Step By Step: 522 and 523, “We’re Going to Disney World, parts 1 and 2”; May 3 and May 10, 1996

Apparently I never actually posted this! Remember when I said there was going to be a Disney Week? Ha. I wrote this 7 months ago, wow.

Now, I explained in the BMW Disney episode about how Disney basically forced all of ABC’s shows to visit Disney World, after Disney bought ABC, specifically to advertise for the parks, and this is something that is still happening, although not as often (and Modern Family still seems to be the only show to go to Disneyland, although I might be wrong.). I also mentioned in the BMW review that one character from THIS show showed up and talked to Cory, so that’s why I’m doing Step By Step right now. And also as i may have mentioned, I’m not sure I’ve ever actually seen this show before, and if I have, I haven’t seen it since it was originally airing 20 years ago.

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The show immediately begins with a visit from grandma [not pictured]. She’s decided to give everyone and advance on their inheritance. One of the sons is super excited to get all that money from grandma, but she says they’re not getting squat until she dies. But she IS treating everyone to a trip during the first week of summer vacation. I WONDER WHERE THE TRIP WILL BE TO??

Sidebar: I’m assuming, based on the title and the fact that there’s like 6 kids all the same age, that this show is like The Brady Bunch in that there’s a man and his family living all alone, and a lovely lady with a hair of gold and whatever, and they remarried. So they’re all a step-family. I’m not being bothered to look it up.

Dad and Mom don’t want to go because Dad is treating Mom to a romantic bed-and-breakfast weekend to celebrate their anniversary. So apparently none of the kids can go on the trip even though most of them are like 16. BOO. They’re especially upset when Grandma reveals the trip is to Walt Disney World. SHOCKER.

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The one boy who was excited for grandma to croak tells the parents they’re too old to have sex anyway. Grandma says it’s only fair, if the parents have other plans, for them to decide, so either EVERYONE goes on the trip, or the parents can go on their anniversary thing. Boy, if only the kids were old enough to travel on their own, or if only Disney World wasn’t open just that one week every year.

StepByStepDisney_0002_Layer 3Surprise, they go to Disney World! Look at that Mickey Mouse hot air balloon.

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So they start unpacking, and then Eric Matthews’s best friend shows up.

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Apparently he’s a different character on this show, which is confusing since apparently Boy Meets World and Step By Step exist in the same universe. Or maybe they ARE the same character and this explains Jason’s disappearance from BMW.

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Some other kid shows up to return a hammer he borrowed to Dad. Apparently he drove 500 miles. To return the hammer. Mom and Dad – whose name is Frank – agree to let Jason and Hammerkid stay with them in the resort room even though they’re already over-crowded with like 9 people in there already. That was kind of a dickish move on Grandma’s part to give them this trip but not get at least two hotel rooms for them. I mean they have a decent-sized suite, but there’s ONE bedroom in it. And there’s like 9 people. And Grandma’s staying in a condo, away from them. WTF Grandma.

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Well, points to this show for featuring the boats. Hey, fun fact – there’s actually several docks in Epcot’s World Showcase where you can get on a boat and go to a different park or lodging area. They’re sort of tucked back so a lot of people don’t know about them.

Anyway, plaid-shirt girl is gushing about the Disney rides, including “the haunted house” and how it’s so “so funny when you sit there.” She then continues to say something about a different ride, I think, but I’m too angry at the “haunted house” thing. It’s the Haunted Mansion. Get it right.

Dark-haired girl cuts her  off to gush about how Prince Charming is such a hunk. And she wants to “party in his castle.” Plaid girl thinks that’s ridiculous, because he’s only a cartoon character, and she’d rather go for a real man – like “the guy who runs the jungle ride.” Right. That ONE guy on “the jungle ride.” I can’t tell if she’s just ridiculous or if the show writers have never been to Disney World before. Or were afraid they’d be breaking copyright by actually referring to things correctly on the show??

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I’ve just realized there was no picture of plaidgirl or dark-haired girl. OOPS.

One of the two geeky sons tells hammer guy about how some guy from the Russian Republic of Uzbekistan broke records for visiting “every attraction in the park in just under four days.”I was going to say how referring to it as the “Russian Republic of Uzbekistan” dates the show, but this was in 1996, several years after Uzbekistan gained independence from Russia. Hammer kid is outraged by this (the record-breaking, not the factual error), and wants to win back the record for America. All right, so, a few questions: What do they mean by “the park”? Just Magic Kingdom? Or all of Disney World? And of course, what does “attraction” refer to? Just the rides and shows? Do parades and fireworks count? Because, I mean, if it’s JUST Magic Kingdom, that would be super easy to accomplish. If you’re really dedicated and the lines are short enough, you can visit everything in one day. If it’s the ENTIRETY of Disney World, well…

Mom tells Frank that Grandma agreed to watch the baby, so the two of them can ride Peter Pan’s Flight together. Frank correctly points out that’s a kiddie ride, but Mom tells him it’s a ride in the dark, so they’re going to get frisky or something. So, like, first of all, ew. Second, they heavily monitor these rides specifically to make sure stuff like that doesn’t happen. Third, EW. Fourth, okay, the thing with Peter Pan’s Flight is that for most of the ride, you’re being suspended in mid-air, so I imagine it would be obvious, if not DANGEROUS, if you were doing anything inappropriate in the car. FIFTH, the Haunted Mansion is also a dark ride, but it’s a much longer one, so seems like it would be the more appropriate place to get it on.

SIXTH, if all the kids are in the park, and grandma’s watching the baby, why don’t they just go back to the hotel to do it?

Well, anyway, grandma can’t watch the baby, because she has a date. WHA-WHA. Now, I don’t know if they had this service back in 1996, but today in Disney World you can actually hire a babysitter who will either watch the kid in your room, or travel with you throughout the parks. Easy solution. I mean it wouldn’t work for them right then because you have to give 24 hour notice, but… why didn’t they just leave the baby at home with a sitter? Ehn. Oh well.

Frank is displeased by this turn of events, and is even more unhappy when all the kids give all their bags to him to hold. Oddly, one of them gives him his camera and another gives him his poncho, which are both things you should carry with you in the parks.

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Now, again, I don’t know if they had this in 1996, but today you can actually rent lockers at each park to store your stuff in so you don’t have to carry around all this stuff with you all day. This is a great solution if you’re there during cooler parts of the year, so you can stuff your coats in the locker later in the day, or you can keep a backpack of food in there so you don’t have to buy any from Disney (for real, Disney’s actually totally cool with people bringing food in, as long as it’s in an appropriate container – like I forget if you can use coolers, or if there’s a size limit, but I’ve definitely been in the parks with granola bars before. You could definitely get away with bring a sandwich. I know someone brought in a whole loaf of bread once).

I don’t know how this recap turned into an ad for Disney Parks services. Oh well.

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Jason and… other kid are walking around Adventureland, Jason singing “Yo-ho, a Pirate’s Life For Me,” confusing the words with “we something and pillage and pieces of eight”. I laughed, that was actually quite funny. Jason tells kid who wanted grandma to croak that the dog with the keys on the ride is totally real. Kid, who obviously shops at the same store as Shawn Hunter, gets distracted by some bodacious babes.

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Well hello JoAnna Garcia-Swisher! She and her friend are lost and don’t know where to eat. Jason and 3 Shirts kid tell them that there’s seafood, Italian, and Chinese. I’m almost positive there are none of those things in Magic Kingdom, and there weren’t in 1996 either. They also mention Pinetta’s, and the girls get under the impression that either 3 Shirts owns Pinetta’s. He goes on to say his family owns it, in fact they own everything, and he introduces himself as J.T. Disney. Jason is confounded by this display of audacity.

3 Shirts is actually Eric, and Jason is Jason. (Okay it’s J.T. and Rich, but I prefer 3 Shirts and Jason).

3 Shirts introduces Jason as his business associate, and Jason pulls him aside to talk to him. They don’t have the money to treat anyone to an expensive restaurant! But 3 Shirts reminds him that you have to spend money to make money.

After a commercial break, the four kids leave the restaurant, with JoAnna Garcia asking why that waiter laughed when they called 3 Shirts “Mr. Disney.” Apparently all of the waiters in Disney World are able to completely identify every member of the extended Disney family. Because it’s not like Walt and Roy are the ONLY people with the last name of Disney. Really.

Anyway, 3 Shirts asks the girls where they want to go next, and the one who isn’t JoAnna Garcia says they’d like to go to Epcot. I sure hope they have a parkhopper pass, then. She thinks they can catch the bus from where they are, but 3 Shirts has a limo arranged.

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Why don’t they just take the monorail? It would be WAY faster, and it dumps you right outside the entrance of Epcot. Unless Pinetta’s isn’t actually in the Magic Kingdom?? I guess it would have to be outside Magic Kingdom since they generally don’t let limousines drive around inside the park. And according to my research, there never was such a restaurant on Disney property. There IS a Pinetta’s in Baton Rouge, though. Maybe they just took a REALLY LONG drive.

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The kid on the bench is named Flash. The two geeky sons find Flash and tell him off for slacking, but Flash has already got on 23 rides and it’s only 2 o’clock! But some other, foreign guy did an absurd amount of stuff in the park, has the record or whatever, so I guess Flash is determined to be like him or break his record or something, and is concerned about how he can accomplish so much in only four days. He declares this to  be the worst thing that’s happened to America since Roseanne sang the national anthem. Man, 1996 really was a simpler, happier time. Also boy did that reference not age well.

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Glasses kid says they’ll hold Flash’s place in all the lines, and tells Flash to “activate his cell phone” and they’ll keep in contact with him from “ride central.”

There’s a montage of him going on rides and meeting characters and doing stuff, and not ONE person was Cory in disguise.

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Is it actually the law that every Disney episode of anything has to feature a shot of someone riding the Dumbo ride?

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This show is weird.

Also the black-haired geek kid is saving Flash’s place in line, and by that I mean he actually just lets Flash cut in line because black-haired geek ALSO gets on the ride rather than switching out with Flash.

Flash heads over to Epcot at the end of the day.

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Where’s Cory and Topanga??

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So later on, the parents are making out in the bedroom, and 3 Shirts asks if he can crash in their room because the sofa bed is too small for all the people on it. The geeky sons come in because Jason snores too loud. Then Jason comes in because he was lonely. That’s the whole scene.

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The girls are walking around Pleasure Island. They spot some cute guys and the shorter girl is like “oooh I see why they call it Pleasure Island.” Haha she’s horny, that’s hilarious.

Some guy in a sandwich board hands them a flier. There’s a Country Music Contest the next day. Back-up band provided. The winner receives a $500 college scholarship! Dark-haired girl thinks this could be her big break!

What a weird thing to be hosted in Disney World with like no information given on it beforehand.

Dana doesn’t want to participate, until some cowboys tip their hats to her.

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No fault there, I’d agree to anything if there were cowboys around.

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3 Shirts gives their lady-friends some stuffed animals and asks them out that night. They agree, and leave for somewhere. The Dumbo one asks JoAnna Garcia if she thinks that guy is REALLY J.T. Disney. JoAnna Garcia doesn’t care, she’s just happy this trip isn’t costing them any money.

Meanwhile, Jason asks 3 Shirts how much he’s been spending. See, he’s using money out of their apartment fund, and Jason is worried they might not have anything left. And indeed, they’ve only got $11 left. The episode ends with Jason being angry.

So I wonder if in Part 2, if the parents having to take care of the baby will actually come up at all?

Part 2

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Flash is waiting in line for the Indiana Jones stunt spectacular, and some little kid is also waiting, and has been waiting ALL WEEK for this. But this guy comes out and says the show is postponed until 2 pm. The little kid asks his dad if they can come back, but apparently by then his family will be on a plane back home. The little kid’s super upset, because he wanted to save Indy for his very last attraction, and now he can’t see it at all! Man, kid, that’s your fault. You can complain to me when you go to Disney on your birthday only to find your favorite ride is closed for renovations. Or when you move away from the Southeast, and end up too poor to visit Disney often, only to then find out that they’re turning the Maelstrom into a Frozen ride, completely redoing Star Tours and The Great Movie Ride, and replacing some other stuff with you not having a chance to visit the rides one last time before they get changed. *sigh~*

Flash won’t stand for this injustice, and asks to talk to the suit guy.  Apparently he convinces suit guy to let him take place of Indiana Jones, since the regular guy is… out.

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Oh boy, THERE’S something that would NEVER HAPPEN. I mean, Disney’s not going to just let some kid off the street participate in a stunt show as the lead with no training whatsoever. Also I’m sure they have understudies or something for these kinds of incidents.

There’s an extended sequence that’s just Flash going through the stunt show. It’s pretty obvious by now, if it wasn’t during the ride montage from Part 1, that Flash’s subplot is pretty much entirely to serve as an advertising showcase for the park. Pretty much every scene is like “Look how cool this is! Come here!”

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The girls are practicing in the condo. Luckily someone thought to bring their guitar on vacation with them! The shorter, horny girl wants to take a break, but the dark-haired girl wants them to keep practicing for the next 6 hours until the contest starts. Shorter girl doesn’t want to spend her whole vacation there in the condo, she wants to at least eat some lunch, but dark-haired girl is like “I’m the leader of this band, I say when we eat.” Dana and shorter girl look at each other as seen in the above screenshot, and basically tell her that they aren’t going to participate if she’s going to be like this.

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Dark-haired girl tells them that they’re just back-up singers anyway, and shorter girl tells her she can just “take this job and shove it” then. I don’t blame them, I mean she’s being rude for one thing, but for another, the prize was only ONE $500 scholarship. You can’t split a scholarship three ways.

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The immediate next scene is the talent search. Dark-haired girl is conveniently the first contestant. The back-up band starts, and she just looks around nervously. The host asks her if she’s okay, and she runs off the stage. The other girls feel bad and chase after her. She says she’s not cut out to be a singer after all, but the other girls convince her to perform, and says they’ll be her back-up singers even though she treated them like dirt. That’s really great that they literally just brought up that problem in the last scene and it’s resolved already.

The host guy lets dark-haired girl sing even though she ran off the stage and that’s got to screw up the scheduling. She’s not a particularly good singer – she’s not awful, but the girl who was singing after she ran off the stage was way better. Also I could swear I had a Barbie outfit just like the one dark-haired girl is wearing.

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Jason bumps into 3 Shirts at MGM Studios, they argue, and Flash runs by 3 Shirts. They head to the Tower of Terror together.

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You sure don’t see MGM Studios very often on these shows. The guys talk while on the ride, and it’s great how they have footage of it. Because the ride is basically an elevator, there’s no way to tell that it’s moving at all, so it looks like they’re sitting absolutely still while talking. THRILLING.

But Flash thinks 3 Shirts is being a jerk, and 3 Shirts admits that Jason is his only friend, so he decides to make up with Jason. 3 Shirts catches up with Jason, and reveals that he cashed in his plane ticket and is going to take the bus back home with Jason.

  1. 3 Shirts somehow cashed in the plane ticket that he didn’t purchase himself in between riding Tower of Terror and finding Jason at what appears to be Epcot
  2. Jason took the bus to Orlando from Wisconsin despite likely leaving just after the family did, and the family took a plane. It takes about 3 hours to fly from Wisconsin to Orlando, and 25 hours to go by bus – but you also have to take a train in addition to the buses
  3. The Wisconsin-Florida plane ticket was only $200. I thought that was ridiculously cheap, but apparently that’s actually what it costs about now. The bus and train tickets com out to $85, though.

3 Shirts is sorry for being a jerk, and says the $200 he got for the plane ticket is going towards their new apartment fund. And he’s going to get a job when they get back home. So he was saving up for an apartment but didn’t have a job already? They do generally like people to have jobs when they rent apartments. Also, where did all the money that was already in the fund come from if he didn’t already have a job? [This is possibly explained in other episodes of this show.]

They go off to watch the fireworks and it turns out I was right – they WERE in Epcot. I thought I  recognized the bridge.

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Frank and Mom wonder when they’re going to be able to spend any time as a married couple again. They’ve got all these kids, after all. But Grandma shows up and says she’ll watch the baby and they can stay in her condo that night.

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Flash is disappointed he won’t be able to beat the record after all, but Glasses kid says that the Uzbekistani guy made the record during a holiday weekend when the park was open an extra hour each night, so Flash actually has an extra three hours to break the record. They ask if he can visit some souvenir stands, food carts, and a couple other attractions during the three hours they have the next morning before they leave. So the food carts count as attractions??

Well anyway, he does it, while the theme from Rocky plays in the background – the musical theme, not the Eye of the Tiger.

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Aaand that’s the end of the episode.

I don’t know if maybe some scenes were cut because this was syndicated for ABC Family, but they never said who won the country music contest, or what happened to JoAnna Garcia and her friend, and I’m super sad that there was never a scene with Dana running into Cory Matthews.

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There wasn’t even a scene with her wearing this dress.

I don’t know a lot about Step By Step – or, anything, really. I don’t even know half of the characters names after watching two episodes of it. But these weren’t great episodes. They sort of weren’t even pretending this wasn’t just a big advertisement for the parks. A subplot about a guy visiting everything in the parks?? Really?? Subtle. 3 Shirts is the only character who had a convincing story arc in these episodes. The girls and the parents barely had a story arc at all. Especially the girls, their whole storyline literally took up three scenes. It’s like the writers remembered at the end that they needed a subplot for the girls and just jammed the country music thing in at the end.


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