yeah
Day tripper, day tripper, yeah

I say ‘Day Trip’ you say ‘Yeah‘!

If you’re in the Michigan region, you may want to visit The Henry Ford Museum, Greenfield Village, or perhaps take the Ford Rouge Factory Walking Tour.

For more winter travel ideas, check out the other great posts from the Blogorail!


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Blogorail Peach | Family Adventure | Winter Travel

Why Disney’s LET IT GO Is a Bad Song

A Disney song has always been there to move the story along. It can define a character or delve into their motivation, or further the plot. Of course, it’s also designed to stick in your head so that you will love the movie and rush out to buy the soundtrack!

Fair enough.

But I also happen to feel that any song that plays in a children’s movie should be socially responsible. The content of the lyrics should promote good behavior, sound principles, and motivate the listener to be better in some way. I speak of songs sung by the protagonist, or hero, and not the villain. A song sung by a villain is designed to explain their reasons for being nasty and the bad ideas within the lyrics are shown to be wrong when the villain gets his or her comeuppance in the end!

So why do I say that the song Let It Go from the movie Frozen is bad? I know I’m going to be in a minority on this but I feel if people actually read the lyrics instead of just singing along with the tune, they just might begin to see some problems.  So let’s begin.

Let It Go was written by Robert Lopez, Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Emanuel Kiriakou and is  Copyright © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc, Walt Disney Music Company. I obtained the lyrics from Google Play Music and trust that they are accurate. I will show the lyrics one stanza at a time, analyze, then move on to the next stanza:

The snow glows white on the mountain tonight
Not a footprint to be seen.
A kingdom of isolation,
and it looks like I’m the Queen
The wind is howling like this swirling storm inside
Couldn’t keep it in;
Heaven knows I’ve tried

Things start off well with Elsa simply surveying her new surroundings and comparing them to her inner turmoil. Which is admittedly great and understandably so!

Don’t let them in,
don’t let them see
Be the good girl you always have to be
Conceal, don’t feel,
don’t let them know
Well now they know

Again, Elsa is honestly expressing her feelings about her treatment at the hands of her parents. Being told not to use her powers and then hiding her away from the world because of one accident was a knee-jerk reaction taken to an extreme level! Bad parenting doesn’t begin to cover this situation.

We begin to see a hint of the problem when Elsa callously flips off the line ‘Well now they know’. Yes they, her subjects, do, as their entire land is frozen, live stock and crops are dead, businesses are ruined, and if this was the real world, many are likely to die due to being completely unprepared for such a drastic change in the climate.

Let it go, let it go
Can’t hold it back anymore

This signature line from the chorus is the one sung heartily by everyone, even little children. But what are these lyrics actually saying? The idea is that when you can no longer handle a bad situation, let go (or lose control as Elsa does) no matter what the consequences are to yourself or others.

Let it go, let it go
Turn away and slam the door
I don’t care
what they’re going to say
Let the storm rage on.
The cold never bothered me anyway

And this is perhaps the worst part of this song! Slamming the door in the face of the problem is not going to solve anything. Not caring while being aware of the bad situation caused by one’s decisions and cruelly saying ‘let it go on’ because ‘it doesn’t bother me’ is again not a lesson to teach small children!

It’s funny how some distance
Makes everything seem small
And the fears that once controlled me
Can’t get to me at all

Here Elsa has run away from her problems far enough to make them seem small and trivial, when in fact they are big and impactful. She is happy to be safe while everyone else is still in great danger.

It’s time to see what I can do
To test the limits and break through
No right, no wrong, no rules for me,
I’m free!

So now that her powers are ‘outed’ she chooses to see just how much damage she can do with them instead of seeing if she can fix things and prove everyone wrong about her. We need to know and accept what is right and wrong and adhere to certain rules to have a safe and working society. Someone who feels ‘free’ from these concepts inevitably hurts others.

Let it go, let it go
I am one with the wind and sky
Let it go, let it go
You’ll never see me cry
Here I stand
And here I’ll stay
Let the storm rage on

Now Elsa decides not to face her issues but bury them deep inside her and simply let the world go on without her. She is also okay with the world having to deal with the mess she left behind, just letting ‘the storm rage on.’

My power flurries through the air into the ground
My soul is spiraling in frozen fractals all around
And one thought crystallizes like an icy blast
I’m never going back, the past is in the past

The past is never ‘in the past’ until there is a resolution to whatever the problem is. That is why we have coined the term ‘closure’. People spend serious time and money on trying to deal with traumatic events in their past so that they can have a better future. Elsa is in effect ceasing to live.

Let it go, let it go
And I’ll rise like the break of dawn
Let it go, let it go
That perfect girl is gone
Here I stand
In the light of day
Let the storm rage on

The cold never bothered me anyway!

Elsa should never have been made to feel that she had to be perfect, nor that the way to achieve this was to hide who and what she was. But to decide to be, in effect, a bad girl, is not a healthy alternative!

Lastly, this final line is perhaps the most damaging lesson this song teaches. That if something doesn’t bother you, who cares about anyone else? Loving, caring, and well-adjusted people care about others, even if those people have made mistakes that hurt them or don’t seem at first to appreciate the effort.

This song seems to say that if you are treated poorly, become as bad as the abusers. Whereas I think we can all agree that the better path is to take the high road and rise above the crowd.

Does this look like a good attitude?

Conclusion: It should be noted that Elsa endured horrible treatment by the two people who should have loved and protected her, her parents. The damage that this would do to a young child is incalculable! So perhaps we can understand her position. But I put forth that her song is that of a villain explaining the reasons for doing what she does, and certainly not a song of empowerment. Remember that the Ice Queen in the original book was a villain and I don’t think Disney intended Elsa to be viewed as well as she has been, but has just run with it for merchandising dollars.

Why this song is held in such a high regard is that somehow Elsa has been cast as a suppressed victim who has every right to act as she does. And she doesn’t act well! In fact, she accidentally freezes Anna’s heart, and instead of trying to help, creates an Ice Monster to remove her from her presence. This monster then goes on to immediately try to kill Anna. I guess that didn’t bother Elsa either?

Also, many fixate on the ‘sisterly love’ angle of the movie, but again, I contend that there is no sisterly love, just one sister’s love (Anna’s) for her sibling (Elsa), which is not returned.

Now that we have analyzed the lyrics stanza by stanza, I would like to recommend that you consider Anna as the true hero of Frozen and consider looking to her as a role model for your little girl or boy, and not Elsa, even if she does have a catchy song.

FUN FACT: Note the shape of the balusters in the railing in the above picture. Does the repeating shape remind you of anything? It resembles the chest insignia of Wonder Woman, the ultimate symbol of female empowerment. Coincidence, or subliminal message?

Book Review: The Walt Disney Song Book

Perhaps even more than the story or the characters it’s the music we remember the most from our favorite Disney movies. From the iconic Some Day My Prince Will Come from Snow White to fun tunes like Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah from Song of the South, we love to sing along. Even our favorite theme park attractions have signature songs, like It’s a Small World, which we just can’t get out of our heads!

Well, now you can not only sing along, but actually play the tunes yourself, thanks to this Golden Book:

This was published by the Western Publishing Company as a fourth printing in 1976. My goal is to have only mint condition first editions in my Disney book collection, but with the extensive title library available, I’ll have to settle for some later editions in questionable conditions, like this one.

I picked this copy up at a local flea market for $6.00 CAN which was still too much to pay, even though it was on for half price. The condition makes it all-but worthless monetarily, but I thought it still had some value for interest sake.

Let’s have a look at the inside:

Nice collage from the inside leaf, front and back

Walt Disney Song Book 004

Title Page

Contents Page

Each movie or Disney property featured starts with a brief introductory blurb. This gives you some basic information about what the songs were meant to achieve in the story.

Let’s begin our review of the songs in this book by visiting the animated film that started it all, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs:

As you can see, the artwork, although well done, is not ‘on model’. That is, the characters are more stylized than what we may normally see in promotional artwork for the same characters.

Here are some more pages and songs I picked out:

From Dumbo

Casey Junior is one of my favorite Disney characters! It is amazing how many trains made it into Disney films, although not surprising when one considers Walt obsession with steam locomotives!

From Song of the South

One of my all-time favorite Disney live-action/animated blends! And although the song above may not be the signature song from the film, it has definitely been an inspiration for me. Because I don’t want you to miss any of the fun lyrics, here is the concluding page:

Everyone finished laughing? Then let’s move on:

Walt Disney Song Book 010

From Rascal

OK, when I came across this song from a movie I had never heard of. I’ve never seen this song on any Disney compilation CD either, so why it was included in this volume is beyond me. The live-action film was released in 1969 and was a based on the book Rascal by Sterling North about a young man and his pet raccoon set in Wisconsin.

The movie is a dramatization of Sterling North’s 1963 “memoir of a better era.” The movie relates a year in the life of young Sterling North which featured, of all things, a raccoon.

The film features the forgotten song “Summer Sweet” and starred Bill Mumy of Lost in Space fame.

From Bedknobs and Broomsticks

Not one of Disney’s best live-action/animation blends, it was made to capitalize on the popularity of Mary Poppins. It starred Angela Lansbury (who later became Mrs. Potts) and featured the return of Mr. Banks actor David Tomlinson. Although not a singer per se, he is featured prominently in this song along with Ms. Lansbury.

I had heard and enjoyed this song long before I knew where it came from. I think most Disney fans may have been in the same predicament, as the 1971 film doesn’t rate very high on most people’s ‘Best of Disney’ lists. Although the film received mostly positive reviews from critics and has scored 63% on Rotten Tomatoes.

Now let’s branch away from movies to a theme park entry:

Walt Disney Song Book 012

It’s a Small World

Written by the Sherman Brothers for the UNICEF attraction at the 1964 New York World’s Fair, this song just. Will. Not. Die. It’s been playing continuously, or at least it feels that way, since 1966 at Disneyland. And I guess we wouldn’t have it any other way!

From TV’s Davy Crockett series

With only five television episodes Disney managed to whip the world into a frenzy with this ballad turned anthem. The episodes were released as two feature-length motion pictures to even greater reception. If only I had a penny for every coonskin cap sold!

From TV’s The Mickey Mouse Club show

Fittingly, the song book ends with this merry march, singing the virtues of everyone’s favorite ‘leader of the club’, Mickey Mouse.

Walt Disney Song Book 002

Back Cover

I would give this book a 5 out of 5 Stars as it is useful to those who wish to play their favorite songs on the piano while singing along. The inclusion of complete lyrics is a plus. The artwork, although stylized, is very good.

If you would like a copy, Amazon has several available. Used copies start from $19.99 US with new hardcover copies starting at a much higher $135.88 US as of April 2, 2016.

Who Likes Donald Duck and his Sweet Disposition?

Mickey Mouse may have gotten his own club, complete with Mouseketeers, but Donald Duck certainly got his share of admiration! There was even a time when his popularity eclipsed his mousey cousin, appearing in more Disney films than any other character.

And he even got his own song. The Donald Duck song was the theme for his cartoons from 1947 to 1959. Today, it stands as the official theme song for Donald Duck. Here are the lyrics:

Who’s got the sweetest disposition? One guess — guess who! Who never never starts an argument? (Woman: Hmmmm?) Who never shows a bit of temperament? Who’s never wrong but always right? (Donald: Yeah?) Who’d never dream of starting a fight? (Donald: That so?!) Who gets stuck with all the bad luck? No one… (Donald quacks angrily) but Donald Duck! (Donald: Yeah!)

So in honor of our feisty little fowl, I thought I’d share a few of the figurines of him that I’ve collected over the years:

Who’s got the sweetest disposition indeed!

    

Many figurines depict Donald in one fix or another

    

    

These early figures show Donald’s musical side

Music just makes Donald do the Hornpipe

The hornpipe is any of several dance forms played and danced in Britain, Scotland, and Ireland from the late 17th century until the present day. It is said that hornpipe as a dance began around the 16th century on English sailing vessels. Movements were those familiar to sailors of that time: “Looking out to sea” with the right hand to the forehead, then the left, lurching as in heavy weather, and giving the occasional rhythmic tug to their britches both fore and aft.

Donald’s first appearance was in The Wise Little Hen (1934), but it was his second appearance in Orphan’s Benefit that introduced him as a temperamental comic foil to Mickey Mouse. The great Clarence Nash (December 7, 1904 – February 20, 1985) developed and supplied his signature voice for almost 50 years.

Our last figurine shows Donald in just one of the many roles he’s played over the years:

Donald says it’s time to stop!