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Considering the fact that California has practically become my second home, I feel increasingly bad that my wife and kids have never come with me to the west coast. That means that they've not yet been to Disneyland Park or Disney's California Adventure... which I have. Having done our first big Disney family adventure last year with a trip to Walt Disney World in Florida, I'm setting sights on getting the family out west - probably around the time that Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge opens in 2019, but maybe sooner if we can find a way to make it all work. For those who are headed west this year, Disneyland has a fresh lineup of new activities and attractions, and I recently had a chance to experience them first-hand during the Summer of Heroes!
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...
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!
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.
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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.
On 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...