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August 3, 2010

Cafe Renee - Downtown Disney

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Not long ago I read an entry in the Disney Parks Blog (http://disneyparks.disney.go.com/blog/2010/07/crepes-funnel-cake-sticks-now-at-the-downtown-disney-district/) about the new Cafe Renee in Downtown Disney. This kiosk, located near World of Disney, serves made-to-order crepes. The menu made my mouth water (they serve both savory and sweet crepes), and I knew I had to try it on my next visit!

So Lee and I stopped there on Monday. Though it's called a "cafe", it's really a large food cart. They have two crepe makers. Though the Nutella Crepe looked tempting, we wanted something more substantial, so we tried two of the savory crepes - the Caprese Crepe and the BBQ Pulled Pork Crepe.

It was pretty interesting to watch the guy make the crepes - he poured a small amount of batter onto the crepe maker and then spread it around in a circular motion, till he had a thin, but very even, crepe. After it had cooked for a while he flipped it over to brown the other side, then took it off to add the fillings.

I had the Caprese Crepe, which was filled with small balls of fresh mozzarella, chopped cherry tomatoes, basil, and croutons, with balsamic vinaigrette and topped with shaved parmesan cheese.

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It was terrific! The croutons really added a nice crunch to it, and the balsamic vinaigrette complemented the cheeses, basil, and tomatoes. It was really quite filling, too.

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Lee tried the BBQ Pulled Pork Crepe, with shredded pork and cole slaw and topped with onion strings and BBQ sauce. He had a choice of spicy or original BBQ sauce and opted for the spicy. His crepe was really good, too.

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We were lucky that there was no one in front of us, because this is really not a very fast process, so if there's much of a line you could be waiting a while to get your crepe. They also serve Funnel Cake Sticks, which are deep fried, so those can be prepared much faster.

But we really enjoyed these - I want to try the Nutella Crepe next time!

Cafe Renee opens at 10:00 a.m. daily. Sunday-Thursday it closes at 10:00 p.m., and closes at 11:00 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.


August 9, 2010

2010 Mediterranean Cruise - The Food, Part 3

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(SOMEONE out there, and you know who you are, has been after me to finish this particular set of blogs, so here, finally, is part 3!)

Part 1 Mediterranean Cruise Food Blog

Part 2 Mediterranean Cruise Food Blog

Day 8

Arrr, matey, it was Pirate Night! It had been another long port day, though - we didn't get back to the ship until about 7:30. I think a lot of people who had early seating missed out on this particular dinner. We were back in Parrot Cay again, which seemed appropriate for a pirate-themed dinner.

My appetizer was the Pirate's Golden Pot Stickers - small fried pork dumplings served with pickled vegetables. These were quite good.

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The other very popular appetizer, which Lee ordered, was Black Beard's Jumbo Crab Cake. It was a good-sized crab cake, with lots of crab and not much filler, and everyone enjoyed them.

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I ordered Mr. Smee's Bibb Lettuce Salad. It was your basic salad, with greens tomato wedges and pine nuts, but it was fresh and tasty, and it was quite a large salad in comparison to some of the others we'd had during the cruise.

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Lee had the Caribbean-style Conch Chowder, as did several others at our table. It was well-received.

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I had another non-traditional vegetarian entree - the Sunken Vegetable Treasure. It was another winner - black-eyed pea and quinoa croquettes with a mushroom sauce. The "croquettes" were shaped more like sausages, and I was expecting patties, but they were really good. I can't even tell you now what the flavor was - there were obviously some spices in it - but I enjoyed them. I don't care for mushrooms, though, so I gave all of those to Lee.

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Lee had Jack Sparrow's Barbecue Marinated Beef Short Ribs. He really enjoyed these.

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The popular dessert, which I and several tablemates ordered, was actually NOT the chocolate dessert, it was the Floating Island of Tropical Fruit Treasures. This was a very nice selection of mango, kiwi and berries, served in a meringue shell. It was light and very good, though the meringue was quite sweet.

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Lee had the Rum Barbossa. This was a version of the "rum baba", which if I knew what that was maybe I could tell you more about it. It looked like flan to me.

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Day 9

The menu was Flavours of the Mediterranean, which I think was my favorite of the cruise. SO many things looked good on this menu!!! We were back in Lumiere's again.

The appetizer and soup and salad menus were full of interesting selections, so I actually ordered three instead of just two.

The Tapas, Taste of the Mediterranean was first. Prosciutto, sun-dried tomatoes, olives and a parmesan breadstick. I have to admit I was getting pretty tired of proscuitto by then, since we'd had it several days in a row as part of our meals in port, but I enjoyed the rest of the appetizer. Lee had this one, too.

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I also had the Lemon-Herb Shrimp. It was fine, but didn't have as much flavor as I expected from the description.

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For soup I had the Spicy Andalusian Tomato Soup. I was expecting this to be spicy hot, but it wasn't at all - it just had spices to give it some extra flavor. It was quite good, just not exactly what I thought it would be.

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Lee had the Mint Lentil Salad - French lentils with red onion and red pepper. I had a bite and it was pretty good.

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A couple of people had the Battered Soft Shell Crab. Apparently this was lots of batter and not really that much crab. And Jane, who had been unlucky with this kind of thing all week, of course got the one that still had some shell - and as her first bite, too!

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There were lots of entrees on the menu that looked really good - unfortunately I chose the one that ended up being the most disappointing. It was the St. Sebastian Pan-Seared Chicken Breast, served on a bed of orechiette pasta with Emmentaler cheese gratinee. Again, the cheese sauce was just too heavy and the chicken was a little dry. It also wasn't very attractive - all one color. Some veggies would have perked up both the appearance and gone well with the cheese sauce. Oh well.

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Lee had the Herb-Crusted Monkfish on polenta, with braised fennel. It was very good.

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I don't remember which of our tablemates ordered which dish, but between us we sampled an awful lot of the entrees!

This is the Preserved Lemon and Rosemary Rubbed Lamb Sirloin, served with Israeli couscous. All of the lamb dishes we had on the cruise were very good - the lamb apparently all came from New Zealand.

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This is the Braised Center Cut Osso Bucco "Milanese".

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And the Tuscan Style Thin Sliced Beef Flank Steak.

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And after all of that, there was still dessert! I had the Flourless Chocolate Cake. I was not expecting it to have some kind of "icing" on it. And fortunately it was a pretty small piece since I was already pretty full. This was more like a cakey brownie than it was a traditional flourless chocolate cake. It was fine - not in the top 5, though.

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As you've seen from the photos, they really presented the food very nicely, but they liked to use fruit-flavored sauces with the chocolate desserts, and I like my chocolate unadulterated by fruit, thank-you-very-much. But for the most part the sauce was just a decoration and NOT actually touching the chocolate.

Lee had the Warm French Apple and Almond Tart. This had a layer of marzipan on top which I didn't care for at all, but Lee enjoyed it.

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Tonight's Sweet Temptations were the flourless chocolate cake, Kahlua Cheesecake, and Black Currant Napoleon. (Most of the Temptations featured one dessert off the "no sugar added" list - it was the Napoleon this time.)

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Day 10

This was the Captain's Gala menu, which really hadn't changed that much since we first had it in January 2009. We treated this as semi-formal night, even though the Daily Navigator said "cruise casual", and we were back in Animator's Palate.

I started with yet another shrimp appetizer - I think I tried most of those on this cruise! This was the Garlic and Herb Sauteed Shrimp served on spaghetti vegetables drizzled with garlic butter. It was good but not great.

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Several of our tablemates went with the Oysters Rockefeller on the Half Shell. They enjoyed them...

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For the salad course I had the Garden Fresh Salad with tomato chips and balsamic dressing. Pretty much just your normal salad. A number of people had the Wild Forest Mushroom Soup, but that really does NOT photograph well (looks like a bowl of mud), so I didn't take a picture of it. Fortunately it obviously tasted a lot better than it looked - it got good reviews from everyone who had it.

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The signature entree for the Captain's Gala is the Baked Lobster Tail served with green beans and rice. Lee doesn't like lobster in the shell, but this was out of the shell, so he ordered it, as did several of our tablemates.

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My entree was the Panko-Breaded Pork Envelope, filled with ham and gruyere cheese and served with snow peas and pan-seared potatoes. I think those were the biggest snow peas I've ever seen! This wasn't quite what I was expecting - I thought it would be breaded pork the ham and cheese stuffing, but it was breaded ham and cheese. It was heavy and just ok.

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Dessert was the Warm Chocolate Lava Cake, served with double chocolate sauce. It wasn't piping hot the way that I like it, but considering how many of these they had to bake and serve in a very short period of time they did a pretty good job. It wasn't as good as mine - I think they used the chocolate sauce (which was yummy) to hide the fact that they were a little dry. (My recipe available upon request.)

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Day 11

The final dinner of our cruise! Where did the time go? As usual, the final night menu was Till We Meet Again. We were in Parrot Cay again - we had four dinners in Animator's Palate and Parrot Cay, and three in Lumiere's.

I started with the Artichoke, Spinach, and Jalapeno Cheese Dip. This was supposed to be served with crispy pita wedges, but they were soft, and there weren't nearly enough of them considering how much dip there was. The dip was good, but I was expecting it to have more of a kick to it.

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Lee had the Grilled Chicken Sate, with mint-yogurt sauce and spicy cucumber salad. Wow...that was a VERY generous serving - three skewers of chicken!

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Another option was the Sesame Crusted Tuna Sashimi, Wakame Salad, and American Caviar with pickled ginger wasabi. Our tablemates seemed to like it.

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Somebody else had the Chilled Seafood Medley - lemon shrimp, salmon tartare and marinated bay scallops.

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My second course (Lee's too) was the Potato Leek Soup, garnished with sour cream, chives, and caviar. It was very tasty.

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My entree was the Garlic and Rosemary-Marinated Lamb Sirloin with onion, leek, and potato gratin. This may have been the best entree I had all week, though as I recall one of the fish dishes I had early in the cruise was really excellent, too.

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Lee tried the Yachtsman Steakhouse Center Cut Grilled Beef Tenderloin, served with asparagus spears, baby vegetables and Williams potatoes. See that thing on the plate that looks like a pear? That's actually the potatoes!

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John had the Roasted Half Cornish Hen, with Israeli couscous, Mediterranean vegetables and lemon-herb sauce. He actually ended up getting a whole hen and not a half, but it was still a pretty large hen. He said it was really good - I had a taste, and it was quite good - but not as good as the lamb. :-)

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My dessert choice was the Sweet Temptations, with Celebration Cake, Chocolate Decadence, and Cappuccino Mousse. The Chocolate Decadence was really good.

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The signature dessert that night was the Baked Alaska, complete with an international procession of flag-waving servers and chefs carrying flaming Baked Alaskas.

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Lee was the only one who had the Baked Alaska. He couldn't finish it, though.

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Final Thoughts

The food was good, but I think that we were not quite as impressed by it as we were on our first cruise. I know that I had a couple of entrees I really did not enjoy. It was nice to have a few different menus - Villains Tonight, Flavours of the Mediterranean and Master Chef. I'm not sure I really had an overall favorite - seems like there were hits and misses on most nights.

Thanks for reading if you got this far - and I'm sorry it took me so long to get this final part finished.


August 13, 2010

NFFC-Disneyana Fan Club Convention

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In July, the Disneyana Fan Club (up to recently called the National Fantasy Fan Club) held its annual convention at the Anaheim Crowne Plaza Resort, near Disneyland. They are a non-profit organization dedicated to all things Disney, with an emphasis on the many collectible aspects of that company.

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The convention was held over six days, with several different panels each day featuring a variety of guest speakers. Past Imagineers Willie Ito and Floyd Norman gave talks on the early days of Disney animation, while Rick Farmiloe presented video of the animation department excerpted in Waking Sleeping Beauty, from the 1980's.

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Tony Baxter headed a panel of current Imagineers showing art and describing the process of the resurrection of the Mr. Lincoln attraction, and the reopening of the Disney Gallery in the Main Street Bank at Disneyland.

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A number of authors presented their books at another panel:

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Pam Burns displayed her recent anecdotal book on her mother, Disney Legend/Imagineer Harriet Burns, "Walt Disney's First Lady of Imagineering Harriet Burns."

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Nancy Rodrigue and David Smith signed their Disneyland-based, historical thrillers "Hidden Mickey" and "Hidden Mickey 2: It All Started..."

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And Tom Sito talked about his book "Drawing the Line," which is a historical account of the unionization of animation, including accounts of the famous Disney Studios strike in 1941.

Voiceover artists were well-represented by June Foray (Lucifer the Cat/Cinderella, Grandmother Fa/Mulan,) who gave an account of her long career in animation

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There were a number of celebratory lunches and dinners held in addition to the daytime panels. Disney Legend Bill Farmer (current voice of Goofy) entertained at one, displaying a wide range of voices, from Jack Benny and George Burns, to Bugs Bunny, to Kermit the Frog, and recounting memories of some of the many Disney personalities he knew and worked with throughout the years.

They closed up their schedule of talks with their annual Legends Luncheon, in which they honored four people for their work for Disney: Wayne Jackson, Director for theme park development, manufacturing, and installation of show and ride equipment; animator Mark Henn; choreographer Miriam Nelson; and voice of Jiminy Cricket, the late Eddie Carroll.

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Even after the conference part of the event was over, the activities continued for the attendees. There was an in-park event to celebrate Disneyland's 55th Anniversary, and the club's annual Show and Sale over the weekend where virtually anything remotely connected to Disney was sold by a colossal number of vendors.

This was just a small subset of the week's programming--anyone interested in finding out more about the history of the Disney company, or the people who work(ed) there would be well-served by making plans to attend next year's convention. If you're interested in joining/finding out more about the Disneyana Fan Club, more information can be found at their webpage, http://www.disneyanafanclub.org/.

August 14, 2010

Drawing Disney at the Animation Academy - Disney California Adventure

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One of my favorite (and I think often overlooked) areas at Disney California Adventure is the Animation Building. In addition to Turtle Talk with Crush, the Toy Story Zoetrope, and The Sorcerer's Workshop, guests can also visit the Animation Academy. This is a ~15-minute session where a Disney animator teaches those in the session how to draw a Disney character. Paper and pencils are provided.

The animator deals with simple shapes and fairly easy-to-follow instructions, so that even people like me, who can barely draw stick figures, end up with a passable drawing. For whatever reason, my best efforts have been with a couple of the dwarfs from Snow White - Dopey and Grumpy.

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Different characters are featured throughout the day - the cast member at the entrance podium can tell you what characters are coming up, in case you want to return for a specific session. They very rarely fill up, and it's a nice cool place to go and sit down and relax for a while. And you might end up surprising yourself with your drawing!


August 16, 2010

Buried (Disney) Treasure

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I've been cleaning my desk over the last week or so - which in some ways is more like an archeological dig - or a treasure hunt without a map! I've unearthed some interesting items in the piles, and thought I would share some of them. (These are in no particular order at this point - I didn't catalog them - Indy would be SO disappointed in me!)

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Celebrate button - circa 2009

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World of Color light-up bracelet - blue, of course! From June 11, 2010.

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World of Color cookie from the June 10, 2010 World Premiere event. (No, I am not planning to eat it.)

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Small Tigger notepad, with orange pages. Date unknown.

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Mickey Monitor from spring 2009, showcasing Epcot's Flower & Garden Festival.

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Ahhh...this was a find - an AllEarsnet.com 10th anniversary button! Very rare. Do you realize that AllEars will be celebrating its 15th anniversary in January 2011?

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At the D23 Expo this year we were shut out of the Muppets presentation (too many people wanted to attend!) so they took our names and addresses and promise to send "something cute". This showed up about a month later. Not exactly what I was hoping for...it wasn't even autographed!

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Zagat's new (at the time) Disneyland Guide, from April 2009.

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I don't remember who gave this to me or how long I've had it - it might just be the oldest thing on this list! (Though far from being the oldest thing on my desk...that honor probably goes to a piece of Half Dome cable, used from 1934-1984 - but that's not Disney-related.)

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Map of Pirate's Lair on Tom Sawyer Island, from May 2007. I don't think they give these out anymore.

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Ahhh...another treasure! A map from Disneyland's 50th anniversary, July 17, 2005. This particular item was actually protected in a sturdy envelope.

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These were actually not on my desk, but they're on a shelf in my office, and I figured they went with the preceding item. :-)

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And a treasure collection isn't complete without some gold coins, aye Matey? These are mint chocolate coins (even better than gold, in my book!) from our Med cruise in May.

I actually have one other item I want to share, but I'll save that one for a separate blog entry.

What Disney treasures are buried on YOUR desk?



August 18, 2010

Disneyland Upcoming Events

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Just thought I'd post a list of some upcoming events at Disneyland:

September 3-5 - Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend. Events include the Health and Fitness Expo on Friday and Saturday, the Family Fun Run 5K and Kids Races on Saturday, and then the Half Marathon on Sunday. All Ears Team members Deb Wills, Cathy Bock, and Lee and I will all be participating in the half marathon. There will be a meet and greet on Saturday at 9:00 a.m. - see http://allears.net/btp/teammeets.htm for more information - hope to see you there!

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September 17 to October 31, 2010 - Halloween Time at the Disneyland Resort. I have to say this is one of my favorite times of year - the parks are really festive with lots of pumpkins and decor in autumn colors. New this year, the hard-ticketed Halloween party moves from DCA to Disneyland, where it also gets a new name: Mickey's Halloween Party. Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy and Haunted Mansion Holiday return to Disneyland, and at DCA's Twilight Zone Tower of Terror guests might encounter some new "phantom patrons" of the hotel.

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September 24-26 - D23's Destination D Event and Scavenger Hunt - Destination D takes place Friday and Saturday at the Disneyland Hotel Convention Center. And the Scavenger Hunt on Sunday? Who knows! Sounds like it'll take us all over the resort! Deb Wills, Jeanine Yamanaka, Lee and I will comprise the All Ears Team for that event. There will be two Meet and Greets - one on Thursday afternoon and one on Saturday morning. Again, see the see All Ears Team Meets page for more information.

October 15 - Rapunzel, from the upcoming animated feature Tangled, will begin greetings guests in the Fantasyland location formerly occupied by Gepetto's Sweet Shoppe.

November 12-January 2 - Holidays at the Disneyland Resort, including all of the perennial favorites: Holiday "it's a small world", A Christmas Fantasy Parade, Santa's Reindeer Roundup, Sleeping Beauty Winter Castle, and the magical Believe...in Holiday Magic fireworks show. And it's also fun to see what special holiday food treats the Disneyland chefs will come up with!

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April 29 - June 11, 2011 - Disney's California Food and Wine Festival returns for the sixth annual festival. (Another of my favorite events!) If you're a DVC member like me and want to stay in the Villas at the Grand Californian during your visit to the Festival, starting thinking about your booking dates!

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Also coming up next year, we have the opening of Star Tours - The Adventures Continue at Disneyland, and The Little Mermaid - Ariel's Undersea Adventure, at DCA.

This isn't specifically Disneyland, but the Disney Wonder will move to its new home at the port of Los Angeles in January, where it will be be sailing to the Mexican Riviera, and later to Alaska. A number of All Ears Team Members and readers will be on the Inaugural Alaska cruise which begins on May 3 in Vancouver. If you'd like to join us, there's more information HERE.

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August 20, 2010

Buried (Disney) Treasure - Part 2

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So, in a previous blog entry on "Buried (Disney) Treasure" I talked about an item I would be blogging about separately. Because after all, what's a treasure hunt without a treasure map? :-) Though in this case, the map WAS the treasure.

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This map of Disneyland was given to me earlier this year by my Evil Twin - she found it at a flea market. We're pretty sure that it was from about mid-1973 (the copyright says 1972), since there are some attractions listed that opened/closed/changed sponsorships in 1973.

Some things I found interesting:

The map is called Walt Disney's Guide to Disneyland. The quote on the left side of this picture is Walt's Opening Day dedication speech. (Larger versions of some of these photos are available by clicking on the photo.)

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Space Mountain (called "Spaceport and Rocket Flight Future Attraction" on the map) already has its distinct look - even though construction hasn't even begun and it won't open at Disneyland until 1977!

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This map actually shows the attraction buildings and even lists the scenes inside, like this one of the Primeval World. Did you know there were such things as Edaphosaurus and Ornithomimus?

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I'd forgotten how different Fantasyland was before its big makeover in 1983. Among other changes, Skull Rock and the Pirate Ship completely disappeared, and Dumbo and the Mad Tea Party were relocated.

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Bear Country, home of the Country Bear Jamboree, had just opened in early 1972 - it is featured prominently in the lower left corner of the map.

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Main Street still featured a lot of unique shops, like a Candle Shop, and Hurricane Lamp Shop and even a Tobacco Shop. I find it interesting that the Magic Shop and the Mad Hatter are still in the same location today!

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I hope you enjoyed my search for buried treasure!


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About August 2010

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

July 2010 is the previous archive.

September 2010 is the next archive.

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