Tag: disney blog

Onward: A Disney Movie Review

Onward is a no go for me!

First of all, I love movies, and I love Disney, but this time, I am a ‘NO’ vote.  Let me explain why I feel this way about Onward.

Here is the real question.  Should you go to the movies to see Onward? Wait until it comes out on DVD? See it at home? Or just avoid it altogether?  To help you make this decision, I am going to spoil the storyline.  I feel like it is essential before you take your child to see it that you have a larger picture. 

Dad Passed Away

Dealing with death is hard for adults and even more so for small children.  My father died when I was 12, and I can tell you that the grief and understanding come in waves as you age.  I’m not sure sitting in a movie theater is the best place to deal with a child’s grief and pain.  

The movie opens with Dad already gone.  You do not see him die, but as the movie progresses, you learn that the dad died of an illness. 

Youngest Son, Ian

Ian is the awkward, anxiety-riddled teenager that has been raised by a single mother and an older brother.  He never met his father because he died before Ian was born.  He makes lists of his deepest desires, which include having a heart-to-heart talk with his dad.

Oldest Son, Barley

Barley still lives at home as an over-weight, game playing, rule-breaking, undesirable.  His biggest regret in life is that he didn’t get to say goodbye to his dad.  He shares the story of being scared when his dad was hooked up to tubes and machines and, as a young child, could not force himself to go into the room to say goodbye.

Onward Review Quote

New Mushroomton

The setting is a ‘modern’ town filled with dragons, elves, and memories of magic.  Toss in a nod to Harry Potter, Dungeons and Dragons, and fantasy adventures, and this should’ve been a fun experience. 

There were tons of amazing characters introduced throughout Onward, but they are not developed and leave you wondering to the point of being annoyed.  They used both feet and jumped straight into the emotional trauma of death but did only wrapped it up for one character.  

The two brothers create this awesome 24 hour adventure with the quest of bringing back their dad so that Ian could meet him for the first time, and Barley could apologize for not saying goodbye.  Unfortunately, Barley got a few seconds with dad while Ian saw him from a distance through a hole in a rock.

There are many times in their quest where the situations are high stress.  One specific scene is where Ian steps out over a gorge on an invisible bridge.  Everyone in my group said they physically responded to that scene with nausea, wiggly knees, and a rapid heart rate.  It was realistically shocking.  

My mind went to small children throughout this entire movie—those dealing with anxiety, depression, and stress.  Depending on the child, I would proceed with caution. 

In the End

Ian realizes that his older brother was his dad, and his life has been blessed. He no longer has anxiety and moves on with his life.  Barley has proven himself to be an asset to his family and no longer feels like the loser he was originally portrayed to be.

There are many variables to consider when attending this movie.  Has your child lost a parent and what was the circumstance of the death? What is the current relationship your children have with their siblings following the death?  Maybe your child has not lost a parent but has the fear of losing a parent?  Overall, this is emotional and you need to be prepared to deal with those emotions.

The audience, the mother, and the youngest son Ian, never get to communicate with the father.  We are left with the only closure being that Barley got to say he was sorry and hug the dad.  I get the meaning, but after over an hour of swimming in grief, it was not enough closure.

If you decide to go watch Onward, take the tissues.

You can watch the trailer for Onward here.

Creating Disney Magic

Discovering ways that your family can create their own magic will transform your Disney vacation into an enchanting Disney adventure that your children will never forget! Creating Disney magic is easier than you think!


One time when my baby duck and I were vacationing at Disney by ourselves, she had an amazing idea; she wrote a note that read “Your wish is on me.” and placed it on the side of Cinderella’s fountain along with several pennies. We then found a place in the distance where we could sit and watch. Some guests took a picture, others pointed out the note and pennies to people around them, and a few just picked up a penny and made a wish. One sweet lady was emotional and teary-eyed as she read the note. Every person responded differently to the act of kindness and the experience was unforgettable!


Creating Disney Magic, Going Out The Door


The characters have a demanding job. They are required to constantly smile, take an interest in every person, and create lasting memories for the gazillion daily guests! Why not return the favor and create some magic for them? Present small gifts such as handmade pictures, jewelry (like macaroni necklaces), or candy. The cast is not allowed to keep expensive items so keep your tokens simple. The important thing is to provide an opportunity for your family to do something nice for someone else. Spreading magic is fun for even the smallest of Disney visitors.


Creating Disney Magic, Going Out The Door, Akershus Royal Dining

It’s my Party!

Disney provides their guests with free personalized buttons celebrating birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, the last chemo treatment, or anything your heart desires to celebrate. When you spot people wearing buttons, it is fun to call them by name and offer congratulations. Little princes and princesses love this, especially when they are dressed up and addressed as their character. For example, ‘Happy Birthday, Cinderella’!


Creating Disney Magic, Going Out The Door


When you see a family taking a group photo, offer to take it for them so everyone can be in the shot. My favorite way of creating Disney magic is to photobomb other people’s pictures. Smiling, of course!


Creating Disney Magic, Going Out The Door

You light up my life!

Papa Bear LOVES to take our little ones shopping for fun light up toys for the parade which is a big deal for him and them. However, when you are staying seven nights and have 6 grands, the light up money runs out very quickly. We buy plenty of glow sticks at the dollar store before we leave home and our grands have a great time to share with other children! You can also buy light up disney themed bubble wands at department stores like Walmart.


Going Out The Door Disney, Chef Mickey, creating Disney magic

Flying Solo

When you notice a single guest in line for a ride, invite them to be part of your group, share seats, and make a new friend!


Creating Disney Magic, Going Out The Door

Blooming Surprise

Our biggest surprise came when someone sent flowers to us at Disney World. Our plane had been canceled and we were stuck at the airport with no hope of getting to our Disney family trip before it ended. Out of thousands of people stranded that day, we met the sweetest couple ever. After twenty-four hours, we managed to get a plane to Orlando just in time to make our family dinner reservation at Ohana. To our total surprise, a beautiful bouquet of flowers decorated the table when we arrived, sent by our new friends! A month later, I ran into the husband again at a different airport while on my way to a work convention. It really is a small world after all.


Creating Disney Magic, Going Out The Door

Thank you to my sweet airport friends for the flowers. We will never forget you!

The Disney parks offer many opportunities for your little ones to share their giving hearts. Taking the extra time and effort to create your own magic while planning your Disney trip will truly be an exciting and remarkable experience for your family!

P.S.  After posting this blog my Disney loving friend Amanda Wilbourn shared her family’s magical activity.  Here is her description:

“My kids spend every day at Disney taking note of cast members who go above and beyond to create magic, help us out, or just engage them in conversation.  At the end of the day, we go to City Hall and film out exemplary service forms for each cast member.  We love this tradition and it’s almost like a treasure hunt for the kids.  They are actively focused on finding the good in other people and ‘rewarding’ them for it.”

She suggests that when you do this remember exactly where they were working, what time of day it was and be sure and get their name. Thank you, friend Amanda for sharing your awesome tradition of creating Disney magic. If you enjoy visiting with other Disney friends, please join us on Going Out The Door Disney Facebook page.

You can find other Disney blogs by Angie Roberts Harris at Going Out The Door..com ​​