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Entertainment

Entertainment is enjoyable from babies to adults. Whether you’re single, married, have kids or not movies, arts, sports and events bring people together.

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

Volta the show

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

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

BMX & Street Sports

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

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

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

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

READ ALSO: Luzia~ A Vibrant Waking Dream of Mexico

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

Volta Costumes

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

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

Volta Ticket Information

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

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

READ ALSO: Running Away with Cirque du Soleil Kurios

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

Facebook.com/VOLTA

Twitter: @Cirque #VOLTA

Instagram: cirquedusoleil #VOLTA

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

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Corteo, Cirque du Soleil

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

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

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

Corteo, Cirque du Soleil

Tickets are available at cirquedusoleil.com/corteo.

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

 

Corteo, Cirque du Soleil

 

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

 

Corteo, Cirque du Soleil

 

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

 

Corteo, Cirque du Soleil

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

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

Corteo, Cirque du Soleil

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

Social media

Facebook: facebook.com/Corteo

Twitter: @Cirque #CORTEO

Instagram: @cirquedusoleil #CORTEO

Corteo, Cirque du Soleil
Ticket information

Show Schedule:

Wednesday, May 8, 2019 – 7:30 pm

Thursday, May 9, 2019 – 7:30 pm

Friday, May 10, 2019 – 7:30 pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

READ ALSO: Tips to Beat the Heat at Disney

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

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Yacht Club

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

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

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

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

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

Disney Beach Club Resort

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

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

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

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Disney’s Beach Club Villas

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

Disney’s the Animal Kingdom

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

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

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

Disney World’s Polynesian

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

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

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

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

Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary

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

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

Disney’s Boardwalk Inn

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

Disney’s Boardwalk Villas

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

Disney’s Port Orleans French Quarter

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

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

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

Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

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

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

Just announced Free Disney Dining Plan Day this Summer!

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

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

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

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

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

READ ALSO: Les Miserables a Must See

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo: Jeremy Daniel

How Peter Pan came to be.

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

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

Photo: Jeremy Daniel

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

Photo: Jeremy Daniel

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

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Disney's the Lion King, LIve action movie, Disney Movie, The Lion King, The Lion King Trailer, Disney Studios

Disney’s The Lion King live action movie is coming to theaters this summer and we are here for it. Disney studios is bringing so many great movies to the theaters this year and Aladdin, Toy Story and the Lion King are just a few that we are looking forward to. But right now, we’ve got a surprise for you…a first look at the official trailer for The Lion King.

As a family, we’ve 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. Both girls still crack up at Timon and Pumba. It’s one of those heartwarming Disney movies that we watch together and feel closer after doing so. It’s super glue for families.

Disney's the Lion King, LIve action movie, Disney Movie, The Lion King, The Lion King Trailer, Disney Studios

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

When we heard that they were remaking Disney’s Lion King into a live action version in 2019, we were ecstatic. I can’t wait to see how they parlay the story from animated animals to live action. Then again, after seeing Disney’s Dumbo, I have faith that there is little that Disney studios can’t do. I’m hoping it’s going to be as magical of some of Disney’s other live-action remakes like Maleficent, Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast.

If the new official trailer is any indication of the quality of Disney magic we can expect, I’m excited…jump up and down, can’t wait to take my girls and the Big Guy to see it, excited. My expectations are high because it’s such a beloved film but I don’t believe that Disney is going to disappoint.

Disney's the Lion King, LIve action movie, Disney Movie, The Lion King, The Lion King Trailer, Disney Studios

Here is what you’ve been waiting for, Disney’s the Lion King official trailer:

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.

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

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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Eugenio Derbez, Nicholas Coombe, Jeffrey Wahlberg, Madeleine Madden, Isabela Moner, Paramount Pictures' , Dora, Dora the Explorer, Dora and the Lost City of Gold, Boots, Dora the Movie

Swiper, no swiping. Anyone who has a child between the ages of 0-19, especially those of us who are Latino, knows all too well what those words mean. Did you hear the news? Dora the Explorer is coming to the big screen in a live-action feature-length film Dora and the Lost City of Gold. We are here for it.

I spent the better part of the first 6 years of motherhood watching Dora the Explorer. In fact, I remember our first Christmas as parents, the Big Guy tussled with a granny over a Dora the Explorer dollhouse for Bella. She has a special place in our house and our hearts.

Eugenio Derbez, Nicholas Coombe, Jeffrey Wahlberg, Madeleine Madden, Isabela Moner, Paramount Pictures' , Dora, Dora the Explorer, Dora and the Lost City of Gold, Boots, Dora the Movie

Dora is no longer a little explorer in the jungle with Boots. She’s moved to the city to attend high school with her cousin Diego. No worries, it’s not long before she’s back to her old ways solving mysteries, having adventures and even hanging out with Boots and saving the day. Dora the Explorer has grown up and become Indiana Jones 2.0.

READ ALSO: I Speak Baby, do You?

Her first mission as an adorably awkward teen is to save her parents and solve the mystery of a lost Inca civilization. Bringing this beloved Nickelodeon series to the big screen in the most adventurous way possible. Personally, I’m getting a live-action Scooby Doo vibe and I’m here for it.

 

Paramount unveiled the Dora and the Lost City of Gold preview during the Kids’ Choice Awards.

In the trailer of Dora and the Lost City of Gold, Dora (Isabela Moner) is sent off to live in the city with her cousin Diego (Jeffrey Wahlberg), separating her for the first time from the jungle she calls home and her parents (played by Eva Longoria and Michael Peña).

High school is an adjustment from the life she’s always known. There are no Boots the sidekick, crime-fighting weapons are not allowed on school property and a large purple backpack is a hazard when it tends to get stuck in school bus doors.

Eugenio Derbez, Nicholas Coombe, Jeffrey Wahlberg, Madeleine Madden, Isabela Moner, Paramount Pictures' , Dora, Dora the Explorer, Dora and the Lost City of Gold, Boots, Dora the Movie

READ ALSO: Girls and their Daddies

No fear, the big city doesn’t completely gentrify our heroine. Her explorer skills kick in when she’s forced back to the jungle to save her parents and solve the mystery of the long-lost city of gold. Her sidekick monkey, Boots, voiced by Danny Trejo, is also along for the ride.

The film stars Eugenio Derbez, as Alejandro, a mysterious jungle inhabitant trying to protect Dora and her friends.

Eugenio Derbez, Nicholas Coombe, Jeffrey Wahlberg, Madeleine Madden, Isabela Moner, Paramount Pictures' , Dora, Dora the Explorer, Dora and the Lost City of Gold, Boots, Dora the Movie

READ ALSO: Calling Little Girls the B-Word is how we Empower Strong Women

We had many a play date acting out scenes from Dora the Explorer. We had dress up costumes, Boots the monkey and even the purple backpack. Figurines and dollhouses, if they made it we had it. I remember the birthday parties and playing Dora the Explorer edition Chutes and Ladders. We even saw Dora and Diego live on stage. My girls loved her and I loved having a strong, inquisitive, bilingual female character that my little girls could grow up watching.

Eugenio Derbez, Nicholas Coombe, Jeffrey Wahlberg, Madeleine Madden, Isabela Moner, Paramount Pictures' , Dora, Dora the Explorer, Dora and the Lost City of Gold, Boots, Dora the Movie

Dora the Explorer is thrilling us with her evolution. I love that my daughter, grew up loving Dora, and now gets to see Dora on the big screen. My daughter starts high school next August. My girls can’t wait to see Dora and the Lost City of Gold and neither can I.

The all-new adaptation Dora and the Lost City of Gold will hit theaters Aug. 2. I’ll be seeing it, will you?

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Nick Cartell, Josh Davis, Victor Hugo, Les Misérables, Les Miserables, Les Misérables tour, Jean Valjean, why everyone should see Les Misérables, Cosette, Mary Kate Moore, Fantine, Eponine, Paige Smallwood, Joshua Grosso, Marius, Jillian Butler, Broadway, Les Misérables U.S. Broadway Tour

Earlier this week, we took the girls to see Les Misérables, the musical based on the novel by Victor Hugo. This has been one of my favorite musicals since I first watched it on PBS as a child. When I watched the movies with my daughters and the Big Guy, we all sung along and laughed and cried. But nothing beats seeing Les Misérables from any seat in the house at the theater. The voices on stage transport your soul back to a time of civil unrest during the French Revolution.

With glorious new staging and dazzlingly reimagined scenery inspired by the paintings of Victor Hugo, this breathtaking production of Les Misérableswhich broke box office records during its pre-Broadway tour, has left both audiences and critics awestruck, cheering “Les Miz is born again!”

Nick Cartell, Josh Davis, Victor Hugo, Les Misérables, Les Miserables, Les Misérables tour, Jean Valjean, why everyone should see Les Misérables, Cosette, Mary Kate Moore, Fantine, Eponine, Paige Smallwood, Joshua Grosso, Marius, Jillian Butler, Broadway, Les Misérables U.S. Broadway Tour

Set against the backdrop of 19th-century France, Les Misérables tells an enthralling story of broken dreams and unrequited love, passion, sacrifice and redemption-a timeless testament to the survival of the human spirit. Featuring one of the greatest scores of all time, with thrilling and beloved songs including “I Dreamed A Dream,” “On My Own,” “Stars,” “Bring Him Home,” “One Day More,” “Do You Hear the People Sing” and many more, this epic and uplifting story has become one of the most celebrated musicals in theatrical history. Along with the Oscar-winning movie version, it has now been seen by more than 130 million people in 44 countries and in 22 languages around the globe. Les Misérables is still the world’s most popular musical, breaking box office records everywhere in its 33rd year.

READ ALSO: Phantom of the Opera a Family Review

Nominated for three Tony Awards, this latest Broadway production is a more than worthy chapter in Les Miserables’ long history. It debuted at the Imperial Theatre in 2014 and ran for two years, drawing huge acclaim for its stripped-down storytelling, which jettisons some of the bloat attached to previous productions, and the atmospheric video projections that lend the show a hugely cinematic backdrop.

Nick Cartell, Josh Davis, Victor Hugo, Les Misérables, Les Miserables, Les Misérables tour, Jean Valjean, why everyone should see Les Misérables, Cosette, Mary Kate Moore, Fantine, Eponine, Paige Smallwood, Joshua Grosso, Marius, Jillian Butler, Broadway, Les Misérables U.S. Broadway Tour

Cameron Mackintosh’s production of Boublil and Schönberg’s Les Misérables has music by Claude-Michel Schönberg, lyrics by Herbert Kretzmer from the original French text by Alain Boublil and Jean-Marc Natel, additional material by James Fenton and original adaptation by Trevor Nunn and John Caird. The original Les Misérables orchestrations are by John Cameron with new orchestrations by Christopher Jahnke, Stephen Metcalfe and Stephen Brooker.  The production is directed by Laurence Connor and James Powell, designed by Matt Kinley inspired by the paintings of Victor Hugo with costumes by Andreane Neofitou and Christine Rowland, lighting by Paule Constable, sound by Mick Potter, musical staging by Michael Ashcroft and Geoffrey Garratt and projections by Fifty-Nine Productions. Music Supervision is by Stephen Brooker and James Moore, with casting by Kaitlin Shaw for Tara Rubin Casting.

Nick Cartell, Josh Davis, Victor Hugo, Les Misérables, Les Miserables, Les Misérables tour, Jean Valjean, why everyone should see Les Misérables, Cosette, Mary Kate Moore, Fantine, Eponine, Paige Smallwood, Joshua Grosso, Marius, Jillian Butler, Broadway, Les Misérables U.S. Broadway Tour

Speaking of the cast, Nick Cartell as Jean Valjean, was probably the best I’ve ever heard. He moved everyone in the theater the way he told the story of Jean Valjean with his amazing voice. He presented Jean Valjean in an underdog way that made you really want to take him in and help him out. You rooted for him. You wanted to see him get the redemption he so desperately seeked. Another big voice was Paige Smallwood’s, Éponine. I would say she was equal to Cartell’s Jean Valjean. Her voice gave you all the feels and, even though we all know how it turns out for Éponine, I found myself wishing for a plot twist.

READ ALSO: Wicked, Good for the Entire Family

Josh Davis was a powerful and unrelenting Javert and while you want to hate him, you felt this underlying sympathy for him. Josh Davis’ performance was stellar. J Anthony Crane and Allison Guinn, Thénardier and Madame Thénardier, were hilarious and perfectly cast. They masterfully delivered every joke to perfection with bold, vibrant voices and impeccable timing. Other stand out performances were delivered by Matt Shingledecker, as Enjolras, Mary Kate Moore, as Fantine, Joshua Grosso, as Marius, and Jillian Butler, as Cosette. Really the entire cast was stellar. I could watch and listen to this casts’ production of Les Misérables over and over again.

One last cast member that I need to mention, Parker Weathersbee, as Petit Gervais, Gavroche, captivated me. He is making his national tour debut with Les Misérables and he brought the house down with his performance. He is such a big personality in such a young performer.

The new production is currently playing to sold-out houses across North America, Mexico City and on tour in the U.K. To date, Les Misérables remains the 5th longest-running Broadway production of all time. If you’ve never seen Les Misérables, I highly recommend that you go see it on tour.

Nick Cartell, Josh Davis, Victor Hugo, Les Misérables, Les Miserables, Les Misérables tour, Jean Valjean, why everyone should see Les Misérables, Cosette, Mary Kate Moore, Fantine, Eponine, Paige Smallwood, Joshua Grosso, Marius, Jillian Butler, Broadway, Les Misérables U.S. Broadway Tour

It has something for everyone; drama, a revolution, history, a love triangle, unrequited love, humor, tenderness, parental love and, my personal favorite, a man doing his best to survive the human condition while chasing redemption with a passion. A theme I think everyone who’s ever lived can relate to some degree. It’s hard to find the words to encompass such an amazing production with such a powerhouse cast. I was moved to tears throughout the show and it wasn’t just me, the Big Guy and my girls were tearing up several times. We were absolutely blown away.

READ ALSO: The Aladdin Experience

For me, giving my girls the gift of the theater is one of my favorite things aside from travel. But in a way, aren’t we transported to different spaces and times when we see a Broadway show? The memories of laughing, singing and crying in the theater together, looking over and sharing a smile, giving a standing ovation to a well-deserved group of performers, there is nothing quite like it. We will share those memories forever and one day, when I am gone, my girls will hear Fantine’s Death and think of me and the time we saw Les Misérables together when they were children, well, somewhere between children and women.

Nick Cartell, Josh Davis, Victor Hugo, Les Misérables, Les Miserables, Les Misérables tour, Jean Valjean, why everyone should see Les Misérables, Cosette, Mary Kate Moore, Fantine, Eponine, Paige Smallwood, Joshua Grosso, Marius, Jillian Butler, Broadway, Les Misérables U.S. Broadway Tour

I encourage you to share these experiences with your children if they are able to stay up, stay still and mature enough to appreciate the themes. My girls are 11 and 14-years-old but we’ve been taking them to Broadway shows and the ballet since they were preschoolers. This is how their love of the theater began.

Les Misérables will be at the Morris Performing Arts Center in South Bend from March 19- March 24, 2019. If you miss it there, check out the Les Misérables website for future dates.

I do know that the Tony Award-winning musical phenomenon Les Misérables will return for its much anticipated Chicago engagement at Broadway In Chicago’s Cadillac Palace Theatre (151 W Randolph) July 9-27, 2019, direct from a celebrated two-and-a-half year Broadway engagement.

Individual tickets for Les Misérables will go on sale at a later date.  For more information, visit www.BroadwayInChicago.com.

IfLes Misérables teaches us anything, remember always, that where there is love, there is hope.

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Austin, Texas, How to stay weird like a local, DIrty Sixth, East 6th street, Things to do in Austin Texas, places to eat in austin, places to drink in Austin Texas, Places to listen to live music in Austin, How to enjoy Austin like a local

Have you ever visited Austin, Texas?  Do you know all the things to do in Austin, Texas? I haven’t been but it’s one of those places that I’ve always wanted to visit. Any city whose catchphrase is “Stay weird” is my kind of town. The Big Guy and I are big foodies, we love live music and trying new craft beers is sort of our thing. What’s not to love?

Next month, I’m attending Mom 2.0 and it’s in Austin, Texas this year. The conference falls the week before the Big Guy’s birthday. We haven’t been on a trip alone since having our girls. It’s long overdue. I’m bringing him with me and we are going to experience Austin like a local because this gal has a cousin and a few amazing friends who live in Austin, Texas. I’ve asked for some best of recommendations and made a few play dates for the Big Guy and I.

READ ALSO: Things to Do in Portland

Favorite places to eat in Austin, drink in Austin, listen to live music and stay weird like a local in Austin Texas

Jester King Brewery

Jester King Brewery is a world-renowned brewer of farmhouse ales and barrel-aged wild ales located on 165 acres of farmland on the outskirts of Austin, TX. Established in 2010, Jester King is an authentic brewer of farmhouse ales whose philosophy is to work in partnership with nature to create beer unique to our natural surroundings.

Whisler’s

Whisler’s is a rustic-chic watering hole featuring handcrafted cocktails & a patio with frequent live music shows. For a really authentic visit, venture upstairs for some Mezcal tasting.

The Last Straw
“Serving vacation by the hour on East Sixth,” is the mantra of  The Last Straw. I may have to move to Austin with philosophies like that being thrown around. Last Straw is a first come, first serve establishment so get there before you can’t. Rumor has it from locals that the Last Straw has amazing tiki drinks and snacks.

Cosmic Coffee and Beer Garden

Cosmic Coffee and Beer Garden features specialty coffee, locally brewed beer, craft cocktails, food trucks + live music in a permaculture inspired garden setting. Kids welcome before 9pm (21+ after 9pm please). Pets always welcome.

Radio Coffee and Beer

Radio Coffee and Beer was voted best coffee shop 2016, 2017 and 2018 by a local reader’s poll. It is known to the locals for a good beer selection but the highlight is the Vera Cruz tacos. I also hear that you must get yourself the mole taco because it is amazing.

Easy Tiger

Easy Tiger Bake Shop and Beer Garden feature artisan bread, locally roasted coffee, house made meats, a full bar and more than 30 local and boutique draft beers. All of their breads, meats, sausages and charcuterie are prepared in house, as well as is their accompaniments, from Sauer kraut to mustard.

Craft Pride

Craft Pride is a unique Texas-only craft beer bar serving up the highest quality beer from regional breweries. Promoting the community’ commitment to supporting local business and sustainability, everything from the design, décor and construction to the local beer and wine selections. Craft Pride is a fun space for dedicated beer lovers and casual drinkers alike. It has an impressive 54 taps featuring Texas craft beers. The selection is said to be great. Also, Via 313 truck is in the back and has some of Austin’s finest pizza.

Bangers Sausage House and Beer Garden

Bangers Sausage House and Beer Garden has 30 House made Sausages and 200+ Beers on tap. At the end of the day, Banger’s is all about being a wonderful place to eat, drink and hangout. Not too rowdy, not too laid back, just a good old fashioned good time.

Homemade sausage, craft beer, pig roasts, beef jerky, pickled vegetables, spring days in Texas, Sunday brunch, and all forms of Americana and country music are a few of our favorite things.

They have a commitment to excellence and believe in the principle of hospitality. Located just a couple doors down from Craft Pride.

Licha’s Cantina

Licha’s Cantina is located in the heart of East 6th Street. Licha’s was named after the owner, Daniel Brook’s mom, Alicia “Licha” Rivera who was raised in Mexico City. The atmosphere is casual and familiar, like going home. When you’re there, they take care of you.

Inspired by the Mexican soul food that he grew up eating, Daniel Brook delivers fresh, thoughtful and authentic meals. According to my source, she’s obsessed with this place and everything on the menu is great. She recommends the queso fundido and vouches for the authenticity.

Suerte

The menu at Suerte combines local ingredients, thoughtful cooking techniques and the flavors of Mexico.  If you love authentic Mexican, Suerte is worth checking out. The set-up is charming with a full bar and a patio overlooking East Sixth Street. Suerte is the perfect place for everything from date night to big fiesta.

Hospitality prevails above all else, homemade masa reigns supreme and every day at Suerte is a lucky day.

Brewers Table

Brewers Table has beer as good as food as good as beer. It starts and ends there. Brewer’s Table aims to provide a place where food and beer share the spotlight.

With a considerate approach to the food and beer experience, creating a conversation between chef, brewer, and community, Brewer’s Table features 26 guest taps starring a few friends and favorites, a thoughtfully selected wine list and a full bar punctuated by craft cocktails inspired by the kitchen and brewing process. Sounds amazing to me and the locals agree.

Kemuri Tatsu-Ya

“Every bowl is like a warm hug from your mama telling you life is going to go your way.” – Kelsie Laing

Kemuri  Tatsu-Ya is winner of the 2017 Eater award for restaurant of the year.

Chefs Tatsu Aikawa and Takuya Matsumoto know what they’re doing when it comes to Japanese food. The evidence? Soothing warming bowls from Ramen Tatsu-ya. I have a foodie friend who said this is a MUST EAT.

For their follow-up trick, they decided to marry what they know best: Texas and Japanese techniques and ingredients. The result was funky, fun, and thoughtful Texan izakaya Kemuri Tatsu-ya, home to mash-up dishes aren’t gimmicky at all, like the rich Frito pie made with octopus fritters. As an homage to the address’ former tenant Live Oak Barbecue (whose smoked-stained walls remain part of the decor), the duo ventured into smoked meats. Because of Kemuri’s roots, that means everything from brisket (which even gets dressed up in a bowl of ramen) to ginormous fish collars. The restaurant rightly captured the attention and stomachs of Austin.

St. Elmo’s Brewery

St. Elmo’s Brewery was started by Tim Bullock and Bryan Winslow. Self-proclaimed not beer bigots, who like ALL the beer. They believe that every style of beer has a special place in life. St. Elmo is Bullock and Winslow’s effort to take you to all of those in places, in your mouth. Their motto is every day is made better with beer.

Soursop food truck is here for food. Soursop specializes in Pan-Asian bites.

Austin, Texas, How to stay weird like a local, DIrty Sixth, East 6th street, Things to do in Austin Texas, places to eat in austin, places to drink in Austin Texas, Places to listen to live music in Austin, How to enjoy Austin like a local

There’s lots of live music on East 6th Street or the “Dirty 6th” as the locals call it. This street is best on Thursday and Friday night. There are lots of rooftop bars and they shut down the street to traffic. Also, I’ve got it on good authority that The White Horse is a good time if you like country/bluegrass music with lots of dancing. From what I’ve been told by the locals, if you’re looking for a good time, Austin is the place to be.

What’re your favorite places to eat in Austin, drink in Austin, listen to live music and stay weird like a local in Austin Texas?

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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

In 1999, I got married. We honeymooned at Walt Disney World. It was my first trip. It also happened to be the same week Episode 1 hit the big screen. Star Wars Episode 1 happens to be the first Star Wars movie I ever saw of the series. It happened on my honeymoon at Walt Disney World. It feels like fate that Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge will be opening while my family is there celebrating not only our 20th wedding anniversary but my birthday. Happy Magical birthday to me!

Today, Disney Parks made a big announcement and we.are.thrilled. We’ve been planning our trip for a few months and we thought for sure we were going to miss the opening of Galaxy’s Edge but we were wrong. When I heard the news, I felt like we had been blessed by the Disney World Gods.

OPENING DATES Announced for STAR WARS: GALAXY’S EDGE in Disneyland AND Walt Disney World

In anticipation of high guest interest, Disney Parks, Experiences and Products announced today it will open Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge ahead of schedule at Disneyland Park in California on May 31 and at Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida on Aug. 29th. WAIT! WHAT? Yes, you read that correctly. Opening ahead of schedule!

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

On opening day for phase one, guests will be transported to the remote planet of Batuu, full of unique sights, sounds, smells and tastes. Guests can become part of the story as they sample galactic food and beverages, explore an intriguing collection of merchant shops and take the controls of the most famous ship in the galaxy aboard Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run. My husband and girls have been so excited about Galaxy’s Edge and the Millennium Falcon : Smugglers Run opening. When I told them the news today, actual joy broke out in my house.

READ ALSO: Free Tips for Maximizing Your Disney World Vacation

Phase two, opening later this year, will be Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, the most ambitious, immersive and advanced attraction ever imagined, which will place guests in the middle of a climactic battle between the First Order and the Resistance and will blur the lines between fantasy and reality. In light of tremendous demand, Disney made the decision to open the land in phases to allow guests to sooner enjoy the one-of-a-kind experiences that make Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge so spectacular.

Guests planning to visit Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disneyland Park between May 31 and June 23, 2019, will need valid theme park admission and will be required to make a no-cost reservation, subject to availability, to access the land. Information on how to make a reservation will be available at a later date on Disneyland.com and the Disney Parks Blog. Guests staying at one of the three Disneyland Resort hotels during these dates will receive a designated reservation to access Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge during their stay (one reservation per registered guest); valid theme park admission is required.

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

Once guests step foot on Batuu, they will be part of the action as it unfolds around them, and their interactions with the Play Disney Parks mobile app* will deepen their engagement with the land. They may choose to aid a smuggler, join the Resistance or pledge their loyalty to the First Order. In this all-new environment, guests can make choices about their experience that could impact their adventures as they travel throughout the land by using the Play Disney Parks mobile app in a whole new way. This depth of storytelling is part of the total immersion that will distinguish the two, 14-acre lands – the largest and most technologically advanced single-themed land expansions ever in a Disney park – from any other themed land in history. Is squeeing appropriate at this point because I’m pretty sure that is exactly what this moment dictates?

The new lands build off decades of collaboration between Walt Disney Imagineering and Lucasfilm Ltd., a global leader in film, television and digital entertainment production, including the Star Wars franchise. The work on Star Wars between these two creative powerhouses dates back to 1987, when the groundbreaking Star Tours attraction opened at Disneyland Park in California.

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

Batuu is a far-flung destination along the galaxy’s Outer Rim, on the frontier of Wild Space – the uncharted region beyond all known star systems. Batuu is home to Black Spire Outpost, an infamous port for smugglers, traders and adventurers wishing to avoid any unnecessary … entanglements with the First Order. Along the way, guests may encounter some familiar faces, from Rey, Finn, and Poe to BB-8 and Chewie.

For more than four decades, Star Wars fans have imagined what it would be like to blast across the stars inside the Millennium Falconor race through the halls of a Star Destroyer. Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge will feature two signature attractions that turn those dreams into reality.

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

Set to open at Disneyland Resort on May 31 and at Walt Disney World Resort on Aug. 29, Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run, will take guests into the cockpit of “the fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy.” They will take the controls of the Falcon in one of three unique and critical roles as the ship hurtles through space. Some will be pilots, some gunners and some flight engineers, creating multiple ways for guests to experience the attraction.

READ ALSO: Everything New at Disney in 2019

Set to open later this year, Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance places guests right in the middle of the Rebellion and gives them an active role in the fight against the First Order, including a faceoff with Kylo Ren. Their journey takes them inside a full-size starship and aboard a nearby Star Destroyer.

What does Blue Milk actually taste like? That question and more will be answered when guests visit Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and experience the new land’s expansive array of food and beverages. Guests will walk through a bustling street market, where vendors offer various local delicacies, including an Outpost Mix of uniquely flavored popped grains from Kat Saka’s Kettle, a unique popcorn snack with a combination of sweet, savory and spicy flavors.

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

At Oga’s Cantina, even the blaster-bolt scorches on the walls tell a story. Here, guests will gather to share their tales from around the galaxy as they enjoy exotic beverages served in unique vessels and listen to spirited musical entertainment provided by DJ R-3X, otherwise known as Rex, the former Starspeeder 3000 pilot droid from the original Star Tours. Rex re-invents himself as the cantina’s DJ, and he’s as quirky and talkative as ever.

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

A multi-purpose transport shuttle docked on top of a large hangar will beckon guests into Docking Bay 7 Food and Cargo, a designated location for traveling food shuttles. Chef Strono “Cookie” Tuggs is in much demand for his culinary skills, so he moves from site to site in a modified Sienar-Chall Utilipede-Transport that becomes a mobile kitchen and restaurant. His travels across the galaxy allow him to fill his pantry with exotic ingredients he uses to make new and unusual dishes. He is proud to present Tuggs’ Grub, a “traveling diner for diners traveling,” inspired by dishes he created during his time working for Maz Kanata on Takodana.

In the Black Spire Outpost market, Ronto Roasters will draw attention from passersby with its large podracing engine firing up a barbecue pit for mouth-watering Ronto Wraps. When hungry customers queue up to order, they will encounter a former smelter droid, carefully turning the spit of meats. Guests will also be able to choose from a variety of exotic non-alcoholic drinks like the Sour Sarlacc or Tatooine Sunset.

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

Elsewhere in the market, the Milk Stand will offer two local favorites – Blue Milk and Green Milk. Blue Milk was first seen in “Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope” when Luke Skywalker sat down for a family meal. Green Milk was introduced in “Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi.”

Food is one of many discoveries just waiting to be made while wandering the lively market of Black Spire Outpost, where guests will encounter a robust collection of merchant shops and stalls filled with authentic Star Wars creations.

READ ALSO: Secrets to Experiencing Magic Kingdom like an Insider

The Droid Depot will invite guests to construct their own astromech droids. Patrons will pick pieces and parts off a conveyor belt to build one of two core models (R-series or BB-series) and they can customize their droids with various parts and colors. These droids will be capable of interacting with elements in the land. Additional programming chips and accessories can be added to further customize these new friends. In addition, the Droid Depot will offer pre-built droids, droid-inspired products and more.

At Savi’s Workshop – Handbuilt Lightsabers, guests will have the opportunity to customize and craft their very own lightsabers. In this mystical experience, guests will feel the Force as they build these elegant weapons from a more civilized age.

Inside Dok-Ondar’s Den of Antiquities, guests will find a selection of rare and mysterious items for sale representing different eras of the Star Wars galaxy, including holocrons, ancient Jedi and Sith artifacts, lightsabers and more. As they explore the nooks and crannies of the shop, guests will also see Dok at his desk as the large Ithorian checks his inventory, takes incoming calls and barks the occasional order at his assistants.

READ ALSO: Everything You Need to Know about Disney Cruise

In addition to these special experiences, the Black Spire Outpost market will feature the Creature Stall dedicated to the plethora of rare and fascinating creatures that populate the galaxy, as well as Black Spire Outfitters, showcasing the latest in accessories. Guests will also find the Toydarian Toymaker, a stall full of toys crafted by a Toydarian (the flying alien species first seen in “Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace”).

Guests can also demonstrate where their loyalties lie with the gear and accessories they purchase within the land. Resistance Supply is a “makeshift” supply location at the Resistance’s hidden command area. The stall sells Resistance pins, badges, hats, and other accessories to help guests feel like part of the cause. First Order Cargo, meanwhile, is a temporary First Order storage dock near the market. Easily identified by a never-before-seen First Order TIE echelon, the cargo location will offer guests a chance to pledge their loyalty by purchasing pins, caps, gear, model ships and more.

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

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is the first land within a Disney park designed to integrate with the Play Disney Parks mobile app, which debuted last year and offers interactive adventures and experiences that bring surrounding environments to life at Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World Resort. When guests use the app, it will provide new opportunities for them to engage with the land, such as translating a galactic language, learning what’s hidden inside crates and containers, or accomplishing certain tasks by participating in missions.

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 also can use the Play Disney Parks app to interact with a variety of elements in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, such as droids, ships, media screens, door panels and antenna arrays.

Music has been an integral part of Star Wars from the moment the iconic themes of Academy Award-winning® composer John Williams first introduced us to this galaxy. The music for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge continues that tradition with a suite of all-new Williams-composed themes written especially for the land and its attractions. Along with a collection of original cantina songs created by composers and songwriters from around the globe, this new music will deepen guests’ connection to the land as Williams complements and builds upon the iconic fanfares he created for the Star Wars films.

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

More details about Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge will be released in the coming months. Visit DisneylandNews.com, WDWNews.com, DisneyParksBlog.com and StarWars.com for the most up-to-date information.

Capacity is limited. Access to the theme park, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and its experiences may be restricted or unavailable depending on guest demand and other factors.

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

Photos courtesy of Disney

Are you looking forward to Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge opening day? Will you be visiting Disney Parks this fall to check it out? What are you most excited about?

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#DisneyCreatorDays #DisneySMMC Walt Disney creator, Disney social media moms celebration, Disney Creator Days, What is Disney Creator Days, Walt Disney World, Disney Corporation, cinderella's castle

Wondering what Disney Creator Days is? If you’re an influencer, especially if you’re one who loves Disney, your dream collaboration is to partner with the Walt Disney Company. For years, the most coveted influencer invitation was to be invited to the annual Disney Social Media Moms Celebration, #DSMMC. This year that celebration is on hiatus. Enter Disney Creator Days. But what is it? It’s a new immersive influencer event. It’s not the same as Disney Social Media Moms Celebration.

I’ve been very fortunate and been invited to Disney events and, for me, it felt like winning the lottery. We visit Disney World yearly so being invited to Disney hosted events is icing on the cake. Disney World is the first place we visited as a couple (on our honeymoon) and have continued to do so as a family for the past 20 years. 20-year anniversary coming at you this May.

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READ ALSO: Tips from Disney on how to get Invited to Disney Social Media Moms Celebration

Growing up, my family loved Disney but visiting Walt Disney World was never an option for us. My mom stayed home with us and my father worked a blue collar job. They had 6 kids. Our vacations consisted of saving everything we could to visit grandparents in Tennessee and Mexico. I’m not complaining, we saw lots of states on our drives to these places (in fact, I’ve seen most of the United States and Mexico by car) but Florida was never “on the way.”

Every time I step foot on the grounds at WDW resorts, it feels special. I’m sure it has a lot to do with who I’m with but where I’m at makes it absolutely magical and has secured Walt Disney World as one of our favorite places to visit as a family. Disney is a feeling for me and I know I’m not the only one. Walt Disney World means dreams coming true, in so many different ways, for so many of its visitors.

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READ ALSO: Free Tips for Maximizing Your WDW Vacation

When I’ve been invited to Disney events, my whole family celebrates because, for us, it is a big deal. The Disney Social Media Moms Celebration was particularly exciting for me as an influencer because not only was I invited, which is an honor in itself, I was able to bring my family along with me. While there, I heard some of the most talented people in my field speak. Not only did my family get to share this experience with me, but Disney also provided me with tools to grow my website and brand. And on top of all of that, I had the opportunity to meet and network with some of my fellow influencers and their families.

This year, when Disney announced that Disney Social Media Moms Celebration was going on a “hiatus” of course I was disappointed because last year’s event was so meaningful to me but, in our field, stopping, reassessing and changing to fit the evolution of social media is what has to be done to stay current. It’s doing what’s best in the long run.

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READ ALSO: Is Disney Vacation Club for You?

When I heard they were hosting an event called Disney Creator Days I had no idea what that was because it’s a brand new adventure but I was excited to find out more. There wasn’t a lot of information out there but there was a lot of speculation. I don’t like to gossip so I did what I always do, I went directly to the source. I asked my contacts at Disney.

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What is Disney Creator Days?

Disney Creator Days is an invitation-only event being held at Walt Disney World Resort and Disney Cruise Line in March.  It is a familiarization type experience for influencers to showcase these incredible Disney vacation experiences.   

Disney Creator Days is not the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration.

It is something completely new. From my research online, reading posts by those invited, Disney Creator Days is a week-long land and sea adventure that will be hosted by Walt Disney World Resort and Disney Cruise Lines. It’s a very small event for just a few select influencers and their families. It will be on March 5-11, 2019.

It sounds like it’s going to be awesome and include everything you could ever need for the ultimate Walt Disney World vacation.

  • 4 Days at Walt Disney World including park hopper passes and media Fast Passes.
  • 3 Night stay at a Walt Disney World Resort
  • 3 Night cruise with Disney Cruise Line
  • All Flights and Transportation
  • Unlimited internet both on land and sea
  • Most meals
  • Exclusive access, first-looks, events, one-of-a-kind special experiences, and surprises.
  • All of the above 100% paid for by Disney.

It seems to me that the key difference between the Disney Creator Days and Disney Social Media Moms Celebration is that Disney Creator Days is to showcase the Disney vacation experience.

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Whereas when at Disney Social Media Moms Celebration, influencers attend a conference to grow their brand but are allowed time and encouraged to experience the Disney magic with their families in the parks. The focus is different for each event.

Another key difference, when you attend #DSMMC you pay a very reduced rate for the experience including the conference, lodging and parks. Disney Creator Days is 100% paid for by Disney. Either way, totally worth it.

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READ ALSO: Tips to Rock Your Disney World Vacation

Last difference, when you attend #DSMMC there are no clearly defined sharing obligations. Most influencers in attendance share a lot while we are there because the nuggets of wisdom are so great. Why wouldn’t we? Also, we’re are Walt Disney World and who doesn’t love to share family and travel adventures? So when you attend #DSMMC sharing is encouraged. When you attend Disney Creator Days there is a clearly defined expectation to create unique and engaging content about The Walt Disney Company and the experience itself before, during and after on all channels. Each influencer is expected to use their voice to provide a unique and honest perspective on the event. This is typical expectations of any press event with any company.

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The next question on everyone’s mind is how do I get invited to Disney Creator Days?

As I mentioned earlier, those invited were hand selected. Here are the tips that I have gathered over the years from Disney on how to be considered for any Disney press event.

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.

Qualities that Disney looks 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.

#DisneyCreatorDays #DisneySMMC Walt Disney creator, Disney social media moms celebration, Disney Creator Days, What is Disney Creator Days, Walt Disney World, Disney Corporation, space mountainThere you have it, everything I know about Disney Creator Days.

 

Disney Creator Days sounds absolutely amazing and I’m thrilled for everyone who got the invite. I can’t wait to follow along on the inaugural event. Who knows, if they continue this event, maybe one of these days I’ll get some pixie dust. Either way, my love for family travel and Walt Disney World will keep my family coming back year after year. See ya real soon!

 

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