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June 2, 2010

2010 Disney Magic Mediterranean Cruise - The Food, Part 1

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I didn't have time to really write about our meals while on the cruise, and I know there's some of you out there who enjoy seeing what's on the menu, so here we go...

(By the way, thank you to my tablemates John and Eva and Gary and Jane for not looking at me too strangely and allowing me to photograph their food, too.)

Day 1

Once we boarded the ship we went to Parrot Cay, but it was going to be a 10-15 minute wait for a table to they sent us to Topsider instead. This was a buffet with salad bar, peel and eat shrimp, carving station, and lots of other things like a fish and chicken dish, potatoes, veggies, fruit, and a dessert bar, too.

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Not the best food we had on board, but it was good.

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Dinner that night was at Animator's Palate. It was the Let the Magic Begin dinner, so the same menu was served in all three restaurants. Lee and I both started with the Chicken Bastela, which is shredded chicken in phyllo dough, sprinkled with cinnamon. This is my favorite appetizer at Restaurant Marrakesh at Epcot, so I wondered how it would be here. It was really good.

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Some or our tablemates ordered the Smoked Salmon Carpacchio:

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There was nothing in the second course that appealed to me so I ordered something from the first course instead - the Prosciutto, Mozzarella and Citrus Tapanade Bruschetta. It was pretty good

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Lee had the Blue Crab and Seafood Chowder.

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For a main course I ordered the Lentil and Leek Brown Rice Risotto. Sounds a little odd, but it was really good - had a very good flavor.

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Lee ordered the Pan Seared Halibut which came with smashed peas on a potato cake. It was good, too.

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Two of our tablemates ordered the Seafood Risotto - one of them was fine, but the risotto wasn't cooked (it was actually crunchy!) in the other, and I guess it didn't have much flavor, either. Poor Jane - she had bad luck with risotto for almost the entire cruise - I think there was only one time she ordered it that she actually liked it.

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The other dish people a couple of people tried was the Roasted Pork Tenderloin, which they enjoyed.

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Interestingly, our server recommended that we NOT order the steak, because the beef delivery they had received just wasn't very good. John wanted to try it anyway, so ordered it as an additional entree - he said it was a bit tough.

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For dessert I ordered the Chocolate Truffle Cake, which was actually one of the sugar-free desserts, but it was REALLY good - I'd put it in my top 3 for the entire cruise.

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Lee ordered the Kahlua Chocolate Creme Brulee. I guess it was good - he didn't offer me any of it! :-)

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Something new they've added since our last cruise is a dessert sampler each night called Sweet Temptations, which gives a small taste of three different desserts on that night's dessert menu. I think that was Gary's favorite - he ordered that most nights.

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Day 2

This was an at sea day so we had the opportunity to eat three meals in the restaurants - though we didn't actually do that.

We had brunch at Lumiere's. One of their specialties was the Eggs Benedict, but we didn't actually try that.

I had the French Toast, which was quite good.

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Lee had the Denver Omelet. One thing we tend to forget about Lumiere's is that the portions are not very large, so you really need to order multiple things (like a side of bacon or fruit or toast) to get enough to eat.

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That night was Formal Night, with the Prince and Princess menu, which I believe is relatively new, and has replaced the Golden Mickeys menu. We were in Parrot Cay that night.

Here, Gary, John, and Eva take a look at the menu.

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I had the Roasted Roma Tomatoes and Herb Flavored Goat Cheese. This really wasn't what I was expecting from the description, but it was good.

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A number of those at our table, Lee included, had the Double Baked Aged Reggiano Parmesan Cheese Souffle It was a big hit with everyone.

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Belle's Scallops Au Gratin was another popular choice. I think it was this night that John started ordering multiple appetizers - which got Jane and Eva doing it, too. Which of course is absolutely fine, and as the week went on it got to the point where Ignatius was anticipating which additional appetizers we were going to order, and actually had them plated and ready for us instead of having to go back to the kitchen for them! Too funny.

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Second course for me was the Garden Consomme. Which was a fancy name for a tasty vegetable soup that several of us enjoyed.

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The other popular choice was the Coranation of Mixed Leaves, which was a very nice salad with blue cheese and candied walnuts.

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My main course was probably the one I enjoyed the most of all the ones I had - the Baked Fillet of Turbot. The fish was just wonderful, moist and flavorful.

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Lee and several others had the Rack of New Zealand Lamb with a Dijon Mustard Crust. The lamb was falling off the bone, and everyone really liked it.

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My dessert was the Prince Charming Chilled Chocolate Souffle. Again, not quite what I was expecting from the description but it was very good - it had a round of almond brittle on top. I'd call it more of a mousse than a souffle.

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Lee had the Princess Jasmine Banana Bread Pudding. He liked it - not my thing, though.

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Cinderella's Lemon Cheesecake came with a chocolate Cinderella.

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Day 3

We docked at Valletta fairly early, but since we didn't have a tour, we decided to just go to Lumiere's for breakfast. Remembering our experience here the other morning we ordered more food this time!

I started with the Mango Morning Hike, which I was expecting to be some chopped fruit and yogurt, but it was a smoothie. Tasted good - just not what I thought it would be.

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I also got an omelet made to order - they make really good omelets on the ship.

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The omelet came with hashed browns - which were not your typical hash browns, they were more like deep fried potato cakes with some onion as well as potatoes. They were really good, though, and since Lee had been "sharing" mine, we ordered an extra plate of them.

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Lee had Lumiere's Candle, which was a stack of French Toast, Belgian Waffle, and Pancake. The menu said it had cinnamon butter, but it had a fruit topping instead. He also had a side of bacon to go with it.

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That night we were back in Lumiere's with their regular French/Continental menu. As I recall this was one of my least favorites on our Caribbean cruise, but it was one of my favorites this time.

Gary and Jane had gone to Palo, so it was just the four of us. I started with the Chilled Jumbo Shrimp, which came with asparagus and micro greens. Very good.

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Lee had the Applewood Smoked Bacon and Wild Mushroom Tart - I think Eva had this, too. (She and John also had the escargot - which which they offered to share...uh, no thanks. :-) )

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I think we all had Mrs. Potts French Onion Soup. It was excellent! My favorite soup the whole week.

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I had Lumiere's Seared Sea Bass, though I requested steamed vegetables with it in place of the mushroom herb risotto. It was just ok - not nearly as good as the turbot the night before.

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Lee and Eva had the Slowly Braised Lamb Shank, on a bed of polenta. It was very good.

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John ordered the Crispy Roasted Duck Breast, and he enjoyed that.

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He also ordered the Aged Angus Grilled Beef Tenderloin, which was a whole lot better than the beef the first night. He shared that with Lee and Eva (I got the bacon-wrapped green beans, which were very good!).

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For dessert I actually tried the Sweet Temptations this time - it was small servings of chocolate mousse, creme brulee, and some kind of cookie/pastry. Pretty good.

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I think Lee and Eva both had the Grand Marnier Souffle.

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John had the no sugar added Chocolate Cheesecake. It certainly looked very good.

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More food to come!


World of Color - Disney California Adventure

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Last night I was very fortunate to attend a dress rehearsal of the new World of Color spectacular that debuts June 11th! While I am sure many of you are anxiously awaiting a review, you'll have to wait a bit longer. I won't be posting my review until after the media preview on June 10th.

Information is now available on various Dining Options that include a reserved viewing and information on obtaining a FASTPASS for the show.

I am able to share with you 3 photographs provided by Disney:

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World of Color Viewing & Dining Options & Miscellaneous Info

At the World of Color event the other night they spent a lot of time telling us about the options guests have for viewing World of Color from the Viewing area - this of course is one question that I think almost all of us have had!

Disney put out a fairly comprehensive press release, but here's a few additional details.

World of Color will be visible from all around Paradise Bay (except where there are buildings or attractions in the way, of course) but the prime viewing area will be Paradise Park, the new terraced area they recently finished. Access to this area for World of Color will be limited to those who have a ticket for it. There are two different areas: General Viewing and Preferred Reserved Viewing. And there are multiple ways to get a ticket.

The "no cost" version for the General Viewing area is something we're all familiar with - a FASTPASS. FASTPASSES will be distributed beginning at park opening at the Grizzly River Run FASTPASS machines until they are all gone. You may not choose which show you want to attend. The FASTPASS ticket will also indicate which entrance you should use to enter the viewing area.

Preferred Reserved Viewing is available to those who have booked the World of Color dining package at either Ariel's Grotto or Wine Country Trattoria. Reservations can be made up to 60 days in advance by calling (714) 781-DINE. Both locations offer a prix fixe menu. Prices for the Trattoria are $39.99 for adults and $18.99 for children ages 3-9. The price at Ariel's Grotto varies depending on whether it is indoor or outdoor seating, at this point, indoor seating is $36.99 for adults and $20.99 for children.

Here are the World of Color Prix Fixe menus for the Trattoria:
Adult Menu
Kid's Menu

The World of Color menu for Ariel's Grotto is the same as their usual menu, with the exception that the conch shell dessert has been replaced by a World of Color "filmstrip" dessert.

Ariel's Grotto Adult Menu
Ariel's Grotto Kid's Menu

The third option is the World of Color Picnic. Guests with this option receive a General Viewing FASTPASS ticket. For $14.99 (same price for adults and kids) guests receive a boxed meal and a non-alcoholic beverage. Kid's meals also come with a light-up bracelet. All meals are served cold. Adults have four meal choices and kids have three choices (I will describe them in more detail below). The picnics can only be reserved on-line or as a walk-up on the day of the show: they can NOT be reserved by calling Disneyland Dining. All are subject to availability. (As of this writing, even though the press materials say meals can be reserved 60 days in advance, if you go to the web site they are only available for 30 days - if you are looking for a reservation more than 30 days out I suggest you keep trying the web site periodically in case this policy changes.) Meals that are reserved on-line will have tickets to the first show, walk-ups will have tickets to the second show.

Meals must be picked up at the Sonoma Terrace of the Golden Vine Winery, which is on the far left side of the building, anytime from 2:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. Each order comes in a World of Color tote bag. We are hoping to try out the picnic meal option on opening weekend, and will definitely report on that!

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Here are the available menus:

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Disney provided two of the adult meals for us to sample, The European Antipasto:

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And The Taste of Asia:

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I had the Taste of Asia, and I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised. The salmon, though cold, still had a very good flavor (and I usually dislike cold fish), and the spring roll had lots of crunchy vegetables. The udon noodle salad was also very tasty. The mandarin orange cake was ok - but that has more to do with it not being chocolate than with any shortcoming in the cake, which was moist and flavorful, and not overwhelmingly orange.

I sampled a couple of things from the European Antipasto meal, also. The Caprese Salad skewer, with mozzarella bites and cherry tomatoes, was good. I did not try any of the cheese or meats (though those I was sharing the meal with enjoyed them). The chocolate covered tiramisu cake was very nice - I only had a bite of it, but I liked it much better than the mandarin orange cake.

Now, bear in mind that none of these "meals" are very big - for most people they would not be enough food to count as a dinner. But I think it's a great value - $14.99 includes the meal, drink AND a ticket to World of Color!!! I'd pay that much just for the ticket alone, so having food and beverage thrown in is a bonus as far as I'm concerned. Now, we'll see where the "Reserved Viewing" area is actually located, but it's hard to imagine that anything in the Viewing area is going to have a view that's totally obstructed.

Another item we got to sample is some colored and multi-flavored popcorn, which comes in a souvenir translucent World of Color popcorn bucket. I think it's like Kool-Aid popcorn - the different flavors are cherry, grape, blueberry and kettle corn, and it's very sweet. Though I found it a little bit addicting - it's a good thing I only had a small serving and not a whole bucket.

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Another food offering that sounds like fun is the Light Up Cotton Candy. We didn't get to see or sample this, but it's described as white cotton candy with a colored swirl, with a light stick inside that makes it glow. Sounds like something that will be a huge hit with kids.

There will also be a selection of "glowing" drinks for sale, either in light-up souvenir glasses, or with a light-up swizzle stick.

New merchandise will add its own glow - new balloons with light-up World of Color art inside, and light-up bracelets. There will also be World of Color popcorn buckets, travel mugs and sipper cups. And we can also expect the usual World of Color-themed merchandise like t-shirts, fleece and hats. You can see some samples of it HERE. (I like the fountains with the Fun Wheel in the background.)

June 9, 2010

Disney Magic Mediterranean Cruise - The Food, Part 2

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This is Part 2 of my Disney Cruise Line Mediterranean Food Blog.
Click HERE for Part 1!

Day 4

We were Animator's Palate for dinner, it was the "show" dinner. My appetizer was my favorite of the entire week, the Sesame-flavored Rock Fish and Caramelized Onion Cheesecake. This was not at all what I was expecting - I thought it looked like a dessert - but it was just delicious. The "cheesecake" was more like whipped herbed cream cheese, and light and flavorful. There really wasn't much shrimp in it, though. Lee got the same thing.

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For the second course, I was torn between the Butternut Squash Soup and the Baked Potato and Cheddar Cheese Soup. So Lee got one and I got the other. They were both good, though I make my own versions of both of them that I think are a little better. (One issue I had with the soups all week was that by the time they got to the table they weren't very hot - the exception was the French Onion soup, which was just about perfect.)

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My entree was another rather unusual one - Black Bean Chipotle Cakes served over brown rice. These were really good, though I didn't taste much "chipotle" in them.

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There were only four of us at the table that night, so not the variety that we usually had. Lee had the Asian Marinated Beef Tenderloin. It came with wasabi mashed potatoes and a tamarind barbecue reduction and reminded him a little bit of the tamarind beef dish he used to enjoy at California Grill, though it wasn't quite up to that standard.

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For dessert I ordered the Double Fudge Chocolate Cake. I was expecting a slice of cake and not a square. It was ok - at least it was moist and chocolatey. But one of my least favorites for the cruise.

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Lee had the Buckled Warm Apple Crumble, which came with a scoop of ice cream.

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Gary ordered the Sweet Temptaions plate, which included Strawberry Sable, Cranberry-Orange Cheesecake, and the Double Fudge Chocolate Cake.

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Day 5

This was a long day in Naples, when we visited Vesuvius and Pompeii. Our dinner was the Caribbean-themed dinner in Parrot Cay, which didn't appeal to me and I just wasn't up for a two hour dinner that night. As it turned out none of our tablemates went, either, so Lee was the only person at our table.

Unfortunately he didn't take a picture of the menu, so I can't give you a description of what he had. And he forgot to take a picture of his first course. Sigh. You just can't get good help sometimes! ;-)

This is a spinach salad. It was supposedly served with hot bacon dressing, but Lee said there was no bacon or bacon flavor in the dressing - he was disappointed about that.

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His entree was fish (we think it was grouper) pan-seared and served with shrimp over rice. He said this was very good.

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Dessert was a slice of chocolate cake served with a scoop of coconut ice cream, with sliced bananas and caramel sauce on the side. He really liked the coconut ice cream and the bananas - the cake itself was fine but not exceptional.

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He enjoyed his meal even though he was by himself - Ignatius and Nathan spent extra time with him, and the people at the table next to us visited with him, too.

Day 6

The ship-wide menu was Master Chef, and featured selections from lots of different Disney restaurants like Yachtsman Steakhouse, Flying Fish, and Citricos, as well as some other special dishes. We were in Lumiere's that night.

A couple of us ordered Citrico's Shrimp, which was ok - the shrimp was a little tough, I thought.

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Lee had the Exotic Fruit Cup, which had pineapple, mango, and papaya with some coconut. It really looked good.

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A couple of people also tried the Serrano Ham, Spicy Tomato, Kalamata Olive Bruschetta.

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Second course for me Beefsteak Tomatoes and Baby Mozzarella - I love both tomatoes and mozzarella, so that was pretty much a given for me to order that! As I recall it was good.

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Lee and several others had the Succotash Soup, which had lima beans and corn, and they seemed to enjoy it.

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My entree was Flying Fish Potato Crusted Red Snapper, which I have enjoyed previously at the Flying Fish restaurant. I have to say this wasn't nearly as good, though. It was ok, just not great. The potato crust wasn't quite right somehow.

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Lee and a couple others had the Pan Seared Scallop and Asparagus Linguine. As I recall there were varying opinions on this, but the consensus was that it didn't have very much flavor.

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John had the Oven Roasted Breast of Pheasant, which he said was very good.

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As you can see, Jane and Eva were very hungry that night. :-)

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My dessert was the Triple Chocolate Terrine which was chocolatey and good - in the top 5 for the cruise.

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On Jane and Gary's recommendation (they are from the U.K.) Lee tried the Sticky Toffee Date Pudding. He liked it - said it was sort of like sponge cake with butterscotch soaked into it.

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Day 7

It was semi-formal night, and the ship-wide menu was Villains Tonight. We were in Animator's Palate for the third time. (That was one thing that was very different about the longer cruise - we ate in all of the restaurants at least three times, and were in Animator's and Parrot Cay four times.)

This menu was pretty hit and miss - with more misses than hits, I think. Though the first course had a BIG hit - one of everyone's favorite appetizers of the entire cruise, I think, the Crispy Cheese Ravioli. This was just really excellent - crispy and cheesy. Ignatius brought us at least two extra plates of this, in addition to the three plates of it that several of us initially ordered. (I think something similar to this used to be on the Pirate Night menu, but this was better.)

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Lee ordered Jafar's Caramelized Bay Scallops, which he enjoyed. I think he's decided that he likes sun-dried tomatoes.

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There was nothing on the soup and salad menu that appealed to me, so I had the Spiced Asparagus and Citrus Delight from the appetizer menu. It was fine - a different take on a fruit salad.

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Several people had the Broccoli and Maytag Blue Cheese Soup, which was strangely not very blue cheesy.

My entree was the one that I think I was most disappointed in all week, the Potato Gnocchi . This was in a cheese sauce with pesto and pine nuts. The gnocchi had been grilled, which I thought was a nice touch but it was too cheesy - the sauce was very heavy and kind of like glue. I ended up not eating very much of it.

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I think Jane had the Oven Roasted Duckling which she enjoyed.

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The big winner that evening was Hades Oven-Roasted Tom Turkey Breast. It was a mini Thanksgiving dinner, and came with mashed potatoes, dressing, green beans, gravy, and cranberry relish. Everyone who ordered that really enjoyed it. I had a little bit of the turkey and it was very moist and flavorful. Not at all what I expected to find on a ship, especially at this time of year!

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I think John also ordered the Yachtsman Steakhouse Grilled New York Strip which came with asparagus and baked potato. Other than the first night, the consensus was that the beef was very good all week.

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My dessert was The Villains Chocolate Ending - which the menu called the "ultimate chocolate experience." I wouldn't go that far - it was pretty good, but not one of the best of the cruise.

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Lee (and Gary) ordered the The Villains Tonight Sweet Temptations (somehow calling it "temptation" seemed much more appropriate on Villain's Night!) This came with the Chocolate Ending, Maleficent's Ricotta Creme Brulee, and Raspberry Cheesecake.

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Nathan entertained us with a puzzle that night: move 5 crayons to end up with three squares of equal size. We eventually got it. Can you?

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We also celebrated Lee's 50th birthday that night, even though his birthday was still some weeks away. They brought out a cake and Simone (our head server) and Ignatius and Nathan and some of the rest of the servers sang to him.

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Part 3 still to come!


June 10, 2010

World of Color - First Impressions

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This isn't going to be a review, really - more of a collection of my thoughts and impressions now that I've seen World of Color.

My overall impression: I really liked it, but I'm really looking forward to seeing it when I'm not trying to get pictures/video of it.

So even though I've now seen it twice I don't really think I can give a "review" of it. The first time I saw it was from our room at the Grand Californian, where we were off to the side and could see the fountains but could not see the mist screens (and the projections on them) at all.

The second time was at a dress rehearsal, when I was in the actual viewing area, but to be honest I watched most of it through the view finder on the video camera, so I really don't feel like I experienced the show - I saw more of it when I watched the video after I got home than I did in person!

But I enjoyed what I saw, and I'm anxious to see it again. The scale of it is just enormous, and even from the viewing area you can't actually see the whole thing at once - there are things going on in front of you, and things going on off to the side, too. And so much happening all at once that my brain just couldn't process it all. For example, one thing I noticed on watching the video is at the end of the "UP" sequence: as the house pulled by its thousands of colorful balloons flies up out of sight there is one solitary "Mickey" balloon that floats under it.

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A lot of what Disney has posted on-line has been computer generated images, so I have to say I was a little disappointed that the actual projections on the mist screens were not nearly as crisp and clear as I was expecting. But the projections add a lot to the experience, and the show was much better when I saw it from the front where I could see the projections than when I viewed it from the side with no projections.

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But the fountains are amazing - there are so many of them, and they do so many different things, and in so many colors. They dance and play and sway and pop and seem to float in the air. I have to say that the ones that go really, really, high are just awesome. They put an exclamation point on certain sequences.

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We got a lot of information on World of Color and things that we could expect to see in it last May, and then again at the D23 Expo in September. But a fair number of those things are actually not in the final version - like the Alice in Wonderland sequence with the paper sculpture animations and the "Little Squirt" fountain character. Some things that were added are characters from The Princess and the Frog - Tiana and Prince Naveen, and Dr. Facilier - the "balloon house" from UP and the Genie from Aladdin.

The music is terrific - selections from classic Disney animated movies as well as newer ones - Under the Sea, Friend Like Me, April Showers, and Night on Bald Mountain, just to name a few. Some very different arrangements of Part of Your World and April Showers. And of course there's the signature "Wonderful World of Color" which opens and closes the show - and just a warning, it has serious earworm potential. :-)

In addition to the projections on the mist screens, there are also projection domes that rise up out of the water, and images are projected on those - sometimes it's a smaller (and clearer) version of what's on the main water screen, and sometimes it's completely different.

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There are some light-hearted moments with Dory and Marlin, Wall-E, the Genie, and Buzz and Woody, and more touching moments with Mufasa and Simba, Belle and the Beast, and Wall-E and Eve.

The fire effects during the Pirates of the Caribbean sequence are really cool.

I was surprised to see lights on Mickey's Fun Wheel at certain places in the show, but they serve to accent everything else that's going on.

One of my favorite moments is towards the end, when the projection of Sorcerer Mickey seems to be conducting the fountains.

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The finale is terrific, a reprise of Wonderful World of Color, where many of the characters we've seen throughout the show return, almost like they are taking a bow. But the real stars of this show are the fountains!

We'll be posting a short video with highlights from World of Color to youtube tonight at 9:00 - you can either find it on the AllEars channel: http://youtube.com/allearsnet or keep an eye on the main page of AllEars where we will have a link to it.

World of Color Picnic Meals went on sale this morning at www.disneyland.com. I ordered ours for Saturday night - it was very quick and easy. If you're an Annual Passholder and logged in to their site with your user name and password then you get a discount - $12.99 instead of $14.99. So it makes it an even better deal!


June 11, 2010

World of Color Premiere

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Deb Wills and I were fortunate to be able to attend the World of Color Premiere event tonight. It was an amazing experience - I like World of Color more every time I see it.

We posted a short video to youtube earlier this evening with highlights from World of Color from the dress rehearsal last week. You can see that here (and thanks to Lee for doing the editing on it!)

It's really too late to try to tell you much about it, so I'll just share some photos for now.

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Our Master (Mouster?) of Ceremonies was the one and only Mickey Mouse - but this was the *talking* Mickey that you may have seen several weeks ago - his mouth moves along with what he's saying, and he can blink his eyes. In fact, he even joked with Teri Hatcher that he needed to take a second photo with her because he thought his eyes had been closed! It was pretty cool!

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I was able to watch a lot more of the show this time, though I still took both pictures and video. As I said, I like it more each time I see it - I'm sure I will continue to notice new things in it for a long time to come. This photo shows some of the laser effects.

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And more fountains doing more things:

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What? The show is over already???

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Afterwards, Deb had the opportunity to interview Disneyland Ambassador Quinn Shurian about the Summer Nightastic! events, and also about his position as one of the Disneyland Ambassadors.

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She also spoke to Sayre Wiseman, Director, Show Production, Walt Disney Imagineering, about the World of Color, something Sayre has been involved in from its inception. We'll have the interviews on-line as soon as possible.

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We'll have lots more video to come - Deb interviewed Bob Iger, Tom Staggs (President of Disney Parks and Resorts) and George Kalogridis (among others) on the blue carpet, and of course we'll have her interviews with Sayre Wiseman and Quinn Shurian.

Lots more events tomorrow!

June 12, 2010

Disneyland - Silly Symphony Swings, Summer Nightastic, World of Color

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Just a very quick entry for tonight - it was a long day.

This morning I attended the Cast Member ceremony for the official opening of Silly Symphony Swings. At the end they ran the swings, and instead of using the soundtrack for the attraction, the Disneyland Band had come across the esplanade, and they played the William Tell Orchestra while the first riders went flying by.

Deb and I attended the What's Next presentation, followed by a round robin session where we had a chance to talk to Disney folks about World of Color, the DCA expansion, Disney Cruise Line, Disneyland Hotel remodel, etc. We'll have lots more on that when we have some time to write about it.

Tonight we had a chance to do nighttime in entertainment in not just one but two parks! We saw Fantasmic! and the Magical fireworks show at Disneyland, and also spent some time enjoying the fountain and light choreography of Pixie Hollow Enchantment.

Then we went over to DCA to check out GlowFest - it was after 10:00 so it was winding down a bit at that point, but still had quite a few people enjoying it - very colorful - and very loud.

Deb left after that but Lee and I decided to stick around to see the 11:30 performance of World of Color - they had added a third show tonight. Not surprising that it would be that popular on opening night! We didn't have Fastpasses for it, so we watched it from in front of California Screamin'. You definitely get a very different perspective on it from there - no projections, but the fountains are really interesting to watch because they look different, and we thought you could better see just what they are doing.

It was a great evening!

June 13, 2010

Blue Sky Cellar Reopens - Disney California Adventure - What's Next!

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Now that the World of Color has officially opened, the Blue Sky Cellar has been updated to show new detailed information about a number of the projects in the works.


Blue Sky Cellar at Disney's California Adventure


Here are photos showing drawing plans, artist renderings and 3D models of what's coming over the next 1-3 years!

Red Car Trolley

Red Car Trolley at Disney's California Adventure

The Red Car Trolley will run from the entrance to Disney California Adventure to the Carthay Circle Theater, and then into the Hollywood Backlot area to the Tower of Terror.

Red Car Trolley at Disney's California Adventure

Red Car Trolley at Disney's California Adventure

Red Car Trolley at Disney's California Adventure

There will be what appear to be overhead power lines running over the trolley line, but actually the trolleys will be battery-powered.


Goofy's Sky School

The current Mulholland Madness roller coaster will be re-themed into Goofy's Sky School, scheduled to open in 2011.

Goofy's Sky School at Disney's California Adventure

Goofy's Sky School at Disney's California Adventure

It hearkens back to the days of "barnstorming", so there will be lots of cut-outs featuring flying chickens.

Goofy's Sky School at Disney's California Adventure

Goofy's Sky School at Disney's California Adventure

Cars Land - Opening 2012

Carsland at Disney's California Adventure

Cars Land will bring the town of Radiator Springs to life, with all of its eccentric inhabitants. Attractions will include Luigi's Flying Tires, Mater's Junkyard Jamboree and the e-ticket attraction, Radiator Springs Racers, which is based on the Test Track technology.

Carsland at Disney's California Adventure

Much of the theming is reminiscent of roadside restaurants and attractions along the classic Route 66, including the neon glow in the evening.

Carsland at Disney's California Adventure

Carsland at Disney's California Adventure

The Little Mermaid - Ariel's Undersea Adventure - 2011

The large exhibit space which used to feature all of the information on World of Color has been updated with concept art and models for Ariel's Undersea Adventure.

The Little Mermaid - Ariel's Undersea Adventure  at Disney's California Adventure

The Little Mermaid - Ariel's Undersea Adventure  at Disney's California Adventure

The Little Mermaid - Ariel's Undersea Adventure  at Disney's California Adventure

The Little Mermaid - Ariel's Undersea Adventure  at Disney's California Adventure

The Little Mermaid - Ariel's Undersea Adventure  at Disney's California Adventure

The 3D models for Ariel are based on the original animation drawings by Glen Keane.

The Little Mermaid - Ariel's Undersea Adventure  at Disney's California Adventure

The Little Mermaid - Ariel's Undersea Adventure  at Disney's California Adventure

The ride uses the Omni-mover technology, which is also used in the Haunted Mansion. Guests enter the clam-mobiles from the side and then the front closes down to form a "lap bar", unlike the clam-mobiles in Nemo and Friends, which are entered from the front with a door that slides closed.

The Little Mermaid - Ariel's Undersea Adventure  at Disney's California Adventure

The Little Mermaid - Ariel's Undersea Adventure  at Disney's California Adventure

There will be wheelchair-accessible vehicles, known as "King Triton's Chariot".

The Little Mermaid - Ariel's Undersea Adventure  at Disney's California Adventure

The Little Mermaid - Ariel's Undersea Adventure  at Disney's California Adventure

The Little Mermaid - Ariel's Undersea Adventure  at Disney's California Adventure

A large scale model shows the entire attraction.

The Little Mermaid - Ariel's Undersea Adventure  at Disney's California Adventure

The Little Mermaid - Ariel's Undersea Adventure  at Disney's California Adventure

The Little Mermaid - Ariel's Undersea Adventure  at Disney's California Adventure

The Little Mermaid - Ariel's Undersea Adventure  at Disney's California Adventure

June 14, 2010

World of Color--Opening Day Picnic

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By now, I suspect everyone likely to read this has already read a plethora of information about World of Color (WoC) and its various permutations of seating arrangements. One of the methods of obtaining seating in the desirable "Paradise Park" location is buying a picnic meal either in advance, online, or on the same day, walk-up. I tried this out for the first public showing of WoC, and had some observations.

Initially, the picnics were said to cost $14.99 with no discounts, and would be available online on 6/11. Ultimately, it turned out that the picnics cost $12.99 with an AP discount, and were available online starting the morning of 6/10. On picking up the picnics, signs were up stating the picnics cost $13.99 so it may be the pricing is still in flux. Orders placed online were given Fastpasses for the 9:00pm show, while walk-ups were given passes for the 10:15pm show. While picnics were not available for purchase on the day of the show until 2pm, there was a huge line present by around 10:00am, at which time they started giving out wristbands so people could leave and come back later, assured that the picnics would not run out before they got theirs.

I asked the CM handling the line whether it was more/less advantageous to come earlier or later in the 2pm-8pm pickup time frame, he said that it didn't matter--everyone was either going to get Yellow or Green viewing areas, and they were directly adjacent. We returned around 6:30pm, and received Yellow.

The picnics each came in their own commemorative tote bag:
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I had the Asian picnic which was, for the most part, decent.
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The salmon was a little dry but still manageable. The soba noodles were surprisingly good, and the mandarin orange cake was better than I had expected, being largely made of some sort of mousse filling rather than dry cake. What wasn't good were the spring rolls, which were essentially julienned cucumber and carrot mixed together in a rice paper wrapper. The cucumber and carrot were completely bland, and the wrapper was so soft and damp that it proved impossible to dunk it into the dipping sauce without the whole thing exploding in a messy heap of vegetables.

The Fastpasses told us to go directly to the viewing area 30-90 minutes prior to the show. The interesting part about the viewing area is that it is divided up into sections by color, but there are no permanent markers delineating different sections. This leaves me to believe that they could conceivably change the location of a color whenever they want, in which case there would be no real way to know how good a section you scored until you got placed in it. In this first night's viewing, Blue was the section most directly opposite the water screens, with Orange behind them, and Green adjacent to them. Yellow was on the other side of Green, and farthest off to the side was Red. While initially it seemed as though there would be three tiers of viewing areas (average for the regular Fastpass holders, better for picnickers, best for sit-down package holders,) it rapidly became evident that there were only two -- Blue for the dining packages, and everything else for everyone else.

Anyone who had looked at the Paradise Park area in advance could probably have predicted that the viewing would be somewhat problematic by how shallow the tiering was constructed. The bottom tier appears to have the closest view, but offers the best chance of getting drenched through the progress of the show. The successive levels each offer good views in the front, but the people in back are generally stuck looking at the back of heads, and the occasional child riding his parent's shoulders. Additionally, the show uses several different water screens at different distances from the audience -- the screens in the back and the middle are mostly visible from the majority of the area, however the closest screen really only seems discernible if you're sitting in the Blue section, or pretty close to it. The other sections curve around, so that you end up looking at the screen from the edge side, making the already-soft-focus picture often unidentifiable.

There is no sitting in the areas. Some of the people had gotten there early and were all sitting down in their sections, only to have the CMs tell them to stand up, and then place later arrivals in front of them. This led to some decidedly un-magical feelings.

To help keep the packed-in crowd from rioting and bloodshed, Disney provides a pre-show with large color-marked puppets that wander around for the half-hour prior to showtime inciting people to sing and holla their general enjoyment.
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The show itself is spectacular -- the mastery of color and water it displays is amazing and thoroughly worth all the trouble and hoops you might have to suffer to enjoy it from a decent vantage point.
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During a subsequent show, I watched it from the back of Paradise Pier, and while the images on the screens were only occasionally identifiable, the view of the fountains and their movements was excellent. While it certainly wouldn't be my first choice, you can definitely get a reasonable appreciation for the show without getting a Fastpass of any kind.

The only thing I would give a pass to, is the "Glow Fest" they developed for the people in the Hollywood Picture Backlot. In the first place, the Sun Plaza and the Backlot are decorated up with fairly loud and garish signage with an inexplicable emphasis on fluorescent yellow. We thought perhaps it would look better with special lighting, at night, but it was more or less the same. The backdrop that makes up the end of the street was covered over with projections of a tetris-like pattern, and colored shadows of dancing figures. There was a handful of people dancing in the streets to exceptionally loud music, but most seemed to be availing themselves of the booths in the middle of the street which were selling a variety of alcoholic beverages such as Cosmopolitans, in souvenir martini glasses. The odd part was that, at least at the booth I examined, there weren't any similarly festive non-alcoholic options -- just bottles of water. Although no doubt entertaining for many, it left me with the same impression George Bailey got when he found Bedford Falls turned into Pottersville.
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On the whole, I thought Disney did a relatively good job of coming up with a variety of affordable options by which people can guarantee themselves a place to see the show. With time, it seems likely that they'll continue to fine-tune and improve the admittedly rocky arrangements they have now.

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June 15, 2010

Disneyland What's Next Presentation

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Deb and I attended the What's Next session on Friday morning - Deb Koma and I attended this last year. (I hope that doesn't mean I have to find a different Deb to attend with me next year! I love the two that I have! :-) )

Anyway...this is where Disney tells us about a lot of the things that are upcoming at the Disneyland parks or otherwise related to things going on on the west coast.

Just from the "storybook" backdrop they had behind the stage we had a pretty good idea of what we would be hearing about: World of Color, Disney Cruise Line, Star Tours, Cars Land, and Ariel's Undersea Adventure. Our host was Russ Marchand again, the same as last year - he made some comment about how good it was to see us once a year.

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Much of what the various presenters spoke about is covered in the What's New & What's Next at Disneyland Resort? press release, but here's a few additional details.

Rachel Quinn, Executive Cruise Director for the Disney Cruise Line, spoke about the Disney Wonder's move to the west coast, and also about the Disney Dream. I had heard about the virtual port holes, but had not heard about the "enchanted art" - artwork that will come alive with animated characters. This artwork will also be incorporated into a special adventure game where families can use a detective device to get clues from various places to solve a mystery. Sounds like it might be
something along the lines of the Kim Possible adventures at Epcot.

The Disneyland Hotel is getting a makeover to return the classic mid-century feel. Two new themed suites have just opened, the Fairytale Suite and the Big Thunder Suite. The pool area will be re-themed with more of a monorail station look, with the water slide incorporating a replica of the original Disneyland sign.

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Kathy Mangum, Executive Producer and Vice President, Walt Disney Imagineering talked about Cars Land, opening in 2012 There will be three attractions, plus some merchandise and dining locations. One of them is the Cozy Cones, a snack location serving "Cone-on-the-Cob" and "Chile cone Carne", among others. Mater's Junkyard Jamboree will be on the outskirts of town, and features 22 "baby" tractors pulling guests around in a tractor square dance.

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Luigi's Flying Tires looks like fun - she had video from a mock-up they had built and said the Imagineers and their kids just loved this. There's apparently no controls - you move it by shifting your weight back/forward/left/right.

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Radiator Springs Racers will encompass six acres. During the ride (based on the Test Track technology) you get to meet a lot of the Cars characters who invite you to today's big race. Along the way you go tractor-tipping with Mater and get either new tires from Luigi or a paint job from Ramone. Then it's out on the track, side-by-side with another car. The attraction is about four minutes long. The first test vehicle went on the track within the last two weeks.

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Kathy Rogers, Senior Show Producer, Walt Disney Imagineering, described the updates to the Star Tours attraction. The new story will be set in the time period between episode 3 and episode 4. In addition to pod races on Tatooine, there will be a flight through Coruscant, though it wasn't clear if these would be two separate tours, or somehow included in the same tour. The final flights to Endor will be on July 26 at Disneyland, and on September 7 at the Disney Studios. Her talk was interrupted by some unruly visitors, though Russ' impression of the voice of a certain Dark Lord sent them scampering.

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Lisa Girolami, Director, Show Producer, Walt Disney Imagineering talked about the upcoming The Little Mermaid, Ariel's Undersea Adventure, due to open in 2011. Guests will board clam-mobiles (an omni-mover system like the Haunted Mansion) for a trip under the sea. In addition to Ariel, Sebastian, and Triton, the attraction will feature Ursula, Flotsam, and Jetsam.

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And, Disney saved the best for last. We had the great fortune to see Jodi Benson, the voice of Ariel, perform "Part of Your World" and "Under the Sea" with a group of costumed sea creature dancers and puppeteers. It was really amazing, and a wonderful way to end the presentation.





June 17, 2010

World of Color Merchandise

World of Color Merchandise  at Disney's California Adventure

World of Color Merchandise can (at this point) mainly be found in three locations. As you enter Disney California Adventure, there is a merchandise store on the left side "Greetings from California". It has a basic merchandise display sporting T-shirts, cups, glassware, bracelets ...

World of Color Merchandise  at Disney's California Adventure

World of Color Merchandise  at Disney's California Adventure

World of Color Merchandise  at Disney's California Adventure

... a micro-fiber black blanket, limited edition matted litho.....

World of Color Merchandise  at Disney's California Adventure

World of Color Merchandise  at Disney's California Adventure

World of Color Merchandise  at Disney's California Adventure

Some merchandise is available for purchase exclusively by Annual Passholders. This includes the shirts pictured below: a t-shirt, hooded sweatshirt and a women's t-shirt. A commemorative coin and AP exclusive pins are also available. In some locations this merchandise is out on display, in others it is kept behind the counter and you have to ask for it.

World of Color Merchandise  at Disney's California Adventure

The widest variety of merchandise and limited edition pins are found in the Paradise Pier shopping district, at Treasures in Paradise across from Ariel's Grotto, and at Point Mugu Tattoo.

World of Color Merchandise  at Disney's California Adventure

World of Color Merchandise  at Disney's California Adventure

World of Color Merchandise  at Disney's California Adventure

World of Color Merchandise  at Disney's California Adventure

World of Color Merchandise  at Disney's California Adventure

If you are looking for pins, be sure and hit the Paradise Pier stores.

A Disney Vacation Club pin is available, unfortunately, I did not have my DVC membership card with me in California. You could also purchase an Annual Passholder pin ($7.95) which is labeled as exclusive! In fact, the AP pin was available on at the online DisneyStore prior to World of Color opeining, but is no longer available.

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You can find the pins on the Disney Pin trading site. When I shopped on 6/14, the Opening Day pin (LE 1500 $11.95) was sold out. The other Limited Edition pins (1200 $9.95) were available.

The Opening Day pin has an edition size of 1500 and features the beautiful Sprite from Disney's Fantasia 2000. Six other individual pins - with an edition size of 1200 - depict Alice in Wonderland, Crush and Squirt, Sebastian, Woody and Buzz, Scar, and Pocahontas. These six pins can also be purchased in a collector set, which includes a completer pin with the logo for the World of Color. The collectors set has an edition size of 300. For the ultimate collector, the World of Color framed set includes the six individual pins plus two completer pins: the World of Color Logo and Tinker Bell. The Tinker Bell pin - found only within the framed set - has an edition size of just 100.

June 21, 2010

Random Thoughts on World of Color Opening Weekend at Disneyland

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I spent the better part of three days at Disneyland last week...just thought I'd share some random observations and thoughts on various things.

World of Color - I like this show more every time I see it - I see new things in it every time! Some of that is because of seeing it from different angles - you see different things depending on which projection screen you have the best view of.

The projection screens are VERY affected by wind - the first two times I saw the show the projections seemed a bit unclear to me as compared to images Disney released before the show open. But on Saturday night the wind was down and the images were VERY clear for the first 2/3 of the show, and really looked great.

I am disappointed in the viewing area, though - just about any where you are in the viewing area your view is going to be blocked by one of the light towers that's down by the water. When we watched it on Saturday we had a tower that was right in the middle of our view of the main projection screen.

We watched the show from the side (in front of California Screamin') one night. It was a great spot to watch the fountains from. And they present a different look when viewed from the side - we thought that you can better see just what they are doing. There were very few people back there - we could've walked up right before the show started and had our choice of spots. Of course it was the third show...so it's probably not that empty for the first two.

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World of Color Picnic: We did this Saturday night. I still think it's a terrific value! For Annual Passholders it's $12.99, and for that you get a bottled drink (worth $3), a reusable tote bag (and they were giving one per meal rather than just one per order), which is worth another $3-$4, and then you also get a nice snack PLUS a Fastpass for World of Color that you didn't have to wait in line for 30-90 minutes to get! I had the Mediterranean Vegetarian meal this time, and it seemed to be quite a bit more food than you get with the other meals - the vegetable wrap was a pretty normal size. So that picnic meal really was a meal for me. One thing we learned at the Round Robin session about the picnic meals: they will pre-sell up to 425 on the web site for each night, and up to 400 for same-day picnic sales at the park.

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Landscaping: Disney always does a great job with their landscaping, but I thought these World of Color-inspired plantings were especially colorful.

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Toy Story Midway Mania - the new game and Toy Story 3 characters have been added. Dino Darts, hosted by Rex and Trixie, replaces Bo-Peep's Baa-loon Pop. The game itself is the same, but the background and elements have been changed to reflect the new hosts. I saw Buttercup the Unicorn in one of the other games, but did not see Lotso, who is also in the ride somewhere.

Crowds: Disney California Adventure was really not crowded at all on Friday or Saturday - we rode Toy Story Mania Saturday afternoon with only a 25 minute wait! On Friday night Disneyland was not too crowded, either - it was the fewest people I've ever seen at the first showing of Fantasmic!. But we thought (hoped) that might be the case because most of the die-hard fans would be trying to catch the first night of World of Color.

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The California Letters: The letters in front of DCA that spell out "CALIFORNIA" have been changed again - World of Color colors.

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Silly Symphony Swings: This attraction is re-theming of the Orange Stinger attraction, so riders still sit in swings that are lifted into the air and then the ride spins around. The old attraction had an "orange peel" around it, so it was somewhat enclosed. The newer one doesn't have that. I think it's taller and spins faster than the old one, but other people tell me it just seems that way because it's all open now. In any case, it's still a lot of fun, though I come of it slightly dizzy. Some tandem swings have been added to the new version, so that an adult and a child can ride together. Those seemed to be quite popular - and they also had a shorter line!

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Minnie & Friends Breakfast in the Park: Deb, Lee and I went to this character breakfast at the Plaza Inn in Disneyland on Saturday morning. We were there just after the park opened, so it was not too busy yet. The characters were really full of it, and were great fun. Deb commented that they interacted with each other a lot more than she sees in Florida. For example, Captain Hook locked Max, Chip, Dale and Rafiki out on the patio - until Minnie came along and scolded him. Later I suggested to Dale that if he was looking for some mischief, that he should go steal the Mad Hatter's hat - and he went over to try to do it. There were quite a few characters there, too - in addition to the aforementioned there were also Alice and the Mad Hatter, Gepetto, (who had a mustache-twirling contest with Captain Hook), Eeyore, and Rabbit (from Winnie-the-Pooh). The food was pretty good, too - it was not as huge a selection as they have at Storytellers, but they had made-to-order omelets that I think we all enjoyed.

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Glow Fest: We saw this on Saturday night, the first night they had the drummers and dancers performing. It's very colorful and different - and also quite loud.

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The Bollywood Step Dance group (all the way from Yorba Linda!) was fascinating to watch - modern dance meets India? I don't know how to describe it. Here's the description from their web page: "The Bollywood dance style incorporates the fusion of Hip Hop, Jazz, Salsa, East Indian Classical, Folk, and Bhangra dancing." Really elaborate and beautiful costumes, and they were very energetic - I don't know how they will keep up that pace all night!

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Everything starts on the stage in Sunshine Plaza, then later in the evening moves back into the Hollywood Backlot, where it becomes more of a street party, with the focus more on the guests dancing and enjoying themselves rather than watching entertainers perform. Lots of glowing things - glowing tables, glowing beverages, glowing bracelets (red, green, and blue - blue seemed to be the popular color!), glowing balloons, glowing light swords, and even glowing cotton candy.

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Looks like it's going to be a great summer!

June 24, 2010

Toy Story 3 and the Fun Zone, at the El Capitan

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Toy Story 3 opened last weekend to general acclaim, winning an opening weekend box office of over $100 million--larger than any other Pixar movie to date. It also accomplished that even rarer feat, of being worthy of its hype.

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The third installment of the Toy Story characters brings something of a bittersweet coda to the tale of Andy's Toys, but there is adventure and giggles enough on the way to balance it out. While there seems to be a larger reliance of action sequences than in the more character-driven preceding films, Pixar has hardly ever needed more than a few frames of a character's expression to show their state of mind. It's a wonderfully crafted film, and anyone who enjoyed the first two films would certainly enjoy the third.

At the El Capitan, following the 3-D presentation, viewers have the additional treat of enjoying the Toy Story 3 Fun Zone, which takes place at Hollywood High School, about one block in back of the theater.

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Audiences are escorted out of the side entrance, and various CMs and signage are evident, marking the way over to the Fun Zone.

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Once at the Fun Zone, there are a plethora of amusements for the family.

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Several themed carnival games are available. No extra charge, but no prizes, either.

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For the smaller fry, a bounce house and craft area were popular activities.

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About 30 minutes after we all trekked over from the theater, they announced a small stage show: Dancing With the Toys. A female host narrated, as Woody, Buzz, and Jessie engaged in about five dance numbers set to the music from the film. While there wasn't a huge amount of seating, there was a fair amount of movement in and out of the area while the show progressed, that there were almost always some open seats (turns out, salsa dancing isn't quite as attention-grabbing for toddlers as say, Legos.)

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For the more energetic kids, there was a whole playground with mazes, slides, and hanging rings.

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For the less-active, there were an abundance of photo opportunities, in addition to Woody and Buzz who were meeting-and-greeting at various places around the Zone. They also had a green-screen setup where you could have yourself digitally superimposed on a Toy Story background and download your photo for free for 24 hours.

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Not enough? For the older kids, or pretty much anyone, there was a large set up of X-Boxes playing the new Toy Story video games, and a number of displays on the new board games, train sets, and collectable merchandise now out.

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Because this is Disney after all, there is no shortages of things to spend your money on, either. Snacks are available at a small concession stand, and there is a separate tent filled with all the Toy Story merchandise you could want.

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A separate "Lotso's Lounge" tent was closed off for the night I went, but is apparently available for birthday parties or other large gatherings.

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Finally, the big eye-catching outdoors activites: A tricycle race, bungee-jumping apparatus, and ferris wheel.

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The tricycle race was the most rambunctious area--they have oversized tricycles as well, so the races aren't exclusively for the young of body.

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The bungee-jumping and ferris wheel weren't operating on preview night, but looked as though they'd be appropriately fun.

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The Fun Zone lasted for about 2 hours after the movie, at which time they announced closing time and gently herded people out. On the whole, it had a lot (Lotso?) to offer families with younger members. For adults, it's a pleasant add-on to the El Capitan movie-going experience. Of note, while there was a great deal of supervision for people going over to the Fun Zone, there was pretty much none coming back, so caution while cutting across parking lots is probably advised.

It's interesting to consider that Toy Story 1 was Pixar's first film, and to imagine how the three films might mirror the different places the filmmakers were at, professionally and personally, while they made them--the anxiety of being new and overestimating their potential; the fears of obsolescence and lack of relevance; and finally, the acknowledgement that every story has an ending.

We are told, however, that plastic can last forever without biodegrading, so who knows? If the Toys can have that kind of staying power, why not Pixar?

June 29, 2010

Happy 40th Anniversary, Disney Archives!

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On June 25, the Walt Disney Archives celebrated its 40th Anniversary, along with the retirement announcement of its founder, Dave Smith. To commemorate the event, D23 invited its members onto the Studio Lot for a presentation and reception.

On checking in, guests were presented with a wristband and a souvenir pin, and guided over to the studio theater area. Outside the theater, a booth displaying a variety of D23 merchandise was up, along with an adjoining sales table doing brisk business. Most of the merchandise was from past events or enclosures from back issues of D23 magazine, but there were some new articles as well, such as purple and gold Archive 40th Anniversary polos.

http://d23.disney.go.com/images/062510_D23MerchandiseForm.pdf

Around 5pm we were let into the theater for the program. Steven Clark welcomed everyone and officially announced Dave Smith's intent to retire in October, which had been written up in the LA Times that morning. Bob Iger then came up and related how instrumental Dave Smith had been in acquainting him with the history and legacy of the Disney Company when he first became CEO. He then presented him with his 40 year award, a small statue of Donald Duck.

Subsequently, Leonard Maltin and Dave Smith took seats at the front of the room, and proceeded to have a conversation about Dave Smith's long tenure at Disney, with an emphasis on the early days of Roy O. Disney and The Nine Old Men. Dave initially worked at the Library of Congress after finishing his degree in Library Science, and then at UCLA, where he eventually came in contact with the Disney company while researching a bibliography on Walt Disney. After the death of Walt Disney, UCLA had apparently requested his papers for their archive, only to quickly realize that they did not have the facilities for the sheer volume of material that was involved. They suggested Disney start their own archives, and Dave volunteered to take a sabbatical from his job there to help start it up. The rest, is history.

Highlights of his career at Disney included the time Roy O Disney paid him to travel around the country and up to Canada to research the Disney family tree; riding on both Ward Kimball and Ollie Johnson's personal trains; and determining the official date of both the start of the Disney company (10/16/23,) and Mickey Mouse's birthday (11/18/28, at 1400.)

In his spare time, Dave does not collect Disneyana (he felt it would be a conflict of interest,) but does collect historical autographs, including presidents and Declaration of Independence signers (he has all of them except Button Gwinnett.)

After the Leonard Maltin discussion, Becky Cline, the new Archive Director presented awards to the Archives Angels--people who have made significant contributions to the Archives--and introduced the presentation of new acquisitions:
From ABC's Lost: Showrunner Carlton Cuse donated an Oceanic boarding pass (their offer of the Lost airplane having been denied,) and John Locke's knife.
From the Walt Disney Studios: President of Production Sean Bailey presented the Red Queen's scepter from Alice in Wonderland; the Dead Man's Chest from Pirates of the Caribbean; the Dragon Ring from the upcoming Sorcerer's Apprentice; and a disc from the upcoming Tron: Legacy.
From The Disney Channel: President of Entertainment Gary Marsh gave a wand from the Wizards of Waverly series and a jacket worn by Joe Jonas in the new Camp Rock 2: Final Jam movie.
From the Disney Family: Roy Patrick Disney, grandson of Roy O. Disney donated a personal letter from Walt to Roy following the resolution of a three year rift between them.
From Ned Nalle, Producer of Legend of the Seeker: the Sword of Truth; and from his wife, Disney child star Karen Dotrice, Jane Bank's coat from Mary Poppins.

Following the new acquisitions, a new featurette from their People and Places series was shown, entitled "Archiving the Archives." It was a fun and entertaining documentary about the collection and the people who work to accumulate and maintain all the items within it.

Finally, Steven Clark presented Dave Smith with his 40 year pin, and said that his last day wasn't officially until 10/15/10...which was two days after Dave's birthday, on 10/13*. "There's going to be a big party...so if you want an invite, you better start sucking up to Dave now!"

We were then invited outside to a cake and champagne reception where a multitude of Disney employees--past and present--mingled with the D23 guests. People in attendance included Kathryn Beaumont, Tony Anselmo, Richard Sherman, Bob Gurr, Tony Baxter, and Daniel Roebuck. On the way out, Dave Smith was signing autographs and received the thanks of happy people grateful for his role in preserving Disney history.


*If you would like to get Dave Smith a birthday present, I suggest something with Button Gwinnett's signature on it.

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About June 2010

This page contains all entries posted to Salute to All Things Disney but Mostly Disneyland in June 2010. They are listed from oldest to newest.

May 2010 is the previous archive.

July 2010 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.