Sparks of Magic


Meet MOANA – Disney's Newest Princess

Disney, EntertainmentCamilleComment

Aloooooha! I'm thrilled to announce that Walt Disney Animation Studios has finally cast its newest animated princess, MOANA! 

photo courtesy © Walt Disney Animation Studios

photo courtesy © Walt Disney Animation Studios

The voice of Disney's MOANA will be voiced by Hawaiian native and newcomer, Auli'i Cravalho! Auli'i is a 14-year-old from the island of O'ahu, and after three auditions, she landed the title role.

Here's a fun little clip of Auli'i, being told that she was going to be cast as Moana:


Moana is a 16-year-old, fearless princess that wants to take on the seas of the South Pacific, amongst the islands of her home – Oceania. Three thousand years ago sailors from all over the world voyaged across the South Pacific, but then a millennium went by and unbeknownst to anyone, the voyages stopped. So what is Moana's dream? To become a master wayfinder, like her ancestors, but this time complete their unfinished quest. 

Along the way, she meets demi-god, Maui (voiced by Dwayne Johnson), and together they embark on an action-packed journey filled with impossible odds that become the voyage of a lifetime.

I am looking forward to this creation from the filmmaking team of Directors, Ron Clements and John Musker; they've created three of my favorite Disney animated films (amongst many others), "The Little Mermaid," "Aladdin," and "The Princess and The Frog!" With such strong female protagonists in their films, I know that Moana will be a sure hit and I'm looking forward to sharing traits that make her a good role model. The film is produced by Osnat Shurer, who has produced or executive produced Pixar® short films.

Ready to see what the sea holds for Moana and Maui? I know I am!

Don't forget to like MOANA on Facebook:
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Remember, MOANA sails into theaters on November 23rd 2016!

Knott's Spooky Farm Debut!


Growing up as a native to Southern CA, we lived in amusement park heaven. With three major theme parks (Disneyland, Knott's and Six Flags), there were never-ending options for thrills and fun. My mom is a huge Peanuts fan, so naturally, Knott's Berry Farm was one of our family spots! I remember eating the amazing fried chicken, hanging out at Camp Snoopy, and bringing home lots of yummy jam! 


photo courtesy © Knott's Berry Farm

photo courtesy © Knott's Berry Farm

I'm so excited to share that Knott's will be debuting Spooky Farm®, their new park-wide daytime, scary-free celebration for kids, generally ages 3-11, but fun for the whole family! Let me tell you, I am easily scared, so you will not catch me after dark at haunted-theme park events or scary pumpkin mazes. So, this sounds like an event that I will totally enjoy! :) 

The spooky fun for the kiddos will run through the weekends only in October, beginning October 3rd through Halloween day! And yes, Knott's Spooky Farm® is included in your regular park admission, which is AWESOME. 

photo courtesy © Knott's Berry Farm

photo courtesy © Knott's Berry Farm

Here's what you can expect at Knott's Spooky Farm® (besides loads of fun):

  • Trick-or-Treat – On Ghost Town's Main Street, kids will be able to trick-or-treat through the town, and hang out with Drac the Undertaker, The GhostRider Sheriff, The Werewolf Barber. If they're feeling extra adventurous, take them to Creepy Crawler Cabin in the Poy Express Rangers Station to touch and hold (or not) some fun loving bugs. Eek!
  • Spooky Hollow Maze – Head to Fiesta Village to tackle the maze through a spooky forest, have an spook-free encounter with the Headless Horsemen, and then kids can top off the fun while letting their imaginations run wild and paint their own pumpkin head (nominal fee). 
  • Monster Masquerade Ball – Down on the Boardwalk, kids and adults can get their ghostly groove on, decorate their own masquerade mask and enjoy some KARAOKE. Did you get that? KARAOKE. Who doesn't love karaoke?! Heck, I'll be the first in line. 
  • Camp Snoopy – participate in a spooky and delightful costume contest and then head to Camp Spooky Theatre to watch our friends, the Peanuts Gang, in The Monsters Are Coming, Charlie Brown! Our family LOVES the Peanuts Gang and watching the different Peanuts holiday films are our absolute favorite tradition.
photo courtesy © Knott's Berry Farm

photo courtesy © Knott's Berry Farm

Make sure to follow along with the hashtag #KnottsSpookyFarm and see all of the spooktacular entertainment happening throughout October! Gather your little goblins and ghosts, and make it a fun family day! You won't want to miss celebrating Halloween with the Peanuts Gang!

For more information, visit Knott's Berry Farm online at

Success and Leadership Lessons Learned from The Wisdom of Walt {Book Review}

Reviews, EntertainmentCamilleComment

I was given a copy of The Wisdom of Walt by the author in exchange for an honest review. No further compensation was made and all opinions are 100% mine. This post contains affiliate links.

Cover image © Jeffrey Barnes /

Cover image © Jeffrey Barnes /

It is often heard that "it was all started by a Mouse." I slightly beg to differ, because the drive, passion and perseverance of moving forward (not to mention the Mouse himself), was started by a man – Walter Elias Disney.

Disney was born with the great ability to dream and take action. These are just a few of his traits that I admire most. When I first heard of this book, I knew I needed to read it and share it with all of you. I have a propensity to gravitate towards all things about Walt Disney, so I'm very grateful to have received a copy of this book, and it even arrived with a note from the author.

This book was written by, Jeffrey Barnes, also known as Dr. Disneyland. He teaches a college course: The History of Disneyland, at Cal Baptist in Riverside, CA. I will tell you now that Barnes' story of survival alone is one that will inspire you, and he shares it within the page of his book. You'll need to get his book to hear how his failures led to success. Oh! One fun fact for my extreme Disney fans is that the foreword was written by Garner Holt and Bill Butler, as in Garner Holt Productions (think audio-animatronics). The foreword definitely set the tone for the awesome experience that I had waiting for me.


The Wisdom of Walt: Leadership Lessons from the Happiest Place on Earth is a book that will keep you inspired, motivated, and seeking more from life. It pushed me to write my goals for success onto paper, to think of necessary actions to execute my vision, and made me realize that there is a lot of wisdom to gain when we look at what Walt experienced, and how he became successful. 


When I first started the book, I was so anxious to take notes, but initially I didn't want to write within the pages. I mean, this is a really high-quality book with a hardcover, and gorgeous jacket. Eventually, I couldn't help it and by the middle of chapter one, I was already highlighting, starring, and taking notes within the pages. 

Let me share a few sentiments from the book, but then I highly encourage you to pick up your own copy!l

"Vision is the extension of the ability to dream."
– Jeffrey Barnes, 
The Wisdom of Walt

This was my first little nugget of wisdom found. I think that as dreamers we aren't always taken seriously. I mean, look at Walt. With Disneyland, his grandest dream of all, he could not find anyone to back his vision. Look at Disneyland today. If Walt didn't create a vision from his dream of a place for his daughters and so many other children and families to have, the world would be a little less bright. However, even with hearing the doubters, we must press on. We create the vision and we make them believe. Another relevant sentiment about dreams and vision that Jeff shares, is that we must treat our dreams like we treat our children, because they don't raise themselves. Isn't that so true?

Master the four C's: Curiosity, Confidence, Courage, and Constancy

With anything in life, those four C's can be relevant. But with the mindset of leadership and progress, they are crucial. 

Curiosity should never end. We should be curious about everything, we should push boundaries to understand things and that helps others to do the same. Being curious might seem ridiculous for grown adults, but I tell you it is not. I feel that the example of my curiosity paves the way for my kids to be curious themselves. 

Confidence – It goes without saying, but how will you bring your dreams and visions to fruition if you are too scared? Don't be afraid to fail. Be confident in your skill set and ability to keep learning and growing to get better. Be confident in knowing that "beyond a shadow of a doubt, that regardless of how your risk turns out, you will, in fact, be okay."

Courage is not always easy and no one ever said it would be. Being courageous must be a conscious choice. It's moving forward, moving past the stuff that wants to keep you paralyzed in fear. When there is a lot at risk, it's hard to convince others to believe in you and your dreams. And sometimes, the hardest person you have to convince is yourself. But be consciously courageous, because you and miss out on the thrills of success.

Constancy – As the book states, "Excellence is a habit." We know this from Aristotle, we know it from Disney, we can see it with Disneyland. There's a reason that businesses from all over the world take tidbits of magic from Disney's examples on leadership, guest service, and entertainment. "Disneyland always shows up." If anything, this should be a shining example on how to lead - we must show up, whether we want to or not.

"We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we are curious – and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths."
– Walt Disney

Look who I ran into at D23 Expo 2015! 

Look who I ran into at D23 Expo 2015! 

Well, this is a book that will remain in my library and one that I'll share with the future employees of my own empire (see what I did there? I, too, have a vision). My favorite parts were the Souvenir Stops at the end of each chapter, they really get you thinking and planning. There's so much more packed into this book than I could ever completely write about, but know it's 18 chapters and reads easily, you'll laugh, dream and plan. You can choose to read a chapter a day or a few a day. But make sure to do the Souvenir Stop because that's where you'll apply the lessons to your own life.

What are you waiting for? Take action, and go make your dreams a reality.

"Deciding to do something is not the same as actually doing it." 
– Jeffrey Barnes, The Wisdom of Walt

You can order the Kindle version for $5.99 from Amazon or $24.95 (plus shipping) for the gorgeous hardcover book, directly from through Paypal!


Thank you again, Jeff, for adding such magic to my library. I wish you continued success!

#GoodDino Fun Activities for the Kids!

Disney, EntertainmentCamilleComment

Is it November yet? :) I'm anxious for The Good Dinosaur to be released, and I know that my kiddos will be excited to have some quiet time activities. You can never have enough!

In case you missed it, Disney•Pixar is releasing a new film November 25, 2015 called The Good Dinosaur. You can read my last post here.

While you wait for the film to be released, enjoy some of these fun activities featuring Arlo and friends, courtesy of Disney•Pixar!




Make a fun game night with the kids after dinner and get them excited for The Good Dinosaur!

Don't forget, November 25! :)

Keep up with The Good Dinosaur online! Share your thoughts using the hashtag #GoodDino!


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The Good Dinosaur is Coming!

Disney, EntertainmentCamilleComment
photo courtesy © Disney•Pixar

photo courtesy © Disney•Pixar

A little back story on me and the dinosaurs. Growing up, The Land Before Time was one of my favorite non-Disney films. Then, in junior high it all changed. I was no longer a fan of dinosaurs, thanks to my traumatizing experience watching Jurassic Park; I was thoroughly convinced a velociraptor would take the pleasure of randomly attacking me in the middle of the night.

I know, some imagination, huh?

Needless to say, now that we are back to cutesy looking dinosaurs and meaningful storylines (besides "there's a dinosaur: R-U-N), I am excited to be back in the dino game. :)


So, what exactly would happen if dinosaurs were never extinct and lived amongst humans? 

This is the story of the an Apatosaurus dinosaur named Arlo (voiced by Raymond Ochoa) and a cute little human friend that he meets along the way of his journey to becoming brave.

I'm also excited to share that the Director, Peter Sohn, was also the voice of "Squishy" from Monsters University, my son will be thrilled about that. The producer, Denise Ream, also produced "Cars 2" and was an associate producer for Pixar's "Up." 


If there's one thing that my husband and I really hope to teach and live by example for our kids, it's to face our fears. In life, we will be presented with obstacles and some of them might scare us; we might feel helpless or like there's no way around them. But teaching them that it's okay to have fear, but to face it and look it in the eyes and KEEP GOING, that's when we become brave. I'm really excited to have another Disney•Pixar film that reinforces this mindset. 

Don't forget to mark your calendars for November 25, 2015, when The Good Dinosaur is released!

What do you think about the trailer? Are you just as excited as I am, to see this cute little dino take over the silver screen? :) 

Keep up with The Good Dinosaur online! Share your thoughts using the hashtag #GoodDino!


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Get Ready for Star Wars' #ForceFriday

Disney, EntertainmentCamilleComment
image © Lucasfilm | Disney |

image © Lucasfilm | Disney |

In case you missed the epic event of the global unboxing of Disney & Lucasfilm's Force Friday merchandise, have no fear. Tonight, across the country, you can have a chance to check out the newest gadgets, apparel, and toys for the Star Wars™ The Force Awakens film franchise. 

I have to admit, watching the unboxing was really exciting. Even after I took my kids to school I was ridiculously mesmerized and was happy. You know, like freaking out when the Millennium Falcon was unboxed but not having anyone in the room, or house, to high-five and get excited with!! 

Since then, I've been in somewhat of a haze and am overall thrilled with the new products. My kids are going to be so elated with the new LEGO sets, they saw the BB-8 droid before they went to school this morning, along with the Storm Trooper Nerf gun. Oh my goodness, I have a feeling this year's Christmas list is going to be something!

Image © Lucasfilm | Disney |

Image © Lucasfilm | Disney |

Force Friday 3rd Party Retailers

Tomorrow, at approximately 12:01 am, 207 Target stores will be open nationwide to celebrate #ForceFriday. Unfortunately for me (sad, sad panda face), our local Target stores will not be participating at midnight, but they will have merchandise right at opening, and I am EXCITED. 

Not to mention if you get the Target weekly ad, there are coupons for purchases for the weekend, and then participate in the #ShareTheForce Saturday with photo opps and cool activities!

In addition to Target, other retailers like Kohl's, Toys R Us, JoAnn's Fabrics, and Walmart will be participating! It's like a serious bounty hunt to find what you want, so make sure you've got The Force ready. 

Disney Store's Force Friday Event

To top it all off, The Disney Store will be hosting an epic event. The first 100 gets who make a purchase in-store will receive a free Star Wars™ pin!! The new Star Wars merchandise will be unleashed and some stores will open as early as 6:00 am! Make sure to check out for more information!

Will you be joining in on the Force Friday fun??

Star Wars #TheForceAwakens Global Toy Unboxing Event!

Disney, EntertainmentCamilleComment

With the surrounding anticipation for the upcoming feature film Star Wars: The Force Awakens, on Thursday, September 3, 2015, we will be able to participate in the world's first-ever global LIVE toy unboxing event. This epic event will take place over the span of 18 hours, 15 cities, and 12 countries, and will feature a host of celebrity stars from Maker Studios network. The event culminates at midnight, and then #ForceFriday will begin at many retailers.  

You can catch Anthony Carboni and Andi Gutierrez hosting the countdown to Force Friday unboxing event on Star Wars' YouTube channel – it begins in Sydney, Australia 7:45 a.m. local time on Thursday, Sept. 3 (5:45 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, Sept. 2), with the grand finale at Lucasfilm in San Francisco at 8 a.m. PDT  (11 a.m. EDT) on Thursday, Sept. 3.

My kids are very excited to see our cousin, Dante Basco (12 am EDT, 9/3) and one of their favs, EvanTubeHD (8:30am EDT, 9/3), on the list of personalities to participate! Dante will be unboxing from Hong Kong and EvanTubeHD will unbox from New York.

photo courtesy © Disney/Lucasfilm

photo courtesy © Disney/Lucasfilm

This will be the first look at the film-inspired toys and at the end, we will have #MidnightMadness at select retailers to shop for The Force! I can tell you now that Target is one of the retailers that will be participating, beginning at 12:01 am on 9/4, and select Disney Stores will also be opening early to showcase new Force Awakens merchandise. Check out Disney Store's website to see where you can shop in person.

*For those of you in NorCal, Arden Fair, Vintage Faire, and Roseville Galleria Disney Stores will all be closing early 9/3 at 8pm and opening early (between 6 am - 8 am) on Force Friday. Check their website for opening times. 

We are super excited, and will be logged in to watch this event unfold! Then, hopefully we can stay awake long enough to line up for #MidnightMadness! :)

Will you join us and watch the live event? 

Moments of Magic: Disney Apps = Stress Relief

Disney, EntertainmentCamilleComment

Take a deep breath. Open your iPhone and PLAY.

This is what I do when I get a little antsy. Sometimes I just like to sit with headphones on, turn on the sound for whatever game I'm playing and go to town. 

Other times, I'm in a long line at the store by myself, or I'm waiting for my kids to get out of class, or I'm waiting for my students to finish an exam... and I like to play Disney games. Why? Because they're fun and they keep my mind focused on something; I like to think that they are exercising my brain. Plus, did I mention that they're fun?

In all honesty, I don't get a lot of time to play these games, but I thought it would be best to pass some of my favorites along to all of you! Did you know that there are over 50 Disney apps in iTunes?! I haven't tried them all, but I found a few good ones!

Side note: I only download games to my phone that I will play. Sorry kids, get a job and buy your own. I know, that stinks, but it's life. Luckily, the kids enjoy all of these games so they're pretty happy about it. :) 

My top 5 Disney apps! (all free)

1. Inside Out Thought Bubbles

This is pretty fun and one of the newest Disney gaming apps. My youngest just discovered it on my phone recently. The goal is to capture the memories by matching them by color. In order to do that, you shoot a single memory towards a bunch of the same colored memories to make them drop for collection. We learned how to do skill shots, where you bank-shot the memories off the sides to reach the same colored memories. It's really fun, we are taught by the emotion Joy, who is fabulous. She cracks me up! I haven't gotten very far in the levels yet, but I'm excited to see who else pops up on the screen in later levels!

2. Disney Side

This one is hilarious and pretty self explanatory.  You take a picture of yourself or someone else and then you can become different Disney characters! Our favorite is Haunted Mansion. This one is definitely for all ages! 

Bonus? You can save the images and even make a video of the characters you become. Within the app you can save to your phone or share it with others. I found that even my hubby has snagged some selfies in the app on here! Definitely a fun one for everyone.

3. Frozen Freefall

We love Frozen. Yes. Still. And the game is really fun. I have a slight obsession jewels with matching and popping. When Maleficent came out, they released a version for the film and that was equally as exciting. In this game you're traveling through winter. With the help of Queen Elsa, Princess Anna and Olaf, you're set for a snow-filled adventure. I love the graphics and small lements of the game, like the ice pick and snowballs were great touches.

Recently they added an endless map (in-app purchase) and you can travel through all four seasons plus a few other fun ones!

4. Big Hero 6 Bot Fight

This is the newest game that I've downloaded. I am really liking the graphics and storytelling within the game itself. It's more of a thinker than the other games. My eldest son would really like it, he has no idea I downloaded it, yet. I'm more of a "don't want to think, let me match things" type of app gamer. If that is even a "thing."  I just love Big Hero 6, so it looked really awesome!

5. Disney Tsum Tsum

You seriously cannot resist the Tsum Tsums. They're uber cute and you just want to squeeze them! We began playing Tsum Tsum when it was first released and every so often I will still pick it up. I love the video that plays before launching the game. The tsum tsums are rolling and tumbling around and pile up before the Disney Store opens at 10 am! 

I have issues every once in a while with the parent app - LINE, so it's deterred my playing for a little while. But when it is working, it's awesome. Gotta think fast especially since it's timed and boy do I get into it. This one is addicting once you start.

Well, I guess with the apps, they distract me from stress. They might not relieve it all the way, but they definitely assist in refocusing my mind and energy so that I can move forward with a smile. Magic makes everything better! :)

I should warn you again, that they can become addicting on the cuteness factor alone!

How about you? Do you have a favorite Disney app? I'd love to check some new ones out, too! 

Something 'Slamtastic' is Happening at Denny's!

Food, EntertainmentCamilleComment

Super heroes are all the rage, so it's no wonder that Denny's is tapping into their power source and teaming up with 20th Century Fox to showcase the upcoming adventure, Fantastic Four! This week, as of June 23rd, Denny's launched a "Slamtastic 4" specialty menu at its restaurants that includes meals like The Thing Burger, a sizzling Human Torch Skillet, a delicious Fantastic Four-Cheese Omelette, and the Invisible Woman Slam®. 

The new Slamtastic 4 Menu / Fantastic Four © 20th Century Fox/MARVEL

My husband and I took two of our kids on a fun little date to Denny's this week for shakes & treats, and my daughter ordered the Strawberry Pancake Puppies® which she devoured!! The "Puppies" came with a delicious cream cheese icing and powdered sugar. She had a full tummy from her spaghetti so she ordered them "to-go" and I told her, okay, Mommy needs a picture for my blog, so don't eat them yet! Needless to say, they didn't make it home! Yikes! Guess we'll have to go back so we can share pics on social media. :) 

The kids loved seeing the Fantastic Four characters on the menus and signage throughout Denny's. They're excited to see the film this summer! Since we only had treats, I enjoyed half of a chocolate shake and fries, I am anxious to return and try out the Human Torch Skillet or the Fantastic Four-Cheese Omelette! My other daughters love fruit with their pancakes so the Invisible Woman Slam will be calling their names. 

In addition to the main meals, there is a new Fantastic Four-Fruit Smoothie & the Dr. Doom Lava Cake. They all look amazing, and the smoothie will be a great healthy option when you're not feeling super hungry. The portion sizes are always very adequate, and the adult meals are big enough to share between the kids.  

Menu Update

They've revamped our Denny's menus and labeled items as gluten-free! Oh, and get this – I spotted options for gluten-free English muffins! I will be checking those out on my text trip and will give a full report for my gluten-free readers. It's so awesome to see changes being made to accommodate allergies. Remember that if you do have an allergy, let them know so that appropriate measures will be taken to prevent cross-contact issues.

Enter the Sweepstakes!

Not only will the restaurant be showcasing stellar menu imagery and new meals & desserts, but now through July 19th, you can enter to win the ultimate FAN trip for two, to the Fantastic Four movie premiere on August 4th!! All you need to do is visit and enter to win! 

Fantastic Four will hit theaters nationwide on August 7, 2015. The film is a contemporary re-imagining of Marvel’s original and longest-running superhero team. The film centers on four young outsiders who teleport to an alternate and dangerous universe, which alters their physical form in shocking ways. Their lives irrevocably upended, the team must learn to harness their daunting new abilities and work together to save Earth from a former friend turned enemy. – 20th Century Fox
Enter to Win! / © Denny's / 20th Century Fox / MARVEL

Enter to Win! / © Denny's / 20th Century Fox / MARVEL

I don't know about you, but I am excited to see this film in August. I'm also interested to see a new story and rendition of this age-old classic hero film. But we don't have to wait until the film releases before we can get a taste of the movie. You'll see TV spots the week of July 6th and if you follow Denny's Diner on Instagram (@DennysDiner), you can check out exclusive clips of the film!

Have you tried out the new menu items? What did you think?!
Disclaimer: I am a Denny's Diner ambassador and am dedicated to sharing the latest and greatest Denny's news with you. While I have been compensated for this post, all opinions are 100% mine and always magical.