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The Nutcracker – Movie Review

There isn’t a great deal of Disney movies that I don’t want to rush out and watch straight away. This is one of them.

It’s a strange thing to make a movie out of I think, what I knew of the Nutcracker before watching this was just what I had seen growing up and basically all I knew was the dance of the Sugarplum Fairy and I am not a ballet fan.  Plus all the press with Keira Knightley doing her bit of ‘Disney Bashing’ sort of put me off watching it. And she does talk in an annoying voice for the whole film.

I was pleasantly surprised by this I have to say. Its festive from the start and I do love a festive movie, I just didn’t realise exactly HOW festive this would be.

It’s a great little story and reminds me a little of Alice in Wonderland. Clara who is the heroine of the movie ends up in The Realms after receiving a mysterious gift from her mother posthumously.  It does very much have the feel of Alice when she is in Wonderland. It looks very similar. And to be honest I was not a fan of those movies.

Clara needs to find a key to open the mysterious gift from her Mother and its her search for that key that brings her to the realm and reveals the secret world her mother was a part of.

Along the way she meets some interesting characters including the titular character ‘The Nutcracker’, the Sugarplum Fairy and some funny ‘soldiers’ played brilliantly by Jack Whitehall and Omid Djalili.

Clara needs to find the key and stop Mother Ginger taking over the Four Realms. Although there is more to her than meets the eye.

The set, the costumes and the general production of this are incredible. It looks AMAZING. And it’s so Christmassy. It’ll be a great one to watch Christmas Eve and a fab Christmas afternoon movie in years to come. BUT. It’s not amazing. It’s not the best film Disney have done. I really struggled watching Keira Knightley I found her Sugarplum Fairy to be incredibly irritating. Some of the acting in this isn’t the best which is a shame seeing as the cast does boast some incredible actors.

Kids will love it but I left feeling a little underwhelmed by this one. It was better than I was expecting and I did enjoy aspects of it but I won’t be rushing to see it again.

For more ‘non disney’ movie reviews check out my other blog..

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Movie Review – Christopher Robin – Spoiler Free

When you’re giving the ‘live action’ treatment to something as beloved as Pooh there’s always a risk you’re going to ruin it a bit and it won’t be as magical as we all know it to be. The hype and excitement around it too could very well have set this up for a fall.

Out of all the Disney movies this year this one is by far the one I was looking forward to the most – this and Mary Poppins – the trailers I’d seen had me all emotional, I don’t know if it was nostalgia or just how magical it all looked.

I went to watch this prepared with tissues.

It was the busiest I’d seen the cinema since ‘The Greatest Showman’.

It’s a great story about the perils of growing up and forgetting how to be a kid and have fun.

It’s a similar idea to Hook – we follow a grown up Christopher Robin who is putting his work ahead of his family.  He has a weekend away planned at his childhood cottage and he ends up having to work and letting the family down.

We find Pooh wandering around 100 Acre Wood on a search for his friends all of whom have disappeared, he finally finds Christopher Robins door and decides he is the one who can help him find them.

Its interesting seeing Pooh in ‘real life’. And it’s done so so well. The special effects in this are wonderful and they capture the essence of Pooh and all his friends beautifully.

I absolutely loved the story and script of this movie. There are so many laugh out loud parts courtesy of Pooh and Eeyore. So many ‘Poohisms’ are included and are a wonderful nod to all the stories we know and love so well.  It’s absolutely everything you would expect from Pooh. You can tell the writers had a genuine love of the originals.

It’s a really emotional film, not in a sad way, but I did find myself welling up at regular intervals throughout this just because of some of the sweet things that Pooh says. I won’t ruin it but his response to Christopher discussing losing something was just too much! I’m so glad I took tissues.

It’s definitely one of the cutest Disney movies I’ve ever seen. If not THE cutest.

I really enjoyed seeing Piglet, Tigger and Eeyore adjusting to being in London. Eeyore has some great one liners. The mostly adult audience were belly laughing through a lot of it.

It’s a great story reminding us that it’s so important to stop sometimes and have fun. Not to take those closest to us for granted and that there is much more important things in life than work.

It hooks you from the start and takes you on a wonderful adventure from London to 100 Acre Wood and back again.  It’s clever, sweet and so wonderfully Pooh.

There’s a few new songs as well,  written by Richard Sherman who of course with his brother Robert wrote all those memorable songs from the original animations. You must stay for the post credit scene. A bit of a tear jerker for any die hard Disney fan as Richard Sherman performs a beautiful song called ‘Busy Doing Nothing’ on the beach with Pooh and his friends all joining in. (of course the Sherman brothers story is the subject of a wonderful musical as well, read my review here)

I cannot speak highly enough of this film. I’m still a little emotional when I’m thinking about it as pathetic as it sounds. It’s perfect Disney.

You must watch it. And then go again!

FOR MORE MOVIE AND DAY OUT REVIEWS CLICK HERE

Movie Review – AntMan and The Wasp

Another month another installment in the seemingly never ending Marvel Universe franchise!!

This one takes place after the events of Captain America Civil War and up until the culmination of the last Avengers movie and follows Paul Rudds Antman as he tries to juggle being his alter ego whilst also being on house arrest.

His bail conditions mean he isn’t allowed out of his house and he goes to great lengths to keep his daughter entertained – the opening scene of the movie I want to do in my house. He’s also used his time setting up a security business with Luis.

Meanwhile Hank and Hope are building a tunnel which allows them to access the quantum realm where Hanks wife (Hopes Mum) was lost many years ago. They are missing a vital component and someone who can shrink small enough to get there and retrieve her. I wonder who that may be?

Ant-Man is one of my favourite heroes of the Marvel Universe and Paul Rudd is so likable as him. It’s full of the humour we always expect from the movies and some of the action sequences are so great to watch. I love all the fight scenes where not only do the titular characters shrink and grow constantly but they also use other objects as weapons or barricades. The scene in the kitchen is particularly good. As is the car chase scene which has the added bonus of Luis having his first ‘shrinking’ experience.

They use some cool tried and tested SFX in this – Micheal Douglas and Michelle Pfeiffer as youngsters using the same tech as they did with flashback scenes with Robert Downey Jnr in Iron Man.

There is a villian – The Ghost – who tries to scupper the creation of the tunnel and recovery of Janet and wants to use the technology to rid her of her powers instead. It’s as always predictable in that good trumps evil but the story of getting there is really compelling.

I watched this in 3D.  I always watch the Marvel movies in 3D. It adds so much to the visuals of the film and really puts you inside the movie. I don’t know what it is about Marvel Studios but they seem to do this like no-one else.

All in all its a fun, action packed movie. One of my favourites but then I love Paul Rudd and apart from Mike in Friends this is by far my favourite of all his roles.

After seeing the extra scene at the end I’m even more impatient for the next Avengers movie too can it be May already?

For my other non-Disney movie and day out reviews click here

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Solo – Movie Review

After the first wave of prequels being so shocking I’m always a little scared with these new films in case they end up being just as rubbish.

I was not a fan of Rogue One. I didn’t get it, I couldn’t really follow it and to be honest it was a disappointing movie for me so this being another ‘Origins’ movie and not the next ‘chapter’ in Star Wars filled me with a little bit of dread.  I’d seen a few trailers some making the film look amazing but the last one not so much so going into this today I really wasn’t sure what to expect.

I was very quickly put in my place.

This is better than Rogue One from the get-go.

The opening scene sets you up for what this movie is going to be like. Its action from the first second.

With Ron Howard directing you’re always going to get something that isn’t terrible but this well and truly exceeded my expectations.

The story was intriguing, although I think that had a  lot to do with Han being a familiar and well loved character already, it was interesting seeing how he became the person we know him as. My favourite thing about the movie though is the relationship with Chewie throughout it, from the second they meet it’s funny and endearing and full of the banter we have in the Star Wars movies we love.

There’s so many twists and turns, just when you think you know whats coming there’s a curveball thrown at you.

Visually as you would expect from the Star Wars Universe this is stunning. There’s vehicle chases and daredevil stunts in the Millenium Falcon. Just when you think there isn’t anything more they can do with Star Wars you get this. Loads of new, but familiar, characters. The humour we expect (but didn’t get in THOSE movies), good guys, bad guys and good vs evil.

Casting in this is wonderful. Woody Harrelson and Paul Bettany in particular are great in this. Paul Bettany does seem to have a knack for being the creepy English guy.

I’ve actually seen this film twice now and as with most movies I noticed a load more stuff second time round. In fact I think I enjoyed it even more on the second watch.

Alden Ehrenreich is so good as Han. Watching this time I could imagine Harrison Ford saying and doing things the way that he does, it’s almost like he’s channeling him. He was a great choice to play him.

Donald Glover is so great as Lando. Charming and slightly eccentric.

The humour in this is brilliant. I love the comedy in the franchise – which is why I hated the prequels so much it was all a bit wooden acting wise and not enough humour – L3 will have you all laughing. And wanting a droid like her.

SFX in this are so good too. You almost can’t tell what is CGI and what props were actually built.

The shock ending of this film leaves a lot of unanswered questions which does mean I need to sit through those awful ones to refresh my memory of what happens next. But it also leaves this well and truly open for a sequel to bridge the gap between this and A New Hope. It appears that Alden has signed a 3 movie deal with the studio so it is highly likely there is another on the horizon but rumor has it that the much talked about Boba Fett movie could act as the unofficial sequel instead. Only time will tell I guess.

If you haven’t seen this film or are putting it off for fear of being disappointed then go book some tickets.

I’ll be going again this week just to see if there’s any other bits I missed!

The Disneylife Challenge..

Those of us in the UK have the pleasure of being able to have pretty much ALL the Disney movies and classic TV shows at our fingertips with the brilliant Disneylife. For a small  monthly fee you have access to watch online nearly everything. I love it there’s things on there I never knew existed so I have set myself a challenge to watch ALL the movies on there that I hadn’t already seen. Obviously I’ve watched all the classics over and over but I never knew there were so many sequels made to those and then you have all the old movies and the DCOMs as well.

As I clearly have nothing better to do with my time I thought I’d keep you updated as to how I get on. I have no idea how long this is going to take me and I’m sure there will be some on there that are a bit rubbish but at least I can be happy knowing I’ve seen all the Disney movies – although Song of the South isn’t on there seeing as it is banned so if anyone has a copy they can lend me it’d be much appreciated…

I fly to Disney in 37 days so I’m hoping to watch as many as I can between now and then…

Todays not seen before movie was THE THREE CABALLEROS seeing as I love Donald Duck and the ride in Epcot based on it I surprised myself that I’d not seen this before. It’s a really odd one and gets slated a lot but I really liked it. It doesn’t have a particularly great storyline and has some questionable bits in it with Donald perving on some live action ladies but it’s Donald doing what we expect and it is pretty funny. Plus it has that great ‘Three Caballeros’ song you come out of the ride singing.

Released in 1944 this was Disneys seventh animated feature and wasn’t that well received with reviews accusing it of having a pretty thin story line and being a little shocked by Donalds reaction to the women. (basically exactly what I thought of it!!)

Watching the older Disney movies has made me realise that they shaped popular culture in more ways than I thought they had. The Three Caballeros features a story all about a little boy who has a flying singing Donkey, now where else have I seen that in the last 20 years….

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Second one today was FUN AND FANCY FREE which is another Disney movie with movies within it, telling a few short stories rather than one main one.  I much preferred this one to the Caballeros, this one is hosted by Jiminy Cricket and he tells a little love story about 2 bears – with one of the best songs I’ve heard in a Disney film all about how bears say they love you with a slap, genius! It’s honestly worth watching for that alone.

Second story in this features Mickey, Donald and Goofy in a retelling of Jack and the Beanstalk. This section is narrated by famed ventriloquist Edgar Bergen and his dummies Charlie and Mortimer – again one of whom reminds me of something/someone can’t think who…

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Fun and Fancy free was released in 1947 and was their 9th animated feature and got much better reviews that the Three Caballeros!!

The idea for a Jack and the Beanstalk story with Mickey and friends was actually pitched to Walt during the making of Fantasia but was never included in that film and instead kept for this.

Which one of these do you prefer?  Anyone else doing this challenge and watching all the films?

62 days to go, BOG and new job…

So, I’ve been a bit quiet of late. I have a fantastic new job that is taking a lot of my time up BUT it is Disney/Orlando related and I basically get to talk about Disney most of the day and give people advice on holidaying in Orlando… I’ve landed on my feet with this one 🙂

New Job means more money for me so that means more money for the holiday…. which means I CAN GO TO BE OUR GUEST!! I’ve been looking at the menu and I think I’ve decided what I want to eat… Have you seen the food at this place? It looks unbelievable!! I’m going with the herb crusted lamb….

boglamb And of course I couldn’t go there and not have The Grey Stuff which even though it’s essentially just a grey coloured mousse type thing looks bloody good…

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I’m a little excited it has to be said!!

FastPasses can be booked on Saturday 🙂 (well Sunday really for the first day I need them for…alarm is set for 5AM apparently the key time to book them and get the ones you want!) I’m not brilliant in the mornings so we shall see how grumpy I am if I get up and don’t get the ones I want!!

Disney have also announced that ALL the tickets bought in the UK so all the Ultimate Ticket packages for 2016 will have Memory Maker free which is amazing. Memory Maker is a fab little package that includes all your ride and professional pictures taken during your time in Disney. You can access them online and print them off to your hearts content – and add some little extras as well. I have it for my trip so I shall report back on if it is as good as it seems.

I MAY have been shopping for some more holiday clothes, I bought these as part of my bounding outfit a few weeks ago, anyone know who I’m going as…

greenshorts lilac topJust need a hat now…..

Finally a Proper Countdown thing :)

I’m now at 84 days and I’ve finally got myself a countdown plaque thing. Yesterday my lovely friend Jo finally gave me my awesome handmade Cinderella inspired engagement gift and I have a cool new Dopey countdown plaque 🙂 Not to mention a mountain of maps etc that she picked up on her trip a few weeks ago 🙂

Always good when you get forgotten Disney gifts 🙂

Jo does some really cool Disney crafty stuffs and retro movie stuff too check her out Bambis Things

 

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I think little miss has finally realised exactly how big Disney and Universal are, she’s been sat looking at Maps with me today and she’s been commenting on how massive it all is. She doesn’t think we’ll have time to see everything ‘it’ll take all the time’ she said!

Disney Bounding – Dress up for Adults!!

I don’t know how long this has been going on but I only found out about it last week!! Everyone should know that adults can’t dress up as characters in the parks but finally there is a way around this!!

Called ‘Disney Bounding’ it’s a way to dress as a character without actually dressing like them and risking being chucked out of Disney.

Basically the idea is to wear an outfit inspired by a character rather than an exact replica. For example to be Snow White you could wear some yellow shorts, dark blue top and a red cardigan, for Peter Pan you could just wear a green skater dress or playsuit. These are easy ones, I am not very creative.

Bounding does make for some amazing photos though, there’s loads online but being as I’m looking at Snow White ones to do myself this gives you a good idea of what you could do

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There’s some really good sites with bounding info on but this is the best one I’ve found DisneyBound. I absolutely LOVE this idea and I now have less than 90 days to come up with some cool outfits. Snow White is a given I think and pretty easy to do but how do I be Dopey without a hat? I’m so tempted to pick a character a day and make myself some outfits, however being that I’m crap at thinking of these things help would be much appreciated 🙂

Disney Dining Plan and a TALKING MICKEY MOUSE!!!

The Disney Dining Plan or DDP seems to be one of the only things about Disney I can’t find a definitive answer on and splits peoples opinions equally. In short what it is is a pre paid plan that you can opt for if you wish that can give you free dining at Disney Parks and Resorts. Whether or not it’s worth the money is one of the most talked about subjects amongst disnerds. I’ve done quite a bit of research – and some actual maths!! – I knew the extra tuition would come in handy one day, just wasn’t expecting it to be 20 years later…. and this is what I’ve discovered.

DDP is well worth the money if you are planning on spending your whole holiday on Disney property. It gives you the chance to book into all the pricey restaurants for your table service meals, including Be Our Guest, Cinderellas Royal Table and some of the character dining. There are differing levels of dining plan but for the sake of this post I’m going with the one that gives you 1 table service, 1 quick service and 1 snack a day.  It works by giving you a certain number of credits a day, they do roll over as far as I’m aware and some dining experiences require 2 table service credits.  Snack credits can be used on things like Dole Whip which is good and drinks.

If I was planning on staying solely on resort I would do it. It would give me a good opportunity to eat at all the really nice places I wouldn’t normally eat in, instead of having to just pick one or 2 to do each trip. Believe me if I was not planning on leaving Disney I would make the most of it and eat ALL the food.

It’s around $60 for the dining plan per person per day (over 10- $25 under 10) I did a bit of maths today based on some of the places I would choose to eat and to spend a day at Hollywood Studios, lunch at Pizza Planet and Dinner at 50s Prime Time, along with 3 snacks during the day (shared between the 3 of us) I worked out we would save $40 by being on the dining plan. However, if we weren’t on the plan we would have chosen less expensive places to eat and not even spent $60 between us. I think that having it encourages you to eat in the ‘nicer’ places because you do save money if that’s where your eating.  However if you’re not a big eater then its a waste of money.

It’s also a bit pricey I think for kids, most kids are fussy and won’t eat enough food for it to be worth it. One option is to just pay for the kids as they go along and just have the plan for the adults.

I looked at a few of the nicer restaurants and thought it would be nice to have DDP for a few days during my stay and if you did that then really it’s probably worth it, but you can’t do that. You have to have it for the whole duration of your stay and it is only available to those staying on site. There are so many amazing, and inexpensive, places to eat in Orlando that it’s a shame to miss out on them because you have the plan and feel like you have to use it. (I’ve done a whole page about eating out in Orlando, have a look at the top, there’s some money saving tips as well)

Disney do offer the plan free at certain points of the year which is great, however it’s only valid at certain resorts. Our trip for example we wouldn’t be eligible because we’re in a value resort, all of those are exempt from the offer. You also need to look at the prices of the rooms because generally you’ll find if you’re getting the plan free your room might be a bit more expensive.

Honestly, I still can’t make my mind up about it!! There’s good points and bad points with it and it’s totally dependent on personal preference.  I think having more options for it – like being able to purchase for a few days rather than it having to be for the entire stay – would make it more appealing. We all know the majority of people will spend at least 4 days out of Disney during their holiday for Universal, Islands of Adventure, SeaWorld, Busch Gardens and shopping or the beach. Why pay over $200 for food for 4 days when you won’t use it…

On another note….

I  might have mentioned on here a few times that there will be tears when I get to Disney, seeing the castle from the boat gets me, walking into MK gets me, the parade does it as well and I’m pretty sure when the hotel says ‘Welcome Home’ I’ll be a mess but I think I found the thing that’s really going to get me this time…. MICKEY TALKS!!! Why I never knew about this I don’t know but it’s so real!! I know the characters in Orlando are actually the real ones anyway but my goodness this takes it to another level it’s insane!!

93 Days To Go…

3 days until I can book Fastpasses for the rides I won’t be able to go on with everyone therefore meaning they can’t use my DAS card 🙂 There isn’t many to be honest which is a good thing.

I updated a bit more of my MK page today so there’s more info on rides and attractions on that, just have Adventureland left now and that’s park one finished! It’s been interesting doing it and investigating a little bit finding things that I haven’t seen or didn’t know about. I’m thinking I will DEFINITELY need another few trips after this to make sure I’ve seen it all. There’s a few new things on my list of things to do and places to eat, there’s some cool looking restaurants including this place…

It used to be used for shows according to YouTube and I’m not entirely sure why it isn’t anymore. The food looks good and what a cool little atmosphere to take in.

I’m also starting to collate some information from memory for those with disabilities – and those who just like to know – on each of the rides, how you transfer to the ride cart and also what the ride experience entails. Whether it goes upside down, how much you get thrown about and particularly what type of movements you can expect in places like the 4D theatres. Some of them have things poke you so it’s worthwhile having some of that information before you go. Keep an eye out and I’ll let you know when it’s updated.