Saturday, November 28, 2015

A grumpy thief takes a Snow White dwarf from N.J. Christmas display

Dan Perez gets a kick out of decorating for the holidays. It's a three-day project that starts the day before Thanksgiving and is capped on what his family calls "Bright Friday," when the display outside his Lopatcong Township home is lit. But Perez's Christmas spirit was spoiled this year almost before it began. On Friday, he…

2015 Disney holiday gift ideas for men

Men are ridiculously hard to shop for — even men with a penchant for Disney. If you're lucky, he'll appreciate clothes. If not, the task becomes that much harder.

We've picked a few things that might bring him some holiday cheer. If your man is a Star Wars or Marvel fan, we've got more ideas for him at the links.

The new Twenty Eight & Main Collection for "discerning gentlemen" is a wealth of good ideas. Right now the website offers mostly clothes, but if you check out the Shop Disney Parks app you can find some manly glasswear and other ideas as well. We liked this long-sleeve hooded henley t-shirt with the Twenty Eight & Main logo on the front and a subtle Walt Disney autograph at the hem ($44.95).

Many men don't have to wear ties anymore, but if yours does, he should have a subtle Mickey Mouse icon tie in his wardrobe ($44.95).

MORE SHOPPING IDEAS: Disney gift ideas for women

For the athlete, here's a Disney Parks quarter-zip jacket by Nike ($84.95). It's made of "Therma-Fit" fabric that's designed to keep him warm and insulated playing golf in cooler weather, but it will work for any outdoorsy athlete.

If golf isn't his game and he doesn't take himself too seriously, you could go another way completely with a Chewbacca hoodie that's hairy front and back ($59.95). 

Even a man in a Chewie hoodie will look classy wearing this beautiful Mickey Mouse gears link watch ($200).

Lego has grown up in a big way in recent years, luring more adults to the world of bricks with releases like the architecture collection. Now we drool over everything from the Death Star to London't Tower Bridge. In addition to basically everything Star Wars, we love this adorable Wall-E set ($59.99). At a mere 676 pieces, it's a great introduction — not to mention a good way to spend some quality time with the kids. 

Marty Sklar has lived the dream. Recruited to work at Disneyland just before the park's opening in 1955, Sklar worked his way up to become head of Imagineering and supervise the construction of eight different Disney parks. His book "Dream it! Do it!" chronicles his half-century at Disney.  ($15.08 at 

"Toy Story" has been a part of our lives for 20 years now — not quite as long as this retro design might suggest. Warm his heart with both Buzz Lightyear and piping hot coffee with this travel mug ($9.97 on sale at Hallmark). 

2015 Disney holiday gift ideas for women

I want to be completely upfront: This is a post about pretty, pretty things. That is not meant to suggest you can't get your girl Star Wars or Marvel gifts for the holidays, but you can find those ideas in our other gift guide posts.

Here are some fun ideas for gifts any woman would like. And women, don't hesitate to let your man what you like.  Enjoy the pretty:

Intro to Dooney & Bourke: If she's been hankering for a Dooney & Bourke bag but is put off by the price tag, maybe this is the year to surprise her. The Mickey and Minnie Mouse shopper ($258) is my favorite of all the latest D&B designs; it's just so unapologetically Disney. It also comes in a small crossbody version ($158). The bag pictured is a Disney World design, but there also are Disneyland versions available. If you want to look at other designs, check out the Dooney & Bourke shop at the Disney Store online.

A new purse or tote bag: It can be hard to choose a bag if you're not the one who's going to be carrying it every day. We picked these Vera Bradley laser-cut bags because the red color makes them feel like festive holiday bags, sending the message that you don't expect her to carry it every day. Tote bag, $125; crossbody bag, $99.

MORE SHOPPING IDEAS: Holiday gift ideas for men

Travel bag ($99): Does she travel for work or pleasure? Maybe she needs a new overnight bag. The new "Mickey Mouse Meets Birdie" pattern from Vera Bradley has a fun edge to it, but still looks professional. If even that touch of pink is too much, there's an all-black duffel ($125) with quilted Mickey icons on the outside and a black-and-white Mickey Mouse lining. If you really want to go crazy, you can slip a pair of tickets to Orlando or LA into the bag and start planning your next Disney pilgrimage.

Adjustable-length Alex and Ani necklace ($90): Unsure of how long she would like to wear a necklace? Alex and Ani has been making one-size-fits-most bracelets for quite a while; now they've added necklaces to their Disney lineup, including this filigree Mickey Mouse design. Available in both white and gold, the necklace expands to about 24 inches, for both fit and style. Also available as a bracelet ($75).

Elsa snowflake necklace ($125): Nobody needs to know about her love for "Frozen." As far as anyone but the two of you knows, this is just a lovely ode to the early days of winter — the ones before it's so bleak you just want to ... let it go.

Long-sleeve holiday t-shirt ($39.95): Give her something festive she can wear through the winter -- a thick jersey knit t-shirt with a sparkling snowflake.

Cinderella compact mirror ($32): A compact mirror is a bit of a throwback gift idea, but this limited-edition Cinderella compact is a thing of beauty she will treasure for years.

10 fun Marvel holiday gifts for men, women and kids

The Marvel craze shows no signs of slowing down, with "Jessica Jones" winning rave reviews on Netflix and "Captain America: Civil War" set for release in May.

Here's how to show some love for your favorite Marvel fan:

Avengers nylon satchel from Dooney & Bourke, $258; 
also available as a crossbody bag ($158) or bitsy bag ($198)

MORE SHOPPING IDEAS: Star Wars holiday gift guide for men, women and kids

Marvel comics 21" gym bag, $69.28 on sale

(The outside is black faux leather.)

Etched Avengers pint glasses, $45 for a set of 5

Get ready for the next Avengers movie with the Civil War paperback
($14.17 at

Star Wars holiday gift guide for men, women and kids

The biggest and — hopefully — best gift for Star Wars fans  this holiday season is, of course, arriving in theaters Dec. 18 when "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" premiers.

While only JJ Abrams can give the gift of a new Star Wars movie, we do have a few other suggestions for Star Wars fans . We'll just assume you've already got Sphero's app-enabled BB-8 and Furbacca on your gift list and try to find a few more unusual ideas.

The ladies win with this new caroling heroes sweatshirt from Her Universe ($40). Here's a party game you can try when she wears it: Who can rewrite the best Christmas carol with Star Wars lyrics? "We wish you a merry Star Wars"? "Away in a Death Star"? Let us know what you come up with.

Lego has reached amazing heights with its Star Wars collection, which has something for every Lego fan — including grown-ups who like to assemble and display Lego sets. Among the best new sets are the 1,300-piece Millennium Falcon ($150) and the 3,800-piece Death Star ($400).

MORE SHOPPING IDEAS: 10 fun Marvel holiday gifts for men, women and kids

It's become trendy to serve or drink whisky over a slow-melting sphere of ice rather than cubes that will quickly water down your drink. This Death Star ice sphere mold ($12.99) makes your ice just that much cooler. For a complete gift, add a set of sassy rocks glasses and a top-shelf whisky.

While we're in the kitchen, how about a wooden Millennium Falcon cutting board ($29.99)? To give the gift a serious twist, you could add a good set of knives for your own Iron Chef.

We all know that when we say we're going to yoga practice, we're really going to Jedi training. So end the charade with a Yoda yoga mat ($24.95).

Lots of ladies are wearing charm bracelets these days, and while the queen of charms — Pandora — doesn't have any Star Wars designs in its lineup, other brands do. Take a peek at Kay Jewelers' new Charmed Memories Star Wars collection and some very cute offerings from ThinkGeek. Both fit most other bracelet brands, including Pandora.

If your Star Wars fan is also a fan of Alex & Ani bangles, there's a new one celebrating our favorite Disney princess — Leia ($39.95).

Men deserve a little bling too, like these Millennium Falcon cufflinks ($125.95). If he's more of a Dark Side kind of guy, check out the rest of the collection, which includes the Death Star, Darth Vader and a set of Stormtroopers.

Kids get to have all the fun. For those who dream of joining the Resistance after they meet the next generation of Star Wars rebel heroes, outfit them in a pilot jacket just like Finn's ($49.95). 

Give your youngling their very own BB-8 rolling suitcase to take on vacation — especially if they're going to Disney World next year.

OK, this Millennium Falcon bed ($3,999) is for kids, but it could be a gift for parents too: No more hassles at bedtime, and your munchkin will likely be a Star Wars fan for life. That's all any of us want for our kids: A strong foundation in pop culture.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Photo of Josh Gad and Gaston at Disney World

While on vacation at the Magic Kingdon in Disney World, Josh Gad went to hang out with Gaston in Fantasyland on Nov. 24, 2015.

Gad, who voiced Olaf in "Frozen," is playing Gaston's sidekick LeFou in the upcoming live-film adaptation of "Beauty and the Beast" due in theaters March 17, 2017.

Disney photo by Kent Philips