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September 2, 2012

Disneyland Half Marathon 2012 - Part 1

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Labor Day weekend - that means it's once again time for the Disneyland Half Marathon! We will be running it Sunday morning with 16,998 of our closest friends (and a number of Team AllEars teammates, as well).

This will be the 7th Disneyland Half Marathon, and our 5th time running it. We really enjoy it. They have tweaked the parks part of the course again this year because Cars Land and Buena Vista Street our now open! So we'll get to run through Cars Land tomorrow.

We've made a long weekend of it, and arrived on Friday night. We are using our DVC points to stay at the Villas at the Grand Californian (we love this resort). We're on the 5th floor, and this was what we saw when we arrived in our room Friday night! Grizzly Peak and a blue moon over the Tower of Terror. We can also see the Cadillac Range in Cars Land through the trees. It's a great location.

Disneyland Half Marathon 2012

We dropped our bags and headed right to dinner at Ralph Brennan's Jazz Kitchen. It was a very nice dinner - we shared the Double Chocolate Bread Pudding Souffle for dessert. Yummy.

Disneyland Half Marathon 2012

And as we walked out of the restaurant we were just in time to see the Magical fireworks show over Disneyland. I think the plaza between Tortilla Jo's and House of Blues in Downtown Disney is a really good spot - you get a clear view of the higher fireworks.

Disneyland Half Marathon 2012

This was our view this morning at about 6:30.

Disneyland Half Marathon 2012

We wandered down to Disneyland and watched the 5K runners as they came out of Disneyland and headed over to DCA. One of the monorails was parked overhead.

Disneyland Half Marathon 2012

We had breakfast at La Brea Bakery Express - the first time we'd eaten there since it was remodeled. They have a much bigger menu now, and the food is good, but the line moves very sloooowly. They need to figure out how to streamline that.

They still had early entry at Disneyland once they cleared the park of runners, and we got in on the last 30 minutes of that. We took a ride on the "new" Matterhorn - it has new cars, but the track is the same and it's still as rough as ever. We got a kick out of the "Abominable Mickey" Vinylmation in the window. :-)

Disneyland Half Marathon 2012

We did a few other rides and went over to DCA. The line for Radiator Springs Racers was long, and we needed to head over to the Health and Fitness Expo to pick up our race packets, so we left - but on the way out one of the Instant Concerts was starting so we stopped to watch that. Those fountains go REALLY high.

Disneyland Half Marathon 2012

Over at Packet Pickup in the Disneyland Hotel we picked up our bib numbers. It seemed strange NOT to be getting a coast-to-coast wristband, but we already did that in January when we did the Tinker Bell Half (and you can only get one per year).

The 5K had a Cars theme this year (it finished in Cars Land) and they had a nice photo backdrop for that in the pick-up area.

Disneyland Half Marathon 2012

The Expo was upstairs in the Convention Center. They seemed to have a larger selection of race merchandise, or at least a larger variety of t-shirts this year - but even though it was only the morning of the second day they were already sold out of size small in several of the designs - including the one I wanted, of course. They did at least have quite a few of the coast-to-coast shirts (even in small!), which have often sold out on the first day, but we got those back in January.

Disneyland Half Marathon 2012

They had a display that I don't remember seeing before - a large map of the race course with information on what characters will be on the course and where. So tomorrow in DCA we can expect to see the Green Army Men, Lightning McQueen, DJ, Red the Fire Truck, and Phineas and Ferb. And in Disneyland, characters from Princess and the Frog; Captain Hook and Mr. Smee; Aladdin, Jasmine and Genie; Sleeping Beauty and Prince Philip; Darth Vader and Storm Troopers; Cinderella, Snow White, and Ariel; Merida; and Daisy Duck and Clarice Chipmunk.

Disneyland Half Marathon 2012

At the Run Disney booth there were examples of all of the Run Disney medals, including the new Donald and Mickey medals for 2013! The Mickey medal looks a lot better than it does in photographs.

Disneyland Half Marathon 2012

There's a number of members of Team All Ears that are here for the 1/2 Marathon, and a group of us met on the patio outside Trader Sam's in the afternoon. It was good to see some old friends and meet some new!

Disneyland Half Marathon 2012

After that several of us went into Trader Sam's for a late lunch. We were lucky to find a table open with just enough chairs. In between ship wrecks and volcano eruptions (when people order certain drinks Things Happen) Lee and I enjoyed the chicken lettuce wraps and fish tacos.

Disneyland Half Marathon 2012

We're planning an early night, though of course we never sleep very well. The race starts at 5:45. But one thing we LOVE about the Disneyland races is that we can WALK to the start line, so there's no need to catch a bus at an insanely early hour. So we can sleep in until 4:00 or so. :-)

It's going to be a warm race (by southern California standards) so we will be taking it easy and not pushing the pace. And besides, it's Disney, and we love to stop for photos along the way!

September 5, 2012

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 8/31/12

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Contributing photographer Jason of disneygeek.com sends us these photos from his trip to the parks on Friday, August 31, 2012.

This weekend the Disneyland Resort is hosting its annual 1/2 Marathon. Preparations were well underway for Sunday.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 8/31/12

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 8/31/12


The finish line as you head to Downtown Disney.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 8/31/12


Today there was a health and fitness expo at the Disneyland Hotel convention center.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 8/31/12

I had not seen these banners before. I like the retro look.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 8/31/12


Walked through the Expo.

All day today and Saturday there were speakers on the main stage.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 8/31/12


The Expo was set up the same as the other events. On the left when you walked in was the Official Merchandise shop. The center area had the speakers, then the right side had all the booths. The merchandise area was the most crowded.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 8/31/12

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 8/31/12

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 8/31/12

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 8/31/12

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 8/31/12

Character locations for the race.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 8/31/12

Photo backdrop in the lobby.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 8/31/12


Heading through Downtown Disney... there is not much visible progress at the Earl of Sandwich location. Though the initial announcement had the shop opening in "Summer", now with less than three weeks left of the summer and no official date that seems unlikely.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 8/31/12


Halloween displays at World of Disney

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 8/31/12

In DCA Buena Vista Street was alive with activity.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 8/31/12


The beads are gone from Fillmore's Taste-In.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 8/31/12

First attraction of the day for me.. Maters. Only a 15 minute wait.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 8/31/12

Walked through Dancing with Disney. It seemed more crowded than previous visits. Could be parents sought out the A/C.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 8/31/12

Displays for upcoming films in the Animation Building.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 8/31/12

Stopped by Off the Page. Thought this was odd.. Glow Ears in a display case.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 8/31/12

On the Performing Arts stage in the Backlot Theater were the Joyful Noise Makers - Handchimes from Garden Grove California

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 8/31/12

A video clip of the group performing. (Laura inserts a warning here: it is That Song, so beware! :-) )

Over in Disneyland Soundsational was making its way down Main Street.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 8/31/12


The Fantasy Faire is starting to take shape.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 8/31/12

The new Village Haus LCD menu boards were installed and operational. In addition to the menu display there is some animation, too.
Village Haus Menu.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 8/31/12

A video clip of the menu.

Stopped by the Jamboree. A couple of Country Bears were enjoying the Billies performance.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 8/31/12

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 8/31/12


Donald was out for pictures.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 8/31/12

Goofy joined the Bears.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 8/31/12

The Bears heading in.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 8/31/12

Chip and Dale came out next.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 8/31/12

Cowboy Minnie and Mickey stopped by the coloring station for a while.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 8/31/12

The nightly running of the goats...

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 8/31/12

And parade of the horse.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 8/31/12

The Mansion is closed since the installation of the Nightmare overlay is in progress - Halloween Time begins very early this year - September 14.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 8/31/12


The Harbour Galley has baked potatoes now.
Harbour Galley Menu.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 8/31/12

The Blue Moon rising over the Rivers of America (I know over-exposed).

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 8/31/12

Pirates League will be open in New Orleans Square from September 1 - October 31.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 8/31/12

The Suburban Legends performing at Tomorrowland Terrace Friday.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 8/31/12

A video clip of their finale.. Gummy Bears!

With the Fantasyland Theater area closed, the princesses have moved their meet and greet to the "small world" terraced area, though in the evening they were long gone...

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 8/31/12


The Magic, the Memories, and You ends this week so I went to one last showing before it disappears.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 8/31/12

To wrap up the night watched Fantasmic. Found this grouping of Glow with the Show Ears.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 8/31/12

A video clip of the princess segment.


Noticed the information booth by the trams now has DVC logos on it.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 8/31/12



Hope you enjoyed this highlight tour of the Disneyland Resort. For additional photos and details from this trip you can check out the full Disneyland Update I posted on my site, http://disneygeek.com Also be sure to follow me on twitter @disneygeekcom for pictures from the parks.



September 7, 2012

Disneyland Half Marathon 2012 - Part 2

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Another Disneyland Half Marathon completed! We had a very good race, and finished in 2:25:30, which is a really good time for us in a Disney race since we stop for photos - though we didn't stop for all the characters this time.

Disneyland Half Marathon 2012

This year the half marathon started a little earlier - at 5:45 instead of 6:00. Probably because they added more people to it - it was capped at 17,000 this year.

One thing we LOVE about the Disneyland races as opposed to the WDW races is that we can WALK to the start line - no need to allow a bunch of extra time to deal with buses! So rather than catching a bus at 4:00 a.m. we scheduled a wake-up call for 4:00 a.m., and left the room about 4:40. This was our view at the time...(I loved this room - I was so sorry to leave it!)

Disneyland Half Marathon 2012

There was quite a bit of foot traffic next to the Disneyland Hotel and for a while we felt like we were doing the "marathon shuffle" like we do at WDW when going to the start corrals. But that didn't last too long, and we went to the pre-race area where we met up with other Team AllEars runners.

Disneyland Half Marathon 2012

After the photo (and a porta-potty stop) we went off to the start corrals. It seemed to me like they had a lot more porta-potties this year, though some of them were back-to-back and people didn't realize they were there! They also had some out alongside the start corrals, which I don't remember seeing in the past.

We were in Corral B along with Mike and Christine from Team AllEars. We were way in the back since we didn't get there until 5:25 or so. :-) But that was nice since it meant a lot less time standing and waiting!

A service member sang the national anthem - accompanied by "the rocket's red glare" and "the bombs bursting in air".

Disneyland Half Marathon 2012

At 5:45 the wheelchair athletes started, with Corral A a couple of minutes after that. All the waves started at 5-minute intervals so we started 5 minutes after Corral A. We were actually jogging (though quite slowly) even before we reached the start line...and then we were off down Disneyland Drive!

Disneyland Half Marathon 2012

The first mile was on city streets around the perimeter of DCA before entering the property where we ran behind Cars Land and Paradise Pier. This is always a bit cruel, because we also run on that road at the end of the race - so we see the Mile 12 sign twice.

With all of the construction that's been going on in DCA over the last few years, the half marathon course has been a little different every year - it will be interesting to see whether this year's course will be the official course for a while. We entered DCA at the parade gate next to Boardwalk Pizza and Pasta and ran around Paradise Bay, where some of the World of Color fountains were performing just for us.

Disneyland Half Marathon 2012

And then the half marathon course took us into Radiator Springs down Route 66 for the first time! It was still before sunrise, and the neon lights were on.

Disneyland Half Marathon 2012

We took a left at the traffic light and ran past Luigi's then quickly ducked backstage before re-entering the park next to the Tower of Terror. Then it was through Hollywood and past the Carthay Circle Restaurant and Soarin' Over California, then a right turn and out into the eastern end of Downtown Disney. In the past we have gone backstage at Disneyland on the east side of Main Street, but this time we were on the west side before going into Town Square.

Disneyland Half Marathon 2012

Another change - we went left into Frontierland and took the Big Thunder Trail to Fantasyland and then ran through the castle and went right into Tomorrowland. There were some characters out, but unlike WDW they do not allow spectators on Main Street in Disneyland, and I miss that.

In Tomorrowland were Darth Vader and the Storm Troopers - I regretted not getting my photo taken with them last year, so I was NOT going to miss it this year! There were about 10 people in line in front of us, but the line went quickly. One of the guys in front of us stepped up to Darth and put both hands around his own throat like he was choking - and Darth raised his hand in the "Force Choke" gesture. Very clever.

Disneyland Half Marathon 2012

We ran around the Matterhorn to the "small world" mall - that's where the princesses were (Belle, Cinderella, and Snow White), but we only stopped for Merida. This time each princess was by herself, instead of having them all together, so the lines weren't as bad.

Disneyland Half Marathon 2012

In Toontown were Daisy Duck and Clarice the Chipmunk.

Disneyland Half Marathon 2012

Then we went backstage again, where some of the Big Thunder Ranch residents were watching the runners go by! The horse and donkey seemed quite interested - though when we posed with them it seemed what they REALLY wanted was to see if our bibs were edible. :-)

Disneyland Half Marathon 2012

We went back out onto Disneyland Drive and that was it for park time. We're not even quite to mile 4, with over 9 miles to go, and most of the fun is over. That's the thing I really don't like about the Disneyland Half Marathon course.

The race spent the next four miles meandering up and down the streets of the Anaheim industrial park. We so appreciate the support of the community in this area - every street has bands and dance groups and cheer squads to entertain us. I always look forward to seeing the big Mariachi/Mexican dance group and the Hawaiian hula group. I know they have to get up very early to get out there in time to perform for us!

Disneyland Half Marathon 2012

Something new this year - with this year's race having more of a "cars" theme because of the opening of Cars Land, Disney put a call out for volunteers with "specialty and vintage vehicles". And, wow, did they answer the call! There must have been a couple of hundred vehicles parked on the road, from classic touring cars to "woodies", plus Cadillacs, Corvettes, and other muscle cars. It was really special.

Disneyland Half Marathon 2012

In the parking lot at the Honda Center was one last car - a really great replica of Lightning McQueen!

Disneyland Half Marathon 2012

One of my favorite parts of the race is just past the Honda Center, where we run on the dirt along the Santa Ana trail for a while. It feels really good after pounding pavement for 8+ miles. But it's a bit narrow, so it can get congested.

When we arrived at the parking lot for Angel Stadium the cheerleaders, Boy Scouts, and Girl Scouts were out in force to encourage us. A lot of the boys were high-fiveing runners, and a couple of them were counting how many high-fives they had received. :-)

I think one of the biggest thrills of the race is running in Angel Stadium - we run on the dirt from right field around home plate and out to left field. And around third base there's a camera that shows runners on the Jumbotron. There were hundreds of Boy Scouts and Girls Scouts inside cheering us on - they were really loud this year. That comes just before the 10-mile mark in the race where a lot of us are getting pretty tired, and it gives us a great boost of energy.

Disneyland Half Marathon 2012

Another two miles and we were back on that road behind Cars Land again - only this time we were really WERE at mile 12! Sometimes they have some characters back there but not this year - it was pretty quiet, so I guess we were all focused on finishing. Once we crossed Disneyland Drive by the Paradise Pier hotel it was NOT quiet and we had wonderful crowds to cheer us on the final .3 miles. That makes a big difference for me in finishing strong. The course gets a little narrow as it approaches the finish so you have to be a little careful. But at the finish line Mickey, Minnie, and Chip and Dale were there to welcome us - I got a high-four from Mickey as I went by. The race announcer called out Lee's name as he finished.

Disneyland Half Marathon 2012

It seemed strange to only be getting one medal this time - but we already got our Coast-to-Coast medals in January. It's the same medal as last year (other than the year), but it's a really beautiful medal.

Disneyland Half Marathon 2012

It was a warm sunny day (though not as hot as I feared it would be) and we were grateful for the cool towels that they gave us after we finished. The bottles of water were also cold, and I do not remember that being the case in the past. That was very refreshing.

When we got to the food tent, instead of piles of bagels and muffins and oranges and bananas, all they had was these piles of runDisney boxes - along with bananas at the end of the tables. That seemed odd to me. Since the box was one more thing to juggle I didn't open it until after we returned to our room.

Disneyland Half Marathon 2012

Inside were packages of crackers, peanut butter, gummy candies, almond roca, raisins, and an energy bar.

Disneyland Half Marathon 2012

I still haven't made up my mind about this. Part of me thinks it's a nice variety of snacks that are better than what is usually available, and the box makes it easy to carry. And part of me thinks: "Come on, Disney, you can do better than that!" I know how tired and uncoordinated I am after a race, and trying to deal with opening the box, not to mention all of those cellophane and foil packages inside, would be intensely frustrating when all I'm trying to do is get some quick energy into my body. I didn't take the time to open the box until we got back to our room, and to be honest there wasn't really anything in there that I would've WANTED to eat right after finishing a race - maybe the gummies. But I usually go for the orange slices and a bagel when I finish. Something easy to eat and NOT packaged. I think I give this idea a FAIL.

We both felt good after the race - tired, of course, but we still had plenty of energy for the walk back to the Grand Californian. After we'd showered we went to Storytellers Cafe where we had reservations for a late breakfast with another couple from Team AllEars. We really enjoy the breakfast buffet there - especially after a race! As you might expect it was very busy, but since we had reservations we got in fairly quickly. It's a character meal, but it's pretty laid-back - and it's always fun to show our medals to the characters.

In the afternoon we had a Team AllEars meet at Clarabelle's in DCA - after our half marathon we figured we all deserved ice cream! :-) I had the mocha sundae, which was very good, and Lee had the strawberry sundae.

Disneyland Half Marathon 2012

After ice cream we posed on Buena Vista Street with our medals - first with the Storytellers statue (even Mickey has a Coast-to-Coast medal!):

Disneyland Half Marathon 2012

And then with Pluto. It was a lot of fun, and great to get to know some of our teammates a little better.

Disneyland Half Marathon 2012

This was our fifth Disneyland Half Marathon and despite my criticism of the course, it's still a race that we really enjoy. The logistics make it an "easy" race for us - we don't have to travel very far and since we stay on-site there's no transportation and traffic hassles before and after the race.

The race would not be what it is without the tremendous support of a lot of people, so I'd like to take this opportunity to say a huge "Thank You!" to all of the wonderful volunteers at the aid stations, the Disney cast members, and to all of the community groups, bands, dancers, cheerleaders, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, classic car enthusiasts, and everyone else who came out to cheer us on and support us. You made it better for those of us running the race, and we appreciate your efforts so very much!


September 8, 2012

Disneyland Half Marathon 2012 - Part 3, The Food

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It wouldn't be one of my Disney trip reports without a blog entry on the food, right? :-)

Friday night we had dinner at Ralph Brennan's Jazz Kitchen in Downtown Disney. We don't eat here very often, and I don't really know why, because we always look at the menu and have a hard time choosing - there are so many things that look good! I had made a priority seating for 8:00, and we were quickly seated at an outdoor table on the ground floor right against the railing, so we had a great spot to people-watch those going by.

We started with the Bourbon Street Sampler. The items on this change periodically - this time it was fried calamari, coconut shrimp, parmesan artichoke hearts, and meat pies, with three dipping sauces. We substituted more shrimp instead of the calamari - they are happy to do that. It was all good.

Disneyland Half Marathon 2012

I had one of their specials as my entree - it was a blackened shrimp and fried green tomato salad with avocado, radishes, bacon, and dijon-ranch dressing. It was really delicious! The fried green tomatoes were breaded and nicely cooked. The shrimp had a little bit of a kick, but not too bad.

Disneyland Half Marathon 2012

Lee ordered the Pasta Jambalaya - Gulf shrimp, andouille sausage, roasted chicken and spinach fettuccine. He also enjoyed that, and couldn't finish it.

Disneyland Half Marathon 2012

We ordered a side of Cajun Corn Bread. It was good - not too dry like corn bread often is. It had some peppers in it - Lee got the bite with most of the heat in it. :-)

Disneyland Half Marathon 2012

Their signature dessert, the Double Chocolate Bread Pudding Souffle, takes time to prepare so they ask that you pre-order it. We asked to look at the dessert menu just in case there was something else we wanted...and there were other interesting-looking desserts but we went with the bread pudding. It comes with white chocolate sauce and dark chocolate sauce - our server cut a chunk out of the middle of the souffle and poured both sauces in then replaced the chunk...and then we dug in. Mmm...this was really good! When he first brought it out it seemed a little small for two of us, but it was very filling and satisfying - and I was glad that it wasn't any bigger. There were chunks of chocolate baked into it in addition to the chocolate sauce - I think the secret is to dig down to the bottom so you get some chocolate sauce with every bite.

Disneyland Half Marathon 2012

Saturday morning we tried the La Brea Bakery Express - we hadn't eaten here since it was remodeled. It's a lot bigger now with a more extensive menu, but they need to do something about the line, because it moves incredibly slowly. They need more cashiers. I was boring and had oatmeal (though it was good oatmeal), though I bought a box of their fruit/granola/nut clusters and added some of that to it. Lee had one of the breakfast sandwiches, and he enjoyed that. They have a good-sized outdoor seating area and it was a very pleasant morning to sit outside. I'd eat here again as long as there weren't more than 3-4 people in front of me in line - otherwise I'd try elsewhere.

That afternoon we had a late lunch at Trader Sam's at the Disneyland Hotel. We were lucky to be able to find a table inside for the five of us - it's not a very big place. It has lots of atmosphere - like thunder, lightning, and erupting volcanoes... :-) (There are certain special effects that happen when people order several of the drinks.)

We ordered a couple of the non-alcoholic brews, since we were still in training. I had the Jungle River Sunset - soda water with OJ, falernum (whatever that is), and hibiscus grenadine. It was very colorful but very sweet - less ice and more soda water would have been good. Lee had the Schweitzer Falls - Sprite with tropical juices and Sam's Gorilla Grog. That one isn't quite as sweet.

We ordered the Chicken-Lettuce Wraps. This is a "do-it-yourself" - they bring a platter with lettuce leaves, chicken, rice noodles, and hoisin sauce and you make your own. The chicken was very good, and we enjoyed these.

Disneyland Half Marathon 2012

We also had the Fish Tacos. Three smallish corn tortillas with grilled mahi-mahi, and a pepper slaw on the side. They were very tasty, but pretty small.

Disneyland Half Marathon 2012

Our tablemates had the Kahlua Pork Flatbread and the Cheese Flatbread. Judging by how fast they disappeared, they really enjoyed them. :-)

Disneyland Half Marathon 2012

Disneyland Half Marathon 2012

It was the night before a race, so of course we went in search of pasta. :-) Last year there was no one in Boardwalk Pizza and Pasta but this year the word has gotten out about that place and there was a line - we had to wait 5-10 minutes to get the Three Cheese Ravioli. It's very good.

Disneyland Half Marathon 2012

We also split a Boardwalk Field Greens Salad - a little too much dressing and bleu cheese for me, though.

Disneyland Half Marathon 2012

And Lee had the BBQ Chicken Flat Bread Pizza. He really likes that, but I don't like the flat bread crust.

After the race on Sunday we rewarded ourselves with the breakfast buffet at Storytellers Cafe in the Grand Californian. The breakfast buffet has just about all of the items that are on the a la carte menu, and doesn't cost that much more. It's a very nice spread - fresh fruit, yogurt, lox and bagels, scrambled eggs, sausage, bacon, hash browns, hot and cold cereal, pastries, eggs Benedict, and, my favorite, made-to-order omelets. Pancakes and Mickey waffles are also available - just ask your server, and they are served fresh and hot to your table! Hot beverages and juices are also included. Not surprisingly it was VERY popular with runners, and the line at the buffet was longer than I've ever seen it. :-( If you want to do this on race day, make reservations at least a couple of weeks before - they were still taking walk-ups, but they were being told it was a 45-minute wait, and we got in with about a 5-minute wait.

It's a character meal, though as character meals go it's fairly calm. We saw Dale, Terk and Kenai, but Koda and Chip didn't make it to our table. In the past I've seen Rafiki and Meeko, too.

That afternoon we met up with members of Team AllEars at Clarabelle's Hand-Scooped Ice Cream in DCA for ice cream (though a couple of people opted for Starbuck's beverages from the Pig Cafe next door instead). I had the Mocha Sundae - mocha almond ice cream, caramel sauce, hot fudge, whipped cream and a cherry in a waffle cup. Yum.

Disneyland Half Marathon 2012

Lee had the Strawberry Sundae with vanilla ice cream, strawberry sauce, whipped cream and a cherry in a waffle cup. He enjoyed that, too.

Disneyland Half Marathon 2012

We had dinner that night at Steakhouse 55 in the Disneyland Hotel. We'd never been there for a "regular" dinner before - our other dinners were Winemaker dinners during the Food and Wine Festivals. We've had breakfast there several times, and enjoy that. Overall it wasn't a great experience - the food was good, but our server was a little odd. He didn't welcome us to the restaurant or ask us if we were celebrating anything (which we were), didn't really tell us about the menu, didn't ask Lee if he wanted anything on his steak - really didn't interact with us very much at all and it was kind of uncomfortable.

Lee started with the scallops, and really enjoyed them.

Disneyland Half Marathon 2012

I had the Spring Greens Salad with raspberry vinaigrette - and to my surprise it was freshly made raspberry vinaigrette with real crushed raspberries in it! It was very good.

Disneyland Half Marathon 2012

Oh, the bread service was really good, too - a loaf of fresh hot sourdough bread. I would've been very happy with just bread and salad. :-)

My entree was Pork Chops with Roasted Apples. The pork was moist and flavorful and especially good when eaten with a bit of the applesauce that came with it.

Disneyland Half Marathon 2012

As a side I ordered the Potato Stack Au Gratin. Oh my...that was SO good! Cheesy but with a bit of a crust on top. I loved it.

Disneyland Half Marathon 2012

Lee had the New York Strip Steak. Since our server didn't ask him if he wanted anything on top of it he used some of the butter that came with our bread instead, and enjoyed that.

Disneyland Half Marathon 2012

He had Macaroni and Cheese as a side. It was good, but the potato stack was better. :-)

Disneyland Half Marathon 2012

Nothing on the dessert menu really appealed to us - while I was intrigued by the 24-layer chocolate cake, they ruin it by using Grand Marnier in it. (That violates Laura's First Chocolate Commandment: Thou Shalt Not Mix Chocolate and Citrus.) So we went to the Cupcake Store in Downtown Disney and had cupcakes instead - Pure Chocolate for me and Coconut for Lee. Not quite as good as a great chocolate dessert would have been, but still satisfying.

Disneyland Half Marathon 2012
Disneyland Half Marathon 2012

On Monday morning they had Magic Morning at DCA for hotel guests. After we'd ridden Radiator Springs Racers, Luigi's Flying Tires, Mater's Junkyard Jamboree and Toy Story Mania, we had breakfast at Flo's V8 Cafe. We both had the Chicken Tamale Breakfast - a chicken tamale with scrambled eggs, salsa verde, and pico de gallo. This was just ok...the tamale was good, but the eggs were more like chunks from an egg casserole, and the whole dish was not overly warm. I probably would not get it again.

Disneyland Half Marathon 2012

I also tried Mater's Tulsa Tea - this was green iced tea with a tropical fruit foam on top. It was a little too sweet for me, though not as sweet as I thought it might be. It did have a pretty good flavor apart from the sweetness.

Disneyland Half Marathon 2012

It was a great weekend, and nice to have some new dining experiences in addition to some familiar favorites.

September 11, 2012

Disney Magic Canada Cruise - Preview

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The Disney Magic has been sailing out of the port of New York this summer, and venturing both south to the Bahamas and north to Canada. Lee and i will be on the final Canada/New England Coast Cruise. This is a five-night cruise with stops in Halifax, Nova Scotia and Saint John, New Brunswick, plus two days at sea.

On departure day we'll get to sail out of New York Harbor past the Statue of Liberty! I'm looking forward to that.

Disney Magic Canada Cruise

We've heard that both ports are very walkable, so we haven't booked any excursions. I have to admit that one of the things I am most looking forward to in Halifax is going to the Beaver Tail stand! I really enjoyed those when they were in the Canada pavilion at Epcot.

I am planning to blog while we're on the cruise - but as always that will be dependent on how good/bad the internet connectivity is.


September 14, 2012

Disney Magic Canada Cruise - Part 1

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We're back on the Disney Magic for our five-night cruise to Canada!

Before the cruise we spent three days in New York City, and had a
great time sightseeing - Central Park, the Empire State Building,
United Nations, Staten Island Ferry, and the World Trade Center
site. We were in the city on September 11, and we went to Lower
Manhattan that night to see the Tribute Lights. That was
quite beautiful.

Disney Magic Canada Cruise

The Disney Magic has been berthed at the Manhattan Cruise Terminal
on the west side of Manhattan while it has been here. It was pretty
easy to find, and it was lovely to see the ship!

Disney Magic Canada Cruise

We actually arrived early enough to board WHEN our boarding group
was called for a change! I have to admit that, since our last two
cruises have been aboard the Fantasy and the Dream, that the atrium
of the Magic seemed pretty small when we walked in.

Disney Magic Canada Cruise

After lunch we walked the length of the ship taking some photos...
and that also seemed a lot shorter. We actually really like the
Magic, and I think we actually prefer it to the larger ships, but we
really noticed the size difference this time.

We're trying an experiment this time, and are in a deluxe oceanview
stateroom rather than a stateroom with a veranda. We figure we can
spend the money we've saved on other things (though alas, there is
no Ooh La La on this ship!). Lee now has his very own Castaway
Club backpack - I laid claim to the one we got earlier this year
(which I brought on this trip as my airline carry-on!).

Disney Magic Canada Cruise

The ship sailed just before 5:00, and of course the highlights were
sailing by the various landmarks of the Manhattan skyline, and then
sailing by the Statue of Liberty. The light wasn't good for photos,
but it was still a great moment.

Disney Magic Canada Cruise

Instead of seeing the opening night show we opted to see Brave
in the Buena Vista Theater, since I hadn't seen it. Unfortunately
they had a problem with the sound system and most of the dialog was
very hard to hear. Oh well.

As always, our first night dinner was in Parrot Cay. We've done
five cruises on the Magic and Wonder, and we have always had the
same dining rotation, which starts in Parrot Cay. Sigh. I'll have
a separate food blog after the cruise.

Today was a Sea day. We woke up to clear blue sky and absolutely
smooth water - I couldn't even tell that we were moving.

Disney Magic Canada Cruise

For a sea day we were pretty busy, though we had a good time. We
went to the DVC Member celebration (where they served us Mimosas),
then a reception for Gold and Platinum Castaway Club members (where
they also served us champagne cocktails). We grabbed a quick lunch
at Goofy's Galley (salads and sandwiches), and while we were on
deck 9 we ran into Christine, one of our fellow Team AllEars members!
We'd seen her at the Disneyland Half Marathon, but we didn't realize
we'd be on this cruise together until she saw some Facebook posts
from me yesterday!

After lunch we went to a wine tasting in Sessions, where we sampled
two white wines, two red wines, and a sparkling wine. They call
the tastings "From Stem to Stern" - very clever. They gave us a
pin with that phrase on it at the end. We enjoyed that a lot.

Disney Magic Canada Cruise

So after all of that wine...we took a nap in the afternoon. :-)

Instead of seeing tonight's stage show, Twice Charmed (which we'd
seen before), we went to the Buena Vista Theater and saw The
Avengers instead. I'm happy to report that the sound system was
working properly today, and we both liked the movie. When we came
out of the show we saw the end of a beautiful sunset!

Disney Magic Canada Cruise

There's no Formal Night on this cruise, but tonight was Dress
Up
night. Dinner was in Lumiere's - that's always a nice place
to be on the night we get dressed up.

Tomorrow we'll be in Saint John, New Brunswick. Looks like
the weather will be sunny and in the high 60s, so it should be a
very nice day to be out wandering around the city!


September 15, 2012

Disney Magic Canada Cruise - Part 2, Saint John, New Brunswick

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Today we were in Saint John, New Brunswick (not to be confused with
St. Johns, Newfoundland!). It's on the Bay of Fundy, which is
well-known for its extreme high and low tides (if you've seen the O
Canada movie at Epcot you might remember seeing boats floating at
high tide that are completely beached at low tide), though the tides
aren't that bad here.

It was grey and foggy when we arrived - the forecast called for it
to clear up by lunch time, but unfortunately that never happened,
and it was foggy all day. :-(

We moved into the Atlantic timezone last night, so we lost an hour.
Still, we were scheduled to be in port from 8:30-4:30, so that was
plenty of time. We slept in a bit and had breakfast (buffet) at
Parrot Cay before disembarking around 10:00.

The port building is downtown, so there's plenty of places to walk
to. Lots of old buildings dating from the 1700s and 1800s.

Disney Magic Canada Cruise

There's a very nice walking/cycling bath called the Harbour
Passage
that goes along the edge of the Saint John Harbour and
out along the Saint John River towards one of the main tourist
attractions: Reversing Falls. The high tide in the Bay of
Fundy causes the current in the Saint John river to reverse, so the
flow of the rapids changes direction depending on the tide. It's
not really a waterfall but a series of rapids.

Disney Magic Canada Cruise

It's a couple of miles from the port, and was a very nice walk for
us, though it would have been a lot nicer on a clearer day. We
could only barely see the Disney Magic in the distance.

Disney Magic Canada Cruise

It was just past high tide when we got to the falls area, and we
could really see how fast the current was flowing.

Disney Magic Canada Cruise

The Reversing Falls area would be a lot more attractive if not for
this huge pulp and paper mill across the river! There wasn't really
a lot to do there - there is viewing from the Reversing Falls
bridge, where the photo above was taken, and also from Fallsview
Park (photo below), which is another 1/2 mile or so up the river.
That's where the jet boat tours are, and where the zip line is.

Disney Magic Canada Cruise

We went across the bridge to Wolastoq Park where there were a
number of statues of various historical figures (Benedict Arnold was
one!), including two that told a First People story about Koluskap
and the Giant Beaver. Thanks to him, beavers are much smaller now! :-)

Disney Magic Canada Cruise

On our walk back we could see how much the water level had changed
in just a couple of hours - this area was under water when we walked
to the falls.

Disney Magic Canada Cruise

We wandered around the downtown area and visited a couple of parks
and the Trinity Church. There was a coffee place called the Java
Moose - the three girls working there were all wearing various kinds
of Mickey Mouse ears since our ship was in port. :-)

Disney Magic Canada Cruise
Disney Magic Canada Cruise

And then there was this fabulous site, where, in 1897, nothing
happened. Wow. Who knew? :-) (Lee gets the credit for spotting this
sign!)

Disney Magic Canada Cruise

We didn't have to be back on-board until 4:30, but by 2:30 we had
seen what we wanted to see...if it had been a nicer day there were
some other things we would have ventured out to see, like Rockwood
Park and the Carleton-Martello Tower, but with the fog, there wasn't
a view of anything. Tonight when we left port, within about 5
minutes we couldn't see anything around us but fog. :-(

Since we were back early we decided to watch a movie in our
stateroom, and enjoyed that. Oh, while I'm thinking about it I
should say something about our stateroom...unlike most of our recent
cruises this stateroom has been very quiet - no creaking, banging,
vibrating or other bothersome aspects to it. It's just a little bit
aft of mid-ship, so it's a very convenient location, especially to the
restaurants. Though we still get plenty of exercise going up to
deck 9 for beverages and snacks several times a day!

Dinner tonight is in Animator's Palate.

Tomorrow we'll be in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Hoping for better
weather there, though it looks like we might have fog again.


The Art of Frankenweenie

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On September 14, a special exhibit in the Disney Animation building of DCA opened to the Public: The Art of Frankenweenie. This collection of puppets, sets, drawings and armatures from the making of the upcoming movie "Frankenweenie," offers insight into the entire process of making a stop-motion animated film.

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In a special preview event, Frankenweenie Producer Allison Abbate and Executive Producer Don Hahn were on hand to show people around the exhibit.

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The roots of the film actually begin back in 1984 with Tim Burton's short animated film of of the same name. A personal story to Burton, drawing on his background of Southern California suburban living, his relationship with his dog, and his fascination with horror movie iconography, he has remade it into a feature-length film--the first he has written, directed, and produced since Edward Scissorhands.

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The first display, entitled "Tim Burton's Desk," shows a number of his early sketches for the 1984 film, and shows how some of them ultimately got translated into a three-dimensional puppet.

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Details such as the fabric used on the figures' clothing and the minute variations on mouth position are all on display.

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There are also three complete sets used during filming, along with various miniature props and pieces that are phenomenally detailed. As far as I could tell, every tiny piece of paper, whether it was a newspaper or a note tacked to the refrigerator had actual legible writing on it.

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In the set depicting Victor's attic laboratory where he reanimates his late lamented canine, switches run across the front of the case that can be toggled to turn on and off various lights around the room.

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Finally, in the classroom of New Holland, Victor's science teacher (suspiciously resembling Vincent Price,) Mr. Rzykruski gives Victor the idea for bringing the dead back to life with the fantastic properties of electricity.

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One disappointing part of this exhibit (which has been shown at Comic-Con) is that each case has a small video display showing what appears to be documentary footage, but which has no sound coming from the speakers. I was told by a cast member that they couldn't turn the sound on loud enough to be heard over the ambient music in the main Animation Lobby, which apparently has no volume control. It would be great to be able to tell what they were saying, even if it was just in the form of video captions.

After looking around the exhibit, the producers held a small Q&A in the Animation Academy room.

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Points discussed:
Frankenweenie is a true family film, with relatable characters for children, and an abundance of old horror/film references to pique the adults.
The stop-motion process used was particularly appropriate for this story, as both involved bringing the inanimate to life.
The amount of time involved with stop-motion filming is prodigious--Abbate told us an average week might see them accomplish around eight seconds of footage.
Virtually all of the film is hand-manipulated puppetry, however some transitions and outdoor environments are computer generated.
Despite the melancholy aspects to the story, it is ultimately about the relationship of a boy and his dog, and what it means to love something that much.

After the Q&A, guests who purchased a special event package were invited to dine at a location just adjacent to Tower of Terror, and were treated to an elaborately decorated area where all the food was presented as parts of science experiments.

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By far, the cutest food item was the Sparky-shaped eclairs.

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While they were eating, the guests were told that, as a special surprise, they would be able to screen the entire movie later in the evening. The rest of the APs were able to watch the trailer, showing in 4D at the theater generally hosting Muppets 3D (warning: You will get wet.)

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There are also seasonal foods offered with appropriate theming...

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And the usual abundance of merchandise for those so inclined.

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Certainly with all this work and artistry evident on display, expectations could reasonably be high for Frankenweenie--opening October 5, 2012.

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The Art of Frankenweenie will be open to the public and on view in the Animation Building of DCA from September 14th to November 5th. For the first week, AP holders will have expedited entry during the first two hours after park opening.

September 18, 2012

Disney Magic Canada Cruise - Part 3, Halifax

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Today we were in Halifax, Nova Scotia. When we woke up this morning we were still off the coast of Nova Scotia and the skies were clear - yay! But as we approached closer to Halifax we went into a fog bank again... boo!

Disney Magic Canada Cruise

Fortunately by the time we docked and were able to disembark, about 10:00, the fog had lifted, and we had a mixture of sun and clouds (mostly sun) the rest of the day. Yay!!!

When I came downstairs after watching us dock I was able to get my picture taken with a certain mouse - such a gentleman!

Disney Magic Canada Cruise

We had again chosen not to take an organized excursion, but instead to wander around town on our own - there were a lot of sights to see not far from the port, and in fact we didn't have time to do all of the items on our list. We could've used the extra two hours here that we had in Saint John yesterday. (Saint John was 8:30-4:30, today was 10:30-4:30.)

On our way to the Citadel we went through The Public Gardens. This late in the season the plantings were a little disappointing but it was still a very nice area, and quite large.

Disney Magic Canada Cruise

We saw these G.O.U.S. there. (Geese Of Unusual Size, for those of you who are not Princess Bride fans.) They were kind of scary looking. First giant beavers and then giant geese - is EVERYTHING bigger in Canada?

Disney Magic Canada Cruise

The Citadel is one of the "must-see" attractions in Halifax. It's a star-shaped fort, originally built in 1749, and re-fortified multiple times after that. Halifax is in a strategic position because of its large natural harbor, but (probably because of the defense system) it's never been attacked. It was about a 2-mile walk from the Magic.

Disney Magic Canada Cruise

Since the Citadel is on a hill above the city there's a lovely view from there, so we were really glad that we had a clear day today!

Disney Magic Canada Cruise

Inside there are several museums and a couple of movies, as well as costumed soldiers who do live demonstrations. There's a changing of the guard ceremony every hour, and we saw a demonstration on firing a breech-loading rifle.

Disney Magic Canada Cruise

At noon every day (except Christmas) since 1856, they fire one of the cannons - the Noon Gun. We were there for that, and enjoyed seeing it - I plugged my ears during the actual firing of it, since it's pretty loud! :-)

Disney Magic Canada Cruise

We also walked up on top of the walls all the way around. There was a fair bit to do there - we were probably there for a couple of hours and didn't see everything.

I'm sure a lot of you remember the BeaverTail stand they used to have at the Canada pavilion at Epcot. It was always one of our favorites, and we were very disappointed when it closed. Well, before we left home I discovered that there was a BeaverTail stand close to the port (along their Harbourwalk), so that was the #1 item on my To Do list for Halifax!

Disney Magic Canada Cruise

And it did not disappoint - yummy, warm, freshly fried crisp and chewy dough. Lee chose the classic, coated with cinnamon-sugar, and I had Nutella spread on mine. Oh soooooo good!

Disney Magic Canada Cruise

Another recommended sight in Halifax was the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. It had quite a few different areas, with exhibits on shipwrecks, sailing and steam vessels, the Halifax Explosion of 1917 (which leveled much of the city), and cabling ships which laid/repaired the transatlantic telegraph cables. The most popular exhibit was on the Titanic - people are endlessly fascinated by that. I thought most of their other exhibits were more interesting, though. By then we were getting a bit tired of being on our feet so probably didn't enjoy the museum as much as we might have earlier. But since it was closest to the ship we did it last since we knew we could get back to the ship in time from there. As I said before, we really could've used an extra two hours in Halifax.

Disney Magic Canada Cruise

On our walk back to the ship we saw this cutie in the water. I think he was probably trying to beg bait from some people who were fishing - or maybe he was stealing the bait from their lines and then coming up to gloat.

Disney Magic Canada Cruise

We'd hoped to do a brewery tour but didn't have the time, but there was a place very near the ship that offered tasting sizes, so Lee was at least able to try a couple of tastes in the short time we had left. As it turned out we didn't really have to worry - at 4:20 the line to re-board was quite long, and we didn't actually pull away until 5:15.

Disney Magic Canada Cruise

We had a very full day in Halifax and enjoyed the city very much - a lot more than Saint John. It's a place I would return to, whereas I have more of a "been there, done that" feeling about Saint John.

Tonight is Pirate Night... but perhaps Disney should be a bit cautious about advertising that around here... in the Maritime Museum we saw what they do to pirates in these parts!

Disney Magic Canada Cruise

Tomorrow is a day at sea... it'll be nice to kick back and relax a bit on our final full day on board.


September 19, 2012

Disneyland Resort Halloween Time 2012 (9/14/12)

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Contributing photographer Jason of disneygeek.com sends us these photos from his trip to the parks on Friday, September 14, 2012.

Today marked the kickoff of HalloweenTime for the year, which runs through October 31. You'll find lots of HalloweenTime pictures here -- I'll have a separate post with a look around both parks a little later.


To start, here are the current HalloweenTime guidemaps and time guides.

Disneyland Resort Halloween Time 2012 (9/14/12)

Disneyland Resort Halloween Time 2012 (9/14/12)


New banners along Downtown Disney.

Disneyland Resort Halloween Time 2012 (9/14/12)

Disneyland Resort Halloween Time 2012 (9/14/12)

The pumpkin characters atop the entrance.

Disneyland Resort Halloween Time 2012 (9/14/12)

Disneyland Resort Halloween Time 2012 (9/14/12)

Disneyland Resort Halloween Time 2012 (9/14/12)

Disneyland Resort Halloween Time 2012 (9/14/12)


The usual Halloween decorations are up. I did not spot anything new.

Disneyland Resort Halloween Time 2012 (9/14/12)


Jack and Sally out by the Haunted Mansion FastPass area. New this year, no Fastpasses for the Mansion.

Disneyland Resort Halloween Time 2012 (9/14/12)


The Jack popcorn buckets are back.

Disneyland Resort Halloween Time 2012 (9/14/12)

Stopped by the Pirates League and it was quiet this afternoon.

Disneyland Resort Halloween Time 2012 (9/14/12)

A quick look around the store.

Disneyland Resort Halloween Time 2012 (9/14/12)

Disneyland Resort Halloween Time 2012 (9/14/12)


Since they were in between guests the crew let me take a couple pictures of the courtyard. There are four stations, two on this side (two on the other).

Disneyland Resort Halloween Time 2012 (9/14/12)

Overhead some props.

Disneyland Resort Halloween Time 2012 (9/14/12)

There is some Pirate treasure out and this is another photo area.

Disneyland Resort Halloween Time 2012 (9/14/12)

The Halloween tree has returned to Frontierland.

Disneyland Resort Halloween Time 2012 (9/14/12)

Disneyland Resort Halloween Time 2012 (9/14/12)


The Zocalo Park is again celebrating Dia De Los Muertos.

Disneyland Resort Halloween Time 2012 (9/14/12)

Disneyland Resort Halloween Time 2012 (9/14/12)


Out at the ranch the Halloween Round up was going on. The shack was about the same. The pumpkin carvers were moved to the Jamboree this year.

Disneyland Resort Halloween Time 2012 (9/14/12)

The goats are into the holiday spirit.

Disneyland Resort Halloween Time 2012 (9/14/12)


Moving to the Jamboree area, the Carnival has come to town.

Disneyland Resort Halloween Time 2012 (9/14/12)

Thought this was a clever use of cotton candy.

Disneyland Resort Halloween Time 2012 (9/14/12)

The Halloween Vittles that were for sale.

Disneyland Resort Halloween Time 2012 (9/14/12)

Only a few carvings have been done since today was the first day.

Disneyland Resort Halloween Time 2012 (9/14/12)

Disneyland Resort Halloween Time 2012 (9/14/12)

Disneyland Resort Halloween Time 2012 (9/14/12)


In the back corner there are a couple of games you can play.

Disneyland Resort Halloween Time 2012 (9/14/12)

Disneyland Resort Halloween Time 2012 (9/14/12)


I gave the fortune a spin...

Disneyland Resort Halloween Time 2012 (9/14/12)

Was given a card (and a brief story too)

Disneyland Resort Halloween Time 2012 (9/14/12)

Disneyland Resort Halloween Time 2012 (9/14/12)


Inside the tent was the Astounding Cauldron of Magic - Conjuring Villains, Just for Fun! Waited about 10 minutes to enter the tent. Captain Hook was on duty for my stop.

There was a PhotoPass photographer on hand to take your picture if you wished.

Disneyland Resort Halloween Time 2012 (9/14/12)

The line for the tent.

Disneyland Resort Halloween Time 2012 (9/14/12)


No shortage of choices for what you want your popcorn in around the Disneyland Resort (these three, the coffin, then over at Cars Land the car as well as cone box I think in Tomorrowland they still had R2D2, too).

Disneyland Resort Halloween Time 2012 (9/14/12)

Back at the Jamboree. A better picture of the carving area, it is the focal point when you first walk in.

Disneyland Resort Halloween Time 2012 (9/14/12)

Mickey was out for pictures.

The initial reports were the characters with their Halloween costumes would only be at the Jamboree this year. Then later some had backed off that so not sure the final stance.

If I were betting I would say when the Jamboree is open they will be there then in the evening once it closes they will be on Main Street.

Disneyland Resort Halloween Time 2012 (9/14/12)

Pluto was also out.

Disneyland Resort Halloween Time 2012 (9/14/12)

Since Mickey did not have a line he went over to spin the wheel and play around a bit.

Disneyland Resort Halloween Time 2012 (9/14/12)

Donald was next out of the gate.

Disneyland Resort Halloween Time 2012 (9/14/12)

The Billies made there way around the arena leading Mickeys Mask Parade which seemed a bit unorganized to me.

Disneyland Resort Halloween Time 2012 (9/14/12)

And the characters paraded around a little (Donald and Goofy were out at this time).

Disneyland Resort Halloween Time 2012 (9/14/12)

Disneyland Resort Halloween Time 2012 (9/14/12)



The Billies did their Haunted Hillbilly show, which featured the Devil Went Down to Georgia

Disneyland Resort Halloween Time 2012 (9/14/12)

Disneyland Resort Halloween Time 2012 (9/14/12)

A video of the Billies and parade.

A better picture of the coloring area.

Disneyland Resort Halloween Time 2012 (9/14/12)

Minnie was out after the show.

Disneyland Resort Halloween Time 2012 (9/14/12)

Mickey joined her for a couple pictures.

Disneyland Resort Halloween Time 2012 (9/14/12)

Frankenweenie has invaded the backlot including an exhibition in the Animation Building, sneak peek in the Muppet Theater and food at Award Wieners. Jeanine has a posting on it here

Disneyland Resort Halloween Time 2012 (9/14/12)


Back to Disneyland. Ghost Galaxy has returned.

Disneyland Resort Halloween Time 2012 (9/14/12)

Disneyland Resort Halloween Time 2012 (9/14/12)


Went to visit the Mansion, posted wait time was 50 minutes, but actually was just under 30. Sparky's grave.

Disneyland Resort Halloween Time 2012 (9/14/12)

Some random shots from inside, no real changes jumped out to me except the new gingerbread house in the ballroom.

Disneyland Resort Halloween Time 2012 (9/14/12)

Disneyland Resort Halloween Time 2012 (9/14/12)

The new house is very tall and hard to capture a decent photo of on a first pass by...

Disneyland Resort Halloween Time 2012 (9/14/12)

Disneyland Resort Halloween Time 2012 (9/14/12)


Back to Main Street to wait for Remember.

Disneyland Resort Halloween Time 2012 (9/14/12)

Disneyland Resort Halloween Time 2012 (9/14/12)


On the way out I was able to see the tram stop billboards

Disneyland Resort Halloween Time 2012 (9/14/12)

Disneyland Resort Halloween Time 2012 (9/14/12)

Disneyland Resort Halloween Time 2012 (9/14/12)


Hope you enjoyed this highlight tour of the Disneyland Resort. For additional photos and details from this trip you can check out the full Disneyland Update I posted on my site, http://disneygeek.com Also be sure to follow me on twitter @disneygeekcom for pictures from the parks.



September 21, 2012

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/14/12

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Contributing photographer Jason of disneygeek.com sends us these photos from his trip to the parks on Friday, September 14, 2012. This entry features a look around the parks.

Some work going on in the Mickey and Friends Garage, maybe painting? This is looking up to the 5th and 6th levels from the 4th.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/14/12

The walls for the planter at the right (west) side of the DCA entrance have been pushed out.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/14/12

Magical ended its run last week and Remember starts this evening.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/14/12

Main Street was quiet thanks to the over 100-degree weather. City Hall and the Firehouse are behind wraps for some work.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/14/12

City Hall and the Restrooms are still accessible.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/14/12

The Mad Hatter is closed for some work.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/14/12

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/14/12


Some work by the Carnation Cafe entrance.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/14/12

No visible progress on Coke Corner. I hope they replace the archway. It looks rather plain without it to me.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/14/12

Indy is closed for several weeks of work.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/14/12


Casey Jr. is being worked on (actually the entire area so the Storybook Land boats are also closed).

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/14/12


Monstro is under wraps too.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/14/12


Benny was missing from Cartoon Spin.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/14/12


The hills were being worked on.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/14/12

No wait for the tea cups, and even some empty ones.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/14/12

A quick check of the new Princess home shows they have scaffolding and wraps up so that must mean all the steel is in place and they are starting the facade work.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/14/12

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/14/12


A rare midday on a Friday shot of wide open space at Disneyland. (temps were hitting 107 at the park according to some reports).

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/14/12


The tarp up in front of the firehouse.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/14/12

A nice little maze to get to the mens room, you have to use the wheel chair ramp and there are walls all around you.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/14/12

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/14/12


A better picture of the walls where they are now. No real visible progress yet.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/14/12

If you have been following any of the DCA news recently you probably already heard about the Buena Vista Street window controversy. They have taken the incredible windows the Imagineers made and added random merchandise to them. I hear they are better now, but they still bothered me. Here is the baseball window.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/14/12

And the other Five and Dime one.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/14/12

A new edition of the Buena Vista Bugle is out, this is issue 4.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/14/12

The Red Car had just pulled out and no one was there so went for a ride. Ended up having it to myself for the first leg from here to Carthay Circle.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/14/12

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/14/12

Two of the three World of Color platforms were up for some work.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/14/12

Walked through the Wharf and spotted this sign/promotion.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/14/12

Headed into Cars Land.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/14/12

Decided to give the Racers a try since single rider looked reasonable (which it was, only the first switchback was full). But as luck would have it, with only a couple guests in front of me it went down. They started to evacuate riders and I bailed at that point.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/14/12


On the way out spotted them checking this car.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/14/12

Pizza Port is under wraps for some work.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/14/12

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/14/12


Scot Bruce/Elvis was at Tomorrowland Terrace.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/14/12

Hope you enjoyed this highlight tour of the Disneyland Resort. For additional photos and details from this trip you can check out the full Disneyland Update I posted on my site, http://disneygeek.com Also be sure to follow me on twitter @disneygeekcom for pictures from the parks.


September 24, 2012

Disney Magic Canada Cruise - Part 4, At Sea, New York Sail-In

laura%27s%20masthead%20copy2.jpg

We went back to the Eastern timezone overnight, so we got back that hour that we lost the other day, which meant we could sleep in this morning - yay!!!

It's another beautiful day - some puffy clouds but sunny. The seas are a little choppier than they have been, but I'd still say they are pretty smooth. I can feel that we're moving now, whereas I felt very little movement the first few days. Our cabin is still nice and quiet, though. :-)

We went out running on deck 4 after we got up this morning. It was a great morning for running - nice and cool. Not too many people out, there, either.

Speaking of people...this cruise is sold out (or very close to it), but the ship really doesn't feel crowded - sometimes we've been out on deck and hardly see anyone at all! But I think there are fewer kids, and a lot of older couples, so the average age is a little higher than usual.

Our big event for the day was brunch at Palo, which I think is my very favorite meal aboard ship.

This time we didn't start off very well, though. We were seated promptly, but then sat there and waited - No one came over to serve us or offer us water or anything. Lee finally had to go and talk to the maitre'd, who apologized - we'd apparently been seated at the wrong table, which didn't have a server assigned. Anyway...things were fine after that, and we had a wonderful brunch. There's always way more things we would like to try than we can eat. They had a cheddar-chocolate cheese this time that was very good. My favorite is still the sticky buns, though.

Disney Magic Canada Cruise
Disney Magic Canada Cruise

I have usually been disappointed in the brunch desserts at Palo, but this time they seemed a lot better than I've had in the past. The chocolate mousse was very good, and so was the "vertical cheesecake". Very pretty and really tasty.

Disney Magic Canada Cruise

After brunch we had another wine tasting seminar in Sessions. Still two whites, two reds, and a sparkling wine, but all different than we had on Thursday. (Thursday seems like a long time ago!) These didn't appeal to me quite as much but we still learned interesting things.

Disney Magic Canada Cruise

When we returned to our room there were all the reminders that our cruise is coming to an end - our luggage tags and customs form had been delivered. Sigh.

Disney Magic Canada Cruise

There was an absolutely spectacular sunset tonight...it just kept getting better and better! Wow. It was just amazingly beautiful.

Disney Magic Canada Cruise
Disney Magic Canada Cruise

So, that's what I wrote on our final day...this part I wrote after we arrived back at home...

That evening they announced that we would be sailing into New York around 4:00 the next morning, and should be going by Lower Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty around 4:45. How often do you get to do something like that? We got up around 4:15 and went up on deck 10 forward. We weren't the only crazy people who were up early!

About 4:35 we were approaching the Verrazano Narrows bridge.

Disney Magic Canada Cruise

And we went by the Statue of Liberty just after 5:00.

Disney Magic Canada Cruise

While we had could see lower Manhattan and the Tower for quite a while, we had the best view about 5:15. That's a VERY tall building!

Disney Magic Canada Cruise

As we sailed up the Hudson River side of Manhattan we had a beautiful view of the lights, with the Chrysler Building and the Empire State Building in the background.

Disney Magic Canada Cruise

We went back to bed after that - we had a little time until we had to get up and leave the ship. Disembarking is always rather sad and anti-climactic. :-(

This was the Magic's final cruise out of New York, it's off to Galveston now. Instead of taking on new passengers after we disembark, they will be taking on some contractors who will be doing work on the decks during their five-day trip to Galveston. The crew will stay busy doing a lot of cleaning and inventory and other maintenance. They've called it kind of a mini-dry dock.

Disney Magic Canada Cruise

The Magic will be undergoing an extensive dry dock in the fall of 2013. Throughout the cruise we have spoken with various crew members about what the dry dock will involve and what changes might be made. So the following is what we've been told, and may not be 100% accurate.

After completing its Mediterranean cruises next year the Magic will be staying in Europe for a six-week dry dock. Apparently Karl Holz told the crew that it will be an all-new ship with quite a "wow" factor when it comes out. The staterooms will be completely refurbished, as well as the public areas. The pool areas will all be redone. The adult area, Beat Street, will be updated, and converted into five different (smaller) bar areas.

Palo will be expanded. The area that is currently a walkway outside will become seating area for the restaurant. The new part may be more like a patio and only partially enclosed.

Disney Magic Canada Cruise

Animator's Palate will be updated - though that would only be a surprise if they DIDN'T do anything with it.

Things that we'd like to see in addition to the above...Enchanted artwork, a new ship's horn, Magical Portholes, an expanded upstairs area for Cove Cafe, and video on demand in the staterooms. And a champagne bar. :-)

Disney Magic Canada Cruise

It was a really nice cruise. With two sea days and only two port days we had more time to relax than we usually do. It was great to be able to watch some movies and do the wine tastings. As far as the ports went, we weren't really that impressed with Saint John, but we enjoyed Halifax. If Disney comes back to Canada again I'd like to see a longer itinerary which visits perhaps Prince Edward Island and one or two U.S. ports, like Bar Harbor, Maine.

Disney Magic Canada Cruise


The food blog will be coming soon!


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About September 2012

This page contains all entries posted to Salute to All Things Disney but Mostly Disneyland in September 2012. They are listed from oldest to newest.

August 2012 is the previous archive.

October 2012 is the next archive.

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