Category:

Disney

My family is the biggest fans of all things Disney and Walt Disney World. My husband and I have been traveling to Disney since our honeymoon. We know all the best tips and tricks for navigating your family’s Walt Disney World Vacation on any budget.

We’ve watched all the movies and shows. We own all the costumes and we can throw a Disney party based on any movie. We can be your resource for all things Disney and how to Disney like an insider.

How to work with Disney as an Influencer, what is a Disney Creator

Do you love Disney? Do you have hopes and dreams of someday being able to work with Disney as an influencer? Is Walt Disney World on your brands to work with bucket list? Would you die of sheer happiness if you were invited to attend a Disney influencer event or the coveted Disney Creators Celebration? If you answered yes to any of those questions, you are not alone. There are thousands of us, if not more. But what is a Disney creator? More importantly, who knows how to work with Disney as an influencer?

READ ALSO: What is Disney Creator Days and how to get invited

I’ve been a blogger for almost 11 years. I’ve been an influencer since about a minute after that.  I’ve been a Disney creator and superfan since my first trip to the happiest place on earth for my honeymoon in 1999. I’ve been invited by Disney to collaborate and attend Disney hosted events and they are as amazing as they seem to be. Put it this way, if given the choice be any kind of influencer and attend any brand event, Disney is the one I would always say yes to. You will get the chance to experience Disney like no other. Being able to attend Disney World events with my family has been one of the highlights of my career.

What is a Disney Creator (influencer)?

In the simplest terms, an influencer is someone who has genuine influence.

  • Influence is the power to affect how your audience decides to spend their purchasing dollars. This is affected by the influencer’s perceived authority, knowledge, and relationship with the audience.
  • Influence and following in a specific niche, with whom an influencer actively engages with and builds trust, is priceless.
  • Influencers are not just marketing tools, but human beings who are social relationship assets that brands can collaborate with to reach their target audience. It’s should be about more than just numbers, it’s about real influence to change someone’s mind in one way or the other through a working relationship.
  • A Disney creator influencer is a person who uses their genuine love for Disney to inform and influence their audience about all things Disney.

 What is a Social Media Influencer?

Over the last 10 years, social media has not only been birthed it has grown in leaps and bounds in importance and influence.  3.484 billion people actively use social media. That is 45% of the population of the world. These people are looking to trusted influencers to help them decide what to buy and which products to use.

Influencers in social media are people who’ve built reputations for their knowledge and expertise on specific topics. People get to know them through their online interactions and trust is rewarded by loyalty. Consistent posting on their blog and social channels generate large followings of enthusiastic and engaged people. Influencers wield great power to create trends and promote trends.

What are the types of influencers that can become Disney Creators?

Influencers can be categorized in many different ways; by followers, types of content and level of influence. You don’t have to produce content just in the Walt Disney World niche to be considered to be a Disney Creator but it does help to be passionate about Disney and share that passion with your audience in an authentic and engaging way.

Mega-Influencers

Mega influencers are the people with the largest numbers of followers on their social networks. A Mega-influencer is quantified as having more than 1 million followers on at least one social media platform.

Macro-Influencers

Macro-influencers are a step below the mega-influencers in terms of influence numbers, and may actually be more accessible as influencer marketers. Influencers with an audience between the range of 40,000 to 1 million followers on a social media network are macro-influencers.

Micro-Influencers

Micro-Influencers are ordinary everyday people (like you and I) who have become known for their knowledge about a specific niche. Through this, they’ve grown a large social media following amongst loyal fans of the niche. It’s not just the number of followers that indicates a level of influence; it is the relationship and interaction that a micro-influencer has with their audience. Are they trusted? Are they engaging? Is their content relevant? Are their followers loyal?

Generally, micro-influencers have between 1,000 and 40,000 followers on a single social platform. Micro-influencers have built up specialist followings, and they are very discriminate when it comes to brands they will partner with. They won’t want to appear salesy to their audience. This requirement to develop a relationship with a  brand that is must align with target audiences means that micro-influencers are often picky about with whom they work.

Nano-Influencers

The latest influencer-type to is the nano-influencer. Nano-influencers only have a very small number of followers, but they tend to be experts in an obscure or highly specialized field i.e. best places to eat gluten-free on Disney World property and have high influence with their audience.  Most nano-influencers have less than 1,000 followers but those followers are loyal, devoted and trust the nano influencers opinions.

It isn’t all about the size of your traffic, it has more to do with what you do with your audience. Are you engaging them? Is your content strong and interesting? Are you an expert on all things Disney? Is your opinion valued by your audience? Do they trust you? Are you influential on the topic of Disney parks and resorts? Do you know all of the best rollercoasters? Best restrooms?

Types of Content Disney Creators Create

Most influencing happens in social media, micro-influencers are awesome and I’m not just saying that because I am one, and blogging. With a growing interest in video, YouTubers are quickly becoming very valuable assets as well.

Bloggers

Bloggers and influencers in social media have the most authentic and active relationships with their fans

YouTubers

Another favorite type of content is video. In this case, rather than each video maker having their own site, most create a channel on YouTube.

Podcasters

Podcasts are growing in popularity and so their influence is growing as well.

Social Posts Influencers

Bloggers, podcasters, and YouTubers cannot exist in a vacuum, every influencer promotes new posts or videos on social media – which makes most of these bloggers and content creators micro-influencers.

But how the heck does one get invited to be a Disney creator? Point blank, you have to make yourself seen, create good content (whether it is written, video or podcast) and a genuine love for Disney is a definite advantage. But love for Disney World alone is not enough.

How to work with Disney as an Influencer, what is a Disney Creator

The next question on everyone’s mind is how do I get invited to Disney Creators Celebration? How to work with Disney as an Influencer?

Unfortunately, those invited are hand-selected but that doesn’t mean you can’t get the Disney Creators invite.

Here are the tips that I have gathered over the years from Disney on how to be considered for any Disney press event as a Disney Creator.

Go to conferences where Disney will be at and connect/network with Disney PR. Write strong, engaging content about Disney and send the links to the WDW PR department.

What qualities does Disney look for in the influencers they work with?

It really depends on the initiative that they have going on. But it is helpful if bloggers have an up-to-date blog, have great social reach and engagement across the different social platforms, Disney-friendly content on social and their blogs, and a good Travel section.

How does Disney choose who to partner with for press events? Do bloggers need a certain amount of traffic to be invited to hosted events? How important is the audience fit?

Disney does not host very many influencer events so they have to be super selective with invitations. A lot of it is based on a variety of things such as brand fit, reach, audience, specialty, engagement, niche, diversity, quality of followers and whatever product Disney is promoting, etc.

The bottom line is don’t give up your dream of working with Disney and being invited to Disney Creators Celebration. Keep posting quality content. Keep sharing your love for Disney World. The most important thing is that you believe in and love what you are creating; let who you are shine through your content.

There are more ways to work with Disney than just being invited to Disney Creators Celebration.

Different ways to work with Disney

Request Disney Media Tickets

It’s that easy. You can email Disney World PR and request tickets if you are active and established media. You can get up to 2 1-day park hopper passes throughout one calendar year. Check the PR policy page for instructions.

How to get invited to Disney Creator Media Events and how to work with Disney as an influencer

My suggestion would to be to get on Disney PR’s radar. Once you request media tickets, you should be on the list but if you really want to make yourself stand out, interact with Disney PR on social media and in Disney groups and attend conferences where they will be and introduce yourself. Also, if you write about Disney send them your links or tag them on social media.

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DIsney World, DIsney Creators, DIsney Aulani resort, Union Station, Chicago

Aloha Windy City! Cold winter weather got you down? If you’re anywhere that it’s cold, I’m looking at you Chicago, you know we are all in desperate need of some sunshine and warm weather. Well, guess what Chicago??? Disney is bringing just what the doctor ordered, some warmth, ukuleles, palm trees and the sand between your toes right downtown at Union Station. Maybe we can’t all fly off to Hawaii right now, much as we’d love to, so Disney Aulani resort is bringing Hawaii to Chicago!

READ ALSO: What is Disney Creators Day and how to get invited?

DIsney World, DIsney Creators, DIsney Aulani resort, Union Station, Chicago

Have you been spending your winter days walking the cold streets of the loop biding your time until summer is back in Chicago? Spending your nights running to and from trains, buses and cars to your home or office trying not to get frostbite? Have you been dreaming of warmer destinations or even Grant park in July? At this point, I’d sacrifice the Sox for some sunshine.  Do you need sunshine with a side of Disney? Because I know I do.

READ ALSO: Best Disney Resorts for Families

DIsney World, DIsney Creators, DIsney Aulani resort, Union Station, ChicagoDisney is bringing the Aloha Spirit to Chicago!!

Who: Aulani, a Disney Resort and Spa in Ko Olina, Hawaii

What: Bringing sun and Disney fun to Chicago for the enjoyment of winter-worn commuters

Where: The Great Hall at Union Station (225 S Canal St. Chicago, IL 60606)

How: Aulani is bringing Rays of Aloha the sun and joy of Disney and Hawaii for a magical, one-day, event at Union Station, providing a warm and happy retreat for the approximately 100000 commuters through a fun (Instagram-worthy) experience.

DIsney World, DIsney Creators, DIsney Aulani resort, Union Station, Chicago

Come and enjoy a magical fire put while dipping your toes in the sand, delight in a hula performance and be carried away by the sound of ukuleles floating between the palm trees. There might even be a surprise guest.

#DisneyCreatorDays #DisneySMMC Walt Disney creator, Disney social media moms celebration, Disney Creator Days, What is Disney Creator Days, Walt Disney World, Disney Corporation, mickey mouse, minnie mouse

I don’t know about you, but for this Disney loving family, this sounds like the perfect mid-week event to get your head in an Aulani state of mind.

READ ALSO: Free Tips for Maximizing your Dinsey Trip

DIsney World, DIsney Creators, DIsney Aulani resort, Union Station, Chicago

Where: Wednesday, February 19, 2019 from 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

DIsney World, DIsney Creators, DIsney Aulani resort, Union Station, Chicago

This will just be a taste of all the Aloha spirit that you could experience in the actual Aulani Disney Resort. I’ve stayed at many Disney resorts over the years, and Aulani is on our family bucket list, but from my friends who’ve gone, I hear it is worth the travel and you will make memories with the ones you loved like never before all with a Hawaiian setting. What could be more magical?

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purple wall , #DisneyCreatorDays #DisneySMMC Walt Disney creator, Disney social media moms celebration, Disney Creator Days, What is Disney Creator Days, Walt Disney World, Disney Corporation, castaway cay, Disney Creators Celebration, What is Disney Creators Celebration, #DisneyCreators

.Looks like Disney’s Social Media Mom Celebration may be gone forever. It’s time to say tootles mouseketeers. Well, not gone (never forgotten) but refreshed. Disney World is not just for moms and neither should it’s creator celebration be limited to just mothers (though I did love the idea since I am a mom). Enter Disney Creators Celebration for all Disney loving content creators and influencers. Hey, what do you know, I still qualify because I am one of the most Disney loving creators there are. But what is Disney Creators Celebration? Here’s all you need to know including how you can get invited yourself.

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Disney, Lion King, Broadway, Musical

Hakuna Matata. What a wonderful phrase and an even better song. My family has watched The Lion King movie at least 100 times. The story is one of our favorites. Hakuna Matata is my 14-year-old daughter’s favorite thing to say. The story of young Zimba is both inspiring and uplifting.

The Lion King is one of those heartwarming Disney movies that we watch together and feel closer after doing so. It’s super glue for families. We love it in every iteration and we are looking forward to seeing it this spring for the first time ever live on stage.

READ ALSO: Disney’s the Lion King

Did you know there are 6 indigenous African languages sung and spoken throughout the show:
Swahili, Zulu, Xhosa, Sotho, Tswana, Congolese? I’ve seen a lot of Broadway musicals in my lifetime and I’ve seen The Lion King production at Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom and I’ve got to say,

I can’t wait to see what next-level performance we’ll get to experience at the Lion King Broadway tour.

After 22 landmark years on Broadway, THE LION KING continues ascendant as one of the most popular stage musicals in the world. Since its premiere on November 13, 1997, 25 global productions have been seen by more than 100 million people. Produced by Disney Theatrical Productions (under the direction of Thomas Schumacher), THE LION KING has made theatrical history with three productions worldwide running 15 or more years and three others running 20 or more years.

The North American touring productions of THE LION KING have been seen by more than 20 million theatergoers. Having already played more than 80 cities across North America, THE LION KING now proudly makes its premiere engagement in South Bend.

READ ALSO: Aladdin Musical

Performed over its lifetime in nine different languages (English, Japanese, German, Korean, French, Dutch, Spanish, Mandarin and Portuguese), productions of THE LION KING can currently be seen on Broadway; London’s West End; Hamburg; Tokyo; Madrid; on tour across North America, Japan, and The U.K. & Ireland, with a separate production touring internationally, for a total of nine productions running concurrently across the globe. Having played over 100 cities in 20 countries on every continent except Antarctica, THE LION KING’S worldwide gross exceeds that of any film, Broadway show or other entertainment title in box office history.

THE LION KING won six 1998 Tony Awards®: Best Musical, Best Scenic Design (Richard Hudson), Best Costume Design (Julie Taymor), Best Lighting Design (Donald Holder), Best Choreography (Garth Fagan) and Best Direction of a Musical. THE LION KING has also earned more than 70 major arts awards including the 1998 NY Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Musical, the 1999 Grammy® for Best Musical Show Album, the 1999 Evening Standard Award for Theatrical Event of the Year and the 1999 Laurence Olivier Awards for Best Choreography and Best Costume Design and now, its coming to a city near you!

READ ALSO: What is Disney Creator Days

The show’s director, costume designer and mask co-designer Julie Taymor continues to play an integral part in the show’s ongoing success. The first woman to win a Tony Award® for Direction of a Musical, Taymor continues to supervise new productions of the show around the world.

The Broadway score features Elton John and Tim Rice’s songs from the Lion King animated film along with three new songs by John and Rice; additional musical material by South African Lebo M, Mark Mancina, Jay Rifkin, Julie Taymor and Hans Zimmer; and music from “Rhythm of the Pride Lands,” an album inspired by the original music in the film, written by Lebo M, Mark Mancina and Hans Zimmer. The resulting sound of THE LION KING is a fusion of Western popular music and the distinctive sounds and rhythms of Africa, ranging from the Academy® Award-winning song “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” to Lebo M’s rich choral numbers.

Elton John, Lebo M, and Hans Zimmer all collaborated on the 2019 version of the film, executive produced by Julie Taymor and Thomas Schumacher, which has gone onto extraordinary worldwide success.

Disney Theatrical Productions and Broadway Theatre League South Bend are thrilled to announce that tickets for the long-awaited premiere engagement of Disney’s THE LION KING Performances Begin on March 4th and Play for Three Weeks at The Morris Performing Arts Center through March 22nd.

Tickets are available at the Morris Performing Arts Center Box Office windows only. At 10:00 AM, tickets will be available via LionKing.com, at The Morris Performing Arts Center box office, 211 N Michigan St, by visiting BroadwayInSouthBend.com, MorrisCenter.org, or by calling 574.235.9190. Groups of 10+ call 866.314.7687. Tickets start at $31.00. VIP Ticket Packages, which include a prime seat location, a commemorative souvenir program and an exclusive merchandise item, are also available.

For more information worldwide, visit LionKing.com.

The performance schedule for Disney’s THE LION KING at the Morris Performing Arts Center.

Week 1

Wednesday, March 4 – 7:30pm

Thursday, March 5 – 2:00pm

Thursday, March 5 – 7:30pm

Friday, March 6 – 8:00pm

Saturday, March 7 – 2:00pm

Saturday, March 7 – 8:00pm

Sunday, March 8 – 1:00pm

Sunday, March 8 – 6:30pm

 

Week 2

Tuesday, March 10 – 7:30pm

Wednesday, March 11 –7:30pm

Thursday, March 12 – 7:30pm

Friday, March 13 – 8:00pm

Saturday, March 14 – 2:00pm

Saturday, March 14 – 8:00pm

Sunday, March 15 – 1:00pm

Sunday, March 15 – 6:30pm

 

Week 3

Tuesday, March 17 – 7:30pm

Wednesday, March 18 –7:30pm

Thursday, March 19 – 7:30pm

Friday, March 20 – 8:00pm

Saturday, March 21 – 2:00pm

Saturday, March 21 – 8:00pm

Sunday, March 22 – 1:00pm

Sunday, March 22 – 6:30pm

 

Please Note: BroadwayInSouthBend.com, MorrisCenter.org, and The Morris Performing Arts Center box office are the only official sources for tickets to the 2019-20 Broadway In South Bend Series. If you purchase tickets through another source, you may pay inflated prices and your tickets will not be guaranteed.

For information and to purchase tickets: https://bit.ly/2NV4ckz

Thank you to the Broadway Theater League for providing me with tickets to see the Lion King Musical and providing a family four-pack for one lucky reader.

Simply leave a comment below telling me who’s is your favorite The Lion King character and why?

One lucky winner will win 4 tickets to the March 4th opening night production of The Lion King. I will choose a winner randomly on February 29th, 11:59 pm. via rafflecopter Good luck.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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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,

If you love Disney’s Aladdin as much as my family does, you will be thrilled to know that not only is Disney’s Aladdin the live-action film being released on DVD on September 10 but so is the original Aladdin the signature series. Both Aladdin’s available on DVD on the same day!!

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, Disney, Aladdin Signature series

We are definitely a house divided over here. My husband and eldest daughter are Disney animation connoisseurs and both prefer the Aladdin animated film. My youngest daughter and I fell absolutely head over heels in love with the new Disney’s Aladdin live-action film. Either way, we’re all excited for September 10.

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

EXPERIENCE MAGIC IN A WHOLE NEW WAY WITH THE THRILLING AND VIBRANT LIVE-ACTION ADAPTATION OF ALADDIN
AND
THE ANIMATED CLASSIC JOINS THE HIGHLY CELEBRATED WALT DISNEY SIGNATURE COLLECTION

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, Disney, Aladdin Signature series
The live-action adaptation of the animated classic, Aladdin, lands in homes on Digital and Movies Anywhere August 27 and 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and DVD September 10. Starring Will SmithNaomi Scott and Mena Massoud, the release includes all-new bonus features, such as deleted scenes, a blooper reel and more!READ ALSO: I Loved the New Aladdin More than 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,The release of the live-action adventure coincides with the addition of the original animated classic to the highly celebrated Walt Disney Signature Collection, granting Aladdin fans everywhere the opportunity to own both magical movies. In 4K for the first time, the new release features all-new bonus content, including alternate endings!

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, Disney, Aladdin Signature series

We all know that Aladdin is one of the best Disney animated films ever but if you want to be blown away, you have to check out Disney’s Aladdin live-action film. I never thought I could love a film more than the original Aladdin. I remember singing along and adoring everything about it.

Then I saw the live-action film and it moved me in whole other ways. It was the same story but it was its own movie. It took a different perspective and changed just a few slight things but it made the movie more relatable for me. The soundtrack is amazing and the themes were timely and empowering.

I’m excited to add both to our Disney film collection.

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How to Plus up Your Walt Disney World Vacation for Free, Walt Disney World Vacation, Disney Trip

Heading to Disney and really want to get the most bang for your buck? I love Walt Disney World; it’s one of our favorite places to visit as a family. The thing we love most is that no two trips are ever the same. There are always new things to see and do and new adventures to be had. Unfortunately, everything “experience” you add, makes the price go up.  If only there was a way to plus up your Walt Disney World vacation for free.

Lots of families save and plan for a Walt Disney World vacation, sometimes for years so just adding experiences can change the price point quite a bit. When you consider that an average 7 day/6 night stay at a deluxe resort with park hopper tickets can cost $5000 and up, every single bit more that you add adds up. But what if you could plus up your Disney trip for free.

READ ALSO: What is Disney Creator Days and How to Get Invited

Here are some ways to plus up your Walt Disney World vacation for free.

Get celebration buttons

If you’re at Disney celebrating an event (birthday, engagement, honeymoon, anniversary, first time, etc.) simply ask the Disney cast members situated near the front of the park with a cart with all the celebrations buttons. Put that baby on and let everyone at Disney celebrate with you. When we go in September, we’ll be celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary, our 22nd dating anniversary and my birthday. I won’t say which one, let’s just say that I’m turning 30 again.

Become part of the show

There are several shows taking place all over Disney that you can volunteer to be a part of. Nothing makes you feel more magical than being an honorary Disney cast member for a day. It also makes for some great memories and photo ops.

Tell all the cast members that you’re celebrating when you book

When you book dining reservations or resort stays, let the cast members know that you are celebrating. They may just sprinkle you with a little extra pixie dust. It’s not required but you never know.

Use My Disney Experience app

If you really want to maximize your Disney vacation, you must use the My Disney Experience. It makes the whole trip so much more streamlined. All of your reservations and fast passes can be made on there. It updates all day long and you can see wait times, openings, get directions and even mobile order your food. It makes the entire experience so much more enjoyable and less chaotic.

Book fast passes 60 days in advance

There are a lot of great rides at Disney World and you’ll want to ride them all, some more than once. If you are staying on Disney grounds you can book your fast passes 60 days in advance and I encourage it so that you get all of your first choice rides and don’t have to wait for 180 minutes in line.

Make food reservations 180 days in advance

If you want to eat at some of the more popular restaurants like Be Our Guest, Sci-Fi Drive-in, Character dining, Le Cellier, Monsieur Paul and Takumi-Tei you should definitely take advantage of the 180-day reservation open date for those staying on property to make sure that you get those reservations.

Magic Hours

Another reason to stay on property, aside from the free transportation, early reservations and that amazing customer service and full immersion into all things Disney, you get magic hours. For example, while the rest of the world is waiting until 9 am to get into Galaxy’s Edge, Disney resort guests will be able to get into the park at 6 a.m. If you are not familiar with Magic Hours, they are extra hours the parks are open to resort guest either before or after normal park hours. It’s awesome and cuts wait times by quite a bit of time.

When you arrive at the resort, ask for free upgrades available

When you arrive at your resort, you can ask the cast member who checks you in if there are any upgrades available. That could mean a better view or even an upgraded room. It never hurts to ask. The worst they can do is say no and then you are exactly where you started…still at the happiest place on earth.


Do free resort activities

Yes, most resorts offer cool free activities for their guests. For example, there is a hidden Mickey hunt at the Fort Wilderness lodge. Restaurant tours are available at the Animal Kingdom every day from 4-4:15. Also, you can see animals for free at the Animal Kingdom. Just ask the front desk cast members and they will tell you what is offered. Most resorts offer movies by the pool and some even have campfires and s’ mores at night.

Ask for good tables at restaurants

Did you know that you can ask for good tables at restaurants when you arrive? Why not ask for a firework view and enjoy the firework display from the comfort of a seat rather than fighting with everyone else for concrete space. I love the Happily Ever After firework show more than I can express with words, it gets me in the feels, but waiting for 2 hours to have a good seat can feel like a misuse of my time.

Say Cheese

Did you know that you can ask the Photopass photographer to take your picture with your own camera? You can and they gladly will. Though, if we’re being honest, I love Memory Maker because then I’m in every picture and I can stop at every single photographer guilt-free.

READ ALSO: Best Walt Disney World Resorts for Families

These are just a few of the many ways to plus up your Walt Disney World Vacation for free. What’s your favorite tip to plus up your Walt Disney vacation for free?

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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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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.

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

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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