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June 2012 Archives

June 1, 2012

Cars Come Alive on June 18th at Disney's Art of Animation Resort

Phase 1 of Disney's Art of Animation Resort opened on May 31, 2012 with the Nemo family suites and the Big Blue Pool water area.

Next up, in just a few weeks, is Phase 2, Cars!

Here are photos of what can be seen as of today. Things have certainly progressed from just a month ago. Also, most of the neon lights are now on in the evenings, so if you are nearby, head over for a stroll.

After the stills is a video interview with Disney's Pixar "Cars" Filmaker Jay Ward and automotive designer (and designer of Ramone) Chip Foose telling you what's in store when Cars open!

Cars section at the Art of Animation Resort

Cars section at the Art of Animation Resort

Cars section at the Art of Animation Resort

Cars section at the Art of Animation Resort

Cars section at the Art of Animation Resort

Cars section at the Art of Animation Resort

Cars section at the Art of Animation Resort

Cars section at the Art of Animation Resort

Cars section at the Art of Animation Resort

Cars section at the Art of Animation Resort

June 7, 2012

My Next Adventure - Scotland!!!

It's been a few years since my last Adventure by Disney (ABD) vacation and the new itinerary for Scotland caught my attention.


Adventures by Disney Scotland

This 9 day/8 night adventure begins and ends in Edinburgh with visits to Inverness, Isle of Skye and Isle of Lewis.

Join me for an adult-only experience that only the Adventures by Disney folks can provide, September 15-23, 2013!

Itinerary Highlights

Day 1 - A Disney representative meets you at the airport and a driver takes to you the Balmoral Hotel. Everyone arrives throughout the day and we gather for a welcome dinner to meet our guides and fellow travelers.


Day 2 - Our first excursion is to the Palace of Holyroodhouse where a Blue Badge Guide leads us on a tour of this royal palace that is one of the Queen's official residences in Edinburgh. The National Museum of Scotland is next, where a private guide provides the tour. After a group lunch in the Museum it's time for the Dovecot Studios Tour. This 100-year-old studio creates tapestries through a rich collaboration between the artist, weavers and commissioners. Late afternoon and dinner we are on our own.


Day 3 - After breakfast we journey by coach to one of the most famous islands of Scotland -- the mystical, magical Isle of Skye. A visit to Ft. William where the sea meets the Rivers Nevis and Lochy, with mighty Ben Nevis -- the highest mountain in the British Isles -- towering in the background. Time on our own is included. Back on the coach to the Cuillin Hills Hotel, overlooking the waters of Portree Bay, with spectacular views of both the Sound of Raasay and the grand Cuillin Mountain Range.

Day 4 - Breakfast first and then we board the coach to the rugged Sound of Raasay. Our day includes hiking at Brothers Point and a ride to Quiraing. After lunch at Flodigarry Hotel, we walk along Staffin Beach and visit Kilt Rock. At the Isle of Skye Baking Company we'll learn how to make scones! Dinner is on our own in Portree.

Day 5 - On the coach to our next destination, Eilean Donan Castle. This majestic national icon sits at the dramatic junction of three great saltwater lochs. We can explore the Loch Ness Exhibition Centre and enjoy an exclusive Lunch at the Loch Ness Café. Then we board a motor launch for a trek across Loch Ness. We disembark at the ruins of this once-mighty fortress that commands breathtaking views of Loch Ness. Finally we arrive at the Kingsclub Hotel & Spa, Inverness, the new annex of the Kingsmills Hotel, and enjoy dinner.


Day 6 - We board a flight to the Isle of Lewis where we tour: the Blackhouse of Arnol, No. 42, Gearrannan Village and see the Dun Carloway Broch, the Callanish Standing Stones and then lunch at the Cafe. We then fly back to Inverness for dinner at the Mustard Seed.

Day 7 - We spend the day at the Rothiemurchus Estate! Horseback riding, bicycle (or casual) walking tour, and lunch at the Druie Café Restaurant.


Day 8 - Our final full day of touring! After breakfast at the hotel we board a coach for a scenic three-hour trip to the Scottish Highlands! Dunnottar Castle and Glamis Castle are on the list as well as a picnic lunch, private guided tour and archery lesson. We have a welcome reception at Edinburgh Castle. Once the castle is closed to the general public, we have a private tour of this magnificent monument and then an exclusive dinner at Edinburgh Castle.


Day 9 - Breakfast and then transfers to the airport. Whew! What an itinerary!


While in Edinburgh we will stay in the Balmoral Hotel, a 5-star luxury hotel. The Balmoral was named as Scotland's Leading Hotel at the World Travel Awards 2011 and as the Top UK Business Hotel outside of London at the Condé Nast Traveller's Readers' Travel Awards 2011.

The Cuillin Hills Hotel , a four-star luxury hotel, will be our home for our two nights in the Isle of Skye. It's set within 15 acres of mature private grounds overlooking Portree Bay, with magnificent views over the Sound of Raasay to the Cuillin Mountain range.

While in Inverness, our home is the Kingsclub Luxury Spa Hotel. All rooms at the Kingsmills Hotel are ensuite with satellite TV, wifi, and tea and coffee making facilities.


The Adventure includes 8 Breakfasts, 6 Lunches and 5 Dinners. The guides will assist you by providing recommendations for the "meals on your own".

Interested? Find out more about this exciting trip and how you can join us!


I absolutely love the Adventures by Disney product and my experience on my two trips were equally wonderful. Every little detail is taken care of for you. Your pre-trip planning consists of learning the rich history about the areas you will visit, not trying to determine where to stay and exactly what to do!

Before my first AbD, I found the offerings intriguing, but so expensive. Everyone I spoke with who had done an Adventure raved about it and said it was worth every penny. I had never done an organized tour before, wasn't sure what I'd think of it. I now stand with those folks and can only sing the praises about the incredible experience.

Here are some of the reasons I love Adventures by Disney:

A Disney representative meets you at the airport and a driver takes you to your hotel!

Everyplace we went, our rooms were ready and our luggage was already in them! No check-in lines, our guides had us all pre-registered and handed out the keys as we entered the lobby of each hotel.

Our guides were like the Energizer bunnies. No matter what time of day, where we were, or what the situation, they consistently went over and above. They made the Disney Difference.

We were treated like VIPs at almost every place we went. The Disney name goes a long way! We only had to mention at any of the hotels we were with the "Disney" group and folks couldn't do enough to make us happy.

Not every single moment is planned -- free time is built in for your own explorations.

Each stop we had local guides on the tour sharing their knowledge and expertise. They were able to answer just about any question asked and knew the special things to point out to us, things you wouldn't necessarily find in a printed guide.

It was wonderful to be able to look out the bus windows and see the scenery along the way. Since we weren't driving, one person wasn't missing the highlights.

All gratuities are included except for the Disney Guides.


Read all about my Southwest Splendors Adventure by Disney!

Here's my trip report from the Backstage Magic Adventure!

Beci shared her Adventure by Disney to Ireland!

Erin enjoyed the Costa Rica Adventures with her family!

June 15, 2012

Disney California Adventure Reopens!

If a picture's worth a thousand words, then a video ought to be worth several pages more, right? So while Deb Wills is attending the grand reopening of Disney California Adventure, she's been sending back some short videos of what's she's seeing and doing, and we'll be compiling them here! Check back for more video as the weekend progresses!

June 16: Radiator Springs Racers

June 16: Goofy and the Five and Dime

June 15: Grand Reopening of Disney California Adventure to the Public

June 15: Instant Concert - Just Add Water

June 15: Red the Fire Truck in Cars Land

June 14: A Suitcase and a Dream Finale, Buena Vista Street

June 14: World of Color Aladdin Sequence

June 13: Radiator Springs Mountain Range at Night

June 13: The Dapper Dans

June 22, 2012

BRAVE - A Review of the Movie

"Some say our destiny is tied to the land, as much a part of us as we are of it. Others say fate is woven together like a cloth, so that one's destiny intertwines with many others. It's the one thing we search for, or fight to change. Some never find it. But there are some who are led." ~ Merida

I initially saw a clip from BRAVE last year at the D23 Expo event in California. It intrigued me. Who is this princess full of attitude, adorned with long curly red hair and has the ability to shoot an arrow like no other? Ever since then, I have been looking forward to seeing the movie.

Simply put, it was everything I thought it would be, and more.

I could relate to Merida, her mother, and their struggle. The story of this Disney "princess" is not the typical damsel in distress but is a wee bit like Mulan - wanting to break tradition and be the woman she is inside. Such is a young and VERY head strong Merida.

The story is set in the rugged and mysterious Highlands of Scotland where we meet feisty Merida (voice by Kelly Macdonald) who insists on changing her royal destiny. Her mother, Queen Elinor (voice of Emma Thompson), is steeped in adhering to royal Scottish traditions. The conflict of mother and daughter are the focus of the movie.

King Fergus (voice of Billy Connolly), who gave his daughter a bow and arrow at a very young age, enjoys his merriment and hanging out with the clansmen and lords. The triplet brothers are quite funny and could have had a more prominent roll in the movie.



I was quickly caught up into the 3D version of the movie and soon forgot I was watching an animated feature - the characters, especially Merida, felt very real.

The movie has humor and is intense at times. I did not see coming the twist that put Merida and the Queen on such an perilous and dangerous journey. Without giving too much away the story does come full circle at the end.

BRAVE is rated PG for some scary action and rude humor.

Boys will enjoy the archery segments, suspense and the scenes in the castle with the lords bonding.

There were some intense scenes that may scare little ones. I did speak to one mother of 3 when the movie was over who said her 2 year old "loved it". She recommend reading the book to your young ones to prepare them for the movie.

I'm ready to see it again.

Let me know what you think of BRAVE by leaving a comment below! (Movie SPOILERS are included in some of the comments)

A new Pixar short "La Luna," precedes the showing of BRAVE. Without real speaking La Luna tells a heartwarming story that has you smiling at the end.


In the Parks:

Merida is making appearances at both Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom and Disneyland. In Epcot now thru July 8th, children can participate in the Highland Games Tournament.


Disney.com Invites Guests to Enter the Brave: Adventure to Scotland Sweepstakes
a Chance to Win a Family Trip to Explore the World of Disney-Pixar's Epic Action Ad For venture "Brave"

Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures - Directed by Mark Andrews and Brenda Chapman, and produced by Katherine Sarafian, "Brave" is a grand adventure full of heart, memorable characters and signature Pixar humor. Opened June 22, 2012, in Disney Digital 3D™ in select theaters.

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About June 2012

This page contains all entries posted to Deb's Digest in June 2012. They are listed from oldest to newest.

May 2012 is the previous archive.

July 2012 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.