Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Happy Mardi Gras!

King Mickey and Queen Minnie
Photo courtesy of Disney
It seems even Mickey and Minnie get in on the fun when it comes to celebrating Mardi Gras. I have never been to a Mardi Gras parade, but I love the sights, colors, and music of Mardi Gras, and especially the food. So, even if you can't make it to a parade, why not turn on some Zydeco, make up a big pot of jambalaya, and bake yourself a king cake (don't forget the plastic baby and purple, green, and gold sugar!) And, as they say in New Orleans:
Laissez le bon temps rouler! 
Let the good times roll!

Monday, February 27, 2017

Disney Wins at the Oscars

Photos courtesy of Disney
Disney films took home three Oscars last night. I've seen all three and really enjoyed each and every one.

In the Best Animated Feature category, Zootopia took home the top honor. Zootopia is a fantastic film with an underlying theme of tolerance and acceptance.

Piper, the short that can be seen with Finding Dory, won for Best Short Film, Animated. I absolutely adore this short. It's so sweet how she conquers her fear of the water.

Finally, the Jungle Book won for Best Visual Effects. The film is visually stunning and the animals all seem completely real, so I was glad to see it win. 

Although I knew it was unlikely to win (it was up against La La Land in one of its 14 nominations) I was rather hoping Moana's "How Far I'll Go" would win for Best Song. I would love to see Lin-Manuel Miranda win an Oscar so that he could create a new combination of prizes to aspire for. After all, he's already won an Emmy, Grammy, Tony, Pulitzer, and a MacArthur Fellowship. If he'd won the Oscar, he'd be the first MacPEGOT winner. Well, there's always next year!

Sunday, February 26, 2017

New Pins Coming to Disney Parks in 2017

Photos courtesy of Disney
Are you a pin trader? Trading and collecting pins at Disney can be a lot of fun. It can be one part treasure hunt and one part race when your family tries to hunt down that last pin to complete a collection. Disney recently shared a sneak peek at some of the new pins that will be coming to Disney Parks this year. It looks like there will be quite a few fun sets.

The Jungle Cruise 45th Anniversary collection will be released in Florida on May 11, 2017. The "Essence of Evil" and "Doorways to Disney" collections will be a shared collection between Disneyland and Disney World. The "Piece of Disney History" collection will only be available at Disney World, while the "Pin Trading Tales" and "Charming Characters" collections will only be available at Disneyland. 

A new Pirates of the Caribbean collection will arrive in Parks in mid-March. The pins, which celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Disneyland ride, will all be limited edition, with a special pin only available to Annual Passholders. 

The Emoji pins will come to the Parks in late summer. The characters, which appear in the "As Told by Emoji" videos as well as the Emoji Blitz game, include Anna, Elsa, the White Rabbit, the Cheshire Cat, Minnie, and Stitch.

Which pins will you be searching for? I will be looking for the Pirates of the Caribbean pins. It's still my favorite ride!

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 TV Spot

I'm so glad they seem to have kept the ridiculous humor of the first film in Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol 2.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Quote of the Week

It's like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger they were. And sometimes you didn't want to know the end… because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it’s only a passing thing… this shadow. 

Even darkness must pass.

- Samwise Gamgee, 
Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Pandora: The World of Avatar Commercial

Here's another look at Pandora: The World of Avatar at Animal Kingdom, which opens on May 27, 2017.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Beauty and the Beast Clip

Emma Watson sings the song "Belle" in this new clip from the upcoming film. It really looks good! Beauty and the Beast arrives in theaters on March 17.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Pandora: The World of Avatar Trailers

Disney has released two teaser trailers that offer a glimpse into the rides of Pandora: The World of Avatar at Animal Kingdom. The first shows the new boat ride, Na'vi River Journey.

The second is for Flight of Passage.

Pandora: The World of Avatar at Animal Kingdom opens on May 27, 2017.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Shiny from Moana

After watching Moana, I had this song stuck in my head for hours. Apparently, Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote it as a tribute to David Bowie. It seems perfectly appropriate then that it's sung by a giant, gold-covered crab.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Moana on Blu-ray

I finally saw Moana yesterday. It may be my new favorite Disney Princess movie. (Yes, I know Moana isn't really a Princess, but as Maui says, "If you wear a dress and have an animal sidekick, you're a princess.") It's beautiful, with memorable music, and a story that takes you on an amazing journey. Caution: Spoilers Ahead 

Images courtesy of Disney
The movie starts with baby Moana listening to her Gramma Tala tell stories about the Heart of Te Fiti. Long ago, the demigod Maui Stole the heart, which had the power of Creation. Without her heart, Te Fiti was overcome by a darkness, which spread throughout all the islands, destroying life where ever it went. Gramma Tala believed that one day, one of their people would be chosen to force Maui to return the heart and restore life to all the islands.

Moana's father, the Chief of Mata Nui, wants nothing more than to protect his people and keep them content to stay on their island. But when their crops begin to fail and the fish disappear, Moana pushes him to see that something drastic must be done. Someone must leave the safety of the island and return the Heart of Te Fiti, and she is the one who has been chosen by the ocean to complete this task. With encouragement from her dying Grandmother, Moana steals a boat which has been hidden for years, a remnant from her Wayfinder ancestors. She searches for Maui with a crazy rooster named Hei Hei for unexpected company.

When she finds Maui, they both are in for a bit of disappointment: Maui is no longer revered as the "Hero of Man", and he wants nothing to do with Moana's quest. With a lot of convincing from Moana, they finally start the long journey to set things right. Along the way, they face many dangers: the Kakamora, who look cute but are quite vicious, Tamatoa, a giant crab with a great love for all things "Shiny", and the lava monster Te Kanan. I won't spoil the journey for you, but it's an incredible chance for Moana to find out who she really is (with a little help from Gramma Tala, which made me cry every time.)

This film is one of the most visually beautiful films I've seen. The attention to detail and respect for Polynesian culture is evident throughout. And be sure to look out for the occasional Easter Egg: Sven from Frozen makes an appearance, as does the lamp and Carpet from Aladdin. And if you watch until the end of the credits, you'll catch a glimpse of Wreck It Ralph, as well as a hilarious scene full of Little Mermaid references.

I truly enjoyed watching Moana, and I can't wait to see it again. The songs, with lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Opetaia Foa'i, are memorable and catchy. You'll catch yourself singing them for days. Both the look and the story are beautiful and draw you into many amazing world for an incredible journey.

Moana arrives on Blu-ray and DVD on March 7. Target has a special Blu-ray/DVD set that comes with a 32-page storybook. And if you pre-order now, you'll also receive a  $5 gift card. If you prefer a Steelbook, there will be two sets available from Best Buy.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

You're Welcome from Moana

I love the songs from Moana. They're beautiful, and occasionally haunting, and at times, just fun. Maui's "You're Welcome" song is especially hilarious. It really shows off his modesty.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Quote of the Week

Why worry?
If you've done the very best you can, worrying won't make it any better. 

- Walt Disney

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Splash Mountain and Frontierland Tsum Tsums

The Disney Parks have added quite a few new land or ride themed Tsum Tsum sets in recent months. At the end of January, they released a set of six Tsums that capture the fun of Splash Mountain. The satisfactual collection, which features characters first seen 70 years ago in the movie Song of the South, include Br'er Rabbit, Br'er Bear, Br'er Fox, Sis Possum, Vulture Undertaker, and Mr. Blue Bird (for your shoulder). The Splash Mountain Tsums are available now.

The Frontierland set, which should arrive in Parks soon, features Mickey and Pals dressed in Western wear. The collection of six Tsums includes Sheriff Mickey, Cowboy Donald, Cowboy Goofy, Cowgirl Minnie, an adorable Goat from Big Thunder Mountain, and two of the Country Bears: Big Al and Bonnie Bear. Too cute!

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Photo of the Week

Warm Chocolate Cake with Bourbon-Salted Caramel Sauce and Spiced Pecans from the EPCOT Flower and Garden Festival. I wish I had this today. It would be delightful on a cold day.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 TV Spot 2

The second TV spot for Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 looks hilarious.

Here's the official synopsis from Marvel:

Set to the backdrop of ‘Awesome Mixtape #2,’ Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 continues the team’s adventures as they traverse the outer reaches of the cosmos. The Guardians must fight to keep their newfound family together as they unravel the mysteries of Peter Quill’s true parentage. Old foes become new allies and fan-favorite characters from the classic comics will come to our heroes’ aid as the Marvel cinematic universe continues to expand.

Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol 2 arrives in theaters on May 5.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Tangled Before Ever After Song

Tangled Before Ever After doesn't arrive on the Disney Channel until March 10. But here's a sneak peek of a new song from the movie with music by Alan Menken.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Cravendale Milk Ad

I love watching British commercials, such as the adorable ones from Christmas, because they frequently make me laugh. Last night we saw a hilarious one about cats wanting Cravendale brand milk on Funniest Animal Commercials. It's both funny and terrifying at the same time. (And it features a voice over by Tim Curry, which makes it even better.)

Beware the cats with thumbs!

Friday, February 10, 2017

Quote of the Week

Frodo - I wish none of this had happened.

Gandalf - So do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Pandora - The World of Avatar Will Open May 27

The Disney Parks Blog recently announced the opening date for Pandora - The World of Avatar at Animal Kingdom. Beginning on May 27, guests can wander through a rainforest filled with bioluminescent plants, marvel at floating mountains, and join the Na’vi on two new rides.

Photos courtesy of Disney
On Na'vi River Journey, you'll ride in a boat through a bioluminescent rainforest. The family friendly ride ends with an encounter with a Na’vi Shaman. For those who seek a more thrilling adventure, there's the Avatar Flight of Passage, where you'll find the incredible experience of exploring Pandora atop a banshee.

If you're looking for a place to eat, try the Satu’li Canteen. Or grab a drink at Pongu Pongu. And if you need a souvenir of your visit, try Windtraders, where you'll find Na'vi cultural items, toys, science kits, and more.

If you just can't wait until May 27, don't worry, Disney has got you covered. At VisitPandora.com, you can learn more about this exotic world from Alpha Centauri Expeditions (ACE), the exclusive provider of tours to Pandora.

From the floating mountains, to the bioluminescent flora, to the incredible fauna, such as the flying banshees, they cover it all. See first hand how the team at ACE can transport you to Pandora for an out of this world experience.

For photos, videos, and updates from ACE'S field experts and scientists, be sure to check out Visit Pandora's Twitter and Instagram. And soon,  you'll be able to ask the experts your questions about future journeys through Pandora.

And dont forget to check out the Disney Parks Blog for more information about Pandora - The World of Avatar.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Doctor Strange on Blu-ray

I finally had the chance to see Doctor Strange in the movie theater. Although I've been a fan of Benedict Cumberbatch for several years (I'm totally addicted to BBCs Sherlock), I wasn't sure what to expect from this Marvel Superhero movie. I have to say, I loved it. Caution: Spoiler Alert!

Doctor Strange is one of the more unique Marvel characters. At the beginning of the movie, he's a brilliant, yet overconfident, neurosurgeon. Things quickly change when he's in a car accident that causes massive nerve damage in his hands. At first, he seeks solutions from conventional Western medicine. Once he's exhausted all options, and driven away the only person who cares about him, he hears about a rather unconventional miracle which can only be found in a hidden place called Kamar-Taj, near Kathmandu.

On the verge of losing hope, Stephen Strange uses the last of his fortune to seek out a cure. When he eventually arrives in Kamar-Taj, he thinks they are too mystical to help him, but he's willing to try. Through long hours, hard work, and the suspension of disbelief, he eventually begins to learn the ways of the Ancient One and her fellow masters. However, when he discovers that he is about to be thrust into the middle of an ancient battle, he starts to question the Ancient One and her teachings.

When he unexpectedly lands in the middle of a fight between those who protect the Earth and those who would see it destroyed, he finally chooses a side. It's here, at the New York Sanctum, that he acquires the Cloak of Levitation, which seems to have a mind of its own, as well as a fondness for Stephen Strange. More battles follow until the exciting conclusion, which I won't spoil for you.

I really liked this movie. The special effects were fantastic and it did a great job of introducing Doctor Strange as a Marvel Superhero. And don't forget to keep an eye out for the Stan Lee cameo. You'll find him riding a bus, reading Aldous Huxley's The Doors of Perception. And there are two scenes in the credits: one featuring an encounter between Doctor Strange and Thor, and the other showing the chosen path of Master Mordo. Doctor Strange arrives on Blu-ray and DVD on February 28.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Tsum Tsum Tuesday

It's time for another Tsum Tsum Tuesday! Today, Disney released a "Best of Pixar" set. It features two characters from Wall-E and four characters from A Bug's Life. I love the Wall-E and EVE Tsums. They're so cute! The Bug's Life characters include Flight, Atta, and two versions of Heimlich: as a caterpillar and as a butterfly.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales Trailer

A new trailer for Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales debuted during the Super Bowl last night. It looks incredible! I can't wait to see it. Jack Sparrow and his crew return to theaters this Memorial Day.


Sunday, February 5, 2017

Red's Untold Tale

I found a cool new book at my favorite used bookstore recently. It's a Once Upon a Time story called Red's Untold Tale. I can't wait to read it.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Friday, February 3, 2017

Quote of the Week

When you're curious, you find lots of interesting things to do. 
- Walt Disney

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Figment's Brush with the Masters Scavenger Hunt

Photo courtesy of Disney

The EPCOT International Festival of the Arts is full of art, food, and fun for the whole family. The festival, which takes place each weekend through February 20th, has a lot to see and do, including a scavenger hunt hosted by Figment. Figment's Brush with the Masters Scavenger Hunt invites kids to search around the World Showcase for some of the world's greatest masterpieces.

To play along, just purchase a map and stickers for $6.99. As you reach each Pavilion, search for artwork with Figment hidden somewhere inside. Once you spot the playful dragon, put the matching sticker on the map at the right Pavilion. When you've finished, turn in the map at a retail location for a surprise. (The surprise is an adorable Figment framed art pin.)

The hunt, which is aimed at young kids, runs every weekend of the festival.