Episode 74: Walt Disney World for the Holidays

Beyond the Berm has finally returned! Let’s see if we can remember how to do this whole podcast thing!

For Episode 74, we start with a discussion of Matt’s recent RunDisney events at Walt Disney World and Disneyland. He completed the Dopey Challenge at Walt Disney World, even though they canceled one of the races, and then he also ran three more runs at Disneyland the next weekend. We are trying to figure out how to power our computers from all of the energy of his runs, but we aren’t quite there yet. Listen in as Matt tells about his experiences, mostly at Walt Disney World because we never did come back and pick up the discussion about the Disneyland runs. Oops! At least we have something to talk about for next time.

Matt with his RunDisney medals

Photo swiped from Matt’s Facebook page

After that, we discussed our trips to Walt Disney World for the Christmas holidays. Steve and his family and their friends the Riedels went to Walt Disney World for a vacation the week before Christmas, visiting all four of the parks and the Hoop Dee Doo Revue, too. Matt and his family went to Walt Disney World right after the New Year for the previously mentioned RunDisney events, and they spent a few days in the parks as well. Where did we stay? What did we do? What did we like? What didn’t we like? Did we see any fireworks? How does Art of Animation compare with Animal Kingdom Lodge? All of these questions and more get answered, so listen in if you want to know.

Main Street at Walt Disney World at Chrsitmas

Photo swiped from Steve’s website

By the way, somewhere in there is also a brief review of sorts of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, and there may be some slight spoilers if you haven’t yet seen the movie. Just to warn you. But if you are a Star Wars fan, you could probably already figure out what was going to happen, anyway.

So if you are still out there listening even though we have been gone for a while, thanks for sticking with us! And if you are new around here, welcome! We will try not to be so long in between episodes for a while. Maybe. If we can.

To hear our podcast:

Episode 73: Christmas Time’s A-Coming

Beyond the Berm returns one again with Episode 73! We’ll vote for that!

We start things off by trying to avoid talking about the recent election (maybe you heard about that), but we can’t help talking about the Hall of Presidents at Walt Disney World and wondering about what changes might be coming there. Will it be a completely new show? Will they keep what they had and just switch out the speaking President? We will have to wait and see.

We then talk about upcoming trips to Walt Disney World, just in time for the holidays. What do we have planned, and what are we looking forward to seeing? Unfortunately, not the Osborne lights, because those are gone. But there are still cool things to see, and we talk about some of them.

Holiday Wishes 121312-btb

Also, there are some security changes coming to the Disney parks. Security is a necessity in these times we live in, but are the changes going to help smooth things out a bit? And is there perhaps an even better way to do things? Maybe.

Plus, at the end Matt gives a quick review of the latest Marvel movie, Doctor Strange. How does it compare to the others? Hear what Matt has to say.

All that and more in Episode 73 of Beyond the Berm!

(By the way, if you didn’t get the reference, the title of this episode is taken from an old Bluegrass song by Bill Monroe.)

To hear our podcast:

A Review of the Disney Parks Frozen Christmas Celebration

For many, many years now, it has been a family tradition to watch the Disney Christmas parade each year. It started way back when it was just the Walt Disney World Very Merry Christmas Parade and when it was broadcast live, way before it grew to the pre-taped show involving both Disneyland and Walt Disney World that it has become now.

This year, the show was called the Disney Parks Frozen Christmas Celebration, trying to cash in on some of the Frozen hype that is still out there a year after the movie was first released. We don’t usually watch the show when it is actually broadcast, and this year was no different. So in the afternoon on Christmas day, the three of us along with my parents sat down to watch what we had recorded.

Here is the short review: We were all disappointed.

If you want the longer review, here it is:

Back in the old days, the focus was mainly on the parade, much like you would watch the Macy’s Parade on Thanksgiving. Joan Lunden and Regis Philben (or Alan Thicke way back in the early days) would give you a rundown of what you were watching. And then there would be some segments showing what was new in the parks for the upcoming year. Yes, it was a big two hour commercial for Walt Disney World, but it was a very well done commercial, one that would make me want to go back there as soon as possible.

The show has evolved over the years, including the previously mentioned inclusion of the Disneyland Resort and now even throwing in portions from Aulani in Hawaii and a little bit from Castaway Cay in the Bahamas, too. And if that were all that had changed, that would still be good. If it were done well.

But now, the main focus of the show seems to be one musical performance after another by a string of mid-grade musical entertainers, none of whom anyone in my family group that was watching cared anything about. Just one song after another, along with some try-to-make-you-cry segments about three different reunions at the Disney parks.

There were a few mentions here and there of upcoming things, such as Disneyland’s 60th anniversary celebration, but otherwise, there was very little focus on the parks and attractions. Oh yeah, they did show a few parade floats for a few seconds, too. But even with their editing, it still appeared that they brought out a few random floats and parked them to get some film footage, instead of actually showing scenes from the parade.

Yes, I know that “parade” is now nowhere in the title any more, and I’m actually fine if they don’t include any of the parade at all. But perhaps a more accurate title would be “People Singing Christmas Songs and Other Songs at Disney Parks.” Because that is about all that was.

As I mentioned earlier, for its entire run, the main purpose of the Christmas program has been to be a big, long commercial for the Disney parks. To make you want to experience all the fun that they have. To make you want to go there.

And this time, for me, it failed.

Episode 48: Best and Worst of 2014

Welcome to the Beyond the Berm Christmas Extravaganza! Also known as Episode 48.

Christmas is almost here, and the year is winding down to a close, in case you haven’t noticed. So for this episode, we discuss some of the Best and Worst of 2014 in several different categories, some of them Disney related, and others of them more general. Listen in to see if you agree! And share some better ideas if you have them!

Matt also gives an update on his two upcoming runs, the Walt Disney World Marathon and the Disneyland Half Marathon, which are just a week apart from each other. Be sure to send him some encouragement, too!

Steve also mentions the first block of Disney programming on TCM, which is this Sunday, December 21. Be sure to set your DVR!

All this and more in Episode 48 of Beyond the Berm!

To hear our podcast:

Episode 10: Marathons, Magic, and More & a Contest!

Episode 10 of Beyond the Berm is now online, providing an audio feast for your ears and creating wonderful images that will dance in your mind!

Well, maybe not all of that, but we do cover lots of topics in this episode. Matt is participating in a half-marathon, Limited Time Magic continues on, Disney Infinity is coming, the next Star Wars movie has a director, and the NextGen initiative continues to make headlines. Wow, we covered a lot of ground!

And this time, we have a contest! Yes, that is right, we are giving something away to one of our lucky listeners. Our prize is an “On the Record” CD/DVD/Blu-Ray carrying case, as pictured below:

OnTheRecordCDCase

And how do you enter? Easy! Just listen to Episode 10 to hear the secret word or phrase that we mention somewhere during the podcast. Once you do that, send an email containing that secret word or phrase, your name, your mailing address, and your email address (just in case we can’t figure it out from the email that you send) to [email protected] One entry per person. All entries must be received by Noon CST on Monday, February 4. A winner will be drawn randomly from the entries we have received by that point. The winner will then be announced on our Twitter and Facebook feeds, as well as in our next episode. Good luck!

And hopefully, you won’t just skim through the podcast listening for the secret code. Because then you would be missing out on all our good stuff and great jokes.

To hear our podcast:

Episode 8 – Matt’s Birthday, Odds and Ends

The world didn’t end as the Mayans said it would, so what better way to celebrate than with Beyond the Berm Episode 8?

And in Episode 8, there is lots to celebrate as it turns out, and not just the fact that the world didn’t end. Of course you know that Christmas is right around the corner. But before that, we have Matt’s birthday! And it’s a big one, too. Listen in to hear all the festivities.

We also discussed several odds and ends to wrap up 2012. More about Christmas at the Disney parks, Disney’s involvement in the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Parade, the upcoming Limited Time Magic promotion at the parks, and more!

Come join us as we wrap up the Old Year and look forward to the New Year!

To hear our podcast:

Christmas Photos from Disneyland

Steve recently posted images of holiday decor around the Walt Disney World Resort and I thought that I would follow suit by adding some images of holiday happenings through the years at the Disneyland Resort.  All images are clickable for larger views.  Enjoy!

Sleeping Beauty Castle adorned with snow and other seasonal decor is a focal point for Disneyland's holidays.

Sleeping Beauty Castle adorned with snow and other seasonal decor is a focal point for Disneyland’s holidays.

At night, Sleeping Beauty Castle glimmers in thousands of sparkling light designed to look like icicles.

At night, Sleeping Beauty Castle glimmers in thousands of sparkling light designed to look like icicles.

A look from the Hub towards the entrance shows the Disneyland Christmas tree in Town Square and holiday garland strung between the shops of Main Street.

A look from the Hub towards the entrance shows the Disneyland Christmas tree in Town Square and holiday garland strung between the shops of Main Street.

it's a small world gets a holiday makeover every year including a Santa hat on the iconic clock face.

it’s a small world gets a holiday makeover every year including a Santa hat on the iconic clock face.

Another attraction that receives a holiday makeover is the Haunted Mansion.  Jack Skellington dressed as Sandy Claws welcomes guests.

Another attraction that receives a holiday makeover is the Haunted Mansion. Jack Skellington dressed as Sandy Claws welcomes guests.

Mickey's Toontown gets a healthy dose of holiday decor in both the residential and downtown areas.  Here a toon tree bends from the weight of an overly heavy tree topper.

Mickey’s Toontown gets a healthy dose of holiday decor in both the residential and downtown areas. Here a toon tree bends from the weight of an overly heavy tree topper.

The Christmas parade is an annual favorite.  This is a photo of one of the gingerbread men who parade from it's a small world to Town Square on Main Street.

The Christmas parade is an annual favorite. This is a photo of one of the gingerbread men who parade from it’s a small world to Town Square on Main Street.

Santa Claus heads up the anchor float of the Christmas Fantasy Parade, complete with plush Mickey and Minnie dolls in his sack of toys.

Santa Claus heads up the anchor float of the Christmas Fantasy Parade, complete with plush Mickey and Minnie dolls in his sack of toys.

Disney's California Adventure used to have a beach theme to its holiday decor.  Here they carted in tons of sand for local artists to make sculptures from.

Disney’s California Adventure used to have a beach theme to its holiday decor. Here they carted in tons of sand for local artists to make sculptures from.

The water tower in the Hollywood Pictures Backlot section of Disney's California Adventure sported an oversized Santa hat.

The water tower in the Hollywood Pictures Backlot section of Disney’s California Adventure sported an oversized Santa hat.

Tinker Bell served as a tree topper for the massive Christmas tree at Paradise Pier in Disney's California Adventure.

Tinker Bell served as a tree topper for the massive Christmas tree at Paradise Pier in Disney’s California Adventure.

This is the first year that Buena Vista Street in Disney California Adventure is able to be dressed for the holiday season.  The Carthay Circle Theater Restaurant looks festive with a wreath attached to its tower.

This is the first year that Buena Vista Street in Disney California Adventure is able to be dressed for the holiday season. The Carthay Circle Theater Restaurant looks festive with a wreath attached to its tower.

Cars Land, too, is celebrating its first holiday season.  They had to bring in telephone poles on one side of the street in order to string automotive-themed garland across the Route 66 thoroughfare.

Cars Land, too, is celebrating its first holiday season. They had to bring in telephone poles on one side of the street in order to string automotive-themed garland across the Route 66 thoroughfare.

The Welcome to Cars Land signage in front of the new land has been updated to reflect a holiday theme, including a snow car to welcome visitors.

The Welcome to Cars Land signage in front of the new land has been updated to reflect a holiday theme, including a snow car to welcome visitors.

 

Christmas Photos from Walt Disney World

In Episode 7, we talked about Christmas at the Disney parks. So here are a few photos of Christmas at Walt Disney World that I have taken over the years. Enjoy!

The Christmas Tree in Town Square in the Magic Kingdom.

The Osborne Family Lights at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Nighttime on Main Street USA in the Magic Kingdom

Poinsettia “trees” and Spaceship Earth at Epcot

Mickey and Minnie in the Christmas Parade at the Magic Kingdom

The Toy Soldier Band in the Christmas Parade at the Magic Kingdom

The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

A large Christmas tree in the Grand Floridian Resort

Christmas stars decorate Sunset Boulevard at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

The “Dream Lights” on Cinderella Castle in the Magic Kingdom

A closer view of some of the Osborne Family Lights at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Mickey and Minnie topiaries decked out for the holidays

Christmas decorations at Italy in Epcot’s World Showcase

A large Mickey-shaped wreath at the Contemporary Resort

Holiday Wishes fireworks at the Magic Kingdom

Osborne Family Lights – A Video

In Episode 7, as we were discussing the different Christmas offerings at the Disney parks, I mentioned a video of the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Here it is, with the lights dancing to the song “Christmas Eve/Sarajevo 12/14″ by the Trans Siberian Orchestra:

As I said in the podcast, watching the video really doesn’t do it justice, because there is just something special about standing in the middle of all those lights as they “dance.” But if you haven’t been there in person before, this will give you some idea of what it is like.

Oh, and sorry about the ad in the video. That was put there by the music publisher. Just click the “X” to minimize it.

Episode 7 – Christmas! And New Fantasyland, Too

At long last, Beyond the Berm Episode 7 has arrived! Missed us, didn’t you?

The Christmas season is definitely here, and we look at some of the holiday happenings at Disneyland and Walt Disney World. We talk about a few of our favorite things while trying to cover just about everything that is offered.

Also, New Fantasyland just opened at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, and we take a look at that. Matt also offers some memories of when Disneyland got a New Fantasyland, too.

All that and more can be found in Episode 7! Be sure to give it a listen.

To hear our podcast: