Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Day 820: A Piece of Cake

It's the end of another month, and you all know what that means: An Everyday Disney Challenge update! If you haven't noticed already or if you read on a mobile device, Everyday Disney has had a feature put in place this year so my Instagram feed transfers and updates automatically on my blog, just so you can see my Disney pictures throughout the month as well! But if you haven't been looking, can't see them or just plain want to see them all again, here are my photos from Month 3 of the Challenge!

This month in particular was really wonderful, partly because it was Epcot Month, which of course I would be excited about, and partly because there have been several people joining in on the challenge! I've loved looking at everyone's pictures and have been going through and liking them here and there as I go as well! Plus, I've got some confirmation from a few people that they'll be joining again in April, which just so happens to be Animal Kingdom month, so I'm jazzed up for that as well!

Yep, it's definitely been a good month! But the end of one month just means the beginning of a new one, so here's the new, edited prompt for April! Originally, if you go back to the post at the beginning of the year talking about the challenge, April was scheduled to be Hollywood Studios month, but I changed it to Animal Kingdom in celebration of Earth Day based on a couple of requests! So we're diving into the animal world this next month and I couldn't be more exited! 

If you feel so included, please join us on Instagram for the Everyday Disney Challenge! I've loved seeing the photos and can't wait to see what everyone comes up with this month!

Have a magical day!

Monday, March 30, 2015

Day 819: Clair de Lune

Logically, how many more times can I write about music and its relation to Disney before you all boycott me? Well, hopefully many more times, although sadly in this case I wasn't the one doing the playing, despite my personal goal to play as much of the music that's featured throughout the Disney parks as possible. There have been several times throughout the two plus years of blogging where I've referenced Impressions de France and the music that makes up the wonderful score for the film, and here we have another instance, this time with Clair de Lune.

The St. Norbert College Community Band performed an arrangement of the piece and, to be honest, when my mom, who plays with the group, told me that they're playing Clair de Lune I was pretty jealous. After all, because it's part of Impressions de France it's most certainly on my list of pieces I want to play. Ironically enough, I'm not a huge Debussy fan, although it's more based on personal preference than anything else...not to say there aren't Debussy pieces I love. After all, I am a fan of Clair de Lune, and hopefully I'll be lucky enough to add it to my own performance list sooner rather than later.

And so, here's a recording of the famous piece, and let me know if you catch where the theme comes into Impressions de France at Epcot!

And yes...I did pick the video with the swan as a picture. I have a bit of an obsession. 

Have a magical day!

(Note: This blog post was written on March 31).

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Day 818: The Big Surprise

We all love a good surprise, or at least most of us do. When it comes to Disney Trips, however, I've only really been surprised by one once: the day I found out my High School Band was headed to Walt Disney World for a performance and a workshop. I do, however, love watching surprises on YouTube where parents surprise their kids with a trip to Disneyland or Walt Disney World. I've talked about them before, and really, there are some creative ways of telling your family members about the trip, but trying to come up with those creative ways is a lot harder than it looks.

Then again...I'm also not surprising a couple of kids.

My mom and I, along with many of my friends and half the world at this point, have been carefully treading our way around telling my Dad and my brother for months now. It's gotten pretty close here and there...today, for instance, my friend Ashley was texting me and when she laughed, my brother asked to see her phone. I quickly texted something for her to laugh at that my brother would think normal (AKA Colin O'Donoghue spam...just tons of pictures, one after the other). He did, and luckily it put him off of the idea for a while. Dad's a bit easier to get around since I don't see him as much, but I've definitely had a few moments where I almost slipped up, mostly thanks to the slides of old Disney we've been looking at just about every weekend.

But now there's less than a week left until they find out. Mom told me initially that she was going to tell them on Easter, and that's not very far away, so we kind of have to come up with a plan on how to tell them. But, being me, I don't really want to do it in a classical way. We're not spending Easter at our house, which means we're not planning the Easter Egg hunt, and that makes for some problems right off the bat, and throws out the idea of an Easter Egg scavenger hunt to tell them. So Mom and I have spent some time this afternoon trying to figure out what to do instead and to be completely honest...I still have no idea.

Well...I didn't have an idea until just now. The thing is, when you're trying to surprise someone who's not a kid, you have extra things to consider. You can't just put together pictures of random things because if we did that, they'd have it figured out in a few seconds. No, you want to prolong the angst and the surprise...so how do you do that?

Ultimately, it took a while, but after searching through list after list of ideas, I think I've come up with the perfect idea: a Crossword. Now, I'm not finished with it yet and to be completely honest, I literally just came up with this idea about three minutes ago, so I still have a lot of work to do the rest of this week to figure it out. However, I'm pretty sure this is gonna be great, and I'll get back to you in a week to tell you how it all went down!

Which leaves me with a question for all of you: How would you surprise your family with a trip to Disney? Also, let me know if you have any fun surprise stories!

Have a magical day!

(Note: This blog post was written on March 30 due to Midterms).

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Day 817: Stay Motivated

I don't stay at school most weekends, mostly because I generally have something going on at home or somewhere I need the car to get to, and on those rare weekends when I have nothing going on, I generally like to spend the little bit of freetime I have lounging around with miss Lillybelle or looking at slides with my family. My roommates, I know, probably wish I would stay more often, and if it were up to me I think I would. I adore my roommates and I love college...it's just that it doesn't always work out that way. However, because we just got off of spring break and this next week is shortened because of Easter, I figured staying on campus made sense, especially thanks to the huge amount of work I had to get done.

Midterms, thank goodness, are now officially over, or at least they are as I'm actually writing this (Monday, March 30). Midterms generally surround spring break and into the following weeks, so while it's nice to have them sort of split up, it just so happened that I ended up with two midterms on the same day. It's never nice when that happens (and it also happens to be the reason that the last week of the semester, finals week, is more terrifying than anything else in the world), and therefore I spent most of my weekend surrounded by an obnoxious amount of books and paper, trying to finish up a take-home essay-style midterm for Classic American Novels while also studying for a French exam.

Unfortunately, lots of work means a lot less Disney, and while it creeped it's way into a number of things over the weekend, there just wasn't a lot of time for the usual Disney beyond my daily Disneybounds and the continuation of the Everyday Disney Challenge. However, I needed to keep myself motivated to work somehow, and luckily it was Disney that provided exactly the thing I needed to keep me going: IllumiNations.

Over the weekend, as part of the Everyday Disney Challenge, the prompts both included pictures from IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth, mostly because there are so many different things that you could photograph, and since the second prompt was "We Go On," you could even include older pictures from the Millennium Celebration. Regardless, I posted two photos from the fireworks presentation, which you'll see in a few days as I round up the month of Instagram photos, and that got me thinking.

Luckily, with everything I've done over the past few years through my vlogs and with filming for the Band Trip Video, I have most of the attractions and performances at Disney on recording. It means that, at any given moment, I could probably sit down at my laptop and easily watch High Def recordings of just about anything from Walt Disney World. You name it, I have it: Spaceship Earth, Test Track, Pirates of the Caribbean, Expedition Everest, Festival of the Lion King, Fantasmic, The Great Movie Ride and, of course, IllumiNations.

So at the end of the night, after finishing most of my work for the day and getting a good chunk of studying done for my midterms, I sat down, plugged in my good headphones, turned down the lights and watched Illuminations on my laptop. Now, maybe it's not 100% like being there live, but if you get close enough to the screen and pretend, it works well enough for me.

My next piece of Disney Video Motivation? The American Adventure, which I was going to watch Sunday night, but didn't get a chance to because instead I just headed to bed early. Maybe tonight though, if I can manage to make my way through 7 chapters of a book, make new French Flash Cards, fill out a housing application, and get through three hours of rehearsal time this afternoon. 

Have a magical day!

(Note: This blog post was written on March 30 due to Midterms).

Friday, March 27, 2015

Day 816: #HTTYD2

Dragon trapping, the viking edition of a lightsaber, lots of flying and ice, and of course, more time with the cat-dragon, Toothless...oh yes, it must mean it's time for another blog post on a Non-Disney Animated Film. As you know very well, this doesn't happen often. After all, I barely have enough time to watch any movie, much less something that's non-Disney and not on my Epic Animated Disney Film Rewatch, but my friend Jessica has brought me to a room I previously didn't know existed on my college campus for an afternoon of dragon watching.

Even weirder in this scenario? I'm blogging while I watch. Sort of.

The simple fact is...blog posts that are written while trying to watch something generally end up to be one giant mess of a post, so instead I live tweeted the majority of the film, and I'll share just some of my favorite tweets with you now...or at least the ones that are important to this blog and the storyline.

Things, as you can see, started off relatively normal. But then again...whenever I embark on a Live Tweeting Spree, you really should brace yourself.

I didn't start my live tweet until maybe like 20 minutes into the movie, so there were definitely a few things my tweeting session missed. In those first minutes, a Viking Lightsaber, a Frying Pan and Viking Pirate Ships were among the odd references I found amusing. Keep the Viking Lightsaber in mind. It'll be back later. 

I actually had several tweets about this and I still feel this way after seeing the whole film, but I sensed a lot of connection between Brave and How to Train Your Dragon, more-so within the second HTTYD than the first. I have the feeling it had something to do with the mother, since Merida's mother and Hiccup's mother really remind me of one another. Then again, it could also be because they're based on similar locations in Europe...

Apparently I was really on a Star Wars track mind today because I found plenty of connections between the films, and yes, that guy really does remind me of General Grievous (I think it later became his mother...but when she had the mask one...and this makes no sense if you haven't seen the movie...). The villain in the film reminded me more of Attila the Hun though. 

I kind of felt like HTTYD2 was filled with little references from other movies, like it was a bunch of Disney animated films and then a few other oddball movies thrown together with a dragon that acts like a cat. I'll talk more about this at the end, but this is just example one of other movies this one reminded me of. 

Of course, I was live tweeting from a computer (because it's literally a million times easier than trying to do it on your phone), and then in the middle of live tweeting a picture of Colin popped up. This actually happened many more times throughout the movie, but we found it amusing...or at least I did...that I never escape. After all, #HookersGonnaHook!

Here we have a more master list of the films this movie reminded me of, and to be completely honest, I'm not even sure where all of these references came from...especially since I haven't even seen The Croods. Must be a Non-Disney Animation thing. 

Haha this character made me laugh! I don't remember her name anymore, but if you've seen the film I'm sure you can figure out who I'm talking about. Basically, she spends the entire movie fawning over this viking and it's not important at all, but I found it super hilarious the whole time and just had to tweet about it eventually. 

Megan was probably more upset about it than I was, but the fact that (SPOILER ALERT) Hiccup's father just goes off and dies is really upsetting to us. It just seemed weird. And sad. And not ok. 

I mean, I feel like the Ice Dragon and Marshmallow would be really great friends! 

I cannot express to you how much I loved the Viking Lightsaber. I thought it was pretty darn clever and was a really unique addition (and reference) to the film. I think I tweeted about it at least three times throughout the course of the movie...basically anytime I saw it. 

In the end, I think I really enjoyed the first film more than the second, mostly because I feel like the plotline in the first one was more original. We hadn't met Toothless yet and we were learning about Hiccups problems, but this one just kind of fell flat for me. I felt like part of the plot from the last film was repeated (with the relationship between Hiccup and his father and so on and so forth), and the mother coming in only for the father to be taken away just kind of disrupted the plotline and made it flow in a sort of awkward way. And as I mentioned earlier, I felt like it brought in a lot of elements from other movies, making me feel like what I was watching had already been done before. No, it wasn't like just one movie being repeated, but sometimes, if there are too many elements that remind you of another film, it still doesn't feel as original as it could. As for HTTYD in general, as in both films, I think they're certainly worth a watch, maybe not on the same scale as some other animated films out there, but something that will keep you entertained. Plus, the music is great throughout both films and if you watch it for no other reason than to listen to the music, go for it. I won't judge, I'm a music major, after all! 

However, that wraps up another live tweeting session, meaning that yet another blog post is in the books. It's sort of odd...blogging about something that's sort of relating to Disney on an off-scale. After all, HTTYD is not a Disney Animated Movie, but the reason I'm watching it is because I should, I suppose, every once and a while, watch a non-Disney Animated Movie. Regardless, if you haven't seen HTTYD, go give it a chance! Toothless is one adorable dragon! 

Have a magical day!