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February 2008 Archives

February 6, 2008

Disney's California Food and Wine Festival

I recently had the opportunity to speak with Jim Ames, the producer of Disney's California Food and Wine Festival, about this year's upcoming Festival.

This is the Festival's third year, and it keeps getting a little bigger (and I think a little better) every year. The major change this year is that the Festival will be held daily from April 11 - May 5, rather than just on weekends like it was the first two years. Hence a new name this year - Disney's California Food and Wine Festival.

The Festival will be expanding from the Pacific Wharf and Golden Vine Winery areas into the Bountiful Farm area as well. Among other things, this expansion allows for larger areas for the demonstration kitchens - Jim said they were turning guests away at almost every demonstration last year, and the expansion will allow them to accommodate more guests.

Expanded Festival food offerings will be available - in addition to the Festival Marketplace at the Lucky Fortune Cookery (which will have 9-10 tapas-style items on the menu, plus beer and wine), other counter service restaurants in the park will be serving up special Festival menu items. These items will be in keeping with the existing menu and price point at each location. For example, Award Wieners will be offering a hot dog with peppers and onions and a beer sauce. Other participating restaurants include Corn Dog Castle, Pizza Oom Mow Mow, Cocina Cucamonga, Pacific Wharf Cafe, and Farmer's Market.

Other restaurants around the Disneyland Resort will be offering a special prix-fixe Vintner's Menu during the Festival. These multi-course menus will be available from Napa Rose, Steakhouse 55, the Vineyard Room, Ralph Brennan's Jazz Kitchen, and Catal.

Also new this year will be the Sparkling Bar, located on the Upper Terrace of the Golden Vine Winery (in previous years the site of one of the demonstration kitchens). At this location champagne and sparkling wines will be available by the glass and various wine country tapas will also be for sale.

The Taste event will be returning on the final Saturday evening (May 3) of the Festival. This year tickets will be available to the general public, and not just to Annual Passholders. In response to guest comments, Jim told me there will be more sit-down tables available this year, but they feel they can do that without making the event feel cramped and overcrowded. That was one of my favorite parts about last year's Taste event - it was easy to move around the room to the various food and wine stations, but we could still always find a table (even if it was a standing table) where we could set our plates and glasses down and eat.

Other "ticketed" events returning this year are the Winemaker Dinners, the Napa Rose Cooking School, the Festival Wine Receptions (which this year include special viewing of the Electrical Parade), and the Taste Wine Like an Expert classes.

Registration for the ticketed events begins on February 15. To register, visit http://www.disneyland.com/foodandwine. The web site should go-live by February 10, if not before.

More information on the Festival and its events is available on AllEars' Disney's California Food and Wine Festival page, where we'll be adding more information on the schedule, menus, events and prices as it becomes available, and once the Festival starts we'll have event reviews and guest comments.

February 16, 2008

Disneyland in the News

There have been a couple of recent news items about Disneyland on non-Disney sites that I have found interesting, so I thought I'd share, in case anyone else is interested..

My husband Lee sent me this link to an article published in the New York Times on February 10... "Will Disney Keep Us Amused?" talks a bit about the expansion planned for DCA, but mostly it's a lot of interesting info about the new Toy Story Mania attraction - including a statement that it is opening in June, something that I have not heard before. All I've ever seen from Disney is: "Opening Summer 2008." Sounds good to me. :-)

The other news item is an AP piece published on Febuary 13, and available in various news outlets on the web, including this Google page: Disney Revives 'House of the Future'.

The original House of the Future opened at Disneyland in 1957 and closed in 1967 - this new one is scheduled to open in May. It's 5,000 square feet and they say it "looks like a normal suburban home" - but I can't say there's any "normal suburban homes" in my normal suburban neighborhood that are 5,000 square feet!

Anyway...sounds like it will have lots of gadgets like lights and thermostats that automatically adjust when people walk in the room, with things like artwork and music that are customized to different individuals. And presumably there's some kind of priority system that determines whose preferences take precedence when more than one family member is in the room. :-) Hmmm...I'll have to find out about that...

February 21, 2008

Blog Follow-ups

I thought I'd post some follow-ups to a couple of previous blog entries.

Last week I wrote about the new House of the Future, coming to Disneyland in May. (That blog entry can be found HERE.) One thing the article didn't mention is that it was going in on the ground floor of Innoventions. We asked a Cast Member when we were there last week who confirmed that. There have been quite a few changes to the upper floor of Innoventions since we were last there - the Disney Interactive gaming area has received several different kinds of "virtual gaming kiosks", and the Virtual Resort area has been replaced (at least temporarily) by a Segway demonstration. The ASIMO demonstration and Stitch's Picture Phone areas are still there, though.

My second follow-up has to do with DCA's upcoming Food and Wine Festival (original blog entry is HERE). The Signature events for the Food and Wine Festival went on sale Friday morning. Though the web site with pricing information was supposed to be up earlier in the week, it didn't go on-line until they opened it for reservations, so no one knew how much the events were going to be until it was time to sign up for them. That made it a little bit difficult to know what the budget would stand, though fortunately DCA's events don't sell out immediately...at least not yet.

As I expected, there were price increases almost across the board - the most notable being that Taste went from $100 last year to $125 this year - though it's still $10 cheaper than Party for the Senses at Epcot. (Though it still requires separate admission to DCA, and since May 3 is a blockout day for all but Premium Passholders, a lot of people attending will have to pay an additional $40 for a blockout day ticket, or otherwise pay for park admission to DCA.) The Festival Wine Receptions also went up $10, to $55 (though this year they include a premium viewing location for Disney's Electrical Parade, which wasn't running during the Food and Wine Festival last year), and the Taste Wine Like an Expert class is up $25, to $45, though its format will be different this year. The Napa Rose Cooking School went up a whopping $75, to $400/person, and the Celebrity Chef dinner went from $145 to $185. Interestingly enough, the price of the Winemaker dinners stayed the same - $125.

As of this writing, nothing has sold out yet, and there still seems to be plenty of availability for all of the events. Check out http://www.disneyland.com/foodandwine to make reservations.

February 24, 2008

February Day Trip to Disneyland

Lee and I took advantage of a Friday off work to spend the afternoon/evening at Disneyland. It was a gorgeous day, though chilly by southern Californian standards - only in the upper 50s. You may have heard about the freak winter storm that hit southern California on Thursday, bringing cold air that dropped the snow level to about 1000'. There were still some signs of that at Disneyland. :-)


The floral Mickey just inside the entrance was re-done earlier this year - though you can't see it in the photo, there are also sparkling lights, which of course look more impressive at night. And the Tinker Bell figure was added, too.


During the month of February Disneyland is celebrating the Lunar New Year, and there's a special display set up in Town Square. Mickey and Minnie, wearing Chinese attire in honor of the Chinese Year of the Mouse (really the year of the rat, but "rat, schmat" to quote our Muppet friend Rizzo) greet guests, and there's a large sign which describes the new year celebrations of Korean, Chinese, and Vietnamese families. My favorite part is that at the top of the sign there's a "What Year Are You?" timeline from 1919 to the present, where they represent the twelve different "year of the <whatever> animals with a different Disney character. Mickey of course represents the Year of the Mouse, there's Thumper for Rabbit, Mushu for Dragon, Abu for Monkey, Tramp for Dog, etc. I don't recognize the choices for Ox and Sheep...I think Horse is Prince Philip's horse from Sleeping Beauty, though. (I'm a Mouse/Rat, myself.)


It was the Friday before a long weekend and the park was fairly crowded - lines for the major attractions were an hour (or more) - way too long for us. The food lines were insane - 15-20 people deep for things like Dole Whips, the Corn Dog Wagon, the ice cream, shop, and even McDonald's French Fries. So we wandered around enjoying other aspects of the park instead. Like these colorful tulips planted around the Partners Statue:


Since lines were long we decided to enjoy some of the live entertainment...and we weren't the only ones listening to the ragtime pianist outside the Refreshment Corner!


The Disneyland Band was performing in Town Square - in addition to marches and patriotic music, they also performed medleys of songs from Lady and the Tramp and the musical Oklahoma.


We had an interesting surprise on our way out of the park - Cinderella, the Fairy Godmother, Aurora, and Belle were sitting around one of the planters just inside the park entrance and Cinderella was telling her story to the kids crowded around them. It was really very cute. After a few minutes Cinderella finished her story and told the audience that she and the others had to go and get ready for the parade. A nice way for them to pass the time while waiting for the parade to start!


We had lunch at La Brea Bakery Cafe (yum!) and dinner at Ralph Brennan's Jazz Kitchen - I'll have reviews of those later.

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About February 2008

This page contains all entries posted to Salute to All Things Disney but Mostly Disneyland in February 2008. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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