I think a lot of people go to Disneyland for the rides and the attractions, and never realize all of the entertainment options that are also available! Lee and I, along with Jason (disneygeek) spent a summer day at Disneyland recently where instead of running from attraction to attraction, we went from live show to live show, and managed to fill an entire day. And we had a great time.
Upon arriving in Disneyland's Town Square, Lee and I immediately caught the end of one of the Dapper Dans' shows. It was the week of the Limited Time Magic offering "Dapper Dans Sing Boy Bands". We had happened to be in Florida when they did it earlier this year, and saw it there - it was fun to see it on the west coast this time. It was the same medley, but the California Dans are a little younger than the Florida Dans. :-) You can tell they have great fun doing it.
It was lunchtime, so we stopped in at the Jolly Holiday Bakery Cafe. I ordered the Jolly Holiday Salad - Blend of Lettuce, with Spiced Pecans, Feta, Red & Yellow Tomatoes and Craisins Dried Cranberries. Served with Raspberry Vinaigrette. It came with an asiago cheese breadstick. Really a nice salad, and I enjoyed it.
Lee tried the Hot Angus Roast Beef Sandwich on Toasted Onion Roll - Caramelized Onions, Horseradish Aioli and White Cheddar. He said it was very good with a lot of roast beef. And those kettle-style potato chips are evilly good.
Lee hadn't actually been to Fantasy Faire, and there was a show about to start in the Royal Theater. The seats were full, but for this one I think the viewing is better if you stand at the back. Jason caught up with us there and we saw a performance of Tangled, which was a lot of fun. There are some pretty funny throwaway lines. It stars those medieval vaudevillians Mr. Smythe and Mr. Jones, playing a multitude of roles, as well as Rapunzel and Flynn Rider portraying themselves. And let's not forget Sir Samuel on the piano!
And they all lived "happily ever after at the end" - well, except Mother Gothel.
As I said, Lee hadn't been to Fantasy Faire, so we took a little time to watch Figaro and the bird, and to play with Clopin's Music Box. (Though I really wonder how many guests have no idea what that is, since they have never seen Disney's Hunchback of Notre Dame.)
I hadn't noticed the familiar figures in the crowd background, like Belle and the transformed Beast, Smee, Gaston, Peter Pan, Gepetto, Alice, Sneezy...
It was a very nice afternoon at Disneyland - not too hot, and really not very crowded. We had some time until our next "entertainment" event so we wandered around a little, and watched the climbers on the Matterhorn.
We saw the Dapper Dans perform a full set and then hot-footed it over to the Fantasyland Theatre to see Mickey and the Magical Map, which Lee had not yet seen. I was surprised that the theater wasn't more full - we arrived about 5 minutes before show time and walked right in and had good seats in the center section, about 2/3 up. So the moral of the story is: don't give up on seeing the show even if you arrive at the theater very close to show time.
It's a good show, but when I first saw it I was disappointed because even though most of the music is from less mainstream Disney movies, it still seemed all too familiar to me. It finally occurred to me that it's because some of the more unusual selections (like Hawaiian Roller Coaster from Lilo and Stitch, I Wanna Be Like You from the Jungle Book, and Reflection from Mulan) are featured in the Disney Wishes show on the Fantasy, which I had seen recently. I'm sure the majority of guests don't have that "problem". :-)
The huge map is really interesting to watch, and having a live trumpet player on-stage during "I Wanna Be Like You" is a great touch.
Once the show ended it was time to rush over to The Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree to watch the Disneyland All-American College Band. We missed the beginning of their set, but saw most of it. These kids are SO talented!
The Jamboree area is pretty quiet, and it's a great place to go to relax a a little bit. In addition to the College Band, Billy Hill and the Hillbillies and Woody's All-American Round-up also perform there throughout the day. Disney characters like Mickey and Minnie and Chip and Dale are there, and often have a lot of time to interact with guests - we've seen them coloring with the kids, and this time watched Mickey play peek-a-boo with a baby.
And Dale was looking for someone. :-)
We had some time before the next show we were going to attend, and were ready for a snack. Lee and I had chicken, beef, and veggie skewers from Bengal BBQ, and Jason got a hamburger from Village Haus.
They had opened up the seating area at Aladdin's Oasis (between the Tiki Room and the Jungle Cruise), so we met and ate there. That was another uncrowded and peaceful area!
In New Orleans Square we listened to the Jambalaya Jazz Band. We're always amazed at how many people will walk up to live performers, take a photo, and then immediately walk away. What's the point of taking a photo of something you didn't even experience?
These guys have obviously seen it all, and they were having fun playing their music and calling out to the passing guests wearing birthday buttons, and throwing beads to some of the guests - mostly kids, but I got a set for the first time ever.
As we walked, a group of (female) cast members caught Lee's attention - but it was because they were all wearing a different Disney-themed tie! Everything from classic Mickey head to Pooh characters, to Mickey Mariachi and even a Haunted Mansion theme.
The All-American College Band performs their third set each day in front of the castle. There's a lot of choreography and it's really fun to watch. Below is their Disney movie medley performance.
We had a break in the Disneyland entertainment schedule so we made a quick trip over to DCA. It was too late for the shows on Buena Vista Street as well as Dancin' With Disney, but we had a nice wander through the park. The Golden Zephyr was running for a change, and it was a walk-on, so we did that. There's a nice view of Cars Land from there.
At the Paradise Garden Bandstand we caught the tail end of a performance by Sligo Rags, a Celtic music group.
At Paradise Garden Grill, one of the Greek weekend items is still available.
We found some Lone Ranger merchandise - Lee tried on the Tonto hat. :-)
There was a very scenic moonrise over the Cadillac Range - you can see it in the "v" of the middle fin.
Back in Hollywood there's a Monsters University Meet and Greet area - I liked this lettermen's jacket hanging on the dorm balcony.
The Mad T Party had already started, and we saw the aerialists.
Here's a video Jason took of them a few weeks ago:
The last "entertainment" event for Lee and me was the College Band's final set, where they perform on the street and the steps in front of the Main Street train station. This year they are performing a Michael Jackson medley:
Jason headed back to DCA, while Lee and I went for dinner at Rancho del Zocalo. I had the Citrus Fire-Grilled Chicken, though I requested shredded lettuce with mine instead of rice and beans (they asked if I wanted sauteed vegetables instead). The chicken was very tasty and not dry.
Lee ordered the Carne Asada & Red Chile Enchilada Platter - he opted for the sauteed vegetables with his and enjoyed everything.
As you can see, we managed to fill our time very nicely JUST with live entertainment - and we didn't have a lot of to kill in between the various acts.
Jason continued with his park day after we left, so here's the rest of his day...
The neon coming on in Cars Land.
DJ rolling out for his Dance Party.
Walked back through the Mad T Party as the band was performing.
A random Cars Land picture as I was heading to World of Color
World of Color
Made it to Main Street just as the music was coming up and lights out for Magical.
A group of cast members standing in the middle of the tram stop waving to trams.
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.
The previous post in this blog was San Diego Comic-Con 2013: Sleep and Food Are For The Weak.
The next post in this blog is Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 8/02/13.