#PuppyDogPals ~ What An Adventure on Disney Junior!

Puppy Dog Pals Disney Junior
Photo Credit: Disney Junior

Puppy Dog Pals is an upcoming Disney Junior show that will debut on April 14, 2017 at 10:30 a.m. ET/PT with two back to back episodes on the Disney Channel. The premiere episode will also become available that day on the Disney Junior app and Disney Junior YouTube page.

Puppy Dog Pals Disney Junior
Photo Credit: Disney Junior

The story focuses on two fun-loving pug puppies, Bingo and Rolly, whose thrill-seeking appetites take them on daily adventures around their neighborhood and beyond and around the globe. 

Puppy Dog Pals Executive Producer Sean Coyle ~ Photo Credit: Disney Junior/Aaron Poole

The series was created by comedian Harland Williams and executive-produced by Sean Coyle.

Whether embarking on a mission to help their owner Bob or assisting a friend in need, the pugs’ motto is that life is more exciting with your best friend by your side. Along for the adventures are their community of colorful animal pals including Bob’s cat Hissy and A.R.F., the lovable robot dog created by Bob. Each episode features two 11-minute stories that showcase Bingo and Rolly’s similarities and differences while demonstrating positive lessons about friendship, problem-solving, collaboration, creativity and adventure.

Even though the show is geared toward the pre-school set, I was totally wrapped up in the show when I was given the opportunity to screen it in late March. The lessons the show is trying to teach – creativity, friendship and problem solving – are so well done in a fun and entertaining way. I guess I’m a child at heart because I truly enjoyed not only the messages be taught but the cutest little puppy dogs teaching those lessons!

After the screening, I was given the opportunity to take part in a Q&A with the Executive Producer Sean Coyle and Disney Junior Creative Executive Diane Ikemiyashiro. These Q&A’s always spark my interest. I truly enjoy learning about the thought process behind these shows and where some of the outstanding ideas come from. 

When asked what age group the show was designed for, Sean Coyle told us they were definitely aiming for the two to five age range. As a parent of two little kids, he is very picky with what they watch because it has to be something that he doesn’t mind spending time with either. And so that was really a focus for him and many of the crew members too. The writers, the directors, the designers just wanted to create something that kids would love but also something that people two to eighty could enjoy spending 25 minutes with. Believe me! They hit it right too! I know I enjoyed watching it myself but enjoyed just as much watching the reaction of a child (son of a visiting blogger) sitting a few seats away.

According to Sean, early on they ran focus groups with pre-schoolers as the audience and listened to the suggestions and comments of those pre-schoolers. How cool is that? Grown-ups taking into consideration the thoughts and ideas of pre-schoolers! Sean also said that at Disney there is always a standard of quality. He knows that he can turn on a Disney show and leave his kids if he has to because there isn’t going to be anything suspect or controversial. It’s a trusted brand.

Sean indicated that in the development stage he would study his own children’s reaction to a lot of it. I would feed them character designs and story ideas and ask them if they would watch a show about two dogs that perhaps go to Hawaii and surf. He would then gauge what they responded to and how they responded to it. 

At the core of Puppy Dog Pals is the family unit. Two brothers that love each other, support each other and help each other. A wonderful message – it’s about family bonds, being friends, making friends, being a good brother.

Both Sean and Diane agreed that the ultimate goal of the show was to have some education told in a very entertaining and storytelling way. I certainly think they are successful with Puppy Dog Pals!

Here’s a great trailer – Enjoy!

Recurring guest stars will include musician Huey Lewis as Bulworth, the junkyard dog; Patrick Warburton (“Family Guy”) as Captain Dog, the star of the pups’ favorite television show; Jack McBrayer (“30 Rock”) as Hedgie the hedgehog; Yvette Nicole Brown (“Elena of Avalor”) as Daisy, a kind German Shepherd; famed sportscaster Bob Uecker as a baseball announcer; Leslie David Baker (“The Office”) and Cheri Oteri (“Saturday Night Live”) as neighbors Frank and Esther Exposition; Jill Talley (“American Dad”) as bossy pup Cupcake; Mo Collins (“Fresh Off the Boat”) as Strider, a fast-talking sheep herder; and Tress MacNeille (“Mickey and the Roadster Racers”) as Bob’s Mom.

Games and activities featuring Bingo and Rolly became available on the Disney Junior app and DisneyJunior.com on April 7. 

I was provided an all expense paid trip to San Francisco for the purposes of this review and event. All opinions are my own.

A Look at Disneynature’s #BornInChina

Born China Disneynature

I was recently invited to San Francisco by Disney to experience some new films and shows. Part of that event included a special early screening of Born in China, a breathtaking film of family, survival and nature.

Disneynature films gives everyone a look at some of the most amazing and beautiful wildlife in the world. A look at some of the most amazing and beautiful locations in the world. I have always found each film to be educational and interesting. So much of what they produce teaches both children and adults so many wonderful things about nature. Born in China is no different. The film centers around three animal families – a Panda and her cub, a snow leopard mom and her two off-spring and a full clan of golden snub-nosed monkeys.

The film will be opening on April 21 and moviegoers who see Born in China during its opening week in 2017 will benefit World Wildlife Fund (WWF). Based on opening-week attendance, Disneynature, via the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund, will make a contribution to WWF to help protect wild pandas and snow leopards in China. 

The film is narrated by John Krasinski (“13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi,” NBC’s “The Office,” “Amazon’s “Jack Ryan”). He guides us on a journey into the wilds of China where few people ever venture and has us following the stories of the three animal families. We are transported via film to some of the most extreme environments on earth and given the opportunity to witness some intimate moments of these animal families.

A doting panda bear mother guides her growing baby as the innocent cub tries to explore and become independent. A two year old golden snub-nosed monkey, feeling displaced by his new baby sister, joins up with a group of free-spirited outcasts (that I lovingly started to refer to as the “lost boys”). A mother snow leopard is the most amazing of all since snow leopards are rarely caught on camera. The hardships she faces trying to raise her two cubs in one of the harshest and most unforgiving environments on the planet is heartbreaking. The landscapes are awesome and beautiful. Born in China is overall a fascinating nature film.

While I believe the film is family friendly overall, is educational, and holds a true message of family bonds, there are scenes of animals in extreme danger and fighting against each other for survival, as well as death that could be scary for very little or sensitive kids. The harsh realities and images of the existence of these animal families living in the wild include seeing a baby monkey being swept up by a hawk, animals viciously attacking each other, and the death of an animal mother. Older kids and parents will likely be interested in seeing this remote part of the world and its inhabitants and not be disturbed because of a better understanding. I also think the film, along with many other Disneynature films, are ideal for home-schooling families. The film ends with some wonderful out-takes that give you a greater look at what went into the making of this beautiful story.


The scenery is stunning and gives us a look at areas of China that most of us will never see. The film will definitely tug at your heart while keeping you interested, amazed and occasionally amused.

Fun Facts to download about the adorable pandas in the film:

Two great clips from the movie that will definitely put a smile on your face!


About Disneynature

Disneynature was launched in April 2008. Its mission is to bring the world’s top nature filmmakers together to share a wide variety of wildlife stories on the big screen in order to engage, inspire and educate theatrical audiences everywhere. Walt Disney was a pioneer in wildlife filmmaking, producing 13 True-Life Adventure motion pictures between 1948 and 1960, which earned eight Academy Awards®. The first six Disneynature films, “Earth,” “Oceans,” “African Cats,” “Chimpanzee,” “Bears” and “Monkey Kingdom” are six of the top seven highest overall grossing feature-length nature films to date, with “Chimpanzee” garnering a record-breaking opening weekend for the genre. Disneynature’s commitment to conservation is a key pillar of the label and the films empower the audience to help make a difference. Through donations tied to opening-week attendance for all six films, Disneynature, through the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund, has contributed to a host of conservation initiatives. Efforts include planting three million trees in Brazil’s Atlantic Forest, established 40,000 acres of marine protected area in The Bahamas, protected 65,000 acres of savanna in Kenya, protected nearly 130,000 acres of wild chimpanzee habitat, cared for chimpanzees and educated 60,000 school children about chimpanzee conservation in the Congo. Additionally, efforts have funded research and restoration grants in U.S. National Parks, supporting conservation projects spanning 400,000 acres of parkland and protecting 75 species of animals and plants, and helped protect monkeys and other endangered species in their natural habitats across Indonesia, Cambodia and Sri Lanka.

Like Disneynature on Facebook: Facebook.com/Disneynature

Follow Disneynature on Twitter: Twitter.com/Disneynature

Follow Disneynature on Tumbler: http://disneynature.tumblr.com/

Follow Disneynature on Instagram: http://instagram.com/disneynature

Visit the official BORN IN CHINA website: http://nature.disney.com/born-in-china

Check out a previously published post HERE that offers a Born in China Activity Pack. The activity packet is perfect for homeschooling families as well as anyone with a thirst for knowledge, or simply anyone that just loves animals.

I was provided an all expense paid trip for purposes of this review. All opinions are my own.

Have Fun in #TheToyBox on ABC! #ABCTVEvent

Toy Box ABC
Photo Credit: ABC TV

I was recently invited by Disney to come to San Francisco – the invitation started out like this: 

We would like to invite you to a very special Disney, Pixar & ABC hosted event in March – exclusively for our top Bloggers! This trip will include the release of Disney/Pixar’s CARS 3, the new Disneynature film BORN IN CHINA and the new ABC toy-competition series THE TOY BOX! 

I’ll be telling you all about my adventure over the next several weeks and will start today with The Toy Box!

Premiering tonight (April 7 at 8 p.m.) on ABC, The Toy Box is definitely something you should not miss! I laughed so hard throughout parts of the episode I screened that the tears were streaming and my belly was aching! 

A multicultural singing doll, wacky worm, party cannon and more compete in the first episode for a chance at the grand prize on the series premeire of ABC’s The Toy Box!

The Toy Box is similar to The Shark Tank for toys and kids are the sharks! The show brings amateur toy creators face-to-face with the best toy judges there could be – kids! But first, the hopeful inventors have to get past a panel of grown-up judges who will assess the cost and marketing potential of their product. Each inventor that doesn’t make the cut is given constructive criticism on what to do in order to improve their product. The toys that make it through that first set of judges head into The Toy Box!

The grown-up panel includes Jen Tan, Pixar Creative Director of Consumer Products; Dylan’s Candy Bar owner Dylan Lauren; and, toy guru Jim Silver. Each episode is hosted by Eric Stonestreet (Cam from Modern Family) and nothing can prepare you for his comic come-backs and interaction! The kid judges are: Sophia Grace Brownlee (The Ellen Degeneres Show), Aalyrah Caldwell (Uncle Buck), Toby Grey (The Unexpected John Cena Prank) and Noah Ritter (The Ellen Degeneres Show). 

Let me tell you about my favorite kid – Noah Ritter! This little kid has the ability to make you laugh until your sides hurt! I foresee a great future for this child!

Toy Box ABC
Photo Credit: ABC TV

The kids get to decide which toy moves on to the finals. The toys and their creators get to showcase their product for an opportunity to bring their toy to life with Mattel. The winner of each episode will move to the finals and in the last episode all the winners will compete against each other to have their toy concept be the final chosen product! The final winning toy will be manufactured by Mattel and available to buy right after the finale airs exclusively at ToysRUs.

What I absolutely fell in love with is the fact that this show is true family entertainment. While I watched and laughed, I knew my granddaughter would fall in love with the show. I also knew my husband would love it! I know we will have a great time watching each episode together and it’s because it’s good, honest, open, family fun. I like the idea that it’s going to create an emotional connection to a toy. Knowing who created it, what they sacrificed to create it, and how they came up with the idea makes you care about each inventor and cheer them on.

This week’s episode of inventions includes:

  • Arya Ball – a reimagining of the soccer ball with special surprises inside.
    Inventor: Babak from Carlsbad, California
  • Wacky Worm Racing Game – a racing game where players dressed in a worm costume race to cross the finish line. Inventor: Cedric from Orlando, Florida
  • Niya Doll – a multicultural doll collection who sings and speaks in multiple languages. Inventor: Darla from Columbia, South Carolina
  • Swurfer – a backyard swing inspired by a surfboard. Inventor: Rob from Charleston, South Carolina
  • Party Cannon – a party game that launches toys, prizes and candy. Inventor: Rick from Miami Springs, Florida

No spoilers here, I won’t tell you who moves forward in the competition but I will tell you the inventor I was rooting for didn’t make it. I guess I don’t think like a kid! (insert heavy sigh!)

After screening the episode that premieres tonight, we were fortunate to spend some time chatting with Jen Tan, Pixar Creative Director of Consumer Products and one of the adult mentor judges. What a delight she is!

Toy Box ABC
Photo Credit: Pamela Maynard, Mom Does Reviews

A graduate of the two year toy design program at Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, Jen began her career with Disney Consumer Products, and after one or two other spots landed at Pixar. She became involved with the show when the producers approached Pixar looking for someone to be one of the mentor judges.

Jen let us know that when judging the toys, she looks at what she would like for her own daughter. She looks for the toy that allows creativity and imagination in children. Toys that aren’t all high tech. Toys that just let kids have fun. Toys that will stand the test of time and a child will be happy playing with over and over again. What a great way to look at it. So many of today’s toys are techie type toys that don’t allow children to grow with creativity and imagination so knowing that this is something Jen looks for is exciting.

As one of the first level of judges on The Toy Box she is required to make a decision on the spot. She gets no previous look at the idea, the person or the concept before taping. This is something she found difficult since you are listening to a toy creator talk about investing his/her life savings or his/her child’s college fund into the idea. She found it very emotional at times after hearing some of the stories behind the creations to make a quick decision as to whether or not the inventor would move forward. Fortunately, the exposure itself, even if a toy creator doesn’t move forward, may help some of these creative inventors!

The Toy Box is from Mattel, Hudsun Media and Electus. Michael Rourke, Chris Grant, Drew Buckley, Richard Dickson, Catherine Balsam-Schwaber, Julia Pistor, Susan House and Hamilton South are executive producers.

Facebook: www.Facebook.com/TheToyBoxABC
Instagram: @TheToyBox
Twitter: @TheToyBoxABC

I hope you will all take the time to watch this new show tonight! I know you won’t be disappointed! After watching, be sure to come back and tell me what you think!

I was provided an all expense paid trip to San Francisco for the purposes of this review and event. All opinions are my own.

FENCES with Denzel Washington and Viola Davis – Blu-Ray Combo Pack Giveaway

Fences Combo Pack GiveawayFences is the story of Troy Maxson, a mid-century Pittsburgh sanitation worker who once dreamed of a baseball career, but was too old when the major leagues began admitting black players. He tries to be a good husband and father, but his lost dream of glory eats at him, and causes him to make a decision that threatens to tear his family apart. Family dynamic, love, loyalty, father/son relationships and the role a wife and mother silently plays in all of it is only the tip of the ice berg of this film.

I’m a huge Denzel Washington fan and Viola Davis amazes me over and over again in each role she takes on. I’m not sure what I enjoyed most ~ Denzel Washington, Viola Davis or the chemistry and combination of the two together. I think this is one of those movies I may see over and over again!

Denzel Washington directs and stars in this incredible drama which has been hailed by critics. The movie will arrive on Blue-Ray Combo Pack and On Demand on March 14, 2017.

Some people build fences to keep people out — and other people build fences to keep people in. Academy Award® winner Denzel Washington and Academy Award® winner Viola Davis deliver the “performance-driven masterpiece” of the year in the film adaptation of August Wilson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play. Set in 1950’s Pittsburgh, the film takes a passionate look at former Negro-league baseball player Troy Maxson (Washington) as he fights to provide for those he loves in a world that threatens to push him down. Washington’s directorial triumph “connects with people on a deep, emotional level” and pulses with the universal truths of love and forgiveness, despite what lies beyond your own fence.

The FENCES Blu-ray Combo Pack includes over 30 minutes of fascinating bonus content. With interviews from the cast and crew, including actor/director Denzel Washington and Viola Davis, discover how August Wilson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play was adapted from stage to screen. Plus, visit the movie’s Pittsburgh set, learn how Davis prepared for her award-winning performance, and much more.


Enter to win your very own copy of FENCES!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway will begin on March 8 and end at midnight on March 14, 2017. Winner will be notified via e-mail and will have 48 hours to claim prize. If not claimed within 48 hours, a new winner will be chosen. Giveaway is open to residents of the U.S., 18 years of age and over. An Open Suitcase is not responsible for shipment of prize. Prize will come directly from Paramount Pictures and may take 4 to 6 weeks to arrive.

This is a sponsored post on behalf of Review Wire Media for Paramount Pictures. I received information to facilitate my review as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

Lose Yourself in the Music with Chromecast Audio

Lose yourself in the music!

Dance like no one is watching!

Turn up the volume, close your eyes, and let the music take over your soul!

Make your speakers smart(er)

Chromecast Audio is an affordable way to enjoy the music you love on your existing speakers. Connect the tunes from your phone to your speakers and still be able to answer your phone! The Chromecast Audio devices are available at Best Buy and are truly inexpensive ($30).

What is Chromecast Audio?

Chromecast Audio is a small device that plugs into your speakers for streaming music through WiFi. Once set up, simply use your iPhone®, iPad®, Android phone and tablet, Mac® and Windows® laptop, or Chromebook to stream your favorite tunes to the best speakers in the house. By using your phone, it’s easy to play, pause, or change the volume from anywhere in the home. And while streaming, you can still text or call without interrupting what’s playing or draining your battery.

Easily stream music, without the hassle of pairing

Tap the Cast button from music apps to send the music instantly to your speakers. Search, play, pause, queue songs and change the volume right from your phone—anywhere in the house.

Listen to your favorites, anytime

Enjoy over 30 million songs from music services like Pandora, Google Play Music, Spotify, and iHeartRadio. We’re constantly adding new apps, so there’s no end to the music, radio stations and podcasts you can enjoy.

Plus, stream any audio from your Android phone or your laptop

For apps that are not yet Cast-enabled or music stored on your device, you can stream audio from your Android phone or tablet to the speaker. Or, use your laptop to stream music and audio streaming websites from the Chrome browser.

  • Streaming music over wifi instead of bluetooth gives you a higher quality of sound. Chromecast Audio uses WiFi to stream lossless high resolution audio to your speakers, so you get better than CD quality sound. With Bluetooth, audio is re-compressed and limited to standard resolution.
  • With WiFi streaming, your music keeps playing without disruption, even if you get a phone call or a text notification. With Bluetooth, phone calls and notifications are heard over the speakers.
  • Control music from anywhere in the house. Chromecast Audio streams music over WiFi, which means you can control the music from anywhere within your WiFi network. With Bluetooth, your phone needs to be near the speaker or the music will stop playing.
  • Streaming music over WiFi doesn’t drain your battery, while pairing from Bluetooth does.
  • Easily share music from multiple devices. With WiFi every mobile device on the network can connect and control your speakers. Chromecast’s guest mode makes it even easier for guests to connect to your speakers without connecting to your WiFi network. With Bluetooth, pairing devices can be tedious and requires disconnecting one device before another can connect.
  • Play same music across multiple speakers. Chromecast Audio lets you group multiple speakers together to play the same song everywhere.

Chromecast Audio Best Buy

This is one of the coolest gadgets I have used in a long time! It was in place within seconds and we’ve been dancing around the house for days!

The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free