Monday, November 21, 2016

Disney's Moana Artist Tour | The Journey Before the Film

"Know your mountain."  You'll not know where you are going until you know where you're coming from...

And so it is with Walt Disney Animation Studios.  As I've remarked before (The Making of Disney's Zootopia with Animator Darrin Butters), what we see on the screen in our 90 to 130 minutes as audience members is the culmination of years of extensive research, soul-searching, and MILEAGE.  In the case of Zootopia, it was exploratory safari trips to Africa; for the making of Moana, it was deep-diving excursions to Polynesia.

It is this exquisite process- the plunge into these John Lasseter treasures- that enables each fan drink up every drop of what we are about to experience on the screen.  On November 17th in New York City, it was Jessica Julius's turn to plot the journey to the latest of Disney's films, Moana.  As Disney Creative Executive and shepherd of this project, Jessica had a hand in every stage of development.  Along with Ron Clements and John Musker (directors of Moana), they continue the "culture of collaboration" that has come to be synonymous with the Disney artistic process.  Over a five-year period, three trips to Polynesia (including the islands of Samoa, Fiji, Tahiti, Bora Bora, and New Zealand), they persevered to "find the heart" of the South Pacific.  (I can't be the only one who wants a gig with them!!)

Moana is a CG-animated tale of an island teenager (Auli'i Cravalho) who, born with the heart of an adventurer, sets sail to fulfill her destiny and save her people.  She finds the demi-god Maui (Dwayne Johnson "The Rock") who will help her find the lost Heart of Te Fiti.

This "wayfaring" is the impetus for Jessica's latest book: The Art of Moana.  In exploring the landscape, the oceans, the sounds (in addition to Tony winner Lin-Manuel Miranda and Grammy winner Mark Mancina, local Opetaia Foa'i, founder and lead vocal of the band Te Vaka, was slated to keep the score authentic and traditional), and most importantly, the islanders, the goal was to map an authentic Oceanic Story Trust.  Jessica recants an early interview with a resident elder: "For years we have been swallowed by your culture, this one time, can you be swallowed by ours?"

Two books authored by Jessica Julius.
Though not meant to be a documentary, it is this attention to culture, legend, and the ocean that connects rather than divides these islands, that makes Moana believable and alive.  In fact, because of the difficulty in animating an ocean's currents, circulations, and waves, (not to mention all of Maui's tattoos) this film contains the most number of special effects ever seen in a Disney movie!

Moana sails into a theater near you on November 23, but fully appreciating the Disney artist's navigation to the film will make the journey SO much more compelling.

Thank you Jessica!
Get out there and put your stone on that mountain.
"You're Welcome!!"

Walt Disney Animation Studios’ MOANA – In Theaters November 23

ABOUT JESSICA JULIUS: JESSICA JULIUS (Sr. Creative Executive, Development) has been involved with “Moana” since day one, supporting the filmmakers’ development efforts. In addition to taking part in story/character/world development, Julius conducted intensive research for the film, utilizing books, online resources, expert consultants, local field trips and targeted island treks. Julius joined The Walt Disney Company in 2004 as a marketing assistant. She transitioned to the development department at Walt Disney Animation Studios in 2005, where she found her professional bliss. Julius is proud to have been part of the development of every WDAS feature film since 2008’s Oscar®-nominated film “Bolt.” In addition to her role in development, she served as the story production supervisor for the Oscar-winning feature “Frozen.”
Julius is the author of The Art of Moana, The Art of Zootopia (a New York Times bestseller), The Art of Big Hero 6, and multiple children’s picture books. She has served as a mentor and panelist for Cinestory, Women In Film, and the Austin Screenwriting Conference. Prior to Disney, Julius worked as a publicist for Oscar®-nominated films ranging from “Finding Nemo” to “Seabiscuit.”Julius is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with degrees in Film & Media Communications and Women’s Studies. Originally from Minneapolis, Julius lives in Los Angeles with her husband.

ABOUT THE FILM: Three thousand years ago, the greatest sailors in the world voyaged across the vast Pacific, discovering the many islands of Oceania. But then, for a millennium, their voyages stopped – and no one knows why. From Walt Disney Animation Studios comes “Moana,” a sweeping, CG-animated feature film about an adventurous teenager who sails out on a daring mission to save her people. During her journey, Moana (voice of Auli‘i Cravalho) meets the once-mighty demigod Maui (voice of Dwayne Johnson), who guides her in her quest to become a master wayfinder. Together, they sail across the open ocean on an action-packed voyage, encountering enormous monsters and impossible odds, and along the way, Moana fulfills the ancient quest of her ancestors and discovers the one thing she’s always sought: her own identity. Directed by the renowned filmmaking team of Ron Clements and John Musker (“The Little Mermaid,” “Aladdin,” “The Princess & the Frog”) and produced by Osnat Shurer (“Lifted,” “One Man Band”), “Moana” sails into U.S. theaters on Nov. 23, 2016.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Disney Junior at the Movies Giveaway

Grab the kids and grandkiddies and VAROOM!!

Click HERE to enter to win tickets to Disney Junior at the Movies’ presentation of 
Mickey’s Big Celebration

AMC Empire 25
Saturday, November 12
10:00 AM

Disney Junior at the Movies
Mickey’s Big Celebration 

“Disney Junior at the Movies – Mickey’s BIG Celebration” is almost here!  Come celebrate Mickey’s Birthday and be the FIRST to see Mickey’s all new series Mickey and the Roadster Racers on the BIG screen.  You can sing and dance along with all your Disney Junior favorites, so grab the wheel and join the fun!
Be sure to check out Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, Daisy and your favorite Disney Junior pals as Fathom Events and Disney Junior present a special sneak peek of Mickey and the Roadster Racers in select movie theatres nationwide at this hot diggity racer-rific one-day event on Saturday, November 12th!

Viewings at the below theaters:

Rev up your engines and enter today!

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Holidays Are Happier With Groupon Coupons

** This is a sponsored post for a company I know, use myself, and luv.  As always, all thoughts and opinions are 100% my own!

The pumpkins are getting a bit soggy, and we know what that means...  It's time to think TINSEL!!  For my family, we are quickly approaching the time for our famous family Holiday photo shoot; pick a color scheme, plan the outfits, and coax cooperation!  For mom, it means time to research the most affordable way to produce and send our Christmas cards.  Since my latest obsession is Groupon Coupons, (as I type, my Groupon mani/pedi is still tacky) I will be exploring all the deals, coupon codes, promos, and special offers I can find there this Holiday season.  (I reviewed the Groupon fitness choices this past fall.)Two of my favorite brands will be my first stop for our photo card printing: Shutterfly and Target Photo.

I thought I'd share a few of my favorites from each brand:


-   Black Friday Deals 2016
-   40% Off + 20% Off Photo Books and Holiday Cards
-   50% Off Cards From Shutterfly
-   Cyber Monday Savings 2016

While there, I investigated the Holiday Stockings, Christmas Photo Books (Grandma's favorite!), and Customized Calendars.

One of the many Shutterfly Christmas Card selections.
Target Photo

-   Promo Code 25% Off Holiday Cards

Though not Christmas Card-related, I MUST share these gifting goodies:

-   30% Off iPhone 7 Cases At Target Photo
-   50% Savings On Customized Monopoly & Scrabble

Looks like I may get a few Christmas gifts mixed in with my Christmas card order this year.  Groupon Coupons prices are a Ho Ho Ho!!

 - Facebook -

** This is a sponsored post for a company I know, use myself, and luv.  As always, all thoughts and opinions are 100% my own!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Top 5 Reasons to Set Anchor at Disney's Beach Club Resort

Ahoy mateys! Landlubbers and seafarers alike will get the admiral's treatment at Disney's Beach Club Resort, and I have five reasons you should drop anchor at this Disney Deluxe Resort.

Walt Disney World Resort

 Welcome to this month's Blogorail Orange Loop. Today we are sharing our reviews of the deluxe resorts at Walt Disney World.

Prepare to set a course for old-fashioned New England-esque luxury without a bit of fussiness.  2016 brought a major refurbishment to this nautical favorite, so expect all will be ship shape for your future visits.

1.   Stormalong Bay
Disney's Beach Club Resort and Disney's Yacht Club Resort
Disney's Yacht Club Resort and Disney's Beach Club Resort pool views
Three-acres of water park fun await you right outside your "stateroom" door. If you are considering paying for Disney Water Park admission, you might want to reconsider; Stormalong Bay provides many of the features of Disney's Typhoon Lagoon Water Park or Disney's Blizzard Beach Water Park without any of the additional cost!  Encompassing areas at both Disney's Beach Club Resort AND neighboring Disney's Yacht Club Resort, expect plenty of fully-themed nautical fun offered exclusively to Guests of these two resorts:

-   Life-sized shipwreck slide  (150-feet of splash for brave me hearties; a kiddie slide is located within the ship.)
-   Lazy river  (Inner tubes available for rent)
-   Pools  (Including zero-entry sandy-bottom options)
-   lagoon
-   three whirlpool spas

Eat poolside at Hurricane Hanna's Grill or nearby Beaches & Cream Soda Shop, and you never have to get out of your flip flops!
Pool slide
Better than walking the plank!
2.   Location, Location, Location

Even the saltiest of beachcombers will eventually want to leave the surf.  Your quarters will be in walking distance to Epcot (International Gateway entrance), Disney's Hollywood Studios,  Disney's Yacht Club Resort, Disney's Boardwalk Resort, and Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin Hotels.  Stretch those pirate legs all!  Need some R & R before (certainly after) hitting the parks?  Take a boat to Epcot and or Disney's Hollywood Studios.  You'll feel so relaxed, you may want to remain adrift.
Disney Launch
Some of your choices mate: Boat or International Gateway Walkway.
As with most spots in Walt Disney World Resort, complimentary bus service to Disney Theme and Water Parks, as well as to Disney Springs is also available.

3.   Club Level Luxury

Wow, just wow.  A berth in the Club Level area of Disney's Beach Club Resort comes with the added perk of included-in-the-price food and drink.  Breakfast, snacks, hors d'oeuvres with wine, desserts and cordials, are complimentary and scheduled throughout the day.  If you plan to feed a hungry crew, you could indeed get your money's worth here.

Add in the benefits of concierge check-in and reservation assistance and turn-down service (with chocolates) and luxurious bathrobes hanging in your closet, this upgraded Pixie Dust seemed worth it to me!

4.   Dining Choices

I know what you're thinking.  Other Disney resort hotels have far more in-house dining options. Disney's Beach Club Resort dining selections include:

-   Cape May Cafe  (Character Dining)
-   Beaches & Cream Soda Shop  (Casual Dining)
-   Hurricane Hanna's Grill  (Poolside Quick-Service Dining)
-   Beach Club Marketplace  (Quick-Service Dining)
-   Martha's Vineyard  (Lounge)

However, if you factor in the multitude of restaurants within walking distance, your choices are close to limitless.  From Yachtsman Steakhouse (Disney's Yacht Club), to Il Mulino (Walt Disney World Swan Hotel), to ESPN Club (Disney's Boardwalk), to the myriad of dining spots located in World Showcase alone, chow will not be a concern here!

5.   Beauty

Soak up the beauty of the 25-acre Crescent Lake (which I personally watched them dredging while staying here in 1995.)  It really is hard to imagine that this is a man-made body of water.  As with all of Disney properties, each square inch that surrounds you is authentic and themed to enhance the mood and charm.  How 'bout that lighthouse??

What an idyllic spot to run aground.  Navigate your family to Disney's Beach Club Resort during your next Walt Disney World Resort excursion.  I'll save you a beach chair!

For more Walt Disney World deluxe resort reviews, check out the other great posts from the Blogorail!

Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail Orange | WDW Deluxe Resort Reviews Loop: