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September 2013 Archives

September 1, 2013

Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend 2013 - New Disneyland 10K Race

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Early this year runDisney announced a new race for Disneyland's Half Marathon weekend - a 10K to be held on Saturday. And that brought with it a new race challenge: the Dumbo Double Dare for those wishing to run both the 10K on Saturday and the half marathon on Sunday. Do I even need to say that Lee and I were quick to sign up for that? I didn't think so. :-)

Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend 2013

Today was the first runDisney 10K (they have since announced three others), and for the most part I think it went pretty well. The 5K was also run this morning - it started at 5:30, and the 10K started at 6:15. That meant they had to clear the starting area of the 5K participants before they could start loading the 10K runners in the corrals...and that didn't not go as smoothly as it could have. Even though in the pre-race area they told us to go to the corrals, they hadn't opened them yet, and we stood for a while without moving at all. Once we started moving, those of us in A,B, and C were ok, but those in D-G found a lot of confusion and disorganization - I think all those corrals were eventually merged together.

Fortunately they did not make the race too large (7829 finishers, so probably around 8000 started it), and I think that helped make that problem not as bad as it could have been.

The weather was much more of a factor today than it normally is - we've been having hot and humid weather and it was about 74 degrees and humid at the start of the race - not typical southern California weather at all. I know that disappointed a lot of our out-of-town visitors (and it didn't make us very happy, either, since we're not used to those kinds of conditions). We had some clouds in the morning, though, so at least the sun wasn't beating down on us.

Other than the weather I really, really loved this race. I'd never run a 10K race before, and it was a GREAT distance for me - I still had plenty of energy left at the end. The course was a lot of fun, too. The first two miles were on the streets of Anaheim, but the remaining four miles were on Disney property - backstage, in the parks, and through Downtown Disney with a finish in the traditional location near the Disneyland Hotel. There was lots to see, and a lot of characters, parade floats, and cast members out to cheer us on. Here's the course map.

The race had an Alice in Wonderland theme, and that was a lot of fun. All of the new mile markers were pretty elaborately painted.

Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend 2013

There were Alice-inspired characters in various places - like these "flower ladies" in DCA.

Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend 2013

And in Fantasyland at Disneyland there were the White Rabbit, two Card soldiers, Alice and the Mad Hatter, the Queen of Hearts, and Tweedledee and Tweedledum. (Lots of runners in costume for this one, and I saw more people dressed as Tweedledee and Tweedledum than I did anything else).

Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend 2013

There were a lot of other characters out as well: Red the Firetruck, Mater and Lightning McQueen, and DJ in Cars Land, Woody, Jessie and Buzz Lightyear at Toy Story Midway Mania, and Mike and Sulley in Hollywoodland. Over at Disneyland I also saw Clarice and Daisy Duck, and Chip and Dale.

Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend 2013

Backstage at Disneyland they had floats from the Halloween Costume Party parade, the Christmas Fantasy parade, and Soundsational.

Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend 2013

And they had a few backstage residents out to cheer us on, too - this cow's name is Clarabelle!

Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend 2013

One thing I thought could have been done better was the water stations. There were only three: at mile 1, just before mile 4, and after mile 5. With the warm weather we had this morning, the almost three miles between the first two stops was way too long - I really could have used the water much earlier. I also heard that later on they ran out of cups at that second water stop. There was no Powerade offered, either - only water. They are still handing out the runDisney food boxes at the end - though they've added a handle to them. That at least helps with trying to carry everything. There's still not much food in them, though.

Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend 2013

I finished in 1:10:46, and I was really happy with that time, because I stopped for lots of photos! Lee started in Corral B (I was in C), and he ran it in 1:00:03 - soooo close to breaking an hour. :-( But still a really good time for him especially considering the weather.

Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend 2013

Those of us participating in the Dumbo Double Dare got a green wrist band at the end of the race as proof that we finished - tomorrow we'll exchange that for our Dumbo medal. Those participating in the coast-to-coast challenge have a red wristband, so there's lots of people wearing two wristbands! (Lee and I feel like under-achievers, but we received our C2C medal back in January...Goofy Challenge one weekend and Tinker Bell Half Marathon the next!)

The new 10K medal is very nice - lots of detail, and most importantly has that "Inaugural" word at the top. :-)

Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend 2013

I think I have a new favorite Disney race. I really loved this distance!

Tomorrow is the half marathon - we were hoping for cooler temperatures, but it doesn't look like it'll be too much different than today. We start 45 minutes earlier, so that'll help a little, but we're also going to be out there for 6.9 miles more than today. And almost all the fun Disney stuff is in miles 1-4 - after that it's kind of a slog to the finish line, though the people of Anaheim come out and keep us as entertained as they can with lots of bands, dance groups, boy scouts, and cheerleaders.

You can see some additional photos and info by reading my tweets: @allearslaura

September 2, 2013

Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend 2013 - Half Marathon

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Whew...it was a very warm day for a half marathon (even warmer than it was on Marathon Sunday at WDW in January), but we did it, and added another DL Half Marathon medal and the new Dumbo Double Dare medal to our bling collection. 2:28:14 for me and 2:28:50 for Lee. Considering the heat I was very happy to finish in less than 2:30.

Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend 2013

It was already 73 degrees and 68% humidity at 4:00 in the morning. So much for our hopes of a cooler day than yesterday. While we had a few clouds early on we didn't have the high clouds that we did yesterday, so we had full-on sun on the course after about 7:00. Sun+black asphalt = HOT.

I didn't mention this in yesterday's blog, which focused on the new 10K race, but there are a lot of our Team AllEars members here this weekend - many of them getting their Coast-to-Coast medals for the first time! I hope they brought extra suitcases for all of the medals...there's a few going home with all five of the medals that were available this weekend: 5K, 10K, 1/2 marathon, Dumbo Double Dare, and Coast-to-Coast! Well done, Team!

Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend 2013

Several of them have never been to Disneyland before, so it's been fun hearing about their experiences and what they think about our California parks. I don't think I've heard any of them comment on how small the castle is...thank you. (Yes, we are rather sensitive about that.)

We've had some fun meet-ups at Trader Sam's, Haagen Daz, and Ghirardelli, as well as meets before each of the races. Here's the photo from the half marathon this morning, though not everyone made it in time.

Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend 2013

So back to this morning...after the photo we headed to the corrals. Even though there were about twice as many people in the half marathon today as in the 10K yesterday the corral process went MUCH more smoothly, without the crowding and confusion we experienced yesterday.

Lee came back to Corral C to run with me. Former DL Ambassador Jolie Hales sang the national anthem (and very well!), and we had a few fireworks.

Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend 2013

The wheelchair racers went off promptly at 5:29 followed by Corral A at 5:30. I was expecting Corral B to start at 5:35, but instead they waited until everyone from A had crossed and THEN started the five minute countdown to B. That spread the runners out a little more, but I think it protracted the starting process...In Corral C my time was over 17 minutes later than the start, and it's usually more like 12. It really did NOT take us 28 minutes to get to mile 1! :-)

Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend 2013

The course was the same route through the parks as last year, though it seemed as though the lines for the characters were a lot longer. We only stopped for one photo - with Aurora and Prince Philip outside the castle. Some of the lines (like Mike and Sulley in DCA and the princesses in DL) were very long. I took a lot of photos during the 10K yesterday, so I was ok with that...and we were hoping to beat the heat a little bit, too, by trying to get as much mileage in as we could before the sun really came up and started beating down on the course.

Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend 2013

By mile 4 we were out of the parks and out into Anaheim. As I mentioned we had a little bit of cloud cover early - when I made the right turn onto ball road I was looking at a lovely colorful cloud instead of the usual blinding sun. That was very nice while it lasted.

Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend 2013

Many groups in Anaheim come out to cheer us on. There are two groups that I look for every year, and they are always there - a group of mariachi bands and dancers, and a group of Hawaiian singers and dancers. Both groups include both adults and children.

Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend 2013

Lee got out and attempted to hula with the Hawaiian group. :-)

Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend 2013

This was just about halfway, and we were still smiling, though the sun was out and it was warming up quickly.

Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend 2013

Last year, in honor of the opening of Cars Land, Disney invited classic car enthusiasts to participate, and we were really happy to see them again this year. That part of the course, from about mile 7-8, does not have much to look at, and having them out there makes it go by so much faster! Here's the first car that we saw (they seem to have them arranged by age):

Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend 2013

And here's one of the last ones - there were lots of muscle cars near the end.

Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend 2013

They did a much better job with water stops than they did in the 10K - there were 9 or them, all offering water and PowerAde. I carry my own electrolyte/nutrition mix but I had water at ALL of them, which I don't usually do, but have I mentioned that it was warm today? Just checking. (We were encouraged multiple times this weekend to "Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!) I'm concerned that some of them might have run out of cups again today, though.

Just past the Honda Center we ran on our normal path on the Santa Ana Trail down by the river channel - that dirt path feels nice on tired feet, and it was also cooler than asphalt, with just a little bit of a breeze. They are doing some construction near Angel Stadium, so we actually ran a little bit further on the trail than usual before coming up into the parking lot near the big "A" sign. And then we had our run through the stadium itself - that's always fun.

Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend 2013

They get a pretty good-sized crowd of Boy and Girl Scouts and other groups to cheer us on in there - and they can really make some noise! It's fun to high-five the kids (and adults) as we run by them, too.

While there are bands and cheerleaders throughout the course, they are really concentrated in the couple of miles after we exit the Stadium. That's a great place for them because they are really full of energy, and their enthusiasm helps to power and encourage us when we're getting pretty tired. I always have to chase Lee down after he goes past several groups of cheerleaders. :-)

The course goes backstage at DCA just before Mile 12, all the way around the back and then across Disneyland Drive and around the Paradise Pier, then between the Disneyland Hotel and Downtown Disney before finishing just past the hotel.

Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend 2013

Despite the heat I was feeling pretty good and actually finished very strong, with a pretty fast sprint over the last .15 miles. I was really happy to get across that finish line, though.

Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend 2013

Just after we finished there were volunteers handing out bags with a damp lemon-scented towel in it...and that felt pretty good. Lee caught up with me there and we got our 1/2 marathon medals and exchanged our green wristbands for our Dumbo medals. Isn't it cute???

Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend 2013

Other than the tents there's no shade in the reunion area - and it was really warm on that hot asphalt so we didn't linger very long - had someone take a photo of us and then headed out and back to our hotel.

Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend 2013

It was a very successful race weekend - I'd definitely do this set of races again! Though hopefully with cooler weather...


You can see some additional photos and info by reading my tweets: @allearslaura

September 4, 2013

Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend 2013 - Final Thoughts

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My experience at this year's Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend (the sixth one I've attended, out of eight that have taken place) was largely positive, but you know me, I always have a few final thoughts and suggestions. :-)

The Expo
We didn't arrive until Friday afternoon, but apparently Friday morning was a disaster. HUGE lines of people waiting in the hot sun to get into packet pickup, and even longer lines for merchandise - 2.5-3 hours for that. People were grabbing merchandise right and left, particularly anything for the Dumbo Double Dare. By Friday at 2:00, ALL that was left of Double Dare merchandise was a lime green hoodie. I was very disappointed not to be able to get the magnet for my race magnet collection - of course I can buy one on eBay for $20+ (the price was $7.95). I shudder to think what it's going to be like for Dopey merchandise in January. My fellow Team AllEars member MaryJean suggested that runDisney should allow us to pre-order some merchandise and I think that's a wonderful idea. There's no reason for t-shirts and hats and magnets to be in limited supply, and it would just make more money for Disney if we could all buy everything that we wanted! Not to mention avoiding the very ugly scenes that have been taking place in the merchandise areas which are unpleasant for both guests and cast members.

Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend 2013

For us packet pickup went very smoothly with no lines, and no issues in picking up our goodie bags. As long as you didn't expect to do it first thing in the morning it was a very efficient process. And at 3:00 in the afternoon we had no problems getting into the merchandise area, where there was a fair amount of Disneyland 1/2 Marathon merchandise still available, but the line for check-out was 25-30 minutes.

The Race Shirts

Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend 2013

I really liked the designs of the three race shirts, but the sizing was ridiculous. They only offered unisex sizes (instead of a choice of unisex or women's cut), and I chose the smallest size available - XS. And it's enormous. Here's a photo of Lee wearing my XS half marathon shirt. A little snug in the shoulders for him, but otherwise it fit him ok. The other two shirts were a little bit smaller, but still too big for me. And there's an awful lot of runners that were a lot smaller than I am.

Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend 2013

The Races
Disneyland has managed to avoid over-crowding their race courses by keeping the fields smaller - about 8500 for the 10K and 17,500 for the 1/2 Marathon. The first couple of miles were a little congested for me but not bad - NOTHING like what I've experienced at my last two half marathons at WDW. And I was able to RUN through the castle on both days, another thing that's been an issue in WDW races.

Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend 2013

Another great thing about the races at Disneyland is that you can easily walk to the start line from any of the Disney hotels, as well as from the many hotels in the area. No reason to get on a bus at an insanely early hour in order to make it to the start line in plenty of time. I'd much rather do a race in California than at WDW for that reason - and not just because it means I don't have to travel cross-country.

I already spoke about the corral process during the 10K - that was not handled particularly well, which I presume was due to the short time between the start of the 5K at 5:30 and the start of the 10K at 6:15. It will be interesting to see if they change that next year. The 5K is supposed to be a "Family Fun Run" - a 5:30 start time is not very family-friendly.

For us the corral process went much better during the half marathon, but I've spoken to other Team AllEars members who were in later corrals who did not have as positive an experience. There were too many people and not enough space in the corrals, and late arrivals weren't placed correctly.

I really loved the new 10K course, and I hope they will keep that one. The two miles outside the parks helped get us all spread out a little bit more, and made the other four miles that were on property that much more pleasant. I also really enjoyed the Alice in Wonderland theme, though I wonder if they will keep that from year-to-year or change it up like they do the 5K race.

Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend 2013

I wish they would change the half marathon course so that the park time came a little later and let us spread out...I also wish they would add some park time (or characters) to the end of it. That final stretch from mile 12 to ~12.75, which is all backstage around the perimeter of DCA, is much too quiet with no one but a few cast members to cheer us on. It's a tough part of the race - close to the end, but not quite close enough.

Characters
This is usually one of the highlights of a Disney race for me, and I had a wonderful time with the characters during the 10K...I even caught the White Rabbit! :-) But the lines were very long during the half marathon - I only stopped for one photo. This is one of the reasons I wish there were some characters later in the race when people are more spread out. I don't know how they could make this any better, though. The cast members do a very good job of taking photos and keeping the lines moving - it's just a very popular activity.

Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend 2013

Water stations
This was really my only complaint about the 10K - there were three water stations, which was fine, but #1 and #2 were almost three miles apart. That was much too far, especially given the weather conditions. They also had issues on both Saturday and Sunday with running out of cups at some of the water stations.

The Food Box
They are still giving out the silly little food boxes. They added a handle, which made it easier to carry, but there's still not the kind of food in there that I really need after a 13 mile run. Some of it made for some nice snacks later, but the box just doesn't work for me.

Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend 2013

Dumbo Double Dare
I enjoyed this a lot - a 10K and a half marathon back-to-back is a much more reasonable effort than a half marathon and a marathon. I think Lee and I would both like to do it again next year. At the end of the 10K we received wristbands to prove that we had finished it, and then exchanged those after completing the 1/2 for the Dumbo medal. I wonder if they will do that in the Dopey Challenge in January. It would make sense, and discourage people from circumventing the system.

Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend 2013

Volunteers and Entertainment
They were wonderful, all of them! So many people of all ages who helped make this a great event for those of us participating - those who worked the Expo, the water stations, handed out medals and food, checked our bags...And all of the cast members who came out in the early morning hours to cheer us on. Thank you SO much! And thank you to all of our on-course entertainment, also - the bands, cheerleaders, dance groups, boy scouts, girl scouts, classic car owners, and the random strangers who come out to cheer us on, hold up funny signs, hand out licorice and pretzels, and mist us with water sprayers.

Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend 2013

We don't actually have any more races scheduled until the Dopey Challenge in January...let the training begin!

Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend 2013


September 10, 2013

Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend 2013 - The Rest of the Weekend

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Believe it or not, we did things OTHER than run for the three+ days we were in Anaheim over Labor Day weekend. :-) Here's some highlights.

We stayed at the DVC Villas at the Grand Californian. At first I wasn't too thrilled with our room location...here's a view from outside the elevator lobby of the DVC wing. See the door that's just past the lobby? That was our door. I was concerned that it would be noisy, being so close to the elevator, but we never heard any noise from the hallway. It was on the ground floor, so we didn't have a view, but it was ok, and it was VERY convenient to not have to take the elevator to get to our room.

Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend 2013

The Grand Cal's entrance to DCA is very convenient - we entered that way even when going to Disneyland because it was shorter than going out through Downtown Disney. Be aware that before 11:00 or so this entrance is for the exclusive use of Disneyland Resort hotel guests, and you must present a valid room key from one of the three hotels in order to enter. We saw them turning people away on Saturday morning.

We spent some time enjoying attractions in the parks on Saturday after the 10K and on Monday morning.

It was very warm, so on Saturday morning we went on several rides that had mostly indoor queues! Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Forbidden Eye underwent a refurb earlier this year - we hadn't been on it since it re-opened. There's some new lighting effects, especially in the first room with the face of Mara (which of course you aren't supposed to look at!). But we noticed different lighting in other places, too, like on the snake heads and the skeletons. We also went on Pirates of the Caribbean and Buzz Lightyear AstroBlasters. Over in DCA we saw the Aladdin show, which featured one of the funniest Genies I've ever seen - lots of zingers including a mention of Miley Cyrus and twerking.

That evening we went back to DCA for dinner and then walked onto Voyage of the Little Mermaid and had a very short wait for Luigi's Flying Tires. I wasn't very impressed with the flying tires the first time I tried it, but it takes a little practice to learn how to fly the tires, and after that it's a lot more fun. We try to find some clear space where we can get a pretty good run going and bounce off the walls. :-) We saw a beautiful sunset over Radiator Springs.

Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend 2013

We met a few of our fellow Team AllEars members back at the Mad T Party - that version of Wonderland looked a lot different from the one we had run through that morning! :-) In addition to the band we saw a dance group and the aerialists. But we didn't stay late since we had to get up and run the half marathon the next day!

Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend 2013

Sunday night after dinner we saw World of Color. We didn't have Fastpasses for it so we watched it from the area under Silly Symphony Swings. You can't see much of the projections from there, but it's a very interesting perspective of the fountains. You get a much better look at everything that they can do and how the lighting works. And it got REALLY hot when they turned on the flame fountains!

Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend 2013

Monday morning we went to DCA for Magic Morning and rode Radiator Springs Racers, Toy Story Midway Mania (which we WALKED onto), and California Screamin'. Then we went over to Disneyland with our teammate Eddie and his daughter, because I wanted to get a photo of us riding Dumbo wearing our Dumbo medals. We also went on Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, the Carrousel, made a wish at Snow White's Wishing Well, had breakfast at River Belle Terrace, and sailed on the Jungle Cruise - all by 10:10 in the morning!

Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend 2013

For Limited Time Magic the only thing we experienced was the special caramel apple that is being offered in September...and it really WAS special! An apple dipped in caramel and then covered with crushed English toffee and drizzled with chocolate. Oh. My. It was sooooo good! Even Lee really liked it, and he's not really into sweet things. They are available at Trolley Treats, the Candy Palace, and Marceline's. I wish I'd gotten another one - you can be assured that I will be getting one on my next trip! I hope they will keep this one around. Or maybe I hope that they don't so I won't be tempted!

Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend 2013

And a mini food blog...

Friday evening we ate at Tangaroa Terrace at the Disneyland Hotel. I had the Crispy Tofu Salad, which I really like except for all of the red and green peppers, which I pulled out and gave to Lee. The tofu is coated with panko and fried - it actually had more of the consistency of fried mozzarella, and it was really, really good.

Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend 2013

Lee had the Kahlua Pork Flatbread, and enjoyed that.

Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend 2013

Saturday morning after we'd raced and showered we walked over to Disneyland and had breakfast at River Belle Terrace. It's a buffeteria and not table service, but I think they do a nice breakfast there. We sat outside, which is usually a nice setting close to the Rivers of America, but it was a little bit steamy that morning. Speaking of steamy...I had the Steamboat - three pancakes, scrambled eggs, and choice of sausage or bacon. It was more than I could eat - Lee ate most of my pancakes.

Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend 2013

Lee had the Mark Twain - scrambled eggs, potatoes, biscuit, and choice of bacon or sausage. He said the potatoes were especially good. (We went back to River Belle on Monday morning and we both had the Mark Twain - I don't like the peppers in the potatoes, but I'd rather have the biscuit than the pancakes.)

Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend 2013

Our usual dinner spot the night before a Disneyland race is Boardwalk Pizza and Pasta, and we didn't see any reason to change that. It wasn't as busy as it often is before a race, though we still had to wait a short time for our food. We both had our favorite Four Cheese Ravioli with pesto sauce. I brought my own bread, since they don't serve it there.

Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend 2013

After the race on Sunday went to Storyteller's Cafe at the Grand Californian for the breakfast buffet, as we usually do. It's always very busy on race morning, but it was really slammed and way, way overbooked on Sunday. I had a reservation and we STILL waited over 40 minutes to be seated! The buffet line was also very long - you really didn't want to go through it more than once. It's a character meal - Kenai and Meeko came to see us, but Chip and Brer Fox completely bypassed us. It was not a very good experience, especially given the cost, so this is probably the last time we'll do that.

Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend 2013

Sunday evening we had dinner with our friends Mike and Joelle at Napa Rose. As an appetizer we split the Signature Pizzetta, which was basically a Margherita pizza (really good).

Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend 2013

Lee and Joelle split the Truffled Mac and Cheese. I had a bite - it was very rich, and they enjoyed it.

Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend 2013

Mike and Joelle are vegetarian, and they each received a Vegetable Stack, customized with the types of veggies that they liked. They said it was very good.

Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend 2013

I had the Dove Breast, which was good, though I think the accompanying vegetables were my favorite part.

Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend 2013

Lee ordered the Short Ribs, which he said were tender and delicious.

Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend 2013

We were a little too full for dessert, but they brought us three scoops of the Honey Peach Sorbet to celebrate my upcoming birthday. I would have called this ice cream and not sorbet, but it was very good, especially the marinated chopped peaches that came with it. It was a very nice dinner with wonderful dining companions and an excellent server.

Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend 2013

Looking back I'd have to say the highlight of my food experiences for the weekend was the English Toffee Caramel Apple. :-)

And that does it for our Disneyland Half Marathon weekend. We came, we ate, we ran - not necessarily in that order. Thanks for reading!

September 17, 2013

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/13/13 (Halloween Time)

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Laura Gilbreath and Jason of disneygeek.com visited the parks on Friday, September 13, the first day of this year's Halloween Time celebration.

This post takes a look at the decorations, the holiday attractions, the Halloween Carnival, and some of the food offerings. There is a separate blog featuring the Unleash the Villains event.

The Disneyland entrance featured the usual giant character pumpkins.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

Main Street is always festive with colorful Halloween banners.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

There are jack o'lanterns everywhere - those on the Mad Hatter even wear hats.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

The giant Mickey pumpkin has returned to Town Square.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

There is a holiday photo backdrop at the Character Meet and Greet near the Mad Hatter.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

Laura says: Since it was the first day of Halloween Time and Unleash the Villains day I wore my "Sinister Cats" t-shirt, and got lots of compliments on it. But no one (including me) could name the pink cat pictured on the lower left side next to Lucifer. I've since done some research and think I know who it is...do any of you know?

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

Onto Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree which features the Halloween Carnival.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

The Pirate's League is back this year for a limited time, but has been moved from its small quarters in New Orleans Square to a larger area in the Jamboree. The available packages are Jake and the Never Land Pirates, $29.95, and the First Mate or Empress, $34.95. On the first day it was not very busy, and there appeared to be more adult pirates than kids!

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

There are free carnival games for kids (and adults).

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

The Cast a Spell game.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

The characters in their Halloween costumes were out wandering around interacting with guests rather than standing in designated meet and greet spots, though they were still posing for photos and signing autographs.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

Chip keeping the peace at the merchandise cart with a gun he borrowed from the display.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

In the Conjure a Villain tent was a villain meet and greet. The line for this experience was fairly long.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

Laura says: I did this earlier in the day when I arrived, and it was about a 20-minute wait to go into the tent. They took groups of about 25 into the tent, where we said some magic words to conjure our villain - Captain Hook for us. Then we formed another line to meet him, so we had to wait again. I was disappointed in this, since there was only one villain, and twice the wait. But at least the tent was air-conditioned.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

There's a craft area - sometimes the characters will sit down and color with the kids.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

There are masks to color which can also be used in the Mask-arade, held almost every hour.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

The pumpkin carvers have returned though they are in the Jamboree rather than next to the shack near the Ranch entrance. There weren't too many pumpkins since they had just started.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

Olaf from Frozen.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

The outdoor vending cart is pushed to the side since the carvers took their normal spot.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

The menu.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

Candy corn cotton candy. Can you say "sugar overload?"

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

The Haunted Hillbillies lead the Mask-arade, joined by some of the Disney characters and guests.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

The area around the stage featured a variety of decorations.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

A rope spider web.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

The Billies performing the Devil Went Down to Georgia. They also did Ghost Riders in the Sky.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

The scarecrows are back in the Scare-Dy-Crow Shack

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

The goats in the petting corral were dressed up.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

A cast member with a cockatoo was near the entrance/exit to the ranch area. She (the bird) said hello to us.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

Dia de Los Muertos displays in Zocalo park.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

There are also a couple of stations where they do face-painting.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

It's the 13th season for Haunted Mansion Holiday. They were not offering Fastpasses, so we waited in the 25-minute line, which filled the entire queue and spilled out into New Orleans Square.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

Jack Skellington was nearby posing for pictures.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

Celebrating 13 Frightfully Fun Seasons - and opening on Friday the 13 no less!

Disneyland Resort Photo Update


The most visible change this year is the stretching room. There is now a projection effect in place of the giant Jack head. Here is a video of it.. does not do it justice but will give you an idea.

Zero now makes an appearance in each of the portraits in the hall of portraits and flies from one to another.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

In the ballroom, a large gingerbread house celebrates the 13th season by counting down to Halloween.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy has also returned for the season.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

Laura rode this and says she didn't notice any differences on the ride, though the lighting in the launch bay seems different.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

Around the two parks are a number of special Halloween treats. Harbour Galley featured this pumpkin cheesecake.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

The Mint Julep Bar offers pumpkin beignets, pumpkin lattes, and zombie gingerbread cookies (the cookies are available in other locations around the park, also).

Laura says: I tried the beignets and the cookie. The beignets were not bad, though I prefer the gingerbread ones they have at Christmas. The cookie was good - soft and spicy.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

The French Market was decorated with man-eating wreaths.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

They are offering a Muffuletta sandwich for the season, served with handmade Cajun chips and fruit. $13.29

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

And a "coffin cake" dessert.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

In Trolley Treats at Disney California Adventure there are a variety of Halloween treats.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

Laura says: Schmoozies and Pacific Wharf Cafe offer a pumpkin muffin. I tried this and it was very good - it even has roasted pumpkin seeds on the top.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

Pacific Wharf Cafe has several other offerings, also, including a pumpkin-shaped loaf of sourdough bread and some desserts. This year Minnie is featured on the holiday demitasse cup.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

In Boardwalk Pizza and Pasta there's an anti-vampire flatbread.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

With chives or without...

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

They've added some Halloween touches to the decorations at the Mad T Party.

Laura says: Other than the T Party DCA doesn't show much Halloween "spirit". I miss Candy Corn Acres.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

There's a variety of Halloween merchandise available in stores all over both parks.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

Not Halloween related but something new that we experienced: At Soarin' Over California some of the Planes characters make appearances in the pre-flight video shown in the boarding area before the safety spiel. Here is a video of it to wrap up this update.


Hope you enjoyed this look at HalloweenTime at the Disneyland Resort. For additional photos and details from this trip you can check out the full Disneyland Update Jason posted on his site, http://disneygeek.com



September 18, 2013

Disneyland Unleashes the Villains - 9/13/13

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One of this year's Limited Time Magic offerings has been on the calendar for a long time - the September Friday the 13th Unleash the Villains event. Though until the week before there weren't any details on what was going to be included.

Out here on the west coast the event was held at Disneyland, where it coincided with the opening of the yearly Halloween Time celebration. Jason and I have more on Halloween Time in a previous blog - this one will be on the Villains event, with photos and comments from Jason, Jeanine, and me.

Disneyland Unleashes the Villains

Most of the Villains event took place from 8:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m., so there wasn't a lot going on during the day, except for watching some of the preparations. The event descriptions from the Times Guide:

Party Like a Villain - Take to the floor and dance beneath the stars with the Disney Villains - who have come out to celebrate Friday the 13th as only they can! Our DJ spins an amazing mix of music, and special meet and greet locations are available to pose for photos with your favorite Villains!
Main Street USA - Town Square 8:00 pm to 1:00 am

Disneyland Unleashes the Villains

Unleash the Villains Dance Party - The "creepiest creeps" come out to play at our special New Orleans dance club - the Train Station in New Orleans Square! Each hour, a variety of the vilest Disney Villains make an ominous arrival into the party!
New Orleans Square Train Station 9:45 pm to 1:00 am

Disneyland Unleashes the Villains

I was disappointed that there wasn't anything happening during the day, since I couldn't stay for the evening events.

There were some special menu items available for the day, in addition to extra menu items that have been added for Halloween Time. The French Market had these Fiery Meatloaf Sliders - Meatloaf with Tomato Jam and Apple Slaw served with Handmade Cajun Chips and Grapes. $12.49

Disneyland Unleashes the Villains

There were also Spooky Kooky Gingerbread Cookies (gingerbread zombies) available at Harbour Galley, Royal Street Verandah and Mint Julep Bar (though I think these will be around for the Halloween season). I tried one, and it was very tasty.

Disneyland Unleashes the Villains

There are other seasonal offerings, like pumpkin beignets, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin lattes, but I covered those in the Halloween Time blog.

In preparation for the evening events, the Disneyland Railroad closed at 5:00 p.m., since the Villains Dance Party was being held at the New Orleans Square Train Station. It was nice to see the Lilly Belle at the station.

Disneyland Unleashes the Villains

At Town Square, the street was closed in front of the train station, so the second performance of the Soundsational Parade was re-routed and went straight up Main Street rather than around Town Square. We saw the parade of techs bringing out the dance floor, though. :-)

Disneyland Unleashes the Villains

There was a queue for entry to the dance floor set up inside the turnstiles - no one in it at 5:00, though.

Disneyland Unleashes the Villains

There was a special Villains Unleashed t-shirt for the event. Another Limited Time Magic offering is Villains headbands for Maleficent, the Queen of Hearts, Ursula and the Evil Queen (pictured below). (Thank you to Gary and Debbie for allowing me to model their purchases).

Disneyland Unleashes the Villains

I wonder when Disney is ever going to learn...the t-shirt didn't go on sale until 6:00 pm and was only available in two locations: the Royal Courtyard at the exit to Pirates, and the Tower Gift Store in Disney California Adventure.

Disneyland Unleashes the Villains

The line in Disneyland was huge, and stretched all the way back to Indiana Jones in Adventureland.

Disneyland Unleashes the Villains

The line in DCA wasn't bad - it was contained within the gift shop, and there were also more registers available there so it moved faster.

Disneyland Unleashes the Villains

But if you don't mind waiting for it, the t-shirts are available on-line for a limited time:
Disneyland T-shirt

Walt Disney World T-shirt

By 7:00, traffic in the area was getting to the gridlock state. :-( I left at 7:45 - the lines at the turnstiles to get into Disneyland were long, and from the parking garage all I could see were red taillights on all of the roads and ramps approaching the area.

Jason went back into Disneyland to experience some of the evening events, so I'm going to turn this over to him now.

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I returned to Disneyland around 7:15 or so. Town Square had a lot of guests. Some waiting for the dance floor, some for the character meet and greet, and some just lost or trying to get into or out of the park.

Disneyland Unleashes the Villains

The dance floor ready to go.

Disneyland Unleashes the Villains

The backdrop for the meet and greet.

Disneyland Unleashes the Villains

Time for the Party Like a Villain dance party.

A video clip of the opening.

The dance floor was filled quickly by the waiting queue of guests.

Disneyland Unleashes the Villains

There were dancers on hand too.

Disneyland Unleashes the Villains

Looking behind me.. a good number of guests filled Town Square to see what was going on. But once they realized the characters were not dancing many left.

Disneyland Unleashes the Villains
Disneyland Unleashes the Villains

A video 360 of the scene.

A projection on the trees

Disneyland Unleashes the Villains

A video from near the Mad Hatter


The mass of guests on Main Street.

Disneyland Unleashes the Villains

The New Orleans Train Station was set up for the Unleash the Villains Dance Party that was to begin at 9:45pm It was about 9:15 when I walked by and they were still doing final setup.

Disneyland Unleashes the Villains
Disneyland Unleashes the Villains


They had another train pulled up to the other side. So you had an engine on one side and the Lilly Belle (tail end of a train) on the other.

Disneyland Unleashes the Villains

At this point I decided to head for Main Street to watch Remember then head for home. I had an early wake up call on Saturday and planned to leave the parks by 10pm. On the way out the esplanade was packed. The lines to enter Disneyland stretched to the center where the compass is.

Disneyland Unleashes the Villains

A little hard to see in this picture but Disneyland Drive was jammed on the left in this picture.

Disneyland Unleashes the Villains

 

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Jeanine made it back to the Unleash the Villains Dance Party and shares a few photos.

Disneyland Unleashes the Villains

The dance party was very crowded - there was a huge line to get onto the dance floor which had been placed on top of the train tracks.

Disneyland Unleashes the Villains

At the front they had two stages for characters with Lady Tremaine and the stepsisters on one side and Frollo, Hades, and the Red Queen on the other.

Disneyland Unleashes the Villains

By then the special food was sold out and it was too crowded to ride any of the attractions in the area.

Disneyland Unleashes the Villains

On the whole, it seemed like a nice effort on their part, but if I started seeing tweets from people saying it was traffic-y next time, I don't know that I would go unless they were offering up something more in the way of special entertainment.

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About September 2013

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

August 2013 is the previous archive.

October 2013 is the next archive.

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