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July 2011 Archives

July 4, 2011

Happy Independence Day!

Fourth of July came a trifle early to the Disneyland Resort this year, as both the holiday firework show at Disneyland and the patriotic pre-show at World of Color played from July first through the fourth.

I stopped by and battled the crowds to take a look at them. Unfortunately, my video of the World of Color add-on was a little obscured from my vantage point. A little googling, however, yields some better quality recordings, such as this one from Asianjima123:


Fortunately I had a slightly better view of the fireworks:

If fireworks and watershows hold no interest for you, there's always seasonal edibles to divert you...

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Overheard during the celebrations: "Americans do like their flag." Well we do, and occasionally, even if it sometimes seems like it's only once a year, we remember why.

Happy Fourth!

July 9, 2011

Disneyland Fireworks - Your Favorite Viewing Locations

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Last week I asked you to tell us your favorite fireworks watching spots. Thanks to those of you who took the time to respond!

Not surprisingly, Main Street, USA is the favorite, since almost all of the fireworks shows feature projections on the castle, and if you can't see those, you miss out on some of the show.

From Mukta:
I am a traditionalist. I prefer to sit in front of the castle to view all of the fireworks shows. I usually pick up some food from Tomorrowland Terrace or Redd Rocket's and sit in front of the castle 60 minutes before a show. All of the DL shows have projections on the castle. It gives a great view of the flying characters as well. (Tink and Dumbo).

Brooke likes Main Street, too:
When I went to Disneyland for its 50th anniversary, I watched the fireworks from Main Street. In that particular show, we were surrounded by the light show. They set off fireworks from the tops of the building on Main Street to compliment the huge show taking place over and around the castle. With the music and all of the amazing choreographed fireworks, I just stood there in awe and covered in goose bumps. It actually brought a tear to my eyes because it was so incredible. So after that trip, Main Street is my favorite place to watch the fireworks. I just make sure to get there early and try to stay away from families with little ones because I'm only 5'1" and all of the people who have a need to put their kids on their shoulders tend to block my view...but that's a whole other blog topic!

(Brooke, I share your frustration with the kids on shoulders thing!)

Another vote for Main Street from Leanne from Melbourne, Australia:
In 2008 my friend and I were at Disneyland during the Holidays and were both using the ECVs available for guests to hire (mobility issues). Anyway... we came out of the Emporium just prior to the Holiday parade starting and found that most of the vantage points had gone... Of course! A lovely Cast Member directed us to a wonderful spot right opposite the Christmas Tree at the very top of Main Street, and what's more we were in the front row. Not only was it a wonderful place to view the parade it was also ideal for the fireworks.

I am counting the days down to our next trip (this coming November) and will look forward to being in ANY part of Disneyland this year for the parade and fireworks.

Gabriella has a spot she'd like to try (is this area open during the fireworks?):
We'd like to try watching the fireworks in Tarzan's Treehouse from the very top of the stairs where there is a small platform looking directly towards the castle. Every time we climb those stairs we stop there and admire the view!

And Denise has tried these spots:
I used to like a quiet bench in Toon Town, or watching while riding on the monorail!

Tony has a great outside-the-park view that he likes!
My wife and I usually get a room at the Grand Californian facing Downtown Disney and ask for an area that will have a good view of the fireworks. We sit on the balcony, listen to the piped in music and watch the show while having some wine, cheese and prosciutto.



July 13, 2011

How I Spent My Spring Break: D23, WDW, SWW, DL, and Various Other Acronyms (Part 4.)

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In case you missed the earlier blogs of How I Spent My Spring Break:

Part 3

Part 2

Part 1


So I flew back to Los Angeles, and almost the next day my Star Tours II Annual Passholder preview slot was scheduled.

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The process was pretty chaotic by the time I got there--apparently the lines had been pretty empty earlier, so they basically opened the preview up to anyone with an AP, with the result that the line was about an hour long. Subsequently, they locked it down to people with a reservation letter, and it went considerably faster.

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The inside is pretty identical to Star Tours in WDW, with the exception that the boarding area now seems tiny and cramped, with insufficient room for even the number of people in a row to stand in a line. The films are identical (my itinerary of choice: Vader/Hoth/Yoda/Naboo.)

Then, three days later, the new parade Soundsational previewed over at Disneyland.

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Colorful and high-energy, the floats based off of paper sculptures by Kevin Kidney and Jody Daily are both detailed and inventive.

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If I had any complaint, it would be that for a parade celebrating the many varieties of Disney music, the audio seemed a little muddied to me, occasionally lacking a clear transition from one float's music to the next.

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Hopefully the mechanics of that will get ironed out quickly, because the rest of the parade is excellent entertainment, and about 1000x times better than any of the somewhat bare-bones block party-esque parades they've had in recent years.

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Why, if you look hard enough, you might even spot Steven Davison, Vice President and Director of Parades and Spectaculars watching along.

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Meanwhile, over at the Disney Gallery, a similarly charming exhibit on Mary Blair opened up.

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If you are a fan of the art stylings of It's A Small World, or the gigantic mural in the Grand Canyon Concourse at the Contemporary Resort, you are certain to enjoy this exhibit of Blair's art and concept sketches for a multitude of attractions and films.

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Of course, being Disney, there is no shortage of merchandise to take home as a memento--for a price.

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Next up: The Disneyland Hotel goes Tiki-happy, and we finally get a look Under the Sea...

July 18, 2011

Happy 56th Birthday, Disneyland!

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Sunday, July 17 was Disneyland's 56th birthday. All of the cast members were wearing the birthday button pictured above.

Lee and I were there with our friends Tom and Kathy, who are from Virginia. They hadn't been to Disneyland since about 1984! We had a really great day. The weather was beautiful - sunny and not too hot. And thanks to Carmageddon, the crowds were lighter than usual. Here's a picture of the wait time board at about 3:00 in the afternoon. On a normal day many of these rides would have a 90 minute wait time.

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They didn't make a huge deal for the birthday this year, but there was a "birthday moment" in Town Square at 2:30. Lots of characters came dancing out from both sides of Town Square and then gathered around. They played Walt Disney's opening day speech, and then we all sang "Happy Birthday".

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Most of the characters had balloons, and they came over to give them to a few lucky guests.

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And then they all danced away.

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Short and sweet, but a nice moment for cast and guests alike, I think.

Happy Birthday, Disneyland!



July 22, 2011

Disney California Adventure Updates - Part 1

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I haven't had an opportunity to get to Disney California Adventure since June, when I was there for the opening of The Little Mermaid attraction. I spent Friday roaming around the park, and taking in a lot of the changes and new things. Because there are so many this will be a multi-part blog.

There's big changes at the entrance - the new turnstiles are in place. No, this is not a Photoshopped version of Disney's Hollywood Studios in Florida. (I was disappointed that Disney didn't do something more original for DCA's new entrance.) The top photo was taken last Sunday. The next photo was taken from approximately the same angle on Friday - you can see that the towers for the Golden Gate Bridge have now been removed.

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Here's some more photos of the entrance and the bridge.

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The Carthay Circle Theater is taking shape:

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I arrived when the park opened at 9:30. I was very surprised to see an engineer in the train that's next to Brrrr-bank Ice Cream.

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The path between the former Sunshine Plaza and "a bug's land" is blocked off now, so the shortest way to Paradise Pier now is by going past Soarin' Over California and Grizzly River Run. (The long way around is to go through Hollywood past the Tower of Terror and through Flik's Fun Fair.)

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My first objective was to ride Goofy's Sky School, which opened on July 1. It's a re-theming of Mulholland Madness, so it's still a "wild mouse" style of roller coaster.

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Goofy has taken his chicken farm and turned it into a flying school, where student pilots learn to "Fly the Goofy Way", in only five lessons. There's still lots of reminders of the chicken farm, though.

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There's a big awning over most of the queue, so it's mostly shaded.

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Lots of fun signs in the queue (click on the photo to see a larger version, where you can read the notices).

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The ride vehicles seat four passengers, each with their own pull-down lap bar. The queue is wheelchair/ECV-accessible, but riders must be able to transfer into the ride vehicle.

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Here's a video I took of my ride. It takes about two minutes. There are five "lessons": How to Take Off, How to Fly, How to Turn, How to Nosedive, and How to Land.

I still say this is the scariest ride in the park - as you can see the turns aren't banked at all, and I always think that either the car or me (or both) are going to go flying off the track. But it was quite popular - when I went by again around 12:30 the standby line was 40 minutes long. There were still Fastpasses available, though.

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Coming up I'll have photos of the new restaurants - Paradise Garden Grill and Boardwalk Pizza & Pasta, and two new shows: Wilderness Explorer Ceremony, and Phineas and Ferb's Rockin' Rollin' Dance Party.



July 25, 2011

Disney California Adventure Updates - Part 2

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A new restaurant complex opened in the Paradise Pier area of Disney California Adventure at the beginning of July. Boardwalk Pizza and Pasta serves flatbread pizzas, salads, and several types of pasta, while Paradise Garden Grill serves Mediterranean-style skewers, with choice of meat or tofu, and choice of sauces.

Disney California Adventure Updates - Part 2
Disney California Adventure Updates - Part 2

There's a separate kiosk called Bayside Brews which serves a selection of beers and soft drinks, and several kinds of Mickey Mouse pretzels.

Disney California Adventure Updates - Part 2

The entire complex has a very large shared outdoor seating area. There are lots of tables and chairs, and most of it is covered, with ceiling fans to provide air circulation. It's really very nice and it was pretty quiet when I was there - there were quite a few people just sitting and relaxing.

Disney California Adventure Updates - Part 2

Boardwalk Pizza and Pasta has a food court type of set-up. There are different stations inside for the salads, pizzas, pastas, and kid's meals. Food items are pre-plated and self-serve, but if you don't see what you want (or have a special request) just ask the cast members behind the counter.

BW Pizza & Pasta station
BW Pizza & Pasta food station
BW Pizza & Pasta food station
BW Pizza & Pasta food station

There are two self-serve beverage stations, one on each side of the restaurant. Both have soft drinks and hot beverages. Bottled water, juice boxes and chocolate milk are available in cold cases at the registers.

BW Pizza & Pasta beverage station
BW Pizza & Pasta beverage station

Only the hot portion of the kid's meals is available at the kid's meal counter. The packages of carrots/fruit and kid's beverages should be picked up from the cold cases at the registers.

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Desserts and side salads are also found in some of the cold cases. After selecting all your foods and beverages, take your tray to one of the registers to pay, and then exit to the seating area outside.

Here is the MENU.

Photos of the food items are below:

BW Pizza & Pasta food
Italian Chef Salad
BW Pizza & Pasta food
Boardwalk Field Greens Salad
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Chicken Caesar Salad
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Pepperoni Pizza
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BBQ Chicken Pizza
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Portobello Mushroom & Spinach Pizza
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Cheese Pizza
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Fruit Pizza
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Chicken Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta
BW Pizza & Pasta food
Five-Cheese Ravioli
BW Pizza & Pasta food
Spaghetti & Meatballs
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Kids' Spaghetti & Turkey Meatballs
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Kids' Little Bell Pasta with Alfredo Sauce
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Kids' Cheese Pizza

Condiments, straws, and napkins are available at several stations outside.

BW Pizza & Pasta condiments

Paradise Garden Grill is a traditional counter-service restaurant where you place your order and pay at the register, then pick up your food at the window. The menu is limited - they offer skewers, which come with rice pilaf, cucumber salad and pita bread, and a Greek salad, with baklava available for dessert. The menu is HERE.

Paradise Garden Grill

When it was time for lunch I decided I wanted to try the skewers from Paradise Garden Grill. I opted for the Tofu and Vegetable skewer. Each skewer comes with choice of sauce (Moroccan chili, chimichurri, tandoori yogurt, or tzatziki). I couldn't decide, and the cast member taking my order told me that I could ask for all four. Awesome. I wanted to try the baklava, but they hadn't gotten any yet. :-(

Tofu and vegetable skewer

I was very pleased the the skewer did NOT have peppers on it. There were two kinds of squash, red onions, and tofu. The tofu was rubbery and tough, but the vegetables were nicely grilled. I really enjoyed having the chance to try all four sauces. The chimichurri and tzatziki were my favorites, but they were all good. I'm not sure how well the Moroccan chili or tandoori would pair with the lemon-oregano chicken, though - depends on how strong the lemon and oregano flavors are. I don't think that one container of sauce is enough, so I would recommend that you request additional sauce.

The rice pilaf was very good, but I didn't care at all for the cucumber salad - which contained cucumbers and peppers, neither of which I like.

The grilled pita bread was very good - it was a full piece of bread, though it was folded in half to fit on the plate.

There's a bandstand in the seating area, and the Odyssey group was performing Italian favorites like "That's Amore" and the Tarantella.

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The restrooms are located next to Paradise Garden Grill.

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This is a very nice area, and the food was good - I was surprised that there were very few guests there at 12:00. Most of the people I saw in the seating area were eating corn dogs from the nearby Corn Dog Castle.

Here are some additional photos of the area. Have I mentioned that there is lots of seating?

Disney California Adventure Updates - Part 2
Entrance near Goofy's Sky School
Disney California Adventure Updates - Part 2
Seating
Disney California Adventure Updates - Part 2
Disney California Adventure Updates - Part 2
Disney California Adventure Updates - Part 2
Disney California Adventure Updates - Part 2
Entrance near Silly Symphony Swings

Another new food location is Dulce Aventura, a snack kiosk that has opened in the Pacific Wharf area next to Cocina Cucamonga. Dulce Aventura offers sweet treats, like cookies, brownies, candy apples, and chocolate covered Mickey Mouse pretzels.

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The menu is HERE. Those Oreo brownies look very tempting!

Dulce Aventura

Next time I'll have photos and info on the two new shows: Wilderness Explorer Ceremony and Phineas and Ferb's Rockin' Rollin' Dance Party.


July 28, 2011

Disney California Adventure Updates - Part 3

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There's a couple of new shows at Disney California Adventure. At the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail they are giving guests the opportunity to become Senior Wilderness Explorers, like Russell from the Disney/Pixar movie UP.

Disney California Adventure Updates - Part 3

At the entrance, cast members are giving out a pamphlet which describe the tasks that must be completed to earn the Tracking, Bravery, Rock Climbing, Wolf Howl, Animal Spirit, and Puzzle Solving badges.

Disney California Adventure Updates - Part 3

Disney California Adventure Updates - Part 3


One of the first things to do is to find Kevin's tracks - I was able to complete that one! Whether or not someone has completed the tasks is on the honor system - for each task just scratch off the silver coating on the pamphlet to reveal the badge that was earned.

Disney California Adventure Updates - Part 3

Disney California Adventure Updates - Part 3


Upon completing all the tasks prospective Explorers should attend the Wilderness Explorer Ceremony. This show is held multiple times per day in the Ahwahnee Camp Circle.

Disney California Adventure Updates - Part 3

The Wilderness Explorer Guide selects several children from the audience before the show to march in with her to open the show. And then the audience receives instructions on the Wilderness Explorer Motto and the Wilderness Explorer Call:

Russell eventually arrives and everyone is promoted to Senior Wilderness Explorer.

Disney California Adventure Updates - Part 3

After the ceremony there is a meet-and-greet with Russell, which is where they hand out the Senior Wilderness Explorer badge.

The show is about 10 minutes long - for those at the end of the line the meet-and-greet will take longer than the show.

It's a fun idea, and it fits in very well with the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail. It was certainly very popular the morning that I was there - the show area was completely full, and I think they had to turn some people away.

The newest show is Phineas and Ferb's Rockin' Rollin' Dance Party. I must admit that I don't watch the Disney Channel, and I have no idea who Phineas and Ferb are. But this show seemed quite popular with the kids and tweens (I heard one girl say she wanted to see the show rather than getting in line for Little Mermaid). It's held along Paradise Pier near the entrance to The Little Mermaid attraction.

Disney California Adventure Updates - Part 3

Two of the Fireside Girls lead out Phineas and Ferb's vehicle, with Phineas and Ferb and a DJ on board.

Disney California Adventure Updates - Part 3

Audience members are invited to come out and dance along in a variety of dance styles from the Robot, to disco, a line dance and the Limbo. "Squirrels in my Pants" was especially popular. At the end of the show everyone posed for a group photo.

Disney California Adventure Updates - Part 3

The show is about 15 minutes long.

The show area is outlined in tape on the walkway. Because the vehicle enters the area from the Little Mermaid side, guests are not allowed to stand on that side before the show starts, but can move into it after the vehicle arrives.

Disney California Adventure Updates - Part 3



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About July 2011

This page contains all entries posted to Salute to All Things Disney but Mostly Disneyland in July 2011. They are listed from oldest to newest.

June 2011 is the previous archive.

August 2011 is the next archive.

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