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Topics: Disney, Disneyland, Disneyland Resort, Entertainment, Theme ParksTags: , ,

For Disneyland’s 60th anniversary the imagineers decided to give the Main Street windows a makeover, to add a little extra magic. The windows have all been updated with new technology and effects to make them feel like they really come alive. Peter Pan and Cinderella are the only two windows revealed so far but windows featuring  Frozen, Princess and the Frog, Toy Story and Aladdin is set to debut later this summer.

Take a look at the Peter Pan window too.

Thanks to Danielle Ernest from Disney Darlings for pictures and video


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Review: Frozen Summer Fun Premium Package gives you a lot of Frozen treats and free time

Review: Frozen Summer Fun Premium Package gives you a lot of Frozen treats and free time

The Frozen Summer Fun event just started at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and just like last year the event offers lots of fun “Frozen” related shows and activities. In addition to these events you can also book a special Frozen Summer Fun Premium Package that makes your day of enjoying the Frozen Fun much easier. The premium package offers you three “Frozen” experiences for a reasonable price of $69 including tax and gratuities. The three experiences are :

1. Reserved viewing location for the “Frozen Royal Welcome” parade at 10:30 am

2. Reserved seating, front row, for one show of the “For the First Time in Forever Frozen Sing-Along Celebration” located at the Hyperion Theater.

3. Reserved Frozen fireworks viewing and dessert party.

The first two experiences may not seem to be all that special, but a visit to Hollywood Studios during the summer in the middle of Frozen mania can really take a toll on a person and these experiences help out with that. The parade goes down Hollywood Blvd in the blazing sun and the reserved viewing spot makes sure that you don’t have to secure a spot hours in advance and the location is also in a shady area. I promise this will save you both time and give you a much more enjoyable parade experience.

As for the Frozen Sing-Along there is no better viewing spot than the seats reserved for this package. Right close up to the stage to make sure you will not miss a single thing about the show and your little ones have a bigger chance of being spotted by their favorite “Frozen” crew.

The piece de resistance of this package though is the Frozen fireworks dessert party. Starting at 8:15 the party gives you plenty of time to enjoy all the desserts and drink before the 9:30 fireworks show. The reserved viewing spot is also in a perfect location to see the firework pre-show that features Elsa, Anna, Kristoff and now also Olaf. You do sacrifice some firework viewing by being so close up to the stage but if your kids are Frozen fans, I think the characters will give them much more of a thrill than the fireworks themselves.

So what about the treats and goodies? There is plenty of them at the dessert party. Baked goods in all kinds of different “Frozen” shapes and sizes are offered, but also peach cobbler with vanilla bean ice cream and fresh berries with whipped cream. There is definitely something for everyone and some sugar free options too. Specialty alcoholic beverages are offered for the adult “Frozen” fans and non-alcoholic themed drinks and snow-cones for the kids, though I saw more than one adult sneak some snow-cone goodness.

Is it possible to visit Hollywood Studios and experience all the Frozen Summer Fun in one day? Yes, absolutely, but if you want to do it in a more relax and enjoyable way I definitely recommend this package. You can let go of all the stress of making sure not to miss a single thing and end the night with some yummy treats and beverages.

The Frozen Summer Fun Premium Package, available daily from July 5 – September 1, 2014 (with the exception of August 23). The cost is $69 for adults (ages 10 and up), $39 for children age 3 to 9 (tax and gratuity are included). Reservations can be made online or by calling 407-939-3463.

 


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Topics: Disney, Disney's California Adventure, Disneyland Resort, Entertainment, Theme ParksTags: , , ,

Arriving just ahead of daily performances of Pixar Play Parade at Disney’s California Adventure is the new Inside Out pre-parade. Featuring our five favorite emotions: Joy, Sadness, Anger, Disgust and Fear the pre-parade will be running daily all summer long.

Thanks to Danielle Ernest from Disney Darlings for pictures and video


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SeaWorld features Summer Nights with concert series and Shamu’s Celebration: Light Up The Night

SeaWorld features Summer Nights with concert series and Shamu’s Celebration: Light Up The Night

From June 20 – August 9, your visit to SeaWorld will include Summer Nights, where families can stay later for more thrills and laughs. Ride your favorite coasters under the stars. Laugh along with a late showing of the all-new Sea Lion High. Enjoy special performances like “Shamu’s Celebration: Light Up The Night.” And each day finishes with a bang with a nightly fireworks finale. Summer Nights also means “Celebrating America” nighttime concerts each weekend.

Celebrate America Concert Series – Every Saturday and Sunday guests can enjoy all-American performances by a variety of artists and genres at this all-new summer concert series. The celebration of America continues throughout the park with all-American food and daily happy hours.  Plus, pass holders can enjoy a complimentary sample of a tasty brew. Concerts will take place in the Nautilus Theater and are included with park admission.

June 20 & 21 – Trick Pony (This weekend)

This contemporary country duo brings a unique style and blend of harmonies to country music, creating Trick Pony’s signature sound. Their albums produced eight charted singles on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts, including four Top 20 hits: “Pour Me,” “On a Night Like This,” “Just Do What I Do,” and “On A Mission.”

June 27 – Crystal Gayle

Crystal Gayle is a legendary, multiple-award-winning American country music singer with more than 20 number one country hits. She was the first female artist in country music history to achieve platinum album sales and has been awarded numerous times by the Grammy’s, the Country Music Association, the Academy of Country Music, the American Music Awards, and the American Music Operators Association. In 2009 Crystal was honored to receive her own star on the fabled Hollywood Walk of Fame. She is best known for her most popular song, the Grammy-winning “Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue.”

June 28 – Phil Vassar

Phil Vassar is an award-winning country music artist who has released eight albums, won two ASCAP Songwriter of the Year trophies, and been named Billboard Country Songwriter of the Year. As a singer/songwriter, Phil has hit the Top 5 seven times with songs like “Carlene,” “Last Day of My Life” and “American Child” and topped the charts with “In A Real Love” and the perennial favorite “Just Another Day in Paradise.” Known as one of Nashville’s top tunesmiths, his songs other artists have taken to number one include “My Next Thirty Years” by Tim McGraw, “She’s Right On The Money” by Alan Jackson, and Jo Dee Messina’s “Bye, Bye” and “I’m Alright.”

Clyde & Seamore’s Sea Lion High – Turn up the laughs with nighttime showings of this all-new sea lion comedy adventure.  Full of fun and big personalities of sea lions, walruses and otters, the show takes place in an aquatic-themed  high school where laughter and education go hand in hand (er, flipper).

Shamu’s Celebration: Light Up The Night – Experience this returning fan-favorite, a high-energy show featuring original music, amazing production elements and see SeaWorld’s majestic killer whales.  Shamu Stadium will transform with stylistic lighting and colorful backdrops to create a social and celebratory atmosphere ending with a fireworks finale spectacle.

Late-Night Thrills –SeaWorld’s thrill rides are a whole different experience when the sun goes down. Guests can experience Kraken, a thrilling roller coaster, and Manta, a facedown, headfirst roller coaster where riders can skim, glide and fly like a manta ray, and many more.

For more information or how to purchase tickets, go to: Seaworldparks.com


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Review: “Inside Out” brings back original Pixar charm, as director Pete Docter recounts ‘brainstorm’ that sparked the idea

Review: “Inside Out” brings back original Pixar charm, as director Pete Docter recounts ‘brainstorm’ that sparked the idea

Inside Out is the first feature-length Pixar release since 2013’s Monsters University and the studio’s first non-sequel since 2012’s Brave. Much of the blame for such a long gap between movies can be placed on the delay of The Good Dinosaur, originally scheduled to hit theaters last year, but which has now been pushed back to the fall of 2016 due to development problems.

Prior to that, the Disney-owned animation company had been reliably churning out a movie per year for almost a decade. Beyond that stumble in prolificacy, many fans and critics have noted a marked decline in the quality of Pixar’s recent output (its 2011 offering, Cars 2, was its first—and only, so far—movie to earn a “rotten” on the RottenTomatoes.com TomatoMeter). All these worries rest heavily on the shoulders of Inside Out as it approaches its June 19th release date. Fortunately for Pixar, Disney, and their countless devotees, Inside Out proves to have been worth the wait.

I saw Inside Out last week at the Los Angeles Film Festival, accompanied by a pre-screening discussion between the film’s director Pete Docter and the event’s moderator, film critic Elvis Mitchell.

During the half-hour chat, Docter (who previously helmed both Monsters, Inc. and Up) recounted his early influences: a childhood spent loving Disneyland, Looney Tunes, and The Muppets, and admiring animation directors such as Chuck Jones and Tex Avery. He remembered his first real animation experience making flipbooks as a kid, a tradition he continues to this day as holiday gifts. Docter then recalled getting hired during Pixar’s fledgling days as an animation studio under then-owner Steve Jobs, a frightening period during which creative director John Lasseter fired half the company. Obviously things improved after that, and the rest is history.

According to Docter, movie-making at Pixar is “simultaneously a democracy and a director-driven process”, with the creative leads very much in charge but always open to considering the ideas of their coworkers and underlings. When asked about the specifics of putting together a Pixar movie, he emphasized the importance of pacing in editing, contrast in design, and the element of surprise in storytelling—an example of the latter being Woody’s match unexpectedly blowing out during the climax of the first Toy Story. He went on to discuss how Pixar ‘s film tend to reflect themes that their creators care deeply about—for him, Monsters, Inc. was about love of work and Up was about the desire to escape. Inside Out, Docter says, was inspired by his daughter having turned eleven around the time he was brainstorming ideas for his next feature.

“Brainstorm” is an oddly appropriate word to use when describing the plot of Inside Out, the tale of personified incarnations of five major emotions residing in—and controlling—the mind of a little girl named Riley: Joy (voiced by the always-bubbly Amy Poehler), Sadness (The Office’s Phyllis Smith), Anger (comedian Lewis Black), Fear (Bill Hader), and Disgust (Mindy Kaling).

(As a side note, the premise brings to mind the now-defunct EPCOT attraction Cranium Command, and had Pete Docter’s introduction included a Q&A session I might have asked if that had any influence on the movie.)

Regardless, at the beginning of the story, Riley’s thus-far happy life is thrown into upheaval when her wilderness-and-ice-hockey-loving family moves from rural Minnesota to a run-down house in urban San Francisco to follow her father’s career. Forced to adjust to a new life, a new school, and new friends, Riley’s emotions have a bit of a meltdown. As a result, Joy and Sadness—two characters at odds with each other from the get-go—are accidentally ejected from the mind’s “control center” and must traverse the often-bleak landscape of Riley’s crumbling psyche in order to get back to work and restore balance to her emotional state.

As to the movie’s quality: I’m very glad to report that Inside Out represents something of a return to form for Pixar. While never quite achieving the glorious highs of the studio’s absolute best efforts, Inside Out is reliably entertaining and often hilariously funny throughout, and is unsurprisingly (get those tissues ready) also a bit of a tearjerker.

The lead actors are all wonderful, and the supporting cast—including Diane Lane and Kyle MacLachlan as Mom and Dad, respectively—all turn in warm and charming performances. A special note must be made here for experienced character actor Richard Kind, who pops up as a memorably heartbreaking character who, to my knowledge, has not been featured in any of the marketing, so I’ll do my part to let you discover him on your own.

When all is said and done, Inside Out may have you reflecting on your own emotions, and an important lesson that’s learned by the main characters before the end, one that Docter allows to play out in visuals, without comment or expository dialogue — a smart move that shouldn’t have surprised me, considering the film’s pedigree. Mostly, the movie revisits familiar but welcome Pixar themes like teamwork and the importance of family, but explores these ideas so well that I have no doubt families will enjoy seeing it in theaters this weekend, not to mention many times thereafter.


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