Thursday, October 22, 2020

Stephen Gaiber Saves The World Part I

    Greetings ladies and gentlemen. This new blog is a little different from many of my travel blogs. This one isn't a travel blog; it's a timely, funny story that combines superheros in time for the presidential election.

     Let me make one thing clear: I HATE DONALD TRUMP and feel scared and embarrassed to be American under his leadership. This will be a two-part story. For Marvel fans, this story is basically Infinity War and Endgame. Joining me in my quest to defeat Donald Trump are some of my co-workers, the Pirates of the Caribbean, the cast of Space Jam, the cast of The Lord of the Rings, Aladdin characters from both 1992 and 2019, the cast of The Mummy, Prince Dastan and his brothers, Ariana Grande, Bernie Sanders, Max and Goofy, and the magical Mickey Mouse. So come join me on a magical quest to many different places and defeat Donald Trump, Mike Pence, Jafar, Imhotep, and anyone who gets in the way.

    Let's begin our story once upon a time in 1992 Agrabah. Donald Trump and Mike Pence hate Arabs and plan to bomb Agrabah. His plan is to have the Sultan under his control with the help of Jafar using his snake staff. The Genie, Aladdin, and Princess Jasmine try to stop Trump by taking Jafar's snake staff, but Jafar uses the snake staff to put Aladdin, Genie, and Jasmine in a cave. Donald Trump admits his plan is to use the Sultan to cause chaos in Agrabah for his plan to nuke the world and to have the Sultan embarrass the nation of Agrabah. Jafar, Trump, and Pence then send Genie, Aladdin, and Jasmine off the deep ends of the earth and they wind up in Irvine, California.

    The Genie, Aladdin, and Jasmine come to Irvine to warn me and and my co-workers Sean Laduke and Richard Arias as we all head to lunch that Donald Trump is coming to host a rally in Irvine to make him a powerful dictator. Genie also comes to warn us that Trump is looking for the nuclear codes to take over the world. Jafar and Trump use magical powers to destroy Irvine, but the Genie swooms both of them up into a volcano and they explode. Then Stephen, Richard, Sean, Genie, Aladdin, and Jasmine find a clue to the next step of the nuclear codes with a Mickey Mouse saying, "Orlando, Florida."

     After receiving the clue about Disneyworld being a center of the nuclear codes, Stephen, Sean, Richard, Genie, Aladdin, and Jasmine head to the most magical place on earth: Disneyworld. Our journey takes place in the Magic Kingdom at Cinderella's castle. We first meet Mickey Mouse, who has the power to throw fireworks out of his hands, then Goofy and Max, who are coming back from the powerline concert and sing to me 'Nobody Else But You.' Then we go to the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, where we meet Captain Jack Sparrow, Will Turner, Elizabeth Swan, and the crew of the Black Pearl. When we look for a code that would lead us to the nuclear codes, Trump and Jafar arrive with Captain Barbosa, who betrays Jack Sparrow's trust after forming an alliance with Jack Sparrow. Just as Jafar puts a magic spell on all of us, Maui and Moana appear and knock Jafar and Trump down, and Maui transforms into a hawk and steals Jafar's snake staff. Using powers that he got from Jafar, Trump transforms into a super god, but Genie is able to knock him down. After we thank Maui for saving the day, he sings the amazing 'You're Welcome.' I think that song should have won an Academy Award and was the only good part of Moana. We then find a clue that the next nuclear code is in the center of the earth.

     In the journey to the center of the earth lie the Looney Tunes and Michael Jordan, after defeating the Monstars to escape from slavery. Trump and Jafar find Michael Jordan and the Looney Tunes, and Jafar brings back the Monstars and Mr. Swackhammer to send the Looney Tunes back into slavery and have Michael Jordan be the star attraction, sign autographs all day long, and lose in basketball against the customers. Then all of us enter to save the Looney Tunes. That's when we find our next clue: Middle Earth.

    In the epic quest to search for the missing nuclear codes to stop Donald Trump from nuking the world, we find our heroes from Middle Earth, including Frodo, Gandalf, Samwise, Aragon, Legalous, Arwin, Mary, Pipin, and the habitants of Middle Earth. They come home from Middle Earth 17 years after Frodo destroyed the ring of Mordor. Then we all approach Frodo and the gang to inform them that they're harboring nuclear codes for Donald Trump. They laugh, not believing us, and explain that they saved Earth from the one ring. Then Donald Trump sends military helicopters and grade-A military weapons. The residents of Middle Earth prepare for battle as the copters shoot them on sight. Fortunately, the weapons aren't as strong as how fast the horses of Middle Earth are. Then Gandalf uses his magic staff to blast the helicopters, and the eagles come in and save the day by knocking out Trump and his helicopters. That's when we discover that the next clue is in Egypt, near The Mummy's tomb.

    In ancient Egypt, Imhotep plots his revenge against Rick and Evelyn O'Connell and Jonathan Carnahan for killing his relationship with Anck Su Namun. Trump, Jafar, and Pence approach Imhotep about joining his revenge plot in exchange for the nuclear codes. We find our heroes Rick, Evelyn, and Jonathan as well as Ardeth Bay to inform them that Trump plans to steal the nuclear codes to destroy the world. They say they first need to find Imhotep. Then, Imhotep does the sand visual effect in an effort to destroy us. Genie then saves the day by becoming a sand eater and eating sand Imhotep. Shortly after, we find the villains' location and surround Trump.

    As we gain on Trump, we finally arrest him for war crimes and for trying to destroy the world. He begins to tell us why he wants to be a dictator. He says that his father was really tough on him as a child. He was abused by his father, Fred Trump, and the only thing that got him through life was Hitler's book, Mein Kampf. One day, he was recruited by Vladimir Putin to steal the 2016 presidential election, and both men dreamed of making America suffer for mistreating them. Then, the Genie is about to kill him, but Jafar comes in and stops Genie from killing Trump. Jafar frees Trump, and the group decides to find the final nuclear code. The final clue is Agrabah 2019.

   Everyone teams up to go to Agrabah in 2019 together. We join forces with Will "Genie" Smith and Aladdin and Jasmine (2019) to find the final nuclear code to stop Trump from world domination. Once 1992 Aladdin and Jasmine meet 2019 Aladdin and Jasmine, they sing their versions of 'A Whole New World' and the Genies sing their version of 'Friend Like Me.' We then continue to ask Aladdin and Jasmine for the final nuclear code. They tell us it's under the palace, deep in the dungeon. Trump uses Imhotep to create an army of Mummies to conquer Disneyworld, Middle Earth, Space Jam Land, and Egypt to battle the heroes as Trump sends nuclear missiles to destroy the world. Once we find the nuclear code, Trump, Pence, and Jafar already beat us to the nuclear codes. All the heroes in the lands continue to be outnumbered by Imhotep's army, but they use their forces to defeat whatever the army does. Then, as Trump is about to unleash nuclear war, Robin "Genie" Williams pushes Trump and does a whole bunch of Robin Williams impersonations so he can stop Trump from declaring nuclear war. Genie almost has Trump in a corner by crumbling him, but as Trump can't breathe from being obese, he presses the nuclear button, destroying Agrabah (1992), Aladdin and Jasmine, the Space Jam world, Disneyworld, Egypt, and Middle Earth. Every person blows up into skeletons.

    Trump then leaves with Imhotep, Jafar, and Pence. The only survivors are Stephen, Sean, Richard, Robin "Genie" Williams, Rick O'Connell, and Jack Sparrow. Is there any chance to bring back the dead? Is there a way to reverse what Donald Trump did? Is it all over and Trump won? We'll find out in part II.

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Scottdale: A Trip During Covid


     Greetings audience! It's Stephen Gaiber: The Autistic Traveler. I know I am late to this, but I would like to talk about a pleasant surprise I gifted myself for my birthday. I went to Scottsdale, Arizona, in May.

    I took this trip because my original plans to go to Las Vegas, as well as life in Southern California generally, were shut down. Even today, those places are open minimally. Arizona had just opened up on May 14, allowing me to have a little relief during quarantine. My birthday is May 28. I decided to escape reality and take the Greyhound to Scottsdale. I stayed at the 3 Palms Hotel in Scottsdale and hung in the pool and jacuzzi most of the time.

    Some of the activities I did in Scottsdale included hanging in the pool/jacuzzi throughout the day, dining inside at places like Denny's, walking around the city of Scottsdale, going to the mall, and being happy to be out of California. Before things kind of reopened in California and Arizona with limited activities, I was going to make a point of going to Arizona monthly since I have the money to do it. Even with Scottsdale being open, it had lots of limitations due to Covid. Some of the limitations included bowling-alley hours being limited or closed, restaurants limiting tables and giving ketchup packets instead of bottles, and more. I know it's a health crisis and we're in a pandemic, but some of the restrictions feel unnecessary. It's hard to have your life on hold.

     The major highlight was Downtown Scottsdale. It feels like an old western town, the complete opposite of Phoenix. Scottsdale feels like a smaller town, while Phoenix is a big metropolis. Scottsdale Road, the major artery, goes on for miles and miles, even away from downtown. Some of the activities I did included exploring old town and going to the mall. The town is very small, but visually delightful.

    On my birthday I went to the Tempe Marketplace, where I went to Red Robin. I had a burger and alcoholic ice-cream drink. What a fun way to celebrate my birthday. I also met with one of my ex-co-workers, who moved to Scottsdale, and we went out for pizza. I also spent the day in the pool and jacuzzi. One of the downsides about the pool and jacuzzi area is a lot of times it was surrounded by bratty kids who were all over the place.

     Overall I had a good time on my getaway. It was closer to a birthday celebration than a getaway. The highlight was getting out of town somewhat locally and somewhere more normal than home. When I was on the bus coming home, I was so mad about having to go back to boring reality. I look forward to posting more blogs, and next time don't expect a travel blog but a zany wacky story.

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Working At Trader Joes During Covid-19

    Greetings audience! It's been a while since I blogged. I know I should be blogging more often, but now here I am. For this blog we'll refer to myself as Stephen Gaiber And Working At Trader Joe's During Covid-19. I feel inspired to write this blog about someone with Aspergers and experiencing how Covid-19 has impacted my life at both Trader Joe's and personally. I have been at Trader Joe's since 2012 and have worked at three different stores. I currently work at the Irvine Woodbury Town Center, store #210.

    I'd like to talk about how Covid-19 has impacted me with Aspergers. Everything I love has closed, including the movie theaters, gym, malls, restaurants, parks, my own pool and hot tub, and most especially travel. I've had to postpone multiple vacations, which has made me extremely mad and hard to function. I love all of those activities I listed, and it upsets me that I can't do anything. It makes me wonder if it's worth it to be healthy or whether I should take a risk, because I can't handle being bored in my apartment. It makes me look forward to work more, as I can see my amazing co-workers and it gets me out of my apartment.

     I have some amazing co-workers and managers. I have an amazing manager AKA mate above. They brighten our day and motivate us to come to work and do our best. They realize the stress that we are all enduring with the ever-changing policies. The thing that makes Trader Joe's special are the crew and the mates. I have made a bunch of friends throughout my 8+ years at Trader Joe's. I feel like we are all one big happy family. We do lots of tasks around the store, such as carts, bagging, register (except me), put up product on the shelves, some people write orders, and most importantly help customers with any questions they have. Our number-one priority is our customers, and we try to provide the best customer service possible.

    Let me tell you how crazy this pandemic has hit Trader Joe's. The pandemic hit us hard around mid-March in particular. We were out of everything. We couldn't even write orders. It was frustrating for both customers and the crew. Customers asked if we had certain products and we had to sadly tell them that we didn't. Fortunately the restriction of not being able to order anything only lasted a week. We have focused on sanitation of our carts and baskets. We have adjusted our hours, including reserving the first hour exclusively for seniors and people with compromised immune systems.

    Our customers have been very understanding and there for us. Some of them have baked us brownies and made us cards. This crisis has shown how good people can be. A lot of them are OK with waiting in line because of how much they love Trader Joe's. Life might be hard for me right now, but I am very thankful and glad to have Trader Joe's not only as a job, but as a place to go every day.

Saturday, November 30, 2019

The Walt Disney Parks

        Greetings audience! It's Stephen Gaiber: The Autistic Traveler. Last month on my trip to Paris, I completed a major goal off my bucket list. I went to all the Disney Parks. People all over the world love Disney parks, particularly Disneyland in my new home in Orange County and The Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. I have been to Disneyland a lot as a child and in 2007 and the last time in 2014. I went to California Adventure for my first and only time in November 2014. I journeyed to Hong Kong Disneyland in 2010. For those who read my blogs last summer, I went to Shanghai Disneyland and Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea in 2018. Most recently, I went to both Disneyland Paris and Disney Studio Park this September. The best and most realistic Disney vacation was when I went to Walt Disney World in 2014. That was the highlight of my year and it impacted me with such positive experiences for 9 months in 2014. I even made a second trip there in 2015.

For people with disabilities, Disney Parks are the place to visit. It used to be better though. Let's talk about some of the most recent developments in how Disney caters to those with disabilities. The Disneyland Resort, The Walt Disney World Resort, Shanghai Disneyland, and Tokyo Disney resort give those who have a hard time waiting in line a return time, very similar to FastPass, and a cast member will give those who are with the disabled guest a special spot at a particular time to come back to the attraction. Originally, Disney used to allow people to just cut the lines, but due to abuse, they changed it. The Disneyland Paris resort still lets you cut the line. This was a plus at Disneyland Paris. There is a pending lawsuit set for trial in February to help the disabled get the privilege to not stand in line again.

Disney Parks are easily the most visited theme parks around the world. The Magic Kingdom in Florida and Disneyland in California have rounded in the top 2 most visited theme parks worldwide, and for good reason. The Disney theme parks offer magic and a special kind of joy that the other parks can't offer. Disney World feels like you're going to a big city rather than going to a theme park. Disney Parks create millions of jobs and tourism. I bet you are interested in knowing what ranking I think each park is. Let us start with the top 12 NOW!

                              12. HONG KONG DISNEYLAND

    I remember visiting this park when I visited Hong Kong 10 years ago. I wasn't sure whether or not I was still interested in Disney Parks at the time, but I decided to check it out. Let me tell you, it feels like a cheap rip-off of Disneyland. I barely even spent four hours there. This park opened in 2005 and I've heard that the park has grown a lot since I went.

    The facts clearly indicate that this park was a letdown. It has a daily cap of 34,000 and was visited by 5.2 million people, down from the projected 5.6 million in the first year. The second-year attendance was down by 20% to 4 million visitors. However, in the later years, attendance has grown and the park is now the 13th most visited theme park worldwide. That's probably due to the additions of Toy Story Land, Mystic Point, and Frontierland, which opened up after my visit to the park.

    The reason I put Hong Kong Disneyland at the bottom of the list was because of how small the park is compared to the other Disney Parks. As I said, the park has grown in the last 10 years. They have the basic lands of Disney Parks such as Main Street U.S.A., Fantasyland, Tomorrowland, and Adventureland. The rides in those lands don't really excite me. They also don't have the rides that other Disney Parks have, such as Pirates of the Caribbean. A philosophy I have is I'd happily spend more money if I enjoy the parks more and if I'd have a better time. In other words, I'd rather spend more money going to a better Disney Park even if it costs more money. Bottom line: Hong Kong Disneyland is a rip-off and should be skipped.

                                11. Walt Disney Studios Park
   The Walt Disney Studios Park next to Disneyland Paris is the second biggest stinker. This park opened up in 2002 and is the sister park and the much superior Disney's Hollywood Studios. It's visited by 5.2 million people a year and will feature new lands for Marvel, Star Wars, and Frozen in time for the 2024 Olympics. The Earffel Tower represents the water tower of the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, CA.

    You ALL may wonder why I think so little of this park. I will tell you why. The biggest reason is the park is too small -- I spent less than 2.5 hours there. In fact, I spent more time catching up on what I missed at Shanghai Disneyland the second day than I did at this park. Some of the attractions include Studio Tram Tour: Behind The Magic, The Twilight Tower of Terror, Moteurs...Action Stunt Show Spectacular, Toy Story Playland, Crush Coaster, and Ratatouille: L'Aventure Totalement Toquee de Remy. I felt that the Studio Tram ride was a cheap knock-off of the Universal Studios tour in Universal and didn't capture the thrills that Universal did. It disheartens me to say that I like the Universal tour over the Disney one since I usually like Disney better, but that's the fact. The Ratatouille ride is basically where one gets to live the life of Remy in the restaurant from the movie and is in 3D. Also, the Crush Coaster is a roller coaster that simulates some situations in Finding Nemo. Both the Ratatouille ride and Crush Coaster made me nauseous. The rides and how small the park is are both reasons to skip this. Definitely check out Disneyland Paris and maybe once the park is expanded, it will be worth checking out, but not now.

                                10. Disney's California Adventure

   This is the second park in the Disneyland Resort and opened up in 2001. I had never been until 2014 and only went once, and let us say, I wasn't impressed. At first, the park started off with few attractions but has expanded with Cars Land, Pixar Pier, Toy Story Mania, and World of Color. It was visited by 9.9 million people in 2018 and hopes to keep on growing. Another expansion is Buena Vista Street, which is supposed to represent where the Walt Disney Studios is located. Much like Disney Studios Park and Hong Kong Disneyland, the major reason that I rank this park so low is that it is small with relatively few attractions.

    I enjoy some of the attractions, such as Soarin' Over California, which has now become Soarin' Around The World. Soarin' is also in Hollywood Studios and Shanghai Disneyland, which I will talk about later. This ride depicted awesome parts of California, including the Golden Gate Bridge, PGA West in La Quinta, Malibu, Downtown Los Angeles, and ends in Disneyland Park. I will talk about Soarin' Around The World when I talk about Shanghai Disneyland.It has a long wait, so get a return time if possible

   As most of you know, I am a big Aladdin fan, and up until 2016, there was an Aladdin show called Aladdin: A Musical Spectacular. Let me tell you, it didn't amuse me like both the 1992 and 2019 movies or even the Broadway musical. It has been replaced by Frozen-Live at the Hyperion.

    Even though I am not a Cars fan. I enjoyed the rides at Cars Land. I had fun at Radiator Springs Racer, a very similar technology to Test Track at Epcot. It basically is a simulation of Radiator Springs where one drives in one of the Cars and goes around the track. There's also Luigi's Rollickin' Roadsters, which was originally Luigi's Flying Tires, which was bumper cars. Overall, while California Adventure has expanded, it doesn't have a lot to offer and I didn't even feel like staying up all night to watch World of Color. Worth seeing if you go to Disneyland Park for multiple days or with a park hopper pass to say you went.

                                        9. Tokyo DisneySea

      Some of you might have read my blog about Tokyo DisneySea last year. I thought that the rides were decent, but the lands and parks didn't feel magical. Basically, my problem with this park is that it didn't feel like a Disney Park because it lacked the charm of a Disney Park. The park opened up in 2001 and explores all the lands around the world. The lands include Mediterranean Harbor, where I went on a gondola like in Italy, Mysterious Island, Mermaid Lagoon, Arabian Coast, Lost River Delta, American Waterfront, and Port Discovery. The park’s attendance has soared to over 14 million visitors and it’s the 4th most visited theme park worldwide.

    As I mentioned before, the Mediterranean Harbor includes a gondola ride and a representation of Venice. It’s a step up above the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas but felt fake. The American Waterfront features a representation of Cape Cod and New York Harbor. The two longest waits include Toy Story Mania, which is also popular in Hollywood Studios and California Adventure, as well as Tower of Terror. They are very similar to the rides in Florida and Disneyland.

    Some of the different rides from the other Disney Parks include Raging Spirits, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, and Journey to the Center of the Earth. They are darker and more adult-oriented rides. Raging Spirits and Journey to the Center of the Earth are roller coasters that explore deep new lands such as the center of the earth and Peru. They are good for those who want thrills and to do something different than the typical Disney parks. I liked these rides but felt they were nothing special. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea is where one goes on a simulator submarine and explores Atlantis.

     The best ride is Sinbad's Storybook Voyage located in the Arabian Coast. I liked getting that feeling on the boat like It’s A Small World. It's a fun boat ride where one gets to hear the story about Sinbad and one gets to see his journey on the Arabian Coast. Alan Menken even wrote a song for the ride. At night, there's Fantasmic, but I missed it due to rain on the day I went. Overall, Tokyo DisneySea is worth checking out, but don't expect the magic of a Disney Park. Also, when taking the subway in Tokyo, there is a separate line at Disneyland that one has to take when they arrive at the Tokyo Disney Resort, and it costs additional money.

                                8. Disneyland Paris

     On my last day in Paris, I decided to cross off going to all the Disney Parks by going to Disneyland Paris. This park opened up in 1992 and is the second Disney park abroad after Tokyo Disneyland. A great way to get to Disneyland Paris from the city is by taking the metro, and the trip is 45 minutes. The Disneyland Paris Resort consists of two parks, Disney Village, and lots of hotels. The castle is Sleeping Beauty Castle like the one in Disneyland, but offers more of a French castle feeling.

    The park has the same lands as the other Disney Parks, such as Main Street U.S.A., Adventureland, Frontierland, Fantasyland, and Discoveryland. Even though it has most of the basic rides, it feels a lot smaller than some of the bigger Disney Parks. Some of the different attractions include The Haunted Mansion Phantom Manor, Star Wars Hyperspace Mountain, and Alice's Curious Labyrinth. I felt that the Star Wars ride made me nauseous, while I really enjoyed Alice's Curious Labyrinth because of all the visuals and how I got lost in the maze.

     Some of my favorite rides in the park include It's A Small World and Pirates of the Caribbean. They are both the same as they are in the Magic Kingdom, Disneyland, and Tokyo Disneyland. It's A Small World is a fun boat ride that represents how life is in different countries. Pirates of the Caribbean is also a fun boat ride showing pirates, well, being pirates! It has many updates that are from the movie such as Captain Jack Sparrow. Arr, it’s a pirate’s life for me. A fun attraction to get lost in is Adventure Isle, where one can go on an amazing walk around the land and can go to the Swiss Family Treehouse as well as the pirate ship on Pirate Beach. It feels like one is going on an amazing quest by seeing what's in the treehouse. If one has time in between attractions, one should hang on Adventure Isle to kill time, and there's no wait.

    Of course, it wouldn't be a Disney Park without a parade and evening show. There's a fun little late-afternoon show called Stars on Parade, which features Disney characters and floats in a special show. Some of those characters include characters from Frozen, Peter Pan, and Lion King. I had fun seeing all the characters having a good time, but wasn't amazed. The nighttime show is Disney Illuminations and it's a fun way to end the night. The show contains clips from The Lion King, Pirates of the Caribbean, Star Wars, and Frozen. I wouldn't say it's the best night show, but it’s worth seeing if one is at the park. Overall, I had a good time at Disneyland Paris, but one doesn't need the whole day as it's not big enough to spend the entire day. If one is at the park, one could go check out Disney Village or some of the hotels to kill time in between attractions.

                             7. Tokyo Disneyland

      As some of you read a year ago, I did a blog about Tokyo Disneyland. I liked it but felt it was a copycat of Disneyland in California. The symbol of the park is Cinderella's Castle like in the Magic Kingdom. The park opened up on April 15, 1983 and is the 3rd most visited theme park worldwide, only behind the Magic Kingdom and Disneyland. It's the only Disney park not owned by The Walt Disney Company and was visited by nearly 18 million people in 2018.

   This park is very similar to most Disney Parks by having Main Street U.S.A., Tomorrowland, Frontierland, Adventureland, Westernland, Fantasyland, Critter Country, and Toontown. Most of the rides are very similar to Disneyland, especially as they both have Toontown, which has Gadget Coaster and the Roger Rabbit Ride.

    My favorite rides at Adventureland include Pirates of the Caribbean and Jungle Cruise. I already have shared my opinion of Pirates of the Caribbean. I enjoy going on the Jungle Cruise. It feels like I'm going on a miniature ride around the jungle with animatronic animals such as elephants, birds, and hippos. Fantasyland has my favorite It's A Small World as well as Peter Pan's Flight, Pinocchio's Daring Journey, and Snow White's Adventures. Something unique is the wishing well at Snow White Grotto. A different attraction is Monsters, Inc. Ride and Go Seek, which I felt was nothing special. For those who want to get a return time, if possible use Google Translation to talk to cast members and have them help you.

    I went to Tokyo Disneyland for the 35th anniversary, so there was a lot of promotion for the event. For the nighttime show, it was Celebrate! Tokyo Disneyland and sadly it's gone. It was a nice little show with fireworks, and it focused on attractions and movies that make Tokyo Disneyland what it is today. Overall, it’s a big and fun park, but expect a copycat of Disneyland and not much different.

                                          6. Disneyland

 Let me first tell you and this is going to shock you. I have not been a fan of Disneyland since I was 11. I haven't even been in five years or had a pass. I felt it was a typical boring theme park. That being said, it still is the original and Walt Disney's dream before expanding into Disney World. Fans wanted to visit The Walt Disney Studios but realized the studio has little to offer tourists. Walt Disney acquired 160 acres of walnut and orange groves in Anaheim. Struggling to get financing for the park, Walt decided to create a show called Disneyland. The park opened on July 17, 1955 and only the press and a few people were invited. Others had counterfeit tickets or sneaked into the event. I remember seeing the opening day ceremony in a play about Walt Disney and when there was a Disney exhibit at the Ronald Reagan Library. Disneyland has grown throughout the years.

    A unique aspect about the Disney parks is that Walt wanted to look into the future and keep on changing, and so Disneyland keeps on changing. From anniversaries to special events, Disney always keeps the memories going. Disneyland of course has the original lands such as Adventureland, Frontierland, New Orleans Square, Crittercountry, Fantasyland, Toontown, Tomorrowland, and the recently added Star Wars: Galaxy Edge. Another way Disney kept changing is by having shopping and hotels close by, such as Downtown Disney and Disneyland Hotel. They keep changing shows and attractions based on current Disney movies.

    Some of the rides I enjoy are The Haunted Mansion, Jungle Cruise, It's A Small World, and Pirates of the Caribbean. What makes these rides special is the fact that they are the original ones and I've seen how they've changed throughout the years. One example is after the Pirates of the Caribbean movies came out, they changed the ride based on the movie. Some of the original rides, including Peter Pan's Flight and Snow White's Scary Adventures, are still there and draws a crowd. It’s fun to go on those rides at the original park because of the nostalgia.

    And it wouldn't be Disneyland without nighttime entertainment. One of the best nighttime shows is Fantasmic. I have not seen the updated one and I'm not sure if I saw the original one, but it's something I look forward to seeing next time I go to Disneyland. The nighttime shows, as usual, end with fireworks and clips of Disney movies to give us that nostalgia. Throughout the day, if one wants a break from the Disney parks, one can go to Downtown Disney and get a bite to eat. While I can understand why people love Disneyland, I lost interest as I got older as I felt that theme parks are more for kids. The reason I like Disney World so much is that it feels more like a city than a theme park.

                                          5. Shanghai Disneyland

     This is the newest Disney park, with a lot of technological updates. This park opened up in 2016 and feels so much different than all the other Disney parks. The way that the park is so much different is that it feels like a visual delight, such as how in Adventure Isle one can ride a canoe or play in a pirate ship. One should explore the growing land of these parks. The lands consist of Mickey Ave., which is the equivalence of Main Street U.S.A., Gardens of Imagination, Fantasyland, Treasure Cove, Adventure Isle, Tomorrowland, and Toy Story Land.

    As I've mentioned, the reason I like this Disney Park over others is that the all of the visuals make it different. In Tomorrowland there's the Tron Lightcycle Power Run, where one soars into the Tron ride. I thought personally it was nauseating. In Gardens of Imagination, there's a Marvel Land, where I met Captain America and Star Lord, and they had Avengers Training. Also there were pictures of all of the Disney movies and characters from Frozen, Robin Hood, Mulan, and The Princess and the Frog. Adventure Isle has the updated Soarin' Around The World, where one can fly across the Sydney Harbor, Great Wall of China, and the Pyramids in Egypt. Another difference is the visuals of Alice in Wonderland Maze. One can get lost exploring the visuals of all the Alice in Wonderland props.

    In my Shanghai Disneyland blog, I mentioned my two favorites include Pirates of the Caribbean: Battle for the Sunken Treasure and Voyage to the Crystal Grotto. The reason I loved both of those rides is that they made us, the riders, feel that we were part of the rides. The Pirates ride showed us the battle between the two ships, the Flying Dutchman and the Kraken in the Pirates of the Caribbean saga. Voyage to the Crystal Grotto took us on an amazing boat ride and showed us scenes from Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, Tangled, Mulan, and The Little Mermaid. There's also an amazing stunt show, Eye of the Storm: Captain Jack’s Stunt Spectacular. It’s Captain Jack Sparrow trying to escape and we have a lot of fun watching him do it. The technology is what makes the rides spectacular as well as the representation of the movies.

    If one wants a break from the park, one should check out Disneytown for a meal. There's even a Cheesecake Factory. Weird to see in China, ain’t it? One can do some shopping there and check out Wishing Star Lake as well as the Disneyland Hotel and Toy Story Hotel. At night, the show is Ignite the Dream, A Nighttime Spectacular of Magic and Light. It's a fireworks show with clips from The Lion King, Pirates of the Caribbean, Cinderella, Finding Nemo, Star Wars, and Frozen. It's a fun way to end a day at the park. Overall, I enjoyed Shanghai Disneyland, especially the visuals and technology, but the rides were hit or miss other than Pirates and Crystal Grotto. If one is in Shanghai and a Disney fan, make a visit to the park.



   Have you ever wanted to check out China, Mexico, France, England, Canada, or basically go around the world in a matter of hours? Well, one can do that at the amazing Epcot Center. This park is divided into two lands, World Showcase and Future World. This park just celebrated its 37th anniversary, having opened up on October 1, 1982 at the Walt Disney World Resort. Epcot holds some amazing annual festivals, such as The Flower and Garden and the Food and Wine. Wow! I can't believe a theme park can offer such events. Let's explore what makes Epcot so special.

    The first part of Epcot is Future World. Let’s go explore the future. The symbol of Epcot is Spaceship Earth, which is a ride that takes you throughout time and evolution. Mission Space takes one on a simulated mission to Mars. One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind. It was nauseating. Test Track takes you on a test drive into the future. The Land attraction is extremely educational by teaching us about nature. They even have the new Soarin' Around The World, which I have yet to see, but I did see it when it was Soarin' Around California. A fun former attraction was Circle of Life: An Environmental Fable, where Simba teaches Timon and Pumba about how we are all responsible for our actions on this earth. Environmentalists would love the message. Overall, while I did like Future World, I like World Showcase more because it feels more unique.

    As I stated before, the best part of Epcot is World Showcase. It features many countries such as Canada, United Kingdom, France, Morocco, Japan, United States, Japan, Italy, Germany, China, Mexico, and Italy. This exhibit represents the world's fair and what makes each country special. I enjoy the fact that one can see all these countries in one place. They represent the cultures and have the countries’ foods and representations. Overall, I do like World Showcase because seeing a representation of each country makes it different than other theme parks. I just don't feel the connection as much because I have visited most of these countries and it can feel fake seeing these representations.

     Epcot had a great closing show, IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth, which will be replaced with Epcot Forever and be permanently replaced by HarmonioUS, which will feature more music from the other countries. I look forward to seeing that show next time at Epcot. IllumiNations featured fireworks around the countries. It was a great way to end the night at Epcot and I hope HarmonioUS will not disappoint. Overall, I did like Epcot, but it feels more fake than other Disney Parks at Disney World.

                                           3. Animal Kingdom

       Have you ever wanted to explore a safari without going all the way to Africa? Well, in the amazing Animal Kingdom, one can go on that African safari without spending a load of money or leaving the continent. This park opened up on Earth Day 1998 and was a nature environment for animal conservation. This park cares for the animals’ well-being, and the nighttime show features no fireworks so as not to disturb the animals. It’s amazing to believe that the park is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and World Association of Zoos and Aquariums. I bet you no one would ever think of that for a Disney Park. The park attendance continues to grow annually and was visited by 13.7 million people. It’s the 3rd most visited theme park in the U.S. and the 6th most visited park worldwide.

    The lands consist of Africa, The Oasis, Discovery Island, Asia, Discovery Island, DinoLand U.S.A., and most recently Pandora: The World of Avatar. I have not visited Pandora yet, but I look forward to visiting it next time I go. The Oasis feels like you're visiting the equivalence of Main Street U.S.A. and the park entrance. Want to take an amazing walk around the areas of the park? Discovery Island connects you to explore all the lands of the park. In Asia, one is taken to the fictional land of Anandapur, which invokes traits of Thailand, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Mongolia, and Nepal. Some thrill rides include Expedition Everest: Legend of the Forbidden Mountain, Kali River Rapids, and Dinosaur. I like Expedition Everest and Kali River Rapids over Dinosaur because Dinosaur made me nauseous and Expedition Everest and Kali River Rapids are fun little thrill rides that take one around the land of Asia.

     The best land and most unique land is Africa. The most different attraction is the Kilimanjaro Safaris. As I mentioned, it feels very similar to an African Safari because one sees live animals such as elephants, hippos, giraffes, zebras, wild dogs, antelopes, Nile crocodiles, as well as many other animals. The best part is that they are all in the wild and not animatronic. I have no interest in going to Africa, so this will suffice. I had a good time going on the safari because I got to see wild animals run free. It's the first thing I did at Animal Kingdom because of how different it is from other attractions at the Disney Parks. Another amazing part about Africa is the Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail, where people can walk around and see wild animals from the safari attraction. If one wants to check out a show, check out The Festival of The Lion King, based off of the movie.

    This park used to be a daytime park, but now with Avatar and a nighttime show it’s an all-day park and remains open much later. If one is an animal lover or even a land lover, this park is for you. Overall, I enjoyed Disney's Animal Kingdom because of the safari, the animals, and the awesome walks.

                                  2. Disney's Hollywood Studios

     Let me give you a little note before I give you my review. The park has changed since the last time I've been there. It originally opened on May 1, 1989, 27 days before I was born. I bet The Walt Disney Company knew I was going to be born so they opened this park. Originally called Disney's MGM-Studios Park, the park imagines worlds from film, television, music, theater, and the Golden Age of Hollywood. As I've mentioned, this park has changed throughout the years and done away with many of its previous attractions. One of the reasons this park opened was to compete with the upcoming Universal Studios.

       This land really makes you feel like you're visiting Hollywood with Sunset Blvd. as well as Hollywood Blvd. This park more recently focuses more on live attractions and shows rather than rides. One of my favorite shows at night is Fantasmic. I'm not sure if I’ve seen the one at Disneyland, but the one in Hollywood Studios is still lots of fun -- Mickey Mouse battles Maleficent as she becomes a lot of the Disney villains. Steamboat Willie makes a cameo with all the Disney characters. For Indiana Jones fans, there's the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular, in which Indy performs stunts. Some former shows I enjoyed were The Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow and Lights, Motors, Action! An Extreme Stunt Show. Also, there's Beauty and the Beast: Live on Stage, which tells the tale as old as time with all your favorite characters. For people who want to check out shows instead of rides, this is the park.

    For ride lovers, fear not, as there are of course some rides. One of the best former rides was The Great Movie Ride. The building looks like the Chinese theater and gives one a tour of all the movies of the early days. I know some people didn't love it, but as a movie lover, I enjoyed feeling like I was in Hollywood. I wish I had seen the Studio Backlot Tour -- as an avid movie lover, I would have loved to see how the movies were made. Some rides that still exist include Toy Story Mania, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, and Rock 'N' Rollin Roller Coaster. My favorite ride is Rock 'N' Rollin Roller Coaster, where one can take a coaster and feel like they're in California.

     This park has had some changes I have yet to see, such as Toy Story Land and Star Wars Galaxy Edge. I look forward to seeing how the park has changed since going 4 years ago. I know I didn't give a clear representation of the park because of all the changes. The reason I liked it so much is because of that feeling of being back in the movies. Years ago, it would have been my top favorite Disney Park. I hope that next time I go I'll have a better idea of where to rank it. Until then, this park will see you at the movies.

                                        1. Magic Kingdom

     What would make the best Disney Park better than anything in the world? It is Walt Disney's dream come true. Walt Disney sadly died years before his dream, the Florida Project, came true. The Florida Project is what became EPCOT. Walt wanted a bigger version of Disneyland and he knew it wasn't going to be in California. The park opened up on October 1, 1971. Something unique about Magic Kingdom is that one can take a monorail between the Disney's Contemporary Resort and Disney's Polynesian Village Resort. The Contemporary Resort's monorail has a Mickey Mouse symbol as one rides the track. The reason that I love this resort over the other Disney Parks is because of how magical the park feels.

It contains the usual lands of a Disney park, including Main Street U.S.A., Adventureland, Frontierland, Liberty Hall, Fantasyland, and Tomorrowland. I suppose one of the major differences is The Hall of Presidents in Liberty Hall, where one can hear animatronics of the presidents speaking. It's narrated by Morgan Freeman. I of course love Pirates of the Caribbean, Jungle Cruise, Tom Sawyers Island and Cinderella's Castle. I love this park because of the magic and how it’s a visual delight. I can understand how the park keeps growing with visitors and continues to be the number-one most visited theme park worldwide.

   The entertainment and nighttime spectaculars are a reason to spend the whole day at Disney World, especially the Magic Kingdom. Both these shows are no longer there, but the shows I saw include Wishes: A Magical Gathering of Disney Dreams and Celebrate the Magic. The show features clips from the amazing Disney movies and fireworks. You will be entertained. Most people including myself enjoy the magic that Walt brought upon us.

      Most people are unable to say they went to all the Disney Parks. From Europe to Asia to Orange County to Florida, they're international. To safaris to going around the world to jungle cruises to pirates to roller coasters, there's something for everyone at the Disney Parks. I hope I inspired YOU to take that Disney trip around the world.