Jeff and Lance, Big In Japan Part II: Let’s Lose Our Way Together

Didn’t read Part I of our trip report? You should be embarrassed! Go read it right now before all your friends point and laugh at you.

I will admit that my first impression of Tokyo-Narita Airport was not favorable.  Where was the futuristic Blade Runner design everybody was telling me Tokyo had in abundance?  Narita was gray and plain–did we just fly halfway around the world for a carbon copy of Philadelphia International Airport??

Thankfully, once you get past customs, you truly enter the Japan of your dreams: efficient and multiple modes of public transportation connect the airport to Tokyo, there’s new and exotic candy at the airport shop, and most importantly of all, seemingly crazy and elaborate vending machines!

I never did have Pocari Sweat (ick!). Thankfully, the Asian market close to our house keeps it in stock!

I love how nearly all of the drink vending machines actually have these displays in the door so you know exactly what you’re getting.  I’m not sure if it’s really that big of a deal and is kind of a space-killer compared to American vending machines, but having the actual product showcased to us consumer whores is somehow very appealing.

Above, Lance enjoys the peach tea concoction for which we never learned the actual name.  We instead referred to it by its slogan: HAPPY UP!

…We then proceeded to spend the next seven days checking every vending machine we stumbled across (and man, there are a ton.  Seriously, vending machines just in the middle of city blocks, on every train platform and inside every home!) for Happy Up! (more…)

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Re-Disney: Final Report

And so it ends, just hours before our flight to Orlando:

Disney Animated Classics:

  1. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
  2. Pinocchio
  3. Fantasia
  4. Dumbo
  5. Bambi
  6. Saludos Amigos
  7. The Three Caballeros
  8. Make Mine Music
  9. Fun and Fancy Free
  10. Melody Time
  11. The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad
  12. Cinderella
  13. Alice in Wonderland
  14. Peter Pan
  15. Lady and the Tramp
  16. Sleeping Beauty
  17. One Hundred and One Dalmatians
  18. The Sword in the Stone
  19. The Jungle Book
  20. The Aristocats
  21. Robin Hood
  22. The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
  23. The Rescuers
  24. The Fox and the Hound
  25. The Black Cauldron
  26. The Great Mouse Detective
  27. Oliver & Company
  28. The Little Mermaid
  29. The Rescuers Down Under
  30. Beauty and the Beast
  31. Aladdin
  32. The Lion King
  33. Pocahontas
  34. The Hunchback of Notre Dame
  35. Hercules
  36. Mulan
  37. Tarzan
  38. Fantasia 2000
  39. Dinosaur
  40. The Emperor’s New Groove
  41. Atlantis: The Lost Empire
  42. Lilo & Stitch
  43. Treasure Planet
  44. Brother Bear
  45. Home on the Range
  46. Chicken Little
  47. Meet the Robinsons
  48. Bolt
  49. The Princess and the Frog
  50. Tangled
  51. Winnie the Pooh
Pixar:
  1. Toy Story
  2. A Bug’s Life
  3. Toy Story 2
  4. Monsters, Inc.
  5. Finding Nemo
  6. The Incredibles
  7. Cars
  8. Ratatouille
  9. Wall-E
  10. Up
  11. Toy Story 3
  12. Cars 2
  13. Brave (for my review of Brave, check out this post)

Totals: 64 Completed, 0 Remaining

I saved my favorite four, the four that really have had a significant impact of life, for last. The Lion King, AladdinBeauty and the Beast, and, of course, The Little Mermaid.

There’s a whole bunch I can say about these films, like how The Little Mermaid is a great example of script economy–nothing here is wasted, save, perhaps, the “Les Poissons” number, which gets a pass since it’s such a crowd pleaser.  Or how Aladdin may be the most well-crafted of all Disney films.  Or how I find Moira Kelly just as annoying as the voice of adult Nala as I do her character from Season 1 of “The West Wing.”

BUT…I did want to take a second to give props to what makes these four films truly great, in a class all their own among the Disney animated canon:  they have the best villains! Think about it: Scar, Gaston, Jafar, and my personal favorite (who, like me, is modeled after Divine, world-famous drag queen), Ursula the Sea-Witch.

In all of these films, the viewer spends a not insignificant amount of time with the villains.  Their personalities are multifaceted.  You can kinda understand why Scar is a jealous weasel, and you get a kick out of Gaston being as much full of nauseating, humorous bravado as he is mean-spirited, “jerkface jock from gym class.”  You actually end up caring about them, in a twisted-beard sort of way.  How many other iconic Disney villains can you say that about?  Malificent is a wonder aesthetically, but her range is from “mean” to “really mean.” Cruella De Vil may be the only other Disney villain I can think of who is actually an interesting character.

I love these movies; they mean a lot to me, and I’m glad I took the time (4 whole days of my life–some 96 hours!) to revisit them.  I hope everybody at Blizzard Beach is ready for the fat behind I gained from my movie marathon immobility coming down Summet Plummet.

We’ll be Disney-bound in a few short hours!  For up-to-the-minute trip updates, follow us on Twitter!  We’ll have a trip report on the blog next week.