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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!

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Day 12 Wild Florida, Minnies Seasonal Dine and some park hopping!

 

Today was the thing Paul was most looking forward and we headed down to Kenansville to Wild Florida. It’s not just an airboat ride but also has a wildlife park where you can see Gators and Sloths and other animals native to Florida.  I was excited for the sloths and we were planning on upgrading when we got there to do a Sloth encounter.

It’s a 40 minute drive from Disney and considering we have no sat nav and relied on the directions on the website we did really well at not getting lost. Although some of the places you drive through do make you think you’ve gone the totally wrong way!

Due to Irma sadly none of the wildlife park was open as it was all flooded but the airboats were still running – the entry to the wildlife park is included in the price of the airboat.  The swamp land we went over we were told was probably double the area it usually was and as we were going round our captain was pointing out areas that aren’t normally underwater!

I’ll be honest I was a bit dubious about doing this, I’m a little scared of boats especially these types of ones, they just look like they’re going to topple over at any moment! That water is filled with gators I didn’t fancy ending up in there!!

This wasn’t our boat but this is what they look like, like a bit of tin with some seats on!

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In the end I actually really enjoyed doing this. It’s loud so you’re given headphones to wear and it was quite relaxing skimming over the water and so quiet and peaceful (except for the noise of the boat).

Our skipper was great, he was full of information and kept stopping when he saw signs of gators being around. The best thing about this experience though was helping to rescue a little baby Armadillo. Armadillos are not made for the water and with their scaly backs they do look a bit like a gator when you’re coming up close. That’s what our skipper was expecting when he pulled up to it. Sadly this little baby was in a bit of distress so our skipper pulled him out the water and we had to find some, very scarce, dry land to set him free.  After he had this little thing in his hands Paul realised there was actually nowhere for him to put it and he obviously couldn’t hold it while driving, Paul being the animal rescuer that he is (we’ve had all sorts of birds and ducks bought home) piped up slightly TOO excitedly ‘Would you like me to hold it?’ thus giving him a hero moment and the highlight of his whole trip!!

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Thankfully we did find some dry land to set him free on and carried on looking for Gators. We did find some in the end which I do have on video. It’s a great way to see them in their natural environment and I think a must do if you to Florida.

The gift shop was really good as well, and quite cheap and there were some baby gators in tanks that you can see, it’s just a shame we couldn’t see the Sloths, but there is always next time…IMG_8797

Wild Florida was really good value as well I think it was £20 each and that includes the airboat and the park. So pretty good really 🙂 We booked the earliest boat we could so we had the rest of the day to do other stuff.

We headed back over to Disney had a quick change of clothes and went off to get all the ‘wedding’ pictures I wanted. My work colleagues were nice enough to get me and Paul bride and groom ears as a wedding present so I was determined to get some nice pictures at all the ‘landmarks’ in Disney with these ears on. Paul and Amelia weren’t quite so keen!!

I also really wanted to see Fantasmic! as we hadn’t yet so we started at Hollywood Studios, about 12ish and it was super hot today. Amelia and Paul wanted to go on Rock n Roller Coaster, I spied Donald as soon as we got in so I waited for him while they went on that 🙂

We managed quite a few characters meets today including Olaf who was wonderful. The Star Wars ones are amazing though. Both me and Amelia love Star Wars, Paul, well he had no idea who any of these people/animals/aliens were we meeting. BB-8 was cute but really tiny, Kylo Ren was incredibly intimidating! but the best one was Chewy, I had no idea he ‘talked’ but I was so excited that he did!!

This is why I love the photopass, you get to have all of the photos that are taken rather than just having to choose some, which are usually the posed ones. The picture below captures the moment that Chewy ‘spoke’ to Amelia perfectly!!

We sadly missed the opportunity to meet Moana but her meet had turned into a Guardians of the Galaxy one so we got to meet Baby Groot, another one little miss loved!

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We had a booking for Minnies Seasonal Dine at Hollywood and Vine, obviously this was Halloween themed. I’d heard some mixed reviews about this one so wasn’t really sure what to expect, it’s another where you meet the host, in this case Minnie, before you eat and the other characters come to the table. I’ve just noticed putting this together that the photos of that aren’t on our memory maker 😦

The food was good with some Halloween themed dishes, meaning pumpkin flavoured, we had some incredible pumpkin soup. And the Halloween desserts were so cute.

The weather got pretty bad while we were in here and we came out to find that Fantasmic had been cancelled for the evening. There was evening EMH at Magic Kingdom so we decided to head over there once the rain had cleared. Meet some more characters and get the wedding pictures there.

 

I’m not the biggest fan of meeting the princesses but it’s always fun meeting Rapunzel. No queues this time of night either 🙂

We managed to get a really good spot right in front of the castle for Happily Ever After – I cried obviously – and we had a really good quick service meal from Caseys Corner. One of my favourites in Disney, the hot dogs are amazing and portions massive.

We did a few rides and spent some of our left over snack credits before heading out of Magic Kingdom for the last time this trip, always a sad moment 😦 But we did an amazing shot with a relatively quiet main street behind us!

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Tomorrow we go to Animal Kingdom for the last time 😦 I hate getting to this part I always feel sad…

Things to do in Theme Parks without being in a queue – HOLLYWOOD STUDIOS

The last in my little series of non queuing things in the Disney parks takes us to Hollywood Studios – the home of Star Wars!

This is currently one of the smaller parks – although not for long and to be honest there isn’t as much to do as there is around the rest of Walt Disney World.

Much like Magic Kingdom the main strip of Hollywood Boulevard as you walk in has it’s own citizens who show up to do shoots and castings and are absolutely hilarious!! I’ve seen so many videos on YouTube of this lady Dorma and she is absolutely brilliant! So make sure you hang about to see them you won’t be disappointed 🙂

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There are loads of cool things happening here as you just walk around particularly for the Star Wars fan, the march of the First Order is an incredible thing to see with all the Storm Troopers marching through the crowd.

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More Star Wars stuff is the Jedi Training which is fun to watch and you also have the Launch Bay now with props and stories from the making of the Star Wars movies. I love learning all about that sort of thing and seeing movie props so this is on my list to do this trip. There’s a 10 minute show all about it as well.

Although the queue for Indiana Jones can look big the theatre seats 2000 people so as long as you’re there about 5 minutes before it starts you’re likely to get in without having to queue for it – although obviously at peak times the theatre may be full. I’ve never had a problem getting in when I’ve been and turned up late.

Muppet Vision rarely has a queue and is a good fun attraction, it has a really awesome pre show so you don’t even realise if you are waiting a little while for the main attraction. With all the work going on at Hollywood Studios and with The Great Movie ride closing I would imagine that some of the ‘less popular’ rides will be getting a little busier as there are less things to do whilst all the building is going on.

There are a few shows at Hollywood Studios that run throughout the day, Beauty and The Beast is brilliant and there is a new ‘Music of Pixar’ show with characters in it as well. Some of these people will queue for but again the theatres are pretty big so they do let a fair few in.

Hollywood Studios is a fun park to just wander about it and is great for shopping some of the best shopping in the whole of the resort is in this park!! I love movie memorabilia and there is a great shop for that here!

 

It’s NEXT WEEK!!

Excuse me while I squeal a little!! I can now finally say we go next week!! The excitement is getting a bit much now to be honest I may well burst at any moment!

I get asked loads why I love Florida so much and how there are ‘loads of other places in the world’ but you know what? Apart from Italy (and maybe Germany after watching a Vlog about Europa Park) there isn’t really anywhere else I’m that bothered about visiting and I don’t think they’ll live up to my expectations after being to Disney.  I’m not a sit by the pool and drink type so a package holiday being stuck in a resort is my idea of hell I need things to do!!

I get asked why I don’t get bored being that I’ve been before – this will be trip number 6 – I don’t get bored because there’s always something new to see. In the space of 17 years I’ve seen loads of things come and go.  Rides like Snow Whites Scary Adventures and Mr Toads Wild Ride and Toon Town where you could visit the houses of Minnie and Mickey Mouse have gone and are missed and then there are things like Alien which scarred me for life and I’m not sorry to see the back of.

Of course the big new thing is the Wizarding World of Harry Potter which has now stretched over 2 parks instead of just the one that there was on my last trip.

Even in 3 years there has been loads of development and new stuff to check out this time. Aside from the WWOHP extension there’s also the New Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom, the new Frozen show and new parades at Disney. As well as the developments at Downtown Disney.   Jurassic Park at Islands of Adventure now has a Raptor encounter and Universal Studios has Transformers and Springfield USA is open.

Seaworld has opened Empire of the Penguin and opened some new shows as well, not to mention the big opening of I-Drive 360 which comprises of the Orlando Eye, Madame Tussauds and Sealife Orlando.

With more changes and new rides/parks opening over the next few years – Avatarland at Animal Kingdom, the Star Wars expansion at Hollywood Studios (or whatever it will be called then…) and Universals Volcano Bay as well as the much talked about Nintendo Partnership at Universal.  And then there’s the King Kong ride that I totally forgot about – I remember the original one!! You can never get bored of Orlando there’s always something new opening!

The other thing I love is how accessible it is and how completely suitable it is for anyone with a disability. Be it a mobility issue like me or more complex needs no matter where you go in Orlando they will do whatever they can to help you and have policies in place for everything you could think of. Nothing is a hassle to them and unlike some other holiday destinations – I’ve been put in upstairs rooms in hotels with no lift and been felt like I’m causing the problem when I’m unable to walk up the stairs!! Here any sort of Disability isn’t seen as a major problem and rather than make a fuss they just figure out how to help you rather than huffing about it!!

The one thing I haven’t done properly in Orlando is a water park – I did Aquatica last time but all I did was bob along in the lazy river – I’m curious to see how they are geared up for someone like me.  There’s quite a few things I’m doing for the first time on this trip, Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon which I’m really looking forward to. Discovery Cove which is something I’ve heard nothing but good things about (and that’s not just because all the food and drink is free), We’re doing a Penguin Encounter at Seaworld where we actually get to meet a real penguin – I’m a BIG fan of anywhere where I can cuddle any sort of animal, not sure the penguin will want me to cuddle it but I will give it a try.  We have an Airboat ride as well which I won’t lie, I’m a little bit scared of. I don’t really like boats at the best of times – unless it’s a cruise ship – so being on something that doesn’t look that steady and surrounded by gators isn’t exactly filling me with excitement. I panic in a kayak so goodness knows what I’m going to be like on this.  Also I’m finally getting to do a character breakfast – the bonus of taking kids – we’re doing both Chef Mickeys and Universals Superstar Breakfast (if the tickets get sorted in time) and also the Pirates Adventure Dinner Show. Last time I went to a dinner show I was ill with sunstroke and it wasn’t a pleasant experience so fingers crossed this one will be better.

The only thing that could make this trip even more perfect is that elusive booking at ‘Be Our Guest’…..