Friday, March 6, 2015

TinkerBell and the Legend of the NeverBeast Review *SPOILERS*

TinkerBell and the Legend of the NeverBeast Review *SPOILERS*

Pic courtesy of fairies.disney.com
Written by Marc Disney 

All you need is faith, trust and pixie dust to carry you to Neverland, the setting for TinkerBell and the Legend of the NeverBeast, the 7th installment in the TinkerBell series (available on blu-ray and dvd). Fun-loving Fawn, the Animal Talent Fairy, always thinks with her heart and rarely with her head. After an incident involving a baby hawk, Fawn promises Queen Clarion to be more careful. However, her curiosity gets the better of her when a mysterious roar draws her to a dark part of Pixie Hollow, where she finds a creature known as the NeverBeast. Fawn soon discovers a legend that says that her new furry friend would destroy Pixie Hollow. She must trust her heart and her instincts to prove the legend false. Will Fawn succeed or is Pixie Hollow doomed? These questions and more are answered in this beautifully breathing –taking chapter in TinkerBell’s saga.

From a fan’s point of view, the story was beautifully told with a great lesson about not judging people (or in this case animals) by their appearance. My only gripe about the story is the ending. After rescuing Gruff from the Scouts, Fawn and the others take him back home where he will hibernate for 1000 years. Fawn mentions that it will be the last time she will see him, leaving the viewers heartbroken. It just seemed like a waste, to rescue him only to lose him. True, he was only hibernating but it’s the principle of it. Walt always wanted to leave the audience feeling good and I don’t feel this ending upheld his belief in a happy ending.  Besides this complaint, the overall story and animation was wonderful. It had the same amazing animation from the last 6 films while giving the audience another area of Neverland to explore. In addition to this, another element to this story is the fact it took you to a darker side of Pixie Hollow that hadn’t been seen in previous films. While the image of Scull Rock from “The Pirate Fairy was intimidating and no doubt brought back memories of Tiger Lily’s capture by Hook, the use of dark colors such as gray and green added an element of fear that helped the story without making it too scary for younger viewers.  The music (the score once again composed by Joel McNeely) also assisted the story with a beautiful accompaniment by singer-songwriter  Bleu, including  a single “1000 Years” (which is heard over the ending credits). In conclusion, TinkerBell and the Legend of the NeverBeast, while lacking in a few plot points, is a wonderful edition to the TinkerBell series that is sure to delight audiences of all ages. This films ranks at A-.

Stay tuned for my review on Cinderella (in theater March 13th).

Pic Courtesy of daps magic.com

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Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Be Our Guest Lunch Review...


Be Our Guest Lunch Review...



This was my first time ever dining at Be Our Guest. We stayed at the French Quarter resort so got an email about 22ish days before our trip to make a reservation through FastPass Plus. We could either select our meal then or wait until we got there. 



We checked in about 20 minutes early & the cast member told us to go inside to wait in line. Our reservation was for 12:00pm. Even though we pre-ordered our whole meal we still had to stand in the line in the hallway where the suits of armor are. It took us about 20ish minutes to get through the line to the area with the pay screens. You will verify what you ordered by scanning your Magic Band. It does give you the option to split payment because we used that option. Cast Members were everywhere to help you if you got confused anytime using the system. 

Pre-Pay Stations

Screens in Suit of armor Hallway w/ Menus on screens


After we paid we were lead to a dining room. We were lucky & found a table in the Ballroom area. It was beyond beautiful BUT loud in there! 




When we found a table we asked a cast member how our food would find us & all she said was "magic" & winked at us. We were amazed when our food arrived to us about 25 minutes later. At one point I got up to use the restroom & saw a device that looked like an iPhone on the side of one of the carts & it had a GPS on it?! So apparently the Magic Bands have GPS in them? I guess that is good for Lost Children etc....We got our whole order at once. I ordered the soup, turkey sandwich, & grey stuff cupcake. Rachel ordered the braised pork. We took turns guarding our table while the other got their drink & silverware. The silverware was all the way over on the other side of room & hard to find. That is my only thing I thought that was confusing. 

Soda Area

 They bring your meals out on these large carts. It was so cool! I've never been to a place that did that before. :)



I was worried that I would not like the sauce on my turkey sandwich. I am a VERY picky eater! I absolutely LOVED my sandwich! I would order it again in a heartbeat. I believe they make the bread fresh here as well? The Potato Leek soup was excellent! I was on the fence about getting the soup but am glad I did. The only thing I really disliked was the french fries that came with my meal. I didn't think that they tasted good at all but didn't eat many of them. My soup was more than enough for a side. 

Inside the turkey sandwich 


Rachel let me try her braised pork & it was SO tender! I highly recommend that dish especially since it is half the price at lunch. 
Braised Pork


Grey Stuff Cupcake

Now on to dessert! This was my first time ever trying the "real" grey stuff. I have made a knock off recipe many times at home. 

I actually prefer the homemade recipe Grey Stuff over the actual Be Our Guest one. I didn't think it was quite as flavorful. Don't get me wrong I liked it......it just wasn't as good as the homemade version. 

All in all I think this is a GREAT quick service addition to the Magic Kingdom Park! You can now book an ADR here for lunch.I hope it won't be hard to get into for my next trip! Good luck to everyone getting reservations for lunch or dinner! 

Here is a video of the inside of the restaurant. 

video


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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Magic Kingdom Phone Charging Stations

Magic Kingdom Phone Charging Stations



My iPhone used a lotttttttt of battery juice while in the parks. I carried my charger with me in case I found an open outlet & I came across this area in New Fantasyland. This phone charging lounge area can be found behind the Big Top Souvenir Store. It is a tented area with 6 or so lounge areas. 




You do have to supply your own charger cable. This area was basically empty on the day I was here. It was nice to sit down & relax for awhile.

 I had really bad feet swelling this trip & I've never had this bad of an issue before. It got so bad that my legs were itching up to my knees w/ a rash?!!!! I guess I'm getting old...... I had to rest an hour & half until my feet felt a little better. It was a nice relaxing spot with a nice view at least. 


I heard a rumor that the rocks over by the Tangled Restrooms by the edge of Fantasyland & Frontierland have USB ports built into the rocks. I didn't have time to test this theory unfortunately. 

Have you found any new USB ports or chargers in the parks lately???


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Friday, February 20, 2015

Disney's Restaurantosaurus Review & Pics...

Disney's Restaurantosaurus Review & Pics...

Pic courtesy of mouseforless.com


This was my very first time eating here. I normally don't spend a lot of time at Disney's Animal Kingdom but this day we did. We were beyond starving walking around looking for food & decided on this place. This place is a lot nicer than I thought it'd be. I'm not sure why I didn't think it'd be nice? Maybe just because I was never inside before? There are many lines so your waiting time shouldn't be that bad plus you get to sit in air conditioning! 


The menu ranges from burgers, chicken nuggets, gigantic salad, & hot dogs.







I was tempted to just order a burger BUT I wanted to try something new & different. My friend & her dad ordered the burger which looked amazing by the way & I ordered the hot dog with macaroni & cheese on top! Yes, I said mac & cheese on top of your hot dog! 

They said that their burger was very good & I believe it! People were walking by with these HUGEEEEE Salads that looked tasty as well! 



The hot dog was HUGE! Two people could easily share this. The bun is so large & they toast it so it is crunchy & it hardly fit in my mouth! This is INCREDIBLY rich & filling. I probably only ate half of it because it was sooooooo rich!




The atmosphere of this place was really cool. There were two different soda machines plus many tables to choose from. There was also seating outside but it was way too hot on this particular day. If you have picky eaters this is a great place to stop at plus it has the AC! 

Next time I eat here I plan to try the burger. :) 


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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Magical Moments from my last Disney Trip....



Each trip we each have our own special magical moments that we experience. I used to be on the other side of giving them but it is also nice to experience them on my own as a guest.

What are some of your magical moments that you'd like to share?

We were at Disney's Hollywood Studios but decided to split up for a bit. I went walking around to take different pictures & decided that I was thirsty for a strawberry banana smoothie & cookie. I waited a good 25 minutes in line but was patient. I think I'm the only person who didn't order alcohol. haha. At the food cart next to Rockin' Roller Coaster I had the most amazing FREE smoothie. It was my first time trying this cart & I'm left with a great memory. I would recommmend  the smoothies there! I did have on my birthday pin so it was a special gift from the cast member to me. :)


I also had my second magical moment at DHS Park. I was walking around by myself taking pictures & felt the craving for a Mickey Mouse Premium Chocolate Bar. There was no one really in the area I was in. I walked up to a cart where the fake NYC street is where they sell pretzels,drinks, & ice cream. I remember the sweet Australian blonde telling me it was on the house. I asked her if she was sure & she said "Absolutely!" Free Mickey Bar =Amazing Day!!!!



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Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Old DisneyLand Cinema

I was going through my DVDs and stumbled upon some bonus material I had previously missed in Walt Disney Treasures - Disneyland - Secrets, Stories & Magic.

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Walt Disney Treasures - Disneyland - Secrets, Stories & ...
Amazon.com: Walt Disney Treasures - Disneyland - Secrets, Stories & Magic (Collector's Tin): Milt Albright, Julie Andrews, Roy Edward Disney, Walt Disney, Michael ...
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The main program is great if you get a chance to see it.  I especially like the opening where all the naysayers who thought Disneyland would never work are quoted in rapid succession.  The main program provides a history of the park through the recollections of people who lived through it.

One of the bonus items is essentially an informercial for Disneyland from 1956, about a year after the park opened.  It was filmed in Cinemascope which was extraordinary and incredible expensive for its time.  This was a promotional item meant to entice potential guests to come to the park.  I watched it twice in a row.  The second time, I turned on the commentary from Leonard Maltin and longtime Imagineer Tony Baxter who has lived through much of the design and construction of several parks.  He provides key insights that are missed if you view the material without the commentary.

Before entering the park, the Disneyland Hotel is shown.  Park guests wait for a tram that takes them to the front gates which hasn't been possible since Disney California Adventure was built.  Notable are kids boarding the tram dressed in suits..  Also, in a shot of the austere rectangular pool, a woman in a long dress is seen walking around in the southern California sun.

Upon entering Disneyland of 1956, there are three areas that are most striking:  what isn't there in 1956; what is there in 1956 that still remains;  and what is there in 1956, but not any more.

Baxter points out in the opening that the costumed walkabout characters are absent in 1956.  Why?  Apparently, those licenses were given out to an ice show and Disney was left with only some minor characters to use for merchandise.  Marketing must have been crippled until those licenses expired.  Oddly, there is a street cleaner on Main Street who became a guest favorite because he was considered a costumed character.  The trip down Main Street inside a horse-drawn trolley is interesting especially with the widescreen effect of Cinemascope.  What Baxter missed were the hats on the horses.  I'm fairly certain they were inspired by if not reproduced from the short "Johnnie Fedora and Alice Bluebonnet."



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The commentary continues as the footage quickly switches to Frontierland.  The reason why a vast majority of the feature is spent in Frontierland is that that it encompasses about a third of the park at this point.  What's absent is the vegetation.  There is so much dirt, but the guests don't appear to mind.  What's there is the Mark Twain riverboat complete with a live band on the bow section.  What's there that isn't there any more?  Far too much.  The native American dancers who were not cast members provided one of the few educational opportunities.  The real fishing area didn't last long after the mid-50s because parents didn't know what to do with the fish their kids caught.  Most ended up in trashcans.  The stagecoach and mule rides are gone too.  It was staggering to see how many cast members there were for these attractions.  The live gunfight at Rainbow Ridge is amusing because the bad guy climbs up some stairs and ends up comically out of scale with the tiny building next to him which compromises the forced perspective in this area.  The mine train ride is gone too along with its rainbow-colored waterfall.  I have only seen a few blurry shots of this effect.  Tony Baxter surmises that Disney did not have any interior shots in this film because Cinemascope was difficult to use in low light.  This theory is probably correct because the "nighttime" shots show later have hard shadows on the ground.  That means that these were process shots to simulate darkness.

Adventureland is an extremely brief stop because there is one and only one attraction, the Jungle Cruise.  The skipper's spiel is humorless.  "This is Schweitzer Falls, named for the famous humanitarian."  and not "...named for Dr. Albert.... Falls."  The most developed vegetation is here because builders made certain they got in at least one growing season before the Disneyland opened.  Still, it's mighty bare.  There's no Pirates of the Caribbean.  No Tiki Room.  Also, there's no New Orleans Square, so no Haunted Mansion.

Tomorrowland has some attractions, but it's an odd mix.  The star of this section is Autopia.  In 1956, there were no guide rails and riders could even pass each other.  
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They couldn't go inside the moon rocket ride because of the Cinemascope limitations.  This attraction had been completed only days before the park opening. 

There was no PeopleMover and it is disheartening to note that it is absent again.   There were the Phantom Boats, but it is pointed out by Baxter that they're not moving in the aerial view which is probably why they didn't last.  The Matterhorn isn't there, but there is a hill of dirt.    The Monorail would come in 1959.  The Carousel of Progress would have to wait for the end of the 1964-65 World's Fair.  The model airplane flight circle (AKA the Thimble Drome) is there.  I don't think many people miss it.  The infomercial did not include Kaiser's Hall of Aluminum Fame.  I guess it wasn't exciting enough.  

Fantasyland has almost been completely reworked.  The 1983 renovation resulted in numerous relocations and other changes.    The Mad Tea Party is featured.  According to the commentary, the Disneyland Band still occasionally performs while riding.  The Chicken of the Sea Pirate Ship is there and it was not supposed to have been removed.  Unfortunately, it rotted out and was destroyed when it couldn't be moved or updated.  
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Checken of the Sea Pirate Ship and Restaurant at Yesterl...
Photo of Pirate Ship behind Mad Tea Party: by Charles R. Lympany, courtesy of Chris Taylor. Photo of man with ticket book at Pirate Ship: 1969 by Fred M. Nelson, Sr...
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The Story Book Land Canal boats had been recently renamed in 1956.  The guide's outfit is underwhelming.  

One of the saddest moments is a ride in the now-defunct Skyway.  

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Skyway to Tomorrowland at Yesterland
Skyway to Tomorrowland Depart from a Swiss chalet surrounded by tiny pine trees. Gaze over at Cinderella s Castle right after you leave the station.  
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Sure it wasn't well themed.  Sure it had long lines because it had low throughput rates.  But, you got above the park for a view your couldn't get anywhere else as evidenced in this footage.  It even got better when the Matterhorn was built because you went through holes in the mountain.  It made sense that it had holes in it because it was a Swiss mountain.

The "nighttime" departure from the park includes the flag retreat.  Guests paused respectfully during the ceremony.  It was also interesting to see what passed for a parade during this time.  Remember that there were no costumed characters, so they improvised.  I rather enjoyed the parade of antique cars up and down Main Street.  It added to the immersive effect which was still not quite ramped up at this time.

This turned out to be a pleasant discovery on a 2-disc set on which I thought I had already enjoyed all the material.  The second viewing with Tony Baxter's insights was well worth the additional time.

Written by Jeff C.