Archive | August, 2011

GhoStory Guru: “What Say the Frogs Now, Jenny?” by Hugh B. Cave

18 Aug

GhoStory Guru is a feature on my regular website,, but you have a chance at winning a free copy of Skeletons in the Swimmin’ Hole–Tales from Haunted Disney World just for fun, so I figured I’d share this one over here on the Haunted Disney site (if you like this feature and want to receive it twice a month, you can sign up for my blog over at my other site. I also post news about my upcoming work and some other fun stuff).

I’m a New England girl, born and bred, and so I have a deep love for writing New Englandghost stories—mostly because, let’s face it, the creepy woods, two-hundred-or-more-year-old houses rife with Colonial tragedy, silent winters and pretty-near-consistent gray weather eight to nine months out of the year are the perfect setting for such tales. It’s just too easy.


But thanks to my friend and co-editor of Read Short Fiction,  Robert Mayette—who treated me to the book Haunted Dixie: Great Ghost Stories from the American South Christmas—I’m thrilled for the new challenge in my work when I relocate to Florida in the next few months. From Haunted Dixie’s Introduction—“Into the Shadowy South”—by Frank D. McSherry, Jr.:


“The scary and entertaining stories in this volume are about just such beings—those that defy description—as they wreak their havoc in an equally unclassifiable setting: the American South, where mystery and majesty lurk behind the shadows of the beautiful and the bizarre. Running from the grassy plains of Texas, to the tangled swamps of Georgia, the rolling Virginiahills, the foggy bottomlands of Mississippi, and the stormy coastline of the Carolinas, Dixieis a land haunted by more than just history.”[1]


I’ll start withFlorida’s feature: “What Say the Frogs Now, Jenny?” byHughB.Cave.


There are a few hallmarks which make this a fabulous ghost story, and I can’t go into depth without completely spoiling it (the mark a true craftsman at work), so I’ll be a little vague.


The most striking element is the fine motif Cavehas chosen to weave throughout the piece: that of hands. With so many subtle references popping up, it works on the subconscious to create the overall feel of hands reaching from beyond the grave.


The second is the fact that we love Jenny—we feel sympathy toward her; she’s the hardworking, just-can’t-seem-to-get-ahead girl we all recognize in ourselves.


And the third? A shocking twist on the combination of the first and second things I mentioned, and if I explain how it works in terms of literary mechanics, I will ruin everything. You’ll just have to read the story and find out.


Tell you what: if you get the book, read the story, and want my analysis, contact me through the contact page on this website—and if you do, I’ll send you a free copy of my book Skeletons in the Swimmin’ Hole—Tales from Haunted Disney World (why not; let’s have some fun, here!)


This book—only issued in hardcover, as near as I can tell—seems to be out of print, but there are several used copies at reasonable prices available through the Amazon Marketplace here: But if you’re a ghost story lover, no price should be too high to own this one.


[1] Frank D. McSherry, Jr., “Into the Shadowy South,” in Haunted Dixie: Great Ghost Stories from the American South, comp. by Frank D. McSherry, Jr., Charles G. Waugh and Martin H. Greenburg (New York: Fall River Press, 1994), vii.




How Disney Record Art Affected my Adult Wardrobe…(THE GOODBYE PROJECT: Letting Go is Good, Yo! Episode 20)

17 Aug

About The Goodbye Project:

There are so many of us who can’t part with objects because of the sentimental attachment we have to them. You know—the graduation tassels, the barfed-on stuffed animal with the missing eye, the coat your late father bought for you because you begged. So what do you do when it’s time to let go of these beloved items because it’s absolutely necessary?

I’d read someplace that one of the best ways to let go of an object is to know that you have a photo. Sure, you can photograph it before you get rid of it. The Goodbye Project takes the idea a step further: go back and find photos of yourself actually with, using, or wearing that object, and blurb a bit about the memories it invokes.

Why? Everything has a story.

And because of that, the object deserves more than just a hasty trip to the Goodwill or the trash without a second thought.

EPISODE 20: How Disney Record Art Affected my Adult Wardrobe (or, The Disney Records, Part 3)

Me, as Alice in Wonderland, with my Dad, Halloween 1974.

I loved playing dress-up. I’m sure many kids do, but for me “dress-up” was putting on a character’s skin—it’s like what they say about acting: you don’t put the role on externally; you let the role internally grow up out of you, and the physical dress itself was just the finishing touch.

I grew up in the early 1970s, at a time when “pre-made” costumes for kids were usually just these plastic shower-curtain-esque things in a box with a plastic mask (I will make the comment here that, even though I was super-little, I was always wondering why Disney didn’t make and sell exact duplicates of the princess dresses. I remember, at four years old, saying to my mother, ‘Mom, they would make SO MUCH MONEY if they did that!’ Of course…we know how THAT ended up!).

But my mother told me not to worry—I could be whatever princess I wanted, because fortunately, she was wicked with a sewing machine and pretty creative when it came to integrating everyday clothing into costumes. I was one of those lucky girls who didn’t have to suffer through a shower curtain and a mask. Nope. I got the real thing. And not only did I get the real thing, I got the real thing that was so well-made I played in it well after Halloween was over.

In those early years, Mom used the art in my Disney Record Album collection as a guide for the costuming. Every spring, she’d ask me who I wanted to be for Halloween, and I’d run straight to my collection to pick out whichever character was my favorite that year. I remember I always had trouble choosing between whoever-it-was and Alice in Wonderland—I think I might have been Alice a couple of times—but I know I was also Cinderella (I played in that dress until, at eight years old, I literally grew out of it, and that was THE. MOST. GORGEOUS. GOWN. EVER. It was totally like her wedding gown. It rocked and I wish I had photos of it), Snow White, Maid Marian, Wendy, and Bianca (for the record, there were a few non-Disney women in there, such as Princess from the 1978 cartoon series Battle of the Planets).

One of the images from the Alice in Wonderland record album that Mom used as reference for the costume.

There’s no doubt that photographing everything from the album booklets brought back all these wonderful memories to the point where it made me reconsider disposal. But one of the things that made the “Disney Album Ditch” finally happen is the fact that as I was studying the album art I noticed something—most of the art with which I was fascinated had something to do with clothing, and that in many ways, my favorite pieces of clothing in the past—and even today—are strongly reminiscent of this imagery I’d been exposed to when I was a child.

In fact, the whole reason I like certain styles and wear them repeatedly is because of the love I had for that particular style as drawn in the record album art.

So you might say that, even if I didn’t have the photos of the images I loved best, and even if I didn’t have the memory of all my mother’s costumes, I’d always have…well, whatever’s in my closet.

Here’s a tour. Enjoy.

This image, as well as the next one, clearly inspired my everyday clothing as well—here, we see the “flounce” of the blue and white dress with the subtle front placket, the belled short sleeves, and the Mary Jane shoes.

Yes, I know my mother bought everything for me, but she obviously had Alice in mind when she put me in this dress, and check out those Mary Janes! Here I am with my parents outside of a restaurant in Daytona Beach, Florida in 1973.

I actually remember this photo being taken in Daytona Beach, Florida, in 1973. One of the things I loved about Florida was all of the flowers, and boy did I love that dress. I was actually “playing” Alice in Wonderland and was busy picking all the flowers I could find in her yard. I remember taking several of the flowers, lining them all up on the lanai, and imagining they were singing to me, just like the flowers in the Disney movie.

This image from Snow White inspired a few things—among them my love for bows on the tops of shoes, black heels, and doublet-style blouses (more on these later).

I included this description that describes the previous image because this particular scene was one I liked to reenact while wearing my Snow White costume.

Me in the driveway, winter, 1974. The reason I included this is because, if you look closely at the shoes (even though I have black tights on), you can not only see that they are that “Alice” Mary-Jane style, they have buckles—probably the first time I had embellishments, as Snow White did, on her shoes. These shoes, as I recall, also featured a very low heel.

And now: Alice in Wonderland and Snow White are responsible for the various pairs of Mary Jane heelsmy everyday shoesI have worn over the years.

May, 2001: rehearsing for a production of Company at the Sherman Playhouse in Sherman, CT. I’m second from left and that pair of Mary Jane shoes (actually, they were professional-grade character shoes) I owned and wore day in and day out from 1995 forward. I think they finally bit the dust in 2002. Here, my friend Lori, left, as Joanne, and me, as Amy, sing “Poor Baby” in Act 2.

Here are those shoes again at the “Christmas Cocktail” party—at tribute to a 1960s Christmas—at my house in December, 2001.

February 8, 2003: The replacements for my favorite Mary Jane character shoes that died in 2002. The heels were much higher and they weren’t as well made—I think these shoes only lasted me a couple of years, max—but I learned to be comfortable in them just fine. Here I am on my way out to see a production of the play Ice Box at The Warner Theatre in Torrington, CT.

I was a volunteer at the Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk in Norwalk, CT, from 2001 through the end of 2004—and even though I was running around and on my feet all day, sometimes for eight or nine hours, heeled Mary Janes were my choice for work, too. The guy I was dating at the time used to crack, “You should own something more comfortable, sweetie. You know. Rubber. Sneakers. Flat.” He didn’t understand I was more comfortable running around in heels than anything else, especially for working (then again, there is absolutely a reason we’re not together anymore either—he really didn’t understand very much of anything). Here I am getting ready to go to work at the Aquarium in June, 2003.

August, 2004: While it’s true I wore nothing but black Mary Janes (and pretty much still do), I did purchase one pair of brown special occasion shoes just in case I had to wear something that went better with brown. Here I am dancing at Nathan’s family reunion—we’re doing the “Electric Slide”—but what cracks me up is they’re still just like a Mary Jane, except the cross-strap wraps around the ankle instead of the usual. Apparently I don’t do well at picking anything significantly different.

Me at my friend Kristy’s wedding in September, 2004. This was the next pair of Mary Janes after the 2002 pair bit the dust.

Even my Crocs are Mary Jane style. Here they are in May, 2008, aboard the Walt Disney Road Railroad in the Magic Kingdom in Orlando.

My current pair of Mary Janes, which I bought in Fall, 2010. Here I am wearing them in an old cemetery in Bridgewater, Connecticut, October 2, 2010. We were taking promotional shots for the release of my collection of ghost stories set in Disney Parks, Skeletons in the Swimmin’ Hole—Tales from Haunted Disney World. We didn’t really end up using the shots, but the shoes look great!

Wendy from Peter Pan—I loved both the color and style of her nightgown.

Here I am in my own “Wendy” gown—you can see it has a very similar cut and style, except the bow ties in the front instead of the back. That dress was one of my favorites, and I wore it all the time, even to school—I FELT like “Wendy” in it. This photo was taken in 1976—I was on my way to see my first Broadway show (yes, in New York, and as a 5th birthday present—I believe it was the revival of My Fair Lady). That year for Halloween I was Wendy from Peter Pan. I remember Mom modified the sleeves on the dress (she took the lace off, so the sleeves would more closely match hers), changed the ribbon so it was sewn around the entire Empire waistline with no bow, and used the extra ribbon to make a bow for my hair. It was close enough for me to pretend I was Wendy, even if it wasn’t all blue—but even after that dress was modified, I continued to wear it to school until I grew out of it.

Old habits die hard. Here is a blue dress with an Empire waistline, scoop neck, and short sleeves (even though they aren’t elasticized, I think they’re close enough). I bought this dress in 2000 at a thrift store, and it served me for a few Halloweens. Here I am in October, 2000, as the character of Maude from the William Castle film Mr. Sardonicus. That’s my housemate, Charles, as the title character.

Here we are in the cemetery that same year. The dress, like Wendy’s nightgown, is floor-length.

This is one of my favorite images from the Cinderella album, mostly because I love the way her skirt is drawn.

Wendy from Peter Pan. Attraction: full skirt.

Maid Marian from Robin Hood. Attraction: full skirt.

Next two photos: here’s where the influence of those drawings of the full skirts come in. These aren’t the only two gowns I ever owned that were like this, but these are the best photos I can find that illustrate my point.

Me in my gown for The Masque of the Red Death party, November 4, 2000. The party was an Edgar Allan Poe dinner, and everyone came in costume. I was playing Fannie Osgood, so I wanted a long gown—but because I was always working hard in the kitchen and running around at my own parties, I frequently made sure I got something sleeveless and loose. Here, though, you can see the influence of Cinderella’s full skirt. I loved that when I came down the stairs the dress pooled behind me.

May, 1999, at a friend’s wedding. Those of us in the wedding party were instructed to choose our own dresses as long as they were purple or blue—I loved, loved, loved this gown. Obviously the color was inspired by Cinderella and Wendy. But that skirt was awesome—there was a spiral staircase at the wedding’s location, and seriously, I had a couple of glasses of wine and ran up and down the stairs—especially down. It swirled and floated behind me just like Cinderella’s dress in the picture. I remember thinking of the Cinderella image specifically when I was doing that—and was glad no one saw me. You have to admit, watching a woman run up and down the stairs and study how her dress behaves behind her is kind of weird. The wedding was okay…but my happier memories are of running around in that dress.

Here’s that close-up of my favorite image in the Snow White record album booklet again. There were many things about that image I loved, but this time around I’m going to talk about the cut of her bodice—it’s inspired many of my blouses and shirts.

Here’s one of my doublet shirts inspired by the cut of Snow White’s bodice. I have several shirts that are this cut—some in denim, a couple in silk—but I figured I’d photograph one and you’d get the point.

Here’s me wearing one of the doublet shirts (a blue polyester model—you can see I loved them so much I bought one in each available color) at the Danbury Fair Mall fireworks in July 2011. The girl on the right is Madi Gagne, who’s going to college for Marine Biology in Tampa, FL this coming Fall.

Here’s another of my favorites from the Cinderella album artwork—she made washing the windows look elegant, and although those were supposed to be her “poor girl” clothes, I thought her outfit was pretty nice. I particularly liked the brown skirt—and didn’t realize how many tan/brown skirts I’d own in my lifetime, especially to work in.

April, 1988, departing for Daytona Beach, FL. Yes, I’m wearing a tan skirt.

During my tenure at the Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk, all of my skirts were tan. Brown/tan skirts seem to be what I associate with work—probably because of that Cinderella image. I looked in my closet this morning and realized most of the skirts I own are khaki, tan, or brown.

This image and the next, both from Cinderella, inspired my flat shoes—I’m either in heeled Mary Janes or I’m in plain (usually black) flats. Like my Mary Janes, when one pair goes, I just go out and buy another.

I talked about this illustration before when I was discussing my brown skirts, but one of the other details I liked in this image was her flat shoes, the way her feet were poised.

Me and Nathan at the Sunset Drive In, Burlington, Vermont, summer 2005. I’m in my black flats.

Me at a hotel in Lumberton, North Carolina, on our road trip to Disney World, September, 2005. The shoes in the photo are a different pair of flats than the ones I was wearing that summer.

Me in Gettysburg—at Devil’s Den—July, 2007. These are my blue flats, which I still own. The reason I put them in here is because, just like the two pairs of black flats I just showed you, these have bows. In fact, most pairs of flats I own have bows. I believe that comes from the Snow White images I talked about earlier.

Maid Marian from Robin Hood. My main attraction to her gown was its neckline—which I found, as you can see in the next three photos, tends to show up on most of my dresses and/or blouses.

Me at the Bronx Zoo, July 20, 2002. Notice the neckline on my top.

January, 2005, with my friends Jen (left) and Nanette (right) from Pencils! Writing Workshop. I loved that dress—it had not only the same neckline as Marian’s, but was slightly tailored in the middle and flared out to a huge, full skirt—but I accidentally shrank it in the dryer.

Nathan and me at Pencils! Writing Workshop's 2nd Anniversary Mexican Fiesta Bash, July, 2005. Again, Marian's neckline.

One of my favorite cocktail dresses—because of its sheer pink cape. The cape is reminiscent of Marian’s headpiece, so I’m sure that’s why I bought it. I actually have a much better photo of me in this dress which can really show you the similarities between the cape and the headpiece, but it’s packed away in a box someplace. Here I am with my friend, Monica Merkel, at one of our parties, August, 1999.

A rack of “Alice in Wonderland” dresses in a shop in Epcot’s United Kingdom Pavilion, 2006—I remember taking this picture just because I was like, ‘hey, I wish they had those here in my size!’

In 2008, I got lucky—I found an Alice in Wonderland costume for adults (the official Disney version from the Disney Merchandise website, not a knock-off). Of course…I bought it and guess who I was for Halloween that year? There was an adult-sized White Rabbit Costume too, but somehow I doubt my little brother would’ve been thrilled to see that—so Alice was just Alice that year, and I was chasing the white rabbits that existed only in my head.


17 Aug

Zombie Bride Linda Nugent, of Ellington, prepares to eat Nathan’s brains! Linda won Best Overall in the costume contest…with good reason. She never broke character, not even when I went to ask her name!

Hundreds of the living dead walked for a great cause Saturday in Enfield, Connecticut at the town’s First Annual Zombie Walk for Hunger…and I was there with the New England Horror Writers and watched it all happen!

Zombies showed up in costume and were decked out by professional make-up artists (see REALLY AWESOME video of that at Enfield Patch here:

The walk kicked off with a rendition of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” (which was reprised later on in the day), and, after a 8/10 mile trek, they convened at the Weymouth Road firehouse to enjoy raffles, music, food, a costume contest, and vendors.

The event was a huge success—by the time the Zombies reached their destination, they had raised close to $1000 in cash and had filled a pick-up truck bed with food, which was delivered immediately to the Enfield Food Shelf.

I was not immune for long! Zombie Florist Mary Hale, of Enfield, tries to sink her teeth into me at the NEHW booth (um, I was having too much fun to really even try to look scared).

As for the NEHW, Jason Harris, Stacey Longo, D.G. Sutter, Jennifer Yarter-Polmatier and I talked with lots of zombies. We sold several books, donated copies of both the Library of Horror Press’ Malicious Deviance featuring NEHW writer Stacey Longo’s short “Good Night Francine” and my Skeletons in the Swimmin’ Hole—Tales from Haunted Disney World to the event’s Tea Cup Auction, and generally…let lots of people know we’re out there.

Nathan Schoonover of The Ghostman & Demon Hunter Show and A&E’s Extreme Paranormal, who was there to lend a hand (and shot most of the photos below), took some time out to converse with members of the investigators of Paranormal Revelations, a paranormal investigation group based in Northeastern Connecticut.

Enjoy the pix below…for more information on New England Horror Writers, visit

The sign at the crosswalk near the JFK school, starting point of the walk.

I don’t know who this is but I wouldn’t want to tangle with him, would you?

Mardi Gras Zombie Betty Blackwell, who came all the way from Bridgeport with her husband, Paul, to participate, begins her advance…

…and I don’t think she was too happy about having her undead antics interrupted!

Throngs of the undead begin to creep toward town…

Zombie Walker Rose Myers, left, of Windsor Locks, and Zombie Beetle Juice Janine Rasmussen, of Granby, make their way down the sidewalk.

Zombie Brainiac Sean Spring, of West Springfield, MA, looks like he’s lost something.

Zombie Doctor Jen Clarke, of Simsbury, looks as though she might have been caught in the middle of an operation.

These signs were everywhere…courtesy, of course, of

Zombie Blonde Dawn Dale, of Wethersfield, struts her stuff.

Zombie Teen Briana Flanagan, of Windsor Locks, dragged one of her feet for the entire mile. Ouch, that girl has guts—in more ways than one!

Flanagan, left, and Zombie BFF Brieanna Minor, of Coventry.

…speaking of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller!” That is just awesome. I’ll bet you the coat really does date back to the 1980s.

A zombie-style bean bag toss on the firehouse grounds.

Zombie Elvis McMahon Fan Bill Chapman, of Higganum. Elvis McMahon happens to be Nathan’s friend’s band. Talk about a small world!

Here we are at the New England Horror Writers booth! Left to right, D.G. Sutter, Jennifer Yarter-Polmatier, me, Stacey Longo, and Jason Harris.

Shots of our table…

Looks like there aren’t enough brains, so the zombies have to resort to ice cream.

Daetin Gonzales, of Enfield, Connecticut, rocks the zombie universe as he portrays Harry Wentworth, Ted Danson’s role in the 1982 film Creepshow’s vignette “They’re Creeping Up on You.” Daetin won for best teen costume.

The zombies in the throes of the reprise of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.”

Horror writer D.G. Sutter, at right: “Who needs brains when there are balloon animals?” At left, his fiancé Brin.

Nathan, left, and NEHW’s Jason Harris take a time-out when things start to calm down.

How Disney Records Influenced the Way I See the World (THE GOODBYE PROJECT: Letting Go is Good, Yo! Episode 19)

11 Aug

 About The Goodbye Project:

There are so many of us who can’t part with objects because of the sentimental attachment we have to them. You know—the graduation tassels, the barfed-on stuffed animal with the missing eye, the coat your late father bought for you because you begged. So what do you do when it’s time to let go of these beloved items because it’s absolutely necessary?

I’d read someplace that one of the best ways to let go of an object is to know that you have a photo. Sure, you can photograph it before you get rid of it. The Goodbye Project takes the idea a step further: go back and find photos of yourself actually with, using, or wearing that object, and blurb a bit about the memories it invokes.

Why? Everything has a story.

And because of that, the object deserves more than just a hasty trip to the Goodwill or the trash without a second thought.

EPISODE 19: How Disney Records Influenced the Way I See the World (or, The Disney Records, Part 2)

In the last episode, I said goodbye to whatever Disney albums I had left, most of which were in absolutely deplorable condition—yet despite that, they were still the most difficult things to let go of so far.

I couldn’t imagine why it was so hard—after all, they were ruined. Damaged. No point in keeping broken junk; when I went through them one page at a time, however, I realized why they were harder than anything else.

The artwork in the Disney booklets had, when I was a child, hypnotized me. I was surprised to discover that the images that had deeply affected me back then still affected me the same way now. And not only did I fully recall those strong emotional responses, I came to understand that these images shaped my early opinions of certain things.

In short, the art in many of those beloved Disney album booklets affected how I see the world.

Here is a brief tour through each of my favorite images and how they affected me.

This scene, from the booklet accompanying 3909—Alice in Wonderland, was one of many my mother used as reference to make our Halloween costumes in 1974, below.

I am certainly thrilled to be Alice in Wonderland! My brother Chuck, on the other hand, looks a little too grumpy to be the White Rabbit. Halloween, 1974.

This shot of one of the cels that illustrates The Rescuers record album (the one that I kept) was used by my mother as a reference for our Halloween costumes in 1977. One of the things I remember about this scene (in the film and in the album, which I played to death) was Bianca’s comment, “I can’t, it’ll wrinkle my dress.” How did Disney’s The Rescuers affect me? Well, I still believe that there’s someone out there waiting or looking for everyone, and that when you’re in trouble, there’s always someone who will help you out.

Chuck as Bernard and me as Bianca from Disney’s The Rescuers, Halloween, 1977.

Anyone who knows me knows I have a fear of and fascination with fire. My earliest memories of fire, and the terror I developed of it, came from the following images and text.

What amazed me about this picture was the dark, orange sky. I was fascinated by the fact that in the earlier pictures in the booklet, the sky was beautiful and blue; here, it was dark and threatening—and it had seemed to occur in practically no time at all. This was my first exposure to the concept of destruction: before and after. My love of films like The Towering Inferno, The Devil at Four O’Clock, Dante’s Peak and the like stems directly from this image; probably, also, does my love of abandoned buildings, because they, too, have a sense of lost beauty—granted, forlorn rather than violent, but still lost.

I took a close-up of the fire coming out of this log, here, because this is the image that made me recognize that fire was pretty. I just couldn’t stop looking at these flames—the white part reminded me of marshmallows, and the cinders surrounding the flames looked like a breaking crust of chocolate, like I’d seen on the ’Smores we made when we went camping. Seriously. I remember wishing I could lick this picture and taste the flames, because I was certain they would taste like ’Smores.

Even now I think this is a powerful paragraph. I had an image in my mind for each sentence, and the thing that disturbed me the most was the last one—a tree crashing right where they had been.

A fan of The Jungle Book but no fan of Sheer Kahn, certainly, this image of fire still scared me—I thought it was mean for Mowgli to tease the tiger. While I was attracted to the way the fire was drawn—it was like a smear—I think what bothered me more about this was the audio that went with it on the record. It was quite terrifying, as I recall.

I remember being scared for all the people who were trapped in the castle who couldn’t get out, and I wondered how Robin could be so selfish as to leave them all in there even if they were his enemies. It also, for some reason, instilled in me that I had better be ready to jump out a window if there were ever a fire in my house. Every night before bed, I would climb up on a chair so I could reach the window and unlock it. I was too young to realize I should have pulled the screen up to make it easier to get out. I don’t do that anymore as an adult for security reasons—all my windows are locked—but at least one window in my bedroom, no matter where I have lived, has a screen removed to make it easier for me to escape. All of that came about because of this image.

It’s the Siamese Cats from Lady and the Tramp! These cats, for some reason, were how I pictured demons from hell might look like. I don’t know why. This picture scared me—even though we did have a cat when I was little; his name was Cuddles. His name was a misnomer—he really wasn’t very cuddly at all, was an indoor-outdoor cat and so most of the time was bringing in things like dead birds and snakes as presents—but he didn’t scare me as much as these cats did.

In short, why I was terrified of dogs for most of my young life. It’s true. This movie cel image from 3917-Lady and the Tramp absolutely scared the daylights out of me, and yet I remember I couldn’t stop staring at it—probably due to the whole psychological well-known fact that things which frighten us also fascinate us. Whenever a dog would bark, or bound toward me, I’d run screaming—and it was all because of this picture. How do I do around dogs today? I’m alright. I can be skittish or nervous at times depending on the dog, but mostly I’ve learned how to force myself to just deal with it.

From the booklet for STER-3995, The Aristocats. I was very attracted to the basket (I didn’t know it was called a bassinette back then); it was just so neat-looking and looked like it could contain something edible, like bread or cookies (not the kittens, like in the story). To this day, I’m certain it’s the reason why I have a fascination with baskets, picnic baskets, when they are full, in particular. I like to, if I’m taking them out someplace, make sure they’re packed picture-perfect.

Again, it was all about the basket. I was fascinated by the fact it was tumbling down the hill, but nothing was spilling out of it.

In this scene from Robin Hood, the birthday bunny is being treated to a quiver and arrows. I liked this because Dad had given me a quiver and arrows and this one looked just like mine.

Also from Robin Hood. I liked this image because of the gleeful expressions on the birthday bunny’s sibling and Mom. It taught me that watching someone else be happy is sometimes a greater gift than being happy just for you. Seriously, that’s why I was obsessed with this picture. I wanted to grow up and learn to be happy like that.

This image from Robin Hood—and the part of the story that went with it—was my introduction to cruelty and injustice. In the story, the bunny has gotten a coin for his birthday, which someone in the family (I don’t remember who, now) had saved and saved to give to him. The Sheriff shows up just a few minutes later and takes it right out of his hands, and he’s heartbroken. I would cringe every time that part in the record came up. It just broke my heart that someone could be that mean—and, of course, I believed at that age (I think I was three) that such evil couldn’t possibly exist in the real world. To this day, the one sure-fire way to get me mad is show me something that isn’t fair, and someone being heartbroken/hurt because of it. I think of this poor cartoon bunny having his one birthday present taken away from him, and I just get roaring angry. It’s probably also what inspired me to have a certain special place in my heart for sad bunnies (I’ve written about this and the nature of tears on my blog before; you can read that here:

This image, from Peter Pan, is directly responsible for my whole love the “damsel in the distress” scenario. I loved the idea of being rescued…and still do, and the theme of rescue, physical, emotional, or otherwise, shows up in many of my stories, although it was much more prevalent in the stuff I was writing when I was a pre-teen and teen than it is now. My short story “Doors” is the most recent thing I’ve written in which this theme exists.

I could call the effect this image, from Robin Hood, had on me as good OR bad. It wasn’t so much the rescue—I loved the way his arm fit around her waist. Like she was tiny and weighed nothing. I half suspect this is part of the reason why I’m really weight-conscious. Seriously, I do.

This image appealed to me for two reasons: 1, I couldn’t wait to grow up and have my own home; 2, this truly was my very first introduction to the idea of “love at first sight.” This image made me believe that this was the way true love worked—you met, and that was it.

Who doesn’t love a happily ever after—although of all the happy endings, this one was my favorite, because I felt like after everything they’d been through in the story they deserved a break. This part of Robin Hood was how I developed the concept that two people need to be complete, strong beings on their own before romantically coming together with another.

3907, Stories of Uncle Remus, was my favorite album of them all, and I know why: with this booklet, it wasn’t about the images as much as it was about the stories. I liked the concept that Brer Rabbit could lock up his house in the Briar Patch and just…well, leave…and do whatever his heart desired. Since I really couldn’t stand the house I lived in and how dark it was, and I hated the idea that I couldn’t make my own decisions about what I wanted to do with my day on the weekends, that Brer Rabbit could do this really appealed to me—he was inspiring. I would sit around and fantasize about escape, about the day I could just walk out of the house and go live somewhere else on my own (I will reiterate here that I was three or four years old when I was having these thoughts), when it would happen, how it would happen. I never tried it, but I did build a secret hide-out at the back of my closet, put some raisins, books, water, and even a small lamp in there, and whenever I wished I could do just like Brer Rabbit had done, I would vanish into that closet and dream.

This picture always made me wish I could hammer and nail things—that I could build something, like a really cool tree fort. I don’t know why, but it did. I remember thinking that every time I looked at this image.

Here’s a close-up of him nailing his door. I was always worried, though, that he was going to hit his hand with the hammer—his finger is awfully close to that nail!

Look at the left of the photo—you can see the tape Mom used to try to keep the pages in the book. It was, obviously, dried out and ineffective.

Another reason Brer Rabbit appealed to me was because he was clever and smart—it seemed he could always get out of any situation. What I learned from him was that it was always best to think before doing—and listen to your instincts. He also inspired me to believe that I could do anything I set my mind to, including getting out of a seemingly impossible situation.

Look closely at this page—see all the mildew damage? Sad, just totally sad.

How the Disney Records Died a Long, Slow Death (THE GOODBYE PROJECT: Letting Go is Good, Yo! Episode 18)

8 Aug

About The Goodbye Project:

There are so many of us who can’t part with objects because of the sentimental attachment we have to them. You know—the graduation tassels, the barfed-on stuffed animal with the missing eye, the coat your late father bought for you because you begged. So what do you do when it’s time to let go of these beloved items because it’s absolutely necessary?

I’d read someplace that one of the best ways to let go of an object is to know that you have a photo. Sure, you can photograph it before you get rid of it. The Goodbye Project takes the idea a step further: go back and find photos of yourself actually with, using, or wearing that object, and blurb a bit about the memories it invokes.

Why? Everything has a story.

And because of that, the object deserves more than just a hasty trip to the Goodwill or the trash without a second thought.

EPISODE 18 How the Disney Records Died a Long, Slow Death (or, The Disney Records, Part 1)

The Disney records were so integral to my childhood afternoons I frequently carried them all over the house; Above, me, 3, with my Song of the South. The woman behind me is my grandmother (we called her Nana), who lived in Daytona Beach, FL, but came to visit every Spring. Photo taken May 19, 1974.

I don’t think I have to explain to anyone how seriously collectors take their passions; Disney Record Collectors are no exception.

I was never a Disney Record Collector and probably never will be, but I owned several Disney Records when I was a kid—and now it’s time to say goodbye. But what’s interesting about this story is that I almost didn’t get the opportunity to say goodbye.

Let’s first review the system for rating record condition as published in R. Michael Murray’s The Golden Age of Disney Records 1933-1988: Price Guide for Disney Fans and Record Collectors:

“Current grading standards range from the ultimate collectible, a “still sealed (SS)” copy of the record, to those records graded “poor (P),” which are in terrible shape, suitable only as Frisbees or as a “filler” copy until you can obtain one of a higher grade…In general, the grading system and the short-hand notation used in descending rank of collectability, are as follows:

            Still Sealed (SS)

            Mint (M)

            Mint Minus (M-): Sometimes noted as Near Mint (NM)

            Very Good Plus (VG+): Sometimes noted as Excellent (EX or EXC)

            Very Good (VG)

            Good (G)

            Poor (P)”[1]

The few Disney records I had left, according to the rating system above, would have fallen into the P- – category and wouldn’t EVEN make it as a Frisbee: they were loved by the hands and imagination of a precocious, lonely little girl (who sometimes purple-crayoned her very first “short stories” in them); then they were passed on to siblings, and let’s just say boys will be boys; over the years, the books were constantly masking-taped, the records themselves glued (yes, I swear, when one broke in half my mother GLUED it back together, I KID YOU  NOT!), the arms of the record players weighted with quarters or half-dollars in an effort to “gloss over” the ever-growing number of skips and scratches.

Then, as we got older, the toys and instruments of our childhood were stored—and not well. The records were either shoved in paper grocery bags and set in a mildew-infested environment: the damp, dark below-ground rooms of my father’s house, or stored in the attic crawl-space, which, due to bat infestation, collected amazing amounts of guano.

In the late 1990s, Dad decided it was time to “deal with” the bat infestation in the attic. Any professional he called in wasn’t going to be able to get to the problem, so Dad made me, my sister, and my brother clear out the boxes of junk that were up there*—my dead mother’s shoes dating back to the 1970s, old Halloween and Easter decorations, books, bedding (ew! The thought of that makes my flesh crawl!)…and half of the collection of Disney records (which I thought was the whole set). We, of course, pitched absolutely everything and never looked back. I know—makes you want to cry, doesn’t it? Because I had no memory of what poor condition those records were in at that time, I was a little angry, especially since I knew the bats would never appreciate their Disney-quality crap-receptor.

*Do NOT ever attempt to go anywhere near bat guano on your own; I believe it’s considered hazardous biological material. Call a professional. My father was out of his mind, and we should not have been allowed in that attic. In fact, for the amount of guano that was up there, we shouldn’t have even been living in the damn house. We were probably breathing it in for years. However, the three of us are still alive, free of health issues, and not carrying any bat-related diseases as far as we know. We got lucky. You might not.*

After my father passed away in 2008, I was routing through his den, which was full of mildewed books, and I discovered a paper grocery bag shoved in the back of a cement-floored closet. I got on my hands and knees to pull it out, and nearly choked at the clouds of mildew and dust coming off it. When I peeked inside, I was shocked to find not just Disney records—but the ones I’d most loved from my childhood. I was so happy to see them again that even though they were in a shape that could be hazardous to one’s health (God help you if you pulled these things out and had asthma, you would have been dead), I couldn’t throw them out. So I shoved them in a trash bag, taped the bag closed with Duct Tape, labeled them “Kristi’s Disney Records,” and threw them in a bin, which eventually went into storage in my very clean, very dry, and very brightly-lit basement.

When I finally unearthed them for this Goodbye Project, I literally had to wear a surgical mask so I could breathe to clean them up enough to photograph them.

Needless to say, they went into a trash bag as soon as I was finished. Sad—but like almost every other neglected thing in my parents’ house, the better choice was to chuck them.

Here’s a tour of what I had left. Enjoy.

3903: “Story and Songs from Bambi,” 1969; covers with both inner and outer pockets. If M- condition in 1997, it would’ve been worth $20.00. Note: Booklet art is painted.

STER-3948: “The Story and Songs of The Jungle Book,” 1978; has a matte booklet with inner pocket and color back cover pictures; yellow rainbow label. If M- condition in 1997, worth approximately $15.00. Note: Booklet art is painted.

3917: “Story and Songs from Lady and the Tramp,” 1969; back cover is green with pictures of inner picture booklet; if M-condition in 1997, worth approximately $20.00. Note: Booklet art is movie cel.

This cracks me up. My mother somehow felt the need to write my name in the inside covers of all of my albums—yet at the time I was the only child in the house. This implies that, although I don’t remember it, I probably took the damn things out of the house—such as to a friend’s, or to Show-and-Tell at school, or to grandparents’ houses or whatever.

3906: “Story and Songs from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” 1969; cover of Snow White sweeping; painted booklet art. If in M- condition in 1997, worth $20.00.

3908: “Cinderella,” 1969; pink cover with mice sewing dress; painted picture booklet (there was also a movie cel version). The painted picture booklet version, if in M- condition in 1997, would go for around $15.00.

3909: “Alice in Wonderland,” 1969; green psychedelic cover with eleven-page painted art work booklet; red label (there was also a movie cel version with a purple label). If in M- condition in 1997, the painted booklet version would go for about $15.00.

3910: “Story and Songs from Peter Pan,” 1969. Painted booklet art. If in M- condition in 1997, worth around $15.00.

STER-3995: “The Story of The Aristocats,” 8/1970; features Robie Lester, Phil Harris, and Mike Sammes Singers; Sterling Holloway narrates. If in M- condition in 1997, worth around $20.00. Note: Booklet art is painted.

3907: “Stories of Uncle Remus,” 1970 as “3907” include “Brer Rabbit,” etc; with twelve-page matte booklet with different text than its original 1958 issue. Booklet art is movie cel; if in M- condition in 1997, worth around $25.00.

3810: “Story and Songs from Robin Hood,” 8/1973; Roger Miller narrates; animated version; stereo. Note: painted booklet art. If in M- condition in 1997, worth around $25.00.

There were two that I kept—my beloved ride-through of the “It’s a Small World” attraction, which I just listened to over and over and over again to the point where I knew how to sing that song in every language they had featured on the album; I managed to clean up the mold and mildew enough so that it was okay for me to store.

The second one I kept is actually in really great shape—“Story of The Rescuers,” with the movie cel art. The reason that one’s okay is because I got it when in was new in 1977 and I treasured it. I kept it on my bookshelf as a kid and all through my teenage years, and I even took it with me to college. So that’s the reason it’s in mint condition and didn’t suffer the same fate as the others.

I also suppose you’re wondering which ones were in the attic when they were tossed. To the best of my memory, here are some others I know I owned:

The Story of Heidi

Pinocchio (probably that 3800-3900 series)

Dumbo (probably that 3800-3900 series)

Bambi (DQ-1203)

Tubby the Tuba and Other Songs for Children about Music (DQ-1287)

101 Dalmations (DQ-1308)

Mickey and the Beanstalk (ST-3974)

[1] R. Michael Murray, The Golden Age of Walt Disney Records 1933-1988 (Dubuque, IA: Landmark Specialty Publications-Antique Trader Books, 1997), 11.


7 Aug

The first annual Zombie Walk for Hunger to benefit the Enfield Food Shelf will take place Saturday, August 13, 2011 in Enfield, Connecticut, and will feature a vendor faire, bands, activities, a “Thriller” dance…and, of course, the local walking dead (and if you’d like to be one, be sure to check out the link below—there’s still time)!

I’ll be there at the New England Horror Writers’ table in the vendor area, so if you’re participating in the event or up that way, be sure to come say hello (and I’ll have the usual Skeletons books—and some cool new swag—on hand for sale). Nathan will be with me, so those of you who are in the area who’ve always wanted to meet him and haven’t gotten the chance…well, we’re putting him to work! Come on by and give him a break!

To find out more about the Zombie Walk for Hunger, how you can participate, how you can donate to this great cause or what you can do to help—I understand they’re still looking for Zombie make-up artists—visit the official website at


6 Aug

My housemate, Charles, at Typhoon Lagoon in 1998.

Any raging Disney Park fan will tell you that those of us who live too far away to enjoy the parks on a consistent basis—especially when the weather is crummy—like to engage in something called “The Imagication.”

There are a number of ways to do this, and I’ve seen a few people post some ideas on various Disney forums: enjoy your vacation pictures on a DVD set to music or some other kind of slideshow. Listen or watch attraction ride-throughs on the Internet. Plug your favorite Disney fan park podcast into your car stereo on the way to work. Or simply go into a room, close your eyes and imagine you’re there.

Sometimes, though, a person gets lucky, and finds a Disney-esque oasis right near home.

Recently, a friend of mine took her son to Splashdown Beach water park inFishkill,New York, which is an easy forty minutes by highway from me. I’d always known about the place, but never made it over there. She came in raving about how much fun it was—and since Nathan and I are moving soon to Florida (where we WON’T have to do the Imagications anymore), I figured it might be fun to get ourselves a dose of water park fun.

As someone who considers herself a water park junkie (and doesn’t let the condition of any kind of like-park bother her), I was thrilled with Splashdown’s theming (very tropical—loved that, since Typhoon Lagoon is my favorite water park in the world), atmosphere, cleanliness, and food. Visiting a place like that, it’s clear to see that Disney’s quality has inspired even the smallest places to at least try to ante-up.

One thing that’s different, of course, is that there’s a story behind Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon—a reason for the theme. A small fishing town was wiped out by a typhoon, so there is debris everywhere. Splashdown! Beach doesn’t feature any kind of back story, but the Tiki/Shark/Surf theme is consistent.

Anyway, it’s just the fair of August, so there’s still a nice long, hot month left. If you’re in the tri-state area, are in need of an “Imagication,” and you can get to Fishkill, New Yorkwithin an hour or so, Splashdown! Beachis definitely worth the trip. Here’s the park’s website:

And if you can’t get there? Here’s a virtual tour—which I peppered with photos of the Disney Parks in Orlando,Florida, for comparative reasons. These aren’t necessarily in the order of our trip—I tried to hug the map so it would make more sense.


The entrance to Splashdown Beach, which looks like it was recently expanded to include the BulletBowl, Pirate’s Plunge and Pirate’s Revenge. I have no idea if this is true, I only say it because it looks as though there’s a fountain next to those attractions that looks completely out of place. The people you see in line above the sign are for the three attractions I just mentioned.

Here’s the park map. We took this photo toward the end of the day in another area of the park, but since I’m going to be loosely following this map for our tour, I figured I’d put it up front.

This is a close-up of the roof of the admissions building, facing toward the park entrance. I love the fake palm trees; it really does give a tropical flavor.

These are on the other side of the fence near the parking lot. Several of these pilings are everywhere, not dissimilar to Typhoon Lagoon.

“Piling”-style stairwell rails at Disney’s Polynesian Resort, August, 2008. While it’s clear that the Polynesian is copying how villages in the South Seas might be built and Splashdown is inspired by traditionally-built docks (and, so, obviously, the lashing styles are also different), BOTH seem to lend the place a tropical air.

That’s me, waiting in line to get in. I was really excited for the day. There’s just something about the heat and smell of chlorine. When I was in third grade, a roving reporter from the New Milford Times came to our elementary school. They asked some kids and teachers, “what’s your idea of heaven?” My answer was “lots of palm trees and lots of swimming pools.” Even fake palm trees will do!

Here’s Nathan. He’d forgotten to bring a hat, so I ended up giving him mine for the day. It’s one of my favorite hats—I got it in the middle of nowhere in the Adirondack State Park in a little town called Paradox at their store/post office/beach front/town hall/diner. The hat says, “Paradox General Store.” I couldn’t stand it…I HAD to buy it. Too funny!

One of the changing booths. There are three inside the main entrance.

The ceiling of the changing room. I liked the shape of it.

I thought the changing room was really clean.

What I most liked about the changing room was the fact that it was bright inside. Although I love the changing facilities in Typhoon Lagoon—they ARE kind of dark. Which always surprised me.

Lattice on Main Street in the Magic Kingdom, September, 2005. I just found it interesting that the Magic Kingdom used it for a Victorian old-town feel, and Splashdown used it for a Key West feel, and even though it’s the same lattice, it works both ways.

This shark bursts out of the cupola on the admissions building.

Another shot of the shark. This gives a nice idea of how beautiful the sky and clouds were that day.

There’s a “fake” tattoo place. Anyone who knows me will tell you I’ve always wanted a real tattoo—but probably would never get one, because my tastes change too much from year to year and what I want one year will change the following year. So I take pleasure in getting fake ones that last about a week once in awhile, usually at a carnival or at a place like this. It’s the same reason I only use temporary wash-out-in-ten-showers hair dye, too. Both are fun, but when you’re done, you’re done and you haven’t done anything you regret. Oh, and by the way? There is also a temporary tattoo station in Typhoon Lagoon.

This is the suspended shark over the gift shop. It’s reminiscent of the same thing that’s done on Shark Reef down at Typhoon Lagoon, only that shark is a Hammerhead and is wearing dive gear (because it’s Hammerhead Fred’s Dive Shop, which provides supplies for the Shark Reef attraction).

Yes, the shark I just referenced, Typhoon Lagoon, August, 2008.

Yes, this is the Jaws shark in the Amity section at Universal in Orlando, which has nothing to do with Disney—however, I think it’s interesting that the way the Splashdown! Beach shark is highly reminiscent of this shark. Yes, they’re both Great Whites, but both have the desperate expression of “caught in death throes.” This is me in Universal, September, 2005.

It’s stuff like this that would get me into trouble if I weren’t moving and trying to get rid of stuff. It’s a cute kids’ bag for their suits or whatever else is wet. Below, the Octopus model, and the matching crab kids’ beach chair.

The interior of the main building contains a restaurant, a gift counter, restrooms, an arcade, reptile exhibits, and the party room for birthday parties and events. The interior of the main lobby of the building has these great dinosaur murals. It was like stepping into the Jurassic Park visitors’ center. While we were there, they happened to be setting up for a child’s birthday party. As Nathan pointed out, “see, that’s why it sucks to have your birthday in February.” Since we were born three weeks apart, I couldn’t agree more—however, our anniversary is actually in January, and yet we celebrate every July (for that reason—really, what are you going to do in Danbury, CT that’s so special for your anniversary in JANUARY?). In fact, this day at the water park was our anniversary celebration.

I think iguanas are cute. This one was huge. And looking at me like, ‘leave me alone.’ For the record, I did not use a flash when I took this picture. I didn’t want to blind him.

The restaurant inside the main building. I don’t think it’s called “Under the Sea”—according to the park map, it’s Cosimo’s Pizza on the Boardwalk—which would explain the “sea” theme. Also, gotta love that it’s a direct reference to that song from The Little Mermaid we all love and adore!

Gotta love plastic barracuda! Anybody remember that movie from the 1970s? Believe it or not, I have it on video. Maybe it’s time to pull it out and have some fun!

Although the map claims there’s a “Tiki Bar,” there isn’t. It really just marks a place where you can buy beer. I have to say, though, I was happy with the selection—there weren’t just your usual Buds; a couple of the beers fit the theme. Here, Nathan holds our tropic-esque beers (mine’s the Bud Light Lime).

This was a huge beer for five bucks (we didn’t find the food or drink unreasonably priced at all, by the way). I convinced Nathan to get this one since I’d had it a few times and liked it. It’s brewed in Jacksonville, FL. Way to go!

I thought this sign was one of the coolest things in the park; it reminds me of the skull which contains the famed The Devil’s Eye diamond in the 1977 Disney film, The Rescuers or Skull Island from Peter Pan.

A shot of Skull Island from Disney’s Peter Pan.

A shot of the skull in which the Devil’s Eye is hidden in Disney’s The Rescuers.

These cabanas are available for private rental for the day and include waiter service. Each accommodates six people. Although it said “call for pricing” on the brochure they give out at the park, on the website the cost for weekday is $80 and for a weekend is $100. Divided by six people to have your own private space really isn’t bad, and it does include, as noted, waiter service and a free locker rental. Since shade is hard to find in the park, that might just be your ticket if you’re going with a group.

Notice the use of netting here at Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside Resort, where it’s used to convey a sense of America’s deep south—scroll up to the cabana photo above this one, and the netting is used to convey a sense of a South Seas dock. Neat.

I was very impressed with the quality of the wave pool and especially how clear and clean the water was, so here, I took a close-up shot of the back corner. My first reaction when I walked in was, “wow, it’s tiny!” Well…when you’ve spent your whole life in that massive wave pool in Typhoon Lagoon, yes, this thing looks like a puddle. But it was a crowded day and it seemed to accommodate everyone just fine and have plenty of room.

We pulled up a couple of chairs in the only spot that had shade on Rock Beach—but that was around 11:30 or so, and by the time we’d come back from lunch the sun had moved and we had to move our chairs (leave it to Nathan to predict where we should move our chairs to be in the shade! He’s also great at predicting the time by looking at the depth of the shadows. Pretty cool!)

This was the view from my chair. I love these Tiki shades. They have them at Typhoon Lagoon, too.

Here’s the beach at Disney’s Polynesian Resort, April, 2008. See how the Splashdown! Beach Tiki shades are similar to the ones at the Polynesian?

I liked this—my chair was behind it, so it was like having a private spot on my own tropical island.

Here’s a view from my chair looking back toward the wave pool.

Earlier, I referenced the Tiki shades at Typhoon Lagoon. Here they are, behind me (to the rear left of the photo), August, 2008. Sorry about the disgusting picture of food, but it was the only photo I had in which I had captured Typhoon’s Tiki shades.

Our first spot on the beach wasn’t far from the Nathan’s hot dog stand.

When it’s really hot, Nathan and I don’t eat much. He treated himself to a Nathan’s hot dog. I think he just got the plain one and put mustard on it, although maybe that’s cheese. I can’t tell.

Yes, I had to do it and have my favorite thing—beer-battered onion rings. Again, the food was reasonable—I think these were only $3.99 or something. Not bad at all.

Me on lunch break. We were lucky enough to get part of table in the shade.

Nathan went off to get something, I forget what, and I was bored so I took this picture. Simple as that. I liked the way the beer can’s color complemented the bag’s, though (if you’ve read my Goodbye Project Episode #15, handbags——then you know I’m a bag girl!)

Our second beach spot was on the other side of Rock Beach—in fact, it was just beneath the Humunga Half-Pipe attraction and the control apparatus for the Wave Pool, which we didn’t get the opportunity to try (we’re saving it for when we go back, which we will at least once before we move).

I bought Nathan a frozen lemonade so he could take a few minutes to cool down. If you know Nathan at all, you know he really doesn’t do well in the heat. Yes, that’s what I said. But we’re moving to FL because he knows I want to be there. That’s love!

Beach Spot #2 turned out, though, to be the perfect cooling spot—every time the wave maker kicked on, there was a breeze and a spray that blew right over our chairs. Here I am enjoying it!

Below, a video of what the wave pool apparatus sounded like from our Beach Spot #2 (this should download and open through Windows Media Player).

Crock Creek is the name of their Lazy River, and the set pieces around it have an Aztec/Old Mexico-type/Caribbean feel (I’m not sure exactly, it seems like a bit of a mish-mosh, but I enjoyed it). I’ve been on a number of lazy rivers, and though this certainly isn’t the twenty-minute extravaganza that Typhoon Lagoon’s Castaway Creek is, and you do have to get off at one go-around so others can get in, it wasn’t too short a trip at all (judging from the times Nathan took the photos, it takes seven minutes), and it had some neat water features.

Here I’m getting whacked by a water feature, most likely one that’s perched on the edges of a couple of the bridges that cross the creek.


One of the set pieces around Croc Creek that gives it flavor. It reminds me of some of the architecture around Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort’s Caribbean Cay area (you can see a photo of what I’m talking about here:

In the photo above, note the rock structures to the left. They reminded me of the back wall of Typhoon Lagoon’s wave pool, pictured here in August, 2008.

This statue, here, is why I noted earlier I wasn’t exactly sure what type of look the park was going for. Nathan pointed out that this is closer to the statues on Easter Island in design than they are anything you’d find in the Caribbean or in Mexico. Also note the water feature spewing from the wall next to it. There were several of these types of spraying mechanisms along the attraction.

There is a lot of nice landscaping around this attraction; I just have to point that out, because there are some non-Disney water parks I have been to and their lazy rivers have nothing around them but concrete or gravel or something. And whoever did the landscaping here took the time to put in plants that fit in with a tropical theme, or at least looked like they might be tropical. I didn’t see one evergreen tree or one of those horrible ratty hemlock bushes (common in the north because they’re cheap and you can’t kill them, but boy do they look icky unless you spend your life pruning them) in the whole place.

My sister, Missie, and her daughter, Andi, float down Typhoon Lagoon’s Castaway Creek in September, 2006. I chose this photo only because, if you look at the back of the photo, you can clearly see the beginnings of the lush landscaping—something I felt Splashdown! Beach imitated very well.

Here I am, getting whacked with another water feature.

The style of this lighthouse also echoes the feel of Disney’s Caribbean Cay, especially with the palm tree alongside it.

Nathan got this shot of this fish statue near the creek. This style reminds me of Disney’s The Three Caballeros.

It’s pool water! I was trying to capture the sun’s reflection on the bottom; it didn’t exactly work.

Shipwreck Lagoon is the children’s interactive play area. While the brochure doesn’t boast it has the “Over 50 interactive water features” that the new Bob the Builder Splashworks area features, I thought the Shipwreck area had plenty to do for kids—and I liked the festive décor. Here, this crab reminded me of a decorative container in my bathroom.

The crab I just showed you, above, reminded me of the style of the animals in The Little Mermaid diorama that’s outside the Main Street Emporium in the Magic Kingdom—take a close look at the snails in the lower right-hand corner and you’ll see what I mean. This photo was taken in September, 2007.

The stacked parrots in the back remind me of the Enchanted Tiki Room in Walt Disney World (I’m a purist, I refuse to deal with “Under New Management” and am grateful that element is FINALLY going away this year!). I don’t have any photos, so if anyone’s got one they’d like to share so I can post it, just leave me a comment and let me know.

This grouping is an interesting mix of the Tikis in Adventureland, the Finding Nemo display outside Epcot’s Living Seas, and the Tiki figures inside Nemo’s fishtank in the film.

The Tikis near the Adventureland entrance.

In this photo and the next, I could really note the similarities in style between the Adventureland Tikis and the ones depicted in the crab display at Splashdown! Beach. This photo was taken in September, 2005.

Looks like the Tikis had just gotten a fresh paint job here in August, 2008—now Splashdown! Beach’s colors seem to more closely match what’s down in Adventureland.

Here’s a shot of the display outside The Seas with Nemo & Friends at Future World in Epcot, August, 2008.

Here’s me posing for animal crackers or something at the display outside The Seas with Nemo & Friends at Future World in Epcot, September, 2005 (note—the pavilion wasn’t open yet; it was in the middle of being remodeled at the time).

Here’s Nathan in front of The Seas with Nemo & Friends, September, 2005.

I know these are common in children’s areas in water parks and feature all manner of animals, fish, and birds. I don’t know why, but this bird reminded me of the famous rainforest bird in It’s a Small World in Disney World.

Here’s the bird I referenced in the caption for the last photo. See how Splashdown’s is reminiscent? This photo was taken by my housemate, Charles, in September, 2005.

The bird I just referenced, above, at Splashdown! seems reminiscent of The Three Caballeros’ José, pictured here in the load area of the Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros (formerly the El Rio del Tiempo) attraction in Epcot World Showcase’s Mexico Pavilion. This photo taken September, 2007.

A pirate keeps watch for trouble approaching.

Here’s me at the entrance to Typhoon Lagoon in August, 2008. I thought Splashdown! Beach’s pirate, shown in the previous photo, was reminiscent of the Disney water park’s signature sign.

…and, it also reminded me, of course, of Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean attraction signage (well, minus the skeletal pirate in the crow’s nest), seen here in September, 2006.

It’s a long way up to the three slides that begin from the same point. Similar to Typhoon Lagoon’s Keelhaul Falls for those of you who know it, we were told by some frequent-riding early teens that “purple’s fast, yellow’s orange is swirly.” We chickened out and did orange. It was still pretty fast!

I love these sharks just popping out of random walls; it’s like something out of a bad Syfy Channel movie.

These Tikis, reminiscent of the ones on Easter Island, stand firm among the serpentine coils of the super-fast Cowabunga Falls purple slide.

This Tiki guards the orange slide, the one Nathan and I both chose to ride.

As I’d mentioned earlier, Nathan had commented that these Tikis really are like the ones on Easter Island. Here’s another what seems to be more-closely-related-to-what-you’d-find-on-Easter-Island style—this one at Disney’s Polynesian Resort. Photo taken in May, 2008.

These three attractions also launch from the same platform; we stuck with the Pirate’s Revenge and while not as exciting as Typhoon Lagoon’s Crush ‘n’ Gusher, we thought it was pretty intense. Let’s put it this way—I was certainly screaming on the way down! According to the brochure: “Over 400 feet of enclosed tunnel and 360 degree loops.”

Tikis like this eye you all the way to the stairs that ascend to the launch platform for Pirate’s Plunge, Revenge and the Bullet Bowl.

The landing pool for Pirate’s Plunge (center output); Revenge (output at left) and Bullet Bowl (far right).

Our 8th anniversary picture.


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