Showing posts with label live show. Show all posts
Showing posts with label live show. Show all posts

Friday, August 29, 2014

Goodbye Spirit of America and Off Kilter

Yesterday, I saw some really tragic news.  Ok, so not actually tragic in the sense that no one died, no nation collapsed, and nothing blew up…well, maybe just Twitter exploded.  But to a girl who loves Epcot and its live entertainment, it was quite heartbreaking news.  Some of Epcot's long-time performers will sing/play/dance/act their last in the park in late September.  According to the Orlando Sentinel, Off Kilter, Mo’Rockin’, Spirit of America Fife & Drum Corps and World Showcase Players will soon be replaced.

Spirit of America Fife & Drum Corps, Epcot

Off Kilter began rocking the Canadian pavilion with their Celtic melodies in 1997, and I happened to be in College Program during that year.  You can read more (and catch a few videos) about these masters of bagpipes and kilts here.  Disney is bringing in a lumberjack act to Canada.  I'll grab a Stella and give it a chance but it will never replace Off Kilter in my Disney nerd heart.  

Today I want to share a special memory about another group who will soon say goodbye.   The Spirit of America Fife & Drum Corps is just what it sounds like.  This group of musicians plays traditional American tunes while wearing costumes inspired by colonial times.  I think the live performances are what really makes Epcot special and I always encourage people to slow down and take in the acts.  In November 2013, we did just that and caught a very special ceremony.  The leader of the group called the children up to the front of the pavilion and after a bit of marching, the children were all given copies of the Declaration of Independence and announced as Sons and Daughters of Liberty.  My girls were 2 and 4 at the time so they just liked their 'scrolls' but it was a really nice moment.

This is just one of the small things that keeps us going back to Walt Disney World.   I don't think the big ticket items are really the draw.  Yes, the roller coasters are great fun but the true Disney magic is when guests and Cast Members slow down and interact.  And you have to love it when you actually learn something while being entertained!

Spirit of America Fife & Drum Corps, Epcot

I wish a fond farewell to the groups who are soon ending their time at Epcot and look forward to checking out the new acts on my next visit.  To those who will be replacing Off Kilter and Spirit of America, you have some mighty big Doc Martens and buckled shoes to fill.  Best wishes!

Spirit of America Fife & Drum Corps, Epcot, Hidden Mickey

Spirit of America Fife & Drum Corps, Epcot

If you are lucky enough to be at Epcot in the next month, please catch a performance or two from Off Kilter and Spirit of America for me!

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Friday, October 18, 2013

Magical Blogorail: Most Magical Disney Memories

Welcome to those of you joining me from A World View and those of you just hopping aboard. I am the Final stop on our Magical Blogorail.

Our blog is all about our magical Disney memories.   I've shared lots of stories about the big Disney wedding, marathon, and so on.  Today I'd like to look at a few of the smaller moments that are wonderful memories.

While these were pretty much the biggest deals in my life, announcing to my parents that I was expecting each of my children were private moments at Disney World.  For Tink, I seized the chance to  weasel my way into a last minute trip my parents were taking.  It took me all day to find the right time to spill the beans but I'm glad I waited, as IllumiNations will forever be connected to Tink since I told them right before the show started.  For Minnie, we had a trip already planned so I got Tink a big sister shirt and arranged for us to have dinner at Olivia's on the first evening.  My brother was in on the surprise so he had his camera ready.  I stopped at the restroom on the way to the table and changed Tink's shirt.  It took my parents a few moments to realize A. that she had changed and B. just what her shirt said.  Since I have set this precedent, my parents hoped we had more news when I've agreed to other last minute trips over the last year and a half but I'm happy to be done with baby announcements.

announcing a pregnancy at Walt Disney World

When I was in college program, my parents and grandparents came down for a visit.  My Granny and I had so much fun shopping with my Christmas discount.
When on Tink's first visit, we took her to the free character photo session for Disney Visa cardmembers at Innoventions.  Pluto saw my one-year-old and immediately got down on all fours to play with her.

Mickey and Pluto at the Chase Disney Visa photo session
And speaking of a first birthday, here's Tink enjoying her smash cake in an Old Key West Grand Villa.  This kid has no idea how good she has it.

Mickey Mouse first birthday cake, Mickey smash cake, first birthday at WDW
Minnie's first character meet and greet was Pluto and Goofy in Dinoland at Animal Kingdom.  Watching her totally light up for Pluto was priceless.  (Must be something special about Pluto.)

Pluto and Goofy at Disney's Animal Kingdom

On our trip in January 2013, Tink was sick enough that I had to take her to the emergency room.  Thankfully my children are normally very healthy and it was tough to see her feel so awful.  She was well enough for one really good day on that trip and seeing her face when Cinderella approached us at Akershus was fabulous.
We've enjoyed being a part of the husband played the bucket for Mulch, Sweat and Shears and had to sing "I'm a Little Teapot" at the 50's Diner, DisneyDad has been "that guy" in the Monster's Inc Laugh Floor, Mom likes to interact with the Streetmosphere Cast at Disney's Hollywood Studios, Tink was the featherduster in Enchanted Tales with Belle, Ridge played along with the tiny glass of tea and bathroom FastPass at Whispering Canyon and I've been pulled up to sing about women's sufferage on Main Street, U.S.A.

Mulch, Sweat and Shears at Disney's Hollywood Studios
I'll stop now as I could go on and on about the little moments but I think those are what really makes Walt Disney World special.  It's usually not the big plans we make that end up being sweet memories.  It's those moments where we get caught up in the magic that really bring us back time and again.  

Thank you for joining Magical Blogorail Red this month. We will be back on November 15th with an all new theme. Keep checking in with our blogs in between loops to keep up to date with our Disney news, photos and stories. If you are looking for more Disney magic, you can make your way over to The Magical Blogorail website to see all our members and their blogs, as well as all our previous loops.

Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail should you happen to have to make a stop along the way and want to reboard:
1st Stop ~ My Dreams of Disney
2nd Stop ~ Disney Donna Kay
3rd Stop ~ Colorado Mountain Mom
4th Stop ~ A World View
Final Stop ~ Growing Up Disney
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Monday, October 1, 2012

In Celebration of Epcot's 30th Anniversary...Off Kilter

I originally wrote this post as a part of the 30 Days to 30 Years series hosted by DISTherapy and Pursuing the Magic.  I'm sharing it here for today's big anniversary.  Hope you enjoy the videos at the end of the article.  Ridge and DisneyDad are at Epcot today so keep an eye out here and on twitter (@cwridgeway) for updates on the festivities.  ~Amy

1997 was Epcot's greatest year because that's when they hired Off Kilter.  Ok, so that's a stretch but the band is one of my favorite things about my favorite park.

I didn't realize that Off Kilter started at Epcot in 1997 until this series of blog posts was suggested.  My college program term was at the end of that year so I guess I have been a fan since the beginning.  Now, I rarely make a trip to Walt Disney World without catching at least one Off Kilter performance.  I keep their 5 CDs loaded on my iPhone.  The uptempo songs are terrific for running or just motivation to do housework.  "Follow Me Off to Carlow", "Irish Rover" and "Whiskey in the Jar" are just a few of my favorite Off Kilter songs.

In case you aren't familiar with them, Off Kilter is the house band of sorts at the Canadian pavilion at Epcot's World Showcase.  I'm going to let the guys describe themselves.  This is from the home page of their website.  Off Kilter is a high-energy, progressive Celtic band that blends many hard-driving musical styles, bringing a whole new twist to Celtic music.  The only thing I'd add to their description is humor.  An Off Kilter show is musically enjoyable with quite a few laughs thrown in.  They sing rock songs with a Celtic twist, traditional songs with a rock edge and even a few original songs.

Check out the Off Kilter website to hear more music, read bios on the band members, see available merchandise, etc.  Randy Holbrook is the lead guitarist and I discovered that he plays not only with Off Kilter but also with a New Age band and in a show at Sea World.  If you look through my photos of the group, you'll notice a few new faces.  Since it's a regular five day a week gig, from time to time, someone is sick or on vacation and another musician will take his place.

Yes, I totally ripped this off their site.  Screenshot!

We usually tour Epcot so we'll end up in the vicinity of Canada in the afternoon or evening.  It's so much fun to be near the World Showcase Lagoon, enjoying some Celtic rock, a good beer and hopefully a light breeze.  Regarding the beverage, the stage at Canada is conveniently located between stands selling Canadian and British beers, so arrive a little early and pick up some refreshments.  If you are lucky enough to be visiting during the Food and Wine Festival, there is usually an additional beer marketplace in this area so your options are expanded.


I was in the parks alot in 1997.  In January, I took a trip with my three best friends during our university's January break.  We had a great time being a bunch of big kids, wearing silly hats at Magic Kingdom and doing cartwheels at Epcot.  Oh goodness, I doubt I could do that now.  Anyway, I still think of my friend Michelle every time I pass that area at World Showcase.  Another funny Epcot memory from that trip is the mime at France.  For some reason we all thought he was really cute and caught his show a couple of times.

In August of 1997, I moved into Vista Way and began work at Crystal Palace.  I've finally found my scrapbook after our move so I'll share more about that soon.  


A few videos of Off Kilter my brother and I have taken over the years....

"Run, Run Away"

"Run, Run Away" bagpipe solo

"Follow Me Off to Carlow" bagpipe solo
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Friday, September 21, 2012

Magical Blogorail: Live Resort Entertainment I Can't Wait to See Again

Welcome to those of you joining me from A World View and those of you just hopping aboard. I am the 2nd stop on our Magical Blogorail.

If you think live entertainment is only inside the Disney Parks, you are missing out on some truly special experiences.  The Disney resort hotels offer a variety of talented performers as well.  Covering a  wide range of musical styles and price ranges, there is something for everyone.

I've only been to Hoop-Dee-Doo once and it was about 19 years ago (holy cow!) but it is definitely on my list of must-dos once my daughters get just a little older.  We had a blast the last time we went and had a table right by the stage.  My dad is a good sport and that's fortunate since one of the performers decided to pick on him all night.  My brother and cousin and I had a great time hitting each other with napkins when they instructed us to spin them over our heads.  (Hey, we were kids.)  Mickey's Backyard Barbeque is a little more kid-friendly so we may give that one a shot in the meantime.  It's a family-style BBQ meal like Hoop-Dee-Doo however as the name implies, the entertainment is more child-oriented with characters and lots of chances for kids to get up and wiggle.

A sentimental favorite is The Grand Floridian Society Orchestra, the jazz band that plays most evenings on the upper level of the lobby at the Grand.  They've provided a lovely background to some special evenings...dinner at Victoria and Albert's Chef's Table with my father, walking through the lobby feeling like a princess after our wedding reception, and relaxing in a honeymoon suite after the big day.  We could hear the band inside our room on the club level and I wish now that we had taken a peek at the concierge offerings, but we had a brunch planned the following morning with family and friends at OKW (I digress.)
Thanks to Channing Wilson at Travel with the Magic for sharing this photo.

Another favorite live entertainment option is the Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show at Disney's Polynesian Resort.  I've been 4 or 5 times over the years.  When we started going, it was indoors.  While that was climate-controlled and not subject to extremes in the weather, I love the luau cove where the current show is performed.  It's one of those Disney things where the food is good but not stellar and the show is a bit contrived but the overall experience is still somehow lots of fun.  The most recent storyline involves a girl coming home from the mainland and reconnecting with her Polynesian roots.   That's the contrived part but it does tie together the series of beautiful hula dances, powerful warrior dances/chants, and fire-knife dancing.  The dinner is served family-style and includes ribs, chicken, pineapple, etc.  The dessert is a chocolate mousse volcano.  Everyone is served these treats, which appear to have smoke coming from them, at the same time, for a little fun and drama.

One performer whom I haven't seen at all is Yehaa Bob.  I have heard fantastic things about his show at Port Orleans Riverside and someday I will get over there and catch a performance.

If you ever get the pleasure of visiting Disney's Hilton Head Island Resort, be sure to check the events schedule and spend some time with B'Lou Crabbe.  He is part storyteller, part musician, part Shadow sidekick and part magician.

Thank you for joining me today. Your next stop on the Magical Blogorail Loop is My Dreams of Disney.

Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail should you happen to have to make a stop along the way and want to reboard:
1st Stop ~ A World View
2nd Stop ~ Growing Up Disney
4th Stop ~ Disney Donna Kay
Final Stop ~ Heidi's Head
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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Five Photos: Beauty and the Beast - Live on Stage

Beauty and the Beast - Live on Stage
Disney's Hollywood Studios

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