March 16, 2018

Walt Disney World's Raglan Road welcomes The Maguires band during Mighty St. Patrick's Day Festival


If you are looking for a family friendly way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in Orlando, get yourself to Raglan Road at Disney Springs! The restaurant’s popular party runs all weekend with authentic contemporary Irish cuisine, beers and cocktails. But perhaps the best treat is the selection of entertainment that is presented in addition to the Raglan Road Irish Dancers that are always in residence.


Raglan Road will host eight bands that perform various styles of Irish music from noon to 1 a.m. during the celebration. New this year is The Maguires, a family band from Wicklow. They play traditional Irish music and modern songs, both favorite covers and their own original music. The band is made up of Emma, 17, on fiddle, flute and whistle; Aoife, 15, on concertina and uilleann pipes; Sean, 12, on bodhran; and their father, Phillip, on guitar.

I was delighted to hear them perform during a preview of Raglan Road’s Mighty St. Patrick’s Day Festival and to have the opportunity to speak with them. Of course I wanted to know how they got started playing music together.

“I’m responsible for that, I guess,” Phillip said. “I started brainwashing them when they were very little. I used to do a lot of set dancing all around Ireland when I was in my 20s so it was a lovely way to spend time together. … Also, my dad did play and he taught me the whistle when I was young.”

From that exposure to music, Emma’s love of music was born at age 4, and she brought the family along with her.

“Very early on, it became very clear that Emma had a voracious appetite for music and she just took it away,” Phillips said. “Very quickly it became the case where we said we would stop going to lessons and practicing if they misbehaved rather than the other way around.”

And when Aoife and Sean each turned 6 years old, they had been bitten by the music bug as well and they learned quickly. The children are all classically trained musicians.

Their first stage performance was in March 2014 to a packed concert theater of 200 people in Bray, Co. Wicklow. Now, four years later, the band has performed at festivals and concerts all over Ireland. The musicians made their United States debut in the summer of 2017 with performances in Montana, Milwaukee, New York, Boston, Philadelphia and Connecticut.


The Maguires will be performing at Raglan Road through April 2, so there are many opportunities to see them. Here is their schedule this weekend:

Today (March 16): Patio stage – 4:30, 5:30, 6:30, 7:30 p.m.
Saturday (March 17): Patio stage – 1:30, 2:30, 4:30, 5:30 p.m.
Sunday (March 18): Patio stage – 4, 5, 6:30, 7:30 p.m.

Be sure to check for times and dates for additional performances by The Maguires and for the complete lineup of live entertainment during the Mighty St. Patrick’s Day Festival this weekend.




Can’t make it to Raglan Road? You can listen to the infectious sounds of The Maguires in your home or car by ordering their CD on the their website, This debut album, “Little Giants and Other Oxymorons,” was released in December 2016, and six of the eleven tracks were composed by the family members. One of the songs has been picked up by Tourism Ireland and used as the soundtrack on a promotional video about Ireland and its musical heritage.

DISCLAIMER: I was a guest of Raglan Road during the preview of its Mighty St. Patrick’s Day Festival. My opinions are my own, and this did not affect my story.

March 15, 2018

Go behind the scenes with Broadway musical The Lion King


It was part of the Circle of Life, so to speak, for my daughter to see the Broadway musical Disney’s “The Lion King.” She’s grown up seeing the story performed at Walt Disney World and is currently acting in the musical at school, so it was only fitting she finally got to see the award-winning Broadway production.


Disney’s “The Lion King” just wrapped up a month of performances in Orlando, and the cast and crew have moved on to their next stop in Birmingham, Ala. While the Broadway musical was in town, though, many of my friends and colleagues attended performances at the Dr. Phillips Performing Arts Center and raved about them. My daughter and I were in the audience for the last performance on Sunday, and we were wowed, as well.

Being Disney fans, we of course are familiar with the story of “The Lion King:” “A lion cub crown prince (Simba) is tricked by a treacherous uncle (Scar) into thinking he caused his father's (Mufasa’s) death and flees into exile in despair, only to learn in adulthood his identity and his responsibilities.”

In fact, we can see a version of the popular tale every time we go to Animal Kingdom theme park, where The Festival of The Lion King is presented multiple times daily. And as thrilling as that experience is, the Broadway production is entirely different.


“The Lion King” recently celebrated 20 years on Broadway, but the stage show that we saw was reconfigured and relaunched in the fall so that it could be presented in venues that couldn’t previously accommodate it. And boy was it spectacular! The opening number had many of the animals moving down the aisles to the stage and when they passed by us, fellow patrons gasped and applauded in delight at the astonishing and inventive costumes, as well as the sheer size of the elephant.

And those are just the non-speaking animals. The lead characters, with the exception of young Simba and young Nala, wear intricately carved masks that they seamlessly manipulate with their fluid movements around the stage – all while chanting, talking and singing beautifully. There are 6 indigenous African languages sung and spoken throughout the show: Swahili, Zulu, Xhosa, Sotho, Tswana and Congolese.


This version of “The Lion King” is the “perfect marriage of entertainment and art,” according to the New York Daily News.

Ultimately, the audience is left a sense of exuberance for the performance and life in general. It’s truly a celebration. If you’re not ready to move on from the performance – or you’re preparing for the tour to come to your city – here are some ways to immerse yourself in “The Lion King”:

** Relive the first scene, “Circle of Life,” in a 360-degree presentation on

** Learn the actual choreography for “He Lives In You” from Get Up and Go

** Download a study guide here.

** Watch a series of videos that go backstage to show you how the production is created and comes together.

** Play with a free Snapchat filter of Nala or Simba on

** Go shopping at the online store, which carries much of the same merchandise as is offered at each tour stop.

** Write to cast members:

Cast Member Name
c/o THE LION KING, Gazelle Tour
New Amsterdam Theatre
214 West 42th Street
New York, NY 10036

Hakuna Matata, everyone!

March 13, 2018

Star Wars: The Last Jedi available via Movies Anywhere today



Today is a day many Star Wars fans have been waiting for: “The Last Jedi” is finally available to view on devices via Movies Anywhere. And if that’s not enough for fans, the eighth movie in the series is available in 4K Ultra HD.

Fans with a little patience will be rewarded with quite a few bonus features on The Last Jedi Blu-ray disc, which comes out on March 27. Perhaps most notable is the fact that there are 14 never-before-seen deleted scenes that will be included on the disc. The Blu-ray version also will be in 4K Ultra HD and have Dolby Vision HDR and Dolby Atmos immersive audio.

Here is a complete list of the features included in the Blu-ray release:

The Director and the Jedi – Go deep behind the scenes with writer-director Rian Johnson on an intimate and personal journey through the production of the movie—and experience what it’s like to helm a global franchise and cultural phenomenon.

Balance of the Force – Explore the mythology of the Force and why Rian Johnson chose to interpret its role in such a unique way.

Scene Breakdowns

Lighting the Spark: Creating the Space Battle – Get a close-up look at the epic space battle, from the sounds that help propel the action, through the practical and visual effects, to the characters who bring it all to life.

Snoke and Mirrors – Motion capture and Star Wars collide as the filmmakers take us through the detailed process of creating the movie’s malevolent master villain.

Showdown on Crait – Break down everything that went into creating the stunning world seen in the movie’s final confrontation, including the interplay between real-word locations and visual effects, reimagining the walkers, designing the crystal foxes, and much more.

Andy Serkis Live! (One Night Only) – Writer-director Rian Johnson presents two exclusive sequences from the movie featuring Andy Serkis’ riveting, raw on-set performance before his digital makeover into Snoke.

Deleted Scenes – With an introduction and optional commentary by writer-director Rian Johnson.

Audio Commentary – View the movie with in-depth feature audio commentary by writer-director Rian Johnson.

March 10, 2018

How SeaWorld Orlando rescues and rehabilitates dolphin, manatee and turtles


SeaWorld has rescued more than 31,000 animals in its 50-year history. That’s thousands of animals that were given a second chance at life, thanks to the hard work and dedication of the SeaWorld Rescue and Animal Care teams.

When a wild animal is found in distress, government agencies assess the situation and determine which organization on its rescue and rehabilitation list is best suited and available to help in the crisis. These organizations, like SeaWorld, are not paid for the rescue or any of the rehabilitation costs. That means they are volunteering their time and to cover the expense – which can be in the thousands for each animal.

Once an animal is placed, the government agencies continue to monitor its progress and they determine when and how the animal is allowed to be released into the wild according to published Standards of Release. Additionally, all marine mammals are covered under the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972, and some also are protected by the Endangered Species Act.

It’s a continuous commitment, and one that SeaWorld has embraced. Here are some of the amazing animal rescues the company has been involved with recently:


Last week, an Atlantic bottlenose dolphin -- like the famous Winter who also was initially rescued by SeaWorld – was saved after a shark attack. The young dolphin was stranded in Ponte Vedra Beach with life-threatening injuries, and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission called on the Georgia Aquarium Conservation Field Station at Marineland and SeaWorld to rescue her. Together with NOAA Fisheries Service, the commission made the decision to send the dolphin to SeaWorld for rehabilitation.

The rescue team, including veterinarians, at the theme-park giant are giving her round-the-clock care in the hopes of being able to return her to wild once she is recovered.

Also last week, 17 endangered sea turtles were returned to their natural environment by the SeaWorld Orlando rescue team at Canaveral National Seashore in Titusville. The majority of the returned sea turtles were rescued in New England and flew to Florida for treatment late last year.

In early December, more than 40 cold-stunned Kemp’s ridley sea turtles arrived at Tampa International Airport to begin rehabilitation at multiple Florida facilities. The reptiles were rescued from frigid northern waters by the Massachusetts Audubon Society and stabilized at the New England Aquarium before their cross-country flight.

Upon arrival in Orlando, SeaWorld’s rescue team conducted full examinations to determine the best treatment for each sea turtle. Many of the animals were suffering from pneumonia, some were also treated for corneal ulcers and malnutrition. After three months of individualized care, the turtles were cleared for return to the ocean.

Rescued earlier this winter from the Atlantic Coast, two green sea turtles also returned home to the sea last week. One of the turtles was treated for shell abrasions and the other for injuries resulting from ingested fishing line and hooks.

And the Orlando Sentinel gave a recent update on the orphaned baby manatee that was found after Hurricane Irma. The young manatee was being cared for in the rescue facilities behind the scenes at the Orlando park but now has been moved to the TurtleTrek exhibit after gaining more than 50 pounds while in SeaWorld’s care. “For him to be eligible for release back into the wild, Jose must weigh at least 600 pounds,” the Sentinel reports. Theme-park visitors can see the manatee calves like Jose fed their bottles every three hours starting at 9 a.m.

SeaWorld Orlando also hosted five Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphins from Dolphin Connection, a marine mammal organization owned by Hawks Cay Resort in Duck Key, when Hurricane Irma was bearing down on the Florida Keys.

To read more about SeaWorld's rescue and rehabilitation efforts and to find out how you can get involved, visit

March 8, 2018

Register now for Disneyland's CELEBRATE Girl Scouts programs in April, May, June


Disneyland is celebrating Girl Scouts of all ages in April, May and June with Disney Youth Education Series programs offered on Saturdays and Sundays. Individual girls or their troops can register now for special events at Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure.

If this sounds exciting – and who wouldn’t like learning at a theme park? -- don’t delay because programs have sold out in past years. CELEBRATE Girl Scout events take place April 28 and 29; May 19 and 20; June 2, 3, 9, 10, 23, 24 and 30; and July 1.


Saturday programs take place at Disney California Adventure. Girl Scouts can choose from these offerings:

Energy and Waves Physics Lab 201 (Cadettes, Seniors, Ambassadors): “Discover light, sound, and magnetism as forms of energy and how to use them in practical application. See firsthand how these elements are a vital part of creating world class attractions and how Disney uses these physical properties to entertain and amaze guests from all over the world. As they travel through the park, Scouts will come to understand some of physics most noted historical figures and their impact on the field.”

Designing a Disney Story (Brownies, Juniors, Cadettes): “Explore the rich legacy of animation from its most early forms, through Walt Disney's legacy to today. Learn about the complex components that work together to bring favorite Disney characters and stories to the big screen and Disney Parks. Scouts will study Walt Disney's role in the history and processes used to create early animated features, as well as the innovative animation techniques used to bring the vision of modern storytellers to life.”

Exploring the Golden State for Daisies: “Learn about California's rich history including the influential Dreamers who have shaped the Golden State. Explore the people, events, hopes and dreams that have shaped the Disneyland Resort's home state.”

Sunday programs take place at Disneyland park. They include:

Music 101: Inside the Soundtrack of Disneyland (Brownies, Juniors, Cadettes): “Scouts interact with an entertainment professional and learn the integral role that music plays at Disneyland Resort, in Disney films and in the world at large. Scouts will have a hands-on experience of how music can create atmospheric tone, emotion, and even a sense of time and place.”

Energy and Waves Physics Lab 101 (Brownies & Juniors): “Discover light and sound as forms of energy and how to use them in practical application. See first-hand how these elements are a vital part of creating world class attractions and how Disney uses these physical properties to entertain and amaze guests from all over the world. As they travel through the park, scouts will come to understand some of physics most noted historical figures and their impact on the field.”

Disney Leadership Assembly (Cadettes, Seniors, Ambassadors): Future leaders and current dreamers are invited to participate in a live, interactive leadership assembly led by an experienced team of energetic Disney facilitators. Facilitators provide an exciting behind-the-scenes look into the history of Disneyland and the courage it took to bring one of Walt's most "impossible" dreams to life. Participants will then be given the opportunity to dissect their personal goals and develop strategies needed to lead their journey and inspire others on their path as well.”

Each program is approximately three hours long, and troops and individual Scouts can expect to experience the events with other Girl Scouts. “Exploring the Golden State” is about two hours in long. Participants must be at east 7 years old, with the exception of “Exploring the Golden State,” which is designed for ages 5 to 7.

To attend one or more of these sessions just for Girl Scouts, each girl and each chaperone must purchase a Youth Education Series ticket package. They can choose from the program-only for $50; a one-day, one-park ticket for $100; one-day, park-hopper ticket for $145; two-day park-hopper for $192; three-day, park-hopper for $233. These prices include a Disney Youth Education Series “CELEBRATE Girl Scouts” participation patch and Disney Youth Education Series string backpack.

One complimentary chaperone ticket will be issued for every 10 paid Scouts. One complimentary troop leader ticket will be issued for every 30 paid students. The same discounted pricing is available for additional guests visiting Disneyland on the same day. These additional guests, including non-participating youth, will not be permitted to attend the programs but instead can explore the park.

For more details and to receive a registration form, email or call 714-956-6454 between 9 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. PST Monday through Friday.

March 6, 2018

Walt Disney World passholders can collect freebies at Epcot Flower and Garden Festival and more deals


Walt Disney World annual passholders can take advantage of a bouquet of new offers, including several at the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival.

Each passholder is invited to take advantage of complimentary dedicated seating at the Garden Rocks concerts, which take place every Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday during the festival through May 28. Distribution of wristbands for the reserved seating begins when Epcot opens each day and continues while supplies last through:

** 4:30 p.m. for the 5:30 p.m. shows

** 5:45 p.m. for the 6:35 p.m. shows

** 7 p.m. for the 8 p.m. shows

The wristband pick-up area is located in the Fountain View Hallway at Epcot, just behind Club Cool. Each passholder can get up to three additional wristbands when showing a valid annual pass and photo identification. Note that wristbands are only good for the specific showtime and date they are issued.


Walt Disney World is continuing its popular annual passholder magnet giveaways with two new seasonal magnets. The spring-themed magnets are available to passholders during the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival. A Mickey Mouse magnet can be collected from the start of the festival through April 8 and a Minnie Mouse magnet – the first time for this character – from April 9 through the end of the festival on May 28.

When I went to pick up my spring Mickey magnet (in the same location as concert wristband distribution) during the opening weekend of the festival, I found the distribution to be more organized than that of the holiday magnets at Hollywood Studios. A cast member was directing guests to a queue. When I reached the front of the queue, another cast member scanned the annual passes for my family and gave me the appropriate number of magnets. This was a nice surprise because in the past, each person had to present his or her own pass. With the new system, one passholder in a group can present the passes for the entire group, which is so much more efficient. It also cuts down on passholders who collect more than the one magnet per guest.

On the second Saturday of each month, annual passholders can attend an exclusive shopping experience at a Disney Springs retail location. Passholders will have the store to themselves for an hour during which they can use their 20 percent discount. There will be surprises that could include food and beverage samples, sneak peeks at new offerings and guest speakers.

Passholders will be notified by email to register for each Super Saturday experience. The first event takes place from 9 to 10 a.m. March 10 at World of Disney, and it’s already full. That email went out on March 1 so I would suggest looking for the email invitations at the beginning of each month if this interests you.

On March 17, passholders can attend a special day designed to give them exclusive access to game-day suites during a spring training game. Passholder Suite Day packages are available for the Atlanta Braves versus St. Louis Cardinals game at 1:05 p.m. and include a full ballpark buffet, admission to the game and the opportunity for your kids to run the bases after the event. The cost is $112 per adult and $85.50 per child ages 3 to 9. Adults who want to upgrade to on-field passes, which include watching battling practice before the game, pay $132 and children pay $105.50. To purchase your tickets, call 407-939-GAME.

Finally, through the end of March, passholders can save 30 percent on the Savor the Savanna: Evening Safari Experience. This privately guided tour goes into the heart of the Harambe Wildlife Reserve with private viewing areas. While savoring the Savanna scenery, guests will sample African-inspired cuisine paired with regional wine and beer offerings. Each participant takes home a keepsake. Call 407-939-TOUR to book Savor the Savanna. Deb Wills and Linda Eckwerth recently took this tour, and Deb shares all the details in her latest blog.

March 3, 2018

SeaWorld's Aquatica water park celebrates 10 years with new ride Ray Rush promotions


Aquatica, SeaWorld’s waterpark in Orlando, is celebrating its tenth birthday this week with deals and details relating to its newest upcoming attraction, Ray Rush.

The new water ride, which is scheduled to open this spring, features family rafts and combines new elements and replaces Hooroo Run.


The official SeaWorld blog describes it this way:

“At nearly 60 feet tall, Ray Rush is where family and friends can take on three-in-one thrills as they slide, splash and soar like never before!

“First, hold on tight as you and your friends are launched at 33 feet per second with water jets designed to propel your raft into the first of several enclosed tube sections.

“Next, you and your fellow riders will swirl into a colossal translucent sphere which spins the raft around the slide walls before entering another enclosed tube section.

“Finally, as soon as you think it's all over, your raft drops into an open-air halfpipe that resembles the shape of a manta ray. Your raft will soar back and forth on the wings of the manta before entering the final enclosed tube section that ends with a splash!”

Both the launch system and the halfpipe will be firsts for Aquatica, providing thrills while keeping the ride family friendly.

To commemorate the park’s birthday, Aquatica commissioned the sculpting of a 22-ton sand sculpture depicting a birthday cake inspired by Ray Rush. The sculpture measures 15 feet wide and 8 feet tall and took skilled artisans nearly 25 hours to complete. The sculpture will be on display inside the park for guests to see through March 5.

The water park also is celebrating the occasion by offering a deal on its annual passes. Through March 15, Florida residents can purchase the Aquatica passes for just $10 a month with EZpay. Benefits include unlimited admission and free parking as well as discounts and the opportunity to be among the first to ride Ray Rush when it opens in spring. The park is also offering guests the opportunity to purchase 6-inch by 8-inch photos in the park for just $10 each through the end of April.

Aquatica was voted “Best Water Park” by Orlando Sentinel readers in the publication’s annual Best Bets reader’s choice awards in 2017. “The Sentinel just confirmed what everyone already knew, Aquatica is the place where Orlando residents go when they want the best water park experience,” said David Heaton, Aquatica Orlando vice president. “We are so excited to be the water playground of choice for Orlando locals and visitors alike.”

March 1, 2018

Disney movie toys to return to McDonald's Happy Meals with new deal



It’s been more than a decade since those last Disney toys – promoting the DVD release of The Little Mermaid – appeared in McDonald’s Happy meals. But that’s soon going to change with the deal the two companies just announced. At the start of the summer season, consumers will find toys promoting the June 15 release of Disney’s "Incredibles 2" in the fast-food kids’ meals.

So what has changed?

The previous partnership ended in 2006 in part because The Walt Disney Company adopted new guidelines for nutrition that did not align with the contents of popular Happy Meals. Recently, McDonald’s has announced more changes to the meals. Most notably, the cheeseburger no longer will be advertised on its menu board as an option for the meals. Neither will chocolate milk. Both selections actually still will be available upon request but will not be advertised. By June, all combinations on Happy Meal menu boards in U.S. restaurants will have 600 calories or fewer, according to In addition, each meal will have no more than 10 percent of its calories from saturated fat and 10 percent of its calories from added sugar.

The website indicated that changes to Happy Meals in 2013 included removing soft drinks as a beverage option and adding an organic apple juice that contains fewer calories and less sugar than regular apple juice.

Disney’s current nutritional guidelines encourage eating fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein and low-fat dairy while limiting the number of calories, saturated fats, sugars and sodium consumed. Plus, Disney has issued new standards for how food is advertised to kids and families, states.

“Their last exclusive, 10-year cross-promotional deal was reportedly worth $1 billion to Disney, according to the Los Angeles Times. McDonald's Corp paid $100 million in royalties and conducted 11 promotions a year for Disney movies and television shows and opened restaurants inside its theme parks, the Times reported,” reports

McDonald’s and Disney have not disclosed the value of the new deal or how long it will last. A McDonald's spokeswoman told the website that said the new deal does not include any agreement on restaurants in theme parks. However, movies included in the pact will come from Walt Disney Animation Studios, Pixar Animation Studios, Disney Live Action, Marvel Studios and Lucasfilm.

The second Disney promotion in Happy Meals this year will feature toys from “Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2,” which will be released Nov. 21.

February 27, 2018

Deadline nears for Central Florida students to apply for 2018 Disney Dreamer and Doer awards


Just as Hollywood’s awards season is in full swing, so, too, is Walt Disney World’s version of the Oscars. The "Mousecars" -- exclusive golden Mickey Mouse statues -- are bestowed on some of the most promising students in Central Florida through the Disney Dreamers and Doers program. And if students want to be considered for the honor, they need to hurry because the deadline is this week.

For more than three decades, this award program has recognized local students who have inspired others and made the world a better place. In return, The Walt Disney Co. hopes to inspire and reward the area's student leaders with theme-park tickets -- or even annual passes -- to Walt Disney World and provide Disney-themed keepsakes, such as the Mousecars.


Disney relies on each school in Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Lake and Polk counties to nominate one child for the honor of being named a Disney Dreamer and Doer.

The process begins when students are asked to nominate themselves by writing a 300-word paragraph describing their achievements. The official rules give these examples of student contributions: "strengthening their families; conservation/environmental projects; helping others; safety; school achievement in spite of barriers; improving their schools; serving as a role model for siblings/friends; or any other positive action." An addition to the rules notes: “High academic achievement and volunteer involvement can be considered but should not be the only determining factors to select a school’s Disney Dreamer and Doer.”

Then, the student asks a teacher to champion his or her application by writing a 75-word endorsement. The two essays are turned in to the school's principal by the school's announced deadline, and a school winner is chosen based on the strength of the essay. (Grammatical accuracy is not a factor.)

Deadlines likely are this week, so students who are interested in applying should confirm dates with their schools.


In total, there are about 375 students from elementary, middle- and high-school students in Central Florida chosen to receive the one-day park-hopper tickets, medals and certificates.

Once a school's Disney Dreamer and Doer is chosen, he or she is entered in a larger competition, Disney's Shining Stars. The awards are given to 15 students -- one elementary, middle and high school student in Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Lake and Polk counties. Disney officials, not school principals, choose the Shining Stars. Shining Stars receive Disney World annual passes for their immediate families for one year, Mousecar statues and certificates noting their accomplishments. Plus, the Shining Stars and their families are invited to a a special event at Walt Disney World. Last year it was a preview of Pandora at Animal Kingdom. In previous years, it was an Epcot Illuminations Dessert Party.

"Students may be comfortable in the spotlight, or shy away from it. Some take positive action that is visible; some actions may not be visible to many," the Disney press release states. "We believe all students do good things and have the potential to be a Disney Dreamer and Doer. We look forward to hearing about students in each of these categories."

Among past winners are a student who learned to give back after living in a homeless shelter; a student who organized book drives for needy kids; and a student who excelled in science education with a goal of creating clean, unlimited power sources.

Schools will be notified in April if their students are among this year's Shining Stars.

February 24, 2018

Disney-Pixar's Coco brings Day of the Dead to life with Blu-ray, DVD bonus features


As we left the theater after seeing Disney-Pixar’s “Coco” in November, my daughter was already asking when we could buy the DVD. Happily for her and so many others, that time is upon us. And the animated film’s fans will not only enjoy seeing the movie again, but also a slew of bonus features that come packaged with the purchase.

“Coco” is a colorful interpretation of the Mexican tradition of celebrating El Dia de Los Muertos (The Day of the Dead). The story is told through 12-year-old Miguel who longs to be a professional singer despite his family forbidding it. His pursuit of his dream to perform lands Miguel in the Land of the Dead, where he is stranded until he receives a blessing from a dead family member. Or, if forgotten by the living, those in the Land of the Dead fade away during the Final Death.

“Coco” already is available digitally, and the Blu-ray and DVD versions hit the shelves on Tuesday (Feb. 27). Here are the bonus features that are included:

Blu-ray & Digital:

** Deleted Scenes with Introductions – Director Lee Unkrich and co-director Adrian Molina talk about the deleted scenes and the part they played in the development of “Coco.”

** Día de los Muertos – In this musical extravaganza, the colors and excitement of Día de los Muertos come to life as we meet superstar Ernesto de la Cruz.

** The Way of the Riveras – A musical number in which Abuelita and Miguel prepare their Día de los Muertos celebration while she teaches him Rivera family history and traditions.

** Celebrity Tour – Héctor, a Land of the Dead tour bus guide, agrees to help Miguel, revealed to be a living boy, on his quest to find de la Cruz.

** The Bus Escape – The Rivera family catches up to Miguel and Héctor and attempts to halt their mission to find de la Cruz.

** Alebrije Attack – Miguel and Héctor are interrupted on their journey to find de la Cruz by a fierce alebrije.

** The Family Fix – After de la Cruz reveals his true colors, the Rivera family puts their dismay aside and comes together to repair the smashed guitar needed to send Miguel home.

** To the Bridge – As the Land of the Dead counts down to the end of Día de los Muertos, Miguel and de la Cruz come head-to-head on the marigold bridge.

** Filmmaker Commentary – Presented by Lee Unkrich (director), Adrian Molina (co-director) and Darla K. Anderson (producer).

** The Music of “Coco” – Collaborating with musicians of Mexico and some unique instrumentation, this documentary explores the beautiful fusion of music essential to the story of “Coco.”

** Paths to Pixar: “Coco” – Explore how the film crew’s personal stories resonate with the themes of the movie itself.

** Welcome to the Fiesta – A musical exploration of the skeletons that make the Land of the Dead in “Coco” so wondrous and intriguing.

** How to Draw a Skeleton – Pixar artist Daniel Arriaga gives a lesson on the quick and easy way to draw skeletons using simple shapes.

** A Thousand Pictures a Day – Join the “Coco” crew on an immersive travelogue through Mexico, visiting families, artisans, cemeteries, and small villages during the Día de los Muertos holiday.

** Mi Familia – Developing the Riveras was a labor of love that took the cast and crew on a deep dive into the meaning of family.

** Land of Our Ancestors – Watch Pixar artists lovingly construct layer upon layer of architecture from many eras of Mexican history, bringing the Land of the Dead to life.

** Fashion Through the Ages – The cast of characters in “Coco” are from many different eras, making for some magnificent costuming opportunities.

** The Real Guitar – The majestic guitar that spurs Miguel on his journey through the Land of the Dead is a unique creation. Watch as it is initially designed by a Pixar artist and ultimately realized as a real instrument by a master luthier in this poetic ode to craftsmanship.

** Dante – How the crew fell in love with the uniquely Mexican breed of Xoloitzcuintli (or “Xolo”) dogs that inspired Dante.

** How to Make Papel Picado – Join Pixar artist Ana Ramírez González as we learn how papel picado is made traditionally, and then try your own approach to this beautiful art form.

** Un Poco “Coco” – A montage of original animated pieces used to promote “Coco.”
“Coco Trailers” – Trailers include “Feeling,” “Dante’s Lunch,” “Destiny,” “Journey” and “Belong.”


** Filmmaker Commentary

** Dante

** About “Coco”

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