We Love Pixar’s LAVA Short Film!


Uku, the volcano, singing somewhere in the Pacific Ocean.

We think the best Pixar short film (so far) is LAVA.

It played in front of the Disney’s movie, “Inside Out”, in November 2015 before being released on it’s own.

It should have been re-released with “Moana” when that movie came out a year later in November 2016.  Much better fit.

Watch:  LAVA, a Pixar short movie (5 minutes): LAVA

(This short has had almost 120 Million views!)

Lava’s sweet “I Have A Dream” song is available on iTunes:  I Have A Dream Song

Lele, Lava's true love.

Lele, Uku’s true love in LAVA.

This new LAVA Magic Band was available February 2019:


Brand new LE “I Lava You” Magic Band released for Valentine’s Day 2019!


Had to say yes to this!


Happy Valentine’s Day 2019!  

i-lava-you-pin  LAVA

One of my favorite Disney pins! ❤

When we went to Hawaii last summer, we realized how perfectly the film captured the feel and spirit of the islands.


Interview with the director of LAVA, James Ford Murphy:

Entertainment Weekly: Anyone who has ever visited Hawaii or Tahiti or any of the Polynesian islands knows there is an overwhelmingly enchanting quality about them—they are literally what we think of when we hear the word paradise. Where did this idea originate?

James Ford Murphy: When I got married in 1989, my wife and I honeymooned on the Big Island in Hawaii and that completely captivated me. The Big Island has an active volcano called Kilauea. Then about 12 or 13 years ago my wife and I were watching an episode of ER that featured a version of a song that I new so well from The Wizard of Oz called “Over The Rainbow.” But this was sung by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole. And I was absolutely floored when I heard that version and I never forgot it.

That’s been in many films and TV shows. Such a heartbreakingly sweet version of “Over the Rainbow.” I think it’s meshed with “What a Wonderful World,” too?

Correct. So when it came time for me to sit down and really think about ideas for short films, I went to this very special place in my heart for tropical islands, active volcanos, and this song. And I thought, what if I could write a song that made me feel the way that song did the first time I heard it.

The short is essentially a music video performed by a singing island.

That was one of my goals, to see if could I tell a story that’s told completely in a song. With a ukulele that kind of drives the emotional beat of the whole piece.

What was the pitch process like getting your short film made at Pixar? Did you just barge into John Lasseter’s office and drag Ed Catmull in and play them a love song?

Basically, yeah! I did. It was a song that I’d written, and every time I pitched it I would sing the entire song on ukulele. I didn’t know how to play the ukulele before this, but I knew how to play the guitar.

As you’re performing it in pitch meetings, are you stopping mid-song to say “Okay, now here’s what you’re seeing while this part of the song plays”?

No. I did about 25 drawings and I would have somebody there with me that would kind of roll the drawings and those tell the story. I didn’t want to break out of the song ever, once you’ve captivated them. People were so stunned that I was singing to them. As you said, it’s just John Lasseter in a conference room, and me singing straight to him, but once you get that engagement, you don’t want to let go of it, you know?

Did the song get rewritten many times during the production process?

Once the story was green-lit, the structure of the song never really changed but the lyrics changed a bit here and there as the story evolved.

Tell me about the two singers that you have in the short, Kuana Torres Kahele and Napua Greig. What was the process like getting them into the rocky skin of these characters?

So when I first pitched this, I promised that this would be sung by traditional Hawaiian singers, and so one year after we were green-lit all I did was listen to Hawaiian music. We found out when Kuana and Napua got [to the recording session] that they actually grew up together and they were in hula school together. And they’re what they call hula brother and sister. So it was really one of those serendipitous things that we were very lucky to get them and have this wonderful recording session that the whole film kind of embodies.

Did they contribute anything to your thinking about the story and the music and the depiction of the islands—because you are not from Hawaii, right? You were raised in Detroit?

That’s right, I’m from Detroit. And they contributed I a lot vocally… When I sing the song I’m, you know, very—

You don’t bring any Motown to it do you?

No… [laughs] I did whatever I could to just get the idea across and to get the emotion across. But I don’t have a beautiful voice like they do. The reason we picked them both is because both their voices sound like they could come from the earth. That there is a very powerful quality to both their vocals.

The main character is Uku. He’s a volcano. He’s anthropomorphic in the sense that his face moves but he’s rooted to the earth in the middle of the sea. He’s big and when we first meet him he’s lush and lovely. I thought the vegetation around his arms and his torso looked like a big green sweater. And he has this volcanic crater that’s angled, almost looks like a crew cut. I kept thinking of Ernest Borgnine. And I wondered if that was an inspiration for you on the human side?

[Laughs] No, it wasn’t, but I could totally see that. You know some of the inspirations for us, besides Israel Kamakawiwo’ole, was Kuana, the singer—we looked at him a lot for inspiration. As well as, believe it or not, Jackie Gleason. Jackie Gleason is a huge inspiration, not just for his personality, but the way he uses his face. There’s just some amazing eye movements.

Did you take inspiration from any places?

We looked at a lot of places, in particular with Uku, we really looked at the Waimea Canyon in Kauai, we looked at the sea cliffs of Molokai a lot. We looked at Hanalei Bay.

The other character in Lava is Lele. Uku is singing but he is alone above the surface of the ocean and he’s hoping to find a companion, but he can’t see anyone. But we see below the surface, there’s this other formation that’s coming together.

I did an incredible amount of research into the geology of the Hawaiian islands and that’s what inspired this love story. And the geology tells us that all of these islands are formed by a hot spot on the bottom of the Pacific Ocean. As the tectonic plates move over this hot spot these volcanoes form and as these volcanoes slide three-and-a-half inches a year, they eventually slide off that hot spot and erode back into the sea.

Isn’t The Big Island over the hot spot right now?

That’s why it’s the biggest island and the newest and has the most activity. Whereas Kauai and Niihau are the oldest islands. That is why they are so eroded and have so much character. And I just found that so beautifully profound. As I continued my research, I found out there is an underwater volcano just off the coast of the big island called Lo’ihi that’s expected to reach the surface and join the big island in the next 10,000 to 100,000 years.

There’s your story!

That’s where I was thinking, “Oh my God, does Lo’ihi know The Big Island is there? And does The Big Island know Lo’ihi is there?”

What about personal experiences? Did anything like that inspire Lava?

Right around the time I was contemplating all this, my sister was getting married at the age of 43. That’s really where I had this epiphany when I saw my sister up there on the altar and I thought about how long she’d waited. So that was kinda taking geology or science and making it more poetic.

Watch the 1 minute preview here: LAVA Preview.


We’ve written two books about our time working at Disney World.

Both are available on Amazon.com:

If you’d like to follow our daily Disney blog, here’s the link: https://collinsrace1.wordpress.com/

Have a magical day!



LAVA MagicBands for Valentine’s Day 2019!


Brand new LE “I Lava You” MagicBand for Valentine’s Day!

Inspired by the Pixar short “Lava,” one side of this adorable MagicBand features Uku, the lonely volcano and “I Lava You” text.



The other side features Lele, Uku’s love interest, with “Happy Valentine’s Day 2019”.



You can use your MagicBand to enter your Disney resort hotel room, the theme parks, redeem FastPass+ reservations, purchase souvenirs, and much more.

Available at ShopDisney at: If you’ve fallen in lava with this limited edition MagicBand, purchase now.

We “lava” this MagicBand!!!  ❤



We really want this!


Happy Valentine’s Day!


Adventure Book Cover

Adventures in the Animal Kingdom

Lions and Tigers and Strollers, Oh My!

This is not Caroline’s first time in the Disney College Program. Along with her sister, she was previously accepted into the program a few years earlier.  Back in Colorado, Caroline was wishing for a little more pixie dust to brighten up her life.  On a whim, she decides to apply to the exclusive Disney Alumni Summer Program.

Now that she’s back, things get wild.

Wild, as in Disney’s Animal Kingdom, where Caroline is assigned to work in Stroller Rental.  While not the most glamorous position in the park, it’s often ground zero for humanity at its best and at its worst.

While Caroline makes many “Magical Moments” for deserving guests whose pixie dust has gone temporarily sideways, she also receives magical moments of her own through the friendships she makes, going to Disney cast member exclusive events, and all the spectacular dining opportunities at Disney World.

Caroline tells all – from the ins and outs of Disney’s secret training class called Traditions; to learning how to be a happy cast member during on-the-job training; to what it’s like to interact with fellow cast members and the guests who are ready to explore the most magical place on earth.

Join Caroline as she takes you on a wild ride through her adventures in Disney’s Animal Kingdom. But be careful, it’s a jungle out there!

Available now at Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle formats. Published by Theme Park Press.

Book link on Amazon.com:  Adventures in the Animal Kingdom


DAK costume

Caroline working at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

About the Author:

Caroline’s love for all things Disney, and desire to grow up to be a Disney princess, is the reason she always wanted to work for Disney.  Her dream came true working as a cast member at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

Caroline is the co-author of the book, Two Girls and a Mouse Tale, about her adventures working at Disney World with her sister.

She is currently a 7th grade middle school Social Studies teacher in Colorado.

Daily blog link:  https://collinsrace1.wordpress.com/


Welcome to Disney’s Animal Kingdom!