✩ Disney World News and Information


  • Disney did not…we repeat…did not invent the cupcake. But they are bringing “The world’s first cupcake bakery” here to Orlando.

    We mention this because with the growing popularity of cupcakes at Disney in the past several years, some may have thought it was invented there.

    Look for their latest (of many) cupcake providers, Sprinkles, later this month. May 15.

    Coming to Disney Springs.

    Sprinkles Disney SpringsBut here’s something else you may not have known about Sprinkles.

    It introduced a first of its own: a cupcake ATM, which will here join others in the chain.

    It’s a first, at least, in the state of Florida.

    Yes, a machine that provides cupcakes instead of cash.

    But here’s a question snack-goers may wonder about:

    What does this do to the Dole Whip?

    That has its own brand of being Disney’s favorite snack for just about everyone.

    Impact on the popular Dole Whip

    Sprinkles is not exactly a new kid on the block.

    It has been around for a while.

    This is their 20th location.

    They had their first Florida site in Tampa.

    “Sprinkles at Disney Springs signifies the company’s continued mission to bring the popular dessert experience to Central Florida and beyond,” says a press release.

    “Disney Springs was a natural fit for us when deciding where in Orlando to open our doors,” said Candace Nelson.

    She was the founder of Sprinkles and you may have seen her if you watching the judging on TV’s Food Network’s “Cupcake Wars."

    The chain’s cupcakes are said to be handcrafted from the “finest ingredients.”

    Flavors include Red Velvet, Carrot Cake, and even Peanut Butter Pretzel

    Sprinkles will be open daily from 10 a.m. to midnight.

    Unlike other ATMs, you can’t get cash from it but you can choose between 400 versions.

    Fresh from the ATM

    Freshly-made, according to the company.

    Also, dog-friendly (Whatever that means).

    Sprinkles opened “the world’s first cupcake bakery” in Beverly Hills, California.

    So reported the Food Network.

    The company is credited by theLos Angeles Times as “the progenitor of the haute cupcake craze.”

    Sprinkles has inspired long lines of devoted Hollywood stars and food-lovers.

    When you buy your Disney World tickets and head on over to Disney Springs, your cupcake choices at Sprinkles will be joined by stars like Tom Cruise and Oprah Winfrey…though there have been no reports on their personal favorite flavors.

    Or even a more serious question: how this has impacted Oprah’s famous dieting efforts?

    Well, we do know Sprinkles offers gluten-and-sugar-free versions.

    This development raises other questions of what’s new…in dining…at Disney.

    Particularly when you look at snacks.

    With the growing popularity of cupcakes, might they overtake what is undoubtedly Disney’s No. 1 favorite for just about all of us: Dole Whips?

    And what are your own preferences these days?

    Today, we’ll look at food from several angles.

    Disney did not invent the cupcake.

    Though they certainly made Mickey Mouse ears to often be associated with cupcakes.

    And they certainly have done a lot to for Disney World Orlando ticket buyers to help make not-so-humble cupcakes among the most popular snack foods in the whole world.

    As you know, cupcakes here resemble many characters.

    There’s been no shortage of cupcakes at Disney.

    Some of the gest known have offered Red Velvet Cheesecake versions, introduced in 2010 when the quickly became a favorite. Or Chocolate Peanut-Butter.

    Or even the “King Cupcake."

    Guess who?

    A hint: contains the entertainer’s favorite sandwich: peanut butter and bacon.

    Not Mickey Mouse.

    And not a Disney character, either.

    Among the most popular types (outside of Elvis, and we have no reports on its popularity) are Butterfinger, red velvet, carrot cake, among others.

    Cupcake celebrations at special events are common.

    Compare that to Dole Whips

    Little more than pineapple soft serve ice cream.

    Or even Dole Whip floats…not much more than ice cream and pineapple juice, really.

    Some call it a work of art, anyway.

    You can order it as a Pineapple Float or as in a cup.

    Officially, only the cup-version is called a Dole Whip by Disney.

    So popular that there’s a podcast named after it.

    Dole Whip internet searches turn up multiple pages of fanatic fans raving over it.

    If this was a contest, it would be poor “Dole Whip David” versus multiple version-giant-cupcake provider rightly named “Goliath.”

    Other of the most popular treats that are less than a meal in Orlando include soft pretzels (well, some are large enough to share), and some with Mickey heads.

    World Showcase at Epcot is a popular place for the German version of a Bavarian soft pretzel in World Showcase. That could be the best known.Walt Disney World, SeaWorld, Universal begin using metal detectors at theme parks

    Sandra Pedicini

    Another of the most popular snacks here: Mickey Ice Cream Bars.

    Found in carts everywhere. Simply chocolate covering over vanilla ice cream.

    A popular place to find it and ice cream in a dish (or cone) is the Plaza Ice Cream Parlor on Main Street, Magic Kingdom/

    For those not aware of them, there are healthier snacks such as fruit bowls at snack kiosks and counter service restaurants.

    Healthy or exotic snacks everywhere

    But even more exotic choices at Epcot are Kaki Gori, shaved ice or snowballs with fruity syrup at the Japan pavilion.

    The announcement of Sprinkles should be no surprise.

    Because, Melissa Fegely

    guess what?…and we are sure you noticed if you’ve been going to the park for even a few years.

    Theme park food has come a long ways in the past few years.

    Theme park food at Disney and other places used to be almost entirely fast food: not much more imagination than hamburgers and hot dogs. Maybe cheeseburgers for variety.

    And French Fries, of course.

    Visitors like yourself wanted more

    Why?

    You, the visitor, wanted to spend your time on rides and entertainment.

    Forget the food.

    All that has changed.

    And cupcakes are far from the only choices.

    Various news outlets have been pointing out how visitors these days demand more food choices. This is partly due to the growing general awareness of food.

    "I think guests’ expectations' have changed over the years," said Disney Parks and Resorts vice president of food and beverage Beth Scott. "Certainly with things like The Chew and the Food Network and social media, people are becoming much more savvy about their dining experiences."

    OK. Mr. and Mrs. Savvy.

    You still don’t go to the park to eat…unless you are starving…and you want to save all your money to buy souvenirs…any kind at all, even though that is not our recommendation….so what do you do?

    To save money on food, that is.

    If you admit that food is necessary…

    Various Disney dining packages are the answer.

    Saving money on food can be done

    Food will still cost you but there are many options that range from snacks and refillable drinks at quick service places to higher-end meals at more posh luxury resort hotels.

    Buying an annual pass may also not be cheap but it does help with meals.

    All annual passport holders receive discounts ranging between 10 to 15 percent off at select restaurants in the park, entertainment complexes and resort hotels.

    But if you are serious about money, you do what many others do and there’s no fear or guilt about it: bring those snacks yourself.

    Perennials you see everywhere that are even more common than hidden Mickeys are peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Yes, remember that even Elvis Presley liked them.

    And granola bars (Elvis was not known for this type of food but look what happened to him).

    And bottled water, of course.

    The guidelines here are simple: any food is allowed as long as it does not require heating.

    Also not embarrassing for you to do at all: order a kid’s portion at a restaurant.

    You know they are cheaper. But may have worried someone might ask if you are older than 12.

    No fear.

    You certainly already know that eating lunch and breakfast is cheaper than dinner.

    A guideline of when to eat

    So that’s a good guideline of when to eat, isn’t it?

    Try not to buy your food at the park during busy times such as Christmas or spring break…prices then can be higher.

    Then, there is what has been called the “free Disney Dining Plan.”

    It is not really “free,” of course. But it does save money.

    On select dates in August through December, it has food discounts.

    You can book vacation packages with non-discounted resort hotels and park tickets to get the Disney Dining Plan. Each member of your party gets the perk.

    Dates are:

    • August 23 through October 1, 2016

    • November 15 through 21, 2016

    • November 26 through 28, 2016

    • December 10 through 21, 2016

      There are various stipulations and rules.

      You also must purchase at least 2-day tickets that include either Park Hopper or other options. Three-night minimum stay is also required.

      So no resellers can offer you tickets.

      Something else you should be aware of: the promotion is always based on arrival dates. Your dates at Disney have to coincide with dates offered in the program.

      Prices vary, according to tiers.

      Upgrades are also an option.

      If you don’t trust the good judgment of other members in your party, the Disney options may definitely be for you.

    Disney option is up to you

    That’s because it is not unusual for families or others to not only order the most expensive items on the menu, but also drinks…which everyone knows are highly profitable to the sellers who get them for pennies and sell for dollars.

    So in lieu of looking through the menus as you, the bill payer, cringe at the horror of high costs…you already know what you’re going to pay. Regardless of what everyone orders.

    A simple solution to knowing…and perhaps even controlling…your costs.

    Saving food costs, continued

    An Internet sites recently listed places where you can get food items for under $10.

    They included many bargains such as Whole Dill Pickles at Liberty Square Market for only $1.50. Or Hard-boiled eggs at the Main Street Bakery for $2.59.

    Or perhaps best of all: Garlic Knots with Marinara at the Pinocchio Village Haus: $4.49

    The effort was appreciated.

    But on the other hand, how much will a single pickle or even a hard boiled egg do to curb your appetite?

    Further, what kind of high calorie, nutrition-free snack are items like that anyway?

    And finally, one single pickle for $1.50 or an egg for $2.50?

    Really, what kind of bargain is that anyway?

    New food options

    There’s a new adult beverage and hard float menu at the Beaches & Cream Soda Shop at Disney’s Beach Club Resort.

    Then, there’s Tutto Italia offering fixed price (prix fixe) lunches this summer. Located in Italy’s Epcot Pavilion.

    Price for a three-course meal: $27. Includes soft drinks.

    There are also several other fixed price meals within Epcot’s World Showcase restaurants.

    Getting away from snacks

    You see others claim at times to offer guides to the “best…or even very best.”

    The very best overall restaurant at Disney will never be agreed upon by all but many would not argue with our pick of “Be Our Guest.”

    Why?

    At least when it comes to counter service types at the Magic Kingdom.

    There are almost always long lines to get inside. Often at least 30 minutes waiting times for lunch.

    But the long popular restaurant has been getting good word-of-mouth notices for years. And keeps getting them.

    For sustaining a great atmosphere with good food, we would give a first place award to “50s Prime Time Café.”

    With its Osterizers on wooden tables over linoleum floors, it’s a throwback to another time. You might think this was a re-run of the old TV program “I Love Lucy.”

    Often packed, but the best themed atmosphere anywhere.

    One area where Prime Time truly stands out is in desserts.

    Most restaurants at Disney rely on a central commissary. But not ”Prime Time.”

    Upside down cake and warm apple crisps are among favorites.

    Dessert menu is special

    In addition, the dessert menu is presented as a photo reel on a View-Master….don’t know what that is? Understandable…you’ll have to time travel back to the 1950s or so to find View Masters.

    But both Earl of Sandwich and Wolfgang Puck Express, which are outlets of places that exist in the world outside Disney, are generally good choices for high quality and usually reasonable prices.

    All this bring us to a good but disturbing restaurant: the Coral Reef Restaurant. Known for its wall-sized aquarium with colorful fish that are only waiting to go on your dining plate.

    Disturbing prospect, to say the least.

    But some of this is a far cry from the Dole Whips that we all like.

    Unlike cupcakes, more variety is not likely…but possible.

    You can imagine blueberry or strawberry versions.

    You can already get them self-serve.

    But while they should remain popular, we doubt that you’ll see them offered anytime soon at an ATM machine…

    Though you never know, do you? ###

    A poll by InterContinental Hotels Group found the obvious: Orlando is the theme park capital of the world. But more:

    The king of theme parks is Walt Disney World Resort.

    Once again, no surprise.

    Disney’s Magic Kingdom in the poll far outdistanced Universal Studios to take first place in visitor popularity.

    This brings us to more imaginative and even creative issues.

    “Star Wars” being No. 1, in this case…but you have to stay with us to see why the rating brings up a galaxy not so far away.

    Back to the vote, briefly.

    In the Disney poll, the results were not even close:

    Universal Studios Florida had 19% of the vote, while the Magic Kingdom got 43%.

    Why?

    The poll said:

    “Iconic rides like Space Mountain and Splash Mountain, not to mention the characters roaming the park that are sure to delight children of all ages, or the incredible parades, or delectable dining options…

    “There’s no denying that Disney’s Magic Kingdom takes the throne for the favorite theme park in Orlando.

    That was taken just two years ago. But it helps provide some answers to why Disney’s popularity continues.”

    Even now. Today.

    Would anyone really disagree?

    At least, now now, would they?

    And just what do visitors want in the future so that they continue to buy Disney Orlando tickets?

    That is a question Imagineers are thinking about.

    Are worrying about, as well.

    There are some answers to that. If you look for them.

    Why Disney delivers

    The easiest answer might be a simple word:

    More.

    More thrilling roller coasters.

    More entertaining rides.

    In general, more entertainment.

    Or should we say more exciting entertainment.

    Sure, the word “exciting” is used so often you think it’s connected with entertainment.

    But it’s not.

    And when it comes to upcoming attractions…and the ongoing voter popularity of future Disney World ticket buyers…you have to take a look at “Star Wars.”

    Some may recall the thrill of seeing the film for the first time…whenever that was (could it really have been that many years ago?).

    But when Disney does it, that’s another story.

    Will it wow us…or not?

    So yes, expectations will be high.

    Disney can’t do just another movie.

    No matter how exciting or thrilling.

    The new Disney Star Wars will have to be more thrilling than the movies.

    Disney faces a high standard for Star Wars

    Are these impossibly high expectations?

    Perhaps.

    But that’s what real fans will want.

    Will Disney Imagineers be able to beat the movie…by going to another level?

    Far far away?

    Disney promises that visitors will be immersed in the Star Wars galaxy “as never before.”

    That remark is from Bob Chapek, chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts.

    He said that the land "will introduce you to a Star Wars planet you’ve never seen before — a gateway planet located on the outer rim, full of places and characters familiar and not so familiar."

    The land will immerse the guest into the Star Wars Universe.

    According to Iger:

    “It will be "occupied by many inhabitants; humanoids, aliens and droids … the attractions, the entertainment, everything we create will be part of our storytelling. Nothing will be out of character or stray from the mythology."

    Other Disney officials say the idea is to make visitors feel as if they just walked into one of the movies.

    Like walking into a movie

    This is not really new for Disney but this high level executive’s description makes you think it is different.

    “... Bringing Star Wars to life in the physical world gives us the opportunity to play with a whole bunch of things we've never done before... to really engage all of the senses. What does that street feel like? What does that animal smell like? What does blue milk taste like?"

    Those are intriguing promises.

    So naturally, let’s take a closer look.

    The upcoming “Star Wars” attractions will have two main attractions, as far as we can tell: a full-size Millennium Falcon situated among alien buildings built into tall cliffs.

    The second major event will place you into the middle of a battle between The First Order and the Resistance.

    There will also be a version of the cantina (a real chance to find out, perhaps, whether blue milk tastes like Cola-Cola or just hopped-up root beer or even you-know-what).

    One thing we know for sure is that Imagineers have joined up with Lucasfilm to bring their own galaxy to life.

    No one we know doubts this is a potent combination.

    Flying the Falcon on your own

    With the Millennium Falcon, Disney says that guests will be in “complete control” of the experience. That’s a tall order, you might way.

    That means shooting down the ships from the Dark Side. But what kind of perils will come up?

    We also know with the arrival of the First Order to the planet, visitors will be in the middle of a tense and uncertain battle between stormtroopers and resistance fighters.

    Let’s look first at the ship itself.

    The minor point is the size of the ship.

    Visually, the Millennium Falcon in the various films was represented by several models. External and internal sets as well.

    The primary model was only five feet long or clearly far too small to be any part of a park.

    The model seen often on the screen took a reported three months to build. It weighed 25 tons. It was 65 feet long.

    There was much more to the story, of course, because nothing was really simple about “Star Wars.” So we can expect a large Falcon that will reflect the details in the movies.

    The Disney model will have to be larger than 65 feet long, of course, and have multiple versions.

    We know from advanced previews there’s going to be a dramatic ride for visitors aboard the Falcon. Right in the most famous cockpit in the history of cinema, of course.

    And the chance to fly it.

    What will that be like?

    But an even more difficult question is just how fast that ship can travel.

    Sure, it was the fastest in the universe.

    How fast is fast?

    SeaWorld of Orlando’s new roller coaster getting ready to roll this summer will go 73 miles an hour.

    The fastest coaster anywhere in Orlando.

    Getting to the theme parks via I-4, vehicles go 65-70 miles an hour.

    If you arrived here by airplane, you might have averaged 400 miles an hour…though it certainly did not feel that fast.

    And the speed of the Falcon?

    Various accounts of the Falcon’s speed have been attempted.

    Believe us, this is not a simple issue.

    Its actual speed is rated in various ways (and some people have more time than others to calculate this).

    So by various calculations, the Millennium Falcon’s top speed is 25,000 light years per day or 2,714 lights years per hour….or is that figure 20,000 light years per day and 1,990 per hour? No one is sure.

    No matter. It’s fast.

    Why is it so fast?

    It has a class 0.5 hyperdrive, one of the fastest hyperdrives ever built at that time (for more explanation, you’ll have to do your own detailed research).

    But the real question for riders is how will you feel it while riding the Falcon? How will you know its tremendous speed?

    That will be a key issue for Imagineers…or maybe even the most important issue…to show fast movement.

    A challenge: how to show high speed

    The Disney ride here also hints at a secret mission.

    We can only guess…but might it have something to do with survival of the rebels?

    Then, there are the interactive areas that let you imagine you are a Jedi. In training perhaps.

    What can we expect?

    Themed restaurants, of course, that are convincing so that you think it’s really another planet. Live and perhaps really odd-looking musicians performing.

    Two-headed creatures are acceptable. Perhaps they can play two separate instruments, one for each head.

    Whatever they look like, they should get us to think “wow.”

    Perhaps the musicians could be Star Wars characters. Hello Chewbacca, perhaps?

    Characters may do more than sign autographs

    At the same time, meet and greet characters at Star Wars perhaps will go beyond the usual characters in costumes.

    Will they be more than costumed creatures that say “hello…how are you” and where you want to sign autographs?

    Might ways be found to have the Imperial Recruitment Officers try to get guests to sign up for the fight…or Bounty Hunters’ attempt to somehow capture you. Just for the money…or bounty on your head as a visitor who was perhaps also a threat?

    In other words, can Disney create even better characters than the current audio-animatronic types?

    As for the climatic battle that visitors will fight…who knows?

    There are a lot of dramatic battles in the movies.

    Which one will the Imaginers choose to focus…or will it all be an entirely new and equally imaginative one?

    We don’t know.

    It’s easy to imagine yourself being thrilled at what Disney comes up with…stepping aboard the Millennium Falcon.

    Flying the fastest ship in the universe

    Not just seeing it on a big 70-foot movie screen…with Dolby sound…and not just seeing it but piloting the fastest ship in the galaxy?

    You bank it right and left. Avoiding other ships trying to shoot you down with laser canons.

    My God! You’re right in the middle of a battle between the Resistance and the First Order. It’s a race against time.

    And you’re right there.

    This is all speculation.

    Which we’re happy to do.

    But we’re not….definitely not…Disney imagineers.

    So it’s up to them.

    But we can guess.

    We do think they will meet the test of “wow.”

    We base this on past performance. Disney has delivered.

    When a group of Imagineers got together a few years ago to discuss creativity, among other issues, the original “Star Wars” films came up. How imagineers do it

    Some said it was a “life changing” experience for them.

    Inspiration.

    But also a new motive for coming up with the promised product “far far away.”

    Many of them started as hourly employees (giving hope and/or inspiration to ambitious other workers in those jobs).

    Interestingly, they agreed that all designs almost always start on paper.

    “Star Wars” will probably be the same.

    Then computers or sculpturing models.

    Following that pattern, there will never be a single hand print on the project.

    Many individuals will be part of it.

    Another fact they agreed upon: the lifespan of ideas.

    They very rarely die.

    Ideas get molded and shaped and sometimes discarded. But in the end, they never entirely disappear.

    The same should happen with “Star Wars.”

    Ideas are even now being tossed around. Accepted. Rejected.

    Sometimes recycled.

    This is a familiar pattern with Disney.

    Going back to Walt himself.

    A model….but for failure

    A model for failure: another relevant principle.

    Learning from failures, is a better way to put it.

    Walt Disney was a high school dropout who was fired from his first job working at a newspaper. One reason: he lacked imagination.

    Over the next few years, he suffered several business disasters and bankruptcy.

    From that, the Disney concepts emerged.

    As has often been seen, Imagineering synthesizes three different strategies: the dreamer, realist, and the critic. A dreamer and realist can create things but find that a critic helps to evaluate and refine the final products.

    Disney himself, as well as some of his most famous artists, often shared a maverick quality. But at the same time, their work was augmented by others.

    Mavericks? They share qualities with the characters found in the movies, don’t they, such as the one we are talking about…

    So it may really be no surprise what we finally get when “Star Wars” comes to life.

    A big “wow.” ###

     

    disney world fireworks cruises

    For Disney fans only…today we have one question:

    Who are you?

    We mean, really.

    Sure, you are a fan.

    Some might even call you a fanatic.

    On the subject of Disney, anyway.

    PS: Otherwise, you would not be reading this here.

    Case closed.

    So you do have some interest…at the very least.

    But just who you are is more complicated and harder to define.

    The deeper questions (and maybe some answers) come up in two new films about Disney fans.

    New films define who and what are Disney fans

    They explore some new territory.

    What might be called the mind-sets of theme park fans who are the hardcore Disney World Orlando ticket-buyers.

    How do these movies portray you?

    You might like what they say.

    But then again, maybe not.

    If you’re not nuts, are you fanatic about your favoring Disney?

    Are you childish about it?

    Worse is to come…

    Some of the fan pastimes in the films are forbidden and certainly not meeting with Disney approval. And we’re talking about drugs and sexual behavior.

    You may not like what they say about you

    The films point out that many associate Disney fans or fanatics with such negatives as being “nutty” on the subject.

    And while there are some “nutty” ones in the films, they also portray many others as successful people with professional careers. Intelligent people who happen to also like Disney.

    What we already know about you as fans is simple. And basic.

    It is this:

    You are male or female. Young or older. Rich or poor. More likely rich. Or even more likely, somewhere in between when it comes to material assets.

    That doesn’t tell you a lot, does it?

    There’s much more, as we find out in the new films. But let’s put off some of that until later.

    Let’s find out what we know about you…yes you…from Internet sites and some recent news stories.

    Steel yourself, however. This view of you is not always flattering.

    Living next to Disney can be your goal

    News: some of you buy houses based on Disney. And not just at Golden Oak, the Disney owned community at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, either,

    Of course, this was bigger news a few years ago before Golden Oak and Celebration when there were not choices to live on Disney’s doorstep in Orlando.

    Back then, a home based on a Disney movie and seen there was sold for $400,000 to a couple who described themselves as “Disney fanatics.”

    It was news then because it was rare. But no longer.

    Meet the people who love Disney so much they moved there: Company expands into real estate for theme park die-hards with millions to spare,” was the headline from the Wall Street Journal greeting Disney’s entrance into the home building business.

    “Makes sense, because, as any American child (or childish American) will attest, the only thing better than visiting Disney World would be staying there forever,” the newspaper said.

    It was named after the company's California ranch.

    Its distinction: It’s the only place in the world where homeowners actually live on Disney park property.

    Home prices there are and remain for the affluent: upwards of $2 million (so these are the rich Disney fanatics as opposed to the more common poorer ones who have to save to scrap together the money for those annual passes).

    Golden Oak homebuyers also have to pay annual fees for park passes, door-to-door transportation and extended visiting hours as well as a hotel-style concierge.

    Who are these people buying the homes?

    One way to collect Hidden Mickeys

    Many of them choose to decorate their homes with “hidden Mickeys,” according to news reports. One home was said to have 75 of them.

    There’s also more than one Mickey Mouse shaped pool.

    Who buys homes there?

    Americans from all over but also foreigners.

    One report was that many of them are Brazilians.

    They can take direct flights from Sao Paulo to Orlando.

    There was no simple explanation of why that particular country had so many Disney fans.

    One resident quoted in a story (not a Brazilian but a 69-year-old man from Milford, Connecticut) reported he had bought Orlando tickets for Walt Disney World Resort 300 times in five years.

    Presumably, the very rich Disney fans are the only ones who can afford to live there.

    But a lot of others, possibly termed fanatics, have their own Disney connection via the Internet.

    Some of the sites they join have various ways of helping you identify who you are. Some of these are practical, understandable and even predictable.

    But other are also best seen as silly.

    Such as how many Disney plush toy characters you have.

    Disney fan traits vary

    Some Disney related sites stress a huge variety of photos. Which apparently assumes Disney fanatics want to spend much of their time looking at pictures.

    One offers 76,000 shots of Disney’s half dozen worldwide parks.

    Another site for so-called “disneyphiles” or “Mouse Seekers” suggests bucket lists for members.

    These include visiting every Disney theme park.

    All six of them.

    Not very practical unless you are rich. Other ambitions are said to be to fly on a Disney airplane and earn a Disney coast-to-coast medal by running in marathons in both California and Florida.

    But more practical is to become an annual passholder or take a Disney cruise.

    These bucket list often combine the silly with the impossible.

    A few more

    Living at Golden Oak, Disney’s community on Walt Disney World Resort property. Easy enough if you are well-off.

    Attending a wedding at Disney World’s wedding pavilion. That’s also easily done -- even if you’re not an invited guest.

    Seeing every Disney Broadway show (“It’s a shame not to support the arts with your Disney enthusiasm,” the site says).

    And eating at every Disney restaurant (“a stretch even for a megafan, so try noshing at every eatery in a single park instead”).

    How about watching every Disney film in the order of their release. That one is another possibility but do you know anyone who has actually done this?

    Some other Disney sites are unrealistic and at times silly, too.

    What it takes to REALLY be a Disney fanatic, one site asks?

    Their answer or some of them:

    • Your Mickey Mouse ears (all 60 billion of them) are your favorite accessories.

    • Going to the Disney store at any mall is normal, along with buying everything in the store.
    • You wear a princess costume to a dance or even a “night out."
    • You are completely heartbroken when someone says that they don’t like Disney.
    • If a man (or woman) tells you that they like Disney, you fall head over heels for him that moment.

    As that last statement suggests, romance or loneliness must characterize some Disney fans.

    Or why else would a site come up for singles dating?

    One of the newer sites is MouseMingle.com.

    “Looking for a date who loves Mickey Mouse as much as you do?”

    Well, yes, that’s what it does.

    MouseMingle bills itself as the place to interact with other Disney lovers “who want that same magic in their relationship.”

    “Traditional Internet dating sites don’t understand the passion people have for all things Disney. But we do,” MouseMingle.com says on its homepage.

    Disney for the lonely

    MouseMingle.com is similar to your typical dating site: For $12.55 a month, users can create a profile and message or chat with other users. But it also asks people to share their favorite Disney songs, characters, parks, and memories.

    Like other sites, it identifies the “hottest names for men and women.”

    Is this positive?

    And does it work?

    Psychologists and other health care officials offer two divergent opinions on it:

    1. Common shared interests are positive. Even extreme Disney fandom can make for a very successful and positive relationship.

      “If you’re really into this interest, then it absolutely helps because many other people may not understand the level of your dedication to your interest,” clinical psychologist Suzana E. Flores, PsyD, author of Facehooked: How Facebook Affects Our Emotions, Relationships, and Lives, tells Yahoo Health. “

    2. This shared interest…call it a passion…does not work at all.

      “There is little evidence that having common interests is associated with relationship success. Clinical research doesn’t support the idea,” New York City-based psychologist Joselp Cilona, PhD, tells Yahoo Health.

      For Disney fans, love may be blind after all

      So all you can really be sure of is that love is blind.

      But Disney fanaticism does not have to be an extreme.

      Even level headed people are impacted by the Disney influence.

    In “Budget Travel,” a writer-editor says he is not a fan because he does not own a Mickey Mouse T-shirt. He doesn’t have a Disney license plate on his car or own any bobblehead dolls.

    But he has bought tickets for Walt Disney World Resort more times than he can count.

    He writes:

    “In fact, when my family and I try to tally the total number of days we've logged in the parks, we usually start with some complex mental math only to throw up our hands and agree, ‘A few hundred.’"

    Having grown up in Tampa, about an hour from Disney World, he confesses to having had some of his most memorable life experiences with Mickey and the gang.

    What it takes to be a real fan

    His experiences:

    “Disney World is where my fourth-grade science class went on a field trip to learn about marine biology, where my elementary school chorus performed Christmas carols, where I've spent countless New Year's Eves, Fourths of July, Labor Days, and Memorial Days. I even learned I was accepted into journalism school, from an e-mail sent to my smartphone, while riding in a simulated hang glider at Epcot's popular Soarin' attraction.”

    Proving you don’t have to be a nut on the subject to write about it, the author’s background of 60 years at Disney prompted him to write some wise nuggets on visiting there.

    Which is all fine.

    So we come back to who are you, Disney fans?

    And the two new films on the subject.

    The first one is more positive.

    “The Dreamfinders” focuses on people who moved to Central Florida because they loved Disney.

    So they went to work for Disney.

    Answers to who you are

    Filmmaker Anthony Cortese told The Orlando Sentinel:

    “I think people associate Disney superfans as being nutty, over-the-top individuals … and there are those types out there. But these folks (in the film) have very professional, successful careers. They're smart. They know exactly what they're doing. They raising their families. And they've chosen to be here."

    OK. Not crazy, Cortese says.

    His own interest was stirred by Florida visits with his ten-year-old daughter a decade ago.

    One of his subjects was a lawyer, Lou Mongello who started writing Disney World guide books but started a web site. Mongello gave the filmmaker high marks for attempting to capture Disney fanatics.

    “He really wanted to spend as much time with people as possible to really understand what they're doing now and the lifestyle," said Mongello.

    Other subjects in “Dreamfinders” included people who started blogs that eventually led to full time careers.

    "I have somehow made taking my children to theme parks a career," one says.

    The other book was a lot more negative.

    The dark side of Disney

    Phillip Swift's "The Dark Side of Disney" is not exactly G-rated.

    It’s how and where to do distinctly adult things such as have sex or take drugs in theme parks.

    "In the film, I decided to make it more about why," he said. "Why do these people have this compulsion to cross this line into the dark side?"

    Swift was raised by his mother and grandmother in Ohio. He often visited Walt Disney World Resort with them.

    It was such a happy place for them that his mother secretly scattered the ashes of his grandmother at the Magic Kingdom, according to the film.

    Filmmakers Swift and friends try various other banned and naughty tasks such as exploring the underground tunnels…drinking around the clock at EPCOT…

    They also meet up with a man called Hoot. He spent unauthorized hours behind the scenes at Epcot's now-closed Horizons attraction,

    Other characters include someone called Logan. He said he liked to be high when he goes to Disney World.

    And how often is that?

    He goes a lot

    "He has the key to his problems right there," Swift said. "He says, 'Even if I do every drug in the world, I still feel bad leaving Walt Disney World.' You have to say [to him], 'Listen to what you just said.'"

    You might wonder what Disney people think about this.

    You can wonder. But they said no comment.

    The news story pointed out:

    Park rules prohibit "photography, videotaping or recording of any kind for commercial purposes," according to Disney World's website.

    At its heart, "Dark Side" is not negative. It is rather a nostalgic film, according to Swift, anyway.

    "When you hear the title, you think it's going to be this negative thing," he said. "But, in the end, it ends up being almost like a love letter to Disney."

    The creators of these movies may not be huge fans or hardly fanatics, but they are not immune to the charms of Disney.

    Filmmaker Cortese is moving to Celebration.

    He didn’t say whether he wants to scatter his own ashes anywhere nearby. ###