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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.

Interview with #DWTS Pros, Pro Dance L.A., Interview with Dancing with the stars, #DWTS, #DWTS juniors, Gleb Savchenko, Alan Bersten, Brandon Armstrong, #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, Disneys Nutcracker and the Four Realms, #ABCTVEvent, DAncing with the stars, DWTS, DIsneys NUtcracker, My #DWTS Experience Inspired by Disneys Nutcracker

Thank you to Disney and ABC for inviting me to Los Angeles on an all-expense paid trip, in exchange for coverage of Disney’s the Nutcracker and the Four Realms and the #ABCTVEVENT event. I was hosted by Disney for the #DisneysNutcrackerEvent and given the opportunity to Interview with #DWTS Pros but all opinions are my own.

You’ve heard of Dancing with the Stars (DWTS), right? Who hasn’t? But have you ever dreamed of being on dancing with the stars or wondered what it would be like to dance with one of the coaches on DWTS? Me neither because I’m not a celebrity and that’s just not something that would happen in my normal everyday life. But it did. I still can’t believe this is my life sometimes.

In October, I was in Los Angeles for Disney’s the Nutcracker and the Four Realms Red Carpet premiere, which in and of itself was something I never thought I’d say or do. I mean, who am I? Lady Gaga? But there I was in L.A. living my best life doing my best impression of someone who was keeping calm, walking red carpets and rubbing elbows with celebrities.

On our first night in L.A., we had the surreal opportunity to receive dance lessons at Gleb Savchenko’s dance studio, Pro Dance LA. I’ve always loved dancing. I’m the queen of impromptu kitchen dance parties with my girls going back 13 years but I’ve never had any formal training. I pretty much dance like Elaine Benes and Frankenstein had a sweet little pirate baby. It’s not graceful or pretty. So even though I was excited, I was quite intimidated.

The hour we spent “dancing with the stars” was one of the most fun I’ve ever spent on a press trip. Our teachers? None other than #DWTS pros and “Dancing with the Stars: Juniors” mentors Brandon Armstrong, Alan Bersten and Gleb Savchenko.

First, we had the pleasure of meeting and interviewing the guys and they answered all of our DTWS questions. All three of the coaches were friendly, outgoing, funny and handsome. It wasn’t enough time.

Then, the pros gave us a lesson on the dance moves and taught us a choreographed dance for the song “Fall on Me” by Andrea Bocelli Featuring Matteo Bocelli from The Nutcracker and the Four Realms. It’s a beautiful song- be sure to listen for it when you watch the movie!

Interview with #DWTS Pros, Pro Dance L.A., Interview with Dancing with the stars, #DWTS, #DWTS juniors, Gleb Savchenko, Alan Bersten, Brandon Armstrong, #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, Disneys Nutcracker and the Four Realms, #ABCTVEvent, DAncing with the stars, DWTS, DIsneys NUtcracker, My #DWTS Experience Inspired by Disneys Nutcracker

After all of us learned the dance, we then broke down into three smaller groups, based on the realms in the movie, each with our own dance pro. I was part of the snow group. Alan was the pro for my group and we had a blast.

Guess what?

You can get your very own #DWTS experience by attending the Dancing with the Stars Tour.

My family and I are going next weekend and I can’t wait to tell you all about it!

You can catch the DWTS Pros on the road in a city near you, with “Dancing with the Stars: Live! – A Night to Remember”. You can see if they’re coming to your city and buy tickets HERE.

Interview with #DWTS Pros, Pro Dance L.A., Interview with Dancing with the stars, #DWTS, #DWTS juniors, Gleb Savchenko, Alan Bersten, Brandon Armstrong, #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, Disneys Nutcracker and the Four Realms, #ABCTVEvent, DAncing with the stars, DWTS, DIsneys NUtcracker, My #DWTS Experience Inspired by Disneys Nutcracker

The tour will be a spectacular night of show-stopping dance performances from world-renowned dancers including Brandon Armstrong, Alan Bersten, Witney Carson, Artem Chigvintsev, Val Chmerkovskiy, Sasha Farber, Jenna Johnson, Gleb Savchenko, Emma Slater, Hayley Erbert and Britt Stewart, with more surprise casting to be announced.

Also, don’t forget that  Disney’s The Nutcracker and the Four Realms arrives home instantly with never-before-seen extras and deleted scenes on Digital and Movies Anywhere, and on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray™ and DVD Jan. 29, 2019.

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What's New at Walt Disney World in 2019, 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

Are you a Walt Disney World fan? Is your idea of the perfect family vacation packing up the kids and heading to Orlando, Florida to spend all the time with Mickey and his friends? Does the thought of spending a week at the parks with your family make you get all giddy and go into full-on my Disney Experience mode? Do you get excited to find out what’s new at Walt Dinsey World?

I wasn’t always a Walt Disney World fan. I wasn’t not a fan either. I just never had the opportunity to visit the happiest place on earth. Growing up with 6 brothers and sisters, a stay-at-home mom and a dad who was a blur collar factory worker, we didn’t get many vacations and the ones we did were reserved for traveling to see family. I just assumed Walt Disney World was not in the cards for me and you can’t miss what you’ve never had so I was alright with it.  Then I met my husband.

Our love story was a whirlwind one and after 4 months of dating, the Big Guy resolutely declared to the world (and his mother) that I was his soul mate and he asked me to marry him. I was shocked, or as the kids say, I was shook! Was I ever.

READ ALSO: 25 Top Secret Tips to Rock Your Disney World Family Vacation

I took a chance and said yes because I couldn’t imagine my life without him in it. Yes, after only 4 short months, even I knew that much. He wanted to give me my dream wedding and he only asked for 2 things, 1) we walk into the reception with the Star Wars music playing in the background 2) we honeymoon at Disney.

I wasn’t super pumped about Walt Disney World as a honeymoon destination. I was thinking more along the lines of the French Riviera, Santorini, Rome or Paris. I either wanted a beach or a romantic city full of little nooks and crannies for us to get lost in. That was my dream. But, he only asked for those 2 things and he assured me that Walt Disney World could be romantic. In fact, he promised me that it would be.  And it was.

It was my first trip to Walt Disney World ever and it was magical. We may not have gone to Europe but at least with Epcot, I got to eat like we did. And maybe we didn’t get to lay on an exotic beach but the sand bottom pools at the Yacht Club resort where we stayed concierge was actually amazing. It’s crazy but even though there were thousands of people around, when he held my hand and we walked through those gates, I felt like there was no one else there except the two of us. It was as romantic a place as any I’d ever been to or have been to since, well, with the exception of New Orleans.  That was pretty romantic.

READ ALSO: Free Tips for Maximizing Your Walt Disney World Vacation

All this to say, we love Walt Disney World. It is our home away from home and boy, am I homesick. We have gone almost every year since we’ve gotten married. I’m in the beginning stages of planning this year’s trip. It will be our 20th wedding anniversary this year and we want to go back to where it all began so every time I see one of those #NowMoreThanEver commercials, I get a little choked up and really excited about what’s to come this year at the most magical place on earth, Walt Disney World.

I did a little digging and talked to my friends at Walt Disney World and got the scoop. Now, more than ever is a great time to plan a vacation to Walt Disney World Resort, with new parties, shows, character experiences and more debuting Jan. 18, 2019, at all four theme parks. Excitement is building as a new countdown clock at Disneyworld.com/nowmorethanever is ticking down to the launch of all of these new experiences!

Here is what’s new at Walt Disney World this January

New Parties, Shows, Characters and More Debuting in January 2019 at Walt Disney World Resort

Mickey & Minnie’s Surprise Celebration Arrives at Magic Kingdom Park

What's New at Walt Disney World in 2019, 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

Mickey & Minnie’s Surprise Celebration will honor those true originals, Mickey and Minnie Mouse, with new entertainment, merchandise and specialty food and beverages at the Magic Kingdom.

JUST ANNOUNCED New at Walt Disney World!

Mickey and Minnie will greet guests together inside Town Square Theater, wearing all-new, colorful outfits for their special celebration.

JUST ANNOUNCED New at Walt Disney World!

Guests will enjoy Celebration Station inside Town Square Theater, where they may sign a guestbook to let Mickey and Minnie know, personally, how much fun they had during the party.

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

JUST ANNOUNCED New at Walt Disney World!

An all-new song, “It’s a Good Time,” will play several times daily as part of the new “Move It! Shake It! MousekeDance It! Street Party.” During this high-energy bash, singing hosts will invite guests to join in the fun with Disney pals including Donald Duck, Daisy Duck, Goofy, and many others.

JUST ANNOUNCED New at Walt Disney World!

Mickey’s beloved dog, Pluto, will meet guests under the big top at Pete’s Silly Sideshow in Storybook Circus. Party with Pixar Pals and More as Disney’s Hollywood Studios Marks 30 Years.

Wonderful World of Animation – a new nighttime spectacular coming to Disney’s Hollywood Studios in May 2019 – will use state-of-the-art technology to take guests on a magical journey through more than 90 years of Disney animation. (Disney)

JUST ANNOUNCED New at Walt Disney World!

May 1, 2019, marks the 30th anniversary of Disney’s Hollywood Studios. The park will celebrate this milestone all year long, starting Jan. 18 with the reveal of a new 30th-anniversary logo. Pixar Avenue will be the place for guests to show off their inner Supers with The Incredibles. Guests will celebrate the heroic deeds of Mr. Incredible, Mrs. Incredible, and Frozone, who will make appearances throughout the day during a party featuring lively music, dancing, interactive games and more Super fun. Guests will meet super-suit designer Edna Mode and see some of her greatest creations. They may also spot signs for the whereabouts of the youngest Incredible – the mischievous and multi-powered Jack-Jack.

A door to the monster world will open inside Walt Disney Presents, inviting guests to visit with Mike and Sulley from Disney•Pixar’s “Monsters, Inc.”

(Steven Diaz, photographer)

Guests will feel like honorary toys in the new Toy Story Land. Based on the beloved Pixar Toy Story films, the playful land features two new attractions – Slinky Dog Dash and Alien Swirling Saucers – as well as fan-favorite Toy Story Mania!

In addition, the new high-energy live show “Disney Junior Dance Party!” will feature characters from Disney Junior television series, including Vampirina, Doc McStuffins and many more.

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

What's New at Walt Disney World in 2019, 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

More Broadway Music Than Ever at Epcot International Festival of the Arts

The Epcot International Festival of the Arts comes to life Jan. 18-Feb. 25, 2019, where guests will indulge in world-class culinary, visual and performance arts.

The Disney on Broadway Concert Series expands to seven days a week during the festival, providing more opportunities than ever before to hear pairs of Disney on Broadway stars sing favorite tunes from award-winning productions. The lineup will rotate regularly, featuring music from “The Lion King,” “Frozen,” “Beauty and the Beast” and other hit shows.

The festival will include 13 Food Studios, plus additional creative food and beverages around Epcot, featuring an expanded selection of delicious new tastes to savor.

Art collectors and Disney enthusiasts alike will find artwork for sale throughout the park, from the Art of Disney store to Festival Markets. In addition, special festival merchandise will be available at Mouse Gear and other Epcot locations.

The 2019 festival provides fun every day for the whole family, including performance artists, complimentary seminars, hands-on activities and Figment’s Brush with the Masters Scavenger Hunt.

READ ALSO: Best Tips to Beat the Heat at Walt Disney World

What's New at Walt Disney World in 2019, 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

While experiencing all the Epcot International Festival of the Arts has to offer, guests will want to spend another evening around World Showcase Lagoon taking in “IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth,” which will be ending in the second half of 2019 to make way for an all-new nighttime spectacular.

Feel the Love During ‘Hakuna Matata Time Dance Party’ at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Guests will take a walk on the wild side at Disney’s Animal Kingdom during the “Hakuna Matata Time Dance Party,” featuring Timon and Rafiki from Disney’s “The Lion King.”

Each day on Discovery Island, the dance party will encourage young adventurers to let their inner animals roam free on the dance floor as a street band plays a fiery soundtrack in a World Beat style.

All this excitement will be here in two shakes of a mouse’s tail! To make sure no one misses a moment, you will find a new countdown clock online at Disneyworld.com/nowmorethanever. It’s rolling down to when the fun begins on the morning of Jan. 18, 2019!

More Walt Disney World Magic Tips

What to Pack for Disney

Disney Vacation  Tips for the Budget Conscious

So Your Planning a Trip with Friends, 5 Tips from a Disney Mom

Desserts Around the World at Epcot

Disney World Tips and Tricks – Over 50 Disney World Secrets 2019

Walt Disney World’s  Toy Story Land with Woody and Friends is Now Open for Play

What are you most excited for that is New at Walt Disney World in 2019?

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Mary Poppins, Mary Poppins Returns, Emily Blunt, Lin Manuel Miranda, Marry Poppins Returns is the perfect family holiday movie, Disney

Today is the day that we’ve all been waiting for Mary Poppins Returns hits theaters! I mean who doesn’t remember growing up watching Mary Poppins nanny the Banks children and secretly wishing we all had a Mary, of our own, to use a spoonful of sugar to help the medicine go down? I can’t wait to see Mary Poppins float into the scene with her iconic umbrella.

And who didn’t want to take a jolly holiday with Mary and Bert? I’m pretty sure that I’ve known all the words to the entire soundtrack since I was a small child. If we’re being completely honest, I’m halfway through learning all the lyrics to the Mary Poppins Returns soundtrack.

Mary Poppins, Mary Poppins Returns, Emily Blunt, Lin Manuel Miranda, Marry Poppins Returns is the perfect family holiday movie, Disney

READ ALSO: Disney’s Nutcracker and the Four Realms

When I became a mom myself, Mary Poppins was one of the first Disney movies that I wanted to share with my little girls. I can still hear tiny toddler voices singing Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious at the top of their lungs, as they penguin walked all around the living room.

Mary Poppins, Mary Poppins Returns, Emily Blunt, Lin Manuel Miranda, Marry Poppins Returns is the perfect family holiday movie, Disney

Mary has always been a part of our family. So you can only imagine how excited we are for the latest installment of the Mary Poppins series, Mary Poppins Returns. Did I mention that it stars Emily Blunt, one of my favorite actresses, and Lin-Manuel Miranda, the creator of the Hit Broadway musical Hamilton.

In Disney’s MARY POPPINS RETURNS, an all-new original musical and sequel, Mary Poppins is back to help the next generation of the Banks family find the joy and wonder missing in their lives following a personal loss. Emily Blunt stars as the practically-perfect nanny with unique magical skills who can turn any ordinary task into an unforgettable, fantastic adventure and Lin-Manuel Miranda plays her friend Jack, an optimistic street lamplighter who helps bring light—and life—to the streets of London.

Mary Poppins, Mary Poppins Returns, Emily Blunt, Lin Manuel Miranda, Marry Poppins Returns is the perfect family holiday movie, Disney

READ ALSO: Disney’s Nutcracker and the Four Realms Review

I’m excited just from the trailers. I know grown women aren’t supposed to squee but I can’t help but get excited. Maybe it has something to do with how excited my girls are to see it or maybe it’s just the little girl in me peeking through. Either way, the Mary Poppins Returns soundtrack has been downloaded and playing on repeat on car rides to school and home. We’ll be the ones singing along in the theater. Also, if you love Mary Poppins Returns as much as we do, check out these awesome coloring pages!

Mary Poppins, Mary Poppins Returns, Emily Blunt, Lin Manuel Miranda, Marry Poppins Returns is the perfect family holiday movie, Disney

MARY POPPINS RETURNS is directed by Rob Marshall. The screenplay is by David Magee and the screen story is by Magee & Rob Marshall & John DeLuca based upon the Mary Poppins Stories by PL Travers. The producers are John DeLuca, p.g.a., Rob Marshall, p.g.a. and Marc Platt, p.g.a. with Callum McDougall serving as executive producer. The music score is by Marc Shaiman and the film features all-new original songs with music by Shaiman and lyrics by Scott Wittman and Shaiman.

Mary Poppins, Mary Poppins Returns, Emily Blunt, Lin Manuel Miranda, Marry Poppins Returns is the perfect family holiday movie, Disney

READ ALSO: Disney’s Nutcracker and the Four Realms Experience

The film also stars Ben Whishaw as Michael Banks; Emily Mortimer as Jane Banks; Julie Walters as the Banks’ housekeeper Ellen; Pixie Davies, Nathanael Saleh and introducing Joel Dawson as the Banks’ children, with Colin Firth as Fidelity Fiduciary Bank’s William Weatherall Wilkins; and Meryl Streep as Mary’s eccentric cousin, Topsy. Angela Lansbury appears as the Balloon Lady, a treasured character from the PL Travers books and Dick Van Dyke is Mr. Dawes, Jr., the retired chairman of the bank now run by Firth’s character. With an all-star cast like this, it’s got to be amazing.

Mary Poppins, Mary Poppins Returns, Emily Blunt, Lin Manuel Miranda, Marry Poppins Returns is the perfect family holiday movie, Disney

Like MARY POPPINS RETURNS on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/marypoppinsreturns/

Follow Walt Disney Studios on Twitter: https://twitter.com/disneystudios 

Follow MARY POPPINS RETURNS on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/marypoppinsreturns/

MARY POPPINS RETURNS arrives in theatres everywhere on December 19th!

Y’all know that Disney is our jam and I am in need of a Disney fix so we will definitely be seeing Mary Poppins Returns over Christmas break. I’ll be sure to pop up a review after we see it. I’ll get the girls to chime in too. But if you need one right now, I hear good things about Mary Poppins Returns. 

Who else will be seeing Mary Poppins Returns over break?

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Disney's the Lion King, the Lion King, Disney Live Action, James Earl Jones,

I remember seeing the animated movie, The Lion King, in theaters in 1994. I was blown away by the story. I’m not ashamed to admit that I wept openly in the theater while young Simba went through some of the most harrowing situations a child, animal or human, ever could; he lost a parent and then lost himself.  His life was forever changed. He went from being the proud son of the king of the Jungle; the apple of a pride’s eye to an orphan.

I’ve watched The Lion King movie at list 100 times with my daughters. It’s a family favorite. Hakuna Matata is my 13-year-old’s favorite thing to say.  Both girls still laugh their heads off at Timon and Pumba. It’s just one of those heartwarming movies that we love as a family. It’s the kind of movie that you watch together and somehow feel closer after doing so. It’s like magnetized super glue for families; pulling us together and then keeping us there.

Disney's the Lion King, the Lion King, Disney Live Action, James Earl Jones,

READ ALSO: Disney’s the Nutcracker a must see for all Ballerinas

You can imagine our excitement when we heard that they were remaking it into a live action version in 2019. We honestly can’t wait to see how they are going to take such an iconic movie and parlay that into live action. How can you take a story that includes animated animals speaking like humans and remake it with real animals without losing the integrity of the movie of coming across as cheesy? Well, leave it to Disney to do it and you will not be disappointed.

I’ve, obviously, not seen the movie yet but if the trailer is any indication of the quality of the upcoming movie, I am excited…jump up and down, can’t wait to take my girls and the Big Guy to see it, excited.

From Disney Live Action, The Lion King will be a drama film produced by Walt Disney Pictures, written by Jeff Nathanson, and directed by Jon Favreau. It is a photorealistic computer animated remake of Disney’s traditionally animated 1994 film. The film features the voices of Donald Glover, Seth Rogen, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Billy Eichner, John Oliver, Keegan-Michael Key, Beyoncé Knowles-Carter and James Earl Jones reprising his role as Mufasa.

Plans for a remake of The Lion King were confirmed in September 2016 following the success of Favreau’s remake of Disney’s 1967 animated film The Jungle Book. Much of the main cast signed on in early 2017 and principal photography began in mid-2017. The film is scheduled to be released on July 19, 2019.

READ ALSO:  Disney’s the Nutcracker and the Four Realms Movie Review

Director Jon Favreau’s all-new “The Lion King” journeys to the African savanna where a future king is born. Simba idolizes his father, King Mufasa, and takes to heart his own royal destiny. But not everyone in the kingdom celebrates the new cub’s arrival. Scar, Mufasa’s brother—and former heir to the throne—has plans of his own. The battle for Pride Rock is ravaged with betrayal, tragedy and drama, ultimately resulting in Simba’s exile. With help from a curious pair of newfound friends, Simba will have to figure out how to grow up and take back what is rightfully his.

Who else is excited to see the new Disney’s the Lion King?

THE LION KING opens in theatres everywhere on July 19th, 2019

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The Kids are alright, Caleb Foote, Michael Cudlitz, #ABCTVEVENT, Tim Doyle

Thank you to Disney and ABC for inviting me to Los Angeles on an all-expense paid trip, in exchange for coverage of Disney’s the Nutcracker and the Four Realms and the #ABCTVEVENT event. I was hosted by Disney for the #DisneysNutcrackerEvent and given a set tour by Caleb Foote of The Kids Are Alright and to meet some of the cast including Michael Cudlitz but all opinions are my own.

Last month in Los Angeles, I got a sneak peek of ABC’s “The Kids Are Alright.”  I have to admit, that this is one of my favorite new shows this season because it reminds me of growing up in my parents’ house in the 70’s and 80’s. There were 8 of us in a small house. There wasn’t a lot of money but there was a lot of love and faith in God, in each other and in family. There were also a lot of shenanigans.

Set in the 1970s, the ensemble comedy “The Kids Are Alright” follows a traditional Irish-Catholic family, the Clearys, as they navigate big and small changes during one of America’s most turbulent decades. In a working-class neighborhood outside Los Angeles, Mike and Peggy raise eight boisterous boys who live out their days with little supervision. The household is turned upside down when oldest son Lawrence returns home and announces that he’s quitting the seminary to go off and “save the world.” Times are changing and this family will never be the same. There are 10 people, three bedrooms, one bathroom and everyone in it for themselves. Honestly, on the set visit, I felt like I was back home at my mom’s house.

The Kids are alright, Caleb Foote, Michael Cudlitz, #ABCTVEVENT, Tim Doyle

Photo Credit: Coralie Hughes Seright

The series stars Michael Cudlitz as Mike Cleary, Mary McCormack as Peggy Cleary, Sam Straley as Lawrence Cleary, Caleb Foote as Eddie Cleary, Sawyer Barth as Frank Cleary, Christopher Paul Richards as Joey Cleary, Jack Gore as Timmy Cleary, Andy Walken as William Cleary, and Santino Barnard as Pat Cleary.

The Kids are alright, Caleb Foote, Michael Cudlitz, #ABCTVEVENT, Tim Doyle

On the day we visited, we were shown around the set by Caleb Foote, who plays Eddie Cleary. We also had the chance to meet Tim Doyle, creator and executive producer,  whose life the show is about, production designer, Michael Whetstone, set decorator, Claudette Didul, costume designer, Susan Michalek, line producer, Kris Eber  and Michael Cudlitz ( who plays Dad, Mike Cleary) as well as several of the other Cleary family members. It was amazing.

The Kids are alright, Caleb Foote, Michael Cudlitz, #ABCTVEVENT, Tim Doyle

The Cleary House

The attention to detail is crazy. The Kids Are Alright house is based on a house the producers found in Sherman Oaks.

“Whetstone: This house is based on a house that we found for the pilot back in March and I think it was built in 1932. It was very, very small. It was one of the first ranch houses in Studio City or something. And our director loved it tight. He wanted it to feel crowded. Usually, when you go to stage, you say, “Oh, I’m gonna make it 25% bigger for shooting.” We didn’t really do that.”

The Kids are alright, Caleb Foote, Michael Cudlitz, #ABCTVEVENT, Tim Doyle

Photo Credit: Coralie Hughes Seright

 

“Foote: In most cases, they would expand the set in the recreation of the studio. But, having the tight-knit family is a big part of our show.”

 

The thing I really loved about the house is that you really got the feel of what it’s like to live during those times in a small house with a big family. As I mentioned before, this is exactly how I grew up with the exception of us being in Chicago, 3 boys and 3 girls and being Latino Catholic versus Irish and the story is pretty much my childhood. I can tell you from experience, a claustrophobic home filled with children and love may feel like a noose on your neck at sometimes but mostly, it feels like a hug from a mom and it’s something that will stay with you for the rest of your life.

The dining room is the heart of the Cleary house; it’s where meals are served, where the important conversations take place and where Peggy and Mike dole out nourishment and wisdom to their 8 boys. The thing I loved about it the most was that it is so small and so full of things that the family can barely all fit in it at once. In fact, if you pay attention, you will notice that each episode, a different son sits at a tiny side table.

You might also notice that most of the decor looks like it’s from the 1950s and 1960s since the family is on a tight budget with all those boys. This is keeping it real.

 

The Yard

The Kids are alright, Caleb Foote, Michael Cudlitz, #ABCTVEVENT, Tim Doyle

One thing that I absolutely loved is that they created an actual outdoor yard to film in. They did have the soundstage yard but that infamous treehouse and who could forget that brotherly love fight scene sandbox, that is all outside and it is magical. From the clothes on the line to the car in the driveway, you felt like you were transported back to the 1970’s.

The Kids are alright, Caleb Foote, Michael Cudlitz, #ABCTVEVENT, Tim Doyle

 

We met the show’s creator Tim Doyle. The Kids Are Alright is based on Doyle’s childhood and he narrates each episode. This is his childhood and he reminisced with us about how different growing up in the 70’s was versus growing up now.

“Doyle: It’s a funny thing. It’s amazing that we all survived that period but some of us didn’t. But all the ones that are here are like, “Oh, yeah, it’s okay. You don’t have to have parental supervision. Let kids run around like feral animals. Let them do whatever they want.” That’s the people who survived talking. There are the other ones and a lot of bad stuff happened but we’re not telling those stories. We’re glossing over those.

We’re not saying don’t be good parents. We’re saying be good to your kids and supervise them. But there was a different way… We’re giving a taste of, as accurately as we can, what we remember it being like.”

The 70’s

The Kids are alright, Caleb Foote, Michael Cudlitz, #ABCTVEVENT, Tim Doyle

The vintage clothes, the vernacular and even the television shows and magazines lying around the house…The Kids Are alright producers did not miss a beat in capturing the 1970’s era.

We got to see wardrobe with costume designer Susan Michalek. The collection of clothes needed for a show with 10 principal actors is huge.

“Michalek: We need so much that what we really get from is all the rental houses in L.A (Los Angeles). ABC has a costume house, Warner Brothers has a costume house, and then there are some private ones too. There are about eight or ten in L.A. Their buildings are the size of football fields and really high with racks of clothing where we go get most of it.”

The Kids Are Alright is all about conjuring up the nostalgia one feels when going home. None of this happened by accident. Extensive research was done to insure that the Cleary home was filled with just the right furniture, knick–knacks and even the wall hangings.

“Didol: We actually lucked out with a couple of estate sales. We literally took this whole drapery rig right out of the house as is, and it is so fragile that I couldn’t get it dry cleaned and we’re going to just see how long it lasts… But we really do try to do our due diligence, finding things that were from the right period.”

The Kids are alright, Caleb Foote, Michael Cudlitz, #ABCTVEVENT, Tim DoyleOn tonight’s episode, Peggy sees an opportunity to put Eddie’s Girlfriend through a test before letting her into the Cleary family circle on an all-new episode of ABC’s ‘The Kids Are Alright, Tuesday, November 13.

Peggy’s Day Out-To hide a mess Eddie made, his girlfriend, Wendi, tries to distract Peggy by insisting she take a day off with a fun day out while they take care of the housework. To everyone’s surprise, Peggy accepts the offer and requests Wendi tag along, with the ulterior motive of teaching her a lesson. Meanwhile, Eddie enlists the help of his brothers to clean up and keep Mike out of the house while Wendi and Peggy are out. Elsewhere, Pat introduces Timmy to his secret dog on “The Kids Are Alright,” TUESDAY, NOV. 13 (8:31-9:00 p.m. EST), on The ABC Television Network, streaming and on demand.

Follow along on social:

Facebook: @TheKidsAreAlrightABC
Twitter: @TheKidsABC 
Instagram: @thekidsarealrightabc

Hashtag: #TheKidsAreAlright

Make sure to watch The Kids are Alright on ABC. It came out on October 16, 2018 and airs Tuesdays at 8:30|7:30c on ABC; also available streaming and on demand.

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Exclusive Interview with Misty Copeland, Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms, Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms Movie Review, #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, Mackenzie Foy, Keira Knightley, Eugenio Derbez, Richard E. Grant, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, Misty Copeland, Jayden Fowara-Knight

Thank you to Disney and ABC for inviting me to Los Angeles on an all-expense paid trip, in exchange for coverage of Disney’s the Nutcracker and the Four Realms event. I was hosted by Disney for the #DisneysNutcrackerEvent and given the opportunity to interview Misty Copeland but all opinions are my own.

Last week at this time, I was interviewing Misty Copeland. Just so you know, I felt like I was floating above my own body and could not believe that I was in the same room with such an inspirational and empowering woman who is not only a game changer in her field but an advocate for change for girls and women everywhere. More than that, she is my little girls’ personal shero.

READ ALSO: Disney’s Nutcracker and the Four Realms Movie Review

I can honestly say that Misty Copeland was one of the most gracious and authentic people I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. On top of all of this, I had had the opportunity to ask her a question that my daughter really wanted me to ask. Her answer was pure inspiration.

Exclusive Interview with Misty Copeland, Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms, Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms Movie Review, #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, Mackenzie Foy, Keira Knightley, Eugenio Derbez, Richard E. Grant, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, Misty Copeland, Jayden Fowara-Knight

Exclusive Interview with Misty Copeland

Exclusive Interview with Misty Copeland, Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms, Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms Movie Review, #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, Mackenzie Foy, Keira Knightley, Eugenio Derbez, Richard E. Grant, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, Misty Copeland, Jayden Fowara-Knight

Photo Credit: Coralie Hughes Seright

How Misty Copeland got involved with The Nutcracker and the Four Realms:

They reached out to me which was kind of shocking. I’m not an Actress but I understand the Nutcracker connection, clearly. It was like a really organic fit and they were just really open about letting me kind of take the lead. They’re like, we don’t know Ballet, this isn’t our world so please teach us. We’re going to entrust that you’re gonna have the right team.

They allowed me to choose a choreographer so I selected Liam Scarlet. He’s a Choreographer in Residence for the Royal Ballet in London and I had worked with him before.

When they brought the idea to me, it was based on the book, the Nutcracker Book. It wasn’t based on the Nutcracker Ballet so there was no Ballet in this version of the story. They were like we can’t do the Nutcracker and not have Ballet in it, so they created this Character for me, the Ballerina Princess just as a way to have ballet in it. I’m the storyteller so it’s like a performance within the movie to share the story of the four realms and tell it to Clara. It’s awesome.

Exclusive Interview with Misty Copeland, Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms, Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms Movie Review, #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, Mackenzie Foy, Keira Knightley, Eugenio Derbez, Richard E. Grant, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, Misty Copeland, Jayden Fowara-Knight

READ ALSO: Exclusive Interview with Mackenzie Foy

Was there a specific piece of choreography that you were taught by a Choreographer that made it click for you that you wanted to dance professionally? And what was it?

I don’t know if there was a step. I feel like the first ballet class that I took was on a basketball court at the Boys/Girls Club in San Pedro, California. I don’t want to say that I hated it but it was not something I thought I was gonna do.  I think all the other kids that were also coming from underprivileged backgrounds like me and none of them had danced.  They were all older.  I was 13.

But they all had their gear on, whatever it was. They had leggings or tights and I was in these baggy basketball shorts and socks and I was like, this just isn’t right.  It just doesn’t feel right.

I think it wasn’t until the first time that I was taken on scholarship into the local ballet school and I put on the pink tights and the leotard and I could see myself in front of the mirror.  That’s when it clicked, I felt beautiful for the first time in my life. I felt right.  I felt like everything. Who knows if it was actual reality but in my mind, being a black young girl, being super skinny with long legs and these massive feet, big hands and little head, of which everything was just wrong in the real world.  I stepped into the studio and it was like Oh, everything is exactly right.  These are the proportions and I was just like woah! It gave me such power and confidence like I’d never experienced before.

Exclusive Interview with Misty Copeland, Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms, Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms Movie Review, #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, Mackenzie Foy, Keira Knightley, Eugenio Derbez, Richard E. Grant, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, Misty Copeland, Jayden Fowara-Knight

Photo Credit: Coralie Hughes Seright

What advice would you give a girl who desires to be a professional dancer but is told she is starting late?

I feel like, first of all, if you like it do your research. I think the majority of like the greatest ballet dancers all started after the age of 13, which is kind of crazy.  I think that it’s just proof that it’s not about that. I understand the reason that they (the ballet schools) like to start you out before you hit puberty, it’s so that they can really mold the body and it (movements) becomes second nature.  You know because the ballet technique is so detailed, that once you get to the level of a Professional dancer, there are so many other things you’re thinking about that you can’t be thinking about technique.

Exclusive Interview with Misty Copeland, Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms, Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms Movie Review, #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, Mackenzie Foy, Keira Knightley, Eugenio Derbez, Richard E. Grant, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, Misty Copeland, Jayden Fowara-Knight

You’re learning Choreography for up to 10 Ballets in a week that you’re performing.  You’re growing as an artist and becoming a character. There’s so much to think about and that’s why we start so young.  But it’s possible.  I think that it’s about what you do with the time that you’re in the studio. I was taking 3 to 4 classes a day, just trying to catch up.  But I think with the right support and the right will and push. If you’re working with a teacher that’s telling you that you can’t do it, then you need to go somewhere else. It’s possible to be anything you want to be, if you have someone that supports you and if you have representation to look at.

The Nutcracker and The Four Realms with Misty Copeland – In Theatres Playing Everywhere Now!

Exclusive Interview with Misty Copeland, Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms, Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms Movie Review, #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, Mackenzie Foy, Keira Knightley, Eugenio Derbez, Richard E. Grant, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, Misty Copeland, Jayden Fowara-Knight

Photo Credit: Coralie Hughes Seright

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Jim Cummings, Friendsgiving, Interview with Jim Cummings, Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Christopher Robin, #ChristopherRobinBluRay, #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, Disneys Nutcracker and the Four Realms, Ewan McGregor. #ChristopherRobinBluRay

Thank you to Disney and ABC for inviting me to Los Angeles on an all-expense paid trip, in exchange for coverage of Disney’s the Nutcracker and the Four Realms and the #ChristopherRobinBluRay event. I was hosted by Disney for the #DisneysNutcrackerEvent and given the opportunity to preview Christopher Robin on Blu Ray but all opinions are my own.

In Disney’s heartwarming live-action adventure, the young boy who shared countless adventures with his stuffed animal friends in the Hundred Acre Wood has grown up and lost sight of what’s important in life. Now it is up to his childhood friends to venture into our world and help Christopher Robin rediscover the joys of family life, the value of friendship and to appreciate the simple pleasure in life once again.

Jim Cummings, Friendsgiving, Interview with Jim Cummings, Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Christopher Robin, #ChristopherRobinBluRay, #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, Disneys Nutcracker and the Four Realms, Ewan McGregor. #ChristopherRobinBluRayDoing Nothing often Leads to the Very Best Kind of Something -Winnie the Pooh

CHRISTOPHER ROBIN is directed by Marc Forster from a screenplay by Alex Ross Perry and Allison Schroeder and a story by Perry based on characters created by A.A. Milne and E.H. Shepard. The producers are Brigham Taylor and Kristin Burr, with Renée Wolfe and Jeremy Johns serving as executive producers. The film stars Ewan McGregor as Christopher Robin; Hayley Atwell as his wife Evelyn; Bronte Carmichael as his daughter Madeline; and Mark Gatiss as Keith Winslow, Robin’s boss. The film also features the voices of: Jim Cummings as Winnie the Pooh and Tigger; Brad Garrett as Eeyore; Toby Jones as Owl; Nick Mohammed as Piglet; Peter Capaldi as Rabbit; and Sophie Okonedo as Kanga.

READ ALSO: A picnic with Pooh and Tigger Too; Interview with Jim Cummings

Jim Cummings, Friendsgiving, Interview with Jim Cummings, Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Christopher Robin, #ChristopherRobinBluRay, #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, Disneys Nutcracker and the Four Realms, Ewan McGregor. #ChristopherRobinBluRay

Bringing the Iconic Characters to Life

A great deal of care also went into their creation, with special attention being paid to Winnie the Pooh’s tummy (to make sure it had the proper cuddle factor), to Tigger’s expressions (so he could eff effectively register surprise, anger and bewilderment) and to Eeyore (to make sure he had the proper amount of sag).

Disney legend Richard M. Sherman, “There’s something sentimental and sweet and nostalgic about Pooh. He’s like your childhood buddy, who we sometimes forget about when we get older, but when he finds out that Christopher Robin is in a bit of trouble, he comes back to remind him what it’s like to have an imagination and to have wonderful times together doing nothing.” “I think Pooh will be around for the next 200 years because he is so special and so dear,” he says. “There will always be people rediscovering Winnie the Pooh or finding about him for the first time.”

Watching the movie, I fell in love with these characters from my childhood all over again. They seemed more real to me than they ever had before. They became tangible; not just apparitions of my own imagination but walking, talking, living and breathing embodiments of childhood. This was also the way my daughters and my husband felt after seeing the movie.

Humor

One of the most endearing parts of Christopher Robin was the humor. Though it tackles many serious topics, it does so with levity and love. It tells the story on a very basic, human level that people of all ages cannot only comprehend but embrace. Laughter truly is the best medicine.

Jim Cummings, Friendsgiving, Interview with Jim Cummings, Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Christopher Robin, #ChristopherRobinBluRay, #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, Disneys Nutcracker and the Four Realms, Ewan McGregor. #ChristopherRobinBluRay, Piglet

“When you are able to make people laugh and cry in the same movie and you are able to tell the story with integrity and ground it in reality and have the magic realism on top of it, it lifts your spirits and connects you with the people you love,” says Forster.

And this is a story Forster believes has never been more relevant. “I think it’s something we desperately need in the world,” he says. “We could all use a little bit of Pooh’s heart and wisdom right now.”

Family

Jim Cummings, Friendsgiving, Interview with Jim Cummings, Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Christopher Robin, #ChristopherRobinBluRay, #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, Disneys Nutcracker and the Four Realms, Ewan McGregor. #ChristopherRobinBluRay

Christopher Robin reminds us of the importance of family, in all of its forms and for all of our lives. You never outgrow the ones you love and who knew you before you became who you were meant to be; the ones who love you unconditionally.

Finding someone to personify an adult Christopher Robin posed a unique challenge for the filmmakers. The boy forever immortalized in E.H. Shepard’s iconic illustration sitting with his best friend on their thinking log has grown into a loving husband and father and a hard-working employee at Winslow Luggage, but the burdens that come with adulthood have caused him to forget the good times of his youth and he has lost sight of the person he once was. I think Ewan McGregor was the perfect choice Christopher Robin.

Hayley Atwell (“Howards End,” ABC’s “Agent Carter”) was cast as Evelyn Robin. A fictitious character married to Christopher Robin, she personifies home and love and holds the family together. “They were very happy at the beginning of their marriage, but she sees him becoming a workaholic and losing that connection with his family.”

Bronte Carmichael plays Madeline Robin, the bright nine-year-old who, much like her father, has a passion for make-believe. She wants nothing more than to have her father read to her every night before she goes to bed, but he wants her focused on her studies.

“Madeline is a very serious girl at the beginning of our story and really wants to please her father, studying very hard all the time,” says Forster. “She is prepared to go to boarding school, but what she really wants is to stay home with her family.”

When Madeline comes across a box belonging to her father with a drawing of Pooh and his friends along with other keepsakes from the Hundred Acre Wood, it gives her a glimpse into his childhood for the first time. “Times were different then, and so was the way people related to their kids,” says McGregor. “You can see that she wants love from him in a way that isn’t just him providing for the family, and that’s what the story is about really, and by the end of the film he is able to give her that.”

I Always Get to Where I’m Going By Walking Away From Where I’ve Been. -Winnie the Pooh

 

Imagination and Play

Disney’s “Christopher Robin” brings the timeless charm and nostalgia of A.A. Milne’s stories and characters to the big screen in an imaginative tale about the joy and purity of youth. Speaking to the child in all of us, the film is a gentle reminder to let some of those qualities infuse our adult lives.

Jim Cummings, Friendsgiving, Interview with Jim Cummings, Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Christopher Robin, #ChristopherRobinBluRay, #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, Disneys Nutcracker and the Four Realms, Ewan McGregor. #ChristopherRobinBluRay

“Translating a lovely, simple story with an uncomplicated, targeted message into a feature film can make one’s own life a better experience for the effort,” says director Marc Forster. “The simpler things in life are, indeed, often those that make us the happiest. And in ‘Christopher Robin’ we see a man who has lost sight of that which tethered him to humanity in broad strokes, and who is reminded of his better self through reconnecting to his childhood, his own imagination and to a love of wonder. In so reconnecting to his own better spirit, he finds his way back to the loves of his life, his wife and daughter, and for that, his life is enriched. All for remembering that the simpler things in life are not to be left behind or forgotten.”

“Life goes by so fast, but hopefully this film will remind people to take a look at their own lives and re-evaluate how they spend their time…and with who,” says Forster.

There’s Always Time for a Smackeral of Wonder. -Winnie the Pooh

Jim Cummings, Friendsgiving, Interview with Jim Cummings, Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Christopher Robin, #ChristopherRobinBluRay, #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, Disneys Nutcracker and the Four Realms, Ewan McGregor. #ChristopherRobinBluRay

The fun-filled tale features A.A. Milne’s timeless characters from the Hundred Acre Wood—Pooh, Tigger, Piglet, Eeyore, Kanga, Roo, Rabbit and Owl—making their first appearance as three-dimensional characters who remind Christopher Robin, and viewers of all ages, to appreciate the simple pleasures in life.

READ ALSO: Disney’s the Nutcracker and the Four Realms Red Carpet Experience

Bonus features included with Disney’s Christopher Robin BluRay provide a heartfelt look at the making of the movie, showcasing the magical artistry that brings the classic characters to life, the human actors’ techniques for interacting with stuffed animals, and the filmmakers’ passion for their project. Bronte Carmichael, who plays Christopher Robin’s daughter Madeline, takes viewers on an exciting journey from the drawing board to film locations throughout the United Kingdom. Features flashback to highlight Walt Disney’s fondness for Winnie the Pooh and recall the voice actors who lovingly portrayed the unforgettable voice of the iconic character. An exclusive digital bonus feature explores the actual teddy bear, given to Christopher Robin Milne 98 years ago, which inspired the original Pooh stories that have been shared and adored by families around the globe.

Christopher Robin Blu-Ray Bonus Features

BLU-RAY & DIGITAL HD:

  • In Which … A Movie Is Made for Pooh– Filmmakers and cast share their passion for this story in a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the movie.
  • In Which … Pooh Finds His Voice– Discover what it’s like to voice Winnie the Pooh, from voice actors Sterling Holloway to Jim Cummings.
  • In Which … Pooh and Walt Become Friends– How did Walt Disney and Pooh meet? Take a journey through time to explore the legacy of Walt’s first encounter with Pooh.
  • In Which … Pooh and Friends Come to Life– See how Winnie the Pooh and Friends were brought to life as walking and talking stuffed animals in this magical live-action world.

EXCLUSIVE DIGITAL BONUS FEATURE:

  • In Which … We Were Very Young– Meet the actual, original teddy bear who, along with his best friends, has inspired so much love worldwide for almost a century.

Jim Cummings, Friendsgiving, Interview with Jim Cummings, Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Christopher Robin, #ChristopherRobinBluRay, #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, Disneys Nutcracker and the Four Realms, Ewan McGregor. #ChristopherRobinBluRayBRING HOME DISNEY’S CHRISTOPHER ROBIN ON BLU-RAY  NOVEMBER 6th!

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Jim Cummings, Friendsgiving, Interview with Jim Cummings, Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Christopher Robin, #ChristopherRobinBluRay, #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, Disneys Nutcracker and the Four Realms, Ewan McGregor

Thank you to Disney and ABC for inviting me to Los Angeles on an all-expense paid trip, in exchange for coverage of Disney’s the Nutcracker and the Four Realms and the #ChristopherRobinBluRay event. I was hosted by Disney for the #DisneysNutcrackerEvent and given the opportunity to interview the voice acting legend, Jim Cummings but all opinions are my own.

Jim Cummings, Friendsgiving, Interview with Jim Cummings, Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Christopher Robin, #ChristopherRobinBluRay, #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, Disneys Nutcracker and the Four Realms, Ewan McGregor

On Day 2 of my recent trip to Los Angeles with Disney, in honor of the release of Christopher Robin on Blu-ray, I was magically transported to 100 Acre Wood aka the beautiful Los Angeles Arboretum and Botanical Gardens. There I had the pleasure of attending a Friendsgiving picnic with 24 other bloggers and legendary voice actor, Jim Cummings. Yes, I had a picnic in the woods with Winnie the Pooh, and Tigger, too!

Jim Cummings, Friendsgiving, Interview with Jim Cummings, Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Christopher Robin, #ChristopherRobinBluRay, #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, Disneys Nutcracker and the Four Realms, Ewan McGregor 

Disney’s Christopher Robin (available November 6th).

Jim Cummings, Friendsgiving, Interview with Jim Cummings, Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Christopher Robin, #ChristopherRobinBluRay, #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, Disneys Nutcracker and the Four Realms, Ewan McGregor

We dined al fresco at a long rustic table, sheltered by a large weeping willow with a magical door. Everything was perfect. It felt like a fairy tale. It was the perfect kind of day for the perfect picnic in the 100 Acre Wood.

Jim Cummings, Friendsgiving, Interview with Jim Cummings, Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Christopher Robin, #ChristopherRobinBluRay, #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, Disneys Nutcracker and the Four Realms, Ewan McGregor

Jim Cummings arrived and was seated at the head of the table. He is an amazing storyteller and I could listen to him talk for days. His comical one-liners, flipping back in forth between Pooh and Tigger were only outshone by his gracious and warm personality. He really is what I would imagine Winnie the Pooh in human form to be.

Jim Cummings, Friendsgiving, Interview with Jim Cummings, Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Christopher Robin, #ChristopherRobinBluRay, #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, Disneys Nutcracker and the Four Realms, Ewan McGregor

Photo credit: Coralie Hughes Seright

Jim Cummings has been Winnie the Pooh since 1987 and Tigger since 1989/1990. Yet, he still finds the magic. He told us he still tries to experience the movies as an outsider.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Jim Cummings in 100 Acre Wood and it was absolutely magical.

Jim Cummings, Friendsgiving, Interview with Jim Cummings, Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Christopher Robin, #ChristopherRobinBluRay, #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, Disneys Nutcracker and the Four Realms, Ewan McGregor

Since we were there to celebrate the release of Disney’s Christopher Robin on Blu-ray we asked Jim his first impression of being a part of the film.

I thought it was a great idea. What if Christopher Robin grew up and, and turned into a person and got stuck working like the rest of us. Now what? It was just so magical. And, you know, Pooh and the gang went out there and kinda saved him. Kind of returned the favor after all those waterfalls that he saved us from. (he said with a laugh) So, it’s great.

Jim Cummings, Friendsgiving, Interview with Jim Cummings, Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Christopher Robin, #ChristopherRobinBluRay, #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, Disneys Nutcracker and the Four Realms, Ewan McGregor

I had a question that I was dying to ask Jim and I got the opportunity to ask the legend himself.  Of all the Disney characters you’ve ever done, which one do you relate to the most, and why?

Probably Tigger. Darkwing Duck maybe. Because I am the terror that flaps in the night. I don’t know if you knew that. But, they’re all Disney characters now, aren’t they? I like Hondo Ohnaka from Star Wars Clone Wars. And honestly, Ray from Princess and the Frog is one of my favorites of all-time.

 I don’t know. I guess I have like five. It’s like which of your five kids are your favorite? Well, all five, you know. 

Jim wasn’t always Winnie the Pooh. He took over for the original voice of Pooh, legendary voice actor, Sterling Halloway. He told us about that one time he unexpectedly stumbled upon his predecessor at a restaurant.

Before I was in this business many moons ago, Sterling Holloway, God bless him, he retired and he moved to Laguna Beach. We (my wife and I) were sitting down. And I was sittin’ down there with my wife, and we thought nobody was in the restaurant. And the waitress walks over to a corner — to somebody we couldn’t see in the booth and said, have you decided what you would like to have for lunch? Well, yes, I believe I’ll have the chowder. (in a Pooh voice)

So I had to get up and, and walk across the room, and there he was. God bless him. He was so cool. And I regret to this day that I didn’t go up and go…I don’t know I would’ve said. You’re Winnie the Pooh. What do you say?] You know, and now people do that to me.

What’s your favorite Winnie the Pooh quote?

You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.

A special thank you to Disney and Jim Cummings, for a magical day full of pixie dust and a one of a kind picnic with Winnie the Pooh and Tigger too in the 100 Acre Wood. Who knew one of my childhood dreams would come true?

Christopher Robin will be available on Blu-ray, DVD and more on November 6.

 

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Exclusive Interview with Mackenzie Foy, Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms, Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms Movie Review, #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, Mackenzie Foy, Keira Knightley, Eugenio Derbez, Richard E. Grant, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, Misty Copeland, Jayden Fowara-Knight

Thank you to Disney and ABC for inviting me to Los Angeles on an all-expense paid trip, in exchange for coverage of Disney’s the Nutcracker and the Four Realms event. I was hosted by Disney for the #DisneysNutcrackerEvent and given the opportunity to interview Mackenzie Foy but all opinions are my own.

Last week at this time, I was being whisked away to the infamous Roosevelt hotel where I had the pleasure of interviewing Mackenzie Foy, Clara in Disney’s the Nutcracker and the Four Realms. She was absolutely as sweet, kind and charming as you could imagine. She is such a smart and poised young lady.

READ ALSO: My Disney’s the Nutcracker and the Four Realms Red Carpet Experience

Mackenzie Foy is a very talented young actress; turning 18 on November 10. Happy birthday, Mackenzie! I loved her in Twilight and The Conjuring but she really shines in Disney’s the Nutcracker and the Four Realms!

Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms, Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms Movie Review, #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, Mackenzie Foy, Keira Knightley, Eugenio Derbez, Richard E. Grant, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, Misty Copeland, Jayden Fowara-Knight

Exclusive Interview with Mackenzie Foy

How does it feel to be a classical holiday character now?

It’s really fun. What’s beautiful about the Nutcracker that it’s such a beloved story throughout many, many years, so it’s really, really, really fun to be able to play a character that so many people all over the world can relate to and have this childhood connection from seeing the ballet when they were young, and I think that’s really important to be able to do.

What was it like to get the call that you were gonna be Clara in the movie?

It was really exciting. So I was actually in the shower and doing my hair when my mom ran in, and she was like, ‘the director’s on the phone’. I was like, oh my gosh, okay, and so I put a towel on and I answered and the director was like, ‘would you be our Clara?’ I was like, oh my goodness, yes. Thank you so much. And he’s like, all right, see you in a couple weeks.

Exclusive Interview with Mackenzie Foy, Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms, Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms Movie Review, #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, Mackenzie Foy, Keira Knightley, Eugenio Derbez, Richard E. Grant, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, Misty Copeland, Jayden Fowara-Knight

Photo Credit: Coralie Hughes Seright

Can you tell us about the interview process?

The audition process was actually quite long. It was about two months, which isn’t really, really long, but it is more than usual. And it was really fun. Once I did a screen test, they flew me to London to do it in full costume- hair and makeup; a partial set; real camera, it was like, oh my goodness. I didn’t really have too many details about the story of the character when I first got the audition. I just knew that it was a British character and that immediately piqued my interest.

Talking about stunts on Disney’s the Nutcracker and the Four Realms

I actually did a lot of stunts and stuff, which was really fun. I did horse training, which was awesome, and I went to this place- it’s called The Devil’s Horseman; they’re film horses, and so they’re proper stunt people. It was really, really cool being with these horses. It’s what you think of, the English countryside –  that’s what it looked like there. So it was actually amazing training outside on these beautiful horses. It was crazy.

READ ALSO: Disney’s the Nutcracker and the Four Realms Movie Review

Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms, Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms Movie Review, #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, Mackenzie Foy, Keira Knightley, Eugenio Derbez, Richard E. Grant, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, Misty Copeland

What was your favorite realm in the film?

Which realm? It’s everchanging. Right now I really love the Land of Snowflakes just because it’s very blue and shiny, and very sparkly because it’s still kinda hot here. I’m dying for winter weather and winter cool.

What was your favorite Clara costume to wear?

I wear quite a few costumes in the film which was really, really fun. They were all handmade- all very, very intricate, which is really amazing. But I really love the purple party dress because that one has a bustle- and it’s really fun. Actually, I have a couple bustles in the film. I have a proper cage and then I have a bum pad.

Exclusive Interview with Mackenzie Foy, Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms, Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms Movie Review, #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, Mackenzie Foy, Keira Knightley, Eugenio Derbez, Richard E. Grant, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, Misty Copeland, Jayden Fowara-Knight

Photo Credit: Coralie Hughes Seright

More on costuming and makeup 

It was very beautiful, but there’s a lot of detail that went into the costume design, from the tights to the shoes, to the many skirt layers, and the bodices, and the corset. So I have a very high respect for all of the costumes, and also they have kind of a different character to them, They kind of go with Clara’s evolution, which I really like.

I don’t really wear a lot of makeup in the film, just a little bit of concealer if I have a pimple or something. Then hair wise, it would vary, and there’s a couple of looks that took – I’m bald from wrapping my hair around wires and stuff. But there’s all the twisting with the braids and all that kinda stuff.  The hair and makeup team was really, really amazing, and I loved talking to them every morning. I really enjoyed going in there because that’s kinda like a time you get to just sit and talk, and see how everybody’s doing. The actors coming in and out, and you talk to the hair and makeup people, and it was just really fun every morning.

What is your favorite scene in the film and why? 

Misty Copeland performs a dance scene in this, and it’s really, really quite beautiful. What’s really cool, because you guys are gonna see it tonight, the sets in that scene, well, in a lot of the scenes in the film, were real. So when she’s in the trailers, you see she’s walking through and this castle pops up, and the flowers open in the ground. Those were real. Those are real people really making it all work. And so that’s actually a really cool thing about that.

And if you look in the background behind, the chairs, all of the extras are color-coded, and so they had an ombre effect. Wrapped around the set was this canvas of night sky, and they actually poked giant holes in it and then shone lights behind it so it looked like stars. And so the sets in this film are very, very intricate, and that one was one of my favorites just because it was so beautiful.

What advice do you have for young girls that look up to you and want to follow in your footsteps? 

As for young girls, I hope they see this film, and I hope they see that Clara is unapologetically herself. That even though she’s this young inventor in her time period, it wasn’t really socially acceptable, but she still says – This is who I am. This is what I love to do, and I’m gonna do it. And I hope they see that and know you can do that. You can be interested in science. You can be in interested in mechanics. And you can still wear dresses and like those kinds of things.

Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms, Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms Movie Review, #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, Mackenzie Foy, Keira Knightley, Eugenio Derbez, Richard E. Grant, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, Misty Copeland, Jayden Fowara-Knight

What was it like working with Morgan Freeman? He seems like a father figure, so what was that like? 

He’s a really nice guy. He’s very joyous and has a very fun sense of humor, so it was really fun just getting to know him and getting to talk to him, and seeing what he was like.

Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms, Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms Movie Review, #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, Mackenzie Foy, Keira Knightley, Eugenio Derbez, Richard E. Grant, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, Misty Copeland

Can you tell us what a typical day would look like for shooting? 

Yes. A typical day of filming – putting on the costumes and playing and working with them which was really fun. The set on this film- the cast and crew- everyone was really, really nice, so it was really fun, and very happy environment. I actually still keep in contact with a lot of the crew. It was really amazing.

There was a lot of young women in the crew, and so we all go along really, really well, and we’d talk about our shows that we watched on the weekend, and all of that stuff. If you’re a kid, you still have to do school – because of my age, I have three to five hours of a school a day. Whenever there was downtime, if they had to change the cameras and stuff like that, I would go and do schoolwork.

How does being the main character different from being a supporting character? 

Well, every character, no matter how big or small has its own challenges because they’re all unique, and you have to do the research in order to properly create them. But I would say with Clara, and her being a main role, there was definitely- this is the story- it follows my character, so I have to make sure that everything is in line.

I have to make sure the past is in my head, and I have to make sure I know where she’s going. So with the bigger part, you have to go more in detail to all those things, especially how they relate to every single character in the film.

Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms, Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms Movie Review, #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, Mackenzie Foy, Keira Knightley, Eugenio Derbez, Richard E. Grant, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, Misty Copeland, Jayden Fowara-Knight

Do you see this film as being one of those traditional holiday movies that families will continue to watch every year? 

Well, I definitely hope it is something that people want to see every year. I think the film really captures the spirit of the holiday season -when it starts to be cold, and you just have that joyous feeling. I think it really captures that, and I think it also has elements of the book and the ballet to where if you are older, you have seen it many times, you have that nostalgic feeling, but it also has kind of a new twists and turns, and so it kind of brings in the younger and all ages. It kind of brings everyone in together to watch it. So I hope that families like it, and that they go and see it every year.

Exclusive Interview with Mackenzie Foy, Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms, Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms Movie Review, #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, Mackenzie Foy, Keira Knightley, Eugenio Derbez, Richard E. Grant, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, Misty Copeland, Jayden Fowara-Knight

Photo Credit: Coralie Hughes Seright

Mackenzie Foy is an amazing young lady who plays a strong, independent Clara who will inspire little girls for years to come.

Be on the lookout for my next interview with Misty Copeland who plays the ballerina in Disney’s the Nutcracker and the Four Realms.

The Nutcracker and The Four Realms – In Theatres Playing Everywhere Now!

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Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms, Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms Movie Review, #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, Mackenzie Foy, Keira Knightley, Eugenio Derbez, Richard E. Grant, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, Misty Copeland

Attending Disney’s the Nutcracker and the Four Realms Red Carpet experience gave me memories that will last a lifetime! I was hosted by Disney for the #DisneysNutcrackerEvent but all opinions are my own.

This week, not only did I get to attend the red carpet world premiere of Disney’s the Nutcracker and the Four Realms, I got to see one of my most anticipated movies of the year for me. I won’t post any spoilers in this post because I want you to go see it and experience it the way I did with no preconceived notions. Below is my Disney’s Nutcracker and the Four Realms Movie Review.

I will say that Christmas came early this year for my girls because Disney’s the Nutcracker and the Four Realms hits theaters today!

Let me start by saying that as a long time Nutcracker ballet aficionado, my expectations were high. I knew it would be different because one is a movie and one is a ballet. In a movie, you obviously have the luxury of using your words and in ballet, you only have your body as your means of expression.

READ ALSO: Disney’s Nutcracker and the Four Realms A Must Say for Ballet Dancers

I didn’t know if Disney’s the Nutcracker and the Four Realms was going to be based on the ballet or the book. But I was excited to find out. I can now tell you that Disney’s Nutcracker is not based on the ballet, though there are elements of the ballet peppered within. It is based on E.T.A. Hoffmann’s tale The Nutcracker and the Mouse King. Disney’s Nutcracker and the Four Realms Movie is rated PG and aside from a few Nutcracker Battle scenes it is very light. Safe for most children, in my mom opinion.

 

Official Synopsis

All Clara (Mackenzie Foy) wants is a key – a one-of-a-kind key that will unlock a box that holds a priceless gift. A golden thread, presented to her at godfather Drosselmeyer’s (Morgan Freeman) annual holiday party, leads her to the coveted key—which promptly disappears into a strange and mysterious parallel world. It’s there that Clara encounters a soldier named Phillip (Jayden Fowora-Knight), a gang of mice and the regents who preside over three Realms: Land of Snowflakes, Land of Flowers and Land of Sweets. Clara and Phillip must brave the ominous Fourth Realm, home to the tyrant Mother Ginger (Helen Mirren), to retrieve Clara’s key and hopefully return harmony to the unstable world. Starring Keira Knightley as the Sugar Plum Fairy, Disney’s new holiday feature film “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms” is directed by Lasse Hallström and Joe Johnston, and inspired by E.T.A. Hoffmann’s classic tale.

Reasons Why You Should See Disney’s The Nutcracker and the Four Realms

Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms, Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms Movie Review, #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, Mackenzie Foy, Keira Knightley, Eugenio Derbez, Richard E. Grant, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, Misty Copeland, Jayden Fowara-Knight

The Four Realms
Unlike the ballet that only has three realms, the move has four realms. The land of sweets, the land of snow,  the land of flowers and a mystery land but you’ll have to go see the movie to see what the mystery is. All the lands are different and beautiful in their own way.

The Ballet

The Nutcracker would not be the Nutcracker for most without some ballet so fear not because not only did Disney bring the ballet they brought the best, Misty Copeland. If you’ve never seen Misty Copeland dance the Nutcracker, this is a definite bonus of seeing Disney’s the Nutcracker and the Four Realms. Ms. Copeland’s dancing inspires and delights.

Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms, Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms Movie Review, #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, Mackenzie Foy, Keira Knightley, Eugenio Derbez, Richard E. Grant, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, Misty Copeland, Jayden Fowara-Knight

Scenery
If you are a fan of the ballet, the scenery will not disappoint. One of my favorite things about seeing the production in the theater is the transformation of a stage into the land of sweets. Disney’s the Nutcracker and the Four Realms does not disappoint. The scenery is absolutely breathtaking and transformative, transporting you through time and space. Crisp white snow falling against the colorful backdrops in the Nutcracker movie is cinematically breathtaking.

Costumes
The costumes were beautiful and vibrant, each one a perfect reflection of the character wearing it. If you are familiar with the Nutcracker ballet you will see a lot of familiar costumes which will leave you with that warm fuzzy feeling of nostalgia that we all associate with the Nutcracker.

Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms, Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms Movie Review, #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, Mackenzie Foy, Keira Knightley, Eugenio Derbez, Richard E. Grant, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, Misty Copeland, Jayden Fowara-Knight

The Sugar Plum Fairy
Keira Knightley with her cotton candy hair, baby voice and bubbly personality gave me a whole new perspective of who the Sugar Plum Fairy really is. She will make you laugh but don’t be fooled, she is definitely more than just a pretty face.

Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms, Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms Movie Review, #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, Mackenzie Foy, Keira Knightley, Eugenio Derbez, Richard E. Grant, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, Misty Copeland, Jayden Fowara-Knight

Plot Twist

After seeing the movie, I can tell you this, expect the unexpected. Expect for your eyes to be dazzled by the beautiful imagery, your heart to swell with a new twist on a classic tale and your ears to find familiarity even amongst the exciting twists and turns that only Disney magic can provide.

Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms, Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms Movie Review, #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, Mackenzie Foy, Keira Knightley, Eugenio Derbez, Richard E. Grant, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, Misty Copeland, Jayden Fowara-Knight

Mackenzie Foy

Mackenzie Foy, to me, is the perfect Clara. A Clara for a new generation of girls to look up to. Not only is she what we’ve all imagined Clara to look like our entire lives, but she is also simultaneously a plot twist; an enigma wrapped up in a mystery. She may at first glance appear delicate but she is strong, self-assured, confident, smart and not afraid to face her fears. Not afraid to be the change, not afraid to say no and find her own way. She embodies everything we hope our little girls see in themselves and I think by seeing Mackenzie in such a strong, inspirational role they will.

Without giving away the ending for you, especially if you are a fan of the ballet, I really want you to watch Disney’s the Nutcracker with fresh eyes and an open mind. Pretend it is the first time you’ve ever seen the Nutcracker and enjoy every single moment. While it definitely pays homage to the classic, it stands alone as a new classic. You will want to watch this over and over again. It’s the movie you will watch with your children and your children’s children.

READ ALSO: The Nutcracker’s Tiniest Soldier

Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms, Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms Movie Review, #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, Mackenzie Foy, Keira Knightley, Eugenio Derbez, Richard E. Grant, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, Misty Copeland, Jayden Fowara-Knight

It’s heartwarming in all the best ways and recognizable enough to pull at your heartstrings with nostalgia. Just remember, and this is all I am saying, there is a plot twist from what you’ve known of the ballet and it’s more than just Mother Ginger. So go see it for yourself and expect the unexpected and them let me know what you think of Disney’s the Nutcracker and the Four Realms.

Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms, Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms Movie Review, #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, Mackenzie Foy, Keira Knightley, Eugenio Derbez, Richard E. Grant, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, Misty Copeland

I just saw it but you can believe that tonight, I’ll be seeing it with my girls. They’ve been texting me and begging me to tell them all about it since I saw it but I want them to experience the magic of Disney’s the Nutcracker and the Four Realms all for themselves and I can’t wait to be there to see their reactions. If you see it or take your children, I’d love to hear your reactions and what your children thought. Please leave them in the comments section. And if you see it, what was your favorite part? Why?

THE NUTCRACKER AND THE FOUR REALMS opens in theatres everywhere on November 2nd!

Follow #DisneysNutcracker on Social Media!

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If your kids love the movie, as much as I think mine will, these Disneys the Nutcracker and the Four Realms Coloring sheets are loads of fun to color.

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