Movie Review: The Lion King

Movie Review: The Lion King

Some movies just hold a special place in your heart. Whether it reminds you of a specific person or a moment, or it just makes you feel something inside when you watch it. Movies have that power. And for me, The Lion King is that movie.

I talked about this before in a post about my grandmother’s passing. My grandmother and I used to watch The Lion King all the time when I was small. Even when I got older, she would sometimes laugh about the memory of me as a child begging her to rewind the VHS so we could watch it one more time.

My first ever copy of The Lion King was a VHS (shout-out to all the 90s babies out there!) I had “borrowed” from my aunt who baby sat me often. I say “borrow” because she never got the copy back. But we watched it all the time together. Anyone who baby sat me during that time watched The Lion King with me. It was my movie, and it continued to be my movie throughout the rest of my childhood.

Currently, I am 24 years old and own four copies of The Lion King (three DVDs and that old VHS still lives in my closet), one copy of Lion King 1 1/2, and two copies of The Lion King 2 (which has a completely underrated soundtrack. Go give it a listen.) Its still my movie. I still watch it from time to time. I still know every piece of dialogue and lyric to every song. I still get emotional and goosebumpy during the opening scene. It still has a profound effect on me all these years later.

So naturally, ya girl was hella excited about The Lion King reboot.

Initially, I had a few reservations about the reboot. First off, the all star cast. As impressive as the lineup was, I worried that the famous voice actors would take away from the characters themselves. I’ve known these characters my entire life, I couldn’t bear to see anyone mess them up.

Secondly, I was concerned about the animation. I’ve never been a fan of movies that featured lifelike animals talking. I’ve never seen a movie where the movement of the animals mouth looked natural. So, with this being a movie of entirely CGI animals I prayed they wouldn’t mess that up.

And y’all, they didn’t. Like, at all.

I don’t say this lightly, but The Lion King reboot is one of (if not the) most beautiful pieces of CGI movie magic I have ever seen.

I just can’t say enough about this movie. I have zero complaints. My concerns were obliterated within the first ten minutes of the movie.

The movie almost mirrors the original. And if you’re someone like me who is extremely familiar with the original version, you will greatly appreciate that. The movie opens with a new version of “Circle of Life” by Lindiwe Mkhize and Lebo M. that is a perfect homage to the classic. I still got the goosebumps that I always get when listening to this song. In fact, the entire soundtrack is beautifully classic while also giving a unique spin on these familiar songs.

Even though the soundtrack features many famous and accomplished musicians, it didn’t feel like a cover album at all. Even though I knew I was listening to Beyonce and Childish Gambino, not once during “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” was I taken out of the moment by the familiarity of their voices.

That goes for the entire movie. We all know this movie is chalk full of famous voices. Beyonce, Donald Glover, and Seth Rogen, are just a few of the celebrities who lend their voices to this film. Like I said before, this was a bit of a concern for me. I worried I wouldn’t be able to get past the fact that Nala’s voice was the same voice who sang “I got hot sauce in my bag, swag.” I didn’t want the characters to loose their authenticity because their new voice actors had familiar voices from other projects. Well rest assured, the new voices matched the characters perfectly! I felt like the characters new voices didn’t take away from what I had known for so many years. In fact, I thought Billy Eichner and Seth Rogan did a fantastic job as Timon and Pumba!

Also, thanks Disney for not trying to replace James Earl Jones as Mufasa. No one else is Mufasa. Period.

As far as the CGI goes for this movie? Next. Level. I’m serious, you guys. You have not seen anything like this before. Nothing like this exists. Remember how we all felt the first time we watched Avatar? I felt that way watching The Lion King because the effects are that good.

Disney is doing something with The Lion King that has never been done before. They gave animals facial expressions in the most natural way I have ever seen before. I can’t get over how flawless it was. How flawless it all was. The animals moved naturally. The water moved naturally. Every tree, animal, bug, and rock all looked so freaking real. At times, I forgot I was even watching CGI. It felt like I was watching Planet Earth or some Disneynature movie. It’s out of this world, folks.

To sum this all up, The Lion King was a major win for me! I give it five stars and then some! Have you seen The Lion King yet? Let me know what you thought about the movie!

Until next time, folks!

8 Reasons Why You Should Visit a Disney Park Alone

8 Reasons Why You Should Visit a Disney Park Alone

I know what you’re thinking. Who would want to go to Disney alone? Isn’t it more fun with friends? Yes, of course Disney days are enjoyable with friends and family. Disney Parks are the backdrop of so many of my most cherished family memories, and I wouldn’t change that for the world. But recently, I’ve spent some time in the parks alone and realized that it has a lot of perks!

The first time I went solo to a Disney Park it felt very weird. After almost 20 years of Disney family vacations, I didn’t know what to do without them trailing behind me! Even though I was the one who usually suggested what we do next, suddenly I had no idea what I should do. Would I get bored waiting in lines without someone to distract me? Would I be judged for getting on rides alone? Would I even have fun alone?

I quickly realized that there was a certain freedom that comes with exploring the park on your own. I actually really enjoyed it! And, I think you would too! Here’s my list of reasons why solo Disney days are totally worth it:

1. Meeting characters solo makes for better pictures (sorry, family.)

I’m just gonna go ahead and say what no one else will: character meet and greet photos are way better solo. Sorry, family! I definitely love the pictures of myself and my family with Mickey, but there is something so special about interacting with your favorite character one-on-one.

In fact, this was the first thing I did on my first solo park day! I was in Epcot and decided to visit Daisy Duck in her usual spot, Legacy Plaza West (Pluto meets here sometimes too!) This was actually a huge moment for me, as I hadn’t done anything like this before. But, It was amazing! I got some really great pictures with Daisy that I still love today.

2. Just sit somewhere and people watch as long as you want.

Grab a snack or a Starbucks coffee, plant yourself in a strategic location, and just observe. You’ll be amazed at what you see and overhear. One time in Frontierland, I overheard a woman tell her husband that she hated him and his children and when they got back home she was filing for a divorce! Tragic for that family, but it’s one of my most memorable tidbits from people watching at Disney.

You can also witness some seriously magical moments in the park from stepping back and just taking it all in. Once at Disneyland, I watched a baby girl meet Rapunzel and Flynn Rider for the first time! The expression on her face was priceless, especially when they let her wear Rapunzel’s tiara! The Disnerd in me was living for this moment. Seriously, I was almost crying.

3. Wander around the gift shops without pressure.

I’ll admit it; I’m a sucker for Disney Parks merchandise. I can’t help it! And lately, they have been absolutely killing it with unique and practical pieces that I actually wear and use outside of the parks. But not everyone is interested in wandering around gift shops. I’ve been to Disney with many different types of people and felt like a burden for wanting to peruse a gift shop when others didn’t.

On solo Disney days? Peruse away, my friends! Seriously, its awesome! Most of the time, I’m not even buying anything. I just like to see what’s out there. But when I do buy something, I usually like to take a creative shot of it in the park. Minnie ears are my favorite merchandise to photograph in the park (remember, you’re learning something new about me today. I’m a very serious Disnerd.) It can be a bit awkward to ask people to wait for me while I take a photo of my newly purchased Minnie ears. Going solo? You don’t have to ask, you can just stand there and take as many pictures as you want. Do your thing.

4. Get a front row seat to any show.

This is so underrated, but so important. Going to Disney with a huge group of people can make finding enough seats together at a show or parade impossible. Even a small group can prove to be difficult if you don’t get there in enough time! Flying solo at Disney means that there is almost always room for you to squeeze in any show wherever you want.

Again, I am someone who loves taking photos at Disney. Have you ever tried taking photos of a show or parade when you have fifteen rows of people in front of you? Yeah, not easy. Grab a front row seat and I promise you’ll get the best photos of your life.

5. Slay the single rider line.

Some of Disney’s most popular attractions offer a single rider line to fill in spots and make the wait time go faster. This is where you can shine, my solo adventurers. You don’t even have to have that annoying discussion with your group about whether you all want to take the risk of not sitting together to possibly get on the ride faster in the single rider line. There’s always someone who doesn’t want to ride alone, and either ends up settling or convincing the entire group to wait for a space all together. Therefore, someone always isn’t totally satisfied.

If this is the point in my post where you’re like “Okay, you had me up until now. There’s no way I’m riding anything alone! How awkward!” First of all, I feel you. I was the same way! If you want to be that confident park guest who just walks up to any ride and proudly announces “Single rider, right here!” Start small. Go on a few rides that will seat someone alone (any continuous track or Omnimover rides, like Haunted Mansion or Voyage of the Little Mermaid, will seat guests alone) and test out how you feel. These are great rides to go on alone because it’s dark and you hardly ever have to see any other guests. Work your way up to the rides that might require you to sit next to or even (gasp!) interact with a stranger. Before you know it, you’ll be whooping your seatmates butt on Toy Story Mania and not even feel weird about it!

6. No snack sharing! (or shaming!)

I could probably write hundreds of posts about Disney food, but I’ll just mention it here this time. Disney has some of the best snacks in the game. Don’t fight me on this. I can’t even pick a favorite because there’s just too many to choose from. Every park has different snack options, so there’s always something new to enjoy!

I should mention that this perk comes with a price. I usually share snacks with whoever I’m park hopping with so that we can have a little bit of everything we want. When you fly solo, chances are you’re gonna get full fast from all those snacks you have to finish by yourself (major first world problems.) But then again, you’re by yourself so no one will know if you buy one of everything from Main Street Confectionery. Snack on, my friends.

7. Get wherever you want so much faster.

I never realized how long it takes to get around Disney Parks when you have a slew of people with you. Someone always has to use the bathroom, someone is always hungry, and someone is always tired. The distractions are endless. It’s amazing anyone in a group larger than two makes it to their Fastpass on time.

When I visit the parks alone, I can get anywhere I want so quickly because a) I know where I’m going, and b) I don’t have to check to make sure my group is still with me. Not gonna lie, it is extremely liberating. I zip through the crowds, using little pathways that average guests don’t necessarily use, and all in record time.

8. Solo trips give a new perspective.

Quite possibly the most interesting perk of visiting Disney Parks solo is the new perspective you get of the parks themselves. It’s one of the times I can honestly say I felt in the moment in the parks. I was paying attention to the music playing in each area, the intricate details that go into theming, and just the way the park functions as a whole. Nothing is a coincidence at Disney. That is a huge reason why I love visiting so much. Every single thing you see in the parks was poured over by Imagineers before it made it there. Everything has a meaning and everything has a story.

When you visit alone, you have time to appreciate the little wonders that make up this magical place. Disney isn’t just a bunch theme parks. Each Disney Park is truly a work of art; from Disneyland, CA to Tokyo Disneyland, and everywhere in between. Its easy to get overwhelmed and not truly appreciate the magic. Even if you can’t visit the parks alone, I encourage everyone to take a moment during your day to stop and take it all in. Disney Parks are magical places. I hope everyone gets an opportunity to thoroughly experience it.

P.S. I am always here for anyone who has Disney questions! I primarily visit Walt Disney World in Orlando, FL but have visited Disneyland in Anaheim, CA before as well. Shoot me an email or message me on Instagram if you have any questions. I love helping people plan their Disney vacations!