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Life is Like a Hurricane...

Ok. Let's start out by saying that I was skeptically nervous when they first announced that they were rebooting one of my all-time-favorite television shows as a child: DuckTales.

I mean, I loved this show. I own t-shirts from it. I used to have stuffed versions of Huey, Dewey and Louie that I carried with me around the house and called them "my boys." Cause apparently at 5 I wanted a posse. Yes, I may even have an old Scrooge toy from my childhood that sits on my desk at work. I still have/play the NES version of the video game... OK. You get the point. I loved DuckTales.

As the first glimmer of the reboot began to circulate (see above), i was worried. The art style, at first glance, looked like the new Mickey cartoons. Which, while I initially enjoyed, grew to hate as I watch them. Reminded me of Ren & Stimpy. Let's just say, those cartoons disappoint me. So was this what was to become of my beloved show? More content, and I was started to feel better. Even excited. On Saturday, it finally debuted. Here are my thoughts.

Design Style

Like I said before, I was nervous about this. Not anymore. I LOVE IT. No, it's not exactly like stepping back into the 90s cartoon, but it is like stepping back into the 1950s comics with a 2017 twist. You can see this in the new opening, as characters jump in and out of comic book panels. Watch as the camera pans and you see the 50s comic art, including the halftone dots that appear as shadowing. I sat back and just drank in the beauty of it. Where the old version used the faux 3D style, our reboot embraces the 2D and says "this is what a Carl Barks comic looks like animated." So, as a graphic designer: I'm in love with the choices they made.

Characters

The characters are not a perfect translation of the ones we grew up on. Webby isn't the token girl. She's an adventurer. The nephews aren't completely interchangeable. They have personalities, desires, and different goals. This will make for a much better show, and I'll elaborate on that soon. The inclusion of Donald hearkens back to the original comics, not the show, but I don't mind this. What I like is that Donald is DISTINCTLY Donald. Not some modern version. He's angry. He's almost down right inaudible. I've read some complain about this, and I can understand why. However, I feel like it's the same way he was in the shorts I watched as a kid, his minor appearances in the original show, and even Mickey's Christmas Carol. Launchpad isn't.... nope... he's still exactly as Launchpad should be. Beakley in the most interesting development, as she's gone from an hysteric maid to a BA Bodygaurd type character. I'm not sure how I feel about this, and only time will tell.

Story

It parallels the original well. Donald hands the nephews off to a reluctant Scrooge. Scrooge is kind of a jerk. Boys are stuck in a crummy room and want to know/impress Scrooge. Soon Scrooge softens to them, discovers an adventure, and takes his nephews along. Originally they go for the the Treasure of the Golden Sun in a 5 part miniseries. Here we have an extended 1-hour episode hunting for Atlantis. It's similar enough, but not a carbon copy. We have a new origin story. We see how the nephews really affect Scrooge, and why his heart softens for them. In reality, it's a much more intricate origin despite being 90 minutes shorter, and because the characters have more depth, it's much more engaging.

Nostalgia vs New

This is the big one. Will it work for the 90s kid? Will it work for my kids? Short answer: Yes. I believe so.

Here's why:

  • Already we see some hidden nostalgia gems. Probably too many for me to have caught with my first viewing. Almost right away we hear a reference to Cape Suzette, our beloved city from Talespin. Appearances in the garage for both the magic lamp and the head of Armstrong gives me a wink that says "Yes, this show is meant for you." I can't wait to see what other bits they throw our way.
  • There's enough of the original triplets, mainly their mischievous nature, to feel like the original, while providing unique personalities that I'd want from characters from any show I'd watch as an adult. These updates to the nephews & webby allow for interactions, humor, and character growth that a nostalgic adult will understand, while still remaining silly enough to make my kids laugh. Sure, we often laughed at different moments, but we both laughed. Now, this isn't the low-brow adult humor that I refer to as "Dreamworks" humor. We didn't "adultify" Ducktales. Think more "Phineas & Ferb." It doesn't rely on hidden dirty innuendo, but rather clever wit and timing: "You're here because you're the cheapest of the best."
  • Launchpad is Launchpad. He didn't need to change. He shouldn't have changed. So I'm glad he didn't. He's the same absolutely lovable and bumbling idiot he was before. Slapstick for the kids. Slapstick for me. He's summed up in the line from the show: "You know, family really is the greatest adven... OH NO THE GROUND!!" The delivery is perfect. I laugh every time I've seen that clip. Every. Time.
  • After it was finished I was ready for more.
  • After it was finished, my kids asked "Can we watch more?.

And there it is. I wanted more. My kids wanted more. In a world where reboots have been pretty terrible, DuckTales KNOCKS IT OUT OF THE PARK. It felt like it took a lesson from Girl Meets World (which I also thought was a pretty decent reboot), but also figured out how to improve upon that formula. Because it's hard for me to criticize this at all. I wanna re-watch it. I wanna see more. I want to watch every episode with my kids.

Conclusion: WATCH IT NOW!

Why We’re Going to Disney “AGAIN” for Our Fifth Anniversary

SUBJECTS:

Those of you who know us personally are probably literally –facepalming– yourselves right now, which is exactly why I decided to write this post. Every year since our honeymoon, Disney has been involved in – if not been the sole destination of – our anniversary. Outside of our anniversaries, thanks to the court date(s) we’d have to go through to get a travel order if we wanted to leave Florida with the kiddos, our vacations pretty much consist of: Disney. For years now, we’ve been at the point where we say we’re taking a vacation and our friends, family, and/or coworkers roll their eyes and say (sometimes snarkily – if that’s a thing – sometimes just observantly) “Disney again”. I think it’s partly because of the sort of judgment we’ve gotten from the beginning about our love for Disney that I was determined to do something special for our fifth anniversary. New York was on the radar, Vegas was out there too, but then time just trickled by, as it always does, and our fifth is nearly upon us! After the whole near-death experience on my last airplane ride, I decided places that required such a long drive (e.g. New York & Vegas) would require longer vacations to cover, which we just can’t afford right now. (Hopefully it’ll make for an amazing road trip some day!) So, after coming to terms that we’d be stuck traveling somewhere in Florida again for our anniversary, I started exploring our options.

My first choice was the Keys, as I remember going there with my family, and Konrad has never been; however, after discovering that a nice place would still cost hundreds of dollars a night, and knowing that I wanted a weeklong vacation if possible, the Keys were quickly ruled out. So, we turned to our timeshare sampler with Diamond Resorts International. They have a program we can take advantage of that would allow us to buy their other customers’ weeklong timeshares. Unfortunately, the only places that were available during the time we were looking to travel were Orlando and St. Augustine. St. Augustine sounded promising; I had only been there once before and for only part of the day. Despite my mom making me question what we could possibly do in St. Augustine for 7 nights, after a lot of research, we decided there would definitely be enough for us to do. Neither Konrad or I were sure what we wanted to do, it felt like we were choosing between a new adventure or something old, but reliable. This morning, though, it was almost like I had an epiphany that led me to my decision. Deep down inside, I actually want to go to Disney again. Here are my reasons why, in reverse order of importance:

Shipt!

Okay, so this one is really silly, but the Orlando area has Shipt service and St. Augustine doesn’t. Because our place to stay in Orlando has a full kitchen, it’s not uncommon for us to bring or buy groceries while we’re there. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve gone to the store only to return and be like oh crap, we forgot –insert item(s) here-! If I’m going to pay $7 for a baby jar of mayonnaise (totally did that in one of our resort gift shops once), I want it delivered to my door, dangit! (Okay, so Shipt isn’t that expensive, but the gift shop sure was!) Not to mention, if I get frustrated with Konrad, I can just go shop for someone and make us some extra spending money for the rest of our vacation!

EPCOT’s Food & Wine Festival (aka nostalgia)

We have nothing but happy memories from any time Konrad and I have been at Food & Wine by ourselves. The food is (almost) always good, and I love that we always make ourselves try new things, if new things are on the menu. Sometimes we find that those things are so good that we wind up going back for more the next year (like Konrad and escargot!). Not to mention at the low costs per single serving appetizer portion, it makes it feel like something is actually affordable at Disney! We love to walk around to the different countries, try something, and get our passports stamped – maybe this year we’ll finally fill the whole thing again! (I think we got it filled for stopping at each country on our honeymoon, but never since then.)

There is still new stuff for us to do

This is what gets most people when we say that we’re going to Orlando again. They always think haven’t you guys already done everything there is to do? The short answer? No. Even without consulting the internet for new ideas, I can tell you enough things we haven’t gotten to try yet that could take up nearly the whole week!

  • Meeting the new Star Wars characters at Hollywood Studios – Sure we’ve done Star Wars Breakfast, but since they’ve gotten rid of Star Wars Weekends/released The Force Awakens, there are plenty of new photo-ops for us here!
  • Trying restaurants on property we haven’t eaten at yet (our goal is to try them all!)
  • Tours – We’ve only ever done the Keys to the Kingdom tour, and we LOVED that one!
  • Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party
  • Frozen Ever After

Not to mention things in Orlando that aren’t Disney!

  • Diagon Alley
  • Cloak & Blaster – We wanted to visit this board game café when we were up in Orlando for the ALA conference, but it turns out the only day we tried to go (Monday), they’re closed!
  • Um, hello, the new Orlando Cat Café?!
  • Cool Stuff Inc AND Four Rivers (two of our Orlando favorites!) opened new locations that are only a 15 minute drive from our resort – we’ll get there in less than half the time it took us to get to the other locations!
  • Ripleys Believe it or Not – As hokey as it sounds, that was one of the things on the to-do list for St. Augustine, so why not try the location in Orlando?
  • Laser Tag – For one of our previous trips, I had looked into Hard Knocks
  • Escape Rooms – So I don’t know of any particular escape rooms in Orlando, but I’m sure they’re there! And I’m sure Groupon will have deals on them!

Can you imagine what else we’d discover if we did things like consult the great Google? Or ask locals?

We won’t have any kids

This was really what tipped the scales for me. Throughout our fostering experience, we have been big on including the kids in family plans as if they were really part of our family. In my opinion, though, even if we had biological kids, it’s okay (probably good, even) to leave them behind to have some special moments with your spouse. For me, this means Valentine’s Day and our anniversary. Somehow, until this morning, I didn’t realize (or remember) what “no kids” would mean for us. As huge Disney fans, we (and others) always thought of how magical it would be to get to take kids and watch them experience Disney, too. Don’t get me wrong, some magical memories have been made with the kids (all of them, really), but with our boys’ behavioral issues, sometimes it feels like a majority of the time is more borderline-tears I JUST WANT TO GO HOME than magic. Without the kids, we can be selfish without being selfish. We can stay out late and not worry about it causing grumpy or overly tired kids, we can ride rides together rather than worrying about height restrictions, we can spend all day at the game store without worrying about the kids being bored out of their minds if their tablets die…

Thanks to the experiences my parents gave me (Key West, Washington D.C., and weeks spent in Arizona stick out most in my mind here), I enjoy historical sites and places! I would like to go to St. Augustine some day for an extended amount of time (as in, not just the afternoon). But I would also not at all mind waiting a couple of years to go with the kids and give them that kind of experience, too! Not to mention, I can’t imagine St. Augustine is as miserably crowded as Disney is during the summer! In the meantime, I choose Disney.