Disney on Ice: Follow Your Heart

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At this point, I think it’s fair to say we’re seasoned vets when it comes to Disney on Ice. Yeah, we’ve been to our share of shows.

If you’ve never been or are curious about specific touring shows, be sure to check out our reviews of Treasure TroveWorld of Fantasy, and 100 Years of Magic. They should give you a good idea of what to expect.

But we’re here today to talk about the brand-new show, Follow Your Heart, which actually breaks the Disney on Ice mold in a few key respects. Although I didn’t learn this until after the fact, it still explains quite a bit: this show was written by Shea Fontana, who is a veteran of several Disney animated series and is currently head writer for the DC Super Hero Girls franchise.

In other words, it comes with a fair bit of impressive star talent behind the scenes, which should be getting more publicity than it is.

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Disney’s The Jungle Book

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Full disclosure: the original 1967 animated version of The Jungle Book is one of my favorite Disney films. So when I first heard that it was added to the crop of “live-action remakes,” I was apprehensive but cautiously optimistic. I wasn’t quite sure how they’d be able to pull off the whole talking animals thing and still make it feel realistic.

The more I saw about the movie, the more intrigued I became. And then when I heard mostly positive reviews flowing in, I was fully on board. But I have to admit that I never actually saw the film in the theaters. Life got in the way (as happens with young kids), and we just never found the time.

So I jumped on the opportunity to finally watch the film now that it’s out on blu-ray and available to stream. And the reviews, hype, and hooplah that surrounded the film didn’t set it up for failure. When we finally popped in the blu-ray for family movie night, it was a resounding success. The kids were amazed and tried to figure out how the movie was made, and I was thrilled to see a new take on these characters (and songs).

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Finding Dory: Three Little Words

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  • Three Little Words
  • written by Amy Novesky
  • illustrated by Grace Lee
  • published by Disney Hyperion (2016)
  • Roar Score: 4/5

Timed to coincide with this month’s theatrical release of Finding Dory, Three Little Words is a gorgeous picture book that really drives home the simple message that lies at the heart of Dory’s character: Just Keep Swimming.

This isn’t an adaptation of the film, per se, but it visually follows all of the major plot developments (including, apparently, the ending), so if you’re looking to remain spoiler-free until you’ve seen Finding Dory, then you may want to hold off on this for a few more weeks.

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Ticket Giveaway: Disney On Ice Presents Treasure Trove

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It’s that time again. Disney on Ice is returning to the Baltimore/Washington area, and they’re bringing a new show. This time around, it’s called Treasure Trove, and it’s got some familiar faces and fresh acts.

If you’re unfamiliar with the Disney On Ice shows, check out our reviews of World of Fantasy and 100 Years of Magic. They should give you a good idea of what to expect: Mickey and the gang act as hosts, a variety of characters perform routines to well-known songs, and there’s a big finale at the end with everyone.

Treasure Trove promises acts from many of the princesses, Peter Pan, The Lion King, Alice in Wonderland, and Toy Story. As usual, they’ve tried to divide the show up so the acts target stereotypical “boys” and “girls” properties equally.

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Disney on Ice: 100 Years of Magic

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(Disney on Ice:100 Years of Magic is currently playing at the Royal Farms Arena in Baltimore, MD, through Sunday, November 1. Buy tickets here. The show is currently touring around North America, and there are lots of dates in lots of different cities, so check the full calendar to see if it’s playing near you.)

There are currently five different touring Disney on Ice shows, and if you live in a major city, then you’re likely to see one of them come your way with some regularity. Earlier this year, we here in the Baltimore/DC region got World of Fantasy, and now 100 Years of Magic is coming through town.

The shows do have some distinct differences, but in all honesty, they’re remarkably similar. Even though we were prepared for this show to be cobbled together from recycled bits we’ve seen in other Disney on Ice performances, we were still pleasantly surprised to see some new characters and musical numbers.

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Ticket Giveaway: Disney On Ice Celebrates 100 Years of Magic

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This year’s incarnation of the Disney On Ice show is called 100 Years of Magic. Why 100 years? Good question. As far as I can tell, that name is just figurative. Almost nothing of lasting significance happened in 1915, and it wasn’t until 1923 that Walt and Roy Disney moved to Hollywood and set up their first animation studio.

Oswald the Lucky Rabbit first appeared in 1926, and Mickey Mouse made his debut (with sound) in Steamboat Willy in 1928. So if we’re really meant to celebrate 100 years of magic with these characters, we still have a ways to go. But “87 Years of Magic” doesn’t have quite the same ring to it.

If you’re unfamiliar with the Disney On Ice shows, check out our review of last year’s show: World of Fantasy. It should give you a good idea of what to expect: Mickey acts as host, a variety of characters perform routines to well-known songs, Anna and Elsa serenade the crowd, and there’s a big finale at the end with everyone.

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Disney In Concert

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Another stellar performance at Wolf Trap. Did I show my hand too early? Come on now, we’re huge fans of Wolf Trap, Disney, and films projected with live orchestral accompaniment. So what’s not to love here?

After last summer’s Pixar In Concert, we knew what to expect from Disney In Concert, and it didn’t disappoint. And the sold-out crowd filling every seat and covering every square inch of grass seemed to agree.

In short, there was a full orchestra on stage, playing music timed to video clips projected on a big screen over the stage and outside the amphitheater for everyone sitting on the lawn. For this show, we were also treated to four vocalists who sang several of the most popular Disney songs.

Please, Wolf Trap, do more of these. (psst….Star Wars, just sayin’)

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Disney Social Media Moms Celebration 2015: The Recap

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In May of this year, I attended the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration (DSMMC) at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. All told, it was a fantastic event and a wonderful opportunity.

If you haven’t already listened to my podcast or read my FAQ about my experience at DSMMC, you might want to go ahead and do that for some background.

This post is all about the recap — an image-heavy and pixie-dust-free recap. It’s the details of what happened and what attendees got to do and see during the event. It’s long, so buckle down and get scroll happy.

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Disney Social Media Moms Celebration 2015: The FAQ

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In May of this year, I attended the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration (DSMMC) at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. All told, it was a fantastic event and a wonderful opportunity. I’ve heard many fellow attendees refer to it as a “once-in-a-lifetime” experience. However, I’ve had more than my fair share of legitimate once-in-a-lifetime experiences, so I’m fairly judicious when using that term.

Still, it was incredibly memorable and — as you’ll see — I have quite a bit to say and share about it. This is the story of my DSMMC adventure. As with many things Disney, there’s a heavy fog of mystery surrounding the event. I’m here today to try to dispel some of that mystery, pull back the curtain a little, and let you know what it’s all about.

Search Twitter for the #DisneySMMC hashtag or read other event recaps, and you’ll probably notice a heavy coating of pixie dust over everything.

That’s all fine and good if that’s what you’re looking for. But I’m much more interested in being honest, transparent, and helpful for those on the outside looking in. With that in mind, I’ll try to be as straightforward and honest as I can. I’m not going to hide anything.

I’ve already discussed some of my thoughts about the event on my podcast here. It caused a few ripples, which is good in my opinion.

But now I want to present a more detailed FAQ for those who are curious and want to learn more about it or for those who are interested in attending in the future. (I posted a detailed recap of the events separately here.)

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Questions From a Kid: Jim Cummings

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(previous interviews in this series can be found here.)

Welcome to another installment of Questions From a Kid. Today, Zoey chats with legendary voice actor Jim Cummings. Jim has given life to hundreds of characters, but he’s best known as the voice of Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Darkwing Duck, and Pete.

He’s also the voice behind Hondo Ohnaka on Star Wars: The Clone Wars, the Tasmanian Devil, Tantor the Elephant on the Tarzan TV series, various characters on Sofia the First, Curious George, and on and on and on. The list is seemingly endless.

It’s no understatement to say that Jim Cummings is the voice of many childhoods. Scroll through his filmography on IMDb and you’ll undoubtedly find a show or movie you know and love. Many of the roles for which he is most well known are not original to him. He took over Winnie the Pooh in 1988, Tigger in 1990, and the Tasmanian Devil in 1991 (after Sterling Holloway, Paul WInchell, and Mel Blanc created those distinctive voices).

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Disney on Ice: Worlds of Fantasy

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(Disney on Ice Presents Worlds of Fantasy is currently playing at the Verizon Center in Washington, DC, through Monday, February 16. Buy tickets here. The show is currently touring around North America, and there are lots of dates in lots of different cities, so check the full calendar to see if it’s playing near you.)

Disney on Ice seems to be in the area every few months, and it seems like it’s a different show each time. Indeed, there are currently six different touring shows, and each is a bit different.

Worlds of Fantasy does its best to appeal to the entire family by splitting the show up into four segments—apparently two for girls and two for boys. Your mileage may vary. My daughter loved the “boy segments,” and my son enjoyed those ostensibly meant for girls.

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Disney’s Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show

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A trip to Walt Disney World is fairly expensive if you do nothing but visit the parks. But then there’s meals, special events, tours, and merch, merch, merch! If you’re not careful, your trip can easily break the bank and spill over into excess. Even if you ignore the rest of Central Florida, there’s just a ton to do on Disney property.

We don’t visit all that often, but when we do, we like to try new things. And I usually budget for one splurge event. On our most recent trip, that splurge was the luau at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort.

Officially, it’s called Disney’s Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show, but that’s a mouthful. I’m just going to call it the luau.

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Ticket Giveaway: Disney on Ice presents Worlds of Fantasy

5855019_origDisney on Ice is still putting costumed characters on ice skates. Seems dangerous to me, but the performers at these shows are actually pretty impressive.

The Worlds of Fantasy show includes four separate storylines: Tinker Bell, The Little Mermaid, Cars, and Toy Story. Ostensibly, that’s two “for the girls” and two “for the boys.”

McQueen and Mater should be interesting—I’m not exactly sure how that’ll work or if there will actually be people inside on ice skates.

One thing that’s for sure, though, is that there will be plenty of familiar songs for the kids to groove along to. With these four storylines, we’re sure to at least get Under the Sea, Part of Your World, and You’ve Got a Friend in Me.

I’ve even got a nice little surprise for this one. Click here to download a coloring sheet with these characters. Enjoy!

If you’re in the Washington, DC area, Disney on Ice is returning to the area in the Verizon Center from February 11–16. Here’s the full schedule:

  • Wednesday, February 11: 7:30
  • Thursday, February 12: 10:30, 7:30
  • Friday, February 13: 7:30
  • Saturday, February 14: 10:30, 2:30, 6:30
  • Sunday, February 15: 12:30, 4:30
  • Monday, February 16: 12:30

Tickets are available at the Verizon Center box office, online at www.ticketmaster.com or by phone at 800-745-3000. Seats start at $20, but Roarbots readers can save $5 off tickets by using the codeword PRINT.

However! I have a family 4-pack of tickets to giveaway to a lucky reader. The tickets are for the 7:30 pm show on Wednesday, February 11, 2015. Just enter with the widget below, and good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

LEGO 41055: Cinderella’s Romantic Castle

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Lego 41055: Cinderella’s Romantic Castle / Disney Princess

This is the biggie from the first wave of Disney Princess sets. We had held off getting this one…quite honestly because of the price point. But then Grandpa came to visit. I think you know where this goes.

Zoey jumped at the opportunity to get the castle. Within the Disney Princess line, this is the most impressive set by far. It’s not only the biggest and has the most pieces, but it also has the highest playability factor. The castle is filled with little nooks and crannies, and it’s rife with opportunities for imaginative play once assembled.

Plus, it’s an absolute must if you’re constructing a LEGO Disneyland.

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DisneyKids Preschool Playdate

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We were recently invited by Disney Parks and MomSelect to host a DisneyKids preschool playdate for our little guy—a Jake and the Neverland Pirates playdate, no less. Arr, matey!

Sam (like most younger siblings) seems to forever live in his older sister’s shadow. Even though we made a concerted effort to set up playdates and help Zoey (his sister) make new friends when she was very young, we unfortunately haven’t had the same energy for Sam. Sound familiar?

Well, when the package of party goodies arrived from Disney, Sam immediately knew it was all about him. And he was thrilled.

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Disney’s The Little Mermaid

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Disney’s The Little Mermaid

  • playing at Olney Theatre Centre (Olney, MD)
  • dates: now through December 28, 2014
  • directed by Mark Waldrop
  • Roar Score: 4/5

Can you believe Disney’s The Little Mermaid is having its 25th anniversary this year? Hard to believe, I know. Ariel is all grown up.

Timed to coincide with this anniversary and capitalize on the perennial appeal of that red-headed mermaid, Olney Theatre Center in Olney, MD (about 45 minutes from both DC and Baltimore) recently launched its performance of the stage version.

Is it ok to use the word splashtastic? Probably not, but I will anyway. This production is very, very good.

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Ticket Giveaway – Disney On Ice: Frozen

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Yeah, I’m gonna do it: Frozen is still hot.

The newest Disney on Ice show from Feld Entertainment is themed entirely around the gang from Arendelle. The Academy Award winning tale will be told live for the first time in this production, and it will of course include Anna, Elsa, Kristoff, Sven, and Olaf.

And yes, all the songs are also included, so you can go home humming “Let It Go” all over again.

The show isn’t a straight-up retelling of the movie, though. It’s hosted by Mickey and Minnie Mouse, with special guest appearances by some of the Disney Princesses and characters from Toy Story, Finding Nemo, and The Lion King.

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The Muppets Take Manhattan

The Muppets Take Manhattan

“Hey, I tell you what is. Big city, hmm? Live, work, huh? But not city only. Only peoples. Peoples is peoples. No is buildings. Is tomatoes, huh? Is peoples, is dancing, is music, is potatoes. So, peoples is peoples.”

This review is part of the 1984-a-thon, a collaborative multi-blog effort to review one of the best years of film: 1984.

Let’s begin by saying that it’s impossible to top The Muppet Movie. There just aren’t enough adjectives to do it justice. It’s one of the most enduring children’s movies of all time. Hyperbole? Not if you’ve seen it. It’s so close to perfection that the difference is negligible.

It may be impossible to top, but that doesn’t stop the machine. Indeed, there have been seven subsequent theatrical films. Some were good; some not so much. For my money, though, only The Muppets Take Manhattan comes close to being truly great.

The Muppets Take Manhattan closes out the original Muppets trilogy and marks the last feature film with Jim Henson’s direct involvement. It’s his swan song with the characters he created, and it’s the last Muppets film that should be required viewing.

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DisneySMMoms On The Road: Philadelphia

The Roarbots blog is relatively new. It’s really less than four months old, so it came as a bit of a surprise when I was invited to attend the DisneySMMoms mini-conference for mommy bloggers last week. It was even more of a surprise since I’m a dad!

Disney Social Media Moms is run by the Disney Parks PR and Marketing teams as a sort of “brand awareness” outreach for the Disney resorts, as if they needed any help. They have a big, multiday conference in the spring, and during the summer they have a series of small, half-day conferences spread out around the country. They call these their “On-the-Road” events. This year, the events were held in Chicago, Philadelphia, and Phoenix. I spent the day in lovely suburban Plymouth Meeting, PA, for the Philly event.

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Pixar in Concert

I’m a sucker for films projected with live orchestral accompaniment. My first exposure to it was when Wolf Trap performed the entire score to Fellowship of the Ring in 2008 (followed by Two Towers in 2009, Return of the King in 2010, and then Fellowship again last year)…God bless Wolf Trap, really. They’re doing the geeky lord’s business.

When we saw that Wolf Trap had only one scheduled performance for Pixar in Concert, we jumped at the chance to get tickets. I mean, come on now, who doesn’t love Pixar?

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