Wednesday, March 30, 2011

POTC 4 Posters

Disney recently released four new teaser posters for Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. The posters feature Captain Jack Sparrow, Hector Barbossa, Blackbeard, and Angelica. I can't wait for the new film to come out and am very excited by this first look at the new characters. And so begins the search for the famed Fountain of Youth.

It looks like Jack is up to his usual shenanigans. He's in trouble with the law, battling other pirates, on the run from everyone (including zombies), telling lies with every breath and just generally being Captain Jack. Will he reach the Fountain first?

Angelica is a new character. She has a mysterious past, she may or may not the daughter of the notorious Blackbeard, and at some point, she was in a relationship with Captain Jack Sparrow. She wants, more than anything, to save Blackbeard's soul, and she'll go to any lengths to do so.

Barbossa, it seems has not fared well in recent years. He's lost a leg and turned privateer, a legal pirate for the crown, answering to the King of England. He's once again joined forces with Captain Jack, likely against his better judgement, in the race for the Fountain of Youth.

Perhaps the most infamous of all pirates, Blackbeard was the most feared pirate to sail the seas. His ship, the Queen Anne's Revenge, is crewed by zombies and covered in the bones of his victims. Blackbeard fears his prophesied death, so he seeks the fountain as his only hope of escape.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Confessions of a Disney Park addict

Someone recently asked me how many times I'd been to a Disney Park. The answer: "More times than you'd think!" I started adding up all of my trips there over the years and realized that the number is rather shocking, especially since I have never lived in Orlando or Anaheim.

My first trip was to Disneyland in 1984. I don't actually remember much about it, even though I was 7 years old at the time. My dad took my sister and I again a few years later, maybe 1988. I went again in 1995, and then again in 1998. That trip I stayed with my cousin Jennifer. She was working at the Gag Factory in Toontown at the time. We had a blast and I went to Disneyland nearly every day that week. They were getting ready to build California Adventure and all of the parking areas were a mess! When Jennifer had to work, I explored the park on my own, and even rode Splash Mountain alone, much to Jennifer's amazement. I attempted to move to California with the intent of working at Disneyland in 1999, but the move fell through.

In 2003, my mom, my sister and I went to Disney World for the first time. I immediately fell in love with the World and all it's spaciousness. Unfortunately, there was just two much to see in a three-day trip. I moved to Georgia when Bean was born and looked forward to experiencing Disney World through a child's eyes again. We took her to Disney World for the first time one day after her first birthday. We stayed on-site for the first time at Shades of Green. She loved It's a Small World and all of the bright colors, sights, and sounds of the park. She took her first steps over a bridge in the Magic Kingdom. It was truly Magical!

In 2006, we moved to California temporarily. Shortly before we had to return to Georgia, we took Bean to Disneyland. It wasn't the best trip, ( Bean seemed to be allergic to everything she touched and broke out in hives!) but it was the first time any of us had been to California Adventure, which we loved. Bean's favorite rides were Monsters, Inc. Mike and Sulley to the Rescue, King Triton's Carousel and all of the rides in Bug Land.

In September 2007, we moved back to Georgia, unloaded the truck, and drove 8 more hours to Disney World. Yes, we're that crazy! Our friend had never been to Disney World before, nor had he been trick or treating, so we went to MNSSHP for the first time. We all loved it! We also caught the EPCOT Food & Wine Festival for the first time. This quickly became our favorite time of year to visit, even if it rained every day and I got stuck in World showcase in a flooded area with a stroller! This was the first time we saw Pixar's Block Party Bash at Hollywood Studios. Bean loved it! We stayed at Shades of Green again which was convenient for transportation into the parks.

In August 2008, we bought Annual Passes. It was a blast! We only spent 3 1/2 days that trip. Bean, my dad and I had just traveled across the country by train and then went to Disney World after meeting up with my sister. Since we now had Annual Passes, we drove down to Disney World several time over the next several months. We went to MNSSHP and the Food & Wine Festival in October. We got our faces painted at MNSSHP for the first time. We also got the clip-on reloadable gift cards for the Food & Wine Festival, which made trying everything much easier.

Our next trip was in November, a week before Thanksgiving. Then we went for 7 days in December and spent Christmas day at the Magic Kingdom & New Year's Eve at EPCOT. It was crazy crowded, but still a ton of fun. Both parks reached capacity by noon or so, but we didn't plan on leaving and coming back, so it was ok. Christmas day we watched Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Parade. We ended up staying for the fireworks because it was so crowded at the front that we couldn't get off Main Street. It worked out though because the snow and fireworks were great. Bean loved the snow and wanted it to last forever! On 12/27 we went to Hollywood Studios and saw the Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights, which were awesome! And it snowed again, which we loved, especially because it was about 75 degrees that day. On 12/28, we went to EPCOT and listened to several of the storytellers tell stories of Christmas in their homelands. We saw the Three Wise Men in Mexico, heard about the Nutcracker in Germany, saw La Befana in Italy (Bean was even selected to help!), Pere Noel in France, and the lumberjack Santa in Canada. We only saw part of the Daruma Doll Sellers story in Japan, and missed all of the others. On 12/29 we went to Animal Kingdom and watched Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade. It was a lot of fun. We went back to Magic Kingdom on 12/30 and it was much less crowded, so we watched the parade again. Then we spent our last night 12/31 at EPCOT. At EPCOT, the World Showcase countries each celebrate the New Year at the hour it occurs in their home country. It's so much fun! And if you stay all day, they hand out party hats and party blowers. The entire park sounds like it's full of crazed geese... And that's just the adults! It's hilarious!! We didn't stay until midnight, but we could see the fireworks from both Disney and Universal from the condo we'd rented. (We stayed in this awesome condo this trip. We got a great deal at $99 a night. It had 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, a full kitchen, dining room, family room, living room, all the furnishings, laundry room, a screened porch, and could easily have slept 12-15. Totally awesome for large family groups.)

We went again, spur of the moment in March for St. Patrick's Day. We were in EPCOT and bought green cotton candy and our friend bought green beer and green cider in England in the special Rose & Crown glass.

Our next trip was in September 2009. We went down for a quick 4 day trip. Our last day, we always try to spend at Animal Kingdom. They close the earliest and that way we can stay most of the park hours before we have to make the 8 hour drive home. Our next trip was February 2010. Bean was out of school for a few days, so we took a four day weekend and left. Strangely, we ended up at Hollywood Studios during ESPN Weekend. As a result, it was fairly easy to get on the rides, but the area around the sorcerer's hat was packed! EPCOT was just getting ready for the Flower & Garden Festival so we got an awesome preview of the topiaries. We played the Kim Possible Missions around the World Showcase, which my Bean finds fascinating. At Magic Kingdom, we met Tiana & Naveen for the first time and played on Tom Sawyer's Island for the first time too. We spent half a day at Animal Kingdom and watched Finding Nemo: the Musical and the Festival of the Lion King for the first time too. They're incredible! We spent the end of the day at Downtown Disney and Build a Dino at T-Rex Cafe. It has very cool ambiance.

Our last trip was in August 2010. it was a four day trip and we visited each park. This was the first time Bean and I rode Rockin' Roller Coaster. She was fine until we took off and by the end, my sister had to pry her hands off to get her out, poor kid! (I'm not sure if I'll ride it again anytime soon either!) Then we rode Star Tours a million times to make up for it. This was our last chance to ride Star Tours before it was closed for refurbishment, so we made the most of it.

I'm not sure when I'll make it back to Disney World, but I hope that it will be soon... I'm starting to go through withdrawals!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Happy St. Patrick's Day everyone! Today is a great day for celebrating the luck of the Irish. I hope everyone has a fun day of laughs and leprechauns, parades and corned beef. And don't forget the Irish soda bread, it's fantastic!

Wishing you a rainbow
For sunlight after showers—
Miles and miles of Irish smiles
For golden happy hours—
Shamrocks at your doorway
For luck and laughter too,
And a host of friends that never ends
Each day your whole life through!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Annie Leibovitz Disney Portraits

I don't know if you've seen them, but Annie Leibovitz has been recreating great Disney scenes in photographs for the last several years. She's used well known stars in these recreations, from J-Lo to Julie Andrews and everyone in-between. These photos are fantastic and fun and I look forward to each new addition. The latest three photos, released just last week, feature scenes from the Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, and Snow White. To recreate these scenes, Disney has enlisted the help of Queen Latifah, Jeff Bridges, Penelope Cruz, Alec Baldwin, and Olivia Wilde. The photographs will appear in the March 28, 2011 issue of People, as well as the April issues of O - The Oprah Magazine, Real Simple, Essence, and InStyle. They are part of Disney's new Memories campaign. I have to say, I think my favorite of these new photos is Belle and the Prince with Jeff Bridges and Penelope Cruz. They look so sweet together and perfectly capture the "Moment of Beauty" Disney is advertising. Check them out for yourself and let me know your favorite.