Disney Entertainment

A Possible 2017 Mighty Men of Mouse Listener Community Disney World Vacation

tl;dr – Fill out this survey if you’re interested in such a vacation: [](

Anyone who has started following me over the past year knows that I am a meticulous planner, who also has a habit of dreaming amount outrageous ideas that I then try to pull off. Some of these ideas work better than others. I am hoping that this is one of the ones that works.

Over the past year, a number of listeners to the [Mighty Men of Mouse podcast]( have become pretty close “online friends.” We’ve chatted with each other, joked with each other, and even supported each other (if that was ever necessary.) In fact, some in the community have even managed to catch up in person for various meet-ups, on vacations, etc…

So, my latest “big idea” is the following: **What if we planned a Mighty Men of Mouse listener community vacation at Walt Disney World in 2017?** Honestly, I have no idea if there is any interest in something like this (relatedly, I have no idea if something like this is even feasible.) Therefore, my first step was to create the following survey []( so people could let me know if they are interested in such an event (as well as when they might be available for such an event to take place.) If it turns out that (1) there is interest, and (2) there seems to be a time of the year where the interested people might be able to go, I’ll contact my Disney travel agent and start to see how we might be able to get a group rate, etc… If there’s not enough interest, well, I’ll put it on my ever growing list of failed experiments.

Again, please feel out the following survey if you’re interested: []( There’s also a box at the bottom where you can leave additional comments, or you can hit me up on twitter at [@kivus](

Culture Disney Entertainment

A Few Comments on Dutch’s Chain Restaurant Power Rankings

In no particular order (though kind of going down Dutch’s list):

* I would have had Maggiano’s at 1.

* I guess Cheesecake Factory is a *good* chain restaurant, but they just do nothing (outside of maybe cheesecake?) particularly well. If you have a 30 page menu, how can you expect to excel at one or two particular dishes?

* I wish there was a Bertucci’s near us.

* Red Lobster is terrible (*NOTE: I grew up in Maine. I have certain “floor” as to how I’ll accept my seafood. Red Lobster falls below that floor.*)

* Bonefish Grill should be the top seafood place, and it should be slotted above Bertucci’s.

* How many spots does Perkins gain because of the Tiger Woods story? I say at least 5.

* If Johnny Rockets is on the list than Steak & Shake should be on the list. I’d slot Steak & Shake just below Perkins.

* If Longhorn and Lone Star are on the list, why not Outback? I’d put Outback right above Red Lobster (though I might be biased because I know Elyssa loves it.)

* California Pizza Kitchen should be on the list in the Perkins area as well. (*NOTE: I can see leaving off Pizza Hut, but if Bertucci’s is on the list, CPK should be too.*)

* College town Hooters are usually better than “New England Airport Area” Hooters, but they’re still terrible.

If you don’t understand how my blog works, [here are Dutch’s rankings](

Disney Entertainment

MMoM Year at Disney Selections

On [Episode 193 of Mighty Men of Mouse](, the gang was asked a question about how they would spend a year at Walt Disney World. Loosely translated, the question asked them to:

1. Pick a resort that would be home for the year (no DVC)
2. Pick a restaurant for breakfast, lunch, and dinner where they would always eat that given meal (it could be a different restaurant for each meal)
3. Pick a single snack that they could get outside of the above listed meals.

Even though no one asked for *me* to answer the question, I decided to provide my answers below. Unlike in the [MMoM Draft] I did consider relative location and transportation in my answers.

## Resort

## Winner:

**Grand Floridian Resort and Spa**: The Grand Floridian is one of the premier resorts at Walt Disney World, featuring some of the nicest rooms and a prime location near the Magic Kingdom. Additionally, transportation to other resorts (*e.g.,* in case Elyssa and I want to go [view animals on the savannah at Animal Kingdom Lodge]( via the Magic Kingdom transportation depot is only a single stop away on the Resort Monorail. It also includes excellent restaurant options that can be leveraged for the other answers.

## Runner Up:

**Yacht Club**: It’s a great resort. It has Storm-along bay. It’s where Elyssa and I spent part of our honeymoon. It’s a really good runner-up, but the restaurant and transportation options don’t align as well with the rest of the year-long plan.

## Breakfast

### Winner:

**Crystal Palace**: A breakfast buffet in the Magic Kingdom that includes good food (in both quality and variety), the option to interact with characters (if I’m in the mood on a given day), and the the ability to get into the Magic Kingdom at 8am any day that I choose.

### Runners Up:

**Tusker House**: All things considered, probably Elyssa’s and my favorite breakfast option. It’s back of the Animal Kingdom location, however, doesn’t align well with the rest of the year-long plan.

**1900 Park Fare**: Includes 2 of the advantages of our winning selection, but lacks the early access to the Magic Kingdom. Ultimately, the ability to secure pre-park-open Magic Kingdom access was more compelling than having a location at our resort.

## Lunch

### Winner:

**Grand Floridian Cafe**: The [menu for the Grand Floridian Cafe]( contains a wide variety of items that are perfect for lunch, including: a burger, a grilled chicken caesar salad, and, the Grand Sandwich. The Café’s location in the Grand Floridian is the proverbial icing on the cake.

### Runner Up:

**Via Napoli**: Dutch’s reasoning for selecting Via Napoli was very compelling. Even though I am someone who normally eats a lighter lunch than pizza, I did consider this option.

## Dinner

### Winner:

**Narcoossee’s**: People all have their favorite “high end” Disney restaurant. For some that might be Victoria and Albert’s, or maybe California Grill. For Elyssa and me, it’s Narcooossee’s. I admit that my view might be clouded by an amazing meal on our honeymoon, but I fail to believe that is the only reason why I enjoy Narcooossee’s. Like many of our choices, Narcoossee’s location (both in relation to our “home” resort and its windows looking out at the Magic Kingdom) plays a factor in the choice, but, somewhat surprisingly, Narcoossee’s also has a fairly wide selection of different meal choices (especially when considering the additional options available on the kids menu.) Also, the Narcoossee’s Candy Bar might be the single best thing I have ever eaten.

### Runners Up:

**Whispering Canyon** A nice selection of solid dinner foods, in a location that’s not terrible to get to from the Floridian (monorail to Magic Kingdom, boat over to Wilderness Lodge), and it still leave us close to the Magic Kingdom for late night rides on the Mine Train.

## Snack

### Winner:

**Ice cream sandwich from the Plaza Ice Parlor**: I am pretty sure there are times when Elyssa and I have been dangerously close to sustaining ourselves on only these treast. You get delicious cookies and your choice of whatever flavor of ice cream. It’s great any time of year, but especially in the hot Florida sun.

### Runner Up:

***Corn dog nuggets from Casey’s Corner**: A great snack / mini-meal that’s a nice, shareable twist on an American classic. They lose out to the ice cream sandwich, however, for their lack of “dessert-replacement-ability.”

Disney Entertainment

Mighty Men of Mouse – 3 Good Minutes Book Club

On a recent episode of the [Mighty Men of Mouse]() podcast, the guys answered my “3 Good Minutes” request[^fn1] for a mini-MMomM book club. Here is a listing of the books the guys recommended:[^fn2]

## Dutch’s World War II Recommendations

* The Last European War: September 1939 – December 1941

* The Duel: The Eighty-Day Struggle Between Churchill and Hitler

* The Duel: The Eighty-Day Struggle Between Churchill and Hitler (Kindle)

* Five Days in London: May 1940

* Five Days in London, May 1940 (Kindle)

* Armageddon: The Battle for Germany, 1944-1945

* Armageddon: The Battle for Germany, 1944-45 (Kindle)

* Inferno: The World at War, 1939-1945 (Vintage)

* Inferno: The World at War, 1939-1945 (Kindle)

* Churchill, Hitler, and “The Unnecessary War”: How Britain Lost Its Empire and the West Lost the World

* The Conquerors: Roosevelt, Truman and the Destruction of Hitler’s Germany, 1941-1945

* The Conquerors: Roosevelt, Truman and the Destruction of Hitler’s Germany, 1941-1945 (Kindle)

### Bonus World War I Selection

* The Guns of August: The Pulitzer Prize-Winning Classic About the Outbreak of World War I

## Kip’s Recommendations

* The Next 100 Years: A Forecast for the 21st Century

* Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies

* Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed: Revised Edition

## Russ’ Recommendations

* The Book of Basketball: The NBA According to The Sports Guy

* The Book of Basketball: The NBA According to The Sports Guy (Kindle)

* Seven Seconds or Less: My Season on the Bench with the Runnin’ and Gunnin’ Phoenix Suns

* Seven Seconds or Less: My Season on the Bench with the Runnin’ and Gunnin’ Phoenix Suns (Kindle)

* When the Game Was Ours

* When the Game Was Ours (Kindle)

[^fn1]: Basically, if you leave MMoM an iTunes review, they will give you three good minutes on whatever topic you like. If you need a suggestion for what they should talk about for *your* three good minutes, may I suggest the new WWE Network?

[^fn2]: If a Kindle version of the book is available, and I could link to it, I included that as a separate line item.

Disney Entertainment

Best Disney Podcasts – Revisited

A few months ago, I shared a [list of what I felt were the best Disney-related podcasts]( Since that time, the rise of Disney-related podcast networks has greatly altered the Disney podcasting landscape,[^fn1] and has exposed me to a ton of new Disney-related podcast content. After sifting through these new offerings, I feel that my previous Disney podcast recommendations are out of date. Here is my updated list:

## Favorite Disney Podcast

* [Mighty Men of Mouse]([^fn2] – Mighty Men of Mouse is the podcast I wish I had thought of.[^fn3] It combines Disney, Sabermetrics[^fn4], pop culture references[^fn5], and a good bit of humor into a show that I absolutely love. After hearing the show’s *TPPN* version, I went back to dig through the show’s archives over at [](,[^fn6] and, if you enjoy what your hear in the Touring Plans feed, I encourage you do the same.[^fn7]

## Podcast Most Frequently Listened to within an Hour of Its Release

* [WDW Today]( – In my [previous write-up](, I listed *WDW Today* in the “Other Disney Podcasts I Sometimes Listen To” category. I said that I only listened to the topics I was interested in and that I skipped the user mail episodes. Now, a few months later, I listen to every show, frequently with the breakfast on the morning it is released.[^fn8] Matt, Len, Mike and Mike cover Disney using some of the same time-value analysis that I enjoy so much with *Mighty Men of Mouse*,[^fn9] but also talk from–what sounds like–frequent visits to the parks. My only complaint is that the 30-minutes-or-less episode length usually leaves me wishing the show went longer.[^fn10]

## Most In-Depth Disney Podcast

* [WDW Radio]( – [Previously](, I named *WDW Radio* the “Best Overall Disney Podcast.” Though I still thinking highly of the Lou Mongello hosted show, both *Mighty Men of Mouse* and *WDW Today* has passed it in my Disney-podcast priority queue. The show is still well-produced, but, as I have listened to more and more episodes, I no longer think of it as “well-structured.”[^fn11] I still enjoy the episodes that feature Disney-historian [Jim Korkis](, but I sometimes let episodes like [Top Ways to enjoy Disney on the water]( sit in my listening queue without being able to motivate myself to play them.

## Disney News Podcast For Cynics

* [Wakefield Report]( – This show, hosted by Chris Wakefield[^fn12], operates under the premise that Disney fans suffer from some kind of “pixie dust addiction” that clouds their eyes about what is really happening at Disney World.[^fn13] Admittedly, the shtick can get a little over the top, but it works for the most part.[^fn14] Though I do not always agree with Chris’ takes, it is interesting to hear someone who breaks from the standard buzz that surrounds many Disney stories.

## Best Insights from Disney Travel Agents

* [3 Moms and the Mouse]( – If you listen to any Disney podcasts, you almost certainly have heard mention of Disney travel agents.[^fn15] *3 Moms and the Mouse*[^fn16] gives you a little more insight into that world, and provides you with useful tips related to planning and booking your travel. Though it may not be for everyone, I definitely recommend this show for those people who are the de facto “travel agent” for their family’s Disney trips.

## Podcast Most Likely to Feature Jim Hill

* [The Unofficial Guide’s Disney Dish with Jim Hill]() – Two things about Jim Hills: (1) He is a frequent guest on podcasts,[^fn17], and (2) I will listen to any show he is on.[^fn18] Knowing that, it should come as no surprise that I thoroughly enjoy *Disney Dish*.[^fn19] It combines some current news, speculation, and a good dose of Disney history[^fn20], with someone who is in the running for “living person with the most comprehensive knowledge of Disney and its history.”

## Best History-of-Disney Podcast

* [WEDWay Radio]( – I just recently stumbled across this long running Disney-history podcast. Hosted by two brothers, Nate and Matt, it features the kind of in-depth Disney history that I love, delivered on a weekly basis.[^fn21]

## Disney Podcast Most Likely to Jump into Heavy Rotation

* [Be Our Guest]([^fn22] – I recently took another look at the *Be Our Guest* podcast, and–unlike the previous time I reviewed it–I found that it has a number of shows that I want to listen to. Originally, I was a little apprehensive about so many guest, trip-report-type, callers, but I have found that host Mike Rahlmann does a good job picking guests and moving the conversation along. I have a feeling that once I catch up on some of the archives on the other shows, [^fn23] I will starting listening to *Be Our Guest* a lot more.

## Other Disney Podcasts I Sometimes Listen To[^fn24]

* [DisAfterDark]( – This show got a bit of demotion after I started listening to *Mighty Men of Mouse.* It features similar kind of humor and dynamic, but I found that the analysis is not quite up to the level of that on *Mighty Men.*[^fn25]

* [DisUnplugged]( – A *very* comprehensive Disney podcast that I simply do not have room for in my regular rotation.[^fn26] If there is a particular segment that contains information I have not heard somewhere, then I will listen to that one segment.

* [The Mickey Miles Podcast]( – This podcast by Mike Scopa [^fn27] and Michelle Scribner-MacLean focuses on information for people running Disney races. As someone who is running such a race next year, I have recently started listening. I already have picked up a few tips that should make my [runDisney]( experience go a little smoother.

* [Other Shows on the Touring Plans Podcast Network]( – The *TTPN* contains a bunch of different shows. I really like *The Crowd Report,*[^fn28] and I have listened to an episode or two of *WDW Happy Place* and *Capturing the Magic*, but the other shows did not really connect with me.[^fn29]

[^fn1]: Most notably, [The Touring Plans Podcast Network](“*TPPN*”) and the [Micepod]( network.

[^fn2]: As a semi-disclaimer, I am going to be in a fantasy football league with the hosts of this show later this year. I had already started drafting this post when that happened, and it did not impact my decision to name *Mighty Men* as my favorite podcast. Still, I feel that fact deserved a mention.

[^fn3]: *Might Meny* is a part of the [*TPPN*]( In, what I can only assume is an effort to increase their total subscriber numbers, the TPPN only has a single RSS feed for all of their podcasts. That means, if you only want to listen to a few of the shows on the network, you still get all of the other network shows jammed into your podcatcher. For the purposes of this listing, however, I am only going to mention the shows that I actually listen to and enjoy. I will leave it as an exercise for the reader to figure how to best get the individual shows out of the *TPPN* feed.

[^fn4]: If you have seen or read [Moneyball](, then you already know what Sabermetrics are. If you remember hearing about [Nate Silver]( during the previous presidential election, you probably also have a good idea. If you still have no clue what I am talking about, then a good working definition for our purposes is “advanced statistical analysis to determine the value of something.”

[^fn5]: For example, I recently heard a segment where they did impressions of [Mike and the Mad Dog]( while analyzing how far in advance you have to book various ADRs.

[^fn6]: Currently, I have about 15 shows remaining before I have listened to all of *Mighty Men’s* episodes. I am going to be quite bummed out when I have no more unheard episodes left to listen to.

[^fn7]: As a side note, the fact that two of the hosts of this podcast are lawyers makes me wonder: What is it with Disney and attorneys? On the podcast front, there are two hosts from this podcast, and, of course, [Lou Mongello]( On the blogging front there is [Tom Bricker](, and, to a lesser degree, [me]( What is about our lives buried in court and case law that makes us want to ramble on about the magic of Disney?

[^fn8]: I get especially excited when I see an episode drop the night before. I feel like I am getting a nice, surprise gift.

[^fn9]: This frequently comes from co-author of the *Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World*, Len Testa.

[^fn10]: Of course, the shorter show length does mean that I can easily stay up-to-date with the latest episodes.

[^fn11]: For example, there are too many times that I have heard a “Top 10” list start out with a disclaimer that “we are not going to limit this list to 10 things.” Also, some of the “in-restaurant,” restaurant review episodes can ramble on a bit (*see, e.g.,* [Whispering Canyon](; [Via Napol](

[^fn12]: Chris also hosts the Universal NOW! podcast on the *TPPN*. If I had to put Universal Now! into one of the categories in this post, I would list it in the “Podcasts I sometimes listen to” category. Personally, I just do not have the same level of interest in Universal Studios as I do in Disney World, and I quickly lose interest during an hour long show about it.

[^fn13]: It is similar to what people say about purchasers of Apple products.

[^fn14]: On the other hand, the show’s format could probably use a little tweaking. For example, Chris used to spend the first 10 minutes plugging his various social media accounts, etc… before getting into the real meat of his show: The “Nine News Nuggets.” Generally, this meant I would just skip the first 10 minutes of every show. Recently, he has experimented with reading forum posts from the Micechat forums and responding on air. Again, this is something I just skip through. Personally, I think he would be better served by further developing the stories he does in the “Nine New Nuggets” and simply making that his weekly show. He could possibly do a one-off interview show here and there, or some other special show, but I think concentrating on his takes of the news each week would make the show a better listen.

[^fn15]: For example, [Mouse Fan Travel]( seems to be a sponsor on a number of the major shows.

[^fn16]: One admission concerning this podcast: Due to the casual pacing of the conversation, I listen to it at 1.5x speed.

[^fn17]: *See, e.g., [Universal Now appearance 1](, [Univeral Now appearance 2](, [DisAfterDark appearance 1](, [DisAfter Dark appearance 2](, and the [podcast reference page]( on his website.

[^fn18]: In fact, his column is the only reason I ever would even consider reading anything on the [Huffington Post](

[^fn19]: Though this podcast is technically part of the Touring Plans Podcast Network, I have found that, unlike all of the other network shows, the [original feed]( for the *Disney Dish* is still functioning (and even releases the episodes a few days earlier than the [*TPPN* feed]( I have no idea if the gang at Touring Plans is going to keep that going.

[^fn20]: If you like what you hear in the current episodes, and since so many episodes contain anecdotes from Disney’s history, I would recommend digging into the archives of this show.

[^fn21]: Nate and Matt also host a companion show, [WEDWay Now](, that features (approximately) weekly updates of Disney-related news. I listen to this companion show when I get a chance, but it is not something that I will be digging through the archives of.

[^fn22]: I could have also titled this section “podcasts most hurt by the timing of this article.”

[^fn23]: The *Mighty Men of Mouse* and *WEDWay Radio* archives in particular.

[^fn24]: If you want someone else’s Disney Podcast listings, you can check out Tom Bricker’s list [about half way down his posting about running and fitness](

[^fn25]: Also, they sometimes have *terrible* guests. In fact, my fiancé pretty much refuses to listen to this show after a few of the guests they had were so bad.

[^fn26]: Basically, it has a lot of information that I get from other podcasts that I enjoy listening to. If I only listened to one or two Disney podcasts, the comprehensive nature of this show might be more interesting to me.

[^fn27]: Yes, the same Mike Scopa found on *WDW Today*.

[^fn28]: I listen to every episode, however, the episodes only come out monthly.

[^fn29]: Excluding the shows I have previously mentioned in this post: *Mighty Men of Mouse, Unofficial Dish with Jim Jill,* and *Universal Now*.