Posts Tagged ‘disney’

Like many 4-year-old boys, my son has been counting down to see this movie for many months. Last night we finally reached the finish line and got to go screen Cars 3.

We walked in the theater, his 3D glasses in one hand, and his die-cast Lightning McQueen in the other. I was leery of how this would play out. My son has a hard time sitting through movies, especially the first go around (we saw Moana in theaters several times but he’d heard the soundtrack and that familiarity helped him get through). Would knowing most of the characters in this film be enough to keep him sitting still through the entire movie with dare I say… No bathroom breaks? We were about to find out.

If you are a Cars fan, I think this movie will pleasantly surprise you. Especially since Cars 2… No, just no. But if you aren’t a Cars fan and never have been, I’m not sure this movie will blow you away.

I wasn’t into Cars until my son came along and dusted the movie off from our Disney movie collection. Now that he’s seen every movie and Pixar Cars short more times than I can count, he’s inducted the whole family into the Lightning McQueen fan club. His joy brings me joy. So full disclosure– I don’t have much bad to say.

Lou – New Pixar Short

I had the opportunity to screen this short film earlier this year and I already knew I loved it. I also knew it would likely go over my 4-year-old’s head. Not that it’s very complicated. Like most Pixar shorts it had minimal dialogue and the message was conveyed through riveting and emotional animation.

It’s a story about a bully and his redemption after meeting and battling it out with an unusual ally.

It made my 4-year-old laugh, and I whispered to him asking how he thought the characters felt to see if he was grasping the point. It really is a beautiful story with a great moral for every kid about kindness. It’s one of my new favorite shorts so make sure you’re in your seats early enough to catch it.

Cars 3 Review: First Impressions

A 4-year-old's take on the new Pixar film. Cars 3 review.

As far as Pixar sequels go I feel like this one was up there. Way better than Cars 2 or Monsters University, giving us a similar nostalgic and flashback feel that Toy Story 3 brought. (Finding Dory is still my favorite).

Beyond that, this movie is rated G. The last time we saw this for a Pixar movie was four years ago with Monsters University. Before that it was 2011 when Winnie the Pooh and Cars 2 premiered. This movie was made for kids, kid laughs and kid enjoyment. I’m happy to say I enjoyed it too. There was less adult humor than you’ll find in Toy Story, and it was way less deep and far easier for kids to understand than Inside Out.

I went into this movie with MINIMAL knowledge of what it was about. I mean, I knew it was going to have a Rocky-type feel, knowing McQueen gets injured and is trying to make a comeback against new, younger and faster cars. After the fact I read some reviews about it being a film featuring female empowerment (or not)–I had no idea this was something Pixar was going for until after I saw the movie. However, given my surprise, I’m totally here for it and was literally cheering along with the crowd.

Cruz Ramirez (voiced by Cristela Alonzo) is a new favorite and certainly one to watch (I can’t imagine there won’t be another sequel after this as they didn’t close any doors).

All that said, we expected Lightning McQueen to be the star of the film, and no funny spy business like Cars 2.

On “female empowerment”

Like I mentioned, the Cruze Ramirez storyline caught me by surprise. I didn’t expect her to play such a big part in the movie. Without giving too much away (as usual, no spoilers), I feel the storyline charmingly came full-circle.–Giving life-long fans of Lightning McQueen a beautiful outcome, but also shining a spotlight on a new character–A girl at that!

Given McQueen’s history at being stubborn and hard-headed I didn’t expect him to be any different this time around. There are challenges along the way where he and Ramirez get into it–and into lots of trouble (these were some of the funniest scenes that had my son toppling over in laughter). In this journey we get to learn more about Ramirez and her past.

While this plot may not win over new fans, I think little girls who were already champions for the movie will walk away enthusiastic about a new character to cheer for. –(We are all going to see it again on Friday morning, with my 6-year-old daughter, I’ll update this with her review).

As the story moves along we meet an older character based on a female racer from the early days of NASCAR. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that, but I’m not sure my son (or daughter) noticed/cared.

Chick Hicks makes a hilariously annoying reappearance as a retired athlete gone “sportscaster.” Natalie Certain (voiced by Kerry Washington) is a respected statistical analyst, except Hicks doesn’t seem to respect her at all.–Cutting her off to make his own jokes. It seemed like a nod to the unfortunate reflection of how women are treated in the male-dominated, misogynistic industry of sports broadcasting. …Or maybe I’m just over-thinking things.

4-year-old translation: Chick Hicks aka “bad guy” kept interrupting a car that may or may not be Holley Shiftwell.

Nostalgia

Though I haven’t been anticipating a quality sequel for 11 years, I have been for the last 3, and I don’t think this disappoints. It’s everything Cars 2 should have been, even bringing in flashbacks and a storyline featuring Doc Hudson which absolutely tugged at my heartstrings and had my eyes a bit misty. We got answers to questions about Doc’s past and pieces to a puzzle McQueen needed to move on.

All our favorite characters make a re-appearance and get a moment to shine, from Mack, and Ramone and Lizzie down to the tractors. Mater fans may be disappointed that he doesn’t have as as big a part as he did in the first two films. But as a parent, I found it to be a welcome relief.

The moment Doc Hudson hit the screen my son screamed “I TOLD YOU DOC WAS IN IT!” Right again kid.

A 4-year-old's take on the new Pixar film. Cars 3 review.

My 4-year-old’s Cars 3 Review

The movie started EXACTLY like it starts in the first movie my son shouted “IS THIS CARS ONE?”

I was able to pull my hand away from his mouth after a couple seconds when Lightning opened his eyes in the bed of Mack’s truck with a friend in there with him.

“MATER?!” My 4-year-old then shouted. I kid you not he was the loudest kid in the theater. Totally into it.

He laughed and laughed during several parts of the movie, and he came home telling his sister about his favorite part–Watching Lightning McQueen dance.

During the movie, he pointed out things I hardly noticed, like Lightning McQueen spray bottles. And he asked me to repeat what was said a couple of times when he missed a joke. My wiggly 4-year-old was captivated like I’ve never seen before, and that in and of itself was a win.

Having seen the first trailers oh, 567 times, my son knew who all the characters were. The second Rookie Jackson Storm blew by he shouted his name. My husband bought him a random set of the new die-cast characters. Some of them literally named “Rookie 1, 2, and 3”. I criticized my husband for getting plain grey cars with no real names. But they totally have a part in the movie. My son was happily exclaiming “I HAVE THAT ONE!” throughout the movie.

Do you want to see it again? I asked. “YES!” He said, without skipping a beat. And we will, in a couple of days.

Which is your favorite Cars movie: 1, 2, or 3? “Cars 3” he answered easily.

And lat night when I tucked him in, instead of putting on his favorite Nemo PJs he insisted I let him sleep in his new Lightning McQueen outfit. It left a mark my friends.

A 4-year-old's take on the new Pixar film. Cars 3 review.

Scary Scenes and After the Credits

There isn’t anything very scary in this movie, so I’d say it’s great even for kids who startle easily. When I asked my son he did say that the school bus (during a demolition derby scene) was scary and that he wanted to “hit it” but he wasn’t the least frightened during the film.

Like in many Pixar movies, if you wait until after the credits you’ll get a little bonus scene. This one wasn’t much (I didn’t find it worth the wait) but it may be a treat for big Mater fans.

Morals and Concluding Thoughts

Cars 3 will happily join our rotation of Cars films. And I will gladly replace either of the other two movies with this one.

It has a great moral of not giving up, believing in yourself and helping others to shine.

I look forward to seeing which toys my son and daughter gravitate towards these next few weeks. I have a feeling we’ll be seeing a lot more yellow around these parts.

Are you excited to see Cars 3? In theaters everywhere June 16th! Have you seen it? What did you/your kids think?

A 4-year-old's take on the new Pixar film. Cars 3 review.

Right off the bat I’m tempted to go back and update parts of my review. The first time I screened this movie I took two pages of notes. If you missed it, here’s everything you need to know before taking your kids to see Beauty and the Beast.  This time I was able to sit back and enjoy it with my daughter. She wasn’t ever scared and the scenes I called out as more “violent” she didn’t even bat an eye at. I didn’t necessarily think she would find the movie frightening, but thought I should let parents know in case their family needed a warning.

I loved the music even more this time around. Especially the new songs. Lil’ J sang and quoted along during parts of the movie, and called out parts that were missing. She hasn’t seen the animated classic as many times as most of the new Disney animated films, but she’s seen it enough to know it pretty well. I love that she noticed Belle was stronger in this film. A subtle message of female empowerment managed to impress my 6-year-old.

Throughout the movie she kept asking me if was almost over so I thought she was getting bored, but during this interview with her I realized she was asking me that because “I didn’t want it to be over.” She’s asked me to put the soundtrack on repeat and we keep discussing the movie so it was definitely a win in her book. In her own words it’s her new favorite. Here’s her Q&A review.

What did you think?
That was amazing. It’s my new favorite movie. I give it 100 thumbs up instead of 10.

Why did you like it so much?
Because there’s lots of funny parts and I like funny parts and I just really like long movies and stuff. It was longer than the other one for sure. It wasn’t too too too long but it was a little longer.

I was asking if it was almost over because I didn’t want it to be over.

(She also called out the two “controversial moments” I outlined in my review as being funny, but she didn’t want to spoil it so she asked me not to write that out here. But she and I do discuss it in detail in one of our vlogs today).

What was the funniest part to you?
Belle was very smart, her dad was asking for something and she knew exactly what he needed even when he thought he didn’t need it.

It was funny when LeFou told the girls who liked Gaston “it’s never going to happen ladies.”

Which part was your favorite and why?
And the very end when they had a dance in the ballroom because I like happy endings.

Do you want to see it again?
Yes. Because I really liked the movie.

What was your favorite song?
The new song. (There were 3, we just bought the soundtrack and her favorite is How Does a Moment Last Forever. We also love Days in the Sun and I LOVE Evermore).

How would you compare this one to the other version?
The new Beauty and the Beast has more funny parts. Gaston seems a little more rude and his clothes are a little different.

Most of it was the same.

Did you like this one more than the other?
Yes, because it’s longer and more entertaining.

Did anything surprise you?
They went to Paris.

Were there parts missing that you liked in the other?
He didn’t say “don’t talk about her father that way!”
“You look so, so…” “Stupid!”
He didn’t say “But you’ve read it twice!”

Was the beast scary?
Not that much. But it was still kind of loud. I thought he was going to be scarier but he was really kind and gentle (get it?).

What would you say to someone thinking of seeing Beauty and the Beast? Should they see it on a date or with their kids?
You should go see it! The kids would like it because it’s a kids show, and grow-ups might like it.

Who was your favorite character?
Of course, Belle.

Did Belle seem cooler in this movie than the other?
Yes, because she was smart like I said, and she was really braver. She seemed braver because there was more stuff in this one than the other one. Her dress was different, I want that dress.

Final thoughts

Seeing it a second time around I definitely loved it a lot more. My critical third eye was gone and I was able to see it for what it is. The diversity throughout the film made my heart swell. I’ve never seen so many brown people (and interracial couples!) in a Disney film.

There were a few lines I missed the first time around. One of my favorite lines repeated word-for-word from the classic is when Belle is nurturing the scarred Beast after the wolf attack. You know, the “Well you shouldn’t have run away…” argument. I also especially enjoyed the Beast’s song “Evermore” which replaced his sad howl from the castle when he allows Belle to leave. So beautifully sung and perfectly fitting for this movie and a Broadway stage.

I mentioned this before but this is one worth catching in 3D as it seems like they put some effort into making quite a few scenes really pop. However there’s one scene with floating gold that made me nauseous both times so beware.

Finally, this time around I got so many chills listening to the songs and just soaking in the beauty of this remake. My first impressions was that this movie was made for those of us who know and love the classic so well. But as evident in my daughter’s enthusiasm, even budding Disney fans will enjoy this remodeled tale.  If you go see it with your family this weekend let me know what you think!

Here’s her video review:

Live action beauty and the beast review. A 6-year-old's take.

I’ve had several people ask me which I like more: a Disney Cruise Vacation or a Walt Disney World Vacation. I’ve already broken down my family’s favorites and why. We adore both. Your first thought about a cruise may be that there isn’t as much to do. But trust me, it’s not like you’re just sitting on a boat all day with nothing to do but lay out and eat. There’s actually a lot going on and so many things to do on a Disney Cruise.

Boogie down at a character dance party in the atrium

We’ve been lucky enough to do two Disney Cruises. A little over a year ago we did a 7-night cruise on the Disney Wonder from Galveston to save on airfare. Then this month, as a part of the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration we went on a 3-night cruise from Port Canaveral on the now reimagined Disney Wonder. I wish I could say we did everything but I’d probably need a few more under my belt before I can say that.

Comparing a Disney Cruise vs Disney World Disney Cruise vs Disney World Vacation. 10 reasons a Disney Cruise may be better for your family.

First off, in order to make the most out of your Disney Cruise you’ll want to download the Disney Cruise Line app. Even without wi-fi the app alerts you to events happening during the day, character meet and greet times, and more. You can also use it to check out your room service menu (did I mention FREE room service?) and mark your favorites and “to-do” items. You’ll also get a Personal Navigator delivered to your room daily with an easy-to-read chart showing what’s going on each day and when.

While I know there is more, like Star Wars Day at Sea and Marvel Day at Sea on certain sailings–this is a list of our favorites and some things I can’t wait to try… Here are 100 things to do on a Disney Cruise. Check back in a bit for a printable checklist to see how many you can complete in one cruise!

100 things to do on a Disney Cruise. Not sure what there is to do on a Disney Cruise? Here's a long list to print and checkoff.

1. Attend the Oceaneer Club and Lab open house
2. Sail away deck party
3. Eat soft serve ice cream
4. Enter your kid in a baby race (Diaper Dash)
5. All you can eat soft pretzels
6. Test your knowledge at Disney Tune Trivia

100 things to do on a Disney Cruise. Not sure what there is to do on a Disney Cruise? Here's a long list to print and checkoff.

7. Belt some tunes at Disney Karaoke
8. Soak in the hot tub
9. Enjoy all you can eat at a lunch buffet
10. Play at the arcade
11. Watch a Disney movie at the theater
12. Watch a Broadway-Caliber live show in the evening before or after dinner
13. Watch a comedy show

100 things to do on a Disney Cruise. Not sure what there is to do on a Disney Cruise? Here's a long list to print and checkoff.
14. Splash down a waterslide
15. Play the Magic Quest scavenger hunt game
16. Watch a magic show
17. Grab a burger (or chicken fingers) and fries by the pool
18. Play Disney Trivia
19. Catch a movie still in theaters
20. See what’s on TV in your room – Disney classics play around the clock

100 things to do on a Disney Cruise. Not sure what there is to do on a Disney Cruise? Here's a long list to print and checkoff.

21. Party at the Pirate Night deck party
22. Visit the adult-only pool
23. Sit back and enjoy the dinner-time entertainment
24. Run (or walk) in a 5K (on Castaway Cay)
25. Get a facial at the spa
26. Hit the gym
27. Enjoy a fireworks show

Comparing a Disney Cruise vs Disney World Disney Cruise vs Disney World Vacation. 10 reasons a Disney Cruise may be better for your family.28. Meet your favorite Disney princess
29. Check out a Disney vacation club preview
30. Get character autographs
31. Play Family Feud
32. Dance at a poolside jam
33. Enjoy a dessert buffet
34. Take a walking ship guided tour
100 things to do on a Disney Cruise. Not sure what there is to do on a Disney Cruise? Here's a long list to print and checkoff.
35. Discover your towel animal of the day
36. Enjoy a live band
37. Test your Disney knowledge and play Mickey Mania
38. Get your groove on at a Club D dance party
39. Try your luck at BINGO
40. Meet Captain Mickey
41. Listen to a live piano serenade

Comparing a Disney Cruise vs Disney World Disney Cruise vs Disney World Vacation. 10 reasons a Disney Cruise may be better for your family.
42.Dine at a Character breakfast or see Mickey at Animator’s Palate
43. Kids can enjoy super sloppy science
44. Take a late-night stroll around an empty deck
45. Play shuffleboard
46. Order a late-night room service treat
47. Play basketball
48. Get a massage

100 things to do on a Disney Cruise. Not sure what there is to do on a Disney Cruise? Here's a long list to print and checkoff.
49. Take a picture with Minnie Mouse
50. Kids play capture the flag
51. Ask your waiter if the know any magic tricks
52. Pin trade with cast members
53. Pizza Pizza Pizza
54. Watch a game in the sports bar

100 things to do on a Disney Cruise. Not sure what there is to do on a Disney Cruise? Here's a long list to print and checkoff.
55. Participate in a Disney Fish gift exchange
56. Boogie down at a character dance party in the atrium
57. Play mini golf
58. Run/walk around the track on the deck
59. Ride up and down the elevator
60. Check out the art gallery
61. Family pool and movie-watching
62. Order room service for breakfast

Participate in a Disney Fish gift exchange
63. Order 2 desserts
64. Eat lamb/steak/lobster and other fine delicacies
65. Enjoy a variety show
66. Take your kids in for fun kids club activities
67. Go clubbing while the kids play
68. Play Match Your Mate
69. Try a snorkeling excursion

100 things to do on a Disney Cruise. Not sure what there is to do on a Disney Cruise? Here's a long list to print and checkoff.
70. Talk to your room host or wait staff about where they’re from
71. Shop for souvenirs
72. Try a yoga or fitness class
73. Get a fruity drink
74. Attend a mixology seminar (21+)
75. Bring your toddler to the splash pad
76. Attend a craft session


77. Watch the sunrise/sunset from the top deck (or from your verandah).
78. Check out the VIBE lounge for teens
79. Tour the EDGE club for 11-14 year olds at their open house
80. Play in a Pictionary Challenge
81. Play Pixar Trivia
82. Have your photos taken by a professional photographer
83. Basketball free throw tournament

Biracial Disney Princess Series: My Little Princess- A cute and creative mother-daughter photo series featuring a biracial girl dressed up as Disney Princesses. Part 8: Ariel
84. Do a photoshoot
85. Play “So You Think You Know Your Family”
86. Watch (or play in) a ping pong tournament
87. Take a stab at some ice carving
88. Anyone Can Cook (attending a cooking seminar)
89. Learn new skills in an animation class
90. Attend an ice cream social


91.Watch your prince or princess get a makeover at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique
92. Stay out late while your kids are at the kids club
93. Play Sports Trivia
94. Play Movie Challenge Poolside
95. Watch another amazing live-show
96. Make a sand castle and explore Castaway Cay (select itineraries)
97. Play Family Fusion

Things to do on a Disney Cruise
98. Buy your favorite photo you had taken during the cruise
99. Fly through the AquaDuck water slide (on the Disney Dream and Fantasy)
100. Book another Disney Cruise while onboard (and save!)

Have you been on a Disney Cruise? What were some of your favorite things to do on a Disney Cruise?

100 things to do on a Disney Cruise. Not sure what there is to do on a Disney Cruise? Here's a long list to print and checkoff.

I’ve always wanted to be a reporter and I’ve always loved the Disney Parks. Combine the two and some awesome kind of dream job would be to be a Disney Parks reporter. Like if Walt Disney World® Resort had a news team, I’d be the lead reporter giving the scoop on all of the fun rides and restaurants to hit up with your family when visiting the parks.

Interracial family at Disney World. Multiracial family blogger

Well a couple of months ago that dream was basically realized when Disney flew my family and me to Orlando and gave us a free Walt Disney World® Resort vacation to capture our Disney do-list in a four-part series for Essence.com showcasing some of the Disney Parks magic we know and love.

Now for you, my blog readers, I can give you some of the behind-the-scenes scoop. For one, my husband who you know is as camera shy as they get, – was a big trooper. Lil’ J has had a camera in her face since birth so she was a gem, and little man was something else. I mean we were at Walt Disney World® Resort, he was ready to play, and the crew just had to capture his joy.

We stayed at the beautiful Disney’s Art of Animation Resort which is easily our favorite right now purely for the Cars cast. Every evening when we came back to the hotel we had to make a trip around Radiator Springs to say hi to all of his friends.

In the end we knocked out all of our favorites:

Meeting Tiana
Turtle Talk with Crush
Chatting with Elsa and Anna
Dumbo the Flying Elephant® Attraction
Toy Story Mania® Attraction
… Actually this list can get pretty long fast. You can watch our videos to see what we enjoyed.

And I’ll narrow down a few of our favorite NEW things we experienced:


1. Met Moana – She’s currently at Disney’s Hollywood Studios®.
2. The new Frozen Ever After ride – One of my new favorite rides for sure. We all loved it. The atmosphere was beautiful and we were singing the whole way through. There were some backwards riding and a little drop, and the kids both had a blast.
3. We hitched a ride on some Main Street, U.S.A.® transportation and my kids sent a trail of bubbles all the way down. Their huge smiles were contagious.
4. Met Gaston outside of his tavern– He is HILARIOUS! He asked my husband if he wanted to feel his biceps too and my husband politely declined.


5. Show Mickey Mouse a cool toy– My kids lost their minds when we saw Mickey and Minnie in Disney’s Animal Kingdom® Theme Park. But the cutest part was when my son ran for his Mack truck (from the Cars movie) he had with us the entire trip and ran back to show it to Mickey. I almost cried. He still talks about that today and can’t wait to go see him again.

We’ve taken four trips to Walt Disney World® Resort (plus two to Disneyland ® Resort and two Disney Cruise Line vacation) in two years and we STILL haven’t seen it all.

With each trip the magic never fades. Walt Disney World® Resort has endless magic.

Enter to win

Essence Communications Inc. is sponsoring The Endless Magic Sweepstakes so you and your family can experience it as well! Visit www.Essence.com/EndlessMagic to enter for a chance to win a 4-night/5-day Walt Disney World® Resort vacation for four.

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Purchasing does not improve your chances of winning. The Endless Magic Sweepstakes is open to legal residents of the 50 U.S. and D.C., age 21 or older. Void outside the U.S., in Puerto Rico, and wherever prohibited by law. Sweepstakes begins at 12:00:01 AM ET on 01/13/17 and ends at 11:59:59 PM ET on 03/30/17. Click here for Sweeps Facts and Official Rules. Sponsor: Essence Communications, Inc., 225 Liberty St., New York, NY 10281.

This post brought to you by Disney’s Queen of Katwe. The content and opinions expressed below are that of Baby Making Machine.

It’s funny how life works. You’re heading down a path, then one day you take a risky detour, not sure where it’ll take you. Only years later are we able to look back and realize that we were following a route made for us all along.

Tampico-Mommy-and-Me-1

Three and a half years ago I faced one of the toughest decisions of my life when I was deciding whether or not to leave my full-time job and stay at home with my kids, focusing on freelance writing and my blog.

What I didn’t share was much of the agonizing history behind that decision. For months and months I questioned whether or not it was the right thing to do. To leave my dream career–One I had worked towards for many years. I felt like I’d be letting down my mentors, family and friends who had supported me. I feared the scholarships I earned would have been for naught. I worried about giving up on a dream.

It took a lot of faith and prayer. Then finally I made a move and jumped. A leap of faith.

As I landed in these new waters I didn’t even know what goals to set because I had no idea what was possible. (Now I know the answer: Anything!)

Three and a half years later there’s no question whether or not I made the right decision. In fact, I’m still watching in amazement as the story unfolds. We’re homeschooling (something I never imagined myself doing), and living a lifestyle I once thought would never be for me.

I’m not one of those cute stylish moms who gets all dolled up before taking my kids out for a playdate. No, most days I stay in my PJs or on good days I change into athletic wear (you know, so it looks like I’m going to work out). My hair stays up in a tangled messy bun.

I never thought I’d want to be with my kids this much. I was perfectly ok with sacrificing quantity of time if I still got quality. Now I love both. I feel as though in this transition the Lord softened my heart to be open to embracing motherhood in a way I hadn’t wanted to before.

One quote I love in Disney’s Queen of Katwe is “Sometimes the place you’re used to is not the place you belong. You belong where you believe you belong.”

It is an inspiring true story of a girl from the slums of Uganda, who realizes her true potential when she learns the game of chess. I’d bet Phiona had no idea the path she’d be on before she played for the first time. Yet, through that game she discovered what she was born to do.

I feel like I’m still discovering what I was born to do. My story is still unfolding. Right now I feel like I belong right here. My purpose is to raise my children to be their best selves, and to help spread goodness and make a difference. At least that’s the path I’m focusing on right now.

If there’s anything I’ve learned from this it’s that dreams can change and that’s ok. Life doesn’t always go according to our plan, there are a lot of detours. But we have to remember there’s a bigger plan that we can’t see and try to be aware of the signs leading us along the way.

When is a time you’ve had to make your move?

I’ve been raving about Queen Of Katwe for months, and it’s finally coming out on Blu-Ray January 31st. You can also get it now on Digital HD & Disney Movies AnywhereWe’re excited to watch this inspirational tale again for our family movie night.

Why quitting my job was the best thing I could do for me and my family.

Disney karaoke is our jam. As soon as my daughter and I realized that was a thing on the Disney Cruise Line we blocked out our schedules for those nights.

The music is one of my favorite parts about Disney Animated movies. So naturally as soon as the Moana soundtrack hit the shelves we put it on repeat.

disney-kareoke

One our Disney Cruise last year my daughter and I sang “Hakuna Matata” but I next time around I’m hoping they add some songs from Moana to the song list.

Before Moana, some of my favorite Disney songs were: “I’ll Make a Man Out of You”, “I Can See the Light”, “Part of Your World”, “Colors of the Wind”, “Friend Like Me”, “When We’re Human” and “Belle”.

Wow… That’s a lot right off the top of my head. The Disney station is out go-to on Pandora and name that tune is always happening when Disney tunes are playing.

Nothing beats a good villain song like “Poor Unfortunate Souls” or “Be Prepared” and Moana didn’t miss the opportunity for a great bad guy song.

The main “villain” didn’t talk, much less sing, but an evil crab obsessed with gold and sparkly things part way through does manage to steal the show with his son “shiny”.

The first week that was my daughter’s favorite song but now she seems to have moved on to “How Far I’ll Go”. It’s one of my favorites too but not my #1.

Here are my top 5 songs from Moana:

5. Where You Are: Love love love this song and I couldn’t stop smiling the moment it came on. It was precisely the moment I knew I was going to love the movie.
4. I Am Moana: Closer to the end, this song gives me chills, especially during the film, but even listening to it in the car. It’s definitely belt-worthy, and sure to be a karaoke favorite.
3. How Far I’ll Go: I personally like the Auli’i Cravalho version but the Alessia Cara version is pretty sweet too.
2. You’re Welcome: I can not hear this song enough–I say that now but ask me again in a few months. I think this has the potential to be as worn out as “Let it Go”.
1. We Know the Way: From the first time I saw it and every time I hear it. I don’t know all of the lyrics to the first verse yet but I think that’s ok. You know–Like that first part of “Circle of Life”. It’s all good, I’ll get it eventually. It’s such a beautiful song and I love the imagery and discovery during that part of movie. If you haven’t seen it yet here you go:

While in L.A. for the Moana press trip I got to be a part of an interview with Opetaia Foa’i, who co-wrote the music with Lin-Manuel Miranda, and happened to provide the beautiful vocals for my favorite song.

“My ancestors would be proud of this movie,” Opetaia told us during the interview. “Chants, Lot of drums and of telling of the stories of ancient Polynesia. Yeah, those are the three elements that I always push, you know.”

opetaia-interview

Throughout the soundtrack you’ll hear lots of beautiful chants, drums and references to the wonderful navigators that are their ancestors.

Opetaia and I share our favorite song, and the desire to follow our passions. And look where it got him!

“I’ve traveled the world and people got sick of me talking about these people that are the best navigators, best sailors in the world,” he said. “And to be honest, I thought I’d reached the end of my run, and I was ready to, you could say, hang up my horse unless the opportunity came up. So it’s just extended it a little bit more.”

I’m glad Disney discovered him and his wonderful music, and now we can enjoy it on our favorites list and they can go down in history on the Disney karaoke list ‘til the end of time.

Have you seen Moana yet? Do you have a favorite song?

We just got back from a fast and furious trip to Walt Disney World that was jam packed with all kinds of surprises. One of the biggest ones was my little girl meeting Moana. After years of anticipating this movie she instantly fell in love with the new heroine.

Moana is still in theaters and has dominated the box office three weekends in a row. The movie is now a Golden Globe nominated movie for Best Animated Feature! And now you can meet Moana at Disney World in Disney Hollywood Studios.

Meeting Moana!

Meet Moana at Disney World Hollywood Studios

Meet Moana at Disney World Hollywood Studios

More details on this trip and a fun series to come, but for now I’ll just tell you that my daughter was SO excited to meet her, and talk to her about her adventures with Maui.

I imagine my daughter meeting Moana felt a lot like how I felt meeting the directors of the movie: Ron Clements and John Musker.

Moana is the seventh Disney animated film they’ve directed together the others being: The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Hercules, Treasure Planet, The Great Mouse Detective and The Princess and the Frog.

Learning the culture

Knowing this and being obsessed with about half this list, I had to ask them about directing three out of the five Disney films starring princesses of color, and how with Moana they went about respecting the culture yet attempting to share it with the world.

Ron Clements and John Musker Moana Interview

Right from the get go they spent weeks in the Polynesian islands of Samoa, Fiji, Tahiti meeting with cultural ambassadors, linguists, and anthropologists.

One Tahitian representative told them: “For years, we’ve been swallowed by your culture. One time can you be swallowed by our culture?” And the directors said they took that to heart.

“That became sort of our mantra as we did the movie over the course of the years and we kept people involved from the Pacific islands,” John said.

In other blog posts I’ve mentioned how these tips from advisors helped them chance Maui from bald to having a full head of hair, and how The Realm of Monsters fit into the storyline.

The new generation of animators

I just sat in wonderment as they told us about being 60-somethings working along bright eyed and bushy-tailed 20-somethings on this movie.

“It was fun on this movie though because in terms of the CG and the hand-drawn we got to use both. And Eric Goldberg who did The Genie and Aladdin did mini-Maui, this tattoo. So, we were able to incorporate hand-drawn elements. And the younger ones were thrilled to get a chance to work with Eric where they would do the CG Maui and he would do the hand-drawn part and they could kind of learn from Eric and see his techniques in terms of the acting and his timing and his comic sensibilities. And it really, they were thrilled to get a chance to learn from this kind of living legend of animation. It’s been fun for us to learn new things and work with new artists. So, that’s been the really fun part of all this.”

moana-premiere-2

Our interview wound down and all of the burning questions I had before this adventure were answered… I just had one more thing I needed to know.

What’s next?!

“Please tell me you two are doing more movies together!” I begged.

“We don’t know what we’re doing after this. This has been five years in the making. We’re just doing a couple of months of promotion then I think hopefully we get a few weeks off. Who knows what we’re doing,” John said. “There’s a lot of great movies in the Disney pipeline after this from these various directors.”

Yea yea. Wreck it Ralph 2, Gigantic, Coco and Frozen 2. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still excited for those. (Especially at the possibility of actually having a quality sequel by Disney Animation Studios).

At least I asked. Either they’re keeping any plans under wraps or they really are as busy as they say. I’m keeping my ear to the ground for any new announcements and I’ll keep you posted!

Have you seen Moana yet? What did you think?

moana-poster

She’s adorable, inspiring, and the youngest Disney Princess to grace the big screen. Walt Disney Studios is introducing 16-year-old (her birthday was yesterday!) Auli’i Cravalho to the big screen in Moana.  Auli’i Cravalho interview. 

I’ve already told you my review about this movie, you’ve seen bits of my interview with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Lin-Manuel Miranda. Now to let you in on how our Auli’i Cravalho interview went.

I was excited to meet Auli’i because in her videos she seems so bubbly and sweet. I had a few questions for her and was excited to hear everything she had to say.

aulii-interview

On culture

I told her how proud I was for her and her culture after watching the film and wanted to know what that was like from her perspective.

Q: How does it feel for you and how do you think everyone’s gonna react to it?
A: I’ll admit, I was a little wary before I got put into this role. Because I think anyone who hears that a movie’s going to inspired by their culture, they want it to be done right. And we don’t want any misrepresentation, we want to make sure that what we feel our culture’s about, that it’s portrayed correctly on the screen.

Auli’i said she loved how Disney did their research and paid close attention to details.

“That every single component, whether it was just a small little dancing scene in there, that was choreographed by a Polynesian dancer,” she said. “But just the little details, even just listening to the palm trees swaying in the background, that they got all of that. Because that’s what it’s about, it’s in the fine details that I think make just the large production that much more special.”

On finding your way

aulii-interview-2

I have a 6-year-old daughter who is in love with Disney princesses and decoding the messages within the story. In her own words Moana is about “following your heart.” Beyond that I think it’s about following your path in live, and discovering what you were born to do. The story behind Auli’i and Disney crossing paths is pretty inspiring. She didn’t audition at first when she heard about the casting call because she didn’t think she had a chance. So I asked her what advice she has for kids in this regard.

A 6-year-old Moana review and a 3-year-old Moana review. Is Moana scary? Read this before you head to the theater!

Q : What advice do you have for kids trying to find their way?
A: I put myself down. I thought, you know what, it’s fine. What could I possibly give that the directors haven’t already seen? But happened. And I thought to myself, why don’t I just try?  I hope that anyone else just goes out on that limb because they don’t know what life has in store for them. And please, please don’t put yourself down. Because there is so much more potential than you even know.

auli-interview-4

Wise words from a talented and beautiful young lady who surely has so much more of her gift to share with the world. I’ve seen it three times and my kids can’t wait to see it a second this weekend when we bring their daddy along. Moana is now in theater’s everywhere!


More about the film

moana-poster

From Walt Disney Animation Studios comes Moana: A sweeping, CG-animated feature film about an adventurous teenager. She sails out on a daring mission to save her people. During her journey, Moana (voice of Auli‘i Cravalho) meets the mighty demigod Maui (voice of Dwayne Johnson). He guides her in her quest to become a master wayfinder.

Together, they sail across the open ocean on an action-packed voyage, encountering enormous monsters and impossible odds. Along the way, Moana fulfills the ancient quest of her ancestors and discovers the one thing she’s always sought: her own identity.

Voice Cast: Auli‘i Cravalho, Dwayne Johnson, Jemaine Clement, Rachel House, Temuera Morrison, Nicole Scherzinger, Alan Tudyk.

Find out more by following the hashtag #MoanaEvent on Facebook and Twitter.

Like on Facebook: www.facebook.com/disneymoana
Follow on Twitter: www.twitter.com/disneymoana
Follow on Instagram: www.instagram.com/disneyanimation

Hi! I’m Jennifer Borget



I'm a part-time journalist, full-time wife and mother striving to make the world a better place and inspiring others to do the same. This is the space where I share my journey in making the most of every day.

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