Monday, December 23, 2013

Tales From The Mouse House Disneyland Podcast...Episode 84

Welcome to our VERY SPECIAL CHRISTMAS...err...SPECIAL! We have a HUGE show lined up for you! On our 2013 Christmas episode, we share a LOT in our Host Chat...perhaps a little TOO MUCH! And (of course) we stray from our usual format and dedicate the entire show to the Christmas Holiday. YAY!! You’ll enjoy treats like audio from the 2013 Disneyland Candlelight Ceremony, with a reading of the First Christmas by...well, tune in to find out which MAJOR star narrated this! 
Disneyland At Christmas Time of Billy Hill and the Hillbillies last Holiday shows at Disneyland. Special thanks to our great friend Mr. Daps from Daps Magic for sharing the audio from both of these fantastic videos. If you’d like to see the entire videos, visit Daps Magic on YouTube. Plus, many, many more Holiday fun.

We wanted to say THANK YOU to all of you who've listened to us for the last 3 years! Hard to believe, but yeah, 3 years. You're like family to us and we here at the old Tales DeCasa want to wish you and yours a VERY Merry Christmas, and a VERY Safe, Prosperous and Happy New Year!
Mickey and Minnie wish you a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS

Hey, if YOU'RE in need of a great travel agent, why not give our sponsor, Randy Crane from Mouse Ear Vacations a holler! I bet he can make YOUR vacation a MAGICAL one! Visit Randy at NOW is the time to book your 2014 Disney adventure! 

As always, If you’d like to send in comments for the show, you can send us an email to, leave us voicemail on the Hotline at 304-TALES23, leave us feedback in iTunes or leave comments for us on our Twitter account @talespodcast. Heck, you can even find us on FaceBook, just search for Tales From The House House - Disneyland podcast! If you'd like to listen to the show, you can find it on iTunes, on our podcast site at, the direct episode link: Episode 84, or on Stitcher Radio now! Just visit and search for Tales From The Mouse House - Disneyland Podcast!

Merry Christmas from the Kessel Family!!

Thanks for making US a part of your Disney Experience, and remember...
"Make It A Magical Mickey Holiday!"
                                          ~~ Al, Joyce and Kate (the pup)

Monday, December 16, 2013

Hi Ho Silver...AWAY! - Review of Disney's Lone Ranger

by Al Kessel

When I was a kid, I remember watching old re-runs of The Lone Ranger from the 1940's, starring Clayton Moore as the Masked Man and Jay Silverheels as Tonto. Now remember, this was from the 1940' the characters were a bit, well, different. The stories were always about some bad men doing some bad things, and the Lone Ranger, with his trusty side-kick Tonto saving the day. By the end of the episode, as The Lone Ranger would slowly ride into the sunset, all the town folk would say that now famous line..."who was that masked man?". Kind of corny but hey, it was a western, and full of action! It worked! So, imagine my delight when I first heard that Disney was going to reimagine (because you know, nothing is remade these days, just, reimagined!) The Lone Ranger! AND..Johnny Depp was going to play TONTO?! HOLY COW!!
Tonto and Silver

Now, if you haven't seen Disney's The Lone Ranger yet, I'll TRY not to spoil anything. But that may be hard since, in order to really review THIS title, it's important to give you some details from the movie. So, be forewarned now. 
The Lone Ranger and Tonto

The plot to this version of the iconic Western is a little different than the original. In the original, The Lone Ranger (also known as John Reid) was the last surviving Texas Ranger, who were sent after the fiendish Butch Cavendish and his gang. Well, seems the Rangers were betrayed and ambushed by Butch and all were shot and left for dead. This is where Tonto comes in. Tonto realizes that one of the Rangers is still alive and nurses him back to health. Realizing he is the last remaining Texas Ranger (and that Cavendish killed his brother Dan, one of the Rangers), he dons the iconic mask (made from his brothers vest) and vows to fight injustice as the Lone Ranger - so named not because he fights alone, but because he is the last of the Texas Rangers. 
William Fichtner as Butch Cavendish

In the 2013 Disney reimagined version, much is the same, except that John Reid wasn't originally a Texas Ranger, but a lawyer (district attorney actually) who was relocating to his brothers town to uphold the law, when certain events happen (you'll have to watch to find out) that lead John to join his brother and the other Rangers in their hunt for Cavendish. Pretty much the same deal as the original: betrayed, ambushed, killed, found by Tonto, mask, avenge brother. 

BUT, unlike the original, Tonto is sort of the star of this version. They made the Lone Ranger out to be somewhat of a bumbling ninny who, at first, stumbles into heroism. Actually, John wasn't Tonto's first choice to help him in his quest, his brother Dan was.  In fact, in the original story, Tonto gives John Reid the name Kemo-Sabee which he tells Reid means trusted scout, or trusted friend. In the reimagined version, which by the way is laced with a lot of great humor and sight gags, Tonto gives Reid that same moniker but says it means wrong brother! And in this version, Tonto creates the mask for The Lone Ranger to wear.
Tonto makes John Reid's mask

Disney's The Lone Ranger got a LOT of horrible reviews and a lot of bashing by moviegoers. And I understand why. If you go into this film with the expectations that you're going to see THE The Lone Ranger, well, yep, you're going to be VERY disappointed. This is NOT your daddy's Lone Ranger at all. It's something different, and in some ways better, other ways, not so much. Yes the plot is sort of sticky, and the movie tends to go long in a few places, but it is an enjoyable watch. The cinematography is absolutely beautiful, and the way in which they relate the story of The Lone Ranger is extremely clever (again, you'll need to watch to understand). The 'look' of the movie is just outstanding, but like I said, at times the actual movie leaves a bit to be desired. In fact, in a few places I said that if it weren't for Johnny Depp, this movie may not have worked at all. Depp brings so much to the reimagined character of Tonto which, for me was refreshing. I liked the original Tonto just fine, but he was just a side-kick, and at times not a very intelligent one. Depps' creation had heart, and a very intriguing back story that explains a LOT about the character that I felt worked. Which in this case was a good thing because I wasn't too fond of Armie Hammer's portrayal of John Reid/The Lone Ranger. After awhile he kind of grew on me, but I could have easily seen any number of other actors in the role. 
Johnny Depp's Tonto is Amazing

With a decent cast of supporting actors like Helena Bonham Carter (Harry Potter, Alice In Wonderland) as Red Harrington, Tom Wilkinson (Batman Begins, Michael Clayton) as Latham Cole and William Fichtner (Black Hawk Down, The Dark Knight) as Butch Cavendish, Disney's The Lone Ranger isn't a totally bad movie. It's actually a fun and adventurous romp through the old west! If you're a fan of The Pirates Of The Caribbean movies, you'll most likely enjoy The Lone Ranger. It's definitely worth a viewing!

Disney's The Lone Ranger hits stores on Blu-Ray Combo Pack, Digital HD, DVD and On-Demand December 17, 2013

The Blu-Ray and DVD packs come with the following Bonus Features:

  • Blooper Reel (TOTALLY hilarious!)
  • Deleted Scene - (Blu-Ray and Select Digital Retailers Only)
  • Riding The Rails Of The Lone Ranger – (Blu-Ray and Select Digital Retailers Only) For the production of the movie, director Gore Verbinski had a five mile oval track built along with multiple engines and cars. See the incredible effort that went into crafting such a detailed and important part of The Lone Ranger.
  • Armies's Western Road Trip - (Blu-Ray and Selected Digital Retailers Only) Armie Hammer takes viewers on a tour of the scenic locations the production shot in as we see and learn more about the amazing places he went to become The Lone Ranger
  • Becoming A Cowboy - (Blu-Ray and Selected Digital Retailers Only) Before the cast began shooting the film, they had to learn how to shoot a gun...and ride a horse! In this piece we follow the cowboy (and cowgirl) cast to boot camp, where they got a chance to experience what their characters would really be living like in the Wild West. 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Jake and the Never Land Pirates....DVD Review

by Joyce Kessel

Something VERY strange is happening all over Never Land, and things have gone missing! There's only one brave pirate that can save the day: Jake and the Never Land Pirates!!

In Jake and the Never Land Pirates: Never Land Rescue, Jake embarks on his most heroic mission ever as the magic of Never Land begins to disappear just as the ancient Forever Tree seems to be fading away. After a mysterious figure known as "The Guardian" arrives to explain that only the pirate who truly believes in himself can save Never Land, Jake must break off from the rest of his faithful crew and go it alone on a mission to save the Forever Tree, which as you know, is the source of ALL magic in Never Land. Guiding Jake on his perilous quest is none other than the Green Fairy herself - Tinker Bell (making her first EVER appearance in the Jake and the Never Land Pirates series).

Well, as you know, we're not the spoiler types here at Tales From The Mouse House, so I won't go in to greater detail than this, but rest assured, in Never Land Rescue things get quite hairy because, the pirate who rescues the Forever Tree also gets some of it's special magic. And you know what THAT means, right? Yep, Captain Hook wants in on that action! So, it's up to Jake and Tink to save the day, and Never Land. 

Of course, Jake and the Never Land Pirates is a Disney Junior series, and Never Land Rescue, although a separate DVD, is actually part of that television series. Included on the DVD, in addition to the full-length feature Never Land Rescue, are five episodes from the series not yet seen:

  • It's A Pirate Picnic/The Key To Skull Rock - Hook digs up the crew’s picnic spot and the crew gets a key to a treasure.
  • The Golden Twilight Treasure/Rock The Croc! - The crew must rescue a firefly from Hook and a treasure map lands in Croc’s mouth.
  • Jake and Sneaky Le Beak/Cubby The Brave - A sneaky pirate steals from Hook and a pair of boots makes Cubby brave.
  • Jake's Special Delivery/Seahorse Saddle-Up! - A mysterious package washes ashore and the crew races in a seahorse race.

Obviously this DVD isn't for everyone. In fact, Al fell asleep while I was watching, because, well, like I said, isn't for everyone! But trust me, the younger Disney fans will LOVE this. It has everything they could want in a Disney DVD: action, pirates, adventure, pirates, Tinker Bell, pirates, swords, pirates, mysteries and, did I mention pirates? This is certainly a terrific way to entertain the young ones during those cold winter months, or even for the warmer ones! And for the parents wondering if they SHOULD allow the kids to sit and watch a cartoon...yep. You should. Jake and the Never Land Pirates: Never Land Rescue isn't just a cartoon, it's a fun way to teach the kids important things, like team-work, acceptance, faith and facing their fears. In fact, I would LOVE to send a copy to my grandson Isaiah and granddaughter Emma! 

Also included on the DVD are eight bonus Playing With Skully cartoon shorts:
  • Sailing The Never Sea
  • Where's Sandy
  • Pulley Hook
  • North Bound
  • Diving in the Coral Reef
  • Ship Ahoy!
  • Pirate Puzzle
  • Coconuts On Pirate Island

AND, if that weren't enough, the DVD comes with a free inflatable sword (the Sword of Destiny from the movie) with glow in the dark stickers to decorate it with!  What little Jake fan wouldn’t love that! (Yeah, Al wanted to keep that, but I insisted it should go to someone who WATCHED the movie!)

Jake and the Neverland Pirates: Never Land Rescue is now available on DVD, and is rated TV-Y.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Practically Perfect In Every Way...Mary Poppins!

by Al Kessel
Ok, I must admit something. I am 49 years old. I have never seen Mary Poppins. I've lived my entire life without every seeing this movie. Now, before you demand my Disney Fan Club Card back, remember, it took me 43 years to make my first trip to Disneyland...and I became a HUGE fan instantly. Much like with Mary Poppins!

Our good friend Mr. Daps (from Daps Magic) refers to Mary Poppins a lot. He's obviously a big fan of the story, and now I know why. Joyce LOVES Mary Poppins, and was so excited when we were offered a copy of the 50th Anniversary Edition to review...and yes, NOW I know WHY. 
Julie Andrews as Mary Poppins

So, for those of you, like I WAS, who have never seen Disney's Mary Poppins, in a nutshell, it's all about a proper British family in London during the very early 1900's. Now, the father, Mr. Banks, in true British fashion, is the master of the household - totally involved in his work at the bank, ignoring the children and the wife, yet expects them to toe the line. The mother, Mrs. Banks, likes to support the 'women's' causes and is often away from the children. Then there's the children: Jane Banks, a precocious little girl, and Michael Banks, a precious little boy. As you'd expect, the Banks' children are often neglected by mom and dad, and generally give their nanny (by the time we open the film, it's obvious there's been MANY nannies) a most difficult time. In fact, the nannies keep dropping like flies! So, to settle the issue once and for all, Mr. Banks decides it's up to HIM to hire the next nanny and drafts a 'Nanny Wanted' ad to be placed in the newspaper. Of course, the children have their own version of the help wanted ad that father thinks is nonsense. So he tears it up, tosses it into the fireplace and that is..that. it? 
The Arrival

The very next day, Mary Poppins floats in (literally) on her umbrella-ella-ella (sorry, a little Genie humor. Those who've seen the Aladdin Theater show at California Adventure will get it!). And the rest, as they say, is theatrical history as Mary Poppins (NEVER just Mary) takes the Banks' children in adventures like stepping into a sidewalk chalk painting, riding a merry-go-round as the horses break away from the go-round and join in on a horse race, become chimney sweeps and join in on a fun musical number. All sorts of great stuff. And, helping Mary Poppins is the mysterious, musical and awesome Bert. I'm still not sure WHO or WHAT Bert was, but I know he's got a spirit that is just WONDERFUL!
Dick Van Dyke as Bert
Mary Poppins is without a doubt one of the best live-action Disney films I've seen. Julie Andrews (in her very first movie role) IS Mary Poppins. I mean, yes, she portrays Mary Poppins in the movie, but, she IS Mary Poppins. It was almost as if the character was written for her. With her wonderful singing and perfectly timed acting, it is very easy to see why the world fell in love with Julie Andrews after this film. Of course, the movie wouldn't be nearly as enjoyable without my second favorite character - Bert, as played by the incomparable Dick Van Dyke! Always a favorite of mine, Dick brought a wonderful twinkle to Bert that just wouldn't have been the same with any other actor. Although at times, Dick's British accent wasn't nearly as good as his singing and dancing (ESPECIALLY with the penguins - LOVED that sequence), it was very easy to overlook his lack of linguistic skills. 
The Penguin Dance!

Shall We Dance?

Merry-Go-Round Horse Race!

Of course, no movie would be as wonderful as Mary Poppins without a terrific supporting cast. Playing the perfectly English Mr. Banks was David Tomlinson, no stranger to family fantasy movies, starring in another one of Joyce's favorite movies, Bed Knobs and Broomsticks. Tomlinson brings the perfect mixture of uptight, job oriented and caring father to Mr. Banks. Glynis Johns (from While Your Were Sleeping and many more movies), played Mrs. Banks superbly. 

But of course, Mary Poppins would not be nearly the timeless classic it is without the absolutely inspirational musical score by THE most prolific songsters ever - Robert and Richard Sherman! The Sherman Brothers have composed so many songs, not just for Disney, that it's impossible for me to count. But trust me, IF for some STRANGE reason you're not familiar with their names, you'll recognize their music: Winnie The Pooh; Pineapple Princess; It's A Small World; The Tiki Tiki Tiki Room; and for Mary Poppins, awesome tunes like Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, Let's Go Fly A Kite, Chim Chim Churee, Spoon Full Of Sugar and Feed The Birds (Tuppence a Bag). 
Step In Time with the Chimney Sweeps!

Everything about Mary Poppins is a hit. And of course, as I've said many times, with just about all Disney movies, there IS a moral to the story. The Banks family was in bad shape. No one listened to anyone, they just didn't seem to be a close family. They needed 'Saving'. Mary Poppins is all about the importance of being a family, of enjoying the little things in life. See, in the beginning of the film. Mr. Banks thought the children needed to be controlled, to be taught how to be proper adults. That's why they had some many nannies. The nannies were to teach the youngsters proper manners, how to think like adults. But, in the end, Mary Poppins taught everyone that being true to yourself, being accepting of everyone for WHO they are is the most important lesson of all. 
Just A Spoon Full Of Sugar...

I am now a convert. I love Mary Poppins. A truly timeless classic as only Disney can present, and a wonderful film for the entire family. With such infectious songs, delightful dance numbers and terrific comedy, Mary Poppins is a must see for everyone. 

The Mary Poppins 50th Anniversary Edition is now available. The Blu-Ray Combo Pack includes (MRSP $39.99):

  • Mary Poppins Blu-Ray+DVD+Digital Copy
  • Mary-OKE's - New piece highlights popular music from the film, specifically “Spoon Full of Sugar,” “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious,” Step In Time,” “Chim Chim Cher-ee” and allows viewer to sing-along to animated words that display onscreen in unique ways.
  • Becoming Mr. Sherman - Join actor Jason Schwartzman as he sits down for a fun and musical-filled afternoon with Richard Sherman. In the new film, SAVING MR BANKS, Schwartzman portrays the Disney Legend... half of the famous composing team, the Sherman Brothers who wrote all the classic songs from MARY POPPINS, as well as many other favorites. Hear heartwarming, revealing stories about the making of this beloved musical, get more insight on working with Walt Disney, and get a unique sneak peek into SAVING MR BANKS, starring Tom Hanks, and Emma Thompson
Also available on DVD+Digital copy for $29.99

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Tales From The Mouse House Disneyland Podcast...Episode 83

Welcome to a special Pre-Holiday-Get-You-Ready-For-The-Season episode! Yep, on this episode of Tales From The Mouse House, we share some of our FAVORITE Disney Style Holiday Music, with an emphasis on our great friend, the very talented Ragtime Robert! Now, many of you will recognize Robert, since he IS the BEST Ragtime Piano Player Disneyland has EVER HAD! Ragtime Robert can be heard often playing at Coke Corner on Main Street U.S.A. inside the wonderful Disneyland Resort. Check out Ragtime Roberts website for all kinds of goodies, like samples of his great music or a schedule of his appearances: Ragtime Robert
Your VERY OWN Ragtime Robert Ornament! 

Hey, if YOU'RE in need of a great travel agent, why not give our sponsor, Randy Crane from Mouse Ear Vacations a holler! I bet he can make YOUR vacation a MAGICAL one! Visit Randy at NOW is the time to book your 2013 Disney Holiday adventure! 

As always, If you’d like to send in comments for the show, you can send us an email to, leave us voicemail on the Hotline at 304-TALES23, leave us feedback in iTunes or leave comments for us on our Twitter account @talespodcast. Heck, you can even find us on FaceBook, just search for Tales From The House House - Disneyland podcast! If you'd like to listen to the show, you can find it on iTunes, on our podcast site at, the direct episode link: Episode 83, or on Stitcher Radio now! Just visit and search for Tales From The Mouse House - Disneyland Podcast!

(Video Copyright by Daps Magic)