Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Great Movie Ride at Disney World to be updated, report says

The Great Movie Ride at Hollywood Studios will be updated as part of a deal the Walt Disney Company is scheduled to announce Wednesday with Turner Movie Classics, according to The New York Times.

© Steven Liebman
The deal, according to the Times, involves TCM helping Disney World update the ride by the first half of 2015. The Walt Disney Studios will provide TCM with programming from its vault, including cartoons, documentaries, movies and episodes from TV series for a special block of programming called “Treasures From the Disney Vault.”

The one change for The Great Movie ride announced is a new movie reel in the queue area. Included in the movie will be a video featuring Robert Osborne, the host who has been the face of TCM since the channel began operations in 1994.

'Frozen' beats out Barbie as top toy for girls this holiday season

Disney Frozen Musical Magic Elsa and Anna Dolls. 
Barbie has been "Frozen" out of the number one spot of most popular toys for girls during the holidays for the first time in 11 years, according to the National Retail Federation.

The survey found one in five parents, or 20 percent, this holiday season plan to buy Frozen merchandise for little girls. Coming in second for the first time in the 11 years the survey has been conducted in Barbie at 16.8 percent, according to the the NFR.

According to the survey,  42 percent of shoppers plan to buy toys as gifts this holiday season. 

The 2014 top toys for girls are:
  1. Disney Frozen
  2. Barbie
  3. Dolls (generic)
  4. Monster High Dolls
  5. American Girl
  6. LEGO
  7. Tablet/Apple iPad
  8. My Little Pony
  9. Disney Doc McStuffins
  10. Apparel
The 2014 top toys for boys are:
  1. LEGO
  2. Cars & Trucks
  3. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
  4. Video Games
  5. Hot Wheels
  6. Xbox One
  7. PlayStation 4
  8. Transformers
  9. Remote Controlled Vehicles
  10. Marvel Action Figures/Tablet/Apple iPad

Disney-themed gifts for crafters

Those of us who are fans know what it’s like to be inspired by Disney — whether that means we're inspired to “plus” our everyday lives or to try something new on vacation (Tower of Terror, anyone?).

If the inspiration you or your loved one gets is of the crafty variety, we have a few gift ideas for you.


If you're the crafter, it may be too late to start making one of these for this year. But there's still plenty of time for next year!

There is an array of counted cross-stitch sets from MCG Textiles based on the paintings of Thomas Kinkade, including Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid, Snow White, Bambi and Cinderella, to name just a few. Each of the large kits makes a 12"x16" piece and includes and pre-sorted floss on numbered cards. The kits sell on Amazon for about $30 each. At the link you'll also find smaller vignettes that start at about $7.

Sticking with the Beauty and the Beast theme, here's a sweet pillow kit also from MCG Textiles ($14).

Combine embroidery and quilting with stamped quilt blocks featuring scenes from The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast and several others (up to $20). These aren't complete kits; each contains six pre-printed quilt blocks. You'll have to provide floss and other materials.

If you're looking for a less daunting project -- or a gift for a beginner -- Happy Forever offers a number of options, including Kiss Mickey ($16.50). This does include floss as well as needles.


If you've recently taken a trip to Disney World, maybe you want to encourage a certain someone to start on that scrapbook they've been promising. We found a couple of Disney-themed kits to kick them into gear.

SandyLion 12"x12" Disney Mickey and Friends Scrapbook Album Kit, includes the album, 10 page inserts and stickers. ($35 retail, or $30 at the Amazon link)

Another SandyLion kit is just a little fancier and, if you buy it at Amazon anyway, just a little more expensive than the previous pick. ($55 retail or $37 at the Amazon link)

For something they can use over and over again -- and will fit neatly in a Christmas stocking -- consider a Mickey Mouse icon punch ($10.99).


And finally ... The mind boggles at the things you could do with this Brother embroidery machine that comes programmed with 35 Disney designs. I'm thinking clothes (Mickey on a denim jacket?), bags, Christmas ornaments. I could go on and on. In addition to the Disney designs, it also comes with 35 other designs, 5 fonts -- and an Internet connection so you can download man, many more. The machine has a 4x4" embroidery hoop. The list price on the machine is $699, but Amazon is selling it for $399 at the above link.

Monday, November 24, 2014

7 gifts for Star Wars fans

Shopping for the geek in your life may be the most fun part of the holidays. There's almost no end to the toys and t-shirts you can find at the Disney Store or at ThinkGeek.com, among others. Here's a collection of our favorite, more far-out gift ideas for Star Wars fans. 

If her inner flower child does daily battle with her inner Stormtrooper
(and what girl's doesn't?), this may be the tote bag she's looking for. The black 
faux leather bags measures 15" high, 18" wide and 6" deep ($64.95). If that's too 
much Dark Side, there's also a matching wallet she can tuck away in her purse ($34.95). 

For a less flowery look, this Chewbacca messenger bag is made of faux leather 
and has "Star Wars" embossed on the flap. The bag isn't as big as it looks. It measures 
14" by 10" and fits an 11" MacBook Air or a tablet. $89.99. 

If her charm bracelet is a little too charming, add a little edge with a Star Wars charm, 
either Stormtrooper, Darth Vader or R2-D2. The charms, which fit Pandora, or 
Chamilia bracelets, start at $34.99. 

Who wants to bake gingerbread men when you can bake gingerbread Jedi? 
A set of six cookie cutters, includes Darth Vader, Boba Fett, Chewbacca, 
Yoda, C-3PO, and a Stormtrooper. (OK, so none of them are Jedis,
but you get the idea.) $14.99

If you thought Jack Skellington made a bone-chilling Santa Claus, 
here's Darth Vader coming to town in a sleigh pulled by AT-ATs. ThinkGeek's 
"Jedi Got Run Over by a Reindeer" women’s t-shirt sells for $24.99.

Help your budding jedi on the path from apprentice to Master 
with “Star Wars: The Jedi Path,” by Daniel Wallace ($29.99). 
Here's the description of the book from the publisher: 

Passed down from Master to apprentice, The Jedi Path is an ancient training manual that has educated and enlightened generations of Jedi. Within its pages, the Jedi-intraining will discover the history and lore of the Jedi Order, the ways of the Force and how to wield it, the subtle nuances of lightsaber combat, and the dangers of the Dark Side. The only remaining copy in existence, this hallowed tome features handwritten annotated notes by Yoda, Luke Skywalker, Count Dooku, and Darth Sidious, among many others. Created in collaboration with Lucasfilm along with an acclaimed Star Wars author and revered Star Wars illustrators this volume also introduces never-before-seen ships, creatures, characters, and details about the Star Wars galaxy.

Fill your room with a galaxy far, far away -- the Star Wars galaxy -- with a 
Death Star planetarium. The outside looks like the Death Star, but when 
you open it up and turn it on, you can project either the Star Wars galaxy, 
complete with planet names (there’s Endor!), or the earth’s night sky. $29.99

'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' teaser to be shown at 30 theaters this weekend

Thirty theaters around North America will show a special 88-second teaser for the new Star Wars movie this weekend before the teaser is released around the world in December.

"Star Wars: The Force Awakens" can be seen in the 28 cities starting Friday morning, Nov. 28, 2014.

Here are the theaters:

  • Phoenix, Arizona - Harkins Tempe Marketplace
  • Los Angeles, California - AMC Century City
  • Los Angeles, California - El Capitan
  • Irvine, California - Regal Spectrum Irvine 21
  • San Francisco, California - AMC Metreon 16
  • San Jose, California - Cinemark Oakridge 20
  • San Diego, California - Regal Mira Mesa 18
  • Toronto, Canada - Cineplex Younge& Dundas
  • Vancouver, Canada - Cineplex Riverport
  • Denver, Colorado - AMC Westminster 24
  • Washington, D.C. - AMC Tysons Corner 16
  • Miami, Florida - Carmike Parisian 20
  • Atlanta, Georgia - Regal Atlantic Station
  • Chicago, Illinois - Regal City North
  • Boston, Massachusetts - AMC Boston Commons 19
  • Detroit, Michigan - Cinemark Showcase 20
  • Minneapolis, Minnesota - AMC Southdale
  • Kansas City, Missouri - AMC Studio 30
  • New York City - AMC Lincoln Square 12
  • New York City - Regal Union Square
  • Cleveland, Ohio - Cinemark 24
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - Regal Warrington 22
  • Nashville, Tennessee - Carmine Thoroughbred 20
  • Knoxville, Tennessee - Regal Pinnacle
  • Dallas, Texas - Cinemark West Plano 20
  • Houston, Texas, Regal Marque Stadium 23
  • Austin, Texas - Alamo S Lamar
  • Salt Lake City, Utah - Cinemark 24 West Jordan
  • Seattle, Washington - Regal Thornton Place 14
  • Milwaukee, Wisconsin - Marcus Brookfield 16

New Year's Eve events at Disney World

Disney World has released its plans for New Year's Eve. 

Disney publicity photo
Here is what's going on at three of the parks:

Magic Kingdom

A special "Fantasy in the Sky" fireworks will be presented at 11:50 p.m. on Dec. 30 and Dec. 31, 2014.


A number of different forms of entertainment will be held through Epcot including a DJ and light show at the Future World Fountain Stage, a smoke-billowing dragon in China, music at the United Kingdom, Euro-pop and lasers in Italy, and a Latin band and DJ on the America Gardens Stage.  There will also be two showing of “IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth”, at 6 p.m. and 11:40 p.m.,. There will also be a countdown and pyrotechnic salute to the new year.

Hollywood Studios

The Event Stage will have a  DJ and performances by Mulch, Sweat & Shears. As midnight approaches, the band takes the stage to count down to 2015 and plays live during fireworks.