Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Old Comics Project: Bat Man 1956,1957,1958

DC Entertainment, Inc.
Image via Wikipedia

Oh my did I have a treat.  I found a torrent with old Batman comics in it and being a fan of Batman I broke the law and downloaded these old comics.  I don't want to encourage you to break the law, but, if you look for it and find it on the largest tracker site in the world you would be in for a treat.

I picked these years because of a post here. Silver Age comics has a good break down on this and the following years with most of the important information about the years.  Things I'll note about this as important are the first appearance of the batarang, and a first retcon of Alfred.  There are lots of things in these issues for you to check out.  I had a good time reading these books and would encourage DC to start publishing them online like Marvel does with it's back catalog.  I would have loved to have pay for it instead of doing the whole torrent thing but that was not an option.
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Disney Meal Plan

Oh boy lets talk about the eating at Disney.  Their prices are sky high. Ok I expect to be gouged some when I go on vacation.  But damn Disney are the masters of it.

Lets look at the meal plan.  You have to get it for every day even if you plan to eat off site/resort/park some days.  We stayed for eight days, seven nights and so we had seven counter service, seven table service, and seven snacks. we had two adults and one child. This gave us a total of 21 of each type of meal.

Tickets 869

Food plan 855

Room 695

As you can see it cost us more to eat then to stay in the park hotel and almost as much as it cost to get in the park.  I love to eat. But for 855 dollars we could order 143 pizza pizzas,  we could get 237 Big Macs.  If you go to the local chinese place you get 70 orders.  At 212market in Chattanooga where the most expensive plate is 18.95 you could get 45 meals. (Bacon Wrapped Sea Scallops Wilted arugula, local turnips, Yukon potatoes and smoked tomato cream yum got to try it next time)

As you can see the price for the plan is way high.  Next time I won't get it.  The prices of counter service are more in line with the same prices from McD or BK.  They are still higher then you would pay at a regular fast food location but not so bad I wouldn't have paid for them.

I guess they expect you to buy 26 dollar meals every night.  I looked at what we would have spent per meal and averaged it across the week and  allowing for the three table services we would have purchased anyway I came up with a total of 621 dollars for the week.  We would have saved $230.00 on the meal plan.  Now we would have really saved more because I wouldn't ahave purchased the steaks I had and would have gone with a cheaper chicken or fish  meal instead.   Allowing for the cheaper meal selection we come out at 493 dollars. This would have saved us almost half the cost of the meal plan.

Now this is not the cheapest way to do it and it still has us eating 3 Table services and counter service for all other meals.  But it does not have us paying for kids meals we didn't use, doesn't have us running to make a reservation for a meal all the way across the park or in another park all together.

If I go back (ok when I go back) I'll get the cheaper 2 counter service 2 snack meal plan instead.  Or just carry more Peanut butter.

Was it worth the price,  No, Really its not worth the price and not worth the hassel.  For us it will be counter service, sandwiches or nothing.

Thanks for reading about our trip to disney and please come back later.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Disney Day by Day Going Home

When you own a company you want the customer to remember you well.  You can do 99 great things but the 100th can make a person hate you for ever.  I won't say the last day was like that but I had many things I didn't like the last day.  It didn't ruin the trip but I would have had better feelings about the trip if there had been some difference.
/ CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

We got in on our first day and found a cute little dog(?) thing in our window and our son slept with it for the rest of the week in his bed.  He lost the eyes the nose but he liked it.  We were happy with it and it entertained him.  Then on the last day I had to go walking around the resort and saw there were lots of the animals all different types and many of the rooms had things other than a Dog.  There were some pretty neat animals,  elephants, cats, snakes, swans.  But the whole time we were there we got only one little dog.

Meal Plan breakfast

I had waited all the trip to get a Mickey Mouse Ice cream bar.  Being Diabetic I didn't or couldn't use many of the Snacks due to the amount of sugar they have.  I new we wouldn't have all the deserts on the last day so I decided to award myself for shelping all the stuff from the hotel room to the car.  But when I went to check out at breakfast from the counter service area I grabbed an Ice Cream sandwich from the freezer to reward myself for carrying the stuff tot he car and the check out person wouldn't sell it to me as part of the dinning plan.   She told me at breakfast I could only have a pastry.  I didn't want a pastry I never saw anywhere that told me I couldn't get a Ice cream for breakfast.  I was leaving and didn't feel like having a fight about it.  So I left without my Ice Cream.  I know it sounds petty but its all part of the problem It wasn't large things it was small.  Small things not worth fighting for but small  things that build up to large bad feelings.

I had several problems with them.  Problems with meal plans like being charged to the room for snacks, being told I could only get small when they wife in another line was given a large.  Then and many other little problems really made me feel like they didn't really want me there.  I'm not saying there was any personal animosity.  Instead it was more like Its the off-season now go away.

I understand they have bad days.  I have bad days, I tried to be understanding but when you pay someone 20 dollars to bring you a soda it seems they could be a little nicer

My next post is going to be about the Meal plan and what a rip off that was for us.  Maybe other people find it worth the price but I can say It was just way to much for us.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Disney Day by Day Day7 Disney's Hollywood Studios

Disney's Hollywood Studios
Image via Wikipedia

Breakfast/Bus/you know.
Disney's Hollywood Studios I was looking forward to visiting here.  I had waited years to see Star Tours and the two stunt shows.  I guess the hype cant live up to the real thing.   This and Epcot were the two weakest parks we visited.   I hate to say t but I think we should have skiped this one and waited until my spawn was older.  There wasn't much for a 4 year old to do in this park.  He met a couple of the characters and hung out with the muppets but other then the Disney Club house show he was very bored and could have done more in the Magic Kingdom.  The day we were there it rained a lot and he had to spend most of the day riding in the stroller.  The best thing for him was meeting the Little Einsteins.  He was the happiest that day when he was talking to them. There was also a puppet show and all the kids in there thought he show was great.

The Sorcerer's Hat
Image via Wikipedia

We had to use two table services this day and so we ate at Hollywood and Vine and later at the Sci-Fi Cafe.  The buffet at Hollywood and Vine was nice and I could have done with out the stopping to dance every 10 minutes.  It took a very long time to get back to us and let us meet all the characters. I was about to give up on JoJo and the lion and leave when they suddenly showed up.  The cast member I spoke with about it said they took an hour and fifteen minutes to go all the way around the room but they want to turn the tables every forty-five minutes.  This would mean that many kids are going to miss meeting all the characters.  I think they need to work on this a bit.

Outside the Sci-Fi Cafe
Image by Shopping Diva via Flickr

And this brings us to Sci-Fi cafe.  The one place I was looking forward to the most.  I cant say how disappointed I was in this location.   There just aren't enough words to explain how much I wanted to enjoy this dinning experience.  After the Coral Reef and Liberty Tavern I had such hopes for this.  Man were they dashed.   My wife and I ordered the steaks.  Please Do not Ever order this its the worst steaks we ever had.  The server said they were like sirloin but they were nothing like that.  They were more like top round or some stype of stew meat.  Lots of connective tissue.  I cook a mean steak and I know how to cook pretty well.  For 20+ dollars I expect a better steak.  They called it a Butchers Steak and I have been looking for a cut called that and the only thing I can find is a Hang steak .  But that is not a choice cut.   Really Disney you should never have sold that piece of meat.   My first one was cooked well done on the outside and raw in the middle.  I'm not sure how they did that.  The second was a piece of horse  meat, or maybe they just brought me the briddle to eat, either way both of us left disapointed in the meal.

Since this was the Last memory we have of Disney I can't help but think how disappointed we felt when we left the park.  Maybe next time we will have a better time.  I don't know.  The way I felt when we left I'm not sure we will go back.
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Disney Day by Day Day6 Magic Kingdom Take 2

Peanut butter sandwich

Alice and the Mad Hatter
Image by wonderfully complex via Flickr


Breakfast at 1900 Park Fare we met Mad Hatter, Alice, Marry Poppins, and Pooh.  The Supercalifragilistic Breakfast has many dishes but two deserve mentioning. The omelet was wonderful.  It was more of a Fatatta then french omelet very taste and worth the wait.  The other was the Lobster Benedict this was bland didn't have a lobster flavor and really wasn't very benedicty.  My wife's egg was soft boiled rather then poached and mine was under cooked.  I'd say skip it and

eat the omelet instead.

On a more personal note when Marry came by our table I told my son not to touch her clothes sin

ce she was dressed so nicely and she grabbed his hands and started washing them at the table doing the British Nanny thing so well I just had to get a picture of it.

If you are going to Disney this is the breakfast to go to.  I had a great time and so did the rest of the family.  After it was over we tool a ride on the fairy to get from the resort to the Magic Kingdom.  It was very cold and windy and maybe not the brightest thing I did that day but still very fun.

This was the coldest day we were at this is Florida and I had a coat on.  I'm not the kind of guy to wear a jacket until its freezing and the wind of the water made me cold.

We had lots of fun on rides and I wish we had taken more pics but when your having fun its hard to stop and take a pic for later.  Also the Disney people were willing to take a photo with our camera gear but they never took good photos for us.  Even their photographers never really took a good shot of us.  I cant say to much I never took a good shot of us either.

We did a split day and went back to the hotel for a little while so we could stay up late and see the fireworks.   It also happened to be the Magic hours for the Magic Kingdom and we had a chance to stay late and ride some more rides.  During the day we toured Tomorrow land and Main Street.  During Magic hours we rode rides in Fantasy Land and ate at Cosmic Ray's Starlight Cafe.  This was my favorite place in the Magic Kingdom.  The animatronic performer was fantastic and took me back to days I worked with Billy Bob and the Rock A Fire Explosion Band.

About 10 pm I had to put the spawn in the stroller and push him around because he was falling asleep on my shoulder while we waited for our turn on Pooh.
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Disney Day by Day Day5 Animal Kingdom again

Expedition Everest
Image via Wikipedia



Where are we? What are we doing back in the Animal Kingdom?  Didn't we do everything the first day? No? OK Today was a Saturday and we wanted to avoid the Magic KIngdom.  And a good thing we did.  We had a blast at the Nemo Show, Rode the Kilimanjaro Safaris, a couple of other things and then ate at Yak and Yeti counter service.  Not to rude but I've had better chinese from the mall.  I would not suggest you eat here at all.  The food was ok but the guy taking my order was rude wouldn't answer my question about the meal plan and really made me feel unwelcome.  This was only slightly better then the way I was treated our last day but all go into that later.

We couldn't find a table to sit and eat after we got our food.  Also the birds at the table trying to steal your food made me a little nervous.  It started raining and we decided to make a day of it.

We spent the afternoon in the hotel and I have to say it was pretty bad.  The only channels we got were either Local network, local independents, or ABC Networks.   I would have thought Disney would have had a couple of cartoon channels on the closed circuit for the kids to watch.  Later  when the rain stopped we made use of the Hippy Dippy pool until the life guards kicked us out for and emergency cleaning. WTF is an emergency cleaning.  Was this some kind of Caddy shack moment?  I asked several times and was told that the pools was closed for emergency cleaning.  So we wondered over to the bowling pin pool and swam there until my son turned a nice shade of blue.  Then went back to the room and watched Disney movies on my laptop since they didn't bother to have movies at Pop century for us to watch and there wasn't anything to watch on tv.

Early to be early to rise or something like that.
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Disney Day by Day Day4 Epcot

The Spaceship Earth Ride At EPCOT in Walt Disn...
Image via Wikipedia

Breakfast, bus, bulls*** and other things that start with B lead us to goto Epcot today when we were planning on going to Magic Kingdom.  I was not planning on going to Epcot  today and didn't have a plan.  As a result we wondered around a lot and didn't get to ride Soarin.  Most of the problems we had had more to do with our lack of planning but also a lot to do with the fact that Epcot is not an amusement park.  It started out as educational service and still remains that.  There is very little for a four year old to do and because of that my son really didn't have a good time.

If I ever go back I'll get a baby sitter for this day and Me and the wife will do Epcot alone, or just have to boy there for the morning.  Either way we really needed to find entertainment for our son.

His Highlight was the Seas area.  Nemo, the diver's lockout, the sharks, and the Coral Reef Resturant along with test track were his favorite parts.  This was really one of the two weakest days we had at disney.  Why we spent 45 minutes riding the Ellen ride I still don't know.

I don't think we will ever do Epcot again there just isnt enough there.  Or at least I didn't know and coldn't find much for us to do.  Maybe next time I'll try it with a plan from touring plans .com.

Last thing let me mention the Meal from Coral Reef.  If you can afford the meal this place is worth going to eat at.  The steak was good, the fish tank in the side of the wall and the divers made for if not the best dinning experience of the trip it was number two.
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Disney Day by Day Day3 Magic Kingdom

Cinderella Castle at the Magic Kingdom, Walt D...
Image via Wikipedia

Yea breakfast Blah Blah not good should of had a peanut butter sandwich.  Off to the park We had to wait for the second bus this morning and luckly it arrived just as we were getting to the bus stop.  I had to stand but my wife and child had a seat all the way to the Magic Kingdom.  Now I'm going to share a secret there is a website that sales plans to the magic kingdom.   Toruing Plans .com is wonderful site and is worth the price of the membership.  I used the plan both days at the Magic Kingdom and we got a chance to ride nearly everything my son could ride.   One tip we used the Dumbo or Death two day plan and it was great.

I'm not going to list everyride we rode just understand we had a chance to ride everything in fantasy land, adventure land, the steamboat, watched two parades and had lunch.

Lunch was at the Liberty Tree Tavern where we dinned on a nice family style lunch.  My son got to meet Chip, Dale, Minnie mouse, and Pluto.  He was happy and ate a fair amount of the plate we were served.  The dessert was nice and I'm going to start Disney rant 3.  Every meal on the meal plan has a  dessert and being diabetic and really don't need 2 desserts a day.  but If  I didn't eat it I would have felt like I had not gotten the value of the meal plan.  They really need one that offers an appetizer or some other option.  End rant

We tried to stay for the fire works but we were just to tired and went back to Pop Century.

A quick note the Dumbo Ride has a long wait.  Really a much longer wait then it deserves.  Instead of waiting for dumbo go to adventure land and ride the Aladdins Magic Carpet is much shorter or at least it was on our visit and is nearly the same ride.  Also When you first get to the park Fastpass pooh and then when you can Fastpass Petterpan's flight while you waiting for your fast time ride on pooh catch Small World, or Snow White booth are quick moving lines.

Disney day by day delayed Day2 Animal Kingdom

Animal Kingdom's original logo which includes ...
Image via Wikipedia

Day 2 opened bright and shiny.  We went down for breakfast and found that Pops breakfast was ok.  The night before we had stayed in a great hotel that offered a free breakfast.  Pop sure didn't. we had to pay for a so so waffle and nearly bland sausage and bacon.  I don't eat eggs and the breakfasts are almost always egg heavy.  One of the nicer touches of the visit were the mickey waffles my son had.  He thought they were  very nice and I'm not looking forward to the first time he wants me to male them for breakfast at home.

After we consumed some calories it was time to load up the bus and head tot he park.  I had to take our car and get it worked on so my wife and son had to travel on the bus with out me this day and they had to stand the whole time.  Now begins Disney RANT one (you have been warned) I am a product of the South.  A try to be a Southern Gentleman that being said if I  was on the bus before someone else and a old person, parent with small child, or woman came on the bus after me I always offered them my seat.  I don't know how many other men would just sit there and watch some parent try and keep there little from falling down on the bus as the drivers tried out for Nascar. End rant one.

We got to Animal Kingdom about 9:30 and this being January the park was not very crowded that day.  We had no problems at all riding all the rides we wanted to and getting a place to sit on benches.  My son loved the Triceratops Spin its the same ride as Dumbo, Aladdin's Carpet and Astro blaster.  You spin around and go up and down.  My son wanted to ride it three times and since the park was empty in this area we had no problem in letting him ride it as much as he wanted.   My wife rode Primeval Whirl which she claims to have enjoyed.  Spawnling  then wanted to "dig for dinosaur bones" in the bone yard and was sad to find out you didn't really dig for anything.  In Chattanooga's Creative Discovery Museum you get to dig for resin dino bones in their sand pit and he was most upset that there wasn't anything to really dig.

After I recovered from chasing a 4 year old around the Dinoland we rode Dinosaur, and visited its Not Easy to be a Bug. Neither of which made my son very happy and were the major contributor to his nightmares.

By now it was lunch and we were very hungry and we went in search of our first lunch buffet at Tuskers.  And this begins Rant number two (you were warned)  The restaurants at Disney have a great disparity in the quality of the food and the prices.  I found many of the places we ate on the Disney plan just plain plain.  Also the suggested tipping on the receipt is not industry standards .  Buffet Tipping is 10 percent. At all the Buffets they suggested you tip 18 -20 percent. End Rant

At Tuskers we had a nice lunch and the food was ok.  It was much better then the breakfast but not better then any of the Chain Buffets I have eaten at.  It was not worth 20 plus dollars a plate.  Ryan's or Golden Corral  both have better food and cheaper prices.  I understand Disney tax but double the cost is ridicules.

Or afternoon was taken up with the Kilimanjaro Safari, Rafiki's Planet Watch, Festival of the Lion King, and travel back to the hotel.  Where we had our first counter service at pop everything.  The dinner was so much better then the breakfast it was hard to believe that we were in the same place.   We enjoyed the meals I had a nice meatball sub and my wife had a flat bread chicken something that she had again the next night.

After dragging the youngling to the room and bed we all colapsed and slept the sleep of the exhausted

Disney day by day delayed Day1 No park

Disney's Pop Century Resort
Image via Wikipedia

This is a series of posts about our trip to disney world.  We had a eight day stay with six days at the parks.  I hope you are able to use my experience to help you if you try to visit the parks.   The reason I waited to post until we got back was I didn't want to let people know that our house was empty while we were gone.

On the first day we checked into Pop Century resort and checked into our  room.  The room was small.  Very small. By comparison the night before we stayed in a Best Western in Ocala Park Florida for nearly the same price.  This room was about 350 ft2  and one of the best hotel rooms I have stayed in.

The Pop Century rooms may have been 280 ft2 and the odd shape of the door way makes the space even more cramped.   I don't understand the reason fro having a door at an angle.  If the doors had been flat across the front like in normal hotels the room would have had another 30-40 ft2 which it really needs.

The beds are doubles and are very small cramped beds.  I could not lay on the beds with my wife and turn over.  If my son laid down in the bed with us we it was not comfortable at all.  Most of the nights he had to sleep on a pallet in the floor.  The room was clean and smelled well.  We didn't have neighbors for most of our stay and I'm glad of that as the two nights we did they were very noisy.

After we checked into the resort we had to carry our luggage to the room.  They didn't have normal luggage carts like a regular hotel, instead they used some kind of large hand trucks that convert into a cart.  We loaded our luggage onto this cart and hiked the 200 miles from the parking lot to The 50's 3 Building.  If we had flown they would have delivered the luggage to our room but since we drove I could not even get any help toting the stuff from our car to the room and had to make 3 trips to get it all.  We learned after we got there they had a laundry so we didn't need to bring 8 days of clothes with us.

Once we got checked into the room we had to beat feet to make it to the boardwalk and our first days table service meal. And we ran into the fact that you cant go anywhere at Disney in less then a hour using their bus system.  To go from Pop Century to the Boardwalk where we had dinner reservations you first have to go from Pop to one of the parks or Downtown Disney.   It takes 30 minutes or so to go to the park then you have to wait at the park for a bus for the boardwalk.   It took us over 70 minutes  to get there.

Image by MomMaven via Flickr

Now dinner at Kouzzina was a treat and raelly the only meal we had that I felt was worth the price we had to pay and the cost of the tip.  I had a wonderful lamb shank  and my wife had the whole fish.  Both were so good I can't complain about the cost or anything else.  I'd  gladdly have paid more for the meal jsut glad it was part of the Disney dinning plan.

After dinner we strolled along the boardwalk with our spawn and took a boat ride across the lake and then walked back.   After the walk we had to find our way back to Pop so we had to go to Downtown Disney and catch a bus back about 90 minutes total travel time.

We got back and crashed so we could get a early start in the morning.