Disney’s “Galaxy’s Edge” Star Wars Theme Park is Almost Operational [WATCH]

(starwars.com)

Crank up the hyperdrive and get ready to punch in the coordinates for either Florida or California. Disney is putting the final touches on their huge Star Wars-themed areas in both Disney World and Disneyland, and they look incredible.

When the attraction was announced in 2015,  The Walt Disney Company Chairman and CEO Bob Iger described it as being “occupied by many inhabitants; humanoids, aliens and droids … the attractions, the entertainment, everything we create will be part of our storytelling. Nothing will be out of character or stray from the mythology.” And, according to many sources (1, 2, 3), it’s on par to be the immersive Star Wars experience as promised.

Guests who enter the new area will find themselves transported to the remote frontier outpost planet, Batuu. By downloading the park specific app, smartphones are transformed into Star Wars datapads that have a number of functions, such as translating signs, conversations, and directions (an intergalactic Google Translate, if you will). It will also be useful for hacking data terminals, listening to various broadcasts, and solving themed puzzles while you wait in line for the two main attractions.

Rise of the Resistance

(starwars.com)

The first of the two rides is currently being hyped as the longest and most elaborate attractions in Disney history. From beginning to end, it is comprised of four separate and exciting experiences:

  • Guests are asked by Rey and BB-8 to join a mission to assist the Resistance in fighting the First Order. Riding up to space in a transport shuttle, the ship gets caught in a battle and is captured by a First Order Star Destroyer.
  • Exiting the transport, guests will find themselves in the Star Destroyer hanger (one of the largest rooms in the entire building), complete with a regiment of stormtroopers, TIE fighters, and a view into space.
  • Guests are interrogated by Kylo Ren and separated into smaller groups for processing; however, a Resistance droid intercepts them and reprograms their vehicle.
  • The final escape sequence will have guests zooming through the highly-detailed corridors of the Star Destroyer as well as facing off against First Order troops, giant AT-AT walkers, and Kylo Ren himself, all while catching glimpses of the epic space battle going on outside.

Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run

(starwars.com)

The second major attraction throws you into the pilot’s (or flight engineer or gunner’s) seat of the most famous hunk of junk in the galaxy to smuggle intergalactic contraband firsthand. The ride provides guests with several different views of the famous freighter—both inside and out—before putting their piloting skills to the test with mission-specific roles.

Don’t go thinking this is some automated kiddie ride, though. What makes Smuggler’s Run so unique is that guests can actually FAIL the mission if they aren’t up to the adrenaline-fueled tasks at hand… and will repeatedly be reminded of their failure over the course of the day as a result (all in good fun, of course).

Galaxy’s Edge Restaurants and Food

Sure, traversing through hyperspace and battling against the Dark Side is fun and all but if you’re like us (or Chewbacca), you’re always thinking with your stomach. Fortunately, Galaxy’s Edge will have a number of kiosks, cantinas, and restaurants filled with Star Wars-themed goodies to satisfy that Rancor-sized appetite, including Ronto Roasters, Docking Bay 7 Food and Cargo, and Oga’s Cantina.

Concept art for Oga’s Cantina. (starwars.com)

The menus are all in-universe, which means anything you order has been acquired from somewhere in the galaxy far, far away.

(starwars.com)

Feeling parched after trekking around for hours? Grab blue milk from Tatooine. “They’re very flavorful, they’re kid-friendly. Guests of all ages can enjoy these,” said Brian Koziol, food and beverage concept development director at Walt Disney World Resort.

(starwars.com)

If you’re in need of something a little more substantial, try the Smoked Kaadu Ribs, imported directly from Naboo (served with a blueberry corn muffin and cabbage slaw).

(starwars.com)

Need to satisfy that sweet tooth? Go ahead and indulge in a raspberry crème puff with passion fruit mousse (left) or chocolate cake with white chocolate mousse and coffee custard (right) at Docking Bay 7 Food and Cargo.

“[We had to] sit back and think about, ‘How do we approach this?’” said Brian Piasecki, culinary director of concept development at Walt Disney World Resort. “What is our creative direction of the food, because we don’t know. What does it taste like? What does it smell like? What does it look like? So we had that opportunity to really bring all of those touch points to every single guest that’s going to visit Galaxy’s Edge, and we’re super excited about that.”

(starwars.com)

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is expected to open at Disneyland in Summer 2019 with a nearly identical setup opening at Disney’s Hollywood Studios inside Walt Disney World a few months later in the fall. Once they do, expect them to be the most popular parts of their respective parks for the foreseeable future.

“I am thinking that maybe I should just tweet, ‘It’s opening’ and that will be enough,” Bob Iger said. “We are going to end up with incredibly popular and in-demand product with these two new lands. They’re large, they are beautiful, and they are extremely innovative … I think that we are going to have absolutely no problem gaining attention for them or to them.”

Here’s the latest sneak peek:

“Keep Moving Forward” – Resources For Sharing MLK’s Legacy With Your Kids

Civil rights leader Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. relaxes at home with his wife Coretta and first child Yolanda in May 1956 in Montgomery, Alabama
(Getty / Michael Ochs Archives / Stringer)

“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”

Every third Monday of January we recognize the impact and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. We honor the man and his work by taking “a day on, not a day off” to learn more about the struggle for equality, and find opportunities to better our own communities in his spirit.

For a lot of kids growing up now, the history Dr. King lived and changed can feel like another era altogether, rather than a mere 53 years. According to Tanara Burke, the former associate director of the National Voting Rights Museum in Selma, AL, and the director of Just BE, Inc., “Dr. King is almost a fictional historical character to many young people…They don’t get that they are (in many cases) one generation away from him and that they are directly affected by some of the gains he and others like him fought to achieve.”

To help kids fully understand Dr. King and the world he inhabited, Scholastic has recommended a series of books for all age-groups which can help your family keep history relevant.

If You Grew Up In The Time Of Martin Luthor King

cover for the children's book If You Lived in The Time of MLK
(Exodus Books)

This series of books for grades 2-4 is a fun way to introduce children to different eras. With an engaging question-and-answer format, and full-color art children can learn what it was like to participate in the Montgomery Bus Boycott, stage a sit-in at a lunch counter, join the famous March on Washington, and more.

Martin Rising: Requiem For A King

Cover for Martin Rising: Requiem For A King
(Scholastic / Brian Pinkney)

The award-winning Pinkney duo celebrates Dr. King’s nonviolent struggle for civil rights –– as he transforms America through the spirit of love. This poetic and beautifully illustrated book for grades 4-7 conveys the final months of Martin Luther King’s life –– and of his assassination –– through metaphor, spirituality, and multilayers of meaning.

Chasing King’s Killer: The Hunt for Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Assassin

Cover for "Chasing King's Killer"
(Scholastic)

Learning about the tragedy and horror of Dr. King’s death can be as important as learning about the ideals he devoted his life to.  For older kids in grades 7-12,  bestselling author James L. Swanson gives an astonishing account of one of the saddest moments in American History. It can be tricky for parents to navigate questions about Dr. King’s murder, but it is necessary for all of us to remember how his quest for peace ended in a shocking moment of violence. Swanson’s book can help contextualize the event to teach kids how far we’ve come, and how far we have yet to go.

Along with educating our kids about history, today is an opportunity to bond with our kids on the only federal holiday recognized as a day of service. Of course, during a pandemic, serving the community can be difficult, but there are ways you can participate from home. Even attending a virtual event or talk can be the start of meaningful conversations with your kids to inspire them. The National Museum of African American History & Culture has moved their annual celebration “A People’s Holiday” online, and The King Center, Coretta Scott King’s nonprofit memorial will also be holding online events today.

For a more engaging activity, consider supporting Historically Black Colleges and Universities. HBCUs arose in the 60s as a response to education inequality, and award a large portion of bachelor’s degrees held by Black students. Advocating for these spaces honors the work done by Dr. King and encourages future heroes to find their footing. The best way to support them is by calling a local representative and advocating for continued federal spending.

However you choose to remember Dr. King with your family today and throughout 2021, you are choosing to honor history, courage, and an unrelenting pursuit of justice.

“Everybody can be great…because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”

-Dr. Martin Luthor King Jr.

Father Figures: A Spiritual Experience

“After a lengthy bout with addiction, I got sober in 2011.

After a few years figuring out who I wanted to be, I met my wife in 2014. She had a child who was 6 years old at the time and had never had a stable father figure in his life. He looked different than me and we had different interests.

After about a year, he met my best friend, whom I refer to as a brother and is African-American. I asked him if he saw the resemblance between my brother and I and he replied, ‘No, your brother has a beard.’

He doesn’t see color and teaches me something new everyday.

Being a father to this boy has been one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences of my life. All children require love – and video games. His mother and I are now expecting and I wouldn’t change a thing.

Being a dad is a spiritual experience for me.”

– Mike Lloyd

Want to share a story about fatherhood? Email [email protected]

After Five Long Years, Owner Spots Missing Cat on Shelter Website

Missing cat home after 5 years
(Instagram/midcoasthumane)

A lot can happen in five years. You can go from childless to a father of six, earn a degree, you can live through what feels like half of 2020. Everything can change in half a decade, which makes Kendra Armstrong’s story that much more incredible.

Five years ago, Armstrong’s beloved cat Moose went missing. As time went on, it became less and less likely that her furry family member would return home, but she didn’t lose hope. In early 2021, Armstrong was scrolling through her local animal shelter’s website when a familiar face made her stop dead in her tracks.

Among the cats and kittens of all shapes and sizes was an unmistakable face she hadn’t seen in half a decade. In a state of shock, Armstrong called the Midcoast Humane Society, in all likelihood, assuming it was an uncanny look-alike.

When the staff explained that “Oldest” had been in and out of the shelter for the last five years, Armstrong was in disbelief. Moose (aka Oldest) was alive, safe, and incredibly, nearby.

The shelter posted the heartwarming story on Instagram, thrilled that their favorite senior cat was exactly where he belonged. The caption explained, “It turns out that ‘Oldest’ is really named Moose, and he had been living in a loving home until he got out one day in 2015. His person searched and searched for him, but couldn’t find him.”

The post continued, “She couldn’t believe it when she recognized his picture on the Adoption Page of our website FIVE YEARS later. She contacted us right away and sure enough, Oldest was Moose! Last Friday – the first day of 2021 – he was able to finally go home with his person, who was ecstatic to be reunited with her beloved cat.”

According to Armstrong, Moose could not be happier. “Moose (oldest) knows he’s finally home and he does NOT want me to leave his sight (I don’t blame him at all because I feel the same way) I am so grateful to have him home with me.”

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Midcoast Humane (@midcoasthumane)

22-Year-Old Has Heartwarming Reaction After Friends Buy Him Colorblind Glasses

Viral video of man whose friends surprised him with colorblind glasses
(Twitter/maciavelli_)

Imagine one day looking at the world and seeing something completely new. The trails you’ve walked a thousand times before are now filled with colors you’ve never seen, even the clothes you’re wearing are brighter and more vibrant than they’ve ever been. Most of us will never get to experience the world with new eyes, but 22-year-old Mac got to do exactly that – and unsurprisingly, his reaction warmed hearts around the world.

Mac is colorblind, and although he can see clearly enough, he sees color differently than most of us. “Colors such as reds and greens to me were sometimes hard to distinguish,” Mac told The Dad, “But since I’ve had to live with this for my 22 years of living I’ve learned to adapt and figure out which color is which even though I never saw them for what they really were.”

This year for Mac’s birthday, his friends decided to give him a gift that would quite literally change his world. He explained on Twitter, “The fact that I hardly ever mentioned my want for colorblind glasses and my friends literally went out of their way to get me a pair for my birthday just tells me how much they love my ass and I couldn’t have asked for better people to call my brothers!!!”

In the heartwarming video, Mac tries out his gift for the first time. He puts on his colorblind glasses and slowly looks up, and immediately, he’s visibly awe-struck. He stares open-mouthed at the world in front of him – the trees, a bright red car, things he’s seen countless times before. But never like this. He whispers a quiet “whoa” as he processes what he’s seeing.

“There’s no way y’all see that shit,” Mac exclaims. “BRO, WHAT?!”

“The first time I truly saw what was surrounding me it was eye opening and breathtaking,” Mac recalls. “It’s like watching your favorite movie for the first time ever. You don’t know what to expect but once you see it it blows you away.”

In less than two weeks, Mac’s touching video accumulated over 180,000 likes and over 37,000 retweets. Mac’s genuine amazement, his appreciation of the world around him, and his contagious enthusiasm struck a chord with people around the world. Though his intention was simply to thank his friends and share how much the gift meant to him, Mac ended up sharing a moment that meant so much more to people he’d never even met.

“I woke up and my phone wouldn’t stop buzzing with likes, follows, and comments about how much they realize how they’ve taken the little things like seeing a bush for granted and how much joy I gave them by my reaction. It felt really good to make people’s day by just being my genuine self.”

Single Dad Adopts Girl With Down Syndrome Rejected by 20 Families

Alba and Luca Trapanese
(Instagram/trapaluca)

Alba was just a few days old when she was put up for adoption by her parents because she has Down syndrome. Sadly, 20 other families passed on adopting her by the time she was only 13 days old. But her story got a happy ending when a single dad stepped in to adopt the adorable weeks-old infant.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

Wedding Livio e Serena❤

A post shared by Luca Trapanese (@trapaluca) on

Luca Trapanese’s story went viral with the release of a book he wrote about his life with Alba, a story he says “destroys many stereotypes about fatherhood, religion and family.” Adoption laws in Italy are fairly strict, and rarely are single parents approved, but Alba’s condition warranted an amendment to the normal regulations. And Luca said he experienced no trepidation about the decision, driving to the hospital to fill out the paperwork the moment he was approved.

(UPDATE: We chatted with this hero dad to see how he and Alba are doing. Read more here.)

 

View this post on Instagram

 

Ma poi andrò in vacanza anche io?😂😂😂#Procida #estate2019 #Alba #maldischiena

A post shared by Luca Trapanese (@trapaluca) on

Luca had a history of volunteering and working with children with disabilities, so he felt prepared to raise a child with Down syndrome. And he couldn’t wait to become a dad.

“When I held her in my arms, I was filled with joy,” he told the BBC. “I felt she was my daughter immediately. I knew I was ready to be her father.”

 

View this post on Instagram

 

I momenti di relax con Alba sono veramente pochi😂😂😂 #alba #nataperte #padre #diversità #single #roma #nuoviamici

A post shared by Luca Trapanese (@trapaluca) on

Luca said Alba, now 1.5 years old, loves to play and meet new people. “I will spend the rest of my life with a girl I love,” Luca says, “and we will do many wonderful things together.”

Josh Gad Brings Macchio, Zabka, and Shue Back Together for Karate Kid Reunion

(YouTube/Josh Gad)

At the start of quarantine, everybody’s favorite talking snowman, Josh Gad, created a YouTube series called “Reunited Apart.” In this series, he brought together the casts of some classic movies, like Goonies, Ghostbusters, Back to the Future, the Lord of the Rings, and more.

They were fun trips down memory lane, both for the cast members and the viewers.

A few of those specials featured what may be the best chance we have for an actual reunion. That’s certainly true for the Back to the Future team! But Ghostbusters is having a redux, and Goonies has a show coming out soon – about remaking Goonies. Bizarre, I know. And Gad’s latest special features the cast of another 80s classic that has had a recent revival: The Karate Kid.

Ralph Macchio and William Zabka, who star together in Netflix’s Cobra Kai – season three – came together, a song with Gad and Elisabeth Shue (Ali with an I!), and other cast members from the classic flick to raise money for Action Against Hunger charity. They swapped stories about the making of the movie and paid tribute to late star Pat “Mr. Miyagi” Morita.

Check out the fun reunion:

Dr. Dre Home From the Hospital After ICU Stay for Brain Aneurysm

Dr. Dre
(IG/drdre)

In the first bit of positive news for hip hop legend, Dr. Dre has been released from the hospital after a stay in the ICU for a brain aneurysm. Things looked scary for Dre after he was rushed to the hospital, and brain aneurysms have a high rate of death and permanent neurological impairments. Incredibly, doctors think he will have a full recovery, according to sources close to the family speaking to TMZ.

While he has been discharged, doctors don’t know what the cause is, so he’s being monitored by health professionals 24/7 at home. The iconic producer has had a rough few months, as his LA home was targeted by burglars after he went to the hospital, and four people were arrested attempting to get into his home. He’s also been going through a contentious divorce.

Not long after he was admitted to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, he shared an Instagram post saying:

“Thanks to my family, friends and fans for their interest and well wishes. I’m doing great and getting excellent care from my medical team. I will be out of the hospital and back home soon. Shout out to all the great medical professionals at Cedars. One Love!!

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Dr. Dre (@drdre)

Ice T actually broke the news about Dre’s return home, sharing on Twitter that he just FaceTimed with Dr. Dre, saying “he just made it home, safe and looking good.”

Packers QB Aaron Rodgers To Guest-Host Jeopardy After Playoffs

Rodgers to Guest Host Jeopardy!
(Twitter/PatMcAfeeShow)

For 36 years, Alex Trebek and his famous mustache were the face of Jeopardy. In November, the beloved game show host passed away after a valiant battle with cancer, and now the producers of the show are scrambling to find a replacement. But whoever takes over for Trebek will have big shoes to fill, and the people behind the decision are not taking it lightly.

Many names have been tossed around, and several celebrities will appear as guest hosts over the next few weeks before a final decision is made. Ken Jennings, the popular former champion with a large Twitter following and quick wit, went first, Katie Couric is coming soon, and now a football player with a history of competing may be next. But potentially not until after the Super Bowl.

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is a longtime fan of the show and even won the Celebrity Tournament in $50,000 (and donated his winnings to the MACC Fund (Midwest Athletes Against Childhood Cancer).

The QB, currently prepping for his team’s matchup against the Los Angeles Rams in this Saturday’s divisional round of the NFL playoffs, appeared on the Pat McAfee show and spilled the beans.

“I’m really excited about it. We’ve been talking about it for a little bit,” Rodgers said. “I think I may have jumped the gun a little bit so I apologize to ‘Jeopardy’ if they wanted to announce it, I just got so excited on the show earlier. It just went down the last couple of days, us figuring it out. It is very exciting, it’s for the offseason, we’ll be even more excited when that opportunity gets a little closer.”

The former MVP and Super Bowl champion told McAfee how much the opportunity means to him, as a huge fan of the show.

“The show has been so special to me over the years,” Rodgers said. “It’s been a staple at my house here in Green Bay for the last 16 years – 6 o’clock watching Alex and trying to get as many questions as I can. When the opportunity came up in 2015 I mean that was a dream come true, it really was, to be on there, to get to meet Alex was just such a special moment, and we’re all obviously sad about his passing. I’ve said it before I think when he passed, but there’s this nostalgic connection to certain figures in our life based on our childhood and where we were at and the times we had those memories, it almost makes these people feel like family, like you know them.”

The odds of Rodgers hanging up his cleats and taking over for Alex Trebek anytime soon are probably pretty low. The show’s producers are considering a slew of other potential hosts, including LeVar Burton and Jane Lynch, but Rodgers has proven himself to be more than capable of handling the show’s material, so never say never.

Son “Fixes” Family Photo as a Gift for His Dad and Now It’s a Work of Art

Son hilariously fixes family photo for his dad
(TikTok/kylescheele)

There’s an entire website dedicated to the hilarity of “Awkward Family Photos,” and in a series of videos, TikTok user kylescheele reminds us why we love them so dang much. For some reason, traditional family photos are often bizarre. From strange coordinated outfits to poses that look so unnatural they may as well be aliens doing their best human impressions, there’s no shortage of things that can go wrong. But after staring at the same family photo for decades, Kyle decided to make some changes.

In part one of Kyle’s TikTok, he gives some background on the photo in question. In the scope of things, the picture isn’t horrible. In fact, it would have been a pretty acceptable family photo aside from one small problem. Even though it’s been hanging in his house for decades, Kyle’s dad hates that freaking picture (understandably).

Kyle explains, “for no discernable reason, the photographer had only my dad tilt his head, but my dad didn’t know that until after the photo was already developed.”

Maybe a small head tilt doesn’t sound like something that would ruin a photo, but uh, it definitely ruined the photo. In a picture full of family members looking straight forward, plopped in the middle is Kyle’s dad, staring crookedly at the camera.

The photo has been hanging in the same spot for roughly three decades thanks to Kyle’s mom who unironically loves it. But as a gift to his dad, Kyle decided to put his Photoshop skills to use and fix the photo once and for all.

In a stroke of absolute genius, Kyle decided to not only to straighten his dad’s face in the photo but to tilt the faces of everyone else in the picture. He orders a large, framed copy of the new and improved family photo, and even though he’s seen it before, he is thoroughly tickled when he opens the box.

@kylescheeleThis is the best gift idea I’ve ever had. ##greenscreen ##photoshop ##christmas ##gift ##family ##familypictures ##funny♬ original sound – kylescheele

Finally, it’s time for part two. The moment of truth. Without cracking a smile, Kyle hands his dad the wrapped work of art. As his dad begins to pull back the paper, a smile spreads across his face. He turns the photo to Kyle’s mom, and as soon as she processes exactly what her brilliant son did, she bursts into uncontrollable laughter.

The new picture transcends the category of “family photo” and is now more accurately a work of art, one that will hopefully hang in the family’s house for decades to come. Legend has it that if you hold your ear to your own awkward family photo, you can still hear Kyle’s mom laughing to this day.

@kylescheeleI’ll put my mom’s laugh against yours any day. ##photoshop ##dadlean ##christmas ##gift ##part2♬ original sound – kylescheele