The LEGO NINJAGO Movie

The LEGO NINJAGO Movie

By Erin

*This post is in partnership with Warner Bros. Pictures. All thoughts and opinions remain my own*

Find the Ninja within ya. The LEGO NINJAGO Movie arrives in theaters September 22! This new animated adventure in the Warner Bros. Pictures’ LEGO® franchise features an all-star ensemble that includes Dave Franco, Justin Theroux, Fred Armisen, Abbi Jacobson, Olivia Munn, Kumail Nanjiani, Michael Peña, Zach Woods, and the legendary Jackie Chan. Rated PG (for some mild action and rude humor). We got the chance to screen the film and meet with the cast at the press junket for the film to share with you a little more about the film as well as some cool tid-bits that the cast shared with us.

In this big-screen NINJAGO adventure, the battle for NINJAGO City calls to action young Master Builder Lloyd, aka the Green Ninja, along with his friends, who are all secret ninja warriors. Led by Master Wu, as wise-cracking as he is wise, they must defeat evil warlord Garmadon, The Worst Guy Ever, who also happens to be Lloyd’s dad. Pitting mech against mech and father against son, the epic showdown will test this fierce but undisciplined team of modern-day ninjas who must learn to check their egos and pull together to unleash their inner power of Spinjitzu.

Taking place in the Japanese city of NINJAGO, located on NINJAGO Island, we watch as residents wake up each morning watching “Good Morning NINJAGO” with LEGO Michael Strahan and LEGO Robin Roberts. NINJAGO is attacked almost daily by the four-armed megalomaniac Garmadon (Justin Theroux) who lives in an active volcano not far off the shore of NINJAGO. The masked teenage ninjas come to save the day every time who battle in intricate mechanical warcraft that is sure to wow kids.

The story touches on themes and values that have become the hallmark of these films. It’s about family and self-discovery as we see the conflict between the young ninja Lloyd and his father, Garmadon who is constantly trying to destroy the city Lloyd lives in. You can see Lloyd’s desire for the love and approval from his father, the feeling that he missed out on having a father in his life. Through their adventure, they tackle many obstacles that are bigger than the both of them which forces them to deal with one another, which ends up requiring a process of discovery for each of them.

So what did the cast and producers have to share with us? Here is some of the highlights.

Dan Lin spoke a little bit about how all the LEGO movies are different.

Dan Lin:  So, every one of our LEGO movies looks different. LEGO Batman was a little darker. This one’s probably our brightest, most beautiful movie yet, and we’ve incorporated lots of natural elements into it. In the LEGO movie you saw water is made out of bricks. Here we’ll see real water, real smoke, real fire, real trees and plants, so it’s really beautiful to see LEGO mixed with Mother Nature. 

Chan was asked what advice he would give to future kung fu artists and karate artists.

Jackie Chan:  Just practice. You don’t have to practice to knock somebody down, just quick. Martial arts is like exercise; good for your brain, good for your health, good for your everything. When you know martial arts, you respect everybody, your parents, your teacher, and the nature, the whole world.  I think martial art is kind of like a good exercise sport.

What was Chan’s favorite line from the movie?

Continue reading »

Disney Finds & More at The Outlets at Orange!

Disney Finds & More at The Outlets at Orange!

By Erin

*This is a sponsored post. All thoughts and opinions remain my own and we all know I love Disney anyways! :)*

Not far from Disneyland is The Outlets at Orange. Just a mere 3.5 miles from Disneyland Park, California Adventure and Downtown Disney, The Outlets offer a wide range of restaurants, making it an ideal stop for a bite to eat either before or after your Disney visit. Looking for souvenirs or some Disney gear to wear? They’ve got that too! Several retailers at The Outlets at Orange carry Disney themed products, including: Hot Topic, H&M, Tilly’s, and Claire’s. So you can take a break, shop or fuel up before or after your next Disney adventure. All things Disney can be found at half the cost of park prices. Parking is free too! In addition, the Anaheim Resort Transportation (ART) Route #16 will take you from The Outlets at Orange to Disneyland.

In addition to fabulous shopping, this beautiful open-air center also offers fun and entertainment for the entire family with over 25 incredible restaurants & cafes, plus an indoor Vans SkatePark, Dave & Buster’s, Lucky Strike Bowling and a huge AMC 30 movie theatre with IMAX. There is something for everyone to enjoy here. You can definitely feel the Disney Magic here and find some pixie dust. 😉

The Outlets at Orange is on The City Drive just off the I-5 in Orange, California and serves nearby communities including Anaheim, Costa Mesa, and Buena Park. Here are some of my favorite things that I found on my visit to The Outlets at Orange.

Hot Topic

Hot Topic had the largest selection of Disney items that I loved. They had all my favorites: Beauty & the Beast, The Little Mermaid, Lilo & Stitch, Alice in Wonder Land, Marvel and so much more!

Look at all the adorable Lilo and Stitch items! I had to grab a few for myself.

Lots of Marvel shirts and other items too! PERFECT to wear for the Summer of Heroes Showcase going on at the Disney California Adventure Park through September 10th. I LOVE the Groot T-shirts!

Continue reading »

A Day of Play at Great Wolf Lodge Southern California

A  Day of Play at Great Wolf Lodge Southern California

By Donna Biroczky

Last week, I got to fulfill a dream for my kids: visit Great Wolf Lodge here in Southern California! The state’s largest indoor water park, Great Wolf is a resort like no other. Fitting for kids of all ages, including us adults that love water slides, once you park your car – or leave it with the valet – you’re good to go for your entire stay, without ever leaving the property!

Great Wolf Lodge opened in Anaheim in February 2016, joining a double-digit list of other GWL water parks scattered throughout the United States and Canada. Once you walk through the distinctive entry, you’re in a new world. The entire property is themed after an enormous lodge, from the massive fireplace to your left when you enter the lobby to the decor in the rooms. And then the rooms themselves have to be seen to be believed. Rooms are designed with families in mind, and with the latest addition of 18 new Deluxe Wolf Den King Suites, larger families can now all stay in one suite together.

Great Wolf Lodge SoCal

Deluxe Wolf Den King Suites include a built-in wolf’s den with bunk beds for the kids and special animations that respond to MagiQuest wands (available downstairs for purchase when you enroll in a game of MagiQuest), a king-size bed in a private room for mom and dad, and a queen-size bed and sofa sleeper in the main suite area. Each of the two rooms has its own full bathroom, so no sharing or going between rooms in the middle of the night. There are also other levels of rooms available, extending your lodge experience all the way through your visit. Bunk beds, in-room refrigerators, wi-fi, murals, TVs and more, it’s no wonder this is a very popular family destination!

Speaking of middle of the night — Great Wolf Lodge is like a city in itself, with activities and things to do 24/7. The Northern Lights Arcade is open overnight. Another fun activity to play during the day is MagiQuest. It’s an interactive role-playing game, where players assign themselves a name, pick a wand and topper, and head off around the property to fulfill certain tasks. If you’ve never played the game, you’re in for a treat. A full game can take 6-8 hours to complete, but it’s a fun game even if you don’t complete all the levels. Great Wolf Lodge has added on a new knighting ceremony that takes place twice a day (2pm and 7pm) for those who have defeated Charlock, the evil dragon, so be sure to keep room in your schedule to attend if you do play all the way through!

New to Great Wolf Lodge in Anaheim is the Wine Down Service, designed solely for the adults in the group. The signature wine, cheese and dessert pairing program allows parents to “wine down” after a full day of busy activities once the children are asleep. Pairings include Kids Snoring, More Pinot Noir-ing (chocolate truffles and a velvety Pinor Noir) and Rekindle the Bonfire (dark chocolate-covered strawberries with a bottle of Chloe Prosecco) are sure to make your night more special once you’re in your room for the night. Even better, they don’t knock on your door so the kiddos aren’t woken up; you will receive a text to your phone announcing its delivery, so you can sneak out and grab it without any surprise visitors for your “wine down” enjoyment!

General Manager Phil Cunningham has listened to guest feedback throughout his tenure at the lodge to provide guest enhancements and new activities. The day we visited was his last day at the Anaheim lodge, but he leaves the location in good hands. My son went over to thank him for all he did, and he had an engaging conversation for several minutes. My heart always melts a little when an adult, particularly one so busy and in-demand, takes the time to speak to a child or teen and listen to his or her gratitude and joy. Thank you, Mr. Cunningham! You left an impression on my son!

Chef Hany Ali also does an amazing job of ensuring all guests do not go hungry. The Lodge Grill restaurant served us all lunch during our visit and wow, did we all eat well. The children had a buffet available, including everyone’s favorite, gourmet mac and cheese, finishing off with small jars full of candy, like gummy bears and mini M & M’s. My son ate off the adult menu but he’s still a kid inside and that jar of candy was the perfect end to his meal.

The adult food was beyond compare. We started with a butternut squash soup served inside of an acorn squash. Seasoned perfectly, with a velvety consistency, this soup was a wonderful way to start our five-course meal. Next on the menu was an arugula salad with a bread stick, goat cheese, roasted peach slices and a small personal jar of salad dressing. We were all ooh-ing and ahh-ing over the presentation of all the courses — every piece of serving ware seems purposeful yet appealing to the eye.

Our main course was grilled sea bass, which literally melted in my mouth, over risotto, and veal with microgreen topping served over buttery grits. An array of roasted vegetables, such as heirloom carrots and shiseito peppers, sat in between the two protein courses. It got really quiet for a while as everyone enjoyed the food. Dessert was a beautifully plated roasted apple tart and house-made strawberry ice cream. We were so full by then but who wants to send back a dessert plate with anything on it?

One very big deal to know about meals at the Great Wolf Lodge is that they keep everyone’s dietary and medical needs in mind. If you have a child with food allergies, please advise the staff when you book. You will be provided your own special chef to ensure all your child’s food is completely safe and meets their needs and preferences. Isn’t that amazing?

Continue reading »