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April 22nd, 2024

DVC Again

Disney Vacation Club welcome tote bag…then…

…and now.

The tote bags are the welcome package you get whenever you buy points in the Disney Vacation Club. There are goodies inside, but mostly it was that first tote bag that really told me I’d bought into something special when I bought my first set of points a decade ago.

This time around…not so much.

When I retired I sold my DVC points because I thought the entire Disney World experience was going downhill and I probably wouldn’t go back. Bob Chapek, the previous CEO of Disney seemed to just want to trash everything people loved about the parks. The Disney message boards were full of heartbroken complaints about his disrespect for park theming and guest experience. All the little perks of staying in a park hotel were going away and the annual pass system was being changed out from under us. I never got a notice to renew my old annual pass and assumed they just didn’t want us having them because it was costing them money. For a while nobody could buy a new one.

And then there was the new park reservation system. They’d implemented that during COVID, but then it became a permanent fixture. So even if you had an annual pass, you still had to make park reservations and if you might not be able to if they’d all been taken for the days you wanted. So to my mind that made the annual pass worthless, and staying at Boardwalk pointless.

Then it began to look like single diners could not make dining reservations at the nicer sit down restaurants.

So I sold my DVC points and let the annual pass lapse. But then they fired Chapek and brought back Iger and it seemed things were turning around. Some of the perks came back (I’m still waiting for the bar stools and food menus to come back to the Tune-In Lounge…). I went back a few times and renewed my love of the parks, especially after the Florida republicans went on a warpath against Disney for treating its LGBT guests and employees decently. I bought tickets for the first time in over a decade (because no annual pass) and navigated the park reservation system. I still hate it, but with the new “go-to” days looks like Disney World is trying to move away from it.

With some difficulty I got the Disney World annual pass back. Then I visited Disneyland for the first time and lucked out on getting a Disneyland annual pass before my second visit. While at Disneyland I was approached by a DVC saleslady.

What happened was I was checking out the guest laundry at one of the hotel towers, which as it turned out was their DVC tower. My next trip to Disneyland I’m going to try to arrange a ride on the California Zephyr…a trip I’ve fantasied about since childhood. The plan would be to take the Zephyr to California, and pick up the Coast Starlight from Emeryville to San Luis Obispo where my brother could pick me up. I’d stay with him for a few weeks, then take the train to Anaheim again and Disneyland, spend five or six days there at the Disneyland Hotel, then take the train back to LA Union Station and pick up the Southwest Chief, which I’d taken before, back to Chicago and a train from there to Baltimore.

If I do it that way I will need to be able to do a laundry before the train ride back home because I won’t be able to carry a lot of luggage with me. Just enough stuff for the train. I’ll need to do a laundry before heading back. So I asked a security guard where the guest laundry was. He offered to lead me to it because it was down an odd hallway. Afterward we talked about our mutual love of the Disney Parks (I told him about the classmate, that Certain Someone who coaxed me into coming to Disney in the first place, showed him a picture of the guy, and he said he actually remembered him(!)) 

When we parted ways, a DVC sales lady came over to talk to me. She said she’d heard me talking about selling my DVC points and she asked me why. I told here basically what I wrote at the beginning of this post and she suggested (of course) that I might want to look into becoming a DVC member again. There were specials going on and she could get me back in for not so much money.

I thought it over, and later via email asked her about Saratoga Springs, which I used to use my Grand Floridian points for to have a nice warm weather vacation in February, at a DVC hotel that gives me walking access to Disney Springs. Saratoga Springs was the original DVC hotel, and it’s the least expensive one point wise. Walking access is super important to me. The reason I had points at Boardwalk, besides liking the theming of it, was it gave me walking access to my two favorite parks, Epcot and Hollywood Studios. But with the park reservation system that isn’t nearly as convenient as before. You don’t need reservations to walk over to Disney Springs.

Over the next couple days we talked it over…I had budgetary considerations…and I eventually agreed to buy in again. I got 100 points in Saratoga Springs.

What you see at the top up there is one of the two tote bags I got when I first joined DVC, first for 75 points at Grand Floridian, and then for 100 at Boardwalk. The tote bag below that is what I got after rejoining.

This came inside the new tote…

That’s one of the little goodies in the tote you get joining now. I’m sure the saleslady saw the look on my face when she handed that new tote bag to me. All I can think is Disney is still sweating blood over all the money they lost during the COVID lock downs and now they’re cutting corners everywhere they can that doesn’t piss off the guests.

But I’m fine being back in. Not as many points as before, but for now anyway I’m splitting my time between Disney World and Disneyland, so I don’t need as many points. There is a DVC section of the Disneyland Hotel, but even if I got points in that one it is so high in demand that I’d still have trouble getting in, so I’ll just pay the money for a stay there. My annual pass gets me a discount on a room there anyway.

by Bruce | Link | React!

Weirdly Ill, And My First Use Of My New Disneyland Annual Pass

Week before last I was feeling extremely bad. So fatigued I barely got out of bed. No energy at all. It began to scare me enough that I went to the emergency room here (after checking that it was in my network). But they couldn’t find anything wrong…at least in the tests they gave me. So I was discharged with advise to get with my GP back home, drink more water, eat healthier food (good luck with that) and take a multivitamin. 

That afternoon, as I tried to give my car an oil change, I felt so badly out of balance that I fell over twice, and felt like I was about to fall over every time I leaned over the engine compartment of my Mercedes. I was tempted to go right back to the ER and tell them something was still wrong, you need to give me some better tests. But as usual with me, I decided to wait it out and see if it got any worse.

I’d bought some Boost Oxygen cans for a possible trip back home via I-70, to get me though that 11k plus altitude at the Eisenhower Tunnel. The next morning I tried huffing one to see if it helped any. Probably, in retrospect, it was just coincidence, but I began immediately to feel better. I think now that I might have had some food poisoning from that popcorn shrimp I had at the Dairy Queen in Santa Rosa NM. But I don’t know.

I am feeling much Much better now, but I still have this disturbing feeling that I’m about to lose my balance every time I have to suddenly change direction…like when I’m trying to avoid stepping on Henry, my brother’s Maine Coon cat, while he’s darting in front of me to get my attention. I really need to talk with my GP and see if someone can figure out why I’m still having balance trouble.

Last week I took my second ever trip to Disneyland. In a previous post I wrote about my good luck in getting a Disneyland annual pass. I got a chance to use it then. As before, I took the train down to Anaheim, which is a snap since the train station here is just a couple miles from my brother’s house. But I made a mistake I’ll never make again with the hotel reservations.

Because I saw myself spending so much money with the new Annual Pass and the road trip to California, I decided to see if staying at a nearby hotel instead of at the Disneyland Hotel would work. There was a Holiday Inn close enough I could walk to the park, and I am a Holiday Inn One member so staying there would get me membership points I could use later. And I favor the Holiday Inn Express hotels while on the road. So I made a reservation for that one close to Disneyland. It was about one-third the cost of staying at the Disneyland Hotel. But you get what you pay for.

It was a bad choice. The room was the worst I ever had at any Holiday Inn. Way too tiny for the two single beds in it, next to the elevator machine room, and the doors to get in and out of the pool so there was a Lot of noise from the other guests and the elevator. I couldn’t open the window without everyone at the pool being able to look in as the room was slightly below ground level. The bathroom was barely larger than a closet. I’d rate it as no better than a two star hotel. So I decided to see if I could get a room at the Disneyland Hotel and just accept the cost. I had an unexpectedly good tax refund this year, so the money was there. And I really needed this trip to Disneyland to get me out of the depressed funk I was in since February.

But there was a problem. The Disneyland Hotel website would not let me make a reservation before the Friday I was set to go back to Oceano. I tried the hotel apps and it looked like they were sold out for the week. So the morning of my second day in Anaheim, I walked to the hotel and went to the front desk and asked if they had any rooms I could reserve. The clerk said they didn’t make future reservations for walk-ins, only same day. That was fine I told her, I want to check in today and check out Friday.

They had a room! No annual pass discounts for same day, but I was desperate to get out of that Holiday Inn room. I went back, repacked my things, and rolled my luggage a quarter mile to the better hotel.

There were other complications…I could not link my hotel reservation to my Disneyland app for some reason because it was a walk-in, so they made a new reservation that would link to the app, but then the key cards I had wouldn’t let me in the room so they had to fix that, and then I got billed twice for the reservation because they hadn’t cancelled the walk-in one. But it all got fixed.

The Holiday Inn refunded me the money for the days I didn’t stay. Then billed me for them again, so I had to go back and find out why. Turned out the clerk that checked me out early and gave me the refund, didn’t actually note that was wasn’t using the room anymore. So I got that fixed.

And I was able, finally, to have a nice Disney vacation. Mostly at California Adventure because that’s my favorite theme park now, even over Epcot. First thing I did after getting into the Disneyland Hotel room was walk over to California Adventure and use my new annual pass to get in. I had to use the Disneyland app to show the cast member at the gate my pass, because I hadn’t just then linked it to my Disneyland Magic Band+. Things are different there versus Disney World, where the Magic Band does it all. More about that later. 

So I’m back in Oceano now, and my mindset is much, Much better. Apart from the occasional feeling of losing my balance. Which happened to me lots while trying to navigate the crowds in the Disney parks, and Downtown Disney.

Oh…and I’m back in the Disney Vacation Club. More on all that later…

by Bruce | Link | React!

March 6th, 2024

Did I Really Need Another Annual Pass?

Yes…yes I did…

This is for Disneyland in Anaheim California…the original park, which I went to for the first time last year (and I still haven’t posted about that here…sorry…). At that time California Adventure became my new favorite theme park and I knew I was going back every time I visited family in California. So I began thinking about getting one of their annual passes too, or maybe even forgoing the Disney World pass for one at Disneyland, because both might be a bit too much to maintain on retirement income.

I’m still amazed I got it…Disney annual passes are Hard to get these days because park attendance just keeps going up and up and they’re trying harder now since COVID to keep a lid on it to keep it enjoyable…and yes, keep their costs down. I’d already decided to take a road trip to Oceano after I got some maintenance done on the Mercedes, and I was pretty sure that while I was there I’d do another Disneyland visit. I was about to go to bed last night when I randomly decided to check to see if the passes were on sale again. They only open up a short window of opportunity for just one day and for just a few hours until they hit their limit on sales. I’ve logged in before only to discover I missed the date by a few, but they seem to only whisper when the passes will go on sale and if you aren’t tuned in at just that moment you miss it. I logged in late last night and lo and behold they were selling them, and I picked one, got dropped right into a waiting queue, and then almost immediately was presented with a form to complete my purchase. I’ve no idea how I lucked out that much, but it happened.

So now I have a Disneyland annual pass too. I will probably renew the Disney World one at least once this year when it comes up: I already have a reservation for Port Orleans Riverside, my favorite, when that time comes around. Whether or not I renew it after that depends on what the renewal price is. But I am keeping my Disneyland annual pass. The political climate for folks like me is much better in California, and that is the land of my birth anyway. I’d wanted to retire back to there but it’s too expensive now, and I have a cute little house with an easy mortgage in a very nicely walkable neighborhood here in Baltimore.

I’ll do another road trip to California sometime around end of July or August.

by Bruce | Link | React!

January 22nd, 2024

Yes, It’s Winter In Maryland Isn’t It?

My high tech thermostat was telling me that it’s 13 degrees outside when I got up this morning (it’s taking readings from the AC unit outside where it’s mostly in the shade this time of year). I was hoping for something a bit warmer so I could do my morning walk. But I reckon that’s going to have to wait.

I sure can’t wait for the temperatures to rise into the 50s, like the forecast is saying, later this week. It’ll come with a lot of rain but that’ll help get rid of the snow that’s keeping the car put for now. Of course that’ll mean more flooding.

I’m taking the train to Walt Disney World at the end of the month, as a winter mental health break. Initially I’d wanted to do it right after New Year but there were no roomettes available and this would have to be a train ride because this is the snow time of year and I didn’t want to drive down only to find my streets a foot or more deep in snow and nowhere to park. I’d given some thought to taking a week during Valentine’s day to perk me up, but on reflection that would only have depressed me more. A round trip on the Silver Meteor was available within my budget for the end of January and I took that.

But there were no Disney rooms available in the park other than the top level thousand dollar plus rooms which I can’t afford, and as I write this even those rooms are unavailable. It was frustrating, but on the other hand good to see that DeSantis and Rufo are having zero effect on Walt Disney World’s popularity. I made sure to get my room in Port Orleans Riverside for the May/June two week vacation (can I call them vacations if I’m retired??) now instead of waiting until the annual pass renewal.

I can only wring five nights in a hotel row hotel this trip, but that gives me walking access to Disney Springs which is a must have if I can’t get into any of the park hotels (resorts…whatever…), and the train ride is itself a relaxing part of the vacation. I haven’t done the Silver Meteor in a long time. This time I’m getting off in Kissimmee instead of Orlando. It’s just the next stop down but that gets me a drive into the parks without having to navigate I-5 traffic. I’m renting a car for the stay so I can get around the parks on my own schedule, not the bus schedule, and Florida weather allowing it should be a moment of fun and relaxation. 

Then I get to go back home and trudge through the rest of the winter in Maryland. And spend money on the car. It needs new engine and transmission mounts. So it goes…

by Bruce | Link | React!

May 29th, 2023

A Vacation Among Disney People

The workers here (Cast Members, as they’re called) really get into it…

by Bruce | Link | React! (1)

May 18th, 2023

Getting Ready For Gay Days…


This happened in Orlando the other day.

It’s just a couple weeks to Gay Days in WDW and this is one reason why I’m going there with my cameras. Mostly I just want to enjoy the parks, and being able, finally, to go whenever I want now that I’m retired. I think I want a Disney weekend…okay, let’s just go…no need anymore to request vacation time… It’s been something I was looking forward to. The park reservation system and the fact that it’s difficult for single diners to make dining reservations at my favorite places made me question if I was ever going back again. But I think I’ve worked through all that now. I have my annual pass again and selling my DVC points gets me back to making stays in the basic and mid tier park resorts where I can make reservations on the fly whenever I want, which is nearly impossible at a DVC resort. So I’m back in my comfort zone there.

But Gay Days this year is a special case given all the hate mongering going on down in Florida. So to have some Mouseketeer fun with all the other red shirts in the parks isn’t just a good time this year, it’s an act of defiance. Yes, we are Disney people too. And I want to show my support for Disney since they’re taken a lot of static for supporting us. But also, I want to document what is happening down there, in my own way, with my own eyes.

(As a side note, I’m working on getting another photo gallery up here of the stuff I took during the Love In Action and the Love Won Out protests.)

Security is something you almost never even see at WDW, except at the park entrances where screenings and bag checks take place. Once inside the park you might think it isn’t even there at all. But I’ve seen it appear…suddenly out of nowhere…once.

It was in front of La Cava del Tequila inside the Mexico pavilion at EPCOT World Showcase. Someone, probably having had a little too much to drink, got upset at the wait to get in (it’s a pretty small bar with only a few tables), and started causing a loud angry scene, and so I was told later got physical with another guest. He was instantly surrounded and spirited offsite.

And it’s easy for their security to come out of nowhere because there are usually dozens of hidden entrance/exits for the cast members to come and go so they can go about their work. Walt Disney wanted all the mechanics of making the parks work kept out of sight so as not to spoil the illusions he was creating. Magic Kingdom is built on top of a network of tunnels, they call them utilidors. And everywhere in the parks are scattered little out of the way doors and passages marked “Cast Members Only”. And the really interesting part of it is nearly none of them are hidden in a way you might expect. Instead, the scenery is such that your eyes are always directed away from where they are.

And according to a certain someone I used to know who worked there, cameras are everywhere.

So I’m hoping that first weekend in June their security is on their top game. I want everyone to have a good time. I will be very satisfied if the only photos I get are of happy Gay Days Mouseketeers. Because that is a message people still need to see as a counterpoint to all the lies that are surely coming before, during and after the event.

As you can see there, outside the parks it’s probably going to be brutal. I may try to get a few shots of it, but I will have to be very Very careful.

by Bruce | Link | React! (1)

April 20th, 2023


It’s just…amazing…to twitter watch the massive dogpile (of which I was a part) on the Disney website to buy annual passes…some of which are Very Expensive…sprinkled with all the go woke go broke tweets from pudding boy’s fans. Disney sure didn’t go broke today.

And here’s the thing: you buy a pass that means you are going to Disney World at some point. Wherein you will Spend Money. All those new annual passes are ringing the cash registers. Well…or whatever passes for cash registers these days.

I wrote this back in July 2018 as I was renewing my annual pass…

I was having a conversation with a fellow guest at Walt Disney World a few years ago. He was a middle aged man there with his wife and kids and we were sitting at the Tune-In Lounge bar. I must have mentioned something about ticket prices, and how I keep renewing my annual pass simply because the cost of Disney without one is even more hugely expensive. He told me a joke that keeps coming to mind.

“They always talk about magic here,” he said. “You want to know how the magic works? It’s like this. You walk into the park with a hundred dollars in your pocket and maybe you walk back out with five. The magic is they make you want to do it again the next day.”

Universal is running some ads promoting their theme park with the slogan, “It’s more than magic, it’s real.” I’m guessing it’s a sideways slam at their biggest competitor down there, but it has a sad truth to it. Let me say I’ve been to Universal and for a while given my issues with Disney’s handling of tickets and that god awful park reservation system, I was tempted to buy one of their annual passes. Universal is a very good, very entertaining theme park (and it has a Margaritaville!). But the Disney parks still have enough of Walt Disney’s DNA in them that this new slogan of Universal’s kinda works against them by reminding visitors where the magic is. 

That said, be sure to bring money. You will need it. I just saw this morning hundreds if not thousands of people telling Disney to shut up and take their money.


by Bruce | Link | React! (1)

Once A Passholder, Always A Passholder. Sort of.

Back to being an Annual Pass member. Since I sold my DVC points I’d have lost all the perks I used to enjoy without the pass…which I stupidly allowed to expire when they switched to the “Magic Key” thing. The perks being free parking everywhere and discounts on everything including in park hotels. Since I usually drive down the free parking thing is especially valuable to me. So on days when I can’t afford to stay in park I can still get parking.

I never want to wait in a ticket queue like the one I just did ever again! Maybe I’ll tell that story some other day.

The park reservation system is still a hangup, but annual pass holders can make a reservation at any park and then (provided you have park hopper) go to a different one after 2PM. Trick is you Have to go to the one you made a reservation for no later than 11am. But it’s close enough to how it all used to work for me that I can handle it.

Plus I get both water parks and they don’t need reservations.

I’m on retirement income so I probably can’t afford staying in a Disney resort more than once a year. At least not in the nice middle tier resorts like my favorite, Port Orleans Riverside. But there are plenty of nice third party hotels on “hotel row” inside the park that have excellent rates, and with the annual pass parking perk I’m still good. And with the passholder discount their economy resorts might actually look better price wise than hotel row. It’s what I used to do before I became DVC.

DVC was nice for a while, but I’m glad to have it off my back. It just didn’t make enough sense for my income level. And I’m not doing badly at all. And it limited my flexibility in going which was something I was looking forward to in retirement. You just can’t make DVC reservations on a whim. 

Wherever I stay, I am Not spending one thin dime outside of Disney World if I can help it! But I might make an exception to go see classmate Reverend Billy if he’s playing nearby. And a classmate I know who’s living further south, and who must be going nuts with all the bellicose religiosity going on down there.

Definitely doing Disneyland, finally, sometime during my next California trip. There are good hotels in walking distance to the park that aren’t pricey, and a three day park hopper ticket isn’t all that expensive.

Wish they could just expand Disneyland into another Disney World out there, but not being able to expand there is why Walt Disney gobbled up so much of Florida.

by Bruce | Link | React!

April 11th, 2023

Hello Mr DeSantis, I’m Here For Gay Days.

…and so are hundreds of us. It’s a small world after all!

I saw a few moments ago on Twitter another gay activist (self described) writing that nobody should spend any money at Disney World or in Florida, and that corporate gay allies actually harm progress. I made my case against that claptrap, at least regards Disney, in this blogpost. Pay attention to the last 2 paragraphs. The joy of acceptance and inclusion in those two teenage girls when they saw those Mickey pins Is Progress. As much progress as any of us managed to make for all our activism back in the day. The kids are the future of this country, that great big beautiful tomorrow shining at the end of every day, and at that moment those two saw themselves in it. 

They saw themselves accepted and included in the Disney family. And it doesn’t get more all American wholesome than that.

That is how progress is made. That is what Disney is doing for us. That is what DeSantis and the republicans want desperately to put a stop to. That is why they passed Don’t Say Gay.

I can see not spending money elsewhere in Florida, but I will continue to support Disney. The republicans blew a fuse when Disney objected to Don’t Say Gay and after that it was a torrent of hate mongering, directed at Disney, but mostly directed at us. Every filthy lie you ever heard about gay people suddenly came rushing out like a reservoir of bile that had been bottled up just waiting for an excuse to roar out and flood the democratic conversation. Yes, they hate us. Yes, we know. But as I said previously, they can turn Florida into a ghetto of hate but there is a world outside its borders, and it’s a small world after all. And there really is a great big beautiful tomorrow shining at the end of every day. And we will not be shamed into silence anymore. And neither will our families, our friends, and the companies run by men and women who think progress on human rights isn’t just good for business, but good for the country, good for civilization.

I was regretting I might miss Gay Days again because I thought I really should go and document the goings on especially this year into the DeSantis/republican war on Disney and all things LGBT. Especially Disney since the homophobic rhetoric is that familiar Anita Bryant Save Our Children claptrap and never mind that Walt Disney wanted his parks to be for all ages. I’ve been documenting our struggle with my cameras since I was drafted into it when I came out to myself back in 1971. I felt I should be there in Disney World this year to document whatever the kooks were up to while we were enjoying the parks. But I had plans to spend the summer out in California with my brother, which would have put me on the other side of the country. Then some helpful complications arose.

I am 69, going on 70. I had my last colonoscopy 11 years ago, which gave me a clean bill of health, but now I’m due for another. My GP recommended I use the new Cologuard test but it isn’t perfect. If you pass you still would need one every three years. If you fail maybe you have cancer maybe you don’t but now you need the full up colonoscopy. I failed mine. So I had to schedule one. But nobody could get me scheduled any time before July it seemed. And there was another complication: I am a heart patient. I needed my cardiologist to sign off on my stopping the blood thinners he has me on for the two or three days leading up to the procedure. 

So I had to delay my California trip. eventually I got everything scheduled between my cardiologist and the gastroenterologist, and lo and behold I have a window of opportunity between the two to go back to Disney for Gay Days after all.

I just made reservations to go during Gay Days. I’m staying inside the park again this trip. I have my tickets and park reservations. It’s all set. First thing is I am going to enjoy the parks, enjoy Gay Days (I haven’t been in years and years) and document a lot of happy LGBT folk enjoying the parks and generally having fun. So people can see we are as human as anyone else. Because some people need reminding of that fact. But also, second thing is I am going to keep an eye out for any protests and craziness and document that too with my cameras.

When I get back home I’ll put my photos up here in the gallery. 

by Bruce | Link | React!

March 25th, 2023

Why I Am Not (totally) Boycotting Florida

Once upon a time not all that long ago, you could not find any merchandise anywhere in any of the Disney parks with anything like the gay pride rainbow on it, let alone the older lambda gay activists used to used as their symbol. Gay Days began in Disneyland back in the 70s as a response to same sex couples being thrown out of the park for dancing along with the rest of the couples. We did a “zap” and hit the dance floor en masse, everyone in on it wearing red shirts so we would know who was there for the zap. It worked, and after that it became a yearly thing that eventually spread to all the parks.

A certain someone who used to work here at Disney World once told me that gay days was one of their biggest yearly money makers. But there was no official recognition. Whenever culture warriors bellyached about it Disney’s response was that they’re in the hospitality business and everyone was welcome.

Back then the closest thing to a pride rainbow you could find around here was a specific Mickey pin with the peace rainbow on it that was close enough that gay visitors would wear it.

That was all there was for us. But in every other way the parks and the cast members made us feel welcome here during gay days. We had private parties at Typhoon Lagoon. We had hotel chains all around the parks vying for our business. Gay Days itself became a business. But coming out and actually acknowledging us was a step too far for corporate.

Then the massacre at the Pulse nightclub happened. It shocked the entire city, and especially the park workers and management. It seemed like everyone here either knew someone who was there that night, or knew someone who knew someone. I’d had a vacation planned for the month after and I saw the lingering shock on everyone’s faces here. And I heard stories. Horrible stories.

That changed things. The very next year they retired the peace rainbow mickey, and actual Pride rainbow merchandise appeared. And it seems that every year they add something new to what they’re calling here the Pride Collection. I especially like my coffee mug at home that says, “Belong, Believe, Be Proud.”


It’s a slogan they’re putting on other items now too.

Disney has taken a lot of grief for speaking out against DeSantis’ Don’t Say Gay law, and it looks very much to me like they are Not backing down and I am not going to walk away from the Parks simply because they are in Florida. And I’m pretty sure the DeSantis crowd remembers the day Pulse happened a little differently than the rest of us do, if at all. I remember some pulpit thumper yapping that he was sorry more of us weren’t killed that day. Given all the vitriol that’s been vented toward us since Disney spoke out I am certain it’ll be lots worse this coming June. There will be demands that the Pride merchandise go away. There will be demands to keep LGBT guests out of the park, or at least toss any of them out for something as simple as holding hands in public. Given the blood thirsty rhetoric coming out of the Florida GOP there could easily be violence. I am tempted to delay my California trip until after Pride just to come down here and document the goings on with my cameras.

So. I can appreciate the position that I shouldn’t be contributing to the Florida economy while the governor and the statehouse are so nail spittingly hostile toward us. But I am standing with Disney, because Disney stood with us, and still is. And if that bothers anyone I am not in the least bit sorry.

Here’s what I saw yesterday while strolling in Hollywood Studio.

A couple teenage girls, vaguely goth-ish, saw this and one of them remarked on how amazing it all felt to her. I saw the look of joy and wonder on her face. She looked like she’d been lifted up like she never had before. I remember how it was for me.

They can turn Florida into a ghetto of hate, but there is a world outside its borders and it’s a small world after all. And there really is a great big beautiful tomorrow shining at the end of every day. And we will not be shamed into silence anymore.

Belong, Believe, Be Proud.

by Bruce | Link | React! (1)

March 23rd, 2023

Work In Progress Progressing…

…even while on vacation. Sort-of. What does “vacation” even mean when you’re retired? It means you needed a change of scenery. And I badly needed one. So here I am.

Garrett family of one, all checked in to Port Orleans Riverside. New Orleans slow jazz playing on the room TV.

I could get very used to going back to this way of staying here. This was how I stayed before I bought into DVC. The mid grade resorts are very nice, and being retired I can go whenever the rates go down. I’m only missing the kitchen, but I’ve ways of dealing with that.

Still working on ACOS #36 while here at Disney World. I’ve done this sort of thing many times before and I know exactly what to bring. Here’s the setup I had while I was staying at B.


Got another ACOS #36 strip done just now and posted to my website. That’s three done and three more to go.

I’m not posting a live link to the new episode until it’s all finished and I’m good with what’s out there. But those of you handy with all this Internet Web stuff can figure out what the link will be from how all the others in this project are constructed and see the work in progress as I post new ones if you want.

Think I might take a stroll around the resort now and decompress. Port Orleans Riverside is pretty nice. Going to Epcot later.

I had dinner at the Riviera with some friends from Space Telescope a couple days ago. The restaurant is on the top floor of a really nice DVC hotel and the view from the terrace is spectacular.

I had their signature fish dinner. No photo because I was too busy digging in. It was Wonderful. They took me to the steakhouse at the Yacht Club yesterday.

Not a lot of Pride merchandise here now, but it’s there if you look.

I’m guessing it’s because a lot of space is being taken up by the park celebration of Women’s History Month. And they’re really going all in on it with displays and (of course) merchandise celebrating the women who’ve contributed over the decades to Disney films and park designs. I stop to read all of it and it’s just stunning how much of it there is in Disney history that’s been behind the curtains all these years.

The new Magic Band+ is really something. It pairs with your smartphone and is rechargeable. You can check the battery level and update the software on your smartphone. So it’s not just a simple short range RF device that dispenses a serial number attached to your Disney account anymore, it’s yet another smart device.

Battery charge only lasts three days and they say to keep it on its recharger overnight while in the parks. The original Magic Bands lasted several years but they didn’t do much except dispense a serial number.

Of course making a big display for Women’s History Month isn’t going to make the MAGA morons any happier with Disney and that’s good (we’ve all read about how they’re blaming the failure of Silicon Valley Bank on its “woke” board of directors…right?). I expect the Pride stuff will come back out in June. We’ll see how DeSantis responds. It’s not generally understood how much he backed down from his threat last year to take away Disney’s special improvement district.

by Bruce | Link | React!

March 15th, 2023

Mr Fixit Does Not Give Up Easily

I can be stubborn. And especially when it comes to something like this. A few years ago at the Marketplace Co-op in Disney Springs I saw a display selling customized protective cases for your smartphone. You could get one with all sorts of Disney artwork on it, and you could buy it with your name printed on it. They had a machine that printed them up to order right there. In the display was one of their Disney Pride examples.

You have to appreciate how Disney’s marketing to gay folk makes a kid that came of age when I did feel. Sure it’s commercial, but I was there the month after the Pulse shootings and I saw how shocked everyone down there was. All that down low wink, wink unspoken acceptance of their LGBT guests changed almost overnight. It’s a small world after all.

So the moment I laid eyes on that smartphone case I had to have one.

It’s been on my iPhone Xs for years, but suddenly last December its plastic frame started breaking apart. I was in California and my brother did his best to glue it back together for me. When I got it home the frame simply started breaking apart in other places. I’ve had this experience before with other things made of this hard plastic, and I knew it would only get worse.

Many years ago I bought what was then a very expensive Minolta dImage 7hi. At the time the first affordable digital cameras were coming out and that Minolta had excellent specs. It was a great little camera, I took it with me on a bunch of road trips. But it was made of this same sort of hard plastic that just starts falling apart all of a sudden.

So there was no fixing that smartphone case and I started looking for a replacement. Disney sells a bunch of Pride merchandise including smartphone covers, but the iPhone Xs is so out of date now I couldn’t find another one. I tried looking for something like it from a third party but ran into the same problem.

Apparently the Xs is already vintage. It’s even hard to find generic cases for it, but I figured I’d try one of those and simply move the custom printed back panel to a new case. It took a lot of searching but I finally found a case that had a transparent back cover that I thought would do the trick. But…no. When the case came I discovered that it was so tightly fitted to the phone I couldn’t put the Disney Pride insert into it and close the case around the phone again. It was too thick. And…being made of that same hard plastic, it was also beginning to come apart at the edges.

So I went though the usual period of being distraught and then getting all stubborn. Okay, thinks I…maybe I can scan in the artwork and print it out on a piece of photo inkjet paper.

A little scanning and GIMP-ing and printing, a little X-Acto work (all those years spent as an architectural model maker still come in handy…) I had my new Pride insert. It fit…barely. And what I ended up with was artwork that was actually more vibrant than the plastic insert I got at the Marketplace Co-op.

I ever get a new iPhone I can probably copy the artwork to a new sheet of photo paper and put it into whatever generic transparent case I can find for it. I’m set. Yes, there are other newer designs out there for the new iPhones, but I like this one.


by Bruce | Link | React!

November 21st, 2022

To All Who Come To This Happy Place…Go Away…

Like a lot of Disneyphiles, I’m glad Chapek is gone. But digging into it I really doubt Iger is going to reverse any of the obstacles Chapek put up to my enjoying Walt Disney World like I used to, like I was hoping to in my retirement years.

It seems the fact that singles can’t make dining reservations in many of the nicer in park restaurants, the park reservation system, and the god awful new model annual pass system, now called Magic Keys, are parts of a single whole designed to allow management to keep operating costs down by running things with fewer staff.

Initially I was under the impression, like a lot of people, that the park reservation system was for keeping down the crowds. This was a logical conclusion given it was rolled out during the COVID-19 closures. But COVID was a convenient time to implement something I now learn was being planned long before. Management sees it as a way of spreading out attendance and allowing them to keep staffing needs down. The way the Magic Keys work fits into that scheme and even then it looks like they really don’t want to allow anyone to buy new ones because the upper level Keys make it easier to get park reservations. So the Keys have to be limited too.

Story now is for one day new Key purchases were allowed, but you had to get into some sort of digital line to get one and some are saying they waited in excess of 20 hours only to be told the line was closed and no new Keys would be sold. It used to be you just went onto the website and bought an annual pass like you would tickets. No more. Because the entire system is being geared to keeping their operating costs down by keeping the need for staff down.

This is how singles not being able to make dining reservations fits into it. A server can serve a table of two or more, preferably an entire family of four or more. But the same work goes into serving for one and the tab is smaller. So they’re trying to keep single diners out. I’ve written here before about how I’ve talked about that with the Cast Members, none of whom liked the change and all of whom advised me to just make a reservation for two and show up as one. But that’s bullshit.

So I strongly doubt Iger is going to reverse any of that. But it’s what’s keeping me from going back.

My DVC points are still on the market but nobody has bitten yet, probably because interest in making Disney World a yearly or twice yearly thing is waning. What I hate about all this is the MAGA mob is going to say Disney is losing money because of their gay friendly policies. But no. They’re losing money because because they’re making their repeat guests miserable and eventually people stop going.

For most of my life I thoroughly enjoyed myself vacationing at the beach, or on the road. I don’t have to make additional reservations separate from my hotel ones to drive the highways or go to the beach. Usually I don’t have to make any to get a nice meal somewhere. I just show up and ask if it’s okay I sit at the bar. Last year I visited Richmond and found some really nice places to eat and to wander around. I had to buy train tickets and make a hotel reservation. I didn’t have to make a reservation to enter Richmond. Last week I took a brief getaway to Ocean City New Jersey. I just showed up at the Port O Call and asked if they had a room. They did, it was off season so they had plenty. I didn’t have to make a reservation to walk on the boardwalk. I didn’t have to make a reservation to look at the ocean and hear its waves breaking on the shore.

I only started going to Walt Disney World back in 2008, after I discovered my high school crush was working there. He insisted I come down for a visit. “It’s your heritage man…baseball apple pie and Mickey Mouse…what’s wrong with you?” So I went and I’m old enough to remember watching TV when Walt Disney was alive and that first moment I went through the gate at Epcot it all came back to me and I was hooked. If Iger turns it around and I can have the same experience I had before Chapek I reckon I’ll go back again. But I don’t think he can. I’m not even sure he would want to. They’ve baked it all into the system now.

When Walt Disney opened the gates to Disneyland he stepped up to the microphone to dedicate the park. He began by saying, “To all who come to this happy place, welcome. Disneyland is your land.” But it isn’t anymore. And especially if you’re single like I am.

by Bruce | Link | React!

September 9th, 2022

Disney Pride

I took my morning walk here in Disney Springs. I wanted to check out the Disney stores here just to see if any Pride stuff was still being sold. I began to wonder if Disney wasn’t pulling back on that a bit after I looked in the pin traders store and didn’t see any rainbows.

I shouldn’t have worried…

There was a Pride Collection stand in the Disney Store, right where everyone could see it, and it had customers. I have a card with money on it from points I’ve accumulated and just now I used up a little over half of my Disney Money. 

That mug especially gets to me. This isn’t cheap marketing. I was here a month after the Pulse murders. I saw the shock in everyone’s faces here and in the surrounding community of Orlando. It changed the mindset here.

Yes we are a market. Disney leaves no money on the table. But what happened at Pulse woke everyone up. 49 dead, 53 wounded. I saw how shocked Orlando was. I saw the shock in the Disney cast members. Some, seeing my rainbow Mickey pin (which back then was the Peace Rainbow, not the Pride rainbow…but it was close enough) had stories they told me about friends and co-workers who were either there that night, or knew someone who was. Everyone seemed shell shocked by it. There’s woke for you. After that, the Pride merchandise began appearing. No more take our money and look the other way. Now we are embraced.

We see you Ron DeSantis. We see you MAGA. Our families see you too. And all our friends. We are embraced. We are family. We Belong. You will never change that.

I was strolling around the Disney Springs Marketplace Co-Op and saw they’re busy with celebrating the Walt Disney World 50th with all sorts of call backs to the 70s. It just brought it all back again…that time in my life. I’d forgotten until I started coming back here again how much Disney’s vision of the future had been wired into me back then.

I complain about the changes going on around here, and Chapek’s seemingly bottomless need to squeeze the guests. But tell you what…as long I can walk into the parks knowing I’m with (mostly) other Disney kids, and it’s still a small world after all, and there’s a great big beautiful tomorrow shining at the end of every day, I reckon I’ll keep coming back.

My inner Mouseketeer, geeky, socially awkward, gay, knows he belongs here. It’s a small world after all.

by Bruce | Link | React!

September 4th, 2022

A Change Of Scenery

Vacation” becomes an awkward concept when you’re retired. Isn’t every day a vacation? Kind of? Okay, there is housework to do. Yardwork. Appointments to keep with the doctor, the mechanics. But it isn’t like you’re living to the clock anymore. What “Vacation” becomes instead I think, is Change of Scenery.

And to that effect I and my car (Spirit, the Mercedes-Benz diesel sedan) are boarding the AutoTrain soon for a trip to Florida and Disney World (is it even Walt Disney World anymore?) and a first time visit to Universal. As usual, neighbors and the alarm company will watch the house while I’m away. My new alarm system has cameras inside and out I can monitor remotely, and I can even let a neighbor inside remotely to check on things if that’s necessary. 

I’m trying Universal this next Florida trip since Chapek seems not to want us middle class retirees at Disney World anymore, and single people aren’t allowed to make dinner reservations in a lot of spots I used to love. Universal is smaller and its tickets are about where Disney’s are in terms of price. But they aren’t doing park reservations, they have a bunch of interesting stuff in there, singles can make dining reservations and there is an actual Margaritaville restaurant on the premises. I’ve been to the original Margaritaville in Key West, and the food and drink were very good. Loved the atmosphere, loved the Cheeseburger In Paradise. We’ll see if the one at Universal is as good.

And…if I like it enough they have annual passes that cost and work almost exactly like the old Disney annual passes did. Plus there is also an interesting 1950s themed hotel on premises that I might use for stays when I’m not doing DVC.

And this trip it all fitted together as if by pixie dust and magic. I had to truncate the end of my initial birthday week stay in my DVC room to be back in time for my class reunion. So I added some days at the beginning at a hotel on hotel row near Disney Springs. My two days of Disney park tickets don’t start until I check into my DVC room, so there were several days I was expecting to do nothing except Disney Springs, and maybe the miniature golf spots which are fun. Now I can do a couple days at Universal instead.

I bought two park hopping days at Universal (they only have two parks, three if you count the new water park), and downloaded their app to manage it all, just like I do with the Disney app. Supposedly there are busses that will shuttle you from hotels on hotel row to Universal. Or I can do a Lyft.

I paid for the tickets using my Disney Card. Hahahahaha… They offer me a Universal card I might just get it.

by Bruce | Link | React!

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