Saving Mr. Banks at AMC Fork and Screen

The AMC Theater at Downtown Disney!

The AMC Theater at Downtown Disney!

I’ve always wanted to see a movie in the AMC Theater at Downtown Disney (also known as the Fork and Screen because you can eat while you watch the movie!), but there was never anything playing that I wanted to see when I was there. But Saving Mr. Banks is only playing in limited release in Canada right now, so when I learned that AMC was screening it during my current visit to Florida, attending was a no-brainer!

And what better movie to pair with a review of the Fork and Screen seating arrangement? So you get two reviews in one here, folks! First, I’ll discuss the dining experience (gluten-free options included) and then a brief look at the film itself.

First off, the theatre was excellent. Small enough to be intimate but with a screen big enough to do the movie justice. However, if you were watching a mega blockbuster action movie, one might wish for something bigger. But for a film like Saving Mr. Banks, it felt just right.

Saving Mr Banks

We went on Monday, December 30th, at 12:00 noon for the Fork and Screen presentation. You can see the little symbol just above the time I attended in the picture above. And here is a screen capture of the auditorium from the official AMC site, as taking pictures in the actual theatre is forbidden, and Disney even mentions that rule with the word ‘prosecution’ not-so subtly included:

Theatre Seating

The seating was very comfortable for the movie, but for eating, you had to sit on the edge of your seat so as not to spill on yourself. The picture above shows trays at each seat, but we had a counter at bar height. The trays would have been a bit better, but this is a minor point.

The food was fantastic! My in-laws had the Mushroom Swiss Burger ($10.49 – Sautéed mushrooms and Swiss cheese top an all-American beef burger with lettuce and tomato on a toasted brioche-style Kaiser roll served with fries). I had the Double-Decker Club ($10.99 – Shaved ham, turkey, and crisp Applewood-smoked bacon piled high on Texas toast with fresh lettuce, ripe tomatoes, and Parmesan peppercorn aioli with fries, instead of the chips). The portions were generous and well-priced for what you got. The full menu can be seen, with prices, on the DTD AMC website.

On the downside were the drinks: $4.50 for a diet coke! My complaint about this, beyond the obvious, is that the price was not marked on the menu. So it was quite a surprise when I got the cheque! I only had one glass with no refills so as to not need to make a pit stop during the movie. But if I had have known what I was paying, I would have drunk refills until I wet myself!

DD Club   Shrimp Tacos

Now on to the gluten-free options. My wife had about five things to choose from, which anyone with Celiac Disease will tell you, is copious for Disney at one location. She had the Thai Bang Shrimp Tacos ($10.99 – White corn tortillas layered together with southwest sauce and Cheddar Jack cheese, then topped with sweet and sour slaw and crunchy breaded shrimp drizzled with Thai bang sauce. Served with fresh tortilla chips and house-made salsa). For the gluten-free option, the shrimp were grilled instead of breaded. My wife said the helping of shrimp was very generous and the whole meal was tasty indeed. And she didn’t have any reaction afterwards, so a good job was done with the food preparation to avoid cross-contamination, which is always a concern. So kudos to the kitchen staff and also to our servers, who were all top-rate!

And now to conclude with a very brief review of the film. We all thought it was wonderful. Only die-hard Disney fans will worry about the inaccuracies of the events being depicted. Tom Hanks did a credible Walt, but yes, he didn’t look like him. But mere minutes into the film, you completely forget about that and buy into Tom’s interpretation. This I will attribute to the genius of Tom Hanks, one of my favorite actors! We laughed, we cried, and everyone agreed it was, again, a wonderful movie.

A tip to those who have been jaded by people claiming the film misrepresents ‘known’ facts about the events depicted: Give your amateur Disney Historian the night off and just enjoy the film for what it is. Seriously. Take this tip to heart!

I will give the dining experience and the theatre itself a combined score of 4.75 stars out of 5, simply because of the exorbitant price of the drinks! The movie gets a 5 out of 5 stars. But if I had to pick on something, I’d have to say I’d have liked it to be longer. Not bad if that’s all one can complain about!

Final say: Go see this movie wherever you can! And when you do, have your say in the comments below, please.

P. S. – Don’t forget to save your tickets and enter them into your Disney Movie Rewards account for points!

Timeless – The Music of the Sherman Brothers

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The Sherman Brothers with Julie Andrews at the 1964 Oscars. Image ©Oscars

The Sherman Brothers. In the history of Disney, I would wager that the Sherman Brothers may be the most recognizable, the most loved, musical group of any in the history of Disney movies. So many of their great songs — especially for the Disney classic movie Mary Poppins — are seeing a revival as a result of the success of the movie Saving Mr. Banks. It has led to a re-appreciation of all that the Sherman Brothers meant to Walt Disney and the movies they wrote their music for. I would hazard a guess that the music, had it not been as memorable, as successful, as it was, would have meant all the difference between success and failure for the movie.

Now, the music that the Sherman Brothers made famous is being re-performed, adapted for today’s audience, and being recorded and uploaded for a new generation of fans. Take, for example, this incredible video, pieced together by Jeffrey Sherman, son of the late Robert Sherman, that is my favorite song from Mary Poppins — Feed the Birds. In this case, it’s being performed by Kristen Chenoweth at the Hollywood Bowl. Please enjoy!

In addition to that video, take this flash mob singalong that was performed in London (I believe) in front of the Odeon theater of the great Mary Poppins song “Let’s Go Fly a Kite!”

These are just two examples of the wonder of music, and how it can reach deep inside your soul and bring out emotions that you had forgotten you had.  I have really enjoyed seeing a revival of the music of the Sherman Brothers.  It is a reawakening of the spirit of that great era of Disney when they were at their pinnacle, and the music brings me back to a simpler day and time, almost as if I were strolling down Main Street, U.S.A. itself!

So, to all of you aspiring musicians out there, please, please, please, keep playing that great Sherman Brothers music!

Remembering Walt Disney

Walt-Disney

 

My friends, today we are remembering Walt Disney on the 47th anniversary of his passing.  Walt was a creative genius who was a father, husband, daddy, brother, uncle, and the mind behind such incredible vacation destinations as Disneyland, Walt Disney World, and all the rest of the Disney parks.

Walt Disney has been gone from this earth for 47 years now, but his legacy lives on.  Disneyland and Walt Disney World, the two most famous of Walt’s parks, have never been more popular than they are now.  Disney movies are at an all time high in my mind, with the latest movie, Frozen, playing to rave reviews and multiple showings.  Saving Mr. Banks, that incredible movie about how the classic film Mary Poppins came about, starts on the 20th.  If Walt were looking down at his legacy right now, I think he would be pleased with what he sees.

Walt Disney was a legend, a man who has left his mark on this world for billions of people to enjoy.  Walt Disney is more than just a company, more than just a brand; the Disney name is more than just a set of theme parks for us to enjoy.  Walt Disney was a man, he was a father, he was a husband, he was a daddy, he was a brother, he was an uncle; and on this day, we remember Walt Disney the man, and give thanks to God for his life, and also remember his family and lift them up on this day.

Tell me, please — what is your favorite Disney memory of any aspect of Walt Disney, whether it be a memory of the person, or of one of the parks, or of a movie, or something else?  Please let me know in the comments, and thank you for stopping by to remember Walt Disney on this day.

Preview of Saving Mr. Banks

Disney's Saving Mr. Banks...coming to theaters in December, 2013!

Disney’s Saving Mr. Banks…coming to theaters in December, 2013!

Saving Mr. Banks — the absolutely incredible Disney movie that is coming to theaters in December, is a movie that I absolutely can not wait to watch!  I know that hundreds, if not thousands, of previews have been written about this movie, but I just saw a linked post for it again, and I just had to write about it!  Saving Mr. Banks is the story of how Walt Disney (played by Tom Hanks in what may very well be an Oscar winning performance) and P.L. Travers (played by Emma Thompson in an equally well performed role) worked together to bring the story of Mary Poppins to life on the big screen.

From everything I’ve heard, the marriage between the two creative geniuses wasn’t perfect, and there were plenty of pitfalls along the way, but in my mind, the movie Mary Poppins is one of the top five Disney movies of all time…hmmm, that sounds like an idea for a great future blog post!

Anyway, back to this post!  As I was saying, Mary Poppins is in my top five Disney movies of all time, and it is because I’ve seen how the story played out that I’m able to imagine what the making of that classic movie would have been like.  I think that this movie will be one that I absolutely will be buying when it comes out on Blu-Ray, and that we’ll love seeing it in the theater.  The only question I’m left with is why it warranted a PG-13 rating?  That is the one facet of this production that causes me some concern.

What do you think Saving Mr. Banks will be like?  Please let me know in the comments below, and thanks for stopping by!  Before you go, though, check out the trailer for the movie, and enjoy!