As we roll toward the end of an unusually challenging year for many, there's some bright spots to be seen, one of which is shining in California tonight. MGA Entertainment and the Marine Toys for Tots program have been working together in order to brighten the holidays for some of the many children whose families were affected by the devastating wildfires that ravaged parts of both Northern and Southern California last month. The team at MGA will be providing more than $5M in new toys that are expected to bring joy to an estimated 300,000 kids in California and in other parts of the country where disaster has struck.

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

Electric vehicles are a fascinating thing, fueled by still-developing technology that the general population still has yet to embrace. While the adopters are growing in numbers, electric cars are still most prevalent in markets like California, not only due to a higher environmentally-friendly consciousness, but practicality as well. While makers like Tesla have their vehicles readily-available here in Northern Illinois where I live, there are issues pertaining to battery life and range that can hinder EVs in cold-weather climates (battery heaters are available), which is why Kia is smartly rolling out their first-ever zero-emmissions, all-electric vehicle in select markets before casting the net wider. Just launched on the West Coast, I had a chance to spend some time with the 2015 Kia Soul EV a couple of weeks back, taking to the road in Southern California to see just how this new ride handles and performs.

Published in Rock Father Rides