Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Disney Classics, Part 1

I grew up watching what I would call classic Disney films. Swiss Family Robinson, In Search of the Castaways, Summer Magic, Parent Trap, Pollyanna, Bedknobs and Broomsticks; there are many to choose from.These films were all about family, and adventure and making the best of what life gives you while never giving up. Recently, we've introduced Bean to several of our favorites. The following includes spoilers of these classic films.
We started with Swiss Family Robinson. This film is based on a book by a Swiss pastor named Johann David Wyss, who wrote the book to teach his four sons about family values and how to use the natural world around us. It is the story of the Robinson family, Father and Mother, and their three sons, Ernst, Fritz, and Francis. While moving from Switzerland to New Guinea, the family becomes shipwrecked on a deserted, tropical island. At first, the entire family just hopes to be rescued, but soon realize that they need to start planning for an extended stay on the island. Father, Ernst and Fritz build an amazing tree-house with parts from the shipwreck, including the captain's pipe organ. A replica of the tree-house is still open in the Magic Kingdom at Disney World, and is a lot of fun to walk through. The family begins to enjoy the island, but wishes to know if they are truly alone. Fritz and Ernst decide to explore the island and discover a band of pirates and their captives, including a girl masquerading as a cabin boy, Bertie. The film ends with a bang, literally, as the family band together to fight off the pirates and protect their home. I have always enjoyed Swiss Family Robinson and am glad that Bean thought it was "one of the best movies ever."

Our next classic was In Search of the Castaways. This film is based on a book by Jules Verne. It's the story of two children, Robert and Mary Grant, who are searching for their shipwrecked father, Captain Grant. They are helped on their journey by a Frenchman, Professor Paganel, played by Maurice Chevalier, who has found a message in a bottle in the stomach of a shark, that seems to have been written by Captain Grant. They bring the message to Captain Grant's boss, Lord Glenarvon and his son John, who reluctantly agree to help them find him based on the information in the message. What ensues is an amazing adventure around the world. They start in South America, where they experience an earthquake and avalanche, a flood that strands them in a tree, and the heartbreak of not finding Captain Grant. Next, they head to Australia, where they find someone else who says he knows where to find Captain Grant. They end up stranded in New Zealand, captured by Maoris, and must flee the lava field of a volcano before finally being reunited with their missing father. Between the adventure and the songs, I've always loved this movie, and Bean did, too.

These are only two of the great Disney classics, and there are many more classics to explore. Be sure to check out part 2 tomorrow.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

More New to Me Disney

I had another great weekend going garage-saling. As a result, I found some fantastic deals on fun Disney collectibles that I wanted to share.

The first thing I found was the best deal by far. I found a 20th anniversary collectors edition of Star Wars Monopoly, complete with all of the pieces, for $1. I was absolutely amazed. I honestly just glanced inside before I bought it and figured it was worth it for the pewter figures if nothing else. But, we're a major, board game loving family, so I was really hoping it was playable. When we got home, we put everything in order and checked the contents list. Then we decided to play. Bean had never played Monopoly before, but she obviously took to it like a duck to water because she creamed us! When we finally decided she'd done enough damage and totaled up what we had, Bean had $7, 612, my sister had $3,333 and I came in last with just $690 because I'd mortgaged nearly everything I had just to keep up with what I owed. It was crazy!

The next find was the one I was most excited about; I found a CD of Voices of Liberty. (I've been searching for a copy of this CD for some time, but just wasn't willing to pay what people were asking on Amazon or Ebay.) If you haven't heard them sing in EPCOT's American Adventure Pavilion, you've really missed something special. I love listening to them and try to make time to hear them every trip. The CD was in perfect condition, and at only 50cents, it was well worth the money. I've listened to it twice already and it's just like being in the rotunda, sitting on the floor and listening to the amazing voices sing classic American songs.

The last item wasn't exactly something I needed, but something I have a hard time passing up: anything Pirates of the Caribbean. I found a Pirates book called the Secret Files of the East India Trading Company. It has removable maps, a piece of cursed Aztec gold, portraits of young Jack Sparrow, and more. And it was only $1. Bean and I are both huge Pirates of the Caribbean fans, so I'm not sure who is more excited to pore over the pages of this great book.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Funko TMNT

Michaelangelo  all photos © Funko
Bean is totally addicted to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I think it's kind of funny, because I loved them in the 80's and rather enjoy the new ones where they're kind of dumb and light, just like the old ones. We love watching the new series together and looking for new TMNT merchandise. We've found pillows, bedding, decor, action figures, Legos, and much more. I even found a set of original series cookie cutters still in their package at a garage sale that we plan to use soon. And while cleaning out some boxes at my Mom's house, I found my sister's old collection of action figures, which Bean has claimed for her own.

I recently discovered these fun figures from Funko and absolutely must have a few. I especially like the Michaelangelo figure, which also happens to be Bean's favorite character. And I may have to buy a Donatello for my mom. Humorously, my mom watched the cartoon with us when we were kids and she always liked Donatello. We thought it was funny, so we bought her a Donatello action figure for Christmas years ago, but I think a new figure may be in order.


Master Splinter

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Once Upon a Time Teaser

Have you seen the new teaser trailer for Once Upon a Time? I can't wait to see what happens this fall! Bean is going to love the appearance of this new character...

Saturday, July 20, 2013

The Lone Ranger

So, I finally made it to the theater to see the Lone Ranger last night and I have to say, I don't understand why everyone seems to have a problem with this movie. Admittedly, it is a little slow to start, and the action can be very intense, but I enjoyed it. I liked the story, I didn't mind the flashbacks from past to future, and I felt that they handled the aspects of what was a rather ugly time in our history with the respect it deserved. And besides I love Johnny Depp and the unexpected lunacy he can bring to a role.

My mom, sister, Bean and I all watched the Lone Ranger together. My mom grew up watching the Lone Ranger and westerns, and she loved this movie. She said she'd love to get it for Christmas, but she wasn't sure she could wait that long to see it again. (The Lone Ranger is scheduled to be released on Blu-ray/DVD on October 15.) My sister and I grew up watching John Wayne westerns with our Grandfather and the occasional rerun of Bonanza, Zorro, or the Lone Ranger. We felt that this new Lone Ranger seemed to fit into that old, kind of silly, over-the-top western that we used to watch. (Two of my favorite John Wayne movies are Rio Bravo and McLintock.) Bean has never watched those old westerns, although I'm sure it won't be long before we get her started on a few. As a result, I'm not sure she quite knew what to expect from the Lone Ranger, but she's a total Johnny Depp fan, so she really wanted to watch it.

Having seen the movie, I would recommend parents watch it before taking kids to see it. I read several reviews online and my sister and I discussed it repeatedly before deciding to take Bean. However, after weighing all of the different opinions, we decided that we would take her. I'm glad we did. Bean, who is 8 and has been watching Pirates of the Caribbean movies since she was 2, enjoyed the movie. She found the deaths sad, but not overly upsetting, and we turned it into more of a talking point after the film. I feel strongly that it is up to parents to decide what is acceptable for their child to watch. After all, we've let Bean watch PG-13 movies that we have watched beforehand and decided were acceptable, but there are some PG movies we won't let her watch until she's older. Each child is different and you have to decide what works for you and your family.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Funko Despicable Me 2

all photos © Funko
I love Funko vinyl figures. I don't know why, but they are just so cute! The newest Funko figures include characters from Despicable Me 2. I love all of them, but especially the Minions. The Minions are so adorable! Anyway, first up, we have Gru, looking confident, as usual.

 Next up is Agnes, looking very cute in her overalls and striped shirt.

Then we have Dave, a super cute Minion.

And his pal Carl, another adorable Minion.

The final figure is an Evil Minion. I haven't seen the movie yet, so I'm not sure why he's purple, but he sure is funny looking! Be sure to stop by Funko's website to see more of they're fantastic figures, including the new bookmarks.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Photo of the Week

Bean loves getting her face painted, so when Grandpa offered to pay so long as he could choose the design, she agreed. However, she tricked him a bit because the cast member doing the painting suggested that she change the color. As a result, we had a pink Darth Maul. Surprisingly, it was an absolute hit! We had more people stop us to ask where she got her face painted than we'd ever talked to before. And she loved all of the extra attention.

Voyage of the Little Mermaid

I'm over at Tips from the Disney Diva today talking about Bean's favorite show: Voyage of the Little Mermaid at Hollywood Studios.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Hallmark Ornament Premiere

I went to the Hallmark ornament premiere on Saturday and they had some amazing new ornaments. I have been collecting Hallmark ornaments for about 20 years now, and probably have far too many, but I love how creative they are and how they always bring back memories of special events in my life.

This year, I have decided to keep it simple and only buy a few ornaments to start. I have been collecting the Snow Buddies series for 16 years, so I definitely had to buy the new one. It's so cute with the snowman holding hands with a polar bear! My favorite ornaments are often the Disney ornaments. (I have several from previous years, although I must admit that I often buy them after Christmas at the half-price sale, or even the ultra clearance in February where they are $1-$2.) This year, I selected the Kermit the Frog ornament. It can hang or sit on a table, which is what I plan to do with it. (As it isn't very Christmassy, I think I'll keep it out all the time.) In addition to being a great depiction of Kermit playing his banjo, it plays music. And not just any music, but my favorite Muppet song: the Rainbow Connection. This ornament actually plays a rather long section of the song, all the way through the first verse. It is a little expensive at $19.95, but definitely worth it.

Some of my other favorites this year include the two Ewoks, Wicket and Teebo, the Pirates of the Caribbean skull that plays the theme music, and a fantastic new Mickey's the Band Concert ornament that plays music from the William Tell Overture and "Turkey in the Straw." In addition to music, the wheel rotates, demonstrating an old animation technique and you can watch Mickey conducting on the mirrors inside. To see these ornaments, and more, such as a special limited release of Cinderella's mice friends Gus and Jacques, be sure to stop in your local Hallmark or

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Happy Bastille Day!

France Pavilion at EPCOT
Happy Bastille Day!
(For those who don't know, that's French Independence Day.)

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Quote of the Week

Laughter is timeless.
Imagination has no age.
And dreams are forever.
- Walt Disney

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Captain America: The Winter Soldier Teaser Poster

Yesterday, Marvel presented the new teaser poster for Captain America: The Winter Soldier on Pinterest. It's simple, but very effective.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

TV series on DVD

I'm totally addicted to watching old tv series that I missed the first time around. And I really love watching them on dvd; there's no commercials, you don't have to wait a week or more for a new episode, and if the season ends in a cliffhanger, you just pop in the next disc and find out how it ends. I have several of my favorite series on disc, including: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Charmed, Bones, Stargate SG-1, and a few others. Lately, I've been watching Alias. I borrowed season 1 from the library ages ago and really enjoyed this spy show with the crazy disguises. I managed to find season 2 and 3 last week at my local used book store, 2nd and Charles. As a result, I've been watching several episodes every night. I love being able to see an entire story arc in less than a week!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Mickey Mouse Shorts

Have you seen any of the new Mickey Mouse shorts? I can't decide if I like these 5 minute episodes or not. Some are funny, but some are way too reminiscent of Looney Tunes, which I've always disliked. However, the Croissant de Triomphe episode was cute and inoffensive. And even funnier, the entire episode is in French. To celebrate these new shorts, Spoonful has created several printables and crafts inspired by these short films. There are stickers, a maze, cupcake toppers, a Merci note, and my favorite: French words to put on objects around the house so that you can easily learn a little French.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Stars and Stripes Forever... Muppet Style

Without further ado, the Muppetiest salute to America you'll see outside of Disney World.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Iron Man 3 Blu-ray

Well, a release date has been announced for the Blu-ray/DVD of Iron Man 3. Bean has been asking me nearly daily when she can watch it again, so I'm glad that I can now tell her. Iron Man 3 will be available on September 23. A digital HD copy will be available even earlier, on September 3. At least four different sets will be available: DVD & Digital Copy, Blu-ray/DVD, a 2-disc Blu-ray/DVD & Digital Copy, and a 3-disc combo pack with Blu-ray 3D/Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy & Music. Several bonus features are included, such as a gag reel, deleted scenes, and extended scenes. I'm most looking forward to the behind the scenes look at the upcoming Thor: The Dark World. MSRP $29.99 - $49.99

Monday, July 1, 2013

Disney Store Summer Play Days

Starting July 1 at 2:00pm, the Disney Store will be hosting Summer Play Days. Events will take place every day from July 1 to September 2, although times may vary. Be sure to ask a Cast Member in your local Disney Store for more information. Kids must be at least 3 years old to participate, but I believe can be any age over 3. If you attend several of these events, you can even receive a prize. If you attend 5 events, you get a Mickey Mouse keychain. If you attend 10 events, you get a Mickey Mouse watch. I wish we lived closer to a Disney Store, because we would go at least twice a week!