Animal Kingdom Villas Review

We just returned from Disney World today.  We drove down the day after Christmas, and left Florida on the 3rd.  While we were there we stayed at the Animal Kingdom Lodge.  Our room was located in Jambo House.  This is the original hotel location that got several floors upgraded for DVC member accommodations.  We stayed there once previously, but it was not in a DVC accommodation because they weren’t fully finished as of yet.

As we entered the building we were teased with the smells of African food from one of the restaurants.  Being that we were situated with our food we did not have a chance to dine in the restaurants this trip.  We have heard that the restaurants are good.

Staying in the Jambo House we have found that the rooms have great views.  The layout of the 1 bedroom is slightly different than we are used to in comparison to Old Key West.  There is no FULL size jacuzzi tub.  There is a couch bed, and a chair bed in addition to the master bed.  In general the room felt slightly smaller than the Old Key West rooms.  We were in a Savannah view room.  Stepping out your porch door and seeing giraffe, and more just seems to make it so much more worth it.

The downside to Jambo House is that there is very few smoking areas.  You either need to go the the front of the building, or to the pool area.  This has a lot to do with animal safety.  The room had carpeting, and the kitchen, and bath were tiled.  The one thing that we would really find to be a nice change would be for the rooms to have wood flooring like the alloc original laminate that we have seen in some other timeshares.  The buses seemed to take forever.  I am sure that this had a lot to do with the holidays.

The lodge had their Christmas tree up still when we got there.  Towards the end of our stay we noticed some of the decorations being removed.  Overall the lodge is very nice looking, and the accomodations are acceptable.

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Mars Needs Moms Review

Mars Needs Moms Bluray Cover

Recently we were given the opportunity to check out the Bluray/DVD combo package of Mars Needs Moms.  We watched the movie as a family, and we absolutely loved it.  This movie can help teach a valuable lesson about love.  There is adventure, and also humor incorporated in the movie.

You can read some more specifics about the movie by checking out our original posting about the movie… http://www.disneycontestblog.com/index.php/mars-needs-moms-giveaway/

Short Synopsis…  (I don’t want to ruin the story so this is very brief…)

A boy named Milo is continually doing things to test his mom.  One night she is captured by aliens, and brought back to Mars.  Milo found a way to hitch onto the ship that captured his mom.  Once on Mars he did everything possible to save her from what was going to happen.

The way that animated movies have evolved is truly amazing.

I give this movie a 10 out of 10 stars.

The DVD package featured in this review was provided free of cost to me for the purpose of review. My review is not being monetarily compensated and is based solely on the views and opinions of me, and my family. Note… The opinions reflected in this post have not been influenced by the sponsor in any manner.

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I Am Number 4 Review

Recently we were given the opportunity to check out a new video that is coming to Blu-ray/DVD/Digital.  The movie is called I Am Number Four.  From a Disney Fan standpoint I am honestly surprised that this movie was done by Disney.  Disney always seems to play it safe when it comes to movies.  This movie has some violence, and death.  This movie is definitely not something I recommend for younger children that scare easily.

The movie was well done, and the special effects were amazing.  By the way… Does anyone know where I can get some of those powers?  I could put them to good use.

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FROM THE DIRECTOR OF DISTURBIA AND

PRODUCER MICHAEL BAY

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On Blu-ray™ Combo Pack, DVD, Movie Download

And On-Demand May 24th

Disc Extras Include Never-Before-Seen Bonus Features, Six Jaw-Dropping Deleted Scenes, Special Featurette on “Becoming Number 6”, Bloopers And More!

Just in time for summer break comes the ultimate action-packed, thriller I AM NUMBER FOUR, on Blu-ray, DVD, Movie Download and On-Demand May 24th. Starring sensation Dianna Agron (TV’s “Glee”) and heartthrobs Alex Pettyfer (Beastly) and Timothy Olyphant (TV’s “Justified”), I AM NUMBER FOUR will be available to own as either a 3-Disc Blu-ray Combo Pack (Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy), a 1-Disc Blu-ray, and/or 1-Disc DVD that comes packaged complete with never-before-seen bonus features, including deleted scenes, a special featurette, bloopers and more.

From mega-producer Michael Bay (Transformers franchise) and the director of Disturbia, D.J. Caruso, I AM NUMBER FOUR takes viewers on a suspense-filled ride that keeps them on the edge of their seat as they follow the extraordinary story of a young man who is hiding his true identity to evade a deadly enemy that seeks to destroy him.

Bonus Features:

DVD:

? · “Becoming Number 6” Featurette

? · Bloopers

Blu-ray:

Everything on the DVD plus…

? · 6 Deleted Scenes with Introductions by Director D.J. Caruso

o o “Strangers in Paradise” (Extended)

o o “Sam’s Mom”

o o “Worth Mentioning”

o o “Power Prank”

o o “Trying to Connect”

o o “Extended Warsaw Basement”

Movie Download:

Everything on the DVD plus…

? · 1 Deleted Scene: “Power Prank”

Disc Specifications:

 

About The Film:

Three are dead. Who is Number Four? From director D.J. Caruso (Disturbia), producer Michael Bay (Transformers) and the writers of TV’s Smallville, comes this gripping, action-packed thriller.  John Smith (Alex Pettyfer) is an extraordinary teen masking his true identity to elude a deadly enemy sent to destroy him.  Living with his guardian (Timothy Olyphant) in the small town he now calls home, John encounters unexpected, life-changing events — his first love (Dianna Agron, TV’s Glee), powerful new abilities and a secret connection to the others who share his incredible destiny. Complete with deleted scenes and more, I Am Number Four is an explosive, suspense-filled ride that will take you to the edge of your seat and beyond.

About DreamWorks Studios:
DreamWorks Studios is a motion picture company formed in 2009 and led by Steven Spielberg and Stacey Snider in partnership with The Reliance Anil DhirubhaiAmbani Group. Upcoming releases include Cowboys & Aliens, The Help, Fright Night, Real Steeland War Horse.
DreamWorks Studios can be found on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/DreamWorksStudios and on Twitter at http://twitter.com/dw_studios.


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Totally Honest Review Of The Disney Dream

We are very big Disney people in my family.  We wanted to take a trip on the Dream for a vacation, and also so that I could see for myself if half of the people that have reviewed the ship were either so blind, or if they were getting taken care of so well by Disney that they would never say anything bad.  Keep reading to see my findings.

All in all we had an OK time in comparison to staying home.  I probably would not do a cruise on the Disney Dream again unless the price was extremely discounted.

We started a 2 part cruise on April 10th, and concludes on April 17th.  During this time we have made note, and will present you with our unbiased opinion/view of the Disney Dream.

I will be publishing a few segments with my review of the Disney Dream.  Being that I am not affiliated with Disney, or Disney Cruise in any manor my review will be very candid in everything I write.  I will not lie, or deceive anyone with a “Sugar-Coated” review.  Read through a lot of the travel bloggers that have written about the Dream, and you will see that I speak the truth about untruthful bloggers.  If you don’t know what to believe at the end of this then cruise the Dream, and then cruise the Magic, or Wonder.  I am sure you will agree.

This is all based on our views of things from the 1st of the 2 cruises.  I will be further adding more information to a follow-up review after we return on the 17th.
This review is completely unbiased, and we were travelling on our expense.  Hope this review is helpful for you in the future.
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Disney Dream – Arrival Review
Upon arrival at the port you turn your bags over, and are checked onto the property at the gate, and then sent on to the security area.  After security you are sent into the actual terminal to process your papers, and get your keys.  You are then given a group number that will eventually be called to board the ship.  If you are a Platinum Castaway Club member you will get priority boarding.  On back to back cruises you are required to get off the boat as normal, but you can board @ 1 hour later.  (10:30am for our purposes.)
We got almost all of our luggage within 1 hour of boarding.  One suitcase was completely damaged during transit to the room, and Disney decided they wanted to send the suitcase to their people to attempt repair.  (We found this quite ridiculous because you can see the luggage was destroyed.)  Two days later we were finally contacted, and told that they couldn’t fix the luggage.  The supervisor attempted to give us a smaller suitcase that we immediatelly refused.  He came back with another, and we accepted it in exchange for the broken suitcase.
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Disney Dream – Swimming / Aquaduck Review
I have been on all of the currently existent Disney Cruise ships, and by far the Disney Dream seems to have a lot less swimming area than the others.  The pools just seem much smaller than I remember the other ships having.  Smaller children have their own area to play, and even a very shallow pool, but incredibly enough parents still seem to want to inconvenience the rest of the boat that would like to swim with their older children.
The Aquaduck was recently clocked by me at launching at @25-27 second intervals.  The line to the Aquaduck can get very long, and at times the Aquaduck isn’t worth trying to get on.  On at least 2 occassions the Aquaduck was closed due to technical difficulties with the raft movement system that brings the rafts from the bottom back up to the top.  On one occassion my daughter happened to notice a person going through the Aquaduck without a tube.  Shortly thereafter we noticed crew members scrambling to address the issue.
I saw one parent get asked to take their very young child to the small childrens pool.  This was correct.  Then I further state that parents have no regard for signs stating “Under 12 years old must be adult supervised.”  I don’t know how many times I saw the Family Whirlpool crowded with strictly children.  It almost seemed like the staff enforces what they choose rather than everything.
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Disney Dream – Dining Review
I have noticed at breakfast that there are still no fresh made omellete station.  This does exist on the other Disney ships.  This is one touch that I think they should have added.
The next problem that we had occur was that we got up to get more food at Cabanas, and someone immediatelly cleaned off our table, and reissued it to another guest within about 4 minutes.
Next, Animators Palate is very nice, but the show is very distracting.  Having people staring past you while they are trying to watch the screens can be very annoying.
Lastly, Our dining staff was very courteous.  They were good enough to have us request them on the second part of this trip.  No major complaints at this point.
The soda fountains on Deck 11 seem more watered down than I remember.
I have never gone to Palo, or Remy, but what amazes me is that Disney is usually infatuated with signage, and on the Dream I have never witnessed so many people getting lost getting to Remy, or Polo due to the lack of signage to get there.
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Disney Dream – Stateroom Review
The staterooms are fairly similar to the other Disney ships.  The doors now open via waving your keycard in front of a sensor.  Sometimes this does not work correctly.  What I did not realize is that when the security lock is turned from inside the room that only one person on the ship can open the door, and it took @1 – 1 1/2 hours to get into our room because of a lack of understanding on the part of the guest services personell that we spoke to on the phone.
Disney has gotten very energy saving with this ship.  When you enter your room you insert your keycard into a slot in order to keep the room lights on.  Once you pull the keycard out the lights in the room go out shortly thereafter.  This is very efficient.
Wavephones were great additions.  There is one small issue that I find… There is no ringers, so if you aren’t litterally watching the phone, or keeping it in your pocket then you will miss many calls.  I guess Disney decided that they couldn’t make money unless people lost, or broke the Wavephones.  Bring your own 2 way radios if you don’t want to take the risk of spending $250.
Drawer space is “EXTREMELY” limited.  There are 3 small draws in the desk, and 2 very small draws next to the bed.  (1 on each side.)  There is 3 closet hanging areas that can be used.  The last storage place in the room is the storage chest/table that sits in front of the couchbed that is in some rooms.
TV service is very slim for the most part.  For most of the cruise there were only a few channels available in the staterooms.
Our room hostess was very nice, and very prompt about his work whenever he came by.
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Disney Dream – General Ship Review
While I am all for Disney trying to keep kids away from smoking I think Disney should honestly not be so shifty in their ways.  I also firmly believe that if I had a choice of what influence I wanted my daughter to see then I would say SMOKING.  Alcohol is a proven killer due to Kidney Diseases, Drunk Driving, and many other “Documented” issues.  Smoking is still not documented as well as alcohol so keep this in mind.
Smoking sections are not like they used to be.  You are able to smoke on the one side of Deck 4 from 6pm till 6am because the joggers were complaining too much.  You are also able to smoke on one side of the Waves Bar.  You are still able to smoke on your verandah, but that is even a fine gray line as far as I can see it.  The room next door may be against this, and as such will complain, and cause issues.
Another thing that I find extremely amazing is that only due to being in International waters children can freely grab a seat at a bar by their parents, or whomever they are with.  In several states of the U.S. this would be seriously illegal.  By Disney’s standards they should not allow children to seat at, or in the vicinity of the bars/bar areas.  And parents… You should really think about what your alcohol issues do to your kids.  Would you take your kids to a bar in the U.S.?  I think not because I am sure DYFS, or some other entity would be involved if you did.  On top of that the establishment wouldn’t allow it.  Seriously… Disney won’t let kids sit at the bars in Disney World.
My wife and I personally watched a broken wine glass sit on the side of one of the bars as multiple workers passed it by.  I believe it took at least an hour before it was taken away.  This was a safety issue waiting for a little child to come by.
Elevators seem to take quite some time.  If you only need to move one or two floors, then I suggest walking stairs.
At the Bahamas I can understand taking identification with you when leaving the ship.  What i don’t understand is that when you initially check in at the port your photo is taken, and attached to the computer system so that they can see your photo at any point.  When you get off at Castaway Cay you are told to bring your id, and keycard.  Why is this?  Is my photo going to change that much while on your island?  Not very brilliant.
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Disney Dream – Pirates Night Review
During the Pirates on Deck party they don’t have the fireworks immediatelly following the deck show.  On the Dream the fireworks were started at 10:30pm.
The 11th, and 12th decks get very packed during the nighttime Pirates fireworks show.  To see the complete fireworks show I suggest getting there in advance, and get a good spot @ mid ship.  (Going front to back, not port to starboard.)
On the Magic, and Wonder they had a huge spread of food out, but because of how they scheduled the show, and the fireworks at different times we were not able to partake in the deck food.
Many stairwells, and areas are closed due to fireworks, and other show related closures.
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Disney Dream – Conclusion Review
In general the ship is very nice to look at, and well maintaned.  There just seems to be quite a few bugs in their system.  We were initially very pleased with what we read, and saw on Youtube, but to our “Amazement” none of the reviews we saw seem very truthful.
I have seen quite a few ship employees complaining about some of the things that they are up against.  In some respects I can almost see some of the displeasure in the employees based on how they act.
If you were looking to get on the Disney Dream because of all the hype like we fell for, then don’t waste your time, or money.  Stick with the Magic, or the Wonder.  The ship is quite bigger, but bigger is not always better.  We will now think much harder when we want to go on a Disney Cruise.  I like the last two ships we have been on, but the Dream isn’t all that.
Disney has recently announced many new cruises that are taking place.  We are already looking into one, or two of them because of the newly announced port of departure.
I will go back to my roots, and sail the Wonder, or the Magic whenever possible.  At least those ships weren’t presented as cutting edge, and ending up being a big disappointment to us.  Being this cruise was booked with DVC I have no way of receiving any customer service for the level of pleasure that we expected, but did not receive.

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Nausicaa BluRay/DVD Review By Taylor

The main characters are Nausicaa, Lord Yuba, and Azbel.

Nausicaa is a story about the world being engulfed by a poisonous jungle in which giant bugs are guarding.  The Valley of the Wind is one of the last habitable places on Earth for humans, and their princess is Nausicaa.  Nausicaa can calm animals and is very adventurous, and also daring.  The neighboring Talmekians decide to attack the Valley of the Wind so as to raise an ancient evil monster so to destroy the bugs, and jungle.  They don’t know that it is actually bad to destroy the jungle. 

I don’t want to spoil the movie, or the ending, so please watch the movie to find out what happens next. 

My least favorite part was in the beginning when they were describing the setting.  It didn’t keep me interested at first.

My favorite part was when Nausicaa got her pet squirrel.

I give the movie a 3.5 out of 5.

I would definitelly watch the movie again.

We were sent this video so as to review the movie.  This review was not influenced by receiving this item.

Actual film press release info…

For the first time ever, the magic of Blu-ray™ high definition reveals the exquisite details in Hayao Miyazaki’s epic masterpiece, Nausicaä Of The Valley Of The Wind. Experience the film that launched the Academy Award–winning career (2002 for best animated feature, Spirited Away) of one of the most celebrated filmmakers in the history of animation.

After a global war, the seaside kingdom known as the Valley Of The Wind remains one of the last strongholds on Earth untouched by a poisonous jungle and the powerful insects that guard it. Led by the courageous Princess Nausicaä, the people of the Valley engage in an epic struggle to restore the bond between humanity and Earth.

Like Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away and Ponyo, Nausicaä Of The Valley Of The Wind will dazzle your senses with its intricately imagined storytelling and stunning animation.

U.S. Release Date:                     March 8, 2011

(Direct Prebook January 11, 2011/ Distributor Prebook January 25, 2011)

Rating:                                      US-PG; Canada-PG

Feature Run Time:                     Approximately 118-minutes

Release Format:                        Blu-ray Combo Pack (Blu-ray Disc™ + DVD)

Suggested Retail Pricing: 2-Disc  Blu-ray Combo Pack (BD+DVD) = $39.99 U.S./$44.99 Canada

Exclusive Blu-ray Bonus               World of Ghibli including

Features:                                               Behind the Studio
                                                            Enter the Lands
                                                            Studio Ghibli Trivia Challenge
                                                Original Japanese storyboards

General Blu-ray & DVD               Behind the Microphone

Bonus Features:                         The Birth Story of Studio Ghibli

                                                Original TV trailers

Talent/Cast:

Uma Thurman (Kill Bill: Vol 1, Kill Bill: Vol 2, Pulp Fiction, Gattaca)

Shia LeBeouf (Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, Tranformers, Surf’s Up)

Patrick Stewart (Gnomeo & Juliet, Bambi II, Chicken Little)

Director:

Hayao Miyazaki (Ponyo, Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke)

Producers:

Michio Kondô (Nausiacaä and the Valley of the Wind)
Isao Takahata (Castle in the Sky, Nausiacaä and the Valley of the Wind)
Yasuyoshi Tokuma (Spirited Away, Pulse, Ritual)

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