Summer Fun

Beyond the Berm Episode 78: Summer FunBeyond the Berm returns with the latest episode of our podcast about Disney and more!

For this episode, we look at some of the many opportunities for summer fun that are out there. For example, you may have heard something about a Pandora addition at Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Florida, or maybe a Tower of Terror retheme to Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout at Disney’s California Adventure. If you haven’t heard about those yet, then you most likely will as the Disney promotional machine ramps up in the next few weeks. Are these the sort of thing that cause you to want to make another visit to the Disney parks, or do you just plan to see them on your next visit, whenever it may be?

Also, there are several big movies coming out this summer: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, and Cars 3, just to name a few. Are you getting excited for what looks to be a busy summer movie season? And then there are Thor: Ragnarok and Star Wars: The Last Jedi coming later in the year, too. Almost too many interesting movies to keep up with!

We also discuss our upcoming summer plans, as Steve talks about interrupting his relaxing summer with a 4-night Disney cruise with his extended family. What might be new or different this time around? Stay tuned to find out.

Plus, some updates from Matt about the latest runDisney happenings, that Spider-Man movie that we forgot to mention earlier, and some other things to keep things interesting!

Be sure to listen in to the latest from Beyond the Berm!

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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.

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Episode 63: Trash or Treasure?

Welcome back to Beyond the Berm for Episode 63!

You have heard the old saying about one man’s trash being another man’s treasure, right? We start off by wondering if some of the Disney things we have kept through the years are actually trash or treasure. We are pretty sure they are treasure to us, but how will others look at them? And when our children have to go through our things, whenever that time may come, what will they think about these nice collections of Disney collectibles that we have amassed? What do you think? Trash or treasure?

Oscar_the_Grouch_holding_wilted_flowers

Next, Matt gives a review of his experience in the Star Wars Half Marathon a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. Or actually last weekend at Disneyland. He tells about the different Star Wars characters that were out for photos and a look at the course for the race.

matt and boba fett

After that, we take a look at the news that Star Wars Episode 8 has been moved back to December 2017, and we give some thoughts about Star Wars: The Force Awakens, too, since most everyone has seen it by now. However, if you haven’t seen it yet, there may be some minor spoilers in there, although we don’t give it all away. Listen at your own risk!

All that and more in Episode 63 of Beyond the Berm!

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Episode 57: Running Away

Welcome back for another episode of Beyond the Berm! Unless of course this is your first episode, and in that case just welcome!

If you have been keeping up with Matt on social media, you know that he ran in the latest Disneyland Half Marathon last weekend. And even if he didn’t finish first, he is still first in our hearts. Sappy. Anyway, to start off our episode, Matt tells about his experiences in the run, along with his family weekend at Disneyland. And a great big “way to go” from all of us at Beyond the Berm to all of you who participated in the different races over the weekend!

2015-Disneyland-Half-Marathon-Medal

Next up, we discuss how things have changed in the last few years in ways that we never would have expected. For example, who would have guessed that we would be discussing runDisney races and Marvel movies as much as we do around here? We certainly wouldn’t have guessed that. Listen in to see what other changes have taken us by surprise.

We also talk about the recent “Force Friday” promotion where all of the new Star Wars merchandise was given a great big push by Disney at all kinds of retail stores of both the physical and virtual variety. Did you get anything cool? Did we get anything cool? You will just have to listen to find out.

Plus, Steve gives his review of the book Dream It! Do It! by Marty Sklar, the retired head of Walt Disney Imagineering. And even though this is an “official” Disney release, Marty speaks rather candidly about some other Disney folks that he has worked with over the years. Listen in to hear more of what Steve thought of this book!

All this and much more in this latest episode of Beyond the Berm!

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runDisney Shots & Thoughts

Episode 49 featured a good amount of detail about my experience during the Walt Disney World Marathon weekend.  I wanted to include a few select pictures of my trip around the world, in addition to a brief recap of my adventures the next weekend for the Star Wars Half Marathon.

WDWMarathonCastleOne of my goals was to run fast enough to get to the Magic Kingdom before dawn so that the Dream Lights on Cinderella Castle would still be lit and visible.  Running through castles is one of the best parts about Disney races.

Marathon09

This was the first Disney race that I dressed up and the first that I stopped for pictures with characters.  Taking a picture with Mickey while dressed as Mickey was one of the highlights of the marathon for me.

WDWMarathonFinish

And I finished the race much like I had run it — with jazz hands.  Not sure why I feel like Mickey would run a marathon with jazz hands but I did.  It still doesn’t quite seem real to me that I ran 26.2 miles.  I might not ever run that distance again but I’m proud to say that I did it once.

Running a marathon almost makes running a half marathon seem like nothing.  Thirteen point one miles is still a good amount of mileage to run though.  The Star Wars Half Marathon was my third half marathon, having completed two Disneyland Half Marathons the previous two years on Labor Day Weekend.  It is easier to compare Star Wars run to those rather than comparing to the events of the previous weekend in Florida.

As a big Disney fan as well as a big Star Wars fan, I thought this would be the perfect event for me.  And while I enjoyed it, I think I preferred the Disneyland Half better.

Event pickup was the same — going to the bottom parking level at the Disneyland Hotel to get my bib and pre-purchased pin.  Having done this in the past, I’m now familiar with how it goes.  I was excited to see the Coast-to-Coast designation next to me name in the sign-in book and received my wrist band that allowed me to get my bonus medal at the end of the half marathon.

The pickup and corresponding expo had begun Thursday but I couldn’t make it down until Saturday, the day before my event.  There hadn’t been a lot of preview of the merchandise but what I had seen, I wasn’t that interested in.  The design of much of the stuff was done in a comic-book style, which didn’t do much for me for the most part.  The Disneyland Half has animated Mickey and gang and Avengers was well suited for this style but I didn’t feel it worked as well for Star Wars.  I’ve heard a lot of stuff had sold out early but it didn’t affect me much because I wasn’t that into it.  I was happy with my “free” participant shirt, which featured Chewbacca, and I picked up a Coast-to-Coast shirt I had passed on in Florida.  Seeing runners who had just completed the 10k with their medals around the neck made me wonder whether I should have done the Rebel Challenge though.

Race day started fine.  Got down there early enough and saw a little performance by the announcing crew and R2-D2 and C3PO before being told that we could head to our corrals.  With a different route than the Disneyland Half, we had quite a bit of walking to do from the staging area to the corrals.  Waiting for the race to start, they showed clips from various Star Wars movies, which was neat.

SWHalf01

I was in Corral B so I didn’t have to wait long after the race began to start my run.  I was surprised how slow the start was with supposed “faster” runners in the corral but it was an OK pace to start.  I had worked hard to get the better start time but perhaps it was a bit of a curse rather than a blessing.

During the Disneyland Half, the sun rises earlier in the morning and the course is run outside of the parks for the first couple of miles but in January, it remained dark for the first part of the race, which headed pretty quickly into the Resort.  Running backstage was done completely in the dark and they didn’t seem to have any floats or other things of interest on display back there.  There simply wasn’t much to see until we made our way into Disneyland.

I love running through the Disney parks and this race was no exception.  Having enjoyed stopping for pictures with the characters in Florida, I had intended to do so again if I saw anyone I wanted to take a picture with.  We headed down Main Street and into Frontierland.  The first photo opportunity was near the dock of the Mark Twain.  It was “Luke” and “Leia,” though they didn’t quite look like them.  I kept going into Fantasyland where there were some Stormtroopers near the carousel.  We ran towards Tomorrowland (no running through the castle … a big bummer) and a cast member was directing people to another photo op near the Matterhorn, though I couldn’t tell who it was (later found out it was Chewbacca).

I wanted my picture taken with Darth Vader and was excited to see him in front of Star Tours but the line was prohibitively long.  They were using the queue of the attraction for the photo line and I honestly thought maybe the ride was open it was so long.  It must have been at least a 20-minute wait when I went past so I decided to skip it.  I read at least one report about someone waiting more than 30 minutes for a picture — much too long in the middle (or rather start) of a race.

We headed through more backstage areas and out the front gates.  I heard my name called and was pleasantly surprised to see my mom.  I stopped for a quick hello and picture before continuing.  The Darth Vader breathing in the underpass between the two parks was pretty cool.

In DCA, there were some Jedi.  I knew that Boba Fett had been here for the 10k and I was interested in a picture with him but his line was at least 10 minutes.  Too long again to wait.  I did stop off for my picture with some Stormtroopers near a bug’s land.

SWHalf03I would have stopped for the characters from Star Wars Rebels, as I saw that they were there during the 10k, but I never encountered them.  I only saw one more group of Jedi before heading out onto the streets of Anaheim and Garden Grove.

One thing I didn’t think I’d like about this course wound up being pretty cool.  Part of Harbor Blvd. was used twice during the race — going and coming.  I didn’t want to run the same stretch twice but as I was passing Katella, the leaders were coming down the other side of the street towards the finish, which I thought was neat to see.  Had I been in a later corral, I wouldn’t have seen this.  Though, if I had been in a later corral, I would have caught an incredible sunrise inside the parks instead of on the streets of Anaheim.  (The lack of sunlight in the parks also led to horrible pictures from MarathonFoto, so I didn’t buy any).

During the Disneyland Half, I look forward to going to Angels Stadium and running the warning track but this course didn’t have that offering (there was a motocross event happening at the stadium so it was all torn up).  Unfortunately, that meant there wasn’t anything to look forward to during the last 10 miles of the race.  We just ran.  Honestly, it was kind of boring.  There were spectators throughout and one stretch had members of the 501st but I didn’t really get to appreciate their costumes as I ran by.

My knee held up pretty well, which I was pleased with.  There was some illnesses going around Kathy’s school the week before the race and I started feeling a little ill myself during the race.  I don’t like using the restroom during a run but after passing by a few port-a-potty stations, I decided I needed to take a bio break.  I felt much better afterward and was able to complete the course a lot more comfortably.

I was happy to hear my name from the announcers as I came across the finish line — the first time they’ve called my name.  Maybe I just wasn’t paying attention but I didn’t see any characters at the finish line as I was crossing.  Perhaps they were in the middle of a shift change?  I got my Star Wars Half medal and my Coast-to-Coast and was finished with yet another long-distance run.

SWHalf04

Reading others’ reports after the race, it seemed like quite a few people liked the Star Wars Half.  It’s not that I didn’t but I didn’t feel it was great and am not sure that I’ll continue doing it in the future.  I think the race brought out a lot of first-time runners and a lot of people who were more fans of Star Wars rather than Disney, which may account for some of that opinion.  There were a lot of intricate costumes worn and the event seemed lively from that standpoint.

I’m not a typical runner either, so I think what I enjoy from a run isn’t necessarily what the typical runner likes.  I’m not a fan of cooler weather and actually prefer the warmer temperatures of the Disneyland Half.  I like the sunrise a little earlier so that I can enjoy the setting I’m running in a little better.  A lot of people liked the course but I thought we entered the parks too quickly and left them too quickly for what would then become a fairly standard road race.

I had planned for the Star Wars Half Marathon to be the end of my running career (and it may still be) but I apparently am not quite done with runDisney yet.  I decided that I’d do the Disneyland Half again this year since it is the 10th anniversary of the event and they sometimes do special medals to commemorate (plus it’s Disneyland’s 60th so who knows if there might be more surprises).  Next year, my daughter will be old enough to do the 10k’s and I told her that I’d run the Tinker Bell one with her.  Perhaps I’ll do the Avengers event at some point too to say that I did them all.

It’s not necessarily easy to do such long-distance events but runDisney does make them fun and accessible to a wide range of abilities with a fairly generous pace requirement.  They cost a bit more than the standard running events but honestly if they weren’t Disney-themed, I wouldn’t be doing them.  They’ve been a great way to challenge myself physically and I love the bling hanging from pegs on the wall of my office.  And like many things Disney, runDisney is highly addictive.  I don’t relish the thought of training for more events but I can’t help thinking which ones I’m going to do next.

~Matt

 

Episode 49: Matt the Marathon Man

Welcome back to Beyond the Berm for Episode 49!

If you have been following our adventures here (and if you haven’t, why not?), you know that Matt has been preparing for the Walt Disney World Marathon and the Star Wars Half Marathon at Disneyland. And if he completes both, he earns a Coast to Coast medal as well.

This past weekend was the Walt Disney World Marathon. Did Matt complete the marathon? Wouldn’t this episode have been titled differently if he didn’t? And if that doesn’t answer your question, how about this:

matt-medal

Listen in as Matt tells about his experiences along the run. Can running 26.2 miles actually be fun? It certainly sounds like it!

And best of luck to Matt and everyone else participating in the half marathon at Disneyland this weekend!

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runDisney Attire

On several podcast episodes, I’ve mentioned that I’ll be participating in the Walt Disney World Marathon and Star Wars Half Marathon. I’m often amazed at the creative attire that people come up with when running runDisney events. Usually, I just wear the tech T-shirt they provide as part of the event registration but this year I’ve decided to spice things up a bit and actually run in costume.

For the Walt Disney World Marathon, I’m running as the Big Cheese himself — Mickey Mouse. I’ll be sporting a solid black T-shirt, red shorts and yellow shoes. To accessorize, I’ve spray painted two buttons yellow and attached them to belt loops in my shorts. A pair of fuzzy white gloves and traditional Mickey ears completes the ensemble.
MarathonMickey

For the inaugural Star Wars Half Marathon, I bought a Darth Vader costume T-shirt with cape from Target and will be pairing it with black shorts. I bought a Darth Vader helmet with Mickey ears at Disneyland and am borrowing my daughter’s Mickey light wand to act as a light saber. Black gloves, socks and shoes help me fulfill my turn to the Dark Side.
DarthMickey

Neither of these outfits are particularly creative but are a fun way for me to participate in a runDisney event beyond simply running the distance. Of the two outfits, the regular Mickey is the most simple befitting the 26.2 miles I’ll have to endure while wearing it. I just hope the ears stay put, the 80-degree expected weather don’t make the gloves unnecessarily hot and the shoes turn out to be as much performance issue than just looking the part. The Darth Mickey will be more tricky with the rim of the helmet potentially striking my neck on every stride and the possibility that my light saber may be difficult to keep retracted. But as much as I’d like to pull decent times, I’m not running to win and these costumes will hopefully make the events even more fun than they already are.

~ Matt

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!

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Episode 43: iPhones, Walt Disney World Changes, and Trip Planning

Welcome back to Beyond the Berm for Episode 43!

For starters, we talk about the new iPhones, since both of us are iPhone guys. Have you gotten a new, bigger phone? Or even an even bigger phone? Hear our thoughts about them, and let us know yours.

Next up, we learned that Cast Members at Disney’s Hollywood Studios were informed that the final day for the Backlot Tour is this Saturday, September 27. Nothing has been announced to take its place, but that doesn’t stop everyone from talking about what it might be, including us. We also talk about some other changes around the resort, including the addition of Frozen in Epcot. Listen in to see what we think about all of this.

Matt is making a solo trip to Walt Disney World to take part in the Marathon in January, and he needs some help in planning what to do during the three days that he is there. Sort of a game, sort of asking for advice. What would you do? Matt would love to hear some suggestions! We talk about some starter ideas, but he would appreciate your feedback.

All this and more in this episode of Beyond the Berm!

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Episode 40: A Race and a Game

Beyond the Berm roars back into action with Episode 40! Which is momentous, if you are one of those who like to celebrate 10-multiple things, I guess.

To start with, Matt gives an update on his upcoming runDisney races as things are getting closer for the upcoming Disneyland runs. His whole family is participating, and he has some updated information on their plans, as well as on his upcoming run in the Walt Disney World Marathon.

Next, Steve has a game for Matt to play, “Name That Disney Quote.” These quotes come from either Disney or Pixar animated movies, and some of them are real stumpers. See if you can guess which movies these quotes are from!

After that, we have some general chit-chat about Disney trivia, Guardians of the Galaxy, a Disney movie that ended up not being a Disney movie (“Earth to Echo”), and some other stuff, too.

Come join the fun on Episode 40 of Beyond the Berm!

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