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Disney’s The Nutcracker and the Four Realms – Journey to the Four Realms: A Spoiler- Free Review by guest author Chrissy Lin

Published November 15, 2018 by Disneyways.com
Disney’s The Nutcracker and the Four Realms – Journey to the Four Realms: A Spoiler- Free Review by guest author Chrissy Lin
An age old tale about a Sugar Plum Fairy and a Nutcracker falling in love…or wait, was it an age old story about a little girl who dreams of her Christmas toys coming to life…or….oh dear…I have a confession to make–I’ve never seen the original Nut Cracker!
I don’t know anything about the story, and until I looked it up online, I really only had a vague idea of what it might, possibly, be about!  I know, I know, have I grown up under a rock?  It might seem like it!  But let me tell you, that did not matter one tiny bit as I sat mesmerized by Disney’s new “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms.”
Hear me for just a minute…
Sheer…Visual…Gorgeousness!!  
From the moment this delightful movie begins, you are thrown into a glittering world where heartbreaking reality meets a softer side of steampunk, culminating in a sweet story that has familiar elements and characters from the original Nutcracker story, without following that beloved story even one tiny bit.
I am a huge fan of several of the actors, most notably the amazing, talented, oh so epically regal, Helen Mirren, who played Mother Ginger.  Morgan Freeman was a delightful mixture of mystery and mischief in his role as Drosselmeyer, but it was my particular favorite, Matthew Macfadyen (with whom I fell in fan girl love when I saw him in Little Dorrit), who stole the show for me as Mr. Stahlbaum. His ability to convey deep emotion with just a soft catch in the back of his throat added depth and heartache in all the right places.  These three, along with strong performances from Jayden Fowora-Knight (Phillip the Nutcracker), Keira Knightley (Sugar Plum) and MacKenzie Foy (Clara), breathed new life into characters who have danced the same dance for more than 100 years.  Completely and utterly family friendly, there was only one PG word uttered, and only one or two moments with a PG scare.  I have a 5, 7, and 11 year old, and I wouldn’t hesitate to let any of them watch it.  In fact, I’m really looking forward to discussing the gorgeous and creative costumes with my eldest daughter.  Lead costume designer Jenny Beaven outdoes herself with exotic costumes that deserve a “nosed pressed to the screen,” loooonnnnnngggggggggg pause on your DVR to truly experience and appreciate her work.  Any aspiring costume designer would do well to take notice of all the little details she adds to make her outfits fantastically fantastical works of art. All in all, when you add up the NEW heart warming story line, the depth of feeling brought by the actors, and the glittering, high fantasy fashion of the costumes, you end up with a movie worth watching on the silver screen.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Chrissy Lin is a Senior Style Dots boutique partner, a wife, and a mother of three. Follow her on Facebook at  Chrissy Has Dots and join her VIP Style Dots FB group at  Chrissy‘s Dot VIPS!!!!! If you love jewelry or just love to buy gifts – check out a sparkly selection HERE.

 

 

A new music video featuring Andrea Bocelli and his 20-year-old son Matteo Bocelli singing the beautifully poignant “Fall on Me” from Disney’s “Nutcracker and the Four Realms” is now available.

Disney’s The Nutcracker and the Four Realms – Journey to the Four Realms Featurette

Disney’s “Nutcracker and the Four Realms” in theaters November 2, 2018.

Ant-Man and The Wasp – A Spoiler Free Movie Review! Written by Peter Alden Grigsby

Published July 5, 2018 by Disneyways.com

 

Ant-Man and The Wasp – A Spoiler Free Movie Review! Written by Peter Alden Grigsby

Ant-Man and The Wasp is the 20th movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The MCU has really evolved into a blockbuster franchise. I think that they have some really great movies, especially in their Phase 3 (2016-2018) “Spider-Man:  Homecoming” and “Dr. Strange” come to mind.  I was of two minds about seeing this film AFTER “Avengers:  Infinity War”.  The time-line of this film takes place after “Captain America: Civil War”, but before “Infinity War”  I wasn’t sure how it was going to play out after such a character changing movie, however, I was certainly ready for a ‘light-hearted’ superhero story!  Especially if the first “Ant-Man” was any indication!

Paul Rudd returns as Scott Lang (Ant-Man), and he is certainly growing into the role.  Since the first film, Scott is maturing as a man and a father.  This film’s open finds Scott under home confinement thanks to a plea deal he took for siding with Captain America in “Captain America: Civil War”.   The years of being under house arrest have driven Scott to find creative ways to entertain himself, and he is able to enjoy visits from his daughter Cassie.   His friend, former burglar, Luis (Michael Pena) is running a ‘security’ company now, with help from Scott at home.  Although Scott is nearing the end of his isolation he knows F.B.I. Agent Woo (Randall Park), is waiting for him to slip up in some way, and with a possible twenty year prison term in the balance, he is doing everything by-the-book.  Hope (Evangeline Lilly) and her father Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) are also angry with Scott because he took the Ant-Man suit and helped Captain America without their permission.  As fate would have it, a strange dream, involving Hope’s mother Janet (Michelle Pfieffer), causes Scott to contact Hope who in turn takes Scott along with her to get to the bottom of the dream. Scott is naturally reluctant as he is days away from freedom, and being discovered out and about and consorting with his wanted former associates would not be good for his eventual release. Adding to this already complicated situation, is a shady tech dealer named Sonny Burch (Walton Goggins) and a mysterious new adversary named “Ghost” (Hannah John-Kamen) who complicate matters and force Scott, Hope, and Hank to contend with issues all around them as they race against time on an urgent mission while trying to stay away from Agent Woo and his team.

The chemistry between Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lilly is great, and they work well off each other.  Both are fun to watch on-screen as they continue to bicker amongst themselves, all while trying to be a superhero team.  I have to say that I am surprised at how much I like Michael Douglas as Hank (the original Ant-Man).  He is fantastic as the father-figure/mentor that Scott and Hope need to finally become real partners, and friends.  He is definitely the ‘glue’ of the team!  Micheal Pena also reprises his role as Luis, and, in a film filled with some great comedic performances, still manages to steal many scenes!  Randall Park also manages to garner some laughs with his “Adam West-style” dead-pan delivery as straight laced Agent Woo.  Walton Goggins has perfected the ‘smarmy businessman/shady crook’ character over many years of work!  He is absolutely believable as this black-market tech dealer.  Hannah John-Kamen has the interesting task of introducing us to ‘Ghost’.  A character that first presents as an evil threat, but becomes more of a sympathetic/misunderstood character!  This leads me to my only real “problem” with this movie.  While both Goggins and John-Kamen do a nice job with their characters, they still come across as more “TV bad guys”!  Formidable to be sure, but still more like something ‘Daredevil’ or ‘Luke Cage’ might come up against in the Marvel TV Universe.  This is not a slight in any way to the characters, or actors, they just seem a bit out of place here.  Understandably,  it would be silly to pit Ant-Man against the likes of a ‘Loki’ or ‘Red Skull’, much less ‘Thanos’, however he does deserve to have a nemesis that requires a ‘super-powered’ hero.

That being said, this film is still great fun to watch, and it does have some great character moments as well as humor around the build-up to the action sequences. The action, and there is plenty of it, mixes some great visual FX with some humor (i.e. – as Hope and Scott are forced to jump between household and everyday items at various sizes to contend with the threats presented to them).  There are also some hilarious moments as Scott deals with various suit malfunctions that interfere with his actions.  Finally, as we’ve come to expect with MARVEL, there are some post credit scenes that, without giving anything away, help to tie this film into the MCU.  Make sure you stay all the way to the end!!  This film is an action packed thrill ride filled with fun characters, interesting story line, and fantastic performances by the actors!!  Put this one on your list!  It’s worth it!! 
**Please note that I was invited to a complimentary viewing of this movie on Monday July 2, 2018 so that I could bring you this review on behalf of Krista Joy at Disneyways.com. The free admission in no way influenced my review, and all opinions are my own.**

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Peter Alden Grigsby is a Florida native. Pete has appeared in an episode of the Mickey Mouse club, was a Jungle Cruise Skipper, “friend” of the Rocketeer, tram driver on the backlot tour, and opening day cast member at Disney’s Hollywood Studios (formerly MGM). When he’s not writing movie reviews, he is performing as a singer and tribute artist all over the world and currently has a cover album of Disney songs called Kingdom Classics

Meet Our Newest (and Youngest!) Guest Authors!

Published July 2, 2018 by Disneyways.com

We are always on the lookout for fantastic guest authors to add to our Disneyways.com family, and you know we only bring you the very best. Who better to write tips for traveling to Disney World with kids then…well…actual kid authors who love to write about traveling to Disney?! We are super excited to announce our partnership with Momosa Publishing to bring you super informative blog posts and articles from Austin Reich and Tyler Reich. Be on the lookout for a whole series of posts from the boys, coming to Disneyways! Check out the graphics below to read more about Austin and Tyler, and follow the whole series of books on Facebook!

Here is some of the media buzz that’s started The Adventures of Real Animals in the Most Magical Place on Earth, books written by Austin and Illustrated by Tyler (available for purchase on Amazon and everywhere books are sold!)

“The stories are cute and fun, but if you like some practical advice there’s plenty of that too.” ~ WDW Magazine

“Probably the coolest thing about these books is that they were “created by kids, for kids!” How many kids do you know have written, illustrated and published their own book series? Not many! Walt Disney said “If you can dream it, then you can do it” and that’s exactly what these brothers have done. They came up with an idea, and executed it all the way through publication and their books are available everywhere books are sold!” ~ WDW Hints

“Brothers Tyler Reich and Austin Reich noticed the cute little critters too – and this talented duo has begun making the sweetest storybooks about what our furry friends are up to at WDW.” ~ It’s a FanGirl World

“While entertaining, the story that Austin and Tyler have created can be used as another tool to help you teach your children about being aware of their surroundings and staying with the family.” ~ Enjoying The Days

Click HERE to buy The Adventures of the Rabbits in the Most Magical Place on Earth

Click HERE to buy The Adventures of the Squirrels in the Most Magical Place on Earth

Click HERE to buy The Adventures of the Lions in the Most Magical Place on Earth

*Disclaimer: These are NOT affiliate links! We do not get any percentage of the sales of these books. All opinions belong to the respective author.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 ~ A Review from Guest Author Peter Alden Grigsby

Published May 8, 2017 by Disneyways.com

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 ~ A Review from Guest Author Peter Alden Grigsby

Before we even get into the meat of this film, I have to say that I continue to be impressed with Marvel Studios, and the cinematic universe of superheroes that they are creating. When you bring so many comic heroes (Icons really) to life on the screen, at such a frantic pace, you certainly set yourself up for a BIG ‘letdown’ or quite frankly a bomb!! (Fan boys may remember a little gem from the eighties called “Howard The Duck” – Yikes!) However, I have to say that Marvel has done a fantastic job of avoiding the normal pitfalls, and has created for itself a nice little niche’ in cinematic history!

Like with any movie that is associated with Marvel Studios, “Guardians of the Galaxy! Vol. 2”, comes with much of the inherited “hype” and “excitement”. Director James Gunn, who is relatively unknown, has really made a name for himself directing both the previous “Guardians of the Galaxy” and a confirmed sequel to this installment. He could have relaxed and just coasted on the popularity of the characters, but instead he chose to take a bunch odd-ball misfits and create some depth.

From the very outset we were provided a little bit more on the history of Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) and exactly how he came about his existence. This opening scene sets that stage with Peter’s mother and his father. In the first film we got snatches of his story, and not really so much about him, but his relationship with his mother. She is the one who instilled in him his ethics, morals and musical tastes, thanks to some great ‘mix’ tapes she made for him with her favorite music. Because she was his only compass, when she was taken from him by Cancer, he immediately put her on a pedestal. He has spent his life not so much ‘searching’ for his father, just more or less wondering who he was. And where his place in the Galaxy was. As the movie advances, and we discover new details about Quills life we, along with him, get to understand what a ‘Father’ really is.

Immediately after that opening scene we flash forward to ‘current time’ and are thrusted straight into a familiar line-up and setting with fellow Guardians: Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax (Dave Bautista), Rocket (Bradley Cooper) and Baby Groot (Vin Diesel) joining Quill in tackling an inter-dimensional being, as their duty. However, unlike many action films, this battle is actually a ‘background’ to Baby Groot discovering Quills mix tape of 80’s classics. Accompanied by some soothing and scene setting music the battle takes place, mostly in the background, but the focus is not on the fight but rather refreshing the viewers on the character’s relationships and chemistry.

Throughout the movie we are re-acquainted with Nebula (Karen Gillan), who we learned was actually Gamora’s sister, and Yondu (Michael Rooker), the scavenger, thief we met in the first film, who actually has an interesting connection with Quill.
We are also greeted by cameo appearances from Kurt Russell appears as Quills long lost father, a character called Ego, who may or may not be the answer to his prayers. Sylvester Stallone also appears briefly as someone from Yondu’s past, but we may see more of him in future offerings. Gunn chose to include explaining the complex relationship that transpired between sisters Gamora and Nebula; foreshadowing a larger turn of events in Avengers: Infinity War (2018) perhaps? Time will tell, but nonetheless I appreciated that it was explained in more detail.

When creating a film that is based in such drama, there is a need to give the audience a break with some humor. The main crux of this, and there was a lot of it was included definitely at the right times. Drax and Mantis (played by Marvel newcomer Pom Klementieff) had an interesting connection as their characters were constantly in turmoil, but in a playful, and almost romantic way. Rocket and Quill clashing with one another made for good viewing. Almost like a Han Solo/Luke Skywalker relationship these two can’t seem to get out of each others way, which makes for some very funny moments. We get way more insight into Rocket as well. He’s still a colossal jerk, but we are given a bit more insight as to what may have led him to be that way. And, although he is gruff, there is a sentimentality to Rocket that makes him more much more ‘human’ than anyone could have thought. Baby Groot’s inclusion kind of brought the tension between the characters back and almost simplified what was going on, as from a child’s point of view.

The ‘final’ battle is the only place that was difficult for me. It took way too long, and was a bit too cerebral at times. Some of the things that happened took way to long to transpire, and it almost felt a little forced. After all, we had seen some incredible special effects up to this point. I have to say, that although I thought the end battle scene was too long, and a little contrived, it did provide some interesting comedic moments, including an homage to Mary Poppins!

After the movie reached its conclusion it was mind boggling to see so many people walking out upon the beginning of the credits! Another one of the amazing things that Marvel Studios has done, is that it has gotten most people (at least the fan boys) to stay for the final credits! In fact Marvel has almost become synonymous with an ‘extra’ scene at the end of the film. It amazes me still that I sometimes see people waiting through credits at the end of another movie, wondering if maybe other studios had gotten the idea of a way to keep people in their seats. Marvel, however, appreciates their post-production scenes and there were a massive 5 in this movie! That’s right folks, 5 different scenes including one interesting one that sets the scene for the next installment. All in all I found this film to be immensely entertaining and funny. It also takes some two-dimensional characters and gives you much more insight into why they do what they do! It is definitely a ‘big screen’ film, so see it in a theater soon!

**Please note that I was invited to a complimentary viewing of this movie on Tuesday May 2nd 2017 so that I could bring you this review on behalf of Krista Joy at Disneyways.com. The free admission in no way influenced my review, and all opinions are my own.**

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Peter Alden Grigsby is a Florida native. Pete has appeared in an episode of the Mickey Mouse club, was a Jungle Cruise Skipper, “friend” of the Rocketeer, tram driver on the backlot tour, and opening day cast member at Disney’s Hollywood Studios (formerly MGM). When he’s not writing movie reviews, he is performing as a singer and tribute artist all over the world and currently has a cover album of Disney songs called Kingdom Classics

5 Tips for Celebrating a Special Occasion at Walt Disney World ~ by Guest Author James Hare

Published January 26, 2017 by Disneyways.com

5 Tips for Celebrating a Special Occasion at Walt Disney World by Guest Author James Hare

According to the 2015 Global Attraction Attendance Report published annually by the Themed Entertainment Association, over 173 million people passed through the turnstiles at Disney Parks around the world. A lot of those people visited to celebrate a special occasion. Whether it’s a birthday or an anniversary, or even a family reunion, there is a lot of reasons to celebrate at Walt Disney World.

While there are no set rules about planning your special occasion at Disney World, you’ll want to remember these top 5 tips to get a head start on your celebration.

 

5. Grab some free celebration buttons

Over the years, Disney have given out free buttons for guests to wear while celebrating their special occasion.

Disney celebration buttons are completely free and can be picked up from many stores around Walt Disney World. However, your best bet for getting one is to visit the front desk at your resort hotel or Guest Services at any park.

The special events that you can currently get a celebration button for are:

  • Just Married
  • Happy Anniversary
  • Family Reunion
  • Just Engaged
  • 1st Visit
  • My Magical Triumph
  • Happily Ever After
  • I’m Celebrating [fill in the blank]
  • Happy Birthday.

One of the biggest reasons to wear a celebration button is that Cast Members at the parks will look out for them and wish you a “happy birthday” or congratulate you on your engagement. Although nothing is guaranteed, I have often received a complimentary cookie from certain vendors on my birthday. These buttons are certainly a must for your special occasion at Walt Disney World!

 

Image credit: Pexels

4. Note it on your reservations

Whenever you make a reservation for anything at Walt Disney World, have the Cast Member make a note about your special occasion. If you make a note of it on your resort hotel reservation, you may be surprised by balloons awaiting you when you check into your room. Likewise, if you let your server know that someone is celebrating their birthday, that person is very likely to be given a small complimentary dessert after their meal.

Walt used to call this “plussing” the guest experience. If you were impressed by a certain aspect of his park, he was always looking for ways to make it even better so that you return again and again.

 

3. Send flowers for a romantic occasion

A lot of people do not know this, but Disney actually have their own Floral Service.

If you’re celebrating a romantic occasion, such as a honeymoon or anniversary, you can purchase a beautiful arrangement of flowers for your sweetheart.

You can even set up a specific place on property for them to be delivered so that your significant other will not suspect a thing!

 

2. Host a birthday party with in-room celebrations

For guests celebrating a birthday at one of the many resort hotels, you can surprise your child with an in-room celebration.

The basic birthday package includes personalized Mickey Mouse ears, a chalkboard shaped like Mickey’s ears for them to write on, two Mickey & friends themed Happy Birthday balloons, a specialty cake plus tons of other goodies and treats.

There are more essential tips here that you’ll want to read if you are planning a birthday at Walt Disney World.

 

1. Make use of Disney’s Memory Maker

Memory Maker is a great add-on option for Disney’s PhotoPass.

For an additional fee, guests get a digital download of every single photo taken in the parks and on participating attractions. You will also get on-ride videos from rides such as the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and Tower of Terror. You are completely free to print the photos from home, or at a local printer, and you can also use the images on third party services (such as Shutterfly).

The thing that I enjoy most about Memory Maker is that it is a set it and forget it system. All you have to do is wear your Magic Band and the PhotoPass Cast Member will add all the photos and video directly to your account.

 

I want to hear from you!

Have you ever celebrated a special event at Walt Disney World? Share your experience, ask me a question, or just say “hey” in a comment below!

Alternatively, you can visit me on my blog at weloveorlandofl.com

James

Author Bio: James Hare is the owner of We Love Orlando – A website dedicated to providing the very best news and tips for visiting the Orlando theme parks and local area attractions.

The Best Walt Disney World Quick Service Restaurants…FROM THE EXPERTS!

Published October 22, 2016 by ltdjosh

Good morning everyone. In honor of EPCOT’s International Food & Wine Festival, we thought that we’d share an amazing article written by our very dear friend Karyn Locke from www.sandandorsnow.com. The title of the article is “The Best Walt Disney World Quick Service Restaurants From The Experts!” and showcases some of the most amazing quick service restaurants found on Walt Disney World property, from the mega-sized Restaurantosaurus at Disney’s Animal Kingdom (submitted by Terri Miller from WDWHints) to the simple yet delicious Earl Of Sandwich at Disney Springs (submitted by Tania Lamb at Lola Lambchops), you can find something for every appetite. And the best part? These are all submitted by experts in the area of WDW Quick Service dining locations…BLOGGERS! To check out this great article (and to get inspired to try new things while dining on the quick at Walt Disney World) head over to the article here. Thanks again for such a great article Karyn! We’ll see you all in the parks.

Disney World On A Budget – Guest Post by Krystel Seijo

Published April 19, 2016 by ltdjosh

Disney World On A Budget – Guest Post by Krystel Seijo

Three Money Saving Tips that will save you thousands off of your DISNEY VACATION

If you think the Disney Vacation you want is out of reach then think again.  This trip does not have to become a financial nightmare.  Use these tips to save money on your Disney Vacation.

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Tip #1 – There is more than the theme parks.

I know most of you are visiting Walt Disney World for the major theme parks.  I don’t blame you…we all do.  Keep in mind that the 4 main Disney World theme parks are the most expensive thing to do at Disney but not the only thing to do.

If you didn’t know already, going to Disney World is tiring.  You almost need a vacation from that vacation.  It doesn’t have to be though and that can be an approach that is better for your pocket, family, and sanity.   Here are some things that are free, easy, and fun.

  1. Disney Springs (Disney’s dining, shopping, and entertainment district) – Take a stroll through Disney Springs and do some window shopping. It is a totally different ambiance during the day and at night.
  2. Resort Hopping – It is “adventure” like to go exploring other resorts. You can couple that with a meal at a resort restaurant.
  3. Disney’s Boardwalk 

Tip #2 – Luxury Accommodation 35% off

Welcome to saving at least 35% off your room rate at Disney World.

Disney Vacation Club (DVC) is Disney’s version of a timeshare. You can find out more about that here.

You can occasionally rent DVC points for a one time use either from an individual owner or a store/brokerage.

I just priced out what it would cost to rent points and stay at the Boardwalk Villas studio for one week.  Here is what it would look like:

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This chart is from David’s Vacation Club Rentals which is a BBB Accredited company that helps connect DVC members, who are renting their points, with renters.

Here is what the price for the same room, same dates, looks like from Disney.

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Disney is expensive enough on its own. This tip will help you get the most bang for your buck.  If you are interested in renting DVC points I suggest reading this article.

#3 – Getting Around

I do not suggest renting a vehicle while at WDW.  You don’t need it.  While this tip is not going to save you thousands of dollars, it will save you hundreds and even better, a ton of effort.

Take advantage of Disney’s free transportation systems.

Use these options in any combination and stop worrying about rental fees, liability, tolls, gas etc.

  1. Disney’s Magical Express – Airport (MCO) transportation
  2. Uber – a non-metered, inexpensive taxi service
  3. Disney’s Transportation System – Bus, water taxi, and/or monorail transportation throughout WDW

Thanks for tuning into and visiting Disneyways.  What tricks/tips do you use to save money on your Disney vacation?

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Krystel Seijo is a Disney addict and DVC member who loves helping people get to the magic.  She is also the author of Disney World on a Budget eBook and founder of ConsideringDVC.com

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