January 31, 2015

Disney on Ice: World's of Fantasy is coming to Columbus, OH!!

Get ready, Columbus!! Disney on Ice: World's of Fantasy is making it's way to Columbus, Ohio to put on a show that is sure to please boys and girls of all ages!! Beginning Feb 18th (2015) and running through Feb 22nd, prepare yourself to see your favorite characters from Disney's Cars, The Little Mermaid, Toy Story and Tinkerbell and her fairy friends!

Showtimes for Columbus, Ohio are:
  • Wednesday, Feb. 18, 7 pm
  • Thursday, Feb. 19, 7 pm
  • Friday, Feb. 20, 7 pm
  • Saturday, Feb. 21, 11 am, 3 pm and 7 pm
  • Sunday, Feb. 22, 11 am, 3 pm and 7 pm. 
Tickets can be  purchased at the Big Lots Box Office at Nationwide Arena, all Ticket Master ticket centers, online at www.ticketmaster.com (use code MOM to receive discounted tickets as low as $15!) or by phone: (800) 745-3000.

To learn more about Disney on Ice, visit www.disneyonice.com today!

Disclaimer: I received complimentary tickets to Disney on Ice in exchange for a promotional post. All opinions expressed are my own.

January 28, 2015

The Art of Animation Suites vs. Deluxe Resorts

Here's the basic debate we have been having in our home the last few weeks. We have stayed at the Art of Animation a few times in the last few years and love the suites at the resort. But, there are so many amazing resorts at Walt Disney World and it would be nice to try another, especially a deluxe resort. So, is it worth more money to stay at a resort that offers less space but that is in a better location and is new to our family?

Let's go over some of the discussion in more detail:

Space: The Art of Animation is a great resort for a family looking for space. With 2 bathrooms, a small kitchen area and 3 beds, there is room to spread out. You'll never feel cramped. At a deluxe resort, you will likely be in a room with 2 beds and either a day bed or a couch bed. It's enough beds for sure, but with one bathroom and no kitchen, it's certainly less space. Obviously there are Disney Vacation Club villas at many of the deluxe resorts that offer as much or more space than the Art of Animation. For today's argument, I'm only looking at traditional rooms. So, when it comes to space I think that the Art of Animation wins out over a Deluxe Resort.

Money: The Art of Animation is not an inexpensive option for a family. Suite prices begin at around $300 per night and vary based on the season. You do, however, get a lot for the price. A standard room at the Contemporary, in the main tower, begins at over $500 per night, again depending on the season. Art of Animation wins this battle as well.

Location: A main reason for the high prices at a Deluxe resort is the fantastic location of these resorts. Just think of how nice it would be to stay at the Grand Floridian and just walk to the monorail to get to the Magic Kingdom. Staying at an Epcot area resort means you can walk to both Epcot and Hollywood Studios. If you're staying at Art of Animation, or any other Value or Moderate resort your only transportation option will be buses. As for location, the deluxe resorts certainly win.

New: For me, part of the excitement that comes with each new trip to Walt Disney World is trying new things and new experiences. That means trying new resorts as well. I love exploring the properties and seeing the different rooms offered at each new place. So, having stayed somewhere else twice puts a new place on top, of course.

It's always a tough choice when deciding on a Disney resort. How do you decide? Is it based on price? Location? Do you like to try something new every trip?

Happy planning!

January 11, 2015

Disney on Ice presents Frozen, A Review

Last night my family and I entered a sea of Elsas and Annas, and a few Olafs, at
Disney On Ice presents Frozen. This Disney on Ice show was unlike any other we've seen simply because it was based on the crowd and the love everyone has for Frozen.

The show itself was wonderful. I'm all impressed with how well the artists can skate and act. The costumes were amazing. I especially loved the costumes of the guests at the ball after Elsa's coronation. The crowd went crazy when when every new character came onto the ice. The biggest reaction was for Olaf. His scenes were wonderful, of course.

One of my favorites scenes was with the trolls.  In order to make them their normal (very short) height their costumes have them doubled up so it looked like one was riding on the other's shoulders. It was a great costume affect and made it look like there were hundreds of trolls on the ice.

I also loved that it showed throughout the snow! They were able to control the snow so that it snowed lightly at some times and harder at others throughout the story. Here is very heavy snow towards the end of the Frozen story.

What I love the most about the show was watching what thousands of little girls dressed up as Anna or Elsa singing their hearts out along with every song. You could tell they were all truly fascinated seeing their favorite characters come to life. When Mickey started the show I paused to explain to my younger son that many of these children are experiencing Disney for the first time at the show. Not everyone is lucky enough to get to go to Walt Disney World and certainly not on a regular basis. For many, this was probably their first time ever seen Mickey Mouse. You could just see the magic on the faces in the very full crowd.

I would recommend Disney On Ice to any Disney fans! Click here to purchase tickets to a Disney On Ice show near you!

Let it Go!
Disclaimer: I received something of value from Feld Entertainment as part of their Insider Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

January 8, 2015

The Little Mermaid - Legacy Collection (Review & Giveaway!)

Disclaimer: I received the Little Mermaid Legacy Collection CD as a member of the Entertainment New Media Network. No further compensation was received and all opinions are my own. This post may also contain affiliate links.

Little Mermaid fans and Legacy Collectors will be pleased with Walt Disney Records latest release! Walt Disney Records The Legacy Collection: The Little Mermaid is now available online and in stores!  (Did you know all the Disney music can be found in their new Disney Music Emporium?) This 2-disc CD collection contains the original songs by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman that you hear throughout Disney's film, The Little Mermaid.

What makes this a "Legacy Collection" is the fact that the CDs come packaged in a hard cover booklet containing 28 pages filled with historical information about The Little Mermaid. There are memories written by Alan Menken, John Musker, and David Watts. There are illustrations included by Walt Disney Studios Artists. And, of course, all of the lyrics to each and every song are spelled out. There are 32 songs on Disc One ~ many of which are Scores; and there are Disc Two contains 12 songs/scores as well as bonus content for your computer! (A free MP3 version of the album.)

Any Little Mermaid fan would be pleased with this Legacy Collection set (would make a wonderful gift too!) It's truly beautiful.

Good news!! Walt Disney Records is allowing us to give away this fabulous Legacy Collection of the Little Mermaid to one of our readers! This giveaway begins Friday, January 9th (at 12:01 a.m. eastern) and ends Thursday, January 15 (at 11:59 p.m.) Open to residents of the US only, must be 18 years of age or older to enter. Winner will have 24 hours to respond to our email with their mailing address; should they fail to respond, another winner will be selected. If it comes our attention that the winner of this giveaway has won on an additional blog for this same prize, this blog reserves the right to choose another winner.

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January 1, 2015

Book Review: Main Street Windows

There's no doubt about it ~ I highly recommend Main Street Windows: A Complete Guide to Disney's Whimsical Tributes by Jeff Heimbuch to any Disney buff! It truly is a complete guide to ALL windows found on Main Street and not just in Disneyland, but all windows found in the Magic Kingdom (WDW), Tokyo Disneyland, Disneyland Paris and Hong Kong Disneyland!

This book is divided by park (5 sections that include all 5 parks listed above) and includes color pictures of almost all of the windows you can find on each Main Street. Every single window is accounted for with it's history - who the window is dedicated to, their story and relationship to Disney. Packed full of interesting facts and details, Main Street Windows is truly a fascinating read. Those of you that love to delve into the details of Disney will really appreciate this work by Jeff Heimbuch. You'll pick up lots of fun facts about each window that you can then point out to your family and friends while walking down Main Street.

It's certainly enjoyable too, to compare the windows between all 5 parks. While it may not be possible to physically visit each and every Disney park, now you can at least "walk"vicariously down Main Street of each park, examining each window and appreciate the attention to detail - thanks to this book!

While the price of this book seems high, it's worth it! The book is in full color, and the knowledge you will have on each and every window will be priceless! Whether you're sitting at home trying to recall what a window might have said, or you're walking down Main Street and you want to know the history behind a certain window - you'll have ALL of the information you could want, wrapped up into this complete guide to windows found at the Disney Parks! Check out Main Street Windows on Amazon, where you can take a "look inside" and see for yourself how detailed each window description is and notice the full color photo's of each window!

Editor's Note: We received a complimentary copy of Main Street Windows in exchange for a book review - no other compensation was received  All opinions expressed are our own. Affiliate links have been provided, but do not raise the cost of the book for those that click on our links.

December 31, 2014

Review: Frozen on Ice

The last time I saw a show on ice, it was called “Ice Capades.” Not these fancy titles, like Frozen on Ice. So it’s been a while, to say the least. When I heard Frozen on Ice was coming to town, I was excited since my 3 year old, like pretty much every kid in that age range, is obsessed with Frozen (she insists I call her Queen Elsa of Arendelle some days). We didn’t really tell her too much because we didn’t think she’d understand, but she knew something was up when we surprised her with an “Anna” dress that day. She knew she was going to see her two favorite Disney sisters, but didn’t know in what capacity. 

First, let me say, I was not prepared, despite the fact that we took her to Disney Junior Live on Stage a year ago. I warned all my friends to bring big bucks or blinders, because as soon as you walk in, you are inundated with $16 programs followed by stand after stand of Disney merchandise for sale (and I’m pretty sure it’s actually cheaper at WDW….) Cotton candy with an Olaf hat for $15? Yup! (We had several meltdowns pre-show, during the show and definitely after the show. “I want that!”)

But back to the show! The show opened with our favorite foursome welcoming us and then, much to my delight (and pretty much everyone else in the crowd), a slew of Disney characters came skating onto the ice – Ariel and Eric, Snow White and Prince Charming, Pumba and Timon, Buzz and Woody, Cinderella, Rapunzel and more. 

I was curious as to how they’d pull off the story line within an ice rink and they did a great job translating the movie from the big screen to the ice. Sure, they went out-of-sequence a few times and had some minor changes (i.e. the Duke of Weseltown went after Elsa, not his henchmen), but the only disappointment I had was the lack of Wandering Oaken’s Trading Post (and Sauna). I love that guy!

However, all of the songs we’ve come to know and love (and sing daily) were performed with some great visual effects. My favorite was “Marshmallow” – Elsa’s big, scary snow monster. The biggest surprise was the roar of hundreds of tiny little voices (including my daughter) when Olaf made his first appearance. Who knew he was so popular?! I would have banked on Prince Hans! (Just kidding!)

Overall, a great show with awesome visual effects (it snowed!) and beautiful skating. I highly recommend this show if it comes to your area and you have a Frozen fan in the house!

Movie Review: Into the Woods

"This is bizarre" was my husband's comment after watching just the first 20 minutes of Into the Woods. I shushed him. Although I agreed that it was bizarre, I had hoped the movie was going to get better... it didn't. I hate to give anyone or anything a negative review, but honesty is the best policy, so here goes…

Into the Woods is a modern twist on four fairytales: Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk and Rapunzel - which all surround an original story about a baker and his wife longing to have a child. Into the Woods originally was performed on Broadway - and perhaps it ought to have been left alone as a stage performance.

About 80% of Disney's movie is in song - even the dialogue. The movie has a big cast - Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt, & Johnny Depp - to name a few. And all that sing have wonderful voices. But to sit through two hours of singing - 27 songs - was just a bit much for me! I will say that the duet between the 2 princes at the babbling brook, entitled "Agony," was quite funny - one of the highlights of the movie.

The storyline was a bit jumpy. There was no climax to the heroic moments. Had the movie ended at the 90 minute mark when Cinderella married Prince Charming and the entire town was celebrating, I would have been satisfied. However, the movie had to drag on for 30 more minutes while (Spoiler alert...) each of the four main characters lost a loved one - and Prince Charming may have been charming, but certainly wasn't faithful to Cinderella and they both decided to part ways! That's not how Disney ended his Cinderella story! I'm not a fan of the ending due to all of the storyline mishaps - the tagline "be careful what you wish for" is certainly true for this movie!

My guess is that either you'll really love this movie, or you'll prefer the idea that 'once is enough.' I believe this movie is tailored to please the broadway/theater-loving crowd - and that's okay, it just wasn't my type of movie.

Appropriate for Children?
I'd suggest children who want to see this be about 12 years of age or older. While this movie is rated PG, and rightfully so, it isn't the creepy characters that I give this age suggestion (no foul language or gory scenes either)... it's the fact that it's 2 hours long and I can't see any child younger than 12 being able to sit through all the singing! There are situations that are implied, such as adultery, violence, toes being cut off… while none of that is pictured, it's still suggested - it may go over your child's head, but others could pick up on it - use your discretion.

Thanks to Disney and the Owens Group for the the advanced, complimentary screening of this film!

December 24, 2014

Disney on Ice Presents Frozen!

My family can't wait for Disney On Ice to arrive in just a few weeks. We are obviously huge Disney fans and we have always enjoyed going to see Disney on Ice shows. Disney on Ice brings the magic of Disney to your hometown. It gives that great Disney feeling without having to travel to one of the Disney parks!

We're especially excited for the upcoming show, Disney on Ice presents Frozen, which is currently touring throughout the United States. This sneak peak was enough to get us ready for a trip to Arendelle!

At Disney on Ice presents Frozen, you'll be transported through singing, amazing skating and magical special effects to the winter wonderland of Arendelle. There you'll be entertained by all of your favorite Frozen friends, Anna and Elsa, our favorite snowman Olaf, Kristoff, his reindeer pal Sven and, of course, the mystical trolls. Join them "as they journey to discover that true love is ultimately the most magical power of all!"
Click here to purchase tickets to a Disney On Ice show near you!

Have you see Disney on Ice presents Frozen? We would love to hear your stories and photos!
- Amy

I received something of value from Feld Entertainment as part of their Insider Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.