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Things I Wish I'd Known For My First Walt Disney World Visit

  The first visit to Walt Disney World is stressful, confusing, and a dream come true. I am not the first on...

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Beauty and the Beast (Live Action) Review


As always, I had several expectations before watching. My standard for Emma Watson as Belle was very high. I've always thought Emma would make the perfect Belle in a live action remake, even before one was announced. I'm always wary of CGI. When I was kid, CGI was still very experiemental and it could look awful. But since then, technology and artistry has improved. I really should stop being wary of CGI. Disney has not let me down in with movies like Zootopia, Moana and The Jungle Book live action remake. 

I saw Beauty and the Beast in theaters the Friday it was released I had wanted to get tickets for the 7 pm showing, but they were all sold out! Instead I booked tickets for the 10 pm showing. It's a good thing I reserved tickets because the theater was packed! 

Before I launch into the review, it is important to note that I am not here to compare 1991 version to 2017 version. Both are amazing movies in their own right and which one is "better" is a personal preference. This review is focusing mostly on the live action version.

However, I do want to make one mention of the 1991 film. Probably the biggest difference between the animated and live action movie is that the live action went into a lot more detail. There have been YouTube videos and BuzzFeed articles about the details of Disney movies. These details really are insignificant to the plot, and most of the time people who write these article and make these videos are reaching. But for some reason, people still make a big deal about them. For example, something that came into question among the internet was the Beast's royal status. Wouldn't have the people in Belle's town notice if their prince somehow went missing? Who rules over them now? What kind of government system do they have, exactly? This is actually answered in the live action movie! So how did Belle lift the Beast onto the horse? It's shown in the movie. How did Belle's mother die? Answered. Chip's father? Yep. The live action movie expands on the original, filling in gaps and adding details to the characters.
When Maurice is about to leave town, he asks Belle if there is anything special he can bring back to her. She asks for a single rose. I loved this scene because it is a nod to the original story by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumon. It also give Maurice more motivation to wander into the palace grounds.

The character that surprised me the most was Gaston. At first, he didn't appear to be very villain-like. Sure, he was a little self-absorbed, but he wasn't really mean to anyone. Belle did seem rude when she interacted with Gaston. I kind of sympathized with Gaston at first. He didn't necessarily do anything to show that he was a bad person, and Belle wasn't even giving him a chance. But about halfway through the movie, he did something very cruel, and his true colors showed. He was even meaner than in the 1991 version. Looking back, the writers probably did this so that you can see why the other villagers liked him so much at first. Belle did look crazy for turning Gaston down. And his true villain reveal was much more dramatic.

I liked the enchantress/hag appearing throughout the movie. It seemed almost as if she knew Belle was going to be the one to break the spell. Her appearance also reinforced the theme that good things can happen to those who are kind.

I LOVED Belle's ballgown. It looks plain in pictures, but when Emma is dancing and running in it, the layers of the dress create a beautiful movement. In fact, all of the costumes were beautiful. I loved how the movie put so much detail into the costuming and setting. It really does feel as if it's the mid 1700's.

Adults or older kids will probably enjoy this movie more so than younger ones as it is longer, more dramatic, and at some points, pretty dark. 

Overall, this movie is amazing. It's aesthetically pleasing, the actors are great, the music is beautiful. As soon as I got home from the theater I wanted to go back and watch it again. So far, it is my favorite live action remake. 10/10 recommend.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

This Week in Disney History (March 26)

March 26 - Day of big wins! In 1990, "Under The Sea" from The Little Mermaid wins an Oscar for Best Song. The song was written by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman. Exactly a decade later, "You'll Be In My Heart" from Tarzan wins the same award. This song was written by Phil Collins. 

March 27 - The Lion King wins two Oscars in 1995. "Can You Feel The Love Tonight" wins Best Song and composer Hans Zimmer wins for Original Score
March 28 - An exciting day in history for Hollywood Studios park! In 1998, Marc Davis leaves his hand prints in front of the Great Movie Ride. Davis was part of the nine-old men. In 2001, the Sorcerer Hat goes up in honor of Walt Disney's World's 30th anniversary. The Hat was DHS's second park icon, and probably the most hated one. Underneath the Hat was a pin trading shop.

March 29 - A Buzz Lightyear toy is donated to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. The toy spent 15 months in space. It was officially donated by John Lasseter in a ceremony in 2012. 
March 30  - Another day of wins at the Oscars. In 1955, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea wins for Art Direction and Special Effects. That same night, Walt Disney himself receives the Best Documentary award for his True Life Adventure film, The Vanishing Prairie. In 1992, Beauty and the Beast has a very successful night at the Oscars. It is the first ever animated feature to be nominated for Best Picture. "Belle", "Be Our Guest", and "Beauty and the Beast" are all nominated for Best Song, but "Beauty and the Beast" wins the award. Alan Menken receives the award for Best Score. Angela Lansbury, Celine Dion and Pebo Bryson perform "Beauty and the Beast". It is also Celine Dion's 24th birthday! The ceromony is hosted by Billy Crystal, who will later lend his voice to Mike Wazowski in Monsters, Inc.

Marc 31 - In 1978, Ken Anderson retires from the Walt Disney Company. He did layout work on films such as Lady and the Tramp, Robin Hood and Alice in Wonderland. He also did concept artwork for popular Disneyland attractions like Peter Pan's Flight and Storybook Land. 
April 1 - Disneyland Paris kicks off its 20th anniversary celebration. The park officially opened on April 12, 1992. The anniversary celebration brings extended hours, a new parade and a new nighttime show.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

All About Dining Pacakges

One of the ways to make your Walt Disney World visit is to consider reserving a dining package. There are several dining packages available throughout the parks. They are a fun way to add to your Disney experience by guaranteeing special seating at several events and shows along with a full meal. In order to book a dining package, call (407) 939-3463 or online. Reservations can be made up to 180 days in advance.

The Festival of Fantasy Parade Dining Package includes lunch at Tony’s Town Square Restaurant. The meal will include an appetizer, entree and dessert. You will receive a voucher for the parade with you check. There will be a reserved spot for you by the Main Street flagpole. It is $45 for adults and $17 for kids.

The Wishes Dessert Party does not include a full meal, but it does include a unique selection of desserts and special seating for the Wishes firework show. Once you make the reservation, arrive about an hour before the actual fireworks start. You can hang out with your family and eat some of the best deserts offered at Walt Disney World without having to worry about crowding in front of the castle. It is $79 for adults and $47 for children. 

Hollywood Studios also has a dessert party. This one will appeal to Star Wars Fans. The dessert party is held inside Star Wars Launch Bay. Shortly before the fireworks begin, the party will be escorted to a VIP viewing area. It is $69 for adults and $39 for children. The reservation can be made here.

The Fantasmic Dining Package includes dinner at either Mama Melrose’s, Hollywood and Vine or The Hollywood Brown Derby. There is a section in the front-center that is reserved for those with the dining package during the first showing. It cost between $18-$65 per person, depending on which restaurant you chose. The Hollywood and Vine is character dining, and therefore probably worth the money more so than the other two. I personally would be reluctant to purchase a Fantasmic dining package as I usually either make a FastPass for the show or I see the less crowded second showing. However, if you are planning on eating at these restaurants anyways, the dining package might be worth it. 

Very similar to the Fantasmic dining package is the Rivers of Light dining package. Rivers of Light is Animal Kingdom's new night show. The resturants included in the dining package are Tusker House and Tiffins. Tusker House offers breakfast, lunch or dinner. Tiffins offers lunch or dinner. Prices will vary depending on where and when the reservation is. After eating, arrive at least half an hour before showtime to claim a seat within the reserved section.

During the holiday season, a candlelight processional dining package is offered. The Candlelight Processional is a reading of the Christmas Story from the Bible, accompanied by a choir. It is a highlight of celebrating the holidays at Walt Disney World. This is similar to the Fantasmic dining package. There is a large selection of restaurants in EPCOT to chose from. Prices will vary depending on which restaurant you eat at. Unlike the Fantasmic dining package, reservations can be made for either lunch or dinner.

I have only experienced one dining package for myself. I went with friends to see Neil Patrick Harris at the Candlelight Processional. The candlelight processional is a very popular event, and NPH is a very popular host. We wanted to be guaranteed a seat at the showing, so we purchased a dining package. We made a reservation at Tutto Italia Ristorante over the phone. The meal included an appetizer, a main dish, and a dessert. There was a menu especially for the dining package that had select dishes from the restaurant’s full menu, but I felt that there was still enough variety. We received our vouchers for the Candlelight Processional with our checks. We had a few hours before the event started so we spent some time around the park. Our ticket told us to be in line for the processional about half an hour before it started. Our predictions of it being a popular show were correct. The line for the dining package seating started in the American Adventure and spread all the way to the Morocco Pavilion. We still managed to get very good seats together. The whole process was easy and enjoyable. My experience with this dining package was wonderful. I would definitely do the Candlelight Processional dining package again. However, I’m not sure I would personally do a dining package for other shows like Fantasmic or Wishes, as I have seen both numerous times and am usually able to get a good seat. 

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

A Walt Disney World Attraction Turns 100 This Year!

  YouTuber Justin Scarred recently made an excellent video about a Magic Kingdom attraction that is turning 100 this year. 

The Prince Charming Regal Carousel was built in 1917 by the Philadelphia Toboggan Company. It was first named the Liberty Carousel. It originally resided in Belle Isle Park of Detroit, Michigan. The Walt Disney Company purchased it in 1967. It was then redesigned with a Cinderella theme. It is one of the 15 attractions that have been operating since opening day of Walt Disney World. 

Even though Magic Kingdom was not open until October 1, 1971, the carousel was built in 1917. That means that the carousel is celebrating its 100th birthday this year.