Tag Archives: #DisneyWorld

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

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

How I Made a Cultural Connection at Epcot: My Italian Adventure

Epcot Sunset Over Spaceship Earth

When you think of Epcot, you may recall fragrant florals from the “Flower & Garden Festival.”  Or, perhaps, delectable dishes from the “Food & Wine Festival.” (I, too, love to ‘eat my way around the world.’)  Most of all, I enjoy Epcot as a gathering place to meet friendly cast members from various countries.  My last visit to Epcot’s Italy Pavilion did not disappoint.

Venice, Italy vs. Italy at Epcot

Through the years, I have come to love the “real” Italy, especially Venice.  Epcot’s Italy Pavilion transports me back to Venice every time.  Strolling through, I see architectural reminders of Saint Mark’s Square: the delicately intricate façade of the Doge’s Palace, and the Campanile (bell tower).

Italy Pavilion at Epcot – Detail of Doge’s Palace and Campanile

The entrance is guarded by two columns, topped with Venezia’s patron saints: Saint Mark’s Lion and Saint Theodore standing above a crocodile.  (Though Epcot’s version is actually reversed)

Admittedly, Disney puts a spin on their presentation of each country.  (Germany’s Bavarian region is famous for their large, scrumptious pretzels.  But they certainly are not Mickey-shaped, nor come with cheese dipping sauce.)

To their credit, though, Disney is committed to recruiting native cast members to represent their countries’ pavilions at Epcot, creating a more authentic experience. Continue reading How I Made a Cultural Connection at Epcot: My Italian Adventure

9 Things You Won’t Want to Miss at Disneyland Paris Resort

Good advice is worth its weight in gold, especially when you’re traveling.  Getting first-hand advice can save you time, ensure you don’t miss an essential moment, and help you make good decisions on how to spend your hard-earned vacation dollars.  This is especially true for specialty locations like Disneyland Paris.

Disneyland Paris is celebrating its 25th Anniversary in 2017 (the park opened as Euro Disney on April 12, 1992), making this the perfect year to enjoy the festivities.  The anniversary theme – “It’s Time to Sparkle!” – introduces new spectaculars to make your visit even more memorable.  You’ll want to be prepared, so you won’t miss a second of the magic.

Here are my top 9 things you definitely won’t want to miss – gained from experience as a DLP annual passholder.  Some are unique and found only at Disneyland Paris Resort.  Some are delightful variations of classic Disney attractions.  All are outstanding.

There are two parks at the Disneyland Paris Resort:  Disneyland Park, and the Walt Disney Studios (now celebrating its 10th Anniversary).  I divided this List into “family-friendly” and “wild side” features, with notations in which park they’re located.

This article was originally published on LaughingPlace.com on April 10, 2017.  Continue reading 9 Things You Won’t Want to Miss at Disneyland Paris Resort

Why You Need to Visit Disneyland Paris This Year

If you’ve ever dreamed of visiting Paris, and wished upon a star to walk through Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant (Sleeping Beauty Castle), this is the year to do it.  Disneyland Paris – the sparkling European jewel in the Disney crown – celebrates its 25th Anniversary in 2017.  And they have been diligently preparing for you to ‘Be Our Guest.’

Park improvements progressed throughout 2016 to prepare for “It’s Time to Sparkle” the Disneyland Paris 25th Anniversary celebration starting March 26, 2017.

This article was first published on LaughingPlace.com on April 7, 2017.

Troubled Beginnings

The path wasn’t always sprinkled with pixie dust.  “Euro Disney” – the fourth Disney castle Park – opened on April 12, 1992 to much controversy.  There were protests against this invasion of American culture in France, including a one-day train strike that effectively cut off the Disney resort to anyone without a car.

Continue reading Why You Need to Visit Disneyland Paris This Year

Soarin’ Around the World: From California to Shanghai

First published on LaughingPlace.com on July 7, 2016.

With the Grand Opening of Shanghai Disneyland, you literally can ride Soarin’ around the world.  From Disneyland, to Disney World, and now to Shanghai Disneyland: we compare the three versions of this attraction.

Soaring Collage DCA Epcot SHDL
Soarin’ California Adventure, Epcot, and Shanghai

The Original Soarin’ over California at Disneyland Resort

Soarin’ Over California debuted on February 8, 2001 with the Grand Opening of Disney California Adventure (DCA).  The unique ride system, designed by Imagineer Mark Sumner, was inspired by an Erector toy set.  It was an immediate success.

Guests love the sensation of flight as they are raised skyward into the 80-foot domed projection screen, while safely seated in a theater.  The original attraction highlighted California landmarks such as the Golden Gate bridge and Yosemite National Park.

Soarin’ Over California ran on IMAX HD film until its refurbishment in 2015 with digital projectors.  The attraction building resembles a large aircraft hangar, built in homage to California’s record-setting aviation history.  As you enter, you pass commemorations of historic aircraft – the SR-71 Blackbird, the Bell X-1 – and notable aviators: Charles Lindbergh, Chuck Yeager, and Amelia Earhart.

Continue reading Soarin’ Around the World: From California to Shanghai

Pictorial Tour of the Bungalows at Disney’s Polynesian Resort

 

Come with us as we share a pictorial tour of the (much coveted) over-the-water Bora Bora Bungalows of Disney’s Polynesian resort.

Disney’s Polynesian Hotel has been a premiere property at the Disney World resort since it opened.  Located on the monorail track of the Magic Kingdom, it is a touch of the exotic wrapped in luxury at the Walt Disney World resort.

Polynesian Bungalow Outside walkway

Disney Vacation Club (DVC) added Villas and the Bora Bora Bungalows this year, making the Polynesian one of the hottest properties at Disney World.

There are twenty Bungalows, built over the waters of the Seven Seas Lagoon.  They are accessed by specially-keyed, gated boardwalks on the northeast side of the resort property.

Each bungalow has two bedrooms (but the equivalent DVC points cost is equivalent to a 3-bedroom unit).

Here is a map layout of the Bungalows by room number, and the Polynesian Resort buildings (click to enlarge).

Continue reading Pictorial Tour of the Bungalows at Disney’s Polynesian Resort

Hotel Review: Disney’s Polynesian Villas, Tips and Warnings!

Disney’s Polynesian Villas and Bungalows are a touch of the exotic wrapped in luxury at the Walt Disney World resort.  Disney Vacation Club added Villas and the over-the-water bungalows this year, making the Polynesian one of the hottest properties at Disney World.
Polynesian Hotel Lobby
Polynesian Hotel Lobby
We had the chance to stay in a studio villa at the Polynesian in June, and wanted to share our impressions.  There are four Disney Vacation Club (DVC) buildings at the Polynesian: Moorea (waterfront), Pago Pago, the newly-opened Tokelau, and of course, the Bora Bora over-the-water Bungalows.
All the main buildings have only studios (as opposed to other DVC accommodations that have studio, 1-,  2-, and even 3-bedroom configurations).  These were converted over from previous Polynesian hotel rooms.
Polynesian Moorea Building
Polynesian Moorea Building

Continue reading Hotel Review: Disney’s Polynesian Villas, Tips and Warnings!

Hotel Review: Disney’s Villas at Wilderness Lodge

We did not discover the Wilderness Lodge at Disney World until the last few years.  We are not strangers to the Disney World parks and resorts, but had somehow overlooked this less-talked-about hotel.

Wilderness Lodge is now one of our favorites, even though it is not on the monorail track.  It is a serene getaway in the heart of the Magic Kingdom area, and a place that feels most like home at Disney World.

Wilderness Lodge lobby
Wilderness Lodge Hotel main lobby
The Wilderness Lodge is not one of the highest-tier hotels on the monorail track of the Magic Kingdom.  Those honors belong to the Grand Floridian, Contemporary, and Polynesian resorts.
It is not a budget hotel, like the All-Star hotels.  It is not coveted like the Beach Club (and Boardwalk) hotels with their walking proximity to EPCOT.  It does not have animal safari savannah views, as does Animal Kingdom Lodge.
Instead, the Wilderness Lodge Hotel and Villas (Disney Vacation Club — DVC) offer the convenience of a Magic Kingdom resort (just a short bus or boat ride away), with the feeling that you’ve escaped from all the hectic theme park pace…into a relaxing wilderness haven.

Welcome to Wilderness Lodge.