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A Spoonful of Sherman and a Handful of Oscar….

 

Disney nights out are the best nights out and this week I got to see a Disney type show that I’d wanted to watch for a while.

The show is A Spoonful of Sherman, a musical journey through the life and work of the wonderful Sherman Brothers who were of course famous for writing all the songs you remember from those classic Disney movies like ‘Mary Poppins’ and ‘Bedknobs and Broomsticks’.

I’d read about this a little while ago so I was so excited to finally see it!

Not only that on searching for the venue postcode online before we left I found that the writer, and son of Robert, Robbie Sherman was doing a little Q&A and a meet and greet before the show.  So obviously we booked it! I just thought it’d  be an interesting chance to find out some Disney history and stories from someone who had the inside track little did I know how good of a decision that was to be!!

I’m not sure if this is something that he does at all of the shows but if you’re going to one and he is there, I urge you to book it. It’s so worth it for a Disney fan!!

It was a really relaxed affair with maybe 20 or so of us in a room while Robbie chatted to us and told us a bit about his family history and the writing of the musical. He was such a lovely man and filled with so much knowledge and talks about his late father and uncle (and Grandfather who also wrote songs you will actually know) with such fondness. It was clear Disney was and still is such a big part of his life.

He told us the story of how ‘It’s a Small World’ came about and honestly my whole opinion of that song has changed so much after hearing it.  Yes its annoying. Yes it gets stuck in your head but the underlying message is one of hope and unity. Even though it sounds like a simple melody the way it was written so you can sing both the verse and the choruses over each other without them overlapping is something I never thought of but realise now how hard it is to write something like that.

We were told stories about Walt and had the opportunity to ask questions which was wonderful. I could have listen to him talk all day and there’s so much I could have asked him about, hopefully I’ll get the opportunity to interview him properly one day.

But the best bit? Robbie bought memorabilia!! And not just your average type either. He bought the Oscars his Dad and Uncle had won for Mary Poppins. THE ACTUAL OSCARS! And we got to hold them! Heavier that you would think! (excuse the face I was a little excited)

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Not only that he had the Grammy they won

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And the ‘Mousker’ or ‘Disney Legend’ award too, the one I was most excited about cos it’s shaped like Mickey…

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He had some cool copies of other stuff like the nominations for some of the awards and a a score signed by the nine old men…

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The musical itself was a lot better than I thought it was going to be.

I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect other than the fact that there would be Disney music in it.

The musical told the story not just of the Sherman Brothers that we know but also the rest of the Sherman family, grandparents and great grandparents who were also composers right up to Robbie who himself is one.

The cast of this were wonderful.

It’s not like your average musical, there’s no major set changes, no acting as such. The whole show is centered around a piano. No orchestra. Just the piano and 5 vocals. Exactly the way the songs were written.

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The cast were fabulous and even that held some nostalgia for me as Mark Read from A1 stars in this – as well as Disney, boybands were another big part of my teenage years – having interviewed him in the past I know how much of a Disney fan he is so for him being in a show such as this is a dream come true.

We managed to have him in on the Voice FM Drive time show talking about it all you can listen to that here:

https://www.voicefmradio.co.uk/drive-time-on-voice-fm-12-apr-2018/

All your favourite Sherman songs are in this show highlights for me though were definitely Marks rendition of ‘The Ugly Bug Ball’ a song which Walt was not convinced with as he didn’t want a song with the word ‘ugly’ in it. I love this song anyway but the way Mark did it was so fun, with different voices and things.

Sophie Louise Dann’s version of ‘Feed The Birds’ was captivating, and I loved all the Mary Poppins songs Jenna Innes sang, with just a hint of Mary in her with her shoes and the way she stood.

The chemistry between her and Glen Facey was brilliant and I really enjoyed all the songs that they sang together.

‘Over Somebody Else’s Shoulder’ wasn’t a song I’d ever heard before but I really liked the way that was executed. It’s such a sweet love song and so clever with the lyrics.

My favourite thing about this show though? Ben Stock! He was amazing! An absolute joy to watch on the stage and his performance of ‘Crunchy Crackers’ from Robbies musical ‘Love Birds’ was the absolute hands down showstopper of the show! I need to see that musical now!

All in all this is a great show, fab music intertwined with anecdotes and stories reminding us – as if we could forget – just how talented the Sherman family are.

You can find more about the show and book tickets here:

http://aspoonfulofsherman.com/#tourdates

 

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Things to do in theme parks without being in a queue! MAGIC KINGDOM

Can this be true, there are things you can do in the theme-parks without being stuck in a queue for hours? Things you can do without having to plan your fast-passes a month in advance?

It is true!

Disney isn’t all about the big rides there’s so much fun to be had and so many classic attractions that you can experience without spending 4 hours in a queue.

Most first timers will go to the most popular things which is a shame as there is so much more Disney has to offer and you can spend your day doing so many of these if you know what they are!

There’s loads of things at Disney that I have yet to do and this trip I’m planning on doing them all.

So what can you do in the parks with little or no queue at all?

Lets start, as always, with MAGIC KINGDOM..

Starting at the entrance on Main Street and going clockwise around the park..

Sorcerers of The Magic Kingdom (which you can find more about in this blog Free things to do at Disney – Surely that can’t be true? ) this is something you can do all over the parks with portals in most lands so a good way to pass some time and something fun for the gamers (and non gamers) in the family, plus you get FREE game cards each day and there isn’t much that’s free in Disney!!

Main Street houses different shows throughout the day with the Citizens of Main Street and the much loved Dapper Dans as well as the Move it Shake it dance party and the many different shows on the castle stage.

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There’s even a Barbers in Main Street where little ones can have their first hair cut (so can the big ones) and with a sprinkle of Fairy Dust…

Adventureland has the classic Enchanted Tiki Room (which I’ve not done yet! :0) an indoor animatronic musical revue, you also have Swiss Family Treehouse a walk-through actual tree house based on the Swiss Family Robinson movies. There’s a variation on Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom here too, the pirate themed A Pirates Adventure helping Jack Sparrow fight off his foes and find treasure around the land with a magic talisman and a pirate map. There’s more Pirate themed fun with Jacks Tutorial teaching kids (and adults) how to swash-buckle.

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Moving into Frontierland you’ve got the magical Country Bear Jamboree another musical animatronic revue and one of my favourites.

Tom Sawyer island is rarely busy, you take  a raft over to an island playground with caves and mazes. A great place to people watch and have a picnic 🙂

Liberty Square has it’s riverboat (another attraction I’ve yet to try) which takes you over Americas rivers in a nice calm boat ride on an authentic paddle steamer. Here is also the home of the Hall of Presidents one of the most famous yet quietest rides at Disney. With a 2 part show all about the American Constitution featuring audio-animatronic’s of all of the US presidents, it might be a little boring for kids but it is really educational and I think a must-do.

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There’s a new show in Liberty Square too, Moments in History with the Muppets featuring Kermit and co telling stories of great American events in a way that only the Muppets can!

Fantasyland has loads to look at I could spend ages just walking around and taking it all in. Mickey’s Philharmagic is a fab show that I’ve never seen a big queue for. It’s a 3D journey through the music of Disney movies with Donald as your hapless guide. It’s one of my must do things in MK I love it 🙂

Storybook Circus has a fun splash station for little ones themed like the Casey Jnr from Dumbo and entertainment throughout the day from The Royal Majesty Makers who do regal routines and watch out for ad hoc musical performances as well.

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Tomorrowland has quite a lot to do Carousel of Progress is one of the original rides in MK and has been open since 1975! It’s been updated a few times but it still has that nostalgic charm taking you on a journey of technology, you also have Stitch’s Great Escape which rarely has queues and of course the best thing in Tomorrowland the People Mover or Tomorrowland Transit Authority.

Monsters Inc laugh floor is a great show really interactive and funny and with hardly any queues. Don’t miss the Incredibles Super Dance Party either.

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As well as all this you have shopping, dining and characters all over the parks to keep you entertained.

So you see you can quite easily fill a day with things you don’t have to stand in line for for hours and hours 🙂

If you have any other ideas of things to do then let me know 🙂

Blue Man Group – Is it worth it?

It’s always nice in Orlando to spend an evening catching a show and currently the 2 most popular and most well known are Cirque Du Soleil at Disney (Catch it quick it finishes in December) and Blue Man Group at Universal.

So many people ask about Blue Man and want to know what it is and if it’s worth watching. In a word. YES!!!

I am a huge fan of theatre shows and I know it’s a really bold statement but Blue Man is one of the most incredible ones I’ve seen. I could watch it again and again and again and not be bored.

You’ll find it in it’s own theatre just outside the entrance to Universal Studios, it’s  relatively small  so you will have a good view in any area. There are ‘poncho seats’ where you will get wet and covered in all manner of things including cereal…

It’s fully accessible and there are wheelchair seats if you need them but please book in advance.

It’s cheaper to buy before you go and most of the ticket resellers will sell them, tickets are around £40.

But what is it about? Anyone who’s had the luck to see this show will know how hard a question this is to answer because, quite frankly, it’s a bit odd!! But I shall give it a go…

The gist of it is that these ‘Blue Men’ are aliens who have come to our planet and are trying to understand how we live. That’s basically it. In a nutshell. Doesn’t sound too exciting but I promise you it will be one of the greatest (and strangest) things you ever see.

They use music, art, percussion, lots of paint and mime which I normally hate!

You’ve probably seen little bits of them on variety shows and things on TV where they paint things by spitting paint on a canvas, that is a VERY small part of the show and isn’t really a good representation of the things you see in it.

It is one of the funniest shows I’ve seen and they’re really really clever in that they’ve managed to create something that EVERYONE can understand. On my last trip the youngest was 6, the oldest 60 and we all laughed, at the same time. That doesn’t happen very often.

The show is really visual, some of the comedy is the old slapstick stuff that your grandparents love. They don’t speak. It’s incredibly clever the way that they manage to convey whatever message that they want without saying a word. There is a lot going on and it’s split into different ‘scenes’

There’s a bit of audience participation which starts literally as soon as you get in the theatre when you’re encouraged to read out loud from a screen which you may find your name on…

They do also come out into the audience and will stand right in front of you and stare at you, remember they are aliens who know nothing about us and what we are.  It can be a little odd but ultimately you will laugh at it.

All in all it’s a family friendly hilarious, colourful and fun show.  There’s a little video below to give you a little idea of the kind of thing that they do but honestly you must see this for yourself.  You will not be dissapointed!

It’s just over an hour so it’s not a long show and there is no interval. There’s 2 shows most days but obviously check the schedule.

The men will be around after so you can meet them like I did, they don’t hug you though they just put a blue thumb print on your head… I didn’t get one of those thankfully.

Make sure you go, it’s incredible!! And if anyone has seen it and has a way to actually describe it then I’d love to hear it!!

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