« October 2010 | Main | December 2010 »

November 2010 Archives

November 5, 2010

Destination D: Day 1, Late Afternoon.


The afternoon continued with "Imagineering the Magic of Disney," hosted by Marty Sklar. This was a panel made up of a large number of Imagineers, both past and present. In attendance were X. Atencio, Alice Davis, Bob Gurr, Don Iwerks, Dave Durham, Kathy Mangum, Kevin Rafferty, and Tony Baxter.


The discussion was directed by Sklar, who threw out general questions to all the panel, such as "what's your favorite project you worked on, at Disney?" For X. Atencio, it was Pirates of the Caribbean. Alice Davis responded with It's a Small World because, "growing up in the depression, I didn't have any dolls. For It's a Small World, I got to dress and play with the best dolls in the world."


Bob Gurr gave the monorail as his favorite project, along with the gleeful observation that while it took him one year to develop it, it took the current Imagineers four years to refurbish it. Kathy Mangum and Kevin Rafferty both picked the Finding Nemo Submarine ride as their favorites.


Don Iwerks fondly recalled the 360° theater he helped develop for CircleVision show "America the Beautiful" with his father, Ub Iwerks, who came up with the concept on demand, in only a day. Dave Durham's favorite was Indiana Jones, because he had actually won an internship with WDI by designing an Indiana Jones-type ride, and then was surprised to find himself ultimately working on the same thing.

Tony Baxter's favorite was Star Tours, when he got to meet George Lucas with Ron Miller. He also related a story of the pitch meeting he had with Michael Eisner, in which Eisner brought his 14 year-old son with him, reasoning that since he (Eisner) wasn't "up on theme parks," his son could better judge the projects than he could. Not only was his son wildly enthusiastic about both projects Baxter presented (Star Tours and Splash Mountain,) but Eisner also approved Captain EO, since neither of the other projects could be completed in less than four years. "I got three projects approved. It was a good day."


Afterward, the Imagineers discussed some of their favorite memories of Disneyland. Alice Davis remembered trying to take her niece to Disneyland on the day before she had to go back to New York, and getting to the park an hour before it closed. At that time they didn't sell tickets during the last hour, so they refused to let her in. Determined, she told the little girl they would go to the exit and walk in backwards, so that the CMs guarding the gate would not notice them in the crowd. Her plan proceeded perfectly, and she got her on all the attractions before it all shut down for the day.

They then went on to favorite memories of Walt: Alice recounted Walt's glee at showing her the animatronic of the grandmother from Carousel of Progress, as he was getting ready to pass her off as a real person, and put her on a plane to New York for the World's Fair. Bob Gurr told of a time when he was required by second parties to construct safety cages for the Astro Jets ("the ugliest things;") they were hidden away, but were ultimately found by Walt who roundly chewed him out for creating them, which showed him just how much Walt cared for the park--"it was his park, and nothing went in his park that he didn't want in the park!"

Marty Sklar then told his anecdote of when they used to produce color brochures of the park that sold for $0.25. "Suits" eventually figured out that it cost them $0.24 to make each one, and came to Walt telling him that they needed to raise the price to $0.50 at least. Walt responded that they didn't understand at all: He wanted every person who went to Disneyland to buy one of those books, and put them on their coffee table at home. When their friends came to visit, he wanted them to be able to see the book, and be struck with the desire to see Disneyland for themselves. "When they get to the park, they'll spend money there. We don't have to make money on everything we sell."

After talking about their favorite projects that didn't happen (Dave Durham stated that 90% of everything they blue sky never gets built,) they went to a Q&A session that was abruptly truncated when (as so many Q&A's do,) it began to be a forum for hug requests. It was a great panel and a remarkable thing for everyone there to witness, as there was a collective 307 years of experience at the Disney Company present between all the panel participants.

After dinner that evening, they held a concert entitled "E-Ticket: Music from the Disney Parks," which was really terrific. A variety of performers, led by Richard Sherman, presented some of the classic Disney park songs. Some from Broadway, such as Terron Brooks (Simba in The Lion King,) Wilson Cruz (Angel in Rent,) John Tartaglia (Princeton/Rod in Avenue Q,) and Tracie Thoms (Joanne in Rent;) and some from television, such as Ana Ortiz and Michael Urie (Ugly Betty.) They also introduced a new, official D23 singing group called "Melo-D 23" which was made up of Disney Cast Members (including Becky Cline,) and proved that Jeffrey Epstein has talents beyond being the Disney Geek when he joined Ana Ortiz in a duet to "A Whole New World."

Video and audio recording were prohibited, so we can only hope they decide to release the footage on a dvd at some point. From Tartaglia's story of his obsession with the Country Bear Jamboree and ghostly puppetry ("I want you to sing along--because if I'm going to stand here with two shiny lamé puppets on my hands...you know what's expected of you,") to Urie's call for all the people having birthdays to come up on stage...so he could sing "Happy Unbirthday" to everyone else, to Richard Sherman's always fascinating reminiscences of the earlier days, with Walt, it was a fun night and a great way to end the first day of Destination D.

November 10, 2010

Disneyland New and Upcoming Events


First the bad news...as announced November 3 on the Disney Parks Blog, there will be no Disney's California Food and Wine Festival in 2011 or 2012. The wording was such that some speculated that it just wouldn't be at DCA, but AllEars has verified with a Disney representative that there will be NO Festival.

I'm very disappointed, since this is one of my favorite events, but I can understand that the construction at DCA would make it difficult - some of the areas they have used in the past for the Festival will not be available. I'm still bummed, though.

Some things that are relatively new at the parks...

The Duffy the Disney Bear Meet and Greet location in Paradise Pier, next to Treasures in Paradise. Jeanine wrote about that in this blog entry. Those who visit the area get an "I Just Hugged Duffy" sticker.



The Tangled Meet and Greet area is located in Fantasyland next to Pinocchio's Daring Journey. Guests can meet Rapunzel and Flynn Rider.


The new Disney Dance Crew show debuted on October 22 at DCA's Hollywood Pictures Backlot theater, replacing the Drawn to the Magic show. The show features the new talking Mickey Mouse character, who can move his mouth and blink his eyes. This Mickey also has all the moves, as he brings together two rival dance crews. They perform to modern versions of classic Disney tunes - some of them rather surprising - like "A Pirate's Life for Me". After the show Mickey comes out to meet and greet guests - but this character is not the talking Mickey. Same costume, different head (and I'm guessing a different person inside, too!).

One fun thing I noticed - take a look at the glowing logo on the cover of the DJ's laptop. :-)


The Disney Channel Rocks! show, which premiered in Florida on October 22 (see the AllEars page HERE, has been postponed until November 26. The new show, featuring music from the Disney Channel's "High School Musical" series, "Camp Rock" and "StarStruck" will be performed on the Palisades Stage in Paradise Park next to Paradise Bay in the morning and early afternoon.

In anticipation of the upcoming TRON: Legacy movie, opening in theaters December 17, there are several tie-ins at Disney California Adventure. ElecTRONica brings the world of TRON to the Hollywood Pictures Backlot Friday-Sunday nights (it will run nightly from December 17-January 2). In addition to the techno dance party in the streets, guests can view a 9-minute 3D preview of the movie in the MuppetVision theater, experience the LASERMAN show, or enjoy a "Glowjito" or "Digitini" at theEnd of Line Club. (For the true TRON geeks: I still have a computer system that displays "END OF LINE" on my screen when I log off.) And for a real blast from the past there's Flynn's Arcade, which has quite a selection of 1980s video games - everything from Air Hockey to Pac-man to, yes, the TRON game. One cool thing: the game tokens (25 cents each) actually are custom "Flynn's Arcade" tokens!


According to a recent Disneyland press release, ElecTRONica will continue into spring, 2011.

There's also a new TRON: Legacy encore to World of Color - the very first one. We were told that adding encores was something they planned to do with World of Color, so it's great to see that we got one this soon after the show opened! The encore runs at the end of each World of Color show as that pesky Master Control Program manages to take control of the show for a while. Disney has stated that the encore will run for several months, so while there is no official end date, it will definitely be with us through the holidays and for some time beyond.

And speaking of the holidays...the Disneyland Resort's holiday celebration begins on Friday, November 12. At Disneyland this includes favorites like the "A Christmas Fantasy" parade, Sleeping Beauty Winter Castle, Santa's Reindeer Round-up, "it's a small world" Holiday, and the "Believe...in Holiday Magic" fireworks. Over at DCA the familiar candy cane-striped letters of "CALIFORNIA" will be back, as well as the over-sized ornaments and decorations at Flik's Fun Fair. Santa Claus will greet guests at Paradise Pier.

See the Holidays at Disneyland page for more information and photos.

November 13, 2010

Disneyland Resort Food Bites


I haven't done this for a while...here's a few brief reviews on some new (to me) things I've tried at the Disneyland Resort over the last couple of months.

I'll start with the thing that was my favorite, since it's the most memorable: the mini cupcake sampler. Lee and I shared this one evening. It comes with six different miniature frosted cupcakes: carrot cake, red velvet, peanut butter, chocolate, coconut, and vanilla. The red velvet and chocolate cupcakes were awesome (he almost didn't get any of the chocolate one), and he really enjoyed the carrot cake as well (I think it was good carrot cake - I'm just not a carrot cake fan). The coconut one was also good, with nice moist shredded coconut on top. Lee enjoyed the peanut butter one more than I did. Our least favorite was the vanilla - it just didn't have a lot of flavor and didn't seem as "special" as the others. The box is $6.95. I have seen it at Marceline's in Downtown Disney, at the candy counter in Greetings from California at DCA, and in Pooh Corner at Disneyland.


La Brea Bakery Cafe

La Brea Bakery Cafe has several varieties of sliders on its menu - there are three grilled "mini-paninis" in each order. We tried the Three Cheese (cheddar, mozzarella and parmagiano) and Sun Dried Tomato Pesto. I thought the Three Cheese was a bit tasteless but Lee enjoyed them. I really liked the Sun Dried Tomato Pesto. They also have ham and gruyere. These are $7.95 for three, for $3.95 more you can add a (large) salad or a cup of soup.



La Brea Bakery Cafe Menu

Rancho del Zocalo

Rancho del Zocalo has added Grilled Mahi Mahi Fish Tacos to its menu. The platter of two fish tacos, rice, and beans is $10.49. Each fish taco is wrapped in two corn tortillas, which seems a bit excessive. They were very tasty - just a little bit spicy - but I thought the pieces of fish were very small.


Rancho del Zocalo Menu

Ralph Brennan's Jazz Kitchen

I've always thought the appetizers at Ralph Brennan's Jazz Kitchen looked really good, so I made a meal out of their appetizer sampler, which comes with BBQ pork sliders, Creole calamari, blackened chicken spring rolls and coconut shrimp. I didn't want the calamari, so our server offered to substitute more of one of the other items - I chose the coconut shrimp, since that's what Lee wanted to "share" with me. :-) I ended up with the appetizer for four people ($24) instead of for two ($15), which was a lot of food - I couldn't finish. Next time I'd do the smaller size, unless I had several people who wanted to sample it.


Ralph Brennan's Jazz Kitchen Dinner Menu

Cafe Orleans

Cafe Orleans recently raised their prices, but the menu hasn't changed - we had a late lunch there. I really wanted the Mickey Beignets for dessert, and since we were also going to share an order of Pomme Frites (best French fries ever!), I ordered just the "La Salade de Maison" instead of an entree. It's quite a large salad, though. And between the two of us we couldn't finish the Pomme Frites. Lee had the Creole Ratatouille, which he really enjoyed - it was a little spicy for me, but the corn cakes were very good. The Mickey Beignets were hot and light and airy - just don't inhale when you take a bite (it's hard to breathe powdered sugar!).





Cafe Orleans Menu

Steakhouse 55

The morning of the Destination 23 scavenger hunt we had breakfast at Steakhouse 55 in the Disneyland Hotel. If you want a calm, quiet place to have breakfast, this is it. There's usually not very many people, and few children, plus the restaurant is pretty quiet anyways - not too many tables, and the surfaces are more sound-absorbing rather than sound-reflecting. The food is good, too. Lee had the Two Times Four, which was two pieces of French toast, two eggs, and two pieces of both bacon and sausage. The French toast was good.


I had the Sunrise Burrito - a tortilla with eggs, chorizo, potatoes, and cheese. I had them leave out the chorizo. I was disappointed in this - the cheese was on the outside and not the inside, and there were peppers in the potatoes. Next time I'd get the Huevos Rancheros, which I've had before - or get what Lee had. Still, it was an excellent breakfast and kept us going through the scavenger hunt, since we didn't have time to eat during the hunt.


Steakhouse 55 Breakfast Menu

Add YOUR dining review in the Disneyland Rate and Review Area!

November 14, 2010

The Holidays at Disneyland - 2010


"It's the most wonderful time of the year..." Or so the song goes - and I have to say that it really is a wonderful time of the year at Disneyland!

The 2010 holiday season started at Disneyland on Friday, November 12 and runs through January 2, 2011. The weather wasn't very "holiday" like, being sunny and 80 degrees, but unfortunately the crowds were - the parks were very busy like you'd expect during the holidays instead of what you expect on a normal Friday afternoon. (A lot of school kids had the day off.) But if the decorations inside Disneyland aren't enough to get you into the spirit of the season, then "Bah, Humbug!" to you. :-) From Main Street to Toontown to Critter Country and New Orleans Square, just about every land had decked its halls for the holidays.


"it's a small world" Holiday opened for the season, but I did not get a chance to ride it, since the line was always at least 60 minutes every time I went by. Did I mention the parks were crazy busy? Yesterday the queue for "small world" was starting at the end of the terraced area closest to the Matterhorn, rather than up near the attraction itself - they had it fairly well marked, and cast members were asking guests as they went by if they were looking for the "small world" queue. I don't know if that is a change for the season or just the day, but something to be aware of if you go.


There were many cast members and characters out in their holiday best:

The Disneyland Band, in their red/green/gold-braided uniforms, were performing just inside the park when I arrived.


And the Dapper Dans looked a bit like singing candy canes.


This Dickens'-themed band was performing holiday music outside the Refreshment Corner.


Many of the characters (like Dale) were out in the morning greeting guests in Town Square.


Over in Frontierland, Santa and Mrs. Claus and the reindeer have taken up temporary residence at Santa's Reindeer Roundup. Though the reindeer really weren't enjoying our beautiful southern California weather - they're used to ice and snow!


Mrs. Claus was out mingling with guests - she looked like she was having much more fun than Santa, who was stuck greeting people inside the cabin.


The snow and icicle-covered Sleeping Beauty Castle continued to defy the elements.


Over at Disney California Adventure...well, it really wasn't very Christmasy over there. The candy cane-striped CALIFORNIA letters are back (and this will be the last year for those, since they are not part of the park's new look - I will miss them).


The wreath and garland is on the Golden Gate Bridge (also going away).


The tree and Santa Claus greeting area are near Ariel's Grotto - but that was the only part of Paradise Pier that was decorated.


And there's the usual over-sized decorations in Flik's Fun Fair.


I've enjoyed the "city sidewalks" decorations in the Hollywood Pictures Backlot in the past - but those are gone, probably because they don't fit in with the ElecTRONica look.

And speaking of TRON...the lightcycle that we saw at last year's D23 Expo is on exhibit outside the TRON 3D preview theater. Looks pretty cool.


What used to be Sunshine Plaza is behind construction walls, so the characters, in their California-themed holiday attire, are doing meet and greets in the old Fastpass area next to "It's Tough to Be a Bug". It's a little out of the way, though there are a lot of people going by there since that's the only way to get to the Hyperion Theater and Tower of Terror now.


I liked Pluto's holiday "star".


Anyway...as far as the holidays go DCA was pretty disappointing - hopefully it'll get a little more of a holiday makeover in the future when there isn't so much construction going on. (I think the Imagineers will have a lot of fun coming up with holiday decorations for Cars Land!)

Back over at Disneyland for some of the holiday events...

Starting with the lighting of "it's a small world" Holiday. There was a special lighting ceremony for this first night of the holiday season. Adela Jauregui and Mickey Mouse flipped the switch to light up "it's small world". Adela, an 8-year-old who is a patient at CHOC Children's, was joined by her parents Jesus and Norma, and her sister Olivia. They were the Grand Marshals of the "A Christmas Fantasy" Parade earlier in the day.

(The "it's a small world" projection sequence at the end is one of my holiday favorites - I think it looks crisper and better than ever.)

I also saw the A Christmas Fantasy Parade. The last few years there have been some new parade elements each year - no new floats this year, but the music/choreography was a bit different: for example the gingerbread men and Clarabelle Cow do a "Dance of the Sugarplum Fairy" number - I thought it was really fun.

For some reason they don't put the time of the castle lighting sequences on the Times Guide that is available at the park, but it's on the on-line schedule - though it was running late yesterday (but just about everything was running late yesterday). It's only a few minutes long, but I enjoy seeing the castle transform so that it appears to be covered in shimmering ice.


The Believe...in Holiday Magic fireworks are back for the season, though they were at a new time: 8:40 p.m. instead of the traditional 9:25. Check the time on-line before you visit the park - most nights they will be at 8:40, but at 7:30 on some week nights, and they are at 9:30 on December 3 and 4 (probably because of the Candlelight Processional on those evenings).


Whew! Busy day, and I still have lots more photos - I'll probably put them into a photo gallery on AllEars as I have time.

November 15, 2010

Tron, Everybody!


So Tron Fever is currently running amok over at California Adventure, with the nighttime event ElecTRONica, and the new Tron tag on World of Color. I was recently able to take a look at both and brought back some photos and video from the Grid for y'all.

On October 28th, the Disney Blog held an ElecTRONica meet in which people who RSVP'd were able to enter DCA with a guest at 4pm and enjoy the park until it closed to regular guests, at which time ElecTRONica began.


At the entrance plaza, a stage was set up and an introduction to the world of Tron was performed by the night's MC and a number of energetic dancers.

Subsequently, the "portal" to the ElecTRONica area (usually known as the Hollywood Backlot) opened, and people streamed in.


All around the buildings, projections of Tron graphics were playing.


While there were some kiosks selling merchandise and drinks down the main thoroughfare, most people headed directly to the back corner of Hollywood Backlot, where Monsters, Inc. is, to see the bulk of the attractions.


All around the area, there were elevated platforms for the Dance Party dancers and DJs.



In the very back, a replica of the Flynn's Arcade shown in the original Tron movie was set up where some of the Food and Wine Festival events were held earlier this year.


The outside of the arcade building also had projections making it look as though it was made out of brick, and was raining. Inside, were set up a multitude of old arcade games from the 80's, including Space Paranoids, the fictional video game Jeff Bridges' character Kevin Flynn was supposed to have programmed in the original Tron movie.


In the next room, there were some costumes and props from the upcoming Tron: Legacy film, including one of Jeff Bridge's costumes.


Outside, there were both food and beverage concessions, all appropriately themed.


Apparently in the Grid, you eat a lot of nachos and chocolate cake.



At various times, our Host would rejoin us to announce various showtimes or incite people to perform the dance he taught them in the opening number.


What I thought was the most interesting part of ElecTRONica, was Laserman, who gave a couple of performances throughout the night.

In that same area, in between performances, CMs brought out light-up hula hoops for entertainment.


For the last show offering, the Muppets 3D theater was transformed into a venue for a 3D preview of Tron: Legacy.


This was basically an expanded version of the trailers already viewable online, however different lighting effects were used to enhance the experience.

Afterwards, there was a plethora of Tron-related merchandise available for purchase.


The event ended around 11pm, at which time the crowds had thinned out some, and it was easier to see the impressive job of theming they did to the area.


While there were a number of Tron-themed alcoholic drinks for purchase, there were relatively few non-alcoholic choices, pointing up the more "adult" nature of the event.


All in all, it was a well-done event, and one definitely worth a look while it's still running.


Now, if you hadn't yet had enough Tron, you can go over to the other side of the park and see World of Color, with a Tron tag added in. It's not very long, but the lighting effects on California Screamin' are very good.

While I did enjoy the original Tron movie the first time around (yes, I'm old,) I have no idea how good the new movie will be. If half the effort went into the making of the film as has been given unto the in-park promotional tie-ins however, it should be an awesome film indeed.

November 28, 2010

Little Bit of Disney in Your Decorating


It's that time of year...the days are shorter, the nights are colder, and mailboxes are filled with catalogs and sale ads. When the President starts pardoning turkeys we know it's time to start rooting around in our closets, attics, and storage units and pulling out the holiday decorations.

I have a lot of Disney-themed decorations...my favorite character is Tigger, so I have Tigger stockings (and stocking holder), stuffed holiday-themed Tiggers of mulltiple sizes, Tigger Christmas tree ornaments, etc. It's hard to pick a favorite, but if I HAD to (and for this blog, I do have to), I'd have to say it's an "animated plush". It's Tigger and Pooh in a red sleigh, and when you turn it on, they bounce and move from side-to-side as they sing "Jingle Bells". It always makes me smile.

What about the rest of you? I'm sure some of you have entire rooms and/or Christmas trees with a Disney holiday theme. How do you bring Disney into your holiday decorating? What are some of your favorite Disney decorations? I'll share your favorites and holiday ideas in a future blog.

(When you send your comments, be sure to enter the word 'blog' in the box provided - that's something we've had to put in place to try to foil the spammers.)

Return to Blog Central

About November 2010

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

October 2010 is the previous archive.

December 2010 is the next archive.

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