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October 1, 2016

Disneyland Paris Inaugural Half Marathon Weekend - Part 2, 5K

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Disneyland Paris 5K

The 5K started at 7:00 on Saturday morning. A very civilized hour for those of us used to the typical 5:00 or 5:30 starts of most runDisney events! (Though the start time was NOT listed in the official program!) And since everything was so close, we didn't even have to get up that early - we set the alarm for 5:15.

Continental breakfast at the hotels was included as part of our race packages. On race mornings, there was also a limited race breakfast available starting at 5:00. I was very surprised that there were NO bread products at the race breakfast! We're in France, where there's a boulangerie on almost every corner, and there's no croissants or toast for race breakfast? There was yogurt, fruit, and cereal, as well as juice, coffee, tea, and hot chocolate. That was ok for me, but Lee is used to having a bagel or toast or something like that before running.

We met our friends Julie and Mike at breakfast, and then walked over to the start area - left the hotel about 6:15. We again had to go through security, but most runners obviously weren't carrying anything and could just walk through. It took less than 10 minutes to walk to the Events Center. The pre-race area was right next to it.

It looked like it was going to be a great day for running, with a forecast of mostly clear skies and temperature around 54-56. That's perfect in my book. A little chilly for waiting in the corrals, but I'd brought one of my trusty trash bags from home, and I had arm sleeves. I'd also brought gloves but I forgot to wear them that morning - they would have been nice to have. I wore my Belle running costume for the 5K.

Bag check was in the Events Center - the same location as packet pickup, merchandise, etc. That was different, though it was nice that everything was in the same place, and it certainly made sense to do it there. We didn't check any bags, but had to go through the Events Center to access the Runner's Only area. There were lots of people checking for bibs in a couple of places to make sure that only registered runners were allowed to enter.

The event map showed "Photos" in the pre-race area, and I was hoping for Disney characters as they have started to do here. But no, just a couple of backdrops with pretty long lines.

Disneyland Paris 5K

And there were NO PhotoPass photographers - none roaming around taking photos, and, even more surprisingly, none at the photo backdrops! That was one reason the lines were moving so slowly - we all had to hand our cameras to someone else for photos. I was starting to wonder what the use was of purchasing the PhotoPass card if there weren't going to be any photographers!

We eventually got to the front of the line at one of the backdrops and had a few photos taken.

Disneyland Paris 5K

And then we went to the corrals - which were a very short distance away. Corral assignment for the 5K appeared to be completely random. Mike, Julie and I were all in B, but for whatever reason Lee was assigned to C (even though he and I had booked together!), so we all had to go back to C to run together. That was a bummer, as it turned out. We ended up near the back of Corral C.

Disneyland Paris 5K

There were 5,000-6,000 participants in the 5K - and most of them were ahead of us. We could barely see the start line, and there were no speakers or monitors anywhere around us so we had no idea what was going on.

Disneyland Paris 5K

There was a small burst of fireworks a few minutes before 7:00, and then after that we started seeing occasional puffs of "smoke" over the start line.

Disneyland Paris 5K

It appeared that the race started on time but we didn't start moving for another 10 minutes, I think. And once we did start moving we'd move a bit, then stop, then move some more. The reason became obvious as we approached the start line: within the corrals, they were grouping people together and starting them in waves about a minute apart. Interesting strategy, and it did seem to work to spread us out a bit more early in the race. But it was confusing since we couldn't hear anything and had no idea what was going on until we got pretty close to the start line.

Disneyland Paris 5K

There were a couple of race announcers, but we couldn't hear them until we were close to the starting line. They were mixing it up between English and French. Really made me miss Rudy Novotny and Carissa Bealert, though.

Disneyland Paris 5K

We started about 20 minutes after the race officially began. We were on the wide walkway between Downtown Disney and Disneyland, so crowding wasn't much of an issue and we had room to maneuver around slower walkers and runners.

Disneyland Paris 5K

We were very quickly on Main Street in Disneyland.

Disneyland Paris 5K

There's that lovely castle...but no PhotoPass photographers!

Disneyland Paris 5K

We reached the first of what were to be the most character stops I've seen in any Disney race as we made the turn from the hub towards Discoveryland. Cruella deVil and Jafar. Unfortunately, because of our start in Corral C, the lines were very long, so we didn't stop at most of the official photo stops - we had to make our own fun photos instead.

This is one of my favorites. Mike, Julie, and Lee got in the car and the CMs who were cheering there saw what they were doing and rushed over to photobomb them! It was great! There were a lot of cast members out cheering throughout the race, and they all looked like they were having a wonderful time doing it.

Disneyland Paris 5K

We passed the 1K marker in Discoveryland. A few runners around us thought we had already gone a mile. Nope, sorry, different system of measurement here! :-) There were even lines to take photos of the kilometer markers, so we didn't stop.

The course went through all of the various lands - Main Street, Discoveryland, Fantasyland, Adventureland and Frontierland before exiting Disneyland and taking us into the Studios.

There were lots of character stops - most of them had more than one character. And several of them were characters not often seen. For example, in Fantasyland there were two pairs of more unusual characters - Eeyore and Rabbit, and Thumper and his girlfriend. We counted 11 character stops. Very impressive.

Disneyland Paris 5K

Between Discoveryland and Fantasyland we turned and ran into a backstage area which was lit by some interesting lights - they changed color.

Disneyland Paris 5K

In Fantasyland we stopped for a photo outside Alice's Curious Labyrinth.

Disneyland Paris 5K

One of the two water stations was located in Adventureland just past Pirates and Adventure Isle. They were clearly marked.

Disneyland Paris 5K

We actually went into Fantasyland twice - once from the backstage area and once from Adventureland. The course designers did a great job of maximizing park time for this race. The second time we saw Mary Poppins and Bert at the Carousel. That's probably the one photo op that I regret not stopping for.

Disneyland Paris 5K

After that it was time to run through the castle. There were PhotoPass photographers on the Main Street side, so people were slowing down as we went through to mug for the cameras, though we didn't come to a screeching halt like we do in some Disney races.

Disneyland Paris 5K

We stopped in Frontierland to take photos with some of the "pumpkin people" (there were lots of Halloween figures out on Main Street and Frontierland for their Halloween celebration), and the people in front of us were the young woman and her father that we had talked to when in line for the Expo! It was so much fun to see them - and they were having a wonderful time.

Disneyland Paris 5K

We were disappointed that Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is shut down for a lengthy refurbishment - but it's still a very pretty backdrop.

Disneyland Paris 5K

After Frontierland we left Disneyland and went backstage to get into the Studios. In that area we were passed by a scooter with a cameraman on the back - we'd seen a couple of these. I felt like I was in the Tour de France. :-)

Disneyland Paris 5K

We didn't go through quite as much of the Studios park, though we passed most of the major areas and attractions. It's a much smaller park than Disneyland. It might even be Disney's smallest theme park - or that's how it feels to me. We passed the 3K sign just before we entered, so we didn't have too much of the race still remaining.

There weren't as many character stops in the Studios but there were a few very interesting ones. Near Crush's coaster was a character I haven't seen in a VERY long time - Roger Rabbit! And I think the longest line I saw was outside Bistrot Chez Remy - for Remy, Linguini, and Emile! Wow. Very cool to see all three of them.

Disneyland Paris 5K

A bit of a loop - the runners behind Lee, Mike, and Julie who are exiting Playland were ahead of us.

Disneyland Paris 5K

The course took us back into the Hollywood portion of the park and past the Tower of Terror and Rock'n'Roller Coaster. The final character stop was Marvel characters. We saw Spider-Man - others saw Captain America. The line wasn't too long (by far the shortest one we'd seen) and we stopped for it. Unfortunately only the PhotoPass photographer took the picture, and it's not available yet.

The last kilometer of the race was in backstage areas between the Studios and Downtown Disney. We finally found a kilometer sign that didn't have a line. Yay. :-)

Disneyland Paris 5K

The sun was just starting to come over the trees, and it was in our eyes. Lee was inspired to do his best zombie walk. I don't know why.

Disneyland Paris 5K

We reached the Arrivee line. This race wasn't officially timed, but by my Garmin it took us about 53 minutes. Even though we didn't stand in character lines we still stopped a lot for photos. We had a great time running with Mike and Julie.

Disneyland Paris 5K

One very odd thing...there were characters just AFTER the finish line - and they were letting runners pose for selfies with them! It clogged up the finish area. There were Goofy, Minnie, Mickey and Pluto. It was nice to see them, but it became a bottleneck.

Disneyland Paris 5K

5K complete!

Disneyland Paris 5K

I think the medallion is really cute! This is the last of the rubber ones - they will all be made of metal from now on.

Disneyland Paris 5K

In addition to bottles of water and PowerAde, volunteers were handing out bottles of a lactose-free chocolate or vanilla milk called Sporteus. It was pretty good, and hit the spot after running.

Disneyland Paris 5K

And...no runDisney snack boxes at this race! Yay! Instead we received an apple and an actual bag that had peanuts and a cereal bar inside. It was very nice to have the bag to carry the beverage bottles in - juggling all of that is always difficult.

Disneyland Paris 5K

There was no entertainment in the Family Reunion area at all - that seemed strange. There really wasn't anything to do once we finished the race unless we wanted to try to get photos with the backdrops. The lines were even longer than they had been in the morning and there was still no PhotoPass photographer. The generic half marathon weekend backdrop was available, though. I should mention that there were PhotoPass photographers in the finish area to take our official finisher photos.

Disneyland Paris 5K

We were finished and on our way back to the hotel by 8:30. Continental breakfast was still available there - we even had time to shower first. :-)

When we headed to Disneyland after breakfast we could see the Kids Races going on across the lake. It sounded like everyone was having a lot of fun.

Disneyland Paris 5K

Final Thoughts

I must say that I was very impressed - it was an excellent 5K. Easily the best runDisney 5K I have run. The course was terrific - most of it on-stage, and we had lots of time in the parks. I did not experience any real crowded and congested conditions. A little slowing when we went through the castle, but that was the only place that I had to drop to a walk, and not for very long.

And the characters! Disneyland Paris got it RIGHT. I was amazed at how many character stops there were. I hope that Disneyland and Walt Disney World were paying attention.

I didn't call them all out in the blog, but here's the ones that I saw:
Cruella
Jafar
Chewbacca/R2-D2
Eeyore/Rabbit
Thumper/Miss Bunny
Captain Hook/Mr. Smee
Mary Poppins/Bert/Penguin
Jessie/Woody
Roger Rabbit
Remy, Linguini, Emile
Spider-Man

From other runners I know that sometimes the entire Pooh gang, including Pooh, Piglet and Tigger, were out together, and Captain America alternated with Spider-Man.

I was disappointed that we started so far back that the lines were too long, but that's just luck of the draw. And it was our choice not to wait in some of the lines. The one complaint I heard about characters was that the handlers didn't close the lines when they knew a character would be leaving, so some people waited in long lines only to have the character pulled before their turn came.

Considering how much they pushed the purchase of the PhotoPass card, I was surprised that there were no PhotoPass opportunities in the start and finish areas. But there were a reasonable number of photographers along the race course, and at all of the character stops. There were a few other official photo stops in the parks, such as in the hub with the castle behind, at the entrance to Playland, and with some of the Tower of Terror Bellhops. But I'm disappointed at how long it is taking them to make the photos available to us - I'd hope to include some in this blog, but we are still waiting for them to be posted.

The pre-race experience was lacking. There were no video displays or speakers, so we had no idea what was going on. And especially when it turned out they were creating separate waves within the corrals, it would have been nice to know that.

Speaking of waves...I thought the wave idea worked very well in spreading us out a little bit more at the beginning. Especially for the 5K where corrals seemed to be randomly assigned and it was such a mix of runners, walkers, families with kids, etc.

The medallion is adorable...and I really liked the race shirt, also.

I was pleased with the refreshments. Chocolate milk is a very common post-race beverage at non-Disney races, and I was happy to see it here. I don't really need much after a 5K but the apple and cereal bar were nice to have - I ate them later. And giving us BAGS - hallelujah!!!

It was really a terrific race, and we had a lot of fun. I would definitely recommend this race, and I hope to do it again some time. Thanks, Disneyland Paris. Your debut race was a winner!

Next up: the Semi Marathon







October 3, 2016

Disneyland Paris Inaugural Half Marathon Weekend - Part 3, Half Marathon

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Disneyland Paris Half Marathon

Somewhere along the way the race was renamed the Inaugural Disneyland® Paris – Val d’Europe Half Marathon. Or Semi Marathon, as they say in France. Val d'Europe is the area that surrounds Disneyland Paris, and we would be running through it for over half of the race.

It was a fantastic event. Maybe the most I've ever enjoyed an Inaugural runDisney event (Disneyland's Inaugural Star Wars Half Marathon is way up there, too.) The race organizers, the cast members, the community, the volunteers all came together to give us a marvelous experience. Thank you to all of you!

Going into the race we really weren't sure what to expect in terms of on-course support, water stops, and nutrition. And given recent events in France, security was a concern as well.

I'm very happy to report that none of that was an issue. While perhaps there wasn't quite as much entertainment or cheering crowds, those that were there were enthusiastic and very supportive. And there were plenty of well-stocked and staffed water and nutrition stops. As for security - it was very different seeing pairs of armed guards all over the course, but I felt safe.

The race course was terrific. We had even more park time in the Studios than we did for the 5K, and about the same in Disneyland. The first 5K was basically parks, and then we had 1K backstage before going out onto the roads in Val d'Europe.

It was a beautiful area, and I very much enjoyed the views as we ran through the countryside. We saw parks:

Disneyland Paris Half Marathon

Woods:

Disneyland Paris Half Marathon

Houses:

Disneyland Paris Half Marathon

Lakes:

Disneyland Paris Half Marathon

And even corn fields.

Disneyland Paris Half Marathon

We were never that far from Disney and could often catch a glimpse of Space Mountain or the castle in the distance and even hear some music.

Disneyland Paris Half Marathon

It was very nice that for most of the last 5K we were back on Disney property, where we ran through several of the Disney resorts. Hotel Santa Fe:

Disneyland Paris Half Marathon

Hotel Cheyenne:

Disneyland Paris Half Marathon

Newport Bay Club:

Disneyland Paris Half Marathon

We finished by running through Downtown Disney, then ducking backstage around the Studios for the final kilometer to the finish line.

Disneyland Paris Half Marathon

The weather was perfect. There was rain in the forecast but thankfully it held off until the afternoon, and for the race we had clear skies and temperatures of about 55-60. There was a light wind at times. It was very comfortable for running.

I was very pleased to see that the race organizers had learned some lessons from the 5K and made some changes to address a few issues. There were screens and speakers in the corrals that morning, so we had a much better idea of what was happening up front.

At the character stops, the handlers let runners in line know when a character would soon be going for a break, and when they would be coming back. And they let us know if a different character was coming out to replace them. That was much appreciated.

They pulled the PhotoPass photographers from the castle ramp, which really eased congestion when we went through it - we barely slowed down.

The Disney characters were still at the finish line, but they were more away from the line - it wasn't the bottleneck that it was the day before.

Once again, the race organizers did a great job of giving us character photo opportunities along the course. And very different characters than we had saw during the 5K. The number of character stops was about the same as for the 5K, but there might have been even more characters - some of the stops had four or five different characters associated with them! Some of the groups:

Mad Hatter, March Hare, White Rabbit, Cheshire Cat(!)

Dug, Carl, Russell/Baloo, King Louie

Remy/Marie, Toulouse, Berlioz (Aristocats)

Aladdin, Abu, Genie, Sultan

Disneyland Paris Half Marathon

Cinderella, Prince Charming, Belle, Prince Beast (by far the longest line I saw so we didn't stop)

Disneyland Paris Half Marathon

We also saw Chip and Dale, the Incredibles, Spider-Man, Darth Vader, and the Sheriff of Nottingham. I think Remy and Spider-Man/Captain America were the only repeats from the 5K. That's quite a lineup.

Race Day

We got a slightly earlier start - had our race breakfast at the hotel and were on our way to the corrals by 6:10. I was concerned that it might take longer to get through the security check, but it was again very efficient.

We learned from the way the 5K started to try to get further forward in the corral. We were in Corral B for this one, so that helped a lot. There were over 10,000 runners registered for the race, so it was about twice the size of the 5K. There were four start corrals instead of three.

Disneyland Paris Half Marathon

As I mentioned before, we had video monitors and a PA system for the half, so we were able to hear the announcements when they told us they would start us in waves - I think they said 32 waves.

Disneyland Paris Half Marathon

It was another cool morning - about 55 degrees - but there was a light wind and it felt a little colder. I'd remember to wear my gloves this time! With arm sleeves, trash bag, and gloves I was comfortable while we waited.

Disneyland Paris Half Marathon

The race started 10 minutes late - no explanation as to why.

Disneyland Paris Half Marathon

We were near the front of corral B and started about 10 minutes after the official start of the race. We were at the front of a wave, and that was nice.

Disneyland Paris Half Marathon

Disneyland Paris Half Marathon

This time we went into the Studios first and to the Lights, Motors, Action stage at the back of the park.

Disneyland Paris Half Marathon

There weren't lines at the kilometer signs as there were the day before. 21 of them for this race.

Disneyland Paris Half Marathon

We ran through the Studio 1 building that's just inside the Studios' entrance. It was strange to be running inside.

Disneyland Paris Half Marathon

Since we were closer to the front of the race the character lines were much shorter, so we were able to make a number of stops. But one not-so-good change between the 5K and the half: CMs were apparently instructed not to take photos with guest cameras. So we all had to get someone else to take our photo if we wanted one with our own camera. Everyone was willing to do it, it was just awkward to pass the phones back and forth.

Disneyland Paris Half Marathon

The CMs were still out in force and enthusiastically cheering for us, though!

Disneyland Paris Half Marathon

We went the opposite direction through Toy Story Playland this time and into the Ratatouille area. I was hoping that Remy would be out again, but I didn't see any character stops. Unfortunately I missed it - it was behind the line of cheering cast members nearer the Fastpass distribution area. I found out later that in addition to Remy that stop alternated with Marie and some of the other kittens from The Aristocats! I was really disappointed that I missed that.

Disneyland Paris Half Marathon

We'd run a little less than 3K when we entered Disneyland and ran down Main Street.

Disneyland Paris Half Marathon

In Discoveryland there was a line for Vader and the Storm Troopers. It was the longest line we waited in - about 8 minutes. While we waited for that I took this photo of Lee. The Vader photo was only taken by the PhotoPass photographer and I REALLY hope it comes out - it should be a good one.

Disneyland Paris Half Marathon

In Fantasyland we had our first experience with the CMs telling us that characters would be leaving. The March Hare and White Rabbit were out, but the CM told us they would be leaving in four minutes. The line was short, so we knew we should have time. But when the Mad Hatter came out (less than four minutes later) they pulled the other two, so we missed getting them - but at least we had a photo with the Mad Hatter.

Disneyland Paris Half Marathon

The Sheriff of Nottingham was out on Adventure Isle (some people saw Robin Hood, also). That was a new one for me, I think.

Disneyland Paris Half Marathon

When we were in the parks the kilometer markers were themed to the area of the park that we were in. (No race clocks on any of the kilometer markers like we're used to seeing here.)

Disneyland Paris Half Marathon

After we left Disneyland we ran backstage for a while - this backstage road had traffic circles on it, and there was a gargoyle statue in each one! Surprisingly this was the only Hunchback character that we saw during the races.

Disneyland Paris Half Marathon

At the 6K mark we left Disney property for the surrounding commune of Val d'Europe. About 3.7 miles on Disney property to start the race, most of it in interesting on-stage areas - very nice.

Disneyland Paris Half Marathon

We ran around a number of traffic circles that day.

Disneyland Paris Half Marathon

At one point we ran about half a lap around a high school track. That was nice and cushy. Felt good.

Disneyland Paris Half Marathon

There were two nutrition stations - one at about 7.5K and one at 15K. Different than what we're used to - they offered cereal bars and apple slices. We split one of the packets of apple slices and they were quite good. There didn't seem to be too many takers for the cereal bars, though.

Disneyland Paris Half Marathon

Disneyland Paris Half Marathon

There were a number of teams of runners who were pushing a disabled person in an interesting one-wheeled sedan chair. One person in front rickshaw-style and one in back pushing. They swapped out fairly frequently. Despite the chair they were moving pretty fast - most of them passed us.

Disneyland Paris Half Marathon

There were a number of bands along the course - most of them seemed to be high school bands.

Disneyland Paris Half Marathon

And this was a very unusual group. The long tubes are didgeridoos. Their name was Pranavibes.

Disneyland Paris Half Marathon

11K - over half way! When we weren't in the parks the signs were themed to different Disney movies.

Disneyland Paris Half Marathon

One part of the course I didn't like so much - for about 5K we were on an out-and-back, which meant that we saw people on the other side going on the opposite direction. Not so bad when we were the ones further along, but a little disheartening when we were still going out and watching those on the other side of the road who were almost 5K ahead of us!

Disneyland Paris Half Marathon

About kilometer 12 we ran through a village. There were quite a few people out to watch us, including a very enthusiastic cheerleading squad.

Disneyland Paris Half Marathon
The volunteers were outstanding!
Disneyland Paris Half Marathon

At about 13K we ran around a small lake. We started on a gravel path, which then turned into a packed dirt/gravel track. I heard a number of complaints from runners around me in this section, but I enjoyed the change in surface.

Disneyland Paris Half Marathon

At kilometer 17 we were back in Disney property. I liked the way the markers at Hotel Santa Fe and Hotel Cheyenne matched the theme of those resorts.

Disneyland Paris Half Marathon

Disneyland Paris Half Marathon

Running along Lake Disney - a little over a mile left to go.

Disneyland Paris Half Marathon

The wind had played a little havoc with the 21K sign. CMs said that it was only 100 meters to the finish from there, but it felt longer than that to me.

Disneyland Paris Half Marathon

Arrivee!

Disneyland Paris Half Marathon

Again there were characters at the finish but runners weren't allowed to line up like they had the day before.

Disneyland Paris Half Marathon

Lee and I both got our Challenge medals from the smallest race volunteer I've seen - isn't she adorable?

Disneyland Paris Half Marathon

The signage for the Castle to Chateau wasn't clear - I passed by it the first time, and had to backtrack a bit to get to the entrance. I was also quite surprised that no one was marking our wristbands to make sure no one received more than one - it seemed like it would be possible to do that.

Disneyland Paris Half Marathon

Really beautiful medals! And the one has that special word on it: Inaugural. :-)

Disneyland Paris Half Marathon

It was still under 60 degrees and a little chilly - I was surprised that mylar sheets weren't being distributed. I'm not even sure they were available at the First Aid tent, since I didn't see anyone who had one.

This time our post-race snacks were a banana, cereal bar, peanuts, and a dried fruit/nut mix.

Disneyland Paris Half Marathon

There was still no entertainment in the Family Reunion area and the lines for photos at the photo backdrops were long.

Disneyland Paris Half Marathon

We were both getting a little chilled so we headed back to our hotel. We had to cross the race course twice to get there, but the runners had thinned out enough that it didn't take too long. I had a really good race and felt really good - but it's always very nice to be done.

Disneyland Paris Half Marathon

A few souvenirs from our trip to France!

Disneyland Paris Half Marathon

This was a terrific race weekend. Totally exceeded all of my expectations. Congratulations to everyone involved, and a heartfelt thank you from me as well. I hope this race weekend will be around for a long time. While I'm not planning to run it again next year, I would certainly like to run it again in the future - maybe the 5th anniversary?







October 4, 2016

Disneyland Resort Updates - 9/30/16

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Contributing photographer Jason of disneygeek.com sends us these photos from his trip to the parks on Friday, September 30, 2016.

Since Laura was in the parks to cover Halloween Time and the Halloween Party I will focus on some other aspects from the day. First up a check of the Star Wars Construction. This week just a quick video clip overview site (for a more in dept photo look visit my site).



Along the Mickey and Friends Tramway landscape work is underway.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, September 30, 2016


A lot of rocks have been brought in on both sides.


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, September 30, 2016



Here you can get an idea of where they are heading with the look.


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, September 30, 2016



In Disneyland's Town Square the cannons have been removed and the ground leveled where they were.


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, September 30, 2016



Looks like they are being relocated to the planter nearby


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, September 30, 2016



This weekend is Gay Days and there are some specialty items available at select locations. This is at Tomorrowland Terrace.


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, September 30, 2016


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, September 30, 2016



Over in DCA the arches for the Mad T Party have been removed.


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, September 30, 2016



AP Days continue near Stage 12. The offerings are the same as my previous visit, buttons, water, coloring, and a photo op are the highlights.


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, September 30, 2016


Buttons..


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, September 30, 2016


A closer look at the button.


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, September 30, 2016


The Hollywood Tower Hotel sign and other facade elements have been removed from the Tower of Terror. Scaffolding is going up around the building as it begins the transformation to the new Guardians of the Galaxy attraction.


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, September 30, 2016


Where the sign and some other elements were attached.


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, September 30, 2016


The Bugs Land 60th photo op is gone.


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, September 30, 2016


APDays in Paradise Gardens featured a Run Disney table this week. Big discounts for the upcoming Super Heroes Half Marathon Weekend events in November.


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, September 30, 2016


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, September 30, 2016


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, September 30, 2016



Stickers were also available for a new iPhone app.


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, September 30, 2016


This week's activity guide and button for AP Days


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, September 30, 2016


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, September 30, 2016


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, September 30, 2016


Gay Days offerings at Clarabelle's on Buena Vista Street


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, September 30, 2016


Back to Disneyland. Town Square pumpkins...


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, September 30, 2016


The Village Haus was closed already for Halloween party prep (it was 4:18pm only and the party kicked off at 7pm).


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, September 30, 2016


At 7pm when the party started I made my way out of the park.


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, September 30, 2016


DCA was very crowded thanks to Disneyland now being closed to day guests. This is the end of the line for Smoke Jumpers. (Restroom lines were also out the door)


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, September 30, 2016


The line for Boardwalk Pizza & Pasta was out the door and down the walkway. I am at the end of it. Cast members were at the exits to guide you to the line. It looked worse than it was. It was under 15 minutes from this point until we were seated and eating.


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, September 30, 2016


Paradise Pier was very crowded. The standby area for World of Color was moved out and marked by tape. But with the near gridlock in the walkways, it was a mess to walk through.


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, September 30, 2016


5 minutes until World of Color. The version of the World of Color show from early 2015 has returned - minus the Brave segment.


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, September 30, 2016


The projections looked great tonight. The animation clips were really crisp. The projectors that were put in for World of Color - Celebrate! make a big difference. Other elements that were added for Celebrate! that were incorporated into the older version of the show were lights on California Screamin' and air/smoke blasts in the viewing area.


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, September 30, 2016


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, September 30, 2016



A video clip of the Pirates segment.



Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, September 30, 2016


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, September 30, 2016


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, September 30, 2016


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, September 30, 2016


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, September 30, 2016


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, September 30, 2016


A fall hidden Mickey on the walkway...


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, September 30, 2016



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, https://disneygeek.com Also be sure to follow me on twitter @disneygeekcom for pictures from the parks.







October 7, 2016

Mickey's Halloween Party - 2016 Disneyland

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Mickey's Halloween Party

One of the special events during Halloween Time each year is Mickey's Halloween Party at Disneyland. The parties take place on select evenings in September and October. Party goers must purchase a ticket to the event, and they usually sell out, sometimes several weeks in advance. Attending a party is the only way to see the Halloween Screams fireworks show, which I think is one of the best fireworks shows at Disneyland.

This year Disney added something new: Mickey's Frightfully Fun Parade. And to make it even more intriguing, for the first time the Headless Horseman appears at Disneyland, in advance of the parade.

Lee and I had not attended one of the Halloween parties in a number of years, but with these new offerings I wanted to check it out this year.

Mickey's Halloween Party

Still, there were a couple of not-so-positive changes this year. The party ticket price went up $10-$15. And the ticket no longer includes parking as it has in the past - that's an $18 value these days. Not a factor for us since we have Annual Passes with parking, but makes it more expensive for families who come just for the party.

Second, the costume guidelines were much more restrictive this year. As I read them, my interpretation was that if you were over the age of 13 - don't wear a costume. While we did see adults in costume, it seemed as though there were fewer than in the past, and that the costumes were much less elaborate. Though part of that could have been because it was a warm afternoon and evening. I'd say I saw more "bounding" than actual costumes. Unfortunate. We chose not to wear costumes.

Mickey's Halloween Party

Ticket prices run from $72-$99, with most parties at $89. The $72 price was available to AP holders for some of the weeknight parties. The parties on October 29 and 31 are $99.

Party guests are allowed to enter Disneyland three hours before the party starts. So for guests who don't have annual passes, it's potentially 8 hours of park time for less than the price of a regular one-day passport.

At the park entrance there are separate turnstiles dedicated to party guests. Upon entry we were given our party wristbands. We had e-tickets, and after those were scanned we were given regular one day park tickets, which allowed us to use the Fastpass machines during regular park hours, and would also have allowed us to exit and re-enter Disneyland (handstamp also required).

If you're already in the park, there are some locations within the park you can visit to get your wristband. These locations will also sell same-day party tickets if any are still available.

Just inside the entrance was a location to pick up our trick-or-treat bags. We noticed lots of people had brought their own much larger bags. Later we learned why: we didn't even do that much trick-or-treating and our bags were almost full - for those who visited a lot of the Treat Stations they would've needed those larger bags!

Mickey's Halloween Party

At the entrance, and at other locations around the park, were Mickey's Halloween Party park maps. The maps had the times of the events and showed the locations of Treat Trails, character greetings, dance parties, open restaurants, etc.

Mickey's Halloween Party

We arrived a little before 5:00. The party we attended was sold out, and already there were lots of party attendees in the parks as well as lots of day guests. A lot of the party decoration pieces were up or going up.

Mickey's Halloween Party

But the preparations for the party meant that some of the restaurants were already shut down, since they were sites for party events. Rancho del Zocalo, Village Haus, and Harbour Galley all shut down early.

Mickey's Halloween Party

There was early trick-or-treating going on in Toon Town, from 6:00 to 8:00. Treat stations plus some Disney characters. We never made it back there during the party, though.

Mickey's Halloween Party

There were some more extensive decorations in Frontierland at Pirate Wharf, which was one of the character locations.

Mickey's Halloween Party

About 6:30 we started hearing park-wide announcements that the park was closing at 7:00 to regular day guests, who were to start making their way out of Disneyland. And at 7:00 the announcement that they really needed to leave. :-) We started seeing security and other cast members going around and checking wristbands, and that continued for a while.

Mickey's Halloween Party

There are a few blow-up ghost and pumpkin figures, but most of the party "decorations" are in the form of projections on buildings or walkways. So the darker it gets, the more festive it seems.

Mickey's Halloween Party

By far the most impressive projections are those on Main Street, "it's a small world" and Sleeping Beauty Castle, which make excellent use of the projectors installed in those areas for the Disneyland Forever fireworks show.

Mickey's Halloween Party

Each location has custom projections that have been choreographed to the Halloween-themed music that plays throughout the park. The music has always been one of my favorite things about the Halloween Party. It's a lot of fun to listen to "Monster Mash", "Skeleton Dance", "Bump in the Night", "Grim Grinning Ghosts", etc., and I thought the projections that went with them were clever and entertaining to watch. Really enhanced the party experience for us.

Mickey's Halloween Party

There are lots of different activities going on during the party. Of course one of the most popular is the Trick or Treating. Most areas have been arranged into trails featuring multiple treat stations rather than individual standalone locations. The lines could be long to get into the trails, but they moved fairly quickly.

Mickey's Halloween Party

There were lots of different kinds of candy, including candy bars, M&Ms, Starburst, Laffy Taffy, and SweeTarts. Many of the treat stations offered an unsweetened (though still not necessarily healthy) option such as bags of white cheddar popcorn, whole-grain Cheezit crackers, Goldfish crackers, or fruit chips. We even received small bags of carrots at one location. We had to ask for the "healthy" alternative, otherwise we got candy instead.

Mickey's Halloween Party

Mickey's Halloween Party

We visited four of the nine treat trails, yet our bags were still pretty full (admittedly the bagged treats take up a lot more room).

Mickey's Halloween Party

I think this was new this year - three sessions of Jedi Training Academy - Trials of the Temple were offered during the party. We didn't see any of them, but I'm sure they were well-attended - I saw many kids dressed in Star Wars attire. Rey and Princess Leia seemed especially popular this year. Advance signup for the Academy was available in Tomorrowland starting at 5:00.

There were character greeting spots ALL over Disneyland - ten of them. Some locations had multiple characters. We didn't visit any of them, so I can't say how long the lines were. In the final hour of the party the lines for the two villain characters in front of the train station weren't too bad, but the line for Mickey and Minnie in Town Square was still long.

Mickey's Halloween Party

And there were a couple of wisecracking scarecrows "hanging around" in Frontierland. I remembered seeing them at parties we attended in the past.

Mickey's Halloween Party

We ate before the party started. As I mentioned, several of the counter service locations shut down early, but there were still a lot of dining opportunities available. There were special Halloween offerings at most locations, though nothing that was exclusive to the party itself. This year Blue Bayou and Carnation Cafe were open for dinner during the party - or at least during the early hours of the party. Blue Bayou offered a special dining package that included access to a viewing area for the parade and fireworks.

There was some special party merchandise available at locations throughout the park.

Mickey's Halloween Party

Mickey's Halloween Party

Mickey's Halloween Party

The Cadaver Dans performed several times that evening from a raft on the Rivers of America. Unfortunately our timing was off, and we just missed both of their last two shows. The Rivers of America area had some spooky lighting and fog that looked good.

Mickey's Halloween Party

Most attractions were open, though Toon Town closed at 8:00. Lines for Haunted Mansion Holiday and Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy were long all evening. We went on several other attractions after the fireworks show and had only short waits, though.

Of course the main reason that we decided to go to the Halloween Party this year was the new Frightfully Fun Parade, especially since it is preceded by the arrival of the Headless Horseman - the first time he has appeared at Disneyland.

We saw the first parade, which started at 8:30. (Second parade at 10:30.) I wanted to make sure we had a good spot, so we waited quite a long time. The parade runs from "small world" to Town Square for the first performance, and the opposite direction for the second performance.

The Horseman came out about 10 minutes before the parade. Shortly before he arrived there were some spooky sound effects and a voice telling us to: "Gather round, friends, and hear my tale. That started long ago, on the Sleepy Hollow Trail." Nice little rhyme. "With a glowing pumpkin to light the way, he's lurking to find his perfect prey. He's the bringer of Halloween fear. Beware, the Headless Horseman is here!"

Mickey's Halloween Party

Unlike his appearances at Magic Kingdom, he moved at a slow walk down the parade route. Which gave us much more time to look at him. When he reached the end of Main Street he stopped and his horse turned a full circle before going down Main Street. Very effective. It was really terrific to see him.

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I was happy to see Disneyland finally get a real Halloween parade. There's still not very much to it - only three floats - but there's more going on in between the floats now - we finally got gravediggers with shovels, too! Though I was surprised that Mickey, Minnie, and the gang are not part of the parade at all - it's much more focused on the villains and the spookier characters.

Here's the full parade, including the Headless Horseman.

The opening unit.

Mickey's Halloween Party

The Mayor.

Mickey's Halloween Party

The parade is hosted by Jack and Sally who are on the first float.

Mickey's Halloween Party

I think my favorite was the Haunted Mansion unit. Ghostly ballroom dancers preceded a float of the Haunted Mansion with the hitchhiking ghosts standing in front.

Mickey's Halloween Party

And following that the aforementioned gravediggers. Love the sparks from their shovels!

Mickey's Halloween Party

The next float included Dr. Facilier and his friends from the other side.

Mickey's Halloween Party

The final parade unit featured a veritable pantheon of Disney villains, from the Queen of Hearts, Governor Ratcliffe, and Captain Hook, to the Tremaines, Hades, Evil Queen, Jafar, Frollo, and Cruella deVil.

Mickey's Halloween Party

I enjoyed the music, as well - "It's Halloween", "This is Halloween", "Friends From the Other Side", and "Night on Bald Mountain".

The parade is still pretty short - only about 10 minutes long.

At 9:30, the Halloween Screams fireworks show starts. I really like this show, but as I mentioned earlier the only way you can see it now is to attend one of the Halloween parties. It features Jack Skellington as the "Master of Scare-emonies" - his face is projected on a big pumpkin head that appears on the left side of Sleeping Beauty Castle. One of the other really cool things about this show is that Zero flies around the castle! He makes a couple of circuits early in the show, then returns again later.

Mickey's Halloween Party

There's fireworks, music, projections, flames - everything you could want in a Halloween-themed fireworks show.


I had fun at the party this year and I enjoyed seeing the new additions. At a price of $89 I'm not sure this is something I'd want to do EVERY year...as an Annual Passholder I don't get the value out of the 8 hours of park time that non-passholders do. But there are certainly plenty of things to do at the party, there were a number of activities that we didn't get to do, since we were concentrating on the parade and fireworks.

Mickey's Halloween Party







October 9, 2016

Halloween Time 2016 - Trick or Tea and This and That

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Trick or Tea at Disneyland Hotel

A new Halloween Time event this year is Trick or Tea at the Disneyland Hotel. It's a seasonal version of the existing afternoon tea served at Steakhouse 55. It's available on Friday-Sunday from September 30-October 30. Service is from noon until 3:00 p.m.

I went on the first day - September 30. Steakhouse 55 is a very nice, quiet restaurant, and very appropriate for a relaxing afternoon tea.

Trick or Tea at Disneyland Hotel

Trick or Tea at Disneyland Hotel

I was a little surprised that there wasn't a specially decorated menu - the only difference in the menu was the addition of some seasonal teas. After I'd sat at my place for a while I finally took a closer look at the flowers on the table - and that made me chuckle. Very clever.

Trick or Tea at Disneyland Hotel

There are two different tea choices for adults: The Classic Tea Party, and The Premium Tea Party. Both include scones, tea sandwiches, dessert, and choice of tea. The premium party adds a glass of Fairy Tale Cuvee, salad, and truffles.

I chose the Premium Tea Party. Since it was a very warm day I opted for iced tea instead of hot tea. I selected one of the seasonal teas: Apple Pie Green Tea. It had a hint of cinnamon. It needed just a little bit of sugar to bring out the apple pie flavor. The salad was nice and fresh - it's served with green goddess dressing.

Trick or Tea at Disneyland Hotel

Once I'd finished the salad my server brought out the tiered platter with the scones, sandwiches, and desserts, and described them to me. It's so pretty!

Trick or Tea at Disneyland Hotel

I had a traditional currant scone as well as the new seasonal maple-pecan scone. The latter was especially good. Lots of chopped pecans inside, so you had better like pecans. I do, so that wasn't an issue.

Trick or Tea at Disneyland Hotel

There was a plate of lemon curd, marmalade, and Devonshire cream to go with the scones. Way more than I needed, especially since I don't care for marmalade or lemon curd.

Trick or Tea at Disneyland Hotel

There were no seasonal selections in the tea sandwiches. Egg salad, cucumber and watercress, smoked salmon, and caprese. The bread on the caprese sandwich was toasted, which seemed a little strange. They were all very tasty.

Trick or Tea at Disneyland Hotel

The highlight of the dessert plate was the Jack Skellington chocolate-dipped strawberry. The mini pumpkin bundt cake was excellent, especially with a little Devonshire cream on it. There are a number of different macarons available, and it's always luck of the draw as to which two you receive. The strawberry pistachio was ok, but the other was a speculoos (cookie butter) macaron and that was really excellent.

Trick or Tea at Disneyland Hotel

The truffles are served in a little takeaway box. There were two of them, and I ate them the next day. They were good, but I've had better.

Trick or Tea at Disneyland Hotel

The Premium Tea was $65, and I received a 15% Annual Passholder discount. The Classic Tea is $50.

I was a little disappointed in my server - when I was here the first time back in January the server asked me at the end if there was any tea that I wanted to take away in a ToGo cup. This time, though I heard her offer that to the table next to me, she did not offer it to me, and in fact I had to ask her for a cup so that I could take the rest of my Apple Pie tea.

The tea was very nice, though of the various Disney teas I've had, the Grand Floridian at Walt Disney World is still my favorite.

During Halloween Time there are always things going on at the Disneyland Resort. I attended a Media Day recently and spoke to several different people about some of the events.

Halloween Time and what's new in Haunted Mansion Holiday:

One of the things Brian is responsible for is the large pumpkins on Main Street and over the entrance turnstiles.

Disneyland Entrance pumpkins

During Halloween Time Jack and Sally are available for Meet and Greets near the Haunted Mansion.

Jack and Sally at Disneyland

The traditional Tower of Terror is in its final days - it will close on January 2, and will be re-imagined into an attraction based on Guardians of the Galaxy. Mission:Breakout will open in the summer of 2017. In the meantime something called Late Checkout is going on - every night after twilight the lights and sound are turned off in the Tower of Terror, and riders experience it in complete darkness, not even with any of the usual audio cues to warn them of what is coming next.

Through October 31, the Silver Lake Sisters are performing at various times during the day in the lobby of the Hollywood Tower Hotel, for the entertainment of guests waiting in line. (I think it's unfortunate that they aren't performing some place that's more accessible, where guests can watch them for a longer time.) The Silver Lake Sisters are also known as Fiddler, Fifer, and Practical. You'll find their cafe on Buena Vista Street, where the walls are decorated with photos and other memorabilia of their career. I understand that people come for miles for their coffee. :-)

Silver Lake Sisters

Disneyland always comes up with different Halloween treats every year. Those interviews are always a lot of fun for me since I get the opportunity to do something - and I usually get to sample afterwards.

As Rob mentioned, one of the new treats this year is this Evil Queen Caramel Apple.

Disneyland Evil Queen Caramel Apple

I didn't get to take the apple that I actually made home with me, but I received one just like it. And it was good. Apple, chocolate, and caramel - yum. Though my favorite is still the apple dipped in caramel and chocolate and covered in English toffee.

Minnie Witch Caramel Applel

Lee and I had dinner at the Hungry Bear Restaurant Mostly because I wanted dessert there. :-)

I ordered the Crispy Chicken Sandwich. It comes with fries or zesty slaw, but they will substitute onion rings upon request. Yes, please. The chicken was battered and fried but not greasy, and there was a honey-mustard sauce on it along with lettuce and tomato. It was pretty tasty, and the onion rings were quite good.

Disneyland Hungry Bear Crispy Chicken Sandwich

Lee had the Classic Cheeseburger with French fries. Your basic hamburger, so nothing special about it.

Disneyland Hungry Bear Cheeseburger

But as I mentioned we really came here for dessert. The Churro Funnel Cake. This was a special last summer, but apparently it was so popular that it's been added to the permanent menu. Fried dough covered in lots of cinnamon sugar and topped with caramel sauce and whipped cream. No redeeming qualities about it whatsoever - but it's sooooo good! And a large serving - we couldn't finish it.

Disneyland Hungry Bear Churro Funnel Cake

After dark we could see the Halloween Tree lit up in Frontierland. The tree is inspired by the Ray Bradbury novel of the same name. Bradbury was a long-time Disney fan and the tree was dedicated to him on October 31, 2007. It's nice to see it every year.

Disneyland Halloween Tree

There you have it...a few of the other tricks and treats at Halloween Time this year.







October 23, 2016

Disneyland Paris

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Disneyland Paris

The Disneyland Paris Half Marathon Weekend had the added benefit that it gave us the excuse to visit Disneyland Paris for the first time. (Now Shanghai is the only Disney park we haven't visited.)

There's two theme parks there: Disneyland Paris, and Walt Disney Studios. Plus Downtown Disney and the various resort hotels. As I mentioned in my race blogs, the resort is pretty compact and everything is within walking distance. Similar to Disneyland, but without a big city surrounding it. The park feels like it's off by itself.

I really hadn't done too much research on Disneyland Paris before our trip. I'd heard about some of the attractions but intentionally didn't want to know very much.

We visited in the off-season from Wednesday through Sunday. The parks were very quiet on Wednesday-Friday, and also on Sunday evening. Saturday was busy, but not awful. But because it was off-season there were a number of attractions that were undergoing refurbishment, and a number of restaurants that were closed.

Disneyland Paris

I was surprised that the Disneyland Hotel is on the park boundary - we walked under the hotel to reach the entrance turnstiles. Which means that some of the rooms look into the park. It's really a lovely hotel.

Disneyland Paris

Disneyland Paris was preparing for their Halloween celebration (though it didn't officially start until October 1), and some of the decorations were up. We saw changes in the first few days of our visit - figures would pop up that we hadn't seen the day before.

Disneyland Paris

Really very festive - and I particularly enjoyed all of the different ghost figures. I wish they'd do those at Disneyland.

Disneyland Paris

Disneyland Paris

One interesting thing about their Main Street - there's the street part, but then behind the buildings on both sides of the streets is a covered arcade. There are entrances to all of the shops and restaurants from the arcade side. Great way to get out of the weather, or to bypass crowds on Main Street.

Disneyland Paris

And the castle...it's just lovely. Even if it is pink. I think it's my new favorite Disney castle now.

Disneyland Paris

Disneyland Paris

Disneyland Paris

There's a dragon under the castle!!! I had heard about the dragon, and wanted to make sure that we saw that. She was a bit temperamental, but we saw her wake up and roar at us a few times.

Disneyland Paris

I really, really loved the Fantasyland at Disneyland Paris. It's huge and roomy and very nicely laid out, and there's lots of attractions - more than in any other area of the park. There's lots of little extra touches, too, like this water feature. I was disappointed that the Pinocchio attraction was down for refurbishment, and the castle walk-through was also closed, but otherwise we were able to do all of the Fantasyland attractions.

Walt Disney Studios Paris

There's a Toad Hall! But it's a fish and chips restaurant. We didn't get chance to try it.

Walt Disney Studios Paris

The Casey Jr. Circus Train is much different than the one at Disneyland - I was surprised at how fast it goes. It's more like a junior Big Thunder Mountain. Even though it goes around Storybook Land it's not really a good way to see that like it is at Disneyland in California - it goes too fast.

Disneyland Paris

Disneyland Paris

This version of Storybook Land Canal Boats is called Le Pays des Contes de Fées. It's not narrated like the one in California.

Disneyland Paris

There are more scenes, and much different stories, than the one here. Like Peter and the Wolf, Night on Bald Mountain, The Sword in the Stone, Beauty and the Beast, and even the Wizard of Oz!

Disneyland Paris

Alice's Curious Labyrinth was fun.

Walt Disney Studios Paris

It really was a maze with dead ends and circular paths. Unfortunately the Queen of Hearts area was closed off, but at least we could go through the rest of it.

Walt Disney Studios Paris

I love carousels, and Le Carrousel de Lancelot was beautiful. One really surprising thing - the horses on the two outer circles of the carousel are HUGE! Definitely sized for adults and not kids. The horses on the two inner circles are smaller - more the size I'm used to seeing. They weren't as elaborately decorated as the larger ones.

Disneyland Paris

Disneyland Paris

Lee dragged me onto "it's a small world". It actually wasn't too bad!

Disneyland Paris

There were some different figures than we have here, like the Loch Ness Monster and Don Quixote and Sancho Panza.

Disneyland Paris

The U.S. section was interesting - very western cowboys and indians, with Hollywood and the Statue of Liberty thrown in.

Disneyland Paris

We visited Fantasyland one night - the lighting on some of the attractions was very nice.

Disneyland Paris

Disneyland Paris

As was the lighting on the castle.

Disneyland Paris

The very first land we visited after Main Street was Frontierland. It had been overrun by Pumpkin People. :-)

Disneyland Paris

Unfortunately much of Frontierland was closed because of a long, extensive refurbishment of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and the area around it. I've been told that it's the best Thunder Mountain, so I was disappointed to miss it.

Disneyland Paris

Disneyland Paris

The only attractions open in Frontierland were Phantom Manor and the train station. Phantom Manor was our first attraction at Disneyland Paris. That was the attraction I'd hear the most about - mostly that it was a little more grisly and scary than the mansions at the other Disney parks. Since it was placed in Frontierland the house was quite different than the others.

Disneyland Paris

And inside the decor reflected more of the Western theme, also. Especially when we reached the graveyard scene. Much more of a "Boot Hill" look. And lots of skeletons in rotting clothes. I was expecting it to be even worse, but it was definitely more intense than the ones I've seen in California, Orlando, and Tokyo. And I was surprised that there was no narration at all during the ride.

Disneyland Paris

Another surprise was the cast members. They seemed to have much more leeway to interact with the guests, and were shushing people who were talking in the Stretch Room, and telling them to put away their phones and cameras (the lighted screens were distracting).

In Adventureland we rode Pirates of the Caribbean. It was very nice to see the classic, non-politically correct version of Pirates where they were still chasing their brides. And it was refreshing to not see Jack Sparrow. It's the reverse of the one in California - Paris starts with the "live" pirates and finishes with the skeletal pirates.

Disneyland Paris

Indiana Jones et le Temple du Péril was another attraction closed for refurbishment so we didn't get to experience that, either.

We wandered around Adventure Isle - it seemed as though there were lots of activities there to entertain the kids.

Walt Disney Studios Paris

And there were more Halloween pumpkins - though these are the only ones we saw outside of Frontierland and Main Street.

Disneyland Paris

Discoveryland is the Paris equivalent of Tomorrowland. It's the Jules Verne look that we had at Disneyland for a while, though it works much better in Paris. There were a lot of construction walls up in Discoveryland, and Star Tours was closed for refurbishment.

We rode Space Mountain. It's much different than the attractions at Disneyland and Magic Kingdom. More like Rock'n'Roller Coaster, with the launch and the inversions. It was a pretty good coaster but neither of us wanted to do it a second time. The corkscrews are hard on my neck, especially when it's dark and I can't anticipate them.

Disneyland Paris

Also visited Les Mysteres du Nautilus which is a walk-through of the submarine. I wanted to see the giant squid but that effect didn't seem to be working.

Disneyland Paris

Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast is a lot like the one at Disneyland - except that the Buzz animatronic is in French mode. :-) Lee got a higher score than I did, too - he almost never does that here!

Disneyland Paris

The afternoon parade is called Disney Magic on Parade. It certainly starts off with a lot of magic - the opening unit features the three fairies from Sleeping Beauty, the Fairy Godmother, Merlin, and the Blue Fairy! I was especially happy to see the Blue Fairy.

Disneyland Paris

I enjoyed the parade - there were lots of characters, and the floats themselves were really detailed and creative.

Disneyland Paris

One interesting thing about the floats is that most of them had a different story depicted on the back side than the front side! For example, this float had Frozen on the front and Tangled on the back.

Disneyland Paris

Disneyland Paris

The final float had Tinker Bell tucked away in a little alcove on the back of the float. She was saucy and sassy and enjoying herself.

Disneyland Paris

The nighttime show is Disney Dreams. It's much more of a castle projection show than a fireworks show - the fireworks are more of an accent to what's happening on the castle.

Walt Disney Studios Paris

I liked the show. It actually had a little bit of a plot that strung together all of the various scenes from the different movies. The projections were very clear, and the castle is so large that they were easy to see. I especially enjoyed the Hunchback of Notre Dame segment. Though that's the only reference to that movie that I saw in our time at Disneyland Paris. Too bad.

Disneyland Paris

We think that normally there are fountains in the moat that accompany the show, but the moat was also undergoing refurbishment. At least it didn't prevent them from doing the rest of the show.

We really enjoyed our time at Disneyland Paris, and I'd like to go back some day. Here's a final look at the Disneyland Hotel as we left the park the last night of our trip.

Disneyland Paris


The Walt Disney Studios report is coming up next!








October 24, 2016

Walt Disney Studios - Disneyland Paris Hotels

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Walt Disney Studios

Walt Disney Studios Paris

This park is small. That was my biggest (so to speak) impression of it. I was surprised at how little time it took to walk around. There were a few quality attractions, but overall - there just isn't much there.

The entrance was very different - we walked indoors through the Studio 1 building to get to the rest of the park.

Walt Disney Studios Paris

There appeared to be a lot of interesting restaurants in there (The Liki Tiki looked fun), but they were all just false fronts to multiple counters of the same burger place. :-(

Walt Disney Studios Paris

Once we went through to the park itself I thought it very reminiscent of Disney's Hollywood Studios in terms of the layout and the attractions. Walt Disney Studios still has the Backlot Tour and Lights, Motors, Action. And there's still a special effects show - Armageddon.

The park is divided into several areas: The Front Lot, Production Courtyard, Toon Studios, and Back Lot. I was surprised to see the Partners statue in the Production Courtyard area of the Studios rather than at Disneyland.

Walt Disney Studios Paris

This park still has a sorcerer's hat, but it's much better integrated into the park than it was at the Studios in Florida.

Walt Disney Studios Paris

The first thing I wanted to try was Ratatouille: The Adventure. This is the trackless vehicle ride at the Paris parks.

Walt Disney Studios Paris

We boarded a "Ratmobile" for a somewhat wild ride through the kitchen and dining room of Gusteau's. It was cute, but didn't blow me away - for me Mystic Manor in Hong Kong is still the best of the trackless vehicle attractions. Ratatouille is a 3D experience, unlike Mystic Manor and Pooh's Hunny Hunt (Tokyo), and that's part of the problem, I think - it relies on the screens for 3D rather than set pieces and special effects like the other two.

Walt Disney Studios Paris

I liked the Paris look of the Ratatouille area - it was like I was in Paris! ;-)

Walt Disney Studios Paris

Next to the Ratatouille area is Toy Story Playland. We didn't really spend any time there since it was almost exactly like the one in Hong Kong - just smaller.

Walt Disney Studios Paris

Both the Ratatouille and Playland areas are part of Toon Studios, though they seemed more separate to me. The Toon Studios part had the Aladdin Flying Carpets attraction, the Cars-themed Cars Quatre Roues Rallye and Crush's Coaster.

Walt Disney Studios Paris

Crush's Coaster was really different - we were seated in a turtle shell, and the shell spun as we went along the coaster track. The coaster part was pretty mild (not even as thrilling as Thunder Mountain), but the spinning made it feel a lot more extreme. And it was in the dark. It was a one and done for Lee. I'd do it again, but not my favorite.

Walt Disney Studios Paris

Cars Quatre Roues Rallye was closed for refurbishment the first day we were there but it opened for the weekend so we were able to ride it on Sunday afternoon. It was a lot like Mater's Junkyard Jamboree at Disney California Adventure, only without the crack the whip effect. It was a fun little ride.

Disneyland Paris

The highlight of Toon Studios was the Mickey and the Magician show. This was a live theater show, and we both thought it was excellent. Lots of magical characters like the Fairy Godmother, the Genie, Elsa, and Rafiki.

Walt Disney Studios Paris

The Lion King number was especially good.

Walt Disney Studios Paris

There were some very nice special effects. Mickey spoke in French, but most of the other characters spoke English. As best I could tell they restated whatever Mickey had said. I didn't feel as though we missed something because we didn't speak French.

Disneyland Paris

In The Production Courtyard we saw CineMagique. This was a movie with a small live component. It starred Martin Short as an "audience member" who suddenly found himself part of scenes from all kinds of movies - silent films to gangster films to Westerns - and even Star Wars. Although it was an older piece (it opened in 2002!) I thought it had held up well, and it was quite entertaining.

Walt Disney Studios Paris

I visited the Art of Disney Animation. I was pleasantly surprised that it was somewhat educational and included a history of animation. The movie clips in the Classics Theater seemed like a different collection than what I've seen before.

Disneyland Paris

The Tower of Terror is exactly like the one in DCA - at least until that one gets its Guardians of the Galaxy makeover. I was not expecting it to be absolutely identical.

Walt Disney Studios Paris

Walt Disney Studios Paris

In the Back Lot area we did the Armageddon special effects show and the Studio Tram Tour. The former had a caution for pregnant women, which I didn't understand at all. It wasn't a ride, and the effects weren't really that intense.

Walt Disney Studios Paris

The Tram tour had a lot of the things we used to see in Catastrophe Canyon at the Studios at Walt Disney World. I'm glad I did it once - don't need to do it again.

Walt Disney Studios Paris

We never made it to Rock'n'Roller Coaster. I understand that the pre-show is different, but the ride is the same. I don't think the Moteurs...Action! show was running while we were there...but we really weren't interested in it anyways.

There wasn't a parade or nighttime show in the Studios. The park closed at 6:00 every night - even on weekends!

Walt Disney Studios Paris

While I really enjoyed Disneyland Paris, I was far less impressed with the Studios. It was nice to see a couple of attractions (Crush's Coaster and Ratatouille: The Adventure) that are exclusive, and Mickey and the Magician was first-rate, but otherwise the park didn't do much for me.



Hotels

I believe there are seven Disney hotels at the resort, and all of them except Crockett Ranch are walking distance to the parks. We stayed at Sequoia Lodge, which had a more "Wilderness Lodge" feel to it. It's classed as a "Moderate", but compared to moderates at WDW I'd put it between a Moderate and a Deluxe.

Sequoia Lodge

The photo above is of the main building. Our room was in one of the outer lodges, which are separate buildings, so we had more of a walk to get to the main building where the restaurants and shops were. We had to go outdoors to do that. We had nice weather while we were there so it wasn't a problem, but if the weather were cold and/or rainy then being in the main building would be a lot better.

Disneyland Paris Hotel Sequoia

Disneyland Paris Hotel Sequoia

The room was fine. It seemed positively spacious compared to the room we'd had in Paris. :-) But it was not equipped with some of the amenities we are used to here. For example, no refrigerator and no coffee maker (though we could have requested a hot pot). Still, it was clean and comfortable and we were happy with it.

Sequoia Hotel

I didn't actually take any photos inside the hotel lobby. It was reminiscent of Wilderness Lodge but not as grand. We went to the bar for a drink one night, and that was very nice. Really large bar.

As I mentioned before, the Disneyland Hotel is right on the boundary of Disneyland. Access to the ticket booths and the turnstiles is under the hotel.

Like the Disneyland Hotels in Tokyo and Hong Kong, and the Grand Floridian at Walt Disney World, this one also has a Victorian theme inside. Notice the bird cage. I don't know why bird cages are important in Victorian design, but all of the Disney Victorian-themed hotels seem to have them.

Disneyland Paris Hotel

I thought the lobby was very open and airy.

Disneyland Paris Hotel Lobby

I mentioned that some of the rooms would look out into Disneyland - this is a view from one of the lounges on the second floor. Rooms on higher floors would have even better views.

Disneyland Paris Hotel view

Sequoia Lodge, Hotel New York, and the Newport Bay Club (pictured below) were all around Lake Disney. Downtown Disney is between Lake Disney and the parks. So those hotels were all pretty conveniently located.

Disneyland Paris Newport Bay Club

A little further away was the Hotel Cheyenne. It is more of a value resort, and themed like an Old West town. The other hotel is the Hotel Santa Fe, with an American Southwest theme.

Disneyland Paris Hotel Cheyenne

We didn't see it but I'll mention the other available Disney accommodation: Crockett Ranch. It's quite different - individual cabins with full kitchens and one or two bedrooms. More like the cabins at Fort Wilderness. It's also a 15 minute drive to the parks.

Dining at Disneyland Paris gets its own blog - coming soon.

SIGGRAPH 2016

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One of the conventions held earlier this summer at the Anaheim Convention Center was SIGGRAPH--"Special Interest Group on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques."

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The world's largest convention focusing on computer graphics and interactivity, it features an enormous amount of educational panels, commercial booths, hands-on demos, research exhibits, and short film screenings. Historically, such groundbreaking computer generated films such as Lasseter's short "Luxo Jr." and Walt Disney Production's "TRON" have been presented there.

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While a great deal of the convention is geared at a fairly high technical level, suitable to people working or studying in the field of computer graphics, there was still a large amount of content accessible to the interested layperson. (Because of the exclusive nature of the images and animation debuting here, photos were highly restricted outside of display areas.)

LAIKA, one of the prominent stop-motion animation studios in the world, held a panel on the creation of one character from their recent release "Kubo and the Two Strings."

For the monster Giant Skeleton, they created the largest animatable puppet ever--18 feet tall with a 24 foot wingspan. The construct took six months to build, one year to shoot, and took up 49 seconds of footage.

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As an example of the scale involved, the filmmakers brought the foot and femur of the Skeleton, along with some of the other puppets.

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Another film production session was on the making of Marvel's "Captain America: Civil War."

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In this presentation, some of the VFX supervisors from the movie spoke on how they used computer pre-viz to develop and block out the fight scenes. I thought this was interesting particularly as many cast interviews at the time of the movie's premier asked about filming the big airport fight scene, and they almost always noted how it wasn't as exciting as it ended up on the screen--no wonder, since most of it was filmed with each of them alone, and then pieced together digitally afterwards.

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While it seems intuitive that there was a great deal of computer manipulation to recreate different countries in their main shooting location of Atlanta, Georgia, the filmmakers had to create a specific tool to keep track of the timeline of damage in various environments, in order to work on shots out of sequence. Even physical details of the characters were digitally modded in some instances--the body of the Black Panther stunt double was altered to match that of Chadwick Boseman.

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They also went through the grueling process of filming the sequence where Captain America stops a helicopter taking off from a roof which involved a mix of both practical and computer-generated elements...although, as Executive VP, Physical Production Marvel Studios Victoria Alonso pointed out, "the biceps are all real. Triceps too."

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Panels were also held by WDAS on "Zootopia" and "Inner Workings" with content similar to that covered in their earlier press days. "Inner Workings" was also shown during the SIGGRAPH Computer Animation Festival which highlights the year's best submitted digital work in animated features, shorts, VFX, video games, etc.

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Outside of the structured panels, there was a large area filled with commercial booths advertising various organizations and businesses associated with the industry, and an equally large area dedicated to research projects and demonstrations with a particular focus on virtual/augmented reality.

Whether controlling a virtual Jaeger...

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Experiencing full-body immersion into a virtual environment...

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Constructing origami lamps using computer-generated designs...

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or controlling puppets with a hands-free mask interface...

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The limits to the innovation and potential growth in these areas seem to be boundless. One demo I found particularly fascinating was a booth with two half-circle constructs that had people walking around in a figure-8 pattern, all the while believing (secondary to visual/auditory/tactile cues) they were following a straight line.

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If you could actually alter people's perceptions to create a larger or differently-configured space than is there in reality--that's some holodeck tech in the making there. In the realm of theme parks Imagineering alone, it is a staggering thought to imagine what attractions people could make when this sort of technology becomes standard.

To attend SIGGRAPH as a full conference is fairly pricey and people actually in the industry who are going to use it as an educational or professional networking tool will probably find it most valuable. The exhibit-only tickets are affordable however, as are tickets for the animation festival--both of which are well worth it for the glimpse they afford into the future of computer animation and imagery.

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Information on SIGGRAPH 2017 can be found at http://s2017.siggraph.org/

Disneyland Resort Updates - 10/21/16

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Contributing photographer Jason of disneygeek.com sends us these photos from his trip to the parks on Friday, October 21, 2016.

This set features a look around both parks and Downtown Disney. As always visit disneygeek.com for the full set.

First up a video clip of the Star Wars Construction site from the Mickey and Friends Parking Structure.

In the center of the site you can see the two entrance tunnels and other structures taking shape.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, October 21, 2016

A new wall taking shape along the new backstage roadway. The path for the new road is between that wall and the tramway fence.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, October 21, 2016

A closer look at the tunnel toward Fantasyland. Looks like they are extending the walls to the left. You can see the footer and some re-bar.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, October 21, 2016

In the lot closest to the structure work continues on the foundation and basement for one of the show buildings.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, October 21, 2016

The rock work on the point of the island looks to be moving along.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, October 21, 2016

New landscaping is going in along the tram way.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, October 21, 2016

The Christmas tree has arrived onsite and will be assembled in the coming days for an early November trip to Main Street USA

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, October 21, 2016

In Town Square the cannon has been placed in its new location.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, October 21, 2016

The Disney Showcase has switched over to Christmas merchandise now.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, October 21, 2016

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, October 21, 2016

There was one rack of Halloween left.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, October 21, 2016


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, October 21, 2016


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, October 21, 2016

The hub trees have received their Christmas lights.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, October 21, 2016

Star Wars from the Big Thunder Trail. A steel support structure for the rock work.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, October 21, 2016

Work continues on the Fantasmic stage area. Notice the projector under the netting. Looks like some projection mapping testing was going on.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, October 21, 2016

No real visible progress on the Columbia.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, October 21, 2016

Main Street USA at 2:34pm.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, October 21, 2016

The facade work on Peter Pan has wrapped up.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, October 21, 2016

Lights continue to be installed on Small World in preparation for the Holidays. The attraction closes Monday, October 24 for the holiday installation.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, October 21, 2016

The scaffolding is down from Roger Rabbit.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, October 21, 2016

Work has moved up the block now.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, October 21, 2016

The Toon Town fire truck must be on a call... (backstage for renovation).

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, October 21, 2016

The Nemo seagulls were MIA today.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, October 21, 2016

Mickey leading Soundsational through the hub.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, October 21, 2016

Critter Country is closed. A sign on the main walkway. It was closed just before the bridge by Splash Mountain.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, October 21, 2016

The display in the Main Street Opera House has been updated with Star Wars concept art.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, October 21, 2016

Time for the Flag Retreat.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, October 21, 2016

Work continues on removing the Mad Tea Party set. Wonder if the statue will return?

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, October 21, 2016

Doctor Strange has moved into the Sunset Showcase Theater.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, October 21, 2016

A narrow path by Monsters right now.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, October 21, 2016

Now that AP Days have concluded it's all clear around Stage 12 now.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, October 21, 2016

The FastPass machines for Frozen are gone. I read they have switched to only busy days. Most days are now standby for all. Also interesting only 3 shows listed on the marquee today.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, October 21, 2016

The Tower of Terror continues to be surrounded by scaffolding. The attraction is operating at 2/3 capacity (one shaft is down for renovation work) as it limps towards a full closure in January.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, October 21, 2016

The Bugs have decorated for Christmas already.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, October 21, 2016

The Moana sneak peek has moved into the Bugs Theater.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, October 21, 2016

The poles on the right side of Route 66 have been installed for the Christmas decorations.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, October 21, 2016

Work has wrapped up on the Rushin River Outfitters.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, October 21, 2016

In the lobby of the Grand Californian is a Halloween display.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, October 21, 2016

Some stats/info on the display.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, October 21, 2016

A closer look at the display.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, October 21, 2016

Walked through Downtown Disney. Something Silver is behind walls.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, October 21, 2016

No visible progress on removal of the House of Blues building.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, October 21, 2016

A fun polka band performing on the main stage in celebration of Oktoberfest.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, October 21, 2016

Here are several clips from their set. It was nearly 50 minutes long.

A seating area, lights and three trucks were set up in the park area near ESPN.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, October 21, 2016

Work continues on the new store near Jamba Juice.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, October 21, 2016

The World of Disney entrance near Starbucks is under wraps.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, October 21, 2016

"Scareolers" performing between La Brea and World of Disney.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, October 21, 2016

Several video clips of the Scareolers performing.

Tower of Terror, a sign for the Late Check Out

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, October 21, 2016

Wait times were up this evening.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, October 21, 2016

A Doctor Strange costume in the lobby of the Sunset Showcase Theater, which is hosting a preview of the film.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, October 21, 2016

A selection of Moana merchandise in Elias and Company.

Here are a couple items.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, October 21, 2016


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, October 21, 2016

Crews working into the night on the Star Wars project.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, October 21, 2016

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, https://disneygeek.com Also be sure to follow me on twitter @disneygeekcom for pictures from the parks.







October 31, 2016

"Moana" Press Day: Designing the Island of Moana and the Demigod Maui

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As the release date for "Moana" rapidly approaches, we continue our look at the film's development with presentations by the filmmakers. In "The Islands of Moana," Jessica Julius (Sr. Creative Executive), Ian Gooding (Production Designer), Andy Harkness (Art Director, Environments & Color), and Adolph Lusinsky (Director of Cinematography, Lighting) spoke on the challenges of creating a suitably beautiful and unique setting for "Moana."

[All unattributed photos courtesy of Disney.]

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The road to creating the world of "Moana" started in multiple research trips to different islands of Oceana. While learning about Polynesian culture and people, the team collected a multidisciplinary group to use as a resource they nicknamed "The Oceanic Story Trust."

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Ian Gooding on constructing an authentic and distinctive island environment:
"The kinds of geology they have in that area is very different from the Caribbean...We have, in the Caribbean, the kind of volcanoes that explode, kind of like Mount St. Helen's exploded, whereas in the Pacific, they tend to have the ones that just sort of dribble...lava constantly, so you can walk right up to them and not get killed. That produces a very different island profile than one you will find elsewhere in the world. So you get very gradual falloff on the edges and wide edges where reefs will grow."

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Andy Harkness on developing the specifics of Moana's home island Motonui:
"Motonui is not historically a true, actual village, so everything built and designed is inspired by the things we were told....The four basic things are the Point, the Pass of course--the Pass is where they breach the reef--the Point is where they come into the inlet, to the village reef, the Place, which is the village itself, the River, which is their freshwater source, and a Peak, which to them, which I thought was really fascinating...it's almost like an architectural element. So say a Chief from another village comes by and sees this, and you know immediately someone very very important lives here. It's a very special place, and it's all caused by erosion--it's all natural erosion that causes all this."

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Adolph Lusinsky on the challenges of theatrically lighting water:
"A photograph really doesn't capture the color of water very well in the first place...it also doesn't capture that memory for sure, of what you remember....We would kind of push the color to what we kind of remember it to be...We push the blue in front, the green water in back above Moana, so it gives a richer look to it, but also is also part of the theatricality, the cinematography of the image. It also gets your eye to where you want to look. So we'll use those colors as theatrical devices."

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"Maui's Mythology" saw panelists Hyrum Osmond* (Head of Animation), Mack Kablan (Animation Supervisor, Maui), Eric Goldberg (2D Animator), and Carlos Cabral (Head of Characters and Tech Anim) discuss the various influences that went into creating the look and persona of the demigod Maui.

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--A figure of many legends throughout Polynesia, Maui was perceived by John Musker to be a superhero with trickster elements which he felt would play well into a epic and comedic adventure story.
--Everyone in the movie, men and women, has long curly hair which is a big part of the Oceanic culture. To depict it in the naturalistic way they wanted, they needed to create new technical tools to animate hair.
--Pro wrestlers and football players were used as model body types for Maui, whose physique is generally displayed with minimal clothing.

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--His magical fishhook is used not only as a weapon, but also gives him the ability to transform into different creatures.
--The most prominent transformation form is that of a hawk. The challenge was to make him look like a hawk, but still have the personality of Maui.

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--Maui's tattoos are a unique blend of 2-D and CG animation.
--Famed Disney Animator Eric Goldberg was primarily responsible for developing "Mini Maui," Maui's interactive tattoo that functions both as his Greek chorus and conscience.

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--Care was made to make the tattoos respectful in design and placement to their place of significance in Polynesian culture.

Next time, we'll be recounting more presentations from filmmakers in charge of visual effects and story, and take a closer look at the heroine herself.

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"Moana" will be opening November 23, 2016.

*Fun fact I learned at the "D23 Presents Aloha Aulani" event--Hyrum Osmand is an ACTUAL OSMOND. Like, he was in a TV special!

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About October 2016

This page contains all entries posted to Salute to All Things Disney but Mostly Disneyland in October 2016. They are listed from oldest to newest.

September 2016 is the previous archive.

November 2016 is the next archive.

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