Will Smith as Genie – some of us weren’t born when the Fresh Prince first took the stage in West Philadelphia, but his musical talent shines through again in Agrabah, along with some comedy, for a fresh take on the genie. He passed.
Mena Massoud as Aladdin – His dance moves and acrobatics help mold his character into the kind hearted slippery thief that steals Jasmine’s heart. One thing he doesn’t do much of – sing. His warmth effectuates and he is perfectly in character.
ABU as ABU – for those of you who are wondering, NO MONKEYS were harmed in the making of this movie. He is a clever guy and might even be the true hero of this movie. Wondering who the voice of Abu is? Click here.
Marwan Kenzari as Jafar – He is as evil as it gets, probably one of the few characters in the movie that is not better than the original Aladdin. This actor could have done better. The best thing about him was his talking parrot.
Naomi Scott as Jasmine – She grew up singing in church, and started writing songs at the age of 15. The new songs in Aladdin 2019 highlight her talent. Some might say she stole the show. The new version of Aladdin reimagines Jasmine as a stronger woman, which is perfect in the age of Wonder Woman, Captain Marvel, and hopefully a female president one day soon.
Our verdict is in and we vote YES. According to our toughest critic, you won’t want to miss the moment where Aladdin does his back flips.
Do the cheerful smiles of Disney Activity Hosts creep you out? Don’t let them- they are genuine, and you may want to hug them at the end of your visit. While the Activity Hosts are not babysitters (you must supervise your kids unless you are at the activity center with babysitting for a small fee), they will surely keep your child entertained and give you some breathing room
Toasted Marshmallows: Who doesn’t love a campfire? Almost every Disney Resort Hotel holds a family campfire with marshmallows to toast (no smores). And get this: As long as you wear shoes and follow the rules, you are entitled to unlimited marshmallows!
Community Hall: Guests of the resort are welcome to do arts and crafts (small fee), play games (ping pong/board games/ video games) and watch movies. We have made and painted pottery, made slime, created a craft bag, and done all sorts of fun things! And the activity reps walk your kids through every step of the way. You can participate or sit back and read a magazine!
Poolside activities: Starting at 1pm, the activity reps usually play games with the kids at the pool. It can be a godsend. Often the games have fun prizes. They aren’t lifeguards, though so be sure to keep your eyes on them.
Rainy day activities: When it rains, it sometimes pours! And the pool is closed. For those days, the activity reps will usually move the poolside activities into community hall or the Resort lobby.
MOVIES: Every evening of the week the Resort usually plays a family friendly Disney movie. The movies are shown on a large blow-up screen in a large area and range from Disney animated classics to Disney Channel Original Movies. They will even show Disney’s newest releases as soon as they’re available to the public. Some of the resorts will also provide an indoor option if it is raining or the movie can’t be shown outdoors for some reason. This activity is a great way to enjoy an old favorite or catch a new movie you’ve been dying to see. Bring snacks!
Fascinated by the artistic process? Love Disney themes? Here is a glimpse of a sample of art displayed at the 2019 festival of the arts at Epcot. Keep in mind that on top of the artwork displayed, many booths highlight the artist and may even have the actual artist present.
Here are some great pictures of some of the art displayed, including some handmade bronze statutes:
Music is art! Which is why there is also a Disney on Broadway Concert Series, featuring show stopping songs from Disney musicals.
Performance Artists are also tactfully set up all over Epcot. It’s surely not to be missed and we hope to bring you more inside views of this artfully planned Epcot festival.
Looking to add a little Disney flair to your Valentine’s Day this year? Here are our top five ideas on how to do it:
ADD A LITTLE ROMANCE TO YOUR DINNER, DISNEY STYLE: my absolute favorite way to do it is by sharing a plate of spaghetti with my loved one. If you’ve never tried it, as silly as it may sound, please do. Happen to be at Tony’s Restaurant in the Magic Kingdom? The restaurant is designed after the real place where this magic happened. So try it there. Trust me.
DISNEY MOVIE VALENTINE FAMILY NIGHT – Staying in with your family this Valentine’s Day? Make it a family night. Make your own popcorn, add some red sprinkles and pink M&Ms for some flair. Try making cookie cutter valentine’s snacks (you can use cookie cutters on just about any kind of food). Finish the evening with some Jello Fun. Need family ideas? Try these: Beauty and the Beast, Ratatouille, Lady and the Tramp, Frozen, Cinderella.
Find ways to #BEKIND. Put Disney Quotes around your house with the “BEKIND” Theme. Need some ideas? Try these:
A friend is one of the nicest things that you can have and one of the best things you can be (Winnie the Pooh)
Remember, you’re the one that can fill the world with sunshine (Snow White)
Live like there is no midnight (Cinderella)
Be who you are on the inside (Moana)
Prove yourself to be Brave, Truthful, and Unselfish (Pinnochio)
Someone climbed out of the roller coaster. Don’t get out of a rollercoaster while the roller coaster is in motion. Stay in your seats. For example Space Mountain recently reopened after being shut down: a 20 year old man with cognitive disabilities climbed out of the moving rollercoaster and was on the tracks, forcing the ride to halt to a close. Thankfully, no injuries were reported. Somehow he was able to maneuver around the ride’s safety restraints. So lower those bars and hold on tight!
Elsa’s head may have fallen off, again (Frozen Ride). Do you want your toddler to see Elsa’s head off. Neither does Disney. Apparently the Frozen Ride opened in 2016, before it was completed, and the sensors are often tripped or the animatronics do not stay on. In these situations, all the lights will come on and you will be led out of the ride by a cast member.
The boats ahead of you might be stuck. In Pirates of the Caribbean, for example, sometimes the boats can get so stacked up that the boat you are in CAN’T navigate the pirate waterways. Don’t worry, a pirate wearing galoshes may show up and use a long pole to navigate your boat out of the waterways. You should still be safe!
Not too terrified to ride the Tower of Terror? Well, let’s hope it’s up and running for you! Before you discover life beyond the fifth dimension, let’s hope your elevator is lined up on the track’s properly. If it is even a 1/64th inch off (for your safety), the ride stops automatically. Take a look at these folks who filmed their ride being shut down.
Worst part of having a ride close mid-wait or mid-ride is the anticipation that comes to a slamming halt. Best part is that you will most likely be offered a fast pass by the cast members at exit. If not for the ride you were waiting for, it may be one that can be used for almost any ride in the park. If they do not offer a fast pass, be sure to ask for one.
Don’t forget one thing: It all started with a mouse. Mickey Mouse.
All these years, we have not had a chance to join Mickey in his animated world. And now we can. This is the first ever ride through attraction featuring Mickey and Minnie Mouse.
Mickey and Minnie are getting their own ride with a NEW STORY and THEME SONG. It starts out with a picnic. A 2 1/2 dimensional picnic. A flat world will be transformed into an unconventional dimension.
Few people have experienced life without seeing Mickey Mouse. But we have never gone into their animated world. You will get to ride in side the wacky world of a Mickey Mouse cartoon short. Anything can happen, especially with Goofy as the train engineer. But Mickey and Minnie will be there to help you out of trouble.
We have been promised dazzling visual effects, twists and turns, and mind boggling scenarios. It’s going to be a mousterpiece! With more hidden mickeys than any other attraction in the theme park.
Do you remember my inner turmoil when I learned of the upcoming movie, Mary Poppins Returns? If not, click here.
You have no reason to worry about doing harm to the Original Mary Poppins by attending Mary Poppins Returns. This film is not a remake. It is a sequel in every shape and form. And there may very well be more sequels to come.
I may be living in a bubble, but I was consistently shocked while watching the film. Almost as shocked as the Banks children watching Mary Poppins pull items out of her famous carpetbag. Shocked not only that Angela Lansbury is still alive and well at age 93, but she soars as an iconic character from the original P.L Travers eight book series: the balloon lady. Her balloons are magic, and she warns those who take a balloon to choose wisely.
Watching Angela Lansbury and Dick Van Dyke made me feel like a child again. That is all I will say to not ruin the movie, but it is a must see. And your children will watch, captivated. I was a bit worried at first, as the children we were with ranged from ages 2 to 6, but they stayed entranced for the entire two hour period.
I can’t quite put a finger on how happy I felt after the movie. It was so nice to see such an all-star cast, of all ages, filled with such talent. Hope is not lost! Children can still use their imaginations and fly.
What is the one thing that is possibly missing from Lansbury’s role? Her iconic Murder She Wrote Wink or possibly a Beauty and the Beast song.
There is wind in the east, there’s a mist coming in, something is brewing, and about to begin on December 19th! This something never brings her resume or references because she meets all qualifications. Here are five reasons to watch the new May Poppins Returns while still giving deference to the first film.
Emily Blunt – She won’t be wearing Prada but is sure to by practically perfectly stylish in her attire as Mary Poppins. An outspoken advocate for young women, Blunt is also on the board of the American Institute for Stuttering. She has been heard telling people that she is afraid of being in a brutal world and not being able to protect the children. What better role to take on than Mary Poppins, the iconic English magical nanny.
Dick Van Dyke – Did you realize that Dick Van Dyke took on a dual role in the first “Mary Poppins”, playing the old banker Mr. Dawes Sr.? Well, he did. It took him two hours in makeup to look old for the part. Well, now Van Dyke is actually old, 92 years old to be exact. And he willingly takes on the role of Mr. Dawes Jr in the new film. It’s just Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious! (We do miss him as Bert, though).
New Songs: There is a NEW soundtrack of original songs written by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman that should appeal to new and old fans of the original 1964 “Mary Poppins” movie, according to media outlets that visited the “Mary Poppins Returns” film set in England. songs in the movie will be “The Place Where Lost Things Go,” “Can You Imagine That,” “The Royal Doulton Music Hall,” “Turning Turtle,” “A Cover Is Not the Book,” Trip a Little Light Fantastic” and “Nowhere to Go But Up.”
Meryl Streep: Have you beard of “Topsy”, Mary Poppins’ cousin? Streeps brings us this character in all her glory. She lives in a topsy-turvy world and performs an original topsy turvy song, wearing a very very interesting wig!!
Hoping for a Julie Andrews Cameo? That would be a miracle. And even though miracles take a little time, you would need infinite time: Julie Andrews refused the cameo, saying it would detract from Blunt’s moment in the limelight. Would you like more of an explanation from her? Well she never explains anything.
The question now becomes will the Mary Poppins character at Disney change its tune when it comes to an official photopass photographer being available royalty-free???? My gut instinct is yes. Click here for more.
Looking for some added spice to your holiday season? Can’t make it to Disney for some reason or another? Here are five reasons to head to Essex, Connecticut with or without an elf in training:
1. You will meet real elves. There is an elf academy. Most elves there are at a minimum 250 years old. How do you know how old an elf is? You can tell by its ears.
2. There may be a few princesses present: this land is ruled by three princesses. Princess Holly, Princess Noel, and Princess Merry wander the area and greet the citizens. Princess Holly was asked recently if they have actual jobs. Her answer? “I don’t need a job, I am a princess.”
3. You will learn important life skills. Elves need to perfect three things: singing, dancing, and laughing. You will learn all of these. Don’t ask me how I don’t want to ruin the surprise
4. Mr. and Mrs. Claus appear as a couple. We have heard the stories of their great romance, but hardly had the chance to see them. And if you take the Essex steam train, you do actually get to see them walk the aisle!! (Train aisle that is)!!
5. River Junction. Looking for a family photo? Want to get into the holiday spirit? Well this is the best train station waiting room to get you and your family there! There are free crafts and activities for kids, tons of special VIPs to meet, and lots of unique photo opportunities.