My Disney Top 5 - Disney New Year's Resolutionsby Chris Barry, contributing writer
Happy New Year to all is what I have to say to you… and not a minute too soon. It's been a long time since I wanted a year to end as much as I wanted 2016 to end. Some great things happened to us this year as a family, but then again all sorts of other nonsense happened that we'd love to put behind us. After the ugly, divisive presidential campaign and some really tragic losses in the entertainment world like David Bowie, Prince, Alan Rickman, and Kenny Baker (R2D2), Gene Wilder (Willy Wonka), and Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia) for goodness sakes…it's time to regroup and move forward with a new year.
With every New Year comes this feeling of rebirth and of second chances. We all get a fresh start. The possibilities are endless. Of course, with every New Year comes the infamous and often unatainable New Year's resolutions. We all make them and we all do our best to follow through on them. Judging by my waistline, I didn't exactly keep last year's resolution. I suppose I could just blame the aforementioned lousy news that kept assaulting me from the headlines last year for that misstep, but the fault lies with me. I can't blame my downfalls on dying British rock stars or billionaire politicians. You make the resolutions and it's your job to keep them.
So far, I've made some this year that I'll keep to myself. That way if I fail, no one will have to know about it. But, as a Disney fan, I thought I'd make a few that pertain strictly to my magical side. These I can make known to you readers and friends out there because there's a good solid chance I'll keep most of these. So, let's leave this odd year behind us and take a look forward at my Top 5 Disney New Year's Resolutions.
5 – Complete a runDisney Race
I kept this one low on the list because I'm not really sure how attainable it is. I'm in the fortunate and unfortunate position of being married to a marathon runner. Diane is truly inspiring. Watching her train, run, and teach others is an amazing thing. God bless her, she has been trying to get me out there on the road for the past two decades now.
A collection of 2015 runDisney medals inspires me to earn one myself. Photo by Loree Tachell.
However, there are two major roadblocks on her quest. One, and I'm just owning up to this right away, I'm a little lazy. Two, 44 years of bashing moguls and tree skiing has left both my knees in shambles. But, I keep saying one year, I'm going to sign us both up for a runDisney event. I'm going to train and I'm going to get some sort of Disney medal to hang alongside my wife's treasure trove of awards. I'm not saying all 26.2 miles but I'm saying right here and now that this is the year I'm really going to try and do this.
4 – Finish Walt Disney: An American Original
I can read magazines from cover to cover, and I frequently do. Celebrations and D23 are some Disney favorites but Rolling Stone, Time, Outside, Surfer, Ski, Game Informer, and Entertainment Weekly can all be found lying around the house. Everyday, like clockwork, I sit down to have lunch and I read the newspaper. It's a habit I totally enjoy and actually look forward to each day. But, for some reason, finishing a whole book is a big challenge for me. I'm not a big novel person.
I hope to finish Bob Thomas' book about Walt Disney this year. ©Disney Enterprises.
It took me about a year to finish the first Harry Potter book. The second one in the series, Chamber of Secrets, has been sitting beside my bed for several years now waiting to be cracked back open. I know I read the first chapter. After that, I just halted. But before I tackle six more Potter books—and I will someday—I want to finish the book I started about my hero Walt Disney. I feel like I know plenty about old Uncle Walt but I hear this is the definitive Disney book and therefore I must complete it to learn all I can about the man that has influenced so much of my life. I've got the greatest, most comfortable chair in the world in my sunroom waiting for me to settle in and finish this book. Let's hope that this is the year I do so.
3 – See Aladdin the Musical
I hope to make it to the New Amsterdam Theater to see "Aladdin" in 2017. Photo ©Disney.
One of the truly fantastic things about living a short train ride away from Manhattan is the proximity to just about every cultural experience you can possibly think of. Given how close we are, I sometimes feel like I'm not in New York City enough. We're there several times a year, but we always want more. My daughter is looking into some colleges in the Big Apple, so perhaps over the next four years or so, we'll be in the city quite a bit.
Whether she attends school in the city or not, one of the big New York things on our list has been to catch Aladdin on Broadway. I've seen every Disney musical on the Great White Way, including The Lion King, Mary Poppins, and The Little Mermaid. We happily saw Beauty and the Beast twice. Heck, we even saw Tarzan. All things considered not too many people can actually say that. But Aladdin continues to elude me. I really don't want to wait anymore. It's one of my favorite Disney animated classics and I want to see it live on Broadway before it ultimately closes.
2 – Re-watch the Disney Classics
A classic shot from the "one that started it all." Photo By Chris Barry.
This seems like an easy one, but I have been saying for a long time now, "Let's watch a classic Disney animated film each week and go through the entire list. When's the last time I watched Make Mine Music, or The Aristocats, or The Black Cauldron?” Not including the Pixar films, which I seem to catch a lot on television, or Moana there are essentially 55 Disney animated classics. I've got basically one a week to watch so I better get started as soon as possible this week with Snow White. Hopefully next year around this time I'll be finishing up with Zootopia and a nice Moana Blu-Ray to cap it all off. Not a bad way to spend a year.
1 – Attend a D23 Event
I've been a D23 member since day one. I love the magazine. I can't wait each year for the special gift and I follow all the happenings on their website as often as I can. But, for some reason, aside from covering the D23 opening of the Times Square Disney Store for MousePlanet back in 2010, I'm never able to make it to any of the very cool events that D23 sponsors. As a matter of fact, I just had to turn down press credentials for the Destination D event held at the Contemporary this past November and quite frankly, enough is enough… I need to go.
Regrettably, the last D23 event I attended was at the NYC Times Square Disney Store. Photo by Samantha Barry.
You readers out on the west coast and you lucky fans living near Walt Disney World in Orlando certainly get more opportunities but that's no longer an acceptable excuse for me anymore. Maybe it's time this summer to head out to Anaheim, finally see Disneyland, and while I'm at it soak up all the Disney goodness at the 2017 D23 Expo. That would be quite a trip, but if it doesn't happen, the next time they throw something in Orlando or do one of their events on the road, I'm going. What sort of charter member would I be and what kind of true Disney fan am I if I don't?
2016 was pretty lousy. I lost some good friends. I watched several of my heroes pass away. It was a weird year and I'm glad it's over, but one of the true highlights of 2016 was our summer trip to Walt Disney World. What a wonderful week we all had filed with excitement and magic. It was a standout moment of an otherwise forgettable year.
2017 promises to be a big year in Disney fandom. Emma Watson as Belle in Beauty and the Beast will be coming to movie theaters in March. There will be two Pixar films, Cars 3 and Coco debuting in the upcoming year. And if that wasn't enough a new Thor movie, Guardians of the Galaxy 2 and Star Wars: Episode VIII are all coming to the multiplexes in 2017. Let's not forget Pandora – The World of Avatar opening at Animal Kingdom, a reboot of DuckTales coming to television, and you folks out in California getting one last look at the Main Street Electrical Parade at Disneyland.
So yes, it'll be a big year for the Walt Disney Company, for sure. But notice that my 2017 Disney list is pretty simple. Keeping Disney in my life is important to me. It grounds me. It makes me happy. It keeps the kid in me eternally alive. It allows me to view life with a sense of youthful optimism.
Basically I want to get in shape and run through Walt Disney World with my beloved wife; sit in my favorite comfy spot in the house and read more about one of my heroes; take my kids to the greatest city in the world to see some of our favorite songs and characters on Broadway; watch the classic animated films that got me hooked on all this in the first place; and find some time to celebrate my love of Disney with a whole bunch of other like-minded fans at an exclusive Disney event. That's not too much to ask for out of the next 365 days is it?
Let me know what you think of my Disney New Year's resolutions and let me know if you have some Disney-fied ones of your own. Thanks for reading for the past year and let's look forward to a peaceful and magical 2017.
I like how you sneaked that in under your D23 event resolution, but I'd suggest that should be the heading rather than the afterthought!
True, the flight from the East Coast to the West Coast is much more of a pain than the flight to FL, but it's worth doing at least once. If you are worried about things to do other than DL and DCA, there are obviously other local attractions(Knotts, Universal, etc), and also some good things a within a 2 hour drive south (San Diego Zoo and/or Safari Park, SD Sea World (though smaller than Orlando), etc.)
The flight from NYC to LAX is only about 2 hours longer than the flight to MCO and there are often great deals available on airfare. Last time I went, I was on a 6am flight and was in the park at noon (with the time difference.) I say go for it--You won't regret it!
Wow Chris, I really love your writing. It's an odd infatuation but rather justified. There's so much emotion placed into all of your articles that it truly exites me whenever you post.
I do hope 2017 goes the way you want it to
No thinly veiled sneaking at play here. I NEED, not want …to go to Disneyland and finally see the place. But if I do go, I might as well pair it with a major D23 event! I also have enough points through the Disney Movie Rewards to qualify for a tour of the Walt Disney Studios.
I have no worry other than paying for it and taking the time to actually get out there!!
I am quite sure I won't regret it.
Thanks so much for the kind words. I write for you guys not just for myself, so it's a pleasure to hear that the emotions come through. That is the goal.
Happy 2017 to you and yours.
I was sort of using the word "sneaked" a little bit tongue in cheek . I was pretty sure I had remembered reading either another column of yours or maybe just a post in a thread about you having never been to DL.
If you do make it out there for the D23 event, I hope they re-open the Disneyland RR and the Rivers of America attractions by then. (right now I think they just say "summer 2017", which could be pushing it for the D23 dates). I'm sure all the things that are a little different and would be nice to see are already in your mind, I can't help but recommend seeing Fantasmic! at DL, and I'd also recommend the other River attractions, especially the canoes since they don't have those at WDW.
Hoping you get to execute this year on that particular resolution!