Checking in on those Disney New Year’s (non) Resolutions

We’re a bit past the midway mark of 2017 already!  Hard to believe, isn’t it?  Goodness, how this year is flying by!  I don’t know about you and your family, but we have been crazy busy this year and there’s no slowing down in sight.  I took a quick peak back to my New Year’s post to see how I was keeping up with my plans…

Checking in on those Disney New Year’s (non) Resolutions

The SOUP!  I’m really not sure why I fall in love with soups in Disney restaurants more than any other type of food.  Last Christmas at Jiko I was crazy about the Curried Butternut Squash Bisque and tried my best (fairly successfully) to reproduce it at home sans duck confit and quince marmalade.  I’ve made it twice so far and it was very tasty both times and close, but not exactly right.  I’m waiting for the weather to cool off a bit before I give it another go and I’m still committed to trying to record an actual recipe to share.  I tend to produce my most successful creations by throwing a bunch of ingredients together without measuring anything.

The Dark Side CHALLENGE!  Joseph’s first runDisney events and my first ones not having to run alone.  Star Wars 10K and half marathon…check!  A good time was had by all.  Happy, happy memories.The MOVIES!  There’s just one movie left on my short list of must-sees this year…Star Wars: The Last Jedi (December 15th).  I thought Beauty and the Beast was good and Spider-Man: Homecoming was solidly entertaining (even with all the teen angst).  Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 was by far the best movie I’ve seen this year.  I’m a huge Guardians fan and spent a fair amount of time worrying about the sequel not living up to the original movie.  HA!  Worried for nothing.  Volume 2 was everything I’d hoped for.

Scuba School!  Joseph and I, then later, Megan and Lyndsey (Joe’s girlfriend) have all completed our PADI open water scuba certifications.  We’re now working on our advanced open water and rescue diver certifications as well.  Who knew this would be so much fun?!?!  We’ve got some diving in Florida coming up to practice our new skills.  One downside…I either had to buy new swimwear or continue on with the single, well-worn Target suit I’d purchased several years ago.  I waited until all the swimsuits at Dillard’s were 1/2-off and forced myself to go shopping.  It was just as horrible as I expected, but I now have two new suits for vacation.  And they’ll be covered up most of the time by my wetsuit.

Booking a Disney Cruise was on the list.  That one was so easy, we’ve got not one, but two cruises in our future.  This fall we’ll be sailing on the Fantasy’s 7-Night Eastern Caribbean itinerary.  Next fall, we’ll be on the Wonder’s 4-night repositioning cruise from Vancouver to San Diego.  Does this mean we will finally get to Disneyland?  I’m sure working on it and will keep you posted.

Last Item:  Disney Undersea Adventure.  On our upcoming Caribbean cruise, Raymond and I will be visiting Tortola, St. Thomas/St. John, and Castaway Cay.  We were able to book two scuba diving excursions through Disney Cruise Line.  In Tortola our adventure is the Certified Scuba Wreck & Reef Dive.  In St. Thomas we’re signed up for the rather boringly named St. Thomas Certified Scuba excursion.  Both adventures include two dives – one to view coral and wildlife, one to explore a shipwreck.  We’re super excited!  On this cruise we’ll also be celebrating our 28th wedding anniversary!

Did you make any Disney (non) Resolutions for 2017?  How are you doing with your list?

Have you done any of the scuba excursions on a Disney cruise?  Got any tips or feedback to share?

Five Reasons to see Guardians of the Galaxy

Tickey stubs / Guardians of the GalaxyLet’s just start this off with a small confession.  While I love Disney’s Marvel movies, I had practically no desire to see Guardians of the Galaxy.  Zip.  Zilch.  Barely registering on my curiosity scale – the previews did nothing to help.  It just didn’t look that good.  There was no identifiable hero, a talking raccoon, and a big bare tree with a face.  Yeah, that looked great.  The other Marvel movies had drawing power!  Thor – now who wouldn’t want to go see a Thor movie?  Captain America – the Cap’s got everything going for him – tragic past, extreme patriotism, a true hero – you know what I mean.  Then put a bunch of the Marvel guys together and the Avengers!  Outstanding entertainment!

Back to Guardians.  So I felt I needed to see it strictly because it was a Marvel movie.  I have a Disney blog – people might expect me to mention the movie or something.  Raymond seemed excited about it, so we’d hit the matinee, see the 3D version, and at least I’d get a tub of popcorn and a Mr. Pibb out of the deal.  Space, misfits, sci-fi adventure, whatever.  It was raining – good time to kill a couple of hours indoors.  I was just this side of “let’s get this over with”.

I must publicly offer my sincerest apologies to Guardians of the Galaxy for judging the movie based purely on the previews.  I was wrong to make stereotypical judgments solely formed on The Standard Movie Snacksthe fact that the movie was set in space and appeared (to me) to be built on a somewhat ridiculous, overdone theatrical premise – misfits forced to band together take on a defeat a common foe.  I was imagining a Marvel version of Armageddon, but with CG characters that I wouldn’t be able to like.  Boy, was I ever wrong.

Guardians of the Galaxy is a fantastically entertaining adventure.  Well-developed characters with meaningful backstories combined with a real, intriguing and substantial plot – plus comedy – the good, old fashioned kind that relies on well-written lines and perfectly timed delivery.  Need more to get you to fork over the price of a movie theater ticket?  Here you go:

Five reasons to see Guardians of the Galaxy:

1. You were raised in the ’80’s.  This movie is full of great music and loads of ’80’s references that ’80’s kids will absolutely love (and appreciate).

2. You love a good space/sci-fi adventure – the kind where you’re on the edge of your seat one minute and laughing out loud the next.  Our fellow movie-goers were clapping, cheering, and laughing hysterically throughout the entire film.  Reminded me of the first time I saw Star Wars way back when it first showed in theaters in 1977.

3. You are a fan of characters with rough-exteriors and marshmallow hearts.  Film history is full of movies where misfits and imperfect (even not-so-nice) characters decide to do the right thing – resulting in self-discovery and friendship along the way.  This is what makes The Avengers a great movie and what is at the core of Guardians.

4. You adore the well-delivered one-liner.  This should have been #1 probably – at least for me.  I am a huge fan of memorable one-liners and this film delivers.

5. You like movies with a lot of heart.  Any time what should be an absolutely ridiculous situation pulls a genuine emotional response from me, I’m sold.  The fact that characters of the completely computer-generated variety can bring a tear to my eye is the sign of well-made, well-played movie.

Man, this spoiler-free movie reviewing is tough!  I could go on and on.  Was this movie perfect? No.  Would I give it 4 out of 4 stars?  Almost – it’s a solid 3-and-a-half.  Is does deliver a whole lot of fun, adventure, action, and heart.  Well worth the money I spent to see a 3D matinee.  Beware:  there’s a little bit of bad language and some violence, but it’s good entertainment for worldly kids 11/12 and above.

Have you seen Guardians of the Galaxy?  What did you think about it?