Decisions, decisions. We have finalized our halloween costume theme for this year but I’m still scrambling to get all of the costumes together.
We have certainly had some fun costumes as a family so this decision process should be fun. With so many great Disney movies coming out and the launch of Disney Plus in 27 days (but who’s counting), I’m not telling what our theme is yet but I’ll give you a hint… Disney costumes for the family are a strong possibility.
Just about anything Disney is something we can all agree on (well all but maybe one of us). Let’s see which themes make it to the top of our list. But there are so many good options that we can pull off either DIY style or delivered straight to our door. These are great for Halloween, Disney costume parties, and some could even work on your next Disney vacation.
Disney Costumes For The Family
Of course we went for The Incredibles because hello family of 5. That was easy enough to pull off with a newborn dressed as Jack Jack.
I’m pretty sure we would make a great Woody, Bo Peep, Buzz Light Year, Jessie, Rex and even Snoop as Slinky Dog from Toy Story. Soldiers, Hamm and more. I wonder if Big T wants to be Andy?
The girls and I dressed up at Toy Story Land and my dress from Hot Topic was perfect for a warm day at the parks.
Alice In Wonderland
Taking it back to a classic might be fun. Alice In Wonderland has lots of options for us as a family. Picture Lee Lee as the Cheshire Cat, Queen of Hearts, Mad Hatter, The White Rabbit, The Ace Card. So many choices. Actually, now I’m wishing we had gone for this this year.
Disney’s Descendants are fun because there are more than enough characters to choose from. Lil’ J is fast approaching “the big kids years” so this theme would be a way to support that tween Disney fandom life.
I shared the Zootopia theme in our Best Family Costumes list a few weeks ago. But since it’s one of our favorite Disney movies, it’s definitely worth sharing again. It was such an easy and fun theme to put together. We will definitely revisit this one if we ever go to a costume party. I’ll have to decide which Zootopia character Lili will be.
Nightmare Before Christmas
I feel like the Nightmare Before Christmas is the perfect costume theme for Halloween going into Christmas. I mean Christmas decorations are already just a few aisles over from where the Halloween costumes are so why not combine the two?
Mickey, Minnie and Friends
Minnie is a forever favorite of mine and Lil’ J. I think rocking some of the classic Disney characters will be fun. My husband and Big T can both be Mickey, or one could go as Donald, while the girls and I can all go as Minnie or Daisy. Or we can each be one of the many Mickey and Friends characters.
Frozen mania is in full swing and we are definitely excited for Frozen 2. Going as the cast of Frozen means we will already be costume ready for when the movie comes out on November 22.
I could go on and on about Disney costumes for the whole family but then we will never make a decision. Do you have a favorite Disney costumes themes or one you think our family can pull off that’s not on this list? Let me know.
With the launch of Disney+ less than two months away, there’s a lot of excitement about what movies will be available at launch. After cross-referencing some lists from what’s available on the Disney+ free-trial in the Netherlands (thanks to @StitchKingdom), it seems that every Disney Animated movie and sequel should be available. Whether all of these movies are available on day one, or within year one, we aren’t sure yet. But with the amount of Disney movies there are, it’s going to take you awhile to get through them anyway.
What movies are on disney plus?
As a Disney Animation Studios movie buff, I like to focus on these titles specifically. According to Attraction Magazine, it seems as though every movie but The Rescuers is on there. Which to me seems a little odd considering Rescuers Down Under is on there. So maybe it’s a mistake. Nevertheless, there’s A LOT to watch, and a lot of time for them to still add it.
There’s every movie from Snow White, to Ralph Breaks the Internet. Including all of the movies from the Disney Renaissance era with classics like The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, and The Lion King. If you’re behind on your Disney movies, prepare to get your fill.
Disney plus movies list
Next, seeing how much Disney movie content there will be to consume, you’re going to want a way to keep it all organized. Have some king of goal chart if you will. Assuming you’re like me, and going to want to watch every single title… I’ve created a Disney Plus movies list in checklist form for you to use while you plow through. You can download it for free here.
Something to note… Even though as of now The Rescuers isn’t on the list, I’ve still added it here since it’s one of the Disney Animation Studios classics. I’d think there are plans to add it eventually. I’ll also update this after the digital release of Frozen 2.
This is great to use for family movie nights, or as a quick reference to see which Disney movie you want to watch next on Disney+. You don’t even have to wait until the November 12th launch to work on it. If you’re already a pro and you’ve seen most of these titles, print off the list now and see which movies you have left to see.
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The countdown to Disney+ continues. But if you hurry, you can order EARLY! Here’s the scoop on what’s new and how to sign up for Disney Plus right now and join the Founders Circle for free.
If you’re like me you were stalking the D23 Expo and having total FOMO at all of the latest and greatest news, know we were in this together. If you’re even more like me you may have been crying at the fact that attendees got to be the first to sign up for Disney+ and even join the Founders Circle. Months away from its November 12th debut! But have no fear, you too can sign up to be one of the first people to subscribe to Disney+ and this early access is free PLUS (see what I did there?) you can also get 33% off the subscription for 3 years. Meaning you can preorder Disney+ for less than $4 a month (normally $6.99)! But how do you sign up for Disney Plus and join in on the Founders Circle? Here’s the scoop…
How to Sign Up for Disney+ for a discount
D23 is the ultimate Disney fan club. I’ve been a member since 2015. You can gain access to this early sign up by becoming a D23 member and guess what? The general membership level is FREE! So yea. Click on over and get your D23 membership then log in to unlock the exclusive deal on Disney+! You should get an email notification but if not, head over to your account information and it’ll be there. Any questions? Let me know!
*UPDATE*This deal has expired, but I’m going to continue to update this post with new deals. Right now there are TWO.
Disney Visa Card Holders
Disney Visa cardmembers are receiving an offer in the mail with details on how you can save on your Disney+ subscription. If you currently are Disney Visa cardmember, then you can enjoy this exclusive discount and become a Founders Circle Member of Disney+.
Currently, cardmembers have a choice of two options:
A 2 Year Disney+ subscription for a total of $119 plus taxes, which will save you $20.
A 3 Year Disney+ subscription for a total of $169 plus taxes, which will save you $40.
In order to be eligible, you must use your Disney Visa Card to purchase your Disney+ subscription.
Disney Destinations is a free Disney Parks and Disney Vacation planning tool. You can subscribe for free and use the MyDisneyExperience website when planning your next Disney trip. Or just sign up and you *should* get an email within shortly with this deal:
Currently, Disney Parks and Experience Fans have a choice of two options:
A 2 Year Disney+ subscription for a total of $119 plus taxes, which will save you $20.
A 3 Year Disney+ subscription for a total of $169 plus taxes, which will save you $40.
Don’t care about Disney Plus discounts and ready to sign up early anyway? You can do that now here.
What is on Disney plus?
Now a little bit about content… My friend Carly was at the D23 Expo and has a complete list of what they’ve announced to be offering so far. If you think it’s every single Disney movie and TV show ever made, you may be a little disappointed. Not to say that won’t ever happen (perhaps in some kind of rotation). But there are 500 movies slated to be in the starting lineup. I took a peek at the list and quickly compared it to the complete list of Disney movies and noticed some like The Jungle Book, Cinderella, Incredibles II, the Emperors New Groove, Beauty and the Beast and Brave off the list.
You can read all of the details about parental controls, kids mode, and the very wide selection of offerings on CNET. But coming from a huge Disney movie collector, and someone vehemently against monthly subscriptions, I thought I’d share the benefit for our family that may help your decision.
For reference, our personal Disney movie library contains 130 Disney Animated movies and Pixar films. However I still signed up as a Founding Member because of the original content that’s included such as the live action version of Lady and the Tramp, and a hilarious-sounding series called Forky Asks a Question. It’ll also be the only streaming service that will play host to Disney’s 2019 theatrical releases like Toy Story 4, Aladdin, and Frozen 2. I imagine more live action Disney movies as well as animated films, classic and original will make their way there through the years.
We are counting down over here and can’t wait! Stay tuned for more updates, movie checklists, reviews and fun.
Growing up my mom had a personal library of Disney movies on VHS. I’ve carried on the tradition collecting my own library to share with my kids. Except we traded VCRs for DVDs and our personal streaming library. As a result I’m raising some big Disney movie fans. But something interesting I’m noticing is their preference for the live action movies compared to their animated counterparts. We don’t agree on the best live action Disney movies. Each of us have our personal favorites. But I thought I’d do my best to list all of the live action Disney movies ranked, in case you are wondering where to start.
Disney+ launches in November and subscribers should have access to all of these, including more that are in production exclusively for the streaming service. I’ll try to come back and update this list as more Disney live action movies come out.
And without further ado, here’s the best live action Disney movies ranked from best to worst.
Disney Live Action Disney Movies Ranked
From being one of my favorite animated Disney movies, to being my favorite remake. To me, this was Disney finally getting it right. They made just enough changes and updates for me to feel like I was watching a new movie, while also paying homage to the original. If you haven’t seen this one yet change that! You can read our full Aladdin review here.
2. The Jungle Book
I have to admit this movie and it’s placing surprises me. But it’s one of my son’s favorites that we keep going back to and every time I see it I’m impressed over and over again. You can read our full Jungle Book review here.
I think this movie almost doesn’t count as a remake because it’s so different from the 1959 Sleeping Beauty. But this tale retold is considered a remake on every list I’ve seen and most definitely one to watch. We took a break from watching it for years because Lil’ J remembered it as being scary, but after re-watching it for a movie night recently she changed her tune.
4. 101 Dalmatians
Admittedly this remake is one I haven’t watched in awhile. But the remake was done SO well. This is one of those movies that stayed true to the original but had fun with the updates. I’m planning to throw a 101 Dalmatians movie weekend with the kids to watch the animated movie as well as the live action remake and let them decide which one they enjoyed more.
5. Beauty and the Beast
I’m a little surprised at this one falling halfway down my list. When we first saw it I loved it, but didn’t like how close it stayed to the original. I like when the creators change it up and give us something new and exciting beyond the animation. My kids–Especially my daughter loves it, but it’s not one of my favorites. You can read our full live action Beauty and the Beast review here.
I had such high hopes for this movie. The visuals were beautiful but the remake had me wondering why? Why re-do a movie and only change the animation. Sure there were a few new things but not enough to me to warrant a remake. Plus, unlike in The Jungle Book, the animals looked real, but a little too real, and lacked emotion to pull us into the story the way the animated version does. Still, my kids prefer this version. And it almost makes me want to disown them. Check out our live action Lion King review here.
8. Alice in Wonderland
The only person in our family who liked this Disney live action remake was my daughter. I still prefer the original. One thing that did surprise me however, is how good Alice in the Looking Glass is. But I’ll admit I’m a sucker for movies involving time travel.
Last but not… Ok, yea it is least, is Disney’s live action version of Dumbo. Granted the original wasn’t that great, and has a bit of racist undertones. This updated version left all that out. I loved how different it was from the original but I found it to be pretty boring and too long. At least the animated version is under a hour and a little better at keeping kids’ attention. You can read our live action Dumbo review here.
*10 Christopher Robin
Ok, full disclosure, we actually haven’t watched this one yet! We totally missed it in theaters and since Winnie the Pooh is one my kids desperately need a refresh of, we are going to watch both the animated versions and the live action movie that isn’t quite a remake. We’ll come back and rank it after, but if you’ve seen it, let us know what you thought!
Alright so that’s our take on Disney live action movies ranked. How many have you seen? And how does our list compare to your own? Leave us a comment and let us know!
If you have some catching up to do, download our free checklist so you have check them off as you go, and keep track of your favorites!
I got to visit Toy Story Land on a press junket trip this week and I brought my girls along. While I shared our adventures on Instagram I was so surprised how many people responded not knowing this place existed or where it was. I’m here to break it down for ya today folks and give you some tips on tackling it with little ones.
First off, Toy Story Land is at Walt Disney World, in Disney’s Hollywood Studios park. If you haven’t been in several years you may remember it’s location being the old home of the Honey I Shrunk the Kids Playground. Disneyland (Disney’s California Adventures to be exact) got Cars Land and Walt Disney World has Toy Story Land, which opened a year ago on June 30th.
First let me break down the rides. There are three.
Toy Story Land Rides
Slinky Dog Dash
A smooth roller coaster for anyone 38in and up. Slinky Dog Dash is great for your shorter kiddos who have been itching for some coaster action. Neither of my big kids wanted to ride it and I wasn’t going to push them. They watched and it looked too high and too fast for their taste. I’m hoping they’ll come around some day. I have ridden it a few times and love it. I’m not a big fan of drops and though it has one it’s not too intense.
Alien Swirling Saucers
A twirling and spinning ride very similar to the Mater’s Junkyard jamboree ride in Cars Land at Disney’s California Adventures. The Alien Swirling Saucers are my daughter’s absolute favorite ride in all of Walt Disney World parks. It’s pretty quick, so I wouldn’t say it’s worth an hour+ wait, so book a FastPass+. Especially if your little one isn’t into coasters.
Toy Story Mania
Still one of my favorite rides in all of Walt Disney World, and one I make sure we do Toy Story Mania every time. Mainly because the whole family can ride (there’s no height limit). We all love the fact that it’s interactive and that we can compete against each other. And no, I don’t go easy on my kids.
Three Toy Story 4 Updates to Toy Story Land
So now that we’re getting our FOURTH installment of Toy Story (review coming Thursday!), what’s new at this namesake park? Here’s the scoop.
A New Toy Story Shop
Right as you’re exiting Toy Story Story Midway Mania and returning your glasses you’ll see a new little shop full of Toy Story merchandise. Including some of your favorite new characters (like Forky). Admittedly, I didn’t realize this store was new as I was leaving or I would have snapped some photos. But trust me, it’s packed with lots of goodies from all four movies. There are also some fun Instagram photo backdrops inside.
Meet Bo Peep in her brand new outfit
Bo Peep has ditched the skirt (and turned it into a cape!) and you can now meet her in Toy Story Land near Woody. Don’t worry, Jesse is still around. You can now meet her near the Alien Swirling Saucers with a decorative wall backdrop.
Look out for Forky
This soon-to-be fan favorite made an appearance at our press night at Toy Story Land with Woody. There’s no official word yet whether or not he will be a regular at Toy Story Land but look out for him just in case. Lil’ J was overjoyed when she saw Woody holding Forkey and just had to get a photo.
Toy Story 4 hits theaters everywhere June 21st! Our review will be up Thursday but hint: You’re going to want to see it. Here’s the trailer to get you pumped:
“Why would you want to take your baby to Walt Disney World? She won’t remember it.”
But does that make the trip any less magical? No. It doesn’t.
I’ve met many parents who think they should wait until their kids are older to make a trip to Walt Disney World. But I’m here to tell you, the magic is very much real even when they’re babies.
You might be trying to figure out the best age to visit Walt Disney World but the truth is, it can be any age. There are plenty of reasons you should go for that trip with your baby, including the fact that they’re free until they’re 3-years-old.
We’ve taken our kiddos to see Mickey several times, and last month we brought Lee Lee, our 7-month-old, to Walt Disney World for inaugural visit as a part of Disney Creator Days!
10 tips for bringing your baby to Walt Disney World
Bringing a baby to Walt Disney World can be fairly easy if you know what to look for and how to prepare. Here are 10 tips for having a magical Disney vacation with your infant, without all the stress.
1. Hit up the Baby Care Centers
Forget diapers? No sweat. You can get everything you need in the Baby Care Centers located in each park. There are high chairs for feeding, and microwaves for warming. It’s a comfy quiet place to sit and nurse your baby, give a diaper change, or just chill out for a minute. There are even TVs you can relax and enjoy until you’re ready to hit the parks again.
Worried your baby is to young to join in on the fun? Think again. Most rides are for all heights and ages. My some of my favorites are Dumbo, Toy Story Mania, Peter Pan’s Flight, and the Kilimanjaro Safari. My daughter seemed to love Prince Charming’s Regal Carrousel the most.
There are so many to choose from that it would be easier to list the rides your baby can’t ride. There are only a handful.
4. Use Rider Switch
For those aforementioned rides that do have a height restriction, use Disney’s Rider Switch pass so you can take turns riding without the baby, and skip the line the second time around.
5. Go watch a Disney Junior Show
If your baby is teetering on the toddler age and a fan of Disney Junior, you’ll definitely want to check out the Disney Junior live show in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. All of their favorite characters hit the stage for a fun, musical and interactive performance.
6. Bring a cooler for snacks
Outside food is allowed inside Disney Parks so you can stash away some of your little one’s favorite snacks. Bring along a cooler to keep things cold. But don’t sweat it if you forget something. Remember the Baby Care Centers, or even the quick serve restaurants. My daughter enjoyed chowing down on all of the Iconic Disney foods but there’s also fresh fruit and other healthy options available.
7. Rent a stroller
Whether your baby isn’t walking yet, or has been walking for five years, a stroller is a pretty good idea. But instead of lugging your own all the way from home, you can rent one from the Walt Disney World approved stroller companies. Our favorite has been Orlando Stroller Rental through the years. They bring your stroller to your resort hotel and leave it with bell service for you, then pick it up on the day you leave.
This was the first time my big kids didn’t have their own double stroller to share and they definitely got tired. I actually wore my baby in the carrier for most of this trip but the stroller still came in handy to hold some of our other things, or give our big kids a place to sit now and then.
There’s a lot of stroller parking around Disney Parks where you can place your stroller while you visit the attractions in different areas.
8. Take Some Time Outs
If you’re staying at a Walt Disney World Resort Hotel then hopping on a bus and heading back for a quick nap is a piece of cake. You can break up your day this way doing mornings at the park, take a break after lunch then heading back around dinner time for the nighttime shows. I personally like to stick it out and look for places within the parks to take a break.
My favorite place right now is the Walt Disney Railroad Main Street Train Station. Because of construction on the TRON ride, the train isn’t running, but the station is still open for people to visit, and you can even sit on the train or ask the conductor if you can ring the bell. When it’s running I like to sit and ride the train around the park a few times as a break but chilling out in the station for a short break is also very nice.
9. Request a complimentary travel crib
Don’t worry about lugging your pack n’ play along for the trip. Ask your Walt Disney World Resort for a complimentary travel crib or pack n’ play during your stay. They have a limited amount on hand. We opted for the pack n’ play since our baby was sitting up. It worked perfect for her to sleep in after a long day of fun. She slept all night!
10. Use those FastPasses wisely!
This is probably a given but I thought I’d throw in a little extra something with this tip. Plan your FastPasses in advance and take note of which rides have the longest wait times. For example, Peter Pan’s flight usually has a much longer wait than It’s a Small World or The Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. Book your FastPass+ for those rides with the longer waits and choose stand-by for the others. Dumbo may have a longer wait but your little ones can play in a playground while you wait so you may opt to save a FastPass+ for another ride and wait that one out. And don’t forget, many character experiences have FastPass+ options as well! Bring those autograph books for a great first souvenir.
Your baby may not remember their first trip to Walt Disney World, but you will. And coming from someone who’s gone with a baby, a two year old and up to an almost 9-year-old, I can say the joy in my baby girl’s face was just as special.
Ok so I braved a movie screening with three kids solo. Including our three month old baby. Thankfully our screening wasn’t jam packed and we came out unscathed. Also, because of the screening time of the movie my kids were the ONLY kids in the theater. So that made for an interesting experience.
Anyway. We all had varying opinions of the movie and today are giving you a spoiler-free review and answering some questions about if it’s scary or intense for little ones.
Are Disney Sequels Making a Comeback?
I owe you a blog post I literally started years ago about my top 10 Disney sequels. I’m not talking Pixar sequels (those are really good) but good ‘ol Disney Animation sequels, most of which were direct to DVD. I was so anxious to see how Ralph Breaks the Internet (essentially Wreck it Ralph 2) would compare. And with Frozen 2 set to come out next year, this could be a Disney comeback trend.
I’m happy to say that Ralph Breaks the Internet is worth the theatrical release, and you should totally see it over the holidays. It’s a great family flick, and if you loved the original, you’ll likely enjoy this one too. As good as the original? Well, keep reading to see what we think.
What I thought
I was a little more distracted than usual at this screening. There are at least three parts of the film that got audience chuckles that went over my head either because my son was asking a question or I was trying to nurse my baby. But there are several other funny parts to laugh at. Especially the Disney Princess scene which you get glimpses of in the previews.
The new characters are great. I loved the new hip gamers, especially Shank. Sergeant Calhoun was my favorite character in the first one, and while we got to see her it isn’t nearly enough for me.
Admittedly Wreck it Ralph isn’t one of my favorite Disney movies to begin with, so I’m not blown away by the sequel. But there are some gems that made the movie for me. From an unexpected song, to so many social media references. It is entertaining and I’ll be looking for all of the easter eggs (hidden characters) for years and years I’m sure.
There were some funny parts, but a lot of the humor is for people who know and understand the internet (social media, ebay, etc) and a lot of that went over my kids’ heads. I feel like the first movie had more silly kid humor they would understand. Still, the film has a sweet message about friendship, insecurities and following your own path.
What makes or breaks movies most for me though are how much my children enjoy them.
Every time I looked over at Lil’ J (8 years) she was grinning from ear to ear. Loving every second. My son (5 years) loved whenever there was racing, and the climax near the end, but he lost interest multiple times and even asked me about three times if the movie was almost over.
Before you ask if it’s his age or personality let me add, he sat through Cars 3 and Incredibles 2 multiple times with barely a peep, so I think that speaks to something. It may seem like a slower or confusing movie for some younger kiddos.
Is it scary?
The only part that may be considered scary, or at least kinda creepy was my son’s favorite part and it involves overcoming the problem in the end. It’s not as scary or as creepy as the bug part with Turbo at the end of the first movie. My daughter gets easily creeped out and she thought the whole movie was great. As usual, use your discretion when taking your kids. Movies in theaters are are usually louder, darker and feel more intense.
What they thought
Did you like Ralph Breaks the Internet?: Yes What was your favorite part?: I liked the BIG Wreck it Ralph! Were you scared?: No Did you think the movie was funny?: No. Do you think the movie was scary?: No. Would your baby sister be scared?: No. What did you like about the movie?: I liked the racing. When they went REALLY fast! Did you like Wreck it Ralph 1 or 2 more?: I liked 2 more because there’s a bigger Wreck it Ralph. Would you friends like Wreck it Ralph 2?: I don’t know. Do you want to see it again?: Yes
What did you think of the movie?: It was very good. It made me think of my friends and how I need to treat them. Did you think it was funny?: Yes! The movie was very funny, one of the funniest movies I’ve watched. What was your favorite part?: I loved when Vanellope met the Disney princesses. What do you think about it compared to the first movie?: They had a new adventure! Did you like it more?: Yes, because they were very different. They plugged in the internet and they explored it. Who were your favorite characters?: Vanellope and Shank Did you think it was scary? (SLIGHT SPOILER AHEAD, SKIP TO THE NEXT Q IF YOU DON’T WANT TO KNOW): Not at all. A little when they made a big Ralph monster. It wasn’t scary, but maybe for three and under I’d think it’s a little scary. What else did you like about the movie?: It was about friendship being one of the most important things. Would you recommend this movie?: Yes, because I think they’ll like it as much as I did. Were you a big Wreck it Ralph fan?: Yes, it was one of my favorites. Ralph Breaks the internet is my new favorite because it was funny. Do you want to see it again?: Yes! Of course! Why wouldn’t I? What would you like to add?: I think ages 3 months to 100 could watch this. It was one of the best movies in the world.
So there you have it! Our honest review. Ralph Breaks the Internet wrecks into theaters nationwide Wednesday November 21st! We hope you’ll go see it too then come let us know what you think!
My husband and I have been going back and forth on baby names for months. We don’t agree. I’ve rambled off dozens of names and get shot down time and time again.
Just when I thought we may never agree we had a breakthrough. I was telling my husband how inspired I was by Ava DuVernay. How she was the first black female director with a film budget of $100 million. How important and meaningful her films are. And how she’s breaking glass ceilings and lifting others up with her. I told him I will never forget how she made me feel when I gave her a hug and told her how much her work meant to me and our daughter. How she really saw me, and how she spoke about being a light in the darkness (something I’m always telling our children). And how she even said hello to our nameless baby in utero.
“What if we name the baby Ava?” I said.
I waited for his immediate “nope” but he stood silent for a moment. Was he listening? Did he tune me out?
“I like it!” He said. I couldn’t believe it.
“Yes, it sounds good and I like names that have meaning,” he said.
“Ok, but can we add a ‘y’?” I asked. “Maybe A-Y-V-A?”
He wasn’t enthusiastic about the additional letter but he didn’t object. Both of our kids have names containing ‘Y’ so I’d like to carry on the tradition.
Thrilled that we’d finally agreed, I did a quick search to see how popular it is.
Will you believe it’s the 3rd most popular baby name of 2018?
Coming from a Jennifer, I know how this feels. Going by first name, last initial in a class where five other people share your name. Or you get a nickname like Jenn, Jen or Jenny. Gah!
Our name decision is still murky, but something that’s crystal clear is the powerful impression Ava DuVernay left on me. I knew she was an incredible, inspiring, amazing woman. But what I didn’t realize was how genuine, spiritual, and down to earth she is.
In tears she told us about her nervous call to her mother before her first A Wrinkle in Time junket.
“I said ‘mommy, I’m going to the junket. I’m gonna share the movie for the first time with people who are gonna see the movie for the first time. I don’t know what they’re gonna think,'” Ava recalled. “She said ‘Avy, you did your best.’ I was like a little girl again. ‘You did your best, babe and, you know, your best is good enough and so pretty. It’s just like you. You’re the best girl in the world.'”
Well I think Ava’s mom was right. Ava did an incredible job and I think the world is going to be pretty impressed with how pretty it turned out.
The Message She Hopes You Receive
Movies are powerful. They can make an impact on the world, and that’s what Ava hopes to do with hers. She wants everyone to leave feeling full.
“I just want them to be meaningful. I don’t want them to be junk food where you come in, you see the movie and you walk out and you forget about it by the time you get to the car,” Ava said. “I want the images to stick to your ribs like soul food, I want you to think about the stories or get something from the narratives or the way that the camera moves or the way that something looks. You know, just try not to let it be empty calories, you know, a meal and I think, you know, the only way to do that is to put love in every frame.”
Now she’s turned to make another impactful film, this time in a different genre. Ava said her films are her children. After her award-winning films Selma and 13th Ava really wanted to do something for children.
“You know, I put my blood into them. It’s really what has my name on it. It’s what I’ll leave behind in the world and so to be able to make something specifically for kids today, something that I hope endures for kids, you know, for a long time to come was very emotional to me,” Ava said. “I really want it to be a seed that blossoms into something beautiful in young people about the way that we treat each other and the way that we see ourselves and the way that we’re seen and so that’s really what I’m hoping. I mean movies have the power to do that.”
“Yes, kids like to laugh but kids also like to think,” Ava said. “They like to feel”
Without any input from me, my 7-year-old daughter walked away from A Wrinkle in Time making her own connections between the messaging in the movie, and Dr. Martin Luther King’s message.
Ava’s hope was to keep the intention of Madeleine L’Engle’s book the same. She wants to remind people to plant seeds with young people and remind them that they can be a light in a world of darkness.
“It’s like if you could say to kids, if you could understand that you alone, can make a difference just in your world,” Ava said. “You don’t have to be Gandhi, you don’t have to be King. You don’t have to be Malala. In your day, when you go to school, when you see a kid being bullied, and you don’t talk about people, and you behave the right way and you grow up to be empathetic, whole hearted person in the world you have to start right now.”
Ava’s Secret of Daily Gratitude
You’re more than just a number to Ava DuVernay. If she counts you during her day, consider it a big compliment.
“I do this thing all day and I don’t talk to a lot of people about it but I do this thing all day where I count gratitude so throughout the day,” Ava said. “So at the end of the day when I say goodnights to myself and to the universe or to God I’ll say 13 or 47 or whatever. And in that moment I can’t remember all the things they were but like I’ll count them. So today I’m on 19. You all are 20 right, about the things that I’m grateful for in this moment.”
Doesn’t that just give you all the warm and fuzzies? But of course she keeps it real.
“And some days you’re going through the day and you’re like I got three. Good night,” she said.
It’s her prayer and reminds her to be grateful of the little things through the day. From a smile, to someone who lets her in the left turn lane late, or a great parking spot.
“If you just take a second to acknowledge it, it gives you a little jolt of joy,” Ava said.
I’ll Never Forget
Ava DuVernay’s words still reverberate through my soul. I will never forget the way her sincere hug calmed me on one crazy premiere night. Or the way her gaze and gratitude for my compliments made me feel like she saw me for who I am. Like Maya Angelou said “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
Maya. That’s is another good name. Amaya. A little of both.
Namesake or not, I know we are going to be seeing so much more from Ms. DuVernay. And I imagine the name Ava is going to be one we hear for a long long time.
You guys, A Wrinkle in Time is now playing in theaters everywhere!
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.