My Disneyland Experience With Toddler In Tow (Part 2–The Experience)

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Photo Credit: @Hyku

If you’re just joining in, check out My Disneyland Experience With Toddler In Tow Part 1 to get up to speed.

Now that you have officially packed and are proudly wearing your newly-earned “Always be Prepared” badge on your scout vest, let’s dive into the FUN. I will never forget the time when we took our then 12-month old to his first Disney Park. It was about the third morning into our vacation and while we ate breakfast in our room, he crawled to the door, stood up, banged on the door with both hands wide open, then quickly crawled as fast as he could to his stroller. At 12-months old, this kiddo had no doubt in his mind where the fun was. :)

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THE PARK, THE RIDES, AND THE EXPERIENCE–

  • STOP! Go Back!!! Did you grab not only a Park map but an Entertainment Times Guide when you entered the Park? Be sure to! Because it contains show information you need to know as well as tips to help you manage your time. Another helpful tool if you have a smart phone is to check your phone’s app store for a wait times app like My Disney Experience or other Park apps.
  • Everyone’s family travels a little different, but peak times of attendance at the Park tend to be about late morning to midday. If you want to do your best to avoid crowds, you may choose to get up early and/or stay out late–with a trip to the pool in the middle.
  • If you are looking to ride a popular ride, see if there is a Disney FASTPASS available. Get them first thing in the day though, because once they are gone, they are gone!
  • Realize that your toddler may want to experience the park SLOWER differently than you do. And that’s OK! Enjoy the pace and take a deep breath. Some of the best things we did was to stop and enjoy the parades! I highly recommend the Pixar Play Parade in Disney’s California Adventure Park as well as Mickey’s Soundsational Parade in Disneyland Park. See your Entertainment Times Guide for times.
  • Grab your treats and toys and tricks up your sleeves for waiting in lines. Most of the smaller, toddler rides don’t have FASTPASS available. If you go in line with a plan, waiting isn’t as bad as you are dreading it to be. When you forget to grab something, bust out your “I Spy” skill-set.
  • Measure your toddler either at home or if you forget (like THAT would ever happen! ;) ) at the first opportunity when you see a “You Must Be This Tall” yardstick. The Park map prints all the rides requirements. It is helpful to know before migrating your family across the expanse if your kiddo can ride Gadget’s Go Coaster in Mickey’s Toontoon when you are currently all the way over at the Enchanted Tiki Room in Adventureland.
  • Know that there is a Baby Care Center in each park for you to take a break, nurse, or purchase any forgotten supplies you may need. They’re located at Disney’s California Adventure Park in Pacific Wharf and at Disneyland Park on Main Street U.S.A. And most, if not all bathrooms have changing stations.
  • Disney has done a great job of getting healthy food into the Parks. Look for the Mickey Check on everything from quick service stations to restaurant menus!
  • Hang on to your hat and literally your kids especially on faster rides like Mad Tea Party teacups, Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree tractors ride, Francis’ Ladybug Boogie teacup-like ride, and Gadget’s Go Coaster roller coaster even if they are in their seat belts. They can be swingin’!
  • For Toddlers, some of our favorite rides at Disneyland are climbing on the antique Fire Engine (Main Street, U.S.A.), The Enchanted Tiki Room (Adventureland), Jungle Cruise (Adventureland), The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (Critter Country), King Arthur’s Carrousel (Fantasyland), Casey Jr. Circus Train (Fantasyland), Dumbo the Flying Elephant (Fantasyland), “it’s a small world” (Fantasyland), Goofy’s Playhouse climbing structure (Toontown), Gadget’s Go Coaster (35″ height requirement, Toontown), Mickey’s, Minnie’s, and Donald’s houses (Toontown), Autopia (Tomorrowland), Astro Orbitor rocketships (Tomorrowland), and the Disneyland Railroad the circles the Park (Mainstreet, U.S.A, New Orleans Square, Mickey’s Toontown,Tomorrowland). FYI, I am sure Nemo’s Submarine Voyage will be amazing too once it reopens in Fall 2014.
  • For Toddlers, some of our favorite rides at Disney’s California Adventure Park are Flik’s Fliers (“a bug’s land”), Princess Dot Puddle Park Splash area (“a bug’s land”), Heimlich’s Chew Chew Train (“a bug’s land”), Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree tractors ride (Cars Land), Luigi’s Flying Tires (Cars Land) and the World of Color show will not disappoint if you are out late (Paradise Pier). But I would also have loved to see Disney Junior–Live on Stage! (Hollywood Land)

MY LAST BIT OF ADVICE–

Go into your adventure with all of your patience. Know that nothing is quick, but you will get your turn! When you are relaxed and smiling, your kiddo will follow your lead. One thing that I had to learn as a parent on this trip was if my toddler was content, leave him and let him play–even when you see a new character come or a new opportunity present itself because when you pick up your happy kid and race him across the way, you spend your time consoling a now-upset toddler instead of enjoying a fun experience. Know too that it is impossible to see everything! You just can’t because there is SOOO much to do! So come up with a daily plan that includes your favorite activities, and try to do all the rides you want in one area before moving on to another, then there will be less backtracking and scurrying. Be sure to schedule some breaks in your day. No one, especially your toddler, can go non-stop for days on end.

Related: First Look Inside “it’s a small world” And Meeting Snow White…

Lastly, no matter what you do, walk away from your vacation knowing that everyone, including your toddler had a blast. When I talk to other moms about bringing their toddlers to Disneyland, they all say how shocked they were that their children really did enjoy themselves and really did remember their trip for a long time! (And be sure to take lots of pictures! Those toddlers LOVE to go back and look at them, parents too!… like I had to tell you that.) There really is something for everyone, so don’t assume that your toddler is too small to really enjoy it. Would I do it again?…. Does a Mouse have Ears!? :) …In a heartbeat.

Stay tuned for the last post in this series, a slideshow with the last of my tricks and tips!

Disclosure: I paid to attend the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration. In exchange for my registration fee, I received deeply discounted rates on hotel, park tickets, events, meals, and swag. I am not required nor was I asked to write about the events by Disney or any other party affiliated with the event. Thoughts are 100% my own.

My Disneyland Experience with Toddler in Tow (Part 1–What to Pack)

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Photo Credit: @Hyku

We recently went to Disneyland with our two year-old toddler during the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration April 10th – 13th (despite my initial fears of Eldon throwing fits in inappropriate places).  But we really did have a wonderful time! As we were leaving, I thought about other parents heading to Disneyland whom may have all of the fears and questions that I had once too. And, it might help a mom or dad out by blogging my own experience and newly-learned tricks for others to use or jump off of for their own solutions.  Granted my trip was in the spring time, so if you are traveling during a different season you may need to adjust your supplies. Hello, Weather.com.

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BEFORE YOU FLY OUT

Boy was I glad that I had some tricks up my sleeves all ready to go! I needed them before we even got on the plane! And not to mention, once you arrive, you want to just get out and have some fun! … not finish your errands…Also, if you buy your products at home, you will likely spend less money on said supplies.

  • Sunscreen — I buy one new, baby, tear-free, waterproof bottle and then use it on the kiddo and myself and my husband.  It helps my liquids load when I fly so that I don’t have to check any bags. My favorite is Neutrogena Pure and Free Baby Faces. I love that it is new because sunscreen can loose its effectiveness over time or if stored in the car since last summer and who knows what else. I also love that it is tear-free because I hate that sunscreen burn in my eyes, OUCH! Additionally, it contains the active cancer fighting ingredients, zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. And when I am on vacation, I just don’t want to worry about running out or who knows what else! Also, I like the swimsuits with the SPF shirts. This saves on sunscreen product and application time and I worry less that I missed a spot somewhere important… LOL!
  • Ibuprofen or Acetaminophen or the like for your toddler. This way, if you wake up one morning at 3:00 AM and the kiddo is unexpectedly teething something fierce, you have everything you need. Sometimes I haul my favorite toddler cough and cold medicine too just in case.
  • Sunglasses for everyone
  • Filling Snacks–We never left the room without some granola bars with little or no chocolate (because of the sun) or slurpable single-portion applesauces like Go-Go Squeez
  • Special Snacks–Bring something that is special or that your kid hasn’t had before.. I grabbed Annie’s Organic Fruit Snacks, which our toddler loved! These kinds of things come in handy when waiting in line for Dumbo the Flying Elephant or you just need a quiet activity to give yourself 5 minutes of peace… :)  Keep a few in your purse, sometimes you need them while away from your stroller…
  • Water bottle(s)–You may choose to share in order to cut down on the object weight you are hauling around the park
  • Thin blanket–It really can cool down at night, especially in the spring, and when you started out your day in shorts, it’s easy to forget.
  • Small Toys–One of my favorite purse toys is a travel-size magnet doodling toy. Do you have any idea how many bulldozers and tractors I have drawn? .. My toddler then scribbles over the entire picture to add his “smokestack.”
  • A change of clothes for the toddler including pants and shorts.. you never know what the weather is going to do, and those Mickey Bars are messy!!! (..but worth it)
  • Light coat or sweatshirt for everyone
  • Stroller and small bag for contents when folding, see below for more
  • For extra questions about your upcoming trip, check out the Disney Parks Moms Panel, a site of Disney-fanatic “moms” who simply love to answer questions about Disney Parks.

AND IF IT’S LOOKING LIKE IT WILL BE ESPECIALLY HOT–

  • hats for everyone
  • battery fan with mister for the stroller

WHAT KIND OF STROLLER TO BRING

I know that a lot of people out there wear their babies, but with a heavy, slow-walking toddler, I without question advise you to bring a stroller. (Or, you can also rent one at Disneyland.) The stroller we brought was The First Years Ignite Stroller. Disneyland is SUPER stroller friendly, so whatever stroller you have will probably be fine, but if you are in the market for a good traveling stroller, this is my favorite for sure. We also have a Bob jogging stroller in our stroller army which I love for home excursions, but when I travel, I like the Ignite stroller because it folds really small, is lightweight, has a shade to help keep off the sun or rain, has small basket underneath for storage, a cup holder and zipper pouch for snacks, and taller hand holds so that my husband doesn’t look ridiculous when he is “driving” it. No matter what stroller you bring, know that you will have to fold it up on the monorail and the train around the park.  I kept a small fabric bag flat at the bottom of the basket so that when I had to collapse my stroller, I had a place for the basket’s contents.

Now that you know what to bring, stay tuned for part 2, The Park, the Rides, and the Experience!

Disclosure: I paid to attend the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration. In exchange for my registration fee, I received deeply discounted rates on hotel, park tickets, events, meals, and swag. I am not required nor was I asked to write about the events by Disney or any other party affiliated with the event. Thoughts are 100% my own.

Deep Blue — The First Book in Disney’s New WaterFire Saga

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Deep Blue — The First Book in
Disney’s New WaterFire Saga

 

I am so excited!! Guess what I just finished reading?! A new book that Disney Hyperion is about to release next week on May 6, 2014 called Deep Blue. It is book one of four in a new series called the WaterFire Saga. I am going to be really honest here, I am not the kind of person that reads books absolutely all the time…I wish I was! But when push comes to shove, I really am not. So that being said, when I tell you that I could barely put this book down to do things like, give my toddler a bath… it really means something!

First off, this book is written by Jennifer Donnelly, who is a New York Times Best-Selling Author. She has written other award-winning books for both adults and youth in the past including A Northern Light and Revolution. Her other best selling books were The Tea Rose The Winter Rose, and The Wild Rose.

 

Deep Blue is the story of a magical mermaid princess, Serafina, or Sera, for short. Her mother is the regina, or queen, of the waters off the coast of Italy called Miromara. Serafina is coming of age and preparing for her special Dokimí ceremony where she shows her kingdom and important royal visitors that she is in fact the rightful princess and successor of her mother. But a surprise attack on the kingdom changes the world as she knows it. As the story unfolds, we see Sera learn who she is, how to put others first, and become the leader she was born to be.

I think this is a great saga. I love the way in which the protagonist is written. Her character practically jumps off the page and into your room. Though she is a mermaid, Serafina is a character that teenagers can relate to. She has obligations and rules that she is required to follow that she doesn’t understand. She doesn’t understand why her mother sets such a high standard for her. She has some best friends and some not-so best friends. And I love that she is really just trying to make the best decisions she can for herself, her friends, and her kingdom. There is hardly a dull moment and an adventure at every turn. Serafina is a wonderful heroine to rally for as you read about her new and dangerous journey.

To get a sneak-peak read of the first few chapters or to pre-order Deep Blue, go to WaterFireSaga.com

The bad news? Book two, Rogue Wave, doesn’t grace us until 2015!

Follow @DisneyHyperion on Twitter to keep up with any updates.

Also, if you haven’t heard about Disney Junior’s new Give-A-Book Get-A-Book program, check out my post about it!

[Disclosure: I was provided an advanced copy of this book at DisneySMMoms for review.]

Saving Mr. Banks: A Spoonful of Memories to Help the Meaning go Down! (Part 2)

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Saving Mr. Banks:

A Spoonful of Memories to Help the Meaning go Down! (Part 2)

 

Welcome back! A while ago I posted the first part of this blog post regarding the character differences of Walt Disney as a dreamer and P.L Travers as a realist in the movie Saving Mr. Banks. I blogged about how these two characters, though different on the surface, really are both trying to use their creative abilities to bring about a better life for the rest of us. However, not only are these characters using their personal talents to bring a better life for us, but in the film they both use the memories of their childhood to enhance their own lives, and maybe ours too in the process…

With these two polar characters in hand, I am genuinely touched by their similar reactions to difficult childhood situations. While Walt Disney and P.L Travers do not see eye to eye on everything, they both agree wholeheartedly in the respect each one has for their parents, especially their fathers.  And the respect that is given to these fathers as we learn more about them in the progress of the film, leads us as the audience to develop respect towards these men as well, despite obvious flaws they possess. I find it thought provoking, that both characters choose to love their fathers, despite their poor, selfish choices that impact the members of their family. Walt Disney says in the film that his father treated him and his brother harshly and exhausted them with work for his own gain, and arguably risked their lives to do it. However, Disney says that despite his father’s actions, “I believe my father was a loving man.” I personally don’t know that having gone through the childhood that Disney went through, if I would have felt that same way towards my father. But, I do believe that through this perspective, the film makers are advocating that we look at all people as genuine–having both good and bad in them, instead of just bad or just good.

I think that P.L Travers’ love for her father and mother, though recognizing they also have flaws continues to develop this perspective. We see Travers father as loving and caring, but also an alcoholic who keeps choosing to put drink in front of his professional priorities, which greatly impacts his family. Because of the pressure Travers mother has at home, taking care of the children and maintaining a household and difficulties in her marriage due to choices her husband makes, leads her to mental breakdowns. As we see parallels in the story from Travers’ parents to Mr. and Mrs. Banks develop, we also see Travers stand up for her characters explaining that they are not bad people, though her Mary Poppins fans may not always understand the characters motives.  Travers, like Disney, does not deny that her characters (perhaps purposefully) and parents have flaws, but chooses to love them and focus on the positive characteristics of them anyway.

Related: Saving Mr. Banks Practically Perfect Preview

Even Travers and Disney themselves are depicted in this same theme; they are viewed as people with both good and bad. The filmmakers do not idolize them as people above the rest of us mere mortals, but we are exposed to their flaws and shortcomings in the film too. Travers we see as rude and inconsiderate of others feelings, and Disney, we see with a smoking habit he is ashamed of and his continual questioning of how to properly handle building this proverbial bridge with Travers. Walking into this film, I guess I expected to see an unwavering, lovable, perfect Walt Disney; so to see any seemingly imperfect characteristic was rather a surprise for me. But walking away from the film I find that the imperfect character portrayal actually speaks louder and more becoming than the perfect person would. I think I fell in love with both protagonists all the more.

There is so much to this film, I feel as though this blog post can hardly do it justice on both topics I have mentioned as well as topics that I won’t touch here.  And therefore it makes sense that the internet is erupting with blog posts and television networks have specials all rotating around this film. Personally, when I walked out of the theater my brain resembled the Absent-Minded Professor’s flubber let loose in the gymnasium. My thoughts did not shut off.

But, going back to the concept of storytelling that I opened the first post with. I mentioned that storytelling is an art form that is supposed to entertain us with a story of an event, maybe not exactly with perfect historical accuracy (think, the fish that got away was “this big!”) and also, teach us something. Saving Mr. Banks is the storytelling of not only the making of Mary Poppins, but also examines the moral of  how we should view other people. We all have people we have loved that have let us down or broken our hearts as well as heroes we look up to and could not ever dream they posses imperfect qualities. I think that the main underlying theme in this film is to teach the audience to remember that we are all different, some may be from the sunny-dreamers camp and others from the raining-realists camp, but we are all genuinely human having both good and bad characteristics in ourselves. Maybe even Mary Poppins, who was only practically perfect in every way. ;)

“I would rather entertain and hope that people learned something than educate people and hope they were entertained.”–Walt Disney

Chelsea Mathews is a stay-at-home momma of two year old, Eldon and five year old, Oscar the Dog. In her “spare” time ;) , she is a part time ballet teacher and enjoys sewing, organizing, and starting projects. Chelsea lives in Poulsbo, WA, just outside of Seattle (Go Seahawks!).

Did YOU See Maleficent?!

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Did YOU See Maleficent?!

As I was teaching a ballet class this week one of my students burst out with, “Did you see Maleficent!” To which I was quite happy to respond with,”YES! And I get to blog about it!” So put your curly horns on people, and here we go!

Last Sunday during the Grammy Awards®, Disney had a surprise for its fans: a super awesome sneak peek at its upcoming film, Maleficent. Everyone watched on the edge of their couch cushions as this familiar villain took on a new face.   Maleficent, played by Angelina Jolie, is a dark fantasy prequel to Sleeping Beauty, where we are supposed to learn more about this villain’s side of the story than we did before.  The film will be released to theaters May 30th, 2014. If you missed it the first time, or just want to view it for the 32nd time, here is the film tidbit that everyone is talking about:

Yah, THAT’S what we are ALL talking about! Consider yourself officially informed. Now, I will give you just a minute to click to your Google calendars and write “Maleficent date night” on May 30th. ……….. Ok, back!

So were you intrigued by the sneak peek’s background music? Me too! Good news! In an effort to increase our anticipation (which is totally working btw), Disney has also released the Lana Del Ray’s rendition of “Once Upon a Dream” featured as a free download on Google Play through Monday, February 3rd.

In general, sneak peeks and trailers of all kinds seem to get my head spinning with questions, and Maleficent is no exception… starting with, Angela Jolie’s makeup artistry. To be honest with you, my first reaction was, “Holy Cheekbones, Batman!” But really, the whole costume, makeup included, is REALLY fabulous. But it got me thinking about the original Maleficent. Wasn’t her face a shade of green in Disney’s 1959 movie? Will we get to see her skin turn green? Or is this pale but not green face just the modern interpretation of her character?

Speaking of which, I love, love, love, the artistic imagery themes that have been chosen. The images are very much rooted in the original style of Sleeping Beauty, paying a deep respect to its mastermind, Eyvind Earle. But at the same time, a fresh interpretation is given as well. I love especially the green, wispy evil magic visuals. Well done director, Robert Stromberg. This will be a wildly artistic movie and likely an amazing experience to watch.

Is it May 30th yet?

What was your favorite part of the sneak peek?

Like MALEFICENT on Facebook

Follow MALEFICENT on Pinterest

Check out the MALEFICENT Official website

Saving Mr. Banks: A Spoonful of Memories to Help the Meaning go Down! (Part 1)

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Saving Mr. Banks:
A Spoonful of Memories to Help
the Meaning go Down!  (Part 1)

 Hey, everyone! I invited my sister-in-law to share her thoughts on Saving Mr. Banks after a fabulous phone conversation. I was excited about what she said and was eager to know more of her thoughts. Read on and let us know your take!

As a mother of a toddler, you can imagine that my trips to the movie theater are not frequent. However when my mom had a visit with my son last week, my husband and I were able to scamper off and see Saving Mr. Banks. I was so excited to see the film as Mary Poppins was a special movie to me in my childhood, as it probably was too with many of you! I remember going to my Grandma Doris’ house on Fridays, Grandpa Bill making his special spaghetti sauce, watching a movie (95% of the time it was Mary Poppins, likely putting me in the running for the world record title holder of “Most Views by a Little Girl of the Film, Mary Poppins“), and in the morning, my special Grandma Doris magically making pancakes in whatever shape I desired (flowers, princesses, etc.). So needless to say, watching Saving Mr. Banks and hearing the cast Sherman brothers sing these magical songs and discuss the iconic script in the rehearsal room brought me back in a very raw way to the memories of my childhood. But that is to be expected, I suppose, as I knew what the basis of the story line was before the film was turned on. However, I was surprised as I watched the film with what I felt the creators, script writers, actors, and director, were really communicating in this apparent art of storytelling. The art of storytelling generally is first to entertain, but also to teach lessons—lessons of both past events, warnings of potential future mistakes, and often even a general moral guideline. Was this film’s purpose merely to tell the audience of a historical event, or was the intent to use this story as a jumping off point to discuss something more?

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What first really caught my attention about this movie and its intent for a deeper level meaning was a conversation between P.L. Travers and her assigned Disney driver, Ralph, at the beginning of the film. As Ralph picks Mrs. Travers up for the second or third time they say:

“Look! You brought the sun out again,” says Ralph with a smile.
“…I would much rather be responsible for the rain than the sun,” replies Mrs. Travers.
“Why?” asks the driver.
“Because the rain brings life,” she says.
“So does the sun,” replies Ralph confidently.

This scene just about sucked all the air out of the theater for me. Its weight cannot be overstated because it mirrors perfectly the relationship between Walt Disney and P.L. Travers and the entire journey that we are about to embark on as the audience.

Before the film began we, the audience, know about Disney and his own character consumed with dreaming and living his life as the glass-half-full kind of guy. And Ralph here, an informal Walt Disney representative, values the sun because you blossom in the sun. He values it so much that he can’t even comprehend that rain may in fact have blessings of its own. And with his headquarters in sunny Los Angeles, California, the sun absolutely represents Walt Disney’s perspective and ideal of creating a perfect, clean-garbage-cans kind of world as the best way to better the life of society, a kind of, dream-relentlessly-for-the-wonderful-world-you-could-have-for-yourself idea. In the princess movies that Walt Disney helped to create, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, or Cinderella, Disney shows how an already wonderful, already good character dreams of a faraway place that is better than their present reality.

Related: Saving Mr. Banks Practically Perfect Preview

On the other side of this sidewalk drawing is Mrs. Travers. Ever the realist, she identifies most with the rain and cannot think of why the sun can even compare to its usefulness. Rain, I think she would argue, must be had as it nourishes us and washes away the coverup to reveal truth about our present circumstance, reality. As we progress through the film, we see more and more of her character come out to match this meteorologic classification. We see her become very upset with Disney and his studios when she sees Mary Poppins and even other characters associated with dreams and hope and OMGoodness, Pixie Dust. And Travers rants explaining what will children actually learn in order to survive their imperfect and difficult world? Wouldn’t it be much better to teach them a grounded version of order? This explains why she did not want the Bank’s house to be aristocratic, what kind of regular or relatable problems do they have to overcome? she would probably think. Though Travers has an imagination, she uses her art of writing more as a fable—happy on the surface, but a little darker in its depth as if to say, “Careful! Don’t end up here!” And we see this very clearly in Mary Poppins. When the kids get out of control or run away or question whether their father loves them, they are corrected and taught lessons so that those undesirable behaviors don’t return.

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Disucussing P.L.Travers character brings me to my next point which is, why are there so many blog posts and opinions about the film circling around the question was Saving Mr. Banks too hard on Travers? Every time I Google something about this film I see this topic being debated and discussed. And I have to turn my head sideways and ask, really? I find it very interesting that our society sees Travers unwillingness to change the characters she has createded as a flaw. Even Walt Disney in the film sees her struggle and admits that at one time he too had considered selling Mickey, but knew that it would kill him emotionally to lose those rights. And here is P.L. Travers in that similar situation seemingly without another option. I will not deny that Travers was depicted as rather blut, and probably rude, person. But actually, in further reading about her character she was like that. When I watched the actors in their movie press conference at the Beverly Hills Hotel on YouTube, Emma Thompson tells about interviewing Travers’ friends for the roll and the friends reporting that Travers would be nice to them one day, and short with them the next. And while some of the historical accuracy of the film is debated, that part of her character is not. But regardless of this, P.L.Travers closely resembles a loved, American hero: Shrek. (I know you just read that and think, “You’ve got to be kidding me,” but hear me out.)

In case you have been living under a rock like Patrick Star in Sponge Bob Square Pants, Shrek is the main character in a Mike Meyers film who is an ogre living in the Land of Fairy Tale Creatures. He isolates himself and doesn’t fit into what values the mainstream society has. And in talking with a beloved donkey, who is desperately trying to understand this ogre, the conversation leads itself to the complex layers of the ogre’s character. Shrek says of himself that “Ogres are like onions” because firstly, they have layers. The donkey in response to this turns his nose up to a stinky, undesirable vegetable and asks why don’t you identify with cake or parfaits? Everyone likes cakes or parfaits and they have layers. Shrek gives and emphatic, “NO! Ogres are like onions” because secondly, they are not out to please people or conform into something that everyone will like. Ogres are simply true to themselves and Mrs. Travers is no different. She is not someone everyone likes, but she has depth, complexity, and reasons behind her choices. As Americans we salute Shrek for his independent thinking, coarseness, and unwillingness to be anything but himself. Do we not owe the same right to Mrs. Travers?

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In the end, I believe both Disney and Travers are using their creative abilities to, what did that  Saving Mr. Banks quote from the beginning of this post say again??? … “to bring life.” They are using two separate tools to bring life, or in other words, to help their audience have a better life than they are currently living in. Disney wants you to day dream in the glorious, warm sun of a better world. Travers wants you to use the rain and wash away the things that clutter up the truth about our circumstances and to refresh ourselves. And really, we need both dreams and reality to help us along our path in life. Without dreaming, we have no compass. Without reality, we have no map.

What memorable aspects of your life have required hefty doses of both dreaming and reality to get you there? A career choice? A dream vacation? Maybe you are a dreamer and someone else close to you is a realist and both of you work together to accomplish great things like Disney and Travers? Or vise versa?

Chelsea Mathews is a stay-at-home momma of two year old, Eldon and five year old, Oscar the Dog. In her “spare” time ;), she is a part time ballet teacher and enjoys sewing, organizing, and starting projects. Chelsea lives in Poulsbo, WA, just outside of Seattle (Go Seahawks!). If you read the title of this post, you will know that this is just part one of some of Chelsea’s thoughts on this movie. Stay tuned if you want to see what she believes this film is saying about storytelling and the human condition.