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A Whole New World… Aladdin (2019)

Aladdin-poster

In 1992, a fantastic thing happened. A Disney cartoon was released and open many eyes into the world of Disney animation. This is true for me. I remember watching Disney cartoons from childhood, but never in my wildest dreams would I think a cartoon could move me and pull me into a journey full of emotion and laughter like Aladdin did. It opened my eyes to musicals in general. I had seen several plays at our local playhouse and I’d seen Phantom of the Opera a couple times in Nashville and Chicago by then, but hearing the music from Aladdin changed me. It was the first soundtrack to a movie I remember buying on CD. Now, you can’t even begin to think about Aladdin without the image of the late great Robin Williams popping into your mind. Robin is synonymous with the movie. He was the movie. He truly held all the power (of laughter) in the Universe with an itty bitty living space. Upon hearing that Disney had decided to do a live action film, my immediate reaction was, “That just can’t happen without Robin.” I was nervous that it would be cast to someone who would ruin the memory of the original and put a black mark on the shiny lamp where Aladdin resides in my brain.

Finally we got word that the genie had been cast. Will Smith??!?!? The Fresh Prince of Agrabah? Oh… this won’t end well. Time passed. Finally, a teaser was released. What was this? Excitement? I could feel the hairs on my arms standing on end, soon as I heard the music. Then BAM! There was Will in blue. Do you know what happened? I felt OK. I think I had a realization in the moment I heard him speak and witnessed Will standing there as the Genie. It was OK. He wasn’t Robin. He didn’t need to be Robin. He was his own Genie. This film needs to stand on its own and not be compared to the original. No one can replace a talent like Robin Williams. He was a light that shined so bright that the shadows it created are still left on the Earth today. Once again I found myself having to set aside any preconceived notions and walk into the film with eyes open and ready to see a whole new world, again… for the first time.

Opening night was finally upon us. I gathered up my family and dragged them to the 7pm show on the Friday before Memorial Day. This is something that I NEVER do. We usually hit a matinee on Saturday or Sunday, if we make it to opening weekend at all. Even when I was asked to write my opinions of Disney movies for this blog, I asked to be given a little grace in regard to when I would go see the movies. I asked for at least 2 weeks from opening. So with that in mind, the fact that I went opening night to a 7pm show should say something about the level of excitement I had for this movie. The main question is, did they deliver?

YEAH THEY DID! From the opening song to the closing credits musical dance.. The film was amazing. The live action cast did a fantastic job of bringing the cartoon to life while paying homage to the original and making Aladdin their own.  As Disney does, they add new songs to their live action versions. This did not disappoint! The new song sung by Jasmine, was a beautiful song about not being silent, but letting your voice be heard. Disney is making a statement in female empowerment and they are doing it in a great way! Being the father of a little girl, it warmed my heart to know my daughter was sitting there listening to a song written for her. Jasmine (Naomi Scott) stole the show! She was amazing! Second was the Genie (Will Smith). He wasn’t Robin Williams, but he was a new genie. In the first Aladdin, the Genie was the star. This time he was second, but not because Will wasn’t as powerful as Robin, it’s just that Jasmine was that strong. Don’t get me wrong, Aladdin (Mena Massoud) was good and did a fine job, but he worked in the shadows of Naomi and Will. Frank Welker was back as the voice of the Cave of Wonders and loved hearing Alan Tudyk as Iago! If there was a negative, it would have to be Marawan Kenzari as Jafar. He did a great job as the character but, it’s his voice…. Jonathan Freeman had a voice that made you feel the evil inside Jafar. Marawan, just doesn’t have the voice to pull off that level of “evil”. It’s like getting Jim Carey to play the voice of Darth Vader… It’s just not going to be the same as James Earl Jones.

Can’t write a review of this movie without mentioning the biggest surprise… Guy Ritchie directed this movie. For those of you who may not know who Guy is… he is the man responsible for a lot of fantastic movies, Snatch, Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, and the Robert Downey Jr. Sherlock Holmes films. Going from those movies to a Disney Aladdin…whoa, big jump! I have to say, this was the biggest surprise of all for me. I hadn’t noticed that he was at the helm till I saw his name pop up in the opening credits. Soon as I saw it, I actually said out loud, “Guy Ritchie directed this?!!!?” Everyone around me looked at me like my head was on fire. I’m guessing the main crowd for Aladdin aren’t big fans of movies like Snatch.

Over a year ago, I was nervous about Disney going live action with some of their animated films, but now… I’m blown away. How dare I question the Mouse?!?! Go see Aladdin and try not to sing too loud in the theater.

 

Trailer as presented by Will!

Travel

World of Disney Refurb

We’ve had several months to get over the shock of the complete reimagination of the World of Disney shop at Disney Springs. Yes, many of us feel that a bit of our childhood is gone with the absence of so many of our favorite characters in this huge shopping oasis. I, myself, had to take a picture of the Genie dressed as a tourist, every time we were shopping. Take heart. All is not lost. Yet again, Disney has showed us their infinite wisdom in this new streamlined design. It doesn’t feel as crowded or as overstimulating. Items are easier to find and it feels like guest traffic flow is better.

Our favorite characters are back, but not at neck-breaking heights as they were before. So many wonderful digital and artful touches that make you feel like you, yourself have stepped into a Disney animated production. You see art supplies, paint colors, pencil sketches, posters and more.

My absolute favorite part of this reimagined space, is at the checkout. As you head to finalize your purchases, you feel as if you just stepped into the Walt Disney Studios, back in the days when hand drawn animation was king. I love seeing all of the sketches, the counters that are made to look like the animator’s desks, the filing drawers, the photos, display art and much more.

Disney Imagineers and designers did an amazing job paying tribute to those who brought us so many of our favorite characters many years ago. Above, you can see the filing drawers labeled with the names of films created by Disney’s Nine Old Men. It’s truly a joy to look around and see all of the special touches that might have been missed by those in a hurry, or those simply unaware of who these animation giants were.

This unassuming bulletin board, pays homage to Disney’s Nine Old Men. I have to admit that I became very excited and giddy when I first spotted it. Who are they? Well, I’m glad you asked… here’s a bit of Disney history…

Disney’s Nine Old Men, were Walt Disney Production’s core group of animators. The play on words here is that many of them were in their twenties when they first were hired and Walt still called them old men. This eclectic group, worked during the golden era of the studios on animated features from Steamboat Willie (Les Clark was the only one of the Nine Old Men to work with Ub Iwerks on the origins of Mickey, himself) Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs all the way to The Rescuers! That’s almost 40 years of animation!

Disney’s Nine Old Men were… Les Clark, Ollie Johnston, Frank Thomas, Marc Davis, Milt Kahl, Ward Kimball, Eric Larson, John Lounsberry and Wolfgang Reitherman.

Sadly, all nine of these talented animators are now deceased. They sure left us with some amazing memories with all of the productions they worked on. I applaud Disney for taking us back to their roots and showcasing some of the art of this talented group.

Here are a few more examples, at check out, of the sketches, that were most likely ready for their pencil test, back in the day.

During your next Disney vacation, where it be at Walt Disney World, Disneyland or even one of Disney’s Beach Resorts, always keep your eyes open for Disney magic. If you need an experienced Travel Planner to make sure you don’t miss little surprises like these, contact us today! The Good Vibe Travel Girls have been booking Disney vacations for 12 years. 🌟 That’s a lot of Disney trips and experience!

Wishing you Good Vibes and Disney Rides, Darcie

Travel

All good things… Endgame!

Avengers-Endgame-MCU-Rewatch

We’re in the Endgame now.

The time has come. The end is upon us. Will the universe be left ripped in half by the snap of a mad Titan or will it be avenged?

Marvel fans Assemble!!! The movie we have been waiting on is upon us! The Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase 3 is complete! 22 films to tell the twisted tale of a mad Titan’s dream and the mighty heroes destined to stop him. Last month, I challenged each you to take up your shield and hammer and forge forward with me on a quest to watch all 21 movies in 30 days! How many of you made it? I can proudly say, I DID IT! Granted I had the help of some unexpected downtime, thanks to a bout with the flu and a stomach virus…(not sure it was worth it?!?!)  As I’ve stated in my previous blog posts, I always do my best to go into a movie without any expectations. I won’t lie, I failed miserably on this one! There has been so much hype about this film, from commercials, teasers, trailers, talk show hosts (if you haven’t seen the amazing We Didn’t Start the Fire by the Avengers from Jimmy Fallon, you are missing out!) and within my own mind. I can honestly say, I’ve never been so excited to see a movie. Now, I’ve been a Star Wars fan for almost my entire life, but it doesn’t compare to this. There have been several EPIC tales told through movies  and television (Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones, and I’ll even throw in Harry Potter) None of them come close to the level that Marvel and Disney has done with the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe). So I am going to forgive myself and allow the expectation to blossom and grow in anticipation of this movie. I think the story deserves it. I think the fans deserve it.

And did they deliver? Absolutely!!! I was utterly and completely blown away. This movie exceeded all expectations and was one of the best movies I’ve ever seen. A friend of ours, who is not a Marvel fan, walked out of the movie theater talking about how awesome it was!

So here is my **NO SPOILER REVIEW**

From the opening scenes to the closing credits, you could feel the emotion put forth by the actors, the writers, and the director. The movie had an overall feel that is hard to express in words. I laughed and I cried. There was such a wide range of emotion while watching the movie. The buildup of a scene, the significance of an event, and the raw passion from everyone involved could be felt throughout. I went into the movie spoiler free. I avoided a lot of social media to keep some idiotic keyboard cowboy from performing an act of cyber-bullying and getting their kicks off by ruining the movie. It was hard, but it was worth it! Luckily a friend of ours shot me a text message to let me know the 1pm showing was sold out. We were going to the 4pm show. I rushed to the Study of our house and got on the laptop. YES! There were still tickets available online. It was 12:45. Literally 5 mins after I had purchased our tickets, I opened ths website back up and the 4pm show was sold out. With our 9 tickets in hand (Thank you ONLINE Sales!) I still got the theater an hour early, just in case there was a line. I prepared for this movie. Let’s not fool ourselves, the older we get the harder it is to go 3 hours without a bathroom break. I actually stopped drinking any fluids 4 hours before going into the movie so I could make the full run time. I am pleased to say I made it! There are several articles out explaining (mostly spoiler free) times to make a bathroom run. I must disagree with them. To me, this film needs to be watched in its entirety. Every scene has meaning. It may not be a direct plot supporter or a moment of significance explaining the meaning of something, but it has value. Every scene has something. The majority of people in the audience could sense it as well. As I said the viewing we attended was a sold out show. The theater was packed. There were moments you could hear a pin drop. For almost 3 hours, a room full of strangers were on a journey together. A journey masterly conceived, well written, well directed, and acted out to perfection. I hope there was a showing in Heaven and Stan Lee had a front row seat. Thank you Stan.

 

OFFICIAL TRAILER:

Travel

Meet Sonny Eclipse

Did you know that deep in the Magic Kingdom’s Tomorrowland there is a well-loved alien lounge singer? Yes! Sonny Eclipse, an Audio-Animatronic, corny-joke telling, Astro Organ playing Lounge Lizard, performs at Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe everyday (and night)!

Sonny Eclipse performs 8 out-of-this-world original songs during his 25 minute sets in the Starlight Lounge room in the back of Cosmic Ray’s quick service restaurant. This is a great place to have a quick lunch or a quick dinner and enjoy some downtime.

We’ve had some great burgers here (the angus bacon cheeseburger, to be specific) great pulled pork sandwich, delicious macaroni and cheese and an amazing toppings bar. It’s a favorite among our family, not only for the burgers, but for Sonny’s show! We may know it by heart, but it’s still a must-do for us on every trip.

You can order via mobile ordering which helps during busy times. They also work very well with those of us who have food allergies. Check out Disney’s website for more info.

https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/dining/magic-kingdom/cosmic-ray-starlight-cafe/?CMP=OKC-wdw_dining_gmap_378

Disney vibes and Disney rides,

Darcie