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July 5, 2010

Touring Disneyland While Pregnant

Becky Breiland, of the Mousetalgia.com podcast, brings us this guest blog on her Disneyland touring experiences.

I am a firm believer that visiting the Disney Parks is appropriate at any stage of life. People who find out how often I visit Disneyland tell me things like "We'll go when my kids are old enough to remember," or "My kids are too old for that place," or "I don't have kids, why would I go to Disneyland?" While not everyone needs to understand the appeal of the Disney experience, there are great things about visiting the parks regardless of where you are in life.

Growing up in Michigan, we had several trips to Walt Disney World in my childhood. Once I entered college, I found a friend who also saw the appeal of the Disney universe, and we would take commando trips, driving down and back, and attending the parks in a four-day span. When I moved to California, my husband and I began visiting Disneyland on a regular basis. The six hour drive, compared to twenty hours from Michigan to Florida, was nothing. So why not go?

As a single person and then as a family of two, the parks have been a place where it's been easy to remember all the benefits of not having children. There was no one to argue with, we worked on the adults' schedule, and nap time meant that I could sit next to the pool and maybe even enjoy a cocktail. It has been a rare time that I've wandered Disneyland without a FASTPASS to Indiana Jones, Space Mountain or California Screamin' in my pocket.

Until now. My husband and I are thrilled to be welcoming another life into the world who we get to teach about the glories of Mickey Mouse. In the meantime, visiting Disneyland pregnant has been just as much fun as my non-pregnancy journeys down to Anaheim. Since discovering that we have a little blessing on the way, I've been to Disneyland twice, with plans to go two more times before the actual arrival.

The biggest change in our touring at Disneyland has actually been food. Since I've been pregnant, when I'm hungry, it's time to eat ... now. Especially during my first trimester, if I didn't start eating soon after I realized that I was hungry, a massive headache would arrive along with a bit of queasiness to boot. We knew this going into the trip and so I packed fresh fruit - mainly apples and oranges as they were less likely to bruise while I carried them around the park - as well as granola bars and trail mix, and of course some saltine crackers. Gladware has been a lifesaver. It's lightweight and keeps my crackers from turning into a crumby mess, and my grapes from become grape juice. My husband has gotten into the action by making sure our eating times have been consistent, and also making some priority seating reservations for the times we normally eat dinner at home. Along with my snacks, I have been making sure to always have a supply of water with me. Staying hydrated not only is important from a health aspect, it also helped me to feel good.

Pregnancy has also allowed the total transformation of thought about why we visit Disneyland. It isn't about getting on a bunch of rides, it's about an experience. There is plenty of art to look at, shows to see, food to eat, and just time to walk around looking at the details that make Disneyland, well, Disneyland. In many ways my Disneyland trips have become more of a vacation then ever before. We've become even more content to wander around the parks, checking out the various performers that we happen upon, making it a point to visit the shows such as Aladdin or the Golden Horseshoe Review, and visiting the more minor attractions. When the parks have been packed, it hasn't mattered. We are there to enjoy being together, and to experience the Disney magic.

In Disneyland, I did skip over all the Mountains (Space, Big Thunder, Matterhorn, Splash) as well as Indiana Jones and Pirates of the Caribbean. We spent a large amount of time enjoying the Fantasyland attractions, the Haunted Mansion, Tiki Room and Jungle Cruise, appreciating the artwork and storytelling (and sometimes the lack of it - cough, cough, Snow White). The competition of Buzz Lightyear AstroBlasters has always been an enjoyable part of our trip, and is a great attraction for expectant mothers. Two of the Disneyland highlights, Fantasmic! and the fireworks are also great activities, especially if you've enjoyed an afternoon nap.

In Disney California Adventure, I did have to pass by California Screamin', as well as Grizzly River Run, Mulholland Madness, the Mailboomer and the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. However, other than California Screamin', I generally pass by the others for one reason or another on most trips, so it hasn't seemed like much of a sacrifice. Toy Story Midway Mania is one of my favorite attractions, and while a bit more dizzy than normal after all the spinning, it has been another great part of our pregnancy trips. The Animation Building is an often overlooked, but wonderful place to spend time. It's air-conditioned, full of wonderful things to look at, and great activities to participate in.

Finally, we also have used our slower pace as a chance to enjoy what the resorts have to offer. We've sat and listened to the piano in the lobby of the Grand Californian, enjoyed sitting on balconies over looking pools, Downtown Disney and the Parks, and enjoyed the peacefulness of the hotel rooms. Staying close to the parks has always been important to me, but even more so now. It allows for a bit of down time without feeling like I'm missing out on the parks.

While our Disney trips in the recent past have been a bit different, they have been just as enjoyable. Relatively speaking, there is little that expectant mothers cannot do in the parks. Pregnancy should not keep people from enjoying the Disneyland Resort, but it many give you a slightly different appreciation for all it has to offer. We are excited to see the parks from an even different angle when we welcome our little Mouseketeer into the world. He or she probably won't remember their first trip, but that won't be why we go. We'll go because it's a way to spend time together as a family, something that encourages laughter and imagination, and because mom and dad think it's fun.


About the author: Becky Breiland has been traveling to Walt Disney World and Disneyland since she was three. One of her fondest memories is getting Mickey Waffles for breakfast on those early Disney trips. Becky, her husband, and two friends comprise the Mousetalgia.com podcasting team. Mousetalgia is a show dedicated to the exploration of Disney's past, present and future, emphasizing the theme park culture and the people who have imagined Walt's happy place into existence. Go "Carpe Kingdom!"



July 12, 2010

50 and Fabulous D - Swiss Family Robinson Movie - D23 Event

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On 7/10/10, I attended the "50 and Fabulous" showing of Swiss Family Robinson at the Disney Studio Theater on the Burbank lot.

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D23's Jeffrey Epstein welcomed us to the showing and clarified some points about the ticketing process for the newly-announced Destination D and Scavenger Hunt.

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Archives Director Becky Cline then introduced the movie and gave a little background on some of the actors involved, most of which went on to feature in several other Disney films.

The movie about the shipwrecked family that winds up living in a tree, was just as entertaining as it must have been 50 years ago, which is to say, considerably. It seems like such a long time since Tarzan took over the Treehouse at Disneyland, I had forgotten how closely it resembled the actual treehouse from the movie. I am still a little dubious about the survival advantage of installing a full-blown pipe organ in a tree, but perhaps that's the magical part.

Afterward, we were allowed to shop in the Studio Store, which proved a little small for both the volume and enthusiasm of the people trying to move about inside.

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Although there didn't seem to be a great deal of merchandise there that wasn't readily available elsewhere, it was a fun experience to take a look around. Of course, it's always charming to be able to wander around (in a restricted manner) the lot, as well.

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Finally, we were sent off with commemorative Swiss Family Robinson patches, and the hope that we'll return for the next movie screening, the Sign of Zorro.

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You can purchase the movie from the AllEars Amazon Store!

July 17, 2010

Happy 55th Birthday, DISNEYLAND!

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Today, July 17 2010, is Disneyland's 55th birthday. It's been an amazing 55 years!

Jeanine and I will be attending the 55th birthday celebration, and will have more on that later, but in the meantime I have asked my AllEars teammates to share some of their thoughts and favorite memories about Disneyland.

Gloria Konsler:

There's something very special about Disneyland and I think it's "charm." Yes, there's the Disney Magic, but Disneyland also has the Disney Charm. There are attractions at Disneyland that are totally charming that haven't been duplicated at Walt Disney World, Casey Jr. Circus Train and the Storybook Land Canal Boats to name two.

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I love the shops on Main Street USA with their smaller doors and windows. They just seem more like something the child in all of us can relate to. Although Cinderella Castle at Walt Disney World is certainly more impressive, I have to use that word again, "charming" is the only way to describe Sleeping Beauty Castle. In addition, the castle walk-through is something not to be missed. And I would be totally remiss if I didn't mention that Disneyland retains the original Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, housed in the beautiful Toad Hall. How wonderful that this attraction has not met the same fate as its Florida counterpart.

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There are definitely similarities between the California and the Florida parks, but at Disneyland, you can actually feel Walt Disney's spirit and imagination, his love of children and his gentle genius at work as you walk through the various lands.

Mike Bachand:

Like most folks my age, I grew up watching Walt on television. Seeing Walt and being inspired by him was the start of my Disney passion and obsession. As a child I dreamed of visiting Disneyland. However, being from the East Coast trips to Walt Disney World came first. However as time passed, my interest in Walt and Disney grew. I started collecting and reading every book about Walt, the Disney company and Disney animated films I could get my hands on. It wasn't until 2003 that I got to opportunity to visit Disneyland. It was amazing! What was so special for me was the fact that I was walking the streets, visiting the shops and riding the attractions just as Walt himself had done. To me, that's the magic of Disneyland. It was a childhood dream fulfilled. When you're in Disneyland, you can feel Walt's presence. What a very special man and what a special place!

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Jack Spence:

When I used to work at Disneyland, the park didn't open until 10am during the slower seasons. However, my shift began at 9am as I had to arrive early to start getting the Blue Bayou Restaurant ready for business that day. Costuming and the locker rooms are located behind Tomorrowland. Since Disneyland does not have a tunnel system, this meant I had to walk through several lands to get to New Orleans Square.

My fondest memory was entering Frontierland and seeing the Rivers of America before me. I was all alone in the park except for the occasional duck enjoying the solitude of the river. There was a tremendous sense of peacefulness and beauty as morning mist often hung just above the water. Then I would turn the corner and see New Orleans Square majestically sitting on the hill in the distance with not a soul in sight. All of this beauty was mine to enjoy all by myself for a few minutes each morning. Even today, this memory brings a smile to my face.


Deb Koma:

My very first Disney experience ever was in fact at Disneyland. I was nearly 4 years old, and my parents and grandparents took me. I remember -- or at least I've been told about it so often I *think* I remember -- a very few things from that trip, supported by a few grainy black and white photos. (Yes, I am THAT old.) There's a cute picture of me standing in front of Monstro the whale from Pinocchio -- can you see how fierce he was then? With his pointy teeth, and no railing to separate us from his toothy menace! I distinctly recall being terrified that we were being swallowed as our Storybook Land Canal Boat glided into his awaiting open jaws.

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Over 35 years later I returned to Disneyland...and while a lot of things had changed, Monstro was still there!

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Lisa Berton:

While most folks meet up with friends at the movie theater, the mall, or a restaurant, I hung out with mine at Disneyland. The call would go out or come in, "What are you doing tonight?" Then we'd decide if we wanted to have dinner somewhere specific or just see what we felt like later on. Perhaps one of us was in the mood for a ride with Indiana Jones or to escape the Abominable Snowman via the Matterhorn, whatever we wanted to do was right there waiting for us (and still is).

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Plans with my co-workers were also made for running to Disneyland after work. Heck, we wrote and changed the schedule to comply with our need to spend time at The Happiest Place on Earth.

I talked about Disneyland and all of the fun I had so often that I literally convinced 9 people to buy Annual Passes.

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Photos of all those fun, worry-free, laughable moments are in abundance. We captured everything from birthday meals to Rock, Paper, Scissor games with Goofy to Mickey's Toontown antics to blue poncho protected Grizzly River Rapids rides and every crazy moment in between. Those truly are the good ol' days.

Deb Wills:

My earliest memories of Disneyland go back to the 1950s Disneyland television show. I can recall being glued to our small black and white TV with my mom, watching Walt describe this amazing theme park. I loved how he would describe each land and dreamed of one day visiting this world of fantasy. My first visit to Disneyland actually came in the mid-1980s. A one day trip in the middle of the hot summer when it was REALLY crowded. I recall waiting in line for the Jungle Cruise for over 90 minutes (is that possible?), enjoying "it's a small world" and reminiscing about the NY Worlds Fair of the 60s, and seeing this amazing nighttime parade with lights, music and Disney characters called - The Main Street Electrical Parade. It took almost 20 years for my next visit when I spent a few days at Disneyland prior to boarding the Disney Magic on its first Mexican Riviera cruise in May 2005. Since then I have returned several times and love Disneyland more and more with each visit. It has a special charm especially since I know Walt walked there. My fondest memory to date happened this past October when, as part of the Adventures By Disney, I got to visit Walt's apartment atop the Firehouse and gaze out onto Main Street USA.

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Michelle Scribner-MacLean:

I've only had the pleasure of being at Disneyland once, but I remember walking down Main Street, USA and feeling such a sense of history: This was the place the Walt envisioned, this is what he put his heart and soul into building for so many years, this was his plan for bringing people of all ages together to use their imaginations and spend time enjoying each other. I remember looking up at the top floor of the firehouse, where Walt's apartment is situated, imagining the light that Cast Members keep on for him, and just smiling a secret thank you to him for creating a place....places...that have become so special to me.

Steve Barrett:

The term "Hidden Mickey" wasn't used until the late 1980's, but the practice of purposefully hiding Mickey Mouse probably started when Epcot was being built in the late 1970's. Disney Management initially planned Epcot as an adult park, without Disney characters, so cunning Imagineers began hiding Mickey images inside Epcot as the park was being built.

Nevertheless, subtle images of Mickey existed in Disneyland, California, probably for many years before the 1990's. I believe this to be true, because "Hidden Mickeys" can be spotted in some of Walt Disney's earliest cartoons and movies, such as "The Karnival Kid" from 1929:

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And "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" from 1937. (Thanks to Murray Bishop for these images.)

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I don't know how long Mickey has been hiding inside Disneyland, California, but I wouldn't be surprised if some images dated to the very earliest years of the park. A couple of my favorite classic (three-circle) Hidden Mickeys are on The Jungle Cruise, on the bottom of a pan hanging on the left side of the Suwannee Lady boat:

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And on a ship sitting on a shelf near the ceiling inside The Village Haus Restaurant in Fantasyland:

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Disneyland, California, has many wonderful Hidden Mickeys (and other Hidden Characters) for us to find. Some have been preserved for many years, and any new or renovated attraction or area will likely contain new Hidden Images waiting for us. I enjoy finding these Hidden gems, and I hope the Hidden Mickey game continues for a long time. Thank you Disney for adding such fun to our lives, and Happy Birthday, Disneyland!

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Erin Blackwell:

55 years ago... I can't even fathom what was going through Walt's mind 55 years ago from when I write this (Thursday afternoon). Disneyland was in chaos: Walt's people still were building the park as ABC tried to figure out how to broadcast the opening. Everything was on the line. I don't think we really understand that statement; how many of us can say we've risked everything because of the courage of our convictions? Not "I'll lose my job if I'm wrong" or "We might keep the house" or "The kids will be okay"... you have bet every single thing, and not just for you: for your spouse, for your children, for your best friend/partner/brother, his wife, his son...Three weeks ago, I finished watching the film in "One Man's Dream" and a woman remarked to her husband, "Can you imagine? To bet everything in your 20s is a huge thing, but to do it all again at 50? Could you do it?" How many of us could go home to our spouse tonight and say we'll be out on the street if I'm wrong, but I'm not. How many of us would say yes to their spouse if they asked us to make that risk?

55 years ago tomorrow night, Roy called Walt and broke the worst news: they'd failed. Disneyland was a flop. Walt walked through the castle, quiet, all the usual Walt Disney spark and drive banked as he looked around, feeling the pit of failure inside, wondering "Will anybody come?" A photographer snapped what became a very famous photo while Walt & Roy went home to break the news. I don't have the reference to really feel how they did that night. And then the next morning, to get up and go there for the opening with smiles plastered over tragedy.

Then...

Triumph. Ultimate triumph. It's no wonder Walt beams as he does when you watched the DVD of that opening day. No wonder that Sharon of the Mouseketeers caught a tear slipping down Walt's cheek as he looked onto Main Street from his firehouse apartment. No wonder that Art Linkletter said the biggest kid having fun that day in Disneyland was Walt himself. The little boy inside the man built a playground; the man risked everything to share that playground, to share a dream. And the guests still flood the gates.

That's what this 55th Anniversary celebrates: Vision. Imagination. Courage. Legacy. The four bold words the Disney company used to describe the man who walked through that castle in an empty park and then sought a quiet moment the next day to see that park filling with happy dreamers.

I wanted more than anything to be there for this anniversary. I wanted to stand in that spot in front of the castle where Walt stood. I wanted to imagine he and Roy on each end of that phone call and through each day in creating Disneyland... I wanted to see if I could glean in that moment one ounce of their courage, their thoughts and feelings. So I could say, with total understanding, "Thank you."

To Walt and Roy's memories, and to the dream that is Disneyland, where Walt walked: Happy 55 Years!

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July 18, 2010

July 17, 2010 - Disneyland's 55th Birthday

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Disneyland celebrated its 55th birthday on July 17, 2010. Like opening day on July 17, 1955 it was quite hot in Anaheim - though at least the water fountains were working and the asphalt wasn't sticking to our shoes!

We (Laura and Jeanine) have some pictures and video to share with you - we'll have more in coming days, but this will give you an overview for now.

Cast Members who worked the park that day were wearing a special birthday button:

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The Main Street Cinema has a new feature, in honor of the 55th birthday: Opening Day at Disneyland.

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There are six different screens inside. The main screen features black and white footage from the opening day broadcast in 1955, including Walt Disney, Art Linkletter, and Ronald Reagan. The other five are all showing a different feature, which includes footage of the rehearsal for the opening day broadcast, some construction video, closer looks at some of the attractions, and flyovers of the park. It's interesting that this portion is in color, and much of it has never been seen before.

Disneyland President George Kalogridis was checking out the Main Street Cinema on Saturday morning, and told Laura that this was a surprise for guests that they had put together rather quickly (only a week or so!) - they actually weren't sure they would finish in time. It was just installed on Friday night!

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This will be a limited engagement - it will run through the summer at least. It was certainly quite popular on July 17!

The Disneyland Rededication Ceremony was held at noon at the Main Street Train Station. Here's a video of the finale.

In addition to celebrating Disneyland's 55th birthday, the park was also celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Disneyland College Band with a College Band Reunion, where former band members were invited back to perform with the current College Band. They performed a short concert in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle, then marched down Main Street.

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Later they all marched back up Main Street and out to "it's a small world", stopping to perform a couple of numbers.

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There was some special 55th birthday merchandise available, most of it with an edition size of 1955. By 5:00, there was almost nothing left - and there were still people in line to buy the remaining items.

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The final birthday event of the day was a "Happy Birthday" sing-a-long in Town Square.

After we all sang Happy Birthday to Disneyland, a bunch of Disneyland Cast Members and a lot of Disney characters came out and surrounded Town Square and performed to an upbeat dance version of "A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes". It was a terrific moment, and cast and characters all seemed to be really enjoying themselves. (We'll have video soon.)

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Happy Birthday Disneyland!




July 19, 2010

A Preview of the Aulani Disney Vacation Club Resort in Hawaii

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So here's what I did the last couple of weeks:

On July 1st, the Disney Vacation Club had their first presentation of the Aulani resort at the Disneyland Hotel.

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It started off with the first of a couple of short videos of Joe Rohde, head of the Aulani design team, describing the resort and talking a little about some of the cultural tie-ins the resort will have to Hawaii.

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Aulani is translated to "the place that speaks with deep messages," and will have a variety of traditional and contemporary Hawaiian artistic influences in its design and decor. One element they noted was the concept of "hidden menehune" located around the resort, some apparently in places only easily viewable to children--under tables, etc. As a memento, we were all given small menehune figurines of our own.

Between the video clips, the DVC presenters Dave and Nikki described in quick detail the basics of the DVC program. If you've ever been to any DVC presentation, this segment is pretty much the same no matter what resort they're spotlighting, with the exception of different wacky characters that periodically race in for comic relief. This time around, we had "Tour Guide Tim," who seemed a close relative of "Guano Jane, from Flights of Wonder.

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Some basic data they related about the resort:
--The 2010 purchase price is $114 per point, which will increase in November.
--Annual dues will be $4.31 per point.
--Consequently, a basic package of 160 points would cost $18,240 initially, with annual dues of $690.
--Hawaii charges a transient occupancy tax of $12-18 per night every stay, in addition to the DVC point cost.
--Parking and internet are included for DVC members, as with other DVC properties.
--All ocean view rooms are actually partial ocean views, with the exception of the Grand Villas.
--Aulani DVC owners may start booking 9/29/10, for the opening of phase I, 8/29/11.
--Phase II is scheduled to open in late 2011.

After the factual part of the presentation, they livened it up with a little singing and dancing from the islands.

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Finally, they adjourned to a small reception in the next room complete with character meet-and-greets, dance party, and refreshments.

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DVC agents were standing by, in case anyone had a spare 20 grand they cared to part with.

July 23, 2010

World of Color Road Show - San Diego

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The World of Color Road Show is in San Diego July 22-25. As announced in this press release, Disney has been taking its new nighttime spectacular "on the road" to the cities of San Francisco, Sacramento, San Diego, and Los Angeles.

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Since you can't really take the fountains and lasers and lights to a remote location, what's really happening is that in each city different animation sequences, which showcase themes and characters that actually appear in the show, are projected onto a large surface in that area. In San Diego, that happens to be the side of the U.S.S. Midway, an aircraft carrier that is now a museum. Yeah, that's a pretty large surface! There are different shows with different themes for each city - for San Diego, the theme, appropriately enough, is "Water", and includes scenes from The Little Mermaid, Finding Nemo, Fantasia and Fantasia 2000, Alice in Wonderland, Pocahontas, and Bambi. Even classics like Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and Pinocchio make an appearance.

Though it sounds like something to experience in person, this is only intended to be an on-line experience, where those interested visit the www.WorldofColorRoadShow.com to actually see (and even participate!) in the show. The on-line experience runs nightly from 9:00-11:30 p.m. on July 22-25. If you missed the live broadcast in San Diego, you can still catch the webcast for Los Angeles, which will occur on July 29-31 and August 1 from 9-11:30 p.m.

We'll have more footage of the show in the next couple of days after Lee has had a chance to edit the video he took, but in the meantime here's a taste of it, courtesy of Disney:

I have to say I think my favorite moment is the little bucket-carrying broom at the end - he appears at the very end and closes all of the shows.




July 25, 2010

More From Disneyland's 55th Birthday

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On Disneyland's 55th birthday, while I was waiting in Town Square for the Rededication Ceremony, I spoke with AllEars reader Iris, who has been to Disneyland on every July 17, from opening day until today! She grew up in southern California though she has lived in Texas for the last few years. She was kind enough to allow me to take a photo and conduct a short interview.

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LG: What does Disneyland's birthday mean to you?

Iris: It's a recognition of Walt. It's a rebirth of the spirit. I think that's what it's all about - when things go bad you come here, or Walt Disney World. But this is home - this is where my heart is. I grew up in Southern California. And the birthday thing is something I do - it's a tradition like Thanksgiving or Christmas. And people who know me: "Where is she going to be on July 17? In California of course".

LG: What do you remember about opening day?

Iris: It was as hot as this and there was no water. But I remember meeting the Mouseketeers. I remember running around. I was here by mistake on opening day. My brother had been born a couple days beforehand, and my mom got these golden tickets that she didn't know what it was, and she told my dad just take the kids because she wasn't feeling good. And so we were here by mistake and it was fun, it was wonderful. There were only a few rides in those days, but you know, where else could you go? I have a picture of me sitting on Walt's lap. Where else could you go and meet Walt? Where else could you go and see Fess Parker/Davy Crockett. It was wonderful, I just love it. And it's little traditions, like the Mickey Mouse waffle - you have to have one on the birthday. I will be here [on the birthday] for hmm...I've got my children and my grandchildren, if nothing else they can bring my picture!

Thank you, Iris - I hope you'll spend many more July 17ths at Disneyland!

Also in attendance at the rededication ceremony were members of Disneyland's Club 55. These are former cast members who worked for Disney in 1955. To be a member of Club 55, they had to show a paycheck signed by Walt Disney dated in 1955. Some of them were cast members on Disneyland's Opening Day. There are about 20 still living, and seven of them were present for the 55th birthday. Here, Tom Nabbe, Disneyland's original Tom Sawyer, talks about his first three days at Disneyland, July 17-19, 1955. (Sorry about the audio - it was noisy in the foyer of the Opera House!)

Here, the Club 55 Members pose with Disneyland Resort President George Kalogridis and Disneyland Ambassador Danielle DuBois.

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In the late afternoon was the Happy Birthday Sing-a-Long, with a little surprise at the end!




July 30, 2010

A Summer Day at Disneyland

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On Monday Lee and I went to Disneyland to spend the day with his brother's family, who are vacationing there this week. I think it's the first time he's ever been to Disneyland with kids, and the first time for me since 2001! It was a somewhat different experience, but we still had a great time.

I was surprised that the crowds really weren't that bad, though as usual, the best strategy is to arrive at Disneyland first thing in the morning, and enjoy the park for the first few hours while most people are still arriving. The weather was great - overcast in the morning, and only in the upper 70s in the afternoon - SO much cooler than it was on Disneyland's birthday weekend!!!

We made excellent use of Fastpasses - starting with Indy, and then getting new FPs just as our window opened, so we used those for Indy, Space Mountain, and the Autopia. In between using our FPs we had almost no wait for Pirates or the Disneyland Railroad, about 10 for Thunder Mountain and literally walked right into the ride vehicle for Pooh. The longest line we had was 25 minutes for Dumbo (and I have to say I was surprised it was that short at 11:00 in the morning!). The two younger kids, who are 9 and almost 6, rode Dumbo with their parents while I did Mr. Toad with the oldest, who is 12 and up for ANYTHING.

The younger two were not very happy about Indy, but The Many Adventures of Winnie-the-Pooh proved to be a good antidote to that. The 9-year-old niece bypassed Big Thunder and went to the petting zoo with her mom instead, but the almost-6-year-old came off saying "I want to do that again!!!" He was not too sure about Space Mountain, and almost bailed, but he did it, and was all smiles at the end. And of course the Autopia was a big hit - Auntie Laura bailed on that one and took pictures of the drivers, instead. :-)

Monday was the final day for Star Tours before its big refurbishment - and it was busier than I've seen it in YEARS. At 12:15 the line was 55 minutes, and of course it no longer has Fastpass machines, since it really hasn't needed them in recent years. Unfortunately we didn't take a last trip to Endor.

We left Disneyland about 1:15, and the crowds had started to pick up quite a bit - the standby line for Space Mountain was up to 55 minutes, Autopia was 50, Matterhorn was 45, and Indy was 50. There were still lots of people coming into the park as we left.

They are staying at the Villas at the Grand Californian, so we headed back there via DCA, stopping at Soarin' to pick up Fastpasses to use later. Good thing we did it then - the return time was 5:00! They have a dedicated two-bedroom villa, which I hadn't seen before. It's the same layout, except that the second bedroom has two queen beds instead of a queen and a sofa bed, and there's no kitchenette in there. Also no external door to the hallway, though it still has a sliding glass door out to the patio. (Upon seeing the Villa after they checked in, niece said: "I want to LIVE here!". Ah yes...that's what Auntie Laura says every time, too! :-) )

After lunch the two younger kids REALLY wanted to swim (what is it with kids and hotel pools?), so my sister-in-law stayed with them while we went to DCA with my brother-in-law and our oldest nephew. He REALLY wanted to ride California Screamin', so we did that. DCA was a little more crowded than usual, and the standby line was about 25 minutes. Afterwards we were able to get four more FPs that he and his mom or dad could use later. Toy Story Midway Mania had a 45-minute line (typical for that ride), and while I would've done it, I couldn't get anyone else interested. Nephew decided he wanted to do Maliboomer, but couldn't talk any of us into it, so did it by himself (15-minute wait). Silly Symphony Swings was less than 10 minutes. They dragged me onto Mulholland Madness, which I think is the scariest ride in the park - those cars TRY to throw you out of the ride!!! The sign said 20 minute standby, but it ended up being almost 40. (I survived the ride, but I still don't like it!!!)

We met the other three in front of Soarin', and took a wonderful flight over some of the beautiful places in California - that was a big hit with everyone. It was 5:30 by then, and since we had to work the next day, we said our goodbyes - the family headed off to Flik's Fun Faire and Tower of Terror.

It was a great day to be at the parks, and we had a lot of fun sharing a place we enjoy so much with Lee's family.


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About July 2010

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

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