Friday, July 3, 2015

Photo of the Week

Look who I found at Barnes and Noble yesterday.  It's Joy in POPVinyl form! She's so cute!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Magic of Disney Animation Closing

I was sad to hear that Disney has announced that it is closing the Magic of Disney Animation at Hollywood Studios on July 12. While I know that this closing will make space for additional new attractions (fingers crossed for more Pixar or Star Wars!), I will miss the Animation Academy.

I have only stopped in to learn to draw characters a few times, but it's always packed and well worth the wait. While rumors abound about what will take the place of the building, nothing has been announced about whether or not the Animation Academy will move to a new location or simply be ended. I hope Disney reopens it in a new, larger location with better seating, but only time will tell. Perhaps we'll learn more during the D23 convention in August.

In the meantime,  there are quite a few videos on the Disney Parks youtube channel that will teach you how to draw Disney characters. Here's a video to help you learn to draw Joy from Inside Out.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Harambe Market

I was very excited to eat at the Harambe Market on my most recent trip to Animal Kingdom. The Market, which is located in the Africa section of Animal Kingdom, opened on May 23. Featuring entirely new dishes inspired by African cuisine, the Market has four separate windows for ordering. The Kitamu Grill has chicken skewers and beef kabobs. Famous Sausages has a unique take on the corndog: curried batter around a boerewors sausage. Chef Mwanga's Rib Shop specializes in spice rubbed Karubi ribs. Finally, Wanjohi Refreshments serves a wide variety of beverages, both nonalcoholic and alcoholic. While each window features a limited menu, you can actually order all of the food from any window except Wanjohi Refreshments. (Be sure you ask a cast member for a menu so you know what is available.) I was really glad that you could order everything together because we were considering items from all three areas. Each window has a different kids meal; each includes two sides: carrots, apples, broccoli, or a cookie, and either low-fat milk or water. Beverages are also available at the food windows, and include Gold Peak Tea, Bottled Water, Hot Cocoa, and a variety if Coke products, including Bibo and Sparberry, which are popular in Africa, but have previously only been available in EPCOT's Club Cool. Bibo is fruity and Sparberry is a raspberry cream soda. Several African wines and beers are also available, as well as a specialty cocktail called the Starr of Harambe at Wanjohi Refreshments. And don't forget dessert: the African Milk Tart features a chocolate tart shell sprinkled with sugar and five spice powder, topped with coconut custard and dark chocolate ganache drizzle.

In the end, we ordered the All Natural Grilled Chicken Skewer with Roasted Broccoli & Tomato Salad, the kid's Grilled Chicken Skewer, and the kid's Corndog. We also tried the African Milk Tart. 

My dad really enjoyed the Chicken Skewer and salad, which he taught was well seasoned. 

I had the kid's Chicken Skewer, both because it came with barbecue sauce instead of spices and because I could choose my side's, and I thought it was very good. 

Bean had the kid's Corndog, which she really liked, even without her usual ketchup. (I tried a little of the Corndog and loved the curried batter. It really adds a lot to an otherwise simple dish.) My dad and I both liked the African Milk Tart, which isn't overly sweet, but very flavorful.

There is quite a bit of outdoor seating in the area, much of which is under covers or umbrellas, but it can get crowded, so we shared our table with another family. In all, I really enjoyed this new location, and with my usual favorite Flame Tree Barbecue closed for refurbishment, I was glad that the food at Harambe Market more than made up for it. And the prices are very reasonable: $9 - $13 for adult meals and $5.50 - $7.50 for kids. I will definitely plan a visit to Harambe Market during my next trip, and you should, too.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Photo of the Week

I finally found these at Wal-Mart the other night and couldn't resist.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

The Great Movie Ride

The Great Movie Ride is one ride I try never to miss at Hollywood Studios. The ride is located inside a reproduction of the famous Grauman's Chinese Theatre. Hand-prints and signatures of some of Hollywood's most famous stars can be found in the courtyard. Costumes and props from films, both classic and modern, can be found in the queue. After passing through the lobby area, you wind back and forth through the queue to the boarding area.

Disney recently updated the Great Movie Ride in partnership with Turner Classic Movies. I had a chance to ride it 2 days after they'd added the new voice-over, and I must say, I love the changes. Beginning with the pre-show you can watch in the queue, Robert Osborne, the host of TCM, shares a bit of the history of the movies, with clips of several classic films. After boarding your touring tram, which has bench seats and no restraints, you begin your wonderful journey through the history of the movies. The new voice-over, again by Robert Osborne, takes you deeper into each genre you pass through. You begin with the early musicals, then move into classics like Singing in the Rain. From there, you move into mob movies. There are two different skits that the cast members perform that remain unchanged. The first begins in the mobster scene. The second starts in the next scene, which represents classic westerns. (If you haven't seen both of them, be sure to ask a cast member if you can be seated in a specific show. They usually don't mind requests unless there is a problem with a particular skit that day.) Next up, you move into a scene from Alien, which no longer seems hokey thanks to Osborne's voiceover about the Sci-Fi genre. 

From there you move through an Indiana Jones scene and into the classic horror genre, where the cast members' skit continues. 

Next, you journey through adventure movies and into a scene from Casablanca, complete with dialogue from the "Here's looking at you, kid" speech. After a brief glimpse of Mickey Mouse in Fantasia, you head into the final scene. This is a full room recreation of Munchkinland from the Wizard of Oz, complete with the Wicked Witch of the West. The ride ends with a montage tribute to the movies in general. It has been updated to include additional films, such as Guardians of the Galaxy and Frozen. It's fun to see how many of the films you can name. (I can name most of them, although I'm not sure what that says about the number of movies I've seen.) A new photo spot has also been added near the exit. Now you can act the star and have your photo taken while pressing your hands into the (dry) cement.

The Great Movie Ride is an 18 minute journey through the history of the movies. I highly recommend it. Not only is it a fun and interesting ride, but it's a great chance to get out of the heat. If you want to skip the lines, FastPass+ is available. There are no height restrictions, but the scenes from Alien and the classic horror movies may be frightening for young children. Guests may remain in a wheelchair on the ride.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Disney Infinity 3.0 Trailer

Bean and I are so excited to see the new Disney Infinity 3.0. We love Star Wars and we can't wait to play as our favorite characters.