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20 Movies you should see before going to Disney World


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Recently, a co-worker of mine told me he and his wife are taking their kids on their very first trip to Walt Disney World in Florida this summer. Apparently he’d heard I’m something of an enthusiast on the topic. After a quick rundown of where they’re staying and eating, he expressed some concerns over the quickly approaching date for reserving the family’s Fastpasses and worried that his young kids might be scared of some of the rides (he has a 4-year-old daughter and a 6-year-old son). I told him they probably would be a little tentative and suggested that he sit down with them on YouTube to get a preview of some of the attractions he thought they were targeting. I’ve heard from some parents that this has helped to demystify some of the gentle dark rides and can act as a stepping stone for the overall experience. He seemed pretty pleased with this suggestion and I came out of the conversation feeling rather happy with myself. It was a win-win.

Unfortunately, he came back a couple of days later with a completely different problem. He had watched several ride videos with his kids like I’d said, and he hadn’t gotten much feeling that they were frightened by what they saw. But maybe that was because they had spent the entire time asking him who all of the characters were! This came as quite a shock to both him and his wife. After all, they were pretty sure all kinds of cartoons were on in the house on a rather regular basis. But there he was, trying to explain the seven dwarfs, Peter Pan, and even the Little Mermaid to his kids. A cursory investigation of the family’s available Disney movies revealed part of the problem: they weren’t the ones with rides based on them. Frozen had been played past one family member’s tolerance, but that ride isn’t open yet. His son had practically worn out a copy of Pixar’s Cars, but there is next to nothing at Disney World featuring those characters. There was a lot of Disney Jr stuff like Doc McStuffins and Jake and the Neverland Pirates available, which really just covers one stage show and maybe a character meal. He snatched out a copy of Beauty and the Beast and insisted to his kids that they had all watched it together a couple of times. Maybe they had, but at that moment all he was getting were blank stares. “For crying out loud,” he said to me (or something less printable here), “What the heck do they need to see before we leave in nine weeks?!” Clearly, the stress of trip planning was getting to him.

I smiled and told him I’d have a list for him in a day or two, but that a refresher on Beauty and the Beast couldn’t hurt in the meantime. Join me as we look at a big part of that promised list.
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What Might Have Been Wednesday: Billy Crystal as Buzz Lightyear


Billy Crystal - Buzz Lightyear

Twenty years after the premiere of Toy Story, it’s hard to imagine anyone but Tim Allen voicing the space ranger Buzz Lightyear.  But before Allen was cast, the part was offered to comedian Billy Crystal.  Crystal said he turned down the part because he didn’t understand how a movie about talking toys would work.  He later called turning down the part the biggest regret of his career.  So when Pixar came back and offered him a role in Monsters Inc, Crystal immediately accepted.

Here is a screen test which was done using some of Crystal’s dialogue from When Harry Met Sally…

Totally Awesome Facts You Need to Know About Toy Story


Tim Allen - Toy Story

Did you grow up on Toy Story?  If so, you’re childhood is officially over.  Or like me, did you see Toy Story as an adult?  Guess what.  You’re old.  Because Toy Story was released twenty years ago!  For the last two decades Buzz and Woody have been making us laugh and even tugging at our heartstrings.  So it’s time to review the totally awesome facts you need to know about Toy Story.

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What’s Coming to Disney World: Star Wars, Toy Story, Avatar and Frozen


Star Wars Launch Bay Concept Art

It’s been a while since I have discussed new projects at Walt Disney World because frankly, there hasn’t been much to discuss.  It seems like ages since we were scrutinizing concept art for the New Fantasyland Project which is understandable since that expansion was initially announced six years ago.  To put that into perspective, my first-grader was an infant when the last major Disney World project was announced.  Last summer, we visited the Magic Kingdom just as the project was completed.  Things move slowly at Disney World in the 21st century.

For the last several years while New Fantasyland was being built, Hyperion Wharf was announced and then replaced with Disney Springs and Magic Bands became a thing, there haven’t been a lot of new developments that Disney fans could get excited about.  The announcement of an Avatar-themed expansion went over like a fart in church.  And the Frozen-themed make-over over Maelstrom at Epcot has been controversial to say the least.  There were rumors of good things to come, but for several frustrating years they remained only rumors.

This year at Disney’s D23 convention, those rumors were finally confirmed.  Details were few and far between.  But coupled with the projects which had already been announced, we’ve got a pretty good idea of where Disney World is headed over the next several years.  So it seems like as good a time as any to assess the up-coming projects and rank them in terms of their overall potential and my personal excitement level.

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Movies of 1995 Bracket Game: Toy Story Vs. The Usual Suspects


The Usual Suspects Vs. Toy Story

We’re looking back at the movies from 1995.  What was hot twenty years ago?  Which movies dominated the awards?  And which movies have stood the test of time?  In the Movies of 1995 bracket game, we’re pitting 16 of the biggest and best-remembered movies of the year against each other.  Readers will vote until only one movie reigns supreme.

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Movies of 1995 Bracket Game: Clueless Vs. Toy Story


Toy Story Vs. Clueless

We’re looking back at the movies from 1995.  What was hot twenty years ago?  Which movies dominated the awards?  And which movies have stood the test of time?  In the Movies of 1995 bracket game, we’re pitting 16 of the biggest and best-remembered movies of the year against each other.  Readers will vote until only one movie reigns supreme.

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Movies of 1995 Bracket Game: Babe Vs. Toy Story


Toy Story Vs Babe

We’re looking back at the movies from 1995.  What was hot twenty years ago?  Which movies dominated the awards?  And which movies have stood the test of time?  In the Movies of 1995 bracket game, we’re pitting 16 of the biggest and best-remembered movies of the year against each other.  Readers will vote until only one movie reigns supreme.

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Disney Rumors: Hollywood Studios Makeover a Go!


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As the Fantasyland Expansion project neared completion, speculation ran rampant regarding Disney’s next big project in Orlando.  When Disney purchased Lucasfilm, that speculation turned to Hollywood Studios.  Specifically, fans wanted a Star Wars Land.  Over the last couple of years, rumors of a California Adventure-style make-over have been percolating.  But budget-conscious Disney has been slow to pull the trigger.

At long last, that appears to have changed.

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The Lebeau Family Christmas Tree 2012


The holidays are always a hectic time of year.  I am always amazed how many days worth of preparation go into getting ready for a few minutes on Christmas morning.  Last year, I wrote a post about the tradition we have of putting up the tree on Thanksgiving weekend.  This year, there are some new ornaments to share.  And a few new pictures of older ornaments I didn’t include last year.

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Top Ten Movie Trilogies


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To celebrate the release of The Hobbit, I’m counting down the top 10 movie trilogies.

As always, there are a few rules to review.  In this case, what constitutes a trilogy.  Obviously, a series of three films is technically a trilogy.  However, while three is a minimum requirement, I won’t disqualify a film series that extended beyond three films.  Ideally the series should contain three films that tell a tightly connected story.

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Disney World Trip Report 2012 Part 7


 

When we left off, we had finished the first day of our trip with dinner at Chef Mickey’s and shopping at Downtown Disney.  It was a great day that included Josie’s first ride on Splash Mountain, a sneak peek at the Fantasyland expansion and Donald Duck putting me on notice.  When we got back to our room, we set about getting ready for bed.  We had another full day ahead of us. 

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Disney World Trip Report 2012 Part 5


When we left off, we had blasted through Fantasyland and Liberty Square.  The next item on our agenda was to tackle both of the mountains in Frontierland.  The only problem was, Big Thunder was down.  Fast thinker that I am, I immediately grabbed FastPasses for the attraction and off we went to Splash Mountain.  Read the rest of this entry

Disney World Trip Countdown: 36 Days


As I count down the 36 days remaining until my family’s Disney World trip, I am I walking through the agenda step by step.  Once the trip is done, we’ll see how well the plan was executed.  Because there’s no way everything goes according to plan.  It never does.

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