The Saga’s Never Over (Probably) (Also, Spoilers) (Also, Long Boring Descriptions Of Troubled Childhood)

Once upon a time in 1999, when I was a wee child of elevenish, I went to see The Phantom Menace. You gotta understand, it was a long hot summer, and there was nothing but The Phantom Menace and the marital troubles of my parents. Me and my siblings were shifted around. According to my childhood journal, we spent a lot of time at my grandparents’ house, a three hours drive away from the family home, being distracted by a variety of children’s entertainment. We went to a theme park, went to the beach, went to Warwick Castle with our cousins. At one point, I remember, we were taken to a sort of daycare center run by people who gave no indication that they liked kids or had ever been them. (I saw Jurassic Park, a film primarily about an adult learning to not disparage the interests of children, for the first time at that place.) For a few weeks we went to the home of a childminder who kept an eye on us. And throughout all that I was just clinging to this stupid movie about space samurai and teenage girls with laser guns.

(I promise this does actually have plenty to do with The Rise of Skywalker, okay?)

I remember that us and the childminder and a buncha other kids went to the rec for a picnic. Every damn box of food had a character from Star Wars on it. I loved it. Free toys in the boxes, too! I hoarded them all, even those horrible little Jar Jar tongue things which had no purpose beyond getting immediately sticky and gross and having to be thrown away. Oh and later we even got a friggin’ Naboo Starfighter tent!

Basically what I’m saying is, Star Wars was my childhood. The Star Wars prequels were my childhood. In a strange, far-off, voice-on-the-wind type way. When Attack of the Clones came out, it was the first time I was allowed to go to the cinema with no adult supervision, so that was cool. I was a bit older for Revenge of the Sith. My 2005 ‘review’ of it is somewhere on this blog, brought over from one of the archives, and it’s incredibly cringeworthy because being a teenager is incredibly cringeworthy. Anyway.

Those voices on the wind briefly returned for this movie, when Rey finds herself suddenly the avatar of all the Jedi who came before her. Among the voices she hears are Obi-Wan, Mace, Qui-Gon, Ahsoka (!!!) and Anakin. And here we’re getting into the weird space where Who Actually Owns Characters, Really? but it was nice, you know, to hear the voices that once encouraged me come back to encourage Rey.

I sort of did a laugh-cry in the theatre, which is probably also cringeworthy, sorry.

Maybe Rise of Skywalker actually is Objectively A Terrible Movie, as an awful lot of movies lots of people like seem to quickly become Objectively Terrible Movies, who knows? There was plenty of stuff I didn’t like. Really, I absolutely hate and am infuriated that Rose’s screentime was reduced, because I can guess why they did it. That’s horrible. What happened to this scene?

(Also I know the background same-sex kiss has come in for a reckoning, and I understand the problem with it but I just can’t bring myself to be overly mad in any way, because I feel like, I know there must be a child out there who spots it and feels better without understanding the wider problems of representation, and even if that lasts for so little time…at least it happens)

Anakin’s force ghost makes no appearance beyond the voice, which is very disappointing. And honestly, almost nothing about Palpatine makes sense in this film. But that one cry-laugh-with-joy moment was enough for me, and if it’s not enough for you that is also fine.

I very strongly suspect there will be another Star Wars trilogy somewhere down the line. All the people involved are saying “That’ll never happen!” but it’s Disney and they know where the money is. Also, it’s a story about war and there’s always war, we know that. Always kids fighting around the ruins of the last one. I don’t know if I’ll like any even newer movies, because honestly I’ve never been certain whether or not I like the sequels, they just make me feel stuff.

It’s hard when the voices in your head become the voices in someone else’s. But that’s life, and it’s normal, and I’m glad I was here to see it.

Vintage Disneyworld ’96: MGM Studios

…For back in the day, the park was actually named MGM Studios! Now, I believe it’s called Hollywood Studios. Let’s just settle for calling it “the Studios” from this point.

I look remarkably unimpressed here. God knows why, it’s not like there was a shortage of interesting stuff.

It seems like I was there just on time to see the Toy Story Parade! I kinda remember Buzz on the float repeating his stock phrases as he went by.

I have one better photo from the parade, too. Looks like a camera flash was caught in the metal thingy there.

There was more Toy Story stuff inside. I think this might have been the Art of Animation exhibit… or what became the Art of Animation exhibit?

In the same building, or possibly another building, who knows:

Back outside again we have a rather comical-looking old dinosaur:

What or who is this large green dino? Lemme google around to try and identify it. I think it’s an earlier version (?) of Gertie, who is the first result for “disney mgm studios green dinosaur.”

Ahhh, here’s some shots of the Honey I Shrunk The Kids play area, which was my FAVOURITE bit of the park.

You’ve probably noticed by now that I took like, two outfits to Disneyworld. I still have that Minnie Mouse hat somewhere! It’s turned grey now.

I loved this play area so much, I think I must’ve spent at least a couple hours here. I wonder if it’s still there?… nope, Galaxy’s Edge ate it. Oh well.

Well, that’s most of the good photos and this post is long enough!

You can repost the pictures of the attractions here, but please don’t repost any pictures with people in them!

Vintage Disneyworld ’96: Epcot

So a while back I started posting some vintage Disneyworld photos, all the way from 1996, on here. And then I forgot all about it. But now I have remembered again! So seeing as I still have the photographs lying around on my disk drive, shall we take a look at ’90s Epcot?

You can repost the pictures of the attractions here (not that they’re very good), but please don’t repost any pictures with people in them!

Terrible quality photo but you get the idea.

Ah, Spaceship Earth. I remember… going inside it and there was a dark ride in there? Lemme check on Google. Aha! There WAS a ride in there! And I have almost entirely no memory of it.

Look who it is! Yep, at some point during that day we met Mickey. The thing that takes me aback about this photo is the lack of crowding around him.

Tigger was also there…

But it looks like I enjoyed meeting Winnie the Pooh most, if these photos are anything to go by.

I deemed meeting Pooh worthy of inclusion in my holiday scrapbook, even though I couldn’t quiiiite spell his name right.


Now this photo… this I think might have been taken inside a restaurant called The Electric Umbrella. I remember it was technology-themed.

…But, looking up pictures of The Electric Umbrella, it looks a bit different (and lighter) so maybe it wasn’t in there? Perhaps it was on the Spaceship Earth ride? If anyone knows I would love to hear from you!

Let’s move onto the World Showcase!

Heeeere we are! I wonder what was in that bag I was holding? I think it was a plushie of Nala from The Lion King, but I’m not 100% sure.

Some landmarks:

Now I definitely remember IllumiNations being held on the lake here, but sadly I don’t have any photos of it as far as I know. (I imagine some of that is due to ’90s-era cameras being really bad at taking photos at night.)

Hey, person all in pink, d’ya mind not photobombing?

Here’s some shots of me and my family posing all round the World Showcase. Selfies hadn’t been invented yet so I guess the last one must’ve been taken by a kindly stranger.

And lastly, a lovely water feature.

Alas, I don’t know what part of Epcot that’s in, either.

Geez, this brought back memories. I can remember Epcot a bit more clearly than the other Disney parks for some reason. It must have left quite an impression on eight-year-old me.

I met Malorie Blackman!!

I’ve wanted to meet her since I was like… fourteen. I was THRILLED.

Also! Everyone in the hall got to see a sneak preview of the BBC Noughts and Crosses series, which I have been waiting for… again since I was about fourteen years old. It was an unfinished clip, it had a watermark across it and I don’t think the score was done, but ahhh! Exciting! (I’m not sure how much I can divulge, it was a scene at a party, but hopefully a trailer for the whole thing will drop soon anyway?)

It was a terribly exciting day.

“Ash Ketchum failing for 22 years taught me being a loser is OK”

I really geniunely love this article.

A few nice quotes from Pokemon fans:

“Pokemon was great escapism for me but it also taught me that not necessarily being the best, that was OK too,” 27-year-old Jake Saunders from Bromborough tells BBC Radio 1 Newsbeat.

“Putting it bluntly, it was like being a loser is OK. The important lesson is to pick yourself back up, roll with the punches and keep going.

This little graphic I found on Twitter illustrates the point nicely. Look how he kept on getting better and better! Sometimes you really do gotta keep working for twenty years.

And Laura Kate Dale, who’s 28 and from Surrey, says Ash proved to her that you could be “still worthy of praise” even if you failed every single time.

“He was always the underdog, half the times he won gym badges it was because he did something nice, not because he was the best at fighting,” she tells Newsbeat.

“There was something really beautiful about seeing that growing up – that it’s OK if you’re not the strongest, the most qualified, as long as you keep trying to be the best person you can be, the nicest you can be to people around you.”

That was probably the most important thing Pokemon taught me, to be honest.

Kate says an episode in which Ash met a Charmander (small, red, dragon-ish, tail on fire – you know the one) which had been abandoned by its original trainer has stuck with her to this day.
“At the time, I was a child dealing with the fact that my biological dad had left and didn’t seem to care the way he was supposed to,” she says.
“The episode’s story was about learning to move on and be OK after someone who was supposed to look after you just vanishes – it was really tasteful in dealing with something that as a child was really difficult to comprehend.
“That’s what the show was really good at. It told stories about relatable themes in digestible ways for children.”

It was, it really really was. As a child I related to Brock the most because he was forced by circumstances into caring for his younger siblings. That wasn’t too far away from my reality. So here I was, clinging to a fictional story for children that every adult within the vincity mocked and mocked and mocked while the home life got ever worse.

Don’t make fun of stuff children like. Please don’t. Look what they can do with it.

Vintage Disneyworld ’96: Discovery Island

DISCOVERY ISLAND! It has long been a source of fascination for me. That sweet little zoo I visited as a child in 1996 is now apparently an overgrown, decaying, delightful house of mild horrors. There are vultures! There are dead snakes in jars!


Anyway. Many brave souls have ventured their way into Discovery Island over the years. Some also have been sued by Disney I believe. I would definitely jump at the chance to explore the still-very much abandoned Island, but instead, hey, let’s see what it was like as a fully-functioning, snakesinjars-less part of the park.

(You can repost the pictures of the attractions/animals here, but please don’t repost any pictures with people in them!)

It’s a croc! Is it just me or does he not look all that happy to be behind fencing?

I can’t read these signs but I think they’re telling you to please not feed the animals or presumably the Mouse will get you.

These adorable Roseate Spoonbills all got relocated to Animal Kingdom when it opened, I think.

I don’t think my family spent too long at Discovery Island during ye olde Disney holiday. From what I remember it wasn’t really appealing to children because there were no rides or costumed characters around.

My brother it seems REALLY REALLY liked the sand though.

Vintage Disneyworld ’96: Magic Kingdom

So I stumbled across a treasure trove of photos in my parents’ house, hooray. I was DELIGHTED.

Ya see, my love affair/general bizarre fascination with theme parks probably started when I was 8 or so and got taken to Disneyworld in Florida. I have very few actual memories of the experience, but thank god, my parents were early adopters of state-of-the-art camera technology!

…Sadly I am not, and all of these pictures are photos of photos because I have no access to a scanner. But for my fellow lovers of the Disney parks and spectacular theme parks in general, here’s a reasonably clear look of what Disneyworld looked like circa 1996 (yep, pre-Animal Kingdom). Part one! I’ll cover Epcot, the Studios, Typhoon Lagoon and poor, forgotten, abandoned Discovery Island later.

You can repost the pictures of the attractions here, but please don’t repost any pictures with people in them!

The ferry to the Magic Kingdom. Whether this ferry still exists, and where one would get on it, I have no idea. Hey, there’s the castle in the background!

The cable cars! I have vague memories of us riding in either a red or yellow one. Apparently the cable cars are gone now? Aw man. One of the memories I do have from Disneyworld is going over a lake (I think that’s the black blob to the left) in the cable car and my dad telling me that the submarines used to be under there. That would have been the 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea ride, which shut down a mere two years before my family visited. I was so close.

The castle as seen from the cable cars.

Now this is from a parade I gather was a surreal celebration of all things Mickey. According to my husband, the picture on the left “looks like a Mickey Mouse head stuck on something’s crotch.”

Still, at least the ‘real’ Mickey was less unnerving, right?

Okay nevermind.

A couple of other, much better photos from the Mickey Parade (Why does the name ‘Mickey and Friends Parade’ keep coming back to me? Maybe that was its actual name?)

Here’s Splash Mountain, which I never rode:

According to my eight-year-old self, encouraged by my parents to label the Disney photos in the family photo album, this is a ‘indien village’. What it actually is and where it was, if it’s even actually in the Magic Kingdom, I have no idea. Anyone recognise this?

Here’s Cogsworth. Why he has a tiny Mickey inside him I have no idea.

Here’s It’s A Small World, which I gather has not in fact changed much in the past couple decades:

I’m guessing this is Discoveryland, with its funky retro rockets:

And that’s 1996 Magic Kingdom! I have a few more disconnected memories. I remember we nearly set the holiday villa on fire. Ah, good times.