Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Jim Henson's Creature Shop Challenge

Did you catch the premiere of Jim Henson's Creature Shop Challenge last night on Syfy? I was actually rather interesting. I've been a fan of Face Off for several years, and I was hoping that this new show would be as good. I wasn't disappointed. Although it still has the infighting and ridiculous moments of a reality show, the creatures they created were incredible. It was fun to see the entire process, from design, to fabrication, to performance on a scene appropriate set. And I have loved Gigi Edgley since the first time I saw her as Chiana on Farscape. I think she'll make a great host. I'm looking forward to watching this new series every week.

Jim Henson's Creature Shop Challenge airs at 10:00 PM Eastern every Tuesday on Syfy Channel. If you missed the premiere, don't worry, Syfy is re-airing the premiere every day this week at different times, so you should be able to catch at least one of them.

On a side note, isn't amazing how much Brian Henson looks and sounds like his dad. I love it!

Photo Credit: Syfy Channel

Sunday, March 23, 2014

ABC Commissary Dining Review

If you're looking for a wide variety of great dining options in one Quick Service location, look no further than the ABC Commissary. Located on Commissary Lane at Disney's Hollywood Studios, the ABC Commissary features dishes inspired by the ABC lineup of tv shows. The Art Deco interior is filled with half booth tables and some tables with chairs. Most of the tables will only seat 4 but are close enough together to be used for larger groups. There is also limited outdoor seating at umbrella covered tables.

One of my favorites is the Chicken Curry with Rice. It's a wonderful curry, the perfect blend of spices, chicken, and rice. They also have a great Asian Salad, which is a vegetarian option. The servings are typically large. We often order the curry and salad and split it amongst three adults. ABC Commissary is part of the Disney Dining plan with Quick Service meals and Snacks.

Menu items range from $7.00 to $10.00 and include Chicken Curry, Asian Salad, Chicken Blue sandwich, Couscous Salad, Seafood Platter and an Angus Cheeseburger. Kids entrees are fairly basic and include a Cheeseburger, Chicken Nuggets, a Turkey Sandwich, or a Power Pack which includes carrots, a cookie, goldfish, cheese stick, yogurt, and milk. Drinks include the usual Coke products, but Beer and Wine are also available. Desserts include Strawberry Parfait or Chocolate Mousse.

The ABC Commissary has a lot of seating, but can get very crowded. The lines can be quite long and orders can be filled slowly when it's busy. Fortunately, if you avoid the normal meal times of 12-1 pm and 5-7 pm, the crowds aren't too bad.

The dining room stays very cool in the summer, and can be a wonderful break from the heat. In the dining room, there are usually a few costume displays from ABC shows such as Once Upon a Time and Modern Family. TVs play segments from the shows and fun behind-the-scenes looks. The last time I was there, they were playings interviews from Once Upon a Time and Dancing with the Stars. They're actually kind of fun to watch. The displays change with the current ABC lineup. In the past, they had behind the scenes looks at LOST and Desperate Housewives.

Due to its location, the ABC Commissary shares its bathrooms with the Sci-Fi Dine In Theater. Since they share, it can be a rather long wait for the restroom. The extreme air conditioning makes this room ridiculously cold, which can be an issue when looking for a place to change a baby.

Whether you're looking for something unexpected at a reasonable price or just a nice place to cool off, be sure to stop in at the ABC Commissary. You'll be glad you did.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Maleficent Trailer

Have you seen the new full length trailer for Maleficent? It looks rather epic. The scale of it seems to be similar to the Narnia films Disney made a few years ago. I can't wait to see it!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Jedi Training Academy at Hollywood Studios

The Jedi Training Academy at Disney's Hollywood Studios can be a lot of fun for children ages 4 to 12. Each 20 minute show will teach 12 Padawans, or Jedi Trainees, the lighsaber skills of the Jedi. During Star Wars Weekends, the number of Padawans increases to 30 per show. Beginning when the park opens, you can signup in front of the ABC Sound Studio. The queue is located across from the Star Tours stage and behind the face painting station near the glass doors. Signups are usually available until noon. (During Star Wars Weekends only, the signup window is very brief, usually from 9-10 AM and is located outside the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular.) Children are assigned a number and told to return for a particular show. Once each show has been filled, alternates are also assigned numbers. Children are asked to return 30 minutes prior to their assigned show. Shortly before each show, if there are any spots that haven't been filled, alternates may be chosen. It is recommended that alternates check in 15-20 minutes before any show, and if there's an opening, the lowest alternate number will get to be in the show.

Before the show, each child is outfitted with a brown Jedi robe. The children are lined up and taken to the stage in front of the Star Tours ride, where they are given plastic lightsabers. A Jedi Master arrives and teaches the children a series of moves, repeating them, until everyone knows the order. Then, Darth Vader and his Stormtroopers arrive. Each Padawan has a chance to fight Darth Vader, one on one. Once each of the children has had a chance to battle Darth Vader under the watchful eyes of the Jedi Master, they work together to ward off Darth Vader with the power of the Force. The Dark Side is driven away, and each child is presented with a certificate declaring them an official Padawan.

Prior to the show, PhotoPass photographers hand special photopasses to each of the families. During the show, they take photos of all of the children who are participating, which are then added to the cards. After the show, you can take the special photopass to the Darkroom on Hollywood Boulevard where they will add the photos of your child to your regular photopass.

Bean loved being a part of the show and spend the next several days teaching everyone she could what she'd learned at the Jedi Training Academy. If your kids like Star Wars, either the movies or the cartoons, be sure to sign up for Jedi Training Academy. It is available 7 days a week at Hollywood Studios and shows occur twice per hour. So sign up early and enjoy!

As this is an outdoor show, it can be cancelled in inclement weather. This happened to Bean once, but the Cast Members offered a special photo session instead. We were taken into the handicapped access area for Star Tours and all of the children were lined up. A few minutes later, Darth Vader and two Storm Troopers walked in to take photos with each child. Bean, who was sporting pink Darth Maul facepaint, was very excited. We convinced here that she should give Darth Vader a hug. She ran up to him with her arms wide when it was her turn and Darth Vader stepped back and shook his head while the Stormtroopers shook their fingers. The Cast Member said, "There's no hugging on the Dark Side!" Bean spent the rest of the day talking about it!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Happy St. Patrick's Day!
May the Luck of the Irish be with you,
On this fine day and all year through!

Friday, March 14, 2014

The Pirate Fairy - Extended Sneak Peak

Disney has released a special extended sneak peak of The Pirate Fairy, the latest installment in the Disney Fairies series of films. It looks like Zarina is quite the troublesome fairy!
Bean is very excited to see this new fairy film, especially the new fairy Zarina. I can't wait to see how Zarina interacts with a young Hook, voiced by Tom Hiddleston (that's Loki for all you Avenger's fans). And I believe we may even get a quick glimpse of the Tick-Tock-Croc as a baby. Too funny! The Pirate Fairy arrives on Blu-ray on April 1, 2014.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Be More Tea

Did you catch the Muppets' Lipton Be More Tea ad during the Oscars? I love it! Everyone should be more tea!
And don't forget to catch the Muppets Most Wanted in theaters on March 21, 2014.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Muppets Most Wanted OPI Collection

I love OPI nail polish. The colors are gorgeous, they are easy to apply, and they last fairly well. Also, they are DBP, Toluene, & are Formaldehyde Free, which is great. And their Disney collections are fantastic!

The latest is in honor of Muppets Most Wanted, which happens to be the second collection OPI has created for the Muppets. There are 8 gorgeous colors in this collection, that are available as .5 oz bottles that retails for $9.00. There is also a mini-set and two additional full size sets, all of which are available at salons and beauty supply stores. (I usually find mine at ULTA because they are less expensive than local salons.)

The colors are:
Muppets World Tour - a clear polish full of very sparkly silver-white glitter with the occasional fleck of color

Miss Piggy's Big Number - a dark blue metallic polish

I Love Applause - a very pale pink, with a soft sheen

Let's Do Anything We Want - this clear polish has pink and white glitter, with larger white confetti squares
Kermit Me to Speak - this polish is a duochrome, which has a very changeable appearance, shifting from metallic bronze to metallic pink to metallic green

Gaining Mole-mentum - a clear polish with shredded silver, pink and gold glitter, which is fairly large and reminds me of mylar confetti
Int'l Crime Caper - a pearlescent pink-blue polish that is fairly sheer

Chillin' Like a Villain - is peach toned, with a soft sheen
The mini set includes four 1/8 oz bottles of Miss Piggy's Big Number, I Love Applause, Kermit Me to Speak, and Chillin' Like a Villain. The mini set retails for $12.95. The Romancing the Frog set has full size bottles of both Miss Piggy's Big Number and Muppets World Tour. The When Froggy Met Piggy set has full size bottles of both Kermit Me to Speak and Gaining Mole-mentum. The two bottle sets retail for $15.95.

Photo Credit: OPI

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Disney Side of Summer Sweepstakes

Have you been sharing your "Disney Side" this year? If so, be sure to enter the Disney Side Sweepstakes for a chance to win an amazing, coast-to-coast, 7 day/6 night Disney vacation for 4, including the Rock Your Disney Side 24-Hour event on Memorial Day weekend. The winner will receive airfare, hotel, park tickets, two days with a VIP tour guide (one 8 hour tour at each park) for 4, as well as one $800 Disney gift card. Wow, that's quite the prize!

I'm sure that now you can't wait to enter, so here's what you need to do: first, make sure that you follow either @WaltDisneyWorld or @Disneyland on Twitter. Then, every day between February 28 and March 31, 2014, tweet how you'll be showing your "Disney Side" this summer, and be sure to include #DisneySideSweepsEntry. Yep, it's just that simple.

I'll be tweeting daily, so be sure to follow me on Twitter to see what Disney-ness I'm getting up to.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Star Wars Weekends Merchandise 2014

Star Wars Weekends will return to Disney's Hollywood Studios May 16 - June 15 this year. That means one extra weekend to feed your love of Star Wars. Disney recently released photos of some of this years merchandise and it looks amazing!
There will be several new pins and even a Battle of Yavin lanyard with a medal.
There are also several new toys this year, including Cars tractors dressed as stormtroopers. They're too funny! There will also be new Queen Amidala and Princess Leia Fashion sets.

Finally, the Star Wars: Series 4 Vinylmation mystery series will debut during this year's event. A new 9" and 3" set will feature the Rancor and his keeper. I really like the figurine set pictured above. I can't decide whether Chip and Dale or Donald in carbonite is my favorite.

Be sure to join the Rebel Alliance and find a treasure amongst the merchandise at Darth's Mall.

Photo Credit: Disney

Monday, March 3, 2014

Destination America's Disney Week 2014

When I can't make it to Disney, I love to watch Behind the Scenes Disney shows. They offer a rare glimpse into areas of the parks that few ever see. And they really can help with the Disney crazies, those times when you have no idea when you'll make it back to a Disney park, but you really, really want to go. If this is you, Destination America has the perfect cure. This week, they will be airing a full week of prime time Disney programming, including the premiere of the new Walt Disney World: Resort Hotels.

“Walt Disney’s vision for family fun is an American tradition and has brought families together for generations,” said Marc Etkind, general manager for Destination America. “Destination America loves to celebrate iconic American travel locations and we are proud to share DISNEY WEEK with our audience.” Here's the lineup, starting Monday, March 3, 2014:

Monday 8PM Eastern - Walt Disney World Resort Hotels - An exclusive tour of the Disney Resort Hotels, each with its own special theme, from the early days of their first hotels, to the new Princess Rooms at the Port Orleans Resort. Followed by Undiscovered Disney Parks  at 9PM.

Tuesday 6PM Eastern -  Undiscovered Disney Parks - A look at the many surprising things to do at Disney parks, including learning to surf, walking in Walt's footsteps, driving a race car, and enjoying a private safari. Followed by an encore of Walt Disney World Resort Hotels at 7PM.

Tuesday 8PM Eastern - Disney Cruise Line: Reimagined Magic - An overview of the renovations to Disney's flagship, the Magic, including a new water slide for kids and adults to enjoy.

Tuesday 9PM Eastern - Ultimate Walt Disney World - An inside look at the top thrill rides that bring adrenaline junkies from around the world to Disney, including the newly reopened Test Track.

Wednesday 6PM Eastern - Disneyland Resort: Behind the Scenes - What better way to learn about Disney parks than to find secrets and myths about the place where it all began; Disneyland? Also included is a look at the future of Disneyland and it's expansion into California Adventure and Cars Land. Followed by Disney Cruise Line: Reimagined Magic at 7PM.

Wednesday 8PM Eastern - Walt Disney World: Behind the Scenes - A fascinating look at what makes Disney World work and what allowed them to become the most successful theme park in Florida.

Wednesday 9PM Eastern - Disney Cruise Line: Behind the Magic - A glimpse into all four of Disney's cruise ships: the Fantasy, Dream, Wonder, and Magic, and the technology that allows them to be truly magical.

Thursday 6PM Eastern - Disney Cruise Line: Behind the Magic, followed at by Walt Disney World Resort: Behind the Scenes at 7PM. Next up is Disneyland Resort: Behind the Scenes at 8PM and Walt Disney World Resort Hotels at 9PM.

Friday 6PM Eastern - Walt Disney World Resort Hotels

Friday 7PM Eastern - Disney's Animal Kingdom - A behind the scenes look at the challenges of combining the thrill rides of a theme park with live animals in their own environment. Followed by Undiscovered Disney Parks at 8PM and Disney Cruise Line: Reimagined Magic at 9PM.

I can't wait to watch these shows and have already set my DVR so that I can watch them more than once! Will you be watching?