« February 2013 | Main | April 2013 »

March 2013 Archives

March 2, 2013

D23′s Disney Fanniversary Celebration 2013--Coming to a Town Near You!

jeaninebanner.jpg

March 1st marked the kick-off for D23's second annual Fanniversary Celebration at the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank.

DSC01711.JPG

Disney Geek host Billy Stanek and Walt Disney Archives' Justin Arthur were the hosts for the evening, which was once again a fun commemoration of various important milestones for the Disney Company.

DSC00954-1.JPG

Among the anniversarys being celebrated were the Walt Disney Company's formation 90 years ago; Mickey and Minnie Mouse's 85th birthday; Saludos Amigos' 70th; Peter Pan's 60th; Walt Disney's Enchanted Tiki Room's 50th; Tokyo Disneyland, Disney Channel, New Fantasyland at Disneyland, and Horizon's 30th; Who Framed Roger Rabbit's 25th; Nightmare Before Christmas' 20th; and Animal Kingdom's 15th.

DSC00945.JPG

Photographs and video recording were prohibited during the presentation, which included never-or-rarely seen photos of concept art, video interviews, and documentary footage. Each location will also get an opportunity to get up and personal with an item from the Archive's treasures--at our night, we were able to examine a gaucho doll made to resemble Walt Disney during the making of Saludos Amigos (securely held by Justin Arthur.)

DSC00953.JPG

In addition to their trademark button, D23 members were also given full-color Academy promotional brochures on Disney's latest Oscar nominees, Brave, Wreck-It Ralph, and Frankenweenie.

SAM_0015.JPG

For fans in cities not located conveniently near Los Angeles, where D23 holds the lion's share of their events, the Fanniversary is a great opportunity to get a Cliff's Notes version of the sort of material they typically cover at their larger affairs. When asked what he thought would draw in people new to D23, Billy Stanek said he felt they would enjoy seeing some of the never-before-seen video, particularly some of the scratch footage done for Who Framed Roger Rabbit, which can currently only be viewed at this traveling show. If you enjoy learning about the history of all facets of the Disney Company--from parks to the Disney Channel to feature films--be sure to catch this entertaining show when it rolls into town.

DSC00944-1.JPG

D23's Disney Fanniversary Celebration 2013 is visiting 9 other cities throughout March and April: Boston, Chicago, San Diego, Newark, Orlando, Phoenix, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington, DC. Tickets are available (for non-sold out cities) at http://d23.disney.go.com/events/2013/01/23/d23s-disney-fanniversary-celebration-2013/

March 4, 2013

Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend

laura%27s%20masthead%20copy2.jpg
Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend

February 22-24, 2013, was the fifth annual Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend. It featured the usual weekend events - the Expo on Friday and Saturday, the Royal Family 5K and Kids' Races on Saturday, and the half marathon on Sunday.

As they usually do on the 5-year marks, Disney rolled out a re-designed medal for this one. I had run the Inaugural event with my friend Pam, and I really wanted to do this one, too. I tried to talk Pam into running it with me, and she agreed on one condition: that Lee would run the race in a tutu. That actually was not very difficult - it was the only Disney half marathon/marathon medal that he didn't have, so he was already somewhat motivated to run it. And he's also run the Tinker Bell Half twice (another women's race) so he knows that the scenery is quite good for the male runners - this year it was a 15:1 female/male ratio. :-)

Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend

We had to make it a short trip, so we left home Thursday afternoon, and flew home Monday afternoon.

This year for some reason Disney moved the race Expo from Wide World of Sports to Coronado Springs. It's especially perplexing because this year there were a record number of participants - 23,000-26,000 for the half marathon (depending on which number you heard) and over 30,000 for all of the events. (There were less than 8,000 runners when we ran it the first year.) Because of this NO ONE attending the Expo was allowed to park at Coronado Springs - everyone had to be bused in from their resort hotel or Downtown Disney. We weren't able to get into Kidani Village on Thursday night, so for this reason I made a reservation at Coronado Springs instead - and was very happy that I did. It made things a lot easier on Friday morning.

The Expo opened at 9:00. We slept in, packed, had breakfast, and made it there a little before 10:00.

Packet pick-up was efficient - the lines were a little longer than usual, but not bad. But the bag and shirt pick-up was a disaster. They apparently didn't have enough bags pre-packed, so everyone was jammed into a relatively small area, shoulder-to-shoulder, waiting. Volunteers brought out bins of bags as fast as they could stuff them in the back, but weren't keeping up with the demand. We waited 25 minutes to get our bags/shirts, and by that time there was a line that snaked back almost to the packet pick-up area. They had at least gotten the shirt pick-up area unclogged enough so that once you picked up your shirt you could get out of the area.

Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend


This situation wasn't helped by the huge line to get into the Official Merchandise area, which was right next to the shirt pick-up. That line was over an hour to get through. Or so we were told, since we didn't stand in it (but I believe it!).

I didn't understand the issue with the bag pick-up and merchandise at all. It's not like Disney hasn't done this before, but for whatever reason, they were not prepared on Friday morning. They did get things under better control as the day went on.

I thought the Expo itself was much smaller, with fewer vendors than I've seen at other Disney Expos. The aisles were pretty crowded, though. We did a little bit of shopping, but it was a relief to get out of there.

Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend

Out in the hallways there were a couple of fun photo-ops - they had a castle display with two costumed and be-wigged footmen to pose with us. I asked which one was Gus and which was Jacques. The taller one claimed to be Jacques. :-) (I was surprised that they actually knew that those were the names of Cinderella's mice-turned-footmen.)

Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend

We didn't have to deal with the Expo buses that day, but we heard there were long waits at some of the resorts, and long waits at the Expo to return.

There are several hundred people who are "Perfect Princesses" - they have run all five races. When they picked up their bib numbers they also received a pink "Perfect Princess" sash and a sparkly tiara. Not all of them are women - we saw a few men proudly wearing their sashes during the weekend, too! Good for them.

We went back to the Expo on Saturday morning - Pam needed to pick up her registration and I wanted to try to get into the merchandise area. At Kidani Village we had no bus issues. Just a short wait and we were on our way on a bus with maybe 25 people on board. Pam was at All Star Sports where there was a much longer line, but they had buses available and loaded them as quickly as possible. At the Expo they had things better organized, but there were lines to get IN to the Expo for the first 40 minutes or so - we went to Pepper Market for breakfast, so we avoided that.

There was still a long line for shirt/bag pick-up, but it moved quickly. The line to get into the Merchandise area had been organized into a long winding queue. It was steadily moving so I got into that while Lee and Pam went shopping in the Expo. I was in line for maybe 20 minutes. Once inside I was pleasantly surprised that it wasn't wall-to-wall people - I could move around easily. The store was not very big, though. Merchandise was quickly disappearing - I got the last small shirt in one style, though there were other designs that still had plenty of sizes available. Of course, who knows what had sold out the day before that I never even saw!

Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend

I thought there was a nice selection of shirts - if you were female. They had NOTHING for men, except a generic runDisney shirt. Now, I know this is a "women's race", but still...they couldn't do one design on a unisex shirt? After all, there are women who prefer unisex shirts, too.

I liked this year's race shirt - it was purple, short-sleeve, and a light-weight tech material. The race shirt WAS available in a unisex cut as well as the women's cut. I wish they would offer a women's cut for the race shirts in the other Disney events (the Tinker Bell Half already does this).

Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend


Skipping ahead to Race Day...

Stitch called at 2:30 a.m. "Good morning, no sleeping!" Ain't that the truth...We had gone to Mara the evening before and purchased bagels and yogurt (and a banana for Lee) to eat so we dressed, ate, and left the room about 3:30. We decided to drive instead of taking the bus, since we thought we might be staying at Epcot after the race and that gave us more flexibility - as well as a place to leave our sweaty running clothes.

You never know what traffic is going to be like on race morning, but we were early enough that it was no problem, and we even got a parking space that was fairly close to the pre-race area. Pam didn't get up as early, and she was getting in the bus line at All Star Sports (which was quite long) about the time we arrived at Epcot. She made it in time though not until almost 5:00.

Lee was running the race in his wings and his blue tutu. He couldn't drive while wearing those so he pulled the tutu on and I helped him attach the wings after we arrived - lots of people who were walking by commented (favorably) on his attire. He already knew from his previous experiences at the Tinker Bell races that the ladies love the guys who get into the spirit of the thing and dress up. It's a great way to get lots of attention!

I was dressed as Cinderella - I bought a Cinderella costume and cut most of the skirt off, and wore it over a tank top and shorts. You'd think that would be fairly cool, but unfortunately, just like marathon weekend in January, it was unseasonably warm in Florida. 66 at 4:00 a.m. doesn't sound bad at all, but when you're running that's about 10 degrees warmer than you'd like. And it was quite humid - approaching 100%. I'd brought a throwaway shirt to wear for warmth but I left it in the car - didn't need it at all.

Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend

A number of members of Team AllEars were running the Princess Half Marathon, and we met for a photo. Several of the guys had also dressed up - Eddie was wearing a hot pink skirt, pink wings, and hot pink arm and calf sleeves. His neon green running shoes kind of clashed, though. :-) Alex was dressed as Merida, with a long curly red wig and a green tunic - he also carried a small bow. Mike made his costume - Vanellope von Schweetz from Wreck-It Ralph. He had the hoodie, striped leggings, skirt, and brown wig. Remember how I said it was unseasonably warm? He ran the entire race in his costume! I don't know how he did it.

Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend

Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend

From the pre-race area it's about a half mile to the start corrals. In January for the half marathon this was a tortuous shuffle, but it wasn't bad this time. Like they did for the marathon Disney started sending runners out by corral about 90 minutes before the start, instead of everyone at once, and that seemed to really help.

Disney groups runners into corrals based on estimated finish time, with faster runners in the earlier corrals. They send the corrals off about 7 minutes apart to try to spread the runners out a little. For the Tinker Bell and Princess races they won't let a man start before Corral C, because they want to make sure that a woman wins the race. Pam and I were in Corral B, and the four guys, who were planning to run the race together, were in Corral C.

The race started at 5:30 with the wheelchair athletes, and five minutes later Corral A started. The Fairy Godmother was on-stage at the start with the race announcers - she said the magic words and counted down for each corral, and we all got a burst of fireworks, too.

Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend
Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend

Pam and I were near the back of Corral B. We crossed the start line about 9-1/2 minutes after the race started.

Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend

The first few miles of the WDW half marathon course can be quite frustrating because there are so many people and it gets crowded, especially because the course narrows down to one lane in places. Even with the staggered start it takes a long time for people to get spread out, and the bottlenecks at the one-lane sections don't help - they get us clumped together again. The half marathon in January was pretty bad in terms of crowding on the course, but I thought this one was better. I couldn't always run the pace I wanted, but at least I wasn't having to drop to almost a walk like I had to at times in January. I heard mixed opinions, though - about half the people on Team AllEars thought it was better than January and the other half thought it was worse.

On our way to Magic Kingdom the first three character photo-ops were Jack Sparrow and the pirates, a group of Disney heroes, and a collection of villains. The lines for all of those were VERY long - easily 10 minutes or more - so we didn't stop.

Just after mile 5 we arrived on Main Street in Magic Kingdom. The sky was starting to brighten, but we could still see the castle was nicely lit - it matched Pam's magenta wings. :-)

Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend

There were lots of character photo ops in the Magic Kingdom, and some of them did not have very long lines so we stopped for several - Buzz Lightyear, Gaston, Belle, Tiana/Naveen/Louis. Gaston was SO into it - he was such a ham, and was making Gaston-esque comments to the ladies going by. It was funny to see how many saw who the line was for and then made a u-turn to get into line.

Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend

Just after we ran backstage next to Splash Mountain we saw Cinderella and Prince Charming posing next to the Castle float from the parade. The line was 25-30 deep, but I had to stop anyway. And Cinderella told me she liked my dress. :-)

Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend

After leaving Magic Kingdom the course goes down to one lane on Grand Floridian Way and was unpleasantly narrow and congested for about 1-1/2 miles until we came almost to the car care center (mile 8'ish). From then on it was ok. We stopped for photos with Mary Poppins, Bert, and the chimney sweeps, Lilo and Stitch, Genie, and Pocahontas along the way. At that point in the race the lines are usually pretty short because people just want to get finished and don't feel like stopping.

Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend

At mile 9'ish were the heroes again - with a shorter line than there had been earlier. While we were in line I was looking back down the race course and I saw a familiar blue tutu and wings - the guys had finally caught up to us. They were having a blast, though with the heat they'd been taking walk breaks to try to cool off a little, which was one reason it had taken so long to catch us. And they'd also stopped for photos, been interviewed by runDisney, and had a number of ladies ask to have their photo taken with them. No question - they were quite a hit. We made them have their photo taken with us and the heroes - Aladdin, Li Shang, Flynn Rider, Prince Eric, and John Smith.

Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend

They ran the rest of the race with us (which was nice of them since they could easily have finished ahead of us), and we had a great time. Sarge the Green Army Man was on the ramp near Epcot at mile 10, and Eddie and Lee (in their wings) dropped down and did push-ups. So funny.

Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend

In Future World we saw the same fairy-godmother-type person that I had seen at the end of the marathon - this time I've been told that her name is Ivanna Dream.

Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend

And then it was on to the finish line! Pam and I finished in 3:03, the guys finished in 2:57. Not a fast time at all, but we stopped for quite a few photos, and we really had a wonderful time. We were all sweaty messes when we finished thanks to the warm and humid conditions - thank goodness it was overcast the whole time - that helped a lot.

Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend

We got our lovely anniversary medals and wore them proudly. And picked up the silly runDisney pre-packed food box. Though this time I ate some of it after the race because I was hungry. It had a small (shelf-stable) tube of hummus, small bag of crackers, small bags of nut and fruit mix, a small energy bar and a small piece of chocolate. I still don't really like this trend, though it's easier to carry the box than to juggle the usual fruit and bagels. They also had bananas and small packages of gummy candies available, but this time they did not have small bags available for us to carry it in like they did in January.

While I had a lot of fun during the race, there's a few comments I'd like to make.

This was my 20th Disney race, but maybe my worst overall experience thanks to the Expo disaster. (The half marathon in January was my worst race experience.) The number of participants in the races keeps growing, but the course hasn't really changed. With that many people, there are far too many narrow sections to the course. It's not only not fun, but dangerous, especially when faster runners are trying to pass.

How many runners is too many? The prices of Disney races keep going up every year and so do the number of participants. But despite the price increase the races still sell out. I enjoyed the WDW races a lot more when there were more like 15,000-18,000 runners. 25,000+? I think that's too many.

I've already talked a lot about the Expo, but I'll say it again - I was shocked at how poorly they handled the crowd on Friday morning. They have plenty of previous experience with expos, and that was simply inexcusable. Particularly the bag issue.

Our experience with the buses was that were plenty of them, and they were loading and unloading as fast as they could. I did not hear of any problems on race morning where runners had long waits for buses to arrive at their resorts. Long lines to board, yes, but not huge gaps in bus availability.

The pre-race area in the Epcot parking lot was big enough, though there was a bottleneck getting into it. There was a red carpet with "stained glass" panels along the edge, each representing a different princess. Not surprisingly, those were popular for photos, and that slowed the entry into the area.

Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend

There seemed to be enough porta-potties both in the pre-race area and the "runners only" waiting area next to it. There were lines, but they weren't that bad. There were NOT enough porta-potties near the corrals, and the lines were very long - they were blocking the path to the corrals.

There were eight start corrals, and really, if you're not in the first corral, you do not have much of a view of the race start. I think Disney does a very nice job of putting up large screens alongside all the corrals so that runners can see what's going on at the start line. It's also very nice for each corral to get their own start, complete with fireworks.

Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend

The course itself...parts of it are great (running through Magic Kingdom and Epcot), and parts of it are too crowded: the single lane exit ramp from Epcot, the single lane from the TTC past the Contemporary, and the single lane from Magic Kingdom past the Grand Floridian. In a race with less than 15,000 runners that's not so bad, in a race with over 20,000 it's a problem.

The volunteers were terrific. There were plenty of volunteers on the race course at the water stations, medical tents, and Clif shot station, and plenty at the finish handing out medals, beverages, and food. Bag check and bag claim were also very efficient. Thank you volunteers - we love you!

Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend

But despite everything, I would love to run this race again - but with fewer people. We really had a lot of fun with it. It has a great atmosphere, and I think most runners are there to have a good time and not to be competitive. Though I suppose that can be said of most of the Disney races. :-)

It's a women-focused race, but I have to give a shout-out to all you guys out there who came out to support the women in your lives - either by running with them, dressing in costume, or taking care of the kids so they could run. There were only about 1,500 of you in the race but you were a visible presence, and it was so much fun for me to watch you having so much fun. Thank you for your support and your sense of humor.

March 7, 2013

Fantasy Faire: Here Come the Girls!

jeaninebanner.jpg

On March 12th, Disneyland's latest addition will open to the public: Fantasy Faire.

SAM_0191.JPG

Taking the place of the former Carnation Plaza Gardens on the West side of the Hub, Fantasy Faire represents a small village attached to the castle. As a tribute to the structure it replaced, a crest with the plaza initials is found on one of the buildings.

SAM_0155.JPG

The main structures awaiting the visiting guest are a stage venue, the Royal Theatre, and an area for princess encounters, the Royal Hall.

SAM_0142.JPG

At the Royal Hall, a bevy of royals awaits you.

SAM_0127.JPG

SAM_0131.JPG

SAM_0134.JPG

The princesses in situ will change periodically, with Belle and Snow White joining the lineup as space and time allow.

SAM_0109.JPG

Over across the square, the Royal Theatre presents two different shows a day: Beauty and the Beast, and Tangled.

SAM_0091.JPG

The shows are actually much more extensively produced than you'd expect if you've seen the recent Magic Kingdom attraction Enchanted Tales with Belle--even including a live pianist, Sir Samuel.

SAM_0189.jpg

Far from being just a rote retelling of the familiar stories, they have more of a minstrel show quality about them with virtually all roles portrayed by the two main performers Mr. Smythe and Mr. Jones.

SAM_0095.JPG

Done in a style similar to that of The Reduced Shakespeare Company, the two actors are joined by the heroine (and sometimes the hero) of the piece and combine their knowledge of theatrical representation with her knowledge of her own story to tell the tale.

SAM_0101.JPG

SAM_0112.JPG

Fast-paced, with pop culture references to everything from Wizard of Oz to the Twilight Zone to the 1960's Batman series, the shows are entertaining and appropriate for all ages.

SAM_0167.JPG

(Spoiler alert: Everyone deserving of it lives Happily Ever After.)

SAM_0123.JPG

SAM_0181.JPG

Here is some more inexpertly shot video by me, of some of the musical numbers from Tangled.

Out in the square, the architecture is intended to mirror the quasi-European Hodge-podge of the 1980's Fantasyland, with a few focal features:

An animated Figaro, from Pinocchio;

SAM_0140.JPG

A crank music box inspired by Hunchback of Notre Dame;

SAM_0145.JPG

And a "Tangled" maypole in the center, which will show Rapunzel's hair magically lighting up at night.

SAM_0190.JPG

Should your visit with royalty inspire a desire for a new wardrobe, there is always the gift shop to peruse.

SAM_0149.JPG

Within, you'll find everything a young girl needs to be a princess, assuming she provides her own stout heart and quick wit.

SAM_0150.JPG

For people less enthused about cosplay, they can always take up the challenge to make the association between all the props on display and the movies they each reference (hint: As far as I know, the winged lion is just a winged lion.)

SAM_0151.JPG

The cuckoo clock inside is stopped at a very particular time: 3:12, which is, of course, Fantasy Faire's opening date.

SAM_0152.JPG

Hungry? Belle's Dad Maurice has you covered with a wagon that sells sweet and savory twisted (tangled?) pastries and the regulation specialty drink Boysen Apple Freeze.

SAM_0153.JPG

I myself had the cheddar garlic bagel twist. By and large, I think if you enjoy the cheddar pretzels you might get at Wetzel's Pretzels, there's no reason to think you wouldn't enjoy this. The freeze was perfectly fine as well, although pretty sweet from my standpoint.

SAM_0188.JPG

To give us even more insight into the making of Fantasy Faire, here are some thoughts from some of the creative folks that brought it into being:

In short, this is a carefully constructed area designed to provide people with increased access to some of the Disney princesses. Clearly a lot of care has been put into a lot of details which many will no doubt find delightful. There is, of course, a distinct population that was very attached to Carnation Gardens and the swing dancing that used to occur there--for them, the floor of the Royal Theatre looks to be unchanged from before, with removable benches and carpets laid down for each show. Consequently, the option does exist for them to reinstate the swing dancing/concerts there should the management decide to do so, but for now, the plans remain to keep it in Downtown Disney while Fantasy Faire establishes itself.

SAM_0185.JPG

Annual Passholder previews take place this week, March 7-9, and Fantasy Faire opens to the general public March 12.

March 13, 2013

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/08/13

laura%27s%20masthead%20copy2.jpg
Contributing photographer Jason of disneygeek.com sends us these photos from his trip to the parks on Friday, March 8, 2013.

First stop Disneyland. The Main Street station is still under wraps.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/08/13

Minnie paused to wave to me.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/08/13

Fantasy Faire opens Tuesday (March 12) and today there are Annual Passholder previews going on.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/08/13

Walls are still up around the Mercantile shop.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/08/13

The skies were threatening all afternoon but the rain held off until after 8pm.. then it was only a single cloud burst that lasted less than 20 minutes.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/08/13

A look into the Faire. Looks peaceful this week.. this will not last long.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/08/13

Moving on.. no real visible progress on Big Thunder from these vantage points.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/08/13

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/08/13

The Mark Twain is moving toward completion.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/08/13


Critter Country is quiet this afternoon.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/08/13

At the Fantasyland Theater you can see a set piece for Mickey and the Magical Map

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/08/13


Small World has reopened with its traditional show.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/08/13

No real wait for Roger Rabbit.. hard to believe that movie is 25 years old this year.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/08/13

The playground at Goofys is being worked on.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/08/13

The Goofy water is still off limits.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/08/13

Moving back to the Small World Mall they are repainting the light poles.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/08/13

The new color scheme.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/08/13

The old

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/08/13


No signs of progress in the Starcade.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/08/13

The archway is being replaced at Coke Corner.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/08/13

Due to the weather the piano was moved inside.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/08/13

Over to DCA now. Looks like the Hyperion bridge painting is done..

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/08/13


The second half of Mater's (closest the parade route) has been resurfaced and looks ready to reopen.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/08/13

The single rider line was only about 15 minutes so went for a drive on the Racers. Notice the posted wait time.. 66...

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/08/13


The Silly Symphony Swings are slowly being put back together.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/08/13

Grizzly River Run has reopened.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/08/13


Still no spin on the final drop, so guessing that is never going to return. It has been years since I have seen it working.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/08/13

No wait for Soarin' - you could walk right in.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/08/13

The Packard has returned to Oswald's.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/08/13

Back at Disneyland and time for my preview of the Fantasy Faire. Since Jeanine covered this in a blog entry for Allears the other day here are just a couple pictures from my first trip..


Mr. Smythe and Mr. Jones are the leads in the Royal Theatre. I saw the Beauty and the Beast show.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/08/13

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/08/13

After the show I finally spent some time exploring the Faire.. first up Figaro who was napping.

That blue bird would chirp and wake him up.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/08/13

A video clip of Figaro.

The main courtyard.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/08/13

Between shows in the theatre there is Jester Training in the main Courtyard. Here is a video clip of a session.


Clopins Music Box.

A video clip of the box in motion.


Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/08/13

DJ was back in action this week.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/08/13

The Wonderground Gallery had a Limited Time Magic display featuring some replica props and costumes from Oz.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/08/13

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/08/13

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/08/13


Fossil has reopened.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/08/13

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.



March 17, 2013

Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend - The Food

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

It's not a Disney trip without a food blog, right? Here's my thoughts on our dining experiences during our recent Princess Half Marathon weekend trip.

We arrived at Coronado Springs on Thursday night (actually Friday morning) way too late to have anything to eat there. I believe Coronado Springs is the only moderate hotel with room service, but that was closed, too.

Friday morning we went to Pepper Market for breakfast. They have changed it around a bit since we were last here. Each person still gets their own "food log", which is stamped at each station you get food from, but instead of paying on your way out you simply pay your server.

It was about 9:00 in the morning and fairly crowded - the lines at most of the food stations were 12-15 deep. I'd planned to get the standard eggs/bacon/potatoes breakfast but I saw the scrambled eggs they were serving and they were kind of runny. I hate runny eggs. So I had a pre-made ham and cheese omelet instead, which came with potatoes and fruit. The omelet was just barely warm, and nothing special. The potatoes were pretty good, though.

Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend

Lee had the breakfast platter with the "fiesta" scrambled eggs - which were also a little runny, so he wasn't very impressed, either. His roasted potato wedges were good, though.

Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend

That afternoon we were in the Studios...my least favorite park when it comes to trying to find a decent counter service meal. We tried the Studio Catering Co., in the back of the park near the Backlot Tour and the "Honey I Shrunk the Kids" playground. We were with my Evil Twin Pam, and we all ordered the Pressed Turkey Club. This was more like "squashed turkey" - it was pretty flat. The bread was my favorite part - it was a multi-grain roll and was crisply toasted. The sandwich came with choice of coleslaw, fries, or sliced apples. It just worked out that we ordered one of each. I had the coleslaw, which was pretty good. The fries were just ok - not very hot or crispy.

Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend

Later in the day we went to Epcot. It was National Margarita Day, so we HAD to have frozen margaritas at Mexico. I was surprised that the line was not very long. Pam and I both had the Fiesta Margarita - frozen lime, mango, and strawberry. Yummy.

Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend

For dinner we went to Tangierine Cafe in Morocco, which has been one of our favorites for a long time. I had the Vegetarian Sampler - falafel, hummus, lentil salad, couscous, tabbouleh, marinated olives, and pita bread. They have changed the falafel since I last had it and I thought it was better - more of a patty shape and not as dry. It was a lot of food and I didn't quite clean my plate, but I really enjoyed it!

Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend

Lee and Pam had the Mediterranean Sliders - we had not seen these before. There were three small "burgers": one with chicken, one with lamb, and one with falafel. Served with hummus and tabbouleh. They enjoyed that.

Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend

Under a nearby table a small rat was foraging. I told him he belonged next door in France. Everyone seemed to find it rather amusing (after all, aren't we used to seeing lots of rodents at Disney?), but the poor cast member clearing tables was appalled and asked us to please, please complain about it. (I thought it was pretty cute, for a rat.)

Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend

We still had room for dessert, so we went to Les Halles Boulangerie Patisserie in France. This re-opened in January in a much larger space, with a much bigger selection of food items, like soups, salads, quiche and sandwiches. Mmmm...and so many wonderful looking pastries!


I had the chocolate mousse, which was really good - silky chocolatey goodness.

Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend

Lee had a caramel cream and chocolate mousse tart, and he really enjoyed that one, too. We'll definitely be going back to check out some of the food items as well as some of the other desserts.

Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend

Saturday morning we went back to the race Expo again. While we were waiting for the entering crowds to subside we went back to Pepper Market for breakfast again. Yeah, because it was so good the day before...

I didn't take any photos, but I had oatmeal. It was fine oatmeal, but all they had for toppings were brown sugar, raisins and cinnamon. The oatmeal at Pizzafari at Animal Kingdom is a lot better - they give you chopped apples and Craisins. Lee had the cinnamon French toast, and he said that was pretty good. Much better than what he'd had the day before.

We were in Animal Kingdom for lunch, and went to Yak and Yeti Local Food Cafe (aka the counter service restaurant). I ordered the side of chicken fried rice and the side of pork egg rolls. The chicken fried rice was surprisingly good, and had some peas and a few other vegetables in it. My only comment is that the chicken was rather microscopic bits, but that was fine. The pork egg rolls were crispy and tasty and filled with pork and veggies (cabbage, mostly). I've found that there's often an odd aftertaste in egg rolls, but these did not have that. I was really happy with my lunch!

Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend

Lee had the Beef Lo Mein, with stir-fried veggies. He enjoyed that, also.

Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend

It was a lovely warm afternoon in Animal Kingdom. After we saw the Finding Nemo show we stopped at the very colorful Anandapur Ice Cream Truck for some ice cream. This one always seems to have the best-tasting soft serve at WDW.

That evening we stopped at Mara in Jambo House to get dinner, which we took back to our room at Kidani Village. I forgot to take pictures, though. I had the Half Chicken Dinner with couscous and vegetable stew. The chicken was pretty tasty - a little dry. The vegetable stew had lots of tomatoes, onions, peppers, and pieces of squash, I think. I had to pick out the peppers, but otherwise it was good, and definitely different than fries or mashed potatoes.

Lee enjoyed the Chicken Flatbread - a BBQ chicken pizza by any other name. We also picked up a cookie and a chocolate muffin for dessert.

Our breakfast on the morning of the race was bagels, yogurt and a banana that we'd picked up at Mara the night before. After the race we snacked a little bit on what was in the runDisney boxes they gave us at the end of the race - crackers, hummus, fruit and nut mixes.

We returned to Kidani to shower, then went back to Epcot where we were
meeting some Team AllEars members at La Cava del Tequila in Mexico. Lee and I ordered the Wild Passion margaritas, though if I'd realized I could've ordered a frozen margarita like some of our tablemates did I would've done that instead. The one I had was good, though. We also ordered Chips and Guacamole. Those were quite good - it was real guacamole with real avocado. Though I don't know that either the chips or the margaritas would be the recommended post-race nourishment. :-)

Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend

That evening we met Pam and several Team AllEars members for dinner at Sanaa. We had a 5:10 priority seating and had no problem getting right in and being seated. We had an excellent server who described the menu to the members of our party who hadn't dined at Sanaa before. She recommended the bread service, and we'd already decided to get two orders of that. There are four breads - two different naan breads, pappadum (a flat bread made with lentil flour) and onion kulcha, which is filled with melted cheese. There are nine different accompaniment (sauces and chutneys) and you can choose five, but our server just brought us all nine. :-) I forgot to take a picture - we were all hungry and dove into it. So good. I could easily just order bread and an appetizer here and be very happy. (This is a photo from a previous dinner at Sanaa.)

Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend

Lee and I ordered two of the wine flights. The flights had the same names as before but some of the wines were different. They still had the Chakalaka that Lee likes. (I'm not sure how much he likes the wine or if he really just likes saying: "Chakalaka". :-) )

For our entrees, we all ordered variations on one of Sanaa's specialties - dishes that are Slow-cooked in Gravy, Simple and Well-Seasoned. There are six choices, and you choose two, with a choice of basmati rice or five-grain pilaf. Between five of us we had Butter Chicken, Spicy Durban Chicken, Lamb Vindaloo, Beef Short Ribs, and Shrimp with Green Curry Sauce. The only one we didn't try was the Spicy Durban Shrimp.

Butter Chicken and Shrimp with Green Curry Sauce:

Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend

Short Ribs and Spicy Durban Chicken:

Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend

Lamb Vindaloo and Shrimp with Green Curry Sauce:

Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend

Sanaa has a number of vegetarian dishes, and Mike ordered the Vegetarian Sampler. It also comes with choice of two and rice or pilaf. He had the Spicy Peas, Chickpeas, and Potatoes (which our server said was her favorite) and Stewed Lentils.

Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend

Desserts are the one thing at Sanaa that disappoints me a little - they fit the theme of the restaurant, but just don't really appeal to me that much. I also think they are rather small for the price. I tried the Chocolate Cake with raspberry-mint sorbet. It was pretty good cake - moist and chocolatey.

Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend

Lee had the Warm Rice Pudding, which we've had before. Sticky rice with coconut syrup and some mango.

Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend

Ellie ordered the Banana Kulfi Sundae. Obviously not your traditional sundae!

Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend

Monday morning we packed, loaded the car, and drove to Mara for breakfast. Mara is often VERY busy in the mornings, but it was fairly quiet and we didn't have to wait for our food. We both had the Bounty Platter, with scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, potatoes, small Mickey waffle and biscuit. It's quite a bit of food for $8.99. Thankfully the eggs were cooked and not runny.

Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend

We had lunch in Magic Kingdom - this is the first trip in quite a while where I've had a meal in all four theme parks! It was prime lunch time so most of the counter service restaurants were quite busy. I remembered hearing about the waffle sandwiches at Sleepy Hollow and suggested we go there.

It had a very short line, but they were so disorganized! We ordered, and the cashier told us we picked up our waffles at the first window, drinks at the second, and water bottles at the third. The waffle window was total chaos because they couldn't make waffles fast enough to keep up with the demand. And then they weren't checking tickets to make sure people were picking up what they had ordered. I don't think anyone was abusing this, but it was still very odd. If an item you ordered appeared on the counter you grabbed it, regardless of whether it was "yours", or should belong to the person standing next to you.

Lee and I both had the Ham, Prosciutto, and Swiss Waffle Sandwich. It was a very large serving (half would have been plenty for me), but it was just really odd. The waffle didn't work with the meat at all, though by itself it was ok (though I like my waffles crispy, and this one was soft). Ham AND prosciutto was also overkill - I would have preferred it with just the prosciutto.

Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend

Pam ordered the Sweet and Spicy Chicken Waffle Sandwich, and she didn't care for it at all - and as she told me, normally she eats just about anything. I think if we try this place again it will be for the Nutella waffle - those two things go together!

Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend

Unfortunately that was our last meal at Disney World - we definitely didn't leave on a high note. But at least we'd had that terrific meal at Sanaa the night before. That's definitely in our top three - it may even be #1 at the moment.

The Good:
Sanaa

The Bad:
Waffle sandwiches

The Ugly:
Runny scrambled eggs

Thanks for reading!

March 25, 2013

Disneyland Resort Limited Time Magic Events 3/22

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

Contributing photographer Jason of disneygeek.com sends us these photos from his trip to the parks on Friday, March 22, 2013. In this posting we take a look at two Limited Time Magic events that were going on at the Disneyland Resort.

At Disney California Adventure there was a Vinylmation Easter Egg Hunt going on this week.

You buy the map for $4.95 (no discounts) from one of several stores around the park and then go off to find the eggs. Once you are done you head to Elias & Co to redeem your prize. It is an honor system event. There are no cast members with the eggs. As I walked the park there were a good number of guests participating and all I overheard/observed seemed to be having a good time.

Disneyland Resort Limited Time Magic Events 3/22

Once you had completed the hunt you took it to the redemption center in Elias & Co.

Disneyland Resort Limited Time Magic Events 3/22

To redeem your prize you show them your map, they stamp it, then you pick an egg and get a Vinylmation keychain two pack.

Disneyland Resort Limited Time Magic Events 3/22

The eggs are scattered around the park. I did not buy a map, but I did go seek the eggs. Mickey at the Carthay Circle.

Disneyland Resort Limited Time Magic Events 3/22

Disneyland Resort Limited Time Magic Events 3/22

Next stop Cars Land. Do you see the Mater Egg?

Disneyland Resort Limited Time Magic Events 3/22

A closer look.

Disneyland Resort Limited Time Magic Events 3/22

Lightning at the Curio store.

Disneyland Resort Limited Time Magic Events 3/22

Disneyland Resort Limited Time Magic Events 3/22

Out on Paradise Pier, Donald near the swings.

Disneyland Resort Limited Time Magic Events 3/22

Can you spot Goofy?

Disneyland Resort Limited Time Magic Events 3/22

Disneyland Resort Limited Time Magic Events 3/22

Daisy near the Wharf, this was the hardest one for me to find. I kept looking in the dining area.

Disneyland Resort Limited Time Magic Events 3/22

Dale hanging out near the Tower of Terror Fastpass Distribution.

Disneyland Resort Limited Time Magic Events 3/22

Disneyland Resort Limited Time Magic Events 3/22

Chip was across the street near the entrance to the attraction.

Disneyland Resort Limited Time Magic Events 3/22


Can you spot Minnie?

Disneyland Resort Limited Time Magic Events 3/22

Disneyland Resort Limited Time Magic Events 3/22


Last last egg.. Pluto hanging out where else.. by the Hot Dog stand!

Disneyland Resort Limited Time Magic Events 3/22

Disneyland Resort Limited Time Magic Events 3/22
The other Limited Time Magic Event today was for Disneyland Annual Passholders. As you entered the park a sign by the train tunnel letting you know the check in location was the Main Street Opera House.
Disneyland Resort Limited Time Magic Events 3/22

At the Opera House was another sign explaining the event, a special presentation by Dave Smith, and there were cast members checking passes and issuing wristbands.Once you had a wristband you were told to report back to the Opera House about half an hour before the start time.

Disneyland Resort Limited Time Magic Events 3/22

Disneyland Resort Limited Time Magic Events 3/22

The back of the sign about the event.

Disneyland Resort Limited Time Magic Events 3/22


Waiting for the presentation to being. They had a chair for Dave on stage and two displays set up to show his slides.

Disneyland Resort Limited Time Magic Events 3/22

Disneyland Resort Limited Time Magic Events 3/22

Shortly after 5:00pm Dave was introduced by a Cast Member and took the stage.

Disneyland Resort Limited Time Magic Events 3/22

My view was not the best and I did not want to get in the way of other guests so here is one wide shot of the scene.

Disneyland Resort Limited Time Magic Events 3/22

Now some slides. Due to the refresh rate of the screens my pictures are pretty bad. For better pictures check out my D23 section and his presentation as part of the Destination D: Disneyland 55 event. This is a picture of the Disneyland Property.

Disneyland Resort Limited Time Magic Events 3/22

The castle under construction.

Disneyland Resort Limited Time Magic Events 3/22

Everyone know this attraction? Yes the Mad Tea Party. One child in the audience yelled out it was a hidden Mickey and Dave quickly responded that it sure does look like it, must have been the first one.

Disneyland Resort Limited Time Magic Events 3/22

Disneyland Resort Limited Time Magic Events 3/22

Disneyland Resort Limited Time Magic Events 3/22

Disneyland Resort Limited Time Magic Events 3/22

Disneyland Resort Limited Time Magic Events 3/22

Disneyland Resort Limited Time Magic Events 3/22

Disneyland Resort Limited Time Magic Events 3/22

Disneyland Resort Limited Time Magic Events 3/22

Disneyland Resort Limited Time Magic Events 3/22

The Keel boats got a good response from the crowd.

Disneyland Resort Limited Time Magic Events 3/22

The Chicken Plantation Restaurant that was removed for New Orleans Square.

Disneyland Resort Limited Time Magic Events 3/22

Recognize the display case in this New Orleans shop? It was from 20K Leagues Under the Sea.

Disneyland Resort Limited Time Magic Events 3/22

The Motor Boat Cruise... not one of Dave's favorite attractions.

Disneyland Resort Limited Time Magic Events 3/22

The Flying Saucers.

Disneyland Resort Limited Time Magic Events 3/22

He wrapped up with a picture of Walt.

Disneyland Resort Limited Time Magic Events 3/22

Thank you Dave Smith for the great presentation!


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.



March 28, 2013

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/22/13

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

Contributing photographer Jason of disneygeek.com sends us these photos from his trip to the parks on Friday, March 22, 2013.

Decent lines at the ticket booths this morning as I arrived at the parks.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/22/13

The Disneyland Train Station on Main Street has reopened.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/22/13

Spring is in bloom around the park.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/22/13

Stopped by the Royal Theatre to catch a performance of Tangled.

Mr. Smythe and Mr. Jones open the show.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/22/13


Mother Gothel and Rapunzel

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/22/13

Ive Got a Dream (Clip)

A clip of I See the Light being performed.

A clip of the finale.

Walking through Frontierland.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/22/13

As part of the Big Thunder Mountain refurb the town of Rainbow Ridge is being rebuilt.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/22/13

The Mark Twain is still in dry dock.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/22/13


A couple of clips from the Columbia. First up a train of the Disneyland Railroad passing by. Then over to the other side to catch the cabin.

Once back on the mainland walked through the Big Thunder Trail and out to the Ranch. Thought this goat looked rather lazy with its leg out that way and sitting atop the barrels.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/22/13

Looks like they have paused the Small World Mall painting project during the spring break rush. No scaffolding up this week, but still three or four towers to go.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/22/13

About two months to go until the new Mickey and the Magical Map show debuts in the Fantasyland Theater. Lighting and other rigging is being installed.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/22/13

In Toontown Goofy'ss Backyard has reopened. Looks like they may have resurfaced or at least cleaned it.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/22/13

Over to Disney California Adventure now. In the Pacific Wharf Cafe there is Easter Bunny shaped bread this week.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/22/13

Noticed these new Red to the Rescue Firefighter hats in Cars Land ($24.95 each).

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/22/13

I bet the blue car wins!

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/22/13


Back to Disneyland.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/22/13


The exterior of the Main Street Train Station looks great. Look at the ceiling above the queue.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/22/13

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/22/13


The scaffolding around the new arch at Coke Corner is gone. Now just awaiting the signage and lights.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/22/13

Walked through the Market House and Disneyana Shop. It was officially announced this past week that both will be closing in April to make way for the new Starbucks on Main Street. Should be interesting what this looks like after the conversion.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/22/13

Over at Disney California Adventure the drink stand has returned to Bugs Land.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/22/13

Walked through the Mad T Party.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/22/13


The light has been fixed on the Packard at Oswald's. Both were on this evening.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/22/13


A look at the Market House windows on Main Street. They have been updated recently for Spring/Easter.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/22/13

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/22/13

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/22/13

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/22/13

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/22/13

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/22/13


This week all the lights were on at the Fantasy Faire.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/22/13

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/22/13

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.



Return to Blog Central

About March 2013

This page contains all entries posted to Salute to All Things Disney but Mostly Disneyland in March 2013. They are listed from oldest to newest.

February 2013 is the previous archive.

April 2013 is the next archive.

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