For the First Time on Blu-rayTM, with New Digital Restoration, Celebrate the Touching Drama Based on the Best-Selling Novel this Holiday Season
Available December 11, 2012
Four older women, all Chinese immigrants living in San Francisco, meet regularly to play mahjong, eat, and tell stories. Each of these women has an adult Chinese-American daughter. The film reveals the hidden pasts of the older women and explores cultural conflict and the relationships between mothers and daughters. The film is structured as a series of vignettes told from the perspectives of the different women.
Cast: Kieu Chinh (21, City of Angels) as Suyuan – The Mother Tsai Chin (Casino Royal, Memoirs of A Geisha) as Lindo – The Mother France Nuyen (Santa Barbara, South Pacific) as Ying-Ying – The Mother Lisa Lu (2012, The Last Mother) as An-Mei – The Mother Ming-Na (Mulan, TV’s “ER”) as June The Daughter (as Ming-Na Wen)
On Wednesday I had the pleasure of attending Disney’s Designer Villains & Cinderella Cocktail Party, an invitation only event where I got to see Disney debut the new limited edition collections that will be available for sale for the holidays.
While I sipped Villain inspired cocktails, there were stylists on site treating guests to mini-manicures with Designer Manicure nail polish and photo ops with The Evil Queen and Fairy Godmother.
The new Villians collection had everything from hand-made villain dolls to jewelry, makeup, clothing and accessories all decorated and inspired by our favorite Disney villains. From Ursula colored nail polish to the Villain dolls made with real human hair, Disney has gone all out with this line with a stylized, fashion forward twist on its classic characters. The limited edition dolls will be debuted and released one at a time for six weeks, are $79.50 each and only 13,000 pieces have been made. The dolls themselves are a great value – not only do they have amazing hair, great makeup, rooted eyelashes and hand-made dresses, but they also have a great collectable sense to them. They each come in their own case as part of the price. Disney blew out the whole collection to not only include limited edition dolls but also stationary, mugs, cosmetics, scarves, apparel and accessories – perfect for any Disney fan!
Oh. That’s not enough to answer this question? It is for me! From the second my husband, son, and I walked into the luxurious lobby we knew we made a great choice in our stay. We are Disney Vacation Club members and it was after our stay here that we immediately decided to add on to our membership and purchase a whole lot of points at Beach Club – we’d be back for sure! The ambiance of the resort is relaxing. The pool and activities are exciting. There’s so much to do at the Beach Club yet you could do absolutely nothing but stare out at the beautiful Crescent Lake and still have a fabulous time!
A list of the pros and cons will surely help you decide if this resort is right for you:
- Stormalong Bay – The pool in of itself is it’s own attraction! Shared with Disney’s Yacht Club Resort, Stormalong Bay is the most extensive pool at the Walt Disney World Resort. It’s great for any age – babies to adults! The Stormalong Bay Pool has a sand bottom, waterslide, lazy river (current channel), and whirl pool. Great for the kiddies is the zero entry at one end of the pool which makes playing even more fun for them. They can sit in the shallow water and build sand castles while you sip a fruity cocktail from Hurricane Hanna’s Grill and Poolside Bar. I may or may not have an intimate relationship with their frozen mango margaritas. The water slide at Stormalong Bay is located in the Albatross Pirate Ship and in my opinion the best on Disney property.
- The vicinity of the Beach Club to Epcot is unbeatable! You can leave your room or villa at the Beach Club and be at the International Gateway entrance to Epcot in no more than 10-15 minutes…and that’s if you’re walking as slow as possible! After a hot day at the parks and a quick swim at Stormalong Bay, there’s nothing better than being able to pop into Epcot to make your ADR and not have to worry about timing the buses.
- Food choices. I’m proud of myself for waiting until bullet point number three before talking about food. There are a few great dining choices at the resort. Beach Club’s counter service is typical of a Deluxe resort in that it’s small and doesn’t have an abundance of choice but what they do have is tasty and good quality. Their egg and cheese on a croissant sandwich is a personal favorite of mine. Besides that is the beautifully themed and always stellar dining choice of the Cape May Cafe. Mornings feature a character breakfast and evenings boast an outstanding clam bake that I always seem to need to be rolled out of in a wheelbarrow! Beaches N Cream is always a hit – be sure to ask for the Kitchen Sink!
- Entertainment! A quick walk across Crescent Lake and you’re smack in the middle of Disney’s Boardwalk which has restaurants and entertainment for the whole family! It’s bustling there and there’s plenty to do. And the beauty of your stay at Beach Club is that you can enjoy the entertainment and dining options but be home in your quiet room or villa in a few minutes!
Cons – Gosh, do I have to have some cons?
- Transportation. Bus & boat transportation is often shared with the Yacht Club resort, Boardwalk Resort, Swan & Dolphin hotels. Because of this, it may take a bit longer to get to your destination than if you had a bus that went directly from the Beach Club to a park. That being said, you can WALK to Epcot AND Disney’s Hollywood Studios in no time so in my opinion, the ease of getting to those parks far outweighs the annoyance the added time for a bus to the Magic Kingdom might cause.
- The price. This is a Deluxe resort and with that comes a deluxe price tag. If you are planning on spending all of your time at the parks and little to no time at the resort, then this resort may not be right for you.
- For those of you with early-to-bed kids, the noise from the Illuminations fireworks at Epcot may keep your kid up. I thought for sure my guy would wake up when we started to hear the fireworks. Surprisingly, he never did during our week-long stay there. All the excitement from the parks and swimming at Stormalong Bay knocked him out.
Disney’s Beach Club Resort is by far my favorite resort. It’s size makes it completely manageable and not overwhelming like some of the other resorts. The pool and activities available make this resort one that you could relax at the whole day and not feel like you’ve missed a thing on your vacation. The staff is always friendly and accommodating and the laid back beach vacation feeling you get when you stay there is a perfect compliment to the hustle and bustle of the theme parks. I guarantee a great stay at the Beach Club!
- Is Disney’s Boardwalk Villas Resort For You? (chipandco.com)
- 5 Things we LOVE About the Disney’s Beach Club Resort (chipandco.com)
Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa takes you back to the late-1800s upstate New York resort of the same name with its equestrian theme and Victorian style. Walking onto this sprawling resort and being greeted in the lobby by friendly cast members dressed in their finest as if they’re about to attend the horse races provides instant relaxation. Being a Disney Vacation Club resort, Saratoga Springs offers a wide variety of villas – anything from a studio villa to a three bedroom villa in a treehouse! Saratoga Springs is one of my home resorts and buying here was one of the best decisions my husband and I have made! This past January we invited some family to spend the week with us at the Treehouse Villas and we are now hooked! In fact, our second little boy is due at any second and already he has his first reservation to stay at the Treehouse Villas in May!
- Saratoga Springs is a large and sprawling resort that sits on 65 acres. Similar to it’s namesake in Upstate New York, this resort offers plenty of places to relax, whether it’s by strolling by gurgling water fountains, discovering the different walkways, buildings and their views, or spending time at the spa.
- The staff is simply outstanding. In no other Disney resort have I experienced such wonderful service. From the managers to bell service, each has gone the extra mile to make my stay pleasant. The service at this lovely resort is top-notch.
- When you stay at Saratoga Springs, you are within walking distance to Downtown Disney! Staying at the Congress Park section gives you the shortest walk to Downtown Disney. Being so close to the wonderful entertainment, shopping, and dining options is a wonderful perk of the resort, plus you’re just a short walk back home to the peace and quiet of your resort – truly the best of both worlds. And if walking isn’t your cup of tea, you can take a lovely ferry ride to Downtown Disney (ferry boats run approximately every 20 minutes)
- You have a bunch of swimming choices when you stay at Saratoga Springs! From the 161,000-gallon High Rock Spring Pool, featuring beautiful rockwork with cascading water, a unique water slide, and zero entry to the newly opened Paddock Pool section with it’s own slide and food options to the quiet pool at the Treehouse Villas, you could spend all day at the resort and not feel like you’ve missed a thing! The pools are beautifully maintained and sure to delight all ages. Zero entry and slides are great for the kids and the hot tubs and whirlpools are fabulous for us adults who might actually get a chance to relax with a delicious fruity beverage offered at the pool bars.
- Food. Besides having the multitude of dining options across the lake at Downtown Disney, Saratoga Springs resort has quite a few dining options that are quite nice. The food at the main building at Artist Point has a decent selection (try the flatbreads, you won’t be disappointed) and the Turf Club Bar and Grill is a really great steak restaurant that offers some beautiful golf course views.
- Speaking of golf, this resort is a golfers dream with the Buena Vista Golf Course right on the property! The views are amazing, the course is great, and there really is no such thing as a bad day on the golf course at Disney!
- There are so many activities for the kids at Saratoga Springs. In addition to 4 pools, there are also 2 playgrounds, a high-tech game room, tennis, basketball, shuffleboard and bike rentals. Community Hall offers ping pong, foosball, arts and crafts, and a variety of board games
- The size of the resort may be a con for some. I’ve read in a few different places that some people find the walk from certain areas to the resort to places like High Rock Springs pool and the main house can be long. Having stayed in the Grandstand area before (one of the farthest from the Springs section), I don’t find this holds to be true. Then again, I’m a walker.
- The resort has multiple bus stops. That may mean a slightly longer commute to the parks. If you stay at the Treehouses, it will take you two buses to get to the parks – one to get you to the Springs stop and the next to take you to the parks. That being said, you can always plan ahead – if you stay at the Grandstand section, you will be the first bus stop on the way to the parks AND the first stop coming home. If you stay at the Treehouses you can request a villa in the southern part of the Treehouses section. That way, you can skip the Treehouses bus and just walk directly to the Grandstand area.
Overall I think Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa is a real winner. The friendly staff, beautiful accommodations and gorgeous grounds make it a great choice for anyone coming to Walt Disney World. Being so close to Downtown Disney but still being able to enjoy peace and quiet of a lovely resort is the perfect combination!
- Exclusive Savings to Epcot’s 2012 Flower and Garden Festival (chipandco.com)
- Celebrating Thanksgiving at Walt Disney World (chipandco.com)
This past Thursday I had the pleasure of taking my son Thomas to the Disney Store in Times Square and attending the Star-Studded Top 10 Holiday Gifts Reveal. Being able to be a part of the excitement of the upcoming holiday season was so much fun! I normally wouldn’t want to be in Times Square at 9 months pregnant with a toddler but the promise of Mickey and Minnie and seeing some fun toys was just something I couldn’t pass up.
The event was held on the upper level of the store and when we walked in we were greeted by this sign:
After giving my name and letting them know I was from Chip and Co, I was given a $50 Disney Gift Card. Cha Ching! You know how much loot I can get with that? Of course being the savvy Disney shopper that I am, I knew to pocket that bad boy and hold off to use it online where the merchandise is much cheaper and I’d probably wind up with some good sales deals too.
We headed up the elevator and along the twinkling blue path and were greeted by cast members with goodies!
This cast member was first and offered some beverages for the adults – mulled cider and sparkling water. Very fancy! And the kids were not forgotten because next up was the juice box tray:
And best of all was this lovely cast member and her outstanding Christmas cookies!
Goodies in hand, we set out to look around at all the great merchandise. There are so many fun places to play and things to do in the Disney Store and we managed to find them all. The make-your-own-cars section was a favorite for my son as well as the mini Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. In fact, most of the kids were packed in there playing. They could care less what the hot toys are – they just wanted to play in the big tunnel! For the first 45 minutes or so, we looked around and played and waited for the presentation to begin. The kids sat on the floor (well, sorta…as much as a bunch of toddlers can be expected to sit) and we listened to all the great things that were going to be available for purchase this season. The top 10 toys are:
1. Animators’ Collection princess toddler dolls(Family Fun Toy of the Year Winner)
2. Cars 2 Remote Control cars with turbo speed – Note: I’m TOTALLY buying this for my little guy!
3. Muppets plush assortment featuring all your favorite characters from the new Disney film “The Muppets” opening on Nov. 23
4. Cars 2 Siddeley Spy Jet
5. Enchanting Princess 5 in 1 wardrobe set
6. Vinylmation Villains 2 and Jingle Smells Vinylmation
7. Singing Rapunzel doll with the voice of Mandy Moore
8. Disney Store’s exclusive fragrances Imagination, Winter and Pixie
9. Wish-A-Littles by Kidada for Disney Store
10. Disney Princess 10-pack dolls
I was able to snap a few pictures of the great toys during the presentation – all of which can be found on at the Disney Store’s website.
After the presentation is where the real fun began! A really fun cast member read the kids a Christmas story, chock full of all our favorite Disney characters. In attendance at the event were some celebrity moms, including Kelly Ruterford and her daughter, La La Vasquez and her son, and Daya Vaidya and her daughter. Of course, I had no idea who they were at the time (apparently I don’t read enough celeb rags!) but my little guy did wind up in one of the promo pictures!
After story time the cast member asked the kids what characters they saw in the story. “Donald! Goofy!” ….”Mickey!!” Once the kids yelled Mickey, the ultimate surprise came! Out walked Mickey and Minnie dressed in their holiday best! My son was ecstatic and started chasing them to the picture area. We waited not-so-patiently in line while the celebs took their photo ops. When it was our turn, Thomas ran right to them and showed them the toy he had picked out. They spent a great deal of time with him. It was definitely a change from being at the parks and having to rush through each character because of the long lines. Thomas got to sit on his buddy’s lap and even stole a kiss from his very first crush.
The event really was a wonderful time. I’m so happy I got to be a part of it. What touched me the most was the fact that for each holiday Mickey or Minnie plush sold from October 31-December 11 at Disney Store and DisneyStore.com, Disney Store will donate $1 to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. I will be sure to purchase one of my own!
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