Saturday, May 26, 2007

I'm Back

Well, I had fun, but I didn't really think the Pirates event was worth the cost of admission. At least not for the one day package that I had gotten. Poor planning on Disney's part. As you entered the main doors of the convention center, to the left is the registration counter. This is a permanent fixture as is the sign above it that says registration. Yet Disney wasn't using this for registration and there were no signs indicating otherwise so the natural assumption was to get in the line to register. We found registration after another guest was kind enough to point it out to us and picked up our merchandise, then went back to the other line to get our welcome gift which was a bandanna with a miniature plastic drinking cup, beads and a pin that had nothing to do with pirates. Ummm. That's it? No catalog of merchandise? No auction catalog? The silent auction and regular auction merchandise was on display. And most of it was the usual assortment for Disney event auctions. I tried getting pics of a couple of things but gave up. There were bright lights directly above the cases that created a glare on the cases, so I decide to just enjoy myself. I did bid $400 on one of the WDCC pieces in the silent auction but checked later to find out I was outbid (expected) at 650. We viewed the Odyssey display of things they have recovered from shipwrecks. Interesting, but not terribly exciting. The signings were going strong and didn't have hardly any lines but that was because their really wasn't much in the way of merchandise for them to sign. It was more of a meet and greet type thing. Nothing else to do but wait for the steakhouse to open at noon. Had a delicious lunch and then went to the next scheduled event which was the play games for extra booty. Did it, had fun, but sorry I didn't pay 200 per person for us to stand in line for a half hour, play a carnival game and be handed yet another 3 cent string of beads only to move on to another game to start the process all over again. I did have fun playing the games but they really should be something placed in the hallway as entertainment not a scheduled event. Speaking of hallway entertainment there were no characters, no pirates, nada, zip in the way of walkaround characters for the entire day until the dinner that night. Headed over to the first seminar, doors were open but we didn't go in because it wasn't for 30 minutes yet and we wanted to take advantage of the comfortable couches outside the room. Some people went in staked out their seats and were kicked out by one of the managers who came about ten minutes before the seminar was to start, closed all the doors and told them she'd open the doors in about 5 minutes. 15 minutes after the seminar was supposed to start she opened the doors and let everyone in. Did the room look any different? No. Just a lot of chairs and a stage with a podium and movie screen. Why were we kept standing in the hallway. I'd like to say it was because the speakers weren't there but since they were wandering in and out before the manager ever showed up we know thats not true. Oh well the seminar from Odyssey about salvaging shipwrecks was fun thanks to the enthusiasm of the man who presented it. The seminar that followed done by Disney people also had its good moments. They didn't give away any major spoilers for the movie, which was a good thing. On to dinner, whats this the line is allready long, obviously lots of people skipped the seminars, many I heard saying they were similar to what had been done the day before. Moved on to some comfy chairs because Disney had me fill out a seating chart in an email a month or so ago. No point in standing in line if the seating is assigned, right? Wrong! No assigned seating. Took us about 20 minutes to find 2 chairs that were together and not being used. The food was excellent and was the pirate band who sang through most of dinner. Trevor Carlton painted a painting of Mickey as a pirate in his usual rock n roll style. Fun but I've seen it before. The auction was more entertaining then I expected probably because I was able to follow the action which isn't always possible depending on the auctioneer. They had pictures of the auction items on two screens which made me mad again that there wasn't an auction catalog. I mean, they had the pictures right? The Trevor Carlton painting was auctioned and someone at my table won. The picture painted didn't match the one up on screen. I don't remember exactly what it went for around 5200 I think. One of the items was a wdcc piece of a train engine with Mickey driving. I think it was an artist proof. Bidding went up to 2800 and didn't sell because it failed to meet the reserve. At the end of the auction it was put back up with no reserve and sold for less then that. Around 2400. My Mom had been eyeing the fancy pirates centerpiece knowing that they usually give them away and at the end of the evening they announced that one chair at each table had a pin taped under the seat and that person got the centerpiece. Prior to this, people were tearing them apart at other tables and sharing the remains all while the managers who were working as auction spotters told them they could. Ours remained intact because we had all adults at out table, but by the end of the auction my Mom and I were the only ones left. Turning around to get our centerpiece we found someone had taken it. It wasn't one of the people at our table because they had left earlier, just someone walking by on the way out decided to help themselves.
On to the movie, we drove our car instead of taking the bus figuring we'd be one of the first in line and get a good seat. Disney had one of the parking lots closed even though the signs on the road were prompting that it was open and available. The one by amc was full so we had to park around back of House of Blues. By the time we got to the theatre the line stretched through the building to the other side of the theatre. We waited an hour. We were supposed to be the first ones to see the movie until Disney in their lust to beat Spider-Man's weekend opening decided to change the starting time to 8pm. Now we had to wait an hour. Finally got seated and had to wait so long that some members of the audience started chanting Pirates! Pirates! Pirates! When it did finally start (again about 15 minutes after it was supposed to) I was disapointed in it. Maybe it was the late time, maybe it was that I spent 400 to get mistreated all day. To be fair, I should see it again when I'm in a better mood. But I wont. SPOILER WARNING: I've tried very hard to write the following without giving anything away. I think you can read it safely. Most of the Johnny Depp scenes where he is by himself should have been cut from the film and saved for the dvd release. They did nothing to further the story and weren't entertaining. The only way you could like those scenes is if you loved Johnny Depp just for being Johnny Depp. They obviously didn't have anything for him to do until later in the movie and they were there because they thought they needed him to entertain the audience. The acting seemed to me to not even be close to as good as the other two films both of which I enjoyed tremendously. It felt like everyone just kind of went through the lines and didn't try very hard. The fantastic/mythological elements of the film I thought were out of place. Davy Jones was as far as I was willing to go with that element of things and I was expecting a pirate movie. Instead I got a fantasy/mythological movie trying to be one of the old Voyage of Sinbad movies. If they had cut out the previously mentioned Johnny Depp scenes and rewrote the Calypso scenes so they were more of a supernatural mystery element the movie would have worked for me. I did like the end and where everyone ended up. It's not a bad movie, just not a particularly good one, in my opinion which seems to be in the minority.
Thje parting gift was a replica of Davy Jones chest with some coins and gems in it. It is very nice.
Oh, also Lee Arenberg, the actor who plays Pintel ("Allo Poppet") showed up at the dinner and said a few words of thanks to the fans. That was a nice surprise. He also showed up at the movie and pretty much said the same thing again.
Anyway, I hadn't been to a Disney event in a few years and I'll probably never go to another one again. Disney has been doing these events for years, its the same complaints every time they have an event and they have done nothing to try and get it right. Unless your one of the folks who can actually afford to bid at the live auctions, save your money and go to public day. There's bound to be stuff left over as less and less people go to these things. After all, the pirates event didn't sell out and they were even advertising it to cast members to try and get them to go. Mouse Surplus allready has leftover bags and shirts up on ebay. I can't think of what they could do that would be more popular then this theme and it didn't sell out. Wake up, Disney! Your doing something wrong!

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