Paw Patrol Live, Winter Art & Craft Bazaar plus 14 other things to do this holiday weekend

Looking for something fun to do in Omaha this weekend? Check out these family-friendly suggestions:

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1. Paw Patrol Live. Watch your favorite pups from Adventure Bay come alive on stage at the Orpheum Theater, 409 S. 16th St. Beginning Friday at 6 p.m., Chase, Ryder and Skye head out on a mission to save Mayor Goodway. Additional shows are on Saturday and Sunday. Children 1 and older must have a ticket. Ticket prices range from $21.25 to $79.25. More.

2. Family Fun Day. Head out to Midtown Crossing on Saturday for face painting, photos with Santa, balloon animals and more. Holiday characters and carolers will be singing in the neighborhood at this event from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. The night ends with the annual Holiday Lights Spectacular at 7 p.m. in Turner Park. More.

3. 5th Annual Winter Art & Craft Bazaar. Get creative with your holiday shopping. Buy items from local businesses who make things by hand. The annual bazaar will be held at Bancroft Street Market, 2702 S. 10th St. on Saturday and Sunday. Admission is free. More.

4. Milk and Cookies with Santa. Visit Santa after hours at the Omaha Children’s Museum on Saturday. From 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. children can tell Santa what they want for the holidays, make arts and crafts and enjoy hot chocolate and cookies. Registration is required and space is limited. Cost is $25 per person for non-members and $15 for members. More.

5. Holiday Poinsettia Show. Lauritzen Gardens, 100 Bancroft St., will display thousands of colorful poinsettias, starting on Friday. From 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. visitors can also walk the garden and enjoy model garden trains and a poinsettia tree. More.

6. Santa’s Magic Shows. The Omaha Children’s Museum opens its “Santa’s Magic” exhibit on Friday. Visit with characters such as the Snow Queen, Holly the Elf and Santa. On Friday, Santa will perform at 10:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m., and 2:30 p.m. The exhibit will remain open until Dec. 23. Cost for museum admission is $12 for adults and children ages 3 to 15. Children under 2 are free. More.

7. Go to a holiday lighting ceremony. The Thanksgiving Lighting Ceremony starts at 5:40 p.m. at Gene Leahy Mall, 14th and Farnam Streets, on Thursday. Local mom and daughter duo Belles & Whistles will kick off the evening with a performance followed by Mayor Jean Stothert’s light display countdown. The Durham Museum, 801 S. 10th St., from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. will have cookie decorating, holiday crafts and Santa followed by the lighting of their indoor Christmas tree. Stinson Park, 2285 S. 67th St., has free carriage rides, live music and face painting on Friday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

8. Christmas at the Mansion. Gaze at holiday festive decor at the Arbor Lodge Mansion in Nebraska City. All 52 rooms will be decorated in vintage decor with holiday-themed collections and music to surround you with the spirit of the season. Hours for this event are Saturdays 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays 5 p.m. to 11 a.m. Cost is $8 for adults and $6 for children ages 3 to 12. More.

9. Wildlife Refuge Film Series at DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge. On Saturday and Sunday, DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge, located at 1434 316th Lane in Missouri Valley, Iowa, will show a free wildlife film: “The Key to Duck ID.” The film is a 15-minute feature that gives viewers tips on how to tell different duck species apart. The movie starts at 1:30 p.m. both days. More.

10. Catch a show at the Omaha Community Playhouse or the Rose Theater. “A Christmas Carol” is the holiday tale of Ebenezer Scrooge and his life-changing journey. The show runs until Dec. 23 at the Omaha Community Playhouse. Children under 3 are not allowed. The Rose Theater’s production of “Prancer” takes the stage Nov. 25. In this production, a young girl nurtures a reindeer back to health and tries to get the animal back home despite obstacles. The two-hour show is recommended for children 7 and older. More.

11. The King is Dead! The Regicide of Charles I at The Durham Museum. In 17th century England, even being a king could be a dangerous job — sometimes you could even lose your head! “The King is Dead” explores the reign of England’s King Charles I and the story behind his eventual trial and execution for high treason. Cost is $11 for adults, $8 for senior citizens (ages 62+), $7 for children (ages 3-12) and FREE for members. The exhibit runs through Jan. 8. More.

12. Go ice skating with your kids. The Motto McLean Ice Arena (inside Hitchcock Park at 45th and Q Streets) offers Family Skate time Sunday from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. The Ralston Arena is open to the public on select days for ice skating. Cost is $5 and includes free skate rental. More.

13. See an indoor movie with your kids. Aksarben Cinema, 2110 S. 67th St., has plenty of family-friendly movies showing every weekend. Plus, visit every Tuesday for $6 movies all day. Forever Young Family & Children’s Film Series will take place select Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays at Film Streams at the Ruth Sokolof Theater, 1340 Mike Fahey St. This Saturday’s films are “Duck Soup” and “Room Service.” This Marx Brothers double feature runs Sunday and Dec. 1, 3, 4, and 8. The series’ next film is “The Muppet Christmas Carol.” Admission to most films in the series for kids 12 and under is $2.50. More.

14. Do some crafts. Kids can create a “Hit The Slopes! Skiers” at Lakeshore Learning Store from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. See “Arts for All.” Explore your creative side Saturday at the South Omaha Library, 2808 Q St., from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. with art projects based on books and illustrations. The class is taught by professional artists and art teachers in partnership with Arts For All. The program is for children ages 8 through 12. Registration is required.

15. Social Play Group. Snyder Charleson Therapy Services, located at 8031 West Center Road, Suite 300, is hosting social play groups every Monday and Thursday. The play group sessions are 60 minutes and take place at 10 a.m., 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. All groups are run by speech language pathologists and occupational therapists. Group time will focus on sensory integration, communication and social skills through structured play-based activities. Social play groups are targeted toward children 2 to 6 years old. Groups will consist of two to four children depending on their age, skill level and areas of need. To schedule an appointment, call 402-763-4408 or email pediatrics@snydercharleson.com.

16. Do something you’ve never done before: Check out 40 off-the-beaten-path things to do in Omaha if you’re looking for something new to keep you busy this weekend.

Thanksgiving Box Office: Disney’s ‘Moana’ to Feast on Brad Pitt’s ‘Allied,’ ‘Bad Santa 2’

Disney has been drawing a lot of aces lately. From “Doctor Strange” to “Zootopia” to “Finding Dory,” the studio has amassed an impressive streak of blockbusters. “Moana,” its latest animated offering, will continue that hot hand.

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The adventure about a girl from the Pacific islands who journeys across the ocean with a demigod will be the de facto choice for families when it debuts over Thanksgiving. The film is expected to sail to the top of the holiday box office, earning $75 million over the five-day period. It will premiere in more than 3,800 theaters, the majority of which will offer 3D showings. Disney didn’t release a budget, but most of the studio’s animated films cost north of $150 million. “Moana” features the voice of Dwayne Johnson and music by Lin-Manuel Miranda, the creator of “Hamilton.”

The biggest competition for “Moana” will be the second week of “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” the Harry Potter spinoff that debuted last weekend to a hefty $75 million. It could do nearly as much business over the holiday, but will attract a slightly older crowd given its PG-13 rating. Most box office watchers expect the fantasy film to pull in between $50 million to $60 million for the holiday stretch.

There’s not a lot of breathing room this Turkey Day, given that four wide releases will elbow their way into crowded multiplexes. The sheer onslaught of gaudy titles featuring the likes of Brad Pitt and Warren Beatty, to say nothing of the Disney and Potter fans who will be lured to the theaters, will boost revenues, but probably won’t be enough to establish a new record. The previous Thanksgiving holiday high point was set in 2013, as the combination of “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” and “Frozen” drove the box office to a massive $294.6 million over the five-day period.

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“That would be a tough number to beat,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at ComScore. “There’s a great lineup of movies from a quality perspective, though I’m not sure we can post huge numbers like some of the bigger Thanksgiving weekends.”

In 2013, there were a lot more options for moviegoers with children. This Thanksgiving is more focused on adult ticket-buyers. For starters, there’s “Allied,” an R-rated spy thriller with Pitt and Marion Cotillard adding some sizzle as a husband and wife team of double-crossing agents. The $80 million production was directed by Robert Zemeckis, who could use a hit after his 3D drama “The Walk” flopped last year. It should pull in $20 million for the five-day period. Paramount will release the film across 3,000 locations.

Parents will also likely be steering their kids clear of “Bad Santa 2,” a follow-up to the 2003 cult hit about a sozzled department store Saint Nick. Billy Bob Thornton, who oozed whiskey and invective in the first film, returns as the title character with Kathy Bates taking on the role of his mother. Broad Green and Miramax teamed on the picture, which should make $16 million over the five-day holiday. The very raunchy comedy cost $26 million to make.

That leaves “Rules Don’t Apply,” a romantic drama that represents Beatty’s return to filmmaking after a hiatus of more than a decade. The love story about a two young people who fall in love while employed by eccentric billionaire Howard Hughes is being distributed by Fox. It has been a passion project of Beatty for nearly as long as he’s been in the business. However, tastes have changed since Beatty was making the likes of “Shampoo” and “Reds.” Star power isn’t what it once was and studios are more interested in backing superhero films than movie for grown-ups. To get the project off the ground, Beatty tapped a Rolodex of one-percenters that includes Brett Ratner, Steve Bing, and Steven Mnuchin, one of the rumored candidates to become treasury secretary under Donald Trump. Reviews have been mixed, but Beatty remains a Hollywood legend with a following. Look for “Rules Don’t Apply” to bring in $8 million over its first five days.

For Disney, the success of “Moana” puts the studio tantalizingly close to an industry record. The company has already achieved its best-ever year, and should pass the $6.89 billion high-water mark that Universal established in 2015 over the coming weeks. Not only does Disney have “Moana,” there’s a little film called “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” set to take the Christmas box office by storm. Thanksgiving will be a mere appetizer for the house of Mickey.

Theme park secrets Disney doesn’t want you to know

Disney is a land full of mystery and, as fun as it is to bask in the magic, sometimes you just want to get the dirt.

And the employees are spilling the beans.

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I mean, “cast members,” because secret number one, according to TrendChaser, is that employees must always be in character.

They even have a secret language! The site says “going backstage” means a guest has wandered somewhere off limits…

And if a cast member tells you, “Have a Disney Day!” you’ve probably ticked them off. Apparently, they only say THAT to rude customers.

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Those same cast members allegedly have to meet physical requirements. Princesses have to be between five-four and five-eight and men must be clean shaven, according to the Mirror.

And of course, no crazy piercings or tattoos.

The Mirror reports Disney will never turn the music off. If that happens, it means there is a real emergency so listen up!

These are just some of the secrets the Mouse doesn’t want you to know.

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The holiday season begins at Walt Disney World

While it is only the beginning of November, Walt Disney World is kicking off the holiday season with new shows and returning favorites across the resort!

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At the Magic Kingdom, the Christmas Tree and wreaths are up as they prepare for the influx of holiday visitors.

Each night Cinderella Castle turns into a beautiful ice palace thanks to the help from Elsa, Anna, and some of their Frozen friends during ‘A Frozen Holiday Wish’ castle lighting.

‘Once Upon A Time’, debuting on November 4th, is new nightly projection show inspired by the Tokyo Disneyland Park uses projection mapping to transform Cinderella Castle with familiar scenes from Disney movies. During the show, Mrs. Potts from Beauty and the Beast shares bedtime stories with young Chip, taking a journey through the most adventurous scenes from Cinderella, Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, and other favorites along the way.

Select nights from November 7th until December 22nd, the Magic Kingdom hosts Mickey‘s Very Merry Christmas Party. This after-hours party gives guests a chance to experience exclusive entertainment, character meet and greets, fireworks, and a parade full of holiday cheer and fun while sipping on hot cocoa and snacking on cookies under the gentle falling of Florida ‘snow’.

As Disney Springs continues to grow, so does their holiday offerings!

Beginning November 11th in the Disney Springs Marketplace, 15 Christmas Trees inspired by Disney characters and movies will create a winter wonderland walk-through experience complete with a gentle snow fall, toy soldiers, singers, and plenty of unique photo opportunities! I can’t wait to see the Disney Villains and Mary Poppins Christmas Trees!

The Disney Parks Blog also announced an upcoming holiday light show at Disney Springs that will utilize drones and new technology. Check out the sneak peek below:

Over at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, a new restaurant and nighttime holiday show join the park’s line-up of fun!

A new projection and fireworks show called ‘Jingle Bell Jingle Bam’ lights up, on, above, and around the Chinese Theater area of the park with state-of-the-art projections, special effects, fireworks and a rousing seasonal musical score starting November 4th.

Led by elves Wayne and Lanny, the duo from ABC/Walt Disney Animation Studios’ animated special Prep & Landing, the spirited yuletide adventure to the North Pole features memorable holiday moments from Disney films including Mickey’s Christmas Carol, Beauty and the Beast, Pluto’s Christmas Tree, Bambi, Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas, along with many other holiday favorites with a festive finale that’s “So tinsel”.

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Fans of the The Muppets will get a chance to dine with Pizzerizzo set to open on November 18th! The quick service restaurant will offer a variety of personal-sized pizzas, salads, sandwiches, and desserts surrounded by décor inspired by Rizzo, as well as his extended family and friends who have visited PizzeRizzo over the years. Upstairs you will find Rizzo’s Deluxe Supreme Banquet Hall, where there’s a wedding reception already in progress complete with a disco ball dance party playing the world’s greatest party playlist!

And finally at Epcot, beginning November 25th you can celebrate the ‘Holidays Around the World’.

During the day, you can discover how the 11 countries making up the World Showcase celebrate the holiday season with costumed storytellers, decorations, music, and seasonal food favorites. Then in the evenings hear a celebrity guest narrator tell the biblical story of Christmas alongside of a 50 piece orchestra and variety of choirs. The story, the music, the twinkling trees and decor fills you with the spirit of this wonderful season. And you can catch the performances at 5:00, 6:45 and 8:15 p.m. at the American Gardens Theatre.

These are all just a part of the holiday offerings you will find this season at Walt Disney World, and I can’t to share more details and tips for making the most of your visits during this joyous season

Disney cartoons as live-action films

For its first 30 years or so, the Disney brand was synonymous with cartoons, first shorts and later animated features. It wasn’t until the 1950s that Walt Disney ventured into live-action moviemaking.

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And now it would seem that Disney has come full circle. In fact, it’s gone a little nuts, readying live-action versions — adaptations? remakes? reboots? — of its own library of classic animated features at such a furious pace that they are threatening to become the linchpins of the studio’s theatrical agenda.

They aren’t all really live-action, of course, since many carry enough computer-generated imagery to dilute the category. They are still, to some degree, animated features.

This was especially true of “The Jungle Book,” which has a live-action boy at its center but is otherwise very much a cartoon in modern, more realistic CGI terms.

In addition to “The Jungle Book,” this year also brought us “Pete’s Dragon,” another live-action/CGI combination, based on Disney’s 1977 live-action/animation film of the same title.

Other live-action remakes of cartoons have included “101 Dalmatians” (and its sequel, “102 Dalmatians”); “Alice in Wonderland” (and its sequel “Alice Through the Looking Glass”); “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” (inspired by the Mickey Mouse short in “Fantasia”); “Maleficent” (adapted from Disney’s “Sleeping Beauty”), and “Cinderella.”

And Disney has announced plans to produce over a dozen more at such a rapid rate that this column may be out of date by the time you read it.

Coming up are “Beauty and the Beast” (to be released March 17, 2017), “Mulan” (November 2018), and “Mary Poppins Returns” (Christmas Day, 2018).

They will be followed by these live-action (or live-action/CGI) remakes with to-be-announced dates: “Dumbo,” “The Lion King,” “The Sword in the Stone,” “Pinocchio,” “Prince Charming” (from “Cinderella”), “Cruella” (an origin story of Cruella de Vil from “101 Dalmatians”), “Rose Red” (the sister of Snow White) and “Night on Bald Mountain” (a sequence from “Fantasia”).

Yet another “Peter Pan” remake is also on the list, along with “Tink,” an origin story of Peter Pan’s fairy friend Tinkerbell, who has also been the subject of several straight-to-video cartoons.

And a live-action version of “Aladdin” will have to wait for an animated prequel, “Genies,” which will come out first.

Disney is even planning live-action versions of “Winnie the Pooh” and the chipmunk characters Chip ’n’ Dale (from many a Donald Duck cartoon short). Not sure how that’s going to work out, though it’s a safe bet that CGI aplenty will be involved.

And, as you might expect, sequels are in development for “The Jungle Book” and “Maleficent.”

One wonders how Walt would feel about all this. After all, he was an innovator, not a copycat.

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And you may recall that his attempt to create the first feature-length cartoon was scoffed at as “Disney’s folly.” That is, until “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” became a critical and box-office smash in 1937.

Many animated classics followed (including those listed above), and Disney didn’t enter live-action theatrical filmmaking until 1950, with the release of “Treasure Island.”

Many more followed and the Disney brand shifted from being strictly for cartoons to meaning clean family films, and it stayed that way throughout the 1970s.

The studio’s first film that wasn’t G-rated didn’t arrive until 1979, the sci-fi thriller “The Black Hole” — and getting a PG rating instead of a G made the studio nervous. But PG-rated movies quickly became part of the studio’s platform, along with its usual G-rated fare.

As movies became more “adult,” however, the studio felt it needed to keep up — without sullying the family friendly Disney name. So the studio came up with the Touchstone label in 1984 as a releasing arm for “Splash,” its first foray into mature material. And Touchstone also kept the studio’s first R-rated movie, “Down and Out in Beverly Hills” in 1986, from having to carry the Disney name.

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One can argue that some of the PG-13 films that now roll out under the Disney banner push the envelope further than parents might like (the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, anyone?), but in general the Disney name over a picture still means it will likely be more family friendly than anything else out there. (Check out the current, PG-rated “Queen of Katwe.”)

So perhaps all of these remakes of animated classics can be taken as a logical 21st-century extension of that.

And if the market becomes oversaturated with cartoons done over as live-action films, maybe Disney will reverse course and do the opposite.

You know, it could do animated versions of “The Absent-Minded Professor” and “Darby O’Gill and the Little People.”

Who says there are no more original ideas in Hollywood?