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!

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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!

Things I must Eat – Number 1

So if you’ve read my page about places to eat in Orlando you’ve probably figured out that I do like my food. I like to eat at home but when I’m in Orlando I eat so much more. I absolutely love the food there and the choices? Oh my gosh the choices!! I’ve never seen so much. It’s a good place to try new things and I have what is known as a sweet tooth so anything that is guaranteed to put me in a sugar coma is always going to be top of my list of things to eat. I’ve been looking into some of the things that Disney is famous for snack wise and I’ve come up with a few that I must try. There is so much food at Disney there’s loads of sites just about the food, the most informative being DisneyFoodBlog. 

There is an INSANE amount of food you can consume at Disney and they even have a food and wine festival at Epcot every year – definitely something I must plan a future trip around.

THE GOURMET CAKE CUP – CHESHIRE CAFE – MK

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How amazing does that look!! I am obsessed with cake, I love it, all types of cake especially cupcakes and no one does frosting quite like the Americans. It’s not as sickly over there and it just tastes so much better. So imagine my delight when I saw these, half cake and half frosting!! Not only do they look absolutely incredible they’re also really cheap at only $3.99!! And although I won’t be sharing mine I’m sure they are big enough to share!!

They come in 4 flavours all based on characters from Alice in Wonderland, the original Cheshire Cupcake which I believe is vanilla, Mad Hatter Mocha, White Chocolate Rabbit and Queen of Hearts Strawberry Shortcake. I might have to try them all.

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 🙂

Are you A Princess or a Pirate?

I love all the extras they have at Disney and anything that gets the kids – and adults feeling more involved is fine by me.  Adults aren’t allowed to dress up as characters in the parks – except for MNSSHP – in case other guests think they’re the real ones and I would imagine in case those guests do anything to tarnish the Disney rep. There are ways around this which I’ll cover in a later blog 😉

I’ve a few really cool interactive experiences that are well worth a go if you have the chance.

There is of course the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique which is now open in MK (and Downtown Disney) and is situated inside the Castle. It’s basically a beauty salon where your little princess gets her own ‘Fairy Godmother’ who transforms her into a real princess with some magic and fairy dust. There are a few different packages and it can be really expensive. I’ve been doing a bit of researching into it and a lot of the advice I’m getting is to take your own dresses as they’re an additional charge and are, and I quote, ‘a rip off’. It does look like an incredible experience though so well worth saving for I think. The castle you need to book in advance, if your little one isn’t bothered about it being in the castle then the one at Downtown is less busy. It’s not just for girls either, little boys can be transformed into an heroic Knight if they want.  It’s between $60 and $200 depending on the package you go for. Unfortunately for us Disnerds you have to be under 12 to do it 😦

I would imagine that for us Brits being in a princess dress all day in the Florida heat would be a bit much, although it would probably be nice for your little princesses to walk around the park dressed up, I think it would be more comfortable for them to do it later in the day when it’s cooler.

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You can also join the Pirates League which we will be doing on this trip so expect a full review when we get back. This is a fraction of the cost of the Boutique and transfers kids (and Adults, yay!) into Pirates, you get christened with your very own pirates name, get a piece of pirates gold and you get to take part in a parade around Adventureland. You even get ‘sworn in’ as a pirate and take the Pirates oath. This is a lot more appealing to me than the princesses and I’m looking forward to doing it 🙂

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I’ve literally just found out about the Pirates and Pals Firework Party as well which is a cruise with Captain Hook and Smee, food and an amazing view of Wishes. This I must look into a bit more, if anyone has done it let me know if it’s any good 🙂

 

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!!

Disney Movie and Games Day :)

Today we’re at 94 days, now we’re in double digits it seems to be flying past and with weddings, christenings and all manner of other things planned for most of the weekends up to our trip I think it’s going to creep up on me before I know it!!

I’m constantly buying stuff ready for the trip at the mo, suitcase is out and stuff is being put straight in it ready to pack and today – after weeks and weeks of looking for one I bought this snazzy little number

dressThere’s a few different ones and they’re not badly priced and perfect cool, light material for the Florida heat 🙂 Sports Direct have them if anyone wants to have a look… Disney Dresses I’m after the Beauty and The Beast one and the Cinderella one as well 🙂

Talking of Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast they seem to be my movies of choice this week, I think I’ve watched both of them most days this week – I always have movies on when I’m working. I’m still upset that Gus doesn’t meet at Disney 😦

This afternoon I will mostly be getting VERY competitive and playing the DVD game of Disney Trivial Pursuit with the family last time I was thrashed by a 7 year old this time I will not be beaten.

I also read a really awesome article today about some of the little details at Disney that sometimes go unnoticed, it’s the attention to detail and the ability to immerse you in a theme that makes Disney so absolutely magical and this highlights some of it, it’s a fab article well worth a read. I read loads of these and its usually stuff I’ve seen or know already this had quite a few things I didn’t know!

101 Disney Details