Page 1 of 5

January 23, 2017

2017 Lunar New Year Celebration at Disney California Adventure

laura%27s%20masthead%20copy2.jpg


Lunar New Year Celebration

In 2017, Disneyland has expanded the Lunar New Year Celebration to 17 days, from January 20 - February 5. This year celebrates the Year of the Rooster. All events take place at Disney California Adventure. I attended a media preview on January 19.

A map in the area shows the locations of the different events.

Lunar New Year Celebration

There are special Lunar New Year-inspired food items available at more locations this year. The Paradise Garden Grill has a special seasonal menu during the celebration, with selections like stir-fried vegetables and noodles, grilled short ribs with kimchi, pho, cassava-coconut cake, and almond milk tea.

Lunar New Year Celebration

Three marketplace booths offer items inspired by Korean, Chinese, and Vietnamese cuisine. These include sugar cane shrimp skewers, kimchi vegetable fried rice, turnip cake and pork soup dumplings, and sweet items such as sweet rice and dried fruit cake, egg tart, and a sweet potato macaron. Various alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages are also available.

Lunar New Year Celebration

Lunar New Year Celebration

A special glow cube shaped like a lotus blossom is available for $5, either by itself or in a specialty beverage.

Lunar New Year Celebration

During the preview I sampled several of the food items and one of the beverage offerings. My favorite by far was the Vegetable Japchae, which is available at Paradise Garden Grill. Sweet potato noodles with vegetables and tofu, with a sesame oil sauce and toasted sesame seeds. It was really good.

Lunar New Year Celebration

The Banh chung - sticky rice cake with pork - from the Vietnam booth was also really good. It was wrapped in some kind of leaf.

Lunar New Year Celebration

I thought the Yachae Mandu - steamed vegetable dumplings from Korea, had a nice flavor, but they were a little too spicy for me.

Lunar New Year Celebration

I was intrigued by the Xiao Long Bao - pork soup dumplings - from the China booth. They actually have liquid inside! But I thought they were just ok. They needed a sauce, but I didn't care for the black vinegar-ginger sauce that came with them.

Lunar New Year Celebration

There are a couple of places near us that serve Luo Bo Gao - turnip cake - and we really like it. This one, from the China booth, is topped with pork sausage and oyster sauce. When I've had it before it's topped with egg. The oyster sauce made it taste fishy to me, and the turnip cake by itself was a bit bland (not surprisingly).

Lunar New Year Celebration

I also tried the Passion Fruit Green Iced Tea with popping pearls. I don't have a photo of it. I didn't really think it tasted like passion fruit - mostly it just tasted sweet. But I enjoyed it - the pearls are always an interesting sensation.

Other samples that were available that I didn't try were the Beef Pho Noodle Soup:

Lunar New Year Celebration

And the Kalbi Beef Short Ribs. Both available at Paradise Garden Grill.

Lunar New Year Celebration

One of the other entrees available at Paradise Garden Grill is the Whole Fish Served Family Style. It looks a little intimidating: it's a whole tilapia, deep fried and served with soup, vegetables, and rice. Served after 5:00. It's $24.99 and will easily feed two or more people. Very traditional dish, but very non-traditional by Disney standards!

Lunar New Year Celebration

Chef John State was part of a panel discussion we saw later, and spoke about how they developed the Festival food offerings by speaking with cast members and diversity groups, and looking at authentic family recipes. They explored flavors and textures. He was especially proud of how they are serving the whole fish dish out of a counter-service restaurant kitchen, when it's really something expect from a full-service restaurant.

Most Lunar New Year activities take place in the Paradise Pier area. In front of Ariel's Undersea Adventure guests can get their face painted.

Lunar New Year Celebration

They can also decorate a paper lantern.

Lunar New Year Celebration

In Paradise Gardens local artisans will craft a custom Chinese calligraphy for guests. The one on the left is my name, and the one on the right has the symbol for the Year of the Rooster on top, and good wishes for the new year below it.

Lunar New Year Celebration

Next to Goofy's Sky School is the Lucky Wishing Wall, where guests can add their own wish for the coming year.

Lunar New Year Celebration

For Annual Passholders, the AP Corner between Paradise Garden Grill and Boardwalk Pizza and Pasta offers a special photo opportunity, a wishing well, and an AP Adventure.

Lunar New Year Celebration

Lunar New Year merchandise is available at Seaside Souvenirs and carts in the area. I thought the t-shirt was very nicely designed.

Lunar New Year Celebration

A number of entertainment offerings are also available throughout the day.

A special character greeting area is available in Paradise Gardens, where Mickey, Minnie, Chip, Dale, Mulan, and Mushu, dressed in Lunar New Year costumes, will pose for photos with guests.

Lunar New Year Celebration

Lunar New Year Celebration

The Paradise Garden Bandstand will host performances by several different Asian musicians during the celebration, including classical guitarist Dat Nguyen and Jie Ma, who plays the Chinese pipa instrument.

At the Paradise Bay stage the Acrobats of China perform multiple times each day, engaging in gravity-defying acts of athleticism. They were not performing at the preview.

Mulan's New Year Procession is hosted by Mulan and Mushu who lead a number of performers to the music from the "Mulan" movie. This offering is scheduled twice a day on weekends, once per day on weekdays. I really enjoyed this, but I'm quite surprised that there are so few performances, as compared to Viva Navidad! or Elena's Grand Welcome.

The ideal viewing area for Mulan's New Year Procession is a pretty narrow area between Jumping Jellyfish and the entrance to Paradise Gardens - a very limited number of guests will have a really good view of it.

My favorite part was the dragon dancers.

Lunar New Year Celebration

But the fan, parasol, and ribbon dancers were quite beautiful.

Lunar New Year Celebration

And the martial artists (who performed to "I'll Make a Man Out of You") were fun to watch.

Lunar New Year Celebration

Each night, a special 6-minute pre-show will precede each performance of World of Color. Hurry Home features Mulan, Mushu, and a little lantern who is making its way home to celebrate the new year with family. This is an original story with all new animation in two different styles as well as the water fountains and special lighting effects. The accompanying music was originally created for the opening ceremony of Shanghai Disney Resort by Tan Dun.

Lunar New Year Celebration

Show Producer Jennifer Magill spoke to us about the new production. There are three different sequences, illustrating elements of the Lunar New Year celebration. In the first, the little lantern plays and has fun with Mushu, animated in a paper animation style.

Lunar New Year Celebration

The second part features the food. The lantern dreams of rice, dumplings, and other foods - and is pursued by mischievous chopsticks.

Lunar New Year Celebration

The third sequence focuses on the New Year tradition of reflecting back and looking forward. It features Mulan, and Lea Salonga recorded a new version of "Reflection" for it.

Lunar New Year Celebration

Eventually the lantern makes it home and is welcomed by family.

Lunar New Year Celebration

The end of the show featured actual fireworks - I was surprised to see that. But as Ms. Magill said - you can't have a New Year celebration without fireworks!

Lunar New Year Celebration

Lunar New Year Celebration

It was a very sweet story, and I enjoyed it. You can see the video below.

I was very impressed by all of the different offerings available during the celebration. There are quite a few different things to do, and it would be easy to spend a good portion of a park visit enjoying all of the different entertainment and some of the food.

Lunar New Year Celebration

* I was an invited Media guest to a preview of the Lunar New Year Celebration. My opinions are my own.







January 22, 2017

2017 Disneyland Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend - Part 3, Half Marathon

laura%27s%20masthead%20copy2.jpg

Sunday - January 15, Star Wars Half Marathon

Star Wars Half Marathon

We'd scheduled a wakeup call for 4:00 - but we never got it. Fortunately Lee is a "belt-and-suspenders" guy and had also set the alarm on his iPhone, so we were still up at 4:00.

Since we knew from the day before that security wasn't going to be an issue we didn't leave the room until 5:00. I was still in my corral my 5:17 - plenty of time. I was in C, Lee was in E, so we again ran separately...I wanted to try to stop for some character photos this time, so wanted to be further forward so the lines maybe wouldn't be quite as long.

Running costumes for us that morning, also - X-wing pilot for Lee, and Rey for me. The arm wraps were quite welcome since it was another cool morning. A little warmer than the day before - 50. I had a mylar sheet to wrap around me while I was waiting, and that was really all I needed. I had gloves, but I never actually put them on - finally just put them in my pocket. Again, it was just about perfect conditions for running a race.

Star Wars Half Marathon

Star Wars Half Marathon

While we were waiting for this race to start we saw scenes from Rogue One - A Star Wars Story. We saw that in December - good movie.

Star Wars Half Marathon

Again, not much of a "show" from the race announcers while we were waiting. But that's ok. The race started right on time. There were 5 minutes between corral releases, so my corral started 10 minutes after the official start.

Star Wars Half Marathon

The first four+ miles of the course were almost identical to the 10K the day before. But that was ok - since I wasn't running for time I was able to observe my surroundings a little more. I liked this sign backstage at DCA. :-)

Star Wars Half Marathon

The line at R2 and Threepio's character stop was long, but there was a short line for the Rebels at Paradise Pier.

Star Wars Half Marathon

One thing that I don't think I've mentioned in my blogs, which I should, is restroom stops in the parks. I always try to have some idea of what the race course is inside the parks so that I know where there restrooms next to the course. I only need to find one, but it's really nice to be able to use a REAL restroom instead of a porta-potty. This time I went to the large one between Ariel's and Grizzly River Run, but I would have had a lot of other options.

There was a set of Jedi performing a light saber training exercise in Hollywood Land.

Star Wars Half Marathon

And the speeder bikes were placed outside the Tower of Terror just before mile 2. Lengthy line for that, too.

Star Wars Half Marathon

When we ran through the tunnel under the bus area I noticed some new special effects - in addition to the Star Wars music that was playing there was the sound of lasers firing, and on the walls were red and green laser trace fire lines. Hard to see in this photo, but I thought it was a really neat effect!

Star Wars Half Marathon

We passed the mile 3 sign backstage at Disneyland, and then entered the park back at Toon Town, then ran by "it's a small world". It's nice that Disney leaves it in holiday mode through this race weekend. It's decorated for Avengers weekend in November and for Star Wars weekend in January.

Star Wars Half Marathon

There was a Storm Troopers character stop along "small world way" before we turned left to go around the Matterhorn.

Star Wars Half Marathon

There were more Storm Troopers on the ramp of the Launch Bay. The BB-8 photo stop was near Star Tours. The line wasn't too long so I stopped.

Star Wars Half Marathon

We again ran back towards Fantasyland. Kylo Ren was engaged in a light saber battle with some Jedi near Pixie Hollow. (Five against one doesn't seem exactly fair, though, does it? There should be at least ten Jedi.)

Star Wars Half Marathon

From Fantasyland we ran through the castle, but instead of taking the loop out through Frontierland and Adventureland like we did for the 10K we went straight down Main Street.

Star Wars Half Marathon

Two of the horses were out and posing for photos. They seemed to like the runners - the one on my left nuzzled me lightly on the shoulder. Such beautiful gentle giants!

Star Wars Half Marathon

The Mile 4 sign was along Main Street, and Chewbacca's photo stop was in the same location as the 10K - next to the Disney Showcase store. Longish line, so I didn't stop. While this was "The Light Side" half marathon, there were a few Dark Siders who showed up to spoil the party. I already mentioned the Storm Troopers and Kylo Ren, but Captain Phasma was also there, on the bridge next to the train station.

Star Wars Half Marathon

After we ran out through Disneyland's main entrance we went through the east tram area and out to Harbor Blvd - the rest of the course was outside the parks. But about 4.5 miles in the parks is a pretty good - better than some of the other race courses.

On the other side of Harbor I could see some of the early runners who were already returning. The winner had already gone by, but I saw some of the higher finishing men as well as the female winner.

Star Wars Half Marathon

By mile six it was starting to get more light out as the sun came out. There were a few clouds with color, but it was a fairly clear morning.

Star Wars Half Marathon

The course took us down Harbor Blvd into the city of Garden Grove, where we turned right on Garden Grove Blvd. There were a number of bands and cheerleaders who had come out to cheer us on. And we even had a feline cheerleader! This cat was not at all bothered about being in a harness and watching all of these crazy runners go by him. I'm guessing he has some Dark Side leanings. :-)

Star Wars Half Marathon

One of my favorite things about this course is that it crosses Newhope Street. How appropriate for a Star Wars-themed race! That's after the halfway point - about mile 7.5, and just before we turn north to go back towards the finish.

Star Wars Half Marathon

But my favorite thing about this course is around mile 8 and mile 9 - the two areas where there are Cosplayers who come dressed in their Star Wars costumes to cheer us on. They are so amazing! They love having their photo taken with runners, and there's usually no line to do that. I can't say enough about their wonderful enthusiasm and support. Their placement on the course is really good, because it's when runners are getting tired, but still have a ways to go to the finish. They really help give us an extra boost to keep us going as we get a lift out of all of their energy.

Star Wars Half Marathon

There are lots of heroes:

Star Wars Half Marathon

And villains:

Star Wars Half Marathon

And even cars and droids!

Star Wars Half Marathon

Lee found his fellow X-wing squadron pilots.

Star Wars Half Marathon

This video shows most of both sets - as you can see there was really an extensive variety of costumes from all of the different movies.

After the excitement of the cosplayers, mile 9-10 of the course is pretty quiet. It's largely in a residential neighborhood, so in the interest of keeping the noise down early on a Sunday morning there are no bands or other entertainment. Though there are residents and groups, like my friends Colin and Richard, who come out to cheer on the runners in that area, and it is greatly appreciated.

Star Wars Half Marathon

Just before mile 10 the course goes right on Chapman Avenue for about a mile. There's a lovely pond there, and it always has nice reflections in the morning. Thanks to all of the recent rain the water level was higher than normal, and on this race morning there were lots of ducks enjoying the pond.

Star Wars Half Marathon

My legs were a little tired after my hard run the day before, but I'd managed to mostly stick to my usual run/walk pace. But by about mile 10.5 I started to feel it and had to slow down a little more. I was very happy when we turned left onto Harbor Blvd since I knew I had just about 2 miles left. I could see runners at the back of the pack still coming towards us. It was just before mile 12 that I saw the balloon ladies.

Star Wars Half Marathon

The last mile of the course took us down Katella to Disneyland Drive, and then around the Paradise Pier Hotel to the finish line at the Disneyland Hotel. I finished in JUST under 2:22 - 2:21:59 to be exact. :-) Considering photo stops, a restroom stop, and tired legs I was VERY happy with that.

Star Wars Half Marathon

Star Wars Half Marathon

I got my race medal - it's a spinner with Han and Leia (awwww) on one side and the Medal of Yavin on the other. And my Rebel Challenge medal. That's a new design this year. I'm not really sure I like it.

Star Wars Half Marathon

I didn't talk about the runDisney snack box after the 10K...we received the same assortment after the half. It had a slightly different variety than what I've seen before. The best part is that it has a small container of Nutella!!!! Yum. I guess I'm resigned to the fact that it's what we're going to get after any Disney race from now on. Most of it is stuff I'll eat except the Builder Bar - yuck.

Star Wars Half Marathon

In the finish area there was a Nesquik van, and they were handing out chocolate milk! Yay!!! Or "Protein Enhanced Milk Beverage", as they called it. There was a choice of chocolate or vanilla. I didn't hear anyone ask for vanilla.

Star Wars Half Marathon

The "trash compactor" photo backdrop had a short line, so I had my photo taken there.

Star Wars Half Marathon

Lee was still somewhere behind me (though it turned out he was closer than I thought - apparently he was flying down the course!), so I walked back to the room before I started to get cold. The sun was out, and it was slightly warmer than it had been for the 10K, but still. I was ready to get back and take a hot shower! Lee also had a good race - took it easy and stopped for some photos.

Star Wars Half Marathon

Final Thoughts

I still really love this race weekend - it's definitely my favorite of the Disney race weekends. And I think this half marathon course has now overtaken the Tinker Bell course as my favorite half marathon course. The roads are nice and wide so it doesn't feel crowded. The course is mostly flat, also. A few slight inclines - the only hill is the tunnel under the tram area. No overpasses!

The race medals are always a highlight. The BB-8 medal is really cute, and I really liked the re-design of the half marathon medal.

Star Wars Half Marathon

I still wish there were more characters on the course...or in the finish area.

I was surprised that the half marathon and 10K didn't sell out this year. There were about 15,000-16,000 entered in the half, and 12,434 finishers. This is a PERFECT time for running in southern California. I don't want to jinx it, but in the five years that runDisney has held a race weekend at Disneyland in January, we've always had great weather for running.

We will be back for this race weekend next year.

Good luck to all of you running Dark Side in April to complete the Kessel Run Challenge! We will not be there this year.

Thanks for reading.







January 21, 2017

2017 Disneyland Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend - Part 2, 10K

laura%27s%20masthead%20copy2.jpg

Saturday - January 14, Star Wars 10K

I know I've mentioned this before, but it's so much easier to run races at Disneyland! The start area and all of the hotels are all walking distance, so we don't have to get up really early to catch a bus to the start.

The race started at 5:30, and we set a wakeup call for 4:00. That's pretty much sleeping in by runDisney standards. :-) We left our room about 4:45.

Both of us were in costume. Lee wore his black Luke Skywalker Jedi outfit - complete with one black glove. :-) I didn't go with a Star Wars costume this time, and just wore my trusty Cinderella costume. Though really, I think she's a Jedi at heart.

Star Wars 10K

This year the new variable was Disneyland's new security perimeter. Since Downtown Disney is within a "secure zone" now, we were pretty sure we would have to go through security from our hotel into Downtown Disney, but weren't sure how long that would take. As it turned out it was very fast. It was quite easy for the security personnel to see that most runners weren't carrying anything. We did not have to go through a secondary screening at what was the race checkpoint in the past. But there were still security people patrolling, some with dogs.

By the time we arrived in the pre-race area a lot of people had already gone to their corrals. So we couldn't tell if it seemed more crowded this year now that there were 12,000-13,000 runners in the 10K as opposed to under 10,000 as in previous years.

Star Wars 10K

Both Lee and I were planning to run the 10K for time and not stopping to take photos. We were in different corrals, so I went to B and he went to C. Most of the photos below were taken by the PhotoPass photographers. As Annual Passholders we can download them for free. Disney started using their own photographers rather than MarathonFoto at the Dark Side weekend at WDW last April. The information on how to turn your bib nunber into a PhotoPass ID is on the back of the race bibs. It's really been a MUCH better service than MarathonFoto ever was. The photographers seem to get a lot more photos, AND some of the photos are available on race day - usually by the next day they are all there.

It was really a perfect morning for running. It was 48 degrees at the race start, with little or no wind. I had gloves, arm sleeves, and a throwaway sweatshirt, and I was actually pretty comfortable while waiting for the race to start.

There really wasn't much of a pre-show with the race announcers in the 15-20 minutes before the race started. No Storm Troopers or Darth Vader on stage. We saw a couple of different sets of scenes from The Force Awakens.

Star Wars 10K

At 5:29 the wheelchairs started.

Corral A was a minute after that, and Corral B was five minutes later.

Star Wars 10K

There were new courses for the 5K, 10K, and Half Marathons this year. The biggest change was that from the starting line the race courses went south on Disneyland Drive rather than north as they have the previous two years. All three courses went through both parks - DCA first and then Disneyland - with varying routes in the parks depending on the race distance.

I really liked the new 10K course. The designers absolutely maximized the park time. Unlike previous 10K courses that have been outside the parks for the first mile or so, this one was all on property - if you consider the first .3 miles on Disneyland Drive to be on property, which I do.

After that first .3 miles we turned left in front of the Paradise Pier Hotel and went backstage at DCA. This part of the course was a little too dark, and could have used some additional light. Fortunately the pavement was smooth, so there wasn't really much danger of tripping, but it still made me a little more cautious. There were projections on some of the buildings, like the Rebel Alliance symbol, the Millennium Falcon, or an X-wing fighter.

Star Wars 10K

We went into the park near the Pacific Wharf where we ran through Radiator Springs past Radiator Springs Racers (so pretty at night with all of the light on the Cadillac Range) and Luigi's Rollickin' Roadsters.

Star Wars 10K

We ran through Flik's Fun Fair past the Mile 1 sign and out to the parade route. The first character stop was Threepio and R2-D2 by the Cars Land sign - I was surprised at how long it was that early in the race. I wasn't planning to stop anyway, though.

We ran clockwise around Paradise Bay. As I mentioned I was wearing my Cinderella costume, and I heard a cast member say something like "Go Cindy! Oh, it's ok, she still has both her shoes." I cracked up at that - which was when the PhotoPass photographer snapped the picture below. :-)

Star Wars 10K

At Ariel's we turned left towards Grizzly River Run, past Soarin' and into Hollywood Land to the Tower of Terror. There were Jedi and Storm Troopers next to the Tower. We went backstage behind the Tower and passed the Mile 2 sign.

We took the tunnel down and up under the east tram area over to Disneyland. This was really the only significant hill on the course. That took us backstage at Disneyland for quite a while - past the Mile 3 sign. The BB-8 photo stop was back there, but I completely missed seeing it. This was another area where it was a little dark in places. We'd had great Star Wars music playing most of the time, but once we reached this point it got a little quiet until we emerged into Toon Town.

We ran past "it's a small world", which was still lit up with all of the holiday lights.

Star Wars 10K

We turned left at the Matterhorn and ran towards Tomorrowland. Kylo Ren was somewhere in there - between the Matterhorn and the Tomorrowland Terrace, as I recall. The course took us past the Launch Bay, where there were Storm Troopers above us. We ran past Star Tours and out to the hub.

Star Wars 10K

Once we reached the hub we did a 180 onto Matterhorn Way past Alice in Wonderland, then made a left at the tea cups and passed the Mile 4 sign. I was happy to see that I was on pace - maybe slightly ahead of pace. This year the Star Wars 10K course went through the castle to the hub, which it's never done before.

Star Wars 10K

We went through Frontierland and New Orleans Square, then the course did a hard 180 just in front of the Haunted Mansion and went back to the hub via Adventureland. We had quite an extensive tour of Disneyland and visited all of the lands except Critter Country.

We ran down Main Street. Chewbacca's photo op was at the end of the street by the Disney Showcase shop.

Star Wars 10K

After we went out the park entrance we ran into the Esplanade and to the left to go backstage at DCA again. We passed the Mile 5 sign on a perimeter road that took us around the back of Radiator Springs Racers and Paradise Pier. For about a tenth of a mile we could see some of those in the last corral coming towards us - only about .4 miles into their race whereas we were 5.8 miles into ours! I saw the balloon ladies at the very end of the race.

After we crossed Disneyland Drive we went around the back of the Paradise Pier Hotel (and the Mile 6 sign), and then it was just .2 miles to the traditional finish line near the Disneyland Hotel. It was still dark!

Star Wars 10K

I finished in 56:41, which is a new personal best 10K time for me. I was very happy with that. I was hoping to crack the top ten in my division, and I finished 8th! 10K is definitely my favorite distance.

Star Wars 10K

The BB-8 medal is really cute. It spins!

Star Wars 10K BB-8 Medal

I exited into the finish area and talked to Lisa (Hi Lisa!) for a while I waited for Lee to finish. Fortunately the volunteers had handed out mylar sheets at the finish (they sometimes don't do that for 10Ks), because it was still only 48 degrees and I was starting to get a little chilled.

Star Wars 10K

There was a vendor selling Death Star balloons (that's what the balloon ladies had been carrying, too).

Star Wars 10K

Once Lee finished we went over to the Annual Passholder tent. We showed our passes and they gave us an Annual Passholder string bag - it was nice for carrying our snack boxes and water bottles back to our room. There was a photo backdrop and a photographer there, too.

Star Wars 10K

Another change in the course this year: in previous years the 10K has finished by going all the way through Downtown Disney. While it's been kind of thrilling to run by all of the cheering crowds, it's been a nightmare after the race when trying to get back to the hotels, because you have to cross the race course at least once, and usually more than once. This year we didn't have to do that, and it was much easier to get back to our hotel.

I really enjoyed this course - I think it's now my favorite of the Disney 10K courses. And not just because I ran it for a personal best. :-) With all of the Star Wars Land construction in Disneyland I expected that we might have less park time this year, but instead I'm not sure how they could have given us any more! While yes, we had a fair bit of time that was in not-so-exciting backstage areas, I still enjoyed being on property for the entire race.

There were 11,606 finishers this year as opposed to 8,994 last year, so quite a few more runners out there. Since I was at the front it was not congested for me, but I can't speak to how it might have been further back. Certainly the first mile of this course was narrower than the first mile of the former course, which was all on wide city streets, and that might have been an issue. If you ran the race and experienced congestion, please leave a comment and let me know how it was for you.

The characters...still not a strong point, especially compared to our experience at Disneyland Paris last year. (Over 10 character stops in a 5K!) For this 10K there were four character stops, plus a couple of unattended backdrops and "run bys" like the Storm Troopers and Jedi. I would still so LOVE to see the Disney characters in their Star Wars attire out on the course! In Florida there are character meet and greets in the pre/post-race area, and I'd like to see them do that in California, also. Though there were a couple of photo backdrops (with photographers) in that area - the Wampa cave and the trash compactor.

Star Wars 10K

Coming next: The Star Wars Half Marathon








January 20, 2017

2017 Disneyland Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend - Part 1, Expo

laura%27s%20masthead%20copy2.jpg
Star Wars Half Marathon

For the third year Lee and I participated in the 10K and half marathon races at Disneyland's Star Wars Half Marathon. Or Star Wars Half Marathon - the Light Side as they now call it, to distinguish it from the Star Wars Half Marathon - the Dark Side at Walt Disney World. :-)

Unlike previous years, the 10K and half marathon races did not sell out, and runDisney was still selling race registrations at the Expo. That was a surprise. Of course part of the reason is that they raised the race capacities: the 10K had almost 13,000 spots, as opposed to 10,000 last year, while the half had 16,000 instead of 14,000. Of those numbers, about 6,000 were those running the Rebel Challenge. There were 5,000 entered in the 5K, and 1,500 in the Kids Races.

We arrived at the Expo on Friday afternoon - it had opened on Thursday. As usual, bib pickup was downstairs in the Disneyland Hotel Convention Center. This is the first time I remember that there wasn't a specially designed rug on the ramp going down to the pickup area. But we've had a lot of rain recently (and it rained on Thursday) so the rug would have been soaking wet. This photo is from last year.

Star Wars Half Marathon

We had printed out our race waivers in advance, so all we had to do was go to the correct counter to pick up our Rebel Challenge bibs. There are computers and printers available for those who don't bring waivers with them. I think this was the most people that I've ever seen in bib pick-up, but it still was a fast process for us.

Star Wars Half Marathon

As Rebel Challenge runners we had to get our photo taken with our bib number - that's how they verify after the half marathon that we 1: completed the 10K, and 2: are the same person who picked up the bib. They used to give us wristbands at the end of the 10K - this is a nice alternative to not having to wear the wristband.

Star Wars Half Marathon

The race brochure was again condensed down to a "Final Race Instructions" pamphlet. It has all of the essential information like course maps, road closures, times, transportation, and viewing, but without all of the ads. I prefer this format - "just the facts, ma'am." (Am I showing my age there or what?) What I *don't* prefer is the new "on-line magazine" format for the official race guide - I can no longer download it as a PDF like I used to. And I find it very cumbersome and slow - really useless.

Star Wars Half Marathon


Star Wars Half Marathon

Once we picked up the bibs we went back upstairs to the main expo in the Disneyland Hotel Convention Center. I always enjoy seeing how they have decorated the entrance. The different banners are nice photo ops!

Star Wars Half Marathon


Star Wars Half Marathon


Star Wars Half Marathon

We picked up our race shirts. I liked this year's designs, but a gray shirt AGAIN????? I wish they would do more white shirts. These are long sleeve shirts - typical for January races. This particular weekend they felt pretty good since the weather was cooler than usual - highs in the low 60s, lows in the upper 40s.

2017 Star Wars Half Marathon shirts

There was a shirt exchange available, but neither of us needed to get a different size. It's very nice to have that option, though. I've found Disney sizing to be consistent in recent years, but that wasn't always the case.

Star Wars Half Marathon

Usually when we arrive on Friday afternoons there is either a short line or no line to get into the Official Merchandise area. This time the line extended out into the foyer, and it took 15-20 minutes to get into the area. The line moved pretty consistently so it wasn't too bad. But still, I was surprised to see it that long.

Once we went inside, it seemed like there was still plenty of merchandise left. A few things were sold out, like the special edition runDisney Star Wars Weekend Christmas tree ornament, and the Star Wars Weekend wine glasses. I believe the Dooney & Bourke bags were sold out by then, also.

Star Wars Half Marathon

There were already only limited sizes available on a few of the shirts. Lee bought this one. They were out of size large, so he had to get an XL, which is a little big.

Star Wars Half Marathon Rebel shirt

Race weekend logo:

Star Wars Half Marathon

All of the pins, mini medal pins, magnets, water bottles, mugs, etc. seemed to be available.

Star Wars Half Marathon magnet

Star Wars Half Marathon water bottle

Star Wars Half Marathon pins

Star Wars Half Marathon hat

I thought there was a very nice selection of shirts available for the Rebel Challenge and the Half Marathon.

Star Wars Half Marathon shirt

Star Wars Half Marathon

Star Wars Half Marathon shirt

Star Wars Half Marathon shirt

Star Wars Half Marathon tank

Star Wars Half Marathon shirt

The Han/Leia graphic on this one is especially poignant right now.

Star Wars Half Marathon Han/Leia shirt

But for the 5K and 10K, there seemed to be only one shirt plus the "I Did It" shirts. With BB-8 as the theme for the 10K, I was surprised that there wasn't more merchandise available for the 10K.

Star Wars 5K shirt


Star Wars 5K I Did It

Star Wars Half 10K shirt


Star Wars 10K I Did It

There were some other fun Star Wars items that weren't themed to any specific race.

Star Wars Half Marathon

Star Wars Half Marathon shirt

Star Wars Half Marathon Yoda hat

There's a new design for the Coast-to-Coast merchandise this year. The shirts are available in men's and women's cuts. I bought one of these.

2017 Coast to Coast shirt

2017 Coast to Coast hat

The rest of the Expo seemed about the same. Honda was a major sponsor and they had a special pace car. We weren't sure how a pace car would be used in a half marathon, but I guess there was one.

Star Wars Half Marathon

There were Star Wars-themed Stance socks.

Star Wars Stance socks

The latest versions of New Balance Disney running shoes were available. This time they represent Disney attractions rather than characters. The women's shoes are Haunted Mansion and Mad Tea Party.

Star Wars Half Marathon


2017 New Balance Mad Tea Party shoe

The men's shoes are Star Tours and Toy Story Mania.

2017 New Balance Toy Story shoe


2017 New Balance Star Tours shoe

I don't know if I'm mentioned this before...Runner Tracking is available for the races. You can track runners of your choice, or you can provide the information for others to track you. My parents always like to know how we're doing, so I set up tracking to send them an email or text message. And if Lee and I aren't running together we track each other.There's typically a link on the event page under the "Spectators" tab. Sometimes you need a log in to set it up, sometimes not. There's usually options to have your times sent via text message or email, or to have it automatically post to Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

As we wandered through Downtown Disney we saw several signs advising guests that various businesses would be open at 4:00 a.m. on race mornings, like Starbucks, Jamba Juice, and Haagen Daz. That's a nice service for runners and spectators!

Downtown Disney Early Openings

Coming next: The Star Wars 10K








January 16, 2017

Disneyland Resort Updates - 1/13/17

laura%27s%20masthead%20copy2.jpg

Contributing photographer Jason of disneygeek.com sends us these photos from his trip to the parks on Friday, January 13, 2017.

Since Laura is covering the Star Wars Half Marathon events I will focus on everything else. A quick video overview of the Star Wars construction site from the Mickey and Friends Parking Structure.




A pan across the site from the left (north) to right.

Looks like utility work on the far side nearest Toon Town.
Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 13, 2017



In the foreground notice the footers and foundation work for a large show building.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 13, 2017


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 13, 2017


The concrete structure in the middle is the backstage marina for Fantasmic.


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 13, 2017


Continuing to the right you can see more rock work sticking up above the wall nearest the Rivers of America.


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 13, 2017


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 13, 2017

Looking toward Critter Country.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 13, 2017

For a more in depth look at the Star Wars Construction check out the full picture set on disneygeek.com The fencing around the Downtown Disney security areas features ads for the return of the Main Street Electrical Parade next week. It features floats from the parade in front of Los Angeles landmarks including the beach, observatory, and Disney Concert Hall. This compliments the commercial that has been airing showing the parade coming out of a warehouse featuring retired Disneyland attractions.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 13, 2017

The current state of the former House of Blues removal. Splitsville is moving in.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 13, 2017

Most signs of Christmas have been removed from the parks. A look at Main Street USA this afternoon

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 13, 2017

The castle is now snowless. Some diamond overlays are visible. Not sure if those are going back on or if they were under the snow.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 13, 2017

The grotto is walled off for some renovation work.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 13, 2017

The Castle Heraldry Shoppe in Fantasyland is now closed.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 13, 2017

A check of the Star Wars work from the Big Thunder Trail.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 13, 2017

No visible progress on the Columbia.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 13, 2017

Nor the stage area.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 13, 2017

The Haunted Mansion is closed for the removal of the holiday overlay.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 13, 2017

The rock work along the rivers of america continues to expand.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 13, 2017

Looking through the fence at the new walkway.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 13, 2017

Stopped by the New Orleans Train Station and the Ernest S. Marsh is in the station and open for pictures plus the Lilly Belle.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 13, 2017

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 13, 2017

New Orleans Square still features Christmas decorations.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 13, 2017

The Jungle Cruise is closed for removal of the holiday overlay.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 13, 2017

The Adventureland Restrooms are closed for renovation and expansion.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 13, 2017

The Pioneer Mercantile is also closed for renovation work.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 13, 2017

Star Wars Season of the Force signage has returned to Tomorrowland.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 13, 2017

Season of the Force Banners include some Rogue One Cast

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 13, 2017

The Dark Side...

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 13, 2017

A couple of Storm Troopers on patrol

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 13, 2017

The Toons have taken down all their Christmas decorations.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 13, 2017

Over to DCA.. Christmas is gone from Buena Vista Street.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 13, 2017

The Festival of Holidays are gone too and the marketplaces have been removed.

More scaffolding up at Tower

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 13, 2017

Items tagged for removal. It appears the lobby has been taken down to the studs.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 13, 2017

Paradise Pier this evening as the sun was setting.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 13, 2017

Viva Navidad! is gone. Lunar New Year moves in next week.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 13, 2017

Grizzly River Run is closed for annual renovation

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 13, 2017

Christmas is gone from Redwood Creek.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 13, 2017

The Cozy Cone is partially decorated. Notice the fountain was working today.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 13, 2017

Spotlights and projections have returned as part of Season of the Force.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 13, 2017

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 13, 2017

Video clip of the Star Wars Season of the Force spotlights in Tomorrowland.

Tomorrowland Terrace was not in use this evening.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 13, 2017

Only two seagulls out in the sub lagoon today.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 13, 2017

Small World Holiday at night. No projections when I was around though..

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 13, 2017

An upcoming hand painted cell release for the MSEP.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 13, 2017

Star Tours turned 30 this past week. An Annual Passholder T-Shirt is available

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 13, 2017


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, https://disneygeek.com Also be sure to follow me on twitter @disneygeekcom for pictures from the parks.







January 10, 2017

Three Kings' Day at Disneyland

laura%27s%20masthead%20copy2.jpg
Three Kings Day

For a number of years Disneyland has celebrated Three Kings' Day - El Dia de los Reyes Magos. January 6 (Epiphany) is the official day, but this year the events took place January 5-8.

Three Kings' Day celebrates the visit of the kings to the Christ child on the 12th day after his birth. Traditionally it's three kings: Melchior, Gaspar, and Balthazar, bearing gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrrh.

The Paradise Gardens area of Disney California Adventure was the site of this year's events.

Three Kings Day

There were several displays set up. On the night before children traditionally place their shoes out for the kings to fill with toys and gifts.

Three Kings Day

"Rosca de Reyes", or "King's Cake" is a traditional food. It's a sweet bread, round like a crown, and decorated with candied fruits, which resemble jewels.

Three Kings Day

One of the activities was face painting. No charge, and it was available to adults and kids.

Three Kings Day

There was also a craft area. Guests could color paper lanterns or decorate a crown with stickers. There were a number of tables and chairs there.

Three Kings Day

Three Kings Storytelling took place several times each day on the Paradise Gardens stage. This was different than what I expected, but I thought it was well done. I thought it would be more like the Epcot storytellers, with someone acting the part. Instead it was two musicians, who both spoke and sang about holiday traditions such as Las Posadas, Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve, and Three King's Day.

Three Kings Day

Here's a video of the entire performance.

A few other things I noticed while wandering around the parks...

I'd never gotten a very good look at Skylar on Princess Elena's float. He is a magical talking jaquin.

Skylar Princess Elena

Since Santa Claus is taking a well-deserved vacation, Santa Goofy was greeting guests in the Redwood Creek "Holiday Visit" area.

Santa Goofy

In that same area one of the deer sported a Santa hat.

Three Kings Day

The Tower of Terror closed on January 2 and is under wraps during the conversion to Guardians of the Galaxy - Mission: BREAKOUT.

Tower of Terror


Tower of Terror

Over at Disneyland, Pocahontas was greeting guests along the Rivers of America near the exit to Big Thunder Mountain.

Pocahontas

In honor of the Moana movie, several locations in Disneyland are offering a special Pineapple Parfait dessert. It's pineapple, cake, and custard. The necklace is also edible. I tried it and thought it was pretty good.

Pineapple parfait




January 1, 2017

Disneyland Resort Updates - 12/30/16

laura%27s%20masthead%20copy2.jpg

Contributing photographer Jason of disneygeek.com sends us these photos from his trip to the parks on Friday, December 30, 2016.

Arrived at the Mickey and Friends parking structure just past noon with clearing skies.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, December 30, 2016

A video overview of the Star Wars Construction. For an in-depth look check out my full picture set at https://disneygeek.com

Looking to the right, behind Critter Country, parallel to the tram route you can see they have put a layer of asphalt down for the backstage perimeter road. Also looks like a parking lot off on the right through the trees.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, December 30, 2016

Tower of Terror is fully covered again.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, December 30, 2016

The foundation work for the show building nearest the structure is moving along. You can see the outline for the building taking shape.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, December 30, 2016

A look at where the train will come out from Critter Country.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, December 30, 2016

Hard to see the new walkway between the Hungry Bear and river now with the wall.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, December 30, 2016

The wall looks complete to the left of the Fantasyland tunnel now.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, December 30, 2016

Concrete has been poured in the basement portion of the show building.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, December 30, 2016

Demolition work on the former House of Blues, future Splitsville continues.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, December 30, 2016

You can now see through the building.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, December 30, 2016

Sleeping Beauty Castle has lights and screens for New Years also notice how the blue skies have disappeared.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, December 30, 2016

Was hoping to be able to walk the Big Thunder Trail today, but unfortunately the park is not crowded enough for them to open it.. the one time I wanted a big crowd!

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, December 30, 2016

The Castle Heraldry Shoppe is closing in January.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, December 30, 2016

Went for a cruise on it's a small world holiday since there was no line.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, December 30, 2016

A New Years Eve stage set up in the Small World Mall area.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, December 30, 2016

In Town Square they were setting up for a Pep Rally by the Spirit of Troy, the University of Southern California Trojan Marching Band. Donald warming up the crowd that was waiting for the rally.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, December 30, 2016

Here are several video clips from the USC Band performance. Below a few pictures, I posted many more in my full set.

Tribute to Troy starts off the event, as you would expect. FightOn!

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, December 30, 2016

A wider look at the USC Band, USC Song Girls and USC Spirit Leaders in Town Square.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, December 30, 2016

After their performance the band turned and marched the parade route.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, December 30, 2016

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, December 30, 2016

On the Rivers of America a stage was set up for New Years Eve festivities since the Island stage is still being worked on.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, December 30, 2016

Making my way to Critter Country. The rock work is filling in along the train path and the Rivers of America.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, December 30, 2016

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, December 30, 2016

A band was from Mexico and in town for the Tournament of Roses Parade on Monday. Today they marched through Disneyland.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, December 30, 2016

It was 4:24pm, some guests waiting for the 4:15pm parade to start. They kept announcing it was delayed because of weather.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, December 30, 2016

Stopped by the Emporium to get out of the rain. They had a selection of 2017 items.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, December 30, 2016

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, December 30, 2016


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, December 30, 2016

Celebration Buttons were available at the Opera House today, not City Hall.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, December 30, 2016

The parade stepped off at 4:30, only 15 min late, and ran without and dancers/performers on the street. Only the floats came out and they were packed a little closer together than normal.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, December 30, 2016

The rain picked up as the parade went on (I was under a tree and fairly dry).

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, December 30, 2016

In DCA walked through Grizzly Peak Recreation Area. Noticed the back of the sweater lights up too.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, December 30, 2016

Paradise Bay was being prepped for World of Color.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, December 30, 2016

A little after 5:00pm and they were playing the cancellation announcement for the 5:15pm Viva Navidad! Performance.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, December 30, 2016

Walking through Cars Land. They were set up for New Years Eve. This is a control console. Lights and assuming a stage will be added in the middle of the street.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, December 30, 2016

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, December 30, 2016

All the cousins at Luigi's covered up due to the weather.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, December 30, 2016

Really surprised only three Frozen performances on the schedule.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, December 30, 2016

Another stage in HollywoodLand for New Years Eve

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, December 30, 2016

Over to Disneyland. I assumed they were going to cancel Paint the Night, but as I entered they made the announcement that it was starting in a couple minutes.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, December 30, 2016

No dancers but they did have limited characters walking.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, December 30, 2016

The parade felt very different without performers.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, December 30, 2016


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, December 30, 2016

Stopped by Sleeping Beauty Castle to see if there would be a Wintertime Enchantment moment at 7:30, there was not.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, December 30, 2016

"it's a small world" Holiday

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, December 30, 2016

Then headed for the Haunted Mansion Holiday. There was a posted 5 minute wait. It turned out to be a literal walk on...I did not break stride till I was in the foyer.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, December 30, 2016

A video clip of the singing pumpkins since I was stopped there for a few moments.

2017 light up headbands.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, December 30, 2016

Tomorrowland walkways were calm too.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, December 30, 2016

Found a spot for Believe in Holiday Magic just before 9pm.

The show started 5 minutes early at 9:25pm.. ok since it was drizzling..

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, December 30, 2016


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, December 30, 2016


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, December 30, 2016

I returned to DCA. Had a Yellow Fastpass, but there was a low turnout and they opened blue to anyone. I opted to stay in Standby for World of Color - Season of Light.


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, December 30, 2016


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, December 30, 2016


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, December 30, 2016

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, https://disneygeek.com Also be sure to follow me on twitter @disneygeekcom for pictures from the parks.







December 26, 2016

"Destination D: Amazing Adventures" Day Two

jeaninebanner.jpg

Catching up, here are my previous blogs about D23's Destination D Amazing Adventures:
Part One: A Conversation with Bob Chapek

Part 2: Day One Continued

Continuing on to day two of D23's "Destination D 2016: Amazing Adventures," historians Keven Neary and Susan Neary spoke briefly on their new book, curated by Imagineer Vanessa Hunt, "Maps of the Disney Parks: Charting 60 Years from California to Shanghai."

Disney%20Park%20Maps_1-001.jpg

(No photography or recording was permitted during the presentations. All photos thereof are courtesy of D23.)

Disney%20Park%20Maps_3-001.jpg

From the early maps of Disneyland in 1955 to the international parks of the current day, their book displays all the creative artwork and history of Disney park maps.

Disney%20Park%20Maps_2-001.jpg

Subsequently, attendees got a look behind the development of some of the recent Disney World entertainment additions in "New Walt Disney World Adventures."

New%20WDW%20Adventures_2-001.jpg

Entertainment Show Director Tom Vazzana started us off with a look at the new holiday nighttime show at Disney Hollywood Studios, "Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM!"

Through a high-energy walkthrough, Vazzana talked about the different segments of the show and the technical challenges of integrating high-definition projections, lasers, fireworks, and snow.



Imagineer Wyatt Winter
then took the stage to talk about the development of the new Frozen Ever After attraction that's taken the place of Maelstrom in the EPCOT Norway pavilion.

New%20WDW%20Adventures_3-001.jpg

--Some of the same animators that worked on the movie "Frozen," worked on the attraction to give life and consistency of movement and expression to the ride figures.

New%20WDW%20Adventures%20_1-001.jpg

--This is the first time an attraction is using all electric figures, as opposed to hydraulic.
--The newly designed area of the pavilion is intended to travel across Norway, much like the area of Liberty Square and Frontierland travels geographically across America.

IMG_5388.JPG

--Runestones placed around the area can be recognized as homages to Maelstrom.

IMG_5387.JPG

After the morning break, Imagineers Jason Grandt and Alex Wright returned to Destination D with "Magic Journeys: 45 Years of Walt Disney World Adventures."

Magic%20Journeys%2045%20Years_4.jpg

With the use of historical photos and video, the two gave everyone a quick and hilarious look at some of their favorite adventurous memories from Walt Disney World.

Magic%20Journeys%2045%20Years_5.jpg

From a walkthrough of the departed (at least from WDW) Mr. Toad's Wild Ride to an exploration of all the different activities that used to be found at Fort Wilderness...

Magic%20Journeys%2045%20Years_3-001.jpg

...to Discovery Island, to the Seven Seas Lagoon wave machines, to If You Had Wings, they covered the gamut of wacky to wonderful past WDW entertainment.

Magic%20Journeys%2045%20Years_2-001.jpg

A look at "Pandora--The World of AVATAR" was then hosted by "AVATAR" creators James Cameron, Jon Landau (as Alpha Centauri Expeditions Founder Marshall Lamm,) and Imagineer Joe Rohde.

Pandora_4-001.jpg

Enthusiastically discussing the many voyages they've taken to the planet Pandora, the group shared new concept art and insights.

Pandora_3-001.jpg

--Tourists will visit Pandora at a time far in the future from the events of "Avatar," after the Resources Development Administration (RDA) war is over.
--One reason for bringing tourists to the valley of the floating mountains is the variety of habitats that can be found there. Shade and water runoff result in rainforests at the bases and underneath.
--The mountains float because Unobtanium, a naturally occurring superconductor, occurs there in large concentrations. Magnetic fields, called flux vortices, can lift the Unobtanium out of the ground, force pinning it into the air.
--A large part of Alpha Centauri Expeditions' mission is conservation. Tourists will see an environment that has been disturbed by humans but which is being ecologically rehabilitated by nature and the indigenous population.

Pandora_1-001.jpg

--The Banshees, a cross between a raptor and a pterodactyl that evolved from fish, are able to bond with Na'vi who use them for riding and hunting.
--The Pandora Conservation Initiative (PCI) found abandoned RDA avatar facilities in the jungle, which allow them to offer tourists the experience of a flying initiation ceremony.
--Nature follows the same rules and reflects parallels between Earth and Pandora.
--Na'vi do not use metal in construction.
--Windtraders are a Na'vi clan that unites the cultures and maintains a common language through trading. The main shop in Pandora is named after them.
--"Pongu Pongu,” the repurposed Quonset hut that is the canteen means “party party."

Pandora_2-001.jpg

--Nighttime on Pandora is transformed through reactive bio-luminescence.
--A boat ride through the bio-luminescent grotto shows tourists a Na'vi Shaman performing a ceremony of song.

--The Na'vi are connected through the "Eywa" or "biological internet" whose purpose is to protect the Great Balance.
--The message of Pandora is to live in balance with the environment and with each other.

After lunch, the afternoon continued with Imagineer and Senior Production Designer Chris Merritt discussing "The Art and Adventures of Marc Davis."

Marc%20Davis_3-001.jpg

--Merritt is currently co-authoring a new book, "Marc Davis Goes to WED," on Marc Davis with Pete Docter and Vanessa Hunt--two volumes, due out in 2018.
--In the 1960's Davis was moved by Walt from animation to WED to work on Disneyland.
--Some of the legendary attractions he worked on were Jungle Cruise, The Enchanted Tiki Room, and Pirates of the Caribbean.

Marc%20Davis_1-001.jpg

--Davis originally proposed and designed an omnimover ride for the America Pavilion at EPCOT, as opposed to the show that was eventually developed.
--One of his last projects before he retired was a proposed addition/replacement of a Kachina doll diorama to the Grand Canyon Diorama on the Disneyland Railroad.

Marc%20Davis_2-001.jpg

In "The Imagineering Adventure," Steven Vagnini brought back Disney Legend Tony Baxter and Shanghai Disneyland Portfolio Creative Director Luc Mayrand to look at some of Disney's more adventurous creations
.

Imagineering%20Adventure_3-001.jpg

--Baxter spoke on the three basic rationales used for getting the company to spend money on a new attraction: Timing, need, and technology.
--Big Thunder Mountain Railroad came about with the derailment of the Western River Expansion project. It both preserved part of the planned attraction and filled a vacant area for DL.

Imagineering%20Adventure_1-001.jpg

--In an attempt to preserve the threatened Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse, Baxter used the promotional budget for "Tarzan," that would normally have been used for a parade, etc., and rethemed it to Tarzan's Treehouse.
--Splash Mountain came about as a result of the availability of AA figures from the retired America Sings attraction and Dick Nunis' fondness for flume rides.
--"Fear - Death = Thrill" --Eddie Sotto's formula for the appeal of adventurous rides, such as Indiana Jones and the Eye of Mara.

Imagineering%20Adventure_4-001.jpg

--Mayrand then took the audience through some of the research behind the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction in Shanghai and showed us clips of some of the scenes.
--The original pirates attraction there was eventually split into two--a ride and a stunt show.
--Boats are driven by silent magnetic motors.
--The ride has been blessed with water from all the Pirates of the Caribbean attractions around the world.

Imagineering%20Adventure_2-001.jpg

Afterwards, Director, Animal and Science Operations Dr. Scott Terrell spoke briefly about some of the preparations that to be made to adapt the animals at Animal Kingdom to the new nighttime experiences there, in "Guiding Animals Through Change."

Guiding%20Animals%20Through%20Change_2-001.jpg

--Animal Kingdom scientists constructed welfare studies that developed parameters to measure change in the animals in response to changes in their environment.
--Structures in some of the habitats are completely soundproofed, so that animals can have the option of a quiet space.

Guiding%20Animals%20Through%20Change_3-001.jpg

--Beaker, a black vulture, was introduced to the audience, as well as Willie the aardvark.
--Vultures are currently being poisoned by the millions by poachers to avoid detection while they illegally kill animals.

Guiding%20Animals%20Through%20Change_1-001.jpg

Finally, to close out the weekend, Joe Rohde returned to talk about "Disney's Animal Kingdom: Evolving A New Species of Theme Park."

Animal%20Kingdom_4-001.jpg

--Prior to AK, the idea of theme parks was based upon the Magic Kingdom: An isolated, perfected, familar storybook land that stays timeless.
--Animals do not fit in this idealized situation.
--The three core values of AK: Intrinsic value of Nature; adventure; and personal story.
--The environment must then look overcome by Nature and poorly maintained, as if adventure could happen to you differently every time.
--The berm in AK is perforated to the outside world through conservation and research.
--Various research trips involved a plethora of dangers, such as snakes, erupting volcanoes, and temple ceremonies.
--RE his earrings: "It was out of emulation and respect for indigenous peoples of the world who now all wear Gap."
--A huge amount of the animal carvings in AK are from a Balinese family.

Animal%20Kingdom_2-001.jpg

--Whole temples in AK around Everest are designed and built in Nepal by professional craftspeople there.
--While you do not have to go to Africa for an adventure, you must be able to step out of the frame of the common everyday experience.
--On building Pandora, they realized that there was insufficient imagery in "Avatar" of the environment to create an actual place.
--Elements of Pandora then, are filled in with elements of the real world that act on the same principles--bio-luminescence, for example.
--"You cannot make this stuff up. The World has more detail than you can imagine."
--Pandora will have the same level of realism that the rest of AK has, because it is constructed with the same integrity.
--The Pandora area was originally going to be based on Eastern European mythological animals. Now it is about modern-day mythology: The things we need to think about and do in relation to our relationship to our planet.
--The Tree of Life will come to life at night and express the beauty of animals and the surrounding world.
--The park is a promise that you will have an adventure that is as if you did it for real.

Animal%20Kingdom_1-001.jpg

December 21, 2016

Disneyland Resort Update - 12/16/15

laura%27s%20masthead%20copy2.jpg

I've been traveling a lot, but I wanted to make another visit to Disneyland during the holiday season. When I renewed my annual pass earlier this year I opted for the Signature AP, which is blocked out during the Christmas holidays - December 19-January 1 - so this weekend was my final opportunity before that. (I really don't WANT to be at Disneyland during those two weeks anyway!) Jason (Disneygeek) met me there on Friday afternoon and we wandered around for the rest of the day and evening.

We had a rare southern California rainstorm on Thursday and Friday, but according to the forecast the rain would be over in Anaheim by noon. When I left San Diego at 10:30 it was still raining there, but by the time I reached Anaheim the roads were dry and there was even a little bit of blue sky. As the day went on the clouds completely cleared off and we had a sunny day, though it was cool by southern California standards - only about 60 degrees.

Some major changes at Disneyland this week: most of the security checkpoints have been moved. Downtown Disney is now a "secure" area, so guests coming from the Mickey and Friends garage go through security before boarding a tram. I was surprised to see a fence up along the tram route where it goes through the garage. If you park on the first level then you cross the tram route inside the garage rather than from the Pinocchio parking lot as it was before.

Disneyland security fence

The bag check is still done manually, and then everyone goes through a metal detector. I wish they'd installed x-ray machines rather than the manual check. I arrived about 12:20, and things weren't very busy then, so I got through quickly.

Disneyland security

There are additional security checkpoints set up at the other entrances to Downtown Disney. From the Downtown Disney parking lot:

Downtown Disney security checkpoint

From the Grand Californian:

Grand Californian Security checkpoint

There's also one from the Disneyland Hotel, though I didn't get a photo of it. The security setup on the east side of the esplanade (for guests coming from the Toy Story parking lot and the hotels on Harbor Blvd) is unchanged. They still go through security on the east side of the esplanade.

From the tram I could see the demolition that's occurring at the former House of Blues location. According to a recent Disney Parks Blog post, Splitsville Luxury Lanes will be opening there in late 2017.

House of Blues demolition

When I got off the tram, it was great to be able to walk directly to the esplanade without going through security! And the esplanade looks so open now! Jason reminded me that the security tents at the esplanade had been in place for over 15 years. Wow.

Disneyland esplanade

This was the first time I'd been to DCA during the day this holiday season.

Festival of Holidays

My first order was to have something to eat, so I visited a couple of the Festival of Holidays Marketplaces. I never saw any lines at any of the booths except the Brews & Bites booth that sells beer. As I mentioned in my initial review of the Festival, I think the prices are just too high.

This time I tried the Harvest Puff Pastry with Leeks and Parmesan from the "Treats for Santa" booth. $4.25. I was surprised that it wasn't served warm. But it was pretty tasty, and I thought $4.25 wasn't a bad price, since it was a good-sized serving. Much more in line with the price I expect.

Festival of Holidays Harvest Puff Pastry

From "Mosaic Delights" I tried the Mini Falafel Donuts with Pickled Vegetables & Tahini Drizzle. This one was $7.00 - and it should have been $4.25. :-) Though it says "donuts", it's really a savory dish. I liked the flavor of the falafel and the pickled vegetables. It was just too expensive.

Festival of Holidays Falafel Donuts

I felt really badly for the cast members working the food booths - they had very little to do, and I'm sure that makes their shifts seem really long.

Jason and I met at the World of Color Fastpass machines. Even though it was almost 1:00, we were still able to get Fastpasses in the Blue section (the best of the non-dining package sections) for the 9:00 showing of Season of Light. Because of the rain there weren't too many people out and about yet. There was a second show scheduled for 10:15...I have a feeling it was very sparsely attended.

Since I'm writing this resort update instead of Jason there's going to be more words than photos, so if you're interested in Jason's excellent photos and construction update please visit his web site: www.disneygeek.com.

There's an AP Corner for Annual Passholders set up in the Grizzly Peak Recreation area. It opened November 11 and is available through January 8. Pretty minimal offerings compared to some of these in the past. There's a button, a photo backdrop, and a coloring area. But no character greeting opportunity or refreshments like water and popcorn as there have been at previous AP areas. Also, there's only a single button for the event, rather than a different one each week (you can see my button on the left in the photo below). There were no guests there when we arrived, and the cast members looked pretty cold! The location is out of the way, and a little hard to find, though there were signs for it at the entrance.

Festival of Holidays

There were additional craft opportunities along the parade corridor. This one was Christmas-themed, but I saw one for Kwanzaa also.

Festival of Holidays

Our next destination was Disneyland, so that I could see the "A Christmas Fantasy Parade" for the first time this season. We went all the way back to the parade start at "it's a small world". Not real crowded, but there were more people back there than i expected. We still had a spot behind just one row of people, though.

A Christmas Fantasy Parade

For some reason the toy soldiers were missing when the parade first started this holiday season, but they are back now. Always one of my favorite parts of the parade.

We left our viewing spot just before the final float appeared so that we could get in line for "it's a small world" Holiday before the crowds descended on it after the parade was over. We had a good view of that last float with Santa Claus from the line.

A Christmas Fantasy parade

"it's a small world" Holiday is celebrating its 20th holiday season this year. In recognition of that, some number of "hidden 20s" have been placed in the attraction this year. Jason is very good at spotting them and pointed them out to me, though the only one I was able to photograph was this one at the exit.

it's a small world holiday hidden 20

We went back to Frontierland to take a look at the Star Wars Land construction progress. This is the first time I've seen anything other than piles of dirt!

Star Wars Land

And this looks interesting. No idea what it is, though. There's still no official word out of Disney as to when Star Wars Land might open, but at least now there's actual construction underway. As I mentioned, Jason has a lot more (and better) photos available on his www.disneygeek.com site.

Star Wars Land

On Main Street we caught the end of the performance of the Dickens Yuletide Band. In the clip below they perform a medley from "The Nutcracker."

We were planning to see some of the holiday entertainment over at DCA, so went across the esplanade back over there. But first we went back to Hollywood to check on Fastpasses for Tower of Terror. After dark, the Tower of Terror offers "Late Check-Out", where the attraction takes place in the dark, with no soundtrack. Fastpasses were not originally available for the after dark part, but that changed recently. We were there about 3:00, and there was a sign out to that effect.

Tower of Terror Late Check-Out

And the Fastpasses themselves denote Late Check-Out.

Tower of Terror Late Check-out

We still had some time before the first holiday act, so we went for a spin on Luigi's Rollickin' Roadsters, since it had a short line. For the holiday season there's a new song: Jingle Bells. We heard it as we were walking to the attraction, but it wasn't the song that played for our ride.

The Holiday Toy Drummers was the first entertainment offering we saw, and they are my new favorites. They were so much fun to watch - especially since they seem to be having so much fun themselves. This is a video Jason took of them several weeks ago - they don't have any variation in their sets.

Holiday entertainment takes place in a number of different locations around DCA. The drummers were near the Boudin Bakery in Pacific Wharf, and from there we went to Paradise Gardens to see Princess Elena's Musical Grand Arrival. It was pretty well-attended. Elena sang several songs, including two Christmas songs.

Festival of Holidays Elena of Avalor

The Stilt Circus performs along the parade corridor, though both time we saw them they were in Carthay Circle.

Festival of Holidays stilt circus

To get to Downtown Disney we exited through the Grand Californian. I hadn't seen the gingerbread hotel in its finished state - they were still decorating it when I was there in November. Pretty impressive structure.

Grand Californian Gingerbread house

There's a new Pandora store in Downtown Disney now, right next to Jamba Juice.

Downtown Disney Pandora Store

I was surprised to see a very large outdoor seating area outside Tortilla Jo's. During most of the year that might be pretty attractive, but it was a chilly afternoon and we didn't see anyone sitting outside.

Tortilla Jo's outdoor seating

The tree in Downtown Disney is in a new location this year. No skating rink, probably because of the construction of the fence for the security perimeter.

Downtown Disney Christmas tree

We took the monorail back to Disneyland from Downtown Disney. It was very nice not to have to go through a bag check there. And there was no line for the monorail, in fact some of the cars were empty. Jason and I were the only people in our car. We saw the start of sunset on our ride.

Disneyland sunset

At the Star Wars Launch Bay cast members were distributing Rogue One - A Star Wars Story buttons since the movie had just opened. There were a couple of display cases with costumes and props from the movie - pretty much the same as what I saw in Florida the week before.

Rogue One button

The lights weren't on yet, but the castle was decorated for the holidays.

Sleeping Beauty castle

We had dinner at Village Haus, largely so that we could sit inside where it was warm. There weren't very many people in there, and it was so quiet that we could actually hear the background music! It was the same holiday track that is played on Main Street. It was very nice to hear it.

The castle lights were on as we walked through the castle after dinner.

Sleeping Beauty ice castle

The Jambalaya Jazz group has added some holiday cheer to their set.

After dark their last song is White Christmas, and it snows.

snow in New Orleans Square

When we walked by Tropical Imports in Adventureland we noticed a sign for a new dessert - a Pineapple Parfait. Layered pineapple mousse, vanilla cake and pineapple topped with whipped cream and a chocolate Heart of Tefiti pendant. Normally I would've tried this, but it was a cold dessert and I was already cold enough.

Pineapple Parfait

Back to DCA to catch some more of the Festival of Holidays entertainment. Starting at 5:30 there are four different acts in a row at the stage in Paradise Park. We missed the first one, but we saw RAISE - an acapella group, Mariachi Divas, and Mostly Kosher. The latter are pictured below. They were surprisingly entertaining.

Festival of Holidays

The wind had come up and it was quite chilly by the water after we'd been sitting there for almost an hour. I suggested we go "under the sea" to warm up. :-) We walked right onto the clamshell vehicle.

There was still over an hour until it was time to be back for World of Color. I was looking for warm places, and we went into the Animation Building. There were a number of other people with the same idea, but we lucked out and there was a sofa we could sit on. I always enjoy sitting in there and watching the animation clips and artwork and listening to the music. I saw something I hadn't noticed before - it looks like there was a "Coppertone moment" in Frozen during the "In Summer" song. Cute.

DCA Animation Building

On the way back to Paradise Bay we stopped at Award Weiners so that I could get some hot chocolate. That tasted pretty good - and it felt good in my hands. :-)

Jason knows the spots, and found us an excellent location to watch World of Color - Season of Light. We were just behind the dessert party area, so there was no one standing in front of us.

It was windy, but not enough to cancel the show. It made for some interesting effects on the fountains. I was surprised at how clear the projections still were, despite the wind.

World of Color - Season of Light

This is such a good show. All of the effects work so well together.

World of Color - Season of Light

We made the right decision to choose to see World of Color and not the fireworks show at Disneyland - it was canceled because of the wind.

That was the end of our day. When we arrived back at the Mickey and Friends garage I was surprised to see that almost all of the security check lanes were still open. It was almost 10:00 - not too many people arriving at that time of night.

It was a good day - I was able to see all of the entertainment that I'd wanted to see. And thanks to the rain and the cool weather the parks weren't very crowded at all.







December 14, 2016

"Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" Press Junket

jeaninebanner.jpg

RogueOne57fea27d27575.jpg

Fans of the pop culture juggernaut "Star Wars" will get their next installment in theaters December 16, when Lucasfilm and Walt Disney Studios present "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story." The first in what they originally called the Anthology films, "Rogue One" starts a series of standalone films that detail different parts of the Star Wars timeline, but are not directly connected to the Saga films that tell a continuing story of the Skywalker clan.

"Rogue One" details the events alluded to in the original "New Hope" title crawl, in which rebel spies steal the plans for the Empire's ultimate weapon--the DEATH STAR. It takes place between Episode III and Episode IV, at a time when Order 66 has all but destroyed the Jedi Order and nothing but the bravery and daring of ordinary citizens can hope to free the galaxy.

[All non-attributed photos and video courtesy of Disney.]

Up at Lucasfilm's Skywalker Ranch, the cast and creatives behind "Rogue One" gathered to briefly discuss the film and their roles in it. The first panel consisted of Producer Kathy Kennedy, Director Gareth Edwards, Diego "Cassian" Luna, Alan "K2SO" Tudyk, Donnie "Chirrut" Yen, and Executive Producer John Knoll, who was also the VFX Supervisor, and who contributed the original story idea.

DSC05869.JPG

Some video highlights from the press conference:

DSC06282.JPG

Edwards on getting George Lucas' feedback: "So two days ago, we got to show George the movie, and we all had a phone call and I got to speak with him yesterday, and I don’t want to put words into his mouth, but I can honestly say that I can die happy now. He really liked the movie, so it meant a lot. To be honest, and no offense to anyone here, it was the most important review to me...what George thought of it. You know, you guys are important too, but come on, he’s kind of God when it comes to Star Wars."

DSC06235.JPG

Kennedy on diversity and representation in "Rogue One:" "I think, you know, having a cast that represents and reflects the world today and having characters that people can relate to all over the world, this is very much a global industry. Films mean something to people all over the world, and it was certainly important to this story...It lent itself very, very well. These are a group of people who come together in ways that are kind of inexplicable, but they share a very common belief and they feel very strongly in their desire to do the right thing and they work together incredibly well, and having that sense of diversity as people come together was really important to our story. Every movie has reasons for why you cast certain people, but I think what we’re doing today is just being much more mindful of that, and I think it’s important."

DSC06239.JPG

Yen on how his martial arts background helped him relate to the Force: "You know, I always think of the force–we all have the force, it’s just we don’t realize it. It’s kind of like–I think it’s interesting to see...to me, the Star Wars story is about reminding us of the things that we neglect and forget. And the force is–we always have these kinds of ability, and to answer your question, I don’t think of it as having the martial arts ability, it’s just being a human being–you do have the force."

DSC06266.JPG

Tudyk on getting into character on set as the CG droid K2SO: "I was wearing a, you know, fully body jumpsuit sort of thing, and it’s such a new technology, even still. We’ve been introduced to it a lot of different ways. Sometimes people wear cameras on their heads, sometimes there’s dots all over their face, they have balls all over their suit. The way that ILM did it, I wore a suit that was very comfortable, it didn’t have all of that restriction on it, it just had interesting designs on it which..it was very cool looking. Come on. It was like a luge costume from like the Italian team, like it looked cool. And yeah, I mean, it didn’t have the colors, but still–and then I was on stilts so I was 7 foot 1, so I towered over everyone most of the time, and it was great, you know, just even at that height it colors how you move and helped me get into character. It was fantastic."
Luna: "It wasn't."
Tudyk: "It was basically just acting, but then the makeup and the costume came later, but because you’re on set you are able to create a character with the other actors. Without that, you can’t tell a story with the true character who can react in a moment. With some of the stuff Diego’s throwing at you, you need to be able to throw it right back."

DSC06271.JPG

DSC06231.JPG

Luna on Cassian's moral complexity: "I think it’s a modern approach to Star Wars, and we live in a different world today, you know. If you revisit all the films, it’s kind of like a stamp of what was going on and a reflection on the world back then, you know? And ours has to do the same. And we live in a diverse...world where racial and cultural diversity is in fact making us richer and more interesting. But it is a complex world we live in, and making the right choice many times looks horrible, you know? And these people are in war. You know, when you mentioned Cassian doing something not heroic, I would say, no, Cassian is a true hero, as Jyn and everyone in this team, you know? It’s just that they are the heroes we can be, just regular people doing amazing stuff you know, and no special powers, no Jedis, it’s just conviction and teamwork and yeah, that hope of actually being able to shape the reality we live in, and that makes them great, you know? But yes, they have to make choices on the way and war is horrible. I mean, no one wants war to happen, none of these characters would choose war, you know, but it’s the last chance, you know, and they have to do it."

DSC05877.JPG

The second panel then took place with Producer Kathy Kennedy and Director Gareth Edwards returning, along with Felicity “Jyn” Jones, Ben “Krennic” Mendelsohn, Mads “Galen” Mikkelsen, and Riz “Bodhi” Ahmed.

DSC06278.JPG

Jones on finding her Inner Warrior: "Yeah, well, it’s in Jyn’s head, it’s very clear. She hates the Empire. So anytime she sees Stormtroopers she has this kind of a very clear instinct to take them down. So I just tapped into that, into that energy that Jyn has. And I’d never done that kind of thing before. It was very new, the whole kind of physical preparation, that side of acting. I’m kind of used to lots of, you know, talking in corsets so it was really nice to be running around with a blaster and a baton to bash Stormtroopers with. But yeah, it was an extraordinary process and you work very closely with the stunt team who take you through every kind of move and moment and support you throughout the whole thing and I’m very lucky to have a great support from the stunt team doing it."

DSC06298.JPG

Edwards on working with Ben Mendelsohn: "And Ben is so relaxed in front of the camera that he would start like just messing around, like he’s very playful. And I thought he was reciting Shakespeare or something, like to get himself into character, and then I would listen carefully to the lyrics and realize he was singing Billie Jean by Michael Jackson, and even like Frozen, I think. There was like times where..."
Mendelsohn: "Oh yeah, I did sing a bit of Frozen."
Edwards: "Yeah. What was it – we used to be friends or whatever?"
Mendelsohn: "Yeah, that’s right, yeah, yeah, yeah. I did the we used to be friends – no, it’s escaping me now, but yes."
Mikkelsen: "I remember it vividly."

DSC06303.JPG

Mikkelsen on Galen's moral complexity: "...I think that as actors we always try to find, like, the two sides of a character, but definitely it’s in this one because he’s working together with this gentleman (Mendelsohn) something that he believes from the very beginning as a project that has the ability to change the world into a better place. And though be it that it turns out that he’s working on something that he didn’t know, and for that reason he’s in a gigantic dilemma. And for other reasons I will not spoil here, the dilemma gets even bigger. So yes, that’s a gray zone here. As you said, you used to be maybe in the ‘70s and the ‘80s a little more black and white, but there are a lot of grays in here.

DSC06292.JPG

Ahmed on becoming an action figure: "I did get an action figure. I was very pleased because I think he’s a lot better-looking than I am. I think they accidentally modeled it on Diego or something, we're easily confused. Yeah, it was a kind of surreal, amazing moment, to be honest. I remember kind of playing with those toys as a kid and so to be part of that universe, you know, in plastic, is an amazing thing.


"Rogue One" will open in theaters December 16, 2016.

Page 1 of 5

Return to Blog Central

Categories