Last night marked my son’s very first movie theater experience. (As well as his first movie premiere!) And it was a big one. The premiere for Finding Dory! Considering Dory and Nemo comprise 90% of his conversation topics at home, we knew it would be a big hit for him…and it was indeed!
We had been talking about the Finding Dory premiere for weeks with AJ. He watched the previews, and though he doesn’t quite understand the meaning of a “sequel,” he knew we were going to a movie to watch more “Dory” and “Nemo.” When we pulled up to the premiere on Hollywood Boulevard, he instantly expressed a look of excitement with a hint of confusion. He excitedly pointed at the large Dory and Nemo signs and figures, but looked a bit confused as he noticed the massive crowd of screaming fans, a sea of photographers producing a constant glow of white flashes, and a big blue carpet full of people posing and talking into microphones. (I’m sure he now has a bit of a warped idea of what ‘going to a movie’ means.) We made sure to arrive and walk the blue carpet just before the movie began as I didn’t want AJ to get restless sitting in the theater too long. (The people who arrived early had to sit and wait for well over an hour or so for the movie to start.) We saw several friends (mostly ones with kids) who came predominantly for their little one’s obsession with Disney movies, like ours. Below is a selfie with our friends Allison Holker, Stephen “tWitch” Boss, and their beautiful daughter Weslie. (I adore this family so much. Their handsome two-month old, Maddox, stayed home.)
AJ did great walking his first ‘blue’ carpet. (It was quite sunny so there was a lot of squinting.) He literally squealed with delight when he was given his little “Dory” bucket of popcorn –two of his favorite things in one. After being given a booster seat by one of the El Capitan Theater ushers, we sat and enjoyed watching AJ scan the beautiful theater with big eyes and lots of “wows.”
The movie itself was very enjoyable. Let me preface this by saying that I thought Finding Nemo was perfect in every sense of the word. I wasn’t expecting Finding Dory to be as good –afterall, what sequel is better than the first? For me, it didn’t match the perfection of Finding Nemo, but it was very close. It was incredibly cute, clever, funny (for kids and adults alike), and had a wonderful central theme of the importance of family. The storyline had a lot of moving parts and detours, which may have made it more challenging for the younger kids to fully understand and follow. Nevertheless, I loved the new characters, especially Destiny and Bailey, and appreciated how it cleverly tied in the history and tidbits of Finding Nemo. (For instance, I thought it was great to discover that Dory could actually speak “Whale” and loved the way they exposed how she learned to speak it.) AJ absolutely LOVED it, despite him clutching on to Daddy’s arm a couple of times during the suspenseful and scary moments. He was certainly smiling from ear to ear afterwards and was genuinely happy that (sorry…spoiler alert!) “Dory found Mommy and Daddy!”
After the movie, they had a huge premiere party with lots of fun kid activities including crafts, sand activities, photos with Dory, a mini trailer aquarium with live sea creatures, a huge inflatable slide, bubble machines, and an impressive sand mound of Finding Dory carvings. (We almost got in major trouble as AJ decided he wanted to help them in the sand box by attempting to hop in…luckily, I swooped in before he ruined any of the carvings. He did leave a footprint on the side, but it was quite minor compared to the damage he could have done.) They had a great buffet and dessert table (the whoopie pie sandwiches were my favorite), and adorable little Dory juice boxes for the kids.
Overall, it was a fabulous and memorable evening with our little Dory-and-Nemo-lover. What a perfect film for AJ’s first experience in a movie theater! I highly recommend seeing Finding Dory when it comes out next week. I’m sure we will be seeing it again soon, as AJ woke up talking only about wanting to see Dory, Nemo and “Dory’s Mommy and Daddy” again. Thank you Pixar and Disney for another amazing movie with a lovely story and feel-good message. We loved it!