Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party Dates Have Been Released!


For Walt Disney World when the night air turns from swelter to cool and crisp in the evenings, that is the time when ghouls and goblins by the score roam Main Street U.S.A. in search of fun and frolic with their favorite Disney Characters!  Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party is an amazing hard ticket even offered on select nights inside of the Magic Kingdom.  On these nights every land in the Magic Kingdom is transformed in lighting, decorations & eery music and streetmosphere into a “not so scary” experience for the entire family!

The dates for the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World were released today along with pricing and here they are!

Walt Disney World:

Hours: 7:00 pm – midnight, Parade at 8:15 pm and 10:30 pm, Fireworks at 9:30 pm

Pricing does vary by Month, and as well as you get closer to Halloween itself the price per ticket goes up, as well you can save if you purchase in advance versus purchasing at the gate.  Several dates will sell out including Halloween Night so if you will be there over these dates and would like to go be sure to purchase well in advance.  Also if you are traveling to the parks during these dates and have already attended be advised the Magic Kingdom will close early on these dates:

September 1, 9, 12, 14, 16, 19, 21, 23, 26, 28, 2014

  • Advance Purchase:  Adult: $62.00 + tax, Child: $57.00 + tax

October 2, 3, 5, 9, 13, 16, 19, 21, 23, 26, 28, 2014

  • Advance Purchase:  Adult: $67.00 + tax, Child: $62.00 + tax

October 10, 17, 24, 30, 2014

  • Advance Purchase: Adult: $71.00 + tax, Child: $66.00 + tax

October 31, 2013

  • Advance Purchase: Adult: $77.00 + tax, Child: $72.00 + tax


Our family was delighted to experience this event in 2011 with our boys and my Grandmother and it was a highlight of our trip.  There are a few different offerings though that you will want to be aware of when planning to attend:

Everyone Can Dress Up!

Yes, even the adults.  Usually Disney has a rule that adults cannot dress up within their parks (especially as Disney characters) well on these nights they make an exception and EVERYONE can get in on the fun!  We saw a little Nemo Baby with two Jellyfish parents all the way to a fully decked out pirate family boarding Pirates of the Caribbean to the Muppets wandering around.  So long as it’s in “good taste” Disney usually delights in the creative endeavors of it’s guests.  Remember though the title of the party is “Not So Scary” so apply that accordingly to your costumes.  As well remember you aren’t in the Northeast for Halloween, you’re in Orlando, and yes in September and October it’s still very hot and humid and you can have storms creep in unannounced.  So plan your costumes to be a bit lighter than you would wear elsewhere.


Prepare for Loads of Candy

Even if you only do one or two candy trails you could walk out with the provided bags completely full to the brim.  Disney does provide a smaller bag when you come inside, but if candy is the name of the game for your kids you might want to bring another bag (Disney Shopping bags work awesome for this) to periodically dump the excess into.  We ended up bringing home enough candy to put our suitcase over the 50 pound limit so got another bag to put the candy and additional souvenirs into for the flight home.  If you or your child is diabetic, or has peanut allergies or any number of dietary restrictions that would mean they would need an alternative treat be sure to check in at Guest Relations and they will provide treats specifically for those dietary restrictions so all may partake!


This Is A Hard Ticket Event

The admittance for this party is considered a hard ticket event, meaning that your standard park admittance won’t allow you in.  In fact on these nights the Magic Kingdom closes early to day guests (usually 7 p.m.) so that those with a hard ticket are permitted to stay with less crowds.  The cost can be higher, so be prepared.  You can though enter the park any time in the afternoon to get the most out of the price.  I usually recommend a day plan like this: Stay in the resort, relax, swim, maybe visit Downtown Disney; have lunch, take a nap, then start getting ready around 2-3.  Arrive at the Magic Kingdom around 4 and have dinner at one of the many restaurants in the Magic Kingdom or surrounding resorts and then start going on attractions.  You will notice a shift in the guests in the following 2-3 hours as the day guests leave and the partygoers arrive in full force.

In the even of inclement weather, those aforementioned storms that can crop up, you can get a rain check for an alternate date the same year usually.  But if you are say leaving the next day it can be dicey.  Just remember there are no refunds on the purchase so if rain would keep you away you may want to plan for an October party versus a September date.


There Are Many Options So Choose Wisely

As with any Disney event they stock the parks with a great many touring options and special offerings to allow their Guests to get the most of their party dollar.  You can choose from Candy Trails, Dance Parties, Special Parades, Exclusive Character Meet & Greets (Captain Jack Sparrow is usually out and the Seven Dwarfs), Talented Streetmosphere (especially over at the Haunted Mansion) and a lot of merchandise.  So I suggest choosing 2 or 3 and prioritizing what you really really really want to experience and sticking with it.  We opted for a couple of character meet and greets, candy trails and hitting some attractions we hadn’t done earlier in our trip and as well of course going on the Haunted Mansion.  It was Halloween Night after all!  We also wanted to be sure to catch the Headless Horseman trotting through and see Hallowishes which in my review is probably the most impressive fireworks show in the Magic Kingdom’s calendar.

You can also listen to our experience as I was a featured guest on the Special Mouse Podcast episode all about touring Mickey’s Not So Scary!  Check it out here.

So in all it’s a wonderful experience, especially if you love Halloween and love Disney and you have kids like mine who despite being older elementary age still don’t go for gore and are more into spooky, but not TOO spooky!  If you would like assistance in purchasing tickets for Mickey’s Not So Scary on either coast be sure to contact Up & Up Travel, LLC at info@upanduptravel.com or Click Here to contact them via web form!




Why Would You Use A Disney Travel Agent?


We live in an age of instant information.  Some of the people I follow on Twitter, blogs I read or Groups I am a part of on Facebook in fact give me real time information from Disney so that I know basically at any moment what is happening hours and time zones away from my office.  If I want to know something, anything really, I can click on a search engine type my question and see dozens of pages of answers.  So in this age of constant data, why would you use a Disney Travel Agent to plan your family’s vacation?

1.) Time.  Just because you CAN plan your vacation doesn’t mean you HAVE the time to do so.  I know because I have been there.  The kids, your husband, your wife, the house, the job, Church, school activities, LAUNDRY, family, the car, the pets, trying to fit in a workout, or time for friends the list goes on and on; planning vacations is fun, believe me I love lists and spreadsheets, and that thrill of lining out a to-do, and looking at all of the sites and yes, I even love the hold music at Disney.  But, do you have the time to wade through the mountains of information and line out a thought out travel plan?  What is your time worth in this process?

2.) Experience. I count myself very lucky that my Grandparents saw fit to take me many times to Walt Disney World, and that I have had the privilege in my life of being a Cast Member and taking my own children several times.  And while I have traveled to a Disney Park many a time, I also have made knowing Disney more than just a hobby, it’s a livelihood.  We’ve been called “That Disney family” in most any circle of friends, and chances are if there is a movie on in our house, it’s Disney related.  If I’m reading a book for pleasure, it’s about the Disney Company.  Most of the social media groups and connections I have are to the Disney based Travel industry so that I stay constantly in the loop.  My 30 years of constant involvement in Disney I feel is an asset, and my purpose when I help families is not to sell them on something they don’t want.  I want to help families experience the Disney I know and love.  I want them to not need a vacation from their vacation and to also come up with solutions from contacts, so they don’t need to worry about breaking the bank to afford Disney.  We are going on our 4th Generation of Disney Traveling in our family, and I constantly draw from that storied history in order to craft the most desirable vacation for our Clients so they truly enjoy Disney and want to go back as soon as they board their return flight home.

3.) Cost. You ever look at what you need to get accomplished in a given day and wonder if you can clone yourself just to get it all accomplished?  I have.  I’ve looked at the ceiling and thought, “How on EARTH am I going to get through my list today?” And after pouring copious amount of coffee down my gullet I may get 75-80% accomplished if I am lucky.  Well imagine having for your Disney Vacation a personal assistant that you don’t have to pay?  It’s true.  My services come at NO COST to my clients.  I am paid a commission based on just the amount you book.  This doesn’t give me broad range to up-sell you on things you don’t want.  I truly want you to have the best Disney vacation possible for the most cost effective dollar amount.  But, no, my services are at no charge to you.  Seriously. On the flip side of this I am constantly on the look out for new promotions that effect your travel date and will AUTOMATICALLY REBOOK your vacation for the lesser amount so that you get the most Disney for the vacation dollar.  If you book on your own you have to keep aware of the promotions and hope to get them before they are fully booked up.  I am usually up by 5 a.m. on these mornings and on the phone rebooking Clients so that before the sun even rises they’ve saved hundreds if not thousands by my efforts.

4.) It’s Still Your Vacation.  While I help you plan, by making your reservations, dining plans, changes to your tickets, and can answer any number of questions about the various parks and resorts, it’s still your vacation.  We consider our planning a partnership.  I want you to be as educated as possible so that you are able to navigate the parks once you arrive.  So I will send to you travel packets based entirely on your travel dates that showcases your resort, special events, what new changes have happened to the parks, your dining plans, nighttime fireworks and shows, Smart Phone apps, what parks to visit on which days and so on.  In addition I will constantly point out any information I find that will help you become a Disney veteran Guest so you know how to work through your vacation and don’t feel lost upon arrival.  I make it so that Clients also have any number of means for communicating with me.  I have answered my Clients questions via text while they are at the parks in order to fully assist them with Dining reservations, rebook events, or help point in them in the direction of the nearest Walgreens.  I’m here to support your vacation in any way I can.

5.) Agency Specific Offers.  Chances are if you book directly with Disney you can get the exact same amounts I offer.  It’s true.  But, in addition to all of the other services I provide I also offer Agency specific upgrades for our Clients.  From referral percentages to gifts for my clients to Disney Gift Cards to use for your vacation I am constantly taking feedback so that the offers we provide are consistent with what our Clients want.  Will Disney give you a gift card or referral amount for booking with them directly or alert you to new promotions?  Probably not.  But, we do because we want to earn your business with every service we offer and make you an invaluable member of our company.  So it’s a part of our make-up it’s a perk that we offer.

So, you can book on your own, you can.  I did for many years.  But, when I think back on the amounts I could have saved, time spent, and advice I didn’t heed eh, I wish I had.  I’m fiercely independent at heart, but sometimes it pays to shelve that DIY-ness and rely on someone with experience to step in and guide so that you get the most use out of your time and expenses.  I welcome your questions, your input, and yes if you are planning on a  Disney vacation I would be honored to provide you a quote so that I have the opportunity to show you what I can provide your family.  If you would like to contact me please feel free!  My email is amy@upanduptravel.net.  Or if you would like a quote you can click here to fill out our handy dandy quote request form.  I look forward to earning your business and your trust.  And work for you so that I can help your dream vacation reach it’s full potential.

Winds In The East, Our Review of Saving Mr. Banks

There are Spoilers in this Review.  So if you have not seen Saving Mr. Banks as yet and do not want some plot devices revealed spit spot and off you go.

Saving Mr. Banks is a film that is very difficult to just “sum up”.  One tries to think of a category to place it.  Family film, sure.  Drama? Has that.  Comedy? I chuckled several times more than the latest film I viewed that was actually billed as a comedy.  Musical? Yes. Can you get better than a revisit to the Sherman brothers?  Historical?  Yes.  So where do you put it?  Horror? There are plenty of things I could view in this film that would have been my personal childhood nightmare. Given what I know of this film and what I know of cinema in general I place it squarely in Disney as a category.  This is of course not a slight, it finds itself in wonderful and talented company, right along side the film it chronicles: Mary Poppins.

Like it’s predecessor, the film sits on the palette waiting to be savored.  Again like Mary Poppins, it’s hardly a one-note story, for within we find multiple personalities in conflict, resolution, artistic collaboration, isolation, reflection and as well we find questions and complexities of our human natures that make us pause before digestion.  It’s a fine meal of a film that asks at it’s heart if we can overcome the darkness present in the world and rewrite our own tragedies through the craft of story telling.

This film feels like an Open Letter of Apology addressed to one P.L. Travers a/k/a Hellen Goff.  Mary Poppins is one of the most mature films from the classic Disney lot & that I think is thanks in no small part to Mrs. Travers.  To wit Disney has acknowledged her collaboration in a more positive light.  Some hatchets take forever to bury.  And this over their falling out some 50 years ago over the chalk drawing animated sequence is no exception.  In popular view P.L. Travers has largely been identified as difficult, demanding, brutal and according to one Disney Legend lyricist “She was a witch.”  But, well begun is half done and Disney appears to be making an effort with this film to shine a light on this complex woman.  It is up to us the viewers to look at this story with new empathetic eyes.

Pamela, I beg pardon, Mrs. Travers

A tightly wound study of the proper governess of her stories.  She is their nursemaid & guardian in a culture clash between the literary world and the entertainment industry of Hollywood.  She is a woman combatting two sides of her nature, one handed down to her by her father, the other handed her by life’s cruel lessons; part a curious and heartbroken child, part a defiant yet isolated woman.  An actress when handed this role is handed no small task, and who else but Emma Thompson is up to this challenge?  Her Pamela is full of nuance, neurosis and empathy.  She is flesh and blood within the first scene.  And even though she delivers lines such as “Will the child be a nuisance, it is an 11 hour flight?” to a kind mother of an infant you start to feel empathy for this person over the film.  This is a tribute to Emma Thompson’s command of her craft.

Hers is a tale woven in the fabric of reflection.  Not just personal meditative reflection but in the story itself is running a parallel tract with her own childhood.  The flashback scenes  show that child that still resides deep in Mrs. Travers that she mourns for.  This mourning and internal conflict leads her from collaboration to self imposed isolation.  She says  about her creation             “(Mary Poppins) She doesn’t sugar coat the darkness that children must inevitably face.”  And no matter how beguiling and charming and downright friendly the folks at Disney are, Mrs. Travers attempts to remain an iceberg in the middle of Los Angeles.

“Don’t leave me.”  “Never.  I will never leave you.”

This is a film about Fathers and Daughters.  We see them on display in a number of ways: Walt’s promise to his daughters to bring the film to fruition; the driver Ralph and his concerns of daughter Jane, and in no uncertain terms Hellen Goff and Travers Goff.    And if ever there was a tale of childhood tragedy you need look no further than the Goff’s existence in Australia.

Her father, Travers, is stifled, a creative soul shoved into a suit and handed a ledger.  So he turns to the drink.  And becomes publicly embarrassed.  Then eventually passes from consumption.  There is again a tightly woven parallel between Travers Goff and George Banks and this passionate love for her father explains her apprehension to any changes to his representation on screen and in technicolor.  As a child Ginty Goff protected her father, idolized him; like her, he too was a flawed human being.

Another parallel is presented in Jane and Michael Banks letter, their kite and young Helen Goff’s poem and having her heart broken.  Her father angrily sober responds to her oeuvre: “It’s not Yates is it?” so Ginty retrieves the alcohol as she has realized that is what has made her father so childlike innocent and accepting.  The Banks’ torn kite is like Traver’s broken heart, her dismissed poem their likewise dismissed letter for a new nanny.  As her father dies in some ways so does Helen Goff’s childhood; her innocence of the hardships and cruelty in the World.  Travers Goff certainly had his own cage of circumstances handed to him by life, as do we all, and it’s a tragedy for a child to witness the public and private ruination of their parent.  That story turns for Mrs. Travers as finally the dam breaks: and by an ending rewrite that magical Hollywood panacea, Let’s Go Fly a Kite seems to be the thaw.  In one of the most joyous scenes Mrs. Travers is finally overcome as her own story is rewritten and her father is redeemed.  Her heart is finally mended, just like the kite.

That’ll Work

An American icon is a hard item to reproduce.  But Tom Hanks as Disney has that folksy jovial humor about him, and while his voice isn’t right, nor does he resemble him greatly physically, he favors Disney in his warmth and compassion but also in his directness in business and his appeal to do things better.  There are nuances such as Disney not having a great amount of compliments he  passed around, but if he handed an artist a “That’ll work.” they knew their job was done.  As well him clearing his throat before entering a room, and his tragic coughing that Disney fans know all to well was an early symptom of the illness that would eventually claim him, lung cancer.

Yes I cried when those gates parted and there was Walt smiling and waving.  For each time I enter a Disney Park, that’s what I think about, a gentle welcome from Uncle Walt saying “Thank you for visiting, please enjoy.”  And there it was on screen.

When I’ve told people how much I love Disney, they sometimes scoff.  And we see that on display here as Walt is scoffed at mercilessly as a fake, as schmaltz, as nothing more than the plasticine he sells in his gift shops.  But Walt is a story teller at heart.  He too is lovingly human in this film, and as he relates his own relationship with Elias Disney (who passed on while Walt was visiting South America and Walt unfortunately did not attend his funeral), you sense a fellow iceberg that goes deeper in relation to Mrs. Travers.  Walt was no Saint, but he wasn’t a Demon either.  He was a man, a beautifully gifted story teller, a master show man, a husband, a father, a son, a brother, and a visionary.

His promise that “George Banks will be redeemed” hits the need straight on in Pamela Travers heart.  I was advised by my mentor once to not ever look at things on the surface but when in negotiations always look for what that person needs to hear to be able to sleep at night with their decision, and to fulfill it if at all possible.  This is what Walt does in his visit to London.  He could assure that the color red would never appear in Mary Poppins, or waste bin the animated sequence, but if George Banks was not to be saved time and again, the story here wouldn’t have worked and I doubt the eventual film would gel into the Classic we know.

“That’s what storytellers do.  We restore order with imagination we instill hope again and again and again.”  There again that salvo that you can rewrite that pain of your childhood of tragedy of the ugliness that intercedes in our lives.  It’s all in how you choose to look at it and yes deal with it.  Hanks is a spoonful of sugar indeed.

Forget Ironic, That’s Iconic.

The supporting cast leaves nothing to be desired.  B.J. Novak as a combustible Robert Sherman is perfectly timed and exactly how I would imagine Bob Sherman would have reacted in those story meetings.  Jason Silverman as Richard Sherman imbibes that upbeat vibrancy and optimism in some ways you get from watching Dick play the piano.

Writing collaboration can at times be a nightmarish marriage of separate imaginations, this awkward relationship is perfectly displayed by the presence of Bradley Whitford as Mary Poppins screenwriter Don DaGradi.  His enthusiasm for the source material and ever hopeful approach to finding a way (any way!) to make this story happen is the perfect foil for Thompson’s no filter approach in the collaborative meetings.

Colin Farrell is loving, charming and tragic as the fated Travers Goff.  His turn as Travers father was heart rending and as honest as any portrayal I have seen of Farrell’s career.  Tragedy given as a beautiful relationship is sometimes the hardest to take, and Farrell handles his story arc with a deft, capable hand that leaves you ever hoping (like the process of watching one you love suffer from substance abuse) that he will become triumphant.

Paul Giamatti as Ralph, P.L. Travers optimistic driver plays the foil for Thompson with aplomb in his scenes.  His positive outlook even when facing personal struggles and ability to meet Travers on common ground is time well spent in the film.  I identified with this line in particular with regard to his special needs child: “You can worry about the future but you can’t do that.  Only today.” And as a parent to a child with a developmental disability this was a balm for me to hear in a film.  Because it rang out so true.  And the way it was delivered sounded as though it came from someone who has fought that battle, like all of us.

Here’s the thing, NO ONE felt like they were phoning it in, not one single person was a one-dimensional character.  Further supporting cast include the ever wonderful Kathy Baker as Walt’s Executive Secretary & Melanie Paxson as Dollie; and the Australian Goff family, Rachel Griffiths as Mary Poppins (sort of) in the flesh and Ruth Wilson as Margaret Goff, a mother and wife torn between love, duty, and public humiliation.

Each has their turn to shine, but it never feels unbalanced as if one person is walking away with the historically accurate scenery between their teeth.  They are all very real and play off of one another with a natural chemistry that belies a long term relationship of collaboration or familial ties.

Well Turned Out

As the director, John Lee Hancock has made a marvelous film.  The parallels between P.L. Travers journey to Hollywood and Hellen Goff’s journey to the end of the line Alora, Australia as a child starts off a domino effect of reflection.  This is handily and masterfully woven into the contents of the film to where the natural conclusions are drawn by the viewer and not forced.  It’s a gentleness in this direction, a capable hand guiding us through the necessary guide points so that we fully understand the underlying details that drive someone to seem as stiff and unrelenting.  To show us that not everyone is as we think they are at first glance.

Themes present in this film don’t feel slammed in your face but allowed to ruminate; they are present like the smell of water at Disneyland, fleeting but palpable.   It takes someone comfortable in their own craft to not hit you over the head with these ideas but to let you wade in at your leisure.

In Conclusion

Was there ever any doubt that when I finally saw this film I would fall in love with it?  Though I waited and watched friends and family see it I was warned to take kleenex, to not wear mascara, how good it was, and to watch Mary Poppins for a refresher.  And while I cried a little, I was deeply and sincerely moved by this experience and it brings to light relationships with our parents, with our children, and how we deal with our own tragedies with a spoonful of sugar.

What did you think of Saving Mr. Banks?  Share with us in the Comments Below:

Dapper Days at Disneyland

Children attend opening of Disneyland in 1955

Few things capture the Disney fan’s imagination like thinking about what Disneyland was like on that fateful opening day.  Indeed there is a legend that the pavement was not allowed to cure long enough before park opening and if you look in specific spots you will see the divots from a multitude of well shod female guests heels as they trod (and possibly sank a bit) in the not fully hardened pavement.

Walt’s opening day is all over the park to this day and in some corners you can still hear his speech (New Orleans Square train station, the morse code beeping is none other than a transcript of that speech).  So it’s no wonder that an event such as Dapper Days takes over Disneyland (and now Walt Disney World, and Disneyland Paris) for a day of a look back in time.  When well dressed guests show their modern counterparts just how fashion ruled Main Street.

Ironically enough I was pointed to the event by an article on “Saving Mr. Banks” where the reviewer described the sumptuous back ground costuming in the Disneyland scenes thusly: “We see a Disneyland where every day was Dapper Day.” and they were so kind as to include a link.  I was intrigued, and as I began to view photos, look boards, and spoke with the event coordinators, I fell in love with this event.  Inside my head screamed, “YES! This is the perfect way to experience Disneyland!” and I was right.  See, I had never actually been to Disneyland as yet in my life.  I had visited Walt Disney World dozens of times, and am a former Cast Member there.  But can you think of a BETTER way to experience Disneyland as a Disney fan than to see it on Dapper Day?


So, I started to plan.  I had recently before our trip found Disneybounding and again was in love with the idea of blending fashion (beyond quaint Disney tee shirts and sneakers) and my love of Disney.  So I took Disneybounding and I set a Vintage tone.  I also had a few factors to think about:

  • We are a family with Special Needs, and with Autism event specific clothing has to be almost over thought.  So I included our son in the planning of his outfit by asking what he thought he could wear for 3-4 hours with breaks in between (say taking off the hat, loosening of the suspenders, removing the bow tie, etc.)  We actually had no issues with his look at all and he remained comfortable the entire evening.
  • Heat and Humidity.  When we arrived in Southern California I was informed that Anaheim was experiencing a “freak” heat wave.  And we were planning on being dressed to the nines with the adults in the group wearing more inside the walls of a theme park than we ever had before.  So I made adjustments, vests stayed in the hotel, hosiery as well, shawls were carried in just in case the weather took a turn.  But the looks were designed for innate comfort to begin with so we wouldn’t be overheated.
  • Heels or Flats. Yes, this was a thought, and yes I wore heels. (And the next time I won’t.  If you do Dapper Days, wear flats or a low pump.  Those ladies in the fifties who made the divots in the sidewalk? They are better women than me.)
  • Have our hair done by a professional or do it ourselves?  (We ended up having this blended and I allowed our friend J to go in my place in the stylists chair while I did my own look.)

Overall our looks came out wonderfully vintage and yes kept us in Disney Style as we chose characters from Alice in Wonderland:

Mad HatterLook MarchHareDapperDayLook WhiteRabbitLookDapperDay AliceforDapperDay QueenofHeartsDapperDay

And this is how we all turned out:

We made reservations at the Blue Bayou which never fails to disappoint, and we will have a review of our dining experience there on this blog shortly.One thing I wish we had done was take more photos.  So many stopped us to take our group photo, but we never took one of all of us together.

If I could describe walking up Main Street dressed as Guests would have on opening day? I would have to say it was ephemeral and exhilarating.  Heads turned, no doubt.  People complimented us, and there is this sense of camaraderie amongst the attendees where you wish each other a “Happy Dapper Day!” and nod as you pass.  There is a gentleness, a politeness that is not stuffy but warm and welcoming.  I loved seeing everyone in their looks, vintage garb, and dapper duds.  While we didn’t get a chance to do a great many group activities I plan on next time being able to do so.  What can I say I’m hooked!

If you are thinking of going to Dapper Days at any of the Disney theme parks I encourage (no I INSIST!) you go on that day.  Are crowds heavier? Sure.  But man are they well dressed and polite!  If you can, join in by wearing Vintage looks as a family or a group of friends.  I thought I had had all the fun I could have at a Disney park, and I was wrong.  It truly is a remarkable time in the parks, where you get a glimpse at what it must’ve have looked like in that bygone era when Walt roamed the parks.

Check out Dapper Days at these following Social Media Links:

Dapper Day Website

Dapper Day on Facebook

Dapper Day on Twitter

Dapper Day on Instagram

ETA: It looks as though Disney (by pure coincidence) also blogged about this Fantabulous event today so be sure to check out their Style Blog Entry!

Feed The Birds, Prepping to See Saving Mr. Banks

Mary Poppins Feed the Birds

I have the liberty of being self-employed and at times in my profession this means I get to drive considerable hours to and from locations.  One such time I happened to have downloaded an interview with Richard Sherman about his time working with Walt Disney and his venerable career as a composer.  But something he said struck me on that long ride as I ticked by miles, and that’s when he centered on composing “Feed the Birds” for Mary Poppins.

I had no idea at that point that it was Walt Disney’s favorite song.  As a child I remember slightly dosing at my Grandma’s legs as Julie Andrews crooned it to the Banks’ children.  Lulled by her voice into sleep as they were on film.  To me as a child it was a pretty song, but then the song’s message isn’t aimed at children now is it?  Below is a transcript of what Richard Sherman had to say regarding Walt’s love of the song:

“I used to play it for him on Friday afternoons,” composer Richard Sherman says. “My brother and I would come over and talk about what we were working on and then he would say, ‘Play it.'”

Disney liked the song because it captured the film’s message so succinctly. “The father and mother are not giving that tuppence to the kids — that little extra bit of caring…that the children need. That’s what the story is all about,” Sherman says. “As soon as we wrote that song and played it for him, he said, ‘Yes, that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it boys?'”

Not too many people realize, growing up on Disney films like Mary Poppins, that many times the films created weren’t aimed at children.  And so it goes with Mary Poppins, the real person Mary is sent to help is none other than Mr. George Banks of Cherry Tree Lane.  He’s the one that is lost, that won’t even spend an afternoon flying a kite with his children at the beginning of the film.  And I believe Bert in the latter portion of the film shines that light on George Banks and shows us the empathy we should really have for the character who is almost cast as a villain.  The children have run from their father and what does Bert say?

Bert: You know, begging your pardon, but the one my heart goes out to is your father. There he is in that cold, heartless bank day after day, hemmed in by mounds of cold, heartless money. I don’t like to see any living thing caged up.

Jane: Father? In a cage?

Bert: They makes cages in all sizes and shapes, you know. Bank-shaped, some of ’em, carpets and all.

You feel that now, as a parent, as an adult?  We all have our cages.  Mine was that car, 90 miles from home headed back to pick up my children.  Not to say we all don’t have to work, but we must really think about the time we spend with our children when not working.  And that is what hit me as I drove and listened to that interview.  Feed the Birds isn’t about feeding actual birds, anymore than Mary Poppins is about the saving of Jane and Michael Banks specifically.  It very succinctly is a plaintive cry: “Feed the birds, play and spend time with your children it doesn’t cost you anything to do it.”  Having this invested relationship is food for our souls as caged birds as well.  It’s why I do what I do, why I get out of bed.  And yes, it’s why I go to work, so that when I get the honor of picking up my children every day now from school I take their hands as we talk about what’s for dinner and what exciting things we will accomplish together.  And to me Feed the Birds is the perennial heart of every Disney story, because they all center on the very nature of our relationships as families.

I made a vow to my children when I had them, and I reaffirmed that vow after hearing that song on that drive that no matter where I was in my life, they would be the most worthy people of my time, even before my own needs.  And so as I prep to go to see Saving Mr. Banks I hum “Feed The Birds” far more than any other Sherman brothers song, for that is truly what it’s all about.

**I want to say thank you to my dear friend Tracy, for reminding me of this interview with Richard Sherman in a conversation we had this evening.  Thank you friend.


Ready to Party?


We have some exciting news for our Disney Family!

Our family was selected to host a Disney Side at home Celebration and we will be blogging, pinning, tweeting, and posting all about it in the coming month!

There are so many ways for you to join in from the comfort of your own home!

Our Facebook Page will showcase our planning steps, photos, videos and so much more!

Make sure you follow along on our Twitter, and we will be hosting a live Twitter Party coinciding with the actual #DisneySide party on February 22nd!  More details of course to come, but we will be sure to let you know in every possible avenue way before that day.  You can RSVP for the event by clicking here!

We will of course have a Pinterest Board Dedicated to it as well: http://www.pinterest.com/amyjhughes73/show-your-disney-side-party/ where you can get some “Pinspiration” for hosting your own #DisneySide party, follow along with our activities, see ideas for Disneybounding and more!

We are also looking into a live video chat so that you can join in with our family everywhere and anywhere.  You can also Instagram your photos to us to be featured on our Facebook page, Blog and Twitter to show us your DISNEY SIDE!

This promises to be an amazingly fun event and we cannot wait to share our love of all things Disney with all of you.

I also want to thank each and every one of you, those who read here, follow our Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest!  Without you this wouldn’t have happened, so a HUGE thank you to all of you!

Now if I could sit down long enough to plan we’ll be good!

Disney Side image Copyright Disney, all rights reserved.

Lone Ranger – Good Old Fashioned Cinema Fun


Hi-YO Silver!
Summer films aren’t known for their tackling of large social issues. Or their development of deep psychologically based characters. Or large scale artistic representations of cultures time has forgotten. No, we go to the movies in the summer for what? A bit of popcorn, a chug of soda and a leaving of weighty matters at the door. We go for fun.

And The Lone Ranger fills that summertime need with abundance. Is it predictable to some degree, yes. Is it funny with a stunt crew that could fill a small stadium? Yes. Does it follow the buddy film formula? Yes. But that is precisely why it is so enjoyable of a way to spend a couple of your summer hours.

This creation tale set in Colby, TX follows favorite lawman John Reid as he discovers what it takes to dispense justice in the Wild West. A lawman of the most Eastern variety, by that I mean lawyer. John sets out for Texas to become District Attorney and is soon embroiled in a scheme of money, Tribal War and yea, industrial progress that inherently shaped the West into what we know today. The film won’t make you crack open your American History books but rely on some wherewithal we’ve all had drummed into our heads by History. And most is based in fact. The railroad industry indeed ruled the roost in the newly opened territories. Yes, towns and their wares (cough, houses of ill repute, dens of sin) opened along their path. And yes, a subject we’ve never been able to deal with comfortably our treaties and dealings with Nations of Indigenous Americans. All are dealt in and listed in the film among some physics bending action scenes and narrow escapes. But not really the weighty issues they would be in a non summer film. The issues are there but in a peripheral sense.

No the center of the film is the evolving relationship between the aforementioned Reid and now front man Tonto. And this is where the film truly finds its niche. Two men, from different cultures with a vastness of social differences between them come to respect and inherently depend on the other for completeness. Basically what one lacks the other compensates for and vice versa, the true chemistry for a buddy film duo if there ever was one.

Depp is quite brilliant, and his timing is never off. He seems to, like us, be having fun playing the part but also giving the role of Tonto a savvy ness and as well heart. There is a trust we have with Depp as an actor, and when he was cast as Tonto I was a little taken aback. But that trust was rewarded as he does treat the part with compassion and yes the deftness of the accomplished actor he is.

Armie Hammer, formerly seen as the Winkelvi in The Social Network, handles his charismatic lawman Reid with a swagger and yes humor that makes Reid relatable. Ultimately Hammer is perfectly cast as Reid and like Depp appears to yes, enjoy donning the iconic black mask.

The plot is not as substantial, but to this I ask, would you want it to be? It’s a film entitled “The Lone Ranger” whose historical episodic adventures used to be solved in a half hour or less. This movie takes the fun of those black and whites and extends them into a 2 hour romp of summer fun. The villains are pretty quick to pick out, but again in this type of film the baddies almost need to be so you can get on with the action already.

The action is breathtaking, and the finale gave me and my family goosebumps as you hear the famous trumpet call of the William Tell Overture and see an intricate rescue scene involving not one but two locomotives racing along the tracks. The back and forth was truly dizzying but ultimately satisfying.

So, I completely recommend The Lone Ranger for a fun 2 hours of summer celluloid. The train sequence alone is worth the price of admission. And really who can’t be excited by the William Tell Overture and seeing a white horse rearing in the sun? Trust me, you’ll leave whistling with a bit of a spring in your step.

Have you seen The Lone Ranger yet? What did you think?