Category Archives: Disney

Disney Movies Star Wars

Star Wars Movie order including Rogue One

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Star Wars movie viewing order… from a certain point of view.

As many Star Wars fans are anxiously awaiting, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story comes out on DVD and Blu-Ray today. A great first effort into the tales not involving a Skywalker and friends, it gives us a look into the bigger Star Wars universe, a universe many of us have played out in our minds with our beloved Kenner action figures.

However, being the first “standalone” film, the question is where it fits in the logical story order, and would it be a good film to introduce someone to Star Wars. For me and many or my friends, the Machete Order (link) is the new gold standard for watching the movies. For those unfamiliar, Machete starts with episode IV (Star Wars: A New Hope), followed by episode V (The Empire Strikes Back), II (Attack of the Clones), III (Revenge of the Sith), VI (Return of the Jedi), VII (The Force Awakens), etc. with episode I (The Phantom Menace) being able to be viewed at any point, or not at all. This viewing order makes the best sense, preserving the famous twist from episode V, while giving the plot points of the prequels a little more weight.

To fans, it’s simple: Rogue One belongs just before episode IV. The movie leads right into the opening scene of the 1977 classic and they tie together beautifully. It is also good enough to bring in new fans to what many of us loved when we first saw a Star Wars movie. But how about the non-Star Wars fan, or someone who has never seen the films before? I asked my buddy, Robert, that very question as he just introduce his friend, Lyra (name changed to protect the innocent), to the saga in the last couple weeks. This is what he found out.

First movie: Rogue One – A Star Wars Story

“First 30 minutes I found to be very confusing” says Lyra, echoing a critique even Star Wars heavies like Rob and myself have. “[But] the next hour and a half were very entertaining, and I knew what they were trying to do. It was very good and deeper than I imagined.” Mission accomplished, Rogue…Rogue one. But dat last scene, tho! “Then the last 2 minutes happened and I was as confused, or more confused than at the beginning.” Lyra had witnessed something Star Wars fans had been clamoring for since the announcement of the prequels, SPOILER ALERT, Vader goes Vader. Now to a non-fan whose first run is this movie, it seems to come out of nowhere. But after discussing it with Rob, that’s a good thing. “The confusion had her intrigued. She didn’t know who this guy was, why he was going crazy, and what the deal was with the ‘light sword’. From that point on she wanted to see more.” And there is no better feeling than hooking in someone new. Onto the classics:

Second movie: Episode IV – Star Wars: A New Hope

“WOW, this is much more layered than I thought it would be. Good characters too. I liked it. You were right, it’s more fantasy than sci-fi.” Yes Lyra, the original brought people in with amazing characters and lore that you can easily lose yourself in.

Third movie: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back

“No. I am your father!” Lyra slowly turned her head with eyes wide open and mouth falling ajar. “WHAT!?” That was the general reaction when many people saw it for the first time, in the most critically acclaimed film in the series. “This is so much deeper and layered than I ever thought it could be. And ‘I Love you, I know’ was hilarious!”

Fourth movie: Episode II – Attack of the Clones

“I like this. I hope they get together.” Interesting. As the first “flashback” episode in the Machete Order, it gives insight into who Anakin Skywalker is and who he becomes. Trust me, it works this way. “What’s with all the hands and arms being chopped off?” Don’t worry, it’s a Star Wars thing.

Fifth movie: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith

“More Hands being cut off!! I think that was my favorite so far! I really knew what was going on and could follow it very easily. But it is DARK! And Luke and Leia are twins!? WOW! I LOVE Yoda!” Yes, this is considered the best of the prequels and a favorite amongst many of the more recent fans. This is also where many of the older fans expected to see the badass Vader that we ending up seeing in Rogue One. Better late than never I guess.

Sixth movie: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi

“This is by far my least favorite of ALL!! Jabba is disgusting. This whole thing is horrible!” Usually intergalactic gangsters get more respect. But once the first act was done Lyra liked that the movie got back on the Skywalker track. “Ok so I am liking this MUCH better since they left Jabba.” The struggle with Luke and his father, temptation from the Emperor, and the ultimate redemption won Lyra over. “WOW, so I started off hating it but I think now it’s the best one!”

Seventh movie: Episode VII – The Force Awakens

“I’m a little confused with the new characters but I really want to know who Rey is!” Lyra enjoyed it but has many questions, and like the rest of us is anxiously awaiting the future episodes.

The Floater: Episode I – The Phantom Menace

Rob hasn’t shown Lyra this one yet. Mainly because in the grand scheme the movie has little impact on the overall story. It’s a nice intro to some of the characters, but the timeline difference between this and episode II makes anything that happened inconsequential. If anything, The Phantom Menace could be the first real Star Wars standalone movie.

So, there you have it. A new fan’s point of view on seeing the greatest saga of all time. Lyra did mention to Rob that she would like to marathon watch the movies, and Rob is considering trying a different order. Experiment with chronological order, release date, or even watching the trilogies separately. Find what works for you. And if you haven’t seen it on digital download yet, get the DVD or Blu-Ray as Rogue One may very well be your favorite Star Wars movie yet.

Haven’t seen Rogue One yet? Lucky you it comes out on DVD today and here’s one of the trailers.

Disney Movies

Why I was disenchanted with Beauty and the Beast

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“A tale as old as time”

A tale of a girl who falls in love with a beast after learning to love beyond appearances. I was VERY VERY excited for this live action movie. As a true Disney fan, I was counting down the days. And last night I had the chance to screen it. And my initial reaction, was blah. Why? Is not a horrible movie. As with all Disney movies it was done beautifully, but to me it lacked more than it gave.

The GOOD: This movie is a visual masterpiece. From the cinematography to the visual effects, there is beauty in every image. The colors, the animation of the characters, the costumes, it was pure perfection. I have no doubt there will probably be a few Oscar nominations for this remake. I think the most talked about issue of the movie, the inclusion of a gay character (Le’Fou) is also a positive thing. Why I didn’t mind the gay character? It is Disney’s way to move forward with changing times. And to those who argue that there is no space for gay characters in a Disney movie? You need to take a seat. Yes, this is a Disney movie. But if your concern is about a guy giving another guy googly eyes and not of the other topics in the movie, you have a problem. The scenes in question  are not obvious to a kid and unless you are absolutely looking for the scenes you will miss them. Plus, I appreciated the diverse cast.

There are new songs and a few new scenes which go a bit more in-depth into the story of the main characters. And for all those concerned about the violence in the movie, is really not that dark as earlier reviews say. If your child has seen the likes of Jurassic Park or even the Jungle Book, the scariest scene with the wolves is absolutely nothing.

The BAD: There is really nothing new. Except for an explanation of the moms death, the story is exactly like its animated origins. Let me explain. This is not Disney’s first live action remake, so yes, I was expecting something different and exciting. With Cinderella and Jungle Book, Disney was able to give us something new while staying true to the original, but with Beauty and the Beast there was nothing new. Which takes away from reliving the experience.

Yes, there were new scenes but not enough. Not even 1/3 of the movie is different from the original, so there was no surprise, except the new songs. One of the new songs in particular, was completely unnecessary and I really wish Disney had cut that scene out. It made the movie feel more like a Broadway play than anything else.

The characters felt disconnected. Compared to their originals, who really brought life to the characters, this time around, they fell short. Although I absolutely love Emma Thompson, there’s no way her character was even close to Angela Landsbury performance in the original. The same can be said for Gaston and even the Beast.

Overall: I had really high expectations of this movie. From the trailers and earlier reviews I was hoping to be AMAZED. I expected to feel like I did after Cinderella and I didn’t. Is it a terrible movie? Not at all. It’s still entertaining and visually stimulating. There is something to be said about the amount of trailers and the fact that there’s no new story or byline that innovates or elevates the story. If you are an original Beauty and the Beast fan, you will love it. If you’ve never seen the original, you will love it. If you are like me, who enjoyed the original and was really hoping to be blown away by the live action then not so much.

I didn’t bring my kids, as I really don’t think is a kid friendly movie. Not because the gay character or the scary wolves, just in general the real topic and story of Beauty and the Beast is a bit intense for 6, 5 and 3 yr old. Yes, they saw the original, but being animated really makes it more kids friendly than its live action counterpart. Did it amaze me? Not at all. I was completely disenchanted with it. I was hoping for so much more and I was left wondering what the amazement of everyone else was. And you all know my love for Disney and everything they do, but with this movie I feel they missed the mark.

I still encourage everyone to go and see it and come to your own conclusions, like I mentioned before, it’s still a beautiful movie and does justice to its original script.

Here is one of the official trailers for the movie.

Disclosure: I was invited by The Moms to a special screening of Beauty and the Beast. A lot of people have warned me against posting negative reviews about Disney movies and such since I would love nothing more than to work with them. But, I have to be honest with my audience and myself. I can’t say something was absolutely amazing and blew me away when it didn’t. I have to speak the truth about how I felt about this movie and this was it.

Disney Star Wars Travel

Primera vez en Disneyland

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Photo Credit: Rafael A. Babilonia

Photo Credit: Rafael A. Babilonia

Como ya les e contado estuvimos en Disneyland en Marzo. Ya les hice la entrada sobre Disney’s California Adventure (la pueden leer aquí), pues ahora les quiero hablar sobre Disneyland. Lo primero primero es que es BELLO! Bueno nuestro día comenzó a las 7am. Caminamos al parque desde el hotel. Cuando llegamos ya había una fila para entrar al parque, pero se movió bastante rápido.

Photo Credit: Rafael A. Babilonia

Photo Credit: Rafael A. Babilonia

Tan pronto entramos al parque la primera imagen es de la cara de Mickey y el número 60 del aniversario del parque. Tan pronto nos tomamos una foto con el primer personaje que vimos que fué Goofy- el favorito de mi chico. Mis primeras impresiones del parque fueron muchas. Los sentimientos fueron increíbles. Tenía hambre, estaba emocionada, en un sitio desconocido. Aunque estuve toda la noche leyendo el mapa y planeando el día todo eso se me fue de la cabeza.

Photo Credit: Rafael A. Babilonia

Photo Credit: Rafael A. Babilonia

El parque es mucho mas pequeño de Walt Disney World, pero tiene mas o menos el mismo plano de parque. En el medio vas a ver el castillo de Sleeping Beauty y a la derecha Tomorrowland y así igual las otras áreas. Aunque los parques tienen muchas similitudes son increíblemente diferentes, no solo por el tamaño, pero también por las atracciones. En Disneyland todavía hay un ToonTown. En ToonTown tienen atracciones como Rogger Rabbit y la casa de Mickey y Minnie. Esta area me encantó por que es cerrada. Solo tiene una entrada y la misma salida.

Photo Credit: Rafael A. Babilonia

Photo Credit: Rafael A. Babilonia

En esta parte del parque fue que vimos a Mickey Mouse. Los nenes estuvieron un rato bien largo jugando en las casas de los diferentes personajes, como Goofy y Donald Duck. Sobre las atracciones les puedo decir que si tienen niños pequeños no deben ir a la atracción de Roger Rabbit. Es bastante oscura y definitivamente a menos que sean fanáticos de la película, no les va a gustar. Bueno, me descarrile un poco y nos conté que lo primero que hicimos cuanto entramos al parque fue entrar a Tomorrowland para apuntar a los nenes en el Jedi Training Academy. Esto es una oportunidad OBLIGATORIA si tienen fanáticos de Star Wars. Los chicos se apuntan (4 años en adelante) y los entrenan para tener una batalla con Darth Vader. La presentación es una aventura y definitivamente el mejor recuerdo de los chicos en el parque. Al final les regalan un botón de participación.

Photo Credit: Rafael A. Babilonia

Photo Credit: Rafael A. Babilonia

Luego de la aventura de Star Wars nos dirigimos a Fantasy Land. Mi atracción favorita de Disney siempre a sido It’s a Small World. Que emoción vivir esa atracción, es diferente a la de Orlando por muchas razones. La primera es la gran entrada que tiene al aire libre. También tiene personajes de las películas como los personajes de Toy Story, y es un poco más larga. Otra atracción que me encanto en Fantasyland fue Storybook Land Canal Boats. Esta atracción en bien relajante. Paseas por un bote y ves las ciertas historias en miniatura. Me encantó tanto que me quedé con las ganas de mas cuentos y que fuera más larga.

Photo Credit: Rafael A. Babilonia

Photo Credit: Rafael A. Babilonia

Hay tantas cosas que ver en Disneyland. Todo el parque está lleno de historia y de una arquitectura hermosa y pues la magia única de Disney. Nos dirigimos a Adventureland donde finalmente probé el famoso Dole Whip. Que si estaba bueno?? Pues claro que si! A menos que no te guste la piña. Pero prepárense que la fila para el Dole Whip (hay solo un lugar en todo el parque donde lo puedes comprar) es larguita! Pero definitivamente vale la pena.

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Nos montamos en casi todas las atracciones posibles. De mis favoritas definitivamente casi todas en Fantasyland. También me gustó mucho el área de las princesas. Disney Princess Fantasy Faire. Aunque no lo pudimos disfrutar mucho (uno de los problemas de tener mas niños que niñas) me encantó que las princesas están juntas. En Disney hay tantas cosas para hacer! La aventura no se acaba. La ultima atracción en la que nos montamos fue en el carrusel. Fue un momento súper especial para mi, ya que estaba emocional por que era nuestra ultima noche en California.

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No nos podíamos ir del parque sin ver la parada de Paint the Night. La parada está espectacular! Las luces, los personajes TODO me encantó. Aunque soy un poco tradicional y soy mega fan de Electrical Parade en Walt Disney World, la parada de Paint the Night está a otro nivel. Lo único que NO me gustó, es que no ví a Sleeping Beauty en la parada, y este parque tiene su castillo!

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Claro que como nos quedamos hasta el final, me fuí a caminar Main Street en la búsqueda de la luz de Walt. Esta luz estaba prendida cuando el llegaba al parque para que todo el mundo supiese que el estaba presente.

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Casi casi me quedo sin batería y saliendo del parque me encuentro a Minnie Mouse. Fue el momento más especial, por que siento que ella fue la que nos despidió. Mi celular aguantó el día completo.

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Gotitas del saber para Disneyland:

-Aunque el parque es pequeño hay MUCHO MUCHO que ver y hacer. Me hubiese gustado estar ahí por lo menos un día mas.

-No es necesario quedarse en el hotel de Disneyland. Hay muchos hoteles y pueden caminar a la entrada del parque. Esto te ahorra bastante dinero.

-Hay muchas atracciones que cierran temprano para los fuegos artificiales, por lo tanto si quieren ver a las princesas tienen que ir antes de las 6pm para verlas por que el área cierra, también otras atracciones de Fantasyland.

-Los Fastpasses son a la antigua. De papel, y hay que hacer fila para que la distribución. Así que antes de llegar a la atracción, ve a la maquina del FastPass.

-Hay tantos sitios para comer, que nada mas en comida estaría una visita completa.

-Aprovechen el día. Como siempre les digo lleguen temprano y estén hasta el final.

-Mickey’s ToonTown es el mejor sitio para ver a los personajes, especialmente a Mickey y Minnie.

-Lo principal es disfrutar. Les soy honesta, lloré varias veces durante el día. Por razones diferentes, pero me viví casa momentos con la familia.

Photo Credit: Rafael A. Babilonia

Photo Credit: Rafael A. Babilonia

Tengo que darle gracias a mi fotógrafo personal Rafael A. Babilonia, el estuvo con nosotros todo el viaje y si no fuese por su lente y su ojo critico no tendríamos ni la mitad de las imágenes espectaculares que tenemos de nuestro viaje! Así que gracias a mi hermano por las fotos y por ser nuestro guía turístico en California!

 

 

Disney Events

Disney MOMS Social Media Conference “ON THE ROAD-NYC”

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Los que me leen saben que mi amor por Disney es INFINITO. Así que cuando me llegó la invitación para participar en su conferencia en NYC, por poco me muero! Esta mini conferencia consiste de un día donde nos educan sobre varios temas de las redes sociales, del mundo de blogging y como expresar nuestra experiencia DISNEY. El evento se llevó a cabo en Manhattan y hablamos de todo. Algunos de los temas que discutimos fueron el uso de Pinterest y el uso de Snapchat.

Cuando llegué, lo primero fue saborear el riquísimo desayuno que nos presentaron. El día comenzó con un rompe hielo bien chevére. A todas nos dieron un pin para intercambiar, al estilo “pin tradeing” en los parques! Claro está me emocioné un montón por que me toco un pin de Mickey, pero lo pude intercambiar por uno de Maleficent cuando es dragón (Por si no lo sabes Sleeping Beauty es mi película animada de Disney favorita). Ya el rompe hielo finalizado, comenzamos como las bienvenidas y un video de todo lo nuevo para Disney Parks este año. Y QUE MUCHAS COSAS!!! Desde restaurantes hasta espectáculos de luces nuevos, bueno hay algo nuevo para todo el mundo! Lo más que me emocionó, fue escuchar sobre la apertura de la nueva experiencia de Frozen y de el espectáculo de luces de Disney’s Animal Kingdom. También como podrán imaginar hay un nuevo espectáculo de fuegos artificiales con el tema de nada mas y nada menos que Star Wars!!! Este show de fuegos artificiales, Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular”, comenzará este verano en Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Y no nos podemos olvidar de Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. Este festival, uno de los mas deliciosos en mi opinión.

Uno de los nuevos restaurantes

Uno de los nuevos restaurantes

Atravéz del día tuvimos varias presentaciones. @DisneyParksJenn nos brindó consejos de como contar una historia efectivamente. El primer consejo es buscar un tema que te apasiona! Otro de los consejos es hacer una investigación apropiada de lo que vas a escribir. Algunos de los temas mas buscados en la página web de Disney son Pandora, Star Wars, Frozen y papel para decorar las paredes. El consejo que más me gustó y creo que tengo que aplicar a mi escritura es saber la diferencia entre escribir y y contar una historia.

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Las editoras de Babble.com, una revista en la web estuvieron explicándonos mas sobre lo que es contenido en la página. Como escribir una entrada que sea más efectiva al lector. Uno de los temas que discutieron es la importancia de las colaboraciones. Colaborar con diferentes blogs y diferentes publicaciones. Otro tema al cual le dieron énfasis fue a la utilización de videos. Crafty Chica, una mega “blogger e influencer” nos contó, junto a su hija Maya in the Moment como las familias utilizan las redes para crear contenido. Fué bien especial escuchar como Maya ayudaba a su mamá y como se terminó convirtiendo en una súper Viner e influencer también. El mensaje de Kathy Cano-Murillo, Crafty Chica, que más me gustó fue “Post with passion and purpose”- postea con pasión y propósito.

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Alex Ruíz un Disney Cast Member nos dió tremendo tutorial sobre como utilizar Snapchat y como Disney Parks está usando la plataforma para llegar a mas gente. También nos presentó las estadísticas de Snapchat y como la plataforma a crecido increíblemente en los últimos dos años. También nos dio un ejemplo de como Disney aumentó la interacción de la audiencia con una competencia- todo atravez de Snapchat. Creo que desde ese día mi uso de Snapchat aumento bastante. También aprendimos sobre Pinterest y como maximizar el uso de la plataforma con más fotos verticales en vez de horizontales, y la importancia de tomar buenas fotos.

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Durante el día también disfrutamos de rifas y obviamente tuvimos un invitado super especial. Nada mas y nada menos que el mismo Mickey Mouse. Y como si fuera poco nos llevamos a casa unos cuantos regalitos. Y no se preocupen por que por ahí les traigo un videito de lo que paso durante el día y muchas mas entradas de Disneyland!

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Gracias a Disney Parks por la oportunidad de asistir a esta conferencia. Solo me inspira más y solidifica mi amor por Disney.

Hasta la próxima!

Disney Events

Did you know it’s NATIONAL SUPERHERO DAY? We celebrated with PJ MASKS!

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Did you know it’s National Superhero Day? We had the opportunity to celebrate with the best superheroes on TV the PJ Masks! Yes! How cool is that? Last Saturday, here in NYC the PJ Masks visited the FDNY Fire Museum to celebrate with the kids the spirit of superheroes. The venue was more than fitting since firefighters are some of our everyday heroes.

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During the event the children got to watch some PJ Masks episodes, where they learned about the true meaning of being a superhero. It doesn’t matter what size you are, is all about doing the right thing, helping others and working as a team. The children were adorable singing the theme song of the show. It was no surprise that the kids knew all the lyrics since the new heroes from Disney Junior have become celebrities in every household in America!

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The kids also did some coloring, played with toys and had tasty pizza. But of course the main attraction was catching a glimpse of the superheroes themselves. Well they were lucky enough that they not only saw them but they took pictures and even got to put some masks on! The PJ Masks were so full of energy and they really did awesome with the kids.

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The fun didn’t stop there, the kids each received a certificate making them superheroes! And not only that, they got an awesome goody bag! All in all it was a super fun day and the kids will definitely never forget.

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On a side note: I do want to take a minute and thank our everyday superheroes! Our men and women in uniform, who EVERY SINGLE DAY, put their lives at risk to protect us. Soldiers, Sailors, Cops, Firefighters, Nurses, Teachers, Air Traffic Controllers, Doctors. Without them, we’d be lost. SO THANK YOU! 

Do you have any superheroes in your life?

I was invited to this event as part of the media. All opinions and pictures are my own. 

Disney Movies

The Jungle Book

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Disney has been running on all cylinders lately and their latest attempt at a winner is Jon Favreau’s The Jungle Book. This is Disney’s fourth Jungle Book movie, with the 1967 animated version, the 1994 live action adaptation, and the 2003 Jungle Book 2. This is also the best version of The Jungle Book that retells the Rudyard Kipling’s classic.

When Disney came out with the first trailer I was cautiously excited to see this movie. The visuals looked good and the cast sounded fantastic, but the daunting task of telling the story with all animals seem liked a lot for anyone. Even with today’s CGI technology, I have seen a lot of less than convincing visual effects where CGI is heavily depended on. And an entire movie of CGI and motion capture could be unwatchable if things don’t work out as planned.

My fears were trounced within the first five minutes of the film. The CGI looks spectacular. I could not tell that these animals are not highly trained stunt animals or mothing capture. They seem so real, move so naturally, and interact so organically that it feels you are a bug in the middle of the jungle witnessing everything in person. I was so impressed I had to find out how this process was done. Jon Favreau and company approached this as an animated movie, working on the CGI and making sure the animals look as realistic and fluid as possible, even when talking. Neel Sethi (who played Mowgli wonderfully) then filmed his scenes on a green screen soundstage. That’s right, no filming on location. The final product is so seamless that the only thing the viewer can do is get lost in the story.

On top of the technical achievements, the story is very good. You believe why things are the way they are and understand the motivation for characters like Shere Khan and Bagherra. Mowgli’s journey shows his animal side as well as his human side, and his relationship with the rest of the kingdom. Bill Murray is perfect as Baloo, Idris Elba gave Khan a rationality to Khan’s anger, and Christopher Walken singing as King Louie is just excellent. Kaa’s presence seems a bit forced but it does not take away from the movie. Pacing is great. The movie flows nicely and there is something to see throughout the hour and forty-five minutes. There are some dark scenes and animal violence, but Gavin, who is five, enjoyed the whole movie without being disturbed. There are scenes with things like bones and fire, although no blood. Some younger or more sensitive kids might be a little scared, but nothing too bad.

If you are a fan of the Jungle Book, or just want to see a great movie that keeps you on the edge of your seat, then get out there a see this movie. Better yet, see it in 3D. Your family will love it.

 

Disney Fashion

Disney Fashion

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Disney Fashion

 

To celebrate the new line of Minnie makeup at Sephora, I created this fashion idea for any Disney fan. Sometimes we want to show our Disney love without looking like a costume or like we’re headed to the park, these are subtle, fashionable and practical way to show your Disney love. The make up is super cute and if you haven’t gone check it out. It’s a limited time, exclusive collection for Sephora! You can use the makeup for everyday, since the black liner goes with everything as well as the bronzer, but you can also dress it up and make it glam. The eyeshadow palette turns into a clutch that you can use later on. I love this look for spring and summer, if you want to transition into fall and winter all you have to do is add a jacket a scarf and some booties. I love Disney and I wear something Disney every single day, so this makeup collection is EVERYTHING. The best part about this look is that it has no age. Anyone can wear this. From teens to grandma, the look is comfortable, fun and full of Disney love. I didn’t add it here but Torrid also has a big Disney collection including these Maleficent flats. They also have different dresses and shirts. But of course if you are looking for Disney fashion, everyone is jumping into the Disney wagon so you can find Disney apparel basically anywhere you shop from Target to Uniqlo.
How do you show your Disney love?
Disney Travel

Primera Vez en Disney California Adventure Park!

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Pasaban las horas y los días. Ya no podía esperar más. La anticipación me estaba matando! Y finalmente llegó el día, llegamos a DISNEYLAND!!!!!!!

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Es imposible explicar lo que sentí cuando llegamos. Osea, la magía de Disney es definitivamente imposible de ignorar. Yo estaba más emocionada que los nenes. Yo se que mucha gente me dice ridícula por que ya hemos ido a Walt Disney World muchas veces, pero ir a Disneyland es otro nível, especialmente para los fanáticos de Disney como yo. Disneyland es historia. Es el parque donde Walt Disney caminó por sus calles, supervisó la construcción. No sabía que esperar. Tengo tantas cosas que contar que voy a empezar por nuestra experiencia en general. Cuando ví el rotulo de Disneyland, pensé que iba a ser mas grande. Pero equipados de emoción nos dirigimos al parque. Lo primero fue buscar nuestros boletos. Luego pasamos por el chequeo de bultos y ahora a hacer la fila. Llegamos a la fila a las 8am y ya había fila aún cuando el parque no habriría hasta las 9am. La fila se movió normal, pero para mi se sintió como si hubiesen pasado horas!

Disney The Mommy Elf

Entramos a Disney’s California Adventure primero. Decidimos ir a este parque primero por que queríamos prepararnos un poco mejor para Disneyland y buscar los mapas. Lo primero que me llamó la atención es la fila para los FastPass. A diferencia de Disney’s Magic Kingdom, en este parque es a papel. Y tienes que hacer fila para conseguirlo. Nos dirigimos directamente a Cars Land. OMG!!!! El lujo de detalle de Cars Land es súper. Cuando llegas estás en la película. TODO es idéntico a la película.

Disneyland The Mommy Elf

La verdad que todo, desde la casa de Luigi hasta la el Cozy Cone Motel. Desayunamos en Flo’s V8 Cafe, y los nenes les encantó que los waffles tenían la cara de Mater y McQueen.

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Disneyland The Mommy Elf

La primera actracción en la que nos montamos fué en Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters. Esta atracción abrió Marzo 7 y me atrevo a decir que fué una de las favoritas de mis chicos. Ellos quedaron encantados! Luego fuimos a todas las atracciones de Cars Land. Después de Cars Land nos dirigimos a  “a bug’s life”. Las atracciones eran perfectas para mis chicos de 5, 4 y 2.

Disneyland The Mommy Elf

Disneyland The Mommy Elf

A la hora del almuerzo me dirigí al Cozy Cone Motel donde compre un Chili in a Cone! Que ricoooooo. La verdad que la comida en Disney es un éxito.

Disneyland The Mommy Elf

Para el resto de la tarde nos fuimos para el Paradise Pier. Las mejores atracciones para los grandes! Este parque es completamente diferente a cualquier parque de Walt Disney World. Aunque el parque tiene una vibra de Hollywood Studios y dos o tres atracciones que están en los dos parques incluyendo Midway Mania, que es de Toy Story. También nos montamos en Mickey’s Fun Wheel. Esto para mi fué increíble ya que uno de mis mayores miedos son las estrellas de carnaval. Ahora la vita desde el tope es absolutamente la mejor vista de los parques.

Disneyland The Mommy Elf

Disneyland The Mommy Elf

Tuvimos la oportunidad también de disfrutar de la parada de Pixar. A los nenes absolutamente les encantó ver a todos sus personajes favoritos de las películas en la parada y fue un momento perfecto para coger un descanso. También disfrutamos del “show” de Disney Junior.

Photo Credit: Rafael A. Babilonia

Photo Credit: Rafael A. Babilonia

Siempre lo he dicho, cuando vayan a los parques, especialmente a los de Disney, tienen que quedarse hasta el final. Las luces son otra cosa. Es algo como sacado de una película. La verdad es irreal para mí la experiencia de estar en Disneyland. También, obviamente nos montamos en California Screamin’ la cual es una montaña rusa súper divertida. Nos montamos de día y de noche!

Disneyland The Mommy Elf

Que más les puedo decir. La pasamos espectacular. Todo el mundo en la familia se divirtió. Todos tuvimos la oportunidad de disfrutarlos una u otra parte del parque. Me encantó Disney California Adventure y ya no puedo esperar a volver.

Photo Credit: Rafael A. Babilonia

Photo Credit: Rafael A. Babilonia

Ojo, estén pendiente que ya pronto les voy a hacer una entrada sobre que ver y que no ver mientras estén en el parque. Y ahora cuentenme, que les gustaría ver de Disney California Adventure?

Photo Credit: Rafael A. Babilonia

Photo Credit: Rafael A. Babilonia

Disney Travel

Disneyland Planning: Part II

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So we have our flight and our hotel so the next step is to book a car and the entertainment and plan meals.

We had to rent a car because we are spending more than a week in California and with the three kids it would be crazy to try to take public transportation. I searched multiple sites and found carrental.com. They quoted me $371 for a mid size SUV for the 10 days. I also had to rent 2 car seats and those were $72 each for the week. I knew California was expensive but this was VERY expensive.

Photo Credit: Rafael A. Babilonia

Photo Credit: Rafael A. Babilonia

So for the park tickets, I bought them before the price change. I bought a 2 day package with NO Park Hoper. I didn’t get the Park Hopper because it is our first time at the parks so I want to take in as much as possible. I also tried to save some money! I paid $187 for the 2 day park ticket for the adults (this means each day at the park was $93.50. Since I bought the tickets Disneyland changed their prices. They now have tier pricing, where the price of admission is based on the day of the week. So the price per day went from $99 to $95 on value days, $105 for regular days and $115 for the peak days. The price for multi day tickets also changed. With the new prices is important that when you are planning your own Disney vacation make sure to check for days when the prices are more accesible. I think if you aim to be there during the middle of the week you will get the best price.

When it comes to food it’s important to take into consideration your hotel and the proximity to food. If you’re hotel is further apart from food maybe it will be wise to buy some fruit and make some sandwiches and keep them in the room. Not only it will save you money, it will save you time. We decided to splurge on food because it was our first time in California and we love food. In n Out is cheap and filling, so definitely keep it in your must visit and go-to food joint if hunger strikes. Besides that, we spend a lot of money on local eateries. Coffee shops and specialty candy shops around. We never say no to food and if there is a place we like, we just go for it. Downtown Disney and even inside the parks there are tons of places to eat. As much as we all like to save money, sometimes the best part of a vacation is trying new foods. Don’t forget to get a Dole Whip when you get to Disneyland!

As far as the parks go, we are planning to do Disney California Adventure first and Disneyland second. Our boys love Cars so Carsland will be first. I planned the rides according to the height of the kids and the time of the day for the shows like the Disney Junior show. We also planned to get on the “grownup” rides during nap time. Another thing to keep in mind is that Disneyland Resort still use the old school ticket FastPasses. This is important to keep in mind because if you want to want to go on multiple rides that you can get a FP for, you can only hold ONE FP at a time, so if you’ve been to Walt Disney World and are used to having 3 FP at a time, this is not the case.

I also want to add that because this is not only a Disneyland vacation for us, we plan on visiting other places. We are spending time in Long Beach and checking out the Aquarium of the Pacific, the Griffin Observatory, Santa Monica Pier, Hollywood, Venice Beach and other places as we drive around. A lot of the beaches in CA have nice piers were you can spend the day for free (except for parking) and just hang out. We plan on spending a lot of time at the beach.

Anyways that is all the tips I have, but just in case here they are one more time:

  1. Car Rental: Search online for the best deal and find out if they rent the car seats. If you want to save some money, carry your own car seat (free on most airlines).
  2. Plan vacation around less busy times. My favorite days of the weeks for any Disney trip are Tuesday- Thursday. Keep in mind the price change and save money skipping the Park Hopper.
  3. Plan your own meals and keep them in the hotel. Fruits, sandwiches and granola bars.
  4. Don’t forget to get a Dole Whip and try some of the restaurants at the park.
  5. Plan your time at the park according to naps and meals to maximize time. Go on grown up rides while the kids sleep or eat/ use the parent switch and single rider lines!
  6. Make sure to get Fast Passes early in the day and use them right away. You can only hold one at a time, so it best to be a good one!
  7. Contrary to my advice on planning a Walt Disney World vacation, where I recommend staying on property the whole time, Disneyland is a whole different vibe. It’s right in the middle of town so go to the other attractions around town. Check out the Hollywood Walk of Fame and the Chinese Theater!
  8. HAVE FUN! Any Disney vacation can be overwhelming, with the planning and the amount of things to do, but if you don’t put in your mind that having fun is the main reason you’re there, then it’s not worth it! Enjoy the memories made.

Until next time…

“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.” – Walt Disney

 

Disney Travel

Disneyland Planning: Part I

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OMG OMG OMG… WE’RE GOING TO DISNEYLAND!!!

LOVELY LANDMARK -- Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland is the centerpiece of Fantasyland, and one of the most recognizable structures in the world.  Surrounded by beautiful flowers and whimsical topiary, the Disneyland landmark beckons park visitors to explore the different realms of the place "Where Dreams Come True."  Walt Disney wanted this castle to be a friendly and welcoming presence in his park so it was built on a smaller scale than its European counterparts.

LOVELY LANDMARK — Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland is the centerpiece of Fantasyland, and one of the most recognizable structures in the world. Surrounded by beautiful flowers and whimsical topiary, the Disneyland landmark beckons park visitors to explore the different realms of the place “Where Dreams Come True.” Walt Disney wanted this castle to be a friendly and welcoming presence in his park so it was built on a smaller scale than its European counterparts.

We’re a few weeks away from taking our first cross-country trip to sunny California. I was totally unprepared for this vacation to happen this year, but I was given the opportunity to attend the We All Grow conference in Long Beach. So since I was going out there, we kind of just figured, let’s make it our vacation. Last year we went on a lot of small trips but didn’t take a family vacation, so it worked out pretty good. Of course there is absolutely NO WAY, we would be in California and not visit Disneyland. If you know us, you know Disney is a HUGE part of our lives. I figured I would share with you all the steps I took to plan for our vacation, saving money and maximizing our visit.

If there is one thing I have learned from planning multiple Disney trips over the years is that prices change quickly and often. So I started browsing and researching about a month and a half before the actual dates we are going. A lot of people might think this is waiting to long, but I actually had to wait for my husbands leave to get approved and I think you get the most value a month and half out. It’s far enough to plan accordingly but close enough to still get some deals.

This is part one so I’ll discuss flights and hotels since it’s the biggest part of the trip. Usually when planning a Disney vacation, I tell everyone to do everything through Disney site directly, or an authorized Disney planning agency. BUT, since we’re not spending all of our days at Disneyland, I didn’t think this was particularly necessary for this trip.

Flight: The best deals are in the weeeeee hours in the middle of the week. I usually don’t sleep, so this was easy for me. If you need sleep and can’t fathom staying awake past midnight to book a flight. Think about the HUGE discount you can score. I bought our flights using Expedia.com and paid less than $1000 for 5 round trips from NYC to LA. That is super cheap! I also bought them each way separately. That also kept the cost down. The leg from NYC to LA was $75 with taxes for each ticket. The trip back from LA to NYC was $126 with taxes. That makes each ticket less than $200! You CANT beat that deal. But, like I mentioned I did spend a few hours on the site around 3am on a Wednesday to score the deals.

Hotels: Disneyland hotels are some of the most expensive hotels out there. This is in part because there is not a huge amount of hotels on property as opposed to Disney World, so it’s definitely a luxury. I love staying on property for this trip offered a lot of options outside of Disneyland. We are actually staying in 3 different places in the course of 10 days. The first part of our trip we’ll be staying at the conference hotel, since that’s the main reason we are going in the first place. The second half we are taking a trip down to San Diego and staying at my brother’s place. For the third part of our trip the Disneyland part, we’re staying at the neighboring Marriott Hotel. The reason we picked the hotel is because it’s within walking distance to the park, and we have some Marriott reward points that we’re using to keep the cost down, since Marriott let’s you use points + cash now.

So far, the most expensive thing has been the hotel. Almost $1,400 for 7 nights is a lot. But considering we saved so much on the flights, we understand the expense. We’re also picking hotels that have set prices like the conference hotel which is $200 a night (and that’s the special cheap conference rate!). Next, post we’ll be talking about car rental and entertainment. This means park tickets and other attractions.

THE FAB 5 -- The classic Disney characters welcome visitors outside Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif. (L-R) Pluto, Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Goofy and Donald Duck (Scott Brinegar/Disneyland)

THE FAB 5 — The classic Disney characters welcome visitors outside Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif. (L-R) Pluto, Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Goofy and Donald Duck (Scott Brinegar/Disneyland)

Stay tuned for the next post!