Archives for December 2013

“Saving Mr. Banks” Review

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“Saving Mr. Banks” is the newest Disney movie that was just released on Friday, December 20th. Since production started on this film, we have been very excited to see it in the theaters. Last night we went to the movies and we were not disappointed. While the storyline may not sound exciting at first glance, it is a wonderful historical film following how the movie “Mary Poppins” came to be.

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First, the actors are superb. Emma Thompson and Tom Hanks are wonderful, as always. All the actors (Paul Giamatti, Colin Farrell, Jason Schwartzman, Bradley Whitford, BJ Novak, Melanie Paxson, and Kathy Baker…) truly rise to the occasion and recreate both the world of Disney Studios in the 1960’s as well as Australia in the 1900’s when P.L. Travers has flashbacks to her childhood. These flashbacks are essential for understanding how she created the family of the Banks and Mary Poppins, and why she had such a difficult time allowing Disney to turn her book into a movie.

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So the main issue in the film is that the author of the book “Mary Poppins”, P.L. Travers, is extremely reluctant to have her book turned into a Disney film. Without turning over the rights, she insists on seeing the plans for the film and having script approval for the entire project. When she arrives in Los Angeles, she dislikes pretty much everything the creative team has come up with including much of the music from the famous songwriting duo of the Sherman brothers. Walt Disney and his team struggle to understand her and why she is upset with their creative ideas, and they can’t make a deal for the project. The entire film is so well put together, and so well acted, that this story comes to life off the screen.

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Another aspect of this film that Disney fanatics will love, is the amazing recreation of 1960’s Disney Studios and Disneyland. The film is submerged into a magical era of Disneyana and it is a fantastic historical film back in the golden age of Disney. The screenplay for this film was created from archive tape recordings made at the studio of the actual meetings of P.L. Travers and the film creators, and all her input on the script and storyboards. She insisted on having everything taped. Much of the details are accurate to real events that took place.

While we loved this movie, it is rated PG-13, so we don’t recommend it for young kids. There isn’t violence or inappropriate scenes, but there is drinking and language and some of the scenes from her childhood are a little tough to watch for young eyes. All in all, this a wonderful movie and well worth a night out to get to see it, if you get a chance this holiday season. And if you are a fan of “Mary Poppins”, you will love seeing how this family favorite film came to be.

A Look Ahead to Disney 2014

The year is coming to a close and we are saying goodbye to 2013. Each year, we like to look ahead to what might be coming in 2014 with Disney at the parks, the movies and beyond. Some things we know for sure and some things are still in the rumor phase, but we like to round it all up and start to get excited for the new year ahead of us!

Disneyland

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  • Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage will undergo an extensive refurbishment starting on January 4th of 2014 and won’t open until late in the year. Refurbishments will include new, more vibrant underwater colors.
  • In February, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad will finally reopen! It will be refreshed as well as have new tracks and trains.

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Disney World

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  • A new daytime parade is set to launch at Magic Kingdom in spring of 2014. It is called Disney’s Festival of Fantasy Parade. It will include characters and music from Tangled, Little Mermaid, Sleeping Beauty, Dumbo, Pinocchio, Peter Pan and Brave. There will also be an original soundtrack and parade theme song.
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Seven Dwarfs Mine Ride under construction

  • The opening of the Seven Dwarfs Mine Ride will happen in spring or summer of 2014. This is newest attraction in the New Fantasyland area of Magic Kingdom.

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  • Camp Minnie-Mickey will be closing in 2014 to make space at Animal Kingdom for construction on the new Avatar-themed land. The Lion King Festival will be moved to a new theater as well.

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  • Magic Bands, which have been testing and rolling out this year, will be fully integrated in 2014. Expect to see big changes park-wide with this new system and FastPass+.
  • In February and March, there are extended hours at many of the parks as well as changes to the Extra Magic Hours. If you will be at the park during those months, make sure to check the online calendar before you arrive.

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  • Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts will open it’s first luxury resort at Disney World. It will feature a rooftop restaurant and views of the Magic Kingdom. It is located in the Golden Oak residential community which was created and master-planned by Disney.

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  • At Epcot, the new Morocco restaurant, Spice Road Table will be open. There will also be henna tattoo artists on hand to create temporary body art.

 Disneyland Paris and Tokyo Disneyland

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  • Disneyland Paris will be opening a new dark ride themed after Ratatouille. The roller coaster Indiana Jones Temple of Peril will undergo major renovations that are scheduled for at least a 5-month closure.
  • Tokyo Disneyland will introduce it’s own castle projection show starting in the spring of 2014. The Jungle Cruise will be closing for a lengthy renovation in 2014.

 Disney Cruise Lines

  • New itineraries for 2014 include an expanded collection of European cruises along the Greek Isles, as well as new homeports in Venice, Italy and San Juan, Puerto Rico.
  • The newly redesigned Disney Magic will return to the Mediterranean, and will visit Venice, the Greek Isles and Sicily for the first time.
  • Disney Wonder will sail a 7-night cruise from Vancouver to Alaska.

Disney Movies for 2014

  • The Pirate Fairy – The fifth Tinker Bell film, will be released on March 3 and will feature a new fairy character that joins forces with pirates and Tinker Bell and her friends head out on an adventure to find her
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    The Pirate Fairy Trailer
  • Muppets Most Wanted – This sequel to The Muppets movie is set to release in March. It features the comedic actors Ricky Gervais, Ty Burrell and Tina Fey.
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    Muppets Most Wanted Trailer
  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier – this upcoming sequel is set to release in theaters in 2D and 3D in April.
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  • Bears – This is the next Disneynature film being released in April. It follows a year in the life of two mother bears and their cubs.
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    Bears Trailer
  • Maleficent – Live-action thriller coming to theaters in May. This new film stars Angelina Jolie as Maleficent and follows the story of Sleeping Beauty from her storyline.
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    Maleficent Trailer
  • Planes: Fire & Rescue – A sequel to the popular Planes film, this sequel will be released in July of 2014. Our hero, Dusty, will be returning and will be shifting into the world of airfare fire attack.
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    Planes: Fire & Rescue Trailer
  • Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day – This fantasy-comedy film is based on the children’s book of the same name. It is set to release in theaters in October. Cast includes Steve Carell, Jennifer Garner, Megan Mullaly and Jennifer Coolidge.
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  • Big Hero 6 – 3d computer animated superhero film that will feature Marvel characters like Wasabi No-Ginger and Honey Lemon. Set to release in November of 2014.
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  • Into The Woods – A Live-action fantasy musical adapted from the Broadway musical. Actors in this project include Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt, Johnny Depp, Chris Pine, Tracey Ullman and Christine Baranski. It is set to release in December of 2014.
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  • Pixar’s The Good Dinosaur – originally set to release in 2014, this film has had many setbacks and delays, and will now be released in 2015.

Disney Junior

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  • Sheriff Callie’s Wild West premieres on 24-hour Disney Junior Channel on January 20.
  • New pirate rock theme song to debut for Jake and the Neverland Pirates on January 3.

Disney Blu-Ray/DVD Releases

  • Sleeping Beauty Diamond Edition Blu-Ray/DVD
  • Jungle Book Blu-Ray
  • Frozen

Printable Christmas Gift Tags

Christmas is fast approaching! If you are starting to wrap presents and are looking for some fun gift tags for the kids, we have put together some free printable gift tags for our readers and followers! There are two pages of Disney themed tags including some “Frozen tags” with your favorite characters from the new movie. We also made some simple circle tags you can make with a 2″ punch if you have one. These are best printed on a white cardstock to make the tag sturdy. And best of all, they are FREE! Enjoy this little Christmas bonus and happy gifting!

Click on the small image below to download the larger pdf file for printing.

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Top 10 Disney Christmas Movies

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I like to think of myself as a Christmas movie connoisseur and a bit of a collector. I’ve been collecting a long time, and my kids enjoy all the great movies in my giant, Christmas movie tub that is only opened once December rolls around each year. I wanted to share with you what we think are the top ten Disney Christmas movies, that we enjoy each year. I know there are wonderful non-Disney Christmas movies as well but we are just going to list the Disney movies this year. Maybe it’s time to add one of these to your collection!

10. Mickey’s Once Upon A Christmas

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A great collection of Christmas stories with Disney’s classic characters. We love the Mickey and Minnie take on the Gift of the Magi. Narrated beautifully by Kelsey Grammar. This is a wonderful Christmas movie kids love.

9. Mickey’s Twice Upon a Christmas

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It was so wonderful the first time, why not make another? While this sequel isn’t quite a good as the first, it is still a favorite with kids with new Christmas stories.

8. The Muppets Christmas Carol

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This Muppet rendition of the classic Christmas Carol is one of my favorites. The humor is perfect while the music is by far one of the best soundtracks for a Muppet movie. This movie is very well done and a family hit every year. It’s hard to believe it is 20 years old!

7. One Magic Christmas

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This is one of my favorite movies at Christmas. The story line is very real and the acting is excellent. Mary Steenburgen is fantastic as a worn-down mom who has lost her Christmas spirit, and her adorable children want to give her back her love for Christmas again. Not done in an over-the-top cheesy Christmas movie way, and a movie that will really hit home to the heart.

6. Mickey’s Christmas Carol

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The Mickey version of Christmas Carol is one of our favorites as well! This version is well done and our kids enjoy it every year. Even after 30 years, this Mickey cartoon is a classic families love.

5. Prep & Landing
4. Prep & Landing: Naughty vs. Nice

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These short Disney movies, made for TV, are so tinsel that every child loves watching them! The first story is about an elf, Wayne, that doesn’t get promoted, in the North Pole corporate ladder, and loses his enthusiasm for his Prep & Landing job right on Christmas Eve. The sequel is a great followup, with the same elf forced to complete a mission with an elf that works on the Naughty List. The story is cute and the gadgets and jokes are hilarious.

3. The Santa Clause

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One of our favorite movies each year, we love to watch Scott Calvin become Santa Claus reluctantly and remember his real love for Christmas. My kids love the North Pole scenes and the elves the most.

2. The Santa Clause 2

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As a sequel, this is a great one! Our favorite Santa has to find his Mrs. and it is a hilarious journey! This movie seamlessly picks up where the first one ended, and my kids love to see all the magic. They also love to see the new characters like the Tooth Fairy and Mother Nature.

1. The Nightmare Before Christmas

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Is it Halloween? Is it Christmas? It’s kind of both, and we love it! Clever script with amazing music, this movie is a family favorite every year. And you can watch it from October until December! Quite a deal!

Honorable Mentions:
Santa Buddies
Beauty and the Beast’s Enchanted Christmas
Babes in Toyland

Did your favorite make our list? Did I miss one? We hope you enjoyed our list and you are inspired to start your own Christmas movie collection or add to it!

More Top 10 Lists

Holiday TV Movies and Specials 2013

It is hard to believe it is December 4th already, and the Christmas season is fast upon us! We have put together a easy to follow list of all the holiday specials and movies on TV this season including the new Disney Junior Christmas episodes for your favorite shows. This list isn’t all-inclusive as some movies are showing multiple times throughout December. If something is only showing once, I have it on the calendar. I also did not include the Disney Channel holiday shows as they are playing quite often in December (i.e. Jessie, Good Luck Charlie, Shake It Up…)

Click on the below images to download the printable version. Get your DVR ready to record some wonderful Christmas fun this December! Enjoy!

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