Star Wars

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Review

Star Wars

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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!

Who wins the poll: #TeamParks!

Who wins the poll

The Winner is #TeamParks!

Who Wins the Poll?

By Mike Ellis.

As my friend Roe so creatively put it, she is a a fan of #TeamParks in our poll that we had last week — and she’s not the only one either!  The voting was sparse, as most of my polls are, but fun nonetheless — and with 61% of the vote, The Parks wins!  This is an open ended poll, so there is no closing date assigned, so if you wish to go vote in it, you can do so!  Just click on over and tell us what you like most about Disney!

Who wins the poll

What do you like most about Disney?

Part of the reason for conducting this poll was to get an idea of what sorts of things you wanted to see us write about on the blog.  We’ve been around for over five years now, so we’ve written a lot of things — but we are always looking for input from you, our readers, on what you would like to see us dive into.  Hence, the poll.  So, here’s an open ended question, just like our poll — do you have something you would like to see us dig into in an upcoming blog post?  If so, there are several ways you can reach out to us!  You can leave us a comment here on this post; you can shoot us an email to mickey@mydreamsofdisney.com; you can comment or message us on our Facebook or Google+ pages; or you can shoot us a Tweet on Twitter.  So make yourself heard, let your voice be counted, tell us what you want to see explored in more detail, and we’ll get to work!  Thanks for joining us, and for those that voted, thanks for doing so!  Until next time, go out and make it a great Disney Day!

Eight Weeks

When Life Invades Disney

Life Invades Disney

When Life Invades Disney

By Mike Ellis.

Those of you that have been around since we kicked off our blog way back in September 2010 have probably noticed that I haven’t been around very much lately.  There’s a lot that goes into this, so for those that wish to know why, please keep reading.  As we wind down the calendar year 2015, I’ve got to tell you that I think this is perhaps the hardest year I’ve had to endure in my 47 years.  While certainly not every day has been a Debbie Downer, this year has had so many more significant events happen than in years past that it almost feels like all of the bad is being cashed in during this year. When life invades Disney, sometimes Disney has to take a back seat for a while…

It all kind of started back in April, with the passing of Cindy’s Uncle Ted.  He was a fine man, a Godly man, perhaps even a man after God’s own Heart, as was described of David in Acts 13:22.  After Uncle Ted’s passing, scarcely 6 weeks passed away before Cindy’s Uncle Sam unexpectedly passed away.  It was sudden, it was tragic, and it left a family that was grieving one loss having to grieve a second loss way too soon.  While we were in Montana for the funeral, our dog Regan got sick, and just a couple of days after we got back, we had to put him down because his hips stopped functioning — his quality of life was not good at that point, and we knew that he was suffering.  It was a hard decision, but it was the right decision.

In July we were looking forward to going to California for #Disneyland60.  Unfortunately, though, at the last minute, only Sophie and I could go — and while we had fun with Stephanie and Shane and loved seeing Sheila, Randy and Jagan, for me at least, the trip was not nearly as fun because my soul mate was not able to enjoy it with me.  Then, while we were there, I learned that Cindy’s Uncle Walter passed away — also unexpectedly.  So, in 12 weeks, we had lost three of Cindy’s uncles as well as Regan.

Then, to pile on while “they” could, I learned on August 3rd, 2015 that the company I used to work for, UNC-TV, had made the incredibly stupid decision to outsource their entire IT department effective October 31st.  Just like that, with 18 1/2 years of permanent time with the state of North Carolina, I was losing my job, as were the men and women that I worked with in that department.

UNC-TV is a state agency, and also a member station for the PBS — and if you contribute to UNC-TV, that’s your decision to do so.  However, if you knew some of the things that I know, you would probably not donate to that organization.

All of that takes us to today.  Where are things right now?  Well, for starters, I’m still looking for work.  If you know anyone that is looking for a networking or network security guy, then please have them take a look at my LinkedIn profile.

As I mentioned earlier, things are not all bad — I have a family that loves me and cares for me, we have savings to see us through all of these difficult times, we know God and know that He has a plan for us, and we are listening to what His plan is.  The right job will appear when it is time, so right now I’m learning some patience to see me through these days.  It’s going to be okay.

As I’m sure you are aware, though, when life invades Disney, unfortunately life wins, and Disney has to take a back seat.  I’ve been thinking really hard about what I should write, if anything, to talk about my absence, but I like what I’ve written here.  Being able to reflect on it allows me to see it for what it is, and also for what it isn’t.  For example, this isn’t the end by any stretch.  It was a break, a time to step away for a while, to focus on things that needed to be focused on more, and a time look inward to see what direction this blog is going to take.  Now, after many months of stagnate pixels, I think I have an idea, and I think I’m ready to pick up the writing some.  Thank you for reading this far, and thank you in advance for your prayers, thoughts, Pixie Dust, and everything else you will do for my family in the days, weeks, and months ahead.

My hope and wish is that My Dreams of Disney will once again become one of the places you go to in your day to get a Disney fix.  I don’t know when that will be, or how often, but I hope it does become one of those sites you turn to.  Until then, thanks for stopping by, and let’s go have a great Disney day!

Prayers for the Week – Belleau Wood

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Hello everyone, and welcome to our weekly Prayers for the Week post. I hope you and your family had an incredibly joyous Christmas, and that you are ready to close the book on 2014 and look forward to 2015 in just a few short days.  One of the things that I really enjoy during the Christmas season is listening to Christmas Carols.  One song in particular is from the Andy Griffith — The Christmas Guest CD that I have, and it is called Belleau Wood.  This story tells the story of how troops during World War I were able to put aside the fighting at Christmas, and actually acknowledge one another during this season.  It has gotten me thinking a bit about all of the grief that our country has been experiencing over the past several months — of cops and men fighting, and the tragic consequences that have come from those altercations.  What I started thinking about was, during what was the worst war in the history of man to that time, despite all of the hatred and anger and fighting and killing that was going on, despite all of that, still the world was able to stop and breath and put aside their differences for a moment for Christmas.

How sad is it that the enemies from different countries were able to put aside their differences for a moment, but Americans in this country can’t stop and breathe for a moment and take a step back to potentially avert a tragedy?

My prayer for us all is that we take a moment in the heat of anger, disagreement, and discord, to stop, to breathe, to think, and to realize that there is another way.  If you have never heard the Andy Griffith version of Belleau Wood, I encourage you to take a moment and listen to it now, before continuing on to read and pray our prayer requests and praises:

Prayer Requests and Praises…

  • My friend Bettie left a prayer request on Facebook. Here is what she wrote:One of Hannah’s friends was killed in a tragic car accident last night. Please keep Mandie’s family, especially her parents and twin sister, and her friends in your prayers.Please pray with me:Father, please be with the family and friends of Mandie — comfort them, love them, give them Peace and Strength in the days and weeks ahead. Lord, we know that our ways are not your ways, and that we can not comprehend why Mandie was taken so young, but we trust and have Faith that You will be with them. We ask these things in the name of Your Son Jesus. Amen.
  • Prayers for my friend Anna and her Mom and family. Here is what she wrote on Facebook:My mom has been disconnected from everything. Her feeding tube is out, ventilator gone, and all corrective medications removed. She is on a morphine drip for comfort, and Ativan for a bit of agitation she had felt. She is failing quickly, but the time is now in God’s hands. Thank you for the continued prayers and love. I cannot say enough about the staff here at HUP. They have been so amazing. They have provided us with coffee, tea, and an array of snacks so we don’t have to leave my mom, and doctors and nurses are coming in from the entire ICU floor. We are all in the best possible hands.Please pray for God’s Peace, Comfort, Strength, and Love to descend upon all of them in their time of sorrow, and that, after they grieve, they are able to remember with love all of the wonderful memories they have with her Mom — because, that, my friends, is really what matters. Thank you, everyone, for praying.
    • Here is the update from Anna:Thank you all so very much for the love, prayers, comfort, and support you have all been this past week. My mom passed away peacefully at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania at 10:03 this evening. I cannot begin to tell you how much my family has appreciated every kind word, generous offer of help, and the many hugs – both real and virtual. My mom was one of a kind, and my Uncle Bobby Robert) really said it best when he said he thought she was indestructible. She fought through a lot in this life, and has more than earned the rest she has finally received.Please pray for Anna and her family as they deal with the loss of her Mom. Continue to pray that God’s Peace, Comfort, Strength, and Love would shower them.
  • My friend Deb needs prayers. Here is what she wrote on Facebook:Prayers please. In the ER with Paul Had a stroke.They are doing a CAT scan now.Please pray for Paul, for his healing, for their strength and Peace, in this most difficult time.Thanks, everyone!
    • Great news for Deb’s husband, Paul:Thanks you all so very much for your prayers and well wishes. Update. The stroke was a ‘mini stroke’. His speech is back to normal and there is no paralysis. Thankfully!!! He still has the flu. They are keeping him for a few days. Christmas in the hospital 2 years in a row- what are the odds of that?
  • Please pray for my friend Rebecca and her family. Here is what she wrote on Facebook:It appears that my dad had a stroke last night. He’s in the hospital & being well cared for. If you have a moment, please include him in your Christmas prayers. Thank you.Thank you for praying!
  • Lastly, we have a praise from our friend Sheila:I want to thank you for all of your prayers because my sweet neighbor kitty came home from rehabilitation. Kitty is now living back at her home with the help of a aide.

Thank you for praying. Now, please pray the prayer that Jesus taught His Disciples and us to pray:

Our Father, who art in Heaven,
Hallowed by thy name.
Thy Kingdom come, Thy Will be done,
On earth as it is in Heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread,
And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.
Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the Kingdom, and the Power, and the Glory forever and ever.