Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A Practically Perfect Review of Saving Mr. Banks!

Although I could not get out to see Saving Mr. Banks yet myself two of the great writers here on Picturing Disney have! So without any adieu here is there review! Spit spot!

Monique Garcia

Saving Mr. Banks is by far one of the best films I have seen come out of the Disney Studios. Such a big statement deserves an explanation.

I love Disney History. In history, there are good times and then there are dark times. Most people don’t want to know about the negative moments, instead they would rather focus themselves on the positive moments.  (Oddly enough, they turn out to be especially great stories.) Without giving too much away, The Disney Company History is full of failures and triumphs. This film shows that not everything created by Disney is made under rose-colored glasses. Instead, they are truthful to the good, ugly, and practically impossible. The roles are extremely well played and scenes are thoughtfully framed.

From Left to Right: Gus(My Husband), Krystal, Celine (my sisters), Mom, and I.

This time around, I took my family out to see the film. Mary Poppins is a family favorite and I think we all came out of the film singing “Let’s Go Fly A Kite”. We weren’t the only ones, that’s for sure. Go see this spectacular film while you still can.

Judy Dulberg

My two cents on Saving Mr. Banks - P.L. Travers: 

[On Walt Disney adapting Mary Poppins] “I know what he's going to do to her. She'll be cavorting, and twinkling.” 

Right you were Mrs. Travers, but she’s made millions of children and adults happy in the process. Saving Mr. Banks shows us what we all knew about Disney, his characters, movies and theme parks, but we forget as soon as we walk through the gates – everyone has a tragic side. Everyone experiences disappointment – sometimes of epic proportion. Now we see that Disney has set out to create a counterbalance and it takes the form of “the happiest place on earth.” There are those who may not understand it, and those who may not believe in it, but for those of us who do – there is always the promise of magic on the other side of tragic.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Part Three 2006: Dine Around the World

After the day was done we went right over to MGM Studios for our dinner at the Sci Fi Dine In and then to the Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights.  It was a spectacle to say the least.  Like Clark Griswold had decorated the whole street with Christmas Lights.  It was amazing, fake snow, Sinatra Christmas music on, like a fairy tale.  We called our parents to tell them about it and say “I love you.” I can still feel the amazement in my chest when I think about it and can’t wait to head back for this season again!

We were pumped so he headed to Downtown Disney to do some shopping.  We browsed and shopped and grabbed a drink and snack or three while we walked.  We headed back to the room around midnight and decided not to set the alarm.  Not that it mattered because we were having so much fun we were up before 8am to grab ahold of more adventures!

We headed back to Magic Kingdom this morning and got to catch Cinderellabration.  If you missed this stage show it ran fron 2005-2006 during the “Happiest Celebration on Earth” promotion which celebrated Disneyland’s 50th anniversary.  Different attractions and shows made there way all through the worlds Disney Parks.  This is my favorite of all the Magic Kingdom stage shows I have seen and I took enough pictures you could probably make a flip book!

Afterwards we hit Fantasyland and Tomorrowland again as well as another stop in Toon Town.  This was my first ride on the Mad Hatter’s Tea Cups and on Dumbo! We ended up lunching in Frontierland because Rob is a Pecos Bill addict, and then took the monorail over to Epcot.  We walked over through Innoventions and got our Disney Cardmember Photopass picture and certificate, then we explored the Seas a little.  Next up was World Showcase dinner #4 at Rose and Crown in the UK.  We were seated outside but it was closed in and some heat lamps were on to keep warm, although it wasn’t all that cold outside.  We walked around World Showcase after dinner and watched Illuminations before making our way back to the resort.

Our next started at MGM, where we walked the shops, met Baloo, and saw some of the attractions we had missed like One Man’s Dream, Voyage of the Little Mermaid, and took another ride on Great Movie Ride.  We were so intrigued by World Showcase as we had made our way to and from our dinners that we decided to head to our 5th World Showcase dinner of the trip nice and early so we could see the pavilion in the light of day instead of after dusk. 

World Showcase dinner five was at Teppanyaki (which is now Teppan Edo).  We love the Japan pavilion and loved our meal here.  This is not typical hibachi by any means.  I highly recommended it then and still do! After dinner we made our way out to the buses and headed back to MGM for Fantasmic!

Our final day before hitting the beach (we spent a long weeked at my grandparent’s condo on Anna Maria Island after our Disney World stay) we had plans for a character dinner at Garden Grill.  We decided to split the day between our two favorite parks: Magic Kingdom and Epcot.  We slowly took in the scenary and took lots of pictures as we headed up Main Street USA and rode all of our favorite one last time before heading via the monorail into Epcot. 

We loved our meal in The Land and managed to ride Soarin’ a couple more times and hit some other Epcot favorites before we had to head out.  But we already knew we weren’t saying goodbye, just “See ya real soon!”

Part Two 2006: I heart Cinderella's Castle

After we left the resort for the first time we headed to Epcot.  It was amazing to say the least.  We stopped in awe to look at Spaceship Earth.  We had a dinner reservation for Akershus so we headed right over.  I thought I would be weirded out by a real person “playing” princess but I nearly gasped when I saw my very favorite staring back at me- it was Belle.  We were in Disney World actually eating with the princesses.  Could it get any better than this?  Little did I know what lay ahead of me the following day.

As a tween I had never realized that the reason all of my favorite TGIF shows on the ABC Friday night line-up had gone off to Disney World because, in fact, Disney owned ABC and was using it as a marketing ploy.  And so when I first walked through the gates at Magic Kingdom I did, feel some strange sense of nostalgia.  I remembered when Michelle Tanner cut Stephanie in line and became princess for a day (when the hug music came on Michelle offered Stephanie her crown and there were two princesses for the parade), I remembered DJ picturing her boyfriend Steve as Indiana Jones, and I pictures Steve Urkel and Laura Winslow getting married. 

It did not take long for me to get out of the realm of 80s sitcoms and realize that I was in Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom.  It was the best day of my life besides getting married and my niece being born and all that.  So what did we do?  We took pictures all the way up to the castle (together, of each other and of the castle itself) and then we headed to Fantasyland.  My first ride was Peter Pan’s Flight.  After that we made our way around the area and headed out towards the castle.  We ended up in Adventureland and headed up, eating at Pecos Bill’s for lunch.  After lunch we went back onto Main Street, towards the entrance and hopped the train to see Mickey and Minnie’s houses.  After all was said and done we headed to the Tomorrowland entrance to view the Parade (again I thought of Full House).  Once it ended we went for Stitch’s Great Escape and made our way through the other Tomorrowland rides that interested us. 

Next it was off to Epcot for dinner.  World Showcase meal #2 was Restaurant Marrakesh in Moracco.  Then we made a pitstop at the hotel for sweaters and made it back to Magic Kingdom in time for Spectromagic and Wishes.  I must say, back to the TV references.  Spectromagic was incredible and I am so glad I got to see it so many times before the switch back to Electric Light Parade. 

Neither of us knew what to expect when it came to the last two parks.  Rob had been to Disney once, Animal Kingdom wasn’t built yet and MGM wasn’t something he remembered well since he had been 7.  When we got to MGM we promptly bought “ears” from a vendor- mine like Stitch, his like Sorcerer Mickey.  Then it was straight up Hollywood Boulevard and around the corner to check the times for Indiana Jones and try out Star Tours.   While we waited for Indy we wandered around close by and were able to see MuppetVision and get some pictures with characters.  After we saw Indy which was all I had expected and more, we headed towards Mickey Avenue to check out all the animated stuff, we hit up Magic of Animation but somehow skipped the Animation Academy (my first time was February 2011).  For lunch we opted for lunch at ABC Commisionary but not before we tried the Great Movie Ride.  After lunch we wandered some more, missed the parade, and hopped on a couple more rides.

The last ride was the best.  My boyfriend (now husband) does not like rollercoasters, nay, he hates them.  I promptly lied to him and told him that the Rock’n Rollercoaster wasn’t so bad.  He asked if it was inside- I lied and said that it was just a wall and he asked if there were loops and I said no way.  I am lucky he was such a good sport.  That and the fact that he couldn’t stop laughing when he heard Steven Tyler yelling “Threee, Twooo, Oneeee” before we were off.  It was a great end to a long day at the park so we grabbed some mickey-shaped ice cream pops on the way out. 

Next stop was our World Showcase Dinner #3- Mexico.  This was by far our favorite of the all the World Showcases that we had eaten at.  And afterwards we grabbed another quick Margarita at the stand outside.  Oh, and I can’t forget that we fast passes Soarin’ on our way in and got to go ride it on the way out- it was AMAZING and still one of our favorites!

The next morning, we went to Animal Kingdom.  My excitement the last few days had caught up with me.  I had been up at 5am for Magic Kingdom and around 6 for MGM… I couldn’t help it my body just woke me up at that time.  I was tired.  We got up closer to 7:30 and made our way to the food court and then the park.  Animal Kingdom was great for a day when we had woken up tired.  We made our way through the Oasis nice and slow watching and taking pictures of all the animals.  I must say we didn’t accomplish quite as much here as the other parks since we were both tired and not as interested.  We skipped Dinoland all together and spent the day doing Maharajah Jungle Trek, Kilimanjaro Sarafis, Pangani Forest Exploration and eating at the Flame Tree BBQ for lunch.

Part One 2006: Thanks, Marc Summers!

This original trip report was one of the first things I posted prior to ever being a Disney Blogger.  I used to be a very active member of both the DisBoards, and the Passporter forums.  I have not updated these at all just converted them for blogger! Enjoy! :)

I have always loved Disney.  My parents always thought it was cute and my sister and brother thought it a little annoying.  But I didn’t care. I didn’t care when I was 10 and clipped a special edition “Beauty and the Beast” comic out of the newspaper for 4 weeks before Christmas. I didn’t care when I was 15 and forced my friends to go see the newest animated classics on opening night in the movie theatre. And I certainly didn’t mind when I was 20 and having my boyfriend buy me every Lumpy (from Pooh’s Heffalump Movie) stuftee as they came out in the Disney Store. And for the most part no one seemed to mind the hobby either. I have no regrets about my childhood.  I never went to Disney World.  That didn’t make me a better person or a worse one.  I got to go to Florida and to Sea World and on many other vacations to Hershey Park and the Jersey Shore.  And whether I was 4 or 14 I had always known I was lucky to be able to vacation at all.  I knew that some people had never been on vacation and I was brought up kind, appreciative, and generous.  My family is beyond wonderful.  There was never a time in my life that I felt unloved or unwanted. 

When my now husband and I had talked about Disney it had always seemed far off.  We met in high school and I had four tedious years of college (commuting and working when I wasn’t in class).  Then, after talking with some friends I planted the seed in his head, I would be graduating in December 2005 and so we should go to celebrate after Christmas.  We talked with friends who had been and the seed started to grow into a real plan.  Then, on Food Network there was an “Unwrapped” special on Disney food and after a few minutes of the mouth-watering goodies he was hooked.  I can still remember all my excitement.  My first plane ride.  My first trip to Walt Disney World.  Cinderella’s Castle here I come. 

We booked through a Travel Agent and I started hourding my Disney Dream Rewards dollars from my Visa. I bought all the guides I could get my hands on, scoured the internet, and asked for a Christmas filled with Disney Dollars that year.  Before I knew it the time had come!  It was hailing when we got to LaGuardia airport in New York City on the morning of January 2nd.  Or sleeting.  Or maybe it was freezing rain.  All I know is that I had little scratches on my face from the walk inside from the car.  My parents had volunteered to drop us off, and it was my first plane ride.  I was so excited I couldn’t possibly have been nervous.  I promised my mom I would call her when we landed and kissed and told both my mom and dad that I loved them. 

Our journey had begun.  We boarded our plane- a Delta Song- and spent the whole trip charting our progress on the little map on the screens in the headrests. When we got off the plane we didn’t have to worry about luggage because we had opted for Disney’s Magical Express.  We used the restrooms and followed the signs.  Then I saw it.  A huge white glove waving me on.  The castmembers all had Mickey hands and I felt my heart skip a beat.

We boarded the bus and took the ride which seemed to be lasting forever.  When we made it to All Star Movies I was so excited I am surprised I didn’t pee a little. I felt like a kid.  We took off our jackets since it was a very warm January and headed to the front desk.   We were quickly checked in and off to our room. It was in the Herbie section which is pretty much at the heart of the resort as you had to walk past the Fantasia buildings and pool and of course the Winner’s Circle to get there.  We put down our carry-ons and walked the resort to take some pictures before heading to Epcot.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Happy New Year! LeSportSac Celebrate Minnie Giveaway!

Disney and LeSportSac collaborations may be my favorite in recent years! I can't rave about the quality of LeSportSac enough (don't believe me check out the posts here, herehere, and even here!) and obviously teaming up with Disney is a match made in heaven for me! After the It's a Small World collaboration ended we get a little look at Minnie Mouse through the years with the "Celebrate Minnie" print! What better way to ring in a new year than with a great giveaway? Check out my review and then enter below!

I was lucky enough to be sent a few items to review and even a great cosmetic bag to giveaway! I got to try out the Small Cleo Crossbody (9 x 9 x 4.5 in and $64) which is, in my opinion, one of the most perfect park bags ever for Disney parkgoers and for anywhere you are headed.  Great size- not too big or too small and has both zip and open exterior pockets to tuck things away safely and for easy access!

Zipped main closure
Pink Lining
Exterior front zipper pocket
Exterior back open pocket
Adjustable shoulder strap (Max. 50in / 127cm)
Interior signature zip/open pocket

I also got to check out the Rectangular Cosmetic Bag (3.5 x 6.75 x 2 in and $25) which I have given away in the past but never used one.  I adore this cosmetic bag because it keeps its nice squared shape because of the zipper which is great for keeping mascara, lip glosses, eyeliners and other pen shaped items (I was actually thinking about using this as a pencil case for all my teacher supplies)! 

The third  bag I got to check out is the Deluxe Shoulder Satchel (7.5 x 11.75 x 5 in and $82).  This bag is also fabulous with a shoulder strap that can adjust to be crossbody on my people as well as more space and pockets than the squared Cleo bag (the Satchel has more of a rectangle shape and more pockets plus mine came with a zip closure matching pouch)!

Zipped main closure
Exterior front open pocket
Exterior front pocket with zipped closure
Exterior back pocket with zipped closure
Two exterior open side pockets
Adjustable shoulder strap (Max. 60in / 152.40cm)
Interior pocket with zipped closure
Includes matching pouch with zipped closure
A chance to win your own from Picturing Disney!

The amazing Celebrate Minnie print is available to purchase now and comes in EIGHTEEN different styles! While you try to decide which style is right for you complete the rafflecopter below for your chance to win the Deluxe Shoulder Satchel from this review! 

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Italy Pavilion: The Ziti Sisters

While on your trip to either Disneyland or Walt Disney World, do you ever get the feeling that while you run over to the next attraction, you are missing out on something that is happening right in front of you?

I get that same feeling while my husband and I are in the park. However, during our Honeymoon was one of the first times we got to catch these precious moments of entertainment known as Streetmosphere. Streetmosphere is brief moments in the park where performers make magic happen and are then gone in the blink of an eye. 

While walking into the Italy Pavilion at EPCOT, we noticed a small crowd gathering as 5 women in red appeared calling guests to join them. While I don't want to give too much away, we came to learn that these were the Ziti Sisters. Each one represented an aspect of the Italian Culture. To say the least it was very original and full of humorous, sweet moments. Check out some photos from the performance and see for yourself. You may see a familiar face or two. ;)