A Peek at Captain Hook’s Pirate Crew

Who needs a babysitter when you can leave your kids (ages 4 to 12) with a pirate with a hook for a hand? 

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He comes with excellent references and will watch your kids from 5:00 to 8:30pm at just $55 per child (price includes dinner). Parents are welcome to drop their kids off as early as 4:30pm at the Seaside Retreat at Disney’s Beach Club.  Dinner is served between 715 and 745. 

Upon entering Pirate Hideaway, seasoned members of Captain Hook’s crew will assist you in the first, most crucial step towards becoming a pirate—receiving your pirate name. Next, they’ll teach you the many skills crucial to life on the high seas such as talking like a pirate, swabbing the deck and singing sea chanties!

Captain Hook himself will be checking in to examine progress and get kids started on their first treasure hunt. Kids will solve puzzles and gather clues on land before setting sail along Crescent Lake. Yes. They do set sail. Apparently there are enough Disney Cast Members to ensure kid safety. All kids are required to wear life vests. Captain Hook isn’t the only one who should be scared of the crocodiles.

While subject to change, the menu features several entrees, including Cannon Meatballs with Marinara and Macaroni and Gold Sauce—as well as the Treasure Chest Treat or fruit for dessert.

If you’re worried about leaving your kids with a pirate, teach them what to do in case they are forced to walk the plank and they will be fine. My plan, I’ll be teaching my kids what to do in the events things turn for the worse for them while I make a reservation for a nice restaurant to go to while they are on their pirate adventure. 

Disney World has gone to the dogs

Planning on bringing your dog to Walt Disney World? Be sure to book a stay at one of the parks’ pet-friendly resorts. While there’s an additional fee for pets — between $50-$75 per night — the pet accommodations may make yours and your dog’s life much easier! (There’s a maximum of two dogs per guest room). 

Here are Disney’s dog-friendly resorts:

  • Disney’s Art of Animation Resort
  • Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside Resort
  • Disney’s Yacht Club Resort
  • Cabins at Disney’s Ft. Wilderness Resort

No word yet on whether Disney’s magical express will accommodate canines. 

Disney has pet walkways and green spaces at all of their pet-friendly hotels. In the event that your dog “really has to go”, don’t worry. All pet-friendly rooms are located near the walkways and green spaces.

Service dogs are allowed at any park or resort as long as there is a leash and a harness. They can wait in line with owners and can even go on some rides – they don’t even need a ticket!

For those that do not wish to bring your dog to the Disney hotel, or for those who don’t want to leave your pet alone for too long, there is a Best Friend’s Pet Care just outside Disney – Go to their website directly to learn more. Rates range from $44/night for basic indoor stay with two walks to $109/night for the VIP treatment. 

We have used the Best Friend’s chain in Westchester. It is the only place I have ever felt comfortable leaving my dog for an extended stay. There were opportunities to view him online through a webcam, daily pictures sent to me, and lots of treats and even tv for our pet. I’ve heard Disney’s Best Friend’s location is just as great. Are you an annual pass holder? If so, take advantage of the discount that Best Friend’s pet hotel offers pass holders. 

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these Dalmatians would need at least 5 rooms, since there is a limit of two dogs per room.

The reason we haven’t brought our furry friend is because we do not want to put him through the stress of plane travel, and then staying in an unfamiliar place, when we have a great pet sitter at home. It is just not worth the stress and extra costs.

Most domestic pets are allowed on a plane if they are 20 pounds or less. Be sure to check with your plane carrier for their specific rules. 

Still wish to bring your furry friend? Be sure to either mail his usual food to the resort ahead of time (via Amazon, the resort will hold packages), or bring his food with you to avoid extra sickness and accidents. Bring bags for waste and plenty of treats!

 

Disney World Annual Pass and Star Wars Land: Figuring out the “Perks”

For months Disney has been advertising exclusive “perks” for those fans interested in seeing Star Wars Land IMMEDIATELY!

They have been pushing Annual Passes as the only way to view those perks. 

Platinum, Platinum Plus and Premier Passholders were told they would have the opportunity for an out-of-this-world adventure at the all-new Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disney’s Hollywood Studios! This was to happen during an Annual Passholder preview—select times from August 17 to August 21, 2019. Notice that Silver and Gold Passholders are NOT mentioned here. Forget about the fact that theses passes are only about 100 dollars less and still cost a pretty penny. 

Passes raised in prices – they jumped more than $200 and now ring in at over $1,000 per year. The Disney Platinum Plus Pass now costs $1,219.00+ tax and the Disney Platinum Pass now costs $1,119.00+ tax. Although Florida residents and Disney Vacation Club members have options to other less expensive annual pass options, most of those increased in price as well.  Again, is it worth it? 

I would love to see the data on how many people signed up for Annual Passes after this announcement. Not every Annual Passholder gets this opportunity, it is limited and was only no a first come, first served basis. The booking window is now booked solid. 

What does that mean for the rest of us? Passholders and Non-Passholders alike? Supposedly, No special reservations will be needed to enter Walt Disney World’s Star Wars land on August 29. You can imagine what the lines will be like… I can even see people sleeping outside the gates of Hollywood Studios, can’t you? 

Disney World is offering Special Extra Magic Hours and opening Disney Hollywood Studios at 6am each morning through November 2 for its on-site hotel guests, giving them a three-hour head start each day on visiting the Black Spire Outpost before the park opens to all ticket-holders at 9am. But Disney World will open the early access to the land to all guests at 6am for its first three days of operation: August 29-31, 2019.

So, it seems as if that from August 29-August 31 there will be no easy way to see Star Wars Land. You just need to be at the opening gate to Hollywood Studios, ready to go, at 6am. 

Still haven’t seen Star Wars? Check out this 7 minute video to recap the series: 

Will you feel the love tonight?Yes, you still will if you see the new Lion King!

During this past heat wave, we escaped to the movie theater to see THE LION KING! The theater was packed, and full of laughter and singing as all the new jokes and familiar songs began.

Should you see it? Yes. Should you plan on being surprised? Don’t hold your breath. The story is exactly the same, there are no surprise endings. The movie is, in fact, only different a few times with a few extra jokes. There is one extra song. Quite frankly, I expected a bit more heart from Beyonce’s role. 

Compared to the new Aladdin remake, in which Will Smith amazed as the Genie, even as a cartoon, Beyonce did not do anything “extra” with her role as Nala.  I wasn’t thrilled there. The new songs can’t compare to the original Lion King soundtrack. This video, before is much better than the way it sounds and appears in the movie. Perhaps the song should have been played differently. 

But, the graphics, compared to the original movie, are astounding. They bring a lot to the movie. Pride Rock (which really exists as a real and massive rock in the Pride Lands) and all of the lands around it are beautifully depicted. The film as an astonishing CGI style, that itself was thrilling. 

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Definitely see the movie, especially during a heat wave. And make sure you see the previews, which includes a few Disney films: Maleficent 2 being one that I will definitely see!

LITTLE BO BEEP MAY HAVE LOST HER SHEEP BUT STILL KNEW WHERE TO FIND HER FRIENDS.. HIGHLIGHTS FROM TOY STORY 4

Was anyone else surprised that it all didn’t end with Toy Story 3? Toy Story 4 starts out much like the other Toy Story movies, with a new kid who likes to play with different toys… Is it still worth it? Definitely. 

Bo-Beep is found again, along with her three sheep and she lives and views life very differently than a household toy. 

There are some frightening moments in an antique shop in Toy Story 4, and our hearts go out to those toys who sit for days in a shop like that… but we do learn that Woody had the opportunity to go with Bo when she left Andy’s house and chose to put his own feelings aside because Andy still needed him.  

Bonnie has now moved on to other favorite toys, Andy is no longer the sheriff. He realizes that he has a chance to follow his dreams of being with Bo and seeing the world. So when he’s offered the chance to return to the life he knew with Bonnie and his friends, or on different adventures with Bo Peep, he finally decides to live a life for himself…. 

 

What that means is that, most likely, this is the last time we will see Andy in a new movie involving his old friends. Maybe an Andy/Bo-Peep spin off is in the mix? Will Bo-Peep now be seen at Toy Story World at Disney? Let’s hope so. 

 

3 THINGS TO THINK ABOUT WHEN DECIDING WHETHER TO BUY A DISNEY ANNUAL PASS IN 2019

Annual Passholders receive many benefits, but the pass comes at a price. Here are some things to mouse or “muse” over before you decide:

  • Recent Price Increase might make you wince:  

Updated Disney World Annual Pass prices for the public are as follows: 

Updated Disney World Annual Pass prices for Disney Vacation Club Members are as follows:

Disney Platinum Plus Pass New Purchase: $999 (from $849)
Disney Platinum Plus Pass Renewal: $849 (from $721)

Disney Platinum Pass New Purchase: $899 (from $749)
Disney Platinum Pass Renewal : $764 (from $636)

  • Still reading? One of the reasons prices may have increased is because of the new perk for pass holders: they get VIP access to Galaxy’s Edge.The Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge passholder preview will be on select dates this August inside Galaxy’s Edge at Hollywood Studios. An email will be sent out to those eligible for this preview event. Here’s some important information regarding the preview from Disney Parks Blog.

How to Register

  • Email invitations with registration details will be sent out later this summer.
  • If you are an eligible Passholder and would like to register a Guest to accompany you, that Guest must also have a valid Platinum, Platinum Plus or Premier annual pass, be listed on your Family and Friends List and have opted to share “All My Plans” with you.

Important Information

  • Advance registration is required.
  • Platinum, Platinum Plus and Premier Passholders must register by making an online reservation for ONE event.
  • Valid Annual Pass and photo ID are required at check-in for each Passholder and Passholder Guest.
  • Reservations are limited and are subject to availability.
  • Activities and attractions are subject to change without notice.

When the email is sent out the space available for this preview event will book quickly. Make sure to have your My Disney Experience account set up in advance with guests you will be wanting to take. Also make sure they are platinum passholders or above. Guests can not accompany you unless they also have paid the hefty price to be platinum pass holders or above!

* OTHER PERKS OF BECOMING A PASSHOLDER – Free refrigerator magnets, discount on Disney Park Merchandise, Discount on Dining. Is it worth it? You tell me. Part of me feels as if they raised the prices just to get those Star Wars fans on board. Is that fair? 

A GLOW PARTY WITH A DISNEY TWIST

Looking to add a Disney Twist and have some glow in the dark fun in the process? If you can get your hands on a black light, it’s quite easy!

Have you been to Disney recently? Did you have any snack credits left over? I did and I decided to stock up for the party and created a fun basket of lollipops and Pez, all using snacks left over from our dining plan: 

For the room, some fun neon balloons, glow sticks, and music will put the kids into an alternate biosphere: 

 

What next? Once the kids arrive, all you need are some highlighters, glow face paint (if you’re so inclined), glow sticks, and a few fun activities like Duck Duck Goose in the Dark, the Electric Slide, or the rainbow tent. The fun just creates itself!

 

Don’t forget the cake, or cupcakes! Any kind will do but we found Glow in the dark horns and ears to top our cake with: 

When the lights go on, everybody goes home and takes a fun party favor and assuredly, a good memory. 

JAFAR AND OTHER DISNEY VILLAINS WICKEDLY TAKE OVER DISNEY AFTER HOURS

Who is Jafar? The most talked about Disney Villain right now.  He is a total psychopath who will not let anyone get in his way from his dreams of total power.  He has no soft side, he enjoys watching those beneath him suffer. 

Be careful, Jafar is known to roam Disney After Hours, a special event that’s open to a limited number of guests and offers low wait times at more than 20 attractions and experiences after the park closes to day guests, from classics like the Haunted Mansion, Jungle Cruise, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Space Mountain, to newer favorites like Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, plus many more.  Although Disney After Hours spans three parks, the villains can be found at the Magic Kingdom. Expect a few of the Magic Kingdom rides to have villainous enhancements. 

** Although you may see characters roaming, and performing in shows, there will be no character meet in greets for this event – which to me makes the cost of the ticket a bit pricey. 

Event tickets also allow entry as early as 7 p.m., which gives you time to enjoy fireworks before heading off to the attractions. Ice cream novelties, popcorn and select bottled beverages are also included in the cost of admission. Admission to Disney After Hours can be purchased in advance for $125 per adult or child, plus tax—or purchased on the day of the event for $129 per adult or child, plus tax. Annual Passholders and Disney Vacation Club Members can take advantage of specially priced tickets for just $95 per adult or child, plus tax.

Look for these villains, during the shows, among others: 

  • Hades from Hercules,
  • The Queen From Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, 
  • Jafar
  • Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty
  • Dr. Facilier from Princess and the Frog

Compared to Disney’s Not So Scary Halloween, this is more of a party vibe (with no lines for candy and NO character meet and greets).  With free ice cream and popcorn, you may not need snacks. If you do wish to purchase, look for these specialties: 

  • Not so poison apple cupcake (Main Street Bakery)
  • De Vil’s Treat (Casey’s Corner)
  • Hades Nachos and Hades Temptation (Tortuga Tavern)
  • Headless Horseman Brownie (Liberty Square Popcorn Cart)
  • Dr. Facilier’s Tarot Card Tart (Sleepy Hollow)
  • Dragon’s Breath Float (Storybook Treat)
  • Intergalactic Noodles (Cool Ship)

Disney Villains After Hours takes place from 10:00 PM to 1:00 AM on the following dates:

  • Thursday, June 6, 2019
  • Thursday, June 13, 2019
  • Thursday, June 20, 2019
  • Thursday, June 27, 2019
  • Monday, July 1, 2019
  • Thursday, July 11, 2019
  • Thursday, July 18, 2019
  • Thursday, July 25, 2019
  • Thursday, August 1, 2019
  • Thursday, August 8, 2019

 

Do it if you dare! – but if I were you I might wait for Not So Scary Halloween. 

INTER-GALACTIC FARE: THE FOOD AT Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge.

The Star Wars-themed land has opened in California already and is set to open on August 29 in Florida’s Hollywood Studios. And the food at this land will surely be unique and different. LOTS of thought and creative minds back each and every item in the land.

The Coca-Cola Company introduces hundreds of new products each year to give people more of the drinks they want in a range of innovative packaging – but none quite like this. Spherical “orb” bottles – which will be exclusive to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge – stay true to the Star Wars aesthetic with a rounded look, resealable caps and brand names printed on scuffed, rusted labels in Aurebesh, the written language featured in the film franchise.

Food and drink at  Black Spire Outpost  will be purely out of this world, and served at a few eateries and watering holes, including the newly-revealed Ronto Roasters, Docking Bay 7 Food and Cargo, and Oga’s Cantina.

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“If it looks like one thing and maybe it tastes like something else, that could be really cool.  Given that no-one has made or tasted Star Wars before, Disney wants every guest to be surprised. The goal is a “farm to table” feel full of surprises. I’d love the cookbook!

Five characters you won’t be able to shake, our harshest critic takes over after watching Aladdin 2019.

  • 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. 

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  • 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.