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Netflix,Stranger Things, Eleven, Will Byers, Mike, Max, Stranger Things 3, Stranger Things Cast, millie bobby brown

Hope you all had a Happy Stranger Things 3 Fourth of July! Wait, you didn’t spend yesterday binging Netflix’s Stranger Things Season 3??? I have a tween and a teen girl so, forget the fireworks, we were glued to all the action happening in Hawkins and in awe of the kids in the Stranger Things cast. They are all so grown up.

READ ALSO: The TRUTH about Parenting Teens

I have a special place in my heart for Stranger Things because it not only reminds me of my youth, but my girls are around the same age as the kids in the show. I’m living Stranger Things. This Netflix binge is something the girls and I laugh, cry and bond over. Remember the Stranger Things 13th Birthday party we threw for Bella? Still one of my favorites.

Stranger Things 3: It’s 1985 in Hawkins, Indiana, and summer’s heating up. School’s out, there’s a brand new mall in town, and the Hawkins crew are on the cusp of adulthood. Romance blossoms and complicates the group’s dynamic, and they’ll have to figure out how to grow up without growing apart. Meanwhile, danger looms. When the town’s threatened by enemies old and new, Eleven and her friends are reminded that evil never ends; it evolves. Now, they’ll have to band together to survive and remember that friendship is always stronger than fear.

11 Reasons Why You Should Binge Stranger Things 3 Today

Netflix, Stranger Things, Eleven, Will Byers, Mike, Max, Stranger Things 3, Stranger Things Cast, millie bobby brown1. Big Kids, Big Problems

The kids are older and behave so. People have coupled up and the storylines are relatable not only to your tweens/teens going through the same thing but for the parents having to navigate the murky waters of first loves too. Someone met a girl at camp. I adore the bromance between Steve and Dustin. If the Eleven and Hopper relationship evolution in Stranger Things 3 doesn’t make you cry, you are dead inside.

2. Girls Rule, Boys Drool

Steve is fulfilling his destiny and winning for the first time ever. Steve might actually win a fight and, no spoilers, but a lesson in humility and an open mind might make him a better person. Mike and Lucas learn a few things about how to treat a girl, the hard way.

Hopper. Joyce, Netflix, Stranger Things, Eleven, Will Byers, Mike, Max, Stranger Things 3, Stranger Things Cast, millie bobby brown

3. Adulting, it’s complicated

Hopper and Joyce…Jopper? Does anyone need a love story more than these two? Also, a steamy near affair Mrs. Robinson style. Not going to tell you who but you might not be surprised.   

4. The 80’s nostalgia will bring all the feelings of childhood back.

If you were alive in the ’80s or love 80’s movies be prepared to have flashbacks to every 80’s movie you’ve ever seen, in the best possible way. Be prepared for your kids to ask for all the 80’s styles that you rocked back in the day. FYI, they are available now at Hot Topic. Of course, they are.

5. There are far worse things than demogorgons…like way worse.

I thought the Demogorgon and Demodogs were disgusting but there is something much scarier and Stranger Things 3 brings it to you courtesy of all the citizens of Hawkins, Indiana.

Netflix Stranger Things, Eleven, Will Byers, Mike, Max, Stranger Things 3, Stranger Things Cast, millie bobby brown

6. There is a healthy dose of girl power.  

Girls rule Hawkins from powerful Eleven to sassy Max, no B.S. Joyce to Suzy in Utah. The girls of Hawkins are tough cookies and even Nancy is giving the Wonder Woman pose this season. Go, Girls. Your girls will walk away from this season feeling empowered and elevated.

7. The Cold War is now.

You think the Russian interference now is scary, wait until you get a load of the Stranger Things 3 Russians. Nyet, thank you!

8. Something terrible happens to someone you love to hate.

We get the backstory on one of our favorite characters that we love to hate. We find out they’ve had it rough and just need a break. Self-sacrifice will leave you in deep need of Kleenex.

9. First LGBTQ character introduced in Hawkins.

It happened fast but we are pretty sure that one of the Hawkins kids is out. The best thing about it was that it was a no big deal moment. For the ’80s, that was everything. Bravo Stranger Things 3 cast and writers for keeping it 100. Never doubt that Hawkins is woke.

10. Life in Hawkins, Indiana will never be the same again.

A major character dies. I can’t tell you who because I’m not a jerk but have.all.the.Kleenex. I was ready to riot. Let’s just leave it at that. If it turns out to be real next season, I still might. I will tell you that if this character actually died, Hawkins will never be the same again. Also, there is a major shift and our gang gets separated.

11. Watch to the very end of the credits for a super plot twist.

PLEASE WATCH THROUGH THE CREDITS!! If you don’t you are going to miss a major clue for next season and you will spend the next year crying over the state of our favorite characters’ existence. The ending is hopeful.

Hopper, Joyce, Netflix, Stranger Things, Eleven, Will Byers, Mike, Max, Stranger Things 3, Stranger Things Cast, millie bobby brown

READ ALSO: Parent Guide to Teen Slang

That’s all the non-spolier reasons that I can give you to binge Stranger Things 3 today! Now, I’m off to plan our Stranger Things 3 Halloween costumes. I mean, the Fourth of July has passed so basically, it’s time for pumpkin lattes, right?

Netflix, Stranger Things, Eleven, Will Byers, Mike, Max, Stranger Things 3, Stranger Things Cast, millie bobby brownI am obsessed and we’re about to re-binge the entire series tomorrow.

If you already binged Netflix’s Stranger Things 3, let’s discuss in the comments.

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Dumbo, Disney Entertainment, Disney's Dumbo

I’m so excited to share with you Tim Burton’s all-new visionary live-action DUMBO that is available everywhere on June 25th!  Fall in love again with this heartfelt story when it swoops into homes on Digital in HD and 4K Ultra HD and Movies Anywhere, and physically on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and DVD – with never-before-seen bonus features, deleted scenes, bloopers and more!

 READ ALSO: Disney’s the Lion King

“Dumbo,” the grand live-action adventure from Disney and visionary director Tim Burton expanded on the beloved animated classic and sent spirits soaring. Disney invites fans to fall in love again with this heartfelt story, in which differences are celebrated, family is cherished and dreams take flight, when it swoops into homes on Digital in HD and 4K Ultra HD™ and Movies Anywhere, and physically on 4K Ultra HD,  Blu-ray™ and DVD — with never-before-seen bonus features, deleted scenes, Easter eggs and bloopers.

Dumbo, Disney Entertainment, Disney's Dumbo

Stunning extras will transport viewers to the set of “Dumbo,” where cast members Danny DeVito (circus owner Max Medici), Michael Keaton (opportunistic businessman V.A. Vandevere), Colin Farrell (war-veteran-turned-elephant-keeper Holt Farrier), Eva Green (stunning aerialist Colette Marchant), Nico Parker (Farrier’s daughter, Milly) and Finley Hobbins (Farrier’s son, Joe) share their personal stories of courage and character.

READ ALSO: Why I Loved Disney’s Aladdin Live-Action more than the Original

Features explore how Disney’s timeless animated story was brought to life with an incredibly expressive, lovable, fully computer-generated baby elephant; the longtime collaboration of Burton, production designer Rick Heinrichs and costume designer Colleen Atwood, which resulted in jaw-dropping sets and costumes; and the creation of the visually colossal Dreamland parade sequence. Also included are nine deleted scenes, hidden and not-so-hidden Easter eggs, bloopers and a special performance of “Baby Mine” by Arcade Fire.

Dumbo, Disney Entertainment, Disney's Dumbo

In “Dumbo,” struggling circus owner Max Medici enlists former star Holt Farrier and his children to care for a newborn elephant whose oversized ears make him a laughingstock. But when they discover that Dumbo can fly, the circus makes an incredible comeback, attracting persuasive but sinister entrepreneur V.A.Vandevere, who recruits the peculiar pachyderm for his newest, spectacular, larger-than-life entertainment venture, Dreamland.

READ ALSO: Toy Story 4 Reveals the Meaning of Life

“Dumbo” will be released in several different formats, giving families the flexibility to watch it on a variety of devices. Viewers can watch the film in Digital 4K UHD, HD and SD, and bring home a physical copy of the film as the 4K Ultra HD Edition (4K UHD, Blu-ray and Digital Code), Multi-Screen Edition (Blu-ray, DVD and Digital Code) and a single DVD.

Bonus features include*:
BLU-RAY & DIGITAL HD:

  • CIRCUS SPECTACULARS: Dumbo’s cast shares their experience of making the film—and get to the heart of a story about family and believing in yourself.
  • THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM: Explore how one of Disney’s most lovable characters went from an animated classic to a stunning live-action retelling.
  • BUILT TO AMAZE: Get a closer look at the film’s production and costume design.
  • DELETED SCENES: A compelling collection of scenes that almost made the final film.
    • Roustabout Rufus
    • Pachyderm Plans
    • The Other Medici Brother
    • Monkey Business
    • A Star Is Born
    • Where’s Dumbo
    • Elephant Heist
    • A Seat at the Show
  • EASTER EGGS ON PARADE: Discover the hidden and not-so-hidden nods to the animated Dumboin this narrated tribute to the Disney classic.
  • CLOWNING AROUND: Laugh along with the cast in a collection of big-top bloopers and goofs from the set.
  • “BABY MINE”: Visual video performed by Arcade Fire

Dumbo, Disney Entertainment, Disney's DumboDIGITAL EXCLUSIVE:

  • DREAMLAND – ANATOMY OF A SCENE: From Final Script to Final Scene: The filmmakers and cast talk a lot about the feeling of “grand intimacy” in the film.  Step right up as they bring the Dreamland parade to life, accomplishing the rare marriage of a massive spectacle combined with an emotional tenderness.
  • 4K Ultra HD: English Dolby Atmos and 2.0 Descriptive Audio; Spanish and French 7.1 Dolby Digital Plus Language Tracks
  • Blu-ray: English 7.1 DTS-HDMA and 2.0 Descriptive Audio, Spanish and French 5.1 Dolby Digital Language Tracks
  • DVD: English, Spanish and French 5.1 Dolby Digital, English 2.0 Descriptive Audio Language Tracks
  • UHD Digital: English Dolby Atmos (some platforms); English, Spanish and French 5.1 & 2.0 Dolby Digital; English Descriptive Audio 2.0 Dolby Digital (some platforms)
  • HD Digital: English, Spanish and French 5.1 & 2.0 Dolby Digital; English Descriptive Audio 2.0 Dolby Digital (some platforms)
  • SD Digital: English, Spanish and French 5.1 & 2.0 Dolby Digital; English Descriptive Audio 2.0 Dolby Digital (some platforms)

Dumbo, Disney Entertainment, Disney's Dumbo 

DUMBO” CAST AND CREW: 
The film stars Golden Globe® winner Colin Farrell (“In Bruges,” “The Lobster”) as war-veteran turned elephant-keeper Holt Farrier, Golden Globe winner Michael Keaton (“Birdman,” “Beetlejuice”) as opportunistic businessman V.A. Vandevere, Emmy® and Golden Globe winner Danny DeVito (“Batman Returns,” “Big Fish”) as circus owner Max Medici, and BAFTA Award winner and Golden Globe nominee Eva Green (“Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children,” “Dark Shadows”) as stunning aerialist Colette Marchant. Nico Parker and Finley Hobbins make their feature film debuts as Holt’s children, Milly and Joe.

Here is a fun origami activity to do with your children in celebration of the release of Disney’s Dumbo.

Like DUMBO on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DisneyDumbo/

Follow DUMBO on Twitter: https://twitter.com/dumbo

Follow DUMBO on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/dumbo/

Visit the official DUMBO website here: https://disney.com/dumbo

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Duke Caboom, Woody, Buzz, Bo Peep, GabyGaby, Toy Story 4, Meaning of Life, Love, Forky

I thought Toy Story 3 was the best wrap up of a series as there ever was. However, I was proven wrong last night. Toy Story 4 takes us parents on a ride and sees it through to the end and this mom is all in her feels. Where’s Drake when I need him?

Toy Story 4 Basic Synopsis:

Woody (voice of Tom Hanks) has always been confident about his place in the world, and that his priority is taking care of his kid, whether that’s Andy or Bonnie. So, when Bonnie’s beloved new craft-project-turned-toy, Forky (voice of Tony Hale), declares himself as “trash” and not a toy, Woody takes it upon himself to show Forky why he should embrace being a toy.

READ ALSO: What is Disney Creator Days and How Can I Get Invited?

But when Bonnie takes the whole gang on her family’s road trip excursion, Woody ends up on an unexpected detour that includes a reunion with his long-lost friend Bo Peep (voice of Annie Potts). After years of being on her own, Bo’s adventurous spirit and life on the road belie her delicate porcelain exterior. As Woody and Bo realize they’re worlds apart when it comes to life as a toy, they soon come to find that’s the least of their worries. Directed by Josh Cooley (“Riley’s First Date?”), and produced by Mark Nielsen (associate producer “Inside Out”) and Jonas Rivera (“Inside Out,” “Up”)

Duke Caboom, Woody, Buzz, Bo Peep, GabyGaby, Toy Story 4, Meaning of Life, Love, Forky, Ducky and Bunny

©2018 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

Parenting is a thankless job of loving and living for other people. People we created and have made the very reason for our existence. There is nothing more fulfilling or joyous than being given the gift of loving someone so completely and unconditionally. We are in those years, blinded by that love.

But one day, they will grow up. They will move on, as they are supposed to. They will have lives, families and children of their own and as much as we want to hold on tighter and forever, we have to let them go. And it hurts so much. Too much. But that’s the job; raise good human beings and then set them free to go forth and make the world a better place…no matter how much it breaks your heart.

READ ALSO: Everything You Need to Know about the Disney Dream Cruise

But something unexpected happens, when your little birds fly away and you are left in your empty nest, you have time for you again. Time to live for you. Time to pursue what makes YOU happy. Time to love your partner. Go ahead, you deserve it. Just like Woody deserved to find his Bo Peep. He did his job. He loved Andy and Bonnie with everything that he was. He sacrificed. He selflessly served them as long as they needed him and only when they no longer did, did he let go and even then it was begrudgingly.

Duke Caboom, Woody, Buzz, Bo Peep, GabyGaby, Toy Story 4, Meaning of Life, Love, Forky

©2019 Disney/Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

As parents, it is our mission to love our children. Sometimes it feels like our sole purpose and we are happy to have it. But, like Woody, we’ve got to let go of the past and live in the present. Look toward the future. We deserve to be happy. We deserve to be loved the way we loved our children. We deserve that.

READ ALSO: Disney’s the Lion King

Where, then, does Woody stand? In the movie’s scheme of things, he stands for all of us who feel we’ve lost our purpose in one phase of our life and haven’t yet found the courage to start the next phase. Toy Story 4 is all about transitioning to the next phase for everyone one of us. We are constantly evolving.

What Woody comes to understand, ever so slowly, is that life is not only for living but for loving, and he and Bo have found each other. As Woody struggles to resolve his fears and feelings, “Toy Story 4” transcends toydom. It feels exquisitely alive.

Duke Caboom, Woody, Buzz, Bo Peep, GabyGaby, Toy Story 4, Meaning of Life, Love, Forky

©2019 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

It boils down to this, in the end, our quality of life is weighed and measured in love; the love we give gives us meaning and the love we receive gives us purpose.

Toy Story 4 teaching us lessons we didn’t even know we needed to learn.

Whether it’s romantic love, familial love, parental love, friendship or mutual respect, love is the true meaning of life and without it, the quality of our lives is drastically reduced if not removed. At the basis of humanity, we need to love one another. The love we give is reflected back in the joy we feel.

Duke Caboom, Woody, Buzz, Bo Peep, GabyGaby, Toy Story 4, Meaning of Life, Love, Forky

©2019 Disney/Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

In Toy Story 4, we’re shown all different types of love and its value is quantified from an outside perspective and suddenly, it all makes sense… love is the meaning of life. Giving and receiving.

READ ALSO: I Loved Aladdin Live-Action More than the Original

In the end, they all chose to love and let themselves be loved. The thing is that kind of vulnerability is terrifying. Putting yourself out there and allowing yourself to become part of something bigger than just yourself, allowing someone else to be a part of the equation to determine whether or not you are happy and fulfilled is risky but so worth it because the only way to experience life fully is with love and the only way to love is completely.

Duke Caboom, Woody, Buzz, Bo Peep, GabyGaby, Toy Story 4, Meaning of Life, Love, Forky

©2019 Disney/Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

In the end, Andy grew up and Bonnie gave her love to Forky but Woody finally got to be part of something for him, he got to be loved in return and that’s something. He got to start a new adventure in life as part of a couple. His friends loved him so much that they let him go follow his bliss with Bo Peep, the same way Bo Peep put her feeling for him on a shelf and left him behind when she knew he had to stay with Andy. That’s what love is about, taking someone else’s needs and wants into consideration.

In Toy Story 4, Woody finally got to choose to love and be loved in return and there’s nothing better in this life. Sometimes love means letting go, sometimes it means jumping in with both feet and taking a chance and sometimes it means holding on for dear life. Toy story 4 taught me that.

Duke Caboom, Woody, Buzz, Bo Peep, GabyGaby, Toy Story 4, Meaning of Life, Love, Forky, Ducky and Bunny

Disney Pixar’s Toy Story 4 in theaters June 21st. Now playing. Giving me the meaning of life.

What was your biggest takeaway from Toy Story 4?

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secret life of pets 2, paton oswalt, harrison ford, kevin hart, tiffany haddish

Do you ever wonder what your pets really do when you leave the house? I do because I have a sneaking suspicion that our Lola is getting into all sorts of mischief. In fact, I got a Petcube camera just to find out for myself.  Surprisingly, at least in front of the Petcube cam, she’s as sweet and lovable as she is when we’re home with her.

Disclosure: My family was provided tickets to see The Secret Life of Pets but all opinions are our own.

Not the case with the gang of Secret Life of Pets 2. The Secret Life of Pets 2 follows 2016’s summer blockbuster hit about the lives our pets lead after we leave for work each day. This time it’s a little different.

secret life of pets 2, paton oswalt, harrison ford, kevin hart, tiffany haddish

The Secret Life of Pets continues the story of Max the terrier (Patton Oswalt) must cope with some major life changes when his owner gets married and has a baby. Max’s anxiety suddenly kicks in when he becomes preoccupied with keeping his owner’s toddler safe. He is the ultimate helicopter dog.

READ ALSO: Everything You Need to Know About Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge

When the family takes a trip to the countryside, anxiety-ridden Max has run-ins with dog-hating cows, aggressive foxes and a scary turkey. Luckily for Max, he soon meets Rooster (Harrison Ford), a gruff farm dog who tries to cure the lovable pooch of his neuroses. Rooster is more of a let-them-get-hurt-and-learn kind of canine.

A subplot has Snowball (Kevin Hart) and a new dog Daisy (Tiffany Haddish) working together to rescue an abused tiger from a Russian circus. Hot on their tails are scary wolves and a “cartoonishly villainous” lion tamer.

The dark humor and danger are toned down with more of slapstick violence that’s meant to be funny. Think Wylie Coyote and the Road Runner. Animals punch and throw knives at one another and a bad guy gets hit by a car, but no one is ever fatally injured.

READ ALSO: Why I Loved Disney’s Live Action Aladdin

For me, I saw a lot of myself in Max. I used to be a carefree, thrill seeker before I had children. The moment I had my girls and became a mom, it was no longer just my life. I was living for others. At the moment they were born, my life was irrevocably changed for the better, if not for the milder.

It was so overwhelming to love something, someone, so much that it felt like the thought of any ill ever befalling them would absolutely kill me. Our children are an extension of ourselves. They are the best of us walking around vulnerable in the world. Our children are our kryptonite but such amazing, beautiful gifts of kryptonite they are.

I went from being a “do what feels good” person to a “make good choices” person because it’s not just about me anymore. In the beginning of motherhood, I was a nervous wreck. I have never been able to be one of those parents who can go with the flow and just let things happen as they play out. I was never a “rub some dirt on it” type. I can’t overcome my instinct to protect them and to be honest, I’m okay with that.

READ ALSO: Cirque du Soleil Volta

My name is Debi and I am a recovering helicopter mom. I’m not saying that with any negativity. It was what worked for us. Maybe sometimes I was a bit neurotic in my overprotection but, in the end, as they grew older, I learned to let go little by little. I learned to trust in my own parenting.

I’ll probably never be a Rooster “let-them-get-hurt-and-learn” kind of a mom even though I know plenty of moms who are and it works too. It’s just not what’s comfortable for me. Honestly, my parenting technique was mostly about keeping my girls safe but a lot about preserving my own peace of mind.

Max gets the struggle of every parent everywhere and I loved watching him navigate his way through to the other side. I felt seen. The struggle of living with such immense love for a tiny little person is real.

Secret Life of Pets 2 is a winner for our family.

For kids, the moral of the story is to face and embrace the changes life inevitably throws at you and that’s such an important thing for our children to know. They have to know that change isn’t always bad and really, change is just an opportunity for growth.

Overall, my family loved the movie. My girls are 12 and 14-years-old and they laughed through the entire movie. In fact, the Big Guy said it’s one of the best animated movies he’s seen in a while and that’s saying something coming from him. I found it to be endearing and I absolutely loved Max.

Secret Life of Pets 2 is playing in theaters now, will you be seeing it?

 

 

 

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Olga's Cantina, Galaxy's Edge, Star Wars, Millenium Falcon, Kat Sakas Kettle, opening day, Disneyland May 31st, DIsney World, August 29, Walt Disney World, Disney Creator Days, Disney Parks, Disney Resorts, Disney Cruise

Disneyland’s Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge opened officially May 31st! It’s finally here and we’re so excited. We’ve been waiting for this day for four years. Last night, our entire all things Disney and all things Star Wars obsessed family gathered around the television at 10 p.m. to watch the reveal live. Yes, we are that family.

Our trip is already planned. We will be arriving at Walt Disney World on September 1st to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary. What better place for the couple who were introduced at their reception to the Star Wars theme and who honeymooned at Walt Disney World than Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge?

In 2015, when Walt Disney Company revealed plans to build “Star Wars” lands at Disneyland in California and Walt Disney World in Florida, legions of Star Wars fans collectively held their breath. When Disney’s chief executive, Bob Iger, revealed that one of the rides would allow us all to live out our childhood fantasy of piloting the Millennium Falcon we thought we were dreaming. We’ve been waiting with bated breath ever since.

READ ALSO: Galaxy’s Edge Opening Day Revealed

Disneyland’s “Star Wars” expansion is the biggest in the park’s history with 14-acres of complete Star Wars immersiveness for as far as the eye can see. Just imagine, you and your family at a trading port on Batuu in Black Spire Outpost on the edge of the wild wild west of space. It looks incredibly immersive and interactive and we can’t wait to experience it for ourselves this fall at Walt Disney World.

I’ve done some research and here is everything you need to know before you visit Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge

 You will feel like you are in a galaxy far far away

 When you enter Galaxy’s Edge, you will be on a planet called Batuu. You might remember it from the “Star Wars” comic books and television series. Disney describes Batuu as “on the frontier of Wild Space — the uncharted region beyond all known star systems.” Welcome to Black Spire Outpost, a port on Batuu.

Black Spire Outpost is a trading village built on a dry riverbed on Batuu in the center of Galaxy’s Edge. It absolutely looks otherworldly with rock spires towering before visitors.

There is no overt signage to be found around Black Spire Outpost. It’s all coded.  But here is some inside info:

Savi’s Workshop ( where you can make your own Lightsaber) has a flag with a stylized lightsaber on it.

The Docking Bay 7 Restaurant has a 7 on the building.

Each market place shop has a sign on the building.

It’s a fun hidden code to figure it out and you can do just that using the app. But I’ll tell you more about that later.

Know the Star Wars lingo before you go to Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge.

Rumors

Bright suns: Hello

Till the spire: goodbye

How much does something cost? They will answer in galactic credits, not dollars.

For example, a creature counter might be 70 credits.

Don’t ask anyone where to buy or build a “Lightsaber” because they won’t tell you. Hello, it’s contraband, You’ll have to inquire about the “scrap metal”.

Olga's Cantina, Galaxy's Edge, Star Wars, Millenium Falcon, Kat Sakas Kettle, opening day, Disneyland May 31st, DIsney World, August 29, Walt Disney World, Disney Creator Days, Disney Parks, Disney Resorts, Disney Cruise

Guests only have four hours to visit Galaxy’s Edge, so plan ahead.

If you have a Galaxy’s Edge reservation, you can’t just show up whenever you want. Guests are assigned specific, four-hour windows during which they can visit. Each guest with a reservation will receive a wristband for their assigned time from the “Star Wars” films will escort you out of the land. I don’t know but I think it would be pretty cool to get escorted out by Stormtroopers. If for some reason you leave earlier than your four hours, you cannot come back in. So don’t do that unless it’s an emergency.

It’s been suggested to use your time in Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge very wisely. We read that the 4-hour reservation is plenty of time to do it all but you have to prioritize. The suggested order was to first visit Savi’s workshop to build your lightsaber ( which takes an estimated 15 minute wait time and 20 minutes to build your lightsaber), next visit Oga’s Cantina ( which currently has a 2 drink and 45 minute maximum), then Smugglers Run: Millennium Falcon experience, merchandise and then food.

READ ALSO: Free Tips for Maximizing your Walt Disney World Vacations

I’m planning on building my own droid at the droid depot so I need to a lot of time for that. I’ve also heard that a visit to Dok-Ondars Den of Antiquities is a must see with high-end souvenirs. It’s also been said that you can probably hit Smugglers Run more than once if you wait to go again at the end of your 4-hour window. I’ll test the theory in September and let you know.

Once you’ve experienced all of the Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge main attractions, take some time to immerse yourself in the citizens and environment. Soak it all up, you are in a galaxy far far away after all. How many people can say that?

How to be one of the first to experience Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.

To get inside Galaxy’s Edge between its grand opening and June 23, visitors will need a reservation in addition to park entry tickets. Disney is anticipating beyond-capacity crowds. Even with your reservation, you are capped at 4 hour increments. There are no spots left unless you are staying at one of the Disney-owned hotels. Prices are currently starting at $500 a night. An identical version of Galaxy’s Edge will be opening at Walt Disney World in Orlando on Aug. 29. I will be there with my family on September 1st, ready to get my Star Wars on.

In anticipation of the new attractions’ popularity, Disney has taken steps to better equip Disneyland to handle massive crowds. As part of the Project Stardust initiative, Disney has added new parking and expanded pedestrian walkways throughout Disneyland Resort.

Ride queues have been reconfigured to put guests in the shade, and extra seating was added to the Adventureland and Tomorrowland sections of the park. The reservation system for Galaxy’s Edge may also help control crowds in Disneyland.

You can be part of the Resistance or the First Order experience.

Disney parks usually offer passive experiences.  I love riding the rides and watching as everything happens but that is not Galaxy’s Edge. Galaxy’s Edge is taking it to the next level.  It’s role-playing where you are part of the action. Disney’s employees have always been cast members, but the staff at Galaxy’s Edge go a step further. They are Batuu residents who greet you by saying “bright suns” and never break character.

The story of Black Spire Outpost is new and set after the events of “The Last Jedi.” Therefore, don’t expect to run into Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Darth Vader or Yoda. They’re dead so it wouldn’t make sense for them to be walking around the park. It’s an entirely new place and everyone is experiencing this for the first time.

READ ALSO: What’s New at Walt Disney World

One thing that I think is really cool is the atmospheric encounters instead of character meets with Rey, Kylo Ren, Stormtroopers and Chewbacca. No crazy lines because the characters are walking around the land interacting because that’s where they belong. Also, spontaneous atmospheric entertainment.

If you come across one of your favorite characters, I’m looking at you Chewie, they will stay in character while photo pass photographers take a “scan of you”.

The Galaxy’s Edge Rides.

Galaxy’s Edge will include two thrill rides, Rise of the Resistance, a visit to a Star Destroyer that includes a face-off with the ruthless Kylo Ren and the Smuggler’s Run where you can pilot the Millennium Falcon.

Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run recreates the experience of flying the spacecraft piloted by Han Solo and Chewbacca. Each ride vehicle seats six people, and the ride is designed to be interactive so guests will use controls to either pilot the ship, use blasters to defend the craft or keep the ship running smoothly as flight engineers.

Piloting the Millennium Falcon

Once aboard the Millennium Falcon, you hang in the main hold, which looks identical to the Falcon from the films. Once it’s time for your mission, strap in the Falcon cockpit. Each person is assigned one of three roles and you work as a team.

You can ride stand by, single rider or fast pass but fast passes aren’t available yet. We’ve read that the queue is shorter at the end of the 4-hour time frame.

Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, Galaxy’s Edge’s second ride won’t open until later in 2019.

The Food at Galaxy’s Edge.

Oga’s Cantina will be the first place to ever serve alcohol in Disneyland. The bar serves already mixed cocktails and beers in souvenir glasses. This is not a full bar so don’t expect to order whatever you want. A fun bit of musical entertainment is provided by D.J. Rex.

I’ve heard the drinks are fun and creative but quite pricey if you want the cool souvenir mugs and who doesn’t? A regular cocktail at Oga’s Cantina can cost around $17, not including the price of a souvenir mug. Single beers cost $12 each, or $75 for a flight of 4 beers. The one I’m most looking forward to trying id the Fuzzy Tauntaun. It is Ciroc peach vodka, rolls peach schnapps, simply orange with tangerine, pure cane sugar and buzz foam ( be warned it will make your mouth tingly and numb) and cost $15.

READ ALSO: Best Walt Disney World Resorts for Families

Several restaurants serve “Star Wars” themed food, including a Ronto Wrap which is a sausage, pork gyro topped with coleslaw.

The Milk Stand serves the famous Blue and Green Milk frozen beverages. They’re coconut milk based frozen drink with the blue one tasting fruity and the green one tasting more citrusy. Blue and Green Milk drinks cost $8.

There is one free souvenir in Galaxy’s Edge and that’s the cardboard coasters at Oga’s Cantina. They’re single-use and free to take home. We hear you can even ask for a fresh one if yours gets mucked up by your drink.

How to navigate Stars Wars Galaxy’s Edge like a native.

Download the Disneyland and Play apps before your visit. They’re free! The Play Disney Parks app, adds a deeper level of storytelling to your Galaxy’s Edge experience by turning your smartphones into an interstellar “datapad.” You can use the app to activate droids, scan cargo crates to see what was inside and translate shop signs written in Aurebesh, the “Star Wars” language.

You can also use the app to interact with other guests in a game called “Outpost Control,” where you choose to play for the First Order or the Resistance. Earn galactic credit if your side starts to win.

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The Market Place at Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge.

This is the place where you can find and purchase all things Galaxy’s Edge except for anything labeled Star Wars or Galaxy’s Edge including workshops where you can build your own lightsabers or functioning droids. If you are wanting anything labeled Galaxy’s Edge or Star Wars you’ll have to buy that outside the land. But there is plenty of cool stuff to buy in Galaxy’s Edge.

Galaxy’s Edge has nine stores offering roughly 700 items, almost none of which are available for purchase elsewhere. Want to take a pet home from Batuu? Check out the creature stall in creature corner where you can adopt pets like the Kowakian Lizard Monkeys (very similar to the banshees of Pandora.)

The Black Spire Outfitters is where you can buy costumes.

Jewels of Bith is a souvenir shop.

First order cargo: bat Allison order

Droid depot is where you can buy and build your own BB8 or R2-D2 type droid. It comes with remote control and talks to other droids. Various personality chips are available.

Build Your Own Lightsaber

Savi’s Workshop is where visitors can build and purchase their own lightsabers for $199 plus tax. But don’t ask, “where do I buy my lightsaber?” because the locals won’t tell you. After all, lightsabers are contraband. If you want your very own famous weapon used by Jedi fighters like Luke Skywalker and Yoda you’ll have to ask where to find the “scrap metal.” There are over 120,000 possible lightsaber combinations.

All these amazing Star Wars immersive experiences to be had within your 4-hour reservation. I can’t wait for our trip to Walt Disney World this fall to experience Star Wars; Galaxy’s Edge for ourselves. I’ll be sure to bring you all along.

Olga's Cantina, Galaxy's Edge, Star Wars, Millenium Falcon, Kat Sakas Kettle, opening day, Disneyland May 31st, DIsney World, August 29, Walt Disney World, Disney Creator Days, Disney Parks, Disney Resorts, Disney CruiseWhat are you most looking forward to experiencing most at Star War’s Galaxy’s Edge at Disneyland or Walt Disney World?

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Nasim Pedrad, Marwan Kenzari,Navid Negahban, Mena Massoud, Jasmine, Naomi Scott, Will Smith, Abu, Jafar, Aladdin, Disney's Aladdin, Live-action film, movie review, Guy Ritchie,

I’m not going to lie, I was expecting to be disappointed by Aladdin. I was very excited to see Disney’s Aladdin live-action movie since the moment I heard it was a thing but at the same time, the original Aladdin animated film is such an iconic film that I wasn’t sure anyone could live up to the hype of it. Below is my family friendly, no-spoiler Aladdin review.

In my mind, Robin Williams is the Genie. I couldn’t make myself believe that the Fresh Prince, Will Smith, was up to the task, no matter how much I love him. How can you fill those shoes? You can’t and I just felt like even trying was going to be a disservice to the original.

Nasim Pedrad, Marwan Kenzari,Navid Negahban, Mena Massoud, Jasmine, Naomi Scott, Will Smith, Abu, Jafar, Aladdin, Disney's Aladdin, Live-action film, movie review, Guy Ritchie,

I also wasn’t sure if I was going to love Rajah and Abu in the live action films because sometimes live-action animals look cringey and so unrealistic that you feel like the producers are just assuming we are all stupid but this was not the case.at.all.

READ ALSO: New Aladdin Live-Action Film First Trailer Release

Nasim Pedrad, Marwan Kenzari,Navid Negahban, Mena Massoud, Jasmine, Naomi Scott, Will Smith, Abu, Jafar, Aladdin, Disney's Aladdin, Live-action film, movie review, Guy Ritchie,

Then there was the matter of Aladdin and Jasmine. As many of you know, they are two of my daughters’ favorite characters. Animated, they were perfection but how would it all translate to live action? I’m sure that you have been asking yourself the same questions. I’m here to tell you that you don’t have to worry about any of it. The Disney Aladdin live-action movie surpassed every expectation I had and made me fall in love with the story all over again. In fact, dare I say, I may even love it more than the animated version.

First off, the cinematography was stunning. I felt transported somewhere between Agrabah and Bollywood and it was absolutely magical. The rich vibrant colors were as upbeat and optimistic as most of the songs. Speaking of songs, “I can show you the world” is one of my favorites in the animated film and I loved it even more in the live-action film. It felt more real and tender and hopeful. I’ve been singing it ever since.

Then there was “Speechless” which left me without words in the best possible way. As an outspoken feminist and a mother of daughters, I loved this female empowerment aspect of the movie. We’ve always known Jasmine, Naomi Scott, was and independent, strong-willed and fierce woman. She wasn’t the kind of Disney princess who needed to be rescued.

Nasim Pedrad, Marwan Kenzari,Navid Negahban, Mena Massoud, Jasmine, Naomi Scott, Will Smith, Abu, Jafar, Aladdin, Disney's Aladdin, Live-action film, movie review, Guy Ritchie,

READ ALSO: Aladdin on Broadway

Yet, in the animated film, it feels a lot like the street rat saves her. In the live-action movie, you can see that she doesn’t need saving. She can save herself and anyone else who needs to be rescued simply by following her own instincts. She loves and respects Aladdin, they are partners. Love is a beautiful surprise to them both.

As far as the casting for Aladdin goes, I felt the main characters were spot on. I love that they used real people of color rather than white-washing the characters. For me, as a woman of color, cultural authenticity is everything.  The fact that Guy Ritchie made the effort to cast, produce and maintain the authenticity and representation of a hybrid Middle Eastern-South Asian world in the movie is commendable. He did the right thing.

Naomi Scott as Princess Jasmine was perfection. The perfect balance of beauty, grace, independence, strength and determination. I found myself, several times throughout the movie, wanting to stand up and applaud. It surprised me in the most pleasant ways.

Mena Massoud’s Aladdin was the living embodiment of the spirit of the animated film’s character. He played the part with a quiet, humble endearing demeanor even when he was being flip, he was lovable. There wasn’t one time I wasn’t rooting for him to succeed.

Nasim Pedrad, Marwan Kenzari,Navid Negahban, Mena Massoud, Jasmine, Naomi Scott, Will Smith, Abu, Jafar, Aladdin, Disney's Aladdin, Live-action film, movie review, Guy Ritchie,

READ ALSO: How Disney’s Coco Got Mexican Culture Right

Will Smith’s Genie was not Robin Smith’s Genie, nor do I think it was supposed to be. That being said, it was a spectacular performance on its own. He made the genie his own. The genie was an unforgettable, witty and affable character who could sing, rap and dance with a side of hilarity. The story of friendship between Genie and Aladdin is a beautiful, tangental love story, as meaningful and important as the one between Jasmine and Aladdin.  I think Robin Williams himself would have been impressed by Will Smith’s performance.

The characters I would’ve loved to have seen be bolder were Marwan Kenzari’s, Jafar, and his sidekick, Lago. I felt that their performances were both a little underwhelming considering their potential. For me, their characters felt less menacing and more annoying. I wasn’t afraid of them so much as just aggravated. However, in our current political climate where xenophobia runs rampant, perhaps making a Middle Eastern villain seem less menacing than his animated counterpart was the better choice.

Nasim Pedrad, Marwan Kenzari,Navid Negahban, Mena Massoud, Jasmine, Naomi Scott, Will Smith, Abu, Jafar, Aladdin, Disney's Aladdin, Live-action film, movie review, Guy Ritchie,

READ ALSO: Disney’s Beauty and the Beast a Family Review

I also loved the addition of Dalia, Nasim Pedrad, Jasmine’s loyal handmaiden and confidante. She brought a humanity to Jasmine and Genie. The addition of the character gave the characters a softer more relatable feel.

If you loved the original Aladdin animated film, you will love Aladdin the live-action film. You don’t have to feel guilty about betraying Robin William’s Genie legacy because Will Smith’s Genie is not the same. It is something completely different. As for the rest of the cast, they told the story of Jasmine and Aladdin with a quiet beauty and ethereal feel. Your children will find new heroes in Jasmine and Aladdin and you, parents, will love what they’ve done.

Mena Massoud, Jasmine, Naomi Scott, Will Smith, Abu, Jafar, Aladdin, Disney's Aladdin, Live-action film, movie review, Guy Ritchie,

I actually love the new Aladdin, maybe even more than the original.

But we’re split as a family. Bella and I fell in love with the new movie, the feminist empowerment was just the cherry on top. However, the Big Guy and Gabs are Disney purists and they adore the original Aladdin while saying the live-action is great but they prefer the animated classic to the live-action film.

Marwan Kenzari,Navid Negahban, Mena Massoud, Jasmine, Naomi Scott, Will Smith, Abu, Jafar, Aladdin, Disney's Aladdin, Live-action film, movie review, Guy Ritchie,

READ ALSO: Disney’s Nutcracker a Must See for Ballerinas

My advice to you, go and see Aladdin for yourself and decide. You won’t be disappointed. Even if in the end you prefer the classic, you will be glad to have seen Disney’s Aladdin the live-action movie. I promise. Then come back here and tell me which one you loved more. Really, it’s like trying to choose a favorite child. We love them all so much.

Disney’s Aladdin playing in theaters now starting May 24th. I’m ready to go see it again. I bet you’ll want to too. Also, the soundtrack is amazing.

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Cirque du Soleil, Chicago, Volta, travel, things to do in Chicago, Family entertainment

Cirque du Soleil’s Volta is coming to Soldier Field in Chicago this summer. I am so excited. Let’s be honest, every time I get the chance to experience a new Cirque du Soleil, I’m thrilled. Our family loves Cirque du Soleil. We go as often as time and distance allow us. Each show is different and magical in its own way.

Cirque du Soleil, Chicago, Volta, travel, things to do in Chicago, Family entertainment

The Cirque du Soleil’s iconic Big Top will be raised for the first time at a brand new location for Volta: Soldier Field!

Cirque du Soleil has had a special place in my heart since the Big Guy and I  saw our first Cirque show on our honeymoon, 20 years ago. Since then, we love to share the experience with as many people as we can. I feel like every time we leave a show, we’ve grown in some way; our hearts and minds have been expanded beyond disbelief. The name VOLTA refers to a sudden about-face, a change in emotion or idea often used in poetry. It also speaks to the jolt of energy delivered through the show.

 

READ ALSO: Cirque du Soleil Corteo and Amazing Experience for the Family

We’ve seen Cirque du Soleil in Chicago but never at Soldier Field. My daughters have never been to the Soldier Field, home of the Chicago Bears but thanks to the generosity of Cirque du Soleil that is all about to change this summer.

Cirque du Soleil, Chicago, Volta, travel, things to do in Chicago, Family entertainment

Cirque du Soleil is excited to add two weeks of performances of VOLTA’s Chicago engagement this spring. The show will be presented under its signature Big Top at the Soldier Field South Lot, 1410 Museum Campus Drive, Chicago, May 18 – July 6, 2019. Tickets, starting at $49, are available for purchase by visiting cirquedusoleil.com/volta or calling 1-877-9CIRQUE (1-877-924-7783).

Cirque du Soleil, Chicago, Volta, travel, things to do in Chicago, Family entertainment

Volta the show

Energetic, urban and contemporary, VOLTA is a captivating voyage of discovery that showcases never-before-seen under the Big Top acrobatics in a visually striking world. Driven by a stirring melodic score and inspired in part by the adventurous spirit that fuels the culture of street sports, VOLTA is a story of transformation. It is about being true to oneself, fulfilling one’s true potential, and recognizing one’s own power to make it possible. Ultimate freedom comes with self-acceptance, and with the liberation of the judgment of others.

Cirque du Soleil, Chicago, Volta, travel, things to do in Chicago, Family entertainment

BMX & Street Sports

The creators of  VOLTA drew inspiration from the spirit of adventure that pervades the world of BMX, street sports and acrobatics. Whether they are on a bike, hopping from rooftop to rooftop, or double dutch rope skipping, urban sports enthusiasts constantly challenge themselves and defy convention.

Cirque du Soleil, Chicago, Volta, travel, things to do in Chicago, Family entertainment 

Sure to be a Chicago crowd pleaser, VOLTA features a full-blown BMX park mounted on stage in front of the audience’s very eyes for the breathtaking BMX finale as riders invade the stage to deliver a jaw-dropping, fast and furious performance of nonstop acrobatics on wheels. The riders go up the jump boxes and perform air tricks before landing and leaping off the ramps again, crisscrossing and spinning their bikes in midair in a spirit of brotherhood.

Cirque du Soleil, Chicago, Volta, travel, things to do in Chicago, Family entertainment

READ ALSO: Luzia~ A Vibrant Waking Dream of Mexico

Cirque du Soleil, Chicago, Volta, travel, things to do in Chicago, Family entertainment

Volta Costumes

The stunning costumes of VOLTA have been designed by Zaldy Goco, famous for his work with Lady Gaga, Britney Spears, Gwen Stefani and for TV show RuPaul’s Drag Race.

Cirque du Soleil, Chicago, Volta, travel, things to do in Chicago, Family entertainment

Volta Ticket Information

VOLTA will be presented under the Big Top at the Soldier Field South Lot, 1410 Museum Campus Drive, Chicago, starting May 18. Tickets can be purchased online at www.cirquedusoleil.com/volta. Discover our VIP package – a cocktail reception with open bar and hors d’oeuvres inspired by the show, access to the best seats for greater comfort, complimentary parking and more!

Cirque du Soleil, Chicago, Volta, travel, things to do in Chicago, Family entertainment

READ ALSO: Running Away with Cirque du Soleil Kurios

To follow along and see what exciting and new experiences Volta will deliver, follow along on Social Media:

Facebook.com/VOLTA

Twitter: @Cirque #VOLTA

Instagram: cirquedusoleil #VOLTA

Have you been to a Cirque du Soleil show? Have you seen Volta? What’s your favorite Cirque du Soleil show and why?

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Corteo, Cirque du Soleil

This weekend, courtesy of Cirque du Soleil, we will be experiencing Corteo in Dayton, Ohio. It is opening on May 8th and running through May 12, 2019. Then Corteo will continue touring. If you are in the Ohio area, I strongly advise you to get your tickets. Cirque du Soleil shows are magical and your family will love them.

The Big Guy and I saw our first Cirque du Soleil show, La Nouba, on our honeymoon at Walt Disney World. It was mesmerizing and started our love affair with Cirque du Soleil.  Since that first show, we’ve seen several more with our girls including Dralion, Kurios, Luzia and we even took them to see La Nouba. It’s something we love to experience as a family and a gift I love sharing with my children.

Corteo, the latest and most enchanting Cirque du Soleil’s arena production is now touring in North America. The show will visit Dayton at the Wright State University Nutter Center from May 8 to 12, 2019 for a limited run of seven performances. This unique production, directed by Daniele Finzi Pasca, first premiered in Montreal under the Big Top in April 2005. Since then, the show has been a great success and has amazed 8 million people in 19 countries on four continents.

Corteo, Cirque du Soleil

Tickets are available at cirquedusoleil.com/corteo.

Corteo, which means cortege in Italian, is a joyous procession, a festive parade imagined by a clown. The show brings together the passion of the actor with the grace and power of the acrobat to plunge the audience into a theatrical world of fun, comedy and spontaneity situated in a mysterious space between heaven and earth.

 

Corteo, Cirque du Soleil

 

The clown pictures his own funeral taking place in a carnival atmosphere, watched over by quietly caring angels. Juxtaposing the large with the small, the ridiculous with the tragic and the magic of perfection with the charm of imperfection, the show highlights the strength and fragility of the clown, as well as his wisdom and kindness, to illustrate the portion of humanity that is within each of us. The music turns lyrical and playful carrying Corteo through a timeless celebration in which illusion teases reality.

 

Corteo, Cirque du Soleil

 

The concept and disposition of the stage bring the audience in a theatrical atmosphere like never seen before in Cirque du Soleil arena shows. The set curtains, inspired by the Eiffel Tower, and the central curtains, which were hand-painted, give a grandiose feel to the stage. This sets the tone for the poetry of Corteo.

 

Corteo, Cirque du Soleil

The cast of  Cirque du Soleil Corteo includes 51 acrobats, musicians, singers and actors from all around the world.

If you’ve never been to a Cirque du Soleil, let me tell you, it is like nothing you have ever experienced before. The music is live and otherworldly. The talent is extraordinarily brilliant and the moment you leave you will be wishing that you could stay forever. We’ve been taking the girls to Cirque shows since they were 4-years-old and it is something we always look forward to as a family.

Corteo, Cirque du Soleil

For more information please follow Cirque du Soleil Corteo on there social media channels/

Social media

Facebook: facebook.com/Corteo

Twitter: @Cirque #CORTEO

Instagram: @cirquedusoleil #CORTEO

Corteo, Cirque du Soleil
Ticket information

Show Schedule:

Wednesday, May 8, 2019 – 7:30 pm

Thursday, May 9, 2019 – 7:30 pm

Friday, May 10, 2019 – 7:30 pm

Saturday, May 11, 2019 – 3:30 pm & 7:30 pm

Sunday, May 12, 2019 – 1:00 pm & 5:00 pm

Have you ever been to a Cirque do Soleil show? If so which one? What’s your favorite one?

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Best Walt Disney World Resorts for Families to stay on your next family vacation., walt disney world, disney world vacation, 10 tips for maximizing yoru walt disney vacation for free, magic kingdom, happily ever after, mickey mouse, pandora, #disneySMMC, Toy story land, epcot, astro orbitor, rose gold ears, disneyfamilia, familia first, disney family, family travel

Going to Walt Disney World on vacation is one of a kind experience. There is nothing else like it in the world. However, staying in Walt Disney World Resorts takes that vacation to an entirely new level. Aside from being fully immersed in the Disney experience, there are lots of perks and extra magic involved in staying on property. Can you say Free Disney Dining Plan? Yes, some magical promotions include free food. If you are wondering which are the best Walt Disney World Resorts for Families to stay at, I’ve got you covered.

We’ve vacationed to Walt Disney World several times and no trip has been the same. That is part of the magic of a Disney vacation. You can have a different adventure every single time. We’ve gone as newlyweds, as a couple and with our daughters. We’ve stayed in several of the Disney Resorts and we’ve stayed off grounds and, for us, staying on property is our favorite way to vacation at Disney World.

READ ALSO: Secrets To Use Disney Tickets to Experience Magic Kingdom like an Insider

I imagine for first-timers, you may ask yourself, “Why stay on property when there are so many affordable resort options so close?” You make a valid point, on paper but once you’ve spent a Disney vacation staying in Walt Disney World Resorts with your family, you will know why you’ll never want to stay off grounds ever again.

Aside from convenience, early Magic hours, early access to fast pass and dining reservation plans, free transportation to and from parks and full immersion into the Walt Disney World experience for your family, there is the incomparable Walt Disney World resorts customer service. It is unbelievable and it doesn’t matter if you’re staying in the Grand Floridian or Pop Century; the warmth, helpfulness and general disposition of the characters are always the same…top notch. The best thing about Walt Disney resorts is that they have something for every budget.

READ ALSO: Tips to Beat the Heat at Disney

Here are my recommendations for the Best Walt Disney World Resorts for Families to stay at

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Yacht Club

The Yacht Club where we stayed on our first trip to Disney World on our honeymoon. I was dazzled by the grand, turn-of-the-century Martha’s Vineyard summer home vibes that Disney’s Yacht Club Resort was giving off. It’s a deluxe-category hotel at Walt Disney World Resort and it felt romantic and whimsical for these honeymooners.

It’s conveniently located and guests can easily walk or travel by water taxi from the resorts to Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios (Star Wars Land is coming sooner than you think). Convenient bus service transports guests throughout Walt Disney World Resort.

The luxury club hotel is on the shores of a 25-acre Crescent Lake. The resort’s décor will transport you back to the 1890s.

That east coast beach vibe continues throughout in Stormalong Bay, a 2 ½-acre water recreation area reminiscent of a Nantucket beach. It has a life-size shipwreck with water slides, snorkeling in a sandy lagoon and a lazy river swimming area that feels like it flows into the lake. The kids will love it and so will you. There is something about a sand-bottomed pool that induces relaxation. Also bonus, a standard room can fit up to 5 people with 2 queen beds and a twin daybed.

We love it so much; we will be staying there this fall for our anniversary trip.

Disney Beach Club Resort

Disney’s Beach Club resort is right next to Disney’s Yacht Club and they are both awesome in our book. Start your morning at Cape May Cafe for a delicious southern-style breakfast complete with Mickey. Then make your way over to Stormalong Bay. I told you it was awesome.

Tired of swimming? Take a break and grab a snack at the cabana or Beaches & Cream Soda Shop. Feel like hitting the parks? Epcot is a mere 5-minute walk away or jump on a water taxi and hit Hollywood Studios.

At night, you can watch a movie under the stars with your kids at the pool or you can take advantage of the onsite childcare and enjoy a romantic meal with your spouse at one of the resort’s 6 dining locations.

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Disney’s Beach Club Villas

Guests at Disney’s Beach Club Villas receive exclusive access to Stormalong Bay at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort. Disney’s Beach Club Villas also provides the Sandcastle Club, a supervised activity center for kids. Villas are equipped with kitchens and, in some cases, room for up to eight people. There are also nightly clambakes, volleyball and campfires at the Beach Club villas for added family fun.

Disney’s the Animal Kingdom

Want some adventure on your Disney World vacation? The Animal Kingdom Lodge is home to 4 wildlife savannas which you can watch from the lobby, visit with animal specialists, or tour as part of the Wanyama Safari and Dinner.

The Animal Kingdom Lodge also has the option to stay in a villa, which can sleep up to 9 guests, if you’re traveling with the whole family. No need for separate hotel rooms.

While you’re in this beautiful hotel, be sure to check out the 11,000-square-foot Uzimi pool with waterslides and whirlpool spas. Or get your fitness on at the onsite fitness and massage center. Did someone say massage center? Yes, please. This mom desperately needs a massage.

Disney World’s Polynesian

Aside from being beautiful and having Moana, you can get a Dole Whip on site.  The lush Polynesian Village Resort has both traditional rooms and villas to choose from. The villas have kitchenettes, private back decks with barbecues, a plunge pool and room for up to 8 people.

This is perfect for big families or splitting costs with friends. If you’re like this mom, you heard the word kitchen and thought “Dishes. No thank you,” But if you stay at the villa, Mousekeeping takes care of washing the dishes. No dishes for you! I told you the customer service was amazing.

The resort has 9 restaurants, a nightly luau, and a character breakfast where kids can meet Lilo & Stitch. Lilo’s Clubhouse offers on-site childcare so you can enjoy a peaceful meal, visit to the spa, or a day at the pool while the kids are safely taken care of.

Bonus, the Polynesian Resort is on the monorail, making it super easy to access all of the parks, especially Epcot and the Magic Kingdom.

Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary

Bay Lake Tower has rooms with views of the fireworks, so in case you have little kiddies, you won’t miss the magic. And believe me, it is magic. It is within walking distance of the Magic Kingdom and easily accessible via monorail. Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort features an unparalleled backdrop that includes Cinderella’s Castle and Space Mountain.

Bay Lake is a Disney Vacation Club Property. The resort offers up to three-bedroom villas with kitchenettes that accommodate up to nine people. It also has a restaurant and pool with a waterslide, so you and your family can relax when not at the parks.

Disney’s Boardwalk Inn

This is my husband’s favorite resort on property. Our favorite feature of staying at the Boardwalk Inn is the actual boardwalk. Situated along Crescent Lake, the boardwalk features carnival games, restaurants, shops and surrey bike rentals. The Boardwalk also has a really fun pool with a waterslide and standard guestrooms that sleep up to five or six guests.

Disney’s Boardwalk Villas

At Disney’s Boardwalk Villas, families staying there share amenities with guests at Disney’s Boardwalk Inn. However, Disney’s Boardwalk Villas provide more amenities like full kitchens and balconies.  Villas are larger and sleep up to four or eight guests.

Disney’s Port Orleans French Quarter

Port Orleans properties are divided into two resorts, the French Quarter and Riverside. Disney’s Port Orleans is a PG13 way to experience Mardi Gras all year round. Our favorite is the French Quarter because it feels just like being in New Orleans. Disney’s Port Orleans Resort French Quarter has 1,008 accommodations, most sleep up to four or five guests.

Guests have access to bikes, boats, horse-drawn carriage rides, cane pole fishing and a pool, live jazz and beautiful architecture all make this resort located on 325 acres that feel worlds away from the theme parks. Don’t forget about the amazing Louisiana-style cuisine and beignets.

Port Orleans, Wilderness Lodge, Best Walt Disney World Resorts for Families to stay, best disney world resorts, disney word resort, yacht club, beach club, animal kingdom, DIsney's Polynesian, Disney's wilderness lodge, the Boardwalk inn, Walt Disney World, Magic Kingdom, #nowMoreThanEver

Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

Staying at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge is like being in a beautiful, pristine national park cabin. While you might feel like you are off the grid in the serenity of your lodge, the Wilderness Lodge resort features added perks such as a beautiful pool and children’s activity center. Enjoy relaxing with your family at this rustic, luxurious rooms that sleep up to four guests, some even include bunk beds.

READ ALSO: Breaking News Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge Opening Date Revealed

Just announced Free Disney Dining Plan Day this Summer!

This summer, enjoy a little extra flavor during a fun-filled stay that’s sure to delight little ones and grown-ups alike. Receive a FREE meal per person (ages 3 and up), per night at a select Walt Disney World Resort quick-service dining location when you purchase a non-discounted, Walt Disney World Travel Co. Package that includes a room for 4-nights at a select Disney Moderate or Value Resort Hotel and a 5-day theme park ticket. Offer valid for arrivals most nights from May 28 through August 21, 2019.
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The number of rooms allocated for this offer is limited. Everyone in the same room must be on the same package. Advance reservations are required. Theme park tickets valid for admission beginning on the date of check-in and must be used within a limited number of days, depending on the length of stay and ticket. Visit disneyworld.com/usage for more details. Each quick-service meal includes one entrée and one non-alcoholic beverage (or if age 21 or over, one beer, wine or cocktail). 

These are just a few of my favorite Walt Disney Resorts for families. What is your favorite place to stay in Walt Disney World? And where is your favorite place and thing to eat on the Disney Dining Plan?

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Finding Neverland, Finding Neverland Giveaway, Giveaway, Morris Performing Arts Center, Peter Pan, Captain Cook, J.M. Barrie, Broadway musical, Disney

As you know, my family loves the theater. Broadway shows are some of our favorites. The next show on our list is Finding Neverland. Spoiler alert (disclosure) through the generosity of the American Theatre Guild, I’m hosting a Finding Neverland giveaway. You can win a family 4 pack of tickets.

Finding Neverland is the Broadway Musical that tells the fascinating story of how Peter became Pan. Based on the Academy Award®-winning film of the same name, this breathtaking show follows playwright J.M. Barrie as he summons the courage to become the writer – and the man – he yearns to be. Barrie finds the inspiration he’s been missing when he meets the beautiful widow Sylvia and her four young sons: Jack, George, Michael and Peter.

READ ALSO: Les Miserables a Must See

I fell in love with the story of J.M. Barrie when I saw the movie with Johnny Depp. Finding Neverland is a charming account of the period in the life of author J.M. Barrie (Johnny Depp) that reveals the real relationships and events that served as the basis for the author’s most iconic work, “Peter Pan.” After Barrie developed a platonic relationship with the widowed Sylvia (Kate Winslet) and her four sons, he was inspired to write a play about a group of children who don’t want to grow up. The work proves a hit and winds up bringing Barrie and the children together in a way he had never expected.

Finding Neverland, Finding Neverland Giveaway, Giveaway, Morris Performing Arts Center, Peter Pan, Captain Cook, J.M. Barrie, Broadway musical, Disney

Finding Neverland is the beautiful backstory of Peter Pan that everyone needs to know.

My daughters have never seen the movie Finding Neverland but they are very familiar with Peter Pan, the lost boys, Nana and Tinker Bell from countless times watching the animated movie. In truth, just last summer we saw Peter Pan the Musical as part of the Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s family series. It was remarkable. It’s time for my girls to know the whole story of how Peter became Pan.

J.M. Barrie was born in 1860, the son of Margaret and Alexander Barrie, in the Scottish town of Kirriemuir. He had an older brother, David, who was known to be one of those beautiful children who everyone adored. In the winter of 1867, David was hit by a fellow ice-skater while skating. He fell, hit his skull and died. Barrie’s mother never recovered from the loss, and was said to find comfort in the fact that David would remain a boy forever. This is where Barrie’s lifelong obsession with boys and the preservation of their innocence became anchored in his psyche.

Finding Neverland, Finding Neverland Giveaway, Giveaway, Morris Performing Arts Center, Peter Pan, Captain Cook, J.M. Barrie, Broadway musical, Disney

Photo: Jeremy Daniel

How Peter Pan came to be.

Barrie moved to London, and, in 1894, married an actress named Mary Ansell. As a kind of wedding present, he gave her a St. Bernard dog ( Nana). The couple never had children. The marriage between J.M. and Mary did not last, and they divorced in 1909.

Finding Neverland, Finding Neverland Giveaway, Giveaway, Morris Performing Arts Center, Peter Pan, Captain Cook, J.M. Barrie, Broadway musical, Disney

Photo: Jeremy Daniel

 

In 1898, Barrie met a pair of little boys in Kensington Gardens, near London’s Hyde Park. George and Jack Llewelyn Davies, aged 5 and 4-years-old, were walking with their nurse. Barrie saw the boys there frequently and befriended them. Soon after, he met their parents, Sylvia and Arthur. Three more sons were born: Peter, Michael, and Nico. The Davies family let Barrie into their lives, and gradually he became their beloved “Uncle Jim.”

 

READ ALSO: Phantom of the Opera Tour Needs to be Seen to be Believed

Finding Neverland at the Morris Performing Arts Center, May 3-5,2019. But no fear, if you can’t make it there, it will be touring through a city near you.

Bring the whole family to experience Finding Neverland, the story of how Peter Pan came to be. Packed with mesmerizing visuals, irresistible songs and plenty of laughs.

Finding Neverland, Finding Neverland Giveaway, Giveaway, Morris Performing Arts Center, Peter Pan, Captain Cook, J.M. Barrie, Broadway musical, Disney

Photo: Jeremy Daniel

If you’re in the South Bend area, I’m giving away a family four-pack to the May 3 performance. All you have to do to enter my Finding Neverland giveaway is leave a comment below telling me what your favorite Broadway Musical is. Enter via the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win 4 tickets to Finding Neverland.

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