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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

Coco Movie Premier Review

Published November 22, 2017 by ltdjosh

I received a free movie preview in exchange for writing a review on this blog.

Last week, we were treated to our sneak preview premier of the newest Disney-Pixar movie, Coco. This is my humble review of the movie. I promise this will be a spoiler free review.

The first thing I can say is that you simply HAVE to go see this movie if you enjoy any kind of good movies. From the moment I saw the first artwork, I was drawn in to this colorful and magical world. Once the previews and teaser trailers started coming out, I got even more excited about the movie. However, I was not even prepared for how amazing and well thought out this movie is. So what exactly is the premise of Coco, you might ask?

Well, this movie focuses on the family celebration of Dia De Los Muertos, or the Day Of The Dead. This celebration is a time where families lay out altars, or “ofrendas” filled with pictures of relatives that have passed on along with the family members’ favorite foods. This celebration is one time of the year, it is said, that the passed on may cross the universe and return (in spirit) to the living world and be with their families. The movie focuses on the Rivera family, specifically young Miguel, as he fights his family for his right to be a musician instead of a shoe maker like the rest of the family. His family is against his decision because of an event that happens years ago, but Miguel is determined to be a musician, even if he has to do it behind his family’s backs.

Through a series of comical events, Miguel comes face to face with his family on the “other side” and has to find his way back to the living world before the end of Dia De Los Muertos. However, along the journey of getting back, Miguel discovers that things are not always as they seem, including his family’s history. Finally faced with the truth, he must make a decision that could potentially change his life. Where will this decision take him? Well, for that answer, you must watch the movie, but I guarantee that it will leave you breathless with laughter and leave you with  a deeper appreciation for, and better understanding of, the amazing culture of Mexico and Dia De Los Muertos.

There’s also another thing in this movie that followers of Pixar Animation have come to expect and enjoy: the music and the characters. Music plays a very pivotal role in this movie, as has become a bit of custom for anything coming out of the studio, and I have to say that the music in this movie is every bit as good as the music from Frozen (sorry Kristen and Idina). I use this reference because the people behind some of the most memorable music in this movie are the same team from Frozen: husband wife team Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez. The music is just as catchy to me, and I look forward to hearing more from this talented duo. And the characters in this movie are so relatable. Whether you identify with Miguel’s Abuelita, a stern (at first) guardian of the family traditions who in the end just wants what’s best for her family, his Mama Imelda, who was so shaken by the departure of her husband that she bans music in the family forever (again, to protect her family), or Miguel himself, your sure to find a character to suit your fancy in this film, and leave wanting to know more about this amazing family.

To find tickets, just go to http://movies.disney.com/coco. I promise you won’t be disappointed by this amazing movie, and honestly believe that you’ll want to take your family back again and again.

Disclaimer: I received complimentary movie tickets in exchange for writing this review. This did not influence my opinion and all thoughts are my own.

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

Photo & Video Review!! Visit Morimoto Asia and Vivoli with Us!

Published September 1, 2016 by Heidi Strawser

Did you know you can take a summer stroll and get some quick bites at two new places in Disney Springs – on the go? Why cut into your shopping time when you can grab and go at Morimoto Asia and Vivoli?

Krista recently had the opportunity to visit both of these new places and learn more about them as part of a media tour called #SummerStroll. We’d like to take you on a Photo & Video tour – too bad we can’t provide taste testing as well.

Morimoto Asia

Vivoli

Looks delicious, right? Will you be trying either of these places on your next visit to Disney Springs?

Skipper Canteen review, new technology at Small World and more ‪Disney‬ news!

Published March 10, 2016 by Disneyways.com

March 9, 2016 at 7pm Eastern we did a live facebook broadcast that included thoughts and feelings on my first visit to the new Skipper Canteen restaurant in Adventureland! We also discussed the new technology at the It’s a Small World Attraction and so much more! Click HERE to see the video with all the links and comments attached. Thanks to everyone who tuned in live. See you next Tuesday at 7pm on Facebook!

Dining Review: The LakeHouse at Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress

Published February 24, 2016 by Disneyways.com

The next time you are in the Walt Disney World area and need a refreshing break from the Parks – we hope you will consider dining at the newly opened LakeHouse at Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress! It is super close to Disney Springs. They specialize in highlighting healthy, locally-sourced, farm-to-table cuisine. You do not have to be staying overnight at the Hyatt to enjoy this restaurant – and you can stop in any day of the year.

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When you enter this glorious space you will realize quickly that the $2.8 million redesign was a wise investment on the part of this resort. During the daytime you are immediately surrounded with light, and the vibrant setting is also very lovely in the evening. The vibe is totally modern and sleek – yet you will still feel very cozy and welcomed at the same time. Just look at this lovely booth where they seated us!

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Chef Max visited with us once we were seated to introduce us to the menu. There was a wide variety of dishes from appetizers, soups & salads, entrees & desserts! There were even several vegan and gluten free options for my friend and dining companion – the fabulous Sarah Norris of Gluten Free Diary Free WDW!

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There is a full bar available too, so we kicked it all off with sipping on some cocktails to get the full experience. Everything we tried was wonderful and The LakeHouse version of the Moscow Mule had a nice presentation in a copper mug.

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I’m not usually a sushi person but the Rainbow Roll and the Caterpillar Roll were gorgeously presented and I am so glad I gave them both a try. We went back and forth trying to decide which was our favorite, as they were both so delicious and fresh!

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Next came the appetizer course. Chef Max and the team brought out Grilled Shrimp Cocktail and French Onion Fondue. Both sounded great but to actually taste them – was incredible. If you’re a fan of shrimp like I am, you will enjoy the grilled shrimp cocktail served with Bloody Mary Cocktail Sauce, shaved horseradish (which added a unique twist), and sliced cucumber. The shrimp was perfectly grilled and was complimented with the Bloody Mary Cocktail Sauce. I loved this unique take on one of my traditionally favorite appetizers.

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The French onion fondue was also a highlight of the evening. Served with warm bread, this rich and decadent fondue combined everything I love about French onion soup in one dish. Warm gooey, savory and even a little sweet – I found it hard not to eat every bite of it! The little cast iron skillet was adorable too.

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For our soup and salad course, our group sampled the Warm Spinach Salad, the Salad Bowl, and the Manhattan Style Shrimp Chowder. Both salads were big hits, and if you’re a beet fan, you’ll love the warm spinach salad served with golden beets.

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If you enjoy a bit of texture in your salad, order the salad bowl with spicy pecans, pecorino cheese, and figs.

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If soup is more your taste, the Manhattan Style Shrimp Chowder is a must order. Normally I enjoy a creamier based soup. But again the LakeHouse rocked my world with this one. It had a hint of spice, lots of shrimp, and before I knew it I had eaten the entire bowl. I will go back just to order this soup alone!

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For entrees, Chef Max brought out 4 dishes. First, the Cauliflower Steak – featuring fresh grilled vegetables and a sun-dried tomato vinaigrette. The grilled cauliflower had tons of flavor, making it the star of this dish. Chef Max noted that you can add chicken or steak to this dish for some added protein.

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The second gluten free entrée was the KC Bone In Strip Steak served with steak fries, grilled tomato, and watercress salad. The steak was expertly cooked and very flavorful.

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My favorite entree of the evening was the filet mignon with herb bread pudding, red wine sauce, mushrooms, and asparagus. The herb bread pudding reminded me of my Mom’s homemade stuffing. Dipping it in the red wine sauce was especially divine. The mushrooms had a delightful meaty flavor and I have never had asparagus that tasted so delicious before. The star of course, was the filet. We cut it with a fork – and the incredible flavor was like a party in my mouth.

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Normally I am not one to order fish – but even I had to admit – another highlight of the entrees was the Sea Bass in citrus butter and served on lemongrass orzo. Everyone agreed the fish was beautifully cooked. There was a very light crunch on the outside and the flaky white fish inside was beautiful, moist and savory. The citrus butter sauce was delightful.

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Finally, Chef Max served a variety of desserts that included: Hot Roasted Apple Tart, Key Lime Cheesecake, Peanut Butter Brownie Sundae, Sticky Toffee Date & Fig Bread Pudding, and Classic Double Fudge Cake. Save room for dessert – you will not want to miss this. Everything we tasted seemed better than the last!

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Overall, those visiting the LakeHouse will find the food delightful and delicious and the ambiance inviting. We loved sipping drinks, enjoying our dinner, and looking at the views of the lake. We timed it just right and got to enjoy a perfect Florida sunset. We hope you’ll give it a try. While you are there say hello to the little pink flamingo for me.

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We can’t wait to go back to the LakeHouse again for another delicious meal and thank the LakeHouse at the Hyatt Grand Cypress for inviting us to experience all that the newly opened restaurant has to offer.

**Disclaimer: The LakeHouse at the Hyatt Grand Cypress invited the team and I to enjoy dinner at no cost to us. This did not influence my honest opinion.

Enchanted Beauty Box Review by Guest Author Chris Frantz

Published January 17, 2016 by cfrantz323

When the team here at Disneyways offered me the chance to review the “The Force is Fierce” beauty box from Enchanted Beauty’s subscription service, it took all I had to respond in an adult fashion and not give in my baser instincts (ie, repeatedly shouting “GIMME” like a toddler…okay, fine, I may have yelled that as I typed something slightly more professional). As a lifelong Star Wars fanatic and full-time magpie (my husband jokes nothing that sparkles in a mile radius misses out on my ogling), it couldn’t be more tailored to my interests, and spoiler alert: I’m happy to say I wasn’t disappointed!

So, a little information about Enchanted Beauty: Per their website, it’s “a brand new Disney inspired monthly subscription box…to show off your Disney side, inner princess, Dark Side, theme park addict or even the villain inside of all of us!” Each month subscribers will receive “4 to 5 full-sized beauty products from well-known, popular, chic, and up-and-coming brands,” curated around each month’s specific theme. Subscribers pay $39.95 a month for their hand-picked packaged of goodies, including shipping (you’ll also receive tracking info on your package!).

boxOkay, now let’s get to the pretty, right? Right!

As a graphic designer I can’t help but take notes on visual presentation, and Enchanted Beauty scored high marks for starting the fun before I even opened the box with fun, poppy Star Wars tape securing the lid. Inside I found my treats cushioned in white, black, red and gold tissue – A+ color palette. My box’s theme was no doubt chosen to help celebrate the newly-released Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens, but there’s no shortage of nods to the classic movies too. I got a chance to talk to Stacey, founder of Enchanted Beauty, and she let me know subscribers received either a “Light Side” or “Dark Side;” mine was a mix of both. You can see the contents in my photo, but here’s a detailed listing of what I got, with my notes:

  • Hard Candy eye shadow (“Make Believe,” 261). Stacey let me know it was chosen “because it looks like a moon and of course we all know the famous quote ‘that’s no moon,’” but it gives me a definite Death Star vibe too!
  • An adorable, handmade resin Chewie and Han necklace. It’s kind of abstract and made to look like pop art, so you can pay tribute to our favorite Star Wars BFFs in subtle style.
  • A star bracelet. It’d also make a great, in-theme extender if you want to rock your Han and Chewie necklace a little longer!
  • Hand-crafted Swarovski black crystal stud earrings. They’re from Etsy shop Sparkle & Steel and not only are they a solid everyday earring (reminiscent of the inky depths of space and a perfect pairing with your coolest Star Wars tees) but the packaging is great – they inform me that “Sparkle you must!” NO ARGUMENT HERE.
  • Heng Fang Cosmetics “Twist Up the Volume” waterproof mascara. A good staple, but you might be pushing your luck wearing it to your third viewing of SWVII since just the credits give you nostalgic weepies – sorry, more a note to self?
  • CoverGirl Star Wars Limited Edition Colorlicious Lipstick (Red #30). A very fierce color from the Dark Side collection. I own more red lipsticks than could be considered necessary (or healthy), but I’ve still had my eye on this one since its release, so I was stoked to get it!
  • A super cute Darth Vader keychain. It’s also a flashlight that makes lightsaber noises. LIGHTSABER NOISES. COME ON.

Overall it’s clear real thought and time was put into this collection, and I think it’s quite cool that – unlike a lot of beauty boxes – you receive accessories, too, and from small shops and makers to boot. The website notes while they’re working toward providing customers a taste profile in the coming months, they currently try to “only include items that all of [their] subscribers are able to enjoy [and] steer away from choosing any items that are age-specific or skin-tone specific,” which I think they succeeded at here. With the variety of fun stuff you’ll receive, this would be a great box for a few Disney geek pals or families with several Disney lovers of different ages in the house to split – this month’s box would provide sweet accessories for the younger geeks and on trend makeup for teens and ladies alike. (And if there isn’t a fight over the keychain by all parties – I REPEAT: LIGHTSABER SOUNDS – then we come from very different households. Even our cats want in on that one!)

If the price gives you pause, check this out: you can use the code WELCOME2016 at checkout for 25% off! There are also several options to purchase (monthly, if you’re just sweet on a given theme; three month, six month and twelve months prepay). You can find out more here on Enchanted Beauty’s site, and you can follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest for all the latest on each month’s theme (next up is Frozen!), plus make up tips and more!

That’s all from me – thanks for the opportunity, Disneyways! (Don’t worry, readers – like the Force, the keychain will be with me. Always.)

Disclaimer: I was offered Enchanted Beauty’s subscription box for the month at no cost in exchange for my honest review. In communicating for this article I also struck up a business relationship with this business’s owner and will be creating marketing materials for them as a part of my graphic design business. This review was completed before this business relationship takes effect and does not influence my opinion in any way. All thoughts are my own.

 


Chris Frantz – seen here getting beauty tips from a fellow ginger – is a happily married mother of three furry “kids,” lifelong nerd and Walt Disney World fanatic. She’s also the graphic designer and owner of On A Roll Designs. She’d consider letting you play with the flashlight if you like her on Facebook and swing by her Etsy store to see how she can help you put your best aesthetic foot forward to commemorate special events and promote your blogs, shops, websites and small businesses with adventurous designs at affordable prices!

The Wisdom Of Walt Book Review

Published October 13, 2015 by ltdjosh

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Anyone that knows me knows that I’m very skeptical about “self-help” things. Anything proclaiming to help you achieve a greater level of success, wealth, fame, etc makes me want to cringe. So anytime I get a book to review that I define as a self-help type of book, I go at it with a raised eyebrow and, unfairly, a biased mind. However, this is the second book that I have reviewed in this category that has truly blown me away. The first was Joe Pardo’s “31 Life Changing Concepts” book (see my review here). The second is an amazing book by author Dr. Jeffrey A. Barnes entitled “The Wisdom Of Walt: Leadership Lessons From the Happiest Place on Earth”.

Obviously since I’m writing on a website titled Disneyways, I love all things Disney. This book really stood out to me simply based on the title. However, I had no idea just how amazing and life-changing it could really be. I’ve spent years learning and reading about Walt Disney’s life: how this determined young man from Kansas (and Missouri and Chicago and California) wouldn’t let anything stand in his way; how he fought through many obstacles to get where he was; how he turned hardships into life lessons. I honestly thought I had a pretty good impression of who Walt was until I read this book. Dr. Barnes delves so much deeper into Walt’s life and uncovers just some of what made Walt into Walt Disney. For instance, how he took his personal tragedies and turned them into professional successes. Each chapter of this book uncovers another little nugget of pure gold that can really help the reader accomplish his or her goals in a very realistic and easy to understand way.

The format of this book is very different from any other book I have read. In the introduction, Dr. Barnes lays out what he calls his “guidemap” explaining how the book works. Under the chapter title you will find a quote from Walt Disney, going back to the original source for the inspiration of that chapter. Second, you’ll find a story about Disneyland, taking it all back to where everything really began (and alluding to what Dr. Barnes was doing when he came up with the concept of this book: teaching a course on the History of Disneyland). Third, you have the actual lesson to be learned in that chapter. Fourth, you have what Dr. Barnes calls a “Souvenir Stop”. Much like leaving at the end of a long day at Disneyland, this is a time for you to gather a treasure to take home with you, always to remind you of your journey. And last, you have the hand stamp. Much like when you are visiting Disneyland and decide to head out for a bit, only to come back a the end of the day, the hand stamp shows where you have been and where you are going. Obviously, I don’t explain it nearly as well as Dr. Barnes does, but these are the essences of “The Wisdom of Walt”. The book isn’t simply a random collection of thoughts and principals, but something with great order and civility, something to inspire each and every person that enters into it, similar to Disneyland Park itself.

Some of the amazing life lessons that can be taken from this book and, indeed, from Walt’s life include: Sitting on a park bench, telling stories, building a berm, using forced perspective (my absolute favorite), creating e-ticket experiences, waiting in line, and having a next, always. No matter where you turn in this text, you are guaranteed to come away with something. And at the end of each chapter there are exercises designed to really make you think, rather than just simply reading and being complacent. These thoughts can be compiled in a list and set to the side to be browsed at your leisure and to remind you of your journey. This is definitely a book I will reference for years to come as I continue to ‘listen to your “walter” ego’. Thank you Dr. Barnes. And thank YOU Walt. For everything.

To purchase your copy of “The Wisdom Of Walt: Leadership Lessons From the Happiest Place on Earth”, click here.

To learn more about Dr. Jeffrey A. Barnes, author and speaker extraordinaire, click here.


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Joshua Snyder is an avid Disney fanatic. He recently moved back to Indiana after spending 2 years living his dream in Orlando, FL. When Josh isn’t dreaming about the parks, he’s helping people plan their dream vacations. As a Dream Designer with My Mickey Vacation, Josh loves helping people make their Disney dreams come true. He is also the senior writer and head of the writing team at Living The Dream Podcast. Josh can be reached at joshua.snyder@mymickeyvacation.com for travel agent inquiries, or at joshua.livingthedreampodcast@gmail.com for all other inquiries.

Portobello Italian Restaurant Disney Springs Review by guest author Sharon Judy

Published September 10, 2015 by Disneyways.com

Recently I enjoyed my first visit to Portobello at Disney Springs! It was my first time dining at this lovely little place. I was in the company of the Central Florida Lady Bloggers group.

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As we came through the door were  warmly greeted and offered a signature drink… Honey Lemonade. This is made with locally sourced honey from Winter Park Florida. I am here to tell you this was SO good. Usually I am not a fan of lemonade because of its tartness but THIS lemonade was so smooth and sweet that I had 2 glasses!  I asked our wonderful hostess Emily if you are able to get a to-go glass if you were just strolling by and did not have a dinner reservation. She said “absolutely just come on in!”

The smoky smell of this restaurant is wonderful. They make wood fired pizzas that are amazing. I sampled the Margarita Pizza and Mushroom Pizza. Both were very tasty and had that lovely smoky taste.

  
Next our hostess Kristy brought around Goat Cheese and Radicchio Crustinis. This was crunchy and savory and sweet all at the same time. They were so good that I actually I ended up eating 4 of these little Crustinis of goodness!! I probably would have eaten more but figured I really needed to share with the rest of our group.

We had a buffet of meats,cheeses and all the fixings. Can just I say… I didn’t want to stop eating?!

  
  
  
The food was so delicious and the level of customer service we experienced was top notch.

Portobello at Disney Springs – I look forward to visiting again soon!!!!

Disclaimer: In exchange for time and efforts in attending this event and reporting my opinion within this blog, Portobello Italian Restaurant provided me with complimentary food and drinks. This did not influence my opinion and all thoughts are my own.

A Note from Krista:
Sharon Judy is not only a regular contributor to Disneyways – she is also the official hair stylist of Living The Dream Podcast as well as WorldSecrets.TV and Disneyways.com! Sharon is a licensed cosmetologist by the State of Florida. She works in the Grand Floridian, Yacht and Beach Club, and other resorts on Disney property.  She has a magical, pixie-dusted touch that she carries into her own salon as well. Contact her today via her facebook page for a consultation and appointment!

Walt Life ~ Addiction Subscription Review! By Guest Author Terri Miller

Published June 27, 2015 by wdwhints

Introducing: Walt Life Addiction Subscription!

Everybody loves surprises! Especially surprises that come in boxes and you know some Disney magic is inside! From the Creators of Walt Life, I’d like to introduce you to the Walt Life Addiction Subscription!

How does it work? Well, you choose a subscription plan ($34.95/month), Walt Life goes shopping, and you receive a box full of Disney surprises!
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Addiction Subscription Review

We received the Summer Fun! box earlier this month. Included was a Mickey Mouse Popsicle Mold, an Ariel Travel Mug, and a Disney Trivia “Games on the Go” CD! All of it packed with party confetti to boot!

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The trivia CD is so much fun to listen to and try to be the first to shout out answers! It’s great for moms to ‘play’ with their kids while running errands. It would also be a great way to pass the time if you’re on a road trip!

The popsicle mold is fantastic. Just pour in your favorite juice, freeze, and you’ve got home-made popsicles! Kids love them… and grown-ups do too! (I found it’s easiest to pull the popsicles out of the mold if you let it sit outside of the freezer for about 5 minutes.)

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I found the Walt Life Addiction Subscription to be full of surprises that the whole family can enjoy! Except for the Ariel Mug… I claimed that all for myself. Shhhhh! It’s okay for adults to have their own fun, right?

It’s Even More Fun to GIVE than to Receive!!

What’s the best part about Walt Life’s Addiction Subscription? You can choose to purchase a Box to be sent to our Soldiers overseas! It’s a great way to let our American Heroes know that we’re thinking of them and wonderful way to thank them for their service to our Country!

Learn more about the Walt Life Addiction Subscription here! Join the Addiction Subscription Community on Facebook here.

Terri

Terri Miller is the founder of WDW Hints – where she and her team love to research the lesser known things about Walt Disney World and then share those finding with their readers! Feel free to visit the WDW Hints Facebook page and say Hello!

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