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Jentasmic!: A Fairy Tale Wedding

24 Apr

There are so many reasons for me to smile at Walt Disney World! But in the last couple years, there’s been one in particular that chokes me up every time I take the monorail past the Grand Floridian, as chronicled in this week’s Jentasmic! column at StudiosCentral:

… in years past, I’d feel bittersweet when we’d glide past the wedding chapel at the Grand Floridian, knowing that it was reserved only for opposite-sex couples. Same-sex couples could purchase some types of Fairy Tale Wedding plans, but not those most exposed to the public eye, such as the glass carriage ride through Disney property. These highly-prized opportunities were only available to those with valid wedding licenses, which the state of Florida reserves only for opposite-sex couples.

But for the last couple years now, when the announcer reminds me that “Couples may exchange vows in a fairy tale setting complete with a picturesque backdrop of Cinderella Castle,” I can smile wholeheartedly, knowing that Disney opened up all Fairy Tale Wedding packages to all couples in April of 2007, shortly after the gay news and commentary site AfterElton.com published an article critical of their previous policies. Does this change affect the experience that most Guests have when they visit Walt Disney World? I think not. I’d wager that the average Guest knows nothing of the controversy, much less its resolution. I suspect that very few same-sex marriages have been performed at the Grand Floridian wedding chapel, if the ratio of same-sex/opposite-sex weddings is anything like that of Massachusetts. (Bottom line is, after working through the initial backlog of same-sex couples who’d waited years or decades for marriage rights, there hasn’t been the flood of same-sex marriages that some had expected.) But it makes a big difference to this Guest, and I’m sure it matters to other queer people too, as well as our allies.

We still have a long way to go….same-sex marriage is legal in only 8% of US states. But that’s 8% more than just a few years ago, and sometimes when I see how far we’ve come I can’t help but well up.

I watched the movie Milk recently, and it really took me back to my childhood growing up outside San Francisco, and to my late teens coming out as queer in a fabulous group for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered youth. I always find myself going back to Harvey Milk’s (perhaps apocryphal) kid from Altoona, Pennsylvania.

(text available here)

When I watched Sean Penn and Dustin Lance Black accept their Academy Awards for their work on Milk, I thought of that kid in Altoona, and hoped she or he was watching, and heard that there are lots of Us’s, that there’s hope. Those acceptance speeches reached into far more living rooms than most newspapers do, nowadays.

And if it can give a kid hope to know that someone like her can be elected to public office, just think of how it feels to some isolated kid, or even a scared and closeted grownup, to know that someday they too could waltz their prince or princess through the Grand Floridian, and marry in the shadow of Cinderella’s Castle.

It’s just gotta make a difference.

Dark Roasted Blend: Early Monorails

21 Apr

If you enjoy that trip around the Seven Seas Lagoon, or between Tomorrowland and Downtown Disney via Disney’s California Adventure, check out the excellent collection of photos and information about early monorails at Dark Roasted Blend.

Jentasmic!: SuperStar Monorail Cast Members

25 Nov

In the front car of the MonorailI was thrilled when I heard that some of the Year of a Million Dreams team had read my Jentasmic! column last month on Superstar Cast Members. I’m sad that the Year of a Million Dreams is wrapping up soon, and truly hope that Disney will continue to give its Cast Members the flexibility to be able to provide an extra bit of kindness and magic here and there, as the individual Cast Members see fit.

So, I just couldn’t resist reprising the concept, and this time focusing on some of the fabulous Cast Members I’ve met on the Monorails. I have been so very fortunate! A sample:

Backstage Tour! I have never seen the Electrical Water Pageant. Dunno why…every trip I think I’m gonna catch it, and then every trip it’s just too much bother to get over to the viewing spot when I could be taking yet another spin on Pirates or Haunted Mansion. But thanks to one kind Cast Member, now I know where they keep the floats! My son and I were chatting about the water pageant while riding in the coveted front car of the Monorail between Magic Kingdom and the TTC, and the Monorail Operator was kind enough to slow down the monorail for a few seconds while he pointed out the storage location to us.  I still haven’t seen the darn pageant…but now I feel like I’m in on a fun little secret.

Please Stand Clear of the Doors

13 Sep

From the Disney Geeks’ Daily Figment:

I submit to you the ultimate collectible: a monorail in your own backyard! Dan Pedersen of Fremont, California has constructed the ultimate reminder of a trip to WDW. For under $5,000.00 (not including his years of labor), Ken constructed a complex, usable monorail system in his own backyard. The monorail reaches a height of over eight feet and travels a lengthy 300 feet around his backyard, making several stops along the way.

Head on over to Wired.com for more pictures.

Monorail Cat

24 May

 

Thank goodness for the interweb. How else would we efficiently spread time-wasting yet amusing memes like Monorail Cat? You certainly couldn’t do that when I was a kid. Back then, we had to settle for chain letters.

Monorail Cat

There’s even a Monorail Cat extended dance remix on YouTube.

Disney Parks Music Available for Download

27 Apr

Just heard this on this week’s Inside the Magic podcast . . . Disneyland Paris has a web site where you can download various Disney Parks audio for free. They have four MP3s currently online, and apparently post new files every couple weeks. Today’s selection includes the full Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom Monorail spiel. (Say, am I the only WDW Today listener who giggles every time I hear Narcoosee’s mentioned?) I’m rooting for them to post the Animagique MP3 next!

It’s a little confusing at first . . . the files download as zip files (a problem for some people’s firewalls, I realize), and you need a password to unzip them (the password is listed on the web site). But it seems that once you’ve unzipped and unlocked the files, you can import them into your local music library.

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