Showing posts with label Disney. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Disney. Show all posts

Walt Disney World Totchos Copycat Recipe

Woody's Lunchbox Totchos

Food blogging isn't normally my jam, but when it comes to recreating the magic of a favorite copycat Walt Disney World recipe and it goes well, I feel the need to share it so others can get in on the fun.  If you're a regular at Walt Disney World, you know that totchos are a hot commodity.  And Disney fans can rejoice in the fact that totchos are super easy to recreate in your own kitchen to bring a little bit of Disney Parks magic to your day!  Added bonus, I've found a few ways to save some calories on my recipe and give you the breakdown of how this works into my Weight Watchers Blue plan.

What are totchos?


Totchos are essentially nachos but made with tater tots instead of tortilla chips.  You can top them with any number of goodies, just like you would with nachos - the sky is literally the limit!  So why mess with something as good as nachos?  I don't know the origin story of the totcho, but trust me when I tell you it's delicious.  I feel like it's even more filling than nachos as the tater tots are more dense than the tortilla chips.  

Disney / Pixar Onward - Top Quotes

From Disney / Pixar's Onward

Disney / Pixar's Onward tells the emotional story of two brothers on a quest to meet their father who died 16 years earlier.  Through a magical gift from their deceased father, given to younger brother Ian on his 16th birthday, the two boys unlock a spell that brings their dad back. . .or at least part of him.  In their quest for the Phoenix Gem to complete the spell, the boys learn a lot about themselves and their commitment to each other.  For a full movie review, check out my thoughts here.

Memorable Quotes


It's no surprise that Disney / Pixar's Onward would be filled with heartwarming quotes that both inspire and resonate with the viewer.  When I listen for quotes that stand out for me in a movie, they tend to be ones that motivate me to want to be a better version of myself or bring a tear to my eye as I empathize with the characters in the movie.  Below are a few of my favorites:

Disney / Pixar Onward - Movie Review

Chris Pratt and Tom Holland

If you're like me, as soon as you see Pixar's studio attached to an animated film, you know to pack the tissues.  While the stories told in these movies are often heartwarming and filled with laughs, they also pack an emotional punch that leaves softies like me ugly crying in theaters.  Would Onward be any different?  The newest film from Disney and Pixar actually had me questioning it during the trailers, but would Onward defy my initial trailer reactions and live up to the hype?  Let's find out.  Before taking a look at my thoughts on the film, let's take one more look at the trailer and information from the studios.

About Disney / Pixar's Onward


Where to Eat on the Disney Dream

Breakfast at Royal Palace on Disney Dream
What's breakfast without Mickey Waffles on your Disney Cruise?

Cruising on a Disney Cruise Line vacation means there is magic around every corner. . .even when it comes to the food!  You are sure to find something for everyone (and then some!) when you are on the Disney Dream.  Let's take a look at where to eat while on the Disney Dream.

Main Dining Rooms on the Disney Dream


As you may or may not know, Disney Cruise Line features a unique cruising feature - rotational dining.  Rotational dining means that each night of your cruise you change restaurants, but your wait staff travels with you.  This means you get to have varying dining experiences each night of your cruise with the bonus of having your waitstaff remain the same.  Like other cruise line restaurants, you'll find appetizers, soups, main courses, and desserts available regardless of where you are eating. Want to try more than one thing - just ask!  They'll be happy to make your dining wish come true.  Each restaurant also features a kid's menu so the little ones will find their favorites even when they're away from home.  During booking, you'll select either main dining or late dining.  Don't worry - all of the shows in the theater are scheduled so guests on either seating can enjoy them.

Pool Deck Guide for the Disney Dream

Disney Cruise Line Pools and Slides

Can we just take a minute and pay tribute to the amazingness that is the pool deck on the Disney Dream??

OK.  Thanks.  

Seriously though, if you have never been on a Disney Cruise Line vacation, you may be wondering what all the hype is about. . .and if the price is worth it.  There are several areas where I feel like Disney has other cruise lines beat, but one of the most obvious for me is when it comes to the pool deck.  We recently sailed again on the Disney Dream and here's a quick recap of what you can expect to see on the pool deck with your family.

The Call of the Wild - Movie Review


"Well Buck, what an adventure."

Image from Walt Disney Studios
An adventure is just what you'll find when you head to theaters to see The Call of the Wild starring Harrison Ford as John Thornton and his loyal companion, Buck.  We have long heard that a dog is man's best friend and in this movie we see that come to life. I have always been a fan of Harrison Ford and you know my love of family films that appeal to kids and adults alike so I was really hoping to fall in love with this movie.  While I won't say it's a film that everyone will love, I left the theatre with my heart full and warm.  Wondering if it's right for you and your family?  Let's find out.

Review


Overall, I really enjoyed the film with my kids.  Having never read the book, I wasn't sure what exactly to expect.  I feel like the trailer tells the story of Buck and John Thornton on their grand adventure and I didn't realize how much of the move would take place before this adventure even begins.  There is a whole life that Buck has prior to going into the wild with Thornton.  Watching him go from a spoiled house pet, to a scared and captured pup, to a struggling mail dog, and ultimately to a confident leader, Buck embodies a transformation that humans can relate to as we go through the different seasons of our lives.  I felt a connection to Buck in a way I didn't expect to.  And then there's Harrison Ford as John Thornton.  His performance is memorable and just as you experience Buck's emotional journey during the film, you also do with Thorton.  As a man who has lost his family and is really trying to lose himself, he turns his life around and awakens to have the adventure he always dreamed of with the dog he never knew he needed.

How to Meet Characters on Your Disney Cruise Vacation

Let's face it - kids (and some of us adults!) love meeting characters when we travel to Disney destinations.  A Disney Cruise Line vacation is no different and gives you a number of ways to meet & interact with characters while on board.  Check out these tips to make the most of your opportunities to meet characters while cruising with your family!

You can reserve some character experiences ahead of time


Just like FastPass+ and Advanced Dining Reservations can be booked prior to a Walt Disney World Resort vacation, guests sailing on Disney Cruise Line can book some experiences ahead of their cruise.  Some of these include character meet & greets! While I'm sure the reservation options may vary - particularly on special sailings - you will definitely want to check them out on the "My Cruise Activities" section of your reservation.  For our cruise, there were a few Frozen meet and greets plus several Princess meet and greets.  The ONLY way to participate in these is with a reservation - and they do book up quickly!  Also, depending on your sailing, there may be character dining experiences too.  Be sure to log into your "My Cruise Activities" as soon as your window opens to have the best chance of getting what you want to book.

Disneyland Tickets - Beat the Price Increase!

In case you missed it, tickets for both Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resort increased overnight and those who have been thinking about planning a vacation may now be second guessing themselves.



But, have no fear - my friends at Get Away Today are here to save your vacation budgets!  For a limited time you can buy your Disneyland tickets at the old prices.  That's right. . .get your tickets by February 20th and you can beat the price increase.  That's up to a $75 savings PER TICKET.  Let's break it down:

The Pirate's League on Disney Cruise Line

Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate's life for me. . .

Each Disney Cruise Line vacation in the Bahamas and Caribbean features a special Pirates in the Caribbean night where scalawags of all ages are invited to party aboard the ship.  For this special night, the usual Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique on the ship also transforms into The Pirate's League.  We had done this experience twice before in Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World, but not on one of our cruise vacations yet.  On our recent trip, we decided to make reservations for the whole family - yes, that's right - all 4 of us!

Before we start, let's go over some basic information you need to know.  This experience can be booked online in your cruise planning section on the Disney Cruise Line website.  We didn't have a problem getting a reservation and there were still some available even on Pirate Night itself, but for the best times and to ensure your reservation, I recommend doing it when your window opens if you're interested.  You can always cancel or change your reservation if needed closer to the time.  The cost is $44.95 (as of January 2020) for a variety of makeover options - 3 piratey options that are more for the boys (Jack Sparrow, Blackbeard, and Captain Hook) and 2 options for the ladies (Empress and Redd).  For an additional fee you can also purchase a costume, but I recommend bringing one from home to save on cash.  Money Saving Tip - Check your local stores in the days following Halloween for deep discounts on costumes and accessories.  You also want to carefully pick your time during the day to schedule your makeover.  We chose to do ours at 4:45 because that allowed us all day in port to enjoy the beach and pool, but still have the whole evening to enjoy our new looks.

When you arrive, you'll check in at the front desk and roll the dice to find out your new pirate name.  After confirming your pirate selection, the buccaneers in your family will be whisked away to your chair for your swashbuckling makeover.  The makeover is quick - roughly 15 minutes - but the memories will last much longer.  The cast members entertain both the person getting the makeover and the family with jokes, stories, and songs.  At the end of the makeover, the newest pirate takes the pirate oath and officially becomes part of the league.

While it may be obvious that kids will have fun at The Pirate's League, the bigger question may be if adults can have fun there too.  Unlike the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, adults are welcome to participate.  The makeovers are the same as the ones offered for kids.  I didn't find my makeover to be overly impressive from the actual make-up side of things (could have been much bolder in my honest opinion), but I had just as much fun as my kids.  In my opinion, I think the male makeovers pack a bit more punch and thought my husband made quite the impressive pirate.

After you leave The Pirate's League, you will have a night to remember.  We used the remainder of the time before dinner to meet a few pirate characters including Pirate Mickey and Captain Jack Sparrow.  We then enjoyed our pirate themed dinner inside Animator's Palate.  Our night then continued with Mickey's Pirates in the Caribbean Night Deck Party and the fireworks at sea later on in the evening.

Dressing up for Pirate Night makes the night even more fun for the whole family and I'm so glad we made the decision to book The Pirate's League on the Disney Dream.  Would we book it again?  I think I would definitely consider booking it again for our boys - at $44.95 I feel like it was well worth the price.  It's much more reasonable than the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique and a fun way for the boys to  get in on the excitement.  Be sure to check it out on your next Disney Cruise Line vacation!  Ahoy mateys!

Castaway Cay 5K - What to know before your run!

We're fresh off our latest Disney Cruise Line vacation in January 2020 and during our sailing on the Disney Dream we made a stop at Disney's Castaway Cay - a private island paradise in the Bahamas!  This island has it all. . .sun, sand, crystal clear water, food, a kids club, and much more.  But running friends will be happy to know that there is a FREE, yes you read that right, FREE 5K run available on every stop at Disney's Castaway Cay.  This was my second time participating in the run, but while many things remained the same, a few have changed and it's important to note what you need to know before you run.

It's a fun run, not a race - If you're a regular reader here, you know my deep love of runDisney races.  Alas, this is not considered a runDisney race.  In fact, it's considered an "onboard activity" for cruise guests.  When you are planning all of your cruise activities on the Disney Cruise Line website you can "register" for the race.  Once on board, stop by guest services and pick up a waiver that will need to be completed before the race.  Or, you can walk up to the race start and get the waiver to fill out.  Trade your completed waiver for a bib and you are good to go.  The start is a simple "1, 2, 3. . .Go!" announcement and there is no chip timing - just a simple clock at the start finish area.  

But you do get a medal! - The other thing you probably know about me is that I care about the bling. . .deeply.  All finishers in this fun run will get a fun rubber medal.  Yes it's only rubber, but it has a cute ribbon and a fun design to commemorate your accomplishment.  I mean, you ran on a cruise vacation while most people on cruises only run to the buffet line!  Wear it proudly and be sure to stop by and see the characters around the island after your run for some pictures showing off your bling.

Getting off the ship - So this was a change from the last time I ran this particular event and the guest services staff told me it started just a few months ago.  In the past, runners would receive a "shore excursion" ticket the night before and meet in a specified lounge around 7:45.  As soon as the ship was cleared, the runners disembarked first together as a group to take the nearly 10 minute walk to the start line.  That's in the past now.  Runners just meet up at the start line which means that you have to join the pack of people exiting the ship when it's cleared at 8:30 and make your way very quickly to the starting point near the bike rentals.  I have to say, I was not a fan of this change. . .even if I got to sleep in an extra 30 minutes!

This run is for everyone - You will find serious runners here who go all out and others who are 100% walkers just looking to stretch their legs with some exercise and take home a unique cruise souvenir.  I know sometimes we all find ourselves being self-conscious with our abilities, but don't be nervous about joining this fun run.  The course is a super simple out and back and the island terrain means you will encounter no elevation change whatsoever.

Speaking of the island - Regardless of what time of year you run, there are a few things to keep in mind.  Even with an 8:50AM start time, you are running on an island. . .in the Bahamas.  It's hot and oftentimes it humid.  The sun is intense most days too.  Even the walkers in this event want to take hydration very seriously.  Think about it in the days leading up and drink plenty of water on board.  Along the course of the fun run, you pass a water aid station 4 times - take advantage of it!  I saw a lot of people stretching out cramps along the way.

The Castaway Cay 5K is truly a family fun event that casual and serious runners will want to check out on your Disney Cruise Line vacation.  Kids as young as 10 may participate.  If you need a space to check-in younger children while you run, Disney has a kids club, Scuttle's Cove, on the island which is open as you make your way to the run.

You may also want to pack some extra money for the race apparel that you'll find at the finish line! There is a cute collection of hats, tanks, tees, and long sleeve shirts along with pins and much, much more to further commemorate your fun run on the island.  I picked up a Castaway Cay 5K hat to bring home as my cruise souvenir and something I can use on cold training days to remind me of the island vibes this run leaves you feeling!  Enjoy the scenery, the fun, and the bling. . .then enjoy the sun, sand, and drinks!


Best Bets at the Movies This Holiday Break

The holidays are officially here and with many kids home from school and adults taking time or having time off from work, it's a perfect opportunity to head to the movies!  Here's a round-up of movies I've seen that are still out in most (if not all theaters) to help you make your viewing choices.  Click the titles of each for a more detailed look.

Frozen 2


We still can't let this film go!  This movie has been out since before Thanksgiving and has already surpassed $1B globally.  If you are one of probably only a handful of people who haven't seen this film, what are you waiting for?  Grab the kids and head "into the unknown" to uncover the source of Elsa's powers and watch the next chapter of the story unfold for our friends in Arendelle.  I still can't believe I had the chance to see this at the Hollywood World Premiere back in November with The Geekly Retreat - walking the red carpet and taking celebrity selfies!  ALL of my Frozen 2 coverage is linked here including my experience at the premiere, a review, a closer look at Olaf, and my favorite musical moments!

Spies in Disguise


This is another movie that I had the chance to see in it's entirety at The Geekly Retreat out in California, weeks before the fancy world premiere.  We had the chance to watch this with some of the creative minds behind the film and then dish on the secrets of making it.  Your kids will really enjoy this action-packed look at an unlikely friendship and championing the fact that it's good to be weird.  With the voices of Will Smith and Tom Holland behind the main characters, you know you're getting quality.  I've again linked all of my coverage to Spies in Disguise here because there is also a mobile game available when the movie releases that I had the chance to preview at The Geekly Retreat and then received a free download of in advance of the release for my kids to enjoy.  Check it out!

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker


What will most likely be the undisputed winner of every box office stat this Christmas season, Star Wars has raced back into theaters for the final chapter in the Skywalker saga.  If you're a hard core Star Wars fan, you're going to be feeling LOTS of feels with this one.  My review linked here is spoiler-free so you are totally fine to read it ahead of time.  In fact, you may want to if you're debating taking your kids as I have a whole section devoted to whether or not that's a good idea.  May the Force with you!

Richard Jewell


I didn't write an official review for this one, but I did record an initial reaction after I saw the movie for my YouTube channel.  This is definitely one to leave the kids home for as the content and language is not appropriate for them.  I really enjoyed this movie for a few reasons.  I remember the 1996 Atlanta Olympics bombing and the name Richard Jewell, but I didn't really remember the details into what happened.  It's a fascinating look at the concept of "innocent until proven guilty."  Is that really the case anymore with media coverage scrutinizing every detail of an investigation?  And this was 1996 people. . .imagine if this happened in 2019 how this would have played out with not only traditional media, but the advent of social media.  It's a heavier film to watch, but their our some comedic one liners and the actors all do an incredible job.  There has been some criticism of Clint Eastwood with the way he directed this film and portrayed Kathy Scruggs, the Atlanta journalist who broke the story on Richard Jewell.  Scruggs has passed and her family is strongly denouncing the the way that she is portrayed here, and Eastwood even acknowledges that we may never know what REALLY happened.  See it with that in mind.  There may be some liberties that were taken with characterization of the people who were there covering events.

Knives Out


This is another movie that has been around since mid-November, but has picked up speed after opening weekend.  Again, I didn't write a full review on this one, but I LOVED this movie.  It's certainly a grown-up night out - not appropriate at all for your littles.  It's a fun, witty whodunit story with an all-star cast including Daniel Craig, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Chris Evans. . .in cable knit sweaters.  I mean, that right there is reason to go see it, right???  It's like a giant game of Clue as the patriarch of the family dies on the night of his 85th birthday party.  The twists and turns will keep you guessing and you may or may not see the ending coming!  This movie may be getting pushed out of your local theater depending on it's size, but it's still at a few local ones for me so I included it here.  See it if you can!

And of course, there are some other big movies that have just recently released for the holiday that I haven't seen yet to comment on including Black Christmas, Bombshell, Jumangi: The Next Level, and CATS (why would you want to see this one though??).  What are you planning to see this holiday season?

Star Wars The Rise of Skywalker - Is the Force strong in this final chapter?

It's the finale that was 42 years in the making.  Fans have been waiting to see how the Skywalker arc ends in the Star Wars universe and now they finally have their answers.  Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is quickly taking the world by storm, but should it be?  I waited 24 hours to post my review so I could process what I saw and what I wanted to say.  In an effort to keep this post spoiler-free, I'm going to discuss my thoughts on the film by breaking down some questions you may have before you see it.

Do you have to be a serious Star Wars fan to enjoy this film?


Yes and no.  I'm gauging this answer the same way I look at Avengers: Endgame.  If the only experience you have with Star Wars are more recent films (like my husband - Episodes VII and VIII, Solo, and Rogue One are it for him), you can certainly see the movie and mostly follow along, but you want appreciate the entirety of the story.  I'm not spoiling anything by telling you that Palpatine factors into this film as his presence was felt in the trailers.  My husband, a Star Wars novice at best, would have no idea who he is and his importance in the Skywalker saga.

JJ Abrams definitely made this film for the fans - even including several fabulous cameos and easter eggs.  Knowing your Star Wars history will maximize your enjoyment of the film.  I'm not a diehard fan by any stretch of the imagination, but I've seen the entire Skywalker saga and was armed with all the knowledge I needed to see this movie.  I'll openly admit though that I probably missed some other nods to the Star Wars universe because I have not watched all of the other shows / stories so those of you that have a PhD in a galaxy far, far away will have a field day watching this!

Is this movie appropriate for my kids?


The film carries a PG-13 rating like some other Star Wars films.  Judge my parenting you may, but I have allowed my 7 year old to watch Episodes I - VIII in their entirety and there is nothing in this film that is more or less appropriate than any of the others.  Star Wars films mainly carry that rating due to the violence that is portrayed.  Most of this fighting in this film is again lightsaber battles, air fighting, and large explosions.

But just because I feel like my son COULD see this movie, I don't know that it means he SHOULD be seeing it in theaters.  I'm still torn on whether or not I'll take him to the movies over the winter break from school to see it.  This movie is very dark.  Read that as you will.  Dark scenes both from a lighting standpoint and a "heaviness" to them.  It's an emotional end to a powerful saga - keep that in mind.  Knowing my son too, he'd ask A LOT of questions during the movie because, while he's seen all of the Skywalker movies, he doesn't necessarily have the details memorized.  Seeing this in your home might be a better option for little ones. . .if you can keep them waiting that long!

Was the end everything it should be?


This is going to be a very personal question for Star Wars fans.  It's an end.  You will walk out of the movie feeling like the Skywalker story is complete.  But will it be what you wanted?  That depends on you.  Again, I think Abrams worked hard to create a movie that fans will appreciate.  I did feel like some of the pithy one-lines from characters were a bit forced.  Don't get me wrong, I like Rey, Finn, and Poe as much as the next fan. . .but they don't have the same chemistry that Luke, Leia, and Han had and at times it feels like filmmakers are trying to force that chemistry on screen.

You will walk away with strong feelings about Ren and Rey.  Both of these actors delivered powerful performances and I think this is Adam Driver's best Star Wars performance yet.  CGI Leia was a little weird for me in all honesty - just felt a little weird, but she needed to be there to end her story as well.   Notably absent was Rose who featured so prominently in Episode VIII.  She's there, but simply as a background character.  I really thought we'd see more of her.  And we also meet a few new faces as the final chapter comes to a close.

What happens with the Star Wars universe from here?


While the Skywalker story has come to a definitive end, there were several openings I noted during the movie where I can see more to develop.  I don't want to ruin any of the plot points for you so I'm not going to say much here, but keep an eye on Finn.  I don't think we've seen the last of him!

Overall, I think Episode IX will satisfy fans.  Will it astound you?  Maybe.  Maybe not.  As a fan of Star Wars, I walked away emotionally drained and very content with how the story ends.  I have a lot more I WANT to say about this film, but I'll write a spoiler post in a few days to unpack more of my thoughts after hopefully more of you have had the chance to see it.  Enjoy the final chapter and. . .may the Force be with you!



Onward - New Trailer Released

A new trailer for Disney/Pixar's Onward was released today.  I've seen the previous trailers and I have to say, I honestly haven't been super excited about this film.  I don't know what it is, but the story just hasn't been connecting with me from what I've seen.  Brody on the other hand has been excited each time he sees an advertisement for this one. Let's take a look at this most recent trailer and see if it changes my mind.



So. . .this latest trailer is starting to sway me a bit.  I enjoyed seeing more of their mom in this trailer and her potential involvement in their quest.  I think the idea of a boy going on a quest to meet his dad when he never knew him is truly touching and I'm rooting for them to get all of their dad back in the end. . .not just his pants!  I'm sure we'll go see it when it comes out because I spend too much of my money on Disney as a compulsion I can't seem to control and my boys are excited about this one.  And it will probably play better in theaters than it does on a trailer.  I mean, it's Pixar after all and they don't make bad movies.  What are your thoughts?  Are you looking forward to this latest film from Pixar?

About Onward


Set in a suburban fantasy world, Disney and Pixar’s “Onward” introduces two teenage elf brothers (voices of Chris Pratt and Tom Holland) who embark on an extraordinary quest to discover if there is still a little magic left out there. A new trailer and poster are now available, and new character posters were recently revealed, introducing cast members Mel Rodriguez, who voices Officer Colt Bronco; Lena Waithe, who lends her voice to Officer Specter; and Ali Wong, the voice of Officer Gore. Directed by Dan Scanlon and produced by Kori Rae, “Onward” opens in U.S. theaters on March 6, 2020. Facebook: http://facebook.com/pixaronward/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/pixaronward Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/pixaronward/ Hashtag: #PixarOnward

It's Good To Be Weird - A Spies in Disguise Review

What do you get when you combine the voice talents of Tom Holland and Will Smith with a great story and a talented animation team? The answer. . .Spies in Disguise, an action packed comedy that will have you championing Team Weird! I had the chance to be among the first in the world to see this movie complete - weeks before the "world premiere" even!  When I was out in California for The Geekly Retreat we had the opportunity to screen this movie with some of creative talent behind it.  I already had a sense this movie was going to be a hit, but I walked out loving every minute of the film and having a really hard time staying silent about it until embargo broke.  So let's dive right in to see what makes this the perfect spy movie for kids.

About Spies in Disguise


Super spy Lance Sterling (Will Smith) and scientist Walter Beckett (Tom Holland) are almost exact opposites. Lance is smooth, suave and debonair. Walter is … not. But when events take an unexpected turn, this unlikely duo are forced to team up for the ultimate mission that will require an almost impossible disguise – transforming Lance into the brave, fierce, majestic… pigeon. Walter and Lance suddenly have to work as a team, or the whole world is in peril. “Spies in Disguise” flies into theaters this Christmas.

The Perfect Spy Movie for Kids


There are several reasons why I loved this film. First, the characters - particularly Beckett. Beckett and Sterling are the perfect on screen duo with the classic "opposites attract" feel to their relationship. While Sterling may appear to be the obvious hero, Beckett proves to us that heroes can also come from unlikely sources. "Let's get weird" becomes a tagline of the movie and I love the fact that a kid who is fascinated with science and engineering follows his dreams and sees them become a reality. As a mom of a boy who is also a STEM lover and an educator, I think it's awesome to have kids see it's cool to be smart - not just cool to be tough.

When it comes to brains, Beckett doesn't just have smarts in the science world, but also in the political philosophy department. Some of the messaging of this movie is incredible and just what I want to have my boys hear as they are watching an action packed spy movie. Here is just a sampling of lines that Beckett delivers in the movie that teaches kids fighting, violence, and war are not always the best or only option to consider. Without turning this into a political piece, we see a lot of violent messaging in our world - it's popular and it sells. This film shows that while the world may have violence, maybe it doesn't always have to be that way. Here's just a sampling of Beckett's lines throughout the film:

  • "You can do more by bringing people together than by blowing them up."
  • "I believe together we can find a good way to beat the bad."
  • "There's not good guys or bad guys - just people."
The value of teamwork is also central to this story. Sterling was an incredible super-spy, but he needed help from an unlikely source. In fact, early on in the film, Sterling remarks "Team? I fly solo." Little does he know how important the kid from research and development will become in his life. Not only does Beckett become a member of Sterling's team, but he develops his own "flock" of support as the movie progresses. This doesn't mean that everything is smooth sailing though as these team relationships develop. Friendships are tested and feelings are hurt - just like in real life. Characters learn what it means to change and grow, to apologize, and to accept the beauty of each other's differences.

I think this movie truly has it all for families to enjoy - action, humor, and heart. I can't wait for my boys to see it in theaters when it opens this Christmas. Make plans to fly to the movies too and see it with your family this holiday season!



Mulan - New Trailer Released!

Continuing the streak of Walt Disney Studios releasing live action reimaginations of some of their animated classics, Mulan is set to release in March 2020 and we have a new trailer!  I'm a bit under the weather today so I'm not able to do a trailer reaction, but I hope to keep this trailer a secret from my son for a day or two and when I'm feeling better we can record his reaction and update it here.  For now, here's a look at the newest trailer released from Walt Disney Studios!



In all honesty, Mulan was never one of my favorite Disney animated films, but I have to say I'm pretty excited about the live action version.  I think the visual beauty of this film is stunning and the story seems even more powerful.  This film opens March 27th - just in time for my birthday!

About Mulan


When the Emperor of China issues a decree that one man per family must serve in the Imperial Army to defend the country from Northern invaders, Hua Mulan, the eldest daughter of an honored warrior, steps in to take the place of her ailing father. Masquerading as a man, Hua Jun, she is tested every step of the way and must harness her inner-strength and embrace her true potential. It is an epic journey that will transform her into an honored warrior and earn her the respect of a grateful nation…and a proud father. “Mulan” features a celebrated international cast that includes: Yifei Liu as Mulan; Donnie Yen as Commander Tung; Jason Scott Lee as Böri Khan; Yoson An as Cheng Honghui; with Gong Li as Xianniang and Jet Li as the Emperor. The film is directed by Niki Caro from a screenplay by Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver and Elizabeth Martin & Lauren Hynek based on the narrative poem “The Ballad of Mulan.”

Mulan opens March 27, 2020. For more information on “Mulan,” follow: Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/waltdisneymulan Twitter: https://twitter.com/disneysmulan Instagram: https://instagram.com/mulan YouTube: https://youtube.com/disneymovietrailers Hashtag: #Mulan

Black Widow Trailer Reaction

Oh Natasha.  The original female Avenger is finally getting her own movie!  Black Widow is set to be released by Marvel Studios in May 2020 and the trailer is nothing short of action packed - with a dose of wit and humor we expect from the MCU.  Let's watch it together.



So what do you think? I can't wait to find out more about Black Widow before she was Black Widow.  Scarlett Johansson is back in the role we all know and love.  In the trailer, we also meet David Harbour's character, Red Guardian.  Who is he to Natasha?  I don't know about you, but I think his costume resembles Captain America a bit.  Her "family" seems, well. . .interesting.  I know we'll be heading to theaters with some of our Avengers loving friends when this hits theaters.  Until then, check out my reviews of previous Marvel movies here and follow along with Black Widow on social media below.




#BlackWidow

Will There Be a Frozen 3?

The release of Frozen 2 has answered many questions for fans of the first film and has taken the box office by storm.  One of the lingering questions though that Frozen fans continue to ask is - will there be a Frozen 3???  Well, I don't know about that, but I do know that there are still more questions I have and more stories I want to see told from the Kingdom of Arendelle.  I'm going to keep this post as spoiler free as I can, but I do caution that there are some mild spoilers ahead so if you haven't seen Frozen 2 yet, you may want to hang on and read this after your visit to the movies.

Love Story of Anna & Elsa's Parents - In Frozen 2 we learn a lot more about Anna and Elsa's parents.  We find out how they first met and then what happened on that voyage that ultimately cost them their lives.  But I feel like there is still more I want to know about these two.   What was their love story like?  How did they go from little kids to adults who fell in love with one another?  We see their mother rescue their father and then they land in a wagon together, but we don't know how her sudden appearance in Arendelle is explained and how she grows up as an orphan in a strange land.  And after they fall in love and give birth to their first child, life only gets more complicated.  When did they first realize Elsa had powers and what did they make of this discovery?  It seems that magic and adventure is a part of this love story from the beginning and I think it would be a great tale to explore.

Kristoff's Backstory - Can we all just agree right now that Kristoff is simply amazing?  He is everything a woman would want - rugged mountain man with a heart of gold that wears his emotions on his sleeves.  I mean, that power ballad, says it all.  So where did he come from?  When we meet young Kristoff in Frozen, he is in the woods with his favorite reindeer friend, Sven.  They follow the King and Queen into the woods to seek the wisdom of the trolls and obviously end up becoming "family" with them.  Where are Kristoff's parents?  What was it like to be raised by the trolls?  I don't think I'm alone in wanting more Kristoff - especially if it involves more 80s musical numbers, right??

Anna and Kristoff's Wedding - Forget the royal weddings of Charles and Diana or Will and Kate, THIS would be the royal wedding event of all time.  Anna and Kristoff have a love that is pure and sweet.  They are both a bit clumsy from time to time (Kristoff's attempts to propose in Frozen 2 had me cracking up!) and have a way of bringing humor to every situation they touch.  This special event would be the perfect show!  What would the bride wear?  How about Sven and Olaf?  They would obviously be involved in the wedding party - maybe loosing the rings sometime before the ceremony??  I could write this script in about an hour if you're out there listening Disney - it practically writes itself!


via GIPHY

So whether Frozen 3 is in the works as a major movie event remains to be seen, but with the new streaming service of Disney+ already a resounding success, Disney has yet another platform to tell more Frozen stories.  I'm hoping there is more in the works and I bet I'm not along in that desire.  So Disney, if you're out there listening, please give us more Frozen in the years to come!  Love, the loyal citizens and fans of Arendelle!

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Movie Clip Reaction

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is set to hit theaters on December 20, 2019 and excited fans are counting down the days until we once again can travel into galaxy far, far away.  I've been enjoying rewatching the whole saga on Disney+ these past few weeks with my oldest son as we count down the days until the final chapter in the Skywalker saga is revealed.  I was so excited to hear a new movie clip was released and couldn't wait to get home from work and watch it with Brody.  Check out our reaction!



When we combine this with the trailers we have already seen and the special look from D23 Expo this summer, it's easy to see that we are in for an epic finale.  In this latest clip I'm less confused then in the footage from D23 where Dark Rey threw all of us for a loop.  So what do you think?  Who else is excited by this clip?

In the meantime, make sure you are following all things Star Wars on social media for the latest news and updates!

Facebook - www.facebook.com/starwars

Instagram - www.instagram.com/starwars

Twitter - http://twitter.com/starwars

#TheRiseofSkywalker

The Call of the Wild Trailer Reaction

The first trailer for The Call of the Wild dropped and it offers us a glimpse into this latest interpretation of Jack London's classic story.  Honestly, this movie wasn't even on my radar screen, so I didn't know what to expect when I viewed the trailer today.  As soon as I saw the poster and the trailer began, I knew that having Harrison Ford involved in this project meant that it was going to be something that would pique my interest.  But will kids be interested?  Let's watch it together.



I'm excited to hear more about this film in the weeks and months ahead.  This first look at the trailer gives me a lot of hope for this film.  Harrison Ford seems poised to deliver a strong performance as always and the scenery has me wanting to plan my own trek into the Yukon.  My husband will enjoy the fact that it's set during the Gold Rush and my kids will fall instantly in love with Buck.  I hope that it delivers as a family friendly movie that elementary and up will enjoy when it releases in February 2020.

About The Call of the Wild


Adapted from the beloved literary classic, 20th Century Fox’s THE CALL OF THE WILD vividly brings to the screen the story of Buck, a big-hearted dog whose blissful domestic life is turned upside down when he is suddenly uprooted from his California home and transplanted to the exotic wilds of the Alaskan Yukon during the Gold Rush of the 1890s. As the newest rookie on a mail delivery dog sled team--and later its leader--Buck experiences the adventure of a lifetime, ultimately finding his true place in the world and becoming his own master. 
 
As a live-action/animation hybrid, THE CALL OF THE WILD employs cutting edge visual effects and animation technology in order to render the animals in the film as fully photorealistic--and emotionally authentic--characters. Directed by Chris Sanders from a screenplay by Michael Green, based on the novel by Jack London, the film was produced by Erwin Stoff, with Diana Pokorny serving as executive producer and Ryan Stafford as co-producer and visual effects producer. THE CALL OF THE WILD stars Harrison Ford, Dan Stevens, Omar Sy, Karen Gillan, Bradley Whitford and Colin Woodell.

Facebook - www.facebook.com/callofthewildmovie
Instagram - www.instagram.com/callofthewild
#CalloftheWild

Give the Gift of a Family Vacation!

This holiday season, why not give the gift of a family vacation to the ones you love?  What better way is there to celebrate the season then creating family memories that will last a lifetime?? You've heard me share about the specials my friends at Get Away Today have had in the past, but Black Friday deals keep getting better and better!  Check out information below on specials for not only California, but Florida travel too.

Disneyland Travel - Get Away Today still has Adult's at Kid's prices on 3 day or longer tickets for Disneyland.  This is good on a variety of tickets including park hoppers or one park per day and can be used with or without MaxPass.  There are no blackout dates and they are good through the end of 2020!  Purchase your discount tickets to Disneyland Resort here.

Southern California Combo Ticket - Looking to plan a longer visit to Southern California?  You can combine the above Disneyland ticket deal with savings on other popular SoCal attractions like Universal Studios Hollywood and LEGOLAND, plus get an EXTRA combo discount to save even more on these tickets.  No promo code is required - you'll see the savings pile up in your cart! Check out the Southern California Combo savings here.

And For The East Coast - No need to fear!  We get included on the fun with this Black Friday Sale!  You can save an extra $10 off tickets for Florida attractions like Walt Disney World Resort, Universal Orlando, and SeaWorld Orlando off of the already discounted prices offered through Get Away Today.  Use code BLACKFRIDAYFL to access this savings.  For more on Florida deals, click here.

Don't forget to use my special code PIXIEDUST to save even more when you book a vacation package including tickets and hotel stay.  Visit soon though!  There is limited availability on some of these deals and they ALL expire on December 2nd!  Happy traveling my friends!

I'm an affiliate partner with Get Away Today.  That means that while you're saving money on some amazing vacations, I may also earn a small commission.