Thursday, November 14, 2013


Spoiler Free Movie Review:

I had the opportunity to view this film on Wednesday November 13, 2013 at a Private Preview Event and here is my review.

I went into Saving Mr. Banks with my best efforts at an open mind as I knew full well that I would, for the first time, be seeing Walt Disney brought to life on the big screen. I also knew that the producers were touching on beloved historical topics, stories and a theme park that may be discerningly judged by many a Disney Fan.

I am SO pleased to report that there is no reason for trepidation or a critical eye.
Now… is it Tom Hanks playing Uncle Walt? Yes. Is it Today’s Disneyland standing in for 1963 Disneyland? Yes. Is it Today's Walt Disney Studio Lot standing in for 1963 Studio Lot? Yes. Does it all come across perfectly? How could it? We are 50 years into the future... they did a fine job in my opinion. 

That said… I highly suggest walking into this film knowing there will be flaws to the critical Disney Fan eye. I also highly suggest that you ignore them, that you allow this film to comfortably immerse you into its story, into the characters and enjoy the ride…

As a tremendous fan, researcher and follower of Walt Disney, I was thrilled with how they first introduce you to Tom Hanks as Walt Disney and continue to sprinkle his persona, mannerisms and that familiar cough… throughout the film. I must admit, it was an emotional experience to see, for the first time, Walt Disney portrayed in a feature film. I have read that some Disney Legends that worked with Walt were brought to tears recently when screening the movie themselves as Tom Hanks brought enough to the character to stir vivid memories...
As for the movie as a whole… This is a wonderful story behind the story of Mary Poppins the film and P.L. Travers the Author. This movie is filled with story, emotion, humor and superb acting by all, especially Emma Thompson. This film I believe will translate to a broad audience as it has something for everyone, young and old, Disney Fan or not…

By the time the credits roll… and be sure to stay for the credits… you will have laughed at the smart humor and the spot-on facial expressions, giggled at the inside references and tapped your foot to the music you know so well. You will also find yourself caring for a variety of the wonderful characters, smiling with glee each time ‘Walt Disney’ is on screen, wishing you could hang out with the Sherman Brothers in their heyday and you likely will even have cried… for so many reasons…

Saving Mr. Banks has instantly become one of my Top 3 films for 2013. Both for reasons as an overall movie fan and personally as a Disney Fan.

I cannot stop thinking about the film, the characters and the music... wanting to revisit them all again as soon as possible.

I can’t wait for YOU to see this film. I can’t wait to see it again. And again.

Until it is released in Theaters on December 20th...
Let’s go fly a kite
Up to the highest height
Let’s go fly a kite
And send it soaring...

Up through the atmosphere
Up where the air is clear
Oh, let’s go fly a kite
Let’s goooo fly a kite!

Friday, October 25, 2013

What IS a Disney Fan??

What is a Disney Fan?

Why are YOU a Disney Fan? Ask one thousand Disney Fans this question and you will receive one thousand different answers. What is it about the Walt Disney Company that makes ordinary people become tremendously dedicated Disney fans? No other company in the world has fans like Disney enjoys. There are movie stars, singers, bands, movies such as Star Wars or Star Trek but no company compares remotely to the “Magic” Disney possesses.

What makes a Disney Fan in the first place? Could it be an animated feature, a specific character, a theme park, an attraction, a live action film, a song or Uncle Walt himself? The legend goes that “It all started with a Mouse”. I believe it all started with Walt Disney.  

What makes a Disney Fan? Whether your reason for being a fan is because you love Stitch or Dopey, Pirates of the Caribbean the movie or Pirates of the Caribbean the attraction, Disneyland or Walt Disney World, Feed the Birds or When You Wish Upon a Star, a Disney Cruise or the Mickey Mouse Club, Beauty and the Beast or Toy Story, it all comes down to these traits: Quality, story, detail, emotion, immersion and magic.

No matter what brings you into the Disney world it is these six traits that bring you to a relationship, a friendship if you will, with the Walt Disney Company. If I say Pirates of the Caribbean, what is the first thing that pops into your mind? The Bayou, fireflies, waterfalls, buried treasure, a banjo, cannon fire, “dead men tell no tales…”, that dog with the key in his mouth… does the attraction immediately pop into your mind? Do you close your eyes and find yourself in that boat? Do you start humming that song… Yo ho yo ho a Pirate’s life for me… You can feel the immersion… you can smell the smells… it is magic!

We all have an emotional attachment to Disney and there are things that we can ONLY do while with Disney or at a Disney theme park. For example, my daughter Sydni, she loves the Nestle Ice Cream Cookie Sandwiches they sell at the carts all over the park. She will eat 20 of them while we are there and that is just the first day. But when we see them in the local grocery store, she has no interest at all. I asked her about this one day and her reply was, “They just don’t taste the same as when we are at Disneyland.” Now, does Nestle sprinkle some magic flavoring into the ice cream cookie sandwiches sold in Disney Parks? I doubt it. Is the notion that while she is eating that ice cream cookie sandwich and I my giant turkey leg that there is an amazing thing that occurs? The subtle background music of turn of the century America filling the air while we sit on a bench, twinkling lights in the trees all around us, the bell from a Main Street Trolley ringing in the distance, the growl of the Yeti, a Cast Member sweeping up popcorn and stops to say hello, Snow White wishing at her well or that amazing Castle… that wonderful magical castle gleaming before us like a dream come true… Yes, that is it.  Those are all IT. Seven Eleven has no castle that is for sure.

That is what sets Disney apart and that is why I am a fan. You can experience dreams come true, a magic moment just around the corner, you can experience another world, time or place, get a song stuck in your head… It IS A Small World After All…  or go for an incredible journey with an old man, a young boy scout and a talking dog named Dug in a remodeled Victorian house lifted into the air by thousands of vibrantly colored balloons to an adventure in far off lands only to find a small tear in your eye and new found friends along the way. Pure emotion. Pure Magic. Pure Disney Fan.
Do you agree? Disagree? Other ideas about this topic?
Post your thoughts and comments below: