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November 23, 2015

"The Good Dinosaur" and "Sanjay's Super Team" Press Day



Coming out this week is Pixar's latest film, "The Good Dinosaur." Helmed by Peter Sohn, it follows Arlo the dinosaur as he tries to navigate his way past his fears in order to make his mark on the world.

[All photos and video courtesy of Disney/Pixar.]

At a recent press day, some of the cast and creatives sat for roundtable discussions about the movie and their thoughts on it.


First up was Jeffrey (Poppa) Wright, and Raymond (Arlo) Ochoa.



Jeffrey Wright: [On what the movie says about fatherhood.] "...That's the core issue/challenge for Papa, for my character. And so, what I tried to draw on in order to understand the emotions and the dynamics of...this relationship, was to draw on my relationship with my son and my daughter. And it's a lesson I think that, we all, if we're trying to be responsible parents, come up against in our work with our kids. It's really the central question of how--what level of encouragement or what level of...when pushing your kids does more damage than good. And how do you strike that balance between a nurturing posture and one that's a bit too overbearing? All parents go through that. And so that's what is so wonderful about this movie, because you are experiencing this movie through the relationships you have through either your parents or your children. So we, as audience members, therefore bring a lot to the table as we're watching this. I think it's a fantastic story to take in--for parents to take in with their kids, or for kids to take in with their parents.

"...And on Thanksgiving, too, I mean, come on. What else you gonna do, right?"


Raymond Ochoa: [On what he liked best about the movie.] "Well, on a movie side, where it's like, 'what is your favorite scene?' That was really when my Papa takes me out to the field and he shows me when you move your tail these fireflies come out...and I like that scene so much because I felt it was a bonding moment between me and my dad, and the reason why is because later on, I do the exact same thing to Spot. I show him the fireflies. And I felt like I connected with him in a bonding moment.

"...You know at the beginning of the movie, I hated Spot. I did not like him. So, to know the change in the level between you not liking him and bonding with him, like he's my pet, that's what I found so cool about it."

Following them was AJ (Nash) Buckley, Anna (Ramsey) Paquin, and Sam (Butch) Elliot.




Anna Paquin: [On getting called to be a Pixar character.] "Well, I'd already said yes before they actually told me what I was about...and, I want to say that they seemed ever so slightly nervous that I might be offended that they wanted me to be this like, big, bad-ass T-Rex, that I was...I was so bracing myself to be like, some little thing like this, that's really wimpy, 'cause I'm a girl. And I'm like, 'That's fantastic!' And they're like, 'really?' And I'm like, 'yeah, that's awesome! I get to be, you know, one of the dudes.'

"Except a girl! Even cooler!"


AJ Buckley: [On developing his character.] "I asked (Pete Sohn) when we sat down, 'why did this happen?' He said, 'I saw your character on Justified, and I loved the sound of your voice.' And these guys were already cast, and they took scenes from Justified, and examined it, and mixed it with them, and it fit, and I was like, 'okay.' He said, 'I just want you to do Danny Crow,' and Danny Crow on Justified was this horrible, like, sociopath...And I'm like, 'Huh?' So...We were trying to find the voice and I was trying to figure out like, how to be a dinosaur...and so, my character on the show chewed--on Justified, chewed. So, I needed chew. And they only had Jolly Ranchers there. So I picked up a Jolly Rancher, and put the Jolly my lip there, and Nash came out."


Sam Elliot: [On being part of the Pixar legacy.] "Well, I think it's huge. For obvious reasons. It's huge for me, personally, because the 25th of November, if my mother were still living--she passed away three years ago--would've been her 100th birthday. So that's like, a milestone for me. But, I mean, anytime you get to be involved with a company like Pixar, it doesn't matter what day it is, or date it is, or anything else. I mean, this is a gift. I just look at this as a gift, and a grand opportunity, over the long haul...and the great reward is gonna be on Tuesday. I'm going to be seeing it with an audience, see it with my family, and I know my mom's up there, thinking, 'that's my boy.' Pretty cool."

The next session was with Director Peter Sohn and Producer Denise Ream.


Peter Sohn: [On being the Pet Collector.] "Every character that Arlo meets was all in terms of support of Arlo's journey. In terms of the world, of the frontier, that he was kind of this...transient character that's been living out in the woods too long. But it was almost meant to represent...the end-of-the-line version of Arlo. Like, if he was stuck out in the woods, would he be afraid of everything...and so terrified that he would come up with these protection things that would project him from there. Like, would Arlo fall into this world. 'You have to keep him, so that he can protect you.' And never grow up, essentially."


Finally, from the fantastic short "Sanjay's Super Team," we had Director Sanjay Patel and Producer Nicole Grindle.


Nicole Grindle: [On conceiving the short.] " So, Sanjay has written a number of books. He's been at Pixar for 20 years, doing traditional Pixar animation, art, but over the years, he developed an interest in pursuing South Asian art and learning more about his culture, and that led to him writing these books, and that led to there being several shows of his work at the Asian Art Museum.

"And eventually some folks at Pixar sort of figured he was doing all of this cool stuff. And they said, 'oh. Let's bring your artwork in-house. Let's do a show at Pixar.' We do that every now and then. And when we did that, John Lassiter saw this show, this beautiful artwork, and said, 'Sanjay, you have to make a short film.' That's not usually how short films are chosen at Pixar. People don't usually get invited. So, Sanjay was invited to do this and he said, 'no,' at first. He didn't want to do it, it wasn't what he had set out to do. And he was eventually persuaded to do it."

Sanjay Patel: [On the emptiness of the portrayed home environment.] "This is an immigrant that left all of that ethno-stuff back in the home country, and they got nothing here in some part of Southern California...that choice was really, really important to me and the artists that we were explaining this to, they got it instantly. Especially the immigrants. They were like, 'oh, I had apartment like that, we got it.' And, you know, story-wise, there's other reasons why we did's incredibly important that that room have--it's kind of like this room. There is...nothing in here. And it really creates a vacuum. So, imagine if there's a big-screen TV in here, playing awesome cartoons. Of course this kid's gonna escape into that world, because his home is just this beige-on-beige box, without detail, without color, without any kind of interest. We save all of that for when he wakes up in his daydream--that's the payoff. And that's also the truth of most immigrants. The truth of my parents' experience as well."


Sanjay Patel: [On the importance of representation.] "When you don't see any reflection of you, or your community, or your parents on TV, or in pop culture, other than a show, you just kind of figure out a way to exclude yourself. You figure out a way to...not be included, or you're suddenly told that you're...not important. You don't matter.

"This is the number one reason I wanted to make this short. This is the number one reason, that I have nieces and nephews, and...I make all this great stuff for Pixar, but they were never going to get stuff that had any reflection from--that looked like their families, and so the second I had this opportunity, that was the purpose for me."

Season of the Force - Food and Initial Impressions

Season of the Force

Jeanine has already covered the Season of the Force offerings in her blogs:

Star Tours and Hyperspace Mountain
Star Wars Launch Bay

But I wanted to offer some of my first-hand impressions. We were there before the official opening so not everything was open, but we were able to experience some of it.

Hyperspace Mountain

Hyperspace Mountain

I got in on a soft opening on this on Saturday morning. was amazing!!!! The scenario is that we are pilots heading out into a space battle. The safety video features a hologram of Admiral Ackbar, which drew me into the Star Wars universe right away.

Hyperspace Mountain Admiral Ackbar

And then sitting in the ride vehicle all of that great John Williams music starts to play, and as we ascend the initial hill, it was obvious that we were preparing for light speed!

In addition to the music, there was all of the "pilot chatter" and sound effects of laser fire and explosions. Lots of projection screens inside gave us views of battling space craft, including an amazing visual of a TIE fighter diving right toward us.

It was absolutely exhilarating! When I was standing in the launch bay waiting to board I noticed that in EVERY returning car people were clapping and cheering - and I understand why. I can't wait to ride again - and I hope that this attraction will be around much longer than a "season!"

Season of the Force Hyperspace Mountain loading area

Path of the Jedi
Shown in the Tomorrowland Theater, this is a collection of clips from the six previous Star Wars movies and a few from the upcoming film that remind us of the way of the Force - both the light side and the dark side. Featuring all of our favorite Jedi and Dark Side characters. There's no spoilers, and nothing new, but we enjoyed it - and it's a nice place to sit down for a while.

Season of the Force Path of the Jedi

The Galactic Grill

Season of the Force Galactic Grill

This is the new name for the Tomorrowland Terrace restaurant. While still basically a burger place, the new menu feature Star Wars-inspired items for both breakfast and lunch/dinner. We didn't get a chance to try to the breakfast menu, but we had lunch there.

Lee tried the First Order Specialty Burger. The most striking thing about this one is that it's served on a dark bun. The patty is Angus beef and chorizo, topped with fired cherry peppers and spicy lime aioli. He said it had a bit of a kick, but not too bad.

Season of the Force First Order Burger

I tried the Jedi Order Chicken Sandwich. A five-spice chicken breast topped with breaded/fried green beans, pickled onions, watercress and wasabi mayonnaise. I thought it was really tasty, and particularly enjoyed the pickled onions. Between the chicken, the onions, and the green beans there was a lot of interesting texture. I didn't think it was very spicy at all - just a little bit.

Season of the Force Jedi Order Chicken Sandwich

We also tried the two specialty beverages. The Light Side is lemonade and Granny Smith apple. It has yogurt "meteors" and comes with a light-up Millennium Falcon. They had to give me a special (larger) straw big enough for the "meteors". I would say that those were tapioca pearls and not yogurt. I liked this a lot - it wasn't too sweet.

Season of the Force Light Side Lemonade

The Dark Side is lemonade with strawberry flavor, and includes a light-up Death Star. I thought it was a little too sweet. Both the Death Star and the Falcon can be of different colors or patterns - a switch on the bottom turns them off/on and they'll come up in a different mode each time.

Season of the Force Dark Side Lemonade

Both of these sandwiches had the option of being served in a souvenir Han Solo in Carbonite bucket for an additional $8.00.

Galactic Grill Han Solo in Carbonite Bucket

There's also a Chewbacca souvenir beverage container for $11.29.

Season of the Force Chewbacca Beverage container

There are several themed desserts - we tried the Darth by Chocolate dessert. It has layers of chocolate cake, red velvet cake and chocolate ganache, topped with a chocolate Darth Vader mask and red light saber. It was pretty good for a theme park dessert.

Galactic Grill Darth by Chocolate

The Kids menu offers a Jawa Turkey Sand-Wich on Bantha blue milk bread. It's a swirl of blue and white - I wonder how that will go over with kids. The breakfast menu offers French toast made with the same bread.

Galactic Grill Bantha Bread French Toast

Galactic Grill Breakfast Menu
Galactic Grill Lunch/Dinner Menu

Other Season of the Force specialty items:

Redd Rockett's Pizza Port offers a souvenir BB-8 beverage container for $13.29. I must admit to purchasing one of these.

Season of the Force BB-8 Beverage container

There's also a TIE fighter popcorn bucket for $19.50.

Season of the Force TIE Fighter popcorn bucket

I'm looking forward to experiencing the rest of Season of the Force - and I don't need to be a Jedi Master to predict that this is going to be extremely popular with guests!

November 21, 2015

2015 Avengers Half Marathon Weekend - Part 2

Avengers Half Marathon Start Line

Sunday - Avengers Half Marathon

Jet lag caught up to me Saturday night and I went to bed at 8:30. I never even heard the Disneyland fireworks! So 3:30 didn't seem quite so early - I was awake before then. We had our usual yogurt and bagels in the room. Lee also went to the Hearthstone Lounge (which opened at 4:00) to get coffee.

Today our costumes were Princess Captain America (finally able to wear my tiara again!) and Hawkeye. Same costumes we wore last year, but why mess with a good thing? Unlike last year, this year there were actually two people who recognized that I was Princess Captain America. Lee's Hawkeye costume got most of the attention, though. There weren't too many Hawkeyes out there, plus he looked really good (though I told him he was smiling too much. ;-) )

It was another perfect morning for running! 54 degrees, 55% humidity and no wind. There was not going to be a repeat of last year's Santa Ana wind event that sandblasted us. That was pretty challenging. No shortening of the race course for us this week - we were going to have to run the full 13.1! :-)

Even though there were more participants in this race (11,000 as opposed to 7,000 the day before) we ended up a little further forward in Corral A than we had the day before. Before the race started they brought Captain America on the start line stage along with runners who were representatives of each branch of the Armed Forces.

Avengers Half Marathon Start Line

The National anthem was performed by a serviceman - unfortunately I do not remember his name or rank.

Avengers Half Marathon anthem singer

The race started a few minutes late, but we were off and running. The first part of the course was like last year, and from Disneyland Drive we very quickly turned left to run behind DCA. What I do not like about this course is that the parks portion is very short: by mile 2.5 we are out of the parks.

Because we stopped for all of the characters the day before we were only planning to stop for Hawkeye this time. Black Widow was near the Golden Vine Winery and had a pretty long line. Hawkeye was near the exit to DCA. His line was longer than any that we waited in yesterday - almost 5 minutes.

Avengers Half Marathon Hawkeye

There was another Hawkeye in line behind us. :-)

Avengers Half Marathon Hawkeye

We ran across the Esplanade into Disneyland. Thor and Captain America were in Disneyland but both had lines and we didn't stop. Besides, there was no way I was going to top my Captain America encounter from the day before! :-)

It was disappointing that there were only the four characters again. Though I guess the advantage is that if you run multiple races you have multiple chances to get at least one photo taken with them. There were S.H.I.E.L.D agents in various areas of the parks who were cheering us on, and even some HYDRA agents. (I kept getting suspicious anytime that we were told to "HYDRAte HYDRAte HYDRAte.")

Avengers Half Marathon SHIELD Agent

My biggest issue with this race is the lack of park time: by mile 2.5 we were out of the parks and out onto the streets. We still had some entertainment - there were lots of cheerleaders in the business areas. But some parts of the course during miles 4-7 had us running by houses and apartment buildings and that was quiet since people were still sleeping.

At least this year there was no wind to blow all of the mile markers down! :-)

Avengers Half Marathon Mile 4

The course was a little different this year - it seemed like we were on the Santa Ana Trail longer. And we were running on the east side of the trail and not the west like last year. The cosplayers were along the trail again. It seemed to me like there were fewer than last year, but it might be that they were closer together. I wish I'd taken more photos - there was a really amazing Loki!

Avengers Half Marathon Cosplayers

We were surprised to see our friend Caitlin cheering - it was great to see her! (And I loved her Peggy Carter outfit.)

Avengers Half Marathon Cosplay Agent Carter

There were banners with different Avengers characters placed along the trail - they'd had these outside the Expo entrance originally.

Avengers Half Marathon banner

We exited the Santa Ana Trail at Angel Stadium.

Avengers Half Marathon Angel Stadium

There were lots of cheerleaders in the stands, rather than the Boy and Girl Scouts that we see during the Disneyland Half Marathon.

In the parking lot outside there were the military re-enactors. They looked terrific, and they were very enthusiastic!

There was also a group of swing dancers, but they weren't performing when we ran by.

The newest Avenger movie hero, Antman, was also represented on some of the signs and banners. I'm used to the Disneyland Half Marathon course where this point is mile 10, but it was only mile 9 - that was a little discouraging. We had to take a longer route back to make up the extra mile to the finish area.

Avengers Half Marathon Mile 9

More S.H.I.E.L.D. agents were waiting for us at mile 12. We were ready to be finished. That half mile behind DCA is a little tough because there's very few people cheering for us - just a few cast members. They do their best but lack the numbers to really energize us. It's a lot better once we cross Disneyland Drive as there are always a lot of cheerleaders next to the Paradise Pier Hotel and they generate plenty of energy. From there to the finish there are lots of spectators lining the course to cheer us to the end.

Avengers Half Marathon Mile 12

I got a nice shout out from race announcer Rudy Novotny as I approached the finish line. And the announcers were counting Hawkeyes - Lee was number four. :-) I finished in 2:22:29 - anytime I finish a Disney half marathon in under 2:25 I'm very happy with that.

Avengers Half Marathon finish line

We collected our half marathon and Infinity Gauntlet medals. The Gauntlet medal is interesting - it has a big purple stone on the back, and the word: "SPACE". I wonder whether the medals will be different next year? I guess that's one way to keep people coming back...

Avengers Half Marathon finisher medal

We didn't linger in the finish area - we needed to get back to our room to shower and pack, since we were checking out and (finally) going home that day after 11 days of food, fun, and running.

Avengers Half Marathon Hawkeye running costume

I enjoyed the race a lot more than last year since the weather was so much better. We lucked out with the wind, though - the day after the race we again had very strong winds in southern California!

There were some minor changes to the course this year which I think made it better, though the entrance to the Santa Ana Trail we used this time was pretty narrow and had a sharp turn. Later in the race that might have been congested, though it wasn't bad for us. I enjoyed running along the trail. The area we ran was all paved, though I wouldn't have minded running on dirt!

It was again wonderful to see all of the cosplayers come out and support the runners - they were terrific.

I think this race is a lot of fun if you want to run in costume - it's pretty easy to find an appropriate shirt, and then decide how much more you want to put into it. While there were lots of Captain Americas, Thors, Iron Men, and Hulks, I saw a number of Wonder Womans, Spidermans, and even some Guardians of the Galaxy characters. I was surprised at all of the people who carried hammers and Captain America shields for the entire half marathon (I carried a shield, but it was a small one).

Thank you to all of the volunteers, cast members, cheerleaders, bands, cosplayers, and spectators for all of your support - we couldn't do it without you!

Even now that I've run this race twice, this second time in optimal weather conditions, I'm still not quite sure what I think of it. I really enjoy the Avengers/Super Heroes theme, but there should be more characters on the course. It's a great time of year for a race weekend in southern California because the temperature is generally going to be cool - MUCH better than conditions for the Disneyland Half Marathon weekend. I enjoy the Santa Ana Trail part of the course, but there's too little park time. The Star Wars and Tinker Bell weekends at Disneyland are still my favorites, but I think Avengers edges out Disneyland because of the weather - it's just too hot in September.

I'm glad runDisney added the 10K this year. It's a great distance, and I really like the course. Two miles in the beginning to let us spread out, and then all on Disney property with lots of park time.

That said, I'm not sure if I will run this race next year...or maybe I'll just run the 10K. Registration opens April 5, 2016, so I have some time to think about it.

Thanks for reading!

November 20, 2015

Avengers Half Marathon Weekend - Part 1

Avengers Half Marathon

The third stop on our Eat, Drink, and Run tour was Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon Weekend at Disneyland. Our first event was the 10K on Saturday. But we didn't get off the cruise ship until Friday morning. Makes for tight timing when have to fly cross country so you can get to the Race Expo before it closes on Friday.

When we first talked about this trip our friend Eddie had the brilliant idea that we should fly in/out of John Wayne Airport in Orange County rather than from San Diego - thus saving ourselves the hassle of trying to get from San Diego to Orange County during Friday afternoon traffic. It worked out great. By driving to John Wayne Airport (SNA) and flying from there we could leave our clothes/costumes for the Disneyland portion of the trip in the car (and Lee had a couple of large costume pieces), and have our car for transportation to Disneyland and then back home after the race on Sunday.

As an added bonus - SNA is a REALLY nice airport! We were very impressed. Even the TSA people were very nice!

I used to pre-pay for parking at a hotel near the airport, which saved us over 40% of what we would have paid for airport parking. The hotel shuttles were very efficient and the process worked very well.

Friday afternoon traffic in Orange County was still a bear, and it took us almost an hour to get from the parking lot to the Grand Californian. Yikes. But we still arrived about 6:00 - plenty of time to hit the Expo and pick up our bibs and shirts.

I really liked the red (half marathon), white (10K), and blue (challenge) shirts! Just wish they were short sleeve.

Avengers Half Marathon shirts

We visited the official merchandise area. There was still some variety left, but a lot of things were sold out. I think all of the magnets were still available, but of the mini medal pins only the 1/2 marathon and Coast-to-Coast pins were left. And there were NO race pins at all. Apparently this time they were ONLY available as pre-orders. I know a lot of people were disappointed about that.

Avengers Half Marathon magnets

All of the "I Did It" shirts were available.

Avengers Half Marathon shirts

Eddie had picked up this Hawkeye shirt for Lee earlier in the day, just in case, but they were still on the rack when we arrived.

Hawkeye shirt

And Lee also liked this "Avengers Race Weekend" shirt.

Avengers Half Marathon Weekend shirt

We didn't wander around the rest of the Expo because we still needed to check into the hotel AND we were hungry! It was going on 10:00 for us by then, since we'd come from the east coast.

After dinner we finished unpacking and getting our costumes ready for the next morning, and set the alarm for 3:45.

Saturday - Captain America 10K

Captain America 10K logo

3:45 doesn't seem nearly as early when you've just come from the east coast. :-) We'd brought bagels and peanut butter, and had purchased yogurt in Whitewater Snacks the night before so we had something to eat before the race.

We met several friends in the pre-race area - four of us were in costume. Since it was the Captain America 10K, Lee dressed as Captain America (and he had the shield strapped to his back!), and I went as Agent Peggy Carter. As you might expect there were a lot of Captain Americas in the race, but I only saw a few other Peggys.

Avengers Half Marathon

The weather was absolutely perfect! 52 degrees, low humidity, almost no wind. I wore a trash bag and arm sleeves while waiting for the race to start, but even without the trash bag I think I would've been ok. Once I started running I was very comfortable, and didn't need the sleeves after mile 2.

When we picked up our bibs the night before we were very surprised to find that we were assigned to Corral A for both races! The same proof of time had put us in D for Wine and Dine. There must be more serious runners in the Florida race. We had both worked pretty hard earlier this year to improve our time and ran a couple of fast (for us) races. We were about 2/3 back in Corral A, but it was still nice to get a better view of the pre-race festivities.

A wonderful trio called the "Nightingals" sang the National anthem.

Avengers - Nightingals singers

And then we were off. Though this was a new 10K, it followed the same 10K course used by the Disneyland 10K. We ran down to the Convention Center, turned left, then came back up Harbor Blvd and went backstage behind DCA. That put us just about the two-mile mark. The rest of the course was on Disney property.

Because we were in Corral A, we were hoping the character lines wouldn't be too long and that we would be able to get photos with them during the 10K, since lines would be much longer during the half marathon.

The first character we saw was Thor. It took us over four minutes to get through that line.

Captain America 10K - Thor

Next was Black Widow. That line was much shorter - only 8 or so people in front of us.

Captain America 10K - Black  Widow

We crossed over into Disneyland, where we stopped for a photo in front of the new Super Hero HQ in Tomorrowland.

Captain America 10K - Super Hero HQ

The line for Hawkeye was very short - just 4 people.

Captain America 10K - Hawkeye

Then we wound around backstage for a while.

Captain America 10K

We passed the mile 5 sign in Fantasyland. All of the mile signs had Infinity Gauntlets with a different gem and word on them.

Captain America 10K - Mile 5

Captain America was in Frontierland. Given how we were dressed, we were going to stop no matter what, but the line was actually pretty short - only about 10 people in front of us. And it was the Best Character Stop Ever. :-) He greeted me as Peggy Carter and gave me a big hug. Then he decided that I needed to be on his other side so he picked me up (with one arm) and swung me around to the other side. The cast member who had my phone did a great job of capturing the moment. It was awesome!

Captain America 10K

Captain America 10K

Captain America 10K

And then he posed with Lee, too. ;-)

Captain America 10K

I think I floated for most of the remaining mile of the race...

We found our friend Beci cheering in Downtown Disney not long before the finish line.

Captain America 10K

Captain America 10K - Mile 6

I got a shout out as Agent Carter when I approached the finish line - that was fun. Actually, during the race I had a number of people cheer me on as "Peggy" or "Agent Carter", so I was pretty happy with my costume choice!

Captain America 10K finish line

Even with our photo stops we finished in 1:07:52. I was very pleased with that! Amazing what cooler weather does for my speed.

Captain America 10K

It was still in the low 50s when we finished, so the volunteers were handing out mylar sheets in addition to our race medals. We didn't linger in the finish area - just took a couple of photos and then went back to our room.

Captain America 10K medal

We had to cross the race course near ESPN - there was a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent there. We knew from previous experience that if we went left to get to the Grand from the Downtown Disney entrance we'd have to try to cross the race course at least twice more, so instead we went down to the Paradise Pier and crossed Disneyland Drive there and used the main entrance of the hotel. Much faster.

Captain America 10K

We went to the Hearthstone Lounge for some warm beverages and our friend Ellie spotted us in there and came in to say hi. It was wonderful to see her.

Agent Carter running costume

I had a great time in this race. I LOVE the 10K distance. The theme was a lot of fun, and I really like this 10K course. Having the first two miles outside the parks helps spread the pack out so that it's not so congested when we get inside the parks. This was also a pretty small race - just under 7,000 finishers. We had really good character interactions though had we been further back in the pack with longer lines I probably would not feel quite the same. (We heard that the lines later on were 30 minutes long!) My only real complaint is that there were only four character stops. No Disney characters on the course at all. Why couldn't they dress some of the Disney characters as super heroes, or at least bring out the Incredibles?

So...Part 1 of the Infinity Gauntlet Challenge complete - bring on the half marathon!

November 19, 2015

Star Wars: Season of the Force



We continue our look at Disneyland's new Star Wars celebration in Tomorrowland, with some of the new attraction additions and overlays.

[As always, any unattributed photos or videos are courtesy of Disney.]


Over in the Tomorrowland (née Magic Eye) Theater, "Star Wars: Path of the Jedi" has taken over Captain EO's erstwhile home to showcase a visual primer of the Star Wars filmography. Loosely following the history of Luke Skywalker, it serves as an introduction or reminder of iconic images and concepts to prepare viewers for the upcoming film "Star Wars: The Force Awakens."


Star Tours: The Adventure Continues
has received an update in the form of a new destination--the planet Jakku, from "The Force Awakens." Along with the new environs, passengers will get a glimpse at some new characters from the film (no spoilers, though,) and some new additional easter eggs hidden within the traditional locations. All speeders will visit Jakku, with the second destination randomized.

The biggest change up is in Space Mountain's transformation into Hyperspace Mountain. In this new adventure, a star destroyer off Jakku is the catalyst for a colossal firefight between Rebel X-wing Starfighters and Imperial TIE fighters.

Within the queue, the display screens have been updated to reflect your mission objectives.



I personally thought this was a very fun reimagineering of this attraction. The new soundtrack, inspired by the classical John Williams score and recorded with the London Symphony Orchestra, really elevates the experience--much as it does with the movies themselves.

“Traveling through hyperspace ain't like dusting crops, farm boy.”

There's even more to come, as on December 8th, Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple will open up and replace the popular Jedi Training Academy. In this interactive experience, younglings will find out whether they can go the distance as a Jedi at a secret and ancient Jedi temple. These trials will require candidates to face not only their own spirit, but formidable villains such as Darth Vader and the Seventh Sister Inquisitor from "Star Wars Rebels."


So quite a bit for the Star Wars fan to discover at "Season of the Force." Anyone looking to ramp up their excitement for "The Force Awakens" should check it out while it's here, because although there is no announced ending date, a season traditionally does not remain with you always, unlike The Force.


November 18, 2015

2015 Wine and Dine Half Marathon Weekend

Wine and Dine Half Marathon

The Wine and Dine Half Marathon is my favorite half marathon at Walt Disney World. It's the only nighttime half marathon. It starts at ESPN Wide World of Sports and ends at Epcot, where there's an after-party that goes until 4:00 a.m. The Food and Wine Festival booths are open as are some attractions, and there's also entertainment and character meet and greets. Party admission is included with race registration, though you still have to pay at the food booths. As we did last year, our plan was to run the race Saturday night, then take a four-night Disney cruise starting on Monday. Oh, and then return to California on Friday to run the Inaugural Infinity Gauntlet Challenge at Disneyland on Saturday and Sunday!

We arrived late Wednesday night, and spent a couple of days enjoying the parks and the Epcot Food and Wine Festival.

The race expo opened on Friday morning at the usual ESPN Wide World of Sports location. We headed over late Friday afternoon. This race is not as big as most of the others, so not all of the Disney resorts are "host" resorts where transportation to race events is provided. The Boardwalk is one of those resorts, and we took the bus to/from the Expo.

Wine and Dine Half Marathon Expo

Packet pickup was easy - no line. Included in our race registration was a $15 Disney gift card intended to be used at the party after the race, though it could be used any where. Instead of picking those up with our packet as in past years, Disney mailed them to us at home before the race.

The shirts are a very dark blue, and long sleeve. It's a nice shirt but I have too many long-sleeve shirts - we don't need them very often in San Diego!

Wine and Dine Half Marathon shirt

There was a decent selection of official merchandise for the race. The item that seemed to be in the most demand was the wine glass - and I heard someone in line to check out say that she had gotten the last one. We actually did not buy anything this time! I have the magnet and mini-medal pin from last year, and although this year was slightly different, it wasn't significant enough that I wanted a new one.

Wine and Dine Half Marathon Expo

Since the race is at night we tried to stay more on west coast time, though it was more difficult this year since we arrived Wednesday and not Friday like we did the previous two times we'd run this race.

I'm always concerned with weather conditions for race day. Last year during the Wine and Dine Half Marathon we had rain for the entire race. This year it looked like it was going to be unseasonably warm and humid...and as of Thursday there were thunderstorms in the forecast for Saturday afternoon/night. Sigh.

Saturday we "prepared" for the race by wandering around Animal Kingdom in the morning. We spent much of the afternoon relaxing in our room out of the heat. We split a turkey sandwich from the Boardwalk Bakery around 5:00, and we both took bagels with us to eat before the race.

It was supposed to be 75 degrees and 80% humidity at the start of the race at 10:00, and 72 and 90% humidity at midnight. Because of that I did a slight last-minute modification to my Belle costume - instead of running in my blue skirt, which has compression shorts, I just ran in my regular lightweight black running shorts. With the apron over the shorts it still looked fine.

We got in line for the bus to the start of the race (ESPN Wide World of Sports complex) at 7:00. I think we were on the second bus. There was a fair bit of traffic getting there, but we still arrived by 7:30 for a race that started at 10:00.

There were a lot of characters out for photos, and it was early enough that the lines weren't too bad, so we had our photo taken with Chip and Dale.

Wine and Dine Half Marathon Chip & Dale

We found friends to hang out with while waiting, including our friend Jack from our amazing Hong Kong and Tokyo Disneyland trip.

It was still warm and humid, but whether we expected any rain depended on which weather forecast you looked at - and when.

At about 9:00 we were in the Porta-pottie line, anticipating that they would be sending us to our corrals soon. Suddenly the race announcer came on asking for our attention and telling us that we all needed to immediately evacuate to the nearby stadium because of lightning in the area. We were at the front of the line so we used the pottie, but when we got out they were telling all of us we needed to leave.

There were about 13,000 runners and lots of volunteers, so this exodus didn't happen very quickly. But it was orderly and no one was panicked, nor did I really hear a lot of grumbling. We could see lots of lightning flashes, and there was a little bit of light drizzle. In that we were fortunate, because it poured rain in some nearby areas.

They ran out of room in the stadium, and we ended up on the floor of the Field House instead. That was pretty comfortable and we could even stretch out. But we didn't get much information about what was going on - the cell service was overwhelmed and it was very hard to get any data. There was a DJ in the arena but he didn't have any information.

Wine and Dine Half Marathon

Wine and Dine Half Marathon

Rumors abounded...that the storm wouldn't pass until 11:45, that Disney would have to cancel the race if we didn't start by 11:00, that it was raining leopards and hyenas at Animal Kingdom, etc. We sat there until about 10:30, and then everyone started to get up and leave! No announcement, but we could see volunteers and race personnel waving us out. Yay!

It had not rained very much, if at all, and the ground was dry. It took much less time to get us back to the staging area than it did to move us into shelter. We hit the porta-pottie again. They still weren't quite sending us to our corrals yet. Race announcer Rudy Novotny told us that the course had been modified, one reason being that there was a chance of additional storms later. At that point they didn't say how it had been modified, but it turned out that it was shortened by over six miles. We did not go out to Animal Kingdom at all. (Apparently they were still rounding up all of those leopards and hyenas. ;-) )

Once they started letting us go to the corrals, it was a very short time before the race started. Just after we made it to corral D was the national anthem, followed very shortly by the start of the race. There were still fireworks for all of the corrals, though!

Wine and Dine Half Marathon fireworks

We started about 12 minutes after the official start. I was hoping that the storm would have cooled things off and reduced the humidity but no - it was still 75 and VERY humid. At that point we'd been told that the race was at least six miles shorter. And I have to say that I was pretty happy about that: less time in the heat, and more time to enjoy the Epcot party at the end.

I was pretty impressed with how Disney handled the situation. I felt they made the correct decisions to keep all of us safe AND make the appropriate adjustments that would still allow us to enjoy as much of the event as possible. As this particular race is largely about the party after the race I thought that shortening the course allowed those who finished towards the back to still have some time to experience the party, too. And keep in mind that it wasn't just the runners they had to keep safe - there were all of the volunteers and spectators and entertainment out on the course to consider as well.

The first part of the race followed the usual course on Osceola Parkway.

Wine and Dine Half Marathon Mile 1

At about 1.3 miles instead of continuing out to Animal Kingdom we turned right toward the Studios.

Wine and Dine Half Marathon

There was a photo stop there.

Wine and Dine Half Marathon

Not too far after that was the mile 8 sign. Fastest 8 miles I ever ran! :-) The rest of the race followed the original course.

Wine and Dine Half Marathon Mile 8

We stopped for most of the characters, though we skipped a few that had long lines. Because of the shortened course we ran faster than we would have in a longer race. And because the character stops were relatively close together we ended up not doing run-walk: the photo waits ended up being our rest interval. Given the heat I thought we did pretty well.

We had planned to run this race with a couple of friends, but we weren't able to connect with them after the evacuation. Elizabeth caught up to us anyway - she's speedy, and even starting two corrals behind us she still caught us! :-) We ran about the last half of the race together and had a good time.

Wine and Dine Half Marathon Genie

One of the best parts of this race is running through the Osborne Lights. I'm really sad that this is the final year for that, but glad that we were able to do it one last time. We walked through them instead of running.

Wine and Dine Half Marathon Osborne Lights

Because the race was shorter the runners hadn't gotten spread out on the course as much as usual, and the section from Studios along the canal behind the Boardwalk was more congested than usual. Not terrible - we just needed to be a little patient. But we were happy we were more towards the front where it wasn't as busy.

Wine and Dine Half Marathon Sebastian

We finished the modified course, which was about 6.75 miles long, in 1:20:35. I'm calling it a quarter marathon, though it was just a bit longer than that.

Wine and Dine Half Marathon medal

From previous experience I knew we did not want to linger in the finish area, which is in the Epcot parking lot, so that we could maximize our party time. To get to the party we had to get through bag check at the entrance to Epcot, and then we needed to get across the race course itself where it crosses Future World. We picked up the bags that we had checked (I was looking forward to dry clothes!), and left the finish area. Bag check was no problem for us (though the lines were very long later), but it took some time to cross the course. Disney sets up a designated crossing area where they re-route the runners to create an island for those crossing, but it's not a very quick process.

After that we found a restroom so we could change clothes. Ahhh...dry clothes feel so good! And then it was time for some food! Since we had finished relatively early the lines at the food booths were pretty short. We had pork sliders from Hawaii and a lobster pie and cheese plate from Ireland. After that we went and hung out with friends who had a table near Germany. It was after 1:30 by then.

Wine and Dine Half Marathon

We ended up not getting any more food, but I watched the lines at Germany get longer and longer. Still, I was really shocked when we left Germany at about 3:15 and saw how crowded it was and how long the lines were! Many of the food booths had lines 30-50 people deep. It looked like a busy weekend day! Disney really oversold tickets to this event. I felt badly for the runners who finished late and had to contend with those lines. I know some who simply gave up and didn't get anything to eat/drink at the party. :-(

All things considered, Lee and I had a pretty good experience. We were quite happy to run fewer miles and have time to enjoy the party after the race. Since we finished in the top 40% we were also able to take advantage of the shorter lines for food and beverages. But I hope that next year Disney will reduce the number of party tickets available to non-runners - the crowds were pretty awful as the night went on.

It seems as though Mother Nature has taken a dislike to this race. Last year was the "Splash and Dash" (or "Wet and Drenched"), and this year we had the thunderstorm that necessitated evacuating everyone. I know there are a lot of people who are very disappointed that the race was shortened, especially those for whom this was their first half marathon. They trained hard for this race and then they didn't have the opportunity to go the distance. I understand their frustration and I'm very sorry they didn't get that experience. I think it was different for those of us who have run this race, or other races, before, and perhaps easier for us to embrace the changes. If this applies to you then I hope that you will sign up for another half marathon. And I hope you realize all that you accomplished in completing the training and making it to the start line. To the best of my knowledge Disney has never had to shorten a race before, so if nothing else, at least you were part of something historic...

Next stop for us was a four-night cruise on the Disney Dream, including the Castaway Cay 5K, but the next blogs will be about Avengers Half Marathon Weekend at Disneyland.

N.B. As I was finishing up this blog entry, I received this email message from runDisney that went out to all Wine and Dine Half Marathon participants:

Thank you for participating in the 2015 Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon. We heard that some of our runners had questions about the race, which was delayed and shortened because of inclement weather and lightning in the area. As a race team, we had been monitoring weather conditions continuously on Saturday and due to conditions in the area we modified the course for the safety of our runners and spectators.

We appreciate the effort you put into preparing for the 2015 Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon. While we are equally disappointed in not being able to provide a complete half marathon experience, we are thankful our runners were able to complete the modified course safely.

All Coast to Coast Challenge participants are eligible to receive their medals, and all runners' proof of time will count toward a 10K distance option for other runDisney events.

Our runDisney team has a passion for putting on magical running events where participants can make their dreams come true and achieve their personal best. While weather is out of our control, we take necessary precautions to keep our runners and Guests safe. We apologize for the inconvenience this may have caused you and hope you will consider running with us again.


Maribeth Bisienere
SVP, ESPN Wide World of Sports and Disney Springs

Jon Hughes
runDisney Race Director, East Coast

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/14/15

Contributing photographer Jason of sends us these photos from his trip to the parks on Saturday, November 14, 2015. These pictures take a look at what's new around both Disneyland and Disney California Adventure this holiday season. For a more in depth look at all of the decorations and holiday festivities visit my full picture set on

Arriving at the Disneyland Resort the parking toll booth wreaths have blue bows.

Jason @ image from Saturday, November 14, 2015

A Ghirardelli store has opened in Downtown Disney. This is only a temporary location.

Jason @ image from Saturday, November 14, 2015

A look inside, it was not open for the day since it was only 8:30am when I walked by.

Jason @ image from Saturday, November 14, 2015

Grizzly Peak Airfield has received some decorations this year.

Jason @ image from Saturday, November 14, 2015

Notice the wind sock.

Jason @ image from Saturday, November 14, 2015

The large trees by the fire tower have been decorated too.

Jason @ image from Saturday, November 14, 2015

The lamp posts along the walkway to Grizzly River Run have decorations this year.

Jason @ image from Saturday, November 14, 2015

Over at Disneyland on the Jingle Cruise the African Veldt has more props this year including snowflakes, and plastic snowmen.

Jason @ image from Saturday, November 14, 2015

Jason @ image from Saturday, November 14, 2015

The Mint Julep Window has candy cane beignets this year.

Jason @ image from Saturday, November 14, 2015

Santa has been relocated to Critter Country taking over the Winnie the Pooh Meet and Greet Location.

Jason @ image from Saturday, November 14, 2015

Winnie and Piglet are around in snow form.

Jason @ image from Saturday, November 14, 2015

Santa in his new location.

Jason @ image from Saturday, November 14, 2015

Jason @ image from Saturday, November 14, 2015

On Main Street USA the garland and wreaths all have blue ribbon and other diamond touches. Also no garland over the street this year or snow on Sleeping Beauty Castle.

Jason @ image from Saturday, November 14, 2015

The Main Street Christmas Tree has blue ribbon and seemed like more blue ornaments this year.

Jason @ image from Saturday, November 14, 2015

Jason @ image from Saturday, November 14, 2015

In "A Christmas Fantasy" parade the Green Army Men have taken over the Toy Factory float. The Pinocchio characters are no longer in the parade.

Jason @ image from Saturday, November 14, 2015

Jason @ image from Saturday, November 14, 2015

The Pacific Wharf at Disney California Adventure has new decorations this year.

Jason @ image from Saturday, November 14, 2015

On the bridge leading into the area.

Jason @ image from Saturday, November 14, 2015

In the water a decorated buoy.

Jason @ image from Saturday, November 14, 2015

The Cocina Cucamonga Mexican Grill

Jason @ image from Saturday, November 14, 2015

The Pacific Wharf Cafe

Jason @ image from Saturday, November 14, 2015

A closer look at the bread garland.

Jason @ image from Saturday, November 14, 2015

The Lucky Fortune Cookery

Jason @ image from Saturday, November 14, 2015

Hope you enjoyed this highlight tour of the Disneyland Resort. For additional photos and details from this trip you can check out the full Disneyland Update I posted on my site, Also be sure to follow me on twitter @disneygeekcom for pictures from the parks.

November 17, 2015

Season of the Force: Star Wars Launch Bay


This week, Disneyland debuted a brand-new celebration of all things Star Wars--Season of the Force.

[Unless otherwise attributed, all photos and videos courtesy of Disney.]


Taking place in Tomorrowland, a Star Wars retheming has been given to several of the locations there, including the Carousel Theater...


The Magic Eye Theater...


And Space Mountain.


In addition, Star Tours--The Adventures Continue has received a new adventure on the planet Jakku with some debuting characters from the upcoming film "Star Wars: The Force Awakens."


In today's installment, we'll look at the Launch Bay, which replaces Innoventions in the bottom floor of the now-stationary Carousel Theater, and which is the central hub of all the Star Wars activities.


Right inside the entrance is the Launch Bay Theater, which is currently playing a great video featuring insight from a wide assortment of luminaries involved with Star Wars, such as J.J. Abrams, Kathleen Kennedy, and Gareth Edwards. Also located around the lower level are themed galleries displaying replicas of props, costumes, and models from all reaches of the Star Wars universe.


Over in the Light and Dark Side galleries, guest can peruse replicas of helmets and lightsabers utilized by famous heroes and villains of the Jedi and Sith.



In the Preview Gallery, exhibits from "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" are on display, again with both Light and Dark sides represented.






There is also a Starship Gallery, dedicated to iconic starships and their famed captains.



Over in the Cantina, your typical wretched hive of scum and villainy, photo-ops abound with establishment-provided sabacc and holochess tables. Who knows which Star Wars characters may drop by to interact as well? Hopefully they'll take to you better than Dr. Evazan took to Luke.


Throughout the Launch Bay, you'll note the pervasive use of Aurebesh--the writing system used to transcribe Basic, the most common language in Star Wars. (Another fun detail is revealed on a closer look at the area's Cast Members' name badges, and specifically at their city...or planet...of origin.)


The Star Wars Game Center has systems set up for players to experience the latest Star Wars video games. Currently they are demoing the new Star Wars playsets from Disney Infinity 3.0, with some content and game codes available exclusively at this location.


The heart of the Launch Bay experience is the live-action character interactions all around the building. First Order stormtroopers will be patrolling the outside of the area, while guests within may find themselves face to face with Boba Fett, Chewbacca, or the Dark Lord of the Sith himself.

I have a bad feeling about this...

For those who want to take home mementos of their time in Launch Bay, merchandise of all price points is available at the Launch Bay Cargo.


For the action figure collectors, vintage Star Wars actions figures were scanned and reproduced in 3-D for a new, less civilized age.


Whether your tastes run towards a souvenir shirt...


...Or something a bit more ostentatious, Disney has you covered.


But of course, the Launch Bay is only a part of what Disneyland has in store for you in Seasons of the Force. More to come!

November 14, 2015

Holidaytime Returns to the Disneyland Resort


Starting November 13, 2015 and going on until January 6, 2016, the holidays have arrived at Disneyland!

[Unattributed photos/video courtesy of Disney.]


As is tradition, Disneyland kicked off its season with the ceremonial lighting of "it's a small world." This year's honored guest was U.S. Marine Sgt. Juan Valdez, a recipient of the Purple Heart, with his wife and service dog.


Joining Valdez was Disneyland Ambassador Allie Kawamoto, Mickey Mouse, and Pluto.

Fun facts: the holiday facade of "it's a small world" includes more than 60,000 LED lights, with almost 30,000 miniature LED lights in the surrounding landscaping. The European scene in "it's a small world" Holiday is scented with pine near the 20ft Christmas tree.


Of course, that's not all nearly all the holiday offerings at the Disneyland Resort--coming back for its 21st season is "A Christmas Fantasy Parade."






More recent to the lineup is the Haunted Mansion Holiday overlay complete with new gingerbread house...


...And the return of "Jingle Cruise:" The Skippers' attempts to make a Merry Christmas for themselves, deep in the Jungle.


Missing from last year is the "Jingle Jangle Jamboree" in Big Thunder Ranch, due to that area's incipient closure, and " Holiday Magic" fireworks, replaced by the 60th Anniversary "Disneyland Forever" pyrotechnics and projections.

Over at Disney California Adventure, "World of Color" will be running two different versions each night--the first show will be "World of Color--Winter Dreams," and the second show will be "World of Color--Celebrate!"

Back this year is the high-energy favorite "Disney ¡Viva Navidad!"




"Olaf's Snow Fest" has also returned, with appropriate seasonal decor, befitting the snowy land of Arendelle.


If sledding and snow fun isn't energetic enough for you and yours, Olaf has more in store for you over in the Downtown Disney Winter Village, where you can skate on "Olaf's Frozen Ice Rink." For those who'd rather just get in their Christmas wish lists, Santa also has multiple locations (he moves fast) over in Critter Country in Disneyland, and in Elias & Co over in Disney California Adventure.


But wait! We haven't even gotten to the brand new stuff! In our next installment, we'll talk about Star Wars Season of the Force which has given a whole new emphasis to Tomorrowland.

Happy Holidays!

November 11, 2015

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/06/15

Contributing photographer Jason of sends us these photos from his trip to the parks on Friday, November 6, 2015. He noticed that Halloween was over, and more Christmas decorations were up around the parks.

In addition, another new animated window opened at the Emporium in Disneyland -- this one featuring Anna and Elsa from "Frozen."


Three popular attractions were closed on Friday. Soarin' and Jungle Cruise reopen November 13 and Space Mountain on November 16.

Jason @ image from Friday, November 6, 2015

Christmas decorations are up around Main Street USA and they incorporate the Diamond Anniversary decorations.

Jason @ image from Friday, November 6, 2015

The pumpkin is gone and waiting for the Christmas tree, which was still backstage along the tram route.

Jason @ image from Friday, November 6, 2015

The Main Street Fire Truck wreath.

Jason @ image from Friday, November 6, 2015

Blue bows on the garland this year for the 60th.

Jason @ image from Friday, November 6, 2015

Jason @ image from Friday, November 6, 2015

Winter plantings in the hub.

Jason @ image from Friday, November 6, 2015

Sleeping Beauty Castle has some garland and wreath.Will be interesting to see what happens this year for the holidays. No snow or ice.

Jason @ image from Friday, November 6, 2015

Jason @ image from Friday, November 6, 2015

Jason @ image from Friday, November 6, 2015

Jason @ image from Friday, November 6, 2015

In Tomorrowland the tape for the stroller parking has a Star Tours feel to it this week.

Jason @ image from Friday, November 6, 2015

The Super Hero HQ signage is up.

Jason @ image from Friday, November 6, 2015

The Hyperspace Mountain signage is up, too.

Jason @ image from Friday, November 6, 2015
It includes a Season of the Force sign.

Jason @ image from Friday, November 6, 2015

Heading into Toontown -- Halloween is gone and more Christmas decorations are up.

Jason @ image from Friday, November 6, 2015

Jason @ image from Friday, November 6, 2015

Jason @ image from Friday, November 6, 2015

The Ranch is celebrating Halloween for a few more days, though.

Jason @ image from Friday, November 6, 2015

The rest of Frontierland has Christmas decorations up.

Jason @ image from Friday, November 6, 2015

The Jungle Cruise is closed to become the Jingle Cruise, opening next Friday.

Jason @ image from Friday, November 6, 2015

Walking through New Orleans Square.

A photo location for Jack Skellington and Sally (from "The Nightmare Before Christmas") has been set up in the Royal Courtyard.

Jason @ image from Friday, November 6, 2015

"it's a small world" Holiday opened today.

Jason @ image from Friday, November 6, 2015

Jason @ image from Friday, November 6, 2015

Jason @ image from Friday, November 6, 2015

Jason @ image from Friday, November 6, 2015

Jason @ image from Friday, November 6, 2015

Jason @ image from Friday, November 6, 2015

Here are a couple video clips from this first cruise through "it's a small world" Holiday 2015.

Over to Disney California Adventure

Jason @ image from Friday, November 6, 2015

Buena Vista Street is decorated.

Jason @ image from Friday, November 6, 2015

The Buena Vista Street tree.

Jason @ image from Friday, November 6, 2015

Surprised to see that Cars Land is not fully decorated yet. They had lines up but no overhead decorations yet.

Jason @ image from Friday, November 6, 2015

Soarin' is closed this week.

Jason @ image from Friday, November 6, 2015

Paradise Park is getting ready for World of Color Winter Dreams, which starts next Friday.

Jason @ image from Friday, November 6, 2015

During the Pixar Play Parade, noticed the Incredibles were walking today.

Jason @ image from Friday, November 6, 2015

Some video clips of the Pixar Play Parade.

The Paradise Garden Grill menu is for Viva Navidad this week.

Jason @ image from Friday, November 6, 2015

The Buena Vista Street Tree at night.

Jason @ image from Friday, November 6, 2015

Back over at Disneyland some of the garland was lit up.

Jason @ image from Friday, November 6, 2015

A new Frozen window debuted at the Emporium this past week.

Jason @ image from Friday, November 6, 2015

Jason @ image from Friday, November 6, 2015

Here is a video of the full cycle for the Frozen window.

Small World Holiday was lit up this evening.

Jason @ image from Friday, November 6, 2015

Made my way back to Main Street to find a spot for Paint the Night.

Jason @ image from Friday, November 6, 2015

Jason @ image from Friday, November 6, 2015

Moved out to the street for Disneyland Forever.

It was initially delayed due to winds, and was eventually cancelled.

Jason @ image from Friday, November 6, 2015

In its place the Live the Magic Finale projections were run along with a lighting sequence for the castle. Here is a video of the alternative show.

Hope you enjoyed this highlight tour of the Disneyland Resort. For additional photos and details from this trip you can check out the full Disneyland Update I posted on my site, Also be sure to follow me on twitter @disneygeekcom for pictures from the parks.

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