Disneyland60

My Top 5 Disneyland60 Moments from 2015

Disneyland60

These are my Top 5 #Disneyland60 moments!

My Top 5 Disneyland60 Moments from 2015

By Mike Ellis.

Hello everyone, and welcome to our Top 5 Disneyland60 Moments from 2015!  I hope that 2015 has been a great year for you, and that 2016 is an even better year than this one!  This has been a hard year for my family, as I wrote about in my post “When Life Invades Disney“, but I am going to be optimistic and tell you that I expect 2016 to be a much better year than this one!  So today, I’m going to pull for you my top 5 moments from our trip to Disneyland for Disneyland60 this past July!

Moment #1: The Disneyland60 Photo

Disneyland60

Stephanie, Shane, Lindsay (not seen), Sophie and I getting our picture taken on July 17, 2015!

On the actual birthday of Disneyland, July 17th, we were able to be at the park!  It was a big thrill for myself and Sophie; having Stephanie and Shane and their baby to be there also made it special.  The only thing that I missed was not having Cindy there with us.  That’s okay, though, the 50th birthday of the Magic Kingdom is in just a few years, I’ll make sure we are there for that one to celebrate in style!

Moment #2: Riding all the Attractions we did!

That morning, we arrived early enough that the park was just getting going, and were able to get in to Disneyland with not much fuss.  I was, to be honest, a little surprised, because I remember how crazy packed the Magic Kingdom had been for the 40th Birthday just a few years earlier.  So we arrived, and looked in the gift shops briefly on Main Street, but then we started riding attractions.  We must have ridden 10 or 15 attractions — rides like the Jungle Cruise, Splash Mountain, and others — within the first couple of hours of being there — well before the 10AM presentation that they had to celebrate the park and the occasion.  It was incredible how many rides we just walked right onto.

Moment #3: World of Color

We saw the World of Color the night before the anniversary — so, on July 16th.  This was a special World of Color, hosted by Neil Patrick Harris, Mickey Mouse, and even an appearance by Walt Disney.  I had a Periscope session for this, as well as for Moment #4 and Moment #5.

Moment #4: Fantasmic

On July 18, we had reservations at the River Belle Terrace to enjoy dinner and get preferred seating for Fantasmic. The meal was incredible, but alas, the show was cancelled that night due to rain. However, on the 20th, Stephanie, Shane and myself went over to see the show on our own, and the video below is my Periscope video of the showing, which is why it isn’t 16×9. I hope you enjoy!

Moment #5: Disneyland Fireworks

Within minutes of the Fantasmic show ending, the Disneyland fireworks were being presented.  Rather than try to get over by the Castle and possibly miss getting a good spot for the fireworks, we decided to stay where we were and watch them from that location.  I think it was a good decision, and I have this video as well to share with you!  Once again, it was recorded as my Periscope session, so that’s why it isn’t 16×9. Enjoy!

What special Disney moments will 2016 bring to our world?  And what special Disney moments do you have from 2015 that you want to share with us?  Hit us up, leave us a comment, shoot us an email, write on our Facebook Page, shoot us a tweet, or even give me a call!  I’d love to hear about your favorite Disney moments from 2015!  I hope that you all have a very happy and safe new year celebration and that you have a wonderful year ahead!

Disney Vacation Offer!

©Disney. All Rights Reserved.

©Disney. All Rights Reserved.

Many of you know that I am a travel agent with Pixie Vacations.  If you do not know, then you do know now!  Today Disney has released a special promotion that you and your family may be interested in.  Take a look at the details below, and call me at 919-606-6725 or email me at Mike@PixieVacations.com if you are interested in this offer:

Starting today, December 28, 2015, you can save up to 25%* on rooms at select Walt Disney World® Resort hotels for stays most nights April 14-June 11, 2016 when they book by March 31, 2016. Ask about other great rates for stays most nights Feb. 22-April 13, 2016.

Plus, you can receive 1 more ticket day FREE when they upgrade to a room and ticket package with a minimum 4-day Magic Your Way® Ticket.

It’s a perfect time for your Clients to discover all-new Star Wars™ adventures at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, the Garden Rocks™ Concert Series at Epcot® International Flower & Garden Festival, the new nighttime experiences at Disney’s Animal Kingdom® Theme Park and so much more.

*The number of rooms allocated for this offer is limited. Length-of-stay requirements may apply. Savings based on the non-discounted price for the same room. Additional per-adult charges may apply if more than two adults per room at Disney Value, Moderate and Deluxe Resorts. Cannot be combined with any other discount or promotion. Advance reservations required. Offer excludes campsites, 3-bedroom villas, Bungalows at Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows and Disney’s Art of AnimationResort—The Little Mermaid Standard Rooms. 25% savings for select Disney Deluxe and Deluxe Villa Resorts; lower savings may be available for other Resorts. Everyone in the same room must be on the same package.

Also, there are special savings for Disney Visa Cardholders that wish to stay at a Deluxe Villa resort.  Check out these details:

When Disney Visa® Cardmembers book their spring vacation, they can save 35% on room accommodations at select Disney Deluxe Villa Resorts. Plus, when they purchase a Magic Your Way® room and ticket package with minimum 4-day Theme Park tickets, they can get one more ticket day FREE!*

Guests can choose from Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa, Disney’s Old Key West Resort, Disney’s BoardWalk Villas, The Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge and Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows. They’ll also enjoy exclusive savings just for Disney Visa Cardmembers.

This offer must be booked by Feb. 28, 2016 for travel April 3-June 30, 2016. Subject to availability.

Number of rooms allocated for these offers is limited. Length of stay requirements may apply. Savings based on the non-discounted price for the same room.

Remember, I can help make your Disney vacation a reality!  Shoot me an email, give me a call at 919-606-6725, or even leave me a comment and I’ll reach out to you.  Where will your Disney Dreams take you next?

Mickey Mouse Die Cast Car by Burago

I almost didn’t bother buying this die-cast model car. It did picture Mickey Mouse and is an item I had never seen before. The asking price was $9.00 CAN which I thought was a bit high. So I bundled it with two other cars (thank you American Pickers) and got a substantial reduction.

Who is Burago?

They manufacture toy cars and kits, among other items. Burago focuses on quality management systems. In the past twenty years, their factories have implemented QC, QA and IQC systems, and strictly adhered to international SQL standards. Additionally, all their factories have in-house laboratories equipped with qualified testing instruments. In 2005, their factory had successfully attained the ICTI (The International Council of Toy Industries ) CARE Process seal.

The purpose of the CARE Process is: To enable the worldwide toy industry to assure consumers that its products are manufactured in safe and humane environments. To achieve this, its intent is to provide a single, fair, thorough and consistent programmer to monitor toy factory compliance with the industry’s code of business practice.

Blah, blah, blah. But at least now we know that the toy featured in this post was not cruelly treated during its manufacture!

End of box

Now let’s have a closer look at the car itself:

    

1/43 Scale and Made in Italy

This is likely a Fiat, although no model is listed on the toy car or the packaging. But Fiat is the biggest automobile manufacturer in Italy, so it seems at least possible. I also found this picture of an early model Fiat on the Net for comparison:

Close! Again, this is a little unusual and so worth adding to my growing collection of Disney-themed die-cast cars.

Christmas Carol

Christmas Movie Review: Disney’s A Christmas Carol

Christmas Carol

(C) Disney. All Rights Reserved.

Disney’s A Christmas Carol

By Mike Ellis.

During this Christmas season, my family has seen A Christmas Carol in three different formats — once in the theater as presented by Ira David Wood and Theater in the Park, once in the Disney movie The Muppet Christmas Carol, and now, in the Disney version of A Christmas Carol starring Jim Carrey.  Today, we are sharing with you our thoughts on this third version of the classic Charles Dickens tale.

Written and directed by Robert Zemeckis, this version of the tale is, at times, much darker and scarier than some of the other versions I’ve seen. Carrey does a great job in this film — he lends his voice and talents as Ebenezer Scrooge, of course, in all phases of his life — a young boy, a teenage boy, a young man, a middle aged man, and his current older self — but in addition to that, Jim Carrey also voices the characters of the Ghost of Christmas Past, Ghost of Christmas Present, and the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come.

In addition to Carrey, Colin Firth stars as Scrooge’s nephew Fred, and Gary Oldman stars as Bob Cratchit.

You know the story: Ebenezer Scrooge is a miser, a man with a hardened heart, a cheapskate of the first order, and he refuses to celebrate Christmas.  He sees it as an opportunity for people to go further in debt instead of paying off their debts; in short, Ebenezer Scrooge is in love with his money.  Then, one Christmas Eve, Scrooge is visited by the ghost of his old partner, Jacob Marley, who tells him that he will be visited by three ghosts — and if Scrooge doesn’t change his ways, he may find himself chained like Marley for all eternity.

One by one, each of the ghosts stops by to pay him a visit — the Ghost of Christmas Past, the Ghost of Christmas Present, and the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come. By the time all three ghosts have visited with him, Scrooge is a changed man, and he proves it in his dealings with Cratchit, his nephew Fred, and his fellow man.  Ebenezer Scrooge is a changed man, and he proves it from that day forth.  In fact, it was said that he became a second father to little Tiny Tim, Cratchit’s son, he was that changed.

I don’t know why Zemeckis decided to highlight the darkness Scrooge’s upbringing.  I know that the story is dark, but it felt like Zemeckis was even darker in his portrayal of those scenes.  However, I believe that the contrast between the darkness of Ebeneezer Scrooge and the Light that he showed after his visits with the spirits showed just how much he had changed, and perhaps that was the reason why Zemeckis directed it as he did.

Disney’s A Christmas Carol isn’t my favorite version of this classic Christmas tale, but it isn’t the worst I have seen either.  While I don’t watch it every year, it is good to see, and after having done so, I am definitely reminded of what the true meaning of Christmas should be in all of us, each and every day.  My Christmas wish to you is that you and your families have a joyous and Merry Christmas, and remember that by keeping Christmas in our heart every day of the year, we are remembering the reason we celebrate Christmas at all — to celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Star Wars

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Review

Star Wars

©Disney. All Rights Reserved.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

By Mike Ellis.

The latest in the Star Wars series of films, The Force Awakens, opened up on December 18 to worldwide acclaim.  For me, this was a chance to experience a first.  When the original Star Wars movies came out in the 70s and 80s, we didn’t go to many movies, and as a result, I didn’t see them in the theater.  Then, when the Prequels were released between 1999 and 2005, for whatever reason, I don’t believe I saw any of those in the theater either.  So today, watching Episode VII in the theater was a brand new experience for me.

This review isn’t so much about the movie itself, because I don’t want to ruin it for anyone by having some spoilers revealed when there are people that haven’t seen the movie yet.  Instead, this review is about the experience, the feelings the movie generated, the anticipation, and yes, even the trailers, which I will share below for you to watch if you wish to.

The Anticipation

To my recollection, I can’t remember a time when a movie was as highly anticipated as Star Wars was.  I guess perhaps the final book in the Harry Potter series had as much buildup, or at least, it attempted to, but to me, this movie, which has generated a ton of pixels all across the galaxy we call the internet, easily topped that.  The totals for ticket pre-sales far exceeded $100 million dollars, and for the weekend, I believe the movie was at $250 million; this movie topped all sorts of charts, and people across the globe were excited for it’s release.

The Experience

Having all six of the first Star Wars films in my library at home, watching them on the TV whenever I care to is good; but when you are sitting in a dark theater, and all of a sudden, that music starts with the Star Wars logo appearing in the middle of that big screen is pretty sick.  Then, as you see the opening introduction, it hits you; you are watching Star Wars in the theater, and it doesn’t get any better than this.

Everything is better at the theater, in my opinion.  The movie is better; the popcorn tastes better; the music is better; the special effects are better; the seating is better (our theater had reclining seats which were very nice).

The Feelings

In my opinion, director J.J. Abrams does an incredible job with the Star Wars universe.  The story is well developed, the characters rich and engaging, the merge between old and new characters is very well done, and this film does answer some questions I had going into the movie.  All in all, this movie had it all for me; suspense, intrigue, drama, laughter, sadness, you name it, it had it for me.  Were there things I would have done differently?  Perhaps, although I’m not a filmmaker so I can’t imagine right now what I would change; still, though, I was quite pleased with the way the film was presented, and I really look forward to Episode VIII, whenever it is released.

The Trailer

The Star Wars trailer is really well done, of course, the producers of the trailer certainly did a bang up job of drawing in even more interest for the movie.  The anticipation for the movie because of the trailer was even greater for my daughter and I, and we enjoyed watching the movie.  In summary, I would say that Star Wars: The Force Awakens is a great movie, one that I recommend for everyone that enjoys the Star Wars saga, and I am certain that we will watch the movie again in the theater in the future.  To this writer, the movie earns 5 Stars every easily.  What did you think of it?  Let me know in the comments, and thanks!