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August 12, 2016

A Disneyland Day - 8/5/16

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Lee and I went to Disneyland on Friday, August 5...here are some thoughts, observations, etc.

It was the first trip to Disneyland for our new Chevy Volt, so we checked out (and used) the Electric Vehicle charging stations that are located on the ground floor of the Mickey & Friends parking garage. I have an entire upcoming blog post on that so I'm not going to say much more now. It worked fine for us.

Disneyland Electric Vehicle Charging

We arrived at the security checkpoint around 10:30. The lines weren't too bad, and moved well. It wasn't looking like it was a really busy day. Really nice weather that day, too - overcast and 70s in the morning, and maybe 82 in the afternoon. Very comfortable.

Our main objectives for the day were the Frozen Lunch Package (blog to come) and to see the Disneyland All-American College Band. We had some time to wander around DCA before lunch. The Paradise Garden Grill restaurant is open again - it had closed for a while. There were several people ordering when we were there, which was good to see. The menu is unchanged - still Mediterranean skewers. That's not a complaint - I like them.

Paradise Garden Grill

Disney recently announced that the Tower of Terror would be turned into a Guardians of the Galaxy attraction. Guardians of the Galaxy - Mission: BREAKOUT is supposed to open in the summer of 2017. No announcement yet as to when the current ToT attraction will close. Hmmm. I'm not sure how well this fits into the Hollywood Land area, but if DCA is going to become the Pixar/Marvel park, then I guess this is another step along that road. (As a reminder, Captain Marvel and Spider Man moved to DCA from Disneyland earlier this summer.)

Tower of Terror

Lucky Fortune Cookery has added a Chicken and Vegetable Potsticker offering to their menu. It's $4.99. Or maybe it never left after the Food and Wine Festival, where it was the Festival item available at Lucky Fortune Cookery.

When we were in the Pacific Wharf area, the Mariachi Divas were performing the Linda Ronstadt song "Blue Bayou". Not what I would expect from a mariachi group, but they did it beautifully.

Mariachi Divas

Award Wieners has a Crush the Turtle souvenir sipper for $12.99. It looks like it would be rather awkward to carry, though. Their current specialty hot dog is named "nacho ordinary chili dog". It's an all beef hot dog with chili, pepper jack cheese, nacho chips and jalapenos, for $8.19.

Clarabelle's has added a mango sorbet bar to their menu in addition to the mixed berry sorbet bar. And of course they still have chocolate and vanilla ice cream bars, too! I keep meaning to have one of those again.

The "confection of the month" in the candy stores is S'Mores. So the specialty caramel apple and crispy treat are topped with graham crackers and marshmallows this month. I had one of the s'mores caramel apples last year - not really impressed. The graham crackers (not surprisingly) were soft.

S'Mores caramel apple

In anticipation of the release of the upcoming "Pete's Dragon" movie, there is an Elliott apple, too.

Pete's Dragon Elliott caramel apple

Speaking of Elliott...we went to the sneak peek of the movie in the Sunset Showcase Theater - originally the Muppets theater. Though most recently it hosted the Frozen Sing-a-long, and the waiting area still has a lot of Arendelle elements.

Pete's Dragon preview


Sunset Showcase Theater

The cast member who gave us all of the usual pre-show warnings was very entertaining. He approached it as though we were viewing footage that proved the existence of creatures like Elliott and Nessie. Fun. As we were leaving, Jason pointed out to me that Elliott made some appearances in the forest projections that were on the walls above the exit doors. The movie itself...not really my thing, I don't think.

Pete's Dragon preview

Olaf's greeting spot is just to the right of Stage 17. It's kind of hidden, and there was no line, so we stopped by for a warm hug. :-)

Olaf Meet and Greet

When we went to check in for our Frozen pre-show they told us that the 4:00 show had been canceled, so we would be seeing the 5:50 show instead. That messed with our plans to see the College Band at 6:15 in Disneyland. :-( Our pre-show was still going on as scheduled from 2:40-3:40.

Since the Frozen pre-show is held in Stage 17 we were able to duck out of it at 3:00 to catch a little bit of the College Band's jazz set. They perform that on the Backlot Stage.

All-American College Band Jazz set

Instead of hanging around DCA waiting for Frozen (we were supposed to return by 5:30) we went over to Disneyland to wander around for a while. We started at the Main Street train station. With the Disneyland Railroad closed because of Star Wars construction (and the re-routing of the tracks), Disney is putting trains out at Main Street and New Orleans Square, with train engineers available to talk to guests about them.

Disneyland CK Holliday train

We saw the C.K. Holliday at Main Street, which had just completed a refurbishment and was looking pristine and beautiful. While Lee was talking to the engineer, I sat in the Fireman's seat.

Disneyland Train

Carlos talked to Lee for quite a while about the controls in the cab and how they work to run the engine. We got a lesson in Disney train history, too. Really very interesting - I highly recommend going up to the train station and taking advantage of this opportunity. We were there for about 20 minutes and only a few other people came up there.

Disneyland Train controls

Hyperspace Mountain is still very popular (100 minute standby line at 4:30 in the afternoon) - but enjoy it while you can. The attraction is closed September 6-8 so that the Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy overlay can be applied. No word on whether or not Hyperspace Mountain will return after the Halloween season ends on October 31.

As previously announced, all of the 60th anniversary nighttime shows - Paint the Night, Disneyland Forever, and World of Color - Celebrate - will be ending on September 5. Fantasy in the Sky will be the nighttime fireworks show at Disneyland until the holiday season starts - the assumption being that Believe...in Holiday Magic will return. Mickey's Soundsational Parade will continue to be the afternoon parade, but will add an additional evening performance on busy days starting on September 9. And it's expected that A Christmas Fantasy Parade will return for the holiday season.

But Paint the Night isn't quite done yet - on August 10, Disney announced that it "will return on select nights during the holiday season later this year." Perhaps bigger news in that same announcement was that the Main Street Electrical Parade will be returning to Disneyland next year.

Over at DCA, the "original" World of Color show will return until the holiday season. (Given the public's demand for all things Frozen, I would be shocked if World of Color Winter Dreams was not back during the holidays.) I say "original", because there were a number of versions of the show during its first five years, so it will be interesting to see which version reappears - and if any of the new elements added for Celebrate will be used.

But I digress...we were wandering around Disneyland. We stopped for a look at the newish Star Wars Land artwork on the construction wall near Big Thunder Mountain. It's a full-sized version of the image released last month, and it was nice to get a larger view of it.

Disneyland Star Wars Land

The Hungry Bear Restaurant is pretty quiet these days. With all of the construction fence up, it's not nearly so appealing to sit there and enjoy your meal since you can no longer watch the activity on the Rivers of America. And the lower level of the restaurant is a dark cave, since all of the light gets blocked. While that might be appropriate for bears, it doesn't have much charm for humans.

Hungry Bear Restaurant

The Country Bear artwork along the exit ramp is nice, though.

Hungry Bear Restaurant

There are a few specials being offered at the Hungry Bear - maybe in an effort to try to bring in more guests? The Churro Funnel Cake looked really good, but we didn't get to try it. There's also a Peach Cobbler Funnel Cake.

Hungry Bear Restaurant funnel cake specials

And a Country Bears Jug sipper, for $12.99.

Hungry Bear Restaurant jug sipper

I mentioned the train at the Main Street Station - there was one at the New Orleans Square station, too. And there we could even walk across the tracks to get a close look at the inner workings of a steam boiler which had been opened up so we could see how it works. Engineer Jim was there to answer all of Lee's questions this time and described some of the safety mechanisms. We could have stayed even longer, but we had to get back to DCA to see the Frozen show.

Disneyland train steam boiler

There will be more info on the Frozen show in the other blog - but by getting the package we had our choice of seats on the Orchestra level, and that was quite an advantage. The show went off almost perfectly - just one small sound glitch and the "rolling troll" did not make its appearance, which made that scene change seem longer.

Frozen - Live at the Hyperion

After the show we hustled back to Disneyland to see the College Band perform their 7:15 set at the train station.

Disneyland All-American College Band

I hadn't seen their new Jungle Book number, and that was excellent. At the 7:15 set they often perform a Michael Jackson medley, but we lucked out and saw their Star Wars medley instead. That was phenomenal. They finished with the Earth, Wind, and Fire set, which we've seen many times over the years. It's always very good, but for me it didn't have nearly the impact of the Star Wars number.

We headed for home after that. If you've noticed, we didn't do any rides at all, but still we had a really good day. We enjoyed our lunch very much, and also enjoyed wandering around the parks, speaking to the train engineers, and watching the College Band.








July 23, 2016

A Trip to Disneyland in Summerrrrrrr

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Frozen - In Summer

Lee and I, along with our friends Matt and Kristin, spent a summer Saturday at Disneyland. Lee and I, of course, are frequent visitors, but Matt and Kristin are not, so we wanted to get in as many of the newer/favorite attractions as possible.

I was the only one who had seen the new Frozen - Live at the Hyperion show, and none of us had seen the new Soarin' Around the World, so those were both high on our list.

We arrived at the Mickey and Friends parking garage just a couple of minutes after 8:00 - I was surprised at how long the line was to get in. It took probably 15 minutes before we were finally parked. And then we had to wait for a parking lot tram. Usually they are one right after the other, but this time, even though they were loading two at a time, there was a 1-2 minute gap between when one left and another arrived to fill its place.

Though I wondered if that was intentional to keep the security lines down - they were relatively short. Only 10-12 people in each line. The bag checkers were being a lot more thorough, though, and that took extra time. And now everyone goes through the metal detectors - it's no longer random like it used to be. But that went pretty quickly.

With everything that's been going on in the United States and around the world recently, I was not surprised to see much more of a security presence this time. There were significantly more uniformed security personnel in the parks, Downtown Disney, and the Esplanade. And that doesn't count the plainclothes security that I know is also around.

We got Fastpasses for Frozen and Radiator Springs Racers, and then rode a number of other attractions standby. Midway Mania was about 20 minutes, but California Screamin' and Mater's Junkyard Jamboree were less than 10, and Luigi's Rollickin' Roadsters was under 15 minutes. Matt and Kristin had been fans of the former Luigi's Flying Tires attraction, so were somewhat disappointed at the change, but thought the new ride was cute.

We went over to Disneyland to get a Fastpass for Hyperspace Mountain. It sounds like that will be going away soon, since Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy is returning for the Halloween season.

It was not a particularly busy day at Disneyland. I waited at Space Mountain for about 15 minutes while the others went to get coffee, because (surprisingly!) the Fastpass return time was still too early and overlapped with our Radiator Springs Racers Fastpass. The standby line for Hyperspace Mountain was only 45 minutes.

Weather-wise it was a very nice day - it might have gotten into the low 80s, but not warmer than that. For a July day it was really very pleasant, and cooler than usual.

We went back to DCA and got a Fastpass for Soarin' Around the World - the return time was only 50 minutes away! That surprised me.

It was not a very busy day in either park - certainly not what I would normally expect on a Saturday in the middle of summer. But maybe the new seasonal pricing scheme, where this day was a "Peak" day for one-day tickets, is starting to have an affect. It was also a blockout day for most annual passes - everything except Signature/Signature Plus and Premier. While things seemed busier than usual first thing in the morning, the crowds did not pick up appreciably throughout the morning like they usually do. Maybe if you're going to pay that much for a one-day ticket, you're going to be sure you arrive at park opening? The seasonal pricing does not apply to multi-day tickets (yet), and I saw lots of people using those.

We returned to use our Soarin' Around the World Fastpasses. I find it frustrating that Fastpasses for Soarin' never have worked as efficiently as they do for most other attractions. Even with a Fastpass we waited about 15 minutes.

I was wondering if the interior would be different, but it's not - you still walk through the California Aviators Wings of Fameexhibit. It seems odd that there's not a more international focus now.

Soarin' Around the World

The logo is slightly different.

Soarin' Around the World

I had already heard this, but I was happy to see that Patrick was still our flight attendant. :-)

Soarin' - Patrick your flight attendant

This was my first time to see the new movie in person (I had seen it on-line). I was disappointed. The scenery is beautiful, but I found the gratuitous use of CGI to be very distracting. Most of the scenes had added elements that obviously weren't really there. And we won't even talk about the Taj Mahal scene, which was entirely computer-generated. The locations they chose were beautiful, and could stand on their own - they didn't need any effects added to them.

Though speaking of effects...the "speed-up" effect that we experienced a couple of times was really well-done. I felt like I was moving a lot faster.

While I was underwhelmed, I will say that Lee really liked it, and says I spoiled it for him by pointing out all of the things that weren't real. Kristin said she preferred the original California version.

I liked the grass scent - though I'm not convinced that's really what the plains of Tanzania really smell like. :-) The ocean scent was similar to what we smelled in the original attraction. I did not detect the rosewater fragrance that was supposed to accompany the Taj Mahal scene. But I may have been too focused on how fake it looked. I really loved the Iguazu Falls scene - I think that was my favorite.

It was time to use our Radiator Springs Racers Fastpasses. Now this is how Fastpass SHOULD work - we were on the ride about 5 minutes after entering the queue. Afterwards I used a feature of my AP that I hadn't tried before - I took a cell phone photo of our attraction photo, then put that number into my AP Photopass account after we returned home, and was able to download our photo for free. Nice. (The free Photopass download is available with Signature, Signature Plus, and Premier APs.)

Radiator Springs Racers Photo

Apparently regular guests can purchase a single day Memory Maker package for $39, which includes all attraction photos as well as any other Photopass photos. That almost seems reasonable.

On Buena Vista Street, a number of the "Citizens of Buena Vista Street" were out and about. This was the first time that I'd seen both of the messengers, Molly and Millie, out at the same time. They are twins, and they squabble over which one gets to ride the bike. :-) Molly is on the left in the photo below.

Citizens of Buena Vista Street Molly and Millie

We'd ended up with several Fastpasses in a row, so we went back to Disneyland to ride Hyperspace Mountain. Unfortunately it was down. But the good news was that our Fastpasses would be valid any time for the rest of the day - assuming it came back up.

On our way to Hyperspace Mountain we'd stopped to get Fastpasses for Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters. The return time was only 35 minutes away. So we went and got Dole Whips (Matt's request) while waiting. Even the Dole Whip line was not particularly long, and it moved quickly.

Dole Pineapple Juice sign

We defeated the Evil Emperor Zurg, and although we didn't quite make it to Galactic Hero status we had fun.

Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters

We had Fastpasses for the 4:00 performance of Frozen, but wanted to be in line about 3:15, so we went back to DCA to do what we like to call the Wine and Beer Ride. :-) Normally we would've gone to the Al Fresco Tasting Terrace but we really didn't have enough time for that, so we went to the Sonoma Terrace instead. They have a good selection of craft beers (though they are all in bottles - none on tap), and a few wines by the glass. The guys each had a beer, and Kristin and I both had glasses of the St. Hilaire sparkling wine. The cast member who poured the latter filled the glasses ALL the way to the top - we had to take a sip before we could carry it to a table! We also got one of the cheese plates to share.

Sonoma Terrace wine and cheese plate

The Sonoma Terrace is next to the Wine Country Trattoria on the Paradise Pier side. There's a nice large seating area there, and most of it is shaded. It's usually pretty quiet and it's a great place to sit and relax.

We enjoyed the opportunity to sit down for a while before we had to deal with all of the Frozen Frenzy. On our way to the Hyperion Theater we stopped at the 60th anniversary photo stop in "a bug's land". This one is a lot of fun, though the photographer didn't have the butterfly net prop for Matt to use. My AP is also my Photopass card, and again, free downloads!

Disneyland 60th Ant-iversary

But back to Frozen - Live at the Hyperion Theater. This was my first time experiencing it as a regular guest - I'd only see the media preview. The show started at 4:00. Our Fastpasses said to arrive between 3:00 and 3:40. (The Fastpass line closes 20 minutes before the show and those in the Standby line are allowed to fill any available seats.) We arrived at the Hyperion about 3:20. Each Fastpass specifies which section of the theater it is for: Orchestra, Mezzanine, or Balcony. We had Fastpasses for the Mezzanine. Those who had Fastpasses for the Orchestra section were already packed in like sardines (which used to be an export of Norway's - we toured an old cannery in Stavanger last year), and there were still people arriving. The Mezzanine section was filling up quickly, also. There was a huge line of people trying for standby in any section they could get into. I should mention that the 11:00 show had gotten canceled that day, so my guess is that many people who had Fastpasses for that show were now trying for standby.

We were admitted to the theater closer to 3:45 than 3:40. We were able to get seats in the third row center of the Mezzanine. The Mezzanine was always my favorite section for Aladdin, so I wanted to see how it was for this show. (I saw Frozen from Orchestra the first time, at the Media preview. I was in about the 6th row, which seemed like a fine choice at the time, but ended up being too close.)

Frozen Hyperion from Mezzanine

There's what I assume is a safety bar about 15" above the railing of the Mezzanine, and if you were in the first two rows it obscured your view of the stage somewhat. Even in row three it was in our view when the actors were towards the front of the stage.

Frozen - In Summer

There still seem to be some issues with this show. As I mentioned, the first show of the day was canceled, and our show had a technical issue of some kind less than 10 minutes from the end. Fortunately after a few minutes they were able to continue. I know it's a very complex show, but since it's been running for over six weeks I was surprised that there still seem to be so many problems.

Frozen Finale

I still really enjoyed the show. The viewing was much better overall from the Mezzanine than it was when I'd seen it from row 6'ish of Orchestra. There was a good view of Elsa on her ice staircase. Though I think the best seats might be the first couple of rows in the second tier of Orchestra (Loge?).

Frozen - Elsa on ice staircase

I thought the "Aurora Curtain" effect was much more pronounced from this seat location and I felt more immersed in Arendelle. There's one scene where Elsa is walking forward and a zoom effect on the projections at the back of the stage and on the curtains makes it look like she's really moving towards us much more quickly.

The acting and singing were still excellent. The Kristoff, Hans, and "Weaseltown" characters were played by the same actors that I saw before, but Anna, Elsa, Olaf, and the King and Queen were different. I thought this Anna/Elsa pair was better. The Olaf was just as good as the first - both of the actors I've seen were outstanding, and really captured the character.

Frozen - Anna and Elsa

Kristin and Lee both thought the show was very good. Matt had never see the movie, but still enjoyed the show. Though parts of it were a little confusing since there's a few plot points that were in the movie that are skipped in the show. If you haven't seen the movie, the climactic Elsa-Hans-Anna-Kristoff-on-the-ice scene is a "where are they and what's going on?" kind of thing.

Frozen Anna and Elsa

Disney is currently scheduling four shows a day - and that doesn't even come close to meeting the demand. Even with Fastpasses people are lining up as soon as possible to try to get good seats. That makes for a long wait even before the show starts. The $49 that Disney is charging for the pre-show experience and priority seats is looking more appealing to me all the time.

I was concerned about big crowds getting out of the theater but it wasn't too bad. We had a 5:30 priority seating for Cafe Orleans in Disneyland that I'd made in advance before I knew what Frozen show we'd be seeing. Once we had the Fastpasses I knew it would be a little tight, but I thought we'd be ok - but then we had the delay in the show. It was 5:15 before the show ended. We made it, but just barely. As it turned out the restaurant was still accepting walk-ups, so it wasn't really a problem. I'll have a separate blog with a review of our meal.

After dinner the Disneyland app showed us that Hyperspace Mountain was running again so we went over to use our Fastpasses. No problem, and we were on the attraction quickly. I was again able to use my AP Photopass feature to download our ride photos. Though unfortunately the CM seated us in two different cars, so we aren't all in the same picture.

Hyperspace Mountain

We had planned to head home after that, but the Disneyland All-American College Band was performing a set at the train station so we stopped to hear the rest of it. This is the first time we'd seen them this summer. They are always so talented, and a lot of fun to watch.

Disneyland All American College Band

We really had a very nice day! We were able to do all the attractions we really wanted to and we had a few opportunities to relax, also. I was pleasantly surprised that the parks were relatively uncrowded - that wasn't what I had expected that day.

I enjoyed the Frozen show as much the second time - I predict it's going to be around for a long, long time...it might even beat Aladdin's 13 year run at the Hyperion Theater.

Though I'm hoping the new Soarin' film is NOT around for 13 years...I was really disappointed in that.







October 20, 2015

Disneyland Photo Update - Toy Story Emporium Window

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Contributing photographer Jason of disneygeek.com sends us these photos from his trip to the parks on Friday, October 16, 2015, taking a look at the latest Emporium window to be unveiled. This one features Toy Story and is the fourth with the others being Peter Pan, Cinderella, and Princess & the Frog. This is part of the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration. There are still two more windows to go.

There are two sequences in the window. One features Andy playing with Buzz and Woody and the other toys watching.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, October 16, 2015

Then once Andy leaves the toys start to play and Buzz/Jessie dance.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, October 16, 2015
Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, October 16, 2015
Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, October 16, 2015
Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, October 16, 2015Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, October 16, 2015
A video of the full sequence of the window showing Andy playing and then the toys coming alive.
The video below features a closer look around taken early in the day when the reflection/glare was a problem with for a wider picture.



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







August 13, 2015

Disneyland 60th Event Viewing

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I've had several opportunities to experience some of the events of Disneyland's Diamond Anniversary this summer, so I thought I'd follow up with some additional observations, especially now that I've seen the parade and fireworks from different locations.

The question I am most frequently asked is: "How long will the celebration last?" Disney so far has only stated that it will be a "long celebration", and will continue throughout the holidays and into 2016.

My own personal opinion is that Disneyland Forever, Paint the Night parade, and World of Color - Celebrate! will be around for a long time. There's nothing in any of them that ties them specifically to the 60th anniversary. The 60th anniversary merchandise, decor, character costumes, and so on may come to an end sometime next year, but I think you can count on the shows being here for a number of years to come. (And past history demonstrates that Disney does not make this kind of investment in something that's only going to be around for a year.)

One of the things that I expect to be around for a somewhat limited time is the Diamond Celebration Photo Spots. These are special photo backdrops that are multidimensional, and offer a fun photo experience. At this writing there are three at Disneyland: near Haunted Mansion, Big Thunder Trail, and the Matterhorn.

Disneyland Haunted Mansion Photo Spot

And there are two at DCA: near Grizzly River Run and California Screamin'. There is supposed to be a third at "a bug's land", but it has not yet appeared.

DCA Grizzly Peak Photo Spot

There are PhotoPass photographers at each spot who will get everyone positioned properly to maximize the effect, and coach you in multiple expressions or poses. In addition to the PhotoPass pictures they will also take a few with your camera or phone.

Disneyland Matterhorn Photo Spot

We've found that it's great fun, and the photos are surprisingly effective.

And it's the only way we'll ever get Deb on California Screamin'. :-)

DCA California Screamin photo spot

Recently I saw Paint the Night and Disneyland Forever from the "small world" area - it was the first time I'd seen the parade any place other than Main Street. We were on the terraced area between the Matterhorn and "it's a small world".

Paint the Night 8/8/15

I thought it was a great view. Everyone in front of us was below us and sitting on the ground, so we could see everything. Being a little further away from the parade was a very good thing. Most of the floats are so big that you don't get the overall view when you're close to them as you are on Main Street. I thought the distance enhanced the overall viewing experience. We were still close enough to see the characters and their expressions.

Paint the Night 8/8/15

For the fireworks we moved up the street and around the corner to where we could see almost all of the "it's a small world" facade as we looked in the direction of Toontown, which is the launch point for most of the fireworks.

Disneyland Forever 8/8/15

I've now seen Disneyland Forever from the three main viewing areas: Main Street, Rivers of America, and "small world". I think Main Street is still the best overall, but I've really enjoyed the other two locations, also. As long as you have a decent view of some of the projection surfaces I think it's a wonderful show no matter where it's viewed.

The aspect I enjoyed most about "small world" was the facade gave a larger continuous projection surface than Main Street. So images could go from one side of the facade to another.

Disneyland Forever 8/8/15

For example, Rapunzel and Flynn Rider's boat moved all the way from the right to the left across "small world". We were far enough away that we could see that. While Main Street is longer, guests are closer to the buildings and can't see the length of the street, so that effect doesn't work the same way.

Disneyland Forever 8/8/15

We also could see the fireworks without turning our heads away from the projections. Though we didn't get the extra fireworks that are launched from the tops of the buildings on Main Street.

I like the fireworks viewing from the Rivers of America - I think that's the best view of the main fireworks shot off over Toontown. They look very close, and from the middle of the viewing area they appear centered over the projections.

Disneyland Forever 8/8/15

The projections there are the weakest, though - the mist screens are not a solid surface so the images can be blurry and not very crisp. Most of them are still very recognizable, though. One advantage of Rivers of America viewing is that if you have a Fastpass for the first Fantasmic! show you can get a pretty decent viewing spot for the fireworks without waiting two hours for it. Getting one of the Fantasmic! dinner packages will really help with that. We had a prime spot when we did the River Belle Terrace Fantasmic! dining package, and Blue Bayou is even a little better.

Disneyland Forever 8/8/15

But Main Street...well, it's still my first choice for seeing this fireworks show. When you're standing on Main Street with projections on the buildings on both sides going all the way up the street it becomes quite an immersive experience.

Disneyland Forever 8/8/15

You also get to see some of the additional fireworks and lighting and a few other effects that are only visible from Main Street. If you want to view the parade and fireworks from Main Street be prepared to wait for a long time. I'm afraid I don't have any tips for great viewing and minimal wait.

Disneyland Forever 8/8/15





July 21, 2015

Happy 60th Birthday, Disneyland!

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"To all who come to this happy place... Welcome. Disneyland is your land. Here age relives fond memories of the past... and here youth may savor the challenge and promise of the future.

"Disneyland is dedicated to the ideals, the dreams, and the hard facts that have created America... with the hope that it will be a source of joy and inspiration to all the world."
-- Walt Disney, July 17, 1955

Disneyland 7/17/15

Disneyland celebrated its 60th birthday on Friday, July 17, 2015. Jason and I, along with thousands of other Disneyland fans, were there to help celebrate.

I will admit that I was quite concerned about what the crowds would be like on Friday, after the disaster that was the 24-hour day back in May. I arrived at the park about 6:40 on Friday morning, and I breezed through security. Guests were already being allowed into both Disneyland and Disney California Adventure, so the lines at the turnstiles were very short.

Disneyland 071715 entrance

As guests came through Security they received a special edition of the Orange County Register, and at the turnstiles an "I was there" button. There were also special maps at both Disneyland and Disney California Adventure.

Disneyland 60th birthday gifts

The Register had a special insert, “Premiere Souvenir Edition Walt Disney’s Magic Kingdom.” This was a reprint of a 16-page Register special edition published on Disneyland's opening weekend in 1955.

Disneyland 60th OC Register souvenir edition

It's very interesting! There's even an ad for "The Wizard of Bras" on Main Street. :-)

Disneyland Wizard of Bras ad

(These special editions were gone by 8:00, but they are still available from the Orange County Register. See this page for more information.)

Disneyland 1955

The maps for both Disneyland and DCA included the original Disneyland park map in addition to the current park map.

Disneyland and DCA 7/17/15 park maps

The map also included the list of special events for the day:
July 17 Celebration Ceremony - 10:00 a.m. at the Castle Forecourt
Pre-parade honoring 1955 Cast - 4:15 p.m., Parade Route
1955 Themed Photo Spots - Critter Country, Big Thunder Trail, Mickey's Toontown, Tomorrowland, Hollywood Land, Grizzly Peak Waterfall
Cupcakes - available in both parks
Anniversary Buttons - available at the entrance to both parks
1955 Dance Clubs - Tomorrowland Terrace, 7-11:30 p.m.; Carthay Circle, 6-10:30 p.m.

Once inside the park I found that Main Street wasn't packed, since guests were already being allowed into the rest of the park instead of being held at the end of Main Street. (A lesson learned from the 24-hour day?) There were enthusiastic cast members on both sides of the street greeting guests as they walked by.

Disneyland 60th cast members

Here's the pin that cast members received - very nice!

Disneyland 60th birthday cast member pin

There were lots of photographers on Main Street (and other areas of the park) with these signs - it was a very popular photo all day.

Disneyland 60th I was There

The Emporium on Main Street was quite busy with guests who were buying t-shirts, and pins and other merchandise that was only available for the day. There were men's and women's t-shirts that were package in a string backpack for $29.95.

Disneyland 60th t-shirts

There was also an annual passholder version (I'll admit that I purchased this one).

Disneyland 60th Annual Passholder t-shirt

I saw this pin, also.

Disneyland 7/7/15 pin

The shirts were also available at Disney California Adventure. There were plenty of them - good job Disney. There were also two new "Made with Magic" light-up items. Here is the Chernabog beverage sipper available at Disneyland:

Chernabog sipper

And the World of Color sipper available in DCA. Each is "only" $28 - but hey, that includes a beverage!

World of Color sipper

On Thursday a new "search" opportunity began at the two parks, the "Looking for Mickey Quest". There were different maps for Disneyland and Disney California Adventure, each with clues inside to locations of various hidden Mickeys. For each clue there were three suggested answers about the specific location of the Mickey, with a "scratch-off" next to each to reveal whether or not it was the correct answer. There's no penalty for wrong answers. And as with other events of this type, you don't need to actually complete the quest to redeem it for the prize. When I purchased mine it was recommended that I immediately redeem them for the prize, which was the pin.

Disneyland Looking for Mickey Quest

Each map came with a lanyard - as you can see the lanyard was dated.

Looking for Mickey Lanyard

The "quest" is available until July 31, or while supplies last. The maps are $19.95 at Disneyland (which has 20 questions) and $12.95 at DCA (10 questions). No annual passholder discounts for this one.

DCA Looking for Mickey Quest

As I mentioned before, there were free Disneyland birthday cupcakes available at multiple locations in both parks. There were plenty of them.

Disneyland 60th birthday cupcakes
Disneyland 60th birthday cupcakes
Disneyland 60th birthday cupcakes

The 1955 themed photo spots were a nice addition to the day. The Skyway spot was in Toontown. These were quite popular, but I stood in line for this one, since Lee used to work at the Skyway when he was a Disneyland Cast Member.

Disneyland Skyway photo spot

There was an actual stagecoach at the photo spot along Big Thunder Trail.

Disneyland 60th stagecoach photo spot

And the final Diamond Celebration Photo Spot in Disneyland, at the Haunted Mansion was in place.

Haunted Mansion photo spot

Disneyland was getting pretty busy, though the crowds were still nothing like they were back on the 24-hour day in May. Disney seems to have learned a lesson from that. They really downplayed the actual birthday celebration, and there were no big premieres or events - even most of the merchandise went on sale the day before. But a lot of people came and stood waiting for the 10:00 Celebration Ceremony at the Castle.

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Though they didn't have to, since there were large viewing displays in multiple areas, including one in Carthay Circle in DCA. I was fortunate to have media viewing, but if I hadn't, I would've watched from one of the satellite locations.

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Disneyland 071715

During the ceremony, Disneyland President Michael Colglazier announced the Million Dollar Dazzle program. Every month during the Diamond Celebration Disneyland will donate $60,000 to a local non-profit organization. The Girl Scouts of Orange County were the first recipients, and were in attendance.

Disneyland Million Dollar Dazzle Girl  Scouts

Richard Sherman and Ashley Brown performed "Feed the Birds" from Mary Poppins - one of Walt Disney's favorite songs.

Disneyland 60th Ashley Brown Richard Sherman Feed the Birds

Then they led all of us as we sang "Happy Birthday" to Disneyland.

Happy Birthday dear Disneyland

While there were a lot of people in the park early, a big difference from the 24-hour day is that many of them left after the ceremony. For the remainder of the day the crowds were those of a typical Friday in the summer time.

July 17 had been the announced date for the "new" Disneyland Band, and they made their first appearance in a not-on-the-schedule performance at 10:30 in front of the train station. I happened to be on my way to DCA, so I saw most of it.

Disneyland Band 7/17/15

It was a wonderful performance and I really enjoyed it - but they are much more like the Disneyland All-American College Band now. Their attraction medley (video below) has music and choreography similar to that of the medley performed by the College Band. And a number of the new band members were one-time members of the College Band.

I personally think that during the summer was not the right time to introduce the new band, just because it's similar to the College Band. It's two different groups doing similar performances. And I think this new band might overshadow the College Band, when it should be their turn to shine during the summer months.

As I mentioned, I was park-hopping when I was distracted by the new band...when I got to Disney California Adventure I found it was much less busy than Disneyland. There were also various photo opportunities available there.

DCA 7/17/15 I Was There

This may be my favorite of the 1955 photo backdrops: The Parking Lot. Because remember, DCA was built on the site of the old Disneyland parking lot! :-)

Disneyland 1955 photo spot parking lot

The other 1955 backdrop was in Hollywood Land,and featured the old Disneyland entrance sign, which would have stood not far from where the backdrop was located.

Disneyland 1955 entrance sign photo spot

One of the reasons Jason and I had gone to DCA was to see the Diamond Celebration Photo Spot in "a bug's land", which was supposed to be in place that day - but it wasn't. We asked a couple of cast members, but they didn't know anything about it.

We went back over to Disneyland to see the new band perform at 11:30 at the train station - which was the first performance listed on the actual schedule. :-) It was the same set that I had seen at 10:30. Their finale was "Hooked on a Feeling" (more well-known recently because of Guardians of the Galaxy).

We continued stalking the band after lunch, when they marched from Main Street to Frontierland, performed a song at the flagpole in Frontierland, and then performed the rest of the set in front of The Golden Horseshoe. This set included things like the theme from Davy Crockett, "You've Got a Friend in Me", and the theme from "Zorro".

Because we were at lunch we missed their 12:30 set, which was at the Castle, and then featured the new interactive "Diamond March" down Main Street.

While we were waiting for the band's final set, also in Frontierland (and with the same musical selections), we saw Tiana aboard the Mark Twain riverboat.

Disneyland Tiana

One of the other special events of the day was the afternoon pre-parade honoring the 1955 cast. We weren't sure what to expect with this, but thought it was nicely done. (This was a joint effort - Jason took the stills and I shot the video with his camera.)

Ron Dominguez and Bob Penfield were in the lead car.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, July 17, 2015

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, July 17, 2015

Cast Members representing the current cast walked in between the cars.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, July 17, 2015

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, July 17, 2015

Opening day cast member Harold Christopher.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, July 17, 2015

The Seven Dwarfs were on hand.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, July 17, 2015

A second Runabout car with Disney Legends Marty Sklar and Bob Gurr.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, July 17, 2015

Bob was playing to the crowd.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, July 17, 2015

Tom Nabbe and Bill Sullivan

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, July 17, 2015

Jack Lindquist (right) and Dick Nunis (left) in the fire truck.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, July 17, 2015

Current cast members in the Omnibus wrap up the procession.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, July 17, 2015

Video of the procession.


After the parade Jason and I made a trip back over to DCA - we hadn't been out to Paradise Pier yet. The Citizens of Buena Vista Street were doing an impromptu photo shoot - I'd never seen all four of them together in one spot before.

DCA Citizens of Buena Vista Street

We found cast members at the cupcake location near the site of the former Maliboomer attraction trying desperately to give birthday cupcakes away. Who'd have thought that Disney would be unable to give away FREE cupcakes? :-)

Disneyland cupcakes

DCA was really not busy at all. We decided to check out the single rider line at Radiator Springs Racers, and we almost walked right into a car. The standby line was only 45 minutes.

Jason went back to Disneyland and I had something to eat, then hit the road for home.

Thank you, Disneyland, for throwing such a nice birthday party to let us celebrate 60 wonderful years!





July 8, 2015

Disneyland Trip Report - July 3, 2015

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Lee and I visited Disneyland on Friday, July 3. We hadn't been able to get to the parks since the end of May. Our main goal for the day was to see the All-American College Band. We were hoping that some of the 4th of July festivities might also take place on July 3 (that's happened in the past), but not this year.

We arrived at the Toy Story parking lot about 9:45. I've given up trying to get into the Mickey and Friends parking lot when coming from the south - if I get re-routed, it adds an extra 20-30 minutes to the whole parking experience. In addition to the parking ticket, the attendant also handed us this pamphlet. In nine different languages it says that Selfie Sticks are not allowed in the parks, because they "have become a growing safety concern for both our Guests and Cast." There were also signs at the tram stops and outside the bag check tents. I don't know if it was because of the selfie sticks or for some other reason, but the bag checkers were doing a more thorough job, so that process took a little longer.

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We went into Disney California Adventure first, though at that point (10:00) neither park had much of a line at the turnstiles. We met up with Jason and his family and went to Fiddler, Fifer, and Practical Cafe - aka Starbucks. In case you didn't realize it, they serve one version of the special Diamond Anniversary Cupcakes here. :-)

Disneyland Anniversary Cupcake

This one is the orange cupcake with berry filling. In the name of research I tried it, even though I think orange as a cupcake flavor is just wrong. The sacrifices I make! :-) For a flavored cupcake it was pretty good, though I prefer the lemon version that is available at Disneyland (and I still can't believe they didn't make a CHOCOLATE cupcake!).

Diamond Anniversary cupcake

In addition to the berry filling (which there wasn't much of) there were little bits of fruit in the cake, which I think were currants. The cream cheese icing was very tasty but there was a LOT of it - Lee used some on his scone and there was still a lot left. The "pearls" were interesting - we never really figured out what they were. Some kind of candy-coated crispy thing. And the blue icing is very blue, and it will dye your tongue and your fingers, and anything else it comes into contact with.

Diamond Anniversary cupcake

Also offered here was a 4th of July cookie. I didn't think there was much of a 4th of July presence in the parks this year - usually there are banners on Main Street and Buena Vista Street, but this year it's all of the Diamond Anniversary stuff instead.

Disneyland 4th of July cookie

In addition to the band, the other group we wanted to see was the United States Air Force Honor Guard. For July 2-6, there were several different military groups that were performing in the parks, and on Friday it was the Air Force group. We saw their first set in Disney California Adventure (Jason also saw them later in Disneyland).

U.S.  Air Force Honor Guard

They did some really well-choreographed and synchronized routines. Jason has more in his blog, but here is a short video he put together of some clips. They told us that those rifles they are flipping around to effortlessly weigh 13 pounds!

While it wasn't a hot day, it would have been very warm standing in the sun in those dark uniforms. I'd find it very challenging to never change expression or scratch an itch or wipe my face, but they did it.

U.S.  Air Force Honor Guard

A sneak peek of the upcoming Ant-Man movie is showing (appropriately) in the "It's Tough to be a Bug" theater. Where it takes advantage of all of the special effects used for the regular show. :-)

Ant-Man sneak peak

The Ant-Man suit was on display outside. I can't say that seeing the preview really gave me much desire to see the movie. But there were quite a few people in the theater. And there were Disney survey takers outside afterward asking about the experience.

Ant-Man suit

For lunch we went to Flo's in Cars Land. It had been quite a while since we had eaten lunch/dinner there - much of the menu has changed since the last time we ate there. I had the Spit-Fired Rotisserie 1/4 Chicken served with mashed potatoes and roasted vegetables. The chicken was ok - the roasted vegetables were actually very good.

Flo's Rotisserie Chicken

Lee tried the BBQ Pork Ribs with Coca-cola barbecue sauce, mashed potatoes, and coleslaw. Lee enjoyed them, and said the sauce was very good. I thought the ribs were a little dry.

Flo's BBQ Ribs

Flo's offers their Pie-o-Rama for dessert. Mud pie and apple cheddar are always available, but there is a seasonal, which was coconut cream. That's Lee's favorite pie, so we tried it. But it was disappointing - the filling didn't taste much like coconut at all. Most of the coconut flavor came from what was sprinkled on top.

Flo's Coconut Cream pie

We didn't really have any plans until 3:00, so I suggested the Wilderness Explorer Ceremony at Redwood Creek. It was very exciting - we learned the Wilderness Explorer Oath, the Wilderness Explorer Call. Ok, so apparently I was the only person in our group who was excited. :-)

Wilderness Explorer ceremony

There was our senior scout, and Russell, and we even saw Kevin! I don't remember Kevin's appearance from the last time I saw it (which admittedly was a number of years ago).

Wilderness Explorer ceremony

We made a short detour into the Grand Californian Hotel to see the Sleeping Beauty Castle Cake in the lobby. It's very pretty. Lots of marshmallows, white chocolate, rice cereal, and fondant.

Sleeping Beauty Castle Cake

The 2015 All-American College Band's first performance of the day was their jazz set at the Hollywood Backlot stage. This is their 45th season - 45 years of bringing together some of the best college musicians to perform at Disneyland during the summer. These kids are so talented. This set even included vocals - one of the guys sang "Zero to Hero" from Hercules.

College Band Jazz set

Time for a snack - so we went to Ghirardelli. I had my new favorite Nob Hill Chill. The hot fudge sundae you can drink. :-)

Ghirardelli Nob Hill Chill

Over in Disneyland we checked out the second of Enchanted Windows on Main Street. This one switches between Cinderella's transformation and dancing at the ball. The reflections make them very difficult to photograph, especially during the day.

Cinderella Enchanted Window
Cinderella Enchanted Window

We continued to stalk...I mean follow...the College Band, as they performed during the nightly Flag Retreat. There's only 21 of them, but they put out a lot of sound!

College Band Flag Retreat

The parks were surprisingly not that busy, especially considering that it was a holiday for many people. Maybe most were waiting until July 4 to visit. The line for Splash Mountain was over an hour, but all of the other big attractions were less than an hour. Peter Pan just re-opened after a pretty lengthy refurbishment and it was very popular, with a 50-minute wait. Lee and I didn't get there but Jason did, and he has video and photos in his blog.

At 6:15 we watched the band perform their set at Sleeping Beauty Castle. Their medley of music from different Disneyland attractions is always very popular.

College Band Sleeping Beauty Castle

They marched down Main Street, stopping to perform a couple of different songs.

College Band Main Street

The band didn't have much of a break before their next set in front of the train station. This year they are performing a Stevie Wonder medley, as well as their Earth, Wind, and Fire finale. They are so talented and so much fun to watch!

College Band Train Station

I'd hope to eat dinner at the Plaza Inn, but the line was way out the door. Lee suggested Jolly Holiday Bakery. I had the Artisan BLT. I'm not exactly sure what was "artisanal" about it. :-) But it was tasty. I really like the house chips they serve here.

Jolly Holiday Artisan BLT Sandwich

Lee suggested the Bakery because he recalled the excellent Oven-roasted Turkey Sandwich he'd had before, which is what he ordered this time. It's REAL turkey breast, and that makes a huge difference.

Jolly Holiday Turkey Sandwich

I wasn't paying attention to the drink menu, and missed my opportunity to try another of the specialty tea beverages that are available during the Diamond Anniversary. Jolly Holiday offers the Frozen Pomegranate Silver Sparkler, which I really like, but there's also another one I hadn't seen before: Very Berry Diamond Tea. It's $3.59, or $7.59 with a diamond glow cube.

Jason texted us to tell us there were still spots for Paint the Night where he was standing on Main Street. We hadn't planned to stay for the parade and fireworks, but at this point the start of the parade was only 30 minutes away, so we figured we should grab the opportunity. While we were in the back of the section, it was still a really good view of the parade.

Paint the Night Tinker Bell and Peter Pan

And this is still a spectacular parade. This was only the second time we'd seen it, so I'm still seeing and especially hearing new things. I really like the music.

Paint the Night Cinderella float

The dancers' costumes are fantastic, but they are in almost constant motion so it's very hard for me to get good photos of them.

Paint the Night Coral Dancers

As soon as the parade ended we rushed into the street to get in place for the fireworks. We were next to the Crystal Arcade, so we had a fairly clear expanse of buildings on either side of us. The immersive effect of being on Main Street is something you really have to experience with this show.

Disneyland Forever Tangled Projection

The crowd really gets into it when they hear The Lion King music begin.

Disneyland Forever Lion King Projection

The search lights overhead are interesting to watch, also.

Disneyland Forever

Oh, and there are fireworks, too. :-)

Disneyland Forever Mermaid fireworks

While roaming around the parks earlier in the day we had picked up this S'mores Mickey Crispy Treat. We tried it the next day at home. It was just ok. The graham crackers had gotten soft. If they had been crisp it might have been better - but I still don't think it would have made much difference.

S'mores Mickey Crispy Treat

We had a wonderful day at the parks - the weather was great, and the crowds weren't bad at all. Though we didn't really experience the crowds that much since we weren't trying to do attractions. We can have a good time just wandering around and taking advantage of all of the entertainment options.






June 1, 2015

Disneyland Forever: Disney in the Sky With Diamonds

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As part of the nighttime trifecta Disneyland debuted for its Diamond 60th Anniversary Celebration, the longtime favorite firework show (debuted ten years ago for the 50th Anniversary) "Remember...Dreams Come True" was replaced by "Disneyland Forever."

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The major innovation for "Disneyland Forever" is the projection technology utilized to turn a variety of surfaces throughout the park into multi-dimensional screens for images enhancing the show experience. Guests can experience the pyrotechnic spectacular differently depending on where in the park they view it--near "it's a small world," by Rivers of America, at the Hub, or on Main Street.

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While the show is bookended by references to Disneyland's orange grove origins and its "Forever Young" magic, the bulk of the show calls back to musical numbers from a variety of classical Disney films. From the rooftops of London in "Step in Time," to the African plains of "Circle of Life," to the depths of the ocean 'Under the Sea," to the fairy tale lands of Corona ("I See the Light") and Arendelle ("Let It Go,") the show travels quickly throughout the Disney Studios film catalog.

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From all the different vantage points, each view has its strong and weak points: The projections are by far sharper and best visualized on Main Street. The flying elements--Tinker Bell and Nemo--along with the specialized Matterhorn effect during the "Mount Wannahockaloogie" section are only well seen from the Hub area. While I haven't seen the show from the "it's a small world" arcade yet, I would assume that as at Rivers of America, it's a trade-off between a slightly decreased theatrical impact and a greatly increased ease of viewing.

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While to my mind, the show lacks the nostalgic elements that "Remember..." packed with its great use of park audio, the projections are impressive, and Disneyland can now join Magic Kingdom, Disneyland Paris and Tokyo Disneyland in having a big, projection-heavy nighttime show. The pyrotechnics are wonderful and the new Richard Sherman song "A Kiss Goodnight" lovely, if a bit melancholy for a show that purports to go on "Forever."

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Here's a view of the fireworks and projections on the Castle and Matterhorn from the Hub:

The whole "Disneyland Forever" show, as viewed from Main Street and Rivers of America, can also be viewed over on the AllEars.Net YouTube channel.


May 28, 2015

Disneyland's Paint the Night Parade A HUGE SUCCESS

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Paint the Night drum

Paint the Night is Disneyland's new nighttime parade. It brings the electrical parade into the 21st century with 1.5 million LED lights, all under computer control. The parade features floats, Disney characters, imaginative costumes, animation, light and choreography, and a bouncy soundtrack that might stay in your head for a while. Don't say I didn't warn you.

You can watch the parade in this video:

The eight parade units include nods to classic Disney animated features like Peter Pan, the princesses, and The Little Mermaid, as well as the Disney-Pixar hits Toy Story, Monsters, Inc., and Cars. There's also a Frozen float with Anna, Elsa, and Olaf. And it pays homage to the original Main Street Electrical Parade in a couple of ways: the light on the end of Tinker Bell's wand is a rosette from the original parade, and if you listen carefully, you'll hear the Baroque Hoedown woven into the new soundtrack.

Paint the Night Tink

The main theme is "When Can I See You Again" from Wreck-it Ralph. As the various parade units pass by, there's also musical selections from the associated movie, such as "You Can Fly", "Life is a Highway", "Under the Sea", and (of course) "Let it Go". The musical style even changes to match the floats: for example, the theme is much more subdued and melodic during the Princess segment.

Paint the Night is not just about the lights - it's about motion, too! Some of the floats and dancers incorporate motion elements that are really visually interesting, such as the spinning jellyfish dancers and the pinwheel dancers. And the whirling intertwined mobius-strip-like thing on the back of Mickey's float leaves me shaking my head thinking "how do they DO that?"

Paint the Night jellyfish

And then there's the choreography - and it's not just dance choreography, but light choreography as well, with lights that are synced to the music. The floats and dancers interact - for example, the "Cars Crew" dancers are sometimes all the same color, and sometimes different colors - and sometimes the lights go off completely which makes them seem to disappear!

We saw the Dream Lights electrical parade in Tokyo Disneyland last year, which blew me away, but Paint the Night takes it to a whole new level. The original version of Paint the Night premiered at Hong Kong Disneyland in September, 2014. The Disneyland version has a few exclusive elements: the entire Frozen unit is new, as are the drum and some of the costumes.

The opening unit with Tinker Bell and Peter Pan includes a wildly modern version of the Electrical Parade drum with lights that do all sorts of crazy things.

Paint the Night drum

The doors on the Monsters, Inc. float spin around, and the doors appear to open and close as different characters and scenes appear on them. Mike and Sulley are both on the float, though Mike is a static character, which I found very odd.

Paint the Night Monsters Inc.

In addition to the dancers I mentioned earlier, the Cars unit also includes Lightning McQueen, DJ, and Mack the truck. At 54', Mack is the longest float in the parade - a life-size truck.

Paint the Night Mack

Mack's sides are a 3-dimensional volumetric display - yeah, that sequence of words didn't mean anything to me the first time I heard it, either. But it's really impressive. Not so much images as very colorful 3-d patterns that appear to move across and forward and back. It's a shame that this goes by so fast because I find it really fascinating.

Paint the Night Mack

The Little Mermaid float is preceded by beautiful dancing coral. The float features a 12' King Triton, with Ariel (as a mermaid) on the front. Accompanying the unit are puppet versions of Marlin and Nemo, who "swim" in and out of the coral and the jellyfish dancers.

Paint the Night Little Mermaid

Slinky Dog is the main figure on the Toy Story float. His "coils" are kaleidoscopic illuminated spinning disks - more of the motion elements that I mentioned before. Woody is perched on Slinky's neck, and Buzz sits in front of his tail.

Paint the Night Toy Story

I thought that the Princess float was the most beautiful. Belle stands at the front in a brilliant illuminated ball gown with a 17' rose behind her. Video screens around the rose show scenes from "Beauty the the Beast" and other romantic images.

Paint the Night Belle

Cinderella and Rapunzel follow in gazebos illuminated by softly glowing candelabras. The feathery dove dancers alongside are very gentle and graceful and lovely.

Paint the Night princesses

At 30', the Frozen float is the tallest in the parade. It's also exclusive to Disneyland, and not a part of the Hong Kong parade. Anna and Elsa stand on the balcony of Elsa's ice palace, while Olaf stands in an icy grove of trees on the back of the float.

Paint the Night Frozen

Paint the Night drum

There are six etched "ice" windows, depicting Anna and Elsa, the trolls, Kristoff - and Sven gets his own window, too!

Paint the Night Frozen

The final parade unit features Mickey and the gang. The pinwheel dancers lead out (it was fascinating to watch them spin and change color), followed by Minnie, Donald, and Goofy, riding on lighted spheres with changing colors and patterns.

Paint the Night spheres

Sorcerer Mickey follows, atop a 12' "kinetic sculpture". I've watched the video multiple times, and I still have no idea how it works. But it's cool!

Paint the Night Mickey

The parade follows the usual Disneyland parade route: from "it's a small world" to Main Street. During busy times of year it will run two times a night, and the second parade will proceed from Main Street back to "it's a small world". The parade is about 15 minutes long. There's no performance stop in this one, so any place along the route should offer the same viewing experience.

Paint the Night pinwheels

While I will always have a soft spot in my heart for the original Electrical Parade, I enjoyed this parade a lot, and think it a worthy successor. There are many details that I missed when watching it, and only picked up on seeing the video. Like the Monsters, inc. characters in the doors, and the huge ice chandelier in Elsa's palace, and the Mickey-head patterns on the character spheres, to name a few. I think it will be a highly repeatable experience that will be very popular with guests.

"When can we do this again?" :-)



May 27, 2015

Up All Night - Disneyland Diamond Anniversary 24-hour Party

Disneyland 24 hour event

As part of the kickoff of the Diamond Anniversary Celebration, Disneyland also threw a 24-hour party. Both Disneyland and Disney California Adventure were open from 6 a.m. on Friday, May 22, through 6 a.m. on Saturday, May 23. Jason, Jeanine, and Laura attended and provide their comments and photos below.

12:00 a.m.,Hour -6

Laura: When I left Disneyland just before midnight on the 21st, there were already hundreds of guests queued up in the tram area east of the Esplanade, some with tents set up, many with sleeping bags or blankets. The people at the head of the line had arrived at 3:00 p.m., so they had already been waiting for 9 hours!

Disneyland 24 hour event

When we returned at 5:30, the Bag Check line stretched all the way back to the guest drop-off area on Harbor, but it was steadily moving. Once past bag check, the line at the turnstiles was short.

Main Street wasn't yet totally packed, but it was getting close. Guests were being held at the end of Main Street.

Disneyland 24 hour event

6:00 a.m., Hour 0

Laura: At 6:00 there were fireworks along Main Street and over the castle, and guests began WALKING :-) towards their destinations. And people were already staking out spots for the first Paint the Night parade - which didn't start until 8:50 that night!

Disneyland 24 hour event

Jason: At 6:00 we were on Main Street and ready to start the day. It was incredible to watch a constant stream of guests walk by us for around 30 minutes straight!

Disneyland 24 hour event

Jeanine: 0600 On Main Street, roughly six hours before I typically like to start my day. At least Mickey and the Cast Members waiting to welcome everyone in looked more awake than I felt.

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After the countdown and the fireworks, the floodgates opened.

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7:00 a.m., Hour 1

Laura: After breakfast we walked back up Main Street. You'd think this huge line was for some kind of exclusive merchandise...but it was the line for Starbucks!

Disneyland 24 hour event

Jason: The new Peter Pan window at the Emporium debuted that day. The others are still to come.

Disneyland 24 hour event

Jeanine: After the first of what would be several Diet Cokes of the day, we commemorated the hour at one of the many clock face photo-ops set up around the parks. Jason and I nominated Laura as the subject.

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8:00 a.m., Hour 2

Laura: Matterhorn Bobsleds had just opened to guests that day, and many people rushed there first thing to get a look at the new Abominable Snowman. The line was 150 minutes long! Other than the Matterhorn, wait times elsewhere were much shorter than I expected given the number of people in the park.

Disneyland 24 hour event

Jason: This is the end of the line for popcorn buckets...you can see the cart in the distance, around the corner. Laura counted just under 100 guests in line.

Disneyland 24 hour event

Jeanine: The cause for the long popcorn lines was the introduction of quite a few new popcorn buckets. These Big Thunder Mountain buckets look somewhat related to the "Seven Dwarfs Mine Train" cars in WDW.

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9:00 a.m., Hour 3

Laura: We went over to DCA to check on conditions there. It was a lot less busy than Disneyland. We were even able to get Radiator Springs Racers Fastpasses with a 2:05 (p.m.) return time.

Many of the PhotoPass photographers had a clock face at their station to use in the photos. And the Disneyland Resort Twitter folks were doing something fun: if you added the #Disneyland60 hash tag to your tweets, they might pick them up and retweet them with something extra added! It's actually an animation, and the diamonds sparkle.

Disneyland 24 hour event

Jason: A special edition of the Buena Vista Bugle was on the newsstands that day.

Disneyland 24 hour event


Jeanine:
Even DCA got its share of accessorization for the 60th.

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10:00 a.m., Hour 4

Laura: The Carthay Circle Restaurant has been blinged up for the anniversary, also. I know some don't care for it, but I like it.

Disneyland 24 hour event

Jason: I had to check out of my hotel and move my car...this is the line of cars to get into the Toy Story lot. I ended up trying to go for the Mickey and Friends garage and it was closed so I ended up back at Toy Story, which is where I should have gone in the first place.

Disneyland 24 hour event

Jeanine: I also had to pack and get out of my hotel room. After returning, I stopped by the Media Center for another Diet Coke and checked out some of the merchandise displays, such as this one for light-up drink diamonds.

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11:00 a.m., Hour 5

Laura: We checked out some of the new entertainment for the Anniversary celebration. The Red Car Trolley News Boys have added a new song, and Minnie Mouse, dressed as a flapper, has an appearance in the show.

Disneyland 24 hour event

Jason: 60th Anniversary cotton candy bags. All of the napkins, cups, plates, etc. are also new for the anniversary.

Disneyland 24 hour event

Jeanine: Hopefully the new number "If You Can Dream It, You Can Do It" won't encourage the misattribution of the phrase to Walt Disney.

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12:00 p.m., Hour 6

Laura: Just a couple of people in front of me at the popcorn cart near the Fun Wheel when I bought a purple Mickey balloon popcorn bucket for a friend. (The red one was available at the cart near Soarin' over California, and the blue from the cart near the Storytellers statue.)

Disneyland 24 hour event

Jason: We caught a performance of Five and Dime's new show which includes three new songs: "Million Dollar Baby", "I've Got Rhythm", and "Sing Sing Sing."

Disneyland 24 hour event

Jeanine: Another photo-op! Jason and I volunteered Laura again.

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1:00 p.m., Hour 7

Laura: Donna the Dog Lady, one of the Citizens of Buena Vista Street, and her dog Lady were wearing some special anniversary jewelry.

Disneyland 24 hour event

Jason: Returned to Disneyland and found most of the curb space along Main Street already claimed for the 8:50pm Paint the Night Parade.

Disneyland 24 hour event

Jeanine: One more photo-op. Laura wasn't feeling this one.

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Laura: Actually I wanted to do this one, but the line was always too long - even at 4:00 a.m.!


2:00 p.m., Hour 8

Laura: We'd gone back to Disneyland where I was in search of the Anniversary stein (which was sold out for the day). I already had several purchases I wanted to take back to my hotel, so I left Disneyland around 2:00. There was a huge crowd of people in the Esplanade, and the turnstiles were closed - only a few people were being allowed in the park. I asked a cast member and was told they were only allowing re-entrys. I asked if those with dining reservations would be allowed in and he said yes - we would be able to bypass the line and re-enter one hour prior to our reservation time. Since Lee had gone back to San Diego, and was returning that afternoon, I hoped that was going to work!

Disneyland 24 hour event

Jason: Passing by Sleeping Beauty Castle. The park had stopped admitting new guests by this point so the crowd leveled off and as more guests claimed their spots for the parade and fireworks the rest of the park was pleasant to walk around.

Disneyland 24 hour event

Jeanine: Quick run into The Star Trader for a merchandise run--the anniversary "R2-D60."

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3:00 p.m., Hour 9

Jason: Stopped for lunch and Jeanine and Beci joined us. They had this mocha chocolate funnel cake from the Stage Door Cafe (which by the way took us half an hour to get because of a very slow moving line).

Disneyland 24 hour event

Jeanine: For verily, we did partake of the mocha chocolate funnel cake. And it was good.

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4:00 p.m., Hour 10

Jason: My first attraction of the day, the Mark Twain. As you can see New Orleans Square looks better than on many Friday afternoons.

Disneyland 24 hour event

Jeanine: So at one point, while we're digesting an enormous amount of funnel cake, we look up and see the Mark Twain going by, suddenly realize we could be on it right now, and run over.

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Laura: We attempted our return to Disneyland at 4:30 - our dinner reservation was 5:20. Disneyland Resort had tweeted that Disneyland was still closed to entries, but DCA was still available. The line for bag check extended all the way back to the guest drop-off area! Because of our dining reservation we bypassed it and were allowed in, where we were sent to the "Special Event" turnstile. The cast member had reservation lists from all of the restaurants. Most of the people in front of us had problems, but she was able to quickly find ours and let us in the park. Whew.


5:00 p.m., Hour 11

Laura: On our way back to Frontierland we stopped by the Times board. Considering the park was at capacity, the wait times weren't that bad - on a busy summer day the waits for the "E-ticket" rides approach two hours. But a lot of people were waiting for the parade and not riding rides. The crowds along the parade route looked like the parade was 30 minutes away and not almost four hours!

Disneyland 24 hour event

Jason: Stopped by the Springtime Roundup and saw Mickey. The area was very quiet with the usual short lines.

Disneyland 24 hour event

Jeanine: At this point it was time for our dinner reservation at Cafe Orleans. Unfortunately, their fire alarm had gone off earlier, and as a result, they were backed up by about 45 minutes and had dispensed all their pagers. This restaurant must have bad luck, because the last 24hr day I tried to eat there, they had had a power outage and couldn't seat anyone then, either.

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6:00 p.m., Hour 12

Laura: Halfway there! About a month ago I'd booked the Fantasmic! dining package at River Belle Terrace because I wanted to see how the Disneyland Forever fireworks would look from the Rivers of America. Lee and I had a lovely dinner - the restaurant was an oasis of calm, and it was very nice to be able to sit and relax and enjoy a good meal. The food was surprisingly good, and we had excellent service. It was my first real meal of the day - the food lines in the parks were SO long! There were a number of special food items just for the day, but for me the lines were just too long to justify it. Our meal was definitely worth the $42/person price tag on this particular day. And as you'll see from the photo, we enjoyed our little art project, too. :-)

Disneyland 24 hour event

Jason: A check of Main Street.. not bad...it is usually worse after the 6:30 Soundsational parade!

Disneyland 24 hour event

Jeanine: So we finally got seated and served.

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One thing you had to be mindful of by this stage of the game was the fact that the restrooms were starting to uniformly have lines extending outside the doors. New Orleans and Main Street were particularly bad in this regard, for men and women alike.


7:00 p.m., Hour 13

Laura: There were special 24-hour event photo stations set up throughout both parks. Most of them had 20-30 minute lines, but this one in Tomorrowland was short. It was nice to finally have one of these photos with Lee in it! Disney blinged this one up for us, too.

Disneyland 24 hour event

Jason: Time for some music...a Hard Day's Night performing at the Tomorrowland Terrace.

Disneyland 24 hour event

Jeanine: So by this time we were hearing (with what was becoming progressively weaker cell service) that Disneyland was in Stage Three Closure--no admittance or re-admittance to any guests. Curious, we went out to the front of the park to check it out, and the esplanade...didn't look too bad, actually. Apparently all the guests that had been there earlier had either been diverted to DCA or otherwise dispersed. Speculative thinking was that the park would be closed until after midnight.

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8:00 p.m., Hour 14

Laura: We had met Jason and party in Tomorrowland where they had a table since they were listening to the band at Tomorrowland Terrace. It was very nice to sit for a while and chat while listening to the music. We all had Fastpasses for the 9:00 Fantasmic!, so not long after 8:00 we went looking for a restroom. With so many people in the park the lines had been out the door - even for the men's side - at most of them. The one near the Tomorrowland train station is large, and usually empty, but even it had a line out the door on the women's side. But because the facility was so large the line moved quickly.

Jason: Passing by Sleeping Beauty Castle on the way to Frontierland for Fantasmic. Cast Members would not let people stop for a photo so this was taken while walking...

Disneyland 24 hour event

Jeanine: Going up to the train station to catch a ride over to New Orleans Square for Fantasmic! afforded us a nice view of an increasingly over-populated Main Street.

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9:00 p.m., Hour 15

Laura: Time for Fantasmic! Our section was near the center, so we had a great view. Unfortunately we'd forgotten the seat cushions we got in January (only Blue Bayou gives those out), so it was rather uncomfortable after a while. After Fantasmic! ended we had a short wait for Disneyland Forever. Wow...it was still a great show! I felt that we had a terrific view. The fireworks were almost centered over the mist screen. So unlike Main Street, we didn't have to look to the left or right to see the projections, and then miss the fireworks that were straight ahead. We weren't as immersed in the projections as we were on Main Street, and they weren't quite as clear on the water as the buildings, but it was still terrific, and a slightly different experience than seeing them from Main Street - which is what Steve Davison has been telling us all along. Lots of "oohs" and "ahs" from the crowd.

Disneyland Forever

Jason: Fantasmic followed by Disneyland Forever. This picture is from near the end of Disneyland Forever and I thought a great way to end my day in the park.

Disneyland 24 hour event

Laura: I found it very interesting that Jason and I independently chose the same scene from Disneyland Forever, but I left them both in to demonstrate how the view of the show is different depending on your location.

Jason: A quick note on Disneyland Forever from the Fantasmic viewing area. I watched from the Pirates Bridge which offered a decent view of the show. During Disneyland Forever the use of the water screens, some limited effects and additional fireworks in the area was a nice plus compared to previous shows. It is a solid alternate experience. If you did not know what you were missing on Main Street I think you would walk away satisfied. For me it did not hold the same level of immersion as Main Street and I kept thinking of what I was missing. Anyone watch from the Small World Mall? Curious how that looks. Also I would like to see how it is from up near the castle where you can clearly see those projections. So far out of the two locations I have tried Main Street is a clear winner but Fantasmic is not a bad alternative.

Jeanine: I was also up on the Pirates Bridge (section "green") for Fantasmic! and Disneyland Forever. It's a nice vantage point, but a pretty small area--if you're not one of the first people there, you're going to be behind people which can be no sweat if you're tall (Jason) but problematic if you're short (me.) I thought the projections on the water screens were fine and actually easier to make out than trying to see the castle ones from a distance (I had not seen the fireworks from Main Street at that time.) The main disadvantage is that you don't get the full effect of the castle fireworks or the various flying elements of the show.

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10:00 p.m., Hour 16

Laura: Lee and I left Disneyland. Our plan was to sleep for a few hours and then return to DCA - I had a Fastpass for World of Color at 3:00 a.m. LOTS of people were leaving Disneyland now that they had seen both the parade and the fireworks, but there were still lots of people in the Esplanade waiting to get into Disneyland, and lots of people outside the bag check area waiting to enter the Esplanade.

Disneyland 24 hour event


Jason: A look at the Esplanade on my way out as I headed for my car. The park was still closed and would be for several more hours. Guests were kept back from the entrance so there was no problem leaving and not a long wait for the Toy Story bus either.

Disneyland 24 hour event

Jeanine: By the time Disneyland Forever finished, we had been standing in that one spot for something like two hours, so wandering around to find a place to sit down was kind of a priority. Unfortunately, while the lines for the attractions might have been manageable, most surfaces available for sitting were already taken up by people apparently hunkered down for the night.

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11:00 p.m., Hour 17

Jeanine: At least there was a moment now to get some rides in. Managed to see the Haunted Mansion's newest occupant.

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Also tried to get coffee at Starbucks, but the line was to the door and estimated to be about one hour long. Decided to wait until breakfast.


12:00 a.m., Hour 18

Jeanine: Ok, time for breakfast. The only difficulty was that, although the reservation at Carnation Cafe was for breakfast, they were only serving the dinner menu. Fortunately, a cherry malt is also the Breakfast of Champions.

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Now, I was beginning to hear that, although the park was still closed to entering guests, parts of Disneyland were relatively empty. Since I was still on Main Street, where everyone was clustered for the 0100 Paint the Night parade, I didn't see it.


1:00 a.m., Hour 19

Jeanine: Went out to the front again to see how things were going, now that the parade had gone by and Main Street was beginning to clear. From the looks of things, it seemed clear that they would begin to start letting people in again shortly, although you got different opinions on that depending on how peripheral the Cast Member was. Meanwhile, the Dapper Dans worked overtime.

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2:00 a.m., Hour 20

Jeanine: I had a FP for the 0300 World of Color: Celebrate! but decided I wouldn't go if I couldn't come back to Disneyland. While I sat there in the front mulling it over, they finally opened up the gates to all guests, who came running in, whooping and shrieking up a storm. Finally, I decided to chance it, figuring that there was no way Disneyland would refill up to capacity in the time it took to watch World of Color. After exiting Disneyland, however, I found that there was a huge stationary line in the esplanade waiting to get into DCA. I asked a Cast Member how I would get in, and they replied that DCA was at capacity and closed. It might reopen soon, but all these people would need to be cleared out before anyone else would get in. Gave up, went back in to Disneyland, and checked out the new exhibit "Drawing Disneyland: The Early Years" in the Disney Gallery, which highlights five of the original WED Imagineers who were instrumental in designing the different lands of Disneyland.

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Harper Goff--Adventureland

Laura: Our alarm went off at 2:00. Lee opted to get some more sleep, but I went to the parks - I was hoping that by now the security line was gone/reasonable. The most recent tweet from Disneyland Resort said that Disneyland was still not open, but guests were still allowed to enter DCA. At 2:20 the bag check line had maybe 200 people in it, but we were told that BOTH parks were at capacity and they weren't letting anyone in. Since the 1:50 Paint the Night parade had recently ended I saw lots of people coming out of the Esplanade, so I hoped that would change soon. At 2:45 they opened bag check, and we were free to enter either park once inside. I hot-footed it to Paradise Bay.

3:00 a.m., Hour 21

Laura: The World of Color area was PACKED - even with my Fastpass I wouldn't have had a good spot, and I wanted to see how it looked from the side anyway. So I went over to Jumpin' Jellyfish. I was surprised that there weren't too many people over there - I even got a spot on the rail, even though I arrived just before 3:00.

I thought the show looked good even from the side - the projection screen on the Fun Wheel was very clear, so I still had some idea of what was going on. It's much better to see it from the front, of course - there's a lot you miss when you can't see the projections on the mist screens. But it's still interesting to see the fountains from the side.

World of Color - Celebrate

Jeanine: Finally got to use one FP for the day--Indiana Jones at 0310.

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4:00 a.m., Hour 22

Laura: Once World of Color ended, lots of people left. There were still quite a few over at the Diamond Mad T Party, though. The "White Rabbit" DJ was on stage, and there were a number of people enjoying the music - a few were even dancing.

Diamond Mad T Party

Jeanine: Went over to scope out the Toontown Pajama Party, which was supposed to end around 0400. Toontown had played host to a pajama party previously on a 24hr day, but skipped it last time. This year saw a return of the bean bag chairs, the cartoons up on a big-ish screen, and karaoke.

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Mickey and Co. were also in pajamas and busy meeting and greeting.

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5:00 a.m., Hour 23

Jeanine: Rode Roger Rabbit for the First Time in Forever (I don't get back to Toontown all that often) and then exited the closing Toontown for it's a small world. I did not get transported to "Tomorrowland," despite wearing the symbol, but did meet up with Laura and took a ride on Casey Jr.

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Laura: I went back over to Disneyland. Not too many people still roaming around - most who were still in the park were sitting around, trying to make it through the final hour! I met Jeanine back at "it's a small world".

Disneyland 24 hour event its a small world


6:00 a.m., Hour 24

Laura: No closing ceremony - we were at the castle, and there was an announcement, and nothing else. We made our way out to Main Street hoping to see the characters waving goodbye from the train station, but no. While I didn't make it the full 24 hours, I managed to be in the parks for about 17 hours, which was more than I expected to do. It was an interesting experience: sometimes fun, sometimes frustrating, though much more of the former than the latter for me.

Jeanine: We close out one more 24hr day at the Castle.

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While there was a congratulatory announcement and a playing of the Mickey Mouse Club Theme Song, it's always a little anti-climactic when they don't have any live hosts or fireworks or anything to commemorate the ending. Additionally, the characters they usually have out by the train station waving goodbye to people leaving after 24hrs, were whisked away almost at the same time as they were playing the announcement at the castle, leaving only Disneyland Ambassador Allie Kawamoto and Walt Disney World Ambassador Nathaniel Palma.

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Final Comments

Jason: When Disneyland announced another 24 hour day to kick off the 60th anniversary and that they would hold it on Memorial Day weekend and start three new night time shows on the same day I thought it was an idea asking for trouble. I hoped they were planning plenty of preview opportunities to relieve some of the pressure on being there opening night. The controversial decision to close Disneyland in the early afternoon and not reopen it until well after the second Paint the Night Parade paid dividends for those inside the park but left those outside frustrated and people like me scratching our heads at the decision to run the 2nd parade so long after the first. For those of us inside Disneyland all day if you were not checking in with those outside the berm you experienced a fairly pleasant day. The crowds were heavy but felt less so than the holidays thanks to the large number of guests holding spots for Paint the Night and Disneyland Forever. The park never felt over crowded to me and I have been there on some high attendance days...the largest being the final day of the Main Street Electrical Parade. The food lines were long and slow and as the day went on the restroom lines were substantial but other than that it was a relatively smooth day. For those outside the berm though it was a completely different story.

Jeanine: I would agree with Jason that it seemed like a combination of factors likely to draw in huge amounts of people--a situation which ultimately proved to be true. The organization and communication which appeared to work fairly well in the morning, eventually seemed to break down under crushing volumes of guests and fatigue as the day wore on, with Cast Members doing the best they could with outdated or distorted information.

If Disneyland, with its relatively small areas, plans to court these kinds of crowds for these kinds of events in the future, they might need to take a page from some of the international parks more used to dealing with these issues. In Tokyo Disneyland, guests are prohibited from putting down blankets or reserving seats for parades and shows until around an hour ahead of time. While difficult to enforce in our society, more focused on individual freedoms, such a policy might have helped free up some of the congestion on Main Street, where people were sprawled out on the sidewalks from 0700. In some aspects, however, Disneyland did relatively well--counter service restaurants had fairly dauntingly long lines, but sit down restaurants seemed to have a lot of availability, particularly after midnight. The restroom situation was inconvenient, but nowhere near as bad as, say, Universal Studios Japan that I visited last year, where lines for the women's restrooms ran around 45 minutes for most of the day.

I've done three full 24hr days by now, (plus one just overnight) and while it's a long, tiring endeavor, and you can't plan on doing many attractions, there continues to be something special about being in the parks all night long which will doubtless continue to attract crowds whenever the occasions occur, with or without new shows, or parades, or even diamonds.

Laura: Ditto what Jason and Jeanine said. I want to say thank you to the Disneyland cast members, who managed to be gracious and patient under what had to be very difficult conditions for them. And I was also impressed with the behavior of the guests, too - though we were all tired, I thought people were more pleasant and courteous than they are on a normal day. This was my first 24-hour experience: as Jeanine said, there's something special about being in the parks all night long - or most of the night, at least. :-)


May 21, 2015

World of Color - Celebrate! The Wonderful World of Walt Disney

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World of Color Celebrate

The Disneyland Diamond Anniversary Celebration kicked off last night with the media preview of the new World of Color - Celebrate! The Wonderful World of Walt Disney show. We'll be bringing you a lot more information on it as we have time, but for now I wanted to share a few thoughts.

Here's video of the entire show. We will post a high-definition version when we have more time and bandwidth.

The show is hosted by Neil Patrick Harris and Mickey Mouse - live action Neil and animated Mickey. I was not sure how well this would work, but it's fun. I wish there were outtakes. :-)

World of Color Celebrate Neil and Mickey

There are some fabulous new lighting effects. I don't know if it's projections, lasers, lights, or some combination, but color seems to ripple and flow through the air. It's just stunning.

There's also some awe-inspiring new fire effects - like a 300' pillar of fire. That drew a lot of "wows" from the audience.

World of Color Celebrate fire pillar

The first version of World of Color was more about the fountains. This one relies heavily on projections. In addition to the mist screens and the screen in the loop of California Screamin' Mickey's face on the Fun Wheel is a new projection surface. The latter two, because they are a solid surface, are used to great effect for the animation sequences where we need to be able to see more detail. While I thought the projections on the mist screens were significantly improved and much clearer than in the past, they aren't a reliable surface for anything detailed. The higher screens also added some additional dimension to the animation, since images could move up or down more than in the past. There was some really nice stuff.

World of Color Celebrate

Because of all of the animation, I don't think this show is going to look very good unless you're watching it from the viewing area. There's just way too much that you're going to miss. With previous versions there was enough going on with the fountains that there was generally still something to watch even when you couldn't see the screens.

For me the show started off a little slowly, but it definitely kept building and building and that last half was truly spectacular. With the focus on Walt Disney and his dreams, especially in the first part, I think this show is going to be very popular with Disney fans, but I'm not sure how well it will go over with mainstream America.

World of Color Celebrate Walt Disney

Unlike the previous version, there's very little familiar music in this one. Most of it is an original score by John Debney, which I enjoyed very much. But again, that may not be as popular with others, especially kids.

But because the music was new, I found it very jarring when suddenly the (very) familiar strains of "Let it Go" started to play. I know that "Frozen" is still extremely popular, but I'm very tired of it. I have to think that some pressure was put on the show designers to include it in the show, because, as I said, I didn't think it fit. The animation and fountains during the song (and it was almost the ENTIRE song) were really beautiful, but...

World of Color Celebrate

The theme park section was my favorite - it included music/images from the Tiki Room, Pirates, and Haunted Mansion, to name a few. It ended with Star Tours, which incorporated Star Wars music AND some scenes and dialog from the upcoming "The Force Awakens" movie.

World of Color Celebrate

There was a wonderful little "kiss goodnight" at the VERY end - and I mean the end after you think the show is over, there's no fountains or lights, and just the "Forever Young" song playing. Wait until the end of that. Trust me.

I really liked this show, and I am so looking forward to seeing it again in a couple of days! In talking with people afterward, I know there were a lot of things that I missed seeing, so I'll be looking for them!


May 14, 2015

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/08/15

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Contributing photographer Jason of disneygeek.com sends us these photos from his trip to the parks on Friday, May 8, 2015.

Friday marked two weeks until the 60th Anniversary kicks off at the Disneyland Resort. This picture set features a look at the decorations that are showing up around the parks and hotels. Also this weekend was the Tinker Bell Half Marathon & the premiere of the Tomorrowland film in Downtown Disney.

Frozen Fun billboards are still up at the Mickey and Friends Tram stop. The 60th ones should be up soon.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/08/15

The ticket booths have received some signage for the 60th.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/08/15

The Downtown Disney sign repainting and renovation is complete.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/08/15

Because of the Tomorrowland movie premiere & after party on Saturday, Tomorrowland will be closing early for day guests.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/08/15

60th decorations are showing up on the entrance and train station (the flags and banners)

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/08/15

The lamp posts have received their decorations.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/08/15

Main Street is decked out in a lot of blue for the occasion.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/08/15

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/08/15

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/08/15

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/08/15

Sleeping Beauty Castle looks more or less the same as last visit. The final items have not been installed.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/08/15

The scaffolding is down around Buzz, but the work is not complete yet. It sports a new color scheme matching the character and not really Tomorrowland.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/08/15

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/08/15

The entrance sign received a new look too.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/08/15

The Monorails featured wraps/ads for the Tomorrowland film.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/08/15

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/08/15

A check of the Mad T Party installation progress as we pass over Hollywood Land.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/08/15

Unfortunately I was stuck shooting through a window so not the clearest of pictures. But you can see Grizzly Peak Airfield is nearing completion. It is scheduled to open next Friday.

Humphreys replaced the Fly n Buy shop.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/08/15

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/08/15

Looks like all the pavement is in.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/08/15

The AMC Theater will be hosting the Tomorrowland Premiere Saturday afternoon/evening.

Props were being installed this afternoon

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/08/15

The blue carpet will be here leading to the theater.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/08/15

Where the press line will be.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/08/15

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/08/15

Next stop the Disneyland Hotel. 60th Anniversary signage as you enter the lobby.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/08/15

This weekend was the Tinker Bell Half Marathon. Laura will be covering it in depth since she ran in the races. I will skip the Expo pictures in this set.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/08/15

Outside work still continues on the fall protection.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/08/15

The Paradise Pier Hotel has a sign up for the 60th anniversary

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/08/15

New 60th banners on the driveway entrance to the Paradise Pier Hotel.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/08/15

Some of the windows on Buena Vista Street have received diamonds. (the glare was not helpful this afternoon)

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/08/15

A closer look in the window of the Atwater Ink & Paint store

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/08/15

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/08/15

The Carthay Circle Restaurant has started to receive diamonds too.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/08/15

Work continues on the facades in the Bay Area.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/08/15

Most of the Frozen Fun has ended. The Snow Fest has closed and the signage removed.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/08/15

You can still meet Olaf, but he is outside now.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/08/15

More diamonds, this time the Elias & Co windows

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/08/15

Interesting...noticed some marking around the hub on the ground. Looks like they will be drilling new holes for more crowd control ropes.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/08/15

Peter Pan is still behind walls and the project was pushed to a July 1 opening date now.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/08/15

The facade of Pinocchio is still being worked on too.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/08/15

The Mark Twain now has 60th banners.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/08/15

The Haunted Mansion remained closed. It reopens Saturday with the new Hat Box Ghost... was hoping for a soft opening Friday.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/08/15

The Fantasyland side of Sleeping Beauty Castle

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/08/15

Soundsational passing through the hub.

No drum for the Chip/Dale/Goofy/Pluto they were just dancing along the parade route.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/08/15

No real visible progress above Tropical Imports

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/08/15

Pizza Port has a promotion going on for the Avengers with special food items and a print available. Laura will be doing a food blog, she tried some of the treats.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/08/15

A lamp post on Main Street with 60th Anniversary decorations.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/08/15

Over at Disney California Adventure, on Buena Vista Street, the Julius Katz window features some diamonds now too.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/08/15


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



April 30, 2015

Disneyland Resort Photos - Sleeping Beauty Castle 60th Anniversary preparations (4/24/15)

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Contributing photographer Jason of disneygeek.com sends us these photos from his trip to the parks on Friday, April 24, 2015.

This posting will feature a look at Sleeping Beauty Castle as it prepares for the Disneyland 60th Anniversary Celebration that officially starts May 22, 2015. Most of the overlay is now complete. Just finishing details are yet to come, such as the logo for the 60th.

Approaching the castle from the hub.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 4/24/15

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 4/24/15

The East (Tomorrowland) side.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 4/24/15

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 4/24/15

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 4/24/15

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 4/24/15

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 4/24/15

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 4/24/15

New projector/light housing have been installed and these are larger (higher) than before.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 4/24/15

The Fantasyland side of Sleeping Beauty Castle

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 4/24/15

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 4/24/15

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 4/24/15

The West/Frontierland side

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 4/24/15

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 4/24/15

The two boxes on the west side have returned and are higher than the old ones (just as the one on the east side)

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 4/24/15

Too bad the sky was not blue today...

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 4/24/15

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 4/24/15

Sleeping Beauty Castle with regular lighting. Once the celebration begins there will be special lighting on/from the castle.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 4/24/15

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 4/24/15

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 4/24/15

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 4/24/15

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 4/24/15


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



April 27, 2015

Disneyland Diamond Anniversary Preview - Part 2

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Disneyland Diamond Anniversary

On April 14 I attended a Media event at Disneyland to preview the upcoming Disneyland Diamond Anniversary. In Part 1 I described some of the merchandise that will be available and the specialty beverages we sampled, and our visit from Mickey and Minnie. From that point on we were not allowed to take any photos.

After Mickey and Minnie left, Steve Davison, Executive, Parades and Spectaculars, came on-stage to tell us more about the three new nighttime events. I've been fortunate to see him a number of times, like this one, where he has acted out parts of the shows he is describing. After watching him I feel as though I've seen the show, and I have to admit that sometimes I enjoy his version more than the real thing. :-) He brings so much energy and enthusiasm to it, as well as giving us insight into why they make some of the choices of music and characters and scenes. I wish REAL Disney fans had the opportunity to see him, because I think it would mean a lot more to knowledgeable fans than it does to executives and mainstream media.

World of Color - Celebrate! The Wonderful World of Walt Disney is a brand new show, not a re-tooling of the original. It will be hosted by Neil Patrick Harris and Mickey Mouse. Mickey is all-new hand-drawn animation by Dave Bossert's Feature Animation group. According to Davison, Mickey is a "fun" character, and has a love-hate relationship with the World of Color fountains.

There will be lots of lights and lasers, and Mickey's Fun Wheel has received a new projection surface that will be used as a storytelling device. A lot of clips of Walt Disney will be used to tell his story in his own words.

The show has five different segments. The Opening will include a new musical number called "Celebrate."

"A Celebration of Mickey" will feature Mickey Mouse through the years, including "Steamboat Willie", "Plane Crazy", "The Band Concert", Mickey Mouse shorts, and "Fantasia."

"Golden Age of Animation" encompasses Walt Disney Animation as well as Pixar.

"Dream of Disneyland" is just that - Walt Disney's dream of Disneyland, including footage from Disneyland's opening day.

A montage of Walt Disney is featured in the Finale, including the reminder that Disneyland will never be complete as long as there is imagination left.

As Davison told us, the idea is to "meet the man and celebrate Walt".

Disneyland Diamond Anniversary

Disneyland Foreveris an "immersive fireworks spectacular" where projections will complement the fireworks. In addition to specialty shells, there will be projections on surfaces all over the park, including Main Street, USA, the castle, the Matterhorn, "it's a small world", and the water projection screens on the Rivers of America. While the imagery will be similar, there will still be slight differences in it depending on the location, and the idea is to encourage repeat guests to view it from different locations.

The show opens with images of Walt Disney in the Anaheim orange groves, and features a new song called "Live the Magic". Tinker Bell will fly around the castle, and an animated Peter Pan interacts with her.

The "Clouds" portion features projections of chimney sweeps dancing on rooftops and includes a new "Step in Time" chant by Dick Van Dyke. Images of kites segue to the lantern celebration from Tangled accompanied by "At Last I See the Light."

In "Enchanted Places" there will be images of honeycombs and heffalumps and woozles.

The "Jungle" segment features music from The Lion King and Jungle Book, including "Circle of Life" and "I Wanna Be Like You". Davison described a sunrise in pyrotechnics and we saw a simulation of the projections on Main Street with the animals coming to meet Simba - it looked really good.

"I Wanna Be Like You" is a jazzy number ending in a rainstorm, which makes use of a new full color laser on the castle and appropriately introduces the next segment.

"Sea" brings in watery images and elements, featuring "Under the Sea". Then Nemo swims through the air to the "Mt. Wannahockaloogie" chant from Finding Nemo as the Matterhorn becomes a fiery volcano. The "volcano" blows up and ash turns to snow...

The Matterhorn transforms into Elsa's ice palace in this "first finale", and it will probably snow on Main Street...

In the Finale the orange groves return, along with Tinker Bell and Peter Pan and a reprise of "Live the Magic". The new closing song by Richard Sherman, "Kiss Goodnight", is performed by Ashley Brown (Mary Poppins on Broadway). Searchlights will create the effect of diamonds in the sky.

I think it's going to be interesting to see how the projections look in real life. The simulations have presented more of a wide-angle view where it looks like we are seeing most of the length of Main Street, but I don't think that's how guest will be able to see it.

Paint the Night is the new, modern technology electrical parade. It was conceived as a "way over the top spectacle" and contains over 1.5 million LED lights. Davison said they actually had to tone down the lights - it was too bright.

The parade units feature dancers in imaginative illuminated costumes. The lights on the costumes change as the dancers interact with each other and possibly with the audience, also. All of the floats have secondary lights that paint the audience.

The parade leads off with the "Fiber Fairies", followed by the first unit. Tinker Bell floats in air as she gathers pixie dust into some kind of pixie dust vortex. The large electrical parade drum is behind.

Disneyland Diamond Anniversary

Monsters, Inc follows, with the brilliantly blue Sulley and glowing green Mike. Doors spin around and open and close, revealing whatever might be on the other side.

Disneyland Diamond Anniversary

Cars Road Jam is next, with the "Cars Crew" dancers, Lightning McQueen, DJ, and Mack the truck. Mack is 54' long, with 25,000 3D lights in a volumetric display. We had the opportunity to see a preview of this segment, seen below.

After the preview, Mack sat in front of us for about 20 minutes during a Q&A session. I found it fascinating to watch the light display and all of the images. I think it's really a shame that during the parade people won't get to really see it, because it goes by so fast and there are so many other things going on.

The next unit is The Little Mermaid, with electric jellyfish and coral fish. The float features King Triton and Ariel, as well as Nemo and Marlin.

"Candlelight Dreams" features Belle in a beautiful illuminated ballgown, with a large rose behind her. This unit will also include Rapunzel and Cinderella, multiple candelabras, court dancers and "dove dancers".

"Frozen Fractals", a representation of Elsa's ice palace, will be the tallest float in the parade. Anna and Elsa will be on board, accompanied by ice crystal dancers.

Lasso dancers with poi balls precede "Toy Story Electric Rodeo". The float features Slinky Dog with his coils represented by spinning illuminated disks. Buzz and Woody will ride the float, and Jessie will walk alongside.

"Mickey's Lightastic Finale" is the final parade. Disney characters will ride on-board individually controlled and lighted spheres followed by "double pinwheel dancers". The float features Sorcerer Mickey using his magical paintbrush to "paint the night".

The parade will be about 15 minutes long. On busy nights it will run twice: both before and after the fireworks. There is no performance stop - it will be continuously in motion. There will be an app that somehow allows guests to interact with the parade, but there were no other details on that. It's very similar to the version that's currently running at Hong Kong Disneyland, but there are some new elements, including the drum and the "Frozen" float.

Music that will be included in the parade includes "When Can I See You Again" from Wreck-it Ralph, "Route 66", "Under the Sea", and "You've Got a Friend in Me." And yes, the "Baroque Hoedown" will return, in a more modern synthpop arrangement. In the clip above, you will hear the new version, starting about 50 seconds in, as well as "When Can I See You Again".

All these shows begin when the Disneyland 60th Anniversary celebration kicks off on May 22. I know a number of you have asked how long these shows will be around. Disney has been coy about identifying an ending date, saying only that it will be "a long celebration", but has confirmed that all of the shows will be running at least through the holiday season and into 2016. And in fact the new World of Color and firework shows will be running in place of the holiday offerings of World of Color - Winter Dreams and Believe...In Holiday Magic. The "A Christmas Fantasy" parade will return for the holiday season as the daytime parade, replacing Soundsational.

AllEars will be covering the premieres of all of these shows, and we will have lots of additional information and photos and video at that time.



April 23, 2015

Disneyland Diamond Anniversary Preview - Part 1

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Disneyland Diamond Anniversary

Disneyland's Diamond Anniversary Celebration begins in a little over a month, and preparations are well under way. I attended a Media Preview on April 14, where we got a sneak peek at some of the merchandise and food items that will be available, as well as some additional information on the new entertainment offerings - and of course a few surprises!

Here's what I found most interesting:

Several Disneyland attractions will receive some special enhancements for the 60th anniversary.

  • The Hat Box Ghost will be returning to the Haunted Mansion. This mysterious figure was there when the Mansion originally opened in 1969, but "dematerialized" just a few days later. I know a lot of Haunted Mansion fans are very excited about this.
  • Peter Pan's Flight will re-open with a new nursery scene and other pixie-dusted enhancements.
  • The Matterhorn's Abominable Snowman will be featured in a new scene with some lost treasure, and will be more animated.

New Guest Participation Opportunities

  • The Disneyland Band along with the Disney characters, will lead a March-Along down Main Street, ending in a Sing-along in Town Square.
  • The Dapper Dans will also host a sing-along.
  • For those who would rather move than sing, The Straw Hatters will feature a Dance-along.
  • There will also be some additional entertainment at Disney California Adventure, where Mickey and the Red Car Trolley News Boys will add a new song, and the Mad T Party returns in the nighttime.

Disneyland Diamond Days Sweepstakes

Starting on May 22, daily and weekly prizes will be awarded to Disneyland guests. Throughout the sweepstakes prizes might include real 1- and 2-carat diamonds, private tours, a replica of Cinderella's glass slipper or a stay in the Dream Suite.

Disneyland Diamond Anniversary

For those who remember the Year of a Million Dreams, this sounds somewhat similar. There will be some opportunity for those not at Disneyland to enter the Sweepstakes - information will be on Disneyland.com/DiamondDays.

Here's some additional details on what's going to be happening.


New Attraction Magic, Interactive Street Entertainment, Shopping and Unique Dining Part of 60 Years at Disneyland

Disneyland Diamond Days Sweepstakes During 60th Celebration

There will be special beverages and foods available during the celebration. We began by sampling a few of the specialty beverages that will be available around the resort. There will be 14 different ones, and each will be available at only one location, though a few locations will offer more than one beverage. Most of them use Odwalla Lemonade as a base, though there are several with an iced tea base. They are also flavored with different syrups, and most have a whipped cream or foam on top. For an additional fee they are available with glow cubes and/or in a souvenir sipper.

The Monstro Blue Lemonade will be available at Village Haus in Fantasyland. It's cotton-candy flavored, and I expected it to be way too sweet, but it isn't, and I liked it.

Disneyland Diamond Anniversary

Lucky Fortune Tea will be available at Lucky Fortune Cookery in DCA. This is unsweetened iced tea with mango and passion fruit, with a mango/passion fruit foam on top. I was surprised that this one actually was a little too sweet for me.

There's also Party Wave Lemonade, one of two that will be available at the PCH Grill at the Paradise Pier Hotel. I didn't try this one, but it's lemonade with coconut and banana topped with Sprite foam and a baked banana slice.

My favorite was the Frozen Pomegranate Silver Sparkler. Slushy pomegranate lemonade topped with lemon-lime fruit foam and edible silver sparkles. This is one of two that will be available at Jolly Holiday Bakery in Disneyland.

There are also special cupcakes that we will find in Jolly Holiday Bakery and Fiddler Fifer, and Practical Cafe in DCA.

Disneyland Diamond Anniversary

Those at Jolly Holiday will be lemon-flavored, and those from Fiddler, Fifer, and Practical will be orange-flavored. I believe they will both have the cherry filling pictured here (this is the lemon-flavored cupcake).

Disneyland Diamond Anniversary

Most of what we experienced is the area that Disney has set up for Cast Previews of the Diamond Anniversary. This included an introductory video featuring Disneyland President Michael Colglazier.

The next room was a merchandise preview area. There are over 500 different items available for the celebration. And a lot of it has a lot of sparkle.

Disneyland Diamond Anniversary

Miscellaneous logo shirts, glasses, etc.

Disneyland Diamond Anniversary

Jacket, sweatshirt, fleece throw, hat, phone cases...

Disneyland Diamond Anniversary

China, ornaments, Vinylmation, photo and autograph books.

Disneyland Diamond Anniversary

Balloon popcorn buckets - red, blue, and purple.

Disneyland Diamond Anniversary

Disneyland Diamond Anniversary

There's going to be a mine train popcorn bucket, also.

Disneyland Diamond Anniversary

New souvenir sippers - oil can replicas in Cars Land, and an exclusive for the 24-hour event, as well as a premium stein.

Pins, lanyards, coin sets

Disneyland Diamond Anniversary

Dooney and Burke bags, of course!

Disneyland Diamond Anniversary

As well as attraction-inspired handbags.

Disneyland Diamond Anniversary


Mickey and Minnie posed for us in their special 60th anniversary attire.

Disneyland Diamond Anniversary

In part 2 I'll have some additional details on the new nighttime entertainment.


January 31, 2015

Disneyland Diamond Anniversary - Additional Details

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If you watched the Diamond Anniversary Q&A video that we posted (below) then you already know most of this. If you didn't, then this blog is a collection of facts, musings, quotes, and other things that I found interesting in that session.

As I mentioned in my previous blog, I think this anniversary is all about silicon and not diamonds. :-) Which I think is terrific, since I'm a geek at heart, and I love that Disney uses the latest technology, and develops their own cutting edge technology, to create magic. What's the saying? "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." (Arthur C. Clarke) Not to diminish magic, but technology has always been an integral part of many of Disney's "magical" experiences. But at the heart of all of that technology is endless imagination, and what's more magical than that?

And there's so much technological magic in these new anniversary events! It was really fun to hear Steve Davison, Executive for Parades and Spectaculars (and how cool a title is THAT?) speak not so much the technology itself, but how they will use it to tell the stories. John Addis, show director for Disneyland Forever, said this: "Story is up there foremost. Innovations, the technology, everything else, but if it doesn't have that heart in the story - that's what we're striving for so that there's a narrative that we all believe in, that everybody can understand, that touches everyone's heart."

Another thing that I took away from the announcements: Disney recognizes that they are dealing with a new generation of tech-savvy kids. Davison had this to say about Paint the Night: "To have it come down Main Street USA again for this new generation, but really inspired by the original...we're taking it to that next level for today's kids." And with that in mind, most of the characters and floats are from newer movies familiar to this generation of children.

So now a few random things...

"Immersive", "dazzling", and "brilliant". We're going to hear those words a lot. :-)

The Diamond Celebration opens May 22, but has no closing date. It will be "a long celebration." :-)

As the three new shows are nighttime offerings, Mickey's Soundsational Parade will continue to operate as the daytime parade. Fantasmic! will also continue performances on the Rivers of America. In November and December the evening holiday shows, "Believe...in Holiday Magic" and "World of Color - Winter Dreams" will not be offered this year, but the "A Christmas Fantasy" parade will return as usual.

Disneyland Forever will be 12-14 minutes long and World of Color - Celebrate! will be 22-24 minutes long. The new World of Color show will be "very different" according to Executive Producer Sayre Wiseman, though she did not elaborate on that.

Tracy Halas, choreographer for Paint the Night, when asked what people should expect, said "Brilliance." :-) Steve added: "It's very bright", and indicated that they had to turn it down. Tracy went on to say: "What's really interesting and inspiring about this parade is that every person, every float, every part of it is seamless from beginning to end. Everything is a beautiful, spectacular, visual sight."

I'm really fascinated by some of the things we heard about the parade - apparently the floats are smart and interact with the costumes, everybody has a computer on board, and everything communicates with everything else.

Steve Davison said he really wanted to bring the Electrical Parade back to Disneyland. Other than the drum there are no returning parade elements from the original parade, but it's the "biggest, coolest drum you've probably ever seen." And the "Baroque Hoedown" music will be back: "It's wild" and "fresh" - I have to admit that makes me a little nervous. The parade will be similar but different than the one that is already running at Hong Kong Disneyland since they were developed in tandem. We were assured that the Disneyland version will have some surprises - which they wouldn't tell us about.

Disneyland Forever seems to be the least developed of the three at this point, though the story is complete and they will be going to London in a couple of weeks to record the music at Abbey Road. The little sample that we saw during the announcement (unfortunately I only captured about half of it) was very rough and just "all weird little test footage", since the Main Street projection mapping just started.

One of the things I am most intrigued in is the idea that this fireworks show is actually intended to be watched from different areas of the park. As Steve Davison said: "There was this big thing about the 50th [anniversary fireworks show] 'you have to watch it from the hub', and I'm like 'we're not doing that again.' And that's why I'm putting it out there from the beginning, we're going to make this stuff so cool everywhere that you will want to go and see it and have little things hiding here and there."

And Davison, regarding the finale:"The finale that we just got made everyone cry. And that's the #1 thing. When you hear that music for the finale you totally cry. And I won't tell you the opening, but it's truly fabulous. I really wanted to bring Walt into this in a big way. We might or might not see him in the orange groves..."

"So we're going to do things that I think will play on many different levels. That kind of tell you the history of Disneyland, but in fun ways. And then we're going to LAUNCH it into the future."

And speaking of the future...I'm looking forward to seeing what May 22 has in store for us, in this year of silicon surprises!


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About Diamond Anniversary

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to Salute to All Things Disney but Mostly Disneyland in the Diamond Anniversary category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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