Wednesday, November 30, 2016

More Christmas Commercials

Apple
In the past few weeks, U.S. retailers have released some pretty amazing Christmas commercials. I love the themes of inclusion, togetherness, and love.



Frankenstein's Monster may seem like an odd choice for a Christmas ad, but the result is quite heartwarming. As Apple says at the end of the commercial "Open Your Heart to Everyone."



While not specifically a Christmas commercial, I love this Amazon Prime ad featuring the friendship between a Priest and an Imam.



Macy's "Old Friends" is a fantastic tribute to the 90th anniversary of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. And I've always loved their "Believe" message.

I hope you enjoy these holiday commercials as much as I do.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Disney Christmas Inspiration


Are you looking to add a little Disney flair to your Christmas this year? Here are a few of my favorite ideas from Pinterest.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Olaf Marshmallow Treats How-To

Disney
Do you wanna build a snowman? Well if you want to build one with gooey marshmallows and white chocolate, you're in luck. Just follow along with this tutorial from Disney.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Quote of the Week

Disney

I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach!

- Ebenezer Scrooge, 
A Christmas Carol

Saturday, November 26, 2016

A Pentatonix Christmas

Pentatonix
I love the a capella group Pentatonix. Their arrangements are outstanding and their voices blend and harmonize beautifully. So its always exciting when they release a new album. Their latest, A Pentatonix Christmas, features songs to celebrate the season. The eleven tracks include:

  • Beloved carols - "O Come All Ye Faithful", "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen", "Coventry Carol"
  • Classic Christmas favorites - "White Christmas", "I'll Be Home For Christmas", "Up On the Housetop"
  • Two covers of newer songs - "Coldest Winter" and "Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays"
  • Two original songs - "The Christmas Sing-Along" and "Good To Be Bad"
  • And their take on the Leonard Cohen classic "Hallelujah." (While I don't consider "Hallelujah" to be a Christmas song, I do love the way it sounds.)
Here's the official video of Hallelujah by Pentatonix.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Lego Frozen Northern Lights

Disney
Lego and Disney have created another fun animated short. This one features all your favorite characters from Frozen on an adventure to find the Northern Lights. The short debuts on December 9 at 8 PM on the Disney Channel.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving

Disney
Whether your traditions include a giant dinner with family and friends, watching the big game, or preparing for early morning bargain hunting, I hope you have a very Happy Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

We Know the Way from Moana

Disney
Here's a clip of the song "We Know the Way" from the animated film Moana. The song was written and performed by Opetaia Foa'i and Lin-Manuel Miranda. It shows the seafaring life of Moana's ancestors, as they searched for new islands, guided by the stars.



Moana arrives in theaters on November 23.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Christmas Commercials

Marks & Spencer
There have been some fantastic Christmas commercials over the years. Ads that give you warm and fuzzy feelings about the company they're advertising. Think Coke bears frolicking in the snow, the snowman who comes in out of the cold and melts into a little boy over a bowl of Campbell's soup, Hershey's kisses that play "We Wish You a Merry Christmas", or just about any ad featuring an old-fashioned Santa Claus. But my favorites so far this year have come from across the pond. The British really know how to make a commercial that tugs at the heartstrings or makes you giggle like a child. Here are a few I really enjoyed.


Christmas with love from Mrs Claus, an ad for Marks & Spencer, is an adorable mini-story about a young boy and his Christmas request, not to Santa, but Mrs. Claus.


This tearjerker, from British grocery store Sainsbury in 2014, is based on the events of Christmas 1914, when British and German armies laid down their arms and spent Christmas together.


This humorous ad from Aldi features Kevin the Carrot. Why don't we get fun Aldi ads in the U.S.?



And how about this year's Sainsbury's ad featuring James Corden as the voice of Dave. I love that their motto is "Christmas is for Sharing"!

Well, those are a few of my favorites. Which Christmas commercials do you like best?

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Candlelight Processional Narrator Line-up

Disney
The Candlelight Processional at EPCOT begins on November 25 this year. Many celebrity narrators participate in this annual event, which features a 50-piece orchestra, a mass choir, and a sharing of the story of Christmas. Here's the list of narrators for 2016:

  • Steven Curtis Chapman 11/25-11/27
  • Neil Patrick Harris 11/28-12/1
  • Whoopi Goldberg 12/2-12/3
  • Edward James Olmos 12/4-12/6
  • Anthony Mackie 12/7-12/9
  • Robby Benson 12/10-12/12
  • Meredith Vieira 12/13-12/15
  • Jim Caviezel 12/16-12/18
  • Joe Morton 12/19-12/21
  • Ming-Na Wen 12/22-12/24
  • Jodi Benson 12/25-12/27
  • Cal Ripken, Jr 12/28-12/30

Performances are at 5:00, 6:45, and 8:15 PM at the American Gardens Theatre. You can also pair the processional with a dining package. The breakfast package starts at $27 for adults and $14 for kids 3-9. Lunch and dinner packages start at $47 per adult and $20 per kid 3-9.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Snowman Candy Apple How-To

Disney
I love the adorable decorated candy apples at Disney Parks. They're cute, sweet, and according to Disney, easy to make. Just follow the video to create your own snowman candy apples.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Quote of the Week

Disney
Thankful Heart

With a thankful heart,
With an endless joy,
With a growing family 
Every girl and boy
Will be nephew and niece to me,
Will bring love, hope, 
and peace to me,
Yes, and every night will end,
And every day will start
With a grateful prayer
And a thankful heart.

With an open smile,
And with open doors,
I will bid you welcome
What is mine is yours,
With a glass raised 
to toast your health,
And a promise to share the wealth,
I will sail a friendly course,
File a friendly chart,
On a sea of love
And a thankful heart. 

Life is like a journey, 
Who knows when it ends? 
Yes, and if you need to know 
The measure of a man, 
You simply count his friends. 
Stop and look around you, 
The glory that you see 
Is born again each day, 
Don't let it slip away, 
How precious life can be. 

With a thankful heart 
That is wide awake, 
I do make this promise 
Every breath I take 
Will be used now 
to sing your praise,
And beg you to share my days,
With a loving guarantee 
That even if we part, 
I will hold you close 
In a thankful heart.
I will hold you close
In a thankful heart.

- Paul Williams, 
A Muppet Christmas Carol

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Starbright Holidays at Disney Springs

Disney
In an incredible first for Disney Parks, a new holiday show has arrived at Disney Springs featuring 300 show drones. This is the first time a drone show this large has been performed in the U.S. With an all new arrangement of classic holiday songs, "Starbright Holidays - An Intel Collaboration" invites guests to look up and wish on a holiday star. Here’s a sneak peek at this amazing new show above the West Side of the Disney Springs waterfront.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Beauty and the Beast Trailer

Disney
The full trailer for Beauty and the Beast looks amazing! The brief glimpse of Lumiere, Cogsworth, Mrs. Potts and Chip makes it even better.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Marvel Icons Tsum Tsum

Disney/Marvel

Today marks the release of the Marvel Icons collection of Tsum Tsums. The set of 5 mini plush includes:

  • Doctor Strange 
  • Thanos 
  • Ms. Marvel 
  • Daredevil 
  • Ghost Rider

Which ones will you add to your collection?

Monday, November 14, 2016

Photo of the Week


Have you seen the Archimedes Screw at Disney Springs? When you turn the wheel fast enough, you bring water from the lower pool to the upper one. It's both fun and educational!

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Character Posters

Lucasfilm
The character posters from Rogue One: A Star Wars Story give a brief glimpse into the characters that drive the story. Above is Jyn Erso - A checkered past. A greater cause.

Lucasfilm
Director Orson Krennic - Cruel. Brilliant.

Lucasfilm
Bodhi Rook - Former Imperial pilot who's seen the light.

Lucasfilm
Cassian Andor - An intelligence officer for the Rebel Alliance.

Lucasfilm
Chirrut Imwe - A warrior monk with faith in the Force.

Lucasfilm
K-2SO - Reprogrammed to fight the Empire that made him.

Lucasfilm
Saw Gerrera - Resolved to win the fight against the Empire.

Lucasfilm
Baze Malbus - Soldier. Friend.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Seasonal Treats at EPCOT Holidays Around the World

Disney
One of my favorite thing about EPCOT is the chance to try new foods from around the world. Starting on November 25 and continuing until December 30, guests can enjoy special holiday foods inspired by the countries of the World Showcase at EPCOT's Holidays Around the World.

In Germany, at a booth called Prost!, you'll find an artisan cheese plate or sauerbraten with red cabbage and spatzle. Drinks such as gluwein (a traditional hot spiced wine), Williams Punch (served hot), a Caramel Kiss featuring Werther's Caramel, and assorted alcoholic ciders will be available.

Disney
At the American Holiday Table, their serving slow-roasted turkey with all the fixins, such as stuffing, mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce. Or try a seared pork tenderloin with a Champagne demi-glace, roasted sweet potato wedges, and green bean casserole. Drinks include eggnog, hot chocolate, Cocoa Candy Cane (hot chocolate and peppermint Schnapps), and Firenog (eggnog with Fireball Whisky).

The Alpine Haus, located between Morocco and France, features duck confit, dumplings and roasted Brussels sprouts with a fig reduction. And for cheese lovers, there's a cheese fondue in a bread bowl with steamed veggies. For dessert, try the sachertorte, a chocolate cake with apricot jam and dark chocolate glaze. Drinks include a Frozen Winter Spice Hot Chocolate featuring Twinings of London Tea (in both an alcoholic and non-alcoholic version), Weingut Stadt Krems Gruner Vetliner White Wine and Heinrich Red Blend.

Disney
At Seasonal Southern Delights, near World Showcase Plaza, you'll find hoppin' john, made of black-eyed peas, ham hocks, and kale with rice and cornbread crumbles. There's also a blackened catfish with white cheddar grits and okra, tomato and onion stew. For dessert, try the chocolate pecan tart. Drinks include Frozen S'Mores and Central 28 beers.

At the Feast of the Three Kings, also near World Showcase Plaza, look for a shredded beef tamales with avocado cream, or roasted pork with mashed yucca and pickled green bananas. For dessert, try the Three Kings Bread (the top photo). Drinks include a Coquito (coconut milk) and Coquito with a rum floater.

Disney
Additional drinks, both hot and cold, can be found throughout the World Showcase. And holiday treats can be found in abundance:
  • Mickey Santa Hat cupcakes at Fountain View restaurant
  • Chocolate honey baklava in Morocco
  • Panettone (traditional Christmas cake) in Italy
  • Gingerbread ice cream and Buche de Noel au chocolat (traditional Yule log cake) in France
  • Pai Cha (Beijing-style fried dough twist with sesame) in China
  • Guava tamales in Mexico
There's quite a lot of holiday cheer to be had at EPCOT's Holidays Around the World. What are you most looking forward to trying?

Friday, November 11, 2016

Once Upon a Time Castle Show

Disney
Last week, a new nighttime show made its debut at the Magic Kingdom. Called "Once Upon a Time," the show, which was inspired by one from Tokyo Disneyland, features projections on Cinderella Castle that create vibrant images from beloved Disney films.

Disney
The show begins with Mrs. Potts telling Chip a bedtime story.

Disney
From a flight with Peter Pan from London to Neverland, to scenes from Cinderella and Alice in Wonderland, to a duel between Gaston and the Beast, the story ends with a grand finale full of even more characters.

Disney
"Once Upon a Time" replaced the "Celebrate the Magic" projection show, and can be seen most nights. (The show is not available on nights with Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party.)

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Disney Springs Christmas

Disney
There are a lot of new holiday treats coming to Disney Springs this season. The entire area will be filled with decorations and holiday spirit. From Christmas Trees to Santa Claus, to a scavenger hunt inspired by Stitch and some special starry magic, "Holidays at Disney Springs" are sure to be amazing.

Let's start with something new this year, the Christmas Tree Trail. The trail will feature fifteen decorated trees, each inspired by a different Disney character or story. As you walk through a wintery wonderland, you'll find toy soldiers, singers, and even falling snow. The themes for the trees include:
  • Mickey and Minnie
  • Villains
  • Moana
  • Beauty and the Beast
  • The Little Mermaid
  • Cinderella
  • The Princess and the Frog
  • Alice in Wonderland
  • Frozen
  • The Jungle Book
  • Mulan
  • 101 Dalmatian
  • Tangled
  • Mary Poppins
  • The Muppets
And there's even more Christmas Tree fun. Every night at 6 PM, a family of the day will light the Marketplace tree in a special ceremony. Afterward, look for life-sized toys, toy soldiers on stilts, and Christmas treats.

Are you on the Nice list, or the Naughty list? Well, hopefully you've been good, for goodness sake, because Santa Claus is Coming to town, or at least to the special Santa's Chalet. Guests can visit with the jolly, old elf and have their photo taken by a Disney PhotoPass photographer. And like last year, you can pick up a pager while waiting for your turn in the queue.

If you like scavenger hunts, there's Stitch's Holiday Gift Hunt. After completing a search through the four neighborhoods of Disney Springs, visit a participating location for a limited-edition completer button.

And here's a sneak peek of some special Magic coming to Disney Springs as part of a new nighttime show. Wishing upon a star will become even more magical.


Most of the festivities begin on November 11, with the exception of Stitch's Holiday Gift Hunt, which begins on Black Friday, November 25. Santa's Chalet closes on Christmas Eve, but everything else runs through January 8.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! at Hollywood Studios

Disney
A new holiday show is coming to Hollywood Studios this year. "Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM!" will be a new nighttime spectacular, featuring projections in the Chinese Theater, special effects, and of course, fireworks, all set to seasonal music.

Disney
The story behind the show is that Santa Claus has gone missing.  And it's up two his two best Prep and Landing elves, Wayne and Lanny, to find him in time for Christmas Eve. Along the way, they'll discover memorable moments from classic Disney Christmas films, such as: Mickey's Christmas Carol, Beauty and the Beast: Enchanted Christmas, Pluto's Christmas Tree, The Nightmare Before Christmas, and many more. And for a really tinsel finale, there will be snow! This special holiday show can be viewed nightly from November 14 to December 31.

Disney
For even more fun, a Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! Holiday Dessert Party will also be offered. Featuring multiple food stations with both savory and sweet treats, such as the Santa Mickey cupcake with peppermint bark, a nitrogen dessert station, specialty beverages such as cocktails, beer, wine, and non-alcoholic drinks including cocoa, and much more, the party is held in the courtyard of the Great Movie Ride. A special character will be on hand to mingle with guests before they're escorted to the reserved viewing area for the show. Each guest will recieve a pair of 3D HoloSpex to use during the show. They transform any bright point of light into holographic illusions of gingerbread men, candy canes, snowflakes and ornaments.

Disney
The Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! Holiday Dessert Party is available on select nights. Party pricing is $69 per adult, $39 per child for dates between November 14 and December 17. It goes up to $79 per adult and $45 per child December 18-31. Tickets are available from Disney, but be sure to book early, as they sell out quickly.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Tsum Tsum Advent Calendars


When it comes to advent calendars, every year brings more choices. From chocolates from Germany, to Legos from multiple series, to boxes you can fill yourself, the possibilities seem endless. This year, you can add Tsum Tsum advent calendars to the mix, and there are three different ones to choose from: two with the vinyl mini Tsum Tsums and one with the mini plush.


Disney
The first vinyl set is available from Walmart, Toys R Us, Amazon, Macys, and Costco. The gingerbread shaped house includes 18 Tsum Tsum Vinyl Minis: 6 large, 6 medium in Christmas finery, and 6 small, as well as 6 holiday accessories and 6 head pieces. 


Disney
Each accessory is stackable and can be used with any size figure. The head pieces fit the large Tsums and give them some holiday style. This set retails for  $39.99.


Disney
The second vinyl set is an exclusive of Target. The Christmas tree shaped box also includes 18 Tsum Tsum Vinyl Minis: 6 large, 6 medium in Christmas finery, and 6 small, as well as 6 holiday accessories and 6 head pieces, but different ones than the first set.

Disney
Each accessory is stackable and can be used with any size figure. The head pieces fit the large Tsums and give them some holiday style. This set retails for $39.99.

Disney
The final set is by far the most expensive. The Tsum Tsum plush advent calendar from the Disney Store includes 25 mini Tsum Tsums, including: Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Daisy,  Tigger, Tinkerbell, Baymax, Lady, Simba, Stitch, and many more. This large set retails for $139.95 and is available from DisneyStore.com.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Mickey's Christmas Carol Tsum Tsum Set

Disney
A new boxed set of Mickey's Christmas Carol Tsum Tsums has been released on the DisneyStore.com. The set of ten Tsums includes:

Disney
  • Uncle Scrooge as Ebenezer Scrooge
  • Mickey Mouse as Bob Cratchit 
  • Minnie Mouse as Mrs. Cratchit
  • Morty Fieldmouse as Tiny Tim
  • Donald Duck as Nephew Fred
  • Goofy as the Ghost of Jacob Marley
  • Jiminy Cricket as the Ghost of Christmas Past
  • Daisy Duck as Isabel
  • Willie the Giant as the Ghost of Christmas Present
  • Pete as the Ghost of Christmas Future
Disney
The set comes in a display box and is available at DisneyStore.com for $54.95.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Star Wars Products Coming to Disney Parks

Disney
Disney has created some fantastic Star Wars inspired products in recent years. This fall, they have even more incredible merchandise.

Disney/Lucasfilm
First up is an Imperial Comlink Bluetooth Communicator. It looks just like the one Luke Skywalker used to call C-3PO from trash compactor in Star Wars: A New Hope. It can be used to take calls and play music when connected a smart phone. It's rechargeable and comes with a belt clip. I love it and can't wait see it in person.

Disney/Lucasfilm
Starting in mid-December, you can find a remote controlled Mouse Droid. The Droid, whichmakes sounds and includes rechargeable batteries, looks like the one Chewbacca roars at On Death Star.

Disney/Lucasfilm
A second set of Ewok plush will be available from Disney Parks online store this fall. The set of six characters includes another Wicket, Tokkat, Latara, Widdle, Shodu, Winds. A basket of Ewoks will also include an additional character, Kaink. These new Ewoks will be available individually at Disney Parks in December.

Disney/Lucasfilm
Finally, the Starspeeder 1000 viewer will be available again. The set, which has been updated with a new destination disk featuring Jakku from The Force Awakens, plays dialogue from the Star Tours - The Adventure Continues ride.