Category Archives: Travel Blog

Talk Story with Women of Hōkūleʻa – Real-Life Moanas Share Their Adventures

 

Did you know that sailing across the ocean in a voyaging canoe isn’t just something Moana did in a Disney animated feature?  And that some of Maui’s Wayfinding teachings are inspired by real-life Polynesian navigational techniques?

It’s true. All of it.

Welcome to true stories of Hōkūleʻa – Hawaii’s voyaging canoe – as told by her crew, our real-life Moanas.  Traditional wayfinding had gone extinct in Polynesia until Hōkūleʻa was built by the Polynesian Voyaging Society (PVS) in 1973.

With hard work and sacrifice, Hōkūleʻa and her crew became the first to navigate across the seas as their ancestors did over 600 years ago, using only traditional wayfinding techniques.  Read more about Wayfinding like Moana here.

This was their latest achievement – a worldwide voyage. Continue reading Talk Story with Women of Hōkūleʻa – Real-Life Moanas Share Their Adventures

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How Far We’ll Go – Wayfinding Like Moana on Hawaii’s Hōkūleʻa

Feel the cool sea breeze brush across your face. Smell the salty mist as waves lap against your canoe.  Squint into the mesmerizing glare as a thousand blazing suns reflect off the water.  See the possibilities beyond the horizon, where the sky meets the sea.  Be as one with the ocean, and the myriad of species she nurtures within her.  This was the inner calling of a Wayfinder named Moana.

©2016 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

This was also the calling of ancient Polynesian voyagers who populated the islands of the Pacific Ocean.  Europeans who ‘discovered’ the Pacific islands (on their large ships) found it miraculous that the Polynesian islanders had sailed thousands of miles across open ocean in canoes.  They navigated without GPS. Or a sextant. Or a compass.

How did they do it? Continue reading How Far We’ll Go – Wayfinding Like Moana on Hawaii’s Hōkūleʻa

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Finding Places to Love at the LA Travel and Adventure Show

What’s your favorite type of getaway?  Relaxing on a secluded tropical island?  Exploring a historic European city?  Seeing the sun dip into the ocean from your private cruise ship balcony? 

Discover new places to love at the LA Travel and Adventure show.  This past weekend, we delved into the Travel and Adventure show at the Los Angeles Convention Center. 

I felt such a sense of community this year, with the Winter Olympics going on in Pyeongchang, South Korea.  We talked to people from far- off lands, including Japan, Africa, and the Cook Islands.  We even met the mascots from the Olympic Games. 

Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Mascots

For the same reason that I love Epcot’s World Showcase at Disney World, I truly enjoyed the Travel and Adventure Show.   Like the Olympics, they gather cultures together to show off their best.  

It’s more than just another convention. It’s a chance to experience things you may have wondered about, but haven’t had a chance to try.   Continue reading Finding Places to Love at the LA Travel and Adventure Show

There’s No Place Like Aulani for the Holidays

As we start out a new year, we reflect on the one we just wrapped up.  How were your holidays?  If you’re like us, Disney usually plays a large role in your holiday traditions.

Are you tired of the cold and the snow?  Have you ever considered a Hawaiian Christmas?  It’s never to early to start planning for the next holiday season!

This is our article, originally published on LaughingPlace.com, about the magical combination of Disney, Hawaii, and the Holidays!

Enjoy!

What are some of your most treasured holiday traditions?  Christmas trees, halls decked with lights and garland, or fresh-baked gingerbread cookies? Of course, everything is better when shared with your favorite Disney characters!  You’ll find all of these – and so much more – at Aulani during the holidays.

Aloha, Disney-style

Aulani – a Disney resort on the sunny southwest coast of Oahu – has been welcoming guests since August 29, 2011.  The resort presents a delightful marriage of Disney magic and Hawaiian aloha.  And it is all the more enchanting during the holiday season.

From the beginning, Aulani was designed with guidance from Hawaiian elders to accurately represent the native culture.  The Hawaiian word ‘Aulani’ translates to ‘messenger of a chief.’  Talented local artists were commissioned to tell the story of the Hawaiian Islands, and record music for this distinctive resort. 

Native Hawaiian-speaking cast members serve as cultural ambassadors, and create an authentic island experience.  And true to Disney heritage, you’ll find something for everyone in the family. 

Holiday Enchantment at Aulani

Ready to escape the snow and cold?  Aulani is a great destination to celebrate the holidays!  Enjoy tropical weather (an average 73o F) without sacrificing any of your favorite Disney holiday traditions.  Dive right into the Christmas spirit with festive decorations in the lobby entrance. 

Hawaiian Menehune (miniature mythological creatures) have certainly decked the halls in festive fashion! Continue reading There’s No Place Like Aulani for the Holidays

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10 Amazing Reasons to Go to HawaiiCon

As if I needed another reason to love the Big Island of Hawaii… I just learned about HawaiiCon.  The Big Island is not just full of palm trees, beaches, and resorts.  It is home to Kilauea, one of the longest-erupting volcanoes in the world.  And, it is one of the few places on earth where you can ski and surf in the same day.  The Big Island has numerous cultural festivals – and HawaiiCon is one of them!

HawaiiCon caught this fangirl unprepared.  We found out about it while vacationing on the Big Island, thanks to a featured article in Ke Ola Magazine.  I had packed some Hot Topic tank tops, but not my wardrobe of Her Universe dresses.  Nevertheless, I welcomed the opportunity to see a new con.

Even though I’d been to many conventions including San Diego Comic-Con, Star Wars Celebration, and D23 Expo – I found many reasons to love HawaiiCon.  Here are my Top 10 reasons why you should put HawaiiCon on your calendar next year.

This article was originally published on LaughingPlace.com

1. Opportunity to really get to know celebrity guests

Celebrity guest stars were scheduled at multiple panels and activities over the HawaiiCon weekend.  This allowed a rare opportunity to really get to know them, and interact in a more informal setting.

It was personal ‘story time’ with your favorite celebrities.  This was my first encounter with Temuera Morrison (Chief Tui, Moana / Jango Fett, Star Wars Ep. II).  And Paul Blake (Greedo, Star Wars Ep. IV), who answered the question ‘Who Shot First?’  We enjoyed ‘solo’ time with Daniel Logan (young Boba Fett, Star Wars Ep. II).  Q&A was amazing during these small panel sessions.

Continue reading 10 Amazing Reasons to Go to HawaiiCon

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Dreams Come True at the 4th Annual Her Universe Fashion Show

Thanks to Her Universe founder, Ashley Eckstein, showing off geek couture is now a much-anticipated event at San Diego Comic-Con.  Ashley dreamed of providing a runway for young designers to showcase their fandom-driven fashions.  Her dream is now a reality, as she makes designers’ dreams come true at the 4th Annual Her Universe Fashion Show at San Diego Comic-Con.

The stakes are high: winners of the Fashion Show get to design a clothing line for Her Universe and pop-culture retailer Hot Topic.  Last year’s Fashion Show winners Hannah Lee Kent, Camille Falciola, and Jesse Thaxton created the immensely popular Wonder Woman collection, breaking Hot Topic sales records as the most successful line in store history.

[This article was originally published on LaughingPlace.com on July 27, 2017.]

 Ashley Eckstein: from Dreamer to Dream-maker

Ashley Eckstein’s gown: “Wish Upon a Star”

Ashley has always dreamed big, and loved Disney.  Her credits include both screen acting (“Muffy” on Disney Channel’s That’s So Raven) and voice acting roles.  Perhaps Ashley is best known for originating the role of Ahsoka Tano in the animated series Star Wars: The Clone Wars.  Over time, Ahsoka has become one of the most beloved characters in the Star Wars galaxy.

Young Ashley had dreamed big. But reality became even bigger than she had dared to dream.  “If You Can Dream It, You Can Do It.” Continue reading Dreams Come True at the 4th Annual Her Universe Fashion Show

Disney Ufufy Arrive in the U.S.!

Disney Ufufy have finally arrived in the U.S.!  These adorable little fluffy friends were originally released in Japanese Disney Stores on November 3, 2016.

We were there to witness Release Day in Tokyo last year, with huge crowds of Disney fans collecting their favorite Ufufy.

After nearly a year of waiting, you can finally purchase Ufufy friends at your local Disney Store!  Just released in the U.S. on October 6, 2017, these plush friends join the ever-popular Tsum Tsums as the latest kawaii (cute) export from Japan!

The American Ufufy were released in three different sizes

  • the original ‘small’ size — about 4.5 inches tall (priced at $5.95)
  • the ‘mini’ size — about 2.5 inches tall (set of 2 priced at $9.95)
  • and the ‘medium’ size — about 12 inches tall — Pooh and Donald, priced at $16.95

Continue reading Disney Ufufy Arrive in the U.S.!

D23 Expo Celebrates Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean Films

 

From a deep-seated love of the original Pirates of the Caribbean attraction at Disneyland (now celebrating its 50th Anniversary) came the Pirates film empire that we know today.  For many younger guests, Captain Jack Sparrow was their first Disney pirate.  If you long for the open seas…and ye come seekin’ adventure: ye be in the right place.

Come with us as we explore the Pirates films through props and costumes straight out of the Disney Archives.

A Tribute to Disney Pirates at D23 Expo

Disney pirates have only grown in popularity, thanks in part to the incredibly successful film franchise.  D23 Expo celebrated all Disney pirates in a special exhibit, showcasing treasures from the Parks and films.  Here, we will highlight the film memorabilia from “A Pirates Life for Me: Disney’s Rascals, Scoundrels, and Really Bad Eggs.”

For more details of the D23 Expo exhibit featuring the history of Disney pirate lore, and Pirates attractions from around the world, see our other article here.

This article was originally published on LaughingPlace.com. 

Bruckheimer’s Pirates: Bigger Than Life

Jerry Bruckheimer is known for making blockbuster films.  When he signed on for the first Pirates film, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003), he likely didn’t realize how big this franchise would become.

ANAHEIM, CA – AUGUST 15, 2015: (L-R) Actor Johnny Depp, dressed as Captain Jack Sparrow and producer Jerry Bruckheimer of PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES with President of Walt Disney Studios Motion Picture Production Sean Bailey took part today in “Worlds, Galaxies, and Universes: Live Action at The Walt Disney Studios” presentation at Disney’s D23 EXPO 2015 in Anaheim, Calif. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney) *** Local Caption *** Johnny Depp; Sean Bailey; Jerry Bruckheimer

Fast forward fourteen years, and Bruckheimer has produced four more “Pirates” films:

  • Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest (2006) – Davy Jones and the Flying Dutchman
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End (2007) – Pirates Lords of the Brethren Court
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011) – Angelica, Blackbeard
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (2017) – Captain Salazar, Henry and Carina

Here, we celebrate the films, as we tour screen-used (‘hero’) props from Disney Archives. Continue reading D23 Expo Celebrates Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean Films

Yo Ho! Celebrating Over 50 Years of Disney Pirates at D23 Expo

How many of you love Pirates of the Caribbean?  Was your first memory of Pirates from Disneyland? Or perhaps Disney World?  For younger generations, their first Disney pirate may have been Captain Jack Sparrow from the blockbuster films.  Well, if ye come seekin’ adventure, keep a weather eye open.  There be pirates in these waters as we explore their history through Disney Archives.

This article was originally published on Laughingplace.com after D23 Expo.

A Tribute to Disney Pirates at D23 Expo

Pirates have been such an integral part of Disney history, even before the landmark attraction at Disneyland (now commemorating its 50th year).  D23 Expo celebrated Disney pirates in a special exhibit, showcasing treasures from the Disney Archives.  These are highlights from the D23 Expo and “A Pirates Life for Me: Disney’s Rascals, Scoundrels, and Really Bad Eggs.”

The queues snaked on and on for this exhibit.  The mood was set with music of Disney’s pirates – from X Atencio’s classic ‘Yo Ho! Yo Ho!’ to the Hans Zimmer film soundtracks, to songs from Muppet Treasure Island and Hook’s solo “Revenge! Revenge!” from Once Upon a Time.

Jail Scene photo op

Before entering the exhibit, many guests stopped for a photo op in the classic ‘Jail Scene.’ Continue reading Yo Ho! Celebrating Over 50 Years of Disney Pirates at D23 Expo

Ghoulishly Delightful Halloween Experiences at Tokyo DisneySea (Part 2) 

Not traditionally celebrated in Japan, Halloween at Tokyo Disney Resort is a ghoulishly delightful experience for local (and visiting) Disney fans alike.  Join us as we continue our Halloween experiences at Tokyo DisneySea in Part 2 of this article.

In Part 1, we shared the cheerful Halloween festivities at Tokyo Disneyland.  Tokyo DisneySea harbored a darker (yet, not scary) Villain’s theme for the season.

Love Halloween?  You’ll find many delightful Disney details, but also some fascinating differences at Tokyo DisneySea.

This article was originally published on LaughingPlace.com, from our experiences at Tokyo Disney Resort last Halloween season.  

Halloween Decorations at Tokyo DisneySea

Monorails don’t escape the magic at Tokyo Disney resort.  It was festively Halloween from the time you set foot on the resort line monorail.  Each Mickey-shaped monorail hand-grip was charmed with a colorful witch’s hat.

Banners along top advertised ‘Disney’s Halloween 2016.’  Each banner showcased pictures of the iconic Disneyland castle, as well as Mount Prometheus, the symbol for Tokyo DisneySea.

Tokyo DisneySea’s entry arch was draped in festive orange, purple, and black banners for Halloween.  Jewel-toned pumpkin lanterns completed the look.

These decorations continued throughout the Portofino-inspired buildings of ‘Mediterranean Harbor.’  Claude Frollo’s hat adorns this Halloween banner above the Il Postino Stationery store.

This year’s Halloween theme, “Welcome to the Villain’s World: Wishes and Desires,” complemented Tokyo DisneySea’s 15th Anniversary “Year of Wishes” celebrations.

Continue reading Ghoulishly Delightful Halloween Experiences at Tokyo DisneySea (Part 2)