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I made my first trip to Walt Disney World in Florida in 1988. It was a unique experience in that I went by myself - sans parents - at age 12, the winner of a contest held by the Star Newspapers here in Chicagoland. I was a paperboy - a "newspaper carrier" - and as part of a yearly push for great customer service and increased subscriptions, the top carriers were rewarded with a trip to Disney World. I was one of them, and the experience marked my first ride in a limousine, and my first big adventure away from home (under the guidance of two chaperones). The Magic Kingdom is, indeed, a magical place, and in 2016 I returned for the first time as a parent, my wife and I taking our girls on a Florida adventure. On the west coast, I'd never been to Disneyland until December of 2015, when I attended as a guest as part of the Global Media Event for STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS. Five hours in the park and I was hooked. I did return this week (more on that later), but at the recent D23 Expo in Anaheim, I was on the show floor, live-tweeting announcements about what the future holds for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. There's a whole lot of Marvel... a whole lot of Star Wars... a whole lot of Pixar... some new ships... new hotels... and a ton of magic to be experienced. Here's the full rundown...

Published in Movies, TV and More

It's become a yearly tradition, and this week the time has once again arrived to share the annual Summer Road Trip Playlist from my friends at Sugar Mountain PR. This 11-track collection is available as a free download for a limited time (through 6/11/17), but remains streaming on Soundcloud for the rest of the season. Artists featured on this year's playlist includ Dana's Music Playground,Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band, Jazzy Ash, Tim Kubart, Little Miss Ann and Amy D, Lisa Loeb, Red Yarn, Justin Roberts and the Danny Weinkauf Red Pants Band. Check it out in the player below!

Published in Family Music
Thursday, April 27 2017 09:04

Cars 3: A Visit to Pixar Animation Studios

Over the past few years, I've had the good fortune to have been invited to some fairly magical places that most of the general public will never have the chance to experience first-hand. Thanks to my friends at The Walt Disney Company, I've been able to go beyond the gates of several legendary facilities, including the famous lot of The Walt Disney Studios, Walt Disney Animation Studios, DisneyToon Studios and ABC. While I've spent a decent amount of time at all of those places in Southern California (even dropping by the Animation Research Library and the former Imagineering center), there's a couple spots further up the coast that I've always wanted to visit, and I finally crossed one of those off the list with my recent adventure inside Pixar Animation Studios in Emeryville, California. As part of the promotional ramp-up to the theatrical release of Disney•Pixar's Cars 3, I was able to get a look at the campus where some of the most iconic animated films of the past few decades have been created.

Published in Movies, TV and More

THE ROCK FATHER™ has created this post as part of a #sponsored series with Socialstars and Zicam®; all opinions are that of James Zahn. #ZicamCrowd

Ah yes, the wonders of Spring. The clocks have been set ahead... the grass is starting to green... the tulips and daffodils have begun to poke their fingers through the soil as the birds have returned and started to sing. But there's a bit of an issue here this year. As I mentioned last month, that dirty groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, emerged from his evil lair with news that he was planning to punish us this year. "A long winter," he declared, sentencing us to an additional six weeks of cold. Given that our winter was relatively mild this year, the Chicago-area famously snow-less in January/February (we hit 70°!) - something that hadn't happened in over a century, it was easy to write Phil off as giving a "typical cartoon villain speech." And then the snow came in March. As the rodent put forth a jubilant "victory laugh" from within his underground bunker, the humans above were faced with mountains of fresh powder. It was an act of revenge by a vermin, one who's been mocked for his weather predictions allegedly being right less than 50% of the time. No one knew that he'd built a Weather Machine in his basement. His vile actions would now result in travel disruptions, and new battles against an old foe: The Common Cold.

Published in Health & Fitness

LEGO Ninjago The RideOn January 12, visitors to LEGOLAND Florida Resort will be among the first to experience LEGO NINJAGO: The Ride, and today comes a new music video by The KIDZ BOP Kids for "The Weekend Whip," the official LEGO NINJAGO theme song... with a LEGOLAND spin. In the new video, The KIDZ BOP Kids are joined by brother-and-sister ninja Kai and Nya while demonstrating five signature ninja moves kids can use to defeat villains and capture a high score on LEGO NINJAGO The Ride. Check it out...

Published in Family Music

THE ROCK FATHER has created this post as part of a #sponsored series with Socialstars and Zicam®; all opinions are that of James Zahn. #ZicamCrowd

Back when I started this website, I had no idea it would end up leading to more travel than I'd ever done before. After all, the whole idea was that I'd be a work-at-home dad and be spending the majority of my time with our daughter. Fast-foward a bit and that's still mostly true, but it's now daughters (plural) and the scope of things has totally changed. I'm traveling a lot, which means not only time spent in the confines of those flying metal tubes, but also a lot of time in airports... and the worst part: those dirty buses and trains that shuttle around the airports. A lot of people equals a lot of germs, and since I tend to get run-down, that means I get a lot of colds. When the folks at Zicam® asked if I'd throw down a few words about my ongoing war against colds, it was easy to say "yes" since I've been using their product for ages anyway.

Published in Health & Fitness
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