Sunday, July 31, 2016

Quote of the Week

Keep your chin up.
Someday there will be
happiness again.

- Robin Hood

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Morimoto Asia

I recently had the chance to eat at Morimoto Asia for the first time. It was absolutely fantastic! Located in the center of Disney Springs, this two story restaurant has a beautiful, and classy, overall look and feel. The main dining room has amazing chandeliers and subdued lighting. We were seated in a curtained area under the stairs, which was unique, but cozy.

Since this was our first visit, we spent a lot of time looking over the extensive menu. They have a wide variety of Asian inspired dishes to suit a variety of tastes. We chose several different items, and enjoyed them all.

I ordered the Sesame Balls, which are filled with a red bean paste, and the Orange Chicken. The Sesame Balls were wonderful, served hot, and sweet enough to be a dessert without being too sweet. The Orange Chicken was tangy and very orangy, but not spicy which made me happy, and the Chinese broccoli was the perfect side, sautéed lightly with garlic. I also had a Thai Tea, which tasted smoky and creamy. I loved all of it!

My sister had the Spicy Salmon Roll and the Chicken Pad Thai. She said the Salmon Roll was so good that it may have ruined all other sushi for her. The Chicken Pad Thai was really good as well, a perfect balance of chicken, noodles, bean sprouts and egg in a wonderful tamarind sauce.

The kids' menu, although not strictly Asian food, has enough options to please even picky eaters. And kids' entrees come with a Boba soda and dessert as well, for a very reasonable price. And they don't mind if older kids order from the kids' menu either, which is a great relief when you want to try something a little more exotic, but the kids don't. The kids' menu also includes three sheets of origami paper and instructions for folding a fish, frog, and crane.

Bean had Morimoto's Macaroni and Cheese, which has white and yellow cheddar and Pandora breadcrumbs on top. They have different Boba soda each day, and that day's flavor was blueberry. It was delicious and very fruity. For dessert, she chose the Fondue Churros with Nutella. She thought they were absolutely wonderful.

I've been dining at Disney for years, and while I haven't tried every restaurant,  I've eaten in quite a few. Morimoto Asia may be my new favorite! I'll definitely be making reservations there on my next trip.

Friday, July 29, 2016

July Disney World Trip

I spent most of last week at Disney World for a surprise trip with my family. We had the chance to eat at several restaurants we hadn't tried before, including Morimoto Asia, Raglan Road and the Daily Poutine in Disney Springs, the Rose and Crown in EPCOT, and Kona at the Polynesian Resort. They were all absolutely delicious and I'll be reviewing them soon.

We also got to ride the new Soarin' Around the World as well as Frozen Ever After. I have to say, while I really enjoyed both rides, Frozen Ever After keeps breaking down, causing long waits for standby as they try to get all of the fast pass holders on first.

We spent an evening in Animal Kingdom for the first time without Extra Magic Hours. The new lighting on the Tree of Life is gorgeous and we all enjoyed the Bollywood style retelling of The Jungle Book: Alive with Magic. And Everest in the dark is quite the experience: because your eyes don't have to adjust to the dark interior, you can see more of the track as you zip through the mountain. And the park is definitely less crowded at night.

While I would probably go in July again, it was beyond hot, so different precautions needed to be taken to avoid dehydration and heat exhaustion. (Twenty years spent in Arizona really helped me plan for the heat.) I was able to find a new filtering water bottle, which I really like, so I could get additional filtered water and not have to lug around a gallon in a Camelbak all day.

The crowds at this time of year were most unexpected: it was ridiculously easy to get a Fast Pass for nearly anything, but the parks were fairly crowded with tour groups made up entirely of teens. There were at least four large groups of girls that were at Disney to celebrate their quinceaneras. (We noticed that they had a very big private party at EPCOT one evening.) Strangely, the tour groups always seemed to be waiting in standby lines and didn't appear to have any Fast Passes. That resulted in wait times which would change rapidly as groups of 40-60 teens got in line. Don't get me wrong, I don't mind teenagers, but these were a bit rowdy, loud, and under chaperoned, so it wasn't fun to get in line with them.

Our last day, we headed to Disney Springs to see what was new. We stopped in at Uniqlo, which is my new favorite place to shop for fun clothing. They have Disney shirts for the whole family as well as everyday clothing in a variety of styles and materials, like Supima cotton shirts and linen pants. They also have undergear for both warm and cool weather that were developed in Japan. It's an awesome store and I can't wait to shop there again.

Overall, I had a great time and I learned a lot of things that I'll be sharing with you soon. I'm already looking forward to my next trip!

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Alice in Wonderland as Told by Tsum Tsum

These "as told by Tsum Tsums" shorts are too cute. I especially like the squeaky Queen of Hearts.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Doctor Strange Trailer 2

Disney and Marvel have released a new trailer for Doctor Strange. It looks amazing!

Monday, July 25, 2016

Frozen Northern Lights

Disney has added more Frozen fun to their line-up. Frozen Northern Lights  is an all new story from the Kingdom of Arendelle. There will be a series of books, Lego shorts and digital additions. Starting in July, fans can follow Anna, Elsa, Olaf, Kristoff, and Sven on an adventure to restore the glimmer of the Northern Lights.

A storybook, "Disney Frozen Northern Lights: Journey to the Lights," will arrive in stores in July and feature a new character named Little Rock. (I bet he's a troll.) The Lego shorts will air on the Disney Channel this fall, with all of the original voices returning to their roles. 

In celebration of the new series, the Frozen website will be updated with fun new activities. Disney is also launching a new Frozen inspired Instagram account.  For more information on Frozen Northern Lights: Journey to the Lights, visit the Penguin Random House website.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Moana International Trailer

The Moana International trailer is just adorable. I can't wait to see baby Moana playing with the waves! Is this her special power or is the wave playing with her? We'll just have to wait until November 23 and see.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Zootopia as Told by Emoji

The "as told by emoji" videos are just too funny! The latest one is Zootopia. I especially like the part about the Popsicles and the lemmings. Too funny!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

PizzeRizzo Coming to Hollywood Studios

This fall, a new pizza parlor is opening in Hollywood Studios. Taking the former location of the Toy Story Pizza Planet restaurant, this new pizzeria will feature hints of Rizzo the Rat, the wisecracking Muppet, and members of his large family. The two-story quick service restaurant will have both indoor and outdoor seating, a cheesy banquet room, and a special booth for Rizzo's celebrity friends. I love the Muppets, so I'm hoping the re-theming lives up to the hype. If they keep the same pizza recipes they had before, it will definitely be worth a visit.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Fantasyland Tsum Tsum

The next set of park exclusive Tsum Tsums arrives next Friday, July 22. The Fantasyland collection includes seven adorable Tsums

  • it's a small world boy
  • it's a small world hippo
  • Mr. Toad
  • Mad Tea Party Teacup
  • Carousel Horse
  • Sorcerer Mickey 
  • Princess Minnie
The 3" Tsums will be available at select locations at Disneyland, Disney World, and Aulani. They will also be available from the Disney Store Online beginning on July 26. 

The next set will feature characters from Adventureland and will arrive in Parks this fall. I'm especially looking forward to the Orange Bird. He's so cute!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Rogue One Celebration Reel

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story looks really good. It also looks quite different from the Star Wars movies we've seen in the past. Here's a sneak peek behind the scenes at the making of the latest addition to the Star Wars universe.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Marvel Women of Power Tsum Tsum

I'm very excited about the latest addition to the Marvel Tsum Tsum universe: A Women of Power collection. This set of five mini Tsums includes Elektra, She-Hulk, Wasp, Captain Marvel, and Spider-Woman. It's great to see some of the female superheroes taking center stage in a toy set. The set will arrive in stores this Tsum Tsum Tuesday, July 19.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Pete's Dragon Clip

This clip from Pete's Dragon introduces the characters of Pete and Natalie. I love that Pete doesn't understand the concept of imaginary. Pete's Dragon arrives in theaters on August 12.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Rogue One Poster

Lucasfilm has released a new poster for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. The tagline reads "A rebellion built on hope." With a battle taking place on the beach and the Death Star looming above, it looks like this will be a very different Star Wars film. I can't wait!

Friday, July 15, 2016

Quote of the Week

All for one
And one for all.
United we stand
Divided we fall.

- Alexandre Dumas

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Marvel Tsum Tsum Minis

I love the Mystery Packs of Tsum Tsum Vinyl Minis. We have collected most of series 1 and 2. Recently, I came across a new set to collect Marvel Series 1. There are 10 medium character figures with stackable accessories in the set.

  • Rocket Raccoon with a Baby Groot tree
  • Captain America with a wall and removable shield (it can either go on the base or Cap's back)
  • Falcon with blue air and a falcon
  • Ghost Rider with flames and a chain
  • Hobgoblin with a Jack o'lantern and slime
  • Thor with Mjolnir and lightning
  • Iron Man with a gauntlet 
  • Spider-Man with webs and spider logo
  • Vision portaling through a wall
  • Thanos with the Infinity Gauntlet 

We've found 8 of the figures so far, but I'm sure we'll collect all of them eventually. My favorite is Rocket with the tiny Baby Groot. Which one do you like best?

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Tsum Tsum Kingdom - Migration

It's time for another episode of Tsum Tsum Kingdom. This time, we see the migration patterns of Tsums, specifically those from the Finding Dory collection. Will Nemo be able to migrate and find a new home with his family? I guess we'll just have to watch and see.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Finding Dory Cupcakes

Disney Family has the cutest tutorial for making Finding Dory themed cupcakes. Since they use M&Ms and fondant as decorations, they should be quick and easy to make. I may have to make these for movie night once Finding Dory comes out on Blu-ray.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Fish Talk

I love to read movie tie-in books whenever Disney releases a new movie. There have been several for Finding Dory, so I chose one that took a different approach to the story. Fish Talk is told by the fish themselves as though they are talking directly to you, the audience. It starts with young Dory introducing herself repeatedly because she suffers from short term memory loss. Additional characters are introduced in each chapter, and tell their part in the story of what happened when Dory finally remembered something. I especially like the sea lions dialogue which is heavily punctuated with yawns, or Becky the loon's poem, which goes "Cooo-ooooo-ooooo Looo-oooo" and had to be translated by the editor.

The drawings in this book are both colorful and cute. And it just goes to show how easy it can be to convey a story with just a few well chosen words and some great images. Fish Talk is recommended for kids ages 8-11, but would be a fun book to share with the whole family.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Funko Finding Dory Mystery Minis

The Finding Dory Mystery Minis from Funko are so adorable! There are 15 figures to collect: Dory, Nemo, Marlin, Hank, Bailey, Mr. Ray, Otter, Pearl, Hank camouflaged, Fluke, Becky, Destiny, Gerald, Dory with a transfer tag, and Rudder.

So far, I've collected the Otter (who is too adorable for words), Marlin (who looks highly annoyed), Dory with the tag, and Mr. Ray. So cute!

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Meet Hank Clip

I haven't had the chance to see Finding Dory yet, but I find this new character, Hank, to be very intriguing. Is he really going to help Dory find her parents, or is he only looking out for himself?

Friday, July 8, 2016

Finding Dory Inspired Washcloths

I am absolutely addicted to knitting and crocheting my own washcloths and dishcloths. They are so easy to make and fabulous to use that I tend to get rather carried away. I came across some yarn recently that reminded me of Nemo and Dory, so I knew I needed to find a pattern for a fishy cloth. I found the perfect pattern from Judith Prindle on the Dish Cloth Corner Blog (you can find it here.) It is quick and easy to crochet and makes the most adorable fishy. I used Lily Sugar'n Cream yarn in Sunkissed for Dory, Poppy for Nemo and Moondance for one that reminds me of Flo from the tank gang in Finding Nemo. (These yarns are fairly easy to find at your local craft store.) Aren't they just too cute?

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Dory Caramel Apples

Photo courtesy of Disney

Have you seen the Dory caramel apples at Disney World? They are just too a-dory-ble. If you can't make it to the parks this summer, but still want a Dory apple, you're in luck. Disney has shared a how-to video, so you can make your own Dory apples at home. I think they would be perfect for a Finding Dory party.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Patriotic Movies

It's that time of year again. Time to dust off favorite patriotic movies and celebrate the old red, white, and blue. I love watching what I consider to be great holiday movies for the Fourth of July. Many of these movies are ones I've watched hundreds of times, and I still love them.

Let's with the family friendly films:

My favorite is still Stars and Stripes Forever, which is a fantastic musical about the life of the March King, John Phillips Sousa. I've always been especially fond of his "ballads".

Liberty's Kids is my favorite series for teaching kids, both young and old, about the Revolutionary War. The stories followed three kids: Sarah, a British subject from England, James, an American-born orphan, and Henri, a French orphan, as they sought to tell the stories behind the Founding of America.

The American Girl movies, especially Felicity, Kit, Samantha, or Molly. Each shows what life was like for kids living in America during a particular era, from the Revolutionary War to WWII.

Schoolhouse Rock: America is educational with a fun twist. These shorts help introduce kids to interesting facts about our country with catchy songs and fun animation. I still remember watching the one about how a bill becomes a law.

I grew up watching Disney's American Legends, a simple retelling of stories that have grown to become legend. From the true story of Johnny Appleseed and Casey Jones, to the tall tales of Paul Bunyan and John Henry, and John Henry, these family friendly stories will help kids get a glimpse into American history.

National Treasure 1 & 2 are a fun mix of historical fact and fiction. I love the idea that the Founding Fathers left clues to a treasure of significant importance hidden in some of our most beloved national symbols. The first movie also provides a glimpse into the wisdom and foresight of the men who created our system of government. The second looks into events from the end of the Civil War and the long lasting effects they've had on America, as well as the search for another treasure.

Captain America: The First Avenger is an action packed look at what could have happened if a man who simply wanted to fight for his country was given an unexpected advantage to do so. Most of the film takes place during WWII, with Steve Rogers proving that sometimes it's what's in your heart that matters the most.

And now films that are more appropriate for teens and adults:

1776 is another musical, which takes place, as the title suggests, during the Continental Congress of 1776. The film stars William Daniels  (better known to Boy Meets World fans as Mr. Feeny) as John Adams, along with most of the original Broadway cast. It's a wonderful sneak peek into the minds of the Founding Fathers at one of the pivotal moments in our nation's history.

The Patriot, although somewhat depressing, is an intense look at one family's struggles during the American Revolution. While not appropriate for children, it's a fascinating look at our fight for independence.

Glory, while definitely not for children, is one of the best Civil War movies. Its an intriguing look at the first all-black volunteer company that fought for the Union. This movie is intense, but also a very interesting look at what these men had to overcome to fight for what they believed in.

The John Adams mini-series is told from the perspectives of both John and Abigail Adams, and how each worked, both separately and together, to forge our nation.

Independence Day, which has a sequel in theaters this month, is an alien invasion movie with action, adventure,  and a hefty dose of comedy. It also has my favorite presidential speech of all time.

Cinderella Man is a look at the true story of one man's life during the Depression. A former boxer whose fallen on hard times, James Braddock, with the help and support of his family, overcomes the odds to become a champion and a national inspiration in the 1930s.

Forest Gump, while not obviously patriotic, shows American society at its best and worst over several decades. It is the story of the American Dream, and the wisdom that the attainment of that dream isn't always what you expect.

If you're like me, you see nothing wrong with celebrating our freedom and this great country of ours for an entire month, or maybe even longer. So I hope you will watch at least a few of these great films. And who knows, maybe you'll find a new favorite, too.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Captain America: Civil War on Blu-Ray

So, are you Team Cap or Team Iron Man? Whichever side you're rooting for, you'll want to pick up Captain America: Civil War when it comes to Blu-Ray and DVD on September 13. In addition to the movie, the Blu-Ray will include over an hour of bonus features:

  • "The Road to Civil War" - A look at the evolution of Steve Rogers and Tony Stark
  • "United We Stand, Divided We Fall" - A behind the scenes look at the making of the film
  • A gag reel
  • Extended and deleted scenes 
  • "Open Your Mind" - An exclusive sneak peek at the behind the scenes magic of Doctor Strange, which arrives in theaters on November 4