Five Years of Rope Drop dot Net is (Hopefully) Just the Start

It was five years ago today that Elyssa and I launched this site. I had written some blog posts at the TouringPlans blog that I was proud of, including:

But there were other Disney things that I wanted to write about and—frankly—I wanted to have more control over how my writing was presented.

I had a goal when writing the site to integrate things like our podcast listener community and have people from that community and (my corner) of DisTwitter make guest appearances. One of the launch posts was my interview with award-winning podcaster and all-around great guy, Dutch Lombrowski.

I wanted to avoid copying and pasting Disney press releases (I don’t have the time nor interest for that), but I still wanted to give me comments on at least some of the news coming out of Disney World. This led to the birth of the News Nuggets, where I would give brief comments on various news stories.

I also did some in-depth and opinion pieces, with the most controversial being me dunking on FuelRods. (I stand by everything I said in that one.)

My frequency of posting on the site ebbs and flows based on what is going on with my caseload in my day job (the more intense writing I’m doing during the day, the harder it is to put something together for the site at night.) The number of weddings that Elyssa needs help on at any given point can also be a factor that might take up some or all of my “free” time.

All of that said, I have no intention of “stopping” with new articles and updates. I recently moved the site to a new host to make it more reliable and take some of the backend maintenance off of my plate. I doubt I’ll ever post daily on the site, but I am hopeful that I’ll continue to have periods of more activity in between the lulls. I also hope I can think of some new concepts or bring back from old favorites. Like most things in 2020, we will just have to wait and see how things play out.

Thanks for reading.

We’re ready to get back to hang out with Mickey and Minnie​
We’re ready to get back to hang out with Mickey and Minnie

Sasha Banks Reported to be in Season 2 of the Mandalorian

In a (semi-rare?) intersection of my interests, it is being widely reported that Sasha Banks will be in Season 2 of the Mandalorian. Currently, there is no information as to what character she will play (I love Sasha, and I love Sabine, but probably not the right fit), but I can’t wait to see how this turns out.

Sasha Banks as WWE Champion (Copyright WWE)
Sasha as the Champ (Copyright WWE)

Talking about The Last Jedi with the Mighty Men of Mouse Gang

This week, Elyssa and I were fortunate enough to be invited onto the Mighty Men of Mouse Podcast to discuss The Last Jedi. As you probably know (if your follow our Twitter streams), Elyssa and I are huge fans of the movie, but Mighty Men of Mouse host Dutch Lombrowski has more mixed feelings. Known defender of the Star Wars prequels, Matt S was a wild card going in (so I’ll let you listen to see how that plays out.)

As always, it was fantastic being on MMoM and I hope everyone enjoys listening!

Us with a Secondary Character from Last Jedi
Us with a Secondary Character from Last Jedi

A Big Day for Star Wars and Disney Media

Yesterday was Disney’s quarterly earnings call. From a financials perspective, it wasn’t the greatest result. From a Disney media fan (especially a Star Wars fan) perspective, however, it was pretty interesting.

The biggest news out of the event is that director of The Last Jedi, Rian Johnson, will be writing and directing a whole new, Skywalker-less, Star Wars Trilogy. This is great on a number of levels. We’ll be getting more Star Wars (which, of course, is awesome), but, as friend of the site and Mighty Men of Mouse podcast host Dutch Lombrowski pointed out: Disney must think Last Jedi is good. In fact, Disney said as much in the press release:

As writer-director of The Last Jedi, Johnson conceived and realized a powerful film of which Lucasfilm and Disney are immensely proud. In shepherding this new trilogy, which is separate from the episodic Skywalker saga, Johnson will introduce new characters from a corner of the galaxy that Star Wars lore has never before explored.

Disney’s “never before explored” comment seems to suggest this won’t be a “Knight of the Old Republic” based trilogy (though that would be awesome), so I guess we’ll have some time to speculate on what will be coming from Johnson and Disney in the future.

In other Disney media news, Disney announced that it’s new streaming service will be priced “significantly lower than Netflix. With Netflix running about $11 a month (depending on your plan), there’s not a lot of room to make things “signifantly” lower. ($7?). To add to buzz around the new streaming service, Disney also announced that a live action Star Wars show would be coming to the service as well as a new Marvel show. (The existing Marvel shows on Netflix will be staying put on Netflix for the time being.) A streaming service with a robust Disney catalogue, including Star Wars and Marvel shows that are only available on that service, but help drive people to add Disney’s streaming service to the ever growing mix of streaming options. (Let’s ignore “ESPN Plus” for now.)

Those are the highlights from a big day in Disney media. Now, let’s just continue the countdown to Last Jedi. (34 days as I write this…)

In case Rian is looking for any ideas for his new Star Wars Trilogy...

(NOTE: The above image was Elyssa’s and my wedding “save the date” card, done by fantastic Robert Wilson IV.)

Talking Star Wars With MoMM – The Empire Strikes Back

Big week for Elyssa and me, as the guys at Mighty Men of Mouse invited us on to talk about one of our favorite movies of all time: The Empire Strikes Back. I felt a lot of pressure for this one, since Empire is such a great movie. I hope you enjoy our discussion starting at the mark in MMoM Episode 321.

For people who listen to MMoM for the Disney World takes, Elyssa and I also talked to the guys about our impressions of Pandora. If you like hearing / reading what we have to say, we also have a post about Pandora up here on the site. One other topic that comes up is our My Disney Experience Fastpass+ Refreshing Strategy, which we wrote about here.

Enjoy the show! (And remember, if you have any thoughts or comments about it, email Dutch!)

No disintegrations
No disintegrations

Rogue One – Now Available for Digitial Download

It’s a big day for Star Wars fans, as Rogue One is now available for digital download. If Carolina wasn’t playing this evening, Elyssa and I would probably be watching it tonight with a bowl of Ample Hills ice cream. (Yes, I’ll have a review of that whole “ice cream via Amazon process soon.”)

If you need to prep for your Rogue One viewing, there’s always these Mighty Men of Mouse shows that feature the MMoM Guys, friend of the site Wes James, Elyssa, and me discussing the movies:

Enjoy the (re-)watching the movie! It’s a good one.

Rogue One, baby!
Rogue One, baby!

Rope Drop [dot] Net Bracket Challenge -2017 Edition!

It’s NCAA tournament time (again), which means that everyone is going to be filling out brackets, joining “bracket pools”, and trash talking about how well their favorite teams are doing in the tournament. Last year, I asked on Twitter if there was a bracket group for us Disney World fans that read each other’s website, listen to each other’s podcasts, and interact online. Since no one seemed to know of one, Elyssa & I decided to create one.

So, welcome To the this year’s editionRope Drop [dot] Net NCAA Tournament Bracket Challenge!

Here are the details:

  • We are using ESPN’s “Tournament Challenge” system in order to do our brackets.
  • Our “group name” is “Rope Drop [dot] Net.” (You’ll know you’re in the right group if you see the image from the bottom of this post.)
  • Our “group password is “phasma”.
  • Here is a direct link to the Rope Drop [dot] Net bracket group (Again, our group password is “phasma”)
  • You must have your entry completed and added to the “Rope Drop [dot] Net” group by the time the first game tips off on Thursday, March 16, 2016 to join our group. (Usually, that’s around noon Eastern.)

Though Elyssa & I are contemplating a few things, there are no official prizes for entering, winning, etc… (If you’re a fellow Disney fan, site proprietor, podcast host, etc…, however, who wants to contribute some swag to a possible “prize pack”, please get in touch.) That said, the hope is there will be some fun competition and trash talking amongst the contestants that will give the winner some fun “bragging rights.”

To help facilitate the communication, I am suggesting the Twitter hashtag “#ropedropbc” to use when talking about the challenge. (Though you never know if another hashtag will take off, instead.) You can use that tag for talking about the tournament, as well as asking for help on getting your bracket picked, getting into the group, etc… I’m pretty sure that people will be willing to help others or have questions.

At this point, I think that covers all the basics. Feel free to reach out online to ask for questions, or let Elyssa know if we missed something. Good luck on your tournament picks!!

Rope Drop  [dot] Net Bracket Challenge
Rope Drop [dot] Net Bracket Challenge “Logo”

Congratulations to the National Champion Clemson Tigers!

If you ever have looked at my Twitter feed, you know that I’m Clemson alum and fan. Last night, my Tigers knocked off the Alabama Crimson Tide to become champions of the college football world. I still can’t put how it feels into words. Go Tigers! (Your regular Disney World related coverage will return shortly.)

Faith, trust, pixie dust...and a National Title!
Faith, trust, pixie dust…and a National Title!
Clemson is No. 1!
Clemson is No. 1!

Star Wars Movies on sale on iTunes

As the release date for Rogue One quickly approaches, Star Wars seems to be on the forefront of everyone’s mind (as if it isn’t normally.)

As part of that hype, iTunes currently has the original trilogy and the prequels on sale for the nice price of $69.99.

The individual movies are also on sale for $15 a piece (so if you wanted just the original trilogy, you could get that for $45..):

(Sadly, The Force Awakens, is not part of the sale.)

Lastly, Disney has added a new exclusive Rogue One “sneak peak” to the extras associated with A New Hope. So, if you already own that (or just purchased it), you might want to give the sneak peak a look.

Enjoy the Star Wars universe! We should be getting a nice addition to it next week…

New Rogue One Sneak Peak added to A New Hope
New Rogue One Sneak Peak added to A New Hope

New Rope Drop [dot] Net Feature – Everyday Carry – John’s Disney Bag

Eagle-eyed readers might have noticed a new navigation option pop up in the menu a few days ago. That was a “soft launch”, but today we’re officially launching a new feature on the site: Everyday Carry – John’s Disney Bag. People who know me are aware of the extent that I iterate over every aspect of my Disney plans, always trying to refine each and every detail. As you might expect, that refinement extends to the bag that I bring with me to the parks pretty much every day.

John's Disney Bag
John’s Disney Bag

This first version of the feature goes directly to my current bag setup. As things evolve (which has a high likelihood of happening in the upcoming months), I anticipate changing the page to more easily view (what will then be) historical versions.

Let me know on Twitter what you think (and what you bring with you to the park!)

Back Dropping the Mic on Mighty Men of Mouse

After a (brief?) hiatus, Elyssa and I were back on this week's Mighty Men of Mouse episode with one of our Mic Drop segments. This time we talk about:

(Yeah, it was kind of a downer of a segment.) We also mention some of the tech related articles we had been posting, and my review of the god awful Disney Emoji Blitz.

Thanks for checking it out! We hope you enjoy it!

What Did I Miss?

As people who follow me on Twitter (or are observant enough to notice the lack of updates on the site) are aware, the last few weeks have been some of my most disconnected from Disney World in the past few years. That said, it’s about time to throw on some of my best bright colors and come high stepping back to the Disney World community that Elyssa and I love so much.

On our recent 9 hour (but not to or from Disney World) drive, Elyssa and I talked like we would if we had been heading back from a Disney World trip. As we almost always do, we started our discussion with some talk about our favorite breakfast locations (Kona—which we hadn’t been to at the time of our original post—and Tusker House, obviously). We talked about our preference for going to Narcoossee’s over Be Our Guest (we’d rather spend a little extra money, have a a better meal, and not be rushed through it), and our general strategy for how we’d tour if we go to Disney World over Christmas this year (rope drop to take advantage of—what will almost assuredly be—early opening hours, and then have breakfast closer to 11:00 as people really start to arrive.) We also discussed our preferences for New Year’s plans if we’re still down there (Magic Kingdom on the 30th, Studios (??) on NYE?). It was a good couple of hours Disney discussion that got me ready to (hopefully) jump back into a few things that I have been working on for the site.

The biggest take away from the conversation, though, was me once again realizing that how lucky I am to have someone like Elyssa to help me run this site, and—more importantly—my life. I do feel like I (probably?) missed a good bit over the past couple of weeks, but at least I got to keep up with one thing (she’s probably prefer if I say “person”) that’s most important.

Now, with all that said, who’s partying with us in October?

Fireworks over Birmingham by Elyssa
Fireworks over Birmingham by Elyssa

What Does One Write about Disney This Week

This week has been pretty awful for Disney World and the Orlando area. Here at Rope Drop [dot] Net HQ, we’e been struggling with how to react to such horrible situations. Ultimately, we decided a big “News Nuggets” post earlier this week would be misplaced, and last night’s horror just adds to that sentiment. So, we’ll wait another couple of days before putting up anything of real substance as we try to deal with / understand this stuff as best we can.

In the meantime, we’ll shine a light on one of the more positive stories of the week and suggest something you might want to check out if you’re just looking to escape the world for an hour.

Take care of each other.

Tons of New Announcements, but we’re at Disney World!

There were a bunch of new announcements today, including that from May 27 through June 17, you’ll be able to see classic Soarin’ at Epcot and that Frozen Ever After will open June 21 (comments on the post seem to indicate that Anna & Elsa will be stand-by only ?!?!?). Though I would love to write things up in more detail, Elyssa and I are currently at Disney World, so I’ll point you to this post over at easyWDW with a summary of all the new stuff taking place this summer at Disney World.

Oh, and in case you were worried, we’re having an okay time down here:

The Big Cheese
The Big Cheese

A Special Podcast from our Friends at Mighty Men of Mouse

One of the things Elyssa and I have really enjoy about running Rope Drop [dot] Net is building relationships with people in the Disney and related communities. So, when someone from that community does something that we think is really awesome, we like to let you know. Today is one of those times.

Recently, friends of the site, Mighty Men of Mouse  released a very special podcast (No, not the “learn a life lesson” kind of very special, a “super awesome” kind of very special) where they sample all 43 flavors of donuts from Allie’s Donuts in North Kingstown, RI. It’s an amazing listen as the guys sample and describe some of the best donuts available in the U.S. I highly encourage you to check it out.

Here are all the DonutCast Links:

News Nuggets from Around Disney World – April 1 Edition!!

April 1 News Nuggets

It’s time for a special, April 1st edition of the Rope Drop [dot] Net News Nuggets! With so much to report on, we are going to jump right into the Nuggets, but please stay tuned for a special announcement at the end of the post!!

  • The Sorcerer’s Hat is Returning to The Studios – After a brief hiatus, the famed Sorcerer’s Hat is returning to The Studios. In order to allow for the new construction, The Great Movie Ride will be closing on April 15, 2016 to allow easier construction access to the courtyard. (NOTE: Rumors are the hat returning is only the beginning, and it’s just a matter of time until Epcot gets back its magic wand!)
  • Small World, Peter Pan, and the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh to close for refurbishment – After finally realizing that theme park guests universally prefer rides that involve sitting in nearly stationary vehicles while looking at a screen, Disney will be closing three of its signature attractions to replace them with ground-breaking technology that is referred to internally as “SCREENZ!”. When this transition is successful, Disney hopes to apply the same changes to its other attractions, starting with Kilimanjaro Safaris.
  • Illuminations to occur only during hard ticketed events – With the success of the yet-to-begin After Hours event at the Magic Kingdom, Disney has decided to expand its late night offerings to Epcot. In order to “plus” the event for its guests, Disney plans to move Illuminations to 2 hours after the park closes to regular guests. This later start time should give hard-ticketed guests a much better viewing experience of Disney’s classic nighttime show.
  • Park Hopper ticket now required to ride Splash Mountain, Tower of Terror, and Expedition Everest. – Following the success of Universal Studios’ strategy of making guests pay for tickets to 2 “quarter day” theme parks just to be able to ride on one of its rides, Disney will now require park hopper tickets to experience some of its most popular attractions. (NOTE: With the Park Hopper ticket now required to ride certain rides, guests will have to purchase the new “Preferred” Park Hopper ticket in order to actually “hop” between parks.)
  • Fulton’s refurbishment to include takeover by the staff of Lombard’s Seafood Grill – With so many restaurants at Disney Springs trying to raise the proverbial bar when it comes to dining, the owners of Fulton’s Crab House have decided to take things in a completely different direction. “What if we gave the crew at Lombard’s a clean slate?” a person familiar with the matter said. “Could they make a restaurant so bad that people would visit it just to see how bad it was?” It’s a lofty goal, but if anyone can set a new standard for horrific seafood, it’s the crew from Lombard’s.

That’s all for today’s special April 1 New Nuggets. Before we go, though, it’s big announcement time: After some recent articles on the interwebs, Elyssa and I now realize that (1) we’re too old to enjoy Disney World, and (2) we should be doing more “adult” vacations. So, we are happy to announce that we have started the process of rebranding the site to “Spanish Moss [dot] Net” to better align with our more “adult” focus. As part of this transition, you can expect more of our coverage be about the only theme park in Orlando for people “15 years old and older.” We hope you are as excited for these changes as we are!

(Sorry. No, really. I’m sorry. As bloggers, however, we are required to make horrible April Fool’s Day jokes. It’s in the code.)

Won't Epcot be Nicer without all these People?
Won’t Epcot be Nicer without all these People?

Announcing the Rope Drop [dot] Net Mic Drop with the Mighty Men of Mouse

Today is a big day here are Rope Drop [dot] Net HQ, as Elyssa and I are proud to announce a new collaboration with the fabulous Mighty Men of Mouse podcast: The Rope Drop [dot] Net Mic Drop. The Mic Drop will be a recurring segment on the MMoM podcast (probably around every 3-5 weeks) during which Elyssa and I will discuss some of the recent happenings we’ve been writing about on the site. If that sounds good to you (and we hope it does), then  you can check out the very first Rope Drop [dot] Net Mic Drop in this week’s MMoM episode! In this segment we talk about our recent trip and highlight some of the places that we ate. We hope that you enjoy it. (Also during this episode of MMoM, Elyssa enters the Disney Podcaster’s Studio with Russ Liption and answers “the questionnaire.”)

Of course, this post would be incomplete without thanking Dutch, Russ, and Kip for inviting Elyssa and I to join them on their show. Elyssa and I have been singing the praises of Mighty Men of Mouse since long before we started Rope Drop [dot] Net, and we are honored that the guys asked us to be even a small part of it.

  

Rope Drop [dot] Net Bracket Challenge

It’s NCAA tournament time, which means that everyone is going to be filling out brackets, joining “bracket pools”, and trash talking about how well their favorite teams are doing in the tournament. I recently asked on Twitter if there was a bracket group for us Disney World fans that read each other’s website, listen to each other’s podcasts, and interact online. Since no one seemed to know of one, Elyssa & I decided to create one.

So, welcome To the Rope Drop [dot] Net NCAA Tournament Bracket Challenge!

Here are the details:

  • We are using ESPN’s “Tournament Challenge” system in order to do our brackets.
  • Our “group name” is “Rope Drop [dot] Net.” (You’ll know you’re in the right group if you see the image from the bottom of this post.)
  • Our “group password is “phasma”.
  • Here is a direct link to the Rope Drop [dot] Net bracket group (Again, our group password is “phasma”)
  • You must have your entry completed and added to the “Rope Drop [dot] Net” group by the time the first game tips off on Thursday, March 17, 2016 to join our group. (Usually, that’s around noon Eastern.)

Though Elyssa & I are contempating a few things, there are no official prizes for entering, winning, etc… (If you’re a fellow Disney fan, site proprietor, podcast host, etc…, however, who wants to contribute some swag to a possible “prize pack”, please get in touch.) That said, the hope is there will be some fun competition and trash talking amongst the contestants that will give the winner some fun “bragging rights.”

To help facilitate the communication, I am suggesting the Twitter hashtag “ropedropbc” to use when talking about the challenge. (Though you never know if another hashtag will take off, instead.) You can use that tag for talking about the tournament, as well as asking for help on getting your bracket picked, getting into the group, etc… I’m pretty sure that people will be willing to help others or have questions.

At this point, I think that covers all the basics. Feel free to reach out online to ask for questions, or let Elyssa know if we missed something. Good luck on your tournament picks!!

Rope Drop  [dot] Net Bracket Challenge
Rope Drop [dot] Net Bracket Challenge “Logo”