Teen Beach Movie – A Blast From The Past

D23 Expo Teen Beach Movie
Teen Beach Movie

SPOILER ALERT – I will be spoiling parts of Teen Beach Movie during this review, so if you haven’t seen it yet, go now!

Teen Beach Movie is clearly not marketed towards me. I’m a couple decades removed from my teen years, but having said that, I loved this Disney Channel Original Movie! As I write this, I am watching it for the fourth time in the last eight days if that tells you anything. And I already own the soundtrack and have played it on repeat more than a few times. As one who loves classic films and the surf culture of the 1960s, I am not at all surprised I love this. I am just glad it didn’t disappoint as the movie premiere has been on my calendar for months. 

The story of Teen Beach Movie is that of two teens, Mackenzie “Mack” (Maia Mitchell) and Brady (Ross Lynch), who love to surf. They are at the end of their summertime romance thanks to a promise Mack made to her aunt years ago when her mom passed away. Mack must now leave the beach where she has lived with her grandfather and his surfboard shop, as well as Brady to head “back east” to go to a prestigious prep school for the rest of high school. This sets up the initial conflict between Brady and Mack that will be carried throughout the rest of the movie when Mack breaks off their relationship since she is moving. 

Teen Beach Movie is dedicated to Annette Funicello who passed away recently. This is a perfectly fitting tribute to the Disney Legend and star of such fun films like Beach Blanket Bingo from the early to mid 1960s. One of Brady’s favorite films, Wet Side Story, is reminiscent of a classic Frankie (Avalon) and Annette beach movie. It takes place in 1962 and is a fun musical that is centered around a conflict between the surfers and bikers and a love story that brings them together. Mack and Brady soon find themselves closer to the movie than they’d ever imagined.

On the day Mack is supposed to leave with her aunt to go to school, the waves are supposed to be epic, once in a lifetime 30-40ft ones that most surfers only dream of. Before her flight Mack decides to try to catch one last wave. Brady shows up to support Mack, despite the fact she broke up with him, knowing full well she wouldn’t leave without trying to take advantage of the historic surf conditions. While Mack is trying to catch a huge wave her grandfather and Brady notice a nasty storm approaching and red flags being waved by the lifeguards. Mack ignores the warnings and stays out to try to catch the big one. Brady charges after her on a jetski to try to save her, but she insists she doesn’t need saving, and he has now ruined her chance of catching the wave. They both go under the surf after she wipes out.

The next scene of Teen Beach Movie finds Mack and Brady in a sunny beach scene with calm surf. As they walk to the shore, Mack fist notices something is amiss. Singing teen surfers cause Mack to think they may have died and ended up in a musical. Soon after they realize they have somehow been transported into the world of Wet Side Story! Brady couldn’t be more thrilled and jumps right in to have fun in one of his favorite movies. Mack is more reluctant to simply embrace their time/space travel. This is done with quite a bit of humor as Brady knows all the words and choreography while Mack is definitely a fish out of water. I love Maia Mitchell’s comedic timing and performance throughout the Teen Beach Movie, but it is especially showcased here and during her performance later in Can’t Stop Singing.

I won’t go through the entire plot, but I will say when I watched it through a few times, that Teen Beach Movie was definitely inspired by some of my favorite films. The time travel elements are similar to those in Back to the Future along with things out of time disappearing. The obvious correlation is made between Wet Side Story and West Side Story. Substitute the Jets and the Sharks for the surfers and the biker gang called the Rodents. Much like West Side Story, the boy leader on one side of the feud falls for (or at least is supposed to) a girl on the other side who is the sister of the rival’s leader. Throw in some elements of Grease and Pleasantville, mix together with Beach Blanket Bingo and a little bit of a zany Scooby Doo plot, and you’ve got Teen Beach Movie.

To their credit, I think the kids acting in the movie do a fantastic job playing homage to the days of old. The costumes and sets of Teen Beach Movie are colorful and fun and everything summer should be. I love how the comedy is easily accessible to those of all ages. There isn’t anything in the movie that made me feel the least bit uncomfortable about watching it with a seven year old. The choreography feels much more advanced than that found in another one of my favorite Disney Channel Original Movies, High School Musical. I especially love the songs and already have the Teen Beach Movie soundtrack on my phone! They feel genuine and representative of the time in which the movie is supposed to be set. I am hard pressed to pick favorites, but I love Surf Crazy and Can’t Stop Singing … and Fallin For Ya and Like Me. Okay, I’ll stop.

Surf Crazy
Surf Crazy

Back to Teen Beach Movie … with Mack and Brady trapped in Wet Side Story in 1962, they must find a way to get back to the present. Mack is definitely more motivated to get back to the future and to keep her promise to her deceased mom by going to private school. Brady is fine staying put and just wants to enjoy the moment, but realizes how important it is to Mack and decides it is best to try to get back home. Hilarity ensues when Mack and Brady’s presence interferes with the love story between leads Tanner of the surfers and Lela of the bikers. While they try to get things back on track, the kids get to enjoy a few days in the movie world.

Part of what Mack struggles with most in the past is the role girls played in 1962 compared to what she is used to for gender roles in 2013. As she tries to question the paradigm that everyone else in the movie embraces as the status quo, she inadvertently helps Lela discover that there is more to life than just baking pies for the boys. There are definite feminist undertones to Teen Beach Movie and Mack’s character in particular, but it is to be expected with the culture shock of taking a teen from the 21st century and putting her in pre-feminist movement mid-century America. I think they handled it well and with comedy. In the end it turns out Mack learns as much from Lela as she teaches her new friend. Lela learns it is okay to surf like a boy and to know the mechanics of motorcycles. Mack discovers she won’t dishonor her mom’s memory by following her heart and staying at the beach with Brady instead of going to private school.

All in all Teen Beach Movie is a ton of fun, has great song and dance numbers, action, romance and most of all comedy. The lead characters of Mack and Lela are the most dynamic I think, but even some of the more two dimensional background characters are enjoyable. I cannot get enough of it! It is staying on my dvr for a while until I can get to the store to buy it on dvd. As I mentioned, the soundtrack is already available as well and debuted at #8 on the Billboard 200 chart and was the number 1 soundtrack and children’s album according to Marketwatch. As I write this, the soundtrack is currently the number 3 selling album on iTunes. USA Today reported that Teen Beach Movie had over 8.4 million viewers for its premiere here. You can bet I will be watching as the dance along edition airs too. I’ve already seen the regular version three times and the sing along edition. Teen Beach Movie is one that I can literally watch over and over again and it is right up there with High School Musical as one of my favorite DCOMs of all time.

Have you seen Teen Beach Movie yet? What did you think? Who were your favorite characters? What is your favorite song? Make sure you watch all the way to the end for some hilarious outtakes postcredits.

Check out our previous post here about Teen Beach Movie and the dance party at Typhoon Lagoon where Shelley got to meet several of the actors from the movie!

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My First Trip to Typhoon Lagoon

Typhoon Lagoon
Typhoon Lagoon

As we are now in the unofficial post Memorial Day summer season, I thought I’d talk about Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park. So full disclosure, I have actually been to Typhoon Lagoon before. The first time I went though I don’t really count as I was only there for about an hour before the park closed due to weather. That is one of the things you need to be aware of is that the safety of the guests and Cast Members will always come first, so if there is any lightning or major inclement weather, the park is subject to temporary closure. Both times I have visited now were stormy days in May and June, so knowing the Florida summer weather, this is not a rare occasion.

The first time I went, back in June of 2008, I was able to experience two attractions, which was good because I didn’t get a chance to do them this trip. First up was the Shark Reef. This snorkeling experience in chilly (about 68 degrees) saltwater, allows you to gently float in a pool with a few different types of sharks and several species of fish swimming below you. I opted to take an underwater camera, but the pictures came out kind of dark since it was a stormy day. This is a cool activity to try and doesn’t have an additional cost to borrow the snorkel equipment.

Shark Reef
Shark Reef
Shark
Shark
Fish
Fish
More Fish
More Fish

The only other thing I was able to do before the park closed was Castaway Creek, the lazy river where you

Castaway Creek
Castaway Creek
Getting Sprayed on Castaway Creek
Getting Sprayed on Castaway Creek

can gently float along in an inner tube around the perimeter of Typhoon Lagoon. I absolutely love this attraction and was a little sad I wasn’t able to do it last week when I went. It is so relaxing to just chill, but beware, there are also spots along the creek where other guests can shoot water cannons to spray you from the bridges above. It is also really convenient that there are multiple access points where you can get in and out of the creek, or go all the way around.

When we first arrived, we headed to grab dinner at Leaning Palms. There are several quick service and snack locations throughout the park that even accept the dining plan. I was excited to see that they have the mini donuts at Typhoon Lagoon, which I have only had before at Blizzard Beach. I had a fantastic turkey pesto sandwich with homemade chips and fresh fruit and a soda.

This past week was the first time I was able to do any of the water slides at Typhoon Lagoon, so this is why I consider it my first real trip to the water park. I started off with a ride on Humunga Kowabunga, a five story straight drop in only seconds. This is like doing Splash Mountain on your back without a flume. It is quite the thrill! Next up were the Storm Slides, which I enjoyed a bit more. These three winding slides still provide a thrill at a three story drop.

Typhoon Tilly and Humunga Kowabunga
Typhoon Tilly and Humunga Kowabunga
Typhoon Waterworks
Typhoon Waterworks

From here, we went to one of my favorite rides we did, Gangplank Falls, a family raft ride that combines fun twists and turns with drops and even some unexpected water effects. I really enjoyed this as you can ride with three others and this makes a fun attraction for the whole family! The last ride I did was Mayday Falls, a single inner tube slide that takes you through tubes, under waterfalls, and is one of the fastest of the single tube slides. I liked this one too, but got a little scared when I got turned around partway down. Luckily, I was able to turn back around before the splashdown.

Overall, I had a fun time on the slides. Gangplank Falls was my favorite of the rides I did. I wish I had been able to do Crush ‘n’ Gusher as I’ve only heard fantastic things about this exciting water roller coaster that shoots you up and down hills on an inner tube. One of my absolute favorite things to do was actually to sit on the seats along the edge of the wall at the side of the Typhoon Lagoon Surf Pool. The waves come and splash you every few minutes cooling you off as you relax.

Typhoon Lagoon Surf Pool
Typhoon Lagoon Surf Pool

 

Here are a few things you need to know, that I wish I had known, before I went to Typhoon Lagoon. There are quite a few (read as hundreds, if not thousands) of stairs to get to many of the attractions. I was more sore the next day after going to the water park for two hours from doing stairs than I am after a 3 mile run. You’ve been warned! Also, there are signs around most of the slides warning you not to wear jewelry on the slides. Take it from me and heed these warnings. I don’t know if it was on a slide or in the wave pool, but I lost one of my toe rings that I never take off because they are now just a part of me.

On the subject of the wave pool, don’t underestimate the height of the waves. I was in the pool with Zoe and realized she wasn’t going to be tall enough to jump over the wave, so I tossed her over the wave, but wasn’t able to brace myself and was knocked over. I was fine, other than a small scrape on my knee, but pay attention and try not to get caught in no man’s land where you are in between where the waves break. You are better off going either deeper to where the waves aren’t breaking yet, or more shallow closer to the beach after where the waves break.

Typhoon Lagoon was a ton of fun and I can’t wait to go back to try the last few attractions I haven’t done yet. They also have a great kids only area for younger children called Ketchakiddee Creek if your kids aren’t as daring as Zoe, who at almost 7 does all of the big slides too. This area is like a mini version of the rest of the park with different types of attractions like slides, tube rides, fountains and caves with waterfalls. I also look forward to going to Blizzard Beach for the first time to do something other than eat donuts. 😉

Have you been to the Disney water parks before? What are your favorite attractions at Typhoon Lagoon? Take time to cool down this summer outside the theme parks and take advantage of all the great offerings at the water parks.

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Spring into Adventures

Spring is in the air. Hopefully the pollen and my allergies will clear up soon and it is heating up and starting to feel like summer here in Florida. I thought I’d take this opportunity to share some of the things I’m most looking forward to over the next couple of months instead of doing that spring cleaning that I probably should be doing. Now that I’ve found out my schedule for the rest of the spring and beginning of summer, I thought I’d start planning some weekend adventures. The parks across the area have some fantastic special events this time of year, and before the kids are out of school it is a great time to get away while the crowds are lower.

Spring in bloom at Epcot's International Flower & Garden Festival
Spring in bloom at Epcot’s International Flower & Garden Festival

At Epcot we are already more than halfway through the International Flower & Garden Festival. I love this event each year and have been attending since 1998! I dearly miss Davy Jones of the Monkees, as his was always my go to concert for the Flower Power Concert Series. The thing I think I am most excited about (aside from the newly added food and beverage kiosks) is that my favorite HGTV celebrity, David Bromstad, is going to be hosting presentations May 17 – 19 and I’m now off that weekend!

Star Wars Weekends
Star Wars Weekends

Another of my favorite things that I will get to do for the third year in a row is Star Wars Weekends at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. This fabulous event has quickly become a must do for me! I still have so many things I haven’t done yet that are on my to do list. I need to get up early enough and get to the park to see the Stormtroopers on top of the entrance to the park above the turnstiles. Also, I really want to get my picture taken with as many of the characters as possible and go to some of the presentations and shows. And then, of course, there is Hyperspace Hoopla, my favorite of all! My apologies to anyone who now has that song stuck in their head (Hoooooooopla, Hyperspace Hoopla…).

Viva la Música
Viva la Música

Busch Gardens and Sea World are playing host to an awesome special event that I got to experience last year for the first time: Viva la Mύsica! This great offering is one that features Latin American food, merchandise, cuture, and of course, music. I got to go just for an hour or so to Busch Gardens after work last year and got to try to some amazing food, but was too late for the concert. This year I was hoping to catch at least one weekend at Busch Gardens and Sea World each. I was so excited when I found out that my favorite salsa band, El Gran Combo, was going to be playing at both parks. I know where I’ll be that weekend!

One of the greatest things about these three events is that they are all included in park admission. Food and beverages of course are extra, but the entertainment and most of the presentations are free of charge with your ticket. These add tremendous value to your vacation or even just a day in the park for us locals.

Water parks are definitely on my list for the next few months. I’ve lived in Florida for almost 20 years and I’ve only been to Typhoon Lagoon for a couple hours and did the lazy river and snorkled with the sharks before the park closed due to weather. This needs to be rectified. I’ve visited Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach for functions, but haven’t done a single water slide. This is a travesty! I also would love to check out some of the other area water parks like Sea World’s Aquatica and Adventure Island in Tampa.

Now we all know that sometimes with the spring come those showers that we need for those pretty flowers. What to do when it isn’t exactly park weather? Why not catch a film? Two movies I am ridiculously excited to see this spring are Marvel’s Iron Man 3 and Disney/Pixar’s Monsters University (visit this site if you haven’t already – it is hilarious!). I am a huge Avengers fan and loved the first Iron Man movie, enjoyed the second one, and adored the Avengers, so I cannot wait to see what they have in store for Tony Stark in this next installment. Monsters Inc was a great, feel good family flick and I think that this will be very entertaining to see some of Mike and Sulley’s adventures before they were best buds.

What are you looking forward to this spring? Did I miss any of your favorite spring special events? Have you been to any of these before? What are some of your favorite things to do in spring when the weather doesn’t cooperate? Hit us up and let us know.

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Disney’s Water Parks Dive Into Summer 2012 with New Entertainment, Eats and More

From the Desk of The Walt Disney World Resort:

Typhoon Lagoon Packs in New Seasonal Offerings, Both Parks Offer Extra Magic Hours Through Late August

 

Summer 2012 brings a splash of fun for the whole family at Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon and Disney’s Blizzard Beach water parks, with new entertainment and dining options at Typhoon Lagoon and Extra Magic Hours at both parks.

New Entertainment

The relaxing atmosphere at Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon is enhanced with new sounds of summer. For the first time, Calypso band “Tropicals” brings Caribbean steel drums to the park from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. every Friday through Sunday until July 15. The band can be found near the Crush ‘n’ Gusher water coaster pool area. Returning this year every day through September 8, characters Lilo and Stitch can be found just outside of the High N’ Dry sundries shop at Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon; at Disney’s Blizzard Beach, guests can chill out with Goofy, who can be found roaming the water park.

New Dining Option

Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon guests looking for summer fare beyond the normal park offerings may visit Tropicalamity. The new temporary food and beverage tent, located near Crush ‘n’ Gusher water coaster pool area, features a variety of eats, including chicken jerk pita wrap, citrus chicken salad, hot meatball sub and cold Italian sub. 

Summer Extra Magic Hours

Guests staying at Walt Disney World resort hotels can take advantage of Extra Magic Hours on select days and times at both Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon and Disney’s Blizzard Beach through late August.

Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon

  • Currently, Wednesday mornings before the park opens, from 8-9 a.m. through August 22.
  • Starting July 7, guests can take advantage of additional extra magic hours Saturday mornings before the park opens, from 8-9 a.m. through August 18.

Disney’s Blizzard Beach

  • Currently, Thursday mornings before the park opens, from 8-9 a.m. through August 23.
  • Starting July 3, guests can take advantage of additional extra magic hours Tuesday mornings before the park opens, from 8-9 a.m. through August 14.

About Disney’s Water Parks

Walt Disney World guests visiting Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon water park escape to a tropical paradise left behind by a storm. Surfboards, fishing gear, boats, including the iconic shrimp boat, Ms. Tilly, once strewn about by a typhoon, add to the ambiance.

Guests visiting Disney’s Blizzard Beach will discover a melting wonderland where a freak snowstorm hit Florida. Icicles, ski gear and steep slopes grace the ski resort landscape, home to some of the most thrilling water rides in the United States.

For more information about Disney’s Water Parks, guests can visit disneyworld.com/waterparks.

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